Public Servant Politicians

The Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) appears to be having an ideas shin dig at Byron Bay. Talk about dining with the Devil.  And at this shin dig, former Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (and Australian Ambassador to the US) Michael Thawley is present.

And as reported by Adam Creigton in the Australian, Thawley:

has called for a “radical rethink of the place of the public service in Australia’s political structure”, arguing that as the “greatest single repository of knowledge on what works and what doesn’t” it needs to become “a whole lot more forceful”.

Some ideas are so stupid they can only come from a senior public servant.

Where to start.  Where to start.

Public servants as advocates for their own policies rather than those of their elected masters.  Howz that for Democracy.  But it’s not as if the public servant technocrats don’t actually already behave as if they run the show.  Who needs the Westminster System when we have the Canberra System.

It is however the suggestion that the public service is the greatest single repository of knowledge on what works and what doesn’t that blows Spartacus’s mind and makes one wonder how Thawley rose to the ranks he held.  Actually it does not make Spartacus wonder.

As an aside, earlier in his career Spartacus heard a speaker explain why so many organisations failed (don’t ask for an attribution because Spartacus can’t remember the speaker’s name):

When you put together the Best of the Worst with the Worst of the Best you get the Cream of the Crap.

And ladies and gentlemen (and any other title relevant to readers out there), this is what we have: the Cream of the Crap.  And this is why Spartacus does not wonder.

For Thawley to say that the public service is the:

greatest single repository of knowledge on what works and what doesn’t

requires a belief that the world is binary.  That things either work or don’t work.  It does not get any more juvenile or junior burger than that.

Without going through a long list of abject government failures; actually let’s, starting with just a couple from the last 10 years:  NBN, pink bats, $900 cheques, Adelaide submarines, carbon tax, mining tax, renewable energy target.

But what about at what works at what cost.  What about what works better?  What about what works but can work better and more efficiently?  As Thomas Sowell would ask, what works relative to what?

To have the (former) most senior Australian public servant think in such a simple and simpleton way begs the question of how do those less senior think.

And then, with a further brilliant insight, Thawley says:

the finance sector might have grown too big, here and around the world.

Really?  Could it possibly be that the Australian finance sector is as large as it is because of compulsory superannuation – compulsory as in at treat of life, liberty and/or property.

Good thing Mr Thawley is extracting a nice rent from the finance sector as vice-chairman of Los Angeles-based Capital Group.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 38 Comments

The cost of the Paris agreement

Jo Nova has flagged an important paper from the IPA on the cost to Australian people of the failing Paris accord. Actually it looks like a serious underestimate. What about the cost of the collapse of the grid for a day or three? And the deindustrialisation? What does it cost the family when the breadwinner loses his/her job? A bit more than $8K.

I would have guessed that it would cost something like that just to put in place the RE infrastructure that is required to put up the prices and collapse the grid. But then I don’t have a beer coaster or a paper napkin handy to do the calculation. With a word on the political impasse in the Liberal party room.

The biggest obvious and easy win for conservatives in 2019 is to copy Abbott-Trump-Dean proven successes, axe the tax, Get Out of Paris, and run an Electro-Scary-Bill campaign. Turnbull can’t do that because he can’t criticize Labor for a plan he wants to do himself. He can’t call it witchdoctor science, can’t mock them for being tools for the Renewables Industry, can’t ridicule their plan to stop floods with solar panels. Can’t vow to limit renewables damage on electricity bills. Turnbull also can’t brag about his glorious successes either — two previous governments tried their damnedest to bring in an emissions trading scheme and paid for it.

Don’t miss the comment from RobK. I didn’t want to overload this post and I would like to do another on missing data, like the cost of putting in place the arrays of panels and turbines and the hundreds of miles of poles and wires and all the other stuff required to re-tool the grid that was built to carry a steady flow of power from a modest number of sites into an incredibly expensive and fragile network connecting intermittent sources across the nation. Nice work for the CFMEU but.

cohenite in comments has some informed but still speculative thoughts along those lines.

People often overlook the incompatibility of renewable power (!) and the grid which is an amazing piece of tech providing AC current at 50Hz. Wind and solar don’t provide grid compatible power and are located in far-flung locations. The cost of making them grid compatible must be enormous but I have not been able to find a cost for it. We know that wind and solar cost about $500 million per 100MW to install but I reckon making them grid compatible must almost be the same. Which would mean Australia has invested (taxpayer subsidies at about 70%) over $100 billion on things which don’t work for 75% of the time.

Other great great comments, esp Delta, md and Bruce. Md is a stunner on the value of not using the grass for grazing on a cattle run. Like the story I overheard on a light plane between Phoenix and Flagstaff, someone was talking about a man who bought a cheap tract of desert and obtained regular payments for not farming it.

UPDATE. How come James Paterson and Tim Wilson supported the NEG in the backbench committee?

WINDWATCH: 7am 9% of 26GW.
9am 14% of 24MGW.
12.30 14% of 20GW SA producing in excess of demand and driving unsubsidised providers to the wall.

Posted in Global warming and climate change policy, Rafe | 57 Comments

“No borders, no wall, no USA at all”

That’s Antifa, the American left in all its insanity, just today. Is that really what they want, because whether or not that is what they really want, that is what they are heading towards? This, however, seems more to the point, which when all is said and done amounts to pretty much the same thing:

How do these people get half the votes?

Posted in American politics, Politics of the Left | 16 Comments

Q&A Forum: August 13, 2018

Posted in Open Forum | 154 Comments

Enjoy morning coffee and hot meals while we still have coalfired power

Memo to the Liberal Party room. Today Wind and Other peaked near 9% of demand at the low point of demand around noon. AT 2 as demand picked up it was down to 8% and at 5.30 as the sun set and demand approached the peak for the day it is down to 5%. Next to nothing from Queensland and South Australia.

Memo to Greens, if you want 100% RE that means you need at least twenty (20) times the current capacity.

Memo to Electricity Bill. If you want 50% RE that means we need at least ten times the current capacity. Have you costed that?

Just to give a hint of the reason why power prices go up in parallel with the supply of RE, contrary to the claim that unreliables are cheaper. This is something that has to be explained to every voter who cares about the cost of hot meals and other comforts of civilisation. Cats may understand all this but it is not easy for beginners as I can testify. This comes from a post on the Australian Climate Skeptics.

One of the factors that never gets mentioned is that base load coal power needs to operate to a predictable schedule in order to be efficient. What we have is a system that deliberately forces coal power to go on standby whenever the “renewables” are working. This means that all of the running and capital costs of coal power continue to be charged to the coal station regardless of the output. That extra cost does not get charged against say, the wind farms, even though they are causing it. (Large Solar is so expensive it is not worth considering)

For example, a new Hele coal powered station running at normal capacity could be producing at a cost of 7.5c per KWh. If they have to suddenly halve their output because the wind starts blowing hard enough, the cost of providing that reduced output will be increased to around 12c per KWh. So, the wholesale price of that power has to accommodate that fact. The offensive thing is that the “renewables” purveyors then point at coal. saying it is not cheaper than wind at 6.5c per KWh. In actual fact, that extra 4.5c per KWh (Let’s call that the cost of intermittency) should rightfully be added to the cost of the wind power, making the real comparison 11c per KWh against 7.5c. for a new base load Hele power station. (Costs based on latest ANU Energy Change Institute information)

Add to that the incalculable cost of grid disruption caused by unreliable, intermittent renewables.

Posted in Global warming and climate change policy, Rafe | 19 Comments

The world has gone mad

Spartacus is not a fan of President Trump.  To the extent that this matters to anyone but Spartacus, but Spartacus has supported somethings the President has done, but has criticised other things.

But this item from the US just shows how insane some section of the US are.  This really is Trump Derangement Syndrome.  Criticize him for his policies.  Criticize him for his character.  Criticize him for the company he keeps.  But to take President Trump (et al) to court because he blocked you on Twitter is just insane.

More insane though is the court finding in your favour and instructing President Trump to unblock people from his personal (not White House mind you) twitter account.  And on the grounds of infringing on the 1st amendment of the US Constitution.  You see, on 23 May the United States District Court in the Southern District of New York said:

social media posts on the president’s and other officials’ accounts were represented public comment and blocking users violated their free speech rights under the First Amendment.

Next thing, the same court will find it illegal, under the First Amendment, to stop people throwing faeces because it would infringe on peoples’ rights of free expression.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 37 Comments

Monday Forum: August 13, 2018

Posted in Open Forum | 1,596 Comments

Canada selectively cuts carbon tax for the big end of town

Of course it makes sense!

Warning, social justice warriors at work. 80%-90% of greenhouse gas emissions of large industrial corporations will be exempt from the tax The plebs still pay the tax because they can’t relocate. LOL.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna admitted an inconvenient truth last week: the Liberal carbon tax would drive jobs out of Canada. The admission came in the form of a partial flip-flop on the issue.

The government quietly posted a document online indicating that 80%-90% of greenhouse gas emissions of large industrial corporations would be exempt from the tax. The reason? The government wants to avoid high costs that push industrial production out of Canada to places without carbon taxes.

WINDWATCH. Wind and Other doing 8% of demand, enjoy your hot breakfast and morning coffee while we still have coal-fired power.

Posted in Global warming and climate change policy, Rafe | 13 Comments

Compare and contrast

Gotthard Base Tunnel Switzerland. Longest tunnel in the world at 57 km, with a total rail track length of 152 km. Opened on schedule in 2016. Total cost $AU 13.2 billion.

WestConnex in Sydney. 33 km of road of which 16 km is new tunnels. Road is considerably less expensive to build than rail. Original forecast cost of $AU 10 billion, now expected to be $AU 18.6 billion.

Posted in Uncategorized | 28 Comments

David Bidstrup: “The average human has one breast and one testicle”.

As the torture continues with “energy policy” and whether the NEG will save us all I found the quotation above, attributed to Des MacHale, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at University College Cork.

We are told that the pain we are enduring is in a good cause. We are “tackling climate change” and doing our bit for the planet and our fellow man. We are told that “Climate change” can be arrested by “emissions reductions”. We are told that carbon dioxide, the trace gas that feeds every living thing on the planet is causing the “global average temperature” to rise and the solution is to throw away our standard of living and contribute to the profits of the “renewables” industry because if we don’t we will fry.

The concept of an average temperature is nonsense. Back in May this year Catallaxy posted “What are we worried about” where I referenced a couple of articles that made the case very strongly.

Averages can be useful in some circumstances. Take 100 boxes of matches that purport to have 50 matches in a box and count all the matches then divide by 100. The result is 50, some boxes might have 51 matches, some 49 but the average will be 50 near enough. You can do the same with 100 packs of cards and get 52 cards per pack or 200 dogs and get 4 legs per dog. These things are predictable but you cannot add up temperatures from different parts of the globe and find an average because the system is chaotic and not amenable to analysis.

Take a container of water at zero degrees and heat it to 100 degrees. The arithmetic average is 50 degrees but you will scald yourself if you stick your hand in it. Try again starting at 49 degrees and finishing at 51. The average is still 50 but the water is a lot cooler.

Analysing all the landline phone numbers for the surname Smith in the 2018 Adelaide White pages and averaging gives the “average Smith phone number” of 8328 9940. There are no Smiths that have the average phone number or anything close to it. Dial that number and the person answering will not be a Smith that lives in Adelaide. (Interestingly, the number of Smiths listed has declined substantially over the years. At one time there were pages of them and now a mere 20. Shows what impact mobiles have had).

The whole “climate change” edifice is built around increasing “global average temperatures” and it is a scam. Three organisations take data from one source, (NCDC), perform mathematical jiggery pokery and come up with 3 different answers. Two organisations take data from one NASA satellite and come up with 2 different answers. All 5 disagree with one another but this is the basis for “climate policy”. Even Australia’s BoM has been caught out with their hand in the till. These organisations manipulate the data after the fact, in some cases many years after the fact. Those interested should look at where you can see the changes that have been made decades after the actual readings were taken.

It is not the “average temperature” that is important it is the range of temperature that we live in. 130 years of BoM data showed that those who live in Adelaide live within a temperature range of 40 degrees C and that this has been consistent over the years with some random fluctuations, (See my post of 14 May 2018 “Not much change in 130 years”). Sydney has a range of 30 degrees, (see post “Sydney’s doing OK as well” dated 15 May 2018).

Without banging on for too long, the message is that the whole “climate change” scam is based on questionable, if not fraudulent” claims that an “average” temperature can be ascertained accurately and that it actually has some relevance. Both propositions are total bull.

Here we are in 2018 with an electricity system that is a shambles, “energy companies” raping and pillaging at will, green fanatics screaming their propaganda at everyone, politicians hamstrung by the ideologies they have adopted for political gain and unable to get out of the corner they have painted themselves into, carpetbaggers peddling bogus “solutions” and all for absolutely no gain whatsoever.

The last word from the late George Carlin:

 Think of how stupid the average person is, and then realise that half the population are stupider than that.

Posted in Guest Post | 24 Comments