Tag Archives: Al Gore

News That’s Fit To Punt – 03/Sep/2014

Why? Because Fuck You

Everything this Federal Government does is tainted by a sort of grubby conflict of interest. Of course that’s not confined to the Federal Government, because the greater conflict of interest might actually be Clive Palmer who owns a dirty big mining company, gets to make deals where a tax like the mining tax can get repealed. It’s hard to imagine a more egregious and gratuitous case of helping yourself because you can.

The deal has meant that the government will halt the rise of superannuation. Naturally, with the sensibility of a cheesy movie villain, Tony Abbott tried to sell this as more cash in hand for employees which, frankly made me choke on my lunch. I’m sorry to tell you Mr. Prime Minister, but that’s money that’ll stay in the pockets of companies. Paul Keating has lambasted the government but honestly, if he wanted to still have a meaningful voice, he should’ve stayed on in parliament after 1996.

The repeal of the Mining Tax was of course one of the platforms of the Coalition so we ought not be surprised, but really, it is pretty disgusting how the Coalition are totally happy to sell out Australian citizens in favour of a gaggle of mining billionaires – Clive Palmer among them – and try to sell it as being good for the worker. Can it get any worse?

Yes it can. Here’s how.

An Inconvenient Ruse

The emissions for energy generation jumped the most in eight years, since the end of the carbon tax.

So much for Al Gore coming to lend a hand in fighting the good fight against global warming. Thanks to the repeal, polluters have gone back to a kind of burn-baby-burn mentality and now it’s out of control. Of course the plan by this government is also to smash the renewables industry, and directly pay these polluters to stop polluting.

It’s like government by stupidity. You’d never have guessed thing would get this bad. No sane mind would have guess it would get this bad. But this unrelenting awfulness – “Operation Ongoing Enormous Clusterfuck” according to FDOM – was their platform! Grin and bear it.

Pink Batts Coming Home To Roost

Pleiades swung this one at me today. The best bit of news might be how the Royal Commission into the Pink Batts has yielded interesting results. In as much as it was a blatant witch hunt, it looks like it delivered a result that was assumed by the proponents of the Commission. Here’s something from Crikey which is behind a pay wall:

 

First, Hanger found the training regime and regulations at the time of the first of four fatalities in October 2009 to have been seriously inadequate:
“With the exception of South Australia, which had a licensing regime for insulation installers, there was no insulation-industry specific regulation beyond the generally applicable occupational health and safety regulation.”
But here’s the thing: then-minister for the environment Peter Garrett and his staff had spent most of 2009 tightening regulations and procedures. Hanger listed more than 40 interventions to address safety deficiencies — all completed before October. So if the safety framework was still deficient by then, it must have been woefully, if not criminally, inadequate prior to 2008. Having presided over industry growth to the level of about 200,000 new and existing houses insulated annually, the previous Coalition government cannot escape culpability.

Secondly, Hanger opened wide the door to those wanting compensation for the program’s sudden termination:
“I find as follows:
“… the effect of the losses was to devastate many long-standing businesses … and to cause as well personal financial collapse and severe despair and emotional harm;
“that harm and such circumstances justifies pre-existing businesses being compensated.”
If compensation is won, it will be the Abbott government scrambling to find the funds.
This has a certain rough justice about it, of course. There is an argument that the scheme was not intrinsically dangerous and was not failing, rather that it suffered from extreme misreporting from the outset, by both Coalition MPs and a feral media.

Thirdly, the Commissioner was scathing about Abbott’s staff in the course of the inquiry:
“The Commonwealth did not suggest one witness that ought to be called. It did not generally volunteer documents that were not the subject of a summons to produce. It did not elicit any evidence of its own volition. All of this is despite the fact that it was the repository of the critical documents and the corporate knowledge of what had transpired.”

Not even Peter Garrett copped such a shellacking:
“Furthermore, the Commonwealth hampered the work of those assisting me by the way in which documents were produced … Other than in response to a specific request from the Commission, there seemed no logic in the order in which documents were produced. The Commission asked that documents be produced chronologically, however the Commonwealth did not oblige.”

Finally, the Commissioner made it clear that if the federal government initiated the program, then safety is definitely its problem. Never mind the long history of state responsibility.
“There was much debate about whether workplace health and safety issues were a matter that was of any concern to the Australian Government, or whether it was more properly the concern of the States and Territories. It was said, by a number of federal public servants, that the Australian Government had no regulatory power in the field of workplace health and safety, and therefore that it was not a risk that the Australian Government could control. In my view, this attitude was deplorable.”

That means occupational health and safety is now firmly a problem for the Federal Government. Every time somebody dies in an accident, he article suggests a ministerial head is going to roll. Worse still, the responsibility for the failure didn’t just get sheeted home to the Rudd Government, it also got sheeted home to the Howard Government, and last I checked Tony Abbott was the health minister in the government. This thing is going to boomerang right back at him.

The Housing Bubble That Isn’t But Of Which We Must Be Wary

For months – no make that years! -we’ve been hearing that Australia does not have a housing bubble problem. All the economists who have come and pointed out the great anomalies of housing prices in Australia have been laughed out of the public discourse while the anomalies only get bigger. As late as last month Glenn Stevens of the RBA was talking down any possibility that what we had on our hands was an actual bubble! No, he simply reiterated that sometimes the property market goes down. This month he’s taking a different tack and saying there might be nasty shocks. Included in that link is a bit covering China where he cites a downturn in China might manifest itself as a nasty shock. If that wasn’t enough, David Gonski of the ANZ Bank told the Australian British Chamber of Commerce that booming prices cannot possibly continue forever (now there‘s a brave call).

And lo an behold there’s news that China’s real estate market is going screwy. Some might even say it is crashing like it was a Global Financial Crisis. Speaking of crashing, the commodities market in China is crashing. I wonder if those things combined would form this so-called ‘Nasty Shock’ Glenn Stevens is talking about? Or will Sydney’s housing prices simply just shrug it off and keep climbing?

Stay tuned for more fun!

 

 

 

 

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Today’s WTF Moment

The Clive Palmer & Al Gore Double Act (Is-This-Even-Allowed?-Edition)

Man, this is really weird. Al Gore, he of the uncomfortable truth, is in Canberra, standing should to shoulder with none other than windbag millionaire Clive Palmer selling an ETS. Clive Palmer’s pitch is pretty whacked out and boils down to 2 things: PUP will voe to repeal the carbon tax if the energy producers are mandated to return that money to households. PUP will then want an ETS in place to replace the carbon price, and this ETS should be contingent upon other nations namely America and China undertaking a version of their own.

It’s creepy because  Clive Palmer is essentially using Al Gore’s post-VP star to cast his repealing in a climate-friendly direction. It’s very odd because I can’t imagine the flipside scenario where say, Paul Keating would stand shoulder to shoulder with Nancy Pelosi in the US Congress, talking about things in the US polity. Doesn’t this sort of break a bunch of diplomatic protocols? How do we know the CIA isn’t trying to influence Clive (or that they already haven’t) who we know is given to conspiracy theories that feature the CIA? You also sort of wonder where Al Gore’s head is at, making this appearance. Since when is he a friend of the crackpot wing of Australian politics?

Pardon me while I try to wrap my head around this bizarre spectacle.

The PUP leader said the government’s Direct Action policy was “a waste of money, at a time when families, pensioners, young Australians, stay at home mums and single parents and indigenous communities are facing unfair measures in the budget, to increase excise and indexation is not the answer”.

Climate change was a global problem, he said, and Australia had to play its part.

He said the Palmer United senators would move, while supporting the repeal of the carbon tax, to establish an emissions trading scheme.

The scheme would only come into effect when Australia’s major trading partners established similar schemes.

“This measure cannot be defined as a financial measure, it will have a carbon price [of] zero,” he said.

A price on carbon would then be introduced down the track.

Mr Gore said Mr Palmer’s announcement was an “extraordinary moment in which Australia, the US and the rest of the world is finally beginning to confront the climate crisis in a meaningful way”.

He cited President Barack Obama’s recent moves to reduce emissions in the US and pilot programs of cap and trade schemes in China as evidence the world was moving to tackle climate change.

“All of these developments add up to the world moving to solve the climate crisis and that is why it is so significant that Clive Palmer has announced that his party will support the continuation of the renewable energy target, and the continuation of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation,” he said.

“While I will be disappointed if the immediate price on carbon is removed because it is a policy which I believe to be ultimately critical to solving the climate crisis, I am extremely hopeful that Australia will continue to play a global leadership role on this most pressing issue.”

The event comes ahead of Mr Palmer’s meeting with the Prime Minister on Thursday morning.

Well, that’s pretty nutty, but a good kind of nutty. Like a Marvel comic book movie moment when two unlikely characters turn to one another and work for the common good. The villain in all this is now Tony Abbott, he of the abysmal popular support. He can’t possibly be enjoying this turn of events. 1st of July is going to bring in a bunch of people who are going to toe this Palmer United Party line, endorsed by Al Gore. If Tony Abbott’s going to get to keep his promise of ‘repealing the Carbon Tax’ (just typing that makes my eyes hurt), it’s going to cost him a pound of flesh from inside his skull. He can no longer count on the conspiracy-nut Palmer to play along with the climate change sceptic script. It turns out Palmer is a conservative nutbar, but clearly not the same brand of conservative nutbar as those in the Coalition government.

What worries me is how the SMH editor (yes, that fool) is busily talking up the Palmer United position. It can’t be that good if it impresses that little mind.

These Guys Can’t Do Diplomacy Either

That sucking, gurgler sound you’re hearing from Canberra, that would be the Abbott government just sucking up the joint.

A few weeks ago, The Abbott government started disputing the terminology ‘occupied’ in reference to East Jerusalem. It’s hard to fathom why the Australian Government would want to break ranks with the rest of the world and come down hard in favour of Israel and against the Palestinians, but that’s what they did. And the world heard about it – especially the Arab speaking world – and took notice.

Pleiades gave me a heads up and it seems Bob Ellis seems to think that the jailing of the Australian Journalist Peter Greste was a reprisal for this moving of the terms by Australia. No wonder our pleas to have Greste released ave fallen on deaf ears- and our government is too stupid to understand just what has happened.

What’s amazing is that just as with the budget, this government has kicked an own goal in the diplomacy stakes; and the joke is on us because they weren’t even asked to offer up an opinion. They just blurted out something that has ended up boomeranging right back.

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Blogging Headlines

Jelena Dokic

What do we make of her comeback? She was, after all, a No.4 player in her teens. She used to be a nutty player who had deep shots but awful shot selection and very little patience. The talent was all there to see, but it was hardly the case that her game was something you could call sophisticated or crafty. She was obviously so young and tunnel-visioned.

Since then she’s exploded, imploded, gotten depressed, gotten over it and comeback to make a good showing at this year’s Australian Open.I’m very impressed with anybody who can overcome what she overcame to getting back. After all, having Damir Dokic as your father would be a very emotionally distorting experience, but she seems to have figured out what the rest of us knew for some time: he’s BARKING MAD.

So, while the Australian public has forgiven her and embraced her, the media has continued its love affair with the BARKING MAD Damir by trying to orchestrate an unwanted reunion. For Jelena’s sake we hope they throw that idea away. The headlines of Damir picking fights with officials an embarrassing her daughter should be consigned to the rubbish bin of history. It’s time to let the gal show us what she’s really got. She may still win it all at a grand slam in the next couple of years.

Sourcewatch

One of my favorite sites is Sourcewatch.There’s a link to the right. They are full of interesting information about who owns what media, and who is in the payroll of what interests. I originally stumbled across them a couple of years ago and blogged them here. It’s interesting to note that the world has moved on considerably since then, and perhaps the day of the Global Warming sceptics is coming to an end. Certainly, there’s been a seismic shift in the way Climate Change is covered by the media.

Which brings me to the topic du jour, Mr Al Gore!

Al Gore Has His Say

Al Gore returned to the US Senate to say his piece about Global Warming.

Statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
As Prepared
Hon. Al Gore
Wednesday, January 28, 2009

We are here today to talk about how we as Americans and how the United States of America as part of the global community should address the dangerous and growing threat of the climate crisis. We have arrived at a moment of decision. Our home – Earth – is in grave danger. What is at risk of being destroyed is not the planet itself, of course, but the conditions that have made it hospitable for human beings.

Moreover, we must face up to this urgent and unprecedented threat to the existence of our civilization at a time when our country must simultaneously solve two other worsening crises. Our economy is in its deepest recession since the 1930s. And our national security is endangered by a vicious terrorist network and the complex challenge of ending the war in Iraq honorably while winning the military and political struggle in Afghanistan. As we search for solutions to all three of these challenges, it is becoming clearer that they are linked by a common thread – our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels.

As long as we continue to send hundreds of billions of dollars for foreign oil – year after year – to the most dangerous and unstable regions of the world, our national security will continue to be at risk.

As long as we continue to allow our economy to remain shackled to the OPEC rollercoaster of rising and falling oil prices, our jobs and our way of life will remain at risk. Moreover, as the demand for oil worldwide grows rapidly over the longer term, even as the rate of new discoveries is falling, it is increasingly obvious that the roller coaster is headed for a crash. And we’re in the front car.

And so on…

You’d think he had the easier choice. George Mitchell is off to talk to the Palestinians. 🙂

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