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Off air

April 2nd, 2013

I’ve been on holidays over Easter, and am now going completely offgrid for the rest of the week. So, no posting. Commenters, please observe extra courtesy while I’m away.

Categories: Metablogging Tags:
  1. Greg
    April 2nd, 2013 at 23:05 | #1

    We can do ANYTHING we want … for a whole week …

  2. Ikonoclast
    April 2nd, 2013 at 23:27 | #2

    Memo to self: “Behave Iko”.

  3. April 3rd, 2013 at 10:04 | #3

    Although politically I can’t agree with much Prof. Quiggin believes in, I bear witness he has had some tough times for saying things as he sees them.

    He deserves recognition for that.

    I hope the following link may bring some inspiration:

    http://anticap.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/economist-of-the-day-69/

  4. Hermit
    April 3rd, 2013 at 10:41 | #4

    Now that Tony Abbott intends to put Tim Flannery on the dole queue I wonder what happens to the Climate Change Authority? Pr Q is on the board. Perhaps climate scientists could retrain as nannies to so we’d need fewer of them (nannies that is) under s.457 visas.

    It lends credence to the view Direct Action on climate will fade into No Action.

  5. TerjeP
    April 3rd, 2013 at 13:29 | #5

    Now that Tony Abbott intends to put Tim Flannery on the dole queue

    It can’t happen soon enough.

  6. Hermit
    April 3rd, 2013 at 14:57 | #6

    Some say Tim Flannery is just as relevant to the climate change debate in Australia as Al Gore is to the US. In other words not very.

    I’d say when Flannery is shown the door the CCA will be next. I wonder if continued funding of the BoM and the Academy of Science will require them to pull their heads in.

  7. April 3rd, 2013 at 15:03 | #7

    @TerjeP

    Why’s that?

  8. Lance
    April 3rd, 2013 at 15:20 | #8

    @TerjeP

    You seem used to stating controversial opinions without any rational basis, as if any and every potential reader on a political blog, where people explicitly come to debate, already shares your views.

    Is it something you do frequently?

  9. TerjeP
    April 3rd, 2013 at 16:16 | #9

    Lance – it’s not a controversial opinion. And it’s not without a rational basis. However if people disagree, and think it worthy of discussion, then reasoning can be supplied. The essence of it is that Tim Flannery is a taxpayer funded lobbiest and taxpayer funded lobbiests should all be axed. He also makes silly predictions and pronouncements. Like his assertion that the rains will never again fill our dams.

  10. Ikonoclast
    April 3rd, 2013 at 16:24 | #10

    Iko bites his tongue.

  11. Nathan
    April 3rd, 2013 at 17:05 | #11

    @TerjeP
    TerjeP, have you read the transcript of the interview your quoting? It was on landline in 2007, you can Google it. If you think it provides a rational basis for claiming that he “asserted that the rains will never again fill our dams” I look forward to hearing it. Otherwise I look forward to a retraction.

  12. TerjeP
    April 3rd, 2013 at 17:35 | #12

    Here is the link Nathan:-

    http://www.abc.net.au/landline/content/2006/s1844398.htm

    Not only does he assert that rains will never again fill our dams he also pins the drought on global warming in spite of expert advice at the time that the drought may have nothing to do with global warming.

    Oh yes he says “if that trend continues”. However he certainly wasn’t suggesting that the trend continuing was some sort of 50/50 deal. His words over a long period of time were designed to provide a view that the drought was some new fixture we would have to live with and that it was a result of global warming. He is a sweet talking charlatan. He was also wrong. The trend didn’t continue.

    As Tony Abbott suggested on the radio it is not as if we won’t hear the opinion of Tim Flannery if we stop giving him taxpayers money. He’ll still be free to tell us all what he thinks and no doubt he will.

  13. Mel
    April 3rd, 2013 at 19:32 | #13

    TerjeP :

    “He is a sweet talking charlatan.”

    No, Terje, people like you who babble on incessantly about the gaiety of the Gold Standard without a coherent and intelligent argument year in year out are much more worthy of the charlatan label. Everybody in public life makes the odd silly statement, including Tony Rabbit, but you do it almost every time you touch a keyboard. And I mean that in a very courteous way 😉

  14. April 3rd, 2013 at 19:42 | #14

    @TerjeP

    I’ll take the second part of your comment as the answer to my question (and paraphrase you): “Because he is a lobbyist.”

    If that is so, what is he lobbying for? What interests, external to the public interest, does he represent and what is it they want him to achieve on their behalf through the lobbying?

  15. hc
    April 3rd, 2013 at 20:33 | #15

    Flannery is an excellent writer and a conservationist with sensible instincts. He is trying to persuade people to care for the world we live in. I’d certainly prefer Flannery to those foolish people on the right who see an insistence on seeking good environmental standards as a leftwing conspiracy to expand the role of government and whose social consciousness and awareness is restricted to defending private property rights. He is good value and a decent person.

    State governments took the Millenium drought seriously enough to build billion dollar desalination plants in every state. It wasn’t only Flannery who got rainfall forecasts wrong.

  16. TerjeP
    April 3rd, 2013 at 21:08 | #16

    What interests, external to the public interest, does he represent and what is it they want him to achieve on their behalf through the lobbying?

    Geothermal power and wind power companies. He used his public paid position to promoting Geodynamics whilst being a shareholder. Geodymanics also received $90 million as a government handout. And just in the news today we have Flannery ridiculing people that suffer from the noise pollution from wind turbines.

  17. Hermit
    April 3rd, 2013 at 22:02 | #17

    Any govt appointed climate czar who says low carbon Technology X is good or that low carbon Technology Y is bad has exceeded their remit. I find on googling that Flannery has criticised coal exports but way back in 2007. Nary a word while wearing the official robes. As for desalination it seems likely to get a good workout in a 2013 in WA, SA and Vic with reduced hydro in Tas and inland NSW.

  18. Fran Barlow
    April 3rd, 2013 at 22:16 | #18

    @TerjeP

    We’re already seeing the initial impacts and they include a decline in the winter rainfall zone across southern Australia, which is clearly an impact of climate change, but also a decrease in run-off. Although we’re getting say a 20 per cent decrease in rainfall in some areas of Australia, that’s translating to a 60 per cent decrease in the run-off into the dams and rivers. That’s because the soil is warmer because of global warming and the plants are under more stress and therefore using more moisture. So even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and our river systems, and that’s a real worry for the people in the bush. If that trend continues then I think we’re going to have serious problems, particularly for irrigation.

    Which Terje parses as follows:

    Not only does he assert that rains will never again fill our dams he also pins the drought on global warming in spite of expert advice at the time that the drought may have nothing to do with global warming.

    At moments like these, I do wonder whether Terje’s hostility to state policy is constraining his ability to read simple English, or he is simply being deceptive.

    The passage read in context does not amount to saying that rains will never again fill our dams. Flannery specifies southern Australia, which is clearly an impact of climate change. He also speaks of winter rains rather than the monsoonal rains that filled the sources of the Darling. For reasons that are obvious, winter rain is far more useful to farmers than summer rain. This is a point Flannery makes in his books.

    Now I’m not a huge fan of Flannery. I regard him at times as careless in his language in an area where deniers love to cherrypick, but this particular troll is just another of those Zombie memes.

  19. April 3rd, 2013 at 22:36 | #19

    This is going to be a long thread.

    Fran beat me to it because I was carefully reading the transcript Terje linked to.

    Terje, do you accept that nowhere in that transcript does Flannery say “never”?

    When you quote someone, you have to use their exact words if you are to avoid accusations of inaccuracy or dishonesty.

    Like others here, I don’t particularly give a fig about Flannery one way or the other, but I take intellectual honesty very seriously in discussions about serious stuff like climate change and policy.

  20. Mel
    April 3rd, 2013 at 22:57 | #20

    I love Tim Flannery. He has written several brilliantly thought provoking books like the Future Eaters; climbed mountains and swum rivers to document the mammals of New Guinea; discovered fossils; and developed and popularised theories that apply to the flora of the Americas as well as Australia. While Flannery was doing all this, Terje was busy refining his much ignored and ultimately worthless theories on the gold standard, to the amusement of many netizens 🙂

  21. Nathan
    April 3rd, 2013 at 23:02 | #21

    @TerjeP
    Other people seem to be making the point fairly convincingly so I’ll be brief. I have read the interview, in detail, because this bare faced lie regarding Flannery has been floating around the internet even since Bolt fabricated it a few years ago. Anyone who want’s to read the quote will see that “..assert that rains will never again fill our dams..” is a total distortion. More to the point, you yourself admit that he includes the all important caveat “if the trend continues” which means what Flannery actually said is logically mutually exclusive with the extreme “never again” claim you ascribed to him.

  22. April 4th, 2013 at 00:36 | #22

    Of course the lie has “Bolt”-ed around the world before the truth has even put its running shoes on.

    Rupert Murdoch’s Piers Ackerman is also now justifiably famous for lying about a ‘quote’: “unless we announce disasters, no one will listen”.

    He attributed that quote not to any old hippy but to Sir John Houghton’s writing in a published book. But of course it wasn’t true. It was never written in the book. Murdoch’s stooge lied.

    Lying is OK for some people. In fact for far too many people today it is essential to the way they fund their day to day living. Not their Ferraris, their bread and butter and rent and mortgage.

    We have become a society based almost entirely on dishonesty.

  23. April 4th, 2013 at 01:14 | #23

    @TerjeP

    Can you support this statement of fact with a link:

    And just in the news today we have Flannery ridiculing people that suffer from the noise pollution from wind turbines.

    It’s just that it doesn’t appear to be true.

    As an aside, it seems you get a lot of your ideas from Murdoch’s well known liars. That isn’t defamatory, I’m talking about people who have written things that are not only untrue but which those people could not possibly have reasonably thought to be true when they wrote them.

    Leaving aside the fact that several of the people who worked for Murdoch at News of The World when they were hacking phones on an industrial scale (including those of a murdered child) are now working for him in Australia, at what point should we reject an entire corporation and all of its entities because it is simply repugnant to civilised society?

    This isn’t just aimed at Terje, I’m serious: How much of this is too much?

  24. rog
    April 4th, 2013 at 05:36 | #24

    Flannery is OK (I’ve read his books, articles and seen his video). He is a pioneer and a disruptive element and is upsetting to those that don’t like change. His opponents invariably resort to fraudulent means to establish their case.

  25. TerjeP
    April 4th, 2013 at 06:02 | #25

    Flannery on wind turbine noise:-

    http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/article/2013/03/28/564865_latest-news.html

    I understand Flannery is on the payroll of two companies in the wind energy business.

  26. TerjeP
    April 4th, 2013 at 06:10 | #26

    I’ve read his books, articles and seen his video.

    I’ve read one of his books (The Weather Makers) and watched some of his TV appearances and read the occasional article by him.

  27. Julie Thomas
    April 4th, 2013 at 07:50 | #27

    You may have read Flannery Terje, but you possibly don’t have the intellectual capacity to understand him. It seems to me to be like a screwdriver (that is you) trying to understand the complexity of a cordless drill.

    Stick to Blot; his views are on your cognitive level and the fact that you are a classic example of the Dunning-Kruger effect will not be so obvious.

  28. Fran Barlow
    April 4th, 2013 at 08:08 | #28

    @TerjeP

    I understand Flannery is on the payroll of two companies in the wind energy business.

    You are keen on the ad hominem here but short on arguing that Flannery’s reamrks are not fair comment. Clearly, when the cause suits you, anecdata (in this case some unnamed “nurse” who says she’s seen people suffering ill-effects from wind turbines) suffices.

    I find it amusing how often people who are inveterate naysayers (self-described ‘sceptics’) on hard science in this part of policy are entirely credulous when claims against the science suit them. Any little straw will serve.

    You embarrass yourself when you post like this Terje.

  29. TerjeP
    April 4th, 2013 at 08:33 | #29

    I’m not attacking the science. I’m attacking the position and the individual that occupies it.

  30. TerjeP
    April 4th, 2013 at 08:36 | #30

    It seems to me to be like a screwdriver (that is you) trying to understand the complexity of a cordless drill.

    Screwdrivers understand cordless drills about as well as they understand anything. This seems a rather tortured metaphor.

  31. April 4th, 2013 at 08:52 | #31

    @TerjeP

    That is interesting. Apart from the fact that it isn’t from “today”, I see it is yet another Murdoch source.

    There is nothing in there showing Flannery ridiculing sick people.

    My observations about intellectual honesty apply here too.

  32. Ikonoclast
    April 4th, 2013 at 08:57 | #32

    This thread is giving me lots of laughs. I’m not taking anything seriously until our host is back.

  33. Fran Barlow
    April 4th, 2013 at 09:02 | #33

    @Megan

    Quite right Megan. A member of the audience took a bit of a swing — “sick with envy” but Flannery acknowledged that some people might well be feeling anxious about it. The idea that Flannery was ‘ridiculing’ such folk is probably based on the latest post doing the rightwing rounds using the word “derided” and which also contain the references to Flannery’s apparent role on the Sustainability Advisory Boards of Tata and Siemens*. This is clearly where Terje’s grasp of the issue comes from.

    *It’s not clear whether this role is an honorary or a paid position. Given that Tata and Siemens are competitors, it’s hard to imagine that Flannery could be paid by both.

  34. April 4th, 2013 at 09:08 | #34

    I think Flannery was already seen by the general public as too partisan to make it worthwhile putting him on the Climate Commission. But that said, I have come to the view that some of his claims are now just routinely dealt with in a dishonest way by Bolt and the likes of Catallaxy. I posted this in a comments thread at Catallaxy about a year ago, but I think it worth repeating:

    I do tire of the dishonest, out of full context, quoting of Flannery’s “rain won’t fill the dams” answer from Lateline in 2007. Here it is in full:

    SALLY SARA: What will it mean for Australian farmers if the predictions of climate change are correct and little is done to stop it? What will that mean for a farmer?

    PROFESSOR TIM FLANNERY: We’re already seeing the initial impacts and they include a decline in the winter rainfall zone across southern Australia, which is clearly an impact of climate change, but also a decrease in run-off. Although we’re getting say a 20 per cent decrease in rainfall in some areas of Australia, that’s translating to a 60 per cent decrease in the run-off into the dams and rivers. That’s because the soil is warmer because of global warming and the plants are under more stress and therefore using more moisture. So even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and our river systems, and that’s a real worry for the people in the bush. If that trend continues then I think we’re going to have serious problems, particularly for irrigation.

    The question was being asked at the height of the drought. His answer is qualified by talking about “initial impacts” and later by “if that trend continues”.

    The reference to “the rain that falls” can at the very worst, be described as ambiguous. In context, however, I think it is extremely unlikely that you can fairly say he was arguing that floods and heavy rain would never happen again. It is contextually extremely likely that it was referring to the “normal” levels of rain that would formerly fill a dam easily will not in the future do the job so readily. This is not a remarkable comment for much of Australia, given what the science is suggesting under AGW and climate change.

    The dishonesty comes from Andrew Bolt continually only quoting the line

    So even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and our river systems

    as if there was no doubt at all as to what that means.

    As for his warnings of cities running out of water: Brisbane got down to about 15% level, even with years of stringent water saving measures in place, trees and gardens dying all over the place, and with no certainty as to how far down you could really continue using the water. (Would it be usable water at 5%, say?)

    This indeed was too close for comfort for a metropolitan area of over a million people.

  35. April 4th, 2013 at 09:10 | #35

    Terje appears to be refering, with a straight face, to “Wind Turbine Syndrome”.

    A fake malady invented by interests connected to mining, the Liberal Party and the IPA and spouted loudly by an unregistered GP mentioned in the article he linked to:

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Waubra_Foundation

    Seriously.

  36. April 4th, 2013 at 09:17 | #36

    I see Fran made a similar comment to mine up-thread. Sorry I had missed that…

  37. Mel
    April 4th, 2013 at 10:52 | #37

    Terje, your linked article says:

    “A University of Sydney study released this month concluded wind farm-associated health problems were “communicated” diseases of a psychogenic origin, based on non-physical causes such as fear and anxiety.”

    How did Flannery get it wrong?

  38. Troy Prideaux
    April 4th, 2013 at 11:04 | #38

    @Mel
    Anemomenophobia?

  39. rog
    April 4th, 2013 at 12:00 | #39

    @TerjeP

    “I’m not attacking the science. I’m attacking the position and the individual that occupies it.”

    In other words it’s all personal.

  40. David Irving (no relation)
    April 4th, 2013 at 12:26 | #40

    Terje, being a glibertarian, has an unfortunate predisposition to inellectual dishonesty (which, to his credit, he occassionally resists) and is, of course, not to be taken too seriously.

  41. may
    April 4th, 2013 at 15:13 | #41

    oh well turgid strikes again.

    give an inch and lose your boundaries.

    why oh why is the benefit of the doubt afforded?

  42. may
    April 4th, 2013 at 15:36 | #42

    yes i know JQ you said,you said.

    but

    compared to the rationalising extenuations and brazenly dishonest self serving rationalisations of sufferers of inappropriate high self esteem syndrome

    and because condescending smarm gives me the pip

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/04/03/just-when-you-thought-libertarians-couldnt-get-more-revolting/

  43. Lance
    April 4th, 2013 at 16:06 | #43

    @Megan

    It looks like several clever and learned people have expended much effort addressing an unfounded, “troll-like” comment by one less than clever or learned person.

    But in doing so they have displayed their learning and illuminated the topic at hand.

    Peccatum adae (Blessed sin of Adam), I say!

  44. Fran Barlow
    April 4th, 2013 at 17:40 | #44

    @TerjeP

    I’m not attacking the science. I’m attacking the position and the individual that occupies it.

    Oh well, that’s different. Not better, but different. Oh wait … it’s what most deniers do? So it’s still unoriginal.

    It’s also much easier than attacking the science. It’s hard to hate science but one can hate people and their positions. You don’t have to think. You just have to feel. If you do enough of that, then stuff like reasoning and evidence and salience can seem like such a waste of time.

    I suppose that’s why you like your brand of libertarianism so much. You don’t need any thinking — just feelings.

    Out of the generosity of my heart, I’m going to recommend a theme song for your creed:

  45. April 5th, 2013 at 00:56 | #45

    Looking back at Bernay’s “Propaganda” (1928) I was struck by a reference to a 1926 report about the Zionist project.

    Dr. Henry S. Pritchett basically said it would all end in tears:

    “The segregation of any national group by itself has seldom failed to develop a type of personality and national character that was aggressive, egotistic and without capacity for cooperation with the rest of the world.

    “No one can doubt that these qualities would develop themselves in a Jewish state, as in any other isolated state, and one cannot forget that national egotism was perhaps the greatest weakness of the Jewish nation.

    “No greater misfortune can come to a people or to a nation than to cherish the illusion that it is a chosen people and enjoys the favor of the Almighty beyond all other peoples. That this tendency would be accentuated by a Jewish occupation of Palestine seems unquestionable.

    Unsurprisingly, he was villified and pilloried for such outrageous views by the 1926 MSM and the “Lobby”.

    Plus ca change, or something?

    http://archive.jta.org/article/1926/11/30/2760931/carnegie-endowment-for-international-peace-publishes-unfavorable-report-on-palestine-prospects-for-jewish-national-home

  46. Paul Norton
    April 5th, 2013 at 08:01 | #46

    Megan, certain things happened between 1926 and 1947 that rendered Dr. Pratchett’s concerns somewhat moot, including that the Jews experienced a considerably greater misfortune than the one referred to in the third paragraph of the quote. The most relevant question now in relation to Israel-Palestine is: what in practice is the most feasible and just way forward from the current situation, not whether we can rewind and rerun 20th century history.

  47. Fran Barlow
    April 5th, 2013 at 10:46 | #47

    @Paul Norton

    The most relevant question now in relation to Israel-Palestine is: what in practice is the most feasible and just way forward from the current situation, not whether we can rewind and rerun 20th century history.

    Indeed. However unahppy one is at how things turned out, to try and return the land to its jurisdictional condition in 1947 would be neither technically nor politically feasible and would involve great harm to people who were not party to the wrongs following partition. What needs to happen is a settlement in which all of the people of the occupied territories (and I expressly include Israel in this) feel part of governance, and as if their life chances are as good as anyone else’s.

    In a world much closer to the ideal than the one we have, there would be something like a Secular Republic of Israel and Palestine covering all the territories and allowing for common social provision, respect and inclusion of all language and religious communities and so forth.

    I suspect that in practice this is not something likely to occur in the short to medium term. A transitional arrangement in which the boundaries are returned to what they were prior to the 1967 war, in which illegal settlements are either removed or surrendered and East Jerusalem becomes a capital for the Palestinians and all living Palestinians get “right of return” with compensation for lost property seems a reasonable basis for beginning a return to peaceable cohabitation.

  48. sunshine
    April 5th, 2013 at 10:46 | #48

    I enjoyed reading the above text where Bolts ‘never full dams’ lie came from .
    I’ve been laid up with injury so I missed the opportunity to jump on our (Liberal) Melbourne lord mayors car last night at the IPA 70th birhtday bash . He was the one (watching from the balcony )who sent the lads in blue to sweep the city square clean of 99% protesters here a day or two before the queens visit .
    Mr Bolt was the MC for the night – I havent heard yet what was said inside . The IPA stooge on local ABC radio here this morning wouldnt give any hint of Gina or Ruperts oritory contributions when pressed .

  49. April 5th, 2013 at 11:32 | #49

    @sunshine

    They had a fundraiser auction. These were the prizes:

    * Special behind the scenes audience with Andrew Bolt
    * Special behind the scenes visit to Fox “news”
    * Special private visit for four to the Reagan ranch
    * Private morning tea with Howard, Abbott, Albrechtsen and Alan Jones

    http://t.co/1sdtyZYfpm

  50. Troy Prideaux
    April 5th, 2013 at 12:39 | #50

    sunshine :

    Mr Bolt was the MC for the night – I havent heard yet what was said inside . The IPA stooge on local ABC radio here this morning wouldnt give any hint of Gina or Ruperts oritory contributions when pressed .

    Dunno, but if you read back on JQ’s “The IPA: Less scruples than Billy Hughes” posting, and mix in a bit of imagination, then I don’t think you’d be far off the mark.

  51. April 5th, 2013 at 14:34 | #51

    @Fran Barlow

    Speaking of the illegal settlements and the relentless expansion, Pritchett made another prescient observantion about a ‘recent’ (to his tour of the region in 1926) dispute about the wailing wall area that required the intervention of the British police. The otherwise accomodating locals got shirty about what they saw as the thin edge of the wedge, not without justification in hindsight:

    “Recently, however, according to the claim of the Mohammedans, Jewish wailers have outstepped the limits assigned to them by establishing on Mohammedan territory benches upon which to rest while they lamented the departed glories of their race.

    “This dispute became so acute that eventually, to avoid rioting, the British police removed the benches of which the Mohammedans had complained. So large did the quarrel loom in the eyes of the Jews that the subject was carried to the League of Nations where after great difficulty a delicate compromise was affected.

    “The ground of the Mohammedan complaint was that the Jews were gifted with acquisitive abilities superior to their own and that if they were granted the privilege of establishing benches they would soon put a roof over these, they would then build a wall sustain the roof, and in the end claim ownership of the land thus walled in and finally that they would maintain the Mosque itself to be a mere appanage of their Wailing Wall!”

  52. Tim Macknay
    April 5th, 2013 at 17:46 | #52

    @sunshine
    Crikey has recordings (paywalled) of the speeches of Andrew Bolt, Tony Abbott, Rupert Murdoch at the IPA bash, if anyone really wants to find out what was said. Apparently Mr Abbott engaged in some culture-warring about the importance of our Judeo-Christian heritage, or some such.

  53. spottedquoll
    April 5th, 2013 at 21:17 | #53

    Tony Abbotts speech is at: http://www.tonyabbott.com.au/LatestNews/Speeches/tabid/88/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/9135/Address-to-the-IPA-Dinner-Melbourne.aspx

    want to assure you that the Coalition will indeed repeal the carbon tax, abolish the Department of Climate Change, abolish the Clean Energy Fund. We will repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, at least in its current form. We will abolish new health and environmental bureaucracies. We will deliver $1 billion in red tape savings every year. We will develop northern Australia. We will repeal the mining tax. We will create a one stop shop for environmental approvals. We will privatise Medibank Private. We will trim the public service and we will stop throwing good money after bad on the NBN.

    Presumably he hasn’t discussed his plans to stop spending good money on the the NBN with Malcolm Turnbull

    “We will complete the construction of the NBN we’re not going to tear it up or cancel it or do any of those things Julia Gillard says we will.

  54. Will
    April 5th, 2013 at 23:09 | #54

    @spottedquoll

    Having read that speech in entirety, and seeing the same old canards mentioned once again, and the same public policy trotted out for the umpteenth time, I am reminded of one Bertrand Russell quote which is the only thing that anyone ever needs to remember with respect to conservatism/libertarianism:

    Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate.

  55. rog
    April 6th, 2013 at 07:27 | #55

    Rupert Murdochs extract here

  56. Ikonoclast
    April 6th, 2013 at 08:39 | #56

    @spottedquoll

    Well, it’s back to the dark ages when those guys get in.

    Actually, it will be a new Dark Age as climate change and resource depletion wreak their havoc on our civilization. And just to think it would have been avoidable if we had allowed oursleves to be enlightened about these matters by the best thinkers of our time.

  57. Jim Rose
    April 6th, 2013 at 09:59 | #57

    I came across an interesting post by Poor Old Rafe at http://johnquiggin.com/2006/11/24/weekend-reflections-46/#comment-93787 explaining the day to day macinations of the ring masters of neoliberalism when meeting in NZ in 1989.

    James Buchanan and Tom Sowell played hookey to sample the local vinyards.

    many others had too much wine at lunch and the papers were long.

    The local Young Socialists picketed the meeting. I am surpised they knew of the organisation. I didn’t before the internet age. I did not know much more until a few years ago when they had enough money to start a modest web site

  58. Hermit
    April 6th, 2013 at 10:08 | #58

    Troubled times ahead for the national psyche I expect. We’ll get the Abbottslide in September according to pundits. Since the autumn rain is so far absent needed to plant major cereal crops we might have high food prices by Xmas. If for for some reason the ‘bad’ taxes linger on under Abbott the voters might wonder who has the honesty problem. On top of that perhaps we should have something after all about the weird climate.

  59. spottedquoll
    April 6th, 2013 at 14:04 | #59

    If what’s happening in NSW is anything to go by an Abbott led Australia really will be going back to the dark ages. Anything remotely perceived as environmental in NSW is getting serious cutbacks, the few promises made have either been broken or seriously curtailed (but one of their three environmental policies was to sling a $100k to the conservation of Tasmanian Devils, I’ll have to check up and see if they did that) and I have been told staff in the Office of Environment and Heritage have been instructed to remove reference to climate change from new reports.

  60. sunshine
    April 6th, 2013 at 14:35 | #60

    It’s been said the coalition doesnt have much policy . It’s un-costed , but Abotts IPA effort has policy there ,some of it just undoing things tho .Costings can be arranged as close to election day as possible . He’s been saying people should know what to expect from him by now . . Looks like Gina may get her special economic kingdom up north. Apparently she made a brief formal address at the function -maybe not on the main stage tho . I wonder if the Hillsong Church was formally represented ,or just informally via its senior Liberal party devotees .
    Looks like they will win with the ‘mandate’ to do it . Maybe another 10 years of Conservative rule , but I hope JQ is right and the Liberals will find the giong tough like Labor has . They have lots of potential ministers ( bumbling idiots -should be easy targets for a lazy media) we dont hear from at all yet .Sophie Mirabella will be entertaining. Maybe media in general has become more savage recently .They will certainly always enjoy the help of News Ltd, but old media is getting older, and the Liberals face some of the same generational problems with their base the Republicans do in the USA . The angry old white men demographic is shrinking . I think News Ltd will still manage to swing the one after next the Coalitions way too tho .
    If we are 10 years behind the USA then Abott is our George W Bush (our Obama is out there somewhere !) . The 1 vote he beat Turnbull by may look like a very big 1 vote in years to come . The Coalition has been playing the class warefare card hard recently , and the gender wars card worked like the race one always has . They seem to be going a bit Tea Party / Libertarian in their retoric in an effort to distinguish themselves from their centre right opponents (labor ).

  61. rog
    April 7th, 2013 at 06:47 | #61

    Full Murdoch speech a free market is a fair market

  62. Ikonoclast
    April 7th, 2013 at 08:00 | #62

    Perhaps people ought to read a little history to find out what laissez-faire capitalism was really like and why the democratic state had to intervene.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/trail/victorian_britain/education_health/laissez_faire_04.shtml

  63. April 7th, 2013 at 14:26 | #63

    Haven’t seen this reported in the “media”. but in his speech Abbott promised to repeal section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act (the one Bolt was guilty of breaching). Nice little gift to Bolt, Murdoch and the IPA.

    Also, I just read a “CORRECTION” in the October 2012 ‘New Yorker’:

    CORRECTION: In “The Lie Factory” (September 24th), Jill Lepore referred to Roger Ailes as the president of Fox News. In fact, he holds the title chairman and C.E.O.

    Glad they fixed that up.

  64. Ootz
    April 7th, 2013 at 14:32 | #64

    If ‘laissez fair’ is no more de rigueur, is there such a thing as ‘sustainable’ or even ‘green’ capitalism?

  65. rog
    April 7th, 2013 at 16:50 | #65

    @Megan I am waiting for Abbott and IPA links to call for repeal of defamation laws, but not holding my breath.

    They seem oblivious to the conflict presented by their ideology, or faith, between their rights and the rights of others.

  66. rog
    April 7th, 2013 at 16:51 | #66

    Links = oinks

  67. rog
    April 7th, 2013 at 16:54 | #67

    @Ootz At the IPA gabfest Rupert Murdoch opined that a free market is a fair market. That would imply that the market has a moral dimension, intended or not.

  68. Ikonoclast
    April 7th, 2013 at 17:03 | #68

    @Ootz

    “Sustainable” capitalism and “green” capitalism are contradictions in terms. Capitalism is not sustainable and not green. It relies on ever greater exploitation of workers and of the environment. Eventually workers will be impoverished and the natural world pillaged and destroyed (all natural capital used up).

    The rise in worker and middle class living standards in the West was achieved against trend by scientific and technological progress quite apart from capitalism per se (much research progress was statist and dirigist) and also democratic redistributions of wealth away from the laws of monopoly accumulation of capital. It was also achieved by vast colonial exploitation of the third world and the repatriation of their wealth to the first world.

    All the unsustainable processes of capitalism are nearing their conclusion.

    (1) The world economy is at the Limits to Growth. In fact, it is in overshoot.
    (2) There is relatively little unspoiled natural capital left to exploit anywhere.
    (3) The third world or large parts of it like China, India and SE Asia, have escaped colonial exploitation and can never again be subjected.

    We have used about half of the world’s endowment of fixed or stock natural capital. (Forests, coal, oil and so on.) We have destroyed many productive natural systems (e.g. the oceans) so their natural productivity is about 1/10 th of what it was.

    The thing about exponential growth is that if you have used half of your (natural) stock or capital in all history to date then you will still use the next half in one more doubling of the economy. That’s in about 25 years from now. So we could say with a good degree of confidence that all our natural capital will be gone by about 2040. Of course, things will get obviously bad way before it’s all gone. I would say by 2020 to 2025 nobody who is compos mentis will have any denialism left in them about these matters.

  69. Jim Rose
    April 7th, 2013 at 17:37 | #69

    Ikonoclast, never would have spotted you as a old fashioned red-green. on

    It was also achieved by vast colonial exploitation of the third world and the repatriation of their wealth to the first world.

    see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExWfh6sGyso for What have the Romans ever done for us

  70. Alan
    April 7th, 2013 at 18:25 | #70

    It is classic that Jim offers a cartoon in defence of his views. In actuality most of the things on the Monty Python list were actually the invention of earlier civilisations and many of them, like public order, were simply not things that Roman governance provided. The one great Roman invention was the professional army.

    See The barbarians for a somewhat more balanced and empirical view.

  71. Ootz
    April 7th, 2013 at 18:57 | #71

    By its definition, can capitalism be sustainable or not at all?

  72. Jim Rose
    April 7th, 2013 at 19:31 | #72

    Alan, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_technology

    the Life of Brian was as much a satire on left-wing sectarian politics in the 1970s.

    What the film does do is place modern stereotypes in a historical setting, which enables it to indulge in a number of sharp digs, particularly at trade unionists and guerilla organisations

    Marx predicted the growing misery of working people would lead them to revolt.
    • Joan Robinson noted in 1942 that when the communist manifesto was published, its battle cry ‘Rise up ye workers for you have nothing to lose but your chains’ would have had some currency in 1848.
    • Alas in 1942, Robinson suggested that this battle cry would have to be amended to ‘Rise up ye workers for you have nothing to lose but your suburban home and your motor car.’

    The forces of history can be cruel to consciousness raising. Not surprisingly, communist revolutions bypassed the industrialised nations where they were predicted to happen exclusively. Because of the withering away of the proletariat, Marxism failed to predict the basic evolution of capitalism.

    Rise up ye workers, rise up, for you have nothing to lose but your suburban home, air points and Iphone

  73. April 7th, 2013 at 19:53 | #73

    @Jim Rose

    Fascinating analysis, Jim.

    And ‘Bigus Dickus’ was a bitingly satirical representation of the ruling elite.

  74. Jim Rose
    April 7th, 2013 at 20:25 | #74

    @Megan When I was at ANU, I watched with much amusement how the campus Trots and other communists reacted to the fall of the Berlin Wall once they had stopped booing. Green-Left Weekly was launched.

    Some wag at admin assigning rooms to students groups booked two groups back to back in the next room to where my lecture was. The campus Christians at noon were followed by the Trots. The happy smiling Christians moved out of the room at 1pm to be followed by thick Glaswegian accents talking of agitating.

  75. Ikonoclast
    April 7th, 2013 at 20:54 | #75

    @Jim Rose

    So gloating, so triumphalist.

    “Don’t speak too soon for the wheel’s still in spin,
    And there’s no tellin’ who that it’s namin’.”

    Apologies for quoting a cliche-ridden, plagiarising doggeralist but he does sum it up.

  76. Alan
    April 7th, 2013 at 22:06 | #76

    @Jim Rose

    Jim, please don’t refer me to Wikipedia where I have been a mildly active editor for some years. I note that, as with so many of your links, the referenced article does not actually support your claims.

  77. April 8th, 2013 at 00:29 | #77
  78. Ootz
    April 8th, 2013 at 08:47 | #78

    Jim, you can take your batman suit off, it is save to do so now. And if you can, please explain to me how capitalism is sustainable. Thank you.

  79. sunshine
    April 8th, 2013 at 10:04 | #79

    Ootz, it depends on your definition of capitalism ,maybee depends on how narrowly you want to define it ? – Im not sure there is one that would be sustainable in the long run . I think a big part of the problem is that the long run seems to be normally only about 5 -10 years . I like Ikons quick overview @#18 above . For me Im not really sure how much of my outlook is evidence based and how much of it comes from my personality( disposition) . There is lots of evidence – but there are also seemingly intelligent forces everywhere telling us not to worry . Obviously though, barring some mirical scientific fix, infinite growth is a problem .

  80. Jim Rose
    April 8th, 2013 at 19:09 | #80

    over at Catallaxy Files, I have justed been accused of being a labor voter.

    I have come back here for moral support.

  81. Fran Barlow
    April 8th, 2013 at 19:42 | #81

    @Jim Rose

    over at Catallaxy Files, I have justed been accused of being a labor voter.

    That’ll happen when you hang out with fools and fundies.

    I have come back here for moral support.

    Oh I regard you as entirely beyond the point where support would be helpful. You are a dogmatic reactionary. Is that what you were after?

  82. Jim Rose
    April 8th, 2013 at 20:44 | #82

    @Ootz i will get back to you. In the interim, google wilfred beckermann

  83. Gab
    April 8th, 2013 at 21:15 | #83

    Gosh, Jim. You’ve posted twice on the same thread on the same day. You told us you were banned from doing that.

    Why you lie? Hmmm?

  84. Jim Rose
    April 9th, 2013 at 17:51 | #84

    @Ootz The Earth’s carrying capacity is a central issue in ecological economics.

    Herman Dally and others put forward the idea of birth credits as the solution to the population bomb. this idea dates back to kenneth boulding in the 1960s.

    A “choice-based, marketable, birth license plan” or “birth credits” for population control.
    • These birth credits would allow woman to have as many children as she wants as long as she buys a license for any child beyond an average allotment that would result in zero population growth. this is 1.1 birth credits for each adult. these can be sold in units of 1/10th of a credit.

    • If the allotment was determined to be one child, then the first child would be free; the market trading the credits would determine the cost of the license for each additional child.

    Being nice members of the educated middle class, the penalty proposed for having an illegal baby would be community service.

    I am sure most parents would welcome a break, some time outdoors, and the free child care. Obviously, none of the proponents of birth credits seem to know of the length to which some will go to have children.

    Dally and his followers were smug enough to think they could see the future and were most concerned about the population bomb, but plainly they got the sign of the demographic crisis wrong. Sub-replacement fertility is now the demographic crisis.

    The price of those birth credits would be now lower than a EU carbon credit.

    p.s. If you really believe what you say about sustainability, invest your retirement savings in resource sector shares and futures contracts – oil in particular – prices must be about to soar because of peak oil?!

    In the early1980s, Julian Simon had Paul Ehrlich (and John Holdren) choose five commodity metals and sign a ten-year futures contract. Simon bet that these prices would decrease while Ehrlich and co. bet they would increase. Who lost on the futures contract?

  85. Ootz
    April 9th, 2013 at 23:11 | #85

    Jim, how do birth credits and a thirty year old bet substantiate that capitalism is sustainable? Sorry this looks more like another one of your snipe hunting escapades I have got used to. Surely you can do better, how about a short but concise case for the affirmative?

    Re your “If you really believe what you say about sustainability, ..” I did not say anything about sustainability, I just asked a question about it. You are projecting.

  86. rog
    April 10th, 2013 at 06:32 | #86

    Because the Simon Ehrlich bet was limited to by time the bet was lost. Had time be not so short term the results would have been as Ehrlich predicted.

  87. rog
    April 10th, 2013 at 06:49 | #87

    Better to look at a commodity index over a longer time period which evens out the lumps and bumps caused by one off events. When adjusted for inflation the overall trend is down. Technology is having an enormous impact.

  88. Jim Rose
    April 10th, 2013 at 09:52 | #88

    What is unsustainability? Resources will not keep up with future demand?

    Or is unsustainability just a moving feast shifting from the population bomb to peak oil to whatever is next as environmental alarmists bob and weave as their previous predictions of woe and doom are quickly falsified?

    I discussed two specific examples – population pressures and imminent resource depletion – to show that concept of unsustainability is regularly refuted by capitalist innovation. The facts are on my side. Whatever happened to peak coal? Peak lead?

    Amending the Simon’s bet to longer periods or different time periods does not pass muster.

    Remember well that the Simon’s wager was for ten years because Ehrlich was predicting imminent food riots in America and rapid resource depletion. He was very specific on time lines. Martial law was predicted to cope with the civil disorder in the 1980s.

    The point of the wager was to put their money where their mouths were over a demographic crisis with demand outstripping the supply of food and resources in a few years time.

    Ehrlich called the Simon’s bet an “astonishing offer”. He could choose any five metals for the futures contract with a free hand over the end date as long as it was more than one year away. Ehrlich accepted the bet “before other greedy people jump in”.

    Most of all, Ehrlich predicted that India could not possibly feed two hundred million more people by 1980. He did not anticipate capitalism coming to India.

    Population growth is a benefit because there are more people to work on inventing new things and larger markets to make more inventions commercially worthwhile.

    A green portfolio should be made up of shares in green rent seeking companies and futures contracts in the resources sector. Get in now before other greedy people jump in.

    Ehrlich is still at it in 2013 at http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/human-population-growth-has-become-unsustainable-by-paul-r–ehrlich-and-anne-h–ehrlich

    But our guess is that the most serious threat to global sustainability in the next few decades will be one on which there is widespread agreement: the growing difficulty of avoiding large-scale famines….

    Can humanity avoid a starvation-driven collapse? Yes, we can – though we currently put the odds at just 10%. As dismal as that sounds, we believe that, for the benefit of future generations, it is worth struggling to make it 11%.

    The first part of his solution is bizarre:

    ‘stop increasing land for agriculture (to preserve natural ecosystem services)…’

  89. Troy Prideaux
    April 10th, 2013 at 12:02 | #89

    Jim Rose :
    The first part of his solution is bizarre:

    ‘stop increasing land for agriculture (to preserve natural ecosystem services)…’

    Yes bizarre… well, providing you’re not a local inhabitant of a jungle somewhere who simply just wants to live within your means, not encroach on anyone else or start wars or force your ideologies down others throats or decimate your environment and ecosystems.

  90. Jim Rose
    April 11th, 2013 at 19:35 | #90

    @Troy Prideaux subsistance societies do not just want to live within their means. their lives are short, nasty and brutish.

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