89 thoughts on “Weekend reflections

  1. @Ikonoclast

    Ernestine’s point:

    it isn’t possible to quickly have a fairer way of stopping the rot.

    is interesting. Using wealth from larger accounts, leaving normal accounts alone, is a fair means of addressing a short-term problem, or a short-term crisis caused by a long-term tendency.

    It does not stop the rot.

  2. I think we have to be clear that money is not wealth. Money is a representation of wealth. Moving money from depositors’ accounts to the government account is an accounting exercise like any other accounting exercise. The national debts requiring “servicing” could just as easily be defaulted upon.

    Case A is take money from depositors (depositors lose money).
    Case B is default on debt (lenders lose money).

    It seems to me that mid to high range depositors in Cyprus, probably still little fish compared to the real big sharks, are being hit in preference to hitting the multi-billionaire lenders who would be hit by default. Thus there has to be a hidden dirty reason for doing it this way. There always is in capitalism. The big manipulators are still playing their games.

    It is bizarre that people seem to have forgotten that default is an option IF a country maintains currency sovereignty.

    It is also bizarre to me that the debate is conducted as if money is real. Money IS NOT REAL. It is notional. There is a huge difference between objective reality and notional reality. Only matter and energy and perhaps raw conscious are real. The rest we make up as we go along and we can change our notional inventions as we wish albeit it takes democracy and consensus to do so in our system.

  3. Defaulting on unsecured loans to the government is far better than fleecing deposit holders who have lent money to a private bank. Why you would call the later an example of capitalism is a mystery to me. Appropriating property is a socialist thing. But whatever you call it I think we should all agree that it is a bad thing to do.

  4. @TerjeP

    Appropriating property is a socialist thing. But whatever you call it I think we should all agree that it is a bad thing to do.

    Err no. People “appropriate” property all the time. It’s not an accident that the word “appropriate” has the stem for property and ownership in it. The court system adjudicates matters of property as a matter of core business, depriving some of title or equity in it and awarding it to others where warrant obtains. This country was founded on Europeans “appropriating” the land to their own purposes. All the titles to land that now exist in this jurisdiction derive from that appropriation — and most people in this country think this was a perfectly valid thing, though many are uncomfortable with it.

    It has nothing specific to do with ‘soc|al|sm’ at all, nor is appropriation of property either a bad thing or a good thing apart from the context in which the appropriation occurs.

    The key question should be — who has the most persuasive claim to hold a particular item of property?. That is a question that can only be answered on the basis of one’s cultural paradigm so there is no general answer to the question.

    “Socialism” is concerned with questions of equity — how can property be settled to underpin authentic community, productivity, equity etc …

    It takes account of both social labour and private labour, accepted usage and in broad terms “the greater good”. If appropriation of property is the result of bona fide considerations of this type, then at the risk of punning, it’s entirely apt.

  5. @TerjeP

    You are either trolling or deliberately piling error on top of error.

    Cyprus is appropriating property … as a direct consequence of capitalism.

    There is no appropriating property within socialism except where that is what society wants – as in confiscation of proceeds of crime provisions, and the resumption of land provisions that provided for the establishment of ACT, the development of the Snowy Mountains Hydro scheme, building many productive motorways, and will no doubt provide for a second Sydney airport.

    However in Cyprus, the capitalists are planning to just make a direct grab with no recompense.

  6. Given the verve and vigor “Australia’s leading libertarian and centre-right blog” deals with major economic issues to demonstrate to all the wonders of capitalism, you would think they would have plenty to say when capitalists rob citizens of hard earned cash.

    Nope – eyes shut, ears clamped, mouths gagged, keyboards silent.

    Maybe we could offer a prize to anyone finding a comment, in that other place, on the reality of capitalism, now reality has set in over in Cyprus.

    This Google search failed to find anything.

    site:catallaxyfiles.com cyprus 2013

    What are they really on about?

  7. Recently I have been brought to the attention of a interesting fact, which is “The Commonwealth of Australia” is a registered company under the United States with an American business number. Is this something to be concerned with or a trade requirement?
    There seems to be a documentry on it however I have not had a chance to see it myself, here is a link to the trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJxfD2mS0XU
    There are other facts of interest including our coat of arms being trademarked and that certain wording of government forms/websites make it seem that the citizens are actually clients and the government is more of a business.

  8. @Daniel

    but isn’t the government being more of a business exactly what business wants?

    the idea that “just in time” over-rides “just in case” is at the heart of their chemically difficult reasoning.

    i had to get that in somewhere—-chemically difficult——waaaahehe—nominated for

    “most meaningless conservative phrase of the year”.

    (and so useful)

  9. News Flash!

    Julia Gillard today: “It will be a contest counter-intuitive to those believing in gender stereotypes, but a contest between a strong feisty woman and a policy-weak man, and I’ll win it.”

    What??? It is “counter-intuitive” because all the polling evidence is totally the other way. Surely this level of delusion is grounds for immediate removal. Or is the ALP now like the Republican Party an evidence free faith based movement?

    God Help Us.

  10. @Tony Lynch

    What??? It is “counter-intuitive” because all the polling evidence is totally the other way.

    That ‘evidence’ is misleading because until the LNP spells out its program, it’s impossible to see who holds the advantage.

    God Help Us.

    If there were a god, the situation and the result would be his doing, so your appeal would be moot. I note the irony entailed in accusing others of being a ‘faith-based movement’ and appealing to ‘God’ for help.

  11. Labour rats are gnawing away at Gillard still.

    Rumours are emerging that some challenge is possible on Friday.

    Conroy has stuffed things up, practically everything he touches.

    Some say there is a gap of 5 votes, but this is a mile and, at this stage, not worth the constant media feeding by this gang of subversives.

    If a challenge emerges, this means that Rudd has done nothing to quell these forces. This was his public posture. If a challenge emerges, Rudd will be exposed as the master of duplicity.

  12. @Chris Warren

    The “media” is saturated with this ‘Stalinist’ (etc.. – insert News Ltd/Fairfax/ABC ‘shock, outrage, fury’ reporting) idea to pass some laws about the media.

    Abbott and Gillard just held hands (metaphorically) and waved through the first two parts of this “outrageous”, “draconian”, “Stalinist”, “extreme” etc.. program of six bills.

    The biggest and least covered by our “media” is cutting airwave rego fees for TV billionaires by 50%!!

    Gillard and Abbott, voting together on this “reform”! And the “media” won’t report this to the wider public because it would ruin the pantomime image of conflict/tussle between the two identical parties running our country.

  13. However in Cyprus, the capitalists are planning to just make a direct grab with no recompense.

    The government is doing it. The government is not “capitalists”. And confiscating wealth by force is not capitalism. It is socialism. If you wish to confuse your labels then so be it, however we seem to agree that the decision is wrong in principle.

  14. Megan you forgot “horrifying”.

    the rort (sorry) resort (sorry) retort ( blast,get it right nong) r.e.p.o.r.t on a “reached deal” on the front page of nufin?

    a slippery excercise in misdirection.

  15. Fran,

    Of course we can believe the polling! It isn’t “impossible to see who has the advantage” until the LNP policies arespelt out, because we all know those policies anyway. But many of us are going to vote for policies we loathe. & that’s the tragey, * Julia could do something about that…

    Saying “God help us” isn’t to go in for “faith-based theism”, it is to say “The sh*t is going to hit the fan”. (To say that saying this – or, I suppose, “There but for the grace of God” – implies a commitment to Theism is what religious nuts say.

  16. So let me summarise for the benefit of senators. On Tuesday, 12 February, I asked the Attorney-General’s Department if an interdepartmental committee had commenced in relation to the Open Government Partnership. The Attorney-General’s Department witnesses assured the committee that no IDC existed and the process had not started. On Thursday, 14 February, I asked a similar question of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and I was told that an IDC did exist. In fact, the committee heard:
    The IDC has met several times … at director level …
    … … …
    The IDC met most recently in January.
    Well, where does the truth lie?
    Tonight I request that the Attorney-General’s Department and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade explain the inconsistencies in the evidence they have provided to the Senate. I request that a clear statement be made on this important matter of the Open Government Partnership as soon as possible in relation to, first of all, the existence of an interdepartmental committee on the Open Government Partnership. I also want to know its membership, the dates of its meetings and its work program. It goes without saying that, if any inaccurate or misleading evidence was provided to either Senate committee, as I have referred to, that is a matter on which I think action should be taken as soon as possible to ensure that the record is corrected. As Senator Feeney is in the chamber at the moment—and doing overtime—I do hope that Senator Feeney will draw my concerns to the attention of Attorney-General Dreyfus and Foreign Minister Carr.

    WTF? Anyone have any idea why the faux lefty Faulkner suddenly appears to be challenging Bob Carr and Dreyfus at this point?

    By all means – hurl Gillard out in the manner she came in, good for a laugh, but don’t expect us to believe that the ALP suddenly stands for something! You’ve had years to demonstrate if you stand for anything other than neo-liberal fascism and you have proven that you don’t.

    Weirdos.

  17. Megan :

    I wonder why? Not the lame excuses, the real reason.

    A breakout of Queensland disease, mixed with blind ambition, sparked-off by plotters.

    Result – explosion.

  18. @Chris Warren

    ALP ultra-right (ie: ALP) has an interesting history of getting a woman to carry out the last gasps of their neo-con agenda just before the party gets slaughtered – Kenneally, Bligh, Gillard (?) – for having a neo-con agenda.

    Still puzzled by the existence of ALP supporters who appear to think LNP is somehow “bad”.

  19. Looks like Crean was manipulated by Rudd, and then left hanging.

    As they entered the Caucus room Crean turned to Rudd and said: “You should have rung”.

    See: http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2013/s3721548.htm

    Crean went on to say:

    SIMON CREAN: I spoke to him in the Caucus when we went in. My only words to him were ‘you should have rung’. There is a right way and there’s a wrong way. He took the wrong way. There was only one right way given that he and his team had put us through and he should have exercised it.

    What does Crean mean – “he and his team had put us through”.

    Who is the “us”?

    Who is “his team”?

    I think Australia has had a very lucky escape, if Creans further comments are any guide.

    NAOMI WOODLEY: Simon Crean told News Radio that any future negotiations with Kevin Rudd should be treated with caution.

    SIMON CREAN: I think it would be wise for anyone that has dealings with Kevin Rudd in the future to make sure that they dot every i and cross every t in any conversation he has. He just gives different messages depending on who he’s talking to and this is a classic example of it.

    Too bloody right! Rudd is a danger.

  20. I like Simon Crean. But the reality is that he executed poorly if his intent was actually to change the leadership. Poor execution seems to be a bit of a pattern with the whole ALP at the moment.

    Oh and they have essentially dumped their media reforms in the midst of all this. Another failure in execution.

  21. Rudd lost as PM to the anyone but Rudd candidate.

    Rudd then bottled it when he could have won as the anyone but Julia candidate.

    Those three ministers should have resigned before the ballot when it might have weakened Gillard, not today after the ballot when the resignations makes her stronger.

    Rudd lacks the ticker to be PM.

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  23. @iain
    That was painful to read, Iain. I may never get the words ‘electron yolk’ out of my head now. Or the phrase ‘…as fast as two molecules a second.’ Home and business energy storage has a lot of potential, but I doubt we will get rid of power lines any time soon. At least not in towns and cities. Of course, not getting rid of power lines is not the same as not wasting vast amounts of money on recent transmission upgrades.

  24. Syrian Foreign Ministry: UNHRC Resolution rejected as it ignores support for terrorism in Syria

    DAMASCUS, (SANA)- Syria strongly rejects the selectiveness adopted while drafting the resolution which was endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Friday, saying such resolutions are continuation of attempts to sabotage efforts seeking political settlement for the crisis, said an official source at the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry on Saturday.

    “Once again the UNHRC gets carried along by a wide misleading campaign led by countries supporting terrorism in Syria to provide a political cover for the crimes committed by the armed terrorist groups,” the source added.

    See also: Syrian People’s Assembly Speaker: Time for international community to listen to the truth, not mainstream media lies of 24 Mar 2013, Murder of 42 in mosque bombing a continuation of the war against the Syrian people of 22 Mar 2013.

  25. @Ronald Brak

    If you know more than the science is currently saying and see any obvious hurdle, let us know of your discovery. If this is commercialised in the next 5-10 years, it will make most existing electricity generating and transmission assets obsolete and worthless (except for scrap copper or alternate use). Distribution assets will likely still have some value, however.

    In advocating for non-privatisation of electricity assets, this argument should be considered.

  26. @iain
    I don’t think I know more that ‘the science’. But I do think I know more than ‘the science writer’. At ‘as fast as two molecules a second’ it would only take about 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years to get a gram of hydrogen gas. Pass the beans and my digestive system will do that in a month or two. my guess is they couldn’t work out what small burrowing mammals had to do with hydrogen and wrote molecules instead of moles.

  27. @Ronald Brak

    Yes, I read the two molecules per second part also. I thought it had a strangely upbeat quality.

    I did wonder if there was another part to the description though. For example: “two molecules per second per molecule of catalyst”. I’m sure this would then be faster your digestive system, Ronald. 🙂

    However, I don’t know how fast it would be compared to what is required.

  28. @David Jago
    I’d like to appologize. It would actually only take about 10,000,000,000,000,000 years to get a gram of hydrogen gas at the rate of two molecules per second. I should have realized I had made a mistake as having to wait around for 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years is just ridiculous.

  29. I was listening to Newsradio this morning while brushing my teeth and from the other room I heard it reported that the ALP in NSW had challenged the O’Farrell regime to get moving on its ‘anti-bikie’ laws.

    Now from a civil rights point of view, I have serious concerns over legislation that seeks to criminalise mere association. I cannot begin to see how anyone who regards laws targeting identity and association (rather than specific conduct) can claim to be any kind of progressive. But let’s put that to one side, because I long ago stopped thinking of the ALP as ‘progressive’ in any meaningful sense. Certainly, they survive, when they do, because people who count themselves progressive vote for them despite the fact that they clearly aren’t, merely on the basis that the other lot appear to be even more oppressive and reactionary. I’ve often pointed out how flawed this reasoning is.

    My question goes to what the ALP thinks it will get out of contesting the field on ‘laura norder‘ with their more insistently reactionary and dog-whistling rivals. Does the ALP really believe it can outflank the Liberals on the right? Is there, in its view, a large bunch of people in winnable seats (let’s not call them marginal because few are close enough for that title) who, hearing the ALP say ‘me too’ on Laura Norder will coo their approval and consider voting for a party that is still widely regarded as incorrigibly corrupt and repulsive? If the ALP believes this, it really is in no better shape than it was when it was smashed in March of 2011. Firstly, if I weren’t an environmentalist and had not turned off the water, I’d not have heard the item at all. “ALP agrees with Liberal government, only more so” is not much of a story and not one that is going to get it any kudos. At best, someone like Jones or Hadley will have to find some other talking point, and Obeid is a lot more interesting.

    Really, the NSW ALP would be better off shutting its mouth if this is what it has in its head. If it can’t stand up for civil rights, because its forces are too puny, largely from being too much like the Liberals plus being corrupt, then it should at least not cheer their dissolution. A better idea, given that most people couldn’t care less what they said right now, might be to focus on building an organisation that people would want to join and support between elections. It’s a radical idea, but given that the downside risk in this is currently zero, if they can’t do this now, it’s hard to imagine when they would. Given that the Liberals already have the Laura Norder and assorted reactionaries pretty much sewn up, why not focus more on appealing to people who like civil rights, social justice, the environment, etc? Yes, that might be the minority but as they are now a minority anyway, having one that is coherent might be a help.

    In a similar vein, I was looking into the Gary Gray matter yesterday and at his website came across a tweet from Andrew Leigh, lately the Parliamentary Secretary to Gillard, who claimed that “the ALP is the party of Deakin” or some such thing. Again, I’m wondering what the ALP thinks it is getting out of such claims. Are there really people in winnable seats who are not already committed to one of the major parties who like Alfred Deakin (I presume it’s this one) so much that the mere mention of his name will make them look fondly on the ALP? To the best of my knowledge, none of the major polling organisations have ever identified Deakin nostalgia as an opening for the ALP. I’d be surprised if even 1 in 50 voters knew his first name let alone point to any substantive achievement of his in the glory of which the ALP could bask.

    OK, people educated in the 1940s and 1950s in Australia might know of him, as would history buffs and people who paid attention in compulsory history class. My Year 9s last year knew of him as an author of the White Australia Policy, attempts to Pacific Islanders, and as someone who agreed to exclude Aborigines from countring in the new constitution. He was a protectionist who, in 1890 had helped to violently (but successfully) suppress the first big maritime strike in Australia. So even allowing that there are some out there who have heard of him, Andrew Leigh has to hope that they’ve not heard these bits, or that they have heard of these bits but think that’s a good thing. This is obviously some multi-toned dogwhistle.

    It seems to me though that citing Alfred Deakin as a patron of ALP values probably falls well short of anything that would save the furniture. Maybe there are 50 people currently intending to vote for Abbott who would be favourably impressed, but surely, there has to be better. Now, if they’d said they were the party of Curtin, Chifley and Evatt, people would laugh, but more would be impressed — maybe 100 or so.

    Really, they are a clueless bunch. This is what happens when you abandon all coherent ideas in an attempt to win support from people who ought not to respect you. You just talk tosh.

  30. see http://mruniversity.com/ for a online course on the economics of the media.

    It has an excellent section on media bias and tests for media bias. an example is a change of ownership should change the slant of a newspaper if the new owners indulge their politics at the expense of circulation

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