Obama: Climate Change Among top three Priorities for Second Term

By Zack Coleman

President Obama has identified climate change as one of his top three priorities in his second term after coming under fire from environmentalists for giving the issue short shrift during the campaign.

The president, in an interview for TIME’s Person of the Year award, said the economy, immigration, climate change and energy would be at the top of his agenda for the next four years.

The interview took place before the fatal shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, an incident that had pushed gun control to a top spot on Obama’s agenda.

Obama said his daughters have influenced his thinking about the need to tackle climate change.

Read the rest at The Hill.

43 Responses to Obama: Climate Change Among top three Priorities for Second Term

  1. Heath Clarke December 21, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

    It’s last on the list of things economists worry about, and last on the list of things Americans worry about. It’s not a surprise that it’s top of Obama’s list as it’s a way to further weaken America under the auspices of a noble cause. He’ll of course use every tool he has. Fortunately, nothing he does will be ratified by a Senate supermajority.

  2. Rob N. Hood December 23, 2012 at 9:48 am #

    Imagine a President standing by a personal principle that he feels is important. Shocking. He should only focus on what the opinon polls would indicate. Of course many Republican pols like to say they never do that. That they are men and women of principle. And the Right applauds that.

  3. Bob Quasius December 24, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    After 16 years of no climate change despite a 9% increase in carbon dioxide emissions, a hefty carbon tax is in order?

  4. Icarus62 December 24, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    “Obama: Climate Change Among top three Priorities for Second Term”

    It’s about time. He needs to take advice from people who have ideas which will actually work.

  5. Peter A. December 30, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

    So now he is formulating policy based upon recommendations from his daughters, who are, no doubt, specialists in the fields that relate to addressing issues such as this. Well, I suppose it is marginally better than Ronald Reagan taking advice from his wife, who in turn consulted an astrologer.

  6. NEILIO January 1, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    Well, we all know that what our beloved leader says and does are quite often very different things. I’m shure he knows that AGW is a crock of **it, but a large portion of his base consists of true believers so he is just doing what he does best: Tells them exactly what they want to hear, convince them that he cares, then say that he can’t overcome some policy that Bush enacted as an excuse for doing exactly what he intends to do, which is nothing.

  7. Rob N. Hood January 1, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    Ah yes, Obama blames Bush sooooo much. Almost as much as Bush blamed Clinton for everything. zzzzzzzzzzz to your “insightful commentary”…. Your attempt is as lazy as a regular Bush day in office.

    • Peter A. January 2, 2013 at 6:29 am #

      Yes, Neilio’s commentary is ‘insightful’, isn’t it. :)

    • NEILIO January 2, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

      I’m sorry, am I boring you? Bush blamed Clinton for a couple of things early on, and he was correct to do so. What our beloved leader has done for the last four years is blame everyting on Bush without doing anything about it but make it worse. Which IMO is incorrect to do so.
      As far as what I think President Sugar Daddy is going to do about AGW is spot on. He’ll be too busy banning guns, and formulating new crisis to make legislation against that he’ll just have to put AGW on the back burner. AGW is so last decade!

  8. Rob N. Hood January 3, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

    What has Obama blamed on Bush may I ask, other than indirectly, and correctly, the 2008 crash and recession…? You comments highlight your irrational and delusional thinking. But if you were otherwise I’d say your’re either ill or not being your illogical self for some reason. Funny how the Right has to make up things to be hysterical about, all the while avoiding or completely missing what is important and truly worrisome. Very strange creatures you.

    • Neilio January 3, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

      You’re kidding right?
      Solyndra:

      “Obviously, we wish Solyndra hadn’t gone bankrupt. Part of the reason they did was because the Chinese were subsidizing their solar industry and flooding the market in ways that Solyndra couldn’t compete. But understand, this was not our program per se. Congress–Democrats and Republicans–put together a loan guarantee program.”

      Afghanistan:

      “When I came into office there has been drift in the Afghanistan strategy, in part because we had spent a lot of time focusing on Iraq instead. Over the last three years we have refocused attention on getting Afghanistan right. Would my preference had been that we started some of that earlier? Absolutely. But that’s not the cards that were dealt. We’re now in a position where, given our starting point, we’re making progress.” – March 22, 2012

      Iran:

      “When I took office, the efforts to apply pressure on Iran were in tatters. Iran had gone from zero centrifuges spinning to thousands, without facing broad pushback from the world. In the region, Iran was ascendant.” – March 4, 2012

      The Economy:

      “We’ve made sure to do everything we can to dig ourselves out of this incredible hole that I inherited.” – February 23, 2012

      The Deficit:

      “We thought that it was entirely appropriate for our governments and our agencies to try to root out waste, large and small, in a systematic way. Obviously, this is even more important given the deficits that we’ve inherited and that have grown as a consequence of this recession.” – November 9, 2011

      “When I first walked through the door, the deficit stood at $1.3 trillion, with projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next decade. If we had taken office during ordinary times, we would have started bringing down these deficits immediately.” – February 1, 2010

      The Debt:

      “Look, we do have a serious problem in terms of debt and deficit, and much of it I inherited when I showed up.” – August 8, 2011

      “I inherited a big debt.” – March 29, 2011

      Unemployment:

      “We inherited the worst recession since the Great Depression, a banking system on the verge of meltdown. We had lost 4 million jobs by the time I was sworn in and would then lose another 4 million in the few months right after I was sworn in before our economic policies had a chance to take root.” – May 10, 2011

      The Financial Crisis

      “We inherited a financial crisis unlike any that we’ve seen in our time. This crisis crippled private capital markets and forced us to take steps in our financial system — and with our auto companies — that we would not have otherwise even considered.” – June 1, 2009

      Now I could go on and on, but you get the jist of it. Even if it’s all true, which I know you believe it is, he is the President! He has been for four years. What has he done about any of it? Not a GD thing. That’s what.

  9. Rob N. Hood January 4, 2013 at 10:35 am #

    Uh did I mention the 2008 crash (biggest since the Great Depression) and the biggest recession following that we are still digging out of? I think I did. These were Bush’s fault, and my challenge to you was to cite anything other than those two huge undeniably inherited things, of which for Obama to never address as such would be absurd even ludicrous. So once again we await your real response.

    • Peter A. January 5, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

      Yes, the current financial mess was inherited from the previous administration, but the problems did not begin with Bush Junior. The root cause, as I understand it, can be traced back to the reckless 1980’s when the generation that was largely in control back then (the Baby Boomers) decided that they could have everything now, and damn the cost, the future or anything else. The attitude of ‘I’ll pay for it later (or, if I can’t, my children will)’ persists to this day, and until it is dealt with there will never be a recovery worth talking about. Consumerism, credit cards, artificially low interest rates, and an inability or unwillingness to take responsibility for one’s own financial decisions are the four horsemen of the economic apocalypse.

  10. Rob N. Hood January 6, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    Ahh yes, back to the 80’s- I actually agree with that observation because it was Reagan and Bush 1 who ballooned the deficit spending, and the debt. Bush Sr. continued Reagan’s speending spree and low taxes for the rich. Clinton got it admirably under control, as we all know, only to be ruined again by the same old neo-con policies, and unfunded wars, from which we are still reeling. You against consumerism, really? It is the cornerstone of capitalism, and one which Bush Jr. trumpeted as the answer following 9-11. When will you Rightys realize you are backing the same people and policies that get us into these terrible messes? Not that the Dems are any better nowadays- it’s/they are all owned and operated by mulit-national corporate and bank/insurance money. It are those elites who win, at everyone elses expense, and they don’t care about what country they exploit and/or ruin in the process. They move on to the next, and the next and the next.

    • Peter A. January 6, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

      Yes, I’m against consumerism, the mindless and moronic compulsion to acquire material possessions in the mistaken belief that in doing so one will be able to fill the empty hole that resides in the centre of one’s meaningless existence. It is the root cause of most of our problems today. ‘When will you Righty’s…’ oops, I’m not a ‘righty’, and I don’t like capitalism.

  11. Rob N. Hood January 7, 2013 at 10:12 am #

    Ok, thanks for clarifying. I assumed you were Right based on some things you wrote, and that this site rarely has any other types regularly posting. So that leaves Left, or much more likely Libertarian.

  12. Rob N. Hood January 7, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    My guess would now be Libertarian… which in its current manifestation is basically Right.

    • Peter A. January 16, 2013 at 4:47 am #

      Your guess was wrong. The word ‘Libertarian’ to me is the foulest of insults, and I hope every one of them burns in the lowest depths of Hell for all eternity when they die!

      • Dan January 16, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

        Crikey. Strong words. I consider myself a libertarian, for the most part (small l).

        • Peter A. January 16, 2013 at 11:18 pm #

          Crikey? I don’t often come across that word. You’re a (small ‘l’) libertarian. Oh well, no one is perfect I guess, and I suppose they are not as bad as the large ‘L’ ones. Nevertheless, I’ll pray for you. Who knows, perhaps you will see the light? :)

          • Dan January 18, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

            I’ve watched a lot of British programming. What’s wrong with wanting liberty? Thanks for the prayers, but I don’t think I’m in need of them.

  13. Heath Clarke January 9, 2013 at 7:02 pm #

    Peter – Shouldn’t this be about choice? If people want to consume and, in your opinion, waste their money, then that’s their choice. Capitalism has raised more people out of poverty than any system in history. It’s messy and it has negative consequences, but it works better than any other system… just like democracy does. The root cause of our problems is not the meritocratic system of capitalism. Rather, it’s a system that has removed parenting from parents and schooling from schools, and responsibility for oneself. That can all be summed up in two words: Big Government. That is the problem. Government is encroaching in far, far too many areas of our lives. Now the EPA wants to grab authority all the way down to your front garden if you should have, horror of horrors, runoff from the rain! It’s all too much. Now the burden of socialism, in the form of union entitlements within the government sector, is bankrupting the government. Government, entitlements, limited choice, regulation and special interests are the problems. Capitalism, free markets, free choice and less regulation are the solutions. Oh, and the current financial mess was caused by government interference in the free market system. In the late ’90s, Democratically controlled congress chose to force Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to loan money to people who couldn’t afford it so that they could own homes too. It was a noble idea, but you can see the outcome. Now, government wants to soften the fall. Once again, it’s a noble idea, but the outcome is that we will have a Japanese style recovery with years of tepid growth. Government needs to get out of the way and let people keep the fruits of their labors. Life should be tough if you don’t work hard. It’s a natural incentive and it’s worked for a thousand years.

    • Peter A. January 16, 2013 at 4:44 am #

      Heath, people should not be allowed to have the ‘choice’ to ruin other people’s lives, which those with the mentality of a not-very-mature teenager with a credit card do when they spend money they don’t actually have. The selfish and misguided belief that ‘the system’ will, somehow, correct itself after it has been misused and abused for so long (about 40 years now) is a large part of the problem, and yet you seem to believe that more ‘freedom’ (i.e. the freedom to be reckless) is somehow part of the solution.

      Big Government, as you put it, is not ‘the root cause of our problems'; it never was. The root cause was the Reaganite philosophy of survival-of-the-fittest, everyone else be damned, and while we are at it, let’s grab as much loot as we can whilst we lower taxes for the rich by raising them for the poor whilst we also blow the budget on items we don’t need and could do without (ex. a military base in every foreign country, SDI). It is all too easy for the Tea-Baggers to constantly blame ‘the Government’ (or as many of them like to write it ‘THE GOVERNMENT!!!!!!’), without offering any practical solutions to this mess that they (i.e. the conservatives) are largely to blame for in the first place.

      ‘Now the burden of socialism, in the form of union entitlements…’ Let me tell you a little about the unions that you seem to despise so much. Without them there would never have been the eight hour working day, sick leave, maternity leave, job security, annual paid holidays, minimum wages, unfair dismissal laws… need I go on? Next you will be whining about that damned ‘Obamacare’ that allows the poor (the injustice of it!) to be treated by medical staff when their health, or their very lives, are in danger.

      ‘Capitalism, free markets, free choice and less regulation are the solutions. Oh, and the current financial mess was caused by government interference in the free market system.’ God, you are SERIOUSLY deluded. It was the LACK of ‘government interference’ as you put it, ‘proper regulation’ to me, that allowed and encouraged the irresponsible financing of loans that the big lenders KNEW could not be paid back, because the people they lent their money to were too poor to do so. They took a calculated risk, a gamble that they thought they could both get away with and make money from. Basically, they were greedy, selfish and short-sighted. Christ, even I know this and I live half a world away!

      Wake Up America! You are being fleeced by the evil corporations, bankers and other money-grubbers, who at the same time like to scapegoat ‘evil’ poor people and unions, and yet you call this ‘freedom’! Christ, you lot are a clueless bunch!

  14. Rob N. Hood January 16, 2013 at 9:47 am #

    Hey, I am intrigued by your uniqueness here and your opinions which do not always coincide with either right or left. The above is great and spot-on. Couldn’t have said it better myself. And yet, you are paranoid (deluded) about the UN for example. And my guesses are incorrect, although like me you despise Libertarians, as much currently as the Right. You refuse to be categorized- I respect that. I must be missing something. But that’s ok, mysteries are interesting. But you might as well spill it- nobody really cares what you are (well, I don’t). This is anonymous (mostly) and so honesty seems to be easy and without risk. Are you a far Lefty? That would really be interesting. Too many far Rightys around these days, and they all sing the same tune.

    • Peter A. January 16, 2013 at 11:09 pm #

      Thank you.

      Okay, I’ll ‘spill it’. You were right this time – I don’t like to be categorised. Okay, my rant about the U.N. was over the top even for me, I get carried away sometimes ‘like Mussolini on the balcony’ (George Costanza, ‘Seinfeld’). The problem with Libertarianism and those who call themselves such, is that, like all ideologues, they have an ideal in their mind about how (in this case the ‘free market’) should work, and that if, for whatever reason, it does not, then it must be the fault not of the theory itself, but the (in this case again, the ‘selfish poor people’ or the ‘evil unions’); it never occurs to them that they could be wrong. Their bad economic advice has caused the ruination of many nations, including my own, and so the very sight of these (dreadfully misguided) people is more than enough to make my blood boil. It isn’t a co-incidence that, as someone once observed, there are no ‘poor Libertarians’ in existence – they are all rich, or at least middle class. These people are nothing more than soul-less number-crunchers, they think like accountants who believe that if something doesn’t have a dollar value then it has no value at all. It’s all numbers and abstract theory to them, nothing else. Ayn Rand is dead now, I hope she is happy with her loot in her coffin, with the dollar-sign as her tombstone (so I’ve heard – is this really true?). If there really is any cosmic justice, she is at this very moment entertaining the Devil.

      Lefty, Righty – this doesn’t matter, it’s not important. Labels and belief systems are a large part of the problem here, they are what divide us and prevent us from formulating solutions and/or policies designed to deal with whatever problem we may need to deal with. Too often people (like Libertarians, but of course others as well) become so set in their ways of thinking, in their prescriptions and responses to new situations, and in their behaviour, that they eventually come to believe that there really is ‘no alternative’ to what they believe to be the right thing to do. This is both stupid and dangerous and we, as a species, can no longer afford to tolerate and encourage such short-sighted nonsense.

      Anyway, enough ranting for now. :)

  15. Rob N. Hood January 17, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    I have said as much, or tried to anyway. Tried also to find common ground with people on this site, but failed every time. You seem to place all the blame on Libertraianism, but it’s really laissez-faire capitalism, neo Liberalism/Conservatism, “global free-marketism” (take your pick) that is the real problem/evil. The Libertarians and most of the Right believe in it not unlike a religion and they take it as serisously. To the point of self-destruction also not unlike true-believers of any cult. And it is a world-wide cult now. We must break these chains before they break us. But I’m afraid that won’t happen until we really hit bottom. The UN is just another tool in the elite’s shed. And thus far not a very good one, for them. That could change, but I think they get what they want in more subtle ways anyways.

    • Peter A. January 17, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

      Okay, let’s call it ‘laissez-faire capitalism’ then. The label itself isn’t the problem of course, but the underlying mentality.

  16. Heath Clarke January 17, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    Peter – you clearly know very little of what you speak with respect to US policy and history, therefore much of what you say is off the wall so I won’t respond to those comments except one…

    In the same breath you say that bad economic advice has caused the ruination of many nations, you criticize the free market system. That makes no sense at all. No modern free market democracies have been ruined, yet socialism has ruined many nations. Multiple communist and socialist nations that were on the path to economic ruination switched to free markets and greater freedoms and are now thriving (comparatively) – China, Russian, Vietnam to name a few. Like I said, it’s messy, but it’s the best system we have. Did the system work? Yes. Did it get abused and perverted? Yes.

    Now we must work together to address the issues created by the perversion wrought by special interests sapping the system. Some of them are corporate. Some of them are unions. And many of them are simply governments buying votes. We ought not use their respective failures as excuses to deprive law abiding people of their liberties and go down a path that we know from history leads to ruin. Rather, we ought to work together to solve our biggest and most pressing problems (AGW not being one of them).

    “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money” – Margaret Thatcher.

    Peace.

    • Peter A. January 17, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

      I’m willing to concede that my understanding of the United States is far from perfect, especially since I don’t actually live there, but in response to the belief that it is a mistake to ‘…criticize the free market system. That makes no sense at all. No modern free market democracies have been ruined, yet socialism has ruined many nations’, I’ll give the example that I am most familiar with – my own, Australia.

      It used to be the case when the essential utilities (i.e. gas, electricity, water) were owned by the state, and long before anyone decided it would be a great idea to sell off these public assets to the highest bidder, and all in the name of a quick profit and laissez-faire ideology, that the services provided by (for example in the case of electricity, the State Electricity Commission – a government department) were cheap, reliable, Australian-owned, and, if a problem ever did develop (which was extremely rare) valuable service. If you rang up to report a fault, your call was answered within a minute by a real person, who lived locally, and who could actually fix your problem easily within – at most – a couple of hours. The cost of these services did not constantly go up, and up, and up, whilst at the same time services would go down, down and still further down.

      However, it was decided by people who should have known better – our politicians – that it would be a good idea to provide ‘competition’, ‘de-regulation’ and a ‘free-market, global and open environment’ in order to improve ‘efficiency’ and ‘lower cost’. So what did they do? They sold off the utilities that were then under their control to private (and, of course, foreign) businesses that were only interested in short-term profit, who did not understand the local culture, and who simply did not care about either service nor customer rights. We now have a situation where the electricity often goes off, and if one decides to ring up one of the – confusingly high number of – power companies to report the fault, you will be told by an automated voice that ‘your call is important to us, please hold’ (or, alternatively, ‘press 1 to do this, press 2 to do that’), and IF after waiting for God-knows how long you finally manage to get to talk to a real person, that person has an Indian accent and proceeds to inform you that ‘oh, no, our company doesn’t actually fix those sorts of problems; you have to speak to a representative of the company that owns the actual infrastructure – we just provide the service itself’.

      Now before you tell me, ‘oh, just switch to another company, that’s what free choice is all about’ let me tell YOU that they are ALL like this, so switching MAKES NO BLOODY DIFFERENCE! The petrol companies often collude to keep the cost of fuel high, even though the global price for oil often drops, and they do this because they know that they will get away with it, and they know that they will get away with it because there is a LACK OF REGULATION!

      Look, it’s all very well for the laissez-faire fans to preach about the wonders of their system, especially since they usually don’t have to confront the ugly reality of ‘globalisation’, but the ordinary people of this world have had enough of being sold out by the sleazy politicians who were supposedly selected to represent US – OUR interests, not their own. So, in answer to your claim that ‘no modern free-market democracies have been ruined’, the answer is ‘this one, mine has’. Then of course there was Argentina back in, as I recall, 2002. What a fiasco that was! Let’s not also forget those wonderful bastions of free-market liberalism (and benevolent democracy) Pinochet’s Chile and apartheid South Africa. Marcos’ Philippines is worth a mention too. Wonderful examples of political and economic freedom! (I’m being sarcastic, by the way).

  17. Peter A. January 17, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

    One other thing. I’ve also noticed that the laissez-faire supporters tend to equate their free-market system with their own understanding of ‘democracy’. Well, as I pointed out above, the two don’t necessarily go together. The examples I gave (Chile, South Africa and the Philippines) were all laissez-faire dictatorships. We now also have China to add to the list of incongruous examples of the falsification of the laissez-faire/democracy equation.

    Then of course there were all those European Keynesian democracies that sprouted up after World War II. The conservative equation of ‘socialist’ with ‘dictatorship’ is a load of bullsh#$.

  18. Rob N. Hood January 18, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    Sure wish more Americans understood our system of politics and economics as well as you do (sigh). No wonder you’re hard to pin down (Right or Left) since most other countries are not so limited in political viewpoints and options. American democracy may have been the best for awhile but it has atrophied big time thanks to unfettered capitalism and money corrupting our politics completely. We need help from the rest of the world’s more robust democracies before it’s too late. What is destroying us is, and will, destroy the other world’s economies and poltics too unfortunately due to the new world order power of globalized multinationals.

    • Peter A. January 18, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

      Actually, I’ve been wondering about this for a while now, about the reason(s) why so many working-class people in the United States seem to be so enthusiastic for the rabble-rousing nonsense of the Tea-Baggers. One would think that, being relatively poor, they would shun the politics of Palin, Bachmann and the T.V. evangelists. I’ve also noticed that the politicians in your country tend to talk a lot about the ‘middle class’, and seem to equate this with the working (i.e. lower) class. Do they perhaps believe that if they refuse to acknowledge their existence the poor in America will simply disappear (how embarrassing – poor people. Let’s pretend they don’t exist).

      Have so many over there been brainwashed, and to such an extent and degree, that they actually now believe that fascism is their salvation? I mention all of this because of your comment about Americans not understanding their own system of politics very well. That could be the reason – a profound lack of education, combined with exposure to high doses of propaganda.

      I don’t know, I’ve never understood why you do the strange things you do over there; it’s just completely baffling.

      • Rob N. Hood January 19, 2013 at 10:26 am #

        Yes, I believe the main cause for our ingnorance is our media especially what passes for news now. Mostly propaganda, all the time, and it’s been that way long enough to havee indoctrinated many to an alternate reality. This was carefully done, via the purchasing of major media outlets by the argest companies many of whom are related, sometimes closely to the military industrial comlex. Thus very scary, thus my concerns and cry for help. Also thus my warnings to the rest of the world. I wouldn’t even bother trying to respond rationally or logically to people on this site- they are incapable of reciprocating. They are the best foot soldiers for corporate America. And yes it is brainwashing, and it works like I said for a frighteningly percentage of the population (any population) as we are inundated with it here perhaps like no other country is. But the other big problem IMO is our education. It too is full of propaganda. I don’t know when that all began, but it seems like it did so much longer ago than even corporate propaganda truly began in earnest. This is an interesting area that I don’t know much about, and one in which even well educated people are in ignorance of, such as myself.

  19. Heath Clarke January 18, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

    Peter – it seems a little melodramatic to assign large portions of the world to abject poverty because you want to whinge about your utility’s customer service. Calling laissez-faire “their system” makes it clear where you sit on the political spectrum. The argument is not whether laissez-faire economies are viable – that’s been settled by history. “Your system” doesn’t work and the results are self-evident, so the discussion now ought to be how to improve *our* system.

    By the way, before telecom (the company and the industry) was sold/reformed in the ’80s, calls to England were about $2 per minute and service sucked. I always felt that the long-term problem Australia had/has is that its population is too small for its land mass. As a result, costs of services of everything are higher because there’s little opportunity for businesses to scale. In order for an industry participant in Oz to scale there must be consolidation, and the end result of consolidation is theoretically lower prices, but less competition, which leads to exactly the outcome you’ve described.

    Still not a reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater of course. If Australia increased immigration from countries and individuals that are culturally aligned with it (the success or failure of multiculturalism in Australia being a whole other topic), then increased competition along with government oversight – not heavy handedness and not picking winners and losers – would naturally take care of these issues. There are certainly issues with short sighted politicians (in Australia more than in most places) and with crony capitalism (everywhere). Plenty of areas for improvement by a leader with vision and an electorate smart enough to vote him/her in. I hope that one day both of those things occur at the same time in Australia.

    • Peter A. January 18, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

      Well yes, I call it ‘their system’ because it is not my system. I did not vote for the wholesale destruction of my country via de-regulation and privatisation.

      You write that, ‘increased competition along with government oversight – not heavy handedness and not picking winners and losers – would naturally take care of these issues’, but isn’t this just an assumption of yours? ‘Naturally take care’ – you seem to be under the impression that we are dealing with laws of nature here, like the Law of Gravitation.

      I used the utilities example, and concentrated on that to the exclusion of all else, simply because in order to fully cover this topic in detail would have required writing a book. There are so many other things wrong with the system we now have that I did not mention, like the fact that back in the 1970’s one would have been hard-pressed to find a beggar in the centre of Melbourne where I used to live, but now they practically greet you at the train station with a garland of flowers. The fact that the number of homeless poor people has skyrocketed since the time of our wonderful economic revolution is indicative of a system that, if it has not actually failed outright, is obviously not working as it was intended to.

      You’ve also mentioned Telecom Australia, which is now known simply as Telstra; co-incidentally, I once worked for this company, and I can tell you that even though things were far from perfect when I was there (the 1990’s, after the decision had been made by the government to sell off half of it), the service, and general attitude of ‘I could not care less about the customer’, is now far worse now than it was even back then. They do not like the public at all, and this is demonstrated amply enough when one goes to one of their offices – you simply cannot get in the building! You need to find (somehow) an employee who has a security pass (they don’t have reception areas at all) and then, if you are lucky enough to get in, you are escorted everywhere you go by a vigilant employee who gives one the impression that he/she is thinking, ‘I had better watch this person closely, he might escape’.

      They also despise old pensioners and their ‘quaint’ way of doing things – like using telephones to call them, instead of using the internet to contact them. I know this because I recall we were actually told at one point by the managers higher up that ‘these people should be fobbed off, their concerns treated with contempt because, after all, there is not much money to be squeezed out of them’. Not the exact words they used, but close enough. Their attitude to customer service stinks. They have no humanity, no decency, because they simply do not care about anything but making a profit, and of course that is only to be expected, because they now run Telstra like the mega-corporation that it now is. There is little to no oversight, which means they can get away with virtually anything they can cover up from the government and the public. Is this how you want things to be? Seriously?

      So now – what was it you were saying about the cost being $2 per minute to call England? Rather a small price to pay for decency, service, reliability, customer satisfaction, and accountability, don’t you think?

  20. Peter A. January 18, 2013 at 10:34 pm #

    ‘The argument is not whether laissez-faire economies are viable – that’s been settled by history.’

    Yes, it has been ‘settled’ and we now know that it just does NOT work (well, maybe for the rich it does, because it gives them more of that freedom you seem to be so enamoured of). If, in your opinion, it works so well, then why are so many people becoming relatively worse off?! Whenever I read the newspaper I come across at least one article about the latest statistical research that has revealed that more and more people are filing for bankruptcy, or having to decide between heating their homes or buying food, or about the latest homeless figures (going up and up), or the number of people these days who perform do-it-yourself dentistry because they have no money to go to the dentist. This is laissez-faire for you; a dismal failure.

    “Your system” doesn’t work and the results are self-evident, so the discussion now ought to be how to improve *our* system.’

    My system DOES work, and yes, those results ARE self-evident. I actually prefer, and want, a system that looks after those who are most vulnerable, a system that doesn’t penalise people for simply being poor, but instead looks after them. I want a system that is fair, just, and does not reward tax cheats and billionaires. I want a system where employment is the number one priority, because I understand that there is a direct correlational link between the level of unemployment on the one hand, and every other social problem (like crime, poverty and homelessness to name three) you care to list.

  21. Rob N. Hood January 19, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    Peter- my only thought about a solution is what has worked in Europe, several times over. National strikes. That is what the elite fear, but in places like America it is probably impossible for a few (e.g. discussed above) reasons. But when (not if) things get bad enough then all bets are off.

  22. Heath Clarke January 22, 2013 at 9:49 am #

    Turns out that I’m not the only one enamored of freedom. Or wealth. Or a better life. Or a desire to keep what I work for. Turns out the whole world wants these things too. Socialism delivers nothing but misery and poverty. Embrace that fact because if you think that history hasn’t settled that for us all, then I feel sorry for you. Perhaps you ought to move to North Korea so you can bask in all the glory that socialism provides to you and your comrades?

    • Peter A. January 23, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

      Both freedom and wealth are relative terms that have no absolute meaning; they are purely contextual. Compared to a poverty-stricken villager in Africa I am wealthy, next to Bill Gates I am dirt poor.

      Your posts would start to make some sense if you could adequately define the terms that you seem to like using so much (freedom, wealth), but all you do is equate such concepts with laissez-faire capitalism. Next you will be trying to convince me that ‘if it were not for capitalism, we would not now have the internet!’ (the Glonass system, Tokamak fusion reactors, artificial satellites and interplanetary probes were all developed by the Soviet Union, so don’t).

    • Rob N. Hood January 24, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

      Wow Health, first of all N. Korea is communist NOT socialist. Secondly, most of the socialistic countries of the world possess the highest rates of happiness and life satisfaction including high standards of living, long life, clean air, clean water etc. I cannot even write anything more about your post- it is so pathetic and wrong. It is I who feel sorry for you. Your lack of knowledge and ability to comprehend the real world is dismal.

  23. Peter A. January 23, 2013 at 9:47 pm #

    By the way, I don’t want your pity, because I don’t need it.

    ‘Turns out that I’m not the only one enamored of freedom. Or wealth. Or a better life. Or a desire to keep what I work for. Turns out the whole world wants these things too.’ Oh, please! Enough with the melodrama. Don’t just assume that what you desire in life (your idea of ‘freedom’, ‘a better life’ etc.) is what everyone else naturally wants as well. That’s just being arrogant and short-sighted.

  24. Rob N. Hood January 24, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    Peter- they’re your fellow travelers. Just sayin’.

  25. steve April 22, 2013 at 9:19 am #

    Earth Day is my Fathers Birthday!

    My father was a radio wave physicist. He designed radio antennas that were used by the US Navy. He visited the far corners of the world to test the antennas from the mid 1950s until the mid 1990s. He also measured the upper atmosphere everywhere he went to find out how weather conditions affected his antennas.

    My father was also a Republican. He loved all the conservative politicians and would get happy and cheer at the TV news when political events went the way he thought they should go.

    After the first oil crisis in the 1970s he installed solar collectors on our roof. He also installed temperature sensors and recording devices all over our house and kept a permanent record. He owned many fancy thermometers and data recorders and he loved to measure and record temperatures 24 hours a day wherever he was.

    From the 1970s until his death in 2004 he became more and more disappointed with the conservative political views on global warming. He could clearly see how personal financial goals and the egos tendency to want to play for the winning team would distort rational thought. If he was alive today he would be very disappointed at how poorly the Republicans have responded to the global warming data because the correlations are obvious and ominous. He also observed first hand how rapidly things have changed (1960 – 1990) in Greenland and the arctic … He taught me how to correlate data and make sense of it all so that you don’t mess up your future.

    Happy Birthday Dad!

    For my Dad and his love of this wonderful planet that he got to see so much of! … Please watch this watch this video and like this, share this, etc. etc. … help spread the three important numbers:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsIfokifwSo&feature=player_embedded

    I LOVE you Dad!

    xoxoxo, Steve

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