Sunday, February 21, 2016

Disruptive Green/Left "protests" to be legally curbed in Western Australia

That's long overdue but far-Left "New Matilda" (below) is on its high horse condemning it. They say the word "thing" is too vague but it is not.  It is the use to which the thing is put that defines it.  If it is used to disrupt other people's lives and activities it's use becomes illegal.  It's sheer Fascist arrogance that the Green/Left think they have a right to disrupt other people's lives in pursuit of their personal demons

The mention of U.N. "rapporteurs" is amusing.  They must be the most unjudicial people on the planet.  They regularly condemn Anglosphere countries and Israel while remaining silent about real abuses in Muslim and African countries

The West Australian government has eschewed the alarm of not one, not two, but three United Nations Special Rapporteurs, and is pressing ahead with a bill that will criminalise legitimate protest activity.

As New Matilda reported in March last year, the Coalition government is moving to criminalise - quite literally - the possession of a "thing". Overnight the draconian anti-protest bill passed through the Legislative Council. It will now proceed to the Legislative Assembly.

If passed, the laws will reverse the onus of proof, giving police extraordinary powers. It carries penalties that would land peaceful protestors in prison for one year, along with a $12,000 fine, or two years and $24,000 in "circumstances of aggravation".

Collin Barnett's Coalition government controls both houses of the West Australian Parliament, leaving Labor and the Greens impotent in their virulent opposition.

Earlier this week three UN Special Rapporteurs - David Kaye, on freedom of expression; Maina Kiai, on freedom of peaceful assembly and association; and Michel Forst, on human rights defenders - slammed the bill in its entirety.

"The proposed legislation will have the chilling effect of silencing dissenters and punishing expression protected by international human rights law," Kaye warned.

"Instead of having a necessary [and]legitimate aim, the Bill's offence provisions disproportionately criminalise legitimate protest actions," he said.

The West Australian government has made clear that the law was inspired by the effectiveness of protest methods at James Price Point and in anti-logging campaigns in the state's south-west.

In their strident criticism, the three United Nations Special Rapporteurs outlined their concerns.

"If the bill passes, it would go against Australia's international obligations under international human rights law, including the rights to freedom of opinion and expression as well as peaceful assembly and association," they said in a joint statement.

"The bill would criminalise a wide range of legitimate conduct by creating criminal offences for the acts of physically preventing a lawful activity and possessing an object for the purpose of preventing a lawful activity."

"For example, peaceful civil disobedience and any non-violent direct action could be characterised as `physically preventing a lawful activity.'"

The government openly admits it is trying to criminalise the use of objects - like `thumb locks', `arm-locks', `tree-sits', or chains - to prevent big developers from conducting their legally approved business.

This is not made clear in the bill, though, which refers only to a "thing" which could be used to prevent "a lawful activity". The President of the West Australian Law Society, Mathew Keogh has previously told New Matilda this "represents a breakdown of the rule of law".

Because of this broad drafting, the bill could be applied to activities other than those the government claims to be targeting, like a union picket line. According to Keogh, "the legislation is so broad it is almost impossible to say how they may be applied down the track".

In addition, anyone who falls foul of the legislation could be forced by the courts to pay police and developers' "reasonable expenses" for the removal of the physical barrier.

According to Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai, "it discourages legitimate protest activity and instead, prioritises business and government resource interests over the democratic rights of individuals".


Canada's arrogant Trudeau administration hits trouble in the provinces

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says he wants nothing to do with Ottawa’s plan for a national minimum price on greenhouse gas emissions as he raises the political heat ahead of the First Ministers climate summit scheduled for Vancouver in two weeks.

In an interview Thursday, Mr. Wall – who faces a re-election campaign this spring – flatly rejected the federal government’s plan to reach agreement with provinces and territories on a Canada-wide floor price for carbon, which would be at least $15 a tonne.

“Let’s be clear that it would be a tax, and that’s the very last thing the economy needs right now,” Mr. Wall said. “I’ve already made it clear … that if we’re re-elected, our government will not be pursuing any tax increases or new taxes, and neither would we support any new national taxes.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet with the premiers in Vancouver on March 3 for talks on a national climate strategy, but they are not expecting to reach a deal at that time. Instead, Ottawa and the provinces are looking to set up working groups to chart the path forward in key areas, including a pan-Canadian minimum carbon price that would apply broadly across the economy, but would also allow provinces to use their own mechanisms and collect the revenue. They are aiming to have a deal in six months.

Federal sources say the proposal for a carbon floor price is purposely vague – with no specific price or approach identified – so as not to presume an outcome to the negotiations. But finding common ground will prove enormously challenging, given the various approaches already being pursued by provincial governments.

Mr. Wall was outspoken in his skepticism about carbon pricing when premiers met with Mr. Trudeau prior to the Paris climate summit in December. And with an election looming, he is doubling down on his opposition.

“We think technological investment should be a higher priority than fiscal instruments or new taxes that would hurt economic growth and potentially cost jobs here in Saskatchewan and across the country,” he said. His province has invested more than $1-billion in a carbon-capture project at the Boundary Dam coal-fired power station near Estevan, which Mr. Wall says will provide a technology solution to an energy-hungry world.

Forgoing a broad-based carbon tax would leave Saskatchewan with a competitive advantage, as neighbouring Alberta moves to impose a $30-a-tonne levy, he added. “I don’t want a level playing field for our province. I want this to be the most competitive place that it possibly can be … and that does not include a new carbon tax, especially now, given the state of the economy.”

Ontario Environment Minister Glen Murray cheered the federal government’s plan to set a minimum national carbon price, saying it would create fairness between jurisdictions that are putting a price on carbon and those that aren’t.

“What do you do with something that comes out of Saskatchewan, that has no carbon price on it, versus something that comes out of Alberta? To remove interprovincial trade barriers and to have fair treatment within the Canadian federation … that [floor price] makes sense,” Mr. Murray said in an interview at Queen’s Park Thursday.

Ontario is set to introduce a cap-and-trade system – working in concert with Quebec and California – that will impose carbon cost on fuel distributors and many industries; Alberta announced its carbon tax will complement an emissions cap on the oil sands.

Mr. Murray said he talks to federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna every week and that Ottawa has been “very open with the process.”

The Atlantic provinces – which accounted for 6 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2013 – would also face the choice of either living with a federal carbon tax or adopting one of their own. Environment ministers from the four provinces agreed to work together on climate policy, including the potential for a regional carbon-pricing plan.

The recently elected Liberal government in Newfoundland and Labrador is “considering options” for carbon levies, Environment Minister Perry Trimper said in an interview. “We’re willing to step up to the plate in a way we have not been” under the previous Progressive Conservative government, he said.

B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak said Ottawa has not yet laid out a proposal but predicted it will not be easy to win over agreement with all the provinces. She said there was discussion at the recent meeting between the federal, provincial and territorial ministers on climate about how to approach carbon pricing, but each province is at a different stage on the issue.

“We all have to acknowledge,” Ms. Polak said, “a pan-Canadian approach is a tall order. We’ve got really big differences between provinces – it’s a huge challenge.”

She sidestepped what might happen if just one province opts out. “We haven’t seen what proposal they might bring,” she said, adding: “We know that every province is going to be contributing to Canada’s agreement in Paris in different ways.”


German Consumers Paying Record Amount For Green Energy .... On “Best Path To Financial Disaster”

Some 15 years ago German Environment Minister, J├╝rgen Trittin, wanted the public to believe that Germany’s Energiewende (transition to renewable energies) would only cost consumers about as much as one scoop of ice cream per month. Since those famous words were spoken that scoop has ballooned to a jumbo bucket of Ben and Jerry’s.

Never have German consumers paid so much for electricity. Indeed one study concluded that the high cost of electricity in Germany is resulting in hundreds of thousands of German households having their power cut off because families can no longer afford the high electric bills – see here and here. It just goes to show that under reckless political management even a scoop of ice cream can become a luxury.

According to media reports, 24.1 billion euros were paid out to green energy producers last year. That is 2.6 billion euros, or 12 percent, more than in 2014.”

The costs are rising so fast that some leading politicians are (finally) beginning to sound the alarms. The BZ writes that leading conservative politician Michael Fuchs of Angela Merkel’s CDU party “fears the worst“, telling the flagship daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that the Energiewende “is on the best path to becoming a financial disaster”.

And despite the massive investment, wind energy was only able to deliver 13% of Germany’s electricity needs last year – and that in a year which was a relatively windy one.

What will be the consequence of all the Bernie-Sanders-“free” green energy in the future? The Berliner Zeitung writes: “Higher costs”.

One reason for the higher costs, the BZ writes, is because of the governments plan to boost investment in offshore wind parks – and slow down the construction of onshore parks. The problem with that plan is that offshore wind energy is far more expensive.

Offshore wind park operators are guaranteed up to 19.4 euro-cents per kilowatt-hour – which is some three times more than what onshore operators get.

And there’s still remains the problem of getting offshore wind energy to markets inland.


Congress Places Blame of Animas Spill on EPA

The House Natural Resources Committee released a 74-page report faulting the Environmental Protection Agency with dumping three million gallons of toxic-metal laden water into the Animas River in Colorado. Not only did the report detail the comedy of errors leading up to the moment when an EPA contractor breached a retaining wall at the Gold King Mine and the pressurized water contaminated with mercury, arsenic and lead started to flow down the hill, it accused the EPA of deceiving the American public of the extent of the EPA-caused disaster. If a private party had caused the spill, the ecofascists at the EPA would have swooped in to deal out some environmental justice. But like it did leading up to the Flint water crisis, the EPA gave itself, the government, a pass.

Research associate at the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies Katie Tubb told The Daily Signal, “Good environmental policy is primarily an issue of who is best equipped to manage the environment well. As the committee’s report illustrates, the EPA and [Department of Interior] are massive black boxes — accountability is difficult. States and local communities simply can do a better job of reflecting the environmental interests of the people impacted most and can better be held responsible by their constituents.” In the days after the yellow-orange tide flowed down the Animas, it was clear the EPA had gone into damage-control mode, as protecting the agency is its primary goal, even above protecting the environment.


The EPA Isn’t Handling Its Business – But Insists On Man-Handling Ours

I have a (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) rule for federal government departments, agencies, commissions and boards: Barring a Constitutional amendment, if a bureaucracy was created after 1800 – it shouldn’t exist.

The Founding Fathers who wrote the Constitution – were by 1800 thoroughly implementing it. If they didn’t yet have the federal government doing something – the federal government wasn’t to be doing it.   So unless a subsequent amendment added an authority to the federal panoply – it’s been an unConstitutional addition.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created in 1970 – WAY past our sell-by date. Our nation got along just fine for nearly two centuries without this particular federal usurpation. Was the Constitution first amended to give the federal government the authority to override how fifty individual states each respectively decide how to handle environmental issues? Of course not.

Did Congress pretend to be a unilateral, illegal amendment process and pass legislation creating the EPA? Not even: “Pseudo-Republican Richard Nixon created the mess in 1970 in typical DC fashion. He pretended to be (a one-man Constitutional amendment process) – and signed an executive order. The Democrat-controlled Congress then pretended to be (two-thirds of the states) – and ‘ratified’ the EPA with committee hearings.…”

So the entirety of the EPA is Constitutionally illegitimate. It is through this prism that we should examine its actions. Which are unilateral, authoritarian, bullying and amateurish. Time and again they grab more and more power and authority over our lives – all while failing miserably at the things over which they already lord.

The latest example of their awfulness? “An EPA official was caught red-handed with full knowledge of the danger of an environmental spill at Colorado’s Gold King Mine in emails discovered by the Denver Post, but the agency downplayed any knowledge of the hazard to the public. As 3 million gallons of lead, cadmium and other chemicals polluted the Animas River, the EPA pretty well tried to downplay the severity of that, too.”animus river spill

An EPA screwup of MASSIVE proportions. Followed by an equally huge attempted coverup. And yet literally no one in government was fired for the fiasco. And does their fiasco stop them from abusing a business accused of a MUCH smaller error? Of course not: “On the same day when the Denver Post printed the story above, the Department of Justice announced the latest criminal sentencing in connection with the Elk River spill.

“‘A former owner of Freedom Industries was sentenced today to 30 days in federal prison, six months of supervised release, and a $20,000 fine for environmental crimes connected to the 2014 Elk River chemical spill…. (Dennis P.) Farrell is one of six former officials of Freedom Industries, in addition to Freedom Industries itself as a corporation, to be prosecuted for federal crimes associated with the chemical spill.’

“Was this private company dealt with so harshly because the Elk River spill was larger than the EPA’s Animas River discharge? No: the Elk River spill was only 7,500 gallons, compared with three million gallons the EPA discharged into the Animas River.”

Get that? Six private sector employees and the company itself prosecuted – for spilling 0.0025% of what the EPA spilled. An EPA spill which resulted in zero bureaucrats prosecuted – or even canned.

The EPA can’t handle its business – but it sure as heck wants to man-handle ours.

And, of course, the EPA continues to unilaterally, illegally and omni-directionally expand its authority. But one such additional assault? “You want to kneecap farmers? And make food exorbitantly more expensive? Turn farmers’ water into a weapon against them.

“‘The issue is the EPA’s proposed changes to the Waters of the United States regulation. In March, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed new rules that would expand the agency’s regulatory authority on streams and wetlands that feed into major rivers and lakes….

“‘(T)he rules…(would) allow the government to dictate what farmers can and cannot do with their farmland, which often includes small streams, ponds and marshes.’”

Given all we know – who do you think knows better how to treat and handle farmland? The farmers – who live and earn their living on it? Or faceless bureaucrats far removed from the land – and the consequences of their heinous actions?

If farmers screw up their land – farmers don’t eat. If bureaucrats screw up farmers’ land – farmers don’t eat. And NOTHING happens to the bureaucrats.

Farmers are just like the rest of us. The less government there is – the better things are for them. Less government domestically – like the ridiculous EPA. And less government internationally – like eliminating all government meddling in farm markets.

We the People handle with care. Government man-handles with impunity.


Critics Challenge Climate Scientist’s Claim That Antarctic Iceberg Killed 150,000 Penguins

A scientific team led by Christopher Turney, a professor of climate science at Australia’s University of South Wales (UNSW), claims that a giant iceberg caused by the effects of global warming decimated a colony of Adelie penguins by blocking their way to feeding grounds off the eastern coast of Antarctica.

But some critics are challenging that assertion, pointing out that the penguins may have just migrated to happier hunting grounds.

“More than 150,000 Adelie penguins have perished in a single colony in Antarctica after the grounding of a giant iceberg” five years ago, Turney and fellow researchers from UNSW’s Climate Change Research Centre and New Zealand’s West Coast Penguin Trust wrote in an article published this month in the British peer-reviewed journal Antarctic Science.

Turney was the leader of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014 that went to Antarctica to update the scientific records compiled a century ago by Sir Douglas Mawson, including a census of the penguin population at Cape Denison.

Turney said that gathering the new data was critical because it would allow climate scientists to document the effects of global warming on Antarctica.

The expedition’s Russian ship - with dozens of climate scientists aboard – had to be rescued after it got stuck in ice for 10 days.

The B09B iceberg, which broke off of the Ross Ice Shelf in 1987, ran aground off Cape Denison in Antarctica’s Commonwealth Bay in 2010, filling the bay with ice and blocking the penguins’ access to the open sea.

"The arrival of iceberg B09B in Commonwealth Bay, East Antarctica, and subsequent fast ice expansion has dramatically increased the distance Adelie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) breeding at Cape Denision must travel in search of food," according to the study.

"Whilst some 5,520 pairs still breed at Cape Denison, there has been an order of magnitude decline in Adelie numbers in the area in comparison to the first counts a century ago and, critically, recent estimates based on satellite images and a census in 1997."
Satellite view of B09B iceberg in Antarctica's Commonwealth Bay. (NASA)

“Hundreds of abandoned eggs were noted, and the ground was littered with the freeze-dried carcasses of the previous season’s chicks,” the article continued, predicting that the colony could be completely wiped out in 20 years.

Turney told the Sydney Morning Herald that the remaining penguins “were incredibly docile, lethargic, almost unaware of your existence. The ones that are surviving are clearly struggling.”

However, the study acknowledged that “abandoned Adelie penguin colony sites are common,” and stated that another penguin colony located about five miles away was “thriving”.

Kerry-Jane Wilson, the study’s lead author, did not respond to an email from, asking her: “How do you know that that the 150,000 Adelie penguins missing from Cape Denison died? Isn't it possible that some or even most of them left the area and migrated to areas along the coast where they had access to food?”

Turney’s claim that the iceberg caused the deaths of 150,000 penguins in the Cape Denison colony was challenged by LiveScience’s Becky Oskin.

"Let's give the penguins a little credit," she wrote in a Feb. 16 article in Discovery. "There's no proof yet that the birds are dead. No one has actually found 150,000 frozen penguins."
Adelie penguins. (Wikipedia)

Oskin quoted Michelle LaRue, a penguin population expert at the University of Minnesota, who said that "just becasue there are a lot fewer birds observed doesn't automatically mean the ones that were there before have perished. They easily could have moved elsewhere, which would make sense if nearby colonies are thriving.”

In a 2013 study of Adelie penguins on Beaufort Island in Antarctica’s Ross Sea, LaRue and her colleagues found that penguins appeared to benefit from climate change because their numbers had increased 84 percent over the previous five decades.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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