93 thoughts on “Sandpit

  1. @Val
    VAL! (you there?) i’ve warmed to you over the year. you’re worth ten tig-togs! hands down. sometimes its not worth the trouble trying to be in clubs that don’t want you, they’re not worth enlightening. -cheers, venison.

  2. @Fran Barlow
    Fran I can’t resist admitting that I also have comments deleted at The Conversation for saying Shaun Carney was talking sh-t, and that Michelle Grattan was a “bit creepy” in the way she treated female political leaders.

    I sometimes wonder if I’m a total asset to feminism, on the whole. But I can’t help thinking it’s funny.

  3. Hmmm, let’s look at this another way. Was the US attempt to impose the New American Century on the entire globe a form of religious and ideological crusade? Are warlike Crusaders fundamentally (pun intended) any different from warlike Jihadists? (The question is formulated like this because Crusaders and Jihadists are not all warlike. There are other forms and meanings of “crusade” and “jihad”.)

    In one sense, the attempt to impose the New American Century has already failed. The US has lost every significant war it has launched since 2001 in the sense of failing to achieve or hold on to its key objectives. At a strategic level, the US continues to contain its main rivals (China and Russia) to a very significant extent. But this containment stance and the overall attempt to remain a global hegemon is resulting in serious strategic overreach. The US cannot sustain this posture much longer.

    Much of the violence in the M.E. can be seen as;

    (1) The delayed irruptions occuring as “orders and borders” imposed by western imperialism collapse along with the collapse of western imperial power.

    (2) The reaction to invasion, occupation and decimation of M.E. populations by western imperialists.

    These final invasions were western imperialism’s “last hurrah”; an attempt to convince others and itself that it is not failing.

  4. @Watkin Tench

    I drink 8 cups of coffee most days. I’m not in the least concerned about carcinogens in coffee, I’m simply reinforcing the point that the organic industry’s concerns about trace elements of pesticides in conventional agriculture is risible

    Care to elaborate on what is prima facie a silly comment?

  5. J-D says: “Supposing for the sake of argument that all these things are so, what conclusion do you draw?”

    My conclusion is that we’ll possibly see scenes like this in Melbourne and Sydney if we don’t have a frank and open national debate about multiculturalism and immigration.

  6. Watkin Tench, if you are drinking 8 cups of coffee a day, it quite likely is making you irritable, plus other side effects. You’d be better off to cut down.

    Not that I’m trying to restrict your freedom or muzzle you. Just tellin ya.

  7. @kevin1

    Not sure what you mean, Kevin1.

    As I said previously, 99.99% of the pesticides we consume are the naturally occurring pesticides produced within the veggies we eat. This averages out at 1.5 grams of natural pesticides per person per day in the US and I assume the figs for Oz would be about the same. I want to know why dishonest greenies conceal this fact and endlessly bang on about the 0.01% synthetic residue pesticides.

  8. Thanks, Val.

    I do not drink or smoke. Coffee is my only vice. I also have sleep apnoea and only get two or three hours sleep most nights and if I don’t have coffee I can’t function. Getting old ain’t for the faint hearted 😉

  9. are “naturally occurring pesticides produced within the veggies” a concern?

    is 0.01% synthetic pesticide residue insignificant?
    -a.v.

  10. According to Reuters report from April:

    The United States would increase assistance and send the shipments to moderate rebel factions mostly based in Jordan, along Syria’s southern border, the officials familiar with the plan told Reuters.

    The additional supplies are likely to be modest and will not include surface-to-air missiles, the officials said, raising questions over the impact in a civil war that has killed an estimated 136,000 people, produced nine million refugees and threatens to destabilize the region.

    Rebels have urged the Obama administration to provide advanced weapons including surface-to-air missiles and exert greater military pressure on Russia-backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has intensified bombings of rebel neighborhoods in recent month.

    It is well established that the US initially backed the people who beheaded the Syrian army soldiers depicted in the link provided (without any warning of graphic content, thanks) by Watkin Tench at #7 above.

    I’m genuinely surprised that such a link – to the seriously creepy “catholic.org” site – can sail through ‘moderation’ at the same time that others are unable to even post half-neutered links to far less controversial sites.

    On the assumption that the graphic image linked to is real, this is a direct result of the US intervention in Syria via its (now apparently out of control and disowned) proxies.

  11. @Watkin Tench
    Why do dishonest alarmist greenies bang on about pesticides?
    This is why.
    Much the same reason that previous generations of dishonest alarmist greenies banged on about chlorofluorocarbons, lead, asbestos and tobacco, really.

  12. There are much worse images coming out of Syria.

    Grown ups have no excuse not to see what Jihadists, many of them citizens of the West, are doing.

    My current favourites are the pics of dead Christian girls with crucifixes protruding from every conceivable orifice. Our Jihadi friends are very creative.

    America has nothing to do with it; the Jihadis are big boys and girls and are accountable for their own actions.

    JD-

    My contribution would be to argue for no further immigration from any ethno-religious group that has an established track record for carrying out or planning large numbers of terrorist acts in the West until the Jihadi genie is back in its bottle.

    Note that Britain alone has convicted over 330 persons on terror related offences since 9/11. It should not be hard to compile an aggregate list for all western countries and to determine the aetiology of this particular social ill.

  13. @Watkin Tench

    I am bit concerned about your comments and their strangely ambivalent wording. Are you sure you are not developing an unhealthy fascination with the very cruelty you claim to be condemning?

    As for, “no further immigration from any ethno-religious group that has an established track record for carrying out or planning large numbers of terrorist acts” then I guess we had better ban immigrants from just about all European nations and the USA. Have you forgotten (for example) the Belgian Congo, French Indo-China, French Algeria, Dutch East Indies, the Third Reich, the Soviet Union, British Kenya, British Rhodesia, British India, British South Africa, British…. oh heck the whole British Empire, US… oh heck all US imperial history.

    But hang on a minute. The lawyer in me notes that you say, “no further immigration from any ethno-religious group that has an established track record for carrying out or planning large numbers of terrorist acts in the West.”

    So we only care about terrorist actions in the West? This conveniently lets us (the West) off for committing terrorist actions everywhere else. But then what about Western countries that have committed terrorist actions in the West? The UK in Ireland? The IRA in Ireland and England? I could go on and on. History is replete with examples.

    By your rubric, humans commit terrorist acts therefore human immigration into Australia must cease. That would be the only consistent way to apply it.

  14. @Watkin Tench

    My current favourites are the pics of dead Christian girls with crucifixes protruding from every conceivable orifice. Our Jihadi friends are very creative.

    America has nothing to do with it

    1. How can you tell the dead girls are Christians?

    2. If your ‘favourite’ pictures depict what you say, then contrary to the baseless assertion that “America has nothing to do with it”, every recent historical record of US-backed atrocities (especially in Latin America – think “School Of The Americas”) point to America having everything to do with it.

    The people carrying out such atrocities are close enough to 100% US armed, backed, supplied, trained, financed and supported.

  15. Ikonoclast

    If the investigation I recommend establishes that Flemish folkdancers, Jersey Quakers or Scottish Presbyterians are carrying out most of the terror related activities in the West in our current epoch, let’s say since the turn of the century, then of course my injunction would apply to them as much as anyone else.

    Megan,

    Since you insinuate that spy agencies are interfering with your computer and telecommunications and you lied about David Ferris and the number of Global Research links on your site, I doubt we can have a profitable discussion.

    My friends at Five Eyes (oops, I’ve let the cat out of the bag now!) also tell me that you’ve been retweeting the notorious holocaust denier and pro-Hamas antisemite Marilyn Shepherd’s tweets on your twitter page. That says it all really.

  16. @Watkin Tench

    I didn’t “lie” about Ferris.

    There are well over 100,000 articles on my site. I searched using “springhillvoice” + “globalresearch” in ‘Google’ and only found the one link, to an article critical of the destruction of Libya – as previously mentioned. You – kudos – managed to find another 11 references.

    I don’t believe that I have ever actually visited “Global Research” (your friends at the NSA can check that out and get back to me).

    When I post an aggregated article I try to post the most original link – e.g.: I might see an article mentioned somewhere but I try to track back to sources so that the attribution is correct.

    I’m not sure what the modern equivalent of a “Godwin” is, but you get one for “pro-Hamas anti-Semite”. Maybe it’s ‘Netanyahu’s Law’?

  17. @Val

    I can’t count the number of comments I have had deleted on The Conversation site and a few weeks ago I even managed to upset the moderator so much that he locked my account. I truly am sorry that I was not more considerate of the moderators difficulties but I ‘survived’ the unfairness of that arbitrary and unfair decision – of course it was – and it has been a positive experience.

    I have so much more time to read the comments here and my output of hats and aprons for the craft shop has increased. I do enjoy working with my hands and creating nice things does make me happy.

    I’m not sure what it means to be an asset to feminism; we all can only do the best we can and as long as the next time we wade into the fray and attempt to point out to the ‘others’ how and why they are wrong, we use something that we have learned from the previous encounter, we have done well, I think. 🙂

  18. @Watkin Tench

    If “Flemish folkdancers, Jersey Quakers or Scottish Presbyterians” were “carrying out most of the terror related activities in the West in our current epoch”, would you think that it would be a good idea to try and understand why these people were behaving in such irrational and dysfunctional ways?

    Did it ever occur to you that by understanding ‘the others’ and understanding why and how people like you create some people as ‘the others’, we could prevent this sort of behaviour?

  19. @Watkin Tench

    No ethno-religious group has an established track record for carrying out terrorist attacks. Terrorist attacks are carried out by individuals, by small groups of individuals, and by organisations of various kinds, but not by ethno-religious groups. In order to carry out your prescription, it would be necessary to tabulate terrorist attacks and then attribute each one to an ‘ethno-religious group’ on some basis. To which ‘ethno-religious group’ would you attribute the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995, the Ecole Polytechnique massacre of 1989, or the Tokyo subway Sarin gas attack of 1995? The way you frame the question indicates not a fair and open-minded inquiry but special pleading for a predetermined conclusion.

  20. @Megan
    People have often commented about the oddness of some of the moderation here, but I hadn’t experienced it until yesterday, until my comment linking to an article about caffeine on the Better Health Channel appeared then disappeared.

    It does seem very strange that Watkin Tench can post a gruesome picture of decapitated heads, as you say with no trigger warning, but an innocuous link to an article about caffeine on a department of health website is removed.

  21. @Julie Thomas
    Thanks Julie. In seriousness, I think the problem is not just that I am a bit outspoken or tactless sometimes – though I know I can be – but also that pointing out the taken for granted is often considered bad manners (emperor’s new clothes fable).

    Which makes Fran’s comments about etiquette a bit difficult on blogs. I was in the precise situation Fran uses as a metaphor the other day – I was having dinner in someone’s home and the conversation took a turn that I as a feminist really didn’t like. There were all sorts of good reasons for me to leave early, so I bit my tongue and was polite. However, had in had more time, and had I drunk two glasses of wine instead of half a glass, I might have challenged them. The friendship involved is very longstanding, so it might have all been friendly in the end, but I also might have offended them.

    My guess is that our host, professor Quiggin, doesn’t actually want us to be so polite that we avoid all controversial subjects.

    @Watkin Tench
    Speaking of being offended, I have a Muslim son-in-law, and I am pretty concerned about the tone of some of your comments. What are you actually saying about Muslims? Do you realise that some of the allegations made about the white invaders of Australia are just as bad or worse?

  22. @Watkin Tench

    The answer to the question ‘what is the fraction of terrorist attacks that are perpetrated by Muslims?’ is of less significance than the answer to the question ‘what fraction of Muslims have been involved in the perpetration of terrorist attacks?’ To an order of magnitude, my first guess at an answer would be one in one hundred thousand. If one in every hundred thousand Muslims has been involved in the perpetration of terrorist attacks, that is nowhere near adequate justification for a general ban on Muslim immigration. If the figure were, say, nine in ten, I suppose my answer might be different — but clearly that’s not the case.

  23. Watkin Tench does not understand that much non-state terrorist activity is a response by people to being attacked by other states. As a first step, we (the West) should stop attacking, bombing and drone striking people in the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan. All of this is state sponsored terrorism carried out by our own states. We should demand this cease as the first big step in stopping deaths from terrorism world wide.

    I would also like to point out how hysterically absurd Watkin Tench is about the danger of terrorism in the West.

    “Comparing US CDC (mortality) numbers to terrorism deaths shows:

    – You are 35,079 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack.

    – You are 33,842 times more likely to die from cancer than from a terrorist attack.

    – You are 5,882 times more likely to die from medical error than a terrorist attack.

    – You are 4,706 times more likely to drink yourself to death than die from a terrorist attack.

    – You are 1,904 times more likely to die from a car accident than from a terrorist attack.”

    – from the washingtonsblog.

    This presumes “you” to be an “average” US citizen in every way.

  24. @Val

    These outcomes are the result of automoderation, over which I have no control, and which I don’t understand, except to say that links are likely to trigger it, as are words the kind of products sold by spammers. Amusingly, the word so-c*alis-m used to trigger it, because the central string is the name of a pharmaceutical product.

    My own moderation efforts are bit erratic – I do this in my spare time, so I miss some things, often coming in only when they are already out of hand. And, of course, I’m human and variable (not the automod robot is any better).

  25. @Val

    Which makes Fran’s comments about etiquette a bit difficult on blogs. I was in the precise situation Fran uses as a metaphor the other day – I was having dinner in someone’s home and the conversation took a turn that I as a feminist really didn’t like. There were all sorts of good reasons for me to leave early, so I bit my tongue and was polite. However, had I had more time, and had I drunk two glasses of wine instead of half a glass, I might have challenged them. The friendship involved is very longstanding, so it might have all been friendly in the end, but I also might have offended them.

    There’s no good general rule on this. You need to treat it as a risk trade — weighing the important of the controversial challenge you might raise against the costs of the distress you can reasonably anticipate. You might approach the subject delicately, perhaps in a Socratic manner, in which, rather than challenging their claims directly, you tease out the logic and sweep of what they are claiming.

    Sometimes this is the best way to explore matters, particularly with those you regard as longstanding friends and who, presumably, you regard as ethical, thoughtful folk who would speak in good faith to a matter they might see as of concern to you. Sometimes that approach can clarify misunderstandings you had entertained, foreclosing the need to bite your tongue. Equally, it’s possible that they will grasp the problems you’ve identitified and begin to see it more from your perspective in circumstances where they don’t feel so defensive and painted into a cultural corner.

    Even if neither of these things occurs, you will at least have a better foundation for deciding where you’d prefer to take risks in challenging directly or continuing to bite your tongue.

    At least, that’s how I often approach matters in such settings.

  26. Nevil Kingston-Brown,

    You’ve missed the point entirely. My point was restricted to the peculiar and unwarranted fascination with the 0.01% synthetic pesticide residue and the Sgt Schultz “I see nothing!” attitude to 99.99% of pesticides that are a natural part of our fruit and veg.

    You might like to read this to gain a better understanding.

    As the above article states, many of our staple fruit and veg would be pulled off the shelves if they were assessed in the same way as synthetic products.

    The synthetic/natural apartheid system is a product of Green Left ideology, the type of ideology that idealises pre-industrial food production. It has nothing to do with reality or science.

    BTW, the study you cite is a stand alone epidemiological study. Such studies are notorious for producing bizarre results and generally don’t carry much weight until they are backed up by further studies.

  27. Just after 9/11, plenty of people warned that “enhanced interrogation techniques” were tantamount to torture, waterboarding being the stand-out example (although most people didn’t appreciate at the time just how bad it is); now, we finally have an admission that the CIA crossed a line and tortured some folks. Plenty of experts warned that torture would seldom yield any intel, and forget about the “terrorist who knows about the location of the ticking time bomb” scenario so often paraded as a valid reason for such extreme techniques of interrogation. Given that some of these techniques go on for days and weeks, the ticking time bomb scenario diminishes in validity; fantasy, even.

    Unfortunately, the whole panoply of excuses for torture are being trotted out and aired, as if this is some kind of defence. Even the “we didn’t know (it was torture) at the time” excuse has popped up here and there. The worst protective defence of all is the “they are patriots” also gets an airing.

  28. @Watkin Tench

    This is just nonsense: “The synthetic/natural apartheid system is a product of Green Left ideology, the type of ideology that idealises pre-industrial food production. It has nothing to do with reality or science.”

    Really Watkins you just made that up, didn’t you? The irrational thinking that leads some people to worry about not natural things is due to human nature not to the devil lefties. People have always harked back to the past for some direction to take when uncertain about the future.

    I think it is called conservatism.

  29. @Donald Oats

    And Obama is quoted as saying of the torturers that “we shouldn’t judge them too harshly”.

    Torturers and murderers (including Obama with his “Tuesday Kill Lists”) should be judged as harshly as possible – i.e. condemned absolutely.

  30. when people hark to the past for some direction to take when uncertain about the future has also been called nationalism. -a.v.

  31. @John Quiggin
    Thanks ProfQ. I realised afterwards that my comment fitted a typical pattern of spam: brief comment blah blah website link (usually irrelevant, though not in this case) so not surprising it got picked up by auto-mod.

    One of my later comments also was held up briefly, can’t work out what set that off, maybe it was “M-slim”? A strange thing that happens sometimes on this site is that, when it asks me to log in again after my iPad has been shut down, it also sometimes asks me to go through the test for being a human, copying letters and numbers, which are almost invariably extremely difficult to read on an iPad. That in turn sometimes sets off odd things like a “flare”. Anyway I usually end up getting through. It’s not serious but just interesting, I guess.

  32. @alfred venison
    However if you don’t accept the progressive view of history (the march of progress), you might accept that some things were actually better in the past. For example, income inequality in many countries decreased after the Second World War until about the 1980s, since when it has been rising.

    Similarly, human beings used to live in a way that was compatible with a stable eco- system. Now we are destroying it.

    The trick is to work out what is actually better now, and combine it with what was actually better in the past. If I may do a little self promotion, I did a blog post on a very similar topic just after I’d been to Kenya, thinking about life in rich and poor countries.

  33. even an internal link with the wrong word. irony is that “samsung double door refrigerator price in kolkata” got a comment with link posted on the Stafford by-election thread and he really is spam. 😉 have a great day. -a.v.

  34. As I understand it, Obama’s background is as a “community organiser”, which largely means bringing people together, getting them each to admit to themselves what they did wrong^W^Wshould have done differently, and agreeing to work together see each others perspectives and sing kumbayah around the fireplace.

    Which I think you see reflected in his attitude and approach to problem-solving.

    It’s the right approach… for someone with no effective coercive power. Is the president of the US in that sort of position? quite possibly, yes: the US’s structural problems are pretty severe.

  35. @Collin Street

    Saul Alinsky is credited with coining the expression ‘community organizer’ and is still quoted by organizers. Somebody who wrote ‘The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition’ and ‘In war, the end justifies almost any means’ probably didn’t have much time for singing Kumbayah.

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