Humans held responsible for twists and turns of climate change since 1900

The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (the Gulfstream to you) has clearly had a large role in explaining oscillations in our climate.  As such it is something of an alternative to CO2 as an influence. So that is pesky to Warmists.

The authors below, however, have done all sorts of revisions, estimates and modelling which have enabled them to claim that the AMO has in fact done nothing. All the changes are due to human deeds.  So a simple explanation has been swapped for a complex one

When you are a Warmist however you have to ignore a lot.  You even have to ignore the philosophy of science.  One of the basic axioms of science is what some people call Occam's razor:  That a simpler explanation is always to be preferred to a complex one. When we apply that axiom to the explanation put forward by the authors below we have to conclude that their explanation is wrong

While industry and agriculture belched greenhouse gases at an increasing pace through the 20th century, global temperature followed a jagged course, surging for 3 decades starting in 1915, leveling off from the 1950s to the late 1970s, and then resuming its climb. For decades, scientists have chalked up these early swings to the planet’s internal variability—in particular, a climatic pacemaker called the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), which is characterized by long-term shifts in ocean temperatures. But researchers are increasingly questioning whether the AMO played the dominant role once thought. The oceanic pacemaker seems to be fluttering.

It is now possible to explain the record’s twists and turns almost entirely without the AMO, says Karsten Haustein, a climate scientist at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom and lead author of a new study published this month in the Journal of Climate. After correcting for the distinct effects of pollution hazes over land and ocean and for flaws in the temperature record, Haustein and his colleagues calculated that the interplay of greenhouse gases and atmospheric pollution almost singlehandedly shaped 20th century climate. “It’s very unlikely there’s this ocean leprechaun that produces cyclicity that we don’t know about,” Haustein says—which means it is also unlikely that a future cool swing in the AMO will blunt the ongoing human-driven warming.

Others aren’t convinced the “leprechaun” is entirely vanquished. “They are probably right in that [the AMO] is not as big a player globally as has sometimes been thought,” says Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. “But my guess is that they underestimate its role a bit.”

The AMO arose from observations that sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic seem to swing from unusually warm to cold and back over some 20 to 60 years; the ancient climate appears to have had similar swings. Researchers theorized that periodic shifts in the conveyor belt of Atlantic Ocean currents drive this variability. But why the conveyor would regularly speed and slow on its own was a mystery, and the evidence for grand regular oscillations has slowly been eroding, says Gabriele Hegerl, a statistical climatologist at the University of Edinburgh. “Those are harder to defend.”

The new skepticism kicked off with work led by Ben Booth, a climate scientist at the Met Office Hadley Centre in Exeter, U.K.. In 2012, he reported in Nature that pollution hazes, or aerosols, began thickening the clouds over the Atlantic in the 1950s, which could have cooled the ocean with little help from an internal oscillation. In the past year, several independent models have yielded similar results. Meanwhile, most global climate models have been unable to reproduce AMO-like oscillations unless researchers include the influence of pollutants, such as soot and sulfates produced by burning fossil fuels, says Amy Clement, a climate scientist at the University of Miami in Florida.

Now, it seems plausible that such human influences, with help from aerosols spewed by volcanic eruptions, drove virtually all 20th century climate change. Haustein and his co-authors tweaked a relatively simple climate model to account for the fact that most pollution originates over land, which heats and cools faster than the ocean—and there’s much more land in the Northern Hemisphere. And they dialed back the cooling effect of volcanic eruptions—a reasonable move, says Booth, who is not affiliated with the study. “We’ve known models respond too strongly to volcanoes.”

The also adjusted the global temperature record to account for a change in how ocean temperatures are measured; during World War II, the British practice of measuring water samples in buckets gave way to systematically warmer U.S. readings of water passing through ships’ intake valves. Past efforts to compensate for that change fell short, Haustein and his team found, so they used data from weather stations on coastlines and islands to correct the record.

As input for the model, the team used greenhouse gas and aerosol records developed for the next U.N. climate report, along with records of historical volcanic eruptions, solar cycles, and El Niño warmings of the Pacific. Comparing the simulated climate with the adjusted temperature record, they found that multidecadal variability could explain only 7% of the record. Instead, soot from industry drove early 20th century warming as it drifted into the Arctic, darkening snow and absorbing sunlight. After World War II, light-reflecting sulfate haze from power plants increased, holding off potential warming from rising greenhouse gases. Then, pollution control arrived during the 1970s, allowing warming to speed ahead.

It’s a compelling portrait, but it could have been substantially different if the team had used other, equally justifiable assumptions about the climate impact of aerosols, Booth says. Trenberth thinks the team’s adjustments had the effect of fitting the model to an uncertain record. “There is considerable wiggle room in just what the actual record is,” he says.

Haustein disputes that the team tailored the model to explain the 20th century warming. “All we did was use available data in the most physically consistent way,” he says. The researchers ran the model from 1500 to 2015, and he says it matches paleoclimate records well, including Europe’s Little Ice Age.

If a grand ocean oscillation isn’t shaping climate, a future ocean cooling is unlikely to buy society time to address global warming. But the demise of the AMO also might make it easier to predict what is in store. “All we’re going to get in the future,” Haustein says, “is what we do.”


Millennials Near Middle Age in Crisis: The cohort is in worse financial shape than prior living generations—and may not recover

Although it includes lots of statistics, the WSJ writers below  seem not to have fully grasped the implications of averages.  They fail to take account of the ever-spreading plague of credentialism -- where more and more young people are undertaking more and more degrees and taking them to a higher level at a higher price. Doctorates are now a dime a dozen. That has got to drag the net worth averages gown.

 And teachers used to be trained in an apprenticeship, meaning they started to earn from day 1. Now you need a Masters degree to progress in a teaching job. And four year teaching degrees are a huge crock anyway.  In "Teach for America", they get all their training in one summer school.  I taught High School with considerable success despite having ZERO teaching qualifications.  I just had a first degree.  For most people to be a teacher these days you have to pour four years of your life down the drain.

That has both explicit costs and opportunity costs.  Students could have been in the workforce and earning instead of taking degrees that end up being of little worth to them.

So students these days emerge from formal education owing a lot more and a higher proportion of young people are in that category.  The resultant debt has got to yank their average net worth and disposable income way down.  If you could take education costs out of the equation, I doubt that millennials would be at any disadvantage

American millennials are approaching middle age in worse financial shape than every living generation ahead of them, lagging behind baby boomers and Generation X despite a decade of economic growth and falling unemployment.

Hobbled by the financial crisis and recession that struck as they began their working life, Americans born between 1981 and 1996 have failed to match every other generation of young adults born since the Great Depression. They have less wealth, less property, lower marriage rates and fewer children, according to new data that compare generations at similar ages.

Even with record levels of education, the troubles of millennials have delayed traditional adult milestones in ways expected to alter the nation’s demographic and economic contours through the end of the century.

Millennials helped drive the number of U.S. births to their lowest levels in 32 years. That means fewer workers in the future to support Social Security and other public programs for the ballooning population of retirees.

Social Security last month estimated that in 2035, after nearly all baby boomers retire, there will be 2.2 workers per beneficiary. Last year, there were 2.8. The current birthrate of around 1.8 children per woman is expected to create a Social Security deficit of nearly $2 trillion over the next 75 years.

Prospects for a quick turnaround aren’t good. Men and women in their 30s are marrying at rates below every other generation on record.

“We’ll have to rethink a lot of things about taxation and how social programs are funded if fertility is really on a more permanent decline,” said Anqi Chen, assistant director of savings research at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

Growth in property values and the stock market this past decade helped older households regain ground since the recession. Millennials, though, have made little headway.

“If I can’t afford a home, I definitely can’t afford kids,” said Joy Brown, 32 years old. She is a renter who is single and earns $75,000 a year. She also owes $102,000 in student loans and $10,000 in credit-card debt.

“Myself and a lot of my peers still feel like we’re playing catch-up in the game of life,” said Ms. Brown, a compliance officer for the city of Chicago More than half the 72 million American millennials are now in their 30s. The oldest will turn 38 this year, when their generation is expected to surpass the number of baby boomers.

Their slow start has been well-documented in the first years after the recession. New data show that millennials may never catch up with the generations of Americans that preceded them.

A generation apart

“Their economic fundamentals are fundamentally different,” said Christopher Kurz, an economist at the Federal Reserve. Mr. Kurz and his colleagues last year analyzed income, debt, asset and consumption data to figure out how millennials compared at similar ages with Generation X, people born between 1965 and 1980, as well as baby boomers, those born from 1946 to 1964. They found that millennial households had an average net worth of about $92,000 in 2016, nearly 40% less than Gen X households in 2001, adjusted for inflation, and about 20% less than baby boomer households in 1989.

Wages didn’t look much better. At the same ages, GenXmen working full time and who were heads of households earned 18% more than their millennial counterparts, and baby boomer men earned 27% more, when adjusting for inflation, age and other socioeconomic variables. Among women, incomes were 12% higher for Gen Xers and 24% higher for baby boomers than for millennials, using the same measures.

One explanation for their slowprogress is bad luck. Economists have found that entering the workforce during a downturn yields lower earnings for life. Till von Wachter, an economics professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that Americans who entered the labor market when unemployment rates rose by five points—about the same as in the 2007-09 recession—saw their cumulative earnings fall by 10% over the first decade of a career. “The effects have health and lifestyle consequences well into middle-age,” said Prof. von Wa chter. He reviewed four decades of earning data in his study, which was conducted with Hannes Schwandt of Northwestern University.

The disappearance of manufacturing jobs, which in postwar years paid middle-class wages to high-school graduates, is another misfortune. Those who lack a college degree are at the biggest risk of falling behind. Median household income last year was about $105,300 for millennials with a bachelor’s degree or higher, more than twice that of households headed by high-school graduates, according to the PewResearch Center.

Many millennials couldn’t afford to buy houses or invest in the stock market early enough to profit from the sharp escalation of prices over the past decade, said William Emmons, an economist at the Center for Household Financial Stability at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

About one third of millennials owned homes in 2016, compared with half of Gen Xers at similar ages in 2001, and just under half of baby boomers in 1989, according to Mr. Kurz’s findings. Even if millennials close the gap as they age, “asset prices are so high,” Mr. Emmons said, that their expected return on real estate is lower.

Losing out on a decade of gains in the stock and housing markets hurt the financial standing of millennial households. Between 2010 and 2016, Gen Xers, baby boomers and the older silent generation all recouped some of their recession losses, while the average family headed by someone born in the 1980s fell further behind the older groups, in relative terms.

The St. Louis Fed found the median wealth of a family headed by someone born in the 1980s was a third below the level that they would expect, compared with earlier generations at the same age and adjusted for inflation.

The regional Fed bank concluded that people born in the 1980s are at risk of becoming America’s lost generation, Mr. Emmons said, men and women who feel an almost insurmountable burden to catch up financially.

For richer, for poorer

Millennials, as a group, are better educated than any generation before them. About four in 10 ages 25 to 37 hold at least a bachelor’s degree compared with about a quarter of baby boomers, and three in 10 Gen Xers when they were the same age. Those college diplomas have come at a high price. The average student-loan balance for millennials in 2017 was $10,600, more than twice the average owed by Gen X in 2004, according to Mr. Kurz and his Fed colleagues.

For the Cochrans, the price was personal. Joseph Cochran, a real-estate manager, proposed to Tasha Brown in 2012. She said yes. Then Ms. Brown, a consumer finance attorney, realized that combining their salaries as a married couple could drive up their income-based student- loan payments.

They ditched their wedding plans but forged a life together. Each wear wedding rings. Ms. Brown, 36, legally changed her name and became Ms. Cochran. The couple run a financial-advice website, whittling away at their combined student debt of $377,000.

“If we had zero student loans we’d be married,” Ms. Cochran said. “We have to be far more strategic and creative in order to try to fit everything in around our student loans.”

Their strategy included moving from Philadelphia to Maryland four years ago. Ms. Cochran struggled to get pregnant, and the couple chose a state that mandated insurance coverage of in vitro fertilization, she said. The Cochrans now have a 3-year-old son.

Ms. Cochran also has a 17- year-old daughter from a previous relationship and has promised to pay for college as long as the teenager studies at an instate school. Last fall, the young woman enrolled in community college to get a head start. Her teenager “likes the idea of being able to graduate without having any student loans,” she said.

The family takes a more practical view of higher education, based, in part, on hardwon experience with jobs and school loans. “We tell her to think a lot about howmuch is a given major going to pay,” Ms. Cochran said.

The financial strain faced by many American millennials is driving shifts in their political views, reflecting a “feeling that as a citizen the system is not really operating as you expect it to,” said Mohamed Younis, editor in chief of Gallup.

A Gallup poll last summer found that millennials were the only generation that favored socialism over capitalism by a slight margin. The survey didn’t include Generation Z, people born in 1997 or later, and who are mostly too young to vote.

Tough times for millennials struggling to reachamore comfortable middle-class life have triggered support for populist candidates and promises of universal health care and free college education.

Tony Mancilla, a 31-year-old hospital maintenance technician in American Falls, Idaho, voted for Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, in 2016. Now, he is interested in Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, a self-described democratic socialist.

Mr. Mancilla, who earns about $35,000 a year, said he can’t afford the more than $600 a month it costs to insure his wife and two children on his employer plan. His children rely on a publicly subsidized plan. His wife is uninsured.

These health-care worries pointed Mr. Mancilla to Mr. Sanders’s Democratic Party primary campaign and “his way of looking at health care, trying to get that for everybody, taxing the rich,” he said. “He might have the best interest for the American people rather than just one class.”

As millennials approach middle age, more are asking for help from their employers. Ford Motor Co. two years ago expanded its financial-planning services after internal surveys found that the top monetary concern of millennials was saving for retirement. Ford’s planning services include one-onone reviews of employee investments. All 80,000 U.S. workers are eligible.

“A good number of them are in their 30s and are thinking about longer-term planning,” said Julie Lodge-Jarrett, chief talent officer at the Dearborn, Mich., auto maker. “While they want to save, and they inherently get the importance of saving and planning, they don’t know how to do it.”

ZillowGroup Inc., the Seattle real-estate company, earlier this year began offering a studentloan repayment program, contributing $25 a month toward the employee’s balance. The benefit was initiated after workers asked for help tackling college debts, said Dan Spaulding, the company’s chief people officer. About 580 workers have signed up, the company said, and they carry an average loan balance of about $28,000.

Mike Maughan, head of global insights at Qualtrics in Provo, Utah, which researches millennials, said the financial picture of the generation is rosier than it appears: “Millennials aremuch scrappier than we give them credit for.”

Employers have told Mr. Maughan that the desire of millennials for on-the-job feedback shows they are eager to improve their skills.

One other bright spot: Millennials are entering their prime earning years just as baby boomers retire. That should fuel demand for their skills and lift their earnings. “The job market is so much better, so much stronger than it was 10 years ago,” said Mr. Emmons, of the St. Louis Fed. “That’s a huge benefit.”


Good!  Liberals take back Wentworth from far-Left Lesbian Kerryn Phelps

She had campaigned on a climate change platform and vowed to stop the Adani coal mine as well as other new coal projects. Seat is now back in the conservative column, where it had been for decades.

There were accusations during the campaign that both Phelps and Sharma were Jewish.  In fact Phelps is of British ancestry and Sharma has Indian ancestry.  The bigots seem to have missed that the PM’s principal adviser was Yaron Finkelstein, a most unambiguous name

Scott Morrison and the Coalition have claimed a majority victory in the Federal Election, winning at least 76 seats after Dave Sharma re-claimed Wentworth for the Liberals.

Independent Dr Kerryn Phelps is expected to concede defeat in the eastern Sydney seat on Monday afternoon. Dr Phelps became the member for Wentworth in October after winning a by-election triggered by the resignation of Malcolm Turnbull.

The Liberals will win in Bass in Tasmania, according to the ABC's election analyst Antony Green, and claimed Wentworth in Sydney back from Dr Kerryn Phelps on Monday morning.

The two results would give them the required 76 seats to command a majority.

The government could also win in Chisholm in Victoria, but that is currently too close to call.


Posh privilege? Upper class people's 'belief that they are better than others' helps them to find jobs, study finds

This is just another example of the old halo effect.  In this case the halo emanates from the fact that a person is in a prestigious position. That tends to suggest other desirable attitudes in the person. I suppose the interesting thing here is the demonstration that the priviliged person himself perceives the halo.

And in this case there is good reason for the effects discussed below.  High status persons tend to have higher IQs and IQ does have wide-ranging positive effects.  So the privleged person has good grounds for feeling that he will do well on various tests.

So what we have is a demonstration of what Jesus said:  "For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance" (Matthew 13:12).

Self confidence is in some ways nearly as advantageous as high IQ

People from higher social classes believe themselves to be more capable than those of lower class, even if they are equally as qualified.

This leads to better outcomes in life-changing scenarios like job interviews as they are more confident than their less-privileged peers due to an inflated sense of self.

In a large scale study, scientists saw this to be true across the board, from business owners to undergraduates.

Dr Peter Belmi of the University of Virginia and lead author of the study, said: 'Advantages beget advantages. Those who are born in upper-class echelons are likely to remain in the upper class, and high-earning entrepreneurs disproportionately originate from highly educated, well-to-do families.'

Researchers from the University of Virginia conducted four separate investigations to look at the connection between social class and overconfidence.

In each study, they discovered that those from higher social classes tended to be more overconfident.

In one study, this overconfidence was shown to be misinterpreted by others as a higher level of competence.

In the biggest study, which involved business owners, researchers obtained information about the individual's income, education level and where they thought they stood in society.

The participants were also required to complete a psychological assessment that rated their self-perception.

'Posh privilege' occurs when people of a higher social class perceive themselves to be better than those of lower classes — even if such is unfounded.

Factors that lead to people developing posh privilege include higher levels of education, greater income and perception of belonging to a better  social class.

Others perceive this excess of assuredness as real and deserved confidence.

This leads to better outcomes in life-changing scenarios like job interviews as they are more confident than their less-privileged peers thanks to their inflated sense of self.

In a large-scale study, researchers found that this privilege applied universally — affecting everyone from students to business heads.

One experiment was a flashcard game where individuals were shown an image that disappeared after they press a key, before being replaced by another image.

They then have to determine whether the second image matched the first.

After completing 20 rounds, they were asked to rate how they think they performed compared to others on a scale of 1 to 100.

When the researchers compared the actual scores with the predicted scores, they found that people with more education, more income and a higher perceived social class had greater belief they performed better than others.

Two other groups each with 1,400 online participants found a similar association.

In one, the researchers gave participants a trivia test and those from a higher social class thought that they did better than others.

Again, when the researchers examined actual performance, no difference was found between the social classes based on this belief.

In the last experiment, researcher recruited 236 undergraduate students, and asked them to complete a 15-item trivia quiz and predict how they scored compared with others.

They were also asked to rate their social class and their families' income and their parents' education levels.

A week later, the students were brought back to the lab for a videotaped mock hiring interview.

More than 900 judges, recruited online, each watched one of the videos and rated their impression of the applicant's competence.

Not only were the higher social class students more confident, this overconfidence was interpreted by the judges who watched their videos as greater competence.

'Our research suggests that social class shapes the attitudes that people hold about their abilities and that, in turn, has important implications for how class hierarchies perpetuate from one generation to the next,'  they write in the study.

The study was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.


Chinese researchers find the OPPOSITE of what global warming theory predicts -- in a study of Antarctic ice 1978–2016

They found lots of ups and downs in sea ice extent but a significant trend towards MORE ice.

They were however mostly interested in what caused the fluctuations, in particular the very low ice cover in February 2011 and the big bounceback the year after.  They attributed it to variations in cloud cover. No mention of CO2

And they found that clouds had a COOLING effect, which is the exact opposite of what global warming theory says.  Warmists say that a warmer climate will produce more clouds -- which it well may do -- but then go on to say that the clouds will produce warming

They also note that trends in the Arctic are very different,  which rules out any global process being involved.  But by definition can you have ANY global process that does not include the poles?

The Contributions of Winter Cloud Anomalies in 2011 to the Summer Sea‐Ice Rebound in 2012 in the Antarctic

Yunhe Wang et al.


Antarctic sea‐ice extent exhibits a modest positive trend in the period of near four decades. In recent years, the fluctuation in Antarctic sea ice has been strengthened, including a decrease toward the lowest sea‐ice extent in February 2011 for the period of 1978–2016 and a strong rebound in the summer of 2012. The sea‐ice recovery mainly occurs in the Weddell Sea, Bellingshausen Sea, Amundsen Sea, southern Ross Sea, and the eastern Somov Sea. This study offers a new mechanism for this summertime sea‐ice rebound. We demonstrate that cloud‐fraction anomalies in winter 2011 contributed to the positive Antarctic sea‐ice anomaly in summer 2012.

The results show that the negative cloud‐fraction anomalies in winter 2011 related to the large‐scale atmospheric circulation resulted in a substantial negative surface‐radiation budget, which cooled the surface and promoted more sea‐ice growth. The sea‐ice growth anomalies due to the negative cloud forcing propagated by sea‐ice motion vectors from September 2011 to January 2012. The distribution of the sea‐ice anomalies corresponded well with the sea‐ice concentration anomalies in February 2012 in the Weddell Sea and eastern Somov Sea. Thus, negative cloud‐fraction anomalies in winter can play a vital role in the following summer sea‐ice distribution.


Contrasting to Arctic sea ice, which has decreased in all seasons and at nearly all locations (Comiso et al.,2017; Liu, Lin, Kong, et al., 2016; Liu, Lin, Wang, et al., 2016; Wang et al., 2018), the sea‐ice extent (SIE)around Antarctica has displayed a marked seasonal cycle (Polvani & Smith, 2013) and a modest, but statis-tically significant, positive trend since 1979 (Hobbs et al., 2016; Holland, 2014; Simmonds, 2015). Also, different regional trend distributions exist in Antarctic sea‐ice with rapid sea‐ice loss in the Amundsen Sea and Bellingshausen Sea, while significant and moderate ice gain in the Ross Sea and Weddell Sea, respectively. Large cancellations from different sectors have resulted in a net positive trend in the Antarctic totalSIE (Parkinson & Cavalieri, 2008).However, the causes of the Antarctic sea‐ice expansion remain a matter of debate, which could be caused by anthropogenic and natural factors. Some mechanisms have been suggested. Liu and Curry (2010) suggested that increased precipitation in the warming climate is an attributable factor for the current Antarctic sea‐icegrowth. In an ice‐ocean modeling study, Zhang (2014) suggested that strengthened westerlies increasesea‐ice volume by producing more ridged ice, which leads to sea ice more resilient to melting. There wasa hypothesis that increased surface freshwater from the Antarctic continent and enhanced snowfall promotesea‐ice expansion by stabilizing the upper water column (Rignot et al., 2013), which increases upper‐oceanstratification and suppresses oceanic heat transport (Bintanja et al., 2013; Liu & Curry, 2010). In addition,the dipole pattern of the Pacific sector, combined with increasing sea ice in the Ross Sea and decreasingice in the Bellingshausen Sea, has been ascribed to strengthening the Amundsen Sea low (Clem & Fogt,2015; Fogt et al., 2012; Meehl et al., 2016; Raphael et al., 2016; Turner et al., 2016). Moreover, these sea‐ice trend patterns around Antarctica have been attributed to interdecadal variability (Fan et al., 2014;Gagné et al., 2015), sea‐surface temperature warming in the tropical Pacific (Clem & Fogt, 2015), andatmospheric intrinsic variability in the Antarctic (Turner et al., 2016

Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 2018, Volume 124, Issue 6

Lessons from history in support of Trump

Primarily Australian and German lessons

To this day it is widely accepted in Australia that R.G. (Bob) Menzies (later Sir Robert Menzies) was our greatest Prime Minister. He was the Prime Minister of Australia from 1939 to 1941 and again from 1949 to 1966. He is Australia's longest-serving prime minister, serving over 18 years in total. He ran Australia in the '50s and most of the '60s in what many now look back upon as a golden age. (I do. I was there). There was great embarrassment if unemployment exceeded 2% and life was generally tranquil, though Communist unions did their best to make trouble.

Doing nothing can be a good policy

But when people say what a great man Bob was, a common response was:  "But what did he DO?"  And that is a hard question to answer.  Whenever people came to Bob and suggested something that the government should do,  Bob would reply:  "But if we do that, that will create another problem here".  So Bob would send the suggestions away, saying that the best thing to do was nothing.  

People are always calling on the politicians to do something so it takes great political talent to do nothing.  And doing nothing means that the size of the government stays pretty small -- unlike what mostly happens today when the government never ceases to expand.

So Bob's talent was to let the people of the nation create any change they desired, with little or no government interference.  If enough people backed the change it would happen.  If it had little backing it would not happen.  So prosperity and quality of life increased almost entirely through private initiatives.

So the torrent of legislation to which all governments subject us was a comparative trickle under Menzies. He generally resisted the urge to meddle. And under him Australia was peaceful, calm and secure -- with unemployment negligible and living standards steadily rising. Contracts were enforced, criminals were punished and taxation was a fraction of what it is now. There was welfare for those who really needed it

Bob was however of Scottish origins and he inherited the great Scottish reverence for education.  So he saw it as a real problem that poor families could not send their children to university.  So, for once, he DID something about that. He instituted a scheme where the Federal government would send to university all children from poor families who had scored in the top third of High School grades.  The government not only paid the tuition fees but even gave the kid a living allowance.  It was called the Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme and I was one of its beneficiaries.

 So Australian conservatives today only have to remember the world of Menzies in the 1950s and 1960s to realize that their ideal of a much smaller and fairer government is far from an impossible dream. 

"Honest" Frank Nicklin

But Bob was rare even among conservative politicians for his ability to do next to nothing. 

So let me mention another such rarity: "Honest" Frank Nicklin.  Would you believe a politician with the nickname "Honest"?  In WWI he was a war hero and after the war he was a banana farmer.  In 1957, he became the Premier of my home state of Queensland and ran Queensland for around 10 years in the 60s.  Frank was by all accounts a very nice man:  A pre-Reagan Reagan.  He got on well with the bureaucracy and even the unions.  So life in Queensland was very tranquil in his time.

How Frank did it can perhaps be gleaned from the words of a unionist who had just gone to see him with some request.  He was asked afterwards what had happened with his request.  He answered:  "Mr. Nicklin can say No in the nicest possible way"!

But, like Bob Menzies Frank did do something:  He spent a lot on upgrading the infrastructure -- roads and bridges etc. 


And then we come to an example that older Americans will know about: Ike. 

Ike didn't like to rock boats and mainly just wanted to let people get on with their own lives.  He kept the government low-key and tried to reduce government financial deficits.  But he too did SOMETHING.  Like Frank Nicklin, he spent a lot on building up infrastructure -- a big network of high quality interstate highways.  That network is in rather bad repair these days but if all the money wasted on the global warming myth had been spent the way the three men above operated, there would be no such problem today. 

But it is wrong to say that conservatives favour the status quo.  Conservative-run legislatures legislate as energetically as any  but mostly that is just to undo the damage caused by previous Leftist policies.  It is Leftist changes that they oppose, not all change.  But, as we see above, even the three champion conservative leaders did also make positive changes: carefully considered changes that generated broad consensus

Trump looks to be going down a similar road.  He is mainly unwinding Obama-era initiatives rather than launch initiatives of his own.  But he too has the one big thing he wants to accomplish:  The Wall

East Germany and the virtue of stability

But the  Communist State of East Germany (the DDR or Deutsche Demokratische Republik) also has something to tell us about change. The regime is now long gone but its demise is particularly instructive.

When the Gorbachev reforms in Russia allowed it, thousands of East Germans breached the Berlin wall, leading to the downfall of the East German regime and a peaceful takeover of the Eastern lands by the West Germans in 1990.

Easterners had not generally foreseen any negative consequences of reunion but some soon emerged. In particular, the businesses and industries of the East were not remotely competitive with their Western counterparts and rapidly went broke.  This led to very high levels of unemployment and economic depression generally in the East and there very soon emerged among some people "Ostalgie" -- a longing for the old Communist regime, a longing that continues among some to this day

What Easterners miss from the old regime was stability, particularly stability of employment, but they also missed the orderly and predictable availability of goods and services as well.  You didn't have to compete for anything.  All was provided, albeit at a low level. So there was a brotherly feeling among Easterners and that is missed by some too.

So it is clear that some of the aspects of extreme socialism were and are appreciated by some people. The entire developed world does have a degree of socialism (welfare measures etc.) so there is clearly something basic in the appeal of socialism. 

The great discovery of 18th and 19th century Britain, however, was that individualism was also beneficial -- particularly for generating wealth.  Money talked and it talked loudly.  Britain did have its socialist system (Workhouses, poorhouses, church schools etc) but they left plenty of room for individual enterprise.  And the rest is history, as they say.  In the developing, mostly European, world of the 19th century, Britain became the model and socialism took a back seat to individual enterprise because of its obvious advantages

So an obvious question is whether capitalism can deliver some of the things that socialists like.  The extensive welfare provisions already in existence already go some way towards that but is there more that we can do without wrecking our successful economic model.

East Germany gives us the clue.  The one thing that "Ossis" particularly liked was stability, the absence of change.  In particular they liked economic stability -- confidence that you would have a job tomorrow and that the job is easy to do.

That is in fact a thoroughly conservative wish.  Stability and an absence of change are good conservative values.  So where have we gone wrong?  Why did it take a Communist state to put conservative values into practice?  The answer is that all of life is a tradeoff.  Only feminists think you can have it all. And we have traded too much for economic liberty.  East Germany was poorer but more secure and relaxed and that tradeoff suited many people.

Menzies and tariffs

And there is a robust Anglo-Saxon democracy with all the traditional liberties that did offer something like East German tradeoffs.  Again we come to Australia in the 1950s under the long running Prime Ministership of the very conservative R.G.  Menzies. 

Australia was very autarkic at that time.  It made its own cars and kitchen appliances plus much else.  Some goods were imported, chiefly from Britain, but Australian manufacturers were encouraged and were readily given tariff protection.  If you made toasters in Australia you did not have to worry about overseas competition.  A nice little tariff would protect you.

So businesses and their employees could relax.  Their factory would just keep running year after year.  The workers could plan their savings and their holidays with no fear that their job would suddenly vanish due to a new competitor entering the market and selling the product at a cheaper price.

And under that system there was very little unemployment. Anyone who wanted one could get a job.  Unemployment was always under 2%.  It was a crisis if it seemed likely to rise to 2%.  There is nowhere like that in the world today.

So Australia at that time was a capitalistic economy with East German characteristics.  Despite its tariffs, Australia was in the '50s one of the most prosperous places in the world.  

Australia is a major primary producer so there was often steak on the dinner table, most houses had a substantial backyard where you could grow most of your fruit and vegetables if you were so inclined, you could get on a steam train and go interstate to visit family and friends at vacation time, there was always the family car for local trips, the newspapers had lots of interesting news, particularly from overseas,  you could hear all the latest songs on the radio, the ladies had pretty dresses and even in small towns there were several bars where one could drink cold beer after a hard day's work.  What else is there? 

But that is lost today.  Australia is now a normal nation with few tariffs and unemployment around 5%.  And you can buy things for pocket change that once would have been a serious hit on the budget.

Trump's tariffs

But there is hope. Trump  too looks like going down something like the Menzies road.  American unemployment has sunk to levels way below anything expected. So Trump has got an amazingly successful recipe for American prosperity.  Whatever he has been doing must be given great credit for creating a multitude of new jobs

Yet what Trump has been doing runs completely against conventional economic wisdom.  Economists preach free trade as the highroad to prosperity -- but Trump has been a champion of tariffs and import restrictions.  Yet Trump has recently said that he learned the free trade story while he was at Wharton and still regards it as the ideal.

So it is clear that free trade alone is not enough for prosperity in the real world we have at the present.  You actually have to sponsor jobs -- by protections if necessary -- in order to get good job growth.  There was striking evidence of that in the 19th century -- when American industry prospered mightily behind high tariff walls.  

So how do economists explain the 19th century boom?  It is to them a classic case of the "infant industry" exception.  American technology and industry were still very new and well behind the mature industries of the old world. So it had to be given time to catch up. And that does seem to be what happened.  So the 19th century experience is not necessarily a guide to the 21st century.  It gives us no assurance that Trump's policies will continue to succeed. As initial optimism wears off and the costs become evident, one could argue that America will rebound to the old 5% level of "frictional" employment.  You cannot square the circle for long.

Logical that may be but the Menzies precedent offers hope that Trump's success with jobs will NOT be ephemeral

Robert Menzies was a very conservative man. So what were his economic policies?  They were very protectionist and focused on creating and preserving Australian jobs. And Menzies stuck to his high tariff policies for the whole of his long Prime Ministership. So that sounds a lot like Trump's policies, does it not?  So what was unemployment like in the Menzies era?  It was almost always UNDER 2%.  It was regarded as a political crisis if it looked like it would go over 2%.  Frictional unemployment barely existed.

So the lesson is clear:  Maximum jobs requires some protection of industry.  Both Trump and Menzies have demonstrated that.  It could be called the "Trump/Menzies Rule": That there is a trade-off between tariffs and unemployment such that as tariffs go up unemployment goes down.  And the Australian precedent says that we can even hope for 2% under Trump.  How good is that? 

So WHY is an actively protectionist administration needed for businessmen to be maximally enterprising?  It's dead simple.  It gives businessmen throughout the country the feeling that government has got their back.  It gives them the feeling that government will at least be on their side if there is a push for change of any sort.  Democrat administrations are, by contrast, enemies of business -- and blind Frederick can see that. Hence up to 9.6% unemployment under Obama compared with 3.8% under Trump. Businessmen are people too.  They respond to incentives and recoil from attack. So that is the theory:  Tariffs stimulate business confidence and confident businessmen go on a hiring spree in their keenness to make money

Trump has an economics degree from the Wharton school so he knows the downside of tariffs.  He knows that his tariffs are impoverishing to a degree but he also knows that stability is a neglected but important value. Money is not everything. It is unlikely that America will ever come near to East Germany in an offering of stability but Mr Trump is rebalancing American priorities in that direction, which should make America a better place overall.

The great city

From time to time in the history of the world, one city emerges which is the intellectual and cultural centre of its world.  New Yorkers tend to think NYC is but that is disputable. Going back in time, one thinks of Babylon at the height of Mesopotamian civilization,  Athens, Ancient Rome and then Byzantium. Byzantium  kept learning alive throughout most of the "dark" ages.  It lasted 1,000 years. But what comes next?

For another thousand years (c. 800 AD to 1800 AD) the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation was at the centre of European affairs.  As wits say, however, it was neither Holy nor Roman nor German. 

Its emperors were however for a long time crowned by the Pope; it did include a lot of Germans and had considerable but varying political power. For most of the time however it was a loose confederation rather than a unitary state.

For most of that empire's existence, Vienna (Wien in German) was influential and that influence not only continued but grew after the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire by the Emperor of Austria. 

As Wikipedia says: "Austria played a central role in European History from the late 18th to the early 20th century." And Vienna was the capital of Austria. And the Austrian empire, later the Austro/Hungarian empire, was one of the major states of Europe.

And Austria was where the fate of post-Napoleonic Europe was decided.  In Congress of Vienna of 1814 the potentates of Europe arrived in Vienna and decided what to do about Napoleon's conquests after he had finally been defeated.  France lost everything except the Hexagon and the great powers of the day sliced up everything else between them.  Austria gained ownership of Venice and much of northern Italy. That the congress took place in Vienna showed how central to Europe Vienna had become by that time

For my purposes I will primarily be discussing the period from 1814 to 1914

Throughout the 19th century and earlier, people of talent began to move to Vienna, with Beethoven being perhaps the greatest of those. He moved to Vienna at the very beginning of that period, in 1791. And even before Beethoven arrived Vienna was probably already the headquarters of music, with court composer F.J. Haydn being well-known, among many others. And the prolific Franz Schubert and many others in Vienna followed on after him.

Rome was not built in a day nor was Vienna but gradually, Vienna emerged from a long history as the great city, with its influence extending far and wide in most fields of human endeavour.  Eventually, at its very height of eminence it started a world war (WWI), which ended most of its influence. 

During the 19th century and early 20th century, however, Viennese lived at the heart of an enormously rich civilization.  Vienna before WWI was not only a great and rich imperial capital with many nations under its rule but it was also at the cutting edge culturally and intellectually. It was advanced in most things and first in some.

It was, for instance, the time and place of the immensely influential Sigmund Freud, by far the leading psychologist of the time, who still has many followers today. He moved to Vienna as a young man in the 1870s. He was a great observer and I  quote him occasionally still. And Freud inspired rivals such as Carl Jung in Switzerland and Alfred Adler in Vienna who are also still influential. Vienna was a ferment of psychological thought.

And in economics the luminaries of the prewar Austrian school (Carl Menger; Eugen Böhm Ritter von Bawerk etc.) are honoured to this day -- though not among Leftists.  Eugen Böhm even had charge of the economics portfolio of the Austrian government for a time, during which Austria flourished.

And Vienna saw the birth of much in modern analytic philosophy. The immensely influential Vienna Circle was mainly a  phenomenon of the 1920s and '30s but meetings on philosophy of science and epistemology began in Vienna as early as 1907, promoted by Frank, Hahn and Neurath, who later arranged to bring Moritz Schlick to Vienna, around whom the Vienna Circle formed

In architecture and the decorative arts there was the Jugendstil movement, a German term for the well-known "Art Nouveau".

In literature there was the prolific Johann Nestroy, sometimes called the Austrian Shakespeare.  He wrote in a lighthearted tone that clearly set the scene for the emergence of operetta late in the 19th century.

And, musically, Vienna started out on top -- with the enormous heritage of the great Austrian composers -- Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert etc -- so any new compositions had a lot to live up to.  And the wonder is that some late 19th century composers stood out even in that environment -- with Strauss II being merely the best known of many.  The great Viennese waltzes come from that period

And there were vast numbers (some say 1,000) of innovative Viennese artists too, largely led by Klimt in particular.  There is a long list of them here.  Klee and Schiele are also well-known.

So the Viennese had it all. And what you want when you have it all is entertainment.  And to be entertaining to such an indulged and sophisticated audience you had to be pretty good.  And what emerged on the music scene at that time was operetta. So I see the lightness and frivolity of operetta not as trivial but as a major cultural achievement.

And operetta was one cultural element that even survived WWI for a time. His songs were so popular in Germany generally that Adolf Hitler offered to make Kalman, a prominent operetta composer, an Honorary Aryan.  Kalman was Jewish.  He wisely emigrated to America instead.

So let's look for a moment at a famous operetta that is all about Vienna -- Wiener Blut.  Its theme song tells us what the Viennese spirit at that time was all about. "Voller Kraft, Voller Glut! ... Was die Stadt Schönes hat, In dir ruht! Wiener Blut, Heisse Flut. (Roughly: "unique, full of fire, full of power, hot and flowing").  The idea is that the great city is embodied in its people. It basically means "high-spirited" -- bright and lively -- perhaps "gay" in the old meaning of that term

It was a very rich and sophisticated society so it was a great privilege to be there at that time. It has no obvious successors.

My interest above is in the human environment of prewar Vienna so I have so far said nothing about the politics of the period.  For the most part, Austria was very badly governed.  Hitler used to sit in the public gallery of the Reichsrat of the parliament and wonder at the chaos that prevailed there. In spite of interminable and loud debate nothing seemed to get done. It was the foundation of his belief in the Fuehrerprinzip -- that democracy was no good and a strong leader was needed to get things done

My libertarian view is that it is a great advantage to a society if the politicians are so disunited that they cannot put any of their schemes into action. Vienna certainly flourished in such an environment. And there are more recent examples of advantageous government immobility.  See here

Current American Congressional politics also seem to be stalemated at the moment, which leaves Mr Trump as the sole mover and shaker -- which he is very good at

Trump's patience finally runs out

I doubt that any national leader ever has endured such a torrent of abuse and accusations as Trump has. So it is no surprise that he has eventually become fed up with it.  He has so far been a miracle of patience but everything has its limits.

The Democrats have only one serious policy: Get Trump.  It suits their hate filled minds.  Rage and hate are what moves them.  So their attacks on Trump come naturally to them.  They could -- and probably will -- keep it up for the next five years of Trump's presidency.  They are in their element.  If they weren't attacking Trump, they would be attacking someone else or something else

US President Donald Trump has angrily lashed out at Democratic leaders' claims he is engaged in a "cover-up".

"I don't do cover-ups," the Republican president said in an unscheduled briefing from the White House.

His remarks came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met fellow Democrats to discuss impeaching the president.

Mr Trump is fighting congressional inquiries by ignoring subpoenas, withholding documents and blocking testimony by current and ex-advisers.

What did President Trump say?
The president spoke minutes after cutting short a planned meeting with the two top Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill.

The trio were due to discuss spending on ageing US roads and bridges, a rare possible area of agreement between the White House and its political antagonists.

But Mr Trump abruptly left the discussion with House of Representatives leader Mrs Pelosi and her Senate counterpart Chuck Schumer after barely five minutes.

The president then appeared in the Rose Garden to make a surprise statement, condemning "phoney investigations" by Democrats.

Mr Trump also charged his political opponents with "abuse" and railed against their invoking of "the big i word" - impeachment.

According to CBS News, Mr Trump walked into the meeting with Mrs Pelosi and Mr Schumer and did not shake either's hand or sit down.

An unnamed source familiar with the encounter said Mr Trump upbraided the House speaker for her "terrible" allegation earlier in the day about a cover-up.

The president demanded Democrats end their investigations against him, or he would not discuss anything else, then abruptly left the room.


Does what I eat have an effect on climate change?

The article below from the NYT is too silly for me to reproduce all of it.  It is a sort of hymn for the global warming religion.  You have to believe in "planet-warming greenhouse gases" to take any notice of it.

But note also below that the do-gooders never miss a chance to condemn "red meat and dairy".  That evil red meat will both ruin your health and destroy the planet.  There's actually nothing bad that red meat will not do. It's a sort of new Puritanism being preached below.  And, like the original Puritanism, its main aim is to stop pleasure and enforce suffering

Yes. The world’s food system is responsible for about one-quarter of the planet-warming greenhouse gases that humans generate each year. That includes raising and harvesting all the plants, animals and animal products we eat — beef, chicken, fish, milk, lentils, kale, corn and more — as well as processing, packaging and shipping food to markets all over the world. If you eat food, you’re part of this system.


Lots of ways. Here are four of the biggest: When forests are cleared to make room for farms and livestock — this happens on a daily basis in some parts of the world — large stores of carbon are released into the atmosphere, which heats up the planet.

When cows, sheep and goats digest their food, they burp up methane, another potent greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. Animal manure and rice paddies are also big methane sources. Finally, fossil fuels are used to operate farm machinery, make fertilizer and ship food around the globe, all of which generate emissions.


Meat and dairy, particularly from cows, have an outsize impact, with livestock accounting for around 14.5 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases each year. That’s roughly the same amount as the emissions from all the cars, trucks, airplanes and ships combined.

A major study published last year in the journal Science calculated the average greenhouse gas emissions associated with different foods: In general, beef and lamb have the biggest climate footprint per gram of protein, while plant-based foods tend to have the smallest impact. Pork and chicken are somewhere in the middle.

Now, these are only averages. Beef raised in the United States generally produces fewer emissions than beef raised in Brazil or Argentina. Certain cheeses can have a larger greenhouse gas impact than a lamb chop. And some experts think these numbers may actually underestimate the impact of deforestation associated with farming and ranching.

But most studies agree with this general hierarchy: Plant-based foods usually have a lower impact than meat, and beef and lamb tend to be the worst offenders by a considerable margin.


Consuming less red meat and dairy will typically have the biggest impact for most people in wealthy countries. That doesn’t necessarily mean going vegan. You might just eat less of the foods with the biggest climate footprints, like beef, lamb and cheese. If you’re looking for substitutes, pork, chicken, eggs and mollusks have a smaller footprint. But plant-based foods like beans, pulses, grains and soy tend to be the most climate-friendly options of all.


It varies from person to person. But a number of studies have concluded that people who eat a meat-heavy diet — including much of the population of the United States and Europe — could shrink their food-related footprint by one-third or more by moving to a vegetarian diet. Giving up dairy would reduce those emissions even further.

If you don’t want to go that far, there are still ways to shrink your individual footprint. Just eating less meat and dairy, and more plants, can reduce emissions. Cutting back on red meat in particular can make a surprisingly large difference: According to a World Resources Institute analysis, if the average American replaced a third of the beef he or she eats with pork, poultry or legumes, his or her food-related emissions would still fall by around 13 percent.

Keep in mind that food consumption is often only a small fraction of a person’s total carbon footprint: There’s also driving, flying and home energy use to consider. But dietary changes are often one of the quickest ways for many people to lighten their impact on the planet.


We did it!  My home State of Queensland blocked the Leftist "certainty"

Queensland has always been a thorn in the side of the Left.  That was really spectacular in the election of December 1975. In that year the Left got only one of Queensland's 19 Federal seats. So the Queensland vote alone would have defeated Federal Labor -- even if the other states had stayed put. So this time too Queensland swung the Federal election to the conservatives.

Labor have always got to swing Queensland if they want to win and that is not easy.  Queensland has strong conservative tendencies -- probably because it is very decentralized, with lots of voters in regional and rural areas.  Country people are too close to the daily reality of hard work to fall for the impractical dreams of the coffee swilling Green/Left elite of the big cities

There are a lot of people who think the way I do where I grew up -- in small-town Queensland

Labor has been left reeling from a bloodbath in Queensland, as the Coalition celebrated a return to government.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison took a moment to thank Queensland in his victory speech in the early hours of Sunday morning.

"How good's Queensland?" he asked, to chants from the party faithful of "Queensland! Queensland! Queensland!"

"I have always believed in miracles. I'm standing with the three biggest miracles in my life, and tonight we delivered another one."

Labor lost at least two of its Queensland seats to the Coalition, leaving it with five seats amid a 4.31 per cent statewide swing against the party as of Saturday night, while the ALP was left with no representation north of Brisbane [i.e. in country and regional Queensland]

Senior Labor frontbencher Brendan O'Connor has blamed the party's misfortunes on heavy spending by Clive Palmer, and One Nation – which received a swing of 3.18 per cent statewide – directing preferences to the LNP.

However, the result will raise questions in Queensland Labor party headquarters about what this means for the Palaszczuk government and its handling of the Adani Carmichael coal mine, and an examination of strategies leading into the next state election in less than 18 months.

The Palaszczuk government will also need to consider what a Coalition victory means for next month's state budget, including missing out on $2.2 billion pledged by federal Labor for Cross River Rail.

As counting closed on Saturday night, the LNP had 23 seats in Queensland, Bob Katter retained Kennedy and Labor looked set to claim five. Lilley, previously held by former Labor treasurer Wayne Swan, was too close to call.

Seats in central Queensland closest to the Galilee Basin and the proposed Adani mine swung towards the Coalition on a two-party preferred basis, boosted by minor party preferences.

The LNP's Michelle Landry retained her seat with a two-party preferred swing of 11.91 per cent in Capricornia, while LNP incumbent David Littleproud had a favourable swing of 6.95 per cent in Maranoa and the LNP's Ken O'Dowd was returned in Flynn with a swing of 8.35 per cent.

At the same time, Labor incumbent Cathy O'Toole, who held the Townsville division of Herbert on tiny margin of 0.02 per cent, lost to the LNP's Phillip Thompson with a 7.47 per cent swing, two-party preferred.

LNP MP George Christensen, dubbed the "member for Manila", seemed to suffer no repercussions from revelations about his frequent travel to the Philippines, winning Dawson with a 11.96 per cent two-party preferred swing.

Former prime minister John Howard said Queenslanders were "commonsense" and worried about job security.

"And when they saw a Labor Party prepared to destroy jobs in the name of climate ideology in relation to the Adani mine, they said, 'That's not for Queensland'," he told the ABC.

Liberal Senator Arthur Sinodinos said Bob Brown's anti-Adani convoy, which drove through Queensland half-way through the campaign, annoyed Queenslanders.

In south-east Queensland, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton fended off a strong challenge from Labor's Ali France, retaining the marginal seat of Dickson with 53.61 per cent, two-party preferred.

On Saturday night, Labor's immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann was struggling to hold onto his Ipswich seat of Blair amid a 10.08 per cent first preference swing against him, but was sitting slightly ahead of the LNP's Robert Shearman at 50.78 per cent to 49.22 per cent, two-party preferred.

Labor incumbent Susan Lamb, who held the outer-suburban seat of Longman on a margin of 0.8 per cent after a by-election last year triggered over the dual citizenship debacle, lost to LNP candidate Terry Young.

Former treasurer Wayne Swan's previously safe seat of Lilley looked set to go down to the wire and was still too close to call, with a swing of 5.41 per cent towards the LNP's Brad Carswell, but Labor's Anika Wells was ahead by less than 1 per cent on two-party preferred.

The Greens had hoped to win the lower house Brisbane seats of Griffith, Ryan and Brisbane but looked set to get none in Queensland.

LNP incumbent Trevor Evans retained his seat of Brisbane, despite a small swing against him, and said he looked forward to "all the hard work ahead" after a sleep-in. "I always told everybody that you never want to be overconfident but you've got to be cautiously optimistic and you've got to work hard right up to the last moment," he said.

Labor's Terri Butler retained the inner-Brisbane seat of Griffith, despite a close race with the LNP and a 6.98 per cent swing towards the Greens.

One Nation received 8.74 per cent of the House of Representatives vote across Queensland, Clive Palmer's United Australia Party received 3.45 per cent despite a massive campaign advertising spend, and Fraser Anning's Conservative National Party received a measly 1.75 per cent.

None of the three minor parties looked likely to win a lower house seat in Queensland.

According to preliminary results from the Senate, the LNP will secure two or three of Queensland's six seats and Labor one or two, while the Greens (Larissa Waters) and One Nation (Malcolm Roberts) could each get one seat.

Mr Palmer was unlikely to return to politics with a seat in the Senate, while Fraser Anning's Conservative National Party was nowhere near close to reaching the quota required.


A traitor loses

In 2010 Oakeshott campaigned as an independent conservative in a  previously safe conservative electorate, the NSW north coast seat of Lyne.  He got 47% of the vote; the National party got 30% and the ALP got only 11%.  So it was clearly a very conservative electorate, that had overwhelmingly voted for conservatives.

So how did Oakeshott represent his voters?  By giving his support to Julia Gillard, the Labor party leader -- thus enabling her to form a minority government.  It was a crystal clear betrayal of the voters in Lyme.  A seat with only 11% of Labor voters was used to support Labor.

It made the Gillard government an essentially illegitimate government -- but no-one could do anything about that.  And Gillard proceeded to run up a huge national debt on hare-brained schemes over the next three years.  Oakeshott has much to answer for

So this time the voters were wised-up to hypocrite Oakeshott

Independent challenger for the NSW mid-north coast seat of Cowper Rob Oakeshott has told supporters a well-funded Nationals campaign of “fear, smears and beers” led to his defeat.

At a Sunday market picnic in Coffs Harbour with about 50 campaign supporters, Mr Oakeshott said he was “pretty gutted” at the outcome of his second tilt at the seat, this time seeing a slight swing against him at the hands of Nationals candidate Pat Conaghan.

With the bulk of the vote counted, Mr Conaghan leads Mr Oakeshott 57 per cent to 43 per cent on a two party preferred basis.

Mr Oakeshott, who was trying to make a come back after earlier stints in state and federal politics, commands considerable local loyalty, and he had to console many of his campaign supporters at the picnic this morning.

Freda Patterson, who has known Mr Oakeshott for three decades, said: “He’s one of the best products of Port Macquarie.”

The Nationals ran a saturation advertising and social media campaign against Mr Oakeshott including negative television and radio attack ads, noting he had supported the minority Labor government when he was the independent member for Lyne.

Robo calls in Mr Conaghan’s voice invited constituents to come and join him for a beer at different venues.

“Fear, smears and beers is probably what got us yesterday,” Mr Oakeshott told supporters.

Mr Oakeshott would not answer a question from The Australian on whether he might consider running again. But he told the congregation, most wearing campaign T-shirts: “Hopefully everyone can stay connected.

“I know this isn’t about me, it’s about driving a better area. “There are big and complex issues in our local electorate.”


Satellite information reveals Antarctica ice thinning at ‘extraordinary rate’

This tired old con again.  A key Leftist modus operandi is to tell only half the story, leaving out the bits that contradict  Leftism. It is simple dishonesty designed to deceive people who are not well-informed on poliical issues.

What they ignore here is Zwally's finding that Antactic ice is ON THE WHOLE increasing and that the relatively small area they concentrates on -- West Antarctica -- has substantial sub-surface vulcanism that inevitably causes some melting.  You would melt too if you had a volcano under you

Antarctica is losing ice at a rapid rate, according to new satellite information.

Glaciers are now sliding into the sea because of the warming Southern Ocean as ice vanishes five times faster than it did in the 1990s.

The West Antarctic ice sheet used to be stable a few decades ago, but new evidence shows that up to a quarter of it is now thinning.

In the worst-hit locations, more than 100 metres of ice thickness has been lost.

Completely losing the West Antarctic ice sheet would result in global sea levels rising by about five metres.

This amount of sea level rise would drown coastal cities around the world.

Scientists think sea levels are now rising at the extreme end of what was predicted to happen gradually just a few years ago, and current losses of ice are said to be doubling every decade.

This research has been published in the journal of Geophysical Research Letters.

It describes how scientists used satellites images to compare the sizes of ice sheets from 1992 to 2017 with weather information.

Professor Andy Shepherd, who led the study, said: “From a standing start in the 1990s, thinning has spread inland progressively over the past 25 years — that is rapid in glaciological terms.

“The speed of drawing down ice from an ice sheet used to be spoken of in geological timescales, but that has now been replaced by people’s lifetimes.”

Prof Shepherd also stressed some glaciers, such as the Pine Island and Thwaites glacier basins, are past the halfway point of melting.

This new work should help researchers to more accurately pinpoint where sea levels will rise so appropriate preparations can be made to try and save affected areas.

The underside of glaciers are thought to be melting because the sea is too hot, and not even snowfall can counteract the damage.

Prof Shepherd added: “In parts of Antarctica, the ice sheet has thinned by extraordinary amounts.”

He now thinks West Antarctica melting has caused 5mm of sea level rise since 1992.

He concluded: “Before we had useful satellite measurements from space, most glaciologists thought the polar ice sheets were pretty isolated from climate change and didn’t change rapidly at all. “Now we know that is not true.”


The scientific allergy to the truth

It is amazing to me how scientists and other academics so often prefer self-serving myths to reality -- despite the truth being in plain sight. I encountered that repeatedly during my research career in the late 20th century.

The biggest example of that pig-headedness in recent times is the absurd global warming theory.  A majority of scientists seem to accept it as truth despite the evidence being so conclusively against it.  Its central claim -- that CO2 in the atmosphere warms the earth -- is starkly contradicted by the "grand hiatus" from 1945 to 1975-- when over a 30 year period, CO2 levels leapt while temperature levels remained flat.  That huge disconfirmation would be fatal to a truly scientific theory.

And from 1950 to the present day, academic psychologists are determined to believe that conservatives are in some way mentally defective.  Psychiatrists, for instance, have never ceased "diagnosing" Mr Trump as mentally defective in some way, with NYC "shrink" Bandy Lee in the vanguard.

But perhaps the most extraordinary belief of academic psychologists -- going all the way back to 1950 --is the still frequent claim that conservatives are the "authoritarians" of the world, despite the immeasurably largest example of authoritarianism in C20 being the ghastly Soviet system.  Were the Soviets conservative?

And the old bit of Soviet disinformation to the effect that the National socialist ideology of Hitler's Germany was "Rightist" is still generally believed -- despite the fact that all of Hitler's major doctrines (antisemitism, eugenics, close government control of industry etc.) were characteristic of the Left in Hitler's day.

So it must come as no great surprise that a recent great  breakthrough in historical scholarship should be greeted with academic disbelief. The Voynich manuscript (MS) has at last been convincingly and extensively deciphered. The MS was a vast work by medieval standards, with copious illustrations that should have given a highroad into the meaning of the text

But no-one could "crack" the meaning of the text.  It appeared to be an alphabet of some sort but nobody knew how the letters sounded so their meaning remained unknown.  Generations of scholars, cryptographers and computer experts had tried to "crack" the code involved, with nothing emerging that made sense of more than a few lines of the MS.

Than along came Gerard Cheshire, a young English linguist who claimed to have deciphered the whole thing after only 2 weeks of work -- by making some very simple assumptions.  That was an enormous slight on the reputations of all the big names who had gone before him so was bound to be disbelieved.  And it has been.  Scholar after scholar has rubbished Cheshire's work.

Cheshire first circulated his findings in 2017 so he is aware of the criticisms of his work and has replied to them.  But the criticisms are not at all fatal to his findings. Cheshire foolishly claimed that the pidgin Latin in which the MS was written was widely used in Europe. That is unlikely but not necessary to his argument.  I would claim that it was a form of pidgin Latin that was used either in Italy or in Aragon, as Aragon dominated some parts of Italy in the Middle Ages.  That the Pidgin Latin of Aragon might have absorbed some words from other pidgins of the times surely poses no difficulty.

A more serious criticism is that Cheshire's translations are to a degree speculative. They are. But that is normal in philology. Words change both their meanings and their forms over time and getting back to the particular meaning at a particular time is no easy matter. So all language reconstructions are to a degree speculative. There is even debate over the correct translation of some parts of Beowulf, which is written in Old English and is generally well-understood. And let us not forget the difficulties of translating even modern German words into modern English words adequately

But the journal article (linked below) is the best evidence for Cheshire's claims. I wonder how many critics have actually read through the vast academic journal article concerned. I have.  And I find it most impressive.  Cheshire repeatedly shows that his interpretation of the "alphabet" used in the MS makes sense.  He shows that the words produced by it are Latinate -- similar to other evolved versions of Latin. 

Once he has transformed the MS words into our familiar Latin alphabet, however, he sometimes has to speculate on the meaning of the word at that particular time and place.  And he makes a good fist of that.  And he does that over and over again.  And it is that repeated success that is so convicing. It shows that he has got the key to getting it right.  If he were wrong he might get a few lucky hits but showing that his system works over and over again throughout the MS could only come from his understanding of the MS being correct.

So why are so many academics rubbishing his work?  Jealousy, basically. That he did so easily what they agonizingly failed to do is a big blow to their self-esteem.  And they want to avoid that blow by disbelieving it.  Freud called it defensiveness. JR

Tariffs -- The Taxes That Made America Great

Patrick J. Buchanan over-eggs the pudding below.  He writes as if tariffs are uniformly desirable.  They are not.  Tariffs are always a tradeoff.  You sacrifice low prices in Wal-mart for some other objective -- maintaining defence related industries at home, for instance.  Economists have always recognized that.  Buchanan is not the bearer of some new revelation.  If your defence relies heavily on cutting edge aerospace industries, for instance, it is reasonable and proper to ensure that the products it uses are available at home.

That is in fact an area where successive administrations have been remiss.  Rare earth minerals are vital in modern electronic devices.  So what is the main source of them at the moment?  China!  How crazy can you get?  America has plenty of such minerals in the ground so it is only a matter of the miners being able to make a buck getting them out of the ground for all America's needs in that area to be produced locally.  A tariff on the import of such minerals from China would achieve that objective.

Mr Trump has articulated very clearly why and how he uses tariffs -- which he in fact does sparingly.  He wants fairer trade wich China -- so that they stop trying to keep American goods such as motor vehicles out while their goods come freely into America.  His second objective is to avoid the social disruption that happens when a whole industry suddenly dies -- which has happened at various places in the mid-West.  He wants transitions to be gradual rather than sudden so that the people affected have time to adjust.

Both those objectives are perfectly rational and no surprise to the economics profession.  The important thing is that you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve in levying tariffs.  Mr Trump has a crystal clear idea of that.  Levying tariffs willy-nilly would be a great folly.

As his limo carried him to work at the White House Monday, Larry Kudlow could not have been pleased with the headline in The Washington Post: "Kudlow Contradicts Trump on Tariffs."

The story began: "National Economic Council Director Lawrence Kudlow acknowledged Sunday that American consumers end up paying for the administration's tariffs on Chinese imports, contradicting President Trump's repeated inaccurate claim that the Chinese foot the bill."

A free trade evangelical, Kudlow had conceded on Fox News that consumers pay the tariffs on products made abroad that they purchase here in the U.S. Yet that is by no means the whole story.

A tariff may be described as a sales or consumption tax the consumer pays, but tariffs are also a discretionary and an optional tax.

If you choose not to purchase Chinese goods and instead buy comparable goods made in other nations or the USA, then you do not pay the tariff.

China loses the sale. This is why Beijing, which runs $350 billion to $400 billion in annual trade surpluses at our expense is howling loudest. Should Donald Trump impose that 25% tariff on all $500 billion in Chinese exports to the USA, it would cripple China's economy. Factories seeking assured access to the U.S. market would flee in panic from the Middle Kingdom.

Tariffs were the taxes that made America great. They were the taxes relied upon by the first and greatest of our early statesmen, before the coming of the globalists Woodrow Wilson and FDR.

Tariffs, to protect manufacturers and jobs, were the Republican Party's path to power and prosperity in the 19th and 20th centuries, before the rise of the Rockefeller Eastern liberal establishment and its embrace of the British-bred heresy of unfettered free trade.

The Tariff Act of 1789 was enacted with the declared purpose, "the encouragement and protection of manufactures." It was the second act passed by the first Congress led by Speaker James Madison. It was crafted by Alexander Hamilton and signed by President Washington.

After the War of 1812, President Madison, backed by Henry Clay and John Calhoun and ex-Presidents Jefferson and Adams, enacted the Tariff of 1816 to price British textiles out of competition, so Americans would build the new factories and capture the booming U.S. market. It worked.

Tariffs financed Mr. Lincoln's War. The Tariff of 1890 bears the name of Ohio Congressman and future President William McKinley, who said that a foreign manufacturer "has no right or claim to equality with our own. ... He pays no taxes. He performs no civil duties."

That is economic patriotism, putting America and Americans first.

The Fordney-McCumber Tariff gave Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge the revenue to offset the slashing of Wilson's income taxes, igniting that most dynamic of decades — the Roaring '20s.

That the Smoot-Hawley Tariff caused the Depression of the 1930s is a New Deal myth in which America's schoolchildren have been indoctrinated for decades.

The Depression began with the crash of the stock market in 1929, nine months before Smoot-Hawley became law. The real villain: The Federal Reserve, which failed to replenish that third of the money supply that had been wiped out by thousands of bank failures.

Milton Friedman taught us that.

A tariff is a tax, but its purpose is not just to raise revenue but to make a nation economically independent of others, and to bring its citizens to rely upon each other rather than foreign entities.

The principle involved in a tariff is the same as that used by U.S. colleges and universities that charge foreign students higher tuition than their American counterparts.

What patriot would consign the economic independence of his country to the "invisible hand" of Adam Smith in a system crafted by intellectuals whose allegiance is to an ideology, not a people?

What great nation did free traders ever build?

Free trade is the policy of fading and failing powers, past their prime. In the half-century following passage of the Corn Laws, the British showed the folly of free trade.

They began the second half of the 19th century with an economy twice that of the USA and ended it with an economy half of ours, and equaled by a Germany, which had, under Bismarck, adopted what was known as the American System.

Of the nations that have risen to economic preeminence in recent centuries — the British before 1850, the United States between 1789 and 1914, post-war Japan, China in recent decades — how many did so through free trade? None. All practiced economic nationalism.

The problem for President Trump?

Once a nation is hooked on the cheap goods that are the narcotic free trade provides, it is rarely able to break free. The loss of its economic independence is followed by the loss of its political independence, the loss of its greatness and, ultimately, the loss of its national identity.

Brexit was the strangled cry of a British people that had lost its independence and desperately wanted it back.


Are eggs bad for you again?

There was a great panic in the '90s and thereabouts that eating eggs could give you heart attacks -- Because they were chock-full of that evil cholesterol.  And people took that very seriously.  Once that old ticker stops ticking, that is the end of you.  The life support system for your brain is switched off. So, to their great rage, the chicken farmers lost a lot of business

Over the years however new studies came out that exonerated the old cackleberry.  So bacon and egg breakfasts are still allegedly wrong but not because of the eggs. NOTHING could be as evil as bacon!

I really should stop my bad habit of reading the medical journals but lately the old scare has had a bit of a revival.  A big study has come out with a lot of very small effects that incriminate eggs. See here and here.  I am tired of putting up nonsense reports in detail so I will not this time reproduce abstracts. Those links will get you the findings in all their glorious complexity.

For a start we are talking about effects that are probably too small to be taken seriously at all:  "The absolute differences in mortality and cardiovascular disease risks that we saw for dietary patterns that involve higher cholesterol intake ranged between about 1% and 4% over 17.5 years of follow-up."

And cholesterol does NOT give you heart attacks:  "When you look at the coronary heart disease end point alone instead of all forms of cardiovascular disease, you don’t see a significant association between dietary cholesterol and coronary heart disease"  If so, why are eggs bad?

But we in fact don't have to worry about any of the results from the study. It is a load of bull, to put it bluntly.  How so?  It is a meta-analysis of 6 studies so getting uniform demographic controls under those circumstances was "ambitious".  And at least some of the 6 studies has no control for income at all.  So you have no way of knowing whether you are looking at an egg-consumption effect or a poverty effect.

If poor people are less respectful of official dietary dictates and recommendations (they are) it could be that the big egg eaters are the poor.  Eggs are cheap food. When I buy eggs it costs me around 30c per egg.  And a 3-egg omelette is a pretty good breakfast. Middle class people, in contrast, would often be aware of the great cholesterol beast threatening their health and would be having lots of nuts and broccoli to eat instead of bacon & eggs.  Sad souls!

So it's my conclusion that all the study really shows is that poor people have worse health, which is arguably the most replicated finding in the whole epidemiological literature.  It tells us NOTHING about eggs or cholesterol generally

Lost someone to Fox News? Science says they may be addicted to anger

Linda Rodriguez McRobbie has an article in the Boston Globe under the above heading.  It is a long article but it is mainly an account of how anger works physiologically.  No evidence at all is offered to justify the claim that Fox news listeners are particularly angry.

She has just one case study of a man who became more angry after listening to Rush Limnaugh.  But you can "prove" anything from one case

I reproduce below her few paragraohs that have some possible relevance to her contention. In the third paragraph she makes  a case that Americans are angrier than they were but quite overlooks that all the anger may be coming from Leftist hatred of Donald J. Trump.

The lack of self-insight among Leftists is truly crashing. Amid the daily outbursts of fury from the Leftist media at everything the President says or does, the mentally blind Ms McRobbie overlooks all that and in a perfect display of projection says that it is CONSERVATIVES who are characterized by anger.

Conservatives direct reasoned arguments and some mockery at Leftists but that constitutes "hate" appparently.  NO criticism of Leftism is allowed. Linda's article proves only how heavily she is beset by the usual Leftist defence mechanisms of projection, compartmentalization and denial.  But I suppose that I am being "angry" in saying that.

While all partisan news outlets follow the emotionally exploitative playbook, Sobieraj says, right-wing outlets have so far deployed it with more success — talk radio is around 90 percent conservative. Rage disrupts logical thought, reducing complex issues to black and white answers: build the wall, lock her up, make it great. However, the polemical nature of right-wing rhetoric may be pushing people on the left to react accordingly.

When anger addicts find a medium that resonates with them, they may not recognize how emotionally affected they are by the fiery rhetoric. “It doesn’t sound like outrage when you agree with it,” says Sobieraj. “It sounds like someone truth-telling and so it feels great — that’s why this content is successful.”

Inundated by extreme viewpoints designed to stoke emotions, Americans may be feeling more threatened, and therefore, more irate. A 2016 Esquire/NBC survey found that half of all Americans were angrier than they had been the year before; 31 percent of respondents were enraged by something in the news a few times a day, while 37 percent were angry once a day. Meanwhile, acts of road rage involving firearms have more than doubled since 2014, according to The Trace.


The NYT on free speech

Their supercilious writer below, Kara Swisher, is perfectly correct but largely irrelevant. Conservatives such as Mr Trump do often express their concerns in free speech terms but what they are basically objecting to is political bigotry.  They object to Leftists censoring their words.  They object to politically discriminatory treatment.  They object to being discriminated against on social media.

It cannot be long before conservatives start to us use anti-discrimination law to pull the social media censors up hard.  The range of categories that get anti-discrimination protection is ever widening and it just needs one Southern State government to add conservatives to the list of protected categories for the social media companies to be in big trouble.  It might not even need new legislation

I’m sorry to be the one to have to tell the president, but someone has to: Social media is not the public square, not even a virtual one.

Not Facebook. Not Reddit. Not YouTube. And definitely not Twitter, where a few days after Facebook announced it was barring some extremist voices like Alex Jones, President Trump furiously tapped out: “I am continuing to monitor the censorship of AMERICAN CITIZENS on social media platforms. This is the United States of America — and we have what’s known as FREEDOM OF SPEECH! We are monitoring and watching, closely!!”

He can monitor (yes, that’s definitely a creepy word) and watch all he wants, but it will not matter one bit. Because the First Amendment requires only that the government not make laws that restrict freedom of speech for its citizens.

Here’s the whole text if you need a refresher — and anyway, it’s kind of short: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

With all the loud opinions and screechy videos and belligerent tweets — and that’s just our president on any given Sunday — many people have mixed up the actual free-speech rights of “AMERICAN CITIZENS” with the ability of loudmouths and bullies to spew whatever they like to tens of millions of people any time of day or night.

The confusion is understandable. Those inventive entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, with their smooth libertarian groove and anything-goes tone, let users huff and puff away so much that you would think that they were actually committed to the idea of a free-for-all. And they were, until it became clear that humanity could get really ugly and out of control pretty quickly and turn it into a Free Speech Thunderdome.