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Monday Message Board

March 18th, 2014

A day late but it’s time for 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. Fran Barlow
    March 20th, 2014 at 05:12 | #1

    I’m actually sympathetic to the idea of greatly narrowing the scope for resort to defamation law. There probably are some cases in which someone has defamed another out of malice and really done them some serious harm. But unless someone can show that the defamation was reckless and caused serious measurable harm to the legitimate interests of the person or persons in question I don’t believe that monetary damages should be awarded.

    The persons defaming might have to undertake extensive personal efforts to purge the lies they told amongst the cohort they published them and bear the legal costs but that would be it, except in exceptional circumstances.

    Defamation is a tort against property that most people don’t have, and which most of those who do have it got at best, by doubtful means.

  2. Fran Barlow
    March 20th, 2014 at 05:14 | #2

    I’m actually sympathetic to the idea of greatly narrowing the scope for resort to defamation law. There probably are some cases in which someone has defamed another out of m$lice and really done them some serious harm. But unless someone can show that the defamation was reckless and caused serious measurable harm to the legitimate interests of the person or persons in question I don’t believe that monetary damages should be awarded.

    The persons defaming might have to undertake extensive personal efforts to purge the lies they told amongst the cohort they published them and bear the legal costs but that would be it, except in exceptional circumstances.

    Defamation is a tort against property that most people don’t have, and which most of those who do have it got at best, by doubtful means.

  3. rog
    March 20th, 2014 at 05:49 | #3

    @TerjeP Your personal experience with Bolt seems to be at odds with the public’s experience of Bolt, the one who is a convicted liar.

    The facts in question have not been proven to be true. To the contrary, in relation to most of the individuals concerned, the facts asserted in the Newspaper Articles that the people dealt with chose to identify as Aboriginal have been substantially proven to be untrue.

    What gets me about Bolt is that even after being found to be liar he has not apoligised to those that he misrepresented and to those that he hurt. By offering their apologies Langton and the ABC show Bolt up for his denial and lack of remorse.

  4. John Quiggin
    March 20th, 2014 at 07:28 | #4

    Terje, a little while ago, I pointed out a string of lies and reckless falsehoods from Bolt. I got those just by looking through my own posts, which were mainly about climate change. He’s also been found guilty of defamation (to which truth is an absolute defence in relation to political comment) on multiple occasions, particularly in relation to race issues. And he lied continuously about the Iraq war over a period of years. To my knowledge, he has never made a public apology for any of this. Don’t you think you’re in the wrong tribe?

  5. Paul Norton
    March 20th, 2014 at 08:10 | #5

    I’ve just realised that by linking to an Israeli academic (Carlo Strenger) I have breached the academic boycott of Israel. For that matter, anyone who subscribes to the liberal Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz as a research resource (as the Free Palestine newspaper, which I wrote for and helped distribute in 1979-83 did) is in breach of the BDS. Something to think about.

  6. Collin Street
    March 20th, 2014 at 08:11 | #6

    Don’t you think you’re in the wrong tribe?

    No, look. “I enjoy bolt because what he says makes left-wingers uncomfortable” is, essentially, low-grade sadism. I think Terje’s sorted himself pretty correctly: ultimately your political choices derive from your personality and thus reflect your nature. Sophie Mirabella would never have signed up to the Greens because the platform the Greens articulate isn’t attractive to the sort of person whose response to having a person collapse unconscious next to them is to recoil in horror and push him away: she signed up to the liberal party because she felt comfortable there.

  7. Fran Barlow
    March 20th, 2014 at 09:32 | #7

    @Paul Norton

    I’ve just realised that by linking to an Israeli academic (Carlo Strenger) I have breached the academic boycott of Israel. For that matter, anyone who subscribes to the liberal Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz as a research resource (as the Free Palestine newspaper, which I wrote for and helped distribute in 1979-83 did) is in breach of the BDS. Something to think about.

    I’m not sure that is so. Most proponents of the boycott focus on Academic Institutions and their representatives that are rendering support to the IDF in the Occupied Territories or are otherwise supportive of the measures taken to harrass the Palestinian population. It’s worth noting that the boycott arose out of a desire to prevent EU funding of the occupation.

    I’m not sure where Strenger fits in that. As for Ha’aretz, again, I’m not aware of its role (if any) in supporting the occupation or attempting to prevent reconciliation.

  8. TerjeP
    March 20th, 2014 at 10:06 | #8

    Don’t you think you’re in the wrong tribe?

    I don’t typically think of myself as in a tribe. Although I do subscribe to the label “libertarian” and would not go out of my way to reject the label of “right wing” even though I’m not terrible enthusiastic about it. Bolt calls himself a “conservative” and that certainly isn’t me. Rather than think of tribes I prefer to think in terms of shared ideological interests. I have shared ground with people here on issues like same sex marriage and the Iraq war. I have shared interests with the authors at Catallaxy on smaller government. I have a shared interest with the Australian tea party crowd on low taxes. I have a shared interest with the HEMP party guys in ending cannabis prohibition. But in each of those groupings I also have major areas of disagreement. With you it is on the size and role of government. With Steve Kate’s at Catallaxy it is on drug prohibition. With some of the HEMP guys it would be an array of other things. The Australian tea party is for the most part anti abortion and anti Muslim which is an outlook I simply don’t share and often find obnoxious. But I still talk to them. The idea that we should break off into tribes and that if you’re not with us you’re against us is not one I generally subscribe to. Although there is merit in making pacts within certain groups for certain causes.

    In terms of suggestions that Bolt has lied I can’t claim to have reviewed all your evidence in detail. And he certainly isn’t some perfect human being. But the bits of your suggestions that he has lied that I have looked at don’t strike me as much better than the bits of Bolts suggestions that you have lied. Mostly I think the two of you just talk past each other and see the world very differently. I think much of your whole outlook about the efficacy of the state could be characterised as a lie but if you think it’s true I wouldn’t actually call it a lie. Likewise I think Bolt believes the things that you would call lies.

    Anyway I didn’t initiate this Bolt discussion to resolve these differences of opinion. My point was simply to say you were wrong to claim Bolt was using defamation law to silence others. I don’t think you were telling lies but a less generous person might say otherwise.

  9. paul walter
    March 20th, 2014 at 11:28 | #9

    Wouldn’t a little discretionary intelligence be expected of someone at your level? To abide by the spirit, if involving technical infraction of the mere letter…?@Collin Street

  10. paul walter
    March 20th, 2014 at 11:30 | #10

    Sorry.. Above a query involving #Dr. Paul Norton#.

  11. March 20th, 2014 at 15:40 | #11

    JQ,

    Economics is not my strong suit (at all), but there is a report from the Bank of England:

    Monetary Analysis Directorate published in the Quarterly Bulletin 2014 Q1 a document entitled Money Creation in the Modern Economy, and introductory document, Money in the Modern Economy: An Introduction.

    Which seems to have people like Steve Keen quite excited.

    Any broad comment about it?

  12. John Quiggin
    March 20th, 2014 at 16:32 | #12

    @Megan

    I’m not really that interested in monetary issues, so my take may well be just as unreliable as yours. That said, I read the BoE piece, and I couldn’t really see what the excitement was about. On my interpretation, BoE was saying that rather than controlling base money (as was attempted under monetarism in the late 1970s) and thereby broader measures of money supply, central banks these days mostly set short-term interest rates, so that the equilibrium money stock is determined by the demand for money (which is a function of interest rates). In the first case, the notion of a “money multiplier” is often used to describe what is going on.

    Keen and MMT fans don’t like money multipliers so they are reading this piece as a big concession from BoE. I don’t see that, but I haven’t followed the debate at all closely.

  13. John Quiggin
    March 20th, 2014 at 16:37 | #13

    Terje, for the record, I accept that Bolt said on radio that he did not intend to sue the ABC.

    But, given his past track record (including personal interactions), I don’t take that as convincing evidence that he hasn’t threatened the ABC either with litigation or with more direct retribution from the government. He has in the past made threats which have been interpreted by the recipeints as including legal action, only to say afterwards that he never threatened defamation

  14. TerjeP
    March 20th, 2014 at 17:26 | #14

    which have been interpreted by the recipeints as including legal action

    I suppose that if you really don’t like somebody any robust criticism you receive from them can seem to be a veiled threat. This is part of why I don’t like defamation law or 18C. It can intimidate people even when the other party has no intention of resorting to legal remedies. If you made a remark about me that I didn’t like and I referred to it as defamatory then you might think I was threatening legal action. But I could just as easily mean that the remark is untrue and damaging. Even if I used some word other than “defamatory” you could still claim there was a veiled threat. The law is the problem. IMHO.

  15. rog
    March 20th, 2014 at 18:10 | #15

    @TerjeP You seem to be unable to accept the fact that Bolt is a convicted liar and while he had the opportunity and resources to challenge that judgement he has not formally disputed that judgement.

    Chat about 18C, the law etc is just that, chat.

  16. alfred venison
    March 20th, 2014 at 18:47 | #16

    i’m not sure that TerjeP & i are outraged at the same thing. to be clear, i am not outraged that because of the law you can’t say anything you want, i am outraged that because of the law public interest is not a defence. -a.v.

  17. March 20th, 2014 at 19:05 | #17

    @alfred venison

    But in defamation “truth” is a defence. I’m not sure that I would agree generally that something untrue said about someone could also be in the public interest.

    Bolt’s problem under 18c was not the things he wrote but that he went outside the protections contained in 18d:

    RACIAL DISCRIMINATION ACT 1975 – SECT 18D
    Exemptions
    Section 18C does not render unlawful anything said or done reasonably and in good faith:
    (a) in the performance, exhibition or distribution of an artistic work; or

    (b) in the course of any statement, publication, discussion or debate made or held for any genuine academic, artistic or scientific purpose or any other genuine purpose in the public interest; or

    (c) in making or publishing:

    (i) a fair and accurate report of any event or matter of public interest; or

    (ii) a fair comment on any event or matter of public interest if the comment is an expression of a genuine belief held by the person making the comment.

    The judgment was quite clear that if what he had written was done in ‘good faith’ (among other requirements) he would have been OK.

    The “Bolt Amendments” are actually the “I can act in Bad Faith Amendments”.

  18. Megan
    March 20th, 2014 at 20:28 | #18

    @John Quiggin

    Thanks. I don’t have a view one way or the other on the technicalities (eg: MMT), it’s all gibberish to me.

    It seemed as though the idea was “Aha! When the people find out the whole system is bogus there will be a revolution!”, but if there hasn’t been a revolution yet over far more obvious problems I can’t see it happening over a technical point about “money”.

  19. Paul Norton
    March 21st, 2014 at 07:59 | #19

    Farn @57 and Paul W @59/60, here’s Carlo Strenger on the issue:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carlo-strenger/boycotting-israels-universities_b_4954323.html

  20. sunshine
    March 21st, 2014 at 08:18 | #20

    David Marr s Quarterly Essay(Ithink thats where it was) on Bolt said that after he lost the court case he wanted to retire from public life but Tony Abbott had dinner with him and convinced him not to .Given the governments determination to change the law in question ,even in the face of opposition from bodies they would normally listen to , I suspect a deal was done on this between Bolt and Abbott.

  21. Fran Barlow
    March 21st, 2014 at 08:21 | #21

    @Paul Norton

    Thanks for the link Paul

    Like Strenger, I too have a lot of respect for Butler’s work and advocacy (as opaque as it sometimes is). I don’t agree with Butler’s reasoning however, for much the same reason I don’t accept the claims on the right here that artists wanting to boycott the Biennale here while Transfield was sponsoring it ought also to reject Australia Council grants or cease being public servants or claiming social security or health benefits.

    That Israeli academics received emoluments from the Israeli state is inevitable. This is not to my mind, a matter of discretion and they are not bound in my view, to advocate on its behalf. Providing they do disclosure, and when asked, declare unambiguously that they are not in support of the Israeli state’s policies in supporting the occupation, or rendering aid and comfort to the IDF, then I see no reason to boycott them.

    This action is about symbolism. It’s a way of saying clearly what is socially and politically acceptable to people who take ethics and intellectual discourse seriously. The problematisation of Israel is something important in pressing for a just resolution. Israeli academics who declare for the right of Palestinians to form a state on the territory taken from them in 1967, and for the right of return, and for the removal of illegal settlements ought to be welcomed by others, IMO.

    I accept that there is some dispute on the purview of the boycott. Academics, almost by definition, will have a range of opinions on this and I see nothing wrong with this itself being a matter of debate, because, after all, the more the issue of scope is debated, the more people’s minds are focused on the substantive question of the occupation and how to resolve it.

  22. patrickb
    March 21st, 2014 at 10:40 | #22

    @TerjeP
    This self-identification as this or that is all very well however a reasonable person would say, based on your posts that you are a fan of Bolt, that your enjoy the way he intimidates people not of your tribe and that you agree with his views on a wide range of topics. Like most right-wingers you expend a lot of words attempting to filter yourself out of the political spectrum whilst labeling the rest of us as ‘left’ or … well that’s it really, there’s Terje and everything is the ‘left’ which he dislikes. I mean ‘libertarian’ can mean just about anything, it’s fairly obvious that your views are hard line conservative.

  23. rog
    March 21st, 2014 at 13:53 | #23

    The financial dealings of Arthur Sinodinos seems to indicate a total lack of business acumen – is this indicative of the rest of the Libs?

    I know Hockey is quietly paying back money to AWH. Hartcher and 2 others are trying to be invisible.

    This ICAC enquiry has all the potential to be as bad for the Libs as it has been for the ALP

  24. zoot
    March 21st, 2014 at 15:20 | #24
  25. Ron E Joggles
    March 21st, 2014 at 19:40 | #25

    rog :
    a total lack of business acumen

    I think he did quite nicely out of it! A total lack of ethical acumen, perhaps?

    The vast majority of Abbott voters won’t even know about the ICAC inquiry if it isn’t run in the Murdoch press and on commercial TV.

  26. TerjeP
    March 22nd, 2014 at 18:23 | #26

    PatrickB,

    Yes I’m a fan of Bolt.
    Yes I like the way he skewers certain members of the left for false morality and hypocrisy.
    I agree with Bolt on lots of things.
    I would not go out of my way to reject the label of “right wing” even though I’m not terrible enthusiastic about it.

    But I would not describe myself as a conservative because:-

    I opposed the war in Iraq.
    I support same sex marriage.
    I think euthanasia should be legal.
    I think abortion should be also (with minor caveats).
    I think cannabis should be less regulated than tobacco currently is.
    I’m an atheist who thinks Christianity was one of the downfalls of western civilisation.

  27. TerjeP
    March 22nd, 2014 at 18:27 | #27

    You seem to be unable to accept the fact that Bolt is a convicted liar

    “convicted” implies he committed a criminal offence. It was a civil matter.

  28. rog
    March 22nd, 2014 at 23:05 | #28

    @TerjeP Fair enough, the court found Bolt’s statements to be unlawful. And untrue.

  29. March 23rd, 2014 at 00:46 | #29

    Is that really all that matters? Whether he was technically “convicted” (which he wasn’t) as opposed to just being found to have breached the law?

    That distinction defines one as “tribal”.

  30. Fran Barlow
    March 23rd, 2014 at 09:24 | #30

    This is interesting on Bolt’s high dudgeon over QANDA:

    https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/56104

    Speaking of the Langton comments and the objective rationale for calling Bolt a racist, Carlo Sands notes:

    Or possibly she just clicked on a random Bolt blog post — such as the one filled with such violent hatred of asylum seekers it celebrates the savage attacks on detainees on Manus Island in February that left 23-year-old Reza Berati dead.

    Headlined “Detainees met a PNG police force that hits back”, the February 21 post featured a letter from “Reader Herb”, a “PNG resident of some time”, who gleefully told a story of witnessing PNG’s Police Boi Riot Squad carry out brutal assaults, before concluding: “If the refugees fronted a Poice [sic] Boi riot squad anywhere near as disciplined … they would for sure clobber those thin middle eastern skulls.”

    The comments published underneath the post ranged all the way from “couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch” to “can they come and train our coppers please”.

    Bolt censors stuff he doesn’t like, unlike QANDA, but some things require neither censorship nor apology, apparently.

  31. Ivor
    March 23rd, 2014 at 11:54 | #31

    @Megan

    V. Good reference here.

    It’s a pity Keynesians take the line:

    I’m not really that interested in monetary issues,

    This is just zombie economics.

    The amount of money you have determines your share of all the goods and services we have in an economy.

    Finance is a bigger problem than money.

  32. Sancho
    March 24th, 2014 at 09:30 | #32

    Give Terje some credit for duking it out at a left-leaning blog. He could just as easily lurk around the conservative parts of the internet and wallow in atavism and epistemic closure. He does a good job of responding to critics without rancour or histrionics, despite being frequently mobbed by the locals.

    Terje’s arguments are often riddled with inconsistencies and ideological tics that, like most conservatives, he’s internalised to the point that they’re expressed as simple axioms, but god knows the internet could do with more contributors that don’t dial the outrage up to eleven in every post.

  33. TerjeP
    March 24th, 2014 at 10:29 | #33

    Sancho – you manage to compliment and insult me in the same breath. That must be what they call “balance”.

    To repeat what I said above I would not describe myself as a conservative because:-

    I opposed the war in Iraq.
    I support same sex marriage.
    I think euthanasia should be legal.
    I think abortion should be also (with minor caveats).
    I think cannabis should be less regulated than tobacco currently is.
    I’m an atheist who thinks Christianity was one of the downfalls of western civilisation.

    If you want to give me a label then please call me libertarian.

  34. Paul Norton
    March 24th, 2014 at 11:03 | #34

    I would not describe myself as a conservative because:-
    I opposed the war in Iraq.

    Well, that reminds us that quite a few conservatives did oppose the war in Iraq, for sound conservative reasons, while quite a few leftists supported if for what seemed to them at the time like sound left-wing reasons.

  35. Fran Barlow
    March 24th, 2014 at 11:57 | #35

    @TerjeP

    I support same sex marriage.

    Like David Cameron who says he favours gay marriage because he’s a conservative. New Zealand’s conservative government supported it too.

    FWIW, I agree you’re not a conservative, but they are your bloc partners and your party managed a whole bunch of conservative votes by confusing yourselves with the Liberals, who are conservative.

    The shenanigans with the Outdoor Recreation Party guggest a level of duplicity that calls into question your party’s integrity.

    http://t.co/d82KcdHAXB

  36. Fran Barlow
    March 24th, 2014 at 11:58 | #36

    oops … “suggest”

  37. TerjeP
    March 24th, 2014 at 20:54 | #37

    The shenanigans with the Outdoor Recreation Party guggest a level of duplicity that calls into question your party’s integrity.

    What shenanigans?

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