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Friday, 19 September 2014

Calls for Ending Unfairness to the English

Before the referendum on Scottish independence and in order to keep the United Kingdom from disintegrating, the leaders of the three main British parties - David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband - made generous promises in return for the Scottish people to vote No to breaking away from the Union.

They promised more powers and money for Scotland. Some say that these promises have come dangerously close to Maximum devolution (Devo Max for short), which means that, except in defence and foreign affairs, the Scottish Parliament gets power over everything.

A source of concern is that these promises - which looked like a sign of desperation when in the last few days of the campaign the Yes camp seemed to stand a good chance of winning - were made without a clear mandate from the electorate and without consulting the English, who may resent being just exploited for their money.

In particular, the Westminster politicians pledged to maintain the notorious Barnett formula, which for over 30 years has been used to allocate British taxpayers’ cash between England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland and has been widely blamed for the large public spending gap that exists between England and the three devolved territories.

Even Lord Barnett, the former minister who devised it, called the formula a “terrible mistake” and a “national embarrassment”.

In 2012-13, public spending per head in each of the home nations was:

•£10,876 in Northern Ireland
•£10,152 in Scotland
•£9,709 in Wales
•£8,529 in England

So, public expenditure in Scotland per head is 20% higher than in England, although English MPs have no real say in the governance of Scotland.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) has called for the abolition of the Barnett Formula entirely. It asserts:
In an era of devolved government, such spending gaps have become increasingly difficult to justify. Should higher public spending in some home nations be subsidised from taxpayers elsewhere? Why shouldn’t those areas pay for their own promises through higher local taxes?

The Barnett Formula cannot possibly survive. Little more than a crude back-of-the-envelope rule for splitting annual increases in public spending, back in 1978 it was a short-term expedient. It was never designed to last for thirty years and to bear the public scrutiny and resentment it now engenders.
Jonathan Isaby, Chief Executive of the TPA, added:
English taxpayers want an end to subsidising Scotland and the Scottish Government wants financial control devolved to Holyrood...

Furthermore, as even more power is set to be handed to the Scottish Parliament, the time has come to end the anomaly of Scottish MPs voting on policy for other parts of the UK where Westminster MPs have no such say North of the border. English votes for English laws is the only fair way to proceed.
A revolt has progressively grown inside the Conservative Party against David Cameron’s promises to Scotland, as Tory MPs with English constituencies are not prepared to make their constituents foot the bill.

Rail Minister Claire Perry criticised the “whole raft of goodies on offer for Scotland that will be paid for by us south of the border to appease the Yes voters”. She wrote in her local paper, the Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:
If there is a proposal to allow devolution of local taxation, as well as maintaining the current level of funding as a dollop from the UK Parliament, then that can hardly be equitable for those of us in the Devizes constituency and all other area areas in the non-Scottish union.
Tory backbenchers have demanded an English Parliament. They say that their constituents find the differential treatment between English and Scottish subjects of the Queen unjust and claim that they will not vote in support of the Devo Max.

Michael Fabricant, a former Tory vice-chairman, said before the referendum: “Even if Scotland votes No, serious questions will be asked about the complacent mishandling of the vote by No10 and the incompetence by Miliband.”

Paradoxically, it is English nationalism that may be fuelled by all this.

The English are not amused. Their mood is reflected in this comment to a Spectator blog post:
Why does Westminster think it has a mandate to offer Devomax? Whatever Scotland gets, we want for England too.

£50,000 Wind Turbine Taking 7 Centuries to Pay for Itself

The Aberystwyth wind turbine

Subtitle: the umpteenth confirmation that governments shouldn't be entrusted with our money.

This was reported last July, but I've only learned about it now.

It's got to be covered, it's too absurd to miss.

On 10 July 2014, the Daily Mail reported the planned axing of a wind turbine built with taxpayers' money - almost £50,000 - and generating only an average of £5 of electricity a month.

It was calculated that it would have required 757 years before its cost was offset.

I'm tempted to say that this must be the most absurd wind turbine ever but, given the huge cost ineffectiveness of these contraptions, I'm not so sure.

This one is a 60ft turbine in Wales, built at the Aberystwyth offices of the Labour-controlled Welsh government in 2009 "with the aim of reducing its carbon footprint".

In November 2013,
[T]he Welsh government said the turbine was part of its ‘ambitious’ green programme which also featured a biomass heating system and solar panels at its Aberystwyth offices.

‘As a result, we have seen a 17 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions over the past two years and are well on course to meet the overarching target of a 30 per cent reduction by 2020.’
Yes, you can expect that from Labour. Another sign of idiocy was its erection in a sheltered valley, away from the windy coast.

The company which supplied it, Quiet Revolution, said it had warned the Welsh government in advance that there was no wind in the area of the site, but the civil servants paid no attention. I don't think that reality mattered to them as much as making an ideolgical statement. And the money wasn't theirs, anyway.

Well, at least this monster of inefficiency is now going to be removed, I hear you say. The Welsh government has seen the light. No. The turbine is to be scrapped only because it broke down in January and then the manufacturer went into liquidation.

Otherwise, it would have stood for another few centuries, provided it survived the catastrophes caused by global warming, of course.

Incidentally, British people pay for wind turbines like this twice: first, as taxpayers, to construct them, and second, as utility customers and given their inefficiency, to subsidise them through higher electricity and gas bills.

The Aberystwyth turbine is not an isolated case:
Earlier this year Rushcliffe Borough Council in Nottingham was criticised after it emerged it spent £30,000 on two turbines which generated only £95 of electricity in 12 months.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Even Crime Writers Do Their Bit for Atheism and Multiculturalism

A 7-tonne pagan steel statue, 'Ancestor', that took 9 months to create

It isn't just the whole education establishment from kindergarten to PhD studies, the mainstrean media industry in its entirety, Hollywood, and the various scientists, journalists and assorted others who, acting as pseudophilosophers, write books on how God doesn't exist. These are only the big players in the campaign to persuade the general public that atheism and anti-Christianity are the way forward, the "right side of history".

Then there are those minor or intermediate opinion-makers, a group of whom comprises writers from the second, third or fourth rank down, myriads of them. Like, for example, the author of a book I read during my just-finished holidays. I wanted fiction, something escapist to get a bit away from reality and I borrowed from a local library Find Me a Villain by Margaret Yorke.

As the title suggests, it's a crime novel. It's a genre I love. But this story was mediocre, and its author didn't shine as brilliant or clever, with original ideas.

Possibly she just wanted to appear intelligent (I'm guessing here), and these day, she thought, that means Godless.

For whatever reason, anyway, her main characters - due to no requirement of plot or character construction, but purely arbitrarily, or maybe just to represent them as women of their (our) times - make a handful of inconsequential comments to the effect that God doesn't exist and, even if he did, he would have given up on us a long time ago. Which is just as well since, as one of them says, it would be creepy to have someone watching you all the time.

Pagans celebrating the Summer Solstice

Perhaps Yorke had read atheist authors, or maybe she imitated another, more famous, writer of whodunits like herself, Ruth Rendell, who has created a world - or maybe has just tried to reflect the one she sees and frequents - with plenty of Muslims (her settings are mostly in London) but hardly ever a Christian in sight. Maybe because her native English characters are "not religious people".

Rendell's multicultural London and politically correct writing have tired me and, although her stories are sometimes good, I've stopped reading her.

True, she simply represents today's reality of her city, but I don't want to be reminded of our Islamisation when I engage in the game of discovering the culprit of a fictional murder, especially by someone totally unaware and uncritical of our progressive enslavement.

Novelists like Rendell, Yorke and numerous others influence the way their readers view issues, possibly in a subtle manner. They contribute to the general attitude that takes for granted mass immigration, Muslim invasion and the disappearance of Christianity.

They hammer another, inconspicuous nail in the coffin of Jesus and His message.

A further example of people who influence and form public opinion in a secondary and probably indirect way are "celebrities". And, since we are talking about atheism, the rock world has had (and still has) a huge and deleterious impact, particularly on the young.

The role of rock music in the development of the Leftist ethos has not been sufficiently explored.

But this is another story, to be told another time.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Same-sex Adoption: Not as Harmless as Portrayed

Children with two 'fathers'

Published on American Thinker

By Enza Ferreri

You may often see articles in the media claiming that "research has shown" that children of same-sex couples are thriving, in fact are physically and psychologically doing just as well as, or even better than, children of couples who are - let me use this currently underused word - normal.

Are these works reliable?

In July such a study, carried out in Australia, was much trumpeted by that pillar of "progressive" thinking, The Washington Post, under the headline "Children of same-sex couples are happier and healthier than peers, research shows".

Researcher Simon Crouch and his team at the University of Melbourne surveyed 315 homosexual parents with a total of 500 children across Australia.

Crouch writes:
We found that children from same-sex families scored, on average, 6% better on two key measures, general health and family cohesion, even when controlling for a number sociodemographic factors such as parent education and household income. But on most health measures, including emotional behaviour and physical functioning, there was no difference when compared with children from the general population.
So far so good. Unfortunately, there is a drawback:
In spite of doing well, many children did experience stigma, which was linked to lower scores on a number of scales...

Interestingly, there is growing evidence to suggest that the structure of same-sex parent families, particularly in relation to work and home duties, plays an important part in how well families get along. Same-sex parents, for instance, are more likely to share child care and work responsibilities more equitably than heterosexual-parent families. [Emphasis added]
In short, when children perform well it's due to same-sex parenting. When they perform not so well, it's due to stigma against same-sex parenting. A win-win situation for homosexual agitators.

But this apparent bias in the interpretation of the results is not the only, or even the main, problem with this study.

The method used in the Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families (ACHESS) is the biggest obstacle to taking its outcome seriously.

Mark Regnerus, associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, research associate at its Population Research Center, and a senior fellow at the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture, has analysed the ACHESS's methodology both when an interim report appeared in 2012 and now, after the completion of the research.

He is concerned by this part of the study's methodology section:
The convenience sample was recruited using online and traditional recruitment techniques, accessing same-sex attracted parents through news media, community events and community groups. Three hundred and ninety eligible parents contacted the researchers…
And by the sampling approach of the interim report:
Initial recruitment will . . . include advertisements and media releases in gay and lesbian press, flyers at gay and lesbian social and support groups, and investigator attendance at gay and lesbian community events . . . Primarily recruitment will be through emails posted on gay and lesbian community email lists aimed at same-sex parenting. This will include, but not be limited to, Gay Dads Australia and the Rainbow Families Council of Victoria.
This is not a random sample, but a self-selected sample. Randomisation is one the most crucial parts of scientific research. The sample here is not representative of average same-sex households with children:
To compare the results from such an unusual sample with that of a population-based sample of everyone else [which is random] is just suspect science. And I may be putting that too mildly.
The ACHESS admits to employing "snowball recruitment techniques", where existing study subjects recruit future subjects from among their acquaintances.

The study includes a disproportionate number of children born in new ways: 80% of those with female parent(s) were born through home insemination or assisted reproductive technology (ART), and 82% of those with male parent(s) were born via surrogacy. How common ART and surrogacy are today in the average same-sex household remains unknown.

Most families who can afford the espense of ART and surrogacy are likely to belong to the homosexual socio-economic elite, the only kind of people this study's sample was likely to be comprising. And, also significantly when compared to a random sample of all other families, there were few unplanned pregnancies among the ACHESS parents.

In addition, "this non-random sample reflects those who actively pursued participating in the study, personal and political motivations included"; those who selected themselves for the study knew in advance its intentions, subject and political significance (so much for "blinding", another requirement of research methodology); and - wait for this - the actual children were not asked to report about themselves, only their parents reported about them, with all the obvious high risks involved in trusting parents self-reporting on their parental skills as shown by their children's outcome - also known as risks of “social desirability bias,” the tendency to portray oneself as better than one actually is -, without an attempt to independently verify the facts.

Taking into account all these circumstances, professor Regnerus declared himself surprised that the differences (3%-6%) between the ACHESS parents and the rest of the population were so small.

Which confirms once more that trusting the mainstream media on the complex and regrettably fashionable subject of homosexual marriage and its corollary, adoption, is not a good idea.

A Pew Research study showed how disconnected the media are from public opinion on this topic. In the news media, stories sympathetic to same-sex marriage in the 2-month period covered outnumbered those unsympathetic to it by a margin of more than 5-to-1: the former constitued 47% of all treatment of the subject, the latter 9%. For Huffington Post the gap was much higher, almost as high as that found in LGBT outlets.

In public opinion, by contrast, the percentage of respondents in favour of legalisation of homosexual marriage was 51%, while against 42%.

This media bias is consistent with the their highly critical coverage of the New Family Structures Study (NFSS), a work overseen by professor Mark Regnerus in which he examines nearly 3,000 adult children from 8 different family structures and evaluates them within 40 social and emotional categories.

The NFSS, he describes,
elected to talk to the children after they had grown up, to skip the parents entirely to ensure a more independent assessment, not to broadcast our key research questions in the title or initial screener questionnaire, and to locate participants randomly in a large population-based sample. If you’ve been paying attention, however, you’ll know that my NFSS studies—which mapped 248 respondents who told us their mother or father had been in a same-sex relationship—came to rather different conclusions than the ACHESS study has.
In his study, published in Social Science Research in 2012, Regnerus writes:
[T]he empirical claim that no notable differences exist must go. While it is certainly accurate to affirm that sexual orientation or parental sexual behavior need have nothing to do with the ability to be a good, effective parent, the data evaluated herein using population-based estimates drawn from a large, nationally-representative sample of young Americans suggest that it may affect the reality of family experiences among a significant number.
The NFSS's results showed that children who remain with their intact biological families were better educated, were in greater mental and physical health, reported overall higher levels of happiness, displayed less drug use and less criminal behaviour.

The greatest negative outcomes were found among children of lesbian mothers, contrary to faulty studies popularised by the media. The NFSS found negative outcomes for lesbians' adult children in 25 of 40 categories, including far higher rates of sexual assault (23% of lesbians' children were touched sexually by a parent or adult, compared to 2% raised by normal married parents), higher levels of depression, worse physical health, more marijuana use and greater unemployment (69% of lesbians' children were on welfare, compared to 17% of those with normal married parents).

Regnerus’ research disproved an often-cited 2005 brief by the American Psychological Association (APA) that concluded: "Not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents." This sentence has now been removed from the APA' website.

And the confidence behind that assertion will be invalidated again and again, as more research unearths the problems associated with homosexual parenting and/or adoption.

One such investigation is that by associate professor at Louisiana State University Loren Marks, published in Social Science Research.

His work reviews the 59 published studies cited by the APA to support its above-quoted claim.

Marks found them wanting in various areas, including lack of homogeneous sampling, absence of comparison groups, presence of contradictory data and paucity of long-term outcome data. The scope of the children’s outcomes studied was too limited: they focused on "gender roles" and "sexual identities", while neglecting to examine the children’s education outcomes, employment, risk of substance abuse, criminal behavior or suicide.
The conclusion is that strong assertions, including those made by the APA, were not empirically warranted.
This debunking is particularly significant, in view of the fact that the APA-endorsed studies have been used in attempts to influence legal decisions in European and American courts, with claims like "no objective scientific evidence exists to justify different treatment of same sex couples who wish to adopt", "all reputable scientific studies have shown that the children of lesbian and gay parents are no more likely to suffer from emotional or other problems than the children of heterosexual parents.", and "a considerable body of professional literature provides evidence that children with parents who are homosexual can have the same advantages and the same expectations for health, adjustment, and development as can children whose parents are heterosexual.".

There's still work to do, but we are on the right track.

Milan and New York, AD 2014

These two astonishing pictures were not taken in Cairo, Islamabad or Riyadh. They are horrendous depictions of our Islamisation.

The first photo was shot in New York City, on Madison Avenue. The second in the place that is the heart and soul of Milan: Piazza del Duomo, Cathedral Square.

No comment is necessary.

Muslims praying in Madison Avenue, New York

Muslims praying in Piazza del Duomo, Milan, Italy

H/t Alessandra Nucci

Demography Is Not Destiny: the Internet Will Change the Outcome of Our Struggle for Freedom

Five men have so far been convicted for sexual abuse of more than 1,400 children in Rotherham, mainly by Pakistani Muslims, on which the media remained silent

[T]he advent of alternative media has reduced the Non-Fox Media’s ability to stir up urban riots. Today, it’s possible to get information that never would have seen the light of day in the 1980s.
What Ann Coulter says here (the first sentence refers to the Ferguson riots in the USA but the second is general), about the alternative media telling a truth that in the 1980s would have never seen the light of day because the old media were the only sources available, is true.

We keep making gloomy, nay catastrophic, predictions based on demographics (I suspect that some of us actually want the future to be as bad as they depict it). But that presumes the clause of coeteris paribus, or all other things being equal. New, unforeseen or - as in this case of the new media and internet use - simply not-considered-in-the-calculus-by-which-we-arrived-at-the-prediction developments may lead to different results.

People have been passive so far, but for many decades they've just been feed mainstream-media fairy tales.

Only recently have the internet new media started providing an alternative, disclosing facts that previously no widely-accessible source ever let people even suspect, explaining and exposing, informing and educating, expanding the range of opinions, releasing from the cage ideas that had remained until that moment taboo, giving expression to censored opinions, immensely widening the scope of what could be known, understood, debated, said and thought.

This digital cultural revolution no doubt will have consequences.

Once people will be less constrained by the blinkers created by the likes of the BBC and The New York Times, things may appear a bit clearer to them.

We probably still have to see the effects of that.

Add the social media, the internet forums and the comments section at the end of articles, which encourage people - albeit in a rough-and-ready sort of way - to form and articulate opinions, and something new may come out of all this.

Incidentally and interestingly, what socialists and communists have falsely believed they could forcefully impose with bloody revolutions and/or gigantic social engineering programs has instead been achieved by free capitalist enterprise and ingenuity. The internet has made highly affordable to everyone who wants it - at least in the developed countries - a first-class education with easy access to world libraries, academic journals, historic accounts, scientific reports. The best writers, the most skilled journalists, the most analytical thinkers, the most entertaining columnists and commentators.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

1 in 6 French People View ISIS Favourably

Islamic State jihadists

An ICM poll on behalf of the Russian state news agency Rossiya Segodnya tested the public attitude towards the group ISIS (formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant or ISIL, and now calling itself Islamic State or IS) in 3 European countries: Great Britain, France and Germany.

The news agency commissioning the poll may be Putin-friendly, but the polling firm ICM is as reputable as any.

The survey asked people whether they had a favourable or unfavourable view of ISIS.

In France, 16% say they have a favourable view.

In the UK, 7% say they have a favourable view.

In Germany, 2% say they have a favourable view.

The astonishing result concerns France. Considering that the official figures for France's Muslims are from 5 to 10% of the population, these data are difficult to explain. Either - as it's possible - "French" Muslims are more numerous than we are told, or French non-Muslims are displaying an odd sympathy for the Islamic State.

Not only that. If we break down the results by age group, we find even more worrisome outcomes, as shown below.
ICM poll results on attitudes to ISIS by age group

Almost 1 in 3 people aged 18-24 in France view ISIS positively.

Also significant are the percentages of respondents who say they have an unfavourable view of ISIS: 62% in France, 64% in Britan, and 82% in Germany.

Except in Germany, they are very low percentages indeed. Considering that the Islamic State is ethnically cleansing Iraq and Syria of Christians - or rather continuing the ethnic cleansing started before it -, and the brutality with which they treat Christians, one has to ask what the barbaric jihadists of the IS should do to get a 90% of "unfavourable views" (impossible in Islamised France anyway) from these apathetic populations feeding on Kim Kardashian (whoever that is), bad TV and Emmy Awards (whatever they are).

H/t Vox and Hot Air