Archive for March, 2011

Andrew Bolt’s trial

March 31, 2011

“Don’t trust lawyers, Mr Bolt.”

Herman Borenstein, SC, to Andrew Bolt,  30 March, 2011

This trial is sure to create much analysis and discussion once it is finished. A brief report of the case from the trial in Courtroom 1 of Melbourne’s Federal Court that started on Monday has appeared in Quadrant Online.

Before taking questions from the prosecution Bolt requested permission to make a statement about the matters raised in Merkel’s opening which had flooded the newspapers. When Merkel objected that the court was not a forum for making a speech. there were sniggers in the audience. When reference was made to the specific remarks Bolt found objectionable the trial transcript was referred to. Only then was it discovered that neither the defence nor Judge Bromberg had received copies. A 10 minute recess was called while this was rectified. When the case resumed the objectionable matters were referred to and Mr Merkel claimed misrepresentation and that they had been taken out of context. Bolt looked away shaking his head as Mr Merkel said: “This court is the occasion of giving evidence.” Questioned by Mr Young, his own lawyer, Bolt said, “Mr Merkel crossed the line.” The audience found this amusing.

We wish Andrew well.


The case continues …

On Monday, Andrew Bolt had been characterised as having a racist “eugenics approach” by Mr Merkel. The imputation had greatly offended Bolt. Merkel turned again to eugenics and said that he was “Not calling Mr Bolt a member of the eugenics movement.” A week in Courtroom 1 can be a very long time.

At 4.20 the sitting adjourned. The trial continues on Monday.

Lybia’s liberation

March 28, 2011

A vague and bizarre adventure

Rod Liddle, in the latest Spectator, raises the ill ease that many of us already had on our lips a couple of months ago over the sudden enthusiasm in the West, and its Left media, for the overthrow of Middle eastern tyrants and support for these new revolutionaries of democracy. It started with the sudden vilification of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and has now ended in a warm barracking for the rebels in Lybia, but with extraordinary confusion and ambiguities.

You can hear it on the rolling news channels, the reporters and presenters beside themselves with delight that here is a war which is apparently ‘just’, and therefore each detonation is something in which we can exult. A war not against people, like wars usually are, but against only one man who nonetheless, paradoxically, everyone is agreed the war isn’t really against, because it’s not about regime change. So in other words it’s a war against nobody, just against something bad, something we can all get behind.

But all this grass roots democracy is itself ambiguous. In a recent interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr al-Hasidi, the Lybian rebel commander who has admitted he had earlier fought against “the foreign invasion” in Afghanistan, before being “captured in 2002 in Peshwar, in Pakistan”,  admitted his fighters in Lybia have al-Qaeda links.

He admitted that he had recruited “around 25” men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq.

Mr al-Hasidi insisted his fighters “are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,” but added that the “members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader”.

His revelations came even as Idriss Deby Itno, Chad’s president, said al-Qaeda had managed to pillage military arsenals in the Libyan rebel zone and acquired arms, “including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries”.

But worse, in this same article, the following observations were reported:

Earlier this month, al-Qaeda issued a call for supporters to back the Libyan rebellion, which it said would lead to the imposition of “the stage of Islam” in the country.
British Islamists have also backed the rebellion, with the former head of the banned al-Muhajiroun proclaiming that the call for “Islam, the Shariah and jihad from Libya” had “shaken the enemies of Islam and the Muslims more than the tsunami that Allah sent against their friends, the Japanese”.

Liddle, in his Spectator article, summarizes the confusion:

We are either colluding in, or perpetuating, or sustaining — take yer pick — a civil war which may result in the partition of the country, or a partial victory for Gaddafi or, the best possible case, a new government which, I predict, will be about as democratic as any other in the Middle East (barring Israel), and probably even less stable.



Bolt’s racial vilification trial

March 28, 2011

Nuremberg trials … eugenics approach … holocaust … “

Andrew Bolt is currently in the Federal Court in Melbourne on an alleged breach of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Ron Merkel QC told the judge, Mordecau Bromberg:

ANDREW Bolt’s writings on Aboriginal identity were akin to an “eugenics approach” that ultimately led to the establishment of the anti-Semitic Nuremburg Laws of 1935. “The Holocaust started with words and ended with violence,”

He said that the case was not about free speech as the Racial Discrimination Act contains a free-speech provision:

“Mr Bolt is entitled to express his opinions as fully and wholesomely as he wishes …

“The question is not a challenge to Mr Bolt’s, we say, flat-earth thinking –– it’s a challenge to what he’s written.”

Merkel put the view that:

“Mr Bolt’s hypothesis is if you don’t look Aboriginal, you’ve got a choice not to be,”


Earth Hour futility

March 25, 2011

“There are none so blind as those who will not see” : John Heywood, 1546

Born Lomborg has the measure of Earth Hour’s futility and stupidity in equal measure. Not only will the candle in this poster use more CO2 than a light bulb, it is 300 times less efficient that a florescent light.

… the only real result will be to make it harder to see. The environmental effect of the past three annual lights-out hours has been negligible. If everyone in the world participated in this year’s Earth Hour, the result would be the same as turning off China’s carbon emissions for roughly 45 seconds.

I invite readers to protest by turning on all the lights in their house for Earth Hour.

Flannery says no change until 3000 AD

March 24, 2011

Official: Gillard tax won’t change catastrophic warming for 1000 years!

Tim Flannery, the government’s new Climate Commissioner was interviewed by Steve Price and Andrew Bolt on Melbourne radio MTR this morning.

Asked how much Julia Gillard’s tax on carbon dioxide would save our planet, he said it would be so small that we won’t be able to tell for at least 1,000 years.  Even if everyone in the world did what Gillard wants, we still wouldn’t be able to tell for 1,000 years.

Clearly, he is thus conceeding that all this urgent action needed to stop catastrophic flooding, drought, huricanes — whatever — right now, is totally futile, and certainly not urgent. Forget about tipping points. Either they have already happened, and we will find out in 1000 years, or they haven’t, and we will wait till then anyway.

Our Nostradamus kid of the present millennium is now making a bid for the title in 3000 AD. I think I will go back to Revelations … King James version.

ABC Waleed Aly joins the hypocritical hounds

March 23, 2011

The double standards are breathtaking

Both politicians and the Canberra gallery are at it, and the ABC attack dog follows. Waleed Aly spent over an hour on Melbourne ABC 774 tut-tutting about those nasty posters at the anti CO2 tax rally yesterday in Canberra.

Go to Andrew Bolt’s blog and look at how the Left handles its demonstrations and demonizations. I am speechless at the double standards.

The Left’s dreamtime

March 23, 2011

Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings. For there is none worthy of the name but God, whom heaven, earth and sea obey” King Canut, c. 1030.

What is it about “reality” that the Left cannot deal with. Throughout history, these idealists get “bright ideas” that create unintended consequences which just end in tears, like Mao’s great leap forward and Lysenko’s agricultural reform under Stalin. Here in Australia, I think of Nugget Combs and the separatist movement for Aborigines, resulting in gulags in remote settlements that for the children at least, resembled the grotesque conditions found in the orphanages under the totalitarian Romania of Ceausescu.

Today we see their bold schemes to change the climate and save the world; a risible project, the sort of which King Canute saw through over 1000 years ago.

It is all about being realistic. So what is not realistic about present global warming policies? According to Richard Blandy, if the world is serious about dealing with global warming, we effectively have an impossible task. It is as simple as that.

Global production and consumption will have to be more than 90 per cent decarbonised within 40 years if the plus 2C global target is to be achieved. If Australia were to adopt a target of an 80 per cent cut, assuming that the Australian economy grew at its underlying potential rate of about 3 per cent a year, production and consumption technology in Australia would have to be 95 per cent decarbonised within 40 years.

This is from a man who believes in human induced warming, who believes we need to do something, but acknowledges, unlike most warmists, that it is an impossible task.

In other words, given that there is nothing remotely likely to replace carbon based fuels that could susbsitute for them, if we or the world is serious about the agreed targets, we would have to revert back to some sort of medieval subsistence economy. So called green alternatives are virtually useless. Using windmills, for instance, is not only costly, especially when the wind does not blow, according to some calculations they don’t even save carbon dioxide emissions. Windmills are about as practical as harnessing hundreds of cats to pull a plow.

China will equal all world’s emissions by 2030

March 17, 2011

But, hey !  let’s just pretend

Just to underline the futility of Professor Garnaut’s suggestions for an emissions tax and his white lies about what is happening in China in last night’s Lateline on the ABC, here is a report that makes nonsense of any costly effort Australia makes.

If China’s carbon usage keeps pace with its economic growth, the country’s carbon dioxide emissions will reach 8 gigatons a year by 2030, which is equal to the entire world’s CO2 production today … But the real news is worse: China is completing two new coal plants per week. That power is being used to drive an enormous manufacturing expansion.

This was not discussed last night on Lateline of course, when Tony Jones failed to challenge Ross Garnaut. Also, Jones was clearly not interested in asking by how much Professor Garnaut’s costly scheme would reduce world temperatures.

Gillard’s tax still to be debated

March 16, 2011

Still not asking the right questions

We are still not hearing hard questions from the media to challenge the effectiveness of a CO2 tax or a trading system.

After the disgraceful ignorance displayed by Jill Duggan, the visiting EU emissions trading expert, there is still a complete unwillingness from almost everyone who wants us to rush into doing SOMETHING, ANYTHING to stop global warming to face a self evident reality; that whatever we do, however much it costs, doing something will amount to doing NOTHING anyway.

In addition, Henry Ergas explained why it will not only not encourage other countries to follow, it will have the unintended consequence of discouraging others from following our example.

The … claim defenders of the tax make is that by acting now, we increase the prospects of global agreement. That claim is also implausible. It accords Australia an influence at odds with the experience of international negotiations, not least at Copenhagen. Additionally and importantly, it ignores the fact that by undermining our own exports we make preventing agreement even more profitable for our rivals.

That the government has no plan for repealing the tax should international agreement not eventuate in a set time frame makes our rivals’ incentive to delay even greater. To believe altruism will trump self-interest in determining their negotiating stance involves a considerable leap of faith.

So, the question to be answered, please, by anyone reading this blog and being indignant at the views expressed here, is why should we do things that will damage the economy and our living standard, if what we do will have no measurable effect on the climate and will not encourage others to do anything effective either?

Last weekend, Terry McCrann again pointed out in detail why the system advocated by Julia Gillard cannot work, and will not work. Has McCrann missed something?

Today in The Australian was a long-winded piece by David Hetherington bravely arguing that Julia Gillard can win the policy debate on the carbon dioxide tax. Heatherington makes the empty assertions that:

Since the underlying economic argument for a carbon tax is a strong one, the government should eventually win the political debate.

The funny thing is that, in his whole piece, he does not explain how a costly tax that does nothing can be a strong argument. He then blames the media, but then so do those who disagree with him.

A further factor is the role of the media in shaping the reform debate. The tabloid media and talkback radio create a perception that all government initiatives are destructive. They cultivate a politics of fear, invoking a crisis in quality of life in Australia that just doesn’t exist.

The irony is that this statement is half true and half false, but for exactly symmetrical and mirror opposite reasons.  The government initiatives are indeed destructive and demonstrably so. It is not just the media’s perceptions. However, the cultivation of the politics of fear is exactly what the government and its well paid agents Tim Flannery and Ross Garnaut are energetically spreading— generously endorsed by a compliant media.

Beyond any effort made by Australia to reduce emissions, it is also true that if we, the whole of Europe, and all the ‘goodie two shoes’ went flat out — not forgetting the ever increasing growth of emission by India and China and the emerging economies — there is no way that this will slow down global warming. Far better to adopt the pragmatic and rational approach of adaptation and wealth generation.

The real divide in our society, and again, the failure of our media however, is that there is little engagement with the debate. For the Green/ALP coalition to promulgate its case, it must answer the increasing voices of the critics, not to ignore them or turn away from them in silence.


ABC worm has turned

March 10, 2011

Unheard of: Gillard tax scheme questioned on the ABC

The ABC seems to have taken up seriously the possibility that carbon taxes and mitigation schemes are ineffectual, just as Nick Minchin has come out forcefully to question Ross Garnaut’s dogged insistence that the science is settled and that there is urgent need for emissions abatement.

According to the ABC:

Senior Liberal Nick Minchin says the globe is more likely to be cooling than warming and has slammed the Government’s key climate adviser, Ross Garnaut, as “on the Government’s payroll”.

Professor Garnaut, an economist, “knows nothing about the climate”.

Speaking on Sky News, Senator Minchin said: “He’s not a climate scientist. I don’t think he has any authority whatsoever to speak on the climate”.
While saying he respected Professor Garnaut, he said: “He’s on the Government payroll, he’s paid to ensure that the Government’s desire to tax the hell out of us over this issue is substantiated by proclamations that the world is about to end”.
“It’s clear that the models, and we’re dealing with models, have grossly overestimated the sensitivity of temperature to increases in CO2.
“I think what’s occurred is that there was a warming period from about ’75 to the year 2000. It was part of a natural cycle of warming that comes in 25, 30-year cycles. The world has basically stabilised in terms of temperature since about 2000.
“There are many, many scientists who actually think we could be entering a cooling phase, and I for one think that is more than likely.
“We have stabilised in terms of world temperatures. There is a very powerful natural cycle at work, and if anything we’re more likely to see a tendency down in global temperatures, rather than up.”

Further to the argument, the ABC interviewed Professor Jeff Bennett of the Australian National University Crawford School of Economics. He said:

the Government’s policy will disadvantage local exporters, while other countries are lagging on the issue.
“The Prime Minister said we’ve got to do something or else we’re going to be left behind – it’s important to realise that first of all, very few countries around the world are doing much about this [pricing carbon],” he said.
“And secondly, even if everybody did something about, if all nations in the world did what Australia’s doing, still the impact on greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would be so small, [it would] not have any real or meaningful impact on the pattern of climate across the planet.
“What that means is that the Australian economy is going to have this quite substantial cost imposed on it, with very little to show by way of benefit.”
The ABC noted that Professor Garnaut was unavailable for comment when contacted by the ABC today.

I heard all of this on tonight’s PM on Radio National. I didn’t think the ABC played music on current affairs programmes, but this music sounded sweet. Could there now be a realignment of thinking on this issue at last?