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Essential Reading

From the Octoberists to Obama...

the left's all starsWriting at The American Thinker, Scott Powell compiles a potted history of the Left's infiltration and ascent:

...Fast forward to 2008, and we find the long march through the institutions resulting in the New Left being embedded in constituencies that provided a base of support and policy positions for the Obama presidential campaign. And while Barack Obama had a very unconventional background of lengthy associations with Marxists and anti-American radicals throughout his formative years and early adulthood, a nearly twenty-year membership in Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s “hate America” church, and an extreme left-wing voting record, the major media–now enveloped with the blinders of political correctness–made little effort to report on his background or examine his substantive qualifications. Barack Obama was both the culturally cool and articulate black candidate who provided a means for national redemption for a racist past, while also being the one candidate who provided a blank slate upon which people could project their own desires for hope and change.

Scott's focus is on the US, but swap a few proper nouns and he might just as easily be writing of the transformation scathingly identified by Kim Beazley Snr in 1970:
When I joined the Labor Party, it contained the cream of the working class. But as I look about me now, all I see are the dregs of the middle class. When will you middle-class perverts stop using the Labor Party as a cultural spittoon?
If you are ever inclined to wonder how and why a party allegedly representing the horny handed sons of toil came to regard global warming, gay marriage, open borders and a slather of other terminally trendy causes as the great moral issues of our age, Powell's essay -- available in full via the link below -- will explain a lot.

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Climate alarmism: just say 'know'

thatcher the chemistThat's settled then: it is a huge mistake to take seriously the warnings and admonitions of the grant-gobbling elite of what passes for the "climate science community". Indeed, going by what molecular biologist Ben Wade writes in today's Age, while those same prophets of soaring thermometers are very good at getting their names and views into the popular media, they are to science what bunyip hunters and yowie stalkers represent to zoology -- embarrassments afflicted with a terminal case of confirmation bias.

But don't take it from a climate sceptic, heed Wade instead. Good scientists, he writes,

are always qualifying their statements with 'we are confident that' rather than 'we know that'.

If Wade, himself a warmist, is to be taken at his word, then the likes of David Karoly, Tim Flannery and oodles of white-coated, computer-modelling weather watchers are not "good scientists",  as they are way ahead of the curve in proclaiming oracular diagnoses of the sweaty perils poised to drown, scorch and acidifying our much put-upon planet.

"We know that," Karoly states in one of his many and frequent sermons, "increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are causing large-scale changes in temperature." He also "knows" man-made climate change is sparking massive bushfires and said as much within days of 2009's Black Saturday infernoes, when bodies were still being raked from the ashes and silence might have been a more tactful response than told-you-so crowing. More than that, as Karoly explains in this video, he "knows" that floods and heatwaves are proof of runaway climate change. Like so many of his warmist brethren, he also "knows" just which crimps on growth and prosperity must be embraced to avert any more of it.

Not that Karoly is alone in "knowing" that mankind is the cause of global warming. Do a google on "we know climate change is happening" and statements of absolute certainty are summoned to your computer screen by their tens of thousands.

What Wade must not have known is that the very same space on the Age op-ed page was occupied just three days earlier by another all-knowing sort, Sir Crispin Tickell, who cited his own influence on Mrs Thatcher's thinking as the prod that made her a global-warming activist. Surely, as a purported conservative, Prime Minister Tony Abbott would wish to follow her example, he argued.

What Age readers could not have known (and Age editors neither bothered to learn nor pass along) is that Tickell originally "knew" it was not warming but global cooling that threatened us all. He wrote as much in the 1977 first edition of his book, Climate Change and World Affairs. By the "revised" second edition of 1984, however, he had climbed aboard the warmist wagon and was sounding alarms for all they were worth. Age readers might have appreciated a little background on that remarkable about-face, just as they would have profited from the knowledge that Thatcher, a chemist by training, had both the garden-variety common sense and scientific nous to recognise, albeit somewhat late in the piece, that she had been gulled. By 2002, in Statecraft: strategies for a changing world, she was writing:

The doomsters’ favorite subject today is climate change. This has a number of attractions for them. First, the science is extremely obscure so they cannot easily be proved wrong. Second, we all have ideas about the weather: traditionally, the English on first acquaintance talk of little else.

Third, since clearly no plan to alter climate could be considered on anything but a global scale, it provides a marvelous excuse for worldwide, supra-national socialism. All this suggests a degree of calculation. Yet perhaps that is to miss half the point. Rather, as it was said of Hamlet that there was method in his madness, so one feels that in the case of some of the gloomier alarmists there is a large amount of madness in their method.

Indeed, the lack of any sense of proportion is what characterizes many pronouncements on the matter by otherwise sensible people. Thus President Clinton on a visit to China, which poses a serious strategic challenge to the US, confided to his host, President Jiang Zemin, that his greatest concern was the prospect that “your people may get rich like our people, and instead of riding bicycles, they will drive automobiles, and the increase in greenhouse gases will make the planet more dangerous for all.”

It would, though, be difficult to beat for apocalyptic hyperbole former Vice President Gore. Mr Gore believes: ‘The cleavage in the modern world between mind and body, man and nature, has created a new kind of addiction: I believe that our civilisation is, in effect, addicted to the consumption of the earth itself.’

And he warns: “Unless we find a way to dramatically change our civilisation and our way of thinking about the relationship between humankind and the earth, our children will inherit a wasteland.”

But why pick on the Americans? Britain’s then Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, has observed: “There is no greater national duty than the defense of our shoreline. But the most immediate threat to it today is the encroaching sea.” Britain has found, it seems, a worthy successor to King Canute.

The fact that seasoned politicians can say such ridiculous things – and get away with it – illustrates the degree to which the new dogma about climate change has swept through the left-of-centre governing classes….

Thatcher penned those words all of 13 years ago. Yet Tickell makes no mention of her later scepticism. As fellow op-ed contributor Wade might put it, the career diplomat "knows" which facts are problematic and, hence, best omitted.

For those with nothing better to occupy their time -- collecting string or weighing navel lint, for example -- Wade's article can be read in full via the link below.

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Why not call him 'Mr Smith'?

finkelsteinAnyone can be a journalist these days, as Melbourne University is proving with a new and free online course that aims to teach would-be reporters how to go about the job of keeping the public informed. Of course, modern journalism, as defined by our tertiary institutions, requires the correct perspectives and passions, which is why one of the course's videos (viewable via this link) is something of an education in itself. A mock press conference, it presents a sleazoid property developer detailing his plan to drain a marsh and build 89 new homes.

The general and obvious wisdom to be drawn:

  • shifty businessmen despoil Mother Nature to line their pockets
  • councils are the handmaidens of conscienceless profiteers
  • shifty businessmen don't like to answer questions
  • development is bad

But they are not the only lessons Melbourne University's Dr Margaret Simons and  Dr Denis Muller would appear to be imparting. Do notice the name of the developer in the picture atop this item, a screen grab taken from the instructional video.

To which ethno-religious group do you reckon the fictional "Mr Robert Finkelstein" might belong? Why that particular surname?

A note seeking explanation for the choice of name has been sent to Drs Simons and Muller. While we await their reply, why not get an education in modern journalism by signing up for the course via the link below.

 

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The Cuban model

cuba truckHow might we all live when concern for the planet's health has put pay to carbon-spewing capitalism? SMH columnist Elizabeth "Barking Betty" Farrelly today provides the answer:

"...on the comfort side is Cuba which, in 1990, with Russia's connivance, became the no-oil test case. Everyone expected disaster but found, when forced to walk, work and cycle more, to mend and invent, to produce bio-fuel and farm organically, they lived healthier, longer lives and formed stronger, more energised communities."

Some elements of Cuban society are, however, "stronger and more energised" than others. Take the truck in the picture above, for example, which escapees from Castro's paradise converted to a seagoing vessel and "drove" to Florida.

See, there really is something to be said for assuring adequate supplies of Farrelly's favoured "bio-fuel".

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Peak Fairfax

abbott boxing II

That Tony Abbott inspires in some a visceral hatred, a loathing that goes beyond mere disdain for his politics, is not open to dispute. How many other Prime Ministers have inspired a large media organisation to immediately promote a range T-shirts making the leader's name the object of that procreative verb, the one much favoured by oafs, vulgarians and, as it emerged within a week of the 2013 election, Fairfax editors and columnists?

Since then, well,  Abbott Derangement Syndrome has become more acute. As has been variously, and wrongly, reported, if he is not on the verge of declaring a unilateral war on ISIS then he is either at odds with the current Pope and in danger of being excommunicated for sins against Nature, or he is implementing Rome's secret orders delivered via a Vatican hotline installed in the Lodge. David Marr seems capable of holding both those views simultaneously, which should come as no surprise. Either view is guaranteed to get his face before an ABC camera.

Loony as these ranters have been over the course of the past two years, their collective dementia cannot hold a candle to the latest effort at explaining why the Prime Minister is just so inappropriate, to use one of the critics' favourite catch-alls. After today's edition of the Age, that honour must surely belong to Lea McInerney, who thinks -- that word is used advisedly -- that the Abbott odium is a consequence of his youthful interest in boxing. Explaining how she came to this revelatory insight, McInerney conducted an experiment before what was, presumably, a knot of fellow Abbott haters:

"That led to us talking about the Prime Minister's style, the polarising language, the brinkmanship, our fears for the effect it's having on the psyche of our country. I mentioned Mr Abbott's boxing history and my fascination with his posture, and told them I was curious about what it might be like to be in his body.

Goaded on by my friends, I stood up, took a breath, hunched my shoulders, locked my arms, and walked across the room. Without even consciously thinking about it, my chest and jaw thrust forward and my fists clenched. I could feel myself ready for a fight.

What old ways of thinking might Abbott be locked into, within that boxer physique of his? He uses fighting metaphors a lot, but what else? In some of his language, in the way he puts things, I hear echoes of old-school Catholic doctrine."

The first reaction was that the column must be a hoax, that final sentence's passing swipe at Catholics being the tip-off. Several years ago, an internet entity calling itself Alene Composta became briefly the toast of the anti-Abbott set (and, of course, the ABC) with a parodic blog expressing just the right sort of opinions about conservatives, global warming, women, cats and lentil casseroles. Surely McInerney was more of the same, a satirist's creation to lampoon the luvvies?

But no, she is the genuine article alright, as her grants from the Australia Council and other bodies establish beyond doubt.mcinerney grantsOnce, the Fairfax papers were on the left but still within the bounds of sanity. Those days have long since passed.

McInerney's piece can be read in full via the link below. Try not to laugh too loud.

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