Unenthusiastically supporting Julia

I really hope Julia Gillard wins on 21 August, simply because she is a shade or two less revolting in prospect than Tony Abbott. Sad, eh! Mind you, she did handle herself well on Q&A last night.

But there has been so much just plain dumb about this election. Let’s take three issues.

Climate change

Alan Moran from the Institute of Public Affairs is right about the profile the issue has had.

Having been feted as the Great Moral Challenge and been the key factor behind the demise of Malcolm Turnbull, climate change policies are nearly invisible in the present election campaign. Aside from the "cash for clunkers" gimmick, both major parties have so far steered clear of giving the matter prominence…

Unfortunately, however, climate change really is the Great Moral Challenge, which for various reasons, most of them shameful, we are squibbing. The rest of Moran’s article is an exercise in fiddling while Moscow burns. You’d have to be a total dolt now not to realise that the science is well and truly in on this matter, and all our politicking and economics are total wastes of space in comparison to the seriousness of the issues. Only the Greens show any brains on this one, but unfortunately the spirit of the age seems to be in denial right now. Let’s hope we wake up soon enough; there’s no doubt our hesitation on this will cost far more in the end.

There’s just one thing to do with so-called climate change sceptics (like Lord Strudel) – reject them. That debate really should be over. (Did you know it’s now 35 years since the case for global warming was first convincingly put?)  Sceptics are generally sour grapes wannabes or has beens, or people for whom politics and ideology determine their assessment of the science, or people in thrall to one or other of the big old energy interest groups. Most “scepticism” is merely PR, not climate science. I have yet to find a real exception to my characterisation of “global warming sceptics”.

Even Kevin from Louisiana virtually conceded on this.

  1. Kevin says:

    August 6, 2010 at 9:04 pm  Sadly, if there were no belief in AGW, there would be very little work for climatologists, so they are quite the opposite of ‘disinterested’. The only truly disinterested parties are the scientists paid by neither side of the issue, such as Watts, Morano, McIntyre, etc, and they all seem to be skeptical. There are plenty of non-scientists not being paid to have an opinion who are True Believers, but very few unpaid scientists are alarmists.

    Who are these mysterious paymasters turning the world’s top scientists into glove puppets, Kevin? What is the motive of the paymasters? Is it the UN? Why would they want to do this? Or is there a secret cabal of “hippies” somewhere pulling the strings?

    The whole point of the progressive movement (a group of which I fear you are a part) is fairness. Everyone should have the same amount of stuff or it’s not ‘fair’. It doesn’t seem to matter how hard they work – it’s just not fair for some people to have better or more stuff than others. And the way to make it fair is to tax the crap out of people who work hard, and spread that money around to people who don’t.

    That is the reason most governments support belief in AGW. They want to tax the crap out of us and spread it around. Let’s face it, wealth redistribution is a vote getter. That’s why every ‘solution’ to AGW the governments of the world come up with involve an increase in income for the government.

    The UN is the same. Don’t you remember they tried to get the nations of the world to commit ~7% of GDP to the UN to fight AGW and give money to poorer nations? It was only 4 or 5 years ago that they came up with that ‘solution’.

    That was the long answer to your questions. The short answer is ‘progressives’, or as I like to call them, ‘hippies’.


  2. Kevin says:

    August 6, 2010 at 10:23 pm  Speak of the devil. And by the devil, I mean the UN.

  3. Neil says:

    August 6, 2010 at 11:05 pm Thanks for confirming that your objections to climate change science have nothing to do with science.


  4. Kevin says:

    August 7, 2010 at 4:22 am  Your very welcome. But truth be told, I have no objections to climate change science at all, scientifically or otherwise. I only object to the fact that climatologists don’t seem to practice it.

    Instead, all they seem to want to do is steal from the middle class and give (a pittance) to the poor and (a LOT) to the political class. Being that I’m an American and therefore firmly against classes, I find the whole non-scientific ordeal appalling.

So-called boat people

The tragic thing is that this is really a trivial matter which impinges very little on the population of Australia – there is a debate to be had about optimum population in Australia, however. All this fuss about “stopping the boats” is hype and hysteria.


This is an Armada


This is an invasion

By contrast, as Mary Crock notes in an excellent piece in today’s Sydney Morning Herald, “About 23,000 people have come by boat without authorisation since 1978, averaging a little more than one ‘boat’ person every two days since the end of the Vietnam War. In spite of the modesty of these numbers, the phenomenon has engendered extraordinary responses from government.”

…Public support for immigration programs generally has always been tenuous. Electoral support has remained strong for the harshest measures taken by the Coalition government in and after 2001 – the interdiction and ”push back” of unauthorised boat arrivals, and the processing of refugee claims offshore. This is so even though distaste has grown for the excesses of that period during which children and vulnerable individuals were detained for long periods in remote and punitive conditions.

The cost of the policies is easy to articulate. In financial terms, constructing detention facilities in remote locations has been exorbitant. Over $1 billion was spent housing and processing barely 1500 asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island between 2001 and 2004; more than $400 million was spent constructing the high-security facility on Christmas Island commissioned by the Labor government in 2008. Even at the height of the global financial crisis, money was no object.

The sometimes appalling conditions in the detention centres have inflicted terrible injuries – both physical and psycho-social – on all those involved. Hundreds of people have died at sea trying to seek asylum in Australia. Between December 1998 and December 2001, it is estimated that 891 boat people lost their lives. These deaths cannot be blamed solely on uncaring people smugglers. At least some of the deaths were related directly to push-back operations.

Conservative politicians have become adept at exploiting the popular (almost acculturated) fear of outsiders as an electoral weapon. Such strategies may come at great cost to the cohesiveness of a multicultural, multiracial society like Australia’s. Electorally, however, they are very effective.

Once out of the bottle, the fear genie seemed to take hold of progressive politics. Kevin Rudd tried to find a balance between compassion and control, but the message was confused. It translated into disastrous opinion polls. Julia Gillard then told those alarmed by ”boat people” that they did not deserve to be demonised as ”rednecks”.

It is clear no one sees the asylum seekers as a direct threat to Australia. If this were the case, the opposition would be working with the government (as Labor did in 2001). Instead, it has sought to score political points by announcing loudly to the world that Australia is now a ”soft touch” country with weak border controls. One might well suggest the opposition’s loose lips have helped to bring the ships which are causing such anxiety. People smugglers seeking clients in troubled countries could not hope for more effective advertising of their product. Having tried a softer and more humane approach, Labor is now running scared of an electorate energised by opposition rhetoric…

Gay marriage

Sure, there could be more done, even if most of the legal restrictions on same-sex couples have been removed. But is it up there with climate change and refugees as an issue?

Definitely not.


20 thoughts on “Unenthusiastically supporting Julia

  1. A nation that has lost compassion is a nation that has lost its soul. There is no compassion in this campaign.

    To think that Abbott can simply repeat four buzz lines over and over and over again and call it ‘policy’, can escape serious media analysis save for only a couple of reporters shows how far the electoral process has become PR-orchestrated.

    I’ve decided to vote Green in the Senate. I’m in a marginal (Corangamite) and will probably vote Labor though I’m with Neil in his assessment of the two parties. I still think that Turnbull/Hockey would have had a good chance, perhaps even snaring my vote but the hardliners in the coalition are running the show.

    Rudd lost his chance in my view by not calling a double dissolution on the issue of climate change. I thought then and I still think that he would have romped it in, given the disarray that the coalition was then in. It would also have enabled the disappearance of fruitcakes like Fielding. But for whatever reason, possibly a lack of intestinal fortitude, he backed off that tactic and eventually backed off addressing climate change.

    Shorten is being labelled as a union-run executioner but he in fact is doing a bloody good job for people with disabilities. I have read many tributes to his work by people who run disability agencies.

    Aussies deserve better than this vacuous campaign. It is an insult to our intelligence.

    The only way I know to ‘stop the boats’ is to turn off their motors. It seems we are once again to ‘divert the boats’ to charmless Nauru, a money laundering channel for the Russian mafia with a decidedly despicable government.

    If Abbott were to win I can imagine Bob Santamaria rejoicing and Cardinal Pell sharing his joy.

  2. Heh, you’re not going to give up on your belief, huh 🙂

    “Unfortunately, however, climate change really is the Great Moral Challenge…”

    What a ridiculous statement. Sure, for sycophant that believes AGW will destroy the world, I guess there’s a moral dilemma to be found. And true, using energy to turn on the computer and write how using energy is killing the planet is is fairly immoral, if you believe AGW is killing the planet, that is. But you continue to do that, so I’m assuming you’ve found some rationalization.

    But most of us don’t believe in AGW, so saying it is a moral challenge is bs, plain and simple. ‘BS’ is American for ‘poppycock and happenstance’ as the brits and aussies like to say.

    If you truly want to confront a Great Moral Challenge, you could confront the deficit spending that is putting our children in hock (America is by far the greatest moral offender here, but everyone seems to participate in the West), or ending the immoral misogynistic practice of islam. Carbon dioxide doesn’t hold a moral candle to the massive flames of either of those Great Moral Problems.

    As to the rest of your statement, it seems clear that you can no longer have John Howard, the greatest of all Australians, as your PM. So it really doesn’t matter who wins. Either way, Australia loses :(. God Bless John Howard! Or maybe John Howard should bless God.

  3. most of us don’t believe in AGW — Us? The Tea Party? Climate Scientists? Muslims? I “believe” in AGW in much the same way as I “believe” the moon is not made of green cheese, or the earth is not the centre of the universe, or gravity stops me flying off the planet. Fortunately I share that belief with just about every major scientist and scientific organisation on the world.

    Your “disbelief” is the act of faith here. Misplaced as it is. One thing Al Gore got right: it’s all so terribly “inconvenient”.

  4. I “believe” in AGW in much the same way as I “believe” the moon is not made of green cheese…

    That’s simply not possible. The silly theory that the moon is made of cheese, however wonderful it would have been, has been thoroughly disproved. To believe that the moon is made of cheese is unscientific. AGW, on the other hand, is still just a theory that, far from being proven, is on its last legs as a theory. Your belief in AGW is like the alchemists’ belief in turning lead into gold or in a perpetual motion machine.

    Don’t get me wrong though. I too am sad that the moon is not made of cheese. But you can’t argue with real science :(.

    I have no disbelief. Only a hypothesis. As you may have read, scientists are skeptical, and I AM a scientist. And I’m hypothesizing that AGW is crap. Belief only comes after proof for me. Which is good, because it means I’ve never fallen for any of the other hippie armageddon theories that have surfaced in my life like no nukes, amazon is dying, ozone hole fiasco, save the whales etc. When AGW believers can predict massive increases in satellite recorded temps, I’ll join your ranks. Until then, hogwash and tatterdemalions, I say. That means ‘slop and bums’.

    I must say that I envy that you can have such passion for a non-problem such as AGW, but it also makes me sad that you might waste so much of your retirement years on something that is going to resolve itself no matter what you do, as it has done for a few billion years. Couldn’t your time be better spent helping the aussie homeless or something? Relaxing in those Seychelles that I’ve been promoting? They have worshipers of islam there. I believe most of them beat their wives legally… you’d love it!

  5. Ozone hole fiasco? You’d have a problem with that one here in Australia, as it affected us particularly.

    Your hypotheses seem to be attitudinally and politically conditioned. This stands out like dog’s balls, as we say in Oz.

    There are far more scientists that agree with me, Kevin, scientist and all as you are. I rest content in that knowledge. Not one of your arguments has persuaded me.

  6. If there were to be a poll conducted among Aussies to determine the ‘greatest of all Australians’, John Winston Howard would not make the top 100… or 500… or 1000. As a PM he was a good run of the mill solicitor. His legacy to his country was essentially self-centredness (bugger personal debt, rejoice in being ‘asset rich’) and mean spiritedness.

    He was a practised liar in public life, taking deceit to a new level. I recently re-read a couple of his speeches at the height of the Iraq hysteria. They are almost quaint now in their practised deception.

    It is easy to forget that the Liberal Party once elected Alexander Downer as leader ahead of Howard. That is really saying something.

    Kevin might like to review the record of one George W Bush in running up national debt.
    Wars at $4 billion a week were not a good way to start.

  7. The greatest Australian ever, John Howard, has the middle name of the second greatest Brit ever, Winston Churchill (second only to the magnitudinally greater Lady Thatcher)? I didn’t know that! Thanks, John! More reason to elect him again, imo.

    Kevin might like to review the record of one George W Bush in running up national debt.
    Wars at $4 billion a week were not a good way to start.

    No, I wouldn’t. Though he only deficit spent at a level of about 23% of what obama does, it was still unacceptable. The difference is that Bush’s spending was unacceptable and would lead to massive debt if continued. Obama’s spending quite simply leaves us no way out. We can’t repay it. We don’t have the income. But enough of that. We’re hear to talk about Neil’s unreasonable fear of AGW, or his ‘AGWphobia’. We can chat about the greatest Australian ever to live, John Howard, another time.

    Niel sez: Ozone hole fiasco? You’d have a problem with that one here in Australia, as it affected us particularly.

    Particularly how? I understand that some people scared you, but how were you physically affected by the ozone hole? You don’t have to answer, because I know you weren’t.

    There are far more scientists that agree with me, Kevin, scientist and all as you are. I rest content in that knowledge. Not one of your arguments has persuaded me.

    It should be clear that not one of your arguments has persuaded me either. But unlike you, I understand the scientific method. So your opinion has very little merit when compared to mine, and I’m just an engineer (albeit a very good one). I’m not downing you. If someone was wondering how to put into words how looking at an African Violet made them feel, or how to describe ‘angst’, your opinion would be miles above mine.

    There is,

  8. oops.

    There is, quite simply, nothing too this AGW scare, any more than there was anything to any other hippie environmentalist scare of the last hundred years (they usually come up with a new one every 8 years). There IS something to the fundamentalist islam scare, but you seem oblivious to that, what with all of that evil CO2 circulating in the air.

    I don’t want to call you an idiot… hmm, I can’t think of anything else to say.

  9. But unlike you, I understand the scientific method

    1) I do understand the scientific method. See my most successful post ever at 36,178 hits since December 2006.

    2) So do these scientists I’m sure. Perhaps you need to take their message on board.

    On the ozone hole and Australia: skin cancer. Check for yourself, and wear a hat if you visit us in summer.

    I have been ignoring your coat-trailing about Islam as it is, as even you must recognise, mind-bendingly irrelevant to the issue at hand — except that fundamentalist Muslims probably share your views on global warming and the ozone layer — two different issues of course, and, strangely, it is amazing how many of the most notorious Islamists have been, um, engineers.

    …Many hundreds of Muslims may be numbered among the victims of the attack on the World Trade Centre. In their “war against America” the terrorists do not distinguish between their co-religionists and others. Most westerners find it paradoxical that people who have demonstrated a remarkable degree of technical proficiency in their operations – training as pilots, coordinating a highly complex logistical operation involving the coordination of airline schedules with carefully worked-out dummy runs, should hold “fanatical” or “fundamentalist” religious views. Newspaper accounts focus on the rewards of martyrdom promised for those “who die in the path of Allah”, which include the ministrations of seventy-two virgins in paradise. The political passions that motivate terrorists in other traditions (such as Irish republicanism) are not usually linked so directly to a belief in the carnal pleasures of immortality. Yet no successful movement of this kind, whether religious, political or a combination of both, has ever lacked for martyrs willing to kill and be killed for the “cause”.

    Modernising the war on unbelief

    There is, however, a substantial body of research which indicates that fundamentalist movements in the Abrahamic traditions (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) are particularly attractive to graduates in the applied sciences (such as engineering, computer programming and other highly technical trades). Graduates in the arts and humanities who are trained to read texts critically may be less susceptible to the simplistic religious messages put forward by such movements. Technical specialisations discourage critical thinking. It may be that technicians from “pre-Enlightenment” cultures operate on separate epistemological tracks. The cultural, emotional and spiritual knowledge embedded in the religious tradition they inherit has not been integrated with the technical knowledge they acquire by training and by rote….

  10. Ozone first. Well, duh Neil. I realize the ozone layer is important for reduction of UV light. I wasn’t saying ozone is a scam. I was saying that it’s increasingly looking like it wasn’t a man-made problem. The very first time they sent a satellite up to measure ozone, they found the hole at the south pole, so no one knows how long it’s been there. Since it doesn’t appear to shrink or grow relative to the now continuously decreasing amount of CFC’s in the atmosphere, the causal link between CFC and ozone concentration seems to be much weaker than previously believed. Possibly no link exists at all. Time will tell. But we’ll both be dead by then. My untested unresearched theory is that it is thinner at the poles because there is not a lot of lightning in those areas. More of a guess than a theory though.

    The only point I was making was that the ozone hole didn’t kill us all, as the envirowhackos said it would, nor did the (continued to this day) destruction of the Amazonian rain forest rob the Earth of all of it’s oxygen as the envirowhackos said it would, not did nuclear power plants destroy all life, as the envirowhackos said it would… do you understand? Envirowhackos are not to be trusted! They’re whacko!

    This AGW scam is only slightly different, but much more pernicious. The envirowhackos embrace it wholeheartedly because if it’s true, then man is bad for the planet, and that idea is an envirowhacko’s wet dream. But sadly, this particular scam allows room for money and power to be had by governments, since you can tax, manipulate industry, and dictate what products companies can sell all under the guise of saving the planet.
    Apologies for saying you don’t understand the scientific method. You do! Why don’t you practice it with AGW :(?
    I’m not sure what ‘coat-trailing’ is, but I apologize if it’s a bad thing, and thank you if it’s a good thing. I was only trying to get you interested in something important instead of just turning your wheels on a non-problem like AGW. The climate will solve itself as it always has done. The massive debts held by most of the West and pac-rim, and the murderous cult of jihad as explained in the koran will not.

    I agree that the people you call islamists and I call jihadis are not typical muslims, and I’m only anti-jihadi. But I do say that the people who follow the koran to the letter (like a non-murderous non-misogynistic evangelical Christian follows the Bible to the letter, for example) are murderous and misogynistic jihadis. Do we have to have that discussion yet again?

  11. Nope. I’m as anti-jihadi and anti koran as ever. Nothing has changed. I’ve always believed that ~80% of muslims worship the writings of that evil book because they just haven’t read it. So many of them can’t read even if they wanted to :(. We have not really made a dent in letting muslims know the true horror of that demonic book.

    On the other hand, not all is doom and gloom. At least the people of Earth are coming to realize that AGW is a scam. It’s not an idyllic world, but there’s certainly some good in it.

  12. See Ramadan: How non-Muslims can approach the Koran.

    You and I are both anti-jihadi, but we may differ on the range of meanings of “jihad” among Muslims, for many of whom the word does not necessarily mean violent actions. Second, your “evil book” approach is doomed to 1) go down like a lead balloon because it is grossly offensive and therefore 2) will achieve more rather than less hostility. Not the way to go if you want to share the planet with the people of that faith.

  13. I see from your last sentence that you believe that I want to share the planet with devout believers in the koran. That’s a mistake, because I don’t. Verbatim followers of the koran are without question significantly more evil than nazis. That’s not a group I want to share the world with.

    Non-literal supporters of the koran are more like Vichy French or quislings. They’re not truly evil, but they’re certainly not good. Were I alive in WWII, I would certainly have been willing to go to war with all of Germany and all of Japan to destroy the percentage that supported nazism and bushido. It sucked for the rest of the Germans and Japanese, but hey, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

    Likewise today, I’m completely willing to support massive and unending war until belief in the koran, much like belief in nazism or the bushido code is ended. So please don’t think my position has been altered. Belief in the koran must end. It’s simply to anti-life and anti-freedom.

  14. It’s evil, and belief in it has to end. Like belief in Mein Kampf, or to a lesser extent belief in AGW, it damages and burdens all of mankind. It has to end, and unless you have a better idea, force seems the only answer. Leave it to us though. There’s always Mom. For a few more years at least.

  15. Tragically unrealistic, Kevin.

    Can I call you Neville Chamberlain yet? Yes. Yes I can. Your surrender monkey tactics do not befit an Aussie. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you like very soft cheese like Brie or Camembert.

    Eh, you’re antics sidetracked me, you sneaky bastage. This is not a thread about how obviously horrible islam is to the human condition when practiced according to the koran. Any idiot can see that. Instead, this is a thread about what a skulldugerous yet tenacious bee in the bonnet of human life that belief in AGW is. Hmm, any idiot can see that too! But you can’t, can you? I guess you’re not just ANY idiot :).

  16. I’m just grateful no-one in any position of power in the world wants to join your holy war on Islam.

    As for the “skulldugerous yet tenacious bee in the bonnet of human life that belief in AGW is” I rest content in the knowledge that the best scientific sources share that bee with me.

  17. You are mistaken. The most political scientific sources share that bee with you. The most well paid scientists share that bee with you. That’s not the same as ‘best’.

    ‘Holy’ suggests ‘religious’. There’s nothing religious about my disdain for the koran, Mein Kampf, or Nazism. Perhaps I shouldn’t use the word ‘evil’ in comments to you. It seems to mean a different thing to you.

  18. I would say that the most political scientific sources I have encountered on climate change — many of them “scientific” indeed — are those cheering on business as usual, with a big emphasis there on “business.” Ask Koch Industries.

    I have already dealt in the past with the Nazism=Islam stupidity. It’s not worth bothering again.

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