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‘I troll for a higher moral purpose’: alt-right speaker



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Milo Yiannopoulos wants to be a “virtuous troll”, he says, someone who spares no one in teasing out hypocrisy and ridiculing it away. He has called feminism a cancer and Islam a form of AIDS, defended paedophilia and spoken against abortion because it leads to the loss of a future “harem” of black lovers.

But the man who helped bring America’s racist “alt-right” internet culture to the masses cannot quite make up his mind whether some jokes are off limits, even for the best of all possible trolls.

Yiannopoulos – 32, English, gay, rich, Jewish on his mother’s side, married to a black man – will visit in early December on a speaking tour, supposedly laying waste to the double-standards of polite society by baiting left-wingers out of their rigid identity politics.

It is a technique the journalist and editor honed while working for Breitbart News, a US website run by the ultraconservative Steve Bannon, who would go on to become President Donald Trump’s chief strategist before stepping down this year.

“I troll for a purpose, a higher moral purpose if you like,” said Yiannopoulos, whose press releases call him “World’s Most Controversial Man” and who features in university campus disputes over controversial visiting speakers.

“It’s a sort of trolling for Jesus … a way of revealing hypocrisy and double standards and authoritarianism through ridicule.”

Yiannopoulos says nothing offends him. A sort of pop star without the music, he says he wants to poke fun at university professors, journalists and other members of the left who control the “organs of power” – publishing houses, Hollywood studios and news outlets.

However, he adopted a quieter tone last week, after BuzzFeed detailed his consorting with racist bloggers.

Leaked emails to BuzzFeed showed how Yiannopoulos’ “taxonomy” of the internet-based and ill-defined “alt-right” movement, published on Breitbart News, had significant unattributed input from the manager of a neo-Nazi website, among others.

Then there was the leaked footage of Yiannopoulos singing America is Beautiful at a karaoke bar last year.

In the crowd, white supremacist Richard Spencer (who coined the term “alt-right”) and others performed Nazi salutes, which the myopic singer said he did not see.

“I have said in the past that I find humour in breaking taboos and laughing at things that people tell me are forbidden to joke about,” Yiannopoulos said in a statement.

“But everyone who knows me also knows I’m not a racist. As someone of Jewish ancestry, I of course condemn racism in the strongest possible terms. I have stopped making jokes on these matters because I do not want any confusion on this subject.”

Stopped? Not quite.

Speaking to Fairfax Media on Monday morning, Yiannopoulos denied there was any fetter on him. He would keep making jokes but “make it more clear when I’m kidding”.

“I probably should have said I’m going to make jokes in every direction and leave no stone unturned in my quest to ridicule everyone on the planet – that would have been more accurate.”

For Yiannopoulos, the main threats to the West are the erosion of rights around bearing arms, freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

His book deal with Simon and Schuster for his memoir Dangerous was cancelled after footage emerged of him defending sex between men and boys. And while he has 2.3 million followers on Facebook, he is banned from Twitter, a platform that he used to call Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones a “barely literate” “black dude”.

Call him a racist, though, and Yiannopoulos uses a stronger version of the argument “some of my best friends are black” – his husband is.

“If I’m a white supremacist, I’m the worst one in history, because I’m one who every other white supremacist hates and I’m one who goes to bed with a black guy every night.”

Yiannopoulos, who has worn a T-shirt saying “everyone who hates me is ugly”, said the media was now afraid to “embed” with difficult subjects and preferred to interview other journalists instead.

But the media company owner is happy for a series of TV and radio interviews to highlight hisbook, which was self-published, and, of course, his upcoming world tour, including a week in .

Asked whether he is now more powerful than his old boss “Uncle Steve” Bannon, Yiannopoulos demurs.

“I think I have more visibility and I’m more available than he is,” he says.

“He wields an enormous amount of political influence – I have a different kind of influence, it’s cultural … But they’re both complementary.”

Expert views make way for political expediency in climate debate



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The patient’s vital signs are not good. Power prices are high, and emissions haemorrhaging. Reliability and security of supply are in doubt. We need a treatment plan, and fast.

Such was the diagnosis of the national electricity market on Monday by ‘s chief scientist Alan Finkel, the man whose blueprint to improve the system was supposed to take the politics out of energy policy. So, how’s that working out?

The answer is, pretty poorly. In his speech to the National Energy Summit on Monday, Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg gave the strongest hint yet that the prospect of any clean energy target was dead and buried, claiming the falling cost of renewable energy meant the subsidies were no longer necessary.

Cue the cycle of politicking and tail-chasing that has wasted more than a decade of n climate policy, frustrating the business community and leaving the public wondering: is any leader capable of stopping the bleeding?

Let’s be clear. Dr Finkel is ‘s top scientist. He spent six months working on the report. His expert panel consulted widely, visiting regulators and operators in Europe and the United States and commissioning a review of best practices from the International Energy Agency.

His call for a clean energy target wasn’t without critics: less politically palatable options, such as an emissions intensity scheme, are widely thought to be a better way to cut emissions.

But Dr Finkel’s brief prevented such a finding, and needs policies to encourage renewables. So a clean energy target is better than nothing, as long as it is strong enough to meet ‘s commitments under the Paris climate deal.

The measure would build on the current renewable energy target, and help make sure that as ageing coal-fired power plants are retired, there is enough investment in renewables to replace them.

Dr Finkel, calm and armed with the facts, insisted on Monday that still needs a clean energy target.

He says a massive drop in the price of renewables would mean the price of renewable energy certificates under the scheme would also fall, so the cost to electricity retailers, and their customers, would be minimal.

And a few years down the track, a government could increase the slope of the emissions reduction trajectory, having shown itself capable of managing the introduction of renewables without the sky falling in.

But in this erratic policy climate, the considered view of experts comes a far second to political expediency.

It was a Coalition government that in 1998 created the n Greenhouse Office, the world’s first government agency dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Six years later the same government dismantled it.

In 2007 the Labor government created a Department of Climate Change. In 2013 it too was scrapped.

And of course, became the first nation to undo legislated action on climate change, when the Abbott government repealed the Gillard government’s carbon price (as well as slashing the renewable energy target and trying to abolish government agencies supporting the renewables sector).

Labor says it will support a clean energy target. Research shows a majority of ns support it, and the business community is crying out for the investment certainty it would bring.

But a dogged rump of hard-right conservatives opposed to the target has Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull by the collar.

Dr Finkel on Monday urged to start its treatment regime and take the “red pill” – an orderly transition to a cleaner energy market, which starts with the clean energy target.

Let’s hope the government’s response is one we can swallow.

Win a ZeroBox and save the planet



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This article is sponsored byMojo Health.

At the current rates of pollution there will be more plastic in the ocean than fishby the year2050.

And with the average person contributing 690 kilograms of waste a year to our landfills, it’s time we took a hard look at our buying habits.

ns are the second highest producers of wasteper personin the world.The amount of waste placed in landfill each year in is enough to cover the state of Victoria.

The good news is that we can all easily reduce the amount of plastic packaging we are contributing –simply by shopping a little more mindfully.There are loads of awesome products out there that help our planet –and look good while they do it!

Mojo Health are giving away a ZeroBox packed full of these goodies.

To enter, upload a photo of how you ‘Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’. The 5 best entries will win a ZeroBox valued at $58.80!Check out the contents below and enter below for your chance to win your own ZeroBox.

“ZeroBox which is an easy way for people to start making changes and work towards becoming zero waste,” says creator Sonya Todd-Jones.

“My idea is to create a new box every couple of months with each item to either befrom recycled materials, reusable, recyclable or biodegradable, fair trade or environmentally-friendly manufacturing.”

Deer Daisy greeting cardThese cards are printed using 100% recycled materials including vegetable-based inks, which come from natural, renewable vegetable oils including soy bean and coconut –much kinder to our environment than regular ink.

Greeting cards are printed byeco-printers Words With Heart, who support Green Electricity and do not use toxic chemicals.

Deer Daisy also donate a percentage of their sales to Rainforest Rescue who are working hard to protect some of the most bio-diverse rainforests in the world, and to help fund education days for women and girls in developing countries.

Ever Eco Metal Straws (pack of 4)Sip sustainably with Ever Eco Metal Straws, reusable stainless steel drinking straws that are crafted from #304 food-grade stainless steel.

The humble plastic straw is one of the worst culprits when it comes to environmental damage. In USA alone, 500 million straws are used every single day and then discarded into landfill.

Plastic can take hundreds, sometimes thousands of years to actually break down. Consider this: every straw you have ever used and thrown away probably still exists somewhere.

E-String Bag

Fully biodegradable but sturdy enough for a long life, these 100% cotton string shopping bags are a funky yet environmentally conscious alternative to plastic bags.

ns use an estimated 5 billion plastic bags a year -that’s over 20 million new bags being usedevery single day. Of them,50 million bags enter the n litter stream every year. It’s time to #BanTheBag!

With WA on board, it’s time for NSW and VIC to #BanTheBaghttps://t苏州夜生活/Fl03OMtOQF

— Clean Up (@Clean_Up) September 18, 2017This article is sponsored by Mojo Health.

OpinionFASD’s impact unrecognised



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PREVENTABLE: Why does the Newcastle public know so little about the devastating cost to the community of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder? Picture: Pat Scala

The welcome news that the Local Drug Action Team (LDAT) led by Tony Brown has been successful in securing funding to Make FASD History provides much-needed opportunity for public education about the devastating effects of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) in our community.

However, it raises two questions.

First, why does the health-conscious Newcastle public know so little about the burden of morbidity from FASD: that is, the emotional cost to families with affected children and the lifetime cost to the community of the person with intellectual disability from FASD which is estimated to be in the order of several million dollars.

The effects of alcohol use during pregnancy on the embryo and foetus were first recognised in the 1960s and I recall making the diagnosis of FASD in the mid-1970s. After I retired from the Newcastle medical school in 2005, I worked for almost 10years in the remote Kimberley region. In my clinics in Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek I saw many cases of children with FASD, and, from a headcount of these cases among the known population of children under the age of five, I estimated that the prevalence was at least one quarter. Several years later, the Lililwan Study conducted by Dr James Fitzpatrick confirmed the extent of intellectual disability.

This evidence for an epidemic of brain damage to unborn children was a key plank in the advocacy for alcohol restrictions that were implemented in 2007 in Fitzroy Crossing. The courage of the Aboriginal cultural leaders in their fight against the river of grog was the event that precipitated the federal government’s action for this problem, with Newcastle LDAT now a beneficiary. We should be inspired by the example of the brave women of Fitzroy Crossing who confronted the shame of the effects on their grandchildren of their relatives’ drinking in pregnancy.

In the wider community, silence from shame and guilt are but part of the reason why FASD is so little recognised: previous reluctance of midwives to ask about alcohol abuse, and ignorance among young doctors as to the possibility of FASD being a cause of behavioural and developmental problems, have conspired with this silence.

Second, why is there absence of outrage over this entirely preventable condition? This is in contrast to the justifiable public outrage about the health effects of groundwater pollution around Williamtown; from residual lead contamination of soil at Boolaroo; and from the effects on lung disease from air pollution from coal dust along railway lines and downwind from the huge open-cut mines of the valley.

Outrage reflects the degree of personal choice to exposure to the risk, given that the risk is known. It is, therefore, maximal when the water we drink or the air we breathe is polluted or poisoned. In contrast, having a drink with friends is a personal choice for us all, yet for young women who may not be aware of the risk, it can have a devastating effect on their embryo.

This, therefore, presents an ethical conundrum, for if my outrage is the cause of your shame or guilt, is it morally justified? To resolve this wehave to sublimate our concern in a constructive way through community awareness so that young women are supported by their peer group in choosing to avoid alcohol when planning a family, and in avoiding an unanticipated conception when drinking.

Emeritus Professor John BoultonThe University of Newcastle

Woody the paragliding pooch from BlackheathPhotos, video



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Meet Woody, the paragliding pooch Paradogging: It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s a flying Woody dog with owner Andy McMurray of Blackheath.

Paradogging: It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s a flying Woody dog with owner Andy McMurray of Blackheath.

The tail doesn’t stop wagging when it is time to fly: Woody of Blackheath may be one of the only paragliding dogs in .

TweetFacebook Woody the paragliding poochWoody the paragliding poochOther dogs go for walks, Woody of Blackheath prefers paragliding.

With owner, carpenter, Andy McMurray, 43, the Jack Russell wiry haired terrier cross, loves it when his dog harness is strapped around his belly and he’s ready to launch off Mt Blackheath.

“When he’s with me, he’s calm,” said Mr McMurray.

“He just seems relaxed in the air, he’ll fall asleep in my lap up there, or if it’s rough he’ll look around.”

Search the internet and you will find other paragliding dogs around the world, but Mr McMurray doesn’t know of any others in .

Asa former president and safety officer of the Blue Mountains Hang Gliding Club, Mr McMurray has been flying for more than a decade and has spent 1500 hours in the air. Woody is “still a novice” with eight hours under his belt.

They have had a few interesting moments this spring, with “juvenile wedgies” [wedge tailed eagles] showing interest in the glider.

“They[the eagles] are very territorial, they attack and try to tear the glider …you can flap them away.”

Last month in a two-and -a-half hour stint, Woody and his owner became the first dog and human to glide over the Grose Valley, flying up to 2,200 metres in temperatures of minus 5 degrees.

Mr McMurray hashad a few hair-raising experiences without Woody, but it has not put him off the sport and he always travels with a reserve chute.

“Some people see it as an adrenalin sport but it’s quite the opposite. It can be quite intense …but for me it’s meditative, it’s being in the moment [and] there’s a real community, a lot of kindred spirits.

Woody turned up as a stray on Mr McMurray’s doorstep about seven months ago, and after four weeks at the pound was reunited with the carpenter.

“He was scruffy, full of fleas and very hungry. I have him an organic steak, which was all I had …he’s a very famous dog, he’s cute, he flies and well, those two things together, everybody loves him.”

The Blue Mountains club has been in operation since 1987. The sport costs about $6500 to get started – with courses averaging about $2,500 and second hand flying gear about $4000.

The sport continues to grow in popularity with the peak season from spring to summer.

Those interested in the sport can contact professional paraglider pilot, Che Golus on 0429 432031 or check out his website.