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Thursday’s recommended reading – illegal ingestions down under

13 Aug

Libertarian women’s history month: Sudha Shenoy

10 Mar

Sudha ShenoyPhD (1943–2008) was an Austrian School economist and economic historian. From 1986 to 2004, she worked as a lecturer in economics at the University of Newcastle in Australia. She was an Honorary Associate in Economic History at the School of Policy and an adjunct scholar at the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

Shenoy’s father was Professor Bellikoth Raghunath Shenoy, an eminent Indian economist who studied under Friedrich Hayek at the London School of Economics.
Shenoy published many articles on economic history and economic development and also compiled and edited Friedrich Hayek’s book A Tiger by the Tail: The Keynesian Legacy of Inflation.

Shenoy was a strong advocate of free trade and a critic of central planning and the welfare state. She once told Lew Rockwell that Australia was “freer than the US.” When Rockwell asked why, she replied: “Because Australia never had a civil war, and so we still have states’ rights.” She added: “Jefferson was correct about competitive sovereignty helping to preserve liberty.”[1]

Shortly before her death she gave reason magazine her thoughts on the 2008 financial crisis: 

 Federal Reserve officials twisted J P Morgan’s arms — which was why the latter ‘agreed’ to buy. Officials had to provide Morgan’s with a loan & a guarantee against the weakest ‘investments’ — bad mortgages — in the Bear Stearns portfolio. These dubious liabilities amount to some $US 33,000 million — or some 138% of its total purchase price. Thus its unsound investments are one reason for the very very low price that Bear Stearns’ shareholders received — even from J P Morgan’s & even after a Federal loan + guarantee.

In the absence of Federal Reserve intervention & arm-twisting, Bear Stearns would undoubtedly have had to cease trading. And no doubt it would’ve been taken over, eventually — at an even lower price. All that govt officials could do was to shorten this time period, & possibly prevent Bear Stearns’ value from falling even further. But even the almighty Federal Reserve — the world’s largest & most powerful central bank — could not prevent the huge capital losses that Bear Stearns’ shareholders suffered. In short, even the Fed could not stop the de facto failure of one of the world’s largest investment companies. 

She was also highly critical of mainstream economics and especially the widespread adoption in mainstream economics of the methods of the natural sciences; she believed that, as a result of this methodology, mainstream economics was hopelessly removed from the real world.[2] In a 2003 interview, she commented that:
I’m prepared to say that nearly every economics department in the world could be shut down without having an ill-effect on the world of ideas.

Australian Libertarian Sen. David Leyonhjelm Maiden Speech (July 9, 2014)

12 Jul

The Greening of Australia and "Global Warming"

2 Jun
If “climate change” irrigates deserts and makes them green, living, carbon sinks, is it a self-correcting problem?

Is government control of land and water that prevents irrigation and reclamation making “climate change” worse?

Record rains made Australia a giant green global carbon sink

By Pep Canadell, CSIRO and Ben Poulter, Montana State University
Record-breaking rains triggered so much new growth across Australia that the continent turned into a giant green carbon sink to rival tropical rainforests including the Amazon, our new research shows.
Published in the international journal Nature, our study found that vegetation worldwide soaked up 4.1 billion tons of carbon in 2011 – the equivalent of more than 40% of emissions from burning fossil fuels that year.
Unexpectedly, the largest carbon uptake occurred in the semi-arid landscapes of Australia, Southern Africa and South America.

The modelled net carbon uptake of the Australian landscape in December 2010 at the start of the big wet (above), compared with December 2009 (below)., CC BY-NC-ND, CC BY-NC-ND

It set a new record for a land-based carbon sink since high-resolution records began in 1958, in a remarkable example of ecosystems working to stabilise the Earth’s climate.
And that had a global impact. While atmospheric carbon dioxide still rose in 2011, it grew at a much lower rate – nearly 20% lower – than the average growth over the previous decade.
Almost 60% of the higher than normal carbon uptake that year, or 840 million tons, happened in Australia. That was due to a combination of factors, including geography and a run of very dry years, followed by record-breaking rains in 2010 and 2011.
Yet our research raises as many questions as it answers – in particular, about whether the Earth’s natural climate control mechanisms could prove even more volatile than previously thought.

The rain that made the world’s ocean fall

From October 2010 to March 2011, an extraordinary rainfall event occurred over most of Australia, which resulted in three-quarters of Queensland being declared a flood disaster zone – an area as big as France, Germany and Italy combined.
Averaged across Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology recorded rainfall of 703 millimetres for 2010 and 708 mm for 2011. That was well above the long-term average of 453 mm for the period of 1900 to 2009.
Excess rain reached most parts of the continent, in what proved to be the wettest two years combined since national climate records began in 1900.

The 2011 La Niña: So strong, the oceans fell. Boening et. al. (2012), CC BY

Queensland was the worst affected area, with 35 people killed in floods that broke more than 100 river height records, and damaged 30,000 homes and businesses in cities and towns including Brisbane, Ipswich and Toowoomba. (You can see ABC News images of Brisbane before and after the floods here.)
The big rainfall event was part of a global phenomenon called the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which reflects atmospheric pressure changes across the tropical Pacific Ocean, in its La Niña phase. It brought above-average rainfall not only to Australia but also to other parts of the world, particularly in southern Africa and northern South America.

Euronews covers the 2011 Queensland floods.

The power of La Niña to evaporate water from the oceans was boosted by the ongoing high sea-surface temperatures that are part of a long-term trend of ocean warming. That trend has been shown to be associated with the release of greenhouse gases from the combustion of fossil fuels and deforestation.
This massive rain event was so significant that sensors on-board the twin satellites GRACE estimated a decrease in ocean water mass of 1.8 trillion tons. That remarkable finding was measured by changes in the Earth’s gravitational field, brought about by the transfer of water from the ocean to the atmosphere and land surface.

The drop in global sea level in 2011, which went against the trend of the previous 18 years. Boening et. al. (2012), CC BY

This made the ocean’s sea level fall by 5 millimetres from the beginning of 2010 to mid-2011, going against the average sea-level rise of 3mm a year over the previous 18 years associated with global warming.
Australia played a major role in this sea-level fall, for several reasons. It was partly due to vast amounts of rain that fell over Australia. The continent’s hydrological characteristics also played a role, with large impediments for rainfall to flow quickly back to the ocean, such as the large continental interior basins.
And Australia was a country in need of a big drink. The parched continent was emerging from a multi-year drought, particularly in the south-east region, meaning the land acted as a huge sponge, soaking up the heavy rainfall.

Seeing the Earth change colour from above

As a result of the unusually heavy rains, the Earth’s vegetation “greened” in 2011 in ways not measured over the previous 30 years, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere dryland ecosystems.
This global greening was detected by satellites, which observed increases in canopy foliage extent and vegetation water content, which both imply vegetation growth.
Combined, these measurements indicated that the world’s annual production of new plant matter significantly increased in 2011 when compared to the previous decade.
Regions in the Southern Hemisphere including Australia, southern Africa, and temperate South America contributed 80% of the change, especially their savannas and other semi-arid areas.

New growth springing up around the Murray River, Hume Reservoir and Lake Tyrrell in south-eastern Australia, September 2010. NASA, CC BY-NC-ND

The same region in September 2006. This and the image above show how growing conditions compared to average mid-September conditions over 2000 to 2011. See more images here: NASA, CC BY-NC-ND

That winter, June to August 2011, Australia was the greenest that it has ever been seen in the satellite period (since 1982).
Our new study in Nature also shows how fire emissions – normally a big factor in reducing Australia’s capacity to store carbon – were suppressed by about 30%, contributing even further to the continent’s greening.
In addition to the unprecedented vegetation greening of Australia during 2010 and 2011, we also observe a greening trend over the continent since 1980s, particularly during the months of the Australian autumn (March, April, and May).
That has happened for a number of reasons, including increased continental rainfall over the past few decades; plants growing in an atmosphere with increasing carbon dioxide using water more efficiently; and changes in land management such as fire suppression, expansion of invasive species, and changes in livestock grazing that have led to more woodland.

The upsides of going green

Despite recurrent drought conditions in some regions, there is a current greening trend over Australia.
Overall, satellites show Australian landscapes are greener now than they have been over the past 30 years.
A greener Australia has a number of environmental and other benefits, including better protection for soils, increased soil-water holding capacity and soil fertility, and more plant feed to sustain larger animal populations.

Green growth flourishing in central Australia, 2011. Eva van Gorsel, CC BY-NC-ND

However, more vegetation can lead to less water being available to replenish water tables and feed rivers, even though Australia loses more than 50% of all the rainfall to the atmosphere as soil evaporation, without contributing to vegetation growth.
This is in sharp contrast to temperate and tropical ecosystems, where a large part of the water is returned to the atmosphere via vegetation.

Fire, drought and rapid carbon release

However, we now need to consider whether this growing accumulation of carbon in semi-arid regions of the Southern Hemisphere could become a future climate liability through fire and drought.
Land and ocean carbon sinks absorb around half of the world’s emissions from burning fossil fuels each year, which helps to slow the rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations from human activities.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report found that we are likely to see an increase in climate variability that includes drier, more fire-prone conditions across large parts of the Southern Hemisphere’s semi-arid regions, including Australia.
That’s a vital trend to consider, because it could lead to a more vulnerable global carbon reservoir.
While we might see more carbon stored in new vegetation growth and soil when extra water is available in semi-arid regions, as happened in 2010-2011, the risk is that more fires and droughts would end up rapidly releasing that carbon back to the atmosphere.

Looking ahead

It is likely that the large carbon uptake during 2011 was short-lived, as suggested by a rapid decline of the sink strength in 2012. Future research will be able to confirm if this was the case.
Arid and semi-arid regions currently occupy 40% of the world’s land area. More work is urgently needed to research the best ways to manage these areas, and whether we can increase their soil and vegetation carbon stores as part of our climate mitigation efforts.
While tropical forests like the Amazon remain vitally important as major carbon sinks, this new study and others indicate that semi-arid regions like Australia will also play a growing role in the Earth’s carbon cycle.
Increasingly, semi-arid regions are driving variability in how much carbon dioxide remains in the Earth’s atmosphere each year. And that has major implications for the long-term, including whether future climate change will slow down or accelerate further.
The Conversation
Pep Canadell receives funding from CSIRO and the Department of the Environment. This article is based on a new paper that he was a co-author of: Poulter, B, D Frank, P Ciais, R Myneni, N Andela, J Bi, G Broquet, JG Canadell, F Chevallier, YY Liu, SW Running, S Sitch and GR van der Werf. 2014. The contribution of semi-arid ecosystems to interannual global carbon cycle variability, Nature. Canadell’s contribution was supported by the Australian Climate Change Science Program.
Ben Poulter received funding to undertake this study from GEOCARBON (283080), a research project funded by the European Union Framework Program 7.
This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

HUGE!!!!! Australia elects its first libertarian senator

9 Sep

After a history making effort, the libertarian Liberal Democratic Party is welcoming our new provisional senator, David Leyonhjelm who scored the fifth senate spot in NSW. Who said we would be battling it out for the final place??????
It could have been even better had the Liberals had the sense to preference us ahead of The Palmer United Party, which would have won us a second seat in Tasmania, where our candidate came a whisker short.  The Libs will pay for this in a big way, as we are essentially classical liberals while PUP has a populist grab-bag of policies varying from left of the greens, to the far right of Abbott.
In most of the other states we had the third or fourth highest tally of votes at the end of the night.
While we bask in the kudos of the breakthrough, everyone and his dog are talking about us and seeking more information to the point where our website crashed from overuse.  The Liberal Dems are on the way.
Not all of the conversation is happy talk.  The normally sensible ABC election annalist, Antony Green and others are claiming that David’s position of first on the ballot caused Liberals to get all confused and in a tizz, bringing about his election.  While we probably benefitted from this, it is a little rich to claim that the 8.9% who voted for him were Liberal Party members who cant read very well.  We were conspicuously in second place on the ballot in WA without that happening, so perhaps Antony thinks WA Liberals are much smarter than NSW ones.
Perhaps some of the warnings that were issued by the Liberals, that the Liberal Democrats at the head of the ballot were not the Liberal Party drew some attention to us and caused people to have a better look at us and they liked what they saw.
I had a good result in WA with nearly 3.5% but lost out to the Sports Party. We got a little bit of favorable press this time, which was better than the normal cloak of invisibility that gets thrown over us.
Overall we increased our vote in every state except Queensland where the Palmer billions crushed us along with all other small parties.
Overall though, we are in a great position to go on to win from here.  In most states we achieved a sufficient primary vote to win with in any other election than this one, which had two new well-funded parties who took most of the oxygen out of the campaign.
We now have a voice in federal parliament, which cannot be ignored and a healthy base of enthusiastic supporters who have tasted victory and want to pig out on it.  The sky’s the limit, or perhaps even higher. 
Of the two new parties, Katter’s saved Labor from defeats in Queensland, while both his and Palmer’s did preference deals that resulted in the election of luddite Greens senators in both Qld and WA.  This should be neither forgiven, nor forgotten.

Boycott FOX? Does it skate by just because it’s not as bad as the government mouthpiece channels?

25 Aug
It was a week of Democrats finding themselves unable to criticize racially motivated killings, hearkening back to the old KKK roots of the Democratic Party.

Con artist and grifter Jesse Jackson, whose son, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr, was just sent to prison for embezzlement of campaign funds, said he “frowned” on the feral teens who killed an Australian student attending an American college on a sports scholarship.  And now Democratic strategist Richard Fowler, on this weekend’s Justice with Judge Jeanine, has labelled one of the murderer’s tweets that he hates and wants to kill 90% of white people as “inappropriate.”

FOX has long had a policy of affirmative action for Democrats who are pretty little liars (though they are also the media berth for the one or two intellectually honest liberals who exist).  Should we boycott FOX until they take out their trash?

Here’s the autobiography of this piece of trash, who thinks he is a PR consultant (DC euphemism for unemployed) but who can’t find any word other than “inappropriate” for a murderer’s tweeted plan to engage in racially motivated killing.

Meet Richard

Up-and-coming democratic political strategist and image consultant Richard Fowler is a political action committee director, a local advocate for young professionals and middle class families, a transportation columnist and expert, a former campaign manager, and proud member of the Young Democrats of Virginia and America. 

Aside from advocating for transportation reform, Mr. Fowler’s passion is empowering young people and middle class families to get involved in the political process and make it work for them.

A native of Fort Lauderdale via Chicago, Richard began his political career at a young age when he went with his mother to vote for President Bill Clinton. After the election of Bill Clinton, Richard began his exploration into America’s political process. Soon he became a volunteer for Janet Reno in her attempt to be governor of Florida. By getting involved in the race, Richard heeded the call to advocate for everyday Americans.

Part of Richard’s vision is to create opportunity so that all Americans can work toward the “American Dream” afforded to his family. Coming from humble beginnings, Richard’s single mother is a registered nurse and instilled in him a belief in God and helping others. This promise from mother to son ingrained Richard with a passion for people.

Richard further embraced the political process by being instrumental in registering over a thousand youth voters in Florida in 2004. Richard was also a campaign manager in the District of Columbia in 2008.

A columnist for Zebra Magazine and Founder and Director of PHOENIX FREEDOM PAC, Richard is a member of the School Performance Team at the DC Public Charter School Board, former executive director of the Virginia Young Democrats Annual Conference, member of the City of Alexandria Arts Commission, member of the Young Professionals in Transportation and a Fellow at the Center for Progressive Leadership. 

Richard is a proud recipient of a Bachelor of Science in economics and a Bachelors of Arts in international affairs from the George Washington University. In addition, Richard received a Graduate Certificate in project management from Georgetown University.

Richard is the founder and director of FAR CONSTRUCTS LLC an image and grassroots messaging firm, since the firm’s inception Richard has been an invaluable resource to young candidates and a political appointments alike. His work has resulted in the election of the youngest member of the Kansas City, Missouri city council.

As a democratic strategist, political fundraiser and image consultant, Richard has been featured on Fox News Channel and various radio programs in Chicago, Atlanta and the District of Columbia. Richard is based in Alexandria, Virginia.