Tim Blair – Wednesday, July 06, 11 (12:19 pm)
It wouldn’t look right if Prime Minister Gillard were to fly all over Australia promoting her carbon tax. So she’s settled on a low emissions alternative instead:
I will be wearing out my shoe leather literally, Mister Speaker, around the country, making sure that Australian families who want answers about the carbon pricing package get those answers.
Approximate distances from Canberra to various Australian capitals:
Start walking, Julia.
Tim Blair – Wednesday, July 06, 11 (12:07 pm)
Kofi Annan, 2006:
The offensive caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad were first published in a European country which has recently acquired a significant Muslim population, and is not yet sure how to adjust to it.
Unidentified Egyptian woman who converted from being uncovered to wearing a full-face veil, 2011:
It just takes time. You get used to it.
(Via Mark Steyn)
Tim Blair – Wednesday, July 06, 11 (05:50 am)
Anyone ever see the movie Wedlock? Probably not. It wasn’t great – Rutger Hauer stars – but it did have an excellently cheesy prison plot device, shown in the linked clip (from 3:30). Labor and the Greens are similarlyconnected, as Shaun Carney writes:
On Sunday morning, Julia Gillard appeared on the ABC and confirmed reports that petrol used by private motorists and small businesses would be exempt from the carbon tax. It was the usual weekend good news drop, a practice with a strong history in contemporary politics.
But this routine can only really work if everybody responsible for the decision being announced expresses their support, and Gillard cannot count on that. Not long after she made her announcement, designed by Labor to thoroughly disprove Tony Abbott’s declarations that petrol would be subject to the tax, the Greens stepped in and flushed the whole exercise down the S-bend.
Bob Brown and Christine Milne called a media conference. Along with the independent MPs Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor, the Greens have negotiated the carbon price package with the government. Brown said that after the process of ‘’give and take’’ that had characterised the negotiations, he found himself ‘’disappointed’’ with the decision on petrol.
In Wedlock terms, Brown took things right out to the 100-yard perimeter.
At the end of the press conference, Brown was asked if his prediction that petrol would be included three years down the track was helpful, given that Gillard was saying it was excluded. His response was that he didn’t give a fig about the Labor Party or its political interests. ‘’Look, ah, we’re here to give you our point of view,’’ he told the journalist. ‘’You, ah, you will make, ah, that decision. Um, I’m, ah, I’m not, ah, here to write the script for, um, people who wonder whether this is helping, ah, in politics. We’re here to give you the best information we can from our Greens point of view.’’
The last statement was important … if they can spin a decision in such a way that it makes the Greens politically stronger at the expense of the Labor Party, they will - despite the fact that the two parties share ownership of the carbon tax package.
Labor (and possibly also journalists like Carney) might now be realising just what bitches the Greens are. They will stab in the back those to whom they are bound, which is probably the only useful skill they learned from yoga.
Brown and Milne in public went as close as they could to disowning a petrol excise decision they had agreed to in private negotiations …
Perhaps this is a privilege that naturally falls to a minor party that does not have to look for mass support, a form of ‘’all care, no responsibility’’. But given the extent of public disillusionment with politics, it’s not necessarily the best development for the nation’s political system. It’s not good enough to sign off on a decision on something as far-reaching as the price of petrol and then profess to be disappointed with the same decision.
If matters proceed according to the Wedlock schedule, Labor and the Greens are destined for mutual destruction. Their world afterwards may resemble something following The Event.
Tim Blair – Wednesday, July 06, 11 (05:47 am)
Daniel Ricciardo is set to join Mark Webber on the starting grid at the British Grand Prix on Sunday, assuming his lumbering HRT is quick enough to qualify. This will be the first time since the 1977 Belgian Grand Prix that two Australians have competed in a championship F1 race.
Petrolhead quiz: at which official F1 race did three Australians last compete?
Tim Blair – Wednesday, July 06, 11 (05:39 am)
Gillard appointee Tim Flannery, currently earning $180,000 per year for three days of government work each week, tells the good people of Armidale:
My independence is particularly important to me, independence from the political process.
So true is this that our protective tariffs have no other purpose than to hinder all these things from reaching us, to restrict the supply, and prevent low prices and abundance.
Now I would ask, Are the people who live under our laws better fed because there is less bread, meat, and sugar in the country? Are they better clothed because there is less cloth and linen? Better warmed because there is less coal? Better assisted in their labor because there are fewer tools and less iron, copper, and machinery?
The National Education Association has endorsed President Obama for re-election before he even has an opponent. Tells you all you need to know about the NEA.
Here is a very interesting graphic (from Catherine Rampell at Economix) taken from the Federal Reserve of Cleveland:
Generally, the more education, the lower the unemployment rate. But as the picture shows, the unemployment rate for high school dropouts instead of being four or five percentage points higher than that of people who have at least a college degree–it’s now more like TEN percentage points higher.
Every level of education has a higher unemployment rate than before. But it seems that the least educated have the worst time and that the effect is much greater than in the recession of 2001 (although it may be similar to the recession of 1991–hard to tell from this picture.)
My speculation is that the narrowing of unemployment rates between 1992 and 2001 and the great increase in the gap post-2007 has a lot to do with the expansion and expansion in construction employment over this period. It’s just a guess, though. It would be nice to have data on construction employment by educational level.
At lunch today with my brilliant younger colleague Bryan Caplan I mentioned that I’m now reading Titan, Ron Chernow’s 1999 biography of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. (It’s a pretty good read so far, but I’m only a quarter of the way through the book. My opinion of it might still rise or fall.)
I commented to Bryan that one notably irritating aspect of the book is Chernow’s frequent expression of surprise that Rockefeller was such a good and giving man to his family, friends, and community (even before he was rich) yet so doggedly effective at running his business in ways that made life very difficult for his competitors and many of his suppliers. Chernow unquestioningly assumes that a good, deeply Christian, and generous human being would not so vigorously and unrelentingly outdo rivals, even to the point of – and without regrets – running those rivals into bankruptcy, as did Rockefeller.
Upon hearing the above, Bryan said “I wonder if Chernow would write a biography of a great sports star and, finding that star to be an upstanding and generous soul at home, express surprise that that star was unapologetically aggressive and competitive while on the playing field.”
Bankruptcy isn’t a very glamorous topic. But I think you will find this EconTalk episode with David Skeel of interest. He argues that bankruptcy would have been a much better way to take care of GM and Chrysler’s woes and that the costs of the bailout were substantially higher than is generally discussed. Very clear and very informative.
In his column in today’s New York Times, David Brooks lists as among America’s “problems” (his word) the fact that
[m]anufacturing employment is cratering even as output rises.
I wonder if Brooks writes his columns, essays, and books using only a quill, parchment, and snailmail. If he doesn’t use these inefficient means of production – that is, if he in fact uses computers, word-processing software, ink-jet printers, e-mail, and other modern techniques that increase his productivity (and, thus, that cause the amount of time that he and others spend producing punditicities to crater even as their output rises) – why does he bemoan increasing worker productivity in the manufacturing sector?
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, July 06, 11 (01:22 pm)
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, July 06, 11 (12:23 pm)
I’d like to say what I think of this positive development, but, again, legal reasons prevent me from repeating past arguments that have caused me such unbelievable trouble:
For years Heidi W. Durrow heard the refrain: editors wouldn’t publish her novel because readers couldn’t relate to a protagonist who was part black and part Danish. But when that novel, “The Girl Who Fell From the Sky,” was finally published last year (after about four dozen rejections, said Ms. Durrow, who is, of course, black and Danish), the coming-of-age story landed on best-seller lists.
Today Ms. Durrow finds herself in the elite precincts of The New Yorker and National Public Radio — which a few weeks ago began the Summer Blend Book Club, featuring works about multiracial people.
And work by mixed-race artists is increasingly visible in museum exhibitions, in bookstores and online — raised to the spotlight by new census numbers that show a roughly 32 percent increase since 2000 in the number of Americans declaring multiracial identity, as well as by a biracial president, an explosion of blogs and Web sites about multiracialism, and the advent of critical mixed-race studies on college campuses.
“The national images of racially mixed people have dramatically changed just within the last few years, from ‘mulattoes’ as psychically divided, racially impure outcasts to being hip new millennials who attractively embody the resolution of America’s race problem,” said Michele Elam, an associate professor of English at Stanford University.
Both images, she said, are wrongheaded and reductive.
(Thanks to reader Demetrios.)
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, July 06, 11 (11:38 am)
You could weep for this nation. The Govenrment that’s just accidentally killed the live cattle trade now promises not to kill power stations, too - well, not immediately - if we just let it spend more billions on its perfectly useless plan to save the world from global warming:
COAL-FIRED power stations facing losses as a result of the $20-$25 a tonne carbon price to be announced this weekend will be offered immediate access to emergency federal government loans to head off financial failure and ensure energy supplies for southeast Australia.
But compensation for the coal industry, which faces a carbon tax bill of $18 billion to 2020, has been cut by $275 million from Kevin Rudd’s offer under the carbon pollution reduction scheme.
Labor has long flagged that its carbon pricing plan, to be unveiled on Sunday, would be “budget-neutral”, with compensation to help households and business cope with higher costs fully funded by the money raised from the tax.
But political decisions to exempt petrol and lift household compensation - along with the Greens’ insistence that carbon tax revenue not be used to compensate “big polluters” - means the government is being forced to rely on its taxpayer-funded budget contingency fund to support power plants.
The move marks a departure from previous policy for Julia Gillard. In late January, the Prime Minister declared the contingency fund was not a “rainy-day fund” when asked why the government did not tap it for the Queensland flood reconstruction.
This is complete madness.
The loans will be on offer before the carbon tax legislation is scheduled to be introduced in September, amid fears high carbon-emitting power stations such as Loy Yang in the Latrobe Valley in Victoria and Playford in Port Augusta in South Australia will be hit hard by the carbon price and will be unable to refinance their debts, maintain their generating plant or continue profitably.
Power industry sources last night said the loan guarantees did nothing to protect investors’ equity in the assets, and an impairment of equity could represent a sovereign risk issue and deter future investment.
And for what? The world’s temperature, which hasn;t risen in a decade anyway, won’t be affected at all.
This Government is putting our power supplies and tens of thousands of jobs at risk simply to make the most futile gesture.
Boiler-maker John Webb tries to stop it:
DEAR Julia Gillard,
I have lived in the community of Morwell and worked in the power industry all my life. I want you to know how your carbon tax will affect us.
Oops. Just another unforeseen consequence of a tax that’s supposed to make us do planet-friendly stuff like catch public transport:
PUBLIC transport could become collateral damage from the government’s carbon tax, says a leading transport expert. Professor John Stanley from the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies at Sydney University told a transport summit in Canberra that the government’s carbon tax, to be announced on Sunday, could harm public transport.
Under the carbon tax agreement between Labor, the Australian Greens and independent MPs only fuel for cars and light commercial vehicles will be exempt.
“At the moment we (public transport) probably look like we’re collateral damage,” Prof Stanley said.
(Thanks to reader John.)
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, July 06, 11 (11:08 am)
Indonesia doesn’t expect our live cattle exports to resume for at least a few weeks - and only if there’s a new deal:
Indonesian Agriculture Deputy Minister Bayu Krisnamurti said Indonesia would need to wait at least two to three weeks for Australia to lift a ban on live cattle exports…
However, Bayu pointed out that before the trade could be resumed, both countries needed to reach a new agreement.
“There must be an agreement on standards for animal welfare. For this, we will be referring to the international standard set by the UN,” Bayu said.
However, Bayu added, each country would maintain its own regulations in handling cattle.
“Australia will use its regulations up to the point where the cattle are put on the ship, and we will use our own regulations as soon as the cattle step off the ship,” he said.
This doesn’t sound like something about to resume soon.
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, July 06, 11 (07:11 am)
Chicken-feed to a spendthrift like Rudd, and a lovely way to buy friends. But what good is this massive spending really doing?
THE level of fraud in Australia’s $4.8 billion foreign aid program has reached a record 191 cases - nearly eight times the level of six years ago.
As a high-level review to be released today gives the green light to lifting annual aid spending to $9 billion, it can be revealed 63 staff involved in the aid program have been dismissed for corruption.Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd will today declare Australia’s aid program in good shape and able to cope with a massive increase in funding to help some of the world’s poorest countries.He will also announce an effective end to bilateral aid to China, with assistance to be cut from $22.5 million to just $4 million by 2012/13.
(Thanks to readers southerncross and the renamed Great Raisuli.)
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, July 06, 11 (07:01 am)
HERE are some things I never thought I’d see in this country I love.
I never thought I’d see people picketing shops because their owners were Jews.
But in Melbourne last Friday, 19 protesters were arrested as they tried to stop people from shopping at the Max Brenner chocolate and coffee store in Melbourne’s QV.
In Sydney last month, Leftist and Muslim protesters did the same to a Max Brenner shop in Sydney, claiming the Jewish-owned franchise company supported the Israeli Army.
I’ve seen pictures of Jewish shops being attacked before, of course, but they were in black and white, in another country at another ghastly time.
But this is Australia. Today.
Here’s another thing I never thought I’d see in this country I’ve loved for its fair go.
I never thought I’d see academics sign a petition demanding someone be stopped from simply arguing.
But in Western Australia last week, that’s just what was done by 50 academics, from professors to a PhD candidate specialising in the representation of the Salvation Army in Finnish cinema, who demanded the University of Notre Dame stop warming sceptic Christopher Monckton from speaking there.
I’ve seen pictures of people being silenced for heresy before, of course, but they were in history books, drawn from inquisitions centuries ago, in another continent.
But this is Australia. Today.
Oh, and I never thought I’d see people getting doctorates in Australia on how Finnish films depicted the Salvation Army. But they do in the University of Western Australia, and, to be honest, that’s a first anywhere.
Here’s another thing I never thought I’d see in this country, which I’ve loved for those great home-making suburbs that artists once mocked for being boring.
I never thought I’d see parents killed after telling off naughty teenagers, or great masses of people brawling in our streets.
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, July 06, 11 (06:53 am)
SENATOR BOB BROWN: Well, it is the way to go. The Greens have recently rescued the proposals for base load solar power stations, which will go in rural and regional Australia to make sure they are progressing.... We want this country to be at the cutting edge. I repeat, the example is firm and true. In Germany, where they did this because the Greens were in the balance of power, they have created 350,000 jobs. It was the strongest component of the German economy during the recent recession. It’s good economics.
Two years ago, Germany unveiled its latest planet-saving (and heavily subsidised) solar park:
The Leipziger Volkszeitung newspaper trilled:
‘The park is finally realized,’ beams mayor Carina Radon (CDU) nowadays, and praised the 7.5 million Euro investment. 36,300 modules will be installed in the weeks ahead. It will generate an annual amount of 2.7 million kilowatt-hours. The facility will produce a peak amount of 2722 kilowatts.
(Thanks to reader Mervyn Sullivan.)
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, July 06, 11 (06:46 am)
When the furore broke out over artist Bill Henson photographing naked 13-year-old girl, The Age refused to believe the obvious. Here’s one of its headlines:
Someone may beg to disagree:
A PAEDOPHILE who had magazines featuring the nude child photography of artist Bill Henson sent to him at a secure village for sex offenders has been jailed for keeping child pornography.
But the controversial Henson images were not illegal - unlike the 19 pictures of naked and abused children Dean Alan Lecornu had stored on mobile phones he smuggled in under the noses of supervisors.
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, July 06, 11 (06:33 am)
ON Sunday, the Gillard Government will at last explain how it will force us on to dearer forms of electricity without driving us broke.
A hell of a trick for a bungling government that’s just accidentally destroyed our live cattle exports.
But most astonishing is that almost no one asks: er, will this actually work?
Will this make the slightest bit of difference to the world’s temperature?
Oops: two people did ask the Government this question this week. And the answers from Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her Secretary for Climate Change, Mark Dreyfus, should scare us all.
Fact: we are about to pay a new tax that will cost us billions, slow growth, kill jobs, and potentially drive our electricity generators bankrupt; yet it won’t change the climate by a flicker.
What’s more, the Government knows it. Its advisers know it.
Let me first tell you the best estimate I’ve had done of how much Gillard’s policies could affect the world’s temperature over the next decade, assuming there is a strong link between carbon dioxide and temperature.
Answer: 0.00005 of a degree. Just one of 20,000 parts of a single degree. Tops.
You may think my figure must be false. But see what happens when I try to check it with a Gillard minister or warming adviser.
Here’s some of my exchange on MTR this week with Mark Dreyfus:
Bolt: By how much will the world’s temperature change as a result of what Australia alone will do?
Dreyfus: ... It’s a false question. This is a global problem, this is about bringing down global emissions. Australia has to pay its fair share, do its fair share in that regard, and it’s not about saying it will reduce global temperature by x degrees or by point whatever of a degree ...
See? A refusal to answer the basic question: what’s the gain for the pain?
Luckily, Dreyfus was more frank when a reader wrote to him, asking: “Can you provide details on how much the global temperature will drop with the introduction of this tax in 2020/ 2025/2065?” His reply then: “The introduction of a carbon tax in Australia will not reduce global temperatures over the time periods you question.”
Dreyfus may have meant to say that while we couldn’t cut the world’s temperature with our sacrifice, we might at least slow its rising.
So let’s ask my question another way: by how much will Gillard’s policies slow any rise in the world’s temperature?
Yet once again, this deceitful Government refuses to say.
Proof? One of the Canberra press gallery’s most vocal warmist journalists, Lenore Taylor, on Monday tried twice - at last - to get the answer from the PM.
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, July 06, 11 (06:11 am)
There is substantial evidence from theory and model experiments that the large-scale environment in which tropical cyclones form and evolve is changing as a result of greenhouse warming....
IPCC (2001) concluded that ‘there is some evidence that regional frequencies of tropical cyclones may change but none that their locations will change. There is also evidence that the peak intensity may increase by 5% to 10% and precipitation rates may increase by 20% to 30%. There is a need for much more work in this area to provide more robust results.’
But, once, again, the models seem to be very wrong, especially for the Australian region:
So the models get reworked again to look less at odds with what’s actually happening:
Since that time there has been a growing number of studies that indicate a consistent signal of fewer tropical cyclones globally in a warmer climate… Substantial disagreement remains between climate models concerning future changes in tropical cyclone intensity, although the highest resolution models show evidence of an increase in tropical cyclone intensity in a warmer world.
There have been three recent studies producing projections for tropical cyclone changes in the Australian region. Two suggest that there will be no significant change in tropical cyclone numbersoff the east coast of Australia to the middle of the 21st century. The third study, based on the CSIRO simulations, shows a significant decrease in tropical cyclone numbers for the Australian region especially off the coastline of Western Australia. The simulations also show more long-lived eastern Australian tropical cyclones although one study showed a decrease in long-lived cyclones off the Western Australian coast.
Each of the above studies finds a marked increase in the severe Category 3 - 5 storms.
And you are told never to question the science. It’s in.
(Thanks to reaer rukidding.)
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, July 06, 11 (05:54 am)
On-line shopping kills another Australian business, with more to come:
THE big two online booksellers, Amazon and Book Depository, are joining forces in a move likely to increase pressure on Australia’s bricks-and-mortar bookshops.
Traditional bookshops have long bemoaned online retailers selling stock at large discounts and without having to charge GST. When REDgroup, owner of Borders and Angus & Robertson, went into administration in February, it partly blamed the drift to online shopping.
Reader’s Feast in Swanston Street this week became the latest chapter in that collapse, lending weight to the prediction of federal Small Business Minister Nick Sherry that bookshops will be extinct within five years.
The imposition of GST on import-competing goods here is becoming a big issue. As is, of course, everything that flows from big tax-and-spend.
Not a good time to be saddling Australian business with a carbon dioxide tax as well,
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, July 06, 11 (12:08 am)
Terry McCrann says Julia Gillard’s decision to exempt petrol from her carbon dioxide tax is as terrible as the coverage of it:
JULIA Gillard’s latest desperate ploy on petrol shows the government staggering incoherently and aimlessly from one day to the next…
If there’d been any journalists around on Sunday when the petrol story was put out there—first on a wink-wink, then a formal prime ministerial basis, they would have had to ask (at least) two simple but fundamental questions.
Prime minister, what makes the carbon (dioxide) emissions from the use of petrol less harmful than those from coal? What, don’t they stink too?…
I’m happy to be corrected, but from the reporting yesterday, there was no evidence that anyone has asked Julia the, to put it colloquially, “how come it don’t stink” question.
There was also no evidence that I saw, that any journalist had asked Julia the next obvious and very necessary question: that if you don’t tax the emissions from petrol, doesn’t that mean the tax on other sources of emissions will have to be bigger to make up for that?
Thus, there’s a follow-up question: doesn’t that make any savings to consumers from the petrol exemption, at best illusory and more likely a net negative? They’ll pay more on carbon (dioxide) elsewhere…
You’ve got to be awful, very awful, to make even Gough (Whitlam) look good. Gillard does almost every day.
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, July 06, 11 (12:03 am)
Keith Windschuttle begins:
I hope that some time in the future the Governor of New South Wales, Marie Bashir, mulls over her role last month in announcing the 2011 Sydney Peace Prize had gone to Noam Chomsky. She read a citation from the Sydney Peace Foundation at the University of Sydney, where she is also the Chancellor, saying Chomsky deserved the $50,000 award “for unfailing moral courage, for critical analysis of democracy and power, for challenging secrecy, censorship and violence and for creating hope through scholarship and activism to promote the attainment of universal human rights”. None of this is accurate. The truth is that, far from being a man of peace, Chomsky has throughout his life supported revolutionary violence, including some of the greatest mass homicides in human history.
Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, July 05, 11 (11:03 pm)
Judith Sloan peeks at the new taxpayer-backed blog for academics and asks: