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Monday Message Board

October 29th, 2012

Back on air with 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. wilful
    October 29th, 2012 at 08:36 | #1

    50-50 in the latest Newspoll. I’m not about to do a happy dance for two reasons 1. this Labor government doesn’t make me happy, and 2. it’s just one poll, a long way from the next election still, but I am going to laugh fairly hard when the leadership murmerings start for Abbott.

  2. Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy
    October 29th, 2012 at 09:45 | #2

    The Victorian local government elections have seen an improved showing by the Greens compared to the 2008 results. For some reason this is deemed less newsworthy by The Australian than the results of the NSW local government elections which saw a trend the other way.

  3. Katz
    October 29th, 2012 at 13:48 | #3

    According to this doco:

    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/360/souteigai/4308310

    Some Japanese farmers near Fukushima sued TEPCO to remove the radioactive particles that pollute their land.

    The Japanese court threw out the farmers’ suit because the judge decided that escaped radioactive particles are “ownerless”.

    This is a fascinating example of how private property rights have been resubsumed into the commons.

  4. Troy Prideaux
    October 29th, 2012 at 14:09 | #4

    Mitt Romney’s campaign staff thought it was a good idea to use Meatloaf vocal talents in their most recent campaign event. This is a clear testament as to how many Americans watch the AFL Grand Final.

  5. Katz
    October 29th, 2012 at 14:12 | #5

    Or alternatively, millions watched and some liked what they saw. We are talking about Republicans, after all.

  6. Fran Barlow
    October 29th, 2012 at 15:35 | #6

    @Troy Prideaux

    There are some other interesting bloopers

    1. The Romney campaign managed to produce a badly photoshopped image of a rally they held that exaggerated its size.
    2. Tagg Romney was interviewed on what it was like to have the President call your Dad a liar. He professed a fantsay wish to punch the President. Apparently his brother Josh declared that Tagg “had slugged {him} a couple of times”, so the President had nothing to worry about. Not sure what this means. Tagg has apologised.
    3. Romney tried lining his wife and kids up for one of those cute photo-ops in front of some jingoistic bunting. Ann had a logo that was a kind of stylised red white and blue “R” character, but looked a little like the fast forward arrow on old video players. The kids, wearing T-shirts with one chracter each of “OMNEY” were lined up. Amusingly, the “O” & “M” became transposed, with Freudian slip consequences.

    My favourite tale from the “land of the free” today is Joss Whedon’s tongue-in-cheek endorsement of Romney, which speaks of the coming “Zomney Apocalypse”.

  7. Fran Barlow
    October 29th, 2012 at 15:37 | #7

    There are some other interesting bloopers

    1. The Romney campaign managed to produce a badly photoshopped image of a rally they held that exaggerated its size.
    2. Tagg Romney was interviewed on what it was like to have the President call your Dad a liar. He professed a fantsay wish to punch the President. Apparently his brother Josh declared that Tagg “had slugged {him} a couple of times”, so the President had nothing to worry about. Not sure what this means. Tagg has apologised.
    3. Romney tried lining his wife and kids up for one of those cute photo-ops in front of some jingoistic bunting. Ann had a logo that was a kind of stylised red white and blue “R” character, but looked a little like the fast forward arrow on old video players. The kids, wearing T-shirts with one chracter each of “OMNEY” were lined up. Amusingly, the “O” & “M” became transposed, with Freudian slip consequences.

    My favourite tale from the “land of the free” today is Joss Whedon’s tongue-in-cheek endorsement of Romney, which speaks of the coming “Zomney Apocalypse”.

  8. Ernestine Gross
    October 29th, 2012 at 15:40 | #8

    Katz @3, good empirical example of ‘incomplete markets’ in the nuke industry to complement the example for ghg emissions.

    The proverbial ‘world’ was conned by those who peddled ‘free enterprise’ under the name of ‘free markets’.

    By the time this confusion was ‘sold’ in the policy area, the theoretical results on incomplete markets had been published not only in journal articles but in book form. It seems to me, the fiscal and monetary policy time lag is trivially short in comparison to the time lag in the dissemination of knowledge.

  9. rog
    October 29th, 2012 at 15:59 | #9

    Peter Shergold reviews the James Button book on the Public Service. In particular this snip on the role of academics to formulation of policy

    You ask them for help on a problem and they say, ‘I’m not interested in that. But I’ve got this other thing I’d like to talk to you about’. They deal themselves out every time.

    http://theconversation.edu.au/peter-shergold-political-staffers-arent-killing-the-public-service-10287

  10. Fran Barlow
    October 29th, 2012 at 16:19 | #10

    Opps …

    It turns out that the Romney — Money photo to which I alluded above is itself someone’s idea of a joke. Romney-Money.

    I apologise for citing this. I suppose I should keep in mind that things on the internet that seem just too amusing to be true, usually are. Please don’t repeat my error. I don’t want to be part of spreading an urban myth.

    The kids were much too young to be his as well, (though I’ve never seen them I should have noted that).

  11. TerjeP
    October 29th, 2012 at 20:44 | #11

    I tuned into 2GB briefly this morning to check. And it seems Alan Jones is still on the radio. He wasn’t making much sense but he was transmitting loud and clear.

  12. Ikonoclast
    October 30th, 2012 at 07:20 | #12

    There seems to be little mention in this blog of Spain’s descent into full fledged depression. Spain has over 25.1% unemployment and over 50% youth unemployment. Greece unemployment is 24%. Stiglitz has noted that Greece and Spain are in depression. The euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 11.4 % in August 2012. All of this points to the failure of austerity economics.

    Some economists (e.g. Bill Mitchell) blame the failure of the monetary union also (loss of currency sovereignty etc.). Some peak energy analysts blame high energy prices and note that the countries having trouble (PIIGS) produce little fossil or nuclear energy of their own. My guess is that it doesn’t have to be an either/or case. Pro-cyclical budgets represent an endogenous (fiscal) shock to the economy and high energy prices (and scarcity) represent an exogenous (real resources) shock to the economy. It seems possible both causes are in operation.

  13. Julie Thomas
    October 30th, 2012 at 07:43 | #13

    Terje lol you say “I tuned into 2GB briefly this morning to check. And it seems Alan Jones is still on the radio. He wasn’t making much sense but he was transmitting loud and clear.”

    Perhaps he isn’t all that ‘clear’ – loud for sure.

    But did you hear any ads? That is the point isn’t it? He only blathers on because it pays well? Or do you think he would do it for free?

    According to my destroying the joint facebook page, the ‘cyberterrorists’ are keeping tabs on the advertising and stopped AirAsia from running ads yesterday by asking nicely so it seems to be only that restaurant and one other place are still advertising on his show.

  14. Katz
    October 30th, 2012 at 07:49 | #14

    Well said, Julie Thomas.

    If the Parrot is still broadcasting, it is the radio version of vanity publishing. Good on Jonesy for volunteering to burn 2GB’s cash. Keep up the good work, old fellow!

  15. TerjeP
    October 30th, 2012 at 07:50 | #15

    Julie – I don’t have enough time or the inclination to monitor it for advertisements. But he is still there.

  16. MG42
    October 30th, 2012 at 08:13 | #16

    Switching to 2GB to see if it is still on the air makes about as much sense as poking a dog turd with your finger to see how old it is.

  17. Julie Thomas
    October 30th, 2012 at 08:20 | #17

    Terje that’s fine with me; I don’t want to drive him to suicide or anything although some of the destroyers are rather more angry than me.

    I think there is a range of acceptable outcomes that people are wanting; ranging from what we have already got, compulsory fact checking, – and won’t that be a hoot for the poor person who has to try and educate him – to sacking.

    There is a comp on the ‘destroyers’ facebook page to predict what spin 2GB will put on the statement the managing director is going to make soon.

    It is interesting to consider the psychology of his demographic and how in need of some ‘help’ they are, it is very difficult to listen to his ‘shrill’ lol – voice and tone, the incipient madness and incoherence are very disturbing if you can ‘hear’ the ‘signs’.

    But the ‘destroyers’ take turns to monitor him so nobody gets too depressed.

  18. Katz
    October 30th, 2012 at 08:24 | #18

    Ernestine Gross :
    Katz @3, good empirical example of ‘incomplete markets’ in the nuke industry to complement the example for ghg emissions.
    The proverbial ‘world’ was conned by those who peddled ‘free enterprise’ under the name of ‘free markets’.

    Another good example on 4 Corners last night. The “free” market availability in India of antibiotics has created super bacteria whose resistant genes are now transmissible to other bacteria. According to the program, this unregulated market threatens to make all antibiotics obsolete. The only alternative to antibiotics is surgical incision and amputation.

  19. wilful
    October 30th, 2012 at 10:40 | #19

    rog :
    Peter Shergold reviews the James Button book on the Public Service. In particular this snip on the role of academics to formulation of policy

    You ask them for help on a problem and they say, ‘I’m not interested in that. But I’ve got this other thing I’d like to talk to you about’. They deal themselves out every time.

    http://theconversation.edu.au/peter-shergold-political-staffers-arent-killing-the-public-service-10287

    Totally true.

  20. Daniel
    October 30th, 2012 at 12:02 | #20

    Hearing some of the US presidential debate, I found it interesting that both parties have a clear direction when it comes to foreign i.e. Israel is our ally (even though they wouldn’t actually say that phrase), need to make sure Afghanistan can look after themselves before we leave etc…. So it seems that they have a clear image on how they want the world to run, yet they cannot agree on what is ‘best’ for their own country (a possible superiority complex)

  21. TerjeP
    October 30th, 2012 at 12:46 | #21

    But the ‘destroyers’ take turns to monitor him so nobody gets too depressed.

    Is there a compliant OH&S policy in place?

  22. Tom
    October 30th, 2012 at 13:54 | #22

    http://www.econbrowser.com/archives/2012/10/romneyryan_on_f.html

    Take a side the failure of understanding in economics, if this kind of attitude in regards to disaster relief comes out of a presidential candidate who still have a significant voter base; the United States won’t be the United States for long, unless a large portion (if not all) of voters base turns away.

  23. Julie Thomas
    October 30th, 2012 at 15:48 | #23

    Terje Check for yourself; you do have a facebook page?? All you need to do is ‘like’ their page and you get updates all day. All free and sometimes with pictures. :)

    But it seems to me to be a dynamically self-organising system with no policies at all; they make it up as they go.

  24. October 30th, 2012 at 20:34 | #24

    I want it easy to change template colors; a gallery area; calendar and of course the blogging area should be easy to manage/update. Names and links would be greatly appreciated..
    Monaco http://is.gd/6uGFNU

  25. TerjeP
    October 30th, 2012 at 21:00 | #25

    Alan Jones seems to have improved his ratings. For the time slot he is number one and improving. Hilarious!

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/alan-jones-scandal-a-ratings-winner/story-fndo317g-1226506674077

  26. Fran Barlow
    October 30th, 2012 at 22:03 | #26

    Breakfast radio in Sydney declining, Jones declining marginally faster than the market.

    HT: Jenna Price …

    @TerjeP

  27. Fran Barlow
    October 30th, 2012 at 22:09 | #27

    Apparently the last ratings period occurred almost entirely before the Jones controversy arose. Not sure what data Jenna Price is relying on.

  28. Jim Rose
    October 30th, 2012 at 22:09 | #28

    @Fran Barlow there is no such thing as bad publicity, unless it involves the mistreatment of cute animals.

  29. Katz
    October 30th, 2012 at 22:17 | #29

    Yep, since Gillard and her handlers took a slice out of the Parrot, her numbers and the ALP numbers have gone north.

    The Parrot is just a small piece in a bigger game.

    Yet the Murdochracy claimed this publicity would have a bad effect.

    Don’t they know that Gillard smacked a parrot, not a “cute animal”?

  30. TerjeP
    October 31st, 2012 at 07:09 | #30

    Katz – yes the ALP numbers are up. I think Gillards tactics are working. Which is more than can be said for her policies.

  31. Katz
    October 31st, 2012 at 07:28 | #31

    As it happens, I agree.

    The ALP suffers from two shortcomings:

    1. An unacknowledged betrayal of its core values.

    2. Inept mismatch between ends and means.

  32. Fran Barlow
    October 31st, 2012 at 08:21 | #32

    @Jim Rose

    What “cute animals” were mistreated by

    a) Slipper?
    b) Thomson?

  33. Ernestine Gross
    October 31st, 2012 at 21:25 | #33

    The NSW government seems to have sacked the wrong people – hospital and education staff instead of accountants!

    According to the smh report of 31/10/12, the nsw government accounts have been found to contain an error of about $1 billion with the result that an announced deficit is a surplus.

    The Auditor General, NSW, has expressed the size of the error in a language that makes sense to me and, I assume, to most so-called ordinary people, when he is quoted as having said: “I would say that a $1 million error is unfortunate, a $10 million error is undesirable but a $100 million error is totally unacceptable,”
    Source: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/1b-error-nsw-swings-from-deficit-to-surplus-20121031-28j8s.html

    If $100 million is a totally unacceptable error, then what is a $1 billion error?

    Setting aside the size of the error problem, having decisions made on seriously erroneous accounting data is even worse. It is worse because the consequences of the accounting errors become irreversible.

    The consequences are irreversible because the income and expenditure plans of the sacked people have been disrupted, the work plans of institutions have been disrupted and all this has flow-on effects in the so-called ‘wider community’.

    The government of Greece, I dare say, still wears the crown for creative accounting. In contrast to NSW, in Greece the discovery is not a hidden surplus but accumulated hidden deficits. The numbers involved are not strictly comparable. Still, I believe my point stands that decisions based on erroneous data have irreversible consequences.

    Who is being held responsible for this form of erroneous decision making?

    Government data is typically easier to scrutinize than private enterprise data. But this does not mean that there is no erroneous decision making taking place in the latter (Enron may still be wearing the crown on this one, HIH comes to mind and the entire proverbial Wall Street banking sector).

    The errors in the decision making process don’t necessarily cancel out ‘globally’. Of course it would be very difficult for me to get rid of the word ‘necessarily’ in the foregoing sentence. I am fully aware that I put it in deliberately.

    The point I am trying to get at is, even if the accounting errors underlying decision making processes by public and private organizations would cancel out ‘globally’, it would be grossly (no pun intended) unfair because every individual has only one life and therefore irreversible consequences for each life cannot be cancelled out by aggregation over the population.

    The exclusive focus on macro-economic data (and balance sheets) is, IMHO, inconsistent with the notion of liberalism as well as social democracy. But then I have only a simple mind, unencumbered by political theories.

  34. Jim Rose
    November 1st, 2012 at 05:39 | #34

    @Fran Barlow Slipper and Thomson were not entertainment celebrities

  35. Ikonoclast
    November 1st, 2012 at 06:37 | #35

    @Ernestine Gross

    “The exclusive focus on macro-economic data (and balance sheets) is, IMHO, inconsistent with the notion of liberalism as well as social democracy.” – Ernestine Gross.

    I agree. In agreeing, I assume you mean;

    (1) Governments (at national level) should pursue a full employment and full capacity utilisation policy rather than the arbitrary targetting of surpluses or balanced budgets regardless of cyclical considerations.

    (2) Other ideals, standards, goals and purposes (for example democracy, social values, public education, scientific standards and personal liberty) are values in their own right and should be pursued directly. In other words, budget outcomes and balance sheets, public and private, ought not to be the final arbiters of everything we as a society decide to do.

    The real problem is the bourgeois economics of late stage capitalism. The natural tendency of the system is to generate ever greater inequality. You cannot change the tendency of the system without changing the system. I would propose that until we move past capitalist ownership to worker cooperative ownership in a social democratic polity we cannot fix any of this. The real question is what do you propose?

  36. Ernestine Gross
    November 1st, 2012 at 07:22 | #36

    @Ikonoclast

    The point I wanted to make @33 was much more modest. I gave empirical examples of a general problem of decision making, which is based on false information. The examples pertain to decisions made by ‘large organisations’.

  37. Ikonoclast
    November 1st, 2012 at 08:22 | #37

    @Ernestine Gross

    OK, fair enough. But how do you propose we address the “general problem of (poor) decision making based on false information especially in relation to large organisations”?

    Admittedly, a first step is a comprehensive analysis of the problem and academic interest may legitimately extend no further. However, in the wider socio-political context the identification and/or delineation of a problem in the socio-economic field presupposes an interest and intent to address the problem in some way.

    Of course, the other issue is that possessing correct information does not guarantee good decision making. If the decision making framework (including methods, ideologies, presuppositions, biases, blind spots etc. etc.) is poor then the decisions will be poor anyway.

  38. Ernestine Gross
    November 1st, 2012 at 12:46 | #38

    @Ikonoclast

    By ‘general problem’ I mean one which can occur in various forms at various times. I don’t know of another way of addressing erroneous decision making due to decisions being based on false information other than case by case. I thought I’ve given the answer in the first paragraph for the specific case.

  39. Ikonoclast
    November 1st, 2012 at 14:26 | #39

    Sorry, I am going to be pedantic (as usual). You have given the answer for the situation after the fact. Sack the people badly in error. However, this begs several questions.

    1. Is the error solely one of major ineptitude or dereliction of duty? In this case sackings might be part of an appropriate response.
    2. Were there other organisational and/or professional errors of method, procedure and technique which need rectification? (What sort of book keeping do they use? Why did not normal cross-checks discover the error etc. etc.?)
    3. Who bears final responsibility for signing off the erroneous result?

    How do we prevent such events occuring or at least minimise the possibility? Was the department that made this error subjected to cuts itself some time before the error? Had it lost expertise and the “luxury” to cross-check and triple-check figures and so on?

  40. Ernestine Gross
    November 1st, 2012 at 14:51 | #40

    @Ikonoclast

    The point I made is that people in areas such as education and health were sacked on the basis of a need to reduce a deficit. To achieve this, redundancy payments were made (more money spent). After this fact, the discovery is made by the auditor general that there was no deficit but a surplus. I say this erroneous decision making has irreversible consequences.

    The easiest way to prevent this recurring is to make budget allocation decisions only after the data has been audited by the auditor general.

    (Incidentally, I know of one case where the externally audited data has been subsequently internally audited with the result of introducing new errors. To detect these new errors required additional unpaid work. I can’t be sure whether the person in charge of this mess is or was mentally unstable or acted strategically. But I am sure if this person’s ‘position’ had been cancelled, it would have constituted a Pareto improvement. I am sure because the ‘position’ was replaced with direct data entry and the error problem stopped.)

  41. Graeme Bird
    November 1st, 2012 at 15:07 | #41

    Re-reading Zombie-Economics. For an economics polemicist like myself, this is a deeply satisfying book. Now you can get it at kindle for ten bucks. Lunch money. A moral purchase as well since its an “in your face” gesture to the Financial Review for being nasty to people who rebel against financial sector hegemony. I haven’t been reading that ignorant rag lately, but my bet is that they are not overwhelmed by articles on the ground-breaking research of Professor Keen or opinion pieces by Professor Hudson. It strikes me as unlikely that they have published anti-fractional reserve works by the Austrians (gaining in prominence) either. What an anti-intellectual paper that is. It tries to ingratiate itself with academics by way of a fraux-leftist tinge to it. But surely we must judge the financial review, as a paper, that can be described as part of, “Ruperts loyal opposition.”

  42. Graeme Bird
    November 1st, 2012 at 15:21 | #42

    ” …… 1. this Labor government doesn’t make me happy, and ……….”

    Its good to see that you are only human. Party allegiance ought not remain untarnished in the face of the relentless stupidity displayed by Labour since Kim Beazley left town? What a talented lineup Labour used to have? By the late Hawke era they must have had more talent then any other workers party around. This was back when they were a workers party. Rather then a public servant and bankers party. Now they have a lineup with little brains, almost no relevant experience, and no loyalty to their worker constituents.

  43. Tim Macknay
    November 1st, 2012 at 17:15 | #43

    @Ikonoclast

    Sorry, I am going to be pedantic (as usual). You have given the answer for the situation after the fact. Sack the people badly in error. However, this begs several questions.

    Sorry to be even more pedantic, but Ernestine’s answer doesn’t beg any questions at all. It might prompt a few questions. It could raise a question or two. But it most decidedly does not beg them. ;)

  44. Fran Barlow
    November 1st, 2012 at 18:23 | #44

    @Tim Macknay

    As a well-recognised pedant, I’m glad you obviated the need for me to make this point.

  45. November 1st, 2012 at 20:27 | #45

    No doubt I am riding a “hobby horse” on this issue Indeed you are, Jack. I’ve deleted this and request no further replies – JQ

  46. Fran Barlow
    November 1st, 2012 at 22:20 | #46

    As I’ve deleted the comment to which this replies, it’s only fair to delete the response as well – JQ

  47. Chris Warren
    November 2nd, 2012 at 02:08 | #47

    As I’ve deleted the comment to which this replies, it’s only fair to delete the response as well – JQ

  48. alfred venison
    November 2nd, 2012 at 06:19 | #48

    As I’ve deleted the comment to which this replies, it’s only fair to delete the response as well – JQ

  49. Julie Thomas
    November 2nd, 2012 at 06:24 | #49

    As I’ve deleted the comment to which this replies, it’s only fair to delete the response as well – JQ

  50. Julie Thomas
    November 2nd, 2012 at 06:28 | #50

    oh bugger, sorry about the formatting in the quote.

  51. MG42
    November 2nd, 2012 at 08:17 | #51

    Graeme Bird :
    ” …… 1. this Labor government doesn’t make me happy, and ……….”
    Its good to see that you are only human. Party allegiance ought not remain untarnished in the face of the relentless stupidity displayed by Labour since Kim Beazley left town? What a talented lineup Labour used to have? By the late Hawke era they must have had more talent then any other workers party around. This was back when they were a workers party. Rather then a public servant and bankers party. Now they have a lineup with little brains, almost no relevant experience, and no loyalty to their worker constituents.

    There is a simple reason for that. The issue is that the “left” has to appeal to a more diverse group of voters than the “right”. The platform of the “right” is generally bimodal – it appeals to the social conservatives and/or the wealthy. Their platform is very simple: lower taxes, government is always bad, what’s-good-for-business-is-good-for-you, welfare-cheats-are-ruining-the-country, etc. The “left” needs to gain the support of more factions and varies their offerings into a mishmash that hopefully strikes a chord with the majority. They have to appease, among others, the environmentalists, the unions, the poor, the middle class, the social progressives, intellectuals……..

    The big tent nature also makes policy formulation more nuanced – as an example off the top of my head, the “right” is extremely likely to reject out of hand, on “moral” grounds, a recommendation for higher transfer payments, while the left is more likely to consider other factors, such as deficit growth, poverty reduction and potential economic growth in their assessment.

  52. Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy
    November 2nd, 2012 at 09:44 | #52

    As I’ve deleted the comment to which this replies, it’s only fair to delete the response as well – JQ

  53. Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy
    November 2nd, 2012 at 09:54 | #53

    Meanwhile over at Quadrant, Keith Windsock takes a very different view of Hobsbawm’s work, in the process informing us that Barack Obama and Julia Gillard are “radical leftists” and bearers of Hobsbawm’s baleful influence.

  54. Jim Rose
    November 2nd, 2012 at 10:46 | #54

    @Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy on Barack Obama and Julia Gillard being radical leftists, I am sure not a single exaggeration or insult has been uttered about Abbott or does hansard say otherwise:

    Tony Abbott is a hack. A dog. An aggressive, carping, bitter, mindless, deceptive, dodgy, mendacious, rancid, negative, nasty, muck-raking, untruthful, obstructionist, opportunistic, sexist, political Neanderthal. He is unfit for high office. He cannot control his temper. No trick is too low for him. No stunt is too wild. He is a bully. A thug. A snake oil salesman.

    A poster child for vile bully-boy values. He has repulsive double standards. He hates women. He stands for nothing. He has unhealthy obsessions. He is nuts. Abbott behaves like Jack the Ripper. He is Gina Rinehart’s butler. He is Nancy Reagan without the astrology.

    ”Tony Abbott is the poster child for the vile, bully-boy values.” Swan, on Twitter, September 19. There are worse twitts by Labor MPs about abbott, but this blog prohibits coarse language. unlike Keating, none of the above insults were witty.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/abbott-suffering-a-labor-party-stoning-20121014-27krw.html#ixzz2B1OC1asI

  55. Jim Rose
    November 2nd, 2012 at 10:48 | #55

    bring back birdy, on Barack Obama and Julia Gillard being radical leftists, I am sure not a single exaggeration or insult has been uttered about Abbott or does Hansard say otherwise:

    Tony Abbott is a hack. A dog. An aggressive, carping, bitter, mindless, deceptive, dodgy, mendacious, rancid, negative, nasty, muck-raking, untruthful, obstructionist, opportunistic, sexist, political Neanderthal. He is unfit for high office. He cannot control his temper. No trick is too low for him. No stunt is too wild. He is a bully. A thug. A snake oil salesman.

    A poster child for vile bully-boy values. He has repulsive double standards. He hates women. He stands for nothing. He has unhealthy obsessions. He is nuts. Abbott behaves like Jack the Ripper. He is Gina Rinehart’s butler. He is Nancy Reagan without the astrology.

    ”Tony Abbott is the poster child for the vile, bully-boy values.” Swan, on Twitter, September 19. There are worse twitts by Labor MPs about abbott, but this blog prohibits coarse language. unlike Keating, none of the above insults were witty.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/abbott-suffering-a-labor-party-stoning-20121014-27krw.html#ixzz2B1OC1asI

  56. David Irving (no relation)
    November 2nd, 2012 at 11:35 | #56

    Jim, I think Swan was actually quite measured in those quotes. On the other hand, anyone who confuses either Obama or Gillard with a lefty is clearly delusional.

  57. Katz
    November 2nd, 2012 at 12:29 | #57

    And Neanderthals enjoyed larger cranial volumes than homo sapiens.

    If Tony Abbott were a disciple of the late Arthur Jensen, he’d be gratified by the compliment.

  58. Jim Rose
    November 2nd, 2012 at 13:09 | #58

    @David Irving (no relation) manners are the glue of society. There are few politicians these days who are witty. Swan was plain rude.

    Political discourse would be considerably poorer without the right to be rude.

    Robust political debate is bound to produce speech that is critical of those who hold public office or public figures involved in the resolution of important public questions or, by reason of their fame, shape events of concern to society at large. The criticism will not always be reasoned or moderate: there will be vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks.

    Rudeness is no substitute for having the better arguments. Swan was rude because he has no answer to the great big new tax argument. Labor’s case for reelection is they are not Abbott. Voters do not retain governments because of the qualities of the opposition leader.

  59. Julie Thomas
    November 2nd, 2012 at 13:27 | #59

    Katz, all conservatives are disciples of Jensen I thought?

  60. Jim Rose
    November 2nd, 2012 at 13:53 | #60

    @Julie Thomas who is Arthur Jensen?

  61. Tim Macknay
    November 2nd, 2012 at 14:26 | #61

    Rudeness is different from misrepresenting your opponents. Calling Gillard or Obama a “radical leftist” is misrepresentation, the equivalent for Abbott would be accusing him of being a f*scist or neo-n*zi. One might expect this sort of deluded misrepresentation from conspiracy nuts on the fringe. But Windshuttle, allegedly a public intellectual, and Quadrant, allegedly an intellectual magazine, ought to exhibit higher standards.

    Political discourse may or may not be poorer without rudeness – it would certainly be less colourful. But political discourse without outrageous misrepresentation and lies would be considerably improved.

  62. Jim Rose
    November 2nd, 2012 at 14:53 | #62

    @Tim Macknay misrepresenting your opponents is a rather low bar.

  63. JB Cairns
    November 2nd, 2012 at 15:23 | #63

    Jim,

    Swan is a hopeless politician but a very good treasurer..
    His answer should have been what is tax as a % of GDP.

    how any people who sprout how can we have a deficit in a commodity boom actually know how small the figure is.

    By the way you do now know Australian GDP fell in 1932 it didn’t rise. No expansionary austerity then either.

  64. David Irving (no relation)
    November 2nd, 2012 at 15:28 | #64

    “Voters do not retain governments because of the qualities of the opposition leader.” I think you’re mistaken, Jim. For instance, Howard kept government because of the perceived qualities of Latham.

    As to rudeness, yes, political discourse might be better if it were more civil, but the main offenders here (in Australia) are in the Liberal and National Parties.

  65. Tim Macknay
    November 2nd, 2012 at 15:31 | #65

    @Jim Rose

    True. I’m sure you’d agree though, it’s unfortunate how difficult so many participants in the process find clearing it.

  66. Jim Rose
    November 2nd, 2012 at 15:34 | #66

    @David Irving (no relation) the main offenders are whomever is the government of the day because they can say suchas what I listed above about Abbott without being suspended from the house or sued outside of the house.

  67. rog
    November 2nd, 2012 at 16:04 | #67

    Having adopting failed policies of attacking minority groups, manufacturing fake scenarios and denying reality the only avenue left to the Jim Roses of the world is pedantry and faux outrage.

  68. Jim Rose
    November 2nd, 2012 at 22:03 | #68

    see http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2012/11/rowan_atkinson_on_insulting_free_speech.html for a great 9 minute speech of the importance of robust free speech and the use of wit to make arguments.

  69. zoot
    November 2nd, 2012 at 22:36 | #69

    Jim, it sounds like you’re one of those PC types who hate free speech.

  70. rog
    November 3rd, 2012 at 05:44 | #70

    @Jim Rose One flaw in your argument is that you are saying speech can only be free if it contains wit and only the Jim Roses of the world can determine what is/what is not wit.

  71. Jim Rose
    November 3rd, 2012 at 10:45 | #71

    @rog if you watched the podcast, you will notice how Rowen Atkinson used wit with great skill and under-statment to make his arguments. Many of his points echoed those of J.S. Mill.

  72. rog
    November 3rd, 2012 at 16:47 | #72

    @Jim Rose Another flaw in your argument is that you appear to overlook untruths, fabrications, deceptions and lies yet argue that the perception of lack of wit is a defect.

  73. rog
    November 4th, 2012 at 05:30 | #73

    While King Coal does provide jobs jobs jobs it does so at a cost,

    http://media.beyondzeroemissions.org/coal_health_Report_FINAL.pdf

  74. Tom
    November 5th, 2012 at 12:20 | #74

    http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/02/ideology-over-reality/?partner=rss&emc=rss

    Looks like “Freedom of Speech” is important, only if it suits Republicans, my advice to them is to just change the Constitution of the United States so that people won’t even know these reported existed in the first place in the future.

  75. Katz
    November 5th, 2012 at 12:56 | #75

    Serial god botherer Billy Graham and Republican shill declares that Mormonism is no longer a cult:

    http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/189908/billy-graham-removes-mormonism-from-cult-list-just-in-time-for-the-election/

    And then croaks soon thereafter.

    Coincidence, or not. You decide.

  76. November 6th, 2012 at 17:29 | #76

    Warning: Preemptive Gloat

    Just checking in to remind everyone that back in Nov 2008 I stated that Obama would win two terms. mainly due to the voters wanting someone to stick around long
    So either I am very lucky or as Jack Nicklaus once remarked, “the more I practice the luckier I get”. to clean up the colossal Bush mess, a task I described as “janitorial” rather than “messianic”.

    I followed up in Apr 2010 when I predicted that the Tea Party would  ”burn out” and Obama would win the 2012 election “comfortably”. I also argued that Obama needed to focus on winning a bigger share of the “white working class” vote. It looks like the auto bailout has swung working class white Ohio into the DEM column.

    In conclusion I would also like to point out that everyone goes on about Ray Fair, Doug Hibbs and Nate Silver in the US and Possum Polytics, Poll Bludger and Mumbles in AUS. They are all great quants but I am now sitting on a 6 on 6 winning streak picking US/AUS federal elections through the naughties. With a good chance of making it 7 on 7 with Obama.

    Its still possible for an upset Romney victory to spoil my winning streak. Especially if base turnout favours the REPs. If the poll goes as I predicted then I would be interested to see

    Either I am very lucky or as Jack Nicklaus once remarked, “the more I practice the luckier I get”.

  77. November 6th, 2012 at 17:56 | #77

    Warning: Preemptive Gloat

    Just checking in to remind everyone that back in Nov 2008 I stated that Obama would win two terms. mainly due to the voters wanting someone to stick around long enough to clean up the colossal Bush mess, a task I described as “janitorial” rather than “messianic”.

    I followed up in Apr 2010 when I predicted that the Tea Party would  ”burn out” and Obama would win the 2012 election “comfortably”. I also argued that Obama needed to focus on winning a bigger share of the “white working class” vote. It looks like the auto bailout has swung working class white Ohio into the DEM column.

    Everyone goes on about Ray Fair, Doug Hibbs and Nate Silver in the US and Possum Polytics, Poll Bludger and Mumbles in AUS. They are all great quants but I am now sitting on a 6 on 6 winning streak picking US/AUS federal elections through the naughties. With a good chance of making it 7 on 7 with Obama.

    Its still possible for an upset Romney victory to spoil my winning streak. Especially if base turnout favours the REPs. If the poll goes as I predicted then I would be interested to see if any other psephs can top that.

    Either I am very lucky or as Jack Nicklaus once remarked, “the more I practice the luckier I get”.

  78. Katz
    November 6th, 2012 at 18:49 | #78

    Strocchers’ record of prognostication is made all the more remarkable by the fact that he is probably not genetically coded for making correct predictions.

  79. Fran Barlow
    November 6th, 2012 at 19:19 | #79

    @Jack Strocchi

    Predicting a second term for a President is not all that hard. You could pick Clinton, Bush, and Reagan. Three terms for a party is about it, which explains Bush Senior and to some extent Gore’s failure. Also both of them were wedged to some extent and there was some hanky panky around Florida in Gore’s case. Carter was a dead man walking so he was a gimme. LBJ pulled out. Kennedy was shot dead and Eisenhower and Truman got two terms.

    More impressive would be predicting the ECV margins and the states that would flip.

  80. November 6th, 2012 at 20:27 | #80

    Katz said @ #23

    Strocchers’ record of prognostication is made all the more remarkable by the fact that he is probably not genetically coded for making correct predictions.

    I share a disproportionate genetic overlap with the first and greatest political scientist. Niccolo Machiavelli, Mach the Nice, as I fondly think of him. If I have any chops in this game its in good part because I feel his stern countenance peering over my shoulder.

  81. November 7th, 2012 at 11:48 | #81

    Jack, since you are probably not controlling the elections behind the scenes I’d say you were lucky. Before a horse race it is possible to guess which horse is mostly likely to win, but it’s not possible to actually know which horse will win as there is a substantial amount of randomness that can’t be accounted for. And we know it can’t be accounted for on account of how the betting industry still exists. Similarly, in elections there is a certain amount of unaccountable randomnes. So unless you have supernatural abilites, it’s luck. And it may not have been all that lucky, as I don’t know how close those elections were. Also, humans have a tendency to think their track record at prediction is better than it actually is. Sort of like how the majority of people think they are better than average drivers. I’m not saying that you have forgotten about the times you were wrong, I’m just saying that forgetting about the times they were wrong is a very common occurance among humans.

  82. MG42
    November 7th, 2012 at 15:06 | #82

    Good news: Obama won a second term thus keeping fringe nutjob policies off the table

    Bad news: Republicans seem set to hold the House of Reps, hence carry on with their highly destructive partisanship (one example of which was the threatened US Government default on it’s debts in July-August last year, a move unprecedented in history, which caused a collapse of confidence. Way to go, guys!)

  83. Tom
    November 9th, 2012 at 13:08 | #83

    The University of Western Sydney have (seems this is true) proposed to axe Bachelor of Economic and BoE (Honors) due to “the reduced funding from the government”. In my opinion, this is an extremely disappointing decision made by the univerisity considering the economic department at that university is quite good, with units which explores different theories other than the mainstream neoclassical synthesis (Neo-Keynesian) such as post keynesian and neoclassical.

  84. Graeme Bird
    November 11th, 2012 at 10:51 | #84

    I think the Tobin tax, properly applied, may be more in keeping with free enterprise values, in the current context, then its absence.

    Consider investing in silver with the Perth Mint versus investing in a gold ETF (or fresh air). A seller of fresh air IOU’s, indexed to a warped price for gold …. warped largely by the very existence of the ETF … Well the seller doesn’t have to incur storage costs, fabrication costs, and transport costs, because he’s selling a bunch of promises. By whacking a big Tobin tax on the non-100%’ers we would be giving the potential for the building of real wealth as opposed to paper castles in the air.

    Now I’m not saying that gold accumulations alone are “real wealth”. Because by investing in one monetary metals you take this metal out of the productive process. Giving them fiat and derivative characteristics. But if you can have people accumulating and lending at interest, a wide range of durable metals (Tungsten, silver, gold, chromium, titanium, copper, paladium, platinum, and so forth) under these conditions the cost of any one of these isn’t blown out as much. And the extent that their cost is blown out, it merely amortizes the extraction costs of base metals. The focus on gold alone would impose great costs on the economy. But the focus on a broad base of metals wouldn’t really do this.

    Now there is nothing wrong with government cash money. If this cash money isn’t pyramided on and this cash money gets its value from being a tax voucher. So initially monetary reform would be getting rid of the bank ponzi money and replacing it with cash money. But the provision of paper money involves costs. To have other money’s available it is important that these costs be recovered. So that its only fair to have a Tobin tax on bank transactions involving this government money. Would we be right to maintain 100% government cash money without metal competitors? No I don’t think so. I think we need alternatives to stop abuse of the cash money.

    For the moment the Tobin tax would be a good reform measure for all sorts of abuses in our capital markets. For front-running trades using high-frequency algarithms just for example. It would put the focus on long-term value, and make the capital markets a bit more efficient at allocating resources then they are now. Which would not be hard.

    The thing is that positive inventories speculation is a social good. But our modern system is overwhelmed by negative inventories speculation aka phantom supply. Negative inventories speculation is anti-social. The Tobin tax could target this form of speculation. It ought to be applied so as to leave the positive inventories speculation alone if possible.

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