Saturday salon 4/11

1. JFK assassination theories revive

Seems Trump is keen to release all the JFK assassination files, but on CIA and FBI advice they have been redacted and some withheld.

The fact that the CIA and the FBI are doing this gives conspiracy theories more energy. The BBC gives some details of the new material, which basically confirm that something strange was going on.

Here we have an outline of the key theories.

I know that when I last had my head into it I was convinced there was a second gunman, but I’ve forgotten the detail, I think two people hit and the trajectory of the bullet.

2. Trump – Americans were warned

Speaking of Trump, Phillip Adams recorded an amazing interview with David Cay Johnston, investigative journalist and author of The Making of Donald Trump.

This review in the Financial Times is concise:

    In Johnston’s telling, Trump is a shallow huckster who cheats his employees and customers, lies the way other people draw breath, seeks revenge as “the guiding principle of his life”, and consorts with hoodlums — among them: Joseph Cinque, known as “Joey No Socks”, a convicted felon,and Felix Sater, a convicted stock swindler who was also imprisoned after jamming the stem of a margarita glass into another man’s face.

The FT is right, Johnston himself has a healthy estimation of his own abilities, but he is willing to risk Trump’s habit of destroying people who criticize him. He told Adams Trump was basically a crook, a cash extractor rather than a builder, Trump Tower was probably funded by the Russians. Johnston thinks fear will prevent Republicans from impeaching and the Democrats just don’t have the numbers. Johnston notes:

    “Trump’s success with voters tells an important story about the deep trouble America is in.”

3. Mueller’s long game

There is a feeling that Paul Manafort’s indictment may be just the first move in Robert Mueller’s long game and that Manafort’s former aide George Papadopoulos could cause Donald Trump the most grief. Manafort is accused of money laundering and conspiracy against the US, separate from the Trump campaign. Papadopoulos was active with the Russians while working with the Trump campaign.

The AFR says Jared Kushner may be the one implicated by Papadopoulos’s evidence.

However, Bruce Wolpe says Make no mistake, Donald Trump is at his zenith.

Trump is ruthlessly pursuing his agenda:

    In 2017, Mr Trump has consolidated his control over the party, and those who oppose him have capitulated.

    It is telling that Mr Trump’s most vocal Republican critics are retiring and leaving the field. Trump’s hardline strategist, Steve Bannon, is waging a political cleansing war on conservatives who are not Trump partisans.

David Cay Johnston says he’s even less fit than he looks, and when he was walking with Macron and suddenly stopped, it was because he actually needed to stop. His health may be the only chance he will go away. To me, he looks like a stroke or heart attack waiting to happen, but I don’t have any medical skills, I’ve just seen it happen in a large number of people.

4. Uluru – don’t walk to the top

Uluru will be closed to climbers from October 26, 2019 to coincide with the 34th anniversary of the return of Uluru to traditional owners. That gives tourist operators two years notice.

36 people have died climbing the rock since records began in the 1950s. Apparently traditional owners have always said that when the percentage of visitors climbing the rock fell below 20% they would look at closing it. On last count the number was down to 16%.

Here as a bonus are some photos from my post of our trip:

This is one of Len’s artistic shots of Uluru:


Here’s one of mine from the base walk:


Len and I on different days took photos of the sunrise on Kata Tjuta with a zoom lens from over 40 km away at Uluru. This is Len’s:


And the reverse, without zoom:


Finally, the lookout opening into the inner sanctum of Kata Tjuta:


I’d love to do a full post on Uluru.

5. Labor ‘backflips’ in support of citizenship status audit

What changed Shorten’s mind was the case of Senate President Stephen Parry, a Tasmanian Liberal, whose case was as good as identical to Fiona Nash’s, but he decided to stay stumm to see what happened with the High Court. Shorten says something has to be done to restore public confidence in the parliament. Of course an audit could only give an opinion, but it would settle things down and identify likely problem cases which could then be referred to the High Court.

Richard Di Natale has been saying that from the outset. Laura Tingle says an audit is now pretty much inevitable, everyone can see it apparently except Malcolm Turnbull and his bunch.

The issue got a particular edge when Turnbull and Matthias Cormann piled into Parry for not telling anyone. This annoyed Parry because he had spoken to at least one cabinet minister, who advised him to just hang in there. After all Nash and Joyce had held onto their positions, and Turnbull assured everyone that the Court would find in their favour.

I suspect the minister Parry consulted was Peter Dutton, who is the only one I’ve heard defending Parry.

There is now more questioning as to whether some of these dopes should pay back their salaries. The default assumption is that they should, unless they get an exemption from the Special Minister of State, which so far they have, but that must be wearing thin.

Complete farce came with questioning Josh Frydenberg, but I’m sorry, Malcolm, that’s what happens. It is at least conceivable that the Hungarians have changed the law.

That report says Parry told Mitch Fifield, which shows what a dope he really is.

Xenophon said the other day, we need to change the constitution, also so that nurses and teachers don’t have to resign to run for parliament.

Amen to that!

6. Law, human dignity and Manus Island

Amy Maguire, Senior Lecturer in International Law and Human Rights, University of Newcastle and Georgia Monaghan, Research Assistant, University of Newcastle give an outline of the legal issues involved in Australia’s stubborn and entrenched position on Manus Island asylum seekers.

The situation is serious. The detention centre has closed, the alternative is not ready, and asylum seekers don’t feel safe in the community.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has demanded that services be restored to centre. Shorten urges Turnbull to consider Jacinda Ardern’s offer to help resolve the crisis.

I believe only 50 so far have gone to the US, and we just don’t know how many more they will take.

Meanwhile Dr Nick Martin tells of how his medical decisions about asylum seekers were repeatedly ignored by administrators on Nauru.

I believe Australia should offer them all asylum from their treatment on Manus and Nauru. Then there should be a royal commission to uncover the perpetrators, who should then be punished, including ministers of the crown.

We’d still have to clean up our own backyard with respect to First Nations Peoples. Only then could we lay claim to being a civilized country.

90 thoughts on “Saturday salon 4/11”

  1. I think I know the most common route ” refugees ” take but I’ll await an expert reference.

  2. Jumpy, I’ll just mention two things. One is that if they pop into a refugee camp in the country next door they really are quite exposed if someone bad is after them. Similarly, I remember when the Solomon Islands became a failed state, some baddies broke into a prison to attack their enemies.

    Secondly, I understood years ago that it was pretty easy for Muslims to get into Malaysia, and then they progressed from there.

    If you were fleeing Afghanistan, would you like to hang about in Pakistan or Iran for the rest of your life?

  3. I worked with an Afghan Lad, out of town work so we lived together.
    From Uruzgan province was his home.
    His parents went to Pakistan, he went to Iraq for 2 years as it was the safest place, he said, in the Middle East for a Shia.
    Till the US pulled out.
    He made it here though the legal route of some sort of sponsorship.

    Refuge isn’t about what One want or would rather.

  4. Refuge isn’t about what One want or would rather.

    Funny that.
    I always thought it was about wanting to feel safe.
    Silly me.

  5. I give laugh of the week to QLD greens 4 more holidays policy.
    Such an economic boon that would bring I wonder how much better 116 holidays per annum would be.
    Loopy stuff!

  6. Jumpy, at my young son’s school there were some Afghan refugees who went the western route. People smugglers to guide them across the mountains. You could get stuck in Iran, shelling pistachio nuts for peanuts, from memory. They made it across Iran and Iraq to a refugee camp in Jordan. I think they got picked up from there after about three years on the official Australia refugee program.

    Basically I’m in awe and not going to make judgements.

  7. Brian

    “If you were fleeing Afghanistan, would you like to hang about in Pakistan or Iran for the rest of your life?”

    That is an interesting question. It depends heavily on what you call living. What are the essentials of a “good life”?

  8. BilB, if you were Hazara and lobbed into a Pashtun area of Pakistan I don’t think you would count it as much of an improvement.

  9. According to the Oz online, former UK PM Gordon Brown claims that after he left office, he was told that top secret US assessments opining that maybe Sadam Hussein might not have WMD, had earlier been withheld from the British Govt, before it decided to join the invasion of Iraq.

    If true, now might be a good time for former PM Howard to apologise to former intelligence officer Andrew Wilkie.

    Just a suggestion.

  10. Hahaha, he should spend some time in Venezuela.

    But to be fair, zoot, can you cherry pick the paragraph that most resonated for you as an example of Capitalism failing please.

    That article was an a brilliant example of ‘ lay down misere ‘ , having the worst hand but claiming victory.

  11. Zoot, from the link Jacinda Ardern suggested capitalism was a blatant failure:

    “If you have hundreds of thousands of children living in homes without enough to survive, that’s a blatant failure. What else could you describe it as?”

    If you were a libertarian you might describe it as people making a lifestyle choice.

  12. Jumpy, you can’t keep using Venezuela as an example of anything other than Venezuela. We’ve been over that before.

  13. Brian
    Child poverty is more prevalent in countries that have more Capitalism, is that Aderns position or yours ?

  14. Brian, I have more knowledge of the Venezuelan situation than I do other countries that have been destroyed by socialism.
    That’s why I go there in comment.

    It just looks like socialisms eventual outcomes happened quicker than other places.

  15. “If you have hundreds of thousands of children living in homes without enough to survive, that’s a blatant failure. What else could you describe it as?”
    With out enough to survive ?
    So these hundreds of thousands of kids are dead now right?
    Give me a break.

  16. Jeez Jumpy, calm down; you’ll do yourself an injury.
    Should I have included a trigger warning?

  17. Just saw this on another site and thought I’d share:

    The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist, government are incompetence, corruption, and corporatism, not government. – Jerome a Paris

    Of course, the word “government” could easily be replaced with “private enterprise”.

  18. Let’s try that,
    The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist, private enterprises are incompetence, corruption, and corporatism, not private enterprise.

    Fair call.
    But only Government can bestow that privilege, enforced by men with guns.

    Please zoot, focus, the Jericho article you shared, best bit ?

  19. Who died and put you in charge?

    But I digress.
    You first.
    1. What precisely is your problem with the number of people enrolled to vote/number of people who actuallyvote/our system of voter enrolment/the AEC or whatever it is you were griping about the other day?
    I promise I’ll put it into English for you, but you have to let me know what it is.
    2. And while we’re here, can you name the measure you have which is preferable to GDP yet? You went very quiet when you were asked to specify it.

  20. Apologies for this digression.
    BBC website reports Paradise Papers: Tax haven secrets of ultra-rich exposed.
    Apparently there has been an industrial scale leak of information, first to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung who called in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists to assist.

    As with the “Panama Papers” this may take weeks to unfold. Naturally the BBC highlights UK persons, including HM The Queen.

    We can at least be confident that no wealthy Aussies would be avoiding tax using off shore investments. That would be unAustralian.

    How do libertarians view tax avoidance? Is it just another way of cleverly outwitting those horrid “govt gangsters” backed up by men with guns??

  21. Read all about Paradise at the Guardian Australia website too.

    Three cheers for freedom of the Press!

  22. Jumpy, you say you look at “other countries that have been destroyed by socialism.”

    Frankly, I’m a bit tired of explaining to you that socialism has never existed at a country level in the sense of equal weight being given to liberty, equality and fraternity.

  23. Mr J

    I want to hear more about Evo Morales and Bolivia. Is coca important in the economy? Will they move the capital from La Paz? Why was el Presidente apparently un amigo of Senor Chavez? Has the Morales government shown any ‘socialist’ tendencies? Does el Presidente agree with Ms Ardern that capitalism has had the odd, occasional failure?

    You only need to shift your focus to another Latin American nation…

  24. Zoot
    1. I don’t have a problem with people not voteing I guess but I’d recommend it. The other day I mused about the low rate I perceived amongst my peers, then you piped up with a ” Really ? ” link to the ATO that wasn’t relevant. I was just bouncing a conundrum about in case someone had any pieces to my puzzle.

    2. It’s more what formula is used, currently Y = C + I + G + (X − M) which counts spending not production. Maybe use GDP = COE + GOS + GMI + TP & M – SP & M and incorporate the HDI somehow.
    I fully admit being an economic novice but I’m not illiterate.

    Mr A
    A Libertarian perspective is individuals are smarter and more careful with their own money than we are with other people’s money.

    I mean look at our politicians, the Feds bang on about about schools and hospitals and they’re not responsible for and QLD politicians are in a battle about the Federal highway that they’re not responsible for.

    Would I give these clowns more to waste? Hell no!

  25. Mr A, you crack me up..
    Mz Adhern now said ” capitalism has had the odd, occasional failure ” haha that’s Gold!

    ( little hint for Mz Adhern, Governing overlords have failed more people in history than Capitalism)

  26. I was thinking today actually on why socialism often turns into communist type dictatorships.
    I think it’s because socialist may think the masses are mostly stupid, poor weaklings that need shepherding by force.
    Capitalists think the opposite.

  27. An old joke from the Soviet era:
    Capitalism, comrade, is the exploitation of man by man.
    Under communism, it’s the other way around.

    I was paraphrasing Ms Ardern, Mr J.
    Jesting, in fact.

    Mr J at 4.59pm.
    Do I understand you to say that Capitalists think the masses are mostly intelligent, strong individuals who need shepherding by force?

    What force is used, pray tell? Usury? Unemployment? Low wages? Power to dismiss? Monopoly power? Misleading advertising? Low quality products? Anti-competitive practices like cartels?

    Do tell!

  28. That’s a bit silly Mr A, the State is the only entity that can legally deprive you of your liberty at gun point for not handing over money, and I deplore it.
    I would never advocate traders be given that power.

    Capitalism is like consensual sex whilst the relationship lasts, socialism is like rape but someone else shares half a nice cooked breakfast in the morning.

  29. Please permit me to ask a question, and I hope it doesn’t end up in the pile of direct, unanswered questions.
    Who is your favourite Mega wealthy person on Earth ?

  30. What about Bolivia Mr J?
    I asked first.

    Plenty of favourites: HM The Queen,…. Christopher Hitchens (dec), George Orwell (dec), Albert Einstein (dec), Spike Milligan (dec), Jonathan Swift (dec); Mozart, Rembrandt, Velasquez, Vermeer, Socrates, Archimedes….

  31. It occurs to me that Australia has benefited from Socialism.
    We have one of the best health systems in the world in terms of coverage, outcomes and cost. Nobody would be stupid enough to claim that is the outcome of naked greed (or if you prefer, capitalism).

  32. Yes, zoot.

    And it’s interesting that the arrangements have developed under both ALP and Coalition stewardship. Changes here and there, but basic principles unchallenged.

    PBS is one of the highlights. Bulk billing. Etc.

    Noticeable also is that, in our “mixed economy”, we have provision by both private and public entities. Democratic socialism, contrasted if this must be mentioned, against Stalinist one party compulsion.

    So many “socialisms” in different countries. Universal medical coverage was denounced by a few when introduced and then quickly we adjust and it becomes an accepted and appreciated part of our social fabric.

    No, Mrs Thatcher, society does exist!

  33. Mr A
    The Bolivia question, don’t know much. It’s lurching out of dictatorship. Income tax is 13% flat with a 13% VAT/GST. Small and medium business is virtually unregulated. Maybe the next big socialist star child like Venezuela was or goes further capitalist and take advantage of the sugar hit.
    Hugely reliant on fossil energy export so it may be back to dictatorship pretty soon.
    As I said, I have payed much attention to Bolivia.

  34. Plenty of favourites: HM The Queen,…. Christopher Hitchens (dec), George Orwell (dec), Albert Einstein (dec), Spike Milligan (dec), Jonathan Swift (dec); Mozart, Rembrandt, Velasquez, Vermeer, Socrates, Archimedes….

    I’ll go with Big Lizzy since the others weren’t mega wealthy or on Earth any more.
    Interesting choice.
    What in particular?
    Is it She pays tax on money gained from inherited wealth voluntarily?

  35. If you like the way Richard Fidler get the fullness out of his guests then can I recommend Joe Rogan on YouTube.
    Be careful, everyone from Neil Degrasse Tyson to Ben Shapiro and can go 3 hours. Huge time eater.
    #1034 is with Sebastian Junger, an anthropologist.
    He’s a democrat so as not to spook the cattle.
    Fascinating stuff.

  36. He’s a democrat so as not to spook the cattle.

    Not according to Wikipedia:

    Rogan is not affiliated with any political party but has been described as having mostly libertarian views.

  37. Jumpy, mentioning Richard Fidler, if you want to think about socialism, have a listen to the conversation with Beatrix Campbell, this time with Sarah Kanowski filling in. It’s only 55min 31sec.

    Campbell was daughter to two idealistic parents who were communists. Socialist ideals are wonderful, but not easy to realise. Your dumping on grotesque imitations masquerading as socialism is irrelevant and its becoming boring.

  38. Mr J

    Oh, I must have misunderstood: when you wrote “mega wealthy” you meant only $ wealth?

    I was thinking more of wealth of experience, knowledge, wisdom, grace, and creative genius: the kind of qualities which if expressed in published or musical or painted work, can inspire thousands or millions of others.

    And Vermeer was there as a painter, not as a hot tip fir the Melbourne Cup 😉

  39. Mr A, it’s strange, in the context of the conversation we were having, that you misunderstood my meaning was about capital/money.
    But if you say so I trust you.
    Now that you understand the essence of the question it should be no problem to answer.

    Brian, she’s an admitted militant communist who took a Queens Honour to please her equally confused friends. Ideologically bigoted, and spitefully so.
    ( can get Fidler since I changed to an iPad, yay! )

    I still recommend you see the Sebastian Junger interview. He speaks of a book that the authors studies found 50% of our political leanings are genetic and 50% are environmental.
    Junger is obviously the Democrat, the interviewers position should , in my opinion, be non-evident.
    Joe Rogan achieves that because it’s not a political podcast.

  40. Brian, she’s an admitted militant communist …

    Jumpy’s interpretations escape me at times. Maybe it’s the result of his need to boil everything down to simple binaries.
    The little I heard of the conversation made it abundantly clear that she is first and foremost a feminist. (Maybe for Jumpy that’s the same as a militant communist?)
    And Ms Campbell defines herself as a republican with politics rooted in Marxism and feminism, not a communist (see Wikipedia).

  41. Listen to it all zoot.. or trust a wiki bio.. whatever.
    Being a militant communist and Marxist and feminist and republican ( in a U.K. sense, aka anti monarchy ) is possible evidently.

  42. Mr J

    I don’t have a favourite super wealthy person, but I recognise that much social benefit has arisen from philanthropic gifts made by wealthy families.

    Amongst these I would include the medical work of the Gates Foundation, the free art museum in LA funded by Getty, the Felton Bequest in Melbourne; not to suggest that the benefactors are or were saints.

    Meanwhile, if I may be permitted to expand on philanthropy, my favourites are really the volunteers of mostly modest incomes and wealth, who keep local and national charities, fire brigades, first aid services, lifesaving groups, SES, etc etc etc etc etc operating; with no tax deductibility, no public acclaim or fame, sometimes at risk to their own safety.

    That’s where my admiration and gratitude runneth over.

  43. Yeah philanthropy is a good thing no matter the wealth, even the poor Christians are encouraged to give 10%. Don’t know what Gates % is.
    Even so, I think the ” teach someone to fish rather than constantly giving fish ” is better for them in the medium to long term.

  44. Listen to it all zoot …

    I’ve been listening to Bea for decades Mr J. I know her pretty well.
    Considering your endemic biases, your 55 minutes listening to her is no match.

  45. Jumpy, you call Bea Campbell a “militant communist”. She doesn’t shoot people, ergo not militant.

    Why is being a communist automatically a bad thing?

    The point I’d like you to take is that she expressly rejects Stalin and Russian communism as the antithesis of what she would want.

    Ditto for most of us on the left with the examples of ‘socialism’ you throw up. If you want socialism go back to Rousseau and the ideas behind the French Revolution, as distinct from what they did.

  46. I’d recommend to everyone to have a listen to David Christian in Legacy of the Russian Revolution.

    It’s mind blowing. He puts the Russian Revolution in the context ultimately of life on the planet.

    He says that class difference and inequality in that sense has only been a problem in the last 5000 years, a blink of the eye in our 200,000 year history.

    He does say that inequality improved for much of the 20th century, but now has declined so rapidly that it’s as bad as it was before WW1.

    For some reason I didn’t quite get on first listening disasters tend to bring greater equality.

    But it’s more than that. After listening to Christian your brain will never be the same again

  47. BTW Bea Campbell is a Green. I believe she stood unsuccessfully for parliament. Hardly a revolutionary.

  48. Yeah philanthropy is a good thing no matter the wealth, even the poor Christians are encouraged to give 10%. Don’t know what Gates % is.

    If memory serves he was aiming at something close to 100% in the long term. Of course, that was a while ago and he may have changed his mind in the interim.

  49. I think we need blogger bloopers log.

    Brian’s latest is cool…….the Russian revolution is “mid blowing”…..destined to be an oft used classic.

  50. Could we also have a spell check blunders log.

    Really, some of the deft/daft substitutions are extraordinary!!!

    My new batman was remarking on this only yesterday, while re-filling pater’s old snuff box. He confided that his previous employer was driven to distraction by flamboyant spell checking.

    I told him he would be better to attend to sharpening my quills than to reminisce, and that my equanimity was best served by his silence.

  51. Yeah, thanks BilB. I find my fingers increasingly don’t keep up with my mind. Fixed now.

    Last night I heard an excellent program on Rear Vision The Russian Revolution and its legacy. A very nuanced view by four scholars.

    One issue was that the Bolsheviks were more into poetry than guns, but had to learn fast as the country fell into civil war. The result was the establishment of a military culture that changed the nature of the society and the revolution.

    Another issue is that Russia was not the kind of society that Marx would have chosen. It was still a peasant society, rather than industrialised and did not have a large proletariat.

    Another was that despite this during the 1930s, when capitalism appeared broken, life wasn’t so bad in the Soviet Union and communism did seem to offer a different way.

    Now what happened in Russia has tainted ‘socialism’ forever.

    The final warning is that we dream of utopias, but in trying to achieve them things can go very wrong indeed. Should we try?

    There is a transcript available. Highly recommended.

  52. According to the biography Young Stalin, Mr Djugashvili was a thug gangster whose skills included leading armed bank robberies, attended by murder.

    A sort of “Ned Kelly” but with more swagger and a higher death toll.

    Why is this relevant? Because it is claimed the exiled Ulyanov required the proceeds of those robberies, to continue his agitation and secret plotting.

    The Social Democrats were a dark mirror image of the Czarist police. I think they were cradled in violence. The early 1900s were a time of assassinations, Siberian exile, “propaganda of the deed” bombings etc.

    Trotsky was always a harsh, punitive person, quick to shoot. The Civil War didn’t force that behaviour on him.

    No saints they.

    As soon as a social or political movement strays from democratic practices, it sows internal seeds of violence, injustice, murder and the Gulag. We have seen this time and again since 1900. Local variations in different countries, but a pattern is there. As far as I recall, it is called “totalitarianism”.

    Against that dark history, Liberty must win…..

  53. Thank you for the link Brian. I’ve barely started reading the transcript and have already had my perceptions changed.

    The Bolsheviks did not overthrow Tsarism, Tsarism collapsed, and the Bolsheviks did not overthrow the provisional government, the provisional government collapsed, and the Bolsheviks were left there to pick up the pieces.

  54. Jumpy:

    teach someone to fish rather than constantly giving fish ” is better for them in the medium to long term.

    is sometimes going to be true. There is often a temptation to do nothing more than do the easy quick crisis fix again and again without doing something in addition to fix the problem that is causing the repeat crisis or making it harder for people to sort things out for themselves.
    It is hard for people to sort out problems while they are asking themselves where they might be able to sleep tonight and how they are going to avoid going to sleep hungry.

  55. The Bolsheviks clamped down on intellectuals (including poets) as soon as practicable after seizing power in their Petrograd coup.

    “Revolution” is a misnomer, but not surprising that self-styled revolutionaries would proclaim their power grab was a revolution.

    [A distant instance: President Allende was elected by approx. 35% of voters in Chile, first time. Not even a clear majority of support. He then referred to his programme as ‘The Chilean Revolution’. Incorrect. Over-reach. Romantic nonsense.]

  56. Brian
    I take your point that tagging all socialism with its worst examples can be harsh. But when leading democratic socialists like Sanders and Corbyn were championing Venezuela and Chavez as a model to emulate just a few years ago, it can ask for that harshness.
    I too get annoyed when free market Capitalism gets bashed with examples of crony Capitalism and other instances of greedy corruption that are anti free market capitalism.
    When free market Capitalism gets corrupted by Governments we ask Governments to fix the corruption, not by eliminating it’s corruption but by corrupting it more. Crazy to me.

    I’m not sure what the core factors corrupting socialism are and how that destroys it.

  57. Jumpy: Capitalists seem to favour competition amongst suppliers and customers but be a little less enthusiastic about a free market with their competitors.

  58. John
    That’s why the innovation and efficiencies happen to the betterment of the entire society.
    Collusion is terrible for innovation, efficiency and society as a whole and most certainly at odds with free market capitalism.

  59. People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.

    — Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations.

  60. I’m not a student of revolutions, but democracy must be held as an indivisible principle, or people start locking up or shooting people they disagree with. And people with egos come to believe that the state can’t survive without their leadership.

    And nepotism and other shite seems to creep in.

  61. Brian

    Yes, that’s the essence of the problem!
    Democracy in its variations around the globe and in clubs and associations is imperfect, …. but it provides brakes on extreme cruelty and usually limits nepotism*…… Liberty, equality, fraternity!

    BTW, that French example engendered any amount of bloodshed and (I think the official name was) Terror.

    The evolution of democratic practices – take a small bow, NZ; take another small bow, Australia – has been slow, uncertain, and marred by all kinds of injustice…. yet on it rolls.

    Here’s to a democratic China. I live in hope.


    * might the ‘dynastic element’ have been a factor tending to make some US voters shy away from Mrs Clinton??

  62. Ambi: Trump and Clinton were the “two most hated politicians” going into the election. In the case of Clinton and Jeb Bush there may have been some hesitation due to the dynastic element.
    In the end, people wanted change and Clinton was being sold as the “best experienced candidate the US ever had”. Black mark when people wanted change.
    Keep in mind that Clinton got about 3 million more votes than Trump. The winner takes all college system distorts the US system and allows candidates to ignore the needs of safe states like California.

  63. Yes John

    I’m aware that Mrs Clinton polled more votes. But her campaign was surely aware of the Electoral College system?

    If you are a candidate, you stand under the existing rules. And presumably you campaign accordingly.

    Any of us might dislike the prohibition on dual citizens standing in Australia, yet them’s the rules at present.*

    Just to continue with Mrs C for a moment, I recall her infamous outburst near the start of The Monica Matter, when she went on TV to denounce “the vast right wing conspiracy” arrayed against President Clinton…. which was assiduously manufacturing false claims of scandal against him. Foolish Mrs C. Lied to by the Pres, but building a conspiracy model on shaky ground…..

    That episode is almost as widely known as “Ah did not have sex with that woman – Miss Lewinsky….”

    And yet in 2017, in a public talk given recently to supporters, she alleged a huge interwoven conspiracy involving Mr Mueller and all sorts of nefarious deplorable moguls, misfits, misanthropes and misogynists. I saw an extract on Youtube.

    And thought to myself:
    1. nothing is ever her fault, and
    2. she didn’t learn from that earlier outburst.

    A very poor candidate; as was The Donald.

    Meanwhile John, keep up your hood work in exploring different voting systems to compare and contrast them.

    * now they’re saying Mr Alexander MHR may resign, causing a by election. I wonder if they’ll hold the by election in Wentworth on the same Saturday?

  64. Ambi: Serious flaws in the US system include:
    1. No preference voting. Discourages the replacement of stale old parties
    2. States have control over voting systems and rules. Some of these include Jim Crow laws that work to exclude Afro Americans plus limited resources for areas with large Afro American populations.
    3. Voting not compulsory. Makes it easier to bully people into not voting, particularly those who should be protected by the democratic system. (The percentage of poor people voting is much lower than that of the better off.)
    3. Hackable voting systems. Good news for the Russians.)
    4. Winner takes all college system. May have made sense when there was no rail or telegraph or.. Current tech should allow the winner to be the one with the biggest vote after preference distribution.
    5. Primary voting system. Sounds democratic but those running have to raise a lot of money to compete. Peculiarities of the primary voting systems don’t help either.
    I am sure that there is more to it than that.

  65. John

    I agree that their voting system is NVG = Not Very Good.

    I must also apologise for the typo earlier which made it look like I was suggesting you should “keep up your hood work…”

    I think you are as far from being a “hood” as is likely to be possible.

    I imagine you are kind to animals and small children.
    Your reminiscences about Groote Eylandt were wonderful.


  66. Terima kasih, BilB 6.00

    Republik Indonesia bagus, ya?
    Engkau disitu?

    Ambigulous, negara Australia sekerang.
    (permisi, saya sedikit Bahasa Indonesia)

  67. Thanks BilB, I got sucked in to their live stream for a silly amount of time too!
    Damn this salt that got onto my veins!!

  68. Ambi,

    No I am not there. This is one of the cruising yacht families that I follow. I thought that this worth sharing video gave a rare look at a part of the world I had a very different impression of.

  69. New Salon almost finished, but I have to go off to the opening of an art show, would you believe?

    Should be done this arvo.

  70. Farewell Mr John Alexander, former Member for Bennelong.

    For a while Mr Turnbull will be “Mister 74”.

  71. Haha, what a coincidence!
    Yesterday I bumped into the curator of our local art gallery that I do my day job at from time to time.
    She informs me that she’d like me to do some work for an upcoming display…. but….it’s for a conceptual artist so I’m somehow part of the work.

    I have no idea what she’s getting me into !!

  72. Just keep your clothes on, otherwise you’ll finish up on the front page of “The Australian”.

    And I reckon you and your family could do well without that!!

    Life’s full of surprises, eh??

    (If you want to fly me up to Qld, I can do a very good Van Gogh signature. Would that be helpful?)

    Vincent van Jumpi
    van Rijn
    van Koenigensland


  73. I’m the Boss so if it’s too bizarre for me I’ll ask for volunteers, if there are none, hand her the phone book.

    In other News I got my first library card today!
    The Sky’s the limit.

  74. New Salon now up.

    Now I must read this thread, the one above. I can’t write stuff and be in threads at the same time!

    Today I’ve been to the Beach to Birrabeen art exhibition, presently on at the Aspire Gallery. Then it is going to the University of the Sunshine Coast.

    One of the artists, Valerie McIntosh, used to work for me, or rather I worked for her. Here’s Val.

    I gather the exhibition came out of a collaboration between Fraser Coast artists and scientists to understand the local environment. The drape of swallows here, not in focus, is one of Val’s works.

  75. They are saying that Senator Lamborghini has resigned, and that Kristina Keneally will be the ALP candidate in Believing.

    Phew…. J Howard, M McKee, J Alexander,….

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