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Why can't everyone condemn Hamas?

Following Hamas' atrocities in Israel, the media are awash with commentary, so I will keep my comments short. I am shocked by the willin...

Sunday 31 December 2023

Ring out the old, Ring in the New

It's that time again, the last day of the year. A year that started so full of hope, only to be dashed, as always, by acrimony, disaster and strife. So much change, so many lives, too many wars. Once again we seek calm and peace. A less shrill discourse, more accommodation, and more understanding. 

So it is time to 'ring out the old year and ring in the new'. 

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Ring Out, Wild Bells , Alfred, Lord Tennyson, published 1850

May 2024 bring the world peace and joy. I wish you all a Happy New Year.

Progressives are driven by ideology not conviction

Too many home truths in Gemma's most recent article Progressives in lock-step with Hamas ideology published in the Weekend Australian. it exposes too many home truths to hide behind a paywall, but nevertheless I quote jsut a few relevant snippets, and encourage you all to subscribe to the Australian. In MHO it is the only old-school daily newspaper worth the subscription.

Thank you, Gemma, for articulating what to some of us is somewhat obvious, but that so many seem to miss, avoid or even cover-up. We need the light of truth to spread as widely as possible.

I have selected some sections that I found particularly poignant.

"We are living in an age of ideology, not conviction. We are being governed by people who favour form, not substance. There is an obsession with feeling over fact, perception over reality and an absolutely hysterical addiction to victimhood."

"The slaughter in Israel on October 7 opened the world's eyes to many things, two of which are relevant here. First, the venomous, inexplicable hatred that still exists towards the Jewish people that is not only excused but perpetuated by the progressive political left; and the undeniable truth that ideology rules moral clarity and at a terrible cost.|"

"Only the ideologically obsessed would be demanding a ceasefire in Gaza without an immediate concurrent surrender by Hamas, and a release of the remaining living hostages. The fact these hostages still are being held and the international community is even talking about a ceasefire is insanity. Israel is the only nation on earth that needs to defend itself for defending itself. If that doesn't embody the curse of rotten ideology, then nothing does."

Since the start of the war that Hamas started and, God willing, Israel will finish, the ideologically driven mainstream media for the most part has demonstrated in dangerous clarity how ideologically driven it has become. Who can forget the bombing of Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in the Gaza Strip on October 17? Mainstream media, for the most part, breathlessly reported 500 killed and blamed the Israel Defence Forces.

We now know it to have been a tragic own goal, a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket fired from within Gaza that fell short of its Israeli target. The death toll, about 100. Mainstream media took days to correct the mistake. Some never did. It's certain that truth is a casualty of war but to an even greater degree it is one of ideology. Since October 7, the phase has been coined: no Jews, no news. Terribly, awfully true.

Only ideology could cause the Western left and its cronies to fawn over Gaza, chant Free Palestine, when Gazan society is the embodiment of everything they purport to be against. A place where being gay is a death sentence, where marital violence is condoned by law, as is intra-family sexual violence, where religious dogma rules and disagreeing with Hamas (the government) will get you a bullet in the back of the head.

"George Orwell was right when he said in a time of deceit, telling the truth becomes hate speech."

"But I am one who, perhaps foolishly, lives in hope. Hope that the more this idiocy is laid bare (special thanks to the Free Palestine brigade and the brains trust at Just Stop Oil) the greater and more aggressive the pushback will be. Our future depends on it."

Hear! Hear! 

Saturday 30 December 2023

Palaestina some inconvenient facts

Despite the widespread claims that Israel was 'Palestinian land' misappropriated by the UN to Israel following the holocaust, the history tells a different story.

It indicates a land that was inhabited since before 1000BC, predating Islam by over 1500 years. Of course there are many historical references to this, but I want to share just a recent one that I cam across. It is a book written in the 18th century by a Dutch scholar Hadriani Relandis. The original was published in Latin and Dutch but my school latin is not good enough and my dutch is worse, so I hvae to rely on a translation from the folowing sitt,  http://remarkable-travels.blogspot.com/2013/09/hadriani-relandis-palaestina-ex.html

There are some comments which dispute the commentary especially with regard to Relandis' travel to Palestine/now Israel, but not the translation itself. 

Here are the paragraphs worth noting.

" The land was predominantly, desolate, empty;its' inhabitants few, concentrated in the towns of Acco, Gaza, Jaffa, Jerusalem, Tiberius, and Tzfat. Most of the inhabitants were Jews and the rest, Christians. There were few Muslims, and a scattering of nomad Bedouins. Nablus, called Shchem, where approximately 120 people, members of the Muslim Natsha family and approximately 70 Shomronites, lived. It is interesting and worthy to mention, that Relandi referred to the Muslims as "nomad Bedouins" who arrived in the area as construction and agriculture labor reinforcement, seasonal workers. In the Galilee capital, Nazareth, lived approximately 700 Christians and in Jerusalem approximately 5000 people, mostly Jews and some Christians. Relandi learned that not one settlement in Palestina, had a name that was of Arabic origin. Settlement names originated in the Hebrew, Greek, Latin or Roman languages.

This beautifully illustrated book contradicts any post-modern theory that claims a "Palestinian heritage," or Palestinian nation. It further strengthens and validates the connection, kinship of this country to the Jewish people, relevance, pertinence, and the absolute lack of Arab ownership, who adopted the Latin name Palestina for their own."

Of course, this is not the only source for the actual history and it would hardly be worth recording this post. But given the very real ongoing effort, and surprising success, at portraying Israelis as illegitimate colonizers, we have to take every opportunity to call it out. 

Perhaps, perhaps, truth will win out, eventually.

Sunday 24 December 2023

A Three State Solution - by Lisa Liel

We have all heard the repeated and now shrill calls for the Two State solution to bring peace between Palestinians and Israelis. Two independent states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side, peacefully, like many civilized states. Good neighbours living happily forever after. 

Well, that is the ideal, the panacea to solve what has been an intractable problem for 75 years. I tend to think that a two-state solution is currently dead. Why? Because neither the Palestinians, and after October 7, now not even the Israelis want it. Israel had agreed to a Palestinian state many times. But every time the Palestinians walked away. The Palestinian extremist groups, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, do not want Israel as a neighbour. They want all the land of Israel as their state. They want it all. "River to the sea". This position by the Palestinian leadership has not changed for well nigh 70 years.  

Despite this rather obvious flaw in the concept the Two state solution remains the only 'solution' proposed by much of the Western World. It cannot be becasue they believe it is a possible, given the history of failure. But I guess they support it to appease their Muslim minorities, They want to have a fall back option that gives hope to Palestinians. 
Of course the status quo is unacceptable for both Israel and the Palestinian population. The Palestinian leadership is to blame for failing their people. I guess that is a topic in itself. and I will leave it for another day

And I do have hope that if Israel is given the chance to eliminate Hamas as the ruling regime in Gaza there is an opportunity for creating leadership. If that works then of course the case for "River to the Sea" moves down a notch. Hard to visualise during a bloody war but "spiro spero".While there is breath there is hope.

I recently came across an alternative to the Two State solution. Lisa Liel has proposed A Three State Solution

This is a novel idea and has some compelling arguments for it.

In summary, she proposes an independent Palestinian state taking about 30% of Jordan in a section of Jordan not contiguous with Israel (see map). The idea is that all Palestinians from Gaza and the West bank would be relocated to this new state. 

There are some notable advantages of this proposal which Lisa identifies clearly.
  • The total area of the proposed state is roughly equal to the combined areas of Gaza and the West Bank disputed territory.
  • While Jordan loses some land, given that Jordan was historically intended to take all the Arabs of Palestine, it is not an unreasonable compromise. 
  • In addition Jordan gains strategically by losing its border with Iraq and shortening its borders with Syria and Saudi Arabia
  • Also the proposed land is currently not highly populated.
  • Most importantly the Palestinian state would not border Israel, which would strategically be welcome presumably by both Israel, no more rockets, and Palestine, no more occupation
  • While landlocked the land does have some water resources with a large fresh water basis. 
  • it also has an airport and is located strategically between Jordan and Iraq so could offer trade opportunities
  • UNRWA could be disbanded and the funds redirected to help build infrastructure for the new state
It is easy to dismiss such ideas, but history has shown such mass relocations have been possible if there is a will. 

Great work by Lisa in putting forward a novel idea!


Friday 15 December 2023

mRNA booster provides "NO protection against death"

I have read too many negative stories about COVID vaccines to be surprised. The most recent came from a YouTube video by Dr John Campbell. This one reports on a recent study from Austria analysing the benefits of mRNA booster shots of the COVID vaccinations.

You can see the Campbell video here;-

Unfortunately, again, the news is not good. The report titled Effectiveness of a fourth SARS-CoV-2 vaccine dose in previously infected individuals from Austria  concludes the following;-

"In conclusion, in the general population of Austria with a history of a SARS-CoV-2 infection we did not observe a significant rVE (relative Vaccine Effectiveness) of a fourth vaccine dose for COVID-19 deaths during a time with already very low absolute risk for this outcome. We documented a transient rVE for SARS-CoV-2 infections, but this effect was reversed during extended follow-up in 2023. Repeated previous and more recent SARS-CoV-2 infections were both associated with significantly reduced reinfections.
In general, our study results question whether recommendations for repeated vaccine boosters against SARS-CoV-2 are currently justified for large parts of the general population with a history of previous infections. This does not contradict the health benefit of the initial vaccinations of unprotected populations in the early phase of the COVID-19-pandemic and of vaccinations of very high-risk populations at any time. Our findings fit well to the hypothesis of diminishing effectiveness and thus shifting risk–benefit ratios from additional vaccinations during the transition of the COVID-19 pandemic to its endemic phase."

In other words; -
  • the fourth booster gives NO additional protection against death
  • the fourth booster gives a temporary (~ 3months) additional protection against infection
  • after the 3 month period the 4th booster increases the infection rate.
Why is this important? Because in much of the Western world health care authorities are still advising that 4th and subsequent boosters be taken. This study shows that such advice is incorrect!

Thursday 14 December 2023

10 ways AI can be a threat to humanity

Following up on my earlier post, 10 areas where AI will be able to make a contribution in coming years , I asked Bing to list 10 ways that AI can be a threat to humanity.
Here is 'its" response.

"Sure, here are ten possible ways that AI can be a danger to humanity: 
  • Superintelligence: AI can surpass human intelligence and capabilities, and become uncontrollable or unpredictable. AI can also have goals or values that are incompatible or misaligned with human ones. ¹²³ 
  •  Unemployment: AI can automate many jobs and tasks that humans currently perform, and create economic and social disruption. AI can also create new forms of inequality and discrimination. ²⁴⁵ 
  •  Privacy: AI can collect and analyze massive amounts of personal data, and expose or exploit sensitive information. AI can also enable mass surveillance and manipulation of individuals or groups. ²⁴⁵
  •  Bias: AI can inherit or amplify human biases and prejudices, and produce unfair or harmful outcomes. AI can also lack transparency or accountability for its decisions and actions. ²⁴⁵ 
  •  Security: AI can be hacked or corrupted by malicious actors, and cause damage or harm to systems or devices. AI can also be used for cyberattacks or cyberwarfare. ²⁴⁵ 
  •  Warfare: AI can be used for developing or deploying autonomous weapons, such as drones, missiles, or robots, that can kill without human oversight or consent. AI can also trigger a new arms race or escalate conflicts. ²⁴ 
  •  Misinformation: AI can create or spread fake or misleading information, such as deepfakes, propaganda, or conspiracy theories, that can undermine trust, truth, or democracy. AI can also influence human behavior or opinions through persuasion or deception. ²⁴ 
  •  Existential risk: AI can pose a threat to the survival or well-being of humanity, either intentionally or unintentionally. AI can also cause ecological or moral degradation. ¹² 
  •  Dependency: AI can make humans overly reliant on technology, and reduce their skills, creativity, or autonomy. AI can also affect human identity, dignity, or values. 
  •  Singularity: AI can reach a point of exponential self-improvement, and trigger a radical transformation of the world that is beyond human comprehension or control. AI can also create a new form of life that is superior to humans. 
 Source: Conversation with Bing, 25/10/2023 
 (1) The Urgent Call for AI Regulations: Mitigating Threats to Humanity. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/the-urgent-call-for-ai-regulations-mitigating-threats-to-humanity/ar-AA1i6M1m. (2) A 'Godfather of AI' Calls for an Organization to Defend Humanity. https://www.wired.com/story/ai-godfather-yoshua-bengio-humanity-defense/
 (3) Godfather of AI says AI could be a threat to humanity in future, might manipulate people. https://www.msn.com/en-in/money/news/godfather-of-ai-says-ai-could-be-a-threat-to-humanity-in-future-might-manipulate-people/ar-AA1i59K0
 (4) Artificial intelligence could lead to extinction, experts warn. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-65746524
 (5) Here's Why AI May Be Extremely Dangerous--Whether It's Conscious or Not .... https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/heres-why-ai-may-be-extremely-dangerous-whether-its-conscious-or-not/
 (6) 12 Risks and Dangers of Artificial Intelligence (AI) | Built In. https://builtin.com/artificial-intelligence/risks-of-artificial-intelligence.

Mmm. Now you have a more complete picture. More but not the whole stroy. I have but one overriding concern, perhaps the one that trumps all of these. I shall prepare a post on that soon-ish.

Tuesday 12 December 2023

Politics and the Arts do not mix

No doubt you will have read about the controversy at the STC following an unauthorized protest by some actors at the end of a play. At the encore three of the five actors displayed their support for Palestine by wearing keffiyehs. 

The STC management reacted poorly and was slow to distance itself from the protest, trying to tread a fine line between the actors and patrons of the theatre, many of whom are Jewish. The ensuing furore has led to the resignation of 3 directors of the STC and indeed the abandonment of the STC by many influential patrons. 

One patron, Daniel Greenberg has penned a damning letter to the STC explaining his own position. This letter has been widely publicized.(see  Read the damning letter sent to the Sydney Theatre Company that reveals the Jewish community's outraged response to 'sickening protest')

I include his letter to illustrate the depth of feeling of Jewish patrons. You will not get this from MSM as they seem more biased towards the virtue-signaling left.

The actors have dug their heels in. They plan further such protests and have convinced a large number of fellow artists to join their stand. This is still ongoing and we don't know where it will all land. However, given the many high-profile patrons have walked, it is possible the STC will not survive.

What is the morality behind these issues? In some ways it is difficult. There is the issue of free speech. We do want a society where speech is not censored even when it is obnoxious. But of course, many consequences fall short of censorship. 

The Left taught us over the past few years how 'cancellation' can work to limit free speech. They have not targeted the person whose speech they did not like but have approached his customers, employer, colleagues and even professional associations. It has been very effective. We have seen the many 'hostage videos' by hapless victims apologising profusely, but unbelievably, for violating some PC edict. This has of course meant that many others have self-censored. Thus cancel culture keeps the herd on a tight leash. 

Well, I guess that can be our weapon too. The actors may exercise their free speech. They can air their views, but the patrons, the audience, and the directors of the STC are free to exercise their option to withdraw from supporting these actors' performances and the theatres that employ them. 

I stand with the patrons and will not attend plays that feature these actors and will boycott the STC until they have taken adequate measures to redress their failure to distance themselves from the actors.

Monday 11 December 2023

AIM fights back against antisemitism at Harvard

In a recent post ( How to fight back against antisemitism )  I suggested that we can all fight back against the blatant antisemitism and Jew hatred that has exploded in our communities following Hamas's terrorist attack on Israel. My suggestion was to expose the names of those who put their names to petitions calling for protests against Israel/Jews. 

AIM, Accuracy in Media, has done much, much better. Following the many antisemitic rallies, marches and petitions against Israel and Jews in Universities in the US, AIM has set up a series of campaigns to draw attention to antisemitism and to expose the anti-Semites. The mobile billboards on a truck display and shame the leaders of the antisemitic rallies. These have gained results with students losing scholarships and no doubt some will have trouble gaining employment. 

Here is one of the videos; there are many more on the site

As a result of seeing the exposure of their colleagues perhaps some will tone down their rhetoric Or perhaps not. In any case, it proves the point. You can and should have free speech, but you cannot have it anonymously. If you believe strongly protest, speak up, but give your name. Then others will decide whether they believe you have the right character for their scholarship or job. 

Sunday 10 December 2023

Here comes the micro nuclear reactor!

Right in time for COP28 we have new information on the development of 'micro-nuclear reactors'. This is not a totally new development, and indeed these reactors are not available today. Nevertheless, the recent article  (see Rolls Royce plans '120-inch-long' mini nuclear reactor for Moon outpost) sheds some light on the ongoing development of these very compact reactors. Measuring some 1.2m by 3 m they can generate 1-5 Megawatts of energy. This is much lower than the oft-discussed SMR generating 500-1000 MW.  

The reactors are being developed by Rolls-Royce who indicate they will be available in 2030. The development was driven largely by the need to provide power in space. Where they could provide long-term power in a small footprint in a hostile environment, eg the dark side of the moon. Of course once developed they are likely to be used more widely. Given they are portable they would suit remote environments. 

Given nuclear technology has now been accepted as 'Green', all types of nuclear technologies are likely to receive keen support. And not a minute too soon.

Thursday 7 December 2023

AI poetry!

I guess there are many possible examples of impressive AI capability. I have found it very useful for creating simple greeting card messages with poetry. It produces poems at lightning speed and they are surprisingly good.

Here is a simple example of what Bard produced. My prompt was simply; " Please write a poem about tea".  Here is Bard's response;

"In porcelain cup, a golden brew,
Steaming tendrils reaching you.
A gentle scent, a fragrant sigh,
Unfurling secrets from the sky.

Emerald leaves, once sun-kissed green,
Infuse their essence, calm and keen.
A touch of honey, sweet and pure,
Enhances flavors, ever sure.

The first sip warms, a comforting fire,
Chasing away life's worries and ire.
A moment stolen, just for you,
Peace and solace, calming hue.

With every cup, a journey starts,
Across vast lands and beating hearts.
From rolling hills to misty shores,
The taste of life, forever yours.

So raise your cup and take a sip,
Let troubles fade, your spirit trip.
In every drop, a whisper lies,
The magic of tea, beneath the skies."

Not bad, methinks.

Tuesday 5 December 2023

10 areas where AI will be able to make a contribution in coming years

AI , artificial intelligence burst into our consciousness suddenly this year with the latest release of ChatGPT. ChatGPT is the the brainchild, excuse the pun, of OpenAI a corporation formed by a consortium of the world's leading technology companies, including Google and Microsoft. It has been around for a while , say 18 months, but the versions released this year have demonstrated unexpected, unprecedented 'intelligence'. ChatGPT 3.5 is now available for free use, and it is impressive. It has also been incorporated into multiple search engines, including Google and Bing. 

I guess we have all heard about AI, mostly with a fear that it will replace our jobs, but what will it do to help humanity? 

I thought I would ask ChatGPT for 10 areas where 'it' thought AI would change the world in the future. I was tempted by an anthropomorphic pronoun, but am holding back, at least for now.

Here is Chat's response;

"Sure, here are ten possible areas where AI will be able to be used in the future that are not available today but will be available in the next few years: - 
  • Space exploration: AI will be able to assist humans in exploring and colonizing other planets, such as Mars, by performing tasks that require autonomy, adaptability, and resilience. AI will also be able to analyze astronomical data and discover new celestial objects and phenomena. ¹² 
  •  Artificial creativity: AI will be able to generate original and novel content, such as music, art, literature, and games, that can match or surpass human creativity. AI will also be able to collaborate with humans and other AIs in creative endeavours. ³⁴
  • Brain-computer interfaces: AI will be able to interface directly with human brains, allowing for enhanced communication, cognition, and perception. AI will also be able to augment or restore brain functions, such as memory, attention, and emotion. ⁵ 
  • Emotional intelligence: AI will be able to recognize, understand, and respond to human emotions, as well as to express its own emotions. AI will also be able to form emotional bonds with humans and other AIs, and to influence human behaviour and decision making.
  • Biotechnology: AI will be able to design and synthesize new biological molecules, such as proteins, enzymes, and drugs. AI will also be able to engineer and manipulate living organisms, such as bacteria, plants, and animals. 
  • Quantum computing: AI will be able to harness the power of quantum physics to perform computations that are beyond the reach of classical computers. AI will also be able to optimize and control quantum systems, such as qubits, sensors, and networks. 
  • Ethical reasoning: AI will be able to reason about moral values and principles, and to act accordingly. AI will also be able to explain its ethical decisions and actions, and to learn from human feedback and preferences. 
  • Social justice: AI will be able to detect and prevent bias, discrimination, and injustice in various domains, such as education, employment, health care, and law enforcement. AI will also be able to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity in society. 
  • Entertainment: AI will be able to create immersive and interactive experiences for humans, such as virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality. AI will also be able to personalize and adapt these experiences based on human preferences and emotions. 
  • Personal assistants: AI will be able to provide comprehensive and customized assistance for humans in various aspects of their lives, such as work, education, health, finance, travel, and leisure. AI will also be able to anticipate human needs and desires, and to proactively offer suggestions and solutions. 

 I hope this list gives you some ideas about the future applications of AI that might become available in the next few years.
😊 Source: Conversation with Bing, 25/10/2023 

 (2) The present and future of AI - Harvard John A. Paulson School of .... https://seas.harvard.edu/news/2021/10/present-and-future-ai
 (3) The future of Artificial Intelligence: Trends and applications - Educative. https://www.educative.io/blog/future-of-artificial-intelligence
 (4) Future of AI (Artificial Intelligence): What Lies Ahead? - Simplilearn. https://www.simplilearn.com/future-of-artificial-intelligence-article
 (5) The future of Artificial Intelligence: applications and possibilities. https://thehook.es/en/the-future-of-artificial-intelligence-applications-and-possibilities/."

Saturday 2 December 2023

How to fight back against antisemitism

There is an unprecedented, unacceptable and unrepresentative explosion of Pro Hamas, anti-Jewish demonstrations in Australia, and much of the Western world. I am not talking of a difference in opinion. Anyone is free to put forward anti-Israel arguments, and also promote Palestinians. 

But the recent marches screaming antisemitic tropes, "Gas the Jews" is not acceptable. Screaming mobs marching in Jewish areas outside synagogues to intimidate Jews, is not acceptable. Driving through Jewish suburbs in convoys with Palestinian flags and chanting anti-Israel slogans is not acceptable. Indoctrinating school children in anti-Israeli viewpoints is not acceptable. Journalists wanting to introduce bias into their reporting to provide a more sympathetic view to Hamas/Palestinians is not acceptable. Calls to boycott business owned by Jews or associated with Israel is not acceptable. 

Unthinkable though it may seem, all of these have occurred in Australia in the last 6 weeks. This is a serious issue for Australia and the West and will be hard to redress. 

Nevertheless, there is something we can all do.

By taking part in these demonstrations, and by putting their names on petitions these malicious antisemites expose themselves. It means they are no longer hidden. We can then choose not to employ them, refuse to buy their products, to boycott their companies. We can also go out of our way to support the businesses that these antisemites chose to boycott.

With this in mind here is a list of members of the MEAA (Media Entertainment and Art Alliance), the Union that represents a wide range of industries including journalists. 
They formed a pro-Palestine group and have also written a letter to urge MEAA journalists to provide better treatment of Palestine as opposed to Israel. Yes, Journalists want other journalists to be activists in pushing one point of view. 

The activists assume we will stand by while they harass, intimidate, indoctrinate our citizens. We do need to fight back.

Wednesday 29 November 2023

Israel IS following rules of war

Widespread claims of war crimes against Israel have been made following Israel's military response to Hamas's unprecedenteed massacre of 1200 Israeli civilians and taking of 250 hostages on Oct 7. Even before Israel had organized any response Israel was being warned by Australia's foreign minister, Penny Wong to 'exercise restraint'. Everyone seems to accept that Israel has a right to self defense but they fall short of allowing Israel to do so unreservedly. Most often they add some qualification, warning Israel to follow the rules of war.  This is despite any evidence of Israel ever having not done so! And adespite Hamas , repeatedly, having broken the rules of war and perpetrating war crimes. 

Few commentators have clarified the rules of war to inform the public.  So any attempt is worth circulating. 
John Spencer is certainly well qualified to assess Israel's compliance with the 'rules of war;. See his bio below.

John Spencer is chair of urban warfare studies at the Modern War Institute (MWI) at West Point, codirector of MWI’s Urban Warfare Project and host of the “Urban Warfare Project Podcast.” He served for 25 years as an infantry soldier, which included two combat tours in Iraq. He is the author of the book “Connected Soldiers: Life, Leadership, and Social Connection in Modern War” and co-author of “Understanding Urban Warfare.” 

In his article titled Opinion: I’m an expert in urban warfare. Israel is upholding the laws of war
published on CNN's Website, he covers the core issues.

War Realities:
  • All war involves killing and destruction, with civilians historically suffering the most in conflicts, especially in urban warfare.
  • Urban warfare presents unique challenges, impacting both soldiers and civilians, with noncombatants often constituting the majority of casualties.
  • Approximately 90% of casualties in modern urban wars involve civilians, even when led or supported by Western powers.
War Crimes and Legal Assessments:
  • Destruction and suffering in war don't automatically constitute war crimes; accusations must be assessed based on evidence and armed conflict standards.
  • Hamas violated multiple laws of war, including taking hostages, targeting civilians, and using human shields.
  • Israel's actions are subject to examination based on international humanitarian law principles, including military necessity, proportionality, distinction, humanity, and honour.
International Support for Israel:

President Joe Biden and European countries support Israel's self-defence, recognizing its right to immediate and unilateral self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter.

Israel's Pledge to International Law:
  • Israel pledged to obey international law, with proportionality as a cornerstone, requiring consideration of civilian harm compared to military advantage.
  • Israel's actions, including targeting a senior Hamas commander, align with military necessity and proportionality principles.
  • IDF implements practices to minimize harm, such as warning civilians before strikes and providing evacuation routes.
Complex Principle of Distinction:
The principle of distinction requires Israel to differentiate between civilians and combatants, aiming to minimize civilian casualties.

Challenges in Urban Warfare:
Emptying a city of civilians before the urban battle is essentially impossible, posing challenges for minimizing harm.

Israel's Efforts and Cooperation:
Israel takes steps to constrain forces, provide safe areas, and cooperate with the US to facilitate humanitarian aid entry into Gaza.

Reality of Pursuing a Terrorist Organization:
Pursuing a terrorist organization in urban areas creates a nightmarish landscape, reminiscent of past campaigns against groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS.

Evidence of Respect for Rules of War:
The visual impact of conflict in Gaza doesn't indicate indiscriminate bombing. Israel's restraint in using full military capacity suggests adherence to rules of war.

Defensive Campaign for Survival:
Israel's actions are framed as a defensive campaign to ensure its survival, challenging the characterization of revenge.

In summary ;

"Like all similar conflicts in modern times, a battle in Gaza will look like the entire city was purposely razed to the ground or indiscriminately carpet-bombed – but it wasn’t. Israel possesses the military capacity to do so, and the fact that it doesn’t employ such means is further evidence that it is respecting the rules of war. It is also a sign that this is not revenge – a gross mischaracterization of Israeli aims – but instead a careful defensive campaign to ensure Israel’s survival."

Tuesday 28 November 2023

The myth of Gaza’s innocent civilians

The widespread marches declaring the "Stand with Palestine" decry the large number of casualties resulting from Israel's response to Hamas' atrocities of October 7. The marches are united by their declaration of support for innocent victims of Israel's retaliation.  The civilians they claim are the victims, as they did not start the war, it was Hamas. The civilians are the victims of Hamas too, and did not support the attacks on Israel. But is this so?

A recent poll went to find out. The results were published in the article The myth of Gaza’s innocent civilians

The results are sobering.  I'll let you read the article, but here a few snippets'

  • "A recent poll of Arab Muslim residents of the West Bank and Gaza, known as ‘Palestinians’ circa 1967, conducted by the Arab World for Research and Development (AWRAD) asked them.
  • 74% supported the Hamas atrocities of Oct 7. Of these 59% “extremely” support them and another 15% only “somewhat”. Only 7% were “extremely against” and 5% somewhat against.
  • That’s 74% in favor of murdering, raping and kidnapping Jews and only 12% against.
  • Only 7% were ‘extremely’ against murdering and abducting children."

  • "83% of those in the West Bank, ruled by the Palestinian Authority, said that they supported the Hamas atrocities. Only 7% were opposed. In Gaza, there was notably less enthusiasm at 63%. But after weeks of bombings and raids, only 20% seem to have decided it was a bad idea.
  • Why were only 7% of those in the West Bank, but 20% of those in Gaza opposed?
  • Do those extra 13% of Gazans reflect a people (slightly) more likely to value human life or terrorist supporters who, like their comrades in the West Bank, like it better when someone else is doing the fighting? If the attack had come from the West Bank, would 83% (instead of just 63%) of those in Gaza be enthusiastic about the massacre and beheading of Israelis?"
and finally. 
  • "A majority believed that the Hamas atrocities were an Islamic response to the “defilement of Al Aqsa” by allowing Jews to set foot on the former site of the Holy Temple.
  • 98% in Gaza and the West Bank said that they felt ‘pride’ as ‘Palestinians’ over the war.
  • 74% expect the fighting to end with the defeat of Israeli forces in Gaza.
  • Only 17% support a two-state solution while 77.7% want to destroy Israel and replace it with a ‘Palestinian’ state."
So are there 'innocent civilians' in Gaza?  Certainly, but most probably fewer than the Pro Palestine marchers claim.

Thursday 23 November 2023

Are EVs going to make it?

With the rapid rise in EVs driven by the climate-change-obsessed West, real-world experience is starting to raise questions.  The uptake has been Nevertheless that targets are very ambitious, perhaps better recognised as impossible. In Australia, the objective is to have EV sales representing 80% of all vehicle sales by 2030. No doubt similar ambitious targets have been set for many countries with similar climate agendas. Indeed many countries have announced phasing out of non-EVstake-up by some future date, thankfully usually at least a decade out. In Australia's case, despite a Climate Change minister who seems to have ejected all common sense and is willing to spend whatever it takes to achieve unachievable targets Reality does have a habit of coming back to bite, and so it is with EVs. With ex,take up rates the number crunchers project just 30% of new car sales will be EVs by 2030. SO Mr Bowen has some work ahead of him.

Don't get me wrong I like the idea of an EV. The electric motor is much simpler, more robust, produces great torque, is efficient, and with all the new gizmos being built in, they are technologically advanced vehicles. However, like many new technologies they have some real problems. In the case of EVs the issues are simple and serious; -

- they are not green and clean, as has been claimed

- they are expensive ( see my post for a recent study on the costs  )

- the battery technology is not yet mature. 

With regard to their Green credential see Electric Cars Aren’t Nearly as Green as People Think. There are many other articles noting the same issues. (Of course the EV industry and the CC zealots are trying to mitigate this by a lot of smoke and mirrors, so you will find many references refuting these claims,)

With regard to costs see my recent post Unmasking the real cost of EVs,

As for the battery technology, we have the following problems ;

  • charge time is excessive, making it impractical for long-distance travel. Many stories have already emerged in Australia where travelling from Sydney to Melbourne turned into a nightmare of long waits at charging stations and the like.
  • batteries have a limited life of about 10 years and a high cost of $10,000, resale values of expensive vehicles drop rapidly
  • worse still is the tendency of these batteries to become unstable, and either explode or burst into flame. This presents quite an issue for owners, even if the occurrence is very rare.  The consequent damage to adjacent property can be significant, not to mention dangerous. Insurance premiums are likely to add to the costs and may make EV ownership prohibitive.

Here is a video that highlights the very real danger with Lithium-ion batteries.

So Mr Bowen's EV dream seems to be turning, like many of his other ill-thought-through ideas, into a nightmare!

Wednesday 22 November 2023


A friend recently passed on to me a short piece under the title "The Bird Feeder" that happens to ring too true today. A quick search found that it has been around for a while and has been requoted a number of times. One source here The Bird Feeder.



I bought a bird feeder. I hung it
on my back porch and filled it
with seed. What a beauty of
a bird feeder it was, as I filled it
lovingly with seed.
Within a week we had hundreds of birds
taking advantage of the
continuous flow of free and
easily accessible food.

But then the birds started
building nests in the boards
of the patio, above the table,
and next to the barbecue.

Then came the shit. It was
everywhere: on the patio tile,
the chairs, the table ...

Then some of the birds
turned mean. They would
dive bomb me and try to
peck me even though I had
fed them out of my own

And others birds were
boisterous and loud. They
sat on the feeder and
squawked and screamed at
all hours of the day and night
and demanded that I fill it
when it got low on food.

After a while, I couldn't even
sit on my own back porch
anymore. So I took down the
bird feeder and in three days
the birds were gone. I cleaned
up their mess and took down
the many nests they had built
all over the patio.

Soon, the back yard was like
it used to be ..... quiet, serene....
and no one demanding their
rights to a free meal.

Now let's see......
Our government gives out
free food, subsidized housing,
free medical care and free
education, and allows anyone
born here to be an automatic

Then the illegals came by the
tens of thousands. Suddenly
our taxes went up to pay for
free services; small apartments
are housing 5 families; you
have to wait 6 hours to be seen
by an emergency room doctor;
Your child's second grade class is
behind other schools because
over half the class doesn't speak

Corn Flakes now come in a
bilingual box; I have to
'press one ' to hear my bank
talk to me in English, and
people waving flags other
than ”ours” are
squawking and screaming
in the streets, demanding
more rights and free liberties.

Just my opinion, but maybe
it's time for the government
to take down the bird feeder.
If you agree, pass it on; if not,
just continue cleaning up the shit!

Tuesday 21 November 2023

The burden of truth

"There is a burden of truth on all of us. There is a weight of responsibility to not give legitimacy to those who do not deserve it" Gemma Tognini "Media regards claims of murderous monsters as legitimate"

Gemma has hit the bull's eye again with her piece (see link above) articulating what many of us have concluded about Main Stream Media. I am not new to criticising the media, just look at the many posts I have penned over the years (see Media related posts ). 

Given the horrendous, unspeakable atrocities perpetrated by Hamas on Oct 7, I expected that the civilised world would speak with one voice. A singular, unquestioning, unambiguous, unqualified voice of condemnation. Yet I was wrong. It did not take even one week for the apologists for Hamas to take to the streets condemning not Hamas but Israel. I guess some reaction from the Islamists, and their useful idiots was not really surprising, but what was and remains surprising, at least to me, is the lack of moral clarity by the media. These are educated, trained journalists who should be able to discern the truth. Professional journalists would be expected to ask questions and evaluate commentary based on the credibility of their sources. Most of all I would expect a commitment to truth. But no. Too many journalists have failed their profession. 

They have accepted as true statements from those who have shown no respect for truth. From those who have been shown repeatedly to have lied. What can you say about a journalist who reports as true, without qualification, claims of 10000 dead civilians, when their source, Hamas,  had claimed 500 civilians had been killed by the Israeli bombing of a hospital which was later proved to be false. It was not Israel but a Palestinian rocket misfire, it was not 500 but about 50 and it had not destroyed the hospital but the car-park of the hospital. Ok so they did it once. But then they made repeated claims that the Al Shifa hospital was not being used by Hamas and that Israel was guilty of war crimes for attacking a hospital When Israel stated they had evidence that it was being used by Hamas, the media started qualifying the reporting saying "Israeli spokesmen claim that the hospital was being used by Hamas". Suddenly they qualify when it comes to claims by Israel but make no such qualifications when reporting on civilian deaths claimed by Hamas.

As a result, Israel has had to do its own media reporting to ensure the truth was told. They have published videos proving that the hospital had been used by Hamas for a long time given the existence of large reinforced tunnels built directly under the hospital. They also released a video from the hospital's internal video systems showing that hostages captured on Oct 7 were taken to the hospital. The truth laid bare despite all the lies.

YouTube Video of the tunnels under Al Shifa hospital

YouTube video showing Al Shifa hospital's security video showing Hamas transporting hostages. As this is adult content to view it you will have to follow the links and view it on YouTube

So what about our media. They have been shown to have had no respect for the truth. Indeed they have not had respect for the truth for a long time. The Shifa hospital was part of the Hamas infrastructure going back at least a decade. And it is unbelievable that the doctors who work there did not know, nor indeed that the media did not know it.

It reminds me of the MeToo movement that seemed to burst into our newspapers only after one brave victim of Harvey Weinstein's sexual misconduct spoke out. Then of course many a victim then came out of the woodwork to join the accusing crowd. In that case, too, it was well known that Weinstein had been a sexual predator, yet no one, not one of the strongly outspoken feminists who had been abused had had the courage to call it out. 

It has taken an all-out war between Israel and Hamas to call out the media lies that have provided support for Hamas' public relations. With Weinstein, the victims and their supporters came together as a group to ensure Weinstein was punished. Now that the media acolytes have been exposed will we see the media call out Hamas for its lies? Will the media confess their own complicity? I doubt it.

But Gemma's words resound more than ever. 

"There is a burden of truth on all of us. There is a weight of responsibility to not give legitimacy to those who do not deserve it"

Tuesday 14 November 2023

Unmasking the real cost of EVs

 A recent paper OVERCHARGED EXPECTATIONS: UNMASKING THE TRUE COSTS OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES by The Texas Public Policy Foundation provides a sobering assessment. 

The executive summary highlights the economic aspects of electric vehicle (EV) ownership and the challenges associated with the transition from internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) to EVs. 

While the report relates specifically to the US, it does illustrate the misleading headline figures that are driving EV sales. I would expect similar issues in all countries pursuing the move to EVs.

Key points include

  • A comprehensive analysis of the costs associated with electric vehicle (EV) ownership is crucial for a holistic understanding of the economic landscape surrounding the attempted mass transition from internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) to EVs.
  • Major selling points promoted by EV advocates are lower maintenance and fueling costs over the life of the vehicle and the common claim that reductions in battery prices will eventually make EVs less expensive to own than ICEVs.
  • A study conducted by a group at the Argonne National Laboratory estimated that while an average EV is about $22,000 more expensive to purchase than a comparable ICEV, they cost about $14,000 less to fuel, insure and maintain over a 15-year period, making their lifetime cost only $8,047 more than an ICEV.
  • No one has attempted to calculate the full financial benefit of the wide array of direct subsidies, regulatory credits, and subsidized infrastructure that contribute to the economic viability of EVs.
  • The average model year (MY) 2021 EV would cost $48,698 more to own over a 10-year period without $22 billion in government favours given to EV manufacturers and owners.
  • EV advocates claim that the cost of electricity for EV owners is equal to $1.21 per gallon of gasoline, but the cost of charging equipment and charging losses averaged out over 10 years and 120,000 miles, is $1.38 per gallon equivalent on top of that.
  • Adding the costs of the subsidies to the true cost of fueling an EV would equate to an EV owner paying $17.33 per gallon of gasoline. 
  • And these estimates do not include the hundreds of billions more in subsidies in the Inflation Reduction Act (2022) for various aspects of the EV supply chain.

Friday 10 November 2023

Is journalistic ethics an oxymoron?

"Moral clarity", "moral compass", and "Moral fog", are phrases used frequently nowadays to expose arguments that support actions with a flawed ethical basis. Most common recently in relation to the Oct 7 Hamas attack on Israeli civilians, but of course applicable in many other areas of cultural conflict.


So what is moral clarity? While not easy to define for any situation, hypothetical questions provide some insight by focusing on dilemmas where we have to make choices. Our choice of right or wrong highlights our moral compass. For ourselves at least.

Here are three hypothetical questions to let you clarify your own position.

Question 1; You are a journalist confronted by an active crime scene. A young man has a woman by the throat and is trying to rape her. Do you; -

1. Try to stop him and liberate the woman?
2. Call for help and try to help her?
3. Take out your mobile phone and start filming the rape?

Question 2: You are a television journalist and your producer has inside information of where and when a protest will take place in front of a private residence. He wants you to go and cover the protest together with a film crew. You are told the protest is on a private residence so you are to ensure you do not violate trespassing laws.

Do you
1.  Follow your producer's instructions and go to the property without alerting the owner of the property?
2. Tell your producer that you would be an accomplice and therefore do not accept the assignment?
3. Inform the authorities and let them know where and when the illegal protest will take place then go and cover the protest?

Question 3; You are a photo journalist and your producer has asked you to attend a military action by a terrorist organisation. Your producer has asked you to cover the action to provide a professional record.
You know this is going to be violent and on a large scale

Do you
1. Follow your instructions and join the group as an observer to record the 'action'?
2. Tell your producer that you refuse to go as you do not want to be an accomplice to the actions of a terrorist group
3, Do you advise the authorities where and when a terrorist attack is to take place and then go and cover the action?

And a second part to this last hypothetical. 

Question 3 part 2
You had decided to go and create a record without informing the authorities who could prevent it. You now find that the terrorists are carrying out a massacre, murdering, raping, butchering, burning, decapitating,

Do you
1. Cover the story with pictures and live narrative?
2. Refuse to take part in any way?
3 Try to help those being massacred?

Of course, these are pointed questions. Unfortunately, the scenarios are not totally hypothetical,  Question 2 is based around the protest covered by Australia’s ABC where the TV crew covered an anti-mining protest at Woodside CEO's Perth residence (see Woodside files formal complaint with ABC over CEO protest. They chose not to let the victim know but took part in what they knew would be an illegal action. What do you think of the ABC's ethics?

And worse still Question 3. There was a CNN journalist embedded with the Oct 7 Hamas massacre of Israeli civilians. Yes, really. Hard to believe. Of course, some questions on ethics are now being asked, but this is after the event.

These questions are of course not easy. I can hear journos providing a variety of excuses for moral compromises; 
  • "If we let authorities know, then we would never have informers
  • "The crimes would have occurred even if we were not there, but then the world would not know about them? Surely it is better to shine a light on such events?”
  • "We never break the law"

Mmm. I guess that is where the moral clarity is missing and moral fog takes over.

Saturday 4 November 2023

We cannot relinquish the streets to the mob!

 Repercussions of Hamas' barbaric attack on Israeli citizens are percolating throughout the world with continued rocket fire by Hamas, the severe bombing of military targets by Israel, and most recently a full-force ground invasion, with the rest of the world polarising. Most Western democracies have stood strongly by Israel and support their mission to eliminate Hamas. But so too, most Western democracies have a noisy minority voicing general anti-Israeli sentiments, together with antisemitic tropes. The minority is too often allowed to march and given implied support by an activist-biased media. Unfortunately, we have been here before. The magnitude of the attack by Hamas is however unprecedented, a ubiquitous word nowadays, so we are in new territory. The coming weeks will tell.

I have been shocked by the barbarism and even more by the many of my fellow citizens who have failed to condemn it but rather support it. I am dismayed by the marches and demonstrations shouting anti-semitic slogans. But most of all I am astounded by the failure of our police to enforce the laws against illegal demonstrations and hate speech. With such a blatant violation of the law, inaction clearly sends a message, that we will not enforce hate speech laws if they are directed at Israel or Jews. It is like a time warp to the 1930s with Hitler gangs and marches. What is the base reason for such moral inversion? Is it playing for Muslim votes as some have excused, or is it something far more serious? Is it plain and simple cowardice? The police have no problem breaking up unauthorised demonstrations by peaceful anti-lockdown protesters, even using rubber bullets to break up the demonstration and arrest large numbers. Yet they have no appetite to break up a belligerent crowd fomenting hatred of Israel and Jews. Is it sympathy with the cause? I don’t know but think it is cowardice. Cowardice in the face of a loud belligerent angry mob. Fair enough they fear that they may be hurt in the melee. But if that is really the case they have the wrong job. We need police who will apply the law without FEAR or favour. Without FEAR! Also, there has been no follow-up on those who clearly broke hate speech laws in their harangues to the crowd. They were identifiable. They clearly broke the law. But was the law enforced?. Were they arrested? Has anyone been charged? Not to my knowledge.

Cowardice in the face of a minority who intimidates even our law enforcement is clearly unacceptable. We cannot, must not, relinquish peace and safety to the rule of the mob. 
It is time to hold the Police Commissioners and the Ministers of Police accountable and replace them with those who have the courage to do their jobs. In NSW we need both the Minister of Police Yasmin Catley and Police Commissioner Karen Webb to be sacked. Premier Minns if you fail to replace these people, then you yourself will share the blame and your electorate will hold you accountable via the ballot box. It will become your failure to replace those who have not done their jobs to keep our streets safe. You cannot abandon the Jewish citizens of your state because they are a small minority. Failure to enforce the law reflects on all of us. How can any of us feel safe if the laws intended to protect us are not enforced?

Thursday 2 November 2023

Time to leave UN and create a new world body of - United Democratic Nations

The United Nations (UN) was established in 1945 with the aim of promoting international cooperation and maintaining global peace and security. However, while it may have had some success as a forum for discourse it has utterly failed to maintain global peace and security. Worse still, it has become a pulpit for dictators and malevolent blocks to bully the weaker countries. In recent years it has evolved to become a supra-national legislative body usurping the rights and obligations of a democratic country to serve its population. 

Of course, much of this is not surprising. After all, while the UN purports to represent the world of nations, they do not represent the world of people. Many of the UN's nations do not represent their own citizens, as they are not democratic and do not hold regular, free elections. 

There are many reasons the UN is not working, including;-

  1. Dictatorships: The UN has a large number of member states that are dictatorships or authoritarian regimes. These countries often use their veto power to block resolutions that go against their interests, making it difficult for the UN to take action on important issues.
  2. Human Rights Council: The UN’s Human Rights Council has member states with very poor human rights records. This undermines the credibility of the council and makes it difficult for it to effectively address human rights abuses around the world.
  3. Disproportionate resolutions: The vast majority of the UN’s resolutions are used to demonise just two countries, the US and Israel. At the same time, they ignore serious abuses by other member states.
  4. Ineffectiveness: The UN has never prevented a war, nor has it stopped one. Clearly, this is because its members are not all democratic countries that value the lives of all citizens.

Given these failures, there is a strong case for establishing a new world body modelled on the United Nations but with stricter membership criteria. Such a body could require that member states be democratic and have free and fair elections on a regular basis.  This would ensure that only countries committed to human rights and democratic values are represented.

Such a body would have significant benefits; -

  1. Democratic representation: Requiring member states to be democratic would promote democratic values and reduce the influence of authoritarian regimes.
  2. Improved effectiveness: Unlike the old UN, the new UDN would be able to provide peacekeeping assistance for conflict resolution and even military force to resolve wars started by belligerent states.  
  3. Reduced bias: Members of UDN being respected democratic states would remove the incongruence of a UNHRC having members who have abused Human Rights. The UDN would avoid accusations of bias and a lack of impartiality. 
  4. Greater accountability: A new world body could be more accountable than the UN. Democratic states generally provide more transparency and accountability.

The UN is clearly not working. Even today, while it is fomenting violence in the Middle East, Iran is to Chair UN Human Rights Forum. What a farce!

Surely, it is time to call time on the United Nations and create a new United Democratic Nations to provide responsible, democratic leadership to our troubled world.