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Glad all over?

Is “One Million Dollar Woman” Liberal Party “gun” fund-raiser, Gladys Liu, a catspaw of the Chinese Communist Party’s 2005 huaren canzheng, a policy of “ethnic Chinese participation in politics overseas” which has seen Beijing support ethnic Chinese politicians in gaining office in Canada, New Zealand, Britain and Australia?

Or is Ms Liu just another reactionary, evangelical, Coalition homophobe to whom LGBT issues, Safe Schools and marriage equality are “ridiculous rubbish”; a former fifteen-year Victorian Liberal apparatchik, who leads the Liberals’ ruse to legalise discrimination under the pretext of “protecting” an already constitutionally protected religious freedom?

In 2016, Liu attracted national attention, if not notoriety, with her social media campaign against Safe Schools, an anti-bullying programme designed to ensure schools are safe places for all students, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) students, and are free of discrimination. It was her way of getting attention.

Safe Schools originates from school communities, parents and teachers who identify a need for greater support for LGBTI students – students at higher risks of bullying and suicide, and to ensure that schools create safe and inclusive environments. It’s been the subject of much disinformation and misrepresentation from our reactionaries, such as Cory Bernardi or George Christensen who proclaim themselves conservatives. But to campaign against it is damning.

In her orchestrated attack on Safe Schools, Liu aligns herself with ignorance, bigotry, prejudice and injustice and her PM, Scott Morrison. His children go to private school, he tells The Guardian Australia to avoid what he wilfully misrepresents as “skin-curling” sexuality discussions. But not all Glad’s agenda is reactionary. She’s progressive on foreign investment.

Liu calls for Australia to water down its foreign investment limits? China’s just announced it will do the same.  Her vote against treating government action on climate change as a matter of urgency? She’s just toeing the party line.

A whiz on WeChat, Liu’s 2016 social media campaign helped Julia Banks get elected only, in the end, to be bullied out of the Liberal Party. Liu’s pitch on Chinese social media is to claim Chinese Australians worry that future generations will be “destroyed” by “ridiculous rubbish” such as “concepts of same-sex, transgender, intergender, cross-gender”.

Liu continued her attack in an article in The Age Liu in 2016. Above all, subversive Safe Schools undermined conservative Chinese values and “we are concerned it will change society and the moral standard [of] the culture”.

WeChat also ran other fake news including the scare that immigration under Labor would rise to 320,000 in ten years; “surpassing the entire Chinese immigrant population.” Liu’s mentor, Morrison’s legacy as Immigration Minister, 2013-4, incidentally was a program of 190,000, a figure he bizarrely locked in by tying the size to budget calculations.

The nation plays Chinese whispers this week with the Liu debacle. We’re Glad all over. MSM is abuzz with scuttlebutt about the MP for the Victorian seat of Chisholm, a marginal seat where 23,000 residents were born in mainland China.

As Niki Savva says on ABC Insiders Sunday, we need to know more about her miracle fund-raising, which Sam Dastyari happily inflates to $3 million. Where does the money come from? How does she suddenly get her precocious skill in political organising? It was this skill which finally won her pre-selection after nine years of knock-backs and failure.

But Gladys is in good hands. Her senior adviser is the arch-conservative, Graham Watt, former Liberal MP for Burwood, who in eight years in state politics, is remembered as the only MP who refused to stand for Rosie Batty’s standing ovation when the Domestic Violence Campaigner and Australian of the Year, visited Victoria’s Parliament in 2015.

Watt is not in Canberra, Tuesday when all hell breaks loose, after Gladys strays into Andrew Bolt’s lair; his Sky Studio. As a Liberal, never did she expect to be held to account. And certainly not by Bolt. A similar perspective appears to have been behind her interpretation of AEC rules regarding polling booth signage.

A case before the High Court challenges Liu’s Chinese-language posters’ how-to-vote advice which effectively directed unwary voters to vote Liberal. Oliver Yates, the unsuccessful independent candidate for Kooyong, Hungarian Josh Frydenberg’s seat, has teamed up with a voter in Chisholm to have the election result ruled invalid. Yet the current crisis, capably boosted by MSM’s Sinophobia, is self-inflicted, like so much of ScoMo & Co’s political franchise.

The latest buzz stems from Ms Liu unplugged. Un-minded. In sensational disclaimers to an incredulous Andrew Bolt on Sky, Tuesday, Liu fails to recall her twelve-year membership of key agencies of China’s bid to influence local politics; organisations linked to the CCP’s United Front Work Department. Add in failing to disclose a $39,675 donation to the Victorian Liberals, three years ago. Liu’s s also three years late in declaring a second donation of $25,000.

Victorian Liberals quickly claim the $39,675 is not in fact a donation after all. “As these payments were for attending events, Ms Liu did not have an obligation to submit a return to the AEC,” the party says. That clears that up then.

The member for Chisholm evades questions critical of China’s foreign policy. Her name might well have been added to the organisations without her knowledge, she conjectures, a fanciful narrative she abandons next day.

The media pack is baying. The Victorian Liberal Party was warned, by “men in grey suits”, against pre-selecting Ms Liu, trumpets The Herald Sun, while The ABC reports this week, that in 2018, then PM Turnbull was advised by ASIO not to attend Ms Liu’s “meet and greet” function whose guest list contained “thirty names from the Chinese Community”.

Is ScoMo spooked? It’s just another day at the spin machine for our PM who opts for a ludicrous downplay – as he did recently with his presence at Nine’s fund-raiser – which Jennifer Duke and David Crowe report in The Sydney Morning Herald, a Nine newspaper, netted the Libs $700,000. All that happened was Nine gave a function and he was there.

It’s part of his government’s Trumpist gaslit-nation strategy. Fraser Anning uses it too. There were no fascists at a Blair Cottrell, Neil Erikson organised rally, he attended, despite images clearly showing protesters exchanging Nazi salutes.

“I think the problem here is Gladys Liu has given a clumsy interview,” Morrison says. “That is all that’s happened here.”

“Everyone has a bad day in the office and that was one,” Barnaby “bad-day” Joyce throws his own, huge, personal, authority into the mix on Patricia Karvelas’ RN drive. Nothing to see here. But how good is Mick-Mack’s melt-down!

Look over there: Deputy PM, vacuous Michael McCormack, stages a meltdown in question time, Wednesday, in case Liu sabotages ScoMo & Co’s smooth roll-out of Labor-bashing bastardry and wedging. Attacks on Labor fill its policy vacuum.  It also presses on with Ensuring Integrity, another zombie bill. ACTU’s Sally McManus says it’s some of the most draconian anti-union legislation in the world. ScoMo & Co’s war on workers must proceed until every union is crushed.

The nation is suffering the economic consequences of Coalition governments’ – and some of Labor’s – long-term strategy of de-unionisation. Labor may claim to represent working class interests. But in office, both federally and at the state level, it has consistently implemented neoliberal, anti-working class policies over the last three decades.

Take a bow, John Setka. Setka is a gift in ScoMo & Co’s demonisation of organised labour and their attack on Labor’s credibility and Albo’s authority. Yet it’s not about Setka. Our average unionist is a thirty-nine-year-old female nurse.

Wages remain frozen at 2013 levels, according to ABS data published in April. Workers and their families are suffering while others prosper.  Our top 20 per cent of households’ average net worth is over 93 times that of the lowest 20 per cent — some $3.2 million compared to just $35,200.

Yet workers are never valorised by this government the way it makes saints of farmers and small business owners, both groups prominent in recent wage theft cases.

“I don’t know why you’re yelling. The Member for Hunter. It’s time you came to the table and just behaved yourself occasionally,” Mick-Mack yells at shadow agriculture minister, Joel Fitzgibbon. There are country people doing it tough. You won’t ever stop yelling out. You should behave yourself. You are a disgrace. You know you are!”

Yet what Fitzgibbon has to say encapsulates the Coalition crisis and its dire need to seek diversion in the Gladys Liu soap opera and the up and coming return of the living dead drug tests for welfare cheats and useless, cashless credit cards.

“We’ve had the drought coordinator, the drought envoy, the drought task force, the drought summit. Now we have a drought minister …. (but) what hope does the Australian community have when their drought minister denies the connection between our activity and what is happening in our natural environment and with our climate?”

So much to evade; so little time. ScoMo & Co have economised on parliamentary sittings to save face.

Peak stupidity is reached when the Nationals’ leader Mick-Mack claims new dams would improve things for farmers. It’s a response to a typically tedious “Dorothy Dixer” which elicits the climate change denier’s default evasion.

“That is Australia – a land of droughts and flooding rains,” the Deputy PM says. Profound. Literary. Urbane. Or so he believes.

Fitzgibbon interjects to ask what the government is doing to help country people. ScoMo doesn’t blink.  But things go bad for the PM when Andrew Bolt gives him an earful in his Thursday morning sermon from Sky’s moral high ground.

Morrison is forced to pause his crusade to wedge Labor by legislation or “wedgislation” as Albanese wittily puts it, abusing parliament with a series of bull-shit bills such as reviving yet another trial of the cashless debit card, the war on vegan terror, which would outlaw on-farm protests by animal liberationists, drug-testing dole bludgers and the populists’ perennial -mandatory sentencing of child sex offenders  – all designed solely to give Labor an atomic wedgie.

No chance of ScoMo & Co tackling real issues; our “existential environmental crisis” or our incipient economic downturn. New Matilda’s Ben Eltham notes, “if the climate is heating the economy is cooling; the jobless are obviously to blame.”

Digging deep into his shallow but well-exercised desperate tactical response lobe, Trumpista ScoMo chooses to impugn Labor’s motives in holding Gladys Liu to account. ScoMo’s dud political judgement rivals that of his predecessor.

Morrison denies the allegations. Calls Labor racists. His mentor, Trump, whose latest claim to victimhood, is to claim his fake orange tan, is due to low-energy lightbulbs- deployed by Greens’ traitors everywhere, would be proud of him.

ScoMo! There’s flies in the buttermilk. What will you do? Liu, Liu, skip to Ms Liu. Skip to Ms Liu my darling.

ScoMo barely has time to take visiting Fijian PM pal Frank Bainimarama, another big fan of guided democracy, for a happy-clap and a singalong at Horizon. Horizon, which, oddly, shares its name with an Imperial Tobacco cigarette brand.

Horizon must be rapt when a PM deploys his prosperity gospel church; his religiosity, as a multipurpose political tool. But no sign so far of rapture from fellow evangelical Bainimarama. In fact, Frank seems to be inwardly seething.

Climate change advocate Frank’s no fan of Australia’s coal baron government. He sees our PM’s Pacific Island Forum refusal to agree to phase out coal-fired power as “insulting and condescending.” Yet a puff piece from the ABC’s Michael Walsh, helps us all to forgot human rights’ abuse in Fiji. Frank is a noble reformer who is restoring Fiji to democracy.

Big Frank’s glad to get out of Suva after being captured on camera assaulting Opposition leader Pio Tikoduadua in what is loosely known as the Fijian parliament’s car park; breaking Pio’s spectacles. Incredibly, local police make no inquiries. Pio, on the other hand, gets suspended from parliament for bad-mouthing his Prime Minister. ScoMo is inspired.

Bronte’s brontosaurus, (thunder lizard) the small-headed, whip-tailed, political dinosaur, Morrison goes in low. Our nation’s top grub, owes his own 2009 pre-selection, solely to a smear campaign. In 2009, The Daily Telegraph published four stories about the successfully pre-selected Liberal candidate for Cook, Michael Towke which defamed him, destroyed his political career, caused untold stress to his family and led to his dis-endorsement and ScoMo’s free walk.

”These stories sent my mother to hospital. They demonised me. I wanted to confront them in court,” Towke explains.

ScoMo’s smear’s a silencing tactic; the very tactic used by The Chinese Embassy, notes Charles Sturt’s Clive Hamilton.

Critics of the Hong Kong-born MP are guilty of filthy racist slurs, ScoMo howls. It’s an outrage. Morrison follows his parliamentary gutter politics – (“disgusting”, Mark Dreyfus dubs them), with Standing Up for All Chinese Australians, a video he releases on Chinese social media, WeChat, now a Coalition propaganda, go-to. It’s a sequel to his April love-in, when after years of failed attempts, but vast increases in donations, Liu was finally pre-selected for Chisholm in Victoria.

“How good is Gladys Liu? Gladys Liu is a force of nature.” ScoMo crowed in April at her pre-selection. And he’s right. And she may have a right to be a bigot provided she doesn’t harm children who need safe schools. Or if she stays away from promulgating lurid lies and fantasies on social media which impede the voters’ right to make up their own mind.

But it’s fair to ask who her political mates are. Her connections. What are her links to United Front Work Department’s Guangdong provincial branch of the China Overseas Exchange Association, an overseas propaganda and influence outfit headed by high-ranking party officials? Documents show that Liu has been a council member of this outfit.

Liu also confirms she was honorary president of the United Chinese Commerce Association of Australia. All done and dusted? Not yet. There’s a torrent of abuse from what is mysteriously called the other side of politics. Bolt’s side.

Bolt goes nuts. “The way that the Prime Minister played that race card five times this morning, well I can only say the Chinese regime should be sending him a thank you card,” he says in his opening harangue on Thursday. Classy irony.

“Prime Minister why was it racist to question Gladys Liu’s connections to China but it wasn’t racist to call Sam Dastyari ‘Shanghai Sam’?” asks a Ten Reporter. Liar from the Shire, ScoMo denies using the phrase but social media lights up with evidence to the contrary. Hansard also records Morrison stooping to racist taunting of Dastyari on several occasions.

So who is being racist? “Questioning by Labor and the crossbench members of Parliament on this is legitimate and reasonable,” Australia’s former Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, tells The Sydney Morning Herald; Nine Newspaper’s Peter Hartcher. Hartcher dismisses suggestions ASIO warned his paper’s Liberal Party pals ScoMo or Fizza Turnbull. So neither PM or their departments could join the guest list warning dots? We are in trouble.

In trouble also are Chinese communities, here and in other nations. Already under-represented in parliaments, they must now suffer being represented by MPs of dubious loyalty, observes Clive Hamilton.

And how fares our democracy where pre-selection is determined, at least in the Liberal Party, by how much money you can raise? Your ability to chat up rich-listers – and not by the calibre of your thinking, your humanity, or dare it be said, your capacity to contribute honest, constructive, socially cohesive ideas to policy or your demonstration of good faith.

A bit of concern for the planet doesn’t go astray either. Does our nation really needs another climate change sceptic?

The Liu case is far from closed. Word is that Gladys will be minded by the PMC – reduced to another bot from head office. The well-oiled, back-biting, faction-riven fossils in the Victorian Liberal Party will fall over themselves to help.

Micro-managed, scripted, she will win more time to be a WeChat warrior. But there are still few wild cards to be played. Her bully-PM has the diplomatic skills of a demented warthog and a hide to match. No patience for high maintenance.

If, on the other hand, it turns out that Gladys is of no further use to the United Front Work Department they may cut her loose. Beat ScoMo to it. Recall her. Some irregularity with her residency. Before even Morrison’s office works out that she’s more a political liability than an asset. A conga-line of suitable replacements will already be putting itself forward.

Or the High Court may be pleased to find her election invalid. But don’t hold your breath.

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The so-called Senator

Earlier this week, in response to a request by One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts, innovation and science minister Greg Hunt set up a meeting between the CSIRO and the Senator.

“My core aim is, as always, to get the empirical data that underlies their claim that carbon dioxide is affecting global climate, because they’ve never provided it before,” Roberts said.

One can only assume he means they haven’t provided it to him, because there is a wealth of data on their website.

Roberts described the meeting as very interesting and said he would treat the CSIRO with respect by going through the material it provided him, which included information on climate change and vegetation levels.

He issued the following the day after the meeting:

PRESS RELEASE

27/09/2016

Senator Roberts to meet CSIRO in Sydney

Senator Malcolm Roberts and his team of climate change realists have now met with the CSIRO in Sydney so as to be provided any evidence the CSIRO has to prove any link between so-called climate change and human action.

The Senator’s meeting coincided with the Climate Institute’s release of an opinion poll which showed only 60% of Australians believe humans are the cause of so-called climate change, leaving a sizeable swathe of Australians who don’t accept humans affect the earth’s temperature.

Senator Roberts said he wouldn’t be surprised if a large proportion of those who do not accept human action are Queenslanders who have endured significant economic hardship at the hands of climate change policies.

The meeting with the CSIRO was crucial, as climate change policy is grossly affecting the cost of living, jobs, energy prices, environmental policies, bureaucratic roadblocks and government spending.

“People all over Australia tell me that climate change polices are destroying agriculture, closing factories, driving up prices, making life more difficult and putting people out of jobs,”

“The only people profiting from these scams are the well-connected rich elites, who have never had concern for how people make ends meet,” he said.

“Our meeting with the CSIRO will go a long way towards unravelling the contested science behind the advice government has relied on to start the de-industrialisation of our nation”.

Senator Roberts will report back to the Australian people on his CSIRO findings after he is advised by his expert panel.

Apparently it didn’t take long for the Senator to dismiss the decades of research by climate scientists that he was provided with because, in an interview with 2CC’s Tim Shaw this morning, he said:

We must question completely this climate scam, this climate fraud that is being perpetrated on us because human production of carbon dioxide, it’s not carbon, human production of carbon dioxide, a colourless invisible gas that is essential for all life on this planet, has had no impact on global climate whatsoever.  The empirical data proves that Tim, absolutely no proof at all that we are affecting the climate and what we are seeing now is that so-called renewable energies, or alternative energies, are actually an alternative to energy.

One can only imagine how excruciating that meeting must have been for the scientists who graciously gave up their valuable time to meet with Roberts and his “team of realists”.  How much time did they spend printing off reports for him that he could have accessed himself, only to have him reject them all before he could possibly have read them.

This is a man who had not been in paid employment for eight years before hitching onto Pauline Hanson’s coat tails.  He travelled to the US to attend the Heartland Institute’s climate skeptics conference in New York in 2008, co-sponsored by Australian free market think-tank the Institute of Public Affairs.  In keeping with his belief that central banks are involved in a plot to fabricate climate data and impose a “new world order”, he has declared a stockpile of gold and silver bullion on the register of MPs’ interests.

Roberts has also said that Section 18C “needs to be addressed because [it is] curbing free speech” adding that he was not responsible for other people’s feelings.

“You can call me short, you can call me fat, you can call me a Queenslander, you can call me a cane toad,” he said.  “Whatever you want to call me, the only person who decides whether I’m upset is me.”

Apparently I must have upset Mr Roberts by posting some factual evidence on his facebook page today because he has removed all my comments and blocked me, as did George Christensen.  These guys exist in an echo chamber where facts are not welcome, as shown by Robert’s disdain for the CSIRO’s attempt to educate him.

Well here’s some  ‘empirical evidence’ for you  – the so-called Senator only got 77 votes.  If he is going to ignore the advice of experts and all evidence provided then he should stop wasting their time and our money and he should be denounced for the charlatan he is.

Unleash the hounds

image by 2p.com

image by 2p.com

I have often impressed on my children that it is easy to lie, cheat and steal (if I was an Abbott fan I could stop there), but it diminishes you.  You must set your own standards.  You must value your integrity and be honest so others may be confident in trusting you (plus your stress levels will be much lower).  You must respect the rights of others, from their possessions to their feelings.  You must try to make a positive contribution to the world.  And when you fall down, as you must at times, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and learn from the experience.

I have also stressed to them that every person has something interesting about them and if you listen then you will find it.  We don’t all have the same skills or the same interests or opinions but we all have something to contribute.  I often hear people say that respect is earned – I disagree.  One should always start from a position of respect – contempt is earned.

I don’t admire people who can throw a punch – I admire people who can avoid punching, or people who can take a punch and not retaliate.  There is nothing “best and fairest” about hitting someone Tony.  I admire people who do what they can to improve the lives of others and to make other people happy.

I realise this is very idealistic and no-one is perfect but, as a working brief, they are reasonable aspirations.

And then we have this government who, by their language and actions, have gone against these very principles.  They have unleashed the hounds and Australia is the poorer for it.

Let’s start with climate change.

Malcolm Turnbull and Kevin Rudd reached consensus on the need for an ETS and the majority of Australian people supported taking action on climate change.  And then along comes Tone who, in return for a complete turnaround on his previously stated support for carbon pricing, was gifted the leadership by the deniers in the Liberal Party.

In Malcolm Turnbull’s own words:

“the fact is that Tony and the people who put him in his job do not want to do anything about climate change. They do not believe in human caused global warming. As Tony observed on one occasion “climate change is crap” or if you consider his mentor, Senator Minchin, the world is not warming, it’s cooling and the climate change issue is part of a vast left wing conspiracy to deindustrialise the world.”

Tony himself has in just four or five months publicly advocated the blocking of the ETS, the passing of the ETS, the amending of the ETS and if the amendments were satisfactory passing it, and now the blocking of it.

His only redeeming virtue in this remarkable lack of conviction is that every time he announced a new position to me he would preface it with “Mate, mate, I know I am a bit of a weather vane on this, but…..”

Tony then went on an attack dog campaign directed at “working families”, branding Julia Gillard a liar and making wild assertions about $100 lamb roasts and whole towns disappearing, none of which came to fruition.  The effect of carbon pricing on the cost of living was estimated to be 0.7%, far short of the 2.5% increase brought about by the introduction of the GST.

Somehow he was able to make people forget that electricity prices had been increasing rapidly for the past two decades with an increase of 170% from 1995 to 2012 – the carbon price was to blame!

He also studiously avoided mentioning the compensation package which saw the proceeds of the carbon tax redistributed to pensioners, families, and trade exposed industries.  Seniors groups determined that 93 per cent of pensioner households would be at least 20 per cent better off.

“The discussion about carbon tax is very lopsided at the moment, in that all of the emphasis is on the extra costs that will be born through the tax, but not on the money that will flow back to households through other payments,” said Frank Jotzo, director of the Centre for Climate Economics and Policy at the Australian National University.

Tony’s campaign of fear worked even though it was based on lies.  Denialists, sceptics, and conspiracy theorists were given a validity they did not merit and a platform to spout their rubbish.  Tony even appeared at a speaking engagement with that fruitcake Monckton who all of a sudden found the ABC, under Maurice Newman, a willing participant in his bullshit

Since coming to power, denialists have been appointed to every advisory role and, regardless of their lack of expertise, their voice has drowned out that of the scientists.  From Tony’s page:

Tony Burns:  Come on Scott, true believer. In your own words, what is the EVIDENCE that man’s CO2 has caused any of the warming since the Little Ice Age ? … the warming that STOPPED 2 decades ago.

Connie Handbury:  I’m sick and tired of the scientific community being bandied around as if they were gods and must be believed and obeyed. Only a small number of wizards ever got anything right and there is good documentary evidence in the star treck trilogy that they were time travellers.

And then we have the disgraceful unleashing of the racist bigots in our society in a very purposeful campaign.

Demonising asylum seekers for political gain was a new low which began with John Howard and was gleefully taken up by Abbott.  Who could forget the weeks of Parliament devoted to the “convicted Egyptian jihadist terrorist kept behind a pool fence”.  This disgraceful episode is Australia’s version of Peter Greste.

In fact Mr Abdellatif was never charged or convicted on serious terrorism crimes in his native Egypt and turned out not to be a national security threat.  He identified himself immediately on reaching Australia and made them aware of the charges against him and provided evidence refuting them.

But because of the campaign of lies waged by the Opposition, Mr Abdellatif was removed from his family and locked up in high-security at Villawood where he remains to this day despite Interpol agreeing he poses no threat.

“I have been separated from my family in detention for over a year for no reason,” he told Fairfax Media. “The separation has been extremely stressful for all my family including my children. We should be reunited and allowed to live in the community.  The Immigration department has ignored the new information from Egypt that reveals clearly that all the charges against me are politically motivated and are baseless,” he said. “I am as innocent as the Al-Jazeera journalists who are also the victims of a political trial by the Egyptian military.”

We then had the “feisty, sexy” Fiona Scott suggesting that asylum seekers were responsible for clogging up our highways and hospital waiting rooms.

Reporter: So you mention asylum seekers and overcrowding. I don’t quite get the connection.

Fiona Scott: Well, my recommendation is go and sit in the Emergency Department of Nepean Hospital or go and sit on the M4 and people see 50,000 people come in by boat; that’s more than twice the population of Glenmore Park where we just were.

She later qualified these remarks saying she is not blaming the 161 asylum seekers living in the area for a lack of services in western Sydney, but simply reflecting the concerns of a community she seeks to represent.  Rather than allaying the unfounded fears of her constituents, she chose to exploit them.

And of course, we had the concerted campaign by George Brandis and boy wonder, Tim Wilson, to water down racial discrimination laws and champion the rights of bigots to be racist and didn’t the bigots flood out from underneath their rocks.  They have been given official sanction for their hatred and Liberal Party pages are full of their vile poison.  The following is an exchange I had on Tony Abbott’s facebook page:

Mary McIntosh: I don’t consider having gold credit cards, I phones, digital cameras and the like the possessions of desperate “poor” asylum seekers. They then have the hide to complain they were given food that was out of date.

Kaye Lee:  Mary, they are fleeing persecution. It is often the professional people who are targeted…academics, journalists. Seeking asylum isn’t means tested. I am horrified by the selfishness of today’s Australia.

Mary McIntosh: Well if you are so unselfish, how about you take in about half a dozen and fully support them, you know food, clothe them, provide housing, all medical and dental needs etc and show us up as the selfish people of Australia today. But if they are Muslims, don’t forget there will be no more bacon for breakfast, nor roast pork at Christmas. Silly me there won’t be Christmas for you because it offends them. Good luck

Jon. F.Edwards:  Well said Mary McIntosh, but you forgot too mention that because she is unclean they will want too circumcise her, make her wear a Burka.

Not content with stirring up the racists, Tony has also made a deliberate strategy of classifying people as “lifters or leaners.”  People who are disabled or unemployed or on a pension will now be vilified as a burden on our society.

I remember a period after university when my husband could not get a job in his profession so he applied for other jobs, only to be told he was overqualified – apparently they felt he would not stay so they would not employ him.  And we are the lucky ones.  I know of many people who have found themselves unemployed through no fault of their own.  Those who are made redundant may find another job, only to be made redundant again – last in, first out.  Young people with no experience can find it very difficult to get that first break.  Unemployment is no picnic and living below the poverty line is a daily struggle.

So well done Tony.  You have done more to change this country in your time as leader of your party than anyone before you.  You have turned us into a global pariah and a domestic disgrace.  Read the comments on your own Facebook page and understand that YOU are responsible for bringing out the very worst in what used to be a great country which, before you came along, was renowned for its contribution to the world and for lending a helping hand to those in need.

An apology to Lord Deben

For anyone who thinks the ABC shows left wing bias, I suggest you have a look at the disgraceful display by Emma Alberici on Lateline last night when she tried very hard to discredit the chairman of the UK Committee on Climate Change, Lord Deben.

Her tone of voice the whole way through implied that this very eminent man was talking crap.  Her attack on him and her defence of Tony Abbott’s policies were humiliating and shown to be so by Lord Deben.

The appointment of far right wingers Janet Albrechtsen and Neil Brown to the Nomination Board for the ABC and SBS must have given Emma some pleasure, though Jonathan Holmes does not agree.  He said if Dr Watt, who made the appointments,

“thinks that these two are the most suitable people in Australia to ensure that appointments to the ABC and SBS boards are, and are seen to be, merit-based and non-partisan, he is profoundly stupid.

If, on the other hand, he has made the appointments at the unacknowledged insistence of Tony Abbott, he is pusillanimous.”

A clue to Alberici’s behaviour may be found at The Spectator where Neil Brown regularly spits his poison.  Two weeks ago, in a rant against people who suggest income inequality is a problem, he said

“It is like climate change, a defence for all seasons; whether we have cold snaps or hot snaps, floods or droughts, full dams or empty, good seasons or bad, it must all be due to climate change and don’t you dare deny the science, even if it is really religion.”

J. R. Hennessy describes Albrechtsen’s position on climate change as follows

“Albrechtsen’s position on climate change is emblematic of the general corporate position: it might be happening, but who are we to try and stop it? It’ll cost too much. Besides, humanity is pretty tough. We’ll probably survive a raise in temperature. A warmer climate might even be nice. It’s probably the worst middle-ground position in the history of boring centrism. To accept climate change as probably real, potentially our fault, but not worth stopping is hardly an opinion worth articulating. It’s a moronic, self-serving position best whispered in an otherwise empty room rather than trumpeted on the front page of a bad newspaper.”

No doubt we will be seeing a lot more of Lord Monckton back on the ABC.

So in closing, I would like to offer my sincerest apologies to Lord Deben for the ignorant rudeness he endured at the hands of Ms Alberici, and to assure him that there are many of us who agree with his assessment and will see it as our duty to global action on climate change to vote out these colossal fossils as soon as we can.

Oh and Emma, saying “with respect” does not compensate for you supercilious self-important arrogance.

The omniscient Maurice Newman

Maurice Newman is the head of Tony Abbott’s Business Advisory Council, a group established to meet three times a year with senior members of the government and “help guide programmes and policies that are sympathetic to the needs of both small and large businesses in Australia”.

maurice-newman-headware

Image courtesy of uknowispeaksense.wordpress.com

The 75-year-old former stockbroker, banker and chair of the ABC and the ASX, has apparently also become a self-appointed expert on climate change regardless of the fact that he has absolutely no scientific qualifications whatsoever.

In 2010, Christopher Monckton and James Hansen both toured Australia. Monckton is a fruitcake with no scientific qualifications at all. He is paid by people like Gina Rinehart to promote climate change denial. Hansen is an American adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University. He is best known for his research in the field of climatology, his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in 1988 that helped raise broad awareness of global warming, and his advocacy of action to avoid dangerous climate change.

Maurice Newman was the chairman of the ABC at the time. He believed that climate sceptics and denialists didn’t get a run in the media. Monckton was given extensive national coverage on television, radio and online. Hansen did one interview with Philip Adams. Monckton was discussed 161 times on the ABC while Hansen was only mentioned nine times.

In an interview with the Australian in December last year Mr Newman argued Australia had fallen “hostage to climate change madness”. He said climate change policies have been a major factor in the collapse of Australia’s manufacturing sector. He accused the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of “dishonesty and deceit” as it focuses on “exploiting the masses and extracting more money” in a climate crusade.

“The scientific delusion, the religion behind the climate crusade, is crumbling. Global temperatures have gone nowhere for 17 years. Now, credible German scientists claim that ‘the global temperature will drop until 2100 to a value corresponding to the little ice age of 1870’.”

Firstly, to correct Mr Newman, the period known as the little ice age ran from about 1645 to 1710 – 1870 was a later, lesser period of lower temperatures.  Secondly, cherry-picking data from short time periods, or using a very hot year as your base comparison, are sceptics’ tactics that have been exposed and refuted.

He appears to be referencing the work of Horst-Joachim Lüdecke and Carl-Otto Weiss, who say natural processes including solar activity are driving climate change. They are members of an advisory board of the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) – a German group of climate change skeptics that argues freedom, not the climate, is at risk. The group lists Lord Christopher Monckton as one of their Advisory Board members and they teamed up with the Heartland Institute to host a combination conference in 2012.

The only way to blame the sun for the current rise in temperatures is by cherry picking the data. This is done by showing only past periods when sun and climate move together and ignoring the last 35 years when the two are moving in opposite directions.

A comparison of sun and climate over the past 1150 years found temperatures closely match solar activity (Usoskin 2005). However, after 1975, temperatures rose while solar activity showed little to no long-term trend. This led the study to conclude, “…during these last 30 years the solar total irradiance, solar UV irradiance and cosmic ray flux has not shown any significant secular trend, so that at least this most recent warming episode must have another source.”

On Tuesday night, Mr Newman chose to share some more of his ‘wisdom’ with us when he said on Lateline that “there is no empirical evidence to show that man-made CO2, man-made emissions are adding to the temperature on earth”.

When Emma Alberici asked why he was so convinced that the IPCC, which collates the science from 195 countries, 97% of climate scientists, and nineteen academies of science across the world were wrong he said

“I just look at the evidence. There is no evidence. If people can show there is a correlation between increasing CO2 and global temperature, well then of course that’s something which we would pay attention to. But when you look at the last 17.5 years where we’ve had a multitude of climate models, and this was the basis on which this whole so-called science rests, it’s on models, computer models. And those models have been shown to be 98 per cent inaccurate.”

Contrary to Mr Newman’s assertion, there is a raft of evidence showing continued warming.  Satellite and surface measurements find less energy is escaping to space at CO2 absorption wavelengths. Ocean and surface temperature measurements find the planet continues to accumulate heat.

When pressed to answer the question “who is it that’s influencing you so that is so convincing you otherwise?” he said

“Roy Spencer, who’s carried out a thorough review of all of the models and the empirical data which against both land-based and satellite-based measuring. And they were found to be wrong.  There’s a study that came out from NASA in the last few weeks which says that the impact of CO2 on the upper atmosphere brings about a cloud and the result of that is a bit like our own body temperature moderating as a consequence of perspiring. So you get an albino effect which reflects sunlight.”

This transcript came from the Lateline website.  As a few commenters pointed out, Mr Newman used the correct phrase ‘albedo’ not ‘albino’.  Thanks to those who drew my attention to this.

Roy Spencer is a research scientist at the University of Alabama who believes that the “theory of creation actually had a much better scientific basis than the theory of evolution” because the DNA molecule could not have happened “by chance”. He also told a US Senate Committee that if he was placed in a debate, he would be able to offer more scientific evidence “supporting that life was created” than an opponent could offer that life had evolved.

There are two major questions in climate modeling – can they accurately reproduce the past (hindcasting) and can they successfully predict the future? Models have successfully reproduced temperatures since 1900 globally, by land, in the air and the ocean but are unable to predict recent warming without taking rising CO2 levels into account. Noone has created a general circulation model that can explain climate’s behaviour over the past century without CO2 warming.

In July 2011, a paper co-authored by Roy Spencer was published in the journal Remote Sensing. His paper looked at a potential connection between clouds and global warming. The paper received significant media attention, and climate change skeptics claimed that it “blow[s] a gaping hole in global warming alarmism.”

Within three days of the publication of Spencer & Braswell’s paper, two climate scientists (Kevin Trenberth & John Fasullo) repeated the analysis and showed that the IPCC models are in agreement with the observations, so refuting Spencer’s claims.

Andrew Dessler, a climate scientist and Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M University whose research subject areas are atmospheric chemistry, climate change and climate change policy, said of Spencer’s work

“[This] paper is not really intended for other scientists, since they do not take Roy Spencer seriously anymore (he’s been wrong too many times). Rather, he’s writing his papers for Fox News, the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, Congressional staffers, and the blogs. These are his audience and the people for whom this research is actually useful — in stopping policies to reduce GHG emissions — which is what Roy wants.”

In response to the flawed peer review that allowed the publication of the paper, the Editor-in-Chief of Remote Sensing stepped down. He had this to say:

“After having become aware of the situation, and studying the various pro and contra arguments, I agree with the critics of the paper. Therefore, I would like to take the responsibility for this editorial decision and, as a result, step down as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Remote Sensing.

With this step I would also like to personally protest against how the authors and like-minded climate sceptics have much exaggerated the paper’s conclusions in public statements…”

Our Prime Minister is getting his climate change advice from an aging stockbroker who gets his ‘scientific facts’ from some guy in Alabama who doesn’t believe in evolution.  It shouldn’t be a surprise that Tony has appointed executive chairman of Manufacturing Australia Dick Warburton, another sceptic who does not believe that man-made emissions are causing global warming, to head up the review of the Renewable Energy Target.

We then hear that the Commission of Audit were unable to assess the Coalition’s $3.2 billion Direct Action Plan because there is no plan yet. Tony Shepherd said

“The Commission of Audit couldn’t really look at it because we didn’t have a policy to look at. If they had a policy and it was out there we would have had a look at it, but in the absence of any detail we couldn’t.”

Clive Palmer declared this week that his Palmer United Party would not back the “hopeless” policy and he threatened to reconsider his position on the carbon and mining taxes if the government does not bring direct action legislation to the Senate for debate.

All I can say is, more strength to your arm Clive. We’ll make you an environmentalist yet!

 

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me

The following is an excerpt from a 2007 paper called The Cigarette Controversy, the controversy which used to surround the tobacco industry.

“In 1994, heads of the major U.S. tobacco companies testified before Congress that the evidence that cigarette smoking caused diseases such as cancer and heart disease was inconclusive, that cigarettes were not addictive, and that they did not market to children. Less than 1 month after this testimony, a box containing confidential documents from the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation was delivered to the University of California at San Francisco. What was revealed in these documents was evidence that the tobacco industry had for decades known and accepted the fact that cigarettes caused premature death, considered tobacco to be addictive, and that their programs to support scientific research on smoking and health had been a sham.

In 1999, the federal government filed its own suit against the tobacco industry for violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. In August 2006, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler concluded that “…the tobacco companies conspired to violate the substantive provisions of RICO…and…in fact violated those substantive provisions”. The question of when tobacco companies knew or should have known about the serious health consequences of smoking goes to the very question of whether or not there was a real cigarette controversy.

Evidence linking smoking and cancer appeared in the 1920s . Between 1920 and 1940, a chemist named Angel Honorio Roffo published several articles showing that cancers could be experimentally induced by exposure to tars from burned tobacco. Roffo et al. further showed that cancer could be induced by using nicotine-free tobacco, which means that tar, with or without nicotine, was carcinogenic. Research implicating smoking as a cause of cancer began to mount during the 1950s, with several landmark publications in leading medical journals. The first official U.S. government statement on smoking and health was issued by the Surgeon General Leroy Burney in a televised press conference in 1957, wherein he reported that the scientific evidence supported cigarette smoking as a causative factor in the etiology of lung cancer. By 1960, Joseph Garland, Editor of the New England Journal, wrote, “No responsible observer can deny this association, and the evidence is now sufficiently strong to suggest a causative role”.

In their public statements, tobacco companies held that cigarettes had not been proven to be injurious to health. For example, a November 1953 press release issued by the American Tobacco Company stated, “…no one has yet proved that lung cancer in any human being is directly traceable to tobacco or its products in any form”. In a New York Times story based on this press release, the headline states that Mr. Hahn (President of the American Tobacco Company) characterizes the evidence of a link between cigarette smoking and an increase in the incidence of lung cancer as “Loose Talk”. In 1954, Philip Morris Vice President George Weissman announced that if the company had any thought or knowledge that in any way we were selling a product harmful to consumers, that they would stop business immediately. Senior scientists and executives at tobacco companies, however, knew about the potential cancer risk of smoking as early as the 1940s, and most accepted the fact that smoking caused cancer by the late 1950s.

A 1962 report by the R.J. Reynolds scientist Dr. Alan Rodgman characterized the amount of evidence accumulated to indict cigarette smoking as a health risk as “overwhelming,” whereas the evidence challenging such an indictment was “scant”.

In her decision regarding the allegation that the tobacco companies had violated RICO, Judge Kessler observed that the trial record amply showed a conspiracy to make false, deceptive, and misleading public statements about cigarettes and smoking from at least January 1954, when the Frank Statement was published, up to the present. The “Frank Statement to Cigarette Smokers” was a jointly sponsored advocacy advertisement published by tobacco manufacturers in January 1954. The advertisement appeared in 448 newspapers in 258 cities, reaching over 43 million Americans. The advertisement questioned research findings implicating smoking as a cause of cancer, promised consumers that their cigarettes were safe, and pledged to support impartial research to investigate allegations that smoking was harmful to human health.

The tobacco documents reveal how the tobacco industry worked together since the early 1950s to create a pro-cigarette public relations campaign to mislead the public about the dangers of smoking to advance their collective interest to market cigarettes.

In 1955, Dr. Clarence Little, the first Scientific Director of the Tobacco Industry Research Committee (TIRC), appeared on the Edward R. Murrow show and was asked, “Dr. Little have any cancer-causing agents been identified in cigarettes?” Dr. Little replied, “No. None whatever, either in cigarettes or in any product of smoking, as such.” Dr. Little was also asked, “Suppose the tremendous amount of research going on were to reveal that there is a cancer causing agent in cigarettes, what then?” Dr. Little replied, “It would be made public immediately and just as broadly as we could make it, and then efforts would be taken to attempt to remove that substance or substances”.

From 1964 onward, the Tobacco Institute (TI) frequently made reference to the fact that qualified scientists challenged the evidence that smoking caused disease. Yet, many of these so-called independent scientists were recruited and had their research programs supported by the tobacco industry. For example, in 1970, the TI sponsored the “Truth” public service campaign that informed the public that there was a scientific controversy about whether smoking caused disease. The “Truth” campaign encouraged people to contact the TI to get a copy of a “White Paper” that included quotes from scientists challenging the evidence that smoking caused the disease. Lawyer-controlled “special project accounts” were used to recruit and support scientists who were willing to make statements and/or conduct research that would be favourable to the industry’s view that causes other than smoking were responsible for lung cancer and other diseases.

Internal documents from the industry acknowledge that TIRC/CTR was largely a public relations asset for them rather than a real research endeavour to address the smoking and health controversy. A 1970 letter from Helmut Wakeham, then Vice President of the Corporate Research and Development at Philip Morris, to the President of the TI summed up this view: “nobody believes we are interested in the truth on this subject; and the fact that a multi-billion dollar industry has put up 30 million dollars for this over a ten-year period cannot be impressive to a public which at the same time is told we spend upwards of 300 million dollars in one year on advertising”.

The tobacco industry conspiracy to manufacture a false controversy about smoking and health is summarized in a 1972 TI memorandum, which defined the strategy as consisting of three parts: (a) “creating doubt about the health charge without actually denying it”; (b) “advocating the public’s right to smoke, without actually urging them to take up the practice”; and (c) “encouraging objective scientific research as the only way to resolve the question of the health hazard”. In her analysis of the purpose of the industry’s jointly funded “research” organizations, Judge Kessler observed that they had helped the industry achieve its goals because they “sponsored and funded research that attacked scientific studies demonstrating harmful effects of smoking cigarettes but did not itself conduct research addressing the fundamental questions regarding the adverse health effects of smoking”.

The internal industry documents show how tobacco companies deliberately confused the public debate about smoking and health by creating and supporting research organizations that were never really interested in discovering the truth about whether smoking was a cause of disease.

In October 1999, Philip Morris Tobacco Company announced to the public on its web site that, “There is an overwhelming medical and scientific consensus that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema and other serious disease in smokers”. However, when shareholders proposed a resolution asking the company to produce a report on how it intended to correct the defects that resulted in its products causing disease, the company responded that the shareholder’s resolution had “… mischaracterizes the Company’s web site as constituting a public admission that cigarettes cause illness. It does not.”. Today, all of the major tobacco companies have web sites acknowledging that smoking is a cause of disease. However, the current web site statement of R.J. Reynolds on the health effects of smoking continues to insist that smoking “causes disease in some individuals” only “in combination with other factors”. In the courtroom, the companies continue to challenge allegations about nicotine addiction and smoking causing illness. The tobacco companies have not yet been able to bring themselves to accept responsibility for their past illegal acts.

It does not seem that the tobacco industry has changed since the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement but instead has found alternative ways to support research and create controversy about the health risks of smoking. For example, in the 2006 US election, the tobacco industry spent over US$100 million dollars opposing state-initiated proposals to limit smoking in public places and raise cigarette taxes. It is not sufficient for the tobacco industry to merely concede the obvious point that smoking is a cause of disease when it is evident that decades of misinformation has resulted in a public that is massively ignorant about the risks of smoking low-tar cigarettes, nicotine addiction, and secondhand smoke exposure. Moreover, claims by tobacco companies that they are involved in sponsoring programs to help smokers to quit and discourage youth from taking up smoking must be seriously questioned in light of recent findings that show that these programs have no beneficial effect and may potentially be iatrogenic. There remains a need for public education efforts to correct consumer misperceptions about the risks of smoking along with government oversight to ensure that industry is not permitted to use its vast marketing resources to continue to mislead the public. Universities should also consider adopting policies that prohibit their faculty from accepting funding from tobacco companies. The implication of Judge Kessler’s ruling is clear: the tobacco companies cannot and should not be trusted.”

The similarities between this and the campaign of misinformation regarding climate change cannot be missed. Any organisation who accepts money from the tobacco industry – the Heartland Institute, the Institute of Public Affairs, the Liberal Party – must be regarded with suspicion. Surprisingly enough, or not, these same organisations receive huge funding from mining companies and they are all against action on climate change.  Any ‘scientist’ who associates themselves with the Heartland Institute will be tainted by their lack of ethics and obvious vested interest.

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

Science Downunder and global warming

tom-harris

Recently, in response to two articles written by Rossleigh, we were honoured by the presence of two gentlemen from the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC) who disagree with the widely-held consensus on anthropogenic global warming and its effect on climate change.

Tom Harris, a mechanical engineer who was formerly the Executive Director of the now-defunct Natural Resources Stewardship Project (NRSP), and who currently is the Executive Director of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC), said:

 “The only thing that counts in this debate is whether or not human produced carbon dioxide emissions is causing, or will in the foreseeable future cause, dangerous global warming.

The reason no one properly demonstrates this is because the idea of consensus on this topic among these people is an urban legend and of no merit what-so-ever.”

When directed to the NASA site showing the consensus he dismissed it as “simply a statement by an official government body”.

After much discussion about his credentials, previous employment, and funding, Mr Harris said “Kaye Lee’s comments are largely just agressive attacks made up to divert attention from the failings in the science, which, even she admitted previously, is all that really matters.”

And I agree with him.  If the science is right then who funds it doesn’t matter.  But he steadfastly ignored all scientific arguments placed before him, and ignored all questions until the following.

When asked “what percentage of global GDP mitigating CO2 will cost and what percentage it will cost the world if man made CO2 is not mitigated and the globe continues to warm?” he provided a link to the Lord Monckton Foundation.

Having written previously about Lord Monckton, I was interested to have a look, and what an eye-opener it was.  The linked page started with a very spurious graph (which appears to be repeated on every page on the site), and then launched into an appeal for funds to make a “powerful and ‘game changing’ video to communicate Lord Christopher Monckton’s recent calculations on the cost of climate mitigation vs the cost of adaptation.”

“This video will require significant travel. We are interviewing internationally renowned experts such as President Vaclav Klaus, Anthony Watts, Fred Singer, Henry Ergas and others. A camera crew will need to literally lap the planet to film these experts and capture their thoughts and views on the current state of climate mitigation etc.

Long story short, we have calculated a budget of $156,000 all together.  Needless to say we don’t have that in the piggy bank beside our bed, so we’re running a crowd funding campaign to try and gather the money we need to make this video happen.”

Interesting experts.

Outgoing Czech President  Vaclav Klaus was charged with high treason for granting amnesties resulting in multiple high-profile corruption cases being suspended.  In one fell swoop, a dozen high-profile corruption cases – cases that involve millions of dollars in asset-stripping, bribes and fraud – were thrown out.  The senators also accuse Mr Klaus of flouting the constitution by refusing to ratify European treaties, and for refusing to rule on the appointment of judges despite being ordered by courts to do so.

Siegfried Frederick Singer (S. Fred Singer) is a former space scientist and government scientific administrator.  Singer runs the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP), an organization which focuses on global warming skepticism. According to their website, SEPP also covers topics such as nuclear radiation, DDT, science and regulation at EPA, energy policy, and space exploration.

According to leaked documents, Singer has been receiving $5,000 a month from the Heartland Institute.  His affiliations with tobacco and oil industries are well documented.

Henry Ergas is an economist and a columnist for the Murdoch-owned Australian newspaper.  He has been appointed by long-time friend, Malcolm Turnbull, to do the cost benefit analysis for the NBN, a venture he has widely criticised in the past.  I have been unable to find any qualifications in climate science but hey, he probably knows Maurice Newman and Cardinal Pell, those other unqualified “experts” on climate change, and they may have had rousing discussions at IPA birthday bashes with Andrew Bolt, Alan Jones, Gina, Rupert and our fearless PM.  Close enough.

Anthony Watts is an American TV weather presenter and runs the blog Watts Up With That. He founded surfacestations.org, which questions the reliability of the surface temperature record whilst ignoring the thousands of lines of evidence such as melting ice sheets, rising sea levels, retreating glaciers, thousands of species migrating, seasons shifting, local populations of species going extinct. As for the temperature record, warming is also being observed over the ocean, well away from urban heat island and microsite influences.

Rather than watching the youtube video, I went to Lord Monckton’s paper entitled “Is CO2 mitigation cost-effective?”  As it was basically unintelligible for a layperson (and I suspect equally so for scientists), I will share an abstract:

“Australia’s carbon tax: This note, originally presented before distinguished delegates at the 2012 annual seminars on planetary emergencies of the World Federation of Scientists, summarizes and updates Monckton of Brenchley (2013), which applies a simplified but robust method of climate-mitigation investment appraisal to the recently-introduced Australian carbon dioxide tax (Parliament of Australia, 2011). For the first time, mainstream climatological and inter-temporal-appraisal approaches are combined. The cost of the tax over the intended ten-year term is compared with its benefit in the cost of warming-related damage avoided by successful implementation and the consequent intended cut in Australia’s emissions. A zero inter-temporal discount rate is assumed. The minimum market rate would be 5% (Murphy et al., 2008).

Conclusion: This analysis is deliberately simple, but complexity would be unlikely to change the outcome sufficiently to render any policy to mitigate CO2 emissions at all cost-effective. Removal of some of the simplifying assumptions would tend to worsen the cost-benefit ratio still further, for most of them lead to understatement of it. Results from other case studies broadly confirm the outcome in the Australian case. Therefore, future adaptation at need is recommended, but present-day mitigation is not.”

It took only one page for Lord Monckton to determine that mitigation in the next ten years will cost more than adaptation.  “Bugger anyone who lives longer than ten years from now” seems to be the scientific basis of this rather ‘interesting’ page.

I figured there had to be a longer version and yes, I found one that was 11 pages long.  Girding my loins to wade into a detailed scientific analysis, I found this.  Nice colours!

With some trepidation, I ventured further and found “A plain-English service to science and truth by the Lord Monckton Foundation 1 January 2014”.

NO WORRIES, MATE!

Australia’s fave Lord puts the bedwetting profiteers of doom at the failed Climate Council straight about global warming.

Bullsh*ttin’ bedwetters

The latest propaganda sheet from those bedwetters at the now axed Climate Council says the world has kept on warming. Not for the last 17 years 3 months it hasn’t. The RSS graph shows no global warming at all despite ever-rising CO2 in the air.

There’s nothing like the real data to reveal the Inconvenient Truth (geddit?).

The Climate Council bedwetters say scientists are “more certain than ever” that Man made most of the global warming since 1950. But it was Australian scientists who proved that only 0.3% of 11,944 papers published since 1991 said most of the warming since 1950 was our fault. Oops!

Science consensus?  0.3% consensus!

We can’t affect the weather much

The bedwetters say warming of 3 Cº this century would be a big deal. In your dreams! The Vostok ice-core data show global temperature has gone up or down only 3 Cº in the past 420,000 years, despite ice ages, solar flares, orbital changes, meteorites and stuff. So if we succeed in turning 1/3000 of the air from oxygen to plant food in 100 years, will we cause mega climate change? Nah, it won’t happen.

The bedwetters say global warming (that isn’t happening) will cause more extreme weather. But the UN’s climate panel reports “no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency” for 100 years. Ask the captain of the ship stuck in Antarctic ice in summer about extreme weather.

Extreme weather?

Seen it all before!

‘We made the global warming since 1950!’

The bedwetters say the only possible explanation for the 0.7 Cº global warming since 1950 is that it’s all our fault. B*ll*x! Natural variability probably caused most of the global warming that stopped over 17 years ago. As we scientists say, “Sh*t happens! Get over it! Get a life!”.

‘But it must be our fault!’

In the left corner, CO2 concentration change. In the right corner, change in the Sun’s output of heat. Which one is a whole lot closer to the real temperature changes, in blue on both graphs?

Yup, you got it. It’s the Sun, stupid!

Climate change? No worries, mate!

Mate, if this is your idea of “science downunder” you may have to take a summer course (geddit?)

Or you could take a gander at some of those peer-reviewed papers that work on a slightly longer time-scale than ten years.

Or you could listen to the commenters here because I am sure they will be more than happy to assist in your edumacation.  No wuckins!

THE CLIMATE OF DENIAL: Why real climate action will NEVER come from big business or government.

By Letitia McQuade

If a quick study of our industrial age can teach us anything, it is that big business and governments are either not willing, or not able to “fix it”, whatever “it” happens to be. Climate change is no exception.

For the vast majority of us, (who are not making billions of the back of fossil fuel, or other mass polluting industries), the solutions to climate change appear simple enough. We just need to change course, invest differently, get behind renewables, preserve and plant forests etc…

BUT, and this a big but… Most of those in power have a HUGE amount invested in the fossil fuel economy, and surprise surprise……they don’t actually want things to change.

While big business continues to profit from devouring fossil fuels with a rapacious zeal, and governments remain little more than advocates for the corporations that fund their campaigns, should we really be all that surprised that climate summit after climate summit nothing terribly significant is achieved?

It is a curious facet of human nature that when ever circumstances permit almost all of us are driven to acquire wealth well beyond our personal needs, and to that end those of us who find ourselves in power, (be it economic or political), are generally happy to exploit those of us that are not.  This usually continues along merrily until those at the bottom of the heap no longer feel that quietly starving is viable strategy and some form of revolution ensues.

Bear in mind revolutionary change is never a top down process, much like a volcanic eruption the pressure builds from beneath until it becomes an unstoppable force. While those at the top may sense the rumblings they almost never choose to tackle the situation head on. (The relatively harmonious dismantling of South Africa’s apartheid being the only example that readily springs to my mind). Instead, like Louis the XVI, the Rominovs, the Saar of Iran and countless others toppled by revolution they turn a deaf ear to their inevitable demise, and it’s usually not until their lives are quite literally on the line that they realize the gravity of what is actually going on.

 The corporate/political oligarchy seem happy enough to fiddle while Rome burns, knowing they can afford a class can afford a 1st class ticket out of New Orleans, or Tachloban (or wherever the next disaster falls) well ahead of the storm, and what ever consequences ultimately come, they will most likely occur after their lifetime.

But those of us who don’t have a multiple choice of other homes to occupy (or the private jets to take us there), are all too aware that the weight of any future disasters will fall squarely on our (or our children’s) shoulders. And as such I think it’s time we face the fact…THEY ARE NOT GOING TO FIX IT.

Given that we all know, in heart of hearts, that those in power are highly unlikely to act in any meaningful way, it kind of begs the question: Why are we sitting around like Marx’s lumpen proletariat, or the tragic character’s in Beckets “waiting for Godot” doing nothing, waiting in vain them “to do something about climate change”?… and further more, how exactly is that working out for us? If you believe the science then the only possible answer is not too well!

So where exactly does that leave us?

For a start let’s just sweep aside the all the so called “arguments” of the denialist movement; whom, with a staggeringly willful ignorance manage to push aside 99.9% of the science in order to advocate for the status quo. In spite of the fact the mainstream media, (no doubt due to the vested interests of their owners), continues to give these deluded souls ill deserved airtime to espouse their crackpot anti science, if you talk to any sane, educated person they will readily acknowledge that the proof is in and the facts are irrefutable. Climate change is real, we are responsible and it poses a real, tangible threat to us and future generations!

 

On the face of it this may seem a rather bleak prospect, and many rational Australians are in total despair at the governments active dismantling of our national climate action initiatives. But rather than fall into a pit of despair (like the Greek Goddess Cassandra, who was cursed with seeing the future, but was unable to alter events, or convince others of the validity of her predictions), I would suggest it’s time for us to stop wringing our hands and turn our focus on what WE, as individuals can actually do.

We need to be sewing the seeds of a bottom up revolution. (And no I am not suggesting storming the Bastille, or any other kind of armed rebellion. I am talking more of a 100th Monkey kind of revolution*). If we seriously want to address the issues of climate change and environmental degradation then we need to involve our selves in a revolutionary change of our personal habits, attitudes, expectations of ourselves and others, until we reach a tipping point where people just feel too out of step and too ashamed to behave in wasteful ignorance.

The list of things we can do to reduce our personal environmental footprint is exhaustive.  For example I have a tradesman doing work on my house at present. I asked him to take a cup down to the cafe on the corner, rather than add to the pile of cafe cups steadily building up in my bin. While he chose not to take a china cup, he washed out one of his used take away cups and has now had it refilled no less than 15 times. Sure it’s a drop in the ocean, but what is the ocean if not a sea of drops?

For those of you that need a bit of help, here is a short list of changes you can make that WILL help turn the tide… (Remember it is your kids and grand kids that will thank you).

*Eat less meat (even a couple of days meat free is a great start).

*Buy a smaller car and use it less.

*Turn off lights, boycott your down lights (unless they are LED, and change those that are not),

*Use energy efficient lighting ALWAYS.

*Turn appliances off at the wall, don’t leave things on standby.

*Refuse bottled water, drink tap water (buy a filter), don’t drink Soda.

*Eat less take away, and when you do take your rinsed out containers back for a refill.

*Walk to the shop.

*Buy locally made/grown (food co ops and farmers markets are great for this).

*Use reusable bags (make it a habit to refuse plastic shopping bags).

*Read the news on line, don’t buy the print copy.

*Plant trees.

*Use air conditioners sparingly.

*GO SOLAR, (and for any Australian who has a split system air conditioner that says they can’t afford Solar, KNOW that you are lying to yourself… the cost of basic solar is less than the cost of your air conditioner installed. Fact is you just made a selfish choice based on your comfort and convenience; now smile at your kids!!… If you are getting a split system, get the solar to run it FIRST!).

*Buy unpackaged and unprocessed food and actually cook it. You tube is awash with recipes!

*Use phosphate free washing powder and cleaning products (look for the NP logo). Baking soda, white vinegar, borax and lemon juice can also do wonders.

*Next time consciously get a smaller car.

*Don’t sit idling your car while waiting for people, (start it up after they have all arrived).

Add an environmental NGO to your charity list… Personally I like “We Forrest” as a tree planting, environment remediating NGO. $20 can plant enough trees to offset your toilet paper use for a life time… (oh and don’t over use the toilet paper).

While I get that no one can do all of these things all of the time, every little change helps. The more of us that reduce, reuse, and recycle the smaller the problem gets. After all, all revolutions, (both personal and political) start with small acts of change on the part of individuals.

We all know what to do… so why don’t we do it, I am at a loss to understand! Is it because we don’t see it as our responsibility or are we all just too busy waiting for them to fix it?

So, good people I say it’s time for change on a personal level. In the immortal words of John Lennon we all need to “think globally, act locally”. Every one of us has the power to reduce our environmental footprint. What’s more we can do it ourselves, we don’t have to sit about waiting for the likes of Tony Abbott to do it for us!

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Fruitcakes of a Feather

Monckton

I have been on an interesting journey through the world of climate change denial and I would like to share some of my travel highlights with you.

I started with my favourite video of well- known climate change denier and world government alarmist, Lord Christopher Monckton (a must watch if you haven’t seen it).  He is the pin-up boy of the mining industry, a man whose “expert” opinion is often quoted by Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt.  The meeting is in the boardroom of the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation, a free-market think-tank founded by west Australian mining magnate Ron Manners. Monckton explains how they need to control the media to achieve their goals.   Interestingly, not long after this meeting took place, Gina Rinehart bought $192 million worth of shares in Fairfax (the publisher of Brisbane Times, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and many regional newspapers and city-based radio stations) to take her share in the company to about 14 per cent.

Monckton applauds the work of Andrew Bolt, and also Joanne Codling who is better known by her stage name, Jo Nova, which she adopted in 1998 when she was preparing to host a children’s television program.  Jo Nova is married to David Evans and she and her husband joined Lord Monckton on a speaking tour in Australia in 2011.  The advertising for the tour describes Nova and Evans as “leading Australian scientists” who will, along with headliner Monckton, explain how “the carbon tax will bankrupt Australia” and show how “the science does not justify it.”

Let’s start with Monckton, the third Viscount of Benchley, a hereditary title in the United Kingdom. Contrary to Monckton’s claims, he is not a member of the House of Lords in the Parliament of Britain. In fact, when Monckton persisted with the lie, the House of Lords took the unprecedented step of publishing an open letter to him, demanding that he cease and desist.

Monckton is not a scientist. He has a degree in classics and a diploma in journalism.  Nevertheless, the Heartland Institute lists him as an expert with their organization, where they publish his posts on climate change. He is also a frequent speaker at the Institute’s annual International Conference on Climate Change.  He is listed as a “scientist” in American Senator Inhofe’s report claiming more than 1,000 scientists disputed there’s a scientific consensus on climate change.   He has TWICE been asked by Republicans to testify about climate change before committees of the U.S. Congress

Monckton is the Chief Policy Advisor to climate change denial lobby group Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI).  His bio on their site stated that:

“His contribution to the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report in 2007 – the correction of a table inserted by IPCC bureaucrats that had overstated tenfold the observed contribution of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets to sea-level rise – earned him the status of Nobel Peace Laureate. His Nobel prize pin, made of gold recovered from a physics experiment, was presented to him by the Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Rochester, New York, USA”

When Christopher Monckton was challenged about this during a visit to Australia in early 2010 he conceded that “it was a joke, a joke” and “never meant to be taken seriously”. The Sydney Morning Herald noted that despite this, he had made the same claim with a “straight face” on the Alan Jones show one day prior, and the claim remained on the SPPI website until 2012.

He also describes himself as a “chief policy advisor” to former British PM Margaret Thatcher, and frequently introduces himself as her “chief science advisor” when interviewed by the conservative media.

Monckton has been quoted as saying “I gave her advice on science as well as other policy from 1982-1986, two years before the IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was founded”, that he was “the only one who knew any science” and that “it was I who – on the prime minister’s behalf – kept a weather eye on the official science advisers to the government, from the chief scientific adviser downward”.  Bob Ward in the Guardian investigated these claims and found them to be false.

Monckton claimed that he has developed a cure for Graves’ Disease, AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, the flu, and the common cold.  This is no joke–he actually filed an application to patent a “therapeutic treatment” in 2009.

I could go on and on, including when he dressed up in Arabian clothes and pretended to be a delegate from Myanmar at the UN climate change talks (from which he has since been permanently banned), or when he described Professor Ross Garnaut as a fascist and said in a German accent “Heil Hitler! on we go”, or his launch of the fringe political group Rise Up Australia, or when he threatened to sue the University of Tasmania, but I think you already get my drift on the credibility of this “expert”.

Moving on to Jo Nova.  Nova received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Western Australia majoring in micro and molecular biology. She also received a Graduate Certificate in Scientific Communication from the Australian National University in 1989, and went on to host children’s science shows.  She loves to do the denier shuffle on her blog but seems to not care at all about the validity of her sources.

Ms Nova’s husband David Evans “attended the University of Sydney for five years from 1979 where he did science and engineering, and then spent a further five years at Stanford University at Palo Alto in California, doing a PhD in electrical engineering”.  According to his biographical note, Evans rhetorically describes himself as a “Rocket Scientist”.  While Evans use of the term was rhetorical, one article on a website for the conspiracy-minded took it literally and headed an article about Evans claiming “Top Rocket Scientist: No Evidence CO2 Causes Global Warming”.

Evans has made a number of claims about the role of banking institutions throughout history and subscribes to the conspiracy theory that “climate change is merely a cover for a massive power play”.

I fail to see how these two could be described as “leading Australian scientists” or what their qualifications are to join the climate change denial talk circuit as experts.  This excellent article from Watching the Deniers details the claims made by Nova and Evans over the years.  And they call US alarmists! Paranoia anyone?

So who pays these people to present their “expert” views?  That trail leads to people like Gina Rinehart and Ron Manners, and groups like the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC), and the Galileo Movement.

The Galileo Movement was started by two retired men, one was formerly paid by mining companies and the other is a former engineer who owns an air-conditioning company.  They apparently formed with the express intention of stopping the carbon tax.  Alan Jones is their patron and the usual suspects are named as “expert advisers”, a list which until recently included Andrew Bolt. (When Bolt dumps you you KNOW you are out there.)

The Galileo Movement are advertising an upcoming talk by radio talkback personality John MacRae, a regular on Alan Jones show, about how banks and governments are ripping you off, and Malcolm Roberts, their project manager, who “will speak for 20 minutes on government abuse of taxpayer funding through corruption of climate science”.  It seems Roberts is also heavily embroiled in the banking conspiracy theory.

So my tour has really been a circle, revisiting the same places again and again.  Gina Rinehart, Lord Monckton, Andrew Bolt, Jo Nova, David Evans, Alan Jones, the Galileo Movement, Malcolm Roberts.  The resources that are being devoted to this misinformation campaign are formidable. The arguments go “round, like a circle in a spiral and a wheel within a wheel”.  Lies and obfuscation, cherry-picking data and repeating any claim regardless of its credibility or source.

The mad monk even appeared as a speaker with the even madder Monckton in Perth.  If these are the people that our current government goes to for climate change advice, Lord save us.  And I don’t mean the feathered loon variety.

Author’s note:  This is one of a series of articles looking at the people who advise Tony Abbott.  Others include AIMN articles, Who do you admire, Has anybody seen Tony’s envoy, Putting our First People last and Tony’s tame expert.

A proxy for the future

london-flood

Governmental and community denial of the fundamental truths of climate change can’t last forever.

Climate change impacts are going to operate over the long term. That’s why we can’t immediately envisage the danger and it’s why climate change isn’t regarded as being as pressing as balancing the budget or “securing our borders”. It is primarily for this reason that the world has missed opportunity after opportunity to respond appropriately, to the point that it is universally regarded as too late to prevent cascading climate change from occurring. Instead of falling rapidly, worldwide carbon emissions continue to accelerate. This does not mean that we should stop trying to save the environment; the eventual extent of the destruction can yet be ameliorated. But governments and populaces worldwide are deliberately kept in a state of confusion by entrenched interest groups, and confusion allows governments and populations to continue to operate in a state of denial.

At the moment in Australia, denial manifests itself in a “business as usual” approach. The Coalition is busily dismantling anything that conflicts with the idea of status quo – business as usual doesn’t include things like climate commissions, carbon prices or renewable energy research. (For the Coalition, “business as usual” also doesn’t include things like modern broadband, up-to-date healthcare or new ways of doing education either, but that’s another blog post.)

Despite this, there are things that we do now that operate on the same timescale as climate change effects, and these may begin to act as a proxy for the future. Whilst it is possible to take a “business as usual” approach to these things, doing so is neither prudent nor effective for the future.

Case in point: demographic and developmental planning for cities in Australia’s north. Under both Labor and the Coalition, development of the north of Australia is an expectation. Growth in population, increasing urbanisation, technological advance and infrastructure dissemination are a part of governmental planning. But whilst these plans are being laid, cold-eyed scientists are looking at the north of Australia and saying bluntly that, far from developing into a new demographic powerhouse, whole latitudes may need to be abandoned as not suitable for human habitation. The best laid plans of our politicians are likely to be sabotaged by the remorseless, uncaring forces of the unleashed beast of nature. It is only stubborn denial that allows governments to continue to plan future expansions that will simply not be viable.

This kind of planning quandary extends into every aspect of the future. Urban planning in cities needs to take into account projected rises in sea levels. Whilst

Urban planning is but one area where future expectations will need to be revised to cope with the new truths of a +4°C world. Other areas that come to mind include:

  • The future of mining and resource exploitation;
  • Food security;
  • Refugee and migration policy; and
  • National security.

The latter of these warrants a post of its own. Suffice to say here, that we live in a world where current generations of Australians are not ready for the concept of a war of defense. Since the 1940s, Australia has not been seriously under direct threat of military force, and our involvements have been remote. We send our boys off to war and welcome them home; we lament and mourn (rightfully so) at the loss of individual soldiers. But climate change carries with it the risk – the near certainty – of regional conflict, as whole countries start to starve, due to desertification and loss of arable land. Australia will have cause to be thankful for its remote location and inaccessibility. Our military is likely to be too concerned with domestic issues of food security to be able to worry too much about billions of starving people in India and China.

These areas of concern fall squarely into the remit of our national government, which has shown an unparalleled recalcitrance to accept the truth of global warming. It is unlikely that government policy under the current government will include much consideration of a world shaped by forces that the Coalition denies actually exist.

The best hope for future climate action, discounting the remote possibility of a spectacular implosion of our new government, is a change in public opinion forcing our governing bodies to reconsider their attitude to climate change science. The Coalition government is unlikely to change its mind without being dragged, kicking and screaming, into an unpalatable recognisation of the truth. There is more potential for change at other levels of government. From city planners to urban land management authorities, from companies divesting from coal and backing out of investments such as the Abbot Point port expansion to the application of new mandatory building codes, we need regulations and laws, based on empirical understandings of the future, which will impact on the everyday lives of Australians and people around the world.

If these bodies and organisations allow their agenda to be dictated to them by those with investments in the status quo, then not only will the investments made now be seen as foolhardy at best and downright negligent at worst, but the trajectory for the future will continue to deteriorate.

We can’t afford that. The push for climate action must come from the individual upwards, because it’s clearly not going to be led by the government on high. So, on an individual level, when we look to investments in property, when we consider our shareholdings and our superannuation, there are questions to ask. Have those who seek to sell you a future considered what climate change will mean for the investment they are proposing?

Tony Abbott’s “mandate” about removing the carbon price is not as strong as he wishes it to appear. There is already a large and growing force in the community that is concerned about climate change and willing to agitate for action. We can hope that it will not take a revolution in public attitude to tip the balance. Every individual who is confronted with the reality of climate change and the impact it will have on their own life – and the lives of their loved ones – is an important step closer to the critical mass needed to get Australia on the path of the righteous. So if your job involves you in any form of future planning, or if you are undertaking any investments of your own, make certain that climate change is an important part of your consideration. The outcomes of your planning depend on it. And the future of your planet depends on it.

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