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Sometimes Dexter and Hannah may look back, and sometimes when they do something I am ready to catch that moment. Most of the time we are moving on, getting to where we are going without reflection.
Sometimes there are things to not seen before. Sometimes, just to test me more than Dexter and Hannah, another dog or person crosses our path, or blindsides us from behind. Then there are the rare moments when something is going on. This week it was the bushfire on Maddens Plains that posed a threat to the escarpment. It was extraordinary how quickly it was controlled. The smoke became black, and then was greatly reduced. We could see the helicopters, but not the giant water bombers that had been employed.
The anticipation is that this year will be a bad one for bushfires. Meanwhile in Paris an agreement was reached that addressed, however obliquely the the “civilizational” challenged presented by Climate Change crisis. Practical and effective measures are best.
These are the memories recorded for the week. The music is “Green Leaves” by Audionautix:
Kate Wolf seems to have had a thing about green eyes, including composing a song with that name:
Malcolm Turnbull is facing his Kevin Rudd moment. Should he call an early election?
Several cabinet ministers have privately urged the Prime Minister to go early next year to bank the political capital he has in the opinion polls as Bill Shorten and Labor flounder at historic lows.
My first question is, who is leaking? Who could possibly know that several cabinet ministers have done anything, especially something as sensitive as that? Really, I thought with the change, leaking would become a thing of the past.
Second, why the rush? If Mr Popular is so fantastic, why not wait till the three years are up before testing the market? Whether it’s Bill Shorten or anyone else, the future is bright and certain. Seems a bit impetuous. This being an unlosable election, can’t see what all the pressure is about. Why not just bring down the budget, give the ABC another few million, promise to raise the GST after the election and go for it then? It’s all such a puzzle.
For a week, Marine le Pen’s extreme right Front National was the most popular political movement in France, but this morning, Australian time, the French pulled back from the brink. read now...
Over the weekend, 200 countries agreed a new climate deal in
Paris. Despite the rhetoric of
"the end of the fossil fuel era" and
"the worlds greatest diplomatic success", its just the usual
bullshit of promises no-one intends to keep sweetened with money
no-one intends to give. Tellingly, it doesn't include any binding
emissions reduction targets, making the entire thing purest hot
air. Its aspiration, not action - and its
a bit fucking late for that.
As for our government, its clearly got the message. In the face of an empty agreement, it has no plans to change its policies:
Mr Key told Morning Report New Zealand's significant steps on emission reduction would not involve cutting back on the mining of oil, gas and coal.
"Not in terms of the production side of the house, if you like ... I can't exactly tell you off the top of my head how many barrels of oil we produce a day but it would be what Saudi Arabia, Iraq and those other countries, Iran, produce in a nano-second. It's just not large."
[Climate Change Minister Tim] Groser said no change in goverment policy was needed in the short term, but in the long run, New Zealand would have to do more to meet the agreement. Part of that would be finding technical solutions to agricultural emissions.
Queensland's Parliamentary Ethics Committee refuses to hold controversial former corruption body boss Dr Ken Levy to account for intentionally misleading Parliament, despite overwhelming evidence he did. read now...
It would be one thing if I thought these people were saying what they’re saying and doing what they’re doing because that is where the votes are. What amazes me more than anything is that these people really believe it. From The Oz just now: Paris Climate Deal: Turnbull government stares down dissenters, from which:
Environment Minister Greg Hunt has defended the non-binding nature of the Paris climate agreement, as the Turnbull government stares down climate change dissenters within its own ranks.
Liberal MP Dennis Jensen, an outspoken climate change sceptic, warned the agreement was “essentially meaningless” and Australia should avoid “metaphorically burning our economy just to appear good on the global stage”.
“Basically countries set their own targets and there’s no enforcement strategy. It provides flexibility to do anything essentially,” he told ABC Radio.
“The entire globe needs to have similar commitments and be similarly achieving those goals.” . . .
Mr Hunt regretted there would be “no sanctions or penalties if a country falls short of its target”.
“Our preference would have been for that. That’s probably the only real and significant element that we would have wanted, but we all knew that that wasn’t possible for the United States, it wasn’t on China’s agenda,” he told Macquarie Radio.
“Others haven’t always honoured their agreements in the past, that is true. But the difference this time is everybody’s in the cart, everybody’s made their commitment; if countries fall short of that or indeed they renege on it I think there would be enormous internal and ex...
Sigh. People hate the TPPA, and as with other controversial
political topics - banning child beating, the 90 day law, and
retrospectively approving Parliamentary spending - they're
demanding the Governor-General do something about it, via a
petition asking him to "command" the government hold a
These people are fools. In our constitutional system, the Governor-General "commands" nothing. They act only and always on the advice of elected Ministers, even to the extent of signing their own execution warrant if told to do so. They're a rubberstamp, nothing more, and the idea that they are (or should be) anything more than that is pure monarchical fiction.
But they're fools in another way too. Because if your whole argument is that the TPP lacks any democratic mandate (one I agree with), then surely the answer to that cannot be to appeal to an official who lacks one himself. Because fundamentally, the Governor-General is illegitimate. They are appointed, not elected. And that means they have no more right to make decisions in our name than Canterbury's unelected dictators.
If you want to defeat the TPPA democratically, then the answer is to vote out the government which signed it, and vote in a government which will withdraw from it. If no political party will offer that choice, then you need to argue and lobby and vote the fuckers out until one will. But appealing to the representative of a vestigial hereditary dictatorship is neither constitutional nor democratic.
So, John Key's vanity flag referendum has had the expected
result, with National Fern pipping Labour Fern for first place in
preliminary count. Meh. It was always an uninspiring
choice, and the addition of Red Peak - a flag which emerged
from the grassroots and showed us what the process could
have been like - at the last minute didn't change that. So now we
have an uninspiring design stolen from a weetbix packet versus a
colonial relic. And to be honest, I hate either option. So I gues
snow its a question of what I hate more: Britain, or John Key?
I want the flag to change, but not like this, and not to John Key's stupid fern. So I'm with Simon Pound: vote for the current flag, then have another go at it in five years - and next time, do it properly.
How ridiculously empty Keynesian theory is. But if you combine deficits with the promise of billions of dollars to businesses that lose money and individuals who don’t work, along with voting majorities for parties who promise never to reduce the level of welfare, it’s amazing how attractive these ideas become.
In The Australian today
With the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook only a sleep away, the Treasurer is facing his baptism of fire. But whatever the political risks involved in acknowledging the seriousness of our fiscal challenge, simply closing one’s eyes and wishing really hard for the deficit to disappear is hardly an option. Rather, while avoiding both alarmism and complacency, Scott Morrison must show the government has a credible strategy for budget repair.
Several authors have argued that the hypothesis of dangerous man made global warming fails the test of Occam’s razor because the simple hypothesis of natural variation fits the data with fewer assumptions. As Harold Jeffreys noted, “simpler laws have the greater prior probability”. But are forecasts of dangerous warming immune from Occam’s razor?
It is on the basis of forecasts that the political leaders and government officials gathered in Paris are discussing agreements that would impose extraordinarily disruptive and expensive policies on the nations of the world. Those forecasts—called scenarios and projections by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—are the product of complex computer models involving multitudes of interacting assumptions.
The finding of Kesten Green and Scott Armstrong’s recent review that complexity increased forecast errors by 27% on average should give delegates at the Paris climate policy talks pause for thought. Occam’s razor would appear to apply to scientific forecasting, too.
At this year’s International Symposium on Forecasting, Kesten and Scott presented a review of the IPCC’s modeling procedures using a nine-item checklist on conformance with evidence-based guidance on simplicity in forecasting.
They found that the IPCC procedures have a “simplicity rating” of 19%. That figure contrasts with a simplicity rating of 93% for the Green, Armstrong and Soon no-change (no-trend) model of long-term global average temperatures.
Given the vast sums that have been spent on the IPCC process and how seriously the outputs are being taken by the Paris delegates, is it possible that alarm over dangerous manmade global warming is an exception to Occam’s razor in forecasting
Apparently not. The evidence presented by a notional bet between Scott Armstrong and Al Gore—represented by forecasts from the simple no-trend model and the IPCC model “business as usual” projected wa...
between Kevin Rudd’s stimulus packages and Malcolm Turnbull’s innovation package?
So glad you asked – Paul Kelly explains (mind you that wasn’t his intention):
The standout feature of this week’s orchestration of innovation and science policy is the extent of support for Turnbull from third parties, notably media, universities, scientists, entrepreneurs, finance and virtually every segment of business. The trade unions have rarely looked so irrelevant.
Every rent-seeker and his dog was on board for Rudd’s stimulus packages and every rent-seeker and his dog, excluding the union movement, is on board for Turnbull’s innovation policy.
In the end we’re going to see a lot of
government taxpayer money wasted
for no return. On the positive side, however, nobody will die or
have their house burnt down.
It is common at this time of the year to reflect on what was, what could have been and how it all manages to fit into the ‘scheme of things’. This article is the 50th piece posted to The Political Sword in 2015 — and, if we didn’t have enough to do, late in January we changed the look and feel of our website as well as commencing a second site TPS Extra, where the concept is for shorter ad-hoc articles on issues of the day. Given that each Political Sword article runs for somewhere between 1500 and 2500 words, somewhere around 100,000 words have been written, coded and presented for you to think about. At the time of writing 45 articles have appeared on the Extra site — of varying lengths to address a current issue.
At the end of 2014, we started our annual reflection with the following:
It was a year in which we saw Abbott and his cronies trying to destroy the country and make us a paradise for the neo-liberals, the neo-cons and the economists that support them — and, of course, big business. We saw the worst budget in living memory and have, so far, only been saved from its full ramifications by the senate. We saw Clive Palmer appear with Al Gore to talk about the importance of climate change but, at the same time, cave in to support the repeal of the carbon price. We have seen Abbott, more through luck than design, deflect the budget issue and ‘bask’ in the glory of the world stage, taking on the Russian bear and alienating our closest Asian neighbour. He has ‘stopped the boats’ but also stopped government transparency in the process. He is undertaking more privatisation of government services and...
First this, which might get lost in the wash of today’s events: Malcolm Turnbull has lifted Tony Abbott’s wind power investment ban.
Malcolm Turnbull has lifted Tony Abbott’s controversial ban on government investment in wind power, in his first major break from the former regime’s environmental policy.
Fairfax Media can reveal that Environment Minister Greg Hunt has issued the Clean Energy Finance Corporation with new orders that negate the Abbott government’s June decree, which prohibited the $10 billion green bank from investing in new wind power projects. . . .
Under the new mandate, the corporation will be allowed to invest in any wind projects provided they involve “emerging and innovative” technology, although it does encourage it to “focus on offshore wind technologies”.
This is what innovation apparently means: wasting our money on useless projects that will never provide any benefit to anyone other than those who get to spend the money (see the NBN for the prototype). The reality is you cannot trust them to keep their word. And why this is especially grievous is that the agreement signed in Paris commits the government to do precisely nothing it does not want to. If they are stupid enough to fall for all of this, then they can continue believing that Yuri Geller can bend spoons with the power of his mind and act on this belief. This is from Skeptics Central in London, explaining how empty the agreement is.
London 12 December: Dr Benny Peiser, the director of the Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF), has welcomed the non-binding and toothless UN climate agreement which was adopted in Paris tonight.*) Dr Peise...
If all the industrial nations went down to zero emissions it wouldn’t be enough, not when more than 65% of the world’s carbon pollution comes from the developing world
John Kerry December 10 2015
An agreement on climate change action
On what is theoretically the final day plus one of the Paris Climate Change Conference, we have a final agreement. Delegates are lining up to get selfies with Al Gore.
Everyone has agreed that human emissions of carbon dioxide is a bad thing. Everyone has agreed that we should do less of it in a way that is graduated by what nations see as their capability to reduce emissions and there is a goal to limit emissions so that global temperatures do not rise by more than 1.5C.
There is talk of justice, and building upon the agreement. Graham Lloyd’s is among the finest analyses
Different national interests
The vast number of square brackets around the previous draft texts reflect major differences.
Developing country representatives see the conference as an opportunity to extract additional support from a developed world that has fomented the hysteria surrounding anthropogenic induced global warming. Third world countries seemingly had before them an offer, first made by Hillary Clinton, of $100 billion a year in aid. The third world knows that the sum will be diluted by rebadging – Australia has, for example, offered $1 billion with $800 million of this coming from existing aid disbursements. But it also knows that pressure will yield incremental sums. Third world countries strongly favour emission commitments being tradeable and acquitted within their own borders. This is something that Australia has now agreed to.
The rapidly developing group of develo...
The Political Weekly: There’s nothing quite so pathetic as a self-deluded has-been politician, desperately trying to squawk their way back into the political spotlight, but in so doing only reinforcing the reason they were relegated to feather duster status in the first place.
It’s time for some new music as entertainment editor John Turnbull returns to take a listen to new releases from soul diva Adele, grunge maestro Kurt Cobain, pop scrotum Justin Beiber and metal “supergroup” The Dead Dasies. read now...
Cardinal George Pell certainly has a heart condition, one that has been apparent to even the most casual observer for some considerable time. It could be thought of as heartlessness or a lack of heart in his attitude to survivors of sexual abuse by priests of Pell’s church. Pell has consistently placed victims and […]
Deposed prime minister Tony Abbott has yet again exposed his deep ignorance of important matters to the watching world. This time in the field of religious affairs, in which he was believed to have had some actual training. Apparently not, writes Alan Austin from France. read now...
For a long time now, I’ve wondered how Melinda Tankard Reist is able to conduct her extensive and lengthy campaign against the “sexualisation” of girls, without addressing the sexual abuse of children. I can think of no more powerfully destructive act of “sexualisation” than childhood sexual abuse, and yet Ms Reist goes nowhere near […]
ham-fisted anti-terror measures increasing radicalisation,
Radio New Zealand has the appalling
story of a kiwi Muslim questioned at the airport after visiting her
family in Iraq. There seems to have been no justification for
this questioning, and its primary effect is to reinforce the
perception that Muslims aren't real kiwis and are enemies of the
state who will not be left to live their lives in peace. Which is
not exactly going to encourage a positive perception of the state
which bullies them in this way, or encourage them to volunteer
information which may result in others being similarly bullied.
Countering terrorism ultimately depends on community cooperation. And you don't get that by victimising and bullying an entire community. Instead, that just makes things worse. We have only to look at the UK or Australia for the consequences.
From the UK, a warning that
ham-fisted anti-terror policing is radicalising
UK authorities are radicalising young Muslims by tackling the terror threat in the wrong way, a former Home Office counter terrorism advisor has claimed.
Jahan Mahmood, who resigned from his government job over disagreements on counter-terrorism strategy, claims authorities are misrepresenting the severity of the threat facing the UK.
Mr Mahmood said far too many people were being arrested, with the majority never charged or convicted.
He claimed this led only to further radicalisation of already ostracised individuals, arrested on “very flimsy” evidence only to be released.
Back in October, Forest & Bird
released drone footage of Northland's forests, showing them
dead and dying due to rampant pests. The Department of Conservation
should obviously be doing something about this, to prevent total
But they won't, because of budget cuts:
Six weeks after a Forest & Bird video revealed Northland native forests dying of neglect, the Department of Conservation (DoC) has admitted it has no plan or budget to save them and no intention of asking the government for more funding.
DoC manager for Northland Sue Reid made that clear this week to a meeting of the Northland Regional Council's environment committee.
"We have to show what we will achieve within our current budget, and it is not sustainable to just go cap-in-hand to the government for more money."
I do not seem able to complete on time the weekly presentation of photos. It was always going to be a more difficult task with the passage of time. Now, there are emergent signs that I am no longer physically capable of completing the walks. Let’s hope that conclusion is inaccurate.
Still the fact remains, if different things are done there will be different results. I assume that the numbers of people who might be interested is vanishingly small.
One of the things I notice from the prior week is the mash-up of daily photos. I think that approach is a mistake. Everyday is different. The music is “Easy Day” by Kevin MacLeod:
Who knew the local primary school has an affiliation with Bhasa and Indonesia? I should take Pepe from next door for a walk more often and learn more about the neighbourhood.
Then there is the symbolism of the cut grass and the potential for bush fires. The daily temperatures have been widely fluctuating. As can be seen from the creek there has not been much rain.
So this week I tried to gather together photos taken on the same day. Nonetheless, it is not a deliberative and careful assemblage. “How it Began” is performed by Silent Partner:
Back in March, a pair of environmental vandals in Auckland tried
to have a stand of 500 year old kauri cut down.
People rallied to protect the trees, and after days of protest
and a treetop occupation, they were saved, with the landowners
agreeing not to cut them.
But they lied. Today, the chainsaws were back again - as are the protesters. The good news is that the contractors hired to do the deed have walked off the job after being made aware of the issue; they care about their reputation. And it would be a brave tree-cutting firm who took it on now. But now that the vandals have gone back on their word once, any future promise they make simply cannot be trusted. The natural suspicion will be that they are simply saying whatever it takes to get the protesters to go away, so they can murder these trees when no-one is watching.
Ultimately, the only thing that will protect these trees from the chainsaw is robust planning protection from the Auckland Council. While the National Party, which supports environmental vandalism, has tried to make this difficult, it is still possible. And the Auckland Council should get a bloody move on in doing it.
Last month I
highlighted the New Zealand Intelligence Community's
Draft NZIC Communications Strategy 2014-2017, which included
(among other things) a plan for a "museum exhibition" to "help
deliver our key messages". While the proposed venue was redacted,
there was only one real place where such an exhibition would be
Papa. So I sent them an OIA request asking whether they'd been
in negotiations about an exhibition with the NZIC or any of our
component agencies, and if so, all communications relating to it
and their vision for the exhibition. I got the
response yesterday, and the answer, of course, is "yes". But
the good news is that the plans have been shelved:
Te Papa had some engagement with the New Zealand Intelligence Community regarding their collections including possible collaboration with Te Papa for an exhibition. In March 2014 a brief 'Idea Summary' document was drafted and agreement to proceed to a proposal stage was approved.
Due to changes in Te Papa's long-term exhibition planning in July 2014, ideas for an exhibition With the NZ Intelligence Community did not proceed beyond this stage. No exhibition proposal document was developed, nor was further negotiation about an exhibition with the NZ Intelligence Community undertaken.
Te Papa doesn't currently have any plans for an exhibition on the New Zealand intelligence community.
Radio New Zealand reports breathlessly that none of the
SIS's supposed "Jihadi brides" has had their passport cancelled -
meaning they could be
"free to return to New Zealand". Well, of course they haven't,
and of course they are. Cancelling a passport
requires that a person be a danger to the security of New
Zealand (or another country) because they intend to engage in "a
terrorist act within the meaning of section 5 of the Terrorism
Suppression Act 2002". To point out the obvious, getting married is
As for the "problem" of "returning to New Zealand", every New Zealand citizen has the right to enter New Zealand at any time, and the government is required to facilitate this by issuing emergency travel documents even to people whose passports they have cancelled for "terrorism". More generally, the idea that we can or should effectively exile New Zealanders from their own country is abhorrent, and Radio New Zealand should be ashamed of themselves for propagating it.
What a happy, beautiful synchronicity of minds this morning
The point of the Jack Kilbride article published in New Matilda earlier this week, is that women are responsible for adjusting our behaviours so that we do not incite male aggression and violence against us. The website has since published three reactions to Kilbride’s piece, one supporting him, one attacking him, and one likening […]
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