Weekly salon 9/2

1. Judge rejects coal mine

Here’s an image of a cow paddock that was going to be dug up for coal mining at Gloucester in the mid north coast of NSW::

The very picture of rural tranquility, this Gloucester paddock will remain safe for cows – not home to earth-gouging machines. Photo: ABC

Perhaps the most important thing that happened in Australia in the last week was that Chief Judge Brian Preston of the NSW Land Court rejected Rocky Hill mine near Gloucester, NSW, because of its impact on the town and ‘dire consequences’ of increasing emissions:

    In his judgment, Preston explicitly cited the project’s potential impact on climate change, writing that an open-cut coalmine in the Gloucester Valley “would be in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

    “Wrong place because an open cut coal mine in this scenic and cultural landscape, proximate to many people’s homes and farms, will cause significant planning, amenity, visual and social impacts,” he wrote.

    “Wrong time because the GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions of the coal mine and its coal product will increase global total concentrations of GHGs at a time when what is now urgently needed, in order to meet generally agreed climate targets, is a rapid and deep decrease in GHG emissions. These dire consequences should be avoided. The project should be refused.”

Gloucester Resources was seeking to overturn a NSW government decision to reject an open-cut mine because of its impact on the town of Gloucester, north of Newcastle.

However:

    The Environmental Defenders Office joined the case last April, arguing on behalf of its client, Groundswell Gloucester, that the mine’s detrimental impact on climate change and on the social fabric of the town should be considered as part of the merit appeal.

We’ll never know whether the impact on the town would have been sufficient to reject the appeal, but the judge was quite explicit that the production of greenhouse gases was a factor.

2. Townsville flood inquiry announced, as up to 300,000 cattle die in western Queensland

Climate scientists are pondering whether the metrics should change so that “one in 100-year” floods become “one in 50-year”. Townsville rain has broken all records in what is reckoned as a one in 500 years event, but I recall extensive floods in Katter country, that is, Northwest Qld, around 10 years ago. And in many places there has been no rain to speak of in between.

Here’s a screenshot to show how bad it was:

The mayor of Richmond, John Wharton, said there had been huge stock losses in his area, as well as McKinlay shire, and parts of Flinders and Cloncurry shires.

    “This is a disaster,” Wharton said. “Cattle just couldn’t move, the water just kept rising and rising and the water broke its banks.

    “There are railway lines washed away, the roads are buggered and there is a lot of cattle gone. They could not survive. It was just hell.”

Many beasts would bring more than $1000 and a stud bull can cost up to $80,000, although to be fair the average is likely less than $10,000. However, you need a few of them because the average working bull will only sire 30 calves a year for 3.5 years, making about 105 in all, whereupon you thank them for their hard work and sell them for about $1500 to be eaten.

The Federal government has offered up to $75,000 in emergency assistance, presumably to truck in feed. It would be a pittance towards repairing infrastructure, restocking etc.

I remember last time most of the grass died while inundated. Possibly it was mostly already dead this time.

Meanwhile, the usual lawyers picnic looms about the management of the Ross River Dam at Townsville.

3. War in the Democratic Party

There has been a lot of talk about Trump and China starting a war more or less by accident, but a different war looms within the Democratic Party in the USA.

Bernie Sanders lit a fire when he revealed a different kind of vision for the Democrats. He did not make it to power himself, but an outfit called Justice Democrats emerged from his supporters to pursue his vision. They assembled a slate of 12 working class candidates for the 2018 election, to shake up the Democratic Party. Only Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez succeeded in being elected. David Freelander tells the story at Politico in ‘There Is Going to Be a War Within the Party. We Are Going to Lean Into It.’

The Justice Democrats see Ocasio-Cortez:

    as just the opening act in an astonishingly ambitious plan to do nothing less than re-imagine liberal politics in America—and do it by whatever means necessary.

    If that requires knocking out well-known elected officials and replacing them with more radical newcomers, so be it. And if it ends up ripping apart the Democratic Party in the process—well, that might be the idea.

    “There is going to be a war within the party. We are going to lean into it,” said Waleed Shahid, the group’s spokesman.

Saikat Chakrabarti, AOC’s head of staff, was one of the founders of the Justice Democrats.

Whether this makes it more or less likely that Trump will get a second term is more than I can say.

4. Politics starts at a frenetic pace

Both major parties were quick out of the blocks in 2019, with an undeclared election campaign from the very beginning. It ended last year with parliament a funny farm, where so many were deserting the Liberal Party, and so many high-profile independents taking on Liberal-held seats, you would be forgiven for thinking Bill Shorten’s path to the Lodge was a cake-walk.

Anything but.

Essential Poll has come in at 52-48 TPP in favour of Labor, within the margin of error, but with the feeling that the race is tightening. Peter Lewis, who runs Essential Report, has a useful perspective:

    As I have argued ad nauseam, an iron rule of politics is that right of centre political parties are seen as better economic managers than left of centre parties – regardless of their actual performance.

    Delivering a pre-election federal budget that trumpets a surplus and splurges a bucket of cash is exactly what a right of centre political party should be doing to maximise its chances of victory at the ballot box.

    Spicing it with a loud and well-funded, albeit dishonest, scare campaign about Labor’s higher taxes is the icing on the cake. It keeps the debate on the economy and another well-established political line, that taxes are always higher under Labor.

    Progressives can wring their hands all they like about how base and self-serving the attacks are, but that won’t stop them working: especially if Labor falls into the trap of attempting to respond by campaigning on their superior economic credentials. Because the other line that resonates with our polity is that left of centre parties thrive when the question is not, “how is the economy going?”, but “who is it going for?”

    Renee Vellaris for the Courier Mail identifies five themes she thinks will dominate parliament’s return on Tuesday:

    • Asylum seekers – the modified Phelps bill
    • The banking royal commission
    • Tim Wilson chairing a parliamentary inquiry into an opposition policy, a very unusual thing to do, but it puts Labor’s franking credits policy up in lights
    • Rats abandoning the ship
    • Failing to do day job – the scandalous notion of having only 7 sitting days work in the next six or seven weeks before the election is called

    I’m worried Labor will cave on asylum seekers. They have said their support is subject to a security briefing. We’ve heard what the spooks think from the front page of The Australian. They appear to be as paranoiac as the Coalition.

    I’m going to do a separate post on the franking credits issue, because it is probably the most blatantly dishonest scare campaign yet. Pensioners (part and full) explicitly will not be affected, yet it has been characterised as Bill Shorten coming for their money. Meanwhile the fact that Tim Wilson’s cousin’s company, in which Tim has shares, has a vested interest in the issue, will only give the lies more publicity.

    5. Off with their heads!

    What was Liam Neeson thinking? This week he shared that:

      decades ago, a close friend revealed she was raped by a man of color and he considered committing violence against black men in revenge.

    What purpose is served by telling everyone that now? He did not actually do anything, but now stands to lose his career.

    Rugby league player Ben Barba was sacked by the Townsville Cowboys before playing a match when a domestic violence incident was apparently caught on closed circuit TV at Townsville Casino. There is a criminal justice system in Australia, but in this case is it the role of the club and the NRL to mete out punishment? How does that help his partner and four daughters?

    Yes, I know it’s in the fine print of his contract, and it is really about keeping the sponsorship dollars flowing.

    The justice system has three main considerations in relation to the guilty. First, punishment, second, rehabilitation, and third, public safely if the perpetrator is deemed dangerous to the public.

    It is particularly poor at rehabilitation, at looking after the victims of crime, and at restitution for harm done.

    Barba was also unlucky because he came after several others caught in a similar way over the off-season.

    In my view he needed help, not public execution, humiliation and impoverishment. Perhaps he’ll go off and play rugby union where they seem to have different standards.

97 thoughts on “Weekly salon 9/2”

  1. I’ll try to pen a few lines about the royal commission tonight. I don’t have a summative view of it. but feel disposed to make a few points.

    Then tomorrow I’d hope to do something on franking credits, because it is a major part of the Coalition attack. Very few people understand the issue, and that includes pollies.

    I’ve decided to leave the Murray Darling until the scientific reports come out, which must be due next week.

    Must read some of the comments threads later this afternoon.

  2. I’ve met Ben Barba a few times and his Family ( my Son played at the Devils with Marmin ) and know plenty of Lads that are in contact with him regularly. Most are trying to help him sort his shit out including the NRL. There’s gambling, drugs, alcohol and violent outbursts going back a long way.
    He’s embraced help but randomly relapses with terrible effects and results unfortunately.
    He emerged from his older brother Aaron’s Rugby League shadow after Aaron succumbed to the same vices. Aaron was arguably better than Ben IMHO and still holds the Redcliffe Try scoring record for a season.

    Perhaps his personality, regardless of talent in a certain field, isn’t compatible with the financial and public pressures of it.
    I don’t know.

    But I do know there has been more support given him than most.

  3. Jumpy, that sounds a sad story and as usual the media don’t give us a good idea of what is really going on.

  4. Brian,

    I don’t see what is happenning in the Democatic party as war, I see it as growth. The “war” is perfectly framed by Bill Maher…

    https://youtu.be/Xtd4tds-I0U

    …and the growth is succinctly framed here….

    https://youtu.be/wypN0PChAtg

    In the Democratic way of things Pelosi is the Captain of PF Democrat and her role is to keep the ship from hitting immovable objects. The ship is powered by its crew, one of whom is AOC. What I am seeing is a well run ship with good communication from the engine room to the bridge.

  5. BilB

    They don’t correspond closely, but the evolution and travails of the Democratic Party in USA have some similarities to those we have observed for many decades in the ALP, and in the British Labour Party.

    At different times various wings of the parties have been in the ascendant. There is a competition of ideas, wielding of influence, bestowing of favours, gathering of corporate donations, fluctuations in memberships and grassroots enthusiasm.

    Here in Oz, strong competition from the Australian Democrats, then the Greens.

    Here in the Labor Party, branch-stacking (allegations), donations from dodgy sources, the occasional dud or corrupt MP.

    I remain sceptical of the current that has thrown up AOC in the US Democratic Party. (I remember George McGovern, who turned out to be unelectable in the USA of his time; enormous support from youth and anti-war voters. And Richard Nixon to run against.)

    Moreover, any Party that could seriously put up a candidate as weak as Secretary Hillary Clinton, should have been doing some very deep self-appraisal since November 2016. And perhaps an apology to the voters? Yeah, I know…….

    Anyway, have at it, everybody.

    PS: a curious tidbit from across the Dutch. Apparently a former National Party PM who introduced laws that tended to weaken unions, now regrets it. And – wait for it – is now advising PM Ardern, on how to redress the “balance” to give unions a fairer influence in the economy.

    (I await with interest any similar move by former PM Howard. Perhaps an unpaid consultancy with the ACTU?)

  6. BilB

    I missed your “PF Democrat” reference.

    Commodore Google informs me that a PF is a lightweight fishing boat.

    A tinnie, Sir?

    Are you deeming Speaker Pelosi a weekend fishing gal?
    How very dare you, Sir.
    She is a Force to be Reckoned With.
    And has Bigger Fish to Fry.

    There is the spiny backed TRUMPeter for a start: slippery, malodorous, will take any bait, leaps around when hooked then jumps off the hook with a snarl, but it appears the nets are closing in ……

  7. Our boat is SV Aurora Leigh ie Sailing Vessel Aurora Leigh

    The Liberal’s ship is PF Democrat ie Political Force Democrat.

    It could also be PF Democracy in a celebratory rebranding while at the same time rebranding Trump’s signature building to Individual A Tower.

    I do like your very succinct TRUMPeter, Trump being the apex of the Peter Principle

  8. BilB, “war” was the term used by the Justice Democrats, and your terms are better. I’d emphasise “renewal” rather than “growth”, but growth is fine.

    I wish we had people here as articulate as Bill Maher, AOC and her interviewer, whoever he was. leaves Leigh Sales, Barrie Cassidy et al for dead.

    Lacking was more appreciation that the way the political structures and the way they are administered in the US are not democratic, were never designed to be. They did talk about structural problems, the possibility of having more parties etc near the end, and perhaps in another interview would address those issues.

    Ambi, I don’t share your negative view of Hillary Clinton. I was backing her rather than Sanders, because I don’t think the US or the Democratic Party was ready for Sanders. She would have got there but for Jeremy Comey, quite apart from anything else.

    However, the way things have worked out may be better for the US and the world in the long run, but I’m inclined to think a second term for Trump would be an unmitigated disaster.

  9. Renewal, better, I agree.

    The whole MSNBC team is good, and the best of all for investigative journalistic reporting is Rachel Maddow (who Jumpy slights as Mad Cow) . It is a healthy exercise in mind awakening to binge watch her reports. It will blow your mind just how corrupt the global conservative movement is, and when you realise that this is all coming to maturity right now in our real time frame, you will understand “the vital importance of being ernest”.

  10. The US first past the post electoral system system makes it hard for for the Democrats or Republicans to split and also make it easier for parties to change radically without causing a split. It not only makes it harder to split and means that, unlike Australia a vote for One Nation or the Greens is a wasted vote.
    However, the US primary voting system makes it easier for a party to be taken over or change direction radically.. (The takeover of the Republicans by the Tea party and the rise of Trump are the most recent examples.)
    Part of the problem with the US is that it started at a time when monarchies were the norm. The US presidency was defined with the idea that the President had to deal with monarchies, not democracies. The systems were also set up when ponies were the fastest form of communication. Son’s comment when he first went to the US was that Howard would be considered extreme left in the US.

  11. Howard would be considered extreme left in the US.

    Only on one issue.

    I prefer to apply the compass method to try and understand politics on any given issue.
    W= left
    E = right
    N = Libertarian
    S = authoritarian

    As Howard aged he drifted SSW.
    He should have handed over to Costello like he promised but the S had im by the short and curlies by that stage.

  12. That idea doesn’t hold water, Jumpy.

    The problem is that the end result after “n” iterations of Libertarian reality is an Authoritarian outcome, unless the Libertarian model is restrained by limits of excess, and that is antithetical. Without limits on excess eventually one person, 1% of people, own everything meaning one person has complete economic control over every one else. Try and get elected in that state. So arguably the US is already most of the way to being a Libertarian state.

    But then the other extreme where the state (and the state is defined as the people) owns everything and peoples destiny is controllled by commitees also has problems.

    But lets sumarise those problems.

    Authoritarian state: Satifactory for a few and unsatisfactory for most.
    Socialist state: Satisfactory for most and unsatifactory for a few.

    Can there be a half way position? Yes. And that was Australia pre 1997 pre the politics of envey and excess.

  13. Just a few comments…
    I was relieved that Hilary was not elected – she promised little more that same old same old when it seemed the US needed a change.

    I was alarmed that Trump was elected – quite rightly I think. But if nothing else, politics in the US now have domestic and global attention, and there are signs that we will see considerable disruption in the coming years. Maybe serious stuff, ‘not ruling out violence. In the end I think inequity will be the driver, ignited by way-overdue awareness by the people.

    I have now been an over-reader of Trump for some time, plus some other stuff I have referred to here before. I’m showing my naivety here but I now reckon that in the US and even Australia, democracy is a facade established (or captured) and maintained by the economic rulers. Widespread understanding of that in Oz or the US will be interesting to observe.

  14. BilB

    What does MSNBC, CNN, NPR, ABC, CBS and TYT say about all of Virginia’s Dem bigwigs not resigning over blackface and rape ?

    There’s a good chance those 13 collages votes could flip Rep.

    Then you’ve got the Dems pushing abortion up to the 41st week that Indi voter find disgusting, are they telling you about that ?

    How was their coverage of AOCs ludicrous GND, favourable?

    Rachel Madcow(D) pulls in more $ P/A than our bank CEOs, do they mention that ?

  15. BilB

    Socialist state: Satisfactory for most and unsatifactory for a few.

    You’re kidding right ?
    Socialist States alway turn Authoritarian, how many examples do you need ?

  16. Jumpy they are all saying they should go.

    I don’t know. What your second idea means

    Late term abortions? That is an issue for the mother and the medical profession. As you are supposedly a Libertarian I am surprised that you have an opinion about that.

    AOC’s. Grand plan has 70% support of the American Public the news media cover that as it is rather than how they want it to be.

    I don’t care how much Rachel Maddow earns and if she earns more than $10M in a year I fully expect her to pay whatever the top marginal rate is at the time,…70,80,90 % what ever. Frankly I think that she should be paid by the government from the FBI and CIA budgets as an intelligence communcator, she is doing more to protect and inform the US public than,…well..anyone else.

  17. Here we go,..again.

    Jumpy a social democracy (Australia) is not a socialist state, and any state that becomes ruled by an Autocrat only gets that way be allowing someone to take control through inadequate checks and balances in its executive structure. This is precisely what AOC proved in committee the other day…

    https://youtu.be/TJlpS4vhKP0

    …ie freedom corrupts. Absolute Freedom corrupts Absolutely. Trump.

  18. Yes, Brian, I agree that Bernie was probably unelectable, even against Mr Trump.

    But what does it say about US politics that a family can grab so much leverage and hold it for so long?

    I refer to Mr and Mrs Clinton,

    to the late Mr Bush Senior and GW Bush, and Jeb Bush,

    to the three sons of old Joe Kennedy who survived WW2,

    perhaps there have been others there??

    (And yes, other nations have been worse: Gandhis in India, Bhuttos in Pakistan, Kims in DPRK, even the
    Sukarno clan in Indonesia.)

    Having recently watched Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 11/9 on SBS catchup, I share his wish that America might become more democratic.

    There’s a Leonard Cohen song, Democracy is Coming – to the USA. But what did he know? Canadian!!

  19. freedom corrupts. Absolute Freedom corrupts Absolutely. Trump.

    Fine, you seem too far blue pilled to even consider having independent thought, alt ideas, alt media, alt concepts outside your safe bubble.

    This little chat has been a giggle a minute.
    I particularly liked, “ It is a healthy exercise in mind awakening to binge watch her [ Rachel Madcow (D) reports. “
    That was a hoot !

    Carry on Carrington, Big Brother will reward you, except…..oh never mind.

  20. Jumpy: Labels are misleading in that, for many of us it depends on what we are talking about.
    For example, I am authoritarian about the need for urgent climate action but more flexible about how it is done.
    I am libertarian when it comes to range of decisions that people make about what they do when it does not affect others. But not so libertarian when it comes to people who want to do things to others that the others don’t want.
    I am socialist to the extent that I think the mindless “private is best” ideology has resulted in poor decisions in areas like our power supply system particularly when the switch is made without thinking through what needs to be done to optimize the the outcomes of the change. On the other hand you would have seen that while I think the power supply system should be run by government owned corporations I am comfortable with the idea these corporations setting up contracts for capacity with private enterprise to build and operate. Its horses for courses Mr J.

  21. John, some very wise words. It is complicated, down to an individual level, even to the extent that the labels you used to describe yourself ( that do change in normal conversation and in individual mindset over time ) are suboptimal.
    But sometimes when corresponding folk that see everything through groupthink eyes it’s the only way to try and get a point across in that persons own language.

    It’s not a “ comfortable “ thing to engage with people that automatically go identity politics.

    You however can be a breath or fresh air from time to time.

  22. John

    Your “authoritarian ” came out as ‘authorization’. Never mind.

    I agree with you that most likely everyone has a mixture of attitudes and orientations when it comes to social and political questions.

    Or to put it a different way, the characterisations such as
    * authoritarian
    * socialist
    * libertarian
    are too broad.
    First, each label covers what is in practice a “broad church”.

    Under “socialism” might be grouped very mild Fabian welfare state supporters, keen nationalisers, collectivisers of agriculture, Stalinist authoritarians, Maoist root and branch communisers, 19th century Co-operative Movement followers, hippie commune dwellers, some strands of Anarchism, Parliamentary Labour Parties, …

    To call X a socialist can only be the first step in a kind of “Twenty Questions” enquiry.

    I am tired of hearing people assume that
    1) a person’s supposed social class gives the key to all their attitudes and beliefs
    2) a person’s stance on Issue 1 can be used to infer their stance on Issue 2, Issue 3, etc.

    With apologies to serious sociologists, I propose this name for “reasoning” like1) and 2) above:

    The Sociological Fallacy.

    Possibly it arises thusly:
    “Surveys have shown that 80% of Australian farmers oppose stricter controls on rifle ownership.”
    (fictional example)

    Then someone states that “all farmers oppose gun control

    First, that exaggerates the survey result.
    Second, the survey itself may be suspect.
    So it’s illogical and not well-founded.

    But if folk are going to latch onto simplistic nonsense, who are we pedants (and careful thinkers) to stand in their way??

    ***
    BilB: You are the seaman, I stand corrected on PF. “Respect the seamen”, my parents used to say.

    PS I think I meant Icarus, when I wrote Daedalus some days ago…. apologies to all. Sun got too much for me.

  23. BilB,
    On the YouTube yacht issue I’m subbed to “ bums on a boat “, salt & tar “ and “ dangar marine “

    All very different aspects of it but I recon the salt in the veins would have you interested in all of them.
    Anyway, I like em..

  24. Jumpy,

    They are all good channels. Salt and Tar is one serious piece of woodwork. I do follow bums on a boat a bit and was giving him my five cents worth on his cracked stiffeners (no big deal in my opinion), but the channel I have decided to contribute to regularly is Vet Tails. An aussie vet who does a lot of work with animals wherever she is. Her boat is also a swing keel and it proved its worth recently when she beached to boat to replace the stern gland. I watch way too much YouTube. Two boats that have done a lot of cruising in your area are Free Range Sailing and SV Sarean.

    I’m getting to spend much of March on our boat to get some things done for later in the year when we spend six months aboard. I just can’t wait. I’ve just had a long conversation with our family friend Dane who lives aboard in south of Perth who is a naval architect, onititally to ask his opinion about Stainless Steel butterfly valves (that was a big no to the stainless steel) nad so I might have to machine my own in gunnmetal. But the secondary conversation was about prospect of nuclear shipping, particularly the prospect of building weld on tugs for bulk carrier hulls when they fatigue. It is not too common but the entire power section of damaged ships are cut off and affixed to new main hulls. The main impediment in the past for nuclear shipping was the specialised personell that would be required to be at sea for long periods. However if the package micro reactors don’t require that level of monitoring then there is one impediment removed. Its a watching brief.

  25. Not often do I agree with Bob Carr, but the other day he took extreme exception to the USA being called a democracy.

    Not compatible with wholesale gerrymandering and voter suppression by state governments, he said.

  26. It’s not a “ comfortable “ thing to engage with people that automatically go identity politics.

    How true.

  27. Ambi:

    Under “socialism” might be grouped very mild Fabian welfare state supporters, keen nationalisers, collectivisers of agriculture, ……

    The point I was making was not that there is a lot of variation amongst those labelled socialists but that the logical label varies depends on what we are talking about.
    The yanks think we are raving socialists because our governments support medicare and gun control but that doesn’t mean we support the nationalization of everything.

  28. Yes John,

    I remember several of us talking to an American visitor when Pres Nixon was running against George McGovern. The visitor said that the Democrat policies were communistic. The oldest of the Aussies replied mildly that McGovern’s social policy proposals were quite similar to those of the British Labour Party.

    Conclusion?
    The “centre positions” in each Anglophone state can be quite different.

    The idea of “Socialism” varies from place to place, and just as strongly, evolves with time as social conditions (and for example, tbe nature of work and production) changes.

  29. The rational of the US position ran something like: Communist Russia is our enemy therefore all communist countries are our enemy. Then:
    Communism claims to be socialist therefore all socialists are our enemy.
    The socialist position in the US wasn’t helped because it was seen as wanting to reduce the power and wealth of rich capitalists. Didn’t help that some of these rich, paranoid capitalists controlled most of the media.
    My understanding was that Ho Chi Minh actually wanted to be friends with the US to gain protection from the Chinese communists. Instead the Communist paranoia of the US and the Aus Liberal party dragged us into the Vietnam war. (Menzies ran a referendum calling for the banning of the communist party. However, enough Australians valued freedom enough to reject the banning.

  30. It’s strange to me that there can be so much nuance to the Socialist Ideal and when it kills millions of people every time the the verdict is “ it’s wasn’t the right type of Socialism “ or “ it wasn’t Socialist enough “.
    Yet when Capitalism allegedly harms a few it’s “ too much Capitalism! “ or “ abolish Capitalism! “.

    I can’t get anyone to give me a definition of what Socialism should be. All the Countries that self identify as Socialist are comparative shitholes to live in for the majority)

    Libertarians are socially liberal and economically conservative ( for the must part, about 10% of any group are loon bags from my experience )
    To me that’s a reasonable foundational position.

  31. And here’s an earlier article along similar lines.

    Of course, it is very old (2017, for Heaven’s sake!) and the scientist Terry Erwin is an American.

    Still, it should be of interest to the backyard gardener and anyone who has grandchildren.

    Good evening.

  32. And several of us can’t get you to nominate even “the best of a bad bunch” amongst the very finest and shining examples of ‘capitalist states’.

    Is it like pure Christianity, Mr J?
    “Never been tried anywhere on Earth”??

    What about The Netherlands, mercantile, liberal; brilliant inventors of the stock market, several centuries ago?

    +++
    And as to “sh*tholes”, several Scandinavian nations are right now, way ahead of Australia in building wind turbines – many sited in shallow sea water.

    Oh, silly me, we never have windy weather on our coastlines!
    What was I thinking?

  33. I too am intrigued when Democratic Socialism (which, if truth be told is still the system in Australia) is only ever mentioned in the same breath as Venezuela (as good an example of Dutch Disease as any) when much better examples are found in Scandinavia.
    And I think I’ll die waiting for Jumpy to provide us with an example of a successful Libertarian nation state.

  34. Mr A

    And as to “sh*tholes”, several Scandinavian nations are right now, way ahead of Australia in building wind turbines – many sited in shallow sea water.

    Oh, silly me, we never have windy weather on our coastlines!
    What was I thinking?

    What Scandinavian counties self identify as Socialist?

    In fact Denmark rebuked Sander for slandering them with the label.

    Interesting reading from Forbes ( sorry not Guardian ) that may help ya.

    No, the Scandinavian Countries are free market Capitalist which allows them to redistribute at a high level, with an emphasis on voluntary contribution rather than legislative force.
    They are socially liberal and economically conservative, like the DLP.

  35. Mr J

    I will accept that the Scandinavian countries are free market Capitalist and Democratic Socialist, just like Australia, New Zealand, and Canada (when last I looked).

    Australia’s economy used to be described as “mixed”, meaning a mixture of free enterprise (large and medium businesses; some multinational, many locally based, and millions of family based farms or small businesses) plus state-owned enterprises. You can see the remnants of the latter in Medicare, Australia Post, the ABC and some state-owned power companies.

    Not as “mixed” as we used to be.

    Simultaneously we have a social welfare system that has evolved partly by copying elements of “the welfare state” in Britain after 1945, aspects of New Zealand social welfare policies, and a few we pioneered here (e.g. more restricted, “targeted” welfare payments under Hawke/Keating, Austudy). Some we copied from Scandinavia or Holland e.g. ombudsman, ….

    You know all this: old age pensions, public hospitals, Medibank/Medicare, Repatriation benefits; state funded education, extending eventually to university, and various forms of technical, vocational and apprenticeship education; state welfare and planning departments, quangos, etc.

    I would term most of the above “Social Democracy”.

    Policies and institutions generally (but not exclusively) introduced by Social Democratic Parties, such as the ALP, the British Labour Party, the NZ Labour Party. But maintained, usually and in their basic forms, by conservative Parties.

    ***

    Separate to those, but vital, are the foundational institutions that persist in some form in any civilised nation: justice, policing, governance structures, free press, free media; emergency services such as ambulance, firefighting, rescue.

    Then there are the voluntary associations, volunteers in welfare, trade unions, hobby clubs, sporting associations…..
    common to Capitalist and Social Democratic nations.

    Long live freedom!

  36. I remain unconvinced by your link. New Zealand does not self identify as Libertarian (goose, meet gander).

    For your further reading, Peter Thiel here.

    … For all these reasons, I still call myself “libertarian.”
    But I must confess that over the last two decades, I have changed radically on the question of how to achieve these goals. Most importantly, I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.

    Then there’s this from Patri Friedman, the dude trying to convince Island govts to help him set up Seasteading settlements:

    Democracy is the current industry standard political system, but unfortunately it is ill-suited for a libertarian state. It has substantial systemic flaws, which are well-covered elsewhere, and it poses major problems specifically for libertarians…

  37. Apologies, my previous comment should have addressed the erstwhile Jumpy.
    My historian friend opines that the golden age of capitalism was between the end of WW II and the rise to power of Reagan/Thatcher. He maintains that after that most capitalists started to go backwards, although some have done very nicely.
    Just sayin’

  38. And now for something different ….
    Brian: Channel 7 Central Queensland News had a short interview with Linda Bahnisch, who is doing a training program on Weather for primary producers. Rather appropriate given everything that has happened in the past fortnight.

    Remember well the flooding – and the very sticky, deep mud – around Richmond and Julia Creek when I was a lad. Today’s flooding seems far worse.

  39. Thanks for the heads-up. There’s been a bit of a population explosion in the family in central Queensland and it’s hard for me to keep track of them all!

    Elsewhere, good news on the footballer stuck in Thailand:

    A Bahraini refugee was freed Monday afternoon after a court ordered that an extradition request to his country be withdrawn.

    Footballer Hakeem AlAraibi was released from custody hours after the Criminal Court approved the withdrawal of an extradition request, for which prosecutors filed an appeal this afternoon. Media reports say the footballer left on a van immediately upon his release.

    A source familiar with the case said the Thai government had bought AlAraibi a Thai Airways plane ticket for a flight back to Melbourne tonight.

  40. zoot, your historian friend has many who agree.

    Tony Judt, an excellent historian who has now passed on, wrote a humongous tome Post War: a history of Europe since 1945 tells how rough things were immediately after the war. But by the end of the 1950s people were talking of the Wirtschaftswunder (economic miracle) in Germany and like improvements other countries. People were well fed, had at least one car in the garage, access to schooling, medical facilities etc. a job, annual leave and enough dosh to take an annual holiday away somewhere.

    It was the first time in history that this was the common experience of the people, reflected also in the US and elsewhere in the ‘developed’ world. Actually it happened a little earlier in the USA, from the time of FDR.

    But the US and UK caught a disease with Reagan/Thatcher and the rise of neoliberal economics which spread to these parts and is still running its course.

  41. Got a bit bogged on banking inquiry, and had a new experience with my wife’s Mitsubishi sedan when I had a flat tyre.

    Did you know that the spare is a toy tyre, less than half the width of the proper tyre? You are not to exceed 80kph, and I don’t think you would be wanting to drive too far on it!

    New post up – Blackouts are not increasing, keep calm and carry on! responding to the new Grattan report.

    Will finish banking soon I hope. It will be with us as an issue for a while.

  42. Brian
    Yeah, the tyre thing is a BMW idea I think and Japanese manufactures copied it ( surprise! )
    Predominantly very dense Countries where mechanical help is close and convenient.
    Would have been mentioned thoroughly in the buyer Spec and the onboard manual.
    For some odd reason we’ve stopped reading those. ( I blame social media platforms with their massive “ terms and conditions “ gobbledygook, but I could be wrong )

    Anyway, on your,

    But the US and UK caught a disease with Reagan/Thatcher and the rise of neoliberal economics which spread to these parts and is still running its course.

    My understanding is that they were predominantly Supply side Classical Economy types that were combating the failing new Keynesian and Marxist economics of the time.
    Again, I could be wrong.

  43. On the tyres: foolish indeed.

    Mr Jumpy, I believe you are wrong about one thing.
    As far as I can see, neither the US nor the UK were implementing “Marxist” economic policies before Mrs Thatcher or President Reagan took power.

    My interpretation of Marxist economics would encompass any of these (taking cues also from Lenin, Stalin, Mao, et al)

    Full State ownership of all enterprises
    Agricultural collectives
    Seizure of large rural estates
    Seizure of mansions, and private property

    We could then add:
    Forced labour
    Abolition of worker unions
    Starvation of the “kulaks”

    Now Mr Jumpy, please correct my lack of historical knowledge, and point out where Britain or the USA did amything like those.

  44. Jumpy: The Frazer government with John Howard as treasurer struggled with stagflation because because it did not respond to the Keynesian economics that had kept the world out of trouble for yonks.
    In Aus the stagflation my take was that the unions expected they had made under Hawke’s union leadership to be protected from the effects of inflation while business thought it was OK to increase prices in response to union wage increases. The result was spiraling inflation without the economic stimulus that comes from increases in real wages that reflect growing productivity. Hawke as prime minister was able to end stagflation because he had the credibility with the unions to introduce the Accord with its productivity related pay increases.
    When Howard got into power he was still blaming the unions for stagflation and set out to successfully reduce union power to the extent where the workers can now be screwed with impunity and the economy is stalled because the workers are not being paid enough.

  45. My understanding is that they were predominantly Supply side Classical Economy types that were combating the failing new Keynesian and Marxist economics of the time.
    Again, I could be wrong.

    You are.

  46. Mr A

    Mr Jumpy, I believe you are wrong about one thing.
    As far as I can see, neither the US nor the UK were implementing “Marxist” economic policies before Mrs Thatcher or President Reagan took power.

    You don’t think the Union movement at the time, that are the heart and soul of UK Labour and US Dems, was very heavily influenced by Marxist/ communist ideology ?

    Funnily enough, as you point out, unions are a prominent casualty of that ideology.

    It’s said Lenin refered to those folk as “ useful idiots “

  47. You don’t think the Union movement at the time, that are the heart and soul of UK Labour and US Dems, was very heavily influenced by Marxist/ communist ideology ?

    Doesn’t alter the fact that

    … neither the US nor the UK were implementing “Marxist” economic policies before Mrs Thatcher or President Reagan took power.

    Or are you claiming Nixon, Ford and Carter were communist stooges?

  48. John
    Fraser didn’t do SFA to the economy till 1976, Australia was experiencing stagflation by 1972.

    You may want to reexamin the economic mess Whitlam was responsible for.

  49. Whitlam’s economic record was badly damaged by the OPEC crisis, a crisis he had nothing to do with.
    He also started dismantling the tarrif built up by the Libs. didn’t help him in Tas where it really damaged the the fabric industry.

  50. Bilb: Never heard of the Lima agreement before. What I found when I googled it was that Whitlam signed in 1975 near the end of his reign. Can’t see that it had anything with the OPEC crisis which was driven by oil countries wanting a bigger return for their oil.
    Floating currencies, free trade agreements and the WTO extremists and the free trade is good mantra have made it hard for manufacturers in places like Aus.
    My first job was associated with the Newcastle steelworks which directly employed about 10,000 at the time.
    These days steelmaking in Aus is a little one blast furnace operation struggling on in Whyalla.

  51. Geoff Whitlam began dismantling tarrifs and Australia’s import lisencing as a result of the Lima agreement I can remember the time clearly. I had to ring a LNP ex MP family friend to get the name of the agreement though. He will give you chapter and verse about what it was what it meant and what were the cobsequences. The first casualties and immediately so were our clithing and shoe industries, then industries just continued to tumble as taffifs wre progressively reduced.

  52. Interesting, BilB.

    At the time, I thought the overnight reduction of tariffs was a step towards exposing Australian industry to more competition. The theory being that rising imports of manufactured goods would tend to make Aussie firms more efficient if they wished to stay in business rather than go bankrupt.

    Thought it was a Whitlam special, with strong support from some economists and newspaper editorials. I wasn’t aware that the Peruvians had any part to play.
    😉

    For the following several years it was all about “footwear, clothing and textiles” with old factories in Fitzroy and Brunswick closing down.

    ***
    Jumpy at 6.20pm.
    I have no doubt that many oil producing Muslim states in 1974 had anti-Israeli governments. But OPEC wasn’t comprised solely of Muslim states.

    And the price jump was generally seen as a cash grab. I was sentient in 1973, and can’t recall any commentary that this was a blow being struck against pro-Israeli European or North American governments.

    But …. show us your evidence..

    Meanwhile, in late 1974 the lure of borrowing from the mountains of “petro-dollars” led Ministers Whitlam, Connor, and Murphy (with Treasurer Cairns tagging along) to enter certain negotiations….

    And the rest was scandal, disaster and no loans.

  53. Had a quick peek at your link Mr J.
    They lost me before the first sentence was completed.

    The Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, forsooth.

    Do they mean OAPEC???
    Never heard of it.

    And what was Venezuela doing as a founding member? Fine Latin American Muslim nation that it is!!

    Remember, it wasn’t Senor Hugo Chavez.

    He was the Emir H’uqo Sh’afets al Arabi’ya; may his name be forever blessed by Allah. Soon to open a Sh’afets mosque in a suburb near you, Mr J.

  54. Ambi, the Lima agreement was so named because the United Nations (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation) sponsored meeting was held in that city. My impression from the time was that the US wanted to involve China with the West to lure them away from Russian influence, but that might have just been one journalists take on it. I was told that Malcolm Fraser also signed the agreement.

  55. For chuckles click on the link for OAPEC on the page Jumpy linked to. The first line is “Not to be confused with OPEC.”
    So all this time we’ve been labouring under the delusion that OPEC was the villain of the piece in 1973, when it was actually OAPEC all along.
    😀 😀 😀

  56. I started work in the bad old days when we had the bad old protected economy. Unemployment was below 2%. The big problem in my final year was working out what I wanted to in the justified assumption that I could get any paying traineeship or scholarship that I wanted. (I got both)
    I didn’t know anybody who didn’t get a job when they left school even though I knew plenty of people who were not very well educated and came from poor families.
    My take is still that it may have been smarter to try and fix the problems with protection instead of dumping the lot for something that contained the word “free” and pissed off the oldies who had lived through world wars and a depression.
    We still haven’t got back to the unemployment rates we had when I started work.

  57. John, my experience was similar. How lucky we were to benefit from Jumpy’s “failing Keynesian and Marxist economics”.

  58. John

    I started work in the bad old days when we had the bad old protected economy. Unemployment was below 2%.

    And you’ve trotted out this anecdote every time you reminisce about tariffs and trade barriers as if that were primarily responsible.
    If you tell us the year we can look at other causative effects of the time.
    How about female workforce participation. I believe there was an attitude that married women shouldn’t be employed, even a ban on them working in Public Sevice.
    Perhaps being unemployed is more attractive now with ever increasing “ entitlements “
    Maybe technology has advanced so fast it hasn’t replaced the number of redundant jobs with new ones.
    Even the way Unemployment rates are calculated may have changed.

    Perhaps you could give us the year and we can directly compare all the variables to now.
    My mind is open to what we find.

  59. Mr J, in your epistle to John: too many factors to unravel causation, don’t you think?

    Let’s just say that high tariffs and state owned enterprises were not associated, in the golden 1960s, with lack of full-time jobs for men.

    FWIW, Jumpy, I reckon the current definition of “not unemployed” in this land of rugged mountain ranges, is a bit skew whiff. What is it? Working for one hour or more every week??

    Does your open mind think that’s reasonable?

  60. Mr A
    It’s complex no doubt.
    In fact tariffs and trade barriers could have had a net negative effect on employment but for other positive effects may have combined to overcome them.

  61. FWIW, Jumpy, I reckon the current definition of “not unemployed” in this land of rugged mountain ranges, is a bit skew whiff. What is it? Working for one hour or more every week??

    Does your open mind think that’s reasonable?

    Absolutely.

  62. JohnD,

    Your tale is true. That was my experience too. We could scan the Herald Classifieds, pick out ten jobs and get them all in those days.

  63. I might have confused you with negatives Mr Jumpy. Do you really think a person who is working only one hour a week is
    not unemployed?

    If so, what would you call them?
    “A tad underemployed”?
    “the working poor”?
    “huddled masses yearning to be free”?

    Or the sort of neighbours who were irritating you a few years ago?

  64. Mr A
    You said,

    I reckon the current definition of “not unemployed” in this land of rugged mountain ranges, is a bit skew whiff.

    I agree, what’s the confusion?

  65. And before I hit the fart sack I ask 1 more thing, does anyone think their wonderful fortune of having abundant employment opportunities was primarily because of high tariffs and trade restrictions ?

    I doubt it but feel free to educate me on how that worked.

    G’nite.

  66. Jumpy: Look at the post war period up till say 1973 to see what effect a number of policies including tariffs had on employment and growth. We never got back to those unemployment figures.
    A number of things contributed to the governments and industries attitudes:
    All the leaders would have lived through a major depression and a world war. (Gough was the last PM that had fought in the war (Fighter pilot.)
    It was widely believed that post WWI unemployment had contributed to the rise of Nazi Germany.
    Our leaders were all scared by the rise and rise of communism and feared this would lead to WW3 or at least the takeover of Australia by the communists.
    The exchange rate was closely controlled.
    Menzies strongly supported the growth of university.
    Failing to pay award wages was not an option.
    We had strong unions that were willing to go on strike when it suited them.
    Most of the workers owned, or were paying off houses. (Bank housing loans were limited to what could be repaid by 25% of the husbands earnings.)
    Businesses believed they had a responsibility to train their workers.
    I didn’t know anyone who could only get unpaid work either.

  67. Mr J

    I asked a question: do you think terming a person who is working only one hour a week
    *Not unemployed*
    is reasonable?

    That’s all.

    (Not a large point in the context of discussing social welfare, tariffs, nationalised industries and the Menzies Govt support for an expansion of university duration.)

  68. …does anyone think their wonderful fortune of having abundant employment opportunities was primarily because of high tariffs and trade restrictions ?

    Of course not, but the neoliberal promise that abolishing protection would improve everybody’s life was a lie.

  69. Mr A
    I read your,

    FWIW, Jumpy, I reckon the current definition of “not unemployed” in this land of rugged mountain ranges, is a bit skew whiff. What is it? Working for one hour or more every week??

    Does your open mind think that’s reasonable?

    as stating that you think the current definition of “ not unemployed “ was skew whiff.
    I will agree for the 3rd time.

    To the question you think you asked,

    do you think terming a person who is working only one hour a week
    *Not unemployed*
    is reasonable?

    No, I do not.

  70. Jumpy: It is all very well for someone from the construction industry like you to sneer about tariffs. the construction work you do has to be done in Aus.
    On the other hand, a business making steel in Aus for the Australian market can has to compete with imports. To make matters worse for the steelmaker the marginal cost of producing steel is quite low because steelmaking is capital intensive. This means an overseas competitor can dump steel into the Aus market at prices that are too low for the Aus steelmaker to make enough to justify their investment. Even worse an aggressive competitor can sell at even less than the marginal cost for a while with the aim of driving the Aus producer out of business. (Sure there are anti-dumping laws but these take yonks to bring a successful outcome.)
    The Aus producers challenge got even harder when Keating floated the currency. Over recent yrs the $Aus has ranged from in value from less than $US 0.50 to over $US 1.00. That is enough to range from obscenely profitable to despairingly unprofitable.
    Then there are transport costs. GM was praising cheap transport that allowed imported hot water systems to be imported from Japan. What he didn’t say was that we used to produce hot water heaters in Aus using Australian raw materials. (The Japanese HWS are still produced using Australian raw materials but transport distances and emissions per HWS have grown enormously.
    I don’t like the old tariff system because they would not be very effective now that the currency has been floated and the size of the tariff often reflected the extent to which something was produced in marginal seats.
    Will get around to setting out what I think should be happening when the current downsizing project is completed.

  71. Will get around to setting out what I think should be happening when the current downsizing project is completed.

    I look forward to it.

  72. Jumpy:
    Workers protected by tariffs are better off unless there are plenty of good alternative jobs.
    Businesses that sell to people whose jobs are protected by tariffs are better off.
    People whose jobs are not affected by tariffs are worse off financially because of tariffs.
    Higher levels of unemployment and acquaintances losing jobs make people feel insecure.

  73. John

    Workers protected by tariffs are better off unless there are plenty of good alternative jobs.

    Ok, I’ll go with that but it’s a small government selected minority who do very well at the expense of the rest of us ( “ us “ being not targeted , the rests of us pay more regardless of income )

    Businesses that sell to people whose jobs are protected by tariffs are better off.

    No, businesses what higher quality and lower cost constantly because we compete on value. If a customer demands Australian tariff protected then be prepared to pay more. The majority don’t.

    People whose jobs are not affected by tariffs are worse off financially because of tariffs.

    No, everyone is affected by tariffs financially to the negative. Even without dealing with the retaliatory tariffs that are inevitable.

    Higher levels of unemployment and acquaintances losing jobs make people feel insecure.

    I agree but tariffs are but a tiny slice of that pie.

    Just think of the consequences if we put a 80% tariff on every import.
    What ? 80% is to high?
    What level should it be and what industries my central planning friend ?

    ( stand by folks, John is about to agree with Trump )

  74. ( stand by folks, John is about to agree with Trump )

    As opposed to Jumpy agreeing with Trump, the usual state of affairs.

  75. Anyone that thinks I agree with Trump on tariffs either hasn’t read what I’ve written or has a motive to misrepresent my position.
    It’s unfortunate when such crap occurs but that’s out of my hands.
    I wish it wasn’t so.

    G’nite all.

  76. Oops, I owe Jumpy an apology.
    My comment at 6:45pm merely notes that Jumpy agrees with Mr Trump on most issues, which is self evidently true.
    However my comment at 7:22pm is poorly formed and seems to imply that he agrees with Individual 1 regarding tariffs, an unconscionable slander.
    This was not my intention and I sincerely apologise for any hurt Mr Jumpy may have suffered as a result of my sloppy English. I hope he can find it in his heart to forgive this unfortunate slur on his character.

  77. Jumpy: I said above that:

    I don’t like the old tariff system because they would not be very effective now that the currency has been floated and the size of the tariff often reflected the extent to which something was produced in marginal seats.
    Will get around to setting out what I think should be happening when the current downsizing project is completed.

    I agree with Trump that countries like China were/are weakening the US by taking advantage of the free trade rules to create a large trade imbalance that was driving up US debt to the point where the debt to China was part of the cause of the GFC.
    Don’t agree with Trump re the way he is going about it, and a range of other things. Something more thoughtful is required to improve the world trade system. Certainly don’t like tariffs.
    They are the product of lazy economists who think that manipulating prices is the answer to everything.
    Don’t agree with your point of view which seems to be that “it is OK for people other than me to lose their jobs as long asI am better off.

  78. John
    China is not taking advantage of free trade rules, they are spitting in their face by manipulating their Yen value, faking all their economic indices and applying tariffs up the wazoo. It’s a centrally controlled state.
    As for,

    Don’t agree with your point of view which seems to be that “it is OK for people other than me to lose their jobs as long asI am better off.

    coming from a Bloke that secured a lovely retirement via the fossil fuel industry but now wants those in it now to lose their jobs.
    Forgive me for not taking you seriously on that front.

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