38 thoughts on “Monday message board

  1. D’oh! 49 to 39 was right. Sorry, it’s Monday…

    The Bomber will hold a news conference later. Could be amusing. Resignation?

  2. Andrew Reynolds wrote on last week’s “Monday message board”: you seem to be confusing me with someone who support any and everything this government does.

    If you actively supported this Government in 2004 and plan to do so again in 2007, go on excusing its behaviour, then as far I am concerned you are morally culpable for what it has done. If you maintain that I am not being fair to you, then please don’t hesitate to correct me by saying where you stand on the questions I have raised, starting from here and here.

    Andrew Reynolds wrote: Adding to the government’s powers does not increase the powers of “the peopleâ€?. It reduces them. It is that simple and that direct. Blah blah blah rhubarb blah rhubarb rhubarb The people do not own it – the government does. blah rhubarb blah rhubarb rhubarb

    I have dealt with this almost countless times before. Obviously we are never going to agree on this point, so, yet again I ask, why do you waste my time and everyone else’s time by repeating your same tired old points over and over and over again?

  3. James,

    It’d be good to get a picture of what moral culpability means to you. For example, if I supported the initial Iraq War, now acknowledge it as a mistake, but assert that in any case I support the Howard government’s current approach to Iraq – am I morally culpable? Can one be morally culpable for acts done only in good faith?

    Also, here’s another one: foreign aid to Third World nations is directly responsible for the deaths of millions of people: it has, for example, entrenched central planning and poor government across, for example, Africa. Are those who supported, or still support, such aid in good faith morally culpable for those deaths?


  4. Steve
    Awful news indeed. Kims brother David (who I knew quite well) reminded many of Dustin Hoffmans character in “Rain Main”. David was a local (WA)railway buff who could remember, off the cuff and in increadible detail, facets of railway trips he undertook in the 60s 70s and 80s. He wrote a number of articles published in the local Railway Historical Society magazine in which he identified thngs such as train consists, and locomotive details, both of the trains he rode and those he saw on the way. He did it all from memory. His capacity for almost recall was unbelievable. Kim Beasley was not the WA labor politicain with a close relative who had an intellectual disability: Brian Burke had a brother who had a not disimilar condition. While it probably was inevitable that, given their respective fathers were both famous Labor men they would chosse the labor perty in which to carve their political careers, I have often wondered whether having a close disadvantaged relative influenced either in their choice ,or contibuted towards the strong sense of social justice both possesed.

  5. Here’s a blast from the Gulf War past for the one’s who supported the second one:

    Don’t worry though, your ideology is being well represented by these guys. You know, manufactured evidence (http://www.downingstreetmemo.com/) and highly efficient capitalism ($100USD for KBR to do a bag of laundry http://www.halliburtonwatch.org/news/deyoung.html) are showing the way. Nothing’s wrong it’s all moral and correct and nobody knew beforehand that it was a load of crap (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protests_against_the_2003_Iraq_war) so nobody is allowed to criticise you in all your ideological glory.

    What a colossal waste of human life and taxpayers money ( close to 350 billion for the US let alone the aussie billions). If you aren’t responsible in part, I don’t know who is. And all the while you spit in the face of people who want to do something about climate change. I just think about what could have been done with a fraction of those billions directed at alternative energy. History will not look kindly on this era.

  6. Tom,

    Good stuff. The gratuitous reference to climate change was first rate. I think you are confusing the question, though. No serious person would argue that those who supported the Iraq War are not partly responsible for it. But go ahead, vent.


  7. BBB, how is the climate change reference “gratuitous”? Is tax money finite or is it not? Therefore when we look at one expenditure it’s natural to look at other issues that weren’t dealt with because of it. It wouldn’t be a serious analysis of the spending if we didn’t look at what else it could have been spent on, or whether those taxes needed to have been taken from the Australian people at all. The fact remains that climate change is a far more serious threat than terrorism. That is if the Iraq war has done anything to diminish terrorism, I fear that it may have just sown seeds. Cancer, heart disease, road safety, air pollution deaths also are far more important than terrorism in terms of deaths – I am sure there are many others.

    And it remains a fact that many of the people who supported the war initially have not shut their mouths and hung their heads in shame yet. Until such a time, it’s worth pointing out that they are supporters of high taxing governments who funnel people’s taxes to buddies in the corporate sector and governments that lie to start wars in which masses of people have died. Many right wing commentators still blather on like their credibility has not be shot down, but it has, and you are evidently hurt by my pointing out this fact. So you can be as smug as you like and claim that what I said was “venting” but you have failed to engage with the point that the Iraq war was predicted to be, and has been, colossal failure and expense. Those that support it haven’t a leg to stand on and should not be allowed to dodge the political consequences. I don’t see why these people should be allowed to slither away and I do not intend to let these people slither away. I am sorry if this upsets you BBB, but it’s the reality of doing something so monumentally ill-advised (to put it politely).

  8. I am not sure which is worse: Latham’s “ladder of opportunity” or Rudd’s “forks in the road”. And to top it up Rudd started saying something about the Government crossing “bridges too far” (except for one that wasn’t far enough). Bernard in Yes Minister would probably point out that if you have not crossed the bridge too far before getting to the fork in the road then you can still avoid the offending bridge, but if you have already crossed it then the fork in the road is no use at all.

    BTW, the comments box is still all over the place.

  9. Andrew Reynolds wrote in last week’s “Monday message board”: The piece you keep quoting of mine – read it again. Particularly this sentence. Actually read it and see if your comprehension skills go up. “In this case they are trying to do what is right (at least in their opinion), rather that what they believe to be popular”. I think that answers your point. If not, let me know and I will try to rephrase more simply.

    How about dealing with the quote in its totality? The rest of the quote of your own words is: : “As a result, they are trying to keep their heads down. The reason it is being rushed through is to get it done ASAP so that it will be forgotten by the next election. The reason the ALP is trying to slow it down is so that it is still around by the next election. It is politics that is driving this, not the rights and wrongs of the case.”

    Again I ask, “Why would you maintain that proper debate of the privatisation legislation in Parliament and at election time would help, rather than harm, the prospects of those voting for the legislation if you had ‘no doubt of the integrity or ability of the ordinary citizen?'”

    Either you presume ordinary citizens, who have remained consistently and overwhelmingly opposed to privatisation since polls were taken, to be stupid, or else you understand, contrary to what you have admitted, that privatisation is not in their interests.

    Andrew Reynolds wrote in last week’s “Monday message board”: On PEMEX – I think this sentence makes it clear “…capable of destroying their own long term viability as you allege PEMEX is” (your words). I was merely repeating what was in wikipedia. I say again, do you have contrary evidence?

    As you should have well known, it is no news to me that many governments and government owned enterprises are far from perfect. I have acknowledged this and dealt with this many times in the past. Seizing upon the fact that PEMEX is government owned in order to try to score a point in your ongoing ideological campaign against me has added nothing of value to the discussion about the imminent global decline in oil production as far as I can tell.

  10. I am not sure which is worse: Latham’s “ladder of opportunity� or Rudd’s “forks in the road�.

    so long as rudd’s does not involve any pantomime, latham was worse.

  11. He did say “fork” and “bridge” a hang of a lot of times…..[quietly and with emphasis]….a hang of a lot of times.

    Gillard will be fun at least.

  12. i think that anyone who supported the iraq war bears some degree of responsibility,
    i also think anyone who has voted for john howard bears a degree of responsibility,
    but to end there would let everyone else off the hook,
    i marched against the iraq war even though i knew it was a done deal,
    i voted for the latham at the last elections cos howards a scum and labour was my only real choice in this pathetic system,
    and i am partly responsible for this bloodbath in iraq,
    because can i honestly say i have gone out there and done eveything in my power to change the system, to work for alternatives and to bring these corrupt leeches to responsibility, no
    i am guilty of inaction, but at least i understand and admit that,
    i’d hate to be the sort of snivelling filth that says now, ‘if id known then what i knew now’ and ‘its not my fault’,
    no excuses, it was obvious then for all who wanted to really see

  13. to further my point, a quote from Elizabeth de la Vega, part of a piece at tom dispatch on her book about a fictional trial of George Bush for defrauding americans into an illegal war

    While we are all victims of the President’s crime, we are also all bystanders. The crime is ongoing, happening right before our eyes, and we are all onlookers; we are all, in a sense, Kitty Genovese’s neighbors.

    As Malcolm Gladwell recounts in his book The Tipping Point, Kitty Genovese was viciously assaulted, stabbed three times, and finally killed, on the way to her Queens, New York, home one night in 1964. Thirty-eight neighbors heard or watched her ordeal, but no one called the police until the attack was essentially over. The murder was universally seen as a horrifying example of modern-day indifference to the plight of others. But, Gladwell explains, psychologists Bibb Latane and John Darley conducted experiments that led to a far different explanation: “When people are in a group . . . responsibility for acting is diffused. They assume that someone else will make the call, or they assume that because no one else is acting, the apparent problem . . . is not really a problem.” Ironically, then, it was not that no one called to help Kitty Genovese “despite the fact that thirty-eight people heard her scream; it’s that no one called because thirty-eight people heard her scream.”

  14. In late 2004 I hypothesised that Labor manages the economy by raising taxes and that Liberal manages the economy by allowing the RBA to set the interest rates.

    I know next to nothing about being an economist but I would like to know whether I’m right or wrong. Thanks in advance.

  15. Andrew Reynolds wrote: Is there a reason you are trying to move the discussion to this thread from the other?

    Firstly, as far as I am concerned, you would be doing myself, and most other users of this site, an enormous favour if you discontinued altogether, for reasons stated many times before. If the ‘discussion’ must continue, I think it makes more sense to not continue on this week’s, rather than on last week’s, “Monday Message Board”.

    Andrew Reynolds wrote in last week’s “Monday message board”: My position on workplace reforms should be clear – no regulation. People should be free to contract as they see fit. Workchoices, while an improvement in the freedom to contract, is nowhere near enough, as your example of the $34,000 fine shows.

    ‘nowhere near enough’? The punitive clauses did not exist prior to the enactment of the “Work Choices” legislation. If you think they are ‘nowhere near enough’ then logically, it would seem to me that you should be arguing for greater penalties.

    And why should workers who wish to engage in collective bargaining be criminalised?

    What you have written is no more than the tired old justification for destroying the wages of conditions that has been argued for many decades now and which has never been agreed to by the Australian public. The wider Australian public have intuitively understood that ‘free(dom) to contract as they see fit’ would lead to a reduction in employment conditions, which is exactly what has accurred. They have never given their consent to the removal of award protections , or, as you put it ‘no regulation’ at any elections including at the 2004 elections.

    Your post is another attempt to weasel out of responding to the substance of my points by stating a superficially appealling abstract principle with no regard to the actual consequences of the application of that principle in Austalia in 20006. I asked you before and I ask you again: One of the women who addressed Thursday’s IR rally was checkout operator who had considered John Howard to be her hero until her award conditions were destroyed under his IR legislation. Why do you think it is acceptable in a democracy for John Howard to have got this woman’s vote in 2004 without her knowing what he had planned to do to her pay packet?

  16. “Why do you think it is acceptable in a democracy for John Howard to have got this woman’s vote in 2004 without her knowing what he had planned to do to her pay packet?”

    Because there will be another election next year, you goose. You really don’t know what democracy is, do you? Hint: it is not doing whatever is popular.


  17. “If the ‘discussion’ must continue, I think it makes more sense to not continue on this week’s, rather than on last week’s, “Monday Message Boardâ€?.”

    You are of course assuming that everybody else wants to keep abreast of the debate.

  18. James,
    Your ability to hold two mutually incompatible beliefs similtaneously seems to know few bounds. The penalties are part of the regulation. No regulation = no penalties (except those in any contract signed). Simple.
    It also means that workers are free to choose who they want to obtain advice from – their union, their best mate, a good lawyer. Also simple. This gives unions a good, clear role – helping the workers, rather than political grandstanding.
    BBB – the concept of representative democracy is one that seems to have passed James by, so I will do no more than say “hear hear” to your comment.
    James – if you want to continue this it will have to be in a month as I am going on holiday. I will leave you with this thought – if we trust the people to make their own decisions in life, why do we continually give the government more power to make them on our behalf?
    Have a safe and happy Christmas and see you in the new year.

  19. Well, whaddaya know? Suddenly Morgan Stanley’s chief economist and director of global economic analysis is saying what we “Conspiracy Theorists” have been saying for a year or more:

    “Mr Roach warned that the US would come close to falling into a recession next year, an outcome that would have wide-ranging effects…

    “One to 1.5 per cent growth rate in the US is dangerous … it could quite easily lead into out-right recession in my opinion.”

    Mr Roach blamed a fizzing of the US housing market, which he expected to burst, and referred to latest statistics showing new home sales are falling while the stock of un-sold properties continues to rise.”

    But hey! He is optimistic about China.

  20. It isn’t Monday, it’s Wednesday, but I heard Barnaby Joyce today saying that both Libs and Labor are voting for legislation that will exempt foreign investors from CGT, but not Australians. Is there any independent confirmation of this lunacy? Should I apply for citizenship of the Cook Islands?

  21. In late 2004 I hypothesised that Labor manages the economy by raising taxes and that Liberal manages the economy by allowing the RBA to set the interest rates.

    I know next to nothing about being an economist but I would like to know whether I’m right or wrong. Thanks in advance.

    vee, you don’t have an idea, do you? You are dead wrong on both counts. Keating (Labor) floated the dollar and reconfirmed the independence of the RBA in setting interest rates. While under Howard (Liberal) we have the highest taxing government in history, according to all independent sources.

  22. Did you see this story about last year’s “biological agent” scare?

    It seems to me that the Howard government has engaged in a deliberate act of terrorism, possibly premeditated. At best, they knowingly distorting facts to terrify the public. At worst, they were personally involved in the planning and execution.

  23. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were, gandhi. In other news, Green Left Weekly reports that Peter Costello is now suspected of involvment in the dissappearance of Jimmy Hoffa.


  24. BBB,

    It’s not funny. This is real. Add it to Children Overboard, Saddam’s MWDs and a host of other Howard government lies and what you have is a wholesale redefinition of the role of government in Australia. Accountability no longer matters. The truth no longer matters. Is that OK with you? If and when a Labor government takes over, will it still be OK with you?

    I am not making this up. Look out your window. This is where we are today.

    Edited for coarse content

  25. Vee, I thought that one of the more knowledgable contributers would have answered your question for you and explain why you are wrong. I guess it’s up to a hack like me to give it a go. Taxes are a revenue source and it’s mostly true that every successive government at least in my lifetime has raised overall taxes above the level of it’s predecessor regardless of whether it is labor or liberal. You may like to visit the ABS website and check out tax as a percentage of GDP over perhaps the last fifty years.

    The RBA, interest rates and monetary policy is another matter. This is the mechanism for controlling the liquidity of the money supply to maintain a set target. It wasn’t always interest rates either. Prior to the float the target was a fixed exchange rate. For a much better explanation than I can give I may suggest that you go to google and search on the words “open market operations”. That should clear things up for you.

    Just one thing on the tax take. Way back when tax was about 25% of GDP was government really so unnecessarily small.

  26. I wrote: One of the women who addressed Thursday’s IR rally was checkout operator who had considered John Howard to be her hero until her award conditions were destroyed under his IR legislation. Why do you think it is acceptable in a democracy for John Howard to have got this woman’s vote in 2004 without her knowing what he had planned to do to her pay packet?

    Bingo Bango Boingo wrote: Because there will be another election next year, you goose. You really don’t know what democracy is, do you? Hint: it is not doing whatever is popular.

    There’s clearly a world of difference between the way Howard apologists understand political ethics these days and the rest of us do.

    I have also dealt with much of this on the “Make Telstra public again” thread and in many other places, so I am not going to further repeat myself.

    Andrew Reynolds wrote: BBB … the concept of representative democracy is one that seems to have passed James by, so I will do no more than say ‘hear hear’ to your comment.

    This confirms, yet again, why discussing anything with you is a waste of my time. I have responded to similar points many times before, and yet you persist in repeating yourself without any acknowledgement of those past responses, such as this one also on the “Make Telstra public again” thread.

    I have come to regard this kind of behaviour as a form of on-line harassment and have no wish to continue such a ‘discussion’ in the new year.

  27. “Political ethics”? But they are all colour blind in ethical wavelengths. It is a defect of the system, the way it turns formerly decent people into politicians or (rarely) into ineffectives.

  28. P.M.Lawrence,

    I think it is just as much a mistake to presume that all politicians are corrupt and unethical as it is to assume that they are all well-meaning and honest. If we tar all politicians with the same brush, it makes it that much harder for those who are trying to do the right thing.

  29. I wasn’t clear enough that I recognise the existence of well meaning politicians. However, I see them as ineffective and subject to going native, i.e. remaining well meaning but going with the flow.

    As for making it harder for them by tarring them with the same brush, well, on the one hand I do not assume they are all hypocrites, just that they are all struggling with the tar baby – only, some deliberately. I do not see how “supporting” them can actually make things better – at that philosophical level.

    Which is not to say that we shouldn’t assist tactically, only we ought to recognise that in doing so we are at best only mitigating things – and at worst we too are mistaken about just which evils are the lesser ones.

  30. There’s a false dichotomy there, one which leads to the spurious idea that if you can’t have what you want, you should take what you don’t want. But if abstention (which is illegal) is in fact preferable, why assist the spurious mandates of whichever crew is leading at any point? Why not at least remain pure in one’s heart by not allowing oneself to join where one’s vote has been thrown?

    It’s worth noting that the Australian variant not only extorts votes (and so manufactures spurious support, preventing abstinence from signalling). It also bans MPs from the 19th century Irish tactics of join-and-sabotage, that the Irish worked out to stop a spurious co-option that persuaded the rest of the electorate that parliamentary processes at Westminster were enough for Irish issues.

    We also see the groupthink in otherwise ethical MPs gradually but inevitably making the plaintive suggestion that they are worth their pay, because they work so hard – as though we did not know how hard and futile their work was. It’s Marxist labour theory of value, applied to politicians, as usual omiting whether what they do is worth it.

    Here, we are discussing not their cash wages but the underlying support – and I risk breaking their self-serving law by suggesting that they construct support for the system in all the ways that Albert Langer got jailed for highlighting. Yet, how can we even theoretically reform things if we get jailed for even raising the questions?

    So I am content to remain philosophically anarchist (without committing to actual underlying values or suggesting that there are anarchist solutions – at any rate, solutions ready to hand). I am content to look for wider approaches, but I insist on preserving my integrity by not endorsing things as they are. Who knows, perhaps one day the politicians really will need us, and then they will fall flat on their faces and we can rebuild.

    The thing is, we know – the hard way – that they won’t shit or get off the pot. We are better advised to put our efforts into entirely other things, not waste ourselves in locking them and their non-solutions in.

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