Saturday salon 2/2

1. ABC goes big on white-inner-city-leftie-blokes-behind-desks related programming

And it’s all coming out of Melbourne, according to the Betoota Advocate. You can see what they mean!

Betoota, as you may well know, has a population of zero, in the middle of nowhere, but has an air strip and a race track. Each year Betoota hosts the Channel Country Ladies’ Day, which I think is actually three days.

2. USA yesterday’s hegemony

China now ranks ahead of the US in new global leadership poll. A Gallop’s poll of residents of 134 countries and regions around the world shows that approval of US leadership is currently at just 30%. That’s slightly behind China’s 31% approval rating.

    While China’s rating has remained steady since last year, the US approval rating has fallen nearly 20 percentage points from the final year of Barack Obama’s presidency and is now even 4 percentage points lower than in the last year that George W. Bush was president.

An astonishing article by Umair Haque at Eudaimonia says we’re underestimating the American collapse. He has identified what he calls:

    the social pathologies of collapse — strange, weird, and gruesome new diseases, not just ones we don’t usually see in healthy societies, but ones that we have never really seen before in any modern society.

He has five, I’ll give you three.

First, at time of writing America had 11 school shootings in the previous 23 days. That’s one every other day, more or less. That just doesn’t happen elsewhere, not even in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Second:

    Costa Ricans now have higher life expectancy than Americans — because they have public healthcare. American life expectancy is falling, unlike nearly anywhere else in the world, save the UK — because it doesn’t.

Third, “nomadic retirees” live in their cars and chase seasonal work at Amazon or Walmart or wherever, so they can continue to eat until they die.

I understand that people who live in their cars in the US are not regarded as homeless.

Haque is saying that you can’t put what is happening in a global or historical perspective, because it’s outside the norm.

America first, I guess!

Trump’s idea is to spend $1.8 trillion on infrastructure while giving away $1.5 billion in tax cuts.

Obviously we await Lisa Simpson, who is elected president, but only after Trump ascends to the White House and mucks everything up.

Yes, I know the economy is said to be going well, said to be, the sharemarket is going gangbusters, and President Trump gave a State of the Union Address which because he kept to the script sounded presidential.

3. Politics begins again

Politicians will assemble to govern our fair country again next week. No doubt Newspoll will take a sounding on what the people think. Essential is already back at work, with their last poll showing Labor ahead 54-46.

This time last year we were wondering whether Malcolm Turnbull would last the year. It is now obvious that he will stay the course. I think there is a concerted strategy now to present him as presidential:

That was his speech in Toowoomba, spruiking regional jobs and tax cuts and his vision for Australia.

Seems Turnbull has given up doorstops, leaving the hand-to-hand combat to the likes of Peter Dutton and Scott Morrison.

Other than that, the LNP are clearly prepared to play hardball on the citizenship eligibility issue. There is a 100% chance that Susan Lamb will be referred to the High Court and around zero chance that any further government members will follow now that the LNP majority in the HoR is restored.

If Bill Shorten loses a by-election or two his leadership will be under pressure.

4. Cabinet files farce

The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has owned up to losing two cabinets full of Cabinet files that should have remained under wraps for 20 years, but instead ended up at the ABC, which has created a special website. Among the shocks they revealed:

  • The Australian Federal Police (AFP) lost nearly 400 national security files in five years, according to a secret government stocktake contained in The Cabinet Files.
  • Nearly 200 top-secret code word protected and sensitive documents were left in a safe in the office of senior minister Penny Wong when Labor lost the 2013 election.

    The 195 documents included Middle East defence plans, national security briefs, Afghan war updates, intelligence on Australia’s neighbours and details of counter-terrorism operations.

For clarification, the documents left in Penny Wong’s office did not go anywhere. It’s just that they could have.

The AFP documents had been through the national security committee of cabinet between 2008 and 2013.

Australia’s defence information-sharing partners must be having second thoughts.

Strictly speaking the ABC should have returned the documents to the government, or called the AFP. However, I think the ABC did well to publish some of the stories, just to concentrate the minds of the responsible authorities.

We should also be thinking about new security laws being proposed which would have criminalised the staffers at the ABC for receiving the documents.

Given the juicy nature of some of the stories, some are asking whether cabinet documents should be secret for as long as 20 years. The argument is that cabinet advice and discussions need to be frank and fearless, and can’t be so if their words are going spread abroad. Perhaps 15 years would be enough.

5. Eddie’s van

This Rotary document tells how Rotary try to help the more than 100,000 people who are homeless in Australia. Denise, a lady it is my privilege to know, has been helping out with Eddie’s van (see p.8) over the last 17 years. The van is owned by St Joseph’s College in Spring Hill next the Brisbane’s CBD where the teachers and senior students provide breakfast to about 70 homeless and otherwise socially and financially disadvantaged people every morning.

The van had been idle from the end of November to the beginning of February. Enter Denise and helpers:

Here’s another photo:

The bloke on the left isn’t there to have breakfast.

6. Super blue blood moon

Cloud cover prevented us from seeing the super blue blood moon with eclipse, and we can’t wait 150 years or so for the next one. So it was brilliant to see pictures such as these on the interwebs:

55 thoughts on “Saturday salon 2/2”

  1. Victorian exceptionalism: those who stayed awake had a good view of the lunar eclipse from Melbourne and various regional towns.
    🙂

    On the other hand, we had to endure several days of hot and unusually humid weather.

    Cheerio

  2. A left/right “stability agreement” within the Viktorian ALP has reportedly been rent asunder.

    There are dire predictions of trubble at mill for Presidium Leader Daniel Andrews of the Left Bolsheviks, and federal apparatchik Shorten of the Right Mensheviks.

  3. So is this where “All the way with L.B.J. ” has taken us?

    A real danger is assuming that the manifest collapse of the U.S. will be like the collapse of the USSR or of Nazi Germany or other empires that went belly-up quite rapidly. No, the collapse of U.S. is a slow-moving train-wreck; in that it as slow as the collapse of the great Spanish Empire and as convoluted as the collapse of the mighty Ottoman Empire.

    Another danger is that the foolish, wilfully-ignorant moral weaklings we have allowed to run our governments, our businesses and our institutions will now rush off to kowtow to the Next-Big-Thing. Their unquestioning loyalty to Our Great And Powerful Friend is as shallow as it is fragile and fickle.

    Their are great opportunities for us in an American Collapse, if we are nimble and if we have vision, and if we are somewhat ruthless about it too. We have allowed our immigration system to become privatized and corrupted – and our punishment for that is we now have too many immigrants who were selected solely by money dumped on us, (with some genuine refugees taken in, purely for window-dressing). If we nationalize our immigration system, and then impose strict criteria, on it we can open our doors wide to America’s best and brightest – white, black, chicano, hill-billy, native-American, whatever.; regardless of their social status,, religion, profession, incarceration record, place-of-residence, academic achievements or money. And we can apply some of America’s own current immigration laws to those who think that their own wealth and status entitles them to migrate to Australia.

    We gained a lot from the strict immigration regime that applied here after the Second World War; we botched the opportunities offered to us after the Viet-Nam War and then we really missed the bus after the collapse of Communism, the ruin of Zimbabwe, the break-up of Yugoslavia and also after the many conflicts in the Middle East.

    Instead of wasting money on buying overpriced American war toys and flying targets, Australia should be opening government run and controlled immigration offices in Seattle, San Jose, Jacksonville, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, Memphis, Bismarck and Amarillo.

    “…. send us your poor huddled masses, yearning to be free” of Trump, the Bush gang, the cocaine billionaires, the N.R.A., political correctness, Hollywood and the health system.

  4. That’s an interesting suggestion, Graham.

    I agree that, if the decline is occurring, it is most likely to be long and slow. Which would mean our not having to rush into our selective immigration program.

    What kind of criteria would you apply in selecting immigrants from the USA?

    There are certainly lots of intelligent, hard-working folk living there.

    Of course, we would need to set up an ESL program for most of them 🙂
    followed by a crash (hot) Course in Aussie Slang.

  5. Lets keep a perspective about both China and the US.

    China is a country that is managing to seriously piss off all the countries around it at the moment. It would have to change dramatically to build up a Chinese led alliance made up of countries that actually wanted to be part of the alliance. In addition, it is not democratic. Makes it harder to change without major disruption.
    By contrast, while the US may be a bit strange at times, it is leader of a large alliance made up of countries that want to be part of the alliance. It is also a democracy that has shown in the past that it can change rapidly.
    Unlike Aus its system of government means that cabinet members don’t have to members of parliament. Tends to give a government with serious expertise.
    Don’t like a lot of what is happening in the US at the moment but, at worst we only have 7 yrs of Trump to run.
    Imagine what Aus might have been like now if the Howard PMship had been limited to 8 yrs?

  6. Ambigulous:
    Criteria for selecting refugees from America? Just two: Physical fitness, and, Can Do ability (whether that is in driving a garbage truck or performing neurosurgery or teaching music or whatever).

    The U.S. is now at about the stage South and Central America were in in 1826; that’s why I found similarities with the decline and fall of the Spanish Empire, (though with, perhaps, Australia and Canada filling in for the Philippines and Cuba in that analogy)

  7. Thanks Graham

    Those criteria are fine.

    John D, I share your distaste for the Chinese system, “monopoly communism, State Capitalism”?? I think you’re right to question the story of China’s inevitable rise and dominance.

    As a democrat, I still look forward to the democratic revolution in China; did we see a preview of that in the months before the 1989 crackdown in Beijing?

    ***
    And now for some light Sunday reading.
    From Amazon:

    Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself–While the Rest of Us Die Hardcover – May 2, 2017
    by Garrett M. Graff (Author)

    The eye-opening true story of the government’s secret plans to survive and rebuild after a catastrophic attack on US soil—a narrative that spans from the dawn of the nuclear age to today.

    Every day in Washington, DC, the blue-and-gold 1st Helicopter Squadron, code-named “MUSSEL,” flies over the Potomac River. As obvious as the presidential motorcade, the squadron is assumed by most people to be a travel perk for VIPs. They’re only half right: while the helicopters do provide transport, the unit exists to evacuate high-ranking officials in the event of a terrorist or nuclear attack on the capital. In the event of an attack, select officials would be whisked by helicopters to a ring of secret bunkers around Washington, even as ordinary citizens are left to fend for themselves.

    For sixty years, the US government has been developing secret Doomsday plans to protect itself, and the multibillion-dollar Continuity of Government (COG) program takes numerous forms—from its plans to evacuate the Liberty Bell from Philadelphia and our most precious documents from the National Archives to the plans to launch nuclear missiles from a Boeing 747 jet flying high over Nebraska.

    In Raven Rock, Garrett Graff sheds light on the inner workings of the 650-acre compound (called Raven Rock) just miles from Camp David, as well as dozens of other bunkers the government built its top leaders during the Cold War, from the White House lawn to Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado to Palm Beach, Florida, and the secret plans that would have kicked in after a Cold War nuclear attack to round up foreigners and dissidents, and nationalize industries.

    Equal parts a presidential, military, and political history, Raven Rock tracks the evolution of the government’s plans and the threats of global war from the dawn of the nuclear era through the present day. Relying upon thousands of pages of once-classified documents, as well as original interviews and visits to former and current COG facilities, Graff brings readers through the back channels of government to understand exactly what is at stake if our nation is attacked, and how we’re prepared to respond if it is.

    ***
    That brief scene in “Dr Strangelove”, where the Doctor advocates a 10:1 ratio of ‘attractive young women’: US male leaders, deep in a fallout-proof mineshaft, has chilling echoes….

    ***
    And if anyone thinks Australia is immune from such crazy planning…. apparently if the UK Govt collapses after a nuclear attack, and a UK nuclear-armed submarine survives, it is to proceed south and put itself at the disposal of our Government (assuming it hasn’t collapsed).*

    * this is a rumour on the internet: ergo it must be true.

    🙁

  8. Ambi, a few weeks ago I heard a Phillip Adams interview with someone who was up to speed on the current situation wrt how nukes work in the world political superpower system.

    He reckoned that Dr Strangelove was not as far from reality as we might like to believe.

    He spoke of a high ranking officer who was being trained to launch the nukes if the order was given. Said officer asked the trainers whether, if the order came, there was any way he could be certain the order was genuine.

    The answer was, “You’re fired!”

  9. So much about how Governments suck.
    If we only give em more power, they’ll be awesome !!

    Too right!
    That’s why we should give corporations more power instead. They know how to run things properly.

  10. Well, there are other entities in society than governments and corporations that maybe should get a bit more power over lives. Perhaps the smallest minority ?

    Maybe limiting the dependence of Governments and corporations on each other to force their will on the rest of us ?

    Make no mistake, Unions are a corporation.

  11. Well, there are other entities in society than governments and corporations that maybe should get a bit more power over lives. Perhaps the smallest minority ?

    Which particular “entity in society” are you prepared to entrust with making the rules that we all live by?
    By suggesting the smallest minority it sounds like you’re in favour of putting the Mormons, the Scientologists or the Exclusive Brethren in charge. Or perhaps you meant Muslims or our indigenous citizens?
    Or were you thinking of Australian Libertarians? They’re a vanishingly small minority.

  12. Haha, maybe try not to think as a collectivist for a second or 2 zoot.
    It’ll could open up a whole new perspective for you.

    Or not.

  13. I too am intrigued by your citing of “the smallest minority”, Mr J.

    As far as I can see the very smallest is the individual.
    Rest assured, I should not be in charge.
    I assume, neither should you.

    And since I don’t believe any one of us has more right to a “say” than any other, I propose some sort of assembly of representatives, chosen by the individual adults in a fair way (and by secret indication of preference).

    We could call the assembly a “parliament”, or if you like your Kama Sutra you might call it The Congress. Curb your excitement: but we would all enjoy an election.

    Most of us would like it to be The Congress of the Wise, but you can never predict the outcomes in these ridiculous experiments.

  14. Too right Mr A, or a congress of the most persuasive and/or the congress of the most corrupt.

    It’s inevitable ” they ” will try to overreact, they’re humans, very ambitious humans.

  15. No zoot, only your Antifa dills what that, Governments main job should be protecting property rights and sovereignty.
    The other stuff is dominated by vote buying.

  16. Off the bed, early start.
    If anyone wants to pick zoot up on his false dichotomies that’d be helpful for him.

  17. I knew it! “Dr. Strangelove” just had to be a documentary – that’s why I’m protecting “the purity of my bodily fluids” too. 🙂

    Seriously though, there is one serious basic flaw in that concept of Continuity Of Government. Once the Enemy have utterly destroyed the traditional centre of government, a few minutes later they will obliterate every spider-hole in which the all of the senior politicians and paper-shufflers have conveniently concentrated themselves. Then the Enemy will have morning tea before they carry on winning the blitzkrieg.

    Oh well, back to the drawing-board. What drawing-board? There ain’t even enough sticks left to scratch out a plan in the dust.

  18. Governments main job should be protecting property rights and sovereignty.

    But as you say, governments are inevitably corrupt because they are made up of humans, very ambitious humans.
    So which “other entity”or “smallest minority” do you suggest should be given “a bit more power over lives”? And should they also be tasked with protecting property rights and sovereignty?
    You’re tiresomely vocal when telling us that government is not a satisfactory solution, but remarkably reticent about what should take its place. You’ve dodged the question twice so far in this thread.

  19. Jumpy: The Mafia gives you a useful model for how your government free zone might work. Part of the deal is that the gangs and individual members fight it out to decide what is going to get done and you would be forced to pay them protection money so that they can afford the good life and buy the arms they need to fight of competing gangs and sort out business people like you who might try to avoid paying protection money or simply irritate them.

  20. Ambi,

    The smallest Minority that Jumpy is referring has got to be, from my recollection of who Jumpy has spoken most highly of over time, Tony Abbott.

    Toxic Tony A has the unique, well not completely unique…there is one other, ability to operate in a fact and reality free frame of reference, and as such cannot be said to be corrupt, only stupid, but then that is a different matter.

  21. I agree with Jumpy that governments are corruptible because they are made up of ambitious humans. But unlike m’learned colleague I don’t believe they are inevitably corrupt.
    All human endeavours are, of necessity, made up of humans. Corporations, unions, defence forces, religious bodies, corner delis, ambulance services, you name it, even building contractors and libertarian movements.
    All are made up of humans, at least some of whom will be ambitious, and therefore corrupt according to Jumpy.
    In Mr J’s ideal world (i.e. when government is only concerned with protecting property rights and sovereignty) how would this inevitable corruption be dealt with?
    Supplementary question: Why can’t this solution be applied right now to corrupt government?

  22. Good questions, zoot.

    And I would add to them, only to amplify…

    1. What think you, J, of the Qld anti-corruption commission? I mean its discovering and exposing corruption, not its being a “lawyers’ picnic”.

    2. How do you view the NSW ICAC, and its results?

    3. Is the Victorian IBAC going well?

    4. Is a Royal Commission a more effective corruption-sniffing watchdog than a standing anti-corruption body?

    5. Should there be a Federal ICAC?

    “What is to be done?”

    Over to you, J.

  23. Good on you, Graham Bell.

    From what I’ve heard, your precious bodily fluids are the very essence of purity. You deserve to be in charge of mighty weapons.

    🙂

  24. BilB

    I found it quite distressing when Mate Tony used to put his Tiny Minority on public view, and I do mean public, – very public – in those scarlet swimming togs more properly used to smuggle small native birds to willing bird-fancying buyers overseas, which practice is completely illegal, although it is only by way of sharing God’s avian Creation around the globe, and therefore is to be applauded and quite possibly made an Holy Sacrament of Trade, by which our Nation shall, ummm, ummm, what was the question again, Allan?

    We shall never again see the likes of Mate Tony in high office…
    🙁

  25. One more observation on the notion that government’s only function should be protection of property rights and sovereignty.
    How are these protections to be enacted? I am prepared to concede there may be other ways but the obvious answer is through the establishment of police and defence forces.
    Even if labour costs are zero because these forces are staffed entirely by volunteers there will still be material costs. Unless the government can meet these costs by running cake stalls it will be necessary for citizens to pay some form of subscription for the protections they are being afforded.
    Mr J, how do you propose the government pay for the cost of protecting property rights and sovereignty without some form of (shudder) taxation?

  26. wash your mouth out, zoot!

    Cake stalls and sausage sizzles it is, then.
    And raffles.
    Do you have chook raffles out West?

    Or is it all gold nuggets and FIFO with you people?

  27. Mr A, yes to 1,2,3,4 and 5 ( so long as they’re not set up as the prosecution arm of 4 Corners alone )

    Zoot, an across the board 5% is fair I’d say.
    That’s plenty to finance Defence, AQIS, Police , Prisons and Judiciary.

    Brian ( from the other thread )

    Generally though, I find it offensive if labour is considered just another commodity.

    Why ? You sold yours, so did I.
    On Argentina, Governmental corruption, huge debt accumulation and Their Reserve bank policy sent them south.
    Agriculture helped them back and I’m glad individuals decided to form cooperatives ( joint bosses )
    I’m a huge fan of coops, till the board gets corrupt and sells out the other bosses. A well formed Cooperative Constitution that limits the power of the Cooperative Government is wise.

  28. BilB
    What have I said that speaks highly of Abbott as a person, I haven’t even met him ?
    I certainly don’t remember anything?

  29. Jumpy, you’re still avoiding the question of how to avoid corruption within your libertarian utopia and why that solution can’t be applied today.
    But while I’m here I’d like to share some insights I have had from reflecting on your statement that “Governments main job should be protecting property rights and sovereignty”, although you have somewhat undercut yourself by including taxation as a function of government.
    If the only function of government is the protection of property rights and sovereignty then we really don’t need government at all. It can be replaced by two three bodies: one to protect property rights (analogous to our present police) and one to secure our sovereignty (today’s defence force) plus one more to collect the 5% across the board which will pay for it all.
    Of course that does beg the question of how we deal with what we currently call crimes of violence (murder, rape, that sort of thing). Will they no longer be crimes, or are you proposing that they are somehow offences against property? Then there’s the question of public order. Is rioting in the streets OK but only up until somebody damages some property?
    If you believe private enterprise will provide the services necessary for public health (potable water, sewage disposal garbage collection etc etc) I suggest you read up on the history of these projects in Australia during the nineteenth century. Spoiler: private enterprise stuffed up so severely that the government had to assume responsibility.
    And I still haven’t asked about the legal system you envisage. Who will decide what is and isn’t legal? For profit prisons are bad for society – they increase the crime rate (can’t make a profit if nobody is committing crimes). Will we still be a member of the international community or will we live in our own little world?

    Come on Jumpy. Share your vision (beyond “govt sucks, I hate paying tax”).

  30. Ambigulous:
    What is really frightening is that there really are some people out there with awesome authority and influence, and they are even crazier or weirder than that General Ripper character in “Dr Strangelove”, worse yet, they have even wilder delusions than that of “protecting their purity of bodily essence”.

    Maybe there should be independent and competent psychiatric and psychological assessment of all candidates for public office above the level of local government, all military personnel above the rank of sergeant/ petty officer, for all public servants and corporate wallahs (is there a difference these days) above the status of counter-jumper. Yeah, I know. Some are bound to slip through – but at least having a workable screening process might prevent nuclear war, economic collapse, a new Dark Ages and, if we are really lucky, planetary meltdown.

  31. John D (yesterday. 10:09pm):
    Sadly, the Mafia Model is the most apt description of the government in about a quarter of the nations in the United Nations. And a few others, such as the United States, seem to be thinking of aspiring to it. It goes right across the board too: seemingly religious countries, out-and-out dictatorships, nominally democratic(??) countries.

    If the United Nations’ lofty values were ever enforced, there would be a lot of flagpoles for rent outside of U.N. Headquarters.

  32. Jumpy, I didn’t just sell my labour.

    The Qld Department of Education was getting a largish slab of Commonwealth money because the Feds had started a secondary school libraries program after the secondary science block program.

    The Department want advice and leadership from me.

    We provided support services to the schools and networked everything. I also took on responsibility for AV production (including film and TV) as well as the departmental publishing arm and was responsible for introducing computers to schools.

    In the main I had about 160+ staff in 34 work groups, 13 to 14 different job types covered by 9 different unions, organised in three branches, so that I wouldn’t have to do anything much except support the workers, which kept me busy attending 18 committees, some of which I chaired, and working about 60 hours a week, because that was all that was in me.

    The key was selecting good people to do the work and supporting them.

    I thought I was trying to support the work of 26,000 teachers, except that the real workers were about a million or so kids who were building live for themselves and others.

    So the idea of selling labour is a bit off, but yes, I got paid every fortnight.

    Then the Department was reorganised by someone who believed in small government, so most of what I did was deemed redundant.

    So I left and swore I’d never work anywhere I couldn’t sack my bosses and I’d work alone. So now I do sell my labour for hire, but I get my kicks from helping people, some of whom couldn’t live where they do without me.

  33. Good on you, Brian.
    I salute your work for children and teenagers.

    ***
    Graham Bell,
    I take that possibility (threat) very seriously.
    Accidental war can somehow be followed by recovery if it is curbed quickly.
    Accidental nuclear war is another matter entirely. I’m not confident that the general public is aware of the risks and consequences – and we all have plenty of reasons to push such thoughts aside – I think most of us prefer to have a positive purpose or purposes: whether those be family, work, hobby, renewable energy on the rooftop, learning, … whatever.

    Daniel Ellsberg reckons that, even if the probability of accidental war in any one year is very small, eventually it will actually happen. Catastrophe!

    Abolition of these weapons, so difficult to achieve, is the only long term hope. Let’s work on that.

    {Sincere apologies to any readers who find this topic distressing and unnecessary. I don’t wish to be a counsel of despair.}

  34. Yes, Good on you, Brian.

    That is very powerful and a wonderful contribution to the social fabric, which is worthy of recognition and thanks. And I for one offer that. The fact is that your work is preserved for the next 60 years or so in the lives of those kids, who benefited from the progamme you established, as they move through life as an expanding wave like ripples on the community pond.

    I appreciate people by the things they do, think and express. Such achievements sit very high in my esteem. On the Obama-Trump Scale (the OTS), you’re right up with at least an 8.

  35. Brian

    Jumpy, I didn’t just sell my labour.

    Sorry to tell you Brian but yes you did.

    Your labour just came in a type of management form, and as clearly impressive as it was, it was still your labour ( about 60 hours a week of it ) for money.

    Now that money came from taxpayers, they were your bosses. Sure there were other managers above you in the management bureaucracy, way up to the elected Prime Manager, that sell their labours to the bosses for money.

    That said and clear, you quit. And might I suggest for reasons, if used in reverse for you to be sacked, would be deemed ” unfair dismissal ”

    In any event, your peers certainly seem happy with your work and that’s rarely a bad thing. And you seem very happy with it too, also rarely bad.

    I’m not saying people are commodities, that goes against fundamental property rights, only their labour can be if they choose, in a mutually agreed transaction.

  36. John, I’m sorry, I missed your question.
    Your thoughts look ok on the surface, other than the government free bit that no one with any sense wants, but if one looks at the fundamentals behind mafia like activities can see a totally different picture.

    Any mafias bedrock commodities are ones that Governments deem illegal. The huge markup difference between production cost and sale price. They are willing to ignore regulation in carrying out their transactions giving them further monetary profits.
    They use this capital ( and other nefarious instruments) to control parts of government to their own ends.

    There aren’t any smart mafia type that want gambling, drugs, prostitution or firearms legal or unregulated.
    Some of the ones in the US established themselves under prohibition and hated that revenue stream ending.

    In essence, biggger Nanny State isn’t the cure to mafia types, it helps them.

  37. “I’m not saying people are commodities, that goes against fundamental property rights….”

    It sounds as if you are against human slavery then?

    Amiright??

  38. in the spirit of free enquiry, just trying to establish your ground rules and any constraints you may have…. Mr J.

    Still waiting to hear your attitudes towards murder and rape. That was part of zoot’s questioning yesterday, m’lud. Has learned counsel cogitated upon those several matters as yet?

  39. “When the only tool you have is a hammer everything starts to look like a nail”
    What a sad dreary life it must be for those (like John W Howard) whose only model for human interaction is the transactions that take place in a corner shop.
    That roar you hear in the background is Adam Smith spinning in his grave.

  40. Sorry Mr A and zoot, I’ve got to screen my responses to serious inquiries and comments, too little time or interest for banality on serious fundamental issues.

  41. Just apropos the documentary “Dr Strangelove” directed by Stanley Kubrick, wikipedia says Mr Kubrick responded to critics who said ‘nuclear defense’ should not be satirised, thusly:

    “A satirist is someone who has a very skeptical view of human nature, but who still has the optimism to make some sort of a joke out of it. However brutal that joke might be”

    Onya Stanley!

  42. I’ve got to screen my responses to serious inquiries and comments, too little time or interest for banality on serious fundamental issues.

    So your version of libertarianism amounts to nothing more than “government sucks and I hate paying taxes”. Got it!
    Thank you for sharing.

  43. Mr J of 8.11pm.

    No-one demands banality of you.

    Please take your time and let us know your considered response(s).

    No-one wastes her (or his) time by considering fundamentals.

    Old Socrates said, “The unexamined life is a bit of a waste, actually.” He was most certainly for freedom of thought and paid a bitter price for his free speech.

    “The world is still coming to terms with the death of Socrates, 2000 years later.”

    He cooked a bloody lovely souvlaki too.

    Cheerio

  44. Jumpy, re your comment of 5.03pm, every phrase and every sentence does not accord with my own interpretation of my experience. But you would know!

    When I said “I didn’t just sell my labour” you missed the weight of “just”. It was a mission, which was mutually shared by me and my employers.

    And yes, I was a ‘public servant’ but to say the public was my boss is stretching the ordinary meaning of language.

    Actually I was equally working for the public that didn’t pay any tax.

  45. This mornings news is priceless, almost worthy of a Marvel episode. Our parliamentary forces of evil merging, with the Narcisist, the Libertarian and the Racists melding into one blob. Will this new “thing” become TurnBull’s Kryptonite??? Or will it be laid bare that there are no principles in government at all?

  46. Meanwhile,

    Jarnaby Boyce is expecting another child, this time with his new partner. So the rumour mill was grinding away on real grain a couple of months back. There were nudge nudge wink wink suggestions ….. He contested the tiny election while his personal life was in turmoil.

  47. Brian:

    1. Eddie’s Van:

    Thank you very much for telling us this story of compassion and decency. It is an island of goodness in a sea of stories of nastiness and smugness.

    Please pass on my kind regards to Denise and everyone involved.

    2. You can take pride in the work you did in education – and to blazes with the paper-shufflers who ended up hindering the good work of you and your fellows. One of these days, it will sink in that money is only a tool and not something to be worshipped for its own sake. I’ll bet there are plenty of people around who still remember and appreciate all the hard work you put in.

  48. Eddie’s van.

    Good story.

    “The bloke on the left” has other fish to fry.
    Many of us thought he was looking glum in Parlt for weeks on end because he faced a by election; perhaps he was distracted by something closer to home?

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