Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category
Why are we in Afghanistan at all?
Afghanistan was always going to be a harder fight than Iraq.
It is also a fight that must be won – not just for the people of Afghanistan, but for the people of Pakistan. If Afghanistan falls, Pakistan will be in danger.
If Pakistan falls, the world will be in danger.
In theory, the allies are not there to defeat the Taliban themselves. They are there to assist Hamid Karzai’s government defeat the Taliban.
President Obama’s recent announcement of a ‘surge’ of 30,000 troops should help.
- Obama has told the Taliban when he expects US and allied troops to be gone – in eighteen months’ time.
- Karzai has said that he expects it will take 15 years to diminish the military abilities and policitcal influence of the Taliban to the point they are no longer a threat.
- The Obama administration has made it clear they have no confidence in Hamid’s competence or honesty.
A confrontation with Iran is now almost inevitable. The US and its Western allies must take action to prevent an Iranian nuclear attack on Israel, and to stop any nuclear threat to Europe.
If they wait till Iran makes Israel a wasteland, as Iranian President Imanutjob has repeatedly said he intends to do, it will be, well, too late.
If they act before it is too late, even if their actions are limited to removing Iran’s capacity to make nuclear weapons, they will be accused of a crusade against Islam, of being imperialist aggressors, etc.
This means that even though Hamid was re-elected only with the help of massive electoral fraud, it is currently politically unthinkable for the US to attenpt to bring about a regime change in Afghanistan.
It is not unthinkable that the UN could refuse to recognise the result of the election, and push for new, properly supervised elctions which include all members of Afghan society including the Pashtoon.
But as we have seen over the last couple of weeks in Copenhagen, the UN couldn’t organise a cock-up in a brothel. So it’s probably a good thing that the head of the UN mission in Afghanistan, Kai Eide, and the UN Security Council, are keeping their eyes and mouths firmly shut.
But where does that leave the allies?
Australia’s contribution is weak, to say the least.
Prime Minster Rudd’s offer to balance the US commitment of 30,000 new troops by sending a few police officers and some aid advisors has confirmed the unofficial code-name ‘Operation Token Presence’ for Australia’s contribution.
Having said that, it is important to note that the contribution made, and the cost borne, by Australian service men and women in Afghanistan is out of all proportion to their numbers and to the commitment of their political masters.
Despite Prime Minister Rudd’s earnest hopes, a pre-Copenhagen commitment to an emissions trading scheme was never going to make him a statesman on the world stage, or be an example other nations would find anything other than laughable.
But a renewed commitment by Australia to the effort in Afghanistan really could make a difference, and be an example which other allies might follow.
If we are serious about the need to defeat the Taliban, Australia must make a genuine commitment of fighting forces to Afghanistan.
if we are not serious, we should just get out, stop playing games, and stop risking the lives of young Australians in a conflict we have no intention of winning.
That would be embarrassing. But it would not be as embarrassing as our current limp wristed and pointless ‘Operation Token Presence.’
At an historic photo session in Copenhagen this morning, world leaders announced they had reached an agreement on climate change.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy says all countries have agreed to the deal. “We have an agreement,” Mr Sarkozy told a news conference in Copenhagen after the meeting of 120 world leaders.
Leaders announced they had agreed they were completely unable to agree.
President Farack Banana said this agreement represented the beginning of a new era in international understanding.
Describing the agreement as ‘unprecedentedly meaningful,’ Mr Banana said that more work was needed to grasp the consequences of the agreement.
‘I call on all the nations of the world to build on the progress we have made in reaching this agreement here in Cornhuggen,’ he said. ‘We need to stop sitting on the sidelines, and start sitting somewhere else.’
World leaders have also agreed to have another holiday in about six months time, preferably somewhere a bit warmer. Acapulco would be nice.
Research shows the Northern Territory spends over $6000 on health for each indigenous person, compared with less than $2000 for each non-indigenous citizen.
This suggests two things.
First, Australian governments do take indigenous health seriously.
Second, spending more and more money on hospitals and clinics is not a solution.
Most of the health problems faced by aboriginal australians are a result of lifestyle choices – excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet, poor hygiene.
So what are governments supposed to do?
Allowing people to make those choices leads to massive expenditure on health issues, and still leaves problems which we are told are a national disgrace.
Forcing people to drink less, to eat sensibly, to wash their clothes, change their bedding, etc, is not permissible. That would be racist and paternalistic.
But it is one thing for people to refuse to take responsibilty for their own welfare. It is another when they refuse to take responsibilty for that of their children.
I am not not sure how a government can act responsiblly in that situation without appearing authoritarian.
Well, why not? Wen Jiabao is not a schoolboy. He probably had better things to do. Polishing his shoes, for example.
French president Nicholas Sarkozy wasn’t happy. According to Mr Sarkozy, it is all China’s fault there is not going to be a binding agreement that will make world leaders all popular and smiley again.
The Chinese will not agree to any external body policing their emission levels. Good for them.
China and the G77 (the scared weird little guys) won’t discuss the PLAN /DEAL thing dreamed up by the developed nations. The little guys feel like they are being bullied.
Negotiators have described the G77 group as dysfunctional.
African negotiators are reportedly furious at the suggestion by Prime Minister Meles of Ethiopia that developing nations should accept the offer of $100 billion a year. This, they say, is selling out the lives and hopes of Africans for a pittance.
Hilary Clinton says that a refusal by the Chinese to accept third party policing of emissions is a ‘deal-breaker.’
So all in all, the whole thing is going really well – much better than I expected.
The hoped for no result is looking like a real possibility.
I would have preferred if it had come about because world leaders finally came to their senses and recognised they were all being conned. But you can’t have everything.
There may still be a smiley photo-opportunity tomorrow.
But it will have about as much substance as Obama has business experience.
So, good news all around.
What they are reporting is not a ‘deal’ but a draft document put together by developed nations as a possible basis for a take it or leave it offer to greedy socialist whingers leaders of developing nations.
I have no hope at all that any world leader will be brave enough to admit that the whole fiasco has been completely pointless, that we don’t know enough to know what to do, that anything we could do at this point is likely to make things worse, and so the wisest thing is to do nothing.
No, they will all want to look they have achieved something, so some agreement will be forthcoming.
There will be lots of smiles, handshakes and congratulations.
But for all the good it will do the world it might as well be lots of piles, milkshakes and flatulence.
The only thing to hope for is that this will just amount to a commitment to ‘journey forward together’ of ‘growth in our sense of commitment to one another as members of a single global community.’
And of course for the US, Australia, Canada, etc, to pay billions of dollars in bribes compensation to developing nations.
Data from Russian stations have been (with equally dodgy US surface station data) a large part of the evidence for warming.
Now that the Russian data are known to have been carefully selected – using only the 25% of stations that showed a consistent warming trend – there is no credible basis for any claim that the world has been warming at all, let alone at unusual rates.
And there is still no reason that any of the minor changes in the always changing global climate should be attributed to human activity.
Politicians who do not have the backbone to ask questions now, and to stand up to the hysteria, or who commit their countries to painfully costly and pointless plans to reduce the use of cheap fuels, will be punished mercilessly when they next face an election.
Bye Mr Rudd. Bye Mr Obama.
I’d be a believer too if I thought I’d be up for billions in grants, cars, holidays, Swiss bank accounts.
There are vast amounts of money to be made in being victims of climate change.
So it’s no wonder the President of the Maldives and the chief negotiater for Tuvalu (who lives in New South Wales) are sobbing about how the greedy West has caused sea levels to rise, destroying their tiny, vulnerable countries.
But hey, a cookie a few billion dollars will make us feel better.
The sobbing and hand-wringing is despite the fact that there has been no increase in global mean temperature over the last fifteeen years, and no sea level rise in Tuvalu or the Maldives for the last thirty years.
You just have to have faith. Name it and claim it, brothers and sisters! Hallelujah!
It’s all perfectly rational – if money or approval is your goal.
What is lacking at Copenhagen is rationality not motivated by self-interest – either a desire for cash, or for for world recognition as a really cool guy, the bloke who saved the day, the man who stayed up all night to work for a solution, the chap who really ought to be the next Secretary General.
Global warming fervour is often compared with religious faith. I have made that comparison myself. But this is unfair to religious leaders.
When I was a parish priest I regularly told parishioners, ‘Don’t take my word for what I tell you – do your own research, check, read, ask questions.’
The only reason to believe anything is because it is true. And decisions about what is true need to be made on the basis of evidence, not feelings or desires.
This is the exact opposite of what is required to be considered a true climate believer. Questions are not welcomed. Those who doubt are cast into the outer darkness and denounced as deniers.
Environmental journalist and rational person Phelim McAleer was told by one Copenhagen participant to ‘get out while you still can’ and was later assaulted during a live television interview.
In a paroxysm of self-parody, Kevin Rudd told Copenhagen participants and world leaders (about 50 of them, anyway) that he fears a ‘triumph of form over substance … a triumph of inaction over action’ and that history would judge them if they failed.
I agree on both counts.
A triumph of form, of easy compliance, of the desire to appear noble and statesman-like, over real hard headed science and rational discussion of the issues is exactly what is to be feared.
And history will certainly judge leaders who failed to ask questions about whether the science of global warming was sufficiently well grounded to justify desperate promises of billions of dollars, and hurried decisions to limit the use of cheap fuels on which most of the world’s wealth depends.
Like Tony Abbott, I don’t object to Mr Rudd going to Mass.
I don’t even object to his interest in the canonisation of Blessed Mary Mackillop. I am interested in that too, and have blogged about it before.
There is a sense in which Mary Mackillop belongs to all Australians. We can all feel thankful for her example of faithful and courageous service.
Service which was the very opposite of self-seeking, or of seeking the company and attention of the powerful and famous.
I do object to Mr Rudd’s taking Communion.
This was unfair to the priest who celebrated, and unfair to the nuns who assisted.
If he has any respect for the Church to which he formerly belonged, Kevin Rudd should have known that it was not appropriate for him to present himself at the altar.
Understanding this does not depend on whether you are a Roman Catholic or not. I am not. Like Rudd, I am an Anglican.
But respect for the faith and conscience of others means that you do not put them in a position where they will be embarrassed or hurt so your ego can be stroked, or so you can make some sort of public statement, no matter how noble you imagine that statement to be.
Rudd is not a Catholic. He deliberately separated himself from communion with that family. Returning quite properly requires a period of public repentance and of re-learning the faith.
Rudd has no right to swan back in on a whim and expect to be given the most precious gift it is possible to receive in this life.
PS I will be attending Christmas Mass at the beautiful St Francis Xavier Cathedral in Geraldton. I will not be presenting myself for Communion.
Sadly, we Anglicans are separated from our Roman brothers and sisters. It is right that we should feel the pain of that separation, that we may be encouraged to work towards the unity for which our Saviour prayed.
I think the Pope agrees.
I said it three times, so it must be true.
Or it was true back in the seventies.
No matter how much they try to deny it now (just as in five years time they will all be denying they ever fell for the AGW scam) there seemed to be a consensus two decades ago that the world was cooling, it was all our fault, we only had a few years to take action to save the world.
Remember the DSSO? The Decadal Science Scare Oscillation?
Maurizio Morabito at the Spectator recounts the terrifying story of global cooling as follows:
The threat of a new ice age loomed so large in 1974 that American intelligence collated a report on the likely effects. Maurizio Morabito unearthed it
A high-priority government report warns of climate change that will lead to floods and starvation. ‘Leading climatologists’ speak of a ‘detrimental global climatic change’, threatening ‘the stability of most nations’. The scenario is eerily familiar although the document — never made public before — dates from 1974. But here’s the difference: it was written to respond to the threat of global cooling, not warming. And yes, it even mentions a ‘consensus’ among scientists.
‘A Study of Climatological Research as it Pertains to Intelligence Problems’, written by the CIA for ‘internal planning purposes’ in August 1974, goes a little way towards explaining why some people over a certain age experience a sense of déjà-vu when climate change is mentioned; in the mid-1970s there really was a lot of scientific discussion about global cooling. With the benefit of hindsight, reading it makes one feel wry and embarrassed. So many of the terms bandied about 35 years ago are still being employed by today’s fear-mongers, about the very opposite phenomenon.
It is as if climate scares had to follow a set pattern. Back in 1974 the usual disasters were projected: the ‘new climatic era’ was said to be bringing famine, starvation, refugee crises, floods, droughts, crop and monsoon failures, and all sorts of extreme weather phenomena. The Sahara would expand. World grain reserves, already at less than a month’s supply, would be depleted. A list of past civilisations brought down by ‘major and minor’ cooling episodes was given, which included the Indus, Hittites, Mycenaean, and the Mali empire of Africa. Any possible benefits to climate change were barely mentioned.
More parallels can be drawn. According to the CIA report, in 1974 climate science was developing ‘a successful climatic prediction model’, as indeed it still is. Government intervention had brought together eminent scientists who had previously been at odds with each other then had established a ‘scientific consensus’ on ‘global climate change’. The scientists claimed this pattern of cooling would cause ‘major economic problems around the world’. Dealing with this would, of course, require the creation of several new government agencies. The media at the time seized on all of this, just as it is doing now. Newsweek and the New York Times described the global cooling threat.
How is it that the parallels between that 1970s panic and today’s have been so little remarked upon? And it doesn’t stop there. There have even been recent attempts to label the ‘global cooling consensus’ a ‘myth’, most notably in a well-publicised article by Thomas C. Peterson, William M. Connolley, and John Fleck published by the American Meteorological Society in September 2008.
Well, plus ça change. It’s easy to miss what you do not look for. Mentions of a global cooling consensus appear as far back as 1961. I found the CIA report referred to in a 1976 newspaper article and was doubly amazed to discover it was available as a microfiche in the British Library.
So what would have prompted the CIA to compile such a dossier? The most likely explanation is what it describes as the loss of ‘a significant portion’ of the USSR’s winter wheat crop in 1972. The harvest was so poor that the CIA saw geopolitical ramifications. Its report says that ‘the politics of food’ is a complex business, which cannot be understood by ‘existing analytical tools’. So to address a political problem, they asked scientists to come up with a solution. Precisely the same thing is happening today. One might almost conclude that, in the world of climatology, theories are made to order.
Or is the problem with the general public, who cannot talk about climate except in doom-laden terms, and for whom the sky is the last animist god? This might be the most important lesson of the 1974 report on global cooling: that we need to grow up, separate climatology from fear, and recognise — much as it pains politicians and scientists — that our understanding of how climate changes remains in its infancy.
Even when it hasn’t changed.
This kind of ‘adjustment’ appears to have been so common it is hardly worth commenting on any more.
Except that we are still waiting for any kind of acknowledgement of these alterations in the lamestream media, or any discussion of why they are so important.
Put simply, the whole global warming scare is based on alleged unusual warming in the last half century. But the surface temperature readings on which these claims are based had to be manipulated to obtain a warming signal. Without these adjustments, the overall warming disappears.
These graphs, from Watts Up With That are just one example:
Whenever I am at a social gathering, or any other kind of gathering, for that matter, and someone says ‘Violence never solves anything,’ I make an excuse (sometimes even a polite excuse) and go and look for someone else to talk to.
That belief is indicative of such ignorance of history, such a lack of understanding of the cost of our freedom, and such an inability to think, that the effort involved in conversing with anyone who holds it would be better spent cleaing skirting boards with a tooth pick.
So I was pleased and impressed by President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. That link takes you a full transcript.
Just a few key paragraphs:
America led the world in constructing an architecture to keep the peace: a Marshall Plan and a United Nations, mechanisms to govern the waging of war, treaties to protect human rights, prevent genocide, restrict the most dangerous weapons.
In many ways, these efforts succeeded. Yes, terrible wars have been fought, and atrocities committed. But there has been no Third World War. The Cold War ended with jubilant crowds dismantling a wall. Commerce has stitched much of the world together. Billions have been lifted from poverty. (! Absolutely right, but astonishing for someone of his socialist background). The ideals of liberty and self-determination, equality and the rule of law have haltingly advanced. We are the heirs of the fortitude and foresight of generations past, and it is a legacy for which my own country is rightfully proud.
We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth: We will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations — acting individually or in concert — will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified. (I would have said sometimes a moral imperative. There are some conflicts we must not shy away from, no matter what the cost.)
I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism — it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.
I raise this point, I begin with this point because in many countries there is a deep ambivalence about military action today, no matter what the cause. And at times, this is joined by a reflexive suspicion of America, the world’s sole military superpower.
But the world must remember that it was not simply international institutions — not just treaties and declarations — that brought stability to a post-World War II world. Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: The United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms. The service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has promoted peace and prosperity from Germany to Korea, and enabled democracy to take hold in places like the Balkans. We have borne this burden not because we seek to impose our will. We have done so out of enlightened self-interest — because we seek a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if others’ children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity.
It is a long speech. It is also a great speech, one that reflects idealism, courage and determination.
Let’s hope these qualities, clear in words, are carried through into a genuine role of leadership for good, by Obama and the US, and by the rest of the developed nations.
Well, not quite:
His Excellency Ban Ki Moon
Secretary-General, United Nations
New York, NY
United States of America
8 December 2009
Climate change science is in a period of ‘negative discovery’ – the more we learn about this exceptionally complex and rapidly evolving field the more we realize how little we know. Truly, the science is NOT settled.
Therefore, there is no sound reason to impose expensive and restrictive public policy decisions on the peoples of the Earth without first providing convincing evidence that human activities are causing dangerous climate change beyond that resulting from natural causes. Before any precipitate action is taken, we must have solid observational data demonstrating that recent changes in climate differ substantially from changes observed in the past and are well in excess of normal variations caused by solar cycles, ocean currents, changes in the Earth’s orbital parameters and other natural phenomena.
We the undersigned, being qualified in climate-related scientific disciplines, challenge the UNFCCC and supporters of the United Nations Climate Change Conference to produce convincing OBSERVATIONAL EVIDENCE for their claims of dangerous human-caused global warming and other changes in climate. Projections of possible future scenarios from unproven computer models of climate are not acceptable substitutes for real world data obtained through unbiased and rigorous scientific investigation.
Specifically, we challenge supporters of the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused climate change to demonstrate that:
1.Variations in global climate in the last hundred years are significantly outside the natural range experienced in previous centuries;
2.Humanity’s emissions of carbon dioxide and other ‘greenhouse gases’ (GHG) are having a dangerous impact on global climate;
3.Computer-based models can meaningfully replicate the impact of all of the natural factors that may significantly influence climate;
4.Sea levels are rising dangerously at a rate that has accelerated with increasing human GHG emissions, thereby threatening small islands and coastal communities;
5.The incidence of malaria is increasing due to recent climate changes;
6.Human society and natural ecosystems cannot adapt to foreseeable climate change as they have done in the past;
7.Worldwide glacier retreat, and sea ice melting in Polar Regions , is unusual and related to increases in human GHG emissions;
8.Polar bears and other Arctic and Antarctic wildlife are unable to adapt to anticipated local climate change effects, independent of the causes of those changes;
9.Hurricanes, other tropical cyclones and associated extreme weather events are increasing in severity and frequency;
10.Data recorded by ground-based stations are a reliable indicator of surface temperature trends.
It is not the responsibility of ‘climate realist’ scientists to prove that dangerous human-caused climate change is not happening. Rather, it is those who propose that it is, and promote the allocation of massive investments to solve the supposed ‘problem’, who have the obligation to convincingly demonstrate that recent climate change is not of mostly natural origin and, if we do nothing, catastrophic change will ensue. To date, this they have utterly failed to do so.
Signed by over 100 leading climate scientists.
See the full list at Copenhagen Climate Challenge.
Just one more thing before the lager and nuts:
From Town Hall.
And finally (no I really mean it this time), if you are still in any doubt that scary AGW is a fraud, bad science, based on cherry picked and manipulated data, a load of old cobblers, the opiate of the newsreaders, read Disproving the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) Problem by Leonard Weinstein.
Dr Weinstein is a former senior research scientist who worked more than 30 years at the NASA Langley Research Center and is now senior research fellow at the National Institute of Aerospace.
He writes: “In order to support a theory, specific predictions need to be made that are based on the claims of the theory, and the predictions then need to happen.”
He lists six predictions required by the CO2 caused AGW theory and shows how not one has occurred. Also from Town Hall, with thanks.
If it were not for the vast amounts of money being made, AGW would have hit the remainder bins years ago.
PS. It’s cold and foggy and boring in Copenhagen.
The last thing America needs is misguided legislation that will raise taxes and cost jobs — particularly when the push for such legislation rests on agenda-driven science. Without trustworthy science and with so much at stake, Americans should be wary about what comes out of this politicized conference.
You go, girl.
Or that’s what the AGW alarmists would have you believe, with ever more shrill warnings about melting ice, starving Africans, extinct frogs, and the hottest decade ever in Australia. No really, you have to believe me.
‘Whatever’, is becoming the standard, and appropriate, response to the decadal scientific scare oscillation (DSSO).
Well done, I say. This is good evidence of the common sense of the common people. From what I have seen and read, there is more reason to believe in angels than AGW, or most other fairy tale monsters.
Meanwhile, the lamestream media are beginning to see the writing in the ice.
The Australian today carried an article discussing two major studies reported in peer reviewed scientific journals, both of which seriously undermine the alarmist non-science.
On Monday CNN gave a substantial amount of air time to real climate science. That is, science that fairly addresses the complications of climate modelling and examines real world data without multiple layers of massage and hot rock therapy.
Fair reporting on CNN? OMG! The world really is ending.
Finally, yesterday’s Telegraph included a long and careful article by Christopher Booker detailing the astonishing costs of reducing CO2 emissions to the levels proposed by the scare crew.
Don’t forget, Decadal Scientific Scare Oscillation. DSSO.
This will save you from any pointless fear when the new ‘We must do something about this right now at great expense or the world will end’ scenario appears in five years time.
Mr Rudd announced today that families would be compensated for the extra costs caused by Labor’s planned ETS.
But what exactly is the point of a tax if the businesses who will pay the tax are going to be compensated for the extra tax they pay by taxing someone else more so that the businesses can be compensated, and then compensating the people who are being taxed extra to pay the compensation for the first group. Where is that money going to come from?
If I can’t work it out, it’s a good thing Labor is in charge, their being so brainy and all.
Except the public Rudd wants to impress with his generosity is not impressed at all.
A sample of comments from the above linked story:
The real problem if you beleive in climate change is that they are blaming it on carbon dioxide emissions which is 90% generated by energy and transportation which is used to bring goods and services to consumers. So here in lies the problems, Australia consumes 30 tonnes of carbon per a capita and the sustainable amount according to the “experts” is 3 tonnes per a capita globally… so realistically you need people to consume only 1/10 of what they consume now… how do you get them to do this? well you tax the crap out of them so they can’t spend money on anything… but hey wait, whats the point of a tax that you just give back to the public in hand outs. uhmm well nothing, its just money going back and forth, govt taxes businesses, businesses ups the costs of goods, and the goverments gives the money back to the people to pay for the increase costs and were back at square one except money is effectively loss on administration costs, govt “looks” like they are doing something about climate change, and they “look” like they are giving free money to the public when in reality they’ve done nothing. it’s pretty simple, if your serious on climate change, start building nuclear energy
By compensating for price hikes, consumers will still buy just as much of polluting products. All this will lead to is inflation. While I don’t like the guy, Abbott will be getting my vote.
So there you have it, there will be a massive tax hike and we will still be paying for it, even though we get some of it back. See another mining company ready to sign a deal in indo. They will leave in droves shortly if an ETS is adopted. Love ’em or hate ’em, the mines and miners make a massive contribution to our nation’s economy. Would I have a business if there hadn’t been a mining boom? NOT ON YOUR NELLIE! Can’t feed the kids on air now, can we?
The PM pledges families will pay little or nothing for his ETS scheme, is that so. Is Mr Rudd going to pay for it out of his own pocket then? If not where does he think the money comes from to pay for all these mega dollars he keeps handing out, it comes from Mums and Dads and You and Me, it really is frightening.
Sorry, Kev. We’re just not buying it.