The Dog’s Bollocks

Truth is like a dog’s bollocks – pretty obvious if you care to look.

Bloody Powercorp – owed to economic rationalism

Kathy Lord)

Hundreds of people were evacuated from Melbourne's Arts Centre. (ABC: Kathy Lord)

As I began to prepare dinner tonight it was our turn to do without power for two hours so that other folk could get a turn at watching the Plasma TV with the AC on. It reminded me of a similar evening back when Jeff Kennett came to power and he embraced Hawke and Keating’s privatisation agenda and flogged off public transport and the power grid to foreign corporations.

The power failed as I was preparing a family meal one hot evening. I was really pissed off about Economic Rationalism*, Tatcherism, Reaganism, Friedmanism Free Marketism – all I am saying is give public a chance. It was a crock from the start. Sure, there’s a mercantile market, and so there should be, but those assets essential to civil infrastructure are best provided by government on behalf of the public, not given as playthings to greedy, fearful, and oh so fallible market traders.

To all those free market acolytes – thanks a lot!

And another thing. The Rudd government needs to mandate flat-tariff prices for all alternative energy fed back into the national grid. This would encourage individuals to invest in energy generating capacity, if for no other reason than to avoid being at the complete mercy of Powercor. We need distributed energy systems – a bit like an electric internet – flexible, localised energy hubs reducing the burden on centralised generation. Let’s just get on with it. How else is everyone on the planet going to be able to watch a Plasma TV? Might have to cut back on the AC ‘though!

* Here’s the ditty I wrote in the style of a Christie Moore ballad. It sang better than it scans in print. but hey, I wasn’t as musically adept back then. It has been a while. I was older then but I’m younger that that now.

Owed to Economic Rationalism

I was in the kitchen late the other night
Off went the power, and out went the light
Right in the middle of my culinary chores
I tried to ring our private Powercor

There wasn’t a single living soul to be found
A recorded message went round and round
Staff are downsized, from blackouts preserve us
For profits have replaced customer service

Where the bloody hell is the rhyme or the reason
To this so-called economic rationalism
People’s well-being, homes and careers
All sacrificed to the free marketeers

Wealthy men of power, self-interest and greed
Are busy trying to tell us just what we need
We must work harder, there’s no time to relax
To increase their profits and decrease their tax!

Feasting on crumbs from the rich man’s table
Thin men will get fat is the modern day fable
Yet the thin get thinner while the fat get fatter
And a decent job for all no longer seems to matter

Survival of the fittest, is now the daily creed
No more sacrificing for a common need
Now it’s user pays and we must privatise
As public assets vanish before your very eyes

Our factories are told they have to compete
On the global market or we’ll surely face defeat
We must do our best to make a level playing field
Costs must be lowered ‘though unemployment builds

For the common people there is little concern
As long as the wealthy have money to burn
Government policy is more concerned now
With the FT100, the Hang Seng and Dow

For ratings and resources now we must compete
And as in days of old the wealthy are elite
The poor and disadvantaged no longer have a voice
As equity’s replaced by efficiency and ‘choice’

If you need a doctor because you’re feeling ill
You better be sure you can afford the bill
Or you’ll be placed on the waiting list instead
And before you get better you may well be dead

No more public housing can we afford
With private landlords the homeless can board!
And if the rent and the bond you struggle to meet
There’s plenty of room out on the street

Where it will end is anybody’s guess
How long before the politicians confess
That their policies have caused so much sorrow and distress
And left us an economic, irrational bloody mess

I guess if one day the power just doesn’t come back on, all bets are off.

This is my 300th Bollocks post!

Filed under: Economics, Ideology, Politics

How hot is it?

Sure is hot!

Sure is hot!

One story you won’t be reading about this week’s record-breaking heatwave engulfing South Eastern Australia, is Jennifer Marohasy claiming it’s evidence of climate change – and she’d be right. When Europe experienced a cold snap in October, Marohasy’s band of merrymen, claimed it was nudge-nudge evidence wink-wink of global cooling. It’s scientific nonsense to use short term fluctuations to predict long-term trends like climate change. Indicative time intervals are measured in decades, not weeks, or even years. Jennifer knows that, of course, but it’s never really been about the science, has it? The wonks may argue hockey-sticks and solar forcings, but your average mug punter understands extremes of unprecedented weather events ro be climate change and wants something done about it.

Really hot!

Really hot!

Meanwhile Victorian rail and power grids are melting and buckling under the heat. Thank you very much Jeff Kennett and Allan Stockdale! Fadishly following European fashion, these guys flogged off our public transport and energy utilities to global corporations like Connex in the name of competition and economic rationalism. We were told they would run more efficiently and more economically. The hell they do. It seems as though maintenance and investment is premised on 90% of it working 90% of the time. Victoria’s powergird was running hot at about 97% capacity today. 100,000s of people in homes, schools, police stations, businesses and offices (assuming you could actually get to work on a broken rail network, that is) were without power for much of the day in rolling blackouts while the guys on the levers try to prevent the whole thing from blowing up.

The energy utilities blame the consumers for wanting to avoid the heat by watching the plasma TV with the AC unit on full chill. I blame Harvey Norman.

Michael Clayton-Jones

Awesomely hot! Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones

Oh yeah, Neil Young at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl was one magic benefit of the heat wave. Balmy as all hell, everyone happy, excited and laid back all at the same time. Mr Young was in fine form. My second eldest, who has seen many performances of famous acts, reckons Neil is untouchable. A true rock and roll legend who tells it how it is.

Filed under: Economics, , , , ,

Makes you proud to be Ostrayun

Herald SunIs it just me, or did Howard, Jones and Hanson so completely exploit the Australian Flag for their xenophobic agenda that I can’t see it flying from people’s cars, houses and campsites without thinking of Coalition-voting white supremacists?

At least The Hun took a break from its run of aren’t-you-glad-you’re-an-Aussie-and-not-a-Muzzie stories this week and gave space to Ron ‘Hero’ Barassi’s call to move Australia Day to May to commemorate the date when Aborigines were given equal citizen rights.

Oi! Oi! Whatever.

Filed under: Australian values, Howardians,

The Ice Age is coming! Antartica is warming!

A new reconstruction of Antarctic surface temperature.

A new reconstruction of Antarctic surface temperature.

In recent years, scientists have struggled to explain measurements which seemed to indicate that Antarctica has been cooling – a trend much relied on by the denialist lobby to give support to their message that the earth has started cooling and we are on our way to a new Ice age. Well not any more. New research published in Nature has found that, in fact, the iciest continent is undergoing the same changes as the rest of the planet.

“What we did is we took advantage of the fact that, in fact, there is data. There’s over 25 years now of data from satellites, which provides an alternative way to measure the temperature,” Professor Steig said.

By correlating the two, the research team believes it has come up with an accurate picture stretching back half a century, and it shows western Antarctica especially has been getting warmer by about a 10th of a degree every decade.

“What we found, in a nutshell, is that Antarctica is not cooling,” Professor Steig said.

“Now some parts of it have been cooling, but only since the late 1970s, and only in certain seasons, primarily in autumn.

“On average the entire continent is warming and especially it is warming in winter and spring. Finally, west Antarctica, just like the Antarctic peninsula, is warming in all seasons.”

But new research has found that, in fact, the iciest continent is undergoing the same changes as the rest of the planet.

Scientists find evidence Antartica is warming – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

A cold day in January will have the good folks at Jennifer Marohasy’s blog in a frenzy of AGW denunciation before morning tea. Strangely, no-one there has posted on this yet. Maybe they’re all on holiday, or the hot weather has them re-examining temperature data for counter-trends. But then again, Nature is a notorious hotbed of unscrupulous warmaholic climatologists rigging data to fit the AGW narrative so they can maintain their funding grants and turn us all into socialists. Or something.

Filed under: Environment, Science, , , ,

Why have we become so suspicious of kindness?


St Lawrence distributing alms: fresco by Fra Angelico (1447-1449) Photograph: /Corbis

This turned up on a couple of blogs last week and struck me as one of the freshest insights I’ve read in a while.

Kindness has gone out of fashion. In the age of the rampant free market and the selfish gene, compassion is seen as either narcissism or weakness. So why have we become so suspicious of one of our most basic – and pleasurable – human qualities, ask Adam Phillips and Barbara Taylor

Love thy neighbour: Why have we become so suspicious of kindness? | Books | The Guardian

Filed under: Big Picture,

OECD regulation call

OECD regulation call trumps Rudd

Filed under: Big Picture, Economics, , ,

Obama may open low-level link with Hamas


Palestinian women from the El Deeb family, whose relatives were killed near a United Nations school, watch the funerals in the Jabaliya refugee camp. Photo: AP

THE incoming Obama administration is prepared to abandon US President George Bush’s doctrine of isolating Hamas by establishing a channel to the Islamist organisation, sources close to the transition team say.

Washington may open low-level link with Hamas |

Good to hear that the incoming administration is preparing to reverse the Bush administration’s refusal to have anything to do with Hamas. Since when has a conflict between neighbours ever been resolved without both parties being dragged to the negotiating table? Wipe out Hamas and all the Palestinians was never going to be a viable strategy beyond playing to local Israeli and International politics..

As Jason Koutsoukis explains today:

“Yet 3½ years later, Israel is once again looking for a way out of Gaza. This latest war may have started with an impressive “shock and awe” campaign of aerial bombardment, but it is quickly turning into a carnage-ridden nightmare that may prove just as difficult for Israel to extract itself from as the last time it occupied Gaza in 1967.

A million and a half human beings are crammed into this tiny Palestinian territory, most of them desperate refugees, in conditions that are treacherous, agonising and demoralising.”

It is ironic (there’s that word again) that Israel, the great Jewish State, finds itself imprisoning people into a inhumane ghetto based on their ethnicity. They’ve come along way.

Note to all the Militarist Rightists out there, this writer does not condone violence as a means to solving political problems, regardless of who is involved, who started it, or the relative ‘merits’ of their case. But if you treat people like sub-human animals you shouldn’t be surprised if they bite.

Filed under: Politics, , , ,

Jennifer Marohasy does irony, again

“The greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda. Perceiving the truth has always been a challenge to mankind, but in the information age (or as I think of it, the disinformation age) it takes on a special urgency and importance.”

“I would suggest that this job is not made any easier by activist-journalists who deliberately set out to deceive…”

“The hoax is really just more misinformation from those who distrust science and is illustrative of the increasing blurring of the line between advocacy and science journalism.”

Jennifer Marohasy » Magazine Duped by anti-GM Activist – A Case of More of the Same

Oh, Jennifer, the irony!

Filed under: Environment, Humour, Media, , , ,

Why the taboo on criticising Israel?

I’m always amazed at how polarised people’s opinions are when it comes to Israel – how generally reasoned and moderate commentators can be so single-mindedly supportive of Israel, despite the appalling anti-humanitarian conditions it imposes on the Palestinians and the numerous floutings of conditions imposed by the UN – as though Israel can do no wrong.

“The Palestinian casualties are due to Hamas (and its backers in Syria and Iran) not to Israel. “ Funny that, I thought it had something to do with the massive and disproportionate Israeli military air and land attacks, made possible only by enormous military subsidy from the US. Apparently not. It’s OK for me to kill you because you made me do it, it seems.

Does this unflinching Israeli support come from our collective guilt about the Holocaust, or from our refusal to acknowledge the botched way in which the state of Israel was created without consideration for a viable Palestinian state? It seems our support for Israel is emotive rather than rational.

There is wrong on both sides, and both sides need to be brought to task and obliged to negotiate a lasting peace. And this I suspect is behind the latest ambit actions by Israel. Israel’s leaders know that a peace settlement will be high on the foreign policy agenda of the new Obama Administration. These latest military horrors are a way of pre-emptively establishing Israel’s opening bargaining position with the forth-coming peace process. The present atrocious situation gives Israel a lot to bargain with, and any softening will leave them looking like the good guys.

Filed under: Politics, ,

Marohasy’s Denialist Church of True Believers

If you believe the folks at Jennifer Marohasy’s environmental blog, Anthropogenic Global Warming has been thoroughly disproved beyond all doubt, and those who stubbornly refuse to acknowledge this are akin to religious zealots in the high church of the IPCC who have irrationally adopted as an article of faith the belief that global warming is the greatest threat to the ecology of our planet.
This is the latest strategy of the denialists – let’s talk endlessly claiming that global warming has been disproved and then argue that non-denialists are deluded with nothing but blind faith to support their position – never the mind reality.
Yet the reality is that scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports the case for AGW, and opinion polls show the vast majority of the general population agree. Ironically, it is the denialists who have unshaken faith that the planet is cooling and that there is no such thing as AGW, and that the science supports their belief.
Of course, a professional scientific contrarian like Marohasy knows full well that she will never win the debate – the name of the game for denialists is to obscure, obfuscate, confound and generally misdirect the debate, on behalf of her corporate masters (BHP Billiton, Murray Irrigation, Gunns, and Monsanto, for e.g.) in order to delay political and regulatory action dealing with limiting carbon emissions and the fostering of renewable energy technology. And she has a loyal band of true-believers willing to sing from the same hymn sheet and make as much noise as possible. They also fervently believe that it is our moral and ethical obligation to maintain our affluent lifestyle as the only effective means of solving world poverty and inequity. Those damned environmental extremists want to deprive our children of energy and destroy our economy and our way of life! How dare they!

We know that Marohasy is a dedicated environmentalist, for her site often has pictures and stories about endangered species. Why, only this week, in response to the Victorian Government’s plan to protect 83,000ha of Murray River Red Gum environment from cattle grazing and logging she argued against the park on the grounds that this will endanger the survival of Koalas in the area. The logic is that there is not enough water for the trees (did I mention that one of Marohasy’s corporate sponsors is Murray Irrigation, who represent the water allocation interests of Monsanto, Big Cotton and Big Rice) so it is better to reduce the number of trees to match the amount of water available and thus save the Koalas! Or something.

Filed under: Environment, Pseudoscience, , ,

The Dog’s Bollocks

What they say

The Dog's Bollocks: "Bollocks" is one of my favourite words, and this is now one of my favourite blogs and I've only been reading it for five minutes. – John Surname

This is the person who tried to analyse Hayek. This is actually a person who needs a shrink. – JC

Shut up slim. You’re an idiot.
Just you stay honest and keep that thinking cap on. – GMB

Insightful perspectives on politics and discussion of matters epistemological? I’m sold! - Bruce

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