Scandal

Blowing the whistle on NASA over climate data

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Jo Nova has an excellent piece exposing the scams inside NASA with regards to their climate models and allegations of misappropriated taxpayer funds. She notes whistleblower Dr Duane Thresher who worked seven years at NASA GISS “describes a culture of self serving rent-seekers, mismanagement and incompetence. These are the top experts in the climate science field that we are supposed to accept without questioning. Those who say they are working to “save the planet” care more about their junckets than they do about the data or their “best” model…NASA GISS’s most advanced climate model is run from the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). Thresher recounts a story from someone on the inside:“NASA GISS’s climate model — named Model E, an intentional play on the word “muddle” — is called the “jungle” because it is so badly coded.” I know this to be true from my own extensive experience programming it (I tried to fix as much as I could…)…”

Of course I can hear the alarmists cry  that Thresher is a ‘discredited’ scientist as they do for anyone who disagrees,. Much in the spirit of the Harvard piece I put out last week, venerable organizations like NASA (which has put humans into space) carry almost untouchable status. This is the problem. Do we just suck up aything we are told by these organizations or do we need to add an extra layer of skepticism because of the ‘reputation’?

It is truly hard to imagine that the brain’s trust that makes up an organization that can launch rockets and space shuttles can be guilty of such sloppiness. Such whistleblowing will  lead to a congressional testimony which will bring many things to light. It wasn’t long ago that NOAA was subpoenaed after a whistleblower said the group had rushed a report ahead of the Paris climate summit with obviously fiddled data that fit a narrative. NOAA refused to hand over the emails for months on the grounds of privacy  when the head of House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith explained the reality that they worked for the government and had no choice.

Smith noted, “According to Dr. John Bates, the recently retired principal scientist at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, the Karl study was used “to discredit the notion of a global warming hiatus and rush to time the publication of the paper to influence national and international deliberations on climate policy…I thank Dr. John Bates for courageously stepping forward to tell the truth about NOAA’s senior officials playing fast and loose with the data in order to meet a politically predetermined conclusion. In the summer of 2015, whistleblowers alerted the Committee that the Karl study was rushed to publication before underlying data issues were resolved to help influence public debate about the so-called Clean Power Plan and upcoming Paris climate conference. Since then, the Committee has attempted to obtain information that would shed further light on these allegations, but was obstructed at every turn by the previous administration’s officials. I repeatedly asked, ‘What does NOAA have to hide?’

Once again whenever people try to use the ‘credibility’ argument to sway debate, there is a treasure trove of evidence to show in this case that it is politics not science. With billions if not trillions at stake, such fraud has not resulted in any of these climate scientists being fined, deregistered or jailed for the very things that have happened to people in the financial sector. What is the difference I wonder? Maybe because the government has been in on the act…

Even Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology has been recently exposed for divisive behaviour in temperature measurement. Putting hard floors on cold temperatures with no such restrictions on warm weather. We’re supposed to trust these bodies? More on that tomorrow.

Well as the old adage goes, “there are lies, more lies and then there are statistics”

I’ll stick with my instincts rather than fall for a Harvard study because it is from Harvard

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Harvard University is without question one of the top schools globally. It has an enviable reputation and having that on one’s CV is hardly a hinderance. It is a status symbol.  In a discussion over global warming an individual was trying to legitimize climate alarmism by citing a Harvard University study. Harvard by the way is ranked top 5 worldwide in Environmental Science. The study as it turns out had been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), a US government agency responsible for allocating 24% of science funding that had been raked over the coals by the US Senate for gross mismanagement, fraud and waste. The National Science Foundation: Under the Microscope” paper from 2011 documented some of the misappropriation of funds as follows,

An $80,000 study on why the same teams always dominate March Madness”, a “$315,000 study suggesting playing FarmVille on Facebook helps adults develop and maintain relationships”, a study costing “$1 million for an analysis of how quickly parents respond to trendy baby names”, a study costing “$50,000 to produce and publicize amateur songs about science, including a rap called “Money 4 Drugz,” and a misleading song titled “Biogas is a Gas, Gas, Gas”;” a study costing”$2 million to figure out that people who often post pictures on the internet from the same location at the same time are usually friends”; and “$581,000 on whether online dating site users are racist”.Ineffective management examples, cited in the report, included “ineffective contracting”, “$1.7 billion in unspent funds sitting in expired, undisbursed grant accounts”, “at least $3 million in excessive travel funds”, “a lack of accountability or program metrics to evaluate expenditures” and “inappropriate staff behavior including porn surfing and Jello wrestling and skinny-dipping at NSF-operated facilities in Antarctica”.

It is often a tactic to cite supposedly credible bodies to legitimize and seek to win an argument. However at what point do we view Harvard’s stance on climate change as balanced? On Harvard’s own climate change page it is littered with a predetermined view. It is not to doubt the intelligence of the professors and scientists within the university but intelligence and ethics do not have to be mutually inclusive especially when it comes to procuring funds.

One has to wonder that the  NSF, which dispenses 24% of all university grants (some $7bn) is best positioned to fulfill this role given its past. As the Harvard climate page reveals there does not seem to be much attention paid to the alternate view. The offshoot of that is if the NSF wants to get ‘green policy’ outcomes, best pour funds into those schools that will help give the results they’re after.

In 2015 a claim was made against Harvard for not disclosing financial conflicts of interest. A press release entitled ‘Clean air and health benefits of clean power plan hinge on key policy decisions’ constituted a gushing praise of a commentary entitled ‘US power plant carbon standards and clean air and health co-benefits’ by Charles T. Driscoll, Jonathan J. Buonocore, Jonathan I. Levy, Kathleen F. Lambert, Dallas Burtraw, Stephen B. Reid, Habibollah Fakhraei & Joel Schwartz, published on May 4, 2015, in Nature Climate Change

The claim (a letter to the Dean) suggested that “two of the co-authors of the commentary, Buonocore and Schwartz, are researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Your press release quotes Buonocore thus: “If EPA sets strong carbon standards, we can expect large public health benefits from cleaner air almost immediately after the standards are implemented.” Indeed, the commentary and the press release constitute little more than thinly-disguised partisan political advocacy for costly proposed EPA regulations supported by the “Democrat” administration but opposed by the Republicans. Harvard has apparently elected to adopt a narrowly partisan, anti-scientific stance…The commentary concludes with the words “Competing financial interests: The authors declare no competing financial interests”. Yet its co-authors have received these grants from the EPA: Driscoll $3,654,609; Levy $9,514,391; Burtraw $1,991,346; and Schwartz (Harvard) $31,176,575. The total is not far shy of $50 million…Would the School please explain why its press release described the commentary in Nature Climate Change by co-authors including these lavishly-funded four as “the first independent, peer-reviewed paper of its kind”? Would the School please explain why Mr Schwartz, a participant in projects grant-funded by the EPA in excess of $31 million, failed to disclose this material financial conflict of interest in the commentary?Would the School please explain the double standard by which Harvard institutions have joined a chorus of public condemnation of Dr Soon, a climate skeptic, for having failed to disclose a conflict of interest that he did not in fact possess, while not only indulging Mr Schwartz, a climate-extremist, when he fails to declare a direct and substantial conflict of interest but also stating that the commentary he co-authored was “independent”?”

While I do not pretend to be a climate scientist by trade or study, fraud is fraud. The supposed beacons of virtue such as NOAA, IPCC, the CRU of the UEA have all been busted for manipulation of data to fit an end cause. The lack of ethics in certain cases has been so profound that had many of these scientists been in financial services they’d have lost licenses, paid multi billion in fines and served jail time. One person commented that too few in financial services have been locked up. I replied name me one scientist busted for fraud and misuse of public funds has seen the inside of a jail cell, much less fined or barred from teaching? The answer – NONE

I don’t need to possess a degree in astrophysics or science to determine poor ethics generally mean the science papers put forward should be viewed with deep skepticism. Yet we’re constantly told that the science is settled. How so? If one has to lie and deceive in order to scare us into action, how can one say that it is legitimate work? In fact I have been at pains to mention that the scrupulous acts of a few only ends up undermining potentially credible work conducted by others. Yet climate change has become a purely political issue and there is no question that sourcing funding dollars is easiest met when supporting alarmism. After all why would people want to throw dollars at skeptics who may come out with an alternative view? Don’t debate it. Some have suggested sceptics are like pedophiles and even more extreme views have suggested jail sentences. When people think that the only way to win the argument is to jail non believers you can be absolutely sure that the data is completely flawed in that it can’t stand on its own as an argument. Hence the manipulation to try to bully the movement onwards. Some Aussie universities (state funded mind you) are refusing a climate think tank being established on their campus for possessing an alternative view. You have to worry if universities, the bedrock of free thinking, are trying to ban it. Then again if kindergarten schools are being taught they are gender fluid and cross dressing is acceptable then you know there is a more sinister movement at work.

It was no surprise that Hurricane Irma has become Trump’s fault. Alarmists drew any data possible to connect Global Warming and hurricane activity despite the IPCC claiming several years back it  has little supportive data to prove it. So expediency is put before principle. Hopefully if no one has seen the IPCC climb down perhaps we can still convince them we can save the planet. All the meantime the IATA forecasts air travel will double in terms of passenger numbers between now and 2030 and SUVs top most vehicle sales in major markets.

To add to the farcical care factor for climate change by the masses The Australian noted, “On June 30 2017, after 12 years of “advancing climate change solutions”, the Climate Institute is closing its doors in Australia, a victim of the “I’ll ride with you but won’t pay” industry. You would think that Cate Blanchett, so happy to appear in the institute’s ads, could have taken the hat around her Hollywood A-list mates, such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Bono, Emma Watson and Brad Pitt, to tip in a few hundred thousand a year for the cause….But alas, the caravan has moved on and the greatest moral challenge of our time is now the Trump White House. For celebrities who fly eyebrow groomers to the Oscars, climate change is kinda yesterday. Still, to humour the faithful and to keep the dream alive, the 10th anniversary of Earth Hour was celebrated last Saturday night. You didn’t notice?”

When I was a staunch opponent of Greenspan’s reckless monetary policy in 2001 and said his actions would lead to a financial calamity in 6-7 years, many laughed at me. I bought gold at under $300. People thought I was mad as did the Bank of England. Barbs were frequent – “how could you possibly possess the intelligence of Greenspan? Back in your box!” I was told. Of course as a contrarian by nature, speaking out against pervading group think was met with a constant wave of ever increasing vitriolic criticism. Of course the simplest thing would have been to roll over and join the band wagon but I stuck to my guns. GFC was the result. In all that time, people used to shame my thinking by citing Harvard or other Ivy League studies on new paradigms. Indeed many of the brains behind the CDOs which eventually brought the financial sector to its knees were brainiacs from the Ivy League. In the end my instincts were bang on. Nothing to do with education levels.

The same arguments were hurled at me during Trump’s presidential campaign. Many people defriended me because my data kept showing to me he’d win. I am not American, I can’t vote but casting my own instincts ended up being a no brainer. Not once were credible arguments made to counter why Trump could win. People would post NY Times polls, CNN polls and so forth to legitimize the argument. Then say I was blind, stupid, bigoted, racist and the usual leftist identikit used to demonise a view. Group think is so dangerous. What it is doing is suppressing real views which show up in the polling booth.

Everywhere I read, the media wants to throw Trump to the wolves and run the lunatic, racist white nationalist card. For 9 months now. To be honest I think he will comfortably do two terms because the media has learned nothing and anything he does is vilified. Most Americans aren’t looking to him for spiritual guidance. He is vulgar and his manner is far from conventional and sometimes not very fitting of the office he serves. However he gets no credit for anything. The latest UN sanctions on North Korea are in large part because Trump has told China to get on with it. Trump said on national TV that he wants “China to sort it out and to stop delaying otherwise we’ll do it for you”. Yet the media is drumming WW3 rhetoric.

Same goes for the Paris Accord. What a stroke of genius. Let France, Germany and other nations pick up the tab for their ‘green policy’ madness and make up America’s renewable shortfall. It is kind of ironic that none of these nations ever pick on China, India or Russia which make up 50% of CO2 emissions for their lack of adherence to actually doing meaningful things to abate climate change albeit signatories to the UN accord. I argue it is like NATO in reverse. US pays a way bigger share into NATO, why not collect a refund via other nation’s virtue signalling which actually helps America First by making other nations less competitive. Brilliant.

DACA – many Americans, including 41mn on food stamps, will welcome the removal of illegal immigrants from their country who in their view are siphoning their ability to get out of poverty. DACA to them isn’t about not being compassionate but realizing that a $20 trillion deficit and loading more onto an overcrowded system isn’t helping. Once again regardless of what people think of Trump he had the fewest white voters and largest share of black and Hispanic voters than Romney or McCain. Hardly the result for a white nationalist, racist bigot. At the current rate if the Democrats run Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Hilary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren or any other identity politician against him in 2020 they’ll lose. The mid terms won’t be as bad as many calling. The one midterm already returned a Republican despite massive Hollywood support even ferrying voters to booths.

Transgender in the military. I spoke to two dozen US military personnel last month to ask their opinions. The 100% response was, “we think it is inappropriate for the taxpayer to fund sexual reassignment surgery while serving including several years of rehab and ongoing drug therapy…it is taking the p*ss…we serve our country because we love it and we don’t have room to support social experiments to protect freedom!” There was no real issue of transgender per se rather a problem of providing funds in n already tightly allocated budget for such medical expenditure. Several even spoke of the stupidity of LGBT pride day in the armed forces. What has the ability to fight got to do with what goes on in the bedroom? One said “if we had a heterosexual pride day” we’d never hear the end of it.

So when you communicate with the real people you find the truth if you are prepared to listen. The beauty of social media and indeed Google (which happily acts as a Big Brother on what it considers acceptable) is that many people reach for articles they probably haven’t read properly and use them as ways to ram home an argument because they carry a brand name. Harvard is a wonderful institution but as we’ve seen it has run into questions of conflicts of interest.

I happen to think that social media is having the opposite effect on brainwashing to tell the truth. 99.9% of what I see posted has little thought to it. The more people I speak to the more they are ignoring noise. Many people share articles without putting some basis of why they post it. In many cases people are too afraid to face a doxxing or backlash. Bring it on. To me if you post things in the public domain then be prepared to invite criticism. On my site I do not censor, cut off or delete readers. They are free to come and go as they please. I only request they keep profanity to a minimum.

So in summary, the idea that we bow down to venerable institutions to seek guidance is as flawed today as it ever was. I’ll gladly stick to gut instincts because to date they have worked so far. Having said that I should put a disclaimer that was always plastered on financial services product, “Past results are no guarantee of future performance”

Title IX – 2000% jump in sexual violence at US colleges in a decade but the stats reveal much more

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US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been in the firing line as the media interpret her words to defend both sides in discrimination cases as code for wanting to roll back Title IX. Title IX was introduced in 1972 prohibiting sex discrimination in all education programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance. The law itself does not mention sexual violence, but its interpretation by the courts puts the onus on schools to make sure they address it should such claims be filed. Let’s get this straight from the beginning, sexual violence in any form is inexcusable. According to the Office for Civil Rights (which is part of the Dept of Education) in the last decade, sexual violence claims in tertiary educational institutions have soared 2000%. Seems an extraordinary growth rate. In absolute numbers sexual violence on US campuses numbered 177 reported cases in 2016. In 2016 there were 20.4mn students in colleges in the US or 8.7 sexual assaults per 1,000,000 students or 0.00087%.

In FY 2016, sex discrimination claims comprised 46% (7,747) of all complaints received in the year, as compared to 28% (2,939) in FY 2015. The majority of Title IX complaints received in 2016 (6,251) were led by a single complainant alleging discrimination in schools’ athletics programs. Complaints involving discrimination based on disability status comprised 36% (5,936) of all complaints this year; race or national origin discrimination complaints comprised 15% (2,439). Age based discrimination was 3% (581).

In Fig 7 above OCR’s staffing level has consistently declined over the life of the agency even though complaint volume has significantly increased. OCR’s staffing level at the end of FY 2016 was 563 (FTE), marginally above the all-time low in staff levels since 1980, when the Department of Education separated from what had until then been the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. The number of staff in OCR today is almost 12% below its staffing level 10 years ago (640); about 29% below its staffing level 20 years ago (788); and more than 50% below its staffing level 34 years ago (1,148).

In FY 2013, OCR received 9,950 complaints and resolved 10,128 total cases. In FY 2016, OCR received 16,720 complaints and resolved 8,625 cases. Estimates are than FY 1985, OCR received just 2,199 complaints—nearly 87% fewer than what OCR now receives in a typical year. Even examining the last several years, from FY 2011 to FY 2016, annual complaint receipts increased by more than 113% and 188% since FY2006.

While not condoning any form of discrimination (whether sex, race, gender or any other form) does it not strike one as rather odd that the figures have jumped so high in such a short period? Most of these laws are over 40 years old. Has racism or sex discrimination all of a sudden jumped from the woodwork?

The 2016 OCR paper states clearly, “Finally, with this year’s annual report, we mark the end of eight productive years in the Obama Administration of securing equal educational opportunity for students. While numbers alone can never tell the full story, the 76,000 complaints we handled, the 66,000 cases we resolved, the more than 5,400 resolution agreements we reached, and the 34 policy guidance documents we issued between 2009 and 2016 speak volumes about ongoing student need and this agency’s service to our school communities.”

This statement almost reads as a failure. Surely the mark of a successful OCR would be to see a reduction in the number of claims. It almost reads as if the OCR wants a higher number of claims to justify its importance. Is it really rational to think that students became 113% more harrassed than 5 years prior? Considering that 80% of sex discrimination claims were made with respect to equal opportunities in athletics, most sports are split by gender – track & field, soccer, American football, boxing etc. Note these 6251 claims weren’t about sexual assault but sex discrimination. Was this possibly an issue of transgender students complaining that they weren’t allowed to play sport for teams that now reflect their gender identity?

If one reads the media one could be forgiven for thinking that most of the Title IX issues were sexual assault related.  They are not. As DeVos made clear, processes at colleges in dealing with sexual violence are often inadequate and there needs to a commitment to ensuring the evidence backs the claims. Do people really have a problem with being innocent before proven guilty?

Let us be clear. The defence of civil rights is just. However the global shift towards public grievance and identity politics is borne out by these statistics. Obama allocated an extra $131 million in 2016 to the OCR to help hire another 210 workers. They’ve hired 19 so far.  We live in a world where Google is censoring what it sees as ‘inappropriate’. We have UC Berkeley deciding to enforce a 50% limit to attendance to a lecture by Ben Shapiro. What we are looking at here should concern people. Safe spaces, trigger warnings and micro aggressions are all terms that have spawned in recent years. Is it any wonder that claims to offices like the OCR are skyrocketing. Why get ahead through hard work, diligence and  exceptional ethics when you can get to the front of the line by complaining you were hard done by. Too easy!

Deliberately taking taxpayers from the 1st world to the 3rd

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The green madness in Australia continues apace. Virtue signaling governments whose efforts are nothing more than expensive tokenism at best have led the Australian energy market regulator to warn of blackouts in Victoria during the coming summer. In what world would anyone logically trade perfectly reliable electricity for renewables which have a track record of failure in neighboring South Australia? On even the most pessimistic warming scenarios Australia’s renewable efforts will have a 0.00014 degree impact in 100 years. So many billions frittered away for absolutely no gain. Industries made deliberately less competitive because their electricity prices have doubled in a decade despite being a country totally rich in raw materials to make us one of the most efficient. What is worse is that South Australia which is 40% renewable has had to blow another $600mn of taxpayer funds on back up power. Initially it will be diesel generators that burn 80,000 litres per hour until a gas plant can be built. Despite the massive failure, the Premier of SA talks it up as though he is noble. At what cost? The highest electricity prices in the world, the highest unemployment rate in Australia and the slowest growth. Surely a legacy worth protecting.

Lynching the lightbulb

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“Remove one freedom per generation and soon you will have no freedom – and no one will have noticed”

It is time for conservatives around the world to stand up to the totalitarian tsunami. From local councils stacking polls to ram through their own sanctimony to reckless destruction of public property there is an ugly tide of intolerance. The ‘your opinion doesn’t matter because we know better’ brigade will not learn. Their only aim is to shut up dissenting voices and push through their agenda with no respect for free speech and open debate. What is worse is that the longer libertarians turn a blind eye for fear of being labeled bigots, racists and nationalists, the more we will see these demands, sold under banners of political correctness, grow bolder. Why wouldn’t they? The funny thing is that voters are actually becoming tired of identity politics. If they weren’t we wouldn’t have Trump in the White House nor the Brits leaving the EU.

Tearing down monuments seems the topic of the month. These Confederate statues have caused such hostility, despite representing history. These statues of Robert E. Lee and the Civil War are supposedly causing such angst that yesterday someone decided extend the grievance remit by taking a sledge hammer to the oldest memorial of Christopher Columbus. In the fight for victimology, this makes as much sense as obese people taking umbrage at a statue of Ronald McDonald or Colonel Sanders for pushing their BMIs above 35.

In Australia we have an indigenous TV presenter who thinks that memorials to Captain James Cook, who discovered Terra Australis two and a half centuries ago, should be torn down because of the atrocities committed to the locals. Have the Jews, Gypsies and Roma demanded that memorials at Auschwitz, Birkenau, Sobibor, Treblinka, Majdanek and so on be razed to the ground to erase the memories of the millions of them that were gassed and systematically murdered? Not a chance. They view these monuments as a reminder of atrocities that happened in recent history. It isn’t about grievance. One sign in Auschwitz 1 reads, “the one who does not remember history is bound to live through it again.”

The one group that stands above all else in favour of destroying monuments is ISIS. Think of their narrow minded actions to flatten the 2000 year history of Palmyra in Syria. Because of their own narrow minded corrupted fear of theological inferiority they want to rid the world of anything that challenges societies superior to their own. Even civilizations before Islam was even around.

However erasing history by removing monuments and pushing grievance based identity politics is the blood sport of the radical left. Take the two councils (Yarra and Darebin) in Melbourne who went out of their way to ask their own activist groups to rig polls to cancel Australia Day. Forgetting the 220,000 residents across the two cities, a handful of people who were bound to give the desired response were targeted. Even then it wasn’t a slam dunk. One mayor said they made the decision because their constituents are too ignorant of history so they were going to educate them without their opinion. When breaking down the composition of the councillors in these two cities we can’t be surprised. Both Greens led with a smattering of Labor, Socialist and left leaning independents. The perfect cocktail for the totalitarian.

Where local council remits are really to take care of rubbish collection and maintain parking meters, Yarra and Darebin told 99% of their rate payers to take a hike. The irony is that many Aboriginal leaders are pro Australia Day as a way to celebrate ‘inclusiveness’. Yarra and Darebin want to push for exclusiveness.

It begs the question, if the indigenous community is so outraged at the day the British invaded Australia in 1788 why haven’t the cities in the northern part of the country which have a far higher incidence of indigenous residents pushed for this? The reality is most embrace Australia Day. Many are more annoyed that people try to use their history as a political tool. Yet the identity politics brigade led by the Greens and other left wing radicals want Australians to feel ashamed of events they had no hand in, much less were around for, to fuel the victimology that no doubt supports their dwindling voter base. Pathetic.

What is disturbing is the wish to silence debate. We see it with same sex marriage (SSM). The lobbyists and activists are in full flight. The push to silence and vilify those who oppose it is disturbing. Whether one regards those in the ‘No’ camp as bigoted or homophobic is beside the point. They should be free to debate their arguments and beliefs without being physically attacked and threatened. Should hotels be forced to surrender business because activists want to bully them to deny groups from discussing opposing views? Did the pro-SSM groups look to compensate the hotel for the lost revenues suffered? Not on your life.

Do people have right to be concerned that putting SSM in the Marriage Act breaks down the idea of ‘traditional’ marriage which could lead to a similar sort of push for polygamy and acceptance of child brides down the line? Even if such views are overreactions does it warrant the Australia Post union refusing to post anti-SSM materials? If the anti-SSM groups wish to expend millions on a mail out (most likely to wind up in the bin) why does a deeply loss making government run service have any say in what they deliver provided it doesn’t endanger their physical health?

Indeed if people wish to back the rights of posties, then Qantas CEO Alan Joyce should refrain from using shareholder funds to ram his pro-SSM agenda down staff and passenger’s throats. To suggest ‘equality’ in a plebiscite over ‘equality’ only highlights how there is no intention from the pro camp to practice what it preaches.

It is not about the principle but the side. Alan Joyce fails to recognize that the ‘acceptance ring’ stunt earlier in the year was a terrible breach of free speech in the workplace. Some staff may support SSM but not wish to openly express their feelings by wearing the ring. Yet failure to visibly show one’s support could end in ostracism. An exemplary employee may face censure and see career progression stifled because they don’t wish to be overt in the causes they support. If these employees feel pressured to wear it they effectively become slaves of the bosses who force the agenda.

Switching to Canada, it was disappointing to see new Conservative leader Andrew Scheer bow down to the idea that it was acceptable for government run universities to decide on who could speak. The idea of a school that receives taxpayer funding be able to control ‘free speech’ shows the exact type of spineless surrender to identity politics. When universities go out of their way to shut down the very foundation of their existence – free thought – what hope have we got? Scheer should be a great comfort for Trudeau. Whereas former interim leader Rona Ambrose had the PM’s measure at every turn, Scheer looks like another Turnbull-esque liberal-lite conservative. To glibly submit to such an embarrassing affront to free speech what hope have the youth got to openly express their opinions?

Sadly the activists are winning the culture wars. Bit by bit, people are having their freedoms yanked from beneath them because governments are too afraid to ruffle the feathers of those that scream the loudest. This unilateral decisions making their way into schools which push sexual indoctrination, cross dressing and all manner of shaming masked as anti-bullying programs is further evidence of submission.

Is it any wonder why Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party continues to grow in popularity. While many abhor her brand of politics and stunts, her rise in the polls is simply down to saying what the conservatives won’t. Voters don’t want soft alternatives. No matter how much one might detest the constant shenanigans of the Trump administration, he won his ticket because Clinton was more of the same old brand of identity politics that failed to give a growing number of people hope. He was always an experiment but one more were willing to take.

The culture of victimhood needs to end. Most of what we are seeing is on the fringe. One wonders why politicians fear it as the norm. This interview was great food for thought on the subject of debunking senseless liberal virtue signaling.

Making the Wallabies amateurs might turn them into professionals

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14. Fourteen. That is how many Bledisloe Cup titles the All Blacks have won in a row. 15 looks a certainty. As mentioned many times before the Wallabies are playing the game in much the same manner as the managerial structure. From the turmoil at the top to a coach who can’t get discipline among his players has no chance.

That is no slight on the quality of the ABs. Every one of the players in that side carries the pride of a nation. Sure it is a religion in NZ but there is a sense of purpose. We know how much a loss to the Wallabies accounts for a national day of mourning. The biggest defining factor is that were the Bledisloe Cup an amateur tournament like it used to be one would guess all the AB players would still represent.

However the Wallabies are never going to properly challenge the ABs unless they adopt a mentality of representing as amateurs. In fact if I had my way, the first question would be that – would you represent your country for the love of it? One would weed out the problems pretty quick. Of course many would argue that without fat paychecques the team would quickly hollow out. Maybe. However as a fan I’d much rather see my team lose with heart than the appalling display that has been a feature of the team for so long.

Perhaps the Japanese are the best example of a team that through great coaching transformed. In the 2015 World Cup the Springboks went into that game thinking it was a formality. As we know the Boks lost and put Japan’s rugby team in a whole new light. From the laughing stock of world rugby to a credible team. Eddie Jones proved his worth as he is now doing for the Poms.

The Wallabies lack leadership from top to bottom. We could analyze missed tackle stats till the cows come home but there is every reason to think that the problem is mental not physical. As pointed out many times, even in the line up some Wallabies players have socks around their ankles. Sure presentation might not mean much in terms of player quality but the military spec All Blacks are tidier than a marine’s bunk. When facing off even little details can make a huge difference in the way the opposition perceives its enemy.

The sooner changes are made at the top, the sooner the mental aspects of the game can improve. Maybe then these amateurs might be able to play like the professionals their grossly inflated salaries would signal

The growing dangers of the Sanctimonious Society

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Welcome to the sanctimonious society. Social media has taken this to new levels. Given the superficiality of much of today’s internet posts, memes and rants, what it has done is destroy the need for serious debate over contentious issues. Before discussing the likes of Twitter or Facebook censoring certain bloggers, the discourse is self-evident. How often do you read a credible rebuttal to a topical post? Hardly ever is the answer. Usually the criticism is laced with sanctimony, expletives and ridicule. The aim of trolling is none other than to shut down debate and make fun of the person who makes the statement. The intensity of cyber-bullying is chronic. In some respects it is none too surprising we are dealing with words like snowflake, trigger warnings and safe spaces these days.

Take cyber bullying stats from the Association of Psychological Science in the US. In 2015 more than 16,000 young people were absent from school daily because of bullying. 83% of young people say cyber bullying has a negative impact on their self-esteem. 30% of young people have gone on to self-harm as a result of cyberbullying. 10% of young people have attempted to commit suicide as a result of cyberbullying. People who have been bullied are at greatest risk for health problems in adulthood, over six times more likely to be diagnosed with a serious illness, smoke regularly, or develop a psychiatric disorder compared to those not involved in bullying. In the US alone, suicides per 100,000 head of population since 2000 are up 38% according to WHO.

However the WiFi world is quickly escalating unreasoned stupidity in the real world. The internet is awash with so much ill-considered social media activity that if one chooses to breathe for 10 minutes the story will likely have changed 180 degrees from the initial knee jerk. Take the terrible events of Charlottesville this week. The driver that plowed into the crowd was initially reported as a white supremacist before other media reported he was Antifa. Regardless of his affiliation his actions were repugnant. Anyone with common decency can see that. Trying to justify the legitimacy of masked Antifa (many who were carrying baseball bats) staging a ‘peaceful’ protest was somehow morally superior to alt-right torch bearers or vice versa is almost like trying to say watering your lawn with gasoline is less harmful than diesel to kill off weeds.

While the tragedies of the lost lives and depraved acts of violence from both sides is impossible to ignore, the (social and mainstream) media was awash with one sided views. There was no debate and balanced reasoning was next to non existent. One could argue the media has always been biased and to some extent that is true however in the social media world clickbait means revenue and the more sensational and less accurate the reporting the higher the likely ‘hits’ which only exacerbates the problem. We only need to look at CNN’s admission that the ‘Russiagate’ story has been a fabrication for ratings. Integrity be damned. Sadly that is becoming almost an all too common thread of today’s society. Selfish, narcissistic and insensitive bullying.

The other problem nowadays is that almost everyone carries a video camera. It is as if many think they are behind the safety of their own computer screens, oblivious to what is going on. Only a few months ago, an armed SWAT team boarded a Malaysian Airlines flight to suppress a crazed passenger. Despite the screams to get down, multiple people could be seen standing as tall as possible trying to improve the angle of the altercation on their iPhones. There is a sick surrealism to it. Yet if we take this clickbait of someone’s footage at Charlottesville, disseminated to an audience already prejudiced, it only adds to the hysteria. The instant it hits the mobs’ feed it can lead to incorrect assumptions to what is actually going on, even worse hampering emergency services efficacy in controlling the situation. Yet, 10 minutes later, the unedited version of the same scene or one shot from a different angle can completely undermine that biased view. It might show how the violence really escalated rather than the deliberately cut version showing the evil of the unhinged. If we managed to get all of the collective footage from 1,000s of smartphones and objectively analyzed it all it wouldn’t be surprising to see both sides fueling the violence in different areas. Yet because it fits the picture of the ‘divided’ country narrative no attempts are made to seek balance which only fires up the misinformation.

Did Trump take too long to condemn the KKK, Neo-Nazi and White Supremacists? Perhaps. Was he waiting for a full debrief on what went on? Perhaps. Are all 63 million odd Trump voters that don’t openly condemn these acts of violence guilty of being white-supremacists by association? No. Are all Democrats responsible for what Antifa does? No. Internet trolls seem less intent on getting tacit admissions of guilt from their enemy. Think of the campaign which has identified some of the torch bearers leading several to get fired by their employers. Where was the campaign to identify the baseball bat wielding Antifa thugs? Was it because they were masked? Some might cynically claim they don’t have jobs to be fired from. However this idea that only one side is guilty serves no purpose and risks further division.

What we have here is a failure to communicate. Both extremes are so caught up in their own views there is little scope for reasoning much less any desire to consider the alternative argument. This idea that Trump is all of a sudden responsible for unleashing this division is preposterous. Hate doesn’t surface in 6 months. It brews over longer periods of time. If anything Trump is a catalyst to it. His caustic manner is tipping an apple cart of decades of political correctness and walking on eggshells legislation that has sought in many cases to promote victimhood. The President’s actions now threaten many of these altruistic views and socialist ideals. They are upset. This isn’t to debate the rights and wrongs of policy set by previous administrations, rather seek to identify why this scourge is happening. It doesn’t justify any forms of violence but it highlights how tightly sprung things are. Just think of why a p*$$y grabbing vulgarian was able to defy all the odds in the election? Could it be that the underbelly of division has existed in America for so long? It finally reached breaking point and delivered him to the White House? The idea he has created this division is a complete falsehood. One might argue his tweets are stirring this hornet’s nest but the sad fact of the matter is that the problems have been brewing way before his inauguration. Ask yourself why hasn’t the mainstream media worked out the best way to cripple Trump is to ignore him? 18 months on since he won the GOP ticket they have not stopped hyperventilating which gives him more airtime than he deserves and ultimately makes them look foolish.

This bullying behaviour is only likely to get worse. The ever worsening cesspit of social media will only exacerbate the problem. Behind a keyboard, people feel they can afford to be 10 feet tall but seldom do they realize their actions could carry (un)intended negative reactions.

More laws are being created to clamp down on what is called ‘hate speech’ or discriminatory language. However we are witnessing more countries shut down free speech and innocent people are having their lives destroyed for expressing points of view that are completely acceptable and not even the slightest bit racist or bigoted (Australians will know the secret trial held by the AHRC of several QUT students expressing a fact). Seeking prescriptive measures to shut people up will invite exactly the sort of behaviour it seeks to prevent. One can call former EDL leader Tommy Robinson a bigot but he has two best selling books in the UK. Could it be there are more people in the UK that share his views than politicians are willing to admit because political correctness is easier for them to dodge discussing pertinent issues? Whether Tommy is right or wrong in his analysis is beside the point. He obviously represents a larger mindshare of the community. Shutting them up forces the movement underground. Do we ban his book? It doesn’t seek to address the problem which in his case is Islam. In some cases he has a point. The exposure of predominantly Bangladeshi/Pakistani rape gangs who have groomed 100s of innocent women across 18 British cities is an issue. Listening to Newcastle City Mayor Nick Forbes, one of the places impacted by this depravity, spent an entire interview dodging the question of these grooming gangs not wanting to discuss the M word. All it does is alienate more people against an optically biased system.

One can debate till the cows come home about whether the M word is the main factor but if it is not openly debated, it is not hard to see why some will grow prejudiced. It is hardly desirable. It doesn’t mean the thinking is right rather a growing number of people feel ignored. It doesn’t automatically make them racists or bigots. Some feel politicians are hiding from speaking openly of jihadi attacks on home soil, dismissing them as lone wolf attacks or the community’s fault for forcing them to commit such atrocious acts. If indeed the left leaning media is so assured of bigotry by Anglo Saxon Brits why not show the other side of the debate and broadcast hours of footage showing Muslim clerics speaking out against these attacks, everyday Muslims integrating with their non-Muslim communities and how they are actively working with authorities to weed the radicals that are demonizing their faith? No, it’s easier to point fingers at bigoted Brits who see no comfort offered by their elected leaders in what they see happening to their community. Once again bullying people for expressing what they perceive as legitimate concerns doesn’t solve the problem.

To put the shoe on the other foot, Robinson posted a video link of the start of an Oldham (a borough of Manchester) Council meeting. It showed the majority of Anglo-Saxon councillors with their heads bowed as the elected Muslim Mayor requested his imam to say prayers. Of course it easy to see why some might draw conclusions to the decline of centuries of British culture however looking deeper into the matter yielded interesting findings. Voter turnout at the last election in the 25% Muslim borough was around 30%. It was a fairly held election. Democracy. Whether local politics is too petty for some, if the residents of Oldham are so incensed by the idea of an imam saying prayers in Arabic and English after following the Serjeant at Arms carrying a mace bearing a Christian cross it is hard to have sympathy. If one is truly in fear of the cultural upheaval, why not use their democracy to change it? Expressing outrage at something that is controllable seems ridiculous.

Australia is in the midst of bullying as well. Same sex marriage (SSM) is on the table. A postal plebiscite is set to occur. Many argue that parliamentarians should vote on it and get it over with. Indeed there are far more pressing economic issues to deal with. Yet the Turnbull government lacks any moral authority and is beholden to so many internal factions to be able to pass so called marriage equality.

Still regardless of one’s views on SSM, the bullying is in full effect. Musician Nick Minchin created one of his hallmark curse-ladened parodies of a Peter Allen song called, “I still call Australia homophobic”. Sadly he is part of the problem, not the solution. One doesn’t have to be homophobic to be against SSM. Yet Minchin thinks it is ok to call these people ‘bigoted c*nts’. Such words have all the same traits of ridiculing Trump or Brexit voters in the lead up to the vote. It has the opposite impact at the polling booth.

A Tasmanian archbishop is being hauled before a tribunal for expressing his anti-SSM views on the grounds of spreading hate. Are his views old fashioned or just part of millennia of religion? A hotel was forced to cancel a lawful gathering of anti-SSM campaigners through intimidation. Is this the sort of behaviour (albeit at the fringe) that unites a nation on a subject?

Some argue it is a waste of $122mn to hold a SSM plebiscite for a government in a $750bn hole. Maybe it is but to many out there, they want a democratic vote to take place. Some feel lobby groups that ignore their concerns (however backward, ancient or stiff) on issues they hold dearly are the exact reason why a vote should be held. It doesn’t matter to them whether a Catholic country like Ireland passed gay marriage, these people don’t want to be brow beaten, attacked or pilloried for expressing an alternative view. I am quite certain that should ‘Yes’ get up in the plebiscite people will have had their say. Shouting down the views of others is wrong. Let their voices be heard and allow the marketplace for free speech settle the differences. Sadly this is not the case. Any polling done by Get Up which shows an emphatic victory should be discounted. Indeed if they are so sure of a ‘Yes’ outcome then they should be over the moon to let democracy back its findings. Secretly they think otherwise. What they view as a waste of money won’t be to others.

Some people fear (again we’re not debating the rights and wrongs of it) that should lobby group bullying win the fight for SSM by an act of parliament then what comes next? We only need to look at the Safe Schools Programme in Victoria which is nothing more than a way to enforce gender indoctrination under the guise of anti-bullying. Cross dressing/role playing, whichever bathrooms and other ‘progressive’ programs are not necessary for 6 year olds. Boys playing with Tonka trucks and Matchbox cars or girls playing with Barbie dolls is not something that requires the school system to enforce boys and girls to reverse toy box selections. When I was a baby my mother recalled I had a love for cars. Even from my pram I knew more car names than English words. I’m sure she wasn’t wheeling me around the Warringah Mall car park trying to force me to do male things. By the same token my daughters weren’t chained to the Bratz corner of Toys’R’us in order to force them to be girls. Seeing her mother apply makeup was something she wanted to do.

What this all boils down to is society’s growing intolerance for free and open debate. We do not lack the ability to talk but we’re incapable of listening. That alternative views must be mocked or banned. There are some with such inability to accept alternative views who suggest prison sentences for climate skepticism. Are the arguments for climate change so weak that alarmists believe the only way to force the end game is to legally ban freedom of opinion?

One imagines that if we put an Antifa and a KKK supporter in the same room unbeknownst to them both and asked a standard questions on a variety of topics they probably would agree on more than they would if within their representative groups. These experiments have been conducted before where complete strangers meet and by the end when identities are revealed there is an awakening. It isn’t forced but occurs naturally through cordial conversation.

I make no apology for my conservative views. One friend is an unabashed socialist. We debate intensely on a variety of issues we have polar views on. I recently wrote to him privately to thank him for broadening my understanding of his views. While I might disagree with him I certainly respect his right to debate his points, which he often does insightfully. Some points are indeed valid and on certain issues we see eye to eye. Others less so. However we listen.

Sadly sanctimony is becoming ever more firmly entrenched into our culture and it can have nothing but bad outcomes. Perhaps to end with a Jewish proverb – “slander slays three people: the spoken by, the spoken to and the spoken of”