Letter to The Editor - Free from out-of-date theological prejudices

To The Age        It is sad to learn that shadows have been cast over the reputation of the late Catholic psychologist Ronald Conway ("'Little harm' in child abuse: church expert', 19/9). Whatever the truth of accusations made against him, he deserves the gratitude of Australians for three important and substantial books. In The Great Australian Stupor (1971) and Land of the Long Weekend (1978) he provided profound analyses of our national society from a centre-right perspective. These provide a sane and witty riposte to the mass of left-wing and Marxist commentaries produced then and later. Also, in his autobiography Conway's Way (1988) this gentle and industrious man offered important insights into how religion in the Western world can be revitalised. "The only hope for the Christian vision lies in a revival of a true spirituality," he commented in 'A Small Testament', the last chapter. He was refreshingly free from out-of-date theological prejudices. As one who knew him personally for 44 years, I recall with gratitude his wry, humorous but deeply sensible character.
  Nigel Jackson,

Letter to The Editor - A more inclusive statement of remembrance

To The Australian         Perhaps we need to take more notice of Jacinta Nampijinpa Price ("I don't do Welcome to Country because it is a modern construct", Cut & Paste, 20/9). Like the "Aboriginal flag", this practice lacks authenticity and is being used to strengthen the forces of Aboriginal separatism. It's a pity, because there is poetry and some truth in it, notwithstanding. A more inclusive statement of remembrance rather than one of spurious welcome would perhaps be a suitable replacement.
  Nigel Jackson, Belgrave, Vic

Japan, Asia and Same Sex Marriage By Mrs Vera West

     Japan may be moving towards the legalisation of same sex marriage, if a recent opinion poll is any gauge of things:

“Almost 70 percent of married women in Japan believe that same-sex marriage should be legalized in the country, a government survey of around 6,000 married women showed Friday. Among those in their 30s or younger, roughly 90 percent supported the legalization of same-sex marriage, according to the survey conducted last year by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research. The survey has been conducted every five years since 1993 to collect data on Japanese households, including the distribution of chores. Questions on same-sex couples were added for the first-time last year.”

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Mind Reading AI and the End of Humanity By Brian Simpson

     Here is an angle that we technophobes have not thought much about, being concerned with AI enslaving us. Mind reading AI may make social as we know it impossible, eroding the present foundation of civil society:

“Technologies linking human consciousness to any sort of a cloud computing service could not just open the way for totalitarian mind control, but destroy the very essence of human relations, philosopher Slavoj Zizek says.
A computer that can read the thoughts of many people at once would make normal human life impossible, the Slovenian cultural philosopher told RT in the wake of the World Artificial Intelligence (AI) Conference in Shanghai, which saw Alibaba’s chairman Jack Ma and Tesla CEO Elon Musk clashing over the future of AI. What I am studying now is the so-called phenomenon of wired brains, a possibility of our brains being connected with strong digital machines. And that is not a utopia. In the media lab at MIT, Massachusetts, they already have simple machines like that. It is like a helmet, nothing intrusive, they put it on your head. And then something horrible happens - I saw the video - you think certain thoughts, you do not say anything, and the machine reproduces them either in writing or with artificial voice. The primitive level machines can already read your thoughts. It is ok, if it involves your agreement but what if it is done (and it is easy to imagine that) without you knowing it? Now, there is a serious option to read our thoughts, not just our emotional attitudes like being angry or sad but even the line of our thoughts in our mind. The next step in this “utopia” will be a computer that can read my thoughts and your thoughts that can connect us so that we can share our thoughts. If you and I are connected through the same computer, I can literally participate in your thinking directly without any external communication like word typing. As you probably know, modern technology theorists Ray Kurzweil and Melanie Swan called it a new form of divinity.”

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Global Nuclear War: Just a “Physics Problem” By James Reed

     I really like this, that nuclear war is just a physics problem. Nothing like getting to fundamentals. Dying is after all, just a biological problem, too:

“Incoming National Security Advisor, Charles Kupperman, made the claim Nuclear War With USSR Was Winnable. He made those statements in the 1980s. I do not know his views today, but let's review what he said then.
President Donald Trump’s acting national security adviser, former Reagan administration official Charles Kupperman, made an extraordinary and controversial claim in the early 1980s: nuclear conflict with the USSR was winnable and that “nuclear war is a destructive thing but still in large part a physics problem.” Kupperman, appointed to his new post on Tuesday after Trump fired his John Bolton from the job, argued it was possible to win a nuclear war “in the classical sense,” and that the notion of total destruction stemming from such a superpower conflict was inaccurate. He said that in a scenario in which 20 million people died in the U.S. as opposed to 150 million, the nation could then emerge as the stronger side and prevail in its objectives. His argument was that with enough planning and civil defense measures, such as “a certain layer of dirt and some reinforced construction materials,” the effects of a nuclear war could be limited and that U.S. would be able to fairly quickly rebuild itself after an all-out conflict with the then-Soviet Union.

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Computer Garbage In; Philosophical Garbage Out By Brian Simpson

     This is how the elite spend their time when they are not thinking about the economy and globalisation:

“Imagine a future in which a machine can scan your brain and migrate the essentials of your mind to a computer. It’s called mind uploading—preserving a person’s consciousness in a digital afterlife. As a neuroscientist, I’m convinced that mind uploading will happen someday. There are no laws of physics that stand in the way. It depends, however, on technology that has not yet been invented, so nobody knows when mind uploading might become available. The brain relies on an elegant, underlying principle: A simple working part, the neuron, is repeated over and over to create complexity. The human brain contains about 86 billion neurons interconnected by about 100 trillion synapses. Information flows and transforms through those vast connected networks in complex and unpredictable patterns, creating the mind. To upload a person’s mind, at least two technical challenges would need to be solved. First, we would need to build an artificial brain made of simulated neurons. Second, we would need to scan a person’s actual, biological brain and measure exactly how its neurons are connected to each other, to be able to copy that pattern in the artificial brain. Nobody knows if those two steps would really re-create a person’s mind or if other, subtler aspects of the biology of the brain must be copied as well, but it is a good starting place.

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When PC Ideologies Clash By Richard Miller

     At the twilight of the West, many perplexing philosophical puzzles are posed, some being multicult analogues of: what happens when an irresistible multicultural force meets an immovable multicultural  object:

“Islamic primary schools across the Netherlands have distributed anti-LGBT literature which claims Allah destroyed an entire people based on their homosexuality. The material is part of the sex education in Islamic schools and comes from the book Help! I am Growing Up released by the Islamic organisation ISBO for 44 schools across the Netherlands, Nederlandse Omroep Stichting reports. When asked about the material the Education Inspectorate told the broadcaster, “With regard to teaching materials, the inspectorate always looks at how this is applied in the context. These examples do not in themselves give cause to assume that legal limits are being exceeded.”

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Things Don’t Go Better with Coke! By Mrs Vera West

     Is it true that you can use coke to dissolve a coin, or is that an urban legend? What about heart attacks?

“JUST two diet drinks a day raises the risk of dying young by a quarter, a major study reveals. And lovers of Diet Coke and Pepsi Max see their chances of being killed by a heart attack or stroke rocket by more than half, compared to those who avoid the stuff. Experts said the “important” European findings – involving more than 450,000 people – were “concerning”. They urged Brits to ditch soft drinks and switch to water. The World Health Organisation research found the dangers from guzzling artificially sweetened pop were up to three times greater than regular sugary drinks.

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The US Debt Abyss By James Reed

     I am terrified to write about debt, because I tend to think that debt can bring a nation unstuck, while economic experts from our side say: no Jimmy, debt is not a worry, go back to minding your chooks. Ok, I guess the conservatives are silly too worrying about US debt being 2,000 percent of GDP, or $ US 400 trillion. I suppose it does not matter:

“A new report has said that the real United States national debt could be well over what politicians tell us it is.  At a whopping $400 trillion, the U.S. debt would be 2,000% of GDP (gross domestic product) according to new calculations that include the federal government, state, local, financial, and so-called entitlement debt. AB Bernstein, a global asset management firm based on Wall Street, came up with these figures by including in its analysis not only traditional levels of public debt, such as bonds but also financial debt as well as future obligations for entitlement programs, according to a report by CNBC. These include social security, Medicare and public pensions and are often left out of the discussion.  They are unfunded liabilities, however, and should be included if we’re to get an appropriate understanding of the government’s mishandling of money. In its report, AB Bernstein took debt from a number of sources and compared it to GDP. Using this methodology, federal, state and local government debt combined amounted to 100 percent of GDP. Households and firms accounted for 150 percent, while debt held by financial firms came to 450 percent. Another 27 percent came from trusts for social insurance programs, 484 percent from promises under current social insurance programs, and 633 percent from obligations for social programs. The total debt, therefore, amounted to 1,832 percent. –RT

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Ice Cream and Beaver Anal Secretions! By Mrs Vera West

     Did that get your attention? There are too many levels of meaning to probe too deeply here, so let us quickly get to the main event. There is a highly amusing, but still thoughtful piece at Natural News.com dealing with the often bizarre origins of some food additives:

“Common foods aren’t always prepared in sterile conditions. It’s not uncommon for people to accidentally consume food with contaminants like feces, insects, mold, parasites, rodent hairs, and soil. According to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Defect Levels Handbook, some items have acceptable or non-hazardous levels of these undisclosed ingredients. To illustrate, two cups of cornmeal may contain at least five insects, 10 insect fragments, 10 rodent hairs, and five fragments of rodent feces.

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Female Hypergamy: Behind Feminism By Mrs Vera West

     We can still find pieces on YouTube, amazingly, on female hypergamy, the primal instinct for women to strive to achieve more alpha mates, and providers. Even those  having high paying jobs, if heterosexual, seek this, unless constrained by Christian morality of some moral code. Go back to the jungle, which is what modern nihilist society is, and that what one gets, well documented in a book the Left hate intensely, Sexual Utopia in Power: the Feminist Revolt Against Civilization, by F. Roger Devlin (Counter-currents, 2015). Jordan Peterson has an excellent video on this topic too:

     Lots of conservative, and even libersal ladies discuss the same thing, so anyone thinking that the topic can be put off limits by rattling on about “anti-women” well, just forget it. The girls tell you to do so, so obey! It is interesting to get the perspective of young Black women on the horrible sexual market place that the feminist regime, and the 1960s “liberation” has produced:

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The Rising Fight Against Porn By Mrs Vera West

     Cheer up lads, the fight is grim and it is easy to lose spirit, and hope that a large rock flung towards earth will finish everything off, but there is always hope. See, the state of Arizona is citing porn as public health risk, and isn’t it, a kind of plague sweeping throughout the land?

“Arizona lawmakers last week approved a resolution calling for efforts to prevent children from being exposed to pornography online, a move similar to those of legislative bodies in at least 15 other states that are calling adult sexual content a public health crisis. "It is an epidemic in our society, and this makes a statement that we have a problem," said Arizona state Sen. Sylvia Allen, a Republican whose chamber approved the resolution last Monday. She blamed pornography for contributing to a number of societal issues, such as violence against women, sexual activity among teens and unintended pregnancies. The resolution is non-binding but could signal future action. Many of the resolutions put forward are based on a model written by anti-porn group the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. Mark Kernes, a senior editor at the trade publication Adult Video News media network, called porn harmless entertainment meant for adults. He said linking sexual adult content with social problems is “complete fear-mongering.” Others say the resolutions could create a risk for LGBTQ groups and leave out calls for better sex education for teenagers. "If you stub your toe, that might be something you can't solve yourself, but that doesn't make it a public health issue," said Emily Rothman, a professor of community health sciences at Boston University.”

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Abortion is Fine, but Nationalism (for the West) is Evil! By Chris Knight

     There is internet controversy at present over the case of a cheerleader who brutally killed her baby, walking free:

“THE cheerleader who buried her unwanted baby in her garden was slammed by a judge as she walked free from court on Friday. Brooke Skylar Richardson, from Ohio, US, had been accused of smashing her newborn's skull with a rock days after her prom when she was aged 18. But on Thursday, she was cleared of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment – only being found guilty of gross abuse of a corpse. During sentencing, Judge Donald Oda slammed Richardson for poor choices which may have resulted in the stillbirth of the baby, who she named Annabelle. “I believe if you had made different decisions, Annabelle would still be here,” the judge said. “I think that your choices before birth, during birth and after birth show a grotesque disregard for life.” Judge Donald Oda sentenced Richardson, now 20, to seven days in jail for the corpse abuse charge, but she was credited for time already served. She will instead serve three years of probation – but if she violates this, she can be locked up for up to a year in jail.”

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Degenerate Universities By Mrs Vera West

     Things have not gone this far yet on most Australian campuses, but they are on the way to this, a kind of decadent athletics of sorts:

“A penis ring toss, vagina bean bag toss, and lubricant taste tests were just a few of the activities students at George Mason University took part in Tuesday night at a “Consent Carnival” hosted by the Student Support and Advocacy Center. The vagina bean bag toss boasted giant inflatable lips that served to mimic a “vagina,” and students could throw large pink bean bags into it. The game doubled as an educational display, informing students on flyers that “not all people with vaginas are women.” “Genitalia is not an indicator of gender and it can be harmful to assume so,” the display added. Other information provided included the number of nerve endings on the clitoris (8,000), how the labia comes in different colors (“light pink to dark brown”), and the fact that the vagina is self cleaning. As for the penis ring toss, the educational component to that game was that the eight or so three-foot-high penis inflatables were surrounded by signs on how to correctly use a condom, among other information. Meanwhile there was popcorn and candy for students to nibble on. They were also offered tastings of various lubricants. The flavors included cupcake, watermelon and green apple. Additional stations at the carnival included the “gender unicorn” booth, which helped teach students how to properly react to friends coming out as LGBTQ. There was also an “affirmative consent kissing booth” and a “you mustache for consent” table that sought to teach students how to get verbal consent before and as they engage in sexual activity. “Condom balloon pop” and “don’t touch my hair” booths were also offered to the crowd, but many students flocked to the face painter and snowcone machine, which appeared to be the biggest hits at the event. (The face painter told The Fix students were not asking for sexually explicit images.) And no carnival would be complete without a balloon artist.

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Stop Racism Against Chinese Students! Let Then Take Over the Student Unions! Also, Make the Universities Property of the Chinese Communist Party! By James Reed

     Wow, it feels exhilarating to be on the high moral ground this time, looking down from the top of the moral mountain, through the mists of diversity at all the “racists” below. Imagine how outraged a connoisseur of all things multicult and diverse, like me, is by this little gem:

“International students have been banned from contesting student elections at one of Victoria's most prestigious universities, in a move to stop a group of Chinese students seizing control of the student union. The ban, which the country's peak student body called an "attack on international students", comes as politicians and academics are increasingly concerned about Chinese Communist Party influence at Australian universities. Leaders of Monash University's Caulfield campus student body last week passed a new rule that students wishing to run at next week's election must be eligible to work 22 hours per week. Foreigners on student visas are not allowed to work more than 20 hours per week, meaning more than half the campus' students are barred from running for election. The rules were passed by Monash Student Association Caulfield's student council to thwart the election hopes of a rival group led by and consisting mainly of Chinese international students. The international student group, which is considering legal action to fight the ruling, was tipped to comfortably win the election and take over the union.”

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Now Even Plastic Knives are Regulated in Oz (Isn’t it About Time, Too?) By John Steele

     What would the Vikings, Spartans, ancient Northern barbarians, Chinese shaolin warriors, the Japanese samurai and Christian warriors of all past ages think of this?

“A security measure put on the word “knife” at Woolworths means customers trying to buy plastic knives at any of the supermarket’s self-service check-outs will need to ask employees for approval. A customer shopping at Erskineville Woolworths, in Sydney’s inner west, earlier today noticed the security measure when she attempted to buy a 50 pack of plastic knives and was stopped at the self-service checkout. A Woolworths employee had to come over and approve the purchase, allowing the customer to continue scanning items. In a statement, Woolworths confirmed it had controls in place to make sure knives, regardless of what they were made of, could not be bought by people under 16. Selling knives to children under the age 16 is illegal in NSW. The only exception is that retailers are allowed to sell a plastic knife designed as an eating utensil. “New South Wales residents under 16 years of age are prohibited by law from buying certain types of knives. “In line with these requirements, we’ve put controls in place within our point of sale systems to flag whenever any kind of knife is scanned at a self-serve checkout,” a Woolworths spokeswoman said. “As plastic knives are exempt from the ban, our store teams do not need to see ID when these items are scanned and will help customers finalise their purchase.” Any product that contains the word “knife” will be flagged by the self-service checkout and a Woolies worker will need to approve the sale before the customer can continue, the supermarket giant confirmed.”

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A Part of China By James Reed

     “The first Chinese-born lawmaker to be elected to Australia’s Parliament has come under attack over her links to a Chinese foreign influence network. Gladys Liu, who was born in Hong Kong in 1964, was elected to the conservative government in May elections to represent a Melbourne electoral division with a large population of ethnic Chinese voters. She has come under media scrutiny recently over her membership in organizations overseen by the United Front Work Department of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee, which exert influence on important individuals, organizations and governments outside China. Concern is growing about China’s influence in Australia, which last year banned covert foreign interference in domestic politics. Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported Tuesday that Chinese government records indicate that Liu, who migrated to Australia in 1985, was a member of two provincial councils of the China Overseas Exchange Association between 2003 and 2015. That association reported to the State Council, China’s chief administrative authority, when Liu was a member, but has since merged with the United Front Work Department. She told Sky News television later Tuesday that she “cannot recall” being a member of those provincial councils. “If I can’t recall, I cannot be an active member of that council, can I?” she told Sky News. “I can tell you that I have never been a member of this council.”

      But in a statement Wednesday, Liu said she held an “honorary role” in the council she had referred to — Guangdong Overseas Exchange Association — in 2011. But she said she no longer had any association with that organization. “Unfortunately, some Chinese associations appoint people to honorary positions without their knowledge or permission. I do not wish my name to be used in any of these associations and I ask them to stop using my name,” she said. “I have resigned from many organizations and I am in the process of auditing any organizations who may have added me as a member without my knowledge or consent,” she added. Opposition lawmakers on Wednesday accused Liu of making misleading statements about her past links to “Chinese Communist Party propaganda arms.” She has also come under fire for failing to condemn China’s military grab for contested territory in the South China Sea. Asked in the Sky News interview if she agreed that China’s efforts to take over most of the South China Sea were unlawful, she replied, “I definitely put Australia’s interests first.” She said Wednesday that during the interview “I was not clear and should have chosen my words better.” “We do not take sides on competing territorial claims but we call on all claimants to resolve disputes peacefully and in accordance with international law,” she said of Australia’s policy on the South China Sea. Damien Kingsbury, a Deakin University expert on international politics, said the controversy surrounding Liu raised national security concerns. “She’s certainly seen to have a link to an organization that is associated with intelligence-gathering operations and that would have to be very worrying,” Kingsbury said.

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Machetes, Didgeridoos and Home Invasion By John Steele

     Here is a story about an old guy who fought off home invaders with his trusty, rusty machete. The machete pictured is fairly puny, and cheap but did the job. If one goes onto eBay, seeking these tools to clear away scrub, chop wood for your camp fire, or just to cuddle on cold nights, when the wolves are howling in the distance, the sound echoing in the dark primal recesses of the mind … hell, I forgot what the punch line was … Anyway, check out Cold Steel, my favourite company.

     One could always go the way of playing the didgeridoo in one’s under wear, ever-prepared for unwanted visitors to break down your door at 4 a.m., for a friendly sing song.

Letter to The Editor - Conservatives and the Brexit Party will co-operate to maximise their joint success

To The Australian        Michael Sexton is right to state that the essential issue of Brexit is the question of national sovereignty ("Plenty of spanners thrown into the Brexit works", 18/9). He could have added that the resumption of independence for Britain will be a profound victory for the principle of intellectual freedom, something gravely threatened by the EU's authoritarian attitude to legal issues.     There must surely be an election to resolve once and for all the Brexit puzzle. We must hope that, firstly, the Conservatives and the Brexit Party will co-operate to maximise their joint success and, secondly, that enough Britons have been revolted by the dishonourable sabotage of the popular will, as clearly established in the 2016 referendum, to switch their votes from Remain to Leave.
  Nigel Jackson, Belgrave, Vic

Are You Ready to Lose Your Licence for Being Sober? By James Reed

     The people need to be aware of this if they are not, so watch out:

“Roadside drug tests to detect cannabis are returning incorrect readings, according to a new study. University of Sydney PhD student Thomas Arkell found that the two most commonly used devices by police gave false results. 'What we found was that these test results often came back positive when they should have been negative, or negative when they should have been positive,' he said. A study published in the Drug Testing and Analysis journal found two commonly used police devices regularly failed to detect high levels of THC - the active active ingredient in cannabis. After testing 300 subjects who had cannabis in their system, the Securetec DrugWipe returned a false negative nine per cent of the time. The Draeger DrugTest 5000 also wasn't able to detect cannabis and got it wrong in 16 per cent of all tests. Mr Arkell found that the police devices returned false positive readings of five and 10 per cent respectively when the subjects had a low amount of THC in their saliva. Both devices were used when charging almost 10,000 users who drove while under the influence of cannabis in New South Wales in 2016. The number of drivers undergoing roadside drug tests on the rise every year, with NSW Police set to conduct 200,000 tests in 2020. 'Given that these tests can cost at least $40 each – and potentially lead to serious life-changing penalties for drivers – it is imperative that these concerns around reliability and accuracy are addressed,' Mr Arkell said. The study also found that accuracy, specificity and sensitivity of the two police devices weren't up to the standard recommended by EU authorities. Senior author of the study Iain McGregor said cannabis testing should be just as reliable as blood alcohol testing. 'Detecting impairment due to cannabis use is an important goal in promoting road safety but using saliva tests to do this appears fraught with issues,' Prof McGregor said. 'We should instead be focusing on developing novel methods for detecting drivers who are actually impaired by cannabis. 'The two devices used by police in MDT were never designed to measure impairment'.”

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