Why isn’t everyone on “the right” desperate to see Hillary lose?

This is from Mark Steyn: Laws are for the Little People.

Like everything else the Clintons touch, Comey’s FBI is hopelessly corrupted – and certainly more corrupt than J Edgar Hoover’s FBI, at least in the sense that Hoover was independent enough not to get rolled. The revelations of what happened reveal Comey to be a hack and a squish: he offered immunity to Hillary’s aides not to facilitate his investigation but to obstruct any further investigation; he allowed witnesses to Hillary’s crimes to serve as her “lawyers”; and he physically destroyed the evidence – that is, the laptops. A 6′ 8″ gummi worm would be more of a straight arrow.

Now come the latest revelations. Powerline’s John Hinderaker writes:

In the first page, an unidentified FBI employee says he was “pressured” to change the classification of an email to render it unclassified. This pressure came from someone within the FBI, who said he had been contacted by Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy, who “had asked his assistance in altering the email’s classification in exchange for a ‘quid pro quo.'” The quid pro quo was that, if the FBI would say the email was unclassified, the State Department would allow the FBI to “place more Agents in countries where they are presently forbidden.”

So, to add to the corrupt revenue agency and the corrupt justice department, we now have a corrupt national law enforcement agency and a corrupt foreign ministry – willing, indeed, to subordinate national security and its own diplomatic policy to the personal needs of Hillary Clinton. Needless to say, if you get your news from ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, The Washington Post, The New York Times, etc, etc, you will be entirely unaware of all this. Which is the way they plan on operating for the next eight years.

A small but telling point: Wikileaks’ Julian Assange has lived in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for over four years. But not until he leaked against Hillary was his Internet cut off. Hillary, out of office, has a swifter and more ruthless global reach than Hillary in office on the night of Benghazi. And, should she win, her view of her subjects is that we should have the same information access as Ecuadorian Embassy refugees.

And, should she win, I will delete all of my previous posts and become a registered Democrat. It would be futile to do anything else.

Posted in American politics | 113 Comments

Shotguns at twenty paces

I have to say that I am unable to follow the rights and wrongs of the specifics in this ridiculous tantrum from the PM in regard to anything related to Tony Abbott. My instincts are always to think that Malcolm has messed things up but this business with who offered who what about guns is a murky question that can only distract. What I am doing, therefore, is to put the issues before the people, that is, to those who comment here. I have taken the four comments from Andrew Bolt’s blog piece, Turnbull vs Abbott: the war is on. I will start with a couple of comments that take the PM’s side, one that is more neutral and then finally one that takes Tony’s side. But I do have to say, to find those who back the PM at Andrew’s site is difficult. Here’s the first:

If Mr Abbott did not know he should have. He is ultimately responsible for his staff and his office. Ignorance is no excuse. If he truly did not know he condemns himself for being slack and incompetent. Of course the reality is that Mr Abbott was being loose with the truth. He has selfishly remained in parliament to act as a lighting rod for a rag tag band of disgruntled Coalition MP’s in order to sabotage his successor and his party in a crazy bid for revenge. After the Leadership farce of the Labor government it would seem obvious that the public will not tolerate such behavior. Unfortunately the Mr Abbott in his quest to do or say anything to regain power has not learned the lessons of recent history. With a one seat majority and disastrous polls it is unlikely that the warring Coalition will last a full term.

And then there’s this:

Abbott gave Turnbull him no choice and in fact I think it was well overdue. Good for Turnbull to make a stand. Abbott “Mr Goody Two Shoes” but skulking in the background and constantly causing issues and creating diversions for his own party. Abbott should go and go fast. It wasn’t Turnbull who dumped him, it was his party and the people of Australia, that’s right, the voters.

This one is more neutral:

They deserve each other.

Neither of them is addressing this issue on the basis of whether it is good law. Neither of them is asking whether it is justified by the evidence.

When John Howard brought it in, it was a piece of bullying – attacking and vilifying g a poorly-understood minority in order to gain political advantage.

Now both Turnbull and Abbott are continuing in the same vein. Either one of them could take the moral high ground by admitting that the policy was mistaken, and pointing to the facts as justification. Neither of them is likely, because the politics of fear and personality take precedence over good government.


– Formal advice to the Justice Minister is that the Adler is not a matter for public concern.

– This type of firearm has been available and legal in Australia for well over a century, without being a problem.

– The NSW Police have been unable to find even a single crime committed with this firearm over the last 5 years.

– It is not of the type preferred by criminals and cannot be reasonably modified to suit.

– Martin Bryant, Man Monis and Marc and Gino Stocco all acquired their firearms illegally. The problem has never been lack of legislation, but lack of enforcement.

And this one takes Tony’s side.

Had Malcolm Turnbull, when interviewed on this issue Monday from memory, ignored what a Howard or a Hawke would have done, and answered with a simple “no” when the question was put to him, all this that has followed would have been avoided.

The government, with Turnbull to his credit and his willingness to prosecute a core Liberal Party ideal at last trying to get the critical ABCC Statute through and obtain the first real, and to be objective a substantial piece of real reform, albeit yet another Abbott era policy and initiated policy, Turnbull could have dominated the rabble of the alternative ALP Opposition and really won the week and the political optics.

Yet Turnbull’s mouth, his non political smarts again deserted him. The default when answering ANY questions to Barrister style verbosity is not only an own goal, it does not help Turnbull in an era where cut through delivery is the name of the game, more so nowadays in the gotcha 24/7 media cycle.

If Credlin says Abbott was not aware of this issue then that is it in my opinion. Given her power, the micro managing, her over reaching remit as Chief of Staff, there is simply no way arguably Abbott is not telling the truth even if some documented evidence exists. The Press Gallery know full well how Minister’s and the PMO works.

A Senior Advisor’s emails to the PMO [if it was a SA] would have – should have ended up with their PMO counterpart, and then forwarded on to the Chief of Staff. There are internal staffing protocols that have existed for decades, period.

The Gallery again have invoked the term “smoking gun” as they try yet again to tear at their nemesis, the MP they loathe and want kicked out of public life, Abbott.

The lack of critical commentary on their messiah’s consistent, now systemic inability to give short, concise and cut through answers is again missing. Hypocrisy and ‘barracking’ is still all the collective way for the Turnbull Gallery cheer squad.

The thumping of the desks applause from the backbench [some of it] for Abbott last night would have the Oakes and crew in a furious rage. Abbott rising is like arsenic for the Gallery elites.

Turnbull needs to more disciplined. He also needs to stop traducing a man who has since being deposed acted reasonably, when he could have done real damage if he was so inclined.

Showing Abbott even a modicum of decency and respect has been absent since the day Turnbull took over the leadership.

If these two Leaders worked together they’d be a solid team, and would, could demolish this Shorten led social engineering rabble.

Abbott is not blame free in all this if one is objective.

Seriously, who in their right mind wants Wong as Foreign Affairs Minister or Dreyfus anywhere near the AGs Department.

This really is a mess thast must be addressed, and given Turnbull has had this morning his senior NSW wets put up a ‘pushing back Party reform again’ in NSW for this weekends meeting, Turnbull and his ideological leftists like Sinodinas, the inept Payne and Hawke have just thrown gasoline on the fire.

Turnbull really needs to get out more and listen to the base of this party he leads cos everything he has and has not done to date just hammers home the political optics of a PM who is so very uncomfortable leading a centre right political party.

Posted in Federal Politics | 54 Comments

South Australia shows the way to the Green/ALP future

Living the Green/ALP dream in South Australia. Thanks Bruce of Newcastle.

3. When the electricity goes out … the pumps at fuel stations don’t work. To my great surprise, only 1 fuel station in my nearest city of about 14 000 population had (or quickly acquired) a back-up generator to work their fuel pumps. There was a 3 hour wait for customers to get from back of queue to the pumps …

5. Big shops had their own gensets … but they can’t power the banks of chillers for meat and dairy … so these items became unavailable by the evening of the blackout starting.

6. The full loss of grid, grid back-up and other smaller backups caused telecommunications and data transmission to practically cease….

9. No one here knows how to use a road intersection properly when the traffic lights are out! I think this helped create major gridlock in the states capital but was even noticeable here at my much smaller regional city with just one such intersection containing lights. (public education urgently required on this)

10. The number of back-up gensets at critical locations (including hospitals and communications systems) that failed was disturbing…

15. Although about a quarter of houses have solar panels or solar thermal hot water where I live … none of it worked as it’s all grid connect AND doesn’t work under the heavy cloud/rain/cold of a 3 day storm.

Bonus link Gerard Henderson’s Media Watchdog.

Posted in Global warming and climate change policy | 15 Comments

Open Forum: October 22, 2016

Posted in Open Forum | 1,268 Comments

Pots, kettles and plain packaging surveys

The Labor party were having a bit of fun in estimates this week:

Taxpayers contributed $640,000 to a book edited, written and published by Bjorn Lomborg and his Copenhagen Consensus Centre which was ridiculed in Senate Estimates on Thursday as “vanity publishing”.

The book, The Nobel Laureates Guide to the Smartest Targets in the World, also came under attack for receiving special purpose funding without having to undergo normal peer review processes of Australian researchers.

Labor’s Deborah O’Neill pushed departmental officials and Education Minister Simon Birmingham on what the $640,000 bought, but there was little clarity after thirty minutes of questioning.

Fair enough too. It was never clear to me why the Australian taxpayer should finance Bjorn Lomborg (that isn’t a criticism of Lomborg himself – I quite like his books, but I’m happy for other people, paying customers for example, to finance his research centre and books).

But there is a bit of hypocrisy here. The former Labor government gave $3 084 112.60 (inclusive of GST) to the Victorian Cancer Council to undertake a tracking survey of its plain packaging policy. Here is David Leyonhjelm asking the question:

Senator LEYONHJELM: I would like to ask some questions in relation to the plain packaging tracking survey. I am referring to the plain packaging tracking survey which the department had the Cancer Council of Victoria undertake. Was there a competitive tender for that survey?
A competitive tender was not undertaken for the National Monthly Tracking Survey of smokers and recent quitters.

Speaking of that particular survey, while looking through my materials I found this snippet (pg. 52) that I had forgotten:

Senator FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: … Could you tell me what process is in place to assess the effect of plain packaging on smoking prevalence when it commences in December? How will this be reported and when will it be reported?
Mr Smyth: We have initiated a monthly tracking survey with the Cancer Council of Victoria. It is undertaking a pretty systematic survey of existing smoking habits and then the habits of people’s purchasing choices et cetera post that as well. That tracking survey commenced in April this year and will run for two years.

Compare that question and answer to what the Victorian Cancer said after Ashton de Silva and I demonstrated that the plain packaging policy had not reduced the prevalence of smoking in Australia:

The NTPPS was quite explicitly not designed to assess quitting success or change in smoking prevalence … .

That is very strange given that Mr Smyth told Senator Fierravanti-Wells that is exactly what the tracking study was intended to do.

Posted in Budget, Hypocrisy of progressives, Plain Packaging, Wakefield data, Wakefield Study, Wasteful Spending | 6 Comments

My take on the third debate

When at the end of the debate the question came up about whether the candidates would accept the election result, I said to myself that well, here is an exercise in the obvious. Of course you say that you will accept the result. And then Donald didn’t. And therefore we have either seen one of the largest political mistakes in history, or an act of such genius that it raises Trump to among the greatest candidates ever to run for president. And on thinking it over, I am now almost convinced that the question may even have been suggested to the moderator by Trump himself, precisely so that he could give the answer he gave. All this is by way of an introduction to my take on the third debate which you can find at Quadrant Online under the heading, “Lies and Loathing 3.0”. From which:

This is an issue of immense importance in a democracy. Legitimacy is bestowed only if the system is fair and perceived to be fair. Trump is in the middle of a battle he thinks, and I think, is for the future of America and the West. What he said is that he is not going to give the outcome his prior approval before he has actually seen what has happened on the day.

And I do have to say that I was surprised that he didn’t bring up Al Gore and the disputed election in 2000. It would no doubt have crossed his mind, so you have to think Trump had sifted this on the spot and didn’t wish to change the focus to sixteen years ago. He wants this election, this year, run clean. And since this is his greatest vulnerability – an election stolen by those with a proven track record of electoral theft – he wants to keep the pressure on as best he can.

Politics is ultimately what works. Does it cost him votes to focus on voter fraud in this way? No doubt. But will it also gain him votes if he can contain the fraud? Yes again. The question really comes down to how it will play out.

Trump has put voter fraud on the map, which is discussed further at the link, and is now, in fact, being discussed across America. That has got to work for the Republicans.

Also discussed at QoL is the way in which Trump massively defeated Clinton on the issues, showing far greater depth and understanding on every topic raised. And I will finish with another quote from the article which is what I think all of this really comes down to.

Nothing stands still, but the changes that her presidency would bring will have the equivalent effect on just about everything that Obamacare has had on the health system. With Hillary it is all downhill from here. At least with Trump there remains hope. Not necessarily a lot, but at least some.

Three weeks from now and we shall see.

Posted in American politics | 85 Comments

South Australian blackout: it was, in fact, caused by the windfarms

Though the wind-farmers’ propaganda machine regaled the media with fallen pylons as the cause of the South Australian 28 September blackout, the latest AEMO release refers to the pylon collapse as a cause of the State blackout only in a footnote. (“It is not yet clear whether those conditions potentially contributed to the line faults or whether the transmission towers collapsed after the Black System”).  However available information (including to the Australian’s Graham Lloyd)  is that this was irrelevant:

  • First, the towers collapsed after the wind farms had failed to perform as required, which involves shutting down without short-circuiting the entire network.
  • Secondly, even if the tower collapse had occurred prior to the wind farm failures, the effect would have been localised – Adelaide and almost all the state outside the north west would have operated normally.

Of the state’s 18 windfarms,(thirteen operating at the time) 10 were not capable of shutting down in a way required of generators throughout the world – that is by not, in doing so, taking down the whole network in none-too-rare events like that on 28 September.  All of the gas stations (the South Australian subsidies to wind having already closed the coal stations) operated safely.  Those wind farms that could not operate safely are essentially derated and may potentially be taken out of the system.

The problem has been termed a “software glitch” which prevented the safe closure when sequential problems arise.  Five of the ten unreliable wind farms have now given adequate assurances that this has been rectified.  It is however more than a glitch, which is why one manufacturer, Suzlon, is resisting.  All generators suffer less damage if they can close immediately on facing a shock.  The faulty wind generators were designed to allow only three such events to take place before abruptly closing down.

The latest report brought windies’ spin merchants into full scale damage limitation.  The Climate Council is blaming AEMO for not anticipating such loss of generators (AEMO will doubtless respond that it is implicit on receiving a licence that a generator is able to operate safely).

The Clean Energy Council said there was no evidence to show the power system would have stayed running if wind farms had not tripped off in an unsafe electrical environment.

AGL, which owns four of the wind farms that proved unreliable, is also positioning itself against lawsuits arguing that the reduction of wind generation alone was not sufficient in scale to cause the system to black out and that a third of AGL’s wind generation at the time in South Australia continued to operate until the system blackout.

Only a month previously, seeking to get special payments for his firms’ coal plant, AGL CEO Andrew Vesey had said, “the rules governing the National Electricity Market need to be overhauled to deal with the unreliable nature of renewable energy sources to ensure a stable supply of power to businesses and households”.  He re-iterated such views in the aftermath of the most recent South Australian crisis.

There would be hundreds of millions of dollars in damage caused by the blackout – it’s cost Arrium’s already troubled Whyalla steelworks alone $10 million and it shut down the BHP Olympic Dam with an even greater cost.

All litigation vulnerable parties will be seeking to shift the blame.  These include the South Australian transmission business Electranet.  AEMO itself not in the clear – not only will wind farmers say it should have asked them about their ride-through capabilities, but some will say it should have been able to control the Heywood interconnector so that it could have rapidly shed power and allowed an ordered selective series of localised short term black-outs.

What emerges are the following conclusions:

  • A non-unique event can force the simultaneous closure of many wind farms
  • Once wind is a major component of the electricity supply, if those farms do not have the same fail-safe closure mechanisms as other generators, they could short-circuit the entire system
  • Application of such mechanisms increase maintenance costs and probably shorten  generators’ lives
  • Providing cover for the loss of wind generation to counteract “credible contingencies” like that experienced by South Australia entails additional back-up costs

Requiring the wind generators to have the same safety mechanisms as other generators further increases their cost disadvantage.  This, in addition to their inherent disadvantage of weather dependency, puts them at three times the cost of coal generators even in South Australia where coal resources are inferior to those in Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

Finally, it is notable that in the US Presidential debates, though Hillary mentioned the many jobs from clean green energy her policies are claimed to create, Trump avoided the issue which events in South Australia could have provided him a strong rhetorical twist.

Posted in Uncategorized | 36 Comments

Friday Forum: October 21, 2016

Posted in Open Forum | 625 Comments

An interview with the Globe and Mail

Yesterday morning I received this tweet:

Seemed very strange. I then got this tweet:

I replied:

It does seem seem a bit strange that someone would approach me for an interview via twitter as opposed to emailing me. But there you have it. Anyway I then received an email with the questions the journalist wanted to ask.

For your reading pleasure I’m posting the entire exchange below: Continue reading

Posted in Plain Packaging, Take Nanny down | 78 Comments

The 97% consensus con

Cook and his friends/colleagues from his website had performed a project whose results showed, “There’s a 97% consensus supporting the AGW theory, and 1.6% put the human contribution at >50%.”

That’s a pretty big deal. After all, humans causing some amount of warming doesn’t mean much. If humans cause a tiny amount of warming, most people won’t care. If humans cause the planet to warm by 20 degrees, most people will care. What determines whether or not humans should care about global warming is not merely whether the “AGW theory” is true, but how large an impact humans are having.

From Brandon Shollenberger on how the so-called consensus is enforced.

President Obama’s biggest card to play for the Paris agreement was the 97% consensus. He was badly advised. The paper contributed nothing to the debate about the amount of warming or the need to be concerned about it. It did not even show a 97% consensus if you looked carefully at the paper. One third of the sample could not be scored so the 97% is based on 2/3 of the sample. Never mind all the other methodological howlers.

What was the consensus? Humans activities contribute to warming. They wanted to report that x per cent agree and y per cent say that humans contribute more than half of the observed warming. According to Shollengerger, based on publicly available information on the Uni of Qld system, they could only say that 1.6% of the sample thought that humans contributed half or more of the warming. So that did not get into the paper.

Bonus link. Judith Curry on climate scientists involved with advocacy groups.

How travel broadens the mind. I read Matt Ridley on the plane to Hobart and this book on the bus between Boston and New York.

Posted in Global warming and climate change policy, Rafe | 8 Comments