Traditional marriage is tossed aside, but Uluru is the new sacred

Traditional marriage is tossed aside, but Uluru is the new sacred, by Tony Letford.

The majority of Australians have now indicated their support for the principle of same-sex marriage and the Government has introduced legislation to Parliament to make it legal for men to marry other men. This is something which was inconceivable as little as two decades ago. Such is the pace of change in our world. …

I cannot help noticing that, as the right of Christians to define sacred duties and obligations declines, those of other ‘religious’ groups are increasing.

Quite recently the leaders of the Anangu people, the custodians of Uluru, decided to ban people from climbing to the top of the world’s most famous monolith.

This was explained in a recent article in the online newsletter the Conversation as follows: ‘The climb is a men’s sacred area. The men have closed it. It has cultural significance that includes certain restrictions and so this is as much as we can say. If you ask, you know they can’t tell you, except to say it has been closed for cultural reasons.’ …

The question then arises as to why the Anangu men have the right to define what is sacred to them while the Christian clergy are facing the steady attrition of their right to define what they hold to be sacred …

The recent debate about the sanctity of the confession as an essential element in Catholic religious belief is another example of where we see a double standard operating. On the one hand we see a deeply held belief in the inviolate right of the priest not to reveal information he is offered in the confession box coming under increasing attack while on the other, we see an increasing willingness of government officials to allow Aboriginal community groups to claim rights to control access to public areas on secret religious grounds.

The Hindmarsh Island Bridge affair which ran and ran throughout the 1990s is a case in point. A group of activists opposed to the construction of a bridge to Hindmarsh Island in South Australia, concocted a story that ‘secret sacred women’s business’ meant that the bridge should not be built. Millions were spent on a Royal Commission and several court cases to get to the truth. In the end a bridge was built but not before people were bankrupted and political careers were ruined.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

How Far Will Sean Hannity Go?

How Far Will Sean Hannity Go? By Matthew Shaer from the NYT.

The Fox News host is willing to defend Trump at all costs — and is reaching more than 13 million people a day. …

Hannity rarely sleeps more than four hours a night, a trait he shares with his friend President Trump …

The opening monologue [is] a six-to-seven-minute riff that he sees as the most important part of the show. …

Hannity has been a talk-radio host for three decades — he has been on television a comparatively meager 23 years — and his posture was relaxed, his normally helmeted-for-TV hair swept into a hand-combed side part. He bickered amiably with his longtime executive producer …  and when I took a seat behind McLaughlin, Hannity hissed into the talk-back channel, placing a finger over his lips: “Shhh, guys. That’s a New York Times writer. Nobody be themselves.”

A recent show:

On the other side of the glass of the studio booth, her legs hidden beneath an American-flag blanket, Lauren Scirocco, the associate producer, was screening potential callers. “The Sean Hannity Show” receives more than 1,000 calls per line per minute, and Scirocco told me she has learned, with practice, to swiftly differentiate the cranks from the callers who might be able to engage with the host. …

A few hours later, I found Hannity in his greenroom at Fox News headquarters, dressed like a mismatched Ken doll: Up top, a suit jacket and shirt and tie, and down below, where the camera lens wouldn’t find them, jeans and loafers. In the dim light, a heavy coating of foundation and blush gave his face a garish glow. “I know, I know,” he laughed, catching me staring. “I don’t like it either.” …

“I’m an advocacy journalist, or an opinion journalist.” … The quintessential Hannity program, whether on radio or television, tends to hinge on one or more of the host’s abiding preoccupations: reverence for the military and law enforcement; nostalgia for an America that Hannity feels is slipping away; disdain for the mainstream media; and since the last presidential election, unyielding support for the agenda of Donald Trump. Berry, the senior executive producer of “Hannity,” told me that in shaping the TV show, he and Hannity try to imagine the kind of thing that would appeal to Berry’s family in Oklahoma. “I’m not thinking, Hey, will this make me popular in New York City or in the Hamptons,” Berry says. “Our audience is regular people.”

Hannity rarely grants interviews to mainstream reporters, whom he calls “disgustingly biased, ideological and corrupt.” But he also suffers from a suspicion that his critics willfully misunderstand his motivations. …

The “Access Hollywood” tapes in 2016, in which Trump bragged that women so deferred to rich men that he could grab them by their genitals:

the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape last year, in which Trump bragged of grabbing women by their genitals. At the time, many political commentators on the right were treating the video as fatal to Trump’s presidential bid; a handful of party figures called on Trump to step aside and put his running mate, Mike Pence, on the top of the ticket. Hannity went in the opposite direction, allowing that what he called the “locker room” comments were wrong, but framing the tape as a politically motivated distraction. “King David had 500 concubines, for crying out loud!” he joked to one panelist. Later, he suggested on Twitter that it was Bill Clinton who should be investigated for sexual misconduct.

It was a pivotal moment for Hannity and for Trump, and it sealed the bond between the two men. “If you look back at those traumas,” Rivera told me, “you’ll see that Hannity steadied the whole of conservative politics during those crucial times. And I think he plays much the same role now. He’s firm in his support of the president, and woe unto you if you don’t see things the same way. He’s a shield.”

Hannity is important to the Republicans:

Hannity and Trump remain extraordinarily close and speak to each other regularly. President George W. Bush once called Hannity, too, “but Hannity’s and Trump’s personalities are much more in line,” a friend of Hannity’s told me, “and they’ve both come from the media world.” In their conversations, the friend continued, Hannity served as sounding board: “Hannity’s a numbers guy, Trump’s a numbers guy. He thinks there’s nothing worse than bad numbers, and he knows Hannity’s got his finger on the pulse.” …

“If I’m trying to figure out how to communicate to the American people,” Hannity’s longtime confidant Newt Gingrich told me, “there are very few people who have a better understanding of the broad base, a better intuitive understanding of the kind of folks who elected Trump. He at least matches or surpasses Rush [Limbaugh] in that understanding.” …

In recent weeks, Hannity has launched ferocious assaults on Republicans he sees as insufficiently supportive of the president’s agenda, from Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona to the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, whom Hannity, echoing Trump, has called “weak.” …

In our conversations, Hannity insisted that he hadn’t changed at all; it was the Republicans who had left him. “Reagan talked about bold color differences, no pale pastels,” he said, “and I can’t distinguish between the Republicans and the Democrats right now.” Some Republicans, he argued, “deserve to lose.”

Stephen K. Bannon, the former chief strategist for Trump, told me Hannity is “the single most important voice for the ‘deplorables,’ ” as Trump backers often style themselves. But to his critics, Hannity’s approach is at best dismaying and at worst emblematic of the corrosive, fact-free, “at-any-costs” partisanship that helped propel Donald Trump to power. …

As the primaries gave way to the general election, Hannity and Trump’s campaign staff were in touch on an almost-daily basis. “Occasionally, we’d talk on Sean’s show knowing Trump was watching,” Gingrich told me. “The two most effective ways of communicating with Trump are ‘Fox & Friends’ and ‘Hannity.’ ” …

In November, Alvin Chang, a writer for Vox, crunched data from two years of Hannity TV transcripts and concluded that Hannity was, in his mentions of topics like “the deep state” and the uranium deal, the media’s “top conspiracy theorist.” In our conversations, Hannity rejected the label, calling it a “typical left-wing attack. My whole career I’ve pursued the truth and have been proven right time after time while my colleagues are often dead wrong.” And to watch Hannity regularly is to observe how distant the host is from a figure like the Infowars proprietor Alex Jones. Jones endorses theories; Hannity almost never does, leaving that job to his guests. It is a dance that has the effect of nourishing the more wild-eyed beliefs of his fans while providing Hannity a degree of plausible deniability.

hat-tip Scott of the Pacific

Australian Senate passes marriage bill with no amendments

Australian Senate passes marriage bill with no amendments, by Greg Brown.

The Dean Smith bill to legalise same-sex marriage has passed through the Senate with no amendments.

The bill won the support of the upper house by 43 votes to 12. It will be put to the House of Representatives next week where it will need to win the support of the majority of MPs to become law.

Liberal senator Dean Smith was the final speaker on the third reading of the bill he sponsored, declaring the bill got the “balance correct”.

“The lack of substantive amendments indicates we got the balance correct. The bill expresses a faith in the current architecture of Australia’s religious protections. The architecture is precise,” Senator Smith said. …

Nationals MP Andrew Broad has accused Malcolm Turnbull of showing a “complete lack of leadership” as conservative Coalition MPs show dismay at the likelihood the Dean Smith bill will be passed through the parliament with no amendments. …

He said there was no point in trying to move amendments in the lower house because the numbers were stacked against MPs who want further religious exemptions. …

Queensland MP Scott Buchholz and senator Ian Macdonald yesterday criticised the Prime Minister for lacking an “inner mongrel”, saying he had failed to take on Labor with more “passion and aggression”. …

Liberal frontbencher Zed Seselja last night accused colleagues of conspiring with the Greens and Labor to undermine the rights of parents and freedom of speech.

“Labor, Greens and a handful of Liberals are undermining freedom of speech, religion and parental rights in Australia by voting down these amendments,” he said.

Our way or the highway. Our civilization is being destroyed, brick by brick, on the way to returning to the pre-Christian ethos of might makes right.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

While You Were Sleeping

While You Were Sleeping, by Steve McAlpine.

While you were sleeping or watching Netflix last night, the Australian Government sold religious freedoms in this country down the river. …

After all of the promises made that nothing would be changed once gay people were allowed to marry, – that we could all get on with living our privatised lives -, those promises have been shown up to be exactly what they were. Lies.

But it was always going to be the case. Last night in the Senate, as The Australian newspaper reports, the future for dissenters was plain for all to see:

Comprehensively defeated…. The Labor Party and The Greens must be beside themselves over this. Wildest dreams come true!

I totally get points one and two. I didn’t expect anything different on those, and can’t really see an argument around them. But to refuse protection around “relevant beliefs” about marriage? That opens the door to all sorts of activism, and it will cost religious groups dearly.

But it’s that idea that the Parliament does not see fit to protect people with a traditional view of marriage from having action taken against them by governments and other agencies that is particularly unfortunate. You can hear the knives sharpening already, can’t you?

I remember Tim Wilson, one of the leading conservative MPs in our country, who is both gay and actively promoted the Yes campaign, saying to me that religious leaders in this country would lose both the same sex marriage vote and religious freedom. He was right. I just didn’t know that he was happy for both to be the case. …

Inevitably there will be a backlash against Christians:

It will hit the well-heeled of us where it hurts, our jobs, professions and livelihoods. A well regarded Christian surgeon approached me the other day to say that already in his field the pressure is on for him to sign up to certain ethical statements, and that if he does not, it could one day end his career.

He asked me if, like when the Nazis came to one’s door, we too could lie for the greater good. He wasn’t thinking that was a good idea, just wondering how to negotiate the future that has arrived quicker than he’d expected. …

True, we still have relative freedoms compared to Christians around the world … There’s nothing ho-hum about losing those freedoms. They do matter. They were hard fought for over a long period of time in the West by Christianity itself, and for the sake of others too. And now they’re being whittled away in next to no time.

The great irony is that the culture that so enjoyed the fruit of this gospel for so long is, bit by bit, dismantling the very structures that enabled it to flourish in the first place.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

North Korea fires missile that shows it can hit ‘everywhere in the world’

North Korea fires missile that shows it can hit ‘everywhere in the world’, by Zachary Cohen.

Pyongyang launched a Hwasong-14 missile in the early hours of Wednesday morning local time that flew higher, and demonstrated a longer range, than any of its previous tests.

It was the first missile fired in almost two months, and came despite Trump’s repeated warnings, delivered again during this trip to South Korea earlier this month in a direct message to North Korea: “do not try us.”

The missile launched Wednesday spent around 53 minutes in the air, reaching a height of up to 4,500 kilometers (2,800 miles), before splashing down in waters around 210 kilometers (130 miles) west of Japan’s Aomori prefecture, according to authorities in Japan and South Korea.

Hours after the launch, Trump sounded more restrained, telling reporters Tuesday at the White House that the US “will handle” the situation. “We will take care of it,” the President said, adding later that North Korea “is a situation that we will handle.”

Mattis, who was with Trump in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, outlined how much tougher that situation has become. The test missile, he said, went “higher, frankly, than any previous shot they have taken” and demonstrates that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un now has the ability to hit “everywhere in the world basically.”

“The bottom line is, it’s a continued effort to build a threat — a ballistic missile threat that endangers world peace, regional peace and certainly the United States,” Mattis concluded.

Bitcoin hits US $10,000!

Bitcoin hits US $10,000! Congratulations bitcoin, beating an ounce of gold to the fabled $10k mark.

And three days later (today) it hit US$10,000.

Only tulips rose faster and further:

The problem with bitcoin is that while adoption is surging, it is still amongst a tiny section of the population – primarily the tech community and millennials. There are varied estimates but is believed that some 0.01% of the world’s population holds a bitcoin wallet (not even bitcoin as many have wallets and accounts but have not bought).

Fresh people and fresh money are moving in fast:

Data compiled by Alistair Milne, the Monaco-based manager of the Altana Digital Currency Fund, showed US bitcoin wallet provider Coinbase added 300,000 users between Wednesday and Sunday, during the US Thanksgiving holiday. The total number of Coinbase users globally now stands at 13.3 million.

Energy use is crazy — wait ’til the Greens hear about this:

While Bitcoin Mining is only currently consuming 0.13% of the world’s electricity output, it’s growing incredibly quickly. …

On current growth rates, Bitcoin will consume 100% of the world’s electricity by 2020.

The Left Hates You. Act Accordingly.

The Left Hates You. Act Accordingly. By Kurt Schlicter.

Leftists don’t merely disagree with you. They don’t merely feel you are misguided. They don’t think you are merely wrong. They hate you. They want you enslaved and obedient, if not dead. Once you get that, everything that is happening now will make sense. And you will understand what you need to be ready to do.

You are normal, and therefore a heretic. You refuse to bow to their idols, to subscribe to their twisted catechisms, to praise their false gods. This is unforgivable. You must burn.

Crazy talk? Just ask them. Go ahead. Go on social media. Find a leftist – it’s easy. Just say something positive about America or Jesus and they’ll come swarming like locusts. Engage them and very quickly they will drop their masks and tell you what they really think. I know. I keep a rapidly expanding file of Twitter leftist death wish screenshots.

They will tell you that Christians are idiots and vets are scum.

That normals are subhumans whose role is to labor as serfs to subsidize the progressive elite and its clients.

That you should die to make way for the New Progressive Man/Woman/Other.

Understand that when they call Donald Trump “illegitimate,” what they are really saying is that our desire to govern ourselves is illegitimate. Their beef isn’t with him – it’s with us, the normal people who dared rise up and demand their right to participate in the rule of this country and this culture.

They hate you, because by defying them you have prevented them from living up to the dictates of their false religion. Our rebelliousness has denied them the state of grace they seek, exercising their divine right to dictate every aspect of our puny lives. Their sick faith gives meaning to these secular weirdos, giving them something that fills their empty lives with a messianic fervor to go out and conquer and convert the heathens.

And the heathens are us.

Sounds odd, but there may just be a grain of truth in this. Read the whole thing.

Western Authorities Anticipate Christmas Market Terror Attacks

Western Authorities Anticipate Christmas Market Terror Attacks, by Patrick Poole.

But gift-wrapping traffic bollards and painting concrete barriers to look like Legos barely conceal the new grim reality.

Liberal Senator delivers damning assessment of Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership

Liberal Senator delivers damning assessment of Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership, by Joe Kelly.

Veteran Queensland Liberal Senator Ian Macdonald has vented his disappointment with Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership, arguing the 2015 switch from Tony Abbott was the beginning of a political “disaster.” …

He said while voters knew exactly what Tony Abbott and John Howard stood for, the electorate doesn’t know what Mr Turnbull stands for. …

“There’s no doubt about it — Malcolm is not seen as representing people in northern and regional Queensland,” Senator Macdonald said. “They see him as a city person with city values.” …

“It seems to a lot of people, a lot of people where I come from, Malcolm tries to pick the issues that everybody likes.

“But he doesn’t seem to understand that 60 per cent of those or a lot of those people who he’s appealing to are people who are never going to vote for us, never in a month of Sundays will they vote for us.

“Even if we give them everything they ask for, they will never vote for us. Whereas often the people on the other side of the argument are our traditional supporters and we are losing them to people like Hanson and Katter”

The Nationals are now distancing themselves from the Liberals, because the Liberals are too PC. They “want their corflutes to show Mr Joyce and not Mr Turnbull.”

Beijing Hinders Free Speech in the West

Beijing Hinders Free Speech in the West, by Wang Dan.

I spent nearly seven years in a Chinese prison for being a leader of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. I was freed in 1998, and the Chinese government let me leave the country. I chose to go to the United States, where I could freely speak my mind without fear of being thrown in prison. …

Given the long tradition of free speech in the United States, I assumed that the forums would fare even better in America, where some 329,000 Chinese students attend college. I hoped that public discussions of topics off-limits in China might challenge visiting Chinese students and encourage them to embrace Western democratic values.

But instead, over the past three months, my efforts on American campuses have been stymied. The Chinese Communist Party is extending its surveillance of critics abroad, reaching into Western academic communities and silencing visiting Chinese students. Through a campaign of fear and intimidation, Beijing is hindering free speech in the United States and in other Western countries.

The Chinese government, or people sympathetic to it, encourage like-minded Chinese students and scholars in the West to report on Chinese students who participate in politically sensitive activities — like my salons, but also other public forums and protests against Beijing. Members of the China Students and Scholars Association, which has chapters at many American universities, maintain ties with the Chinese consulates and keep tabs on “unpatriotic” people and activities on campuses. Agents or sympathizers of the Chinese government show up at public events videotaping and snapping pictures of speakers, participants and organizers.

Chinese students who are seen with political dissidents like me or dare to publicly challenge Chinese government policies can be put on a blacklist. Their families in China can be threatened or punished. …

And in one egregious example of intimidation, in March 2016, the police in China abducted the relatives of the Chinese journalist Chang Ping, who lives in exile in Germany, after he published an article in a German publication that was critical of President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on free speech.

Chinese students abroad hear these stories and, with good reason, tread carefully. Many have become too afraid to attend open forums like my salon, and those who do show up mostly keep a low profile. …

Chinese PC:

Nationalism is rampant in China and many students, who grew up subjected to the full force of the Chinese government’s “patriotic education program,” carry it abroad. They blame Western powers for causing a “century of humiliation” before the Communist takeover in 1949 and for instigating trouble and constraining China’s growth as a global power. These “patriotic” students and scholars team up with the Chinese consulates to sabotage protests critical of the Chinese government. Many resort to online harassment of Beijing’s critics. …


The country’s growing influence abroad has received a lot of attention in Australia, where journalists have detailed how Chinese money has infiltrated the political process. Chinese students in Australia can come under heavy pressure and shaming from other nationalist Chinese students for criticizing Beijing.

Recently, Clive Hamilton, a professor of public ethics in Australia, said that his publisher delayed the release of a book of his that investigates the rising influence of the Chinese Communist Party in Australia for fear that the Chinese government may sue for defamation. We can be certain that Mr. Hamilton’s name has been added to a list of Western scholars who are banned from China, another common tactic used against outspoken China scholars whose work the Chinese government dislikes.

Miranda Devine: Telling the truth has a price

Miranda Devine: Telling the truth has a price, by Stephen Brook.

Telling the truth has a price, controversial conservative columnist Miranda Devine says.

“I personally have lost friends over it,” The Daily Telegraph columnist Devine tells podcast “Behind the Media,” speaking about her decision to label supporters of deposed prime minister Tony Abbott “delcons”, or delusional conservatives.

Abbott was one friend she lost. Conservative columnist and colleague Andrew Bolt another.

“Andrew Bolt and I don’t talk any more,” Devine says, recounting how Bolt thought Devine was criticising him personally in the delcon column.

Devine says she wasn’t, instead targeting writers for the Quadrant and Spectator magazines. …

Devine had already lost her friendship with Abbott, whom she had known for 25 years, since he worked for her father, Frank Devine, a former editor of The Australian.

“We talk when we see each other and it’s very cordial. Well, it’s relatively cordial,” she says, adding that she still likes and admires him.

“I guess I had this mistaken idea that as a columnist I should be writing what I think is the truth and I have done that rather than help him run his insurgency, which I don’t think is my role.” …

The same-sex marriage debate supercharged the atmosphere and Devine was one of the few people in the media to advocate a no vote. “I was personally insulted by the idea that anyone voting no was a homophobe or a bigot.” …

Surprisingly, Devine started out working in the textile division of the CSIRO while completing a science degree majoring in mathematics and computer science. “Both parents had been journalists and both very much tried to talk me out of it. My mother I remember saying to me, “Journalism makes women very hard.”

hat-tip Stephen Neil

Germany’s green energy drive left Merkel vulnerable

Germany’s green energy drive left Merkel vulnerable, by Charles Moore.

The … Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) … really does offer something different. Given its pariah status, people assumed that parties would happily coalesce against it after its electoral breakthrough. But in fact its presence opens up two big discontents — mass immigration and energy prices — forcing other parties to consider their positions. Immigration gets most of the headlines here, but the energy issue is almost equally problematic.

Germany’s consumers have to pay huge bills because of their government’s determination to go green. …

In the current revolt against the elites in the West, few issues more divide the many from the few than energy prices and the bogus religion which is forcing them up. Strange that this issue should give the right its chance.

Man arrested over alleged Melbourne New Year’s Eve terror plot plans

Man arrested over alleged Melbourne New Year’s Eve terror plot plans, by Aneeka Simonis.

POLICE say they have foiled a frightening terrorist plot to shoot revellers celebrating New Year’s Eve at Melbourne’s Federation Square, with a ‘high risk’ person they had been watching for some time arrested in a counter-terrorism operation in the city’s west.

The 20-year-old Werribee man – born in Australia to Somalian parents – was taken into custody by Special Operations Group police just before 3pm in Werribee yesterday.

It is alleged he planned to shoot “as many people as he could” in the attack, police say. …

The man, who grew up in Victoria, worked at a computer business. Police say his extremist behaviour had gradually escalated over time.

Werribee man arrested over alleged Melbourne New Year’s Eve terrorism plot, by the ABC.

Police said they moved in because the man had been having face-to-face meetings about getting a gun. The man, who police said was connected to other extremists, did not manage to obtain one, Deputy Commissioner Patton said. …

The man is described as a Muslim, who is an Australian citizen with Somalian parents.

hat-tip Scott of the Pacific

Cool reception as JJJ moves its Hottest 100

Cool reception as JJJ moves its Hottest 100, by Emily Ritchie.

ABC radio station Triple J is facing a backlash over its decision to move the Hottest 100 away from Australia Day, with Communications Minister Mitch Fifield warning that the national broadcaster should “not mess” with the national day.

The youth-focused station yesterday announced its popular music countdown instead would be broadcast across the fourth weekend in January each year because of indigenous concerns that the national day is held on January 26, which commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet at Port Jackson in 1788. …

“The constant push to politicise and delegitimise Australia Day being held on 26 January is pathetic and out of step with most Australians’ views,” [Liberal Senator Alex Hawke] said.

The Hottest 100, which charts listeners’ favourite songs from the previous year, has been held on January 26 for almost two decades. This year the station conducted two listener surveys and canvassed the opinions of music industry professionals and indigenous groups, saying a majority of respondents favoured a change of date.

Supporting the move of Australia day away from Jan 26 has become a method of virtue signaling for the PC crowd. Therefore they won’t stop agitating until the day is moved — whereupon they’ll have to congregate around something else to show who’s the most virtuous.

WaPo Busts James O’Keefe’s Failed Attempt to Fool Them With Fake Roy Moore Accuser

WaPo Busts James O’Keefe’s Failed Attempt to Fool Them With Fake Roy Moore Accuser, by Ken Meyer.

An undercover endeavor from James O’Keefe seemed to crash and burn after Project Veritas was caught as they tried to feed disinformation about Roy Moore to Washington Post.

WaPo released a story tonight about how their reporters were contacted by a woman who claimed that she had an abortion after Moore impregnated her as a teenager decades ago. This account came after WaPo released their report on the first four women who came forward with claims about the Alabama Senate candidate.

The report said that this new accuser frequently asked about what could happen if she went public with her story. The newspaper never posted anything about her accusations before, however, due to a number of red flags that came up while they profiled her.

A sting operations attempting to uncover fake news is itself uncovered. Our postmodern elite says there is no such thing as truth … yet spend so much time and effort trying to find it or obscure it!

The big slide in renewable energy tells the real story

The big slide in renewable energy tells the real story, by Bjorn Lomborg.

We have spent the last two centuries getting off renewables because they were mostly weak, costly and unreliable. Half a century ago, in 1966, the world got 15.6% of its energy from renewables. Today (2016) we still get less of our energy at 13.8%.

With our concern for global warming, we are ramping up the use of renewables. The mainstream reporting lets you believe that renewables are just about to power the entire world. But this is flatly wrong.

The new World Energy Outlook report from the International Energy Agency shows how much renewables will increase over the next quarter century, to 2040. In its New Policies Scenario, which rather optimistically expects all nations to live up to their Paris climate promise, it sees the percentage increase less than 6 percentage points from 13.8% to 19.4%. More realistically, the increase will be 2 percentage points to 15.8%.

Most of the renewables are not solar PV and wind. Today, almost 10 percentage points come from the world’s oldest fuel: wood. Hydropower provides another 2.5 percentage points and all other renewables provide just 1.6 percentage points, of which solar PV and wind provide 0.8 percentage points. …

Most people tend to think about electricity for renewables, but the world uses plenty of energy that is not electricity (heat, transport, manufacture and industrial processes).

The wrath of the do-gooders

The wrath of the do-gooders, by Patrick West.

Everyone agrees that to be left-wing and liberal is to be a better, more caring and compassionate human being. It proves what an enlightened and open-minded person you are. It sets you apart from conservatives and right-wingers, those selfish and nasty folk who are obviously racist, oafish and horrid. I mean, just look at Nigel Farage, Donald Trump and people of that ilk. Aren’t they ghastly?

All this is true, right? Wrong. Being caring is actually a licence to be nasty. Not only this year have we witnessed a torrent of abuse and slander from the supposedly caring left, directed at so-called populists in the UK and the US, we have also seen physical violence acted upon them.

Consider the aftermath of the US presidential election. On the New York subway, someone tried to strangle a 24-year-old wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ cap. … The list of attacks goes on. …

There has always been a malicious, vengeful streak in sections of the compassionate new left. Consider how they have always boasted about ‘hating the Tories’, as if hatred is an emotion to be proud of. The far left always talk of ‘smashing’ or ‘fighting’ things, whether it be capitalism, racism or the system. The rhetoric of caring and combat paradoxically go hand-in-hand.

As Albert Camus observed in his attack on Sartre in his 1951 L’Homme révolté, the more someone professes to care about humanity, the more they tend to dislike people as human beings.

To be of the left these days is to assume a sanctimonious mindset. The more people are possessed of self-righteousness, the more they are convinced of the inherent goodness of their beliefs, and the moral deviance of their enemies, the more they feel at liberty to abuse others. …

The more caring a pose someone assumes, the more shrill and wrathful they become. For the righteous, anything is permitted. Conversely, the more one embraces the virtue of doubt, the less likely one is to want to smash things.

“Our ends justify the means” is alive and well in the left at the moment.

Why this Hong Kong-born mother won’t send her kids to selective schools

Why this Hong Kong-born mother won’t send her kids to selective schools, by Masako Fukui.

Dr Ho, who researches diversity as a senior lecturer in social and political sciences at UTS in Sydney, is decidedly against sending her two children to a selective high school.

The reason? According to her, the ethnic makeup of selective schools now no longer reflects Australian society.

In Dr Ho’s graduating class of 1991, Asians were in the minority. Today, there are more than 20 fully selective high schools in NSW and 25 partially selective high schools, and students with an Asian background dominate most public high schools for the gifted and talented.

A disproportionately large majority of these elite institutions are in NSW, and education commentators estimate that some Sydney school populations could be as high as 90 per cent Asian Australian. …

According to Trissha Varman, a 15-year-old selective school student who was born in Malaysia, south Asian kids tend to hang out in “curry groups”. Alissa, 17, who would rather be known by her first name, said a group dominated by white kids would be referred to as “skips”, short for Skippy the bush kangaroo.

Dr Ho points to terms like “the Asian five” — a cluster of maths-heavy subjects including science — which are contrasted against “white subjects”, mainly the humanities.

Many immigrants are selected for being smart:

In recent decades, Australia’s immigration policy has shifted, to rates skills, wealth and educational background over other factors like family reunion.

In education, too, government policies have shifted from more broad-based comprehensive models to a hierarchical, competitive system based on NAPLAN testing.

Dr Ho says the overall result is that Australia has hyper-selected migrants from countries like India, China and South Korea, who are on average more highly educated than Australians.

Private tutoring now the norm to gain entry to a selective school:

According to her, these aspirational migrants value education as the key to a successful future for their children, and to gain a competitive edge, they’re more likely to encourage attendance at private coaching colleges and tutoring.

In fact, extra-curricular academic support is now the norm for any family wanting their child to gain entry into any of the prestigious and public, selective programs around Australia. Unsurprisingly, the private tutoring industry has almost doubled in the past decade.

This trend is now a major cause of tension, especially in NSW. Coaching and tutoring is expensive, and can lead to inequities. But mostly, it’s considered unduly taxing for kids.