Bernard Keane and Catholicism:

Geoff Coyne writes: Re. “Kevin and Mary — a match made in Heaven” (yesterday, item 1). I hope that you get an avalanche of letters from all sectors of religion, Christian and otherwise, protesting about Bernard Keane’s vehement attack on the Catholic Church.

To describe the largest religious denomination in the world as “one of the world’s most corrupt and damaging corporations … run by … corrupt cliques of European men”, and then continue on with attacks on miracles, sainthood, religion in politics, etc,  leaves me astounded at his bigotry (and yes, I am a Catholic).

Additionally, such an uninformed and unwarranted attack has left me with little faith in Keane’s ability to comment rationally and factually on any other matter.  It also has me wondering how the Crikey editorial board let this sort of fulmination through for publication.

Marcus L’Estrange writes: Ye Gods, Bernard has really flipped his wig. His next paper may well be the 21st Century version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion; such is his hatred of the Catholic Church.

His unbalanced article clearly misses such points as; no one has to believe in Catholicism if they don’t want to, the Church is one of the major providers of welfare in the world and that The Holy See is more often than not financially bankrupt. Certainly the clergy are not swimming in a life of luxury.

Thank God (pun intended) that Bernard is not teaching history anymore. His view that the ALP is still the traditional home of Catholicism has long gone with secularism clearly taking over the ALP. Catholics are clear entities in the Liberal Party,  (e.g. Turnbull/Abbott), The Nationals, The DLP, the NCC as well as the ALP.

Oh well I wonder what armchair critics such as Bernard actually do when it comes to helping the poor. SFA no doubt?

John Turner writes: Your correspondent does not refer to Kevin Rudd attending Mass and receiving communion at MacKillop Memorial Chapel at North Sydney on 8th October 2009. That attendance was witnessed by my son, David Turner, who attended the same Mass.

“Based on the assumption that (Mr.) Rudd never does anything without reason,” I would suggest that as well as commemorating the death of his mother, he may have been praying for strength and guidance in performing his duties as the country’s Prime Minister.

Barnaby Joyce:

Charles Smith writes: Re. “Rundle: Crazy Barnaby shooting from the heartland” (yesterday, item 2).Your piece today about Crazy Barnaby Joyce and his hinterland of the League of Rights and Douglas Credit is certainly a distinct possibility.  I’d put my money, though, on Santamaria and the NCC, particularly given Joyce’s Catholicism. The Movement, of course, began as the National Catholic Rural Movement.

Since Abbott’s elevation I’ve been forcing myself to plough through Ross Fitzgerald’s The Pope’s Battalions: Santamaria, Catholicism and the Labor Split, UQP, 2003. It’s a book over-crammed with facts linked together by a surprisingly simple narrative making it almost unreadable.

However, towards the end Fitzgerald outlines Santa’s final economic thoughts in a way that leads me to suspect that Crazy Barnaby is actually channelling him. If you can stand it you should have a look at the book from page about 263 onwards. On page 266, for instance, Fitzgerald writes (and quotes Santa):

The stock-market crash of October 1987 was one obvious stimulus to a greater focus on this issue.

“The great question is whether the stock-market collapse … will usher in another Great Depression,” he wrote in his usual catastrophist mode. “The primary cause of the recent crash is to be found not in budget deficits … but in the unparalleled explosion of bank credit propelling share values up into the stratosphere.”

The villains of the piece were — in approximate order of villainousness — the banks, the stock exchanges, the corporate bosses, the academic economists and the politicians who had allowed “the enormous concentration of wealth brought about by the corporate structure of business and the compounding of usurious rates of interest”. All this flowed from the deregulation of the banking system. It was now obvious, he said, that this had been a mistake.

Les Heimann writes: Guy Rundle is “right” about Senator Barnaby Joyce … and wrong! Barnaby will not be sacked, he joins the likes of Nick Minchin who reports directly to the H.R. Nichols Society, Eric Abetz and others in the coalition camp. Actually this lot are quite scary as almost certainly the most idealistically extreme group in politics this country has experienced — and they are absolutely true believers.

Even more cause for concern is that most Australian working families are now totally fed up with the spinning top that is the Labor government even though this giddy group actually did save the jobs of tens of thousands for acting to avoid the tragedies of the GFC. And no matter that Labor has some very real and emerging talent as Ministers and upcoming leaders and much to offer.

Rudd lacks substance and deals with opposition through hyperbole — and it doesn’t wash. It will wane dramatically when faced by a fierce, no holds barred, rough, tough, unprincipled right wing idealistic opponent that will appeal to the public through good old fashioned “Australian values”.

“Nah! we’re far too sophisticated,” you say. Remember One Nation? And border security?

Niall Clugston writes: Re. “The day that Barnaby Joyce made sense” (yesterday, item 19). Adam Schwab’s defence of Barnaby Joyce’s discussion of an American debt default recalls Winston Churchill’s comment on the Anzio bridgehead: “Such words as ‘desperate’ ought not to be used about the position in a battle of this kind when they are false.  Still less should they be used if they were true.”

Emissions trading:

Kevin Cox writes: Re. “‘Carbongate’: the great carbon heist” (yesterday, item 9). By design an emissions trading scheme increases the price of polluting energy. The hope is that by increasing the price of energy, energy suppliers will invest in ways of producing energy without pollution. This may work but it is very complicated and it has unforeseen effects.

There is another approach to increase the production of renewable energy. We can reduce its cost of production.  More than 90% of the cost of renewable energy are finance costs of interest, repayments and tax. We can reduce finance costs by giving zero interest loans for investments in renewables and allowing the loans to be paid off over the life of the energy plant.

This makes renewable energy cheaper than energy from fossil burning plants.  If we do this then the price of energy will drop without an increase in government debt or any tax increase. We can compensate fossil burning energy producers by giving them zero interest loans for renewables but only if they stop producing polluting energy.

Everyone wins including the planet.

Animal Liberation SA’s Geoff Russell writes: Australia’s great carbon scam is now being copied all around the world by people trying to get paid for not doing things they shouldn’t be doing. This is particularly galling in the case of Australia’s livestock farmers.

For over a hundred years more than a few of them have been deforesting the country in a totally unsustainable fashion and making money from it. Now they want to be paid for not deforesting the country while paying not a cent of the carbon debt they knocked up over previous decades. And the people who were clearing half a million hectares a year during the 1990s when the consequences were clear? Are they also demanding compensation?

It’s all a bit like asking for a reward when you stop beating your wife.

Sydney’s paper petitions:

Jimmy Peters writes: Re. Yesterday’s editorial. The sheer hypocrisy of the Sydney newspapers is breath-taking. All year, they have published stories (often from conflicting sources) about how Nathan Rees’ leadership was under threat and that a challenge was imminent.

This almost daily destabilisation, which both newspapers willingly reported in their quest for exclusives, paved the way for an ultimately successful challenge. Those who undermined Rees couldn’t have succeeded without the newspapers providing the platform for their anonymous and disgraceful sniping.

Now, those same newspapers have the audacity to complain that two Premiers have been rolled without “we, the people” having a say!

Christmas cards:

“Postman Pat” writes: Ava Hubble (yesterday, comments) highlights the problems she’s had with postage rates for her Christmas cards. Ms Hubble was clearly taken aback by the “young lady behind the counter’s” insistence on the appropriate postage rates. As a postman, the young lady’s actions warmed my heart. For it is up to us to sort, bundle, bag and deliver all sports of items into about 1200 separate letterboxes each day.

Postie might once have been a pretty cushy job, but as someone who’s been around it’s one of the most challenging things I’ve had to do, maintaining the demanded speed while not going under a truck or hurting anyone with the little red Honda.

One of the most frustrating aspects of the job is the public’s insistence that we deliver oversized mail into all-too-often undersized or stupidly-designed mailboxes. Some of these are from the age of paper rationing, some are triumphs of the aesthetic over the functional. Most are stuffed with a ream of commercial pamphlets. Many seem to assume the existence of only the standard, business-sized letter.

These little issues might only cost me five seconds at your mailbox as I mutilate the article into a postable shape, but multiply this by a few hundred and you get the idea why Australia Post’s many bean-counters get upset.

To those who’ve thought about their mail boxes and the mail they send, I wish you a very merry Christmas.

Climate change:

Matt Andrews writes: Tamas Calderwood (yesterday, comments) sadly still doesn’t get it.  The planet is warming — more energy is entering the Earth than is leaving it.  These energy flows at the top of the atmosphere are directly measured by satellites. Why do we see natural variability (lots of up-and-down jiggles) in “global temperatures” — indeed, so much that over a few years or even a decade or more, the underlying warming trend is easily obscured by the noise? Because the “global temperatures” from GISS, Hadley/CRU, UAH or RSS, are all surface atmospheric temperatures … and the oceans hold far more heat than the atmosphere.

The top 3.2 metres alone of the ocean holds as much heat as all the world’s atmosphere; the oceans have absorbed about 20 times as much heat as the atmosphere over the past half-century. Heat is constantly being shunted from the air to the ocean and back again, and this interplay and its swirls and eddies in space and time are the main factor in the “natural variability” that we see in atmospheric temperatures.

There are other factors too, like aerosols, ice, forest cover and so on, but the big one is this exchange of heat between atmosphere and ocean and its various manifestations small and large.  The size of this noisiness — natural variation — is why it’s nonsensical to talk about global atmospheric temperature trends over just a few years; and this is partly why “climate” is broadly defined in terms of periods of at least 30 years.

And as for the throwaway comments about “hide the decline”, as if the Hadley/CRU data was suddenly suspect as a result of the stolen emails hoo-haa, a quick reality check:  despite the unending noise from the climate contrarian quarter, the emails show precisely zero evidence of unethical manipulation of data.  See, among many other sources on this, New Scientist.

Randall DeWitt writes: The “rapid” decline in the planetary ice is not directly due to the atmospheric CO2 accumulation. But rather due to the negative effects of humanities aquatic thermal accumulation that has recklessly been overlooked by the scientific community.

What hasn’t yet been realized, is that the stability of the planets ice is directly linked to the stability of the thermal balance of nature within the aquatic environment. What has happened to trigger this rapid decline in the planets ice is that the dominant downwards direction of conduction has been neutralized by the human related aquatic thermal accumulation, which could not have developed from the atmospheric CO2 accumulation alone.

This condition is the direct result of humanity taking the planets waters for granted from a thermal standpoint, just as was done with over fishing and the dumping of garbage into the oceans. Potentially the most damaging thermal contributor of all might be the oil industry.

While gathering thermal data, I was shocked to learn that apparently no government agency requires the oil industry to produce thermal records to insure that the extraction of vast quantities of oil isn’t increasing the natural rate in which thermal energy is being transferred from the warmer planet surface into the waters.

Mark Byrne writes: I remind readers that Tamas Calderwood has already stated that he will not believe in dangerous climate change until it has happened. With Tamas having adopted this view, we recap some of the evidence of which Tamas is in denial.  Clear longer trend warming is evident. And short term cooling trends are normal despite the underlying long term warming.

And the extreme 1998 global surface temperature is well understood to be far above the long term trend and associated with a super El Nino. Just as the extreme 2008 below trend temperature is associated with a double whammy La Nina and solar minima. Also contradicting Tamas’s recent assertions, is well supported evidence that Earth is absorbing more energy than it is releasing. And the strong evidence for ocean heat gain.

Jim “sceptical” Ivins writes: Recently, I’ve seen lots of scaremongering in the media about something called “summer” coming to Australia. A bunch of so called “scientists” are predicting January will be so hot that many Australians will stop turning up for work and head for the beach instead.

I just have done a “linear regression” on some data I found on the web.  But instead of showing you that, here are the differences between forecast daily maxima in Perth over the next three days:

Mon: -10C
Tue: -3C
Wed: -1C

See the NEGATIVE sign in front of those temperature changes.  The BOM are actually forecasting that the temperature will DROP from a sweltering high of 39C on Sunday (I went to the beach) to a high of just 25C on Wednesday.  That’s a DECREASE of 14 degrees.

Summer?  What rubbish.  The whole thing is clearly a left-wing conspiracy dreamed up by a bunch of lazy academics just so they won’t have to run classes for the next couple of months.

I have emails to prove it.