Wednesday, June 22, 2011

News items and comments

ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE

Tim Blair – Wednesday, June 22, 11 (10:09 am)

“Liar. Incompetent. Disappointing. Dishonest.” – The most popular terms used to describe Prime Minister Julia Gillard in an ABC online survey.

“God. Nasal. Class traitor. Communist. Robotic. Sexy. Blah.” – Some of the more unusual responses from the ABC survey. In other online survey developments, Ballarat needs your opinion.

UPDATE. Your views on Tony Abbott, in three words.

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PSYCHO JILLER

Tim Blair – Wednesday, June 22, 11 (09:11 am)

If Jill Singer had sent this to a climate scientist, it would probably count as a death threat:

Put your strong views to the test by exposing yourselves to high concentrations of either carbon dioxide or some other colourless, odourless gas – say, carbon monoxide.

You wouldn’t see or smell anything. Nor would your anti-science nonsense be heard of again. How very refreshing.

Add this to the growing pile of evidence that while the right prefers leftists to keep talking, the left want conservatives to shut up.

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LOGO NOT SETTLED

Tim Blair – Wednesday, June 22, 11 (09:03 am)

Important science news:

The CSIRO has spent tens of thousands of dollars in recent months on marketing and design consultancies to update its logo ...

The CSIRO’s senior media spokesman Huw Morgan said … the proposed logo update was ‘’still in at the conceptual and market testing stage’’ and was not ‘’a drastic change’’ from the current logo, which has been in use for 14 years.

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MIRA REFLECTS

Tim Blair – Tuesday, June 21, 11 (12:05 pm)

Mira Adler-Gillies, said to be a Melbourne University PhD student, writes at The Drum:

The possible elimination of the State of Israel does not imply the elimination of Jews.

Well, everything’s just fine then. No problemo, Mira. Readers are invited to locate their preferred academic wank-phrase in her piece, which could have been assembled by a sad robot programmed to scan and recycle the world’s least-readable humanities essays. Included are:

• false elision
• nominal sacralisation
• historiography
• dialectical cycle

And a personal favourite, familiar to anyone who ever survived first-year sociology:

• authenticity

(Via James J.)

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ILLUMINATION ALAMO

Tim Blair – Tuesday, June 21, 11 (12:03 pm)

The Lone Star state stands tall against the forces of darkness:

State lawmakers have passed a bill that allows Texans to skirt federal efforts to promote more efficient light bulbs, which ultimately pushes the swirled, compact fluorescent bulbs over the 100-watt incandescent bulbs many grew up with.

The measure, sent to Gov. Rick Perry for consideration, lets any incandescent light bulb manufactured in Texas - and sold in that state - avoid the authority of the federal government or the repeal of the 2007 energy independence act that starts phasing out some incandescent light bulbs next year.

“Let there be light,” state Rep. George Lavender, R-Texarkana, wrote on Facebook after the bill passed.

Via Gerard H., who emails: “God bless Texas.” Australian solar enthusiasts aren’t quite so gleeful:

‘’People are receiving their first bills after installing solar and they expect big drops but for a range of reasons that hasn’t been the experience for some,’’ says the Energy and Water Ombudsman for Victoria, Fiona McLeod.

‘’They may have been mis-sold installations that are really too small,’’ she says. ‘’They have, basically, been misled about the savings.’’

That seems to be a frequent outcome with solar deals.

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VOTE STEVED

Tim Blair – Tuesday, June 21, 11 (10:52 am)

So much for the plebiscite:

Family First Senator Steve Fielding has killed Tony Abbott’s proposed carbon tax plebiscite, calling it an “$80m glorified opinion poll”.

Despite two meetings yesterday with the Opposition Leader over the detail of the proposed plebiscite, Senator Fielding decided overnight to reject it.

And that’s that. Oddly enough, and despite the fact that many readers will disagree with Fielding’s position, he’s acted more independently than most of the independents in the lower house.

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Note on the Fly

by DON BOUDREAUX on JUNE 21, 2011

in TRADE

Even though there is absolutely no reason to give special treatment to people who lose their jobs to imports as opposed to other sources of demand shifts that are unrelated to trade across international borders, Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for workers who lose their jobs to imports is typically justified as a low-cost means of smoothing the road to freer trade.

But today TAA is a boulder blocking the road to freer trade.

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Some Links

by DON BOUDREAUX on JUNE 21, 2011

in BOOKS,GROWTH,LAW,WAL-MART,WAR

Glenn Reynolds reviews my GMU (Law) colleague David Bernstein’s important new book, Rehabilitating Lochner.

David Price reviews Deirdre McCloskey’s Bourgeois Dignity.… as does Steve Horwitz and Andy Morriss.

Here’s Pacific Legal Foundation scholar Timothy Sandefur on Wal-Mart’s recent victory in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Bryan Caplan on Paul Krugman on non-”liberals.”

Shikha Dalmia writes reasonably about today’s U.S. military involvement in Libya.

I’m eager to read Donald Luskin’s (and Andrew Greta’s) I Am John Galt.

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Here’s another letter to the Los Angeles Times:

Jonah Goldberg says that the U.S. should continue its unwise military intervention in Libya because “if you invest America’s and NATO’s prestige in an obstreperous North African backwater, you’d better recoup a worthwhile return on that investment” (“Libya and America’s commitment problem,” June 21).

Mr. Goldberg mistakenly assumes that ousting Col. Qaddafi is necessarily “a worthwhile return.” But would Qaddafi’s ouster be worthwhile if it consumes a full year’s worth of U.S. GDP? Surely not. How about a half-year’s worth? No. So if the value of ousting that madman is not unlimited, Mr. Goldberg cannot possibly know that continued expenditures on this front will eventually yield “a worthwhile return.”

No private firm continues pouring resources into efforts, say, to develop a new product once that firm realizes that the value of the new product – even if it’s eventually produced – will be lower than the value of the additional resources required to bring it to market.

Instead, when a private firm discovers that its efforts to develop a new product are failing, it shifts resources from the failing venture to more promising ventures. Rivals of that firm don’t conclude that it is therefore a weakling ripe for otherwise daunting competitive challenges. And investors don’t conclude that that firm is so lacking in determination that further investments in it are unwise. Quite the opposite. Firms that persist in losing efforts perish. Successful firms, in contrast, are less interested in proving their mulishness than in marshaling their scarce resources wisely.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux

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Here’s a letter to the Los Angeles Times:

Jonah Goldberg says that, although American military intervention in Libya is unwise, an end now to this intervention would send a signal to tyrants everywhere that “the West’s bark is worse than its bite” (“Libya and America’s commitment problem,” June 21).

Perhaps. But it’s more likely that the signal that withdrawal now from Libya would send is that, because Uncle Sam doesn’t persist in wasting resources on unimportant fronts, the U.S. military will have more resources to deploy and concentrate on fronts judged to be more pressing.

If you were contemplating an armed attack on America, would the fact that American resources are currently mired in campaigns of dubious importance, indeterminate length, and unpredictable outcome really make you less likely to launch your attack?

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux

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Does this plot of data from 1948 through 2010 suggest that mild doses of inflation promote job creation? (From Renee Courtois Haltom, “What Drives Changes in Economic Thought?” Region Focus, First Quarter 2011 [Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond]; this graph is on page 14.)

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A good week for thinking about Adam Smith

by RUSS ROBERTS on JUNE 20, 2011

in ADAM SMITH

Here is my colleague Dan Klein talking about Smith. And next Monday’s EconTalk is Jim Otteson talking about Smith. I’ve learned a lot from all three of them.

Adam Smith: An Overview of His Ethical Vision from Daniel B. Klein on Vimeo.

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Why didn’t the CSIRO add the temperature data?

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 22, 11 (09:23 am)

The CSIRO invites the public to a new web site to see how man’s gasses are threatening the planet:

image

But Professor Sinclair Davidson notes a strange absence from that graphic - the temperature data. After all, we’re told the real reason to fear our carbon dioxide emissions is that they will allegedly cause the planet to overheat dangerously.

So Davidson adds the Australian temperature data himself and ... oh. dear. You can see why the CSIRO would rather not show evidence suggesting the link between rising emissions and temperature may not be as robust as it claims:

image

I do not have a similar graphic which superimposes the world temperature, but I doubt it would be much different, especially over the past decade. Perhaps readers could supply it in comments below.

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Only now is the deal unveiled

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 22, 11 (09:19 am)

I’VE been around a while, but can’t recall a multiculturalist offering their deal before this sale.

I mean this deal: that if we take in more refugees and other immigrants we’ll have to suck it up if some go feral.

We’ll have to accept that a little violence and us-against-you tribalism is just the inevitable way.

I’m sure many of us would have said, well, in that case shut the doors now.

I say this because of the extraordinary explanation we got for an extraordinary outburst following an extraordinary decision in a NSW court on Monday.

Carnita Matthews is a 47-year-old Muslim who was stopped by a policeman for a random breath test.

When Sgt Paul Fogarty then booked Matthews for not properly displaying her P-plates, she exploded.

“You look at me and see me wearing this and you couldn’t handle it,” she screamed, pointing at the burqa covering her face.

“All cops are racist ... I’ll take you to court.”

Two days later a woman in a hijab identifying herself as Matthews called in at the Campbelltown police station and signed a statutory declaration claiming Fogarty had tried to tear off her veil.

In fact, a camera in his car showed him reaching for a breathalyser and gesturing to Matthews to lift her veil, but not touching it.

Matthews was jailed for six months for making a false statement, but on Monday was cleared in the District Court when a judge said he was not satisfied it was she who handed in the false complaint, since the police hadn’t asked her to show her face.

Racist to even ask for a veil to be removed; powerless if you don’t.

Mad enough, and another warning that the word “racist” is now not a complaint but a weapon.

But then more than a dozen Muslim men “celebrated” the win by linking arms around Matthews, chanting Allahu Ahkbar, jostling police, shouting abuse and attacking TV cameramen.

Matthews’ lawyer, Stephen Hopper, was asked about the uproar, and replied: “They are obviously happy with the result and are expressing it in a way that is culturally appropriate to them.”

Pardon? Is manhandling police and journalists really a “culturally appropriate” way to express pleasure?

Which culture? And what else does it deem “appropriate”? I think we should have been told when we still had the chance to say “no, thanks”.

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Save the planet! Gas the sceptics

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 22, 11 (09:07 am)

Global warming is the latest refuge of the closet totalitarian, as warming alarmist Jill Singer today confirms:

I’m prepared to keep an open mind and propose another stunt for climate sceptics - put your strong views to the test by exposing yourselves to high concentrations of either carbon dioxide or some other colourless, odourless gas - say, carbon monoxide.

You wouldn’t see or smell anything. Nor would your anti-science nonsense be heard of again. How very refreshing.

There is a freaky coincidence of views among such warmists. Take ABC radio presenter Richard Glover a fortnight ago:

Surely it’s time for climate-change deniers to have their opinions forcibly tattooed on their bodies.

Sense a pattern here? A historical analogy?

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It’s the warmists who threaten science

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 22, 11 (07:22 am)

ANNA-Maria Arabia has let her warmist cat out of its mangy bag.
You see, there’s one telltale thing with every Leftist threat to freedom and to reason.

It’s some fool saying, “Stop thinking for yourself!” Join instead the collective for the sake of the Revolution! The Fatherland. The Leader.

Arabia is the chief executive officer

of the Federation of Australian Science and Technological Societies (FASTS) and this week launched a campaign against what she claims is the damage done to science by climate change “denialists”.

I assume she means a campaign against the damage done by horrible sceptics like me, but since she point-blank refused yesterday to speak to me on MTR, talking to my colleague Luke Grant instead as I listened silently, I haven’t been able to ask her directly.

But here’s how she’s explained FASTS’ “respect the science” campaign - and try to spot that unmistakable sign of the Left.

Sceptics are"undermining the national building work of all scientists”, claims Arabia.

“The valuable and credible work of all scientists is under attack as a result of a noisy misinformation campaign by climate denialists.

“It’s in the nation’s interests that our political leaders now lead the community forward on this critical issue.”

Well, you spotted it. Her appeal for us all to shut up for the sake of “the national building work of all scientists” is not just illiberal, but seems to me to make science - which should be about unfettered truth - subordinated instead to some political goal.

That’s sinister. It’s also not in the great scientific tradition, unless your name is Wernher von Braun.

After all, the cry of the scientist should be “Eureka!”, not “baa”.

I’m also alarmed by Arabia’s abusive phrase “climate denialists”. Who is denying climate? The phrase is preposterous and not truthful.

Also misleading is Arabia’s claim that the work of “all scientists” is undermined by “climate denialists” - which I assume means people who doubt man is causing the planet to warm dangerously.

If so, these “climate denialists” include some of the world’s greatest climate scientists, such as Richard Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Is Arabia, no climate scientist herself and with not even a PhD to her name, seriously claiming that Lindzen is undermining “all scientists”, including himself, with his research?

And what undermines science most: a Professor Tim Flannery predicting no more river-filling rains, thanks to man-made warming, or a sceptic like me pointing to the floods and noting one more warmist claim gone bust?

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Labor must pick another class war to survive

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 22, 11 (07:20 am)

LABOR’S problem isn’t just Julia Gillard. Labor’s problem is now Labor.

This proud party is dying in almost every corner of the land.

Everywhere, its sense of purpose seems gone, with its supporters fatally split between urban elites and the strugglers of the outer suburbs.

Yesterday’s Newspoll from South Australia just confirms the astonishing self-destruction of Labor only three years after it held every state, federal and territory government.

In South Australia it is still in power, but trails the Opposition by 46 per cent to 54, after preferences.

In NSW, Labor was smashed at the March election, winning just 36 per cent of the two-party-preferred vote.

In Queensland, the Labor Government seems certain to be slaughtered at the next election, due by next March, with Newspoll giving it just 40 per cent of the two-party-preferred vote.

In Tasmania, pollster EMRS in May had Labor on a bare 25 per cent, only just ahead of the Greens on 22, with the Liberal Opposition on 48.

In Western Australia, Newspoll in April had Labor on just 43 per cent of the preferred vote to the Barnett Liberal Government’s 57.

The margin in Victoria is tighter, but even in this, the mainland’s reddest state, Labor last year lost office.

And federally, Labor is headed for disaster. Newspoll has the Gillard Government at a desperate 45 to 55, while Nielsen says it’s even worse - 41 to 59 .

Each case has its different causes. Federally, Gillard has cruelled Labor through sheer ineptitude and broken promises.

In Victoria, Labor wasted too much money and stayed too long, while in NSW it put on a ghastly clown show of pratfalls, scandals and back-stabbing.

South Australian Labor managed to score a first for Australia - to have both a Premier and Deputy Premier given black eyes by angry locals after doing what they shouldn’t. The loss of moral authority has been profound.

Yet it cannot be mere coincidence that Labor everywhere is not just in trouble, but deep, deep strife. It seems likelier that a wider cultural shift has caught out the party, making it struggle for relevance or a reason to be.

That shift has been a change in the class division that Labor once exploited.

Labor once had a natural constituency. The bosses and the rich tended to be conservatives, wanting to protect the society that had made them winners. The workers, especially the unionists, tended to vote Labor, wanting more of that jam.

This divide is not gone, but it is nowhere near as defined. Many unionists are now relatively rich themselves.

A miner on $150,000 can lose the taste for revolution, and grow a strong aversion to government waste and handouts when he sees how much of his pay gets snaffled by Canberra.

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The Chief Scientist is horrified that deceits are nailed

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 22, 11 (07:04 am)

The Chief Scientist is horrified that wild claims should be questioned by non-experts like ... er, himself:

AUSTRALIA’S Chief Scientist, Ian Chubb, has lamented the quality of public debate on climate change, saying it ‘’ on appalling and the level of scientific literacy among politicians is ‘’ high.

Like the politicians who claim a tax on Australia’s emissions will change the climate? Wo seriously claim the Great Barrier Reef is in terrible danger? Who told us southern Australia was in a drought caused by global warming?

Those scientists, or different ones?

In his first big speech since his appointment by the Gillard government in April, Professor Chubb rejected accusations that he was partisan because he believed that ‘’ science is in on climate change.

What science precisely is “settled”? That man-made emissions caused the drought that has actually ended? Would cause an increase in cyclones that never eventuated? That would cause the disappearance of snow that still falls? That would drive up temperatures that have actually not risen for a decade? The would melt away the entire Arctic ice cap that is actually still there?

Which science is settled?

‘’, I don’t think that’s partisan. I think that I can read English - as Ross Garnaut once said - and understand it. And I think that the evidence is overwhelming,’’ he said at the National Press Club.

Gosh. I can read English, too. So Chubb and I are equally equipped to make a judgement. And when a scientist tells me our emissions will cause X, and then non-X happens, I believe I have the wit to draw a conclusion. And a duty to point out that the alarmist has no clothes.

Recently, prominent climate scientists have reported receiving death threats, and actress Cate Blanchett was criticised for fronting an ad campaign in support of a carbon price.

‘’I think attacking people because they’re giving a message is appalling. I think that some of the language that’s used is bordering on the hysterical,’’ Professor Chubb said.

Blanchett was not attacked for giving a message. I criticised Blanchett for fronting an ad that made false and grotesquely unscientific claims that should horrify a Chief Scientist. They included claims that Julia Gillard’s tax would remove carbon, not carbon dioxide; that it would create jobs, not kill them; and that it would turn black skies clear, when carbon dioxide is an invisible gas.

Why did none of that scientific and economic illiteracy horrify the Chief Scientist?

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State-paid opining

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 22, 11 (07:01 am)

ABC host Deborah Cameron presents an ABC perspective:

Are the climate change deniers and big lobby groups being aided and abetted by economists who have sold their souls? Who can you trust? How can you know anything is true in this debate? Also, we’ll ask Australia’s leading economist Professor Garnaut, has he been threatened with his life for the advice he is giving government? Also, stunts. Some people say Mr Abbott might win an Oscar for some of his.

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Holding guru Garnaut to account

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 22, 11 (06:57 am)

Geoff Carmody has questions for Ross Garnaut:

The government’s climate change adviser Ross Garnaut concedes concern about loss of trade competitiveness is the most important single impediment to securing a global deal. In light of the commission’s report, it would be useful for Garnaut and others to provide public, evidence-based, answers, rather than mere assertions, to the following questions:

First, do they agree with the commission’s findings that, of the countries examined, Australia’s emissions reductions effort is in the middle of the range and, if not, what evidence supports their disagreement?

Second, can they reconcile the finding that Australia is in the middle of the pack on emissions abatement with Garnaut’s assertions that Australia is “falling behind” on emissions abatement?

Third, in praising the Chinese effort on emissions abatement, does Garnaut exclude its Large Substitute for Small program? This is the policy under which the Chinese shut down small, inefficient and highly polluting generators and replace them with lower cost big ones. The commission excluded the program because the emissions abatement is a by-product of moving to more efficient energy production at a negative cost. That is, the LSS is a “no regrets” policy. Such technological advances have already been undertaken by developed countries such as Australia and certainly don’t count as part of our emissions reductions efforts.

And Carmody adds:

I’m prepared to bet the Treasurer’s recent claims that a carbon tax of about $20 a tonne will have a minor effect on Australian per capita incomes assumes our trade competitors also take action as part of a global deal… Suppose that, under government instruction or otherwise, the Treasury modelling makes this assumption… If this sort of risk management were applied in a company it could have the board sacked.

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It isn’t radical to ask a politician to keep her word

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 22, 11 (06:28 am)

Paul Kelly draws the very longest of bows:

The plebiscite on the carbon tax proposed by Tony Abbott is not smart politics. It does not assist Abbott’s cause or his standing. It suggests the Coalition needs stunts, not sound argument, to buttress its case. It will give Julia Gillard hope the Liberal Party campaign, sooner or later, will run out of political gas. It is a mistake for the Liberal Party to propose “government by plebiscite"… It defies the principles of representative democracy that have served Australia well. There is one certainty: the notion is inconsistent with the principles of conservatism that Abbott is supposed to uphold.

It suggests, in fact, that Abbott may be the most radical leader in Liberal Party history ...

The plebiscite idea may be smart politics, dumb politics or, more likely, inconclusive politics. But whatever you conclude there are three things it is not:

- no, it is not a declaration that the Liberals propose “government by plebiscite”. The Liberals would also accept governments have a general mandate to govern, and to implement new policies in response to unforeseen or changed events. This plebiscite is a one-off proposed to remedy something different and very specific: the lack of any mandate for a policy that is being imposed in direct and needless contradiction of a solemn, election-saving promise not to do exactly what is being done.

- no, this is not anti-democratic. To demand that politicians seek a mandate before cynically, wilfully and needlessly breaking a promise that stole them an election is not a threat to democracy but a defence of it.

- no, insisting a government honor a promise it has every power to keep is not inconsistent with the principles of conservatism, but in fundamental accord. Conservatives believe in the web of trust and moral obligations that bind individuals into a community.

So no of the above justifies describing Abbott as “the most radical leader in Liberal Party history”. That is a hugely overblown conclusion to draw from the very thinnest evidence.

No, radical is to steal an election with a promise, and then set out to dramatically change the entire economy - even people’s lifestyles - with a tax that 146 of the 150 members of the House of Representatives promised only months earlier to oppose.

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A party to celebrate “collective achievements”

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 22, 11 (06:23 am)

Andrew Landeryou says Kevin Rudd is innocent. It wasn’t an “Assassination Party”, and he has the invitation to prove it. Or prove something.

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No warmist should be eating pizzas

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 22, 11 (06:15 am)

Ann Althouse flips over the warming-preachy New York Times:

Does the NYT care about the carbon footprint of its wonderful pizza-cooking technique?

Heat the oven and pizza stone at 500 degrees for one hour...”

Oh, hell! Shut up about my light bulbs. Just. Shut. The. F.... Up.

If you people really believed in global warming in the form that you would like to foist that belief on the common folk, that quoted line above would have sounded to you as something on the moral level of first, torture a small, cute kitten....

(Via Instapundit.)

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I can drive around Afghanistan, and see slow progress

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 22, 11 (06:09 am)

Michael Yon writes from Afghanistan, saying there is progress in a battle that must take an age:

In Iraq, a government was shattered and rebuilt. In Afghanistan, there was no government to shatter. Afghanistan was just an area where a lot of people lived, and today it’s being built up from mud and sticks. For instance, there was not a single meter of paved road in Ghor Province.

A country is being built from scratch… We must be honest about what we can accomplish. This is a century-long process…

Petraeus told me that at its peak, violence in Iraq was four times higher than current violence is here. This seems about right. I can drive around Afghanistan in many places. I’ve been back in Kabul for almost two weeks and have not heard a single gunshot or explosion, though I did feel an earthquake.

This isn’t Baghdad. During peak times in Iraq, you couldn’t go 30 minutes in Baghdad without seeing or hearing something. The most dangerous city in Afghanistan is Kandahar, yet I have driven around Kandahar many times, including recently, without a shred of armor. I could never have survived this in Fallujah, Basra, Baghdad, Baquba or Mosul. I have driven this year, without troops, to places in Afghanistan where last year I would have almost certainly been killed, such as Panjwai. You don’t need thick intelligence reports to translate those realities.

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Hawke ill

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 22, 11 (05:58 am)

He seems in no danger, but wish him the best:

FORMER prime minister Bob Hawke has been admitted to hospital in Sydney.

Senior health department sources have confirmed that Mr Hawke, 81, was admitted to St Vincent’s Private Hospital last week.

It is believed he is suffering from a severe case of pneumonia.

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But doesn’t this mean my beachside property is worthless?

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, June 21, 11 (05:56 pm)

Retired merchant banker Ted Rule is sent into a panic by Climate Change Minister Greg Combet:

It was quite a shock this morning when I opened my newspapers to the news ”Shopping centres, office buildings, roads and railways worth $226 billion could be at risk if climate change causes the sea level to rise around one metre by 2100.” ...

This shocked me. You see I own a couple of properties quite close to the waterline ...If what was being said was true, smart investors would be unloading their properties with a degree of urgency.

I decided to check with the professionals who know about these things, real estate agents. I found my own agent in her office, painting her nails bright red… Yes, my agent told me, there had been some recent decline in seaside properties outside the capital cities. But she didn’t seem to have been reading the right things because she totally mistakenly believed that this was due to the GFC and the availability of capital for “lifestyle investments”. “Share prices collapsed, margin calls, what else could they do but sell the beach house”. “But but…” I stammered, but this only seemed to spur her on. “If you pull your head out of the sand for five minutes and take a look at the prices of beachside suburban properties you’ll see that they haven’t moved down and in some instances have boomed.” This I found profoundly disturbing.

To get further analysis of the situation I called in on my accountant… To my surprise he was mystified. “The problem is that I don’t quite see how they could’ve got that $226 billion number. We’re talking 100 years in the future, aren’t we? Well several issues here. Firstly, a true indication of future value would have to take into account depreciation. These things are pretty arbitrary but the tax depreciation scales are a reasonable measure of how we might see value depreciate and they allow a straight line depreciation of 2.5% per annum. So if we take this year as the last year that anybody would be stupid enough to build anything anywhere near the places which Mr. Combet tells us will be under water in 100 years time, then I guess that in 40 years time, well short of the 100 years, their value will be zero. And with the possible terrible consequences of which Mr. Combet and the authors of this report have been kind enough to remind us, I can’t imagine that anybody will be stupid enough to build or even repair anything in that area. So the actual losses to property in 100 years time will be zero. Incidentally this is well before we go into any more sophisticated time value of money measures. Are they talking 2011 dollars and why? ....”

Read on. it makes Combet seem either a fool or a fraud.

(Thanks to reader Chris.)

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Who won’t baa with the mob?

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, June 21, 11 (05:39 pm)

One of the following men - both guests on Q&A - is an adult, to judge by his reply to a question on which party best represents Gen Y:

Internet electronics entrepreneur Ruslan Kogan:

About the carbon tax and Australians - you know, we’re forgiving people and we can accept a lot of things but we can’t accept a liar. Now, if a politician lied 20 years ago then there’d be ways of covering it up and there’d be all different media spin that you could do to it…

But these days there’s YouTube videos for it, there’s evidence of it, there’s - I don’t know. That’s something I can’t forgive but in terms of which party is more Gen-Y, yeah, I’d probably - I’d agree that the Liberal is. They’re the ones that are enforcing less of a nanny state. They’re the ones that, you know - the Gen-Y we Google everything. We find answers. We don’t need a nanny state. We don’t need someone out there making all these sorts of decisions for us and what we can and we can’t do and making laws for absolutely everything. It’s demeaning to our generation. We’re smart enough to make our own choices so I definitely agree that, you know, the Liberal Party would be more Gen-Y.

Comedian Josh Thomas:

Well, I mean, it’s - I voted for the Greens in the last election because they were the only party that I believed, the only party that I felt were talking about something that they actually agreed with. Sorry about my hair. But I think - no, I think the Greens are the right party for young people because they’re kind of idealistic and they’ve lovely and they like big hugs and trees and when you’re young you should be filled with hope for the future. We should leave it to old people to worry about all the other stuff, which I think is probably more damning to the Greens than a compliment.

One of them also the courage to stand against the mob:

RUSLAN KOGAN: The issue with this whole carbon tax and global warming thing for me is, you know, I’m a global warming sceptic. I’m a global cooling sceptic. I’m a Elvis is still alive sceptic. You know, the thing with this issue is you’ve got important people out there saying the debate is over. The time to act is now. You know, this is a scientific issue. Science is based on debating every single hypothesis.

TONY JONES: But hang on. Can I just ask you this…

RUSLAN KOGAN: Yeah.

TONY JONES: ...evidently you don’t believe in the scientists?

RUSLAN KOGAN: No, I believe the scientists but there’s…

JOSH THOMAS: Which ones?

FUZZY AGOLLEY: Yeah, which ones?

RUSLAN KOGAN: There’s scientists saying very valid arguments on both sides of the equation. There’s just as much proof for one thing as there is for the other. Now, yeah, I think that’s the question to be answered.

Note Jones’ false claim that Kogan is against “the scientists”, as if they come with only one opinion?

Watch here.

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Early entry

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, June 21, 11 (01:02 pm)

Thom Woodroofe makes an early bid for my Rose-Coloured Glasses Award by suggesting we say sorry to Kevin Rudd for our misjudgements of Julia Gillard’s tireless toiler:

The fourth occurred last week when a stone cold walk through the corridors of parliament was reported to show the depth of the anger between the two. What was missed was the fact the two had just come from a private meeting, no doubt proving they are working together.

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A vote Gillard should welcome

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, June 21, 11 (12:14 pm)

Terry McCrann says Tony Abbott offers to make an honest woman of Julia Gillard:

OF course Tony Abbott’s call for a special plebiscite on Julia Gillard’s carbon (dioxide) tax is a political stunt.

But it is a stunt which has real substance, is entirely appropriate, and skewers the prime minister on her own very personal political deceit.

Abbott’s stunt only has legs because of Gillard’s very own lie. “There will be no carbon tax . . .”

If offers her a means of making an honest woman of herself. What gives it real potency, is that it demands she do so. By making the next election the appropriate plebiscite on the tax.

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Just harden up

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, June 21, 11 (11:28 am)

I am very grateful that Professor James Allan was one of the speakers last night in what was quite an overwhelming event for me:

LAST night nearly 600 people in Melbourne paid to attend an evening in support of free speech. The audience and speakers were also there to support columnist Andrew Bolt who has been taken to court for an opinion he voiced in the Herald Sun. The legislation that allows that sort of speech-stifling action is terrible legislation in my view, and so I was happy to be one of five invited speakers.

The gist of my remarks were that the fight for free speech and the liberty to speak up on public issues - issues not excluding who we want to receive affirmative action or group rights-type benefits that attach only to a special few in society - is a fight that will never go away....

And those who attended were not just supporting Bolt but freedom of speech and of liberty more generally. Because let me blunt. In my view this Racial Discrimination Act, the part amended by the Racial Vilification Act that gives us section 18C and in some circumstances makes hurting someone else’s feelings, is awful.

Think about it. Someone’s subjective sense of being offended or humiliated has been made determinative of whether an unlawful act has been committed, subject to a few exemptions in section 18D.

That’s a terrible statutory provision. It ought to be repealed. Now…

The only sort of free speech that matters is the sort that offends some people somewhere… I think that in any well-functioning democracy it is incumbent on all citizens to grow a thick skin. If you’re offended, tell us why the speaker is wrong. Tell us why he or she is misguided or has defective moral antennae. Don’t go to court and seek a court-ordered apology, or orders prohibiting publication of views you find offensive, or some two-bit judicial declaration.

And as a legislator under no circumstances pass statutes that allow for the creation of this mutant, half-baked right not to be offended. The very fact that people can be dragged through the courts - whatever the ultimate outcome - has a massive chilling effect on free speech. I know it. You know it. And our legislators ought to know it too, and do something about repealing this terrible piece of legislation.

UPDATE

I should thank all the other speakers - David Kemp, Michael Kroger, Paul Howes and the sensational Mark Steyn - as well as those who sent supportive messages, including John Howard and Tony Abbott.

Steve Kates has written up the night - and the issues at stake:

I went along to hear Andrew Bolt speak last night about what neither he nor anyone else is permitted to discuss in public. As he said, unlike most occasions rather than having his speaking notes, he had his must-not-speak notes. Everyone knew what he was talking about, but no one actually said it out loud. Think of that.

Steve is right: Mark Steyn’s contribution last night was brilliant. When the video is available I’ll post it.

UPDATE

More from Andrew McIntyre, who is most kind:

In a very moving gesture of solidarity with Andrew Bolt over his recent trial under the Racial Vilification Act, well over 500 people turned out last night to listen to several speakers arguing the importance of free speech in Australia.

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My three words on Abbott "Brilliant, courageous and responsible."
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Even now Bolt doesn't admit the corruption in Victoria, like the politicization of the police, watchdogs and teachers.
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www.foxnews.com
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blogs.news.com.au
Sarrah Le Marquand is an associate editor and bi-weekly columnist.



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