Saturday, February 22, 2014

And so to enjoying the weekend, in a sustainable way ...

Devoted followers of the cult of Caterism will always treasure the Caterist tract Bitten by the dispiriting dogma of sustainability (behind the paywall to keep the infidels in darkness).

It was an epic moan:

Sustainability is "a leading-edge issue", which means no one has a clue what it is, not even Wikipedia. The best it can manage is that sustainability is "a multi-faceted concept" and "a matter of ongoing argument". So much for the wisdom of crowds...
...Sustainability may present itself as harmless mumbo-jumbo that helps build a brand, but its underlying philosophy is antithetical to freedom and to enterprise. 
 "The uncontested absurdities of today are the accepted slogans of tomorrow," Ayn Rand wrote in 1972. "They come to be accepted by degrees, by dint of constant pressure on one side and constant retreat on the other until one day they are suddenly declared to be the country's official ideology." 
 Four decades later, her prophecy has been fulfilled. Sustainability is one of the three priority themes in the new Australian curriculum, polluting everything from algebra to zoology. 
 "The sustainability priority is futures-oriented, focusing on protecting environments and creating a more ecologically and socially just world through informed action," the curriculum says. 
 Students are encouraged to consider "that unlimited growth is unsustainable; sustainability - that biological systems need to remain diverse and productive over time; and rights of nature - recognition that humans and their natural environment are closely interrelated"...

And so on and on in a Randian way, no doubt before wending off to the nearest dispenser of social security.

What startled the pond was that yesterday jolly Joe Hockey produced a blizzard of "sustainabilities".

There were simply too many to count.

There it was in Reform or risk jobs, warns Joe Hockey (behind the paywall to try to keep things sustainable):

“We’re having a discussion about the quality of life we want people to have as they are ageing, and how sustainable that quality of life is. 
 “What is sustainable? What is the quality of healthcare? What is the quality of aged care? How are we going to get enough finance to live with dignity?”

And you could find the same refrain in Australia 'running out of money' for Medicare: Hockey (with forced video, to try to keep things sustainable).

With bells attached:

Mr Hockey said he was ''ringing an early warning bell'' about the sustainability of federal funding for vital programs, saying hard work will be needed in the future just to maintain the quality of life expected by most Australians.

Oh it was a noble but a desperate quest:

''If nothing happens, we will never get back into surplus, we'll never pay off debt. 
''We'll either have to have a massive increase in taxes, and that means fewer jobs at the end of the day, or we're going to have to look at ways we can restructure the system to make it sustainable.'' 

And it was time to shackle those old farts and put their bloody noses to the grindstone. Retire at 65? Heck Bismarck set that age because he knew most of the bludgers would be dead by 50. Now they're set to torment jolly Joe until they turn 85.

Set the pension age to 100, the pond says, and then let's talk sustainability:

“As England and a number of other countries are focusing ... we have to look at ways to continue to increase it as we live longer,” Hockey told journalists on the eve of the G20 finance ministers meeting in Sydney, which he is hosting. 

“Really we’re having a discussion about quality of life we want people to have as they are ageing and how sustainable that quality of life is. 
“I would challenge everyone in Australia to have a mature debate about the quality of life we want our ageing population to have.” (Joe Hockey says Australians may have to work past the age of 67)

And it wasn't just jolly Joe. That great white dope from Queensland, Peter Dutton, was also on a sustainability jag:

Health Minister Peter Dutton has opened the door to a GP co-payment warning of an ''unsustainable'' rise in the cost of health care...
Addressing a Committee for Economic Development of Australia event in Brisbane on Wednesday, Mr Dutton said factors such as ageing, the growing prevalence of diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer's disease and new technologies had placed the health system ''on an unsustainable path''. Treasury forecasts annual Commonwealth health spending will grow from the current level of $62 billion to $75 billion by 2016-17, and balloon from its current level of 4 per cent of GDP to 7 per cent by 2050. 
As the government considers the initial recommendations of its Commission of Audit and prepares for what is expected to be a horror first budget, Mr Dutton warned: ''Doing nothing about sustainability is just not an option.'' (Health Minister Peter Dutton opens door to GP co-payment)

But then the parrots were only mimicking the wise words of the head parrot back in January:

Abbott warned that "the recovery remains fragile". 
"The challenge, everywhere, is to promote sustainable, private sector-led growth and employment and to avoid government-knows-best action for action's sake," he said. 
"It's worth noting if only to remind ourselves of the good that can be done that in the past few decades, more has been achieved to reduce poverty than in any other period in history." 
Mr Abbott, chairman of the G20 forum, noted that in the fellow member nations of China, India and Indonesia, "many hundreds of millions (of people) have been lifted from subsistence to the middle class". 
He said these successes were helped by technological change but the key was for business investment and smaller government to provide sustainable growth.  (Tony Abbott optimistic about 'fragile' recovery, behind the paywall because we're on a sustainability drive).

It seems that four things are now certain.

In addition to death and taxes, we can rate the chances of harmful mumbo jumbo coming from Liberal politicians doing Chicken Little impersonations in spiralling circles of doom and despair as degree one of certainty, as is the chance that Nick Cater will assault a Liberal politician for beating the sustainability drum, as is the chance that Liberal politicians will do anything about income inequality or any suggestion whatsoever that the rich should go fair dibs ...

It's also certain to make the job of the professional hagiographers more difficult.

After all, all this jibber jabber is building to a shit storm of a budget, on the principle that the punters will hopefully forget about it by the time the next election rolls around (quick, bring on that WA thingie right now)

What to do, what to do?

How about the bouffant one running this line? Labor leader's aggressive style is not going to cut it down the pub (hidden behind the paywall to avoid unsustainable hysteria).

What's more bizarre?

The notion that the bouffant one can be found in the front or the public bar with a bunch of hard hats and wharfies and so can ascertain the mood of pubs around the land, or the bouffant one abusing Bill Shorten for being aggressive, while one of the most aggressive leaders of the opposition in history - the man who made Mark Latham look like he was in nappies even when he broke the arms of taxi cab drivers - swanned into power, and never mind the simpering simpletons at the lizard Oz gasping at his awesome aggression and manly MAMIL behaviour.

In truth the bouffant one has absolutely nothing to say that couldn't have been said more pungently and quickly as "Bill Shorten, two legs, baaad", "Tony Abbott four legs, total baaaadaaaasss"

But wait, there's more, way more for your weekend comedy reading.

The reptiles at the lizard Oz also offered yet another cliche of our times, "elites", courtesy of that man of the ordinary people, humble Joe Blow himself, Bjorn Lomborg, scribbling furiously and opening with a flourish:

At the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos last month, leading participants called for a rapid shift to cleaner energy to tackle climate change. There is something unsettling about the global power elite jetting into an exclusive Swiss ski resort and telling the rest of the world to stop using fossil fuels.

Oops, big brother alert, big brother alert. Censorship required. Who was it that was unsettling?

Oh right, that unsettling member of the global power elite jetting into the exclusive Swiss ski resort ...

And telling the rest of the world to keep on buying Australia's fossil fuels ... (and cranking up the laughs with a goodies v baddies rendering of the Syrian war, as you can remember by strolling down memory lane here).

What's really unsettling is that Lomborg's Myths and wishful thinking pollute global warming debate (behind the paywall because the reptiles are desperate to be sustainable) is simply a cut and paste, a warmed up rehash of an older piece.

It should go without saying that Lomborg has absolutely nothing new to say, but continues on his way as a denier dressed as a dissembler.

Lomborg is one of those who moved from the complete denialist stage to the more devious stage, which is to say that yes climate change is real and happening, but everybody's doing it wrong except Lomborg. (The Five Stages of Climate Denial).

Here's how it goes:

Yep, it's just a short step from outright denialism of the early Lomborg days to suggesting that all that's needed is a little low cost cash, and for the world to harden the fuck up - or be resilient (no doubt in a sustainable way):

In the long run, current investment in green research and development will help drive the price of future renewable energy below that of fossil fuels, enabling a choice that is both environmentally and economically sound. 
In the meantime, even dramatic cuts in CO2 emissions will have very little impact on hurricanes 50 to 100 years from now. Lifting billions of people out of poverty, however, would not only be intrinsically good; it would also make societies much more resilient in the face of extreme weather, whether caused by global warming or not. 
Unfortunately, as we saw at Davos, the global climate debate is polluted with myths and wishful thinking. If we want to do more good at lower cost, we should start by cleaning it up.

Now there's a classic example of wishful thinking, you might say. Or you might wonder how Lomborg knows all these things? Well because he says it - make it so - and if it's good enough for him, it's certainly good enough for the reptiles and it should be good enough for you ...

Oh and in the interim, if you want to read the unpolished gem, as it was run some eight days ago, you can find it here under the header The Davos Apocalypse.

Now there's a sustainable business plan. Find eight day old glass full drivel, offered for free on the full to overflowing intertubes, re-package it, and charge the mug punters an unsustainable price.

What else? Well some might be amused to see Grace Collier seem to have some sort of brain spasm in Lend Lease has big questions to answer (behind the paywall because there's never enough jokes about the business plan of The Australian being sustainable), wherein she demands that Lend Lease and its head honchos be the first to front the Royal Commission in relation to its contracting practices, its relationship to big unions and to small businesses.

Steady on Grace, that sort of jibber jabber simply isn't sustainable. Please take lessons from Dame Judith Sloan instructing workers that a seven day working week is their lot, and for the minimum wage How else will the reptiles get cheap coffee on a Sunday at 6 am?

But let's not stop there, because the pond has a special place for Angela Shanahan, rarely sighted these days on the digital rotating splash of doom at the lizard Oz, but there she is today with Stay-home mums productive too (behind the paywall because wives of working dads need sustainable pin money).

It's everything you could wish for from a Shanahan. Incoherent, rambling, but full of a keening and a moaning about how stay at home mums are mistreated and given a bad shake of the sauce bottle when it comes to coating the pineapple and the prawns.

It seems that breeders must maintain the rage, as the Awesome Mothers Association is doing (pdf of tax rebates and income splitting demands here) , and guess what, in these unsustainable times?

Stay at home moms deserve a better tax break, because it's not cheap staying at home to indoctrinate your child in Catholicism or some other fundamentalist religion.

You see, middle class mums on child care get a non-means tested tax benefit, and score all sorts of childcare which amounts to "at least $6401", compared to an "average $3112 for Family Tax Benefit Part B".

What's that you say? Who's bleating for the singles and others without kids who get taxed and sweet f.a.?

Steady, steady.

Family benefits should be neutral, but family subsidies are being subtly redirected to families where the mother is employed. 
Family tax benefits were not envisaged as welfare. They replaced income-tax deductions as compensation for bearing the burden of multiple dependants. Effectively large families, where the mother is not employed, subsidise smaller, richer families where both parents work. But employment does not equal productivity. Most women work because they have to. They resent being treated as economic units.

You see, benefits aren't welfare!

Now don't go citing dictionary definitions that say welfare can be defined as financial or other aid or benefits provided, especially by the government to people in need, or hot linking to the list of Australian government benefits here designed to assist the welfare of various social groups ...

That sort of high and mighty Humpty Dumpty nonsense simply isn't sustainable.

And the real marvel throughout the entire Shanahan bleat? Not one mention of Tony Abbott or his PPL scheme ...

Truly they know how to toe the ideological line, those hagiographers ...

Finally for those who maintain an interest in technology, that pompous prat and eastern suburbs ne'er do well, the silvertail (should that be silverfish?) Malcolm Turnbull, has performed yet another astonishing feat.

Federal Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has told ABC Local Radio that Tasmanian Liberal leader Will Hodgman has convinced him to look further into the option of using Aurora Energy power poles to deliver the NBN.
Tasmanian Liberal Leader Will Hodgman may not be the only one drinking the "fibre-to-the-premises Kool Aid" after he offered Federal Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull a taste in a meeting earlier this week. 
One day after desrcibing Mr Hodgman's enthusiasm for a full fibre-optic NBN as drinking the "fibre-to-the-premises Kool aid", Mr Turnbull says that Mr Hodgman has convinced him to look into the using state-owned power poles to deliver the NBN.

You see, Turnbull is so unaccustomed to the internet he probably thinks that a story on 936 ABC Hobart, Turnbull takes sip of Hodgman's fibre-to-the-premises Kool Aid didn't cross the Tasman and probably won't until the next set of yachts return to their eastern suburbs berths after the next Sydney to Hobart ...

It turns out Tasmania is very special because they have actual power poles - unlike any other state in Australia - and they're proposing to waive any rental on the poles if fibre optic cabling is draped off them ... just so they can have a better system.

Somebody's convinced them that Malcolm Turnbull's roll out is a completely fucked alternative, and who can argue with that, except a devious, deviant simpleton like Turnbull?

It seems poor old Will Hodgman can see his preciouss slipping away, so Turnbull offered to consider poles and stuff, knowing he could stiff the poor prawn whichever way the election turned out.

Remember the good old days of Akker Dakker and Nick Minchin, our  cushy rorter in America?

The shouting and the screaming? About all the uglification? Minchin with Look up in the sky! There's an ugly downside to Labor's broadband project, Akker Dakker with Powerful arguments for Rudd to go underground.

Now it turns out Tasmanians are ready for a few cables in the sky, anything but the half-baked pile of string and sealing wax crap Turnbull cheerfully calls Australia's broadband future...

Well strangely enough the pond has a power pole just outside the front of the house, and it already has Optus and Foxtel cables festooned on it, piles of shit both, and a mouldy pile of rain-sodden copper a-mouldering in the ground like John Brown's body in his grave.

We'll be more than happy to see the lot replaced with a single cable, hugh on high, with infinitely more capacity and speed ...

If big Mal is going to sip Tasmanian kool aid, he can come around the pond's place and we'll dose him up on Camperdown kool aid.

Heck we might even throw in one of Young Henry's, Trew Brew, and Batch Brews that litter the joint ... (oh yes, Tamworth might think it's the centre of the universe, but Newtown is the home of the craft brewers, here)

Too much comedy, too many laughs. Time to get legless for the weekend, in a sustainable way of course, while remembering all the memes ...


  1. Here is another, DP, that should bring a smile, or a cringe, while you drink your morning coffee, DP

    1. Classic, HB! That's likely to turn up somewhere here

  2. Hi Dorothy,

    You can see why Lomborg gets such a good airing in the Murdochian press as he is able to portray anthropogenic climate change as a plus not a negative.

    His comment about cutting CO2 emissions not impacting hurricanes is particularly disingenuous.

    If you think fracking and trying to keep CO2 levels under 400ppm are serious issues then check out this next level of crazy; Underground Coal Gasification (UCG);

    If this gets going, then all bets are off where the climate will end up. Next stop Venus.


    1. Good link DW, subscription required, but for once worth it.

  3. the meth addicted pension rorting Rand could have been describing the descent into madness that is our current boats policy..

    1. Were that nutter here it'd be getting worried about now.

  4. "...the quality of life we want our ageing population to have. (Hokey)” Rupe's 1.5 billion tax payer dollars coming to him next in the pipeline after the $0.9 billion just received is certainly indicative of the intent.

  5. "..everybody's doing it wrong except Lomborg"

    Abbott in Bolter interview:

    Mr Abbott - "And the thing is that at some point in the future, every record will be broken, but that doesn't prove anything about climate change."


      "Debunking 97% Climate Consensus Denial
      Confused Contrarians Think they are Included in the 97%

      Bjorn Lomborg made a similar error, claiming:

      "Virtually everyone I know in the debate would automatically be included in the 97% (including me, but also many, much more skeptical)."

      In reality Lomborg is included neither in the 97+% nor the less than 3% because as far as we can tell, he has not published any peer-reviewed climate research, and thus none of his writings were captured in our literature search. The 97% is a consensus of climate science experts, and that, Lomborg is not."


    3. Great meme Anon, and as for that remark to the Bolter, amazing scenes, amazing times ... sometimes Abbott sounds so dumb wiser heads should wonder about him being allowed to speak in public

  6. Don't go counting chickens about power poles and NBN access. Turnbull has been convinced to look at a 'trial' in Tasmania, slated for some time after the inconvenient state election.

    The trial, if it occurs at all, will find it not practical or uneconomic. And back to Turnbull's mess it will be.

    Probably enough to get Hodgman into power in his own right and our very own version of Liberal austerity.

  7. "Optus and Foxtel cables festooned, piles of shit both,..." -- poles apart though, a third pile of shit, Brandis, with all five eyes on it has a job to do for power, murdocracy, media, money, and mates --

    "the documents reveal that the agency considered using its sweeping surveillance system against Pirate Bay, which has been accused of facilitating copyright violations."


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