Friday 12th of February 2016

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by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2016-02-12 13:10

Stuart Robert is resigning from the Turnbull ministry following an internal report into his conduct.

The move will add to the complexity of the Prime Minister's reshuffle, which is expected this weekend.

Labor has been calling for Mr Robert to be sacked over a trip to China in 2014, where he appeared at a signing ceremony for a mining deal between Australian company Nimrod Resources and a Chinese business.

The Opposition argued the trip was inappropriate because Nimrod's executive chairman Paul Marks was a generous Liberal Party donor.

 

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-12/stuart-robert-to-resign-fom-ministry-abc-understands/7163226

 

A lesson in how to make enemies by Malcolm Turnbull... He did not have any choice, did he? 

by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2016-02-12 07:02

 

 

The Syrian Government has responded to the latest United Nations report documenting torture and mass killings in the country's prisons, saying it has "no credibility".

Dr Bouthaina Shaaban, the top advisor to president Bashar al Assad, told Lateline the findings from the UN Commission of Inquiry were "totally unfounded".

"This report is as reliable as the claim that there was nuclear and mass destruction weapons in Iraq before occupying Iraq," she said.

The report, released earlier this week, accused the Syrian Government of carrying out "extermination" in its jails and painted a horrific picture of makeshift detention centres run by groups such as Islamic State.

She hit out at the head of the UN commission, Paulo Pinheiro, for not actually visiting Syria but went on to say this was because the regime would not let him enter.

"Paulo Pinheiro was not allowed to come to Syria because we know how biased he is," she said.

"[The UN] have never been to Syria, they haven't been talking to Syrian people."

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-12/syrian-government-advisor-bouthaina-shaaban-rejects-un-report/7161732

 

 

Peter Oborne writes in The Spectator:

I had been trying to get to Aleppo for ages, but was unable to do so because rebel activity had cut off the city from the outside world. Syrian government military successes at the start of January meant there was at last a safe road. I hired a driver, was allocated a government minder (very handy at checkpoints), and booked into a hotel. Driving north from Damascus, we picked up a 22-year-old Syrian army lieutenant called Ali, returning to his unit after eight days’ leave with his family.

We drove through Homs — miles and miles of utter devastation — and then east on to the Raqqa road. Ali told me that he had been assigned to Kuweires military airport east of Aleppo, which was under siege for three years from Al Nusra and Islamic State forces. He spoke of daily firefights against Isis fighters. For long periods his unit was entirely cut off. When Ali was shot in the chest there was no question of being airlifted out. He convalesced in a field hospital. Eventually the siege was lifted and Ali could return home and see his parents for the first time in more than two years. ‘The secret behind Kuweires was the loyalty of the soldiers. We had no tanks. I lost 82 comrades,’ said Ali. Now his unit is mopping up Islamic State positions round Al-Bab to the East of Aleppo.

When we reached Aleppo there had been no electricity for 112 days and no water for almost two weeks. Improvised mortars — gas canisters explosive enough to bring down buildings — can fall anywhere. Seventeen of the giant student dormitory blocks at the university are now set aside for displaced families from rebel-held areas. All the families have terrifying stories to tell about intimidation and murder at the hands of fanatical Al Nusra, Isis or Free Syrian army forces. These refugees are everywhere. I knocked on the door of Baron’s Hotel, the famous establishment in downtown Aleppo where Agatha Christie wrote Murder on the Orient Express. There I learnt the sad news that the charismatic owner, Armen Mazloumian, had died of a heart attack the previous week. His widow Rubina told me that he had refused to close down his hotel when the crisis began, opening his doors instead to victims of jihadi terror from the countryside.

Aleppo’s favourite film this winter is Bridge of Spies, Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece about Cold War espionage. It is a movie that Aleppans vividly understand. They live in a place where survival means crossing enemy lines to negotiate deals about water, electricity, hostages. Aleppo has characters whose lives are even more heroic than James Donovan, the lawyer played by Tom Hanks who crossed into East Berlin to negotiate the release of Gary Powers. At the education ministry I met a schoolmistress who had just made a five-day journey through endless Islamic State checkpoints to collect her pay cheque. She was about to return home, fully conscious of what lay ahead. Syrian Army troops are advancing on her town. ‘Islamic State will turn us into human shields,’ she told me.

My time in Aleppo coincided with the turning point in the Syrian civil war. Assad’s forces, with the help of Russian air power, cut off the line of supply from the Turkish border to the jihadist forces encircling the government-held areas of the city. Deprived of fresh fighters, guns and ammunition from their Turkish sponsors, Al Nusra and other groups encircling the city are, over the long term, doomed. Islamic State, which sells its oil through Turkey, will start to run short of money. Think of Stalingrad in 1942: the besiegers are now the besieged.

When I returned to London I read in the newspapers that this turn of events was regarded as a calamity. Of course, it does depend on your point of view. Government-held Aleppo was under siege from jihadi forces until late last year. That was never reported. Now the areas of Aleppo held by the rebels are coming under siege. That is reported in the western press as a catastrophe, and has brought a concerned response from the British Foreign Secretary.

Again and again I was asked: why is Britain supporting the terrorists? Western media rightly emphasise Assad’s atrocities. But the Aleppans I spoke to regularly pointed out that under Assad’s regime women can walk alone down the street and pursue a career; that a broadly liberal curriculum is taught in the schools; that Christians can worship at their churches and Muslims in their mosques. These Aleppans have lived under siege from groups hellbent on the imposition of a mutant version of Wahhabi Islam. They know that many of their fighters are foreigners whose ambition, encouraged by Turkish and Saudi sponsors, is to extinguish Aleppo’s tolerant culture and drive every last Christian out of the city. These Aleppans have a point. When the history of the Syrian civil war is finally written, historians will indeed have to confront the question: why has it been British government policy to turn the ancient city of Aleppo into present-day Kandahar...

http://off-guardian.org/2016/02/11/uk-columnist-in-aleppo-the-besiegers-are-now-the-besieged/

 

 

by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2016-02-12 06:53

Barnaby Joyce has been elected unopposed as leader of the Nationals, following a party-room meeting at Parliament House in Canberra.

Key points

  • Joyce elected as Nationals leader, Nash as deputy
  • Joyce to become Deputy PM after Truss announced he will not recontest next election
  • PM has agreed to increase Nationals in Cabinet to four, Truss said
  • All four major parties now have female deputies

He will take over the position of Deputy Prime Minister from Warren Truss, who has announced he will not recontest the next election.

Senator Fiona Nash has been elected as deputy leader of the Nationals.

"Within the next few years we will continue to build on the exceptional work that has been done by the most recent giant of our party, Warren Truss," Mr Joyce said.

"It is going to be a slightly different National Party, quite a different National Party," Senator Nash said.

"And we would be doing the same things we have always done, focusing on those people outside the major capital cities, who need us to fight for them."

read more: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-11/barnaby-joyce-named-as-new-nationals-leader/7161584

by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2016-02-12 06:33

 

JOKE 

But really would not that be swell? 

Rather than the potty tight-arse Morrison with no idea about life and with Australia's luck looking like a tattered dead chook, we could do better with someone like Yanis (what a great name, isn't it?) — a Yourpean "décontracté" as the Aussie treasurer and giving this country a boost up the back-side — rebooting the happiness hormones we desperately need. Of course when Turdball got rid of Turdbott, we had a few seconds of euphoria, but the moment has passed and this country is now feeling like the set of Mad Max— fury road, the day after.

 

Yanis of course knows Australia. For many years, he was a professor of economics at one of Australia's best university. Today after having been self-dismissed, having failed to be recognised as the best Greek treasurer ever, he is starting a new popular movement in Europe: trying to get people interested in life and feeling good about being alive while rewriting the rules of the money game, which so far have been written by the American scrooges who are robbing the world. Simple really. 

 

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Former Greek Minister for Finance Yanis Varoufakis is planning a comeback - in Germany. EurActiv Germany reports.

In February, he wants to launch a "third alternative" to renationalisation and the "anti-democratic European institutions".

Varoufakis wants to launch his pan-European project as early as February. The initiative, under the name of "Democracy in Europe Movement 2025" (DiEM 25), wants to bring interests together in order to "democratise Europe and stop the creeping fragmentation", according to Neues Deutschland.

>>Read: Syriza’s new man in Berlin

Varoufakis intends to launch his new project on 9 February in Berlin, at the Volksbühne theatre, which over the years has seen the start of many movements, including many that worked for the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The former finance minister has repeatedly said that he wants to start a new movement, not a political party. Instead, his proposed "third alternative" wants to highlight the wrong direction and decisions of nation states and the "anti-democratic European institutions".

Varoufakis, who constantly fought against the austerity measures demanded by Greece's creditors, resigned his office in the summer of 2015. Since then, he has been a regular participant in discussions that seek to find an alternative to the return to the nation state or the collapse of the eurozone. If the euro were to collapse and the crisis to continue ad nauseum, this would lead to "hopelessness, depression and anxiety" and contribute to a resurgence of renationalisation, ultra-nationalisation and xenophobia, he warned in a recent interview with the Spanish newspaper El Diario.

>>Read: Commission silent over Greece’s distorted energy market

In November, a meeting had been planned in Paris regarding "the struggle for a plan B in Europe", but did not take place due to the terror attacks that hit the French capital. The meeting has been rescheduled for this month in the same location. Planned participants include Susan George, a global social justice activist, and Stefano Fassina and Oskar Lafontaine, the former finance ministers of Italy and Germany.

http://www.euractiv.com/sections/europes-east/varoufakis-launch-new-movement-berlin-320696

 

ps: as an aside, "Commission silent over Greece’s distorted energy market" has not read that the price of nickel has gone through the bottom of the barrel. 

 

General Mining and Metallurgical Company (Larco) is a state-owned company that was established in 1963. It is currently the biggest ferronickel producer in Europe, and one of the five largest producers worldwide.

Despite high international demand for nickel, the company has ended up being a heavy burden on the cash-strapped Greek economy.

This would make our own Clive Palmer spit chips. The price for nickel is not worth a dime... 

 

 

 

by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2016-02-12 05:24

I have been told by some people that about 50 per cent of "patents" 

a) do not work

b) are about perpetual motion

c) are not worth the ink of the registration

d) the only moneys from the patents are made by the patent office, because these patents are useless on the open market — meaning that NO-ONE NEEDS THEM.

 

Now, have the employers of Larry Marshall as the CEO of the CSIRO checked out the true value of his 20 or so patents? With the good man's bad behaviour, I am starting to wonder about his credentials. Was he appointed, recommended by a friend of a friend of the dog of Tony Abbott? Was he employed to specifically decimate the climate department of the CSIRO and whip up a fictitious vision of technological discoveries by the said organisation? 

 

I would not pass the Liberals (CONservatives) to pull such a stunt with someone who could OUTRAGEOUSLY SAY: ""feeling like an early climate scientist in the '70s fighting against the oil lobby" while obviously doing the opposite. One can smell a rat. With him also saying that the opposition to his cuts are "emotions that sounds more like religion than science" is also a tell tale of a non-scientist. He appears like a great con man. 

 

update Friday after along night: some bad mouth suggested that should Larry's 22 patents be modestly successful, he would rake in about 5 millions a year. He would not need the job at the CSIRO, so his employ would be just for the lurv of being there. He could forego his own salary and give it to someone in research on climate change. This won't happen because these bad mouths around a bottle (I mean about four) of shiraz suggested that Larry's battle fgainst climate research was "ideological", not really about the cash. Some idiot under the influence and under the table said that Larry could be trying to "adopt a few new ideas for humself" as the CSIRO develops some "technobogicul putentod richenss"... the shiraz can have this effuct on yoo... in vinolus vertusistas as thee shay...

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2016-02-11 17:08

 

There are not many philosophers in the Western canon who have taken an active role in politics. Give or take a few thinkers, we have an assortment of men whose lives reflect a slight paraphrase of Heidegger’s description of Aristotle: they were born, they philosophized, and they died. Indeed, the equation of the contemplative life with the summum bonum—an argument made famous in Aristotle’s Ethics—has been so pervasive throughout the history of Western thought that we have difficulty imagining how—or if—a philosophic spirit can be combined with an active political life. Fortunately, we have The Greatest Empire: A Life of Seneca, by University of Pennsylvania classics professor Emily Wilson, an intellectual biography of the Roman philosopher-statesman that admirably elucidates the “paradoxes of being both a ‘philosopher in politics’ and a politician in philosophy.”

Wilson’s point of departure in her life of Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 BCAD 65), the great Stoic philosopher, historian, dramatist, and statesman, comes from a line in one of Seneca’s letters: imperare sibi maximum imperium est—“the greatest empire is to be emperor of oneself.” This is a summation of Stoic philosophy and frames, as Wilson puts it, the “most interesting question” of “why he preached what he did, so adamantly and so effectively, given the life he found himself leading.”

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/a-stoics-empire/

I have not read the book so I cannot comment beyond noticing that some people are coming back to Seneca in regard to politics (see story and toon at top)

 

In a missive on making time for study, Seneca gives the one piece of advice he was unable to heed: 

We ought not to wait for our spare time to practice philosophy; rather, we should neglect other occupations to pursue this one task for which no amount of time would be sufficient … you might as well not bother with philosophy if you are going to practice it intermittently … Rather than reducing your encumbrances, you should get rid of them altogether. There is no time that is not well suited to these healing studies, yet there are many who fail to study when caught up in the problems that give one reason to study.

 

 

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2016-02-11 16:08

Barnaby Joyce is going to become deputy leader of this country... The idiots are winning...

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2016-02-11 16:06

 

CSIRO chief Larry Marshall has apologised for describing the emotion of the climate debate as almost "more religion than science".

Key points:

  • The CSIRO boss apologises for referencing religion in climate debate
  • He said he was referring to the 'passionate zeal around the issue'
  • Dr Marshall defended this CSIRO shake-up, despite international backlash

 

Dr Marshall had told the ABC the backlash from his decision to restructure the organisation made him feel like an "early climate scientist in the '70s fighting against the oil lobby" and that there was so much emotion in the debate it almost "sounded more like religion than science".

He also said he would not be backing down on his controversial shakeup of the organisation's climate divisions, telling the ABC he was yet to be persuaded.

At Senate estimates this afternoon he backed away from those comments.

read more: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-11/csiro-boss-apologises-for-climate-religion-comments/7160288

 

As I say in another comment: 

Larry Marshall is an idiot bringing in the emotion that "it sounds more like religion than science"... Yes HIS VIEWS ON THE CSIRO are more about the religion of dollars than about sciences... And as far as "feeling like an early climate scientist in the '70s fighting against the oil lobby", I FEEL as if he represents the fucking oil lobby fighting the climate scientists...

 

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2016-02-11 12:58

Not only Google, so is Yahoo and so is Bing... These are impostors. They are not search engines. They are agents for advertisers to sell you crap. I already have exposed on this site that these "search engines" are not searching. From time to time, possibly twice a day, their giganormous memory bank is updated with what is out there. Then the engine ONLY SEARCH FOR WHAT ITS MEMORY HAS ACQUIRED, not what is really out there. Some news services are on automatic update and some pay for the service. Some, like this site floating on the floatsam jetsam of the internet, get not a look in at updates, until a few days later...

 

For example I have typed in ALL THE "SEARCH" ENGINES the title above "the hospital you don't want to end up in..." since the time it was posted around 8.00 AM this morning. by 2:00 PM, ALL the search engines CANNOT FIND IT.

THIS aspect of search engines came to me by simple deduction: I used to have a website from which I had deleted pages. THESE PAGES WERE STILL AVAILABLE ON GOOGLE. This only meant one thing: GOOGLE HAD ACQUIRED MY PAGES ON THEIR MEMORY BANK AND thus broke the international copyright laws and was in possession of stolen goods.

 

Beware, the success of "search" engines does not reside on their algorithms able to search the net, but their plunder of what's on the net, and cataloguing the loot.

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2016-02-11 12:43

 

Pressure is mounting on ExxonMobil to explain why the oil giant funded climate denial around the world years after its own scientists established global warming was real.

Exxon has a 
long history of funding climate denial and last September it was revealed that it did so despite a full scientific knowledge about the impacts of manmade climate change in the 1970s’ and ‘80s.

This 
prompted the New York Attorney General to subpoena ExxonMobil to “determine whether the company lied to the public about the risks of climate change or to investors about how those risks might hurt the oil business.” A similar investigation has also been launched in California.

These revelations tell us what Exxon knew. The investigations in New York and California are asking ‘what did Exxon do?’

Exxon in the EU

So, while the oil giant has been getting a lot of heat in the U.S. for funding climate denial, this 
DeSmog UK investigation takes these questions across the Atlantic, and asks: what has ExxonMobil been up to in Europe?

The past 10 years are pretty murky when it comes to deciphering ExxonMobil’s climate denial activities in Europe.

In 2007, the oil giant pledged to stop funding climate denial groups in response to pressure from shareholder activists. However, eight years later the company was found to have given more than $2.3m (£1.7m) to an American lobbying group and members of Congress that deny climate change and block efforts to tackle the issue.

It begs the question: has ExxonMobil been up to the same tricks in Europe?

The last time a full analysis of Exxon’s ties to European climate denial think tanks was done was in 2006 by transparency watchdogs Corporate Europe Observatory, the year before Exxon pledged to stop funding such groups.

In January, DeSmog UK revealed that Exxon spent at least £5.6m in 2014 on EU lobby efforts and corporate donations. The oil giant has also donated more than £2.36m to 15 of the top universities in the UK over the past five years. Now we map the various European groups which are tied to Exxon.

2014 Groups

According to ExxonMobil’s latest entry for 2014 in the voluntary EU Transparency Register, it is a member of more than a dozen trade associations, think tanks and lobby groups. Many focus on energy and climate policy with some having a reputation for opposing climate action.

Two of these groups also have close ties helping the tobacco industry’s campaign against the science confirming health impacts from its products. The tobacco industry is notorious for its playbook for stalling control measures on the industry – a large feature of this was funding scientists to cast doubt on the mainstream scientific consensus. Sound familiar? ExxonMobil is currently being investigated for its climate denial efforts in both New York State andCalifornia.

More specifically, ExxonMobil was a member of at least five European think tanks in 2014 according to its latest voluntary lobby register entry. Prior to that it’s a bit hazier, so let’s start with the most recent:

Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)

This think tank was originally set up to deal primarily with issues related to the European integration in the early 1980s.

On climate change, its website describes its main priorities as carbon markets and emissions trading as well as international negotiations. It reads: “The focus of our research is on the design of EU climate change policies to ensure the progressive engagement of the EU’s main international partners. The key challenge is to think about howEU initiatives… could foster the involvement of the broadest possible number of countries.”

CEPS most recent lobby spend is for 2013, when it declared it spent no more than £7,600 (€9,999). The main EUpolicies it’s interested in include TTIP and Energy 2030 along with energy, climate change, and regulatory policies.

This past March, CEPS invited William Colton, Vice President of corporate strategic planning at Exxon, to explain to “Brussels” how ExxonMobil views the future of energy. Unfortunately for Exxon it got some serious push-back by experts in the audience.

Annual corporate membership ranges from £4,562 to £13,685 (€6,000 to €18,000) depending on the company’s size. But if you’re part of the “inner circle corporate membership” this will cost you £22,809 (€30,000).

European Policy Centre (EPC)

The
 EPC describes itself as an independent think tankt that “supports European integration, with a multi-constituency membership”. It has a pretty extensive membership list which, beyond Exxon, also includes Chevron, Statoil, Edelman, Ikea, Facebook, and Google. The annual membership fee for a multinational corporation is £7,603 (€10,000).

The think tank spent between £1.71 and £1.9m (€2.25m – €2.5m) in 2014 lobbying the EU commission. Among its many listed interests you can find energy, climate action and the environment as well as agriculture, education, and public health.

This is one group that has ties to the tobacco industry. In January 2010, a report revealed that in the 1990s EPChelped tobacco companies, as well as other industry groups, to lobby to increase “the likelihood that the EU will produce policies that advance the interests of major corporations, including those that produce products damaging to health, rather than in the interests of its citizens.”

As documents show, British American Tobacco approached EPC on the issue. The EPC then formed an organisation called the Risk Assessment Forum.

This was essentially a front group through which Big Tobacco and other corporations lobbied for 
EU policies to incorporate rigorous impact assessments – these assign monetary values to the costs and benefits of a particular policy and are criticised for their inability of assigning easily measurable values to fundamental impacts such as lives lost or harmed compared to business impacts. BAT believed incorporating such assessments would weaken or eliminate the introduction of public smoking restrictions and those against tobacco advertising.

During the 1990s, the EPC also had close ties to the now-defunct climate sceptic think tank, the European Science and Environment Forum. You can read DeSmog UK’s account on how this climate sceptic think tank came into being and what it did to attack the science here.

Friends of Europe

This think tank has a broad focus to
 promote “new thinking” on political, economic and environmental issues in Europe. Corporate membership costs £1,558 (€2,050) per year.

In 2014, it declared a lobby spend of less than £7,600 (€9,999). Among its listed policy interests you can find climate action, environment and energy as well as health, education, and single markets.

ExxonMobil has sponsored a couple of the think tank’s events on energy. For example, in 2013 it sponsored the European Policy Summit co-hosted by Friends of Europe and where ExxonMobil executives were among the speakers. You can read all about it in the Summit report summary: A New EU Energy Policy for the 21st Century.

More recently, Exxon’s name is also plastered on a spring 2015 report on Europe’s Energy Outlook: The race against the clock based on that year’s European Policy Summit attended by Exxon.

CERA

This entry was pretty obscure on Exxon’s registry as the oil giant prefers to name all organisations by acronym rather than their full title.

However, a separate Austrian petroleum company, OMV Aktiengesellschaft, also lists itself as a member of CERA on the EU lobby registry, except it took the time to spell out the full titles for each of the organisations it declared membership to.

This shows that CERA stands for the Cambridge Energy Research Associates – an international energy consultancy operating under the parent company IHS (Information Handling Services). CERA specialises in advising governments and private companies on energy markets, geopolitics, industry trends, and strategy.

Exxon has repeatedly been a ‘strategic partner’ of the annual IHS CERAweek event, including in 2014. And last year, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson gave a keynote address at the conference where he spoke of the environmental benefits of natural gas and the opportunities in the Arctic.

Exxon also helped fund at least one of 
CERA's research projects – a 2006 report entitled Modernizing Oil and Gas Reserves Disclosures. This report was then sent by CERA to Florence Harmon, Acting Secretary Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington D.C. in September 2008.

Council for Multilateral Business Diplomacy

Like 
CERA, this Geneva-based group also seemed pretty mysterious. At first. It does not have a lobby register entry and much of the content on its original website – as well as the new one the first redirects you to – is password protected. But it seems this group has pretty serious connections with top officials, and it focuses a lot on climate change. It’s also relatively small, with just 22 members in 2016.

The organisation was established in 2007. According to its LinkedIn description, this group “provides a forum for informal dialogue on global policy issues between representatives of multinational enterprises and international organizations… It is designed to bring business together with the many institutions and international organizations based in Europe that directly affect the commercial and regulatory environment for international business.”

ExxonMobil has been a member since 2008 according to the Council’s annual reports. That year Council members were able to be briefed by, and discuss climate, energy and environment issues with, senior officials of the World Health Organisation, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the World Meteorological Organization, and the OECD.

In 2010, the Council hosted a luncheon meeting with Dr Renate Christ, Secretary of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, following the 2009 Copenhagen climate summit. As its annual report describes: “Dr Christ gave useful insights on the 2009 Copenhagen Summit and the IPCC work plan for its next assessment report and special studies on the carbon cycle, sea level changes, agricultural practices, housing and ethics.”

http://www.desmog.uk/2016/02/10/here-are-european-think-tanks-tied-exxon-2014

 

see also: larry marshall is an idiot ignoramus with patents... in the family is in denial... and want the bugger dead as soon as possible to save cash...

and 

a puff piece from the idiot destroying the CSIRO... in the hospital you don't want to end up in...