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Weekend reflections

September 1st, 2006

Weekend Reflections is on again. Please comment on any topic of interest (civilised discussion and no coarse language, please). Feel free to put in contributions more lengthy than for the Monday Message Board or standard comments.

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  1. what the
    September 1st, 2006 at 10:11 | #1

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/08/25/wpakistan25.xml

    This recent newspaper article is why I dislike these bastards. This is a war against real, live and ugly social conditioning arising unsurprisingly from segregated, and therefore, sick societies.

    It gets up my nose that glittering, be-suited women in NSW get together and present the pathetic “Ernie Awards” for sexism here in Sydney when THIS is happening. They should be exposing all instances of poisonous behaviour IF their precious little human rights really are as universal as they have always claimed to suckers like me. Hypocrites.

    Mary Wollstoncraft would turn in her grave at her so-called “sisters”.

    And their gutlessness is precisely why our fearless feminists are so marginalised intellectually and basically ignored by so many women today. All one can deduce is that they never really believed what they preached so stridently to their soft western audiences.

    There is simply no more room in reality for their post-modern claptrap and worse, the harsh silence of feminism. They need to shove over (or continue hiding from, it seems) real thinkers like Dr Wafa Sultan and many other clear minded people who spot the difference between a few chauvinist artefacts and real, tangible organised threats to women.

    Recalling “To Kill A Mockingbird” (with thanks to Annaqed) when Scout is watching her father in the courtroom and a person nearby whispers a quick order “Stand, for your father is passing”. Well, I think these days someone ought to tell our pointless female bureaucrats of Sydney-style “feminism” and the idiot expat Greer et al. that they should now come to their feet for Wafa Sultan is passing.

    Excuse my coarse language, as per posting rules, but extreme and regular examples of male attitude and behaviour like this prompts coarse reflection if only because of mere disbelief.

  2. September 1st, 2006 at 11:08 | #2

    I hear on the news there is a kerfuffle about sales of cricket tickets on e-bay. I have no interest in sport but I am interested in the scalping issue.

    Personally I have bought off scalpers at below face price, Bruce Springsteen in NYC, and above face price, Peter Tosh NYC and at face price (apparently not illegal here) – all times I was satisfied and appreciative of the service.

    I can’t really see a problem with scalping unless there is a lack of transparency about initial ticket allocation. I have a suspicion that the reason many organisations are against scalping is that there is a hidden distorted market in tickets and essentially a lot of scalping is by “insider trading” within the organisation and this lack of transparency is what the organisation against scalping are defending.

    I seem to remember it being discussed on these blogs around here. Has anybody got a decent collection of links to writings about the issues with re-selling tickets / scalping?

  3. September 1st, 2006 at 12:41 | #3

    What the, maybe its a ‘fatwa’ thing! see

  4. Smiley
    September 1st, 2006 at 13:14 | #5

    There was a story on four corners a few weeks ago that covered the execution of a 16 year old girl in Iran, for having sex out of wedlock. The prosecuting judge supplied evidence to the supreme court indicating that the girl was 22 years old. Unfortunately the truth of the case was that one of the judges buddies had been running a child prostitution ring, and wanted the girl silenced. They even dug up her body immediately after she was buried, and reburied her in an unknown location, to hide the evidence.

    It’s hard not to get angry when you hear of things like this going on. I guess we have to be glad that most western societies have grasped the idea of the separation of church and state.

    This segues into something else that I wanted to mention. I picked up a copy of Robyn Williams’s new book “Unintelligent Design” from an ABC shop a few weeks ago, and have just completed it. I actually read it twice, to make sure I didn’t miss any of the arguments. There are numerous quotes in this book that are well worth the $18 price. The quote at the beginning of chapter 9 is a classic.

    Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities – Voltaire.

    But the following statement (by Robyn) from chapter 8 sums up the whole argument for me:

    “A success for ID in infiltrating schools would be yet one more victory for relativism – the conviction that we ‘consume’ knowledge like consumers in a supermarket. We are encouraged no longer to make the effort to think our way through issues but, instead, to insist on our right to choose according to fashion or the requirements of our tribal allegiance. Welcome to the marketplace of ideas. Jefferson must be thrashing in his grave.”

  5. what the
    September 1st, 2006 at 17:19 | #6

    indeed, weekbyweek ….it all just defies belief.

  6. September 1st, 2006 at 18:04 | #7

    I love these RWDBs who suddenly embrace vehement (pseudo) “feminism” when they think it can further their agenda. Nowhere to be seen supporting the cause in any other feminist issues. Oh, and western feminists should shut up because they all have it too easy. Never heard that one trotted out before :-/
    Ditto the “so and so hasn’t blogged/written/spoken about such and such, so they are TOTALLY ON TEH SIDE of the oppression of their developing world sisters” one. RWDB mantra #897…

    Heard of IWDA, Whatthe? Why not sling some bucks their way, while you educate yourself on feminism and try to come up with something a little more original?

  7. sdfc
    September 1st, 2006 at 22:46 | #8

    What a crappo trade perfromance.

  8. Mike Hart
    September 1st, 2006 at 23:14 | #9

    Interesting trade figures indeed. The deficit growth continues and not even the greatest export boom via resources is curing the issue. Noted that the trade deficit as negative number is increasing and that we are now seem to be over 6% of GDP and increasing. This seems to be about what the net external debt is a percentage of GDP give or take a few points. An interesting coupling appears to be occuring here. Let’s hope the international speculators don’t decide to short the currency, could make life very messy here in Oz. RBA reckons our Banks are not being imprudent sourcing funds OS but then with a negative saving rate, they have no choice really. Again risk has been transferred to the private sector borrower (That’s the mums and dads).

    Seems the PM would rather have a diversion from the numbers by whistling up discontent amongst the great leaveraged masses against religious difference and a specious dogfight about cellular research. Oh dear! Still probably better than the twaddle he puts out spruiking for the fossil fuel lobby.

  9. September 2nd, 2006 at 00:06 | #10

    What about a chat about industrial relations, especially the contribution of Bill Hutt who punctured a number of left/labour/Labor myths? Don’t be put off just because the paper was prepared for the H R Nicholls Society.

    Let’s see how many people are up to the task of re-examining some of their deeply held beliefs in the light of an alternative point of view and some considered arguments.

    http://www.hrnicholls.com.au/nicholls/nichvo27/champion2006.pdf

    “Even supporters of the centralized Australian system such as Keith Hancock know that the only way to improve the position of the workers at large is by way of increased productivity. This means that responsible unions will work enthusiastically with management to lift productivity by implementing improved work practices and new technologies. That is likely to reduce the need for personnel on site for the time being and that has prompted the unions to protect jobs in the short term rather than implement improved practices. Where unions succeed in that aim there is a cost in job creation both upstream and downstream from overmanned and inefficient sites. Progress occurs through the creation and destruction of jobs and the main game is to make both of those processes as painless as possible without cramping productivity and efficiency.”

    “During the Industrial Revolution the cure of the problem (of poverty) was misdiagnosed as the cause. In Hutt’s words: ‘This remarkable upward adjustment in standards and hopes, reflecting a new humanitarianism, could well be regarded as emergent capitalism’s outstanding attribute. So rapidly did the new (although partial) economic freedom cause people to change their judgments about what was tolerable that, in doing so, it caused the very forces which were currently eradicating condemned conditions to be blamed for the existence of those conditions.’ This remarkable inversion of the truth calls for more extended treatment and some preliminary thoughts are offered in the Appendix “The Lion and the Ostrichâ€?. Part of the explanation was the negative attitude of the landed gentry towards the new class of industrial entrepreneurs. The Tories hated the factories and industrial development just as much as the radicals of the labour movement and they equally misunderstood the principles of economic growth. Consequently both conservatives and radicals promulgated the same mythology regarding the industrial revolution. To indicate the deeply entrenched antipathy of the gentry towards trade and paid employment of all kinds, it helps to recall the distinction between paid professional cricketers (“playersâ€?) and the unpaid “gentlemenâ€?. The two groups had separate dressing rooms and often came onto the field of play through different gates until this residue of feudal class distinctions was officially abolished at the end of the 1962 season.”

    “The genteel middle classes and especially the literarati came to share the views of the aristocracy and the radical critics of trade and industry. Charles Dickens is just one of a galaxy of writers, poets, cultural commentators and even historians who failed to understand the nature of the processes that were at work and misrepresented either explicitly or by implication the reasons for the comparatively tough living conditions of the factory workers and other urban dwellers. The comparison is important because the baseline was usually the situation of the well to do, or else a sentimental and unrealistic image of the lifestyle of rural villagers and farm workers.”

    “The acceptance of trade union violence is one of the great blemishes on the face of the western democracies. The tolerance that is extended to trade unionists in that respect (and not generally to common criminals) reflects the hold on the popular imagination that is exerted by the mythology of the labour movement. This was very clear during the waterfront dispute of recent memory when the liberal intelligentsia and sympathetic commentators in the media lined up to support the wharfies without blinking an eye over the potentially lethal violence that they were using. The ultimate absurdity of their stance was demonstrated by the suggestion or implication that the substitute dockworkers were equipped with balaclavas and dogs in order to inflict violence instead of the real reason which was to save themselves and their families from violent retribution.”

    “In 1956 a Merseyside dispute between joiners and metal-workers about who should drill the holes in aluminium sheets led to a strike which lasted six months and attracted national attention. It was regarded as a kind of music hall joke, an endearing quaintness of characters out of Dickens. Two years later,The Times reported that four hundred men had to be dismissed as redundant, eleven thousand were threatened with the same fate, that production on three vessels and a submarine had to be postponed indefinitely because the boiler-makers and the drillers could not agree who was entitled to use five stud-welding guns designed to weld nuts and thimbles to metal plates. It then transpired that the use of this quick and efficient method had been prevented by this dispute between the two unions for the last twelve years.”

  10. Smiley
    September 2nd, 2006 at 04:37 | #11

    Rafe,

    I think that a few comments need to be made here to balance your lop-sided arguments.

    Firstly, I don’t think that unions have the monopoly on using violence to achieve their desired outcomes. Let’s not forget that intimidation, physical violence, deprivation of liberty and exploitation of child labour have been a trademark of slave drivers and their later day equivalents (the economic rationalists) for millennia.

    Insisting that someone in Asia works in a sweat shop for $2 a day to produce shoes (or clothing) that are sold for $150 a pop in Western countries would hardly seem like a fair deal (or a sign of economic development). And while it is not stated in your post, it is implicit in the arguments of many economic rationalists, that western societies need to regress back to this sort economic barbarism in order to compete.

    But hold on a second I hear you say… You stated that “improving the position of the workers at large is by way of increased productivityâ€? and used the example of the industrial revolution as the mechanism that improved the quality of life for many of the rural poor in western societies. Sure, child labour was outlawed during the industrial revolution, but it didn’t stop us from trying to exploit it in third world countries over a century later.

    What exactly are you trying to suggest with this line of argument anyway? Are you suggesting that we should industrialize even further? Maybe we can produce nick-nacks for China. Maybe we can discover some of that “abiotic oil� to accelerate our economic growth.

    By attempting to dismantle the individuals’ choice to use collective bargaining, (your boss decides if you can have union representation), it looks very suspiciously like the ultimate goal of the federal government is to remove a workers right to choose. I thought liberalism was all about choice.

    Sure the unions can come up with some arguments that can only be classified as doozies. The demarcation dispute (as was mentioned in your post), is a classic. But some of the arguments from trained economists (or economic rationalists) can also be quite preposterous. The idea that you can grow your economy indefinitely, at a sustained rate, within a system of limited resources, is outrageous. Sshh… better keep that one quiet.

    Arguments about keeping the wage of the average Australian worker down (to stifle inflation) seem a little out of place when you consider that the federal government has been positively championing inflation in the housing sector over the last half decade. As I’ve argued before, it’s a bit late now to be arguing that point, the horse has already bolted.

    This economic trickery has all been based on the argument that all debt should be held in the private sector. Why is it alright for individuals to be in debt up to their eyeballs? If it isn’t seen as a good policy for governments, why is it alright for individuals? You still didn’t answer that question in your post. But maybe that was the purpose of your post. A bit of mis-direction.

  11. September 2nd, 2006 at 08:48 | #12

    Fracis: Scalping is just a blatant illustration of the failure of the model that most entertainment companies use for ticket sales.

    It’s basically a rationing. Those that get to the front of the queue get cheap tickets, and the ones that dont pay exhoirbitant prices to scalpers.

    All ticket companies would have to do is auction the tickets and they would all sell for a market clearing price. This is very easy to do with today’s technology, I have no idea why they don’t do it.

  12. September 2nd, 2006 at 09:55 | #13

    Floatilla for Water

    Sunday 3rd Sep, 10am – noon

    Launching point for canoes at:

    South Brisbane Sailing Club boat ramp,
    Hill End Terrace WEST END

    Speakers on alternatives to building new dams

    A great day out for the family!

    Bring a picnic or there are food stalls nearby at Regattafest.

    Registration form can be downloaded from http://www.savethemaryriver.com

    Any queries contact Glenda on 0411443589 or Tamielle on 0424533434

  13. Mike Hart
    September 2nd, 2006 at 10:16 | #14

    The weekend is here, as usual indulging in the obligatory saturday morning ritual, the papers, came to a conclusion about new and old media, there is no contest, there are no reasonably balanced papers left in OZ, which led to: I HAVE BOUGHT MY LAST AUSTRALIAN NEWSPAPER. The Australian has degenerated into a collection of hysterical rants that are now simply incomprehensible, if not farcical. I have no probs with a contradictory proposition to my own values but the old media forms in Australia represented by News Corp and closely followed by Faifax is now well and truly festooned with loons and charlatans and madmen. (Sorry Prof but the AFR reads like some breathless spin/advertising spiel for some fin adviser spruiking pipe dreams, gone is its balanced well research work) The money spent on the internet represents much better value. Adios the broadsheet. I will miss it. See you in Blog world.

  14. John Armour
    September 2nd, 2006 at 11:10 | #15

    The “f” word…(the GOP’s latest spin)

    If you substitute Bush/Rumsfeld’s amorphous “Islamofascists” for the Third Reich’s “Jews and Communists” who’s the fascist ?

    Fascism is not just jackboots, babies and bayonets, it’s the democracy destroying symbiosis between the corporation and the state.

    By any measure the US, especially under this administration, is well down that particularly nasty road.

  15. taust
    September 2nd, 2006 at 14:34 | #16

    Smiley;
    re the exploited of the world. If they were not being exploited what would they be doing?

    rw the ever expanding economy. What percentage of the Australian workforce depend directly for their income on the eploitation of natural resources other than human creativity?

  16. Smiley
    September 2nd, 2006 at 16:59 | #17

    taust:

    Do you actually think that sort of argument can have any traction? The sort of self-justifying hypocrisy where you feel it’s alright to say: “Some needs to exploit them, so why shouldn’t it be me.”

    What would they be doing?… Let’s see, what were they doing before? Ah yes, farming the land, living the agrarian lifestyle. Agrarian societies are in no way excluded from technological advancement, so please do try to push that dodgy argument.

    There was a Big Picture documentary aired on ABC TV back in 2004 (I think that it has been repeated since then) that covered the mystery of El Dorado (the legendary city of gold). It appears that our western agricultural sciences have much to learn from the practices of some the ancient societies. There is a link here:

    http://www.abc.net.au/tv/guide/netw/200403/highlights/226211.htm

    I thoroughly recommend this documentary, to anyone who hasn’t seen it.

    Smiley

  17. Smiley
    September 2nd, 2006 at 17:06 | #18

    Sorry,

    I obviously meant don’t. (paragraph two)

  18. taust
    September 2nd, 2006 at 23:26 | #19

    Smiley
    these people chose to go into the explotive situation. That tells you something about the conditions they were in prior to entering the exploitive situation.

    You value system may let you love an agragarian lifestyle they obviously have a different value system.

    Perhaps in the spirit of the old jibe to the communists if you like the agragarian lefestyle so much why do you not go there and live the wonderful life. (I am sure there are some who would swap places with you).

    On ABC radio this morning there was an interview (with Ross Garnaut if I remember correctly) saying there was already evidence for alabour shortage in China and that wages were beginning to go up.

    I think it is too soon after the Chinese Government forced Wal-Mart to let in the Government sponsered union for this to be a cause.

  19. what the
    September 3rd, 2006 at 08:24 | #20

    IWDA Helen? No doubt a good agency. The bureaucrats of feminism certainly use a lot of TLAs and tortured grammar. What is a RWDB? Who are you quoting?

    And anyway, the issue at stake is more RAWA then “Ernie” I would suggest.

  20. Smiley
    September 3rd, 2006 at 10:59 | #21

    taust

    And likewise. If you like the industrial complex so much, there’s nothing stopping you from going to China to work in a sweat shop… Is there? If there is a labour shortage, you should have no problems.

    Every lifestyle has its costs and benefits. It just depends what costs you are prepared to pay for. But, if someone else is paying the costs then your judgments (about the costs) are going to be biased. Maybe you’re one of those people who likes the benefits but is not prepared to pay the costs. A true hypocrite. Maybe we should swap ecological footprints, just to see who should be working in that sweat shop.

    I have heard stories of Africans who have been educated in elite English universities (payed for by their village), who, after a few years of working, have decided to go back to their village in Africa, because they could not stand the lifestyle.

    And while we’re talking about Wal-Mart… Michael Moore has a link to a nice little conspiracy theory on his site at the moment (he does not necessarily endorse it of course). For those of you who are interested, the link takes you to google with the search phrase:

    “johnny gosch” george bush

    http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&lr=&safe=off&client=safari&rls=en-us&q=%22johnny+gosch%22++george+bush&btnG=Search

    There is even an entry for Johnny Gosch in wiki.

    Anyhow, the part of the theory that I found interesting was that the reason why WalMart has been so successful, and has been allowed to import so much stuff from China, was because the Chinese government has some rather disturbing intelligence that could link a former president of the U.S. (and other elites) with a child prostitution ring.

    Of course this could all be pure propaganda. But it is an interesting theory none-the-less. It might help to explain why Dubya has been redacting so many government reports and classifying them as state secrets.

  21. taust
    September 3rd, 2006 at 12:57 | #22

    In the USA, having very large cohort of economists you occassionally get insightful analyses of real world issues.
    Today’s issue of Slate emagazine has one such article
    http://www.slate.com/id/2148583.

    An anlysis of teenage s** drives under different economic circumstances.

    JQ forgive me if this is unsuitable for this section.

  22. taust
    September 3rd, 2006 at 13:18 | #23

    Smiley;

    I do work in a sweat shop, albeit a sophisticated one. In return I get the market wages.

    This is the second boom I have been through and been able to take advantage of.

    In the 1980′s at the end of that boom one could get little wall pictures that said ‘pleas god send another boom. I promise not to p”"” this one away. I had to wait along time, but I am keeping my side of the bargain.

    I think my keeping to the bargaian is what is making this boom last a long time. How’s that for a good conspiracy theory.

  23. Smiley
    September 3rd, 2006 at 19:24 | #24

    taust:

    A sophistocated sweat shop? I would have thought that was an oxymoron.

    And booms are relative. Relative to the bust that follows. If the things you worked so hard for become worthless, then all that struggle may just have been in vain. No conspiracy here… Move along…

    Smiley.

  24. Jill Rush
    September 3rd, 2006 at 19:49 | #25

    Helen,
    It is an interesting argument that because women are brutalised and repressed in a nation such as Pakistan, by religious leaders, that women in Australia should not point out the absurd and sexist comments made in this country.

    Of course women in Australia have been appalled for many years at the idea that honour killings occur in Pakistan and have been part of the reason that protests have been made to the Pakistani leadership at the highest levels.

    Sexism is still very much a feature of life in Australia and it can be seen in the domestic violence figures and the high death rate for women who leave abusive partners. That many men in the public arena, who are otherwise seen as reasonable, make remarks and comments which are clearly derogatory of women is the lighter end of a much deeper seated problem. An award system points this out in a manner which is effective.

    Those who question why women may raise issues in their own backyard, rather than protest against real and dreadful circumstances in another country, generally exhibit an attitude to women which shows why women continue to protest about sexism in their own backyard.

  25. Smiley
    September 3rd, 2006 at 20:01 | #26

    taust:

    By the way I had a look at the article that you linked to. It was a very interesting read indeed.

  26. Seeker
    September 3rd, 2006 at 20:51 | #27

    I HAVE BOUGHT MY LAST AUSTRALIAN NEWSPAPER. The Australian has degenerated into a collection of hysterical rants that are now simply incomprehensible, if not farcical. Mike Hart

    I read almost every Weekend Oz, in detail, for nearly 25 years. It was my major source of general Oz news. About 3 years ago I gave up in disgust, for the same reasons as you. Spent the money I saved on a subscription to a good motorbike mag, and internet access, and have never regretted it. The only paper I buy now is the local rag once a week for the TV guide.

  27. Grace
    September 4th, 2006 at 18:57 | #28

    Good to see so many Aussies interested in the lack of human rights for women in Pakistan, Iran etc. You can actually DO something about it by supporting SAWA- Support Association for the Women of Afghanistan- http://www.sawa-australia.org
    Check it out and help them in a marvellous way by educating women and children–THE most important act towards women’s rights.

  28. stoptherubbish
    September 5th, 2006 at 10:39 | #29

    Rafe,
    With reference to your HR Nicholls rant, could you provide me with detailed and actual examples of ‘union violence’ that has been ‘tolerated’ for ‘too long’ and provide me with a list of those who have committed the sin of ‘toleration’ here? The fact is that the HR Nicholls society is nothing more than a stalking horse for the most extreme version of economic libertarianism coupled with a visceral hatred of unions that is hysterical and reactionary in its denunciations and accusations. The truth is that the HR Nicholls society regards collective organisation of any employees as anathema. So does the government, which is why it has ‘criminalised’ many aspects of traditional union action. This is why we are now seeing descriptions of normal collective activity by employees (and held to be normal and appropriate by those Marxists in charge of the ILO) described as ‘union violence’, and any objections raised to this description, or resistance to the prescriptions supported by the HR Nicholls society, described as ‘unacceptable support. Here is a prediction.

    It won’t be long before any and every employee who wishes/acts collectively with others and anyone who supports them, , will be labelled ‘terrorist’, and anyone who objects to this label, or who resists the implicaitons, as fellow travellers.

    Isn’t it wonderful the amount of sheer stupidity and rank opportunism that bucket loads of money liberally sprinkled about, is able to raise.

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