American Elephants


Obama Goes to Australia, Offends Everybody. by The Elephant's Child

There didn’t seem to be much news from President Obama’s trip to Australia for the G20 meeting. The media made a lot of his climate accord with China at his previous stop in Beijing. The commentary recognized that Obama set a path for America to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 2020, and China would go ahead building coal-fired plants at a tremendous rate until 2030 when they might start paying attention to their emissions. The general assumption is that China will pay no attention the agreement anyway, but Mr. Obama seems to believe it to be a great accomplishment.

President Obama ruffled feathers by demanding to make a speech to young people at Queensland University, where he offended everybody with what they called “an ill-informed, insulting speech from Barack Obama about climate change, the Great Barrier Reef and coal.”

The U.S. Embassy carefully had advised the president not to couch his climate change comments in a way that would be seen as disobliging to the Abbott government. “Historians of the US-Australia relationship are unable to nominate a case of a visiting president making such a hostile speech to the host government.” Heads of State just don’t go to other countries and insert themselves into political debates in that country.

Queensland is a coal mining state. Mr. Obama said that climate change “here in Australia” means “longer droughts, more wildfires”  and “the incredible natural glory of the Great Barrier Reef is threatened.” Well, no it doesn’t, but it has been a contentious point in Australian politics. Climate change does not cause wildfires, nor does it harm the Great Barrier Reef.

Prime Minister Abbott has been critical of Obama’s Green Climate Fund, and points out that the “four-fifths” of the developed world that had used fossil fuels to develop could not deny “the other fifth” access to coal to generate electricity for the hundred million people who were without it.

Queensland officials are so angry at Mr. Obama’s remarks about the Great Barrier Reef and his attack on coal production in a resources state that they are considering a formal complaint. Informal messages were sent to the U.S. delegation that the president’s speech was not in keeping with that of a guest and ally.

Hopes for a positive G20 summit meeting crumbled abruptly when Obama called Vladimir Putin a jackass. At a joint press appearance President Obama blurted “Everyone here thinks you’re  a dick.” Mr. Obama then unleashed a ten-minute tirade at the Russian President.

Look, I’m not just talking about Snowden and Syria,” Mr. Obama said. “What about Pussy Riot? What about your anti-gay laws? Total jackass moves, my friend.”

As Mr. Putin narrowed his eyes in frosty silence, Mr. Obama seemed to warm to his topic.

“If you think I’m the only one who feels this way, you’re kidding yourself,” Mr. Obama said, jabbing his finger in the direction of the Russian President’s face. “Ask Angela Merkel. Ask David Cameron. Ask the Turkish guy. Every last one of them thinks you’re a dick.”

Mr. Putin released  a terse official statement reading, “I should be afraid of this skinny man? I wrestle bears.”

After one day of meetings, the G20 nations voted unanimously on a resolution that said perhaps everyone should just go on home.

The American press, for the most part simply reported that Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper told Putin that he wasn’t sure about shaking Putin’s hand, and Putin “should get out of Ukraine.” For Obama’s tirade I had to go to the Daily Mail and Zero Hedge.  Interesting omission.

ADDENDUM: I ‘m told that the conversation between Obama and Putin comes from a parody in the New Yorker last year, and has inadvertently been picked up by many bloggers as accurate. Apparently it is not. I apologize. It seemed to fit right in with his speech that so offended the Aussies. That was quite real, and reported in the Australian newspapers, as well as in the text supplied by the White House. Mr. Obama has seemed particularly angry since the election, and short tempered, but that’s just the view from partial glimpses.

 

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11 Comments so far
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“Climate change does not … harm the Great Barrier Reef.”

Increased dissolution of CO2 into water reduces its pH (makes it more acid), and rising water temperatures cause other ecological changes.

Even Australia’s own Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority acknowledges that.

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Comment by Subsidy Eye

Um, I think you should double-check your source on Obama’s claimed outburst. If it was at a press conference, one would think there would be dozens of copies on YouTube. None that I could find. What I did find, however, was this blog by the comedian Andy Borowitz (hmmm, suspicious Ruskie name) over at that left-wing rag, The New Yorker.

Hopes for a positive G20 summit crumbled today as President Obama blurted to Russia’s Vladimir Putin at a joint press appearance, “Everyone here thinks you’re a jackass.”

The press corps appeared stunned by the uncharacteristic outburst from Mr. Obama, who then unleashed a ten-minute tirade at the stone-faced Russian President.

“Look, I’m not just talking about Snowden and Syria,” Mr. Obama said. “What about Pussy Riot? What about your anti-gay laws? Total jackass moves, my friend.”

As Mr. Putin narrowed his eyes in frosty silence, Mr. Obama seemed to warm to his topic.

“If you think I’m the only one who feels this way, you’re kidding yourself,” Mr. Obama said, jabbing his finger in the direction of the Russian President’s face. “Ask Angela Merkel. Ask David Cameron. Ask the Turkish guy. Every last one of them thinks you’re a dick.”

Shortly after Mr. Obama’s volcanic performance, Mr. Putin released a terse official statement, reading, “I should be afraid of this skinny man? I wrestle bears.”

After one day of meetings, the G20 nations voted unanimously on a resolution that said maybe everyone should just go home.

The date of the blog? September 6, 2013. And note the web address: wwww.newyorker.com/humor.

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Comment by Subsidy Eye

In short, nice story, but the claim that Obama offended everybody just doesn’t hold up.

Oh, and as for Mr. Abbott’s threats to “shirt-front” Putin, looks like it was more of a koala-cuddle fest:

http://www.sott.net/article/289019-Tony-Abbott-trades-shirtfronting-Putin-for-joint-cuddly-koala-pic

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Comment by Subsidy Eye

Sources: Fox News, American Thinker, The Guardian, the Australian, Brisbane Times, the White House transcript of the speech, The Daily Mail and Zero Hedge. . Are they all copying a humor column from the New Yorker?

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Comment by The Elephant's Child

There’s only so much room in a headline. It’s called a generalization. He offended the Abbott government, the Aussie newspapers, and the government of Queensland. Australia has had the same arguments about climate as the rest of the industrialized world. A head of state does not go to another country and insert himself into what has been a major political battle in that country. Not cool.

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Comment by The Elephant's Child

You’re avoiding my point. Since you don’t find links to your sources, I have to assume you are citing sources of Obama’s speech in Queensland. I’m referring to the alleged exchange ” “At a joint press appearance”. The text from The New Yorker I’ve quoted in full. As satirical humor. You quoted it as fact.

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Comment by Subsidy Eye

There has been no warming for 18 years and 1 month. The global warming that has caused all the catastrophizing has amounted to barely one degree in the last 100 years. The oceans are not coming to a boil, and I understand that as long as there are rocks in the ocean, the ocean will not turn acid. Many scientists simply accept the IPCC reports which are based entirely on computer programs which start with some things that are known, a lot of assumptions and some guesswork. They are unable to predict that which is known, and have been discredited. The science has to agree with observable evidence.

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Comment by The Elephant's Child

Well, yeah, if you compare recent temperatures with the extreme peak in 1998. Otherwise, temperatures have been gradually rising.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/01/03/global-temperature-report-december-2013/

And certainly CO2 levels have continued to rise, which means increasing ocean acidity.

But you still have not acknowledged my point about the fictional Obama-Putin exchange.

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Comment by Subsidy Eye

Temperatures have risen (preliminary) +0.14 degrees C per decade. 14 one hundredths of a degree. Big rise.
I have no idea about the New Yorker report, I assume the date is incorrect. My sources for that were The Daily Mail and Zero Hedge. Reported about a closed meeting. The speech at Queensland University is available from the White House. Comments on the anger at the speech come from Australian newspapers. The report from the Daily Mail would seem right in line with Obama’s speech and the reaction. So I have to assume your dated article from the New Yorker is falsely labeled. I have not seen the New Yorker article. Haven’t had time.I try very hard to be completely accurate, Subsidy. You try very hard to nit-pick and debunk. We obviously have differing opinions.

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Comment by The Elephant's Child

Wow, serious denial going on here.

So, when you try to provide counter-evidence, that’s debate. When I do it it’s nitpicking and debunking. Uh-huh.

By refusing to check out my point, you undermine your credibility even more. You’ve obviously not had time to check out the apocryphal Washington quote either. So busy!

All it would take is a 2-second Google search to learn very quickly that the putative Obama-Putin exchange was satire. (And that nobody can produce a reliable source for your Washington quote.) The New Yorker date is correct. Here are a couple of debunking articles:

http://dcxposed.com/2013/09/07/did-obama-really-call-putin-a-jackass-no-the-consequences-of-political-satire/

https://www.metabunk.org/threads/debunked-obama-called-putin-a-jackass.2363/

But, I suppose if your main sources are people like this guy (note the date it was posted: September 8, 2013), then it must be true!

And, as you say, the (fictional) dialogue sounds so like Obama!

I have subscribed to this web site because I was interested in better understanding the views of the Republican Party. Also, I found myself in agreement with your views on corporate welfare. And you write well, and you are generally polite. And you like Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass.

However, over time I’ve come to feel that, besides being highly partisan (to be expected), your information is not as closely checked as you like to claim. So, as of today I’ll be unsubscribing and will start looking for a substitute blog. Wish me luck: blogs written by political activists on either end of the spectrum are rarely reliable.

All the best, and thanks for all the fish,

Subsidy

P.S., Yes, the oceans have considerable buffering capacity. Some of the rocks that get dissolved are coral. Not good. In any case, it would appear from these graphs,/a> that the ocean is gradually acidifying nonetheless.

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Comment by Subsidy Eye

Sorry if I’ve offended you. As I said, I relied on the Daily Mail, not the most important of the British papers. I don’t pay much attention to the New Yorker, except to read their cartoons in the doctor’s office. and would never regard them as a source for something serious. I have never heard of the blogs you offer in evidence. but if I have been had, I’ll make a note of it.

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Comment by The Elephant's Child




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