Describing the ends but not the means

The sheltered workshop and tax dodging former newspaper, The Guardian, ran an opinion piece about science by a writer whose entire qualification seems to be that he writes a genre of fiction with the word “science” in the category description.

Science fiction writer Kim Stanley-Robinson wants to save the planet.

Of course, the usual Malthusian Fallacy is the main theme of the opinion piece. No surprises there and the consistent formula is employed;

1. Define an unverifiable looming catastrophe,

2. Define an untestable solution,

3. As a consequence, demand resources and behavioural changes from the population.

What’s quite interesting in this article is the use of gentle language to describe what would require severely authoritarian measures to implement.

Some examples follow;

The tendency of people to move to cities, either out of desire or perceived necessity, creates a great opportunity. If we managed urbanisation properly, we could nearly remove ourselves from a considerable percentage of the the planet’s surface.

Just a mild “if we managed urbanisation” there, you might say. Of course, everything hinges on one’s definition of “managed“.

It could be said that Hugo Chavez managed the distribution of food in Venezuela, for example…..

Many villages now have populations of under a thousand, and continue to shrink as most of the young people leave. If these places were redefined (and repriced) as becoming usefully empty, there would be caretaker work for some, gamekeeper work for others, and the rest could go to the cities and get into the main swing of things.

Redefined and repriced? Sure, by whom, when, to what price and how?

If we recall, Robert Mugabe redefined and repriced the fertile farmland of Zimbabwe….

So emptying half the Earth of its humans wouldn’t have to be imposed: it’s happening anyway. It would be more a matter of managing how we made the move, and what kind of arrangement we left behind. One important factor here would be to avoid extremes and absolutes of definition and practice, and any sense of idealistic purity. We are mongrel creatures on a mongrel planet, and we have to be flexible to survive.

Quite right; people have been self-selecting and moving to urban centres since the Industrial Revolution. Urban living overtook rural living over a decade ago.

So what’s Kim’s call to action here, if we’re doing this by free will already?

Ah, he wants to lock the gate once we’ve left so it’s harder to return.

We will have to have decarbonised transport and energy production, white roofs, gardens in every empty lot, full-capture recycling, and all the rest of the technologies of sustainability we are already developing. That includes technologies we call law and justice – the system software, so to speak. Yes, justice: robust women’s rights stabilise families and population. Income adequacy and progressive taxation keep the poorest and richest from damaging the biosphere in the ways that extreme poverty or wealth do. Peace, justice, equality and the rule of law are all necessary survival strategies.

That’s quite a word salad which can perhaps be summarised as “people like me need to rewrite the law“, such as;

….because we will be safest if we can get the CO2 level in the atmosphere back down to 350 parts per million.

Says who? If I’m living in a violent urban neighbourhood in Lagos, Nigeria, I might question Kim’s assertion about precisely what actions might keep me safest.

All these working landscapes should exist alongside that so-called empty land (though really it’s only almost empty – empty of people – most of the time). Those areas will be working for us in their own way, as part of the health-giving context of any sustainable civilisation. And all the land has to be surrounded by oceans that, similarly, are left partly unfished.

Which is fine until we get around to talking about how we are planning to keep the people off the land and stop them dropping a net in the water.

All this can be done. All this needs to be done if we are to make it through the emergency centuries we face and create a civilised permaculture, something we can pass along to the future generations as a good home. There is no alternative way; there is no planet B. We have only this planet, and have to fit our species into the energy flows of its biosphere. That’s our project now. That’s the meaning of life, in case you were looking for a meaning.

There is no alternative way? Is that like, “the science is settled“?

Bill’s Opinion

Comparing expressed preferences with revealed preferences is always an interesting exercise.

Kim Stanley-Robinson is urging us to move to large conurbations and then for armed police (no really, how else is he proposing we enforce it?) to close the gates to the newly-vacant countryside.

Out of curiosity, Kimbo, where’s your primary residence? Where exactly is Chez Stanley-Robinson?

The high-density sprawling metropolis of Davis California (pop. 65,622).

Just to illustrate the hypocrisy, this is the satellite view of Davis;

With a strong right arm, one could probably throw a frisbee the entire length of the town in one shot. Although, it sounds like the sort of place where Ultimate Frisbee has no social shame so there’s a good chance it might be intercepted.

In Kim’s own words, from his wiki page (emphasis mine);

Politically, Robinson describes himself as a democratic socialist, going on to say that libertarianism has never “[made] any sense to me, nor sounds attractive as a principle.”

No shit, Sherlock.

Peter Hannam is either mendacious or stupid

Peter “weather equals climate” Hannam has been fighting the good fight with more intensity recently, with many words written bemoaning Trump’s disdain for the Paris Agreement, despite it making no logical sense to anyone who cares to examine the facts.

One of his recent pieces of work is interesting;

Australia’s driest September on record“?

That’s quite a claim and it would certainly indicate a major problem with the environment if true.

Firstly, let’s just mention that nature doesn’t really have a concept of what a “September” is. No, really it doesn’t; think about it for a moment.

Let’s have a look at Peter’s opinion piece kwality jernalism and see if we can find the factual basis for that headline;

Australia has notched its driest September on record, with less than a third of the usual rainfall for the month, extending the dry spell that has farmers and firefighters increasingly desperate for rain.

Yes, you’ve said that in the headline already (but thanks for confirming it wasn’t an editorial decision to make up a headline). What’s the data source?

Victoria posted its second driest September, also collecting just a third of its typical September rain.

Ok, so a large portion of the country was dry but not as dry as it has been before. That’s not supporting the headline though, is it?

Also, as with a “September“, Mother Nature doesn’t really understand the concept of “the Australian State of Victoria“.

NSW also had another dry month, with less than half the normal rain, bringing the state’s year-to-date tally lower than any year but 1902 and 1965, according to Blair Trewin, senior climatologist at the Bureau of Meteorology.

Nope, still not hearing any data supporting the “driest ever” claim.

“Below average rainfall covered almost the entire country” last month, Dr Trewin said, adding that it pipped 1957 as the driest September, and trailed only April 1902 as the driest for any month.

Still not “driest ever” though, is it?

Melbourne posted its fifth-driest September on record, with no days recording more than 5 millimetres of rain – only the second time that’s happened for that month in records going back to 1855.

Yawn. There’s a pattern emerging here, dry but not “driest ever“.

Sydney’s rainfall was less extreme, coming in about one-quarter below average.

Snore.

A lack of rain has been a standout feature of much of eastern Australia this year, drying out soils and forests. All of NSW has been declared in drought, while the fire season has started early and is forecast to be an active one.

For the rest of the year, the bureau’s outlook suggests odds particularly favour drier than average conditions in Victoria, southern South Australia and Tasmania.

Still not “driest ever” though?

“The signal in the outlook [for October to December] that’s really strong is warmth,” Dr Trewin said, noting that almost all of the country has an 80 per cent chance of warmer than usual maximum and minimum temperatures.

For September, daytime temperatures were 1.41 degrees above the average for the 1961-90 period.

The Murray-Darling Basin, Australia’s food bowl, had its driest January-September since 1902 – the end of the Federation Drought – Dr Trewin said.

Warm but not “driest ever“?

And then, almost as if these things are driven by some kind of natural cycle, the dry weather is replaced by, erm, wet weather;

Note the tagline for Cassandra’s article; “Weather“.

Peter, however, is the real Cassandra in the Greek sense with his default; “Extreme Weather“.

Bill’s Opinion

In addition to Occam’s Razor, there is another shaving device that is useful when analysing people’s public statements and acts; Hanlon’s Razor.

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

As much as we would like to use this principle with Peter Hannam, he makes it bloody hard to not draw the conclusion that he is acting in bad faith.

He is a veteran journalist who will have been taught the wisdom of concise, factual writing, critical thinking and use of source data.

So why, therefore, does the headline and opening paragraph make a claim that is not substantiated anywhere within the body of the article?

We suggest one of the following explanations for this discrepancy;

  1. After all these years to hone his craft, Peter made a genuine mistake, forgetting to add the all-important sentence or paragraph that would have corroborated his claim.
  2. Peter is incompetent and has been languishing in the role of serious journalist for several years without being in possession of the requisite skills and experience to perform the role.
  3. He knew that there was no supporting evidence for the claim of “driest ever” but went ahead with the assertion, both as a headline and in the body of the article.

Our suggestion is that, based on his extensive public record of writing, (3) is the most likely explanation.

If you accept this explanation that Peter is deliberately trying to deceive the reader, we perhaps should ask ourselves, why?

Actually, perhaps we should ask Peter that?

Hi Peter Hannam, are you a fool or a knave and, if the latter, to what purpose?

If someone on Twitter could ask him, we would be most grateful – @p_hannam
In the meantime, let’s just remind ourselves of Mencken’s quote;

The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.

Checkmate by the patriarchy

Yifan Hou is the 87th ranked chess player in the world.

What is the difference between Yifan and the 86 chess players higher up the ranking?

Yifan is female.

If ever there was an illustration of the pernicious and mendacious nature of the patriarchy, this must be it.

Where is the diversity in the world of chess? What on earth is FIDE planning to do about this egregious imbalance between the genders? A disparity as shocking as this makes the gender pay gap pale into insignificance.

Bill’s Opinion

The next time you hear a discussion about the patriarchy, gender pay gaps or gender bias, ask the protagonist for their opinion on the fact that the highest ranking female chess player is languishing down in the 80s on the world ranking.

Ask them, for example, whether this is explained by one or several of the following possible reasons;

  1. The rules of chess are, in some way not yet obvious, biased towards men or against women,
  2. Parents and teachers are deliberately or unconsciously dissuading girls from taking up the board game,
  3. Girls are put off by the masculine and aggressive toxic male culture surrounding an ancient board game consisting of moving 32 pieces around a grid.
  4. The male and female brain differs slightly such that, at the extreme ends of the statistical distribution, an obvious divergence occurs.
  5. Another reason which you haven’t yet thought of but would be very open to hearing about.

Reason 4 seems the most likely contributor to the objective and observable fact that, at the elite level, the best chess players are men.

Could Yifan finish you or I off in half a dozen moves on a chess board? Without a doubt.

Could she beat the number one ranked man? Not a chance.

In other news, the vast majority of prisoners convicted of violent crime are men as are most firefighters. That’s probably something to do with duh patriarchy too, no doubt.

Clementine Ford’s son replies

The gift that keeps on giving, Clementine Ford, wrote a letter to her son.

Given that this organ has significantly more experience of being raised and raising male children, we’ve taken the liberty to reply on behalf of the young lad;

To my darling boy

Did you just assume my gender just because I have a penis????

Seriously though, thanks for noticing.

The first thing you need to know is that I love you. My love for you is a constantly evolving creature. It has made its home in my heart, but it travels through every part of my body finding new places to set down roots. Every night, I think to myself that it’s impossible for me to love you anymore than I already do; that my body is so full of love for you that it simply can’t fit a shred more in. And every morning I wake up and realise that, just like you, it’s grown just a little bit more in the dark.

I love you too, Mum. Can I have a Nerf gun for my birthday please?

At first, I didn’t know how to have a boy. I know how cruel the world can be to girls, and that this cruelty in turn affects the boys who don’t conform to what it is people expect them to be. I knew that no matter what kind of boy you turned out to be (if indeed you turned out to be a boy at all),

I’m sorry, what does “if indeed you turned out to be a boy at all” mean? And can I have a Nerf gun? One of those with the red light sights would be great.

it wasn’t guaranteed you would be treated kindly for it. To be girlish as a boy is to be deficient in some way. To do things ‘like a girl’ is to be embarrassingly lacking in skills and ability, a shameful waste of all the promise your masculinity is supposed to deliver on. The boys perceived to be ‘too feminine’ by a society terrified of what soft, gentle masculinity might mean are frequently subjected to the twin tyrannies of homophobia and misogyny. We will always provide shelter for you from other people’s fear and bigotry, but not every boy is so lucky.

What’s a “homophobia” or a “misogyny”? Is it like the Zombie Blaster that Jaxson at Pre-School got for his birthday? That’s a cool gun.

You’re only little now, and you probably think I have the answers to everything. But by the time you read this, you’ll be old enough to realise that I’m just as confused about life as you are.

Is that why you visit “Auntie” Jane and what you talk about at her clinic every Wednesday?

I can only tell you what I’ve learned along the way. Here’s what I know.

Your kindness and empathy are valuable. You have both of these things in spades, and you must hold on to them. If you trust what they tell you, they’ll help you to make the right choices.

Mum, I’m two years old. How on earth at this stage can you know how much empathy and kindness I’m going to have?

If I do prove you right though, can I have that Nerf gun?

Power is not gained by taking something from another person. Don’t use women as a way to reckon with your own feelings of inadequacy or anger. We are not the conduits for male pain.

Why would I feel inadequate or pain (other than because all my mates have Nerf guns and I don’t)? Who said I was going do that to women, why would you assume it’s an option, aren’t you going to bring me up to be a nice boy?

Violence is not the way to solve your problems. You’ll meet people along the way who think it’s normal for boys to scrap with each other, to use their fists to settle disagreements and try to come out the winner. These people are wrong. Violence is ugly and brutal, and you are neither of these things.

Jaxson punched me at pre-school last week because I took his pencil. I punched him back. What should I have done instead, Mum?

We all need to be held sometimes. Homophobia is such a destructive force in men’s life. It teaches you to avoid each other’s touch and to shield yourselves from platonic male affection. It’s okay to hug another man. It’s okay to cry in front of each other. It’s okay to say you love each other. Be stronger than the message that tells you sharing basic human emotions with another man makes you somehow less of one.

What’s a “homophobia”?

Respect women. Unless we succeed in radically changing the world in the next twenty years, understand that women have legitimate reasons to be afraid of you sometimes. This isn’t a reflection on your behaviour (I hope) but a response to the realities of the world they live in. Instead of getting upset about how it makes you feel, work with them to help make it different.

Seek intimacy. Sex should be a conversation between consenting adults. You are not owed anything by anybody. Recognise that there is infinite pleasure to be had in making sure your partner or partners are enjoying themselves, and exploring your mutual desires together. They can say no at any stage. So can you.

Why are you assuming my default position is that rape is ok? 99.9% of men don’t rape women, why do you, my mother, think I would be one of the 0.1%?

If I’m not a rapist, can I have a Nerf gun now?

Embrace sensitivity. Don’t let a world that’s frightened of soft men succeed in breaking you. We have too many broken men. We need men like you, men whose strength comes from being gentle. Have faith in this.

Cool.

Jaxson has invited me to a play date at his house. If the weather is good we will play Nerf guns in the garden otherwise his older brother will let us play Call of Duty on the Xbox.

Can I go please?

Remember, your life is no more valuable than anyone else’s. But you can live in a way that brings value to everybody.

These are the things I’m trying to teach you.

Ok Mum. Oh look, Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles is on TV.

I want this world to be different for you. I want you to have more choices about the kind of boy you want to be. Boys will be boys, but we have so far collectively failed to let you all be anything other than the most rigid, damaging and reductive form of boy that we possibly can. What if we tried to do things differently?

I don’t understand. What are you asking me to do?

Boys will be sensitive. Boys will be soft. Boys will be kind. Boys will be gentle. Boys will respect girls. Boys will be accountable for their actions. Boys will be expressive. Boys will be loving. Boys will be nurturing.

Who says I have to be all of those things?

What if I’m not?

Boys will be different from everything the world has so far told them they have to be in order to be a man.

Okaaaaay. Is there a manual I can read? Oh, please don’t point to those boxes of unsold copies of your book that we’re using as a coffee table.

To my darling son, my light and my life. I will not be the one who hands you the knife and shows you how to carve out the parts of yourself that don’t fit. To the sons of my friends, to my nephews. To the boys who want butterflies painted on their cheeks, the boys who twirl in dresses and the boys who always pick the sparkly shoes: we can do this together.

I didn’t ask you for any of these things. I just want a Nerf gun. Oh, and can I play rugby league with Jaxson next season?

Are you ready?

For a Nerf gun fight? Hell yeah!

Bill’s Opinion

The extreme left, the Cultural Marxists, do very little other than project, don’t they?

Is there any chance someone could call Social Services and get them to initiate an intervention in that poor boy’s life?

Freedom 2018

Freedom House, an “independent watchdog” has released a study which listed the most free countries in the world.

At least that’s the claim. Others might suggest the report proves something very different. For example, one possible conclusion that could be drawn from the report is that the authors are suffering from deep psychological issues of self-loathing perhaps bordering on Stockholm Syndrome.

Why?

Because the report claims the USA has slipped significantly in the levels of freedom available to its citizens.

Has it? What’s happened in the last 12 months?

Oh, President Trump said some mean words and passed Executive Orders halting immigration from countries with poor anti-terrorism vetting procedures;

The president has also lambasted and threatened the media—including sharp jabs at individual journalists—for challenging his routinely false statements, spoken disdainfully of judges who blocked his decisions, and attacked the professional staff of law enforcement and intelligence agencies. He signals contempt for Muslims and Latin American immigrants and singles out some African Americans for vitriolic criticism. He pardoned a sheriff convicted of ignoring federal court orders to halt racially discriminatory policies and issued an executive order restricting travel to the United States from a group of Muslim-majority countries after making a campaign promise to ban all foreign Muslims from the United States.

Ok, we get that “more than 130 in-house and external analysts and advisers from academia, think tanks, and human rights institutions” didn’t vote Republican in 2016 but has the USA really slipped back to the days of King John’s authoritarian rule?

If only there was an independent data set that showed what the population of the world thought and the subsequent individual choices they were making?

We’ll have to wait for an update to this survey but what’s the likelihood that the results have changed significantly in a year?

By the way, if you look closely, you’ll see Vilfredo Pareto’s observation proven correct again.

Bill’s Opinion

Is there any area of academia and the media in 2018 not tainted with confirmation bias?

The fact that Trump is President and tweets mean things about your friends is not the same thing as a South American dictatorship “disappearing” political opponents and beating the soles of their feet with electrical cable in the basement of the Secret Police building or Putin’s supporters killing journalists.

It just isn’t. Grow up.

Pax Kiwi

The Gladiator bloke did much to perpetuate the cross-Tasman rivalry this week by suggesting that Australia and New Zealand should unite as a single country under the leadership of Jacinda Ahern, the Kiwi version of Justin Trudeau, except without testosterone (but I repeat myself);

At first blush, this looks like another case of an uniformed lefty Luvvie (again, I repeat myself) projecting their utopian world view on a reality that is incompatible.

But wait, there might be something in this combined Australasian Über Country…..

A casual reading of the Australian Constitution reveals the following clauses;

Australian Constitution, section 6: Definitions;

The Commonwealth shall mean the Commonwealth of Australia as established under this Act.

The States shall mean such of the colonies of New South Wales, New Zealand, Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia, and South Australia, including the northern territory of South Australia, as for the time being are parts of the Commonwealth, and such colonies or territories as may be admitted into or established by the Commonwealth as States; and each of such parts of the Commonwealth shall be called a State.

Curious. So, according to the Australian Constitution, New Zealand is already defined as a State of Australia.

Really? How do the Kiwis feel about this?

More importantly, what does it mean and what relevant precedents are there?

Well…. Western Australia was not an original member of the Commonwealth, joining 3 weeks after Federation following a state-wide referendum. Interestingly, the time lag between the west and east of Australia has since grown, with Perth now preparing fireworks to celebrate seeing in the Millennium next December 31st.

Interestingly, from my research, it would seem the process for WA to join the rest of Australia was a referendum; by voting “Yes”, the State was granted automatic membership in the newly-federated country. If any students of history can confirm this, I’d be grateful, but it would seem the national parliament didn’t have a subsequent vote to confirm/reject the application.

This has a significant implications for the citizens of New Zealand….

Bill’s Opinion

If New Zealand were to hold a referendum and the majority of Kiwis vote to join Australia, there isn’t a damn thing the Aussies can do to prevent them from joining the federation.

Why would they do this?

Let’s answer that question with another question; hey Kiwis, how would you like a heated pool in your backyards, a speedboat and a new German SUV….. and get the Aussies to pay for them?

Clauses 105 and 105a allow for the Commonwealth to take over States’ debts. So, rack up the credit cards, hold a vote and then ask the neighbours to pay the bill.

Lastly, Clause 25 is, erm, interesting….

If you try to shoot me, don’t miss

Judge Kavanaugh and his accuser faced off at an unedifying Senate hearing last week. Whatever your political hue, I would hope that you’d agree that the spectacle was a new low point in terms of fact-based civil discourse between the different sides of the political spectrum.

Whichever of them was more convincing to you is going to be largely a function of your previous position during the 2016 election.

The purpose of this blog post is not to attempt to convince you one way or another but to put forward a hypothesis;

The likelihood of Roe vs. Wade being overturned in full or in part has increased significantly as a result of the Democrats’ decisions to hold on to Mrs. Ford’s accusation until so late in the process and the subsequent aggressive tactics to block the Judge’s nomination based on such a low standard of evidence.

In other words, the Democrats may have shot themselves in their collective feet.

Why do I believe this?

Because even the most honest and pure of intentions amongst us is human. Judge Kavanaugh is no exception to this, as his barely-concealed rage last week illustrates. Even if he was previously undecided on whether or not abortion should be ruled legal at a Federal level before his nomination, it’s not a stretch of imagination to suspect he’s changed his opinion during this trial by innuendo.

This is not to say Mrs. Ford is lying about the events of 35 (or thereabouts) years ago; her testimony was convincing, she looked like she believed what she was saying.

Similarly, Judge Kavanaugh looked like he believed what he was saying.

And that’s the point…. a robust legal system does not condemn the accused on the basis of a single witness testimony. In fact, if that’s all there is, such cases don’t make it to trial.

Nonetheless, Judge Kavanaugh has been put through the wringer due to a single witness testimony, deliberately withheld until the last minute.

Why? Why did the Democrats choose this set of tactics?

Roe vs. Wade.

Everything the Democrats have done to block Kavanaugh has had the ultimate goal of protecting the 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe vs Wade, the ruling which made abortion legal in the USA, regardless of prevailing State legislation.

That a Supreme Court ruling disappoints one team and delights another is nothing new or surprising. Perhaps the reason the Democrats have chosen such an unprecedented and, frankly, distasteful set of tactics in combating a perceived threat (Kavanaugh hasn’t publicly expressed an opinion to date) to this ruling is that they know Roe vs Wade was a fudge.

If one reads the history to the ruling, it’s clear that the previous status quo was a hotch-potch of policies along the lines of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and turning a blind eye, inconsistently applied by different States.

To many, the ruling was a Federal over-reach, imposing at a Federal level, power the Constitution gave to the States.

If Roe vs Wade was a ruling on something less emotive than abortion, say, the use of wood-fired stoves in built-up areas of habitation, there obviously would be nowhere near as much angst on either side of the debate. Most likely, the ruling would have been successfully appealed long ago and, following its reversal, some States would have passed legislation allowing for the use of wood-burning stoves at differing times of the year and for differing reasons. In other States, using wood-burning stoves in towns would have remained illegal.

Bill’s Opinion

Brett Kavanaugh and his family have had to endure atrocious abuse by bad faith political actors using the faux cover of due process.

Regardless of whether Mrs. Ford was attacked 30-something years ago and regardless of whether Brett Kavanaugh was the attacker, if he is subsequently confirmed as the next Supreme Court appointee, he is going to have to be the most objective human in history to not be biased towards overturning Roe vs Wade should such an appeal reach his office.

I’m not suggesting he should do this but an argument could be made along the lines of, “I will recuse myself from voting on this ruling as the inherent issues during the controversy of my nomination were due to Roe vs Wade and, as a consequence of the resulting personal distress, I now have a conflict of interest“.

Personally, I hope he is nominated and overturns the law at the first opportunity; the Founding Fathers were rarely wrong in the design of the American Constitution and I see no reason why abortion shouldn’t be subject to the proven efficiency of the “marketplace” that the system of States being able to write their own criminal law code provides. If you can’t legally have an abortion in Texas, you could still have one in California, for example.

Unfortunately, the precedent of allowing such a low standard of evidence to be a credible reason to derail a Supreme Court appointment is likely to have long-lasting negative effects that both parties will have plenty of time to regret.

Where wouldn’t you let your daughter holiday alone?

If you listen very closely you can hear the sound of Reuters breathing its last breath of life as a news agency.

As an organisation, it may still survive but it is no longer performing the function it has spent the previous 166 years doing.

The ten most dangerous countries in the world for women.

Number Ten on that list is……

The United States of America.

Wait, what?

THE United States of America?

Apparently so. According to Reuters, the USA is equal to Syria for sexual violence to women.

Does this pass the sniff test?

Before we answer that, let’s check out a few countries that aren’t in the 9 listed as worse than the US of A.

In no particular order;

South Sudan

North Korea

Sierra Leone

Libya

Venezuela

Iran

Iraq

Angola

So why is the USA worse for women than these countries?

Because (drum roll);

Oh, do just FUCK OFF.

So, 32,570,000 American women have been raped? Really?

That would certainly explain why there is such a massive exodus of women emigrating from hell holes such as, say, Boston, to claim asylum in Tripoli, Pyongyang, Caracas and Freetown.

Oh, hang on…

Bill’s Opinion

This is a classic “revealed versus expressed preferences” example.

A simple search for tourism numbers to any of the countries on Reuters’ list and my additional options versus those to the USA will tell you everything you need to know about this survey.

You would have few qualms about your teenage daughter holidaying in America. Sierra Leone, however?

One presumes the Cultural Marxists at Reuters simply searched the #MeToo hashtag and decided that every claim of rape equals an actual rape.

In reality, people base their decisions on where to live and where to holiday on more tangible facts, hence why there isn’t a rush to claim asylum on grounds of gender by half the American population of women and why teenage daughters holiday in the USA without their parents lying awake at night wracked with worry.

Lastly, in Reuters’ own words;

Yeah, right.

Can anyone guess what the report will say?

As stated here previously, Australians have a codeword which, when used by the ruling class, means, “we are going to raid your wallet and hand the contents to our cronies“;

Fair.

Seriously, it’s a stunning example of DoubleSpeak; on face value it seems perfectly reasonable to want things to be “fair”. But without a common agreement on what fair might be and who arbitrates it, we are left with the age old problem of power being wielded by those who have it for the benefit of themselves and their cronies.

Consider this example; the Australian state government of Victoria has commissioned a report into the “gig economy”.

Some background for those readers unfamiliar with the Australian state of Venezuela Victoria, it is the most-heavily unionised state in the country, with some fairly militant and unreconstructed 1970s style comrades calling the shots in many areas of life. The Victorians deserve what they get though, as they voted into power Daniel Andrews, a man with zero experience of managing anything more commercially-complex than a local political party branch office.

To illustrate his lack of commercial and contractual savvy, his first act upon gaining the office of Premier was to cancel a construction contract resulting in a $1.2bn bill to the ratepayers for which they received precisely nothing in return.

So, what do we think this report will say and what subsequent regulations might it be used to justify?

The Victorian government will investigate the practices of the so-called gig economy and on-demand workforce, amid claims that workers are being underpaid and exploited.

Victorian Industrial Relations Minister Natalie Hutchins said the inquiry, chaired by former Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) Natalie James, ill [sic] investigate the conditions of workers working to digital platforms.

It’s hardly a newflash that Socialist governments funded by militant unions are going to be somewhat unwelcoming of the likes of Uber, Deliveroo, Airbnb and Amazon, is it. Hilariously though, there’s a clue in the article as to the unintended consequences of increasing the cost base of a company by regulating how they contract workers. Workers who, by the way, weren’t coerced into that arrangement, especially not in a country with an unemployment rate in the mid 5% range (bearing in mind our previous point that around 2.2% of the population are, through no fault of their own, not intelligent enough to be suited to the most basic manual tasks).

The move comes are [sic, BI isn’t having a good day today] German food delivery multinational Foodora, under pressure from the tax office and the FWO over how the company classified its workers as independent contractors, was placed in administration as it prepared to shut down in Australia.

The FWO dropped legal action against Foodora over “sham contracting” in its employment contracts as a result.

Bill’s Opinion

The Victorian ratepayers are bloody and bruised enough from Daniel Andrews’ previous dip in to their wallets, but now they are going have to pay for a report that we already know will find that Uber et al are not fair, and then, to add insult to injury, will find that they’ll be taking expensive taxi rides home in future as gig economy companies like Uber will be regulated out of the state.

However, they voted for this bunch of strugglers, so they can enjoy the consequences.

Google might need a new company motto

Actually, it has already changed it from “Don’t be evil” to “Do the right thing”.

Regardless, the contents of a leaked memo suggest the mottos are to be considered more a guideline than a non-negotiable rule.

Google has allegedly created a search engine that would censor information that the Chinese government finds objectionable. The memo shows that Google planned to require users to log in to perform searches and the software would then track their location. The memo also said that Google would share Chinese users’ search information with a third-party Chinese company, which could then be available to government authorities.

Oh, that’s nice of them. What might be the consequences of Google handing details of an individual’s search history to a “private company” (if such a thing actually exists in China)?

Nothing to be concerned about, I’m sure. China’s record on human rights and the integrity of their legal system is so impeccable after all.

Bill’s Opinion

I’ve recently been considering weaning myself off Google products.

Despite what people might suggest, they don’t actually have a monopoly on providing many of the services we use on a day to day basis.

The response by Google to the James Damore memo was a major indication that the company has stopped taking their motto(s) seriously.

If this latest leak is correct, perhaps now is the time to find another mail, maps and internet search provider.