Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A grasshopper tale for modern Australia

The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving.

Channels 7, 9 and 10,the ABC and SBS show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

Australia is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, 'It's Not Easy Being Green.'

Students stage a demonstration in front of the ant's house where the news stations film the group singing, 'We shall overcome.' Cardinal George Pell then has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper's sake.

Prime Minister Rudd condemns the ant and blames John Howard, Robert Menzies, Capt James Cook, and the Pope for the grasshopper's plight.

Bob Brown exclaims in an interview on Today Tonight that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and calls for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.

Finally, Labor in conjunction with the Greens draft the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government and given to the grasshopper.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the ant’s food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall, just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around them because the grasshopper doesn't maintain it.

The ant has disappeared in the snow, never to be seen again.

The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the ramshackle, once prosperous and once peaceful, neighborhood.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Be careful how you vote next time.

Kevin Rudd hits new low with voters: Newspoll

KEVIN Rudd's personal approval is at its worst since he became opposition leader in December 2006, and the Coalition is in its best position on primary votes since John Howard was prime minister and Kim Beazley was Labor leader.

Despite the unveiling of the Rudd government's $50 billion plan to fix public hospitals, and the Prime Minister's frenetic media appearances and meetings with premiers over his health plan in the past two weeks, satisfaction with Mr Rudd has hit a new low of 48 per cent and dissatisfaction is at a new high of 41 per cent. This is his worst approval rating since he replaced Mr Beazley as Labor leader.

Mr Rudd declared a little over two weeks ago that Labor had been getting "whacked" in the polls for some time, and he thought they needed to "lift their game" or they would continue be whacked in the polls.

Although there was little real change in the primary vote in the latest Newspoll survey, conducted exclusively for The Australian last weekend, a one-point fall for the ALP from 40 to 39 per cent, within the three-point margin of error, means the Coalition's unchanged primary vote of 41 per cent to Labor's 39 per cent is its best position since November 2006.

Based on the distribution of preferences at the last election and a rise in the Greens' support, the Rudd government still has an election-winning lead on a two-party-preferred basis of 52 per cent to 48 per cent.

Mr Rudd maintained his clear 25-percentage-point lead over Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister, by 55 to 30 per cent..

In the past week, the government has mounted a critical campaign against the Opposition Leader for being "opposed to everything" and obstructing the government in the Senate, as well as advocating a "big new tax" on business to fund a six-month paid parental leave scheme for workers earning up to $150,000 a year.

At the same time, Mr Rudd has travelled to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne to meet the Labor premiers of Queensland, NSW and Victoria to discuss his proposal for the federal government to take over 60 per cent of the funding of public hospitals by taking back 30 per cent of the states' GST revenue.

But Mr Rudd has met resistance from the premiers and was roundly criticised for ignoring NSW Premier Kristina Keneally as she welcomed him to Sydney for the health talks.

In his campaign to lift his falling personal stocks, Mr Rudd has admitted breaking political promises, personal shortcomings and the bungling of the $2.45 billion roof insulation scheme.

According to the latest Newspoll survey, voter satisfaction with Mr Rudd fell three points, from 51 to 48 per cent, and dissatisfaction rose from 40 to 41 per cent. These are the lowest satisfaction rating and highest dissatisfaction rating for Mr Rudd since he became Prime Minister, and represent a net satisfaction rating of just seven points.

Mr Rudd has had the highest satisfaction rating of any prime minister during the 25-year Newspoll survey series of 71 per cent, reached just after the parliamentary apology to the Stolen Generations, but since the end of September last year his satisfaction rating has fallen 19 points and dissatisfaction with him has risen by 16 points.

While Mr Abbott has been accused of blundering politically and putting his colleagues offside over his unilateral announcement of a paid parental leave scheme, his personal support is virtually unchanged, as satisfaction with the Liberal leader went from 48 to 47 per cent and dissatisfaction was the same on 38 per cent.

Financial Services Minister Chris Bowen yesterday told parliament the former leader of the opposition, Malcolm Turnbull, had told the ABC he thought Mr Abbott's dramatic change of heart over the emissions trading scheme was "entirely political in Tony's case". "I do accept that the Opposition Leader is a conviction politician," Mr Bowen said in question time. "But his only conviction is winning the next election: doing or saying whatever it takes to win the next election. He parades as opposing out of principle, but his only principle is opposition."

On the question of who would make the better prime minister, both Mr Rudd's 55 per cent and Mr Abbott's 30 per cent have been unchanged for the past month.

The Coalition's primary vote support has also remained unchanged at 41 per cent, the first time the Coalition's primary vote has remained at or above 40 per cent for a two-month stretch since late 2006.

While steady in statistical terms, Labor's primary vote shift from 40 to 39 per cent, to equal its lowest primary vote since the election, means the Coalition is now in the best relative position to the ALP since November 2006 when Mr Howard was prime minister and Mr Beazley was removed by Mr Rudd as the Labor leader of the opposition.

Since the middle of October last year, Labor's primary vote has fallen 9 percentage points, from 48 per cent to 39 per cent last weekend. Since the end of November last year, the Coalition's primary vote has risen 6 percentage points from 35 to 41 per cent.

But despite the Coalition's strongest primary vote showing for more than three years, Labor still holds an election-winning lead on a two-party preferred basis because of the flow to Labor of Greens' preferences.


The CSIRO calls this proof?

By Andrew Bolt

It’s a bizarre way to “prove” their case:
AUSTRALIA’s two leading scientific agencies will release a report today showing Australia has warmed significantly over the past 50 years, and stating categorically that ‘’climate change is real‘’.

The State of the Climate snapshot, drawn together by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology partly in response to recent attacks on the science underpinning climate change, shows that Australia’s mean temperature has increased 0.7 degrees since 1960. The statement also finds average daily maximum temperatures have increased every decade for the past 50 years.

The report states that temperature observations, among others indicators, ‘’clearly demonstrate climate change is real’’, and says that CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology ‘’will continue to provide observations and research so Australia’s responses are underpinned by clear empirical data’’.

The report also found that the 2000s were Australia’s warmest decade on record; that sea levels rose between 1.5 and three millimetres a year in Australia’s south and east, and between seven and 10 millimetres in the north between 1993 and 2009; and that sea surface temperatures have risen 0.4 degrees since 1960.

Why is this surprisingly scanty propaganda pamphlet bizarre, and not quite honest?

First, no one is doubting that “climate change is real”. Climate changes all the time. This is not the debate.

Second, we’re talking about global warming, so why does the CSIRO and BOM’s pamphlet give only Australian temperatures? Is that because it knows that to show world temperatures stayed flat since 2001 actually casts doubt on just how much man’s gases are driving the post-mini-ice-age warming?

Third, given the CSIRO praised the since-discredited An Inconvenient Truth, claiming ”its scientific basis is very sound”, can we really trust its advocacy science?

Fourth, the CSIRO and BOM’s document does not address any of the recent challenges to the processes which produced the concensus that man is almost certainly to blame for most of the recent warming. Nor does it mention recent debate about adjustments made to Australian temperature records of the kind that increase the reported warming trend.

Fifth, what’s most at issue (other than man’s contribution to any warming) is whether any warming will in fact be disastrous, and something we must spend billions to help avert. The record so far of alarmists such as Al Gore, Tim Flannery, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, the IPCC and even the CSIRO itself is that the catastrophism is wildly exaggerated and we might often do better to keep our money in our pockets for the day that we’re called on to cope with whatever happens in the far-off future. But on this, again, this document adds zero to our understanding.

But, of course, this brazenly political document got the unquestioning hero treatment on the ABC’s AM program, in what sounded like the two fingers to its chairman.


How much can this propaganda sheet be trusted to tell you the let-the-cards-fall-where-they-may truth? Judge from this example: "...total rainfall on the Australian continent has been relatively stable"

Stable? Why didn’t the CSIRO and BOM tell the reassuring truth - that total rainfall has in fact increased?

More HERE (See the original for links)

Flood of "boat people" heads to Australia

SEVERAL hundred boat people are expected to arrive within days aboard two illegal vessels, triggering a mass transfer of refugees from Christmas Island to the mainland. The likely influx will trigger a huge taxpayer-financed operation and be seized upon by the Opposition as Kevin Rudd's "Tampa".

Darwin's immigration detention centre is on alert for the arrival of the asylum seekers who will be moved near the city after being processed at the overcrowded Christmas Island. "If one of the big boats arrives, then Christmas Island will be blown out of the water," a source said.

According to intelligence reports the illegal vessels, carrying several hundred people each, are expected to make for the Ashmore Reef area off northwest Australia rather than directly to Christmas Island, south of Java. The Customs vessel Oceanic Viking and charter aircraft are on stand-by to transfer more than 300 people to Darwin within 72 hours after either of the vessels is intercepted. If both make it to Australia then up to 600 people will be moved to the mainland.

The transfer of asylum seekers to the mainland will be politically explosive, reinforcing concerns the Prime Minister broke his election promise to turn back the boats. Private Coalition polling shows up to 85 per cent of voters in marginal seats believe Mr Rudd has not delivered on a pledge to maintain a tough refugee policy. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has repeatedly said Labor's softer border protection scheme is proving a magnet for people smugglers.

The numbers of boat people arriving in Australian waters has accelerated in recent months, with the Government saying it was a global trend. This year, almost 1200 boat people have arrived on 24 vessels - nearly half the number of asylum seekers that arrived last year. For the first time since the latest boat people crisis began, the Darwin centre on old Defence Department land at Berrimah will become a holding centre for refugees waiting to obtain protection visas.

The Federal Government has been keen to avoid having to process asylum seekers on the mainland. High-level sources said the delicate balance of 140 spare beds on Christmas Island had been the result of good luck rather than good management, but that luck was about to run out. "We are ready to use Darwin when a big boat arrives," a source said.

Boat people have to be processed "offshore" on Christmas Island for legal reasons, so new arrivals cannot be taken directly to Darwin.


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