Monday Message Board

Back again with another Monday Message Board.

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link


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27 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. The role of the G7 seems to depend on which political party in the USA holds the White House. Under Obama it functioned well to overcome the Great Recession. Under the Republicans it became impotent. Now the Democrats are back the G7 has big plans again and is largely united on climate change targets. But it’s e pumice muscle is weaker with only 40 per cent of Global GDP. This is why the G7 planners are trying to include India. A new G8 with India as a full member would more better represent the South East Asian region. There is no South American economy that is big enough to join the G7 countries, but they could be represented there by some association of nations that include Brazil, Argentina and Chile. That would then cover the main democratic capitalist countries of the world. Smaller economy’s like Australia, Indonesia and. Thailand could be given observer status on a rotating basis. Then maybe something positive can finally be achieved on arresting global warming. But only as long as the Republican party is kept out of the White House.

  2. With a Democratic in the White House, the G7 has an opportunity to once more make a difference on climate change targets. But it will need the support of India and other democratic capitalist countries. This is why an expansion of membership to include, in the first instance India, then other like minded administrations is so vital. Sir Richard Attenborough summed up the crucial nature of such an approach when he used the term ‘global will’ when addressing the 2021 G7 meeting in Cornwall. Sounding the first bell, as it were, of the stokes to midnight for the world, Sir Richard asked for a global green industrial revolution in developing countries.
    The G7 members did agree to try and wean off developing countries from using coal as their primary industrial fuel. Observing this was India who is one of the biggest users of coal fired power stations. This country in particular must be won over, if the G7 is to have any impact on greenhouse gases. Such proposals coming out of White House initiatives are promising, but that may not be good enough.
    The most appropriate quote here is this one:
    “Promise, is a big word. It either, makes something, or, it breaks everything.”
    ANON
    In this case any G7 promise may make the world take action to halt global warming. But any inaction may also lead to a broken world. To promise $100 billion to developing countries that abandon coal fired power may be aspirational, but it may also be delusional. Only time will tell and we only have eleven more strokes of the doomsday bell before midnight strikes down our natural environment. Simply put, we are looking into a global bottomless pit that we can either, help each other to leap over, or, help push each other in as we follow in behind like blind mice.

  3. There is talk of expanding the G7, with the addition of Australia, India and South Korea. It would be known as the ‘Democratic 10’, or ‘D10’ for short. This is the direction we need to go in, IMHO. None of these democracies are perfect. Some are far from perfect, However, we have to consider that they are better than the alternative. If we do not, then it means we accept that totalitarianism is fine and and that we have no problem with it.

    Ultimately, we will find, indeed we have already found, that trading with authoritarian regimes, is the slippery slope to not only developing them but ceding power to them. China is the case in point. Our trade and engagement with China has created an authoritarian, expansionist superpower with no concern for human rights at all and no internal checks and balances to the exercise of complete authoritarian power. The democracies are imperfect as stated above, some more than others, but there remains in all democracies some checks and balances, some degree of openess and some degree of fifth estate (media) oversight. There is still a difference in degree and extent between democratic oppressions and authoritarian repressions, though one could legitimately doubt that given the second Gulf War and Afghanistan war. Indeed, those wars were prosecuted against public opinion in the UK and Australia at least. Had we succeeded in making ourselves more democratic, those mistakes scould have been avoided. By September 2009 in the United States: “Growing American opposition to the war in Afghanistan reached an all-time high, while support for the U.S. war fell to an all-time low in September. A record majority 58% of Americans now oppose the war in Afghanistan.” – Wikipedia.

    Instead of giving up on democracy we need to intensify national and international efforts to extend democracy, by peaceful but robust means. This would mean avoiding launching wars but also avoiding giving aid and succor to dictatorships, as the US has done in South America for example. Trade and capitalism have failed as means for encouraging democracy. They have failed in the two greatest cases, Russia and China which have become state party, state capitalist, and crony oligarchic states. This is because (in simple terms) democracy and capitalism are antithetical. Totalitarianism and capitalism are fully compatible systems. China is the empirical proof. Each system is about the centralization of power, state power in the case of totalitarianism and capital power in the case of capitalism. They meet in the melding of state power and corporate capitalist power.

    The USA is also in danger of following this route; the melding of state power and corporate capitalist power. (This is also the same route Nazi Germany followed.) Without the better aspects of its consitution, its free elections albeit with biases in the presidential and senate elections, and its separation of powers, Executive, Legisaltured and Judicary, the USA would already have fallen to the intended auto coup by the neo-fascist, Donald Trump.

    Democracy in in a parlous state and could fail in the near future. A coalition of democratic powers, a political, democratic, economic, trade and military coalition is an absolute necessity to protect and extend democracy by example, not by war and not by trade with authoritarian states. Trading with authoritarian super-states is a Faustian bargain which will lead to our destruction if we do not repudiate it. Indeed, it may already lead to our destruction. It may already be too late, so late in fact that repudiating the deal could accelerate destruction; not just our desctruction but everyone’s destruction. Nevertheless, the case is like the case of the so-called heroic measure in medicine. “In medicine, heroic treatment or course of therapy is one which possesses a high risk of causing further damage to a patient’s health, but is undertaken as a last resort with the understanding that any lesser treatment will surely result in failure.” [1]

    If we continue our Faustian bargain with China (and Russia) we grow the systems which will destroy us inevitably and totally. If we repudiate this bargain, we might survive. The democratic nations need to decouple from China (and Russia). The transatlantic economy and the Indo-Pacific rim economy, sans China, must be decoupled from China. The de-coupling will be a long and fraught process. It cannot be rapid for both economic and geostrategic reasons, including the dangers of over-provoking China. However, it needs to be undertaken; slowly, steadily and determinedly as we move pursue democratic self-sufficiency and inter-connection and remove all reliance on trading with dictatorships.

    1. Wikipedia.

  4. So, Australia under the LNP will “do it’s share” to fix the climate problem… with Clean Hydrogen (that doesn’t work yet and won’t make any difference anytime soon), Dirty Hydrogen, immediately, with non-existent, sometime in the future CCS to make it Clean (and won’t make any difference anytime soon except to FF company bottom lines through diversion of clean energy development funding) and the prospect of CCS in the future, more generally, to permit and excuse continued use (and growth) of fossil fuel dependence in the near term – as well as divert emissions reductions funding to the perpetrators.

    I really hope leaders at the G7 gave Mr Morrison some frank advice – but, in the way of Australian politics, getting such a dressing down would probably be turned into an electoral positive, through the popularity of provincialism; the LNP “freedom” fighters garner much unthinking support from “standing up to faceless international bullying” spin campaigns, especially when supported by the same media forces that legitimised Trump in America.

  5. This below is a very reasonable article indicating that the COVID-19 lab leak theory is not yet refuted and the COVID-19 Wet Market zoonosis theory is not yet proven.

    https://theconversation.com/covid-19-why-the-lab-leak-theory-must-be-formally-investigated-161297

    Note that “intense research that has been carried out for more than a year to try to prove the zoonotic scenario has not been successful so far: all 80,000 animal samples, from some 30 species, have tested negative. The samples came from farm animals and wild animals from different provinces in China. But it is important to note that this large number of negative samples does not refute the zoonotic scenario.”

    There is quite a bit more which needs to be debated about this, which on this blog would need to happen in a Sandpit. Suffice to say here that;

    (a) The zoonosis origin and lab-leak theories are not necessarily incompatible. It is possible that a zoonotic origin virus was collected from the wild, taken to the Wuhan lab where it was experimented with and then it leaked accidentally.

    (b) Gain of function (the virus becoming more contagious and/or harmful to humans) could have happened accidentally OR by deliberate gain of function experiments. Accidental gain of function could have occurred, according to one theory, when Yunnan province bat guano collectors became infected from heavy, continuous breathing of guano dust and (some) were kept alive in a provincial hospital for up to 6 months. The gain of function could have occurred by default by continuous generations of better and better variants (better at cell reinfection) reinfecting the patients’ lungs from the patients lungs and airways.

    (c) The Chinese are not the only players potentially implicated in unsafe research. American money and researchers have been involved in some Wuhan Lab efforts. Some Americans also could have a vested interest in denying the lab-leak hypothesis because it leads back to them too.

    This is a tangled mess which still needs to be unraveled. We need to remember;

    “Lab accidents have already led to human infections, including the H1N1 flu pandemic of 1977, which killed more than 700,000 people.”

    “The most famous case of a released laboratory strain is the re-emergent H1N1 influenza A virus which was first observed in China in May of 1977 and in Russia shortly thereafter [3], [4]. This outbreak marked the return of a seasonal H1N1 human influenza virus after a nearly 20-year absence following its displacement during the 1957 H2N2 pandemic. Scientists quickly realized that something was unusual about this re-emergent H1N1 strain; it was genetically similar, though not identical, to an H1N1 isolate from 1950 [5], [6]. Initially it was suggested that this virus could have lain dormant or evolved slowly in non-human hosts for decades, but it is now generally assumed that the virus was kept frozen in a yet unidentified laboratory [7], [8]. The glaring discrepancy between the amount of inferred evolutionary time (Figure 1A) and amount of sequence evolution (Figure 1B) leading to the 1977 outbreak provides evidence supporting this conclusion.” – The Re-Emergence of H1N1 Influenza Virus in 1977: A Cautionary Tale for Estimating Divergence Times Using Biologically Unrealistic Sampling Dates – Joel O. Wertheim , PLOS – Published: June 17, 2010

    There is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding this matter but being unable to prove “the zoonotic (Wet Karket) scenario (after) 80,000 animal samples, from some 30 species” is a major cause for concern. Clearly other theories need to be entertained and investigated with equal thoroughness. The American as well as the Chinese research establishment could be implicated by a positive finding of lab release. These are important possibilities with important ramifications and implications for preventing another event of this kind.

  6. Published on 6 Jun 2021 at CNBC.com was a piece by Lucy Handley headlined “How Asia’s ‘first lady of coal’ says she’s working on a sustainable future”. It includes a video of an interview with Somruedee Chaimongkol, chief executive of energy firm Banpu Public Company, duration 06:36. The piece includes:

    “Will Banpu ever exit coal mining altogether? Not in the next five to 10 years, according to Chaimongkol, as there will still be a demand from customers for it. But the company won’t invest in new coal assets, she said, adding it will instead be pumping money into renewable energy and in doing so reducing the contribution of coal to the firm’s turnover.”
    https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/07/banpu-ceo-how-the-coal-company-is-moving-towards-renewable-energy.html

    Bampu is the parent company that owns Centennial Coal (although Centennial seems to have dropped the word “Coal” from their branding), which has a number of coal operations in NSW.
    https://www.centennialcoal.com.au/operations/

    In last Friday’s (Jun 11) Lithgow Mercury was an article by Benjamin Palmer headlined “Angus Place in doubt after parent company pivots to clean energy future”. It began with:

    “Thai Energy company Banpu, which owns Centennial Coal has announced it won’t be investing in any new coal assets, casting doubt on its plans to re-open and expand the Angus Place colliery near Lithgow.”
    https://www.lithgowmercury.com.au/story/7291551/angus-place-in-doubt-after-parent-company-pivots-
    to-clean-energy-future/?cs=12

    Mt Piper Power Station (1430 MW), that recently consumed 2.7 Mt/y of coal (down 10% from previous years, per EnergyAustralia’s Lithgow CCC meeting minutes for 1 Mar 2021), currently sources supplies from nearby Springvale Mine (and recently supplemented also from Airly, and Clarence mines) but Springvale is reportedly forecast to exhaust its coal reserves by 2024. Clarence Mine’s current development consent expires at the end of 2026. Airly Mine’s current development consent, with 1.8 Mt/y ROM extraction limit, expires in Jan 2037. So it seems Mt Piper PS may need to source significant coal supplies much further away in a few years time, which will likely increase operating costs.

  7. Same same, only different.

    JQ said “For a brief period, the ‘Tea Party’ revolt against the Obama Administration appeared as a reversion to hard neoliberalism, with a non-partisan focus on sound finance. In reality, the Tea Party was a mixture of Republican activists and grifters who used its appeal to solicit donations, largely used to fund well-paid jobs for themselves. Both groups have been prominent among the support base for Donald Trump.”
    https://crookedtimber.org/2021/04/26/republicans-and-the-end-of-hard-neoliberalism/

    Lovecraft in 1936 on Republicans. Astounding they seems worse, and yet  the same, 85yrs later.

    “As for the Republicans — how can one regard seriously a frightened, greedy, nostalgic huddle of tradesmen and lucky idlers who shut their eyes to history and science, steel their emotions against decent human sympathy, cling to sordid and provincial ideals exalting sheer acquisitiveness and condoning artificial hardship for the non-materially-shrewd, dwell smugly and sentimentally in a distorted dream-cosmos of outmoded phrases and principles and attitudes based on the bygone agricultural-handicraft world, and revel in (consciously or unconsciously) mendacious assumptions (such as the notion that real liberty is synonymous with the single detail of unrestricted economic license or that a rational planning of resource-distribution would contravene some vague and mystical “American heritage” — economic oversight, price-fixing, “government in business”, etc. recur often in American colonial history) utterly contrary to fact and without the slightest foundation in human experience? Intellectually, the Republican idea deserves the tolerance and respect one gives to the dead.”

    H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) American fabulist [Howard Phillips Lovecraft]
    Letter to C. L. Moore (Aug 1936)

    https://wist.info/lovecraft-h-p/12672/

  8. The COVID-19 lab leak theory gains more and more credence, although absolute proof is still lacking. Follow the science. (And indeed follow the research money and blatant conflicts of interest.)

    https://thebulletin.org/2021/05/the-origin-of-covid-did-people-or-nature-open-pandoras-box-at-wuhan/

    This could be the greatest virology scandal in human history. The Chinese, the Americans and others are ALL implicated. Why are we not talking more about this? The public should be mad as hell about this and demanding definitive answers, including demanding that China and the USA provide all the data and full disclosure.

    All scientifically literate people should be able to read the above article in total. It is not that hard and it is very clearly written.

  9. Boris Johnson certainly put his personal stamp on the G-7 meeting: That is to say, it used flashy pseudo-Churchillian rhetoric to disguise entirely inadequate results, just enough to get the feelgood headlines.. Gordon Brown: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jun/14/grand-words-g7-vaccines-summit-failure-gordon-brown
    “Long after this weekend summit is over and the handshakes, photocalls and communiques fade from memory, it will be remembered only for failing to honour Boris Johnson’s pre-summit promise to vaccinate the entire world: an unforgivable moral lapse when every three months Covid-19 is destroying 1 million lives.”

    They obviously thought in terms of “what’s the least we can do to give the impression of doing something” and not, as thy should have. “This is the problem, how can we fix it?” It’s even less forgiveable in that the problem is extremely simple – a virus plague – and the means to fix it are available and perfectly welt understood: global mass vaccination.

    Let’s go with Brown’s number of 11 bn doses needed. Broadly speaking, these can be supplied through capitalism or socialism. The capitalist Norwegian plan is to underwrite $33bn of purchases by poor countries. A socialist plan, my own preference, is for rich counties to pay or coerce their big pharma companies to build another ten billion-dose-a- year plants, buy the output, and donate the shots. Either can work, but you have to start with the right scale.

    A popular variant on the capitalist plan is an anarchist tweak to waive IP rights to allow Third World companies to manufacture. I‘ve argued here before that this is a diversion. Consider BioNTech’s successful creation of a billion-dose-a-year factory in Marburg. They bought an existing certified pharma plant from Novartis in September 2020, converted it, and secured final regulatory approvals in April 2021: seven or eight months. Consider their advantages.
    – BioNTech invented the vaccine and know more about it than anybody else.
    – Existing modern, certified plant previously under paranoid OCD Swiss management.
    – Highly skilled existing German workforce, also selected for OCD paranoia.
    – Pots of money from earlier windfall profits.
    – Inspired, walking-on-water leadership from Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci,

    This is the absolute best case for a new vaccine plant. It’s a tricky business; AstraZeneca, Johnson &Johnson, and SII have all had production problems, and they are large and experienced companies. Do you think a Vietnamese, South African or Brazilian new entrant could become operational in under a year? Eighteen months? Three months’ delay costs a million lives. It’s common sense to use unlovable Big Pharma to save time.

  10. Biloela family should be given permanent residency in Australia, with a pathway to citizenship, if they still want it. The pointless exercise of making that family a whipping boy, has cost millions more than if they had been allowed permanent residency and access to Centrelink, Medicare, etc. It’s also highly unlikely that a ministerial decision to allow them permanency in Australia would have suddenly caused a fleet of people smuggler’s boats, heading to Australia. They already know we have a very tough policy, so one more case of brutalising a family wasn’t likely to change their opinion, or their actions, one way or the other. If the decision to allow them permanent residency had been made quietly, this case would never have come to light, and millions of dollars would have been saved, millions of seconds of fear and heartache could have been avoided, and Australia would have gained a family of solid citizens. Who knows what they think of Australia now? Compassion isn’t incompatible with running a tough policy on asylum seekers. Clearly there are undesirable consequences of being too free with accepting boat arrivals (e.g. more failed attempts, drownings), and clearly there are serious consequences by being too heavy handed and empty-hearted. Lives can be destroyed in either case. However, putting the family in offshore detention was about as extreme as chucking them in a gaol, and just as pointless.

    I sincerely hope the current minister can apply both compassion and common sense, and end this needless cruelty. Since the rest of the heavy handed policy will be intact, I rather doubt this one case could make a material difference to the behaviour of the people smugglers.

  11. +1 Don re Biloela family.

    Thanks James for the V2G update in nuclear thread.

    Here for the record, compliments of Australia is the…

    Up Yours Down Under DownDate (+10yrs extension for petrol/ diesel tax support for gas guzzler ute led recovery)

    Just in May – let that sink in…
    “In May there were close to 80,000 utes and SUVs sold in Australia, close to double the number of last May, four times the number of passenger cars sold and four times the total number of electric cars sold in Australia in the past 10 years. Just in May.”…

    “Alan Kohler: Australia is placing its recovery hopes on the trays of utes — and it’s idiotic

    “Join the dots:

    – “The biggest item in the federal budget in May was the $18.1 billion in business tax write-offs for capital expenditure
    – The biggest increase by far in last week’s March quarter GDP was capital expenditure – on machinery and equipment, up 10.3 per cent
    – Eight of the top 10 vehicles sold in Australia in May were utes or SUVs, and sales rose by an average 90 per cent.

    “You might say that it’s a magnificently successful effort to engineer a ute-led recovery.

    “When you’ve got no population growth, you just use the tax system to get tradies to buy utes and up goes GDP.

    “But it’s more complicated and less intelligent than that.

    “For a start, none of them are made here.

    https://thenewdaily.com.au/finance/2021/06/11/utes-tax-write-offs/
    Thanks Alan Kohler

    And advertising of utes and kulcha around utes needs challenging. Not incentives towards a past glorified era with shades of patriachial power.

  12. James! I think I agree. ; )

    Also, maybe instead of putting that energy in developing countries into making these complicated vaccines right now ( as opposed to learning how, later), that energy could be freed up with your plan, and be put into some other worthy public health programs. Detection, monitoring, basic systems. Since our public health here in the US is so feeble (for way less excusable reasons), I imagine this may be true a lot of other places.

    Weirdly, I almost feel a tad optimistic. I think we’ll get there. I think people will do this!

    Also, how fabulous are Turkish names? They are like Gaelic names to me (and probably others I don’t even know of). Like, I can’t even guess how to say them. I like that. It adds a layer of mystery and novelty to the world.

  13. Terror squad takes down satirist who outs corruption, but nothing to see here (said ghost of Joe).

    Mendacious Tautoligists: 
    – Delloite ‘the question was reasonable’, 
    – Brendan Pearson- the only too pro coal sacked by the MCA, mainstrem media, pm&c, 
    – Keith Pitt et al, and 
    – not a correction in sight from editors-in-chief of the Australian Financial Review and The Australian, Michael Stutchbury and John Lehman”
    – LNP. Full stop.

    Hired guns of the 21st Centrury… I wonder how they sleep. Even the Minerals Council of Australia dumped Brendan ‘coal’ Pearson, who is now employed by Scomo. “The Australian, the Australian Financial Review, and the Minister for Resources Keith Pitt have consistently repeated the misleading claims provided to them by the mining lobby via the firm the MCA hired to conduct its reports, Deloitte Access Economics.” Maaaate!

    And here is Pradeep Philips, the new Delloite CEO.  Any one if us who can count to ten, read English and do arithmetic could add or subtract gst and royalties. Not at Delloite if the money is paid. The MCA commisioned report conflates gst & royalties with tax paid by mining:

    “Ultimately, Deloitte claimed that they had not misled the Australian public because the question the firm had been asked, that is, to review company tax and royalties paid by the minerals industry – was “reasonable”.

    Pradeep Philips claims that Deloitte was “asked a very specific question around the mineral sector and company taxes and royalties – a legitimate question in our view”.

    Article:
    “Murdoch media, Nine Entertainment, mining lobby, busted for record bullartistry, go into hiding

    “So why have royalties and company tax been singled out?

    “It appears the report was intended from its inception to provide an exaggerated view of the contribution of the minerals industry to Australian governments to ward off attempts to increase taxes.

    “First commissioned in 2014 under MCA’s then-CEO Brendan Pearson – who has been more recently employed in the Prime Minister’s office – Deloitte’s report was used as proof in an argument that supported the MRRT being repealed.

    “Pearson said the report “underlines that we are paying an effective tax rate above 40 per cent, when you combine the tax rate and the royalties”.

    “Royalties and taxes are two entirely separate concepts and to conflate the two is misleading. However, it is a well-worn strategy used by the mining industry to make it appear as though they are paying a higher tax rate than they really are.

    “Brendan Pearson was forced out as CEO of the Mineral Council in 2017, when BHP took issue with his pro-coal, anti-Paris Agreement lobbying. BHP threatened to review its membership with the MCA, with Rio Tinto signalling it would do likewise, if Pearson did not step down.

    “Pearson, landed on his feet taking up a senior advisory role regarding international trade and investment in Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s office in 2019.

    “BHP and Rio Tinto, who are the MCA’s largest members, declined to be interviewed for this story
    https://www.michaelwest.com.au/murdoch-media-nine-entertainment-mining-lobby-busted-for-record-bullartistry-go-into-hiding/

    “Australia’s energy problems have been exacerbated by the rise through Morrison’s ranks of the former Minerals Council CEO, writes Sophie Vorrath.

    “IN CASE THERE WAS any doubt about the ties that bind Australia’s top coal lobbyists with the Federal Coalition Government, former Minerals Council of Australia CEO Brendan Pearson has been tapped as a senior advisor to Scott Morrison.”
    https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/coal-lobbyist-rises-in-the-pms-ranks,12826

    “Mining lobby cooks the books on royalties paid”

  14. Australia’s vaccine rollout continues to be a bad joke. The only number that matters is the number of people who have had two shots to give maximum possible protection. That number is below 4% Australia wide. For example, Qld 2.3%, NSW 4.0% and Vic 3.1 %.

    At this rate, I am guessing we won’t get halfway through before people require their 2022 booster for variants (which need now appears quite likely to eventuate).

    Meanwhile confidence, scientific and public continues to decline with regard to the AstraZeneca vaccine. These declines in confidence might appear to have some justification or they might be overblown. With the amount of misinformation around and corporate and state massaging of messages (not data per se), it is hard to tell.

    https://science.sciencemag.org/content/371/6536/1294.full

    What we all are finding in a super complex world with many invested and self-interested parties involved it is becoming harder and harder for lay people to assess the truth of any complex consumer or science problem and the claims about it.

    About the most Australia can do is manufacture / purchase enough of all major vaccines from the USA and EU / UK and make sure there are enough for people to make a choice and get two doses as soon an may be.

  15. Terror squad takes down satirist who outs corruption^1, but nothing to see here (said ghost of Joe).

    Mendacious Tautoligists: 
    – Delloite ‘the question was reasonable’, 
    – Brendan Pearson- the only too pro coal sacked by the MCA, mainstrem media, pm&c, 
    – Keith Pitt et al, and 
    – not a correction in sight from editors-in-chief of the Australian Financial Review and The Australian, Michael Stutchbury and John Lehman”
    – LNP. Full stop.

    Hired guns of the 21st Centrury… I wonder how they sleep. Even the Minerals Council of Australia dumped Brendan ‘coal’ Pearson, who is now employed by Scomo. “The Australian, the Australian Financial Review, and the Minister for Resources Keith Pitt have consistently repeated the misleading claims provided to them by the mining lobby via the firm the MCA hired to conduct its reports, Deloitte Access Economics.” Maaaate!

    And here is Pradeep Philips, the new Delloite CEO.  Any one if us who can count to ten, read English and do arithmetic could add or subtract gst and royalties. Not at Delloite if the money is paid. The MCA commisioned report conflates gst & royalties with tax paid by mining:

    “Ultimately, Deloitte claimed that they had not misled the Australian public because the question the firm had been asked, that is, to review company tax and royalties paid by the minerals industry – was “reasonable”.

    Pradeep Philips Deloitte CEO said “asked a very specific question around the mineral sector and company taxes and royalties – a legitimate question in our view”.

    “Murdoch media, Nine Entertainment, mining lobby, busted for record bullartistry, go into hiding

    “So why have royalties and company tax been singled out?

    “It appears the report was intended from its inception to provide an exaggerated view of the contribution of the minerals industry to Australian governments to ward off attempts to increase taxes.

    “First commissioned in 2014 under MCA’s then-CEO Brendan Pearson – who has been more recently employed in the Prime Minister’s office – Deloitte’s report was used as proof in an argument that supported the MRRT being repealed.

    “Pearson said the report “underlines that we are paying an effective tax rate above 40 per cent, when you combine the tax rate and the royalties”.

    “Royalties and taxes are two entirely separate concepts and to conflate the two is misleading. However, it is a well-worn strategy used by the mining industry to make it appear as though they are paying a higher tax rate than they really are.

    “Brendan Pearson was forced out as CEO of the Mineral Council in 2017, when BHP took issue with his pro-coal, anti-Paris Agreement lobbying. BHP threatened to review its membership with the MCA, with Rio Tinto signalling it would do likewise, if Pearson did not step down.

    “Pearson, landed on his feet taking up a senior advisory role regarding international trade and investment in Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s office in 2019.

    “BHP and Rio Tinto, who are the MCA’s largest members, declined to be interviewed for this story
    https://www.michaelwest.com.au/murdoch-media-nine-entertainment-mining-lobby-busted-for-record-bullartistry-go-into-hiding/

    “Australia’s energy problems have been exacerbated by the rise through Morrison’s ranks of the former Minerals Council CEO, writes Sophie Vorrath.

    “IN CASE THERE WAS any doubt about the ties that bind Australia’s top coal lobbyists with the Federal Coalition Government, former Minerals Council of Australia CEO Brendan Pearson has been tapped as a senior advisor to Scott Morrison.”
    https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/coal-lobbyist-rises-in-the-pms-ranks,12826

    “Mining lobby cooks the books on royalties paid”

    ^1. arrested

  16. https://ourworldindata.org/explorers/coronavirus-data-explorer?tab=map&zoomToSelection=true&time=latest&pickerSort=desc&pickerMetric=total_cases&Metric=Vaccine+doses&Interval=Cumulative&Relative+to+Population=true&Align+outbreaks=false&country=IND~USA~GBR~CAN~DEU~FRA
    24 doses per 100 inhabitants is not so bad. No other country in the world that can deal better with vaccine delays than Australia these days as well.

    The US already seems to have the other kind of trouble, a lack of willingness to get vaccinated. That’s pretty bad at those still relatively low vaccination levels. At the same time, many states lifted all restrictions already. Russia is even worse: A majority does not want to get vaccinated and Russian lie propaganda about the inadequacy of western vaccines probably plays a major role in this, since the Russians that believed the propaganda made no positive distinction regarding Russian vaccines.

  17. There’s a right-wing libertarian saying, and T-shirt, which says:

    “My rights don’t end where your feelings begin.”

    To me, this encapsulates the central right wing and libertarian misunderstanding about “rights”. In actuality,the impetus for human rights can only come from human needs and feelings. It cannot come, at least in terms of consequentialist ethics, from anywhere else. After all, rocks and other insentient things don’t argue and fight about rights. Arguably, many animals and plants do jockey for position and have conflicts about territorial, nutrient and mating “rights”.

    A human right must be derived in some way from need and/or desire on the one hand and then the feeling that that need or desire engenders on the other. Feelings, broadly speaking, may be of two types; physical feeling and emotional feeling. To sum it up, we have needs and desires generating some wish or impetus to have those needs and desires met and IF these needs or desires are thwarted it can generate a feeling of unfairness. “It’s not fair,” we say, or “It’s not right.” And we may feel these feelings and say these things in relation to ourselves or in relation and on behalf to others. The assessment that one or someone else has rights is based on feelings then processed further emotionally, logically and communicatively (socially).

    Using Blair’s method of word substitution (to properly equate loaded words which already contain a prejudged, or biased position, we really have two statements from the libertarian which mean much the same thing. We have:

    “My feelings don’t end where your feelings begin.”

    “My rights don’t end where your rights end.:

    Logically:

    Feelings (of contrary types) generate argument or conflict generate a determination of rights (via conflict and/or negotiation).

    Feelings are not directly equatable with rights thus a construction “My rights don’t end where your feelings begin.” Is one comparing unlike or incommensurable logical “objects”. Therein lies the fallacy; a fallacy of false comparison.

    Someone who says “My rights don’t end where your feelings begin.” is really saying in most cases, “I have the (self-assumed) right to stomp all over your feelings. At the extreme that leads to fascism and we might note the affinity that fascists and authoritarians of various types have for the goose-step (a display of exaggerated stomping) and for trespass (invading or walking in inappropriate ways in inappropriate places or at inappropriate times) on ground not theirs for their assumed purpose (storming a democratic house of government for example).

    The issue of what ought to be private ground, public ground or privileged or restricted ground at certain times, is quite complex but it is analyzable in terms of human needs, human rights and the reconciliation of rights in conflict or seeming to be in conflict. But that is a longer discussion. I might post on that depending on the activity in this thread. Lack of activity tends to indicate one is talking to oneself.

  18. Ikon, this may be of use to analyze and develop your own enduring threat appeals ala “an apple a day…”. I find serious libertarians, as with solicitors, have not been trained to cope with expletives.

    “EVERYTHING IN MODERATION? NOT FOR THREAT APPEALS

    …” its wording has also stood the test of time. It is a threat appeal. In communication research, threat appeals refer to a specific message format that identifies a potential danger intended to inspire fear, such as one that would require the intervention of a doctor, and recommends a solution that is supposed to quell the fear: eating healthy. A notable feature of the proverb is its thinly veiled threat. Why not “An apple a day keeps the illness away” or, more bluntly, “An apple a day keeps the grim reaper away?”

    The Inverted-U
    “The question for researchers has been: Are more frightening ones more effective? An old idea called the inverted-U hypothesis says yes, but only up to a certain point. Intense fear distracts people from the cause of the fear, such as a disease, an addiction, or a bad habit, and turns them toward managing fear itself. This can be why someone buries their head in the sand. “…

    https://spsp.org/news-center/blog/li-dillard-threat-appeals

    For Further Reading
    Davis, B., & Jansen, C. (2016). This may come as a surprise: How prior knowledge of information in a fear appeal is associated with message outcomes. Communication, 42(3), 398-421. https://doi.org/10.1080/02500167.2016.1209536

    Dillard, J. P., & Li, S. S. (2020). How scary are threat appeals? Evaluating the intensity of fear in experimental research. Human Communication Research, 46(1), 1-24.https://doi.org/10.1093/hcr/hqz008

    Yoon, H. J., & Tinkham, S. F. (2013). Humorous threat persuasion in advertising: The effects of humor, threat intensity, and issue involvement. Journal of Advertising,42(1), 30–41.https://doi.org/10.1080/00913367.2012.749082

  19. The big timing elephant in the room for over 60s (formerly for over 50s) no talking heads ever mention…

    In what seasons is covid-19 more transmissible, cool or warm? Is the southern hemisphere entering the depths of winter soon? How long do Astrazenica’s two shots take to get best immunological effect? And how long for Pfizer’s two shots to give a generally better effect? What’s the low effectiveness rate of the Astrazenica first jab during the wait for the second jab final best effect, is it still only 20 to 30% or less? Was flu vaccine coverage for many over 60’s delayed this year? Was a two week waiting period specified between receiving any other prior vaccine and the first covid-19 vaccine, only changed mid-week this week to a one week wait after receiving the flu vaccine? (That change to include the 50-60 year old age group happened due to reevaluating clotting risks based on recent cases. In the above 50s seven of twelve cases were in that age group, but that also means 42% of cases were in the over 60s! Yet another bs government decision!)

    If the first shot of Astrazenica is received about now the best effect won’t develop for 16 weeks, so from second shot received Sep/Oct won’t develop until Oct/Nov, practically already summer and hot in Qld, for example, and significantly reduced seasonal risk of transmission.

    If the first shot of Pfizer is received about now the best effect will develop in 5/6weeks. That will be before warmer seasonal weather arrives and still be pretty cold in much of Qld, and maybe the coldest time of year, ie., July.

    Also if as is expected there will be Pfizer, Novovax, Moderna, &etc available in quantity from about October then getting those jabs then would mean the best effect of those would be developed about the same time as for Astrazenica received first now!

    Every week counts – timing is everything.

    There’s 3 lawful ways at least I know of now for over 60’s who do not qualify on any of the vaccine rollout criteria to get the Pfizer jab in Qld. The silence about this is deafening.

    1 Walk in to a health dept vaccination center and ask for Pfizer. Over 60’s could be fairly lucky doing that, but with yet another change now including the 50 up to 60 year old cohort made late this week, and the already stretched supplies, over 60’s will have less chance and may have to try their luck much more frequently. That could take much time, travel, and effort. The info I have up to now on trying one’s luck couldn’t be more contradictory, ie., turn up very early in the day, or wait until very late.

    2 Certain parts of the health dept supposedly specialising in certain groups of the population will give Pfizer to anyone of any background. No luck needed and no medical referral required – just turn up and ask. My GP even had some of her own family members successfully go this way earlier without delay or problem and no input on her part. Maybe it’s a way of skinning a cat that many other GPs in certain locations also know? I don’t wish to spell it out or say where as the bloody health dept turf warring bureaucrats would likely shut down that option if they knew.

    3 Get a referral from a GP. Get it on paper to take along with you as the usual electronic referral would get stuck with the bureaucracy for maybe a month and likely also would not gel well with the covid vaccination booking system. This is what a call centre *manager* at the health dept covid vaccination info phone line told me to do. My GP referral states only that I wanted Pfizer and was hardly glanced at. I rang for a booking and had no problems getting the jab the next day – that side of Qld health worked like clockwork, brilliant! I’m booked for a second Pfizer jab in two weeks time, so by the end of July will be covered by a vaccine as well as is available for now.

    Clearly, due to its delayed effect giving Astrazenica vaccinations should be restricted to warmer seasons to have effect when needed most in the following cold seasons four months later. Just prior to and during cold seasons it should be Pfizer!

    I will get Xmas in July this year 🙂

  20. Svante,

    I have continued to take the approach that contact with all humans other than my household members is potentially dangerous. Thus, I minimize all such contacts as far as possible. My household members (2 others) do the same. We live like hermits on acreage. Everything we need is delivered. We stay at 2 meters plus from all other humans, and that’s outdoors. We basically don’t go indoors with any other humans albeit with a few specific exceptions. If Queensland cases are less than about 4 and in another area altogether from us, we might go out once a week to an outdoor table at a coffee shop. Yes, there is a slight risk in that. Other than that, unavoidable medical appointments are undertaken. There being two superannuants and a self-employed, work-from-home person in our home, we do have the luxury of not going anywhere most of the time.

    There is a Pfizer shortage in Australia. There’s some around but clearly not enough to do everybody. Personally, I will be willing to get AstraZeneca shots when my doctor(s) give the go-ahead after my eye surgery but my wife will need Pfizer for medical reasons. My point in all this is that people simply have to keep isolating as much as possible,since enough truly safe vaccine is not availbale, wearing masks when they can’t isolate and take an overall a very cautious approach. So, keep on isolating as much as possible. Regard it as a retreat from society to read, think and meditate for a while “far from the madding crowds’ ignoble strife”.

    Overall, you bring up valid points. The rollout is very slow. Another example of the Morrison governments’ complete inaction and incompetence. AstraZeneca can’t be rolled out fast due to the large gap required between first and second dose and the fact that many people cannot safely receive it. Pfizer can’t be rolled out fast due to the unavailability of sufficient total doses. A few forward thinking and actively seeking persons can get it. Not everyone can get it yet. That leaves self-protective self-isolation as far as each person’s living and work requirements permit. People should go out a lot less quite frankly. I am against promotions for tourism, holidays, events, venues etc, when we still don’t have this virus beaten. It is unwise.

    A further problem we will face is that this rollout won’t even be finished before we need boosters for new mutant variants which show not just greater infectiousness but also greater “immune escape”. This crisis will go on for years yet. People better get used to a new way of living. It might even be that this crisis will never end..It could remain a never-ending, ineradicable, mutating, chronic pandemic. Even if not that, it will at the minimum take five years to brings it under control in the undeveloped and semi-developed world. People actually need to accept that the world has changed forever. Add in climate change and the rise of China and we see we are entering a very uncertain and perhaps catastrophic time.

  21. Ikonoclast, of the more than a hundred people I observed last Tuesday at the vaccination hub, including staff, none but I wore a mask. Social distancing was absent in the cue leading to the jab, but was in place in the waiting zone after. Those in the cue seemed to be mostly 30 to 40 year olds so maybe not as concerned as I about catching covid. There was noone else other than myself there over 50 let alone over 60. The increase in infectiousness of new variants, and at increased distance, is certainly of concern as is the widening age groups badly affected – witness the recent growing shockingly high number of cases and deaths in children in Brazil.

    China, China, China. Sounds like Cato. Ceterum autem censeo Carthaginem esse delendam (“Furthermore, I consider that Carthage must be destroyed” Cato is said to have used the phrase as the conclusion to all his speeches to push for the war.- wiki). History rhymes but if the delusional aim is for a sole super power again, like the hubris of that time or of the 1990s, the shoe can’t fit either foot now for none can place any under heel – more like Rome and Persia later. Rome’s ruling class only had a chance of besting Carthage after luckily getting hold of one of Carthage’s navy ships and then copying it, but all players have developed and possess their own 1950s ultimate terror weapons now.

  22. Yes, KT2. In my case though, and many others, there is nothing I know of that is wrong with my health relevant to receiving Pfizer other than being arbitrarily on the wrong side of 60! My GP didn’t nor would they invent anything. My referral effectively states just “… wants Pfizer”

    GPs are supposed to get Pfizer access and some payment (See Oz Constitution S. 51 1946 Menzies engineered (xxiiiA) amendment on behalf of AMA and ADA) quite soon to vaccinate the elderly in their homes. Maybe by definition I’m elderly? But, but, I’m ambulatory, and for this joke of a federal government what might soon be the definition of “soon”?

  23. https://www.spytalk.co/p/high-level-chinese-defection-rumored

    Part of the story goes defecting the vice minister of State Security, Dong Jingwei, says the Sars-CoV-2 virus was made in the Wuhan lab but the gain of function work was being done for and paid for by the US CDC.

    Alison Broinowski elaborated on the complicity of the USA back in May.
    https://johnmenadue.com/back-to-weapons-of-mass-destruction/

    Got to ask, were the USA and China cooking up germs together to match Russia?

    As Stan Grant at the ABC reported yesterday: “Vladimir Putin quoted Tolstoy after his summit with Joe Biden: “There’s no happiness in life, only a mirage of it on the horizon.” …He could also have quoted another line from Tolstoy: “Happy people have no history.””

  24. Svante: the previous comment belongs in the sandpit. I’ve opened a new one, so please take all further discussion of virus conspiracy theories there

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