Thursday, February 28, 2019

'Fearless Girl' arrives in Melbourne

This statue seems to be particularly pleasing to feminists and anti-capitalists generally.  As such it would be a good target for retaliation against the attacks on historical statues that have been mounted by Leftists.

If Leftists can attack and deface statues and memorials of Australia's early settlers, why should not patriots attack and deface images valued by the Left?  It would be an important message to Leftists that they should be wary in their constant recourse to violence lest they ignite retaliatory violence against themselves and what they value.  It needs to be made clear to them that they don't have a monopoly of violence

The sort of thing that could be done would be to plaster red  paint over the statue and add a message:  "Beware the blood-lust of socialism". But conservatives are kind and forgiving people so I doubt that anything like that will happen

A bronze statue which has become a powerful symbol of gender equality has been unveiled at Melbourne’s Federation Square.

The ‘Fearless Girl’ statue was revealed to excited crowds at the landmark this morning, with many praising the creation as an “inspiration.”

The creation was unveiled this morning. (Nine/Supplied)
“I think it’s really good that the statue is in Australia, because it can inspire young girls to make a difference,” one member of the gathering crowd said.

The sculpture, by US artist Kristen Visbal, is an exact replica of one installed in New York City to oppose the Wall Street bull two years ago.

“She should symbolise supporting women in leadership positions, equality, equality of pay, the general wellbeing of women,” Ms Visbal said of her artwork.

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers is one of three companies who joined forces to buy the statue for the city, ahead of International Women's Day on March 8.

A total of 25 statues will be produced and placed across the globe.


How a Channel Seven weather presenter is subtly pushing a climate change message - and you didn't even notice

It's not so much what she says that is the problem -- so much as what she leaves out -- like the really extreme weather events of the 1930's -- dustbowls etc

A Channel Seven weather presenter is subtly pushing a climate change message in her nightly bulletins. Melbourne meteorologist Jane Bunn has managed to sell the idea to her viewers without explicitly referring to the concept.

Instead, the weather woman has been pointing out significant changes in weathers trends and highlighting the increase of warmer temperatures to her viewers, The Age reported.   

In a May weather report, which saw temperatures reach just over 14C, Bunn called attention to how the overall trend that month 'since the late 70s is warmer than the long-term average.' 'Overall, our temperatures are moving upwards,' she said. 

She described a July day as 'cold, wet and windy' despite the fact that the month's rainfall was less than half the July average.  

She then reported there was a 'trend toward less July days with significant rain' over the past 75 years.

But the meteorologist, who was has been working with Climate Communicators in a program run by Monash University's Climate Change Communication Research Hub, has insisted that she is just telling viewers 'exactly what is happening.' 

'Personally, I don't like to yell at people,' she told the outlet. 'Anything that is forcefully put across, I don't like to put any political spin on anything either. I just want the facts, quietly put through in a straightforward way that people can understand.'

The research hub supplies the presenters with graphics on the trends, which she says viewers have always been fascinated with.

The program, which is the counterpart of an American movement, has signed up more than 500 weather presenters across the US.

Stephanie Hall, the research hub's communication manager told The Age that weather presenters 'trusted',  'apolitical' and skilled communicators. She said the idea of climate change has become 'hyper-political.'

Bunn says there has been no backlash to her subtle advocacy for climate change. 'It's a couple of graphs which go up on the screen which are telling what is happening. And there shouldn't be any backlash about that, if you think about it. We're just telling exactly what is happening.' 

Bunn's reporting appears to have been well-received, according to social media users.  'This is excellent!! Jane Bunn is planting the seeds of change in viewers' minds. We all feel it and noticie it, on some level, but she's tying the past to present in an easy to follow fashion. Nice work!! Thank you,' one Twitter user said.

'Jane Bunn isn't just a weather girl. She's a meteorologist and she's not "subtly selling" anything - she is simply stating facts,' another said.

A Channel Seven spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia that Bunn is a meteorologist, not a political campaigner, and that there is no climate change spin to her reports.  

The network said Bunn’s reporting is based on her expertise and the best available weather data, reflecting exactly what happened over a period of time - regardless of whether it was hot, cold or wet.


Life, romance and relationships, the Jordan Peterson way

Jordan Peterson is in town, and it seems like everyone wants to talk about identity politics, gender pronouns, and whether or not there’s a pay gap — but he’s a clinical psychologist.

Seems a shame not to ask him about his practice. To get his thoughts on mental health, and modern relationships?

It’s been almost a year since Peterson was last in town, and he’s lost so much weight on his infamous, all-meat diet that his wedding ring is turning. (He takes this diet seriously, to the point he now carries cold, cooked steaks in a baggie in his pocket, in case he finds himself hungry and somewhere meatless.)

He’s more famous now than he was last time, having sold three million copies of Twelve Rules for Life. His life is one of standing ovations, and of people approaching him shyly in the street, to thank him for saving their lives.

He doesn’t think it’s turned his head, and he’s often moved by “how little encouragement” can turn a person around.

“But it’s been a very two-sided experience, a lot of positive publicity and attention but also a tremendous amount of stress,” Peterson says of the impact of fame on his own equilibrium.

In an hour-long interview, he tackles a range of topics, including the rise of Trump, which he characterises more as the fall of Clinton. (Had Peterson been an American, he says he would have “held his nose and voted for her”.)

He talks about #Metoo, and the conundrum facing women in their thirties, who want both baby and briefcase. “Nobody can have it all,” he says. “My general advice to people is that there aren’t that many fundamental necessities in life. You need a job, you need intimate relationships, and you need family. If you forgo any of those, you pay a huge price.

“You may decide that your ­career is worth the price. Perhaps it is, but it’s not worth the price very often. You have to be careful. You only have one life, and if you forgo your opportunity, it’s done. And I think it’s a catastrophe for people to forgo the opportunity to spend substantial time with their young children.”

You can see how that kind of thing could quickly become: “Peterson tells women to give up their ­careers to have kids!”

It’s not what he means — he means, maybe work part-time for a bit — but he can shrug it off, having dealt with issues far more important than trolling, including a decade-long depression battle.

Peterson in his lectures likes to warn people: life is hard, and if you’ve not yet experienced a tragedy, brace yourself, because trouble is coming. In his own life, he says it’s a “toss up between dealing with my daughter’s illness, and the depression that runs through my family”.

“It’s hard to say which was more challenging,” he says. “The depression issue is a decades-long problem. We’ve made a lot of headway. My grandfather, who never received any medication, was basically immobilised by his depression. My father was struck very hard in his fifties. By the time it came to me, additional improvements had been made.

“But depression is a brutal ­enterprise. For me, in particular, it’s hard on the lecture front, professionally, because it makes it hard to move physically and interferes with the flow of my thoughts.

“There’s a fair bit of intense misery associated with it as well. It’s like severe grief (and) proclivity to tears, that has characterised me since I was young.”

Peterson’s daughter had depression; a severe form of arthritis; and an auto-immune disease that left her with brittle bones. The bone condition was agonising.

“I asked my daughter, who walked on broken legs, who had to take opiates for pain, and wanted to sleep 24 hours a day, if she would rather have the depression or the arthritis,” he says. “She said virtually immediately that she would take the arthritis over the depression any day.”

Peterson says “anxiety and depression” are by far the most common conditions he saw when people came to his clinical practice, but the most frightening ­patient he saw was a pedophile.

“He was the worst,” he says. “Unbelievably narcissistic, and completely incurable by any known means. It was like nobody existed except him. He had justifications and rationalisations for everything he’d done, not only for why his molestation of his grandchildren was OK, but why it was a positive good. He was quite the piece of work. I’ve had other clients who were malevolent in their own way. Not many. It’s rare. Most people you see clinically have hard lives. That’s why they’re there (because events) are beyond their ability to overcome.”

On modern romance, Peterson says hook-up culture, and apps such as Tinder, are virtually bound to create misery for people.

“We are still under the delusion that we can divorce sex from life,” he says. “You can’t divorce sexuality from emotion. You can’t have sex without entangling yourself, at least to some degree.

“The problem with hook-up culture, with Tinder, let’s say, is it’s predicated on the assumption that people can be partners in a purely physical sexual exchange … first of all that’s an experiment that has never been conducted in the entire human history, very unlikely to go well; and second, it’s predicated on a naive, wilfully blind view of the relationship between people. It doesn’t work.”

The sexless marriage is just as problematic, and painful for people, he says. “You get married, you have kids, you have two careers, it’s very easy for the sexual part of your relationship to settle to 11th place on a 10-item schedule,” he says. “In order to maintain an intimate relationship with sexual energy … well, it takes a lot of work, and people don’t do the work … My sense is, it’s useful if you want to keep your sex life alive, to assume that you’re going to be intimate a minimum of once a week and perhaps twice a week — but you have to agree on that, and you have to make it a priority and perhaps you have to engage in that, with that, really whether you’re in the mood or not, because you’re thinking about the long game, not the short game. Use it or lose it, shall we say?”


Dad threatens to kill kid’s school principal — just one case in a scary trend of educator violence

Horrific and terrifying threats from parents have been revealed by principals across the country who are too scared to speak out.

From being threatened with a gun or knife to being beaten with a stick, receiving death threats and being stalked, or spat at by abusive parents — some affected by drugs or alcohol — a number of principals say they fear walking to their car at night.

Others have had parents tailgate them or do burnouts in the school car park after a heated conversation at their car door.

“A parent said he would go home get his gun, come back and blow my f***ing head away,” said one principal who asked not to be named. can’t reveal who the principals are or which schools they’re at because none of them wanted to go on the record. They say they have been advised not to, fearing if they complain publicly they will risk their career or lose their jobs.

But their responses have poured in anonymously, from thousands surveyed across the country about workplace wellbeing.

Now in its eighth year, The Australian Principal Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing Survey has collected data from about 50 per cent of Australia’s 10,000 principals from 2011 to 2018.

Chief investigator Associate Professor Philip Riley last year revealed to preliminary results from his survey indicated a record number of “red flags”. Participants get red flagged if they answer questions indicating they are at risk.

Some of the worst responses include:

* “Kicked and punched by students, verbally abused by parents, physically intimidated. I’ve

spent months at a time dreading the walk out to my car at night.”

* “One student ripped all the cupboard doors off my office cabinets and threw a chair at me.”

* “Numerous threats from parents and students — from students: (on) School Facebook — threats to kill with description how. Furniture thrown at me, bitten, scratched, car keys stolen and car started, garden stakes thrown at me, rocks thrown at office.

By parents: stalked by car, tailgated, phone calls with threats to harm, tyre burnouts in school car park after conversation at car door. Parents under the influence of drugs or alcohol swearing, threatening, name calling.”

* “It happens weekly I have been kicked, punched, spat on, hit by a bat, hit by a stick and threatened to be killed by gun and knife.”

The survey found one in three school principals had been physically attacked in 2018.

Close to half were being threatened with violence and the majority worked hours far beyond those recommended for mental and physical health. In a “worrying trend” violent threats were up from 38 per cent in 2011.

The survey also found that increasing levels of threats and violence, aggravated by excessive working hours, was leading to serious levels of distress, burnout and depression among school leaders.

Associate Professor Philip Riley, from the Australian Catholic University, said “our nation builders are under attack”.

“Consequently, fewer people are willing to step into the role,” he said. “At a time when 70 per cent of school leaders will reach retirement age within two to three years, we are ignoring a looming national crisis.

“Australia’s school leaders experience a far higher rate of offensive behaviour at work than the general population.

“The way it is going, it is going to be the number one problem in schools everywhere if we don’t do something about it pretty quickly,” he added on the Today show this morning.

Female school leaders are most at risk of physical violence with 40 per cent experiencing violence compared to 32 per cent of male school leaders.

The highest number of threats of violence was found in government primary schools at 49 per cent.

“The steadily increasing levels of offensive behaviour in schools of all types is a disgrace and it needs to stop,” Associate Professor Philip Riley said.

When compared to the general population, principals report 1.5 times higher job demands, 1.6 times higher levels of burnout, 1.7 times higher stress symptoms, 2.2 times more difficulty sleeping, 1.3 times negative physical symptoms and 1.3 times more depressive symptoms.

“Australia should adopt a whole-of-government approach to education,” Prof Riley said.

“This would mean the Federal Government, states and territories combine to oversee a single education budget. The funding agreement should be bipartisan and a transparent mechanism which is simple to understand.”

Other recommendations include:

* Employers should reduce job demands or increase resources or do both.

* The community needs to immediately stop offensive and violent behaviour towards educators.

* Australia also needs to have adult conversations about the root causes of this violent

behaviour, which is occurring in all frontline professions and in the high rates of domestic violence.

* School leaders should not allow their passion for their school to dominate their life.


Dear Parents,

Since I was very young I wanted to be a teacher, I knew that teachers made a difference in the world and I wanted to give others what my teachers had given to me.

After 35 years in education this hasn’t changed, and I love coming to school so that I can help your children, all children.

However, lately it seems as though you fail to see this. I’m yelled at before you seek to find the truth, I’m threatened at many different levels when things don’t go your way, I’m lambasted on Facebook with no right of reply.

Even though I have a busy schedule you demand that I see you straight away, or answer your accusatory emails late at night because that is when you are most in need.

I have had to hire security agents to sit in on some parent meetings as I’m scared for my own personal safety. I have received death threats.

I have been bitten by children, scratched, hit with objects such as cricket bats, scooters, and rocks. I have saved a child from committing suicide. These are just a few examples of the stress I have had to face as a Principal, but my stories are many.

You may not know this about your Principal, because we do not make these events public even though many of us experience them every day. Each and every Principal out there is a person, a person with feelings, families and our own trials and tribulations.

I have never met a Principal that didn’t care deeply about their school or their community, but I have met a number who are simply worn out like I am.

I do not have long to go in my career, and at this time I certainly am not promoting the job of Principal to younger teachers.

I love my students and my staff, but I hope the wider community wake up and begin to see the role as it truly is and to offer support before those of us that truly care are gone.

From an Australian School Principal


 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 27, 2019

Many people do not believe that Australia's Cardinal George Pell is guilty of child sex offences

Nor do I.  We must note that he has not had his opportunity to appeal the verdict yet. It is common for verdicts to be overturned on appeal. So regarding the case as closed could be most unwise and expose those who do leap to conclusions to some contempt. John Crowley of St Patrick’s College in Ballarat certainly runs that risk.

One needs to note that the case boils down to one person's word against another and that fantasies about sexual matters can be readily taken as true when they are not -- as we saw in the hugely disgraceful matter of "Nick" in Britain, who is now being prosecuted for his lies.  He wrecked the lives of several people before he was disbelieved

It is reminiscent of the Nick affair that in this matter many of the details the complainant gave were improbable, if not impossible.

That the conviction is very fragile can also be seen in the fact that the first trial of the matter left a hung jury.  It was only on retrial that His Eminence was convicted. It seems likely to me that in such a finely balanced matter knowledge of misdeeds by other Catholic clerics swung the verdict towards guilt.  That is of course guilt by association, long recognized as a grave injustice

News of Cardinal George Pell’s conviction for child sex offences is being greeted with disbelief by shocked Catholics around the world.

Pell is the most senior Catholic cleric in the world to be found guilty of these offences and apparently, some just can’t believe it’s true.

Ed Pentin, the Rome correspondent for the oldest national Catholic newspaper in the United States, the National Catholic Register, has pointed to conspiracy theories circulating in the Vatican that Pell was set up.

“Most people here don’t believe the verdict,” Pentin told the Nine newspapers. “Most here believe Pell is innocent, certainly those who worked with him.”

Pentin said there was scepticism about the guilty verdict because Pell was investigating Vatican corruption and there was suspicion about the timing of the charges.

Suppression orders were lifted in Australia today that has allowed the conviction to be reported, although the judgement was handed down in December and reported by some international news outlets.

In an article for the Register, Pentin notes that after news broke in December about the verdict, a source told him, “People in court saw how flimsy the evidence was.

“This is an act of outrageous malice by a prejudiced jury. The media convicted him long ago in the court of public opinion and he did not receive a fair trial.”

Pell has faced years of negative coverage over what he knew, or should have known, about the activities of paedophile priests including the notorious Gerald Ridsdale, a former friend of Pell’s who was convicted of the abuse and indecent assault of 65 children, some aged as young as four years old.

Pell’s own hometown of Ballarat had such a high incidence of sexual abuse that the city was used as a case study in the final report of the Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse, which Pell gave evidence at in 2016 via video link from Rome.

Some believe Pell became a poster child for all that went wrong with the way the Catholic Church handled the abuse scandal.

Victorian County Court’s Chief Judge Peter Kidd acknowledged this, telling the jury at his trial that “you must not scapegoat Cardinal Pell”.

Peter Westmore, Pell’s friend of two decades and who attended the trial, told reporters outside the court: “I think the public mind has been so contaminated by the misdeeds of the Catholic Church and by the complaints, which people have raised, which have not been dealt with, that they said, ‘Well, he must have been guilty.’”

Others believe Pell didn’t help himself by refusing to give evidence in his own defence.

“Pell didn’t take the stand, and that definitely made a negative impression; it doesn’t look good if you won’t deny it with your own lips,” one source told the Catholic News Agency in December.

However, Father Frank Brennan, a Jesuit priest who attended some of the Pell proceedings noted that the complainant’s evidence must have been compelling for the Cardinal to be convicted.

The media and public were not allowed to be present when the complainant gave his evidence, which is normal in sexual assault cases.

But the case hinged on this testimony and in the end, the verdict came down to the jury believing the complainant was telling the truth.

“I was very surprised by the verdict. In fact, I was devastated,” Father Brennan wrote in an opinion piece in The Australian.

He noted that Pell’s defence barrister, Robert Richter QC had poked holes in the complainant’s evidence but ultimately the jury had still found the Cardinal guilty.

“Although the complainant got all sorts of facts wrong, the jury must have believed that Pell did something dreadful to him,” Father Brennan wrote.

“The jurors must have judged the complainant to be honest and reliable even though many of the details he gave were improbable if not impossible.”

Pell’s old school St Patrick’s College in Ballarat has also announced it will remove the Cardinal’s name from a building that had been named in his honour. It will also revoke his status as a Legend of the school and a line will be struck through his name on a College honour board listing ordained former students.

“The jury’s verdict demonstrates that Cardinal Pell’s behaviours have not met the standards we expect of those we honour as role models for the young men we educate,” the school’s headmaster John Crowley said.

Mr Crowley said the college must respond to the jury’s findings, although it reserves the right to revisit the decision if the conviction is overturned on appeal.

Today Pell’s lawyers confirmed they have lodged an appeal against the conviction and Pentin does not believe it’s likely Pope Francis will take any action until this has been heard.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has not commented on Pell’s conviction and either has Liberal MP Tony Abbott, a Catholic and vocal supporter of Pell in the past.

But senators Derryn Hinch and Sarah Hanson-Young are calling for the Cardinal to be stripped of his Companion of the Order of Australia.

Meanwhile, senior Catholic figures in Australia have also expressed shock and disbelief at the verdict.

“While acknowledging the judgment of the jury, I join many people who have been surprised and shaken by the outcome,” Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli said in a statement.

“I fully respect the ongoing judicial process, noting that Cardinal Pell continues to protest his innocence. An appeal against the verdict has been lodged. It is important that we now await the outcome of this appeal, respectful of the ongoing legal proceedings.”

He said his thoughts and prayers were with all victims who had been abused by clergy, religious and lay people in the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

“I renew my personal commitment to do all I can to ensure victims of such abuse in Melbourne receive justice and healing,” Archbishop Comensoli said.

“I also acknowledge all in the Catholic Church who are walking with survivors and communities harmed by the scourge of abuse, and who are committed to building a culture of safety for our children and vulnerable people.

“At this time, may I assure you that I keep all involved in my prayer.”

Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge released a statement on behalf of national body, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

“The news of Cardinal George Pell’s conviction on historical child sexual abuse charges has shocked many across Australia and around the world, including the Catholic Bishops of Australia,” the statement said.

“The Bishops agree that everyone should be equal under the law, and we respect the Australian legal system.”


Suppression order lifted, Father Frank Brennan on Cardinal George Pell's guilty verdict

Jesuit priest Frank Brennan writes his thoughts on the case in The Australian. Father Brennan attended some of the court proceedings and writes about his desire to see justice done:

The prosecution case was that Pell at his first or second solemn Sunday Mass as archbishop decided for some unknown reason to abandon the procession and his liturgical assistants and hasten from the Cathedral entrance to the sacristy unaccompanied by his Master of Ceremonies Monsignor Charles Portelli while the liturgical procession was still concluding.

Portelli and the long time sacristan Max Potter described how the archbishop would be invariably accompanied after a solemn Mass with procession until one of them had assisted the archbishop to divest in the sacristy. There was ample evidence that the Archbishop was a stickler for liturgical form and that he developed strict protocols in his time as archbishop, stopping at the entrance to the Cathedral after Mass to greet parishioners usually for 10 to 20 minutes, before returning to the sacristy to disrobe in company with his Master of Ceremonies.

The prosecution suggested that these procedures might not have been in place when Pell first became archbishop. The suggestion was that other liturgical arrangements might have been under consideration.

In his final address, Richter criticised inherent contradictions and improbabilities of many of the details of this narrative. I heard some of the publicly available evidence and have read most of the transcript. I found many of Richter’s criticisms of the narrative very compelling.

Anyone familiar with the conduct of a solemn Cathedral Mass with full choir would find it most unlikely that a bishop would, without grave reason, leave a recessional procession and retreat to the sacristy unaccompanied.

Witnesses familiar with liturgical vestments had been called who gave compelling evidence that it was impossible to produce an erect penis through a seamless alb. An alb is a long robe, worn under a heavier chasuble. It is secured and set in place by a cincture which is like a tightly drawn belt. An alb cannot be unbuttoned or unzipped, the only openings being small slits on the side to allow access to trouser pockets underneath. The complainant’s initial claim to police was that Pell had parted his vestments, but an alb cannot be parted; it is like a seamless dress.

Later, the complainant said that Pell moved the vestments to the side. An alb secured with a cincture cannot be moved to the side. The police never inspected the vestments during their investigations, nor did the prosecution show that the vestments could be parted or moved to the side as the complainant had alleged. The proposition that the offences charged were committed immediately after Mass by a fully robed Archbishop in the sacristy with an open door and in full view from the corridor seemed incredible to my mind.

I was very surprised by the verdict. In fact, I was devastated. My only conclusion is that the jury must have disregarded many of the criticisms so tellingly made by Richter of the complainant’s evidence and that, despite the complainant being confused about all manner of things, the jury must nevertheless have thought — as the recent royal commission discussed — that children who are sexually violated do not always remember details of time, place, dress and posture. Although the complainant got all sorts of facts wrong, the jury must have believed that Pell did something dreadful to him. The jurors must have judged the complainant to be honest and reliable even though many of the details he gave were improbable if not impossible.


Jordan Peterson in Sydney on global warming

Go here to see the relevant section of a panel show in which he was challenged on whether his values and methods would cure climate change

He basically says that to arrive at a useful opinion about such issues, you first have to grow up and solve your personal problems.  He is basically saying that concern about climate change is immature and puerile attention-seeking

His best answer of the evening was simply "No"

Publisher rejects Craig Kelly complaint school textbook 'inaccurate' on climate change

Only by uncritically accepting the usual Green/Left boilerplate

The publisher of a NSW year-10 history book has rejected complaints from the federal Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly that it misrepresents facts about climate change.

Kelly took issue with the characterisation of climate change in the textbook Pearson History New South Wales.

Kelly has written to the NSW education minister, Rob Stokes, saying the book’s description of Tony Abbott as a climate change denier was “an offensive slur equating it with Holocaust deniers”, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The book says: “Climate change is noticeable in Australia, with more extreme frequent weather events such as the 2002-06 drought or the 2010-11 Queensland floods.”

“That is simply an inaccurate statement that is in a school history book,” Kelly told parliament’s federation chamber last week.

“What chance do we have of forming the best policies in this nation to deal with fire, floods and drought if we have children being misled by incorrect information in our history books?”

January was Australia's hottest month since records began
 Read more
He quoted Dorothea Mackellar’s poem My Country to argue contemporary natural disasters are nothing out of the ordinary: “I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains, of ragged mountain ranges, of droughts and flooding rains,” the poem says.

“We need to understand that we live in that same country that Dorothea Mackellar wrote about over a hundred years ago,” Kelly said.

“That is why we need to prepare and help people recover from their resources instead of wasting money pretending that we can change the weather.”

The Australian Bureau of Meterology says “one of the greatest impacts of climate variability and climate change occurs through changes in the frequency and severity of extreme events.”

It describes the 2011 Brisbane floods as the second-highest flood level of the last 100 years, after January 1974.

The bureau and CSIRO’s latest State of the Climate report said Australia was experiencing more extreme heat, longer fire seasons, rising oceans and more marine heatwaves, consistent with a changing climate.

A spokeswoman for the publisher Pearson backed the book.

“Pearson builds textbooks to support the Australian curriculum and we stand by this text book and its author,” she said.

Nonetheless, Stokes said he was writing to Pearson about Kelly’s concerns.

“It is very important that texts present information in a balanced way so that students can make up their own minds on important issues,” he said in a statement.

Stokes has previously criticised Abbott’s climate change stance, warning against “populist anti-intellectualism” from public figures.

The NSW school history curriculum does not specifically mention climate change and there is no mandatory textbook set.

While the state government sets the syllabus, it does not write or set the textbooks.

 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 26, 2019

Australia's largest cargo ship unveiled

Something of a pity that it was built in China.  Various Australian yards could have built it.  Tasmania's own INCAT, for instance.  But China's price undoubtedly was lowest

It is one boat Scott Morrison has welcomed with open arms. Australia's largest cargo ship, the Tasmanian Achiever II, was unveiled on Sunday at Burnie in northwest Tasmania.

The 210-metre-long vessel, along with another of the same size, were built by transport company Toll and will up the Bass-Strait shipping capacity of the company by 40 per cent.

Mr Morrison was aboard the ship, slated to make its first commercial trip in March, for a champagne naming ceremony as part of a two-day trip to the Apple Isle's north and northwest.

"Well this is one boat I want to start ... because it's driving jobs," the prime minister said.

The two ships cost $172 million and came with an investment of similar size to upgrade wharfs in Burnie.

Mr Morrison said it was an important day for the island's trade.

The state's rate of export growth increased by 14 per cent last year, above the national average, Premier Will Hodgman said.

"This a true demonstration of a state that is powering ahead," he said. "This investment will ensure that our world-class produce can reach expanding markets both domestically and internationally."

Mr Morrison brushed aside a reporter's question asking whether it was ironic he was celebrating the naming of a boat not long after releasing a video message telling people smugglers not to waste their money coming to Australia.


Sir Lunchalot gets off

Former NSW minister Ian Macdonald has had his conviction quashed and will face retrial for misconduct in public office.

The former Labor politician has been in custody since 2017 when he was jailed for 10 years, with a minimum of seven, after being found guilty of two counts of wilful misconduct in public office.

But on Monday, five Court of Criminal Appeal judges quashed the 69-year-old's conviction and ordered a new trial.

They did the same for former union boss John Maitland, who was jailed for six years with four years non-parole on two charges of being an accessory to the alleged misconduct.

Macdonald was alleged to have favoured the interest of Doyles Creek Mining, chaired by Maitland, over the interests of the state when he granted a Hunter Valley coal exploration licence in 2008 without a competitive tender.

Maitland ultimately made $6million after selling shares related to the deal.

Macdonald's lawyer, Phillip Boulton SC, wasted no time applying for bail in the NSW Supreme Court and it was granted by Justice Natalie Adams, prompting Macdonald's wife to cry and embrace a supporter.

Under his bail, he'll have to reside in the Blue Mountains, report to police once a week, not approach any points of international departure or contact prosecution witnesses except through his lawyer.

Maitland, now 72, who was also granted bail, will reside in Sydney's eastern suburbs but otherwise faces similar conditions.

In 2017, a jury found Macdonald guilty of two counts of public misconduct while Maitland was found guilty as an accessory. 

Mr Macdonald's barrister, Phillip Boulton, SC, argued that it was never adequately proven to the jury that his intentions by closing the deal were 'improper', The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Mr Boulton argued that Justice Christine Adamson had provided 'misleading' and 'confusing' directions to the jury, they also argued his sentence was 'excessive' and that evidence against him was 'compulsorily obtained'.

'The learned trial judge misdirected the jury in relation to the elements of common law offence of misconduct in public office in relation to both charges,' court documents read.

'The jury's verdicts were unreasonable and cannot be supported having regard to the evidence.'

'A miscarriage of justice was occasioned on account of evidence now available to the appellant.'

An administrative hearing for the men's retrial has been slated for March 1.


Scott Morrison lashes Labor’s strategic ship fleet plan

A government shipping line!  Who in their right mind would use that?

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has dismissed Labor’s plan to create a strategic shipping fleet, arguing lifting the number of Australian-flagged vessels serves union demands.

The federal opposition has announced a plan to establish the fleet, which is likely to include up to a dozen vessels including oil tankers, container ships and gas carriers.

The Australian-flagged and crewed vessels will be privately owned and operate on a commercial basis, but could be requisitioned by the government in times of need.

Mr Morrison said Labor had not committed to properly building Australia’s Navy, failing to commission one ship when they were last in government. “They seem to be more interested in doing what the MUA tells them to do, the maritime union, than what the Australian people want them to do,” he told reporters in Hobart on Sunday.

He said the coalition had undertaken the biggest naval shipbuilding program since the Second World War.

“That is the scale of our commitment when it comes to our naval shipbuilding program,” the prime minister said.

Labor has warned Australia’s merchant fleet is disappearing, despite relying on shipping to move 99 per cent of imports and exports.

The number of Australian-flagged vessels has shrunk from 100 to 14 over the past 30 years.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and transport spokesman Anthony Albanese said the decline had destroyed the jobs of seafarers and created a situation where essential fuel supply vessels were not crewed by Australians. “The existence of a vibrant Australian shipping industry serves the nation’s economic, environmental and national security interests,” they said in a statement.

An elected Labor government would first appoint a task force to guide the establishment of a fleet.

Labor has also pledged to re-establish the scrapped Maritime Workforce Development forum and enforce existing laws around coastal shipping.


Cartoon of Serena Williams ruled OK

A controversial cartoon depicting tennis player Serena Williams “spitting the dummy” following her US Open loss last September has been backed by the Australian Press Council.

“The council considered that the cartoon uses exaggeration and absurdity to make its point but accepts the publisher’s claim that it does not depict Ms Williams as an ape, rather showing her as ‘spitting the dummy’, a non-racist caricature familiar to most Australian readers,” the council said on Monday.

The cartoon, which sparked worldwide controversy for its alleged bias, racism and stereotyping, depicted the tennis star jumping in the air, with a broken racquet and baby pacifier on the ground.

In the cartoon, by Mark Knight in the Herald Sun, an umpire is shown saying, “Can you just let her win?” to a woman standing on the other side of the net.

It referred to an incident during the tennis grand slam final between Williams and Japan’s Naomi Osaka on September 9.

Williams, who was seeking a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title, was given a warning for a coaching violation before incurring a point penalty for smashing her racket.

After accusing the umpire of being “a thief for stealing a point from me”, she was docked a game.

In a statement, the Australian Press Council acknowledged some readers found the cartoon offensive but accepted there was a sufficient public interest in commenting on Williams’ behaviour and sportsmanship during the pivotal match.


 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 25, 2019

Outrage as it's announced one million tonnes of sludge will be dumped in the water surrounding the Great Barrier Reef

The stuff below is very misleading.  All that is happening is that mud from one part of the sea bottom will be moved to another part of the sea bottom.  It will NOT be dumped onto the reef and there will be no increase in the total amount of mud in the area

One million tonnes of sludge will be dumped in the water surrounding the iconic Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority approved the jettison of the waste through a loophole in the federal laws that are meant to protect the landmark.

The announcement of the dumping comes only a week after floodwaters from Queensland flowed into the reef, with experts saying the dirty water will 'smother' the coral.

The federal laws heavily restrict what can and can't be released into the water surrounding the natural wonder.

But an exploit in the laws means materials generated from port maintenance work can legally be dumped in the reef.

The residue is dredged from the bottom of the sea floor near Hay Point Port - one of the world's largest coal exports.

Larissa Waters, co-deputy leader of the Greens Party, called for change, saying it would be the same as treating the reef like a garbage dump.

'The last thing the reef needs is more sludge dumped on it, after being slammed by the floods recently,' she told the Guardian.

'One million tonnes of dumping dredged sludge into world heritage waters treats our reef like a rubbish tip.'   

However, Dr Simon Boxall from the National Oceanography Centre Southampton says the dumping is only the beginning of the problems. 'If they are dumping it over the coral reef itself, it will have quite a devastating effect. The sludge is basically blanketing over the coral,' he told the BBC.

He says the sludge-dumping is a short-term issue, with the Australian summer bringing about 'rapid algae growth'.

He says more funding should be allocated to finding a less environmentally detrimental area to dump waste, but admits the money isn't easy to come by. 'It'll cost more money but that's not the environment's problem - that's the port authorities' problem.'

Last year, Australia pledged half a billion dollars to protect the Great Barrier Reef - which has lost 30 per cent of its coral due to rising sea temperatures. [The coral loss was temporary and it was due to falling sea levels, not temperature variations]


'A kick in the guts for hardworking Australians': How property prices could plunge by $300,000 and spark a recession under Labor's tax plans for landlords

Labor's plan to restrict tax breaks for landlords could wipe $300,000 off average Sydney and Melbourne house prices, a mortgage broking group fears.

Bushy Martin, the founder of Know How Property Finance, predicted the Opposition's plan to scrap negative gearing for future purchases of existing property would also plunge Australia into a recession for the first time since 1991.

'A recession is a catastrophe. We've had 28 years of strong economic growth,' he told Daily Mail Australia. 'To have a recession that we don't need to have, just because of short-sighted policy restrictions, just doesn't make any sense.

'A recession means higher unemployment, it means people not having money to enjoy life, it means people doing it a lot tougher than they need to be.'

The Adelaide-based mortgage broker predicted Sydney's median house price would fall by $300,000 under Labor's negative gearing plan, adding banking royal commission recommendations on lending rules would also put more downward pressure on house prices.

'People need to think very carefully about their votes in this upcoming election,' he said.

Mr Martin predicted Labor's policy would cause house prices to plunge by 30 per cent, compared with where they were almost two years ago when Sydney and Melbourne house prices peaked.

He accused shadow treasurer Chris Bowen of 'kicking in the guts hardworking mums and dads' and 'condemning them to a life of misery'.

Mr Martin stands to lose out from the royal commission's recommendation that lenders be banned from paying trailing commission fees to mortgage brokers for the life of a loan.

Detached real estate values in Australia's biggest housing market plunged by 10.9 per cent in the year to January 31, with Sydney's median values now at $902,786.

They have also plunged by 13.7 per cent since peaking in July 2017, with the Reserve Bank of Australia this week acknowledging a slump in house prices could hurt the economy.

During the past year, Melbourne's median house price has also fallen by 10.6 per cent to $740,425, following an Australian Prudential Regulation Authority crackdown on investor and interest-only loans.

Labor is also proposing to halve the capital gains tax discount from selling an investment property from 50 per cent to 25 per cent in a bid to discourage investors from competing with first-home buyers for property.

National Shelter, an advocacy group for affordable housing, said existing capital gains tax discounts benefited wealthy investors, and locked younger people out of the housing market.

'Investors who already own a property or more have been able to out-compete first-home purchasers who then can't get a foothold in the market,' the group's executive officer Adrian Pisarski told Daily Mail Australia.

'Over 90 per cent of investors are buying existing properties in locations that first-home purchasers would normally want to live.

'House prices have doubled every decade for the last four decades or more in Sydney and Melbourne in particular.'

Sydney is also the world's third most expensive property market behind Hong Kong and Vancouver, the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey for 2019 found.

This situation means many younger people, even those on above-average full-time salaries of $85,000 a year, are struggling to buy a house or even an apartment in Sydney.

Someone on that kind of wage would already be spending 40 per cent of their take-home pay on servicing a mortgage for a $500,000 apartment, with a 20 per cent deposit factored in.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen this month argued 70 per cent of the capital gains tax discount and negative gearing went to the top 10 per cent of income earners.

'Simply put, each of these subsidies have become a vehicle not to make Australia a fair place, but to provide further support to those who need it less than others,' he said.

The Opposition wants to free up $80billion in government spending over the next decade so more money can be dedicated to schools and hospitals.

It's not just Labor's negative gearing policy which is upsetting baby boomers. Wealthy retirees are particularly incensed at the plan to wind back a system whereby excessive tax refunds are given out to shareholders who live off their dividends or superannuation.

The Alliance for a Fairer Retirement System, which represents self-managed superannuation funds and shareholders, has described Labor's policy as a 'cruel blow', disputing the Opposition's assertion about rich retirees.

'They have saved for retirement under rules that have been in place for over a decade, and now find they will lose up to 30 per cent of their income in one hit if Labor is elected and implements this policy,' the group's chairman Deborah Ralston told a Gold Coast retirees summit in January.

The Self Managed Super Fund Association's chief executive John Maroney told Daily Mail Australia Labor's policy is 'both unfair and discriminatory'.

Under the existing franking credits arrangement, shareholders receive tax refunds on their dividends where companies have already paid the 30 per cent corporate tax rate.

However, Labor points out the nation's 10 wealthiest self-funded retirees are already claiming an average of $2.5 million a year from taxpayers despite having investments worth at least $100 million.

In March last year, shadow treasurer Chris Bowen declared a Labor government would crack down on the generosity of the franking credits system, in a bid to save taxpayers $5billion a year.

The changes were aimed at those who lived off their dividends or superannuation and paid no income tax.

A week after announcing the policy last year, Labor partially backed down so 300,000 pensioners who relied on their franking credits would be spared from losing their tax benefits.

However, Labor is pushing on with its plan to undo the generous tax credits system, where tax cash refunds, also known as franking credits, are given to share owners even if they haven't paid any income tax.

John Howard's Coalition government introduced this policy in 2001 with the support of the then Opposition.

Labor under Bob Hawke introduced the dividend imputations system in 1987 so shareholders receiving dividends weren't taxed twice. 

Making his case, Mr Bowen cited Australian Taxation Office data showing average cash refunds going to the nation's top 10 self-managed super funds, which had assets of more than $100 million.

Mr Bowen doubled down this month on Labor's plan to scrap negative gearing tax breaks for future purchases of existing properties, at a yet to be specified date.

'We'll spend $8 billion on childcare. But we will lose $11 billion because we have the most generous property investment tax concession in the world and a generous capital gains tax discount,' Mr Bowen said.

Labor says its scaling back of franking credits would save $55billion over that time frame during the next decade.

Together with the winding back of negative gearing, the tax crackdowns add up to almost $80billion to the 2028-29 financial year.


Scott Morrison to sign off on $1.43b City Deal deal for Tasmania

Tasmania’s tourism and produce booms are set to accelerate, with scheduled direct international flights to Hobart to begin next year.

Premier Will Hodgman today said the flights would be possible due to an $82m upgrade to Hobart Airport agreed under a “Hobart City Deal” signed with Prime Minister Scott Morrison this morning,

“By 2020, we’ll be able to have international flights come in and out of the state,” Mr Hodgman told reporters.

“We’ve had the highest rate of growth of international tourists of any state. We’ve had the highest rate of growth in exports of any state over the last year.

“So this is a response to that growth…We are expecting that international …flights will commence in 2020.”

Mr Morrison said Australian Federal Police, removed from Hobart Airport some years ago, would return once international flights began.

The $82.3m airport allocation would fund border services, including immigration, customs and biosecurity, at the increasingly busy airport 17km east of Hobart.

Other elements of the city deal, signed by Mr Morrison, Mr Hodgman and Hobart mayors today, include the promise of an Antarctic science hub at the city’s waterfront Macquarie Point precinct, and $450m funding for Antarctic research stations and logistics.

As well, there is $576m to replace the ageing and narrow Bridgewater Bridge, north of the city, and other “congestion-busting” transport commitments. About $30m is pledged to provide more than 100 new low-cost homes.

However, there is no specific funding, as many had hoped, for a light rail service to Hobart’s north, nor for a science, technology, engineering and mathematics university centre mooted for the CBD.

Even so, all leaders trumpeted the deal as transformative for the city and the state and Mr Morrison challenged Labor to guarantee to match every element, saying the $1.43b over 10 years was already budgeted.

“It’s all in the forward estimates, all of it - this isn’t a promise; this is an actually funded commitment,” Mr Morrison said. “It’s a fair question to put to our counterparts: will they reverse the funding we’ve put in place? I would certainly hope not.”


Jordan Peterson wisdom: Lying hurts the liar; Work hard and accept responsibility

As said during his recent Australian tour

Peterson started his Opera House talk by saying that he had over time tweaked one of his “12 Rules For Life” (that is also the name of his book). It used to be “Tell The Truth” but he’s since added “At Least Don’t Lie”.

He changed it, he said, because human beings, being puny and ­ignorant, don’t always know what is true. We might think we do, but we can’t possibly. The world is so big and everything is corrupted, and so at least don’t lie, which ­Peterson defines as “knowing something is not true, and saying it anyway”.

Why not? Not for the reasons you might think. Yes, it’s unethical to deceive people, but that’s not Peterson’s bag so much as this: “The more you lie to yourself and to others, the more corrupt you become.”

He doesn’t mean in business. He means when you lie, you damage yourself psychologically. You create pathways in your brain that are based on falsehoods, and they in turn become the architecture on which you ­depend in times of trouble. “Is that what you want?” he said. “To have lies in your ­corner?”

Of course you don’t, because if you’re depending on lies to save you, inevitably you’ll end up in a “way worse” position than when you started

From there, Peterson segued into a human being’s need not only for truth, but for forward ­motion. He seemed here to be speaking mainly to young men.

Peterson has on previous occasions acknowledged that women in their late 20s and early 30s have big decisions to make and not much time to make them.

His advice is usually for women to put their careers aside for a bit and have a family, because it’s important as you get older to have a close circle of intimates, by which he means a partner, children and grandchildren. You’re going to live until you’re 90, probably. Careers are fun and friends are good, but the people who knew you when you were young and those who will perhaps help take care of you when you are old? Way better.

Young men are also questioning the way forward: should they still be trying to get married and play the provider role? Because it seems to be going out of fashion.

Peterson says yes.

They should get up and get a job. Marry their girlfriends, take on more responsibility, aim for promotions at work, take them when they come, and generally head in the direction of their potential, because forward motion has a positive psychological effect on people. It directs young men, in particular, away from depression, and suicide.

“And you don’t have to change the world,” Peterson said, “just ­decide on three things that could improve your own life by 6pm today.”

That may be something as simple as picking up your dirty socks and putting them in the wash basket. Now your mum is happy and the household is happier, and you’re responsible, so good for you.

Peterson acknowledged that a lot of people struggle to move forward in life because they are caught up in terrible childhood experiences. “But you are no longer five,” he said. “You can’t fight back at five, but you don’t want to still be fighting those demons at age 58.”

Meaning: yes, your childhood was awful. It’s also over. So, no more excuses. Up you get.

The more people do this — speak truth, confront demons, strive forward — the better the world is for everyone, because what happens when vast numbers of people feel a sense of nihilism, and dismay?

When people get angry and start blaming others for their plight?

You get bullying. You get school shootings. You get acts of terror. You get Nazism, concentration camps, gulags, all of it hell.

“We should be moving away from hell,” said Peterson. “That’s a good thing for all of us to be moving away from hell.”

It wasn’t all super-serious. Towards the end of the show, Peterson took questions from the audience. He was asked about his snappy wardrobe of three-piece suits, and he acknowledged spending “way more that any reasonable person should” on clothes in recent years.

He also talked about cage fighting, and about how many problems have simple solutions, using as an example a client he once had, a young woman, who had complained about being tired and angry all the time. Turns out she was hungry.


 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 24, 2019

Sea levels in and around Sydney Harbour 1886 to 2018

Below is just the Abstract of a very extensive study

by Dr G M Derrick, Brisbane, Australia, February 2019

Executive Summary

1. There has been NO significant sea level rise in the harbour for the past 120 years, and what little there has been is about the height of a matchbox over a century.

2. Along the northern beaches of Sydney, at Collaroy there has been no suggestion of any sea level rise there for the past 140 years. Casual observations from Bondi Beach 1875 to the present also suggest the same benign situation.

3. A rush to judgement by local councils and State Governments by legislating harsh laws and building covenants along our coastlines now seems misplaced.

4.The falsehoods and mendacity of the IPCC and climate alarmists should be rejected out of hand, and efforts be made to ensure that science, not propaganda, defines our school curricula in matters of climate and sea levels

More HERE 

Bill Shorten ally Bill Ludwig flays ‘lefties’ over coal

Bill Shorten’s mentor, former union leader Bill Ludwig, has blamed a “few lefties’’ within Queensland’s Labor government for politicising the Adani coalmine and backed the CFMEU’s threatened campaign against federal ALP candidates who refuse to support the project.

In sharply worded comments, Mr Ludwig said Deputy Premier and Left faction leader Jackie Trad “thinks she should be premier, but there’s not much chance of that ever happening”.

Mr Ludwig, former national president of Mr Shorten’s Australian Workers Union, said it was “fair enough’’ for the CFMEU to campaign against Labor candidates given the state government’s position on Adani.

The move, revealed in The Australian on Monday, could cost the federal opposition winnable Coalition-held seats in Queensland at the federal election due in May.

“I don’t blame the coalies for doing what they’re doing because there’s jobs involved, and there’s no argument about the profitability and the need for the mine,’’ Mr Ludwig said.

Labor is increasingly split over Adani’s proposed Carmichael coalmine in central Queensland. Mining unions are ramping up pressure for political support for the project, which would open up the massive Galilee coal basin.

The federal opposition’s hopes that the project would be off the political agenda before the election were blown, when the Palas­zczuk government stalled the proposed mine with an 11th-hour review of the company’s strategy to protect the endangered black-throated finch.

The review prompted Steven Smyth — state head of the mining division of the CFMEU, one of Labor’s biggest donors — to put Labor MPs and candidates on ­notice to sign a pledge supporting Adani and the coal industry or face a union campaign against them.

Labor is targeting at least eight Coalition seats in Queensland — held on margins of up to 4 per cent — including four regional seats, with high unemployment that could benefit from the $2 billion Adani project.

The project could also prove decisive in the ultra-marginal Labor-held seat of Herbert, in Townsville, where incumbent MP Cathy O’Toole is refusing to respond to the CFMEU ultimatum.

Mr Ludwig, who retired from the AWU after decades as the Labor kingmaker in Queensland, said the Adani project had “turned political’’ despite the ­Indian conglomerate overcoming every “environmental hurdle’’.

Asked for his response to the review of Adani’s finch plan and his message for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who is an AWU member, Mr Ludwig said: “I don’t know where the government are. I mean there are a few lefties in this … government, you know, it’s probably a little bit difficult.

“You’ve got protesters talking about the black-throated finch … I mean, this is so ridiculous, you just can’t understand where they’re coming from. I think the (state) government has given them every opportunity, because the do-gooders have taken them to court and done everything (and) they’ve lost and lost and lost, but then they come up with another one.’’

Mr Ludwig said he believed the proposed mine, which was vastly scaled down last year after starting out as a $16.5bn project, would go ahead. “There’s thousands and thousands of Indians over there still with bloody oil lamps that want bloody coal,’’ he said.

Mr Ludwig said the government had given anti-Adani activists “every opportunity’’.

Katter’s Australian Party leader Bob Katter said yesterday he was already in talks with the CFMEU leadership about the “bubbling divisions” within the union’s ranks. The KAP, which won three regional seats at the 2017 Queensland state election, is targeting Herbert, won by Labor in 2016 by 37 votes.

“They’re intelligent people,” Mr Katter said of the unionists. “They’re switched on, not locked into Labor — most have never been brought up in Labor traditions — and they’re big earners.”

Ms Palaszczuk yesterday refused to support new thermal coalmines in her state, including the Carmichael project, saying the “market will dictate that” and they must “stack up financially and also environmentally”.  “That company is not being treated differently to any other company,” the Premier said.

At a luncheon, Ms Palaszczuk defended her government’s decision to refer Adani’s finch plan to an outside panel of experts. She likened it to the federal government commissioning CSIRO to review the company’s groundwater management plan.

The panel’s final report, delivered to Adani late on Tuesday, recommended sweeping new controls on the mine, including an automatic shutdown of coalmining if finch populations declined over five years.


Out-of-touch Labor MP says it 'could be a GOOD thing' if Australia's $25billion coal industry collapsed leaving thousands of people unemployed

The Scott Morrison government has pounced on a Labor MP who suggested a decline in the $25billion coal market is a 'good thing'.

Labor frontbencher Richard Marles told Sky News on Wednesday the world market for thermal coal - Australia's top export industry - had collapsed.

'At one level that's a good thing because what that implies is the world is acting in relation to climate change,' Mr Marles said.

Mr Morrison and his Liberal colleagues slammed Mr Marles and accused him of suggesting a supposed decline was 'wonderful'.

'He might think it's wonderful... we don't think it's wonderful. In all of those places [people] who depend on those jobs don't think it's wonderful,' the prime minister told Parliament.

Queensland-based federal minister Steve Ciobo reiterated the 'wonderful' line, telling parliament thermal coal produced $25 billion in export income for Australia and thousands of jobs each year.

'The Australian Labor Party thinks it is a wonderful thing that they get to junk-pile 55,000 jobs in the resources sector,' he told parliament.

Mr Marles later clarified his position and said he didn't properly articulate his point.

Coal clearly has an important and enduring role to play, even as we transition to more renewables, and I should have made that clear,' he said.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released this month showed coal export sales rose nearly 16 per cent in 2018.

Mr Marles earlier reiterated Labor's position that no money should be spent on the proposed Adani Carmichael coal mine in Queensland.

'There are lots of ways in which you can generate employment, but the important statement here is that no public money is going to be spent on it,' he told Sky.


Tribal warfare saps our energy

Australia is being convulsed by its contradictory identity: a
fossil fuel-endowed nation enriched by its resources set against a middle-class moralism hooked on climate change action — an internal division that plagues the voting base of both Coalition and Labor.

Party values and voting loyalties are being trashed. As climate change activism turns into an anti-coal mantra buttressed by a finance sector unwilling to invest, the clash over competing economic interests and cultural values will provoke large-scale political disruption. Both Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten are trapped in these dilemmas.

Labor’s fidelity to immensely popular renewables highlights its alienation from coal and the wider industry as the CFMEU mining division in Queensland joins with the state’s mining industry to ­assault the Palaszczuk government over de facto sabotage of the Adani mine.

Shorten’s ability to hold together his contradictory political coalition is stretched to breaking point. Labor is entrenched as the renewables party in its astute alignment to harness the climate change vote and protect its progressive flank. But what works in middle-class suburbs cannot work in regional Australia.

CFMEU mining division Queensland president Steve Smyth warns that the union will fight the anti-mining activists ­because their campaign extends far beyond Adani, and will campaign against MPs including Labor candidates unless they back the job-creating venture seen as the trigger to open up more mines in the Galilee basin.

With Queensland a pivotal state in the national election, Labor suffers a twin liability: its disastrous resurrection of the border security issue and a regional revolt against its anti-coalmining progressive mindset. As the CFMEU attacks Labor for its turn against coal, the Greens increase the bidding game on Labor’s Left with MP Adam Bandt introducing the “termination” steps — a bill to prohibit thermal coalmining in the Galilee basin, thereby outlawing the Adani mine and a bill to phase out thermal coal ­exports by 2030.

Australia’s split character and polarised politics is beyond ­bizarre.

This is a country where much of the public turns against coal, our main export, returning $67 billion this year and helping to fund health, education and the return to budget surplus. It is evidence of a truly complacent country where significant opinion rejects its main export industry.

It is folly to think the Morrison government is immune. The climate change/energy policy disputes that have created havoc within the Coalition for a decade are far from settled. The government has no energy policy after the demise of the national energy guarantee. This week it launched an assault on the economic costs of Labor’s renewables policy, yet the government faces a critical test: does it include coal in the list of energy projects prepared by ­Energy Minister Angus Taylor and designed to be underwritten by government?

Will Morrison intervene to promote coal or back-off?

It is a decisive moment for the Coalition and Liberal-Nationals relations as it struggles to reconcile its conservative pro-mining, pro-coal communities with the climate change awareness of its wealthy support base in the inner suburbs of the capital cities.

The climate change debate, supposed to be about science, is besieged by cults. Witness the messianic Green New Deal in America that has taken hold in the Left of the Democratic Party or the populist conservative push in Australia in recent years for the government to finance and build a coal-fired power station.

The quest for climate change action is a contradictory amalgam of rationality and quasi-­religious faith that denies ration­ality. It comes with an ­inevitable cost of climate change action that is usually denied or exaggerated. A cogent policy geared to energy transition need not provoke a permanent war between coal and climate change commitments, yet Australia has proved unable to find this path.

The policy chasm between the Coalition and Labor undermines the energy sector and feeds an ideological clash that shows no sign of expiry. Shorten and Morrison face near-irreconcilable internal tensions fuelled by global developments: witness this week’s decision by the nation’s biggest coal producer, Glencore, to cap coal production at 2019 levels, a smart move, yet a smashing victory for the anti-coal movement.

It is folly to think political leaders are dealing with forces they can control. Competing regional interests and values are making this year’s federal election into a ­series of regionally based mini-elections, all of which are vital but demand contradictory responses, depending on the ­region.

Regional disparities in this country — over incomes, industry, climate change and cultural outlook — are exploding. What works in Gladstone is different from what works in Melbourne. Pro-coal central and northern Queensland has a different ethos to the progressive paradise of pro-renewables upper-middle-class Melbourne.

The old climate change debate about a carbon price is long dead. The stage has changed but the music is the same. With Labor now committed to an ambitious 45 per cent emissions reduction and a 50 per cent renewable ­energy target, this week the government launched the next phase of its campaign to document the economic and household costs being imposed by Labor.

Its weapon was the modelling report by former Bureau of Agricultural and ­Resource Economics head Brian Fisher showing Labor’s policy will see a fall in real annual wages of about $9000 a year by 2030 compared with a fall of $2000 under Coalition policy.

Shorten will be unswayed. Taylor, as Energy Minister, says Labor cannot be allowed to run a campaign without confronting the consequences of its climate change activism and the impact for every worker, miner, farmer and tradie.

“Which industries will Bill Shorten close first?” Taylor asks. “Will it be agriculture or aluminium, mining or manufacturing?”

The Fisher analysis says the Coalition’s 26-28 per cent targets mean a loss in GDP of about $19 billion compared with Labor’s targets that equate to a $144bn loss by 2030. The former means the economy would grow at 2.8 per cent a year over the decade and the latter a growth rate of only 2.3 per cent, compared with a rate otherwise of 2.9 per cent.

Labor, unsurprisingly, rejects the analysis. So far the government has hammered Labor’s targets for two years with little discernible electoral impact. The public likes renewables despite blackouts and price hikes. They blame the energy companies for high prices; they think renewables are a plus for emissions cuts and price containment.

The government cannot attack renewables as an option and says instead it aspires to technological neutrality. The focus of its attack is price but the related trick is what the government actually does in the sphere of reliability and price containment. Morrison once took a lump of coal into parliament but with the falling cost of renewables and rising financial risks surrounding coal, this is a shifting platform that bedevils the Morrison government.

There is one certainty the government must avoid: being trapped into a renewables versus coal contest. That is a sure prescription for defeat.

Cabinet ministers are divided on whether to include coal in ­Taylor’s final list of projects to be underwritten by government. The aim is intervention to boost new generation and competition into the market. Gas projects are certain to be picked. What about coal? Is the government prepared to commit and underwrite coal, thereby making itself into an election target of attack from Labor and the Greens?

The more Labor’s anti-coal prejudice looms large, the more the government may be tempted. But with Victoria the most difficult state for the Liberal Party, hoisting up the pro-coal flag would threaten electoral suicide in some progressive-orientated Melbourne seats the Liberals now hold.

The further reality is that Morrison and Josh Frydenberg have sorted their campaign strategy. Energy is not the priority. That strategy was on daily display this week — attacking Labor over tax and border protection. The key to any Morrison clawback is controlling the news agenda.

That means franking credits and borders.

Morrison must run on energy. The truth, however, is that energy cannot deliver as the vote-­changing issue he needs to win the election. Casting the government as a champion of coal offers some regional dividends, yet it is a national risk. The pro-coal message must be quarantined to selected areas, but how feasible is this?

The lesson from Labor’s traumas this week offers the answer: not very feasible. Shorten’s efforts to walk both sides of the fence on Adani approached a dead end. Consider this saga. “I make no ­secret that I don’t like it very much,” Shorten said of Adani last year. “I don’t think the project is going to materialise. It doesn’t seem to stack up financially, commercially or environmentally.”

Yet a few days ago, opposition Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen issued his own warning to the Labor Party: “I believe in protection against sovereign risk.”

Bowen said he had no intention of spending money in his first budget on compensating Adani ­because its project was overruled despite meeting the approvals.

For a year Labor has spoken with a forked tongue on Adani, ­depending on the audience. The Queensland Labor government seeks to undermine the project by rendering it untenable. Shorten Labor conceals its heart under its formal stance: Adani will get no money, it must stand on its own feet. Labor assumes it will fall over with Labor avoiding any blame for playing with sovereign risk.

But avoiding the political blame is another matter. There would be an anti-Adani majority in the country. The point, however, is the pro-Adani majority in regional Queensland has the ability to turn votes against Labor. The risk is Labor is seen as either betraying workers or being hypercritical, or both.

This week differences among Labor figures exposed a party conflicted not just about Adani but about coal and how to explain itself to the public. Defence spokesman Richard Marles got caught with the dangerous line that “the global market for thermal coal has collapsed and at one level that’s a good thing ­because what that implies is that the world is acting in relation to climate change”.

The sentiment, if not the detail, is typical in the Labor Party these days — bad for coal is good for climate change. It is damaging ­because it implies a disregard for the industry and its employees. Opposition finance spokesman Jim Chalmers, a Queenslander, said: “Coal has a very important role to play now and into the ­future even with the transition to a greater share of renewables. It’s a very important export out of my home state of Queensland.”

Employment spokesman Bren­dan O’Connor said: “There has been a series of coal projects that have commenced recently and, as I say, coal will be part of the energy mix under Labor. We are big supporters of mining. It’s a critical industry for this country.”

Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek said: “There is a simple economic fact that the world is moving away from coal-fired power generation. It’s becoming increasingly expensive.”

These statements from senior ALP figures are not necessarily contradictory. The reality, however, is that there are genuine differences over policy and thinking on coal spread throughout the Labor Party. This is typified, above all, by Shorten: he offers ­reassurance on coal but has previously spearheaded Labor hostility towards Adani. As leader, he has championed the ALP rush ­towards ambitious renewable targets with their guaranteed adverse consequences for coal and the historic shift this involves in the party thinking.

Shorten’s priority is climate change. This mirrors the heart of the Labor Party. It is based on hard-headed electoral calculation likely to be vindicated. But it is fatuous to think there is no ­downside or union blowback for Labor. Modern Labor is fixated on creating the electoral alliance ­between well-off progressives and traditional union concerns, jobs and wages. Shorten, so far, has managed this alliance with success — but the pre-election message is that the strains are far more obvious and dangerous.

Queensland is vital for Labor at the election. It is the state where the populist Right is strongest. This election will be no different. Bob Katter and Pauline Hanson will run the coal train to election day. Resources Minister Matt Canavan, pledged to bring the Galilee Basin into coal production, points out that global coal demand is strong, prices are buoyant and that resources contributed 72 per cent of Australia’s export of goods in the year.

Morrison knows he must champion coal in regional Queensland and NSW and that means exploiting Shorten’s equivocations. The Liberal-­Nationals position based on their 26-28 per cent targets by 2030 is that coal will remain fundamental to the economy for decades and climate change action, while ­essential, needs to be far more modest than what Labor is proposing.

That dictates a heavy negative government campaign against Shorten’s ambitions, with any Labor victory heralding sweeping changes in Australia’s energy mix, attitudes towards coal and climate change priorities.


 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

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