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Monday Message Board

June 17th, 2013

Time for 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. Paul Norton
    June 17th, 2013 at 18:43 | #1

    I am finally able to rectify a vile sectarian slander against the Communist Party of Australia.

    The sectarian slander, which had currency in Melbourne in the early 1980s in “hard left” pro-Palestinian circles, was that the CPA leadership was afraid to allow debate within the party on its Israel/Palestine policy, and resorted to manipulating the agenda of the party’s National Congress to prevent motions on this topic from being discussed.

    I have now established that at the CPA’s 1979 National Congress a very robust and very emotional debate took place over the party’s policy on Israel/Palestine, centering on the question of whether to maintain the party’s support for a two-state solution, or whether to relinquish support for Israel’s right to exist in favour of supporting a “democratic secular Palestine”. Not only was the “leadership” not afraid to have this debate, the National Secretary Eric Aarons spoke in the debate in favour of retaining support for a two-state solution, and it is the view of good judges that his speech ensured that this position prevailed when the vote was taken.

    Some readers will think that the CPA made the wrong call on this issue, and they are welcome to their PoV, but it is a sectarian falsehood to claim that the CPA squibbed the issue.

  2. Ikonoclast
    June 18th, 2013 at 07:57 | #2

    What are your documentary and evidentiary primary source(s) evidences? I ask this only to test if you have been rigorous. After all, the old saying is that a lie (or slander in this case) is half way around the world before the truth has got its boots on.

    It’s amazing (or perhaps not) how many fissure lines created by Western Imperialists drawing lines on a map are still conflict zones to this day. Perhaps the best thing we could do now is adopt a position of neutrality to conflicts such as the Israeli / Arab one. Frankly, I think it’s none of our business any more. Both sides are arguably wrong now and implicated in perpetuating the seemingly endless cycle of violence. Taking sides in such cases always inflames the conflict. Supplying material (or materiel) support does the same thing.

  3. June 18th, 2013 at 09:16 | #3

    I thought Julia Gillard did fine in Question Time in Parliament yesterday.

    My suggested approach for a end to the leadership issue is now for a joint presser by Gillard and Rudd in which he looks her in the eye and calls her “Julia” (a strange psychological barrier for him since he was deposed) and she calls her Kevin, they announce their joint effort is totally about winning the election and not about leadership, and (perhaps) she says that she acknowledges that the public want a higher government profile for Kevin and he will have a place back in Cabinet in a post election re-shuffle.

    Does that sound so impossible? Whatever disquiet it may cause amongst Ministers who don’t want to lose their job, it’s surely a lot less awkward and disruptive than what a bunch of Ministers who said “sorry we couldn’t serve again under a Rudd leadership” would have to say if he did assume the Prime Ministership before the election.

  4. June 18th, 2013 at 09:40 | #4

    A little while ago, a link was posted to a study containing a chart showing a breakdown of electricity costs in Qld. If I recall correctly, it had items like generation, admin, transmission, marketing and feed in tariff.

    I can’t find it now – can anyone could point me to the link?

    Thanks in advance.

  5. Jim Rose
    June 18th, 2013 at 11:00 | #5

    @steve from brisbane Many are displaced by war and conquest. some countries disappear; others reappear after hundreds of years in abayance.

    Why are borders in 1919, 1945, 1948, 1956, 1967 or 1973 or any other time morally superior?

    Revanchism is the desire to reverse the territorial losses of a country and is thus a recipe for endless wars:
    • A return of German Revanchism and Irredentism would plunge Europe back into war as it marched to reclaim eastern Prussia and the Sudetenland lost after ethic cleansing in 1945 and the moving of Poland 1/3rd to the left after Potsdam.

    • The Balkans and Eastern Europe would plunge into war to revise the 1945 and 1919 boundaries.

    • Irish Revanchism over Northern Ireland led to war from 1922 onwards.

    some of the antiwar left become war-mongers on the question of Palestine.

  6. Tim Macknay
    June 18th, 2013 at 11:44 | #6

    @Jim Rose
    Was that comment meant to be for Ikonoclast?

    @steve from brisbane
    Steve, the difficulty I see with your proposed solution is that it wouldn’t make the slightest difference to Labor’s electoral chances.

  7. Ernestine Gross
    June 18th, 2013 at 11:46 | #7

    I’ve posted a few times on the data leak on tax havens. The leaked data has moved forward on its journey and has arrived at the ATO. See today’s smh.

  8. Newtownian
    June 18th, 2013 at 14:51 | #8

    http://www.paecon.net/PAEReview/issue56/Smith56.pdf

    This is an interesting article from the Real World Economics site http://rwer.wordpress.com/ . It could be good to see some discussion of it from the worthies here for or against doesn’t fuss me but insightful would be very welcome. The issue considered is commonly raised in these pages but a bit piecemeal.

    I’m still ploughing through its 40 pages of so but its basic thesis is that a sustainable future and capitalism are completely incompatible. Its focus is ‘Green Capitalism’. The contention is that its failed, which means we need to drop capitalism completely and move to socialism post haste.

    Leaving aside the issue of whether socialism is the solution (I’m not convinced) more interesting might be to consider the arguments that Green Capitalism has failed or is logically unworkable.

  9. June 18th, 2013 at 16:37 | #9

    Tim: I see it as a better solution than the Return of the Rudd. The theoretical polling questions about his return count for little, I think. There would likely be a brief improvement followed by a downwards slump (assuming, as I think is the case, that Kevin would not actually make any significant policy about faces.)

    Look, Kevin giving Nicola Roxon a peck on the cheek today after her speech is the start of the Reconciliation Process. (I think having Hawke at the press conference would be a decent idea too.)

    Rudd can help Labor in the election as long as he is perceived as being back in the team.

  10. Jim Rose
    June 18th, 2013 at 18:14 | #10

    from http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/14/fluoride-inquiry-nsw-greens

    NSW Greens MP John Kaye told Guardian Australia that a public review would help reassure communities concerned about drinking fluoride.

    “The peer-reviewed evidence says that there are no adverse health consequences but the community on the north coast is concerned about mass fluoridation and we owe it to them to review the evidence again to be sure if it’s the right way to go,” he said.

    … “We should listen to those concerns and be comfortable with presenting the evidence, just as we are with climate change and wind turbines. The mistake would be to ignore these people.”

    Not as bad as it looks, but what next? An inquiry in compulsory vaccinations?

    Vaccinations are an example of a network good with the seen and unseen.

    Seen are the occasional adverse reactions; unseen is the epidemics avoided if enough vaccinate.

  11. Jarrah
    June 18th, 2013 at 18:57 | #11

    “Why are borders in 1919, 1945, 1948, 1956, 1967 or 1973 or any other time morally superior?”

    What matters is how they are arrived at. Some borders are obviously morally superior to others. Compare and contrast US-Canada and US-Mexico as just one example.

  12. Newtownian
    June 18th, 2013 at 19:05 | #12

    @Jim Rose

    Thanks for alerting me to this. It will be interesting to watch developments if it gets up.

    The trouble is like so many things in life where there are great benefits there are also often losses and the compromise/decision point is ad hoc and rationalized as much as rational. In the case of fluoridation its clear there are some losers as illustrated in the reference provided below. But politicians and bureaucrats aren’t well equipped to sell this as they present issues traditionally in black and white rather than as graded risk. And you cant blame them because no one wants to be the one loser (real or feared). The Greens are no exception. Nobody wants to repeat Lang Hancock’s faux pas that some people must suffer from mining so the rest can have a better life though that is the game technocrats including economists play all the time in reality.

    You are right Jim that vaccination runs the risk of being next and this issue of Pareto optimisation is located front centre. My guess is though that those who would wish to change NSW policy would likely lose as the AMA has a lot of credibility in NSW and they would almost certainly back the Health Department against the Greens on this one.

    By way of support here is a relatively recent review which basically says this.
    Harrison P.T.C. 2005. Fluoride in water: A UK perspective. Journal of Fluorine Chemistry 126:1448-1456. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jfluchem.2005.09.009. abstract is a follows:

    “Fluoride occurs naturally in soil, water, plants and animals in trace quantities. When fluoride is ingested, some is taken up by body tissues, with long-term deposition in teeth and bones. Following the demonstration of a significant reduction in dental caries in childhood within populations exposed to higher levels of fluoride in drinking water, between 1964 and 1975 several Local Authority water fluoridation schemes were introduced in England and Wales, whereby the fluoride content was artificially increased to a level of 1 ppm (1 mg L1). Although evidence continues to support the premise that fluoride in water helps protect children’s teeth against caries, there are a number of potential adverse impacts, notably dental fluorosis (mottling of teeth). The situation is complicated by the fact that many individuals receive additional exposure to fluoride through the use of fluoride toothpaste, for example. Nonetheless, fluoridation of water continues to be generally regarded as a safe, simple and cost-effective public health measure to reach children most at risk and reduce the incidence of dental caries. Available evidence on risk of hip and other bone fractures suggests no effect of fluoride in water, although a small percentage change (in either direction) cannot be ruled out. There appears to be no link between water fluoridation and either cancer in general or any specific cancer type, but an updated analysis of UK data on fluoridation and cancer rates has nonetheless been recommended. Evidence for additional health outcomes suggested by some to be associated with fluoride ingestion, and on other concerns related to the chemicals that are added during the fluoridation process and indirect effects such as increased leaching of lead from pipes and aluminium from cooking utensils, is weak but the area deserves to be
    kept under review.”

  13. Sancho
    June 18th, 2013 at 20:31 | #13
  14. pablo
    June 19th, 2013 at 09:04 | #14

    Steve @ 9 “Rudd can help Labor as long as he is perceived to be back in the team”
    But the problem of leaks during the 2010 election is probably the unforgivable sin as far as Labor is concerned. Which makes me ask if there is any conclusive evidence that Rudd, or someone acting for him, leaked through Laurie Oakes? Perhaps that would require Rudd to seek a ‘release’ from confidentiality from Oakes, or whoever, if Labor thought a ‘dual’ leadership team would help and they were prepared to forgive the unforgivable.

  15. June 19th, 2013 at 11:20 | #15

    Pablo: Rudd’s behaviour should be an unforgiveable sin.

    But if people are suggesting that the “forgiveness” is in the form of handing him back the leadership, that is (I think) understandably a step too far. I am suggesting that he just be on the inside again – in the sense that he is seen to be able to be co-operative and not hold grudges at the cost of party unity.

    And let’s be honest here – Rudd has lots of form on making it obvious when he has a problem with someone in the room (remember the weird performance with Kristine Keneally, and the camera show with Gillard during the last election where Rudd couldn’t look at her and led Barrie Cassidy to quip “well, at least there was one person in the room making an effort”.

    The effort would have to come from Rudd to look that he can work co-operatively with Gillard. I’m not sure that he can do that, but if he can I think it is the best way forward.

  16. pablo
    June 19th, 2013 at 13:16 | #16

    Maybe Therese could be a suitable go-between/negotiator! But seriously yeah it would be a an advantage going into an election. They don’t have to like each other god forbid, but a mutual trust and acceptance of individual talent whatever…better to have him in the tent.
    And IMO the public would generally buy it, but the media scrutiny and the ad campaign from the Libs would be a formidable hurdle. It would be worth a try but I doubt either would buy it.

  17. J-D
    June 19th, 2013 at 14:49 | #17

    @Jarrah
    A decision about the morality of past actions, even if undisputed, doesn’t by itself settle moral questions about future actions.

  18. Jim Rose
    June 19th, 2013 at 19:44 | #18

    @Newtownian I wonder about the ages of those that fret and worry about vaccinations and floride.

    they might come from generations born after epidemic diseases etc were common: after 1960.

    robert fogel wrote somewhere that if you were born in 1920, you had about a 10% chance of dying before the age of 15; those born in the 1960s had a 1% chance of dying by the age of 15.

    some people forget how dangerous childhood used to be

  19. TerjeP
    June 20th, 2013 at 00:29 | #19

    J-D :
    @Jarrah
    A decision about the morality of past actions, even if undisputed, doesn’t by itself settle moral questions about future actions.

    Bingo.

  20. Newtownian
    June 20th, 2013 at 09:58 | #20

    @Jim Rose

    In part I think you are correct Jim. But there are other factors here. One of them was the discrediting of science among much of the socialist/green/left following on from the various morality tales of the 50s and 60s e.g. Dr Stranglelove, the Vietnam war etc. that showed again that science wasn’t all good. The pretty bad press, sadly deservedly, provided the opening for both genuine suspicion and pure humbug and charlatans.

    Beyond that there is post modernism which in a crude fashion suggests every notion is of equal value – empowerment gone mad.

    And as you say people have forgotten how lethal childhood can be. I was reminded of this a couple of years back when walking in Peru. About 2 km before this village was this child cemetery packed to the gills with baby graves probably mostly due to hygiene related deaths.

  21. June 21st, 2013 at 23:43 | #21

    I think I know why the ALP is going to get annihilated at the next election.

    Their ‘rusted on’ supporters are obnoxiously opposed to critical thought.

    Tonight, discussing the NBN and the wholesale removal of the copper phone network (mentioned the usefulness of the old copper network when everything else was down in the floods), I was accused by an ALP die-hard of being “brainwashed by the Murdoch press”.

    Anyone who has been on this site over the years would be well aware of my contempt for the Murdoch ‘press’. Obviously the ALP desperation has descended to the point where anyone criticising any ALP policy is to be accused of being ‘brainwashed by Murdoch’.

    The ugly, desperate passion of rusted-on ALPers is not the way to get real Australians (ie: genuinely non-partisan) to vote for you.

  22. June 22nd, 2013 at 00:40 | #22

    PS: Your policies are very unpopular. People don’t like your policies. Your policies are not popular.

    How much more simple does it need to be put?

    Stop persecuting the weak and powerless. Stop pushing ‘free market’ fundamentalist ideology. Stand for something that looks vaguely like your old-fashioned ‘values’.

  23. Jim Rose
    June 22nd, 2013 at 10:48 | #23

    “brainwashed by the Murdoch press”.

    megan, this is a odd claim to make when print media are struggling to survive because of competition from free news sources. newspapers all over the world are closing

    Murdoch has always backed political winners only to dump them when he was convinced that they are washed up or his newspapers might be left stranded on the losing side of politics. Murdoch makes himself the new best friend of the next Prime minister his business strategy.

    Newspapers and TV stations are big businesses, and they increased readership and revenue by presenting factual and informative news. Competition forces news outlets to cater to their customer’s preferences.

    Positive profits accrue to those media outlets who are better than their competitors. Their lesser rivals will exhaust their retained earnings and fail to attract further investor support.

    I think the best of the measures of media bias used endorsements of state-level initiatives and referendums and found that newspapers are located almost exactly at the median voter in their home states.

    Leigh and Gans in How Partisan is the Press? Multiple Measures of Media Slant, ECONOMIC RECORD, MARCH, 2012, 127–147 employed several different approaches to find that the Australian media are quite centrist, with very few outlets being statistically distinguishable from the middle of Australian politics. The minor exceptions were the ABC channel 2 and perhaps the Melbourne Age in its news slant in the 2004 election. Their media slants were small.

    Australian newspapers tended to endorse the coalition in the federal elections from 1996 to 2007 although The Australian, right-wing rag that it is in your eyes, backed the ALP in 2007! I agree that this was a serious lapse of judgement.

    Another lapse is the editorial of April 6, 1995, where the Australian editorialised that “The scientific consensus that global warming is occurring unnaturally, primarily as a result of industrial development and deforestation, is no longer seriously disputed in the world.” Murdoch’s paper supports global action on climate change based on science.

    HT: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/a-man-of-selfish-loyalties-rupert-murdochs-apparent-overture-to-tony-blair-strikes-a-chilling-chord-among-australian-politicians-he-has-supported-1376362.html

  24. June 23rd, 2013 at 01:35 | #24

    Hot Off the Press: The Public Bank Solution

    Many who rightly oppose of the ongoing theft of humanity’s wealth by the global elites, foremost amongst them, the private bankers, are apparently unaware of just how fragile is the power of the private bankers. As Ellen Brown has shown in the The Web of Debt of 2007 (see web-site) that any sovereign government, with the will to do so, could easily safeguard its national economy against the financial economic ravages that much of the world has endured for several centuries. Ellen Brown’s The Public Bank Solution, only just released, shows how no sovereign country need ever suffer an economic recession. Order here.

  25. Jim Rose
    June 23rd, 2013 at 10:00 | #25

    @malthusista the commonweath bank was privatised to fund a bail-out of the state bank of victoria.

    do you trust right-wing politicians to not misuse publically ownered banks for political gain?

  26. June 23rd, 2013 at 10:19 | #26

    sorry Jim you are wrong,

    Keating directed the CBA to buy the SBV. He couldn’t have done that to a privatised organisation.

    the CBA was privatised to gain money to help reduce the headline budget deficit

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