Saturday salon 3/3

1. Someone tell Trump the trade war is over. China won

    will there be a trade war? We’ve already had one for the last four decades. And guess what? China has already won.

George Dubya tried, Barack Obama tried, they failed.

    Beijing knows its trade practices are unfair and tilted towards protecting its domestic industries. The surprise is only that it has been able to get away with it for so long.

Seems they might retaliate by limiting imports of sorghum, used to make gut-busting baiju alcohol. That should go well in places like Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma. The EU and Canada are also likely to retaliate.

China is often praised by economists because trade has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty. But strategies include:

    China’s decades-long manipulation of its currency to keep its exports cheap, its subsidies to key state-owned enterprises, the restrictions and burdensome regulations imposed on foreign companies, the forced transfer of high-end technologies and the pilfering of intellectual property are all well known and long established.

Hardly from the free-market neoliberal textbook.

Trump has called then out openly, so we’ll see how he gets on. He says ‘trade wars are good, and easy to win’. Economists say his tariffs will nix more American jobs than they will save. Basically more workers use steel rather than make it.

The remaining Australian steel industry may end up being collateral by-kill.

2. Putin boasts of invincible nukes

Putin says Russia has tested a new “invincible” nuclear weapons that could reach almost any point in the world and are immune to anti-missile systems, including a high-speed underwater drone that is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead capable of targetting both aircraft carriers and coastal facilities, plus a missile that can deliver a warhead at hypersonic speed.

    The Russian President said the creation of the new weapons has made NATO’s US-led missile defence “useless”

If you want to scare yourself, look at ABC RN’s Rear Vision, which has just done a program on false nuclear alarms, which has a transcript.

Apparently back in 1979 a computer broke down and the backup still had a training tape in it showing a full-scale Russian attack with over 2,000 incoming warheads streaking towards the United States at four miles per second. National security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was woken up at 3am and was within a minute of waking President Jimmy Carter to get an immediate decision.

Bruce Blair, nuclear security expert and research scholar at the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University and co-founder of Global Zero, says:

    It’s important to understand that events happen every day of the year that require a close look to determine whether they represent a missile attack against North America. I’m sure the same thing is happening in Russia. So there are early warning crews 24/7 in Colorado and in Nebraska near Omaha that are receiving a continuous stream of data from satellites and ground radar installations that will pick up a missile launch within a minute in the case of satellites and 2 to 3 minutes normally in the case of ground radar, and report those missile launches to these early warning crews. And every day events happen that require these crews to take a look at the data to determine whether it represents an attack or not. It could be Japan firing a ballistic missile to put a civilian satellite into space, it could be North Korea testing one of its ballistic missiles, or it could be China or Russia testing missiles.

Just to make us relaxed and comfortable.

Andrew Romano reported to Sarah Macdonald on Nightlife that the US defense hierarchy said ‘nothing new here’, which was not exactly reassuring.

3. What the media is not reporting

As the politicians and much of the media obsess about scandals and personalities in Canberra, Bernard Keane at Crikey (no doubt pay-walled) took a look what’s happening with the issues that affect real Australians outside the Canberra bubble, which aren’t receiving substantial coverage because scandals are dominating the media cycle.

He chose:

  • Employment
  • He reckons it’s a big success story for the government, even though much of the growth is coming from state government health and education spending.

  • Wages growth
  • Low wages growth is a problem besetting many Western economies and no-one knows what to do about it.

  • Closing the gap
  • We are basically marking time on reducing the difference between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians on health, education and economic opportunity. Turnbull last year commenced a process to “refresh” the CTR strategy, but he issue received virtually no coverage due to Barnaby Joyce.

  • Indigenous recognition
  • What was once a bipartisan process with real momentum from all sides has run into the sand courtesy of the Prime Minister’s rejection of the Uluru Statement, and his misrepresentation of the proposal for an indigenous voice to parliament as urging a “third chamber” of parliament. The Oz has maintained some focus.

  • Energy
  • Keane says policy has been a “product more of the Liberal Party’s internal wars between climate denialists and people with a functioning brain”.

    He also says we have been having a blackout-free summer, which goes to show that blackouts in Queensland don’t count. We’ve had heaps – 500 wires down from a single storm recently, with Energex deploying 700 people by day and 200 by night to get it sorted. Quite commonly some are left without power for more than a day.

  • Climate change
  • Resolute inaction from the man who once said he wouldn’t lead a party that wasn’t as committed to climate action as he was, in spite of record hot weather and increasing carbon emissions.

  • Housing affordability
  • Basically nothing in a policy sense. The media never stops talking about it, but to no good effect.

  • Infrastructure
  • The Commonwealth has been slack apart from rorts like inland rail, but the states together with industry super funds.

      Again, plenty of media coverage, but often of the “angry residents fight new tunnel” kind of NIMBY nonsense from Fairfax.
  • Financial sector
  • Much has happened through the royal commission, APRA etc, but the Commonwealth has been forced to act and gets none of the credit.

  • Murray-Darling Basin Plan
    • Australia’s most important, and certainly most expensive, environmental strategy — once bipartisan — has run off the rails courtesy of greedy irrigators, malicious indifference from the Queensland and NSW governments, possible corruption within bureaucracies and an agriculture portfolio that implemented the hostility to the plan of its then-minister, Barnaby Joyce.

    He gives credit to the ABC, but the coverage has still come up short.

    My experience is that governments churn out masses of media releases (Queensland here) which appear to be largely not read by people working in the media. Ministerial offices around the land seem to represent the main employment opportunity for journalism graduates, churning out heaps of stuff that goes nowhere.

    4. Tasmanian election

    As expected, Will Hodgman’s Liberals retained power in Tasmania:

      Labor and the Greens had earlier both accused the Liberals of effectively buying seats in parliament, citing the widespread belief the government’s campaign had been heavily bankrolled by the gaming and hospitality industry.

      By late on Saturday night, the Liberals had won at least 13 seats in the state’s 25-seat parliament. Labor had at least eight seats and the Greens one. Three seats were undecided, with each party in the race for two of them.

      Labor had a 5% swing in its favour across the state, mostly at the expense of the Greens. The third party saw its vote fall nearly four percentage points to just over 10% of the vote. With 82.3% of the vote counted, the Liberals were sitting on 50.4% and Labor 32.8%.

    Hodgman’s success was notable:

      He has become only the second Liberal premier, after Robin Gray, to win a consecutive majority.

      In fact, winning majority government for the Liberals in general is no mean feat.

      There have only been four Liberal majority governments in the state’s history.

    Labor was faced with needing to win six extra seats in a 25-seat parliament. They scored a 5% swing, which they say shows that grass-roots campaigning still works.

    Labor stole the anti-pokies issue from the Greens, who had no high profile issue to run on.

    It will take a year to find out, but Labor claims the Liberals with pokie interests behind them outspent Labor by 4 or 5 to 1.

    The economy being OK for once obviously helped the Liberals.

    Detailed comment at Kevin Bonham.

    122 thoughts on “Saturday salon 3/3”

    1. Well said with item 3. Brian.
      It has been a truism that important policy matters are being ignored while the Press salivates over trivia
      but it’s useful when a commentator takes the time to spell out a detailed list.

      Probably each of us could add a few more for good measure.

      On item 2:
      I still remember back in the 1960s and 1970s, the nagging worry that nuclear whoopsies might break out accidentally. See Doctor Strangelove – if you can bear it – for the blackest of comedies, demonstrating that a species such as you and I belong to, should not ever be in charge of nuclear weapons

      Recently, some interviews with Daniel Ellsberg, and reviews of his new book, indicate his fear that accidental Armmageddon was possible in the 1960s, and unfortunately still is…..

      You have written on this blog about various “close shaves” the world has had, since the late 1940s.

      Sorry to report this, but Mr Ellsberg believes that the accidental biggie will eventually occur; the only preventative being the complete abolition of the weapons.

      Genie, meet bottle.


    2. Trump never ceases to amaze, overnight he gets the left media to become anti-tariffs.
      When Bernie Sanders suggested them the media loved the idea.

      Obviously I’m against them no matter the proponent.

    3. the only preventative being the complete abolition of the weapons.

      According to the NRA’s logic we can prevent nuclear Armageddon by ensuring every nation has nuclear weapons (the bigger the better).

    4. Jumpy, I’m neither for nor against tariffs as such. They are an instument available to economic policy. The problem starts in trade when you go off changing things unilaterally which have been negotiated.

      On your Ben Shapiro thing, he’s clearly a free trade ideologue, but had some interesting facts relating to this case. He said the 70% of the steel used in the US is made in the US. He also said that for every job in making steel in the US there were 45,000 in using steel.

    5. Yeah, Ben Shapiro is odds on favourite to become the first Jewish POTUS. He would destroy Trump or Sanders in a debate about anything.
      Plays a mean violin too.

    6. I support the idea of trade quotas as a mechanism for helping countries balance their trade, stabilizing economies, preventing dumping and .
      My preferred method would involve selling limited life import licences on some equivalent of the share market with quotas being adjusted slowly depending on a countries trade balance and the % added cost of licences to Australian price. Such a system protects domestic producers from the effects of sudden currency price changes and dumping while gradually driving up important quotas for less competitive Australian producers.
      Don’t like tariffs, particularly in conjunction with floating currencies.

    7. Aw, there you go again, John: suggesting a concrete policy, with some detail, instead of sounding off with partisan outrage.

      When will you learn???

      [sigh] Sometimes I simply despair of you.

      Miss Truculent
      Primary School Principal
      School of Hard Knockers (Combatants)

    8. John
      That interesting, I’m not sure Governments should encourage less competitive sectors, companies or individuals. The revenue Governments use comes from profits of the competitive.
      Seems to me handicapping the competitive to prop up the uncompetitive creates a downward spiral prompting uncompetitiveness.
      Sector migration is prolific, the mining game took thousands from construction, agricultural and most other sectors in the boom, some moved back, some stayed, some moved elsewhere.

      You’re a good person John, surely that’s not good for Australians to encourage uncompetitive sacred cows like the car industry that burden the competitive.

      Quota systems in business are designed to limit supply and push up prices inevitably lowering employment in that industry, take Reef Fishermen as an example.

    9. Ah, so that’s why so much of today’s bai jiu (gao liang jiu) is so crook. They’re using inferior American stockfeed sorghum to distil it instead of using proper Chinese national- produce grain.

    10. Jumpy: The old tariff system did prop up uncompetitve industries because political pressure kept pushing up tariffs even when the support level became ridiculous.
      What I am talking about pushes the uncompetive out of business without pushing up foreign debt.
      You are lucky to be in a business that does not have to compete against imports or sell in foreign markets.

    11. John

      These lowish tariffs you suggest…. decided industry by industry?
      Would we have something called, oh I dunno, “The Tariff Board”?

      A larger question: would Australia then have to exit the WTO, and what consequences might follow?

    12. zoot 1.18pm on 4th, last

      I have given your suggestion a modicum of cogitation.

      Immodest Proposal

      Every nation should be provided with (by purchase on the Free Market) nuclear weapons plus suitable “delivery systems”. Say 10 (minimum) per customer.

      This should be unregulated, apart from adherence to the set minimum.

      Sales arranged on EBay or similar, or by private negotiation. No tariffs on the weapons, missiles, bombers, subs, aircraft carriers etc.

      Some nations are so cash strapped that they can scarcely afford the modest armies they maintain at present, with their pathetic tanks, RPGs, machine guns etc. and are forced to skimp on schools, roads and hospitals.

      So a massive programme of foreign aid will be needed.

      What’s good for the arms merchants is good for everyone, right?

      Many nations

    13. Maybe the US could change (amend?) the second amendment to guarantee all citizens the right to carry tactical nuclear weapons. Then everybody could sleep safe in their beds at night.

    14. I haven’t been following this issue closely, but my understanding is that the US Constitution second amendment enshrines citizen
      s right to bear arms, but does not specify what those arms might be.

      I understood that Clinton or someone made it clear that assault weapons were not permitted, but George Dubya did away with that. However, citizens weren’t given the right to have rocket launchers.

      Someone might do the detailed research, I need to get back to climate change.

    15. The National Firearms Act has severe restrictions on lots of weapons, it’s not just open slather.
      Also the Hazardous Materials Regulations and US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and EPA have laws prohibiting ownership of said weapons by citizens.

      Governments write the laws so they have no restrictions.

    16. Jumpy, your link is to the 1934 act, and says (in part)

      Like the current National Firearms Act (NFA), the 1934 Act required NFA firearms to be registered and taxed.

      Do you have anything a little more recent?

    17. Way back in ancient history, famous broadcaster Walter Cronkite was astonished at the attack on the U.S. Embassy in South Viet-Nam. This led to the much-reported comment, “We’ve lost Walter Cronkite”. It was the most important turning point in that convoluted war.

      Deja vu tonight.

      The Climate Change deniers must be saying among themselves tonight, “We’ve lost ‘Four Corners'”.

      The poor little darlings. Boo-hoo.

    18. 5 March 4.10pm

      Mr J: US citizens prohibited from possessing their own, private nuclear weapons. Nanny State gone crazy!!


    19. Brian (Re: MARCH 5, 2018 AT 10:25 PM):

      Graham, I’ve already been told that Four Corners is a complete waste of time.

      How so?

      From the programme transcript, link here:

      MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: In this speech APRA executive Geoff Summerhayes told business – in language they understand – commercial realities are now driving change.

      GEOFF SUMMERHAYES: So what I can tell you with absolute certainty is that the transition to a low carbon economy is underway and moving quickly.

      The weight of money, pushed by commercial imperatives such as investment, innovation and reputational factors, is increasingly driving that shift, rather than scientists or policymakers.

      SARAH BARKER, Special Counsel Climate Risk, MinterEllison: We have certainly seen in the last couple of years a significant shift in the attitude of those stakeholders to climate change as a financial risk issue.

      MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: APRA cited legal opinion that found company directors who failed to consider and disclose climate risk could be in breach of the Corporations Act.

      SARAH BARKER: Well it is clear that directors do have duties to take climate risk into account as a foreseeable financial risk, and a failure to do so may expose them to liability for a breach of their duty of due care and diligence, potentially for liability for misleading disclosure to markets, and this is an issue that the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority in particular has been very clear about in articulating that the corporations and structures that we have now do encompass obligations in relation to climate risk in the same way that they do any other financial risk to a corporation.

      MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: And those directors and corporations that don’t embrace change, she says will pay a price.

      I think those statements give business a clear direction.

    20. GB: When you get business, emergency services, farmers and insurance brokers all saying climate change is affecting us you wonder why parties that claim to repesent farmers and business are still in denial.
      5 Mar Four corners was outstanding.

    21. Geoff, it was a throwaway comment about a month ago, but I think represented an opinion held by some rural folk.

      John, agree it was outstanding, but I think it still came up short. I’ll explain more tonight, but in brief, adaptation isn’t going to be anywhere near enough. The main game is mitigation, to stop it getting worse with a zero, indeed negative emissions future.

      No-one on the political scene, especially including Di Natale, is saying it.

    22. John D (Re: MARCH 6, 2018 AT 11:16 AM):

      When you get business, emergency services, farmers and insurance brokers all saying climate change is affecting us you wonder why parties that claim to repesent farmers and business are still in denial.

      I wonder when the farmers and business people will wake up?

      This segment about the growing risks to some real estate was also interesting:

      KARL MALLON, Director, Science and Systems, Climate Risk Pty: Narrabeen’s really interesting because it’s a representative of a bunch of different things.

      So here you’ve got some coastal inundation risk, which means seawater flooding.

      You’ve got some flood risk from the rivers that come down here. And it’s a bit of a line ball at the moment because people are not covered for seawater flooding.

      So if it happens, the insurer says, “You weren’t covered.”

      MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Karl Mallon runs a software company that builds statistical models that assess risks to infrastructure from sea level rise.

      His is one of a number of companies now modelling climate change risk in the real estate market.

      KARL MALLON: People are going to start factoring that into their decision making.

      So if you own a home in one of those areas and you try to sell it, you may find that the buyer is saying, “Well, I’m not going to be able to insure it.” Or, “It’s going to be very expensive.” Or, “I don’t want to buy a house that’s going to decline in value.” Or even, “I can’t even get a mortgage on this house because the bank is saying, ‘Well, we don’t want the high-risk properties on our books.’.”

      MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Karl Mallon says prospective property buyers should now do even more due diligence.

      KARL MALLON: Really at the moment you get more consumer protection buying a bottle of shampoo than you get buying a house.

      When it comes to climate change, because no one is telling homeowners what they really need to know.

      It’s good advertising for Climate Risk Pty.

      But it also raises questions for the prospective buyers about some of the most expensive waterfront real estate – is it worth the money? And for the owners – should we be selling now before the market free-falls through the floor.

    23. The next Q and A on the ABC should be of interest,

      Panellists: Bob Carr, Former Foreign Minister; Tim Flannery, Chief Councillor of the Climate Council; Jane Fitzgerald, Property Council of Australia, NSW; and John Daley, CEO Grattan Institute.

      They just need someone in the Arts and a Conservative Politician to round out the ” show “.

    24. Last night on SBS TV channel 31, was broadcast the doco The Third Industrial Revolution: A Radical New Sharing Economy, by Jeremy Rifkin.

      He acknowledges the constraints of a finite world, and the laws of thermodynamics – a good start.

      An interesting perspective of a potential future, at first glance. I’d need to re-watch the entire programme (I recorded it, and switched channels on a few occasions to avoid some annoying ads, missing some segments) to comment further, but my initial impressions left me with a few concerns about no mention of declining EROI and resource depletion (of the segments I viewed).

    25. Will watch it on catch-up, Geoff M.

      At the risk of turning this into “A Program I Didn’t Catch” segment ……
      I heard on radio some of the questions put to Tanya Plibersek at the National Press Club today. Crikey she’s a polished speaker and quick on her feet.

      IMO a better presenter of ideas and policies than either Shorto or Albo. But no chance she could become PM??

    26. On Trump’s all-but-declaration of a trade war: Here’s a response from BHP Billiton’s CEO Andrew Mackenzie, interviewed by Leigh Sales and broadcast on ABC 7:30 last night. From a segment of the transcript on Trump’s steel and aluminium tariffs:

      ANDREW MACKENZIE: I think we still have to figure out exactly what it is.

      In terms of the sort of scale of that, it’s really quite small but what I’m concerned about, it’s a very aggressive protectionist measure and I’m a huge champion of free trade and I just worry that if it sets up reprisals or countermeasures elsewhere, that we’ll take a step backwards in what I think has still been moving forward, which is free trade, and just at the time when we are looking at the possibility of as much as 4 per cent global growth this year.

      It’s a very, very negative signal even though, in financial terms, it’s quite small and so you’ll hear people like me taking a very strong line against it, which might make it look like we think it is bigger than it actually is, but it is more what it might cause than the actual impact of that change.

      So, has Trump “released the kraken” to run amok and disrupt delicate trade alliances?

      And a few hours ago, Trump’s top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, resigned.

      It seems to me Trump is having a difficult time keeping people in his administration for the full term.

    27. GeoffM,

      Andrew McKenzie is a bad choice of example there. This is the guy who is transfer pricing profits and taxation out of Australia so that Australia gets the absolute minimum return from the iron ore they rip out wholesale. The has the gall to say that corporate taxes should be lower and if they were they would reinvest some money back for some small projects. He is a crook on the global scale in my opinion.

      If you watched that interview carefully he was about to say extract profits in the course of his dialogue then stop himself and rephrased that to softer euphemism.


      ” it’s quite small and so you’ll hear people like me taking a very strong line against it, which might make it look like we think it is bigger than it actually is”

      and reverse it and that is what these big players are all saying about the corporate tax cuts. It is all BS designed to con the public. They use inflated language to twist public opinion in their direction, they have zero interest in the public good.

      There is no real return to the public in the form of employment or wages, in fact exactly the reverse. BHP would totally tax the free hand out of tax cuts and the investment would be in the form of a fully autonomous truck and train fleet to extract the iron ore using even less labour.

      In an earlier interview McKenzie was asked what improvement would be made to employment from the tax cuts and he would not state any figure at all, and that is because the whole thing is a fiction.

      As to Trump the general tone is how many more WEEKS will he be in the White House. I’m guessing that he will resign fairly soon after Kushner and daughter have been pushed out. There won’t be a trade war.

      Cohn was a Xenomorph face hugger with the role of ramming tax cuts down the throat of the US public, and having done that he has sloughed off. His leaving was inevitable, as he now has all of that extra income to do what ever he wants with. IMHO.

    28. I am not sure that free trade globalization combined with floating currencies has been all that beneficial. The last time i looked at our GDP trends over the years of the Hawke reforms I could see no obvious increase in the rate of growth of our GDP. Listening to the likes of Turnbull you would think free trade is holy writ that must not be challenged. Something on par with “Coal is GOOD for you.”
      Downsides of free trade globalization combined with floating currencies includes.
      1 Increased power to multinationals. As Bilb points out, they are not about looking after the countries they do business in.
      2. Provide downward pressure on wages and conditions.
      3. Trade agreements often block government ability to change laws when it disadvantages multinationals.
      4. Destabilizes economies when currencies move.
      The whole free trade deal needs a careful rethink.

    29. Emma Griffiths did a Focus program on What would a global trade war mean for you? today.

      It was the most comprehensive and I think the best treatment I’ve come across so far.

      Nopt sure now whether it was that program, but I heard that Dani Rodrik worked out that total free trade all over the world would increase GDP by 0.25%, which is to say that the bottom line is that it is close to irrelevant to the economic bottom line. So you would have to look at other outcomes to see whether it was worthwhile or not.

      In the Focus program were told that if other countries want to retaliate a case has to be brought to the World Trade Organisation. That would take a couple of years.

      The WTO is the only organisation on the planet that can bring the US to heel, so it is important that Trump does not give them the finger. That would upset everyone. If a rules-based system is going to work the US must support it.

      Other than that the program suggested that debt is a major problem in the modern world. In that regard our problem is not so much government debt as household debt, which is getting close to out of control.

      Towards the end they seemed to agree with the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet in that another global financial crisis is inevitable.

    30. A side note, Brian.

      Ms Bishop, Mr Turnbull, and many US leaders refer to the importance of “a rules based international system” when talking about the World Court judgement against China, over its building of artificial islands in the South China Sea.

      They speak against unilateral action by one nation that adversely affects neighbouring nations, impinging on sovereignty and potentially affecting sea-lane trade routes.

      If the US wants a rules-based international system in that context (also important BTW for Australia’s exports and imports) would it not also desire a rules-based international trade framework???

      Hasn’t the US been a strong supporter of the WTO? Hasn’t the US often resorted to the WTO, bringing cases against foreign entities?

    31. Ambi, the US has been a strong supporter of the WTO, because they practically invented it. Back when I used to read a lot about trade, I remember that the impetus came from US multinationals. The US government was basically pushing their agenda through the Uruguay Round, which ended up with establishing the WTO in 1995. Wikipedia:

      The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization that regulates international trade. The WTO officially commenced on 1 January 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement, signed by 123 nations on 15 April 1994, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948. It is the largest international economic organization in the world.[5][6] The WTO deals with regulation of trade in goods, services and intellectual property between participating countries by providing a framework for negotiating trade agreements and a dispute resolution process aimed at enforcing participants’ adherence to WTO agreements, which are signed by representatives of member governments[7]:fol.9–10 and ratified by their parliaments.[8] Most of the issues that the WTO focuses on derive from previous trade negotiations, especially from the Uruguay Round (1986–1994).

      The WTO is supposed to work by consensus in making the rules, but in the early years things used to be sorted out beforehand by the ‘Quod’ – the US, EU, Japan and Canada, who would caucus beforehand and then bully the rest. The rules suit the big companies, by and large, and the problem is that the rules may not be what they should be, but there needs to be certainty in the system.

      The worry is that Trump will be disruptive. He’s basing his current tariffs on what he reckons are the ‘defense needs’ of the US system, which to everyone else means that it will be completely arbitrary. So I don’t think the other main players will cop it sweet.

      Apart from that, Trump is finding a way to do something popular before the mid-term elections and a few bi-elections going on, and it will take that long before he is reigned in or people in the US wake up to the fact that they will be worse off.

      Hopefully he will be impeached before then.

    32. John Davidson (Re: MARCH 7, 2018 AT 9:42 PM):

      Good points.

      The whole free trade deal needs a careful rethink.

      All trade requires stable/reliable/dependable transport/communication links. Nearly all transportation is currently dependent on petroleum oil. Unless humanity begins to transition substantially away from petroleum oil to non-petroleum, zero-carbon emissions transport solutions BEFORE a post- ‘peak oil’ world inevitably arrives, then trade will become increasingly disrupted, perhaps even catastrophically.

    33. When Australia was turned into a free market on federation there doesn’t appear to have been any major problems because we had the same currency, people were free to move across borders and the federal government had key responsibilities including broad economic controls. Even though there were both state and federal awards states couldn’t compete with each other by cutting wages and conditions.
      Part of the problem with world trade is that none of the above applies and countries make sudden, big decisions that disrupt other countries economies. What Trump is doing would be far less disruptive if the change was introduced slowly or, better still in this case what he did was put a cap on further growth in steel/aluminium imports and maybe flagged a slow decline if it was justified in terms of reducing overall trade imbalances.

    34. Good points Brian, Geoff M and John.

      Perhaps I should have said
      Hitherto the US was a strong supporter of the WTO.

      Many other nations must have seen advantages in having a WTO, even though it was initiated and designed largely by the US. Otherwise you’d expect to have seen boycotts of it, a competing trading bloc (such as the old Comecon for USSR and its Eastern European satellites, Cuba. …).

      Wouldn’t you?

      ?If WTO benefits multinational corporations so much, one might expect them to lean on Mr Trump, si?

    35. By the way, Andrew Leigh MP has been launching his new book, Randomistas, …. recently.
      I heard him on RN on Tuesday.

      Bright bloke.
      Yet, he is an MP.

      Understands statistical analysis and its potential to benefit people and policy makers.
      Yet, he is an MP.

      Is able to explain technical topics and give pertinent examples.
      Nonetheless, he is an MHR.

      Good on him!

    36. G’day BilB

      We installed 4.5kW rooftop solar PV and have the old panels, 1kW with inverter and rails, sitting around. Hoping to re-position as stand-alone on garden shed. Mainly for as a re-charging set up. Worth doing?

      Your consulting fee cheque is in the mail.

    37. It would depend upon your interests, Ambi. I have an interest in vertical gardens for instance (academic for my affordable accommodation building concepts).

      Spare panels could be used for powering hydroponics, for water circulation of a garden water feature (fountain), for circulation in a swim spa or swimming pool, or even a backyard aquaponics experiment. If you get an electric car you will be using the power for charging that.

      In Europe they are building solar panels into everything. They have an awesome array of glass walling where the solar array is encased in glass both sides and the panels are used in all of the places one puts glass panelling these days (verandas and the like I have some brochures and will find a link for that later).

    38. In yesterday’s The Sydney Morning Herald paper edition was an article about BHP’s intention to flog off sell its US shale gas and oil interests, see online article here. BHP’s worldwide petroleum boss, Steve Pastor, is reported to have said (bold text my emphasis):

      Clearly, the world will need ever-increasing volumes of oil, and again, we’re well-placed to supply that in a way that’s got, I think, very attractive economic potential,” he said.

      Kenneth E. Boulding, 1920 – 1993 (described as an economist, educator, poet, religious mystic, devoted Quaker, systems scientist and interdisciplinary philosopher) said:

      “Anyone who believes in indefinite growth in anything physical, on a physically finite planet, is either mad or an economist.”

      It seems to me that BHP’s Steve Pastor hasn’t seen (or is ignoring) J. David Hughes’ SHALE REALITY CHECK: Drilling Into the U.S. Government’s Rosy Projections for Shale Gas & Tight Oil Production Through 2050, published last month (visit The Executive Summary includes these statements:

      This analysis finds that EIA projections of production through 2050 at the play-level are highly to extremely optimistic, and are therefore very unlikely to be realized.

      Production in older shale gas plays—including the Barnett, Haynesville, and Fayetteville, which were among the first to be developed—is now down more than 40% from peak. EIA projections for these plays—along with the Woodford, which is down 25% from peak—are rated as highly to extremely optimistic.

      The “shale revolution” has provided a reprieve from what just 13 years ago was thought to be a terminal decline in oil and gas production in the U.S. It has sparked calls for “American energy dominance”—despite the fact that the U.S. is projected to be a net oil importer through 2050, even given EIA forecasts. This reprieve is temporary, and the U.S. would be well advised to plan for much-reduced shale oil and gas production in the long term based on this analysis of play fundamentals.

      Perhaps BHP’s Steve Pastor is accentuating the positive, and eliminating the negatives?

    39. Thanks BilB.

      Hydroponics has a bad rep in the State of Queen Victoria. We take a very dim view of those “reefer cigarettes” the hep cats use.

      Actually, fountain and hydroponics both sound good. Also, a small electric fan to draw hot air out of the shed roof space; gets baking hot on sunny Summer days.

      At present, we’re recharging only AA batteries, and Li ion batteries for hand mower, hedge trimmer, cordless drill.

      The electric car is on the distant horizon, but in view.

      BTW, I had thought someone with, say, 5 to 7 kW rooftop spv panels and an electric car could claim to be running the car almost C emission free.

      But a boffin quoted here a couple of weeks ago said, “No, you have to use the grid average emissions rate, if your solar pv is grid connected. And in Victoria right now, only a very low percentage of grid power comes from renewables.”

      What’s fair? A private self-sufficiency boast, or a grid-wide average?

    40. Ambi: If you buy panels to charge your EV and pump the surplus into the grid you could argue that your car is producing negative emissions. This remains true even if the actual charging comes from the grid.
      If you buy your EV, don’t install extra panels and charge it with grid power I would argue that your emissions per kWh are the same as the grid average.
      Have I sorted out your problem?
      Can’t say that I am a fan of the Tesla Tank. We need forms of independent transport that consume much much less energy per passenger km.

    41. John Davidson (Re: MARCH 9, 2018 AT 12:21 PM):

      Can’t say that I am a fan of the Tesla Tank.

      It looks like Jaguar is introducing some stiff competition for Tesla, see link here.

      We need forms of independent transport that consume much much less energy per passenger km.

      Jeremy Rifkin sees this:

      Rifkin argues that the key to survival of our species is through a cultivation of the existing sharing economy to form a new, global, “smart” infrastructure (as in smart car, smart phone, etc.) – one that focuses on the distribution and redistribution of goods and services without interference and for marginal costs. He sees a world where individuals generate their own renewable energy, then link together in a stable, self-sufficient network; where shared, automated transportation negates the need for over 80 percent of the world’s vehicles.

      Rail transport consumes much less energy per passenger kilometre, is safer and can be much faster than road transport.

    42. On Feb 26, I forwarded my Submission to the NSW Legislative Council Select Committee on Electricity Supply, Demand and Prices in NSW. The Select Committee published my Submission (#239) on the Committee webpage on Monday (March 5), but chose to exclude publishing the four referred attachments.

      On March 7, the NSW Parliament Legislative Council agreed to the motion put by The Hon. PAUL GREEN ( 11:05 ):

      That the reporting date of the Select Committee on Electricity Supply, Demand and Prices in New South Wales be extended to the last sitting day in November 2018.

    43. Jumpy: Imagine something that evolves from a motorbike, car or gofer that is:
      Narrow enough to travel two abreast in a single lane
      Short enough to angle park (At least for the short version.)
      Base design may carry one (or possibly 2 people if this can be done within length limits.)
      Lightweight but provides some protection for minor collisions or falling on side.
      Main safety comes from accident avoidance systems.
      Electric or electric hybrid with selection of battery size and backup generator if required.
      Main problem I can see is that the boss lady would want to use it all the time and expect to get first claim.

    44. GM: Shared autonomous vehicles will increase traffic loadings because they will spend some of their time travelling empty between jobs. If anything the number of replacements per yr will likley increase because lifetime travel distance will be lower because private vehicles are more likely to be looked after properly.
      The problem is that there are a lot of people who see share cars as a way to skim profits off the sharers.
      In the meantime I think it is more important to change the nature of the car to something closer to what I said to Jumpy above.
      Then there is my new e-scooter that weighs a massive 7kg and is designed to carry on public transport. (My scooter will fit between my legs sitting down.

    45. John Davidson at 12.21pm

      That makes sense to me.

      Several friends who’ve been looking towards the day they’ll drive an EV have said they plan to install extra solar pv capacity and a battery when the time comes, chiefly to re-charge their EV.

    46. PS John
      I suppose that’s why a large company might claim ‘net zero emissions’. Some operations cause positive emissions, while others cause negative emissions.

      Slow Learner

    47. For this week’s Most Parochial, most Provincial Headline comp., may I nominate this from The Age online?

      Turnbull to turn screws on North Korea ahead of unprecedented meeting

    48. John
      Horses for courses. No one system or mode ticks all the boxes.
      It’s more an individual need and value thing.

      I’m trying to think of the main transformative drivers of battery tech in the last decade and only come up with phone and construction tool manufacturers in my ” world “.

      EVs haven’t had the same amount of effects….yet.

      Can you think of any others ?

      ( keep in mind I’m electrically autistic but pretty good with market preference and trends )

    49. Jumpy

      Yep, phones and power tools in my world too.

      Then add laptops, tablets, iPads, digital cameras.
      Remotes for more and more appliances – some a bit strange, like a pedestal fan.

      Not really transformative, but in the grandchildren world: a profusion of battery operated toys and gadgets, drones-R-us. This week I saw a battery operated hole punch. What was wrong with using an old manual one??

      Ah, here’s one: I hear that in Africa now, most folk have a mobile, and use it as a credit card by loading up credit somehow. Cashless transactions. Now that is “transformative”!

    50. PS to 6.29pm.

      If Mr Turnbull plans to “turn screws on North Korea” then he has well and truly earned a new nickname:


      ……. which seems sadly apt in these Barnforsaken times.

    51. Jumpy: One of my favorite stories of transformation came from a book called “Camels of the Outback.” Written by a bloke who used to drive a camel wagon in the Pilbara between the wars. Towards the end he talks about the transition to cars:
      When they first started getting to the Pilbara he didn’t think they would take over but “The women liked cars because you didn’t have to worry about bolting horses when using cars. ” Then there were problems because the grooves in the track worn by camel wagons was wider than the track of cars. At first it was said that the cars needed to be changed to suit the camel grooves but after awhile people started saying that camel wagons needed to change to suit the car tracks. Wasn’t long after that that the camel wagon business disappeared.
      Lovely book. Partly because I get all gooey because I loved the Pilbara and the book captured the place. Also because the old bloke was a thinker and there was a lot about the practicalities of running a camel wagon and the characters that find the Pilbara irresistible.

    52. JohnD, Narrow car? George Clooney has been driving one around for years, his Tenago EV. Then there is the new Swedish Initi which started out as a university project. But from the motor bike direction there are quite a few.

    53. Bilb; The tango is getting towards what I have in mind but a quick look at the specs says the weight is far too high.

      Width: 991mm
      Length: 2591 mm long, allowing it to park perpendicular to the curb.
      Height: 1549mm
      Ground Clearance: 101mm
      Weight: 1.5 tonnes!!

      I did a quick check on Qld lane width (3.5m and max truck load width and estimated that narrow track cars would have to be less than 850mm wide to travel two abreast. Vs 620mm from outside the armrests on my study chair. (However, it could be argued that very short vehicles fitted with accident avoidance could be wider than calcs based on truck load limits.)
      What we need are standards for narrow track vehicles that can legally drive two abreast and angle park in normal parallel parking spots.

    54. The weight JohnD is less important if if the EV has regenerative braking, which the T600 does not have, but that is a variable. The Tango T600 is not in mass production so the final spec could well be altered. The weight is a product the battery size and serves to make this non carving vehicle more stable.

      As to the width I would not hesitate to drive two abreast in that vehicle, but the fact is that there would need to be lane markings to minimise the risk of accidents. That lane mark could be in another colour or be just cats eyes but it would need to be there. When riding my bike in close company I overlap another bike rather than ride exactly side by side. This makes the other bike the lead bike for lane changes etc.

      Frankly I love this car and would have one in a heart beat were they readily available. Having said that I would prefer that it had a carving suspension, but for living in Europe the Tango is perfect.

    55. Depends on ones job, not at all practical for my peers and I.
      Probably good when all one needs to carry is a laptop.
      The market will decide if the Tango EV is a winner or not.

    56. The good news is, of the 17 million (1) new cars sold in the US in 2017, almost 200 thousand (2) were plug in EVs.
      That’s way better than 2016.

      Not sure exactly what that is a percentage.

    57. Mr J

      200 thou is 0.2 million

      so it is 0.2/17 X 100 percent, or 20/17 % ,

      just under 1.2%.

      A good start, but plenty of room to increase!

      Mr A
      {arithmetic all consultant to the discerning,
      and seekers after truth, or accuracy}

      Let’s hope my mental arithmetic is not an embarrassment to my departed primary school teachers…..

    58. PS. Jumpy

      Your instinct to desire a percentage is spot-on;
      percentages being the universal currency of comparisons and contrasts.

    59. Meanwhile in a democracy across the Pacific……
      We’ve all heard of a storm in a teacup

      Is it now the case that one may have a

      Stormy in an E-cup?

      Barnaby, you are small beer, mate.
      Small beer.

    60. Jumpy: My experience working at construction sites suggests that that they usually start work before the rush hour, the workers want a lot of hours per week to give them money between jobs and almost all of the work is not suitable for working at home.

    61. Headline at “The Onion”

      NRA says Mass Shootings are the Price for the Freedom of People to Commit Mass Shootings.

    62. No they didn’t Mr A.

      Are you saying “The Onion” didn’t publish that headline, or did you simply not read the first line, or (gasp!) are you unaware “The Onion” is literally fake news?

    63. The Onion is a satirical newspaper, with associated website, YouTube clips, etc. in the US.

      Apologies for any confusion caused. Quite possibly I may not have quoted the headline verbatim.

      As an aside, their farewell to Prof. Stephen Hawking was a photo of him with the a caption claiming that:

      The whole Life of the Universe flashed before his eyes.

      Cruel? Clever? You be the judge.
      The Betoota Advocate has some overseas competition.

    64. I’ve put up a new post on the SA election.

      Working today, and new Salon will have to wait until tonight at earliest.

      There is also an election in Batman, where Richard Di Natali says that the Greens will look at sorting out the problems with Shorten’s dividend imputation policy. How another Green in the lower house will help to do this is elided by political slight of hand.

      OTOH Jed Kearney says that the policy needs more work, and her mate Bill has promised to do it with her help if she’s elected.

      The real policy interest is in what Labor is going to do with the $6 billion saved by the dividend imputation savings. In retrospect it wasn’t smart to release half of the full policy package into the last days of a bi-election.

    65. It wasn’t clever for many other reasons too, Brian.

      One of the poorer ALP policy announcements IMO.

      Many youngsters in Batman, early in “accumulating ” super. Many retireees too. Many pensioners north of Bell Street.

      We will never know how many Batman voters, if any, were influenced by the dividend imputation imbroglio, in any case.

      But the national opinion polling will be interesting….

    66. $6 Billion isn’t ” saved “, its added taxation on the revenue side of the ledger. A saving is a reduction on the expenditure side.

      On the tactical angle of the policy release, Batman has shown to be a ‘ soak the ( perceived ) rich ‘ electorate.
      ALP is pretending they can out-soak the greens.
      Could get ALP over the line there.

    67. Batman had Labor MPs for decades and I can’t recall much rich-soaking occurring….

      Mr A

    68. Ambi: The LNP was using some unusual pensioner cases as a point of attack in a campaign that is all about protecting well off people who are using SMSF a serious tax avoidance measure that includes significant investment in shares. Suspect that there are not a lot of non-LNP voting oldies that are significantly affected. Of the rest a lot would be impressed with the idea that this lurk of Howard’s was costing more than what the feds are spending on public education.
      Anyway, Labor has claimed victory in Batman and this will strengthen Shorten’s hand on both winding back the Howard gifts to the rich and Adani.

    69. John, there was an article in the CM today which used the case of a full pensioner with $100,000 in shares. I checked and the big banks, having been sold off a bit through the judicial inquiry are yielding about 6% fully franked. That gives $6000, plus a tax refund of $2500.

      There would be people around like that, not a lot, but enough to cause some flak. Our pensions are not generous, so I have some sympathy for them.

      Also for the bloke on the TV who retired at 55 to look after his mum, when he’s calculated on having a $55K income from investments, plus a $17 rebate, self-funded.

      So maybe some grandfathering for lower incomes might be considered.

      I think we actually need root and branch retirements income reform. You’d have to be brave politically. Only Labor could do it, with a little help from the Greens.

    70. Brian:

      Also for the bloke on the TV who retired at 55 to look after his mum, when he’s calculated on having a $55K income from investments, plus a $17 rebate, self-funded.

      My recollection of this one was that the franking payout was something like $7700 and he “needed ” this money to payoff his new caravan. (He already had a house etc.) He was clearly using his SMSF as a tax avoidance tool.

    71. John, if I get a bit of time I’ll go back and check that on. The rough metrics are that to get a $54K income from a diversified portfolio you’d need about $1.2 million investment capital. If fully franked there wound be franking credits of around $23,000, which are added to his taxable income, then taken off the tax owing at the end. I can’t work it out, because I don’t know the super tax rates.

      However, we have a bloke who presumably worked and saved to make his own arrangements and chose to live on a household income less than average, but probably close to the median from age 55 to help his mum.

      I think the real target is, I understand, as few as around 5,000 people who are collaring about 90% of the $6 billion being paid out.

      Jumpy is right in that it’s technically not a ‘saving’, because many of those rich people will change their investment behaviour to find other ways of maximising their income/wealth.

    72. People that can will avoid areas of excessive taxation, yes.
      Billy Boy knows exactly who can’t.
      He must have been drooling over this little fleecing since being a Director of Australian Super fund.

      His donors, the CFMEU, won’t be affected naturally because they’re tax exempt.

    73. The problem is that some of those rich people will change their investment behaviour to minimize their taxation rather than make more productive use of their excess income.
      There are too many things like trust and superannuation policies that make it easy for the rich to legally avoid paying tax.
      For example the last time i looked government subsidies in the form of super concessions for the well off cost more per head than the full old age pension.

    74. John please, BilB tried that nonsense on, being allowed to keep more of ones own income is NOT a subsidy!!
      Never has been and never will.

    75. The greens look to be going backwards if the SA and Tasmanian elections and the last 2 by elections are any guide.

      Down to 2 seats in Taz and blot in the others.

      Di Natalie must be looking over his shoulder….

    76. I do think the Greens will be doing some soul searching. Apparently the split was 54/46 to Jed Kearney, but the turnout was low, so it’s hard to say what it means in the long run.

      However, Labor believes they took votes off the Greens in the yuppified southern part of the electorate, which they will find heartening.

      My best bet is that Adani and dividend imputation didn’t make much difference and it shows that if you put up a good candidate people will vote for her.

      I believe it brings Labor’s female representation to 48%.

    77. being allowed to keep more of ones own income is NOT a subsidy!!
      OK, let’s just call it mates rates.

    78. Jumpy it is a subsidy when it is activity and/or time specific (ie is not available uniformally across the economy).

      Is a subsidy.

    79. BilB, I’m going to have to ask you to rephrase that if I’m to understand what you’re definition of a subsidy is.
      Think in terms of a financial ledger.

      Zoot, the ” mates rate ” for who exactly?
      Seems to me the ” mates ” are paying far more than the rest, almost everything.

    80. Jumpy

      Examples of activity specific: fuel rebate for farmers, not available for townies in the farming district, if they don’t own a farm

      The old “investment in Australian film production” generous tax deduction, not available for most other investment choices.

      Time specific: “first home owner” grant. Not available for third or thirteenth home purchase. A shocking misuse of taxpayers’ funds to support a national industry.


    81. Despite what is happening in other states the Greens in Qld are doing better with support rising to about 10% and, for the first time a Brisbane Councillor and a state MP.
      Part of the problem is a growth in choices for the protest vote.

    82. Mr A

      Diesel fuel rebate – not a subsidy.
      Tax rebate for film- not a subsidy.
      First home owners grants – a subsidy.

      Takeing less is not giving.
      If it were, any shop that reduced its prices is giving you money, clearly absurd.

    83. Jumpy: The diesel fuel rebate has the same effect whether it is given after fuel tax a a reduced tax for favored industries. However, it could be argued that the lower fuel tax applies to industries such as mining and agriculture for use by vehicles that do not go on publicly maintained roads.
      It is all a complicated mess but trying to say that tax cuts are not another form of subsidies is just playing with words.

    84. No John. I’ve stood by and let the left change definitions of plenty of words, not this time.

      A subsidy is on the Governments outgoing side of the ledger. A tax cut is on the income side.
      I’m not the one playing silly buggers with words.

    85. Jumpy (1:25pm 18th):
      You said, “People that can will avoid areas of excessive taxation, ” True enough. However, I think that could well be amended to read, ” People that can will avoid areas of ANY taxation, ” .

      Therein lies one of the many serious problems facing the Australian economy: Very rich tax-dodgers getting a free ride on publicity about the injustices suffered by some decent hard-working people who are caught up in poorly planned and overly-complex retirement funding policies.

      Brian suggested (at 10:33am 17th), “So maybe some grandfathering for lower incomes might be considered.” Brilliant suggestion in its simplicity and its justice. – but sadly, that can never happen in today’s Australia, not without a hysterical over-reaction from our 21st Century aristocrats, the ones for whom the Age Of Entitlement is in full swing. No political party dare bite the hand that feeds it.

      An anecdote: An elderly local farmer and his wife, good people who have contributed much to the wealth of our economy and to the social wealth of the local and regional community, are now being punished financially for not having rorted the rest of us. Yes, they did accept subsidies and tax concessions over the decades, and yes, they did live frugally and use their money wisely and well, and yes, they have been generous to others as their circumstances at the time permitted. Their honour and their morality caused them to reject being involved in the near-criminal money shuffling and tax-dodging that some of the erosion-makers and rural bludgers saw as their main economic activity. So what sort of country is it that punishes such hard-working people and yet rewards the crooks and rorters?

    86. So this elderly couple you write about, Graham; to me, it sounds as if they have been insufficiently selfish, quite unreasobably generous to others, haven’t played the game with such steely-eyed resolve and determination as a true homo libertariens would have (and enjoins all others so to do).

      I give thanks that such a couple has lived in your community, Graham; you are lucky.

    87. Their honour and their morality caused them to reject being involved in the near-criminal money shuffling and tax-dodging that some of the erosion-makers and rural bludgers saw as their main economic activity

      I disagree, I think you’re casting your mistaken morality on them.
      First, if they own a farm business they should employ an accountant familiar with rural taxation and if that accountant is doing her job she’d point out the completely legal mechanisms to avoid being overtaxed.

      Second, there are plenty of outstandingly moral and just as kind and hard working farmers that do just that.

      Third, I’d rather these find individuals spend/donate/ invest the difference locally and wisely than some Politician useing it wastefully as slush to pork barrel their future in the taxpayer trough.

    88. Mr A
      There are a few payments I’m legislated to accept if I’m to take on an Apprentice, I have no choice if he’s to get his Papers.
      Every cent of it goes to that Apprentice, usually tools and a ute upgrade at the end.
      I do that out of selfishness, I don’t expect you’ll understand.

    89. Mr Jumpy

      I can understand any business operator’s wish that her business prosper, nay, grow, flourish, and provide useful services to customers at high levels of reliability and quality.

      I can understand an owner of a business wishing not to be fined, imprisoned, or to mess up any apprentice who has trusted said business owner with a period of education and self-improvement.

      If you call any or all of that selfishness you’re most welcome. In fact you are free to describe your actions, attitudes and general behaviour in any words of your choosing.

      I have no wish to instruct you in morality or ethics.

      I agree that it is heartening indeed, if you and I have understood Graham’s anecdote correctly, that this fine couple contributed so much to their local community and the businesses operating there.

      And I reserve the right to admire their lives well lived.


      PS: homo is just ‘Man’, being Latin.
      Not pejorative.
      Not to do with matters bedroomial.

    90. Mr A
      Every ” Master and Apprentice ” relationship I’ve ever taken on was based on mutual selfishness.

      If money is the only objective, it won’t work.

      Many folk mistakenly neglect the social aspects of Libertarianism, I think because they don’t understand or disagree with the economic aspect.

    91. Thanks Jumpy and Ambigulous. The good couple I mentioned did use an well-experienced accountant in their farm business but, because they live their lives on a higher moral plane than mine, they made ethical choices when there was anything doubtful. (“Ethics” is in the dictionary, between “embezzlement” and “fraud”). They are just human but decently so.

      They represent that hidden class of people who worked hard all their lives and then, when they retired, were denied access to what is shovelled out by the truckload to every scammer, bludger and waster in the country – and no, I’m not talking about those who, through no fault of their own, have led unfortunate lives (such people deserve our support).

      Both sides of politics, from Menzies on, have treated this hidden class of good people very badly indeed. It doesn’t have to be like this, not at all.

    92. Well Jumpy, here’s your chance to explain the social aspects of Libertarianism.
      My perception is that Libertarianism’s foundation is basically “Screw you, I’m alright Jack”; a perception I confess arose with Saint Margaret Thatcher’s decree that society doesn’t exist, and to a lesser extent the ramblings of Ayn Rand.
      I am curious as to where I got it wrong. Seriously.

    93. Mr J

      I agree that “if money is the only objective it won’t work”.
      But, you see, I have that view not only about apprenticeships, but about so much more: work, education, health, innovation, art, music, ….

      Life is not about money.

      But at present, ignore this comment please. I’m much more interested to see your reply to zoot (8.32pm).

    94. Still looking through it….

      Perhaps he claims too much?
      I mean, there are various ways to look at overlap….
      a) my philosophy has parts in common with X
      b) my philosophy has grown out of a tradition begun by Y
      c) my philosophy came before Z, which stole some of our ideas..

    95. Whell, that (Jumpy’s Boazian manifest) is all perfectly reasonable. In fact it is a description of Australian society as it is today.

      What? You don’t agree? you think Australia is an oppressive state?

      If that is the case then what you are saying is that you want “liberty”….”freedom”…of interpretation of what Liberty means. And that is the NRA problem. Vested interest groups want to over interpret the guide lines (Constitutional Amendments) to fit their Mad Max vision for society.

      The hallowed words Liberty and Freedom have been over interpreted, hijacked, over utilised to the point where in the wild west of Libertarianism there is so much liberty over lap (effectively double counting [that is where in a budget each dollar is counted into many activities] leading to budget failure and bankruptcy) to the extent that Libertarians feel that their “rights” are being brutally trampled.

      The fact is that there is not enough space on this earth for even on US state full of Libertarians to exist spread out so that their personal fields of Liberty are not infringed by other Libertairans. In other words the expectations of Randian Libertarians are impossibly unrealistic.

    96. Has anyone else noticed that D Trump is holding hands with M Trump again? M is being motherly to D’s bruised ego, becoming his fox again now that Fox just doesn’t do it any more.

      My guess is that Trump is close to resigning. Firing himself rather than being interrogated by Mueller. If he can’t fire Mueller then he will walk away blaming every one around him as he goes. Its all in “the art of the deal” you see.

    97. BilB, I haven’t been paying full attention to Trump, but things seem to be reaching a point of febrile agitation over Mueller where just about anything seems possible.

      I understand Melania T is 47, that is 24 years younger then Trump. She must be keeping notes for her memoir.

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