151 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. In the US fracking means horizontal drilling and fracturing of shales from marine sediments up to 4 km deep. In Australia coal seam drilling doesn’t always need fracturing and the deposits originally in fresh water may be just a few hundred metres down. US fracking is said to need an oil price over $80 a barrel with Saudi Arabia trying to overproduce conventional oil to get below this cost and send the frackers broke. Whether landowners can be bought or not in Australia we’ll need all the CSG for ourselves in the next 20 years. Exporting liquefied gas from eastern Australia is a mistake we’ll regret.

    Back to animal welfare. I see Barnaby Joyce wants to ship a million live cattle to China. Heat, storms and equipment failure could see dozens of cattle deaths each voyage. Still it won’t get the attention of two animal deaths in one high profile horse race.

  2. I attended Gough’s farewell. It was worth the five hour rail journey to stand with the hoi polloi and participate in proceedings. The mood was celebratory with a good dose of ‘up yours’ from the moment Abbott arrived to resounding raspberries and boos; it lifted when Kerry O’Brien walked out as mc and peaked with Noel Pearson’s astonishingly beautiful and powerful oration. As Pearson read out a list of Whitlam’s achievements in answer to the question ‘what has this Roman ever done for us?’ the crowd outside greeted every achievement with a resounding cry of ‘yes’. This was great, popular Aussie theatre rooted in crowds, humour, dignity and being there. Old Australia at its best in celebration not just of Gough but us, of whom he was the best we ever produced.

    Gough would have loved it and with his oration Pearson has made a major claim to being Australia’s first Aboriginal G-G.

  3. @Hermit
    In fact, today, the mob at the Pilliga and Gloucester have two people ‘locked on’ to fracking gear and the mob at Maules Creek as well are disrupting coal mining. Not a bad effort from all concerned.

  4. Concerning news from Get Up regarding the privatisation of healthcare by the current government.

    “Before your GP decides on your treatment in our public health system, she first needs sign off from a private insurance company. This could well be the future of Medicare — if we don’t act.

    The Abbott Government is implementing controversial changes to our health system that could see private insurers intervening in GPs’ decisions about who gets treated and how. It’s the very system that’s crippled American healthcare, driving up costs and leading to poorer care for fewer people.

    But the worst thing: nobody’s talking about it.

    Under the new changes, Australia’s health system will be divided into new ‘Primary Health Networks’, set to oversee GP-care. But the Abbott Government has made the controversial decision to give private insurers the opportunity to run them.

    These new bodies will effectively coordinate the care every patient receives from their GP — a clear conflict of interest for health funds focused on their own members, not to mention their own bottom line. These changes pave the way for US-style managed care system, and without strong equity protections could restrict access and quality of care in areas deemed ‘unprofitable’. ”


  5. A few weeks ago there were some comments about Syria/Iraq/ISIS. As I recall there was some sentiment along the lines of “we have to fight them over there so we don’t end up with them beheading people here in Australia”, along with some gruesome pictures to make the point.

    The drums of war were beating, everything was black and white, circumspection, inquiry and hesitation were denigrated.

    Robert Fisk had a column in the ‘Independent’ and this part caught my eye and reminded me of the certainty of those comments:

    In Homs, they tried to step aside, and when the Free Syrian Army – which existed then outside the Obama imagination – asked them to get Syrian checkpoints off their streets, the Christians obliged, only to find the rebels in their streets the next day.

    Well, in Sidnaya, the Christians caught members of the Nusra Front and decided to change the narrative. They chopped off the heads of the Nusra and pushed them onto sticks because they didn’t want the Christians to appear “soft” any more. Christians in Syria are traditionally very educated. They open restaurants, become doctors, engineers, make jewellery. A new picture now.

  6. @ZM
    Once again, no surprises from the current government, and I’ve already signed the petition.

    BTW, anybody notice how the ex-health minister from the Howard regime is on the Aspen board? I find that interesting in the context of the recent government announcement to out-source our Ebola aid—to Aspen 🙂

  7. Megan wrote, citing Robert Fisk, on November 7th, 2014 at 15:20 :

    … in Sidnaya, the Christians caught members of the Nusra Front and decided to change the narrative. They chopped off the heads of the Nusra and pushed them onto sticks

    It would be most interesting to know what Syrian Christians have to say about the claim the President al Assad is a brutal dictator whose secret police, on one occasion near the start of 2014, murdered 11,000 prisoners and had their corpses photographed. This was claimed in May 2014 by the so-called “International League for Human Rights” (FIDH) and cited on October 27th, 2014 at 20:29 by J-D.

  8. @James
    I met a Syrian Christian who runs a mixed business in the lower Hunter coalfields. She explained to me that Assad’s foot on the throat of all warring ethnicities was the best rule the place could have. I think a similar argument could be made for Saddam Hussein and even Gaddafi. Sometimes a dictatorship is better than the alternative. The colonial boundaries imposed geopolitical proximity to warring ethnicities, religions and factions thereof. The whole area is a bollocks well beyond the ken of the dummies who run foreign policy in the West.

  9. This has already been posted to my own web site, candobetter.net . That post, and the article above, include links which cannot be included here.


    Thank for that insight into the Syrian conflict. You wrote on November 7th, 2014 at 18:02 :

    “[The Syrian Christian] explained to me that Assad’s foot on the throat of all warring ethnicities was the best rule the place could have. … Sometimes a dictatorship is better than the alternative. The colonial boundaries imposed geopolitical proximity to warring ethnicities, religions and factions thereof.”

    I suggest that that more accurately describes the rule of President Hafez al-Assad (1930-2000) than that of his son, Bashar.

    To me, it seems plausible that, in the circumstances faced by Hafez al-Assad, he may have felt that he had no choice but to resort to very harsh measures in order to stay in power, prevent invasion and prevent ethnic strife. The video broadcaster known as The Syrian Girl, who, in 2014, is an outspoken supporter of Syria, actually fled from Syria with her family to escape persecution. So, presumably, even many loyal Syrians suffered unfairly at the hands of President Hafez al-Assad.

    Bashar al-Assad (born 1965), who trained in London as an ophthalmologist, has a somewhat different style to his father. Whilst he has show himself to be just as capable as his father of making the harsh decisions necessary for the survival of the Syrian state, he has also shown himself capable of governing Syria in a way that is remarkably free and open in the face of a bloody terrorist war.

    On 4 June 2014 at an election which was certified as free and fair by a large number of international observers, he was elected by a huge majority of Syrian voters. according to Wikipedia, 88.7% of the 73.42% of eligible Syrian voters who were able to vote amid the war and chaos, voted for President Bashar al-Assad.

  10. My apologies. I omitted to include the following in my previous post:

    What leader of any of the Western countries hostile to Syria can claim anywhere near as much support?

    Sadly this story has largely been hidden from most Australians by the lying newsmedia.

    As well as the sites, listed earlier – VoltaireNet -dot- org , LandDestroyer -dot- blogspot -dot com , PaulCraigRoberts -dot- com , RT -dot- com and PressTV -dot- com – contain much about Syria that is truthful and relevant. Articles about Syria can also be found at: candobetter.net/Syria .

  11. Thank you James. On the subject of Syria, I have just published an excellent speech by Susan Dirgham, National Coordinator of “Australians for Mussalah (Reconciliation) in Syria” at http://candobetter.net/node/4170, for anyone who would like to understand more. Susan is worried that if Syrian government falls, the danger of WW3 will be acute, and I agree. She compares the situation now to the one accompanying the Vietnam war, in terms of what is needed to stand up to propaganda.

    She writes, “And at that time, in the US especially, it required informed, courageous individuals in the media, in churches and academia to challenge those lies in order for there to be peace. And in the countries of Indo-China, an extraordinary level of courage and resilience was needed to survive war. To sow sectarian hatred, to damn a person or a group of people or even another nation only takes a few stories, repeated over a period of time by people in positions of influence and then accepted as a truth.” Susan identifies a formula for writing [propaganda] on the conflict in Syria. It is to invoke the use of chemical weapons by the Assad government as if this were established fact and to “Damn Assad and the Alawites and your article has a good chance of getting published even if you know virtually nothing.” She gives the example of a Waleed Aly article doing just this, ironically just a week after the presidential election in Syria when there was a truly exceptional voter turnout and the president received overwhelming endorsement by Syrians. At the end of her speech, Susan warns that if Syria falls the danger of World War Three will be acute. Susan’s highly informative and moving speech was delivered at a Social Policy Connections Public Forum at The Study Centre, Yarra Theological Union, on 6 November. The speech was filmed and we hope to be able to link to the film soon.

  12. @James
    James, it is a matter of record that I “wrote on November 7th, 2014 at 18:02” etc.

    Almost anyone in the security establishment would be able to establish my e-record of comment, place and time, to about a metre’s accuracy, if they feel the need to do so.

    I think that the times may be worse than you realize.

  13. jungney wrote:

    James, it is a matter of record that I “wrote on …

    One reason I include the date and time is to provide a means for others to quickly find the post to which I am referring without having to use up the one html link that seems to be allowed here on johnquigqin -dot- com.

    By highlighting, for example, “November 8th, 2014 at 20:19” with your cursor and then pressing the search key (Control-F on the Mozilla Firefox browser) you can quickly find the post to which I am referring.

    jungney continued:

    Almost anyone in the security establishment would be able to establish my e-record of comment, place and time, to about a metre’s accuracy, if they feel the need to do so.

    I think that the times may be worse than you realize.

    As whistleblower Edward Snowden has revealed, every single word, you, I or any other citizen of the “5 I’s” – the UK, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – has ever spoken on the phone or written in a e-mail or posted to the web in the last 10 years at least, has been recorded by the NSA and stored in that huge building in Maryland.

    Nearly everything that the United States government has ever alleged about ‘communist’ countries, and much worse, is true of itself.

  14. Social caste system is coming to a social media app near you! The big end of town have been busy bees of late, and with the handy convenience of third-party big data siphons, they trawl and fossick and scour your electronic breadcrumbs and wot-not, to build a “perfect” persona of you. Sure, we know that already. However, these weasels scour not just your online history for clues about you, but also the history of all your closest friends, their friends, and so on, ever increasing Russian dolls. This gives the big end of town a means of determining your social caste…and consequently, how they will deal with you—or not.

    Think of this: your friends seem to live beyond their means, missing the odd credit card payment, perhaps lose a job, someone complains about a few of them online, and so forth. By mere way of online interaction with some of these people, this establishes you as high risk and low to middling socio-economic class: a loser, for want of a better term. A bank could use this data to decide that you, as a particular individual, do not “qualify” for any of their cheap loan products. Or, a real estate agent might use it to quietly black list you from renting any of their properties, without the fuss of having to have a database of bad renters. They simply infer your prospective behaviour from the past behaviour of your social circle, and their social circles.

    Instead of social democracy, we are fast realising a new system of defacto social determinism. Do we really want to go there? Or, should the question be, how do escape from this, now that we are there already?

  15. @James
    I agree. I’ve been playing around with how to establish secure means of communication. So far, I reckon that you can still make an untraceable phone call using either misappropriated mobiles or public phones that you disinfect of your dna after use; this includes wearing face covering disguises, an art in itself given current facial recognition technology, as well as wearing disposable clothes. The histories of the resistance in Greece, Italy, France, Poland and other countries make a good field guide to how to leave no trace which skill, in my estimation, ought to brought to bear about now.

  16. There is a story on ‘Brisbane Times’ under the headline “No Lipstick, No Photograph” about a Murdoch rag telling a small business owner that she had to either put on make up or get a young girl to do the photo for a story about her business.

    The lady told the ‘journalist’ and photographer to get lost. She later wrote a post on her ‘facebook’ about the incident. That post has had about 7,500 ‘likes’.

    The story is going viral – mainly, I suggest, because people are sick of Murdoch’s bullies, their standover tactics and their bigotry.

    Murdoch staff are scum, each and every last one of them.

    The rag, ‘the Wynnum Herald’ even lied in its ham-fisted attempt to do damage control:

    Wynnum Herald Hi. It’s the Wynnum Herald. We are very sorry this has happened. We are still very keen to write a positive story about a great local business and have reached out to Kylie in the hope of making this happen.
    43 · November 5 at 9:25pm

    “Whisky Business – macarons made to order” No, Wynnum Herald , don’t tell lies, you have not been in touch with me, left a single message or anything. Shame on you.
    169 · November 5 at 10:58pm

  17. So, public funerals, a good place to congregate and reorganise, along with the internet?

    jungney :
    I attended Gough’s farewell. It was worth the five hour rail journey to stand with the hoi polloi and participate in proceedings. […] As Pearson read out a list of Whitlam’s achievements in answer to the question ‘what has this Roman ever done for us?’ the crowd outside greeted every achievement with a resounding cry of ‘yes’. This was great, popular Aussie theatre rooted in crowds, humour, dignity and being there. Old Australia at its best in celebration not just of Gough but us, of whom he was the best we ever produced.

    I thought, on hearing descriptions of public opinion as expressed at this memorial, that this was one of few occasions where Australians could actually make themselves heard as a mob over the deafening roar of Murdoch-Fairfax manufactured consent.

    I mean that we hardly ever hear what Australians actually think because we have been systemically disorganised by our jobs and housing and the appropriation of our public messaging system by commercially focused political interests marketing themselves through ‘professional’ journalistic hacks who tell us what ‘we all think’ and ‘all agree’ without ever consulting us meaningfully.

    So, at that funeral we learned that a large proportion of us still care about free education, housing, citizens’ rights, health care, despite being told by marketers that all we care about is the dollar value of someone’s house and whether we can get a gold mastercard.

    For this reason I think the use of websites like this one and the one I edit, candobetter.net, is most important. We try to give the unofficial public a non-professional voice and to help people in different localities identify similar experiences with predators organised at a state and national and international level. For instance, big development and big population beneficiaries backed by state and federal government. We also offer expression to people in countries where our governments back illegal resource wars, in a similar attempt to find reality on the ground, in defiance of elite-generated propaganda.

  18. @Sheila Newman
    Yep, spot on.

    I recently had a conversation with an old mate who suggested the (dismal) proposition of ‘pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will’ to which I replied that I preferred the formulation of another mate, a sculptor and anti-coal activist, who suggested that the way forward is to ‘keep on swinging and see what happens’.

  19. In response to what jungney wrote on 9th, 2014 at 15:34

    I am hopeful that computers running the free open source Linux operation system, and not the Micro$oft or Apple operating systems, can be made secure from NSA surveillance. If you use Micro$oft or Apple you should consider scrapping them in favour of Linux.

    As long as we have free speech including a free Internet, there is hope that the NSA and CIA can be beaten.

    I note that all of 38% of US voters voted in the recent US elections. Compare that to 88.7% of 74.3% eligible Syrian voters who voted for President al-Assad on 4 June 2014.

  20. @James

    Be realistic about Assad, he is a dictator. Just because the US is a corporate oligarchic state this does not mean every regime opposed to the US is all sweetness and light. The US, Assad and ISIS are all black hats. There are no white hats in international geo-politics m8.

  21. Bill McKibben points to an article in the NYT on divestment by funds of fossil fuel companies. While the nett effect may be counterproductive eg shares are sold to those that care less, there is a political aspect – right wingers are driven crazy by actions similar to those by the ANU who publicly divested from fossil fuel industry.


  22. @Hermit

    I agree that individuals and institutions that want to do something about climate change should sell their fossil fuel shares (divestment). However, the interesting thing about selling shares is that there is also a buyer. So one institution’s divestment is another institution’s investment. In total and of itself, divestment might make little difference unless it becomes widespread and pushes share prices down a lot. Presumably it will then reduce the capital available to fossil fuels. They won’t be able to do capital raisings nor borrow as easily. I assume. Maybe someone knowledgable on shares, capital raising and capital borrowing could offer an opinion.

    Hermit, you point out something is not working with the current approach. I wonder what you would do? In particular, how could enough nuclear power come on line to make a difference in say the next 20 years? Then, how do you deal with peak uranium? And how do giant nuclear power stations help with transport and agriculture when fossil fuel use is reduced?

  23. @Ikonoclast
    I don’t we will have enough power clean or dirty to meet even frugal expectations after about 2030. If we conserved gas rather than exporting it or burning it in power stations we could power farm machinery and trucks, make modest priced fertiliser and gas-to-liquid fuel for aviation. I think we will have severe anxieties about local oil and gas by 2020 then by 2030 we’ll need to replace the big coal stations. I think it will mean less food, less electricity and less mobility on average.

    Some will say surely we won’t let that happen and we’ll take action in time. Maybe it’s already too late. A quick refresher on the numbers for Australian energy 2013; electricity was 64% from coal, 1.5% from solar and 2.9% from wind. Transport was 39% of primary energy demand nearly all supplied by oil which is now mostly imported. If there are realistic alternatives out there their numbers should be much bigger at this late stage.

  24. @Ikonoclast

    Divestment impacts on investors expectations of the future. If shares are sold because of climate change savy buyers, thinking that this is likely to worsen, will be less inclined to pay as high a price as previously.

    The revenues from sales of fossil shares can then purchase sustainable shares which boosts these firms.

    Its a hypocritical for our capitalists to shed crocodile tears over “600,000 people” as in Hermits document, to boost fossil fuel profits, when they obviously haven’t shown any conern for the last 200 years.

    As Brazil has shown, less developed economies can give themselves growth using charcoal. They just need to base this more on plantations and develop strong trade unions and labor rights.

  25. The experience with tobacco has had unintended consequences. Divestment programs and regulation has meant that there are no new entrants into the business of tobacco leaving the existing companies without competition. They are seeing comfortable growth and good profits – while consumption per capita might be down global population is on the increase and new markets open up.

  26. @Hermit

    Pretty much right. It doesn’t look good from a global warming perspective nor from an energy transition perspective. I think more is possible from renewables compared to your pessimistic estimate but I think the optimistic estimates about renewables saving everything are also wrong. We face a low energy, low resource future. I expect patchwork collapse at a regional level. Some regions will suffer civilisational collapse. Some will scrape by maintaining a civilization but with consdierable difficulty and real resource austerity (not so-called economic austerity). If our governments continue to use neoliberal economic austerity and highly inequitable policies in these difficult times they may well collapse everything.

  27. I am interested in the difference between “need” and “demand” as economic concepts, not in a marketing sense but as a basis for resource allocation particularly in the development of public infrastructure and services.

    In planning for new infrastructure/services where is the line drawn by public authorities (governments and their agencies) between meeting needs and responding to demand? Do public sector planners only act when confronted by community demand or do they have a responsibility to identify need and take action to meet that need even in the absence of identifiable demand?

    In this era of tight budgets there are emerging examples of governments failing to plan for future need by claiming that there is no current demand. Is this not a recipe for forever consigning society to, in effect, “chasing its tail” in having available the necessary infrastructure and services that while not immediately in demand will clearly represent a future need?

  28. I spent part of the weekend in the ring judging horses and riders at the local show. I initiated no fewer than six conversations about climate change reality with local landowners, worthies and some very wealthy horse types all of whom were in complete denial. The most common response was to substitute whatever the expertise of each respondent for the expertise of climate scientists. In other words, these people, secure in their own economic success, genuinely believe that their own knowledge, however derived, was better informed than that of the IPCC. None of them were tertiary qualified but each a major rural property owner.

    Dumb, arrogant, out of time.

  29. The government is arguing that by cutting access to welfare benefits, they are motivating unemployed people to find work. Strangely, they haven’t followed that to its logical conclusion, and removed unemployment benefits entirely. Given that they seem comfortable in reducing access to welfare to the point of forcing recipients (potentially receiving, not actually receiving) to scrounge food and lodgings from mates or family members, what is it that they are optimising in the economic sense? In other words, how have they come to a policy which has the parameters set in this particular way, compared to the many alternatives? Or did they just draw it up on a wine-soaked napkin one night?

  30. @Donald Oats
    Don – I like your social caste persona media app theory at #16. I havent come across it before ,it needs a name . The ability to have full time video point of view recording of anyone’s life isnt far off .There is a thing you can wear that takes a photo every few seconds. The technology guy on the radio was saying how great it is that everyone is recording so much now as it allows you to ‘re-live’ your experiences over and over later on. Much better than having to rely on memory alone. I feel like a Luddite (or getting older and out of touch) -oh no its happening !

  31. Yeah sunshine, I haven’t coined a moniker for the social media caste system we are so blithely constructing for ourselves, but no doubt some media savvy entity will come up with a name for it, soon enough. Perhaps it should be called a Visage? Virtually Identified Stratum Assignment Given (to) Entity, i.e. Visage? Maybe someone else can do better, but I like the word “visage” for its connotation.

  32. I get rather peeved whenever I see headlines about addiction to prescription and OTC medications, and then see a focus on chronic pain sufferers. Every month or two, another story pops up prominently.

    Why peeved? Because, inevitably, these stories focus upon the addictive potential of the medications, and then talk about chronic pain sufferers in the same breath, tacitly linking the two. As if chronic pain sufferers don’t have enough to be concerned about already, now there is a threat that their access to perfectly good pain medications might be restricted even more than now. Every time one of these stories pops up, politicians do notice, and do think about the policy changes which could be good politics—but not good policy.

    Chronic pain is a *chronic* condition, and that means it needs continuing treatment, usually by several different methods. In my case, I have nerve related pain, and nothing I do is going to stop it, short of some kind of poly-pharmaceutical intervention. I use an anti-epileptic as the main medication for combatting the unrelenting aspect of the pain (and fortunately for me, an anti-epileptic is not a narcotic), but I also need panadeine (which does have a narcotic called codeine, along with paracetamol) for flare-ups, and an antidepressant has helped with sleep. Without the anti-epileptic, I wouldn’t be able to do gym activities, and certainly not to lift weights; heck, even carrying groceries is an ordeal if not for the anti-epileptic. Problem is, it doesn’t stop a flare-up from happening if I step too far over my capacity, or if I sleep in a bad position, etc. Some flare-ups can be ignored, but some are too severe and require respite. If we find ourselves not even being able to access current OTC medications, then “managing” the condition becomes that much more difficult. Panadeine can make the difference between being bed-ridden or soldiering on, as it were.

    Some people are prescribed strong narcotics for their chronic pain, and they do become physically dependent upon the narcotic. Where is the moral wrong in being physically dependent? If a person uses some well known antidepressants, they become physically dependent upon them; all this means is that if they were to go cold turkey, they would suffer physical withdrawal symptoms for a time.

    What about psychological dependence? Is there a moral wrong in that? If so, a lot of vitamin takers, homeopathic and placebo takers, frequent exercisers, are behaving badly. So psychological dependence isn’t necessarily a moral wrong, either.

    That really only leaves the issue of dose escalation, as opposed to dose tritration (i.e. the art and craft of finding a stable dose which manages to keep chronic pain to a reasonable level, given the overall circumstances). Dose escalation by the patient could be driven by addiction to the medication, or it could be that they are not receiving adequate pain relief from this particular narcotic and should be on something else (so-called pseudo-addiction is in this category), or even that there are psychological and environmental issues which subsume the addiction, e.g. unreconciled loss, abuse, chronic stress, poverty, etc. In nearly all of these cases the doctor-patient relationship has centrality, and is not something that outside parties should be jeopardising—which is what an over-restrictive pharmaceuticals regulation can do.

    The best way to help chronic pain sufferers is to allow the doctor and patient to explore all pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical options, letting the doctor explain the relative trade-offs between the medical risks of certain medications and the benefit they provide the patient, for the long haul.

    If lots of OTC pain medication is being diverted into a black market for drug manufacture, then I’d expect that to be in the jurisdiction of the police, not the politicians. Probably the most dangerous of the OTC pain medications is the simple paracetamol pill, because a) it tends only to relieve mild to moderate pain at best, b) some people don’t respond to it (myself, for instance), and c) an overdose can happen many hours before there are recognisable signs, and d) in the event of an overdose, treatment really needs to happen well before there are recognisable signs. All up, for a simple OTC pain medication, it has some nasty side effects in some people. Then again, so does alcohol, and people take that for pure enjoyment; people don’t usually take OTC pain medications for enjoyment, especially not paracetamol!

    There. Off the soapbox.

  33. Ah, Miranda Devine does it again:

    @SydneyWaterNews: Take a photo at the giant glass #tapatnewtown at the #NewtownFestival and share it with your friends http://t.co/PN7dZUtzmX

    [@mirandadevine: @SydneyWaterNews why doesn’t yr twitter-feed trumpet the giant pink condom you allowed on the Hyde Park Obelisk in time for Remembrance Day?

    @SydneyWaterNews: @mirandadevine we have been supporting ACON and NSW Health’s important public health and safety campaign through our FB page 1/2

    @SydneyWaterNews: @mirandadevine the Hyde Park Obelisk is not a war memorial site, it is one of our first sewer vents, which is no longer used 2/2

    Hmmm … Devinely rejected …

  34. Thomas Friedman in the NYT

    Paul Gilding, the Australian environmentalist and author of “The Great Disruption,” emailed from Brazil to say that the lack of a serious Brazilian response “reinforces to me that we’re not going to respond to the big global issues until they hit the economy. It’s hard to imagine a stronger example than a city of 20 million people running out of water. Yet despite the clear threat, the main response is ‘we hope it rains.’ Why such denial? Because the implications of acceptance are so significant, and we know in our hearts there’s no going back once you end denial. It would demand that the country face up to the urgency of reversing rather than slowing deforestation” and “the need to prepare the country for the risks that a changing climate presents.”


  35. @Donald Oats

    I understand your point of view from another point of view (if that makes sense). I have never really suffered chronic pain, except once for a while, which is lucky because I don’t have a high pain threshold. The one time I started suffering more or less constant pain was from untreated GERD and eosinophilic oesophagitis. Finally, I was given a proton pump inhibitor medication and the relief was immediate. I said to the good wife; “Now I understand why chronic pain sufferers will do anything (medication wise) for relief.” It felt so amazing just to be pain free.

    As an aside, I now blame the proton pump inhibitor medication for some temporary irregular heart rate (harmless but unpleasant and now gone) and a small outbreak of a chronic skin rash on my shin (still there). I have discontinued the proton pump inhibitor. Of course, my own anecdotal case is not a scientific study but I have my suspicions. In my case, I now avoid instant coffee and too much wheat and milk and just chew a few calcium carbonate tablets a day I am fine, no reflux.

    The proton pump inhibitor (PPI) is a targeted poison really. It kills acid-making cells in the stomach lining. I wonder what other cells it kills? Skin and nerve tissue are of course related to each other (ectoderm) and also to the gastrointestinal lining so the PPI might also damage skin and nerve cells in some people. I am highly suspicious about what Big Pharma are hiding.

    As a general rule, I don’t take any medication of any kind for months on end now, not even mild anelgesics. I believe all drugs are bad, unless of course, you would be even worse off without them: meaning genuine serious conditions. I could go to the doctor and get (mild) arthritis pills or GERD pills but I would rather do without. My pain is minimal so I have the option of ignoring it. Serious chronic pain cannot be ignored. I remember that every time I have a tootache. So I can sympathise with your point of view.

  36. @rog
    Yeah. So wot? Paul Gilding needs to apply the same sort of logic to North America which would be tantamount to bighting the hand that feeds you, yeah? Don’t hold your breath.

  37. ‘Bighting’, the act of creating a geographical feature not necessarily associated with teeth. Biting is preferred.

  38. @Donald Oats
    I rely on cannabis for what ails me both in my feet, which adopts the appearance of some sort of neurological degeneration and is painful, and for what ails my spirit, almost all of the time, in these dreadful times.

  39. THere is so little good news today, but I am cheered that New South Wales’ lawyers have now followed the footsteps of Victoria and Queensland ones in trying to restore the titles of Queen’s Counsellors.

  40. @ZM
    Given that lawyers were among the very last to learn how to type stuff up themselves, rather than have secretaries, its not surprising that they hanker after anachronisms.

  41. @John Brookes
    Actually, it’s George Brandis who is trying to reinstate the title of Queen’s Counsel. The NSW Bar Association is opposed to the move and has called it reactionary.

  42. @Tim Macknay
    I should clarify that. The NSW Bar Council voted against a proposal to approach the NSW Attorney General with a request to restore the title of QC, following a report which did not identify any substantial reason to restore the title. The head of the NSW Bar Association is also on record as opposing the title’s return.
    A prominent barrister did refer to the push to reinstate the title as “masking a reactionary political agenda”, however I was incorrect in saying that that was the view of the Bar Association.

  43. John Brookes,

    It probably developed their voices always dictating to secretaries. Now if they have taken to typing themselves instead probably our courts will be full of underdeveloped elocution and quavery speeches.

  44. The current government say they want to reduce emissions significantly, and yet they blather on about research into reducing emissions of the dirtiest coal fired power stations, using a technology which might achieve up to 30% less pollution from a subcritical coal fired power station. They want to cut the RET, which has done a first class job so far, and leave it to an as yet commercially untested technology; instead, they could leave the 41,000 GWh target in place, and close down the dirtiest of the dirtiest subcritical power stations. Heck, they could even call it direct action, a once-off payment to the station owner to exit, and leave it to the RET to do its magic.

    Nope, we take a hatful of the stupidest most dumb-arse ways of going about it, dismantling programs which work and hoping that a technological fix for fossil fuels will pop up just as we need it. Well, we needed that technological fix for coal fired stations 40 years ago, and we still haven’t found anything more reliable than closing them down…

  45. I see the taxpayers of the G20 countries are paying annual subsidies to fossil fuel corporations of $88 billion.

    The Guardian says:

    The most detailed breakdown yet of global fossil fuel subsidies has found that the US government provided companies with $5.2bn for fossil fuel exploration in 2013, Australia spent $3.5bn, Russia $2.4bn and the UK $1.2bn.

    We give polluters about as much as Russia and the UK combined.

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