Thursday, July 07, 2011

News items and comments

We don't need a recall option. We need a single parliamentary member of the ALP to be honorable and competent. Just one.
Miranda Devine is a leading columnist with The Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun.
6 minutes ago · · ·
    • David Daniel Ball We don't need a recall option. We need a single parliamentary member of the ALP to be honorable and competent. Just one. After the recent change in the senate we would need more than one now, but that was all that was required over that Heiner vote. Yet only one member of the lower house is all it would take right now.

      It isn't only money that is being spent. It is the future of all Australians and those who benefit from a prosperous Australia. There are poor people who will suffer from current government policy. There are rich people who will get richer. That wasn't what they promised in election, but they never revealed their policy in election either.

      Yet the conservatives (Liberals and Nationals) are held to a higher standard.

      The problem isn't solely independents or Greens. The problem is not enough votes went conservative.

Here’s a familiar but fun scenario to ponder:

Suppose a replicator, similar to the one in Star Trek, is invented. And what an invention it is! Each replicator can itself be produced for only pennies. Its inventor – either out of carelessness or magnanimity – doesn’t patent it. Competition among replicator producers soon drives the price of replicators down to $7.99 each.

Each replicator allows its owner to produce a wide assortment not only of foods and drinks at near-zero cost, but also flowers, clothing, detergents and other cleaning materials, paints and inks, personal-hygiene products such as soap and toothpaste, contact lenses and eyeglasses, and even antibiotics and other medicines. Within a couple of years, nearly every household in America has its own replicator.

One plausible consequence of this invention – and the material wealth it makes possible – is that Americans’ demand for leisure rises significantly.

What happens to GDP? Would the replicator’s failure to ‘create’ lots of jobs cause it to be thought an innovation not quite on par with, say, the assembly line or the automobile?

Should we lament the invention and near-universal use of the replicator?


Writing in the Financial Times, my GMU Econ and Law colleague Tom Hazlett discusses the F.T.C.’s antitrust investigation of Google.

Rare Earths elements newly discovered in the Pacific. (HT Tim Lord) Julian Simon wouldn’t be surprised. Nor, I’m sure, is Tim Worstall.

Economic freedom is good for your health. (HT Mark Perry)

Further evidence that the market can and does – when left sufficiently free and undistorted – supply health care…. (HT Mark Perry again)

and evidence on the dreary reality of socialized medicine. (HT Nicolas Martin)

Thomas Sowell on politics versus reality.

Arnold Kling holds forth again – and, as always, compellingly so – on Patterns of Sustainable Specialization and Trade (PSST).

At, Art Carden asks what the ‘drug war’ is good for.

Finally, here’s more evidence of the truth that taxes reduce supplies brought to market. (HT Henri Hein)


Here’s Mark Perry’s take on David Brooks’s belief that, to quote Brooks, it’s among America’s “problems” that “[m]anufacturing employment is cratering even as output rises.” (We might cite also Pres. Obama’s concern that technologies such as ATMs ‘destroy’ jobs.)

And here’s more on this very topic from Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850) – chapter 3(“Effort and Result”) of his Economic Sophisms. Paragraphs 24 and 25 of this essay are especially relevant (original emphasis):

I have also cited the opinion of another Minister of Commerce, M. d’Argout. It deserves our attention for a moment. In an effort to strike a blow at the sugar-beet industry, he said:

    Doubtless the cultivation of the sugar beet is useful, but its usefulness is limited. Its potentialities fall far short of the gigantic developments that people are fond of predicting for it. To be convinced of this, one need only note that its cultivation will of necessity be confined to the limits set by the demands of the consumers. Double, triple if you will, the present consumption of sugar in France; you will still find that a very small portion of the land will be enough to satisfy the needs of the consumers. [Now, there's a remarkable complaint!] Do you desire proof of this? How many hectares were planted in sugar beets in 1828? A total of 3,130, or 1/10,540 of the arable land. How many are there today, when native sugar supplies one third of our consumption? A total of 16,700 hectares, or 1/1,978 of the arable land, or forty-five centiares per commune.22* Even if we assume that native sugar were to supply the whole of our consumption, we should still have only 48,000 hectares cultivated in sugar beets, or 1/689 of the arable land.23*
There are two elements to be noted in this quotation: the facts and the doctrine. The facts tend to establish that it takes little land, capital, and manual labor to produce a great deal of sugar, and that every commune in France would provide itself with an abundant supply by devoting one hectare of its area to cultivating the sugar beet. The doctrine consists in regarding this circumstance as harmful, and in seeing in the very efficiency and productiveness of the new industry a limit to its usefulness.
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Monckton offered a debate, while the Age slimes again

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, July 07, 11 (10:10 am)

Bravo to the Press Club for welcoming a debate, even if Monckton is not accorded the usual privilege at the club of speaking on his own:

CLIMATE sceptic Christopher Monckton has been offered a prime speaking slot at the National Press Club in Canberra on July 19, despite a spate of cancelled public appearances.

Lord Monckton - who recently accused Julia Gillard’s climate adviser Ross Garnaut of “fascist” views - is set to debate the Australia’s Institute’s executive director, economist Richard Denniss.

Meanwhile, the disgraceful sliming and demonisation of Monckton continues by warmists determined to delegitimise the debate that terrifies them. Not surprisingly, the latest example occurs in The Age, courtesy of its resident warmist, Adam Morton:

The attack on Professor Garnaut was not the first time Lord Monckton accused those he disagrees with of being Nazis.

In December 2009 he accused students who stormed the stage as he delivered a speech in Copenhagen of being ‘’Hitler Youth’’.

Morton is being deceptive, and very meanly so. Monckton did not accuse those students of being “Hitler Youth” simply because he “disagrees” with them. He is a far more courteous man than that, and infinitely fairer than Morton.

Why Monckton called them a new Hitler Youth, with some justification, was because of their disgraceful attempt to shut down debate by physical force, as you can see for yourself:

If Morton feels that the more disgraceful part of these scenes is not the jackboot tactics of the green totalitarians, but the characterisation of them by their baited, threatened and frustrated target, he betrays his calling - as a journalist with a special duty to defend free speech.

Increasingly, it’s the treatment of Monckton that is the critical issue here. And it illustrates a telling characteristic: that sceptics want debate, but warmists fear it.


An ABC host continues the trend, misrepresenting an obvious joke and assailing Monckton for lacking the credentials that Al Gore, Tim Flannery, Greg Combet, Ross Garnaut, Robyn Williams, David Suzuki and innumerable other warmists lack without the ABC turning a hair:

ABC radio presenter Adam Spencer has been told to “shut up” and stop being childish during a heated on-air exchange with climate change sceptic Lord Christopher Monckton.

In what was more a debate than an interview, Spencer hung up on his guest before calling back to resume the interview.

The tension began when Spencer asked Lord Monckton about his claims that he is a Nobel Laureate.

Lord Monckton said he was given a pin by a US professor who felt he deserved one for his work and he sometimes wore it as a joke.

“That’s what we on the centre right would call a joke, it’s something you on the left and the ABC might not perhaps fully understand.”

Spencer replied by saying he wasn’t on the left or the right or in the centre.

“I’m trying to establish your credentials ... because there seems to be a consistent pattern, sir, when you speak publicly and analyse climate science,” he said.

“It’s my understanding you’ve never held any academic position at any university or any research institute attached to any science connected with climate science.”

Spencer is also guilty of not being frank with either Monckton and his listeners in claiming impartiality:

He cycles to work and has served for five years on the NSW government’s Climate Change Council.

Has Spencer got any formal qualifications in climate science that he can hold such a position? Or is he simply qualified by holding the fashionable view?

About the NSW Climate Change Council

The NSW Climate Change Council was established by the Minister on 10 March 2008 to provide independent, expert advice on climate change related issues from range of sectors including business, industry, science and research, environment and regional communities.

As for not being of the Left...

Listen to Spencer’s attempt to discredit Monckton without tackling his arguments here and, and post hang-up, here. Monckton deals very well with Spencer’s research, clearly drawn from warmist websites without any checking of the truth of the claims made there.



Read on for other Monckton appearances on his Australian tour, with booking details:


Even more pointless

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, July 07, 11 (09:53 am)

Fewer companies means the rest must pay even more, or the tax will be even more useless in cutting emissions - and the world’s temperature:

JULIA Gillard’s decision to exclude fuel has narrowed the reach of the carbon tax to about 500 companies - half the “1000 biggest polluters” the Prime Minister insisted should pay.

Government sources cited the fuel decision as the major reason the reach of the scheme had been pared back to cover fewer companies than the 700-800 that would have been liable to pay for emissions under Kevin Rudd’s aborted 2009 carbon pollution reduction scheme.

Then again, the whole point of the government’s strategy is to introduce the tax in a deceptively painless way, relatively speaking, and only crank it up after the election.


More useless, and more ruinous:

But the cost of the plan, which was to be broadly revenue neutral, has blown out to about $4 billion over four years from its start on July 1 next year. Most of the extra costs come upfront, from implementing the scheme.

Remember: this is an investment to make us less competitive, not more.

And the starting price, according to The Age? $23 a tonne.


While this Government is investing billions into making us less productive, China warns that we actually need to lift our game:

China has detonated an economic bombshell on the eve of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s drive to sell the carbon tax, warning Australia has a ‘’dual-speed and patchwork economy’’ and relies too heavily on China’s demand for minerals…

The economic lesson did not end there, with Chinese diplomat Ouyang Cheng telling a business forum in Adelaide yesterday that Chinese business held ‘’some worries’’ about Labor’s revised mining tax…

‘’Australia’s infrastructure bottleneck and shortage of skilled labour are hampering Australia’s economic and trade development, and also limiting China’s investment in Australia.’’ ..

Australian National University strategic studies expert Hugh White said the stern tone of the speech was striking.

‘’It seems they are trying to puncture our economic complacency,’’ Professor White said.

‘’It is making clear that China believes Australia cannot take for granted that the economic relationship will continue to grow, unless these changes are made.’’


Reader Evan is starting to freak about the cannister of death near his office desk.


Labor MPs get toey

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, July 07, 11 (09:40 am)

Signs of stress:

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard will hold an unprecedented national telephone conference with her entire backbench on Sunday to soothe anger among MPs left in the dark about the carbon tax.

The teleconference was booked for all 103 Labor MPs and senators to give them a few hours’ notice of what is in the tax package before it is released to the public on Sunday.

Many are expressing anger over Ms Gillard’s refusal to tell her own MPs what is in the carbon tax plan, despite independent MPs and Greens already being in the loop.

The frustrations within Ms Gillard’s caucus have reached new levels, with some MPs reportedly having confronted Ms Gillard’s office about it this week.


Who are these people now speaking for the ABC?

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, July 07, 11 (06:58 am)

I don’t listen to Deborah Cameron, the ABC 702 Sydney presenter, but are these transcripts I keep reading a true indication of her politics, understanding, love of Big Government and taste for conspiracy theories?

Cameron: The TV networks are apparently baulking at the idea of having the Prime Minister make an address to the nation on Sunday night. Who’s running the joint, you have to ask.

Alison Carabine: I think they’ve got every right to knock it back. It is not as though it’s a national emergency.

Cameron: I’m sure it has not escaped Mr Meakin’s attention that one of the big shareholders of Channel 7 is Gina Rinehart and the other one, Kerry Stokes, is huge in the mining industry. Might that be colouring their perception of what’s a real story?

Carabine: I doubt that very, very much. I think any suggestion that she’s being censored because of anything coming down from head office is quite ridiculous.

Rinehart, of course, is a shareholder in Fairfax and Channel 10, not Seven.


Green spruikers want more of your millions for a hole in the ground

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, July 07, 11 (06:42 am)

Never mind that geothermal power has proved a dud investment since the heighrt of global warming alarmism in 2007. The Australian Geothermal Power Association is sure that nothing is impossible if the Government just spends yet more of your money on yet another wild green scheme:

MIKE SEXTON (ABC reporter): Excitement about the potential initially attracted investors prepared to take a risk on a new industry. But drilling wells hundreds of metres into granite in remote locations is a difficult and expensive business, and after years of promise, the industry has delivered only modest results. That, coupled with the GFC, has seen investors turning their backs on geothermal companies.

JOHN YOUNG, RESOURCES ANALYST, WILSON HTM: The industry enjoyed quite strong support through 2007, and that’s when, as you indicated, that we saw the peak of that market. Since then it’s basically been a downwards decline, and where we sit at the moment, most stocks would be trading at about one 10th of the level that they were trading at in late 2007....

MIKE SEXTON: New tax incentives next year could attract investors to return, but in the meantime, the industry’s seeking more strategic funding from the Government for expensive start-up costs. It points to the largest project in the country at Innamincka near the South Australia-Queensland border where geodynamics boasts it has the potential to generate almost one quarter of Australia’s power. The company and its partners have spent $400 million mostly in drilling costs.

What the ABC neglects to mention here is that this project has long been touted by Climate Commissioner Timn Flannery and belongs to Geodynamics, of which Flannery has long been a shareholder. Geodynamics has also received a $90 million grant from the Rudd Government.

Back to the transcript, and the appeal for more government cash:

SUSAN JEANES (APGA): We looked at the $5 billion clean energy initiative. Of that, $203 million has been committed to geothermal energy. Now you could say we haven’t demonstrated enough progress at this stage to perhaps attract more, but of that $203 million, somewhere around $11 million has actually been received by the industry.


And remember how he’d take over hospital funding?

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, July 07, 11 (06:23 am)

Yet another one of Rudd’s dud promises:

LABOR has caved in to premiers on national health reforms, junking a plan to guarantee public hospital elective surgery patients private hospital treatment if they are forced to wait beyond recommended periods.

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon has also watered down the previous blanket guarantee of a maximum wait of four hours for treatment in hospital emergency departments, agreeing that the target will now be rolled out on a hospital-by-hospital basis and will apply to only 90 per cent of patients…

...the changes strip away a key selling point of the health reform program initiated by Mr Rudd - a guarantee that patients not treated on time in a public hospital could get their surgery in another public hospital or in a private hospital within a specified period.

“The government considers that Australia’s private hospitals will have an important role to play in the delivery of this guarantee,” Mr Rudd pledged in his April 2010 health reform blueprint.


Greens do not love humans enough to rule

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, July 07, 11 (06:14 am)

Former Labor Minister Gary Johns says Greens leader Bob Brown is wrong - the Greens can never supplant Labor:

Despite these travails, Labor remains essentially humanist, concerned with the needs, wellbeing and interests of people.

The Greens, by contrast, will never defend humanity against nature. Brown regards humans astellurians, inhabitants of the earth, along with plants and animals. The Greens care little for our most important gift, our intelligence, or for our most important human achievements, such as our families and our nations. On these grounds, the Greens can never be a mainstream party.

Picture Brown’s address to (his recently mooted) United Nations of all People. “Tellurians of the world unite!” He gets no further because a Chinese guard drags him off stage as a dangerous environmentalist and gay activist.

Bob, in the parliament of the world, China has the numbers.

The Greens will consume the good upbringing that family brings, the immense wealth, health and comfort that human ingenuity brings, and the political stability that nation states bring, but they will never defend them.


Yet another earthquake

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, July 07, 11 (06:10 am)

Something unusual seems to be happening with the tectonic plates:

A tsunami warning was issued for New Zealand, the Kermadec Islands and Tonga after a powerful 7.8 undersea earthquake, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said.

The quake struck at 07.03am (NZT) on Thursday at a depth of 48km, 211km east of Raoul Island, one of New Zealand’s Kermadec Islands, the United States Geological Survey said.

Earthquakes are normal, but we seem to have had a few extra big ones these past few years.


Find them and sack them

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, July 07, 11 (05:49 am)

If true, this hacking is disgusting:

BRITISH prime minister David Cameron has called for two inquiries into claims that a tabloid newspaper was involved in hacking into the mobile phones of murder and terror victims, including the families of those killed in the July 2005 London attacks.

Cameron said he supported a public inquiry into the phone hacking allegations involving the News of the World and called for a second investigation into the failure of the police to uncover what happened in their first probe.

More allegations against the newspaper emerged in recent days, with claims the voicemail of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler was hacked by a private investigator acting for the paper, days after she went missing in 2002.

Police investigating the hacking allegations, also contacted the parents of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman - two ten-year-old British girls who were killed by a school caretaker in the same year.

The allegations also stain News International, an arm of News Corp, of which I’m also a part. I would like to see every single employee who was involved rooted out and sacked, no matter how senior.


Cattle trade ban kind of lifted

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, July 07, 11 (12:11 am)

Quicker than the Indonesians were saying just days ago, but hedged with bureaucratic caveats:

THE Gillard government has announced the resumption of live cattle exports to Indonesia but will only issue export permits to companies that can prove “supply chain assurance”.

The rescue plan for the $320 million industry will require exporters to be able to track individual animals from Australia into Indonesian feedlots and individual abattoirs that will have to meet international animal welfare standards.

Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig announced the move in a press conference tonight, saying the process would be overseen by independent auditors with all information collected to be made public.

For Gillard the relief is not just that some trade may soon resume, but that this apparent fix is announced before Kevin Rudd flies to Indonesia as the saviour.

But what I don’t understand from this fix is which bit needed a month to figure out. As far as I can see, the Government is no simply asking exporters to provide guarantees that it could have demanded after just a couple of days of reflection:

The rescue plan for the $320 million industry will require exporters to be able to track individual animals from Australia into Indonesian feedlots and individual abattoirs that will have to meet international animal welfare standards.

Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig announced the move in a press conference tonight, saying the process would be overseen by independent auditors with all information collected to be made public.

“These strict new conditions have been written into all export permits,” Mr Ludwig said.

“Permits will only be issued to those exporters who can demonstrate that this will be the case”....

The system will not require animals to be stunned before being slaughtered, as required in Australia.

Instead, Indonesian abattoirs will be audited against international standards which allow beasts to be killed with a single cut to the neck by a sharp blade.

So it’s just a “show us the proof” demand of Australian exporters.

Why did this take four weeks?


More evidence that the decision is just a blackflip, and not the result of four weeks of progress:

Australian inspectors have been locked out of abattoirs, and Senator Ludwig was unable last night to say how many of the 600 Indonesian abattoirs were up to standard. RSCPA and Animals Australia, which uncovered the cruelty, were furious with the decision.

‘’We are astonished the government is reopening the trade without one Australian government official having access to Indonesian abattoirs,’’ a spokeswoman, Lisa Chalk, said.

I suspect three developments drove the Government to reverse itself:

- the public outcry at the damage done to farmers.

- the fear that Kevin Rudd would get the credit of solving the problem when he visited Indonesia on Friday.

- the warnings of cattle farmers this week that they were about to shoot their own cattle.


But the damage is done. Only half the trade is likely to resume this year, and Indonesia is looking to more reliable suppliers:

The director general of livestock with the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture, Prabowo Caturroso, said his office was ready to issue import permits for Australian cattle but would be recommending a dramatic cut in live cattle sourced from Australia. “For import permit, as soon as (the Australian government) opens export trade, I will issue it immediately, I just need to sign it,” he said.


Hillman: a tax that will kill jobs and not change the climate a flicker

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, July 06, 11 (03:55 pm)

Ralph Hillman, head of the Australian Coal Industry, gave a powerful speech in Canberra today.

All that marred it was the supercilious smirks on the faces of two young journalists, one a former Labor staffer, as they put to him what they thought were “gotcha” questions to make Hillman seem an alarmist. My own criticism is that Hillman still dares not question the basis for global warming catastrophism.

But judge the speech for yourself from these extracts. Click at the bottom for the full speech, and remember that the Greens want the coal industry closed, and by as soon as 2020, says Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon:

The main arguments mounted against the government proposal are:

• that Australia is moving well ahead of major global emitters such as the United States, China, India and most of the countries with whom we compete in global markets;
• that Australia’s 1.5 per cent contribution to global emissions means that our actions will be futile in terms of influencing global climate; and
• that the tax will impose costs on Australian mining, manufacturing and even service sectors that will render them less competitive in global markets and at home where they face competition from imports.

Australian black coal exports were $55Bn in 2008/9, $36Bn in 2009/10 and projected to be $46 Bn in 2010/11 and $60Bn in 2011/12 – that’s about 20% of the value of Australia’s merchandise exports.

The coal industry employs around 40,000 Australians directly and 100,000 indirectly mainly in regional Australia. With over 54% of electricity generated from black coal and a further 27% from brown coal it also underpins the security, reliability and comparative low cost of Australia’s electricity supply… First, the coal industry paid $8.4 Bn to the Commonwealth and State governments in corporate taxes and $4.5 Bn in royalties…

Many in Australia imagine that this country is the largest coal producer in the world, that we dominate world coal markets and that our competitive position is unassailable.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Although Australia is the largest exporter in the global seaborne coal trade it in fact accounts for less than 6% of global coal production…

... the main impact of a carbon tax on the coal industry will not be via the emissions from the use of coal but from the emissions that arise as coal is mined… These so called “fugitive emissions” are released as the coal is mined and broken up.... No other country imposes a tax on fugitive emissions from coal mining… Certainly none of Australia’s competitors in coal export markets – countries such as Indonesia, Colombia, Russia, South Africa or even Canada and the United States with their large coalmining industries – are contemplating such a measure....

The government points out that fugitive emissions from coal mining and LNG production are the fastest-growing emissions in Australia’s greenhouse inventory and must therefore be abated if Australia is to meet its target of a 5% reduction in emissions by 2020. But as the CEOs of some of Australia’s largest coal mining companies have pointed out to the government, with no available or prospective technology to abate them, there is only one way to cut fugitive emissions from Australian coal mining by 2020 – that is by closing mines. ...

The coal industry is faced with an $18 Bn tax over nine years under the government’s current proposal… ACIL Tasman have modelled the impact of the tax on the basis of confidential commercial cost and revenue data from 82 existing Australian mines. They found that 18 mines will be at risk of premature closure in New South Wales and Queensland by 2020, that about 4700 jobs could go and $22 Bn of revenue could be lost. .. They found that employment creation from new mine developments would be diminished by between 27 and 35 per cent as a result of the tax.. ...

Of course these mine closures and lost jobs and investments will result no reduction in global greenhouse emissions. As I have pointed out earlier, coal production is rising rapidly in many other countries to meet growing global demand and any reduction in Australian coal production will simply be replaced by increased production elsewhere....

The government has criticised the ACIL Tasman modelling because it doesn’t take account of government assistance to the coalmining industry… But we understand that for coal the assistance might be less than the $1.5 Bn over five years in the November 2009 CPRS proposal.... ACIL Tasman has tested this assistance package in its coal industry model and found that it will merely postpone some mine closures for the five-year duration of the assistance. ...

Australia should be leaping at the unique historical opportunity offered by the industrialisation of China and India to maximise the return on our resource endowment. The carbon tax will diminish that opportunity. Other countries will step into our shoes, reap the rewards and send the emissions skywards.


No, the sulphur excuse for no warming won’t wash

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, July 06, 11 (03:37 pm)

Judith Curry says a new study blaming China’s sulphur dioxide emissions - caused by increased burning of coal - for the lack of warming over the past decade does not compute:

Looking at the black curves (historical, to 2005), it is seen that sulfur dioxide emissions peaked during 1960-1980, and then have steadily decreased (a tiny uptick after 2005 is seen in some of the future scenarios). Fossil fuel black carbon has shown a stead increase since 1950, as has fossil fuel organic carbon. I don’t seen any signal in the total aerosol emissions that resembles the coal emissions with a flat trajectory since 1985 and an uptick after 2004 (although the historical data ends in 2005).

No, it may just be that that human-caused emissions really don’t produce the warming that the warmists’ models say they must.

(Thanks to reader Steve.)


I’d rather be Batman

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, July 06, 11 (03:16 pm)


Should I be pleased?

(Thanks to reader Ozboy.)


Things I never thought I’d see here

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, July 06, 11 (03:01 pm)

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.


Heaven can wait

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, July 06, 11 (02:28 pm)

They must be running out of dupes:

MILITANT groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan are trading the lives of would-be suicide bombers for up to $US90,000 ($83,800), three times what they were paying just two years ago...

Pakistani authorities revealed recently that Taliban insurgents had kidnapped a nine-year-old girl and strapped a suicide vest on her in an attempt to blow up a police checkpoint.

The National Directorate of Security in Afghanistan claims that it has more than 100 boys aged between 12 and 17 in custody facing charges of attempting suicide attacks.

What kind of morality inspires the people organising these attacks?


Dangerous racial opinions expressed by New York Times

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.)


And what difference to the temperature will killing our power stations make?

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.

His letter makes powerful sense.


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.)



Tim Blair – Thursday, July 07, 11 (11:17 am)

The greatest moral issue of our time has now shrunk to a dinky 500-company affair:

The controversial carbon tax is expected to have a $23-a-tonne starting price and the government has slashed the number of companies paying the tax, reports say.

The Fairfax report said the $23 price is a compromise between Labor, which was seeking $20, and the Greens, who wanted a much higher price …

And while Prime Minister Julia Gillard last month said the carbon tax would apply to the nation’s “1000 biggest polluters” the government has halved the number of companies hit by the carbon tax to about 500, Fairfax media said.

Bad luck if you happen to be employed by one of those companies. We’re now left with a planet-saving carbon tax that excludes agriculture and petrol – and also involves a tax-churning compensation delivery to 70 per cent of households. The sheer pointlessness of it all is stunning:

The Herald has also learnt the compensation and spending promised in negotiations over the climate deal together cost more than $4 billion over the first four years on top of what the scheme will raise in revenue.

Congratulations, Labor. You’ve invented a tax that costs the government money. Oh, and if households don’t receive a visit from your Labor MP in coming weeks, it’s bad news:

The Daily Telegraph revealed yesterday that Labor MPs who are expected to go out and sell the carbon tax scheme to constituents were told in a special caucus briefing on Tuesday that they would be given a carbon tax package containing a database of the households in their own electorates. It would reveal which will and won’t be compensated under the tax.

“At least we will know which streets we won’t be able to walk down any more,” said a Labor MP.

They should send their Greens partners out on street duty. Seems only fair.



Tim Blair – Thursday, July 07, 11 (11:12 am)

The iconic poley bear has descended from great global warming symbol to mere dog toy:


(From reader Nicole)



Tim Blair – Thursday, July 07, 11 (11:09 am)

Repetitious racism outrage has robbed the accusation of power, observes Jonah Goldberg:

If I write on Twitter something about how I don’t like “Obamacare,” some fellow right-winger will immediately respond with some variant of “that’s racist!”

And that’s the joke. And the people who’ve spent the last few decades screaming, “That’s racist,” not as a punch line but as a heinously unfair accusation or in an attempt to bully people, don’t seem to get that the joke is on them.

It’s even funnier when racism outrage is generated not over issues of race, but over a certain religion.



Tim Blair – Thursday, July 07, 11 (10:32 am)

A. Barton Hinkle observes some wishful thinking:

Boy, those sure have been some mighty peaceful protests against government budget cuts in Greece, haven’t they? You bet they have — at least if you ignore the rock-throwing, fire-setting, window-smashing, and blood-spilling.

Which, it seems clear, a lot of major news organs would like to do. According to one story in The Wall Street Journal, the demonstrations “began peacefully.” According to another, last week Constitution Square in Athens “seethed with indignant, but peaceful, demonstrators.”

“The day began noisily but peacefully,” intoned The New York Times on Wednesday. The Washington Post likewise observed that “a peaceful protest … quickly degenerated into violence.” Reuters reported that, regardless of “clashes between stone-throwing masked youths and riot police … thousands of peaceful protesters demonstrated against the austerity plan.”

What these people need is a carbon tax.



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:

Sydney: 300km
Melbourne: 650km
Perth: 3900km
Brisbane 1260km
Adelaide: 1200km

Start walking, Julia.

UPDATE. The current market at Sportsbet:

What price will a tonne of carbon be priced at?

$51 - Less than $15
$17 - $15.01 to $19
$3.00 - $19.01 to $23
$1.70 - $23.01 to $27
$2.62 - $27.01 to $31
$15 - $31.01 to $35
$51 - $35.01 to $39
$67 - More than $39

UPDATE II. Spend, spend, spend:

Taxpayers are paying nearly $1 million for focus group testing of the Gillard government’s carbon tax sales pitch.

The Australian Online has learned a major contract has been awarded to a Melbourne-based market research company to test the resonance of a planned “Clean Energy Future Campaign”.

A second contract has been awarded to an internet design company to develop a “Clean Energy Future Website”.

The companies involved: Open Mind Research ($927,000) and Osky Interactive ($18,000).



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)

UPDATE. A Melbourne council invents the pool burqa.

(Via Observa)

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