Here’s Trouble hopes you all had a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and all other relevant Season’s greeting.
May the new year of 2010 bring you financial security and satisfaction, and opportunities to pursue hobbies and relationships. The golden lesson that I have learnt over the last few years is that you, as a person, have more power to improve the lives and well-being of your friends, family and employer than any politician, banker or economist.
Let me recap briefly on the year that was 2009:
Global Financial Crisis
In the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, Australia has so far avoided a recession thanks to solid demand for raw materials from China, a recovery in metals prices and a lower US dollar leading to cheaper imports. The Federal government’s $200 billion dollar stimulus package has also helped fuel a recovery in consumer and business spending.
As a result, the biggest risk to the Australian economy is interest rate rises. In addition to the $200 billion that the Government had to borrow, household debt has blown out to $1.2 trillion dollars, or $56,000 for every man, woman and child or 100.2% of GDP. A hike in interest rates, e.g. to manage inflation, would be devastating.
Nonetheless, our problems are nothing compared to the USA. Although they are out of recession, the US government is expected to run a budget deficit of US$1 trillion for fiscal year 2009, resulting in a total debt of $12.8 trillion dollars. This is largely due to the financing of the Iraq war, government bailouts of failing firms under the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP).
The US have no way in hell to pay back this money, the only way I can see them getting out of this debt problem is by devaluing their own currency by promoting inflation, which will make a lot of people around the world very unhappy.
Furthermore, as a result of bailing out financial firms, which were responsible for the reckless actions that led to the Global Financial Crisis, they have preserved these greedy corporate cultures which will no doubt survive to repeat history in the future.
The stupid Emissions Trading Scheme was defeated in the Australian senate, not because of its stupidity, but because of political infighting. The main casualty was Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull, who was replaced by Tony Abbott. I do not yet know what to make of Abbott.
Although this received a lot of coverage, I consider it a minor event. Representatives from countries and scientific groups around the world met in Copenhagen and had a party with PowerPoint presentations and movies. Due to the diversity of opinions and lack of consensus about the problem, they reached a token agreement which lacked specifics.
The King of Pop died tragically and people suddenly remembered how much they really liked him. Pity it came too late. Say anything you want, but his Music and Dancing were revolutionary.
Nathan Rees Replaced As NSW Premier
The former garbo, after a very unproductive premiership, was replaced by some religious chick. I expect little to change apart from the news photos. State Rail is still a shambles and they still plan to sell off energy retailers for rock bottom prices to raise cash.
As always, I have a tone of half-done articles waiting to be completed. My new year’s resolution is to finish them off and post them.
Filed under: International News, International Politics, Middle-East Affairs, Religion
The former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid has died in hospital at the age of 69, after a prolonged illness. His presidency commenced after the fall of dictator Suharto in 1999.
Wahid’s leadership and policies attracted much controversy amongst Indonesians. Eventually, he was alienated within his own party and removed from office in 2001.
During and after his presidency, he promoted religious and ethnic tolerance. He wrote a seminal article published in the Wall Street Journal on December 30, 2005 titled “Right Islam vs. Wrong Islam” in which he called on “people of good will of every faith and nation” to unite to defeat the ideology of religious hatred that underlies and animates terrorism. He advocated for relations with Israel. When the Iranian government held a Holocaust Denial Conference in 2006, President Wahid convened a counter conference in Bali to promote the true historical view.
Filed under: International News, Politics and Policy
The only certainty from the climate summit was that in the process of hosting the summit they would spent a lot of money, generate a lot of CO2 and attract a lot of crazy people.
I must say that I am half impressed with the outcome – I was half expecting that the summit would be terminated by a walkout by disgruntled countries, but I am sure they realised that would be bad PR.
Instead, they have announced a non-binding declaration – a US-brokered deal with India, China, Brazil and South Africa – that they say will limit global warming to 2 degrees.
Here are a couple of links:
I am trying to work the meaning and impact of the declaration. My understanding is that they have a few pledges from countries to achieve certain drops in CO2 emissions by 2020, but the specific figures have not been disclosed.
Also, they may impose additional tax air and sea travel to raise billions of dollars yearly to assist island nations who believe that they are at risk of being submerged.
Naturally, most opposition and criticism is coming from countries that don’t thing the measures go far enough, and other countries who do not want to harm their economies atoning for the sins of the developed world.
More to come as things are clarified in the media.
Filed under: Australian News, Australian Politics, International News, International Politics, Science
‘ClimateGate’ is the name given to the controversy surrounding the leaking of emails belonging to the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia that took place in late November. This institute is a major research centre that played a key role in promoting Global Warming Alarmism and contributing to the IPCC report on Global Warming.
There has been some coverage in the Australian mainstream media, but most of it has completely ignored the meat of the issue, and instead focussed on ‘computer hacking’ or how it could impede the Copenhagen climate summit. The most thorough coverage has been in the Australian newspaper and the blogs of News Ltd. columnists Andrew Bolt and Tim Blair.
For those of you that are unfamiliar, emails contained in these archives strongly suggest that academics at CRU have prepetrated widescale scientific fraud and engaged in highly unprofessional, if not criminal conduct. Furthermore, it casts a strong shadow of suspicion and doubt on their conclusions of future global climate catastrophe.
These practices include:
- Suppressing the views of dissenting scientists
- Mathematically manipulating climate data to hide features of the curve that disagree with alarmist opinions
- Knowingly incorporating poor quality, unreliable data into their research
- Subverting the peer review process
- Withholding and destroying information in response to Freedom of Information requests
I have no doubt that ClimateGate played a significant role in increasing opposition to the Australian ETS legislation and the fall of Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull.
Plenty of great posts have been written that explain the content of these emails and surrounding issues in depth, so I will just include the links:
Sorry for being incommunicando for the last few weeks. My mother was in the final stages of metastatic breast cancer and she finally passed away earlier this month. I plan to resume posts very shortly.