Saturday, September 6, 2008

McCain getting web savvy

Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Especially now that he has his own pit bull.

John McCain’s official website as Republican candidate is a vast improvement on his old one from the primaries. Obviously the self-styled maverick is getting a lot of professional insider help to improve its impact and the spin. Now you can easily find his policies, such as health care and climate change. And understand them.

His old environment policy was a joke. It was originally found under Stewards of Our Nation's Rich Natural Heritage when I posted about it back in February. This section still exists but the new climate change section has a lot more detail. It seems to match Barack Obama’s promise of reducing carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Not exactly the kind of targets that many outside the U.S. are hoping for but they will be hard enough to get past the Congress and the special interests. His choice of Sarah Palin tells us that Big Oil is not part of the Washington establishment that McCain will be purging. George W. can sleep soundly on that score.

Australia’s own debate has hotted up with Ross Garnaut, the Rudd government’s economic guru of climate change, recommending lower targets than environmentalists were expecting:

He says the world and Australia will risk "catastrophic consequences" to the natural environment, including the extinction of a third of the world's species, if we allow the planet's temperature to rise by 3 degrees over the next century.

Yet, in a disturbing conclusion, Garnaut says he does not believe the majority of countries and their vested interests are ready to heed this warning. And so he recommends that Australia should pursue, for now, a global agreement that almost certainly, according to his best scientific advice, risks the very catastrophic consequences he has so painstakingly outlined. With smoke in our eyes, we can't see the fog
At the same time Garnaut has offended business interests who argue that:
If we don't have a technological breakthrough it's akin to saying that Australia's going to become a candles economy Garnaut's emissions targets to 'crush' economy
On the health front, forget any promises of real change from the Republicans. The words ‘universal health care’ don’t rate a mention. It looks like a policy that George W. Bush and his neo-cons would be happy with. It’s essentially cosmetic.

Finally from an Australian perspective, it’s ironic that McCain has a policy of Workplace Flexibility and Choice that is supposed to help workers and their families. The Howard government was lashed in last year’s election for introducing an industrial relations system Work Choices that was supposed to give employees greater power to negotiate better working conditions. Flexibility is a bit like globalisation. Fine until it’s your job and working conditions that are on the line. When everything is on the table, anything can be taken away.

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