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Monday Message Board

January 13th, 2014

After a long break, another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please

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  1. Julie Thomas
    January 19th, 2014 at 07:39 | #1

    @Alan

    And who believes he really went to France with Margie and the girls? That seems as unlikely as it does that he will fulfil the promise he made to the Yolungu and spend a week with them.

  2. Alan
    January 19th, 2014 at 11:11 | #2

    @Julie Thomas

    And who really believes that 21st century warships don’t know their own location or have international borders in their databases? They could have got out their smartphones in the inexplicable event of their technology failing. Perhaps the RAN got all gung-ho and decide to ignore orders not to cross the border?

    I believe, although it could just be a rumour, that there can be video conferences from France to Australia.

  3. Donald Oats
    January 19th, 2014 at 11:32 | #3

    Now that the 2013 year is behind us, it is interesting to see that climate models provide a demonstration that Australia’s hottest year is virtually impossible to have occurred just from natural variation: without the human contribution via CO2 and other GHGs, the climate models did not generate a year as hot as 2013′s observations. Put another way, the human factor was the essential element in being able to reach the recorded extremes in maximum temperature across Australia in 2013.

    Of course, Abbott et al won’t accept observations as evidence, so I doubt they’ll acknowledge modelling work of this nature. I sure hope someone sensible with influence does though.

  4. Donald Oats
    January 20th, 2014 at 08:19 | #4

    Does the recent eviction and deportation of the only magistrate and chief justice from Nauru mean that Nauru is no longer able to provide legal services and justice for both citizens and asylum seekers? What is behind the whole thing?

  5. Megan
    January 20th, 2014 at 09:34 | #5

    @Donald Oats

    Good question!

    Ex-ABC man and ex-Nauruan gov chief spin doctor, Rod Henshaw, was to be deported from Nauru. Something to do with the fact that he was running the Reef Bar at the government owned Menen Hotel. The bar was abruptly closed recently and apparently Mr Law ruled in favour of Mr Henshaw in some recent case arising from that.

    If Australia had real journalists doing real journalism, we’d have a much better idea what is really going on there. And they can pretend the $8000 visa prevents it but that’s rubbish – none of them showed any interest in covering Nauru properly before, and anyway they could afford $8000 if they were serious.

  6. Megan
    January 22nd, 2014 at 00:30 | #6

    Presumably nobody really cares – but on 20 January 2014 Ian Callinan was appointed by Australia (ie: Brandis, Abbott et al) as an “Ad Hoc” Judge to sit on the ICJ case between Timor Leste and Australia.

    Whilst this isn’t unusual in itself, a terrifyingly few number of Australians even know what this case is about.

    Australia – where journalism goes to die.

  7. January 22nd, 2014 at 06:00 | #7

    @JKUU
    I’ve only just become aware that there was a discussion about me going on on this thread. I have been involved in a somewhat parallel on another recent thread here, which ProfQ asked us to stop, but I am happy to try to explain my position here again. I will do a separate more generic comment below, rather than do it specifically as a reply to you, as I see that a number of people got involved in the earlier discussion on this thread.

    I’ll try to cover the key points raised, but it is a bit hard to keep scrolling back and forth, so apologies if I miss any. I will also try to remain civil, although I do get frustrated by these discussions, because I think the points I’m making are not in fact difficult to understand, and there seems to be a lot of wilful obtuseness or simply not bothering to read properly in some of the responses to my comments.

    Just picking up one specific point you made though, I’m a public health researcher, rather than an environmentalist. I came to public health via an original academic background in Australian history. I have a long standing interest in environmental issues and have tried to educate myself about them, but other than the equivalent of year 12 biology many, many years ago, I don’t have any formal qualifications in that area.

  8. Julie Thomas
    January 22nd, 2014 at 06:22 | #8

    @Val

    “a lot of wilful obtuseness or simply not bothering to read properly in some of the responses to my comments.”

    We all think we see the ‘truth’ and we all ‘judge’ others for not seeing our truth. How do I ‘read’ you ‘properly’ when according to you, your points ‘are not difficult to understand’ and yet I seem to do just that, misunderstand.

    Perhaps I am too stupid or too sexist myself and if so what is to be done? No matter how hard I try I can’t get rid of my ‘wilful obtuseness’. What should I do?

    On another topic I am listening to our PM making some comments on his deep and meaningful analysis of the Syria situation as baddies vs baddies. I’m not understanding things again.:(

  9. January 22nd, 2014 at 06:49 | #9

    Oh no I just wrote a post explaining why I think there’s ‘inherent sexism’ on this blog and I’ve just lost it all. Will try again later.

  10. Fran Barlow
    January 22nd, 2014 at 10:28 | #10

    On the latest Laura Norder doing he rounds … ‘Alcohol-fuelled violence’

    Seriously, if one could easily and legally ‘fuel’ a good night out with THC (perhaps using a patch or oral spray) one suspects that the On the latest Laura Norder doing he rounds … ‘Alcohol-fuelled violence’

    Seriously, if one could easily and legally ‘fuel’ a good night out with THC (perhaps using a patch or oral spray) one suspects that the level of violence would be a fraction of what it is now. Of course, in the minds of the right, THC is taboo, so that option is obviously out.

    Hmmm

    More broadly, I’m yet to see a single piece of evidence that shows that tougher/mandatory sentencing does anything at all to deter thuggish conduct amongst people disposed to violence. Such folk simply don’t calculate consequences far enough ahead to constrain themselves. One should keep in mind that even perfectly sober people who drive recklessly surely know that death or life-altering injury commonly attends such conduct, but do it anyway because, presumably, it seems like a good idea at the time. It’s hard to know what sanction, occurring well outside heir temporal horizon, would deter them if prospectively causing their own death, or that of others dear to them, doesn’t suffice to deter.

    In my experience, deterrence is about certainty and proximity of sanction in the mind of the potential miscreant. Those of us who have a deep temporal horizon, tend to stay out of trouble because we take into account potential negative events connected with our choices deep into. The future. Those who have a horizon of about 15 minutes on the other hand, are extremely dangerous because that’s where most of the downside of a choice is likely to occur. It’s also where most of the upside of good choices is likely to appear.

    I use this in my class management all the time, and especially with there’s cognitively or socially credentialed amongst my charges. It is key too when training dogs, only more so, because there you have about 15-30 seconds.

    If you want to foreclose criminally violent conduct, then there are several things you need to do and none of them entail clogging up the justice system with people who did things unthinkingly.

    Fairly obviously, you need to identify early those who are likely to become socially challenged by he need to think long term and especially those born into and living in settings where domestic violence and violence more generally is seen as a salve for frustration. In theory, we ought to be doing this as part of child protection strategies but this area of policy is radically under-resourced. Yet ensuring that as far as we can see to it, every child gets to live in a dignified and nurturing setting is going to return benefits far greater than merely stopping the occasional tragic incident in Kings Cross. That’s foundational to social justice, and the potential of each child to participate in community life.

    You also need to reshape how we do unstructured recreation. I’m no Prohibitionist but it seems to me that having alcohol on tap 24/7 is simply mad. Were it up to me, you wouldn’t be able to buy alcohol after about 10pm. That’s plenty enough scope to indulge in my opinion.

    Also, alcohol would become a lot more expensive in real terms and related to the alcohol concentration of each beverage. A cap would be set in each precinct as to how many people could be in venues serving alcohol on any given period of time. Venues choosing not to serve alcohol at a particular time (say 8-10 pm on a Friday night) could have as many patrons as they liked, but those wanting to serve alcohol would have to bid for quota. That would push up the price. A venue that acquired for example the right to have 200 non-staff on premises at any one time that was found to have more would be obliged to cease trading on the spot, finalise bills and clear the premises within 30 minutes. They would also be fined heavily. Three such events and they lose their licence.

    I would also be funding alternative non-alcohol serving venues at which there was entertainment, based on independent operators getting together proposals that could attract sales of tickets, made concessional because the state would be funding the venue costs including security and also safe transport. You’d need to pass a PCA to be admitted. These would be aimed primarily at people under 30 and be held in the times when young people are most at risk of suffering as a consequence of high risk conduct. This would separate putative offenders from victims, or at least ensure that the former were sober while in a venue.

    I’m a firm believer in the idea that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, obviously.

  11. Fran Barlow
    January 22nd, 2014 at 10:30 | #11

    Oops …forgot that the word ‘tab0o’ triggers automod. Please delete prior post PrQ.

    On the latest Laura Norder doing he rounds … ‘Alcohol-fuelled violence’

    Seriously, if one could easily and legally ‘fuel’ a good night out with THC (perhaps using a patch or oral spray) one suspects that the On the latest Laura Norder doing he rounds … ‘Alcohol-fuelled violence’

    Seriously, if one could easily and legally ‘fuel’ a good night out with THC (perhaps using a patch or oral spray) one suspects that the level of violence would be a fraction of what it is now. Of course, in the minds of the right, THC is tab0o, so that option is obviously out.

    Hmmm

    More broadly, I’m yet to see a single piece of evidence that shows that tougher/mandatory sentencing does anything at all to deter thuggish conduct amongst people disposed to violence. Such folk simply don’t calculate consequences far enough ahead to constrain themselves. One should keep in mind that even perfectly sober people who drive recklessly surely know that death or life-altering injury commonly attends such conduct, but do it anyway because, presumably, it seems like a good idea at the time. It’s hard to know what sanction, occurring well outside heir temporal horizon, would deter them if prospectively causing their own death, or that of others dear to them, doesn’t suffice to deter.

    In my experience, deterrence is about certainty and proximity of sanction in the mind of the potential miscreant. Those of us who have a deep temporal horizon, tend to stay out of trouble because we take into account potential negative events connected with our choices deep into. The future. Those who have a horizon of about 15 minutes on the other hand, are extremely dangerous because that’s where most of the downside of a choice is likely to occur. It’s also where most of the upside of good choices is likely to appear.

    I use this in my class management all the time, and especially with there’s cognitively or socially credentialed amongst my charges. It is key too when training dogs, only more so, because there you have about 15-30 seconds.

    If you want to foreclose criminally violent conduct, then there are several things you need to do and none of them entail clogging up the justice system with people who did things unthinkingly.

    Fairly obviously, you need to identify early those who are likely to become socially challenged by he need to think long term and especially those born into and living in settings where domestic violence and violence more generally is seen as a salve for frustration. In theory, we ought to be doing this as part of child protection strategies but this area of policy is radically under-resourced. Yet ensuring that as far as we can see to it, every child gets to live in a dignified and nurturing setting is going to return benefits far greater than merely stopping the occasional tragic incident in Kings Cross. That’s foundational to social justice, and the potential of each child to participate in community life.

    You also need to reshape how we do unstructured recreation. I’m no Prohibitionist but it seems to me that having alcohol on tap 24/7 is simply mad. Were it up to me, you wouldn’t be able to buy alcohol after about 10pm. That’s plenty enough scope to indulge in my opinion.

    Also, alcohol would become a lot more expensive in real terms and related to the alcohol concentration of each beverage. A cap would be set in each precinct as to how many people could be in venues serving alcohol on any given period of time. Venues choosing not to serve alcohol at a particular time (say 8-10 pm on a Friday night) could have as many patrons as they liked, but those wanting to serve alcohol would have to bid for quota. That would push up the price. A venue that acquired for example the right to have 200 non-staff on premises at any one time that was found to have more would be obliged to cease trading on the spot, finalise bills and clear the premises within 30 minutes. They would also be fined heavily. Three such events and they lose their licence.

    I would also be funding alternative non-alcohol serving venues at which there was entertainment, based on independent operators getting together proposals that could attract sales of tickets, made concessional because the state would be funding the venue costs including security and also safe transport. You’d need to pass a PCA to be admitted. These would be aimed primarily at people under 30 and be held in the times when young people are most at risk of suffering as a consequence of high risk conduct. This would separate putative offenders from victims, or at least ensure that the former were sober while in a venue.

    I’m a firm believer in the idea that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, obviously.

  12. January 22nd, 2014 at 13:20 | #12

    Fran, I would prefer a solution that focuses on the violence rather than the alcohol. The system I have in mind at the moment would have the following elements:

    1) Pubs & clubs could be declared ‘aggression free zones’

    2) Any aggressive behaviour in such a zone, even where it doesn’t constitute assault (e.g. raising fists, intentionally invading someone’s space without a justifiable reason, angry yelling etc) would result in a ban from any ‘aggression free zone’. The length of the ban would be a function of the severity of the behaviour and the number of repeat offences. Bans could start a 1 month and go up into multiple years.

    3) The system would work like traffic tickets where a citation would be presumed to be true unless you choose to fight it in court.

    4) Actual violence would result in longer bans (e.g. start at one year, perhaps be a life ban at the upper end for repeat offenders).

    5) Pubs & clubs identified as ‘aggression free zones’ would be required to have complete camera surveillance of sufficient quality to be able to identify faces and keep records for a reasonable time (e.g. a month). Such systems should automatically compare all faces against those records on the current ban list.

    Recorded video of the incident could be reviewed by police/licensing authorities based on anonymous reporting or sample checking and citations issued where applicable.

    6) Breaches of the bans would result in fines and goal time for the individuals, and fines and ultimately loss of license for the venue where the venue had failed to eject the individual or notify police.

    7) Any citations could also warrant a small fine for the venue to ensure they are encouraged to promote a peaceful culture at their establishment and be proactive about removing trouble makers.

  13. Megan
    January 22nd, 2014 at 14:56 | #13

    @desipis

    I also think that violence, rather than alcohol, is the real issue.

    People, especially young men, have been drinking forever (and fighting) but this type of violence is new.

    We are a much more violent society than we used to be. Illegal wars of aggression, glorification of violent death and cruelty, greed and selfishness elevated to virtues, ultra-competitiveness and disregard for the ‘rules’ of decency must all play a part. Domestic violence and the environment in which so many kids are raised are possibly a subset of that overall background.

    Anecdotally, a Gold Coast cabbie on the weekend said it is the worst he has seen it in 35 years and it has become especially bad over the last few. Again, anecdotally, look around at the physical appearance of so many young men today – they might just be eating really well and getting a lot of exercise, but my guess is we are in the middle of a steroid epidemic rather than anything to do with alcohol.

    This latest stuff is more PR for politicians who want to ‘get tough’ and ‘crackdown’ than them taking it seriously. For example, O’Farrell’s new laws requiring a mandatory 8 years explicitly EXCLUDE non-alcohol driven violence.

    Alcohol related non-domestic violence apparently fell 6% in NSW last year.

    Too much spin.

  14. alfred venison
    January 22nd, 2014 at 17:53 | #14

    oh you guys you’re just popping pimples, you need to get society on a new diet.

    what again is the rate of unemployment among youth? and not just the national average. but what is the rate of youth unemployment in the suburbs with chronic high unemployment?

    what if these youth had decent prospects of a full-time job with a pension – and not the bleak certainty of part-time & short term & low paying no-future jobs & their warehousing in between?

    what if these youth had decent prospects – really – of owning their own place of residence? ever.

    what if only one of the two main political parties they’re periodically compelled to choose between was committed to full employment and not to the welfare of the rich?

    is this what you get when you’ve had long term hypocrisy at the top & long term youth unemployment? a cohort just smart enough to know they have no stake in the system as it is & old enough to drink

    so when state policy is structured to favour the emergence of an all night drinking culture with a whole licence-paying “sector” to “service” it, you’ll need more than a swift cuff behind the ear to straighten it out. -a.v.

  15. Fran Barlow
    January 22nd, 2014 at 18:08 | #15

    @desipis

    Fran, I would prefer a solution that focuses on the violence rather than the alcohol.

    Whereas I would prefer a solution that focuses on the development of the people from children into adults prior to the consumption of alcohol and the implementation of violence.

  16. Megan
    January 22nd, 2014 at 18:49 | #16

    @alfred venison

    I would add to those things something about successful marketing of the always-way-out-of-reach million dollar ‘lifestyle’ and venting anger/frustration/jealousy(?) that inevitably arises from that.

    Judging from my last few visits to licenced premises, it certainly isn’t for the poor or unemployed. A decent night on the turps will set you back at least $100 just at the bar.

    My bet is that the poor and unemployed are still doing what we did – drinking BYO at each other’s homes.

  17. paul walter
    January 22nd, 2014 at 19:34 | #17

    Ha, ha, ha.. remember the days; a cheap flagon of port or cask of vinegar white and rollies or bumpers collected from the shopping centre on second week of the fortnight.

  18. paul walter
    January 22nd, 2014 at 19:36 | #18

    @Donald Oats New day; new bizarre, isn’t it Donald Oats?

  19. Donald Oats
    January 22nd, 2014 at 20:33 | #19

    @paul walter
    Indeed.

  20. Megan
    January 22nd, 2014 at 21:39 | #20

    Apparently we’re not the only one’s “towing back the boats” and otherwise treating refugees inhumanely against international law.

    The Greeks are doing it too:

    “UNHCR urges the authorities to investigate the circumstances under which the incident occurred, and how lives were lost in a boat under towing”, Laurens Jolles, Regional Representative of the High Commissioner for Southern Europe, said.

    The UN Organisation for Refugees has made an appeal to European and other countries’ governments to work together in order to reduce casualties, when dangerous passages in the Mediterranean and other key maritime borders are followed.

    The Organisation notes the need for further strengthening of the rescue operations at sea, and the creation of channels for legal migration so that dangerous, irregular movements are avoided.

    The only real question is where each of us stand on these crimes. I’m against them.

  21. alfred venison
    January 22nd, 2014 at 21:39 | #21

    i agree whole-heartedly about tv, Megan @16 18:49.

    and its not only that they’re repeatedly misled to believe that commercial products they can’t afford are part of “the good life” – it is that commercial advertising on australian tv is rotten to the core with overt explicit racism.

    for example, i watched two hours of prime time television broadcasting earlier this month – two episodes of one show back to back. there must have been sixty ads or more run in that two hours – i lost track of the number but i watched closely & kept a log.

    i can say confidently that in those two hours of prime time television broadcasting, every single commercial advertisement – 100% of commercial advertising – featured exclusively white australian people, without exception.

    that is every commercial product advertised in those two hours: bank products with low interest, air freshener, car insurance with generous coverage, a car brand, products to make our feet feel good, a certain australian-themed burger, a certain shame-into-fitness show, products to keep insects away from the family while the consumer safely ignores customary precautions, a dishwasher detergent, even the broadcasting of the upcoming olympics.

    not one single non-white australian person appeared in any commercial advertisement shown during those two hours of prime time broadcasting. it is shameful, but even with your sound turned down, you can still tell if you are watching an american-made commercial advertisement simply by the presence of non-white people in the frame.

    so, why oh why, with 24 hour 7 days a weeks broadcasting streams littered with commercial advertisements featuring exclusively white australian persons, do some people wonder aloud, from one riot, or bus incident, or beach incident, to the next, why low information people think its still a white country & get pi$$ed when they go outside their house. -a.v.

  22. Megan
    January 23rd, 2014 at 00:08 | #22

    @alfred venison

    I’ve spent a bit of time around northern NSW over the last few weeks (remember that region voted overwhelmingly against the 1967 referendum) and noted that there is still an obvious but unspoken apartheid going on.

    John Pilger has a new film out called “Utopia” about that very issue.

    Almost impossible to see outside the Latte-Belt so far, but if you look or lobby hard enough you can see it somewhere.

    I’m particularly peeved that it was screened free to air on UK TV in December, but I couldn’t watch it. I think it will be on SBS in about April -for free.

    I’d like a free-market fundamentalist try to explain that!

  23. Megan
    January 23rd, 2014 at 00:11 | #23

    PS: If anyone is really interested, John Pilger’s ‘Utopia’ will be screened on 26th January at 4pm at the hall next to Musgrave Park (Jagara Hall??)

  24. Fran Barlow
    January 23rd, 2014 at 07:11 | #24

    @alfred venison

    I suspect that it’s about the authenticity question. The mythology of the boss class in this country remains fixed on Anglo-Celtic Australia and therefore almost all products and services, simply to be valorised as of quality and certainly, as of the kind of quality to which almost anyone would aspire (Cf the aspirationals), are those used by ostensible Western or Northern Europeans or their descendants.

    One notes the current regime is 100% of ostensible Anglo-Celtic descent (and with one exception, male) and the last regime only had one non-Anglo-Celt.

    The only exception I can think of are radio ads for one appliance retailer and that is an exception that proves the rule, as it focuses not on the quality of the goods but rather on their cheapness and ready availability. The ad does ethnic humour in this case at the ostensible expense of South-East Asians. Again this affirms the ethnic dichotomy between goods of quality which are associated with Anglo-Celtic Australia and goods that are cheap and available from the barely comprehensible ‘other’.

  25. Mel
    January 23rd, 2014 at 09:40 | #25

    Contra the claims above, crime rates including violent crime rates have sunk like a stone in almost all western countries over the last couple of decades (the starting date for the fall varies but is mostly in a 10-15 year window). This phenomena is well documented and oft-reported so I’m surprised more people aren’t aware of it.

    Nonetheless, it is unacceptable that hundreds of innocent Australians are still randomly killed, beaten or raped by thugs each year. The improved situation is no reason for complacency.

  26. Tim Macknay
    January 23rd, 2014 at 12:30 | #26

    @Mel
    That’s not entirely correct, Mel. Assaults have increased significantly in Australia over the last twenty years or so, while other categories of crime like robberies and burglaries have declined substantially, and the homicide rate has remained roughly stable for around thirty years (cite). It is true that the types of assaults which are the subject of the current moral panic (i.e. drunken fights in nightspots) have declined in recent years, and in any case only make up a small proportion of the total number of assaults.

    Of course, the increase in assaults may not be entirely due to an actual increase in violence – other factors, such as an increase in the reporting rate of domestic assaults, for example, may account for some or even most of the recorded increase.

  27. alfred venison
    January 23rd, 2014 at 18:38 | #27

    hi Megan
    the high prices set for grog in the clubs is why they load up for cheap at home before going out and arriving drunk. there’s a name for it – pre-loading? but after they get drunk at home they go to town because, we’re told, they don’t try hard enough and sleep in at home all day … -a.v.

  28. alfred venison
    January 23rd, 2014 at 18:52 | #28

    hi Fran Barlow
    “authenticity” , “manufactured consent” , “imagined community”.

    they hear their focus groups (or not) and they make commercial & artistic decisions that place considerable resources behind the manufacture & propagation, to an ethnically diverse community, of images depicting itself as a community that is all white.

    they do not challenge the racism they find they, they molly cuddle it, they fuel it.

    they are the moral equivalent of midsomer murders and should hang their collective head in shame.

    they get to use advertising expenses to write down their taxable income the difference of which is made up by we the taxpayers and they call it free to air.

    i would have thought from this lurk at least they have responsibility to us to not make our place worse by humoring racists for commercial gain.

    whether they need to have a davos for advertisers to get it right or simply agree some quotas amongst themselves, they are presently doing nothing but fanning fires. -a.v.

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