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The Age columist says democracy, free press not the answer for climate damage

The Age, sometimes the free press is not enough…

Gay Alcorn suggests when voters get it wrong (and you are but a powerless columnist on a major daily paper) the answer is not “explain your case”,  or “publish and study the views of the people who disagree” but be fiercer, get arrested and resort to civil disobedience and blockades. Meanwhile her “respected” CSIRO scientists let her step into an obvious scientific hole, and Naomi Klein spins a fantasy that Alcorn finds appealing.

Ask all the wrong questions

The journalists of The Age have read their own paper for so long, they don’t even know what questions to ask:

The Age: “Applying heat to Canberra’s climate stance”

“There are a few barely questioned principles that most citizens assume in a representative democracy such as ours. One is that, whichever party you voted for, you accept the result of an election and give thanks for a peaceful transfer of political power.

But what if there was an issue where you couldn’t accept the elected government’s position, believing it so wrong, dangerous, and damaging to the country’s economic and social future that to treat it as just part of the argy-bargy of politics would make you complicit in that wrong?

Climate change is that issue.”

Gay Alcorn asks” What if you couldn’t accept the elected governments position”. She doesn’t ask: What if I’m wrong and windmills won’t stop floods? What if a tax won’t change the weather? Or how about, “If we make cheap energy more expensive – How exactly will that increase national productivity and help the economy?”

She also doesn’t ask, “What if a few dozen scientists have got their key assumptions wrong about the climate, and the models grossly exaggerate the threat?” What if thousands upon thousands of scientists (and a large slab of the population) know that name-calling “deniers” is not a scientific argument, want real evidence and are protesting? What if the newspaper you read hides the other half of the story, and doesn’t tell you that 31,000 scientists disagree with the 62 who reviewed Chapter Nine of the IPCC report? What if The Age never reports that atmospheric physicists, solar astronomers, geologists and engineers are skeptical, and have excellent reasons to be so, not to mention 1100 papers?

The evidence is that we are seeing its impact on our environment and our lives now. In our patch of the world, we’re into the second heatwave of the year in parts of southern Australia, following a year that was the hottest on record, and a decade between 2001-10 that was the warmest on record.

What if none of the CSIRO scientists was willing to be bluntly honest and remind you that none of these heatwaves or warm records was unusual in the long run, and none of them show that the warming is man-made? If the warming was natural, we’d get heatwaves, wouldn’t we? But instead of honest or forthright admission, the CSIRO scientists feed the unscientific pap that any warming is proof that CO2 caused the warming. So much for this respected institution. Few will respect it ten years from now, when it becomes obvious how much it has cost us.

Was that a lie a wink and a nod, or was it just a response to global bullies?

She points at the apparent contradictions of conservatives who say they believe but appear not to act, but misses the obvious reasons why:

The government says it believes in global warming and the human contribution to it, but everything it has done since it was elected negates that. It’s a lie, a wink and a nod, and everybody knows it.

Firstly, newspapers like yours would not allow a rational discussion, calling the unconvinced names like “denier”. So all the politicians who are skeptics know they can’t admit it in public. It’s not subterfuge, as much as being practical in the face of a hostile media. Name-calling works.
Secondly, even skeptics believe there has been global warming and there is some  human contribution to it (albeit small). Given that there are infinite shades of skeptic, there may not be as much contradiction between beliefs and actions as you suppose.
Thirdly, innumerate mainstream journalists pretend the answer to our climate is “Yes” or “No”, instead of a number between 0 and 5 (degrees Celsius rise per doubling of Co2). Combine this with the name-calling (see point 1) and the national conversation about policies is a circle of inanity. No wonder commentators and analysts who read the mainstream press can’t figure it out. (The answer you are looking for is online.)

What’s a good citizen to do?

What is a citizen’s responsibility in these circumstances? Activist Naomi Klein wrote last year about the new ”revolutionary” scientists who have abandoned their cautious language because governments largely ignored it anyhow. Jason Box, an expert on Greenland’s melting ice sheet, was arrested at a rally outside the White House and told Klein that ”just voting didn’t seem to be enough in this case. I need to be a citizen also.’
What is a citizens responsibility? Before leaping to civil disobedience, can I suggest looking at the evidence, and then judging for themselves. What is more responsible — reading both sides of the story or running a share-hoax that hurts honest investors, shareholders and superannuation dependent retirees?
Being mature has never been so easy.
As for Naomi Klein’s idea that governments are ignoring the advice of scientists — ask yourself, if that’s the case, why has The Age been telling us for years that we might be left behind because “Many countries have legislated higher 2020 emission targets than Australia”.  The EU set up a $176 billion a year carbon trading scheme. Governments spent $70 billion in subsidies for renewables. Is that what ignoring the scientists means?
Could it be that governments and some voters thought the advice was good once, but now realize the issue is a dead dog. Skeptics have won it intellectually online — pro-carbon-crisis climate bloggers are dropping out one by one, while skeptics traffic rises. The last ones to know will be mainstream editors who don’t read the real debate in the new media.
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The Age columist says democracy, free press not the answer for climate damage, 9.2 out of 10 based on 127 ratings

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57 comments to The Age columist says democracy, free press not the answer for climate damage

  • #
    DougS

    Another beautiful take-down by Joanne.

    I wonder if Alcorn ever reads blogs like this – if so I’d love to hear her response to Jo’s comments.

    Please Ms Alcorn, please take Jo on in a written debate.

    I’m not holding my breath!

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      Steve

      All I could think of was this columnist storming the barricades of the imperial palace, red hammer and cycle flag flying amongst her troops…

      Pity any Romanov familes inside….

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    Raven

    A ‘good citizen’ would probably recognise and respect the will of the people.
    It’s a novel idea, I know.
    I don’t recall anyone voting for the carbon tax.

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    • #
      Safetyguy66

      “To act on the belief that we possess the knowledge and the power which enable us to shape the processes of society entirely to our liking, knowledge which in fact we do not possess, is likely to make us do much harm.”
      Friedrich August von Hayek 1899-1922

      Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/f/friedrich_august_von_haye.html#33ZdstO1IR40kPra.99

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      • #
        Rick Bradford

        The Green/Left is characterised by infantile narcissism and spoiled arrogance, with not a skerrick of humility to be found anywhere. To them, something is true simply because they want it to be true.

        It’s as if they were all taught to read using Robert Fulghum’s best-seller ‘All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

        Gee, that Hayek was a smart guy for a 23-year-old…. ;)

        140

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  • #
    Roy Hogue

    Even as these fanatics become more and more ridiculous they also become more and more dangerous. This attitude is gaining among the ignorant and the opportunists who see personal advantage in it. It’s already entrenched very thoroughly in the White House where the attitude is (and has been since 2009) to hell with both the voters and the congress, I’m going to do it my way, period.

    We talk about this and expose it all day long — an excellent job by Jo — but we have yet to reach the right people with the simple message that they’re being had by scoundrels and outright thugs.

    How do we get this reversed before it overruns us?

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    • #
      Mortis

      to hell with both the voters and the congress, I’m going to do it my way, period.

      That is what the real fight that is just around the corner is going to be about

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      • #
        jon

        They want a classic Marxism revolution.

        That tell us everything we need to know about them?

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        • #
          Winston

          I’m sure the peasants will be thrilled by their new life under the Age inspired regime, singing hymns to wheat harvests on the collective farms, or reciting poetic odes to the nobility of the politburo supplied tractor. Forward soviet!

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    • #

      “How do we get this reversed before it overruns us?”

      It has been done before but not by using polite words and compromising principles. Polite words have no impact and compromise only gives them a free pass to do more of the same.

      The only non-violent action that has a chance to work is to stop feeding them. If left to their own devices, they would starve shortly after they run out of things to steal. End of problem.

      Remember?

      If you don’t have it, they can’t steal it.
      If you don’t make it, they can’t tax it.
      If you aren’t there, they can’t find you.

      This is a tough way to go but the alternative of becoming a willing slave is tougher. Becoming an unwilling slave is even worse.

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      • #
        Roy Hogue

        Yes. And no matter where I hide my assets they know exactly where to get their hands on everything. If I don’t have it they can’t take it but I can’t live on it either.

        I know you live in a place where you might have a chance of feeding yourself off of your own land. But most of us don’t have that luxury.

        I expect eventual violence that will be ruthlessly put down followed by collapse of the nation into anarchy. It’s not a pretty picture if we can’t reverse it by better means.

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        • #

          I agree, things are likely to get very ugly long before they get better.

          To avoid their “final solution”, all we need to do is take over every institution of higher learning, the senate, the house, and the presidency along with every state legislature. Then replace every federal and state level judge, and rewrite the curricula for every school in the land.

          At least, that is what the progressives did. It took them over 100 years to do it but they got it done. Unfortunately, while they were doing that, we were earning a living, creating a technological civilization, and protecting it from foreign thugs who planned to overrun us. Unfortunately, we ignored our own home grown thugs who were overrunning us and we more or less willingly submitted to their pogroms.

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            Steve

            I get concerned when I read such red-rag agression in our papers, and need to check whether Lenin is in power , or not.

            60

          • #
            Roy Hogue

            It took them over 100 years to do it but they got it done.

            Thank you, Lionell. I’ve been saying that for some time and I’m glad to have an ally in the fight to get it recognized. It’s not a new phenomenon and it’s been around long enough to get itself firmly entrenched in our culture and our lives.

            20

          • #
            Roy Hogue

            To avoid their “final solution”, all we need to do is take over…the senate, the house, and the presidency along with every state legislature.

            There may be a glimmer of hope. This Affordable Care Act that Obama was so proud of not so long ago, the one he reveled in the fact that it was being called Obamacare, is coming unglued faster than you can keep up with it. Once the problems started it became the Affordable Care Act overnight, everyone on the left changed in lockstep to distance the president and the Democrats from it — by the way, how transparent can you get? Not a day goes by that some new hitch isn’t reported. It’s beginning to PO more and more people because it’s hurting them financially and by Election Day in November there my bot be a popular Democrat left anywhere unless they get on board with undoing this monstrosity.

            Now a nonpartisan analysis (Fox News Channel yesterday and Tuesday) reckons that about 3 million people a year will lose their employer provided coverage over the next 10 years as the cost of providing coverage looks worse than the fine for not providing it.

            The thing is like the City of Los Angeles or the Los Angeles Unified School District; too big to manage effectively even without all the built in problems and even too big to understand it all. And certainly full of built-in conflicts of interest as well.

            Maybe they have gone too far.

            00

  • #
    Yonniestone

    Now the real deniers are being exposed more often as this infectious cult unravels, we might be surprised of who’s outed as the main instigators which is usually the case, but the clever ones never get caught.
    The key to a good take down is honesty conveyed eloquently, nailed it Joanne.

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  • #
    John West

    Civil disobedience in response to oppression is indeed admirable, but these people aren’t being oppressed. They are essentially calling for civil disobedience in response to being ignored. Nobody’s listening to us so let’s crank up the tantrum!

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    • #
      Shane

      I think it’s dangerous to think that they’re just calling for civil disobedience. A bit of a protest, a bit of a whinge, it doesn’t sound too bad. Don’t forget that the progressives have also likened their opponents to holocaust deniers, paedophiles and the murderers of untold numbers of future children. There’s been calls for sceptics to be bashed, jailed and murdered in their beds.

      And as the sceptics make more and more ground, those AGW believers near the centre will think differently. That will eventually leave only the truly crazy as members of the movement. The thought of a large group of insane people who truly believe that only violence and murder can save the world and future children scares the crap out of me.

      40

  • #
    jon

    And the answer is International Marxism?

    What are the alternatives?
    Where is the proof?
    What are the COSTs?

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    • #
      Greg S

      If International Marxism is the answer then the question was stupid!

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    • #
      ExWarmist

      A global government would instantiate a specific concentration of systemic complexity that I would assert that it would catastrophically fail in less than 10, perhaps at the most 20 years.

      The key problem is all the mass genocidal murder and theft that would occur during the reign of a global government as it attempted to survive, followed by the starvation and general civilisational collapse that would occur as it fell apart.

      The risk of collapse of any system is based on a power law to the level of complexity. I.e. x to the power of 10.

      i.e.

      2 x complexity = 10 x 10 = 100 times risk of collapse.
      3 x complexity = 10 x 10 x 10 = 1000 times risk of collapse.

      etc, and so on, and so forth.

      The solution to producing a robust and resilient society/culture is to

      Decentralise, peripheralise, disperse, – push authority away from the centre to the edge and empower the individual and small to medium size communities to manage their own affairs.

      Decentralisation is a countervailing trend to the status quo – and vehemently opposed and attacked by those who shill for power.

      20

  • #
    Pouncer

    THIS I deny:

    That computerized “general circulation models” purporting to predict the world’s climate in decades to come offer a just cause for the next world war.

    Were there inarguable evidence that the behaviors of nations including China and India were posing an existential threat to the rest of our world, OF COURSE the UN, SEATO, NATO, and other military alliances should bring them to heel in accord with UN consensus. Otherwise, not.

    I say the evidence is “sexed up” and I deny that the West is entitled to declare war on the East for “poisoning our common air with the contaminant, Carbon Dioxide.” I deny the war, I deny the treaties and alliances leading up to such a war, I deny the propaganda and politicking and posturing leading to such treaties, and I deny, yes, the climate models and “hockey stick” used in such propaganda.

    210

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    James

    Hopefully our Federal Government’s Independent Schools Initiative gets off the ground and eventually helps to balance the blatant socialist bias taught in most subjects in our education system over the last forty years.

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    Jaymez

    This was just scary reading. That a journalist in an everyday newspaper in a democratic country can have material like this published as a serious contribution to debate is just frightening.

    This is the same type of thinking the Jihadists start with. They cannot accept a secular Government by non believers. They know what is true and right. It is up to them to take action to force the rest of society to follow suit! It is for the good of all!

    270

  • #
    Robber

    Fortunately less and less people are buying The (R)Age, and this diatribe is another reason why. It’s like the ABC – they both need to get back to the reason for journalism, to inform, not to peddle personal opinions.

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    • #
      Dan

      There are few journalists left Robber.
      We now have girl fridays who cut and paste articles submitted by PR organisations.
      It’s cheaper that way.

      40

  • #
    Brendan

    What about this article in the Canberra Time yesterday, where a fearless public servant is quitting because he disagrees with the governments stance on climate change.

    And he does this by invoking Harry Potter as a comparison.

    “There are lessons from the Harry Potter story that passionate public servants should take heed of”

    Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/why-i-quit-climates-dark-art-20140202-31v2o.html#ixzz2sIKgWh53

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      Robber

      So where will this fearless public servant find their next job – working for the Greens? Given the make-up of the ACT government, it’s probable that well over 70% of Canberra public servants believe in big government controls, and it must feel good to think that you are “saving the planet”. We should encourage more public servants who don’t support the elected government’s policies to go find a real job. I just hope that Joe Hockey is up to the challenge of cutting the unnecessary bureaucracy, so thank you to “Harry Potter” for making that task one step easier.

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      JohnM

      It sounds like a public servant preferred fantasy land.

      10

    • #
      ExWarmist

      Poor Hagrid – tossed himself out of a job!

      Next we’ll have death eaters in charge of the Ministry!!!

      (Mind you, the wizards had elves (Dobby etc) working as slave labour… foul economy where the privledged few live off the sweat of the oppressed).

      FORWARD SOVIET – FREE THE OPPRESSED ELVES – FREE DOBBY!

      00

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      Bones

      The opinion of this public servant is totally understandable when you CONsider that the Harry Potter story and the gangreens version of reality are both works of fiction to make as much money as possible.Anything related to reality or the real world is totally coincidental.I have never seen a govt that was voted OUT by such a large margin become as vindictive as the labor/gangreens.Perhaps they have a lot of things that they would prefer not to be looked into.Unions and climate depts I think would head the list.

      00

  • #
    diogenese2

    Roy, Lionel and Pouncer –DONT PANIC. There is as much chance of these cappuccino revolutionaries provoking an uprising as either of us has of winning the world cup in Rio. You are seeing the anguish of the defeated – the tortured logic of the failed evangelist.
    “we are seeing the impact of climate change on our environment and lives now”
    “40 degree days are not a direct result of climate change – I haven’t heard one climate scientist say it is”.
    “this is not my opinion” (but it is what you said!)
    Then quote CSIRO 2011: “The impacts of climate change are already clearly visible in Australia”
    FFS girl make your mind up!
    In passing – the comment that CSIRO are not scientists is much echoed in this forum.
    The great popular revolutions of history have always required large numbers of seriously pissed off people for any action at all. Who is going to mount the barricades for the IPCC computer models? People faced with unpayable power bills are not going to demonstrate about the weather in 2050.
    James Hansen has already tried this and failed – and he even has a President on his side.
    In the UK we have seen many of these fantasy warriors attempting “The Imitation of Nelson Mandela”. They are like an itchy arse at a funeral – somehow there is always a way to scratch them.
    And Jaymez – the Jihadist had to work for 1500 years to reach their present eminence. Note they are probable the biggest threat to the Islamic world since Ghengis Khan, who, by the way, was the only man ever to, by singular action, lower atmospheric CO2.
    The IPCC have just published the final version of AR5 WG1, 1500 pages, 600 diagrams & 9000 referred papers. It is too late – nobody has noticed, or can be bothered to fisk them. CAGW was always a political ideology founded on a Malthusian meme which followed the methodology of their mentor Ghengis.

    70

  • #
    Greg Cavanagh

    When I hear of citizen groups fighting their own government, visions of Egypt, Syria, Iran, and Afghanistan come to mind?

    Is madness contagious?

    40

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    Neville

    The Fairfax media and their ABC just love all the totalitarian stuff.
    Come the revolution Jo and David would be marched off to re-education gulags.
    I’m on a SLR kick at the moment and just posted this at Jen Marohasy’s blog.

    Interesting to look at rate or trend of global SLR in the Jevrejeva et al study (2008) since the 18th century to 2000.
    The trend was much faster during tha late 18th, 19th and earlier 20th centuries than the late 20th century. See figures 3 and 4 of the study on page 3.

    http://www.psmsl.org/products/reconstructions/2008GL033611.pdf Certainly the trend from 1920 to 1950 was higher than 1976 to 2000 as well.

    40

  • #
    Neville

    Here are the main points and abstract of the Chen et al study covering decelerating global SLR from 2004 to 2012. But the 1993 to 2003 trend of 3.2 mm year has dropped to 1.8mm year from 2004 to 2012. Very similar to the Ole Humlum analysis at Climate 4 you.

    Highlights

    GMSL started decelerated rising since 2004 with rising rate 1.8 ± 0.9 mm/yr in 2012.

    Deceleration is due to slowdown of ocean thermal expansion during last decade.

    Recent ENSO events introduce large uncertainty of long-term trend estimation.

    Abstract

    Projection of future sea level change relies on the understanding of present sea-level trend and how it has varied in the past. Here we investigate the global-mean sea level (GMSL) change during 1993–2012 using Empirical Mode Decomposition, in an attempt to distinguish the trend over this period from the interannual variability. It is found that the GMSL rises with the rate of 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr during 1993–2003 and started decelerating since 2004 to a rate of 1.8 ± 0.9 mm/yr in 2012. This deceleration is mainly due to the slowdown of ocean thermal expansion in the Pacific during the last decade, as a part of the Pacific decadal-scale variability, while the land-ice melting is accelerating the rise of the global ocean mass-equivalent sea level. Recent rapid recovery of the rising GMSL from its dramatic drop during the 2011 La Niña introduced a large uncertainty in the estimation of the sea level trend, but the decelerated rise of the GMSL appears to be intact.

    Here is the study. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921818113002397

    30

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    Safetyguy66

    “Emergencies’ have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded.”
    Friedrich August von Hayek 1899-1922

    Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/f/friedrich_august_von_haye.html#33ZdstO1IR40kPra.99

    And if you don’t actually have an emergency, you can always confect one.

    70

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    JohnM

    I’ve submitted an opinion piece in response. I’m a bit worried that it won’t get published given that The Age showed appalling judgement and published the piece by Alcorn, a former editor of the Sunday Age. – John McLean

    90

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    William

    “we’re into the second heatwave of the year in parts of southern Australia”

    Not today in Sydney, it is cold, wet and windy!

    40

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      Vic G Gallus

      So what does 20 days of 40+ for January 1908 in Adelaide (10 in a row and another since corrected to be just below 40°C) mean for the claim that the world is getting warmer? What do two days of 46 and two of 44°C in 5 days in 1939 for Adelaide say about the claim that the world is getting warmer?

      What about my home town in 1906 having to put up with two days in a row around 51°C (123, 124°F in the old money)? The past month has been revoltingly hot but it has come up short when compared to what has happened previously. If I was a pseudo-scientist, I would claim that we were experience global cooling (or saying “you were lucky” in a Yorkshire accent).

      30

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      William

      Still cold and grey in Sydney….

      00

  • #
    John F. Hultquist

    Suggestions from “we are freezing up here” in North America!
    Remind these writers that it is summer in OZ – it is supposed to have hot days
    Remind them to learn about their country before writing nonsense:
    http://www.dorotheamackellar.com.au/archive/mycountry.htm
    I love a sunburnt country

    30

  • #
    john robertson

    Funny how inconvenient democracy is to liars, thieves and loons.

    What is it with these presstitutes?
    Always have to be afraid of something, be very,very frightened….
    My neighbour has a standard response to my ranting about our kleptocracries and our craven media minions,
    “So, when do we shoot?”
    Now on the bright side, the easily alarmed consensus crew, (direct descendants of chicken little?) has lost the attention of the taxpaying public.
    They know this,yet they are unable to understand their failure to convince the masses.
    They are currently doubling down on the message, shrieking louder, unable to comprehend that their failure is because of their success in communicating.
    The zealots have clearly communicated their willingness to lie,steal,extort, distort,smear and abuse.
    Now they wonder why normal people shun them.
    To The Age, keep up the good work.

    80

  • #
    Peter Franzmann

    From the report yesterday, that 3 out of 4 people drive their car to work, it would seem that the majority of the population do not consider that the consequences of their personal contribution to carbon dioxide are significant for the planet. It seems a non-issue for most.

    00

  • #
    Peter

    The R Age put her up on the stage. ‘You’re up next Gay give em hell, We’re losing the crowd’.
    Then she gets loudly heckled by Jo and bad veg chucked at her from the audience. Exit stage left wing in tears.
    Who’s up next? Have you all got your bag of captured Co2 items giving off methane ready to aim at the next sad act to trudge on. I wish you all fair aim, hit the target and have a chuckle.

    English Aborigine

    40

  • #
    Andrew McRae

    Speaking of free press, this link on Reddit/Australia has been a condensation point for leftist frothing today.
    * The government is considering dumping the “two out of three” rule for media ownership ie. the rule that one corporation can’t control a daily newspaper, a radio station AND a TV station.
    I linked to the comments instead of the source article just so you can see how the other half live. :)

    I reckon the market share in any single medium is what should be limited by regulation, via anti-competition rules. Preserving competition promotes choice, innovation, efficiency, etc.
    By the same token, allowing the same message to be broadcast by 3 mediums instead of 2 is just more efficient. If you want to stop Unscrupulert Murderdoch™ from owning the entire media you have to do it by frequency allocation and market share caps, not by modality restrictions.
    I know it’s all a smokescreen for Abbott to give Murdoch whatever he wants, regulatory capture, Lib cronyism etc, but still… if preserving diversity of sources and biases is the goal, what difference does modality make? It’s not necessary for the goal.

    00

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    PhilJourdan

    All she demonstrates is that the alarmists are like Jihadists. Facts and reason do not matter, just the dogma.

    10