43 thoughts on “Weekend reflections

  1. I see my earlier predictions that the Arab Spring would fail and descend into a series of failed states and warlordism is being borne out. Libya is descending into tribalism. Syria is falling apart. Egypt will take longer but will go the same way. The real dynamic driving these collapses are the resource shortages being caused by the limits to growth.

    Western Europe is following the same path hastened by the disastrously misconceived monetary union.

  2. What they really need is a genuine “Pro-Democracy” drive.

    We could use one of them here in the ‘West’, too!

    The people want it, but the powerful are not going to allow it.

  3. The perfect storm of the Libor scandal seems to be gathering momentum, even as a smug-looking former Barclay’s CEO emerges from the House of Common’s investigation. The adversarial contest between leading opposing politicians, which might be supposed to be normal, serves to undermine the effort to keep a distance of the political process from the unfolding disaster. Financial capitalism has it seems created economic mayhem with toxic derivatives, but in this instance the internal corporate environment was driven by fear. So much for “the end of history”. Unfettered capitalism shows itself to be an unmitigated disaster (as might have been expected).

  4. One has to feel sorry for Barclay’s CEO in the same way one is forced to feel sorry for Bernie Madoff. Really, its not as they have done anything out of ordinary for those involved at the top of the finance tree. Especially in view of what a fine fellow Bob Diamond is:
    http://www.newsbiscuit.com/2012/06/29/barclays-ceo-rescues-six-kittens-from-a-bin-takes-them-to-kids-cancer-ward/
    One can feel their pain, and shocked disbelief at being singled out for wrong doing that has become and been now acceptable for so long. Similar shock and disbelief must have accompanied Rupert Murdoch during his recent experiences with the horrid British.

  5. “Unfettered capitalism shows itself to be an unmitigated disaster (as might have been expected).” says ‘wmmbb’.

    Yes, it turns out to be the disaster that Marx and Engels diagnosed and predicted.

    Freelander’s posts are amusing. News Biscuit is an hilarious spoof of “news before it happens”. The idea of taking six filthy, disease and vermin laden kittens out of a dumpster and straight to a kid’s cancer ward full of immune-compromised children is after all about as smart as setting up toxic derivatives and rigging the Libor rate in an economy staggering under an immense private debt burden.

    And “Mishap Accomplished” indeed! The cost of US materiels and lives wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan could have transitioned the US economy to energy self-sufficency (step 1) and then a fully renewable energy economy (step 2). That possibility has likely been lost forever. The US seems past the tipping point now. I doubt that sufficient imagination, will, reserves and resources remain to complete the transition.

  6. The NSW Labor Right is once again seeking to bring on a brawl between Labor and the Greens. At some point the wiser heads in the ALP (and there are some) are going to have to assert, and argue within the party for recognition of, three fundamental realities:

    1. Australia now has two significant parties of the centre-left and this state of affairs is going to continue for the forseeable future.

    2. It is in the interests of both parties (although for somewhat different reasons in each case) for them to achieve some kind of cooperative accommodation, even continuing to have principled disagreements from time to time.

    3. Labor will not be able to come to a sensible position on its relations with the Greens, or anyone else, until it has worked out unresolved questions about it own values, purpose and identities.

  7. “Australia now has two significant parties of the centre-left…”

    Really? I can only think of one (despite some wishful thinking from a lot of people who refuse to accept the ALP is now root-n-branch neo liberal).

  8. Paul Howes of the AWU has been talking through his fundament about the 2010 Senate results, claiming that the Greens did not receive a quota in any mainland State and would not have won any mainland Senate seats without Labor preferences. I have looked at the figures and the preference distributions and can advise that:

    * Richard De Natale was elected with a quota in his own right in Victoria;
    * Lee Rhiannon was elected on Liberal Democratic Party preferences (!) in NSW and Labor preferences were irrelevant as the context for the last place was between her and the third Labor candidate;
    * Larissa Waters would have been elected on Sex Party preferences in Queensland;
    * Rachel Siewert would have been elected on Sex Party preferences in WA;
    * Penny Wright was elected on Sex Party preferences in SA so Labor preferences were irrelevant;
    * and of course Christine Milne had a quota in her own right in Tasmania.

    Of course the possibility exists that in the 2013 Senate election a decision by Labor to preference the Greens last could, given certain configurations of votes and preferences for the vatious parties, materially affect the Greens’ electoral chances and contribute to the election of a Coalition Senator, or a Senator from a party like the DLP, Christian Democrats or Family First, in some states. If this eventuates it will be interesting to see how vocal people like Paul Howes and Sam Dastyari will be in claiming credit for such an outcome.

  9. Party ownership of preferences is nonsense anyway. If Howes can’t remain faceless surely he could remain silent.

  10. @Megan

    According to the web-site linked, CDs are mainly traded among financial institutions. So the ‘interest rate’ is the yield rather than a central bank determined discount rate.

  11. They could still be worth purchasing if there was an expectation of the currency appreciating.

  12. For whom? Considering the foreign exchange data published on the same web-site, the non-Euro Scandinavian financial institutions might have bought a few Danish CDs.

  13. Further to BBB@C #12, Paul Howes wrote a villifying, slanderous and scapegoating article published in the Adelaide Sunday Mail today. Talk about bite the hand that feeds you.

    This sort of unprincipled backstabbing will not improve Labor’s popularity. I have little fear of such smearing having much effect on the Greens vote. I have more fear that the Greens have been tarnished by having a close association with the modern Labor party with it’s lack of principles and directionless, faceless men who turn like a yellow dog when they need someone else to blame for their failures.

  14. The Labor party is nothing but a coalition of factions with each faction having at most one member. Every one, with a few notable exceptions, seems motivated by “but what’s in it for me?”. Latest also being KRudd being spruiked by his wife “for the national good”. Give me a break!

  15. The ALP need my vote and a Heck of a lot of other votes too, but their current antics simply make that less likely. As Christine Milne quipped, if the ALP put Family First ahead of the Greens, then we know which party are the real extremists^fn1. In her words:

    But Senator Milne says Labor are aligning themselves with the real extremists by preferencing the conservative Family First ahead of the Greens.

    “That’s where the extremism is in Australian politics and the Greens actually represent mainstream values and mainstream opinion,” she said.

    FN1: Meaning, of course, the ALP for putting an extremist group such as Family First ahead of the Greens. Paul Howes should ponder that long and hard, before his next bagging of the Greens.

    PS: After reading several recent news fictional accounts, I thought I should include a footnote. Just in case.

  16. Lee Rhiannon was elected on Liberal Democratic Party preferences (!) in NSW and Labor preferences were irrelevant as the context for the last place was between her and the third Labor candidate;

    This assertion is rubbish but I’ve seen it repeated several places. The LDP group preferences for NSW in 2010 are on the public record and the Greens were essentially preferences last. Well actually Communist Alliance was preferenced last but for all the difference it makes the Greens may as well have been. See for yourself at the following link:-

    http://www.abc.net.au/elections/federal/2010/guide/gtv.htm?ticket=nsw_af

  17. TerjeP @21, I’ve rechecked the distribution of preferences in the NSW Senate poll and you’re right,

    There was a parcel of approximately 100,000 votes which were distributed to Lee Rhiannon, and got her elected, after the final LDP candidate was eliminated. However almost all of this parcel appears to have been Australian Sex Party votes which parked with the LDP before being passed on to the Greens at the final count, not LDP votes.

    The main point I was making, namely that ALP preferences were irrelevant to the Greens’ success in the 2010 Senate poll in NSW and that Paul Howes is talking through his fundament, still stands.

  18. This article is worth reading also and explains the attitude that some of us have noticed about a certain type of person.

    http://nymag.com/news/features/money-brain-2012-7/

    They “showed through quizzes, online games, questionnaires, in-lab manipulations, and field studies that being rich can make people less ethical, more selfish, more insular, and less compassionate than other people.”

    “While having money doesn’t necessarily make anybody anything, the rich are way more likely to prioritize their own self-interests above the interests of other people. It makes them more likely to exhibit characteristics that we would stereotypically associate with, say, assholes.”

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