NEW ZEALAND’S BEST NEWS MAGAZINE
Buy tinned beans, guns and a lifestyle block – Mark Steyn’s new book warns Obama is presiding over the collapse of America, and no corner of New Zealand will be safe when the West goes to hell in a handcart
Consign Treaty to History ‘Disband the Waitangi Tribunal, hang the Treaty up in a museum’
Why NZ’s decision to ditch the Kyoto Protocol was the only sensible option
One Ring To Rule Them
Helen Clark channels Sauron in UNDP global governance speech
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Mark Steyn’s devastating new book suggests America is passing the point of no return on its journey to rapid civilisational collapse, and he warns even New Zealand will not be a safe bolt-hole when it happens. IAN WISHART reports
They keep telling us climate change is getting ‘worse than ever’, but the evidence keeps on saying otherwise
Read the real roots of the Israel/Palestine conflict, in this backgrounder from the last uprising a decade ago
IN HERS GARDASIL SHOCK
New studies suggest the cervical cancer vaccine might not even work, and the company behind it has faced criminal fines in the US. IAN WISHART has this developing story
Speaks for itself, really Your say
Richard Prosser Mark Steyn
Peter Hensley on money
How to beat jet lag
Julie Andrews new role
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James Bond & Lincoln, both four stars
The latest toys The Mall Big screen smartphones Cyberwar
Michael Morrisseyâ€™s summer reads Amy Brooke
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Lower printing cost vs coLour Laser*
Crying over spilt milk The news this month that China was rejecting shipments of NZ made infant formula for failing quality checks should be a serious warning to cheerleaders of absolutely unregulated business with Beijing. There are many in New Zealand politics, and also the news media, who see free trade with China as highly beneficial, and particularly in the area of Chinese investment in New Zealand infrastructure like the dairy industry. They forget, however, that China is more than capable of destroying New Zealand’s reputation in a heartbeat if given the opportunity. Case in point: milk formula. New Zealand is recognised as having the best dairy brand in the world. We have worked hard to achieve that, our quality control has been light years ahead of China’s. The melamine scandal of 2008 is a perfect example of what happens when you do business with a culture where cutting corners and corruption is more widespread than here. However, by allowing Chinese businesses to set up in New Zealand, purchase strategic assets and then export under the aegis of “Brand New Zealand”, we may as well be hacking our feet off with a blunt pocketknife.
We have no real control, at this stage, on the quality of Chinese exports from New Zealand. That doesn’t matter if its TV sets or clothing, where we don’t have a world leading reputation, but it matters hugely when it comes to our strategic brands like dairy. In October, 26 tonnes of Chinese branded NZ milk formula was prevented from entering China on the grounds of low iodine content. That news was reported in the Asian press. Media reports suggest the blame may partly lie in different testing standards between New Zealand and Chinese government agencies, but one would have to ask why: with so much at risk, New Zealand can’t afford to let these issues fall between the cracks. Another Chinese baby formula company operating in New Zealand has been found using a false address and company details here, while in China itself around twenty infant formula companies have in turn been falsely marketing Chinese milk powder as “New Zealand made”.
However, by allowing Chinese businesses to set up in New Zealand, purchase strategic assets and then export under the aegis of “Brand New Zealand”, we may as well be hacking our feet off with a blunt pocketknife 4 INVESTIGATEMAGAZINE.COM | Dec 2012/Jan 2013
At the moment, regulatory agencies in New Zealand appear to be treating these sorts of issues as a minor inconvenience – just another cost of doing business with China. They are not, of course. If we have no quality control over what Chinese companies who invest in this country are really doing here, and no supervision to prevent them cutting quality corners, we could wake up one morning to another fatal melamine-type scandal where dozens of Chinese babies are dead, and a New Zealand-branded and manufactured product is the culprit. Where then our hard-won reputation for quality? The Dairy Board model, transferred to Fonterra which replaced it, was a good one. With the dairy farmers all shareholders of Fonterra, they all had a common interest in not cutting corners. Fonterra, of course, has its own quality control procedures to back that up. Chinese conglomerates trading off our brand have no such vested interest. The problems emerging from Chinese involvement in our dairy trade once again throw issues of foreign ownership of strategic assets into sharp relief.
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Communiques DEAR MR GOVERNMENT I put a few thoughts to paper this morning .... a little light reading :) Rayelene Comins
Volume 10, Issue 135, ISSN 1175-1290 [Print] Chief Executive Officer Heidi Wishart Group Managing Editor Ian Wishart NZ EDITION Advertising Josephine Martin 09 373-3676 firstname.lastname@example.org Contributing Writers: Hal Colebatch, Amy Brooke, Chris Forster, Peter Hensley, Mark Steyn, Chris Philpott, Michael Morrissey, Miranda Devine, Richard Prosser, Claire Morrow, James Morrow, Len Restall, Laura Wilson, and the worldwide resources of MCTribune Group, UPI and Newscom Art Direction Heidi Wishart Design & Layout Bozidar Jokanovic Tel: +64 9 373 3676 Fax: +64 9 373 3667 Investigate Magazine, PO Box 188, Kaukapakapa, Auckland 0843, NEW ZEALAND AUSTRALIAN EDITION Editor Ian Wishart Advertising email@example.com Tel/Fax: 1-800 123 983 SUBSCRIPTIONS Online: www.investigatemagazine.com By Phone: Australia 1-800 123 983 NZ 09 373 3676 By Post: To the PO Box NZ Edition: $85; AU Edition: A$96 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org All content in this magazine is copyright, and may not be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher. The opinions of advertisers or contributors are not necessarily those of the magazine, and no liability is accepted. We take no responsibility for unsolicited material sent to us. Please enclose a stamped, SAE envelope. Inquiries in the first instance should be made via email or fax. Investigate magazine Australasia is published by HATM Magazines Ltd
Dear Mr Government Please help … I am raising children … I try to teach them not to live in drunkenness, to be of sober mind … you lower the drinking age I try to teach them to work hard and not to be indebted to anyone … you offer them student loans I try to teach them to respect life for it is a precious gift … you legalise abortion I try to teach them that chastity is a gift to be treasured and given to that someone ‘special’ … you tell them in school that its OK to have sex as long as they take precautions. I try to teach them they are valuable as women … you make prostitution legal I try to teach them to eat healthily … you bring in the Food Bill and make it more difficult and costly to buy foods that are not doused in poisonous sprays, then you allow cheap foods filled with chemicals and dangerous additives to fill our supermarkets I try to teach them that they should study hard and get top marks … you change the NZQA system so they need not bother I try to teach them that they have an awesome Creator, Who watches lovingly over them every moment of their lives … you say God must not be mentioned in schools I try to teach them that family is important and that Mothers have a valuable and crucial role in the lives of their children … you give them incentives to go out to work and place their children in day-care I try to teach them that their choices have consequences … you make it illegal to discipline them with smacking and you make punishments for crime pathetically light Please Mr Government … what do you want me to teach them? You are placed in a position of great trust and power … please do not abuse it.
Vitamin D COVER: NEWSCOM/MAXPPP
After hearing Ian speaking with Leigh-
6 INVESTIGATEMAGAZINE.COM | Dec 2012/Jan 2013
ton Smith I got so alarmed realising that after the dreadful weather we had I was probably depleted of Vitamin D. I immediately went and had a blood test that revealed I have 12 nmol/L. (It should be about 100). I the bought the book and skimmed through it trying to work out the best way to escalate my levels as quick as possible. I do know from the book that taking supplements and eating specific foods is not a hugely efficient way of getting adequate doses of Vitamin D. What I should be doing immediately before summer and higher sunshine hours make it easier to do what you advocate in the book? Jenni P, via email
Wishart responds: At these levels, you need an immediate prescription from your doctor. They will find out whether there is an underlying medical cause of your low levels, and how best to treat it.
Poetry Remembering They’re lovely at this age, aren’t they…? he said: later on they don›t want to know you. And in his worn face I read as he half-turned, a smile, a page of the past with the hurt not gone. Two tiny girls smiled goodbye, long climbing the steps of the plane. And I thought how very sad, when true. One more visit… will many still remain as he, like we, waved goodbye to you each on our life›s short journey? Once in a while, yearning his mind returns to where a little one pulled a young Dad, tugging at his hand anxious to show, knowing he›d understand the drawings so carefully done, such earnest mazes of criss-crossed lines, their meaning long well lost over half a century ago… But now? They don›t want to know you, he’d said, chin lifted, gallantly I thought, life unfair to so many whom memory will not let go. Whatever they did, forgive them. Oh do, do at least this Christmas…remembering remembering that they loved you. Jenifer Foster
Dec 2012/Jan 2013 | INVESTIGATEMAGAZINE.COM 7
Corridors of Paua My first year as a Member of Parliament is drawing to a close. Almost 12 months ago, on the evening of my daughter’s second birthday, You the People recalled Winston Peters from the wilderness of political penance, and sent him back to the Halls of Power along with Yours Truly and six other fine patriots. It has been an eye-opening orbit around the sun, I don’t mind reporting. People ask me if it was what I was expecting; in truth I didn’t really know what to expect, other than what I had observed from the outside, and the one thing which is certain is that it’s been nothing like that. Every new job is a bit of a learning curve, and this one is no different in that regard, except that for the newbies of the NZ First caucus, hitting the ground running was probably a slightly bigger undertaking than that demanded of our fellow first-timers from the other Parties. We had no institutional memory of the 49th Parliament, and no background on the many Bills which we were required to form policy positions and begin speaking on, most of them already at second and third reading. But you can’t keep a good team down, and now that we’ve settled in,
learned the ropes, found where the dunnies are, and got a handle on the practices, procedures, and protocols of the Parliament – as well as the policies of the Government – there’ll be no stopping us. And some of those policies are disturbing at best, and becoming more so. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not dismissing the National Party’s agenda out of hand in its entirety. We oppose asset sales, we oppose school closures and amalgamations, we oppose throwing genuine welfare cases on the scrap heap without there being real jobs for them to go to and decent houses for them to live in. But there is plenty that we do agree with the Nats on, just as there is plenty we agree with Labour about, and in a couple of years’ time it’s highly likely that we will be working with one or the other of them, in some shape or another, to form the next Government.
It is time that the Gravy Train was derailed, the Waitangi Tribunal disbanded, the Treaty removed from legislation and hung up in a museum; time for us all to go forward as one nation. Nothing else is sustainable 8 INVESTIGATEMAGAZINE.COM | Dec 2012/Jan 2013
But one thing we cannot, do not, and will not support this Government in, is its relentless march towards Māori separatism. For reasons this writer simply cannot fathom, National appears hellbent on splitting this country down the middle, creating apartheid where once there was harmony, and entrenching for generations to come a mentality of antagonism and division which carves New Zealand up along racial lines, with privilege based on ethnicity, and massive handouts of public wealth to an elite few possessed of an ever-dwindling percentage of Māori blood. Whānau Ora was born of a desire to build a separate Māori welfare system, funded primarily by middle class white taxpayers, but available only to poor or unemployed working-class brown people. As I sit and type, an unwanted and unwarranted Constitutional Review proceeds behind closed doors, convened of separatist part-Māori and their sickly-white-liberal apologists, which is unashamedly driven by a desire to author a Constitution based on the Treaty of Waitangi, and then impose it uncontested upon an unwitting and unconsulted country which never asked for it and which doesn’t want any such thing. And through it all, the Gravy Train rolls on; fuelled by bitterness and resentment, piloted by greed and cyni-
cism, plunging headlong down a track towards national oblivion and leaving a trail of re-written history in its wake. Hard on the heels of the long-expected (if little accepted) top-up payments to both Ngāi Tahu and Tainui, giving those two iwi cash payments of $68.5 million and $70 million respectively in order to keep their Treaty settlements “fair”, comes the news that in five years’ time, they will be entitled to yet another topup! The concept of ‘full and final’ settlements is nothing but a mirage, it would seem. We are destined to crawl ever nearer to this mythical oasis, shimmering tantalizingly close in the distance, but never managing to actually reach it. The first two settlements are guaranteed a value, reaching ever onwards into the future, of 16.1% and 17% of whatever the total might eventually prove to be, if indeed any eventuality is ever allowed to be arrived at. Settlement, it would appear, has little to do with what may or may not have been lost or taken, with what that might have been worth, with what value, recompense and reconciliation has been agreed upon; no, it all comes down to “he’s got more than me, I want some more as well!” The paradoxical irony of Ngāi Tahu and Tainui receiving additional compensation based on whatever other iwi are awarded by way of Waitangi settlements, is that both those tribes negotiated their original payouts entirely outside the framework of the Waitangi Tribunal; Tainui because there was never one unified Tainui Nation which signed the Treaty either individually or as a whole, and Ngāi Tahu because, as I have discussed before, the Treaty never applied to the South Island. The Mainland and Stewart Island were both annexed to the Colony of New South Wales by declaration, on the basis of Cook’s claim of possession and the precept of terra nullis. Well I say enough. This madness has to stop. We cannot, we will not, go forward as a nation while this weeping sore is allowed to continue to fester. Ordinary middle New Zealand, white and brown alike, have had about a gutsful of the separatist agenda of this and previous Governments, and that of their cynical and greedy co-
conspirators within the professional grievance industry. Ordinary brown and white middle New Zealanders have just about come to the end of their rope where the racist elitists of the Gravy Train are concerned; the academics, the sycophants, the half-caste and part-caste and 1/64th part “Māori” who claim colonial oppression is to blame for them smoking dope and beating their children to death, while standing with their hands out for never-ending compensation for wrongs never suffered, from those who never committed any wrongs. Ordinary Māori want warm dry homes and secure decent-paying jobs and good schools and health care for their kids, same as everyone else wants. They don’t particularly care about compensation for the re-naming of some mountain or another which may or may not have been sacred to some of their ancestors, who may or may not have owned it for very long before it was taken by force by the tribe next door. They certainly don’t care about compensation when they themselves never get to see a cent of it, when the millions handed over by the Crown are spirited away and locked up by a tiny “tribal” elite whose share of the ances-
tors’ DNA is almost always even less than that of the modern day descendants whom they claim to represent. Neither ordinary Māori nor ordinary white people want a New Zealand where there are two systems, two sets of laws, two standards of citizenship. No-one wants a racially separate, segregated New Zealand. Almost two centuries of intermarriage have made us one people whether the bitter and twisted racists of the Gravy Train like it or not, and it is high time the National Party leadership got that message through its individual and collective heads. Pandering to a tiny elite in the way that they are, partly to satiate the racist Māori Party on whose votes they rely, and alienating the bulk of middle New Zealand in the process, is no way to ensure political stability; and it is no way to pave the road to the future for our children and grandchildren either. It is time that the Gravy Train was derailed, the Waitangi Tribunal disbanded, the Treaty removed from legislation and hung up in a museum; time for us all to go forward as one nation. Nothing else is sustainable. Richard Prosser
Dec 2012/Jan 2013 | INVESTIGATEMAGAZINE.COM 9
The beginning of the end of America Amid the ruin and rubble of the gray morning after, it may seem in poor taste to do anything so vulgar as plug the new and stunningly topical paperback edition of my book, After America – or, as Dennis Miller retitled it on the radio the other day, “Wednesday.” But the business of America is business, as Calvin Coolidge said long ago in an alternative universe, and I certainly could use a little. So I’m going to be vulgar and plug away. The central question of “Wednesday” – I mean, After America – is whether the Brokest Nation In History is capable of meaningful course correction. On Election Tuesday, the American people answered that question. The rest of the world will make its dispositions accordingly. In the weeks ahead, Democrats and Republicans will reach a triumphant “bipartisan” deal to avert the fiscal cliff through some artful bookkeeping mechanism that postpones Taxmageddon for another year, or six months, or three, when they can reach yet another triumphant deal to postpone it yet again. Harry Reid has already announced that he wants to raise the debt ceiling – or, more accurately, lower the debt abyss – by $2.4 trillion before the end of the year, and no doubt we can look forward to a spectacular “bipartisan” agreement on that, too.
It took the government of the United States two centuries to rack up its first trillion dollars in debt. Now Washington piles on another trillion every nine months. Forward! If you add up the total debt – state, local, the works – every man, woman and child in this country owes 200 grand (which is rather more than the average Greek does). Every American family owes about three-quarters of a million bucks, or about the budget deficit of Lichtenstein, which has the highest GDP per capita in the world. Which means that HRH Prince Hans-Adam II can afford it rather more easily than Bud and Cindy at 27b Elm Street. In 2009, the Democrats became the first government in the history of the planet to establish annual trillion-dollar deficits as a permanent feature of life. Before the end of Obama’s second term, the federal debt alone will hit $20 trillion. That ought to have been the central fact of this election – that Americans are the brokest brokeybroke losers who ever lived, and it’s
According to one CBO analysis, U.S. government spending is sustainable as long as the rest of the world is prepared to sink 19% of its GDP into U.S. Treasury debt 10 INVESTIGATEMAGAZINE.COM | Dec 2012/Jan 2013
time to do something about it. My Hillsdale College comrade Paul Rahe, while accepting much of my thesis, thought that, as an effete milquetoast pantywaist sissified foreigner, I had missed a vital distinction. As he saw it, you can take the boy out of Canada, but you can’t take the Canada out of the boy. I had failed to appreciate that Americans were not Euro-Canadians, and would not go gently into the statist night. But, as I note in my book, “a determined state can change the character of a people in the space of a generation or two.” The election results demonstrate that, as a whole, the American electorate is trending very Euro-Canadian. True, you still have butch T-shirts – “Don’t Tread On Me,” “These Colors Don’t Run.” In my own state, where the Democrats ran the board on election night, the “Live Free Or Die” license plates look very nice when you see them all lined up in the parking lot of the Social Security office. But in their view of the state and its largesse, there’s nothing very exceptional about Americans, except that they’re the last to get with the program. Barack Obama ran well to the left of Bill Clinton and John Kerry, and has been rewarded for it both by his party’s victory and by the reflex urgings of the usual GOP experts that the Republican Party needs to “moderate” its brand. I have no interest in the traditional
straw-clutching: Oh, it was the weak candidate ... hard to knock off an incumbent ... next time we’ll have a better GOTV operation in Colorado. I’m always struck, if one chances to be with a GOP insider when a new poll rolls off the wire, that their first reaction is to query whether it’s of “likely” voters or merely “registered” voters. As the consultant class knows, registered voters skew more Democrat than likely voters, and polls of “all adults” skew more Democrat still. Hence the preoccupation with turnout models. In other words, if America had compulsory voting as Australia does, the Republicans would lose every time. In Oz, there’s no turnout model, because everyone turns out. The turnout-model obsession is an implicit acknowledgment of an awkward truth – that, outside the voting booth, the default setting of American society is ever more liberal and statist. The short version of electoral cycles is as follows: the low-turnout midterms are fought in political terms, and thus Republicans do well and sometimes spectacularly well (1994, 2010); the higher-turnout presidential elections are fought in broader cultural terms, and Republicans do poorly, because they’ve ceded most of the cultural space to the other side. What’s more likely to determine the course of your nation’s destiny? A narrow focus on robocalls in selected Florida and New Hampshire counties every other fall? Or determining how all the great questions are framed from the classroom to the iPod to the movie screen in the 729 days between elections? The good news is that reality (to use a quaint expression) doesn’t need to swing a couple of thousand soccer moms in northern Virginia. Reality doesn’t need to crack 270 in the Electoral College. Reality can get 1.3% of the popular vote and still trump everything else. In the course of his first term, Obama increased the federal debt by just shy of $6 trillion and in return grew the economy by $905 billion. So, as Lance Roberts at Street Talk Live pointed out, in order to generate every dollar of economic growth the United
U.S. Treasury Secretary TIMOTHY F. GEITHNER/ Jay Mallin/ZUMAPRESS.com
States had to borrow about five dollars and sixty cents. There’s no one out there on the planet – whether it’s “the rich” or the Chinese – who can afford to carry on bankrolling that rate of return. According to one CBO analysis, U.S. government spending is sustainable as long as the rest of the world is prepared to sink 19% of its GDP into U.S. Treasury debt. We already know the answer to that: In order to avoid the public humiliation of a failed bond auction, the U.S. Treasury sells 70% of the debt it issues to the Federal Reserve – which is to say the left hand of the U.S. government is borrowing money from the right hand of the U.S. government. It’s government as a Nigerian email scam, with Ben Bernanke playing the role of the dictator’s widow with $4 trillion under her bed that she’s willing
to wire to Timmy Geithner as soon as he sends her his bank account details. If that’s all a bit too technical, here’s the gist: There’s nothing holding the joint up. So Washington cannot be saved from itself. For the moment, tend to your state, and county, town and school district, and demonstrate the virtues of responsible self-government at the local level. Americans as a whole have joined the rest of the western world in voting themselves a lifestyle they are not willing to earn. The longer any course correction is postponed the more convulsive it will be. Alas, on Election Tuesday, the electorate opted to defer it for another four years. I doubt they’ll get that long. © Mark Steyn, 2012
Dec 2012/Jan 2013 | INVESTIGATEMAGAZINE.COM 11
GET READY for
ARMAGEDDON WHEN AMERICA FALLS, SO WILL WE
12 INVESTIGATEMAGAZINE.COM | Dec 2012/Jan 2013
Soon after 9/11, Investigate columnist Mark Steyn noted that the West is “sleepwalking to national suicide”. Eleven years on, the edge of the precipice has become clearly visible to those still left with the capacity to read the signs. For everyone else, however, it’s as if they are dancing on the deck of the Titanic, oblivious to the iceberg looming in the darkness. IAN WISHART analyses some of Steyn’s arguments in his latest book, After America: Get Ready For Armageddon
ven the obscurest sheep farming hamlet in New Zealand is not going to be that secure in the world that’s coming.” That’s a quote from Mark Steyn, not from his book but from a recent Canadian TV interview. Is there, asked the host, any way of escaping the rapidly approaching fall of Western civilisation, is it time for us all to book one way tickets to places like New Zealand? Steyn observed that it’s a question he gets asked all the time now: is New Zealand going to be the scene of the last sunset over the West, the final refuge of the civilised world? Is Godzone far enough away to emerge relatively unscathed from the coming storm? Evidently, Steyn thinks not. And if you examine his arguments in After America, it is easy to see why: the story he tells about the United States is also the story of the collapse of New Zealand society. If anything, NZ is the canary in the mineshaft already choking on the fumes. Steyn’s argument in the book is a fundamentally simple one and to an extent it echoes what I wrote in my 2007 book Eve’s Bite: socialism has managed to become so ingrained in western political and education systems that citizens no longer recognise it, and it is killing our civilisation. Rapidly. It has used populist policies and ideals to conceal its agenda. If ordinary people are no longer educated to detect socialism or understand its dangers, freedom will inexorably be eroded without protest. Even worse, much of the high school curriculum and certainly much of the tertiary education system has adopted socialist ideals as a worthwhile goal: world peace, a global economy, equality for all, free education, free healthcare, cradle to the grave social welfare. The list goes on and, let’s be honest, who wouldn’t aspire to such lofty ideals? New Zealanders, who’ve enjoyed a taxpayer funded health system for decades, looked on with bemusement at the debate that ripped America apart over free healthcare recently. Commentators here simply could not believe that Americans could think government-funded healthcare was wrong. Steyn, however, shows Dec 2012/Jan 2013 | INVESTIGATEMAGAZINE.COM 13
that New Zealanders missed the point: “Government health care is not about health care, it’s about government. That’s why the Democrats spent the first year of a brutal recession trying to ram Obamacare down the throats of a nation that didn’t want it. Because the governmentalisation of health care is the fastest way to a permanent left of centre political culture. It redefines the relationship between the citizen and the state in fundamental ways that make small government all but impossible ever again. In most of the rest of the western world, it’s led to a kind of two party one-party state: right of centre parties will once in a while be in office, but never in power, merely presiding over vast left wing bureaucracies that cruise on regardless. All such ‘technocratic’ societies slide left, into statism and stasis.”
ook at New Zealand politics for a moment. Isn’t Steyn’s criticism a bullseye observation on New Zealand? We have become so used to taxpayer funded healthcare that we don’t realise how it has been used to dominate our lives. Once you allow a government to regulate your health, you are allowing them to regulate your life. If taxpayers are picking up the bill, the taxpayers’ elected representatives assume they have the right to legislate to change your behaviour, to dictate what food you eat, which drink you are allowed and so on. The argument, that healthcare is expensive and that’s why taxpayers should fund it, is rejected by Steyn: “Health is potentially a big-ticket item, but so’s a house and a car, and most folks manage to handle those without a Government Accommodation Plan or a Government Motor Vehicles System – or, at any rate, they did in pre-bailout America.”
In New Zealand of course, our State has already grown to include free housing as well for those deemed to be “in need”, with the result that some spend four or five decades living in cheap taxpayer subsidised accommodation. Mark Steyn observes that America is being split into two groups – the “Conformicrats” and the “Flownovers”. The former, he says, are those either employed by or consulting to the State, or the recipients of welfare benefits or government handouts of some description. The latter are the taxpayers – the genuine working families whose efforts pay the bills but who rarely see the benefits. They are the people who politicians fly over in their trips to and from their photo opportunities. “In one America,” writes Steyn, “those who subscribe to the ruling ideology can access a world of tenured security lubricated by government and without creating a dime of wealth for the overall economy. In the other America, millions of people go to work every day to try to support their families and build up businesses and improve themselves, and the harder they work the more they’re penalised to support the government class in its privileges.” Sound familiar? “Increasingly, America’s divide is about the nature of the state itself about the American idea,” continues Steyn. “The Flownover Country’s champion ought, in theory, to be the Republican Party. But, even in less fractious times, this is a loveless marriage. Much of the GOP establishment is either seduced by the Conformicrats or terrified by them, to the point where they insist on allowing the liberals to set the parameters of the debate – on health care, immigration, education, Social Security – and
then wonder why elections are always fought on the Democrats’ terms. If you let the left make the rules, the right winds up being represented by the likes of Bob Dole and John McCain, decent old sticks who know how to give dignified concession speeches. “If you want to get rave reviews for losing gracefully, that’s the way to go. If you want to prevent Big Government driving America off a cliff, it’s insufficient. “The Conformicrats need Flownover Country to fund them. It’s less clear why Flownover Country needs the Conformicrats – and a house divided against itself cannot stand without the guy who keeps up the mortgage payments.” Across the West, the growth of government has been met with a similar growth in state handouts – what the Left often refers to as “redistribution of wealth”. In 2009, a staggering 47 percent of US households paid no income tax, and 40% of Britons received state handouts of some description. “If you pay nothing for Government, why would you want less of it?” Steyn asks. In New Zealand terms, it is even more dramatic. Of the 500,000 families with children in New Zealand, 378,000 of them are receiving government benefits in the form of the Working For Families package. On top of that are households where the main breadwinner is either unemployed or on the Domestic Purposes Benefit. There are 321,000 households (including single people) receiving unemployment, sickness or DPB benefits, so it is clear that a large chunk of New Zealand is now dependent on the State for money in some way. Those figures represent a large chunk of voters who can be guaranteed to
In New Zealand of course, our State has already grown to include free housing as well for those deemed to be “in need”, with the result that some spend four or five decades living in cheap taxpayer subsidised accommodation 14 INVESTIGATEMAGAZINE.COM | Dec 2012/Jan 2013
vote for the political party least likely to remove their “entitlements”, which in turn heavily favours either left wing parties, or right-wing parties prepared to tolerate the continuation of “entitlements”. The problem for New Zealand and the wider West is that the funding for the entitlements can only come from taxes or offshore borrowing. “Every dollar in Obama’s ‘stash’ comes from me, you, or the Chinese Politburo,” notes Mark Steyn. “If you fall into the taxation category and you’re stuck with the tab for Obama’s stash, you’re not only paying for groups that get a better hearing in Washington, but ensuring that the socioeconomic conditions of the republic will trend, mercilessly, against you. “The small business class – men and women in unglamorous lines of work that keep the Flownover Country going – are disfavoured by the Conformicrats. They are occasionally acknowledged by our rulers with rhetorical flourishes – ‘tax cuts for working families’ – but on closer inspection these ‘tax cuts’ invariably mean not reductions in the rate of income seizure but a ‘tax credit’ reimbursed from the seizure in return for you living your life the way the government wants you to, and expanding the size of the dependent class. “The short history of the post-war western democracies is that you don’t need a president-for-life if you’ve got a bureaucracy-for-life…thus, America in the twenty-first century – a supposedly centre-right nation governed by a leftof-centre political class, a lefter-of-centre judiciary, a leftist-of-centre bureaucracy, all of whom have been educated by a lefterooniest-of-all academy.” Once again, it’s depressingly too easy to draw comparisons between the socialisation of America and what has already happened in New Zealand. American national debt now stands at US$200,000 per person…or a million US dollars for a family of five. As Steyn puts it, “there isn’t enough money on the planet to bail out the US.” New Zealand’s total overseas debt, including private borrowing as well as Government borrowing, is in the region of $264 billion, meaning
every man, woman and child in New Zealand would have to find NZ$66,000 each to pay back New Zealand’s total indebtedness, or $330,000 for a family of five. There goes the mortgage.
hen foreign investors start calling in their loans as the world economy collapses, they’ll put pressure on NZ banks who will in turn put pressure on you, their customers. In the event that a New Zealand bank begins to test its financial viability limits, the Reserve Bank has this month approved its new OBR – open bank resolution scheme – which will see customers’ savings accounts raided without warning overnight with “haircuts” – a quaint word that means if you have $10,000 in your savings or cheque account on a Thursday night, you might wake up on Friday morning and find only $5,000 left, with no hope of getting your money back. It will have been taken by ANZ/ BNZ/Westpac/Kiwibank or whoever (with Government approval) to pay off the bank’s debts, on the basis that bank customers should bear some responsibility for bank losses. Woe betide you if you happen to be the unfortunate sap who has just sold your house and the proceeds are sitting in the bank on that particular night – you might lose darn near all of it. (You can read more on this in the book Daylight Robbery) In After America, Steyn covers off the role of China, which currently holds vast swathes of US and New Zealand debt. The interest payments alone that the US is required to make each year will soon be more than the annual budget of the entire Chinese military. China, says Steyn, is making good use of the interest payments to fund a wide range of operations against Western targets: Dec 2012/Jan 2013 | INVESTIGATEMAGAZINE.COM 15
“In recent years, Beijing has been engaged in widespread intellectualproperty theft and industrial espionage against the West; attempted multiple cyber-attacks on America’s military and commercial computer systems [and those of the NZ Government], blinded US satellites with lasers; supplied arms to the Taliban; helped North Korea deliver missiles to Iran and Pakistan; assisted Tehran with its nuclear programme; and actively cooperated in a growing worldwide nuclear black market.
“In response, American ‘realists’ keep telling themselves: Never mind, economic liberalisation will force China to democratize. Lather, rinse, repeat.” It’s a similar sentiment to those of New Zealand commentators, so fixated on the free trade deal with China that the political implications are lost on them. It is not just the geopolitical war that the West is losing, argues Steyn, however. The reason we are losing, he says, is because we have lost our mojo.
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Once upon a time, western civilisation stood for certain values. Now, he says, we stand for nothing and are prepared to fight for nothing. As exhibit A, he draws on the case of Marc Lepine Gharbi in Montreal, who – armed with a gun – walked into a local polytech and ordered all the men to leave a particular classroom. The men meekly “obeyed, and abandoned their female classmates to their fate – an act of abdication that would have been unthinkable in almost any other culture throughout human history. The ‘men’ stood outside in the corridor and, even as they heard the first shots, they did nothing. And, when it was over and Gharbi walked out of the room and past them, they still did nothing. Whatever its defects, Canadian manhood does not suffer from an excess of testosterone.” Fourteen female students lay dead. Fourteen more were wounded to varying degrees. Contrast modern manhood with the Titanic, says Steyn, and the 1912 disaster saw most of the women and children saved while the majority of men perished. Forget the film, he says, where artistic licence turned the men into cowards for the sake of Hollywood’s agenda; as even Wikipedia notes: “A disproportionate number of men—over 90% of those in Second Class—were left aboard because of a “women and children first” protocol followed by the officers loading the lifeboats.” In modern ship disasters, there is no such chivalry present. “Today, in what Harvey Mansfield calls our ‘gender neutral society’, there are no social norms,” says Steyn. “Eight decades after the Titanic, a Germanbuilt ferry en route from Estonia to Sweden sank in the Baltic Sea. Of the 1051 passengers, only 139 lived to tell the tale. But the distribution of the survivors was very different from that of the Titanic. Women and children first? No female under fifteen or over sixty-five made it. Only five percent of all women passengers lived. The bulk of the survivors were young men. Forty-three percent of men aged 20 to 24 made it.” Cut forward to the 2012 sinking of
the Italian cruise liner, where even the captain fled the ship leaving women and children to their fate, and you can see the rot has well and truly set in. At its most basic level, the protection of women and children is the protection of the future workforce – the future taxpayers - of a civilisation. The world learnt, at massive cost, what happens when youth die en masse, as happened in both world wars. It leaves a massive gap with enormous social implications. While tragedies like shipwrecks are few and far between and of no statistical consequence to each generation, the attitudes shown in those disasters nonetheless speak volumes about the underlying morals and ideals of each generation. Courage under fire, or every rat for himself? In a time of conflict, would we man up or cut and run? What are we really made of, these days?
ixty years ago, after the war, Hayek wrote a list of the attributes that made Britain, whatever her faults, stronger than many other cultures. Mark Steyn found the rot had claimed most of those attributes. “Within little more than half a century, almost every item on the list had been abandoned, from ‘independence and self reliance’ (40% of Britons receive state handouts) to ‘a healthy suspicion of power and authority’ – the reflex response now to almost any passing inconvenience is to demand the government ‘do something’, the cost to individual liberty be damned. “In Britain, everything is policed except crime. The government funded National Children’s Bureau has urged nursery teachers and daycare supervisors to record and report every racist utterance of toddlers as young as three. Like, what?
“Well, if children ‘react negatively to a culinary tradition other than their own by saying Yuk,’ that could be a clear sign that they’ll grow up to make racist remarks that could cause distress…Makes a lot of sense to get all their names in a big government database by pre kindergarten.” The more powerful the State becomes, the more expensive it becomes to feed, and the more oppressive it gets. The old adage, give them an inch and they’ll take a mile, was never more apt than when applied to the State. How did we let it reach the point where democracy’s light is now dimly flickering in an increasingly totalitarian West? The Roman satirist Juvenal coined the phrase “bread and circuses” to describe the superficial distractions Rome used to keep its citizens distracted and compliant. In modern times, argues Steyn, it’s sex: “The wreckage is impressive. The Sexual Revolution was well-named: it was a revolt not just against sexual norms but against the institutions and values they supported; it was part of an assault against any alternatives to government, civic or moral. Utopianism, writes the philosopher Roger Scruton, is ‘not in the business of perfecting the world’ but only of demolishing it: ‘The ideal is constructed in order to destroy the actual’. “Who needs families, or marriage, or morality? Who needs nations, especially nations with borders? We’ll take a jackhammer to the foundations of functioning society and proclaim paradise in the ruins.” Social liberalism, the let-people-dowhat-they-want line of thinking, has become so ingrained that politicians today are falling over themselves to utterly redefine or throw out moral
codes that have been with humanity for thousands of years. It is, says Steyn, a race to the bottom. “ ‘Moderate’ Republicans such as Arnold Schwarzenegger like to boast that they’re fiscal conservatives and social liberals. But the social liberalism always ends up burying the fiscal conservatism. As Congressman Mike Pence put it, ‘To those who say we should simply focus on fiscal issues, I say you would not be able to print enough money in a thousand years to pay for the government you would need if the traditional family collapses.’ “But the collapse of the traditional family is already well advanced – and as part of a conscious Big Government strategy…Big Government’s bias against marriage and family isn’t an unforeseen quirk of the tax code. It’s in logical, strategic support of its mission – to expand government and diminish everything else. How’s it going? Well, 40 percent of American children are now born out of wedlock. A majority of Hispanic babies are born to unmarried mothers. So are 70 percent of black children.” Since Steyn first published those figures, they’ve worsened. A new study this year shows nearly two thirds of babies born to Generation Y – American mothers aged 30 or under – are born out of wedlock. You might think it reflects pop-culture and a more easygoing attitude to parenting, but in fact the statistics show a massive breakdown around social class. Wealthier or better educated women are more likely to wait until marriage before having children. A staggering 92% of women with university degrees fall into this category, against only 43% of women whose highest education was high school. ‘Marriage has become a luxury
Social liberalism, the let-people-do-what-theywant line of thinking, has become so ingrained that politicians today are falling over themselves to utterly redefine or throw out moral codes that have been with humanity for thousands of years Dec 2012/Jan 2013 | INVESTIGATEMAGAZINE.COM 17
good,’ Frank Furstenberg, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania, told the Times. The results carry concerning consequences, with researchers finding children born out of wedlock are more likely to struggle in school or suffer emotional and behavioural problems. Susan L. Brown from Bowling Green State University found that children born to married couples, on average, ‘experience better education, social, cognitive and behavioural outcomes’. In other words, no matter what the lobbyists tell you, children born to married couples do better in life. If true, then that explains our rapid slide.
n 1968, 87% of New Zealand babies were born to married couples. By 2008, only 52% of babies were born in wedlock – 48% were to unmarried mothers. Across the ethnic divide, the price of social breakdown and free love can be easily seen: In 1968, 72% of Maori births were to married couples. In 2008, only 22% were. The rise of the Maori Renaissance has coincided with a complete family breakdown in Maoridom. For Pakeha, 89% of babies in 1968 were born to married mothers. By 2008, that figure had dropped to 65%. “Entire new categories of crime have arisen in the wake of familial collapse,” says Steyn, “like the legions of daughters abused by their mum’s latest live-in boyfriend. Congressman Pence’s doomsday scenario is already here: millions and millions of American children are raised in transient households and moral vacuums that make not just social mobility but even elemental character formation all but impossible.” In the American city of Detroit, civilisational collapse is visible on virtually every street. Grand hotels and buildings constructed in motor city last
century now lie empty and in ruins. Why? Part of the reason lies in those “entitlements” we talked about earlier. Union muscle negotiated some great perks in motor city. General Motors employs 96,000 people, but provides health benefits to a million people, Steyn points out. “General Motors, like the other two geezers of the Old Three, is a sprawling retirement home with a small money-losing auto subsidiary… Faced with a US automobile industry that so overcompensates its workers it can’t make a car for a price anybody’s willing to pay for it, the President handed over control to the very unions whose demands are principally responsible for that irreconcilable arithmetic.” It can’t last. Bailouts and quantitative easing merely delay the ultimately unavoidable. “In once functioning parts of Africa, civil war, a resurgent Islam, and other forces have done a grand job of reversing all the progress of the twentieth century. But the deterioration of Sierra Leone or Somalia is as nothing compared to the heights from which Detroit has slid. “Entire blocks are deserted, and the city is proposing to turn commercial land back into pasture – on the unlikely proposition that attracting Michiganders to graze Holsteins between crack houses will lead to urban renewal… “And the physical decay is as nothing to the deterioration of human capital: 44 percent of adults in the city have a reading comprehension below Grade Six level. Or to put it another way: nearly half the grown-ups in Detroit could not graduate from elementary school. And, believe me, what Sixth Grade requires of American 12 year olds is no great shakes. “According to Time magazine, ‘the estimated functional illiteracy rate in the city limits hovers near 50 percent’.
With that pool of potential employees, why would anybody start a business in Detroit? What could you hire people to do? Detroit did this to itself.” In a chilling example of where America is heading, Steyn quoted from an email written by Detroit School Board president Otis Mathis, full of spelling and grammatical mistakes. Nonetheless, he’s the head of the city’s education system. He then contrasted it with a letter written by Jack the Ripper’s first victim, 43 year old prostitute Mary Anne Nichols back in 1888 – the year of her murder. It was word perfect. Nichols, says Steyn, was born in 1845, three decades before universal primary schooling was introduced to Britain. Yet, “the correspondence of an uneducated domestic servant in and out of workhouses and prostitution is nevertheless written with better expression, better spelling, better punctuation and, indeed, more human feeling that the president of the School Board in a major American city.” Significantly, Detroit education boss Otis Mathis not only graduated from high school – he has a university degree as well. So much for taxpayerfunded education systems. Detroit is not a city on its own in the US. Increasingly, sliding literacy standards are matched by a slide in morality and a rise of the dog-eat-dog mentality, coupled with a big rise in state dependency. America is already US$16 trillion in debt. Mark Steyn’s conclusion is inescapable: in the not too distant future, the number will be up, the lights will go out. He even foresees a breakup of the United States into smaller groupings of like-minded states, much as the Soviet Union fragmented into different countries. That Canadian TV interview we opened with is appropriate to close on: INTERVIEWER: “Last question, Mark. I’ve had multiple people in just
Entire new categories of crime have arisen in the wake of familial collapse,” says Steyn, “like the legions of daughters abused by their mum’s latest live-in boyfriend 18 INVESTIGATEMAGAZINE.COM | Dec 2012/Jan 2013
the last few days mention that they’re considering what other countries they might move to. This isn’t an “Obama won, I want to leave thing.” It’s people who think America is headed towards bankruptcy in the next couple of decades and they’re afraid to get stuck here after the country completely falls apart. What do you think about that?” STEYN: “I think, for example, if you look at what we were saying earlier about America being the reserve currency, at some point you have to figure that a combination of circumstances would result in the rug being pulled out from under the U.S. dollar. At that point, there is nothing holding us up and we could be dropping way down to, you know, Zimbabwe type levels. If you happen to be sitting on a savings account, if you happen to have a modest house on a small lot and you think your modest house and your savings account are enough to see you through to the end of your days, you’re in for a huge shock because you’ll find your
house is worthless and your savings account is worthless. You’re going to have to load up the wheelbarrow to buy the quart of milk. “I understand people are thinking like that because I get a lot of mail like that saying, “Where can I flee to?” Do you recommend New Zealand or this kind of thing? I spend a lot of time in Bermuda because I happen to like it and if you had to pick somewhere to hole up, a small civilized British colony with a temperate climate, 1,000 miles from anything bad is a great place to go. I noticed Bermuda already has had a lot of wealthy Americans coming in and buying up old estates and things. But, there is not going to be any place to flee. In the end, they’ll come for Bermuda, in the end they’ll come for Monte Carlo, and in the end you’ll be in Switzerland and they’ll come for you there because America is the order maker on the planet and when America goes, eventually as agreeable as Bermuda is, it slides in, and it takes Bermuda down in its
wake. So this is the hill to die on. “One of the greatest lines I get told by so-called moderate Republicans about almost anything you talk about is always, “This isn’t the hill to die on. This isn’t the hill to die on, this isn’t the hill to die on.” You have this conversation with them for two hours and you realize you’re already 15 hills back from where you were. This, America, is the hill to die on. If you cannot defend and save a half millennium of western liberty and progress and prosperity on this hill, there is no other hill to die on anywhere on the planet.”1 References: 1. http://www.rightwingnews.com/ interviews/interviewing-mark-steynabout-his-new-book-after-america-getready-for-armageddon/ After America: Get Ready For Armageddon by Mark Steyn, Regnery Press, available on Amazon in Kindle or print format
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THE VEXED ISSUE OF CLIMATE CHANGE New Zealand’s decision not to ratify another round of Kyoto Protocol CO2 targets has predictably infuriated green lobbyists but, as IAN WISHART reports, it reflects an inconvenient truth: much of the world no longer believes the climate change hype
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funny thing happened on the way to the South Pole this year, but you wouldn’t know it from the mainstream media’s breathless, hyperventilating approach to climate change. “In Antarctica,” wrote Fairfax Media’s John McCrone, “sea ice near the Antarctic peninsula is seeing a decline, but is in fact increasing slightly in other parts.” In September, Antarctica recorded its greatest extent of sea ice since the continent was discovered, 19.45 million square kilometres of the stuff. “Increasing slightly” was the understatement of the decade. As far as the South Pole was concerned, it was the peak of the southern winter. Between now and the peak of summer, Antarctic sea ice extent will shrink again, but even so the continent is still refusing to live up to its manufactured reputation as a climate change ‘poster child’. Again, not that you’d know it from the media: “Parts of the Antarctic ice caps were melting at unprecedented rates”, reported a gullible AAP last month. Given that the main Antarctic ice cap lives in an environment where the temperature ranges from minus 40 degrees Celsius to minus 90, readers can rest assured that the Antarctic ice cap is in absolutely no danger of “melting” – a feat that would require temperatures above zero. What the data does show is that warm ocean currents are licking the edges of the ice shelves, melting the extremities that reach into the sea, like glacier outlets. But then again, that
has always been the case – it’s part of the natural Antarctic cycle. Ice melts on the edges during summer because of warmer currents, and in return it evaporates and is then dumped again as snow in the interior, to begin its journey to the sea all over again. It is dumped as snow because, of course, it is too cold for rain to exist. No matter what the Christchurch Press or NZ Herald tell you, there is no chance of land-based ice on the main continent of Antarctica disappearing. Warmer ocean currents might take the fingers that drizzle into the sea, but they can’t impact on the major ice cap where it doesn’t touch the water. With Antarctic sea ice reaching record levels (we will define ‘record’ in a moment),
clearly the oceans are not so warm as to prevent ice from forming. Why is Antarctica important? Because polar ice provides what is known in the climate trade as ‘albedo’ – a reflective surface that sends sunlight and therefore incoming infrared heat back into space. If the ice melted, the land and sea would absorb more heat and provide a global warming tipping point. Most of the world’s attention has been on ice melt in the Arctic, probably because it is closer and more accessible to major news bureaux in New York and London. But Antarctica is more important. In our current orbital cycle, the southern hemisphere is closer to the
Given that the main Antarctic ice cap lives in an environment where the temperature ranges from minus 40 degrees Celsius to minus 90, readers can rest assured that the Antarctic ice cap is in absolutely no danger of “melting” – a feat that would require temperatures above zero 22 INVESTIGATEMAGAZINE.COM | Dec 2012/Jan 2013
sun during our summer than the northern hemisphere is during the northern summer. That means the sun is much stronger as it powers into the South Pole than it ever is over the Arctic. In turn, that means the Antarctic ice is having to work much harder than Arctic ice to reflect light. The fact that Antarctica is maintaining record ice levels despite facing a much more powerful southern sun and despite facing supposedly record CO2 levels is a sign that CO2 is probably not playing a major role at all. But what does the word “record” mean in these contexts? If you listen to climate scientists quoted in the alarmist news media, you’d probably be convinced by these latter-day Chicken
Littles that the sky was indeed, falling. “Changes in ocean flows and shifts in Antarctic ice cap levels were occurring at rates faster than at any other time in history,” Australia’s chief Antarctic Division scientist Nick Gales reportedly told an Australian senate hearing last month. In history? “That’s the part that is the most dramatic about the information we’re receiving,” Gales told senators. When you remember that Antarctica was only discovered in 1772, and no one set foot there until the 1820s, and much of it remained unmapped until around 1900, the words “in history” and “record” don’t really have a long pedigree when it comes to Antarctica.
There has been no long-term continuous monitoring of Antarctica sufficient to seriously anchor the “in history” phrase; scientists simply don’t know how fast ice has come and gone in the past because no direct observation was ever made. Instead, they are forced to rely on secondary, fossil evidence for clues to climate change in the polar south. “The role of scientists are [sic] not to be alarmists, and not to downplay the data, but simply to report it,” Dr Gales told senators.
et if he was simply reporting the data objectively, why was there no apparent reference to the limitations of history and records. At best, scientists can say things are happening in Antarctica faster than they’ve happened in a hundred years, but the significance of that is at best a guess. What is natural for Antarctica? We simply don’t know because we haven’t been observing it for long enough. Instead, Gales comments were picked up by the media as proof of unprecedented change in Antarctica, with no qualification. To get an idea of just how meaningless the “in history” comments are, remember that Earth began pulling out of a four century ‘little ice-age’ in the mid 1800s and began warming up again, naturally. That warming cycle continues, and we are not yet as toasty as the naturally-occurring Medieval Warm Period of 1200 AD which saw wine grown across Britain. As a result of the recovery from the Little Ice Age, we expect to see evidence and consequences of warming in Antarctica, and we are. The issue is, are those changes human-caused, as argued by climate scientists, or naturally caused, as the evidence suggests? If they are natural, then while they may be “unprecedented” in human experience over the past century, they may nonetheless be totally typical of the ebb and flow of Antarctic ice through the ages. If that’s indeed the case, then the Stuff website headline, “Climate science ‘not alarmist’” can be seen as a load of old cobblers. As if to emphasise the point, new
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scientific data is casting massive doubt on claims of ice loss in Antarctica. For the past decade, climate scientists have relied on data from the GRACE satellite, which measures gravitational changes in the mass of the ice cap. It’s an inexact science, because gravitational changes can also appear for other reasons. Nonetheless, GRACE has suggested a loss of ice from Antarctica of 138 billion tonnes a year between 2002 and 2005, give or take 73 billion tonnes in the margin for error. While such a huge ice mass loss sounds devastating, it equates to 0.2 millimetres of sea level rise per year. If we kept losing ice at this rate, Antarctica would cause a sea level rise of 1.8 centimetres by 2100. Try measuring that on a beach.
ew data, however, is casting doubt even on this minor amount of ice loss. Because of the deficiencies in GRACE, a specially designed polar satellite known as ICESat has been scoping Antarctica and measuring the height of the ice sheet by pointing laser beams at it from space. The ICESat data is stunning, and like kryptonite for climate Chicken Littles. Rather than losing ice overall, “during 2003 to 2008, the mass gain of the Antarctic ice sheet from snow accumulation exceeded the mass loss from ice discharge by 49 billion tonnes per year,” reported a US scientific study in July this year. And that’s just the mass gain from snowfall. Overall, the West Antarctic and East Antarctic ice sheets recorded a net ice gain of 86 billion tonnes a year over the same period. It is true, noted the study, that some parts of Antarctica, notably around Pine Island and the Antarctic Peninsula, are losing a total of around 114 billion tonnes of ice a year, but in contrast net ice increases across the
rest of the southern pole “exceed the increased losses”. In other words, Antarctica is gaining ice, not losing it, even though in those areas that are affected by warmer ocean currents the losses are spectacular and make great TV. Pine Island, incidentally, is a special case. Scientists have only recently discovered that a ridgeline of ancient volcanoes have fired up directly underneath the Pine Island glacier, which happens to be losing the most ice of all the glaciers in Antarctica. Could lighting a fire under the ice be causing it to melt? Climate scientists and Greenpeace activists lobbying for more funding would prefer you didn’t know about the volcanoes under the ice. The daily media and climate lobby groups have also hidden the reason for this year’s record sea ice minimum in the Arctic. While trumpeting the ‘melt’ as proof of climate change, what crusading journalists did not tell you was that a large storm that lingered across the Arctic for several days pushed sea ice south into warmer currents where it melted. Yes, it was a record low, but ultimately created by a weather event rather than a warmer atmosphere melting the ice. A similar storm was responsible for 2007’s sea ice minimum. In sharp contrast, once the storm moved off, Arctic waters rapidly refroze – faster than we’ve seen since satellite recordings began in 1979. Throw in the inconvenient truth that both Antarctic ice sheets and deep ocean currents can take centuries to react to warm temperatures – meaning current ice loss may be a delayed reaction to the heatwave of the Medieval Warm Period 800 years ago – and you have a huge questionmark over the “human-caused” hypothesis of climate change. Why, then, are we continuing to see media hype over global warming? The answer, as it usually does, centres on
money and power. For climate scientists seeking funding grants, the climate scare means money and prestige among their peers. For politicians and big business seeking to leverage off the climate scare, it is power and money combined. Extra taxes levied in the name of saving the planet are extra taxes, no matter how you slice and dice them, and taxpayer subsidies for inefficient technology like wind and solar power, or biofuels, mean money and public relations ‘greenwash’ for big corporates. TV, newspapers and the climate handwringers passing themselves off as radio journalists thrive, meanwhile, on the drama of the big story. If climate change is the new religion, and CO2 emissions are the new ‘original sin’, the news media and climate lobbyists are the new unholy priesthood urging the public to repent and pay tithes. Is the world warming uncontrollably? In a word, no. Official figures reveal no significant warming since 1998, and the earth is currently in a cool phase. This is despite levels of CO2 continuing to climb in the atmosphere. There’s also intense debate about just how much warming the planet has faced over the past century, after revelations in 2010 that government climate agencies in NZ, Australia, the UK and US have been changing old temperature records to make it seem like the past was colder. Why would they do that? Because if you make it seem as though the world was cooler in the 1920s, then you end up with an apparently steeper line of global warming through to the present day, which enables you to keep issuing press releases about “record temperatures”, or “the hottest year on record”. It’s much easier to fool the public if you can make hot years in the past simply disappear. The infamous “hockey stick” graph
The infamous “hockey stick” graph used by Al Gore and the UN IPCC notoriously made hotter years in the middle ages disappear, enabling politicians to claim modern warming was “unprecedented” 24 INVESTIGATEMAGAZINE.COM | Dec 2012/Jan 2013
used by Al Gore and the UN IPCC notoriously made hotter years in the middle ages disappear, enabling politicians to claim modern warming was “unprecedented”. In truth, numerous studies have shown the Medieval Warm Period was hotter than we are today. If you read a newspaper headline or see a climate blogger talking about hottest years, ask them whether the data they rely on has been doctored. In the three years since the Copenhagen climate talks collapsed after a failed attempt to usher in a world government structure to control climate taxes and carbon trading, the world has come no closer to reaching agreement. New Zealand’s decision not to embark on another round of
meaningless Kyoto commitments was inevitable. It would be foolish to assume, however, that the agenda of a new global bureaucracy, funded from the pockets of Joe and Jo Citizen, has been dropped. The diplomats who failed to push it through in one hit are increasingly working the agenda into free trade deals, as the East Asia Forum has noted on the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations involving NZ and the US: “Mark Linscott, an assistant US Trade Representative, declared that ‘an environment chapter in the TPP should strengthen country commitments to enforce their environmental laws and regulations, including in areas related to ocean and fisheries
governance, through the effective enforcement obligation subject to dispute settlement’. “Meanwhile, Inside US Trade has commented: ‘While not initially expected to be among the most difficult areas, the environment chapter has emerged as a formidable challenge, partly due to disagreement over the US proposal to make environmental obligations binding under the TPP dispute settlement mechanism’.” The moral of the story: climate change is not catastrophic, but it is being used as a political Trojan horse to gain greater control over your life and to extract more money from your wallet through higher energy costs and taxes. Believe the hype at your peril.
Dec 2012/Jan 2013 | INVESTIGATEMAGAZINE.COM 25
WAR The origins of the Israel/ Palestine conflic
Ten years ago, Investigate published a story on the background to the Middle East problem. At the time, the late Yasser Arafat’s forces were escalating the Intifada uprising. Now, in 2012, Jerusalem is again at the centre of a powderkeg, and it seems like an opportune time to revisit an Investigate classic WORDS BY IAN WISHART
MAY 2002 ISSUE
he roots of today’s Middle East conflict may have more to do with Hitler’s Nazi holocaust than many in the west realise. As Israeli forces pound Palestinian and Hezbollah positions on a sporadic basis, and suicide bombers wreak havoc in Jerusalem, it is difficult to reconstruct history’s divergent strands and work out where the conflict has its origins. Difficult, perhaps. But not impossible. As tank shells and machine gun rounds rip holes in buildings and people alike, it is easy to point the finger in the Palestine conflict and make moral judgements. But where did the battle
really begin? Why is there such enmity between both sides? Western news reports usually focus on the creation of the Israeli state in 1948 as the catalyst, but increasingly experts are dusting off old news clippings and government reports dating back to the First World War to get a handle on the problem. Why? Because it seems the popular view of heavilyarmed Jewish settler/terrorists kicking Palestinians out of their homes in the late 1940s may be only half the story. It actually traces back to the emergence of two men – one the uncle of current1 Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, the other regarded as the father of modern Israel. In 1893, in a dusty stone abode in
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what was then Turkish-controlled Palestinian Jerusalem, a baby boy named Haj Amin el-Husseini entered the world, oblivious to the course his life would take. That course was already being determined thanks to the work of Theodore Herzl, a Zionist who envisioned the return of the world’s Jews – scattered since the Roman times – to Israel. Herzl was organising the return of Jews to the area, admittedly in small groups at first. As a teenager El-Husseini began to resent the Jewish immigrants, but put his personal feelings on hold to fight in World War One as part of the Ottoman Imperial Army against the British. When the Turkish were defeated, Brit-
ain took control of the Palestinian area under a League of Nations mandate and, in accordance with its own stated policies, announced the creation of a Jewish National Homeland in Palestine (the Balfour Declaration). The problem was, British officials governing neighbouring Egypt who sympathised with the Palestinians had previously indicated Britain would favour Arab interests above the Jews. Although Jewish immigrants were at this point buying land and businesses, not seizing them, the immigration wave and growing political and economic power of the Jews was causing societal tensions, in much the same way but on a much larger scale to the Asian immigration wave to New Zealand of the nineties. By 1920 tensions on the ground had risen to boiling point, and British officials on the ground gave 27 year old Haj Amin tacit approval to attack Jewish settlers. It came in the form of a meeting between British Colonel Waters Taylor and Haj Amin just a few days before Easter 1920. According to official British records of what followed, the Colonel told him “he had a great opportunity at Easter to show the world…that Zionism was unpopular not only with the Palestine Administration but in Whitehall and if disturbances of sufficient violence occurred in Jerusalem at Easter, both General Bols [Chief Administrator in Palestine] and General Allenby [Commander of Egyptian Force] would advocate the abandonment of the Jewish Home. Waters-Taylor explained that freedom could only be attained through violence.” Haj Amin took it on board, but rather than adopting the traditional British technique of subtlety, he openly led the riot that followed. As part of what was supposed to be the secret arrangement, British soldiers and police were withdrawn from Jerusalem over Easter, which allowed Arab mobs to attack Jews and loot their shops without interference. When Jewish settlers regrouped and counter-attacked, they were arrested by the British and received up to 15 years’ jail. Haj Amin, because of his public role, was also arrested but escaped, Dec 2012/Jan 2013 | INVESTIGATEMAGAZINE.COM 27
and was sentenced to 10 years’ jail in absentia. It was a token punishment. Just one year later Haj Amin’s allies in the British administration had arranged for him to be pardoned, and promoted to Grand Mufti – the official Muslim leader of the territory. Within three weeks, forces loyal to Haj Amin massacred 43 Jews in riots, the first of many attacks. Again, Jews who fought back were often arrested as part of the nudge and wink agreement between the British authorities and Mufti Haj Amin. In 1929, rumours were spread by Haj Amin’s forces that Jewish religious ceremonies at the Western Wall of the Temple Mount would be used as a pretense by the Jews to attack Islam’s Dome of Rock. The huge Arab population were incensed and attacked the Jews, killing 133 and injuring 399.
n official investigation by British officials determined that the riots were caused by Arab fears about increased Jewish immigration, and the inquiry determined that Jewish immigration and land purchases should be restricted. The Mufti, meanwhile, consolidated his status with the Palestinians by fundraising internationally for a refit of the Dome of the Rock, raising enough money to plate it in gold, but he was forced to flee Palestine after fomenting a rebellion in 1936 that finally put him offside with Britain. Ironically, Haj Amin’s agenda was
not the creation of a Palestinian state: he firmly believed Palestine was part of Jordan and Syria. Haj Amin el-Husseini resurfaced in 1941 in Hitler’s Germany, meeting with the Fuhrer on a number of occasions and urging him to step up his ethnic cleansing against Jews, not just in Europe but in the Middle East. The Grand Mufti formulated 15 drafts of declarations he wanted Germany and Italy to adopt, including declaring the Jewish homeland in Palestine illegal and giving Arabs free rein to adopt holocaust methods against the Palestinian Jews, by according “to Palestine and to other Arab countries the right to solve the problem of the Jewish elements in Palestine and other Arab countries, in accordance with the interests of the Arabs, and by the same method, that the question is now being settled in the Axis countries.” Haj Amin knew the methods Hitler was using, having toured Auschwitz and, according to Nazi records, urging the gas chamber guards to work more “diligently” in wiping out Jews. During his time in Germany, according to testimony to the Nuremberg Trials, the Palestinian leader was also instrumental in sinking a deal being brokered between Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann and the British that would have seen German POWs in Britain freed in exchange for the Nazis agreeing to release 5,000 Jewish children from concentration camps. Haj Amin managed to torpedo the prisoner exchange, convincing the Nazi party to instead transfer the children from holding camps in Bulgaria to the main camps at Auschwitz and Belsen. Most are believed to have perished. Speaking on Radio Berlin in 1943, Haj Amin el Husseini urged Muslims in Europe to join the Nazis in exterminating the Jews,
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“Kill the Jews wherever you find them – this is pleasing to Allah.” The Palestinian leader also travelled to Bosnia in 1943, personally recruiting Bosnian Muslims to a special division of Hitler’s Waffen SS troops. The Bosnian division slaughtered more than 9,000 Bosnian Jews, and destroyed Serbian churches and villages. The seeds of much of the recent Serbian aggression against Bosnian Muslims were sown here. Nazi SS chief Heinrich Himmler was so impressed with the Bosnian SS that he established a “Mullah Military School” in Dresden. When Germany ultimately lost the war, Haj Amin was captured by French forces and indicted as a Nazi war criminal, but again managed to escape and fled to Egypt to continue his battle against Israeli Jews. The creation of Israel was mandated by the United Nations in 1947. It split the region in half. Ironically, had the Palestinians accepted this settlement they would have been far better off than they currently are. Instead, the Grand Mufti and the Arab nations decided to wage war for a reclamation of 100% of the Palestinian region and a desire, particularly on Haj Amin’s part, to finish the job that Hitler started. He didn’t want Jewish settlers captured. He wanted them dead. What followed at the urging of Haj Amin can be directly blamed for the Palestinian refugee problem. On May 15, 1948, he appealed to the Arabs of Palestine to leave their homes and leave the country, because Arab armies were about to come in to drive out the Jews. The Palestinians did leave, but their liberators didn’t bother to show up, as a Jordanian newspaper noted in February 1949: “The Arab states, which had encouraged the Palestinian Arabs to leave their homes temporarily in order to be out of the way of the Arab invasion armies, have failed to keep their promises to return.” As another displaced Palestinian lamented: “The Arab governments told us ‘Get out, so that we can get in’. So we got out, but they did not get in.” One of the Grand Mufti’s most enthusiastic recruits was his nephew,
Abd al-Rahman abd al-Bauf Arafat al-Qud al-Husseini, who set up the Palestinian resistance movement el-Fatah in response to the huge boost in Jewish immigration to the territory. Abd alRahman’s first troops initially greeted him and Haj Amin with the infamous Nazi salute. Today, Abd al-Rahman is better known to the West as Yasser Arafat. In 1956, after Egypt nationalised the Suez canal and Palestinian resistance groups stepped up attacks on Israeli settlements, Israel lashed out by invading Egypt, capturing the Sinai desert on the east bank of the canal. When the dust settled, a United Nations peacekeeping force was installed to act as a buffer and prevent further attacks on Israel from Egyptian insurgents.
y 1967, however, after months of sabre-rattling on both sides, Egypt signed a military treaty with Syria and Jordan, re-invaded the Sinai desert and closed the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping. Israel responded with a devastating pre-emptive strike, shattering the Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian armies in just six days and capturing huge tracts of new territory, including much of the now disputed West Bank. In 1973, Egypt and Syria launched a surprise counter-attack on the eve of a Jewish religious holiday. It was only through American intervention in the form of weapon supplies that Israel survived and was able to defeat the invasion forces. Why did America become involved? A primary reason was the involvement of the Soviet Union behind the scenes in supplying Egypt and Syria with weaponry. In fact, Russia was preparing to send its own troops into the region to help finish Israel off, and was only deterred when the United States placed its armed forces on “full nuclear alert”. At the end of the war, the US insisted that Egypt and Israel thrash out a workable peace deal. That peace process continued throughout the eighties and nineties, resulting in the creation of Yasser Arafat’s self-governing Palestinian Authority in 1993. But always just under the surface have been competing agendas – from
the Palestinian side the growing allegiance to Islamic fundamentalism based on the Koran’s instruction to “kill the infidels where you find them”, and from the Israeli side by right-wing governments continuing to allow Jewish settlers to build homes on captured Palestinian land. The problem with modern journalism is that much of the past is being ignored. The new book by New Zealander Lloyd Geering, Who Owns The Holy Land?, for example, fails to mention the extensive Nazism of Grand Mufti Haj Amin, leaving readers with an arguably unbalanced picture of the passions at the heart of this conflict. And Geering’s glaring omissions are typical, rather than the exception. One peace group, the MidEast Web for Coexistence, a joint Islamic/Jewish friendship organisation, has recently fired a number of bullets at zealots who deliberately hide the truth: “What is not told is as important as what is told. The pen of the Jewish extremist makes the massacre of Deir Yassin disappear – over a hundred dead people are banished to nowhere. The pen of the Palestinian partisan erases the siege of Jerusalem and the Arab invasion of 1948. A writer in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram, waves his magic pen and the Holocaust disappears. None of it happened. The Jewish extremist erases the Palestinian refugees. Reality is rearranged for convenience. “Time and again, words create reality and programme actions. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an anti-Semitic forgery of the Czarist secret police, is enshrined in the charter of the Hamas and propels Muslim extremists to their death. Osama Bin Laden wrote his Fatwas against America, and the words toppled mighty buildings. The Mufti of Jerusalem said ‘the Jews are destroying the holy Mosque of Al Aqsa’ and the riots of 1929 began. The same rumour started bloodier riots in 1997 and again in September 2000 [the start of the current uprising]. “At this moment, as is usual in our area, a battle is raging. The words are fighting alongside the tanks and bombs. Partisans are busy rewriting history. Suicide bombers are being
written out by one side, civilian casualties are being written out by the other. “Words are changing history, and people are being programmed to act on the words, never mind what happened. So the words help to create reality.” Among the “words” being bandied around is the figure of 590,000 displaced Palestinians, turned into refugees by the creation of Israel in 1948. But a lesser known figure is the 850,000 Arab Jews who were forced to flee from their homelands in ten Arab states when the fighting broke out, also leaving behind homes and belongings, businesses, land and flocks. Those Jews were taken in by Israel. None has been compensated by the Arab states for the money and property they left behind. In other words, it cuts both ways. Strip away the rhetoric, and you are left with two men: Yasser Arafat, the one-time protégé of a self-confessed Nazi collaborator whose wish was to see all Jews gassed, and Ariel Sharon, holocaust survivor, Israeli terrorist turned military leader. While you could point to Sharon’s involvement in the Deir Yassin massacre of Palestinian women and children in 1948, you could also point to Arafat’s uncle personally ensuring the deaths of thousands of Jews in Europe. You could point to the wave of Jewish immigration in the early 1900s, but you could also point to the Palestinian massacres of those same Jewish settlers. Neither side is innocent in this conflict, but commonsense shows that had the Arab states accepted the UN fiftyfifty carve-up of Palestine in 1947, the Palestinians would have owned a lot more land than the 22% they currently occupy as a result of Israel capturing territory during failed Arab invasions. Having taken a gamble on the “might is right” option and lost, the Palestinians now seek to recover the territory they gave to the victors through a diplomatic solution. Whilst there is an overwhelming pragmatism to such a solution, any Palestinian claim to occupy the moral high-ground is looking increasingly dubious. References: 1. As of 2002. Arafat died in November 2004
Dec 2012/Jan 2013 | INVESTIGATEMAGAZINE.COM 29
by peter hensley
A big investment gamble
ut it is all fundamentally distorted,” Moira said to her friend, Christine. Christine pretended to understand, not that it bothered Moira, who was on a mission to save the world from financial Armageddon. She wanted to verbalise her thoughts and Christine was as good a sounding board as any. Christine only called in on the off chance to have a cup of tea, biscuit and a chat. Little did she know that Moira had been attempting to understand and in turn comprehend the world’s current fiscal situation.
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Jim, Moira’s husband, had dutifully supplied the cup of tea and biscuits while at the same time sneaking a couple extra for himself. He then disappeared into the study to play Facebook poker on the computer. Playing poker that way was free, as the chips were not real and he got temporary relief from listening to Moira’s latest economic theorizing. He did not give much thought to the price of Facebook shares – he left Moira to worry about that generally – but he often wondered how Facebook generated any income in order to justify its overvalued share price. Facebook had recently listed on the US market with an opening market price of USD$38, in a couple of hours it had reached $44 before ebbing like an outgoing tide to drop below $30. Meanwhile, out in the conservatory, Christine politely replied, “I don’t understand what you mean”. “I am not sure I do either,” said Moira. “Let me try and explain it in simple terms. When you lend money to someone you expect them to pay interest whilst they have your money and give it back at the end of the agreed term.” “That sounds logical,” Christine responded, trying to work out what the catch was. “Well, last month Germany borrowed 4.5 billion Euros at zero percent interest for two years,” Moira said. Christine and Moira had been friends for a long time, yet they had never had a conversation like this. She could tell that Moira was clearly worked up and, whilst she had limited knowledge about global investment trends, she felt an obligation to try and help her friend. She said the first thing that came into her head. “Who did they borrow it from?” Christine asked. “A bunch of fund managers who are obviously looking for a safe place to park some money,” Moira replied, “But that’s my problem, it doesn’t make any sense. Why would anyone loan money and expect no return?” “It must make sense otherwise why would they do it?” Christine replied. “They have a responsibility to make a return, that is their job, it’s what they get paid for. Let’s think about it.” Moira was at her wits end and willing to give anything a try. She had discussed it at length with
Jim and he had given up and gone to play poker on the computer. Christine was a true friend. She knew precious little about international finances, yet she was willing to help a friend who was obviously in need. “Let’s see,” she said. “A bunch of people called fund managers loaned the German central bank €4.5 billion for two years and the Germans promised to pay it back after two years”. Christine continued “We know that the Euro is in trouble, what with all the talk about recession going on, aren’t they providing bail outs and trying to help them?” “But that’s my problem,” said Moira, “They are printing money and if I have said it once I have said it a thousand times: you can’t borrow your way out of debt.” Then Christine said, “My financial adviser says that you may not be able to borrow your way out of debt, however it is possible to inflate your way out of debt.” “My point exactly. Everybody knows that central Governments around the globe are printing money like there is no tomorrow and that is concerning me as well. If they keep printing they will certainly let the inflation genie out of the bottle. And we all know once she gets out, she can prove very difficult to get back in.” “I thought that central Governments were fighting deflation, not inflation,” Christine responded. She could see Moira open her mouth and take a deep breath, so she quickly said “And before you say anything more, I think you have been looking at this problem the wrong way around.” Moira was immediately curious. Christine continued, “From what I understand you have been thinking that the economic world is off to hell in a handcart. Central Governments are printing money like wallpaper, the Euro is doomed and everybody should invest in gold as it is the only store of value that will be recognised as real money. Obviously not everybody thinks like that. “Right now, the popular perception is that the Euro is doomed as a failed economic experiment. What would happen if the Euro went up in value over the next two years?” Moira was stunned. She had to admit that she had been prejudiced and adopted a myopic look at the world. She had forgotten to consider the alternatives. Over a simple cup of tea, Christine had shown her the importance of having a balanced point of view. It had taken a bunch of European fund managers to prove that whilst the system appeared broken, it was still operating. The fund managers had done their job and taken a bet, (a big one at that) that the system would be better in two years. They were making a counter intuitive investment. Sure, the
If they keep printing they will certainly let the inflation genie out of the bottle. And we all know once she gets out, she can prove very difficult to get back in
outlook appeared bleak, but that’s when big and bold investment calls usually provided the best return. It was blatantly obvious, they weren’t investing for interest return, as there was none, they were value investing for currency return. If it worked, they and their clients would be handsomely rewarded. Christine smiled as she watched Moira physically relax in her chair. Jim was also happy. He had been listening from the study and was thrilled that Moira had finally identified a solution to her dilemma about why someone would lend money for zero interest. As Moira was showing Christine the way out, Jim overheard Moira saying, “I’ll bet those same managers have a similar exposure to gold in the same portfolio.” Copyright © Peter J. Hensley December 2012. This article is meant to be Class Advice and a copy of Peter Hensley’s disclosure statement is available on request and is free of charge.
Dec 2012/Jan 2013 | INVESTIGATEMAGAZINE.COM 31
1 4 3 2 1
Epson Small-in-One multifunctions
Ideal for home users, the Expression Home all-purpose multifunction printer range including, the Expression Home XP-200, Expression Home XP-300 and Expression Home XP-400. Significantly smaller in size compared to previous Epson multifunction printers the new Expression Home range still retains all the necessary easy to use features that allow users to perform day to day printing, scanning and copying all in a new ultra-compact size. All three Expression Home models have automatic Wi-Fi set-up making printing wirelessly from anywhere around the home extremely. The XP-200 is RRP$119, the XP-300 is RRP$149 and the XP-400 is RRP$169. www.epson.co.nz
Packed with pixels, NOOK HD’s brilliant display delivers text, graphics, and video with stunning HD clarity. Which means every book, movie, and app looks better than ever before. NOOK HD puts a world of reading & entertainment at your fingertips. Explore over 3 million books, magazines, videos, apps, catalogs & more in the newly expanded NOOK Store. No other 7” tablet is lighter than NOOK HD. Designed to fit naturally in your hand, NOOK HD goes anywhere and is easy for anyone – even a child – to hold for hours. NOOK HD has all the most popular apps, including games, business, news and weather, cooking, entertainment, lifestyle, and a special selection of games and learning tools just for kids. www.barnesandnoble.com
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The world’s smallest Full Frame camera, it’s ideal for everyday exploring with a Full Frame 24.3MP sensor, a large aperture, fixed focal length F2.0 Carl Zeiss Sonnar T lens & full manual controls. Sonnar comes from Sonne, which means “sun” in German, to highlight the bright, clear pictures this lens delivers. It creates sharp, high contrast images and the multilayer T coating reduces ghosting and flare, for even greater image clarity. A Full Frame Exmor CMOS sensor and BIONZ processor deliver detailed, vivid shots, better than many DSLRs. When you want to capture the scene exactly as it is, the Full Frame sensor has a wide dynamic range for delicately lighting and expressive colours. www.sony.com
Nokia Lumia 920
This is Lumia. With Carl Zeiss lens, PureView technology with Optical Image Stablisation, and a 4.5’’ PureMotion HD+ display. PureView camera technology with Optical Image Stabilization and a Carl Zeiss lens means your pictures and videos are detailed, blur-free and bright, no matter what light conditions you’re in. No other cameraphone even comes close. Now you can boost your Nokia Lumia’s battery without plugging it in. Nokia Lumia 920 has wireless charging built-in. This new Lumia 920 also comes with PureMotion HD+. A display that is the world’s brightest, fastest and most sensitive touchscreen: enough to make every colour clear, and sensitive enough to respond to your fingertips – even when they are covered. www.nokia.com
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Bang & Olufsen BeoPLay A9
The A9 is designed and crafted like a beautiful piece of furniture – with a careful selection of materials and a great attention to detail. The days of wanting to hide your bulky black stereo are over. No matter where you chose to place the A9, it’s going to look beautiful. Don’t look for a volume dial or buttons, just swipe your hand gently sideways along the top and the volume will increase. It’s like having a magic touch. The A9 is a complete stereo system in one very neat package. This means that you won’t have to buy extra amplifiers, speakers, cables or other accessories. All you need is a phone, a tablet or a music player that streams music through Apple Airplay or the open streaming standard DLNA. www.beoplay.com
The Citizen Proximity Bluetooth watch is compatible with the iPhone 4S or newer iPhone models. After purchasing your Citizen Proximity watch you will receive a free app. Once you have downloaded the app your iPhone will sync with your watch. Now we are ready to go! Your phone can now control the settings on your watch. By discreetly vibrating when you receive a text, call or email your watch will discreetly adjust the second hand to point to an appropriate indicator, alerting you to what type of communication you have received. Another fabulous feature available on the Citizen Proximity watch is its ability to correct the time and date to that of the country you are currently situated in. www.citizenwatch.com
Sony VAIO Tap 20
Feel free to roam room to room with VAIO Tap. With a built-in battery, you can take this portable PC from bedroom to kitchen to couch without the hassle of unplugging and rebooting. Hold it flat in your lap to play a game, or position it upright for movie night. The same BRAVIA technology found in Sony TVs delivers a beautifully clear, bright picture whether watching a movie or surfing the web. Powerful surround sound completes the equation with excellent audio. And with the ultra-responsive touchscreens featured on VAIO Tap and L Series PCs, a world of fascinating touch games and apps is yours to explore. www.sony.com
Larklife Wristband & App
In an increasingly crowded circle of health tracking devices, here comes one of the strongest debuts – larklife wristband and app. In additional to the standard activity tracking features, larklife is able to differentiate between running and walking states, can be used as a silent, sleepcycleaware alarm clock, and, through its smartphone app, provides the simplest integrated calorie tracking solution out there. The shipping date is not yet public, however rumor has it we will be able to get our hands on it before the end of the year. www. lark.com
Dec 2012/Jan 2013 | INVESTIGATEMAGAZINE.COM 33
by jim rossman
For big-screen enthusiasts
very time I think I’m completely happy with my iPhone, I see another Android model that has a newer, bigger, faster feature that I covet. Now I’m reviewing Samsung’s new Galaxy Note II, the second-generation Note that brings all of its features together under what has to be one of the biggest screens on a phone. It’s no secret that if you’re in the market for a Note II, you’re screen-size obsessed. I don’t blame you. I love the iPhone 5’s larger screen, and as a person who has rather large pockets, I’d say bigger is better. The Note II boasts a 5.5-inch HD Super AMOLED screen with a resolution of 1280 by 720 pixels. To give you a size comparison, my iPhone 5’s entire body fits entirely inside the screen area of the Note II. You’d think the Note II would be too big for one-handed use, but Samsung has thoughtfully included a special one-handed mode. If you need to type with one thumb, the size of the keyboard or phone keypad can be reduced slightly and anchored to the right or left edge. If you’ve never used a Samsung Note, you’ll be either pleasantly surprised or horrified that the phone has a built-in stylus. The Note II pen’s features are much improved from the previous model. The S Pen lets you draw on the screen in almost any application. Draw a map in an email, enter calendar events by hand, and even highlight days on your calendar with the color of your choice. You can even draw a box on the screen and immediately capture that screen data, copy it
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and paste it somewhere else. Samsung knows Note II users are big note-takers. S Note is a combination note-taking/document creation app that’s kind of like Apple’s Pages app but with the ability to use pen input as well. When you launch S Note, you’re presented with templates for creating your own documents or you can start with a blank screen. You can fully customize the pen’s tip, color and size and choose from other pen types, such as paintbrush or markers. Entering text or drawings on the screen is easy with the stylus, and you can switch to typed input with the onscreen keyboard instantly. Inserting photos, graphics or audio into your notes is simple as well. Notes can be shared with other Note users via S Beam or with everyone else by converting the notes to JPG or PDF files. The Note II and a slew of other Samsung phones have near field communication, a technology that enables the phone to read and react to chips in other devices. Samsung describes its TecTiles stickers as “an introduction to the user-friendly capabilities of NFC beyond mobile payments.” TecTiles are small NFC chips that can be programmed to perform actions on the phone such as turning features on or off, launching apps and setting up preloaded phone profiles. Set up what you’d like the TecTile to do and program the chip. Anytime you touch the phone to the TecTile, that action will occur. The Note II has more features, including a $39.99 protective flip cover that replaces the phone’s battery cover. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Easy Mode, which makes the phone friendlier for users who don’t want to geek out to every feature on the phone. If you’re a stylus fan and love scribbling notes, the Note II is your dream phone. I enjoyed my time with it and could see using the Note II, as it has all of the features I’m interested in and a bigger screen than my iPhone. It doesn’t disappear into my jeans pocket, but it doesn’t stick out either.
Dec 2012/Jan 2013 | INVESTIGATEMAGAZINE.COM 35
by glenn smith
We’re in cyberwar
eething in the wake of a cyberattack that put millions of South Carolinians at risk, Gov. Nikki Haley told the world she wanted to slam the responsible hacker against a wall and brutalize him. But just how likely is it that the governor or anyone else will ever get their hands on the culprit who violated the state Department of Revenue’s computers? By their very nature, hackers are a shadowy and elusive lot who go to great lengths to mask their mischief, hide their identities and cover their trails across cyberspace. Their ranks include lone wolves out for a challenge, “hacktivists” out to prove a point or expose vulnerability, criminal gangs seeking to plunder from the unsuspecting and cyberagents trying to glean secrets from competing nation-states. They are sprinkled all over the globe, and they can be very hard to catch – though not impossible. 36 INVESTIGATEMAGAZINE.COM | Dec 2012/Jan 2013
In February, Interpol announced the arrest of 25 suspected members of the loose-knit Anonymous hacker group in a sweep across Europe and South America. The FBI rounded up several more suspected LulzSec and Anonymous hackers in March with the aid of a legendary computer vandal turned informant. And in June, an international investigation led to the arrest of 24 hackers around the world who had used stolen credit card, bank and personal information to victimize hundreds of thousands of people. Doug Benefield, director of research and development for Barling Bay, a SPAWAR security contractor with corporate offices on Remount Road, said the hacking threat is omnipresent. “Everybody’s getting hacked,” he said. “We’re in cyberwar and it’s been going on for a while.” “It’s really just the last five years that it’s kind of gone off the charts with volume,” he said. Benefield, who works with the federal government’s classified systems, said one major U.S. military command gets attacked some 10,000 times a day. “The volume is just absurd.” Big profits Driving many hackers and their criminal associates are the huge potential profits that can be made from stolen data on the black market. To get an idea of the scope of the problem, an estimated 8.6 million U.S. households had at least one person 12 or older who experienced identity theft in 2010, with losses totaling $13.3 billion, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. A recent report by Javelin Strategy and Research determined the victim count rose to 11.6 million last year. Thieves buy and sell stolen personal information in murky online chat rooms, card-sharing websites and hacker forums. They also treat it like a commodity overseas, experts said. “Bad guys find this attractive because it’s an easy crime to commit and its hard to hunt down these people in other countries,” said Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder
of the Ponemon Institute, a Michigan-based think tank dedicated to privacy and data-protection practices. “And the bad guys are very persistent because there is gold in this information.” How it works Ponemon said the price for individual pieces of information can range from a few pennies to several dollars, depending on its value. When you sell in bulk, that adds up. Stolen credit card numbers are often sold online in large batches known as “dumps” that buyers bid on with a guarantee that a certain percentage will be good to use, Kenney said. The sellers are urged to use the numbers quickly, before the card holders or their credit card companies discover the theft and cancel the number, he said. Health records or detailed tax files cost more and are more of a long-term threat because they contain a whole host of information that can be used to raid a bank account or steal an identity, Ponemon said. Even if someone knows their Social Security number has been compromised, it’s very difficult to get that number charged, leaving them vulnerable to theft. How bad is it? State officials have said they are still trying to determine the extent of the breach in South Carolina and what was stolen. One Midlands lawmaker issued a release stating that entire tax returns were accessed by the hackers, but the governor’s office has not confirmed that statement. What is known is that hackers raided a Department of Revenue database with 3.6 million Social Security numbers, 387,000 credit or debit card numbers and information for as many as 657,000 companies in a breach that began Aug. 27. Beth Givens, director of the San Diego-based Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, said the theft is the largest breach of a state agency on record that her organization is aware of. Gov. Nikki Haley has said the attack originated from a foreign IP address, but won’t say exactly where. Several security experts said the attack sounds like the work of sophisticated cyber-thieves who operate out of Russia and other former Soviet bloc countries. Russian hackers have long been known for their clever and devious skills, including a 2000 breach in which cyber-thieves infiltrated Microsoft’s computer system and sent passwords for its closely guarded source code to an e-mail account in St. Petersburg, Russia. Other countries also have a strong presence. In China, for example, police uncovered a hacker training operation two years ago that recruited thousands of members online and then provided them with lessons and tools. Hackers employ a variety of strategies to get in from afar. Some send emails trying to trick folks into clicking on infected attachments that download harmful software, allowing the attacker entry or control over the computer. People’s natural curiosity often gets the better of them, at the expense of their employer, said Frank Abagnale, an infamous former con man who now runs a security firm and is an FBI consultant.
To emphasize his point, Abagnale said, he often scatters USB flash drives labeled with the word “Confidential” around the parking lot of a business before he gives a presentation. During the presentation, he then logs on and points out how many employees have found and inserted the drive into their work computers with no idea where it came from or what’s inside it. He always finds some workers who have done this, even though their company policies may strictly forbid it. “That’s how these breaches occur,” Abagnale said. “The hackers are just waiting for someone to open that door for them.” Other hackers employ something known as an “SQL injection” attack which uses malicious code to probe and exploit vulnerabilities in websites and access poorly protected databases. A suspected member of the LulzSec hacking group reportedly used this technique last year in an extensive attack against the computer systems of Sony Pictures Entertainment, according to the FBI. Catching culprits So how do you catch these folks? Kenney, the Secret Service agent, said doing so requires a lot of investigation and a fair amount of cooperation with law enforcement and governments here and around the world. The Secret Service also has offices in Russia, Bulgaria, Estonia and other countries where prolific hackers hide, Kenney said. Information developed here is passed on to offices there, and those agents then work with their foreign counterparts to try to shut down the operation, he said. The FBI has employed similar strategies, and has had some success. In 2005, for example, specially trained agents traveled to Morocco and Turkey after hackers there unleashed a malicious code called “Zotob” that caused computer systems worldwide to sputter and crash. Agents gathered IP addresses, e-mail addresses, names linked to those addresses, hacker nicknames, and other clues uncovered in the computer code. Working with Turkish and Moroccan law enforcement, they used the information to track down two of the suspected hackers within eight days of code hitting the Internet, according to the FBI. But experts caution that other hackers learn from such episodes and make course corrections to keep from getting caught while prowling for ways to get into the world’s computers.
Several security experts said the attack sounds like the work of sophisticated cyberthieves who operate out of Russia and other former Soviet bloc countries
by nancy trejos
How to beat jet lag
ven astronauts have a difficult time getting over jet lag. So much so that NASA has a fatiguemanagement team at the Johnson Space Center in Houston trying to devise strategies to deal with it. Astronauts are constantly traveling to space agencies in Germany, Japan and Russia for training. And when they get there, “they have to hit the ground running,” says Steven Lockley, a neuroscientist specializing in sleep medicine at Harvard University who does consulting for the team. “They can’t spend two weeks adapting. They need to do training.” If you’ve ever traveled across time zones, you’ve probably felt the symptoms of jet lag: fatigue, trouble sleeping, digestive problems, headaches and irritability. Business travelers who have to drop into cities for a short period of time and be productive say it’s a major problem. “Jet lag is something I learned to manage for my health, productivity and sanity,” says Stephanie
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Hackney, who has traveled to 43 countries as a travel blogger. Research shows that jet lag affects how people work. For three weeks, participants in a study at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital were placed on 28-hour days with six hours of sleep to mirror the effects of jet lag. Their work production slowed down in that time. Jet lag isn’t good for leisure travelers, either. Who wants to spend their first day in Paris feeling disoriented? In a British Airways survey of passengers, 67% said they didn’t know how to manage jet lag. The airline has developed an online “Jet Lag Advisor” with British sleep expert Chris Idzikowski. Plug in some information about your sleep patterns, and you’ll get a plan for combating the disorder. Many other doctors and companies have tried to come up with remedies for jet lag. And some hotels are trying to do more than providing softer pillows to help travelers deal with jet lag. The MGM Grand
Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, for instance, has introduced 42 “Stay Well” rooms with special lighting that is supposed to improve the body’s internal clock and help regulate melatonin production. But Lockley says there’s no one quick fix. How much a person is affected by jet lag depends on several factors, such as the number of hours you’re ahead or behind, the time of day you leave, and the direction you travel. The rule of thumb is it takes about a day for each time zone you cross to adjust. “If you’re going to Moscow and have to sleep nine hours earlier, that’s hard to do, and it takes about a day to equilibrate,” says Smith Johnston, a flight surgeon and the chief of the fatigue management team at NASA. “You’re there a week, you get in sync and now you’re back.” Lockley has helped NASA develop strategies for their astronauts to fly all over the world and even beyond it. While they are tailored to each individual astronaut, Lockley says there are some principles that the average traveler can adapt to their bodies. Your internal clock First, Lockley says, any traveler should understand the science behind jet lag. Everyone has a circadian rhythm, or an internal clock. Some people have shorter internal clocks and some have longer ones. Those who have shorter ones tend to sleep and wake up early. Those with longer ones stay up and wake up later. When you travel westward, you have to delay your clock. Say you live in New York. That means people in Los Angeles are three hours delayed behind you. When you go east, you have to advance your clock. When you’re just biting into dinner in Boston, people in London are off to bed. Three-quarters of people have longer, or delayed, clocks. “That’s why most people find it easier to travel westward,” Lockley says. “Their body clocks are already going in that direction.” How can you use that to your advantage? Lockley says that trying to adjust your clock even before you take that flight can make a huge difference. “Think, what are those people doing in that time zone and start doing what they’re doing,” he says. If you’re going from New York to Los Angeles, you need to delay your system, so go to bed later than normal for several days before your trip. If you’re going to London, go to bed earlier. That’s not to say you have to get to bed by 7 p.m. in New York rather than your usual midnight. Shelby Harris, director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at New York’s Montefiore Medical Center, says adjusting your schedule by just 15 minutes each day in the days leading up to your departure is sufficient. “Even an hour or two can actually make a big difference,” she says. Changing your mealtimes can help with jet lag-induced indigestion, Lockley says. Controlling your exposure to light is also crucial to fighting jet lag, as light is a trigger for your body to wake up. “The way to think about timing is if you stay up late and
see light later, you’re delaying your bedtime and delaying your clock,” Lockley says. “If we see light early, we wake up early and we’re advancing.” Lockley gives a New York-to-London 7 a.m. flight as an example. You arrive at 7 p.m. London time. That’s 2 p.m. in New York. You’re trying to advance to London time, so you want to see light when you arrive. Stay awake for the next four hours. If you leave New York at 7 p.m., you arrive in London at 7 a.m., when it’s 2 a.m. in New York. You wouldn’t want to wake up at 2 a.m. So Lockley advises getting as much sleep as you can on the plane with the use of sunglasses or an eye mask, then getting off the plane and keeping sunglasses on. At 11 a.m. London time, when it’s 6 a.m. in New York, you’re ready for light. A typical traveler would try to expose him or herself to light right away to adjust to the new time zone. “Simplistic advice, which is to get on the new time zone as quickly as you can, is only right half the time,” he says. If you have trouble sleeping, the use of melatonin, a natural sleep-inducer, or a sleeping pill such as Ambien could help, but experts say you should consult your doctor first. Hackney, who averages about 150 days on the road each year, would rather try a more natural approach. She eats healthy snacks on the flight and limits the amount of alcohol she drinks. And she tries to sleep as much as she can on the plane with the use of an eye wrap, blanket, travel pillow and noisecanceling headphones. “I would never travel without them,” she says.
How much a person is affected by jet lag depends on several factors, such as the number of hours you’re ahead or behind, the time of day you leave, and the direction you travel
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by joe meyers
Julie Andrews directs new musical in Chester
he power was only out for a few hours in the part of Connecticut where Julie Andrews was staying during Hurricane Sandy. The Hollywood and Broadway superstar is at the Norma Terris Theatre in Chester these days developing a new show, The Great American Mousical, based on one of the many young people’s books she has co-authored with her daughter Emma Walton. The hurricane reminded Andrews of another musical in development that she worked on in Connecticut 56 years ago – a little show you might have heard of called My Fair Lady. “There was a big storm then, too ... opening night. A real white-out that kept people from coming from Manhattan. At one point the word came down that we wouldn’t do the show,” Andrews recalled during a recent interview. “Rex (Harrison) was very nervous and then all of a sudden we heard that it was going to happen. It was very dramatic and became a very big night for me,” the star added. My Fair Lady went on at the Shubert Theatre in New Haven to a great response and then moved into New York City, where it became the biggest hit of the 1950s and made the 20-yearold Andrews the toast of Broadway. The star said her second big Broadway show, Camelot in 1960, also had a turbulent try-out tour. In addition to having to make major cuts in a musical that was running four hours long, the company had to cope with a brand new venue in Toronto. “We were not only opening our show, but they were opening the O’Keefe Center. They were still hammering down carpets while we tried to
From my point of view, I think everything is cyclical. We go through phases. It has become massively expensive, of course, but the talent is tremendous
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rehearse,” she said, with a chuckle. Although many big hits came out of the old pressure cooker atmosphere of doing public out-of-town try-out runs just a few weeks before a new show opened on Broadway, Andrews thinks there is a lot to be said for today’s slower method of private workshops and then developmental productions, such as the one she has been guiding in Chester. The Great American Mousical began about six years ago when Michael Price at Goodspeed Musicals suggested to Andrews that there was a show in the book she wrote with her daughter. The actress-director formed a tight bond with Goodspeed after she staged The Boyfriend there in 2005 and the results were so successful that the production went on a national tour. The really serious work on Mousical began about two years ago when Andrews assembled her team of collaborators, which includes book writer Hunter Bell, the composer-lyricist duo of Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler and choreographer Christopher Gattelli, who won the Tony last spring for his sensational work on Newsies. “It’s great to work here,” Andrews said of Goodspeed Musicals’ Norma Terris Theatre, which is devoted to the creation of new material. “They take good care of us and make sure we are all comfortable in this wonderful sandbox. “It’s nice not to have to tour around with a new show,” she added. “Although we still might do that actually.” The timing of Andrews’ musical love letter to the Golden Age of Broadway seems perfect for a period when funny book musicals have reasserted their appeal to audiences – the past decade has seen the operatic shows of the 1980s and 1990s, such as Les Mis and Miss Saigon, replaced by such funny fare as Avenue Q and The Book of Mormon. “From my point of view, I think everything is cyclical,” Andrews said of the way that Broadway evolves over the years. “We go through phases. It has become massively expensive, of course, but the talent is tremendous. “For a while we had mostly dark themes – and there is nothing wrong
with that – but it’s nice to see shows full of joy again,” she said. With so many years of experience in musical theater, Andrews believes her new show is in good shape and ready
for the next stage of its development. “The music is charming, the book is witty and it looks great – it has a real glow to it. I think it’s good and that I would know if it wasn’t.”
Dame Julie Andrews reads from her 2006 book The Great American Mousical at the Martin Luther King Library Washington D.C., USA /Carrie Devorah / WENN
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by michael morrissey
New from Salman Rushdie JOSEPH ANTON By Salman Rushdie Jonathan Cape, $39.99 In a recent installment of his excellently variegated book blog, Jack Ross compared me with Salman Rushdie. The parallel was in the difficulty of Rushdie writing his “whale” of a book about life under the lethal threat of a fatwa and my difficulty in writing Taming the Tiger, a memoir of manic depression. (And, by the way, I met the amiable Rushdie in New York a few years before the fatwa was uttered in 1989.) While the downside of mania – panic attacks, paranoias and depression was no picnic, curiously enough, writing the book was relatively easy. I simply let memory do the job. I suspect it’s been the same for Rushdie – the writing must have been easier than living the life of a fugitive for over a decade under a death threat from Muslim fanatics. While the threat seems to have quietened down from fever pitch to rhetoric, I personally would not be surprised if some future attempt is made on the now much more visible and accessible Rushdie. The occasion for Muslim rage was the publication of Rushdie’s fourth novel, The Satanic Verses. It is difficult for a non Muslim to empathise with the wrath subsequently unleashed, and in Rushdie’s view (more outrage?) the Satanically sourced verses being mouthed by female spirits rather than male might have made them suspect. The Islamic view was the book was not really a novel but a thinly disguised attack on Muhammad and Islam. Needless to say, this is not Rushdie’s view. My own typically liberal view is
that if a book gives offence, this does not justify murdering the author. Rushdie is, after all, a leading novelist and Midnight’s Children, his second novel, was acclaimed the best of all the Booker award winning novels. His work deserves respect even if you disagree with what you imagine to be its ideological subtext. As it turned out, Ayatollah Khomeini who invoked the murderous fatwa, had not read the book nor had many of the fanatics calling for Rushdie’s blood. Though no serious attempt was made on Rushdie’s life – thanks to the high level of security protecting him – the Japanese translator of the book was killed and two translators seriously injured, many bookshops were firebombed. The reward for the assassination of Rushdie continued to rise and is still extant. The fatwa could not be lifted because the man who made it was dead. Thus did Rushdie spend more than a decade being hidden away. Many famous writers lent their dwellings, though obviously to maintain security the target had to keep being moved. Did this life of imprisonment (however comfortable) and terror affect the writer? You bet. Rushdie suffered writer’s block (as it is called) but nonetheless managed to write several books, columns and articles. But leading publishers kept nervously dragging the chain over publishing the paperback version. Two astonishing things – that Rushdie actually survived and continues to do so; and that the governments of England even the United States stood behind Rushdie. History reverberates with reverse attitudes. The drama of Rushdie’s inner exile is unparalleled in literary history. That a writer should become such an international cause celebre is almost as incredible as the destruction of the World Trade center towers. In a way, this was a fight
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between democracy and fanatical Islam and democracy stood firm. It is important to note that many intellectual Muslims disagreed with the fatwa and supported Rushdie. The majority of writers on both sides of the Atlantic from Harold Pinter to Margaret Drabble, from Susan Sontag to Bill Buford were on Rushdie’s side with John le Carre being the most vociferously opposed. Germaine Greer, George Steiner, John Berger and Joseph Brodsky also weighed in with negative attitudes but they were a minority. Rushdie made new friends both among writers, police and politicians so in a sense he was enriched by the experience. He was impudent enough to criticise Tony Blair for not having a sense of humour. Nor was his case strengthened by calling one of his Muslim adversaries a garden gnome. Rushdie’s writing is clear and not his usual somewhat over-ornamented style and he admits various infidelities while revealing a touching love for his children. He doesn’t spare his second wife Marianne and at least, on Rushdie’s account, her behaviour seems less than ideal. She accused the non-smoking Rushdie of torturing her with cigarettes. Joseph Anton – Rushdie’s literary fake identity – is a sombre and almost exhausting book but well worth the read for a detailed account of a unique case of artistic adversity.
LOCKDOWN By Drauzio Varella Simon & Shuster, $37.00 The aim of all prisons is roughly the same – to lock criminals up for a certain period or indefinitely in order to punish them for their crimes and simultaneously prevent them from harming society. However, some prisons, notably Scandinavian and New Zealand prisons give their inmates
adequate food, lighting, ventilation and toilet facilities eliciting indignation in some quarters that the prisoners are being cossetted. The counter argument is that such prisons can work towards rehabilitating prisoners enabling them to lead law abiding lives when they are released. Such lofty aims are not on the agenda of Carandiru, the largest and most notorious prison in Latin America, situated in Sao Paulo, its largest city. At maximum capacity, it houses 9000 prisoners, three times what it was designed to hold when it was first built in the 1950s. The prison is made up of a number of pavilions of varying degree of squalor, over crowding, and degradation. Worst of all is solitary confinement, which is served in darkness. Imagine spending months at a time in such a condition! In many ways, this prison reminded me of Dante’s Hell with rapists and grasses (informers) being at the bottom. Machismo justice is administered inside by prisoners and rapists may well be stabbed to death by up to 30 men. They have just one knife which is handed around. Conditions border on the bizarre. For instance, breakfast is served at five o’clock, lunch at 9am and dinner at 2pm. The food is described as inedible so men find ways to obtain alternative food, some provided by visitors. Hunger then is, so to speak, part of the punishment. As in all prisons, there is a thriving black market with cigarettes being the main currency. Under the medieval conditions all manner of diseases thrive, the two most prominent and deadly being TB and AIDS. In prisons, the cause of the spread of AIDs is sharing dirty needles. In Carandiru, cocaine was the injected drug of choice until “rock” or what we call P, came along. Varella says it is the most addictive drug – save for nicotine – and the high that it gives is shorter every time you use it. In a curious way, this diminishing high reinforces addiction. The minority group of transvestites –
surprisingly well treated by the aggressively masculine prisoners – have a 78 per cent rate of AIDS. Dr Varella, who is in my view, a secular saint, does the best he can. Sometimes prisoners have multiple diseases, sometimes they fake one to obtain morphine. Though the doctor has of course great respect, things can go wrong at any time. In pavilion Nine, it is so overcrowded that prisoners sleep toe to head, and in some cases must stand to allow those prone to get some sleep. As is well known sleep deprivation is bad for the nerves and can only serve to exacerbate men who already have a record of violence. Perhaps the most enlightened aspect of this hell hole is the allowance of intimacy visits by women. Every weekend thousands of women – sisters, daughters, mothers, girlfriends, wives turn up with food parcels and, where appropriate, intimacy is allowed. This provides a certain safety valve for an institution that is a powder keg ready to explode at any time. Finally, when
it did in 1992, the authorities called in heavy reinforcements and hundreds of prisoners were shot without mercy or negotiation. The concluding chapters of the harrowing but humane account are devoted to cameo sketches of individual prisoners. There seems no doubt everyone is guilty of felony but in some cases it’s a clear case of self defence or in machismo-driven Latin America, a matter of male honour. To prevent too much internal murder, doomed prisoners are shoved in the Dungeon for their own safety. Varella’s is objective and non judgmental. Curiously, in some cases, you find yourself respecting and even liking these crims. Whatever crimes they have committed. Varella notes, there is nothing like a mother’s love. One mother who visits her son, guilty of several brutal murders, says she remembers him as a sweet smiling happy boy. Perhaps, so I would to think, there is an aspect of Christlike love in such an attitude, where the seemingly unforgivable is forgiven.
Ganymede: A Tale of Middle Eastern Intrigue Terrence Douglas iUniverse, $20 An international terrorist plot unfolds as three competing forces collide. Readers are immersed in a deeply powerful plot that invites them to view the action from three different perspectives, influenced by the loyalties, commitment, and resources of each. This debut novel of intrigue, international terrorism, and covert missions, by author Terrence Douglas, depicts strong characters that introduce Ganymede. “The murder of German agents working with CIA exposes a terrorist plot aimed at American soil in the Douglas’ debut novel . . .The omniscient narrative, which give readers more insight than characters, works best . . . An exemplary story that takes readers on a stroll around the world, made all the better by taut dialogue and expressive characters.” Kirkus Reviews. This story tracks the dangerous and equally challenging adventures of protagonists who lead the action: Colin – the CIA operative assigned to Germany who rushes off to make a covert meeting in Athens with his agent Hans--codename Ganymede; Colin’s Spanish agent Jamie – codename Icarus – a bona-fide terrorist who seeks asylum in the U.S. in return for his cooperation; Ben Yousef, a senior Libyan terrorist sponsor, masquerading as an oil expert; and Frost, a CIA officer, assigned to Athens, who is haunted by his failed ambitions. What makes readers so absorbed in these pages is the dramatic portrayal how each of the characters respond to the challenges faced, leaving the reader to speculate on how they will react to the next event unfolding.
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by steve woodhouse & shea conner
The name is…
he latest entry in the 50-yearold James Bond franchise, Skyfall is about to hit theaters. Fans are in for a treat as Bond reminds us that just because there are a lot of new action heroes out there, the classics will never die. Skyfall is the third picture with Daniel Craig playing the superspy. Craig continues to bring a rugged face to Bond, and with it, humanity. This plays well into the underlying theme of the movie, which is that things age whether we like them to or not. Following an exciting opening chase/ fight scene, Bond disappears. He reappears only when a hacker attacks MI-6. The attack on the headquarters really brings the age issue into the forefront, as Bond’s longtime boss, M (Judi Dench) is blamed for being unprepared for the incident. She is told she will retire within a specified time frame and will be replaced by a former
soldier, played by Ralph Fiennes. We soon learn that the attacker is trying to seek revenge on M. A disgruntled former employee, Silva (Javier Bardem) is revealed as the man behind the plot. Bardem makes a great Bond villain. As creepy-looking as he can be, it seems as though it was only a matter of time before he played such a role. His villainy does not quite reach the level of some of those in Bond’s past, but it wasn’t supposed to be. At the risk of letting out a spoiler, Bond is essentially at odds with himself. The real conflicts he is having are with technology and time. Silva’s past is remarkably similar to Bond’s. When coupled with M’s apparent preference for Bond, and his protection, the antagonism between Bond and Silva plays out more like a sibling rivalry. Just with a lot of shooting, fighting and awesome explosions. Director Sam Mendes brings stun-
ning visuals to the screen throughout the film. He brilliantly uses them to to illustrate that while new is good, one should never stop appreciating the old. Whether it is the bright lights and modern beauty of today’s Shanghai, or the rolling hills of Scotland, there is beauty everywhere to appreciate. Just as stunning is Berenice Marlohe, this edition’s Bond girl. Bond girls usually don’t have much of a role, and this is no exception, but when she’s on screen, it’s hard to notice anything else. For the ladies, I’m sure the same can be said for Craig’s facial close-ups and shirtless scenes, of which there are plenty. Dench plays a more pivotal role than in films past. Obviously, she’s Judi Dench, so she’s going to deliver. In the end, Mendes’ world for Bond is an exceptional mix of old and new that should have you and the rest of your audience impressed. The humor, the action, the hidden gems that pay homage to the character’s legacy make for a wonderful moviegoing experience. Go see this film in the theater as soon as you can. SKYFALL Cast: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes Directed by: Sam Mendes Running time: 143 minutes Rating: M GGGG
Director Sam Mendes brings stunning visuals to the screen throughout the film. He brilliantly uses them to to illustrate that while new is good, one should never stop appreciating the old 44 INVESTIGATEMAGAZINE.COM | Dec 2012/Jan 2013
omewhere between the Indiana Jones movies, Jurassic Park and Minority Report, Steven Spielberg became known as a master of spectacle – a director who could shape stories around imaginative, detailed worlds. What many people forget, however, is that Spielberg also does quite well with historical dramas and personalities. If you need a refresher, check out the incredibly powerful Schindler’s List, the captivating Saving Private Ryan or the underrated Munich. Spielberg has proven time and time again that he can bring history to life and direct a cast to a tremendous performance. With Lincoln, he’s done it again. Though historians may gripe, every choice that Spielberg and Daniel DayLewis make about the character of Abraham Lincoln lends dignity and honor to the most-praised president in our nation’s history. From Hollywood veterans like Sally Field, James Spader and Tommy Lee Jones to TV supporting men like David Costabile, John Hawkes and Lee Pace, no performance leaves anything to be desired. While Lincoln may not offer many visual thrills or gruesome battle scenes, it’s most certainly the best-acted film of 2012. Anyone who enjoyed The King’s Speech two years ago should buy their tickets to Lincoln now. Lincoln also succeeds because Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner don’t try to do too much with one film. Rather than making a true biopic that encompasses Lincoln’s entire life, the two chose to focus on his final months. Most of the film unfolds in January 1865, shortly after Lincoln’s re-election, when it’s all but certain that the North will win the Civil War. The real battle for him now is the fight against slavery. Three commissioners from the Confederacy head up to Washington, and Lincoln feels confident that he’ll have their surrender within a week. But he is driven to pass the 13th Amendment, which would outlaw slavery (Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was merely an executive order he declared two years earlier, but it was not a law passed by Congress) before he’ll accept their surrender. The Democrats hate the amendment and even Lincoln’s liberal Republican
Daniel Day-Lewis’ portrayal of Lincoln is one of a working-class hero, a master of persuasion and one of America’s greatest orators. It’s some of the decorated actor’s best work to date comrades – men like Preston Blair (played by the great Hal Holbrook) – want him to delay the vote. Only Lincoln seems to realize the stakes: That once the Civil War is over, the amendment will be blocked by the Southern states. Winning the war could prove to be a Pyrrhic victory, but if he passes the amendment before accepting the surrender of the Confederacy, he can truly alter the course of history. Lincoln weaves together a great deal of sassy and sophisticated speechmaking on the floor of the Senate, as brazen insults give way to complex debates of morality. As the congressional fight rages on, Lincoln brilliantly maneuvers around it. He plays beggar. He plays seducer. He plays tyrant. He bribes Democratic senators who support slavery with patronage jobs. He courts but also softens the influence of curmudgeony Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones at his finest), the abolitionist who’s so staunchly for the end of slavery that he might alienate any undecided senator. Daniel Day-Lewis’ portrayal of Lincoln is one of a working-class hero,
a master of persuasion and one of America’s greatest orators. It’s some of the decorated actor’s best work to date. Spielberg frames his performance with very little. We often see Lincoln in the drab meeting rooms of the White House or in his bedroom with the tortured, legitimately crazy Mary Todd Lincoln (Field), who still blames Abe for the death of their third son. Spielberg keeps the backdrops simple and lets the courageous cast do its thing. By the film’s end, you don’t feel as if you know more about the life of Lincoln or even the man’s own psyche. That’s no surprise. Few in his own time claimed to know him well. However, you do get the feeling that you know what it was like to be in his presence. And, man, that feeling is priceless. LINCOLN Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Tommy Lee Jones Directed by: Steven Spielberg Running time: 149 minutes Rating: PG-13 GGGG
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Lording it over others The title brought me up short: Power and Greed, A Short History of the World, by Philippe Gigantès. Where human society has gone wrong from the beginning of recorded history can certainly be subsumed into these two categories, power and greed. Found everywhere – among individuals, tribes, societies, private corporations, academic institutions, governments – their ministries, bureaucracies and hierarchies – these two predominant drivers of destructive behaviour in human affairs, by no means – au contraire – automatically exclude Prime Ministers and Members of Parliament. Yet their consequences cause enormous damage to us all. The corruption of power, long recognised as destroying individuals’ judgment, ethics, and sense of moral responsibility towards others goes hand-in-hand with ambition – underpinned by greed. Is this what has happened to this country, where a political oligarchy dominated by self-willed party leaders has replaced even a representative democracy? Moreover, in our now fragmented society, this politburo only too comfortably accommodates a now scandalous exhibition of self-entitlement – the sheer greed of corporate
executives expecting multi-milliondollar salaries as of right, even when overseeing failing companies, exiting with golden handshakes unheard of in previous generations. All power to Ian Taylor, CEO of Animation Research in Dunedin, publicly saying enough is enough and remaining on his present salary for 10 years, having made a personal commitment to claim no more until satisfied that every one of his staff is paid what they are worth. What of our major banks laying off staff while their profits soar (a net profit of $914 million for a recent three months alone), being less than truthful in the process? In our present climate of greed, the philosophy of – Take what you can get – advice I found essentially shocking when imparted by the late Roger Kerr, then Executive Director of the New Zealand Business Roundtable, devoid as it is of any sense of conscience and fair play – the banks are doing just that. Well aware of the destructive legacy
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of the far Left throughout the 20th century and basically supportive of free market philosophy, an important lesson I learned was that corporate capture, including the wining and dining of Prime Ministers and Ministers to influence government policy, is far from the reality of a genuinely free market. It was the Business Roundtable, its membership deliberately restricted to wealthy organisations only by the setting of high fees, which pushed so hard for the dismantling of practices serving workers in manufacturing and industry. The savings in expenditure by wealthy corporations has had its inevitable consequence in the eventual deaths of Pike River miners because of dereliction on the part of employers – as well as successive governments. The “light handed regulation” so regularly invoked by the NZBR’s executive director is far from sufficient in a society abandoning Christian values. We’ve reaped the whirlwind in social and economic costs. In this respect it’s interesting that Conrad Black, historian, publisher and columnist, having served a prison sentence for crimes which he quite possibly did not commit, now states that he has “lost faith in the non-existence of God…” – the most important milestone on the road to his conversion to Roman Catholicism. I have been struck in recent years by prominent right- wing leaders in various financial and government sectors in this
country boasting they are atheist. One could say – Go figure – except that they are paralleled by the Left’s ambitious powerbrokers. The palpable antagonism felt by many long-term National Bank supporters to the ANZ takeover is interesting. Comparatively recently the National Bank considerably increased its charges for personal loans (Why, with soaring profits…?) It also essentially laid off staff, in spite of its claim that, “We’re changing the faces of banking, not the faces in your bank.” Sheer casuistry. In Nelson alone, just prior to the takeover, long-term staff were faced with now merely part-time positions, or redundancy. Only two full-time positions remained for tellers well-liked by customers. Yet the National/ANZ Bank, far from being cash-strapped, has seen its yearly profits rise to a massive $1.27 billion. Given the new mantra of “meeting targets” – targets set by greed, not need – there is genuine hardship now abroad among New Zealanders deserving far better. In a depressed economy, with manufacturing closures widespread, the days when a breadwinner could provide for his wife and family on one wage even further away, part-time work offered to National Bank tellers does not pay for full-time mortgages. It is not as if the bank is cash-strapped, unable to act with conscience towards long-time loyal staff. Power and greed…The growing outreach of authoritarian impositions on individuals is also at work in this same bank’s insistence that all customers must now remove their hats. Not simply an issue of beanies worn by doubtful looking customers, it is required from everyone, “to be fair”. I have no problem with standing up to silly requests, simply refusing to do so, with staff privately supportive. And here we have the exercise of power. Tellers were told that they would receive a first warning if they did not request customers to remove their hats. In my world, this is bullying. These are the same counter staff for some time now required (while trying to count money accurately and indulge in complicated financial transactions) to simultaneously watch the bank’s
inner doors and open them only to reputable-looking customers. This National (now officially an ANZ) Bank, requires customers to remain waiting until allowed to enter. The unfairness of this nerve-racking burden being placed upon all tellers simultaneously is quite extraordinary, without even a respite allowed by each taking a day in turn to rotate the constant doorwatching. Moreover, the sheer silliness of thinking that a holding pen requirement for customers will prevent the bank being robbed is almost incredible. With the bank’s doors freely opening for exiting customers, all any potential robber has to do is to enter when this happens. Customer safety is also compromised when individuals required to wait before entering can be held hostage in the closed foyer. Having informed the former local manager I had no intention whatever of removing a hat I might wear (longterm customers well known to staff were not to be exempt as this would be “discriminatory”), I asked with interest whether Sikhs were to be required to move their turbans. Apparently not, on the grounds of religious sensitivity. But surely this was a form of discrimination, I happily pointed out. Presumably we may look forward to gang members
in future wearing turbans to increase their freedom of opportunity. … What is irritating about the silliness of the National Bank’s edicts is that common sense flies out the window when the exercise of power dreams up new ways that make life difficult, if not painful for others. I know of one instance where a young woman, having undergone cancer therapy, and wanting to hide a bald head, was intimidated into removing her hat at the counter of our local Nelson branch, deeply humiliated at having to do so. What Philippe Gigantès’ title brings home is that governments, institutions and organisations operating without due respect for the individual, aiming largely at their own profit and power, are the enemies of society. Ultimately only the individual in company with his fellows can defeat them. See 100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand. © Amy Brooke www.amybrooke.co.nz www.100days.co.nz www.summersounds.co.nz
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William A. Dembski / A Review of Thomas Nagel’s Mind & Cosmos
Defecting from Darwinian naturalism About a decade ago I would muse on what it might take for intelligent design to win the day. Clearly, its intellectual and scientific project needed to move forward, and, happily, that has been happening. But I was also thinking in terms of a watershed event, something that could have the effect of a Berlin Wall coming down, so that nothing thereafter was the same. It struck me that an event like this could involve some notable atheists coming to reverse themselves on the evidence for design in the cosmos. Shortly after these musings, Antony Flew, who had been the most notable intellectual atheist in the Englishspeaking world until Richard Dawkins supplanted him, announced that he had come to believe in God (a deistic deity and not the full-blooded deity of ethical monotheism) on account of intelligent design arguments. I wondered whether this could be the start of that Berlin Wall coming down, but was quickly disabused as the New York Times and other media outlets quickly dismissed Flew’s conversion as a sign of his dotage (he was in his eighties when he deconverted from atheism). Flew,
though sound in mind despite what his critics were saying (I spoke with him on the phone in 2006), was quickly marginalized and his deconversion didn’t have nearly the impact that it might have. Still, I may have been on to something about defections of high profile intellectuals from Darwinian naturalism and the effect that this might have in creating conceptual space for intelligent design and ultimately winning the day for it. In 2011 we saw University of Chicago molecular biologist James Shapiro deconstruct Darwinian evolution with an incisiveness and vigour that even the ID community has found hard to match, in his Evolution: A View from the 21st Century. Thomas Nagel, with his just published Mind & Cosmos, has now become another such defector from Darwinian naturalism. Appearing from Oxford University Press and subtitled Why the Materialist Neo-Dar-
Thomas Nagel is a very major intellectual on the American scene and his no-holdsbarred deconstruction of Darwinian naturalism is just the sort of critique, coupled with others to be sure, that will, if anything, unravel Darwin’s legacy 48 INVESTIGATEMAGAZINE.COM | Dec 2012/Jan 2013
winian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False, this slender volume (it’s only 130 pages) represents the most disconcerting defection (disconcerting to Darwinists) from Darwinian naturalism to date. We’re still not talking the Berlin Wall coming down, but it’s not hard to see it as a realistic possibility, off in the distance, after reading this book. Because intelligent design is still a minority position that is widely marginalized by the media and mainstream science, it’s easy for defenders of intelligent design to wax apocalyptic. Indeed, it’s a very natural impulse to want to throw off the shackles of an oppressive and powerful majority, especially when one views their authority as unwarranted and unjust. So I have to keep my own impulses in check when I make comments about the Berlin Wall coming down (by the way, I had an uncle, aunt, and cousins who lived in “West Berlin” at the time as well as relatives in Poland, so my interest in the Berlin Wall is not merely hypothetical). But Thomas Nagel is a very major intellectual on the American scene and his no-holds-barred deconstruction of Darwinian naturalism is just the sort of critique, coupled with others to be sure, that will, if anything, unravel Darwin’s legacy. Nagel is a philosopher at New York University. Now in his 70s, he has been a towering figure in the field, and his
essays were mandatory reading, certainly when I was a graduate student in philosophy in the early 1990s. His wildly popular essay “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” takes on reductionist accounts of mind, and his books Mortal Questions (Cambridge, 1979) and The View from Nowhere (Oxford, 1986) seemed to be in many of my fellow graduate students’ backpacks. Reading Nagel’s latest, I had the sense of watching Peter Finch in the film Network (1976), where he rants “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore” (in that famous monologue, Finch also says “I’m a human being, my life has value” – a remarkable point to make three years after Roe v. Wade). Now Nagel in Mind & Cosmos, unlike Finch in Network, is measured and calm, but he is no less adamant that the bullying by Darwinists needs to stop. Perhaps with Richard Dawkins in mind, who has remarked that dissenters from Darwin are either ignorant, stupid, wicked, insane, or brainwashed, Nagel writes, “I realize that such doubts [about Darwinian naturalism] will strike many people as outrageous, but that is because almost everyone in our secular culture has been browbeaten into regarding the reductive research program as sacrosanct, on the ground that anything else would not be science.” Nagel has nailed it here. The threat of being branded unscientific in the name of a patently ill-supported Darwinian evolutionary story is the thing that most keeps Darwinism alive (certainly not the evidence for it). We saw a similar phenomenon in the old communist Eastern bloc. Lots of people doubted Marxism-Leninism. But to express such doubt would get one branded as a reactionary. And so people kept silent. I recall David Berlinski, a well-known Darwin skeptic, telling me about a reading group at MIT among faculty there who studied his work but did so sub rosa lest they have to face the wrath of Darwinists. In Mind & Cosmos, Nagel serves notice on Darwinists that their coercive tactics at ensuring conformity have not worked with him and, if his example inspires others, won’t work with them either. What a wonderful
subtitle to his book: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False. It’s a dare. Go ahead, make my day, do your worst to bring the wrath of Darwin’s devoted disciples on me. Nagel regards the emperor as without clothes and says so: “For a long time I have found the materialist account of how we and our fellow organisms came to exist hard to believe, including the standard version of how the evolutionary process works. The more details we learn about the chemical basis of life and the intricacy of the genetic code, the more unbelievable the standard historical account becomes. This is just the opinion of a layman who reads widely in the literature that explains contemporary science to the nonspecialist. Perhaps that literature presents the situation with a simplicity and confidence that does not reflect the most sophisticated scientific thought in these areas. But it seems to me that, as it is usually presented, the current orthodoxy about the cosmic order is the product of governing assumptions that are unsupported, and that it flies in the face of common sense.” Darwinists now have many websites in which the experts gush about how wonderful Darwinian evolution is and the laymen (invariably less informed than Nagel) gush back about how wonderfully clear the experts have made evolutionary theory to them, dispelling all doubt and rendering the theory obligatory for all clear thinking people, so that only those wedded to a religious fundamentalism could doubt it. And here comes Nagel, telling the Darwinists that they’re all washed up. It’s a remarkable thing to behold. Darwinism depends for its continued sway not on overwhelming evidence, which it lacks (I got so tired of Darwinists using the phrase “overwhelming evidence” that I finally bought the domain name overwhelmingevidence.com), but on its ability to overwhelm a gullible intelligentsia. Once enough doubt seeps into that group, the theory will prove unsustainable. Nagel’s skepticism may thus play a signal role in Darwinism’s eventual overthrow. But let’s talk about the book itself. Nagel is a philosopher, and a careful
philosopher at that, and his book is a philosophical analysis of Darwinian naturalism and its crashing failure in accounting not just for the origin and subsequent development of life, but also for human consciousness, cognition, and morality. At the back of all Nagel’s arguments is a kind of “no free lunch principle.” He never states it that way, but it is the idea that a cause must be sufficient to account for its effect, and the mechanistic processes of physics, chemistry, and a Darwinian biology, as we know them, are simply not up to the task of explaining life and all that follows in its train (notably consciousness, cognition, and morality). A leitmotif that appears throughout the book is that our intelligence as well as the intelligibility of the world to that intelligence need to be taken seriously and cannot be dismissed because a Darwinian naturalism would dismiss it as an accident of natural history. For Nagel, this intelligence and intelligibility is the precondition for science, and so its dismissal as a negligible feature of nature is unwarranted. Precisely because the world is an ordered place (i.e., a cosmos) that is intelligible via our intelligence, the conceptual categories with which we understand it must make room for intelligence without eliminating it entirely (as eliminative materialists do) or reducing it to processes that are inherently unintelligent and lifeless (as reductive materialists do).
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