Make a Difference

Day: December 18, 2009

Indigenous Health

Research shows the Northern Territory spends over $6000 on health for each indigenous person, compared with less than $2000 for each non-indigenous citizen.

This suggests two things.

First, Australian governments do take indigenous health seriously.

Second, spending more and more money on hospitals and clinics is not a solution.

Most of the health problems faced by aboriginal australians are a result of lifestyle choices – excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet, poor hygiene.

So what are governments supposed to do?

Allowing people to make those choices leads to massive expenditure on health issues, and still leaves problems which we are told are a national disgrace.

Forcing people to drink less, to eat sensibly, to wash their clothes, change their bedding, etc, is not permissible. That would be racist and paternalistic.

But it is one thing for people to refuse to take responsibilty for their own welfare. It is another when they refuse to take responsibilty for that of their children.

I am not not sure how a government can act responsiblly in that situation without appearing authoritarian.

Hopenhagen Now Officially Hopeless

The Chinese leader skipped Obama’s session with selected world leaders.

Well, why not? Wen Jiabao is not a schoolboy. He probably had better things to do. Polishing his shoes, for example.

French president Nicholas Sarkozy wasn’t happy. According to Mr Sarkozy, it is all China’s fault there is not going to be a binding agreement that will make world leaders all popular and smiley again.

The Chinese will not agree to any external body policing their emission levels. Good for them.

China and the G77 (the scared weird little guys) won’t discuss the PLAN /DEAL thing dreamed up by the developed nations. The little guys feel like they are being bullied.

Negotiators have described the G77 group as dysfunctional.

Mr Rudd says comments from the Chinese are ‘disturbing.’

African negotiators are reportedly furious at the suggestion by Prime Minister Meles of Ethiopia that developing nations should accept the offer of $100 billion a year. This, they say, is selling out the lives and hopes of Africans for a pittance.

Hilary Clinton says that a refusal by the Chinese to accept third party policing of emissions is a ‘deal-breaker.’

So all in all, the whole thing is going really well – much better than I expected.

The hoped for no result is looking like a real possibility.

I would have preferred if it had come about because world leaders finally came to their senses and recognised they were all being conned. But you can’t have everything.

There may still be a smiley photo-opportunity tomorrow.

But it will have about as much substance as Obama has business experience.

Smug and Nasty

St Matthew’s Anglican church in Auckland is the epitome of everything a religious group should not be – self-righteous, inconsiderate of the feelings of others, happy to belittle the beliefs of people it considers inferior.

Like Christians.

Outside the church is a billboard featuring a bedroom scene. An unsatisfied Mary looks up to the heavens while Joseph lies beside her looking deflated.

The caption reads: “Poor Joseph. God is a hard act to follow.”

This kind of arrogant smart-arsery doesn’t do anything to make people think more deeply about their faith (which is claimed to be the intention).

It simply insults people who take their faith seriously.

The vicar, a moral moron named Glynn Cardy, excuses the hurt caused by pointing out that they considered and generously decided against a much more offensive option – a poster of fluorescent sperm floating down from heaven, saying ‘Joy to the World.’

If this guy had half a brain it would be lonely. If he had half a heart, he might have some care for the people he is supposed to be reaching out to.

I’m sure he imagines he is generous, caring, inclusive, and wise.

There are no limits to hypocrisy.

Pessimism Rife at Copenhagen

So, good news all around.

The SMH is reporting a draft deal at Crappenhuggen.

What they are reporting is not a ‘deal’ but a draft document put together by developed nations as a possible basis for a take it or leave it offer to greedy socialist whingers leaders of developing nations.

I have no hope at all that any world leader will be brave enough to admit that the whole fiasco has been completely pointless, that we don’t know enough to know what to do, that anything we could do at this point is likely to make things worse, and so the wisest thing is to do nothing.

No, they will all want to look they have achieved something, so some agreement will be forthcoming.

There will be lots of smiles, handshakes and congratulations.

But for all the good it will do the world it might as well be lots of piles, milkshakes and flatulence.

The only thing to hope for is that this will just amount to a commitment to ‘journey forward together’ of ‘growth in our sense of commitment to one another as members of a single global community.’

And of course for the US, Australia, Canada, etc, to pay billions of dollars in bribes compensation to developing nations.


Data from Russian stations have been (with equally dodgy US surface station data) a large part of the evidence for warming.

Now that the Russian data are known to have been carefully selected – using only the 25% of stations that showed a consistent warming trend – there is no credible basis for any claim that the world has been warming at all, let alone at unusual rates.

And there is still no reason that any of the minor changes in the always changing global climate should be attributed to human activity.

Politicians who do not have the backbone to ask questions now, and to stand up to the hysteria, or who commit their countries to painfully costly and pointless plans to reduce the use of cheap fuels, will be punished mercilessly when they next face an election.

Bye Mr Rudd. Bye Mr Obama.

No Lack of Rationality at Copenhagen

I’d be a believer too if I thought I’d be up for billions in grants, cars, holidays, Swiss bank accounts.

There are vast amounts of money to be made in being victims of climate change.

So it’s no wonder the President of the Maldives and the chief negotiater for Tuvalu (who lives in New South Wales) are sobbing about how the greedy West has caused sea levels to rise, destroying their tiny, vulnerable countries.

But hey, a cookie a few billion dollars will make us feel better.

The sobbing and hand-wringing is despite the fact that there has been no increase in global mean temperature over the last fifteeen years, and no sea level rise in Tuvalu or the Maldives for the last thirty years.

You just have to have faith. Name it and claim it, brothers and sisters! Hallelujah!

It’s all perfectly rational – if money or approval is your goal.

What is lacking at Copenhagen is rationality not motivated by self-interest – either a desire for cash, or for for world recognition as a really cool guy, the bloke who saved the day, the man who stayed up all night to work for a solution, the chap who really ought to be the next Secretary General.

Global warming fervour is often compared with religious faith. I have made that comparison myself. But this is unfair to religious leaders.

When I was a parish priest I regularly told parishioners, ‘Don’t take my word for what I tell you – do your own research, check, read, ask questions.’

The only reason to believe anything is because it is true. And decisions about what is true need to be made on the basis of evidence, not feelings or desires.

This is the exact opposite of what is required to be considered a true climate believer. Questions are not welcomed. Those who doubt are cast into the outer darkness and denounced as deniers.

Environmental journalist and rational person Phelim McAleer was told by one Copenhagen participant to ‘get out while you still can’ and was later assaulted during a live television interview.

In a paroxysm of self-parody, Kevin Rudd told Copenhagen participants and world leaders (about 50 of them, anyway) that he fears a ‘triumph of form over substance … a triumph of inaction over action’ and that history would judge them if they failed.

I agree on both counts.

A triumph of form, of easy compliance, of the desire to appear noble and statesman-like, over real hard headed science and rational discussion of the issues is exactly what is to be feared.

And history will certainly judge leaders who failed to ask questions about whether the science of global warming was sufficiently well grounded to justify desperate promises of billions of dollars, and hurried decisions to limit the use of cheap fuels on which most of the world’s wealth depends.

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