In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG mocks the corruption in the NSW Labor government
How out of touch can a Leftist economist get?
Ross Gittins, below, wants Australians all to say "Sieg Heil" and "Heil Gillard", apparently. He wails that his Fuehrer can't get no respect. He is totally oblivious of the fact that respect has to be earned. And a government that (for instance) is pigheadedly determined to waste $46 billion on a fibre broadband network that hardly anybody wants deserves no respect whatever
Gittins proves once again that all Leftists are Fascists at heart
So alienated have we become from the work of government we regard it as a giant soft cop - a magic pudding, where the idea is to take out as much as possible ("I've paid taxes all my life .") and put in as little as possible. How is this circle squared? Who knows, who cares?
But there's more to this affair than just our pathological objection to paying more tax. It's a dramatic demonstration of the way Australians are losing the ability to fall in behind a leader.
All of us know the nation's problems won't be overcome without decisive leadership. We regularly bewail our politicians' lack of courage and conviction, their reluctance to risk their personal survival in the country's best interests.
Yet we give our leaders so little loyalty. The announcement of a government decision is taken as the occasion for the outbreak of dissent. All those with a reason for objecting cry out and their criticism is amplified by the media, whereas those who agree fall silent. No one feels obliged to actively support the leader, even if just because she is our leader and someone has to accept ultimate responsibility for deciding what we'll do and how we'll do it.
Of course, no one wants to live in a country where the leader's will is never challenged. We each have the democratic right to oppose all government decisions by all legal means. But we also have the democratic right to support, defend or even just acquiesce in the judgment of the people we elected to lead us. [Who questions that right? I think Gittins really meant "duty" -- in the best Fascist style. Hitler called it the "Fuehrerprinzip"]
Why are we becoming so much more prone to arguing the toss than falling into line? How do we imagine making leadership so much more difficult for the leader of the day will leave us better governed? Why are we training our governments to timidity?
Part of the explanation is partisanship - our willingness to put loyalty to party ahead of loyalty to our community and its need for effective leadership. I didn't vote for these people, so I'll regard everything they try to do as illegitimate.
Trouble is, there is little partisanship running the other way. Consider the deathbed bastardry of Labor's own Kristina Keneally in objecting that NSW taxpayers deserve special concessions under the levy.
No, there's more to this than partisanship: there is a general loss of loyalty and respect for whoever is our leader. The government is always and everywhere fair game. Consider the lack of public censure of the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, for his utterly obstructive behaviour.
Having narrowly lost the last election, he's behaving like a spoilt child, refusing to support any policy proposed by the government, whether good, bad or indifferent.
New rules to give NSW women equal representation
The last shriek of a dying Leftist government. Hitler saw evil in the over-representation of Jews in the top levels of German society. His socialist successors see evil in the over-representation of men in the top levels of modern Western societies. The routine Leftist inability to look at people as individuals rather than as group members is the same
Women will make up half of new appointments to New South Wales government boards and committees by the end of next year, the State Government says.
In a bid for gender equality, Minister for Women Jodi McKay announced the package which includes an "if not, why not approach" to equality, at the Rural Women's Awards last night. "Women comprise over 50 per cent of the NSW population yet currently only 38 per cent of all NSW government board and committee positions are held by women," Ms McKay said. "We want to make sure boards and committees better reflect the communities they serve as well as provide improved access to the benefits of a wider talent pool."
The new rules mean agencies will need to regularly report on progress, and more resources will be made available to encourage women to nominate for positions, including how-to guides, information sheets and case studies. "We'll also provide quarterly public reporting on how we're tracking towards the 50 per cent target," Ms McKay said.
A review will take place in 2012, which will consider whether further measures should be introduced, such as legislation, to increase the rate of progress towards gender equality.
Big retreat from Greenie schemes in NSW
Kristina Keneally is promising to axe electricity bill rises of $100 in a $1.5 billion bid to calm voter anger over power prices. The Premier also flagged she would soon announce an electricity rebate for households earning less than $150,000 a year. The moves come after months of revelations and campaigning by The Daily Telegraph to ease the pain on working families around the state.
"I can't make bananas any cheaper, I can't make the cost of petrol any cheaper but I can do something as the Premier of this state about electricity prices and that's what I'm doing," she said yesterday.
Ms Keneally said the Government would pay the entire cost of its $1.5 billion solar bonus scheme, until 2016, rather than all electricity users being charged. To pay for the promise, the Government will strip its Climate Change Fund almost entirely of money for green projects until 2020, including scrapping its long-running rainwater tank rebate. The policy change will spare the average electricity consumer a $100 rise in 2011-12 and $50 a year after that.
The Premier will announce today that all uncommitted funds for the Climate Change Fund, which is already paid from electricity and water bills, will be redirected to pay for the Solar Bonus Scheme. The Climate Change Fund would be increased by 1 per cent from 2012 - the increase to be funded by industry.
Ms Keneally said the announcement was the first of several measures she would announce soon to cut prices. Measures would include rebates and delaying the infrastructure spending of electricity companies, and would cut into the projected 30-42 per cent rises IPART has authorised over three years.
Ms Keneally said the Government had extended its rebate scheme on electricity bills "to all healthcare concession holders" but was "mindful there are a lot of working families doing it tough". Those families included households earning up to $150,000 a year, she said.
"The [federal] family tax benefit cuts in at about $150,000 ... and on paper that might sound like a lot but in reality when you're facing rising mortgage prices, rising food, childcare and electricity, it starts to get tough," she said.
Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell will come under pressure to back the promise - the second backdown on the solar bonus scheme.
Yesterday was the deadline for bids for the second tranche of the state's electricity assets - none were received after revelations last week the Premier would not proceed with the sale before the election.
Climate alarmists join looters in exploiting flood tragedy
Disasters bring out the best and worst in humanity. For most, it's a time to set aside petty differences and unite in a common cause. Altruism becomes the norm and genuine heroism common. For a rancid few, however, the temptation to take advantage of tragedy and chaos cannot be resisted. As always, the recent floods have been accompanied by a smattering of looting and price gouging amidst overwhelming acts of selflessness.
Nor has the looting been restricted to property and purse. Some have seized the chance to blame climate change and push the alarmist agenda. They are what might aptly be described as climate looters. To their credit, the majority of proponents of global warming have not attempted to claim the floods as due to human induced climate change. However, for a few it seems the temptation was too great to resist and, as might now be expected, the media have afforded them prominent coverage. Also not unexpectedly, the ABC has been prominent in propagating this blatant alarmist opportunism.
Interestingly, both here and overseas the alarmists who have attempted to promote the idea that these floods are due to human induced climate change have taken such a noticeably similar line of presentation one might be forgiven the impression they were following an agreed upon approach. They first cite a brief disclaimer stating that the cause of individual weather events such as this cannot be known with certainty. This is immediately followed with the suggestion that, of course, increasing incidence of extreme weather events is exactly what we should expect from climate change. The remainder of the discussion then accords with the assumption that this is the cause.
The ABC was a first responder along this line in a news story dated Friday, December 31, 2010 and titled, "Climate expert says more extreme weather likely". To assure the viewer received the desired message it was helpfully sub-titled, "Nobel prize-winning scientist David Karoly says Australia's current extreme weather is evidence of climate change."
This was followed up by a similar item on the Midday Report of 20 January 2010. This one featured Prof. Matthew England of the UNSW Climate Change Centre speculating on the role of CO2 in the floods.
Not to be outdone by the similarly named Oz network, the American ABC ran a similar story on 13 January. In this one Derek Arndt of the NOAA National Climatic Data Center and Richard Somerville from Scripps, UCSD were interviewed. This report went for a Hat Trick in which the floods here, in Sri Lanka and in Brazil were all attributed to GW with the recent blizzards in the U.S. tagged on for added impact.
Another example in the same vein appeared in The Australian of 11 January. It featured an interview with Professor Will Steffen, the executive director of the ANU Climate Change Institute. In it he said, "... there was no direct link between global warming and the tragic flash flooding in Toowoomba.." ; but, then went on to say that climate change would lead to heavier, more frequent rain. However, the headline was, "Global warming will cause further extreme weather patterns, climate change chief says" and the subtitle, "One of Julia Gillard's top climate change advisers has warned that global warming may cause more extreme rain events."
As to any possible merit to these claims, let's briefly consider but a few important facts. The Bureau of Meteorology has posted on its website a most interesting document entitled, "Known Floods in the Brisbane & Bremer River Basin, including the Cities of Brisbane and Ipswich". For Brisbane it shows 10 previous major floods since 1840. Eight of these were in the 60 years from 1840 to 1900. Six of these were higher than the current flood. The record for Ipswich shows 21 major floods with 9 between 1840 to 1900 and the longest period free of major floods being the past two decades. If an increasing greenhouse effect is having any influence on the frequency and height of floods in this region it would seem we might benefit from more of it.
Another most important consideration with regard to the frequency and intensity of floods in this area is the major and now well documented influence of natural climatic cycles, specifically El Nino/La Nina and the Inter-decadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO). In particular Dr. Stewart Franks and colleagues from the Newcastle University School of Engineering have published a series of studies on this. They have clearly demonstrated a strong correlation between the frequency of severe flooding and La Nina events occurring in the negative (cooler) phase of the IPO. As the phase length of the IPO is about 3 decades and the positive (warmer) phase has just recently ended, it should be expected that over the next few decades increased flooding is likely. (For more on these studies click here, here, and here.) For a recent (24 January) ABC radio interview with Dr. Franks click here.
Despite multiple publications in peer reviewed journals, the climate alarmists must be either unaware of this whole body of highly relevant work or have chosen to not mention it. It would seem that if their expertise is not lacking, their honesty must be. The only apparent reason for ignoring key evidence offering significant capacity to predict the broad pattern of frequency in flooding events is that it is founded on natural cycles and thus does not support the claims of the climate alarmists.
The attempt to attribute these floods to global warming is only a rerun of a similar attempt with tropical cyclones after hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. Since then several years of below average storm activity plus statistical studies showing no recent trend of increase have left the warmists looking for a new alarm. The floods have provided it, if they can just insert GW as the suggested cause and keep ENSO/IPO unmentioned....
Regardless of all this, for GW to remain credible temperature must keep increasing. It's pretty hard to sell catastrophic warming when millions of people all over the world are suffering from bitterly cold weather. At this point all we have is a purported 0.7 degree C increase in average global surface temperature over the past century. This is about the same increase as may be encountered in moving a hundred miles closer to the equator or while eating breakfast on many mornings. It is, however, not nearly so certain.
The global temperature record is fraught with multiple uncertainties. These include poorly maintained and badly sited stations, an increasing sampling bias in favour of urban over rural weather stations and unexplained "adjustments" to data. All of these have contributed to warmer readings over time irrespective of any change in the actual climate. Not only is the margin of uncertainty larger than the purported warming, but there is also no means to determine what portion of any warming trend might be due to natural variability and what, if any, is due to human influence. Worse yet, there is good reason to suspect that much, if not all, of the claimed warming trend is an artefact of deliberate selection and manipulation of data such as has been found to have occurred in the fabrication of the infamous hockey stick graph and just recently in the New Zealand national temperature records.
Although the claimed warming is highly uncertain, the unadjusted raw data from numerous rural stations demonstrate no clear warming trend and those from urban areas show a distinct warming with increasing urban growth. Whatever contribution increased atmospheric CO2 might be having on a global scale, it must surely be very small.
The expenditure on and level of concern about climate change has been out of all proportion to the barely detectable and highly uncertain warming trend of the past century. Attention and resources have been diverted from the very real and dangerous natural variables and events of climate. It has also distracted from the far more urgent political and economic problems now threatening most developed nations. It is time we take a deep breath, get a grip on ourselves and start to reconsider what should be our most urgent priorities. It is also time to begin exercising some healthy disregard for unverified computer models, priggish academics claiming to be experts, ill-informed concerns of urban greens over things they know nothing about and the self-righteous bleatings of sundry activists who presume to know better than we do about how we should conduct our own lives.
The entire developed world is now suffering from a systemic economic malaise. This is already critical and promises only to become worse. The fantasy of clean green renewable energy is a delusion we cannot afford. In actual practice it has proven to be not nearly so friendly as imagined. It has also proved to be too costly, meagre and inconsistent to be a viable solution to our energy needs. The ongoing push to squander billions of dollars and sacrifice our economies on the altar of climate change is dangerous nonsense. Like sundry other isms, Climatism is a triumph of belief over evidence, of righteousness over reason. Whether the prophets of this one are destined to be rendered into harmless fools or dangerous fanatics ultimately depends upon the power we accord them.
More here. (See the original for links)