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>Taking a break over Christmas

December 19, 2008 1 comment

>I’m taking a break over Christmas so regular posts will resume in the new year.

Thanks to everyone who dropped by and took the time to add a comment.

Have a great Christmas holiday.



(Nothing Follows)
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Categories: Miscellaneous

>Climate facts not important to Climate Faithful

December 18, 2008 3 comments

>In any argument with the Climate Faithful the first response to inconvenient facts undermining the AGW proposition is to dismiss the credentials of the information’s source.

“He’s not a climate scientist” is a common statement.

Neither, one should point out, is Rajendra Pachauri, the head of IPCC.

Having failed to bring the argument to an end by questioning people’s qualifications the Climate Faithful then move on to associating scientists with the oil industry.

When David Evans comments on climate science it’s a bit hard to question his credentials:

Dr David Evans worked for the Australian Greenhouse Office from 1999 to 2005, building the carbon accounting model that Australia uses to track carbon in its biosphere for the purposes of the Kyoto Protocol. He is a mathematician and engineer, with six university degrees including a PhD from Stanford University.

He must be a cigarette smoking, oil industry consultant…

Here’s his opinion piece on the government’s new emissions trading scheme:

Rudd has failed to see through the vested interests that promote anthropogenic global warming (AGW), the theory that human emissions of carbon cause global warming. Though masquerading as “science based”, the promoters of AGW have a medieval outlook and are in fact anti-science. Meanwhile carbon is innocent, and the political class is plunging ahead with making us poorer because they do not understand what science really is or what the real science is.

The Renaissance began when the absolute authority of the church and ancient texts was overthrown. Science then evolved as our most reliable method for acquiring knowledge, free of superstition and political authority. Suppose you wanted to know whether big cannonballs or small cannonballs fell faster. In medieval times you argued theoretically with what could be gleaned from the Bible, the works of Aristotle, or maybe a Papal announcement. In the Renaissance you ignored the authorities and simply dropped cannon balls from a tower and observed what happened – this was science, where empirical evidence trumps theory.

From 1975 to 2001 the global temperature trended up. How do you empirically determine the cause of this global warming? It turns out we can learn a lot simply by observing where the warming occurred: each possible cause of global warming heats the atmosphere differently, heating some parts before others. The pattern of warming is the cause’s “signature”.

The signature of an increased greenhouse effect consists of two features: a hotspot about 10 km up in the atmosphere over the tropics, and a combination of broad stratospheric cooling and broad tropospheric warming. The signature of ozone depletion consists just of the second feature. These signatures are theoretically derived by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and are integral to our understanding of how the atmosphere works.

We have been observing temperatures in the atmosphere for decades using radiosondes – weather balloons with thermometers that radio back the temperature as the balloon ascends through the atmosphere. The radiosonde measurements for 1979-1999 show broad stratospheric cooling and broad tropospheric warming, but they show no tropical hotspot. Not even a small one.

Empirically, we therefore know that an increased greenhouse effect was not a significant cause of the recent global warming. (Either that or the signatures from the IPCC are wrong, so its climate models and predictions are rubbish anyway.)

Human carbon emissions were occurring at the time but the greenhouse effect did not increase. Therefore human carbon emissions did not increase the greenhouse effect, and did not cause global warming. So AGW is wrong, and carbon is innocent. Suspect exonerated – wrong signature.

Alarmist scientists (supporters of AGW) objected that the radiosonde thermometers were not accurate and maybe the hotspot was there but went undetected. But there were hundreds of radiosondes, so statistically this is unlikely. They have also suggested we ignore the radiosonde thermometers, and use the radiosonde wind measurements instead. When combined with a theory about wind shear they estimated the temperatures on their computers – and say that the results show that we cannot rule out the presence of a hotspot. But thermometers are designed to measure temperature, so it’s a bit of a stretch to claim that wind gauges are accidentally better at it. Serious alarmist scientists do not claim that the hotspot was found, only that we might have missed it. The obvious conclusion is that the hotspot was too weak to be easily detected. We cannot collect any more data from the past warming, and there is no sign of the hotspot in the data that was collected – so the occasional claims that appear on the Internet that the hotspot has been found are simply wrong.

So can we tell from the observed warming pattern what did cause the global warming? Unfortunately we have little idea of the signatures of some of the suspects, such as cosmic rays or the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, so we cannot say except to note that ozone depletion was one of the causes.

Is there any observational evidence in favor of AGW? As of 2003, none at all.

The only supporting evidence for AGW was the old ice core data. The old ice core data, gathered from 1985, showed that in the past half million years, through several global warmings and coolings, the earth’s temperature and atmospheric carbon levels rose and fell in lockstep. AGW was coming into vogue in the 1980s, so it was widely assumed that it was the carbon changes causing the temperature changes.

By the late 1990s ice core techniques had improved. In the old ice cores the data points were a few thousand years apart, but in the new ice core data they were only a few hundred years apart. In the early 1990s, New Scientist magazine anticipated that the higher-resolution data would seal the case for AGW.

But the opposite occurred. By 2003 it had been established to everyone’s satisfaction that temperature changes preceded corresponding carbon changes by an average of 800 years: so temperature changes caused carbon changes – a warmer ocean supports more carbon in the atmosphere, after delays due to mixing. So the ice core data no longer supported AGW. The alarmists failed to effectively notify the public.

After several prominent public claims by skeptics in 2008 that there is no evidence left for AGW, alarmist scientists offered only two points.

First, laboratory tests prove that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. But that observation tells us nothing about how much the global temperature changes if extra carbon enters the real, complicated atmosphere. Every emitted carbon atom raises the global temperature, but the missing hotspot shows that the effect is negligible.

Second, computer models. Computer models are just huge concatenations of calculations that, individually, could have been performed on a handheld calculator. They are theory, not evidence.

Governments have spent over $50 billion on climate research since 1990, and we have not found any actual evidence for AGW.

So if there is no evidence to support AGW, and the missing hotspot shows that AGW is wrong, why does most of the world still believe in AGW?

Part of the answer is that science changed direction after a large constituency of vested interests had invested in AGW. The old ice core data provided support from 1985, the IPCC was established by the UN in 1988 to look into human changes to climate, and the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated in 1997 to limit carbon emissions. By 1999 the western political class were doing something, the western media were rallying behind “saving the planet”, and scientists were being paid by governments to research the effects of human-caused global warming.

But then the evidence took science off in a different direction: the new ice core data in 2003, the missing hotspot in 2007, and the global temperature has stopped trending up since 2001. Governments, the media, and many scientists did not notice.

The remainder of the answer for the current belief in AGW is darker and more political. An offbeat theory in the 1970s, AGW was adopted by a group of about 45 atmospheric modelers and physicists. That group dominated climate science journals, peer reviewed each others papers, and hindered competing ideas by underhand methods. AGW gained political support from proponents of nuclear power, and vice-president Gore appointed AGW supporters to science positions in the USA.

AGW grabbed control of climate funding in key western countries. Lack of diversity in science funding has been a major problem since government took over funding science in WWII. Science is like a courtroom – protagonists put forward their best cases, and out of the argument some truth emerges. But if only one side is funded and heard, then truth tends not to emerge. This happened in climate science, which is almost completely government funded and has been dominated by AGW for two decades. Skeptics are mainly scientists who are retired or who have moved on to other areas – their funding no longer depends on allegiance to AGW. The alarmists are full time, well funded, and hog the megaphone.

AGW was always promoted as being supported by nearly all scientists (though polls and history do not support this). Counting numbers of supporters and creating a bandwagon effect by announcing you are in the majority is a political tactic.

AGW always advanced principally by political means; as a scientific theory it was always weak, and now the evidence contradicts it. It’s like a return to medieval times, where authority rules and evidence is ignored. Notice how the proponents of AGW don’t want to talk about evidence of the causes? Anything but evidence of cause – attack people’s motives, someone else “has the evidence”, theoretical models, evidence that global warming is occurring, how important they are, what credentials they have, how worthy they are, the dog ate my evidence, “the science is settled”, polar bears, anything. Talking about the evidence of the cause of global warming does not advance their cause. Politics says AGW is correct; science says it is wrong.

Science demands evidence. Evidence trumps theory, no matter what the political authority of those promoting the theory, even if they dress up in lab coats and have job titles that say “scientist”. The hotspot is missing and there is no evidence for AGW. The alarmists cannot ignore this and continue to play political games forever. They are entitled to argue the case for AGW, but they should also acknowledge the evidence and inform the political class that AGW appears to be wrong – even if it means risking their status and their jobs (and yes, we scientists are also people who have kids and mortgages).

There are two central lies in the political promotion of AGW.

The first appears in Gore’s movie. He gave the old ice core data as the sole reason for believing AGW (the rest of the movie presents evidence that global warming occurred, a separate issue). He said that increases in carbon caused increases in temperature in the past warming events. But Gore made his movie in 2005, two years after the new ice core data had established the opposite! Gore’s weasel words when he introduced that segment show he knew what he was about to say was false. Who would have believed his pitch if he added “and each temperature rise occurred 800 years before the corresponding rise in carbon that caused it”?

The second lie is the hockey stick graph, which presented the last thousand years of global temperature as the flat handle of a hockey stick and the next hundred as the sharply rising blade. The hockey stick graph was heavily promoted by the IPCC in 2001, and the IPCC even adopted it as its logo before it got discredited. It is significant because most non-scientist AGW supporters seem to believe some version of the hockey stick. When the IPCC “scientists” who produced the graph were asked to show their data for past temperatures, they refused (true scientists share data). But one of those scientists was a British academic and subject to the British Freedom of Information Act, and after two years of stonewalling all was revealed. It showed they had grossly skewed the data (even omitting inconvenient data to a folder labeled “Censored”), and that the computer program used to process the data had the hockey stick shape built into it – you could feed it stock market data instead of tree ring data and you would still get a hockey stick! In reality it was warmer in the Middle Ages than today, and there was a mini ice age around 1700 from which we have since been warming ever since. Finally, the sharply rising blade of the hockey stick is contradicted so far by actual temperatures, which from 2001 to 2008 have been flat – something all of the climate models got wrong.

Among non-scientists, AGW appeals strongly to two groups. Those who support big government love the idea of carbon regulations – if you control carbon emissions then you control most human activity. And those who like to feel morally superior to the bulk of their fellow citizens by virtue of a belief (the “warm inner glow” and moral vanity of the politically correct) are firmly attached to AGW. These groups are politically adept, are planning to spend your money and tell you how to eat, travel and how to live, and they are strenuously avoiding the evidence.

The media has avoided presenting information that undermines AGW, until recently. Instead they promoted alarmism, and discredited skeptics as being in the pay of big oil – while giving a free pass to Gore, who made a movie based on an obvious lie then made millions selling carbon offsets. The media is very keen to present evidence that global warming is occurring, but have you noticed how quiet it is on evidence that carbon emissions caused it?

In 2007 almost no one in the west knew that the hotspot was missing, that there was no evidence for AGW, that temperatures had been flat for six years, that the hockey stick was a fraud, or that Al Gore lied when he gave the old ice core data as a reason for blaming carbon. But due to the Internet the public is gradually finding out anyway, which risks further discrediting many media outlets. Why buy a newspaper if it’s not going to tell you the actual news?

And as the public become generally aware, what politician is going to risk being so ideologically stupid as to unnecessarily wreck the economy by slashing carbon emissions? Hmmm, Kevin Rudd?

In summary, the IPCC committed an unbelievable scientific fraud in its use of the Hokey Stick in its Third Assessment Report.

It has not yet been called to account for that fraud by media and cultural elites.

Climate models are also demonstrably fraudulent in the same way that financial models are (and you’ll recall that working on financial models is something I do).

The hot spot signature in the troposphere that MUST exist for CO2 to be the primary driver of climate change does NOT exist.

Therefore, as Evans points out, CO2 has been exonerated of the charge of heating the climate.

Not that these incontrovertible facts will get in the way of the Climate Faithful pushing their socialist agenda.


Unfortunately, these facts are not getting in the way of the Australian government destroying our economy.

PS – It’s bluddy cold here in Canberra. Summer should have well and truly arrived by now. My fingers are almost too cold to type this article. Must be all of that global warming they’re talking about.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Climate Change

>The fascist roots of the modern environmental movement

December 17, 2008 2 comments

>Lubos Motl has a timely reminder of the roots of the modern Environmental movement.

I should note that there are two types of environmentalist.

The first is the one associated with Big Green (Sierra Club, Greenpeace etc) who use those organisations’ political clout to achieve socialist policies.

The second are those who are genuinely interested in protecting the environment.

This article relates more to the former than the latter.

Many environmentalists seem to think that their movement is cool, new, original, and thought-provoking. They think that their “modern” ideas were invented by their widely promoted icons. It is hard to believe that they think so but some of them probably do. Well, the reality is very different. Similar ideas have been around for centuries and their incorporation within the modern industrial society began roughly seven decades ago.

Let me begin with the following quote:

“We recognize that separating humanity from nature, from the whole of life, leads to humankind’s own destruction and to the death of nations. Only through a re-integration of humanity into the whole of nature can our people be made stronger. That is the fundamental point of the biological tasks of our age. Humankind alone is no longer the focus of thought, but rather life as a whole… This striving toward connectedness with the totality of life, with nature itself, a nature into which we are born, this is the deepest meaning and the true essence of ******** ********* thought.”

Beautiful, isn’t it? You may ask who wrote these sentences. Was it Jared Diamond in 2005? Or was it Al Gore in 1992? Or Rachel Carson in 1962? Or Alexander Ač in 2007? No, someone else was the author. It was Prof Ernst Lehmann, a leading German biologist.

You may also want to know that he was the leading biologist of the Nazi regime and the asterisks above replaced the words “National Socialist”. The words were written as early as in 1934 and I borrowed them from Peter Staudenmaier’s insightful essay, Fascist Ecology: The “Green Wing” of the Nazi Party and its Historical Antecedents. In Staudenmaier’s text, you will see that the Nazis were centuries ahead of the contemporary environmentalists in their own discipline.

Of course, we’re not talking about one biologist here. Like Rajendra Pachauri, Adolf Hitler was an avid vegetarian. His beloved German shepherd dogs had to become vegetarians, too. 😉 Organic farming in the Nazi Germany flourished and the country was the world’s leader in this activity. SS leader Heinrich Himmler had his own organic farm and used the herbs to treat his favorite troops (Hitler preferred homeopathy to achieve the same goal). The national parks in Germany were expanding, especially in the “sacred forests”.

Medical experiments on animals were banned by Hitler himself. Unfortunately, the Jewish children were exempt. Incidentally, the previous two sentences are not unrelated. One of the most important Nazis’ problems with the Jews was that the Jews were promoting the alienation of man from nature: they were “anti-natural”. What a sin! We know quite many ideologues who criticize the “alienation” (and its proponents) even today: these ideologues usually no longer use the word “Jews” for the “anti-natural” people.

You should also notice, as someone has quipped, that people who want to treat animals like humans also want to treat humans like animals – because these two assertions are logically equivalent.

Himmler, the regime’s chief mass murderer, was actually a strict animal rights advocate, too. He considered shooting birds or animals as “pure murder” and waxed lyrical about the ancient Germanic “respect for animals” that they may have borrowed from Buddhism. Himmler was impressed by the ancient Germans who put rats on trial and gave them a chance to improve their behavior. 🙂

The main person who prevented Hitler from imposing much more radical environmentalist regulations may have been Goering who liked fishing and shooting. Nevertheless, even Goering had to be politically “correct” in the 1930s so he assured Prussia that the years of maltreatment of animals under the democracy were over and anyone who flouted the Nazis’ concern for animal rights would be imprisoned. Oh, he was so nice – almost as politically “correct” as Heidi Cullen.

At this moment, many green hearts among the readers must feel very jealous but let me assure you that you first have to take over the military, police, and courts, and only later, you will be able to do the “great” things that your predecessors did in the 1930s.

Hitler needed to abolish trade unions at the very beginning of his reign but there was one ban that was even more urgent and occurred earlier: in 1933, he passed the Enabling Act that regulated cooking of lobsters (this great friend of Nature hated their screams when tossed into boiling water). A few years later, hunting with dogs (and on horseback) was banned, too.

Another activity that kills many people – and that some of the “deniers” tried to justify – is second-hand smoking, right? Well, Adolf Hitler cared about it, too. In 1943, smoking was prohibited in the NSDAP offices. It was banned in streetcars in 1944. However, the great regulator realized that the ban in the Wehrmacht could weaken his military power so it was always allowed to smoke in their military offices.

Appraisal

Now, let me emphasize that the contemporary environmentalists haven’t done the same set of bad things as Adolf Hitler and his comrades. On the other hand, it is equally important to notice that the contemporary greens also haven’t invented any ideas or views that would be really new. Everything has been around for quite some time.

What many of these people share with Adolf Hitler – and all fundamentalists in the world – is the identification of their own views with the “perfect morality”. This “perfect morality” must be imposed upon other people, too. This attitude to ethics is always dangerous. And it may become extremely dangerous if the proponents of the ideology are given the right opportunities.

In his book, The Green and the Brown: a History of Conservation in Nazi Germany, Frank Uekoetter analyzes many aspects of the tight symbiosis between the Nazi and the green movements. He also considers the ordinary greens in Nazi Germany to be opportunists.

Well, many of them have surely been opportunists and there are thousands of opportunists in the contemporary green movement, too. But you shouldn’t forget that for the opportunists to exist and benefit, there must also be an opportunity. The desire of a regime, the Nazi regime in this case, to regulate human life and to prescribe everyone his or her values and behavior is an excellent opportunity for everyone whose basic goal can be described in the same words.

So it was not really a coincidence that the most environmentalist major regime in the world’s history so far was the Nazi regime. If Adolf Hitler had avoided the war and the mass murder, if he had died in peace, and if the green movement began to contaminate the society in the late 20th century anyway, Adolf Hitler would surely be viewed as one of the classics of the environmentalist movement.

Unfortunately, he has also done other things which is why most contemporary greens are going to pretend that they have almost nothing to do with him, even though 90+ percent of their ideology has really been plagiarized.

And that’s the memo.

I sometimes wonder whether the Useful Idiots of the Climate Movement understand exactly who they are involved with.


I doubt it.


(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Environment, Fascism

>US is in the eye of the storm. More financial shocks to come.

December 16, 2008 2 comments

>This piece from 60 Minutes shows that things are far from rosy in the United States.

If a $700 billion bailout is required to deal with the problems so far then how much is needed to cope with the next wave of financial shocks?

Will Obama be able to navigate the correct course in order to get the economy back on its feet in the shortest possible time?

It seems unlikely given the Keynesian instincts of the economic team he has appointed.

That said, I think that a McCain presidency would have also taken the wrong decisions.

(Nothing Follows)


Categories: Economics, United States

>Poll – 2009 Islamic Terrorist Death Toll

December 16, 2008 1 comment

>How many people do you think will be killed by Islamists in 2009?

I’ll be using The Religion of Peace’s count as the data source.

This poll will be open until 31 December at which time I’ll publish the result.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Islam, terrorism

>Australia’s economy is tanking. Government doesn’t care, outlines economy killing emissions trading scheme.

December 16, 2008 1 comment

>The irreverent Gerard Jackson points out that Australia’s economy is tanking at an alarming rate.

In response, the government proposes classical Keynesian pump-priming, which will not only kick the can down the road but make things even worse when we have to take tough decisions to fix things.


It has also brought forward infrastructure development to help. While I agree in general that we should maintain a strong level of infrastructure investment it’s also true that less than 25% of funding is spent in the first year after plans are announced meaning that it will have little effect in the next couple of years, which are the most critical.

On top of that the government has laid out plans for its emissions trading scheme, which starts with a modest-looking 5% reduction target but in reality is a Trojan horse for the fell hand of government interference in the economy.

Accountants and lawyers should be rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of plunging their snouts into the public trough thus joining a bevy of fraudulent climate scientists whose pseudo-science supports the AGW position.

The Australian economy is on the skids and our economic commentariat don’t even know it. The AIG (Australian Industry Group) report for November states that “manufacturing activity fell for a sixth month in a row”. How can this be when unemployment has barely budged from 4.3 per cent? The important thing to note about the AIG performance manufacturing index is that anything below 50 indicates a contraction.

In June both production and the PMI fell below 50 and stayed there. Starting in September all three indicators began to rapidly fall, with employment dropping from 46 to 33.2, the PMI from 47.2 to 32.7 and production from 48.7 to 30.4. Like a bunch of bunnies caught in the headlights of an oncoming car our commentariat were mesmerised by the low unemployment rate. So long as this remained low there could be no recession. Hence their current confusion.

In 1999 I warned the US economy was heading into recession. I stressed that emphasis on the falling unemployment rate would conceal the vitally important fact that manufacturing was contracting and shedding labour. What was being called a “dual economy” was in fact and economy that was experiencing the emergence of masses of malinvestments that signalled the beginning of a recession. The economy still appeared sound to economic commentators because unemployment was still falling.

But what they could not grasp — and still can’t — is that monetary expansion had increased the demand for labour at the lower stages of production; those close to the point of consumption. Eventually the recession would work its way down the production structure, cutting output and raising the level of unemployment. This is exactly what happened, just as it happened to Clinton it happened to Bush. The same thing is also happening to the Australian economy.

Despite the fact that statistics clearly show the recession first striking at manufacturing (the higher stages of production) our brilliant economic commentariat insist on promoting the Keynesian snake-oil recipe of increased consumption spending to “counter the downturn”. We had eight “prominent economists”, apparently led by former Treasury secretary Tony Cole, proposing that Rudd temporarily cut superannuation contributions in order to increase consumption spending.

What they are proposing is based on the mercantilist myth — taken up by Keynes — that consumption drives the economy. Not one single member of the financial media know this. George Megalogenis, a senior writer for The Australian, is typical of the breed. According to this genius there need be no rise in unemployment because

“The case for business hanging on to staff is stronger than it was during recessions in 1990-91 and 1982-83 because the economy is in a radically different shape.”

This is sheer economic illiteracy. Completely undeterred by economic laws, Megalogenis went on to argue that dismissing labour simply because the demand for a company’s products is dropping is really “dumb” because it

“will only make any recession deeper than it need be because every dismissed worker drags down consumer spending with them. (Business’s new mantra, The Australian, 6 December 2008).”

This is the purchasing power of wages fallacy which holds that it is higher wages that raises living standards. This argument leads to the utterly absurd conclusion that poor countries can easily lift themselves out of power by legislating for wages to be raised to Western levels. To make is so simple that even Megalogenis can grasp it, wage rates are determined by the value of the worker’s marginal product. In plain English, his productivity. And the only thing that can bring about a sustained increase in productivity is capital accumulation.

Completely blind to what ought to be self-evident errors Megalogenis pursues the fallacy, arguing that the beneficial effects Rudd’s $8.68 billion binge that is directed at “those with the most pressing living expenses” could be offset by higher income earners increasing their savings.

Let us understand something fundamental here: Savings fuel an economy and entrepreneurship drives it. Without savings there can be no capital accumulation, i.e. economic growth. Increased consumption is the result of this process, not the cause. The classical economists understood that what a country needs if it wants more consumption is more production.

What our media economists have yet to understand is that though consumption is something like 66 per cent to 70 per cent of GDP, the latter greatly underestimates economic activity because it does not take account of the expenditure of intermediate goods on the false grounds that it would be double-counting. My own rough estimate put consumption at about 33 per cent of total spending, meaning that nearly two-thirds of this spending would be by business. Given this approach it is easy to see that it is business spending that propels the economy and not consumption. John Stuart Mill presented the classical view on this matter when he wrote:

“What a country wants to make it richer, is never consumption, but production. Where there is the latter, we may be “sure that” there is no want of the former. (John Stuart Mill, Essays on Economics and Society 1824—1845, Liberty Fund, 2006, p. 263).”

Once again the economic commentariat find themselves without a clue. But surely Rudd’s spending of the surplus could help stop the recession? No way. I do not know of a single case where consumption spending lifted an economy out of recession. Although it’s possible for a government to trigger a consumption boom, such a boom would be marked by a largely stagnating manufacturing sector.

Moreover, from a purely economic perspective consumption alone could only be relied on to avert or overcome recession in a two-stage economy. This one in which there is a single production stage. The maintenance and supply of capital would then depend entirely on consumer demand. It goes without saying that this would be an impossible state of affairs. We live in a world of multiple stages of production. It can be no other way. However, the two-stage model brings into focus the fact that the argument for consumer spending to rescue the economy from recession is actually based on the fallacy of underconsumption.

In any event, recession has arrived and I consider an unemployment rate of 10 per cent to 12 per cent a distinct possibility, particularly when one considers Rudd’s reactionary approach to wage rate determination.

Consider the following from the Australian Industry Group.

Performance of Manufacturing Index

  • Manufacturing activity fell for a sixth month in a row in November.
  • The seasonally adjusted Australian Industry Group-PricewaterhouseCoopers Australian PMI® fell solidly, by 7.7 points to 32.7, well below the 50 point mark separating expansion from contraction. This represents a second consecutive new low for the series since it was begun in 1992.
  • Recent results reflect an accelerating loss of consumer and business confidence, driven by worsening news on the global economy, falling household wealth, and the weak housing sector. This climate is being reflected in falling demand for manufactures.
  • November’s fall in the Australian PMI® reflects declines across all components of the index. Production fell for the sixth consecutive month and more strongly than in recent months. This reflected the ongoing decline in new orders, which fell rapidly and for the seventh consecutive month. In line with the easing of production, employment fell for the ninth month in November.
  • On the positive side, wages growth eased slightly and selling price growth was broadly stable. Input cost growth rose marginally.
  • Inventories fell moderately, while supplier deliveries fell solidly. Exports fell sharply in line with the decline in global manufactures trade.
  • Manufacturing activity fell in all states with New South Wales the best and Tasmania the worst performing states.

Performance of Services Index

  • Services sector activity contracted for an eighth consecutive month in November, with the turmoil in global financial markets continuing to batter consumer and business confidence.
  • The seasonally adjusted Australian Industry Group/Commonwealth Bank Performance of Services Index (Australian PSI®) fell 4.3 points to 37.8, below the key 50.0 level separating expansion from contraction.
  • The sales, new orders and employment sub-indexes all fell to new record lows in November, while supplier deliveries and inventories also declined significantly.
  • The falling price of oil and commodities lead to a moderation in input cost increases, while selling price growth remains subdued.
  • While the weakness in services remains broadly-based, the rate of contraction did slow in personal & recreational services; accommodation, cafes & restaurants; and finance & insurance.
  • Activity fell in all states, with the rate of contraction slowing only in Tasmania.

Performance of Construction Index

  • The national construction industry contracted further in November, and at a more rapid pace than the previous month, as the global economic and financial crisis and heightened aversion to risk continued to take a heavy toll on activity.
  • The seasonally adjusted Australian Industry Group/ Housing Industry Association Performance of Construction Index (Australian PCI®) fell by 4.4 points to 32.0, to remain below the critical 50 point level (which separates expansion from contraction) for a ninth consecutive month. Moreover, it signalled the second steepest fall in industry conditions since the survey began in September 2005.
  • The decline reflected reductions in activity on a broad industry front, although the worst conditions were evident in the house building and apartment sectors where activity fell to new survey lows.
  • Most firms linked the reduction in total construction activity to the on-going economic crisis and poor market demand. There were also reports that competition to secure contracts had intensified, resulting in a higher level of unsuccessful tenders and diminishing new project work.
  • For the industry as a whole, levels of activity, new orders and employment all fell substantially in November and at record rates (for this survey). As a consequence, firms were forced to further scale back their deliveries from suppliers.
  • While construction material (input) costs increased, the rate of growth moderated for a second consecutive month.

This is all bad, bad news for Australia.


Our economy is held up by the IMF and others as an example for the rest of the world to follow. I suspect that this opinion has lulled political leaders in Canberra into a false sense of security that has led them to make the shocking decision to stick $10 billion into the economy to try to avoid the recession.

Note to Labor. The recession has arrived and it’s impossible for a dose of Keynsian economics to subvert the laws of financial gravity.

(Nothing Follows)
Categories: Australia, Economics

>Shoe throwing incident confirms Bush’s greatness

December 15, 2008 4 comments

>Iraqi journalist Muntazer al-Zaidi from Al-Baghdadia television network achieved glory throughout the Ummah and from their left wing soulmates in the rest of the world when he undertook the time honoured Arab tradition of throwing one’s shoes at an opponent.

Check out Dailykos, Firedoglake, HuffPo etc etc and you’ll see many posts supporting al-Zaidi and sliming President Bush.

Parenthetically, when has a mainstream right wing blog or news outlet been anything other than outraged when a Democratic president is treated so shabbily?

By working for an organisation that didn’t exist under Saddam and attending a press conference that would never take place under Saddam hosted by a democratically elected leader that didn’t exist under Saddam and enjoying the newly minted freedom that didn’t exist under Saddam and shouting “It is the farewell kiss, you dog” showing he did not feel the threat to his personal safety that existed under Saddam and throwing his shoes at a world leader that under Saddam would have seen him fed feet first into a tree shredder, Muntazer al-Zaidi – journalist, nascent pin up boy of the Muslim world and hero of the world’s left – confirmed Bush’s greatness.

That is the irony that the left has missed in its pathological hatred of George W Bush.

Freedom reigns in Iraq.

Bush made it happen.

It would never have happened under a President Gore.

The old feller has pretty good reflexes, too, don’t you think?

That’s impressive stuff.

The fact that he kept his composure and gave his response within the framework of the legitimacy of dissent in a free society probably taught the Iraqis a valuable lesson.

(Nothing Follows)