JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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The Skeptics Handbook II

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Climate change believers are using ‘medieval’ tactics to silence debate says George Brandis

How loaded and vitriolic the conversation is about the weather. Too loaded.

George Brandis describes how the left have stopped arguing for free speech and instead do everything to silence different views. He was shocked, he said, at the deplorable attitudes in two particularly white-hot topics: climate change and racial discrimination. Australian Senator Brandis is the Attorney General of Australia, and at the center of the debate about the noxious 18C legislation on hate-speech and whether we Australians have to make sure we don’t say anything to offend anyone. Curiously, this interview has got The Guardian and Sydney Morning Herald talking. Commenters at The Guardian are doing their best to say why Brandis is wrong (“he is a lunatic”), while at the same time proving nearly everything he says about their tactics is true. Brandis, after all, explains that he agrees with the climate consensus, but doesn’t see why asking questions about the science should evoke a shocking form of authoritarianism and anti-intellectualism. He speaks of the emergence of a habit of denying the legitimacy of any other point of view.

Commenter “scuzzlebutt” says: “I’m starting to believe that Brandis may just be one of the most dangerous people in [...]

Ficklestein strikes again — Here’s a prime example of why regulating free speech is a hypocritical bad joke.

Let me see if I’ve got this straight — the Australian Press Council manages media standards in Australia, but isn’t doing it well enough according to Mr Finklestein (and fellow regulators), who want it overhauled. They want newspapers to be regulated so they can be as trusted as the ABC “is”.*  So Finklestein thinks the ABC complaints process works well, and the APC one is too weak.

This week the ABC announced it was fine to equate skeptics to pedophiles as a researched comment by a host on a “science” show, while at the same time, the APC ruled that it was not fine for a skeptic who used loose satirical colourful language in a newspaper column to repeat a quote from an angry farmer who used the word pedophile to describe wind-farm operators.

 ABC sets lower standards bar Nick Leys From: The Australian

DRAWING comparisons to pedophiles to attack your opponents is acceptable under the ABC complaints process – held up as the ideal model by media inquiry head Ray Finkelstein – but has been ruled out of order by the newspapers’ existing regulatory body.

But two decisions this week reveal the APC is tougher on commentators [...]

The UN threat to internet freedom

Oh Joy and Goody. Imagine if decisions about the global internet were made by the same institution that thought the rights of the downtrodden would be best protected by Col. Muammar Gaddafi? Hands up who wants another group of people you have no control over, making decisions for you and behind closed doors?

Of course, they will tell us the new regulations are there to help us, to stop spam, keep the internet fair and open. Then sooner or later, as with all human institutions, politics and ambition will mean the power is misused.

The people who will suffer the most are those in third world dictatorships. But free speech is the thing that stops the first world from turning into the third world. It’s hard to see how we get more than one shot at this. Once the net stops being open, imagine the fun trying to get that freedom back. Think of how fast protest groups can be arranged online through Facebook and email. Then think about how hard that gets if you have no e-help? The protests favored by the establishment get the free pass. What does everyone else do? Make thousands of cold phone calls? Use [...]

The forbidden history of unpopular people

Excellent video. This man is good. The message is spot on.

This is an edgy fast paced narrative about why we owe the most to some of the most unpopular people in history. It’s about free speech: why it matters, why we may lose it. About the threat that Finkelstein poses.

“It’s about arrogance, it’s about powerful people here in Australia who believe that they are smarter than you, that their opinion is worth more than your opinion, and that their thinking is better than your thinking, and if you think they’re wrong, you should just shut up.”

There have been nutters in history who were reviled, derided, hated, and spat on. A few of these held the answers that saved countless lives — including quite possibly, yours and mine.

The home site is The Forbidden History -  it has a high resolution, larger screen display.  This was a crowd sourced project costing $27k. Money well spent. He is raising money for part II and III. Topher has his own site and other video’s here.

Share it with your friends.

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Long live free speech

This is what we have free speech for. This excellent video says it all.

Ponder as you watch: could you imagine a production like this coming from anywhere else but the Land of The Free? (Think Spain, Sweden or France? Weep, that the land of the Magna Carta was not the obvious source or even a likely contender. Could we really see this video coming out of Berlin or Beijing, or more to the point, Sussex, or Liverpool? The tragedy…)

Yes, this video is so good I’m posting it here even though every other libertarian, freedom loving, and just plain sane blogger will post it too and I hate being repetitive. Yes it’s that good.

H/t To Catallaxy, Bolt, and  to SPPI

The creators FreeMarketAmerica.org are looking for donations.

God forbid that I should admire the largest most successful collection of free people on Earth.

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Finkelstein — Yes please. Just try it…

Welcome to Australistan.

I haven’t read the whole 400 page Finklestein report, but Mark Steyn tells me that the Chinese government likes it. What more do you need to know?

As Steyn says, this is not a left-right thing, it’s a free-unfree thing.

Tim Andrews at Menzies House launches a New Free Speech Campaign: “This is a proposal that would seem right at home in North Korea or Zibmabwe. I never thought – as dark as things seemed- we could stoop this low here in Australia”.

People asked me if this would “affect your blog”. Ha ha, I laughed, Will it? Right now, I’m discussing whether I’d need to move to Fiji, or Florida, or become a citizen of the Dominican Republic in order to express my views. Could I split my blog into a different domain name each day to avoid being “monitored”? ( I could have 365 blogs: joannenova1.com.au, joannenova2.com.au… it would play havoc with the search engines.) Alternately, perhaps I write 100% satire, cartoons, irony, and the exact opposite of what I mean? Ho Ho. Who has the rule book on the Soviet black market for ideas? What can we learn and how does it translate [...]

The tax whose name shall not be spoken

Blitzed in the polls, the Australian Labor Party have picked the communist solution — straight from the Soviet rule book of Free Speech.  Goskomizdat revived as a kind of Goskoshopfront. It’s more desperate and simplistic band-aid legislation to benefit the ruling class and not the people. Surprisingly, the media seems to be silent on this scandalous attack on free-speech.

The Gillard Government tells us the tax’s effect will be minimal, but they are clearly terrified of the blowback.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has been directed to enforce accurate business promotions with a $1.1m dollar fine, and team of 23 “carbon cops”, to stop Australian businesses from posting any signs telling the public how much extra they are paying due to the Carbon Tax, or having a “Pretax sale”.  Imagine the travesty of transparently letting customers see a breakdown of their invoice, or of warning customers of price rises to come?

A  simple repeated message like the one below can take on a life of its own. (And we all know what animal the crowd will think of if we say: “Don’t think of an elephant”):

Of course, some will wave this away by explaining [...]

DeSoggyBog strikes back

From the new parody of DeSmog, DeSoggy Bog, some cutting truths are exposed about the active attack site that thinks it helps the planet by launching ad hominem attacks on scientists.

There will come a time when Jim Hoggan will regret the back-lash that comes against his PR firm Hoggan and Associates. So will David Suzuki, who gives his active approval of the illogical rude rants by by appointing Jim Hoggan as Chair of his board of directors and linking to DeSmog (here and here) from his Foundation website.

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