It hits you in the face and clings to you. It makes tall buildings whine as their air conditioning plants struggle to cope. It makes the streets deserted and the ice-cold salons of corner pubs get crowded with people who don’t like beer. It is the Aussie heatwave: and it is no joke.
Temperatures in the western suburbs of Sydney, far from the upmarket beachside glamour, reached 47C (117F) last week, topping the 44C I experienced there the week before. For reference, if it reached 47C in the middle of the Sahara desert, that would be an unusually hot day.
For Sydney, 2017 was the hottest January on record. This after 2016 was declared the world’s hottest year on record. Climate change, even in some developed societies, is becoming climate disruption – and according to a UN report, one of the biggest disruptions may only now be getting under way.
Compare all this – the science, the modelling, the economic foresight and the attempt to design multilateral blueprint – with the actions of the jackass who runs Australia’s finance ministry.
Scott Morrison barged into the parliament chamber to wave a lump of coal at the Labor and Green opposition benches, taunting them: “Don’t be afraid, don’t be scared. It’s coal. It was dug up by men and women who work in the electorate of those who sit opposite.” Coal, argues the Australian conservative government, has given the economy “competitive energy advantage for more than 100 years”. Labor and the Greens had called, after the Paris climate accord, for an orderly shutdown of the coal-fired power stations that produce 60% of the country’s energy.
The Aussie culture war over coal is being fuelled by the resurgence of the white-supremacist One Nation party, led by Pauline Hanson, which is pressuring mainstream conservatives to drop commitments to the Paris accord and, instead, launch a “royal commission into the corruption of climate science”, which its members believe is a money-making scam.
All over the world, know-nothing xenophobes are claiming – without evidence – that climate science is rigged. Their goal is to defend coal-burning energy, promote fracking, suppress the development of renewable energies and shatter the multilateral Paris agreement of 2015.
Opposition to climate science has become not just the badge of honour for far-right politicians like Ukip’s Paul Nuttall. It has become the central tenet of their appeal to unreason.
Funding the industry campaign from money that otherwise would have been paid to state governments as mining royalties has outraged the Federal Opposition and the coal industry's critics.
"It is a huge shame that Coal21 funding, which was mean to go into genuine CCS research, is now being used to finance advertising and political campaigns," Labor's environment spokesman Mark Butler said.
Australia Institute chief economist Richard Denniss said it was "scandalous".
"Every dollar spent on advertising as part of the coal industry campaign was a dollar that should have gone into consolidated revenue," he said.
"Citizens funded a propaganda campaign with money that would otherwise have gone into public revenue to fund schools and hospitals."
NSW Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said it was "an outrage that royalties that should have gone to funding police, schools and hospitals had instead gone into propping up the clean coal myth and the PR campaign of a dying industry".
A dying industry? Never, unless we kill it like the half-brother of that dictator in North Korea!... I've see lively eels in the Centennial "Parklands" ponds wriggle far less than the coal industry which has been well subsidised by successive governments worldwide — not unlike the new arrivals of immigrants on a sunny day throw bits of bread and mince meat at the murky waters...
As it is to many of us on the left, it is obvious to me that Trump is the most dangerous, unqualified, and reckless US President I have ever seen—much less imagined. And while it seems as if he will soon enough seize some opportunity to declare a national security disaster granting himself new unlimited powers, I know no reason to trust the CIA and other intelligence agencies any more than we trust Trump.
This attack on the Executive Branch is like nothing we’ve ever seen before. The most historically interesting element of this moment is the rarity of seeing the CIA operating, in real time, not in its usual historical role as a covert arm of the presidency (which Congressman Otis Pike argued was its primary function), but as the sort of rogue elephant that Senator Frank Church and others long ago claimed it is. As members of the Republic, no matter what momentary joy we might feel watching this rogue elephant canter towards our incompetent Commander and Chief, we must not ignore the danger this beast presents to one and all.
We should welcome calls to investigate Trump, Flynn, Bannon, Pence and others within the administration, but we need to also investigate and monitor the CIA for this latest in its long history of attempted coups.
by BRUCE E. LEVINE
“Humiliation porn” is much about transforming the shame and pain of victimization and powerlessness into some kind of sexual pleasure. If mainstream institutions ignore a large number of people who feel powerless, victimized and angry, that’s easy pickings for a demagogue, who knows that a politician’s campaign promises may not hook a distrusting crowd but that providing them with pleasure—humiliation porn—is enticing and addicting.
We can thank mainstream American institutions—including the Democratic and Republican Parties and the mainstream media—for creating conditions that gave rise to Donald Trump, now the Humiliator-in-Chief. And we can thank the Donald for pissing on all taboos around offensiveness, resulting in reciprocal nastiness and the normalization of psychologically violent discourse. Before getting to the blowback to Trump, a few examples from the Trump humiliation porn collection.
One of the Trump faithful’s favorite “cum shots” is the humiliation of Mitt Romney, who had insulted Trump in the 2016 campaign but who naively believed that he was still seriously being considered for Secretary of State. If you had talked with Trump guys or had listened to their Alex Jones show, you’d know that Trump’s post-election maneuvering with Romney got these guys excited, as they fantasized about what was coming. They were ecstatic when, immediately after Trump instead selected Rex Tillerson, Trump advisor Roger Stone gloatingly told Alex Jones about Trump’s “torturing,” “toying” and “diddling” of Romney. For the Alex Jones brigade, Trump’s humiliation of Romney was his gift to them, providing his faithful with fantasy, orgasm and ejaculation.
At Trump campaign rallies, the cry of “lock her up” drove his faithful into a frenzy, as they visualized Hillary Clinton in prison being humiliated in all kinds of ways. Trump supporters don’t seem to hold it against Trump for his post-election reneging on prosecuting Clinton; as they remain appreciative for Trump providing them with that prison-porn fantasy image.
And then there is the Trump declaration, “I’ll build a wall, and Mexico will pay for it,” which brought the house down at Trump rallies. The first part, “I’ll build a wall,” is pleasurable to this disempowered group as it conjures up an image of a strongman protecting them and jobs, but it creates tension as Trump loyalists hate government spending their money for a wall. And so when Trump completes the phrase with “. . . and Mexico will pay for it,” this is orgasmic delight—tension resolved through humiliating a brown-skinned nation. (To be historically fair to Trump, American politicians have a long history of getting mileage from not only trying to humiliate Mexico but by stealing large parts of it.)
One reason that mainstream Democrats and Republicans were blind to the magnitude of Trump’s attraction is that part of being mainstream involves a denial and repression of raw emotions, including rage and humiliation over powerlessness. Thus, the mainstream view was: It’s crazy to think that Trump, with his never-ending spewing of politically-incorrect insults, could win the Republican nomination, and certifiably insane to believe that he could win the presidential election.
Yet in 2016, most Americans—as evidenced by the rise of both Trump and Bernie Sanders—were feeling powerless, victimized, and angry. Despising Hillary Clinton and the Democratic/Republican establishment was a sentiment shared by both Trump and Sanders supporters. However, beyond the policy differences between Trump and Sanders, the glaring emotional difference was that Sanders didn’t move into humiliation porn, which would not have attracted mainstream Democrats whom Sanders needed to win the nomination. But for the lucky Trump, there were few mainstream Republican voters remaining, and that’s why he gained steam each time he humiliated a mainstream Republican politician from “Little Marco” to “Lying Ted.”
To the dismay of Trump haters, they discovered that facts, reason and fear failed to stop Trump. And so now, anti-Trump forces have fully embraced psychological violence. Some of their efforts, I suspect, will be impotent but some of their violent efforts might well be quite effective.
This explains the centrepiece of a full-blown New York Post where covers are often "sexy", "trumped up" and "simple" enough to transmit a short sub-message without any intellectual rigour nor the extruded ethical philosophy demanded by the truth. This also explain where the liberal media gets it wrong — by developing VERY long winded messages with tons of wordy intellectual roundabouts and no specific ethical philosophy demanded by the truth. The NYP images speak a million words. The others? No one can read more than 140 characters any more.
...and god bless YameriKa...
See toon at top...
From Chris Floyd
We all have our private madnessI'm no exception to the ruleI know those waves of inner tormentSo all-consuming and so cruel
listen to more:
see toon at top
Humanity’s trash has near-universal dominion in the ocean. It swirls in the waves in immense “garbage patches,” drifts downward where it’s eaten by whales and turtles, and lands on the deepest sea floor to make it look like a landfill exploded on the moon.
Even the places one might assume are pristine, such as the ice-covered Arctic Ocean, are littered with the detritus of human activity, as proven by the growth of a sixth garbage patch in the freezing Barents Sea. The latest evidence of worldwide junk infiltration comes from an observatory west of the Norwegian archipelago Svalbard, called HAUSGARTEN, where scientists have constructed a multiyear log of marine debris. In this remote location, more and more litter is appearing on the seabed—almost double the amount was found at one monitoring station in 2011 compared to 2002, they write in Deep Sea Research Part 1. Not only that, but it’s appearing in greater concentrations to the north, possibly due to climate change.
read from top
WHILE DEBATE over the merits of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act continues to rage, new research shows that an overwhelming majority of Australians support legislation that prevents insults on the basis of race, culture or religion.
We found that just 10% of Australians believe people should have the freedom to “insult” and “offend” people on the basis of race, culture or religion. Over 75% are opposed. The poll, conducted by Essential Research for the Cyber Racism and Community Resilience (CRaCR) and our other Challenging Racismresearch projects, undermines other claims that nearly 50% of Australians want the key words removed from Section 18C.
A Parliamentary Inquiry into 18C is moving towards its climax, with the committee due to report by February 28. It has been a mammoth task for the committee members, with thousands of submissions and dozens of witnesses.
Section 18C makes it unlawful to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate someone on the basis of race and culture. It has been under attack from conservative commentators and politicians after News Ltd columnist Andrew Bolt was found to have breached 18C without an acceptable defence under the related Section 18D.
In the 2013 election, then prime minister Tony Abbott pledged to get rid of the section. Attorney-General George Brandis attempted to do this in 2014. A strong push-back by community groups forced Abbott to abandon the changes.
Cartoonists should still have the DUTY to insult politicians...
Malcolm Turnbull has hit back at suggestions that his house’s large personal rooftop solar and battery system sends a message contrary to the government’s endorsement of “clean coal”.
He rejected the idea that he had ever been critical of the renewables sector and dismissed his treasurer’s brandishing of a lump of coal in question time as “theatrics”.
“It’s not a question of beliefs, saying ‘Do you believe in renewables?’,” the prime minister said.
“It’s like saying ‘Do you believe in tables?’ Renewables are there, they are doing well, they have got certain characteristics and you have to design your grid to take account of that.”
Here once more, the PM is loading the discussion with poison. The point is that there NO NEED TO BUILD MORE COAL POWER STATION. The second point is that "clean" coal is a con at this stage and the most expensive way by far to cook your dinner tonight. Coal has been subsidised worlwide for too long. Asked the IMF about it:
Fossil fuel companies are benefitting from global subsidies of $5.3tn (£3.4tn) a year, equivalent to $10m a minute every day, according to a startling new estimate by the International Monetary Fund.
The IMF calls the revelation “shocking” and says the figure is an “extremely robust” estimate of the true cost of fossil fuels. The $5.3tn subsidy estimated for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments.
The vast sum is largely due to polluters not paying the costs imposed on governments by the burning of coal, oil and gas. These include the harm caused to local populations by air pollution as well as to people across the globe affected by the floods, droughts and storms being driven by climate change.
The coal industry's multi-million-dollar advertising and lobbying campaign in the run-up to the last federal election was bankrolled by money deducted from state mining royalty payments and meant to fund research into "clean coal".
The mining industry spent $2.5 million pushing the case for lower-emissions, coal-fired power plants in the run-up to last year's election — a cause the Federal Government has since taken up with gusto.
The source of the funds was a voluntary levy on coal companies, originally intended to fund research into "clean coal" technologies, which coal producers could deduct from state mining royalties.
Instead, some of the money raised paid for phone polling, literature and TV ads that declared "coal — it's an amazing thing".
The funds were channelled through the Australian Coal Association Low Emissions Technology Limited (ACALET), formerly owned by the Australian Coal Association and now part of the Minerals Council for Australia.
It was an extraordinary use of the bully pulpit, yet accounts calling it a nonstop rant don’t do it justice. Some of it was playful and teasing, and Trump wasn’t alone in finding humor on several occasions. Many journalists clearly enjoyed the raucous informality, which included back-and-forth exchanges where some freely talked over the president.
Contrast that with the previous eight years of news conferences, where President Barack Obama generally delivered long lectures to an amen chorus.
There was contrast, too, in Trump spending 50 minutes taking more than 40 questions, all spontaneous and none arranged in advance. It was a scrum to be called on, and no topic was off-topic — he answered them all.
He also made errors, repeated himself frequently and some answers raised more questions. But the overall performance was incredibly effective at creating a very different narrative about his tenure for the TV audience — the people he cares about most.
Expect those two themes — he is putting America First and much of the media is dishonest — to be the pillars of his presidency, as they were the pillars of his campaign. That’s why he’s taking his show on the road, and likely will do so regularly.
Predictably, his prime media targets reacted with feverish claims that Trump was “unhinged” and his attacks were “un-American.” Some said he is a threat to the First Amendment.
On the contrary, he’s embracing it. As legendary New Yorker Ed Koch often said about his own criticisms of the press and judges, he didn’t lose his First Amendment rights when he became mayor.
So it is with Trump. He’s free, like all Americans, to speak his mind. His words carry more weight as president, but attempts to silence him are truly un-American. The White House is not a coddled college safe space.
Something else Koch said also is relevant. He once called a journalist who was a partisan critic a “politician with a press pass.”
That’s how Trump sees much of the media, and he’s more right than wrong. Many tried to block his election, and now are trying to destroy his presidency.
They have a choice: get back to being journalists, or get used to being a piñata.
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