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Monday Message Board

August 18th, 2014

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. Sancho
    August 18th, 2014 at 11:51 | #1

    An interesting exploration of how the media would cover Ferguson if it happened in another country

    Speaking of which, how’s Australia doing in the police militarisation stakes? I’ve got Victoria Police on Facebook, and they love to post up pics of the SOG in their full gear, and beat cops seem to be carrying all sorts of sprays and batons and chunky vests, but high rates of wanton violence don’t seem to be reported.

  2. ZM
    August 18th, 2014 at 12:22 | #2

    I am wondering if the proposal to cut welfare to people who support terrorist organizations will potentially affect people who support Palestinians or West Papuans or other groups who have been oppressed? I imagine the East Timorese freedom movement might have been denounced as terrorists by some.

  3. Tom Davies
    August 18th, 2014 at 13:06 | #3

    In NSW, the transport police who occasionally monitor the gates at city stations etc. no longer dress in ‘tactical’ gear — no more boots, big equipment belts etc.

  4. rog
    August 18th, 2014 at 13:28 | #4

    Tim Blair wrote a piece on his 24 hours in Lakemba and RN James Carlton reports on the facts

  5. Paul Norton
    August 18th, 2014 at 13:28 | #5

    ZM, 30 years ago the Coalition thought the African National Congress was a terrorist organisation and opposed the Hawke Government’s decision to let the ANC open an information office in Sydney staffed by an ANC representative.

  6. Paul Norton
    August 18th, 2014 at 13:31 | #6

    Two of our most prominent right-wing journalists, Paul Sheehan and Andrew Bolt, have staged a pincer movement against Noel Pearson. Does anyone have any ideas as to what might lie behind this?

  7. John Quiggin
    August 18th, 2014 at 15:24 | #7

    I saw Sheehan, but not Bolt. I have no idea what’s happening here. Maybe Pearson has signalled a coming break with Abbott.

    But I would have thought it very high risk for Tony to co-ordinate an attack with these two. If it came out there would be hell to pay.

  8. bjb
    August 18th, 2014 at 16:57 | #8

    I heard Abbott (and I think Cormann was on message too) this morning saying that the ALP should vote through the LNP budget and not be obstructionist. Does anyone have a ready reference on how many times the Coalition voted through Government policies in the last parliament. I suspect Abbott etc al are being hypocrites as usual, but some numbers would be handy.

  9. Paul Norton
    August 18th, 2014 at 17:50 | #9

    I recall that the LNP didn’t vote through Bill Hayden’s budget in 1975.

  10. ZM
    August 18th, 2014 at 18:02 | #10

    Joe Hockey now cruelly arresting nuns

    “A NUN is among praying protesters who have been arrested at federal Treasurer Joe Hockey’s electorate office in Sydney.

    THE group, part of the Christian movement called Love Makes A Way, entered Mr Hockey’s North Sydney office at 10.30am (AEST) on Tuesday to hold a prayer vigil and demand a commitment on children in immigration detention centres.

    They say they won’t leave until they get a timetabled commitment that all children will be released from detention. Police arrived at Mr Hockey’s office at about 1pm, and the group was removed and released without charge.”

  11. Ivor
    August 18th, 2014 at 18:31 | #11

    Now that “stimulus” has failed and capitalism is forced to cut back, they know pretty well that economic catastrophe is a possibility. Italy has fallen back into recession and Jeremy Stein, a former member of the Fed’s Board of Governors. is ringing the economic alarm bell of “increased volatility” for capitalists. The Federal Reserve’s No. 2 official also acknowledged that global growth had been “disappointing” and warned of fundamental headwinds that might temper future gains.

    So what was the impact of this “stimulus” and what are these “headwinds”?

    Of course Keynesian theory suggests that if you lower interest rates that this will sustain the economy until capitalists are willing to spend again. So when this doesn’t happen they then convert their dogma into:

    Lower interest rates have created the potential for capitalists to invest and spend again. At least this is the latest ploy by US economic helmsman Ms. Yellen reported in a NY Times article, titled appropriately, “Fears of Renewed Instability as Fed Ends Stimulus”.

    For the US the report card is here:


    Lost Jobs, Missing Workers, Stagnant Wages

    A Shrinking, Shifting Middle Class

    Industrial Ruin and Revival

    The number of people receiving food stamps under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program soared to 47.6 million in 2013 from 26.3 million in 2007.

    Incomes for the typical middle-income family have slipped, and the nation’s poverty rate remains above its prerecession level.

    low-paying industries hired the most during the recovery. Fast-food restaurants — which pay less than $22,000 a year, on average — added more jobs than nearly any other industry.

    and all that we get here is wordgames – the last refuge of the dispossessed?

    Capitalist economic policy is now just gibberish. They are simply waiting for Godot.

    Go figure.

  12. Ivor
    August 18th, 2014 at 20:34 | #12

    *** Upcoming Event ***

    CAPITAL in the 21st Century: The Political Economy of Inequality

    A Cloudland Collective public meeting exploring the ideas of French economist Thomas Piketty with guest speakers Professor John Quiggin and Dr Mike Beggs.

    7pm Thursday 11 September

    ETU auditorium, 41 Peel St, South Brisbane

    PDF and jpeg promotional flyers attached. The jpeg is suitable for use on facebook. PLEASE SHARE meeting details with friends and colleagues.

    CAPITAL in the 21st Century by Thomas Piketty.

    A 700-page economics book is taking the world by storm.

    Capital in the 21st Century by French political economist Thomas Piketty, a detailed historical analysis of economic development over the last three centuries, has become a number 1 bestselling book.

    Piketty sets out to uncover the fundamental dynamics driving capital accumulation and distribution.

    Looking at extensive historical economic data, he establishes that the decades of economic prosperity and the flattening of inequality following World War Two were an aberration.

    Instead of being “a rising tide that floats all boats”, modern capitalism with its inherent contradictions is generating extreme inequalities. A tiny minority in society is amassing incredible wealth.

    With the wave of austerity measures unleashed in the aftermath of the GFC, Piketty’s ideas have hit a global nerve. At the same time, the popularity of his book has sent the rightwing in to a frenzy.

    Piketty’s assumptions, formulations and conlusions may be challenged. But he has shown up the prevailing free market economics which dominate formal politics as “the emporer with no clothes”.

    And he has made the study of economics as a key element of understanding our society sexy again.

    Instead of blind faith that the market will deliver, he says we need to look at the evidence and the historical trends.

    With guest speakers, Dr Michael Beggs and Professor John Quiggan, this meeting will explore the ideas of Piketty and provide an opportunity to debate the political implications.


    Should be a real hoot – I wonder if they’ll record it.

  13. Ivor
    August 18th, 2014 at 20:57 | #13

    How to sum up one aspect of Picketty (from Mike Beggs)

    It’s like saying slavery is an inequality of assets between slaves and slaveholders without describing the plantation.

  14. Ivor
    August 18th, 2014 at 21:03 | #14

    Slight correction:

    Quote is from: Suresh Naidu – “Capital eats the World” on Mike Begg’s Jacobin site.

  15. rog
    August 19th, 2014 at 07:07 | #15

    ABC four corners “Battle for the Reef” deals with the almost futile attempts by the scientific community to protect the reef from the activities of the resource extraction industry. Govt action appears to be ineffectual and compromised by the resultant revenue stream.

  16. Troy Prideaux
    August 19th, 2014 at 08:08 | #16

    Yes, I watched that last night. Pretty damning stuff.

  17. J-D
    August 19th, 2014 at 19:03 | #17


    When you suggested in an earlier exchange that Keynesian stimulus policies have been tried and have failed, it wasn’t true, and it’s still not true.

    I am not advocating for Keynesianism; I don’t know enough about the subject to form a view. For all I know it may be a good thing that we’re not seeing a global comprehensive effort at Keynesian stimulus policies, but that’s not a justification for misrepresentation of events.

  18. Ivor
    August 19th, 2014 at 20:18 | #18


    You are posting on the wrong thread.

    Wrong. I do not restrict myself to Keynesian stimulus policies. This was your invention.
    Capitalists resort to all manner of stimulus and burden shifting.

    Your erroneous claim of misrepresentation of events was your Freudian slip.

  19. Mr MIT
    August 20th, 2014 at 08:44 | #19

    There is a much evidence that Keynesian stimulus works as there is that ExtenZe increases your manhood. It’s snakeoil.

  20. August 20th, 2014 at 10:12 | #20

    Mr MIT, are you aware this is an Australian web site?

  21. Ivor
    August 20th, 2014 at 16:31 | #21

    Mr MIT :
    There is a much evidence that Keynesian stimulus works as there is that ExtenZe increases your manhood. It’s snakeoil.

    This problem is not restricted to Keynesian stimulus – it applies to all stimulus under capitalism.

    Keynesians (at least on this blog) are now reduced to pretending that real Keynesian stimulus has not been tried.

    No true Keynesian, it seems?

  22. ZM
    August 20th, 2014 at 17:16 | #22

    Beyond Zero Emissions look set to release their Land Use report soon. This from their latest newsletter (sorry for the lengthiness, I hope that its okay):

    “But the biggest item we’re sitting on at the moment is the Zero Carbon Australia Land Use report, which is going through the design process prior to publication. Most BZE supporters know we have been working on this research project to look at reducing emissions from the Land Use sector — mainly, agriculture and forestry industries. The report also focuses on drawing carbon down; there is vast potential for carbon sequestration using plants.

    The research was guided by initial investigation into where emissions come from in the Land Use sector, and at what magnitude. It turns out that various activities on the land including farming, forestry, and clearing of trees, account for a huge proportion of our national emissions. This is masked in our national accounts.

    By lumping together all emissions from farming and land clearing for agriculture, we came up with a surprisingly high figure: 33% of Australia’s annual emissions coming from land use practices. The largest contributor was land clearing, followed by enteric fermentation – the production of methane by ruminant animals’ digestive systems, mainly cattle and sheep.

    The report also found that carbon stocks in native forests are systematically underestimated by a factor of up to four or five, so that the climate impact of native forest logging is much higher than previously thought. If we included an adequate appraisal of emissions from clearfell logging, total land use emissions would be far higher again.

    The second surprising finding of the study comes from an analysis of the short-lived greenhouse gas emissions from land use. Some of these are not typically included in the international reporting of emissions. Then, instead of hundred-year global warming potential (GWP), we looked at the twenty-year GWP of all these different emissions. Over twenty years, the impact of methane (for example) is at least 84 times that of carbon dioxide. At one hundred-year GWP, it’s only 28 times. As a result, we find that at twenty-year GWP, Australia’s land use emissions may be more like 54% of the total national emissions.

    With these new perspectives, we see that the Land Use sector is right up there with the highest emitting sectors of Australia’s economy. We also see that there is massive scope for action to reduce those short-lived greenhouse gas emissions, giving a relatively quick reduction on Australia’s global warming impact, as well as the longer impacting gases that include carbon dioxide.

    Emissions abatements are possible by making changes to land management practices such as savannah burning, clearfell logging and land clearing for agriculture. Technologies and management techniques, including those for enteric fermentation reduction, can bring down emissions too, and a good many of these are reviewed and explained in the report.

    We also need to find ways to put trees back on the countryside on scale large enough to negate land-based emissions in each biogeographic region of Australia. (The Land Use Report researchers looked at 300 sub-regions). Revegetating on this scale is something environmentalists have wanted to do for many years now, and indeed a good many farmers have already done it. We think farmers and communities on the land should get the support to operate on the front line of Australia’s efforts to combat climate change; they are certainly the people most affected.

    We’re now working on the layout and publishing of the Land Use report and look forward to bringing out this debate-changing research.”

  23. J-D
    August 21st, 2014 at 09:08 | #23


    Is it the case that governments around the world are making all-out efforts to implement Keynesian policies? My answer is ‘No’. What’s yours?

  24. Ivor
    August 21st, 2014 at 16:34 | #24


    You have already been told.

    Adding in “all-out” is weasel.

  25. J-D
    August 23rd, 2014 at 16:20 | #25


    You haven’t answered my question before and you’re not answering it now, either, presumably because you don’t dare answer ‘Yes’ but you feel uncomfortable answering ‘No’.

  26. zoot
    August 23rd, 2014 at 17:56 | #26

    I’d be interested to hear Ivor’s definition of “Keynesian”.

  27. Newtownian
    August 28th, 2014 at 12:59 | #27
  28. Newtownian
    August 28th, 2014 at 20:18 | #28

    Something for those who have moved beyond damned lies and statistics to…..

    graphs http://i100.independent.co.uk/article/the-ten-most-confusing-graphs-chartsinfographics-ever-made–gyGsLs7FR

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