25 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. John, it seems like the heady days for Australian iron ore exporters is slowly coming to an end for unless there is a miracle very very very soon and an upswing in spot iron ore prices, next year Australian exporters will be at the mercy of Chinese steelmakers in a ‘buyers’ market’ as price takers.

  2. As the stories of food contaminants make clear, Australians cannot rely upon the quality control of other countries. Seems our testing of imports needs to be improved in Australia, if we are to avoid the sort of events that have happened in China with melamine recently.

    PS Obama for President. Unlike The Australian, I endorse him.

  3. Not wrong Michael as the news that Mount Gibson Iron has retrenched 190 workers due to buyer contract defaults is the leading edge. Forget the $20/T scrap steel prices(down from $350?T in a matter of weeks) I heard about on Friday. This arvo I’m down to pick up the lad’s work van from my trusty mechanic J after a service and he’s seeing off a Mitsi Express van that’s seen better days onto a tilt tray tow truck. ‘Not worth fixing J?’ says I initiating the usual info swap on how biz is going. No it wasn’t and the owner was damn lucky the wreckers would take it, because as J informed me the Lonsdale scrap yard has stopped taking cars for the shredder period, let alone paying any diesel pin money for them.

    If Kev was choking on the R word on the news tonight, the real economy is way ahead of him on the alphabet already. Makes you chuckle with all those sinecured grads in Canberra, pawing over their keyboards and stats to come up with the late late news, when a couple of street savvy small busines types with a big phone account would fill the bill nicely. Anyway, industry will only hoard labour on make work programs until Xmas now, so the really bad news will come with the holiday pay cheques. Double digit unemployment by end Qtr1 2009 is on the cards now.

  4. Retailers are where the really interesting action will be. The big national ones can watch the recession in almost real time as they see their hourly sales numbers come in over the Xmas period. A lot of retailers earn 50% or more of their profits between now and January.

  5. Speaking of bloating the public sector to tell us what we already know, how’s this for a classic-

    ‘COMPETITION for the cheapest basket of groceries is now evenly split between the nation’s two supermarket giants, according to the competition watchdog’s latest survey.
    GROCERYchoice’s figures for November, based on 61 regions across the country, shows Coles and Woolworths are the cheapest on a total grocery basket in 30 regions each.
    The only exception is one region in Eastern Central Queensland, where the independents are the cheapest.’
    Duh! They must still have corner delis in Canberra.

    What’s more, can you believe that with petrol prices having dropped the greatest amount in a week in over 4 years, Kev and Co are still trying to foist Fuelwatch on us, although with tax revenues going south poor old Wayne must be hoping spoiler Nick X sticks to his guns. My sage advice to Wayne is to play the jilted lover with Nick X and then get the Petrol Commissioner looking useful working on some reasons why petrol prices aren’t coming down fast enough. Then sidetrack Kev to make THE BIG announcement on turning Grocerywatch into Carbonwatch, rather than firing up another expensive ACCC petrol price enquiry. When all else fails, restructuring is the name of the game Wayne.

    Meanwhile back to money and people that really matter-
    where you’ll note JQ gets an honourable mention, if only in the footnotes.

  6. if you don’t like the way canberra is running the country, have you got any constructive suggestions on how to do better? no.

    as it should be of course. not our place to demand better performance from our masters, we must be ‘umbly grateful when they don’t trash the place visibly. if..

    long term, they are trashing the place, but it’s not our place to direct better performance.

  7. Donald at 2, I agree and some imported food should be tested off the market, namely where it constitutes unfair competition.

    So Rudd thinks the economy is going to get ugly. His ugly is the best thing that can happen to the world.

    Bring on the steady state economy!

    This mindless chant of ‘growth’ by our politicians is leading me to despair. These people are intelligent, they know we live in a finite world and they should know we are using 1.4 planets worth of resources.

    What do our political, business and media leaders tell themselves each day to keep this monsterous delusion of the need for ‘growth’ alive in their brains?

    I know one thing for sure and that is, they are not leaders but drivers, and that we are being driven to a deserted quarry somewhere and bad things are going to happen.

  8. “if you don’t like the way canberra is running the country, have you got any constructive suggestions on how to do better?”
    You mean to tell me Obama isn’t going to fix it all al? … bad things are going to happen SG?…Gulp!…Why wasn’t I freaking well told?…. Somebody has to put this right… or compensate me….or,or..

  9. Does anyone want to hazard a prediction of the popular vote? I predicted a DEM landslide (= 53%+) back in May 2008. That looks conservative now.

    Most interesting is whether the DEM congressional vote will fall below the Obama presidential vote. THis has been my feeling ever since Oby got the DEM nomination.

    I have always argued that OBama’s race is a net positive for him, as against the so-called “Bradley effect”. THere are more middle class white Americans attracted to his gentlemanly black persona than there are working class white Americans repelled by his radical black identity.

    So there will be a strong “Sydney Poitier/Harry Belafonte/Morgan Freeman” vote for Obama come Wednesday.

    Possibly reinforcing the Obama>DEM margin will be a slight countervailing tendency amongst electors to vote against the party of the President in the congressional elections. This so-called “see-saw effect” may slightly depress the DEM congressional vote. (One can perhaps see this see-saw effect in the tendency for AUS voters to vote against the HoR govt party in the SENATE and STATE elections.)

    I predict (totally off the top of my head and on the basis of no research) that this moderating tactical voting tendency will be most evident in Purple (swing) and Red States.

    Please, lets have some psephological predictions put out there for testing. Preferably quantitative or at least with a clearly defined sign.

  10. Jack- Obama 55%+ popular vote; 350-375 EV votes; 25-30 net pick-up in the house for the Democrats; Democrats control with the Senate with roughly 58 votes counting Leibermann and Sanders.

  11. Why can Australia manage a compulsory voting system, with adequate polling stations, yet a single American state (eg Florida) cannot do the same? Perhaps an academic somewhere could put a research grant to good use looking into where (demographically and geographically speaking) the bottlenecks and shortages in the polling station resources occur? This year would the polling booth problems perchance be concentrated in poor black areas? My guess is that the statistics would show the turn-aways (ie people who initially queued but reneged on voting due to the long wait) ran higher in the poor black areas this time. Operation McCain at Fox Command Central (Channel 604) has made me very cynical of US media!

    PS: AWB – let the search for truth continue.

  12. I’m not going to breathe easy until the fat lady and Greg Palast sings…

    Karl Rove once said, “We have elections like those run in countries where the guys in charge are, you know, colonels in mirrored glasses.” He wasn’t complaining; he was boasting.

  13. ‘@8 – That’d be a “Noâ€? then.’
    Not necessarily Damocles. I thought I might give printing more money and guaranteeing it all a bit more time to work, with Obamessiah as backstop. What the hell, you never know with surges.

  14. Besides Damocles, I’m learning real fast with things like Media Mike taking over the Pitlands and Jenny continuing intervention and quarantining, not to mention sending the kids off to private boarding schools, that it’s all about attitude rather than policy dude.

  15. it’s easy to run the country much better than present standard. but we’d have to bring the population below 10 million, shift holden to bicycles, put an alternator on the exercise bikes, and teach gardening in primary school.

    oz would be a much better place, but i’m afraid you guys couldn’t live without woolies and 240vac. sigh.

  16. Buck up al and don’t get too bogged down with analysis and messy technicalities. It’s all in the power of positive thinking and attitude. Just think change and change happens dude.

  17. observa at 8, I don’t know exactly what you were on about, (nothing new there) but you appear to have assumed I was refering to the global financial crisis and your sarcasm was in response to the obviousness of consequences following it.

    That would be wrong however because I don’t regard the GFC as a crisis, rather an opportunity for the world to change the way it does business i.e. reduce population and consumption.

    I was refering to the ‘bad things’ of mass starvation and resource wars which is where we are being driven by big businesses’ self interest and enabled by their power over our pollies.

    Hopefully, the global financial slowdown will continue for many years, during which time even the thickest of knuckleheads will realize that it is the way things have to be forever.

  18. A major theme running through this thread is that of resource prices. Any downturn will be temporary. A major resource shortage is coming to a planet near you… in fact the one you are standing on.

    Resource wars are a certainty.

  19. I meant any “downturn in prices will be temporary.” I endorse Salient Green’s point of view.

  20. So let’s see, the RBA cuts interest rates.

    By the end of the day, shares have fallen and the dollar has risen.

    That’s pretty much the exact opposite of what conventional wisdom would have predicted.

    Maybe market commentators will take that to heart and just start reporting what happened not trying to explain it.

  21. Damocles,

    I can only assume there are two reasons for the dollar rising. One is that the market had already factored in large interest rate cuts. The other is that the dollar is coming off a relatively low base.

  22. Nick – or maybe short-term market fluctuations are essentially random.

    Maybe the US traders were distracted by the election tomorrow.

    Maybe the Australian market was off because all the Melbourne brokers were at The Cup.

    Maybe there was a single one-one currency transaction.

    It’s mostly guesswork.

  23. I am depressed, they were talking about the financial crises on the ABC as i drove home.

    1st caller ranted on about the damage that the feminists have done to our economy

    Then the next caller talked about how the financial crises was staged so the global elites could create a global governement.

    Why do people come up with such creative fiction, rather then try and read and understand what is actually going on.

  24. Mystery is fascinating.

    Did anyone watch ABC doco in the wee hours about World Trade Center Building number 7?

    I’m just saying Larry Silverstein is an intriguing character.

    I once knew a beautiful merchant banker that worked in Lehmann Brothers office at the WTC. I have a photo sitting at her desk holding a trading phone to each ear, surrounded by monitors.

    She didn’t go into work on September 11, feeling sick.

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