Quite a dramatic few days

Especially when it comes to weather. I stayed home yesterday. Wollongong at times looked like this — and by the way as I write the sun has just come out!

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But Sydney got it worse.

Meanwhile in Queensland!

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And dear me, in the weird world of media — specifically The Oz — even more remarkable things have been noted. I can’t help wondering if after all we should revisit that moon landing really being faked in Hollywood or 9/11 being an inside job! I think the Oz has gone quite mad….

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Sick and tired of Pauline being sick and tired…

It’s one of her favourite phrases, isn’t it?

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Bit of a stink in the last few days about what the government insists was an “error” in the Senate, that is supporting a motion “that it is OK to be white”.  Why this may not be OK is pretty bloody obvious, I would have thought, but you may care to see Business Insider on the subject: “But as it turns out, the exact phrase ‘It’s OK To Be White’ actually did have links to neo-Nazis – on several fronts.”

Pauline feels hard done by:

Ms Hanson says the backdown came after the government was “spooked”  by the Labor Party making connections between the motion and a Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazi agenda.

“What a load of bloody hogwash!”

“This has got nothing to do with racism. This is about what is happening in our country.

“I’m white, and I’m proud of it….”

The other day I spooked a few friends on Facebook by publishing this selfie:

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I commented: “This got recycled in Quadrant, and I wasted my pension buying it to see what my old Sydney Uni classmate [Dyson Heydon] (1962-3) had to say.” The item is in fact a year old. It is Tory as, of course, and includes this observation:

But for present purposes let us remember the opening words of the Imperial Act which brought our Constitution into being:

Whereas the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania, humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God, have agreed to unite in one indissoluble federal Commonwealth under the Crown…

Made me check and I found to my surprise this on the US Constitution:

Neither God or Jesus are mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. Nor are they mentioned in the Bill of Rights. Satan also doesn’t show up. Colin McGinn was on Bill Moyers special series on Faith and Reason on PBS last night and mentioned that God is not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution.

So I checked this morning and could not find God or Jesus or any of his disciples, or for that matter Satan, in the U.S. Constitution. I guess I just never looked that closely before because to hear all the debate from the right wing evangelicals and Bush conservatives I could have sworn it had to be there somewhere or what was all the fanatical noise about – like “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance….

Passing on, back to Quadrant, you might note on that cover The Ideology of White-Hatred. “‘Whiteness’—according to our leftist intelligentsia—is both the cause and the consequence of world domination by a conspiratorial elite.” Surprise, surprise!

Let me refer you to some of my old posts, the first from 2001!

In our school newsletter I had been running a series of articles dealing with racism, leading up to the International Day for the Elimination of Racism on March 21 2001. I received the following anonymous letter from a senior student. I would be interested in your responses. I would not normally publish an anonymous letter, but behind the anger and some serious misconceptions, I feel there is an intelligence that deserves respect. I have slightly abridged the letter, but kept true to the author’s views.

On March 2 2001 I received another very polite letter enclosing an American White Supremacist article taken from the Web, I have linked a counter-article by sociologist Caleb Rosado. Please consider….

The second, How Martin Krygier ambushed the Quadranters…, is from 2006.

There they all were on the 18th September celebrating Quadrant’s 50th anniversary, and there was Martin, son of magazine founder Richard Krygier, along with the venerable Dame Leonie Kramer, P P McGuinness (the current editor) and of course the sometimes dippy Duffy, all bent on lauding John Howard’s favourite magazine, in what may also be John Howard’s favourite radio show, with the possible exception of Alan Jones at breakfast on 2GB of course. And it was all going swimmingly until the last few minutes:

Michael Duffy: Martin, can I ask you the same question? Before 1989 Quadrant had a neat role, if you like, a very specific role. What is or ought its role to be? Or does it still have a role?

Martin Krygier: Here I’d part company with my colleagues on the panel. I think it has a very clear and enormously important role until 1989. The end of communism meant the end of an overarching enemy which was relevant at every political level. That meant that you could die and it wasn’t an ignoble thing to do, and that’s what happened with Encounter, or you could do something interestingly and individually different in a more complicated situation, and I believe that under Robert Manne that was being done. I think that more recently, in a way which is not completely as a result of recent trends, but I think that as a result of the culture…we’re a political culture that hunts in packs and there was a tendency once you’re sort of pushed to one side in popular polemics for Quadrant people to actually quite like the role of pariah and being the anti-pack pack. I think that that has continued with a vengeance over the Aboriginal issue and many other things in recent years and it has dismayed me and it’s why I’m not associated with Quadrant now. And I think that it’s…where things are complicated, where it could be that the opposite of a proper position is a foolish one, but that there are many possibilities, many complexities which one could explore, Quadrant seems to me to be a sort of radical simplifier which always finds somebody on the other side, whether they be politically correct (to use the phrase), to be contrarian with. And then people find themselves (or at least I find myself) forced between a pack and the anti-pack and not feeling particularly attracted to either. I think this spirit of dichotomies (I think often false dichotomies) has become dominant and I regret it.

Michael Duffy: We’ll have to leave it there but clearly things got a lot more complicated after 1989. Thanks very much to all of you for coming on the program.

Amen, Martin. But then I admired your 1997 Boyer Lectures too….

May as well complete the set…

The idiocy continues, but apparently not for much longer. All SO UNNECESSARY!

Malcolm Turnbull, in my opinion, has been a disappointing Prime Minister — thanks largely to the troglodytes on his own side and their raving media groupies — but he has been far from a bad one. He ought not to have had to deal with this, nor should we have been made to go through all this shirt-fight either.

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I still hope against hope that Peter Pratey doesn’t get up. Better Scomo or even better Julie B! None of whom will last longer than six months though…

The game goes on…

And Tones is still doing excellent impressions of a Cheshire Cat! Mr Turnbull meanwhile hangs on, for now. This is the man of the hour. God help us all, I still say! And speaking of which…

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I find myself drawn to page 10! ‘Gullibility eroded’: Why a generation chose science over God.

Creationism continues to thrive in Professor Archer’s home country, where about 40 per cent of people still believe God created man. Surveys like his are rare outside the US.

Census data also indicates Australians are becoming less religious. In 1966, 0.8 per cent said they had no religion; by 2016, that number had risen to 30 per cent.

A spokesman from UNSW Campus Bible Study, the biggest religious group on the campus, said “we are thankful that God created us in his image, so that our lives have value and worth”.

Now in the event we soon have a Potato Head government, and some things get uglier than they are now, I file these:

If anyone should want to ban Muslims it would be me – but I don’t.

….I cannot deny that at least three Muslims are directly linked to my father’s death. His murder. I cannot deny that they self-identify as Muslim. Nor can I deny that Islamic State is the violent propaganda machine behind their twisted ideology….

We who seek to see the best in what Australians stand for must believe otherwise.

I support that those responsible need to be punished. I support law and order. I believe that inclusion, acceptance and respect are the most important values we all need to display to create the society that we can all thrive in. Arbitrary cuts to immigration will not do that.

However, I will admit that I am tired. I am tired of needing to explain to adults that the actions of these individuals cannot be attributed to an entire group of people. I am tired of explaining that terrorism is a criminal and political phenomenon, not a religious one. I am tired of explaining that despite my unfortunate tragedy at the hands of Islamic extremists, it is those in my life who just so happen to be Muslim who make me understand the richness of the human spirit. My best friend is of a Muslim background. I have met inspirational students, teachers, activists, and politicians, who just happen to be of a Muslim background. Being a Muslim doesn’t make them a good friend or person. In the same vein, being a Muslim doesn’t make you a terrorist.

If I, of all people, can think this way, then sure as hell our “elected” representatives can think this way too … and while they are at it, cease the never-ending scapegoating. …

Amen to that! And next:

Thousands of Muslims gathered together on Tuesday to show solidarity with drought-ravaged farmers as they celebrate Eid Al Adha.

More than 30,000 people attended Lakemba Mosque in Sydney, to conduct a special ‘rain prayer’ during the annual Eid celebration…

The ‘rain prayer’ comes as 100 per cent of NSW is declared drought-affected and has received less than 20 per cent of its usual rainfall since January.

This is also the warmest and driest July in 20 years….

Tony Cheshire Cat?

Saw Tony Abbott’s doorstop on ABC News at 9.00 am. The face said it all, as it so often does. The words were calculated as a facsimile of reason. I do find myself rather endorsing this person, who clearly has a bit of a chip on the shoulder though. (Kaye describes herself as a middle-aged woman in jammies. She knew Tony Abbott when they both attended Sydney University where she studied for a Bachelor of Science. After 20 years teaching mathematics, with the introduction of the GST in 2000, she became a ‘feral accountant’ for the small business that she and her husband own. Kaye uses her research skills “to pass on information, to join the dots, to remember what has been said and done and to remind others, and to do the maths.”) But do read her Tony Abbott is responsible for our high energy prices, if only as a counterpoint to the stuff appearing on the groupie/anti-Turnbull media.

When the 2010 election did not produce a clear winner, Gillard negotiated the support of the Greens and Independents to form government by promising to introduce carbon pricing.  The policy was introduced in 2012 with the effect of bringing down emissions and prompting a surge of investment in renewable energy projects.

With old coal-fired power stations reaching the end of their ‘technical’ lives, this investment was crucial to help cover the transition as they closed down.  Gas could have been an option to help during this period except the government had agreed to export it with no compulsion to retain sufficient to cover domestic needs, leading to skyrocketing prices locally which are unlikely to come down any time soon.

Then the wrecker won in 2013 and threw out any certainty the industry thought they had.  Investment in new generation ground to a halt.  No-one was going to invest in coal and the rest of the world were more than happy to accept their investment in renewables.

Emissions started rising again for the first time in a decade and energy prices continued to rise astronomically, much higher than any increases due to the carbon price.

But Tony couldn’t care less about that as his tweet this weekend showed.

“To have a chance of winning the next election, the Coalition must create a policy contest on energy, not a consensus.”…

In Spectator Terry Barnes (senior adviser to Tony Abbott in the Howard government from 2003 to 2007) makes an interesting if rather odd comparison:

Turnbull’s handling of the National Energy Guarantee is a fiasco.

It is perfectly conceivable that Turnbull’s leadership could be on the line very soon, either in the party room or on the floor of the House of Representatives when former PM Tony Abbott and the other the NEG rebels have the chance to park their bums where their mouths are.

So, while Peter Dutton is being touted as the likely challenger, it’s fair to ask whether an Abbott restoration has any real legs. For better or worse Abbott is a known quantity and still the Liberal base’s favourite, while Dutton remains an enigma as a potential leader.

Don’t doubt that Abbott would take it if it comes. He would be just like Marshal Petain in France’s darkest hour in June 1940: when the French government collapsed suddenly, the newly-recalled Petain was asked by his president to form a government, and instantly took a piece of paper out of his pocket listing his ministry. It was always there, just in case….

The first sentence there is, alas, only too true. Hence this, God help us!

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So many issues involved here! I find myself sadly reading the best in-print introduction I know to climate change, The Rough Guide to Climate Change by Robert Henson. My copy is the 2008 edition, so ten years old. Again sadly, it ably and convincingly refutes just about every assumption still made ten years on by the mockers who parade terms like “global warmist” across, for example, the Murdoch tabloids. I note with interest that the American Meteorological Society has more recently published Henson’s The Thinking Person’s Guide to Climate Change. I am sure it is very good.

Online you should look at Skeptical Science. You will get the latest there from a site that deservedly won a Eureka Prize a few years ago. Alas, the voices against such good science have lately been strengthened by the actions and tweets of you know who: It’s not okay how clueless Donald Trump is about climate change.

Finally, I share two graphics from a still reliable US source: first, Global Climate Report – June 2018 — 2018 year-to-date temperatures versus previous years.

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Second, Year-to-date (January–June).

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