Saturday salon 19/7


An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

Here are a few bits and pieces that came to my attention last week.

1. National Library archives

The National Library of Australia plans to include the Climate Plus website in its PANDORA Archive, so our words here will be immortalised!

2. The Australian newspaper celebrates 50 years in print…

…with a glowing endorsement from Tony Abbott.

The Australian has celebrated 50 years in print with a glowing endorsement from Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who said John Howard had the newspaper to thank for his elevation to the nation’s top job.

Abbott apparently thinks it’s OK for a newspaper to play an active role in politics, in spite of his weasel words.

The article gives an account of the puke-making love-in between Tony Abbott and Rupert Murdoch.

On the same day Phillip Adams pointed out that the ABC had just said good-bye to some of its staff due to government funding cuts.

3. Melbourne language cacophony

More languages are spoken in Melbourne than there are countries in the world, a cacophony of 251 tongues whose voices stretch to all corners of the city.

Melbourne languages_cropped_600

Across the city, three in 10 people speak a language other than English when they get home. In seven suburbs, English is not the dominant language. Arabic is the sixth-most commonly spoken language other than English in metropolitan Melbourne, behind Greek, Italian, Mandarin, Vietnamese and Cantonese.

The population is very mixed compared to American cities such as Chicago and Washington DC, which are very segregated. Italian is the most widely dispersed non-English language, followed by German and Dutch.

4. Morgan shows ALP at 56.5% down 1% as new senate blocks carbon tax repeal

f a Federal Election were held today the ALP would win easily (56.5%, down 1%) cf. L-NP (43.5%, up 1%) on a two-party preferred basis according to today’s multi-mode Morgan Poll conducted over the last two weekends – July 5/6 & 12/13, 2014.

Morgan Jy 2014_600

It would be too funny if passing the carbon ‘tax’ repeal saw the restoration of LNP fortunes.

Analysis by Gender

Analysis by Gender shows that ALP support remains strongest amongst women with the ALP 60.5% well ahead of the L-NP 39.5% on a two-party preferred basis. Support amongst men is closer with the ALP 52.5% just ahead of the L-NP on 47.5%.

Analysis by States

The ALP maintains a strong two-party preferred lead in all Australian States except Western Australia: L-NP 50.5% cf. ALP 49.5%. New South Wales: ALP 55% cf. L-NP 45%, Victoria: ALP 58.5% cf. L-NP 41.5%, Queensland: ALP 56.5% cf. L-NP 43.5%, South Australia: ALP 64.5% cf. L-NP 35.5% and Tasmania: ALP 61% cf. L-NP 39%.

5. Stafford by-election

We’ll keep an eye on this one. Antony Green says he expected a double digit swing in the polls for the inner-northern Brisbane seat, citing the 17 per cent swing against the LNP at the Redcliffe by-election earlier this year and recent opinion polls. Janine Walker told local radio that anything less than 20% and the LNP will reckon they’ve been let off easy.

Notably, PUP is not running. She says they know they won’t win so they want to maximise the protest vote for Labor. The idea is to bury the LNP as deep as possible.

Most south of the border reckon Palmer is about self-interest or revenge. Walker says all the above and more, but he thinks strategically and is focussed on power.

6. FIFA wins

Remember this?

Popes praying_10449976_816909721666770_8792909987461327130_n

Germany won, but did it?

John Oliver explains that soccer is a religion, FIFA is its church. It’s evil, even murderous and frankly appalling. Soccer excites the masses like no other sport, but FIFA takes the gold – literally!

Thanks to my friend in Erlangen for the heads-up!

32 thoughts on “Saturday salon 19/7”

  1. With the terrible tragedy over the Ukraine Abbott has finally got the distraction he wanted from media coverage of his budget woes and he and Julie Bishop are being more hairy-chested than all other world leaders.
    His obvious poliical exploitation of this shocking tragedy is a disgrace.

  2. I don’t know whether you saw it, PB, but Abbott was waxing lyrical at a Coalition function of the importance to him of him time as a reporter at the Australian news paper. Hearing this the connections all become so much clearer.

    From now on when you hear Abbott speak of the Australian government, I put it to you that in his mind this is the Australian (newspaper) Government of the Australian people ie the Australian’ Government, or put another way fn)Australian Government) = Murdoch. The rest of us hear what we think it means just as we thought we new what Abbott’s election promises meant. He put us right on that if you recall by way of saying that words have many meanings. The public heard what it wanted to hear.

    So a public hearing Abbott being leaderly, are most definitely being led,….by the nose.

  3. Labor took Stafford, achieving a swing of 18.6%, more than the 17.2% it achieved in Redcliffe by-election in February. The TPP vote was 61.5 to 38.5.

    The Greens made virtually no progress.

    A clear thumping for the LNP, with only 33.4% for their primary vote compared to 50.7% for Labor.

  4. BilB,
    I tried hard to avoid the Murdoch love fest.
    I was disgusted at Keating in particular for going.

  5. Brian: Newman’s take on the Stafford result:

    The Premier laid the blame for the LNP’s defeat firmly at the feet of his former assistant health minister Chris Davis, whose resignation triggered the by-election

    Yep. The result and the resignation had nothing to do with the arrogant xxx leading the Qld LNP of course.
    The Green result was a bit disappointing but, at close of counting it was still a bit better than than the last two state elections.

  6. Our beloved premier again:

    He admits he has made unpopular decisions but says Queenslanders do not understand the rationale behind them

    Hmm. I would be interested to know what the rational was behind lying outrageously about the effect of rooftop solar on household power prices.

  7. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, the leader at the centre of the international crisis over the downed Malaysia Airlines’ plane has broken his silence, saying no country should use the tragedy for its own ends.

    “We must do everything to provide security for the international experts on the site of the tragedy,” Mr Putin said to Russian network Russia Today, in his first public comments about the incident.
    Vladimir Putin doesn’t want tragedy politicised.

    Vladimir Putin doesn’t want tragedy politicised. Photo: Reuters

    “In the meantime, nobody should and has no right to use this tragedy to achieve their ‘narrowly selfish’ political goals,” he said.

    Read more:

    Above is from Fairfax.
    Now, who could Putin possibly be referring to here?

  8. Greens;

    GREENS leader Christine Milne is calling for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invitation to the G20 leaders’ summit in Brisbane in November to be revoked.

    Senator Milne also today backed the way Tony Abbott has handled the aftermath of the MH17 tragedy which cut short the lives of 28 Australians and eight permanent residents.

    “I certainly back what the Prime Minister is doing taking a strong stand going through the (United Nations) Security Council, demanding there be the independent inquiry and full access to the site,’’ Senator Milne said.

    “But my view is we should have taken a stronger stand til now and I would certainly back a move to say ‘no he (Mr Putin) shouldn’t be coming to the G20.’’


    JOURNALIST: Do you support the strong words from the Prime Minister?
    SHORTEN: Yes – it is clear that the type of weapon system which has been used to shoot this plane down is very highly sophisticated and deadly. The range that this weapon was used at is beyond the ordinary machinery of war which rebel terrorists have been using in the early part of this conflict in the Ukraine. This machinery which has been used to kill people on this aeroplane is very sophisticated to operate, would have required extensive training to deploy. For an outside nation to have supplied these Ukrainian rebels with this weaponry of war and murder is a very, very reckless and stupid act – any country who has so irresponsibly provided these missile systems which have allowed this terrible grief which families right across the globe are feeling today is incredibly irresponsible.

    And somehow Abbott gets trashed and Putins opinion matters.
    Give me strength……

  9. Reachtel polling has shown in Clayfield, next door to Stafford, a TPP swing of 13.6%. That would mean the Treasurer Tim Nicholls would retain the seat with preferences, but if replicated across the state would give Labor an extra 39 seats, enough to form government.

  10. I had to turn the radio off yesterday on the drive home as Abbott was being aired in his pester mode. In his rush to make political capital from this air tragedy he managed to reduce the loved victims of the disaster to a mere political commodity with his endless repetition of “retrieve the bodies, …get the bodies…secure the site”.

    This horrible person has no regard for the dignity of peoples lives. One day he is disposing of people as quickly as he can, in secret, the next he is debasing the tragic loss of so many lives for his own political inflation.

    Putin and Abbott were cast in the same mould.

  11. Thank you Jumpy. I actually saw this paper when I was doing my number crunching, but I will look at it more closely and also look at the other two mentioned. Appreciate the link.

  12. Jumpy and Paul Burns. On the shooting down of Flight MH 17.

    I’m wondering if it was, perhaps, planned well in advance though I cannot imagine what the motives and strategic advantages would have been; nor can I imagine why the Malaysian Airlines aircraft was targeted and not the Singapore Airlines a/c that was 2 minutes ahead. The reasons for not targeting the Indian a/c 90 seconds behind (watch my wake turbulence) are obvious. Anyone who still believes this war crime was simply the result of a string of awful errors is dreaming.

    I was surprised and alarmed at Abbott’s weak and inappropriate response to the murder of almost three hundred innocent travellers and aircrew. A tough political response was needed – such a response would have led to rapid behind-the-scenes co-operation by the Russians, provided it left them plenty of wriggle-room to make plausible public excuses …. and if it did not have them rushing to co-operate, it would have confirmed my worst fears about the reasons for shooting down a civilian airliner.

    Instead of an appropriate tough political response, we were dished up a approach better suited to a polite ordinary barrister in a genteel district court case. Holy smoke! The world of international relations is a bear-pit: people do very nasty things there: they tell bare-faced lies, some even prefer to tell bare-faced lies. Until we have people in government here who are capable of ducking and weaving and landing punches in that bear-pit, we will continue to get screwed. Maybe Abbott should have had a few masters-at-arms from outlaw bikie gangs to advise him before he said anything at all about this atrocity.

  13. BilB @ 14: The recovery and dignified farewell to the remains of loved ones, whether in the shot-down airliner, in Gaza or in an accident or natural disaster is a natural and decent thing for anyone to be concerned about.

    However, the Abbott government’s obsession – about bodies and about a detailed investigation that might take years – looks to me like a full-on display of impotence, weakness, dithering and a complete lack of any contingency planning at all. It is certainly a substitute for robust political manoeuvring and for strong effective responses.

    You were right about Abbott rushing around and flustering to make “political(??)” capital; this was in stark contrast to the real need to take prompt action in response to that war crime. You were wrong about Abbott and Putin being cast from the same mould: Putin is a ruthless risk-taker, he is intelligent and observant and also as tough as nails whereas Abbott is intelligent too and that’s where the similarity comes to a screeching stop; merely dealing harshly with those powerless to protect themselves is not toughness, not by a long chalk – they must be laughing at Abbott in The Kremlin.

    By the way, I think those in and around the crash site who did what they could, as best they could, to cover or move or otherwise deal respectfully with the bodies of those slain in this outrage deserve our heartfelt thanks – even though this view is contrary to that expressed by Rupert’s rabbits and by high-and-mighty legal wallahs.

  14. Key contributing factors of the MH17 disaster include:
    1. The plane was travelling through an area where military planes had been recently shot down. (While this area is part of an international air corridor the aircraft was only travelling so far north because of the weather.)
    2. An anti aircraft battery that had the capacity to shoot down a plane travelling at about 30,000 ft was in a position to shoot down MH17. (Did the operators of the battery have any means of determining that MH17 was not a hostile aircraft?)
    3. For whatever reason, a decision was made to to shoot at MH17.
    4. The anti-aircraft battery was manned and in the area to protect ethnic Russian separatists from attack from the Ukrainian armed forces.

    Other contributing factors include the nature of Putin. Russian resentment of declining Russian power, ethnic and political divisions within Ukraine etc.

    The key lesson from this disaster is that it is stupid to keep international air corridors open in conflict areas where there is a real risk of passenger aircraft being shot down by mistake.

  15. John D. @ 17: Good points – however, these days, the only anti-aircraft missiles capable of bringing down an aircraft without having a positive identification of it are the old-fashioned, left-over, shoot-and-scoot, shoulder-fired ones such as the American Stinger and the Soviet-era Strela – neither of which was capable of reaching an airliner at cruising altitude and speed (dangerous after takeoff or when joining the circuit though). Anything else is tied into target acquisition systems that do not mistake civilian for hostile military aircraft – so the shooting down of the Malaysian Airlines aircraft could not have been a mistake …. though it may be convenient, for politicians and diplomats to pretend, for now, that they are unsure about how this aircraft fell from the skies. The actual motive for shooting it down is still a mystery to me.
    Like thousands and thousands of others, I have flown over war zones in civilian airlines without undue worry – not from now on though: I wouldn’t board an aircraft that was going to fly within a bull’s roar of a family argument, let alone a war.

  16. Graham: Do you know what sort of military planes were being brought down? (Earlier news on the subject suggest some of them were planes transporting people.) And just how precisely could an isolated operator of one of these units determine what he was thinking of shooting at?
    I am assuming that the operator would not be linked to a Russian system for fear of messages being intercepted.
    Which brings me back to

    The key lesson from this disaster is that it is stupid to keep international air corridors open in conflict areas where there is a real risk of passenger aircraft being shot down by mistake.

    Particularly where the potential shooters down may be rebels of some sort that are not being controlled by a central system. Particularly too, given the capacity of more and more units to hit a civilian plane flying well above the conflict.

  17. John

    4. The anti-aircraft battery was manned and in the area to protect ethnic Russian separatists from attack from the Ukrainian armed forces.

    Perhaps, considering Donetsk is in Ukraine, it goes more like;

    “4. The anti-aircraft battery was manned in the area by ethnic Russian separatists to attack the defending Ukrainian armed forces .

  18. Jumpy: There are two separate issues.
    1. The complex question of the rights and wrongs of the conflict.
    2. The question re whether it Is reasonable for either side in the conflict to use anti aircraft batteries to:
    a. Protect themselves from aircraft attack?
    b. Attempt to block the attempts of opponents to bring in support by air?

    In terms of question 2 I would suggest that most military people would say yes to both a and b.

  19. John,
    2 transports and 1 fighter IIRC.
    Latest info from US sources was that the plain was hit by a piece of shrapnel from an exploding rocket. Don’t know if that means it was even more of an accident than was first believed, but there was at least one other military plane in close ptrpximity apparently.

    The current outbreak of hostilities near the crash site between the Ukrainian army and the Russian separatists makes recovery of remains and an investigation into the causes of the crash on site even more unlikely, reducing Abbott and Bishop’s current posturing to a level of impotence. Australian foreign minister demands recall of Ukrainian Parliament into the run up to an electorate. JESUS! WHAT FUCKING ARROGANCE!
    And the fools, against all expert advice, are still demanding the Federal police be armed. Well, short of a Gunfight at the OK Corral type shootout between Aussies coppers v. the rest, it can;t get much worse.
    I suspect the long delays in gaining access to the site are waking us, the Australian people, up to Abbott’s bull-shit about this.

  20. spellings @ 23,
    proximity and can’t.
    (Slight vision problems. Crystal over one of my cataract lenses. Apparently quite common. Getting it removed by laser about mid August. So apologies for future mispellings.)

  21. Good on you PB for being passionate about our political leadership. I just might join you in that passion by buying Greg Combet’s just released book. You might think “where’s the passion in that?”, but knowing that it will be the first book that I have bought in several decades might help. Most of the books I read come with the machinery, and are fairly dispassionate. This afternoon though, surrounded by my dispassionate machinery, which I add I’m fairly fond of, my blood was set to boil while watching this PBS sweet and sour piece

  22. Oh, and race horse B’day too.
    I don’t understand why they all have a B’day today regardless of their actual day of birth but Huzzah !! anyway.

  23. Way off topic and offensive/gruesome/funny, try the 9News site front-page, just a few moments ago, for seven “Cartoons that went too far” – or, if it has been pulled down already, try finding it through a search engine.

  24. John D. @ 20: Apologies for long delayed response. Nowadays, It is almost impossible for the crew of any crew-served vehicle-mounted ant-aircraft system to make a mistake in targeting. However, it is quite possible for an aircraft at a lower flight level to run into a shower of debris/ shrapnel falling to earth from an anti-aircraft missile that exploded previously above and ahead of them; this is similar to fighter aircraft “shooting themselves down” by running into debris from the aircraft they were shooting down – a far-from-rare event.

    Still don’t know which side shot down MH17 or what bizarre motive they had.

    Paul @24: G’awn, tell the truth: you didn’t doo your speleng homework this weak, did you? 🙂

    Jumpy @ 27: Actually, there was something on ABC Radio a few days back on horses being too young to race suffering catastrophic injuries; there’s nothing to stop a ruthless operator putting in a racehorse that is only 1 year and 2 days old as a “two-year old” (though decent experienced people in the racing industry would have their suspicions aroused pretty quickly). .

  25. Graham

    Jumpy @ 27: Actually, there was something on ABC Radio a few days back on horses being too young to race suffering catastrophic injuries; there’s nothing to stop a ruthless operator putting in a racehorse that is only 1 year and 2 days old as a “two-year old”

    I wouldn’t call that operator ” ruthless “, I’d call him/her stupid.
    Nothing to gain.
    A ” ruthless ” operator, entering a 2 year old race would go for the most mature horse she/he could.
    In fact I would call the operator that ABC talks about ” fictitious “.

  26. Jumpy @ 31: Not necessarily “fictitious”; not every horse entered in a race is necessarily there to win …. battlers with less than half-a-dozen horses in their stable excepted, of course, they have to aim for a winner every time and can’t afford to play the games a few of the big boys play.

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