The Government vs. the Miners:

David Hand writes: Re. “Life’s a party in Minerals Week, where everyone misses the point” (yesterday, item 9).  Well once again Bernard is doing his bit for Kevin Rudd, adding to the pile of misinformation coming from all sides about the RSPT.  Among other errors  he fails in the following issues.

  1. Assessing the impact of the RSPT by looking at yesterdays share price is a bit like deciding global warming is crap because it was a bit chilly this morning.  I would point out to Bernard that investors will express their confidence in mining based on how they think senior management will perform.  So if for example I invest in XYZ Mining Ltd, which has among its assets a huge mine in Outer Banana Republic Land, and the government of that country decides to impose, I don’t know, say, a 40% super profits tax, I might trust XYZ’s management to stop expanding its mine there and start something elsewhere, thus protecting the value of my investment.  The outcome is that the company is well managed and keeps my confidence.  Bernard, the impact of this tax will be on investment by miners in Australia, not today’s share price.  (Hmmm, what was that Xstrata announcement I glimpsed in today’s news?)
  2. Credit Suisse’s “actual advice” may well show neutral impact of an RSPT when iron ore is between $55 and $70 per ton.  But the iron ore spot price today was ahem… $146 per tonne.  Perhaps Bernard could pass on to us Credit Suisse’s “actual advice” about what an iron or miner should do with that new mine they are thinking about when a great big new tax is introduced in one country but not others and the price is $146.  I’m no financial whizz but even I can think of something.

One more thing.  Almost everyone in favour of the tax, including Kevin’s dreadful ads, is discussing the question, “Is it fair?” when the question those opposing the tax are asking and what Kevin needs to answer is, “Will it work?”.

Well I guess if it’s about Kevin’s re-election and he needs to hold it all together of about three more months then he might scrape through with a tacky class war but Australia’s future prosperity seems well down the order of his, and Bernard’s, priorities.

Noel Smith writes: I agree with Bernard Keane’s view but let’s remember when someone is drowning and panicking the life saver usually needs to give them a good punch to get them under control and out of the water — just like the Rudd/Swann Stimulus.

It might be a bit the same with the general public, they have been saved but not sure how or who did it and feeling a bit bruised. The RBA hasn’t helped with the inflation rate obsession — belt the poor to slow down the rich by upping interest rates.

If I was the government, I would forget the advertising restraint and go for it, the RSPT ads would be just the start. Forget the free press, it is dead. Despite my encouragement my four kids (now young adults) have never read a paper and don’t watch the news. They walk out when I start to quote Crikey — the new media (and you are old already!).

The government (any government) cannot rely on old farts like Murdoch or Stokes to give them anything. So why use the so called free press to try and get your message across. And by the way it is about time you had a peek and go at both those two rent seekers. They make the mining industry look like World Vision.

Mark Heydon writes: Bernard Keane’s article highlights that the stimulus programme instituted by the government was timed well, targeted well, and seemingly of about the right magnitude.

While the government can take credit for implementing the stimulus, my understanding is that the brains behind this sit in the Treasury.

I think this goes to show how well things can work out when the advice of those with intellect and hard analysis on their side are followed, rather than the situation more frequently seen where politicians act on nothing more than their gut instinct or the line of least resistance.

Bob Gosford:

Justin Templer writes: Re. “Council bans Aboriginal street artists — racist or just dumb?” (yesterday, item 10). Matters relating to indigenous Australians are an essential part of the reportage of any serious journal of Australian affairs.  For your coverage you often rely on Bob Gosford, who clearly believes that in the outback the one-eyed reporter is king.

Take his latest headline (or was it droit d’Editor ?): “Council bans Aboriginal street artists – racist or just dumb?” The correct answer is probably “neither”, but you would not want to rely on Bob in your search for an objective viewpoint.

Bob tells us that “Crikey spent some time yesterday morning wandering through the mall”. Did you all fly — must be hell on the expenses? This is not serious journalism — it’s just a man with a pencil and a locked-in view.

Cafe Bones:

Rod Metcalfe writes: Re. “Alexander and sacred Lib ground at Bennelong … tell it to the voters” (yesterday, item 2). I was at Café Bones once and a cyclist was passing through. He was barely keeping upright travelling at a very slow pace.

A dog, chased by another, didn’t see him, clipped the front wheel and yelped in surprise. The cyclist remained upright, barely, and rode on. No harm to either. However, the dog owners at Café Bones were in a lynching mood as the cyclist apparently hadn’t stopped as to inquire as to the dog’s well-being.

Sorry dog lovers, I am in the half that hates them. And not let’s mentioned unleashed dogs on beaches which clearly indicate they must be leashed.

Or little black bags of doggie-doo dumped beside garbage bins and not put inside.

Global warming:

Geoff Russell writes: Don’t feed the trolls probably applies to Tamas Calderwood  (yesterday, comments), but in case some people haven’t had troll recognition lessons, I’ll reply briefly.  Indeed Tamas, Bernard Keane didn’t bring forward any new evidence to support his claim about various people having “flat earther” status. But that’s probably because he’s been too busy with mining taxes to notice.

The most significant piece was in Nature a couple of week back, which analyses  the various records of ocean heat content and shows that plenty of the extra heat arriving at the earth as a result of our changing the atmosphere is, as expected, warming the oceans.

Warming oceans are just the ticket to melt ice sheets. Also a forthcoming paper by James Hansen shows that Tamas’s so called 12 year cooling trend just isn’t. There is no 12 year cooling trend.  Tamas can’t seem to tell the difference between peak temperatures (we haven’t had one of those for a while) and averages, which are rising. A pre-publication “executive summary” of Hansen’s paper is here.

As for investigations of Michael Mann, there have been a few already and they have vindicated him, the latest however is by a US state attorney general from Virginia … just one of those US states deeply mired in battles over the teaching of creationism in schools in a country were 45% of people believe that God … and not just any god, but their God … created people just 10,000 years ago. Am I running an argument ad-hominem? Absolutely. I’d be much more worried if Mann WAS NOT being investigated by these flat earth fundamentalist nutters.

Adam Rope writes: I suppose it’s a tough habit to break, particularly when it used to bring such large secretions of moral smugness, but you’d think the kind of language we’ve seen from dissembling and distorting types like Tamas Calderwood might be tempered by the current state of climate science.

For starters The Royal Society is not “reviewing its position on global warming”, it’s simply publishing a new guide. And the President of the Society has stated “Nothing in recent developments has changed or weakened the underpinning science of climate change.”

Michael Mann is being investigated for fraud, but only in a politically motivated manner by the Republican Attorney General of Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli, and the investigation has been damned by none other than Steve Macintyre who said “This is a repugnant piece of over-zealousness by the Virginia Attorney General, that I condemn.”

Oh and “this damned 12 year cooling trend” is of course totally fictitious, only exists in the minds of resistors like Tamas, and can only be duplicitously stated due to the one off peak in world temperatures back in 1998 (12 years ago) due to a specific El Nino event. This you can easily see in Dr Roy Spencer’s infamous graph, — anyone else see a cooling trend?

I used to think that reasoned argument and scientific proof might deter those who continue to distort and dissemble data around the facts of climate change, but then it dawned on me — they seem to be in denial.

Keith Binns writes: ARRRRR! I mistook Tamas Calderwood for Possum Comitatus (they’re both polysyllabic after all) and wasted 30 seconds of my life reading his nonsense. ARRRRRRR!