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John Passant

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May 2011



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It’s not about actors; it’s about screwing workers

Bourgeois politicians are great actors, better perhaps than the real thing on occasion. 

Julia Gillard is pretending that a carbon tax will make a difference to greenhouse gas emissions.

Tony Abbott is pretending that his ‘direct action plan’ will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  As Malcolm Turnbull has said , about the only good thing in Abbott’s plan is that it can be abandoned easily when the developed world does nothing about addressing climate change.

Most viewing Abbott’s performance are mesmerised – sucked in by the illusion that he is on the side of ordinary working people. It is an Oscar and election winning performance.

The Labor actors aren’t faring so well. Julia Gillard is not the Laurence Olivier of politics. She is more like a snake oil salesman who can’t convince the audience of the magical qualities of her carbon price product. A shit sandwich is still a shit sandwich no matter who is spruiking its benefits.

The majority of Australians, including the majority of workers, oppose the carbon tax.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions had to resort to actors instead of trade union officials to sell the pro-price message. Why is that?

First, union membership has declined precipitously over the last 30 years as the leadership of all the unions got into bed with the bosses. So the audience for a trade union message has shrunk. 

Second, there is no trade union leader in Australia who commands enough respect among workers to sell the lie of a carbon tax.

And third, those who might have some respect among workers in their own industry won’t have wider appeal but will hopefully have the integrity not to be associated with this carbon tax attack on workers’ living standards.

A carbon tax doesn’t attack the polluters because the bosses will pass on the cost to workers so we end up paying the their tax bill.

The carbon tax is ultimately a tax on consumption. It is a GST like impost.

In 1998 the mainstream left opposed the GST. It could use the same logic today to oppose a carbon tax, but such is the degeneration of politics in Australia that what passes today for the Left in Australia today in the ALP, the unions and the Greens is demanding to cut workers’ living standards. 

Just as John Howard offered for the GST, there will be inadequate compensation for the carbon tax, and much of it will go to the polluters. What compensation there is will erode over time. 

This is the John Howard left – selling us the lie that environmental nirvana will arrive as a result of cutting workers’ our living standards and doing so with a regressive tax.  

Is there an alternative to Labor’s poorly performing carbon price and Abbott’s farcical but apparently appealing direct action plan?

Yes. Workers could fight in their workplaces to make the polluters pay.

Will they?

The way to convince workers of the need for a fight against the bosses to enable a move to a renewable energy economy is not to propose a tax which cuts their living standards and which they know will do that.

It is to develop measures that benefit them and hit the polluters’ profits. We can design taxes and price controls that do that. But the real question is cutting the polluters’ profits.

The way to do that is to win massive wage increases and in that fight demand retraining on decent pay, massive renewable energy investment now, price controls over the bosses and taxing the rich to pay for it all.

Of course no bourgeois politician is going to argue for any of that. And so we remain trapped in the endless soap opera of the Labor and Liberal parties, now with the Greens thrown in, arguing over how best to make the market work.

The market is the problem, not the solution.



Comment from Ross
Time May 31, 2011 at 8:20 am

Our economic collapse is being spurred on by the tsunami and the melt downs in Japan,the world’s third biggest economy.Many of their car and electrical goods factories are closing.The prediction is for a huge share market collapse in July when the next quarterly reports come out.This collapse has been predominately caused by the World’s Central Banks.We are now at the second stage of our depression.The demonisation of Muslim Nations will continue as they intentionally increase the price of oil to justify more invasions.China has warned USA that an attack on Pakistan will be an attack on their sovereignty.Saudi Arabia wants a defence pact with Pakistan.Russia is backing China.The USA will try to increase friction between India and Pakistan to cause more wars.

A carbon tax will destroy our economy.We we will have massive unemployment and hardship beyond anything we can imagine if this insanity continues. The neo-cons in the West have taken leave of their senses.

Comment from Arthur
Time May 31, 2011 at 4:12 pm

That read well and made sense, Mr. Passant.
Shame about the tinge of hopelessness that crept in for a mo.

Though you are right even to the last – “the market is the problem not the solution.” – I can’t understand what it is with these politicians and their mates.

I wrote about ‘the emperor’s new clothes’ as a concept in a paper to defence in about 2001/2.
Let’s just say they recognized the insult and to understand the insult they had to grasp the implications.
How did I know they understood?
Their response – vindictive, hurtful, destructive, unlawful.

Since then it (the emperor’s new clothes)has been done to death judging by the number of times I’ve heard it on news, etc..
There is, of course, the problem of Australian voters and the perverse way they make their choice of scoundrel.
That only complicates things a little, what with the parties supplying nothing but scoundrels of a certain pre-determined type for the poor old punters to choose from.
Essentially a Hobsons choice. Take this scoundrel or that scoundrel but whatever choice you make you still get a scoundrel.
Judging by the number of politicians having to retire early, skip the country, or up before the courts the last few years it must be sinking in to the minds of the populace that a prime condition for pre-selection and candidature for politics is that their party must have ‘something useful’ in their dossier. Something that can be used against them if they ‘misbehave’.

On top of that just by observing the species for long enough any reasonable person would have to come away from the experience swearing politicians were an alien life form completely lacking compassion, empathy, altruism, decency, honesty or any of those valued characteristics separating mainstream humankind from the lizard ancestor.

Consequently they employ a reptile of another kind to promote their failing grab for revenue.
But to digress, they know it isn’t just about revenue. What they are after is hidden behind the bluster. It is about social engineering as well as bleeding us white.
They want people to work and go to work by public transport. Maybe they don’t want us to go out and play. ‘Cos if, say, you play with toy aeroplanes out in some paddock or some other silly thing like that – then dammit you’d better be one of the UBERMENSCH who still has a personal vehicle.
Otherwise you can just stay at work – or at home watching Tee friggin’Vee.

So to encourage everyone to knuckle under to their fait accompli they hire this scrawny old blonde.
An actress f’r chrissakes.
A species maybe one step up the evolutionary chain from a politician but only because some of ‘em are a bit more ENTERTAINING than the average politician as and when they mimic human behaviour.

Because that’s what Cate Blanchette is – a ‘method actress’ whose acting style is to completely subsume her own personality to that of a chosen character by training up to her role in a similar way as would an athlete.

So what is that?
A person of consummate skill – or the worst sort of liar?

My favourite author, Bernard Cornwell (and he should know) once called an actor pretending to have a social conscience something like an arrogant, overweening, self-confident counterfeit of a real person.

Jeesus, ‘they’ must think the masses are as stupid as themselves.

Comment from Terrance
Time May 31, 2011 at 8:03 pm

I hardly think the issue, as Arthur would have it, is about Ms Balnchett’s acting or indeed actors in general. The carbon tax adverts are bad for numerous reasons – poorly thought out, designed and executed. Mind you, that’s what you get when you allow those pimply kids from GetUp to dictate policy.

The Government has really failed to understand or prosecute the climate change debate, hence the involvement of fringe players like GetUp and their ilk.

I remain agnostic about the carbon tax – I get your concerns John but I’ll wait to see how implementation works.

Comment from Arthur
Time May 31, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Terrance –
You dill.
You have here on John Passant’s pages the closest thing to literature that perhaps you will ever read without opening a tome written by, say, Hunter S Thompson.

May I suggest you read carefully and at least try to grasp why John mentioned Ms. Blanchett and why we both took care to at least spell her name correctly.
The issue is about Ms. Blanchett and in my opinion why a mob of frauds would compound their crime against the citizenry by implicating her.
I merely pointed out the express futility of choosing anything as thickheaded as an actress to further their hollow pretense.

For chrissakes, man go and click on to that url I supplied you.

The bloody woman is a ratbag supported by a fest of masochists in her school of acting.
What the frig have we come to where the masters resort to her sort to foster public support?

Do whatever you want to with your own carbon tax.
You pay it yourself.
Leave me and the other 90% of us out of your decisions.
Maybe Cate will invite you to a party and hit you over the head with a lead konker.

Don’t know what I mean?
Open that link.
Dare you.

Comment from Arthur
Time May 31, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Sorry Terrance – I flew off at half cock.
After re-reading I think now I understand you.
You appear to have no problem with poor union peons financing Ms.Blanchett and that insane tax on an essential life compound being introduced.

I have you now.

You’ll wait and see how it pans out.
Do you want a medal for being a hero while you wait patiently for the outcome of this insanity?

One thing I respect is common sense.

Comment from Terrance
Time June 1, 2011 at 3:33 pm

I have read almost everything by Hunter S, and with all due respect, my learned friend John is not yet in that league, and I certainly hope he has a more pleasant ending!
First, you also misspelt Ms Blanchett’s name (no ‘e’), so I’ll score us 1 all.
Second, I wouldn’t categorise all actors as ‘thickheads’. To me, that would be akin to labelling the proletariat as ‘uneducated’ or ‘ignorant’ or bosses as ‘hard working’ and so on. Not nit-picking but labels are demeaning and stereotype people into classes. I wouldn’t know Cate from a bar of soap – the ads are terrible and the message poor, but why shoot the messenger? Blanchett or anyone can make ads or promote whatever they wish, the issue is the carbon tax, not the person.
As for your link, Marlon Brando was a method actor, and he made some of the finest films ever.
Regarding the carbon tax, I said that John may well be right, but as I am a firm believer in climate change, a socialist who abhors the Liberals and doesn’t think too much of Labor, and is not an economist, I believe that we need to see how a policy will be enacted before rushing to judgement.
I opposed the GST, and still do, but the sky hasn’t fallen in; meaning that what we oppose beforehand may be different upon implementation. To me, the Democrats taking food out of the GST was wrong, it complicated the system and created bizarre inequities, although making food GST exempt seemed good at the time.
You can call me names or belittle or whatever, however I find this misses the crux of the issue, which is how best to remove carbon from the environment without hurting working people.

Comment from Arthur
Time June 1, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Terrance –
I wasn’t branding John as a ‘Gonzo’.(Yerrrsss, I know what ‘Gonzo’ implies.)

I spelt Blanchette once to see if you were reading.

Down to the bottom of your recent –
If ‘carbon’ is removed all life on earth dies. Repeat, all life on earth dies!
Might as well remove oxygen.

The human part of what scientists call the ‘carbon cycle’ is insignificant.
These days as best boffins pretend toying about speciously with their expensive sensors – that is demonstrable fact.
Trouble is, they have no way of guaranteeing ever eliminating human exploitation of carbon without killing off the bulk of the Homo Sapiens population.
I’m not volunteering. Are you?

Oh. One last thing.
If Ross Garnaut (did I spell right?) is allegedly talking truth; then what are his qualifications other than being bought off?
Ahh – now I understand he and Kate Blanchette (sorry) do have common qualifications.

Comment from Terrance
Time June 1, 2011 at 7:24 pm

I confess to being a bit lost by your missive. Obviously the common practice when referring to ‘carbon’ is to do so in the context of carbon pollution and a carbon tax/price. But point taken, we’re all going to die if it is removed, but then again, we’re all going to die if it’s not, just a question of pace and number.

So let me ponder a few thoughts to you and other readers.

Are only climate change scientists allowed to have voice in this debate? To me, that would be like saying only cricket players can comment on the game. Punters opinions are invalid on the ‘what would they know’ scenario.

Further, isn’t the ‘debate’ about how to best ensure pollution doesn’t fuck the planet up? Is that not the question? No person with a brain denies the earth’s climate changes – I believe the ice age etc is well known and not in dispute. Isn’t the discussion over to what extent human activity is hastening the rise in temperatures?

Also, as John writes here, isn’t the next step to work out how we reduce carbon pollution without making workers pay for this?

Finally, I may spell the odd word wrong, I only have one fully functioning arm Arthur, and as much as I try, I don’t always get the right key, so have a heart mate, it’s not that easy sometimes.

Comment from Arthur
Time June 1, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Terrance –
I’m sure you are aware that cricket is nothing but a stupid game designed by the Brits to build character.
Come on mate. We both know other sorts started a wager and passed around the hat long before the first game of cricket was finished.
But that is about stupidity. Ask wozzisname, Wilkie.
To continue –
Games of cricket and Rugby and the like were about character building – subject the sprogs to pain and discipline before we sent ‘em out into the regiments – sort of thing.
Are you with me?
But when it comes to a colossal gamble like stuffing up completely on the word of some dotty old idiot – it just happens that I – ME – get it – ME – as it happens I do not like gambling – repeat – DO NOT LIKE GAMBLING – when the complete tosser calling the odds has it wrong.
You asked – How to do what? without workers paying for it?
Sorry. To you I must be reading like a complete tyrant by now. Humble apologies.
Put it this way.
I don’t know your politics. I’m not sure anymore if I even know my own.
But I cannot even begin to fathom what Gillard’s is.
To me she seems to be so close in bed with Abbott (and oh dear, what a gauche, simplistic, naïve, but accurate way of putting it) that if a razorblade were slipped between them they’d both bleed to death.
Now, out there in the streets that sentiment is ruling.
Grasp that concept – people do no longer believe the twaddle about global warming. It is finished.
That is why it is now a bet either way – climate change.
They still pretend to blame carbon because Al Gore’s retirement plan demands that prevails.
But the whole issue is about social engineering and putting the masses in a corner with no PRIVATE TRANSPORT and consequently no way to forward their black economy and any of the other sorts of things smelly, ungodly peasants like to do.

Poor Terrance. Look mate, I’m not Woody the Bloody Woodpecker.

I can’t tappa tap into your consciousness something that should be self-evident.
Why not just try thinking for a few moments about the lies and bullshit dumped on your, or your parent’s and grandparent’s heads in the past.
Maybe go and have a bit of a read about it.
Read , think, see through it.

At least try.

Comment from Arthur
Time June 1, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Terrance –
Oooohhhh- I hate myself sometimes.
Down the bottom of your last.
Only one good arm?
Sorry mate.
Don’t take it the wrong way but my right leg has been rufusing to work properly all this year up until a few days ago.
It isn’t amusing when that happens but it does concentrate the mind on the issue when it looks like the thing has gone on strike forever.
Terrence. I have always hated e-communication. It is soulless; a bloodless almost amoral medium devoid of any of the cues available to people speaking face to face or even on the telephone.
It becomes a medium where people start out defensive even before reading some innocent comment made by someone they want to rip into just for the hell of it – and all too often because the chance of an up-front physical confrontation is nigh impossible.

In a way it matches the rest of the modern world so well.
Leastways the modern world as our masters would like to make it.

Best regards Terrance and keep strong.

Comment from Terrance
Time June 2, 2011 at 9:36 am

Thanks Arthur
To finish the carbon/tax discussion, wasn’t it some clown like Murdoch who said he wasn’t sure if it was real or not (climate change) but it made sense to stop polluting the environment just in case?

I think everyone in this country, and perhaps in overcrowded capitalist nations, understands that there are too many people, too much crap and too few resources.

Surely, even without the yes/no of global warming, it is economically and sustrainably logical to reduce if not remove gasoline/petroleum as an energy source. One by product is that alternatives to oil will remove the US-Arab hegemony in the middle-east and bring down corrupt regimes in Saudi Arabia, Dubai etc.

Calligula may savage this, but renewable energy – wind, solar, waves, geo-thermal – at least according to a US senate report from 2010 – have the potential to meet our energy needs and in doing so, reduce the pollution in the atmosphere.

I ask you, even if you don’t believe in global warming and climate change as the debate is framed by Gillard et al, isn’t this the best way to go?

PS. I hate e-comms too. But better than the old typwriter trying to align the bloody paper properly!

PSS Don’t dismiss cricket. Wonderful pastimes and the Indians, Caribbians etc can at least beat England at their own game.


Comment from Calligula
Time June 2, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Terrance –
Have a read further along (if John publishes it)
In his Garnaut article
They all want to go fracking in Qld – which Arthur and I reckon will frack God’s own country well and truly crosseyed.
Murdock made a just-in-case case, did he?
A dollar both ways.

This renewables stuff.
A right bastard could raise and harvest whales for a better class of oil.
Or just use Bel-Ray™.
I couldn’t begin to figure which is more detrimental to the environment but I know which would be worse for the Karma.
New age renewable hardware, powerplants, engines risk resulting in as many resource availability, cost, bottlenecks as does chasing oil.

In any case it has traditionally been conservative industry stakeholders and their pals in government that have caused too many political bottlenecks to technology advancement.

On top of that there are a significant number of Retro-Technologies that could be utilized that the aforementioned stick-in-the-muds refuse too.
Oz and solar.
The old PMG (what TELSTRA pretends to be these days) had solar powered telecommunications repeaters out in the boondocks decades ago.
So take solar and add an energy accumulator with an installation big enough to drive a few cities.
(Gee, he says, the batteries’d have to be Huuuge.)
Wrong. The battery is just a huge hot water bottle.
Fair enough, the bottle is pretty impressive ‘cos it has to hold a couple of billion litres of fluid at a couple of hundred atmospheres of pressure at several hundred degrees temperature.
It, or even better, several smaller vessels have to be really well insulated to keep in the heat energy overnight.
Of course there’s a fair amount of plumbing attached connecting these bottles to steam turbine direct current generators (DC long distance power transmission is more efficient and less irradiating than AC). On the other side we have tube arrays heated by batteries of electronically controlled, aimable, solar reflectors.
The technology to do that on a par with coal fired has been around for decades.
The means to make it ultra efficient, cheaper than coal or nuclear – say about fifteen years.
In other words they should be out there now.
And no. Water isn’t a problem.

Wind farms are a bit of a problem. They tend to gobble up tons of rare earth magnetic material as do electric cars.
Besides that the big problem is litiginous greenies whingeing about the monotonous whoosh whoosh of those beautiful CARBON (note, carbon) fibre blades.
Geothermal in some ways risks being a close second to fracking as an environmental disaster and there is this teensy little problem about working out how to descale a couple of miles of completely clogged bore tubing every three days or so.
I left the best to the last – Tide and wave. Barnacles love plant like that.
One boffin a couple of years back reckoned the barnacle telegraph had advertised quickly enough that there were already no vacancy signs up before he even got his pilot plant up and running.
A bit like that, barnacles.
Oh, you can kill ‘em easily enough. They way they do with ships. Drag ‘em up out of the water at vast expense and blast away with steam or high pressure water or spend weeks chipping ‘em off with a pick.
Once you do that a couple of coats of highly toxic paint will keep the buggers at bay for about two weeks.
It’s just not cricket.

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