Archive for June, 2010

A little break

June 26, 2010

For all readers of this blog. I am having a ten day break and will be back later next week.

I note with interest that apart from Greg Sheridan in The Australian today, who believes Kevin Rudd could well be useful to the Gillard team, others are expressing similar doubts to those I have outlined below.

Thank you all for your interest and support.


Rudd still wants a role in government

June 24, 2010

I’m Kevin from Queensland and I’m here to help

The question of a role for Kevin Rudd in the new Gillard government is surely problematic. Kevin Rudd at his final press conference announced confidently that he would stay in politics, contest the next election, and would like to contribute in any capacity to the Gillard government in the future.

How can a Prime Minster, once sacked, sit around and play an active parliamentary role? He is not an ex-leader of an opposition that can be offered a shadow portfolio or sit it out on the back bench biding his time for more auspicious circumstances. Rudd was the Prime Minister of Australia. He was dumped because he was bad and damaging for Labor, and he was loathed. Still, he is Kevin from Queensland, and wants to help. Is this possible? He is like a headmaster of a school that has been sacked by its council for incompetence, and asks if he can go back to being Year Nine French teacher with sport on Saturday mornings. It would be stranger than strange to see him back in cabinet. And in what role? Foreign Affairs? Finance ? Supervising the insulation fiasco? …

Apart from anything else, the Rudd image would taint the new government. Surely the last thing Gillard and her new-hope government wants, like a hole in the head, is happy Kevin 07 popping up in television interviews to remind us all of what we have just escaped. That’s why they got rid of him, and judging from his teary, departing speech, he actually demonstrated absolutely no understanding of why he was rolled in the first place.

Maybe time for reflection will change his mind. He should flag his exit from politics. Or Gillard could offer him an irresistible place as Australia’s chief bureaucrat at the United Nations where, given the nature of that moribund organization, he could fill his time writing position papers, organizing enquiries and conferences — in the UN’s inimitable style, with no foreseeable outcomes — and do little harm.

Wind farms evil: blood diamonds better

June 19, 2010

“I’d rather my wife made land mines”

Many have commented on the economic stupidity of wind farms. I had a post just recently about the Green Gold Rush announced by ACTU President, Sharan Burrow and Australian Conservation Foundation executive director Don Henry.

James Delingpole of the UK Telegraph sums up in strong terms what he thinks of wind farms and how the wife of Britain’s deputy prime minister Nick Clegg is to take a lucrative job in this vibrant, go-ahead industry. He says he would rather his own wife make land mines.

If there’s an industry in the world that deserves to be stigmatised more than any other, it’s the despicable, reprehensible, money-grubbing, mendacious, taxpayer-fleecing, bird-mangling, landscape-ruining, economy-blighting wind farm business. At least you could argue that blood diamonds make nice jewellery and that land mine manufacturers are making a valuable contribution to infantry defence. But wind farms are not merely worthless but actively evil – and anyone involved in them deserves to be as pilloried and despised as estate agents were in the Eighties or bankers are now.

If you are not sure about the unmitigated evils of wind powered electricity generation then read on.

[Thanks to reader Stone the Crows]

Age editorial correct !

June 16, 2010

The Age reflects agendas of journalists

In a previous post I quoted an Age editorial where they boasted that “quality newspapers offer their readers an implicit assurance with every story they publish: that their selection and presentation of news does not reflect the personal or corporate agendas of journalists, editors or proprietors.”

We knew that it was their idea of a joke, but the very next day we had the proof. Yesterday they ran a news report, not opinion, on a debate that took place in Melbourne on racism, between Professor Robert Manne and Hanifa Deen for the affirmative, and Professor Bob Birrell and Dr Tanveer Ahmed for the negative.

The article, written by Paul Millar, was headed Country ‘drifting back to racism’. A strange heading for a debate with two sides whose subject was to determine whether or not Australian had escaped its racist past. However, The Age never lets facts get in the way of story. Looking closely at the article, almost all of it was taken up with Hanifa Deen’s presentation for the affirmative. In a total of 470 words, Professor Birrell was given only 42 words, or barely nine percent of the report. Not another word from the negative.

In a follow-up editorial today, we learn that the debate was an IQ2 event, sponsored by The Age. We also learn that the audience voted in favour of the proposition, 71 per cent to 20 per cent. The editorial suggested that maybe it was because of the difficulty of  “satisfying the opposite contention”. But is it not as feasible that the vast majority of the audience were Age readers and thus ill-informed because The Age coverage of issues never satisfies the opposite contention.

Warming scientists alarmed and desperate

June 15, 2010

Dr Cathy Foley’s folly

Since 1989 the US government has given around $80 billion dollars to the climate change industry. Who knows how much has been wasted by the United Nations. Hundreds of millions of tax payer money has been spent here in Australia. The money spent by sceptics pales  into insignificance against this onslaught. Nevertheless, Dr Cathy Foley, the president of the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies, is convinced that it is a well funded climate sceptics movement that has increasingly captured the public’s attention: ”We are concerned the debate around climate change has become a left-wing versus right-wing debate, or a kind of religious argument, when it should really be about the strength of the scientific evidence.”

So what does Dr Foley do? Fearful of losing hearts and minds over global warming, she is organizing a conference with yet more funding to increase the politicisation and campaigning. Forget the science.

REPRESENTATIVES of scientific organisations, including the CSIRO and the Bureau Of Meteorology, will meet today to discuss better communication of the science behind man-made climate change as the political and public consensus on global warming crumbles.

The conference in Sydney, organised by the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies, is part of a long-term effort to develop a ”national communication charter” for major scientific organisations and universities to better disseminate the evidence for climate change …

Dr Foley is correct to be concerned about a growing scepticism of and apathy towards climate change in Australia.

A Lowy Institute poll showed that the number of Australians who wanted action on climate change immediately had dropped from 68 per cent in 2006 to 46 per cent this year …

But there seems to be little insight by scientists as to why this has happened. Self awareness is not their strong point.  Andrew Bolt provides us with a delicious object lesson in why this may be so with Australia’s “Alarmist of the Year”, Tim Flannery.

There is also a failure to understand why China “rat fucked” — ipse dixit Prime Minister Kevin Rudd — the good guys at Copenhagen, or why the Left media discounted and refused to deal with the scandals coming out of Climategate.

The response from Dr Foley and from Mr Rudd’s government when losing the debate is to spend more money.

The government – which has postponed its emissions trading scheme until at least 2013 – committed $30 million for a ”national campaign to educate the community on climate change, including on climate change science, in the budget last month.

The Age looks in the mirror

June 14, 2010

Age editorial show how easy it is to be cynical

Editorials are usually serious things, but this was truly a LOL moment last weekend. Almost unbelievable really.

QUALITY newspapers offer their readers an implicit assurance with every story they publish: that their selection and presentation of news does not reflect the personal or corporate agendas of journalists, editors or proprietors. It is easy to be cynical about the assumption that this is how The Age and other serious newspapers work, but if it were not so the exchange of reliable information, and of informed opinion, on which democracy depends could not happen. And if a major news organisation does behave in a way that suggests its reportage reflects something other than concern for the public interest, it risks eroding public trust – in the organisation itself, and in the wider media industry.

The Left and Israel

June 9, 2010

Unerringly, they always seem to back the wrong horse

Recently, I mentioned  the excellent book by Nick Cohen, What’s Left? How liberals lost their way, in which he asks why the international Left have an unerring propensity for supporting groups who, it would seem, contradict everything the Left stands for.

Spanish ex-politician, Pilar Rahola, a journalist and activist, also from the ideological left, feels even more strongly than Cohen about the absurd hypocrisy of the Western anti-Israeli Left and questions why it is indeed attracted to groups with fascist, totalitarian and anti-liberal impulses.

As a journalist it is my duty to search for the truth beyond prejudice, lies and manipulations. The truth about Israel is not told. As a person from the Left who loves progress, I am obligated to defend liberty, culture, civic education for children, coexistence and the laws that the Tablets of the Covenant made into universal principles. Principles that Islamic fundamentalism systematically destroys. That is to say that as a non-Jew, journalist and lefty I have a triple moral duty with Israel, because if Israel is destroyed, liberty, modernity and culture will be destroyed too.

The struggle of Israel, even if the world doesn’t want to accept it, is the struggle of the world.

It is nice to hear a voice from the Spanish speaking world which also apparently has extensive influence throughout Latin America.

A last chance for Labor

June 8, 2010

Remember Bill Hayden?

It seems the verdict is in. Kevin Rudd is finished. Even the ABC has turned on him, and David Marr — bless his nastiness — has added to the anti-Rudd climate. It would appear that the Prime Minister cannot win a trick. His only hope in the short run is to pull off some clever compromise with the miners on the super profit tax. It might breathe a little life back into him but the outlook is now grim regardless. Everyone is touting Julia Gillard.  The commentariat is aching for a “first female” prime minister.

The thought arises, what would the ALP have to lose if it rolled him and put up Julia? In 1983, Bob Hawke was elected leader only 25 days before an election he subsequently won in a landslide, having replaced the lack-lustre Bill Hayden.

However, there are differences. Hawke represented a change from the increasing unpopular incumbent, Malcolm Fraser. Nevertheless, a Gillard coup, if the will were there in the Labor cabinet, could allow for a refinement and refocus of policies that would reassure the electorate with more intelligent economic policies. Would it make Labor more palatable? Could some radical changes be made, freed from the shackles of the manic control-freak Rudd, so that the blame for the last three years could be largely sheeted home to him?

The problem of course is that whilst Julia’s touters on the Left perceive her to be a flawless, cool-as-a-cucumber performer in her press encounters, she herself has overseen very bad policies. Like Rudd’s, these are likely to become even more sharply scrutinized if she were to stand.  Her class-war inspired industrial relations reforms are a purely union-appeasing throwback to pre-Hawke days and damaging for the economy. The clumsily named “Building the Education Revolution” is a monster. Her smooth denials and calm exterior observed on television are just the style that has led to the electorate’s turning away from Rudd.

Nevertheless, a sudden last minute, 25 day gamble, might be the best option if Rudd’s fortunes continue to decline. There would be nothing to lose.

Rudd and Flannery on Copenhagen

June 4, 2010

Two spin meisters go head to head

In The Age this weekend from Tim Flannery on one of the positive things that came out of Copenhagen:

Under the Copenhagen Accord, China has committed to reduce the intensity of its greenhouse gas emissions (that is, the emissions per unit of production) by 40 to 45 per cent by 2020 …

If China delivers on its Copenhagen promise, it will have opened the way to stabilising the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gas at below the ”dangerous” threshold of 450 parts per million carbon dioxide. But to do that, the developed nations would need to realise ambitious emissions reductions as well. And that’s where the trouble lies. One of the things that Copenhagen did not change is that the US, Canada and Australia remain the three standout laggards.

In The Australian, the same weekend on the Prime Minister’s attempts to broker a deal on climate change at last year’s UN talks in Copenhagen:

“Those Chinese f . . kers are trying to rat-f . . k us,” Rudd told journalists and political aides, according to Marr.

“Was a deal still possible?” asked one of the Australians.

“Depends on whether those rat-f . . king Chinese want to f . . k us,” Rudd replied.

Inconvenient truths on refugees

June 3, 2010

Prime Minister admits queue Jumpers

Mr Rudd named three big challenges for Labor: selling the mining tax, climate change and the debate over asylum-seeker policy. He later told a news conference:

The government had ”a fair, balanced, humane, tough border-control immigration policy”. About 13,000 refugees came each year, as in John Howard’s time, he said. ”What varies from year to year is whether they come by boat, whether they actually arrive by plane or whether they are processed out of various refugee camps around the world – but the overall number is about the same,” he said.

What he is effectively saying is that the “boat arrivals” are queue jumpers. They are not in addition to the other refugees that we take, for example, from UN refugee camps, and therefore the numbers we take from these camps are reduced by the “self selected” refugees who arrive via people smugglers.

This is undeniably the case. Rudd has said so but has not admitted the unpalatable part of the truth.

[Thanks to reader Stone the Crows]