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Monday Message Board

September 3rd, 2012

Another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. As usual, civilised discussion and no coarse language. Lengthy side discussions to the sandpits, please.

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  1. Freelander
    September 3rd, 2012 at 20:12 | #1

    Testing.

  2. Freelander
    September 3rd, 2012 at 20:14 | #2

    What happened to my earlier effort? Not even moder-hell, rather straight in to the ether?

  3. Freelander
    September 3rd, 2012 at 20:19 | #3

    Oh, put it a link and all vanishes. That the problem.
    Next test without the HTTP…

  4. Ikonoclast
    September 3rd, 2012 at 21:26 | #4

    Article in New York Times online.

    “U.S. Companies Brace for an Exit From the Euro by Greece”

    I won’t try to post a link given Freelander’s problems above.

  5. Freelander
    September 3rd, 2012 at 22:39 | #5

    This whole artificial “Euro” crisis?!! Why the bankruptcy of Greece should require it to leave!? Why anyone would make such an absurd connection!? Iceland needed an association with the Eurozone to get out of its own floating hell?! How is the Greek cure a radical shift to a position of total balance sheet destruction and Greece’s international trade evaporating?

    The answer is that all this Euro crisis nonsense only serves the cause of the evil empire, the U. S. o. A., and then only in the imaginations of those American patriots who believe continuingvworld domination is possible for this late, once great, power. But this wholey caused created

  6. Freelander
    September 3rd, 2012 at 22:54 | #6

    crisis. The mess created will only help the relative rise of Asia, in particular the Chinese ascension. But the mayhem, all though theirs maybe one of the least damaged and therefore a gainer in relative terms in unlikely something China woulddesire. Mayhem brings many unneeded risks, and growth would likely be slower than otherwise.

    The US dollar has now long been history as far as being a suitable global reserve. There long battle to destroy the brand of its logical replacement seems to have succeeded but that won’t save the dollar. What happened to DSK should be seen in the context of destroying the Euro brand. When as head of the IMF he started truth talk about the US dollar, I thought this is brave but needed to be said. When he got some justice American style I was no more surprised than when Assange came to grief. Of course, the universe inhabited by some who deem themselves quality thinkers is

  7. Freelander
    September 3rd, 2012 at 23:00 | #7

    Full of the most amazing coincidences, extremely convenient coincidences, which they manage to brush assure with there oh so clever and convoluted reasoning.

    Wake up people. The US is not your friend. The US is not even in the least bit a friend of the average American.

    The US is only a friend to those well healed flag of convenience

  8. Freelander
    September 3rd, 2012 at 23:05 | #8

    individuals like the Rupert formerly known as Australian.

    Do not ask who is to be included in the drone’s latest toll; the stone’s toll includes you.

  9. Freelander
    September 3rd, 2012 at 23:06 | #9

    Damn auto correct drone not stone!

  10. het
    September 3rd, 2012 at 23:21 | #10

    Politics of the EU-Aus ETS deal

    If Tony Abbott wins the next election, will the recently announced EU-Aus carbon market deal
    tie his hands and make it more difficult for him to kill an Aus carbon market?

    Just wondering…

  11. BilB
    September 4th, 2012 at 07:42 | #11
  12. Hermit
    September 4th, 2012 at 07:45 | #12

    @het
    I think so. With some extra finagling the effective carbon price goes from $23 to ~$10 in the sense our big emitters can buy Euro offsets. PM Abbott would look mean spirited if he took that away while people felt it was making an effort.

    I suggest the essential difference between our last two PMs is
    Rudd ETS – cancelled
    Gillard ETS – watered down.

    The one good thing that might come out of this is that a customs union between Europe and Australia could impose a carbon tariff on goods made in China. Unlikely though.

  13. Freelander
    September 4th, 2012 at 10:31 | #13

    The small mercy about what is bring done about climate change is that a framework is being put in place. When they do get serious that will save some tome. The Greens just continued their “Yes, we’re not really serious contenders for government” by insisting on the tax lead in. The tax as a lead in has no real point and was an example of the worst sort of power play – the exercise of power simply for the sake of it over a very important issue, where instead they ought to have gotten their act together, shown they were a potential alternative government,rather than a bunch of self involved latte sipping urban hippies

  14. Tim Macknay
    September 4th, 2012 at 10:39 | #14

    @Freelander
    The tax lead-in does have a point – it creates a stable market price for carbon emissions at the introduction of the scheme, to reduce investment uncertainty and market instability. This was one of the lessons learnt from the early stages of the European scheme. Also, the tax lead-in was part of the Rudd scheme as well as the Gillard one, so the Greens aren’t to blame for it. Mind you, IMHO the Greens chose posturing over good policy when they opposed the Rudd scheme, which is substantially the same as the Gillard one they endorsed.

  15. BilB
    September 4th, 2012 at 10:52 | #15

    Hermit,

    In the unlikely event that Abbott became Prime Minister he has absolutely no option but to repeal the Carbon “Tax”. He has campaigned claiming to be honest, and repeated at least 1000 times that I have heard that he would “get rid of that toxic tax”.

  16. Donald Oats
    September 4th, 2012 at 12:07 | #16

    Seems to me that the watered-down carbon price mechanism leaves us with a situation where companies can try and “wait” it out, to see if the current government gets booted out. The point, which I would have thought was to encourage companies and individuals to redirect their dollars towards better approaches to their power consumption (ie moving to more efficient use, less use, and less CO2e intensive power sources), seems to have evaporated with the removal of a floor price. Damn shame.

    Still, it does at least give a demonstration that the carbon “tax” isn’t going to bankrupt the nation, and certainly not in the new form. Whether it achieves its stated aim, that’s another question entirely.

    PS: Spring sunshine sees our solar system powering on, on steroids. Can’t wait to see the summertime sun’s effect on it.

  17. Tim Macknay
    September 4th, 2012 at 13:54 | #17

    @Donald Oats

    Seems to me that the watered-down carbon price mechanism leaves us with a situation where companies can try and “wait” it out, to see if the current government gets booted out.

    What makes you say that?

  18. Freelander
    September 4th, 2012 at 16:53 | #18

    @Tim Macknay

    No it doesn’t. It’s a tax not a market. No market, so talk of ‘stable market’ is a selection error. Without a market punters wait until the tax lead in expires to gain experience in the new environment.

    There are arguments for a tax lead in, none of them good.

  19. Freelander
    September 4th, 2012 at 16:58 | #19

    Those Green hippies need to shape up. Good intention are not nearly enough no matter how vigorously one fights for land rights for gender-confused whales!

  20. pablo
    September 4th, 2012 at 18:33 | #20

    Gillard will pay for the Gonski education reforms by increasing the GST to 15%. That way she can say that since the states get all the GST income, they are equally, maybe more responsible for the increase and we know they currently foot 70% of the bill.
    There might even be enough left over to boost the new dental scheme and/or the disability support scheme.
    If she can tie in the now majority liberal states, she can soften the impact of announcing this tax increase prior to the next election, so that the broken promises doesn’t arise.

  21. Ikonoclast
    September 4th, 2012 at 20:53 | #21

    At the beginning of July, I had an evacuated tube solar hot water system installed (with electric element back-up). I also had a 5.5 Kilowatt (nominal) Solar PV system installed. Naturally, I did this in part to get the solar feed-in tariff subsidy before Campbell Newman pulled the subsidy pin.

    I agree with Donald Oats. My system has been “on steroids” since installation day. What has been astonishing to me is the effectiveness of solar generation in winter in Brisbane. A fully sunny winter’s day will see the system peak at 4,500 to over 5,000 watts and sit on a plateau of 3,500 to 4,500 or more from something like 8:30 to 3:30. In about 2 months, I estimate the PV system has made about 1,800 to 2,000 Kilowatts. (I lost a reading when my meter was changed over.) The solar hot water system’s energy harvesting for hot water is in addition to this.

    I see the dollar investment upfront as a useful hedge against energy price inflation. With subsidies it should pay itself off in 4 or 5 years at worst and save/make money for another 20 years or more. Whilst the subsidy is arguably too generous and needed to be wound back, the new rules seem unfair to new starters. Newman cut the subsidy from 44c/kWh to 8c/kWh. I am not sure what energy providers pay for solar PV fed into the grid but I think it is another 8c/kWh.

    I believe the government should pay a subsidy to new entrants sufficient to ensure solar power fed into the grid by consumers is paid at the same rate as it costs to use the power.

    Perhaps more importantly it should look at ensuring the state’s next major power station is concentrated solar thermal with molten salt heat storage.

  22. Freelander
    September 4th, 2012 at 22:11 | #22

    I’d like to see the Greens make a fist of it. To be taken seriously, they really need to show that they can do they hard work, and deliver on the basics. The two current political options are doing a poor job, but the public is aware that worse is possible. The Greens need to show they are not worse simply because regardless of their treasure trove of high minded ‘heroic’ humanity saving policies, many consider them to inept to handle the basic administrive tasks of executive government. To have a hope of gaining office they ought to follow the lessons from another era, that is “Make the trains run on time and their hearts and minds will follow!”

  23. Freelander
    September 4th, 2012 at 23:53 | #23

    @Ikonoclast

    Good move with the self-supply. The sun is still providing a lot of usable energy in lower lattitudes and in winter. If the system hadn’t been privatized to such a degree, and so many vested interests for the new highly flawed regime created, transition to a new more green and consumer centered regime would be not only possible, but happening or happened.

    Of course, a prime milestone (millstone) on the road to our currently enjoyed electricity utility Nirvana was an early particularly gung-ho, but typical fact, relevant reference and coherent argument free report in the early nineties from the Industry Commission, aka IAC, Productivity Commission, thatfully Federally funded ‘think’ tank.

  24. Freelander
    September 4th, 2012 at 23:57 | #24

    Oops, missed: libertarian ‘think’ tank.

  25. Chris Warren
    September 5th, 2012 at 03:39 | #25

    @BilB

    Abbott has two bridges to cross before he can get rid of the Carbon Tax.

    1. Win government
    2. Control Senate (or go for double dissolution).

    A double dissolution usually fills the last vacancies from the States with progressive minor parties or candidates – (think Nuclear Disarmament Party – from NSW).

  26. Freelander
    September 5th, 2012 at 05:14 | #26

    Once Abbott wins government it may be all over: “Ambition Accomplished”. Seems the way of the modern professional politician. Seemed there was no further ambition in John Howard than to be Prime Minister. No grand vision in evidence. Sure the office did provide scope to pursue petty prejudices, and (I speculate., ahem) Abbott has plenty of those. But keeping his promises? Not unless he feels he has to or actually wants to. In the lodge, Tony will feel the promises have evidently served their purpose, and for s second, third,fourth term he will just have to dig deep to supply further new promises. Easy to create new promises (new. hoped)

  27. Freelander
    September 5th, 2012 at 05:17 | #27

    (new hopes) than waste energy trying to fulfill earlier ones.

  28. Hermit
    September 5th, 2012 at 07:49 | #28

    @Ikonoclast
    Ideally the feed-in tariff should adjust with supply and demand. If necessary smart meters could curtail PV output that threatens to swamp the grid on sunny days. Google a case of sunburn in Germany. It’s illogical to get the same FiT when it is 20C with blue skies as when there is heavy rain or it is 40C near sunset with max aircons running. I’m surprised you can get a payback period of under 10 years with an 8c FiT. If you export an average 10 kwh a day that’s just 80c about the same as the daily grid connection fee.

    You raise an issue I’d call ‘micro-nationalism’. If there was a near-death panic attack over carbon the various States can go back to their native resources other than coal. For Tas that might be hydro for SA that might be uranium. However for Qld that might have to be sunshine. This sounds weird but I wonder if Queenslanders secretly feel carbon tax demonises them for their high coal use.

  29. Hermit
    September 5th, 2012 at 09:52 | #29

    Australia’s brutally tough carbon policies Part 2

    Under ‘contracts for closure’ several small coal burners put their hands up though they were on their last legs anyway. However two big stations Yallourn 1.5 GW and Hazelwood 1.6 GW wanted more than the Feds are offering so I guess they’re staying
    http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/coalfired-power-stations-plans-abandoned-20120905-25dcq.html
    Funny I don’t remember any of the asbestos companies getting a cent. Closure of these stations if I recall was slated for 2032 and 2031 respectively and would have made a genuinely serious dent in Australia’s emissions. Never mind we’ll have cheap international offsets.

  30. Tim Macknay
    September 5th, 2012 at 12:25 | #30

    @Freelander

    No it doesn’t. It’s a tax not a market. No market, so talk of ‘stable market’ is a selection error. Without a market punters wait until the tax lead in expires to gain experience in the new environment.

    There are arguments for a tax lead in, none of them good.

    Mm hmm.

  31. Tom
    September 5th, 2012 at 13:38 | #31

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/asia-not-all-its-cracked-up-to-be-in-education-20120904-25cji.html

    I have months ago argued for this problem in Asian education system, and it would be a mistake to follow the Asian approach of education “reform”.

    I’m sure that those who gives advice to the government knows this problem as well, however, the Asian approach is the only possible method for Australia to follow in the current political climate. Politicians of the major parties are so obsessed with budget surplus, in the same time they want to avoid raising taxes, and hoping to avoid addressing the problems with private education so they won’t be accused of “socialism”.

    The Asian approach is simply not sustainable, over time, it would increase school hours, increase the stress of students and increase the spending on education (assuming you haven’t privatised all schools). China, now have 12 hour school days (excluding 2+ hours daily homework), 6 days a week and 1 day of tutoring for high school students (year 10, 11, 12). Not only so, a lot of students who “follow the above rules” fails to pass the mark required for them to get an entry to university. Not only so, Chinese students have major problems to regarding to physical abilities, an increase in students having “office associated disease”, and in my opinion, the mental development of students (especially top achievers) are not exactly good in anyways.

    If we are to adopt the Asian approach. This will create unfairness and highly unsustainble future education system. Suppose we are to beat China in PISA, this will further increase their study hour; if that made them beat us in the next round, we will increase our study hour (loop continue forever). It’s the same as saying that the Olympic world records can be broken unlimited amount of times.

  32. Freelander
    September 5th, 2012 at 14:48 | #32

    The focus on “teacher’s” in the school learning equation seems a little excessive, as though nothing else is of any importance in getting results. Also, what you want out of education, and what you can measure, and the acurracy of measurements is another dimension insufficiently discussed.

    But who cares? Certainly not politicians. As far as they are concerned, just more of what they have little concern about except to the extent that it provides further useful material for that circus we call politics.

    Or maybe I’m being cynical, a problem as age, decrepitness, and mental deterioration advance?

  33. Freelander
    September 5th, 2012 at 15:19 | #33

    As long as the outputs vomitted from our school system can mouth those essential words “Would you like fries with your order?”

  34. Fran Barlow
    September 5th, 2012 at 16:23 | #34

    @Hermit

    Under ‘contracts for closure’ several small coal burners put their hands up though they were on their last legs anyway. However two big stations Yallourn 1.5 GW and Hazelwood 1.6 GW wanted more than the Feds are offering so I guess they’re staying

    Nobody is keener than I am to see coal plants decommissioned but not at whatever cost the operators deem acceptable. We have argued the toss here on which abatement measures pass muster — partly in term of cost per tCO2e abated and so at some point there’s a limit. In the case of these especially filthy plants they really have no future and paying them to do what they will almost certainly have to do without a handout doesn’t seem like good policy to me. In this respect, I disagree with my party.

    Imagine if the government announced a progressive phaseout of the tax deductibility of dirty power. Starting July 2014, anything with emissions per MWhe within 10% or above 0.9tCO2e is only 86% tax deductible. Those 10%+ better remain 100% deductible. The cap is progressively lowered every year until a benchmark of 0.15tCO2eMWhe is achieved. The deductibility of “dirty” power also falls evenly every year until it reaches zero.

    Those assets would be pushed over the edge. They’d dump them as quickly as possible at a loss to themselves. Their refusal to negotiate seriously would make them look stupid.

    In some cases, the investors are super funds of course but in cases where investments made before the new regs were introduced had subsequently lost value, those funds could recover their marginal losses directly from the fund pool created by the abolition of deductibility — thus protecting the unit holders. If a substantial number of these were non-citizens, then the compensation funds could be directed into the accounts of citizens.

    I’m against the idea of parting with substantial public funds to protect stranded coal assets though.

    I’d be using the funds freed up by these changes to support low/lowmiddle income households with suitable services.

  35. may
    September 5th, 2012 at 16:36 | #35

    Ikonoclast :At the beginning of July, I had an evacuated tube solar hot water system installed (with electric element back-up). I also had a 5.5 Kilowatt (nominal) Solar PV system installed. Naturally, I did this in part to get the solar feed-in tariff subsidy before Campbell Newman pulled the subsidy pin.
    I agree with Donald Oats. My system has been “on steroids” since installation day. What has been astonishing to me is the effectiveness of solar generation in winter in Brisbane. A fully sunny winter’s day will see the system peak at 4,500 to over 5,000 watts and sit on a plateau of 3,500 to 4,500 or more from something like 8:30 to 3:30. In about 2 months, I estimate the PV system has made about 1,800 to 2,000 Kilowatts. (I lost a reading when my meter was changed over.) The solar hot water system’s energy harvesting for hot water is in addition to this.
    I see the dollar investment upfront as a useful hedge against energy price inflation. With subsidies it should pay itself off in 4 or 5 years at worst and save/make money for another 20 years or more. Whilst the subsidy is arguably too generous and needed to be wound back, the new rules seem unfair to new starters. Newman cut the subsidy from 44c/kWh to 8c/kWh. I am not sure what energy providers pay for solar PV fed into the grid but I think it is another 8c/kWh.
    I believe the government should pay a subsidy to new entrants sufficient to ensure solar power fed into the grid by consumers is paid at the same rate as it costs to use the power.
    Perhaps more importantly it should look at ensuring the state’s next major power station is concentrated solar thermal with molten salt heat storage.

    also Iconoclast,there is the fact that the energy produced does not arrive via burnt fossil generation.
    every watt used by you is paying off your system.
    the future faced by the fossil power generation industry in the light of losing more and more customers is looking grim,the money looks to be in grid control rather than generation.

  36. paul walter
    September 5th, 2012 at 18:03 | #36

    Wtf is Labor up to with Roxon’s Internet surveillance lunacy? And the Afghani turkey-shoot. And Cubby Creek. And mega trawlers?
    Why are the Greens awol on environmental issues? Have they become a one-issue party or is the truncated media clamping down on them if they do raise issues apart from one particular one?

  37. September 5th, 2012 at 18:24 | #37

    @paul walter

    “…or is the truncated media clamping down on them…”

    DING! Correct.

    The media simply refuse to report (or deliberately misrepresent) the Green’s position on all of the above.

    http://greens.org.au/press

  38. Freelander
    September 5th, 2012 at 21:47 | #38

    @paul walter

    Oh no! Tell me it isn’t so! I thought this “great firewall of Australia” which would ‘accidentally’ protect us poor sinners from so much more would have already died a quite death, and the that the never ending quest for thought criminals, and the uncovering of their thought crimes had ended. Shock me. Ms Roxon isn’t by an chance one of those demonstrably dangerous god-believer-inner. Should the franchise be extended tothese types? Maybe? But they should be banned from entering Parliament

    That said, wholeheartedly support her sentiments concerning tobbacco.

  39. Hermit
    September 5th, 2012 at 22:15 | #39

    I’m having difficulty with the credibility of the Gillard government with respect to emissions. Despite the fact it seems the big brown coal fired stations will be with us for another 20 years the PM insists we will easily make our target. That target is a 5% reduction below year 2000 emissions of 558 Mt meaning that the 2020 target is 530. However this is where bulldust comes in because we assume 20 years of 1+% erstwhile emissions growth to a virtual 690 Mt in 2020. Creative accounting at its best. The virtual reduction of 160 Mt is equivalent to taking 45m cars of the road the PM tells us. Let’s give ourselves a pat on the back.

    This is more than a porky but blatantly dishonest and amateurish. The absolute emissions cut is a weak 28 Mt with 20 long years 2000-2020 to accomplish it. If we don’t make it on our own we can buy a few cheap offsets from some spivs on the international market. Somehow all that CO2 from the brown coal stations gets virtually erased even as we see them puffing away. Could Abbott be any more dishonest?

  40. Pepsimax
    September 5th, 2012 at 22:47 | #40

    Surprised to not see a comment regarding Rinehart’s Ayn Randian tirades. She is moral and good, therefore she is wealthy. Poor people need to stop drinking, smoking and gambling (immoral vices and bad), and they too will become wealthy. Simple! Of course, if poor people start out with $70 million and screw their family out of shares, all the better for them. Her remarks were compounded by a recent rant where she implied that people in Australia should think themselves lucky because they’re being paid more than $2 per day.

    People don’t have a problem with wealthy people – people have issues with plutocrats who fail to see that they were actually born on third base and think they hit a triple.

  41. alfred venison
  42. Freelander
    September 6th, 2012 at 00:23 | #42

    @Hermit

    I immediately wondered if the ‘break down’ in talks was simply a device to free up some.previously committed cash to repair the budget, if necessary? Though to be honest I can no longer be motivated to track and analyse the minutiae of their latest antics. If they were other than the latest in a series of expedient antics, maybe a further look might be warrented.

    Our current choices under score those most important human rights, the right not to vote, and the right not yo register to vote. Those rights allow the message to be sent “Functioning Democracy? You’ve got to be kidding?”

  43. Freelander
    September 6th, 2012 at 01:21 | #43

    The bogglie-eyed baron, sorry viscount, moncton is busy doing a star turn at wnd.

    http://www.wnd.com/2012/09/we-freedom-lovers-are-not-winning-but-we-will/

  44. Ikonoclast
    September 6th, 2012 at 07:49 | #44

    @Pepsimax

    If every worker, blue collar and white collar, were paid $2 a day in a modern western economy, the following would soon ensue.

    1. Spending would collapse.
    2. Economy would grind to a halt.
    3. Workers and children would begin starve.
    4. Starving populace would rebel.
    5. Starving policemen and soldiers (also workers on $2 a day) would support the rebellion.

    LOL, I don’t Gina Flintheart has thought this one through. Her “Africans work for $2 a day” comment is particularly insensitive coming at a time when striking African miners have been shot.

    On a more practical note, we need to remember that if a mining project falls through, for the time being, it is not a problem. Those minerals in the ground aren’t going anywhere. Meanwhile, the scarcity value of all minerals increases as the world’s reserves get mined out. The longer the metal minerals sit in the ground, the more they will be worth when eventually mined. We don’t have to be in an inordinate hurry to mine it all now.

  45. rog
    September 6th, 2012 at 08:19 | #45

    Malcolm Turnbulls article SMH shows possibility that there is intelligent life in LNP coalition.

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/honesty-is-the-best-policy-turnbull-swipes-at-abbott-and-deficit-of-trust-20120905-25ezm.html

  46. rog
    September 6th, 2012 at 08:30 | #46
  47. Freelander
    September 6th, 2012 at 10:04 | #47

    @Ikonoclast

    The assumption that spending would collapse is based on an assumption that so-called elites would be unable to take up the slack. Thousands of years of human experience and the legacy left of landscapes littered with monuments suggests otherwise.

  48. Freelander
    September 6th, 2012 at 10:06 | #48

    If Gina does have her way maybe a mountain will be carved into “The really really big Gina”?

  49. Freelander
    September 6th, 2012 at 10:11 | #49

    Maybe Rhinoheart should have said, “Africans work for$2 a day and require no further compensation upon severence” (severence with extreme prejudice?)

  50. Troy Prideaux
    September 6th, 2012 at 10:56 | #50

    Freelander :
    @Ikonoclast
    The assumption that spending would collapse is based on an assumption that so-called elites would be unable to take up the slack. Thousands of years of human experience and the legacy left of landscapes littered with monuments suggests otherwise.

    The nature of the spending should at least change. If you were selling a discretionary product like a smart phone where, say, you estimate that 200 million people could comfortably afford one, compared to a market where only 10 million can; then you’re likely to experience a significant adjustment in sales. If you were selling a high end luxury item such as, say, a Ferrari; then you’d probably do well in a more inequitable economy.

  51. quokka
    September 6th, 2012 at 11:11 | #51

    Australia’s highest-emitting brown coal electricity generators are between $400 million and $1 billion better off than they would have been without the carbon tax, according to new modelling.

    http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/burn-on-pms-dirty-power-buyback-plan-up-in-smoke-20120905-25ewq.html

    Whatever the numbers, this is shaping up to be a political disaster for the government. Won’t help the Greens, either.

  52. September 6th, 2012 at 11:23 | #52

    Hello! Good to see the blog is working again. I just wanted to pop up and mention that back in the vasty deepness of time before the great blog failing, I mentioned something along the lines of how eastward facing solar panels could take care of much of the early morning demand for electricity. But after looking at actual facts, while that is the case for South Australia, in other states other states people tend to start using electricity earlier than in SA. So eastward facing panels are not quite as useful for meeting the early morning peak as I thought. But then I guess this does mean storage can be used twice a day, being charged up with cheap electricity in the very early morning and again in the middle of the day.

  53. September 6th, 2012 at 11:38 | #53

    So, a guy came to my door the other day to talk about changing my electricity distributer. It was really stupid. Why does a guy need to come to my door? Why aren’t I automatically receiving my electricity from the cheapest distributer? It was a waste of my time and his time. Why do we have a (more or less) competitive market for wholesale electricity but not for retail? So stupid! Do I care who pretends to make the electrons in my wires flip back and forth? No, I just care that the people who actually make them flip back and forth continue to do so. On our electricity bills we should be given a phone number or website address that we can use to change things so we automatically receive our electricity from whichever distributer offers it at the lowest price.

  54. Freelander
    September 6th, 2012 at 14:05 | #54

    Brand is everything.

    We live in the age of the designer electricity provider. Everything else would remain the same, but come billing time you see a different decal on the bill. Makes it all worth while.

    Follows that weekly bill is then preferred to monthly,monthly to quarterly, quarterly to monthly. More opportunities per annul to appreciate the designer decal.

  55. September 6th, 2012 at 14:46 | #55

    Every now and then I have a run-in with a “MSM” ‘journalist’.

    Usually it is when I have pulled them up on shoddy reporting and mindless groupthink.

    Yesterday was one such occasion when an ex ABC ‘journo’ told me I didn’t know anything about journalism or the media.

    Relevence of this?

    Well, we’ve all heard (endlessly repeated without question by our MSM) that Gina said African miners willingly work for $2 a day.

    Even on the miner’s own lowest estimates of their monthly take home pay (R3000), and at the current exchange rate of about R1=USD$0.119, the striking South African miners take home no less than $11 a day.

    According to the mining company’s annual report, the entire generous package for the miners (when you include hostel accommodation etc..) is R10500 a month ($42 a day).

    The outgoing CEO of the mining company, Lonmin, Ian Farmer took home R1,200,000 a month. That works out to about $4,760 a day (including weekends) – roughly 400 times what the workers get.

    I won’t bother working out what multiple of the workers’ wage our mining CEOs take home every day. But, wouldn’t it be nice to have a functioning media in this country?

  56. Freelander
    September 6th, 2012 at 15:24 | #56

    @Troy Prideaux

    Yes. Some of these narcissistic robber barons might follow some of the robber barons of old, or Willie Gates III and use some of their ill-gotten gains for charity.

    Hopefully not all on “charities” like art museums and other monumental muesulem monuments to the dead wealthy ”great one”. Hopefully they will follow Willies’ lead and have the money spent for good, rather than attempt one last shaft of hu

  57. Freelander
    September 6th, 2012 at 15:29 | #57

    attempt one last contemptuous shaft of humanity from beyond the grave.

    Given that Gina didn’t even manage to accumulate her wealth (all done by time, compounding and the emergence of China) she has to be one of the most attractive of her robber rentier baron ilk.

  58. Freelander
    September 6th, 2012 at 15:39 | #58

    @Megan

    Unlike other creatures that crawl the earth ‘journos’ do so for a different reason – sheer laziness. If it wasn’t in the press release, an unidentified “source” or interview with their typewriter, it ain’t going in.

    Hence the risevof the blogosphere, “journalism” – not a hard standard to beat.

  59. Hermit
    September 6th, 2012 at 16:23 | #59

    @quokka
    Let’s hope the brown coal burners haven’t spent the billion dollars they’ve already received. Perhaps they could repay it while singing along with Minister Garrett; in this case ‘them’ means taxpayers and those who take climate change seriously.

    The time has come
    A fact’s a fact
    It belongs to them
    Let’s give it back

  60. Tim Macknay
    September 6th, 2012 at 17:21 | #60

    @Pepsimax
    If Gina keeps at it, she could revive the political fortunes of the Communist Party.

  61. September 6th, 2012 at 17:50 | #61

    Hmm, there isn’t much understanding here of what Gina Rinehart said. I expected better. Don’t let this blogsite descend into mindless chanting of window lickers.

  62. rog
    September 6th, 2012 at 18:11 | #62

    What is your view on Gina’s piece SAP?

  63. Freelander
    September 6th, 2012 at 22:12 | #63

    @Steve at the Pub

    An admonishment from someone who locates himself where those with limited mental facilities go to enjoy being and hopefully staying even more limited.

  64. Freelander
    September 6th, 2012 at 22:16 | #64

    @Hermit

    Twas possessed by them; little did they know they were simply holding it in trust.

  65. September 6th, 2012 at 22:56 | #65

    @Freelander: That isn’t fair! I do NOT locate myself on this blogsite. I merely visit from time to time.

  66. September 6th, 2012 at 23:12 | #66

    @rog: My view is she was right on the money. Hammer meet nail.
    Condensed, she said Australia’s mineral exports are competing with countries that have a much lower cost of production. This will cause some difficulty for a country (Australia) which depends totally & completely upon the money made from mining.

    She also said that people who get rich do it by forgoing relaxation & luxuries in favour of working hard. (Those words will have been quite a humiliation to those who sneer at her in envy, but in their heart know they haven’t got what it takes to work hard – which does not alter the harsh fact that she is right).

  67. September 6th, 2012 at 23:26 | #67

    The international media is having quite a field day with Gina’s “$2 a day” comments.

    Terry “His Master’s Voice” isn’t on board – unsurprisingly.

    According to the BBC she makes AUS$600 per second. Assuming she works 10 hour days, that works out at $21,600,000 per day.

    The starting salary for unskilled Australian mine workers is about $1000 – $2000 per week. So about $400 per day.

    Gina makes about 54,000 times more per day than her mine workers. Cool.

  68. Pepsimax
    September 6th, 2012 at 23:56 | #68

    And so it begins! The pouring forth of the John Galts – oppressed small business owners who gross multimillions, who work 25 hours a day 8 days a week just to see their hard earned money be stolen at GUNPOINT by jackbooted government thugs which leaves them worse off than people on welfare. Oh, the humanity! Any day now, they will throw their toys out of the pram and take their god-like charisma, brilliance and entrepreneurial skills back to Galt’s Gulch. THEN won’t everyone else feel silly for oppressing them so much?

  69. rog
    September 7th, 2012 at 05:50 | #69

    @Steve at the Pub the Australian economy does not depend totally and completely on mining. According to those who know this stuff mining contributes 10% and mining related industries 9% to the national GDP (that’s 10 + 9= 19%, as they say do the math).

  70. September 7th, 2012 at 09:45 | #70

    @rog: Australia rides on not the sheep’s back, but on the ore carrier (so to speak).
    Technically not 100% dependant upon mining, but right now oh boy, if mining sneezes the rest of the economy catches a cold. I shudder to think what’ll happen if mining collapses.

  71. Freelander
    September 7th, 2012 at 10:04 | #71

    If demand for minerals collapses we will likely need a sensible stimulus response. Will we get one? I shudder to think. Because we avoided the counter-factual most everyone else experienced, many of us foolishly believe our economy was never under grave threat. Many of us remain charmingly ignorant about the charmed life we have been leading post the GFC and ignorantly put our good fortune as solely sourced in China’s voracious demand.

    Alcohol and analysis don’t mix.

  72. Freelander
    September 7th, 2012 at 10:13 | #72

    @Steve at the Pub

    While a nod might be as good as s wink for the wise, for the wilful blind or willfully ignorant other more painful means are necessary.

    For the hard of thinking let me draw it out with s pencil. Steve at the pub, is a Steve who for some reason identifys himself ad located “at the pub”. Apropos given his contributions.

  73. Freelander
    September 7th, 2012 at 10:18 | #73

    Oh, I note a prissy quaint excise. Fact, although I admit unpleasant and open to misinterpretation.

  74. Tom
    September 7th, 2012 at 10:28 | #74

    On the Gina Rinehart issue.

    Concluding points made from Bill Mitchell’s blog: http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=20782

    “spend less time drinking, or smoking and socialising, and more time working”

    using the ABS: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0Main+Features10March+Quarter+2012

    Low economic resource households: spends $10 or 1.9% of their income on alcoholic beverage
    Other households: spends $21 or 2.4% of their income on alcoholic beverage

    Low economic resource households: spends $50 or 10% of their income on recreation
    Other houholds: spendings $108 or 12.4% of their income on recreation

    Other sources of spendings are also lower in dollar terms or percentage of income except:
    - Current housing costs (selected dwelling);
    - Smoking;
    - Fuel and power (lower in dollar terms but higher in percentage of income);
    - Food and non alcoholic beverage (lower in dollar terms but higher in percentage of income);
    - Household services and operation (lower in dollar terms but higher in percentage of income)

    Gina Rinehart is only correct on smoking; however it is not clear whether smoking is a behaviour which is caused by poverty, or poverty caused by behaviour.

    http://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?QueryId=21699

    Australia is the sixth lowest taxed country in the OECD and taxation as a % of GDP has decreased since 2007

    Well there are much more to be said about Gina Rinehart not having a clue about what she’s talking about. As we all know however that the mainstream media is not interested in the facts.

  75. Tim macknay
    September 7th, 2012 at 11:01 | #75

    Hmm, there isn’t much understanding here of what Gina Rinehart said. I expected better.

    Laughable.

  76. may
    September 7th, 2012 at 13:37 | #76

    @Tim macknay

    poster queen of the republic?

    and didn’t a recent evaluation of the benefit of unpaid voluntary work show the monetary benefit to the country was a bit more than expected?
    the mining industry could collapse and we would get by( although the poor old fin would be hard pressed for copy,the property and financial jobs losses sector only fills so many column inches)
    but what would happen if the voluntary input collapsed and we went to a pure “libertarian”eat the losers society?

    i’m being unkind to the poor old fin.
    the evaluation of the volunteer input was in the fin.
    just as an aside,if they ditched the glossy speudo magazines about fashion and expensive travel for the cashed up and clueless and stopped being the equivalent of a manic depressive and concentrated on the undeniable truly informed flashes of lucidity and those really good essays that come at the weeks end and extended the knowlege of what they are,the availability of their product and concentrated on reviewing finance (things like council finances (heh)
    unlisted company finances,the off balance sheet social cost/benefits of various industries and stopped boxing themselves into a corner by trying to be all things to a really small section of the poputation,
    after all, every body is interested in the money-go-round and stopped employng writers of the “make it turgid,make it boring, convolute,obfuscate and treat the reader as an idiot school of jounalism”maybe they’ll stop burning money and actually make some.

    really,it’s not a good look for a broadcaster that specialises in money to be unable to actually make any.

  77. may
    September 7th, 2012 at 13:51 | #77

    apolgies all,stream-of-conscience becometh me not.

  78. Freelander
    September 7th, 2012 at 14:47 | #78

    @may

    Interesting to observe that in the wild ((as opposed to at the pulpit) libertarians desire for liberty extends little further than for themselves.

  79. Troy Prideaux
    September 7th, 2012 at 14:50 | #79

    @may
    You definitely get fired up over the ol Fin May :) I think your last statement is most pertinent though. Maybe they should be forced to suffix every critical report of those businesses not performing with the statement “just like us” :)

  80. Tim Macknay
    September 7th, 2012 at 18:25 | #80

    If mining sneezes, the dollar declines against the greenback and euro, and the manufacturing industry gets a dose of vitamin C.

  81. Freelander
    September 7th, 2012 at 22:46 | #81

    @Tim Macknay

    Correct, historically at least.

    However, first, the crumbling US dollar has created a bit of a scramble for new safe haven(s) and unfortunately, to some extent, the Au$ has been lucky enough to sneak onto the try out list. Second, the shedding of labour in mining will be close to instant whereas the cranking up of other sectors will take some time, and during a world downturn. A sensible bit of stimulus will be called for. But will the incumbent political clowns answer? That’s the big question. The downturn in China has been predicted again, and again. And again. Eventually even wishful thinking can come true. Time reveals…

  82. Freelander
    September 7th, 2012 at 22:48 | #82

    Meant “wishful thinking analysis”.

  83. may
    September 10th, 2012 at 12:00 | #83

    @Troy Prideaux

    well,sort of.but it’s the best paper in Oz(imho) (which is not really saying much)
    and the potential for being better-than-just goodish, is huge.

    sigh.

    the call for an improvement in financial literacy in todays fin in the light of everyone in Australia being personally exposed to the variety of the financial industry is a step in the right direction.(imho (again))

    i could certainly do with it.

  84. may
    September 10th, 2012 at 12:00 | #84

    @Troy Prideaux

    well,sort of.but it’s the best paper in Oz(imho) (which is not really saying much)
    and the potential for being better-than-just goodish, is huge.

    sigh.

    the call for an improvement in financial literacy in todays fin in the light of everyone in Australia being personally exposed to the variety of the financial industry is a step in the right direction.(imho (again))

    i could certainly do with it.

  85. September 10th, 2012 at 21:56 | #85

    This MSM meme about a sudden fear of “trolls” has me worried.

    Firstly, everyone who uses the internet knows what a “troll” is. It isn’t simply someone who is abusive, offensive or otherwise disagreeable. The key to trolldom is dishonesty and an agenda (usually poorly hidden, or denied – eg. climate denier trolls/concern trolls).

    Abuse is just abuse and certainly nothing to do with being a “troll”. Some trolls can be infuriatingly urbane as they try to destroy all that is good about the internet.

    So, there’s no problem with “twitter trolls”.

    Then why the sudden flurry of what look like conveniently contrived “outrages” relating to so-called ‘social media’, together with a straight-faced call by our MSM for strict regulation?

    With ‘Leveson’ on its way and the Govt supposedly considering ‘Finklestein’, and given that we are – as Assange put it – burning traditional media to the ground, as well as the MSM’s dire state where they couldn’t accurately report a minute’s silence unless they were paid by Rolex to do so – I have a nervous feeling.

    The biggest liars and bullies in our society have huge megaphones but we have the equivalent of passing notes in class when they have their backs turned, and they don’t like it at all.

    You don’t need a tin-foil-hat to guess that this whole “troll” thing is a fabrication designed to facilitate legislative constraint on our ability to communicate freely with each other (anonymously if we choose) while leaving the megaphones to people like……, who would want that?

  86. September 10th, 2012 at 21:56 | #86

    This MSM meme about a sudden fear of “trolls” has me worried.

    Firstly, everyone who uses the internet knows what a “troll” is. It isn’t simply someone who is abusive, offensive or otherwise disagreeable. The key to trolldom is dishonesty and an agenda (usually poorly hidden, or denied – eg. climate denier trolls/concern trolls).

    Abuse is just abuse and certainly nothing to do with being a “troll”. Some trolls can be infuriatingly urbane as they try to destroy all that is good about the internet.

    So, there’s no problem with “twitter trolls”.

    Then why the sudden flurry of what look like conveniently contrived “outrages” relating to so-called ‘social media’, together with a straight-faced call by our MSM for strict regulation?

    With ‘Leveson’ on its way and the Govt supposedly considering ‘Finklestein’, and given that we are – as Assange put it – burning traditional media to the ground, as well as the MSM’s dire state where they couldn’t accurately report a minute’s silence unless they were paid by Rolex to do so – I have a nervous feeling.

    The biggest liars and bullies in our society have huge megaphones but we have the equivalent of passing notes in class when they have their backs turned, and they don’t like it at all.

    You don’t need a tin-foil-hat to guess that this whole “troll” thing is a fabrication designed to facilitate legislative constraint on our ability to communicate freely with each other (anonymously if we choose) while leaving the megaphones to people like……, who would want that?

  87. Freelander
    September 11th, 2012 at 01:02 | #87

    @Megan

    Troll is simply one of these words of abuse like the n word. An indication of disposition toward the person it is applied to and not much more. These sorts of words come in quite handy when one is groping, and don’t really have anything substantive to say.

  88. Freelander
    September 11th, 2012 at 01:10 | #88

    @Ronald Brak

    It is so you can enjoy some libertarian economist:s wet dream of what they think is competition. When they have such a strong belief in their own personal freedom, there is no way you can convince them that there are somethings they ought not do in public!

  89. Freelander
    September 11th, 2012 at 05:59 | #89

    @Megan

    Have to agree with your sentiments on this one. As the mainstream media is in a race (losing it seems) to see whether it or journalist standards (((oxymoron anyone?) will extinguish first, the ‘need’ presented in it is increasingly stagey with all the hallmarks of sponsorship. Increasingly visitors from so-called repressed places laugh at our free press and the only decent news organisation left is not the BBC but Al Jazerra. Must be why the US military fire rockets at their journalists. What an endorsement!!

  90. Freelander
    September 11th, 2012 at 06:00 | #90

    Need I thought I typed news!

  91. September 11th, 2012 at 16:23 | #91

    Further to my post about the MSM’s sudden obsession with good behaviour,

    This morning News Ltd’s Sydney tabloid, the “Daily Tele”, started a ‘Twittition’ under the hashtag StopTheTrolls. A minute ago it had garnered 11 signatures.

    2 and a half hours ago some wag started a Twittition #StopTheDailyTele and it has 60 signatures already.

    I love the internet.

    PS: I saw a tweet from someone asking if #StopTheTrolls constituted uncompetitive conduct by the Tele!

  92. September 12th, 2012 at 22:49 | #92

    Its great to see the America reaping the benefits for supporting the Arab Spring in Libya and Egypt. Western countries need to intervene more in the Middle East to promote democracy so that more of our diplomatic staff can be murdered by Islamists or at the very least be targeted by random RPG firers.

    And the next time lets rope the Japanese into our next incursion. I don’t see why the isolationist Japanese should miss out on all the fun.

    Also, lets invite more people from these regions come to our shores, the better to shower them with the blessings of liberal democracy.

  93. Freelander
    September 12th, 2012 at 23:05 | #93

    One or two assumption there. One huge one that the “good” guys were there to promote democracy and to do good.

    What a pity the “bad” guys gave them that now traditional greeting that the US military gives the non-embedded journalist, the one RPG salute.

    But isn’t it natural to imitate your betters?

  94. Freelander
    September 12th, 2012 at 23:45 | #94

    @Megan

    Interesting how you cease being a troll (or never were one) if the media shower you with obscene sums of money for your activities, as Bolt and Sandilands demonstrate.

  95. Freelander
    September 13th, 2012 at 00:04 | #95

    Speaking of sponsorship, our current foreign minister, americophile, Bob “make mine a Lincoln” Carr, is now doing such a Sterling job for our much loved big-brother ally that ought he not be fully sponsored by them? Surely due to his extraordinary schmoozing efforts the sponsorship ought to be so bountiful that he should become a budget fixing profit center for our government. Deficit begone, the Carr sponsorship deal should see to that! Leastways, hard to see why the Australian taxpayer should be one cent of pocket for the services he’s providing on the world stage. If recycles are the order of the day, why is Paul-the-charmer Keating still moth-balled?

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