Saturday, January 24, 2004


I suppose I should comment on the latest psychology findings just gleefully paraded in the NYT -- to the effect that too much choice can be bad for you. Too much choice is said to be confusing, paralysing and dissatisfying. This is actually a very old idea -- one made much of in Alvin Toffler's 1971 book, Future shock -- and it is ideal fodder for Leftists who want to dictate to people. As good totalitarians have always said, they can say: "See. Choice is bad for you. WE will make all your decisions for you".

There is of course some truth in saying that choice can be "blinding", as Toffler put it, but everything has its costs and the key question to ask is what if YOUR particular choice (of jam or anything else) were taken away? You would not like it. I myself feel irritated by the vast range of jams, mayonnaise etc that I have to go through in the supermarket to find just the one I want -- but I get REALLY irritated if my particular favourite is not among those on offer. The basic conclusion is that if we want our OWN choice of something, we have to tolerate OTHER people being given their choice too. Freedom has its costs. Nobody has ever pretended otherwise. But take that freedom away and you run into REALLY big costs -- in happiness and much else besides.

And there is the larger question of whether getting what you want makes you happy. Often it may not. As Oscar Wilde memorably wrote in his 1892 play Lady Windermere's Fan: "In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it". And having choices and options may be an instance of something that people seek but which does not make them happy. But surely only someone who thinks he is a very superior being (e.g. the typical Leftist) would see that as a reason to stop giving people what they want. Who are we to sit in judgment on other people's choices and on what will make them happy? As Queen Elizabeth I asked the King of Spain centuries ago: "Why cannot Your Majesty let your subjects go to the Devil in their own way?"

There is another thoughtful comment -- by Peg Kaplan -- on the issues involved here


I have just posted here another email from one of my scientific correspondents about unscientific scientists.

I liked the dry comment on FEE (post of 22nd) about this news item: "The US Commerce Department has said it may impose tariffs of up to 123% on Chinese, Malaysian, and Thai plastic shopping bag producers." FEE commented: "Finally, someone recognizes the threat from plastic-bag imports"

This comment from Jane Fonda suggests that the combination of Leftism and feminism is REALLY bad for the brain: "Fonda became involved after attending her first "Vagina Monologues.'' -- "I had resisted it. You know with my kind of controversies, I don't need to add vaginas and c -- . But it changed my life. I began to own my vagina, and I realized the extent to which I hadn't owned it before.'' (Via Opinion Journal)

All that addled French philosophy seems to be bad for the brain too. Witness this statement: "French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie criticized "certain radical, neoconservative ideas" in the United States as harmful to U.S. relations with Europe. She singled out what she called American aspirations for economic supremacy". How can you aspire to be something that you are already? How can you unlock an unlocked door? I guess you can in French philosophy. (Via Opinion Journal)

As a group called Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch (MLAW) points out: 'lawsuits, and fear of lawsuits, have prompted many manufacturers to issue warnings against even obvious misuses of consumer products.' MLAW has announced the winners of their 'Wacky Warning Label Contest' -- and the results remind us why ambulance chasers are increasingly viewed with disdain."

North Korea shooting starving people. That's a Leftist "worker's paradise" for you.

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow gets a very thorough fisking from Michelle Malkin over Paltrow's dislike of America.

A few members of the multiculturalist police, always on the alert for real or imagined dissent, have condemned "Lord of the Rings" as racist. Maybe they should read Tolkien's own stinging rejection of racism -- written well before modern multiculturalism had even been invented

Mike Tremoglie has an article on the very strange American phenomenon of Anti-Catholic Catholic Schools. Another demonstration that most of the leadership of the old mainstream churches is Christian in name only these days. It's on a par with the atheist bishops in the Anglican churches. Ask the average Anglican clergyman whether he believes in God and you will rarely get a straight-out "Yes". The most likely response will be, "What do you mean by "God"?". And from there on you will get waffle about God being the "ground of our being", or some such gibberish.

Stopping the police from doing racial profiling seems to be effective at killing blacks. If saving lives were the aim, black areas would get extra-heavy policing! But since when have Leftists ever cared about human life?

PID says that a huge majority of Americans would like their government to be as tough on illegal immigration as Australia is. Australia locks them all up so not many bother coming these days. The failure of the U.S. elites to heed the popular will does tend to show that Australia is a much more democratic country.

This is one of the most amusing examples of our weird English language that I have seen.

Chris Brand wraps up his big coverage of the controversy in Britain about censorship by the BBC of anti-Muslim comment.

The Wicked one has recent posts about surveillance cameras and Russian beer plus some new jokes.


The Left have always wanted more spent on welfare and made "Fascism" a swear-word. President Bush deposed a brutal Fascist dictator and sponsored a big expansion of welfare. But instead of being admired by the Left, he is hated with a passion. What does that tell you about the Left? It tells you that they have no principles at all: That everything they have ever claimed to stand for is fake.

Comments? Email me here or here. If there are no recent posts here blame and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Page is here or here.


Friday, January 23, 2004


In response to my recent post about the ban on Muslim headscarves in France, I received the foillowing email:

“I was employed in Saudi by an Australian company that was under contract to its British parent. At Riyadh Air Base there were about 80- 100 Brits and about 15 or so Aussies working alongside each other as flying or simulator instructors.

To a man the Brits strongly resented the treatment of Muslims in the UK as against the treatment of non-Muslims in Saudi - I am sure you would be aware of the disparities. The Brits' experience, and my experience in Saudi, Egypt and here is that the Muslims never compromise - it is the host country that must do so. Any failure to give in to the Muslims is invariably touted by them and their supporters as discrimination, racism etc.

This did not sit well with us. While The Arab News trumpeted the latest insult to Islam in the UK or elsewhere, we were very much aware there were no churches, temples or shrines permitted in Saudi - just mosques and no more than about every kilometre apart.

The problem for the host country starts as a small insignificant cloud on the horizon. For example, in Victoria ham sandwiches are no longer served by one of the regional councils, while I understand at least one council-operated pool has set aside time for women only. All innocuous warm inner glow stuff. However, as their numbers and influence build, the politeness and warmth will be replaced by demands, as it was in Britain.

The Singaporeans (where I worked for two years with the RSAF) have no doubt about the dangers of Islam. The RSAF does not have any Muslim pilots as the government doubts the ultimate loyalty of even a Singapore born one. The concern, is that if Singapore comes into armed conflict with Indonesia or Malaysia, the Singapore Muslim just might start shooting for Allah. I am sure the Singaporean Army and Navy have similar restrictions on the employment of Muslims in sensitive occupations.

The Singaporeans must surely see us as idiots. That would be entirely reasonable from their point of view, as we seem hell-bent on importing a culture they do not like and do not trust.

As far as France is concerned I think they have left it too late - on a recent visit there I walked to the fringes of Islamic territory and sensed that I had better not go further. The Dutch are about to have the same problem with their Muslims while the Danes already do. Indeed, I thought I read recently the Danes were considering the introduction of two legal systems.

Ban headscarves - at the very minimum.”


Illegal immigration to the USA does cost the good old U.S. taxpayer heaps but who cares about good law-abiding citizens? It is the "victim" classes who get the attention. Maybe it's about time that taxpayers were recognized as victims too.

If GWB is to lighten up on Mexican illegal immigrants, maybe Mexico should co-operate with the US on Mexican cross border criminals?

The BBC has been publicly attacked by one of its own flagship TV programmes -- “Panorama” -- over the long-running accusations of Leftist bias at the BBC.

Researchers are finding the panic about drink-spiking to be something of a fraud: "the [UK] Forensic Science Service last year investigated 450 allegations of drug rape, a far lower total in itself than the 900-plus claimed by the Roofie Foundation. Of these 450 cases, just 1 to 2 per cent yielded any positive drug identification" And in Australia and New Zealand, there were drugs present in NONE of the alleged cases. It seems to be a fancy excuse to blame just plain old drunkeness on someone else. Under Leftist influence, everything is someone else's fault these days.

There is a good fisking of some of the lies in Michael Moore's Stupid white men here

A comment on Right Nation that I agree with: “Conservativism usually is the product of seeing beyond the overt and obvious into the covert or inobvious, in comparison to much of liberalism, which is often the very product of the knee-jerk, superficial, disenfranchised, angry approach to life”

The consumer pays for bad law: "Though a smattering of doctors around the country charge for phone calls and other formerly free services to help cover administrative costs, the 'office user fee' appears to be the first example of a surcharge designed specifically to defray recent hikes in malpractice insurance."

Carnival of the Vanities is up again.

I mentioned Castro's cultivation of the Eastern Orthodox Church yesterday. Father Mike Walsh of the Maryknoll Society emailed me the following reasonable comment: "If Castro thought the Orthodox were any threat to his power, they wouldn't be there. If they are not a threat to tyranny, they are hypocrites. If Castro can use them for bragging rights, then they are as compromised in Cuba as they were in the Soviet Union."

I have just put up here an email from one of my scientist readers about how biased against new ideas or "rocking the boat" most scientists are. I know from experience how right he is. And it is largely that unwillingness to question the orthodoxy that keeps the "global warming" myth alive.

The anti-globalization World Social Forum has just wrapped up its big bash in Bombay, India. Indian blogger Varnam has some interesting notes about it here and here. He notes that the anti-Globos OBJECT to India's "Green Revolution" that saved India from its recurrent famines and converted India into a food exporting country! Real humanitarians! You don't have to see much of them to conclude that they are driven by anger and hatred rather than by reason or any real concern for others.

Brazilian blogger Luis Afonso advises me that the “reactionary” Brazilian political party I referred to yesterday is just a paler shade of Leftist rather than Rightist and that there ARE no major parties of the Right in Brazil. By Anglo-Saxon standards he is probably correct in that. No wonder Brazil is poor.


The Left have always wanted more spent on welfare and made "Fascism" a swear-word. President Bush deposed a brutal Fascist dictator and sponsored a big expansion of welfare. But instead of being admired by the Left, he is hated with a passion. What does that tell you about the Left? It tells you that they have no principles at all: That everything they have ever claimed to stand for is fake.

Comments? Email me here or here. If there are no recent posts here blame and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Page is here or here.


Thursday, January 22, 2004


Bush did not cause the recession The true nature of recessions always confounds the prevailing economic orthodoxy. Highly paid economists sit in their Wall Street offices trying to figure out what's up.
The Clintons and the Democrats' moral decline A couple of weeks ago I argued that for Hillary Clinton there was an acceptable level of violence that also included murder. The statement is all too true.
China's military and Sun Tzu: What every American should know The Chinese military is extremely nationalistic in the worst possible way. There seems to be little doubt that China sees Asia and the Pacific region as its own special sphere of influence, an interest threatened by a powerful American presence.
China's economic growth and green elitists Some Westerners, specially those with a distinct greenish hue, just cannot abide the thought of China raising its living standards to Western levels. From red to green Where the Red and the Green meet: Where the old left still believe in the virtues of a centrally planned economy, the utopian left consist mainly of people who have developed a vague vision of an agrarian socialist society. Budgets and spending: a contrarian's view What we are left with are big-spending politicians; a situation that must eventually lead to higher taxes. If not that, then little or no genuine tax relief in the foreseeable future can take place. Taiwan democracy a model for China While talk of Taiwan's "economic miracle" has become commonplace, its political and social developments have been even more miraculous.

Details here


How awful for the Left: Life in the Western world has continued to improve steadily throughout the last century. For all the prophecies of doom coming from the Greens and the Left, the opposite has happened. Just this one sentence must be deeply upsetting for the American Leftists who hate their own country: "Incomes are up. Inflation-adjusted per capita income has doubled since 1960". Fancy that nasty old capitalism making people twice as rich as they were in the 1960s so beloved of the Left! But the Left will just deny it all of course. It is their own wonderful feelings that matter to them, not facts -- and certainly not the welfare of Joe Average.

I am a bit uncertain what to think about the French ban on Muslim headscarves. On the one hand, the libertarian in me says that people should be free to wear funny hats to their heart's content, but on the other, the French seem to see the ban as a signal to their large Muslim population that they are not going to have France Islamicized. Since Islam is a deadly foe of liberty as we know it, I have some sympathy for that. Good to see that the Sikhs are unlikely to be banned from wearing their turbans.

I must say I am rather pleased to see Eastern Orthodox Christianity being treated with great respect in Cuba. It's a small step but a good one.

An amazingly pro-Bush article in Australia's most Leftist newspaper here: "Most Americans also support Bush's decision to go to war with Iraq. They are not stupid".

A Brazilian reader has responded to my post about Brazil yesterday, noting that privatization there has delivered SOME benefits: "Telephones and comunication are great now, and roads with tolls on them are much better". He also points us to this site -- where a Brazilian writer rather despairs of the instinctive anti-Americanism that prevails in Brazil. His article on the causes of poverty in Brazil is hard-hitting.

And Brazilian blogger Luis Afonso has drawn my attention to this article -- which sees the present Brazilian Leftist government on a Gramscian path of gradual takeover of all the institutions of Brazilian society. There is no doubt that Brazil has taken a big risk with its present government but it seems to me that how good the outcome is depends very much on President Lula Da Silva himself and a drift from Left to Right with age and a drift from Left to Right on attaining power are both far from unknown. One can only hope at this stage. His recent alliance with a major "reactionary" party would seem to suggest that there are some grounds for such hope.

My mention of flat tax yesterday caused one reader to ask what its advantages are. Here is one answer.

Steve Sailer has summarized the available evidence on the IQ of GWB and finds he scores in the top 5%! Pretty good. Sailer reports grumbles from a psychologist about GWB's simple recreational interests but that probably keeps him close to the average American -- which is surely a virtue in a democratic leader. There is also talk of GWB not being very "open to experience" but psychologists talk such a lot of nonsense about that subject (See e.g. here) that I am not even inclined to look up the evidence for the claim. I have got very tired of refuting that sort of nonsense.

UN secretary general Kofi Annan receives the German Media Award 2003 this Wednesday in Baden-Baden, Germany. Former US president Bill Clinton will hand him the award.... The award for Kofi Annan - who was against the invasion in Iraq - is a message from the German media to the world: Annan yes, Bush no.

Some American Leftists support the Iraq war regardless of the WMD issue. Good to see that some Leftists really are against Fascists, since the Arab world has little else.

Random observations thinks that the Leftist Tugboat has sprung a leak over that pesky conservative happiness.


The Left have always wanted more spent on welfare and made "Fascism" a swear-word. President Bush deposed a brutal Fascist dictator and sponsored a big expansion of welfare. But instead of being admired by the Left, he is hated with a passion. What does that tell you about the Left? It tells you that they have no principles at all: That everything they have ever claimed to stand for is fake.

Comments? Email me here or here. If there are no recent posts here blame and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Page is here or here.


Wednesday, January 21, 2004


Awkward facts from Walter Williams: "46 percent of poor households actually own their homes; 76 percent have air conditioning; the typical poor American has more living space than the average non-poor individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens and other cities in Europe... Here's Williams' roadmap out of poverty: complete high school; get a job, any kind of a job; get married before having children and be a law-abiding citizen. Among both black and white Americans so described, the poverty rate is in the single digits."

Free trade: Moral questions and partisan politics: "In the run-up to the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 19, trade policy has been one of the hottest issues. But the debate among Democratic candidates seems to revolve around who is more opposed to free trade. Voters should beware, however, that trade involves not just presidential politics but profound moral questions."

Another raid on the taxpayer by farmers: "The federal government has agreed to bail out the struggling citrus industry by buying up to $50 million worth of orange juice. The news was welcomed by Florida orange growers who are facing shrinking prices caused by their largest crop ever. Florida is the source of most of the nation's orange juice and is the world's second-largest orange producer behind Brazil."

Iraq to receive flat tax : "The citizens of Iraq will receive a tax reform gift in 2004, compliments of the U.S. government. 'That's because the Iraqis will enjoy something we don't -- a simple and fair tax system,' said Daniel J. Mitchell, the McKenna Fellow in political economy at The Heritage Foundation. 'Beginning in January, all Iraqis will pay a flat tax of 15 percent.'"

Amazing -- Leftist admiration for Hitler -- because he was the first "Keynesian": "As Cockburn writes, "Hitler, genocidal monster that he was, was also the first practicing Keynesian leader. ... There were vast public works, such as the autobahns. He paid little attention to the deficit or to the protests of the bankers about his policies. ... By 1936, unemployment had sunk to 1 percent."

Leftists like Keynes because he said that, in a recession, governments can spend more than they raise in tax. They usually "forget" Keynes's "in a recession" limitation, however.


Brazil is a large and important country but I am having trouble working out what to think of the political situation there. One of my Brazilian correspondents pointed me to this article showing that their present Leftist government under Lula Da Silva is giving great honour to the old Communists and their sympathizers from Brazil's past -- which is certainly pretty disgusting. But is it important? I am inclined to think that such moves are mere tokenism. Although Lula was a flaming radical early in his career, he lost election after election on radical policies and finally won only by moving towards the centre. And since gaining power, he has been fairly Rightist in fact -- as this disgruntled Leftist points out. So I am inclined to think he is a bit like Malaysia's Mahathir -- spouting nonsense to keep his supporters happy but implementing good capitalist policies at the same time. Rather clever, in a way. That's my impression so far, anyway, but I am sure my Brazilian readers will let me know if I am missing something important. It does seem that neither privatization nor anything else does much good in most of Latin America and corruption is certainly the obvious explanation for that.

" Martin Luther King was a brave and courageous person. I agree with him that a person should be judged by the content of his character and not by the color of his skin. To those who stress King's loose sexual morals, I reply that sin is that for which we ask God's forgiveness. My problem with Martin Luther King Day is that it celebrates a civil rights revolution that achieved the opposite of King's intention. Today we are judged by the color of our skin."

Still some real Christians among American Anglicans: "Episcopal conservatives, making good on their threats to form an ecclesiastical and legal shelter for theologically orthodox believers, meet today and tomorrow in a Dallas suburb to hammer out the details. ... The AAC is the lead group opposing the November consecration of the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, the denomination's first openly homosexual bishop." (Note: I define what I mean by a "real" Christian here).

My comments yesterday on Ronald Reagan's lifelong anti-racism drew this comment from a reader: "When Reagan was working in Hollywood he joined a country club that did not allow Jews as members. As soon as found this out, he immediately resigned from the club. Some have said that he did this for professional aggrandisement due to the fact that most if not all the studios were run by Jews, but this does not seem to fit the man. Apparently he had a fist fight with Errol Flynn when Flynn made some antisemitic remarks in a bar one day. What a guy!"

Socialized medicine: "A baby was treated for the deadly meningococcal disease just days after being diagnosed with a simple case of gastroenteritis in a country hospital. Miss Carman said yesterday that on both occasions when she took the baby to the hospital, she was forced to wait in the emergency area for more than four hours. "It's really frustrating when you know your child is very ill," she said" Would YOU like a 4 hour wait when your baby had a disease that could kill it within hours?

Setting an example for GWB?: "The [Australian] Federal Government intensified its attacks on public schools yesterday, accusing the system of being hostile towards Australian heritage and values"

Arlene Peck is once again drawing attention to the double standards in the treatment of Israel.

The Wicked one has recent posts about creampuff firemen and the dubious state of justice in America.


The Left have always wanted more spent on welfare and made "Fascism" a swear-word. President Bush deposed a brutal Fascist dictator and sponsored a big expansion of welfare. But instead of being admired by the Left, he is hated with a passion. What does that tell you about the Left? It tells you that they have no principles at all: That everything they have ever claimed to stand for is fake.

Comments? Email me here or here. If there are no recent posts here blame and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Page is here or here.


Tuesday, January 20, 2004


GWB's Hispanic "guest workers" will have children -- who will be automatically U.S. citizens because they were born in the USA. So their parents will have to be allowed to become permanent residents to look after them. So the policy is in effect an open door to all who want to come. V.D. Hanson also thinks the whole idea is pretty nonsensical.

Clearly, America has no answer to its huge and continuing Hispanic influx. The horse has long ago escaped and it is no good trying to close the barn door now. There is certainly not enough political will to stop it. And there is not enough political will because lots of Americans think it is not such a bad thing. And the way it undermines restrictive labor laws is undoubtedly an important source of oxygen for the U.S. economy. And at least the immigrants are Catholic Christians rather than some alien religion. Sensible U.S. conservatives would therefore be focusing on making sure that the influx is assimilated and integrated rather than forming alien and hostile "multicultural" ghettoes. Schools that taught the immigrant children American culture, American history and traditional American values ought to be the major means of doing that but government schools in the U.S. seem to do anything but that these days. So once again it is breaking the Leftist stranglehold on the schools that is the real key to a harmonious future for America.


PID has a discussion of vested interests and global warming. The global warming mania has in my view been unparallelled in the Western world for the way it has politicized and corrupted what were once regarded as "hard" sciences. The public cannot rely on any authority for truth and objectivity these days. Perhaps that's a good thing. Skepticism of authority made the Protestant Reformation, after all.

The situation has got so bad that the White House is now having to insist that normal scientific criteria be applied to politically-relevant scientific judgments -- and the scientists are resisting! They are so politicized that they are rejecting science itself!

The first global warming scare: "A marked climate change has taken place in a number of areas around the polar circle" claims a publication by The Royal Society (UK). "In the last two years more than two thousand square miles of ice-sheet covering the Greenland Sea have completely disappeared between latitudes 74 and 80 degrees north." The big freeze, which for centuries had transformed the region into an impenetrable shield of ice, clearly seems to have lost out to warmer temperatures in no time at all. Even in central Europe the report records alarming signs of a sudden warming of the climate: All rivers whose source lies in the high mountains have flooded vast areas because of the meltwater from snowfields and glaciers." The statements just quoted above were written on 20 November 1817. See also point 3 here

One of the biggest dangers to endangered species is the U.S. Endangered Species Act -- which in theory protects endangered species but which in fact discourages conservation. Yet another example of government coercion being counterproductive.

Wallace of Big Gold Dog is a Texas oilman and he has emailed me about geologist Demming's claim that there are still big oil reserves in the ground. He makes the point that while Demming is right and there is a lot of oil still in the ground, recovering it will gradually get more costly. He is right. Recovery costs are clearly the ONLY limiting factor on oil production -- but oil-derived motor fuel is still about half the price of industrial alcohol (the major alternative motor-fuel) so we are a fair way from that ceiling. Note that, because of high taxes, much of the world already pays heaps more for their fuel than Americans do so even a big rise in prices could be absorbed with little problem over time.


And fake science is not confined to Greenie issues. Frank Furedi is one psychologist who is always worth reading and his latest article titled "A danger to the nation's children" pulls no punches. One excerpt: "Advocacy research is the very opposite of scientific investigation. Sound science is devoted to the exploration of the unknown and the discovery of the truth. Advocacy organisations don't have to discover the truth - they already know it and their research is designed to affirm what they already know".

Pretty amazing to anyone who listens to Leftists: Ronald Reagan was a lifelong anti-racist!

David's Medienkritik notes this news item about Green/Left shenanigans: "The six-day anti-globalisation meeting was overshadowed by a presumed rape. As police stated on Monday, a South African participant was arrested on charges of forcing sex on a woman from his country in his hotel room". I liked David's dry comment on the matter: "Probably a South African neo-conservative..."

Liking Indians as I do I was delighted to read these words of an Indian journalist about the tour of Australia by his country's cricket team: "Australians are, I have found, ready to laugh at themselves if they think that the joke is funny and the humour not ill-directed. And the ability to be self-deprecating is the mark of confidence; it is, as much as anything else, the yardstick by which a society measures how tolerant and self-assured it is. That tolerance and readiness to applaud have been reflected in Australian fans' attitude towards the Indian cricketers. Everywhere this Indian cricket team has gone in Australia, there has been genuine warmth towards them; there has been a great deal of respect"

More rubbery Leftist "principles": "In an interview with Jane Hall in the most recent Columbia Journalism Review, Brokaw suggests there is no such thing as liberal media bias ... and then asserts that liberal bias is an "obligation" of journalism. Journalists should "represent the views of those who are underrepresented in the social context, or the political context, and to make sure that they're not overlooked, and that their wrongs get the bright light of journalistic sunshine.""


The Left have always wanted more spent on welfare and made "Fascism" a swear-word. President Bush deposed a brutal Fascist dictator and sponsored a big expansion of welfare. But instead of being admired by the Left, he is hated with a passion. What does that tell you about the Left? It tells you that they have no principles at all: That everything they have ever claimed to stand for is fake.

Comments? Email me here or here. If there are no recent posts here blame and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Page is here or here.


Monday, January 19, 2004


Fake food scares: "In this Sunday's New York Times Magazine, organic-farming cheerleader Michael Pollan declared: 'For several years now, an alternative, postindustrial food chain has been taking shape, its growth fueled by one 'food scare' after another: Alar, G.M.O.'s [sic], rBGH, E. coli 0157:H7; now B.S.E.' This, for Pollan, is a good thing. Never mind that the Alar scare, which devastated apple farmers, was an utter fabrication staged to raise money for the Natural Resources Defense Council. Forget that biotech crops pose zero risk to human health, that milk from cows given the 'recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone' is indistinguishable from conventional milk, that Americans are more likely to get E. coli food poisoning from eating organic produce, and that -- as Pollan himself admits -- the risk of getting mad cow disease 'may be vanishingly small.'"

UK to approve commercial growth of GM crops: "The Government will next month approve the commercial growing of genetically modified (GM) crops in Britain for the first time. But ministers will impose strict conditions on the cultivation of GM maize and ban commercial GM sugar beet and oilseed rape after trials showed that they could be more damaging to the environment than conventional crops ....."

A long but very comprehensive debunking of the "multiple frauds" behind the "Kyoto" greenhouse treaty here

Geologist David Demming questions "hottest year ever recorded" claims: "the borehole data also showed that present-day climatic conditions are in fact colder than average when compared to climatic conditions that prevailed over the 10,000-year-long rise of human civilization... The geological evidence demonstrating that 20th-century warming is nothing unusual has been ignored"

Demming also says that 'The Petroleum Age is just beginning": "For more than 80 years, geological estimates of the world's endowment of oil have risen faster than humanity can pump it out of the ground. In 1920, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated the total amount of oil remaining in the world amounted to only 20 billion barrels. By the year 2000, the estimate had grown to 3,000 billion barrels. "

And physicist Tom Gold says oil is not a fossil fuel anyway and that there are still vast amounts of it to be discovered beneath the earth. Hydrocarbons (the principal components of crude oil) have been observed throughout the universe -- including on planet Jupiter -- so clearly are far too common to be explained as the product of living organisms.

Gold has an excellent if rather depressing article on fashions in science here

A good comment from a reader about Greenie predictions: "I'm always amazed that people who have no idea what the weather will be in 24 hours, can somehow figure out what will happen in 24 years, or 24 decades. I heard that Mount Rainier is starting to rumble. When that blows, imagine what will happen to the atmosphere (not to mentions Seattle)"


The cricket was on in my home town of Brisbane yesterday -- a one-day international match. I could hear the roars of the crowd at the "Gabba" cricket-ground from where I sit writing this. India beat Australia by a whisker -- which no doubt caused great joy in India. The vast majority of the world's cricket fanatics are Indians.

Leftist hypocrisy goes back a long way. They believe in nothing other than their own brilliance. This is just one extract from a history of the Soviet propaganda apparatus: "If Americans in the adversary culture understood that the oppression of blacks was the society's great institutionalized crime, Stalinism would take the highest of high ground on the "Negro question." No matter that Stalin ruled a country where a significant part of the population languished in slave labor camps. If the English adversary culture saw philistinism and middle-class repression as the enemy, Stalinism would embrace iconoclastic taste and sexual liberty as nobody else did; the Bohemianism and flamboyant homosexuality of Guy Burgess were an indispensable part of his slick Stalinism and central to his place in Bloomsbury. No matter that Soviet sexual policy and taste were intolerant to a degree that made Colonel Blimp look liberated."

And not much has changed: "Nothing can be more obvious than that the current Democratic leadership considers actual principle a laughable electoral weakness. ... Democrats consider strength to be the skillful capture of swing votes via the tactically precise execution of a fuzzy policy of standing for nothing at all, as in the case of Bill Clinton."

The German media are even using mistranslation to put the USA in a bad light in Iraq.

Some breath left in American conservatism: "National leaders of six conservative organizations yesterday broke with the Republican majorities in the House and Senate, accusing them of spending like "drunken sailors," and had some strong words for President Bush as well"

That's government for you: "Australian civil servants have been warned they could face disciplinary action if they hold lunch meetings between noon and 2pm. An Education Department circular to all staff implies lunch meetings are permissible -- as long they're not at lunchtime. The bizarre edict is one of six changes to hospitality expenditure policy."

Left wing feminists were happy to criticise the Bush/Blair campaign against Saddam Hussein but they have had no such concerns about rushing into Iraq to export their own brand of feminism. Hypocrites? Carpet baggers? The real imperialists?

Irshad Manji has been called Osama Bin Laden's worst nightmare.

Seen on a billboard outside a church"Dear God, Please help me live up to the image that my dog has of me"


The Left have always wanted more spent on welfare and made "Fascism" a swear-word. President Bush deposed a brutal Fascist dictator and sponsored a big expansion of welfare. But instead of being admired by the Left, he is hated with a passion. What does that tell you about the Left? It tells you that they have no principles at all: That everything they have ever claimed to stand for is fake.

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Sunday, January 18, 2004


Political extremists of both Left and Right have always loved their conspiracy theories but such theories now seem to be going mainstream. Frank Furedi -- one of the few psychologists I have respect for -- has a good article on why so many people now believe in conspiracy theories -- about the death of Princess Diana and JFK, about the 9/11 events and much else besides. As he says:

"The public's scepticism towards the official version of events surrounding Diana's death is the result of a profound sense of distrust in conventional authority. We live in an age of rumours where official facts often carry little more authority than an internet site devoted to alien abduction".

Under Leftist and Greenie influence, people have been told so many lies that public skepticism about government statements is warmly to be welcomed in my view. As a libertarian, I can only hope that it carries over into skepticism about the worth of government in general.

Gerard Henderson also has a good article on conspiracy theories -- though his evidence for thinking that Australians are less affected by them is pretty dated.

But Germany would now seem to be the world headquarters for conspiracy theorists. Modern-day realities seem to be too much altogether for Germans.


My mention yesterday of the demand for legal polygamy brought this response from one reader: "Polygamy is already "legal"! Back in the late 70s, this guy I worked with practiced polygamy. I heard he had personal checks with 3 names - his, and his two "wives". And the house was also "shared". If there is no marriage involved, any number of "partners" is legal. And mobility is easy - when you get tired or want to make a new arrangement, you do it. So what the hell do these people demanding "legal polygamy" want? More restrictions on their "relationship" - divorce courts, etc?" And most married men seem to have “girlfriends” at some stage too. The polygamist is just more upfront about it.

The American Left seem to have slowed down their tirade to the effect that GWB is intent on establishing an American "empire" but if there is any doubt that the American presence abroad is nothing like the empires of the past, Herbert London sets the record straight. He shows it is not even like the British Empire.

A reader noted this article on changing standards in modern society. It shows that in the US military, obesity is punished but deserters can go free -- so my reader asks: "Does this mean that they treat desserters tougher than deserters?". Very droll.

There is a fun story here about an engineer's encounter with "postmodern" literary criticism. He says that figuring out what it is all about is "a mind stretching departure from debugging C code" -- and any programmer knows how hard that can be. After studying it, he concludes: "The basic enterprise of contemporary literary criticism is actually quite simple. It is based on the observation that with a sufficient amount of clever handwaving and artful verbiage, you can interpret any piece of writing as a statement about anything at all". Personally, I regard that as a charitable judgment.

What fun! "Two words in the modern French vocabulary are almost invariably spoken here with an air of disgust: mondialisation (globalization) and McDonaldisation (no translation necessary). Tomorrow, in what some would see as the next step toward American homogenization and a gastronomic faux pas, Starbucks Coffee Company opens its first retail store in the heart of the City of Light."

On anti-Americanism: "A large part of the European left spent a large part of the 20th century hating the United States not because it had economic inequality or Jim Crow but because it did not have show trials, labor camps and the other appurtenances of "actually existing socialism." ". But, aside from that, it all boils down to jealousy. And, childish though it is, jealousy is all too common.

Are GWB and some libertarians trying to model U.S. immigration policy on the policy of Saudi Arabia? "So, the president's proposal would create a permanent guestworker class, millions strong, but lacking any realistic timetable for becoming Americans".

Pat Buchanan has some tough words criticising Bush's amnesty for illegals: "Consider what the president is saying with his amnesty. He is telling us that he cannot or will not do his constitutional duty to defend the states from invasion. He is saying that he simply cannot or will not protect our borders or enforce our immigration laws. He is saying he will no longer send illegal aliens back"

Wow! I had no idea that it was this difficult to get a prescription filled in America. If you go to a pharmacist in Australia in the morning and something is out of stock, they get it for you by that afternoon. In my experience that even applies to prescriptions requiring special authorization.

PID debunks the Leftist myths surrounding late FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

Whether or not Saddam had WMD's, he had some extremely advanced military equipment -- as this article shows (with 3 photos). No wonder the Russians opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq. They were sending Saddam their best stuff and now the U.S. has it!

The Wicked one has an interesting quiz about age.


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