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Pain, pins and placebo



Stories such as this are perennial favourites in the Fairfax press, it seems that they just love any piece that validates “alternative” medicine and you know what I am happy to admit that for some people any kind of mumbo jumbo will appear to be efficacious but if you burrow down into things like this you will find that the result is almost certainly an artefact of the placebo effect, where faith in the efficacy of a treatment makes it so. In essence its a case of “patient heal thyself” . Cynics like yours truly who have a rather negative view of acupuncture will of course get no benefit from being poked with needles, and yes I have tried it and found it to be utterly useless.

  Cheers Comrades

Acupuncture to treat existential pain

Acupuncture to treat existential pain


Situation normal at Fairfax

click for source

click for source

I don’t know about anyone else but when I read that someone is “bashed” I imagine that a rather intense and cowardly beating has taken place, that multiple blows have been delivered and that the person delivering the “bashing” is some kind of evil bully because the word “bashing” usually has those sorts of associations. The use of the term in today’s Fairfax press is at best sloppy journalism but I suspect that this is rather deliberate word choice with the intention of casting the worst possible aspersions upon the staff of the detention centre. From the latter part of the report we see that the so called “bashing” may not have been entirely unprovoked you know what I reckon that there are few people out there who would not respond to being assaulted by a detainee with some sort of like for like response. If ever there was an example of lopsided reporting and propagandising its this entirely crappy piece from Fairfax. You would have thought that a good journalist would have sought details about how many blows were struck and precisely what sort of blows they were , the duration of the incident and if any injury ensued but no all Fairfax give us is a piece of skewed drivel that leads the reader to imagine some poor innocent Asylum seeker “bashed” by their cruel jailers…

Lift your game Fairfax you can certainly advocate for your desired position on the government policy but this piece is totally lacking in accuracy or fair minded balance, sadly that is situation normal for Fairfax.

Cheers Comrades


Labor’s Light Brigade and the coffin makers union

If there is one certainty in this country  it is the simple fact that The Fairfax press will always give any Labor  government the benefit of the doubt for  far longer than it will do for any Coalition administration. Its just what we expect from them because most of their journos are sympathetic to leftist thinking  and ideology. Thus when you have a lead story suggesting that Gillard resign from the Prime Minister position then things must be really crook with the government:

click for source

click for source

Some how though I doubt that Gillard will go with any dignity, that she is capable of making the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of the party. She is just arrogant enough to think that her losing face by resigning would be less preferable than leading the party into the blazing guns of a well disciplined opposition who are not in the mood for showing any mercy to a government as bad and incompetent as her administration.

One can only think that Gillard is imagining  this poem,

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro’ the jaws of Death
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.


and imagining that she will be redeemed in a  political afterlife  as one of the glorious dead who went down fighting. We are not however any longer in the age of Alfred, Lord Tennyson where we glory in the noble but stupid and pointless sacrifice. We are in an age of pragmatic politics where we expect that the sacrifice for the greater good should be as bloodless as possible. Of course I agree with Fairfax press insofar s they are suggesting that Gillard has used up all of her electoral good will frankly it no longer matters how she tries to present her self, no matter what sort contortions she tries  hers is a lost cause  and she can only drag the entire party  down further with each extra day she stays in the lodge.

 Ray must be just as despairing as all of the all the other  ALP tragics  at this point in time because even Kevin “I’m here to help” Rudd  will lack the power to  retain office at the election. You see I used to think that Rudd “could save the furniture” but now I’m not so sure,  because the party brand has been so tainted by the Gillard crew that even many of their “true believers” will either vote for Abbott or, as I think more likely, just abstain by making an informal vote on September.

Of course the coffin makers union are delighted at the prospects of such a large surge in business  from the  Labor light brigade  but they are , like so many unions, being short sighted and self focused because for the sake of our democracy we do actually need  two parties who are both relatively competent in government and who will deliver to the people good governance and sound administration and the real tragedy of the Gillard government is that they have demonstrated that the ALP are not only unfit to govern but also that they are also not going to be capable of providing a respectable or credible  opposition for a a very long time  either.

Cheers Comrades

Gillard (seated) and her most trusted advisors

Gillard (seated) and her most trusted advisers

Scams done in the name of Allah

Ah isn’t this story a beauty? To may mind it shows the utter contempt that so many followers of the “religion of peace” have for our secular institutions and the generosity of our governments towards private eduction providers:

A move to have the school wound up and placed into liquidation has been made in the NSW Supreme Court, after it allegedly failed to pay a school uniform supplier $286,000 owed on contracts.
The Australian revealed last year that Malek Fahd paid AFIC $5.2 million in “management fees” in 2010, an amount equal to one-third of the school’s educational funding from the federal and state governments. The school has also been charged $2.59m in back rent after AFIC retrospectively altered a lease agreement in 2009.
The school’s chairman of directors, Ikebal Patel, was president of AFIC at the time, and other AFIC board members were also on the school board.
Mr Patel is secretary of AFIC (now called Muslims Australia), with Hafez Kassem installed as president earlier this year after the end of Mr Patel’s term. The Australian understands Mr Patel is still the functioning president of the organisation and is still the school’s chairman.
Mr Patel did not return a request for comment but has explained the payments “as simply the formalisation of some pre-existing arrangements and the recovery of some assistance given to Malek Fahd and other schools as they were starting out”.
Click for source

Now if this was a school being run by Christians there would be a huge outrage from the the latte sippers demanding that all government funds be withdrawn from all  private schools but my guess is that the usual suspects will begin to claim that this school has been targeted because of “Islamophobia” and or bigotry. Rorting is still rorting and that brings me to my second citation this morning which is the Paul Sheehan‘s piece in the Fairfax press about the amount of monetary  assistance that is offered to the so those who arrive on the boats, many of whom are followers of the same faith as Mr Patel

Under intense political pressure, the federal government is emptying the detention centres by issuing bridging visas which allow detainees to enter the community, work, and receive welfare benefits before their final status has been determined. This has slashed the average time spent in detention from nine months to three months but the quicker turnover has compressed the scrutiny process.

Some of the high take-up of welfare payments among asylum seekers and refugees is being recycled into bringing relatives to Australia, including via people smugglers.

The Royal Australian Navy is being used as a pick-up service by people smugglers who call navy vessels to advise them of their need for assistance.

Little wonder that numbers are exploding. In the three years before the election of the Rudd government, 71 people arrived on 10 illegal boats. It took a year for the impact of Labor’s dismantling of the previous border security regime to kick in. Over the past three years 341 illegal boats have brought 20,248 asylum-seekers. Another 363 have drowned. Uncounted others have perished or turned back.

All these problems are personified by ”Captain Emad”, who fled Australia in June even though he had been under investigation by police. The man, Abu Khalid, was a people smuggler who came to Australia by passing himself off as an asylum seeker. He brought his wife, three children and a grandchild. All received refugee status, settled in Canberra and were provided with public housing despite using different identities to those they used to enter Indonesia from Iraq. Yet even after Khalid’s activities were exposed by the ABC’s Four Corners program, he was allowed to leave.

Systemic deceit has been rewarded by systemic support. Even some asylum seekers who have avoided immigration control, destroyed their identity documents and not yet had their claims decided are eligible for support under the Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme.

Among the benefits that can be made available to those granted protection visas, and those granted refugee status, is a one-off household formation package of up to $9850. Families can be eligible for education assistance of up to $9220. People granted refugee status become eligible for welfare payments immediately without having to wait the two-year period set for immigrants. Single applicants are eligible for a Newstart Allowance. Parents are eligible for Centrelink’s parenting payment. Refugees, and some on bridging visas, also receive Medicare assistance for medical, hospital, dental, medicine and optical costs. Mobile phones are provided to those who arrive as unaccompanied minors.

This is the honeypot that has combined with civil strife to cause entire villages to empty in Sri Lanka and thousands of young men to travel from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan to get on illegal boats to Australia.

The viral email about Australia’s generosity to refugees may be wrong in its details, but the truth is a story of government gullibility without end.

Sadly no reason to Cheer about this one Comrades

My bold in the quotes

Sad subbies at Fairfax

As an avid follower of the media, its trends and moods, I of course take an interest in significant developments and here is one that caught my eye yesterday:

Almost 100 sub-editors positions will be cut as part of plans to transform newspaper production by outsourcing the process.

Fairfax Media chief executive Greg Hywood yesterday prompted threats of strike action when he announced the sub-editing of news, sport and business at the flagship mastheads would be moved to Pagemasters, an external company owned by Australian Associated Press.

The “subs” edit stories, check facts, wording and spelling, watch for legal problems, lay out pages as well as write headlines and captions.

Fairfax journalists met yesterday to express concerns that taking this function away from the editorial floor would not only cost jobs but also reduce the quality of finished copy.

Its just that I wonder what an unemployed sub-editor can possibly do next? Maybe they could try writing books, but if they have already had a go at that and they have produced only duds for their publisher that option will not keep them in Chai Lattes, Hmm its a tough one…
But more seriously this issue seems to me to be one of the relentless march of technology making the mechanistic job of sub-editing a newspaper not so much less important but able to be accomplished far less expensively. After all in the age of spell-check does Fairfax really need that expensive  extra layer of scrutiny for their copy? Personally I feel for about  99% of the sub-editors who are about to lose their jobs. It is always tough to have to re-invent your life when its foundations are shaken by events beyond your control, but as scions of “progress” and “progressive thought” they will just have to wear it won’t they? Strangely if they do decide to strike they may just prove that their role is in fact as management clearly thinks it to be, less than necessary these days .

Cheers Comrades

Treating the story in an even-handed manner

There has been a little side drama going on in Australian politics with Labor  trying to seduce a little known Liberal backbencher into taking the deputy speaker’s job in the house. The price for that position seems to have been that the chap in question would not vote against Gillard on   supply and confidence. Of course it would have been a terrible betrayal of those who had elected him and fortunately the leader of the opposition was able to convince him of the folly of taking the job under those terms. What is really amusing to me is the way that this is being depicted in the press.

The Australian gives us a rather even handed report.

Fairfax's Brisbane times goes with the very partisan headline claiming that Tony Abbott intimidated Alex Somalay

As does the SMH

The Age was a little more even handed in their headline , but I suspect that this is because they were just a little more intrested in the tied AFL Grand final because the story was tucked away in the National affairs section of their web page the copy of the piece was the same however.

The remit of any political leader is to lead so I see no reason at all to think that a leader pulling an errant member back into line when they are flirting with what can only be decribed as a substantial betrayal of the party to the forces of darkness, is anything other than a right and proper example of good shepherding of the party.

Joe Hockey was of course  invoking the ghost of the much despised (by the Labor  Party) Mal Coulston on the TV yesterday and that is in fact a very apt example of the boot being on the other foot  because had the proposed deal stood it would have made the parliamentary task of the Gillard Government just a tad easier which is something no member of the coalition should even think of  doing.

Gillard wanted to govern under the present paradigm (sorry 🙄 ) so instaed of whining about the fact that it will be tough having to govern with only a one seat majority she and her colleges should just knuckle down and keep the discipline that theses numbers require.

Cheers Comrades

PS did anyone notice that Gillard cursed the AFL grand final at the breakfast event yesterday by daring to suggest that any result would be fine as long as it wasn’t a draw???

So the Gods of inflated leather have taken revenge upon the faithful for this example political hubris in the most holy event on their  liturgical calendar by delivering precisely what Gillard was in jest suggesting….

as the axiom says be careful what you wish for…

“But the stories about global warming have not stopped, not for a second.”

Not So long ago the media was insisting that we are all going to fry as the world spirals into an out of control heating phase all caused by our greed and rapacious burning of fossil fuels. Sadly fro the zealots, the ones I call the “Warministas” the empirical evidence does not fit their song sheet. Although someone should tell the ABC and Fairfax because they are doing a very good job of under emphasising those “inconvenient truths” that do not fit the AGW song sheet

EUROPE is shivering through an extreme cold snap. One of the coldest winters in the US in more than 100 years is toppling meteorological records by the dozen, and the Arctic ice is expanding. Even Australia has been experiencing unseasonable snow.

But the stories about global warming have not stopped, not for a second.

In May last year, The Sydney Morning Herald breathlessly reported that climate change had reduced the Southern Ocean’s ability to soak up carbon dioxide, claiming that as a result global warming would accelerate even faster than previously thought.

The story was picked up and repeated in a number of different journals around the region.

But this week the CSIRO suggested the exact opposite. “The new study suggests that Southern Ocean currents, and therefore the Southern Ocean’s ability to soak up carbon dioxide, have not changed in recent decades,” it said. This time the story got no coverage in the SMH, and was run on the ABC’s website as evidence the Southern Ocean was adapting to climate change.

CSIRO oceanographer Stuart Rintoul, a co-author of the study, said it did not disprove global warming and he did not believe its lack of an alarmist tone was responsible for the poor coverage.

I truly wonder just how long the cooling trend in our climate will have to be evident before the true believers will have their certianty undermined enough that they would consider that their faith in prophets like Hansen , Gore and Flannery has been misplaced?

Something to think about Comrades


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