Sunday, February 26, 2017

More Warmist prophecy

Summer is already past its peak so where is the bleaching?

The Great Barrier Reef could be struck by its worst-ever blast of coral bleaching as early as this year, experts have warned.

Sea temperatures around the reef near Queensland, Australia, have reached a year-long high, putting coral at risk of extreme heat stress, according to a UN report.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority warned that the reef is more at risk now than it was just before its previous worst-ever bleaching last year, when a quarter of all coral was killed off.

It said a 'lack of planning' for climate change was to blame.

The report, which was presented to the UN on Friday, said that 'unprecedented severe bleaching and mortality of corals in 2016 in the Great Barrier Reef is a game changer'.

The vast coral reef is under pressure from agricultural run-off, the crown-of-thorns starfish, development and climate change.

Last year swathes of coral succumbed to devastating bleaching, due to warming sea temperatures, and the reef's caretakers have warned it faces a fresh onslaught in the coming months.

Canberra updated the UN's World Heritage committee on its 'Reef 2050' rescue plan in December, insisting the site was 'not dying' and laying out a strategy for incremental improvements to the site.

But an independent report commissioned by the committee concluded that the government had little chance of meeting its own targets in the coming years, adding that the 'unprecedented' bleaching and coral die-off in 2016 was 'a game changer'.

'Given the severity of the damage and the slow trajectory of recovery, the overarching vision of the 2050 Plan... is no longer attainable for at least the next two decades,' the report said.

Shallow-water corals in the north of the 1,400-mile (2,300-kilometre) long reef were affected, although central and southern areas escaped with less damage.

The government has pledged more than £1.2 billion (US$1.5 billion) to protect the reef over the next decade, but researchers noted a lack of available funding, with many of the plan's actions under-resourced.

The latest assessment comes after the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority warned the Queensland State government of an 'elevated and imminent risk' of mass-bleaching this year, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

With heavy use of coal-fired power and a relatively small population of 24 million, Australia is considered one of the world's worst per capita greenhouse gas polluters.

Researchers highlighted that the government's rescue plan does not do enough to address climate change, noting that 'new coal mines pose a serious threat' to the reef's heritage area.

While the plan has a strong focus on improving water quality, environmental groups too have been critical of the government for inactivity on global warming.

'These independent experts have given UNESCO a far more accurate assessment of progress than the rose-coloured-glasses version released by the Australian and Queensland Governments late last year,' said World Wildlife Fund Australia head of oceans Richard Leck.

But Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg told the ABC the government had been 'very successful to date' in implementing the reef's 2050 plan.

'Climate change is the number one threat to the reef together with water quality issues,' he said, citing the government's ratification of the Paris agreement, the world's first universal climate pact, as part of the 'broader' efforts to reduce stress on the reef.


Australian universities ask students to respect Muslims by not shaking hands with the opposite sex

Top Australian universities are asking students to respect Muslims by understanding that shaking the hand of the opposite sex is not allowed for followers of Islam. 

Adelaide's Flinders University, Perth's Curtin University and the University of Western Australia (UWA) provide information to students aimed at giving them a better understanding of Islam.

This information hopes to further the understanding that 'shaking hands or touching members of the opposite sex who are not family is not permitted' for Muslims, The Australian reported.

It also says greeting Muslims with phrases such as or 'Happy Easter' or 'Merry Christmas' is not culturally appropriate.

National Union of Students ethno-cultural officer Lorena White told The Australian universities should not force students to participate in actions that do not respect their faith.

UWA and Flinders University do not have a formal handshake protocol, according to a spokesperson from each institution.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said: 'We expect them [universities] to be ­accountable to their communities, students and the taxpayers who fund them and to reflect community expectations and standards.'


Tony Abbott plays his Trump card: Former leader unleashes on Malcolm Turnbull as 'Labor lite' - and calls for him to slash immigration and scrap climate change targets

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has called on his successor to wind back immigration, axe the Human Rights Commission and stop 'pandering' to climate science.

Mr Abbott said Malcolm Turnbull was losing votes to One Nation because he was running a 'Labor-lite' government, he told a book launch for 'Making Australia Right', edited by Jim Allan, in Sydney on Thursday night.

He said to win back votes before the next election, Mr Turnbull should scale back immigration to ease housing prices, axe funding to the Human Rights Commission to stop 'financial bullying', and cut the renewable energy target to stop 'pandering' to climate change 'theology'.

'The Coalition has become Labor-lite,' he said in his speech at the book launch, in a transcript supplied to The Daily Telegraph.

Mr Abbott, who was rolled by Mr Turnbull in September 2015, said there was disappointment with 'perhaps even despair' with the government.

'These criticisms aren't always fair. 'Still, unless we heed the message from people who think that we have let them down, a book like this can become the thinking person's justification for voting One Nation.'

The former prime minister said it was 'easy to see why' the major parties lost votes in last year's election. 'Our challenge is to be worth voting for,' Mr Abbott said.

Mr Abbott later told conservative columnist Andrew Bolt the government was losing its way.

'Plainly there are lots of people who are concerned about our direction and plainly the risk is we will drift to defeat if we don't lift our game,' Mr Abbott told Sky News on Thursday night.

'I have a duty to try and ensure that our party and our government stays on the right track and plainly there are some issues right now and it's incumbent upon me to raise these issues, to exercise if you like the freedom of the backbench.'

Mr Abbott's intervention is politically destabilising to Mr Turnbull, who governs with a bare one-seat majority.

The comments are reminiscent of former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd destabilising Julia Gillard in the years after she took his job in June 2010.

Now Mr Abbott, who like Mr Rudd was knifed as PM during his first term, said politics shouldn't be a clash of egos. 'It won't be easy but it must be possible or our country is doomed to a Shorten government that will make a bad situation immeasurably worse,' Mr Abbott told the book launch on Thursday night.

'In or out of government, political parties need a purpose. Our politics can't be just a contest of toxic egos or someone's vanity project.'

During his speech at the book launch, Mr Abbott also recommended the government consider taking senate reform to the next election.

'The Senate sabotage of the 2014 budget was blamed on poor salesmanship, but my successor's difficulties with far less sweeping measures show that the problem is less the salesman than the system.'

On The Bolt Report, Mr Abbott said Mr Turnbull needed to live at Kirribilli House, on Sydney Harbour, instead of having taxpayer foot a hefty security bill to live at his mansion across the water at Point Piper, in the eastern suburbs.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says she does not agree with Mr Abbott's assessment that the government risks a 'drift to defeat' if it fails to lift its performance.

Speaking to reporters in London on Thursday Ms Bishop said she had not seen Mr Abbott's 'so-called manifesto' to make the next election winnable for a coalition government.

She said the Liberal Party welcomed policy initiatives from ministers and backbenchers and as a former party leader Mr Abbott would have ideas. But she said she rejected Mr Abbott's 'drift to defeat' view. 'I don't accept that characterisation at all.'

Ms Bishop said the Turnbull government had been pursuing policies that were in the interests of the Australian people to grow the economy, create jobs and focus on national security.

She also rejected a suggestion in an Andrew Bolt interview with Mr Abbott on Sky News that she was not 'conservative, plain-speaking and loyal'.

Ms Bishop said she had been elected by the party to be deputy leader and she owed her loyalty to the party room.

'If there's a characterisation about being conservative and plain speaking and loyal I believe I fill that characterisation.'

On the West Australian election Ms Bishop said she expected the Liberal Party to win in its own right without One Nation support as Premier Colin Barnett was the only leader with a plan for the future prosperity of the state.

On Friday morning, Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said the government was 'getting on with the job' and would not be distracted by the speculation.


Has Bob Hawke lost his marbles?

Senile dementia?  He's 87

It is something of an event when a long-standing friend of Israel chooses to publicly criticize it and recommend recognising Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority (PA) (but not Hamas-controlled Gaza) as a sovereign ‘Palestine.’ In the case of former Prime Minister Bob Hawke, writing recently in the Australian Financial Review (14 Feb.), this was always going to be newsworthy, given his long role in passionately standing up for Israel in the labor movement at home and abroad amidst the radical furies of the 1970s.

Accordingly, Mr Hawke’s views command attention and their provenance can have an impact on an ALP seeking to define its stance. In fact, it probably has: since his piece appeared, former Labor Foreign Ministers Gareth Evans and Bob Carr have felt called upon renew their own calls for recognising ‘Palestine’ and they now been joined by former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd.

Mr Hawke was once an eloquent proponent of the view that Israel could not relinquish territories to forces inimical to its existence. Yet his views began to alter, perhaps as early as the late 1970s, but certainly by the mid-1980s. It is not unreasonable to suppose that his Israeli Labor counterparts, who were increasingly adopting the view that a Palestinian state might defuse the conflict, exerted an influence on his thinking. Witnessing a seemingly unending sequence of bloodshed and uneasy respites over decades inclines people of goodwill to suppose that a bold initiative might break the tragic logjam. And indeed, the Israeli Labor Party did eventually embrace this point of view, chartering in 1993 the Oslo peace process with Yasser Arafat and his Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), upon whose probity its ultimate success depended.

It did not work out as intended, at least on the Israeli side. The PA regime established in Gaza and Jericho in 1994, later progressively extended to other major population centers in the West Bank, proved a corrupt and violent entity which, far from fostering a renovation of Palestinian society away from terrorism and conquest towards peace and accommodation, actually incubated the jihadist terror organizations of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Children within the PA became hostage to an educational system replete with incitement to hatred and murder. One need only view a few video clips of Palestinian classrooms, with their pupils interviewed openly and proudly on PA television, extolling the religious and national duty of murdering Israelis, to see the bloodcurdling effectiveness of this sort of pedagogy.

None of this was altered or ameliorated by the transfer by Israel of territory, funds and, tragically, even arms, to Arafat’s forces, to say nothing of the vast inflow of foreign capital: in the Oslo era, Palestinians became the largest per capita recipients of international aid while, for example, tragically destitute Niger, with one doctor per 33,000 people, got peanuts.

Ambitious peace plans, going beyond what most Israelis before, then and since regarded as prudent, the first brokered by US President Bill Clinton in 2000-1, the second proposed by then-Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008, were rebutted without counter-offer by the PA.

Indeed, Arafat’s response in 2000 was to launch a terror wave of suicide bombers against Israel that lasted four years and claimed the lives of over 1,100 Israelis. In the years since Oslo, more Israeli lives have been snuffed out by terrorists than had been in all 45 years of Israel’s national existence that preceded Oslo.

The wonder, then, is not that Hawke changed his view on dealing with the PLO –– many a friend of Israel, to say nothing of about half of Israelis, came to the view that the conflict was perpetuated by the absence of Palestinian self-determination, not continuing rejection of Israel’s legitimacy and permanence. Rather, the wonder is that many including Mr Hawke continue to subscribe to this viewpoint, long after the Oslo process had been tested to destruction and ruination. It is peculiar to read Mr Hawke today, thinking and arguing as though Oslo never happened, as if dealing with Arafat’s lieutenants and loyalists had never been tried.

Thus, he now writes,“I and the friends of Israel around the world are fearful that in a real sense we may be witnessing again after thousands of years a giant Eyeless in Gaza. Is there not emerging the danger of Israel being blinded to the threat to its very soul and the vision of its future?”

Other than one small change of phrase, Mr Hawke has lifted verbatim a passage from a speech he gave in May 1988 where he first voiced the view that Palestinian statelessness was the key issue. No-one who has spoken to Mr Hawke about Israel, as I have several times in the past, including on that night in May 1988, could doubt that he viewed negotiations with the PLO as the acme of far-sighted Israeli statesmanship. Far from being disabused by the carnage and tragedy that followed from Israel acting on such advice, and, ironically, eleven years since Israel evacuated every Jew, living and dead, from Gaza in return for exponentially increased rocket assaults, he seems entrenched in the view that he has been right all along.

Mr Hawke used to propound the view that, should Israel ever be assaulted from territories it had ceded for peace, it should reoccupy them in perpetuity, without any further “argy-bargy.”  Today, however, in the absence of argy-bargy –– the PA has persistently refused all but one week of talks with Israeli counterparts in the past eight years –– he thinks Australia should recognise as a sovereign state the PA that has served as the base for these assaults. Accordingly, he joins the ranks of those who urged Israel to take risks for peace and continue to do so, long after it has blown up in its face.

Why has he done so? With those who were always hostile to Israel, there is little mystery, but in the case of Mr Hawke it is difficult to diagnose the cause. A warm friend of the late Israeli Labor Prime Minister, Golda Meir, Mr Hawke, in his recent piece, recalls her telling him in the immediate aftermath of the 1973 Yom Kippur War that “there could be no peace for Israel until there was an honourable settlement of the aspirations of the Palestinian people.”

Peculiarly, this recollection is not to be found in the detailed account of this meeting in Blanche D’Alpuget’s biography (Robert J. Hawke, pp. 259-60). But whenever Golda Meir communicated these views to him, it remains worth noting that she also said in 1976 that the “startling effrontery” of the PLO in seeking a Palestinian state, the better to assault Israel at a later date, made it ineligible for talks until its changed its eliminationist program.

The PLO has certainly since changed some of its statements (at least in English) –– and, as noted, was rewarded with recognition, territory and assets as a result –– but it only takes a moment’s checking of today’s scene to see that the change Mrs Meir hoped to see has yet to emerge.

In the last month alone, the PA has upbraided the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for the “sin” of correctly stating that the Jewish biblical temples stood on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. An Al-Quds university academic, professing that Jews have no historical connection to the city, was just broadcast on PA TV.  Indeed, the PA, whom Mr Hawke wishes to recognise as a state, has called for such a state to be Jew-free.

Mr Hawke’s cri de cœur shows no flicker of recognition of the state of Palestinian society today and its majority support for terrorism against Israel. Of the PA-encouraged and applauded wave of ongoing stabbing attacks on Jews walking Israeli streets, or the call to preserve the mosques atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount from wholly imaginary assault from what the PA’s Abbas called the Jews’ “filthy feet,’ not a word.

Indeed, Mr Hawke doesn’t seem to have noticed that the PA recently led a successful effort at the UN with the backing of the so-called ‘non-aligned’ bloc to have UNESCO authorize a flat-earth resolution rewriting history by declaring Jerusalem’s Temple Mount to be an exclusively Muslim site.

Mr Hawke used to oppose mightily the cynical manipulation and fostering of Jew-hatred, encoded as anti-Zionism, via international organizations. Today, however, when blatant denial of Jewish history and heritage is the order of the day and malevolent anti-Semitic fiction declared to be fact, he believes that Israel can obtain peace from those who deny Jews ever lived there.

Instead of conceding that Israel did as he urged and was rewarded with bloodshed, opprobrium and boycott, he lends his hand today to applauding December’s UN Security Council Resolution 2334, another flat-earth resolution, which has condemned as illegal all Jewish residence in the West Bank and the eastern half of Jerusalem. (Actually, Jewish settlement in these territories has been something enshrined in international law since the 1920 San Remo settlement and never subsequently extinguished by any binding agreement).

Mr Hawke now urges Australia to recognise ‘Palestine,’ an international fabrication designed to circumvent the negotiations that he believed –– as he enthusiastically opined at the time of Oslo Accords –– he had been ahead of his time in urging upon the Israelis. He shows no sign of having thought whether Australian recognition of ‘Palestine’ might aid postponing indefinitely any prospect of a settled peace, as indeed it does: Israeli/Palestinian negotiations have less chance of convening, much less succeeding, if only because 2334 tells Palestinians that everything is theirs and that there is nothing to negotiate.

Indeed, even Mr Hawke seems to be thinking this way. Why else recycle, as he did in his piece, the old chestnut that the 1947 UN General Assembly partition resolution recommending two states, which as he reminds us, emerged in good part due to the efforts of Australia’s External Affairs Minister, Dr. H.V. Evatt, gave 54% of “the Palestinians’ best cultivated land and cities” in British Mandate of Palestine to its Jewish third, who merely owned 6% of the country, while giving a mere 47% “of their own country” to the Palestinian two-thirds who owned the remaining 92%?

Not only is the mathematics shoddy, but the statistics absurd: in the territory that became Israel in 1948, Jews owned 8.6% of the land, Arabs owned 20.2%, and the remainder ––71.2% –– was Crown land. The greater part of the territory awarded to the Jews by the UN, far from being “the Palestinians’ best cultivated land and cities” was the almost uninhabited Negev desert. Major Arab cities and towns –– Jaffa, Ramleh, Lydda, Ramallah, Nazareth, Gaza –– were all awarded by the UN to the intended Arab state and would be part of one today, had the Palestinian and wider Arab leadership accepted the award.

How swallowing whole and regurgitating  a cynical fabrication routinely disseminated by Israel’s enemies honours Golda Meir, a plucky defender of her country, and her aspirations for peace is anyone’s guess. It is surely not saying too much to assert, at the least, that she would have been profoundly dismayed at this turn of argument from her passionately pro-Israel Australian friend.

Whatever brought Bob Hawke to this pass can only be guessed at. But one can certainly say of his current preoccupation with establishing a Palestinian state via international pressure on Israel is that it suffers from the undemocratic tendency of seeking to compel Israel, against the judgment of its government and electorate, to make self-defeating concessions to a unreconstructed, irredentist Palestinian regime.

It also partakes of the flawed tendency to believe that such a state will produce peace. Yet no perusal of Palestinian sermons, statements or publications suggests that Palestinians currently accept the idea of a peaceful state alongside Israel. If a Palestinian state won’t bring peace, why create it or urge its creation upon others? Surely, a policy that devises carrots and sticks to induce Palestinians to relinquish their war on Israel’s continued existence provides the best basis for future, fruitful negotiations.

In the meantime, Palestinians live under Hamas in Gaza and the PA in the West Bank. Scarcely a happy outcome for Palestinians, who must contend with the despotism, brutality, corruption and capriciousness of their own regimes, even while sharing their political goals. But we can discard the cant about their being occupied by an Israel that stands to lose its soul.

As it stands, the PA lacks vital attributes of sovereignty required under international law, such as effective control of territory and undivided authority. Does Australia really wish to endorse a mischievous fiction by recognizing ‘Palestine,’ which additionally circumvents a negotiated settlement? Mr Hawke never asked this question, but those reading him should.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

No comments: