catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Open Forum 18/11/06

with 59 comments

Since Jason hasn’t emerged to kick off the Open Forum, I thought I’d better do it instead. Bring your rants and raves up here, folks.

Written by Admin

November 18, 2006 at 1:18 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

59 Responses

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  1. I’m not game to do the YouTube thingy – I don’t know enough about Jazz and Blues for a start.


    November 18, 2006 at 1:19 pm

  2. The alarmists have a most hateful technique.

    Instead of coming up with any evidence for catastrophic warming they just start a new thread which simply assumes this and builds on this lie.

    John Quiggins idiocy is not over. He keeps starting these new threads and never once comes up with evidence for catastrophic warming.

    Lets have a look at some of these threads..

    Stern on costs of climate change Part 1,Stern on the costs of climate stabilisation, The debate is really now over, More amateur climatology by Bolt…..

    This just on the first page. No evidence for catastrophic global warming forthcoming.

    Next lets look at Prodeo:

    Coal industry intervenes constructively on climate change, Winds of Change or Just Hot Air, The Stern Review: The situation is serious, The symbolism of a greenhouse target, Another excuse for Greenhouse Inaction evaporates,

    And on and on and on it goes. Now how do you deal with this? They just get stomped on the science and so whats the solution? More Propaganda.

    The solution to not having any evidence is to start another thread. What is very dissapointing is that Steve Edney has participated in this hateful anti-Australian behaviour.

    Edney get your ass here and explain yourself.

    But what I want to know is how are we going to defeat these evil bastards.

    There they are all the time pumping out this Wrong-Way Corriganism. They are just determined to lie and lie and lie until they have managed to steal a trillion dollars off us for doing the opposite of what rational policy would dictate.

    John Quiggin is the most hateful in this regard because of the extreme dishonesty in which he frames the debate.

    He always sets it up as if the primary debate is about whether some amount of warming is due to human action or whether absolutely no warming whatsoever is due to human action.

    And he seems to imply that even if the tiniest amount of extra energy in the climate system comes from human action he can steal a trillion dollars and thats fine.

    I mean he is so filthy in the dishonest way he is approaching this.

    We are on a planet that is hard-wired for catastrophic cooling. Not catastrophic warming. So if we can prove that humans can add a few Joules to the system how is that an argument for all this predatory behaviour?

    We cannot be neutral on the filthy behaviour of the Quiggins of this world. Its evident that he is incredibly flippant or alternatively that he means us great harm.

    Or there is some other hidden agenda to what he is about. That goes for Paul Norton and the others too.

    And we would want to hear from this Edney.

    Who has a science Phd and so its very very dissapointing that he is lending his credentials to this error and wrongdoing.

    I’ve chased him down time after time after time for some evidence for catastrophic warming and the best he could do is suggest that was what the computers were saying. As if a computer simulation that doesn’t backtest could ever be evidence for anything other then computers.


    November 18, 2006 at 1:55 pm

  3. Looks like you’ve lost your Knighthood, Edney …

    Jason Soon

    November 18, 2006 at 2:01 pm

  4. Hour-Long presentation on this controversy.

    Birds-iron-law of persistent controversies is that the consensus view is always wrong. Or else there wouldn’t be a persistent controversy.

    However this does not mean that the leading opponents are right.

    In fact for controversy to persist we need the consensus to be VERY wrong and the leading opponents to be at least SOMEWHAT wrong.


    November 18, 2006 at 2:25 pm

  5. Graeme, the reason JQ and LP don’t go on about the evidence for warming is because they have accepted other people’s evidence, and moved on. They don’t see it as an issue any more – they are more interested in what to do about the warming.

    If you want to evidence, I suggest you google it. I did, here are some sites picked at random:


    November 18, 2006 at 3:35 pm

  6. “Graeme, the reason JQ and LP don’t go on about the evidence for warming is because they have accepted other people’s evidence, and moved on.”

    No no Fatfingers. There IS NO evidence for catastrophic warming.

    And no you are full of shit. They haven’t MOVED ON. They are instead doing this because they are dishonest.

    They haven’t MOVED ON. They are instead starting new threads IN LIEU OF putting forward evidence for catastrophic global warming.

    They are doing this because they are dishonest filth.

    Let there be no mistake about this.

    They haven’t moved on. They haven’t once come up with the evidence for catastrophic global warming and neither have you.

    Would you like to?

    Lets hear it then.


    November 18, 2006 at 3:43 pm

  7. What an incredibly dishonest little geek you are fatfingers.

    You just changed the matter to one of HAS THERE BEEN ANY WARMING OF THE CLIMATE IN THE LAST FEW DECADES.

    Now you know that this is not what I’m disputing. But you are just a dishonest fellow trying to bolster this fraudulent movement.

    Have you got any evidence for the idea that we face catastrophic warming?

    You haven’t, neither does fatty-Lambert, or Quiggin, anyone at Prodeo, or anyone else.

    Yet there is mountains of evidence for catastrophic cooling.


    November 18, 2006 at 3:50 pm

  8. Jason, you going to do a YouTube post? People will miss it if you don’t.


    November 18, 2006 at 3:51 pm

  9. SL, I sure won’t miss that noodly jazz rubbish. 🙂


    November 18, 2006 at 4:58 pm

  10. None of that blues crap. we want real music

    Sinclair Davidson

    November 18, 2006 at 5:03 pm

  11. “Now you know that this is not what I’m disputing. But you are just a dishonest fellow trying to bolster this fraudulent movement.”

    I’m trying not to get involved too much. But I’m sorry I misinterpreted you.

    Perhaps you could help me by describing what you think “catastrophic warming” would entail, since you admit that at least “warming” is happening.


    November 18, 2006 at 5:04 pm

  12. That’s pretty good stuff, Sinc. I’m wondering if it’s possible to link from the front page. Where did you find it?


    November 18, 2006 at 5:35 pm


    Are you going back into writing – or just dabbling?

    Sinclair Davidson

    November 18, 2006 at 5:39 pm

  14. I’m a lawyer first and foremost, Sinc, but am happy to make a bit on the side from blogging and writing generally.

    I think there are serious problems with writing full time, and even more serious economic issues raised by government patronage of literature – which I’ve discussed on this site before. So mostly, I’m lawyering, but sometimes, I’m writing. I think the two go together well 😉


    November 18, 2006 at 6:14 pm

  15. Aerials is very good. Nice choice. Who’s the group? Is all their stuff like that?

    Sinclair Davidson

    November 18, 2006 at 7:45 pm

  16. Okay, got it -system of a down (soad) is the group.

    Sinclair Davidson

    November 18, 2006 at 7:52 pm

  17. ‘System of a Down’ is the group. Poke around on YouTube for some of their other stuff – BYOB (Bring Your Own Bomb) is pretty good, as is Toxicity, Questions, Hypnotize, Lost in Hollywood and Soldier Side.

    They often do political stuff, and when I first heard them, I thought they were simplistic Bush-bashers, but they’re not. Very good stuff, and some great drumming and guitar work into the bargain. All four members are Armenian-American, either born in Armenia or of Armenian parents, so their music is often nicely textured, too.


    November 18, 2006 at 7:55 pm

  18. I don’t mind ‘political stuff’ – the Glasshouse was one of my favorite shows (although too late for me on a weekday). i enjoy hard rockers / metal types doing power ballads – they do it well and with passion – that’s good music.

    Sinclair Davidson

    November 18, 2006 at 8:01 pm

  19. I must admit a good guitarist and drummer goes a long way for me – and SOAD are very good in that department. But even their so-called ‘protest’ stuff is clever enough to acknowledge the other side. They’ve also done some less commercial pieces on the Armenian genocide (‘Holy Mountains’ comes to mind) that will make your hair stand on end.


    November 18, 2006 at 8:06 pm

  20. “Perhaps you could help me by describing what you think “catastrophic warming” would entail, since you admit that at least “warming” is happening.”

    Well that depends on the time scale fatfingers.

    Things warmed up today when the sun rose but are cooling down now. One has to be sure what time period one is talking about when one makes these claims.

    Nasa says there has been no significant warming trend in the last 18 years. But what years are these? You hear that from someone you might think it means 1988-2006.

    But if you changed the years from 1980 to 1998 then Nasa’s statement wouldn’t hold.

    Don’t be telling me i ADMIT stuff you UTTER GENIUS AND PARAGON OF VIRTUE. Since that somehow assumes I’m in some sort of denial and the evidence has somehow gotten too large and I’ve been forced to make some sort of concession.

    So cut that crap out right away.

    “Perhaps you could help me by describing what you think “catastrophic warming” would entail, since you admit that at least “warming” is happening.”

    I have no clue what it would entail since it has never happened in the last 39 million years and is not happening now. Nor is it likely to happen. In fact its very hard to imagine it being a possibility.

    One difficulty in this matter is getting good records. When people show graphs with the temperature rising a great deal they don’t tell you necessarily if they are including whats happening in Antarctica.

    Antarctica is getting colder. It peaked in its temperature in about 1968.

    But even then its hard to know what that means. Is this when the summer high peaked? Or is this a true average for the whole continent? Or just for the Russian site at Vostok?

    These buggers will seldom explain the data.

    Fatty-Lambert showed up and said that it is hard to get a world average temperature.”But its not that hard” he said. But then he wouldn’t hang around to say how it could possibly be done before satelite.

    This is about the most difficult and frustrating issue to investigate. Since the whole of the internet has been polluted by the alarmists. And you cannot get the figures you want very easily.

    Given any two years where none of them are 1998 I would find it difficult to figure out if things have warmed or cooled between those dates. You try it some time. Because its hard to know whether they’ve factored out the heat island effect or if they are including Antarctica.

    If we take the years 1998-2006 we have had global cooling.

    Global warming could well be yesterdays news.



    November 18, 2006 at 8:14 pm

  21. Not in a blogging form today SL. Was up drinking in bars till way way past midnight last night with pleasant company, took in just about every alcoholic drink but beer. And ended up waking up prematurely at 830 am as one does with dehydration. I’ve been catching naps through the day in between chores and dinner since then.

    Jason Soon

    November 18, 2006 at 8:51 pm

  22. Nick Gruen has an interesting assessment of Friedman some of which I agree with and some of which I don’t.

    Friedman didn’t have the brilliance of Samuelson, Arrow, Solow or later on people like Gary Becker. None of his achievements involved a high degree of technique and Hayek was a much more creative and profound political thinker.

    I agree with Andrew Leigh that another weakness of Friedman’s thinking was that he didn’t ‘do nuance’ as they say these days. I remember thinking this when I saw him debate economists in the mid 70s in Australia about inflation. I distinctly recall people trying to pin him down about cost push inflation and the various dilemmas it involved for policy – he just redefined their problem as a demand pull one driven by too much money chasing too few goods. It’s not that that wasn’t a point worth making – at root there was something to his argument. But it really came across as a very disciplined debating style, but not a very helpful way of engaging with intelligent people with different views to your own.

    The two things I admire most about Friedman are both related to these limitations mentioned above. He kept things pretty simple. That meant that

    1. He came up with and popularised lots of simple ‘thought experiments’ which later found their way into policy – HECS style income contingent loans, congestion taxes, vouchers.
    2. He regarded himself as methodologically in the spirit of the line of the discipline which went from Marshall through Keynes (yes Keynes) to himself. He regarded Keynes as a great economist and was very sympathetic to his method even if he disagreed with Keynes’ conclusions. He never bought into the over mathematisation of the discipline – and was into relatively simple stories and stylised facts doggedly dragged out of the data. That helped him play the little boy pointing out that the emperor had no clothes when his work with Phelps put the skewer through the vulgar Keynesianism that held that there was a stable tradeoff between inflation and unemployment. As Friedman and Phelps argued – the phenomenon couldn’t be understood without understanding expectations in the economy.

    Jason Soon

    November 18, 2006 at 8:53 pm

  23. I didn’t know where you were Jason so I did the YouTube post as well – sorry about that. I think it works okay, although when I go over the fold it spreads Catallaxy across my 23 inch cinema screen, which looks nice but feels strange. Hope it’s not doing this to anyone else. Mind you I wrote the code manually so it may be my fault.

    Too much alcohol like that can do disturbing things to you – just ask Mark about Glenfiddich!


    November 18, 2006 at 9:05 pm

  24. Isn’t Gruen such an idiot.

    “Friedman didn’t have the brilliance of Samuelson….”

    What stupidity. Its starts there and it doesn’t get any better. He then shows his total economic ignorance as regards to cost-push inflation.

    What a moron.


    November 18, 2006 at 9:17 pm

  25. Look at this nonsense. The silliness just never ends.

    Here is science daily:

    They are saying that the cooling of the oceans since 2003 is a sign of a global warming speed-bump.

    If things cool thats global warming. If they warm….. well thats global warming too.

    The oceans can store the extra energy for longer then the air. So the cooling of the oceans is more significant then what is happening in the air.

    In any case Science daily is getting their information from Nasa.

    Nasa, or at least some individual on their website, is also claiming that 2005 under some estimates is the warmest year on record. Warmer then 1998.

    But are they including the oceans and Antarctica when they say this? Or when someone who works there claims this not linking the data?

    Well who knows.

    Because nobody spells these things out.

    Its just a nightmare navigating around the internet on this subject.


    November 18, 2006 at 10:32 pm

  26. The Glenfiddich is yesterday’s news, SL.

    Tonight was the Craggenmore.

    Mark Bahnisch

    November 19, 2006 at 2:44 am

  27. I have never understood why mob violence is called ‘peaceful’ protest. i have always thought that a picket is in and of itself an act of violence – preventing someone from going about their lawful business is an at of violence that should be suppressed by the state. Law and order is one of the two legitimate functions of the state and they can’t get that done.

    Once again, the Victorian police have shown themselves to be wholly inadequate. Police Commissioner Nixon in the SMH,

    “They were part of a protest group who came here intending to be violent and that certainly was the case.”

    So, have they been arrested?

    Police preventing trespass were attacked

    But at one stage a group of protesters mounted a surprise attack on a handful of officers guarding the entry to Flinders Lane, which runs behind the hotel.
    Nine officers, severely outnumbered, took shelter behind a police van as they waited for back-up.
    Protesters pelted the van with bottles and metal street signs and smashed the window of a police car. About 60 police eventually scattered the crowd by charging them with batons.

    There is a poor culture and mind set at the Victorian Police. Their motto is ‘Uphold the right’, it should be ‘enforce the law’. Mind you, if any of these anarchicist hooligans speed on their way from the airport, they will be fined, as Nixon says ’60 means 60′ (and quite right – I have little sympathy for people caught speeding), but Nixon should also be saying ‘public violence means jail’.

    Sinclair Davidson

    November 19, 2006 at 8:08 am

  28. I am still waiting for all those idiots pillorying Friedman for advising Pinochet on how to bring down inflation in Chile to also attack Friedman for advising the People’s Republic of China.

    Questions for these Allende-loving arse-lickers
    1) Are they racists?
    2) Are people living under a military dictatoship better off living under high inflation than under low inflation? If there was an AIDS plague in Chile would a doctor flown in to advice Pinochet on how to reduce the incidence of AIDS also be morally culpable for Pinochet’s dictatorship?
    3) If a doctor under my hypothetical subsequently praised Chile as a ‘public health miracle’ for bringing down AIDS infection rates, is he also praising the military dictatorship and everything it does? Oh wait a minute, these same people loooove Cuba because it has so many doctors.

    Jason Soon

    November 19, 2006 at 8:37 am

  29. They are racists.

    I once told a colleague that his failure to condemn the PR China for human rights abuses (while condeming others such as Pinochet) was a form of racism because he obviously had lower expectation of good behaviour of their part. A couple of days later he came back to me and admitted to thnking deeply on the issue and concluding that it wasn’t racism, but realpolitic – the future belongs to China, I was told, and we should appease them now.

    Sinclair Davidson

    November 19, 2006 at 9:19 am

  30. Oh dear …
    Abiola Lapite has run into some problems with Google Ads .

    Jason Soon

    November 19, 2006 at 1:29 pm

  31. The Milton Friedman Choir.


    November 19, 2006 at 1:39 pm

  32. Crikey! After System Of A Down and Meatloaf in the same thread there is only one possible response…;-)

    Live at the invention of crowdsurfing.

    Daniel Barnes

    November 19, 2006 at 2:20 pm

  33. If I hadn’t YouTubed already, I’d have stuck that choir up. Even if they’re taking the piss, they’re bloody good.


    November 19, 2006 at 2:28 pm

  34. anyone who calls any of the Gruen clan an idiot is an idiot!

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    November 19, 2006 at 4:38 pm

  35. Helen, buddy, kinda hanging out for the 3rd installment. Just saying.

    Sinclair Davidson

    November 19, 2006 at 6:04 pm

  36. Jason and others: what’s the libertarian ruling on this development?


    November 19, 2006 at 8:13 pm

  37. Sorry Sinc, I’ll do it now. Because I don’t have an electronic version, it has to be retyped.


    November 19, 2006 at 8:45 pm

  38. I for one am prepared to condemn it, Amir just as I condemn the French ban on the hijab in public schools. Private establishments can demand whatever dress code they want. But if we’re going to ban people from wearing the hijab in public streets then that’s a slippery slope. if it’s not a slippery slope it’s still a ban that unequally targets one particular group.

    This is more so on the basis on which the law has been made i.e. ‘was important that all people in the Netherlands were able to see and identify each other clearly to promote integration and tolerance.’ I am disturbed by the sight of the burqa in Australia but so am I by the sight of someone wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt but there is no basis for banning either kind of clothing. Glorifying a mass murderer like Che Guevara is more disturbing to tolerance than wearing a burqa which may simply signify a quietist fundamentalist Islam but neither should be banned on that basis.

    Jason Soon

    November 19, 2006 at 8:48 pm

  39. Thanks, Jason. The reason I asked is because of this thread at Samizdata. I am interested in knowing what people here thought because the impression I got from that post was that libertarians or libertarian-sympathetic people seem to be split on the issue.


    November 19, 2006 at 9:18 pm

  40. I don’t see how you can enforce it, frankly. Although on reflection people get arrested for streaking at the cricket or down Pitt St.

    I think people need to be identifiable when they go into banks (my brother has to remove his motorcycle helmet) and on ID cards, and if they’re going into a venue where some measure of security is in place, then off it comes – at least temporarily – or you can’t be identified.

    However, if someone wants to walk down to their local dressed like that, it’s none of my business. Although when I see the black outfits that look vaguely ninja-ish, I do stare.


    November 19, 2006 at 9:57 pm

  41. Even the strict interpretations of Islam law that consider such dress mandatory all accept that she should remove her veil when entering into contracts, appearing in court, or when there are genuine security reasons to do so.


    November 19, 2006 at 10:05 pm

  42. Telling people what to wear is the thin edge of the wedge, Amir. Even the ‘corporate uniform’ that forces men to wear suits and ties and women to wear stockings (especially in Qld) is oppressive and I’m glad it’s changing – people should wear more sensible clothes for the climate.

    I don’t like turning up to work looking like a goth, but that’s the legal profession for you. I notice a lot of barristers wear very light clothes underneath – collarless shirts or even t-shirts – because it’s simply too hot otherwise. In that sense, the ‘legal uniform’ allows you a bit more freedom.

    I’m also just thinking that it’d be easy for a Muslim woman to work as a lawyer – there’s not much difference between a barrister’s get-up and hijab, and once the wig’s on, your head is covered as well.


    November 19, 2006 at 10:16 pm

  43. When I lived in a 50s Brisbane highrise, some older residents wanted to impose dress standards on the younger folk. I kinda liked that because I fondly imagined we would ALL be wearing smart 50s outfits like the pix in the foyer from when it was built.

    That fantasy was not to be, nor could we stop the older men from wearing those damn brown polyester slacks they seemed so fond of.


    November 19, 2006 at 10:32 pm

  44. This french law about hijabs, like Saudi Arabia they will have to have dress police wandering around whacking those who dont comply with the States/Religion dress codes. Just how far has this revolution come, I ask you.


    November 19, 2006 at 10:41 pm

  45. One of the most terrific interviews I have read in the while. You guessed it, it’s about central banking but this time with three greats talking.

    Yes, Milt is one of them.


    November 20, 2006 at 3:38 pm

  46. Milton Friedman is a Nobel Prize–winning economist. His monetarist ideas—in particular, the belief that price inflation is caused by increases in the money supply—have been a major influence on Fed policy since the Volcker era.

    Rep. Ron Paul is a libertarian Republican representing the 14th District of Texas. His 10 years on the House Financial Services Committee have involved a fair amount of sparring with Federal Reserve chiefs, and he fears Green¬span has led us to the edge of an economic precipice.

    James Grant is a columnist for Forbes and the editor (since 1983) of the financial advice newsletter Grant’s Interest Rate Observer. He frequently warns his readers of the looming ill effects of Fed policy.

    Bryan Caplan, an associate professor of economics at George Mason University, was a student of Bernanke’s at Princeton. He is impressed with the new chairman’s intelligence and acumen.

    Jeff Saut is chief investment strategist for the investment firm Raymond James Financial. He fears that Greenspan’s seemingly excellent record built hazards into the economy of which investors need to be wary.


    November 20, 2006 at 3:40 pm

  47. What is very dissapointing is that Steve Edney has participated in this hateful anti-Australian behaviour.

    Edney get your ass here and explain yourself.

    Ok, I’ve been away for a long weekend so I haven’t had a chance to answer the charges.

    As I see it the situations is: CO2 and others gases cause warming. It’s well established it absorbs infrared, and so we know, not from computer models, so from fairly straight forward theories that increasing CO2 will have a tendency to warm. So as far as this goes the only real argument is the degree and speed of warming. I don’t think you have significant disagreement with me here.

    To get the degree and speed we must build models to try and measure how the various coupled effects will interact. I realise that there is a lot of uncertainty here in the modelling, however we must regard the models as our best guess of likely outcomes.

    The main point of what you disagree with me on is reagarding what the effect of warming will be.

    Clearly the degree and speed of warming are going to be crucial to determining whether it is catastrophic or not. My view is that there will be winners and losers from warming, but the losers will outnumber and outsize the winners based on the fact that human habitation and infrastructure is built around current climate, if that shifts and now we have, says, productive fields in Siberia, in exchange for deserts in australia, then this will be a net loss of wealth as the farmers with expertise, equipment and not to mention all the other development of their land are all going to be in Australia. On the other hand, people in Siberia are going to be sitting on productive but undeveloped land without the experience etc to farm it. I can only see this sort of shift to be negative to overall wealth in all but the long term, ie 100’s of years.

    More generally, stable conditions whether climatic or political are good for economic development, instability isn’t. Makes people uncertain and less likely to invest and conduct business.

    So finally given I’m fairly convinced that warming is likely, and detrimental to both Australian and global wealth I will continue to advocate what I think is the best solution to reducing the problem – putting some sort of price on carbon emissions.

    What I do reject, is that it is “Anti-Australian”. I accept some possibility that the problem is overblown, but think the risk that it isn’t is worht insuring against anyway. This is pro-Australian.

    Steve Edney

    November 20, 2006 at 6:48 pm

  48. Looks like you’ve lost your Knighthood, Edney …

    It was always a risk having bird waving that sword near my head.

    Steve Edney

    November 20, 2006 at 6:49 pm

  49. big problem is JC monetarism has no clothes.

    They assumed Velocity and GDP were constant hence money supply always increased prices.

    Even when one could actually get down and define money it was never so.

    His other big ideas were much better.

    I always found it amusing that he and Galbraith were great mates.
    That that is something that could be used as a benchmark in the blogosphere

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    November 20, 2006 at 6:57 pm

  50. “To get the degree and speed we must build models to try and measure how the various coupled effects will interact. I realise that there is a lot of uncertainty here in the modelling, however we must regard the models as our best guess of likely outcomes.”

    It was right here that you lost me.

    Not the ones that don’t back-test fella.

    Try again.


    November 20, 2006 at 7:34 pm

  51. Well the average temperature goes up and down right?

    So I’m convinced there will be warming and I’m convinced there will be cooling also right?

    So it matters a little bit whether this planet is hard-wired for catastrophic warming or if it is hard-wired for catastrophic cooling….. SURELY!

    And it also matters exactly what time scales you are talking about.

    Now as it turns out this planet is hard-wired for catastrophic cooling and not for catastrophic warming.

    Lets make a bit of a time-scale to attach to your Soothsaying.

    Do you believe that the year 2050 will have a higher average temperature then this, the year 2006 of our Lord?

    Well if you think so why?

    Why would you think such a thing?

    This is not actually a very difficult POLICY issue when all is said and done.

    I mean if people were reasonable about it and their starting point was the fact that we were in an ice age.


    November 20, 2006 at 7:40 pm

  52. Edney — I pretty much agree with everything except your conclusion. Even if there is a problem, that doesn’t mean the government can necessarily fix it.

    The Stern report was a very poor effort at comparing benefits and costs. Luckily there are several other more robust reports available and they tend to show that government action creates more costs than it fixes.

    Personally, I am not worried about any catastrphic outcome. While I agree that significant warming would bring net costs, moderate warming could well be break-even. Even according to the consensus position we have 100 years until we start reaching the danger points of around 3 degrees and by then I fully expect technology to have made this a moot point.

    Future generations will look back on us the same way we look back on Malthus. They will try to learn lessons about not being too alarmist, but then I fully expect future generations to fall for the next big fear campaign. Unfortunately, fear works.

    John Humphreys

    November 20, 2006 at 8:57 pm

  53. And of course, there are several reasons to still be skeptical about the modelling outcomes. While the consensus view is right on the basic issues (co2 up, temps up, co2-temps linked) there remains disagreement on what exactly has happened in the past and what exactly will happen in the future.

    If the sensitivity of temperature to energy is less than expected then we could be looking at a maximum temp increase of about 1.5%, which is well within our range to easily adjust… and may even provide a net benefit. That’s not a danger change.

    And then there is the possibility of a weak solar cycle as Graeme has previously talked about. I’m not convinced on this issue, but it is possible and just another of the little “maybes” that we need to be aware of when talking about the climate future.

    John Humphreys

    November 20, 2006 at 9:02 pm

  54. the most plausible explanation is changes in solar radiation cause climate change on earth:


    historical data shows temp changes precede CO2 changes. explanation, globe warms up because of solar radiation, more vegetation because its warmer, (tropics have more trees than antarctica), more CO2 in atmosphere because of more vegetation.

    temperature changes don’t run away and have been cyclical over earths history. why don’t we just keep heating up and up as CO2 rises and more CO2 gets pumped into the air, what causes the reversal – probably a solar cycle.

    finally, CO2 is a weak greenhouse gas, and concentration has only changed from 280 parts per million to 320 parts per million – doesn’t sound alarming (has anyone done experiment on how much this change would actually cause – ie not a model but a real experiment)


    November 21, 2006 at 9:02 am

  55. Thats the thing. There have been times when the CO2 has been high. But the alarmists aren’t using that.

    Its not a case of people being skeptical of modelling Humphreys.

    The typical models are just so full of shit they don’t get to first base in the Soothsayers club.

    But it looks like its going to be a cold mid-century.

    And I only need an eMac to tell you that.


    November 22, 2006 at 7:10 am

  56. The sane Lefties at LP just had some nutter pop into their comments thread – this is a classic so I’m reproducing it for everyone’s entertainment

    Someone not involved with G20 on 22 November 2006 at 7:21 pm
    Considering the high level of discussion on this post – I thought you might like to consider this in your arguments.

    A first communique from two uncitizens of Arterial Bloc
    Gertrude and Fuchsia
    November 22, 2006

    There have been many calls for Arterial Bloc to come forward and ‘justify’ their tactics during the G20 protests. The following statement is not a justification of specific actions; it is an exploration of politics. This statement has not been written for or on behalf of the Bloc; it has been written from within the Bloc. None of us can be leaders or spokespeople for each other.

    We apologise for the delay. We were not able to head straight from the streets to the Internet. We have been dealing with the consequences of achieving more than perhaps we thought we would, and the aftermath of repression. We have been caring for each other, talking to each other, trying to find out what happened to those arrested and injured; remembering to breathe and sleep and eat.

    The demonising [”Crazies! Foreign crazies!”] of Arterial Bloc by other sections of the Left (a demonising that only seems to have escalated in the last few days) has been cowardly, hysterical and, in the deepest sense, uncomradely. A willing eagerness to blame violence on “interstate” or “foreign” agitators is both false and xenophobic. Why must the militant protestor always be an other, both geographically and philosophically distanced from us? Why should struggle respect national or state borders? There has been a belief expressed not only by the corporate media but also by the Left that such actions as occurred at the G20 could not and should not be possible here in Australia. By extension, those involved are not “genuine” protestors but false provocateurs; or, if those involved were indeed “local”, their protest was immature and apolitical.

    We did not come out of nowhere and we are not strangers. We do not have “contempt” for “ordinary protesters”; we are ordinary protesters. What was Arterial Bloc? It was a call-out, a costume, and an attempt at internal democracy and communication. It was joined and accompanied on the day by many people who chose, for that time, to work together. Arterial Bloc is not an organization or a party; it is not a homogenous group or a faceless, rootless mob. We are female, male and in between; workers, unemployed, students, union members. We have been on union picket lines; we have created squatted social centres; we have blockaded in forests and cities; we have cooked and distributed free meals; we have leafleted, rallied, called meetings; we have lived together and apart, and tried to love each other. We are ordinary: as scared and as alienated as everybody else. We do not have magical solutions; we have desire that will not be governed.

    The fear displayed towards members of the Bloc seems grounded largely in the Bloc’s tactics of masking and disguise. Most criticism of the tactic centres on the idea that “disguise” is somehow sinister; that it leaves the movement open to infiltration by police and/or fascists, and that not knowing or not recognising fellow protestors is a bad thing.

    Unpacking the semiotics of disguise is complicated. What follows is an attempt to do so.

    Firstly, some history. Contrary to general belief, the G20 protests are not the first time that a “disguised” Bloc has appeared at an Australian protest. Orange Bloc pursued a similar tactic at the 2003 WTO protests in Homebush and the Sydney CBD; orange boilersuits and bandanas were chosen for their visual resonance with the “war on terror” and the ensuing “state of emergency” across the globe, a state of emergency which, as Walter Benjamin once noted, is not an exception but the rule.

    White overalls also have a particular historical resonance within the contemporary anti-capitalist movement, having been for many years the disguise of choice for the Tute Bianche, an autonomist group of largely Italian origin who began organising in 1994. Now is not the time or place for an extended discussion of the Tute Bianche, but a decent quote from one of their many documents (freely available on the internet) may help to illuminate the political arguments in favour of disguise:

    The white overalls are not a movement, they are a tool which was devised in the context of a broader movement (the social centers of the Charta of Milan) and made available to an even broader movement (the global one). Nowadays the white overalls exist in many countries. The white overalls are neither an institution nor a political current, nor are they to be strictly identified with Ya Basta! or the social centers of North-East Italy […]

    One of our soundbites is: “We’re wearing the white overall so that other people wear it. We’re wearing the white overall so that we can take it off someday”.

    The white overall is not a “uniform” […] It hasn’t got militaristic origins. Back in Autumn 1994 the Mayor of Milan evicted the Leoncavallo squatted centre and stated: “Squatters are nothing other than ghosts now!” His description was accepted ironically, and thousands of people dressed in white stormed the streets of the city and rioted for hour. That was the real debut of the white overalls […]

    After that debut, the imagery of the white overall was enriched by ironic references to the “blue overalls”: nowadays labour has changed […] “flexibility”, part-time and precarious jobs have made exploitation less visible, there’s a new “ghostly” working class.

    A white overall or similar disguise is a refusal to claim a space of “citizenship”, as the original Arterial Bloc call out (widely distributed) makes clear. Contemporary capitalism makes ghosts of us all, because it leeches us of our own precious and unique desires – and the embodiment of those desires – in favour of a homogenous “discipline” and “order”. We cease to be human beings; we are mere machinery and leftovers. For those of us who are ostensibly “free” there is the discipline of the workplace; of welfare, police and state surveillance (one must be the “grateful” and “well behaved” poor or be nothing); of educational institutions; and not least the discipline of the average protest. For those who face the brunt of state repression, there is the detention centre, the jail, the ghost prison of an unknown country. These forms of repression and enclosure are all connected: in solidarity with those who are refused citizenship and freedom of movement we also refuse citizenship; as a rebuttal to the fact that we are targeted and profiled on an everyday basis for visible difference – ethnicity, poverty and class, gender and sexuality – we choose to disguise that visibility. We will not “stand up and be counted” as citizens within this false democracy. Capitalism haunts us, and it makes us haunted; we will haunt it.

    Socialist Alternative (among others) has claimed that the tactic of disguise “can only be justified in situations of extreme state repression”, and that until such time, we must continue to be “ordinary”. The basic fact is that over the past five years, the “war on terror” has been used as the overarching excuse for extreme state repression, both in Australia and elsewhere. “Ordinary” people have been raided, beaten, locked up, charged with crimes that they never committed; it is time for us to stop claiming the space of “ordinary” and “innocent” as a space of safety. If those of us who attend rallies and public protests are only doing so “on behalf” of those who have been denied the presumption of innocence, what power and privileges are we thereby claiming for ourselves? If we as protestors are always “innocent”, who is “guilty”: rioters in Redfern, Iraqi insurgents, Guantanamo prisoners, Tongan youth?

    Capitalism does not tolerate serious, revolutionary dissent; it never has and it never will. The state will do everything in its power to crush revolutionary movements, and it will not care to distinguish between the “innocent” and the “guilty”, between the “good” and the “bad” protestor. Are we revolutionaries, or not? If we are, then we are already enemies of the state. Let us not be afraid of being called so.

    “The same people who are murdered slowly in the mechanized slaughterhouses of work are also arguing, singing, drinking, dancing, making love, holding the streets, picking up weapons and inventing a new poetry.” (Raoul Vaneigem)

    We reclaim the radical ordinary. We do not feel the need to pitch a “central message” through the filter of the corporate media to the mythical “ordinary person” who, apparently, can only comprehend or sympathise with managed dissent.

    A false dichotomy is set up between the role of the “disciplined”, politically mature protestor and the inarticulate other. The other is positioned as a person or a group too worn out by oppression to resist tactically. This other is protested for, or on behalf of, but we must never indulge in their tactics. Both property damage and any spontaneous, emotional embodiment of resistance are seen as apolitical, as reactions to be left (pun intended) behind as we attain proper political maturity. “Oppressed others” (in Redfern, Macquarie Fields, Palm Island, Lakemba) who are perhaps never expected by those who call for disciplined protest to reach the requisite levels of political maturity have been rhetorically defended for their “justified” anger. But those who set Macquarie Fields on fire are never presumed to be part of a mass resistance to capitalism; and those who are presumed to be a part of “the movement” are therefore seen as outside of the system that produces such anger.

    Property damage can be tactical, and as a tactic it has a long history. As peasant saboteurs and early industrial workers made clear, property damage was a direct disruption of capitalism’s machinery, and of its discipline of lives and bodies in the workplace:

    I am not going to attempt to justify sabotage on any moral ground. If the workers consider that sabotage is necessary, that in itself makes sabotage moral. Its necessity is its excuse for existence. And for us to discuss the morality of sabotage would be as absurd as to discuss the morality of the strike or the morality of the class struggle itself. In order to understand sabotage or to accept it at all it is necessary to accept the concept of class struggle. If you believe that between the workers on the one side and their employers on the other there is peace, there is harmony such as exists between brothers, and that consequently whatever strikes and lockouts occur are simply family squabbles; if you believe that a point can be reached whereby the employer can get enough and the worker can get enough, a point of amicable adjustment of industrial warfare and economic distribution, then there is no justification and no explanation of sabotage intelligible to you. — Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (Sabotage, Cleveland, Ohio, 1916)
    Almost 100 years later, sabotage and property damage can still be used to disrupt the efficient functioning and discipline of capitalism, not only in the workplace, but in each area of our lives where this discipline has reach, which is to say, all of our lives, every day. The machinery of war and of welfare; the militarisation of public space and the containment of protest within sanctioned zones – all these things need to be dismantled. When barricades are destroyed, streets are opened.

    Beyond tactics and planning is the exhilaration of embodying refusal – even if only for a moment, and these moments are not without politics. Why should politics and protest be disciplined spaces, spaces without emotion and desire? To be caught up in the moment, in a collective energy, is a rare rupture of the alienation, isolation and powerlessness of our everyday lives. These moments show us what we are capable of; but we are capable of much more. We must preserve a movement of resistance to capitalism that is made up of many different acts of refusal and creation. However, we genuinely fail to understand how anyone who calls herself a revolutionary can fail to find at least some beauty in the sight of a smashed police van.

    We can and will discuss tactics and their consequences; a more detailed response to specific events during the G20 protests is being prepared.

    With love and solidarity,

    From two people who will be known as Gertrude and Fuchsia.

    Jason Soon

    November 22, 2006 at 10:35 pm

  57. Wow.

    Now I know where the Baader Meinhof got their ideas. Whatever they’re smoking, it’s bloody strong stuff.


    November 22, 2006 at 10:43 pm

  58. When I lived in a 50s Brisbane highrise, some older residents wanted to impose dress standards on the younger folk. I kinda liked that because I fondly imagined we would ALL be wearing smart 50s outfits like the pix in the foyer from when it was built.

    Torbreck, I’m guessing, Angharad?

    I used to live just down the hill.

    Mark Bahnisch

    November 22, 2006 at 11:08 pm

  59. This is probably old news for you guys, but what with server brownouts and all, you might have missed it. Or I might have missed you getting it. A classic nonetheless.

    [audio src="" /]

    Daniel Barnes

    November 23, 2006 at 8:11 pm

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