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Monday Message Board

July 20th, 2009

Its time once again for Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. As usual, civilised discussion and no coarse language.

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  1. philip travers
    July 20th, 2009 at 20:15 | #1

    The issue of Afghanistan and involvement reared its ugly head,after matters explosive Indonesia,and Hilary the Wife of Spiderman was in India doing some dead reckoning on behalf of the friendly relationship between them,where no doubt, the ability to buy American War hardware will mean they wont have to lease Russian.Mugs like Australia as buyer of subs couldn’t even stomach to lease a submarine off Russia at bargain basement lease prices.And whilst I was on an Indian Newspaper site,I found out that Indian scientists are not convinced enough research has taken place to justify agreeing with Climate Change Warming scenarios.I had to laugh out loud almost,a Eureka moment for my sanity.And I think Indian Scientists and technologists are exceptional,although listening to any Indian working for Telstra is well…a way to be intense.If only our Academic and other printer publishers used rice paper or even tawdry wheat to lower the price of books,I may have been a Engineer myself by now,and pushing the right buttons of progress..instead we have Rudd and the ABC Inventory Forgetory! Thank You.

  2. philip travers
    July 20th, 2009 at 20:17 | #2

    Oh!Dear! I forgot to put in Himalayas in the matter of scientific research!

  3. July 20th, 2009 at 21:46 | #3

    Phillip it is a careful statement to be sure as reported by Aarti Dhar in The Hindu but the suggestion is that there could be a problem:

    The experts told the meeting that there was no conclusive evidence to suggest that the rate of retreat of the Himalayan glaciers was being caused by climate change and that the rate of retreat was accelerating, since the period of observation was short.

    However, the experts pointed out that this did not mean that the health of the glaciers was improving and as evidence suggested that debris accumulation near snouts in some glaciers was significant.

    We might know more when the paper is published by the Ministry of Environment and Forests on 10 August.

  4. Michael of Summer Hill
    July 21st, 2009 at 01:21 | #4

    John, reports indicate that ‘low interest rates’ and ‘bankruptcies’ in America have been a major disaster for the pension funds and unless a miracle happens very soon the historic PBGC $33.5 billion deficit posted in May will balloon even higher. To make matters worse PBGC has announced that it will be taking over responsibility for the underfunded pension plan covering some 23,000 employees and retirees of Nortel Networks. Not a good sign.

  5. Michael of Summer Hill
    July 21st, 2009 at 11:10 | #5

    John, it has been reported that members of the Coonabarabran community were pissed off when they heard the bad news that the Coonabarabran’s Catholic high school was being closed down. Maybe it’s time Premier Rees does the wright thing and give a helping hand for the flippant Coalition are all talk and no action.

  6. Michael of Summer Hill
    July 21st, 2009 at 13:12 | #6

    Crikey John, contrary to what many pundits are saying about the NSW Premier, Rees is on top of the job for today he announced a new Australian film will be shot in NSW generating some 200 jobs and $60 million in economic activity. Thumbs up Rees.

  7. Michael of Summer Hill
    July 21st, 2009 at 20:28 | #7

    Crikey John, filibuster Wilson Tuckey is at it again this time ranting and raving about climate change without adding anything new to the debate. Someone should tell him Copenhagen is just around the corner.

  8. Alice
    July 21st, 2009 at 21:00 | #8

    Oh Michael – you are still doing it – prefacing ALL your comments with an address to JQ. Im inclined to agree with SJ – its kind of annoying – why dont you post a reply to those you dispute directly (as long as you dont start the post with “Crikey John” or “John – if I may reply to..” or end it with “thumbs up Rees”).

    You can see nothinh wrong with State Labor at all and In can and Im not a liberal voter either but be damned Im going to give my vote to the current incompetent incumbents who are more right wing than the liberals…

    Or maybe you dont have the ability to be criticial and are a lackey for the NSW ALP.

    I do agree with SJ.

  9. Michael of Summer Hill
    July 22nd, 2009 at 08:23 | #9

    Crikey Alice, would you vote for a schmuck who continuosly fails to get his facts wright and thinks Mass Steel is not a true blue aussie company.

  10. Fran Barlow
    July 22nd, 2009 at 12:12 | #10

    @philip travers

    On the question of Afghanistan it seems that Bob Brown alone amongst the political class has the courage to state the bleeding obvious. I wonder why that is.

    In the wake of the latest incident in Indonesia, the opinion shapers are out again doing their schtick. One can see the logic of the claim. Few people who care about the loss of human life like to believe that lives are being lost without good purpose and that goes especially for those who have lost friends and family in wars.

    The sentiment that “it was for a good cause” certainly mitigates the pain and even those of us who know it’s bollocks would probably be reluctant to put it as baldly to someone who had lost someone, but some delusions are also pernicious because they lay the foundations for more wrongdoing. If someone died in Afghanistan fighting for some good cause that was only achievable through accepting the risk of death, then presumably more have to take that risk with all that implies, both for the risk takers and the locals who, despite being at risk of becoming collateral damage, don’t get a say in it.

    What this underlines for me is one should refrain from getting entangled in military adventures that aren’t absolutely and plainly justifiable on the grounds of net public good. Sooner or later you will have to withdraw and if you haven’t won, then by definition almost everyone has lost.

  11. Alice
    July 22nd, 2009 at 12:28 | #11

    Well Crikey Michael – Im voting to destablise. I told you. Neither the libs or labour is getting my vote. Ive had enough of the right wing BS. They (state labour and the lib opposition in NSW) are both right wing schmucks..
    and actually as Fran moots at above, the most honest man in politics is Bob Brown.

  12. Fran Barlow
    July 22nd, 2009 at 12:47 | #12


    The trouble, Alice, is that at least at Federal level, you can’t vote for Bob without voting for either Kevin or (currently) Malcolm. You can try the Langer method, but although that yields a warm inner glow, we all know that one or other of the major parties will win, and so in essence, a Green voter has to hope that whoever wins is amenable to the pressure the Greens might exert, so at least implicitly, you are “voting” for at least one of the major parties, even if you aren’t doing it expressly.

  13. Michael of Summer Hill
    July 22nd, 2009 at 12:57 | #13

    Alice, are you saying the ‘extreme economic liberals amongst us’ are all schmucks.

  14. Alice
    July 22nd, 2009 at 15:58 | #14

    What does it sound like Michael? They are in each NSW party Michael. They have abandoned govt investment, are ignoring growing govt welfare (are the two connected?) keep trying to plug budget deficits with firesales of public assets…which then reduces employment…adds to government welfare…gives them a bigger govt deficit (ignore state and federal funding issues here…its still our taxes or charges either way)…gives the eco rationalist warriors something to complain about (growing welfare costs)…. gives the ordinary true beleiver something to whinge about (not enough services, not enough jobs and they dont want to be on welfare)…

    But the way things are going no one can see whats missing…and its the balls government need to take on some risk and some debt and actually invest to get things back on the right track.

    At the moment we are on the anorexic govt track and it will starve the damn lot of us…what good is a state surplus if its a piddlingly small surplus of piddling govt income against piddling outgoings…DOH.

    They may as well shrink themselves out of job and give it all to the C’Wealth. Thats the way I feel about NSW govt. They are a cost we dont need but they wont do that whileever their super and benefits is so grand.

    They will just keep donning hard hats and keep spinning in the media.

  15. Alice
    July 22nd, 2009 at 16:01 | #15

    I know Fran but where do I go. If this is a free market..where are my choices (in votes?)

  16. Fran Barlow
    July 22nd, 2009 at 16:42 | #16

    It’s Hobson’s choice I fear. I haven’t voted since the late 1970s and I doubt the circumstances will ever obtain in which I will.

  17. Alice
    July 22nd, 2009 at 17:41 | #17

    Fran – you have to put a vote somewhere to upend the bastards…somehow. look what happened to Obama? I reckon those who had given up came out in droves…

  18. Alice
    July 22nd, 2009 at 17:41 | #18

    Either that or we start our own women’s interests first party

  19. Fran Barlow
    July 22nd, 2009 at 18:00 | #19

    Distinction without difference, Alice

    Also I’m an old-fashioned lefty in this respect Alice. Sectoralism? No way!

    Anyhoo, it doesn’t avoid the problem. There are lots of groups in theory I could vote for, but really, you’re just legitimating the system without making a difference ATM. Under the current system the government always wins, as the anarchists say.

  20. Michael of Summer Hill
    July 22nd, 2009 at 18:16 | #20

    Sorry Alice but Rees is on the ball which cannot be said about the schmuck trying to get into office. So just be patient for the NSW economy will grow as more projects come online and employment picks up. Thumbs up Labor.

  21. Alice
    July 22nd, 2009 at 18:22 | #21

    Fran – what do call lefty these days anyway..every centrist gets called lefty. If it isnt extreme right, its lefty…this is so much garbage isnt it. I just call for balance and that means the government having an active but not majority or overwhelming role in the economy – ESPECIALLY in Australia. We are a measly, measly, measly 20 million person economy on the world stage. No volume in this market..who will come here to set up manufacturing or invest …NO ONE. Cant get econmomies of scale here and we are bloody miles from anywhere..might have been different if they colonised Darwin first as a major centre BUT they didnt. Add freaking high freight to thye mix and our governments are dreaming if they think the private sector will deliver enough jobs for a measly 20 mill population. Dreaming. Which is why (precisely why government needs to be more active with investment here…the lazy and incompetent bastards…they just dont think Fran – they will run the country down the drain before they wake up with one decent idea that didnt come from a political “how to” manual in their brains).

  22. Alice
    July 22nd, 2009 at 18:30 | #22

    Michael – I will kill you if you say “thumbs up Labor” one more time….I swear. NSW labor isnt the party my family voted for for I dont know how many generations. I do know my sweet grandmother (and she was the sweetest) voted labor ALL her life. My father and my grandmother would be turning in their grave at the antics of these idiots in NSW Labor.

    The Labor you get when you are a closet liberal?

    Ha. Michael – I probably have better labor ancestry than you and I would like to say to you…take your rose coloured glasses off and take a good long hard look at what you call Labor. Its a wold in sheeps clothing (and they even threw off the sheep costume).

    NSW labor let labor voters down over ten years ago Michael – they sold out their voters lomg ago.

    They are the worst of all…right wing…and turncoats.

  23. Alice
    July 22nd, 2009 at 18:31 | #23


  24. Alice
    July 22nd, 2009 at 18:45 | #24

    In fact Michael, I reckon NSW Labor has been infiltrated by right wing extremists if you must know…making them a lib right wing party by any other name. You are a hack vote propagandist with an empty sound (“thumbs up Rees”) or “just hang on Alice, hang in there…theyll come good” when they are as bad as a rotten apple (to the core).

    Look at that Buffoon Costa and how he makes a dime now…writing extreme right wing pieces for the right wing OZ. Give me a break Michael …the NSW Labor party worth voting for?

    Maybe if you belong to the Lowy family otherwise forget it. You dont fool me Michael. I know what you are up to in here (and its not speaking your real mind).

  25. Fran Barlow
    July 22nd, 2009 at 18:47 | #25

    Well in my case Alice, it means “left” in the “empower the working people of the planet to control production sense”. If I were in the centre I’d be voting.

    I’ve no problem with the concept of public investment. Certainly, at bthe infrastructure level, this is essential.

    The problem as I see it is that what we have now can’t possible under any circumstances morph into something one could call ‘inclusive governance’. As things stand, we have something that is a caricature of democracy. There’s no possibility at all that government will be run by honest competent people whose first concern is not the neds of the propertied elite. So the best we can hope for is that their bumbling doesn’t make too much of a mess and bring the whole idea of public policy into further disrepute.

    With people like Tripodi and Roozendale near it, you do wonder how that is going to work.

  26. Alice
    July 22nd, 2009 at 19:01 | #26

    I’ve no problem with the concept of public investment. Certainly, at bthe infrastructure level, this is essential.

    Its not happening on any relevant scale at either State or Federal level Michael.
    Rees job creation is scam. They announce 200 jobs (big deal) and it turns out the fine print dictates its only 400 and they are estimating the rest on “the multiplier effect” A multiplier of 5? In this environment? No damn WAY. The trouble is they think the voters are idiots and they are not collectively and they are going to feel that, so if I was any State Labor Minister right now Id be thinking seriously of defecting to the winning party.

    Unfortunately I still have no where to place my vote…so I will be as disruptive as I can.

    I commend you Michael…thats the first honest comment Ive heard you make. Roozendahl and Tripodi need to go for a start.

  27. Alice
    July 22nd, 2009 at 19:03 | #27

    2000 jobs

  28. Fran Barlow
    July 22nd, 2009 at 19:39 | #28

    I was the one speaking of Rooz and Trip going …

  29. Michael of Summer Hill
    July 22nd, 2009 at 19:47 | #29

    No Alice, Rees is not making things up for the $2.3 billion Epping to Chatswood Rail Link is now transporting over 10,000 people every day and the $3.6 billion investment in 626 new air-conditioned carriages is not a pipedream? Thumbs up Rees.

  30. Alice
    July 22nd, 2009 at 21:13 | #30

    Not nearly far enough Michael. The Chatswood to Epping rail link is cheaply built shoddy and poorly designed and has numerous problems…too steep an incline to go under the Lane Cove River…that was an atrocious mistake and to get it into perspective…it really connects only two major shpping centres and university and Im sure the shopping centres (and tehir owners) were more important to State Labors friends in high places than an improvement in general transport options.

    They need to finish the job. It is a rail line with two stops only… before it connects to an old rail line (Chatswood). A much hyped drop in a bucket of needed infrastructure.

    Thumbs down.

  31. Alice
    July 22nd, 2009 at 21:15 | #31

    Sorry Fran. I almost complimented Michael for his vision but it belongs to you…shame you dont vote Fran..we really need you.

  32. Alice
    July 22nd, 2009 at 21:18 | #32

    Oh and the carriages are running years late. They were supposed to arrive in 2008, then 2010 and now not before the next election (if ever……).

  33. Fran Barlow
    July 22nd, 2009 at 22:05 | #33


    Even if I did vote I’m in a blue ribbon seat (Epping), so it would make absolutely zero difference, and even if my seat were line ball, I’m not going to vote Liberal …

  34. Michael of Summer Hill
    July 22nd, 2009 at 22:26 | #34

    No Alice, the daily commuters on the Chatswood to Epping rail link would possibly give Rees a big tick and a big kiss. Keep up the good work Rees.

  35. SeanG
    July 23rd, 2009 at 07:14 | #35

    Alice #21,

    You have ignored the already large and growing role of the government in the economy. You cannot have it all – huge expenditure in infrastructure, social services, public services purely for employment rather than for actually providing services to people who need them let alone figuring out how to pay for it. How are you going to attract international investment where government activity crowds out debt capital financing in the markets? How are you going to maintain corporate competitiveness with higher taxes and interest rates?

  36. Alice
    July 23rd, 2009 at 08:14 | #36

    Australia doesnt attract sufficient private investment to keep us well employed simply because we dont have enough people here to give private firms a volume market to sell into. Ideological opposition to government investment just for the sake of it doesnt help. Australia has characteristics that are unique to teh Australian economy – its not a mini clone of the US (and even the US has considerable public investment despite the market rhetoric) Private businesses also need to be assured their workers can get to work and the transport is effective to carry their goods – this requires decent communal infrastructure – not pathetically short user pays (toll road) strips dotted here and there (which State Labor became so enamoured with). There is no need for preferential division between government investment and private investment although an overwhelming majority of one form or the other, would I suspect, be highly undesirable. Using a mix of both can also maximise private investment and as for crowding out – thats a poor argument – firms can in this globally de regulated financial environment supposedly seek the most competitive funds from anywhere..they are not restricted to local finance and competition is “supposed” to lower the costs of finance (and I am dubious about this anyway..).

    Fran – Im the same…on the Northern Beaches. The clots keep voting blue and I vote black!

  37. Michael of Summer Hill
    July 23rd, 2009 at 08:31 | #37

    Crikey John, ‘crazy uncle’ has done it again splitting the Liberals and Nationals, trading insults and ripping into each other. And NSW frontbencher Bob Baldwin possibly thinks he has quite a few big reds jumping around in the top paddock telling him to consider packing his bags.

  38. Michael of Summer Hill
    July 23rd, 2009 at 09:55 | #38

    Crikey John, a recent study found 4 of 11 rural politicians ‘had not heard of climate change tipping points, suggesting they did not understand that climate change has the potential to accelerate if not addressed urgently’. Maybe ‘crazy uncle’ is not the only one that has quite a few big reds jumping around in the top paddock.

  39. Michael of Summer Hill
    July 23rd, 2009 at 10:54 | #39

    Crikey John, it has been reported today that Peter Debnam has broken ranks with the schmuck and is opposing the NSW Opposition’s ban on the publication of school league tables, warning it is a form of censorship.

  40. Ian Gould
    July 24th, 2009 at 22:58 | #40

    A few quick facts about the PBGC:

    1. It is an insurance scheme which guarantees US corporate pension benefits. It is not funded from government tax revenue but from premiums paid by private companies and from the assets seized from bankrupt pension schemes together with investment income.

    2. The principal liability of the PBGC is the cost of paying out pensions, as such its deficit represents the difference between the current value of assets and NPV of future pension benefits.

    3. Because pensions are paid out over an extended period of time, the PBGC can sustain a deficit for an extended period of time and can overcome a deficit by increasing insurance premiums.

    4. The PBGC’s deficit relates largely to the fact that it invested most of its assets in the stock market. From May 1 to yesterday the DJI rose from from 8200 points 9,000 points.

    but of course this is all nonsense PGBC will collapse the rotted sepuclchres of capitalism will crumble awake and the workers and peasants will realise at last that unreconstructed Marxists fossils aren’t pretentious wankers after all.

    Any day now.

  41. Ian Gould
    July 24th, 2009 at 23:07 | #41

    Goldman Sachs joins Morgan Stanley and Citibank in repaying its emergency funding from the US government.


    A quick titbit:

    “Taking into account the dividends that Goldman Sachs paid on the government’s preferred shares, the Treasury earned an annualized 23 percent return on its funds, according to estimates from the bank and the Treasury.”

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