Friday, February 22, 2019

Mark Latham had a lot to say about domestic violence this morning — and not one word about the Patriarchy (sob!)

In a rather limp-wristed article excerpted below, Gary Nunn has a lot to say about domestic violence but has only a feminist understanding of it.  His explanations apply to all men but only a small minority of men engage in domestic violence.  So his explanation fails.  He says domestic violence is caused by gender inequality.  So how come most of those "unequal" males don't bash women?

Domestic violence has real psychological and sociological causes but that does not mean we can do much to prevent it. Most of the time it is an expression of an inadequate personality in the man concerned but inadequate personalities rarely lead to domestic violence so any attempt to predict and prevent it will have little success. 

And using domestic violence to slam men in general is absurd.  It penalizes many innocent men.  But Gary Nunn does not care about that.  He goes by the old Leftist thinking:  "You've got to break eggs to make an omelette".  Stalin's purge of the Kulaks would be OK by him, it seems.

Fortunately his squawks about the "patriarchy" are so old hat that nobody will take any notice of him.  He has nothing useful or original to say.  Leftists will like the hate in his writings, that is all.  He is a freelance writer so hate apparently sells well

Latham is right to say that domestic violence is most rife in Aboriginal communities.  I have seen with my own eyes how Aboriginal men treat their women.  Has Gary Nunn? So there is the one place where preventive measures might succeed.  A greater police presence in Aboriginal communities could give endangered  women an escape hatch. But there's no evidence that Gary cares about them

I feel the same way about Mark Latham that Labor probably does: I can’t believe he’s been one of us and wish he’d just go away. By one of us, I mean men. Decent men. He doesn’t deserve that title.

Today, he has said that domestic violence isn’t about patriarchy or toxic masculinity, it’s about socio-economics.

This myth he’s peddling is not just wilfully ignorant but downright dangerous.

Violence against women is driven by one thing, and one thing primarily: gender inequality.

It is absolutely about toxic masculinity and patriarchy. Of course Latham will claim it isn’t. He’s a patriarch and a toxic male.

The necessary social context for violence against women to occur happens within a toxic patriarchy — where men’s control of decision-making limits women’s independence.

Where disrespect towards women and male peer relations emphasise aggression.

Where a condoning or normalising of violence against women and stereotyped constructions of masculinity and femininity set all the awful conditions for violence to happen.

In his interview, he said, “The demonisation of men is out of control. Fair minded men think it has gone way too far.”

Can every fair-minded man in Australia start by calling this out, please? Do you really want this man to speak for you? It shouldn’t just be left solely to women to — time and again — respond to this vitriolic stirring.

What is out of control is the domestic violence problem in this country. On average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner and one in three Australian women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15. That’s what you call gone way too far, Mark.

In terms of the socio-economic factors that, he claims, trump the patriarchal and toxic ones, Latham claims that, “Statistics actually show for every middle class man involved in a family or domestic dispute, there are 10 in a public housing estate and 25 in a remote indigenous community — so if you want to look at where the problem is heavily concentrated, it’s not about patriarchy or toxic masculinity, it’s about a socio economic factor and it’s in indigenous communities.”

This is more complex than Latham would have us believe. Socio-economic factors do play a role: those “middle class men” are inflicting violence on women who are less visible in the system. Women with greater access to resources like money, a job, support from friends and family, are more able to escape escalating family violence earlier.

The ones who can’t are the women with no income (often due to male financial control), the women who pack out the full-to-the-brim refuges.

Jacqui Watt, CEO of No to Violence, told “Anyone can be affected by the impacts of family violence, as gender inequality affects all women and children, not only a pocket of people living in low-socio economic areas.


I’m the only male on the Walkley Our Watch 2019 Fellowship, devised to improve the media coverage of violence against women in Australia.

I don’t feel demonised. I feel galvanised. I’ll call out the Lathams wherever and whenever they pop up, and I encourage other men to join me. Yes. All men.


Experts claim power bills could surge by 50% under Labor's carbon emissions plan that would see workers lose $9,000 a year

Electricity bills would soar by 50 per cent, 336,000 full-time jobs would be lost and the average full-time wage would drop by $9,000 a year under federal Labor's plans to slash carbon emissions by 45 per cent by 2030, experts have claimed.

New independent modelling has revealed the predicted economic impacts of the alternative climate change policy approaches proposed by the two major political parties in lead up to the federal election in May.

There would also be wages cuts and jobs losses under the federal Coalition's plan to cut emissions by 26-28 per cent drop over the next decade as part of the Paris Agreement.

Authored by former Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics head Brian Fisher, the BAEconomics report released on Thursday states Australian climate policy is at a cross-road.

The average full-time wage is projected to be around $2,000 lower under the federal Coalition's 26-28 per cent emissions reduction target.

'At the same time this scenario is projected to result in an economy with around 78000 fewer full-time jobs,' the BAEconomics report states.

'With a 45 per cent reduction target the projected fall in real annual wages is around $9,000 per year by 2030 together with a loss of around 336000 full-time jobs, illustrating the extent of the economic adjustment required by the economy to reach the more stringent target.' 

Labor's plans would result in economic losses of $472billion over the decade, with GDP $144billion a year lower by 2030.

'Meeting a 26-28 per cent reduction target is projected to mean that by 2030 the Australian economy would be around $19bn smaller in terms of GDP than it otherwise would have been,' the report states.

Wholesale electricity prices would also skyrocket under both policy scenarios.

'Under the reference case the wholesale electricity price is projected to be $81/MWh in 2030. This is projected to rise to $93/MWh under the 26-28 per cent scenario and to $128/MWh under the 45 per cent scenario,' the report states.

A former chief advisor on climate policy for both sides of government, Dr Fisher accused both sides of politics of dishonest debate.

'I still get frustrated about how deficient and even outright dishonest the climate debate continues to be … regardless of the approach Australia adopts to reduce emissions, there is an inevitable cost to our economy as more emissions-­intensive activities make way for less intensive industries,' Dr Fisher told The Australian.

He also described a recent ANU report which stated Australia could meet its Paris commitment by as early as 2025 without cost and using reductions in the electricity sector as 'appallingly' inaccurate.

The BAEconomics research is ongoing and will be updated as policy options become clearer.


Labor split over Christmas Island as treatment centre

Senior Labor frontbenchers, including deputy leader Tanya Plibersek, have contradicted Bill Shorten over his acceptance of Christmas Island as an appropriate location for the treatment of sick refugees, exposing fresh divisions within the party over the ALP-backed medivac bill.

A day after Mr Shorten declared he was “fine” with medically evacuated refugees being sent to Christmas Island, Ms Plibersek said she was unable to see how the facilities at the newly reopened detention centre could be adequate.

“I frankly can’t understand — and it really is up to the government to explain why — if a person cannot be properly treated on Nauru or Manus Island or Port Moresby, that they somehow can be properly treated on Christmas Island,” she said.

“Christmas Island, I know, has good medical facilities, but it’s hard to see how they could be that much better than what’s available on Manus or Nauru.”

Opposition defence spokesman Richard Marles also hit out at the idea of sending sick refugees to Christmas Island after the transfer by the government of 900 refugees to Australia in the past two years for medical treatment.

“There has never been a suggestion, never, that any of those people needed to be treated on Christmas Island,” Mr Marles said. He said talk of reopening Christmas Island was “silly” and would only serve to encoura­ge people-smugglers.

But Labor frontbencher Brendan O’Connor backed his leader, declaring: “Quite frankly, as long as there is the requisite medical expertis­e, it doesn’t matter what part of Australia they’re transferred to.”

Labor’s Senate leader Penny Wong said the party wanted to ensure­ refugees received the medical care they needed, “and I would assess Christmas Island on that basis”. “What we want is for them to get the medical care they need, wherever that may be,” ­Senator Wong said.

Immigration Minister David Coleman said appropriate medical facilities would be provided at Christmas Island to treat an antic­ip­ated surge in medical evacu­ations under the bill, which passed through parliament last week despit­e government opposition.

“The government has made it clear we will have to reopen Christmas Island … because we are expecting a large number of ­people,” he told Sky News. “We’ll ensure that adequate medical facilities are provided. So if a person needs to be treated for a particular matter, adequate facilities will be provided at Christmas Island.”

Mr Shorten said on Tuesday he would be happy for medic­ally evacuated refugees to be sent to Christmas Island if they could get the right treatment. “If the medical treatment is required and it’s delivere­d on Christmas Island and it makes people well, well that’s fine,” he said. “The issue here is the safe treatment of people within the context of strong borders.”

Department of Home Affairs secretary Mike Pezzullo confirmed at Senate estimates hearings on Monday that it was the government’s policy to send any transferee to the Christmas Island detention centre, unless a person needed to be sent to the mainland for specialised treatment.

He said the medivac bill could amount to the “effective unravelling of regional processing”, despite 11th-hour changes that prevented it being accessed by new boat arrival­s. The legislation will allow two doctors to order the transfer of refugees and asylum-seekers to Australia for treatment.

The minister may object, but that decision is reviewable by an “independent health advice panel” which could overrule the minister on medical grounds.


Australian schools get pass mark from public...but plenty of suggestions for improvement
Most Australians don’t see their schools as being ‘in crisis’ or ‘failing’, which is often reported, but more attention should be given to developing students’ life skills in the classroom, according to findings in a new national survey by Monash University.

Despite ongoing media and political discussions of failing schools, crises in teacher quality and classroom behaviour, as well as controversy over initiatives such as the ‘Safe Schools’ Program, Australians are largely positive about the level of education provided to their children.

But many adults believe students should be taught ‘life skills’ as part of the curriculum. This includes knowledge in money management, job preparation, first-aid training and critical thinking, such as recognising fraudulent content online.

These were just some of the findings captured by Dr Deana Leahy and Professor Neil Selwyn from Monash University’s Faculty of Education in a nation-wide survey of 2052 Australian adults to gauge public opinion on the quality of schooling.

Published 21 February 2019, the report titled: ‘Public opinions on Australian schools & schooling’ is one of the first national accounts into public opinions of the state of classroom education.

The key findings of the report include:

·       56% of Australians rate the performance of Australian public schools as OK; 23% rate them as very good / excellent.

·       52% of Australians think the standard of education will remain the same in 10 years’ time.

·       An overwhelming number of Australians believe Mathematics (76%) and English (75%) should be given more priority in schools. Languages (7%) and The Arts (4%) were least valued.

·       The most important aspects of schools to a child’s education included: basic literacy and numeracy (69.8%), students being respectful to teachers and peers (54.6%) and teachers being of high quality (54.5%).

Dr Leahy said surprisingly few differences were found between voters of the main political parties, suggesting that politicians, policymakers and governments should collaborate to deliver the best possible student outcomes.

“While debates on education are understandably contentious and personal, our findings suggest that we can all be a little more positive in the overall quality of schooling Australia provides,” Dr Leahy said.

In a ringing endorsement of schools by younger Australians, 86% of people between the ages of 18-29 believed learning outcomes would stay either ‘roughly the same’ or be ‘better than they are now’ in the next 10 years.

But community views differed when it came to identifying the most important issues of children’s education, with the fundamentals of respect and honesty being at the top of the list for older Australians.

“Levels of concern for students being respectful to teachers and peers is almost double amongst respondents in the 60+ years’ age group (72.4%) in comparison to those aged 18-29 years (38.9%). Discrepancies were also found between the two age cohorts when it came to the importance of literacy and numeracy, as well as teacher quality,” Dr Leahy said.

The traditional subjects of mathematics and English were still regarded as priority learning areas across the board, but science (46.2%) and health and physical education (19.2%) were seen as less important.

Adults widely supported the introduction of ‘life skills’ as part of the school curriculum with a particular focus on money and money management, job preparation and domestic tasks, as well as dedicated courses to equip students with skills in technology, coding and artificial intelligence for future jobs.

Media release via email:

 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

Thursday, February 21, 2019

First mammal declared extinct as a result of human-induced climate change (?)

This is an old fraud.  What is not mentioned below is that Melomys exists in their tens of thousands in neighboring areas -- both on islands and on the coast.  And I have not seen even the slightest attempt to show that the Melomys on Bramble Cay is in any way unique.  As far as we know it is essentially identical with the Melomys in neigboring locations.  So when the say that the Bramble Cay  melomys is extinct, it is just a slimy way of saying that Melomys is extinct on Bramble Cay, which of zero importance.

The most probable reason for the extinction is clear enough.  the cay is a sand island and some big storms in recent years have washed a lot of sand away, taking the vegetation with it.  So  there is not now enough vegetation to support even a rat.  Any connection to global warming is mere speculation

And the cay is only 34 miles South of New Guinea and New Guineans would undoubtedly eat them. Melanesians are poor but are excellent sailors. They normally have very little animal protein in their diet. There are no grazing animals in New Guinea.  They were probably all hunted to extinction thousands of years ago. So now all they have is their pigs and an occasional bird. And they can't feed enough pigs to slaughter one very often. So a Melomys would be a treat.

Also, In the past visitors to the island used to shoot them for sport.  So how do we know that someone did not do that recently?  It's an isolated area with no record of comings and goings

And if inundations were the cause, how do we know that global warming caused them?  Sea levels have been rising steadily ever since the Little Ice Age.

And if the factor was more extreme weather events in the area concerned there is no way global warming can be responsible because extreme weather events have in fact be declining on average world wide.  And even the IPCC declined to make a link between warming and extreme weather

And there have been many instances of species being declared extinct only for specimens suddenly to pop up again.  This is just opportunistic propaganda

This tiny rodent is the first known mammal to become formally extinct as a consequence of human-induced climate change.

The Morrison government, in Australia, changed the status of the Bramble Cay melomys from endangered to extinct on Monday, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Geoff Richardson, an environment department official, told Senate estimates on Monday night that research efforts since 2014 – “including a pretty rushed trip in 2015” – had failed to identify any melomys individuals in their only known location on Bramble Cay, a tiny Torres Strait island near Papua New Guinea.

Declaring its extinction “was not a decision to take lightly,” Mr Richardson said. “There’s always a delay while the evidence is gathered to be absolutely certain.”

The rat-like Bramble Cay melomys has not been spotted in its habitat, which is a sandy island in far northern Australia since a decade

The federal extinction listing comes almost three years after the Queensland government reached a similar conclusion, with a finding that the demise of the melomys “probably represents the first recorded mammalian extinction due to anthropogenic climate change”.

The limited range of the animal, living on a five-hectare island less than three metres high, left it vulnerable to climate change.

However, its 2008 “recovery plan”, drawn up when numbers were likely down to just dozens of individuals, downplayed the risks.

“[T]he likely consequences of climate change, including sea-level rise and increase in the frequency and intensity of tropical storms, are unlikely to have any major impact on the survival of the Bramble Cay melomys in the life of this plan,” the five-year scheme stated.

Leeanne Enoch, Queensland’s Environment Minister, said the animal’s extinction showed “we are living the real effects of climate change right now”.

“We have consistently called on [Prime Minister] Scott Morrison and Melissa Price to show leadership on climate change, instead of burying their heads in the sand.”

Minister Melissa Price said: [It is] incredibly disappointing when any species is formally declared extinct, and everybody has feared the worst for some time, given the Bramble Cay melomys hasn’t been sighted since 2009.

“Our agencies will continue to focus their efforts on protecting species identified as priorities, supported by the Government’s $425 million investment in threatened species programs.”


Protesting kids ‘should be at school’

So far Question Time has progressed much as you would expect, with Labor asking about Michaelia Cash and Mathias Cormann, and pressuring the government to schedule more parliamentary sitting weeks.

One of the more interesting exchanges has come from Greens MP Adam Bandt and, of all people, Nationals leader Michael McCormack.

“Will you join me in congratulating the courageous school students going on strike on March 15, right around the country, calling for urgent climate action and the protection of Australia’s infrastructure?” Mr Bandt asked.

“Will you commend these young people and the 15,000 who went on strike last November, for taking time off school to show us what real leadership looks like?”

In short, no, Mr McCormack would not commend them.

“The children should be at school, that’s where they should be,” he said.

“They should be learning about Australian history, they should be learning about Australian geography, they should be learning about all the lessons that their teachers are willing to teach them.

“The member for Melbourne would do far better off advising those children to go to school and to stay at school.

“Who’s going to look after those kids when they’re out protesting? I know the Greens like to protest, because that’s all you ever bring to the national debate, protests and frivolous rallies.”

Mr Bandt eventually interrupted with a point of order.

“On relevance, perhaps the Deputy Prime Minister might also like to explain what the children should do with the science they’ve learned,” he said.

“Points of order aren't an opportunity to ask a supplementary question,” Speaker Tony Smith said, promptly shutting him down.


Firemen are banned from climbing ladders more than two metres high because they may fall off and hurt themselves

The galoot behind this should be given the boot

Firefighters at airports have been banned from climbing ladders more than two meters high during training in case they fall and hurt themselves.

Airservices Australia chief fire officer Glenn Wood confirmed the ban during a Senate Estimates hearing on Monday.

It means firefighters cannot practise climbing high ladders as required to fight a real fire in a highly stressful situation.

Mr Wood told the Committee for Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport that the ban was for health and safety reasons. 'We take the safety of our people very seriously and there is a risk of fall from height,' he said.  

'We've examined that issue and we've determined that at this time we will restrict our firefighters from climbing up a ladder greater than two metres so they can practise the necessary skills while we form a working group to look at alternatives.'

Wood said firemen can 'work with' high ladders but just can't climb them.

Alternatives such as using harnesses are being explored, the committee was told.

Airport firefighters have also been banned from using power saws - and now have to wait for local firefighters to bring different tools if they need to cut through material. Mr Wood described them as 'out of date' and 'a safety hazard for our people.' 


Double tax hit haunts near retirees

More than half a million Australians approaching retirement could suffer a double tax hit to their savings plans under Labor’s policy to axe franking credit ­refunds and curb negative gearing, new tax data analysis says.

More than 40 per cent of the 1.3 million people who already claim tax deductions on their rental properties are between 45 and 59, Australian Taxation ­Office figures show.

With an average rental loss of $9500, this group would also stand to lose the most from the scrapping of the scheme.

The government will claim that those already in the planning stage of their retirement would have two major retirement investment options taken off the table with the scrapping also of franking credit refunds, which are relied on by 900,000 Australians and mainly those in retirement.

While those already negatively gearing property will have their current arrangements grandfathered under Labor’s policy, the data reveals that people approaching retirement relied most on the tax deduction.

Negatively gearing property would be available in the future for only those buying new investment dwellings. The government argues that the impact would mean a significant investment option would be removed in the future for people planning for retirement.

Josh Frydenberg plans to ­revive the government’s campaign against Labor’s tax plans with a property industry roundtable this morning in Canberra hosted by the Property Council of Australia.

The council has warned against any changes to negative gearing or capital gains tax, claiming the risk was too great, considering the current cycle in the housing market.

The Treasurer will use the roundtable to muster support among industry groups, which include the Master Builders ­Association and the Real Estate Institute of Australia.

The ongoing analysis of the 2015-16 ATO tax data being conducted by Mr Frydenberg’s ­office has revealed that Labor’s twin tax policies were heavily weighted against middle-aged Australians approaching retirement and those who had already finished their working lives.

Those aged between 45 and 59 represented the largest group to lose money from the scrapping of negative gearing on established dwellings. This represents more than 525,000 Australians or 40 per cent of the 1.3 million Australians who claim rental losses on investment properties.

Of these, a total of 183,000 were aged 45-49, 183,000 aged 50-54 and 160,000 aged 55-59.

The ATO data is the same that has been used by the government on numerous occasions to attack Labor’s policies.

Mr Frydenberg said Labor’s “retiree tax” punished aspiration and no one would be hit harder by Labor’s housing tax than Australians approaching retirement.

“More than half a million Australians aged between 45 and 59 years of age will be worse off and have their hard-earned investment smashed by Labor’s changes to negative gearing,” he said.

“Not only is the proportion of those affected by Labor’s housing tax highest in this age group, their rental loss is the greatest too: the average net rental loss for those aged between 45 and 59 is around $9500, well above any other age group.

“This is the same age group that is working hard to put their ­retirement plans in place and who will also be punished by Labor’s ­retiree tax.

“In a double whammy for Australians approaching retirement age, not only will Labor raid their nest egg, they will also punish those who have invested in the housing market.

“As a retiree under Labor, if you own your home it will be worth less, if you rent a home it will cost you more and if you invest in shares you will earn less.”

An exclusive Newspoll published last week by The Australian showed strong opposition to Labor’s $55 billion plan to scrap franking credit refunds.

Senior Labor sources privately admit the so-called “retiree” tax is unpopular but have calculated it would impact mainly Coalition voters rather than their own.

Last week, Bill Shorten stood by the policy, despite increasing pressure to modify or scrap it, saying he was “not for turning” on the policy.

In response, Mr Frydenberg said: “Another saying of (Margaret) Thatcher would have been more apt: ‘The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money’.”

Labor says the tax measures ­address an imbalance in the system that favours the well-off.

It says only 2 per cent of Australians would be affected by the scrapping of franking credit ­refunds, while reducing the capital gains tax discount from 50 per cent to 25 per cent would mostly affect the top 10 per cent of income- ­earners.


 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

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Medevac revelation infuriates crossbench

Multiple crossbenchers are accusing the government of trying to “subvert” the will of parliament.

During Senate Estimates last night, officials from Peter Dutton’s Home Affairs Department revealed asylum seekers transferred off Nauru and Manus Island because of the medevac legislation would go to Christmas Island, not the mainland.

“Is it the intention, when people are transferred back to Australia under the provisions of the amendments that passed through the parliament last week, that they be transferred to Christmas Island?” Greens Senator Nick McKim asked.

“Yes,” Home Affairs boss Michael Pezzullo responded.

“It is?” Mr McKim said.

“Yes. That is the policy of the government,” Mr Pezzullo said.

“It’s the government’s policy to transfer people who are so sick that they can’t get appropriate treatment on Manus Island, or in Port Moresby, or in Nauru, to Christmas Island?” an incredulous Mr McKim asked.

“Yes,” Mr Pezzullo replied.

The revelation has sparked a furious reaction from Mr McKim, his colleagues in the Greens and independent MP Kerryn Phelps.

“The government is now defying the will of the parliament,” Greens MP Adam Bandt said this morning.

“I will support any no confidence motion moved against this trainwreck of a government. Kick this mob out.”

“This is a subversion of our entire model of representative democracy,” Dr Phelps said.

“The parliament, through its proper processes, clearly determined that people too sick to receive treatment in offshore detention should come to Australia, not Christmas Island, for specialised treatment.”


Climate change farce: How every Australian household contributes $200 a year to those lucky enough to be able to afford to put solar panels on their roof

Subsidies to pay for solar panel installation are set to add almost $200 to power bills across Australia.

The federal Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme together with state rebates - used to pay for subsidies to homeowners for installing solar panels - are set to rise by 45 per cent.

The cost to each household for the subsidy will soar from $134 in 2018 to $195 this year, The Australian reported.

Subsidies to pay for solar panel installation are set to cost almost each home almost $200 (stock image)    +2
Subsidies to pay for solar panel installation are set to cost almost each home almost $200 (stock image)

More than two million Australians use solar energy in their homes, and capacity is growing at 50 per cent each year.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor said the cost of small-scale technology certificates - used as an incentive for homeowners to install solar panels - made up three per cent of an average power bill.

Small-scale technology certificates are given to consumers installing solar panels and are then bought back by power companies.

Mr Taylor said Australia's biggest electricity retailers such as Origin, AGL Energy and EnergyAustralia were responsible for a bigger part of power bills.

'The big cost is the profits being taken by the big energy companies in the wholesale market, without innovation or new products, and it is time for them to deliver a fairer deal for their customers,' he said.

'According to the Australian Energy Market Commission, the small-scale technology certificate cost is less than three per cent of the bill, whereas 46 per cent is going to the big generator retailers.'

Solar panels are growing in popularity, with state governments offering incentives for installing them.

Victorians can set up solar in their homes for half the usual price under a scheme introduced by Premier Daniel Andrews' government, while in New South Wales Labor plans for 500,000 homes to have renewable energy technology in a capped rebate program.

The average price in Australian capital cities for a 5kW system is $5,100, according to Choice.

It takes from two to seven years for solar panel systems to begin to pay for themselves and allow homeowners to save money.


Leftist fanatic victimizes kids he is supposed to be teaching

A teacher at one of Australia's most prestigious schools ripped up drawings made by his Year 4 students during a lesson on Aboriginal history.

The Knox Grammar School teacher was giving his nine-year-old students a drama lesson when he asked them to draw their background, heritage and families.

Once completed, he then collected the works and proceeded to tear them up in front of the class.

His aim was to put his students in the shoes of indigenous Australians, claiming they felt the same way when everything was taken from them, The Australian reported.

A spokesman for the well-regarded school, which charges students up to $45,000 a year, said they did not support the teacher's actions.

'When the school became aware of the matter, it was immediately investigated. The teacher was extensively counselled and disciplined. The teacher has apologised to the students.

The spokesman went on to say Knox supports the teaching of indigenous culture and heritage, and will continue to delve into these matters in the classroom.

The manner in which this is undertaken, however, will be further examined.

The school said they will continue to strive for these sensitive subjected to be explored in an appropriate manner.  

NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes also weighed in on the matter, stating he believed the school handled the situation correctly.

'Those sorts of things are clearly not age-appropriate and can be very distressing for young kids,' he said.


Somalian woman is found guilty of arranging for her two daughters, aged nine and 12, to have their genitals mutilated in Somalia

A Queensland woman has been found guilty of arranging for her two daughters to have their genitals mutilated in Somalia. The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denied she had taken the girls, then aged 12 and nine, to her birth nation in April 2015 to undergo the procedure.

She was convicted by a Brisbane District Court jury on Wednesday of two counts of removing a child from the state female genital mutilation (FGM). The jury deliberated for about 90 minutes before reaching their verdict.

The trial heard the woman, who had undergone a similar procedure as a girl, had her daughters endure FGM a few days after arriving in Somalia.

One of the girls was called inside from playing outside her grandmother's house and had no idea what was about to happen when she had the painful procedure. She was conscious throughout and it caused pain for days. Her sister was also subjected to the procedure, also with their mother by her side.

'(Their mother) had them in her care for the entire time. She was there when they were mutilated not long after they arrived in Somalia,' crown prosecutor Dejana Kovac said. 'She extended the trip to give them time to heal before returning to Australia.'

The family returned to their home in the Logan area, south of Brisbane, seven months later. Then the girls' stepsister tipped off child safety services.

The girls told Queensland police about their experiences, leading to the charges against their mother.

Female genital mutilation removes the clitoris and other parts of the genitalia, preventing those who have undergone it from experiencing physical sexual pleasure and theoretically increasing the likelihood of a girl staying a virgin until marriage, and taking away a motivation for extra-marital relations.

In a police interview, the woman said their trip had been to visit her mother and she'd done 'nothing' in relation to a genital mutilation procedure. Whatever had happened to the girls was 'from God', she said.


 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

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Standing ovation for rock star psychologist

Ask the protesters, they’ll tell you that Jordan Peterson’s ideas are dangerous. Did that explain the police, the private security, the men with wands, the women shining torches into handbags, and the walk-through X-ray machines at the Opera House on Saturday?

No, they were there to protect Peter­son, whose aim was to give a lecture, and those who wanted to hear it.

The precautions held up the show by almost an hour. Peterson later joked he had just started to think his enemies had given up, and faded away.

“That may change at this Q&A next Monday,” the Canadian professor said, referring to his long-awaited appearance on the ABC’s flagship panel show on Monday, February 25.

More seriously, he added: “The people who have enmity for me? They’re done. They’re out of ammunition. I read a ‘hit piece’ these days, and I feel, oh, you’ve just copied that hit piece from two months ago.”

Peterson spoke for more than an hour at the Opera House, reducing himself to tears at one point. Like any rock star psychologist — that may be a pool of one — he received a standing ovation.

He was then whisked across town to speak for a second hour at a private, more intimate event hosted by former deputy prime minister John Anderson. It was at this event that Peterson revealed he agreed with some of what his opponents had to say: for example, he does think we all live in “an oppressive patriarchy”.

But what, he said, was the point in dividing men and women on the issue? “Race, gender, sexual orientation, they don’t matter that much,” he said. “They don’t ­matter anywhere near as much as the diversity of ideas.”

His aim, he said, was to lead people away from identity politics towards a future in which everyone was working together, in the main because he could without hesitation find a way to make ­anyone in the audience “an ­oppressor.”

“Maybe it’s because you’re male,” he said, to a person of colour. “Maybe it’s because you’re middle class,” he said to a woman.

Peterson was asked about the lack of faith in old institutions, and he put it straight back on the audience. “If you don’t trust your institutions, well, they’re your institutions,” he said. “Look in the mirror — the ­effectiveness of those institutions is down to you.” If you don’t like the way your bank, your church, your cricket team is behaving, in other words, do something about it.

If not you, then who?

Back at the Opera House, the crowd was split 55-45 on gender. There were guys who looked like they’d come straight from Harvard Law School; women who looked too young to be wearing so many pearls; silver foxes in six-button blazers; and pierced boys and girls with ripped jeans.

One protester carried a sign complaining about Peterson being “racist, homophobic”.

His warm-up guy, US political commentator Dave Rubin, took hold of that issue, telling the crowd he didn’t have the heart to tell him that “Peterson’s warm-up guy is married to a dude”.

Rubin later silenced attendees by asking: “Does anyone in this room have it worse than their grandparents?” “I almost never get a yes to that question,” he said, “because if you’re living in a free society in 2019, you are not oppressed.”


Sport Minister sorry for appearing to make fun of overweight people

Federal Sport Minister Bridget McKenzie has apologised for appearing to mock overweight people at a national obesity summit in Canberra.

The deputy leader of the Nationals apologised after being photographed puffing out her face and rubbing her stomach while standing next to a banner advertising Friday's summit.

Ms McKenzie blamed her actions on a bad reaction to breakfast.

"The issue of obesity is a matter I take very seriously and would never triavisie [sic] it - or to add in any way to stigmatisation," she tweeted.

"I sincerely apologise for this very unfortunate photo taken as I demonstrated how my stomach felt after scrambled eggs reacted w yogurt I had just eaten."


'Inner-city, green elitism gone mad': Farmers' fury after Labor MP blames 'meat-eating MEN' for climate change

Irate farmers have labelled a State MP a 'green communist' after she blamed 'meat-eating' men for climate change while praising vegans.

Lisa Baker, the Labor member for Maylands in Perth, told the State Parliament her Government should promote reduced meat consumption.

She went onto state meat-eating men tend to produce more greenhouse gas emissions than vegan women.

Gary Buller, who breeds Angus cattle in WA's south-west, said Ms Baker needs to get a 'grip on reality'. 'There is much too much emotion in this whole debate and not enough dealing with the facts,' Mr Buller told the West Australian. 'People with these views are away with the fairies — they are green communists.' 

Trevor Whittington, the WA Farmers chief executive, agreed with Buller. He believes Ms Baker's outspoken views were an example of 'inner-city, green elitism gone mad'. 'Her world is a simple one of vegans, good, meat eaters bad,' he said.

'We will watch with interest to see if she (Baker) manages to convince her colleagues to take her views to the next election.'

David Littleproud was equally scathing in his criticism, with the Federal Agriculture Minister saying Ms Baker's comments were 'laughable.'

A spokesperson for Ms Baker told Daily Mail Australia the State MP stands by her comments and clarified she wasn’t a vegan.


The PM suffered a humiliating defeat this week. Strangely, it might be the best thing to have happened in his political career

There is one simple thing that Scott Morrison could have done to avoid the excruciating embarrassment the government has suffered this week but he didn’t do it. Yet as a result of this failure he may have given himself his only possible chance of surviving as prime minister.

Meanwhile Bill Shorten’s parlour tricks have snowballed into a game of Russian roulette.

The government was clearly terrified of losing the medevac vote in the lower house, which convention suggests would have required the PM to call an election to get a mandate.

But if history has taught us anything about Australian politics it’s that conventions aren’t worth the paper they’re not printed on. Indeed, it was once a convention that a prime minister who had just led their party to victory might at least serve their first term before being knifed by their colleagues.

For every single parliament of the past 12 years, this convention has been massacred by mindless panic and so when the Coalition faced a slight threat from the medevac bill it naturally mindlessly panicked.

The government pulled out a bizarre technical defence, claiming the legislation was invalid because it had originated in the Senate but the panel appointed to oversee medical assessments would have to be paid and the constitution decreed that the appropriation of funds from Treasury could only originate in the lower house. In short, it was likening a couple of doctor’s bills to the Federal Budget.

Bizarrely, this made the Coalition’s position even more precarious, because if the bill had then passed the government, by its own reasoning, would have lost control over money bills. You only have to ask Gough Whitlam how that turns out.

Fortunately for the government, its strategy was a swift and abject failure. Shorten quickly amended the bill to ensure the doctors would work for nothing — which was not dissimilar to his approach as a union leader — and Labor won a massive victory.

Or did it?

The real story is that both major parties are so punch drunk from a decade of mauling that they no longer even know when they are giving themselves an uppercut to the head.

And in this case Labor appears to have forgotten that its key strategy for the last six years has been to painstakingly neutralise border protection as an election issue. Not only is the party internally divided but it is an issue upon which it cannot win. If people want to keep boats out they will vote Coalition, if they want to let them in they will vote Green. Labor has its legs crossed in the middle.

Its approach, therefore, has been to declare that it is lock-step in line with the government and quickly try to change the subject. Now, tantalised by the prospect of a rare parliamentary win, it has established a clear split which the Coalition will cheerfully drive into a gaping chasm.

All it would take is the boats to start up again and the race would suddenly tighten. A boat actually arriving on Australian territory could turn the tide of the whole election.

Of course the medevac bill doesn’t actually apply to any new boat arrivals but that’s the funny thing about people smugglers — they’re not really sticklers for policy detail. All they need is a message to sell and a willing audience to buy it. They’re a bit like politicians that way.

Indeed, full credit to Scott Morrison for telling security agencies to repel boat arrivals — a more cynical politician would give the order to let them in. A Budget surplus won’t be enough for the Coalition to beat Labor but a boat surplus just might be.

Let’s go back to 2001. John Howard was on the ropes. He had just introduced a GST and got beaten in the popular vote at the 1998 election. He was being smashed in the polls and the mighty Daily Telegraph — Howard’s favoured gauge for the national mood — had turned on him: “It’s the Petrol Tax Stupid!” one front page blasted. Another warned that if interest rates rose again it would be the PM who would lose his house. Then along came the Tampa.

Were it not for that boat, Labor leader Kim Beazley might have been prime minister for a decade. Instead his arch nemesis became a byword for political strength and stability.

The politics of people smuggling have been the same ever since. Once Howard stopped the boats, our hearts softened and we elected Labor in a landslide. Then when they started back up we swung back and elected Tony Abbott. And now that they’ve stopped again we revert back to our better angels.

We are a generous but cynical people. We want to be kind but we don’t want to be taken advantage of. We want to be compassionate but on our own terms. And if the boats start once more that compassion will be sorely tested.

And so the Coalition has been gifted a massive political weapon by an opposition too blinded by the treasure to see the dragon lurking beneath. More remarkably, the government has been so flailing it was batting away the very lifeline being thrown to it.

Nonetheless you can now see it dawning on the once lost souls. It’s a bit like watching the catatonic mental patients come to life in Awakenings.

But the greatest irony of all — if indeed there is any irony left in a political landscape where irrational is the new normal — is that Scott Morrison could have avoided the whole thing.

All the PM had to do is put a crossbencher in the chair as Speaker of the House of Representatives instead of wasting one of his own precious votes on the floor.

Morrison refused to give himself this buffer after becoming prime minister, seemingly due to a sense of warrior pride and no doubt some fear of payback from the Peter Slipper experiment. Or maybe all the independents just said no to a $150,000 a year pay rise, which even for six months is a nice little mortgage buster.

On Tuesday this was a catastrophic error of judgment. On Thursday it became a stroke of genius. Personally, I wonder if anyone put that much thought into it at all.

And so by losing the Coalition may have won and by winning the ALP may have lost. And no matter which side wins the rest of us lose because politics today is a contest that hinges on which party has the most misfires while trying to shoot itself in the foot.

The great Graham Richardson once observed that the golden rule of politics was that you never reward failure. These days failure gets a gold medal.


 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

Monday, February 18, 2019

Some members of a football team made up of Australian Aborigines refused to sing the Australian national anthem before a match against a New Zealand Maori team

The Australian national anthem was deliberately scrubbed of anything that might offend at the time of its adoption but whiners will always find something to whine about.

One wonders why it matters what Aboriginal sportspeople do. Aborigines are undoubtedly losers in Australian society so it is perfectly reasonable for them not to feel part of our national community.  Let them sing something else. 

There is a deliberately inclusive and quite popular Australian song called "We are Australians".  That should be a reasonable alternative to the national anthem if one is needed

I don't think much of that song myself.  It treats white settlement as a continuation of Aboriginal occupancy, which is both very poor history and very poor ethnography

NRL legend Mal Meninga has backed the Indigenous players who refused to sing the Australian national anthem in the lead up to the NRL All Stars game. 

As 'Advance Australia Fair' was played during the pre-game at AAMI Park in Melbourne on Friday night, more than half the of the side snubbed the anthem.

Meninga has since taken the controversy up a notch and put out a call for the anthem to be changed.

'We've had the national Sorry Day so Australians — all Australians — are very aware of our national history, maybe more aware than they were before. So we can have a national debate and let the people of Australia have their say.

'If we have a national anthem that offends our Indigenous people, let's see what all of Australia thinks.'

The NRL also copped criticism for choosing to play the national anthem in the lead up to the match in light of heavy criticism from NRL great Anthony Mundine.

'The anthem was written in late 1700s where blackfullas (sic) were considered fauna (animals) Advance Australia Fair as in white not fair as in fair go,' Mundine wrote on Facebook.

'All players aboriginal & non aboriginal should boycott the anthem & start changing Australia's ignorant mentality … lets move forward together yo.'

Indigenous skipper Cody Walker said post-match that he wasn't comfortable with a version of the Australian anthem being played at the game.

'To be honest no (it shouldn't be played) – it just brings back so many memories from what's happened and I think everyone in Australia needs to get together and work something out,' he said.  'It doesn't represent me and my family.'

The strong opposition to the national anthem divided those watching on TV at home, with plenty taking to social media to have their say on the stance.

'Reconciliation is a two way street... (but) I didn't see one aboriginal sing the national anthem,' one man commented.

'Pretty disappointed to see most of the Australian Indigenous team not sing our national anthem. The Maori boys sang theirs,' another said.

But while some disagreed with the stance, others claimed it was inappropriate to be playing the national anthem at a game involving two indigenous sides.

'Why on earth would you sing the commonwealth-based Aussie anthem in an Indigenous game?' one woman wrote on Twitter.

But just minutes after more than half the team had refused to sing the anthem, they united on the AAMI Stadium turf for a war dance.

Led by their 21-year-old star Mitchell, the players performed the impressive dance to cheers from the local crowd.

By contrast the majority of the Maori All Stars team sung the whole of New Zealand's national anthem, which includes a Maori verse.

The Indigenous All Stars defeated the Maori All Stars 34-14 in front of 18,000 fans.


Sexist male-bashing on Marriage at First Sight

Bettina Arndt

I’m delighted to see the fuss which has broken over the cringeworthy but incredibly popular national TV show "Married at First Sight" which broadcast a woman fiercely berating a man on multiple occasions without any comment from the show’s relationship "experts" condemning the behaviour. Then, the first time the man stood up for himself, he was called out for his crude language.

It highlights the grip of feminism on public debate over domestic violence in this country, where even the mildest emotional abuse from a man to a woman is labelled ‘domestic violence’ whilst male victims of serious physical violence inflicted by women receive no support, no public sympathy and are often treated as perpetrators.

Now, in what is hopefully a sign that ordinary people have had enough of these double standards, there’s been an outcry over the show with calls that Channel 9 should sack Mel Schilling, the relationship expert who criticized the man’s crude language after ignoring the foul tirade from his wife.

Yet look at this inane comment from the television channel’s producer, who said he was “shocked at the backlash Mel has received for defending another woman”.

“There were 12 women in the room that night and a man used language that was highly insulting and inflammatory in reference to his wife,” he said in a statement to 9 Honey. “Mel acted in the only way appropriate by calling out the language — language that is not ever considered acceptable anywhere, anytime.”

These powerful men don’t get it. They still think they can get away with virtue-signalling to the noisy minority group of feminists, ignoring the genuine complaints of the majority who are fed up with unfair treatment of men. Please help sign the petition and teach these people to wake up.

Yes, I know it is a storm in a teacup over a stupid television show but a rare opportunity for the public to say we have had enough!

Email from Bettina:

Teachers to have their university debts waived if they work in remote indigenous communities

To bad if they get assaulted, burgled and raped.  It does happen

Teachers who work in remote indigenous communities will have their university debts waived under a new initiative to be announced today.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will launch a $200 million program to keep indigenous children in school and attract teachers as part of reform to the Closing the Gap process.

The latest report card on Closing the Gap will be made public today and is expected to confirm a decade-long failure in the program, with only two of the seven targets on health, education, employment and life expectancy being met.

Mr Morrison told The Australian he would unveil a new three-tiered education program after recommendations made by Tony Abbott, the government’s envoy on indigenous affairs.

It will include wiping the HECS/HELP debt for 3100 teachers who commit to working for four years in one of 292 remote schools.

Children would also be supported to enter secondary education including through mentoring.

The Closing the Gap report will show that while efforts to get more indigenous children into early education are on track, improvements to life expectancy, infant mortality and employment rates are not.

Mr Morrison will say the targets need to be revised to make states and territories more accountable and give indigenous Australians more say.

“The Closing the Gap targets have been well-intentioned but ‘top down’, so it was always doomed to fail in both its ambitions and also its process,” Mr Morrison will say in a speech today.

“It didn’t genuinely bring on board states and territories in making sure they have accountabilities and sharing the objective and process with indigenous Australians.”

Mr Morrison will say the current method of measuring targets actually masks progress, discouraging further efforts.

For example, child mortality among indigenous Australians has decreased 10 per cent since 2008. But the target is not on track because the non-indigenous figure has declined at a faster rate.

The “refresh” of the Closing the Gap targets, initially set out in 2016, will ask indigenous Australians to develop their own.

The changes will also hold different levels of government to account and include new priorities on housing, employment, family violence and land and water rights.

State governments will be obliged to make annual public statements on the areas they are responsible for, such as health and education.

“Ensuring that the states and territories are a part of this … I think, will significantly improve the process,” Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion told ABC radio.


NSW government projects big jump in coal shipments

The Greenies are squawking but in view of Australia being a relatively short and direct sail from Japan, Korea, China and India, the projection is a reasonable one and may be understated.  Asia still likes coal

The Berejiklian government is projecting NSW will sharply increase coal shipments over coming decades, a forecast increase at odds with international climate goals and its own target for the state to reach net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century.

Figures used for the NSW Freight and Ports Plan 2018-2023 and obtained by the Greens, show transport projections out to 2056 also imply thermal coal use will increase by 2036 - even though four of the state's five remaining coal-fired power plants are scheduled to have closed by then.

Annual shipments of coal for domestic power generation would rise from 23 million tonnes in 2016 to 24 million tonnes in 2036. They will drop only to 21 million tonnes by 2056 - a date well beyond the expected life of all existing plants.

The government's figures, prepared in 2017-18 by Transport for NSW's analytics team, are even more bullish about exports of both thermal and coking coal.

The former is forecast to rise steadily from 139 million tonnes in 2016 to 158 million tonnes by 2056, counter to expectations that thermal coal use will have to be cut if Paris climate goals - including net-zero emissions by developed nations by about 2050 - are to be met.

Coking coal, used to make steel, would almost double over the 40 years to 47 million tonnes by these predictions.

Even though nations burning NSW coal are accountable for the resulting emissions, the extraction and transport of the fossil fuel are sizeable contributors to the state's own pollution. The Berejiklian government has an aspirational goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

The NSW Minerals Council says the state is well-placed to grab a share of increased Asian demand for thermal coal that might top 400 million tonnes by 2030, citing researcher Commodity Insights.

But Tim Buckley, an energy analyst with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, said growth forecasts for coal imply the world ignores the Paris targets.

"Under its Sustainable Development Scenario, the International Energy Agency forecasts seaborne thermal coal would decline by 65 per cent by 2040, and cease by 2050," Mr Buckley said.

"It is telling that NSW government forecasts for coal demand are entirely consistent with the 'forecasts' of the Minerals Council of Australia, a group that releases a 50-page 2018 report forecasting a rosy picture for thermal coal demand over the coming decades, but without even mentioning climate change," he said.

Mr Buckley said Japan currently takes 44 per cent of the state's thermal coal exports but major companies are already planning to reduce coal use. Itochu, a trading giant, last week announced it would stop developing new coal-fired power plants and thermal coal mines - a move marking "a major pivot" for the company, he said.

The NSW Minerals Council is pushing for NSW to back new coal-fired power plants, saying "multiple sets of polling conducted by the industry show greater than 60 per cent support", according to its election policy priorities.

A spokeswoman for Transport for NSW said it was "uncertain whether the existing coal power stations in Australia are being closed down without like-replacement". "The Commonwealth government is considering the bids, which include coal-fired power stations," she said.


 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

Sunday, February 17, 2019


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG deplores the medevac legislation

Heat on Australian Bureau of Meteorology over data records rewrite</>

Odd that Warmist revisions of the temperature record always make the past colder.  If the revisions really were corrections for errror, we would expect that some records of the past would show up as warmer occasionally.  It doesn't happen.  The "errors" are systematic. Jennifer Marohasy has shown on a few occasions that their "adjustments" are unreasonable.  Her comment on the latest fandango is here

The Bureau of Meteorology has rewritten Australia’s temperature records for the second time in six years, greatly increasing the rate of warming since 1910 in its controversial homogenised data set.

Rather than the nation’s temperature having increased by 1C over the past century, the ­bureau’s updated homogenised data set, known as ACORN-SAT, now shows mean temperatures have risen by 1.23C.

Bureau data shows the rate of mean warming since 1960 has risen to 0.2C a decade, putting the more ambitious IPCC target of limiting future warming to 1.5C close to being broken.

Homogenisation of temperature records is considered necessary to account for changes in instrumentation, changes in site locations and changes in the time at which temperatures were taken. But the bureau’s treatment of historical data has been controversial. In recent years there have been claims that the organisation was treating temperature records in such a way that left it exposed to accusations that ideological pursuits had trumped good scientific practice.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott unsuccessfully pushed for a forensic investigation into the bureau’s methods.

A number of reviews of the ­bureau’s network equipment and its temperature data handling have been carried out. A technical panel found the homogenisation methods used were largely sound.

But a key recommendation, to include confidence levels or error margins in the data, remains ­unfulfilled. A BoM spokesman said work was under way on a number of scientific papers looking at uncertainty and confidence intervals for temperature data ­observations, adjustments and national averages. “This work will be made available to the public following ­thorough peer review,” the spokesman said.

The bureau had fiercely defended the accuracy of its original ACORN-SAT data. But more ­recent analysis, including the ­removal of rounding errors, has effectively increased the rate of warming by 23 per cent, compared with the earlier homogenised ACORN version-one data.

Detailed technical information on the ACORN-SAT ­update was published late last year, but there has been no public ­announcement of the revised data, which is now considered the official national average temperature record. A bureau review of the ­homogenised data said the new version had “increased ­robustness and greater spatial ­coherence”.

The updating of the ACORN-SAT data coincided with the ­release last October of a new version of US weather agency NOAA’s global land temperature data set.

A bureau spokesman said ACORN-SAT version two was the bureau’s “improved official homogeneous temperature data set”. The new data set benefited from “the numerous scientific and technological advances which have occurred over the past six years, as well as the ­insights and recommendations from an independent ACORN-SAT technical advisory forum”.

“It also contains new data which was not previously available when the bureau developed the first data set,” he said.

The bureau said the updates had been independently peer-­reviewed, and the findings were that the methodology was “rigorous and reliable”.

Scientist Jennifer Marohasy said that while version two of the data had used the same set of 112 stations as had been used in version one, the data had been remodelled relative to the raw data and also relative to the remodelled version one.

The bureau said the data in version two was subjected to two rounds of homogenisation, as had been the case with version one. “In total, 22 of the 966 ­adjustments applied in version two of the ACORN-SAT data set arose from this second-round procedure,” the bureau said.

A technical analysis of ACORN-SAT 2 by the bureau said 1910-2016 trends in Australian temperature were about 0.02C a decade higher than those found in version one. It said rounding errors in version one accounted for much of the new trend.

Dr Marohasy said the bureau had not explained how it could have generated a 23 per cent increase in the rate of warming, just through updating the official ACORN-SAT ­record.

The maximum-temperature trend from 1910 to 2016 at the 112 ACORN-SAT weather stations is now an increase of 0.116C a decade. It was 0.09C a decade in the earlier homogenised data.

The minimum-temperature trend is now an increase of 0.13C a decade, compared with 0.109C in ACORN-SAT 1.

The bureau said improved ­accounting for the widespread relocation of sites out of towns during the 1990s and 2000s, and the incorporation of recent data from new sites, were also substantial contributors.

Dr Marohasy said movement of sites was meant to be part of the adjustments made in the first version of the data.

“The incorporation of data from new sites may account for some of the 23 per cent increase,” Dr Marohasy said, “because the bureau have opened new sites in hotter western NSW, while closing higher-altitude weather stations, including Charlotte Pass in the Snowy Mountains.”

She said there had been no proper analysis of the effect of changing from manual to automatic weather stations.

The bureau said no evidence was found of a significant systematic impact arising from the change from manual to automatic weather stations. It said that ACORN-SAT 2 had increased robustness and greater spatial coherence, especially for minimum temperatures.

The new data records are likely to be seized upon by green groups in the lead up to the federal election.


Border security policy not based on ‘racism’ and ‘hate’

It was one of the more naive propositions from a journalist so far this year. On Tuesday, ABC TV 7.30 presenter Leigh Sales interviewed Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton on border protection. The specific focus was on the Labor/Greens/independent bill that passed the House of Representatives, concerning medical evacuations of refugees and asylum-seekers currently on Manus Island and Nauru.

After apologising for continuing to interrupt, Sales put it to Dutton that, following the new legislation, a people-smuggler would now have to refine the product on offer to asylum-seekers who are based in Indonesia or nearby. According to Sales, the new offer would be as follows: “OK, you can get on a boat to Australia, but there is a very high chance that you will be turned back. If you’re not turned back, you might be sent to Nauru and Manus Island. If you’re there, you might be able to get two doctors to sign off on a medical evacuation for yourself. The minister might allow that to happen. If you get to Australia, you might be able to lodge a court action and find yourself staying in Australia.” She added: “That doesn’t sound like a very attractive product.”

How naive can you get? For starters, people-smugglers — who grow rich on the misfortune of others — are not truthful. They highlight the chance to success, not the possibility of failure. And certainly not the likelihood of drowning.

Any perceived weakening in Australian border protection makes it easier for people-smugglers to sell their product. When prime minister John Howard and Tony Abbott put up the red flag, the boats stopped coming. When Labor’s Kevin Rudd moved the sign to amber, some 50,000 asylum-seekers reached Australia by boat in around five years. It is estimated that some 1200 of the 50,000 drowned at sea.

It was Rudd who put asylum-seekers on Manus Island and Nauru when he replaced Julia Gillard as prime minister in the lead-up to the 2013 election. And it was Abbott — with the assistance of first Scott Morrison and then Peter Dutton — who effectively stopped the boats for what has now amounted to six years.

It is perfectly understandable that some Australians feel sympathy for asylum-seekers and refugees in detention. However, it should be remembered that virtually everyone who arrives in Australia by boat has taken part in a secondary movement. In short, they are not fleeing immediate fear of death or persecution at the place from which they embarked on their sea journey.

Take a young Iranian man currently in offshore detention, for example. He probably will have flown, on a valid passport, from Iran or close by to Jakarta with the expressed intention of engaging a people-smuggler to reach Australia. Meanwhile, refugees in the UNHCR camps in parts of Africa and Asia, who cannot afford to pay people-smugglers, have to wait until places are found in such nations as the US, Canada and ­Australia.

Many Australians who strongly oppose unauthorised boat arrivals do not object to our generous refugee and humanitarian intake, currently running at about 17,500 a year.

Also, the decision of the Abbott government to accept a special intake of some 12,000 victims of the civil war in Syria was widely accepted and appears to have been successful.

In other words, there are well-meaning people on both sides of the debate. It is understandable that some Australians believe that detainees on Manus Island and Nauru should be accepted immediately in Australia. And it’s understandable that some focus on the likely unintended consequences of well-meaning actions.

However, anyone arriving in Australia on Tuesday and turning on ABC TV’s The Drum would not get this impression. The program’s co-presenters Julia Baird and Ellen Fanning like to describe The Drum as being long on respectful discussion and short on rhetorical aggression.

This was not the case on Tuesday, when former race discrimination commissioner Tim Soutphommasane let fly at the Coalition policy on border protection in general and its opposition to the medical evacuation legislation — which will give medical practitioners in Australia a significant role in determining which refugees and asylum-seekers will remain in offshore detention.

Soutphommasane described the government’s decision to re-open the detention centre on Christmas Island as “flicking the switch to fear”. He depicted this as the “foreshadowing of some race politics to be played later this year”. Later, he labelled some of those whom he disagreed with as racists engaging in hate. Baird did not contest his assertions.

Soutphommasane’s Drum appearance followed the publication by MUP of his booklet On Hate. This is a profoundly partisan treatise. The author sees hatred as rampant in Australia but defines it as related to identity. He depicts non-white Australians as the target of hate — along with women plus “gays, lesbians or transgender people”.

Soutphommasane is so ideologically blinkered that he only sees hate in right-of-centre or conservative circles. He ignores the reality of anti-Semitism. Hatred of Jews was once the preserve of the extreme Right. Not any more. Anti-semitism is rife within left-wing or left-of-centre politics. I You would never know this from reading On Hate.

Likewise, Soutphommasane ignores the hate and ridicule directed at conservative Christians. And he overlooks the violence and threats of violence directed at right-of-centre individuals.

Unlike journalists and commentators, democratic governments have to make decisions and resolve problems. It’s all too easy to shout “racist” or “hate” when a government moves to enforce border security and, as a consequence, eliminate or reduce drownings at sea. And it’s all too easy to believe that people-smugglers are truthful traders.


Misreading the data will not help the teachers

Outdated teaching methods based on disproved theories remain widespread despite the abundance of good and easily available information on effective, evidence-based instruction.

The gap between research and practice is an enduring and critical challenge in education — nowhere more so than in how to teach reading. Many children in developed countries with high levels of education spending have low literacy when almost all children can learn with good instruction.

What is preventing the uptake of proven teaching methods in classrooms? The Reading Recovery program gives an almost perfect illustration. It is arguably the most widely used intervention for children who need such support in the early years of school.

Developed in New Zealand by Dame Marie Clay in the 1970s based on her theories about how children learn to read, it is used in thousands of schools around the world. Its advocates are strongly committed to the belief that it helps the children who participate. Its critics say that there is no good evidence that the program works, and its teaching methods do not reflect what we now know about how children learn to read.

In this case, lack of evidence doesn’t mean lack of research. Reading Recovery has been the subject of dozens of studies over several decades.

Much of the research is low quality in terms of evidence standards. But some recent research is more rigorous, including longitudinal studies published in Australia, the US and England in recent years.

A large Australian study published by the NSW Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation in 2016 involved more than 20,000 students. It found that children who had participated in Reading Recovery in Year 1 performed worse on the Year 3 NAPLAN reading assessment than a matched sample of students who had not participated in the program. That’s right. Worse.

After up to 20 weeks of daily one-to-one 30-minute lessons with highly trained teachers, these children ended up with lower reading ability than peers who had similar reading ability at the start of the study.

As a result, after years of ignoring researchers in Australia and New Zealand who had been loudly and unswervingly warning that Reading Recovery was not effective for most students, the NSW government finally stopped providing dedicated funding for it.

Nevertheless, despite some of the clearest findings in educational research, public and non-government schools around Australia have continued to fund the program from discretionary budgets. They are convinced that it works, and any new piece of research that appears to confirm that belief is seized upon.

New findings published in Britain last year would appear to vindicate the loyalty of Reading Recovery acolytes. In reality, however, it only proves the lengths that Reading Recovery supporters will go to in order to defend it, even to the extent of obfuscating data.

The latest UK Every Child a Reader study, conducted by academics from University College London and funded and published by the KPMG Foundation, was launched with great fanfare at the House of Lords in December. The report claims to show that Reading Recovery in Year 1 was responsible for high scores in the General Certificate of School Education 10 years later.

The KPMG Foundation commissioned an economic analysis which estimated a £1.2 billion ($2.2bn) boost to the economy if all struggling readers were given Reading Recovery.

However, closer scrutiny of the latest report revealed a methodological mystery — a group of students present in the five-year follow-up study published in 2012 were missing from the 10-year study. The missing children comprised an entire group of more than 50 students (about 20 per cent of the sample) who had formed a second comparison group in the original study and in the
five-year follow-up. The omission of this second comparison group is neither acknowledged nor explained in the 10-year study report.

Why is this a big deal? Because the data from the missing second comparison group completely undermines the conclusions drawn in the published report.

To explain: In the original study, there were three groups of students. Two groups of students came from a set of Reading Recovery schools. Some of the students in the Reading Recovery schools did Reading Recovery in Year 1 (RR group) and some did not do Reading Recovery (RRC). A comparison group of students was drawn from a set of non-Reading Recovery schools (CC).

In the five-year follow-up study, the three groups were compared on their results in the Key Stage 2 (KS2) curriculum tests, taken in Year 6 of primary school. There was no statistically significant difference in the KS2 scores of the two groups of children in Reading Recovery schools (RR and RRC). Both of these groups had significantly higher KS2 scores than children in the non-Reading Recovery schools (CC).

That is, in Year 6, the children in Reading Recovery schools outperformed the comparison students irrespective of whether they actually participated in Reading Recovery.

This indicates that any advantage of the students in Reading Recovery schools was not attributable to participation in Reading Recovery — it must have been due to something else about those students, those schools, or both. In the published version of the 10-year follow-up study, only two groups are compared — the students who did Reading Recovery (RR) and the comparison group from non-Reading Recovery schools (CC).

The students in Reading Recovery schools who did not do Reading Recovery (RRC) are omitted. The RR group had markedly higher GCSE results than the CC group, allowing the authors to conclude that “the positive effect of Reading Recovery on qualifications at age 16 is marked in this study and suggests a sustained intervention effect.”

Having remembered that the five-year study was much less straightforward and conclusive, I wrote to the lead author of the study — Jane Hurry — and asked about the missing group. The professor replied with the explanation that she had written two versions of the 10-year follow-up study, one that included the second comparison group results and one that excluded them. KPMG Foundation chose to publish the latter.

Hurry readily provided me with the copy of the alternative unpublished version of the 10-year follow-up report. It shows that there was no difference in GCSE scores between students in the set of Reading Recovery schools who had done Reading Recovery and those that had not (the missing RRC group). Both of these groups had significantly higher scores than the children in comparison schools.

Again, this means that the higher GCSE scores of children in the set of Reading Recovery schools was not due to participation in Reading Recovery. Children from the same schools who had not done Reading Recovery had performed just as well.

Tolerance for poor evidence standards in education is not a victimless crime. The total cost of implementing ineffective reading programs is much larger than the budget allocated to teacher training and teacher time.

There are enormous and tragic opportunity costs for the children involved, with profound impacts on their educational achievement and wellbeing.



Australian tribunal finds that Muslims are not a race.  So criticism of them is not racist

TV host Sonia Kruger vilified and stereotyped Muslims living in Australia during a controversial segment on Channel 9’s Today program, but she did not racially vilify Muslims because religion is not a race, a tribunal has judged.

Nine has said the network is standing by its star.

The Nine Network was taken to the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NSW CAT) by Sydney man Sam Ekermawi after he saw a segment on Today on 18 July 2016 where Kruger said no more Muslims should be allowed into Australia “because I want to feel safe”.

On the show’s Mixed Grill segment, Kruger and co-hosts Lisa Wilkinson and David Campbell discussed a newspaper opinion piece by News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt on Muslim immigration within Europe.

The discussion came just days after an attack in the French city of Nice perpetrated by a Muslim terrorist that saw 86 people killed when a truck slammed into revellers at a Bastille Day celebration.

Talking to Wilkinson about whether Australia’s border should be closed to Muslim immigrants, Kruger said: “Personally, I think Andrew Bolt has a point here, that there is a correlation between the number of people who … are Muslim in a country and the number of terrorist attacks.

“Now I have a lot of very good friends who are Muslim, who are peace-loving who are beautiful people, but there are fanatics.

“Personally I would like to see it stopped now for Australia. Because I want to feel safe, as all of our citizens do, when they go out to celebrate Australia Day.”

Later Wilkinson asked Kruger to clarify if she really “would like our borders closed to Muslims at this point?”.

“Yes I would. I think we have something like 500,000 (Muslims) now in our country … but for the safely of the citizens here, I think it’s important,” Kruger replied.

Mr Ekermawi complained Kruger’s comments amounted to racial vilification.

The tribunal said the comments went “beyond simply a fair report of Andrew Bolt’s article”. “(Kruger) provided her own views and commentary on the issues and these additions were not just opinion, they were vilifying remarks in their own right,” it said.

Mr Bolt’s article, the tribunal noted, said that “the number of Muslims in the country does not tell the full story” and that Germany might have faced fewer attacks because many Muslims who had emigrated there had come from Turkey, a country with a more western outlook. However, a similar distinction was not expressed by Kruger.

“In particular, we refer to her remarks that all Muslim migration should be stopped now ‘because I want to feel safe, as all of our citizens do, when they go out to celebrate Australia Day’,” the decision read.

“Ms Kruger could have expressed her comments in a more measured manner to avoid a finding of vilification. For example, she could have referred to the need for Australia to engage in greater security checking of people wishing to migrate who may happen to be Muslims and the need to prevent a drift towards radicalisation among Muslims currently in Australia, rather than simply stating that 500,000 Muslims represents an unacceptable safety risk which justifies stopping all Muslim migration.”

Overall, the tribunal accepted that the discussion was in the public interest and Kruger and Nine “were acting in good faith without malice and not for an improper purpose”.

But the tribunal said they could not accept Kruger’s statements were “reasonable” and appeared to be “unsupported by any evidence or material”.

“A type of stereotyping was being made in … that all members of this ‘Muslim community’ were tarnished as potential terrorists or sympathisers of terrorism,” it found.

The tribunal said Muslim Australians face discrimination and Kruger’s comments could have stoked this.

“Some ordinary members of the Australian population already harbour feelings of hatred towards, or serious contempt for, Australian Muslims as a whole. In our view, such feelings or emotions would be encouraged or incited among ordinary members of the Australian population by Ms Kruger’s remarks.”

“I want to make it very clear that I have complete respect for people of all races and religions. I acknowledge my views yesterday may have been extreme,” she said. “There is no simple answer here and if we are to find a solution, at the very least we need to be able to discuss it.”

The tribunal dismissed Mr Ekermawi’s racial vilification claim chiefly because it could not find grounds for a religion being a race. “The evidence does not support a finding that Muslims living in Australia are a ‘race’ by reason of a common ethnic or ethno-religious origin.”

However, the NSW CAT said had the definition of race been different: “we would have found that both of the Respondents engaged in racial vilification of the Australian Muslim community.”


 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

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Australia's Aboriginal problem

Lots of people think "we" should solve it.  Fine.  Let them tell us what to do.  They cannot. It has all been tried before over many years and, as you read below, nothing works. The sitution tends to get worse rather than better.  Only the missionaries ever did any good and they have been banished long ago

It’s a bright Broome morning with a big, blue, cloudless sky, and I’ve just seen a kid defecate on the town oval. He’s about six or seven years old and, once his business is done, he wanders back to sit with a group of women who are drinking in the shade outside the Broome Visitor Centre.

It’s 11am. I’ve been in town about 15 minutes. This was not in the brochure.

The last time I was in Broome was 25 years ago. Like so many who come to this Kimberley town which welcomes the itinerant and tourist dollar, I lived and worked here for a while before moving on.

Whenever someone asks me what it was like to live in one of Australia’s most beautiful – and most marketed – tourist hotspots, I always tell them the truth: it’s impossibly gorgeous to look at, but the social problems in the town far outweigh any tourist attraction.

There was shocking domestic violence and child abuse; there were huge groups of people drinking all day on the oval before they passed out on the footpath; and there were people with nowhere to live, ‘camping’ in the dunes near Chinatown and sleeping in parks and reserves.

More than two decades on, I’d hoped these issues had been resolved, or that there’d at least been some improvement.

That there has been neither resolution nor improvement – it’s worse now than I remember it being in the 90s – is not only horrifically sad, it’s bordering on criminal neglect.

Findings by State Coroner Ros Fogliani following an inquest into the suicides – including two in Broome – of 13 Indigenous children and young people in the Kimberley released last week laid bare the "urgent need to understand the deep inequalities giving rise to the current poor state of wellbeing of Aboriginal people in the Kimberley Region".

The Coroner referred to the "tragic events" as having been shaped by the "crushing effects of intergenerational trauma and poverty upon entire communities".

It’s very easy to sit in our comfortable homes in big cities and commentate on the plight of a group of people plagued by endemic social dysfunction and think we’ve done our bit by signing a petition or changing our Facebook profile picture to an Aboriginal flag.

But how many of us have seen for ourselves the living conditions and intergenerational trauma cited by the Coroner that prompted the need for – another – inquest into Indigenous youth suicide?

How many have made the effort to not only try to understand why so many Aboriginal kids are taking their own lives, but to actually do something about it?

Even the fact that anyone has done this is still not cause for congratulations. Because here we are again. Another inquest, 10 years after the last one.

Whatever we’re doing to try to help this situation is not working. We are failing these people.

Thomas King runs the Kullari Patrol in Broome. The Kullari van picks up intoxicated people and makes sure they either get home, or to the local ‘sober-up’ shelter, or at least to somewhere safe.

Mr King does not think there will be a need for another inquest into Indigenous youth suicides in 10 years. He thinks it will be much sooner. And he is perfectly placed to make such a reckoning. He’s seen it all on the streets of the tropical town, and what he’s seen isn’t pretty.

“This is a town rife with hopelessness,” Mr King tells me.

I believe him. I can see it with my own eyes.

Liquor restrictions in surrounding towns and communities has made Broome a hub for those who want to drink.

I met some of them over the past few days; alcoholics for whom one drink is both too much and never enough.

Their stories make for heartbreaking reading. But they’re not unique to Broome.

It’s the context of this setting that is particularly jarring: crystal-clear blue water, pearls and palm trees sell one side of the town, while these people remain just far enough from our peripheral vision that we can justify averting our gaze.


Coal firm blamed for flooding beyond its control

The floods in North Queensland were greatly in excess of normal expectations

The Queensland Government is investigating whether Indian mining firm Adani has breached its environmental licence for the second time in two years with the release of coal-laden floodwaters from its coal port at Abbot Point in the state's north.

It comes as Adani revealed it did not apply for an emergency permit to dump more polluted water into the sensitive Caley Valley wetlands during the north Queensland floods last week.

The company told the ABC that Abbot Point operators were confident they could manage floodwaters with new infrastructure, but were then overwhelmed by flows from neighbouring properties.

Adani's own testing showed water released into the wetlands on February 7 had almost double the authorised concentration of "suspended solids", which included coal sediment.

But Abbot Point Operations chief executive Dwayne Freeman said their testing showed the water with 58 milligrams of sediment per litre, and that this was not "coal-laden sludge".

"This is a very minor elevation in total suspended solids ... we are confident there will be no environmental impacts to the wetlands area, despite this unprecedented weather event," he said in a statement.

A spokesman for the Department of Environment and Science (DES) said it was awaiting test results on water samples taken by its own officers on February 8.

The spokesman confirmed Adani's environmental authority for the port "imposes a maximum limit of 30 mg/L".

"DES will consider the results from the laboratory analysis along with other information in relation to the release event before making any determination as to whether or not the company has complied with the environmental authority conditions for the site," he said.

"Concurrent with the specific investigation into the release during the recent weather event, DES also continues to implement a long-term monitoring program in the adjacent Caley Valley wetland to determine whether any adverse impacts on environmental values is occurring."


Christmas Island detention centre to be RE-OPENED with fears Australia will be flooded with illegal refugee boats - after Labor's medical treatment deal passes parliament

Scott Morrison is significantly ramping up border security patrols and reopening Christmas Island to guard against a feared influx of asylum-seeker boats.

The prime minister warned changes to fast-track medical evacuations for asylum seekers held offshore, which passed against the government's wishes on Wednesday, could restart the people-smuggling trade.

'My job now is to ensure that the boats don't come,' he said. 'My job now is to do everything within my power, and in the power of the government, to ensure that what the parliament has done to weaken our borders does not result in boats coming to Australia.'

The prime minister denied his ramped up rhetoric played into the hands of people smugglers. 'I'm standing between people smugglers and bringing a boat to Australia,' he said.

Mr Morrison announced the re-opening of Christmas Island as the Senate narrowly passed new laws fast-tracking medical evacuations for asylum seekers, 36 votes to 34.  

The transfers only apply to the existing cohort of refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru but the Government has warned the move sends a dangerous signal to people smugglers.

It also sets the stage for an election, due in a few months, fought on border security. Mr Morrison pledged to reverse the laws if the coalition was re-elected at the poll expected in mid-May.

He argued people smugglers did not deal with the nuance of the 'Canberra bubble' but rather the psychology of messaging about 'stronger' and 'weaker' borders.

The government lost a historic vote in parliament on Tuesday night - the first time a sitting government has lost a vote on its own bill for the first time in 78 years.

The refugee transfer laws were passed in the House of Representatives by 75 votes to 74 after Labor was joined by the Greens and all independents except Bob Katter.

It then passed through the Senate on Wednesday.


France maintains it will deliver Australia's $50 billion 'Barracuda' submarines on time

Famous last words?

France's visiting Defence Minister has assured Australia the future submarine program will run on time, despite a similar build project running three years late in her country.

On Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was joined by French Defence Minister Florence Parly to sign a long awaited "strategic partnering agreement" to underpin the $50 billion Future Submarine project.

The signing came after months of tense negotiations between Australian defence officials and representatives of French state-owned company Naval Group.

Last year the ABC revealed the Federal Government had grown so frustrated with Naval Group that Defence Minister Christopher Pyne refused to meet top officials who were visiting Australia.

In her only interview before flying home to Paris, Ms Parly acknowledged "cultural differences" with Australia over the defence project but also talked up the strengthened friendship between both nations.

"Of course there are cultural differences. You are an Anglo-Saxon country, with an Anglo-Saxon legal tradition — we are a more Latin country, but I think that the teams worked very well together," Ms Parly said.

"It will have a great impact on Australian economy and Australian jobs but it also tightens the links in our two countries. "It is important that democracies that share values can go farther and build the future together."

In France, Naval Group has faced serious delays with another submarine project, the construction of new 'Barracuda' nuclear-powered submarines.

Despite Naval Group's three-year delay with its project in France, Ms Parly says there will be no flow on effects for Australia's program. "It's very much related to the nuclear part of our submarines and related to new norms and controls that did not exist before," she said.

"There is no risk in my view, that the Attack Class submarines be delayed. "The negotiators spent a lot of time, making sure that all the provisions are there, that there are no risks, and I don't see any risk of failure."


 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