Miranda Devine – Wednesday, June 15, 11 (06:59 pm)
WALLABY Berrick Barnes’ miserable face and wobbly head said it all on Saturday night as he walked off the field about 30 minutes into the Super Rugby game at the Sydney Football Stadium.
Mr. Barack Obama
President of the Executive Branch
United States Government
Dear Mr. Obama:
In your recent interview with NBC News you explained that your policies would promote more private-sector job creation were it not for (as you put it) “some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers. You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM, you don’t go to a bank teller, or you go to the airport and you’re using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate.”
With respect, sir, you’re complaining about the source of our prosperity:innovation and the increases it causes in worker productivity.
With no less justification – but with no more validity – any of your predecessors might have issued complaints similar to yours. Pres. Grant, for example, might have grumbled in 1873 about “some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers. You see it when you go to a bank that uses a modern safe and so employs fewer armed guards than before, or when you travel on trains which, compared to stage coaches, transport many more passengers using fewer workers.”
Or Pres. Nixon might have groused in 1973 about such labor-saving innovation: “You see it when you step into an automatic elevator that doesn’t require an elevator operator, or when you observe that polio vaccination keeps people alive and active without the aid of nurses and all those workers who were once usefully employed making iron-lung machines, crutches, and wheelchairs.”
Do you, Pres. Obama, really wish to suggest that the innovations you blame for thwarting your fiscal policies are “structural issues” that ought to be corrected?
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030
Tim Blair – Thursday, June 16, 11 (09:57 am)
French geologist Lucille Lievaux strikes gold – well, copper – in Western Australia:
“Australia is like an El Dorado,” says Lievaux, who came a year ago on a holiday. She now nets $5,000 a month, working two weeks out of every three at the Whim Creek prospect, an old open-cut copper mine dug out of the red rocky plain.
“It’s so easy, so easy to find a job here as a geologist.”
Local labor shortages mean big bucks throughout the state’s mining sector:
A mine supervisor can earn in excess of $200,000, more than the head of the Federal Reserve. A truck-driver’s salary easily runs into six figures. A construction worker can make over $150,000, more than a doctor or lawyer.
“You can get girls cleaning at the mine camps and they can easily earn $100,000 a year,” says Tracy Reis, 42, a travel agent based in Karratha.
But as welder Jared Fitzclarence explains, Australians aren’t taking advantage:
In filling a recent vacancy, he tried several hopeless local candidates before finally hiring a hard-working, reliable Bangladeshi.
“We couldn’t get someone who wasn’t a complete loser or a drug addict ... it was causing no end of trouble,” he says.
“It’s not just here. Any business along this entire road has massive problems getting decent staff.”
Read on for tasty job opportunities. An entrepreneurial type with some sort of educational background could do well by running English language classes for work-hungry migrants.
Tim Blair – Thursday, June 16, 11 (09:38 am)
Auction action for a chance to dine with a commie and a conspiracist:
Bidding on auction site eBay started on Monday at $538.96 a head and had topped $769.94 by yesterday. Bidding closes on June 20.
The site says guests will dine July 2 at “one of London’s finest restaurants” with Assange and Slovenian Marxist philosopher Slavoj Zizek.
Tim Blair – Thursday, June 16, 11 (09:24 am)
While global warming is an obvious suspect, there’s no evidence that it is to blame. Though climate change models predict extended droughts and periods of intense rainfall for the end of the 21st century, they don’t explain the current droughts, says Martin Hoerling at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“A lot of these extreme conditions are natural variations of the climate. Extremes happen, heat waves happen, heavy rains happen,” he says …
As for the apparent convergence of droughts worldwide, Mark Saunders of University College London says current conditions aren’t that unusual. News media may simply be more tuned in to reporting extreme weather events.
You don’t say.
Tim Blair – Thursday, June 16, 11 (09:19 am)
Looks like we’ve got ourselves an old-fashioned Carter-style malaise:
• The set of afflictions that was harming the Rudd government this time 12 months ago, deterring people who had supported it in 2007 to vote for it again, has not been obviated by the replacing of Kevin Rudd with Gillard; the malaise has, if anything, intensified.
• The malaise need not be permanent - 2007 showed that there is still the enthusiasm out there, waiting, almost begging, to be harnessed. But it will take more than a few structural rearrangements if Labor is ever to recapture that first fine careless rapture.
• An example of the malaise which plagues the Gillard Government, the Minister’s performance called into question his competence and his continued presence at the Cabinet table.
Beware, Ms Prime Minister. Where there is malaise, there is also rabbits.
Tim Blair – Thursday, June 16, 11 (07:55 am)
Tim Blair – Wednesday, June 15, 11 (10:56 am)
Deaths threats? Seriously Tim Blair? You’re cool with death threats to scientists?
Well, no, but seeing as you haven’t come up with a better idea since June 6, you may as well continue.
I know you and I get ‘em …
Really? You receive actual death threats, as opposed to the usual email vulgarities and death fingerer-crosserering?
Poor old climate scientists though, all they want is play with their test tubes and measure the rings on trees and save the world from the lethal stupidity of … well… of guys like you, Tim.
And your fans. Some of whom apparently think climate scientists should be chased down the street with burning stakes and hung by their necks until they are dead, dead, dead.
I don’t get the burning stakes. Wouldn’t burning them negate the purpose of obtaining stakes in the first place? Folks arrive at the lynching, somebody says “OK, get to work with the stakes” and everyone’s like, “Oh, we burned them.”Think, people.
(Incidentally, the note linked to above by Birmingham dates back to at least February 2010 and was directed at an unnamed climate campaigner rather than a scientist. Doesn’t excuse it, of course, but some precision in this debate would be welcome.)
I know you don’t think that way, mate. You might chase them in your sports car, but when you caught them you’d probably only give them a bit of a nudge with the bumper.
Not likely. Climate scientists tend towards chubbiness, and front-end M Coupe damage is awfully expensive to repair.
But perhaps, Tim, you and your mates in the Piers Boltbrechtson Hivemind, rather than characterising this rhetorical violence as no big deal, could actually try and calm the nutters down a bit.
Tell them to stop being such nutters.
John – quite fond of rhetorical violence himself – might do better talking to the death-mongers on his own team, whose horror fantasies are both more imaginative and more widely broadcast than anything from a rogue stake-charring emailer. I’m talking about videos depicting the slaughter of schoolchildren, the drowning of puppies, thesuicide of emo-animals and the skeleton-smashing descent of airborne poley bears. And how about this, from 2009:
Let’s do talk about death threats, John. Please. Let’s talk about death threats made against the entire global population and explicitly intended to terrify kids.
Sometimes the nutters get off the leash.
And sometimes they get funding, as the above videos demonstrate.
Then all of a sudden you got barking maddies everywhere, up in people’s faces, snarling and roaring and throwing off phlegm storms of dudgeon that piles up so high you could climb it …
I’m not sure what John is coughing up these days, but if it can sustain the weight of a standard Australian novellist he should probably see a doctor. Or, considering the remarkable supportive qualities involved, a structural engineer.
Sometimes genuine nutters, they take things a bit too far, don’t they?
The extreme left in the 1970s? The Red Brigades? The Baader Meinhoff Group? They didn’t start out as violent crazies.
Should the whack jobs come from the Left, it’s been the job of the ALP to chill them out, and if that doesn’t work, to marginalise, to mock and to disempower them.
The likes of you, Tim … seem to think it’s jolly jape to stick up for the sort of cowards and bullies who practice Taliban-style terror campaigns against scientists who are just doing their jobs.
At the top of his piece, John spoke of how easily he brushes aside email unpleasantness ("taking abuse is just part of our job description"). A few hundred words later, he’s talking about the Taliban. We leave him now as he waits out another day amid Brisbane’s teeming fundamentalist madrassas.
Then the night comes.
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, June 16, 11 (11:00 am)
There really is a totalitarian streak to the green alarmists, who’d have humans slaving for the planet, to no real purpose:
Residents in Newcastle-under-Lyme are already being forced to follow the strict new recycling regime – with households juggling nine separate bins.
The containers include a silver slopbucket for food waste, which is then tipped into a green outdoor bin for kerb-side collections, a pink bag for plastic bottles, a green bag for cardboard, and a white bag for clothing and textiles.
(Thanks to reader Ruth.)
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, June 16, 11 (09:22 am)
Is this what we’ve come to?
Paul Gardner has declined to explain why he began spouting fundamental Christian views during a consultation, the Dental Board of Australia told the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal yesterday, the Geelong Advertiser reports…
Lawyer Patrick Monahan, acting for the dental board, said Mr Gardner has failed to comprehend the seriousness of his actions and was as “likely to repeat his behaviour as he ever was"…
“He wasn’t just talking, he was trying to change her view,” Mr Monahan said during a submission to have Mr Gardner suspended or disqualified for up to 18 months.
Here’s a simple solution. If you don’t like the dentist, go to another.
(Thanks to reader Encyclopedia Brown.)
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, June 16, 11 (08:02 am)
This massive re-engineering of our economy - as recommended by the Gillard Government’s global warming guru - is guaranteed to work out very differently to what was intended:
ROSS Garnaut’s proposals to transform coal-fired power generation using a carbon tax are ineffectual, too bureaucratic and create “significant fiscal risks” for power companies, according to the Gillard government’s own energy commission.
In a confidential report sent to all energy ministers and the multi-party committee working on the carbon pricing legislation, the Australian Energy Market Commission says proposals in Professor Garnaut’s electricity sector report for the government could threaten the energy market…
The report by AEMC - an adviser to the Council of Australian Governments’ Ministerial Council on Energy - warns that the proposals to provide power stations with government guarantees could lead to taxpayers footing the bill for failed generation businesses by assuming ownership and could “undermine rather than strengthen the stability of the national electricity market”.
Such things should make everyone even more suspicious about Garnaut’s lofty plans and even loftier manner. Greg Sheridan detects an egotistical man with a messiah complex:
Garnaut’s report shows a disturbing slide into egomania, with a Kim Jong-il-like introduction about how in one meeting he brought a smile, a lifting of the spirits and a recognition of the truth to the Prime Minister and associated politicians. This is really slightly nutty.
But ageing professors often decline into self-glorifying tics and gestures. His attack on Abbott was ... insulting, patronising, condescending and shrilly partisan.
More importantly, Sheridan detects a Big Government cause-pusher prone to exaggeration and misstatement:
Garnaut’s description of the international environment is wilfully misleading and flatly contradicted by the much more impressive Productivity Commission report.
Garnaut tells us that Australia is a laggard on climate policy, in danger of being left behind, that we have done less than other developed countries. But the Productivity Commission, restricted to surveying a group of countries already skewed towards those who would do more on greenhouse emissions, finds that we are about in the middle, that our efforts are fully commensurate with the US and China…
Part of the dishonesty of the Garnaut report is that it takes the windiest, or to put it more politely, most ambitious, pledges of other countries and accepts them as proven policy… To take this seriously you’d have to be barking mad. Countries can be as ambitious as they like at the declaratory level and take no action about it at all.
And Sheridan is right to deplore the Government’s trick of paying a Greek chorus to echoe its lines:
There is also something profoundly offensive to democratic practice in the way the Gillard government has shovelled out vast amounts of public money to long-term friends of the Labor Party, such as Garnaut and Tim Flannery, so that, with a wholly spurious and confected institutional credibility, they can declare: government good, opposition bad.
Ross Garnaut has an op-ed in The Age… and it is quite clear that he will simply brazen his way past the PC Report.The excellent Productivity Commission report has settled the question of whether other countries are taking action to reduce the risks of dangerous climate change. It has also played a significant role in what is now a decisive victory for carbon pricing over regulatory intervention in the battle of ideas.
Did the excellent PC report actually find that countries pursue carbon pricing over regulatory intervention? At page 48 we read
none does, eschewing broadly-based explicit pricing for a myriad of less transparent, more narrowly-focused interventions designed to assist the production and consumption of selected, less emissions-intensive technologies, or penalise particular emissions-intensive products and processes.
...After that Garnaut descends into silliness. He seems to be proposing that Australian should reduce emissions at any price and also believes that any and all changes should be included as being a consequence of policy. For example
The Productivity Commission describes how China has reduced emissions greatly from where they would have been through its forced closure of small, environmentally and economically wasteful power generators, and replaced them with technologically superior plants. This is called the “Large Substitute for Small” scheme.
The commission excludes actions under this scheme because they are profitable and so should have been taken independently of concern for climate change. It is only this exclusion that allows the judgment that Australia’s effort in the electricity sector is comparable with China’s: include it, and our effort is much smaller than China’s.
Garnaut is being far too clever here. The PC was attempting to measure abatement policy – not business model improvement. The Chinese are replacing expensive ‘dirty’ energy with cheaper slightly less ‘dirty’ energy; Australian policy is aimed at trying to replace cheap ‘dirty’ energy with expensive slightly less ‘dirty’ energy. The former is a business decision, the latter is a policy decision. Quite rightly the PC view them as being very different.
But read on. Garnaut simply cannot be trusted.
(Thanks to readers Rosemary and CA.)
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, June 16, 11 (07:13 am)
Memo to staff from ABC current affairs head Denise Eriksen, June 9:
Your colleagues in Landline have made some valid points about our coverage of the live cattle export story. The farmers concerned are not “cattle farmers”—the correct term is “beef producers” or even graziers. They are not “cows”—the cattle going to Indonesia are steers and heifers—“cows” have not been sent north for some time. And for the latte set, a steer is a male with its Jatz [crackers] removed; that is, castrated. A heifer is a female that is yet to have a calf. They are not “slaughterhouses”. The correct term is abattoir or meatworks. Cheers and thanks, Denise.
Email from ABC radio PM presenter Mark Colvin that same day:
Some valid points . . . but I see no reason not to call a slaughterhouse a slaughterhouse. “Abattoir” and “meatworks” are . . . euphemisms, brought in because slaughterhouse sounded too direct and descriptive.
Email from ABC economics correspondent Stephen Long, June 10:
I agree with Mark on “slaughterhouse”—it is an accurate description and I see no reason why we should avoid it. More broadly, with respect, I wonder if there is an element of industry capture in the terms we are being told to use on the advice of our rural reporting colleagues. It seems to me that “beef producer” or “grazier” are also terms that distance the industry from the reality that it is in the business of raising cattle for slaughter.
Email from Landline executive producer Peter Lewis to Long and Colvin, June 10:
Stephen. Good for you. I wish we were as disconnected from the daily lives of our viewers/readers/listeners to be able to make such patronising judgments about what’s good for them.
An Age reporter complains about being dragged out to see how people really work - and how government hungling will hurt them, too:
For months now the Opposition Leader has sought to lead the daily agenda, and get his face on the nightly news, by dragging gaggles of shivering (and sometimes even whimpering) journalists to fishmongers, glass pane purveyors, you name it, in order to emphasise the evil, world-as-we-know-it-slaughtering nature of the government’s imminent carbon tax.
On behalf of thin-coated journalists everywhere, I hereby concede defeat - it is clear that in any indefatigability competition, Abbott will always be the victor. Just please, for the love of god, stop taking us to Queanbeyan before we’ve had our morning coffee.
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, June 16, 11 (07:06 am)
Rowan Dean on the campaign to vilify sceptics:
WHEN you’ve run out of positive things to say in advertising, the easiest trick is to make up a monster. The uglier and more repulsive the better....
It would appear the advocates of the carbon tax have cottoned on to this trick… The climate change denier has become the Left’s favourite bogeyman, pursued with all the zeal of a witch hunt in 17th century Salem. Stupid, vain, ugly and mendacious, the climate change denier monster is anyone who questions any or all aspects of the anthropogenic global warming theory and rejects the urgent requirement of a carbon tax/ETS. This repugnant creature lurks in your neighbourhood and threatens life on earth as we know it.
“The agents of . . . planetary death will be the climate change deniers,” asserted The Sydney Morning Herald columnist and ABC presenter Richard Glover recently… “Surely it’s time for climate change deniers to have their opinions forcibly tattooed on their bodies” ...
Only weeks earlier Glover had had another stab at humorously depicting so-called climate change deniers, eagerly conflating them with the “trolls” who clutter the internet....
Elizabeth Farrelly, also of the Herald, decided that rather than creating her own monster to terrify us with, she would borrow an existing one… “[Shock jocks] are the cane toads of contemporary culture: ugly, ubiquitous, toxic to most other life forms.” There’s that planetary death threat again…
Mike Carlton (also of the Herald, is there a pattern developing here?) is also a dab hand at scaring the kiddies. When George Pell had the temerity to question the climate change orthodoxy, Carlton was ready with the ugly imagery: “Pull out a few fingernails, stretch him on the rack, a bit of how’s-yer-father with a red hot poker.” Carlton was trying to paint a picture of the medieval religious mind-set....
“The third lot of climate denial ratbags are those tabloid media pundits cynically banging the populist drum to drag in the hordes of bogan nongs out there.
“These are people who believe they are beset by a cabal of lefties, Greenies, gays, femi-Nazis, Muslims, venal and incompetent public servants and latte-sipping intellectuals conspiring to deprive them of all they hold dear, like their inalienable right to own a jet-ski and to name their children Breeyanna and Jaxxon.”
That’s a lot of condescension and hate to pack into one paragraph.
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, June 16, 11 (06:59 am)
It’s fascinating how Ross Garnaut’s grand vision pops at the slightest pressure from some sceptical citizen off the street:
Ms (Lynda) Waller, 63, owns Riggalls Drapery in Morwell, a town in the heart of the valley that is home to Victoria’s brown-coal power stations…
Professor Garnaut last night addressed a public meeting in Churchill, about 10km south of Morwell, to explain his recent climate change review. He admitted the Latrobe Valley was under particular threat, with unemployment likely to rise significantly....
“But ... there’s a rich menu of innovation options that could turn those (coal) resources into low emissions.
“One is geosequestration, the capture and storage of carbon in geological structures. If it’s going to work anywhere in the world it’s going to work in this region (and) it should be a major focus of effort.”
Ms Waller wasn’t convinced by the carbon capture-and-storage suggestion. “Has it been proven?” she asked. “Isn’t it all a little bit airy-fairy?”
Professor Garnaut conceded geosequestration wasn’t yet a proven technology, and innovation around the use of brown coal might ultimately not work.
Oh. So is there a plan B?
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, June 16, 11 (06:53 am)
I’ll say it again - Kevin Rudd’s strategy is to be so popular that the Labor MPs who hate his guts realise he’s their only hope of survival:
Kevin Rudd has a plan to get back in the Lodge even if it means a stint in opposition first, according to Labor sources who insist the Foreign Minister is barely hiding his ambition to lead the party again.
But while the man Labor dumped as prime minister for Julia Gillard a year ago has nowhere near the caucus numbers, there is a small group of backbenchers now wondering if Mr Rudd might be a viable alternative to the current Prime Minister.
Plummeting polling results for the Labor Government have sparked a public rally of support for Ms Gillard from the party’s factional powerbrokers.
But some backbenchers, including some who just two months ago told The Canberra Times that Mr Rudd had no hope of regaining the leadership, are now either wavering or quietly offering support for the former prime minister.
(Thanks to reader John.)
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, June 16, 11 (06:49 am)
Don’t tell me the deal is in trouble, nearly six weeks after Julia Gillard announced it. That’s so unexpected:
THE Gillard government’s planned refugee swap with Malaysia has hit a potentially serious snag, with the United Nations refugee agency failing to give its immediate blessing.
In a sign that a deal is still not assured, the government has quietly sent a delegation to Switzerland to meet top officials of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in a bid to win their support.
UNHCR endorsement of the so-called ‘’Malaysia solution’’ will be critical for the government to secure backbench support and to counter suggestions that the deal will abrogate Australia’s human rights and child protection responsibilities.
And is Kevin Rudd, the foreign minister with such allegedly close ties to the UN, helping to solve this embarrassing foreign affairs problem?
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, June 16, 11 (12:02 am)
The Gillard Government’s global warming guru, Ross Garnaut, confirms that Australia, acting alone, will make close to zero difference at all on the world’s temperature:
Colvin: And what would you say to those people who say Australia’s input alone wouldn’t be enough to have any effect really on the world’s atmosphere?
So the pain is only worth the gain if we inspire most other countries to make comparable sacrifices - and especially China and the US.
The problem is that what we do be matched by virtually no other country. For all our pain there will be zero gain.
(Thanks to reader Janet.)
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 15, 11 (02:05 pm)
We may be in for some cooling:
Scientists say the Sun, which roils with flares and electromagnetic energy every 11 years or so could go into virtual hibernation after the current cycle of high activity, reducing temperatures on Earth.
As the current sunspot cycle, Cycle 24, begins to ramp up toward maximum, scientists from the National Solar Observatory (NSO) and the Air Force Research Laboratory independently found that the Sun’s interior, visible surface, and corona indicate that the next 11-year solar sunspot cycle, Cycle 25, will be greatly reduced or may not happen at all…
“This is highly unusual and unexpected,” stated Dr. Frank Hill, associate director of the NSO’s Solar Synoptic Network, in a statement. “But the fact that three completely different views of the Sun point in the same direction is a powerful indicator that the sunspot cycle may be going into hibernation. .
(Thanks to many readers.)
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 15, 11 (01:10 pm)
Climate Commissioner Tim Flannery in 2005 warned of permanent drought in NSW, thanks to global warming:
But since 1998 particularly, we’ve seen just drought, drought, drought, and particularly regions like Sydney and the Warragamba catchment - if you look at the Warragamba catchment figures, since ‘98, the water has been in virtual freefall, and they’ve got about two years of supply left, but something will need to change in order to see the catchment start accumulating water again.... So when the models start confirming what you’re observing on the ground, then there’s some fairly strong basis for believing that we’re understanding what’s causing these weather shifts and these rainfall declines, and they do seem to be of a permanent nature…
Well, the worst-case scenario for Sydney is that the climate that’s existed for the last seven years continues for another two years. In that case, Sydney will be facing extreme difficulties with water.
Total available storage as at 3pm Thursday, 9 June 2011 is 74.8%, an increase of 0.3% since last Thursday.
Tim Flannery claims:
There are islands in the Torres Strait that are already being evacuated and are feeling the impacts (of global warming).
During a visit to the TSI recently (May 2011) I was told by community leaders on Dauan Island that plans are being made to evacuate the people of Saibai Island to Dauan. It was unclear when the evacuation might occur, only that at high tide parts of Saibai are already under water.
So several “islands” turns out to be just one, and an evacuation already occurring is in fact just an unfinished plan by unnamed people for some undetermined future.
A small insight into the Flannery style.
(Thanks to reader Trevor, who obtained the response.)
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 15, 11 (11:17 am)
The biter bit:
Ms Roxon has admitted her office wrote to three executives at Philip Morris International in 2005 inviting them to support her re-election by attending a $1500-a-table fundraiser.
But Ms Roxon said the letters were sent in error and accused big tobacco companies of trying to discredit her to halt the introduction of plain packaged cigarettes.