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Weekend reflections

September 11th, 2009

It’s time again for weekend reflections, which makes space for longer than usual comments on any topic. As always, civilised discussion and no coarse language.

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  1. Rationalist
  2. SJ
    September 11th, 2009 at 17:22 | #2

    The idiots in charge of NSW are at it again with the electricity privatisation. The ABC news reported last night that the sale would be likely to fetch about $3bn. I don’t know where they got that number from, but I assume they didn’t just make it up randomly.

    According to Bob Walker of Sydney Uni, the NSW government receives about $2bn in dividends and tax-equivalent payments from its electricity assets every year. That’s an income stream worth at least $10bn, even with the most pessimistic discount rate assumptions. To propose giving it away for something like $3bn should be setting off alarm bells all over the place.

    There’s a couple of possibilities:

    1) They fully intend to go ahead with the sale, which amounts to a theft from taxpayers.

    2) They don’t intend to go ahead with the sale, but want to allow the advisers to continue milking fees (about $50m so far), which amounts to a theft from taxpayers.

  3. September 11th, 2009 at 18:00 | #3

    Rationalist – the Qld power station must be the first commercial coal-fired power station on the planet to use CCS. More to come I am sure.

  4. Chris Warren
    September 11th, 2009 at 18:25 | #4

    A weekend question for all the capitalists?

    What economic theory or set of modelling equations produces;

    1) increasing poverty – see: Poor Get Poorer
    2) rich getting richer – see: Rich Get Richer
    3) millions of dollars for companies – see: Subsidise Capitalism .

    It appears to me that this has nothing to do with economics but more with corrupt politics.

    Or at least this is what the evidence is showing. The amount of US political support for propping-up capitalism is correlated to the amount cash politicians receive from capitalism.

    see Cash for Influence .

    So where in economic modelling does this cash fit?

  5. Rationalist
    September 11th, 2009 at 18:28 | #5

    @Chris Warren
    Shrug, capitalism is working just fine for me thank you very much and I am no Wall Street goon.

  6. Chris Warren
    September 11th, 2009 at 19:51 | #6

    Yes I suppose it is how you base your rationality.

    Those individuals who benefited from feudal exploitation or colonial slavery would also say:

    Shrug (feudalism/slavery) is working just fine for me thank you very much and I am no Whitehall dandy.

    But if you take a social view this is unacceptable because the satisfaction of some is based on the dissatisfaction of others.

    But if you are an isolate – then this may not apply.

  7. Rationalist
    September 11th, 2009 at 19:56 | #7

    @Chris Warren
    I would say that the overwhelming majority would agree that as a general principle, the market based capitalistic liberal democratic model has yielded fantastic wealth and overall is a great system.

    The average hard working tradie enjoys to see the fruits of his efforts, as do businessmen and those in industry. The last 15 years have shown how fantastic our system truly is for all Australians, now that is a consensus!

  8. September 11th, 2009 at 20:04 | #8

    Here’s a little known fact about Abraham Lincoln, the president who has a memorial constructed in his honour:

    When General Benjamin “Beast” Butler issued an order declaring all the women of New Orleans to be prostitutes because they refused to genuflect to his occupying soldiers on the streets, Lincoln refused to rescind the order despite international pressure to do so. The order was a license to rape.

  9. Ikonoclast
    September 11th, 2009 at 20:50 | #9

    Clean coal is a dirty lie. C + O2 = CO2.

    The energy required to capture and store the CO2 will equal up to 40% of the plant’s total energy production. Forty percent more coal will have to be burnt to get the same amount amount of usable energy. There is no guarantee that sequestered CO2 will stay sequestered.

    Clean coal is DELIBERATE DIRTY LIE.

  10. Rationalist
    September 11th, 2009 at 20:58 | #10

    Fair enough.

    Regular coal should be fine then. Doing an alright job from my point of view, power is cheap, reliable and plentiful.

  11. Alice
    September 11th, 2009 at 21:11 | #11

    It would be intereting to know the predominant racial bsckground of those New Orleans women Sukrit…

  12. SJ
    September 11th, 2009 at 22:26 | #12

    The supporters of “clean coal” are, as Ikonoclast claimed, liars (or perhaps idiots).

    Harry Says

    Rationalist – the Qld power station must be the first commercial coal-fired power station on the planet to use CCS. More to come I am sure.

    Wheras the linked story actually says:

    CSS and has launched a pre-feasibility study into the project.

    “Pre-feasibility” does not equal “commercial”, at least for known values of “real world”.

  13. Ian Gould
    September 11th, 2009 at 23:41 | #13

    “What economic theory or set of modelling equations produces;

    1) increasing poverty – see: Poor Get Poorer
    2) rich getting richer – see: Rich Get Richer”

    It’s called the business cycle.

    When unemployment rises, the negotiating power of the suppliers of labor decline.

    3) millions of dollars for companies – see: Subsidise Capitalism .

    Are you aware that most of the funds provided under bail-out are loans or share sales? And that the US government will probably end up making a profit out of buying assets when prices were depressed and selling them once prices recover?

    3) millions of dollars for companies – see: Subsidise Capitalism .

  14. Ian Gould
    September 11th, 2009 at 23:47 | #14

    “Shrug (feudalism/slavery) is working just fine for me thank you very much and I am no Whitehall dandy.

    But if you take a social view this is unacceptable because the satisfaction of some is based on the dissatisfaction of others.

    But if you are an isolate – then this may not apply.”

    Well obviously anyone who disagrees with you must be a monster who hates the poor.

    I grew up in extreme poverty. I currently own a multi-million dollar business where I pay myself the exact same hourly wage as every other employee. I live in a housing co-operative or peopel on low incomes (which run as an un[paid volunteer).

    I happen to believe that a suitably regulated capitalist system, over the long term, has the greatest likelihood of improving the living standards of the poor.

    But, as I said, I disagree with you so obviously I’m the moral equivalent of a slave owner,

  15. Ian Gould
    September 11th, 2009 at 23:50 | #15

    @Alice, it’d be even more interesting if the story were true.

  16. Ian Gould
    September 12th, 2009 at 00:10 | #16

    The neo-confederate racist propaganda with Sukrit is promoting and which Alice so happily falls for is based on this article:

    “During the Civil War many southern women feared sexual assault, and hundreds, perhaps thousands of women suffered rape. Even though the federal mUitary defined rape as a crime punishable by court-martial, even execution, some Union soldiers were not deterred: at least 250 were court-martialed for the crime of rape.”


    Got that? “hundreds POSSIBLY thousands” of women were rasped in the course of the the entire war.

    I am not trivialising any instance of rape but this is not an exceptional figure by the abysmal low standards of military history.

    From the article:

    Storekeepers and businessmen, out of financial necessity, had little choice but to yield to Butler’s orders ; their wives and daughters were under no such compulsion. In fact, southern white women remained openly resistant to Union occupation, seeking not only to provoke Union troops, but also to compel Confederate men to action. If a New Orleans belle met a Union officer or soldier on the sidewalk, she contemptuously gathered up her skirts and walked to the other side of the street. When federal soldiers boarded streetcars or entered churches, southern women got up and left with a great to-do. They wore Confederate flags in their hats and dresses and hummed southern patriotic songs within earshot of northern troops. One woman, draped in a Confederate flag, walked up to a soldier standing guard, stared at him, and spat in the gutter before walking away in disgust ; others spat directly in the faces of federal soldiers.13 In fact, some went so far as to dump their chamber pots onto passing Union soldiers. Of displays like these, one general noted, “Such venom one must see to believe. Such unsexing was hardly ever before in any cause or country so marked and so universal. I look at them and think of fallen angels.”14

    When one of Butler’s officers expressed concern that “troops may misunderstand the order,” Butler defended:

    Let us, then have one case of aggression on our side. I shall know how to deal with that case, so that it will never be repeated. So far, all the aggression has been against us. Here we are, conquerors in a conquered city; we have respected every right . . . and yet we cannot walk the streets without being outraged and spit upon by green girls. I do not fear the troops ; but if aggression must be, let it not be all against us.16″

    So there’s no actual evidence of the orgy of rape that the people Sukrit sedulously cites claim happened but hey it’s what can only be expected of those who wish to set aside the divinely-ordered separation of the races and the subjugation of the accursed children of Ham.

    Or in Alice’s case, it accords with the sexist, racist phallocratic behaviour of the US so even if it’s true in FACT it’s true in ESSENCE.

    After all how dare the Union troops be mean to the delicate southern belles when all they were doing was defending their husband and masters’ right to enslave other humans.

  17. Ian Gould
    September 12th, 2009 at 00:15 | #17

    Anyone interested in the promulgation of urban myths might be interested in going here:


    since it appears that either Sukrit copied his post verbatim from that site or he and the blogger copied their claims from a common source.

  18. Salient Green
    September 12th, 2009 at 00:32 | #18

    @Ian Gould
    “I happen to believe that a suitably regulated capitalist system, over the long term, has the greatest likelihood of improving the living standards of the poor”

    Yeah well that’s your capitalist system, not the one we’ve got, the one Chris Warren is talking about. I think he has a good reason for being down on the reality one.

  19. John Quiggin
    September 12th, 2009 at 06:12 | #19

    Thanks for doing garbage pickup on that one, IG. Sukrit, you need to be careful not to believe what you read from Lew Rockwell and similar. I know your economic views are similar, but I don’t think you are a loon. They are certifiably loony.

  20. Alice
    September 12th, 2009 at 07:16 | #20

    @Ian Gould
    Agree Ian….urban myth

  21. Alice
    September 12th, 2009 at 07:28 | #21

    @Ian Gould
    Except Ian – you then go to say “Or in Alice’s case, it accords with the sexist, racist phallocratic behaviour of the US so even if it’s true in FACT it’s true in ESSENCE.”

    Really? As much of an urban myth… as Sukrits first post and unlike JQ I wasnt quick enough to detect it as a loonie link (no shame there – I didnt read it all), but lets not deny originally and predominantly white societies (like the US and Australia and elsewhere) have actually been both sexist and racist in history Ian and still are. Or is that one on your denial list IG?

  22. Rationalist
    September 12th, 2009 at 08:18 | #22


    Interesting article, it seems the hard left wingers are really becoming the model of equality and tolerance that they espouse, :P .

  23. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 12th, 2009 at 08:56 | #23

    John, harvesting methane gas and from biosolids and converting it into clean energy fuel is not new, but today it has been reported that Australia’s abundant methane gas reserves found in coal seams could help power the world.

  24. Chris Warren
    September 12th, 2009 at 08:57 | #24

    Rationalist will find that “fantastic” wealth built by “market based capitalistic liberal democratic model” was in fact built by regulated markets and enterprises that have little to do with capitalism. Capitalists then come along and demand that governments hand over the wealth that has been created outside capitalism. This process is called privatisation.

    Australian wealth was built on farmers (not capitalists) who sent wool and wheat on railways (not created by capitalists) to ports (not created by capitalists) to a external market (not created by our capitalists).

    After recovering from the destruction of 2 world wars (caused by internationial capitalist rivalry) and a depression (caused by capitalism) our productivity increased as Australia developed its schools, technical colleges, and universities (not by capitalism), by developing the Snowy Mountains Scheme and Murrumbidgee and Murry irrigation areas (not by capitalism). This growth was assisted by developing a national system of highways (not by capitalism) for produce and materials. It was also assisted by developing postal, telegraph, and phone systems.

    Australians also benefited from having decent police, health, and emergency services, which developed in the 20th century – but not by capitalism.

    So our food, transport, infrastructure, services, education and energy, etc all created without this so-called capitalism.

    The capitalism comes along and, as Henry Lawson says, “comes to take it from us” and from that point on, unemployment, and current account deficits have ratchetted up, and more importantly – per capita debt has increased.

    But not only this – the electronic gizmos you are probably mistaking for “wealth supposedly created by capitalism” – are imported from third world countries and manufactured by oppressed workers.

    Capitalism only gets into the economy, if it uses politics to insert its self parasitically, into an otherwise normal market liberal democracy. It then hides behind the market and democracy, destroying both in the process.

    And then when someone asks, “how is the reality of capitalism reflected in its economic theory or equations” our capitalists get terribly upset and try to answer every other question, except the one that was asked.

    Really – should we put up with such irrationality?

  25. Chris Warren
    September 12th, 2009 at 09:08 | #25

    Poor old Ian Gould;

    Typically answering his own questions – not the one that was asked.

    Anyway it is not realistic to pretend that Australian capitalists may themselves the same hourly wage as their workers and live in cooperative housing.

    This is irrelevent, useless, and time wasting. If you tried to pass a law so that all capitalists only received the same income as their workers – this would abolish capitalism.

    Capitalism, by definition, is not based on capitalists getting the same as their workers.

    It is the opposite.

  26. Hermit
    September 12th, 2009 at 09:14 | #26

    The ZeroGen plant was on Four Corners. If I recall they said they needed both a carbon price and some capital assistance from the large clean coal fund. I’m disturbed by Anna Bligh’s assertion that new coal plants will be approved if they are ‘capture ready’. Let’s release repeat offender crims if they are ‘law abiding ready’. My take on this is that politicians are in cahoots with the big emitters and are thereby in opposition to the conservation movement.

    A lot of the Chinese commodity demand could be stockpiling at low prices and for when their stimulus runs out. I know someone who lost his job in an ore mine and was re-hired when the Chinese took it over. If predictions of a Chinese coal shortage in five years are true it could be interesting. Australia supplies both the ores and the energy. Aussies occupy the non-executive jobs (eg bulldozer driver) but value adding and profits go to China. There’s a cloud in every silver lining.

  27. Rationalist
    September 12th, 2009 at 09:20 | #27

    @Chris Warren
    That is ok, you are a bit of a Trot… I will still be your friend if you want.

    Our system of capitalism (which is regulated, prudentially (thanks to the Howard Government reforms) will make anyone who has skills or is willing to put the time and effort into something well off.

    This is fantastic, Rudd would agree with me.

  28. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 12th, 2009 at 09:28 | #28

    Crikey John, I didn’t know Norway’s city buses was run on biomethane a by-product of treated sewage which emits 78 percent less nitrogen oxide and 98 percent fewer fine particles two causes of respiratory illnesses and is 92 percent less noisy. Furthermore, the cost of producing biofuel the equivalent to one litre of diesel is about 0.72 euros compared to the price of diesel at the pump of 1.0 euro. Sounds very promising.

  29. Rationalist
    September 12th, 2009 at 09:34 | #29

    @Michael of Summer Hill
    Is it Government subsidised? It is Norway so it seems possible.

  30. Chris Warren
    September 12th, 2009 at 09:43 | #30


    Tactic 1 – smoke and mirrors did not work, so Rationalist tries tactic number 2, “ad hominem” attacks viz: “… you are a bit of a Trot”

    Unfortunately I am not, and have never been, a Trot. This debased logic should not be the refuge of last resort of irrationality.

    One day, some day, Rationalist may say something rational about the question asked.

    So we wait, and wait, and wait …….

  31. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 12th, 2009 at 10:01 | #31

    Rationalist, Oslo City Council began investigating alternatives to fossil fuel-powered public transport and decided on biomethane. Previously at one of the sewage plants in the city half of the gas was flared off emitting 17,00 tonnes of CO2. From September 2009, this gas will be trapped and converted into biomethane to run 200 of the city’s public buses.

  32. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 12th, 2009 at 11:01 | #32

    Rationalist, I forgot to mention think of the Libertarian poo being put to some good use of powering public transport.

  33. Donald Oats
    September 12th, 2009 at 11:14 | #33

    I read the article in question. Now I am a little surprised that there were so few Liberal supporters at the Western Sydney campus, given that is where the Liberal member Jackie Kelly was based AFAIK. Still, a check of the campuses such as Sydney University, might reveal a larger Liberal club support base elsewhere.

    As for the abuse, it isn’t nice but then among the most senior Liberal members of parliament in the land we have Abbott and his potty mouth about Gillard’s “s**t-eating grin”, and we have (two books’ worth at least) of Iron Bar Tukey’s quotes, Joyce’s approprium and Heffernan’s comments on the “barren” Gillard. For whatever reason, political players and abuse reflect the broader population from which they are drawn. I’ve picked Liberal pollies as examples because the article in question was banging on about how some hard-left try-hardly was so abusive, as if it were limited only to those who think they are leftwing.

    As far as I can remember from Uni it had the full spectrum of political clubs (best avoided), as well as some very interesting (ahem) horticultural clubs, as well as arts, crafts, chocolate appreciation, sports, mountaineering, faculty, and astronomy clubs, and of course the “Society for Creative Anachronism”. Where would we be without those guys and gals?

    University was a time for meeting people with a diversity of lifestyles from Nimbin to nimby, and for seeing that perhaps there are some good – if misguided – people whose only fault was a politic different from one’s own.

  34. Alice
    September 12th, 2009 at 12:00 | #34

    @Chris Warren
    “Rationalist will find that “fantastic” wealth built by “market based capitalistic liberal democratic model” was in fact built by regulated markets and enterprises that have little to do with capitalism. Capitalists then come along and demand that governments hand over the wealth that has been created outside capitalism. This process is called privatisation.”

    When great wealth generated by a democratic system passes to private ownership it may often then become rule by oligarchy, no longer a democracy – how did the Medici Family become so wealthy and powerful?….they were bankers of course (what else?). They took control of Florence after a mediaeval democratic government collapsed.

    That should be a lesson to governments who want to privatise all and de-regulate all …and you could question why but often its because there is something short term in it for the govt officials/politicians or their party and families eg the Obeids of the world….the race to privatise Russian public assets was a race to the bottom beset by corruption but once governments start going down this path of privatisation of even base level social infrastructure services (under whatever spurious “policy” guise) they have already effectively lost control and probably are getting pecuniary benefits somewhere along the line for it.

    Then we end up with the wealth built by a democratic capitalist system mostly conferred to and becoming concentrated in a close few extremely wealthy families (financial CEOs these days?) and at its ultimate hereditary rule….. the Tommy Soehartos owning swathes of a country’s industry ?..We end up with no say in our rulership at all for the ordinary person and degraded public services (sound familiar at NSW state govt level?).
    I am for democratic capitalism, not oligarchic hereditary power plays under the false premise of pseudo competition.

  35. September 12th, 2009 at 12:59 | #35

    A more question more fundamental than whether or not capitalism best serves the interests of all members of society is whether or not what is said to be ‘capitalism’ should trump democracy.

    In the last three and a half decades of the neo-liberal ‘free market’ counter-revolution which began with the coup in Chile of 11 September 2001 1973, 36 years ago from yesterday (or still today in that hemisphere) governments have over-ruled popular will, whether through outright repression or through abuses of democratic processes as in the example of the 2009 Queensland asset fire sale in order to impose ‘free market’ prescriptions.

    Much of this has been chronicled in Naomi Klein’s towering “The Shock Doctrine” of which I have written of here (Why has has WordPress discarded all the internal anchors in URL’s, Professor Quiggin?).

    The neo-liberal cothinkers of many who contribute to these pages have been shown in Klein’s book to be willing collaborators with mass-murdering dicators. Her thesis has never been rebutted.

    To this day Klein’s thesis has not been rebutted anywhere by the neo-liberal ideologues “The Shock Doctrine” attacks.

    Of course, the neo-liberal counter-revolution was given a boost by the September 11 false flag terrorist attack of which yesterday (still today in that part of the world) was the eighth anniversary, on the 28th anniversary of the Chilean coup.

    In “The Shock Doctrine” Klein has shown how September 11 was exploited by Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, Bush et al to impose their sociopathic neo-liberal economic agenda on the US and the rest of the world.

  36. Rationalist
    September 12th, 2009 at 13:09 | #36


    Capitalism doesn’t best serve all members of society, it simply best serves the vast majority.

  37. Chris Warren
    September 12th, 2009 at 13:55 | #37


    There ain’t no such thing as democratic capitalism. Once a capitalist economy becomes truly democratic ALL monopoly power is abolished or controlled.

    Under such conditions, all economic theory suggests that economic profits are competed away. This marks the end of capitalism.

    Concepts like ‘democratic capitalism’ are nice sounding but are not properly developed concepts.

    Capitalism opposes democracy in the interests of capitalists.

  38. September 12th, 2009 at 14:00 | #38

    A much easier goal to achieve — serving the “vast majority” rather than all members of society — isn’t it Rationalist (@ #36)?

    So, if a good many are impoverished as is happening to renters right now, then that’s OK as long as neo-liberal economists can produce figures that ‘prove’ that the ‘vast majority’ are better off?

    Many qualified experienced professional has described their circumstances as ‘slavery’ as they are forced to hand over an ever escalating proportion of their income to landlords in order to have what in any civilised society should be considered a basic right for everybody — secure shelter.

    “Slavery” is a term I read in a letter to the Courier Mail written by a professional last year and it is how an experienced qualified professional who lives in my street, who once owned his two homes, together with an ex-partner, has repeatedly described his circumstances.

    The situation of many low-skilled and unskilled workers in this country must be truly appalling.

    When I stood as an independent candidate against the current Queensland Minister for Privatisation at the state elections in March, I met two women, who only months before were strangers, who were sharing the same bed within a room in a boarding house, so extortionate are rents in Brisbane these days. Both had secretarial qualifications but were at that point unemployed.

    I actually raised this in my speech on the “Meet the candidates” night. Andrew Fraser showed no interest whatosever in their plight in his speech or in any subsequent discussion.

    Later on he discussed anecdotally stories of people seeking to buy houses in the area. He told of how they would specifically seek houses on certain sides of inter-school boundaries to ensure that their children attended a particularly desirable primary school within the Mount Coot-tha electorate. How Andrew Fraser expected professionals forced to rent, let alone low-paid workers, to be able to relate to this anecdote was completely beyond me.

    Clearly for our political rulers, as well as apologists for economic ‘neo-liberalism’, the concerns of such people are completely off their radar.

    In any case, the statistical basis of neo-liberal claims that it has improved our prosperity, particularly Gross Domestic Product (even on a per capita base) have been long known to have been capable of presenting real and massive declines in prosperity as increases in living standards.

    How else is it possible for proganda mouthpieces such as the Australian to make claims of rising living standards in its editorial celbrating the suposed economic achievements of the Howard Government, when it is now necessary for at least two incomes to pay the cost of a mortage these days instead of only one as was the case little more than a generation ago.

    As has been repeatedly shown by myself and others on this forum economic neo-liberal ‘theory’ is a fraudulent sham devised only to conceal the theft of wealth from the many by a few rather than to help us understand how or economy really works.

  39. Chris Warren
    September 12th, 2009 at 14:02 | #39


    I assume when you say vast majority – you mean vast majority in some economies?

    But this just means you have not digested the reality of social and economic decay now being reported from America.

    In the Third World many economies have been traumatised by capitalism and IMF interference as well as bloody massacres by capitalists against those who do not agree (Chile, Argentina, Indonesia, Vietnam etc etc).

    So how do you arrive at the “vast majority”? Does this include all the dead people killed by capitalism?

  40. Rationalist
    September 12th, 2009 at 14:23 | #40


    Brisbane and SEQ has infrastructure issues due to massive population growth, part of a boom which has been going on for decades. Slavery? Hahaha.

    @Chris Warren

    Only people in Australia. I am not a citizen of any other country, hence it is the choice of their respective citizens on how they run their affairs. America isn’t in economic or social decay, it is simply going through a painful recession, it went through a bad one in the early 80s and early 90s as well (including all of the S&L debacle). However once out of recession America and indeed much of the western world has undergone a fantastic level of wealth creation, growth (population and economic) and growing standards of living.

  41. gerard
    September 12th, 2009 at 14:59 | #41

    I’ve been following the US health-care “debate”, thanking God every waking moment that I’m not an American.


    There are no free lunches. I moved to the USA from Canada 15 years ago. I lived in Canada, I know how much, even poor people pay for free medical care. I was making $20,000 a year and I paid $1500.00 in taxes. This was to pay for all the goodies the government was giving to us free!!! Now think about the size of the USA compared to Canada – 30,000,000 in Canada is 300,000,000 in the USA. $1500.00 in taxes is $15,000 in USA. The question is not should we do this, but can we afford this? This may sound harsh, but it is even more harsh to bankrupt a nation just to feel good about yourself. And by the way, one of the reasons that Canadians have a hard time finding a doctor is because doctors come to the USA in order to make a living, but I guess that will stop when the USA turns into Canada.

    A remarkably intelligent comment, by the standards of the American Right.

  42. gerard
    September 12th, 2009 at 15:04 | #42

    Just a health warning: clicking on the link above may cause serious nausea

    (e.g. ads for “Conservative T-shirts” that read “I’d Rather be Waterboarding”WTF!!!!!???>)

  43. Ian Gould
    September 12th, 2009 at 15:13 | #43

    Alice, of course sexism and racism have been part of the history of the US and Australia and continue to be part of those societies today.

    The problem arises when you try to explain all social phenomena by reference to those factors alone.

    You end up like Sukrit blindly accepting neo-confederate propaganda about fake Union atrocities. (There were real Union atrocities of course – and they were eclipsed by the atrocities committed by the South before during and after the war.)

    Or you end up like poor Michael. Poverty and social inequality are real phenomena. I doubt Michael’s had much experience with them up close but he’s READ all about the min the SMH and there was a WHOLE HOUR on Compass about social justice …

    Michael takes those phenomena and uses them to justify a mentally stultifying Marxist ideology that means he can’t even allow himself to graps the connection between rising unemployment and rising poverty.

    I post on political forums very infrequently these days, largely because I got tired of futile posturing in the place of real discussion and real debate. But back when I did post regularly I was varioously called a Fascist, a racist, a capitalist stooge, a promoter and defender of pedophilia (hey Jack), a Communist, a socialist, a purveyor of political correctness and so on.

    Now it’s fairly obvious that all those contradictory accusations can’t simultaneously be true.

    What I am – and this is what angers ideologues of all stripes, is an empiricist and a pragmatist.

    I don’t have a grand overarching ideology which I keep seeking to impose on reality. (This is where I differ from poor Michael, for example, who probably lies awake at night wondering why the proletarians so stubbornly refuse to rise up and overthrow the capitalist exploiters. Then to we have Sukrit, who starts from quite rational concerns abotu big government and intrusions on civil liberties and ends up spreading racist propaganda about that blood-stained tyrant Lincoln.)

    I look at all the data, check sources and make tentative conclusions based on the available data which I revise if new data arises.

    Others might want to try it, if only for the sake of novelty

  44. September 12th, 2009 at 15:18 | #44

    (Firstly my apologies for having misspelt ‘propaganda’ as ‘proganda’ above.)

    Irrationalist wrote (@ # 36)

    “Brisbane and SEQ has infrastructure issues due to massive population growth, part of a boom which has been going on for decades.”


    And why did convicted criminal Nutall, and his associates Peter Beattie and Anna Bligh not bother to inform Queenslanders that privatisation as well as congestion, rocketing rates, electricity charges, water charges, council rates, longer hospital waiting lists, threatened exinction of the koala, lungifish, the Mary River Turtle, the Mary River Cod, the Great Barred Frog, etc, not to mention rocketing housing costs, would be part of the price they would have to pay for the population growth that they deliberately encouraged?

    This demonstrates conclusively, as I have pointed out elsewhere, the Federal and State Governments’ pursuit of population is a Ponzi sheme, and one of the stupidist conceivable Ponzi schemes, at that.

    All of us must necessarily become poorer on average, even before we consider the diseconomies of scale caused by population growth and the loss of what economies of scale that govenment intervention in the economy would have allowed — all to allow a small minority of land speculators, property developers financiers and related vested interests to profit at everyone else’s expense.

    Rationalist wrote:

    “Slavery? Hahaha.”

    As I have shown, that term is not used just by myself.

    However whatever term we use to describe the circumstances of renters, the fact remains that in the last few decades, the living standards of a substantial proportion of people in our midst has declined massively, in stark contrast to the promises that neo-liberal ideologues made when they foisted their aganda on this country starting from the 1970′s.

    And the fact remains that the measures that economic (ir)rationalist economists used to claim that the prosperity of the rest of us have increased are completely wrong, and you have not even attempted to challenge that point.

    Your indifference to the plight of renters is as instructive as is Andrew Fraser’s.

  45. Alice
    September 12th, 2009 at 16:12 | #45

    @Chris Warren
    Good point Chris…particularly about those countries thrown into a state of disarray by IMF intervention wkith its blanket precription to privatise any vestige of a public sector (lunatics)

  46. Alice
    September 12th, 2009 at 16:13 | #46

    spellings shocking …just got out of the pool. Im whacked.

  47. Alice
    September 12th, 2009 at 16:26 | #47

    said “The idiots in charge of NSW are at it again with the electricity privatisation.”

    You know its really a shame we cant take a massive class action against the NSW State Government or can we….by the time the bastards have finished there will be no state assets, a fattened state Labor party and a few rich bs.

    It is theft from taxpayers…any lawyers want to take them on? That would be nice, really.

    The lotteries brought in 50 mill a year -sale price 100mill – tell me where you buy a business like that that pays for itself in two years and here they are again with a so called lefty in charge (yeah right – Neither Rees or his mate Robertson can be trusted not the rip the taxpayers off. Robertson already sold out his union mates with the sale of Currwaong…what would we expect of him?).

    Now this electricity with an income stream of 10 bn and they they want to sell it for 3 bill.

    You tell me who is making money out of this?? It sure as hell stinks and its not the taxpayers making any money.

    Its just a free for all of corrupt dealings. These people in State Labor are just trash.

  48. Chris Warren
    September 12th, 2009 at 17:12 | #48

    OK Rationalist

    If you want to focus on Australia, then for a period, a Western capitalism can reach a high standard of living under capitalism, provided:

    1) it can sell products outside the economy
    2) it can give workers consumer items imported from oppressed workers outside the economy
    3) per capita debt increases.

    So if you can accept these three principles then you may be living in the best of all possible worlds.

    But smarter people can look beyond this.

  49. Rationalist
    September 12th, 2009 at 17:25 | #49

    @Chris Warren
    Our current system is fantastic, nothing is set to change it.

  50. rog
    September 12th, 2009 at 20:10 | #50


    Is that true Alice, that you take this blog for a swim?

    Good for you, we all benefit from your immersion.

  51. September 12th, 2009 at 20:47 | #51

    Rationalist (@ 48) wrote:

    Thank you, Rationalist.

    I think you have shown mastery of much of rule 9 of “Twenty-Five Ways To Suppress Truth: The Rules of Disinformation”

    9. Play Dumb. No matter what evidence or logical argument is offered, avoid discussing issues except with denials they have any credibility, make any sense, provide any proof, contain or make a point, have logic, or support a conclusion. Mix well for maximum effect.

  52. Rationalist
    September 12th, 2009 at 21:05 | #52

    Well I am no activist, like the overwhelming majority of Australians.

  53. Sebastian
    September 12th, 2009 at 22:04 | #53

    Since I have been rationed to one comment a day (rationing of goods being the natural social democrat policy), I will have to mention comments that exist ouside this thread.

    The article you (rationalist) posted about universities is spot on. I do not associate with the Liberal party (they talk the talk, but when it comes to limiting the size of government they hardly walk the walk), but all it takes to attract the vituperation of the ruling left these days is for someone to make a favourable mention of the free market – I study economics now which is not so bad, but when I did arts/law it was the case that any favourable mention of free trade or personal responsibility would attract a stream of verbal abuse in tutorials.

    As to

    “what is it with governments AND central banks…they get drunk on the good times and cant make sober decisions about how to miantain (sic.) it???”

    If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear you’d been reading up on the teachings of the Austrian school. Then again, the Keynesians have surreptitiously adopted this particular complaint with monetary policy into their new manifesto (cause it definitely ain’t in Keynes’ General Theory). Of course, back in 2002-2003, the likes of Krugman were complaining that Greenspan’s credit policy was not loose enough.
    And I wouldn’t be surprised if you take this blog in the pool.

    @Chris Warren

    Rationalist is correct. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, chances are it is a duck. Now substitute the word “duck” with “trot”. And the word quack is still relevant when it comes to the speech patterns of trots like yourself.

    “But smarter people can look beyond this.”

    Hayek, er, sorry, “The Evil Overlord of Brutopia” (that’s how his name translates into Quigginish) would call this conceit. Coincidently, this statement of yours reminded me of Gene Ray, self-appointed “wisest man on Earth”, who thinks his concept of the time cube is the Great Truth, while modern mathematics is stupid and evil; if only we were as wise as him, we could perhaps understand. So maybe we’re just not as wise and enlightened as your good self, who knows how to plan everything from latte-sipper central. Seriously, go work in a factory for one day of your life, get some dirt under your nails and then come back here and see if you’re still willing to spout this quasi-Marxist nonsense.

    I don’t know what you’re talking about, but since you are arguing AGAINST rationalist it’s safe to assume that you are almost completely wrong.

    “Good for you, we all benefit from your immersion.”

    A positive externality?

  54. gerard
    September 12th, 2009 at 22:15 | #54

    Rationalist is right. If these whiny “poor” people can’t pay the rent, it’s their own stupid fault. They should have finished their engineering degrees before moving out of their parents’ house/houses.

  55. Rationalist
    September 12th, 2009 at 22:24 | #55

    Yeah, I generally make judgements on student politics based off posters that I see around (I am not a member of the union/association nor do I affiliate with any political party). It frightens me when I see posters advertising major academics speaking at functions sponsored by groups such as the “Socialist Alternative” or “Socialist Alliance” or whatever they call themselves nowadays post USSR :P .

    I am an engineering student so in many ways there is a layer of abstraction between what I do and politics (I am not claiming complete abstraction though). One thing which was a laugh however was the prescribed book for a 4th year ethics course provided by the arts department, it was one of the most anti capitalistic books I have ever skimmed through.

    Ironic especially when so many graduates simply go straight into coal, oil, gas, iron ore, electricity generation industries and make lots and lots of money from it, through capitalistic profits.

    Wait… what?

  56. gerard
    September 12th, 2009 at 22:29 | #56

    Sebastian is also right. You can tell he’s had dirt under his nails, with all that hard factory labor he had to do to pay his way through that arts/law degree. A true rags to riches story, up by his own bootstraps from a childhood of disadvantage, his doctor mum barely making ends meet under that weight of government red tape. Not that his mum had anything to do with his upbringing, since as you can tell by his comments he’d obviously been completely self-reliant since the day of his birth. Is it too much to expect the rest of society to be more like Sebastian?

  57. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 12th, 2009 at 23:04 | #57

    Rationalist, did you know it is possible to harness Libertarian garbage into a synthetic gas that is used to generate electricity without emitting greenhouse gases?

  58. chris warren
    September 12th, 2009 at 23:25 | #58


    Good to see the rednecks are alive and well. I thought they died out.

    You dealt with the issues in such a profound way you must be the master of the universe – or is it just your ego.

    So why don’t you get off your butt and do something useful for society. Emmigration comes to mind.

  59. Alice
    September 13th, 2009 at 00:07 | #59

    Is that your daily post Senastian? Hmmm wasnt as witty as yesterdays. Anyway – for a left like me (actually Im fairly centrist – I believe some of the left and some of the right – Ill make up my own mind thanks) – even I got a tad pissed off with the socialist alliance hanging around our anti Iraq war peace group (member of gthe local community and kindly housed and listened to by the Uniting Church group) – trying to badger us for our emails and commandering email lists.

    Thats a sign, possibly of desperation, not mainstreamism….so why you want to lump all the left into socioalsit alliance type groups shows no subtletdy and no ability to critically understand the left view whatsoever.

    It gets tedious to me when right wingers can differentiate their own tribe subgroups (libertarians, and Rothbardians and non Rothbardians etc etc) but not those of the left (they need to braoden their minds – the world isnt black or ahite or left or right…nice if it was that “follow the dots’ simple.

    Work out the subleties Sebastiaon and you might go half way to a decent discussion here instead of the usual hackneyed sprays of vitriole which we have all heard before…lots of times

  60. September 13th, 2009 at 09:05 | #60

    On Correspondents Report just now (podcast seems unavailable at this moment) an ABC reporter said that a CIA agent told her that ‘Al Qaeda’ was planning an even bigger terrorist attack upon the US than 9/11. I didn’t get all of the words, but she said roughly:

    A CIA agent who has followed the 9/1l case told me that the next attack on the US has to be a ‘game changer’ — even bigger, even more terrible than the last …

    Given the gross unbelievable incompetence of the US Government in preventing the 9/11 terrorist attacks (that is if we accept the Official 9/11 Conspiracy Theory and not the alternative Conspiracy Theory) and given that not one single figure in the Administration of President George W Bush was even reprimanded, let alone sacked for that incompetence, would anyone here put their trust in the US Government to prevent the next attack?

    If the attack were to succeed (or even if it were not, but were to be thwarted at the last minute) does anyone not see how this could be used as an excuse to completely remove our democratic freedoms, civil liberties and human rights?

  61. Rationalist
    September 13th, 2009 at 09:52 | #61

    @Michael of Summer Hill
    Yes, if it is such viable technology then get a loan, build one and make lots of money :) .

    Technology like this is fantastic, it should be expanded (although I am doubtful that it can be expanded to the size of a coal fired power station at the same price point).

    @chris warren
    You may not like it but “rednecks” decide elections (depending on the definition). They kept Howard in office for 12 years :) .

  62. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 13th, 2009 at 10:03 | #62

    Rationalist, I’m glad you finally realise that all that crap coming out of you can be put to some public good.

  63. Alice
    September 13th, 2009 at 10:07 | #63

    Rationalist my post above wasnt meant for you but for (“Sledgehammer”) Sebastian….

    …who really only wants his daily post for a chance to polish his too broadly targetted “anti left Vitriol” and for Sebs information I do happen to agree with some of what the Austrians propose – certainly in terms of how much banks can lend or should lend (and on that I agree more with Rothbard than the evil overlord of Brutopia – he was a wife beater you know..) but I suppose it may disappoint you to hear that Sebastian?? Isnt wife beating a form of regulation?

    However I doubt you have developed enough depth in your economics studies yet to be even able to comprehend any centrist or leftist views, let alone agree with parts…
    Cant have that now can we?…All those Tony Abbott style one liner insults would go to waste…

    Sebastian re your mother having to leave her family medical practice due to “higher regulation costs” – now wasnt it actually de-regulation that permitted corporate non medical types with money to own medical centres…correct me if I am wrong on that?

  64. Alice
    September 13th, 2009 at 10:15 | #64

    Oh and “Sledgehammer Seb”…re your comment about me taking the blog in the pool..you are just jealous because you are in the sin bin without a get of jail free card!

  65. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 13th, 2009 at 10:36 | #65

    Crikey John, it seems like Rudd & Co had a field day this week getting stuck into the Opposition for being spaced out and making things up on the run.

  66. chris warren
    September 13th, 2009 at 10:41 | #66


    I think you may have got your history a bit wrong.

    Rednecks were not responsible for keeping Howard in place for 12 years. The Liberals were elected by a majority of Australians who then chucked him out when he crossed-over into redneck policies, once in power.

    If Howard had pursued Liberal policies more representative of all Australians, he may still be there.

    Occasionally rednecks do get into parliament – but they are soon exposed. Hanson was a red haired redneck. Reith has gone. Howard gone. Things are getting better. Hockey and Tuckey (fat chook and old chook) are still there but make for amusing entertainment. I am sure Tuckey would be happier if he went back to his farm to shoot abos, and Hockey is probably dreaming of new ways to kick the unemployed.

    The problem with rednecks is that if you ask them a simple question about social problems such as increase debt or increased poverty, they say:

    “Shrug, capitalism is working just fine for me thank you very much and I am no Wall Street goon”.

    This is what rednecks are like. It appears you can lead a redneck to facts but you can’t make them think.

    In general, rednecks will try to disrupt discussion, using the usual tactics, and then get terribly red under the collar when they are exposed.

    Anyway the original question still exists – how do rednecks see poverty, wealth disparity and business subsidies, impacting on their understanding of capitalism?

  67. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 13th, 2009 at 10:48 | #67

    Chris Warren, I am no fan of crazy uncle but what you said of him is idiotic and going too far.

  68. Rationalist
    September 13th, 2009 at 11:45 | #68

    @Michael of Summer Hill
    Well, I see the most value in technology like this for use in powering vehicles rather than generating electricity. But nothing is stopping some type of syngas, coal seam gas, gas turbine peaking power plant being utilised.

    Fair enough, I kind of gathered :) . Carry on.

    @chris warren
    Yee haw, ok! My jib is up! I am a redneck! Lets go watch some NASCAR!

    Are many rednecks professionals with valuable and high paying skills? Do many rednecks get paid fantastic amounts of money for their skills by industry?

    Looking at Wikipedia:

    “Redneck refers to a person who is stereotypically Caucasian and of lower socio-economic status in the United States and Canada, particularly referring to those living in rural areas.”

    I am Caucasian, socio-economics covered previously, and I live in the middle of the CBD, not quite rural :) .

    The mortgage belt kept Howard in power for 12 years, as a clarification (I did make the definition of redneck somewhat variable, since art type cultural elitists tend to make that definition quite wide). The mortgage belt is keeping Rudd in office now, in fact the mortgage belt provides the majorities for every single government in the nation. It is these people who can take it away too :) .

  69. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 13th, 2009 at 12:46 | #69

    Rationalist, you should open your eyes a little bit more and absorb what is going on in the real world. A classic example is the first commercial biorefinery in the world Changing World Technologies which make oil from a variety of waste streams. The future is sustainable development by converting organic waste materials into renewable energy which reduces global warming and improves our quality of life.

  70. Rationalist
    September 13th, 2009 at 13:08 | #70

    @Michael of Summer Hill
    How does it improve quality of life?

  71. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 13th, 2009 at 14:18 | #71

    Rationalist, it is obvious you have very little understanding of economics. But to give you one example, poor air quality is a major cause of asthma and other respiratory conditions which puts pressure on our health system. The benefits of cleaning up the air will correspond to lower health care costs which is a major component of our social system and of course a better quality of life for those now suffering from respiratory conditions. As for Changing World Technologies, they made a few mistakes but their technology works and it is only a matter of time before it is used worldwide to recycle organic waste into renewable energy.

  72. Rationalist
    September 13th, 2009 at 15:20 | #72

    @Michael of Summer Hill
    What is wrong with our air quality? I don’t see anything wrong, I don’t think anything is wrong.

    Respiratory problems are not an overwhelming concern in Australia.

  73. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 13th, 2009 at 16:01 | #73

    Rationalist, maybe you should read up on the Sydney Basin to get a better idea. Your ignorance is showing.

  74. nanks
    September 13th, 2009 at 16:17 | #74

    Rationalist :
    @Michael of Summer Hill
    What is wrong with our air quality? I don’t see anything wrong, I don’t think anything is wrong.
    Respiratory problems are not an overwhelming concern in Australia.

    you’re an engineering student rationalist – how many people in your classes have asthma. Check out the stats on asthma in Australia and maybe have a look at the etiology with respect to pollution. Here’s a little starter

    I used to teach masters engineering students algorithms and data structures at UQ – I wouldn’t get too excited about the brownie points for being one.

  75. Chris Warren
    September 13th, 2009 at 16:59 | #75


    Stop crying. Anyone who labels others with such innuendos as “Trot” gets paid back in their own coin.

    Then they winge. Tough.

    So the question for you, is why comment now? Why are you riding shotgun for others?

    It is up to rationalist to sort out its own logic. The latest claim was that he was not a redneck because

    “I am Caucasian, socio-economics covered previously, and I live in the middle of the CBD, not quite rural.”

    Given that the Cronulla riots were ignited by Caucasian, urban rednecks not rural, this is no proof of anything.

    If you see some things as “idiotic” then I assume this is because the face at the bottom of the well is your own.

  76. Rationalist
    September 13th, 2009 at 17:12 | #76

    Another individual stressing and worrying about problems that simply do not exist.

  77. nanks
    September 13th, 2009 at 17:28 | #77

    I’m calling you out as a troll rationalist, seek professional help buddy. No hard feelings.

  78. Sebastian
    September 13th, 2009 at 17:48 | #78

    Ok, this is my one post for the day. Keep in mind that I will not be able to respond to your various inane remarks until tommorow.

    You’re right, I have had “dirt under my nails”. When I moved to Melbourne I did a stint in an asssembly line-type factory to overcome my crippling middle-class guilt, a neurosis-inducing affliction from which the majority of you Quigginites obviously still suffer. I found the actual “working classes” to be very different from the swooned-over idealised mythology that is taught in political science classes by those who prostrate themselves before the Holy Shrine of Gough Whitlam.

    The “noble working classes” were a decidedly homophobic and racist bunch who knew no other adjective than the f-word, and who would’ve had no times for the intellectual heart-throbs with their “fancy words” like “proletarian revolution” and “dialectic materialism”. Sure they were pretty poor, but no matter how tough the times they could still scrape together enough to purchase a pack or two of cigarettes a day, and 2-3 cases of beer a week. I’m sure they could save a lot of money if they stopped smoking, cut down on the drinking and took packed lunches to work, but God forbid that the oppressed poor should take any responsibility for their choices, especially when we can just spread somebody else’s wealth around!

    As for “paying my way” through my degree, as of yet I haven’t paid for it given the HECS system, which would make me wonder what their excuse is. But then again I’m pretty sure I know the reason. “If only we had more education!” I hear you cry – go ahead, you can recite Les Poésies du Comte de Lautréamont to them all you want, and force-feed them tofu burgers on wholemeal bread all day long, but I personally woudn’t bother.

    @chris warren
    I’ve met very few bona fide rednecks, let alone any who’ve read Hayek.

    It is utterly excruciating to listen to the Left continuously arrogate such concepts as “democratic freedoms, civil liberties and human rights” to their own exclusive sphere, while at the same time believing in an omnipotent state that reassigns property rights arbitrarily based on the will of a crude majority.

    @Michael of Summer Hill
    “Oh yes, rationalist, it is obvious you are not as enlightened as me with respect to economics. In fact, it is obvious that you still base your observations on such primitive concepts as “common sense”. You see, if you cast your net wide enough, you can describe ANYTHING as an externality requiring the intervention and planning of the Omniscient State/Deus Ex Machina” – Michael of Summer Hill (in self-congratulatory tone).

    I must admit it is frustrating only being able to reply to the vituperations of my critics once a day, but it is my cross to bear for not lavishing obseqious praise on the ideas of your fellow bloggers in the echo-chamber.

    I do however, feel your pain with respect to the “Socialist Alliance” – I was horrified when they showed up to a rally against Labor’s mandatory internet censorship legislation. I do also differentiate between the various shades of left, and I do maintain a great deal of affection for the left as represented by the likes of Orwell and Christopher Hitchens. But the Socialist Alliance and its assorted moonbat subsdiaries are easily avoided at university; it is the broader left-wing culture and the taboo attributed to such words as “privatisation” and “globalisation” by even the more lucid students that is pervasive and harder to avoid.

    As for Mum’s practice, it is obvious that the burden of higher regulation is more easily absorbed by larger businesses, who can, for instance, employ somebody to specifically deal with all the paper work. That is why big business is often the instigator of more regulatory legislation, which is lapped up by the public at large since they think it will diproportionately affect big business.

    By the way, I know very little about Hayek’s private life (I can’t speak for you, but I get my information from sources other than the tabloids). I am glad, however, that you realise printing more money is not the answer to all of life’s problems – keep it up, someone may trickle down on you yet!

    Still living up to your name, I see. It’s great to see an actual proper engineer on here, as opposed to the various “social engineers” who populate this blog. Then again, it’s a sad state of affairs that many view economics as a specialised form of social engineering, and believe they can “push buttons” and “pull strings” to make a more perfect society.

  79. Alice
    September 13th, 2009 at 18:26 | #79

    Bout time someone did Nanks….phew.

  80. Alice
    September 13th, 2009 at 18:31 | #80

    And nanks – he would only have had to sat on the beach like I did today and see the dirty plume right across the horizon…when twenty years ago I only saw it above the city of Sydney…now? It stretches to Palm beach and beyond. Idiots in here saying there is nothing wrong with the air quality…there is something wrong with them…that cant be fixed easily …its called chronic lying.

  81. Rationalist
    September 13th, 2009 at 18:55 | #81

    But that is caused by vehicles, not electricity generators. You go to a coal fired generator (at least the ones in NSW) and you can see nothing coming out of the chimney. The air bubble around Sydney is more discoloured than flue gases from coal fired power stations!

    I am all for introducing or even (god forbid) subsidising electric vehicles which are zero emission on the spot. This would significantly reduce the cloud you see and (more importantly) reduce our reliance on foreign oil.

  82. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 13th, 2009 at 19:05 | #82

    Chris Warren, I know you didn’t mean it but just the thought of it is wrong.

  83. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 13th, 2009 at 19:18 | #83

    Rationalist, according to Kate Benson, ‘Sydney’s south-west has one of the highest rates of asthma in the state, with almost 2400 sufferers admitted to hospital each year. Air quality is poor because pollutants from traffic, the Port Botany shipping terminal, the Kurnell oil refineries and the international airport are shunted to the western and south-western suburbs by afternoon winds, remaining trapped in the Sydney basin for days’ not to mention the 600 to 1400 people which die each year as a result of the ozone.

  84. Alice
    September 13th, 2009 at 19:28 | #84

    Rationalist – Namks was right – you are the most irrational person here and you need a name change – “Irrationalist”.

  85. Alice
    September 13th, 2009 at 19:30 | #85

    And Iratio – we have the filth on our hands – we keep looking after BIG COAL and stoking the furnaces of disaster while our own people find it increasingly difficult to get drinking water.

  86. Rationalist
    September 13th, 2009 at 19:51 | #86

    I have seen the furnaces first hand and for something you describe as a “disaster” they are somewhat compact.

    Nobody is having issues getting drinking water. People are likely having issues getting water for their lawn or to wash their cars with a hose.

  87. Alice
    September 13th, 2009 at 19:53 | #87

    Now I know that you are irrational…there are towns across NSW having issues ecuring water …or are yyou blind? Pick any town west of the great dividing range Irratio – google to theit local council websites…whats on all of their agenda’s????


  88. David C (aka Smiley)
    September 13th, 2009 at 22:38 | #88

    Just in relation to Sukrit’s little blooper… I read earlier last week (in MX I think) that Obama had suggested that people should be careful about what they say on sites like Facebook, because employers could use such ramblings to justify hiring and firing decisions. And having looked back at earlier comments I’ve made on various blogs (I didn’t exactly cover myself in glory), I’d agree, one should be careful. I’ve been caught before by stories that appealed to my idealogical bent, but when I checked them out, were pure bunkum.

  89. Alice
    September 14th, 2009 at 08:22 | #89

    I have been moderated again …twice in one week. Sebastian will have to wait for my reply re his mother’s family medical practice being… gobbled up by the corporate medical centres.

  90. Alice
    September 14th, 2009 at 08:28 | #90

    lets try it again..


    Its my brief joyous respite that you are condemned not to be able to reply except for once a day (hmmm you must be close the end of your sentence and you could be out on parole soon..??). Forgive me Sebastian but you do take a rather condescending tone towards workers but I can assure you I have seen ugly racist homophobia in the wealthy as well. Its never pretty but isnt a class determining feature, rest assured.
    But …Im not letting you ooff so easily on your Mum’s family medical practice being gobbled up by one of the large corporate medical centres where medicos have been effectively turned in wages slaves and bullied by suits with no medical qualifications (admit it…I have friends who were gobbled up as well – your mother isnt alone),
    But Sebastian you say
    “it is obvious that the burden of higher regulation is more easily absorbed by larger businesses, who can, for instance, employ somebody to specifically deal with all the paper work.”
    Of course it is BUT that is NOT the defining reason why your mother’s medical practice got gobbled up at all. It was de-regulation that did it. It was the permitting of corporates in suits and sometimes sharks in suits who made investments in machinery and medical centres YET WHO HAD NO MEDICAL QUALIFICATIONS to own, operate, hire and fire the real doctors…
    But Sebastion what is worse is that I liked smaller family medical practices better and now I have no choice but to sit in the impersonal barn of the local medical centre waiting rooms of I want to see my doctor. I dont like it (and as an old nurse, properly trained, long ago I wince at those jam packed full waiting rooms and worry about cross infection).
    Now – the other ugly side of the medical centre debate is the surreptitious and insidious pushing of medical staff (employees now) to perform tests that are not warranted. A radiologist I know told his three “corporate minders” to shove it whenn it became apparent they wanted him to spray X-rays around willy nilly on adults and children so they could get a return on their “capital.” (the damn machine).
    Now lets move from there to the case of the pharmacists – and the mootings of de-regulation over the rights to sell pahramaceutical drugs.
    We all know the corporates like Woolies are waiting and itching to get their hands on chemist (????family) businesses also…
    Expect to see the same thing happen to pharamcists as has happened to your mother’s family medical practice Seb…..gobbled up.
    This is the consequence of excessive de-regulation, not regulation. Your claim that your mother “couldnt compete due to excessive regulation” – after the govt had struck the fatal blow by first by de-regulating the industry to allow the not quite as ethical corporates in …is like wailing that you couldnt get a bandaid for a patient already suffering major blood loss.
    Its not all black and white Seb (regulation Vs de-regulation). If you dont mind I dont need that sort of trickling down and neither, I dare say, did your mother.

  91. gerard
    September 14th, 2009 at 10:54 | #91

    My condolences Sebastian. Your anthropological survey of a Melbourne “assembly line-type factory” was obviously a highly traumatic experience for somebody of such refined breeding. Hopefully you won a few of the poor brutes over to Hayek and von Mises during your time there, and perhaps even sliced off a few of your own fingers to protest the Marxist tyranny of workplace health and safety regulations. I am surprised however to find out that you didn’t earn enough to pay your way through university, and that you have been sucking on the nanny state’s HECS teat this whole time. Disappointing. Surely you could have just shrugged atlas and paid up-front like the rest of us rugged individuals? Or at least taken out a loan from a private financial institution? Doesn’t it just make your blood boil to think of all the interest payments that the Big Four is missing out on after being “crowded out” of funding your education?

  92. pablo
    September 14th, 2009 at 11:21 | #92

    Interesting to observe the different public attention to young Australian and Dutch adventurers attempting age records in round-the-world sailing efforts. The Dutch stepped in and stopped their 13 year old, effectively making her a ward of the state to thwart her parents. The 16 year old from Queensland is gung-ho for going ahead despite colliding with a ship and the public response is generally ‘you-bewdy’. The ship was to blame for not stopping and presumeably not keeping a proper watch. But even in the wee small hours of the morning the solo sailor bears some responsibility particularly in shipping channels off Moreton Bay.
    One of those gung-ho for her effort is yachting adventurer, Don MacIntyre. Nowhere in the media references have I seen acknowledgement that MacIntyre sells sailing equipment. He is more than just another Aussie adventurer and the media should be asking if he has a vested interest in this venture beyond the hope of the rest of us that she survives this quest.

  93. Fran Barlow
    September 14th, 2009 at 11:31 | #93

    I read on the weekend that the West Atlas Oil Spill now covers nearly 6000Km2. The company, PTTEP Australasia says it should have the spill under control within four weeks.

    This is very disappointing. Where’s the idea of turning a crisis into an opportunity. Since the spill can be seen from space, why not use ships and booms to fashion it into a shape like the COMPANY LOGO. They could have the world’s biggest ad …

    Big signs can be in the ocean as well as the skies — a little dye and you can get out the the good oil

  94. Alice
    September 14th, 2009 at 12:46 | #94

    @Fran Barlow
    Fran….as cynical as moi!

  95. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 14th, 2009 at 15:59 | #95

    Crikey John, it seems like the ‘truth’ is getting up the noses of the spaced out Federal Coalition. But the truth is, if the Coaltion stops telling porkies about Labor, then Labor will stop telling the truth about them.

  96. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 14th, 2009 at 16:54 | #96

    Struth John, whilst the Federal Coalition are whistling dixie Labor just gets on with the job of governing Australia. The ‘truth’ is the Gorgon joint venture is now reality and expected to generate some 300 billion Australian dollars not to mention the 10,000 direct and indirect jobs during the construction phase, and some 3,500 direct and indirect jobs throughout the project’s lifespan. Thumbs up Labor.

  97. Donald Oats
    September 14th, 2009 at 20:03 | #97

    @Fran Barlow

    Have you worked in PR at some point? That’s just the sort of thing they’d think of! :-)

  98. Alice
    September 14th, 2009 at 20:34 | #98

    @Donald Oats
    Yes Don…and PTTEP could use Fran’s suggestion with a slogan underneath “PTTEP – the company that really makes a mark.”

  99. Fran Barlow
    September 14th, 2009 at 21:48 | #99

    or perhaps, Alice oil’s well that ends well.

  100. Alice
    September 14th, 2009 at 22:30 | #100

    Haha …Fran..thats a laugh…talk about black oil humour eh? What else can we do but laugh. In fact its a barrel of laughs!!

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