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Archive for the ‘A Disappearing Balance’ Category

Climate change – the science is firm, and politics is weak

The problem with predicting doom is, sooner or later people are going to notice the lack of doom.

One reason the rhetoric has become so overheated is that the climate-change activists increasingly lack a scientific basis for their most exaggerated claims. As physicist Gordon Fulks of the Cascade Policy Institute puts it: “CO2 is said to be responsible for global warming that is not occurring, for accelerated sea-level rise that is not occurring, for net glacial and sea-ice melt that is not occurring . . . and for increasing extreme weather that is not occurring.” He points out that there has been no net new global-warming increase since 1997 even though the human contribution to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen by 25 percent since then. This throws into doubt all the climate models that have been predicting massive climate dislocation.

It’s probable that man has warmed the planet some. It might even be that we’ve completely ruined the planet.

But even if we have, any plan to fix it has to be realistic. And that’s where the science ends and the politics starts – you’ve got to find something that fixes the problem without creating bigger problems in other spheres (e.g. doesn’t plunge the world into war or poverty).

And for all the work that’s gone into the science, the politics is total crap. Because all the guys you see in these rallies are not scientists, they’re political activists. They’ll line up and sign a petition to stop supporting oil companies, then they’ll jump in their car and drive home – while the leaders hop in their private planes instead.

Cambodia, and destroying the world

I found this on Instapundit today. It’s so sad, I almost wept reading it.

When Khmer Rouge forces seized Phnom Penh on April 17, 1975, the couple was living with eight of their children in a rural town called Kampong Chhnang. Three days later, the guerrillas arrived and residents — including Younly — cheered, relieved the war was finally over, his 86-year-old widow Som Seng Eath recalled.

But within hours, everything changed. Every soul was ordered to leave on foot.

The Khmer Rouge were emptying Cambodia’s cities, marching millions of people into the countryside to work as manual laborers. Their aim was to create an agrarian communist utopia, but they were turning the Southeast Asian nation into a slave state.

Younly “didn’t believe what was happening. He kept saying, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll be back soon, don’t pack much,’” his widow said. She ignored his advice, and took as much as she could — including five of her husband’s school notebooks, and several blue ink pens.

As gunshots rang, they joined the departing hordes, cradling their young children and whatever they could carry. As they walked into the night, people wept.

Sadly, we forget so quickly just how evil humanity can be.

Go read, and remind yourself of the dangers we face when people decide that they can reshape society to their ideal, by whatever means they deem necessary.

Related, is this via Patterico. You can click through and read the letter to which this is a reply, but I think the reply pretty much speaks for itself, and the state of politics today.

Dear Son of A Right-Winger,

Go back and read the opening sentences of your letter. Read them again. Then read the rest of your letter. Then read it again. Try to find a single instance where you referred to your dad as a human being, a person, or a man. There isn’t one. You’ve reduced your father — the person who created you — to a set of beliefs and political views and how it relates to you. And you don’t consider your dad a person of his own standing — he’s just “your dad.” You’ve also reduced yourself to a set of opposing views, and reduced your relationship with him to a fight between the two. The humanity has been reduced to nothingness and all that’s left in its place is an argument that can never really be won. And even if one side did win, it probably wouldn’t satisfy the deeper desire to be in a state of inflamed passionate conflict.

The world isn’t being destroyed by democrats or republicans, red or blue, liberal or conservative, religious or atheist — the world is being destroyed by one side believing the other side is destroying the world. The world is being hurt and damaged by one group of people believing they’re truly better people than the others who think differently. The world officially ends when we let our beliefs conquer love. We must not let this happen.

Worth pondering, I think.

Overreactions – the ultimate irony of the Zimmerman case

I clicked this on twitter last night. This guy is right on the money – with this part at least.

You Are Not Trayvon Martin

His death wasn’t about race, guns, or your pet issue. It was about misjudgment and overreaction—exactly what we’re doing now to the verdict.

Trayvon Martin is dead, George Zimmerman has been acquitted, and millions of people are outraged. Some politicians are demanding a second prosecution of Zimmerman, this time for hate crimes. Others are blaming the tragedy on “Stand Your Ground” laws, which they insist must be repealed. Many who saw the case as proof of racism in the criminal justice system see the verdict as further confirmation. Everywhere you look, people feel vindicated in their bitter assumptions. They want action.

But that’s how Martin ended up dead. It’s how Zimmerman ended up with a bulletproof vest he might have to wear for the rest of his life. It’s how activists and the media embarrassed themselves with bogus reports. The problem at the core of this case wasn’t race or guns. The problem was assumption, misperception, and overreaction. And that cycle hasn’t ended with the verdict. It has escalated.

Going out and shooting someone because you think someone else was shot by a vigilante has got to be about the most stupid thing ever.

I almost joined the frenzy. Yesterday I was going to write that Zimmerman pursued Martin against police instructions and illustrated the perils of racial profiling. But I hadn’t followed the case in detail. So I sat down and watched the closing arguments: nearlyseven hours of video in which the prosecution and defense went point by point through the evidence as it had been hashed out at the trial. Based on what I learned from the videos, I did some further reading.

It turned out I had been wrong about many things. The initial portrait of Zimmerman as a racist wasn’t just exaggerated. It was completely unsubstantiated. It’s a case study in how the same kind of bias that causes racism can cause unwarranted allegations of racism. Some of the people Zimmerman had reported as suspicious were black men, so he was a racist. Members of his family seemed racist, so he was a racist. Everybody knew he was a racist, so his recorded words were misheard as racial slurs, proving again that he was a racist.

This guy was at least honest enough to do his research, and form his opinion on the facts – though he doesn’t seem to quite grasp just how thoroughly the prosecution was debunked. That’s fine – he’ll get there if the above is any indication.

What bakes my noodle is how on earth so many people can still hold to a story that has been so publicly, and so effectively debunked. Not only that, but then use that debunked story as justification for all sorts of things, including putting a hammer in the head of a waiter.

Who wins when people run around screaming about the lack of justice in a case where justice was clearly done, and done well? And does doing that really show that anyone has learned the lessons that should be learned from this incident?

Sensible Sentencing Trust not the first victim?

Those upset about this case

The Human Rights Commission plans to prosecute the Sensible Sentencing Trust for breaching a serial paedophile’s* privacy.

It stems from the trust printing the man’s name and details of his offending on its website. The commission says this breaches his privacy because the trust does not mention that he has name suppression.

However, neither the paedophile nor the commission have been able to supply a court record to prove he has name suppression.

…would do well to also note this one.

Robert Henderson is due to appear before the Human Rights Tribunal on November 30 for telling a nursing home one of its employees was a drug addict.

In 2003, Henderson rang the nursing home and told the charge nurse that a caregiver, who was on a methadone programme, had asked for opiates at his practice.

Earlier this year, the High Court at Wellington found Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff’ wrongly ruled against Henderson.

Shroff found the doctor could not provide adequate reasons for his actions and should have only told the home’s manager.

However, the judicial review found it was not up to Henderson to prove the threat and he had told the correct person.

He was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Perhaps a reporter could chase up with Dr Henderson?

I found this comment telling:

Dr Henderson said he was standing up for the rights of the elderly, even though he could walk away now with the settlement paid for by the Medical Protection Society.

“It is a matter of protecting the elderly and it is about their human rights,” Dr Henderson said.

There seems to be a consistent thread here where the HRC is standing against the rights of the public to be protected. I believe this earlier case is far worse, as it goes against the clear ruling of the courts. But the most recent case is very disturbing too, as you have a lack of evidence seen as grounds to prosecute where it should have killed the case from the start – especially given all that’s left is the word of a known liar and pedophile.

* This characterization has been disputed.

Update: The decision  on Dr Henderson is here. He was cleared by two of the 3 “judges”, with the third taking offense with his view that drug addicts were not to be trusted to the point where she wrote a minority report. Even the majority report takes pains to clarify that they had no love for the man they cleared:

[71] There is, however, a postscript. It does not follow from the fact that we have found that Dr Henderson had reasonable grounds to believe that there was a serious and imminent threat to patients at the nursing home, that we accept and agree with all of the evidence he gave, or the matters that he regarded as being important. We did not. At several points in his evidence Dr Henderson referred to other situations he regarded as being relevant, and gave some surprising evidence to the effect that a threat of contracting the HIV might not be so serious. The complainant is entitled to know that we have reached our conclusion despite these aspects of Dr Henderson’s evidence, not because of them. The reasons for our conclusions go no further than those we have set out in this decision.

Update 2: It can’t be emphasised enough: the doctor in this case was persecuted because he rang a rest home to tell them they unknowingly had a drug addict working for them. In an organisation that’s keeping drugs on site, that’s a biggie and it boggles the mind that she was not instantly fired – not for being a drug addict, but for the blatant lie. That sort of information is not something you would withhold in such a situation.

Compare and Contrast

Exhibit a.

Angry comments about the officer’s actions have already peppered social media sites and talkback radio. He’s been called “gung ho” and “over-eager” by some, said Rodney police area commander, Senior Sergeant Scott Webb…”

A Florida high school student wrestled a loaded gun away from another teen on the bus ride home this week and was slapped with a suspension in return.

The 16-year-old Cypress Lake High student in Fort Myers, Fla. told WFTX-TV there

was “no doubt” he saved a life after grappling for the loaded .22 caliber revolver being aimed point-blank at another student on Tuesday.

“I think he was really going to shoot him right then and there,” said the suspended student, not identified by WFTX because of safety concerns. “Not taking no pity.”

The student said the suspect, a football player, threatened to shoot a teammate because he had been arguing with his friend.

Authorities confirmed to WFTX the weapon was indeed loaded, and the arrest report stated the suspect, identified by WVZN-TV as Quadryle Davis, was “pointing the gun directly” at the other student and “threatening to shoot him.”

That’s when, the teen told the station, he and two others tackled the suspect and wrestled the gun away. The next day, all three were suspended.

“How they going to suspend me for doing the right thing?” he asked.

The school’s referral slip said he was given an “emergency suspension” for being involved in an “incident” with a weapon. Lee County School District spokesman Alberto Rodriguez said in a statement that “If there is a potentially dangerous situation, Florida law allows the principal to suspend a student immediately pending a hearing.”

Exhibit c.

A 16 year old girl had been RAPED by some-one, and this Doctor was asked to treat her. He used his position of authority and trust to initiate sex with her instead. At least twice, according to the report. Can we really believe that was all, and can we really believe there was only one case?  If there were no name suppression,  other victims may have stepped forward by now.  And who else knew? Perhaps colleagues and superiors knew something?

And just to prove the secular system is tough on sex crimes – a mere $1,000 fine!

There seems to be a growing issue with people not being able to put the important first:

  1. The importance of putting down dangerous animals who take lives.
  2. The importance of not punishing  people who save lives!
  3. The importance of naming a man who has committed a honorific act.

It is extraordinary that the poor boy who saved a life isn’t in the white house today, receiving an award. You’d think that natural since he stopped a school shooting and Obama is convinced those are really, really bad. Perhaps it’s too soon for that.

But all is not lost. If comments to the above are any indication, the great unwashed still have some semblance of morality. I didn’t go looking for any of these stories – they were things I stumbled upon in my usual lazy surfing habits this evening. They are disseminated by people who are outraged at the attitude of people in authority in New Zealand and (more generally) western society.

Meanwhile, the “washed” are busy implementing gay marriage, lest the handful of people who chose civil unions feel put-upon at not being able to call their relationship by the name they feel entitled to. Probably next year, they’ll implement a bill of rights for man-eating sharks or something.

Strange how it’s those who suggest parliament spends it’s time on other matters who get told to focus on the important…

When will the Coroner’s office decide it’s had enough ridicule?

Story:

After investigating the 57-year-old’s death, Smith also found that despite council efforts made to improve the crash site at the Hutt Road and Petone Esplanade intersection, they ”still fall short of making the road safe for cyclists”.

”The intersection is in my view a most dangerous area for cyclists to use, no matter how experienced the riders are.

”Cyclists using this cycle/traffic lane area are literally taking their lives in their hands and a complete rethink and design of this area is required.”

First comment:

“At the time of the crash, Mr Fitzgerald was wearing reflective stripes on his clothing and backpack, and both front and rear lights were working.”

So even though he was wearing reflective clothing and lights and a helmet, the cyclist was still killed, the coroner suggests it should be made compulsary. Why? It wouldnt have made any difference at all in this case…

New Zealand Coroner’s seem to be on a fast track to becoming an object of public ridicule. This is just the latest in a series of ludicrous recommendations, which generally fall under the heading of “label everything in creation that might be considered dangerous”.

Perhaps they need to get out more? Or perhaps they are aliens from outer space?

Who knows. All I know is, they’re happily self-destructing.

Obama has the guts to do with only minimal hesitation what anyone else would immediately know was the right call

One of the weirdest aspects of the election was this idea that “Obama got Bin Laden”.

I find/found it weird because:

a) As far as I am aware, Obama didn’t do anything to establish the hunt (Bush did that)

b) As far as I am aware, Obama didn’t do anything that speed up the hunt (though this might be debatable)

c) Was/is he seriously suggesting that another president (say McCain) would have said no to killing him?

It’s this last point that Aaron Worthing explores in this post.

So Obama perhaps was thinking of focus grouping a slogan.  Something like, “vote for Obama, he killed Osama!”  Or perhaps, “Vote for Obama and Biden, they killed Osama bin Laden!”  Something like that.  But the idea that it was some kind of amazing gutsy call was kind of laughed out of respectable politics and I didn’t hear of it again for a while.
Sadly it seems that a lot of things that should be laughed out of politics are taken seriously and a lot of things that should be taken seriously are laughed out.
But it came to mind again when I was listening Obama talk about it during the debates:
[Obama speaking] …(snip)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: And — and I make that point because that’s the kind of clarity of leadership — and those decisions are not always popular. Those decisions generally are not poll-tested. And even some in my own party, including my current vice president, had the same critique as you did. But what the American people understand is, is that I look at what we need to get done to keep the American people safe and to move our interests forward, and I make those decisions.
I dunno about you guys, but the idea that military command decisions might be poll tested is a little disturbing!
Now you can get distracted with the shameful lie he just told about Romney being opposed to the mission.  But I want to focus on what he said in that last paragraph.  Read it again.  It was not the popular thing to do.  They don’t poll test it.  He even got criticism from his own party.
I remember hearing that and saying, “my God, he really does think that killing bin Laden was a difficult call.”  He agonized over this.  He wondered if it was the right thing to do.

Which makes no sense to me whatsoever.

It makes no sense to me either.

But we’re seeing a lot of this today. If I may pontificate a little here, we have people in our civilization who really have no idea what life is like. They think turkeys come from the freezer (witness the so-called “gaffe” when Sarah Palin stood in front of a turkey being killed before Thanksgiving). They think fertility should be turned off and on without consequence. They think the supermarket and petrol station will always be stocked no matter what happens. They think the tap should always produce drinkable water. They think that in a disaster, the government will be there to help in 3 days. And they think justice is only done when all the evidence is heard before a judge and jury.

The real world isn’t like that. Outside of our modern cities, stuff happens occasionally that means that certain ideas aren’t met. People in rural areas often have to boil water because a dead sheep fell in the creak. Electricity lines can be hit by trees and people have to switch to wood burners to stay warm. Governments never get to everyone within 3 days of a disaster. Never. Sometimes, the weather is just so bad that cabbages can’t grow and we have to switch to carrots.

And certain bad guys are had to arrest.

It’d be really lovely if Pakistan was a place that wasn’t so corrupt. But it is corrupt. It’d be nice if Pakistan was a place where you could walk into the local police station with an arrest warrant and know they’d do the job.  It’d be nice to think you could knock on Bin Laden’s door with nothing more than pepper spray and ask him to step outside. But only a fool would think the world’s most wanted man would give up quietly, or that the local plod could do the job as part of his morning patrol.

So in the real world, things are less than ideal. In Pakistan, things are a lot less than ideal. Gee, maybe that’s why Osama was there? Hm.

So when we think about the real world, we start to get a picture of what might be necessary to do the job we want (arrest Osama) in the real world. Clearly, it would need an armed raid that bypasses the local constabulary. That bypasses the government even.

The question then becomes, is that justified?

Amazingly, some people say “no”. The rest of us say “well, duh – it’s the world’s most dangerous terrorist, you get him by whatever means”(after having run through much of the above very much quicker than it takes to read). Because if you don’t go after Bin Laden, people will die, cos that’s what Bin Laden does, he kills people. Yes, he might not make it out alive. But again, to not try will mean other, innocent, people will die.

It’s this sort of moral question that people seem to have such a trouble with today. This is not rocket science at all, yet people seem to be so loath to make decisions that have any sort of grey in them – it’s either 100% justified or it isn’t at all.

Friends of mine had a child that was being bullied – beaten up – at school. He was actually being reduced before their eyes to a nervous wreck. The bullies were so brazen, they actually came onto his parents’ blog to abuse him and them in full public view. They said things so horrible I’d never even seen stuff that bad even on YouTube*. That’s how bad it was. But when he actually stood up for himself one day, the school considered that “fault on both sides” and dismissed the incident. Apparently the only way to get protection from authority at this particular school was to be an utterly helpless victim and wait for authority to arrive. (Suffice to say he was removed.)

I just despair of our society when we hold our principles so tightly we forget what those principles are actually about. That we hold an ideal in such high regard that we forget why we hold that ideal.

We hold justice as an ideal to protect the weak.

Obama tells us he had to agonise over whether to apply that principle in the real world. Bush famously did not. His certainty (I believe) lost him the votes of the people whom I described above.

Perhaps that’s the divide that divides not only America, but Western society today. Our society is becoming so successful that we are losing touch with what makes it successful.

And we’re electing the fools who have lost touch to elected office, where they agnoise over decisions that would be clear cut to anyone in any previous era. But that’s not the real problem. The problem is that if we apply only slightly more subtlety to the balance we get this:

Which brings me to the news of the day, that during the attack on, on September 11, 2012, of our embassy in Benghazi our Navy Seals were told to stand down.  We learn from Glenn Beck that help was only forty-five minutes away, and the attack went on for hours, and yet they were not ordered to intervene.
When a quick decision had to be made, to save our personnel and to deal a defeat to the terrorists, Obama wasn’t gutsy.  He was gutless.

Innocent people are dead because of that decision.

But Obama rides another day – because he killed Bin Laden don’t you know.

.

.

*This record has since been exceeded by one Breitbart hater I once made the mistake of engaging on Twitter one day. I suggested to him that Media Matters was a partisan source. He took immediate offense in strong and violent terms. Strangely his passion for solid sources didn’t stop him jumping to the conclusion that I get my facts of Fox News.

A Plea for Christian Common Sense and Healthy Skepticism

What this guy is saying is important:

I have long been of the opinion that Christians need to be led by their spiritual leaders into a default attitude of healthy skepticism regarding wild claims of supernatural occurrences. I think non-Christians also need to be educated to exercise a certain amount of common sense skepticism about things that seem blatantly doubtful such as alien abductions.

There was a very popular book about Satanism by an evangelical Christian who claimed he had become a high priest of a Satanic cult and that Satanism was rampant in America. My students were reading the book and passing it around. When I taught my course the subject of that book always came up. When I spoke in churches about cults I was constantly being pressed to comment on it. I read the book and didn’t believe a word of it. Never did. It had the “ring” of untruth. My internal nonsense detector rang loudly as I read it. I told people about my disbelief in the man and his story and his claims and was called a skeptic (in a bad sense) and unspiritual. It was, as the saying goes, déjà vu all over again. Fortunately for me, the book was exposed as false later. But not one of those people who called me unspiritual for disbelieving it ever came back to tell me “You were right and I was wrong.”

I was given a book a few years ago, by a guy called Tony Anthony. It’s called Taming the Tiger.

He made some claims that are rather easy to verifiy, and I did so. Well, it’s a complete hoax. It’s also doing damage.

Tony Anthony is currently an evangelist, who claims to have won Kung-Fu world championship four times. He has written a book about his past called Taming the Tiger.He claims his grandfather took him to China by the age of 4, and was trained to master all the arts of Kung-Fu. He trained up to the age of 20, became a professional bodyguard for influential people, but when his fiancee died, he began a life of crime in his rage and depression. He beat up and killed several people and ended up in a jail, where a man called Michael Wright, a Christian, visited him and taught him about Jesus and God. Tony became a Christian, and has been an evangelist ever since.

You can listen his story here: Link

I have read the book, and I actually thought his story was true, until I heard his story has no evidence or sources indicating it was true at all. No evidence about him ever being a Kung-Fu world champion, and no evidence of his crimes. We all know that evangelists aren’t really honest people, so it’s obvious that Anthony just fabricated his story just to gain money. I’m pretty sure the liar doesn’t even believe in God.

I guess it makes sense that he lied about his story. He made some pretty ridiculous claims about his Kung-Fu skills in the book. He said that it was possible to kill a person within a second by pinching from certain points in their bodies. I wonder if Anthony could still do this if he was asked? I guess it would be un-Christian if he did, so there’s no use demanding him to show his incredible Kung-Fu skills again…

Anthony’s Wikipedia page has been deleted due to a lack of citation of his claims.

Among my observations:

  • He spoke Cantonese, but in spite of the fact he spoke it every day he only remembers Mandarin words
  • His training read like parts of it had been copped from Bruce Lee’s Wikipedia page
  • His claim to have 3 world titles got gradually modified as people questioned him – the forum I was reading suggested he was now saying they were small, illegal competitions held in a garage somewhere.
  • He repeatedly offers excuses instead of real answers to questions about his background – even months later, his promise to put details on a specific page on his web site was unfilled
  • His parents disappeared while he was in prison and he says nothing more about them. If my parents disappeared in mysterious circumstances, I’d be tearing the country apart!

Here’s another list from a forum that discusses fake martial artists.

1. There are no traces of the organizations under which Tony became World Kung Fu Champion although he names them. When this was pointed out Tony more recently said it he gave incorrect names to protect his identity from his Chinese family although he is publishing the book in China. He also said the organization was small, illegal and unknown and that is why he calls himself a 3 times World Champion. Is this a World Champion?

2. The Publisher and co-author co-operated with questions admit no facts were checked. The publisher, after consulting Tony, said Tony had promised him that he would post a Q&A on Tony’s website www.avantiministries.comwith answers to people’s questions. Years later this has not happened.

3. The impressive teaching materials Tony uses and says he wrote appear to have been plagiarised. Their frustrated author appears on the thread.

4. There are multiple discrepancies. Although the book describes Tony as having a Chinese mother and growing up and training in China Tony, when questioned, speaks almost no Chinese. There has never been a Saudi Ambassador to Cyprus while Tony describes being his bodyguard. Tony avoids questions about these and many others. Martial Arts proponents have followed up a surprising number of facts on an international scale. These can be followed on the thread.

5. Martial Arts proponents note the almost exact similarities in the tests Tony passed to the opening sequences of the ‘Kung Fu’ TV series starring David Caradine.

6. Unusually for a Christian Leader Tony describes his policy to have no contact with his parents for the last fifteen years. This is very unusual. Tony speaks fluent Greek but not Chinese. He was in prison in Cyprus. There is record of an Antonio Anthony, born to a Greek Cypriot mother in North London. No one of his associates gets to meet his mother. This is probably the key place to confirm or disprove Tony’s story – a polite visit to his roots.

7. The Time Line of Tony’s life, which someone on the thread has produced causes major questions – copy below.

8. In the UK, in 2000 Tony was sentenced to 15 months in prison for perverting the course of justice. His car had hit a cyclist at night, killing her, but he had not stayed at the scene and later denied it to police.

2002 released from prison. 2004 published Taming the Tiger. This is a newspaper article at the time: http://www.getreading.co.uk/news/s/5…ut_death_crash. What are the ‘other unrelated charges’ in another Court that the article mentions?

9. Tony has offered a CD that answers people’s misgivings and a Q&A on his website that responds to the questions from non Christian Martial Artists and concerned Christians. He also says he responds to respectful emailed questions. In practice he is evasive and misleading here. The promised Q&A only has questions about God. Tony told a visitor to his offices that, ‘the decision was taken to focus on Jesus rather than myself’. The CD has little on it. You are welcome to see what response you get to emailed questions.

10. Tony describes several incident s where he killed terrorists who attacked the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the UK and Cyprus. These would have been major International scandals of course (related to which Country was behind them) but there is no record of any such attacks and killings is there?

It does no credit to anyone to have this fraud going around – or to spread stupid stories.

Quote of the day, Culture Wars edition

Yep.

On sexuality, progressives seem increasingly unable even to understand the worldview of traditional religious communities like Muslims, Evangelical Christians, Orthodox Jews, and the Catholic Church. The intuitions are totally different: what traditional religious communities can’t help but see as common sense, progressives can’t help but see as psychological repression and bigotry. Disagreement is profound. Clashes may be very ugly, indeed.

In other news, the Cick-fil-A backlash has itself triggered a backlash. But these things are often indicative of the future direction of the liberal agenda, so I predict that it won’t be long before such backlashs against people who share unpopular (but polite and honest) opinions are relatively commonplace.

(Link via Instapundit – recently rediscovered as a great source of a wide variety of good links)

There’s always a reason

It was interesting to hear today the reasoning behind the name suppression of the Rena captain and second officer. Apparently, it’s because we’re all so upset that someone might lynch them if their names were published.

Well, they have been – just not here. So while that might sound like a good reason to give name suppression, it doesn’t work in the real world. But it is good to hear that there is at least a semi-valid reason to suppress their identities.

It reminded me of something I heard on the radio the other day.

If you recall, a man tried to jump into Parliament’s chamber. Now, John Key didn’t distinguish himself in the incident (and Labour could do well to recall that it’s the second fellow who starts the fight, they missed a good opportunity to shut up and be dignified) but I want to talk about what happened to the Herald.

 The Herald‘s Audrey Young, sitting in the Press Gallery nearby, knowing news when she saw it, snapped a photo on her phone of the ensuing struggle as security guards and members of the public attempted to stop the man from going over the edge. The Herald, also knowing news when they saw it, published it. And as a result, Lockwood Smith has now banned them from reporting from Parliament for two weeks.

Publication of the photo was clearly in breach of Parliament’s Standing Orders, which prohibit filming or photographing interruptions from the gallery.

So the Herald broke the rules and got punished.

Now, the view across the blogosphere (as my limited reading of it anyway) was pretty much along the lines of No Right Turn:

This decision is not demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society which respects the freedom of speech and allows the public to see what is happening in their legislature. But sadly, no court can overrule the Speaker here. The British Bill of Rights Act 1688, which asserts the supremacy of Parliament, prevents it. Which makes the Speaker effectively a king, possessed of unreviewable and uncontrollable power. We need to change this.

Secondly, this shows that our Parliament is still in some ways stuck in the mindset of the eighteenth century, regulating itself like an exclusive gentlemen’s club with public scrutiny permitted by grace and favour, not as of right. This too has to change. It is not the Speaker’s House – it is our House, and we have an absolute right to know and see what happens there.

I realise that in some sense Parliament is a bit of a club. But when someone describes it as an old-fashioned old-boy’s club where the whole thing is to protect members…. well, we all know that it hasn’t been that way for many years. That explanation doesn’t satisfy me.

Then on The Panel that Friday, someone pointed something out.

Yes, Parliament is a public place, and we all have the right to know what goes on there. But what we want to know is what laws are passed, and what speeches are made. That is, must, and should be published freely.

However, because of that intense scrutiny parliament also potentially generates another type of news. That’s when someone comes to parliament and breaks the rules in order to make the news. Reporting on that is actually against the public interest.

Why?

Well, I’ve been to parliament several times. The first time I went there, the Englishman I went with commented that one could have quite easily have walked in with a gun and started shooting MPs. That has changed (they now have metal detectors), but the chamber remains remarkably open.

This is a good thing.

However, should people wanting to make a political point get the idea that all they have to do to get on the news and make a splash is to walk into the public viewing chamber and make a scene, then that actually makes it harder for New Zealanders to experience our parliament.

On The Panel, the person making these points also pointed out that the Christchurch Press used to report on vandalism around the city. When the newspaper stopped reporting it, the incidents of vandalism dropped dramatically.

So I’m with the Speaker on this one. I for one would have full access to the debating chamber, and have the opportunity to see parliment in action with my own eyes. It would be a shame to have that ruined because of some false sense of “freedom of the press” that merely served as a platform for any idiot with an agenda.

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