#bushfires

Never let a good crisis go to waste even if you have to trespass

Senator Kamala Harris and California Gov Gavin Newsom took the opportunity to do a photo shoot on the property of a family who lost their home to the devastating wildfires.

This is what Trampas Patten, son of the owner, had to say:

For the friends of mine that don’t recognize the fireplace in the background, that is what is left of my parents house! What has me really frustrated right now is the fact that these two politicians used my parents loss for a photo opportunity to push their political agenda! Political party wouldn’t have made a difference in this moment. Decent human beings that have character and class, wouldn’t air someone else’s misfortune on national television! Think about this when you go to the polls in a few weeks to vote. Look at this picture closely, imagine it is what is left of your hard work, hopes, dreams, place of sanctuary. Do you want this kind of leadership, using you and your loss for political gain?! For the record, my parents haven’t even been let back in yet themselves, to sort through what is left of their lives, but these two felt the need to go traipsing around my parents property without permission. I guess those property taxes my parents pay allow politicians to do this! Private property doesn’t exist in California anymore!

His sister Bailee chimed in with:

Dear Governor Newsom you don’t know me but I’m one of your CA citizens. That truck you are standing by is my dads work truck. He has had that thing for as long as I can remember. That land with all the rubble your standing next too, that’s my house I grew up in. You never got my parents permission to go on our property, nor did you ask if we needed help. What you did do is take my families loss and parade it all over social media and news networks to push your agenda. That agenda can wait, right now you should be caring about the families of this state. Thankfully this community is #mountainstrong and we will thrive.

When it is all to push a climate change agenda in media approved Timberland boots, who cares about those affected? Facts don’t matter. Fashion and fashionable causes not supported by the facts do.

Scientific American endorses Biden – first time in 175 years

Wow. Scientific American has endorsed Joe Biden. This is the first time the magazine has backed a presidential candidate in 175 years. We think it may live to regret its move. The magazine has merely exposed the deep partisan bias and confirmed again how much of scientific academia and media leans left. Why?

The editors closed with,

It’s time to move Trump out and elect Biden, who has a record of following the data and being guided by science.”

If we listened to Joe Biden’s ‘Moses and the 10 Commandments’ speech the other day, it was full of unsubstantiated hyperbole about the risks of higher incidences of floods, hurricanes and wildfires if Trump is reelected despite the fact that under the current administration, harmful GHG emissions have fallen by the largest absolute number ever in 2019 according to the IEA.

For a magazine that rests its laurels on “following the data” and “being guided by the science”, perhaps it missed the UNIPCC’s March 2018 report on weather extremes (with respect to anthropogenic induced global warming) which noted:

…There is low confidence in observed trends in small-scale phenomena such as tornadoes and hail because of data inhomogeneities and inadequacies in monitoring systems…in some regions droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter, for example, in central North America and northwestern Australia. There is limited to medium evidence available to assess climate-driven observed changes in the magnitude and frequency of floods…low confidence for the attribution of any detectable changes in tropical cyclone activity to anthropogenic influences..low confidence in projections of changes in extreme winds.. low confidence in projections of changes in monsoons…low confidence in wave height projections…overall low confidence because of inconsistent projections of drought changes…low confidence in projected future changes in dust storms…low confidence in projections of an anthropogenic effect on phenomena such as shallow landslides.

Perhaps the editors missed the questionnaire posted by the UN Interacademy Council committee on its website which invited interested parties to respond to the scientific processes at the IPCC during the compilation of the gold standard climate bibles? These were some of the responses;

some of the lead authors…are clearly not qualified to be lead authors.” (p.16)

There are far too many politically correct appointments, so that developing country scientists are appointed who have insufficient scientific competence to do anything useful. This is reasonable if it is regarded as a learning experience, but in my chapter…we had half of the [lead authors] who were not competent.” (p. 138)

The whole process…[is] flawed by an excessive concern for geographical balance. All decisions are political before being scientific.” (p. 554)

half of the authors are there for simply representing different parts of the world.” (p. 296)

Lest anyone think that people from less affluent countries were being unjustly stereotyped,

The team members from the developing countries (including myself) were made to feel welcome and accepted as part of the team. In reality, we were out of our intellectual depth as meaningful contributors to the process.” (p.330)

The founders of Scientific American must be rolling over in their graves. If their scientific rigour is as sound as their endorsement then Trump has even more chances to secure reelection.

This should be seen as a rejection of Trump not an endorsement for Biden.

2 lefty narratives destroyed in one – climate change & 2A

An Oregon lady caught an arsonist in the act and exercised her second amendment rights to hold the individual under citizen’s arrest until the police arrived.

As Bernie Sanders and the left keep banging on about climate change being behind the bushfires, once again, arson is a large factor. Joe Biden gave a speech saying that the US risks being destroyed by fires, floods and hurricanes.

We wrote about the causes of bushfires during Australia’s recent disaster here.

In short, coronavirus has run its scaremongering course so it is now time to rachet up global warming again. We imagine Greta Thunberg will he invited on Zoom to do a town hall with Biden.

California fires vs Australia

As wildfires sweep across California, we were struck by this infographic put up by Cal Fire.

While we will investigate more deeply in coming days, we were struck by several things compared to Australia’s NSW RFS.

The first is fire engines. Cal Fire claims to have 343. NSW RFS has 3,883. Although aerial bombing seems a preferred method in California.

Cal Fire employs 6,100 full time staff. NSWRFS 936.

Cal Fire has 2,600 seasonal staff, 3,500 inmates, wards and conservation members and 600 volunteers. NSWRFS has 71,000 volunteers.

Cal Fire operates on a budget of US$2.1bn. NSWRFS runs on US$405m.

Cal Fire attended 5,750 wildfire incidents while NSWRFS attended 9,675 bushfires in 2018/19.

Cal Fire staged prescribed burn offs of around 19,000 acres in 2017/18. NSWRFS conducted 469,500 acres of burn off in the last recorded year. In NSW’s case, this wasn’t enough.

So before the “climate change” experts start blaming Mother Nature for California’s wildfires, a quick glance at the stats shows that NSWRFS were doing far more with less. Despite that, the Royal Commission has exposed that nowhere near enough forest fuel was being managed which led to the uncontrollable fires experienced late last year. Poor administration is a feature too.

We will endeavor to do a more comprehensive look at the stats to ensure consistency in methodology.

However we implore people to look at a report we wrote discussing climate change by the fire services themselves which goes a long way in proving what we already knew. Poor fuel load management and arson remain the biggest issues.

As ever, we don’t disparage the work of the fire fighters but question the management. In Australia, one volunteer claimed the administration acts like a mafia.

California fires weren’t caused by climate change but…wait for it…

…Gender reveal fireworks.

There is a deep sense of irony when the climate change myth is dispelled (as written before) as the cause of devastating wildfires that some other form of woke activity ends up being behind it.

The San Bernardino Fire Department issued a press release confirming that gender reveal fireworks had been behind the wildfires which have caused 3,000 residents to evacuate their homes.

State of recurring Disasters

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has made a very strong case for rejecting identity politics in all of its forms.

It has now come to light that he and his team prioritized social inclusion over ability when selecting the private security firms to manage hotel quarantine during coronavirus. This is widely regarded as the source of the second outbreak. Guards with no training who ended up in some cases fornicating with guests under their watch. You can’t make this stuff up.

This is the same individual who refused to censure his Deputy Chief Health Officer Annaliese van Diemen for tweeting,

Sudden arrival of an invader from another land, decimating populations, creating terror…Forces the population to make enormous sacrifices & completely change how they live in order to survive. COVID19 or Cook 1770?

How is it possible that social justice took a front seat to a pandemic? Surely ALL Victorians would gladly trade identity politics for sound health policy prescriptions which didn’t lock them up for another 6 weeks.

Andrews was only too happy to have his police force fine people playing golf or fishing but didn’t prosecute a single person for attending a BLM rally which by itself must have also led to a spike in cases.

Here are some more pearls of wisdom we’ve noted over the years.

Years ago, the Victorian premier championed that he had 200,000 likes on FB, twice as many as Mike Baird in New South Wales. He also made the completely worthless boast that “Mike Baird gets no ‘Likes’ after 10pm“. Is that a true test of leadership? That only 3% of Victorians like him?

We recall Andrews pushing the Victorian Police to host segregated seminars for potential new recruits in order to accommodate their religious beliefs.

In October last year he said misogynist slogans on vehicles would lead to an automatic cancelation of registration. Presumably misandrist slogans were ok.

We noted the shocking state of affairs with the unionization of the Victorian CFA and its dreadful administration. Huge uptick in salaries, staffing and administration costs with a decline in equipment procurement.

Or the rorts for votes scandal.

Or joining China’s BRI without consulting the federal government on national security grounds.

We could go on.

The ability to steer through a crisis is the true test of any leader. All of Andrews’ flawed thinking might be nice to haves in the moral preening stakes. Sadly coronavirus has exposed them as utterly meaningless and outright dangerous. Putting forward ridiculous parameters for hiring put Victorian lives in more danger.

How he hasn’t resigned is beyond us. Despite being the most disastrous premier in Australian history, Andrews continues to get comforting support from mainstream and social media. Maybe he believes their propaganda that he is doing a decent job. Nothing could be further from the truth.

What happened when Baltimore went soft on crime

Arrests chg

In April 2015, a black man by the name of Freddie Gray died from injuries sustained in a police van. His death sparked outrage and riots in Baltimore. The 6 officers (3 black, 3 white) who faced trial for his death were either acquitted or had the charges dropped.

According to Larry Elder, despite claims that the city was suffering from systemic racism at the time of his death, the mayor of Baltimore City was black, the AG was black, the police chief was black, his deputy was black, the majority of the command centre was black and the city council members were predominantly black and all Democrat. We shouldn’t forget that the US president was also black.

As a result of the riots that followed Gray’s death, the Baltimore City Police Department (BCPD) went soft on crime. Police actions fell off a cliff. Arrests had been declining for years but decelerated even quicker post-2015.

From 2014 to 2017, dispatch records show the number of field interviews fell 70%. Suspected narcotics offences reported by police fell 30%. The number of people BCPD reported seeing with outstanding warrants dropped by half.  The acting police commissioner admitted, “In all candour, officers are not as aggressive as they once were, pre-2015. It’s just that fact.

Rape surged.

Rapes

Homicides exploded. In 2017, Baltimore hit its highest per-capita murder rate ever. It was double Chicago’s rate and in absolute numbers higher than New York, a city 14 times as populous.

Homicides

An informal survey of 15% of BCPD officers taken by the council showed that officers were afraid to make arrests in the aftermath. A third of those surveyed had served in BCPD for over 20 years.

40% said they felt “inadequately trained

43% said they do not feel “comfortable making self-initiated arrests

68% said they do not feel “city leadership supports law enforcement.”

74% said they “feel restricted by the consent decree,”

78% said they felt the department had “lowered hiring standards.

One officer responded, “Morale won’t rise until the Department and its officers receive consistent public support from the Mayor, City Council and State’s Attorney. No one is asking that corruption be tolerated. What we are asking is that when we investigate crimes and make arrests or issue citations that our elected leaders support us when we encounter resistance.

Another mentioned, “We don’t have enough people in my unit. The volume of cases we have is absurd given our manpower. It leads to mistakes, and inadequate follow up investigations which lead to sloppy prosecutions. None of which is for lack of trying.

A shortage of funds? The budget for the BCPD has grown from $455 million in FY2015 to $536 million for FY2020, begging the question of why arrests and prosecution of crime haven’t matched the increased spending?

When analysing the breakdown of the BCPD budget, composition matters. Police patrolling will decline from $253 million in 2015 to $202 million in the 2020 budget. The number of police allocated to patrol will fall from 1,851 to 1,363 during the same period. Administration expenses will jump from $44 million to $94 million. Crime investigation will rise from $52 million to $53 million off from the low of $35 million in 2019.

Just as we saw with our study on fire services around Australia at the time of the bushfires, more money doesn’t always lead to better outcomes if those custodians don’t have the skills to sensibly allocate those extra dollars.

Like many government bureaus or departments, it doesn’t appear to be a question of just throwing more money at policing but far better stewardship of funds, a more defined focus of mission and a council that supports law enforcement by cutting red tape which leads to the types of outcomes that benefit the community at large.

Woke policing doesn’t work. Baltimore is proof.

What happened when Baltimore went soft on crime

Arrests chg

In April 2015, a black man by the name of Freddie Gray died from injuries sustained in a police van. His death sparked outrage and riots in Baltimore. The 6 officers (3 black, 3 white) who faced trial for his death were either acquitted or had the charges dropped.

According to Larry Elder, despite claims that the city was suffering from systemic racism at the time of his death, the mayor of Baltimore City was black, the AG was black, the police chief was black, his deputy was black, the majority of the command centre was black and the city council members were predominantly black and all Democrat. We shouldn’t forget that the US president was also black.

As a result of the riots that followed Gray’s death, the Baltimore City Police Department (BCPD) went soft on crime. Police actions fell off a cliff. Arrests had been declining for years but decelerated even quicker post-2015.

From 2014 to 2017, dispatch records show the number of field interviews fell 70%. Suspected narcotics offences reported by police fell 30%. The number of people BCPD reported seeing with outstanding warrants dropped by half.  The acting police commissioner admitted, “In all candour, officers are not as aggressive as they once were, pre-2015. It’s just that fact.

Rape surged.

Rapes

Homicides exploded. In 2017, Baltimore hit its highest per-capita murder rate ever. It was double Chicago’s rate and in absolute numbers higher than New York, a city 14 times as populous.

Homicides

An informal survey of 15% of BCPD officers taken by the council showed that officers were afraid to make arrests in the aftermath. A third of those surveyed had served in BCPD for over 20 years.

40% said they felt “inadequately trained

43% said they do not feel “comfortable making self-initiated arrests

68% said they do not feel “city leadership supports law enforcement.”

74% said they “feel restricted by the consent decree,”

78% said they felt the department had “lowered hiring standards.

One officer responded, “Morale won’t rise until the Department and its officers receive consistent public support from the Mayor, City Council and State’s Attorney. No one is asking that corruption be tolerated. What we are asking is that when we investigate crimes and make arrests or issue citations that our elected leaders support us when we encounter resistance.

Another mentioned, “We don’t have enough people in my unit. The volume of cases we have is absurd given our manpower. It leads to mistakes, and inadequate follow up investigations which lead to sloppy prosecutions. None of which is for lack of trying.

A shortage of funds? The budget for the BCPD has grown from $455 million in FY2015 to $536 million for FY2020, begging the question of why arrests and prosecution of crime haven’t matched the increased spending?

When analysing the breakdown of the BCPD budget, composition matters. Police patrolling will decline from $253 million in 2015 to $202 million in the 2020 budget. The number of police allocated to patrol will fall from 1,851 to 1,363 during the same period. Administration expenses will jump from $44 million to $94 million. Crime investigation will rise from $52 million to $53 million off from the low of $35 million in 2019.

Just as we saw with our study on fire services around Australia at the time of the bushfires, more money doesn’t always lead to better outcomes if those custodians don’t have the skills to sensibly allocate those extra dollars.

Like many government bureaus or departments, it doesn’t appear to be a question of just throwing more money at policing but far better stewardship of funds, a more defined focus of mission and a council that supports law enforcement by cutting red tape which leads to the types of outcomes that benefit the community at large.

Woke policing doesn’t work. Baltimore is proof.

Nothing to be proud about

Biz Ivest

Flipping through the latest RBA Chart Pack, it is no surprise that business investment keeps sliding off a cliff. As a % of GDP, it has slid from a peak of 18% off the short-term trough of 14% (GFC) to 11%, which now puts it at 1994 levels. It proves the old adage that businesses don’t invest because interest rates are low, they invest because they have confidence in the cycle.

Our government should be looking at this with alarm bells. It doesn’t take too much imagination to work out that political instability has played its part.

Australia was once regarded as the vanguard of political stability in the region which made it a sensible investment choice for domestic and international investors as a place to do business. There was a comfort in knowing that there wouldn’t be revolving door prime ministers and flip flops on policy positions. After all, much business investment takes years to get to the production stage.

The Howard years saw our business investment surge. Sensible fiscal policy was a feature too. While Rudd can be forgiven for GFC causing a slump in business investment it resumed until political instability put the mocker on business confidence.

We have been running deficits ever since and cranking up the national debt (we wrote about it here) because it is clear we don’t have sensible free-market conditions to self sustain direct investment at anywhere the levels we need.

Instead, we kowtow to radical activists who try to stop investment in projects like Adani and conduct illegal secondary boycotts on businesses like Greyhound Australia and Siemens without repercussions.

Whether coal is evil or not is irrelevant. The problem is such activism, which is further supported by ideologically corrupted government environmental departments – that push their own agenda on granting approvals – doesn’t endear domestic industries or foreigners to invest in us. These are dangerous precedents. All of this tokenism when we only need look at the realities of what will happen down the line.

Don’t take our word for it. Even our domestic businesses are leaving.

Thanks to Australia’s ridiculous energy prices, Aussie company Bluescope confirmed the expansion of capacity in Ohio. In Feb 2019, the company CEO said, “much cheaper energy in the United States is a major driver of the company’s preparedness to invest in a $1 billion expansion in Ohio.”

In 2017, Tomago Aluminium reported, “We have to grow to be competitive and to be ahead of the curve, but when the spot price went to $14,000 [per megawatt hour] we had to take that load off. It’s just not sustainable. You can’t smelt at that price. We have had to curtail or modulate the load [on occasions] or we get hammered by the price…We cannot continue to keep paying those prices. We have to find a solution. The prices are crippling”

Aust Manuf.png

Unfortunately, 28 years of unfettered economic expansion has made us complacent. We think this economical miracle has no off-ramp.

None of this is remotely surprising.

Can we honestly say that the impact of higher electricity prices hasn’t been a factor in pushing away investment in engineering and manufacturing? So this mad push for renewables will not alleviate this pressure. Germany is the perfect beta-test crash dummy. It predicted flat prices. They doubled from those forecasts.

GEP.png

Yet our political class is playing with fire.

We never thought Australia was realistically going to have a surplus when it was announced. Secretly there must be a sigh of relief in Treasury that the impacts of the bushfires and coronavirus will provide a convenient scapegoat to miss those targets under the premise of ‘doing the right thing.’  And no that does not mean the government is glad those two catastrophes have happened from a humanistic approach.

We need proper reforms. We need to ditch these notions of political correctness in public policy. We are as unimaginative as many other governments around the world. Living on a low-interest rate fuelled debt bomb. Kicking the can down the road simply does not work. Why aren’t politicians convicting their cases with evidence rather than folding to ideological positions held by fringe dwellers on Twitter?

When we visited Israel on a business delegation in 2018, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu uttered the only 4 words that mattered for investors – “we want your business.” The innovation nation knows what it is good at and is prepared to back it to the hilt.

It would be so nice if our government spent some time in Israel to discover that we have it all wrong. Because we are only storing up a rude awakening. When our economy does suffer from the eventual ramifications of all of that lack of investment, the public will be howling that they can’t pay their mortgages, that they can’t get decent jobs and they can’t keep the lights on. None of that would have been necessary if they had been more open to business.

The ultimate result will be that we’ll put ourselves deeper into debt to fund some monster infrastructure projects that will provide short term relief, not long term solutions.

The foreign investors that could have helped had we treated them in a more dignified fashion will just buy our assets at fire-sale prices instead. Then we’ll have another moment to howl at the moon.

That will be the true price of our complacency. Experience is a hard teacher. You get the test first and the lesson afterwards.

ACF threatens Tennis Australia with Corporations Act

It was only a matter of time. The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has regurgitated a report it wrote on the increasing risks of heat stress on cricketers during Boxing Day tests by applying it the Australian Open tennis.

It chose the same partial voice to undertake the study.  The Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub (MCCCRH) openly states that it “conducts social research and leads impact focused projects to build media and policy infrastructure that adequately addresses climate change in Australia.”

Not balance. Just agenda based.

The main points were as follows:

“The MCCCRH finds”:

“Australian tennis is already experiencing the impact of climate change, with smoke from bushfires and extreme heat driven by climate change increasing health risks for players and the likelihood of match disruptions.

Haven’t we worked out that dreadful bush management is a root cause, not climate change? That despite 57 inquiries into bushfires since 1939 we still haven’t learnt how to maintain our bush land despite aborigines being successful custodians for 1,000s of years before climate change was even a thing? Incompetence seems to be the issue, not climate.

“Tennis authorities should consider a series of actions to protect players, such as extending the length of the tournament — to allow games to be cancelled in the hottest part of the day if it’s too hot on court — or moving the event to November or March.”

Has the ACF considered some players are fitter than others? Shouldn’t the players determine such things with TA, not a bunch of alarmists with an axe to grind?

“Climate change threats may soon represent ‘material financial issues’ for Tennis Australia and its directors, who could face liability under the Corporations Act for failing to adequately address and report these risks.

Do we really need to have the ACF resort to threats via the Corporations Act to shame Cricket Australia and Tennis Australia (TA) with unsettled science? Does it realize that corporations reporting on climate change has fallen to 14% from 22% over the last decade? 1000s of Aussie directors are already well aware of their risks without having the ACF throw the rule book in their face. So they disagree with you.

Will the ACF insure the risk of lost revenue if its alarmism they predict fails to eventuate? If the ACF is so confident in its prophecies it should have no qualms backing such a notion. Put its science where its mouth is.

On page 16, TA got a slap on the wrist for having ANZ as a sponsor because it supports the fossil fuel industry at $7.70 for every $1 it does on renewables. Could that be because of the relative risk profile, ACF? Does ANZ dictate to TA what it must do with the tournament other than contractually honour advertising exposure? Does TA have any rights to tell ANZ how it, a bank, deploys shareholder capital? No.

Although we do note the ACF commended TA for joining the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework and urges it to raise its voice for strong, meaningful climate action from our government.

The ACF should demand that TA restrict the Australian Open to players who walk, cycle or sail to the tournament. As the UN sports body states,

“Sport is not just a victim of climate change; it is also a contributor, through greenhouse gas emissions.

What better way to mitigate the dangers and show the very actions that will stop the climate emergency dead in its tracks by making the tennis players ditch fossil fuel derived transport of any sort to any future events and give up their carbon rackets and naphtha based synthetic clothing.

In closing, FNF Media hopes for the sake of consistency, that the ACF will guarantee it will publish a report on professional skiing competitions where skiers may have to brave record cold temperatures to compete? If such an event comes to pass, we can guarantee it would never see the light of day. After all we just had the coldest maximum summer temperature in history at Thredbo late last year.

By the way, here is the Melbourne forecast for the tournament and the peak temp hit in 1939.