Wednesday, 29 April 2009

"To All My Valued Employees..."

Over the pond in America we recently witnessed a remarkable event - the Tea Parties.

Unlike demonstrations on the left, which are heavily organised by professional agitators, these were spontaneous expressions of people's anger at the impoverishment of the nation in general and the next generation in particular by the Obama administration.

Here in Australia, in 2007, our government inherited the most benign economic conditions probably throughout the history of worldwide elections - strong growth, a Future Fund with tens of billions of dollars and ZERO government debt.

How many developed economies had ZERO government debt? The last government had paid of the $100 billion they inherited when they took office in 1996.

The Europeans would give their right arms if they could achieve that outcome rather than be paying billions in interest payments.

Only 18 months later and the Labor government has decided it's OK to run up $200 BILLION in government debt. They've tried stimulating the economy and failed miserably. Economic forecasters are now talking about 8.5% unemployment next year, upping their prediction by 1%. Parenthetically, how many mainstream economists have made even one prediction that has been right in the last 12 months? About none. They all undershoot. Even that supposed bastion of world economic wisdom, the IMF, has been massively downgrading its forecasts as the downturn - conspicuously unpredicted by them - continues.

So we are stuffed. Completely. Which is why Kevin Rudd will go down as the worst PM we've ever had. Who would have thought that someone could take that title from Gough Whitlam?

One employer here in Australia has written to his employees expressing his frustration. It will resonate with every right thinking person regardless of where they live or work:
To All My Valued Employees,

There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company, and more specifically, your job. As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges. However, the good news is this: The economy doesn't pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job, however, is the changing political landscape in this country.

However, let me tell you some little tidbits of fact which might help you decide what is in your best interests.

First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a back story. This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear. Sure, you see me park my Subaru Outback outside. You've seen my big home at last year's Christmas party. I'm sure all these flashy icons of luxury conjure up some idealised thoughts about my life.

However, what you don't see is the back story.

I started this company 28 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 2 bedroom flat for 3 years. My entire living area was converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you.

My diet consisted of baked beans, stew and soup because every dollar I spent went back into this company. I drove a rusty Toyota Corolla with a wonky transmission. I didn't have time to go out with women. Often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business -- hard work, discipline, and sacrifice.

Meanwhile, my friends got jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a modest $50,000 a year and spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes.

Instead of hitting the David Jones for the latest hot fashion item, I was trolling through the discount store extracting any clothing item that didn't look like it was birthed in the 70's. My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury. I, however, did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into a business with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, will be able to afford these luxuries my friends supposedly had.

So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9am, mentally check in at about noon, and then leave at 5pm, I don't. There is no "off" button for me. When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have the freedom. I eat, and breathe this company every minute of the day. There is no rest. There is no weekend.

There is no happy hour. Every day this business is attached to my hip like a 1 year old special-needs child. You, of course, only see the fruits of that garden -- the nice house, the Subaru, the vacations... you never realise the back story and the sacrifices I've made.

Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the right decisions and saved his money, have to bail-out all the people who didn't.
The people that overspent their pay suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed a decade of my life for.

Yes, business ownership has its benefits but the price I've paid is steep and not without wounds.

Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit and let me tell you why:

I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don't pay enough.
I have state taxes. Federal taxes. Property taxes. Sales and use taxes.
Payroll taxes. Workers compensation. Unemployment taxes. Taxes on taxes.
I have to hire a accountant to manage all these taxes and then guess what?
I have to pay taxes for employing him. Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my time. On Oct 15th, I wrote a cheque to the Australian tax Office for $288,000 for quarterly taxes. You know what my "stimulus" cheque was? Zero. Zip. Zilch.

The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 2,200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or, the single mother sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare cheque?

Obviously, government feels the latter is the economic stimulus of this country.

The fact is, if I deducted (Read: Stole) 50% of your pay you'd quit and you wouldn't work here. I mean, why should you? That's nuts. Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work? Well, I agree which is why your job is in jeopardy.

Here is what many of you don't understand .... to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Had the government suddenly mandated to me that I didn't need to pay taxes, guess what? Instead of depositing that $288,000 into the Canberra black-hole, I would have spent it, hired more employees, and generated substantial economic growth.

My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But you can forget it now.

When you have a comatose man on the verge of death, you don't defibrillate and shock his thumb thinking that will bring him back to life, do you? Or, do you defibrillate his heart? Business is at the heart of Australia and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate it, not kill it. But the power brokers in Canberra believe the poor of Australia are the essential drivers of the Australian economic engine. Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change you can keep.

So where am I going with all this? It's quite simple.

If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I fire you. I fire your co-workers. You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your 4WD and your child's future. Frankly, it isn't my problem any more.

Then, I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire. You see, I'm done. I'm done with a country that penalises the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, will be my citizenship.

So, if you lose your job, it won't be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a politicians that swept through this country changed its financial landscape forever. If that happens, you can find me sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about....
I started my own business when I was in my early 20s. For over a year I took $100/week in pay, as did my partners. We hired people, quickly growing to double figures. There is no off button when you work for yourself. As he says, you're always on. How are you going to get the next deal? Are you able to make payments you've committed to? Can you actually supply what you've sold. These are issues for all businesses, as cash flow is king and it doesn't matter how well you're doing on paper it's always a trick to manage your debtors ledger tightly.

Kevin Rudd and his pack of ignorant leftists do not understand what makes an economy tick.

It's the entrepreneurship of people like me who built a company from nothing, ran it for a decade and a half and then sold it in order to move on. We created jobs that didn't exist, and would never have existed had we not opened that business. We got no government hand outs, no free kicks and no pat on the back for what we did.

Government debt destroys jobs.

Capiche? Understand? Comprehende?

Government debt destroys jobs.

No wonder the author of that letter is so peeved.

PS - apologies for lack of posts recently but I have been spending all of my time researching another topic and haven't had a chance to blog.

(Nothing Follows)

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Professor Plimer presents the real facts on climate change

Ian Plimer, Professor of Mining Geology at the University of Adelaide and confirmed curmudgeon, released his new book Heaven and Earth: Global Warming the Missing Science only a few days ago. The first two runs of 5000 sold out in just two days and it's into its 3rd run; and that's even before Amazon puts it on sale, which they have scheduled for May 1 - an appropriate day given that the world's socialists and the Climate Faithful are soulmates.

Which begs the question - has there ever been a faster selling book dealing with climate change than Plimer's?

Youtube gets rightly condemned for censoring content showing Israel in a good light and Islam in a bad light, as it should be. Given the preponderence of Democrat Party members on the Google board it comes as no surprise that such activity goes on.

However, without Youtube we also wouldn't have such easy access to the Inconvenient Truth destroying presentation given by Plimer recently. Make sure you show it to all of your believing friends.

One of the arguments that Climate Astrologers put forward to support their claim that the planet is in peril is that "this is different" to what has happened historically due to man's influence.

My answer to that is that if it really is different then why spend all that time studying the climate before the Industrial Revolution?

It's drivel, of course, but as with all leftists they're too busy forming opinions to spend any real time studying facts.

(Nothing Follows)

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Same sex marriage - Miss California v Mr Obama

One of the rules for judges at the Miss USA Pageant is to not ask political or sex-related questions.

So what does trumped up nothing Perez Hilton do?

Asks for her opinion on gay marriage.

It costs her the title but at least she can sleep at night knowing that she didn't sell out her values for the chance at fame.

Hilton is a huge Obama fan. No surprise there.

So what does Obama have to say on the same sex marriage question?

Let's contrast and compare.

So, if Miss California is a "dumb bitch" then what does that make Mr Obama?

Come to think of it there's probably a fair chance that Miss California, if President, would have introduced less economically and societally destructive policies than Obama...

(Nothing Follows)

Monday, 20 April 2009

Australian prime minister finally admits we're heading for recession

I wonder how hard it was for Kevin Rudd, who for so long has seen himself as infallible, to utter the R word today - recession?

In spite of data from at least October last year that a recession was unavoidable Rudd and his band of Keynesian economic illiterates have committed billions of dollars of the next generation's money to the task of avoiding a 'technical recession' - two negative quarters of growth in a row. This is a poor definition of recession, by the way, as inflation can mask a recession and lead to overconfidence in the current situation and bad decision making when tightening of the belt is required. A better definition is two consecutive quarters of negative production.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has admitted a recession in Australia is inevitable.

Speaking in Adelaide earlier today he said the worst global downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s had made it impossible for the Australian economy to escape recession.

"The worst global economic recession in 75 years means it's inevitable that Australia will be dragged into recession," Mr Rudd said. "The severity of the global recession has made it impossible for Australia to avoid a further period of negative economic growth."
Mr Rudd added that while the government could try and soften the blow of recession, it is impossible to avoid.

"The challenge for government is to cushion the impact of recession on business and jobs, through the actions we take, through economic stimulus strategy," he said.
A recession is defined by two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth.

The most recent economic growth figures, covering the final quarter of 2008, showed that the economy shrank by 0.5 percent.

Since then, a host of economic indicators have pointed towards a full-blown recession and some analysts are now tipping an unemployment rate of up to 10 percent by the end of next year.

Economic growth is unlikely to recover until the fourth quarter of this year.

"I expect we'll see a contraction in the June quarter as well as the March quarter," Besa Deda, chief economist at St George told ninemsn. "The June quarter will be tough but we could see some signs of growth indicators."

She added that the first signs of recovery will likely come from the housing sector but that consumer spending will not recover until the end of the year.

Last week, data from Westpac and the Melbourne Institute suggested economic growth is at a 26 year low.

While the government has spent $52 billion on economic stimulus since October last year, including the current $42 billion in cash bonuses currently being mailed to taxpayers nationwide, economists believe the payments have come too late to avoid technical recession.

Regardless of Mr Rudd’s prediction, Australians will have to wait until early June for confirmation of a recession. GDP figures for the first quarter of 2009 will be released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on June 3.
You may ask yourself was the recession foreseeable 6 months ago, as I claim.

Here is the data. It shows Australia's Services, Manufacturing and Construction indexes first in October and then for March. The graphs show whether markets are expanding or contracting. Above 50 indicates expansion and below 50 contraction (click to embiggen):

October 2008

March 2009

Now, any sane person looking at that first graph and seeing how things had tipped over, coupled with the global financial crisis and decreasing demand from our major export partners, Japan and China, would come to the conclusion that we're headed for a recession regardless of what definition you want to use.

What does Rudd do?

First, he pisses $10 billion up against the wall at the end of 2008. You can see how well that worked by looking at the second graph.

Not finished with his attempt to avoid a recession, Rudd then imperils Australia's financial future by committing tens of billions of dollars on all sorts of ridiculous schemes, nearly all of which will not have any short term stimulative effect.

Look at that second graph. Things are going to get much worse before they get any better.

According to the Brisbane Times (h/t: Andrew Bolt):
The mini-budget contained a provision for the nation’s gross debt to reach $200 billion… There was also the $42 billion for the second stimulus package. Should revenues be substantially worse than forecast in the mini-budget, there may be a need to borrow beyond the $200 billion limit.

This government came to power with Australia in its strongest economic position ever. We had no government debt. It had all been paid off.

In just a few years' time we will have upwards of $100 billion, and maybe double that, in an era in which $10+ billion budget surpluses are a thing of the past. If we achieve $2-$3 billion any time in the next decade then that would be great. That number, by the way, is at least the interest bill Australians will be paying on Rudd's incompetent economic largess. How are we going to pay off such massive debt?

This debt, by the way, doesn't include the impact of an emissions trading scheme on the economy or the yet to be felt impact of Rudd's changes to workplace relations laws, which have reduced labour market flexibility - the very thing needed to help cushion the blow of an economic downturn.

What this government is doing is going to profoundly affect the living standards of all Australians for decades to come.

Rudd is a far, far worse prime minister than the current holder of that title, Gough Whitlam. Hopefully, the Australian people work that out before the next election. However, I fear that even Malcolm Turnbull and his shadow cabinet of Liberal wets would prove to be completely feckless and lack the political will to take the tough decisions needed to pull Australia back to prosperity.

(Nothing Follows)

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Sunday night rock 'n' roll covers

"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is a rock ballad written by George Harrison for The Beatles on their double album The Beatles (also known as The White Album). The song was ranked #135 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. The song was also ranked #7 on "Rolling Stone"'s list of the 100 greatest guitar songs of all time.

The Original - The Beatles

Sad Loss - Jeff Healey

This guy is great - Jake Shimabukuro

(Nothing Follows)

Saturday, 18 April 2009

The talent of Steve Martin

Steve Martin really is a talented fellow as the following clips demonstrate.

The Great Flydini - very clever

On the Banjo with the great Earl Scruggs on Letterman

And the famous King Tut song

And if you haven't seen the hilarious The Man With Two Brains then you have missed out.

And in a classic role as Ruprecht from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Classic comedy.

(Nothing Follows)

Friday, 17 April 2009

Average Joe doesn't believe global warming caused by human activity

It comes as a big, huge non-surprise that only 34% of US voters now believe that global warming is caused by human activity.

This will come as a body blow to the credibility of Climate Astrologers, whose public opinion models had suggested that support would continue to grow.

From what I consider to be the best pollster in the US, Rasmussen, comes this survey:

Just one-out-of-three voters (34%) now believe global warming is caused by human activity, the lowest finding yet in Rasmussen Reports national surveying. However, a plurality (48%) of the Political Class believes humans are to blame.
The Political Class are greater believers than Average Joe? Imagine that. It's clear that Average Joe has a better handle on both the science and reality than politicians.
Forty-eight percent (48%) of all likely voters attribute climate change to long-term planetary trends, while seven percent (7%) blame some other reason. Eleven percent (11%) aren’t sure.

These numbers reflect a reversal from a year ago when 47% blamed human activity while 34% said long-term planetary trends.

Most Democrats (51%) still say humans are to blame for global warming, the position taken by former Vice President Al Gore and other climate change activists. But 66% of Republicans and 47% of adults not affiliated with either party disagree.
I find it astonishing that only 51% of Democrats blame humans for warming. That can't bode well for the support they'll need to push through an emissions trading scheme.
Sixty-two percent (62%) of all Americans believe global warming is at least a somewhat serious problem, with 33% who say it’s Very Serious. Thirty-five percent (35%) say it’s a not a serious problem. The overall numbers have remained largely the same for several months, but the number who say Very Serious has gone down.

Forty-eight percent (48%) of Democrats say global warming is a Very Serious problem, compared to 19% of Republicans and 25% of unaffiliateds.

President Obama has made global warming a priority for his administration. Half (49%) of Americans think the president believes climate change is caused primarily by human activity. This is the first time that belief has fallen below 50% since the president took office. Just 19% say Obama attributes global warming to long-term planetary trends.

Forty-eight percent (48%) rate the president good or excellent on energy issues. Thirty-two percent (32%) give him poor grades in this area.
These are hardly strong numbers for Obama.
Sixty-three percent (63%) of adults now say finding new sources of energy is more important than reducing the amount of energy Americans currently consume. However, 29% say energy conservation is the priority.

A growing number of Americans (58%) say the United States needs to build more nuclear plants. This is up five points from last month and the highest finding so far this year. Twenty-five percent (25%) oppose the building of nuclear plants.
One presumes that even though Average Joe doesn't know where the rest of the world is he can understand that if France meets 77% of its electricity requirements through nuclear power then the arguments against it can't be too sound.
While the economy remains the top issue for most Americans, 40% believe there is a conflict between economic growth and environmental protection. Thirty-one percent 31% see no such conflict, while 29% are not sure.
There should be no conflict but the fact is that Big Environment makes sure that one exists. They are a cancer on the underbelly of society.

(Nothing Follows)

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Chinese lecture Australia on reducing emissions

The Chinese - the Chinese! - are telling us that we need to "take the lead" on slashing our economic wrists by unilaterally implementing an emissions trading scheme. The world's largest CO2 emitters!

Check out the article from Fairfax press (true believers, they are, which comes across in the article):
Chinese climate experts have called on rich nations to rein in their "wasteful and luxurious" lifestyles, as they urged Australia to take the lead in tackling climate change.
The only reason that China does not have a much higher standard of living than the developed world is that in 1949 Chairman Mao was victorious and socialist economic policies ran the place. While Mao was trying to take great leaps forward with the result that tens of millions of people starved to death the West was developing new technologies that provided a much higher standard of living.
The experts asked a Canberra conference why China should take strong action on global warming when Australia's efforts were "insufficient".
That's the question.
China has the world's highest greenhouse gas emissions.
And there's the answer.
Some Australian commentators say China is largely responsible for cleaning up climate change, but Professor Jiahua Pan from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences turned the tables.
So who is this Professor Pan?

According to his bio he works for the Research Centre for Sustainable Development at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and from 1999-2001 was:
Senior Economist and acting head at occasions, Technical Support Unit, Working Group III on Mitigation of Climate change, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Bilthoven, The Netherlands
Co-editor and lead author, Climate Change 2001: Mitigation. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third Assessment Report, accepted by governments and published by Cambridge University Press in July 2001.
So he's simply another one of the IPCC Cabal entrusted by the Chinese government with making sure the finger is pointed at the rest of the world instead of China. Nice.
He said the planet could not afford for countries like Australia and the United States to have such "wasteful and luxurious" lifestyles.

"You have the luxury to emit so much," Prof Pan said during a frank speech at the Australian National University on Wednesday.
In fact, if Kyoto hadn't been such a scam and the concept of life cycle accounting hadn't been knocked on the head (mainly by the Europeans who would have been affected the most at the time) then China would be paying for the emissions that Australia produces in digging minerals out of the ground and sending them to...China.
"For basic necessities, I think that enough is enough ... we have only one small planet earth."
"Basic necessities"? What does that mean? We all get 100g of rice and a fish head to live on each day?
Prof Pan was unimpressed with Australia's environmental standards, saying public transport seemed poor and the buildings and street lighting were not energy efficient.
Australia's largest city - Sydney

China's largest city - Shanghai

If Professor Pan - aka the Chinese government - wants us to reduce our "wasteful and luxurious" lifestyle then is he/are they OK with making our cities' skylines look like China's?
He labelled as "insufficient" Australia's pledge to cut greenhouse emissions by five to 15 per cent by 2020.
The Greenies go wild! Cheering and clapping ensues as Pan tells them what they want to hear...
And he urged Australia to sell more uranium to China to boost nuclear power, a request that is being considered.
...and then he delivers the sucker punch, knocking the econuts for six and exposing the cognitive dissonance of their position on nuclear energy.
Prof Pan talked up China's one-child policy, saying it had helped the planet by avoiding 300 million births.
Now China is claiming that it has actually helped the planet by avoiding 300 million births? The fact that 90% of these births would have been in rural areas and result in the emission of a comparatively tiny amount of CO2 is overlooked.
The Chinese experts called for a global climate pact that would involve each country being allowed to emit a certain amount, based on their populations.

This is ominous for Australia because it has very high per capita emissions, whereas China has fairly low per capita emissions.

Australian climate adviser Ross Garnaut backed the per capita push in a video address to the conference, saying it was fair.
No it's not. It's ridiculous. If we were to be fair then perhaps developed countries would have a limit of say, 100 units, and developing nations could have 200. Developed nations, if fairness has any meaning, could then charge developing nations for the creation of technologies that developing countries are now taking advantage of at no cost to themselves. Developed countries have borne the brunt of this innovation so why is it 'fair' that developing nations get a free ride? It's not. Therefore we all get 150 units - which are not able to be traded so that fat hypocrites like Al Gore and most of Hollywood concernarati can't buy the permits of poor Indians and Chinese - and that's that.
Federal Climate Change Minister Penny Wong, who was not present for the Chinese experts' strongly worded remarks, praised the Asian nation's efforts on global warming.

She said Australia's 2020 target was "very substantial".

Senator Wong was cautious about per capita emission allowances, saying it was just one possible approach.
She's no dummy, this Penny Wong lady. Tough, too.
Meanwhile, it was pistols at dawn at Parliament House as scientists clashed over whether humans were causing climate change.

A Senate inquiry held its first hearing into climate change and what Australia should do about it.

The scientists had to be separated into two groups: the sceptics and the believers.
What? Was there the potential for fisticuffs? Dueling sabres? Pistols?
Bob Carter, a geologist at James Cook University, said there was no evidence carbon dioxide from humans was causing a climate disaster.

He said earth was in a period of "carbon dioxide starvation", and the climate was changing naturally.
And he's 100% spot on, as usual.
But six scientists, including a representative from CSIRO, told the hearing that humans were altering the climate. There was plenty of evidence for this, and the vast majority of scientists and scientific academies agreed with the conclusion, they said.
And they're 90% wrong - they've conflated humans altering climate, which land clearing will do, with CO2 emissions, which have little effect. It's worth noting that these people have received massive amounts of money from the people of Australia by way of taxes over the last 20 years and have a vested interest in maintaining the fraud.
They called on Australia to cut emissions by between 25 and 40 per cent by 2020.
Any less would not ward off dangerous climate change of more than two degrees, they warned.
As I pointed out yesterday, their position is completely immoral, as Australia could take itself back to the stone age and have no effect on its own environment due to China adding Australia's total output 2-3 times per year.
Nationals senator Ron Boswell objected to the call.

"Some of the figures you guys are throwing around, sitting in your professorships, you've probably got $200,000 a year ... you've got to be practical," he said.

"You're going to have an unemployment figure that will go through the roof."
Not the best person to have represent the side of reason and objectivity, I'd suggest, but he's right on unemployment.
Greens senator Christine Milne groaned and held her head in her hands at Senator Boswell's remarks.
Fortunately, misanthropic environut Milne was there to balance things out.
The inquiry continues on Thursday.
What an embarrassment for science and reason.

(Nothing Follows)

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

The immorality of Climate Do-Gooders

Read this article from The Canberra Times first and then I'll comment:
A group of CSIRO senior climate scientists has defied a gag order by the organisation to speak out on Australia's proposed greenhouse reduction targets.
The four high-profile scientists Michael Raupach, John Church, Pep Canadell and James Risbey have broken ranks with CSIRO to make personal submissions to a Senate inquiry into the Rudd Government's emissions trading scheme.

They claim tougher targets are needed to avoid Australia being "locked in" to dangerous climate change, and list 14 recent scientific findings that support their argument.

The rebel scientists cannot comment on their decision because they are public servants. But a CSIRO source said they could risk censure and possible career repercussions by taking such a public stand against the Government's controversial greenhouse reduction targets.

A CSIRO spokesman denied there was a gag on its scientists participating in the inquiry, and said the four were, "welcome to make comment as long as they are not representing CSIRO".

All four CSIRO scientists are world leaders in their various areas of climate research. Dr Raupach co-chairs the Global Carbon project, which oversees international research on the global carbon cycle. Dr Church chairs the scientific committee for the Geneva-based World Climate Research Program, Dr Canadell is executive director of the Global Carbon project and Dr Risbey has been involved in global climate research for more than 20 years.

A CSIRO source told The Canberra Times the group was determined to "present new scientific findings to the Senate inquiry that it believes are crucial to shaping Australia's future greenhouse policies".

The source said the scientists made their decision to go ahead with personal submissions after CSIRO management ruled out any participation in the inquiry by Australia's peak science body on the grounds that it would require comment on government policy.

A CSIRO spokesman said the inquiry's terms of reference, "went to the policy of the Government's carbon pollution reduction scheme, and in line with our public comment policy, we don't comment on government policy".

The scientists had been told to, "make it absolutely clear" they were not speaking on behalf of CSIRO. If asked to testify, they will be required to take formal leave and travel at their own expense.
I have no doubt that Raupach, Church, Canadell and Risbey firmly believe that anthropogenic CO2 emissions will lead to negative effects on the environment. If they didn't then they would hardly 'break ranks' with their employer, CSIRO, to make a submission to the Australian senate inquiry.

Their position is that Australia must ensure that it slashes its CO2 emissions else suffer the negative consequences.

They probably think that they have the moral high ground, being concerned with the environment and all.

The fact is that their position is deeply, deeply immoral.

Not that they would accept that reality.

Let's take the position for the moment that CO2 is the problem to the extent claimed by them and forget about climate models' inability to get within cooee of a correct forecast.

The unilateral imposition of an emission trading scheme in Australia will do untold harm to our economy. Only a complete economic illiterate would fail to appreciate that.

Those just leaving school, the low skilled, new migrants and those at the low end of the socio-economic scale will bear the burden of a unilateral emissions scheme.

Whatever action Australia takes will have NO impact on the environment here. It's up to China, India, Russia and Brazil - the so-called emerging economies - to agree to CO2 reduction programs. Australia is 1.4% of the world's CO2 output. China ADDS that amount every 4-6 months.

Please explain to me Messrs Raupach, Church, Canadell and Risbey how your plans will make one jot of difference?

Thus, they willfully promote the impoverishment of their fellow Australians and to no good end.

If that is not deeply immoral then the term has no meaning.

(Nothing Follows)

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Jim Rogers expects currency crisis

Financial guru Jim Rogers talks about why he's expecting a currency collapse in the not too distant future.

Who can gainsay him when central banks around the world are accelerating their printing of money?

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

(Nothing Follows)

Monday, 13 April 2009

Professor Ian Plimer takes on the Climate Taliban

To describe Australian professor Ian Plimer as a curmudgeon is to do somewhat of a disservice to curmudgeons the world over. He has developed a reputation over the years for combating lunatic ideas that have somehow gained a foothold in the public square.

He is most famous for taking on creationism and, specifically, the Noah's Ark nonsense.

Being a geologist by profession it therefore comes as no surprise that Plimer does not buy into the latest leftist fad of climate change (aka global warming, aka climate variation).

Such is Plimer's concern that the reputation of science is being sullied by a small group of rather moderate scientists and a much larger group of activist environmental groups that he penned a book, Heaven And Earth, as a counter to the weight of agitprop from the Climate Taliban.

The book has been reviewed by the Sydney Morning Herald's Believer-In-Chief, Paul Sheehan, who is remarkably even-handed in his assessment.

Perhaps even the most ardent supporters are becoming uncomfortable with the fact that climate models are proving so horribly inaccurate.
What I am about to write questions much of what I have written in this space, in numerous columns, over the past five years. Perhaps what I have written can withstand this questioning. Perhaps not. The greater question is, am I - and you - capable of questioning our own orthodoxies and intellectual habits? Let's see.

The subject of this column is not small. It is a book entitled Heaven And Earth, which will be published tomorrow. It has been written by one of Australia's foremost Earth scientists, Professor Ian Plimer. He is a confronting sort of individual, polite but gruff, courteous but combative. He can write extremely well, and Heaven And Earth is a brilliantly argued book by someone not intimidated by hostile majorities or intellectual fashions.

The book's 500 pages and 230,000 words and 2311 footnotes are the product of 40 years' research and a depth and breadth of scholarship. As Plimer writes: "An understanding of climate requires an amalgamation of astronomy, solar physics, geology, geochronology, geochemistry, sedimentology, tectonics, palaeontology, palaeoecology, glaciology, climatology, meteorology, oceanography, ecology, archaeology and history."

The most important point to remember about Plimer is that he is Australia's most eminent geologist. As such, he thinks about time very differently from most of us. He takes the long, long view. He looks at climate over geological, archaeological, historical and modern time. He writes: "Past climate changes, sea-level changes and catastrophes are written in stone."

Much of what we have read about climate change, he argues, is rubbish, especially the computer modelling on which much current scientific opinion is based, which he describes as "primitive". Errors and distortions in computer modelling will be exposed in time. (As if on cue, the United Nations' peak scientific body on climate change was obliged to make an embarrassing admission last week that some of its computers models were wrong.)

Plimer does not dispute the dramatic flux of climate change - and this column is not about Australia's water debate - but he fundamentally disputes most of the assumptions and projections being made about the current causes, mostly led by atmospheric scientists, who have a different perspective on time. "It is little wonder that catastrophist views of the future of the planet fall on fertile pastures. The history of time shows us that depopulation, social disruption, extinctions, disease and catastrophic droughts take place in cold times … and life blossoms and economies boom in warm times. Planet Earth is dynamic. It always changes and evolves. It is currently in an ice age."

If we look at the last 6 million years, the Earth was warmer than it is now for 3 million years. The ice caps of the Arctic, Antarctica and Greenland are geologically unusual. Polar ice has only been present for less than 20 per cent of geological time. What follows is an intense compression of the book's 500 pages and all their provocative arguments and conclusions:

Is dangerous warming occurring? No.

Is the temperature range observed in the 20th century outside the range of normal variability? No.

The Earth's climate is driven by the receipt and redistribution of solar energy. Despite this crucial relationship, the sun tends to be brushed aside as the most important driver of climate. Calculations on supercomputers are primitive compared with the complex dynamism of the Earth's climate and ignore the crucial relationship between climate and solar energy.

"To reduce modern climate change to one variable, CO2, or a small proportion of one variable - human-induced CO2 - is not science. To try to predict the future based on just one variable (CO2) in extraordinarily complex natural systems is folly. Yet when astronomers have the temerity to show that climate is driven by solar activities rather than CO2 emissions, they are dismissed as dinosaurs undertaking the methods of old-fashioned science."

Over time, the history of CO2 content in the atmosphere has been far higher than at present for most of time. Atmospheric CO2 follows temperature rise. It does not create a temperature rise. CO2 is not a pollutant. Global warming and a high CO2 content bring prosperity and longer life.

The hypothesis that human activity can create global warming is extraordinary because it is contrary to validated knowledge from solar physics, astronomy, history, archaeology and geology. "But evidence no longer matters. And any contrary work published in peer-reviewed journals is just ignored. We are told that the science on human-induced global warming is settled. Yet the claim by some scientists that the threat of human-induced global warming is 90 per cent certain (or even 99 per cent) is a figure of speech. It has no mathematical or evidential basis."

Observations in nature differ markedly from the results generated by nearly two dozen computer-generated climate models. These climate models exaggerate the effects of human CO2 emissions into the atmosphere because few of the natural variables are considered. Natural systems are far more complex than computer models.

The setting up by the UN of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988 gave an opportunity to make global warming the main theme of environmental groups. "The IPCC process is related to environmental activism, politics and opportunism. It is unrelated to science. Current zeal around human-induced climate change is comparable to the certainty professed by Creationists or religious fundamentalists."

Ian Plimer is not some isolated gadfly. He is a prize-winning scientist and professor. The back cover of Heaven And Earth carries a glowing endorsement from the President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, who now holds the rotating presidency of the European Union. Numerous rigorous scientists have joined Plimer in dissenting from the prevailing orthodoxy.

Heaven And Earth is an evidence-based attack on conformity and orthodoxy, including my own, and a reminder to respect informed dissent and beware of ideology subverting evidence.
Interesting, isn't it, that the Climate Faithful - a group not noted for given any time to their political opponents - now includes members who are prepared " respect informed dissent and beware of ideology subverting evidence"?

Sheehan will be exorcised from the Church of Climate Change for that.

Good on Ian Plimer for writing the book.

Given his dog-with-a-bone reputation the Climate Taliban can look forward to quite a bit of pain from Plimer in the future.

UPDATE 20 April - from a commenter who has read Plimer's book:
I have just finished reading Professor Plimer's very detailed, logical and utterly convincing 493 page overview of planet Earth's climate history and the incredibly complex natural forces and feedback mechanisms which are known to influence planet Earth's climate. He cites over 2000 scientific references.

One is left in awe of Nature, its power and complexity - and somewhat embarrassed by the simplistic ideas, scientific illiteracy and ignorance displayed by so many politicians and well-meaning environmentalists.

"Heaven and Earth: Global Warming - The Missing Science" should be a compulsory text for all lawmakers and environmentalists worldwide.

Let's hope they immerse themselves in the peer-reviewed science Professor Plimer presents. Let's hope they spend the time required to comprehend the big picture concepts and some of the important detail. Let's hope they have the bravery to admit that many of their beliefs have no scientific foundation. Let's hope that scientific reason prevails at the Copenhagen meeting on climate change later this year - anthropogenic global warming is a myth and emission trading schemes are a foolish, expensive waste of worldwide resources.
(Nothing Follows)

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Sunday night rock 'n' roll covers

"Money (That's What I Want)" is a 1959 hit single by Barrett Strong for the Tamla label, distributed by Anna Records. The song was written by Tamla founder Berry Gordy and Janie Bradford, and would become the first hit record for Gordy's Motown flagship label.

Anna Records was operated by Gwen Gordy, Anna Gordy and Billy 'Roquel' Davis. Gwen and Anna's brother Berry Gordy had just established his Tamla label (soon Motown would follow), and had the ANNA label in 1960 distribute nationally this single to meet the demand which was a resounding success in the Midwest. The song features Strong curtly demanding that money is what he needs, more than anything else. The single became Motown's first hit in June, 1960, making it to #2 on the US R&B charts and #23 on the US pop charts.

The song has been covered by a plethora of artists, including Buddy Guy, The Beatles, John Lennon during his solo career, Dave Matthews Band, The Kingsmen (US pop #16), The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Pearl Jam, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Flying Lizards, Shonen Knife, Scissor Sisters, Secret Machines, The Sonics, The Smashing Pumpkins, Hanson, Cheap Trick, Josie and the Pussycats, Great White, RC Succession, The Blues Brothers, The Avengers, and Motown labelmates The Supremes, Jr. Walker & the All Stars, The Miracles, Etta James, Jimmy Barnes, Boyz II Men and The Pretenders.

The song was also featured in the movie Animal House in which it was performed by John Belushi. When the Blues Brothers band covered the song 18 years later on their Blues Brothers & Friends: LIVE! From Chicago's H.O.B album it was performed by John's brother Jim Belushi in the role of Brother Zee Blues along with Elwood Blues and Sam Moore.

Also, the song was used in the Beatles biopic Backbeat performed by a band composed of alt-rock musicians (including REM's Mike Mills, and Nirvana's Dave Grohl. It was mimed in the film by the actors playing the Beatles.

The British film The Bank Job featured the song as covered by The Storys, who were also featured as the wedding band in an early scene.

The song was listed as #288 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

The Original - Barrett Strong

The Greatest Cover - The Beatles

And who can forget The Flying Lizards' version?

(Nothing Follows)

Saturday, 11 April 2009

The United Nations doesn't live up to its own Global Compact

Here's a post from a couple of years ago.

At this time of world turbulence what role will the UN play in helping stabilise things? Has anyone heard from them regarding the Somali pirate problem, for example?

I am beyond being shocked by the United Nations' support for, and enablement of, international terrorism, dictatorial regimes, Third World corruption and human rights abuses while at the same time propounding the views outlined in its Global Compact.

The Global Compact's ten principles in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption enjoy universal consensus and are derived from:
  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • The International Labour Organization's Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work
  • The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development
  • The United Nations Convention Against Corruption
The Global Compact asks companies to embrace, support and enact, within their sphere of influence, a set of core values in the areas of human rights, labour standards, the environment, and anti-corruption:

Human Rights
  • Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and
  • Principle 2: make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.
Straight off the bat, the UN demonstrates that it is profoundly anti-business. The left can't see anything in other than a political context and therefore it can't understand that business is, and must be, both apolitical and amoral. It is simply not the job of business to support human rights; it already has the two most morally important tasks that exist - the employment of people and generation of profits in order to deliver tax revenue to the state. It is up to individual governments to ensure that human rights abuses do not occur in their countries.

At this point the educated know-nothings posing as the left's elite will bleat on about sweat shops and the like without admitting that workers in Third World sweatshops earned more than the average salary in their countries. When pressure came to bear on companies like Nike jobs were lost (from South America to China) and former workers were left with no income and no prospects. This is a clear example of what happens when the rubber of what appears to be a morally correct, compassionate position actually hits the road.

The greatest human rights abuses occur every day in Sudan, Somalia, Iran, North Korea, China, Cuba and, increasingly, Venezuela and other nascent South American dictatorships. None of these abuses, in which millions of people have been killed, tortured or imprisoned in the few years since the beginning of the new millennium have had anything to do with business. They are all down to corrupt regimes, religious intolerance and the predictable outcome of socialist policies.

How can business make an impact on the human rights abuses of Darfur? The violence of expansionist Islam? The gulag known as North Korea?

It can't. Obviously.

Labour Standards
  • Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
  • Principle 4: the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour;
  • Principle 5: the effective abolition of child labour; and
  • Principle 6: the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
These standards show how corrupted the UN has become in our lifetime by socialist doctrine. Twenty or thirty years ago it would have couched these policies in language that hid their true, socialist roots. Collective bargaining costs jobs. Simple as that. It costs tax revenue. It costs economic prosperity. The last thing business should be doing, if it is upholding its moral responsibility to employ people and generate profits, is supporting collective bargaining.

Cuba, North Korea, China etc etc all have forced and compulsory labour regimes yet the United Nations does nothing to deal with them. Furthermore, it propounds eliminating compulsory labour while at the same time advocating for business to compulsorily negotiate with labour organisations.

The issue of child labour is probably only in the list to pull at people's heart strings, as it has been pretty effectively dealt with over the last couple of decades. Not to say it doesn't go on at all, it does, but it's hardly an endemic problem.

The UN and its supporters puts themselves in an awkward position when they attack Western Countries (and particularly the US) for having discriminatory employment regimes. The fact is that if a person is hired as a public servant, for example, then it doesn't matter whether they're black, white, yellow, Christian, Muslim, Jew, gay, straight, tall, short, thin, fat or think that Al Gore really cares for the environment - they are all paid exactly the same amount. The same goes for the left's supposed bogeyman - big business - if you're employed in a bank or a stockbroker or at Hewlett-Packard or at General Motors then you're getting paid pretty much exactly the same regardless of your particular group. Is that how it works in the Middle East (Israel excepted)? In Africa? In South America?

  • Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
  • Principle 8: undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and
  • Principle 9: encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies
The 'precautionary principal' emanated from the environment movement and has as its fundamental position that unless a company can guarantee no harm will come from its products then they should not be allowed on the market. Of course, using this logic we wouldn't have penicillin or antibiotics or antiseptics or a vast array of drugs and chemicals that have saved millions of lives while at the same time having adverse affects on a tiny percentage of the population. Also using this logic we shouldn't drive, swim in the ocean, use herbal remedies or even exercise given the potential for fatal consequences. When an aeroplane crashes it's a tragedy for those on board but the lessons learned save the lives of countless future travellers. We learn from our mistakes not by trying to avoid those we can only imagine.

When the Soviet Empire collapsed, as I've pointed out before, the scale of environmental catastrophe shocked even the regime's most ardent critics. Free markets and private ownership have proven to be the most effective at protecting the environment because people have a financial incentive to ensure an ongoing supply of trees, for example, as distinct from the destruction of forests that takes place when governments pander to environmentalists and don't do enough clearing to ensure fires don't wreak massive damage, as happened in Canberra a few years ago.

What product is not more environmentally friendly now than twenty or thirty years ago? Cars certainly are. In order to match the massive fuel consumption of your average 1970 V8 you need to buy a dirty, great Hummer. Today's V8s are more efficient - and thus better for the environment - than most four cylinder cars were back then. This didn't happen through business consciously seeking to create more environmentally friendly cars but by competition to deliver cheaper to run products. Markets create efficiency, including environmental efficiency given a few decades to sort themselves out.

  • Principle 10: Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.
There is no more corrupt major institution than the United Nations, of which the Oil For Food scandal was just one example. If it's going to lecture on corruption, extortion and bribery then it really needs to get its own house in order first. It turns a blind eye to rapes committed by its peacekeepers, actively supports the North Korean regime by giving it money allocated for aid and ensures a spotlight is not cast on people like Robert Mugabe for the destruction he has wrought to Zimbabwe. It is not for no reason that the United Nations was #1 in my 10 Institutions That Ruin The World list.

The major activities of the UN seem to be hand wringing while being 'concerned', 'deeply concerned' and 'gravely concerned'.

This list of ten principles, if enforced, would immiserise more people by undoing the positive effects of globalisation while at the same time negatively impacting the environment.

(Nothing Follows)

Friday, 10 April 2009

Time Magazine 1980 - Is Capitalism Working?

How's the saying go?

Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it.

Something like that, anyway.

Thanks for the most part to Jimmy Carter's inept presidency, America's economy was in dire strait some 29 years ago.

Naturally, instead of blaming Keynesian economic policies, unsound monetary policy or reckless fiscal policy, Time magazine chose to question that one thing that the talking heads in the media always give a kicking to when things are down - capitalism.

Sound familiar?

Check out the cover of Time's April 21, 1980, edition:

The article itself is somewhat less bearish than the attention grabbing cover.
Capitalism: Is It Working...? Of Course, but...

In an age of economic anxiety, real and rising concerns about whether free enterprise can surmount the problems of inflation, energy and productivity.

The relentless daily pounding of dismal news drives deeper the public's conviction that the economy is in a profound and morose crisis. Feverish inflation, previously a rare malady limited primarily to wartime, has become chronic. Price spurts once associated with profligate banana republics are now common to North America and Western Europe and threaten the foundations of democratic societies. With every sign showing that prices in the U.S. will continue soaring even as the nation begins slumping into recession, President Carter, his re-election jeopardized by the economy more than by anything else, is stuck in an economic morass.

The litany of U.S. economic woes at times seems endless. Week after week, interest rates crack new records; home owners face 17% mortgages, and companies confront 20% business loans. Energy, the oxygen of industrial life, has become so costly and politically controlled that the U.S. can no longer be certain of enough fuel to keep its factories running and homes heated. The output of goods per hour worked has stagnated. From 1948 to 1973, the productivity of American employees increased 2.9% annually, thus permitting steadily higher real wages and higher standards of living. Last year productivity dropped .9%. The real median income of American families jumped 64% from 1950 to 1970, but has crawled up by less than 1% a year in the past decade. Weekly real take-home pay has been declining for two years. That gauge of American economic health, the stock market, has been sharply depressed.

Amid all this, the Carter Administration has appeared paralyzed and unable to cope with problems that it does not fully understand. Quips Alfred Kahn, the hapless presidential anti-inflation adviser: "Anybody who isn't schizophrenic these days just isn't thinking clearly."

While these travails are felt most acutely in the U.S., the situation is common to nearly all Western nations. Since the mid-1970s, industrial economies have grown about as well as wheat in a drought, while inflation has expanded dangerously. Even countries that have adapted best to recent economic problems, notably West Germany and Japan, suffer inflation or slow growth. The world money system that functioned like a Swiss watch for a quarter-century has been sending off alarms. Gold, the barbarous relic that Shakespeare called the "common whore of mankind," has become the refuge for a world fearful of returning to an economic jungle.

As industrialized and developing nations meet the challenges of the new economic era, they must choose between two essentially different economic systems: the market economy and the command economy. Neither exists in pure form. They overlap, and there are myriad variations within each model. But the difference between them is basic. In market economies the principal business decisions are taken by individuals, who freely exchange their goods or services. In the command economy, the state makes the fundamental business decisions.

Capitalism, the system that relies on the maximum use of free markets and the minimum of government controls, is today being challenged as at no time since the Great Depression. On all sides the haunting questions arise: Is capitalism working well enough? Can the system suffer and survive these problems? Can it be repaired or is it fatally flawed?

One might be tempted to say: What else is new? The free enterprise system has been constantly questioned and condemned ever since that absent-minded Scots professor Adam Smith, another revolutionary of 1776, enunciated its basic philosophy. But today's doubts are deeper and the assaults more virulent. They come not only from capitalism's old critics but from its longtime champions. Leftist Economist Robert Lekachman of the City University of New York declares: "The central economic fact of our day is the declining vitality and élan of capitalism and capitalists." And Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca also says: "Free enterprise has gone to hell."
Read the rest here.

Capitalism's resilience has been remarkable in spite of serious assaults by government bureaucracies around the world.

How many standards boards are there?

In a free market you wouldn't need any.

How would you know a butcher serves clean meat? Because people still shop there. If he didn't then the market would know that and he'd go out of business.

How many regulations are there? Tax rules? Taxes?

And yet, despite massive inefficiency in government spending programs, capitalism has been able to keep free economies alive.

Viva La Capitalism!

Long may it continue to lift people out of poverty the world over.

(Nothing Follows)

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Things I hate - Kanye West

Can someone please tell me what they like about Kanye West?

His music is execrable.

He carries on like a jerk.

He's as ugly as a hat full of arseholes.


Who the heck voted this guy not one, not two but twelve Grammy Awards?

Now you might be asking yourself whether I'm just too old and unhip to 'get' what it is people like about Kanye West.

And you'd be right. I am too old and unhip to get it.

But here's something that you might not suspect if you've read this far.

I have seen Kanye West live in concert.

That's right. Live in concert.

Not that I wanted to.

He was a support act for a proper band - U2.

Let me give you the tip. His performance was truly terrible. That surprised me somewhat given all the hype about him.

Given a choice between going to a Kanye West concert and going surfing - which I also hate - I'd choose surfing.

Unless someone had a radio playing Kanye West.

That'd be the pits.

(Nothing Follows)

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Motoring developments in US and India make a stark contrast

Here's something to think the developed world we're oohing and aahing about the really cool GM/Segway P.U.M.A on the not unreasonable grounds that it is a really, really neat piece of kit...

The GM/Segway P.U.M.A.

...while in the emerging market of India everyone is captivated by the release of India's "Model T", the Tata Nano, and with good reason - it looks like a fair thing.

The Tata Nano

I like the comment in the first video about there being no other country in which the Nano could have been built.

All the world thinks that China will be the next big thing but I reckon it's India that will be the long term winner due to its greater innovation and Westernised institutions left over from the British Empire.

(Nothing Follows)