Monday, August 22, 2016

Muslim values at work in Australia

On January 16, 2015, a visibly shaken Leila Alavi hung up the phone after taking a call from her estranged husband.

Prosecutors say the 26-year-old turned to a colleague and told him: "He said he is going to kill me and all of us. Probably he is watching too many movies."

By morning, she was dead.

In the carpark below the western Sydney hairdressing salon where she worked, Mokhtar Hosseiniamraei stabbed his wife 56 times with a pair of scissors he had stolen from a nearby supermarket.

"That moment. Like a bomb. It exploded. I didn't realise what I was doing for a moment," he would later tell a forensic psychiatrist.

But in the hours after the stabbing on January 17, 2015, when police asked him through an interpreter why he had killed Ms Alavi, Hosseiniamraei was frank: "Because we were married, and ... she broke the contract. I could not tolerate it.

"And I could not forget it."

Documents tendered in the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday tell of the devastating loss suffered by Ms Alavi's loved ones, and the broken logic with which her killer tried to explain what he had done.

"Where did you hit her with scissors on her body?" police asked Hosseiniamraei.

"In her heart and in her neck. Because she did not obey the rule of marriage," the killer replied.

"When we marry we have a commitment, moral commitment towards one another. In this country this means nothing."

He has since pleaded guilty to murdering Ms Alavi.

Hosseiniamraei, a refugee who fled Iran because of religious persecution, met his bride in Turkey and travelled with her to Australia in 2010.

By late 2014 the relationship had broken down and Hosseiniamraei was abusing drugs daily.

A psychiatrist who interviewed the 34-year-old noted he had been using heroin and ice almost every day around that time, and was smoking up to 28 joints of cannabis a week.

Ms Alavi sought a restraining order on October 2014, but documents before the court indicate the couple continued to see one another regularly.

Even after their separation, Ms Alavi continued to visit Hosseiniamraei to cook and clean for him, according to the offender's sister.

Now the dead woman's relatives have questioned why more was not done to keep her safe.

In a victim impact statement tendered in court on Thursday, Ms Alavi's sister Marjan Lotfi wrote that the grief of losing her was "almost unbearable".

"I don't want other women to suffer the same tragedy. I don't want other family members to go through what I and my family have gone through," she wrote.

"I keep thinking: why didn't someone help her? Why didn't she receive the protection she needed?"

Another sister, Mitra Alavi, said she and Leila had left Iran to escape violence. She said she had worried for years about her little sister's relationship with Hosseiniamraei.

"I saw that she was abused both physically and psychologically by him. I believe this man was cruel and dangerous," she wrote.


Rock star-scientist Brian Cox confused on more than global temperatures

By Jennifer Marohasy

Celebrity physicist Brian Cox misled the ABC TV Q&A audience on at least 3 points-of-fact on Monday night. This is typical of the direction that much of science is taking. Richard Horton, the current editor of the medical journal, The Lancet, recently stated that, "The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue."

Firstly, Cox displayed an out-of-date NASA chart of remodelled global temperatures as proof that we have catastrophic climate change caused by industrial pollution. Another panellist on the program, One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts, tried to raise the issue of cause and effect: querying whether there really was a link between rising temperature and carbon dioxide. This is generally accepted without question. But interestingly – beyond experiments undertaken by a chemist over 100 years ago – there is no real proof beyond unreliable computer simulation models.

Indeed, in 2006, John Nicol (a former Dean of Science at James Cook University) wrote to Penny Whetton (then meteorologist-in-charge of the climate science stream at CSIRO) asking if she could provide him with copies notes, internal reports, references ("peer reviewed" of course) which would provide details of the physics behind the hypothesis of global warming. She wrote back immediately promising to find some – which he thought was odd since he had assumed her office was stacked-to-the-ceiling with such literature.

Whetton even went to the trouble of contacting other colleagues – one of whom sent Nicol an inconsequential article in a Polish journal. After eighteen months of their exchanging letters and all of her promises to be helpful, all she could finally offer was the "scientific" section of "Climate Change in Australia 2007". There, to Nicol's amazement he found nothing apart from the oft quoted: "We believe that most of the increase in global temperatures during the second half of the 20th century was very likely due to increases in the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide".

"Believe", "most", and "very likely" are jargon, perhaps meaning "we don't have a clue".

The chart Cox held up on Monday night – now all-over-the-internet as proof of global warming – essentially represents a remodelling of observed temperature measurements to confirm a belief, that we most likely have catastrophic global warming.

The accurate UAH satellite record shows a spike in temperatures in 1997-1998 associated with the El Nino back then, followed by a long pause of about 17 years, before the recent spike at the end of 2015-beginning of 2016. The recent spike was also caused by an El Nino event. Global-temperatures have been plummeting since March, and are now almost back to pause-levels. Indeed, Roberts was more correct than Cox, when he claimed there had been no warming for about 21 years – despite the rise in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide.

The second misleading statement from Cox on Monday night concerned the nature of the modern sceptic – often harshly labelled a denier. Cox suggested that sceptics were the type of people that would even deny the moon-landing. In making this claim he was no doubt alluding to research, since discredited, funded by the Australian Research Council, that attempted to draw a link between scepticism of anthropogenic global warming and believing in conspiracies.

In fact, astronaut Harrison Schmitt – who actually stood on the moon, drilled holes, collected moon rocks, and has since returned to Earth – is a well-known sceptic of anthropogenic global warming. In short, Astronaut Harrison knows the moon-landing was real, but does not believe carbon dioxide plays a significant role in causing weather and climate change. In fact, Schmitt has expressed the view – a very similar view to Roberts – that the risks posed by climate change are overrated. Harrison has even suggested that climate change is a tool for people who are trying to increase the size of government – though he does not deny that he has been to the moon and back.

Thirdly, Cox has qualifications in particle physics, yet he incorrectly stated that Albert Einstein devised the four-dimensional-space-time continuum. Those with a particular interest in the history of relativity theory know that while Einstein reproduced the Lorenz equations using a different philosophical interpretation, he was not the first to put these equations into the context of the 4-dimensional continuum – that was done by Hermann Minkowski. Minkowski reformulated in four dimensions the then-recent theory of special relativity concluding that time and space should be treated equally. This subsequently gave rise to the concept of events taking place in a unified four-dimensional space-time continuum.

Then again, Cox may not care too much for facts. He is not only a celebrity scientist, but also a rock star. Just the other day I was watching a YouTube video of him playing keyboard as the lead-singer of the band screamed, "We don't need a reason".

There was once a clear distinction between science – that was about reason and evidence – and art that could venture into the make-believe including through the re-interpretation of facts. This line is increasingly blurred in climate science where data is now routinely remodeled to make it more consistent with global warming theory.

For example, I'm currently working on a 61-page expose of the situation at Rutherglen. Since November 1912, air temperatures have been measured at an agricultural research station near Rutherglen in northern Victoria, Australia. The data is of high quality, therefore, there is no scientific reason to apply adjustments in order to calculate temperature trends and extremes. Mean annual temperatures oscillate between 15.8°C and 13.4°C. The hottest years are 1914 and 2007; there is no overall warming-trend. The hottest summer was in 1938–1939 when Victoria experienced the Black Friday bushfire disaster. This 1938-39 summer was 3°C hotter than the average-maximum summer temperature at Rutherglen for the entire period: December 1912 to February 2016. Minimum annual temperatures also show significant inter-annual variability.

In short, this temperature data, like most of the temperature series from the 112 sites used to concoct the historical temperature record by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology does not accord with global warming theory.

So, adjustments are made by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology to these temperature series before they are incorporated into the Australian Climate Observations Reference Network – Surface Air Temperature (ACORN-SAT); and also the UK Met Office's HadCRUT dataset, which informs IPCC deliberations.

The temperature spike in 1938-1939 is erroneously identified as a statistical error, and all temperatures before 1938 adjusted down by 0.62°C. The most significant change is to the temperature minima with all temperatures before 1974, and 1966, adjusted-down by 0.61°C and 0.72°C, respectively. For the year 1913, there is a 1.3°C difference between the annual raw minimum value as measured at Rutherglen and the remodelled value.

The net effect of the remodelling is to create statistically significant warming of 0.7 °C in the ACORN-SAT mean temperature series for Rutherglen, in general agreement with anthropogenic global warming theory.

NASA applies a very similar technique to the thousands of stations used to reproduce the chart that Cox held-up on Monday night during the Q&A program. I discussed these change back in 2014 with Gavin Schmidt, who oversees the production of these charts at NASA. I was specifically complaining about how they remodel the data for Amberley, a military base near where I live in Queensland.

Back in 2014, the un-adjusted mean annual maximum temperatures for Amberley – since recordings were first made in 1941 – show temperatures trending up from a low of about 25.5°Cin 1950 to a peak of almost 28.5°Cin 2002. The minimum temperature series for Amberley showed cooling from about 1970. Of course this does not accord with anthropogenic global warming theory. To quote Karl Braganza from the Bureau as published by online magazine The Conversation, "Patterns of temperature change that are uniquely associated with the enhanced greenhouse effect, and which have been observed in the real world include... Greater warming in winter compared with summer… Greater warming of night time temperatures than daytime temperatures".

The Bureau has "corrected" this inconvenient truth at Amberley by jumping-up the minimum temperatures twice through the homogenization process: once around 1980 and then around 1996 to achieve a combined temperature increase of over 1.5°C.

This is obviously a very large step-change, remembering that the entire temperature increase associated with global warming over the 20th century is generally considered to be in the order of 0.9°C.

According to various peer-reviewed papers, and technical reports, homogenization as practiced in climate science is a technique that enables non-climatic factors to be eliminated from temperature series – by making various adjustments.

It is often done when there is a site change (for example from a post office to an airport), or equipment change (from a Glaisher Stand to a Stevenson screen). But at Amberley neither of these criteria can be applied. The temperatures have been recorded at the same well-maintained site within the perimeter of the air force base since 1941. Through the homogenization process the Bureau have changed what was a cooling trend in the minimum temperature of 1.0°Cper century, into a warming trend of 2.5°C per century.

Homogenization – the temperature adjusting done by the Bureau – has not resulted in some small change to the temperatures as measured at Amberley, but rather a change in the temperature trend from one of cooling to dramatic warming as was done to the series for Rutherglen.

NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) based in New York also applies a jump-up to the Amberley series in 1980, and makes other changes, so that the annual average temperature for Amberley increases from 1941 to 2012 by about 2°C.

The new Director of GISS, Gavin Schmidt, explained to me on Twitter back in 2014 that: "@jennmarohasy There is an inhomogenity detected (~1980) and based on continuity w/nearby stations it is corrected. #notrocketscience".

When I sought clarification regarding what was meant by "nearby" stations I was provided with a link to a list of 310 localities used by climate scientists at Berkeley when homogenizing the Amberley data.

The inclusion of Berkeley scientists was perhaps to make the point that all the key institutions working on temperature series (the Australian Bureau, NASA, and also scientists at Berkeley) appreciated the need to adjust-up the temperatures at Amberley. So, rock star scientists can claim an absolute consensus?

But these 310 "nearby" stations, they stretch to a radius of 974 kilometres and include Frederick Reef in the Coral Sea, Quilpie post office and even Bourke post office. Considering the un-adjusted data for the six nearest stations with long and continuous records (old Brisbane aero, Cape Moreton Lighthouse, Gayndah post office, Bundaberg post office, Miles post office and Yamba pilot station) the Bureau's jump-up for Amberley creates an increase for the official temperature trend of 0.75°C per century.

Temperatures at old Brisbane aero, the closest of these station, also shows a long-term cooling trend. Indeed perhaps the cooling at Amberley is real. Why not consider this, particularly in the absence of real physical evidence to the contrary? In the Twitter conversation with Schmidt I suggested it was nonsense to use temperature data from radically different climatic zones to homogenize Amberley, and repeated my original question asking why it was necessary to change the original temperature record in the first place. Schmidt replied, "@jennmarohasy Your question is ill-posed. No-one changed the trend directly. Instead procedures correct for a detected jump around ~1980."

If Twitter was around at the time George Orwell was writing the dystopian fiction Nineteen Eighty-Four, I wonder whether he might have borrowed some text from Schmidt's tweets, particularly when words like, "procedures correct" refer to mathematical algorithms reaching out to "nearby" locations that are across the Coral Sea and beyond the Great Dividing Range to change what was a mild cooling-trend, into dramatic warming, for an otherwise perfectly politically-incorrect temperature series.

Horton, the somewhat disillusioned editor of The Lancet, also stated recently that science is, "Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness." I would not go that far! I am not sure it has taken a turn for darkness – perhaps just a turn towards the make-believe. Much of climate science, in particular, is now underpinned with a postmodernist epistemology – it is simply suspicious of reason and has an acute sensitivity to the role of ideology in asserting and maintaining particular power-structures including through the homogenisation of historical temperature data.


‘Supportive’ Malcolm Turnbull in deal with Bob Day to defer reform of hate-speech legislation

Malcolm Turnbull expressed his “general support” for senator Bob Day’s push to amend section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, and pledged to look at the matter early this year after asking him to delay a vote on the change.

As some Coalition senators rally support for a renewed push to amend section 18C of the law, Senator Day revealed to The Australian that the Prime Minister had phoned him last year during ­debate on the bill and the two “agreed the time (for a vote) was not right for either of us at that time.”

Senator Day said Mr Turnbull indicated his “general support” for the push to amend the contentious section, which restricts speech that is “reasonably likely, in all the ­circumstances, to offend, insult, ­humiliate or intimidate” on the basis of “race, colour or ­national or ethnic origin”.

“Shortly after he became Prime Minister, (Mr Turnbull) rang and we discussed my 18C bill, which I had in the Senate at that time,” Senator Day told The Australian. “We landed at the position where I would not put it to a vote, but would bring it back in the new year and we agreed with that timetable.”

When asked why the bill did not return for a vote in the new year, Senator Day said circumstances, including the election and the debate over Senate voting ­reform, did not allow it.

Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm, who was a co-sponsor of Senator Day’s bill, said a vote last October would have “killed the bill”, but he had not ­welcomed Mr Turnbull’s intervention.

“Bob told me that the Prime Minister had called him and asked him not to bring it on,’’ he said. “My answer was to tell the Prime Minister to get stuffed, to bring it on anyway, but Bob is an obliging sort of a bloke and supportive of the Libs and he had made up his mind he would hold back.”

The bill did not have the numbers to pass the Senate, so Senator Day’s assessment was to keep it alive in the hope he could secure the numbers to pass the legislation this year. Senator Leyonhjelm said Mr Turnbull should have sought to advance the issue to try to garner support for the bill, which was also sponsored by Liberal senators Cory Bernardi and Dean Smith.

“I do think the government is going to find it hard to say no to this continuously, this is a small-l liberal issue, and if they don’t take up the cause of free speech then others will,’’ he said.

Two more Liberal senators called yesterday for the government to revisit its position, which is being defended by members of the executive. When asked his position on changing section 18C, Scott Morrison said he was ­focused on budget repair.

“It doesn’t help me to reverse the deficit, it doesn’t help me pay back the debt, it doesn’t help me get one more extra person in a job and it doesn’t lead to one extra company investing more in Australia, so you can appreciate that it is not at the top of my list,” the Treasurer said.

Tasmanian senator Eric Abetz, who will also lend his name as a sponsor to the bill, said cabinet should reconsider its position.

“There is strong support right around the country for this change and I hope that the government might find time to allow it to be debated, especially given that support seems to be gathering among the Senate crossbench,” he said.

Senator James Paterson told Sky News he hoped “to persuade them that it is necessary to make changes”. “I hope, with the right process and the right approach, that this is an issue that during this term we can address.”

While agreeing budget repair was a priority, Victorian backbench MP Michael Sukkar also urged the government to revisit the issue. “Promoting freedom of speech is core business of the ­Liberal Party, but to implement an appropriate change to section 18C, we should be progressing it through our internal party ­processes.”

Arguing that the change was “modest”, Senator Bernardi said an “overwhelming majority” of the Coalition partyroom supported amending the bill.

“I do not understand why the government is not prepared to support it,” he said.


Australia now a nation of office workers

AUSTRALIA’S image as a working class nation that gets its hands dirty and sweats for a living is being lost to a new era of desk-bound professionals and a booming health and social welfare industry.

Those forced to transition out of hard yakka will find demand over the next five years is for workers in health and social work, professional skills such as legal and accounting, followed by education and retail.

Jimmy Barnes’s idealistic song about the Aussie Working Class Man — the “simple man with a heart of gold” who works hard to save overtime for his “little woman” — is now 36 years old.

That little woman may in the current era need to work hard for her man.

New jobs in health and welfare are due to the high ageing population, childcare demands and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The Department of Employment says they “will favour part-time and female workers”.

But those switching to the sector ought not bank on decades-long employment. Though many new health and social jobs are described as “private sector”, they are highly reliant on government subsidies, which will not be endless.

Near-term employment growth in Australia will see the government recycling taxes into spending on non-innovative and arguably nonproductive health and social services, yet they will improve lives.

Just as John Howard’s outsourced employment industry at the turn of the century made multi-millionaires out of clever operators such as Kevin Rudd’s wife Therese Rein, who collected government cash for each person placed in employment, the same is happening in health.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s desire for “innovation” will provide no job growth soon and will likely remain the domain of small, specialist businesses.

“There will need to be some adjustment,” says labour expert Professor Jeff Borland, from Melbourne University, referring to how the nation responds to growth in health and social services.

“Either we raise taxes or we need to spend less on other items, or else we need to slow the rate of spending on those items. I guess that is what a lot of the issues in the intergenerational reports and the current budget are to some degree about.”

Overall, the move to white-collar jobs is not only out of necessity but choice.

In Randstad recruiting agency’s 2016 survey of companies or organisations where Australians would most like to work, the top three preferences are airline or aviation related: Virgin, Qantas and BAE Systems, followed by the Seven Network and the ABC.

Apart from BAE Systems, which makes hi-tech parts for jets and drones, the only manufacturers listed among the top 20 are food-related: Nestle, Mondelez and Coca-Cola Amatil.

Workers’ high regard for airline jobs appears to be based on powerful branding, a perception of strong management, opportunity for advancement and a certain amount of associated glamour.

Those surveyed identified good salary, job security and a pleasant work environment ahead of a convenient work location, suggesting people are prepared to migrate to good jobs.

The second most attractive sector is FMCG, or fast-moving consumer goods, which covers a vast array of short shelf-life products. Most of the sought jobs are in accounts, supply and sales.

Government jobs are the next most desired, followed by media.

The Department of Defence, the Australian Federal Police and Border Protection rated top three for providing the best training, job security and career progression.

Defence told News Corp Australia opportunities would come with recruiting drives.  “Currently, the ADF paid strength is approximately 58,600,” said a spokesperson. “As identified in the Defence White Paper, this will increase to around 62,400 over the next decade.”  The public service side of Defence has 17,500 employees, and is looking for 800 new positions in intelligence, space and cyber security.

The overwhelming picture is of a workforce that is switching collar from blue to white.

“That’s exactly what’s happening,” says Jeff Borland, “but it’s not something of recent origin.

“Changes in the labour market where some people are displaced has been continuous. It’s not to minimise the people who are adversely affected and suffer because of it, but people have been forced to adjust for quite a while.”

One of the hardest hit rural cities is Townsville, hurt by the mining decline.

The Regional Australia Institute (RAI) says the town can survive and grow by capitalising on “public administration, health, education and tourism”.

Given all these sectors — excluding tourism — are government-reliant, this sounds like the pillars of a welfare town. But what can they, and other struggling rural towns, do?

New migrants are not taking up the opportunity to head to rural areas, which have faster ageing populations than cities. That makes sense, given the lack of job opportunity. However, the RAI’s chief executive officer Jack Archer argues that young, skilled migrants can “offer population stability and build diversity in these local communities”.

Even though the RAI doesn’t specify what migrants should do once they get there, unless filling existing vacancies, the argument that without new blood rural towns can’t recalibrate and find new ways forward seems logical.

Traditional Aussie manufacturing is not the answer. Heavy transport, metal products, clothing and footwear are gone or going. Food manufacture remains strong, but we sell mostly to ourselves rather than trading it.

In South Australia, the coming of the subs is being seen as a trade-off for the death of Holden. But is it right to see it that way?  “It may be a swap in ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) employment numbers if they are in the same category, but not in terms of workers,” says Professor Borland.

“That would depend on whether the auto workers have the skills or seek to be retrained. I don’t think you can assume workers that get displaced from motor vehicles will move straight into submarines.”

Therefore, the political spin about subs saving SA jobs is just that. Skilled workers may come from other states to fill the vacancies.

People who hold jobs in mining and agriculture should stay put if they can — the industries will sustain current employee numbers but will not grow in the coming five years, or possibly ever again.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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