Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Summer of our Discontent.


Australia is a weird place, full of weird animals and equally weird plants. Everybody knows that.

Let's think of an example. If you leave aside the fact both fly and have wings, a very Aussie flying fox looks nothing like a canary.

Frankly, unlike canaries, flying foxes aren't charismatic. Still, lacking native canaries in our continent-sized coal mine, we have to make do with flying foxes. And they are playing the same role canaries used to play in British coal mines:


(source)

According to ABC News Online: "Heatwave kills thousands of bats across New South Wales". They are just dropping from the sky, dead due to excessive heat.

They, in other words, are telling the same story the Queensland hatchling turtles told us: this summer has gone well beyond what's normal.

So far, nothing similar has happened to humans -- and let's hope it never happens -- although bushfires have claimed some 30 homes from the small township of Uarbry.

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Ross Gittins' op-ed ("What a Relief that Climate Change Doesn't Really Exist", Feb. 14, SMH), like my previous post, has a go at climate change denialism.

In addition, Gittins reminds us that, once upon a time, our intrepid leader, PM Malcolm Turnbull, beloved of upper-middle class Aussies, was a firm proponent of policies against global warming, even though now seems more keen in not annoying "the party's many climate change deniers, nor our generous donors in the coal industry."

Not that we needed much in the way of reminders. Turnbull has only two overriding principles: keep himself in the top job and squeeze workers to benefit his corporate backers. When those principles were better served by pretending to be a suave, urbane, reasonable, civilised guy, that's the persona he adopted.

It was always a mistake to believe that would last. In effect, Kristina Keneally warned us of that: "It looked like it might be a wonderful honeymoon, but we have to face the fact: Malcolm Turnbull is never going to leave his conservative partners for us." ("Progressive Australia's Infatuation with Malcolm Turnbull will Only end in Heartbreak", Nov. 15, 2015, The Guardian).

Now, instead of the sweet-talker we are left with a Turnbull who barks in Parliament like a rabid dog, confronted by a feeble opposition leader incapable of returning fire. A Turnbull whose government is intent on extorting demonstrably non-existent social security debts,cut taxes for themselves and their filthy rich supporters, and now he comes to play divide and conquer. As Ged Kearney, ACTU president, says:
"Malcolm Turnbull is telling people with disabilities they cannot have support they are entitled to unless other Australians suffer devastating cuts.
"Turnbull is trying to pit Australians against each other. He is threatening people with disabilities, pensioners, the unemployed, students and new families with these cuts to pay for his corporate tax handout to major corporations.
"Nick Xenophon, Derryn Hinch and One Nation can either let this go on – or stop these callous cuts.
"They could go either way.
"Tell the crossbenchers to Stop Malcolm’s Cuts."
 (The link leads to the ACTU website to a page where readers can, if they are so inclined, sign a petition to crossbenchers to stop this latest abuse).

Capitalism sucks (so do you, Turnbull).

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