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Monday message board

June 4th, 2007

It’s time, once again for the Monday Message Board. As usual, civilised discussion and absolutely no coarse language, please.

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  1. Paulkelly
    June 4th, 2007 at 07:01 | #1

    Tommy Switzer, Oz opinion page editor, thinks McCarthysm was a myth or a joke. (Not sure which.)

  2. observa
    June 4th, 2007 at 09:25 | #2

    Real repression is no myth or joke, but the downtrodden must never lose hope http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,21842574-2682,00.html?from=public_rss

  3. Jill Rush
    June 4th, 2007 at 12:32 | #3

    In the Weekend Sydney Morning Herald is an article by Steve Biddulph entitled “teenage Girls under attack. http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/teenage-girls-under-attack/2007/06/01/1180205509747.html

    There has been a debate over the fast food industry advertising to children but the unrealistic and limited images offered to girls is of equal concern.

    Girls are harming themselves in ways never seen in the past. There is an epidemic on cutting themselves and other self harm behaviours. Anorexia, bulimia, binge drinking and a range of other destructive behaviours are fears that many parents face. Many of these behaviours are ways that teenage girls use to gain control in their lives but also indicate self loathing.

    Beyond Blue is like an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff but it is unlikely to be available to teenage girls who are more likely to turn to their peers.

    In Australia there is a lack of hope for the future and pessimism and cynicism are rife. This translates into the teenagers who together successfully plot to hang themselves as a communal activity or the Emo with a fascinaton for the bizarre who meets with men discovered through the internet with tragic results.

    Unfortunately we have an unrepresentative group of men at the top making paternalisitc decisions which protects vested interests rather than the future of the girls and children of the nation. There needs to be debate on what is acceptable and tough measures to stop the sexualisation of children in advertising.

  4. June 4th, 2007 at 19:33 | #4

    Thanks paulkelly… that was another great article by Switzer. Though your McCarthy confusion seems to miss the point.

    Perhaps you meant to type something else, but Howard silenced you? :)

  5. Paulkelly
    June 4th, 2007 at 19:40 | #5

    Please, tell me the point Mr H.!

  6. June 4th, 2007 at 20:35 | #6

    The point of his article is that the left wing is not silenced in Australia, as evidenced by the fact that they can so loudly and repeatedly claim that they have been silenced.

  7. wmmbb
    June 5th, 2007 at 01:19 | #7

    The market is a wonderful thing, as Adam Smith believed. Some time before Smith wrote his thesis, in 15th Century the Condottierri rode the range of Renaissance Italy. It made sense for a sea power, such as Venice for example, to employ contractors (the literal translation) as its land territory expanded, but they always treated them with suspicion.The prescent on military contractors, such as Blackwater,perhaps makes a point of difference for Iraq from the Vietnam experience. But I am wondering what the economic rationale for such contractors can be, since some are reputed to earn more money than the Secretary of Defence. I suppose that every soldier receives pay and conditins, whereas a contractor only gets pay.

  8. Ian Gould
    June 5th, 2007 at 01:55 | #8

    Not sure if this has been mentioned here previously, apologies if it has.

    Queensland has announced soem very ambitious long-term targets from greenhosue gas emission reductions:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200706/s1941009.htm

    “Beattie unveils major climate change policy


    The Premier has unveiled $400 million in new money to cut greenhouse gas emissions by about 34 per cent by 2020.

    To do that, there will be a big focus on clean coal, while a $300 million climate change fund will be used to develop new technologies.

    There is a 10 per cent target for renewable and low emissions energy and a rebates program to install energy efficient devices in homes as well new planning standards for commercial buildings.

    Under the plan, government office buildings will be carbon neutral by 2020.”

    In addition to the 34% cut by 2030, there’s a commitment to a 60% cut by 2050.

  9. observa
    June 5th, 2007 at 08:54 | #9

    “Under the plan, government office buildings will be carbon neutral by 2020.”
    Have these office jocks any idea how much carbon goes into building one of these towers, let alone the energy to run them? What do they think they’re built of? Mud bricks! Ban elevators and escalators in the buildiong code and that will soon sort these wallies out.

  10. Hermit
    June 5th, 2007 at 08:57 | #10

    It could be argued that Queensland’s greenhouse cleanup is about denial and procrastination since it relies heavily on wishful thinking. For starters the Zerogen clean coal project has failed to attract federal backing http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21817220-643,00.html
    Then there’s hydrogen fuel cells for which the US Dept of Energy has issued billions in grants yet there are no major commercial applications. No doubt tree planting figures prominently but outside of the CSIRO and the farm lobby there is little conviction that subtropical trees are a reliable carbonsink.

    Beattie gives the game away by calling for a speedup of coal loading at Pt Dalrymple. It must take lot of funny lightbulbs in Brisbane households to offset burning all that coal in South Korea or wherever. The most direct solution is to find alternatives to coal quickly.

  11. Paulkelly
    June 5th, 2007 at 09:08 | #11

    John H. I don’t think you understand what McCarthyism was about. Switzer attempted to draw a parallel by approvingly quoting a guy saying that no-one was being silenced in the 1950s.

    We know that people indeed lost their livelihoods, committed suicide etc.

    It’s a good idea to only comment on things you have at least an inkling of, or have at least heard of. Perhaps you think McCarthy is a rock band?

  12. Ian Gould
    June 5th, 2007 at 09:29 | #12

    Paul: emissions from coal burnt in south Korea are South Korea’s responsibility.

    As for the wishful thinking, strip away the PR stuff and at its core the Queensland strategy is to replace coal with natural gas (most likely from coal seam methane).

  13. Ian Gould
    June 5th, 2007 at 09:30 | #13

    Sorry, that post should have been addressed to Hermit.

  14. jquiggin
    June 5th, 2007 at 09:32 | #14

    As Paul Samuelson noted, the libertarians, as a group, disgraced themselves during the McCarthy era. Then there was Hayek and Pinochet.

  15. Ian Gould
    June 5th, 2007 at 21:32 | #15

    I did some fiddling around with the data from the 2005 national greenhouse inventory and the preliminary population data from the 2006 census.

    For each state and territory there are tree figures- emissions in megatonnes of CO2 equivalent; population in millions and emissiosn per capita.

    New South Wales: 158 6.9 22.0
    Queensland: 157 4.1 38.3
    Victoria: 122 5.2 23.5
    Western Australia: 67 2.1 31.90
    South Australia: 28 1.6 17.5
    Northern Territory: 14 0.212 66
    Tasmania: 11 0.49 22.4
    ACT: 1.1 0.34 2.98
    Total 558 20.94 26.65

    Queensland stands out as being way above the other major states in terms of emissions per capita.

    The main reason is the land use change sector where we contribute almost 90% of national emissions.

  16. wmmbb
    June 5th, 2007 at 22:30 | #16

    John:
    I wish I could fix those spelling mistakes. I was suffering from frozen-finger syndrome. Yes, partly due to the onset of winter and the failure of global warming to take effect.

  17. June 6th, 2007 at 10:37 | #17

    Paul & JQ — I know who McCarthy was. But that doesn’t change the thesis of the op-ed… that Australian leftists are not silenced. The fact that Switzer used a quote from the McCarthy era is not material. Do you really think that the left in Australia is being silenced?

    No need to get snarky.

  18. Paulkelly
    June 6th, 2007 at 17:58 | #18

    Mr Humphreys, stop fiddling with your eyebrow ring and pay attention.

    To answer your question: no, I don’t think leftists are being silenced.

    But this government does play hardball, and if you “go” them you have to be prepared to have your dirty linen rummaged through. Eg Howard staffers spreading gossip about Andrew Wilkie’s private life to journos way back when.)

    This conversation began when you said my “McCarthy confusion seems to miss the point.” I was not confused, Tom Switzer did with his bizarre McCarthy reference. It was bizarre because people really were being silenced in the 1950s.

    Do you understand, or must I explain step the western logical canon step by step?

  19. Jill Rush
    June 6th, 2007 at 23:15 | #19

    The Tommy Switzer article was very dismissive of the proposition that dissent was being repressed – whilst then going on to say that the left was being ignored.

    He makes the equation that dissent can only come from the left. His defence that his pages are balanced is that he continues to employ Phillip Adams. This is not exactly balanced by the many columns which are limited in scope and seem to be mainly rants against the left.

    Of course his contention that the left are ignored is not correct.

    There is no doubt that the Howard government has worked hard to silence critics. When agencies dealing with the poorest people speak out they lose funding and government contracts.

    The difficulties of journalists getting material out of government has also been complained about by the media as a whole including the Australian.

    The public service has had people sacked for the most trivial of reasons such as pointing Kevin Rudd to public information sources.

    These may not have silenced all critics but it has been successful in silencing many. Some critics on the right have also been silenced.

    To argue that McCarthyism didn’t silence people is disingenuous. It does. However any repressive regime is likely to have critics who won’t be silenced. Bishop Despond Tutu and Nelson Mandela are two obvious examples.

    In Australia we have a law that silences people from even speaking of a friend or relative who might be held by ASIO.

    Hitler didn’t get his power overnight and neither did Stalin. However Hitler certainly knew the value of limiting information and so did Stalin. It didn’t stop people such as the Resistance and Solzenitsyn but there was a very high price to pay for those freedom fighters who after all are the famous ones and not the unknown dead heroes.

    How sad for the country that the political editor of a major paper can do no more than suggest that those who hold alternative views are ignored. He is a little like the global warming denialists – he cannot see the evidence that despite his biased articles, that it is his extgremist approach that is being ignored, as people go to blogs and talk back radio for their opinion pieces.

  20. gordon
    June 7th, 2007 at 13:09 | #20

    Anybody still interested in carbon emissions reduction (ie. who hasn’t simply given up in despair and gone to the pub, which could easily be shown to be the best available alternative at this time) would probably be interested in a rundown on the carbon tax vs. cap-and-trade debate in the US, at the blog Environmental Economics

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