Archive for February, 2015

Tricky Triggs report hopelessly emotional

February 19, 2015

“Wild accusation, colourful paraphrasing and repetitively themed doomsday imagery are the hallmarks of political emotionalism, a persuasive doctrine that undermines realism as the evidentiary standard in Western academe, law and government. It is accompanied by the use of anecdote and emotion in the place of objective fact and causal reasoning.”

Jennifer Oriel.

An outstanding analysis of Australian Human Rights Commissioner Jillian Trigg’s report on Children in Detention should be read, marked learned and inwardly digested. It is scandalous that something so shabby and biased gets produced with such fawning approval by the ABC and Fairfax.

Apart from the plain political bias and intention to embarrass the Abbott Government when it has vastly improved the situation of detained children from the ALP disaster, the emotionalism, methodology, and generally superficial nature of its analysis is laid out clearly in Oriel’s stringent criticism.

In the absence of a scientifically valid method to demonstrate causality, the inquiry yields data that is largely known, namely that some people report ill health during immigration processing and some commit harm to themselves or others.
The most serious allegations of child physical and sexual assault receive curiously little attention, with a note that they have been referred to a government department. If child abusers are in the general population of immigration centres or have been given residency in Australia, why doesn’t the commission recommended their deportation?

Suggestive but fallacious implications about ill health and abuse are made:

The research indicates complex causality underlies reported ill health among aspiring immigrants, which may include experiences before arrival. It also may include vested political interests, as we learned from recent reports refugee advocates were coaching self-harm among immigrants in detention centres. The inquiry did not study complex causal pathways, and the systemic statistical bias arising effectively nullifies the validity of its conclusions.

In conclusion, this is not a pursuit of justice:

It is clearly unacceptable that emotionalism should supplant impartial inquiry and objective truth in the pursuit of justice. The National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention fails the test of scholarly objectivity, political impartiality and public reason that distinguishes the free world of liberal democracy from its tyrannical counterparts. In so doing, it fails the Australian public, genuine refugees and children who deserve so much better than to be used as political fodder in a tired old game.

PC hypocrisy gone mad

February 12, 2015

The blood hounds out for Abbott are relentless.

As if we didn’t know, it is one thing to be disappointed about Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s performance, but another to hypocritically and gleefully go him when he uses the very same word as Paul Keating, Bob Brown, Scott Ludlam, and even John Howard. When these others used it there was of course not a ripple from the fetid media pond.

Abbott hanged for what the gallery forgave Keating and Bob Brown.

Economics of optimism

February 11, 2015

Or how the UN, government bureaucracy and the wicked word ‘sustainability’, along with no less than 1,000 NGOs, can undermine good work and waste money

Bjorn Lomborg, working with his Post-2015 Copenhagen Consensus group, is refining his daring idea of working out what projects gives the world the best bang for each dollar spent on global development for the poor. An article republished on his own website from the Economist quotes Belland Melinda Gates on just how much progress is being made in a world of seeming total pessimism.

“THE lives of people in poor countries will improve faster in the next 15 years than at any other time in history. And their lives will improve more than anyone else’s.” So predict Bill and Melinda Gates in their annual letter, published on January 22nd. The wealthy philanthropists expect the rate of infant mortality to halve by 2030, from one child in 20 dying before turning five to one in 40. They also forecast the eradication of polio and perhaps three other deadly diseases. Improvements in agriculture will mean that Africa will be able to feed itself. Financial security will improve as the 2 billion people who do not have a bank account start storing money and making payments using mobile phones. And affordable online courses will open up huge educational opportunities for poor people, especially girls.

That’s the good news. However, the United Nations is introducing what it calls “Sustainable Development Goals”. The dreaded S word in the title with its massive baggage of ideology, guarantees billions of wasted money, myriad targets and no accountability.

On January 17th action/2015, a coalition of over 1,000 NGOs and celebrities, began a campaign for SDGs that are inspiring, properly financed and monitored with good data—sound principles, but ones that will not help much in winnowing down the number of goals and targets.

However, the one change that would improve poverty reduction by a factor of up to one hundred for each dollar spent over other targeted spending, is simply free trade.

As for the UN push for data development — think bureaucrats — there is increasing scepticism. Lomborg points out:

gathering data is hugely expensive, at around $1.5 billion per SDG target; measuring all 169 proposed targets would eat up 12.5% of total international development aid.

Naturally, Lomborg and his team question money for climate change as being virtually useless in the context of development targets, but the idea of 169 targets “is like having no targets at all”.


February 8, 2015

The Arab oil era is over, and so is the destructive power of the Persian Gulf ‘s oil dictatorships. 

So much rubbish has been written about peak oil, like most predictions by environmentalists about our future.  Just the other night we saw the three wise men, Tim Flannery, David Karoly and Will Steffen, offering their gold, frankincense and myrrh, peddling their alarmism. Always there for a free pass on the Their ABC, does anyone really believe these empt vessels any more?

Not only did peak oil not happen — I remember Bjorn Lomborg showing a graph of peak oil alarms going back to 1920 — he also made the insightful remark that the bronze age did not come about because the stone age ran out of stones.

Now a barrel of oil is basically half the price it was just a few months ago. This is a radical game changer overlooked by most commentators. It could well be a profound game changer equivalent of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

An interesting editorial appeared in an Israeli paper, which looks at the magnitude of what might be happening.

 The most dramatic news in 2014 almost went unnoticed: The United States lifted the restrictions on American oil exports, and as of the first day of the new year it has begun exporting oil to the world.

No one believed this would happen so fast, but the US is already the world’s biggest oil manufacturer, bigger than Saudi Arabia , thanks to the oil shale technology which changed the world of energy ……

This means that oil prices will continue to drop, as the US is already competing against other manufacturers. As a result, Russia will be crushed, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf states will fall flat on their face, the cartel will collapse, and all the dictatorships which were mainly based on oil – like Iran – will face a gloomy future …

The Arab oil era is over, and so is the destructive power of the Persian Gulf’s oil dictatorships. These dictatorships have disgracefully controlled the failing Europe: Buying politicians, bribing companies, taking over the economy and gaining political power which was also used against Israel …

It seems too good to be true, but let us hope the geopolitical equation is changing.

Extreme Greens dangerous

February 4, 2015

No one but the Greens could want to decriminalise hard drugs and yet outlaw pâté.

I thought the Australian Greens were pretty unrealistic and were in the habit of taking their fantasies for reality, but the Brits are not bad either.
From wanting the society to become poorer, to being the worst in managing local councils, and wanting to cut back on defence spending whilst making membership of ISIS legal, this British Party, headed up no less by an Australian, seems even crazier than our Greens.

Yet,  even with policies that will deliberately make society poorer, the British Greens appears to be the fastest-growing party in Britain.

The litany of madness is as boundless as is their total misunderstanding of how the world works. An editorial in the Spectator observes that the three main parties have been happy to cast accusations of extremism at Ukip, yet they have missed the real extremist party in their midst.

[The Green’s website states] that the party wants to pay every-one a ‘Citizen’s Income’ — which has since been put at £72 a week — in order to allow ‘current dependence on economic growth to cease, and allow zero or negative growth to be feasible without individual hardship should this be necessary on the grounds of sustainability’ …

Brighton, the one council they run, languishes at 306th out of 326 English councils for its recycling rate. Only a quarter of its rubbish was recycled in the last year, compared with two-thirds for the best authorities. For a supposedly green party, this is an astonishing failure.

It is a proud aim of the party to reduce international trade, something which absurdly they seem to think can be done without harm to developing countries.

Only the Green party could propose to shrink our armed forces, end the arms industry and simultaneously make it legal to be a member of Isis or al-Qaeda. No one but the Greens could want to decriminalise hard drugs and yet outlaw pâté.

A splendid article worth reading.