News That’s Fit To Punt – 23/Jun/2011

Champion climate change denier Lord Monckton likened Professor Ross Garnaut to the Nazis over night.

The climate sceptic Christopher Monckton has accused Ross Garnaut of having a ”fascist point of view” because the adviser to the government on climate change said he accepted that on ”the balance of probabilities” mainstream global warming scientists were right. In an address to the American Freedom Alliance aired on Seven News last night, Lord Monckton used PowerPoint slides decorated with swastikas and put on a mock German accent as he quoted experts from around the world who he claimed ”accepted the authority” of climate scientists without question. After quoting Professor Garnaut, who he said was an ”eco-fascist”, Lord Monckton said ”Heil Hitler”.

Well, there’s Godwin’s law in action for you. I guess Lord Monckton is finding it harder to convince his listening public that he is on the right side of the argument against overwhelming evidence. All the cherry picking of his stats and facts isn’t enough, he has to call his opponents fascist Nazis.

Last I looked, I notice that he’s some kind of lord with peerage with a distinct laissez faire view on the changing environment and its impact on the economy. I told you he was an idiot. Of course Tony Abbott denounced the statement but he’s still willing to share the stage with this man because deep down (in whatever shallow depth he can call depth) Tony’s a climate change denier as well. I guess it’s a good sign that at least he can make the proper distinction to see likening Professor Ross Garnaut to Nazis is beyond the pail.

Here’s another article on the matter:

Liberal MP and climate-change supporter Malcolm Turnbull said Lord Monckton was a “sensationalist” and he didn’t think Professor Garnaut would lose any sleep over the matter.

“He is increasingly a rather sick, vaudeville character who makes more and more outlandish charges in order to get attention for himself,” Mr Turnbull told Sky News.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the comments were “offensive and grossly inappropriate” but the decision to attend the conference lay with Mr Abbott.

Labor backbencher Michelle Rowland was less reserved. “The fact that Tony Abbott aligns himself so closely with Lord Monckton is absolutely repugnant,” she said.

Greens leader Bob Brown said he believed in free speech but there were limits. He said Mr Abbott should ‘‘reconsider’’ his attendance and called on AMEC to take action. “I think the mining hosts of Mr Monckton should demand an apology before their sponsorship of his trip continues,” Senator Brown said.

And so it goes. Anyway, I think this just about disqualifies Monckton from being taken seriously but Andrew Forest seems to think he’s worth inviting. Why is it that it’s always these super rich fat cats that have the money to throw around who get behind these kinds of crackpots? As for Tony Abbott, even if he decided not to go, he’s not convincing anybody that he *isn’t* a climate change denier, so he may as well go and we’d all be secure in the knowledge that he has head firmly in the sand on this issue.

Out Of Afghanistan

No, that’s not a new Meryl Streep movie. It’s President Obama laying down a plan for a draw down from Afghanistan.

The US will pull 33,000 troops out of Afghanistan by the end of the next northern summer, sooner than previously anticipated.

The first 10,000 troops will leave this year, starting next month.

The drawdown was announced today by US President Barack Obama, 18 months after he ordered the so-called “surge” in troop numbers in a bid to defeat al-Qaeda and Taliban forces and hasten an end to the conflict.

I guess discretion really is the better part of valor. Now that Osama bin Laden is dead, it is arguable that the main mission to Afghanistan has been fulfilled. The rest of worrying about how the polity of Afghanistan survives – or not as the case may be- can be decoupled from the cipher that started at 9/11.

Doubtless it’s going to leave everything in the lurch over in Kabul but in many ways it’s probably for the best if the Allies  pull out. Maybe Afghanis will be able to put together a proper government for once. I doubt it, but it’s worth trying after 10 years of war.

Peter Parker Dies

Spidey’s dead, long live Spiderman, apparently.

In the comic, Parker is killed by his nemesis the Green Goblin, dying in the arms of Mary Jane following a valiant battle.

Writer Brian Michael Bendis told USA Today that he wrote the story “with tears in my eyes like a big baby”.

“I went upstairs to my wife, and I go, ‘I am so embarrassed. I think I’ve literally been crying for 45 minutes.’ I’ve had real things happen in my life I didn’t cry about, and yet I’m crying about this,” said the author.

According to Marvel.com, the death of Peter Parker sets the stage for the upcoming debut of an all-new Spider-Man.

“We’ve never seen a world without Spider-Man, a world without Peter Parker, so his death is a significant event for the Ultimate Comics Universe and we’re going to see how quickly it changes everything,” said Marvel Entertainment editor-in-chief Axel Alonso.

“But Peter’s death doesn’t signal the end …. it’s the start of one of the most ambitious stories you’ve ever read in comics.”

I note this with interest because when the writers of ‘Star Trek Generations’ reported a similar lancunae of emotion after they wrote the death of Captain Kirk. I remember thinking, if you’re going to cry about it and get all emotional about it, why do it? I guess some of these beloved characters need to find an end, much as Robin Hood or King Arthur in ‘Le Morte  d’Arthur’; the dying bit is all part of the tapestry of life-likeness of the fiction. Otherwise the fiction is one long denial of death and that”s never really going to be a mature kind of fiction. It may even be why comic books are seen to be such low level fiction.

In which case it makes sense to kill off these characters. A good death is always better than a bad life in fiction. Sequels suck because authorial voices invariably get sentimentally attached to their characters and so they become impervious to the risks and obstacles. This is typified by the ennui of Bond movies after successfully changing actors. I’m not sure I’m comfortable that Peter Parker dies, but within that discomfort is a sense that maybe, just maybe, the spiderman comic book can rise to art. It would be interesting to see.

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