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Monday Message Board

November 3rd, 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. Ivor
    November 3rd, 2014 at 10:11 | #1

    So who is behind this new paper – Australian National Review with a heavy dose of Ron Paul?

    It also reprinted Pilger’s exposure of the CIA’s coup against Whitlam and control of Australian trade unions.

  2. Megan
    November 3rd, 2014 at 10:26 | #2

    Some environmental groups (Greenpeace, WWF, +350, etc…) wanted to buy billboard space at the arrivals hall of Brisbane airport for G20 with a picture of a farmer and the words: “Action on Climate Change is on my Agenda, Please Put it on Yours”.

    But Brisbane airport corporation refused to allow it saying “Climate Change is too political.”

    Double-whammy: take that ‘free market’, take that ‘free speech’.

  3. Megan
    November 3rd, 2014 at 10:35 | #3

    In October “Human Rights Watch” ran an online campaign featuring black-clad security-type goons apparently blocking a distressed middle-aged lady with the text: “A New Tyr*nn7 is Growing. Sign Now to Stand Against Putin’s Repressive Policies.”

    The problem was that the photo was actually from Odessa, the Goons were Ukrainian and the lady was grieving the massacre of civilians by US-backed Nazis. Oh dear.

    Never mind. HRW have shoved it down the memory hole. The only mention of it is an obscurely worded “correction” buried on their website referring to a photo used in error for a campaign without further identification.

  4. Robert (not from UK)
    November 3rd, 2014 at 11:46 | #4

    Well, good luck to Australian National Review, whoever is backing it, if it can survive and can furnish decently-written, decently-researched articles. I think its website needs some work under warranty; when I clicked onto the periodical’s “About us” link, I got the following on-screen message:

    “404 Error – page not found
    We’re sorry, but the page you are looking for doesn’t exist.”

    Let’s hope that the new ANR actually pays its writers. The short-lived 1990s magazine of the same name, alas, did not.

  5. ZM
    November 3rd, 2014 at 11:59 | #5

    The ANR seems to be financed by 21 st Century Group , which seems to be an investment and financial advice company, with a particular interest in property investment. Quite odd.

  6. Ikonoclast
    November 3rd, 2014 at 12:36 | #6

    On the topic of economic growth, anyone want to hazard guesses or reasons for slow and/or stagnating growth in the developed world? My candidate causes are as follows and I hold they are all contributary causes to developed world stagnation.

    1. Growth is being shifted from the developed world to the developing world. (Capitalism moving manufacture to low wage countries.)

    2. Poor macroeconomic policy in the developed world (policies of economic austerity leading to poor demand).

    3. Limits to Growth. Finite resources and the finite capacities of waste sinks becoming a drag on and then a hard barrier to more material (quantitative) economic growth.

    4. Secular stagnation.

    5.Technological slowdown.

  7. Donald Oats
    November 3rd, 2014 at 12:52 | #7

    The IPCC report simply strengthens what went before: the current Abbott government won an election campaigning on “Repeal the Carbon Tax”, which laughably is replaced by “Direct Action”, a policy which will cost billions, and puts our taxes into the hands of polluters, along with a polite letter asking them to pollute a little less. Pollute less, or what? Another bundle of cash to help them pollute less? A slap on the wrist with a limp lettuce leaf?

    We know we must put in some effort to deal with the pernicious effects of our economic growth, that much should be obvious; what isn’t obvious is why so many people voted for a government to remove a system that taxes polluters and returns money to income tax payers, replacing it with a system that taxes income earners and returns money to the polluters. How topsy turvy is that? Why didn’t voters see that sleight of hand for what it was, mere wishful thinking that we can avoid the bill for polluting with gay abandon.

  8. bjb
    November 3rd, 2014 at 13:10 | #8

    Megan :
    But Brisbane airport corporation refused to allow it saying “Climate Change is too political.”

    Hopefully banning “too political” ads sets a precedent, and come election time we’ll be spared Campbell’s bonce anywhere on BAC property telling us what a great job his government has done for us.

  9. Ikonoclast
    November 3rd, 2014 at 14:14 | #9

    Spotted this on the internet today;

    “Horse racing is cruelty to animals. Gambling is cruelty to the innumerate.”

    I agree on both counts.

  10. iain
    November 3rd, 2014 at 14:18 | #10

    @bjb

    Unlikely, billboards are just legalised graffiti for the privileged.

    Often, more of an eyesore than illegal graffiti.

    They almost always take some form of political message (mostly pro-capital consumerism pushed by multinationals supporting political oppression of under aged and under funded workers).

  11. Julie Thomas
    November 3rd, 2014 at 17:33 | #11

    In another thread, Chrisl was complaining about his education being not very good back whenever and says that it has been dumbed down since then and I didn’t think that was true.

    And from reading the First Results OECD Skills Outlook, 2013, which used The Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) to measure key skills – literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments in adults, one can see that Australia is in the top 5 ‘literate’ countries which would suggest that our education system is not that bad.

    Adults = 16 year old to 65

    The study surveyed “Around 166 000 adults aged 16-65…..in 24 countries and sub-national regions: 22 OECD member countries – Australia, Austria, Belgium (Flanders), Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom (England and Northern Ireland), and the United States; and two partner countries – Cyprus… and the Russian Federation.”

    Sumarising the results, the authors write that even highly literate nations have significant liabilities in “their talent pool” but that more than nine-tenths of the overall variation in skill levels lies within, rather than between, countries and that “in all but one participating country,(that would be Japan) at least one in ten adults is proficient only at or below Level 1 in literacy or numeracy.

    “In other words, significant numbers of adults do not possess the most basic information-processing skills considered necessary to succeed in today’s world.”

    If you go to the report, the graph to look at is on page 27 “Literacy Proficiency among 16-65 year-olds: Percentage of adults scoring at each proficiency level in literacy “ there is Australia among the top 5 countries and this even with our high level of immigration.

    The report goes on; “In England/Northern Ireland (UK), Germany, Italy, Poland and the United States, social background has a major impact on literacy skills. In these countries more so than in others, the children of parents with low levels of education have significantly lower proficiency than those whose parents have higher levels of education, even after taking other factors into account.

    …but Japan, Australia, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden combine above-average performance with a high level of equity.

    Interestingly, the data show no relationship between a country’s average literacy skills and the impact of social background on those skills, suggesting that high average proficiency does not need to come at the expense of social inequities.

    Japan, and to a lesser extent Australia, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, combine above-average performance with a high level of equity. France, Germany, Poland and the United States all show both below-average performance and large social disparities.”

    http://skills.oecd.org/OECD_Skills_Outlook_2013.pdf

    There is a lot more interesting information particularly the comparison between the 16 to 65 group and the 16 – 24 group.

  12. chrisl
    November 3rd, 2014 at 18:31 | #12

    Julie Thomas : Interesting that you read about my lack of education
    I admit I have no research to back me up, no peer review, only anecdotes and I know that the plural of anecdotes is not data but ….
    The standard of maths in Australia is 2 years behind what it was 40- 50 years ago
    We have the second generation of school teachers that Can Not Spell
    We have an astounding drop out rate in our universities
    Most uni courses that are not vocational are totally useless
    Many kids would be better off leaving school and doing an apprenticeship
    Overseas back packers often speak better English than the locals
    Australia does Not do languages
    Look at the nationalities that do well at VCE
    As for overseas….
    I have friends from Gaza (Palestine) that are way better educated than me
    Students in The Netherlands do their masters degrees in English because there are no Dutch books. Can you imagine one student in Australia doing a masters degree in a foreign language?
    I would write etc, but I was taught not to. (Something about running out of ideas)

  13. Julie Thomas
    November 3rd, 2014 at 19:17 | #13

    @chrisl

    I didn’t really talk about your lack of education. I wrote about your negative opinion you have of your education and our Australian education system.

    And why do you find it interesting that I read what you wrote? Why would I not read what you wrote?

    I do agree with you that the things you point our are not good and could be better, but you are too pessimistic about how bad things are. If you look at the OECD results, you will see that we are ‘more literate’ overall than Canada, UK and the US. So…things are not that bad?

    Do you have any ideas about why those countries are not as literate as we are?

    I totally agree that things could be much better in Australia though, and the people who wrote the OECD report say this. This report is the sort of evidence that governments need to take notice of when they go about trying to make the system better.

    Do you think our current government does this? Do you think they read the report?

  14. chrisl
    November 3rd, 2014 at 19:46 | #14

    Julie Thomas : I don’t think the government past present or future has any effect on the education system. It is cultural. Let me give you an example of my friend from Gaza.Every day after school his mother would sit down with him to give him extra lessons because she believed that in the future Gaza would no longer exist . The only thing that would help him If he was forced to flee would be knowledge.Via a russian scholarship he became an orthopaedic surgeon,
    I asked him whether he gave his children special education after school and he said No. Whatever they do in their life and whatever job they had they would still live in a great country.
    We live in a lucky country.
    With lots of silly people in it!

  15. jungney
    November 3rd, 2014 at 20:24 | #15

    An expedition today, four new tyres, which necessitated a visit to the nearest ‘mall’, on the outskirts of dogville, during which I sat on a lounge in a public area of the mall and did as I often do for entertainment, watched people. After 30 minutes I donned sunglasses in order to conceal my closed eyes which were closed against the sheer ugliness of the human debris that waddled, staggered and wheezed past where I sat. The situation required concentration on the breath. I saw factory farmed humans whose every fibre was a product of the market. The system is sick and depends on sickness to keep it running; it needs consumers of garbage to keep it running and those consumers sure look like they’ve been fed a diet of rubbish.

  16. Fran Barlow
  17. Ken Fabian
    November 4th, 2014 at 07:45 | #17

    Banning billboards urging G20 to put climate action on agenda? If political action against fossil fuels gets reframed as an attack against Team Australia we could see this kind of self interested corporate censorship (airline industry facing climate related rising costs that can be avoided if climate problem re-assessed, on ‘commercially valid’ costs and profitability criteria as preferably false and proponents of action that ‘harm’ the fossil fuel reliant re-categorised as vandals or … even terrorists) become government policy.

    Not sure myself if I’m being unduly alarmist here or not! When we have a government that does (apparently, although in the form of suggestion rather than statement, third party commentary they pointedly do not disagree with, whilst remaining vague and contradictory themselves) see climate science and climate action as anti-business green-eco-authoritarian conspiracy, and are engaged in a crusade to eliminate climate as far as possible as a consideration in government policy, it doesn’t look that big a step. How fortunate there is a eco-authoritarian ideological bent to public discourse that would kick up an enormous fuss?

    I am hoping that enough of the other G20 governments have moved beyond the least action and most delay they can get away with as their approach to climate/emissions/energy and Abbott’s team get a wake up call on anthropogenic climate change as an implacable and urgent global reality that must be faced head on.

  18. Ikonoclast
    November 4th, 2014 at 08:02 | #18

    @jungney

    “The system is sick and depends on sickness to keep it running; it needs consumers of garbage to keep it running and those consumers sure look like they’ve been fed a diet of rubbish.”

    This is certainly true. We have a system of over-production and over-consumption. It is making people sick and the environment sicker. The truest advertisement I ever saw was for a compilation album of punk music and garage bands. The album was called “Garbage!” The advertising line screamed “This is Garbage! You will buy garbage!”. I quote this not to pick on punk music but to note the accuracy of the advertising line for at least 50% of all consumer sales in our modern economic system. It’s garbage and we could easily survive with the better quality and more necessary 50% of all consumer sales and completely do without the other 50% which is garbage.

    This raises the issue of unemployment. How is that we can over-produce and over-consume and even at this fist-grabbing, gob-stuffing, pace we cannot employ everybody? That’s a rhetorical question. Clearly, industrialisation and automation account for much of it. The other issue is that we don’t do enough of the labour-intensive stuff that would counter this unemployment namely health, education, welfare and environmental work.

    The real bottom line is that limits to growth will soon force a new kind of austere virtue on us. I do not mean so-called “economic austerity” (pro-cyclical macroeconomics) but a moderate material austerity compared to the current profligate waste. It will do us good but only if the austerity is shared equitably. It will do us no good if 20% continue to be vastly over-wealthy and 80% end up poor (which is where we are headed now).

  19. Ikonoclast
    November 4th, 2014 at 08:13 | #19

    @Fran Barlow

    I have no idea which article you are pointing to. In any case, it’s all pay-walled and it’s one of those sites that endless-loops a person when a person tries to back-arrow out.

    I know it wasn’t your intention to link to a dead-end / endless-loop. 🙂

  20. Ikonoclast
    November 4th, 2014 at 08:18 | #20

    @Fran Barlow

    Ok, now I can see the greyed-out headline. It’s just me. I rarely register with walled sites even if I would then get a few free articles. One, I can’t be bothered and two I object in principle to having to register for even the free service.

  21. crocodile
    November 4th, 2014 at 09:08 | #21

    @Ikonoclast
    Falling productivity. Especially on the capital side. point 1 is the effect of points 2, 4 and 5 as possible causes. Just my personal observations.

  22. Ikonoclast
    November 4th, 2014 at 09:41 | #22

    @crocodile

    I would have thought the main cause of point 1 was lower wages in the developing world as I said.

    I don’t think labour productivity has been falling in the developed world. It has still been rising albeit the rate at which it is rising has been decelerating.

    Referring to “falling productivity on the capital side” confused me. Do you mean capital plant and equipment is less productive? Surely not. Capital plant and equipment continue to become more productive. Do you mean financial capital is getting less returns (outside of speculative returns on asset inflation etc.)?

  23. Sancho
    November 4th, 2014 at 09:43 | #23

    Well I spent three days at Pax, and it was great.

  24. Fran Barlow
    November 4th, 2014 at 09:57 | #24

    @Ikonoclast

    Totally agree … I managed to read the article on the iPad and wasn’t interrupted, and like you I object to having to register, and so don’t.

    Broadly, the article was about the enduring popularity of ‘Podemos’ — a popular leftwing party in opposition to the official ‘socialists’ and conservatives that is now (according to polling) the most popular party in Spain, and hasn’t been merely a flash in the pan as many predicted.

  25. Collin Street
    November 4th, 2014 at 10:29 | #25

    The real bottom line is that limits to growth will soon force a new kind of austere virtue on us.

    See, limits-to-growth doesn’t affect services [or not directly], only goods; services don’t involve consumption of anything other than human labour, which exists in essentially fixed quantities per-capita. What I think we’re seeing is a decline in consumption of even services [without matching decline in supply as people redeploy to production of real resources], which is difficult to match with anything other than “people can’t buy things ’cause they ain’t got no cash”.

    Limits-to-growth is a real problem, yes, but our current economic problems seem pretty solidly bad macro policy.

  26. crocodile
    November 4th, 2014 at 11:31 | #26

    @Ikonoclast

    With point 1, traditionally high productivity has enabled industries to be kept here. Only when it falls that lower wages with less productivity become attractive. Read into this that we are being overtaken in the productivity growth stakes. It hurts.

    I’m only relying on ABS info. It seems that labour productivity here has been pretty good. When you look at capital productivity it appears to have been in serious decline for about a decade. Add the two together for multi-factor and seems like capital is dragging total productivity down.

    There is insufficient data without delving deeper to find exactly where and what on the capital side is a problem. Perhaps financial capital is getting less returns, not because equipment might not be productive but rather the returns are greater with investments in assets that don’t produce much.

    Probably why real wages are under pressure right now.

  27. Donald Oats
    November 4th, 2014 at 12:53 | #27

    Our new security laws allow the modification of a person’s private computing and communication devices and their data, in order to track their movements and their communications, sans warrant. I find it very creepy to think someone else could plant data on a computer of mine, then have me charged with evidence of a security related crime, and for me not even to have the clearance level necessary to see what the evidence actually consists of. It is even creepier to consider that a search engine’s search text can be the trigger for watching you. Only yesterday, I did a search on some mathematics related to what is called detonation, the wave fronts in the mathematical models being an interesting object of study (geeky, I know). Could that search I did be sufficient grounds for our security agencies to tap my comms? To use my facebook and twitter networks to seek out other potential troublemakers? At this point in time, sadly, the answer seems to be “Yes.” Given I did another search a couple of weeks ago on fertilisers, and another on acids, and one on Islam, it all so clearly adds up to terrorist in the making. Or not. Can an automated system really spot the difference though? Paranoia is the driving force behind our new laws, and so we should expect paranoia to be rife in the security agencies.

    It is only a matter of time before another Haneef case pops up, only this time it is unlikely that any journalists would be game enough to report on it, given the (now) criminal nature of doing so. Ah, paranoia and the conservative government, what’s not to like?

  28. Ikonoclast
    November 4th, 2014 at 13:45 | #28

    @Donald Oats

    Quite a few years ago there was a wonderfully interesting little book in a QBD bookshop. It was titled “How to make a Nuclear ****” I won’t type the “b” word for fear of the very thing you are talking about. I browsed the book quite heavily and it was a good scientific explanation for the layperson. Of course, there was nowhere near enough detail for actual making. Let alone the fact that you need to be a state actor or nearly so to get all the materials, technology and finance.

    However, at times I regreted not buying that book. It would have been funny to read it on the train. One would never dare to read such a thing on a plane then or now. The paranoia level is way too high.

    Speaking of paranoia, the movie “The Last King of Scotland” is well worth watching (if you have a strong stomach). It’s about Idi Amin and Uganda. It illustrates the spiralling nature of overall societal levels of paranoia and terror as oppression begets rebellion begets official crack-downs begets violent rebellion begets ever more violent and lunatic authoritarian crack-downs. In the end everyone goes crazy with terror (both feeling it and inflicting it). Cambodia (The Killing Fields) was another example.

  29. Donald Oats
    November 4th, 2014 at 14:40 | #29

    @Ikonoclast
    Forrest Whittaker is brilliant. Unfortunately, as a child I remember reading about the seemingly unending and ever-escalating atrocities committed by Idi Amin and his henchmen. Quite an eye-opener into the way normal people, as you say, get swept up in this horrific scenario. Noone quite knows how to escape it or to stop it, every act of inhumanity feeds the beast…

  30. November 4th, 2014 at 14:45 | #30

    Another welt-win for Germany, this time in the Melbourne Cup. A German-owned, German-trained and German-bred horse named Protectionist. Is there anything that this country does not excel in?

    During the mid-year I noticed how well the Germans played like a team, as compared to Brazil who carried on like a gaggle of schoolgirls:

    I put $200 on Germany to beat Brazil after watching Neymar et al burst into tears upon winning the Colombia game by penalty kicks. Cry babies will tend to choke, as Brazil did in 1950. This proved the case in 2014.

    Argentina are made of sterner stuff but I predict a German victory. The Germans have a champion team, not just a team full of champions like Argentina. So double or nothing on Germany.

    More generally the German social model has been stress tested by post-modernity and come through with flying colors – no bank crisis, no demographic winter, no ballooning foreign debt. And a country that is unifying not splintering.

    My second cousins arrived back in Germany after a prolonged stint in German orchestras. They enthused about the quality of life in German cities, medium density housing, good public transport and superb cultural amenities.

    Perhaps it is time to reconsider the nonsensical cultural philsophies of the past generation and learn from a country that is the worlds greatest quiet achiever.

  31. Fran Barlow
    November 4th, 2014 at 15:20 | #31

    Apparently one horse, Admire Rakti, has died and a second will probably die as a result of the MC.

    We should stop horse racing.

    On a happier note, more on Podemos … I daresay Ikono would find plenty aggreable about this party, which appears not only to be genuinely anti-capitalist and environmental, but democratic in its approach to political governance as well.

    I don’t know if it can work because it sounds anarchistic, but it is an unambiguously progressive development on this account:

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podemos_(Spanish_political_party)

  32. November 4th, 2014 at 17:09 | #32

    Fran Barlow @ #21 said:

    We should stop horse racing.

    For years Ive been trying to figure out which historical figure Fran reminds me of, and now it hits me: the Blue-stockings of the mid-Georgian period. They were, of course, proto-suffragettes who promoted education as the surest route to emancipation. Im sure Fran would be pleased with that.

    They did something to improve the tone of London society, Their soirees included and A-list of London intellectuals, Horace Walpole, Samuel Johnson, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and Edmund Burke

    The term “bluestocking” refers to the plain color of the leg wear they wore. They disdained fashion as a form of frippery and domestic duty as drudgery that held back the progress of their sex. Unfortunately this did not endear them to some men:

    This is a name applied, for about a century (c. 1750-c. 1850), to Englishwomen who had, or who affected to have, literary and other intellectual interests. The term implied that such women were unfeminine, careless of their appearance, and neglectful of their proper domestic role.

    But they were also Puritans who opposed all forms of gambling, drinking and the various other vices that were rife in Gin Lane Britain. Im sure Fran would nod her head in solemn agreement:

    The New York Times archives contain an article published on 17 April 1881 which describes the Blue Stockings Society as a women’s movement away from the “vice” and “passion” of gambling which was the main form of entertainment at higher society parties. “Instead however, of following the fashion, Mrs. Montagu and a few friends Mrs. Boscawen and Mrs. Vesey, who like herself, were untainted by this wolfish passion, resolved to make a stand against the universal tyranny of a custom which absorbed the life and leisure of the rich to the exclusion of all intellectual enjoyment… and to found a society in which conversation should supersede cards.”

    This did not make them popular with some of the more ribald members of London society, in particular Lord Byron who did a splendid hatchet job on them in “The Blues”, here speaking through the voice of Sir Richard Bluebottle, long-suffering husband of Lady Bluebottle the Bluestocking hostess with the mostest:

    But the thing of all things which distresses me more
    Than the bills of the week ( though they trouble me sore )
    Is the numerous, humorous, backbiting crew
    Of scribblers, wits, lecturers, white, black, and blue,
    Who are brought to my house as an inn, to my cost —
    For the bill here, it seems, is defray’d by the host —
    No pleasure ! No leisure ! No thought for my pains,
    But to hear a vile jargon which addles my brains;
    A smatter and chatter, glean’d out of reviews,
    By the rag, tag, and bobtail, of those they call “BLUES;”
    A rabble who know not — But soft, here they come !
    Would to God I were deaf ! As I’m not, I’ll be dumb.

  33. rog
    November 4th, 2014 at 18:05 | #33

    “We should stop horse racing”

    That’ll go down well with he punters.

  34. sunshine
    November 4th, 2014 at 18:26 | #34

    It annoys me when racing fans say its about the love of horses, when they really only mean that they love horses that win. They wax lyrical about their love of the champ who lives in luxury, but dont mention the many who didnt make it. The numbers are hard to come by but I’m guessing that horse racing is like the dog racing industry where there are many 1000’s each year that are killed because they arent likely to win enough. With horses its only the one that dies publicly gets peoples attention -not surprising i suppose .

  35. Fran Barlow
    November 4th, 2014 at 19:12 | #35

    @rog

    It’s ethically compelling whether the punters like it or not.

  36. iain
    November 4th, 2014 at 19:47 | #36

    rog :
    “We should stop horse racing”
    That’ll go down well with he punters.

    Who cares what goes down well with bogans who get drunk, gamble and enjoy cruelty to animals?

  37. iain
    November 4th, 2014 at 19:54 | #37

    Melbourne Cup is getting a lot like Jan 26 “celebrations”. A good litmus test for civilised behaviour. Participate – you fail.

  38. David Allen
    November 4th, 2014 at 20:21 | #38

    re: Melbourne Cup. Is the actual cup equivalent to a sacred relic now. Notice all holders wearing white gloves. Lol.

  39. rog
    November 4th, 2014 at 20:35 | #39

    @David Allen Amazing how gambling and religion share so much common ground.

  40. plaasmatron
    November 4th, 2014 at 21:07 | #40

    @Jack Strocchi
    I’ve been living in Germany on and off for 10 years now, after 30 odd years in Sydney. Your description on the quality of life, etc. rings true. Sure I miss the smell of eucaylptus in the air, but the trade off is that even the proles here are more informed than your average Australian uni graduate on most important issues (climate, social, history, politics, economics). The support of the arts as an honourable pursuit in life, as opposed to the size of your house/mortgage, is one of the most attractive reasons to live here.

    Double incomes are the exception, not the rule, and increasingly the male takes the “haus-frau” role. A$100 per month for 35 hours per week pre-school care! We haven’t had a car or a TV for 8 years now. Don’t miss either. Bicycle and public transport around town, train or plane for interstate or international. Free university education, including for foreigners. I won’t mention that great Bavarian and Czech beer cost around A$3 per liter!

    So sure, tell me all about your low tax-rates in Australia, and then ask your self what you get for that? Less education quality, less ABC quality and more privately owned toll-ways. At least the beach is (still) free.

    God how I miss the beach…

  41. November 5th, 2014 at 00:30 | #41

    Historian David Kaiser has an interesting take on the Republican long struggle, “dau tranh” to win government so as to limited it, other than the Orwellian exceptions such as the MIC and the Surveillance State.

    A step forward in the long campaign is expected in the Mid-Term Elections. Expect the invitation to soon follow for a certain fellow traveller to address a joint sitting of Congress. Should either Mr Cameron or Mr Harper be unavailable, perhaps Mr Abbott might be called. Australia and Canadia are as one in their “Republican response” to Climate Change. If Climate Change could be privatized, it could be acknowledged as real and requiring action.

  42. rog
    November 5th, 2014 at 05:11 | #42

    @David Allen Racing and religion, not uncommon bedfellows.

  43. bjb
    November 5th, 2014 at 06:02 | #43

    wmmbb :
    If Climate Change could be privatized, it could be acknowledged as real and requiring action.

    When Howard first floated the idea of an ETS all the the money shufflers in the investment banking caper thought they’d make a motza by clipping the ticket on all transactions. When it turned out they weren’t going to making out like bandits, the whole thing went dead. So, yes, you’re correct, when the greed heads find a way to make money out of climate change, then there’ll be action.

  44. Ikonoclast
    November 5th, 2014 at 06:18 | #44

    Test.

  45. Ikonoclast
    November 5th, 2014 at 06:40 | #45

    @wmmbb

    “If Climate Change could be privatized, it could be acknowledged as real and requiring action.”

    It is interesting that attempts were made to privatize the atmosphere via the ETS and these attempts failed at least in Australia. Corporate capital objected to big polluters being forced to pay. Now, if they could only find a way to make consumers and taxpayers pay and subsidise big polluters…. voila! Direct Action!

    Yes big polluters were going to get subsidies under the ETS changeover too but obviously the subsidies weren’t big enough for them. Anyone know what happened when the ETS was canned? Had any subsidies already been shelled out? Did they have to pay them back?

  46. Fran Barlow
    November 5th, 2014 at 07:05 | #46

    @Ikonoclast

    I don’t think they do as the only losses would be for purchased permits, which obviously aren’t subsidies in the usual sense. Some of these costs would have been recovered in the sale of goods/service.

  47. Ikonoclast
    November 5th, 2014 at 07:22 | #47

    As always, it is worth calling for fossil fuel subsidies to be axed.

    http://environmentvictoria.org.au/fossilfuelsubsidies#.VFlDE8kxgf4

  48. Ikonoclast
    November 5th, 2014 at 07:31 | #48

    @Fran Barlow

    I didn’t make it clear but I was referring to this;

    “Handouts to Australia’s dirtiest power stations – $1 billion in 2013-14

    The carbon price is an important reform that is starting the transition to a cleaner Australian economy.

    However one part of the carbon price package represented a massive payday for polluters. Under the Energy Security Fund, Australia’s dirtiest power stations have been receiving around $1 billion in assistance annually.”

    Did these polluters receive these subsidies? It appears so. If so, were they required to pay them back when the ETS was axed? I refer to “1 billion of cash payments distributed to eligible generators in June 2012 by the former Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency”. What were these payments for? Did the polluters deliver anything for these payments? Were they even required to deliver anything? If they were required to deliver something and then did not have to so deliver with the closing of the ETS did they pay back or keep the $1 billion?

    OMG, Australian carbon emissions policy has been and still is a total debacle.

  49. Donald Oats
    November 5th, 2014 at 08:03 | #49

    The joke of direct action is that it is anything but a free market solution (for that matter, anything but a solution), and a Liberal theo-con brought it about.

    In the meanwhile, being a captive of the apartment complexes we urbanites have to live in these days, there is damn little I can do about my energy use, and more frustrating is that apartment living in Australia during summertime is pretty tough going without an air-conditioner. When a small cottage is over half a million and your employment is under an Abbottian cloud…apartments are a forced choice.

    The more urbanised we become, the less living space we have, the fewer permanent products we can purchase for want of somewhere to stash-‘n’-forget them. Clearly the e-book and online digital content revolution is positive in this regard, but what of big traditional furniture makers, cabinet makers, etc? I suppose they just go upmarket and sell at a killing to the newly rich house owners, rather than bother with poor muggins apartment dwellers. As for TV and other entertainment pieces, they simply reduce the innovation cycle, inviting higher churn rates and more dangerous landfill, I suppose.

  50. Donald Oats
    November 5th, 2014 at 08:10 | #50

    @Ikonoclast
    Debacle isn’t the half of it. With the new government at 180 degrees out of phase with previous government’s policy implementation of an ETS (i.e. fixed price for first couple of years, then floats on the open market), and 180 degrees out of phase with the increasingly dire conclusions of successive IPCC reports, this government is staring up its own arse-end—and still doesn’t know if its own arse is on fire. Even if PM Tony thinks coal is a good thing, why this constant undermining of every attempt to avoid/curtail serious consequences from its use? It makes no logical sense.

  51. Troy Prideaux
    November 5th, 2014 at 08:37 | #51

    rog :
    “We should stop horse racing”
    That’ll go down well with he punters.

    I vaguely recall hearing that the racing industry is 3rd largest employer in Victoria, so it ain’t go’n nowhere. Couple that with Crown Casino being our largest single site employer and I think you can start to imagine how much political power you’re missing with [sigh]… oh what a healthy social economy we live in.

  52. Ikonoclast
    November 5th, 2014 at 08:55 | #52

    @Troy Prideaux

    Gambling is a total waste of resources. All those capital, material and labour resources invested in gambling produce a big fat nothing. It simply transfers wealth.

    Farming produces food to eat. Manufacture produces objects to use. Education produces more knowledgable and more productive people. Health produces healthier and more productive people. But gambling produces nothing. It burns up resources to no purpose. And when it comes to recreation there are cheaper and healthier ways to have fun.

    The coal industry and the gambling “industry” are doing more to destroy Australia than almost any other factor other than perhaps sheer neoliberal stupidity.

  53. Hermit
    November 5th, 2014 at 09:53 | #53

    @Ikonoclast
    The payments were for hurt feelings. A few days before the election (1/9/13) they also got $1bn in free permits. I have an idea everywhereman Dick Warburton may have advised on this saying it was for loss of asset resale value. What? With no carbon tax and rising gas prices the brown coal generators are raking it in.

    Victoria is said to have 500 years of brown coal reserves. According to Wikipedia none of the newer units at Hazelwood, Loy Yang or Yallourn need replacing until the 2030s. Some say this debacle shows carbon pricing doesn’t work. It doesn’t if there are loopholes you could drive a coal train through.

  54. Nick
    November 5th, 2014 at 09:57 | #54

    Troy, I reckon I can quickly think of five industries in Victoria (arts, postal, construction, health care, hotel) which are far larger employers than the racing industry.

    So I’m going to call bulls**t on their claim 😉

  55. Paul Norton
    November 5th, 2014 at 10:04 | #55

    Fran Barlow @31:

    We should stop horse racing.

    If we take this step:

    (a) how do we then provide for the horses whose upkeep and welfare currently depends on the stream of resources and revenue provided by horse racing; and

    (b) what is the social opportunity cost of providing an alternative stream of resources and revenue to ensure the upkeep and welfare of the horses?

    This is not apologetics for the industry, simply to state some realities that those concerned with the horses’ welfare need to engage with.

  56. November 5th, 2014 at 10:38 | #56

    Horse racing appears to be a dying industry in Australia. Not dying as fast as the horses mind you, but really, who the heck goes to the horse races? Attendance is falling, not as fast as a jockey whose horse has snapped a large metacarpal, but it is steadily dropping and that trend may be accelerating. Taxpayer money is getting shovelled into horse racing (see Queensland), as it is in the taxpayer’s interest to keep the price of pet food down with cheap horse meat, but I don’t think this is something that can last. Its corrupt influence on politics may be a desperate calling in of favours rather than something that can be maintained.

  57. calyptorhynchus
    November 5th, 2014 at 10:43 | #57

    If Australian literacy levels are so high how come so many people read the Daily Telegraph? They can’t all be reading it ironically.

  58. Ikonoclast
    November 5th, 2014 at 11:19 | #58

    @calyptorhynchus

    They read it for the pictures?

  59. Nick
    November 5th, 2014 at 12:31 | #59

    Troy Prideaux: “I vaguely recall hearing that the racing industry is 3rd largest employer in Victoria, so it ain’t go’n nowhere.”

    Troy, I reckon I can quickly think of five industries in Victoria (arts, postal, construction, health care, hotel) which are far larger employers than the racing industry.

    http://www.countryracing.com.au/news/2-1-billion-economic-impact-report-reveals-size-and-scope-of-victorian-thoroughbred-industry.html

    As it only ‘sustains the employment’ of 19,600 full-time equivalent jobs, I’d be surprised if it’s even in the top 20.

  60. Troy Prideaux
    November 5th, 2014 at 13:13 | #60

    @Nick
    Thanks for clearing that up Nick. That’s an excellent link! Yeah, I’m pretty sure it was a high ranking Racing VIC executive I heard that from on a radio interview. It’s obvious he was either cherry picking his statistics or just plain misrepresenting the numbers.

  61. ZM
    November 5th, 2014 at 14:10 | #61

    Donald Oats,

    “In the meanwhile, being a captive of the apartment complexes we urbanites have to live in these days, there is damn little I can do about my energy use, and more frustrating is that apartment living in Australia during summertime is pretty tough going without an air-conditioner. ”

    As I understand it the problem is that apartments are not being built to high enough standards, rather than apartment living as a problem per se.

    The design should be better to control the temperature passively, and there should be more insulation and multiple glazing or other films on windows etc. There are various design and material solutions that can minimise the need for heating and cooling (elderly and infirm peopler would still have higher needs perhaps).

    Retrofitting can help, but not in basic design problems like poor orientations. Foolishly high land values in Australia has meant that building quality is skimped on to make housing more affordable. This is very stupid – it would be better to make policy for the reverse : lower land values and better building quality.

    Someone told me that the buildings are not even up to the low standards the government has set in regulations — so if people decided to make a class action against builders and developers for not building their houses to the standard decreed in the regulations – there would be a big payout due to negligent compliance.

  62. Megan
    November 5th, 2014 at 15:01 | #62

    @calyptorhynchus

    …how come so many people read the Daily Telegraph?

    I’m not sure that they do.

    News Corp are notorious liars. There is a great deal of evidence that they fudge the figures. There is ‘circulation’, ‘readership’ and ‘sales’.

    As I understand it, ‘circulation’ is how many copies get out and includes thousands of give-aways and cheap bulk deals. ‘Sales’ in theory is the actual number of paid-for copies. ‘Readership’ is the dodgiest figure because they can just make up a number of extra people who read each copy of the paper. That’s why ‘readership’ soars while ‘circulation’ and ‘sales’ plummet – they just make up a number of fictional people who read each copy.

    Mumbrella had a report in August that showed ‘sales’ of the Terror were down about 30,000 copies per day from the previous year.

    Anecdotally, I know that a lot of people ‘read’ News Corp filth by slowly flipping the pages – the whole exercise takes a few minutes but the lies still seep into the conscious and leak out again when you try to have a sensible discussion with them.

  63. Fran Barlow
    November 5th, 2014 at 15:30 | #63

    Quoting me, as follows,

    We should stop horse racing.

    @Paul Norton said:

    If we take this step:
    (a) how do we then provide for the horses whose upkeep and welfare currently depends on the stream of resources and revenue provided by horse racing;

    The people involved in this racket are not poor. I’d levy them and encumber their assets to recover it if needs be. I’d do this for dog racing too.

    I’d allow a phase out period of five years where stricter regulation would apply.

    (b) what is the social opportunity cost of providing an alternative stream of resources and revenue to ensure the upkeep and welfare of the horses?

    None, as far as I can see.

    This is not apologetics for the industry, simply to state some realities that those concerned with the horses’ welfare need to engage with.

    You offer no basis for inferring an apologia. I merely note the moral hazard raised by objections of this kind.

    PS I composed a far better response than this but WP/Cloudflare conspired with my outdated PC to destroy it. Not a great moment in IT so my apologies for posting something far short of the standard I like to maintain. The IPad, especially on a train, is far less flexible.

    🙁

  64. Jim
    November 5th, 2014 at 16:00 | #64

    Why anyone is actually interested in horse racing is beyond me. It just seems to be a mafia-like industry designed to facilitate betting and drinking (two major social problems) that has magically convinced State Governments it should receive assistance (direct and indirect). But even Tom Waterhouse the bookie has recognised the slow demise of the industry and, like others, now provides opportunities to bet of other sports – ones where the competitors are at least participating on a voluntary basis (unlike the horses).

    Getting rid of the industry is not realistic, but surely simple changes to the rules (minimum ages, no whips, no jump racing etc.) would reduce the risks to horses. Surely that is an achievable and relatively sensible approach.

    @Fran Barlow

  65. Fran Barlow
    November 5th, 2014 at 16:05 | #65

    @Jim

    Yes, the steps you suggest would be a step forward and thus worth having, but this is a bit like compelling slaveowners to be less inhumane. We should be depriving them of their slaves, surely?

  66. Luke Elford
    November 5th, 2014 at 17:03 | #66

    @Paul Norton

    A bit of googling reveals that Queensland and Victoria, for example, both subsidise the racing industry to the tune of about $20 million per year. Each state has about 9,000 horses that race, so these state governments are already paying $2,200 a year per horse.

    That’s not enough to keep a horse (the estimates I came across were $2,500-$7,000), but if we compare racing industry subsidies continuing into the future, on the one hand, with government provision for the welfare of horses through an adjustment period during which breeding rates decline over time, on the other, I think the “where will we find the money” argument essentially vanishes.

    That said, I agree with Jim that elimination of the industry is not realistic, but reforms are warranted.

  67. Fran Barlow
    November 5th, 2014 at 17:40 | #67

    @Luke Elford

    That said, I agree with Jim that elimination of the industry is not realistic, but reforms are warranted.

    It’s not realistic in the same sense that cutting emissions sharply and early in Australia is not realistic. It’s also not realistic to think we can overturn marijuana laws or prevent governments buying expensive ‘defence’ equipment to kill people, stop live exports, end mandatory detention, abolish the states, get rid of poker machines, or break the US alliance.

    Yes, none of these things may occur while you and I are alive. It is arguable that they may never occur. Yet if we don’t press for them we simply legitimise the status quo. We should never lose sight of the big picture, or affirm by our silence, that which is wrong.

  68. Collin Street
    November 5th, 2014 at 17:53 | #68

    > Why anyone is actually interested in horse racing is beyond me.

    Well, it’s better than poker machines.

    [the house percentage compounds on every wager, remember.]

  69. Ivor
    November 5th, 2014 at 19:01 | #69

    @Paul Norton

    Yea gods, what opportunism….

    How about switching nouns???

    Fran Barlow @31:

    We should stop slave owning.

    If we take this step:
    (a) how do we then provide for the slaves whose upkeep and welfare currently depends on the stream of resources and revenue provided by slave labour; and
    (b) what is the social opportunity cost of providing an alternative stream of resources and revenue to ensure the upkeep and welfare of the slaves?
    This is not apologetics for the industry, simply to state some realities that those concerned with slaves’ welfare need to engage with.

    I know a bourgeois when I see one.

  70. Ikonoclast
    November 5th, 2014 at 19:58 | #70

    Ceasing subsidies for uneccessary and even deletrious things would be a big start. We need to cease all subsidies and assistance for fossil fuels, horse racing, car racing, tourism and gambling.

    And don’t tell me gambling doesn’t get subsidies and assistance. It does. Even though paradoxically the government also takes a rake of the profits. The subsidy to horse racing is an indirect subsidy for gambling. The special deals that Crown and other casinos get are subsidies.

    “(The Victorian Govt) signed away (its) right to make laws that tackled gambling and smoking in an extraordinary deal waved through Parliament days before the election campaign. The law not only restricts the actions of the Napthine government should it get back, but the actions of every future Victorian government for the next 36 years.

    Should a future government decide to impose a $1 betting limit on poker machines (as recommended by the Productivity Commission); should it decide to enforce the use of precommitment technology on poker machines; or should it require automatic teller machines to be further away from poker machines, it’ll be up for a $200 million payment to Crown. The size of the penalty will climb with inflation. By the time the provision expires in 2050 the penalty will be $480 million. – The Age – 28/10/2014.

  71. Ikonoclast
    November 5th, 2014 at 20:04 | #71

    This is hopeless. I am getting moderated for the most innocuous posts. No links. No naughty words. No insulting words. No attacks on any individual. None of the known words that are ridiculously barred by the auto-censor (so far as I know).

    John, am I banned or semi-banned or getting filtered for posting too much?

    Well anyway, I am fed up. I doubt I will post anymore. It’s too hard to get a basic comment through on this blog anymore. Not worth wasting my time.

  72. Donald Oats
    November 5th, 2014 at 21:59 | #72

    @ZM
    Already north-facing with good balcony overhangs to shade most of the one exposed wall/window area during summer months, but urban areas have a lot of brick and asphalt surrounding apartments. In Adelaide, that makes for a fairly hot experience during summer months. Won’t be cracking the champagne should we ever make a 50C maximum 🙂

  73. Megan
    November 5th, 2014 at 23:15 | #73

    @Ikonoclast

    Jacques works in mysterious ways!

  74. Megan
    November 6th, 2014 at 00:39 | #74

    Jacques Chester runs Ozblogistan (host of this site and Catalaxxy etc..).

    He ran for the NT seat of Solomon in the 2007 Federal election for the ‘Liberty and Democracy” party. He was a staffer for Dave Tollner – of recent infamy – CLP and recently Deputy Chief Minister of the NT.

    This is a theatre and we are the players.

  75. John Quiggin
    November 6th, 2014 at 04:50 | #75

    @Ikonoclast (and others)

    Anything to do with g*mbling is likely to trigger spam filters. If lots of posts are being rejected, try an asterisk

  76. Fran Barlow
    November 6th, 2014 at 06:40 | #76

    @John Quiggin

    True … [email protected], [email protected], tab00, [email protected], len|n, soc|al|sm … I keep discovering new barred strings outside of the obvious ones …

  77. November 6th, 2014 at 06:43 | #77

    @Ikonoclast
    Ikon, I’m glad that post finally made it, it’s very interesting. This is the government that also signed the contracts for the East West link a few weeks ago, even though there’s huge opposition, local Councils are in court opposing it, and Labor has announced it won’t proceed. On Crown though, Labor’s playing dead I think. The word is Packer’s made a huge donation. Same old, same old. I really really hope the Greens win Brunswick (Melbourne, Richmond, and Northcote are all in contention and apparently they’re putting a lot of effort into Prahran, south of the river).

    Just show the old Lib Labs that time is running out – not that they will believe it, they’ll probably just think it’s Melbourne being anomalous again, but if we can do it, so can others. Labor is getting a wake up call though, all this area of Northern suburbs used to be their heartland. As far as I can see it’s not getting through, just making them be nasty to the Greens (presumably on the basis that they have tricked former Labor supporters into voting for them).

    And I realised that Gough’s memorial service was on yesterday when I was on the tram reading twitter, and ended up sitting on the tram with tears in my eyes.

  78. November 6th, 2014 at 06:52 | #78

    By the way, on horse racing, the First Dog cartoon on Croquembouche Lad really nails it, if you haven’t read it already.

  79. November 6th, 2014 at 06:58 | #79

    Apparently I was wrong on the Packer front – he is said to have promised Andrews (Labor) his support, not given a donation. Apparently donations from that industry in Victoria have been banned – one small step forward, if so.

  80. November 6th, 2014 at 07:03 | #80

    Ok Colleen Lewis in the Age 15 October says the cap on donations from the g-mbling industry is $50,000. So not that much of a restriction in fact! Won’t know how much Packer may have given until well after the election on our rules.

    Sorry about multiple posts, will stop for a while.

  81. Hermit
    November 6th, 2014 at 07:08 | #81

    With Sydney’s 46.8C last year I believe the southern mainland capitals have each nudged 47C. When the SBS world weather forecast mentions 50C for Baghdad we might think lucky it’s not us. Not for long. Thermal comfort for the frail is a matter of public health. The UK has its winter fuel allowance of 100-300 pounds for those over 62. Perhaps Australia will need an air conditioning allowance. Like medical marijuana in the US it is sure to be falsely claimed.

    Aside from risk of heat death there is also the loss of productivity in hot weather. An upper limit is said to be 35C wet bulb temperature
    http://web.maths.unsw.edu.au/~stevensherwood/wetbulb.html
    Rooftop PV has shifted peak summer electricity demand from about local 2 pm to 6 pm but we’ll need even more electricity in future just for air conditioning.

  82. Luke Elford
    November 6th, 2014 at 08:19 | #82

    A ban on jumps racing is definitely electorally realistic: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-06/jumps-racing-vote-compass-antony-green/5868592.

  83. sunshine
    November 6th, 2014 at 09:13 | #83

    The Coalition for the Protection of Race Horses says that 18000 are born each year in Aust and the number of competing horses is stable at about 31000 ;- so 18000 exit the industry each year. Only 30 % of foals will race and the CPR estimates from research at sale yards that 75 – 85 % go to kill buyers. The same type of thing happens with the dogs too.

    Ex race horses are hard to look after ,my sister has one and dosent ride him anymore- he is flighty . Also horses can live along time, her other horse died this year at the age of 44 -before retirement he did 19 years work at a riding for the disabled school in Canberra.

    Iko and Val – yes it looks alot like Labor gave Crown 36 years of protection to secure Packers backing .

  84. Troy Prideaux
    November 6th, 2014 at 09:46 | #84

    sunshine :
    Iko and Val – yes it looks alot like Labor gave Crown 36 years of protection to secure Packers backing .

    That’s such an utter disgrace:( I reckon our parliamentarians should be forced to work for a month in an Emergency Ward to visually gauge the direction they’re pushing society:(

  85. Donald Oats
    November 6th, 2014 at 11:49 | #85

    @Val
    Exactly. I especially like the final frame.

  86. November 6th, 2014 at 14:24 | #86

    How many jihadists are there in Syria and Iraq? – republished from Voltaire Net

    The Syrian conflict, from the perspective of Australian history: In 1942, Australia, with the help of its American allies led by President Franklin Roosevelt, prevented invasion by the Empire of Japan. Much of this was due to the preparedness of Australia’s own defence forces, as described in “Armed and Ready” (1995) by A. T. Ross.

    However, had Australia, in 1942, faced what Syria has had to face since March 2011 – hordes of foreign terrorists, estimated to number as many as 250,000, operating from countries bordering Syria – Australia almost certainly would have been conquered.

    Against the expectations of even many sympathetic to Syria, she has withstood invasion and defeated the terrorists.

    But that endurance has come at a terrible cost. Some estimates put the cost so far to be as high as 195,000 dead, in addition to the wounded and terrible material destruction suffered by Syria.

    No country, not even a country as resourceful as Syria, can indefinitely defend itself from invasion from territories embracing at least one third of the world’s land mass. Unless Syria’s friends within those countries can force their governments to end their support for the terrorists, Syria could well be defeated. The consequences for Syria could well be commensurate with the carnage and destruction endured by its neighbour Iraq since 1990.

  87. rog
    November 6th, 2014 at 15:56 | #87

    Green groups, promoting climate change, pollution etc, got belted in the mid term election.

    http://grist.org/politics/green-groups-spent-millions-on-the-midterms-what-did-it-get-them/

  88. rog
    November 6th, 2014 at 15:59 | #88

    @sunshine The mounted police use ex racehorses – but they are intensively screened first.

    Ex racehorses can make wonderful riding horses but you have to be careful in your selection, breeding and/or mis handling can result in a horse that is a danger to all.

  89. Fran Barlow
    November 6th, 2014 at 16:39 | #89

    @rog

    Misleading. Democrats of doubtful repute got belted by Repugs backed by many more dollars per vote and a rigged voter-supressing system.

  90. Paul Norton
    November 6th, 2014 at 18:35 | #90

    Ivor @69, if you think about it there is a difference between slaves and horses that is materially relevant to the issues.

  91. Paul Norton
    November 6th, 2014 at 19:11 | #91

    Jim @64, the sort of reforms you propose are eminently achievable and should be pursued.

    On the wider question that I raised, whatever the evils of the existing horseracing and breeding industries, they do provide an infrastructure and a skilled labour force for the upkeep and the management of several tens of thousands of horses. If those industries were to shut down (and you couldn’t shut down one without shutting down the other) the horses and their needs would remain, and some kind of plan (entailing considerable expenditure, and employment of a relatively specialised labour force for at least a couple of decades into the future) would need to be implemented.

    If the Willowbend Stud Farm south of Beaudesert, for example, were to cease operating as a breeding operation, the horses that dwell there would still need to be grazed, groomed, fed, watered, vetted, etc., and these activities would need to be carried out by people with the requisite skills and training. Currently this is paid for by the revenue that is brought in by the stud’s commercial breeding activities, and would need to be paid for by other means if that revenue were no longer coming in.

    Now it could be argued – and I would not oppose the argument – that members of a humane and civilised society ought to be prepared to pay the price for this. Whether Australians would in fact be prepared to pay such a price for such a purpose is far from certain – as is whether deficit-obsessed governments would be willing to ensure the ongoing provision of sufficient funds for such a purpose for as long as was necessary. I strongly suspect that if, three years after the phase-out of the racing and breeding industry, governments began cutting funding for the Thoroughbreds Humane Transition Program (or whatever it would be called) to the point where ex-racehorses began dying miserable deaths from neglect or unskilled management, it would not arouse the emotions that have been aroused by the tragic deaths of Admire Rakti and Aroldo.

  92. Fran Barlow
    November 6th, 2014 at 21:38 | #92

    @Paul Norton

    My first preference would in theory, be to require those in the ‘industry’ to stump up the money to agist/care for the horses left over by, say, a date five years after breeding and registration of new horses was prohibited.

    In practice of course, there’s no law that says you have to have a reason to euthanase an animal you own so I imagine that what we’d see is horse owning syndicates doing what businesses always do with marginal assets — sell them for the best price they can get or write them off and scrap them. That should mean that the number of horses left over to agist would be quite small. Most would wind up as pet food, giving the lie to current ‘industry’ talking points about how much they love their horses. I suppose an end to their cant would be something.

    Failing that it might have to be the equivalent of an industry bailout. Certainly, governments have raised a fair bit of revenue on the backs of horses, so I’d back that approach, allowing horses to be fostered through bona fide rescue organisations who could be funded by the state. In this model, the ‘industry’ would be wound up immediately, assets purchased on the spot at market value, with nothing for the horses, and suitable withholdings for horses held up to a given date and their value. You’d probably have to buy their debts to employees and other unsecured creditors.

  93. November 6th, 2014 at 23:31 | #93

    While Australians don’t eat much horsemeat themselves they do have a horsemeat export industry. While in Japan I was served raw horse meat. I was tempted to flog it but I thought the subtle nuances of that act would be lost on my hosts.

  94. Paul Norton
    November 7th, 2014 at 08:01 | #94
  95. November 7th, 2014 at 08:28 | #95

    Meeting tomorrow, Saturday 8 November: How Big For Sydney?

    At 2pm at the Glebe Town Hall, listen to guest speakers Jack Mundey, Jill Green of STEP, Tony Recsei of Save Our Suburbs and William Bourke of the Sustainable Population Party. They will ask:
    What are the risks associated with adding another 3.5 million people to Sydney?
    Why are sprawl and high density presented as the only options?
    Are extreme levels of housing unaffordability placing an unfair burden on the City’s young?
    What will be the impacts upon our surrounding native flora and fauna?

    Come along and ask your own questions.

  96. November 7th, 2014 at 08:42 | #96

    My apologies, the above link should have been http://candobetter.net/node/4167. I haven’t yet worked out how to make https:// work properly for most Internet users.

  97. Megan
    November 7th, 2014 at 10:56 | #97

    The ‘fracking boom’ is a Ponzi scheme that is more about Wall Street money-making than oil.

    “A comprehensive new analysis just issued by David Hughes, a Canadian oil geo-scientist with thirty years’ experience with the Geological Survey of Canada, using data from existing US shale oil production that has now become public for the first time (the shale oil story is very recent), shows dramatic rates of oil volume decline from US shale oil wells:”

    The three year average well decline rates for the seven shale oil basins measured for the report range from an astounding 60-percent to 91-percent. That means over those three years, the amount of oil coming out of the wells decreases by that percentage. This translates to 43-percent to 64-percent of their estimated ultimate recovery dug out during the first three years of the well’s existence. Four of the seven shale gas basins are already in terminal decline in terms of their well productivity: the Haynesville Shale, Fayetteville Shale, Woodford Shale and Barnett Shale.

    The decline rates have always stood out as giving the lie to the ‘boom’ story. Classic ‘Red Queen’ scenario.

    Unless we are able to ‘Lock The Gate’ we are going to devastate large areas of Qld and NSW, and further afield, for a scam.

  98. Ernestine Gross
    November 7th, 2014 at 11:33 | #98

    The smh article, referenced below, is another one that shines light on the big leaners in this so-called global economy. There has been a series of such articles months ago and again more recently.

    There are two types of big leaners involved. Firstly, (the managers of) multinational corporations and, second those who make an extraordinary good living from it – specialist lawyers and accountants.

    The latter self-reveal in the referenced article by means of defending the existing structures on the grounds – and this is particularly interesting in a funny kind of way- of countries’ interests!! One has to read it to believe it.

    http://www.smh.com.au/business/tax-office-goes-hard-in-pursuit-of-tax-lost-to-aggressive-planning-20141106-11i3sp.html

    The objective of making multinationals pay tax in the country where income is earned sounds reasonable. Achieving this objective would surely result in something better than what is going on now. However, I say this objective is not strong enough because it is impossible even for the most honest and diligent accountant and auditor to know whether an invoice (expense) is technologically required for the local production, including delivery. IMHO, a revenue tax would overcome this problem.

    The implications of cracking the symbiotic relationship of the big leaners are far reaching. It is not only the national budget bottom line that is affected (and therefore education, health, infrastructure, social insurance, the environment). The entire relative price structure of the local economy is affected. To illustrate, consider land values in CBDs. These are driven by the rents of real estate that can be extracted. It makes technological sense for lawyers to have offices close to where the courts are. Lawyers in the said symbiotic relationship can offer high rents (because of their income). This affects the price structure of all legal fees, even though the personal incomes of the lawyers involved may differ significantly and the effect on the wealth of small and medium sized businesses as well as individuals is also different. A similar argument applies to large corporate accounting firms. And so it goes on.

    Cracking the said symbiotic relationships does affect the income and wealth distribution as well as government budgets. It is important.

  99. Ernestine Gross
    November 7th, 2014 at 11:39 | #99

    Paranthetically to my post @48,p2, the particular tax haven in the smh article – Lichtenstein – makes the relationship between the pre-Adam Smith era of the idea of a competitive market economy very clear. For a very long time I wondered why people are so interested in having a republic while a much older form of social organisation than that of a constitutional monarchy was growing. (Such are the little pleasures in life.)

  100. Fran Barlow
    November 7th, 2014 at 11:43 | #100

    @Paul Norton

    I can’t see that it is germane.

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