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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Black Lies Matter

Here is another insightful video from PragerU.


The Lives Matter campaign is based on the underlying 'lie' that police unfairly target Blacks. There are many analyses that prove this to be patently false ( see here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRIML2sQTe4 or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJMb1mz_o9A) yet the campaign has had wide recognition and many ,who should know better, have given it legitimacy. Alas as Sheriff Dave Clarke notes it would be better name "Black Lies Matter"

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

The poor are not getting poorer...Shhh don't tell Shorten

In what seems to be rampant hysterical amnesia, Socialism is being viewed by too many in our liberal Western societies as a 'better' alternative to Capitalism. Social justice warriors constantly decry the exploitation of the impoverished masses by the greedy capitalists. The rich are getting richer and the poor are, as a consequence, getting poorer. This class warfare mantra is widespread; from Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, Bernie Sanders in the US to our very own Bill Shorten in Australia. Hardly a day passes without Bill claiming he will restore some sort of equality by attacking the "Rich".

Yet, it is a patently false narrative. History shows the opposite to be true. As the rich get richer the poor have been getting richer too! Indeed the supposed rise inequality in Australia is also a myth perpetuated by self serving politicians to advance their cause , and I have to note, abetted by a media blinded by their own political bias.

A recent Prager video makes the argument clearly, as always. Well worth the few minutes.




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Friday, 30 March 2018

Welfare disadvantages recipients

The recent Prager video titled "Blacks in Power Don't Empower Black People" exposes, at least indirectly, another 'inconvenient truth' burdening our Western societies. The video itself, like many Prager videos is aimed at the American viewer, focusing on the fate of African-Americans in modern America. It highlights the failed expectation, by many in the A-A community, that political power would raise the quality of life for African-Americans. Alas not so. The video is worth a view see below.




While well argued and no doubt enlightening to many viewers, especially American ones, I see it as but another example of a 'deeper' truth that afflicts many Western Societies; That living standards of the disadvantaged are not improved by increased welfare.

In America the living standards of African-Americans have not improved despite increases in a range of measures directly intended for that purpose (political power is just one).

Similarly in Australia, despite the very best intentions, sustained attention and significant investment over decades, there has been little progress in "Closing the Gap" between the indigenous and other Australians. The very first sentence of the Executive Summary of the "Close the Gap report for 2017 tells the story

"After 10 years, and despite closing the gap being a national bipartisan priority, it is clear that Australian governments at all levels are, in key respects, failing Australia’s First Peoples."  Close the Gap - Progress & Priorities report 2017

Since it is clear that the measures we have been using for decades do not work, we should do something different.

I suggest something really novel, and I guess abhorrent to many, simply treat all indigenous Australians in exactly the same way as all other Australians are treated. Provide the same job opportunities, the same in welfare payments, and exactly the same law enforcement. Remove the many institutions that over the years have been created specifically for indigenous communities. (There are indeed many. See Key Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations for a start.)

No doubt some, or even most, have made some positive contribution to some individuals' living standards.  However this has come at a cost. The very existence of such organisations discourages self reliance, engenders a victim mindset and promotes a false sense of entitlement. They are not helping to 'close the gap' at all , but are perpetuating it.

The impact of this change in approach would have slow but long term consequences. No doubt the closing of the many support organisations would save a considerable sum. But much would have to be redirected towards the provision of the types of services all other Australians can expect even in remote country towns; schools, hospitals, policing, doctors, etc. The indigenous communities would not suddenly become 'disadvantaged' as they would receive the same level of welfare and related services as all other Australians.

Of course such a wide-ranging change in approach would have to be phased in over a few years and would take a decade to show results. Still we have tried the alternative and failed, so a new approach is overdue.

Yet the politics make this well nigh impossible. It would take a government with much more intestinal fortitude and political capital than the current mob, so we can only look forward to the next "Close the Gap" report and again shake our heads and point fingers.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Gorka provides insight into the impact of Trump

A friend recently sent me this video by Sebastian Gorka. I confess I did not recall his name, but having worked for Trump he is well equipped to provide some insight into an enigmatic presidency. Well worth a listen.


Monday, 19 February 2018

Ami does it again!

Here is another entertaining and incisive video by Ami Horowitz. titled "Ami presents: Communist Manifesto or Democratic Party Platform?"




Very funny, and mind boggling!

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Is Climate Change Falsifiable?

I have seen many, perhaps too many, critiques of climate change to remain a convert. For some time now I have been sitting on the sidelines weighing the arguments (see my earlier posts ) and leaning increasingly to skepticism.

Most recently I came across an older video, on the skeptical side, that brought up what I think are most pertinent points often glossed over by the zealots.

The video is rather long, covering a presentation titled "A funny think happened on the way to Global Warming" presented by Steven F Hayward . If you have the time you can watch the whole video.



I found two areas compelling. The first is where Hayward covers the so called 97% consensus, and in particular where he quotes from the abstract of John Cook's paper. If you have followed this saga it was Cook who published a paper that lead to the 97% consensus myth. (If you are inclined you can read the paper here - Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature )

I guess for anyone debating this mythical 'consensus' it is worth seeing how this 97% figure was derived. Here is the abstract to the above paper.


Abstract

We analyze the evolution of the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming (AGW) in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, examining 11 944 climate abstracts from 1991–2011 matching the topics 'global climate change' or 'global warming'. We find that 66.4% of abstracts expressed no position on AGW, 32.6% endorsed AGW, 0.7% rejected AGW and 0.3% were uncertain about the cause of global warming. Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming. In a second phase of this study, we invited authors to rate their own papers. Compared to abstract ratings, a smaller percentage of self-rated papers expressed no position on AGW (35.5%). Among self-rated papers expressing a position on AGW, 97.2% endorsed the consensus. For both abstract ratings and authors' self-ratings, the percentage of endorsements among papers expressing a position on AGW marginally increased over time. Our analysis indicates that the number of papers rejecting the consensus on AGW is a vanishingly small proportion of the published research.

There are many critiques of this study so I won't labour the point, but the widespread reference to a "97% consensus" shows how statistics can be used "by knaves as a trap for fools" , or indeed that there are "lies, damn lies and statistics".

The second part of the presentation that struck me was his quotation from the IPCC report of 2013 (Climate Change 2013 - Working Group Contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC) .

In particular the admission that uncertainty in the simulation of clouds results in cloudy (sorry about that one) predictions. Here is the actual quote; - 

"In summary, despite modest improvements there remain significant errors in the model simulation of clouds. There is very high confidence that these errors contribute significantly to the uncertainties in estimates of cloud feedbacks (see Section 9.7.2.3; Section 7.2.5, Figure 7.10) and hence the spread in climate change projections reported in Chapter 12. ( see Chapter 9, Page 782,)

and most significantly the qualification about the nature of these climate model projections,in that ;-

" these projections were not intended to be predictions over the short time scales for which observations are available to date" (Chapter 9 page 825 )
In other words you cannot dismiss a model as being inadequate if it happens to predict incorrectly in the near term, as it was designed to predict for the long term.

Really?!!

This highlights a fundamental problem with the Climate Change dogma.

Any scientific hypothesis that 'the world's climate is warming in response to anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide emissions' must be falsifiable.  Yet it seems for the many CC zealots the very idea that CC can be falsified by observations is totally out of question. If observations contradict climate models' predictions, new heretofore unknown scientific causes must be at work. For example the observation of a 'pause' in temperature increases over two decades, presented a problem until new theories of heat captured by the ocean were rolled out to a gullible populace. If indeed the heat was to be captured by the oceans shouldn't the models have predicted that in the first place? And why hadn't the oceans captured the heat of earlier decades?

Not surprisingly any record setting hot days are used as clear proof of global warming, but record setting cold days, as currently being experienced by many parts of the globe this Northern winter, are also claimed as examples of global warming. How are both possible?  No doubt some new ideas will be sought and found, but the audience is becoming skeptical.

My single question to the CC zealots remains - tell me what would prove your hypothesis wrong?

Monday, 12 February 2018

Mr Wikipedia

A short biopic of Wikipedia founder Jim Wales was sent to me by a friend. I couldn't resist posting it in homage to a wonderful tool. I have found it invaluable in my day to day 'fact checking' and research. Yes, I know it's 'facts' are sometimes 'alternative facts', but that really only applies for recent and the more 'political' issues and events. For most questions it is spot on and an ideal launching point for further enquiry.

Thank you Mr Wikipedia!

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

The inconvenient truth about climate models

Not really new, but certainly well explained, this video from PragerU highlights the the problem with today's Climate Models. The problem is simply they do not work. Their predictions have invariably been proven wrong. This is not surprising as the models are very much simplifications omitting some factors that are significant determinants of climate, eg clouds.





Yet if the models are wrong then all the consequences of following them are also wrong. Food for thought!

Monday, 5 February 2018

How about some good news for a change!

With all the problems of our planet all amplified by a media hungry for attention it is easy to lose perspective. Here is a short video highlighting developments for the better.



You feel better don't you!

What motivates the Women's March protesters?

I guess you have to laugh, or cry, at the antics of those willing to spend their time and energy shouting out their thoughts. See this.



I guess no more needs to be said..

Monday, 29 January 2018

When History becomes - his story

It has oft been said that "history is written by the victors", that the truth lies somewhere beneath the distortions inflicted on it by one-eyed victors.

No doubt there are many cases that support this view. With widespread "Fake News" and "alternate facts" distortions of 'truth' are all too real. This was brought home to me when I viewed the most recent, excellent, short video from the Prager U. The video titled "The inconvenient truth about the Republican Party" highlights some, now most "inconvenient" and one could genuinely say 'alternate' facts, about the role of the Republican party in American history;

The inconvenient truth that the Republican party was responsible for freeing the slaves, and that it was the Republican party that has been the driving force in achieving civil rights for African Americans as well as equal rights for women. Now perhaps I am living in a cocoon, but had I been asked, prior to seeing this video, about the relative roles of the two parties in achieving civil rights for 'African Americans' and for womens' suffrage, I would have given more credit to the Democrats than the Republicans. So this video was indeed an eyeopener. Have a look at it for yourself.



Unfortunately this is not the first time my 'recollections' were at odds with reality.

The role of the democratic party in the defeat of the Americans and South Vietnamese in the Vietnam war (see The truth about the Vietnam War), and also its role in providing the 'template' for the laws of the Nazi regime (What the Nazis learned from American Progressives), are further examples of such distortions that I have learned relatively recently.

Why is this so? It is understandably very much in the interest of the Democratic party to spread beneficial re-interpretations of their subversive history. However where are the checks and balances? Where are our academics and media to correct such 're-interpretations'?

Alas, nowhere! Indeed by their silence they are complicit. The fabric of truth is being distorted by our 'last bastions' willingly spreading falsehoods to the unwary.

Our partisan media goes 'all in' on any any issue that supports its cause but totally ignores any fact that does not support it. It drums up emotions and fosters conflict.

More than ever our society needs trustworthy, incorruptible truthsayers. We need to have a new set of journalists to shoulder the burden. The current mob are not worthy.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Blame the partisan Media

Chris Kenny's first foray into the new year "Gesture politics blocks the nation’s path to progress" is an insightful summary of the failures of our political class over the past decade.

With simply clarity he shines a torch on some policies that even a schoolchild would find laughable.

Here are a few; -

"In a nation as blessed as ours it is incongruous that our political/media class has an over-abundance of ambition when it comes to futile gestures that pretend to save the planet yet lacks sufficient will to control what is within its grasp by trimming spending to sustainable levels or redressing the social and economic disadvantage that still bedevils our indigenous people?"
and ,
"We have safe injecting rooms for heroin addicts in which it is illegal to smoke a cigarette. We defend the rights of drug addicts on methadone to drive their cars while we intervene to prevent pensioners from obtaining Nurofen Plus from their chemist without a prescription from their doctor. And we whinge about the cost of Medicare."
or , indeed; -
"We impose costly renewable energy subsidies on electricity users and then offer additional welfare to families who can’t afford their power bills. We take policy decisions aimed at ensuring coal generation and other “dirty” industries are no longer financially viable, then we lament the loss of manufacturing jobs. We look to subsidise new industries to reboot the towns and regions made redundant. And we buy diesel generators to make up the energy shortfall."
and, finally;

"We build up a successful immigrant culture based on orderly migration, yet those who argue most strongly for multiculturalism push for an open-slather approach to border control that would undermine all that has been achieved. We build an economy partly based on our cheap energy advantage but decide to turn ourselves into a high-cost energy nation that exports its cheap energy and its carbon emissions overseas. Carbon emissions still rise globally, but we pat ourselves on the back."

He shoots the blame on so called "Gesture Politics" where the objective is to show you are part of some accepted virtuous group rather than good policy outcomes.
"It doesn’t matter whether a (policy) works or not, it has done its job by providing a vehicle for its supporters to demonstrate their virtue. A gesture made is a policy goal achieved."
And surely there is too much evidence to ignore this conclusion. Our political leaders are indeed guilty as hell. I won't bother recounting the policies that serve no benefit but send a signal of virtuosity.

Yet that is not the whole story. Surely politicians have always tended to prefer policies that showed them in a good light. They have always pandered to popular opinion, casting many a dollar in directions that seemed only to benefit them in the short term. This is not a new phenomenon.

What is different today than was the case say 20-30 years ago, when we seemed to have longer term commitments and better outcomes?

What has changed?


What has changed? No doubt the short media cycle the rise of social media the clamor of dissenting voices on any policy is a factor. But there is more to it than that. In the past, if a politician strayed too far from, at the very least, 'justifiable' policies, they were held to account by an inquisitive media or indeed academia. The system included checks and balances. If some outlandish commitment was made in the interests of virtuosity or vote grabbing, both the media and some 'experts' would combine to highlight its consequences and let the audiences pass judgement. Moreover the  very possibility of such an embarrassing analysis imposed some self control on the pollies.

It seems to me that is no longer the case. Our media have become too partisan and as a result have lost their impact. Journalists no longer report objectively on "facts" but intersperse reporting with commentary. They have become players instead of observers and analysts.
Can you even imagine an ABC reporter highlighting the futility of Climate Change policies as Chris has done?

As a result audiences too have become polarized. Those who have the same political disposition will listen and even "believe", but others will switch off.  The consequence is that where a journalist highlights a problem with a policy, even a very real problem, many are not listening. The electorate has formed islands that follow the media that pander to their view of the world. This feeds on itself as the media in turn pander to their audience.

The Fourth Estate has let us down

While Chris may not have wanted to rat on his own profession, I believe they are very much part of the problem. When the media provided a generally 'objective' reporting and unbiased analysis they were trusted by the electorate as a whole. Once they became partisan they lost that trust and the power to 'weed out' bad policy outcomes. So we all suffer the consequences; a broken political system, a partisan media, islands of polarized opinion, a country made ungovernable.

Unfortunately it is hard to get this genie back in the bottle.


Friday, 5 January 2018

Fickle people

We humans are a tribal species. Wanting to share our lives with others of our ilk, we like to band together, all-for-one and one-for-all. No doubt evolution has taught us that such an instinct conferred an advantage over the loners. But this tendency certainly thwarts rational analysis in the modern world.

A recent video by Ami Horowitz highlights just this point. Bernie Sanders supporters are given some of the elements of the recently passed US Tax reforms but they are told these are Bernie Sanders' alternative plan. A real gotcha! Well worth he few minutes.



But lets not get too cocky, I am sure republicans too behave this way. We tend to forgive the trespasses of those in our team while we call out those who trespass against us.

So this type "changing hats" exercise is often quite worthwhile.


Belated New Year's greetings!

A belated "Happy New Year" to all readers! I have been away from my desk, for my annual 'switch-off'. That short interlude each year of concentrated RnR.

I think I noted this last year,  but it still remains true, switching off electronic media for a while is quite therapeutic. Our electronic media compete for our attention with an incessant and increasingly strident stream of exclamations. Turning from one to another till we are spinning like a top. No wonder we need a wind down, at least once a year.

This year I was assisted in my 'unwinding' by an electronic storm in late December that managed to upset the delicate balance in my 'information' network. As a result my cable TV decided to select which stations I could watch. All free-to-air were gone and some of the cable TV stations too. And more importantly so was broadband. Mmm.

Living without broadband even for a day is a challenge but when I confronted my supplier I was told

"The first available service is on the 15th January, Merry Christmas!  Would you like fries with that?"

But I feel my blood rising so I shall ''switch".

Yes, it was nice to relax away from the daily babble. My wife and I only venture a couple of days
up the coast, but we have been and still are in the January lull.

Unfortunately the world around us continues at its merry pace, freezing weather in the US, an air plane disaster her, an uprising there. The usual stuff.

If only the world could take a break every once in a while.

Alas, welcome to 2018.