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Monday Message Board

January 31st, 2011

It’s time again, at long last, for the Monday Message Board to resume. Post comments on any topic. As usual, civilised discussion and no coarse language. Lengthy side discussions to the sandpit, please.

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  1. Chris Warren
    January 31st, 2011 at 19:37 | #1

    The capitalist insurance companies are starting to get on my nerves.

    When I shop around for insurance – they always give quotes based on the postcode and type of building. The assumption is that they have made all the appropriate risk assessments. Surely the insurance companies knew they were selling insurance on floodplains where the inducement to purchase was in big glossy print, but the restrictions were in fine grey print and often in separate documents to the actual contract sheet. For foodplains, for the issue of floods, this is unconscionable. Contracts needs to be fair and conscionable. They knew people were signing contracts that were ill-advised. Apparently some banks, sold the insurance bundled with mortgage documents. In this case the banks should bear some responsibility for negligence.

    Maybe a court will find that contracts with provisions presented in a hierarchy, are enforcable to different extents based on this hierarchy. In the end, the insurance companies appear to have sold goods and services that were obviously not fit for the purpose they were sold for.

    But the zoning and planning authorities that permitted development in these areas are the real culprits. I thought we elected representatives and funded their staff and agencies to protect us against manipulating capitalists – not to get into bed with them.

  2. Doug
    February 1st, 2011 at 13:38 | #2

    Queensland looks like to get hit again in a big way with the cyclone. What will this do to the repair bill faced by both the Queensland and Commonwealth Governments. Will we need a new levy? Will getting back into surplus in a hurry still remain at the top of Wayne’s to do list?

    Can we get some sensible policy framework that does not need adjustment in repsonse to what seems to be increasingly frequent extreme weather events?

  3. Ikonoclast
    February 1st, 2011 at 15:03 | #3

    I insure with a well known Qld insurer who pays out on all flood claims. I live on a big hill and will never get flooded until about the next 1 in 10,000 year flood. Gee, aren’t I generous paying my high premiums to cover people who bought below the 1 in 50 year flood level?

    Putting the irony aside, I don’t really mind. I think all house insurance should cover all peace-time risks and we should be happy to pay the required rate so that all people have the same peace of mind.

    However, I do think low level developments are reprehensible.

  4. Gordicans
    February 1st, 2011 at 16:25 | #4

    The dissidentvoice.org has a fascinating article titled “The Torture Career of Egypt’s New Vice President: Omar Sulemein and the Rendition to Torture Program”.

    Apart from being head of Egyptian Intelligence and the US’s and the Israeli go to man, apparantly the new Vice President doesn’t mind rolling his sleaves up himself, and personally supervised the torture of our very own Mamdough Habib:

    “Habib was interrogated by the country’s Intelligence Director, General Omar Suleiman…. Suleiman took a personal interest in anyone suspected of links with Al Qaeda. As Habib had visited Afghanistan shortly before 9/11, he was under suspicion. Habib was repeatedly zapped with high-voltage electricity, immersed in water up to his nostrils, beaten, his fingers were broken and he was hung from metal hooks.

    That treatment wasn’t enough for Suleiman, so:

    To loosen Habib’s tongue, Suleiman ordered a guard to murder a gruesomely shackled Turkistan prisoner in front of Habib – and he did, with a vicious karate kick.”

    The Americans look to be between a rock and a hard place. This Egypt thing gets stranger and stranger.

  5. Alice
    February 1st, 2011 at 18:56 | #5

    @Doug
    Oh my – wouldnt it be good if God and the unexpected weather forced our governments into deficit?

    Cant wait (shouldnt say divine intervention – but I just cant resist).

    I wonder if they would finally show the ratings agencies the door and go cap in hand for the best rate they could, and being a big borrower they should be able to get a good rate.
    Maybe, just maybe if they learned how to cope with a little debt again, it might just keep the rest of us in a job and able to keep oyur own little debts lower.
    Lets face it – who would everyone rather see in debt? The government or you (or the deficit hawks)? – think of all the salaries andongoing benefits they can cut to bring themselves out of the top ten percent of income earners and down with the rest of us.

  6. iain
    February 1st, 2011 at 19:00 | #6

    Australian political “leaders” with not enough spine to initiate climate change initiatives need to get used to being in a state of permanent disaster mode. Bligh’s floundering and overwhelmingly reactive responses to this summer’s weather are just a taste of things to come.

  7. SJ
    February 1st, 2011 at 21:50 | #7

    Surprise, surprise. Keneally and Roozendaal are going to steal a bunch of money from us in NSW and hand it over to Origin and TruEnergy, giving back to them probably more than the entire net proceeds of the electricity privatisation.

    Keneally’s press release today says:

    In total, the NSW Government will contribute an estimated $471 million in 2011-2012 towards the cost of the Solar Bonus Scheme.

    But even according to NSW Treasury’s fake numbers, the Solar Bonus Scheme will only cost $235 million in 2011/2012 (Table 5.2, p30). The NSW treasury numbers are faked because they value the purchased electricty at nothing, where in reality it gets immediately sold back to consumers at somewhere between one third (20 cents) and two thirds (40 cents) of the purchase price (60 cents), depending on which retailer it is, and what time of day it is.

    So say the actual cost of the Solar Bonus Scheme is going to be about half of the fake NSW Treasury number, at $120 million. The government is going to compensate the newly privatised retailers to the tune of $471 million, or almost four times what it’s actually going to cost them (the retailers).

    Now, the $471 million is actually going to come from something called the “Climate Change Fund”, which gets its money from levies on electricity distrtibutors (“How is it funded”, p2).

    So instead of reducing the electricity bills of NSW consumers, the policy will unfailrly enrich Origin and TruEnergy, at the expense of those same NSW electricity comsumers.

  8. boconnor
    February 2nd, 2011 at 18:16 | #8

    Good luck to those in the path of Cyclone Yasi. Hope the damage etc is less than forecast.

  9. Alice
    February 2nd, 2011 at 19:12 | #9

    @SJ
    The cow Kenneally and her corrupt lazy incompetent government and her ULTRA right wing sycophantic (to big business where he hopes to be deloyed next) sidekick Roozendahl….I will apologise for being rude in advance.

    I note Barry OFarrell says he wants to keep the poles and wires because there are too many jobs involved. I might just ask him how serious he is ….

    It could be worth a vote. God knows we need someone with an eye on jobs and employment in this country. Julia Gillard says she is “concerned” about the number of working age people in this country who dont have enough work…she is thinking about “incentives” to get them back to work.

    Julia should try revisiting workchoices and undoing the most generous concessions ever given to employers in terms of casuality of the workforce. Maybe, just maybe, if they invested more when they hired people, they would be less inclinded to fire at whim.

    Governments so insanely focussed on keeping inflation low and leaving it to the CB, they have gotten so lazy on real employment policy its frightening.

    They can just look to Cairo if they think low wages and lack of employment is sustainable policy.

  10. Alice
    February 2nd, 2011 at 21:22 | #10

    @SJ
    SJ…what do we honestly expect from this filthy NSW state government?. Now lets ask the crux of the question …just how much do Origin energy and True Energy donate to the disgusting NSW Labor party??.

    Its horrendous just how bad they (NSW Labor) are. How far can they sink. They dare call themselves the party for the ordinary man – it hasnt been that way since before Keating who completely steered it to transform into the party for big business in this country – ??

    As for Kenneally and Roozendahl – they deserve a job with some ratings agency in the US just so we can get rid of both of them…finally …for good…. (either that or outplace Kenneally as continuity / production assistant at entry level on the Oprah show) and the dregs of their party can just well…end up in the suburbs living confortably with higher electricity prices as they try to avoid the hatred of their neighbours.

    All that is left are the dregs who are only holding on for their retirement benefits.

  11. February 3rd, 2011 at 02:12 | #11

    In times of crisis, a well-paid job is a success. Not every people manages to find her. Fortunately, now, you can more easily search work, such as the web. Now many country in the world have a online web with job offers. Just type in the google “jobs (eg for Polish is a Praca) ” or “job offert (in Italian is a offerte di lavoro).”
    And as you search for a job? Or maybe you earn so much that new job you do not care? Do you know any other portals with job offers that are worth visiting?

  12. February 3rd, 2011 at 10:20 | #12

    Hi John, your spam guard has let down its guard, and one of the spam generators from the former Soviet Empire, Poland this time, has crept through!

  13. Jill Rush
    February 3rd, 2011 at 12:30 | #13

    iain – the problem is that leaders get a lot more credit for dealing witha crisis by the electorate rather than putting in measures to prevent the crisis in the first place. This is one of the conundrums of modern politics which works against better policies.

  14. Tony G
    February 3rd, 2011 at 16:06 | #14

    Jill introducing another tax is not going to stop the climate changing.

    An addiction to excessive government and its tax and spend power, renders you oblivious to the fact that mankind will never have the power to control the weather.

  15. Jill Rush
    February 3rd, 2011 at 18:18 | #15

    Tony G – my argument is that leadership is less likely to put anything in place as they get credit for dealing with a crisis whereas there is no credit for taking preventative action – and as you prove is an actual disincentive by those who only want to criticise. That is why getting a tax to recognise the damage done by CO2 is so difficult.

  16. Alice
    February 3rd, 2011 at 18:29 | #16

    @Tony G
    Tony G – you are so denialist you drive me crazy. My father enjoyed the golden years of driving in this city (1950s to 1990) – so did they all ..across a hundred nations and in the meantime my kids and their kids will pay for the damage done to the environment so that production could enjoy the golden years of electricity and coal which is doing its damage now…in bushfires, floods, cyclones and the unbeleivable heat in Sydney over the last few days… if this is a taste of things to come we do not need people like you and your great big anti tax arguments Tony G. You just get in the way of any possible solutions and you mess up your grandkids lives.

  17. Alice
    February 3rd, 2011 at 18:42 | #17

    @Tony G
    You know Tony – the hideous pradox you will eventually face is that even if governments follow your advice and do nothing about climate change…you are going to get a bigger government whether you like it or not from the damage climate change does…

    eg Anna Bligh and the mess that has to be now addressed in QLD for which you will pay a flood levy. Now how is that different from a climate change tax Tony?

  18. jquiggin
    February 3rd, 2011 at 21:05 | #18

    Alice, you have four of the last five comments. Please keep to one comment/thread/day

  19. Chris Warren
    February 3rd, 2011 at 21:25 | #19

    @Tony G

    This has got me flumoxed.

    If you tax something, demand for, and production of it changes.

    Therefore if responding to climate change requires placing production and demand on a more sustainable basis, then taxation may be a suitable mechanism.

    Obviously the right taxes can prevent some part of climate change.

    can you point to anyone who claims that mankind has, or should seek, control of the weather?

  20. Tony G
    February 4th, 2011 at 11:31 | #20

    Alice, they have had more destructive cyclones and floods in the past it is nothing new.

    “in the meantime my kids and their kids will pay ” dearly for the excessive tax and spend government they inherit and they will suffer a reduced standard of living as a consequence.

    Jill said;

    ” getting a tax to recognise the damage done by CO2 is so difficult.”

    I agree there is some evidence to indicate that CO2 is increasing in the atmosphere by about 1.2 parts per million per year. The jury is still out on whether it is anthropologically sourced or otherwise. (the isotopic evidence is inconclusive)

    The evidence that this minuscule increase in carbon is having any effect whatsoever, detrimental or benign is inconclusive.

    There is conclusive evidence to prove that if Australia outlawed carbon emissions totally, that is, cut emissions by 100%, CO2 would continue to increase in the atmosphere by about 1.2 parts per million per year, regardless. Based on this conclusive evidence one can only assume the motivation for a new carbon tax, by the proponents of excessive government is to redistribute the wealth.

    “If you tax something, demand for, and production of it changes”
    Economics 101; tax everything that moves and nothing moves.

    Chris, the problem with your argument is the climate will continue to change as it always has done, even if you taxed humanity out of existence.

  21. Freelander
    February 4th, 2011 at 12:26 | #21

    @Tony G

    Yeah, nothing to worry about except taxes and death. If we avoid those two all the others will solve themselves.

  22. Freelander
    February 4th, 2011 at 12:35 | #22

    The jury is still out on whether the CO2 we introduce into the atmosphere by, for example, burning fossil fuels, makes any contribution whatsoever to the CO2 in the atmosphere for more than a neglibly short time. Lord Moncton has a theory that it, like him, has a life of its own, and conveniently sequesters itself, deep underground, a day or two later. Like everything the learned lord says, seems to make an awful lot of sense.

  23. Chris Warren
    February 4th, 2011 at 12:37 | #23

    @Tony G

    My economics must be a bit more advanced than yours.

    If you apply a tax, markets still operate. There is no truth to your;

    Economics 101; tax everything that moves and nothing moves

    The fact that “climate changes” is not a problem with my argument. My argument only relates to the specific climate change, on top of natural process, caused by man through adopting cheap (though environmentally destructive) production choices.

    Natural climate change is wonderful and should be enjoyed.

  24. Alice
    February 4th, 2011 at 12:50 | #24

    @jquiggin
    Sorry JQ – Im constantly (constantly) in trouble for too many posts in a row… but in my defence its really hard not to make multiple objections about the sort of nonsense Tony G et al with similar ideas puts in here (or the sort of nonsense parading as helpful economic policy by governments in this country in our time..). Ill combine them into one longer whinge about the insanity per thread per day max in future….

  25. Tony G
    February 4th, 2011 at 13:35 | #25

    “My argument only relates to the specific climate change, on top of natural process, caused by man through adopting cheap (though environmentally destructive) production choices.”

    That contention is similar to the other flawed argument run by the proponents of excessive government and AGW ; it goes like this; 95% of the carbon going into the atmosphere is naturally sourced, yet 100% of the 1.2ppm that stays in the atmosphere each year is anthropologically sourced.

    So Chris, you are admitting that it is wonderful that the climate, being out of our control, will continually change. But, if parts of that continuing climate change produce bad weather, we can control that bad weather with a new weather control tax.

  26. Chris Warren
    February 4th, 2011 at 13:54 | #26

    @Tony G

    OK for slow-learners,

    My argument only relates to the specific climate change, top of natural process, caused by man through adopting cheap (though environmentally destructive) production choices.

    Any other so-called “bad weather” cannot be controlled by any “new weather control tax”.

    Any other “out of control” weather – not caused by man – also cannot be controlled by a “new weather tax”.

    I never mentioned general ‘out of control’ weather or general ‘bad weather’. The fog is all Tony G’s. It was his deliberate misinterpretation.

  27. Tony G
    February 4th, 2011 at 14:02 | #27

    Sorry, I like a lot of other people get climate and weather confused. I get it now, to control the climate we need to introduce a climate control tax.

  28. Freelander
    February 4th, 2011 at 14:15 | #28

    @Tony G

    Great argument. As nature puts some CO2 in the atmosphere and (takes that amount, and more, out each year), its nature’s fault not humanity’s because nature isn’t cutting back putting CO2 in, or increasing its rate of removal. I am now a former Greenie. Nature doesn’t deserve our suppot. Clearly, nature has been letting us all down. Nature’s behaving like a socialist!

  29. Donald Oats
    February 4th, 2011 at 14:16 | #29

    Just curious Tony G; do you have a metric that you employ in deciding when a government is “excessive”, and if so, is it measurable, and if that is so, are there any Australian governments state, territory or federal, that have not been excessive using your “Excess-o-meter”?

    I’m rather suspecting that the answers are: maybe; maybe not; NO!

  30. Donald Oats
    February 4th, 2011 at 14:25 | #30

    @Freelander

    Maybe we should hack down that surly Nature once and for all; I’m sick of walking through the streets of Wangaratta and having to stay off the grass (ie lawn); plugging my ears to avoid those nasty twitters and birdsong communist collective songs; and, not breathing that horrible fresh air, enhanced though it is by us human creatures, from time to time. Hah! This is the real tragedy of the Commons – we didn’t butcher it completely; bits were missed and that’s the trouble with the yoof of today…

  31. Freelander
    February 4th, 2011 at 14:29 | #31

    @Donald Oats

    I’m suggesting the governments start a “War on Nature”. After all the “War on Terror” has been such a runaway success.

  32. Alan
    February 4th, 2011 at 15:32 | #32

    @Freelander

    You are suggesting that there is not an official War on Nature already?

  33. Nick R
    February 4th, 2011 at 15:41 | #33

    Tony G – I am far from an expert on the area, but I believe that this is the correct way to do carbon accounting. Nature emits an enormous amount that dwarfs anthropogenic emissions. However we have been in equilibrium where the amount that is naturally emitted is equally to the amount that is naturally absorbed. While human emissions are comparatively tiny they accrue, shifting us from this equilibrium as the system is closed.

    A parallel could come from imagining an airtight room. One pipe feeds in 1 litre of some poisonous gas every min and another removes 1 litre at the same rate. If there was initially no poison in the room it would be perfectly same to be in there, as no build up of poison could occur. However if there is even the slightest increase in the rate at which the gas enters the room, if this is not offset by an increase in the rate that it leaves, the room will slowly fill with poison.

    The reason why relatively small human emissions are problematic is the same reason that the gas chamber will be eventually become unsafe.

  34. Fran Barlow
    February 5th, 2011 at 18:37 | #34

    I’ve been having some fun over at catallaxy today.

    After some banter along the usual lines, I put the following question:

    Imagine that you are persuaded that anthropogenic augmentation of atmospheric inventories of GHGs really were causing quantifiable harm both to humans alive now and prospective harm to humans in the future over at least the next several hundred years. What, suite of measures, most compatible with the ethical standpoint of libertarians ought the responsible human communities take in response? How should the resources needed to support the various remedies be marshaled? On whose shoulders should the burdens of this effort fall most heavily?

    At this stage, not a single one of the team has come up with anything like a plausible answer, and one of them cried off on the basis that it just lead to arguments and anyway nothing anyone thought would make a difference. (Interesting position for an advocate of the power of individuals!). It seems that right of centre libertarianism really has nothing to say on the matter, with the consequence that they are utterly dependent on the delusionals’ view of climate change in arguing their politics.

    One of them (Dover_beach) tried to invent a new branch of physics:

    What is absorbed by the deep ocean is no longer a problem for anyone; since it will be dissipated over time and will not return in the quantity in which it was absorbed.

    He said dissipate but he really meant disappear I’m wondering whether Harry Potter‘s term, disapparate might not have served him best of all.

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