Weekly salon 30/9

Today’s offering:

    1. Richard di Natale made a speech

    2. Hayne blasts big banks

    3. Facebook shuts Fraser Anning down

    4. Brett Kavanaugh vs Christine Blasey Ford

    1. Richard di Natale made a speech

    Yes he did. It was at the National Press Club. He called it Bad Faith: How Government Lost the People’s Trust and How we Win it Back:

      It is now crystal clear that the so-called “new” Liberal leadership team have no agenda. And when the government has no clear direction, the country has no direction.

      This latest round of political blood-letting has been seen by the public for what it is: a continuation of the division; of the knifing of leaders; the sacrifice of policy principles for short-term political gain. A shameful repeat of the last decade – just swap Liberal for Labor.

      People have had a gut full.

      It is clear that our political institutions are failing and our economy has stopped working for people.

      Folks are hearing about how strongly the economy is growing, but they aren’t feeling it for themselves.

      Corporate profits just reached record highs of $335 billion – up 10% while wages are stuck at record lows of
      just 2%.

    His main thing was that every basic service should be nationalised. Before next election he’s going to deliver a series of lectures on reshaping our economy by making the case for a new role for government in essential service market:

      Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz has put forward the case that “state institutions can be even more efficient than private ones”

      But you don’t need to be an expert to see that big private companies, whose legal requirement is to maximise their own profits, should not also be handed the responsibility of looking after our health, our education, or even our ability to turn the lights on.

      Corporate interests should not be in charge of essential public services.

    My main beef with di Natale is that he always goes out of his way to paint Labor as bad as the Coalition when he knows it’s not.

    2. Hayne blasts big banks

    Royal Commissioner Kenneth Hayne has blasted the greed of banks in his 1000-page interim report, released on Friday, while the shamed banks meekly accept the inquiry’s findings.

    Thing is Hayne beat up on the regulators as well, so there is work for legislators to do to fix this aspect. Hence bank and finance sector governance will be an election issue with Labor also reminding that the LNP voted against a royal commission 26 times, and only caved in the face of a backbench revolt.

    Recently when Westpac put up its fees Scott Morrison breezily told people to change banks.

    We are in the process of doing just that because the millionaires’ bank turfed out our advisor, along with 66 others. We had to fill out a form over 60 pages long and it’s still an ongoing affair now into the third month.

    Also on insurance, I received a cold call on my mobile phone about 2 weeks ago as I was spraying a lawn for weeds, the day after Freedom Insurance had been roasted in the Commission for making cold calls to old people and confusing them. They were looking for a Mister Bashnish and knew my address, which didn’t please me. I asked then who they were, to which they replied “Client Benefits Services”. I told them that was not good enough, I wanted to know the company they were representing. Turned out to be Freedom Insurance.

    That’s where the phone call ended.

    3. Facebook shuts Fraser Anning down

    Facebook has zapped One Nation-turned-Katter’s Australia Party senator Fraser Anning for apparently breaching the platform’s community standards.

    Back in 2014 there was a report that Facebook was using Philippines labor for “content moderation” — the removal of offensive material from Facebook. On Friday RN’s Download this show was on Who controls what you see on Facebook?

    Yes it’s still likely to be someone in The Philippines. They use computers to pick suspect stuff out. The productivity of such “cleaners” is phenomenal. Can’t remember whether it was 25,000 per hour or per day, but it’s done by the batch rather than poring over individual decisions.

    I don’t know whether that would make Anning feel better or not. Guess not.

    Elsewhere we find that Fb has exposed another 50 million users to hackers.

    4. Brett Kavanaugh vs Christine Blasey Ford

    She is an American professor of psychology at Palo Alto University and a widely published research psychologist. It’s hard to believe she is a Democratic Party stooge in a conspiracy to prevent Judge Brett Kavanaugh appointment to the Supreme Court, thus tilting the conservative bias to 6-3, with the bias remaining for decades.

    You would think she of all people would know her own mind. He claims he wasn’t there.

    The FBI have now been given a week to investigate. It’s hard to think they will find anything beyond reasonable doubt.

    In the end it will come down to two or three senate Republicans who are said to be wavering.

    Trump had criticised Kavanaugh’s manner earlier in the week. He wanted more fight from his candidate. He got it, with anger and Kavanaugh close to tears, claiming the whole thing was a “grotesque and co-ordinated character assassination”. However, angry and aggressive is hardly what you want in a judge.

    Ironically if the appointment succeeds it is more likely the Republicans will lose the House in the forthcoming elections by bringing out anti-Trump voters wanting to cleanse the White House of the pestilence currently in situ. Yet some in the US voted for Trump especially to ‘fix’ the Supreme Court. For them Trump will have made a difference that matters.

    One thing seems sure according to Meg Bond:

      Studies reveal that employees – both men and women – who speak up about workplace harassment face retaliation, trivialization, hostility and reprisals. One study found that 75 percent of formal reports of workplace harassment were followed by some form of retaliation, ranging from shunning by coworkers to denial of a promotion. Women also face doubt and blame when they report sexual assault – some even refer to the response as a second rape.

    Ford would have known the implications of coming forward.

    Miranda Devine’s column this morning was vomit-worthy. To her Ford was obviously putting on an act, and Ford should know that teenage indiscretions are best left there.

    Except that for Ford, the experience has affected the rest of her life and is still with her.

    At the time Ford thought she would die because Kavanaugh’s hand was over her mouth and she couldn’t breathe. It all ended when Kavanaugh’s friend jumped on him and they fell about laughing, as you do when you are having a bit of fun. Unsurprisingly, Kavanaugh’s friend now has no memory of what Ford says happened. Or so he says.

60 thoughts on “Weekly salon 30/9”

  1. If Kavanaugh had said that he did do something bad when he was 17 but saw the light and behaved properly since then I would be inclined to say that misbehavior at 17 should not block him from doing some things later on in life.
    On the other hand, if the FBI investigation finds that Kavanaugh did do something bad at 17 and is now lying about it Kavanaugh should not become a high court judge.
    The dilemma facing an innocent person is they may be better off admitting to something they didn’t do instead of fighting it. In Aus, for example, people who continue to deny their guilt may be found by the judge to “show no remorse” and given a tougher sentence. Continued denial may lead to blocking of parole. In the case of false imprisonment of alleged murderers parole may be denied because they cannot tell the police where the body is buried.

  2. John, you raise an important issue as to whether there is any redemption for people who have done bad or illegal stuff.

    In a Richard Fidler interview I heard about a bloke who got banged up for a white collar crime which was against his character as known by friends and family, and in a sense a surprise to him.

    He was thoroughly remorseful, but had great difficulty getting any kind of job thereafter.

  3. Its a long week end and we all need something to drag us out of political gloom. You will be delighted by this Kiwi couple in Morea, particularly where there are stingrays crowding like chickens over cat food, not to mention endless healthy coral, sharks, fish, whales breaching, and a tired couple snuggling in a hammock.


  4. My sympathies are with the octopus.
    Octopi are bl**dy amazing.

    (According to Moy Rorgan Research, Aussies rate sea creatures as follows:
    1. Seals
    2. Little penguins
    3. Sea stars
    4. Cuddly little sea horses
    5. Rainbow trout
    6. Octopi
    7. Flake
    8. Calamari
    9. Barramundi
    10. Coffin Bay oysters
    11. Flathead tails
    12. Scallops. )

    data collected locally.
    4. and 5. should raise a red flag for anyone remotely objective about sea creatures.

  5. Brian:

    My main beef with di Natale is that he always goes out of his way to paint Labor as bad as the Coalition when he knows it’s not.

    The Greens have got to differentiate from both majors to survive and get a share of the protest vote. There are also LNP held seats where the Greens can beat the LNP as long as they come second while the the ALP cannot win if they beat the Greens which means the Greens beating Labor actually helps the left/green side of politics. (Part of the reason is preference leaking.)
    Part of the role of parties like the Greens is to “redefine the reasonable.” For example, by being more militant on environmental issues reasonable environmental becomes more stringent.

  6. Ambi, if the choice criteria for that sea creature rating is by taste, then that is indeed alarming. How is it that I have never tried poached penguin.

    Did you watch the video? Go to 6.20, it has got to add perspective to the Steve Irwin tragedy and truly unfortunate he was.

  7. 5. Rainbow trout

    Yeah, na. Rainbow Trout aren’t sea creatures, they’re fresh water fish. Moy Rorgan may have meant Coral Trout.

    Apprentice Pendant,
    Inspired Ambigulously.

  8. And in other sporting news, Slater ( the grud ), that should have been suspended for a shoulder charge, went out a loser.

  9. Jumpy: a fair point about rainbow trout.
    How beautiful they seemed to a young Ambi, swimming free in a stream near Rotorua.

    But Jumps old chap, as your apprenticeship continues* – and very good that you’ve taken it on, by the way – you will very soon appreciate that a pendant is something of beauty usually worn hanging from a delicate chain around the neck, whereas a pedant is an ugly and tiresome pest, usually hanging around a blog.

    * you should check with the Nanny State Government Department whether your tools of trade are eligible for a generous subsidy: dictionary, thesaurus, eagle eye glass, harrumph meter, idle time allowance, etc.

    Memo to BilB: not poached, prefer roasted but stuffed with delicate herbs and plenty of lemon or lime slices to counter the oily flavours. Seasonal variations depending on the prey the little guys have been eating. Used to call them “Fairy Penguins”; can’t imagine why that name has been dropped. Apprentice Jumpy may be able to clarify?

  10. There’s a better than even chance Kavanaugh will be confirmed this weekend.
    The Democrats have pulled every dirty tactic in the book to no avail.
    I doubt he’ll be enamoured by their pleas to want to kill unborn babies after this, regardless of his position before.

    Fingers crossed.

  11. Jumpy:

    Rainbow trout and steelhead are the same species, but they have different lifestyles. Steelhead are anadromous—meaning they spend part of their lives in the sea before going to rivers to breed—while rainbow trout spend their lives mostly or entirely in freshwater.

  12. Salmon: returning to their birth river to breed.

    The natural world has millions of similarly amazing stories yet to be discovered. Let’s not mess it up.

    Isaac Newton, I do not know how I appear to others, but to myself I seem like a child on the beach, finding a pretty pebble here or there, while the vast ocean of truth lay unknown before me.

  13. The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Dr Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad.

    Highlighting the horror of sexual violence used as a weapon of war.

    *** ***

    (Glad to see that Big rocket man and Little rocket man weren’t given the Prize. Peace on the Korean peninsula is still a dream.)

  14. Like Jumpy, I wish Brett Kavanaugh, age 53, good health.
    However I fear his prodigious abuse of alcohol during his younger years has probably reduced his life expectancy.

  15. Zoot, I gather it was a badge of honour for young men to get pissed off their brain, a phenomenon not unknown elsewhere.

  16. With “ equalidy” ( as Gillard was often quoted as saying ) young Women are embracing that phenomenon too.
    Perhaps this may reduce the life expectancy gender gap and we all want gender gap reduction no matter how it’s acheived right.

    I hear ( no corroborating evidence) that Ruth Bader Ginsburg ( 85 ) likes a cold beer on a hot day too.
    Hope she has a long happy life as well.

    If not,US President Donald J Trump may get another SCOTUS nomination up.

  17. I notice Bill Shorten didn’t weigh in on Fords sexual misconduct allegations toward Justice Kavanaugh.
    That’s reasonable given the allegations against him which are still up in the air.

  18. There is no need for any Aussie politician to comment on nomination hearings in the US Senate. As for commenting on allegations of sexual assault in a foreign nation decades ago, most politicians in the West have learnt to refrain.

    If in mentioning Mr Shorten you are referring obliquely to stories about an alleged assault at a youth camp at Anglesey on the Victorian coast, Jumpy, I understand that the complainant was interviewed by Victoria Police, who investigated thoroughly, and no charges were laid.

    There is little point in rehashing that, unless you’re into smear and innuendo.


    As you would be aware, in the nature of some sexual crimes, corroboration is very difficult to find. Are you, as an outsider, prepared to extend to Judge Kavanaugh the presumption of innocence?

    And if so, would you extend that presumption to the men and women of Australia?

    Or would it be only to those persons you don’t loathe?

  19. Fair go Ambigulous. Jumpy was merely demonstrating his famous even handed approach which arises from his loathing of both the left and the right. Unfortunately his critique of the right seems to have been lost on the intertubes, but it’ll be here any minute now.

  20. Equal Opportunity Slandering?

    That kinda fits with the spirit of the times…. good that Jumpy is keeping fully up to date and abreast of every trend.

    Abreast of Thomas Sowell.
    Abreast of the ABC.
    Abreast of the NRL.

    If it’s “abreast” you’re looking for, Jumpy Esquire is your man.

  21. The US supreme court has actively yielded a lot more power than the Australian High Court. Wade vs Roe abortion ruling was simply one of a long string of activist decisions.
    You need to read the whole article. There are a whole raft of activist decisions that block the decisions of the elected government or, in cases such as Wade vs Roe impose decisions on the country that may or may not be supported by the elected representatives or the population.
    Read the article on the history of the supreme court and you can understand why the Kavangah appointment was such an emotional issue to both the left and right.
    We would be outraged if our high court started behaving like the US supreme court.

  22. wielded?

    Pedants Anon


    But John,

    Doesn’t that just mean their Supreme Court has a different role in the US, than our High Court does?

    Your comment goes some way to explain why many Americans want “black letter justices” who use strict interpretations of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, rather than varying them in imaginative ways.

    By the way, I still think a compulsory retirement age for senior Judges is an excellent idea. Lifelong appointment smacks too much of our era’s political woes traceable to power wielders who stayed at the helm too long: Fidel Castro, Mao, Stalin, Kim I, Kim II, Ceaucescu, Enver Hoxha, Pinochet, Brezhnev, ….

  23. Mr A said to John

    Your comment goes some way to explain why many Americans want “black letter justices” who use strict interpretations of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, rather than varying them in imaginative ways.

    And that’s what The Federalist Society seeks to do.
    They rely mainly on the writings of the Founding Fathers for interpretation, including the Federalist Papers.
    Their stated purpose is
    “To promote the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be.”
    Which I recon is fair enough.

    Article Five of the Constitution is there to change the Constitution itself if Government sees fit.

    Also fair enough.

  24. I have no expertise (or real interest) in US Constitutional matters (not my circus, not my monkeys), but surely a “black letter” approach would restrict the 2nd amendment to the weapons the founding fathers were writing about – i.e. muskets?

  25. Firstly it wasn’t in the Original Constitution, it’s an Amendment.
    Secondly, it doesn’t say “ the right to bear muskets “
    Third, why would it restrict to weapons of that time ?

    Unless of course your arguing that the 1st Amendment restricts to words of that time, assembly of groups that existed at that time, the press that existed at that time or religious practices of that time. Which of course is idiotic.

  26. In 1791, when the 2nd amendment was adopted the “right to bear arms” meant the right to carry muskets, not AR15s.
    Since The Federalist Society depends mainly upon the writings of the Founding Fathers for interpretation I’d be fascinated to find out the black letter opinion on whether the second amendment gives our Yankee cousins the right to bear rocket propelled grenades.

  27. Among many things: Demographics of the US supreme court. included:

    The demographics of the Supreme Court of the United States encompass the gender, ethnicity, and religious, geographic, and economic backgrounds of the 114 people who have been appointed and confirmed as justices to the Supreme Court. Some of these characteristics have been raised as an issue since the Court was established in 1789. For its first 180 years, justices were almost always white male Protestants.[1]

    Prior to the 20th century, a few Roman Catholics were appointed, but concerns about diversity of the Court were mainly in terms of geographic diversity, to represent all geographic regions of the country, as opposed to ethnic, religious, or gender diversity.[2] The 20th century saw the first appointment of justices who were Jewish (Louis Brandeis, 1916), African-American (Thurgood Marshall, 1967), female (Sandra Day O’Connor, 1981), and Italian-American (Antonin Scalia, 1986). The 21st century saw the first appointment of a Hispanic justice (Sonia Sotomayor, 2009), if justice Benjamin Cardozo, who was a Sephardi Jew of Portuguese descent and appointed in 1932, is excluded.

    In spite of the interest in the Court’s demographics and the symbolism accompanying the inevitably political appointment process,[3] and the views of some commentators that no demographic considerations should arise in the selection process,[4][5] the gender, race, educational background or religious views of the justices has played little documented role in their jurisprudence. For example, the opinions of the two African-American justices have reflected radically different judicial philosophies; William Brennan and Antonin Scalia shared Catholic faith and a Harvard Law School education, but shared little in the way of jurisprudential philosophies. The court’s first two female justices voted together no more often than with their male colleagues, and historian Thomas R. Marshall writes that no particular “female perspective” can be discerned from their opinions.[6]

    While no particular “female perspective” may be discerned from the decisions of the few female judges of the supreme court, getting to the supreme requires a very good legal mind and progress through the legal system.

  28. Jumpy: A “brilliant lawyer” is someone who is good at looking at laws and precedence to find the arguments that will best help the interests of their client or the causes they support. It is certainly not about a “disinterested search for the truth.”
    Your Federalist Society sounds like a group that is helping conservative lawyers develop and share the arguments that support their cause as well as helping conservative lawyers work their way up the judicial system.

  29. Look, I don’t know much about muskets and the Federalists, are they Swiss admirers of Mr Federer?

    But I do know that for Australian visitors to the hot and humid streets of Indonesia and Malaysia, perspiring heavily and perhaps visiting a temple or mosque,
    the right to bare arms
    can be important for comfort, and is occasionally taken for granted by foreign guests.

    But local customs must be respected, and if uncovered heads or bare arms are frowned upon, then as a polite visitor, you should respect their wishes. There is no “right to bare arms” in that context. Put up with it gracefully, please.

    Anything else I can help you out with, Jumpy?

    Bapak Ambi
    Turis Buro
    Jalan Aussie Number One

  30. John
    That the Federalist Society are Originalists and seems to support conservative Judges is may be because conservative Judges tend to be Originalists in their interpretation of the Constitution rather than put a modernist or progressive spin on it.
    I’d go so far as to say that’s what labels them conservatives in the first place.

  31. Zoot

    In 1791, when the 2nd amendment was adopted the “right to bear arms” meant the right to carry muskets, not AR15s.
    Since The Federalist Society depends mainly upon the writings of the Founding Fathers for interpretation I’d be fascinated to find out the black letter opinion on whether the second amendment gives our Yankee cousins the right to bear rocket propelled grenades.

    In 1791 there were rocket propelled explosive devices.
    And mortars and canons.

    The laws now however prevent or severely restrict ownership of such arms. There have obviously been challenged to those laws in the SCOTUS and been found Constitutional. Kavanaugh said on many many occasions he’d rely heavily on precedent.

    But none of this has really been about Kavanaugh.

  32. In 1791 there were rocket propelled explosive devices.
    And mortars and canons.

    You haven’t addressed the issue I raised.
    (But you have raised the interesting topic of church officials as weapons of war. Very interesting.)

    Please note, in spite of my jocular tone I am asking a serious question.

  33. Ok, I’ll guess, was your issue that the Second Amendment covers just arms that existed on the day it was ratified ?

    Obviously not, would be my answer to that.

    I believe I did address your issue but if you have a specific question within it it’s probably best to state it clearly.

  34. But on a more vitally important issue, some idiots no one cares about don’t like a horse race that almost no one cares about being displayed on a building few care about.
    Listen to the head honcho of the Australian Institute say on the ABC it violated environmental laws or some such nonsense.

    We really do have it great in this Country!

  35. Jumpy:

    Kavanaugh said on many many occasions he’d rely heavily on precedent.

    You also mentioned the “originalist” attitude to law which I assume is based on the idea that somehow the slave owners and others who wrote the US constitution were somehow imbued with amazing wisdom that would still be applicable hundreds of years later. (Ditto the men who wrote the Aus constitution and left out protections for our Aborigines and hadn’t realized that Australians, Canadians and Kiwis would not be British citizens in 2018 and that their dual citizenship would become a problem.)
    I think that constitutions should be (among other things) about protecting minorities from the dictatorship of the majority, a bill of rights and insisting that election systems are fair and produce governments that have the support of the people. Neither the US or Australian constitutions meet these requirements.

  36. Ok, I’ll guess, was your issue that the Second Amendment covers just arms that existed on the day it was ratified ?

    No, I was addressing so-called black letter interpretations. But don’t worry, I’ve given up trying to get a straight answer from you.

    John D: hear, hear!

  37. John, zoot

    …. which is why a Constitution needs a mechanism for democratic updating: Amendment in the US, Referendum here.

    Which is preferable? The Australian requirement for passsing “in a majority of States” seems to have been intended as a bulwark against a ‘tyranny of the majority’. Similar to asking that important questions garner 60% or 70% support in a legislature.

  38. Ambigulous: I think it’s obvious that Australia is much closer to a true democracy than the US. But there are still distortions and I believe the reforms suggested in the past by John would improve the situation enormously.

  39. Here’s Bill Maher in May 2018 with a trenchant critique of Trump and his enablers.
    Along the way he points out some failings of the US system.

  40. Yes zoot.

    John is one of those people who think through a problem carefully, and suggest practical solutions, weighing up pros and cons.

    Much as a Royal Commission is meant to do.

    Personally, I admire that approach.

    It beats mud-slinging and silly jokes.
    (Must be off now, to look in the mirror.)

  41. Just the other day John was complaining that the popular vote candidate , first past the post if you will, didn’t win.

    I’m finding a little inconsistency.

    But no ones perfect.

  42. Jumpy: As you well know I was talking about the US presidential first past the vote system. Clinton lost despite getting a clear majority in the overall vote. She lost because of the peculiarities of college system and the way that states conducted their elections.
    My view is that the US presidential vote should be preferential with the whole of the US being treated as a single electorate. I also think that the US senate should be elected in a similar way to the Aus senate but recognize it would not be practical for every state to have many senators.

  43. The Electoral College does recognise that some States are more populous than others, at least.

    In my view, the more serious deficiencies over there are:

    a. The strong influence of candidates’ personal wealth
    b. the inefficient and inconsistent uses of strange and vulnerable voting technology between States (and between districts?)
    c. non-compulsory voting
    d. the systematic discouraging of registration-to-vote in some regions, of blacks, Hispanics and poor folk

  44. Ambi: You might like to add:
    High court blocking of limits on campaign expenditure, particularly by PACS.
    High court blocking of attempts to make the election system fairer.
    No equivalent of Australia’s electoral commission.

  45. Compulsory voteing would violate Americans Constitutional rights under the 1st Amendment.
    Unfortunately Australians don’t have a right to free speech or expression.

  46. Yes, Jumpy.

    It’s always noticeable how you, as an Australian, are constrained and confined in your speech, at least in this forum.

    How you must yearn to be free!!
    Perhaps on some far-off day we will witness Jumpy Unleashed….

  47. Mr A
    Are you saying Australians have the right to free speech ?
    You presumably have the legislative or Constitutional evidence for that ?

    That’d be brilliant because I can’t find it.

  48. Jumpy

    I recall that a High Court decision a few years ago was based on an “implied right to free speech”.

    So, better Judges than me, reckon we have it.

    Use it or lose it, Mr J.
    Or at the very least, follow Voltaire in defending to the death, zoot’s right to free speech.

  49. Jumpy

    In an article “Australian constitutional law” in wikipedia, you will find (section 9.3.1, under “implied rights”) these words:

    the majority of the High Court reasoned that, since the Constitution required direct election of members of the Federal Parliament, and since moreover the Ministers of State were required to be or swiftly become members of that Parliament, the result was that “representative democracy is constitutionally entrenched”. That being so, freedom of public discussion of political and economic matters is essential to allow the people to make their political judgments so as to exercise their right to vote effectively. Furthermore, since “public affairs and political discussion are indivisible”, it is impossible to limit this necessary freedom to purely Federal issues: it applies also to issues which might be the preserve of the State or local levels of government. Therefore, there is implied in the Constitution a guarantee of freedom of communication on all political matters.[57]

    Luckily for everyone, this information was not mediated by a Fairfax journalist.


  50. So Australians don’t have a lawful right to free speech, just implied in certain circumstances.
    That’s what I thought.

  51. political and economic covers a lot, Jumpy.
    It’s implied in the Constitution, rules the High Court.

    That’s about as “lawful” as it gets, around here.

    Would you prefer a specific Bill of Rights?

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