Sunday, June 12, 2011

News items and comments

The science behind tricking the public

Piers Akerman – Saturday, June 11, 11 (04:26 pm)

THE mendacious Gillard government is continuing its drive to impose a punitive carbon dioxide tax on Australians while refusing to address the key issues.

Put aside, if you can, the lies that both Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her deputy, Treasurer Wayne Swan, told the electorate before the election.

They are both trying to frighten the nation into accepting a new job-destroying, economy-wrecking tax they vehemently declared they would not have a bar of less than a year ago.

Not only have they dumped key promises, the worse intellectual crime is their utter failure to confront the reality that the so-called science they claim is “settled” is nothing of the sort. This is the stuff of Luddites.

In their endeavours they enjoy the support of the self-proclaimed progressive media - the taxpayer-funded ABC and the collective of journalists within the Fairfax organisation (which last week stooped to publish a disgraceful plea for censorship from Elizabeth Farrelly that might have been lifted from the pages of a Stalin-era edition of Pravda) - but they are facing a growing revolt from an increasingly better-informed public.

It is a matter of record that no one from the Gillard-Green-independent government (or its predecessor) has ever debated climate science with any of the many eminent scientists who have studied the dubious claims made by the scandal-tainted IPCC, which appear to be the basis for the hysterical statements made about rising temperatures and sea levels.

Nor have any of the tame scientists trotted out by Fairfax or the ABC taken up the challenge offered by those who are prepared to stake their professional and scientific reputations on their knowledge of climate science. Instead, the Australian National University hides behind ridiculous claims its climate scientists have had to be secured in special quarters due to death threats from those who have alternate views.

The ANU’s claims were shown to relate to two idiotic messages sent over a five-year period and were so irrelevant they were not even forwarded to the police.

Over-reaction by the ANU or an attempt to provide a propaganda diversion to an embattled Labor government? Either way, the actions of the ANU were totally inappropriate for a university that should have as a core principle the desire to promote thorough research in the most transparent atmosphere.

Claims of settled science without evidence-based research are as meaningless as policy produced with evidence-based debate.

The Productivity Commission’s long-awaited report is a parcel with this sort of nonsense.

Making comparisons of Australia’s carbon dioxide emissions with China or the US are statistically nonsensical because these nations are so dissimilar from our own. The country most similar to ours is Canada.

What did the report say on this?

The sole reference in the 273-page report is this: “While a case could be made for including additional countries such as Canada - on the grounds that it has a similar economic structure to Australia - or other major trade competitors, this would not have been feasible within the timeframe for this study.”

Don’t laugh. It’s true.

Instead, there is claptrap about the UK, for heaven’s sake, where coal mining was closed by Margaret Thatcher 30 years ago.

At least the authors did nail the ridiculous Green push to install windmills and solar collectors everywhere, noting: “policies to encourage small-scale renewable generation are substantially less cost-effective and have led to relatively little abatement.”

That aside, the report is essentially another waste of time and money by a government which is in dire straits and ready to throw money at any diversion in an attempt to recover some credibility before the next poll.

I recommend anyone who wishes to be truly informed about climate change look at the work published online last month by Quadrant magazine by four first-class scientists of international renown: geologist Bob Carter, carbon modeller David Evans, hydrologist-climatologist Stewart Franks and meteorologist-climatologist Bill Kininmonth.

These four scientists writing these reports have great individual and collective professional experience, ability and respect from their peers.

Beginning with then Climate Change Minister Penny Wong in 2009, their critiques utterly demolish the shonky IPCC “science” that continues to be repeated as a mantra by Gillard’s handpicked Climate Change commissioner Will Steffen and his supporters in academia, the CSIRO and the Department of Climate Change. Copies of their report, based on weeks of work, were sent to all MPs and to the climate-change commissioners, none of whom have yet offered any public refutation of the material.

The question must be asked why the government and its advisers will not address this scholarly analysis.

The failure to respond indicates that neither Gillard nor her Climate Change Minister Greg Combet, or Steffen and his team, can refute the arguments - if they can, they should, otherwise there is no other possible conclusion to be drawn.

The government’s argument for a carbon dioxide tax is as threadbare as that offered by actors Cate Blanchett and Michael Caton. It is no more than a specious attempt to garner some faux moral superiority.

Unfortunately, this obsession of the inner-urban elites now threatens the economic security of the nation.

It demands the fullest scrutiny, not a rubber stamp from acquiescent government appointees and Labor’s media Fifth Columnists.

The jobs that will be lost will not be those of tenured academics and members of the misguided media collective - they will be those of farmers and miners and everyone who shares in the wealth generated by Australia’s natural energy advantage and its resources.

The future of the planet is not in doubt, but the opportunities for your children and grandchildren are being threatened by the unbridled zealotry of these anti-science barbarians.

DD Ball replied to Mandrake
Sat 11 Jun 11 (09:39pm)

The government doesn’t have to debate. They have over $50 billion spending money between now and next year. They have promised it for some things but they don’t have to actually spend it on what they earmarked it for. So they tend to throw money at things. Thing is they don’t have to debate. As with the death pf Hamidur Rahman they don’t have to even talk about it. It is just something that happened.


Time to round up Rudd

Miranda Devine – Saturday, June 11, 11 (04:02 pm)

IF EVER Australia needed a Foreign Minister it is now. Yet Kevin Rudd is AWOL, determined to be of as little help as possible to the woman who robbed him of his prime ministership a year ago.

While Rudd is swanning around a United Nations AIDS conference in New York, the cattle industry in northern Australia is on the brink of disaster and Indonesia is calling for an urgent resolution to safeguard its meat supplies before Ramadan.

Diplomatic tensions with our most important neighbour have increased since the government abruptly suspended live cattle exports after a TV program showed inhumane practices at Indonesian abattoirs.

Indonesia last week warned Australia not to inflame the issue, threatened to lodge a complaint with the WTO, complained the export ban is discriminatory and raised the prospect of “tit for tat” retaliation. The Australian ambassador to Indonesia, Greg Moriarty, was called in to explain.

Yet Rudd is conspicuously absent at a time when high-level diplomatic finesse is essential, when his ostentatious displays of international influence might actually be useful.

He managed to get through an entire interview on the ABC’s AM program on Friday morning without mentioning Indonesia. He said plenty about John Faulkner’s call to restructure the Labor party, and something on Libya, which is of marginal importance to Australia compared to the $700 million cattle industry, thousands of jobs, and Indonesian irritation.

There he was again on the ABC at lunchtime talking about AIDS. But not a word about the cattle crisis.

Attempts to reach him in New York yesterday were unsuccessful; a press officer suggested I call Craig Emerson, the acting Foreign Minister in Rudd’s absence and whose day job is Trade Minister.

But the cattle fiasco has become a diplomatic problem, say the producers. “We need to start a diplomatic process now we’re at the begging stage with regard to a diplomatic process,” says Cattle Council chief executive David Inall.

“What we need is the Australian government to assist us to put together this process that secures the safety of those cattle going into those abattoirs and then we can grow it over time,” he told Macquarie Radio on Friday.

Cattle producers are worried Indonesia will have found a new source of beef, such as South America, before the suspension is lifted.

Indonesia Agriculture Vice-Minister, Bayu Krisnamurthi, says Indonesians care about animal wellbeing too. He publicly has said cattle exports could resume this week, to abattoirs complying with Australian standards on humane treatment of cattle, while they fix the others.It’s music to the ears of producers. “If he’s making these comments, we need to jump on that while they’re positive before they get angrier,” said Inall. “It can’t just be left to industry. [But] the very clear sense we’re getting from Canberra is: you come back to us with a plan, you solve it. Good luck.”

You’d think Rudd, as a proud Queenslander, would go all out in defence of North Queensland’s crippled $100 million live-cattle industry and the 1200 jobs it supports. But no. He flew to Hungary last Sunday, in the middle of the furore over the Four Corners report, having airily informed Caucus that Australia’s relationship with Indonesia would not be damaged by the cattle trade suspension. He issued a press release saying he is the first Australian Foreign Minister to attend Hungary’s Asia-Europe Meeting, which might give you a clue to the talkfest’s importance to our national interest.

He also managed to secure a vote from Hungary for Australia’s bid for a temporary seat on the UN Security Council, a project which has become a personal crusade and will cost Australia $25 million.

Rudd also signed a deal that allows 5000 Hungarians living in Australia to draw pensions. Eva and Egon will be pleased with the personal touch, but there are more pressing issues closer to home.

Next on the itinerary was Abu Dhabi and a meeting of the Libya Contact Group. Then he was off to the Big Apple on Friday for a UN “High-Level meeting” on AIDS where his contribution is a mystery.

Unlike 112 other countries, Australia isn’t listed as participating in the official program online and Rudd wasn’t scheduled to give a speech, unlike representatives of the other 112 countries. You have to wonder at Rudd’s presence there, since he outranked most other representatives.

Surely Australia’s own Ambassador for HIV/AIDS, Murray Proctor, would have sufficed.

Later today Rudd jets off to London to attend a conference for donors to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation.

AIDS and immunisation are worthy causes, but Australia needs a Foreign Minister who talks to his Prime Minister, and is in sync with government aims.

The relationship between the pair is poisonous. Rudd even calls The Lodge “Boganville”, Liberal Senator George Brandis helpfully revealed recently. You can’t blame Rudd for feeling some grim satisfaction, having been replaced as prime minister the minute his opinion polls dipped, now seeing Gillard’s polls are just as bad.

But if the government is blundering around the region, whether over cattle or boat people, Rudd should be focusing the entire might of his department to stem the diplomatic fallout and to smooth international relations.

Instead, he seems intent on putting distance between himself and Gillard, spending four days in every 10 overseas and racking up 400,000km in first-class international flights as Foreign Minister.

The Prime Minister signs off on all his travel. She should suspend his long-haul privileges and order him to concentrate on our neighbours.

And if he won’t do what she tells him, he should be sacked.

Just because the government hangs by a thread in the current parliament is no excuse to hold Australia hostage to the bruised ego of an aggrieved former prime minister.

You reap what you sow, and Australia is still paying for Julia Gillard’s treachery a year ago.

Poor fellow our country.


Schumpeter on Keynesians

by DON BOUDREAUX on JUNE 11, 2011


While searching through Thomas McCraw’s superb 2007 biography of Joseph Schumpeter (Prophet of Innovation) for a passage I recall in which McCraw mentions that Schumpeter’s teaching load at Harvard included Saturday classes (!) – a passage that I’ve yet to find – I reread McCraw’s treatment of Schumpeter’s reaction to Keynes’s General Theory.

Schumpeter disliked Keynes’s book. McCraw unconvincingly attributes much of Schumpeter’s negative reaction to The General Theory to the alleged fact that Schumpeter envied Keynes (an envy that intensified, we are told, with the relative failure of Schumpeter’s own 1939 book Business Cycles).

I suspect that Schumpeter reacted negatively to The General Theory because it’s a book that deserved a negative reaction, especially from an economist as insightful as Schumpeter – an economist who, quite the opposite from Keynes, understood that the capitalist economies were not in the 1930s had not (and would not be in the future) exhausted of opportunities for innovation and investment.

Quoting from Schumpeter’s 1948 presidential address to the American Economic Association, McCraw writes on page 481 of his biography of Schumpeter:

But their [the young economists of the late 1930s and 1940s] focus on the techniques of Keynesian macroeconomics – which are amenable to mathematical modeling and very useful in the new methods of national income accounting – had diverted attention from the vision that underlay the whole apparatus. Even though the Keynesian creed of stagnationism “has petered out with the situation that had made it convincing” – the Great Depression having given way to unprecedented prosperity – most economists had remained so enthralled with Keynesian technique that they seemed “bound to drift into one of those positions of which it is hard to say whether they involve renunciation, reinterpretation, or misunderstanding of the original message.” And in taking this tack, as Schumpeter had said many times before, most economists had lost sight of the heart of the capitalist process, which in its endless dynamism was the opposite of Keynesian stagnationism.


Here’s a letter to the New York Times:

Paul Krugman laments that “debt relief for homeowners – which could have done a lot to promote overall economic recovery – has simply dropped off the agenda” (“Rule by Rentiers,” June 10).

If Mr. Krugman truly believes that slumping economies can be buoyed by relieving people from the obligation to pay for at least part of what they consume, why focus on mortgage debtors? Why not instead, or also, a policy to relieve grocery buyers from having to pay for poultry and dairy products? Or a policy to relieve Las Vegas vacationers from having to pay airfare and gambling debts? Or – my favorite! – a policy to relieve wine drinkers from having to pay for bottles of premier cru Bordeaux?

Surely the objections that people slower-witted than Mr. Krugman will raise to such policies – objections such as ‘Those policies will artificially and unsustainably cause people to consume too much milk, chicken, Vegas vacations, or exquisite French wines – can be shown by Mr. Krugman to be as unfounded as is the oh-so-bourgeois objection that mortgage-debt relief will artificially and unsustainably cause people to consume too much housing.

Donald J. Boudreaux



Tim Blair – Sunday, June 12, 11 (03:02 am)

The carbon tax is meant to modify behaviour, so why all the compensation?

Pensioners will secure up-front cash compensation to cover the full cost of a carbon tax under a deal to ensure no pensioner is worse off.

As the Gillard Government prepares to unveil the carbon tax of about $20 a tonne within weeks, the Prime Minister has signed off on measures to deliver the relief from July 1 next year amid predictions of huge increases to electricity prices.

But it isn’t only pensioners who are hurting:

More than a third of families say they are struggling to get by and about the same number would consider leaving Sydney if costs continued to soar.

A survey of NRMA members obtained exclusively by The Sunday Telegraph paints a bleak picture of how families perceive the future. Over half the 1200 respondents oppose the introduction of a carbon tax, with the figure rising if it results in higher petrol prices.

More than a third of people felt they were struggling to get by, with over half predicting the cost of living to rise in the next year. In a message to the nation’s political leaders, families would overwhelmingly rather have their power bills reduced than downward pressure placed on interest rates.

Maybe renewables will help. Over to you, Greens.



Tim Blair – Sunday, June 12, 11 (02:32 am)

Despite the cold, Neil McMahon is in a stoic mood:

Not going to complain about the frigid weather again. It is a mere bagatelle compared to enduring a Tim Blair column without booze.

Mate, that’s nothing. You should try writing them without booze.



Tim Blair – Sunday, June 12, 11 (02:09 am)

An investigation into the consequences of forcing New York City cyclists to remain within designated cycle zones:

By the looks of things, lane observance may be the final risky activity permitted in NYC.



Tim Blair – Sunday, June 12, 11 (02:01 am)

Vast new reserves of significance have been found in British data mines:

Climate warming since 1995 is now statistically significant, according to Phil Jones, the UK scientist targeted in the “ClimateGate” affair.

Last year, he told BBC News that post-1995 warming was not significant - a statement still seen on blogs critical of the idea of man-made climate change.

But another year of data has pushed the trend past the threshold usually used to assess whether trends are “real”.

Dr Jones says this shows the importance of using longer records for analysis.

Way to go, Jonesy. Meanwhile, look what else is being mined:

[The] EPA is giving federal funds to Interpol to help it investigate the massive fraud that has plagued the European cap-and-trade program, including most recently the digital theft of $70 million in carbon credits.

A significant amount, you might say.

(Via Waxing Gibberish)



Tim Blair – Saturday, June 11, 11 (01:46 pm)

Delicate Graham Readfearn is still upset about the “aggressive and intimidating messages” sent several years ago to climate scientists. A “very nasty and unsavoury underbelly” has emerged, writes Graham, who laments “this sorry and regrettable turn of events.” According to the former Courier-Mail enviropetal, “compassion and reason have been pushed aside.”

So how did bunnykins Readfearn react last year when warmenists depicted the murder of schoolchildren for their climate change heresy?

Graham Readfearn enjoyed the exploding so much he posted on it three times within two minutes

“Bloody funny climate campaign ad,” wrote Graham. “So funny, I had to watch it twice.”


Sexist to ask if mum was home much

Andrew Bolt – Sunday, June 12, 11 (05:52 am)

Greens leader Lee Rhiannon is offended to be asked about the practical consequences of an ideological position, even when those consequences are felt in the most intimate way:

The consensus is that Rhiannon is quick to be combative, as The Sunday Age learnt while asking about her mother’s frequent travels overseas for work. When this matter was raised, Rhiannon finished the question: ‘’Was she my mother? Was she there for me? You can cut to the chase. Totally, she was my mum … She was an ordinary woman who loved us absolutely.’’

Two days later, Rhiannon called to say that she thought our question amounted to an assumption that women cannot work and be good mothers.

She wanted to reject that assumption and its ‘’undertones of sexism’’.

She added: ‘’Coming from a young woman I just found it extraordinary.’’


That’s enough about Buddhism

Andrew Bolt – Sunday, June 12, 11 (05:47 am)

The Dalai Lama seems to be selling himself, rather than his faith, and the reporters are star-struck:

‘’I AM like you - we are all humans,’’ said the Dalai Lama, slapping on a goofy burgundy sun visor with comic flair.

Speaking before an audience of almost 5000, the visor not only shielded His Holiness’s eyes from the bright stage lights, it also reinforced his charming humility.

In an unstructured, 90-minute public talk at the Melbourne Convention Centre, the Tibetan spiritual leader offered his views on everything from inner peace to world peace. He warned of the futility of seeing money as a source of happiness, stressed the need for children to have a ‘’moral education’’ regardless of their creed, and cited research suggesting that stress and anxiety affects physical health.
There was even a touch of town-planning advice. ‘’I wake up each day at 3.30am,’’ he said. ‘’Outside my window this morning, cars still driving around. I suppose, this is modern life . . . But some people are forced to drive hours each day to get to work. Waste of time!’’

Midway through, he lost his train of thought, explaining, ‘’I don’t prepare, it’s all spontaneous. Otherwise I am artificial.’’

Indeed his messages were ranging, and at times, hard to follow, despite the occasional help of an interpreter. But, to quote The Castle, it was ‘’just the vibe of the thing’’ that mattered.

His choice of MC suggests the demographic he’s aiming for:

At the end of his talk, followers ranging from monks in Buddhist robes to men in suits, elderly people in wheelchairs and spritely teenagers, were invited to ask questions by chair Charlie Pickering.


Baillieu’s majority threatened

Andrew Bolt – Sunday, June 12, 11 (05:40 am)

The Baillieu Government is tripping over its own feet over the crisis in the police leadership:

A LIBERAL MP has put Premier Ted Baillieu on notice over the police crisis, saying quitting the party and sitting as an independent is “an option”.

Former cop Bill Tilley, now the member for Benambra and the Parliamentary Secretary for Police and Emergency Services, also strongly backed Sir Ken Jones and cast doubts on his government’s handling of the crisis.

“Would I have confidence in Sir Ken Jones? Absolutely yes. Without a doubt,” he said.

Mr Tilley was approached by the Sunday Herald Sun at Mt Hotham yesterday where he was opening the ski season. Asked twice if he would go so far as to sit as an independent, Mr Tilley replied: “I would seriously be considering my options . . . that is certainly an option…

“I hold the cheap seats. I’m not in Cabinet. I’m not privy to a lot of the information, but if what is in the media is true and what is already out there for public consumption, I find it abhorrent,” he said.


Malaysia isn’t quite so sure

Andrew Bolt – Sunday, June 12, 11 (12:07 am)

The way Malaysia’s New Straits Times reports it, the Gillard Government’s boat people deal is far from being signed, after all:

No decision has been made yet in granting immunity to 800 boat people that Australia plans to send to Malaysia.

Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Mahmood Adam said the committee set up by the ministry is still studying details of the arrangement.

“The committee, chaired by deputy secretary-general Datuk Raja Azahar Raja Abdul Manap is still studying the matter.

The details have yet to be ironed out. The ministry has not finalised any arrangement,” he said when contacted by the New Straits Times,

Here’s how Immigration Minister Chris Bowen characterised the negotiations on the same day:

“Discussions are well advanced with Malaysia… and of course in close consultation with the UNHCR,” he said.

“I’m not going to outline an artificial timetable, other than to say I’m very satisfied with where negotiations are at and they are very well advanced.”

Not good, when you are clearly the most anxious of two negotiating parties.

(Thanks to readers Les and Angie.)


The price of its alarmism suddenly becomes clear to the CFMEU

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, June 11, 11 (02:29 pm)

In 2007, at the height of global warming alarmism, CFMEU boss Tony Maher was a global warming extremist who demanded coal companies pay for their fossil fuel “pollution”:

So they have to be cleaned up… Who’s going to pay for that. Well, it has to be the mining companies. BHP, Rio Tinto, Xstrata… We’re prepared to head a coalition of mainsteam evnironmental groups and others, community groups, that want to force mining copanies to invest their massive wealth into solving the world’s problem of climate change.

Maher’s suddenly singing another tune, now that he realises that coal companies hit with those extra costs might just start sacking his own members:

ONE of Australia’s largest unions has threatened a blue-collar revolt should the nation’s dirtiest coalmines fail to receive the same level of assistance as they were promised under the original emissions trading scheme.

With industry compensation still being thrashed out behind closed doors, the national secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, Tony Maher, said he is worried coalminers will be dudded to appease the Greens…

Most coalmines are open-cut, low-emitting projects, and a price on carbon would have only a minor effect on the price of each tonne of coal they produce. But there would be a significant increase on the price of coal produced by the 23 so-called ‘’gassy’’ mines, which emit large amounts of methane…

It is understood the government is again pushing for the gassy mines to be looked after (with compensation), but the Greens, who are hostile to coalmining, are resisting.

Mr Maher said 5000 jobs were at stake if the Greens prevailed, and he warned that the backlash would extend beyond the mining sector....

‘’Job security and household compensation are paramount. The Greens are in la-la land. I am calling on all the members of the [multi-party committee] to say where they stand on miners’ jobs in gassy coalmines.”

How much is HECS?
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Miranda Devine is a leading columnist with The Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun.

The government doesn't have to debate. They have over $50 billion spending money between now and next year. They have promised it for some things but they don't have to actually spend it on what they earmarked it for. So they tend to throw money at things. Thing is they don't have to debate. As with the death pf Hamidur Rahman they don't have to even talk about it. It is just something that happened.
Piers has been one of The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph's best-read columnists since 1993. One of the nation's most respected journalists he has worked in New York, London, Washington and Los Angeles.
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