WHEN?

It’s been the hottest October on record, and the subject of Global Warming is still taboo, perhaps even more so than before.

Instead we get political mechanics trying to gloss over the bleedin’ obvious: the Earth doesn’t give a damn about Newspoll, wedge issues, or pundits opinions about who’s won the 24 hour news cycle.

For God’s sake, if it’s not appropriate at this time to discuss the core issues at the heart of Climate Change and Global Warming, WHEN will it be?

Bushfire Victims

Mark Kenny today managed to write 1,000 words on repealing carbon pricing without once mentioning why it’s there: global warming.

Here’s what it’s really about, in Kenny’s estimation (and he’s not alone in this):

* Abbott taunts Shorten for being a pragmatist;
* Look what happened to the Libs because of Work Choices;
* Mutterings in the ranks;
* Irresistable mandates;
* Carbon pricing is unfashionable, the Carbon War has been fought and lost;
* The polls;
* Electricity will be cheaper;
* Something to do with Peta Credlin;
* The Libs will let you keep the compensation…

Kenny Yada

… everything but

* The Earth is warming at a catastrophic rate and millions will die if we don’t wake up and do something meaningful.

When Kenny refers to the “Carbon War”, he doesn’t mean the battle against global warming. Nothing so noble as that.

He means some obscure political numbers shitfight, some argument about who’s wedged who, some ill-informed dross concerning $100 dollar roasts, business profits, faction fighting, opinion polls and biased, wilfully obtuse political hackery masquerading as “commentary” like his own, backed by billionaires with an anarchist, all-mining, no-government agenda.

Faced with really, really important stuff like the above, mere rising temperatures around the world don’t get a look-in.

He seems to think Global Warming is a policy issue that’s old-fashioned, been done to death, so “yesterday”, now that his hero Tony Abbott is in charge.

Is Abbott going to solve the problem of Global Warming through sheer willpower? Is he going to, maybe, embarrass the Earth into going off the boil simply because he’s a conviction politician? Or because he plays dressups as a Firey?

Abbott NSW Burns

It’s all politics, all calculation, all polls and wedges and numbers, and worse…. the “look of things”.

This is the world of Mark Kenny and his ilk. Everything is distilled down to who’s up who, no matter the gravity of the core policy.

It’s interesting that Kenny writes for the SMH. He’s touted as their “Chief Political Correspondent”.

The SMH editorialized in favour of a vote for Labor in the election, in great part because of their ETS policy, stating that action on Global Warming was vital for both our nation’s future and that of the world.

Kenny doesn’t seem to have received the message.

“Earth calling Mark. Pick up the phone!”

To reduce action on Global Waring to a sequence of wedges, numbers, polls, and phoney mandates – without any mention of the core issue – shows just where political commentary has gotten to.

Reading Kenny’s article you’d have thought that the bushfires raging at the moment (and due to flare up again next week) had not happened. You could have been forgiven for thinking that the Artcic ice wasn’t melting at record rates. Or that more droughts and cyclones – the product of wildly raging weather – weren’t forecast for this summer. You’d have to believe the IPCC report was just another opinion, mostly wrong, because someone, somewhere found a comma out of place in a leaked draft copy.

He’s not alone in this.

Bushfires

To Kenny, and to most political commentators, everything can be reduced to interactions between humans.

Petty squabbles, shitfights over political corners, hair-splitting arguments over who said what first. and gotchas… endless gotchas… like the one where Climate scientists are slagged off because they can’t make up their minds whether Global Warming means more droughts or more rain.

It means BOTH, dummies.

You can sort-of understand the Kenny attitude… politics takes little note of reality. It’s all about spin, appearances and politicians behaving in the way that political commentators believe they should behave. There’s a sort of science to it… polls are its metrics, and political opinion writers interpret the polls.

But opinionistas also affect the polls. They seed them with their casual negligence in addressing what’s behind policy.

How else could a competent government, one of achievement, like Gillard’s, be written off, almost from the get-go, in ignorance of all its legislative and policy achievements, as dysfunctional? This is a particularly pertinent question given the parlous state the House was in – a hung parliament – balanced on a knife’s edge, when every sitting day could have been its last.

drop of water

Take a look at a simple  drop of water…

You can see beauty and wonderful light, the world refracted through a tiny amount of clear liquid. You see cohesiveness – surface tension keeps it all together in simple, yet amazing harmony.

Or you can look at it through a microscope. It will be teeming with life, raging in battle, microbe against microbe in a ceaseless, yet pointless war of attrition.

The latter view is closer to how political commentators see politics. If there is calm they look for conflict. If there is established fact – scientifically proven, grave and threatening – they seem to believe that mere opinion (theirs or someone else’s) is enough to outweigh, even totally obscure that fact.

At its most trivial we see the endless He-said/She-said battle in the media. At its worst we get columns like Kenny’s today.

I assume Kenny has kids, or relatives that he cares about.

But you wouldn’t know it from reading his pieces, especially this one.

He has reduced the entire problem, the looming catastrophe of Global Warming to a simple matter of interactions between puny humans in suits, wedging, polling on, and arguing with each other.

It’s as if Global Warming is just some kind of abstract political problem, a game, something for Kenny and his nodding pals on the political panel shows to write about, agree with each other, and show-off how well-connected they are , by quoting insiders, polls, and disputed theories of what the words “political” and  “mandate” mean.

He would no doubt argue that politics is “The Art Of The Possible” or some similar cliche. Or, alternatively, that he is a political correspondent, not a “science” correspondent. That, of course, is true. But where is Kenny’s humanity, especially in this week where hundreds of families have lost everything due to un-seasonal bushfires, the product of record shattering high temperatures?

I wonder if he would have been so sanguine and cynical today if it had been his house that was burnt to the ground yesterday?

Winmalee Bushfire 2

It’s not even summer, where the real high temperatures will most likely create more misery and loss, yet all Kenny can waffle on about is some game – a zero sum game at that – that political tragics and hard-bitten numbers men examine in minutae, as if it was that teeming, microbial war being fought inside that tiny drop of water.

Yes, it is a war, but it doesn’t matter a hill of beans compared to what will happen if we don’t get off our collective arses and, as the World’s chief per capita polluters, as well as its richest ones, do something meaningful about Global Warming to show the other nations an example of real repentance, not the phoney Abbott version that is all short-term point scoring and semi-religious bunkum.

As long as political pundits – and politicians – treat Global Warming as an economic, or worse, a purely political problem – a matter of political science, rather than real science – one that determines who can remain in office sucking perks off the public tit while the World fries and millions are devastated, we will make little progress in combatting it.

It’s time for the core argument to be made. As Wendy Harmer puts it (ironically in the same edition of the same newspaper):

Is this what the future is like??
Whether or not it’s unseemly for Greens politicians to raise the spectre of future cataclysmic climate change when bushfires are still raging out of control, there’s no doubt that many of us who looked up to bruised and belligerent skies swirling with ash and a drift of incinerated gum leaves had to wonder, ”is this what the future will be like”?

Yes, well, it will be what the future is like as long as Global Waring is seen not as the greatest disaster-in-waiting, if an entirely avoidable one, that humanity faces today.

It will be what the future is like as long as the Mark Kennys and the Tony Abbotts of this world see it is just another wedge issue.

It will be what it is like if we fail to listen to the drumbeat of impending catastrophe and instead, like empty vessels, make a lot of noise about petty, political machinations that will do nothing at all to stop Global Warming and everything possible to hasten our doom as a species.

The case needs to be argued on its merits. It needs to be argued without excuses or apology, and in defiance of the the hecklers who tell us that it’s never the right time to do so.

Cyclone Yasi

By their logic, the more bushfires and droughts and cyclones that hit us, the less appropriate it is to discuss the core issue.

This is the ridiculous line of argument that gives gun nuts in America almost free reign to spread their vile implements of death everywhere, even into schools and churches… and parliaments: people are grieving, don’t upset them even more. It’s impolite, so insensitive.

Labor should quit the useless He-said/She-said bits-and-pieces arguments about percentage points and inflation increments. It should abandon the stupid “electricity bills” argey bargey and the futile attempts to pull Direct Action to pieces by criticising its individual elements. There’ll always be someone to counter these lines of argument with more minutae, more belly fluff that gets a run in the papers, yet signifies nothing.

Yes, it’s a cliche, but what WILL we tell our children?

What WILL other countries think of the morality and the urgency of battling climate change when the World’s worst climate offender, made rich by digging up polluting coal and selling it to other carbon addicts, abrogates responsibility for its own actions, and abandons the world to its fate, because the local political numbers were a bit dodgy?

It’s a scary thought, but Kenny dares to dream.

It’s time to come to the core of the matter: we either do something meaningful – and exemplary – to fight Global Warming, we force our politicians and our commentators to cease their obsessions with themselves and address matters of real an imminent concern… or we die.

WHEN will it happen?

It had better be soon.

1,156 thoughts on “WHEN?

  1. jaycee

    And the ABC can’t even get quotes from their staff right:

    [“The director of the museum, Daryl Karp, told me that she says that there is nothing personal about this, but she is concerned about the process.”]

    In the text.

    Actual:

    [“The director of the museum, Daryl Karp, told me that he says that there is nothing personal about this, but he is concerned about the process.”

    He meaning Brandis not the museum director.

  2. They really don’t get irony or hypocrisy, do they? They’ve just been having a big whinge about Bandt politicising, and then they do exactly the same for an UNPAID position. Even Bazz Cazz as a Labor hack is a joke, but then a lot of them still imagine the ABC is a hotbed of leftists.

  3. On the front page in the bottom right hand corner of the Australian Financial Review there is a small article stating that NDIS is going to be rolled into Medibank Private. Medibank Private is for sale, probably to Ramsay Health Care an organisation with a reputation for providing abysmal care in its hospitals

  4. BB, I mentioned that video a couple of days ago. Watch it again, near the end, when he says “climate change is real”. Up until that point he’s happily nodding away. Just before he says it, he starts shaking his head, and he can’t even finish the sentence without coughing. Classic subconscious signs that he is lying and he knows it.

  5. http://www.afr.com/p/national/hockey_points_to_medibank_role_in_8CvjOlAkEnbzoNnKbYmqXJ

    Hockey points to Medibank role in NDIS
    PUBLISHED: 24 Oct 2013 19:31:00 | UPDATED: 25 Oct 2013 08:44:24
    Phillip Coorey Chief political correspondent

    The federal government has flagged abolishing or scaling back the agency established to administer the national disability insurance scheme and handing the role to Medibank Private as part of its push to streamline government service delivery and cut costs.

    Treasurer Joe Hockey told The Australian Financial Review that while the Coalition was committed to the NDIS, now known as DisabilityCare Australia, he did not want another “massive new bureaucracy’’ set up to administer it.

    Although the government has plans to privatise Medibank Private, Mr Hockey said it would be capable of administering the NDIS, and suggested one option could be to sell off its private insurance arm and keep the entity.

    Mr Hockey emphasised it was “just an idea” at the moment but wanted the Commission of Audit to consider the issue as part of its remit to reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of government service delivery.

    Its understood that Medibank has already expressed an interest to the ­government in providing services under the NDIS for which it could ­tender if it became an option.

  6. A guy is driving around and he sees a sign in front of a house: “Talking Dog For Sale.”

    He rings the bell, and the owner tells him the dog is in the backyard. The guy goes around the
    house and into the backyard and sees a handsome Shih Tzu sitting there.
    “You talk?” he asks.
    “Yep,” the Shih Tzu replies.
    “So, what’s your story?”
    The Shih Tzu looks up and says, “Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young, and I wanted to help the government; so I told the CIA about my gift, and in no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping.
    I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running. But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn’t getting any younger so I wanted to settle down. I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security work, mostly wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals. I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I’m just retired.”

    The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog.
    “Ten dollars”, says the owner.
    The guy says, “This dog is amazing! Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?”
    “Because he’s a liar. He didn’t do any of that stuff.”

  7. OK – other politicians do not wear earpieces when they are interviewed on 3AW. They wear headphones if they are taking calls, there are lots of photos of Bill Shorten doing that, also some shots of Hockey doing the same. As BB has pointed out Abbott does not do talk-back or take calls, so ther are no headphone shots of him.

    Kevin Rudd did not wear an earpiece when he was interviewed by Neil Mitchell.

    So we have to conclude Abbott was being coached through his interviews. He can’t be trusted to do a few minutes on radio without putting his foot in it, or making a huge gaffe. No wonder he offended so many leaders in Indonesia and at APEC – he didn’t have his earpiece.

  8. Be careful NSW people. I just had a phone call from ‘Steve’ who said he was from the SES. I didn’t bother listening to any more because it’s a scam. The NSW SES does not make phone calls asking for donations, nor do they do door-knocking. They don’t need to, they are state funded. They might do a local bucket appeal to raise funds for a local project, or their volunteer support group might hold raffles from time to time (never during an emergency though) but that’s it.

    These scammers pop up every time there is a disaster or an emergency, they are scum who take advantage of people who are feeling nervous about fires or floods or whatever.

    The NSW RFS does not make fund-raising phone calls either, if you get one it’s a scam.

  9. Oh dear, all that trashing of Labor and the Liberals don’t even want Cassidy in an unpaid job. I bet he feels pretty stupid at the moment.

    I’ve got no sympathy and I hope every last traitor journalist that turned their backs on Labor when it needed them the most is sacked for being ‘lefties’.

  10. BB, I mentioned that video a couple of days ago. Watch it again, near the end, when he says “climate change is real”.

    Yes, he certainly stumbles his way through that one, adding that he’s “often said” he believes in Climate Change. He could hardly wait to get the words out before he went on to the next sentence.

    You’d think that if he was making a cogent argument for the bushfires NOT being attributable to Climate Change, he’d have emphasized his “belief” in Climate Change, by saying something added like, “Let’s make that perfectly clear and upfront… I believe Climate Change is real,”, BEFORE he went on to make his main point about the bushfires.

    One of the basic strategies of Climate Change deniers is to say they believe in it, but then to go on and deny that it has any effect… floods, bushfires, tornadoes, cyclones… Climate Change is real, but none of these are attributable to it.

    Abbott was in a pickle with these bushfires: they were out-of-season and ferocious. A connection with Climate Change was, at least on the surface, obvious.

    He could either front the pressers (like he demanded Julia Gillard do – with the appropriate mix of “business”, “leadership” and “sadness” (which of course she never got quite right, acording to Abbott and his cronies) – or run and hide.

    So, he ran and hid.

    This meant he didn’t have to:

    * Play second fiddle to Shane Fitzsimmons and Barry O’Farrell (and various sign language ladies making faces at him),

    * Take any questions about Climate Change;

    * Be forced to turn his back on questions and walk out on the presser, as he usually does;

    * Take the risk that he’d fluff his lines (no earphones at bushfire pressers where everyone can see them, thanks);

    * Account for the Army’s role in the fire and possible Commonwealth compensation (we must assume he knew all about this, all along).

    * Automatically raise the bushfires to “National Emergency” status.

    By joining in the back-burning efforts he could make himself out to be:

    * An ordinary bloke;

    * A hero Prime Minister;

    * Better than either Julia Gillard or Kevin Rudd (this got a run in the Murdoch tabloids);

    * Avoid any mention of Climate Change.

    Abbott doesn’t take scrutiny,challenge or criticism well. He’s a very simple person who needs simple, physical things – like running, bike riding, boxing, swimming, putting out fires etc. – to keep the inner demons within him cooped up.

    They’re always there, trying to get out. Every now and again we see them (the “Nodding Head” incident, various sexual references and gropings).

    He’s also trying to cover up for what I think is his boredom in the job. Rudd may have been a workaholic, like two ferrets in a sack, but I fear Abbott is justas bad, in a different way. Being PM is too hard for him, requires too much sitting down and listening, so he seeks physical outlets and diversions… anything but turn up for work.

    Maybe he’s a victim of Bushifre’s Conundrum, paraphrased as:

    “If you can’t do the job, reinvent it.”

  11. But the recent flurry of expenses revelations has a different flavour and will prove to be an early test of whether Prime Minister Tony Abbott will lead a government of integrity or not. This time, the question of cynicism is one for him to counter.

    Those two words in the same sentence! Another Ripley moment.

  12. The idea of our Primitive Minister being told what to say and do through an earpiece is truly bizarre.

  13. Today’s instalment of Days of Our Rorting. Like sands through the hourglass so are the rorts of our MPs….

    I’ve done nothing wrong: Randall

    In an extended interview with _The West Australian _ at his Waterford home yesterday, Mr Randall:

    . was unapologetic about billing taxpayers $5259 for a trip to Cairns with his wife, where he owns an investment property;

    . confirmed he attended a West Coast Eagles AFL game in Melbourne with his wife on September 15, 2012 on another taxpayer-funded trip costing more than $5000;

    . claimed MPs on both sides of politics had sympathised with him privately since the scandal broke on the grounds he had “taken the heat” off their similar conduct;

    . had the complete backing of Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who he said believed he was “totally entitled” to the Cairns trip.

    http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/breaking/19538353/ive-done-nothing-wrong-randall/

    Stay tuned for the next exciting episode where MPs say interstate travel to attend the birthday parties of pets are allowable deductions because they might meet and talk about ‘electorate business’ with a fellow MP who is also attending the event on the off-chance they might meet and talk about ‘electorate business’ with a fellow MP who is also……..

  14. To be fair.

    The Idiot may possibly need the earpieces in order to receive updates about world events. We all understand his ongoing and comprehensive interest. His intimate knowledge of the International socio/political status quos’. That his keen evaluations are in much demand from the leaders of other nations should come as no surprise. As he once famously said:

    ” G’day, my names Tone and I’m from ‘orstraya and oim ere ta help.ha ha hahaha. “

  15. Update from Nauru – getting in before TBM gives us all another bunch of lies and garbage.

    This is a summary of Clint Deidenang’s (@clintd22) tweets. If you want the originals then you’ll have to go look them up on Twiiter, there are several tweets and I’m trying to avoid the link problem.

    He says another transfer plane landed on Nauru about half an hour ago. Police have been seen on the tarmac and today’s arrivals were a small group of about 10. More asylum seekers are to be on the return flight – about 60, possibly avoiding detention by giving up their asylum seeker claims. Yesterday there were reports another group had left the island.

  16. .I would say he looks down in that interview while listening. It is natural to momentarily disconnect with your surroundings while getting information from another source.

  17. From Choice

    In December, Australia will be attending World Trade Organization negotiations in Bali, and we think you deserve to know what we’ll be talking about.

    Australia, along with 11 other countries, is currently involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). However, over the past three years the negotiations have taken place in complete secrecy, with the contents being hidden from consumers and the general public.

    That’s why we’re calling on the federal government to release the text. We deserve to know what’s on the table in the TPP

    I’m sure Andrew Robb will be open and transparent, like the rest of the gang.

  18. The govt just borrowed another $800 million: 11 years, 4.01% yield. Total gross debt issuance since 9 September $17.0 billion.— Stephen Koukoulas (@TheKouk) October 25, 2013

    Govt will borrow a further $2.8 billion in gross debt next week. Will bring total to $19.8 billion since 9 September http://t.co/53MI9u23th— Stephen Koukoulas (@TheKouk) October 25, 2013

  19. As Barrie himself would say, “It’s the politics of it that counts.”

    Six months ago he told us “Tony Abbott is de facto Prime Minister.”

    Good.

    So be it.

    Cop it sweet Barrie.

    No sympathy from this quarter.

  20. From the Climate Council:

    We’ve been busy this week explaining the relationship between climate change and bushfires in the media. Today, analysis from Climate Councillors Lesley Hughes and Will Steffen was reported on the front page of The Age.

    Many of you emailed us with questions about the bushfires, and the impacts of climate change on extreme weather events. So, we’re holding a live video briefing and Q&A on bushfires with Climate Councillor Prof. Lesley Hughes this Monday at 6.30pm.

  21. Most of the people on here that read blogs would have run across the LNP apologist troll Andy. On SMH someone grave him a lesson in logic.

    Holy Moly Andy – did you attend school? Were you taught to read?
    NO ONE IS SAYING THIS FIRE WAS STARTED BY CLIMATE CHANGE.
    CLIMATE CHANGE DID NOT COME DOWN AND LIGHT A MATCH AND THROW IT INTO THE BUSH.
    So, should I explain what they are ACTUALLY saying? Or would you like me to draw you a picture?
    They are NOT saying climate change started the fire in NSW.
    That is NOT, I repeat NOT – and to clarify further still, NOT means DIDN’T, bringing the negative to the sentence – what they are saying.
    What they ARE saying is that climate change helps INCREASE (that means, make bigger…or “go up” if you prefer 2 letter words) the conditions which create the more devastating (really BAD) bush fires.
    So let’s go through that again.
    Climate change has NOT directly caused these specific fires. Climate change increases the CHANCE of fires such as these currently blazing in NSW – the BAD ones.
    So if some numpty throws a cigarette out of the window of their car, it is more likely to cause a very very bad fire because the world in getting hotter.
    Now. Has that gotten through? Whilst I hate to assume, I will do so.
    So the point is Andy – doing nothing is stupid. it is STUPID, SHORT SIGHTED and quite frankly, verging on criminal. How you can even argue against action is beyond me. How you can even claim Direct Action is the way to take on climate change is beyond me. How can removing the cap on pollution be sensilble? You’re an idiot.

  22. For me Barrie (one of those bogan first names) Cassidy has a lot to answer for.

    What sticks in my mind was the smug torrid interview he gave Julia Gilliard prior to the 2010 Election on Insiders – compared to the soft interview he gave Abbott.
    I have been waiting to give it to him face to face in the street since then as he has been known to front Chinatown in Melbourne.
    His other half odious Heather (Butch Cassidy?) drew out of Julia her lamentable ‘carbon tax’ remark just to cap it off.
    Off with their heads!

  23. The High Court has indicated a challenge against the ACT’s same-sex marriage laws may not be heard before early December.

    Lawyers for both the Commonwealth and ACT governments agreed in a directions hearing today to give each other a few more weeks to prepare their paperwork.

    Chief Justice Robert French ordered both sides to attend another directions in 10 days when a date may be set for a hearing before the full bench.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-25/high-court-challenge-to-act-same-sex-laws-may-not-be-heard-unti/5046552

  24. Early Opener,
    He is also a Collingwood supporter! BTW – do you have a view you are willing to share about the two invited imports in tomorrow’s Cox Plate. One is coming in from very long odds.

  25. B Cassidy is no friend of mine. He desperately tried, in the name of “balance”, to find faults in the previous govt. He’d compare a small misstep by Julia Gillard with TA’s fumbles and gaffes. All to be able to keep his job on the Insiders. His wife followed similar instructions.

  26. I wonder if our local nuclear energy apologist, Ziggy Switkowski would care to comment on this. Tepco is going to remove the hot spent fuel rods from No. 4 rector building as it is tilting and would survive a significant tremor. They have built a 273 tonne crane to be operated remotely by a operator working in the next building. What possibly could go wrong.

    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/10/24-3

  27. Al Palster
    I do not know anything about those 2 imports apart from they are getting a bit long in the tooth and they have had a European preparation and are drawn well. There has been some small specking.
    I have had a solid tip for Puissance De Lune today but I won’t be backing it. Interestingly the mail is that it has been set for the Cox Plate primarily rather than the Melbourne Cup. It has been jarring up and the MV cushion will assist.
    My opinion is Fiorente is the best horse in Australia but doesn’t tick all boxes tomorrow.

  28. EO. Tks. You have saved me some money. It will, nonetheless, be an exciting day for a former Opposition Leader who owns a leg of the Mull.

  29. For CK Watt and Friday Night PUB duties.
    Numbers 17, 37, 29 with supps 31, 83 and 13.
    In Paris now. London was too much for the human frame.

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