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Sandpit

August 12th, 2015

A new sandpit for long side discussions, idees fixes and so on. Unless directly responding to the OP, all discussions of nuclear power, MMT and conspiracy theories should be directed to sandpits (or, if none is open, message boards).

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  1. James
    August 12th, 2015 at 19:26 | #1

    For conservatives free markets are wonderful things until they are not.

    In 2010 Wilmar, a Singapore based multinational agribusiness purchased about half the Queensland sugar milling capacity when it purchased Sucrogen, the sugar milling spin off from CSR.

    At the time sugar marketing was managed by a single desk marketing authority named Queensland Sugar Limited (QSL). QSL started as the Sugar Board in 1923, became a statutory authority in 1991, and finally lost its exclusive single desk mandate in 2006. This text-book corporatisation and deregulatory transition was of itself seen as non-controversial and even beneficial to industry players. Come 2010 all the Queensland sugar millers were still marketing through QSL, or at least using QSL pricing as benchmarks for sugar payments to growers.

    In 2014 Wilmar announced that it was no longer going to use the QSL benchmarking pricing regime from 2016, instead moving to independently market its sugar through its Singapore head office. As soon as the announcement was made (and there were some contractual issues with the move) the growers realised that the game had changed.

    Just as a multinationals can transfer price for taxation reasons, Wilmar has exercised its right (and requirement, considering what they paid for Sucrogen) to establish a transfer pricing scheme for sugar. In simple terms, the price paid to the Australian millers is reduced, making them barely profitable (income tax 101) and as a bonus cuts grower income, as grower income is a share of the final price achieved by the miller, while the head office is free to pursue premium marketing and revenue opportunities.

    Cue December 2014, and we see Barnaby Joyce establish a Sugar Marketing Code of Conduct Taskforce chaired by extreme right wing warrior George Christensen with the sole purpose of winding back deregulation. And by June 2015 we have Julie Bishop complaining to the Queensland government about private member bills sponsored by the LNP and Katter party aimed at winding back the free market operation of the industry.

    Now, one has a certain sense of schadenfreude over these shenanigans, but what is most surprising is that no-one in the MSM is calling them on this blatant repudiation of their core ideology. Don’t they believe their own blather? Don’t they know that everyone will be better off with free markets, even when their core constituency is being sold down the transfer pricing river? What are they, economic pussies?

    As for the farmers, well, they’ve gone along with the storybook for the last thirty odd years, so good luck to them. Just try telling them not to vote LNP.

  2. Sancho
    August 12th, 2015 at 21:27 | #2

    Because it involves farmers. Neither the media nor the neoliberal bits of the Liberal Party can scrutinise or criticise them without being charged with unAustralianism.

  3. Megan
    August 12th, 2015 at 23:38 | #3

    Quoting from JD on “score one for the planet”:

    (discussing best comparisons or equivalents between Canadian and Australian political parties based on current policy positions)

    I have the evidence of the official opinion of the NDP and the ALP themselves that they are similarly positioned parties

    I’d be interested in seeing (links?) something to support the idea that they are the closest match between the two countries.

  4. Megan
    August 13th, 2015 at 00:04 | #4

    @James

    Spot on.

    Howard sold out the cane farmers with the US FTA and they couldn’t do a thing about it politically because the “alternative” (ALP) was as bad or – quite probably – worse.

    George Christensen is a pig. But the ALP offers absolutely zero to those constituents by way of an alternative, so why on earth should they vote any other way? I was in Nambour on the day the mill closed and was back there a year or so later and saw the devastation the closure had caused to that town. The biggest new ‘commercial’ retail businesses in town were the Salvos, Endeavour and Lifeline Op-Shops.

    All over our country we can see small examples on the ground of having a neo-liberal fascist duopoly political system.

  5. Nevil Kingston-Brown
    August 13th, 2015 at 11:30 | #5

    @James
    The Nationals have never believed in Free Trade domestically, that is, making farmers compete against each other or as individuals vs the world market. They are usually dragged into it by the liberals in exchange for tradeoffs in other areas and/or payoffs in foreign trade. The Nationals’ insistence that the TPP open US markets to Australian sugar (or, the unstated threat is, they will rile up the conservative economic nationalist vote against it) is a good example of this.

  6. Ikonoclast
    August 13th, 2015 at 11:54 | #6

    @Nevil Kingston-Brown

    Bottom line is that there are cases where sub-national (regional) processing and marketing co-operatives work better than a free market. I mean better for farm producers and for consumers. Equally, there are cases where single desk selling works better than free markets.

    So-called free markets under neoliberalism are not free markets in any real sense in any case. They are markets rigged in specific ways to suit transnational monopolies and to disadvantage and rigidly control everyone else from suppliers to consumers.

  7. Ikonoclast
    August 13th, 2015 at 12:08 | #7

    Footnote to my above post.

    There are all sorts of legal and illegal rigging which go on with respect to the stock market and the finance system under capitalism. The notion that a free and fair market exists could only be based on the most extraordinary naivety or willful blindness.

    I am sure we haven’t forgotten the US Savings and Loans scandal, the derivatives scandal, the LIBOR rigging scandal, world gold market rigging and so on.

    Then there is the rigging which is legal (and necessary in some ways while capitalism remains the system of choice) like Q.E., saving the too-big-to-fail banking institutions and so on.

    All of this is technically “rigging the market” because pure capitalism actually does not work.

    https://www.popularresistance.org/stock-market-rigging-is-no-longer-a-conspiracy-theory/

  8. paul walter
    August 13th, 2015 at 12:45 | #8

    Thanks, James- that was a gem. That sort of comment is why this site remains a very valuable stop over for lay people in terms of econonomics comprehension.

  9. Ikonoclast
    August 13th, 2015 at 13:09 | #9

    This is a reply to Julie Thomas re the Leonard Cohen song “Jazz Police”

    I think people try to read too much into some songs which are really not that serious. They are more playful or throwaway songs. I would put “Jazz Police” in that category.

    The story that I read was that Cohen was using a backing, rehearsal or session band at one time and this band had a fusion background (I think). They would start sneaking in jazz riffs and chords into some songs and Cohen himself would “police” this. If he caught them out the offending notes were removed next rehearsal, if not they got through so to speak. It was a bit of a game. This led Cohen to think a bit more about artistic or aesthetic standards and who “policed” them and whether such policing was ever a kind of suppression. However, the lyrics he wrote are really not that deep; more doggerel and playful than deep. It’s just light-hearted playing around within a song of very minor importance at best. That’s my take anyway.

  10. Ivor
    August 13th, 2015 at 13:38 | #10

    @Megan

    More junk from the ignorant looney left.

    neo-liberal fascist duopoly political system.

    And she call’s others “pig”.

    None of this is normal civilised discussion or criticism.

    Desperate folks with weak ideas often increase the stridency of their language to compensate for their impotence.

  11. Julie Thomas
    August 13th, 2015 at 14:05 | #11

    @Ikonoclast

    Minor Importance??? Nah I don’t think so. I think the fact that it was funk is part of a funny and clever joke.

    And so what that it is doggerel? Are you making value judgements and suggesting that doggerel is not a category of things that can be appreciated?

    From your explanation of the development of the song, seems to me now that it is a very fine song and the absurdity is indeed a significant statement that is worthy of the time we are devoting to this critique. What does the turtle meat bit mean then and guys like him are mad for turtle meat? You reckon he just made it up and there is no meaning? Surely not? Leonard would not do that.

    And I was just wondering about the phrase that alfred venison used, “close enough for jazz” and how inappropriate it seemed to me since all the jazz musos I have met have been quite anal about what is jazz and what is not.

    and David Irving, I have a couple of Wynton Marsalis cd’s that you can have if you want them.

  12. Ikonoclast
    August 13th, 2015 at 14:37 | #12

    @Julie Thomas

    Turtle meat may have various connotations. It’s not a sign of great learning or profundity to be aware of a few of these connotations. Although, it might be a sign of learning to be aware of a lot of connotations (which I was not without looking it up).

    Turtle soup was (and maybe still is) considered a delicacy.

    Age of Innocence (1993),

    Dir., Martin Scorsese Turtle Soup at ALL the fine dinner parties, usually the second of 12 to 14 courses. Early in the movie, a crate of small turtles (NOT sea turtles) is shown making its way to a kitchen).

    Barry Lyndon – Dir. Stanley Kubrick

    “Give the gentleman a bowl of turtle soup” – spoken mockingly of Barry Lyndon enlisted as a regular soldier when he was considered to be giving himself airs.

    In Eastern cuisine turtle soup and meat are considered to have certain medicinal properties.

    But there may be other connotations for Leonard Cohen as a person of Jewish background. Is turtle meat kosher for example? I don’t know without checking. There could be an ironic intention here.

    But all I am saying is that to sort of “free associate” while one is writing lyrics (using rhymes and rhythms to help one free associate) can generate important personal or idiosyncratic meanings. It does not necessarily generate meanings that have any profound relevance for anyone else… though it could… sometimes… I suppose…

  13. paul walter
    August 13th, 2015 at 15:31 | #13

    @Ikonoclast
    Good response to Neville hyphen whatis face.. I can’t beleive the naivety of some people.

  14. David Irving (no relation)
    August 13th, 2015 at 15:37 | #14

    @Julie Thomas
    I quite like Marsalis (particularly the Clapton project), but I think he wants to preserve jazz in aspic. If you’ve watched that 10 part (or whatever) series that he was involved in, jazz appears to have stopped at about early Miles Davis. From memory, I don’t think Ornette Coleman etc got much of a look in.

  15. Julie Thomas
    August 13th, 2015 at 16:39 | #15

    “It does not necessarily generate meanings that have any profound relevance for anyone else… though it could… sometimes… I suppose…”

    That is the difference between science and Art. Art is significant when it provides us with ‘symbols’ of our culture that are relevant when it taps into the network of values and experiences that order our individuality and because our world is increasingly diverse culturally there is no one way to make art now.

    Consider the mock turtle in Alice in Wonderland; poor fellow, he no longer a resonant symbol of the absurd because children do not know all these things about turtle soup?

    I didn’t know

  16. Julie Thomas
    August 13th, 2015 at 16:53 | #16

    @David Irving (no relation)

    That “I didn’t know” was supposed to be in this comment, about Marsalis making music with Clapton. I’ll check that out; it has to be better than the Marsalis CD’s I have and I missed the series.

    I like all the old standard stuff Dave Brubeck in particular but there is so much really good new stuff available on utube from the Java Jazz festivals – and this Jeff Beck performance at Ronnie Scotts is very good; Clapton is in the audience and gets up to play a couple of tunes toward the end of the show.

  17. Julie Thomas
    August 13th, 2015 at 16:54 | #17

    Hey two links and it didn’t go into moderation. wtf

  18. James
    August 13th, 2015 at 18:22 | #18

    @Nevil Kingston-Brown

    I am not so sure the Nationals don’t support free trade. ‘Free Trade’, to use an Abottism, is a powerful abbreviated three word slogan and, like many of its longer form examples, it resonates in a way that has the desired political outcome even when the evidence is overwhelmingly contradictory.

    As I see it, there are several reasons for its farm gate popularity. Firstly, it makes sense in a simple supply and demand construct, where the promise of ‘freedom of choice’ and to ‘control your destiny’ ring true at a local level. It has also been promulgated assiduously (and I believe disingenuously) by economists who have drunk too deeply from the micro-economics Kool-Aid, both at an academic and an industry level, particularly in public sector and peak industry bodies.

    Most farmers are not economists: their interest is in being better farmers. They are not the only segment of society to be sold a pup by the ‘so-called’ experts.

    On the issue of single desks, I am no fan. They were often inefficient, bureaucratic and susceptible to political interference. The answer was not deregulation and ‘free trade’, but a clever restructuring of the market to deal with known shortcomings while capturing known advantages. I think it says something of our society that our (presumably) best thinkers in the relevant field were unable to do that. Maybe they weren’t our best thinkers. Maybe we have a real problem here.

  19. August 13th, 2015 at 20:13 | #19

    didn’t mean to ruffle any feathers. i’ve never thought of it as pejorative. there’s “close enough for jazz” (1969) an album by vibraphonist johnny lytle. there’s “close enough for jazz” (1983) the autobiography of trombonist michael zwerin (played with miles). there’s “close enough for jazz” a track on jan garbarek’s album “sart” (1971). leo kottke said it in a concert i saw when he screwed up & had to restart a song. there’s “close enough for ska” (2000) an album by the band i voted for kodos. but i digress.

    i have always been a very big fan of ornette coleman and the art ensemble of chicago, cecil taylor, sun ra & his solar arkestra, billy bang, anthony braxton (he autographed my copy of buckminster fuller’s “synergetics”, and was quite chuffed that i asked: “have a happy planet” he wrote), carla & paul bley, michael mantler, don cherry, roswell rudd, the jazz composer’s orchestra, marion brown, the vienna art orchestra, manfred schoof, the instant composers pool, derek bailey, evan parker, alexander von schlippenbach. just a few of my favorite things, that could be said to be post-miles. hand in hand with my long standing & abiding love of people like stockhausen, xenakis, penderecki, lutoslawski (and whole “polish noise school” as they once were called), berio, nono, maderna, henze (four comms in a row), elliott carter, pauline oliveros. even the endlessly trendy john cage. in terms of jazz in or around a key signature, i prefer trumpeters, for example, like freddie hubbard over wynton marsalis. and i saw that documentary too, quite telling where it stopped, we thought, ms kiewa & i, but ok as far as it went. -a.v.

  20. Ikonoclast
    August 13th, 2015 at 20:35 | #20

    @Julie Thomas

    Yep, it gets more and more arcane.

    “Mock turtle soup is an English soup that was created in the mid-18th century as a cheaper imitation of green turtle soup. It often uses brains and organ meats such as calf’s head or a calf’s foot to duplicate the texture and flavour of the original’s turtle meat.”

    And this;

    “Turtle meat is not considered kosher as reptiles, amphibians, and insects are all forbidden foods when it comes to Jewish dietary laws. This is according to Leviticus 11:29-30, 42-43.” – animalquestions dot org.

  21. ZM
    August 13th, 2015 at 21:59 | #21

    James,

    “For conservatives free markets are wonderful things until they are not.”

    I was reading an article on the history of the public trust doctrine for an assignment on climate change, and I found an interesting quote from the time of the South Sea Bubble.

    It reminded me quite a bit of the reaction to the GFC as the authors were saying that the State’s policies had facilitated the South Sea Bubble, which was against their fiduciary trust obligations to the people:

    “In the early 1720s, John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon published “Cato’s Letters,” a series of essays provoked by government policies leading to the speculative South Sea Bubble.

    Relying explicitly on Aristotle’s Nicomedian Ethics, “Cato” wrote that:

    ‘Power in a free state, is a trust committed by all to one or a few, to watch for the security, and pursue the interest, of all,” and that “Men who have a trust frankly bestowed upon them by the people, too frequently betray that trust, become conspirators against their benefactors, and turn the sword upon those who gave it; insomuch that in the greatest part of the earth, people are happy if they can defend themselves against their defenders.’

    Like Locke, Trenchard and Gordon argued that breaches of public trust were greater than merely private breaches. From this it followed that the standards imposed on public trustees ought to be high:

    “[Government] is therefore a trust, which ought to be bounded with many and strong restraints, because power renders men wanton, insolent to others, and fond of themselves. Every violation therefore of this trust, where such violation is considerable, ought to meet with proportionable punishment; and the smallest violation of it ought to meet with some, because indulgence to the least faults of magistrates may be cruelty to a whole people.””

    Source: The Constitution and the Public Trust by Robert G. Natelson

  22. Donald Oats
    August 14th, 2015 at 00:44 | #22

    @ZM
    I love the language and turn of phrase that they used to employ, especially the last paragraph you quote. Imagine if this current government were held to such standards. Imagine.

  23. ZM
    August 14th, 2015 at 16:02 | #23

    Donald Oats,

    “Imagine if this current government were held to such standards. Imagine.”

    They should be held to these standards as they are the proper standards for the government, the loyal opposition, and the Crown.

    Megan excerpted Ricky Muir’s maiden speech and he quite correctly said as a Senator he was bound to act as the Conscience of the parliament, but that doesn’t mean the lower house is allowed to act unconscionably, it is just that as the lower house MPs are meant to represent their electorates they might lose sight of the bigger picture. But to be a Minister of Council you have to make a second oath, so Ministers are held to even higher standards of government.

    I wrote to Greg Hunt about how it’s not conscionable to develop coal mines in the Galilee Basin , either for the government to allow it or for the corporations as the Corporations Act forbids unconscionable conduct by corporations.

    But Greg Hunt did not give me an adequate reply at all, even though I sent a copy to the Governir General His Excellency Peter Cosgrove, so as to make the representative of the Crown aware of the matter.

    But the Governor General’s staff wrote me an inadequate reply too, saying it was a matter to address with the Minister. But I can’t address it with the Minister as the Minister only gave me an inadequate reply. So now I have to write to them again about it, and this time I will send a copy to the Prime Minister too complaining that the Minister for the Environment is not discharging the duties of his high Office at this time when there are mounting environmental problems threatening planetary boundaries, including but not limited to climate change.

  24. David Irving (no relation)
    August 14th, 2015 at 16:52 | #24

    @Julie Thomas
    The collaboration with Clapton is fairly recent – one of my sons got me the CD and associated DVD for Christmas a few years ago, and I enjoyed it enormously. Marsalis’ band was really hot, and complemented Clapton very well. It, and the Jazz tv series, are well worth watching. (I think NITV is playing the Jazz show currently.)

    Thanks for the Jeff Beck – I’ll watch that at home tonight. He’s been a favourite for 45 years or so, ever since he was with the Blueswailing Yardbirds.

  25. Megan
    August 14th, 2015 at 19:02 | #25

    Australia is torturing refugees on Nauru (including waterboarding) according to latest reports.

    Of course we already know about the child abuse.

    I think it is important to remember that these refugees were put there by the ALP and the policies that put them there remain.

  26. Donald Oats
    August 15th, 2015 at 01:53 | #26

    @Megan
    I find it disappointing that Peter Dutton has dismissed these claims out of hand, rather than seeking an independent investigation to establish what the F is going on. I’m still waiting to hear him apologise to Sarah Hanson-Young for the bellicose put-down of her. Is anyone on Team Abbott capable of being civil when disagreeing with their opposition?

    Anyway, given the track record of leaked/whistle-blown reports into what’s going on at these offshore gulags, I’d bet on the leakers rather than the minister for abusing Greens, aka Peter Dutton.

  27. Megan
    August 15th, 2015 at 02:26 | #27

    @Donald Oats

    Agreed, although I cannot over-emphasise that this barbarity is bipartisan.

    Even now, all the Greens care about (judging from their online silence otherwise) is that Cabbage-Head should apologise to Hanson-Young and/or “resign” (as if that will somehow change anything for the tortured and abused refugees and the children being treated in the most unspeakable ways by our government – supported 100% by their fascist duopoly counterparts, the ALP.

    We are at the point where supporting the ALP is exactly equivalent to supporting child abuse, torture, rendition and other cruelty to refugees. That is simply a fact.

  28. Julie Thomas
    August 15th, 2015 at 05:56 | #28

    @alfred venison

    good grief! how do you find time to keep up with politics with all that music to distract you?

    Mondrian said one day all life will be art.

  29. Julie Thomas
    August 15th, 2015 at 06:08 | #29

    @Ikonoclast

    I think that mock turtle soup could stand for all the hypocrisy and hilarity that is bourgeois aspiration.

    and mock cream is disgusting. 🙁

  30. Ikonoclast
    August 15th, 2015 at 07:18 | #30

    @Megan

    On top of everything else that is wrong about it, the final thing that annoys me about inhumane treatment of people is that it costs so much more. It is much cheaper to treat people well.

    An article by Refugee Action Coalition Sydney (sorry don’t know the date) says;

    “Detaining a single asylum seeker on Manus or Nauru costs $400,000 per year. Detention in Australia costs $239,000 per year. By contrast, allowing asylum seekers to live in the community while their claims are processed costs just $12,000 per year, one twentieth of the cost of the offshore camps, and even less if they are allowed the right to work.”

    Now, the $12,000 seems a little low to me. Let’s assume it is $20,000 or even $40,000 per person if you treat people well and expedite processing according to UN treaty obligations or better. There is still a massive saving to be had there.

    It’s exactly the same set of questions as:

    Is it best to buy shoes for $100 to protect your child’s feet? or
    Buy torture implements for $1,000 to wreck you child’s feet?

    We could spend $40,000 p.a. trying to put a refugee child’s life back together or we can pay $400,000 p.a. to torture and destroy this child. How does the latter make sense at any level?

    And then people like Scott Morrison (former immigration Minister) claim they are Christians. What a hideous joke that is. I think they mixed up “suffer the little children to come to me” with “Make the Children Suffer.”

  31. Collin Street
    August 15th, 2015 at 09:03 | #31

    It is much cheaper to treat people well.

    Some people are sadists: they gain direct personal value out of generating immiseration.

    [“crazy” is a real thing. “This happens because certain people have real medically-manageable problems” is a perfectly reasonable explanation, that can be evaluated and tested on the same basis as anything else.]

  32. Ikonoclast
    August 15th, 2015 at 09:36 | #32

    @Collin Street

    Yes, there are a bunch of motivations that make “leaders” do these things and “followers” acquiesce.

    Sadism is one factor certainly not to be discounted. Another is love of power which admittedly is often tied up with sadism but also with selfishness, arrogance, thoughtlessness and so on. Further factors are fear and insecurity and these are often stoked up in followers by leaders.

    Then there is rent-seeking. Certain businesses benefit from war, conflict, cruelty, unnecessary criminalisation and so on.

    So far as “crazy” goes I have to agree. Much of the LNP cabinet seems to me to be comprised of pathologically disturbed people. This raises a number of questions. Were these people disturbed to begin with or has rising to power disturbed them? Or is it a bit a both? How and why do we (the people) permit and place disturbed people to be in charge of us? If a system promotes disturbed and cruel people, is not the system itself dysfunctional?

  33. Collin Street
    August 15th, 2015 at 11:34 | #33

    Were these people disturbed to begin with

    Yes. Many of the people we’re talking about were student politicians, and their attitudes and beliefs in young adulthood are thus fairly well documented.

  34. Julie Thomas
    August 15th, 2015 at 12:08 | #34

    And then people like Scott Morrison (former immigration Minister) claim they are Christians. What a hideous joke that is. I think they mixed up “suffer the little children to come to me” with “Make the Children Suffer.”

    Christianity can be anything really can’t it? I have no idea what it is.

    It’s clearly not what Jesus said although one would think that is the only thing it can be since the old testament is so similar to the koran and probably, but I have nfi about this, very similar to whatever text the Jewish religion uses to justify the preferences of their ‘leaders’.

    Surely Christians need to repudiate the old testament and do what their Jesus told them to do rather than hypocritically pretend that they are good people, because what? because they believe – believe? – Jesus died for them? I’m with Patti Smyth here – Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine.

    But that is the Christian story; that Jesus died to show them what love is and yet they still turn to the cruelty and barbarism of the ‘goat-herders’ of the old testament whenever it suits them. They do choose to be cruel.

    But they are not crazy or sadists – well no more than any of ‘us’ are crazy – we all deviate from the mean or the mythical ‘normal’ person, in some way or ways.

    I’d say that there are a lot of diagnosable behavioural disorders in parliament but diagnosis is a very dodgy thing to do – more of an Art than a science – and is only useful if the disordered person wants to change.

    They might develop some motivation for this – to get some therapy I mean – and to get over or rise above all their disordered thinking about economic growth being better than the rapture even. And what about that? When is the rapture coming? When is Jesus coming back? Two thousand years it has been and no sign of him.

    I’m still thinking that there seems to be some sort of new found willingness to investigate reality even among the barbarian neo-liberals. I listened to Amanda Vanstone’s last Counterpoint ep on RN and was surprised by the change in her ‘attitude’ toward scientific facts, although not surprised by her ignorance.

    She actually said that she had never listened to any of the debates about climate change because of all the ‘shouting’ so she is having someone on next week to tell her nicely and without all the shouting what is going on. That should be fun.

  35. Megan
    August 15th, 2015 at 12:57 | #35

    Julie,

    Now you’ve reminded me of this Kat Mandu song and video.

  36. Julie Thomas
    August 15th, 2015 at 14:16 | #36

    @Megan

    Awesome. Shared on facebook 🙂

    Love the sheep.

  37. Megan
    August 15th, 2015 at 14:58 | #37

    Glad you enjoyed!

    Back on the question of “why” our fascist ALP/LNP duopoly and establishment media treat refugees so cruely and inhumanely, Andre Vltchek has a piece (on “CounterPunch” or “informationclearinghouse”) titled “The Refugees Are Coming!!!”.

    He gets it:

    In Europe, wherever you go, you can read between the lines:

    “If millions of “them” starve to death, then be it – as long as Germany and France could maintain clean sidewalks and hospitals, and as long as the schools don’t have too many undesirable, foreign elements and influences.

    Destruction of the world, killing and starving of millions, is sad but a necessary price to be paid for the high standard of living of the chosen, white, good Christian people in Europe and North America. Let the slaughter be contained to far away places! Let it not appear on the television screens. Let us not see the victims.

    And let those dirty and uncivilized beings stay where they are. We don’t want to face them at our resort towns and in our capital cities. We don’t want to see their sores, their wounds, and their puss.

    Let everything remain out of focus, as blurry as possible, and at extremely low volume.

    Our rulers may be sadists, they might possibly have mental issues, but the reason they are treating refugees so badly all over the Empire’s outposts is because they are simply unspeakably evil. This is fascism.

  38. Megan
    August 15th, 2015 at 23:58 | #38

    I see there was a large pro-ALP rally in Melbourne dressed up as a “Marriage Equality” rally.

    Apparently this is a really big issue.

    I have a solution.

    1. The LNP says it will vote against it, but according to the “media” several backbenchers would cross the floor to vote for it;

    2. The ALP (and all their supporters) seem to think this is a really important thing, but they will allow ALP MPs to have a conscience vote;

    3. Bring on some amendment to Section 5 of the “Marriage Act” (i.e. “‘marriage” means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.’) so that it achieves the desired purpose;

    4. Let the parliament vote on it – 76 votes would be required in the house of representatives. The ALP has 55. The LNP has 90. Some cross-benchers will vote for it and some won’t, let the numbers fall where they will. If the move gets the 76 votes then Yippee!! we can all move on, and if not the duopoly can stop pretending that they care about it and can go back to their current positions – both ALP and LNP have effectively pushed it off to the next election or the one after.

    Problem solved and we can back to worrying about the torture of children by our duopoly system.

    The whole gay marriage thing is a cynical distraction if the obvious solution is “kicked down the road”.

  39. August 16th, 2015 at 09:51 | #39

    not hard at all, Julie Thomas, politics is everywhere, just scratch a surface & there it is. for ms kiewa & myself music is not a distraction, it is central to life itself. we are on the same page on this, a life worth living, without music, is as unthinkable as it would be unbearable. like ray charles said, “when you get up in the morning, you must have a song”. so we’re well matched there. we don’t listen to radio & we gave up cable 15+ years ago so with little on free to air we have a lot of “free time”. we keep up with current affairs via the net on our own terms at times of our own choosing; sites like this in my case, and the conversation, for example. we don’t watch news bulletins any more, even the abc & sbs. except al jazeera which we record during the day. she reads fiction, i read poetry & history & music. at uni. i studied the history of music & nationalism; careful you don’t start me on the politics of the great composers. cheers, alf.

  40. Ivor
    August 16th, 2015 at 12:06 | #40

    @Megan

    More scat from the rat …

    supporting the ALP is exactly equivalent to supporting child abuse, torture, rendition and other cruelty to refugees

    .

    All under the protection of one – John Quiggin who pretends to “civilised discussion” ???!!

  41. Ivor
    August 16th, 2015 at 12:15 | #41

    @Megan

    Megan hears a word she hasn’t used – sadism.

    So what does it do but immediately add it to its catalogue of abuse, defamation and slander:

    Our rulers may be sadists

    Anyway here is its list:

    All this trash is supposedly “telling the truth about the ALP”(!????).

    fascist clown outfit
    ALP … ultra-pro-Zionist
    proto-fascist, just turns my stomach
    too nauseating to handle
    closely resembles something the [email protected]!s actually did,
    ALP/LNP fascist duopoly
    their LNP fascist duopoly partners
    They are the best asset the LNP has.
    the entire ALP/LNP/Greens ‘machines’
    The CFMEU are fascists – most likely infiltrated at the top and run by CIA stooges
    Fascists.
    You people are vile.
    I hate the ALP/LNP duopoly entirely.
    Greens … just ALP stooges now.
    the ALP/LNP fascist duopoly
    The ALP is also thuggish and vile
    To be clear: The ALP are fascists.
    even more fascist than the LNP
    neo-liberal/fascist duopoly
    Qld Greens are a sad sub-branch of the ALP.
    corporatised, crypto-fascist, bully-boy parties
    The Democrats …got into bed with the fascist duopoly,
    vote LNP at the next election just to give these fascists in the ALP a kick up the bum.
    die-hard ALP zombie
    ALP could machine-gun refugees
    sending refugees to their deaths as official ALP policy
    “Labor 4 Refugees” is actually nothing of the sort.
    stooges
    willing doormats
    ruled by a fascist ALP/LNP duopoly.
    torturing children allowing their rape
    The ALP has 100% abandoned you
    the fascist ALP/LNP duopoly … Filthy scum.
    our racist/fascist ALP/LNP political duopoly
    ALP luvvies
    heartless fascists.
    terminally corrupt and fascist ALP.
    ALP/LNP fascist duopoly are in lockstep
    “Labor For Refugees” … It’s like “KKK for racial equality”
    Turds.
    a bunch of fascists the ALP is….
    ALP’s determined plunge into the … cess-pit
    all out total mean fascist
    Die-Hard ALP Zombies
    a stooge outfit
    faceless and inhumane fascists
    Kevin Rudd…a zombie married to a greedy grasping neo-liberal.
    internal fascist neo-con
    the fascist neo-con ALP
    a gullible bunch of fools.
    faceless operators of the ALP.
    Heinous
    pig
    fascist neo-liberal stooges and their puppets
    invertebrate pests and parasites
    LNP/ALP … no practical difference.
    Shorten and the rest of the ALP as crooks
    unions are complete sellouts
    enrich themselves – as ALP operatives
    ALP/union cabal is corrupt and crooked
    The Puppeteers (of our ALP/LNP duopoly)
    Greens in Qld are rightly seen as ALP stooges.

    I for one object to this litany of stinking swill.

  42. August 16th, 2015 at 12:23 | #42

    @Ivor
    now you’re criticising your host – you really are a boor.

  43. Julie Thomas
    August 16th, 2015 at 12:24 | #43

    OMG He is back. Alfred you were right and right about music being just about everything.

    Ivor is Mel and Mel is not just a cranky old man. He has some sort of obsession with Megan, poor fellow needs treatment but he won’t get it.

  44. Julie Thomas
    August 16th, 2015 at 12:25 | #44

    and hey ‘Ivor’ dude it was me what said that about Rudd being a zombie married to a greedy grasping neo-liberal. Don’t you attribute my words of wisdom to any one else.

  45. Ivor
    August 16th, 2015 at 12:31 | #45

    @Julie Thomas

    You are simply tarring yourself with the same brush.

  46. Megan
    August 16th, 2015 at 12:32 | #46

    I’ve never said of or relating to Rudd: “…zombie married to a greedy grasping neo-liberal”.

  47. Ivor
    August 16th, 2015 at 12:49 | #47

    @Megan

    Everyone should review, and check, and see exactly what “civilised discussion” emanates from you.

  48. Donald Oats
    August 16th, 2015 at 15:36 | #48

    PM Tony Abbott says that if the allegations of (insert favourite allegation here) are true, they will get the police onto it immediately. Which police force? The detention centre in question is on Nauru. What jurisdiction does our AFP have on Nauru?

    Given the track record of denying claims about various happenings at the off-shore detention centres, only to find them substantiated in part or in full, the government shouldn’t be coming out on the latest thing and denying it took place, especially as we have a witness willing to speak out. The witness could be unreliable, but that is yet to be determined.

  49. Megan
    August 16th, 2015 at 15:57 | #49

    @Donald Oats

    That’s an interesting slip by the PM. Everyone knows that the Nauruan dictatorship is fully enabled by Australia.

    Their police can probably be guaranteed not to find any evidence of wrongdoing:

    HAYDEN COOPER: He raises one glaring example of the weakness of Nauruan police and the power of David Adeang. It involves the death of Adeang’s wife Madelyn, who was burned alive in the family’s front yard in 2013.

    GEOFFREY EAMES: She died in unusual circumstances and I’m not making any allegations of impropriety against him, but the fact was it was – the circumstances of the death were such that in any society, it would almost certainly produce a coronial inquiry and so it was in Nauru.

    HAYDEN COOPER: Peter Law was the coroner.

    PETER LAW: Her circumstances of death were never properly explained. Her – it was put to me that it had been an accident, that she’d – was burnt alive because she was carrying a – going to do a burn-off and that the bucket of petrol had caught alight accidentally. Well there were no crime scene photographs, there were no statements from neighbours, there was no statement from Mr Adeang or his son, simply an off-the-cuff briefing and a very short briefing note from the police.

    HAYDEN COOPER: Law was kicked off Nauru before he could investigate.

    PETER LAW: The words they used were they were scared of Mr Adeang, so …

    HAYDEN COOPER: The police?

    PETER LAW: That’s what the officer said to me. So that’s a sad situation when the police can’t have the – feel that they can have the power to act independently and properly.

    HAYDEN COOPER: Australia has a direct interest in what’s going on in Nauru. It pumps hundreds of millions of dollars into the country every year. And now it settles asylum seekers there permanently, in a place where the rule of law is clearly crumbling and law enforcement is substandard.

    GEOFFREY EAMES: Australia and all Australians should be extremely concerned if any Pacific Island nation disavows the rule of law and lurches towards a dictatorship. I think the failure of the Australian Government to get involved in that sort of a way is really a tragedy.

    The true dictator of Nauru, Adeang, had the misfortune of his wife catching fire and burning to death on the front lawn. Police didn’t see anything too unusual about that. This is why the ALP chose Nauru for our concentration camp and child abuse factory.

  50. Ivor
    August 16th, 2015 at 16:28 | #50

    More …

    <iframe src="VOMIT“>

    ALP chose…child abuse factory.

    More slander.

  51. Megan
    August 16th, 2015 at 17:19 | #51

    The ALP re-opened the Nauru concentration camp in August 2012. Later, in 2013, they started sending children there for indefinite extra-judicial incarceration without legal recourse.

    After visiting the camp in November 2012 Amnesty described it as “a human rights catastrophe … a toxic mix of uncertainty, unlawful detention and inhumane conditions”.

    In its report from November 2014, the UN Committee Against Torture said that the detention of children on Nauru was at odds with the Convention Against Torture.

    The Senate has heard several allegations of child abuse in the concentration camp on Nauru – that is the camp opened by Labor and serial abuse of the children sent there by Labor.

  52. Ivor
    August 16th, 2015 at 18:02 | #52

    @Megan

    Luckily Amnesty does not rant and rave like the loonies.

    Amnesty does not slander, defame or misrepresent.

    Your fakery is astonishing. If you were really concerned about child abuse you would have described the churches as “child abuse factories”.

    Only one side of politics benefits from such propaganda against the CFMEU, the Greens and the ALP.

  53. Donald Oats
    August 16th, 2015 at 19:31 | #53

    It is an Australian pastime to beat up on public servants, but for senior public servants to claim that other bureaucrats just spontaneoously make up red tape out of thin air, make up reasons for inaction, that sounds quite fantastic. Does it seem likely that lots of bureaucrats are sitting around dreaming up new red tape—which cannot be justified by an act or regulations governing their department—and then using these reasons to not do stuff?

    In a big organisation I guess it’s possible there are a few cases of such behaviour; I just can’t see it as being a large scale phenomenon like that which Jane Halton seems to imply.

  54. August 16th, 2015 at 20:12 | #54

    thank you, Julie Thomas, all makes sense now. -a.v.

  55. J-D
    August 16th, 2015 at 20:54 | #55

    @Megan

    The Global Greens is an international organisation whose members are national political parties. In Australia it has one member, the Australian Greens. In Canada it has one member, the Green Party of Canada.

    The International Democrat Union is an international organisation whose members are national political parties. In Australia it has one member, the Liberal Party. In Canada it has one member, the Conservative Party.

    The Liberal International is an international organisation whose members are national political parties. In Canada it has one member, the Liberal Party. It has no members in Australia.

    The Socialist International is an international organisation whose members are political parties. In the last few years several members dissatisfied with the organisation have participated in the activites of a new network called the Progressive Alliance. The Progressive Alliance does not yet have a formally declared membership list. Among the Socialist International members which have participated in activities of the Progressive Alliance have been the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP). Some of the participants in the Progressive Alliance have now ceased to be members of the Socialist International; some have downgrade from full membership to observer status; some are still full members but have reduced their level of activity and financial support. Both the ALP and the NDP have long been members of the Socialist International; the NDP still is, but the ALP ceased to be one in 2014, and there is now no member of the Socialist International in Australia.

    I’m not posting links to avoiding being sentenced to moderation, but all these organisations have websites, and information is also available elsewhere on the Web and in reference works on politics (choose the sources you trust).

  56. J-D
    August 16th, 2015 at 21:00 | #56

    @Megan

    I would love to see a parliamentary vote on the issue brought on. Obviously it’s not within my power to make that happen. It’s not within your power either. It’s within the power of the government, and only the government, to make a parliamentary vote happen or to prevent it from happening, and if no parliamentary vote takes place the responsibility for its not taking place rests solely with the government.

  57. J-D
    August 16th, 2015 at 21:10 | #57

    @Megan

    Nambour is located within the Federal electoral division of Fairfax. For the voters of Fairfax, at the last federal election, the effective alternative to voting for the LNP was not voting for the ALP but rather voting for Clive Palmer — and, in the event, just over half of those voting preferred that alternative to the LNP. It is not correct to say that the LNP and the ALP were the only two options for their vote.

  58. Megan
    August 16th, 2015 at 22:50 | #58

    #55 – My original statement was along the lines that in Novia Scotia “the Liberals, Canada’s version of the ALP” have axed a climate change initiative. It seems you took issue with the idea that Canada’s Liberals were their version of our ALP. Discussion followed. You said “I have the evidence of the official opinion of the NDP and the ALP themselves that they are similarly positioned parties”. I’m not seeing that evidence in the information you just posted. And, in any case, I prefer Alfred’s perspective as a local.

    #56 – It is certainly not solely within the power of the government to make a parliamentary vote happen. Non-government members can, and do, make votes happen all the time, and I argue that if they are serious they should do exactly that. The vote might go against the proposition, but having the vote is the important thing. I suspect that’s why the Greens so often call for a division in the Senate when it is obvious that the ALP/LNP duopoly will defeat the vote – at least they have it on the official Hansard record.

    #57 – George Christensen is the member for Dawson which is up around Mackay/Ayr/Townsville. That electorate did, in fact, vote ALP in 2007 and they got James Bidgood. And they were so pleased with the ALP that they voted back the LNP in 2010 (Christensen), historically it’s LNP territory even though it is named after a s0cial1st. I would argue that it reinforces rather than diminishes my point about the duopoly. Similarly, in Fairfax – when offered an alternative to the duopoly – they voted against both duopoly parties.

  59. Megan
    August 17th, 2015 at 00:15 | #59

    According to the latest Fairfax/Ipsos poll the unpopularity contest between the two duopoly parties is very close.

    By and large, the people are torn between which of the ALP or LNP they hate the most:

    On a two-party-preferred basis, support for the government remains…at 8 percentage points behind Labor on 46/54.

    …the government’s primary support has dipped to 38 per cent – just two points above Labor’s 36 per cent.

    So – despite the horror that the LNP government is – people are very reluctant to install an ALP government, and will only do so by default.

    And that’s the inspiring state of our political landscape.

    ALP tribalists may greet this news with glee, but human Australians despair at what this fascist duopoly is doing to our country.

  60. Megan
    August 17th, 2015 at 01:14 | #60

    And today in the Senate the ALP/LNP duopoly will vote together to legalise the killing of refugees in our concentration camps (seriously, that is what can be done if this passes: Migration Amendment (Maintaining the Good Order of Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2015).

    “But – gays”, is not a valid reason to ignore this.

  61. Ikonoclast
    August 17th, 2015 at 07:48 | #61

    It might be an interesting exercise to replace the words “migrant”, “migration”, “refugee” and “asylum seeker” with “gay”.

    Let’s see how the Title of the bill would read.

    “Gay Amendment (Maintaining the Good Order of Gay Detention Facilities) Bill 2015.”

    How would it read if we put the word “Black” in there?

    “Black Amendment (Maintaining the Good Order of Black Detention Facilities) Bill 2015.”

    How would it read if we put the word “Jewish” in there?

    “Jewish Amendment (Maintaining the Good Order of Jewish Detention Facilities) Bill 2015.”

    If it looks like fascism and quacks like fascism then it is fascism. Humans in an in-group seem to have a lot of trouble detecting fascism when it is directed against an out-group. The reasoning seems to be “The jackboot isn’t on my throat so it isn’t fascism.

  62. Ivor
    August 17th, 2015 at 09:08 | #62

    @Ikonoclast

    You have just added to the confusion.

    Let’s see how the Title of the bill would read.

    Fraudster Amendment (Maintaining the Good Order of Fraudster Detention Facilities) Bill 2015.

    Smuggler Amendment (Maintaining the Good Order of Smuggler Detention Facilities) Bill 2015.

    Pedophile Amendment (Maintaining the Good Order of Pedophile Detention Facilities) Bill 2015.

    Mafia Amendment (Maintaining the Good Order of Mafia Detention Facilities) Bill 2015.

    No one is proposing detaining gay’s unless they break the law.

    No one is proposing detaining Blacks unless they break the law.

    No one is proposing detaining Jews unless they break the law.

    Many States jail people who break laws. In the form of society we have this is occurs. Some even execute them. This is not the F word.

  63. Ivor
    August 17th, 2015 at 09:10 | #63

    @Megan

    legalise the killing of refugees

    If you are going to be such an idiot – you might as well be a huge idiot.

  64. Ikonoclast
    August 17th, 2015 at 09:36 | #64

    @Ivor

    Do refugees and asylum seekers break the law just by being refugees and asylum seekers? I think the evidence from international law and international treaty and convention is that they do not. Thus your own claim and analogy breaks down. It is not wrong legally or morally to be a refugee so why criminalise and put these people in prison? Detention in a facility is imprisonment. No amount of playing with words and definitions can disguise this fact.

    Also, your nasty personal attacks on Megan are becoming very obnoxious. By all means argue facts and views but keep personal attacks out of it. Do you think your habit of personally attacking someone will incline decent, thoughtful people to agree with you? If you think this you are much mistaken.

  65. Megan
    August 17th, 2015 at 09:50 | #65

    The proposed amendments will allow the use of lethal force:

    As former Victorian Supreme Court judge, Stephen Charles, told the Senate hearing, the provision ‘would inevitably encourage violence by guards against asylum seekers.’ Worse still, officers could use lethal force against a detainee, and as long as they act in ‘good faith,’ they would effectively be immune from civil or criminal liability. Indeed, even if proceedings were instituted, the burden of proof (‘to show the power was not exercised in good faith’) would be incredibly difficult to discharge, especially in circumstances where there were only two witnesses (the officer and the detainee) and the detainee had been fatally wounded.

  66. Ivor
    August 17th, 2015 at 10:21 | #66

    @Ikonoclast

    Everyone understands that refugees and asylum seekers do not break the law simply by being refugee and asylum seekers?

    When has this ever been in dispute? Where?

    I have never supported mandatory detention of refugees or asylum seekers.

    Megan is the most obnoxious person you can ever imagine:

    Typical Megan:

    “fascist clown outfit ultra-pro-Zionist proto-fascist, just turns my stomach nauseating [email protected]!s fascist fascist facists CIA stooges Fascists vile hate stooges fascist thuggish vile fascists fascist neo-liberal/fascist crypto-fascist, bully-boy fascist fascists zombie machine-gun deaths stooges doormats fascist torturing rape fascist Filthy scum racist/fascist luvvies heartless fascists corrupt fascist fascist “KKK for racial equality” Turds fascists cess-pit fascist Zombies stooge outfit inhumane fascists zombie fascist fools. Heinous pig fascist stooges puppets pests parasites crooks sellouts corrupt crooked Puppeteers stooges.

    So it is Megan who is the

    Filthy stooge, fascist, clown, zombie, pig, cess-pit aficionado.

    It only attacks itself. Best if we let it drown in its own vomit.

  67. Julie Thomas
    August 17th, 2015 at 12:30 | #67

    @Ivor

    Get over it; build a bridge.

    If you are such a sensitive petal that you cannot tolerate the language that Megan chooses to use, and you want to be part of this dynamic system, then you possibly need to change yourself.

    There are many ways that we humans can respond in a socially acceptable and positive way to the things we don’t like, but are not actually a threat. You are way over-reacting and can you tell me why are your preferences and dislikes more important than mine?

  68. Ivor
    August 17th, 2015 at 13:42 | #68

    I’ve deleted this comment, which appears to be addressed to the wrong person. Ivor and Megan, please no further interaction between the two of you. That is, no comments from either of you about the other, and no responses from either of you to anything said by the other – JQ

  69. Megan
    August 17th, 2015 at 20:00 | #69

    JQ,

    I have been deliberately self-restrained in the face of personally directed vitriol recently (I appreciate the comments that others have made against those attacks, but I have refrained from direct response).

    I note this isn’t the first time I have been sanctioned for the crime of being personally vilified, but I am more than happy to comply with the directive.

  70. August 18th, 2015 at 06:53 | #70

    i still stand by Megan, what she says & how she says it; simply put, she’s been trolled. -alfred venison.

  71. Ivor
    August 18th, 2015 at 08:20 | #71

    Such deletion was completely inappropriate.

    The slander against the ALP, Greens and CFMEU emanating from this blog needs to be exposed and countered.

    The smoke over personal attacks is scurrilous. The individual is irrelevant – if anyone else conducted themselves the same for such a long time without challenge – they would get the same response from me.

    It all to do with civilised discussion – and if that is not required, then there is a hidden agenda somewhere.

  72. Julie Thomas
    August 18th, 2015 at 08:39 | #72

    @Megan

    Yep you have avoided responding directly to Ivor – Mel – and imo the way this person targets you is indicative of a very real problematic personality problem.

    Ivor needs professional help; it would be unusual for there to be only one target for this display of facism and paranoia.

    He could actually be a very dangerous person if one was up close and personal with him. I wonder how many people he takes against in his real life and how many people he targets with this aggressive and very uncivilized response to things he doesn’t like.

  73. Ivor
    August 18th, 2015 at 09:10 | #73

    @Julie Thomas

    Unfortunately sensible people will know that those who spread defamation and uncivilised propaganda against the Greens, ALP and CFMEU are the real threats to all Australians.

    Only one side of politics benefits from the slander emanating from this blog.

    As for the rest – well you can vent as much as you like – this does not change the appalling behaviour we have seen by a few.

  74. Julie Thomas
    August 18th, 2015 at 09:27 | #74

    @Ivor

    Can you provide an argument that shows that Megan’s words are threats to all Australians? otherwise you are just a personality disordered person who is a problem for all of us.

    How many sides are there in your version of politics? Have you not noticed that there are many sides represented here?

    And if this blog is so distressing for you why do you insist on being a victim and hanging around? Is it the case that you actually enjoy attacking a certain person and consider yourself qualified to force the blog participants to behave in the way you consider ‘civilized’.

    I see you use this word ‘civilized’ a lot but I have nfi what you mean; I think your obsession with Megan is clearly problematic and indicative of some personal response and is not in any way a reasoned response or civilized. Ivor you would be appalling; if I was inclined to be appalled.

    Answer the questions Ivor.

  75. Ivor
    August 18th, 2015 at 09:43 | #75

    @Julie Thomas

    Exactly:

    I see you use this word ‘civilized’ a lot but I have nfi what you mean;

    You obviously have no idea – don’t you.

    Unfortunately John Quiggin deleted precisely the post where this was explained to you.

    John Quiggin got confused about who it was directed.

    The deleted post was for you.

    Suffice it to say that my standards are such that:

    “fascist clown outfit ultra-pro-Zionist proto-fascist, just turns my stomach nauseating [email protected]!s fascist fascist facists CIA stooges Fascists vile hate stooges fascist thuggish vile fascists fascist neo-liberal/fascist crypto-fascist, bully-boy fascist fascists zombie machine-gun deaths stooges doormats fascist torturing rape fascist Filthy scum racist/fascist luvvies heartless fascists corrupt fascist fascist “KKK for racial equality” Turds fascists cess-pit fascist Zombies stooge outfit inhumane fascists zombie fascist fools. Heinous pig fascist stooges puppets pests parasites crooks sellouts corrupt crooked Puppeteers stooges.

    is not civilised – so I hope you now know what this means.

    Do you?

    I use the word civilised a lot – when will it sink in?

    Normal people will not slander the ALP, Greens and unions with such slander. These are the only entities we have for pursuing progressive outcomes in Australia.

    Only the other side benefits from this blog’s antics – and this threatens all decent Australians.

    You can forget about crying about personal attacks. Such conduct needs to be exposed from whoever spreads such stink. You are blowing smoke.

  76. J-D
    August 21st, 2015 at 13:20 | #76

    @Megan

    1. The decision to affiliate to an international organisation whose members are political parties is an expression of the official opinion of the party affiliating that it is a similar kind of party to other parties also affiliated to that organisation.

    2. The government has the power to prevent a parliamentary vote on a proposal to change the law. Warren Entsch has just introduced a proposal to change the marriage law, an action which appears to be along the same general lines as what you were recommending. The government is not going to permit the proposal to come to a vote. Repeated insistence that there is some way it could be forced to a vote when the government refuses permission, without any explanation of how, is hollow.

    3. In 2007 the voters of Dawson had four alternatives to De-Anne Kelly (Nationals) and James Bidgood (ALP). They did not elect any of those four alternatives. In 2010 the voters of Dawson had three alternatives to George Christensen (LNP) and Mike Brunker (ALP). They did not elect any of those three alternatives. In 2013 the voters of Dawson had five alternatives to George Christensen (LNP) and Bronwyn Taha (ALP). They did not elect any of those alternatives.

    In 2013 five out of the 150 federal electoral divisions elected candidates who were alternatives to both the Coalition and the ALP. The other 145 did not, even though they (or at least most of them) did have alternative candidates to vote for. To say that voters will reject both the Coalition parties and the ALP whenever they are given alternatives is not correct; sometimes they do, but more often they don’t.

  77. J-D
    August 21st, 2015 at 13:27 | #77

    Megan :
    And today in the Senate the ALP/LNP duopoly will vote together to legalise the killing of refugees in our concentration camps (seriously, that is what can be done if this passes: Migration Amendment (Maintaining the Good Order of Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2015).
    “But – gays”, is not a valid reason to ignore this.

    Nobody has suggested that it is, so your snide gibe reflects discredit on nobody but yourself.

  78. Ernestine Gross
    August 23rd, 2015 at 12:02 | #78

    Ikonoclast wrote to EG in reply to a post on the Big Tobacco thread. (I reply after each paragraph except the first sentence.)

    “I agree on all of that.

    Debt finance is one important issue. I hope I can use this occasion to ask a question. Various schools of economics argue about money printing and macroeconomic stimulus (budget deficits) from various angles. It seems to me (in my naivety) that there are currently two important ways to create money. One is by government deficit financing (crudely “printing money”) and the other is by loan making. Stop me if any of my assumptions are wrong and/or answer my final questions if possible.”

    Reply:

    Yes, in each case ‘money’ is created by means of issuing financial securities.

    “Fiat money can be created by fiat (unfinanced deficits) and destroyed by fiat (unspent surpluses). Debt money is created by loans. While the debt money is balanced by the debt on the loan book, there is no net increase in assets in the economy. However, there is an increase in circulating money supply. Debt money is not extinguished until the loan is repaid. While the loan or part of it is outstanding the debt money circulates. In the economy is expanding and loans are increasing then loan making equals net money creation.”

    Reply:

    I don’t consider your paragraph meaningful. (The MMT story is not watertight.) If I were you I would forget about this one.

    “How does it make sense to have government budget austerity combined with rampant loan making in the finance sector? In a growing economy with a growing loan book, does this not equate to money printing which is simply done by the private sector? If one needs to control excess budget deficits does one not also need to properly control loan making by the private sector? Are our financial regulations and controls adequate in this arena?”

    Reply:

    The term ‘austerity’ is not helpful, IMO, because it is too much entangled with macroeconomic ideologies.

    To illustrate, to some people the term ‘austerity’ means no more than something to the effect of ‘we have to tighten our belts a bit’, which makes sense to me irrespective of the identity of the agent who makes such a statement. To others it means all government debt is bad and all economic problems will be solved if the government produces a surplus, which is nonsense in my mind. To the extent that you have the latter in mind, I agree it does not make sense to have ‘austerity’ and unconstrained private debt growth.

    After the May 2014 Federal budget in Australia, I read a lot of comments by readers of the smh. It struck me that the public in aggregate understands very well what is prudent government financial management. There was no objection to have a reduction of the government deficit as a policy goal. The rhetoric of there being a ‘crisis’ was rejected, as was the objective of ‘needing’ a surplus. Who is supposed to pay for the reduction of the deficit was at issue. There was strong objection to ‘austerity’ being applied to those who already live an austere life. This objection makes sense regarding the importance of the wealth distribution in theoretical models of economies where individuals’ preferences and resources (natural) are the only primitives (everything else can be changed).

    The chair of the Financial System Inquiry, David Murray, ex CEO of the CBA has reached the conclusion that disclosure is not enough to ensure stability (think of it as a system working more or less satisfactorily). This is important because during the preceding 20 years or so the Finance-Accounting people spread the belief that all that is required is ‘disclosure’. Disclosure does not achieve coordination of price expectations, including risk preferences. To get an insight into why, one could consult Roy Radner’s model of sequence economies with commodity and financial securities markets. (I’ve written about this many times in the past.)

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