152 thoughts on “Weekend reflections

  1. @Collin Street

    Collin, I don’t agree with you that our host will have to start banning people see the level of debate collapse. I suspect that of the options you gave he would chose reasonable debate, forms of politeness, and not open to people who cannot refrain from personal criticism. But I could be wrong about this. Also, my arriving at a different conclusion has no bearing upon you, your loved ones, your hated ones, or anyone you have ever met or may ever meet. And this goes for all alternate versions for any given value of “you” that may or may not exist in this or any other universii.

  2. The usual practice for dealing with delicate matters between nations is for the foreign minister and Australian diplomats to discuss the issues behind closed doors, confidentiality being vital. Once an accommodation has been reached, if at all possible, that’s the point where the PM should/could come in and provide a statement as to the resolution of the issue or otherwise.

    Not our PM: he went in all guns blazing, shot up the place, and once out of ammo, has the gauche audacity to tell the rest of us to keep schtum, in case we cause the deaths of these two of the Bali Nine. Man! It takes a true legend to hit 11 on the FW scale, and I’m holding back on my language here.

  3. Jungney, I don’t know how you can write about “these dark forces, anti-Enlightenment forces” in respect of others with a straight face given the junk science links you provided earlier and labelled ” trenchant and correct rebuttals” of the Mark Lynas article I cited.

    Mark Lynas’s article is nothing more or less than an orthodox reflection of the consilience of the science on GMO.

    Most amusingly, you furnished a link to a permaculture website (ie a bourgeois hobby group) that spruiks an article by a little known emeritus geographer that in turn cites the junk science of Gilles Seralini, who works for CRIIGEN which is run by Dr Spiroux de Vendomois who is, among other things, a homeopath and a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine. Seralini himself is a science adviser and co-author of papers for the French homeopathic company, Sevene Pharma. Again, as you are undoubtedly well aware, nearly all of Seralini’s work appears in pay-for-play journals and the man is regarded as a joke by practically every important peak science body in France.

    Am I to take it that you endorse Chinese traditional medicine and homeopathy? Do you have similar feelings about alchemy, astrology and Icelandic fish-dancing?

    I feel sorry for pro-GM moderate left wing scientists and science reporters like Chris Mooney, Kevin Folta, Nate Johnson and David Gorski, all of whom face vicious personal abuse by the far left on a daily basis. But perhaps I feel most sorry for Mommy, PhD (Alison Bernstein), who occasionally faces rape threats from the anti-GM crowd, most of whom undoubtedly identify with the left.

    Clearly Lynas is absolutely correct; the far left has latched on to climate change as an issue in a classic case of entryism. In truth, they have absolutely no interest in the science nor do they have any respect for the institution of science.

    Respect for science seems to be most strong among Social Democrats and that very rare beast, the genuine Burkean conservative.

  4. @Donald Oats

    “I fully expect the big traditional universities to restrict research to economically valuable areas, jettisoning research of public value, of intellectual value, but of no obvious immediate economic value.”

    I disagree. Universities will continue to fund those areas which increase their international rankings. They are not in the least interested in economic value in the sense of the research supporting Australian industries or companies. They care only about what international (and soon to be national) students (and their parents) are will to fork out for a piece of paper with a nice watermark and a signature. That number depends on the rankings. So theoretical astrophysics or genetics are both equally likely to score a major publication, and will hence be maintained. In fact, climate science is also a high ranking field (many citations) and will therefore be maintained despite the stance of the federal government.

  5. @sunshine

    But seriously, why not completely open immigration for all the countries of the world with no national citizenship’s? Why do you propose limits at all ? Are you a closet Socialist ?

    The limits I propose (other than 1 & 2) merely account for the fact that we have a form of socialism in operation already which needs to be accounted for. If all public infrastructure was privatised and shifted to an entirely user pays model the immigration fee would decline to zero. Likewise if we had no taxpayer funded welfare system then limiting access to taxpayer funded welfare becomes a non issue. Both the immigration fee and the welfare restriction are a pragmatic accommodation of the socialism we already have.

  6. @Collin Street

    I think that choice has already been clearly made. You refer to the possibility of having to start banning people as if it’s something that hasn’t happened yet. But people have been banned from here already. My impression is that our host doesn’t relish it but doesn’t shy from it either. The discussion policy is as clear as could reasonably be expected that ‘reasonable debate’ and ‘forms of politeness’ are desired goals but that ‘open to all comers [no matter how they behave]’ is not.

  7. keep in mind will you it wasn’t the damned liberal government’s budget; it was expected by most mainstream observers to be just another wrong-headed technocratic report like the ones that came before, not the crude party partisan bomb hockey turned it into.

    so what if he’s a media celebrity with an ego the size of a planet? what was relevant as far as i was concerned was that he could still reach the sunrise audience, e.g., ’cause god knows tim flannery can’t. and he could – whatever the topic of the day – be counted on, while with them, to talk up the position informed by *reason*!

    remember we’re well into new age barbarism – you all deplore rising magical thinking and mass irrationality.

    but congratulations on joining the mob and helping to finish off a functioning science communicator for the anti-science liberals, but don’t stop at dr karl there’s jessica watson and rachel perkins to get too. -a.v.

  8. @plaasmatron

    Australian university managements exhibit a keen interest in their standing in international ranking exercises — they do that now, even though it doesn’t allow them to charge higher fees. It’s plausible that they would continue to do so in an environment of deregulated fees, but that doesn’t mean it’s because of any connection between those rankings and capacity to charge higher fees. According to what John Quiggin has written here before, deregulation of fees in England didn’t result in the universities with the highest prestige putting up their fees a lot more than those with less prestige: they all went up by nearly the same amount, or that’s how I remember what I read.

    I suspect that higher results in international ranking exercises are attractive to Vice-Chancellors even in a regulated-fee environment because they feed their personal vanity and because they increase their leverage over their own salaries: personally I suspect vanity is the more important factor, but with the way the two effects are linked the distinction may not be of much importance.

  9. @plaasmatron
    Christopher Pyne got the jump on me, de-linking the un-de-linkable $150m 2015 funding from the deregulation of fees, and he de-linked the 20% haircut, loading that into a separate bill to be debated/passed/rejected after the deregulation of fees bill. This makes some of what I said moot, impossible to call until the dust settles. If the deregulation passes, and the haircut (but on a moving basis dependent on fees charged by the universities), then it is surely possible to have some universities quite happy to charge exorbitant fees in order to narrow the client base to the wealthiest and best connected; after all, if you are looking for alumni with rewarding private philanthropy, they’ll come from the wealthiest families, by and large. It also builds prestige of that most peculiar variety, the million dollar watch. It is an advertisement for you, the fees operating as a shibboleth.

    Other universities may well operate on the cheap but many principle, ie mass education, with mass being the operative word. High volume, lower margin product.

    On the other hand, given our historic philanthropy ended around the time of creation of the oldest universities, perhaps it would be too much of a risky strategy to go for the wealthiest of the wealthy. Still, there are far more multi-millionaires in Australia now than there ever, so it’s a feasible strategy at least.

    Since the wealthiest tend to have access to some of the best secondary schooling in the country, it is also likely that they will produce an adequate number of good research academics down the line, and the high fees should allow some attractive loadings for poaching key academics from the cream of the international universities.

    In all this though, the squeeze has to be on research funds, and universities have no choice but to think through resource allocation issues in that space. Christopher Pyne is not offering public money, he is only offering money that students can muster up; having said that, with a full loans system to pay for uni fees, the government is subsidising the universities by bearing some financial risk on their behalf.

  10. @Donald Oats
    So AFAICT, the $150m funding should breeze through the senate, while deregulation will be heavily debated. So do any of the cross benchers plan on voting for deregulation now that the 20% haircut has been effectively cancelled? What are the numbers in the senate? I think PUP is going to be opposed, Lazarus and Lambie also, but one of them might be bought. How about Ricky? It still looks like it will go down unless Pyne gets some serious “soft corruption” happening (to paraphrase Paul Krugman).

  11. There’s that word again, “consilience”.

    Coincidentally the last time I saw that was this comment by ‘Candy Pants’ on 7 March:

    I will continue eating intensive factory farmed animals and caged eggs as per usual until I see a strong and sustained consilience of the science telling me I shouldn’t, for whatever reason.

    Dropping a Seralini reference just about seals the deal as far as proving serial sock-puppetry.

  12. OMG! Word on the web is that Clarke and Dawes actually wrote this script and the Christopher “the Fixer” Pyne rehearsed and performed it.

    (3xw). youtube.com/watch?v=Hc9NRwp6fiI

  13. @Megan

    What’s the genealogy of Apple? It goes through Candy Pants all the way back to Mel doesn’t it?

    I made a point a while ago that the precautionary principle requires diametrically opposite actions on climate change and GMOs. That is to say, climate change dangers require us to act now whereas the possible dangers of GMOs require us to proceed with caution now. Climate change action is mandatory. GMO introduction is optional. The cases are very different.

    I also noted that corporate capital wants nothing done on climate change yet corporate capital wants the rapid introduction of GMOs. If that doesn’t induce caution and suspicion in people then they are not thinking at all about what is going on in late stage corporate capitalism.

    For the record, I regard homeopathy, chiropractics, herbology, crystal healing, aromatherapy and Chinese medicine as quackery.

  14. Those who routinely cite the precautionary principle always do so selectively. For example Ikon above deploys it in relation to GM, a tried and proven technology with a very limited risk profile yet throws caution ito the wind n his support for the overthrow of capitalism, a reckless move that has ended in blood and rubble every time it has been tried.

    The precautionary principle is easily deployed by ideological war horses, the ignorant and the fearful, nonetheless it is important and it should be applied prudently in public policy.

    As to the importance of GM, Qaim and Klupper with funding from the German government and EU (no friends of GM, need I say) recently completed the largest meta-analysis of GM crops so far conducted:

    The analysis covers 147 original studies that were carried out internationally over the last 20 years. On average, GM technology adoption has reduced chemical pesticide use by 37%, increased crop yields by 22%, and increased farmer profits by 68%. Yield gains and pesticide reductions are larger for insect-resistant crops than for herbicide-tolerant crops. Yield and profit gains are higher in developing countries than in developed countries.

    If this meta-analysis is correct, GM technology is already assisting with climate change reduction as well as lifting poor farmers in developing countries out of poverty.

    Meanwhile half the UK Soil Association board resigned in a tiff over homeopathy a few months back while the US Organic Consumers Association in the US has appointed a national director who is a vocal anti-vaxer.

  15. @alfred venison
    Alfred, the IGR was well overdue and word was already out that it was going to be little more than a prop for Hockey to wave around to justify whatever mess his next budget produces. In light of that the decision to promote it seems passing strange. But hey, I doubt that this will have any impact on breakfast teev viewers.

  16. Treasurer Joe Hockey is seeking substantial damages in his defamation case against Fairfax, on the basis of the injury to his reputation (and the need to protect it). Without getting into the alleged defamation itself, it does bring up the interesting question as to just what kind of a reputation a politician can expect to have; furthermore, the principles of defamation AFAIUI rely on notions of a reasonable person, unbiased, in determining if injury could have been caused. For a polarising politician, does that test remain relevant, or even reasonable?

    For example, a conservative LNP voter is unlikely to see the Fairfax article as damaging the reputation of Joe Hockey in their eyes, although they would be likely to agree it could be damaging in the eyes of other readers. In other words, the conservative LNP voter’s opinion of Joe Hockey is unlikely to be swayed by the Fairfax article. On the other hand, it is more difficult to get a read on what a leftwing voter (say ALP or Greens) would make of it, as they are naturally opposed to the LNP of which Joe Hockey is a senior member. One could argue that their opinion of Joe Hockey would change for the worse after reading the Fairfax headline and article; or, one could argue that their opinion is already fixed, and unlikely to shift on the basis of that one article, as it would merely confirm their existing belief/bias.

    The notion of defamation, when applied to career politicians, looks like very murky waters to me.

    Personally, I did not think that Joe was acting corruptly, and certainly wasn’t swayed to think that just because of yet another news headline, as I’m well and truly used to headlines not saying what the article says, for a whole lot of reasons. Perhaps though, I’m not a reasonable person 🙂

  17. In a discussion arising in comments on the post about the TPP, Ikonoclast wrote:

    I imagine the US would have a Plan A and a Plan B with respect to getting their hands on Julian Assange.

    I respond here to avoid prolonging a derail there.

    I don’t know how many plans the US might have to get its hands on Julian Assange: as far as anything I know goes, it could be one, two, a dozen, or none at all. What I do know is that the Swedish request to the UK for his extradition doesn’t make sense as part of a plan for the US to get its hands on him, because it would make any plan like that harder, not easier.

    Since writing my earlier comments I have refreshed my memory of the court judgements in the extradition case. Near the end of the judgement at first instance Senior District Judge Howard Riddle refers to the suggestion that Assange might be extradited to the USA, and he says that Geoffrey Robertson (leading Assange’s legal team) was right not to pursue it: the only evidence on the point came from the testimony of Sven-Eric Alhem, a defence witness (that is, for Assange), who said it couldn’t happen.

    So, considering the question ‘Could the extradition of Julian Assange to Sweden lead to his extradition to the USA?’, I’ve got two responses: one, from a Swedish legal commentator and former senior prosecutor testifying for Assange in court, which is ‘No’, and one from a commenter on a blog, which is ‘Yes’.

    Readers can decide for themselves who they consider a more reliable source on this point, Sven-Eric Alhem, formerly Chief District Prosecutor in Stockholm, formerly Director for the Regional Prosecution Authority in Sweden, and specifically selected by Julian Assange’s own legal team to testify in his defence on matters of Swedish law, or James.

  18. @J-D
    I’ve refreshed my own reading on the issues around Assange. In summary, opinion seems to be that: i) Assange resists extradition to Sweden because the Swedish establishment, including the military spooks, in the recent past collaborated with ‘rendition’ of subjects who were tortured; he therefore fears for his welfare and life, quite reasonably if you look at the treatment of Bradley Manning, if he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy for Sweden; ii) from my reading, there appears to be a sealed US grand jury indictment of Assange, one that provides the justification for seeking to extradite Assange from the UK to the US, whilever there is a prior extradition action, in this case Sweden’s, awaiting action.

    Apparently it is a matter of international civility and rules. Ha!

    Remember that Gillard, forgetting her national identity, on May 29, 2012 labelled Assange “a traitor”. A traitor to whom, this computer savant and teller of the truth? “Who does this colonial oick think he is?” cry those who have their snouts in the trough and up the dates of those in power.

    If you look again at what wikileaks has exposed you might understand the politics of the need to crush this upstart.

  19. Sven-Eric Alhem, …, who said it [extradition from Sweden to the US] couldn’t happen.

    No he didn’t. He was nowhere near as definitive as that.

    According to the BBC report of his evidence from February 2011:

    And when asked whether Mr Assange could be at risk of being transferred to the US if extradited, he said: “My understanding is there is not a risk of being extradited to the US but there are exceptions, which I’m not aware of and can’t comment on.

    “I believe it’s impossible Mr Assange could be extradited to the US without a complete media storm.”

    That is completely different.

    The US assassinates people weekly without any legal process. Sweden could definitely extradite Assange to the US. They have refused to give a guarantee to his legal team that they won’t do such a thing. Sweden could also “lend” Assange to the US, on the condition that he be returned when the US has finished with him.

  20. @jungney

    On your first point, I’m not saying that there’s no US plot to kidnap Assange (I’m not saying that there is, either); I’m saying that the Swedish extradition request is not part of a US plot to kidnap Assange, because it could only make such a plot harder and more complicated to carry out (it would be no harder to kidnap Assange from the UK than to kidnap him from Sweden).

    I’m not sure I’m following your second point correctly. What I said before was that the Swedish extradition request would not make a US extradition request easier, it would make it more complicated, and it looks as if your point may possibly agree with that, although I may have misunderstood your syntax.

    Again: no matter how many US plans there may be to lay hands on Assange, legally or illegally, the Swedish extradition request does not make sense as part of one of them, because in no way does it make it any easier than it was before to get Assange to the US.

  21. (it would be no harder to kidnap Assange from the UK than to kidnap him from Sweden).

    But this is question-begging.

    [you need to pay more attention to the unknown-unknowns.

  22. I observed that Julian Assange and his legal team have produced no evidence to support the conclusion that the Swedish extradition request is part of a plan to get Assange to the USA. James responded by asking me where they should have looked for that evidence. I don’t know, but my inability to find evidence for a conclusion is no kind of justification for adopting that conclusion. I can, however, suggest where to look for evidence the other way, that the Swedish extradition request is no part of any plan to get Assange to the USA, namely, in the testimony of Sven-Eric Alhem, selected by Assange’s own legal team as one of their expert witnesses.

    I have stated my reason for concluding that the Swedish extradition request is no part of a plan to get Assange to the USA: namely, that it makes no sense as part of any such plan, because it would make it more complicated and more difficult. Nevertheless, I would revise my view if evidence could be produced to support the conclusion that the Swedish extradition request is in fact part of a plan to get Assange to the USA. None has been.

    The perhaps overly abstract way I expressed another point seems to have led James to misunderstand it. James suggested earlier (if I have understood correctly) that the US would want to use Sweden as an intermediary in getting hold of Assange because a direct US request to the UK would be prevented from succeeding by the actions of the UK anti-war movement and/or George Galloway MP, or something similar. In my response I used the expression ‘political circumstances’ to refer to the kind of thing James was talking about there, but I guess James didn’t realise that’s what I had in mind. So I shall rephrase more explicitly. The UK anti-war movement didn’t prevent the UK government and courts from agreeing to the extradition of Assange to Sweden. The UK anti-war movement hasn’t prevented the UK authorities from continuing to ‘stake out’ the Ecuadorian embassy in a continued pursuit of Assange. There is no reason to think the UK war movement could stop the UK authorities from extraditing Assange to the US. The simplest and easiest way for the US to seek Assange’s extradition at any time would have been a direct extradition request to whichever country he actually was in at that time — Sweden when he actually was in Sweden, the UK when he actually was in the UK — and not to devise a plan involving a third country. There is no reason to think that extradition from the UK to the US is any harder than extradition from Sweden to the US, neither because of the UK anti-war movement nor for any other reason. When James, misunderstanding my perhaps poorly expressed point, suggests that Assange can’t rely on the UK courts to prevent his extradition, the suggestion tends to support that conclusion.

    Fran Barlow wrote

    The Swedes, pointedly, declined to give assurances on not extraditing to any country that could extradite to the US, and that’s really all one needs to know.

    It is a faulty pattern of reasoning to work from the premise that the Swedish authorities have not guaranteed that they will not extradite Assange to the US to the conclusion that the Swedish authorities are involved in a plan to have Assange extradited to the US.

    If that pattern of reasoning made sense, it would make the same sense to say ‘Sweden has not guaranteed that it will not extradite J-D to the US, which shows that Sweden is part of a plan to extradite J-D to the US’ or ‘Russia has not guaranteed that it will not extradite Fran Barlow to Syria, which shows that Russia is part of a plan to extradite Fran Barlow to Syria’ or ‘Ecuador has not guaranteed that it will not extradite James to the UK, which shows that Ecuador is part of a plan to extradite James to the UK’ or … well, that should be enough examples, I hope, to illustrate how that kind of reasoning makes no sense. The premise doesn’t even make the conclusion probable. The premise lends no support to the conclusion.

    The explanation for Sweden’s not giving a blanket guarantee against extraditing Assange to the US is not that Sweden is part of a plan to extradite Assange to the US; the explanation is that countries never give that kind of blanket guarantee. No country would ever give a blanket guarantee never to extradite a specific individual for the same sort of reason that no country would ever give a blanket guarantee never to arrest a specific individual. That’s a kind of guarantee it’s unreasonable to expect.

    It is reasonable for the UK to make it a condition that Sweden guarantee that if anybody is extradited to Sweden from the UK, the Swedish authorities will not use that as an opportunity to have that individual extradited to any third country without the consent of the UK. But Sweden has given exactly that guarantee.

  23. @Megan

    Again: it would be no harder for the US to have Assange assassinated in the UK than to have him assassinated in Sweden; it would be no harder for the US to have Assange extradited from the UK than to have him extradited from Sweden; it would be no harder for the US to persuade the UK to ‘lend’ Assange than it would be to persuade Sweden to ‘lend’ him; no matter what form a US plan to get hold of Assange might take, it would be simpler and easier to get hold of him directly from one other country than to involve two other countries in the plan, and so the Swedish extradition request to the UK makes no sense as part of a plan for the US to get hold of him.

    I would revise this view if direct evidence were produced that (however little sense it makes) the Swedish extradition request is in fact part of a US plan to get hold of Assange. But none has been.

  24. Metadata laws are bad for us. They are bad for journalists, and that is bad for us. Currently, people seem to think that commercial use of data and/or metadata is rife, therefore what’s the problem with also allowing the government access to a time vault of the stuff? Well, we should actually be pushing politicians to limit the access and use of metadata by all sources, especially commercial ones.

    It seems like a fine and dandy idea to wear a fitness or similar GPS-enabled heartrate monitor, sleep monitor, etc. When that data increases your private health insurance, it won’t be so fine and dandy.

    On a similar note, we passed a bill a while back which enacted powers for the secret squirrels to alter data on a device: if they have warrantless access to your metadata, *and* are permitted to secretly alter that metadata, then it is easy enough for a competent IT person to fake a gps trail, altering time and date information to accommodate it. Sounds paranoid, but the powers are there. Each bill has issues on its own, once they are all passed, they work together to provide extensive powers to access and alter your digital breadcrumbs, as well as your actual data, i.e. content on a digital device. In our post-9/11 world, spooks have not covered themselves with glory, indeed they exploit the laws to their fullest, and breach foreign laws routinely.

  25. You see that you either misunderstood or misrepresented the “evidence of Sven-Erik Alhem” and that he didn’t say what you suggest he said?

  26. @J-D

    Your analogies with my reasoning are faulty. That Sweden does not expressly guarantee not to extradite Assange either directly to the US or via an intermediary is not the basis of my assertion that they currently plan to do so. Perhaps they’d like to keep open the possibility of doing so using Assange as a bargaining chip in some other dirty deal. In that case, Assange’s reluctance to facilitate such a trade would be warranted.

    To say that no country gives ‘blanket guarantees’ not to extradite random folk to some place in order to ridicule the idea of giving a specific guarantee to someone with a clear interest in such a guarantee is an exercise in obfuscation and also wrong because many countries place general limitations on the jurisdictions to which they will extradite, or the crimes over which they will extradite.

    But back on the main point, the lists of guarantees would be enormous and pointless since most folk are not going to satisfy the tests for extradition that almost any civilised regime would impose. Assange, like Snowden and Manning was and is seen as an enemy of the US state — in an act of toadying, condemned here even by the PM of the ALP regime as a criminal for breaching US laws. If the interest of Sweden really were solely in Assange’s alleged breach of their sexual assault laws, they could have given him this guarantee. That they didn’t shows at best, bad faith, and calls into question the integrity of the charges against him that Sweden says are the substance of this dispute.

  27. @J-D

    I’m saying that the Swedish extradition request is not part of a US plot to kidnap Assange, because it could only make such a plot harder and more complicated to carry out…

    There’s just too much information to review and debate. As to your statement above: no, the Swedish establishment, and aspirants, urged on by Yank spooks, went too early and too hard without an adequate case. I reckon any plane carrying Assange to Sweden would have been rerouted by the US just like the plane carrying Evo Morales was derouted by the US on suspicion that is was carrying Snowden:

    On July 1, 2013, president Evo Morales of Bolivia, who had been attending a conference of gas-exporting countries in Russia, appeared predisposed to offer asylum to Edward Snowden during an interview with RT.[1] The following day, the airplane carrying him back to Bolivia from Russia, took off from Vnukovo Airport, was rerouted to Austria when France, Spain and Italy[2] denied access to their airspace due to suspicions that Snowden was on board.[3] Snowden was in fact still in Sheremetyevo Airport, where he had been staying since arriving in Russia a week earlier

    Lawless imperialism is what we face.

  28. Fred Burton of ‘Stratfor’ proposed, in an email about what to do to Assange:

    ”move him from country to country to face various charges for the next 25 years”

    Nobody with any access to a smattering of the established facts could believe that the US has no ill intentions toward Assange.

  29. Art Laffer;

    “He is highly critical of modern economists, sympathising with the view that it “takes a PhD in economics not to be able to understand the obvious”. “

  30. I think GM could be useful but its development and deployment are monopolised by the same kinds of amoral trans -national mega companies that have gotten farming into trouble. Reliance on fertilisers and topsoil depletion are huge problems. First world colonial style plantation farming is imposed everywhere as soon as it can be. So far GM is only another tool in their kit bag. Population rises in lock step with food production until something goes wrong.

  31. Sunshine is right but we have even more to worry about. Monsanto’s GMO seeds are specially designed to grow in the high presence of aluminum. Aluminum is the chemical found in chemicaltrails.

    If this poisoning continues, organic farming may become impossible in the not so distant future.

    When aluminum pollutes soil and water it kills crops. It collects in people and causes diseases!

    THE ONE PER CENT WILL PROTECT THEMSELVES BUT WHAT US THE NINETY NINE PER CENT??

  32. @Judy Karmichael
    There are enough real problems. Why invent imaginary ones?

    Aluminium toxicity in soil is a long-standing agricultural problem caused by excessive acidity in aluminium-bearing soils, which are found in many countries. Several countries are engaged in research into breeding acid-resistant crop varieties. However, most of this research involves conventional crop breeding, not GMO. I have no idea whether Monsanto is researching GMO acid-resistant crops, but none of the material on chemtrails I have perused provides any evidence that it is. But even if it was, it would have nothing to do with chemtrails, as there are sound agricultural reasons to develop acid-resistant crops, whether GMO or otherwise.

    It’s true that aluminium is toxic at certain doses (like many metals), however the main exposure to aluminium in humans comes from ingestion through the use of aluminium food containers, soft drink cans, coffee containers, skin-care products packaged in aluminium tubes , aluminium cups and bowls, ingestion or inhalation of dust from aluminium-bearing rocks and building materials, and in some cases, urban water supplies where aluminium compounds are used to clarify the water. Exposure to aluminium through foodstuffs themselves is minimal.

    There is no evidence that aluminium is being added to soil by aerial spraying, but even if it was, it would contribute an insignificant amount to our total environmental exposure to aluminium.

  33. Tim,

    Do you work for Monsanto? Monsanto pays people to comment on blogs. Be honest, are you being paid by the word?

  34. Chemtrails is nonsense. The only “chemtrails” are the actual contrails of jets flying at high altitude.

    “What is a contrail made of? Mostly ice, since one of the primary exhaust emissions of a jet aircraft is water vapour, which freezes within a couple of seconds, and forms the visible part of the contrail. If the air is fairly humid, then the contrail can persist for quite a while, and even spread out, turning into a sheet of cloud.

    Jet engines also emit the usual things engines emit: carbon dioxide, smoke, and small amounts of unburnt hydrocarbons, oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide and small amounts of other things. Aircraft emissions are regulated.

    Some people think that if a contrail stays in the sky for a long time, that this is very unusual, and that it means the government is spraying something in the air, either to change the weather, or to poison people. They call these persistent contrails “chemtrails”

    Of course, persistent contrails are nothing new, they have been around at least since the 1940’s – when planes were able to get to sufficient altitude.” – Contrail Science.

    A vast conspiracy and an extensive logistical exercise would be necessary to get jets fitted up and continually loaded with extra chemicals to spray in the air while flying. When vast conspiracies happen (like the TPP development) we do know about them. Details get leaked. It would be an enormous and expensive exercise to do chemtrails and the results would be indiscriminate to say the least. Jet airliners cruise at altitudes where the jetstreams flow at speeds of 100 kph to 200 kph. The stuff could blow anywhere. It would fall on conspirators and victims alike. I could go on but there are so many arguments against it I would just create a wall of text.

  35. @Judy Karmichael
    Hi Judy. No, of course I don’t work for Monsanto, and nobody pays me to comment on a blog.
    It’s a little disappointing that you’d respond so predictably.

    If you thought about it, you’d realise that your insinuation is no more plausible than if I had insinuated you were being paid by one of Monsanto’s competitors (say, Bayer Cropscience AG, for example). But no matter, whatever gets you through the day. 🙂

  36. You people think I’m someone else and I’m making stuff up????????

    Retract your claim or I will sue you and the owner of this blog.

  37. Conspiracies happen all the time.

    look at this you shillshttp://www.bbc.com/news/uk-31908431

  38. Hmm. I believe the OP to this thread says absolutely no personal criticism of other commenters”. Bye, Judy.

  39. @Megan
    No, I don’t see that. I relied on what the court judgement said about his evidence. It is, of course, possible that the court judgement misrepresented him, but then again it’s also possible that the BBC report misrepresented him.

  40. @Fran Barlow

    It is correct to say that extradition proceedings should be subject to conditions and restrictions which provide some protection to people whose extradition is applied for (this protection not going as far, obviously, as blanket guarantees against extradition). It is also correct to say that extradition proceedings are subject to conditions and restrictions which provide some protection to people whose extradition is applied for (this protection not going as far, obviously, as blanket guarantees against extradition). Both UK law and Swedish law provide, as they should, significant protections to people whose extradition is applied for; neither UK law nor Swedish law provides protections that would guarantee that Assange could never be extradited to the US. If Assange were extradited from the UK to Sweden it would not make it easier for him to be extradited to the US; it would be no harder for the US to have him extradited from the UK than to have him extradited from Sweden. Extradition from the UK to Sweden would make more difficult and more complicated for the US to get hold of him, so it doesn’t make sense as part of a plan for the US to get hold of him.

  41. Here is what the judgment you refer to says about the evidence given by Sven-Erik Alhem:

    He was then asked about extradition from Sweden to the United States. He is not an expert on what happens but had brought a Guide and had considered the specialty principle. His reading was that normally there could not be a further surrender to a country outside the European Union but there are exceptions. It would be “completely impossible to extradite Mr Assange to the USA without a media storm”.

    He did not give the evidence you think he gave.

    In fact, it looks like the quote recorded by the BBC concurs with the Judge’s view of the evidence – Alhem clearly said that extradition of Assange to the US from Sweden was possible as an exception to the normal practice, on his reading of it.

    He most definitely did not say that extradition “could not happen”.

  42. @Megan

    I wrote nothing about the intentions of the US towards Assange. I wrote that it would be no harder for the US to get hold of Assange from the UK than from Sweden and that the Swedish request to extradite Assange from the UK makes no sense as part of a plan for the US to get hold of Assange (whether by extradition or by other means) because it would make any such plan more complicated and more difficult.

  43. @Megan

    I did not reread the entire judgment; I skimmed through it and focussed on the judge’s conclusion at the end, in which I believe you will find the part where he says that Sven-Erik Alhem had said that extradition from Sweden to the US could not happen.

    You are correct to point out that earlier in the judgement Sven-Erik Alhem’s evidence is described at more length and differently.

    It’s never been my own view that extradition from Sweden to the US is impossible; rather the reverse. That doesn’t alter the essence of the main points I have made, which I won’t repeat again this time.

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