Saturday salon 29/10

1. Schools are filling in for dud parents (pay-walled)

    CHILD safety champions Bruce and Denise Morcombe have warned of an escalating trend of teachers taking up the slack for “diminished” parenting.

To find the article Google Peter Hall and the above sentence.

    Leading child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg said many parents had “dropped the ball’’ with regard to rudimentary child-rearing.

    Dr Carr-Gregg said this was the result of being extremely time poor, hesitant to set limits and boundaries for fear of being perceived as a wicked parent and in some cases just not realising their responsibilities.

    He said evidence showed less than 1 per cent of Year 9 students ate properly in terms of fruit and vegetables. Data also suggests Australia’s Year 5 students are the most sleep-deprived in the world.

2. Brexit – the sinking ship

While the Brexit secretary and the chancellor was assuring that they were determined to secure the status of the City of London it seems that banks will leave any way.

    Britain’s biggest banks are preparing to relocate out of the UK in the first few months of 2017 amid growing fears over the impending Brexit negotiations, while smaller banks are making plans to get out before Christmas.

Meanwhile the pound is eating into living standards as sterling has dropped 15% since June. It’s the poor who tended to vote for Brexit who will be affected most. Inflation rose to 1% in September, up from 0.6% in August, and there is more to come. Things like clothes and food.

3. Our broadband stinks

A recent poll found that:

    In a ranking of 26 countries based on respondents’ level of satisfaction with high-speed broadband, Australia came in at number 23, followed only by Brazil, Peru and Italy.

According to Essential research, 88% of us think the internet is an essential service. However, only 22% think Turnbull’s NBN will ” will adequately meet Australia’s future Internet requirements”.

4. Brandis should resign or be sacked

It’s quite simple, really. Brandis has misled parliament on several occasions, and should go.

The Government spin is that it’s mainly about a personality clash between Attorney-General George Brandis and Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson, who has just quit, declaring his relationship with Brandis is “irretrievably broken”. Oh, and he should not have talked to Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus during the election campaign without telling Brandis.

Dreyfus, who is a proper QC, said he did no wrong.

The press has largely bought the Government’s line. Michelle Grattan’s piece reflects this.

Laura Tingle goes further back:

    Gleeson had first written to his boss expressing his concerns about being cut out of, and/or being misrepresented in, a number of major constitutional issues. The ones we know about are the citizenship laws and same-sex marriage.

The big one we know about was over the Abbott government’s proposal last year to strip Australian citizenship from joint citizens caught up in terror offences.

Brandis had let it be known that the SG had signed off on the proposed bill, whereas in fact Gleeson had not seen all iterations and held concerns that it would withstand a constitutional challenge in the High Court.

Gleeson also considered that the Brandis direction that contact with the SG should be through him was illegal and done without consultation, contrary to what Brandis told the Senate.

If you want to know what Tingle really thought, listen to what she told Phillip Adams. Brandis is appalling, always was, and should go.

Introduction to Saturday salon

Because of the way the blog currently presents posts on the home page I think it’s better to remove the introductory material to a different place. For new readers, here’s the rationale for this space.


An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

    The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

31 thoughts on “Saturday salon 29/10”

  1. “Democrats should ask Hillary Clinton to step aside” – scorching column in Chicago Tribune online by John Kass.

    Argues that FBI would not have announced new investigation just days before Election Day unless the facts appear prima facie to be very serious.


  2. We should probably get more familiar with Tim Kaine, the odds are shortening on him being POTUS sooner rather than later.

  3. We should probably get more familiar with Tim Kaine, the odds are shortening on him being POTUS sooner rather than later.

    I thought Trump was going to win?

  4. I thought Trump was going to win?

    Brave prediction there zoot. With the polls tightening he may yet get to a Reagan like striking distance boil over win.

  5. I’ll have a look at this later on tonight, but my impression is that the FBI are just doing their job. They were investigating the apparently appalling Mr Wiener, husband of a former Hillary aide, when they found a new bunch of emails.

    It probably just goes to show how naive she was about using a private email. We’re seeing why she was a risky choice and John Cass has probably hit the panic button.

    OTOH, it is simply appalling for Trump as a candidate to be calling her a criminal. This man should not be let anywhere near the justice system.

  6. She broke the law then lied to Congress under oath about it.
    Naive ? You have got to be kidding.
    Trump is correct on at least one thing, she is a criminal.

  7. Mr Weiner, estranged husband of one of Mrs Clinton’s most senior aides, still working for Hillary I think.

    Yes, FBI doing its job. Suddenly The Donald will have to cross them off his lengthening list of conspirators engaged in stealing the election from him.

    FBI investigating allegations that ex-Congressman Weiner “sexted” a fifteen-year-old girl. No decorum. No common sense. Serial offender. Sleaze.

    Weiner seems to be the mirror image of the Deplorable Donald. Unless the U.S. Press is now making it all up…….

    What a mess!

    PS: apologies, Brian, if you have to look up “sexting”. Kids today, eh???

  8. Sorry about my absence folks; a couple of illnesses AND third-world internet here in The Other Australia.

    I’m thinking of going back to Windows 3.3 and a couple of alligator clips onto a copper phone line – it should give me better than the current 6.2 Kilobits/week we have here.

    Spot on about dud parenting. I think some influences from the entertainment industry are quite hostile to good parenting. Anyway, whatever the causes, we do have to take action – real action – to prevent the worsening of this epidemic of bad parenting. Suggest facilitating more intergenerational contact as one way of improving parenting; having good role models and experienced advisors can’t do any harm.

  9. Sorry about your woes, Graham. You’ve been missed.

    If it’s any comfort my brother-in-law was reported fulminating about his NBN, about an hour’s drive out of Brisbane. The chain is only as strong as the weakest link, and the copper-to-home link was a disaster.

    I have broadband cable, and I keep being told by my sons that it is slower than ADSL.

    Last night on TV we had an ‘expert’ calling for universal pre-school at age three. It was short on detail as to what was actually proposed, but I had a feeling the basic rationale was to compensate for a lack of effective parenting.

  10. Let’s just hand kids over at birth, relinquish all parental responsibility the the State ?
    Think of how perfect that would be…..

  11. Cracker, well, of course it wouldn’t be perfect. But we have to accept that there is a problem and go from there.

    I think it’s pretty well established that capitalism has the effect of unitising us as individuals, breaking up enduring social cohesion. It’s convenient for employment, for starters, to see us as relocatable individuals.

    The answer is not to do away with capitalism, but to establish countervailing social structures so that we can continue to flourish as social beings, which is what we were designed as.

  12. Brian

    I think it’s pretty well established that capitalism has the effect of unitising us as individuals,

    And that’s a good thing. Democracy does the same thing. In fact Capitalism ( based on individual freedom ) is the most democratic system yet devised imho. Happy to learn of a better one.

    breaking up enduring social cohesion.

    Not at all, societies don’t have ” values “, only individuals can have ” values”. Social cohesion is but the result of individual freely valuing this over other options.

    It’s convenient for employment, for starters, to see us as relocatable individuals.

    People in socialist countries migrate too ( mostly out of the country ) for prosperity.

    Look, the way I see it, all countries today work on a capitalist system. The main difference is who controls the flow of capital, a bureaucrat/dictator/State or the individual that created that capital through production. I’m backing the second to be fairer.

  13. Cracker, there’s so much to comment on in your spiel I’d have to write a book!

    The main problems are that you confuse democracy, a political system, with capitalism, an economic system.

    Also you apparently subscribe to Maggie Thatcher’s dictum “there is no such thing as society”. Well there is, as you would readily recognise if you lobbed in almost anywhere else in the world, where there would be different expectations on you based on different values.

    Capitalism’s default position is to manipulate, control and exploit, which is largely what the aristocracy did pre-capitalism.

    Our only option, I think, is to civilise it, a project which will require social solidarity, balanced with equality and freedom under the sign of justice. But I’ll leave it there, don’t have time to write a book, have other stuff to do.

  14. Crackedy: Capitalism is a system that works on the premise that them what supplied the capital should have control. At its worst it ignores the idea that the success of the organization (and country) depends on the actions of of the workers, suppliers and customers as well as the laws that facilitate what the organization is trying to do and prevent competition between organizations becoming more like the competition between criminal gangs.

  15. What part of ” individual freedom ” confounds you so zoot ?


    Capitalism’s default position is to manipulate, control and exploit, which is largely what the aristocracy did pre-capitalism.

    I would argue that ” manipulate, control and exploit ” is the Primary purpose of centrally controlled economies, where as Free capitalism has far less capacity to do so.


    I’ll defer to Uncle Milt to explain it better than I.
    Here’s a snippet, but please, do explore more of his explanations .

  16. What part of ” individual freedom ” confounds you so zoot ?

    BBC, what part of “enslavement is not freedom” confounds you so?

  17. Aw, c’mon zoot!

    Freedom aplenty in the so-called “slave trade”.
    1. Freedom to buy and sell African humans
    2. Freedom to set their (ahem) terms and conditions of labour
    3. Freedom to sexually exploit befriend the prettier ones
    4. Freedom for Africans to voyage westwards and see new lands
    5. Freedom to compose and sing the sweetest lullabies and religious songs, famous to this day
    6. Freedom to be ‘strange fruit’
    7. Freedom to enrich plantation owners (inc. some free thinking fathers of Independence) in joint enterprises of untold wealth, productivity, calm and purposeful striving
    8. Freedom to travel on a secret railroad to the north
    9. Freedom to bequeath to us the Blues
    10. Freedom to give the world that deep and heartfelt cry:

    free at last !!!

    What’s not to admire?

  18. Capitalism ( based on individual freedom )
    Slavery was aplenty well before Capitalism was conceived.
    Capitalism ( BoIF ), where its implemented most, has stamped out this disgusting act of deprivation of individual liberty.

    Go look where slavery is most prolific today.
    Or not, you can be as wrong as you want.

  19. …standing by for inevitable bizarre interpretation of the definition of ” slavery “….

  20. BBC,

    I recommend to you a book published in the U.S. In 1941, Let us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee, with photographs by Walker Evans.

  21. Is capitalism sustainable?

    The fact that the now dominant capitalist economic system is unsustainable is not in doubt. It has contributed to the breaching of several ecological boundaries, in relation to climate change, biodiversity loss and nutrient enrichment. At the same time as damaging the natural systems that sustain it, capitalism is also leading to increasing inequality, in turn creating social tensions that make it still more exposed.

    Senior figures who once worked at the heart of the finance world lay out an increasingly clear view of what is needed to fix a failing system. Those still working there must understand that if their lead is not followed soon, then capitalism in its present form will cease to exist. The big questions are really about when and how it will happen.

    In relation to the first, and on the basis of the best ecological science, the answer is “in the not too distant future”.

    On the second point, we have a choice. We either create an ecologically sustainable version of capitalism, or we wait for the consequences to precipitate collapse of the old one.

  22. In case someone is coughing at the above link’s source, here is the august World Economic Forum on: Does capitalism have to be bad for the environment.

    In short, the market mechanisms under capitalism do not provide incentives for preserving the environment. Firms are constantly threatened by market competition to cut costs and optimize profit. The environment thus falls pray to the compulsive market behaviour of the capitalist mode of production. Without the intervention of non-market entities such as the state, international organizations and social forces, capitalism as an economic system simply will not safeguard our planet.

    And on “ethical capitalism”

    Ethical capitalism must be more than a conversation about values. It must lead to changed behaviours. The WEF Global Agenda Council on Values has proposed what it calls a “new social covenant”, based around human dignity, common good and stewardship. But it recognizes that conversations are only the starting point and so is creating toolkits that will enable companies and others put their values into practice.

    As in many other parts of business, there is a competitive advantage to being among the first to put values into practice, whether it’s reducing carbon footprints or eliminating pay inequalities. Meaningful values-infused programs – as opposed to meaningless window-dressing – have enabled many companies to develop new and valuable core competencies.

    The message is clear: companies who fail to act now do so at their peril. But this is also a time of great opportunity. Following a more ethical brand of capitalism requires strong and courageous leadership – not something currently in abundance, according to the Outlook 2015. But just as ethical capitalism may be the only sustainable form of capitalism, values-driven leaders and companies will, I believe, prove to be those who enjoy the greatest, most rewarding and sustained success.

  23. Good one Ootz.

    Immanuel Wallerstein, who spent a lifetime studying capitalism, says it’s in its last days, and will be replaced, not necessarily by something better.

    He’s also has an eye on what he calls the Global Left, as represented by the World Social Forum, originally organised in Porto Alegre in 2001. Historically when the Left was successful it morphed like Orwell’s Animal Farm, so nothing much changed.

    His latest commentary talks about the dilemma. Battles are being fought everywhere, and we need to act within our own domain.

  24. That’s not very hopeful, but there are no easy solutions.

    BBC, you a right that slavery preceded capitalism, but capitalism didn’t end it. I’ll tell you a tale.

    We all need safety, shelter and sustenance, right? Maslow’s basic needs. Slavery, at least in the US provided the three s’s, and on a family basis. Sometimes kindly, sometimes not.

    Capitalism has a tendency to pay what it can get away with. Nike, going back possibly 10 years, paid its manufacturing workforce in Asia a total of $25 million pa. It paid Michael Jackson $18 million pa to advertise the clobber. And the clever CEO was paid $31 million pa.

    Of course members the workforce, working in sweatshop conditions, were discarded when they were burnt out.

    We need to civilise capitalism, or we’re done for!

    In Australia in 1901 we had the Harvester Case where an unskilled worker received a wage required a living wage that was sufficient for “a human being in a civilised community” to support a wife and three children in “frugal comfort”.

    Does an unskilled worker in the big Australian capitals get such a wage now? If not, why not?

  25. I would like to point out that I made no claim that capitalism originated slavery. My comment specifically named the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, which was created to serve capitalism, and without which market based capitalism would not have flourished to the extent it has.
    And slavery is still a fundamental part of capitalist economies.

  26. I took the survey from my last link and it appears I benefit from the labour of 29 slaves.
    So this “disgusting act of deprivation of individual liberty” continues to be a fundamental part of capitalism, which has done nothing to stamp it out.

  27. Wonderful song,
    such fond memories of those happy days helpin’ dem plantation bosses.

    Slavery mebbe thousands of years old, but you right: fine sentiments of Declaration ain’t helped us niggers, sho’ nuff.

    Life, Liberty ‘n Pursuit of Happiness, tell it Martin Luther.
    Nail dem Theses to dat door!!

  28. HERE is the Economic Freedom index for 2016.
    Choose any issue you want and it’s better towards the top.

    ( zoot, your slavery red herring countries are nearer the bottom )

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