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Monday Message Board

September 23rd, 2013

It’s 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. Will
    September 23rd, 2013 at 10:33 | #1

    Kind of cute that all the right-wingers are crawling out gloating about their recent electoral successes and taking this as confirmation of persistent support. If you look back in history bad economic times tends to swing a lot of support towards fringe extremist ideologies, which suddenly become popular extremist ideologies. The right-wing political shift in the past few years is just the latest in a historical trend. Suffice to say that support tends to shift away as the economy improves, scapegoating ends and people return to their senses.

  2. Ikonoclast
    September 23rd, 2013 at 12:16 | #2

    Well, that means we are in trouble. The economy will not improve. Things can only get worse from here due to resource shortages and climate change.

  3. David Allen
  4. Ikonoclast
    September 23rd, 2013 at 15:31 | #4

    @David Allen

    This is the tried and true neocon method. Set up public enterprises to fail. Make them deliver high speed to Woop-Woop (Nationals country party territory). Critise them when they fail to make money as they subsidise National voters. Give all the juicies,t high density cherries to rich mates. Get a kickback with a seat on a board after leaving parliament. Pats on the back all round at the rich end of town.

    “That aint workin’, that’s the way you do it,
    Money for nothing and kickbacks for free!” – Apologies to Dire Straits.

  5. David Allen
    September 23rd, 2013 at 16:40 | #5

    @Ikonoclast

    Turnbull’s NBN will be the biggest theft of public money in Australia’s history. Not only the build costs but the revenue stream will be lost. $50-70B down the toilet.

  6. Hermit
    September 23rd, 2013 at 17:08 | #6

    I suspect Abbott is headed for reality checks on several fronts. Another is building the highways demanded by the 21st century. Presumably that assumes more cars on the road. What if there’s actually less as time goes by?

  7. Mr T
    September 23rd, 2013 at 17:44 | #7

    Victoria is appalling in the way they manage Metropolitan Freeways, and how they address the question of public vs private ownership.

    Those freeways owned by the government (Eastern Freeway) are not tolled.

    Those owned by private operators are tolled (Citilink and Eastlink). Even for those sections that the private operator upgraded (rather than built from scratch) are tolled by the private operator. I reasonably sure the government does not get any of the toll for the previously built freeway. (I am prepared to be corrected in this)

    I would have thought that once the decision was made to toll any metropolitan freeway (this was done when Citilink was built), the Government should charge all users of freeways regardless of ownership. This massively biases the decision on new freeway projects towards private ownership, becasue it appears only private owners are politically able to charge tolls.

  8. Jim Rose
    September 23rd, 2013 at 17:56 | #8

    greenpeace are getting rather prissy about being boarded by the russian coast gaurd. greenpeace claims the right to board any ship with whom they have a political difference.

    Rawls argues that civil disobedience is a
    • a public, non-violent, conscientious yet political act contrary to law usually done with the aim of bringing about a change in the law or policies of the government
    • Addressed to the sense of justice of the majority
    • May be direct or indirect
    • Within the bounds of fidelity to the law;
    •Disobedients must accept punishment.

    Rawls argues, and too many forget, that civil disobedience and dissent more generally contribute to the democratic exchange of ideas by forcing the champions of dominant opinion to defend their views.

    Non-violent direct action are publicity stunts to provoke debate within a framework where in a democracy, we resolve our differences by trying to persuade each other and elections. Too many on the left use direct action to impose their will on others rather than bring about democratic change.

  9. Ikonoclast
    September 23rd, 2013 at 19:46 | #9

    @Mr T

    Building more roads for petrol driven cars is building for a future that will never happen. The real future in urban transport will be mass transit and lots of bicycles and shank’s pony (walking).

  10. Hermit
    September 24th, 2013 at 07:17 | #10

    The new member for Bass suggests we should recognise a new crime ‘economic sabotage’ to cover those who urge consumer boycotts. The leading offenders are the group who went to Japan to inform buyers of wood products that the source was old growth forest, not plantation. Presumably once the law is passed these will people will get thrown in the clink.

    This comes on top of the news blackout on boat arrivals. I wonder where this trend will go if left unchecked. For example I can imagine the ABC being snubbed or even financially hobbled for asking too many nosy questions.

  11. Ikonoclast
    September 24th, 2013 at 08:22 | #11

    @Hermit

    It will go the way of the US. Soon we will have our own “Patriots Act”.

  12. Neil
    September 24th, 2013 at 08:43 | #12

    @Jim Rose
    Rawls explicitly limits the claim that the disobedient must accept punishment to agents acting within a “nearly just society”. So he would say that it does not apply in this context.

  13. Ikonoclast
    September 24th, 2013 at 09:00 | #13

    Russia under Putin is a Chekist state.

    “Chekism is the situation in the Soviet Union (USSR) and contemporary Russia where the secret political police de facto controls the society.”

    Greenpeace activists, armed merely with ideals, are brave but naive in the extreme in taking on the apparatus of Chekist Russia.

  14. Mr T
    September 24th, 2013 at 09:22 | #14

    John, you did some work some time ago on the use of Betting Markets as a prediction tool. This never felt right to me, possibly because I was never able to put a put a mechanism as to how this might work.

    Last night was the Brownlow Medal count for the AFL. Prior to the count, the story in the news was that that the odds for Sam Mitchell was tightening, the implication being that the chances of him winning were moving at the same time.

    Sam Mitchell got 16 votes, the winner Gary Abblett got 28 votes. (He lost by a large margin). This to me is an indication is that (at least in Best and Fairest Medal type markets), the live odds have no correlation to the probability of a particular outcome occurring.

    As such, quotation of betting odds have no place in News broadcasts.

  15. quokka
    September 24th, 2013 at 14:07 | #15

    The Japan Nuclear Regulation Agency has provided via the IAEA measurements of the amounts of radio isotopes in sea water samples from the sea at Fukushima, Miyagi and Ibaraki prefectures.

    The numbers are very, very low or below detection limit. In worst case, measurements right near the plant were a few Bq/L and below legal limits. At most sampling points, no or trivially small detection. The contrast with many of the MSM reports could hardly be more dramatic.

    http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/2013/seamonitoring190713.pdf

    This is provided as information – not to start a flame war.

  16. sunshine
    September 24th, 2013 at 19:30 | #16

    @Jim Rose
    A friend of mine once went on the Rainbow Warrior as photographer .She said the voyage became an argumentative one and that judging by the ships log book that was not uncommon. I think Greenpeace and others do a good job providing information and helping the market for ideas remain competitive . Im not against the use of some kinds of physical force at times either .The actions of multi-national mega companies etc can be forceful too .
    I thought when Howard got in that the community would resist more than did eventuate so I’m not getting my hopes up this time ,but I think the fact that its not raining gold bars anymore may help.
    Great to see the Climate Commission is getting cloud sourced.

  17. Jim Rose
    September 24th, 2013 at 20:26 | #17

    @sunshine yes, i imagine that greenpeace ships would be full of strong willed people for whom compromise and getting along with others might not be their strong suits.

  18. September 24th, 2013 at 23:50 | #18

    @quokka

    The Japan Nuclear Regulation Agency

    Aren’t they the body that doubled the “safe level of exposure to radiation” when it became clear that the level of exposure had doubled?

    Apologies if I’m thinking of the wrong outfit.

  19. quokka
    September 25th, 2013 at 00:16 | #19

    Megan :
    @quokka

    The Japan Nuclear Regulation Agency

    Aren’t they the body that doubled the “safe level of exposure to radiation” when it became clear that the level of exposure had doubled?
    Apologies if I’m thinking of the wrong outfit.

    As far as I am aware, this is pure mythology, but if you have any evidence please can we see it. I have never seen such claims justified.

    Japanese standards for radio isotopes in food are probably the strictest in the world and much stricter than for example in the US.

  20. James Wimberley
    September 25th, 2013 at 05:47 | #20

    John: as a member of the condemned Climate Change Authority, what is your take on the decision of the Climate Commission to keep going as an NGO supported by donations?

  21. may
    September 25th, 2013 at 13:03 | #21

    Jim Rose :@sunshine yes, i imagine that greenpeace ships would be full of strong willed people for whom compromise and getting along with others might not be their strong suits.

    putting your life on the line is prissy?

    compromise and getting along with other people like spetznatz?

  22. Jim Rose
    September 25th, 2013 at 17:37 | #22

    @Neil then greenpeace are a bunch of outsiders making an exhibition of themselves. they have no chance of changing russian policy, and they taint any locals that support them in a country hostile to foreign influences.

  23. JamesH
    September 26th, 2013 at 10:06 | #23

    @Jim Rose
    Who exactly is “hostile to foreign influences”? I imagine Pussy Riot, and anyone else who doesn’t support rule by the secret police, welcome all the foreign influences they can get at this point.

  24. rog
    September 26th, 2013 at 11:10 | #24

    It seems Turnbull is letting his prejudice overrule his reason; he called for the resignation of the board due to failure of the board to meet his targets when it now appears that they were on target. He does have this habit of going out on a limb.

  25. rog
    September 26th, 2013 at 11:17 | #25

    Paul Budde has a different take and notes

    it is important to remember that when the NBN was conceived (2007-2009) the government was involved in a battle with Telstra, which wanted to maintain its monopoly. Shortly after that the Opposition indicated that it would kill the NBN. This placed an enormous amount of political pressure on NBN Co, which was certainly not conducive to an effective and efficient running of the operation.

    This is now no longer the case and the review could be used by NBN Co to weed out any of the elements that were put into the early plan of the NBN for the abovementioned reasons. Furthermore, international experience can also be used to look at the key goals the government wants to achieve – cheaper and faster.

    As well as this the technology has not been standing still during those years. It is now up to NBN Co to show that it is indeed able to build as much as possible of the original NBN, cheaper and faster.

  26. David Allen
    September 26th, 2013 at 11:54 | #26

    @rog

    As even Turnbull has stated many times fibre is where we’ll be in the end. So it’s only the path to get there that’s in question. This leaves the most important consideration still up in the air. For NBNCo to be profitable (and repay it’s investment) it needs to be a monopoly. If other players can install rival infrastructure in the best locations it will sap the ability of NBNCo to ever repay its debts. For taxpayers, this is a bad thing. Telecommunications must have a single regulated natural-monopoly player (NBNCo) providing the infrastructure. Retailers (ie competition) then on-sell services on this infrastructure to the public. Of course it would be a bonus if these other players rolled out NBN infrastructure and were paid to do so but they shouldn’t own it.

  27. September 26th, 2013 at 13:18 | #27

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/cap-would-hit-poor-hardest-experts-warn-20130925-2uelz.html

    I guess this could potentially be the a case of “we found a black hole” leading to broken promises.

  28. September 26th, 2013 at 18:21 | #28

    Ed West in the Spectator writes about the virulent upsurge in anti-Christian violence unleashed by the “Arab Spring”:


    The last month and a half has seen perhaps the worst anti-Christian violence in Egypt in seven centuries, with dozens of churches torched.
    Yet the western media has mainly focused on army assaults on the Muslim Brotherhood, and no major political figure has said anything about the sectarian attacks.

    The saddest audience question was from a young man who I’m guessing was Egyptian-British. He asked: ‘Where was world Christianity when this happened?’
    Nowhere. Watching X-Factor. Debating inter-sexuality. Or just too frightened of controversy to raise Muslim-on-Christian violence.

    The most outspoken British religious leader has been Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, and the debate brought to mind something Rabbi Sacks recently said about Middle Eastern Christians, comparing their fate with those of the Jews in Europe, and quoting Martin Luther King: ‘In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.’

    Obviously the fact that Middle East Christians are a persecuted minority is a feature, not a bug, to our liberal media.

  29. may
    September 26th, 2013 at 19:09 | #29

    the religion “question”.

    of us agin them is raising it’s nasty little head again.
    all sorts of straws in the wind.
    in an opinion piece recently an opinionator tried to equate the left/right description of political thought to the biblical division of sheep vs goats.
    sheep are sent to the right as gods beloved and goats go to the left and otherwise.

    the French revolution didn’t get a look in.

    the idea that we can have an influence on the insanity of sectarian hatred in chosen instances has not a hope in hell.

    gods will is used by every ideology of devotion,the latest is the grand mufti trying to influence the ALP.

    though the preponderance of front benchers who owe alleigence to the vatican,a foreign state recognised by the UN and to which the Australian state has an accredited ambassador is a worry.

    we cannot afford the insertion of religious policies into the body politic of the Australian state.

    multi culturalism is not cosmopolitanism.
    cosmopolitanism is separate groups living separately under their own law.

    hello Beruit.

    multiculturalism is separate groups living within traditional ways insofar as possible within and under the law of this land.

    canon law,sharia law,the laws of any evangelistic sect or church of latter day saints etc,while claiming world wide domination ,do not carry any weight outside the their community of devotees and have no legal rights of coercion.

    persecuted minorities are a fact of religion.
    without an overarching legal body of rights, no one is safe.

    librul media or not.

  30. may
    September 26th, 2013 at 19:15 | #30

    did i just spell that place wrong?

  31. Tony Lynch
    September 26th, 2013 at 20:57 | #31

    Jack, the christians don’t matter as no-one matters here. Though I don’t think we’ve bothered to drone or tomahawk them. Just their neighbours.

  32. September 27th, 2013 at 01:20 | #32

    May, you are one of those despised World Government people. Me too.

    I cannot remember all that Bertrand Russel wrote regarding this topic. There are obvious problems. How to control corporations with no loyalty to any nation states. How to address to issue of global inequality. How to deal with global problems of climate change and the rule of law. Apparently, often democracy and human rights stop at national borders.

    While the Syrian Government is a dictatorship, Syrian Christians threw their lot in with it, because of an apprehension, now justified that they would be the scapegoats of extremists, as had happened in Iraq. The experience is well known to the Jewish people, who invented the term. So we have Israel (whose formative history obviously precedes the Second World War and British Occupied-Palestine).

    Still, it is possible to be both cosmopolite and multi-cultural. They are inherently reinforcing rather than contradictory perspectives given an underlying sense of common humanity that respects difference without recourse to exclusion and violence.

  33. September 27th, 2013 at 01:30 | #33

    I’ve been following and reporting on the neo-con destruction of public services.

    The CMC report on the QHealth $16 million fraud by Joel Barlow is astonishing.

    Most of the reporting revolves around how brash the fraud was and how lax preventative measures contributed to it.

    Apart from a vaguely oblique reference at the end of the CMC report, nobody else has pointed out the obvious.

    Barlow set up a bogus entity called “Healthy Initiatives and Choices” which didn’t even pretend to do anything. At all.

    He was able to bill $6Million to this imaginary entity without anyone ever asking “What does that actually do? What do taxpayers actually get? Is it actually helping anyone?”

    Ultimately, he took $16Million – without actually pretending to buy so much as a ribbon to “raise awareness” of Healthy Initiatives.

    The real fraud is that we are spending hundreds of millions of dollars from our health budget on meaningless pursuits with very similar names – and delivering about the same benefits.

  34. may
    September 27th, 2013 at 14:01 | #34

    wmmtb?

    ay? what??

    bertrand bloody russel??

    Megan? yers.

    i recently contacted what i thought was a medical service only to find that the “service” depended on a certain number of people “accessing ” the “service” because the “providers” needed a certain number of “clients” in order to provide and be paid for the “service”.

    what the hell is going on?

    we are looking at a trickling incursion into the public discourse that public services are “free”.
    they are not “free”.
    they are paid for from the public purse we all contribute to.

    public services are not.free.

    as users we have already paid.

  35. may
    September 27th, 2013 at 14:09 | #35

    another miracle– we are blessed.

    first the disappearing emergency then the disappearing boats now the disappearing deficit.

    teroooly bullessed.

  36. September 28th, 2013 at 01:40 | #36

    May,

    I guess I better take Bertie to the sandpit- when I can find an appropriate expression of his position.

  37. BilB
    September 28th, 2013 at 06:19 | #37

    Experimenting here

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vA7tfz3k_9A&feature=player_embedded

    No one can observe this “more than enough times”

  38. Ikonoclast
    September 28th, 2013 at 16:58 | #38

    Why the 5% Uncertainty?

    The IPCC says; “There is now a 95 per cent probability that humans are responsible for global warming.” One has to ask this. Where is the 5% uncertainty? I submit that this is a politicised number not a scientific number and that the degree of uncertainty is much less than 5%. Hard scientific proof generally requires a degree of certainty of 99.9999% certain or better.

    1. It is 99.9999% certain (or better) that CO2e has risen from the AD 1750 concentration of 278 ppmv to 508.8 ppmv for averaged 2012 data.
    2. It is 99.9999% certain (or better) that human activity emissions have caused this rise.
    3. It is 99.9999% certain (or better) that the general theoretical forcing theory based on thermodynamics is correct.

    Where is the 5% uncertainty? What other mechanism other than human emissions could be forcing the climate change? Insolation is not a cause. We are currently in an insolation minimum. The El Nino cycle is not a cause. We are currently in a cooling phase of that also. Volcanism, earthquakes, tectonics etc. are not quoted as possible causes in any reliable literature. Is thermodynamic theory itself substantially incomplete? It does not appear so. Certainly a Nobel Prize awaits the person who can prove another forcing mechanism. In the absence of this discovery and consequent Nobel Prize, I adhere to the position that it is even now scientifically certain (99.9999% or better) that human activity is the cause of current global warming.

    If I am wrong, pray tell what the alternative forcing mechanism is or even might be.

  39. kevin1
    September 29th, 2013 at 01:18 | #39

    @jack strocchi

    It should also be acknowledged that Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and UN officials have condemned such attacks. It seems that until recent times, most of the Islamic world in that area also had small but vibrant Jewish communities, yet these are disappearing fast. An Australian documentary film “On the banks of the Tigris” about the Jewish contribution to Iraqi popular music is being made and seeking funds to finish the project. http://www.fruitfulfilms.com.au/films/tigris

    In the interest of junking cartoon stereotypes, it’s worth noting that in 2001 Abdurrahman Wahid (aka “Gus Durr”) who became the first democratically elected President of Indonesia (a secular state but with the largest Muslim population in the world) was a supporter of what leading Indonesia scholar MC Ricklefs calls “tolerance, pluralism and non-religious democracy”. Despite being the leader of Nahdlatul Ulama, the more traditional Islamic mass organisation, he successfully elevated the religious and civil rights of Indonesians of Chinese descent, and unsuccessfully proposed repeal of the law outlawing Marxism and communism, and recognition of Israel. In Indonesia at least heterogeneity is extant, and it’s still a struggle around ideas and visions.

  40. Nathan
    September 29th, 2013 at 19:10 | #40

    @Ikonoclast
    What the IPCC actually said was “There is now a 95 per cent probability that humans are responsible for more than half of the observed global warming.” In other words the number is the confidence that human carbon emissions are responsible for more than half of the warming we have seen. It’s quite accessibly explained in the report itself

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