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. You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page

50 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. Am I the only one tired of Emmanuel Macron’s whinging? I hope not. But look, correct me if I am wrong about any of the following:

    (1) The conventional subs contract with France’s Naval Group was a commercial contract.
    (2) Naval Group was not delivering on contract milestones.
    (3) Australia cancelled the contract.
    (4) Presumably he cancellation was in line with contract stipulations: penalties for Australia if Naval Group had been meeting contract stipulations and lesser or no penalties for Australia if Naval Group had not been meeting contract stipulations.

    It’s business is it not? Of course, I don’t like capitalism as everyone who reads my posts knows. However, both parties to this contract were operating in the current received arena of mixed capitalism and contracts within same. Presumably each side knew the rules. Where does France get off the high-horse of its extreme arrogance? Remember, this is the nation who exploded nuclear tests in the Pacific from the 1960s to the 1990s and who contaminated at least 110,000 people in the Pacific. They also blew up and sank the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbor in 1985, an act of war or state-sponsored terrorism depending on how one wished to define it.

    I am no fan of Morrison (as everyone who reads my posts knows) but we should completely ignore Macron and France.

  2. And pay them nil compensation? Macron is negotiating that business – with Scummo, the EU, and with France.

  3. The big defender of JobKeeper largesse was Deloitte’s Chris Richardson. Deloitte, of course, was (as Richardson noted) paid to provide “risk and integrity advice and services” on JobKeeper. The payment was “no more than” $336,859. I think it’s a bit off for the AFR to publish Richardson’s defence of JobKeeper as a success not a waste of money when billions were gifted to firms who recorded profit increases.

    Rear Window in the AFR today continues to apply pressure. Good on them!

  4. Ikon, if you invited me to a wedding, and the day before sent an organiser to say it is still on the day after, and then next day I see you are getting married at the mega church up the road, I’d have a whinge, particularly as I find out I’ve been dumped until the new marriage announcement. Contract or no, capitalism or communism, I’d more than whinge, especially if the jilted bride believes they were lied to.

    As I am not know the details, perhaps I am wrong and need correcting.

    Would you please detail these;
    “(2) Naval Group was not delivering on contract milestones.
    (3) Australia cancelled the contract”
    and apologies if you or others have elsewhere, but I’d appreciate references proving your strident ending “completely ignore Macron and France.””.

    James W, do you have an outline of diplomacy around such – to me – an astounding event, between countries of both a huge infrastructure and defence project.

    Are there other such events or precedents please.

  5. KT2,

    It’s hard to find facts as the deal was secret. I was hoping that someone could confirm or refute my numbered assumptions. But yes, my pre-judged assumption is that Macron is kicking up a big fuss for domestic political effect and in order to set the scene for a big damages claim against Australia. I for one would not see that as justified if Naval Group was failing to meet milestones and if Australia cancelled within the terms of the contract. paying or not paying penalties as per said terms. But no doubt it will end up in the courts for years. There will be many effects for local (Australian) subcontractors too. Lawyers on at least two continents will be rubbing their hands with glee.

    Quoting from the Guardian, interpolated with one comment by me:

    “The consequences of the termination of the contract for convenience are addressed in the strategic partnership agreement (SPA) signed in 2019.”

    Of course this assumes it was provably for convenience and not for failure to deliver on milestones.

    “Since the SPA between Australia and Naval Group was negotiated there have been accusations of cost and schedule overruns.”

    “The SPA is secret, but an auditor general’s report has revealed it contains “off ramps”, or “exit gates” – points at which Australia could withdraw from the contract in the event of poor performance. What is not clear is what happens if that withdrawal is because of a preference for a different deal instead of a failure by Naval Group to deliver specific outcomes.”

    Since the deal has already been plagued with problems for years, it seems a fair assumption that Naval Group were failing somewhere in that mix as a major, nay, as THE major, contractor.

    When men of the world, in the game only for money and power, play the jilted bride, their histrionics have no credibility.

  6. Bevan Shields, SMH correspondent, today put the question to French President Emmanuel Macron:
    “Do you think he lied to you?”

    Macron: “I don’t think, I know.”

    What do we in Australia know? Do we know Scummo? Any prior form at all?

  7. One politician calling another politician a liar! Hilarious. Of course, Morrison is a liar, about all sorts of things. And Macron is a liar, about all sorts of things. They all lie, non-stop. This imbroglio is about the post-contract damages. Macron / France / Naval Group are after as much of Australia’s money as they can get. Don’t forget that.

  8. KT2: The diplomacy of big international defence contracts is well outside my experience or putative expertise. But since you asked, here’s my pennyworth

    1. If the cancellation had really been about contract performance, there would be a massive paper trail of disputed technical reports, bad-tempered meetings, and emails by the zillion. If the Morrison account were correct, the government could have releases a sanitised 200-page version of this papertrail by now. SFIK it hasn’t. The French claim of a stab in the back, more neutrally described as a secret policy reversal, looks justified.

    2. The French submarine deal looks an unbelievable waste of money. A$90 bn for 12 diesel subs starting delivery in 2035; what were they smoking?. The design was a French nuclear attack sub, with the reactor ripped out at Australian insistence and refitted with WW2 diesel and battery propulsion. As Doenitz and his hapless crews found out, subs of this type are vulnerable to air attack from planes with radar when cruising on the surface, and when submerged, to detection by sonar from surface warships. (USN subs had a pretty free run in the Pacific against pathetic Japanese ASW, for instance no centimetric radar.) Australia’s shiny new $7bn subs would be vulnerable too against the PLN. They could probably hide submerged using the batteries, but like the U-boats would have to surface to periscope depth to go anywhere. The use and value for money of nuclear attack subs is unclear too, but at least they can travel long distances in reasonable safety.

  9. Potemhin diplomacy in action

    I looked at the communique of the G20 Summit. sorry “Rome Leaders’ Declaration”, in case it had anything new to say on the corporate tax deal (it hasn’t). Here: . It has 20 pages, abd 9,500 words not counting the Annex. They welcomed the Winter Olympics (paragraph 60). and recalled that culture has intrinsic value (paragraph 56). It is unlikely that the assembled heads of government found time to read all of this mountain of bureaucratese before they adopted it. I´m sure they spent all of their scarce discussion time on a small handful of issues like covid vaccines and climate change. For the rest, they just trusted their sherpas.

    What is going on here? Why does an ad hoc if high-level gathering of very busy people bother with putting something in writing on the Winter Olympics, which will happen anyway and is organised by a non-governmental body and a hist country they don’t control? Here is my admittedly biased take.

    The main paradigmatic struggle in international relations is between unilateralism (and therefore bilateralism if with interlocutors who have any agency) and multilateralism. But there is a secondary struggle wihin multilateralism between international organisations and national diplomats in foreign ministries. International organisations – the UN. WHO, WTO, OECD, Council of Europe, UNFCC Secretariat, and a hundred more – are classic bureaucracies: they have constitutions, a mission, an institutional culture, expert staff appointed under complex staff regulations that protect their independence, and routinized working methods. In very many cases, their partners at national level are the policy shops of subject-area ministries, not foreign ministries. They have created an ecosystem of international cooperation that marginalizes traditional diplomacy and therefore foreign ministries.

    Gatherings like the G2 are part of the diplomats’ fight back, an attempt to restore their control of the IGOs (international governmental organizations). It looks as if the G20 – organized entirely by national foreign ministries – are giving orders to them in documents like the Rome declaration. My take (I used to wok for an IGO) is that this is hopeless, a sham Potemkin village. The real work has in almost all cases to be done by the IGO dinosaurs, who have their own more democratic decision-making structures.

    The tax deal for instance had to be crafted in the OECD or another organization of the same type. It employs real tax experts, lawyers who can draft complex agreements, administrators and statisticians to organize monitoring and data gathering, and a network of similarly qualified experts in national finance ministries who can move the negotiations forward. The role of the diplomats is limited to general steering and occasional troubleshooting, as in the closing of the Paris climate agreement. There is no policy domain called “international relations”, and as an academic field of study it’s a mere gauzy veil.

  10. The French Naval Group was given every chance to meet their contract obligations. They failed to do so. They were warned repeatedly that the contract was in jeopardy.

    The “stabbed in the back” claim is puerile. Any claim that they weren’t warned in good time is entirely mendacious. It was a contract. Do people here know what a contract is ?

    “1) n. an agreement with specific terms between two or more persons or entities in which there is a promise to do something in return for a valuable benefit known as consideration. Since the law of contracts is at the heart of most business dealings, it is one of the three or four most significant areas of legal concern and can involve variations on circumstances and complexities. The existence of a contract requires finding the following factual elements: a) an offer; b) an acceptance of that offer which results in a meeting of the minds; c) a promise to perform; d) a valuable consideration (which can be a promise or payment in some form); e) a time or event when performance must be made (meet commitments); f) terms and conditions for performance, including fulfilling promises; g) performance.”

    Please note “a promise to perform” and “a time or event when performance must be made (meet commitments)” and “terms and conditions for performance”.

    Instead of puerile language about “stabs in the back”, the French, if on firm grounds, can seek restitution if there is an avenue under contract and in law and IF Australia has broken the contract without due cause.

  11. James, thanks for your pennyworth. And for reminding us of the “massive paper trail of disputed technical reports, bad-tempered meetings, and emails by the zillion.”
    … which …
    “the government could have releases a sanitised 200-page version of this papertrail by now. SFIK it hasn’t.”

    More concerning is our Government’s use of it’s public lobbing arm – ozfail newscorpse Telegraph – to manage public perceptions. Leaking texts between leaders is not a good look. And as you note James, the “sanitised 200-page version of this papertrail” has not been leaked. It would become a ‘bombshell’ if leaked in the run-up to France & Australian elections. Over to you ozfail lobbying department.

    “Mr Morrison refused to comment on how leaked texts between the leaders found their way into News Corp papers, which showed Mr Macron apparently unaware of the pending contract cancellation just two days before it was announced.”

    “The Prime Minister was asked why a text message from Mr Macron to the PM had been leaked to Sydney’s Daily Telegraph newspaper.

    “The text, reportedly authored by Mr Macron two days before the AUKUS pact was announced, reads: “Should I expect good or bad news for our joint submarines ambition?”

    “Asked by the ABC why the text had been leaked, Mr Morrison said he would not “indulge your editorial”.

    “But Mr Morrison confirmed that even two days before the AUKUS deal was announced, Mr Macron had still not been informed that Australia would ditch the French contract for nuclear-powered submarines built by the US or UK.” ABC

    Yet ” Asked whether Macron – an important ally – deserved better than a last minute heads up, Morrison said: “This was a highly secure decision, a highly secure environment over which we had held these things incredibly tightly … for more than a year.” Guardian.

    As Ikon says, they lie. But this seems an egregious act, not just clumsy as Biden characterised it.

    3/19. Not good odds for Australia. We are France’s 19th on list of trading partners. France is number 3 of Australia’s trading partners. They can wait for agreements. 

    Interesting too that this incident is hardly reported on, in media of France. This morning I looked at 5 papes .fr with english versions -only one mention. This was confirmed by Professor Jean Fornasiero of Adelaide Uni this morning on ABC RN radio. It seems the war between the UK & France re fishing rights is top of mind. And also Professor Fornasiero mentioned as to confirm the effect of AUKUS “stab in the back by Australia”, though not high on the radar of society, all persuasion of French politics – Left centre right & far right – have all expressed solidarity with Macron on this issue. And oops -France gets 6mths to stymie free trade agreement as next head of EU trade body. 3 out of 19. We need France, France doesn’t need Australia. Can’t find a transcript.

  12. Australia does not need France. In such cases a single relatively unimportant trading partner is replaceable, on both sides of the equation. France is little to us just as we are little to France. As Charles de Gaulle said. “Nations don’t have friends, only interests.” France is not our friend and is concerned only with its own interests, as are we of course. Australia is perfectly within its rights to repudiate a bad contract which is no longer in its interest. Naval Group is perfectly within its rights to seek damages if as I say there is an avenue under contract and in law for international contracts.

    This is the way things work when contracted processes break down. You repudiate the contract and give reasons. You negotiate a deal, party to party, if you don’t want to go to law. That might entail letting the contractor keep progress payments to date and even paying out further parts of the contract to meet some of their costs and potential lost earnings. Believe me, no-one is happy at the end of this process, even if they avoid going to law. There are losses all round.

    It’s important for Australia to not allow itself to be bullied: not by China and not by France. Capitulating to bullying is always a mistake.

    On the other hand, the Australian government is wrong on its stance re CO2 emissions. The problems we will call down upon our own heads by not doing our fair part in reducing CO2 emissions will not be bullying. They will be just responses. Morrison is being extremely, indeed idiotically, inconsistent here. He has just hitched his maritime strategic defense wagon to the US and UK. Now, he hitches his climate policy wagon to variously, rogue states, undeveloped states, authoritarian states and strategic enemy states, when Australia is a developed, democratic state in an alliance where all other partners are seeking to reduce CO2 emissions. Now that IS idiotic.

  13. James, we use mid air refueling for planes and the same can be done for submarines these days — although the vessels involved probably won’t be in the air when it’s done.

  14. JQ, et all, may be of interest re voter ID, and lawyers & social scientists. One of the best paragraphs in one of the longest abstracts as it reminds lawyers they need to qurstion their questions;
         “Resolution of the debate over voter ID laws’ effects suggests that election law scholarship should also question questions: lawyers should not only question the empirical answers that social scientists offer, but also their hypotheses and methods in reaching those answers.”

    “Questioning Questions in the Law of Democracy: What the Debate over Voter ID Laws’ Effects Teaches about Asking the Right Questions

    UCLA Law Review, 2022
    48 Pages
    Posted: 18 Oct 2021
    Emily Rong Zhang
    Stanford Law School

    “Voter identification laws, laws that require voters to present identification when voting (“voter ID laws”), first launched the modern Voting Wars. After the Supreme Court blessed Indiana’s voter ID law in Crawford v. Marion County, voter ID laws proliferated across the country. Their prevalence belie their notoriety. They remain one of the most hotly contested election laws and are often referred to as a voter suppression law, if not the modern voter suppression law.

    “While these laws first served as a rallying cry for the election law/law of democracy community, they have become a sore spot—even a pain point—for what is historically a collaborative and close community of social scientists, lawyers, and legal scholars. Many social scientists have come to conclude that voter ID laws have had negligible effects, if any, on voter turnout. That conclusion may seem surprising—even difficult to believe—given how many eligible voters lack IDs. And that surprising conclusion has raised uncomfortable questions about whether the progressive legal alarm over voter ID laws—including litigation challenging those laws—was warranted.

    “By harmonizing the causal social science literature and descriptive evidence unearthed in the course of litigation, this Article is the first to offer an account of why empiricists have consistently failed to detect a turnout effect from voter ID laws. Upon investigation, what is surprising is not that a turnout effect has not been detected, but why an effect should have been expected in the first place. Evidence from litigation suggests that more than 99% of registered voters who habitually vote may have the requisite ID for voting, even though large numbers of eligible (but not registered) citizens lack IDs. It is therefore unsurprising that the best causal studies suggest that voter ID laws decreased turnout (i.e. voting conditional on registration) by no more than 2%. Those studies should not have expected any other result: existing causal studies sought to detect an effect that descriptive evidence did not support. Thus, the discord in the literature results not from the sidelining of important causal findings, but rather from the lack of interaction between the causal academic literature and litigation-derived descriptive evidence.

    “Resolution of the debate on the turnout effects of voter ID laws has far-reaching implications for the election law community. For legal scholars in particular, it highlights important responsibilities in maintaining the interdisciplinary relationship with social scientists. The traditional notion of the interdisciplinary relationship between empiricists and lawyers in the field of election law/law of democracy is one of answering questions and questioning answers: social scientists offer empirical answers to questions posed by lawyers, and lawyers in turn question the relevance, importance, and weight of the empirical answers provided by social scientists. Resolution of the debate over voter ID laws’ effects suggests that election law scholarship should also question questions: lawyers should not only question the empirical answers that social scientists offer, but also their hypotheses and methods in reaching those answers.

    “The voter ID debate supplies two additional examples of questions worth questioning. First, is the estimated effect big or small? Social scientific assumptions in interpreting empirical effect sizes do not hold for legal evaluation. While social scientists are interested in comparing the explanatory force of election laws against all other drivers of turnout, legal interest is limited to how an election law compares to other laws. Second, is the law in question a voter suppression law? In assuming that laws that do not depress turnout are not voter suppressive, social scientists confuse vote suppression with voter suppression. Understanding an election laws’ suppressive effects solely through turnout evidence ignores burdens that voters take on to comply with onerous laws, as well as mounting barriers that further discourage disaffected individuals from voting.

    “Questioning questions also helps clarify doctrine. I consider how courts hearing challenges to voter ID laws have applied—and mis-applied—turnout evidence in conducting the burden inquiry in the Anderson/Burdick standard governing federal constitutional protections for the right to vote. Anderson/Burdick standard balances the burdens imposed by the challenged law on the right to vote against the state’s justification for the law. Causal evidence of turnout effects is a clearly efficient—but also radically incomplete—measure of burdens on the right to vote. Conceptual clarity of both what turnout estimates measure and what doctrine asks ensures not only that all relevant evidence is presented and considered in voting-rights cases, but also that the social science literature is better positioned to produce doctrinally responsive research.”

  15. Hi.
    Michael West Media would get funding – from the likes of me – to set up for Australia;
    “New research tool puts spotlight on company law-breaking in the UK

    “My colleagues at Good Jobs First have created a new database to track company regulatory violations in the United Kingdom. Violation Tracker UK joins the domestic US Violation Tracker as a way for a variety of users to track down information on corporate misdeeds dating back to 2010 in most cases.”…

    “Discover Which Corporations are the Biggest Regulatory Violators and Lawbreakers Throughout the United States

    Where is Australian version? Oh, that is right, we have to pay to a private company for records now.

    Mildly revealing – George S Gordon comments: “A *large* number of Charges have since been filed involving the boats and fishing licences.”

  16. James – “The French submarine deal looks an unbelievable waste of money. A$90 bn for 12 diesel subs starting delivery in 2035; what were they smoking?.”

    That would be Turnbull, PM, lighting his cigar with big denomination euros after doing the deal. Turnbull we know has made a packet in France out of, eg., FTTP broadband there (quite different to his Australian fraudband) and would be quite optimistic about his chances of making many packets more.

    Ikonoclast – Australia “bullied: not by China and not by France”, but when (always) pwned by the US and US pwned UK it’s ok? I doubt the lickspittle and vested interest Australian sell-outs and suckers really need to be bullied.

  17. Ronald. Doenitz had tanker submarines in 1944. Didn´t save his fleet. The boats still had to cruise on the surface.

  18. Looks like Doenitz forgot to pack oxidizer for his submarines’ fuel cells. No wonder they lost the war.

  19. Svante,

    In some of my previous posts on this site I have made very trenchant criticisms of the USA and referred to how it and all great powers and middle powers bully smaller nations.

    The world consists of gangs of bullies just as prison populations do. In prison you join a gang in order to not be isolated and targeted. In international relations it is the same thing. You choose the gang with whom you have the most in common. You try to counsel your heart not to be so base but the desire to survive makes you base. You try to counsel your leaders to be wiser but that is not in the nature of leaders. The most ruthless always rise to the top.

    “Revolutions shake up violently the bodies of kingdoms,
    The human herd changes its herdsmen.
    But you, uncrowned ruler of our hearts,
    No rebellion ever touches. – Vladimir Mayakovsky.

    “The terrible “double” of the thinking person is his conventional and commonplace “self,” the purchaser and owner. That self has an emotional attachment to a securely selfish and stable life, to “my little place, and a household that’s mine, with my little picture on the wall.” – Khlebnikov.

    These terrible doubles of ourselves and our neighbors generate the strategic structures of the world.

  20. On current trends it is simply impossible for the world to stop climate change.

    “Fossil fuel production to soar in face of emissions pledges, United Nations report says.”

    The pledges to cut CO2 emissions do not match up with planned fossil fuel production. The world is set to increase the production of fossil fuels until 2040 and beyond, according to the United Nations Environment Program.

    One has to ponder what this means. What it means is complete bad faith. Fossil fuel producers the world over, nations and corporations, have absolutely NO intention of ever cutting production. The governments which enable fossil fuel corporations have absolutely NO intention of ever cutting production. They still donate massive subsidies to fossil fuel corporations. There is NO sign of these subsidies being significantly reduced to meet climate targets.

    “The fossil fuel industry benefits from subsidies of $11m every minute, according to analysis by the International Monetary Fund. The IMF found the production and burning of coal, oil and gas was subsidised by $5.9tn in 2020, with not a single country pricing all its fuels sufficiently to reflect their full supply and environmental costs.” – The Guardian.

    Nothing is being done. Nothing is going to be done, at least not until it is far too late. Runaway climate change is already a done deal. I said this 20 years ago. I said it 10 years ago. I saw it now. We are doing nothing and we are doomed. At a personal level, keep trying to do things. I make 150% of my household’s electricity needs and export the balance to the grid. We have a solar hot water heater. We hardly drive anywhere now. Each time I start my vehicle it barely starts as the battery is nearly flat each time. We don’t holiday any more. COVID-19 has a lot to do with that.

    So, keep trying to do things at a personal and household level but don’t have any illusions. China, Russia, India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Australia don’t care and are doing nothing at government and corporation level, where all the political power is. The USA, EU, UK and Japan are doing a tiny bit, a token amount, but no more than that. As I say, don’t give up but also don’t have any illusions. It will take an extremely improbable event or series of events to save the world now.

  21. James, as Ronald has pointed to above, Doenitz didn’t have an air independent propulsion technology for his subs allowing them today to submerge for 1000s of nautical miles range and several weeks duration. As for sub detection on the surface, in addition to recent deeply penetrating laser developments, unless moving very slowly or stopped the large nuke attack and larger class subs can now be detected by the surface wake they leave behind even when they are at designed depth.

  22. Svante,

    Large nuclear powered subs carrying humans may not be the future, at least for the anti- surface ship operations clearly envisaged for Australia’s proposed subs. Underwater unmanned drones, loiter-at-depth torpedoes and other weapons may well be the future. Unfortunately. The only hope really is an escalating Mexican stand-off of mutually assured destruction where any who makes a first aggressive move touches off a negative sum game for everyone and this is understood by all. Shame it’s come to this. As I posted above, climate change is going to destroy civilization anyway, most likely.

  23. Ikonoclast, re your NOVEMBER 2, 2021 AT 8:07 AM “The French Naval Group was given every chance to meet their contract obligations. They failed to do so. They were warned repeatedly that the contract was in jeopardy…” and NOVEMBER 2, 2021 AT 11:33 AM “Naval Group is perfectly within its rights to seek damages if as I say there is an avenue under contract and in law for international contracts.”

    However, the Defence department says, moreover it testifies, that all contract obligations were met, that the next phase was both affordable and acceptable, and all was good to go.

    So who gave any warnings you refer to? Was it dodgy Scummo and his gang? Does Scummo ever say what he means or mean what he says?

    See Laura Tingle’s report on ABC TV 7:30 last night with video from last week of the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee following from time 2:09, particularly from time 4:46 when Laura Tingle says –

    When the government finally announced it was dumping the French deal the suggestion was that there had been a major cost blowout, BUT, apparently not…

    Departmental Bureaucrat One, name and position not displayed, testifying before the Committee said –

    …The total estimated cost of the program was $88Billion in out-term dollars. This is the same estimate that the department took to government in 2016 adjusted for foreign exchange rate variations. There was no cost blowout. They had been terminated because our requirements have changed, not because of the poor performance by either Naval Group or Lockheed Martin Australia.

    Departmental Bureaucrat Two, Greg Sammut, Submarine Division, Department of Defence, said –

    “Naval Group had in fact presented an affordable and acceptable offer to proceed with the next phase of work.

  24. Ikonoclast, “Large nuclear powered subs carrying humans may not be the future…”

    They may at the end be the very end.

    Russia recently launched at least one giant nuclear submarine come giant dirty nuclear bomb having the purpose of firing the last MAD shot by quietly and slowly drifting submerged to a position hundreds of nm offshore from the target country and then blowing itself up on the surface. The fallout plume could sterilize a continent. Half or more of the subs that Russia launches are conventionally powered as they are the best at country defense, and protecting this dirty bomb is an important job they now have until the time it quietly slips away…

  25. There are many cases of dual party disputes where both parties are in the wrong in varying ways. People always seem to assume that one party must be wholly in the wrong and the other party wholly in the right. This kind of black and white thinking seems to cloud many peoples’ ideas. Macron and France have plenty of their own faults too and they seem to be picking a lot of fights at the moment. Their own internal and leadership problems seem to be behind that.

  26. AUKUS is just the shiny face of AI war between US & Chuna and autonomous weapons.

    Svante, Ikon we are part of the AI war and proto autonomous weapons, and submarines form part of the AI war,

    “Second, expand its mandate to include automation writ large (accordingly renaming it the “JAAIC”).” From Secretary of State Blinken’s “Dark Money” Track Record” below. 

    KT2: Third, give it the kind of authority over all the service’s AI standards that the Navy’s Nuclear Reactors program 

    and the department head for defence AI funding is from [ a profiable quasi bank related to a vampire squid]. I wish that was a conspiracy theory so I could ignore it but it seems to be true.

    And don’t worry Svante, most submarine mishaps caused by parking attendents – link below.

    It is oversight and AI we need to worry about. From Secretary of State Blinken’s “Dark Money” Track Record” …”At the dawn of the nuclear era, Congress promoted Hyman Rickover over the heads of more-tradition-minded admirals and empowered him as chief of Naval Reactors, which set strict technical standards for the training of nuclear personnel and construction of nuclear vessels. The remit of “NR” extended not only across the Navy but into the Energy Department, giving it an extraordinary independence from both military and civilian oversight.”

    “We May Be Losing The Race’ For AI With China: Bob Work

    Robert Work, who pushed hard for AI under Obama, calls for major reforms to catch up with China and Russia. His model? Adm. Rickover’s creation of the nuclear Navy in the 1950s.

    (AUKUS origins )

    We are punching above our intelligence weight. AUKUS Australia is just a cog in Secretary of State Blinken’s “Dark Money” Track Record …

    “That Liberal Order is responsible for all the military, CIA, and State Department meddling in foreign affairs since WWII, things American leftists have traditionally criticized relentlessly. But since such leftists are mere reformists who attempt to work within the system and bring the Democrats to the left, they end up getting played time and time again: Their demanded change never happens in deed, only ever in word. The aesthetics of their slogans about domestic and international social justice always get appropriated by corporate Democrats, who use their progressive language to paint over the ugliness of their avaricious and bloodthirsty policies. The only difference between the two parties’ foreign policies is whether the interventionism is being carried out with the United Nations or with adventurist neocon allies—whether Uncle Sam’s bomber is being flown by Blinken or Pompeo.”

    “… the raggedy populist movement is still far from truly preventing or reversing America’s solidification into an empire and the dissolution of its status as a republic.”

    “Secretary of State Blinken’s “Dark Money” Track Record

    “Biden’s choice for secretary of state spells an unrestrained foreign policy in the name of progressivism.
    “the Pentagon needs to adopt AI with the same bureaucracy-busting urgency the Navy seized on nuclear power in the 1950s, with the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center acting as “the whip” the way Adm. Hyman Rickover did during the Cold War.

    “There has to be this top-down sense of urgency,” Work told the AFCEA AI+ML conference today. “One thousand flowers blooming will workover time, but it won’t [work] as fast as we need to go.”

    “To keep them at bay, he said, the U.S. needs to undertake three major reforms: Set aside 1 percent of the defense budget – about $7 billion a year – for artificial intelligence projects, with the armed forces competing for the pool of funding every year.Create a public-private partnership between the Pentagon, academia and the private sector to compete with China’s strategy of civil-military fusion. The goal is to make it easier for the military and civilians to share AI technology and technique. The biggest single step here: create a national center for testing, evaluation, verification, and validation (TEVV) of new AI algorithms – which are notoriously opaque and unpredictable, even to their creators – that uses high-quality data protected by Pentagon cybersecurity against theft.Strengthen the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, created just two years ago. 

    “First, have the JAIC report directly to the secretary or deputy secretary of Defense (something Congress is now considering. 

    Second, expand its mandate to include automation writ large (accordingly renaming it the “JAAIC”). 

    Third, give it the kind of authority over all the service’s AI standards that the Navy’s Nuclear Reactors program — founded by the legendary Adm. Hyman Rickover — has over the nuclear fleet.

    “Work added Wednesday that the US should also consider replicating the Chinese model of a single unified Strategic Support Force overseeing satellites, cyberspace, electronic warfare, and information warfare — functions that the US splits between Space Command, Cyber Command, and other agencies. Given how interdependent these functions are in the modern world, he said, “I think the unified Strategic Support Force is a better way to go, but this is something that would need to be analyzed, wargamed, experimented with.”

    “Rickover, Reprise?
    For the US to keep up requires not only funding, Work said, but also a new sense of urgency and new forms of organization, he said: “I would recommend that we adopt a Naval Reactors-type model.”

    “At the dawn of the nuclear era, Congress promoted Hyman Rickover over the heads of more-tradition-minded admirals and empowered him as chief of Naval Reactors, which set strict technical standards for the training of nuclear personnel and construction of nuclear vessels. The remit of “NR” extended not only across the Navy but into the Energy Department, giving it an extraordinary independence from both military and civilian oversight.””…

    KT2: This is the most comprehensive submarine study I could find. A bit dated and too much WWII data, plus some horrific details. One only death directly atrribited to radiation.

    “A more surprising risk factor was identified …, almost all serious mishaps over the last 15 years occurred during an SSN deployment, but not while those SSNs were on mission.2 

    “This implies that operating risks during non-mission times, e.g., transits, are higher than in the past and that risk management is less effective during these non-mission times than during mission execution. 

    “This hypothesis would be consistent with recent surface fleet experience and investigation findings63 and warrants further investigation as a potential focus for risk mitigation in submarine force operations.

    “3.1.2 Mishap risk by vessel type Analysis of mishap risk by vessel type is shown in Table 3.

    Click to access AD1072436.pdf


    “WHP – Defence
    “Submarine accidents are most likely to occur during activities conducted in shallower, more confined water, high traffic areas, during post maintenance trials and training exercises. It is for this reason, that during the more hazardous initial periods at sea after an extensive docking or maintenance period, RAN submarines undertake material certification and training activities with an escort…” › FOI › Docs › Disclosures › 370_1819_Documents.pdf

  27. “And don’t worry Svante, most submarine mishaps caused by parking attendents – link below.”

    KT2, perhaps you misunderstood my post above? The sub is the weapon not a weapons platform. That large sub is purpose designed to blow itself up deliberately on doomsday to release a massive plume upwind of the enemy land mass including it’s vapourised self and it’s vapourised huge cargo of high level radioactive materials and waste – a calculated cataclysmic Chernobyl weaponised to the nth degree.

  28. Svante – Oh. The links are worthwhile though.

    JQ, economists, News corp globally, what do you think about the…

    New economic indicator “News Sentiment” by RBA “measures the net balance of positive and negative words used by journalists in news articles about the economy”.

    From the what could go wrong department.

    “News Sentiment and the Economy

    …” new indicator of `news sentiment’,”

    “Related indicators, such as the news uncertainty index, similarly help to better understand real-time developments in the Australian economy.

    “This article discusses a real-time indicator for the Australian economy developed using an alternative approach based on text analysis of news articles. A `news sentiment index’ (NSI) is constructed that measures the net balance of positive and negative words used by journalists in news articles about the economy.”…

    If this new economic indicator is gamed by GTP3 and nefarious actors – news – , without comprehensive human interpretation, it will become a beacon of feeding the hand that feeds it. “the news uncertainty index” provides a two pronged approach for nefarious actors, again unless humans are at the forefront, not just a giant web scraping machine.

  29. Ikonoklast with his defence of Scomo’s behaviour here is missing an important point that no one either here or in the wider press seems to have got – our breach of contract is going to cost us a LOT more money than whatever the lawyers decide in penalty payments.

    Because it leaves us in an incredibly poor negotiating position when we come to sign contracts with the replacements. Macron’s accusations of bad faith are music to yankee ears (which may explain Biden’s support for them).

    You can be sure that the new contracts will have savage penalties for Oz breaching them, and very liberal cost plus clauses for “unanticipated” delays or variations. They will be contracts with US defense contractors, who even in the best of cases are not known for ensuring the customer pays no more than necessary.

  30. I am not a Scomo supporter or a defender of his general behavior. That is clear from the general tenor of many of my comments on this blog over quite a period of time. However, when you detest a leader or a government you have to be careful to not throw larger national interest issues out of the window just to vent against your hated domestic target.

    For a start, there is no certain or proven breach of contract. When a contract in progress is not being met (in reality or allegedly) and/or there are other serious concerns, then a breaking of contract might be justifiable or it might be contestable as a breach of contract. The contest remains undecided until when and if decided in the courts or by some other form of arbitration or conciliation. I am astonished that people here, while being sensibly cynical about the Australian government, and its lack of honesty and/or competence, are taking it as read that the French Government and Naval Group are as pure as the driven snow and have done nothing wrong, dishonest or incompetent. That’s a huge assumption. And it’s not backed by the record. It’s worth reading this report from Politico.

    Some major problems were (quoted from politico):

    “Cybersecurity – That August (2016), before the Australian deal was formally signed but after it had been announced, the company DCNS admitted it had been hacked after 22,000 documents relating to the combat capacity of its Scorpene submarines being built in India were leaked, raising concerns about the security of its Australian project.

    Budget Blowout – The project was meant to cost 50 billion Australian dollars (€31 billion). But that figure has since almost doubled. At last count, the Barracudas were going to cost around 90 billion Australian dollars (€56 billion). And that’s before the government factored in the cost of maintenance — which in November 2019, the department of defense told a Senate committee would set Canberra back a further 145 billion Australian dollars (€90.1 billion) over the life of the subs.

    Timeline – Delays also plagued the submarine project, with the Australian defense department and Naval Group having to extend multiple major contract milestones.

    Jobs – But perhaps the main sticking point in the doomed deal was the dispute over local industry involvement. …

    By 2020, Naval Group had revised the 90 percent local input figure down to 60 percent. By 2021, the French firm was pushing back against even that, saying Australian industry wasn’t up to scratch.”

    Also worth reading the section “What happens next”.

    The whole debacle to date is easily interpretatable, at this stage and without further information, as a mess where both parties may well be equally to blame. But people here seem determined to assume Macron, France and Naval Group are perfect and blameless. These seem to be assumptions made without considering what real world experience teaches us about global power politics and corporate business.

    Because Turnbull, Morrison et. el. were dishonest, incompetent idiots should we let a very probably opportunisticand equally dishonest and incompetent Macron, France and Naval Group ream all of Australia for the whole 90 billion for a useless product? Absolutely not. Those subs were going to be useless and massively overpriced. 90 billion plus for absolutely nothing.

    The French deal was a lemon. Throwing twelve lemons in the sea does nothing for your defense.The new deal is another issue. I don’t have much confidence in it but that’s another issue.

  31. Ikon and myself are in general agreement on many matters. With respect to the AUKUS announcement, and how the French were treated, I have some differing opinion to Ikon. I don’t know the innermost secrets the diplomats traded, but as far as I can tell, France is shitty because they were not told the truth, not until it had become a matter of history, i.e. Australia suddenly swinging to a USA weaponisation, rather than a Western European weaponisation. Now, in either case, Australia seemingly needs to do something (against China, blah blah, blah), but the real question is, who do we trust to stand with us, in the long term? Western Europe? Or, the mercurial USA, with its Trumpians versus non-Trumpians? It’s not a matter of whether we are left or right wing, but more a matter of which bloc is stable, year on year. And, France is not exactly a small player in the Europe continent.

    Personally, I doubt that the possession of eight or ten or twelve subs of diesel or nuclear fuel would mean a great deal. If some country—say, China—wanted to have a go at us, a dozen subs wouldn’t make naff all difference. On the other hand, the resistance movement within the country might make all the difference. I just don’t see a bunch of nuclear-powered manned subs as being superior to a bunch of conventional unmanned subs. The unmanned subs have much greater value, for you can blow them up, or risk activities you would never risk with a manned sub. By the time we have manned nuclear-powered subs, the drones will be far superior as a weapon, or as a weapons-platform.

    So, why shoot the French in the face over a bunch of regular subs? I don’t get it.

  32. Getting back to climate change, which matters more than submarines. Iko, earlier:
    “On current trends it is simply impossible for the world to stop climate change.”

    A member of one reputable team of modellers, Teske’s outfit in Melbourne, begs to differ:
    “If its [Ìndia’s] commitments and those of other nations at the talks are fulfilled, temperatures would probably rise by about 1.9C above pre-industrial levels.”

    Of course, this is only one study, the error bars are large, it assumes Modi’s promises and even Scottie’s will be kept, and presumably discounts the risk of irreversible tipping points: there is plenty of room for disagreement and a high risk of worse outcomes. Still, IIRC this is the first time than any climate professional has published a forecast that isn’t counterfactual wishful thinking and ends up under 2 degrees C. This would still be a very bad outcome, but probably not a civilisational catastrophe. If <1.9 degrees is at all likely, hen <1.5 degrees is feasible with luck and effort.

  33. David Spratt at on Nov 2 (and I also see re-posted at and highlighted the cognitive dissonance that’s been happening at the G20 & COP26 in Glasgow in his piece titled With “net zero 2050” and the 1.5°C in the same breath, Glasgow reeks of cognitive dissonance. It includes:

    “Net zero 2050” (NZ2050) is a con, as this blog has reported over and over again, as did this Breakthrough report. Central bankers have NZ2050 scenarios in which fossil fuels constitute 50% of primary energy use in 2050. When the Murdoch media endorses the NZ2050 climate goal, you know it is the problem and not the answer. 2050 is so far away it’s a reason for procrastination. Judging by the G20 outcome, even NZ2050 and a coal phase-out may not pass muster in Glasgow. China is on net zero by 2060 and India on net zero by 2070.

    Meanwhile, published in the Oil & Gas Journal on Oct 29 was a post titled Morgan Stanley: Global oil supply likely to peak earlier than demand, which quotes some of a recent Morgan
    Stanley research note (bold text my emphasis):

    “In the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s ‘Net Zero’ scenario, oil demand peaks much earlier and falls sharply to 72 million b/d 2030. Yet, even in that scenario, the IEA estimates that the oil industry needs to invest $365 billion per year. Last year, global capex fell to $350 billion and has not rebounded in 2021, and probably won’t in 2022 either. If capex stays stable at current levels, global oil supply will likely roll over around 2024 and then decline sharply thereafter.

    Some pundits are suggesting fuel prices in Australia may get to $2 per litre by Christmas 2021; and
    possibly even $3 in late-2022, adding approximately $3000 a year to the two-car family’s fuel bill.

    Where will fuel prices be in 2023, 2024, and 2025?

  34. The Toxic Ten global heating disinformation spreaders. Two linked to Exxon. 

    Ivory has two trading houses. We could stop ivory trade tomorrow. 

    69% of climate denial comes from ten sites. We could reduce disinformation tomorrow. 

    Question. How might these sites be moderated, and replace disputed material with what, as nature abhors a vacuum – of ‘news’ as the Toxic Ten have had 1.1m views in 6mths!. Note YouTube is ‘trying’ whereas ‘meta fbook’ not so much. These two behemoths are like the two ivory trading houses providing cash – ad revenue – for bad actors to continue… ” The Toxic Ten’s 186m folliwers have received nearly 1.1 billion visits in the last six months alone, earning those that are part of Google’s AdSense platform an estimated $3.6m. This money is given to Google by brands such as Chevrolet, Capital One and the delivery company DHL International, whose Google AdSense ads have run on Toxic Ten sites.”.

    Top Ten Toxic sites:
    > Breitbart
    > Western Journal
    > Newsmax
    > Townhall Media (which, the report notes, was founded by the Exxon-funded Heritage Foundation)
    > Media Research Center (another Exxon-backed “think tank”)
    > The Washington Times
    > The Federalist Papers
    > Daily Wire
    > and Sputnik News
    > Patriot Post

    From the Center For Countering Digital Hate;  

    “The Toxic Ten have 186 million followers on mainstream social media platforms. 

    “The Toxic Ten account for 69% of interactions on climate denial Facebook posts

    “CCDH analyzed 6,983 climate denial articles from the last year featured in Facebook posts with 709,057 interactions in total using the social analytics tool NewsWhip.

    “This analysis shows that posts containing articles from just ten websites account for 69.69% of Facebook users’ interactions with the climate denial content in our study.

    “Despite promising to start attaching information labels to posts about climate change, 92% of posts containing content from the Toxic Ten carried no labels. 99.05% of user interactions with posts containing Toxic Ten content were with posts that carried no information or fact-checking labels.

    “The Toxic Ten’s websites have received nearly 1.1 billion visits in the last six months alone, earning those that are part of Google’s AdSense platform an estimated $3.6m. This money is given to Google by brands such as Chevrolet, Capital One and the delivery company DHL International, whose Google AdSense ads have run on Toxic Ten sites.”

    Via boingboing. Thanks.

  35. “Beware: Gaia may destroy humans before we destroy the Earth” – James Lovelock.

    “Covid-19 may well have been one attempt by the Earth to protect itself. Gaia will try harder next time with something even nastier.”

    Of course, to anthropomorphize, “metaphorize” or “metonomize” earth systems is wrong conceptually, mainly because it attributes (human-like or god-like) consciousness and intention to something which does not and cannot possess either of those characteristics. On the other hand, the metonomy still conveys something valid about earth systems. Just as evolution presents us with outcomes which appear to possess intelligent design and purpose, so to do complex ecological and earth systems existing as balanced, dissipative systems in broad equilibrium internally and needing external energy inputs to maintain that broad equilibrium.

    Any system designed, evolved or co-evolved to maintain an equilibrium will resist disruptions to its equilibrium. This is true whether it is an engineered system, a living system or a living meta-system. “Living meta-system” is essentially a synonym for ecology. The living meta-system and the physical biosphere flows and exchanges it has engendered function, somewhat homeostatically, to maintain certain equilibria. These equilibria are still vulnerable to massive exogenous disruption (meteors, supervolano eruptions etc. They are also vulnerable massive endogenous disruptions or one might better call them irruptions which come from a component already in the living meta-system.

    The irruption of man (homo sapiens) has been continuously disrupting the biosphere since man began organized hunts and long-distance migrations. The acceleration of the disruption since the beginning of the widespread use of fossil fuels and the accompanying extreme population explosion is really only the latest and most damaging phase of the human irruption. Human-kind has been wrecking regional and even global ecology for much longer than that. The problem began with civilization itself. The civilizational culture itself is the problem.

    For this and other reasons no soft-landing is possible. There is no way to retreat to a less damaging mode of existence while maintaining civilization. Civilization itself is incompatible with sustainability. While we seek to maintain civilization, at any level, we will continue to degrade and destroy the environment and biosphere, “Gaia” if you like. We will resist this reality and insight to the end and this is understandable enough. We will seek to keep what we have. Our sense of entitlement is itself raised to unsustainable levels. We will seek to hold on and the harder we hold on the faster we will destroy the world.

    The Old World in the widest sense is the problem. I here mean “Old World” in a way that applies the term to all the original cradles of civilization and to their transplanted outgrowths. It encapsulates the New World in this sense. It leaves out only the ancient, pre-history peoples, perhaps. It means the whole contemporary civilized world of course but means it in a specific way. The older and more venerable the civilization the less it understands how much it has destroyed, the more it idolizes its own cleverness and culture and the more it divorces itself from nature.

    It is a strange irony of this situation that the oldest civilizations necessitously arose and exist, in the main, in the geologically youngest and most fecund areas of the world. The earth and nature still feel young around any such civilization and a deep feeling of trust, security and even entitlement arises such that a fecund earth and an advanced civlization are assumed to be naturally symbiotic and co-sustainable. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Only in a truly geologically ancient land and an exhausted land, Australia as it turns out, and perhaps some other very great arid regions, can some denizens of civilization, struggling on the margins, or with some remaining conceptual imagination, gain a real sense of how transitory civilization truly is on any great time span. Europe, Asia, the Americas and the civilizations there, all venerable civilizations or descendants of venerable civilizations still in the just-holding-on fecund areas their fortuitously occupy are whilst venerable, also wholly culturally arrogant in believing their venerable civilization is a magical shield against ecological and biosphere realities. It is not. It is a giant flail destroying everything. They are all hubristic fools. They have no idea what’s coming. The more powerful they are, China, USA, EU etc. the less idea they have what’s coming or the less they care. It’s hard to tell which.

  36. Well Ikonoclast, you can rely on Limited News, Ninefax and generic ABC repeats from Ninefax alumni at Politico for the overall slant, but currently I’ll accept what I’ve seen and heard from the likes of, for one, Laura Tingle above.

    “The French deal was a lemon.”

    No, but US deals are just about always lemons. Huge cost blowouts, backhanders, delays unto the never never, fault upon fault, the already obsolete, the junkyard salvaged at eyewatering expense – a lot more history to it than some loser pricey planes that can’t fly. Further, the US will never give Australia large autonomous stealth weapons platforms capable of attacking the US as a truly sovereign country may need to do in what is an already far future, ie., 30 years to get one ‘new’ sub that may be up only somewhat owned outright plus a +20 year operating lifetime. Australia could have French nuclear powered subs much sooner with far less impediment to her sovereign status if such actually needs be nuclear powered. Any nuke sub weapons capability can be upped to thermonukes at any time from various suppliers, even from home base in future, as can other ship systems be upped with the usual regular refurbishment and upgrading required… I’ve seen it reported enough times in various places that I believe there is substance to the claim that the nukes on the UK/US subs are disabled unless/until US permission is granted for each arming and launch. Whatever, the UK really is just a US aircraft carrier off the coast of Europe, and there can be no doubt that the intent behind the US fishing with submarine bait is for Australia to be hooked up as an even larger base for US warfighting troops and hardware in future. Australia is set to give it all up, to be a completely neutered convenient US ground zero for a few objects she will never receive – and a few backhanders in the right pockets.

  37. Savante,

    Your overall picture of the AUKUS deal and what is portends for Australia may well be true. You have enunciated all my own worst fears on that score. If your picture / prediction is true (and I give it more than 50% probability of being true) then yes, we should not have entered the AUKUS deal.

    However, that does not mean that the French deal contained any value for Australia. Your AUKUS picture could prove 100% true but that would not prove the French deal was ever a worth a bean to us. My position remains that the French deal is/was worse then useless to use economically and strategically. A complete negative. As you paint it and you might well be right, the AUKUS deal may be an even bigger complete negative.

    As a general rule getting out of a highly risky deal does not validate the step that one should get into an even more risky deal. Nor does it validate that staying in the risky deal instead of going to a more risky deal are the only alternatives. The other alternative is to repudiate / not enter both deals. That has risks too but they might well be lesser not greater. The world is becoming completely unpredictable and the public has less knowledge than ever to gauge international risks, just a greater than ever welter of disinformation and propaganda.

    I simply don’t accept that France (or the EU) is any more trustworthy than the US or UK. My trust in all of them is ZERO. And these are supposedly our allies. My trust in other entities (like China and Russia) is even less if this is possible (and I think it is as a an even more active distrust).

    The same with talking heads like Macron, Turnbull and Tingle (for example). They all talk complete and utter tosh and BS in these strategic matters. Just as the Murdoch Stream Media do. I concur with extreme distrust of the US / UK and about their incompetence and rapaciousness. I just don’t for the life of me understand why you would trust France, the EU, Macron and Tingle any more. The number and extent of their specious arguments is well in the same ballpark and actually very close in magnitude to those of the US.

    Perhaps you want to trust someone. But it’s a sad fact that outside of matters of science, empirically proven and verified repeatedly you can’t trust any public claims or statements from anyone. It’s hard to live with a radical mistrust of humans and their motives (outside of the familial and close social networks where matters of genuine concern and trust are testable and verifiable). However, it’s also radically necessary. I struggle with it myself and have to keep reminding myself to trust no-one outside the familial and close social network exceptions I list above.

  38. “The other alternative is to repudiate / not enter both deals.”

    Yes to that, and go with non-nuclear powered subs the best fit for Australian territorial defense, also the best at the primary capability of stealth, and entirely possible to realise home designing, building, and equipping.

    As for nuclear powered conventionally armed subs, if it comes to it, apparently France could deliver, and unlike the US would actually deliver a rather good product and, importantly, sooner. So France seems to be the better deal on those scores. In addition, subs from France would come with far fewer strings attached to them, and a far less compromised Australian sovereignity, eg., the subs would be able to be operated far more or totally independently, and unlike the US the French would not want growing territorial claims over Australian soil – France has a major self interest in cooperating with Australia to safeguard her citizens, her departments and territories, and her vast territorial waters in the three oceans her coastlines share around Australia (territorial coastline of France is second only to Russia). The limited public reporting we have of the record of French subs beating US subs and fleets in war games should not be disregarded (likewise the sudden surfacing of undetected Chinese subs close to US carriers within carrier groups on exercise).

    By the way it’s rather harsh to insinuate Tingle’s parliament provided video clips are akin to Goebbel’s cinematic distortions or Macron or Turnbull’s spin. OTOH, Scummo’s photographer seems to have both that talent and Riefenstahl’s…

  39. Does (formal) education protect in a notable way from no vax and other covid related madness? Does scientific education do so and what is scientific education anyway?

    (got a tendency, gloomy as always regarding the answer, albeit those have to wait both for reasons of lazyness and genuine insecurity regarding my tendency for now)

  40. India climate update

    A remarkably upbeat assessment of India’s climate policy by the level-headed David Fickling at Bloomberg:
    “In just over a decade, India has gone from a position of accepting no limits on the world’s greenhouse emissions, to setting a constraint on even its own carbon footprint.”

    Fickling thinks Modi’s target of net zero by 2070 will be over-achieved, thanks to the 500 GW target for renewables by 2030. In 2015, India had a target of 175 GW of renewables by 2022, which a Brookings report described as “incredible”. In fact it will be almost met, the last 30GW being “under bid” at latest count. Coal did not double in the same timeframe as the same plan expected, it grew slowly to peak in 2018 according to Bloomberg analysts India’s Foreign Minister has said that Modi’s new target is not braggadocio but the fruit of careful analysis of experience to date.

    In other surprising good news, Poland and Vietnam have signed on to to a jam-tomorrow coal phaseout pledge. Take with a pinch of salt, but still a good sign. . I don’t suppose that recent sabre-rattling by China over Taiwan, and hardball Russian manipulation of the gas shortage, have helped the cause of coal in either country. Poland actually imports Russian coal.

  41. I turn on the telly this morning for CoP news. The IMF interviewee is talking about coal cuts in one sentence. Then she talks about growth in the next sentence. I turn off the TV. They don’t get it. They really don’t get it. Runaway climate change is now a done deal. Everything is jam-tomorrow. The movie “Children of Men” is pretty right about how Western societies will look soon. The central thesis of a de-population crisis is absurd though. We have a global population crisis of at least 5 billion too many people. And at least 2 billion of them (us) are consuming far too much.

    Net population growth to date this year is approaching 68 million. That’s even despite COVID-19. Our problems are vast over-population, vast over-consumption and the continued attempt at endless growth. The human race as a whole and in its current situation is clearly unable to understand this and/or incapable of changing. These incapabilities are related to the political economy we have adopted. The capitalist system locks us into this trajectory. The mega-machine controls us. We do not control the mega-machine. There are other reasons too. Some relate to geo-competition and some relate to the deep contradictions of the civilization project itself. That could be the bitterest pill of all to swallow: that civilization and progress themselves are mistakes. A condition of hunter-gatherer was the last sustainable state for homo sapiens.

  42. Email please.

    Adani destroying … via Bob Brown.

    “UPDATE! Under cover of darkness, Adani began bulldozing this highly significant Wangan and Jagalingou sacred site and is now laying explosives in the areas immediately surrounding it.We must act NOW!

    “Adani plans to desecrate and destroy a significant Wangan and Jagalingou cultural heritage site lying in the path of their rapidly expanding mine pit – the site contains the highest concentration of artefacts uncovered at Adani’s Carmichael coal mine to date.

    “The site is an ancient stone tool making area that our people utilised for thousands of years. Hundreds of artefacts have already been collected, and thousands more remain. These artefacts are a reminder of who we are – they cannot be destroyed.

    “The Queensland Government must ACT NOW to protect our human rights by issuing an immediate stop work order to halt Adani’s destruction of our cultural heritage.

    “Contact the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Craig Crawford today and urge him to issue an immediate stop work order to protect Wangan and Jagalingou cultural heritage and uphold our human rights.”

    Example email:
    “Dear Hon Craig Crawford MP,
    I am writing to you in your capacity as Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships to urge you to issue an immediate stop work order on planned works at Adani’s coal mine to protect Wangan and Jagalingou cultural heritage.

    “I understand you have been made aware that Adani has plans to destroy a highly significant cultural heritage site. I also understand that you have received an urgent request from Traditional Owners to issue an immediate stop work order to protect this sacred site.

    “Adani’s excavation plans will destroy Wangan and Jagalingou cultural heritage by removing thousands of ancient stone tool artefacts and dumping them on another highly significant Wangan and Jagalingou site. Traditional Owners are concerned that these works will irreversibly destroy not one, but two sacred sites.

    “I urge you to listen to the concerns of Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners and act now to protect cultural heritage and uphold their human rights under section 28 of the Queensland Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld).

  43. JQ, any opinion / comments?

    About time! – “economists are getting closer to working out how good leaders can make good decisions”

    “Borrowing from King Solomon, economists are getting closer to working out how good leaders can make good decisions”

    By Richard Holden

    ” Solomon pioneered “implementation theory”

    “This suggests a tantalising possibility. Maybe some central authority, a “mechanism designer” like King Solomon could construct a series of questions for the parties involved that would lead us to the best outcome for society.

    “Solomon might have begun the practice, but the formal study of it began with another wise person, Eric Maskin, in 1977. He went on, three decades later, to win the Nobel Prize for his work.

    “Maskin spoke about “social choice functions”. A social choice function is a sort-of formula that takes as an input all the relevant attributes of the people in a society and gives as an output the best social choice.

    “You could envisage one where the output was the best environmental policy and the best way to pay for it and the input was all the views in society.

    “But Maskin discovered that only certain types of problems can be solved this way.

    “It’s less easy than Solomon made it look”…

  44. Go India!

    James Wimberley, if Australia bought out Adani’s Carmichael thermal coal mine in Queensland along with the associated rail and port interests, what percentage of the proceeds would Adani likely sink into renewables in India? How large an emissions reduction would result both by the renewables investment in India alone, and with the added forgone future emissions resulting from leaving Carmichael coal in the ground?

    I’ve heard that to keep up with similar wealthy developed countries’ international responsibilities Australia should be spending about $4b p.a. on “foreign” aid to undeveloped countries that addresses global heating issues… I note the nature of foreign aid generally is that most of the funds flow back one way or another to business interests in the “donor” country, so perhaps without much of a stretch buying out Adani could be sold as meeting a genuine foreign aid policy obligation?

  45. Eradication in one country!? Yep, that’s how the goal expectations of this lefty have lowered. Socialism? Forget it, it will never happen. Socialism in one country? Forget it. Russia is crony capitalist and China is state-crony capitalist. But eradication of COVID-19 in one country? Yep, that could still happen if Australia plays its cards right. We would have to get rid of Scot Morrison though to make it happen.

    Currently 79.6% of Australians over 16 are fully vaccinated. 89% of people over 16 have had at least one dose. In the ACT, over 95% over 16 have had one dose and 94.4% over 16 have had two doses. In NSW as a larger and more diverse population (thus more statistically relevant) the respective figures are 92.8% and 89.4%. It’s generally assumed if you can a person to one dose they will get the second dose.

    These numbers indicate it is a completely realistic goal to get 95% or more of the nation’s population over 16 fully vaccinated (and boosted as required). Moves and studies affecting the over 12s and now the over 5s (in the US) indicate it will also be a safe and realistic goal to get 95% of these demographics vaccinated to the appropriate levels. For younger people these might be half doses and boosters at longer intervals.

    The first plank of any realistic eradication program is to get 95% of the safely vaccinatable population vaccinated. Further planks are to keep test, trace and isolate in place. At 95% plus vaccination rates these processes will be manageable, finely targeted and will affect relatively few individuals.

    Finally, the big policy point will be to stop the disease being re-introduced from the rest of the world where the disease is mostly endemic. A few standout nations have controlled it well. I think that’s down to China and New Zealand now.

    Australia will need full quarantine stations to quarantine every person returning to Australia except those returning from nations with substantial suppression equal to or better Australia’s. To get quarantine stations and to fight climate, change, bush-fires and every other social and environmental ill we of course will need to get rid of Scott Morrison.

    We will need tough travel rules. Some are already in place but more would be needed:

    (1) Every person travelling must be fully vaccinated.
    (2) Every person exiting must pass a COVID-19 test before leaving. Can’t put an infected person in a plane full of people.
    (3) Every person returning must pass a COVID-19 test.
    (4) Every person travelling must pay a COVID-19 pay full quarantine return fee administered by the Federal Govt.
    (5) Every returned traveler must quarantine initially (NOT hotel quarantine, real quarantine in real quarantine centers) and pass three consecutive tests, the first at the start of the first quarantine week (for 2 weeks minimum quarantine).

    If we pursue this path we can eradicate COVID-19 in Australia. It will cheaper than endemicity and will save many lives and many quality life years. Studies show that the total number of quality life years lost by the middle aged and young people are actually higher than quality life years lost by the elderly. Letting the virus become endemic is economically, epidemiologically, medically and morally illiterate. It’s a policy of pure ignorance and denial. It’s completely unnecessary. Eradication in one country is well within our grasp. If we work on this and on a renewable energy transition and on general equality measures our economy will absolutely boom and do so at affordable prices, real and financial. That will provide a lot of hope. We desperately need some hope.

  46. A BBC article by Katie Silver published on Oct 28 headlined China rations diesel amid fuel shortages, began with:

    Petrol stations in many parts of China have begun rationing diesel amid rising costs and falling supplies.

    Some truck drivers are having to wait entire days to refuel, according to posts on social media site Weibo.

    China is currently in the midst of a massive power crunch, as coal and natural gas shortages have closed factories and left homes without power.

    And this latest issue is only likely to contribute to an ongoing global supply chain crisis, say analysts.
    “The current diesel shortages seem to be affecting long distance transportation businesses which could include goods meant for markets outside of China,” said Mattie Bekink, China Director at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

    The latest post by Matt at on Oct 31 headlined China peak diesel, concludes with:

    Diesel supplies should not be taken for granted. Apart from current uses, Diesel is needed as construction fuel for the many projects to decarbonize the economy. The transition to replace Diesel must happen before there are Diesel shortages for supply reasons. The world should learn from the Covid supply chain lessons.

    Queensland’s Lytton and Victoria’s Geelong oil refineries are all that are remaining operating in Australia. The Australian Government announced a $2.3 billion fuel security subsidy deal to keep these refineries operating until at least 2027.

    What happens to Lytton and Geelong refinery operations if there’s a global crude oil supply shortage? What happens after 2027?

    Accumulating indicators I see suggest it would be foolish to assume petroleum fuel supplies in Australia will remain plentiful and affordable for the longer-term.

    Where will Australia’s petroleum fuel prices be in the next few years? 2022? 2023? 2024? 2025?

    With higher fuel prices (and perhaps supply shortages), I’d suggest many people will be re-evaluating whether they can afford to travel long distances (and perhaps even any and all discretionary travel). This would have profound consequences for many aspects of Australia’s economy as it’s currently configured.

  47. Ikonoclast – “We would have to get rid of Scot Morrison though to make it happen.”

    Or watch him stay and suffer in silence on the back bench as parliamentary power shifts with the election of just a few more independents to sit on the cross bench. It may well be 10 independents!

    Watch The Drum segment and jump to 34 minutes in for 15 minutes for the independents conversation with Climate 200-backed independent candidate for North Sydney, Kylea Tink, and former independent MP and current C200 Advisory Councillor, Dr Kerryn Phelps.

    Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action’s Jo Dodds posted this video on Twitter. Gaining over 100,000 views in a matter of hours, Dodds, whose home burnt down in the Black Summer bushfires of 2019-20, clearly pointed out the insanity of the Australian Pavilion exhibit at COP26 being sponsored by a fossil fuel company. It didn’t take too long before the Santos exhibit was moved to a new location.

    CENTRE FOR CLIMATE SAFETY Sharing solutions that make the climate safer and our communities more liveable TRUSTED VOICES TURN THE TIDE podcast
    …featuring two guests: 1 Simon Holmes á Court, senior advisor to the Climate and Energy College at Melbourne University, and board member of the Smart Energy Council and; 2 Professor Will Steffen from the ANU Climate Change Institute and councillor at the Climate Council.

    Pearls and Irritations »
    How an influx of independents could change parliament for the better By Hugh Mackay Nov 4, 2021

    Pearls and Irritations »
    Party’s over for climate vandals: only informed independents can save us By David Shearman Nov 1, 2021

    Croaky Health Media

    Meet the independent taking on Craig Kelly in ‘wide open’ seat of Hughes By Jacqueline Maley Oct 30, 2021

    Ex-lawyer Georgia Steele to run as independent in Craig Kelly’s seat during federal election SBS News Published Oct 30, 2021

    COP26 info, C200 MEDIA WATCH, Climate – Integrity – Independents – a wrap of this week’s top stories, headlines and quotes. Donate and/or just Subscribe for email – Stay in touch:

    Sure, most of the groups that have reached a critical mass and got traction locally in their electorates so far look like they will be backing self described “financially conservative, socially progressive”, “moderate small ‘l’ Liberals” candidates. That’s simply due to the lie of the land and the duopoly’s two party preferred ballot scam the liblab duopoly has created over seventy years. Almost anything is better than a continuation of duopoly business as usual. There’s now a good chance that these types of candidates in these types of electorates can use the duopoly two party preferred undemocratic ballot rort to bring down the duopoly and sideline the big moneyed mostly foreign owned duopoly donors. I expect that in some electorates with sitting COALition MPs fake labour will back Palmer’s UAP candidate with preferences then flowing to the sitting COALition member as a counter to the independent surge to break the back of the duopoly.

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