The sun came up on Sunday morning after the election, and has continued to do so ever since. So perhaps there was not a fundamental tear in basic fabric of reality as seemed to be the case on Saturday the night. So how is the rest of the world getting along?
1. Why smart people do stupid things?
That seemed an apt question to ask on Sunday 19 May 2019, when many, many smart voters had just voted against their own best interests. ABC RN’s Lynne Malcolm interviewed David Robson, author of The Intelligence Trap: Why smart people do stupid things and how to make wiser decisions which tells us how very clever people went ridiculously wrong, as well as giving readers a tool kit so that “we will benefit from wielding our minds with insight, precision, social sensitivity and humility.”
Perhaps all candidates for election should learn and be tested on this tool kit before being deemed eligible to stand.
We are told that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, inventor of the supremely logical character Sherlock Holmes and medical doctor, was hopeless. He was inclined to believe in fairies, and easily duped. His friend Harry Houdini tried to knock some sense into him, but Sir Arthur returned the favour by writing an article saying Houdini was in fact a paranormal being himself, who was trying to cover up the existence of magic in the world so he could keep that a secret.
Then there was the brilliant US biologist and chemist Kary Mullis who shared the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, but believed in astrology, UFOs and alien abductions. He was also a prominent AIDS denialist, completely denying the link between the HIV virus and AIDS.
The following researched fact could improve all public policy decision-making:
- researchers have found … that the collective intelligence of groups of mostly women is much higher than the collective intelligence of groups with more men in or with, say, a 50-50 split. And it seems to be because of this cultural attitude that some men have that they will dominate the conversation in that way, and it actually just reduces the performance of everyone around them.
A compromise may be that you can have men in the group, but not in numbers, and they should only speak when spoken to by women, who are seen as the real deal.
2. Theresa May to exit over Brexit
Theresa May has finally given up and resigned, effective from 7 June, with her successor to be chosen by the end of July, in time to achieve a Brexit plan by the immovable deadline of 31 October.
Nicholas Allen tells how it all went wrong.
Her achievements including calling an election in which she lost her majority but clung to power, faced down an internal party vote of no confidence, won a parliamentary vote of no confidence and lost 36 ministers while failing multiple times to get a Brexit plan approved by parliament.
She has established that most want a negotiated exit, but no actual plan has achieved a parliamentary majority. Her first was rejected by a stunning margin of 230 votes — the largest defeat for a prime minister in modern British history. The country itself is hopelessly divided.
British Steel has now collapsed, putting more than 4,000 jobs directly at risk and threatening a further 20,000 in the company’s supply chain:
- Insolvency experts labelled British Steel’s demise as the “first heavyweight casualty of Brexit” and warned of a “tsunami effect” that would result in taxpayers footing a significant bill.
3. Julian Assange was right to be afraid of US courts
I collected enough material to do a post, but probably won’t. The best single account is probably Julian Assange – victim or villain?
Yanis Varoufakis has been a friend of Assange and has visited him many times in the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he was holed up for nearly seven years. He says that Assange understood that he needed to answer for what he did in Sweden. It’s just that the Swedish justice system has been a revolving door for extradition to the US. Varoufakis is concerned, not just about the implications for journalists, but also about the reach of the American justice system outside its borders.
There was also an extended account of how Assange got into the mess he found himself in by Rodney Tiffin – Imperfect storm – written in 2011.
I’m not a fan of Assange, either in his personal behaviour or his ‘professional’ mission. However, there is a problem about how America uses its power in its assumed role of leader of the ‘free’ world.
My understanding is that Assange was neither a journalist, nor a publisher, just a drop box where publishers could pick up stuff and use at their discretion. Nothing essentially evil about that, except the source was supposed to be confidential and blind to the publishers, which is not how you do good journalism.
However, he was clearly irresponsible, to say the least, in his interactions with women.
4. Youth disaffection with politics and everything
People aged 17-36 now make up 40% the Australian workforce. Those aged 17-25 are called ‘Gen Z’ while those aged 25-36 are the ‘Millenials’. Deloitte have done a world survey, reported here on Radio National, there’s more here, and here.
Climate change is their single biggest concern of both groups.
Only 37% have confidence in the economy, but only 19% in Australia.
- Only 26 percent of global respondents expect the economic situation in their countries to improve in the coming year. That figure has never been lower than 40 percent since Deloitte started the survey eight years ago.
Economic optimism is even worse at home. Only 19 percent of Australian millennials and 20 percent of Gen Zs think the economic outlook will improve. This is down from 2018, when 34 percent of Australian millennials believed the economic situation would improve.
Both generations’ outlook on leadership is also pessimistic. Political and religious leaders are among the least trusted sources of reliable and accurate information within Australia (11 and 13 percent respectively). Whereas leaders of NGOs and not-for-profit organisations are among the most trusted sources (25 percent).
I’ll leave it to you to contemplate how we got to where we are. On election day the young man at the local convenience store, ethnically Indian with an accent, asked me on election day whether tomorrow would be a brand new day or more of the same. I told him what I hoped for, and he seemed pleased with that.
Who can blame the young for being disaffected.
Sorry, I wanted to stay away from politics.
That link was to Reuters:
- U.S. President Donald Trump, three of his children and the Trump Organization on Friday appealed a court order allowing Deutsche Bank AG and Capital One Financial Corp to hand their financial records over to Democratic lawmakers.
They are asking the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan to overrule U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos, who on Wednesday refused to block the banks from responding to subpoenas issued last month by two U.S. House of Representatives committees.
“We remain committed to providing appropriate information to all authorized investigations and will abide by a court order regarding such investigations,” Deutsche Bank spokeswoman Kerrie McHugh said in an emailed statement.
Andrew Romano told Sarah Macdonald on ABC Nightlife the story in brief. Trump’s financial records to 1998 are available to 1998, showing he lost record amounts of money. Then he got a significant loan from Deutsche Bank. The loan went bad, but DB was persuaded to double down on it and lend him more. The total amounts are in the order of $2 billion. DB has suffered real and reputational damage.
Romano did not say so, but others have said that Trump has benefitted from a relationship with at least one Russian oligarch. I’d say, watch this space.
Taiwan became the first place in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage last Friday after a long-awaited bill passed 66 to 27 in the self-ruling island’s constitutional court, granting same-sex couples some of the same rights available to heterosexual married couples.
Jennifer Lu, chief coordinator of Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan, told the ABC that Australian Yes campaigners significantly strengthened the island’s fight for marriage equality.
The coalition’s social media campaign “What Love Has Taught Us” was modelled on Australia’s Yes campaign, which promoted videos of personal life stories from Australia’s LGBT community.