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Weekend Reflections

April 17th, 2009

It’s time once again for weekend reflections, which makes space for longer than usual comments on any topic. As always, civilised discussion and no coarse language.

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  1. April 17th, 2009 at 16:24 | #1

    SEQ Regional Plan a travesty against the people of South East Queensland

    Dr Jane O’Sullivan shows how the Queensland Government’s Draft South East Queensland Regional Plan, far from achieving its lofty claimed goals of “protect(ing) and enhanc(ing) the quality of life”, landscape values, biodiversity and natural assets of the region, will, instead, turn even much of that region into an economically depressed, crowded and ecologically unsustainable slum for no better purpose than to keep profits flowing into the pockets of the growth lobby which largely bankrolls the ruling Queensland Labor Party.

  2. April 17th, 2009 at 16:36 | #2

    A Regional Economic Summit? by Dr Vince Hooper, Australian School of Business.

    It is unfortunate that the recent ASEAN meeting of leaders due to be held on 11th-12th April was cancelled in Pattaya, Thailand due to anti-government protesters threatening the safety of attendees. It is now a good opportunity for the Rudd government to call for a meeting to be rescheduled in an Australian city such as Darwin or Cairns embracing not only ASEAN membership but all of our neighbours, including the Pacific Islands in order to orchestrate a regional response to the present world economic crisis and to implement the outcome of the recent London G20 meeting.

    The recent G20 Summit was deemed to be a great success given such a divergence of viewpoints of the G20 leaders surrounding the event. What has unexpectedly emerged out of this great fanfare of international co-operation is what I would like to coin a “London Consensus”. Major beneficiaries of the outcome will be numerous countries in the Asia-Pacific region as G20 Countries have pledged the International Monetary Fund IMF and Multilateral Development Banks MDBs with an increase in resources to the tune of $850 billion to be used to smooth the world’s economy through the crisis and assist in alleviating poverty.

    These additional resources will finance an expanded and more flexible New Arrangements to Borrow; a doubling of the concessional lending capacity for low income countries within the Debt Sustainability Framework (DSF) and an expansion of Special Drawing Rights SDRs to improve global liquidity, amongst other measures. This unequivocal commitment to strengthen and improve the efficacy of international financial institutions like the IMF will undoubtedly help the Asia-Pacific region and thus the World economy along its path of recovery towards sustained economic growth and prosperity.

    Whilst these extra resources are likely to be welcomed by emerging market and developing countries in our region they will be futile if the IMF continues its cavalier attitude of dictating policy reforms in return for assistance, mainly in the form of bailout loans. This has been the predominant approach by the IMF in the past two decades through what was termed “Washington Consensus” which was a set of financial and economic liberalization policies that were convergent in nature and did not take into account the fact that different countries suffered from divergent ailments which resulted in catastrophic economic and financial consequences for countries adopting them. In particular, the Asian financial crisis in 1997 was due to overzealous financial liberalization policies implemented by countries in our region which had their roots embedded in “Washington Consensus”.

    A regional response to the outcome of the London G20 Summit should be adopted to balance and harness the immense power of multilateral institutions like the IMF so that resources can be allocated in an efficient and effective manner. It is crucial that the resources and mandate from the G20 in relation to the IMF are implemented with regard to the specific ailments of recipient countries. Within the Asia-Pacific, this can be better achieved if a regional decentralised structure of disbursement is achieved in a transparent and accountable fashion. Besides, this is the spirit of the G20 communique which promotes a greater level of decentralisation and thus democratisation through representation of emerging economies in IMF and Multilateral Development Banks MDBs packages, than has been the case in the past.

    In the wake of the G20 summit, Kevin Rudd can reinforce Australia’s important role within our region by hosting a regional forum on the economic and financial crisis as we are mutually interdependent with neighbouring countries, with the view of working more closely together. Kevin Rudd, as an ambassador for the Australian people and in particular of our Australian values, was instrumental behind the scenes long before the summit took place developing directions through his role on a working committee that considered proposals that came from the November G20 meeting and can help formulate a “Asia-Pacific Regional Consensus” on how to deal with the present crisis. At the summit he pushed the robustness of the Australian economy, particularly the banking sector as well as ideals as strong as he could. A core consideration of the G20 outcome is the “needs and jobs of hard-working families, not just in developed countries but in emerging markets”, not far removed from the spirit of Australia’s recent economic stimulus package. Not only are our intra-regional trade linkages within the Asia-Pacific of paramount importance but in terms of financial interdependence, the New Zealand banking sector is highly dependent upon the viability and capitalisation of Australian banks. One could argue that the sharp downturn in the New Zealand economy, particularly the housing sector could easily be transmitted to increasing the riskiness of Australian banks because of the predominant ownership of New Zealand banks by Australian banks. In addition, Australia’s trade deficit is being financed by capital flows from Japan and East Asia. We all live in the same regional backyard.

    We thus need to work together with countries in our region in a mutually reinforcing way to ensure the G20 reforms are implemented effectively, and we help countries implement their own stimulus packages so that we are all moving in the same direction.

    Without further ado it is now time for Kevin Rudd to call a regional summit.

  3. Ikonoclast
    April 18th, 2009 at 09:00 | #3

    Outsiders Are Better at Seeing Obvious Truths.

    I’ve long held that outsiders see are better at seeing obvious truths than insiders and interested parties. The outsider has become a disinterested party by choice, or by social or economic exclusion. The shrewd outsider adopts a stance of amused and ironic detachment toward the endless parade of human folly with its absurd tableaus, unintentional morality plays and fundamental tendency to progress always to the final Danse Macabre. The outsider can embark on a simple program of demystification of society’s dominant and disingenuous discourses. “Dominant” and “disingenuous” almost always go hand in hand.

    The outsider with the right attitude and a modicum of education with respect to the empirical realities does not need any special intellectual ability to outperform more intellectual insiders in the enterprise of seeing simple truth. The intellectual and careerist capabilities of the “insider mentality” are bound too closely to the falsehoods of the dominant system. Where there is not a self-serving or self-deceiving posture on the part of intelligent insiders, there is usually naivety about the clear reality of this posture in others or a naivety of belief in the possibility of reform through already corrupted and suborned institutions.

    Let me give a simple example. I was astounded, from the beginning, by the naivety of Hans Blix when he accepted his role as chief UN weapons inspector in Iraq. I have no doubt he is a far more capable man than I in terms of energy, intellect, diplomatic and career skills. Yet he could not see, or chose to ignore, the clear signs that his position was always going to be that of a “patsy”. Blix himself admitted, in the fullness of time, that he had been naive and was used by the Bush administration. Yet I, the simple and relatively unintellectual I, the dumb schmuck from the suburbs could see right from the start what a dupe Blix was being, what a con all the WMD evidence of Bush and Blair was and what a disaster the entire Iraq war was going to be.

    Now those of you who don’t know me personally (the entire blogosphere in other words) will have to take me on trust that I predicted all the above from day one. My personal acquaintances certainly could attest to it. More to the point, I am sure many of you can attest that you also understood and predicted, just as well as I did, all that I outlined in the previous paragraph. All of us of average intelligence, if I may lump you with me for a moment, and of well below average ‘intelligence’ in the sense of military and insider intelligence, could see this set of facts whilst the “great” and the “brilliant” at the centres of power could or would not see it. Why is this so?

    The answer might be framed in various ways but I use the phrase “the distorting force field of power”. You and I are far from the distorting force fields of power. We sit as powerless, isolated and atomised individuals in our homes and workplaces. We can see these things clearly because we don’t have to subscribe to and voice our adherence to the “group-think” required in the halls of power. In those halls, the simple truth can never be spoken, at least not in front of the flunkies and certainly not in front of the press or the public. There, the rhetoric is that the blood is for freedom not for oil or that free permits to pollute will help reduce pollution. It’s Orwellian double-think at its most basic and obvious. We are allowed to think dissentingly, individually and silently, as we all do in private. Indeed we cannot be prevented from doing so. But such thoughts cannot be allowed to become part of approved public discourse. They become the fringe of public discourse as the rants of malcontents and iconoclasts. But serious, men-in-suits, centre-of-stage discourse they can never become because theirs is the only permissible game in town.

    Again, when it comes to the debate about the Emissions Trading Scheme, to be part of the dominant discourse one has to argue from within the dominant paradigm. One can question technical components of the system certainly but one cannot question essential aspects of the system itself. How many erudite technical papers will the government duly ignore as it once again rubber stamps the fossils corporations’ wish lists? The problem is not a technical or scientific one now or even a market mechanisms one. The basic facts are well and truly in and the minor technical details should be argued later. The problem is a political one pure and simple. How can the people wrest power from the corporations? How do we put democracy back in the ascendancy over corporatism? That is the only process that will deliver civilization-saving change. These are the basic questions for the citizenry as atomised, powerless outsiders and thus axiomatically as people who see truth more clearly than those in the corporatised power system.

    That old saying, “It’s the only game in town,” is true enough in its own lights. It is used against unrealistic, atomised, democratic dissenters who don’t want to play the guided discourse game. The correct reply is “Change the game or there won’t be any towns.”

  4. Salient Green
    April 18th, 2009 at 10:44 | #4

    Ike #3, I agree with your position on the ETS but my biggest frustration comes from the time and money being wasted on Carbon Capture and Storage, CCS. The fixation on this nonsense supports your “distorting force field of power” theory.

    By far the best way to reduce CO2 emissions from coal burning is to increase the amount of energy used from the process, increase efficiency in other words.
    http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/5178
    This page shows that CCS requires 25% more energy from the coal leaving less for society so more needs to be burnt. A 37% efficient plant is reduced to 30% efficient by CCS.

    The same page also shows that using the waste heat for industrial heating and absorption chilling in a Combined Heat and Power, CHP, plant is 90% efficient.

    The end conclusion is a 67% reduction in coal use by using CHP instead of CCS.

    NO BRAINER!

    There is also Rankine cycle technology now available to turn some of this waste heat directly into electricity.

    Coal and power producers have long had a lovely soft, comfy nest to lay in lined with taxpayer subsidies and now they even have a new games room with the $100million Global CCS Institute.

    That’s why they can’t be bothered with all this ‘efficiency’ nonsense.

  5. April 18th, 2009 at 11:56 | #5

    I wholly agree with Ikonoclast.

    If we don’t wrest back control of our society from the corporations, nothing else will count in the longer term.

    It doesn’t matter, as examples, how well we manage our own patch of dirt with permaculture techniques or what community co-operative growers’ markets we set up, or how much we reduce our own individual ecological footprints, the corporations will always find a way to steal from the rest of us the resources we need to maintain a decent quality of life.

    They are largely doing this with water now and through privatisation, have largely done so with electricity, transport, the banks, insurance companies, telecommunications, etc.

    The way that this has been done since 1973, whether or not behind the facade of democracy, has been lucidly documented in Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine of 2007 (which, interestingly, none of the neo-liberal corporate mouthpieces on this forum have dared directly challenge).

    If the rotten Emissions Trading Scheme (rather than a simple Carbon tax) ever gets off the ground, we may arrive at a situation, where small communities will find their own rights to burn timber may well have been sold off to large corporations, just as farmers’ access to water has been largely sold off to corporations.

    On the question of whether Hans Blix should have agreed to conduct the WMD inspections, I had not given this any thought until now.

    Perhaps, instead, he, as well as the anti-war movement, should have simply restated the truth about WMDs already made known by former UN WMD inspector Scott Ritter.

    9/11 a “simple truth” that “can never be spoken”

    However, there was a much bigger lie than WMD’s and that was that of 9/11.

    Even when I protested against the invasion of Iraq in 2003, I didn’t seriously conceive that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice et al, could have been so utterly callous and cold-blooded as to have staged the whole spectacle of mass-murder of their won country’s citizens that we witnessed on 11 September 2001 and then knowingly falsely blame it on extremist Islamists.

    Now it is abundantly clear that that is precisely what they have done.

    This is one of those In those “simple truth(s)” referred to by Ikonoclast that “can never be spoken” (even amongst many who ostensibly oppose the war-mongering of Bush that is now being apparently perpetuated by Obama).

    If you are paying attention, Professor Quiggin, could I put to you: If Daniel Ellsberg, who told the world the truth about the Vietnam War in his book The Pentagon Papers — and Daniel Ellsberg is only one of many names I could give — said the following of 9/11:

    “There is no question in my mind, that there is enough evidence to justify a very comprehensive and hard hitting investigation of the kind we have not seen. With subpoenas, general questioning of people, releasing a lot of documents. There’s no question that very serious questions have been raised about how much they knew before hand and how much involvement there may have been.”

    … then why won’t you, yourself, seriously consider the evidence of the 9/11 Truth movement?

    You wrote in an e-mail to me on 21 January 2009:

    “This kind of topic derails comment threads, and was doing so in this case. If you must, write about it on one of the regular open threads.”

    Can’t you see how the lie of 9/11 has ‘derailed’ the whole direction of world history since 2001 — how it has allowed the US, Australian and British Governments, amongst others to launch bloody, destructive, immoral wars, to take away civil and democratic rights of their own citizens and to impose needless imposts, such as all those excessive security checks that all of us must endure every time we travel by air or the whole stupid APEC farce in Sydney in 2007?

    Can’t you see how the lie of 9/11 perpetuated the appalling misrule of two of the most abysmal and malevolent governments known in the respective histories of the US and the Australia, namely the Bush Administration and the Howard Government?

    The unwillingness of many, who profess to be progressive and pro-democratic, to discuss 9/11 has allowed the perpetuation of untold evil in the world through much of this decade. Today we are far from the end of reaping the terrible whirlwind of the financial crisis and global recession that only George Bush’s administration, propped up by the Big Lie of 9/11, could have been capable of creating.

    Anyone, who is prepared to face the prospect of momentary ridicule from their peers as a ‘conspiracy nut’, as I have done, in order to begin looking at the case of 9/11 Truth Movement, will quickly learn of the physical impossibility of the three unprecedented, never-to-be-repeated, engineering disasters that all somehow coincidentally occurred on 11 September 2001, namely the total and sudden ‘collapses’ of the two twin WTC towers and, later that day, WTC 7 which was not even hit by an aircraft.

    I urge you just to spend ten minutes to look at the following YouTube presentation:

    “9/11 Science vs. Conspiracy Theories Part 1 of 2″

    … then ask yourself, whether the official explanation of 9/11 provided by the 9/11 Commission and by NIST accounts for the facts presented in that presentation?

    If you agree that they do not, then spend another 10 minutes looking at:

    “9/11 Science vs. Conspiracy Theories Part 2 of 2″

    .. and then ask yourself: Can you be so certain that the leaders of the world’s most powerful nation are not guilty of an unprecedented crime against their own citizens?

    If you can’t know that, then how can you be sure that it won’t happen again? How can you be sure that next time they won’t go all the way and use an alleged terrorist attack to completely take away our democratic freedoms as Hitler did after the Reichstag fire?

    Ask yourself, if there are so many facts about 9/11, which are unexplained, then why shouldn’t there at least be a new investigation as the 9/11 Truth movement demands?

    Supporters of US war-mongering, including, apparently, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, continue to cite 9/11 as a justification for the continuation of the fraudulent ‘war on terror’. This is what he said on 26 March 2009:

    “I cannot remove from my mind the image of the twin towers coming down. We are there because terrorists, operating out of the safe haven of Afghanistan, caused that to happen.”

    It’s a shame that Kevin Rudd did not look more closely at those images. Even on the day, live news commentators commented on the striking similarity between those ‘collapses’ and controlled demolitions.

    If such justifications for the ‘war on terror’ continue to be used, even on this forum, then why can’t those who dispute that Islamist extremists were responsible for 9/11 also be allowed to argue their case on forums such as this?

  6. smiths
    April 18th, 2009 at 12:27 | #6

    john,
    the weekend australian has about 20 articles promoting ian plimer and saying the antarctic is actually growing,
    i sense a surge mentality here from the right,

    does plimer have any facts or rightness in any of his claims as far as you know?

    i know what i think of him personally but i would love to be disgusted by him professionaly as well

  7. Kevin Cox
    April 18th, 2009 at 17:43 | #7

    Ikonclast,

    Take heart. Five years ago I started a company whose stated aim was to give individuals control over their electronic identity. That is, the objective was to give individuals an equal footing when it comes to “living” in the Internet.

    The idea is simple enough but the reality of making it viable was far from simple but we have worked out how to do it. The reason it is difficult is that the existing players – the corporations and governments – think they have a vested interest in trying to maintain control over our electronic identities because they think of us as their customers and the jealously guard what they see as theirs – namely us – and they try to keep control over us.

    To succeed we had to find a way to get the big end of town to embrace us. Go to greenid.com.au and you will see how we are doing it. We are able to show that we are able improve the profitability of the big end of town by allowing individuals to work on a more even footing. In other words in a connected world we can all win and it is not a zero sum game. Corporations and governments do not have to give up control by giving individuals equal control over themselves.

    This is what I am trying to do now with community spending. The current paradigm is that governments think they know best how to spend the communities money. They do this because they think it will get them elected again by “giving us” back our money.

    The idea I am proposing is that individuals can help governments spend money efficiently and so both sides can win. That is, instead of governments providing us services governments provide us with the money to buy the services. The current global credit crisis has given us a once in generation opportunity of fixing the system because I think most people agree that the system is “broke” in more ways than one.

    The win-win is that governments can still claim to provide the services but we get to decide exactly how the money is spent. This is a big win for the government because when the money is spent unwisely they do not get all the blame if there is shared responsibility.

    If you haven’t already done so take a look at http://stableproductivemoney.wordpress.com/2009/04/10/presentation-to-the-act-legislative-assembly/

    What this is proposing is a way for Rudd to give the country a fiscal stimulus without putting the country into debt. This must be attractive to any politician. Imagine you can offer to build community infrastructure and you do not put the government into hock. Sooner or later someone is going to catch on and if I can get just one system going then it will spread to encompass most government infrastructure spending first then other government spending.

    On infrastructure spending the choice is as follows.

    You can use existing resources to pay for new infrastructure or you can use the infrastructure you build to pay for itself. Let us take renewable energy as the infrastructure you want to build.

    If you use existing resources you borrow money from the banks or overseas and you build the infrastructure. The group or government that borrows the money has to pay interest and repayments and at the end of the day they may or may not end up owning the infrastructure.

    To get the infrastructure to pay for itself you set up a system where you promise to pay for the infrastructure once it is built and is able to pay for itself. That is, you do not have to pay interest or repayments on any money because you do not need it. The money comes after the infrastructure is built and is “repaid” through taxes on profits. Unfortunately it is only the government who can do this because they are the ones who theoretically control the currency.

    For renewable energy – if we get rid of interest and repayments – the replacement cost and the running costs of say geothermal or solar thermal or even photovoltaics is less than 1 cent per kwh. You can sell electricity at a wholesale cost of 6 cents per kwh so renewable energy is economically viable as long as it is not burdened with finance charges.

    This is such an obvious idea and so far I have not had one person give any reason why it will not work.

    Anyway take a look at the proposal and if you think it will work give it your support by sending an email to [email protected]

    The objective is to get the ACT government’s blessing (not money) for a community group to go to the Reserve bank and ask for $600M of special purpose money that does not become real money until the special money becomes an asset that reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

  8. Ikonoclast
    April 18th, 2009 at 19:36 | #8

    Dagget, I did refer to simple truths that could not be spoken but it appears that my rhetorical device has exploded in my own face.

    I was referring to simple truths about the blood for oil policy, the rigging of WMD evidence and the distortion of climate responses by the corporate influence on our governments.

    I was not talking about 9/11 conspiracy theories. Rather than talk about the entire issue (which would take too long) I’ll just address the manner of the collapse of the towers.

    The towers were hit high up by passenger aircraft loaded with fuel. The resultant impact and explosion approximated a crude but very large fuel-air bomb accompanied by considerable kinetic energy of impact. There is some evidence I think (my memory is hazy on this) that some terrorist organisers or their sympathisers believed the towers would be knocked over by being hit in this manner. They were not of course.

    What subsequently happened surprised everyone. The intensity of the blast and fire buckled the steel columns of the impact floor at least and perhaps some floors above and below. When these coulumns failed the floors above pancaked down to hit the next integral floor. The kinetic energy was great enough to pancake the next floor and so on as the building was involved in a pancake failure.

    http://www-math.mit.edu/~bazant/WTC/WTC-asce.pdf

    There is no need to seek more complicated and outlandish explanations for the collapse when simple physics suffices.

  9. Ikonoclast
    April 19th, 2009 at 08:50 | #9

    Correction, I should have said “pure physics” not “simple physics”.

    The issue of what to believe about publicly reported events, privately held events, the testimony, claims and reports of experts and so on raises the whole issue of knowledge and belief. How much of each person’s opinions is knowledge and how much is belief?

    What is knowledge? Can we be said to truly know anything in the strict epistemological sense? Without getting long winded about it I would say we rely on corroboration to get at knowledge.

    When our senses corroborate each other we feel more certain something is there, actual and real. When other persons corroborate our perceptions and say “I see it too,” we feel more confident the perception is real. Finally, when a program and method called science has been developed (with its requirement for repeatable and verfiable experiments) we progressively correct our errors and move closer to the truth, closer to knowledge.

    In terms of the WTC towers collapse we may use the Occam’s razor principle, the simplest explanation that would suffice. Complicated explanations of US govt conspiracies and planted explosives are not necessary to explain the event. The behaviour of the terrorists, the planes and the buildings under fire-stress beyond all design parameters are sufficient.

    A lot of material on the google-able part of the internet appears to be nth-hand supposition and dogmatic opinion. I guess essentially this makes it no different from the gossip, public opinion and media of earlier eras.

    It makes one wonder though. Is the internet just an electronic gossip machine?

  10. Chris Warren
    April 19th, 2009 at 17:17 | #10

    More Capitalist Madness.

    This is from George Bush’s so-called economic advisor – N Gregory Maniw – see…. [Mankiw]

    All this points to approaching savage inflation, and consequently large cuts to the real value of wages.

    To the extent that final consumption expenditures (wages) will be less able to purchase inflated prices, businesses will misunderstand the situation, and may sack workers to reduce costs.

    Forget about any Phillips curve.

  11. smiths
    April 19th, 2009 at 18:10 | #11

    yes pancaked,

    including the massive solid concrete core with 40 steel colomns encased in it, ha ha

  12. Ikonoclast
    April 19th, 2009 at 23:41 | #12

    You doubt the paper smiths? Can you follow the physics equations in detail? I can’t. :)

    You mention the “massive solid concrete core with 40 steel coulmns encased in it”. I’ll take your word for it as being such. However such a structural “spine” will still have its failure point. Furthermore, this spine will have a design strength relative to the loads the engineers expect from standard conditions and expected stresses, storms, high winds and yes, aircraft strike.

    Note that the initial strike of a modern jetliner did not bring the building down. However, the subsequent intense fire weakened one or more floors until they pancaked on the floor below with the weight of all the floors above the fire floor. That caused a catastrophic structural failure. This seems by far the most likely explanation to me.

  13. Ian Gould
    April 20th, 2009 at 00:12 | #13

    Chris Warren,

    firstly, the fact that Mankiw was Bush’s economic adviser should in and of itself indicate that his economic opinions are not to be taken seriously.

    Secondly, real inflation-adjusted interest rates in the US have already been negative for the last couple of years.

    Third, what Mankiw is proposing is deflation =- the exact opposite of inflation.

    I think that it is highly unlikely that we’re going to see an increase in inflation in the near future – oil prices have fallen by 2/3s; mortgage costs have dropped dramatically due to lower interest rates and commodity prices and producer prices have declined.

  14. April 20th, 2009 at 03:01 | #14

    Ikonoclast,

    The ‘pancake theory’ peddled by that document, that you are holding up as some kind of unchallangeable authority, has been long since disowned even by supporters of the official explanation of 9/11. If you don’t belive me, read the words of a fanatically tenacious 9/11 truth denier on the Onine Opinion 9/11 Truth Forum who, incidentally, claims to be a qualified engineer:

    “If you had a clue you would know that NIST threw out the Pancake theory.”

    It had to be abandoned for a number of reasons, one of which was that for it to have worked the solid steel core referred to by smiths (not steel and concrete, BTW smiths, just steel) would have had to have been left standing in the middle. Indeed, when I observed a simulation of the pancake theory on a ‘debunking’ web site, the core was left standing in the middle as the floors pancaked around them.

    This just goes to show that just because a theory has the weight of supposedly well-credentialled experts behind it, that it can still be hogwash.

    Ikonoclast wrote:

    “However such a structural “spine” will still have its failure point.

    Why so?

    It was designed with a huge amount of redundant strength (i.e. capable of supporting 10 times the actual weight of the proprotion of building above it) in order to withstand all sorts of

    natural calamities and even a head on impact by a Being 707, a plane very comparable in size

    to either of the 767′s which struck the twin towers.

    After the impacts of the 767′s it has been shown that there was easily enough strength left in the core to hold up the weight of the towers above.

    Why has there never before that day and never since that day been ‘failure points’ in supporting steel structures on tall buildings which have led to such sudden and complete collapses?

    Ikonoclast wrote:

    “However, the subsequent intense fire weakened one or more floors until they pancaked on the floor below with the weight of all the floors above the fire floor.”

    Nonsense!

    Most of the aviation fuel that didn’t burn in the air surrounding each of the two towers burned very quickly, ad most was burned in the first 10 minutes afterwards.

    Had you looked at the first of the two videos I gave links to?

    It includes an image of 9/11 victim Edna Cintron standing in the North Tower right where flight 11 had hit. How could she possibly be standing there still alive, if fires hot enough to destroy the strength of the structural steel were raging around her?

    Ikonoclast wrote:

    “In terms of the WTC towers collapse we may use the Occam’s razor principle, the simplest explanation that would suffice.”

    An explanation has to also account for all observed facts. I have already shown that the official explanation does not, and that is only the very tip a large iceberg of facts about the 9/11 attacks which are not explained.

    Ikonoclast wrote:

    “A lot of material on the google-able part of the internet appears to be nth-hand supposition and dogmatic opinion. I guess essentially this makes it no different from the gossip, public opinion and media of earlier eras.”

    Have you taken the necessary 10 minutes to look at the first of the two videos?

    How are the following “nth-hand supposition and dogmatic opinion”?

    * thermal images taken by Carol Ciemiengo a certified Infrared Thermographer which prove that the fires on the North Tower were not anywhere near hot enough to cause structural failure that was necessary for the North Tower to collapse in the way it did (this was given to the 9/11 Commission but referred to in its final report);

    * Edna Cintron standing at the impact point on the North Tower (as referred to above) where in your words “the intensity of the blast and fire (was) buckl(ing) the steel columns of the impact floor at least and perhaps some floors above and below.”

    * how an intense fire in Spain’s Windor building which lasted for 20 hours failed to cause that building to collapse, yet fires burning for less than one hour caused a completed and sudden collpases of the twin towers;

    * a stream of molten steel dripping from the South tower, which NIST, demonstrably falsely claimed had to be molten alumunium from an engine from Flight 175.

    How is the following from the second of the two videos “nth-hand supposition and dogmatic opinion”?

    * iron microspheres virtually identical in chemical composition to iron microspheres caused by nanothermites used in demolitions that were found in dust collected on 11 September 2001 by Jeanette McKinley who lived opposite the WTC.

    I thoroughly concur with what the narrator stated at the end of Part 1:

    “NIST has shown that they aren’t interested in looking at the evidence — only pushing propaganda for a policy agenda. More than likley these con artists were given NIST credentials in order to use a respected institution to convey a bullshit story in order to have it accepted by members of the scientific community based on the credibiity of the source alone rather than the evidence itself.”

    Ikonoclast, if you had taken the trouble to work out that the Iraqi WMD story was a lie before that had become widespread knowledge, then why not do the same for 9/11? Why not either make the effort to prove me wrong by referring to the evidence, or accept the truth of what I have written?

    The truth need not be elusive if you approach the question with an open and critical mind as well as a healthy skepticism towards supposed authorities.

    One need not weigh through gobbledegook and irrelevant physic equations such as that contained in that discredited document you have referred to. One can see the impossibility of the Official 9/11 explanation simply by applying common sense and year 10 level Physics.

    I referred on 22 January to an example of a PDF paper “The Missing Jolt: A Simple Refutation of the NIST-Bazant Collapse Hypothesis” which can be far more readily understood, and which shows that the official explanation of the collapse of the North Tower is not consistent with the evidence captured on video footage. Here is it’s conclusion:

    “We have tracked the fall of the roof of the North Tower through 114.4 feet,(approximately 9 stories) and we have found that it did not suffer severe and sudden impact or abrupt deceleration. There was no jolt. Thus there could not have been any amplified load. In the absence of an amplified load there is no mechanism to explain the collapse of the lower portion of the building, which was undamaged by fire. The collapse hypothesis of Bazant and the authors of the NIST report has not withstood scrutiny.”

    The basis for this conclusion can easily be understood and verified by examining the figures and simple year 10 level formulae contained within the document.

    So, far no truth denier has attempted to challenge this on any forum I have been on in spite of its clear and simple content.

  15. Ikonoclast
    April 20th, 2009 at 06:42 | #15

    I can play the economist on inflation predictions. I reckon inflation will occur if deflation does not occur. And if the horse I put my money on at the track had not let all the other horses pass him, he would have won.

  16. April 20th, 2009 at 09:47 | #16

    Apologies, the bit that read:

    (this was given to the 9/11 Commission but referred to in its final report);

    … in the bullet point about Carol Ciemingo’s infrared thermal images of the North Tower, should have read:

    (this was given to the 9/11 Commission but not referred to in its final report);

    With this and an astonishing amount of other hard factual evidence ignored by the 9/11 Commission and NIST, there is no way that their reports can be considered credible accounts of what occurred on 11 September 2001.

    Also, to correct some stupid typos,

    yet fires burning for less than one hour caused a completed and sudden collpases of the twin towers;

    … should be:

    yet fires burning for less than one hour caused a complete and sudden collapses of the twin towers;

  17. Chris Warren
    April 20th, 2009 at 12:14 | #17

    Ian Gould says;

    Third, what Mankiw is proposing is deflation =- the exact opposite of inflation.

    But if you read the article to the end – you will find the opposite viz;

    “But in the current environment, the goal could be to produce enough inflation to ensure that the real interest rate is sufficiently negative.”

    It seems to me that the ramifications of his article – read to the end – is inflationary (to get defacto negative interest rates).

    This risks high unemployment plus high inflation.

    Negative interests rates (by trickery) are NEVER deflationary.

    You only get negative interest if real interest rates are overwhelmed by inflation.

    If costs go up 10%, but interest is at 5%, this is negative interest.

    Maybe Ian Gould can demonstrate how a economy can have nefgative interest rates and deflation. I am not sure this can be done.

    But it is interesting.

  18. April 20th, 2009 at 12:54 | #18

    It’s a nice blog John.
    Methinks though debate on the interweb thingy reaches reductio ad infinitum surprisingly quickly (and I thought infinity was so far away).
    Cheers anyway.

  19. smiths
    April 20th, 2009 at 15:58 | #19

    if possible ikonoclast could you refer me to the plane which hit wtc7,
    i am struggling to find information on it

  20. Bingo Bango Boingo
    April 20th, 2009 at 17:40 | #20

    Prof Q must be over the moon that this place has become a soapbox for 9/11 truthers. I won’t point out that this particular kind of nuttery seems strongly correlated with anti-capitalist ranting and Naomi Klein worship. That would be unfair.

    BBB

  21. David Irving (no relation)
    April 20th, 2009 at 18:10 | #21

    daggett, never assume a conspiracy for something which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

    I don’t reckon that either Bush or any of his cronies are either bright enough, or good enough at keeping a secret, to have planned the catastrophe of the 9th of November and then kept it quiet. It would have involved too many people.

    There’s also no incontrovertable evidence for such a conspiracy, whereas there’s heaps of evidence for the general belief, that a bunch of loonies rammed planes into buildings and got a much better result than they’d anticipated.

  22. David Irving (no relation)
    April 20th, 2009 at 18:12 | #22

    By the way, BBB, I’m well to the left, anti-capitalist, and have quite a regard for Ms Klein. I just happen to only believe things for which there is evidence (unlike most libertarians).

  23. smiths
    April 20th, 2009 at 19:20 | #23

    i would like to point out for the umpteenth time,

    that the kind of stupidity which messes everything up for the public and yet simultaneously enriches a small group of individuals repeatedly is not stupidity,

    the only real stupidity i see is people that make sweeping generalisations about stupid conspiracies without taking the time to do even the most basic research into these issues,

    is it really nuts to look into the possibility that 19 saudi hijackers didnt cause the collapses,
    and ultimately the global war on terror,
    normalisation of torture,
    a renewed global military arms race,
    the increasing police state,

    if those inquiries are outside the scope of a blog dealing with issues from a social democratic perspective, on the monday message board which is opne,
    then everyone needs their heads checking

  24. April 20th, 2009 at 20:44 | #24

    Firstly, my apologies, but the article referred to above has been withdrawn from further editing.

    Thanks, smiths.

    I think rather than complaining that someone has raised the controversy surronding the pivotal 9/11 terrorist attack as a topic for discussion on this forum, BBB, David Irving and Ikonoklast should focus on explaining why the case of the 9/11 Truth Movement is wrong. They should explain why they believe that the 9/11 Truth Commission and NIST reports have provided satisfactory explanations for the events of that day, when, as I have shown, so many facts have not been explained in their reports and so much hard evidence submitted to them has been completely ignored.

    I suggest they re-read my previous two posts and show the rest of us where I am wrong.

    David Irving wrote:

    “There’s also no incontrovertable evidence for such a conspiracy, …”

    Are you saying that police should not begin an investigation of a crime until they have in their hands enough evidence to convict the suspect? Whilst there may not yet be “incontrovertable evidence” of a conspiracy that would be guaranteed to put Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice et al behind bars, there are certainly mountains of “incontrovertable evidence” that a cover-up has occured and also mountains of “incontrovertable evidence” of highly suspicious behaviour by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice et al before, during and since 9/11.

    As I have shown the investigations of 9/11 to be a joke, then why shouldn’t there be a new and proper investigation as the 9/11 Truth movement including, first responders and relatives of the victims, demand?

    David Irving continued:

    :”… whereas there’s heaps of evidence for the general belief, that a bunch of loonies rammed planes into buildings and got a much better result than they’d anticipated.”

    Like that passport that miraculously survided the blazing inferno in one of the towers and floated to the ground?

    A ‘bunch of loonies’, or more accurately, a bunch of deluded patsies, may well have been in the US on the day of the attack with the intention of ramming those planes into those buildings, but whether they actually did accomplish that is another question, particularly given that both the planes that ran into the towers appeared to be military drones.

    Perhaps if President Obama would now accede to the demands of Ellen Mariani made upon former President Bush, whose husband Neil Mariani was aboard flight 175 which was said to have flown into the South Tower, to release the airport surveillance videos which would show her husband boarding Flight 175, if the official account is true, we could get to the bottom of this.

  25. nanks
    April 20th, 2009 at 21:21 | #25

    I hold no views about the truth or otherwise of accounts of 9/11 – I am not interested. But it is very interesting that so many people have no trouble in believing that the government of a country will kill it’s own people in such a manner.

  26. smiths
    April 20th, 2009 at 21:47 | #26

    nanks,
    have a look at operation gladio and the strategy of tension,
    have a look at the moscow apartment bombings,
    have a look into the two SAS men caught in basra in arabic clothing in a beaten up car full of explosives,
    have a look at the footage from the canadian Stop SPP protests of police provocateurs

    the people who do these things are trained to kill people and not care, they exist whether it unsettles your comfortable worldview or not

  27. nanks
    April 20th, 2009 at 21:52 | #27

    Where did ‘comfortable worldview’ come from?

  28. April 20th, 2009 at 22:27 | #28

    nanks,

    If you are truly so uninterested in knowing whether or not Bush Administration would have “kill(ed) it’s own people in such a manner,” then wouldn’t you at least concede that those who lost loved ones on 11 September 2001 such as Ellen Mariani or the Jersey Girls deserve to know the truth?

  29. nanks
    April 20th, 2009 at 22:36 | #29

    Gosh it’s the inquisition – lol
    There is no possiblity that I or anyone else with a similar distance from the events can figure out what really happened. You are kidding youself if you think you can ‘know’. And in my case knowing would make no difference to my life or views on govt at all.
    As to the families – they are in the same terrible position of anyone else who has lost a loved one through tragic circumstances.

  30. April 20th, 2009 at 23:31 | #30

    nanks wrote, “You are kidding youself if you think you can ‘know’.”

    To the contrary, if you were to take the 10 minutes it requires to view the video “9/11 Science vs. Conspiracy Theories Part 1 of 2″ referred to above, I think that you would see that it is possible to ‘know’, as examples, the following facts:

    * That the North Tower didn’t get anywhere near hot enough for there to have been the structural damage that would have been necessary to initiate the collapse.

    * a stream of molten steel dripped from the South tower, which could not have been the molten alumunium from an engine from Flight 175 as claimed by NIST.

    * Edna Cintron stood at the impact point on the North Tower (as referred to above) where in Ikonoklast’s words “the intensity of the blast and fire (was) buckl(ing) the steel columns of the impact floor at least and perhaps some floors above and below.”

    Are you seriously trying to suggest that those facts have not been conclusively established by that video?

    nanks wrote, “Gosh it’s the inquisition – lol”

    No, no-one can make you answer the perfectly simple and straightforward questions I put to you in the post before or in this post. However others are entitled to draw their own conclusions if you choose not to.

  31. nanks
    April 21st, 2009 at 11:29 | #31

    daggett – What do you think the presence of Edna Cintron conclusively shows? If you think that it shows the fire can not have been intense enough to be implicated as per the standard explanation of collapse, then what do you think the survival of Shigeko Sasamori, who was within a kilometer of the atomic explosion at Hiroshima, says about the truth of that disaster?
    Flame dynamics in natural environments are complex.
    Furthermore the existence of disputed facts says nothing about conspiracy – just that facts are disputed.

  32. April 21st, 2009 at 12:57 | #32

    Glad that you’re at least starting to engage with some of the facts, nanks, something very few supporters of the Official 9/11 Conspiracy Theory ever do.

    nanks, it is perfectly conceivable that people relatively close to atomic blasts could survive, given that nearly all of the energy of the blast is dissipated very close to the blast.

    Can’t you see that survival someone a whole kilometre from the atomic explosion at Hiroshima (if that’s what you meant to write) is entirely different from someone standing, at most, metres away from raging fires that were claimed to be hot enough to destroy the huge (initially 10 times) redundant strength in the structural steel that was holding up the proportion of the tower above her?

    If there was that much heat in those flames, how was it conceivable for anyone to live on that floor, let alone stand in the way she did seemingly unbothered by heat?

    This is also confirmed, not only by the thermal images referred to in that video, but also by the fact that Battalion Chief Oreo Palmer (although on the South and not the North Tower) who had reached the 78th floor, immediately below where flight 175 had impacted and only 7 minutes before the South Tower,the first to collapse, exploded around him in a fiery inferno, reported in a radio message:

    “Ladder 15, we’ve got two isolated pockets of fire. We should be able to knock it down with two lines.”

    ‘Ladder 15′ referred to the fire truck with which he was communicating and ‘two lines’ meant two lines from two separate fire trucks.

    Remember, that he was supposed to be standing on one of the floors on which, according to Ikonoclast, “the intensity of the blast and fire (was) buckl(ing) the steel columns of the impact floor at least and perhaps some floors above and below.”

    Clearly the claim of intense fires raging out of control was a lie invented to conceal the fact that something else must have caused the complete and sudden collapses of both the South and North Towers and, later that day, World Trade Center Tower 7 (which as smiths pointed out was not even struck by an aircraft).

    (For more information on Battalion Chief Oreo Palmer and Fire Marshal Ronald Bucca, whose cool-headed professionalism and fantastic athletic performance on the day should have saved many lives, please read my article “Science Show too quick to close discussion of World Trade Center collapses” and articles linked to from there. )

    nanks wrote, “Furthermore the existence of disputed facts says nothing about conspiracy – just that facts are disputed.”

    Firstly, the facts are conclusive and cannot be disputed. The fires from the remnant aviation alone could not have been hot enough to cause total structural failur of both towers even if we take inot accoutn the damage caused by the impact of the two aircraft.

    Secondly, the way these facts and so many other facts pertinent to full and proper investigations of these engineering disasters is proof of the existence of a conspiracy to cover up the truth about the WTC ‘collapses’ and many other aspects of 9/11.

  33. April 21st, 2009 at 13:09 | #33

    Apologies, the last paragraph above, should have read:

    “Secondly, the way these facts and so many other facts pertinent to full and proper investigations of these engineering disasters have been suppressed is proof of the existence of a conspiracy to cover up the truth about the WTC ‘collapses’ and many other aspects of 9/11.”

  34. nanks
    April 21st, 2009 at 19:04 | #34

    daggett – “nanks, it is perfectly conceivable that people relatively close to atomic blasts could survive, given that nearly all of the energy of the blast is dissipated very close to the blast.”

    a technical note – this is not correct – if it were then nuclear weapons would not be as effective a deterrent. For historical data related to Nagasaki see http://www-sdc.med.nagasaki-u.ac.jp/n50/disaster/Damage-r-big.gif but other sites are readily available. Note that at a distance of 1km roof tiles will melt. Yet some people survived. This is because the dispersion of energy in real world situations is not homogenous and is very difficult to predict or reconstruct by modelling alone.
    This does not mean there was no 9/11 conspiracy – just that the existence of a person near the impact site does not disprove claims about temperature. And of course we have no way of knowing if that footage was itself part of another conspiracy.
    My own view is there was no conspiracy – just opportunistic exploitation.

  35. April 22nd, 2009 at 00:11 | #35

    Perhaps, I didn’t phrase what I wrote about nuclear weapons very well. Clearly they are devastating weapons. Nevertheless, they are not necessarily as devastating as if the equivalent amount of TNT were used, because a disproportionate amount of a nuclear weapon’s energy is used close to the point of detonation.

    I think your point about the random dispersion of energy is likely to be valid when we consider distances in the order of 1 kilometre from the blast, but I would still suggest that any randomness in the dispersal of heat from such intense fires would make no practical difference to someone standing only metres away, especially given that heat sufficient to destroy the strength of connections from the supporting trusses to the outer steel columns against which she was leaning was supposedly being conducted beneath her feet and above her (that is, in NIST’s post-Pancake collapse theory as shown on the video shortly after the phot of Edna Cintron).

    nanks wrote, “the existence of a person near the impact site does not disprove claims about temperature.”

    Well, I think it does.

    However, what about the thermal image photos taken by Carol Ciemiengo?

    What about the fact that Batallion Chief Oreo Palmer reported from the 78th floor 7 minutes before the South Tower collapsed that the fires could have been put out with two lines. How could such an experienced firefighter have failed to have noticed “the intensity of the blast and fire (that) buckled the steel columns of the impact floor at least and perhaps some floors above and below”? Indeed, how could he have not died from the heat, still less not felt it?

    In fact there are mountains more evidence that shoot the NIST and 9/11 Commission reports down in flames on the site of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth. Why not have a look?

    And there are more mountains of evidence which shoot down in flames just about every other aspect of the Official 9/11 Conspiracy Theory.

    I am glad that you concede that there may have been a conspiracy.

    For my part, having carefully studied the evidence, I am more certain that there was a conspiracy by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice et al than I am that Lindy Chamberlain did not murder baby Azaria.

    I am sure that if you even took even a fraction of the effort that I have taken you would quickly arrive at a similar conclusion.

    BTW, the “opportunistic exploitation” theory was the one I subscribed to until about under two years ago when I first started to think more deeply about 9/11.

  36. April 22nd, 2009 at 11:40 | #36

    The statement concerning Lindy Chamberlain was probably hyperbolic. Like nearly everyone, I am about as certain as it is possible to be that Lindy Chamberlain is innocent of the crime for which she was convicted and I am just about as certain that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice et al are guilty of the crime of 9/11.

    If anyone has another theory which accounts for the facts related to 9/11, I would certainly be interested in knowing about it.

    However, one theory which does not account for all the known facts is the Official US Government Conspiracy Theory.

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