Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Another white black

This official Australian fiction that says that a white can be regarded as an Aborigine if they say they are is a form of political correctness that regularly leads to a shocking form of racism.  What happens is that whites get all sorts of awards, grants, opportunities etc. meant for Aboriginals.  Very rarely is any recipent of something designed for Aborigines in fact black.  Slight brownness is the most you can expect. So what is the message?  The message is that Aborigines themselves cannot do anything worthy.  They have to be represented by whites.  What a shocking message! How is that going to help Aborigines?  It is a total mess

Gwen and David Moore met on the set of Bitter Springs, a film about an Australian family learning how to work alongside local Aboriginal people in the outback.

It was not only the start of the couple’s love story, but also the start of their deep regard for Australia’s history and dedication to Aboriginal education.

The Gwen and David Moore Aboriginal Scholarship was established in 2015. It’s a trust worth more than $850,000 that supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students studying a major in archaeology, anthropology, history or sociology, with a focus on Aboriginal heritage and Australian pre-history.

David Moore graduated in 1966 with a Diploma of Anthropology from the University of Sydney before being appointed Curator of Anthropology at the Australian Museum.

The scholarship’s inaugural recipient, Kirsty Mitchell (left), is studying a Bachelor of Arts; she also wants to pursue her interest in archaeology by working at the Australian Museum.

“I am going to start volunteering in the museum’s Indigenous unit,” she explains. “Without the scholarship I wouldn’t have the opportunity to volunteer, as I would have to continue working.”

Kirsty hopes to pursue postgraduate studies in law and develop a leadership role with Aboriginal communities.

“It’s important to preserve our history,” she says. “At this vital time, when elders are getting older and no one is there to record our culture, stories and life experiences, it’s important that young Indigenous people go on that path. This scholarship provides that opportunity.”


Do Warmists actually think?  Mismatch between CO2 and temperature changes

It sometimes seems not.  This post is a reaction to the generally correct statement in the excerpt below to the effect that CO2 levels have been rising steadily for a long time now.  The problem is the second statement: That increased CO2 levels cause warming.  In combination, those two statements are inconsistent with the evidence.  In particular, warming levels behave quite differently from CO2 levels.  The two are simply not correlated.  They don't covary. And without correlation there is no causation. 

For instance, CO2 levels DID rise steadily in C21 but temperatures did not.  It was only in 2015 under the influence of El Nino that temperatures rose.  And as luck would have it, that was precisely the one year in which CO2 levels stagnated.   2015 CO2 levels at Mauna Loa just fluctuated up and down from month to month around the 400ppm mark. 

The 4th column is the actual average CO2 level in ppm.
So at no point in C21 did temperatures and CO2 levels rise at the same time.  They were two independent phenomena.

The figures from Cape Grim showed more change but from August on the CO2 level was stuck on 398 ppm.  And late 2015 was precisely the time when El Nino was most influential and the temperature rise was greatest.  Putting it another way, any warming from August on (inclusive) was NOT an effect of a CO2 rise  -- because there was no CO2 rise.  That rather knocks out most of the warming in 2015 as due to CO2.  So again, temperature and CO2 did not mirror one another.

The Warmists below just don't see that a steady CO2 rise accompanied by no temperature rise is a problem.  They are robotic propagandists not scientists

Within the next couple of weeks, a remote part of north-western Tasmania is likely to grab headlines around the world as a major climate change marker is passed.

The aptly named Cape Grim monitoring site jointly run by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology will witness the first baseline reading of 400 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, researchers predict.

"Once it's over [400 ppm], it won't go back," said Paul Fraser, dubbed by CSIRO as the Air Man of Cape Grim, and now a retired CSIRO fellow. "It could be within 10 days."

The most recent reading on May 6 was 399.9 ppm, according to readings compiled by the CSIRO team led by Paul Krummel that strip out influences from land, including cities such as Melbourne to the north

Mark Butler, Labor's shadow environment minister, said the Cape Grim landmark reading was "deeply concerning".  "While the Coalition fights about whether or not the science of climate change is real, pollution is rising. And it's rising on their watch," Mr Butler said.

Cape Grim's readings are significant because they capture the most accurate reading of the atmospheric conditions in the southern hemisphere and have records going back 40 years.
With less land in the south, there is also a much smaller fluctuation according to the seasonal cycle than in northern hemisphere sites. That's because the north has more trees and other vegetation, which take up carbon from the atmosphere in the spring and give it back in the autumn.

So while 400 ppm has been temporarily exceeded at the other two main global stations since 2013 - in Hawaii and Alaska - they have dropped back below that level once spring has arrived because of that greater seasonal variation.

David Etheridge, a CSIRO principal research scientist, said atmospheric CO2 levels had fluctuated around 280 ppm until humans' burning of fossil fuels and clearing of forests set in process rising levels of greenhouse gases almost without pause since about 1800.

"It's been upwards pretty much all of the time," Dr Etheridge told Fairfax Media. "This is a significant change, and it's the primary greenhouse gas which is leading to the warming of the atmosphere."


Sydney Muslim arrested over 'probably imminent' terrorist plot

An 18-year-old man has been arrested in north-western Sydney by federal and New South Wales police for allegedly planning an "imminent" terrorist act.

Tamim Khaja, of Macquarie Park in Sydney's north-west, was arrested in Parramatta about 10:00am by the Joint Counter Terrorism Team, comprising of officers from the Australian Federal Police, the NSW Police, and other government agencies.

The ABC understands that he was a former student at Epping Boys High School and when he was in year 12 last year he was investigated by counter-terrorism police after allegedly preaching radical Islam at the school.

Authorities said the arrest was not related to raids earlier today at properties in Melbourne, which were part of an operation connected to the arrest of five Victorian men who allegedly planned to travel to Indonesia by boat.

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said Khaja's arrest had prevented an attack, which was allegedly being planned and was described as "probably imminent".

Australian Federal Police Acting Deputy Commissioner Neil Gaughan said police will allege Khaja was looking for "possible sites in Sydney to undertake a terrorist attack and was making arrangements to acquire a firearm".

Deputy Commissioner Burn said police would allege Khaja was also planning to leave the country to go to Syria to join Islamic State. "He does have associations with some of the people that have already been put before the courts," she said.

Deputy Commissioner Burn would not identify which people and how they were linked, but said Khaja was acting alone in this alleged plot. She said police monitoring of his activities culminated in his arrest.

Arrested man was known to police for about a year

Acting Deputy Commissioner Gaughan said Khaja was expected to be charged with planning a terrorism attack and preparing for foreign incursions.

He said both offences carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.  He is expected to face Parramatta Local Court on Wednesday.

"We have taken swift action to ensure the safety of the community and we are satisfied that any threat to the community posed by this individual has been mitigated," he said.

He said Khaja, who has been known to police for about a year, had attempted to leave the country to fight with terror organisations overseas in February, but was "unable to".

Acting Deputy Commissioner Gaughan said his passport was later cancelled.

He said police were currently in the charging process and allegations were yet to be taken to the court so he was not in a position to go into more detail, but said the arrest was another example of the disturbing trend of Australians allegedly subscribing to terrorist ideologies.

"Unfortunately what is concerning is that we are still seeing people who want to do an attack in our country.

"We are still seeing people planning and preparing for such attacks and unfortunately that group of people are getting younger and younger.

"As we all know, youth are vulnerable particularly around the radicalisation and we have a lot of things in place to try to deal with it but it is still of absolutely concern that we are still continuing to see it happen."

She said this was one of nine planned terror attacks the NSW Police Joint Counter Terrorism Taskforce had prevented as part of the ongoing Operation Appleby.


The Treasurer’s welcome attack on public service pension rorts

Sadly he received very little public credit, but in Scott Morrison’s 2016 budget, the Treasurer took the first steps to tackle what is undoubtedly the biggest long-term financial problem facing Australia — the unfunded public service pension scheme.

That scheme represents a budget black hole of between $400 billion and $600bn and it is expanding at a pace of around $6bn a year, fanned by expensive rorts that past treasurers have been too frightened to tackle.

Peter Costello set up a Future Fund during the mining boom in an attempt to cover the cost but he greatly underestimated the size of the black hole and its explosive rate of growth.

The Future Fund currently has about $120bn invested, which covers only about a quarter of the black hole.

Soon after Scott Morrison took office, I alerted the Treasurer to the problem and he acknowledge that alert on budget night.

Morrison now understands that whereas the public servants say the deficit in their defined benefit fund (including judges) is only $200bn, they use unrealistic calculations that do not take into account the interest rate fall and some of the rorts that the public servants have injected into the fund when Treasurers have been asleep or too weak.

The massive shortfall only involves public servants, including judges, who were hired prior to 2007. Those who were hired after 2007 receive an accumulation entitlement similar to the private sector and there is no shortfall. But those hired before 2007 have a lifetime indexed annuity plus entitlements.

The worst of these rorts is the entitlement awarded to retired public servants who have lost their spouse/partner. If they take on a new spouse/partner, then that person continues to receive the public service pension for life when the retired public servant dies. The new partner/spouse could be aged 30 and live to 100.

The private sector simply could not afford such a generous entitlement but nor can Australian taxpayers.

Scott Morrison has not tackled that rort and indeed has not reduced the basic indexed fund entitlement.

But what he has done is to superimpose the changes that he plans to make to private superannuation onto the public sector. He was helped by consultants from the private sector who understand the real cost of public service pensions.

One of the rorts that has been captured by applying the proposed private sector rules is the ability of employed public servants to receive their annual entitlement to the bonanza pension but to also sacrifice salary and invest in a conventional accumulation fund separate from the pension. It was blatant double dipping.

Under the Morrison proposal, from July 1, 2017, the government will estimate both a notional and actual superannuation contribution for members of the pre-2007 defined benefit funds.

Members of pre-2007 defined benefit schemes will still be permitted to make concessional (tax deductible) contributions to accumulation schemes, however, not only will the new $25,000 cap in the private sector be imposed but it will be reduced by the amount of the public servants ‘notional contributions’ to the defined benefit fund.

There are also new clamps to non-tax-deductible contributions to accumulation funds that equate to the $500,000 lifetime contribution clamp.

From July 1, 2017, members of defined benefit schemes and constitutionally protected funds will be subject to the $250,000 threshold for high-income contributions tax (subject to current constitutional exemptions).

To broadly replicate the effect of the proposed $1.6m cap, pension payments over $100,000 per annum paid to members of unfunded defined benefit, will continue to be taxed at full marginal rates, however the 10 per cent tax offset will be capped at $10,000 from July 1, 2017.

For members of funded defined benefit schemes, 50 per cent of pension amounts over $100,000 per annum will now be taxed at the individual’s marginal tax rate.

Double dipping in the accumulation funds will involve large figures but the other changes do not have a big financial impact because they are concentrated on higher earners.

At some point the next Treasurer, whether it be Scott Morrison or Chris Bowen, will have to face this gigantic national problem. Morrison has set the precedent.


The foolish tattoo fad

Everyone likes a good play on words and one of the best I've come across recently was on the side of a van parked outside my temporary home in Sydney: Renude.

Renude is an enterprise that offers to remove tattoos from those (increasingly many) who have so foolishly disfigured themselves.

I would buy shares in this noble enterprise if they were available for sale, and at the annual general meeting of shareholders I would suggest to its management that it sponsored independent research demonstrating that the possession of unwanted tattoos was a serious burden on the Australian economy and taxpayer. 

The research would show that such tattoos were the cause of anxiety and depression leading inevitably to time off work and loss of production. Furthermore, it would show that the tattooed are, by comparison with the untattooed, unemployed for longer. The costs in lost production, and in sickness and unemployment benefits, would be shown to be many millions (or, as we always put it these days, billions).

Removal of tattoos would save much of this money. It is easy to prove that a dollar's worth of tattoo-removal would save the taxpayer ten or twenty dollars in various benefits. Tattoo-removal would therefore be not a cost but an investment, one of the best that could be made.

Alas, many of the seriously-tattooed, having spent all their money on tattoos, cannot afford their removal as well. Why, in any case, should only the rich have their tattoos removed? There is only one solution, therefore: for the government to step in and pay for it out of general taxation. Compared with such proven extravagances as health and education, tattoo-removal is both cheap and effective. It would also improve slightly the aesthetic quality of daily life.


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