Saturday salon 23/7

1. Pokémon Go takes over the world

Or so it seems. A Kiwi lad resigned his job to become a Pokémon hunter.

In California two men walked over a cliff, and in Orlando two teenagers were shot at when a man thought they’d broken into his house.

There’s more mayhem here, and in Guatamala a teenager was actually shot and killed.

Pokémon Go now has more active users than Twitter, and is reportedly making more than $1.6 billion per day, while shares in Nintendo have risen 25 per cent, adding some $7.5 billion to the ailing technology company’s market capitalisation.

Waleed Aly discussed the ethics of the game on ABC Radio National’s The Minefield with the ABC’s religion and ethics expert Scott Stephens and guest philosopher Laura D’Olimpio.

I think the kids will be OK, unless they are shot at, not sure about the over-50s who have gotten caught up with this one!

2. Trump takes over the Republican party

First Trump chose a running mate from the Tea Party end of the spectrum. Ezra Klein has an interesting take. He says Trump built his campaign on not being a generic Republican:

    So he made his eccentricities, his heterodoxies, and his independence from the party’s interest groups and leading politicians a selling point. Trumpism was something distinct from Republicanism: a potent form of white nationalism mixed with a bit of economic populism, a loathing of the Washington establishment, and a charismatic celebrity.

    But Trumpism is losing to Republicanism. In choosing Pence, Trump is selecting a vice president who undermines everything that was distinct about his campaign.

Maybe Pence is for show, or maybe he is actually going to run the place, with Trump as figurehead.

Cleveland was Trump’s show, and Jonathon Freedland said the organisation was so bad it shows why Trump is unelectable. The party is bitterly divided. The remaining unifying strategy is to make Hillary Clinton unelectable.

Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker is probably right in calling him a fascist:

    What all forms of fascism have in common is the glorification of the nation, and the exaggeration of its humiliations, with violence promised to its enemies, at home and abroad; the worship of power wherever it appears and whoever holds it; contempt for the rule of law and for reason; unashamed employment of repeated lies as a rhetorical strategy; and a promise of vengeance for those who feel themselves disempowered by history. It promises to turn back time and take no prisoners.

Judd Legum in a piece from last September gains insight from the French philosopher Roland Barthes writing about professional wrestling versus boxing back in 1957. It’s about energy, passion, amplifying and performing in the moment, and breaking the rules.

    In the current campaign, Trump is behaving like a professional wrestler while Trump’s opponents are conducting the race like a boxing match. As the rest of the field measures up their next jab, Trump decks them over the head with a metal chair.

    Others in the Republican field are concerned with the rules and constructing a strategy that, under those rules, will lead to the nomination. But Trump isn’t concerned with those things. Instead, Trump is focused on each moment and eliciting the maximum amount of passion in that moment. His supporters love it.

You can jump in the ring and yell “It’s all a fake”, but no-one will take any notice.

I heard a few minutes of his record 75-minute speech. He’s going to end violence and crime “very soon” after being elected, “Believe me.” And everything bad in the world was caused by Hillary Clinton.

    “The legacy of Hillary Clinton (is) death, destruction and weakness.”

This is going to be excruciating!

BTW here’s Malania Trump’s speech compared to Michelle Obama’s when she was talking about values, dignity and respect.

3. Please explain!!

A documentary on Pauline Hanson is due to go to air on 31 July on SBS. In it, we are told, the phrase “Please explain” is explained. Tracy Curro asked Pauline whether she was xenophobic, and she freaked out a bit, not being sure what the word meant. So she said “Please explain!”

The program also says then Abbott staffer David Oldfield was “doing what I had to do for Tony” when he saw Pauline in her motel room and stayed the night. Later he went to work for her, of course.

4. Should the Chinese own our electricity grid?

Nick Xenophon has expressed concern about the NSW government flogging off electricity distributor Ausgrid to either State Grid Corporation, China’s biggest state-owned company, or Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings (CKI), a Hong Kong-listed company controlled by billionaire Li Ka-shing.

Bob Katter has now chimed in, blasting the NSW Liberal government:

    He said that leasing the majority of Ausgrid to State Grid would give the Chinese government the right to “flick the switch off” on the country’s largest city and its stock exchange, something that would never be allowed in the US or UK.

    “You will no longer own your own country’s essential strategic services,” he said. “We’ll become an economy for imperial China.”

Lynne Chester from her university perch points out that State Grid already owns electricity assets in SA, Victoria and Queensland. Much of our electricity infrastructure is overseas owned, so what is the big deal?

Laura Tingle says the Russians did do such a thing to the Ukraine, and it was an issue with another NSW electricity asset, TransGrid, until, at the last minute, a much higher bid came in from a Canadian/middle eastern/Australian bid.

The Nationals don’t like the Chinese owning things here. However, Tingle says “there are passionately different views about this through the defence, intelligence and economic bureaucracy in Canberra” and worse, we don’t have any good way of dealing with these issues:

    Close observers of what has been happening in Canberra in recent months say the process for assessing complex security and foreign investment issues remains “ad hoc, complicated and ineffective”.

Phillip Coorey reports that politically Barnaby Joyce and the Nationals are pinned firmly to the right with the emergence of Hanson, and Turnbull lost too much skin in the election to become his own man.

By and large, the Chinese want to make money out of us. But having their finger on the switch means something, I suspect.

30 thoughts on “Saturday salon 23/7”

  1. Under our trade agreement, the Chinese companies could sue governments that don’t preserve the rackets that the grid companies are getting away with. Iy all seems a good reason to move to microgrids and houses that are independent of the grid.

  2. Pokémon Go now has more active users than Twitter

    Can we now expect the views of Pokemon Go players to be splashed all over our Q and A screen ?

  3. John, as I see it decentralised generation should make the system more robust, but I still can’t see houses or microgrids becoming “independent” unless they have backup power.

    And there will still be blocks of units, major utilities and other community facilities that depend on grid power to some degree.

  4. Definitely my strategy, John D, even without foreign ownership.

    To put a figure on degree of our energy vulnerability, which was first put up by (I think) Ronald Brack on Quiggin and I rejected the notion……until I tested it to prove it true, and that is that the energy flow supporting the lives of every Australian is a continuous….

    7 Kilowatts.

    So, that is, there are 7 Kilowatts of fossil origin fuel energy being consumed 24 hours 365 days per year for each and every one of us. To put that in a visible form, a litre of petrol delivers around 9 kilowatt hours of energy so our per hour liquid fuel equivalent is three quarters of a litre per person.

    Per day that amounts to 18.5 litres of fuel per person and per year 6700 litres or 27,000 litres per year for a family of 4.

    Does anyone here think that you are using that much fuel as you watch the meter on the pump spin when filling the car?

    Sadly it is true, and that is the degree of our energy and lifestyle vulnerability.

    Fully two thirds of that fuel is wasted as unuseable heat due to the inefficiency of energy conversion equipment, so were we to convert to all fully sustainable electricity that energy vulnerability reduces to a little more than a third.

    NB The per person energy consumption is the total amount of energy being consumed in running trucks, tractors, cars, ships, planes, power stations, industry, and gas for your stove, divided by the population size.

  5. For comparison it is claimed that an average healthy adult can deliver 75 watts of energy continuously for 10 hours per day.

  6. Trump’s dark vision based on specious numbers:

    The dark portrait of America that Donald Trump sketched in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention is a compendium of doomsday statistics that fall apart upon close scrutiny.

    Numbers are taken out of context, data is manipulated, and sometimes the facts are wrong.

    When facts are inconveniently positive – such as rising incomes and an unemployment rate under 5 per cent – Trump simply declines to mention them.

  7. That sounds very much like a big business approach to information. If you’re selling something to business there is no demand for those things they are not worth that, if business is selling the same thing to you it is a rare opportunity and worth twice as much.

    Is amplified information really the way forward for public policy? I think not.

  8. BilB, I’m not sure how much deliverable policy there was in Trump’s speech.

    I heard once that the American political system was set up to protect the country from democracy, as much as to embrace it. Given the possibilities in this election that may be no bad thing.

    However, it will be hard, given the system, to wrest the HoR away from the Republicans. If they line up all three with the senate also, we would be in for interesting times.

  9. Brian: I mentioned microgrids as well as individual houses. From time to time in the past i have talked about houses being linked for DC power direct from the panels or a houses batteries. I have also talked about using DC direct for many applications instead of AC . Saves all the power loss in inverters Easy for things like lights, computers and ovens, more difficult for motors.
    I can also imagine a future where houses and/or microgrids have enough energy storage to allow all the power they receive to be off-peak.

  10. Mother Jones claims that this GOP convention is the most dangerous one ever with

    With talk of jailing—or killing—a political leader, the event is undermining democratic governance.

    It gets worse”

    “Lock her up! Lock her up!”

    This is when the Republican National Convention turned dangerous. Hundreds of Republican delegates on the floor of the convention during the official proceedings were shouting that the opposing candidate, Hillary Clinton, should be thrown in jail. The GOPers weren’t merely urging her defeat in November. They were demanding she be treated as a criminal and sent to the hoosegow. This moment marked the culmination of a meme on the right: that Clinton is not a legitimate leader and that her election would not be legitimate. By embracing this theme and placing it center stage at Trumpalooza, Donald Trump and the GOP were undermining, if not threatening, democratic governance.

    It’s not news that the Trump movement has been laced with violence and extremism—and it has hit a fever pitch at the convention this week. On Tuesday night, minutes after the “lock her up” chants, defeated GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson linked Clinton to Lucifer (because of a college paper she wrote on leftist organizer Saul Alinsky). And on Wednesday morning, the news broke that a prominent Trump supporter, Al Baldasaro, had declared on a radio show that Clinton deserved to “be put in the firing line and shot for treason.” Baldasaro had repeatedly spoken at Trump rallies during the primary campaign, and when the New Hampshire GOP delegation cast its votes for Trump during the roll call vote on Tuesday evening, he stood next to Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager, as Lewandowski enthusiastically read off the tally for Trump. And Trump once referred to Baldasaro as “my favorite vet.” So here we have a top Trump champion advocating murderous violence.

    The call for Clinton’s execution is not as shocking as it should be. (Some Trump voters are down with this.) Hillary’s demonization has been the central organizing principle of the convention. (On Tuesday night, there were far more anti-Clinton speeches than pro-Trump presentations.) Delegates trot about Cleveland wearing “Hillary for Prison” T-shirts and badges. Vendors tell me these are the best-selling merch. On the floor, delegates wave “Hillary for Prison” signs, and no convention staffers stop them. Trumpers routinely state as a fact that Clinton has committed treason—they need not explain how: Benghazi, the emails, the Clinton Foundation, whatever—and ought to be punished for her crimes. The only reason she is not, they say, is that President Barack Obama and the corrupt federal government are protecting her. It’s all one big evil plot.

    Makes “ditch the witch” seem benign by comparison.

  11. Weren’t the Mother Jonesers calling for Brexit leaders to be jailed ?
    And Leaders that went to Iraq ( curiously not Socialist Aleksander Kwaśniewski of Poland ) to be jailed ?

    Yet no problem with Clinton criminality pre eMails, Benghazi, latest DNC wikileaks about Sanders and more…etc.

  12. Jumpy, on your first I googled and came up with nothing. On your second, I don’t know.

    On your third, the Youtube is “private”.

    Maybe the US should have a law against hate speech.

  13. Just on Chinese faux-firms owning the electricity grid: It gets better than that John D., if you object to that takeover, the anti-discrimination people are obliged to thump you for racism. I’ll bet the brilliant minds that took ten years to get us into that foolish Free Trade Agreement with China didn’t see that possibility, let along cogitate on it.

    I don’t blame the Chinese in the least for squeezing the best deal they possibly could for themselves out of a bunch of born suckers.

    The alternative? Don’t use electricity. Sun-dry your vegies and biltong; use solar powered garden lights for a couple of hours after sundown; buy a wood stove or heat up your water on the barbecue; give up TV (well, that’s easy, now that we have so many more channels and so much lower quality of shows).

  14. I’m a bit with Xenephon and Katter on this one. I don’t think the Chinese would pull the plug, but they might make some quiet suggestions to pull us into line if we get cheeky.

    Also there is an expectation that there will be a profitable grid decades into the future.

  15. Zoot
    Comments HERE and HERE on Brexit.
    Do your own search on Iraq, there’s a plethora of examples.
    And google ” Clinton Cash Movie” for the hour expose there.
    And ” DNC leaks ” for more Hillary dirty work.

    ( I doubt you’ll look at any, but there it is )

  16. Graham
    ” THE JAPS ARE BUYING UP STRAYA !!! “media outrage, when they dumped loads of cash into the QLD south east, was the start of Pauline.

    Also, strange some Chinese are saying they got hosed by the same trade deal. And it’s not a ” free trade deal ” rather a ” little less Governmental corruption and manipulation of tradable goods and services that consumers can decide to purchase .

  17. And zoot, I’d love to hear your hypothesis on what went wrong in Venezuela, if indeed you thing anything is wrong there.
    I’ll be patient as you’ve got a lot on your plate.

  18. Jumpy, you said:

    Weren’t the Mother Jonesers calling for Brexit leaders to be jailed ?

    There’s nothing about Brexit leaders being jailed in your two links.

    It is possible for both parties to a trade deal to feel dudded.

    I’m sure if Hillary had committed a crime the authorities would have acted. They’ve had enough time. She’s not ideal IMHO, but seriously better than Trump, don’t you think?

  19. I’m sure if Hillary had committed a crime the authorities would have acted.

    Ahahahaha, oh Brian, that’s a ripper!
    I’m off to bed chuckling now, thanks.

  20. You didn’t answer my question, Jumpy.

    And what has Venezuela got to do with the price on eggs?

    In really important news it seems Cathy O’Toole has won Herbert for Labor, by 73 votes.

    And Lisa Singh looks a cert in Tasmania with below the line voting, and Richard Colbeck also possible for the Libs.

  21. Comments HERE and HERE on Brexit.

    So somewhere within those 934 comments someone suggests gaoling Farage (whose lies are matched only by Abbott T Esq) and Johnson (“Ffaww ffaww ffaww Wha”)??

    Probably a false flag operation Jumpy. Try not to lose too much sleep over it.
    And what has Venezuela got to do with anything?

  22. And Lisa Singh looks a cert in Tasmania with below the line voting, and Richard Colbeck also possible for the Libs.

    I love it when the voters (loyal party supporters) ignore the wishes of the respective Party Hierarchies, and choose candidates those voters deem better.

    Another instance, I feel, demonstrating the superiority of preferential voting (below the line) over a “list system” where each party might nominate candidates, whose success relates solely to party percentage vote, and electors have no opportunity to discriminate between names on any party slate.

    Good on you, Taswegian cousins!

  23. UN top position.

    I agree with PM Turnbull that Mr Rudd is unsuited to the role. I think the assertions by Ms Plibersek, Ms Wong et al that ‘Straya should support an Aussie for the job are shortsighted and foolish.

    Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oi, Oi, Oi !!! is not a prime principle of foreign relations, I hope.

    Mr Rudd seemed to lack strengths in diplomacy (“Chinese rat-duckers” anyone?), negotiation, consensus-building, calmness, carry-through, personal tact, …. I will now go quietly to the back of the queue while the chorus of Kev critiques from former Ministers and former Cabinet colleagues are replayed. These people actually worked beside him. So did countless public servants, who also took a dim view.

    James Button’s despairing memoir of his year in Canberra is just one datum in a plethora. And he had grown up in a political family, as a son of a Labor Minister.

    There are at least two excellent candidates with plenty of UN experience at the highest level: Helen Clark and Antonio Gutteres.

    “Kiwi, Kiwi, Kiwi! Oi, Oi, Oi !!!”

    Haere mai.

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