36 thoughts on “Abbott vs Science: The case of the Murray Darling Basin

  1. @jrkrideau

    Thanks, very informative wrap.

    PM has pleged total support for Israel. He just had a park or conservation area named after him in Israel

    That’s interesting. These are usually in the Negev Desert on illegally annexed bedouin lands. They are organised by the JNF as a kind of ‘club membership’ for sycophants.

    John Howard, Bob Hawke, Sir Robert Menzies & Pope John Paul (along with many others) have one too.

  2. I have a story I think is about Harper that is 50% likely to be true. Many years ago I sat on a chairlift at Whistler next to a blonde headed politicians aide or so he said. That and the year is consistent with the Wiki bio. I was wearing one those thick chequered flannel jackets made in NZ. The junior politician said he’d noticed my jacket and thought it looked pretentious. Thanks for your opinion mate I said or words to that effect.

    Weird thing about Canada and Australia is that between them they could control world uranium supplies yet they choose to flog fossil fuels, be it tar sands, coal or gas.

  3. @jrkrideau
    do you think harper knew his chief of staff was bribing/threatening the troublesome senator? if you think he did know, do you think it’ll get pinned on him? i know its winter recess “up there”, but how close is corporal horton to getting his production order (warrant) for the senate servers? -alfred venison (ex edmonton)

  4. It’s probably worth noting that Canadian electoral systems are fairly basic by Australian standards. The federal house of commons and the provincial legislative assemblies are all elected by FPTP. The only upper house, the federal senate, is appointed by the prime minister. The way the house of commons is apportioned between provinces is remarkably complex and remarkably unresponsive to actual population.

  5. The Guardian has an interesting article “Conservative groups spend up to $1bn a year to fight action on climate change”.

    Excerpt:

    Whitney Ball, the president of the Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund, said the organisation had no say in deciding which projects would receive funding. However, Ball told the Guardian last February that Donors offered funders the assurance their money would never go to Greenpeace. “It won’t be going to liberals,” she said at that time.

    “We do not otherwise drive the selection of grantees, nor do we conduct in-depth analyses of projects or grantees unless an account holder specifically requests that service,” Ball said in an email. “Neither Donors Trust nor Donors Capital Fund as institutions take positions with respect to any issue advocated by its grantees.”

    Recipients of the funds also disputed the assertion they were part of a larger effort to undermine climate science or block action on climate change.

    “Each of the scholars that work on any particular issue speaks for his or hers own work,” said Judy Mayka Stecker, director of media relations at AEI, in an email. She went on to write, however, that most of the AEI scholars who have worked on energy and climate change have moved on and would be unavailable to comment.

    David Kreutzer, an energy and climate change fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said Brulle was unfairly conflating climate denial with opposition to policies that would require industry reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    “We do believe that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that man-made emissions will lead to some warming,” said David Kreutzer, an energy and climate-change fellow at the Heritage Foundation. “We are opposed to mandatory greenhouse gas emissions cuts.”

    He said many conservatives saw a carbon tax, cap-and-trade and other climate policies as a government takeover by stealth.

    “What we are not interested in doing is a huge shift of power to the government under the guise of preventing some climate problem,” he said.

    I’ve always been leery of the idea that their can be a “market mechanism” to save the planet from climate chaos, but it’s weird that the free-market fundies want to pretend that any proposed ‘solutions’ are actually evil ‘Big Government’ plots rather than faux Band-Aid solutions.

  6. Megan :
    @jrkrideau
    Thanks, very informative wrap.

    PM has pleged total support for Israel. He just had a park or conservation area named after him in Israel

    That’s interesting. These are usually in the Negev Desert on illegally annexed bedouin lands. They are organised by the JNF as a kind of ‘club membership’ for sycophants.
    John Howard, Bob Hawke, Sir Robert Menzies & Pope John Paul (along with many others) have one too.

    Thank you.

    I believe you’re correct, I think it was in the Negev.

    BTW a spelling correction: Block Québecois should read Blocc Québecois. My French is reallly getting rusty.

  7. Ikonoclast :
    I am in Canada ATM and indeed have been for some time.

    Where? Praires? Up ’til a week or so ago we’ve been fairly mild by our standards. I’m in Eastern Ontario (Kingston).

    It’s interesting looking at a harsh early winter too. It sure imposes serious energy overheads on running large cities. Of course, the Canucks don’t care. They’ve got all those tar sands to burn… but sooner or later of course, all non-renewables run out.

    Oh we care but at -20 or -30C one needs heat. Of course, we could be a lot more engery efficient but we need heat! Our weaather can be weird.

    It’s pretty warm here about -2C and we are in the midst of an ice storm. My street, this morning was literally sheer ice, too slippery to walk on. It’s Saturday here and I was in the public library this morning when staff announced that it was closing at noon due to the ice storm.

    No doubt the harsh early northern hemisphere winter this year has all the AGW deniers excited.

    Only too true but then they can get excited by a typo in an IPCC report.

  8. alfred venison :
    @jrkrideau
    do you think harper knew his chief of staff was bribing/threatening the troublesome senator? if you think he did know, do you think it’ll get pinned on him? i know its winter recess “up there”, but how close is corporal horton to getting his production order (warrant) for the senate servers? -alfred venison (ex edmonton)

    It is vaguely possible that he did not know the details although given that he is an outstanding control freak it is somewhat difficult to believe.

    This extract from an e-mail that Corporal Horton submitted to the Court strikes me as a red flag.

    “I do want to speak to the PM before everything is considered final,” Wright wrote, according to Horton’s affidavit.

    Less than an hour later, Horton said, “Nigel Wright followed up with an email stating ‘We are good to go from the PM once Ben [Perrin] has his confirmation from Payne.'”

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/wright-duffy-accused-of-bribery-fraud-in-new-rcmp-documents-1.2433427

    Whether Harper gets blamed is another matter. He’s generally pretty smart though prone to the occasional vindictive and stupid move and very ruthless. Reportedly his PMO staff (these are political appointees not civil servants) are extremely loyal although not always too politically astute.

    I feel sorry, in some ways, for Nigel Wright. He is a very successful Toronto businessman with, AFAIK, no civil service/public service experience. He may very well have not realised just how egregious his actions were in a government context. At one point I think he was having a lawyer from Justice drafting an agreement for Duffy. This suggests that his actions were not a personal favour to Duffy but something he sanctioned as a government official as he used Government resources.

    As a bit of an aside about the Winter Recess, from a news point of view the mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, is currently in a bit of a scandal involving gang members, crack cocaine. drunk driving, possible prostitutes and a few other things. So press coverage of the Senate scandel is not as intense as usual and also December with the holidays, Xmas parties and the weather for that matter makes investigating more difficult.

    To the outside observer–everyone in the rest of Canada tends to hate Toronto–it’s difficult to tell if the Ford fiasco is a farce or a sitcom. Actually, I am pretty sure no TV producer would have even considered such an outlandish script. Harper must cringe when there are reruns of him attending Ford’s birthday party with Rob calling him his good friend and fishing buddy.

    Wright seems to be remaining silent although Harper has thrown him under the bus. Originally the story was that Wright resigned and the PM expressed regret at his loss. As things got worse, Harper began to say that he had fired Wright. It would be fun to show the two film clips in sequence.

    I think Horton has gotten the Senate records but I am not sure. What he has gotten is the missing PMO emails. Back in the spring of this year the PMO claimed that a considerable number of emails had been routinely deleted — I’m not sure of the details but I think it was partly due to a staff member leaving and deleting his working files.

    Somehow this Fall the PMO suddenly found them. It is hard to know if this was deliberate (the denial) or just poor knowledge of system on the PMO’s part. My limited understanding is that most PMO staffers are fairly young, fairly fanatical Harper loyalist with little or no experience in the civil service.

    The discovery this Fall is possibly do to disaffection on the part of staffer or a threatened leak from the Governments IT people who “persuaded” the PMO to cough up the material before they pulled a Snowden.

    BTW leaks from the civil service in Canada are quite rare unless it has Government sanction but the Harper Govt arrived with the idea that the civil service was their enemy, which they weren’t, and have continued in that vein ever since.

  9. I recall asking a visiting Canadian scholar in 2009 whether the Canadian government and business interests saw climate policy primarily in terms of ensuring that the Arctic icecap continues to melt and thus enable unrestrained access to previously inaccessible resources. She confirmed that this was indeed the case.

  10. I would say that the Abbott government’s agenda goes further than simply tearing down whatever Labor in government set up. I think a case can be made that there is a wider agenda of negativity and destruction involving a synergy of Cold War, class war, War on Science, social revanche and Culture War imperatives with the formative experiences of key members of the current government and their supporters in the Murdoch press, the post-Manne Quadrant and a certain “despicable and degenerate” blog, among others.

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