135 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. James, when people tell me things, I often ask myself ‘How would they know?’

    You tell me that reports about Syria in the mainstream media are misinformation: I ask myself, how would you know? You tell me that your case would win in the court of reasoned public debate: I ask myself, how would you know? You tell me that General Vo Nguyen Giap said that President Kennedy was intending to end the Vietnam War: I ask myself, how would the General know? You tell me that President Kennedy was murdered by the military-industrial complex: I ask myself, how would you know? You tell me that Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN says that airstrikes in Syria contravene international law and don’t affect the capacity of the ISIS organisation: I ask myself, how would the Permanent Representative know?

  2. Professor Quiggin,

    Of course, it is your prerogative to decide what topics can be discussed on Monday Message Board, in the Sandpit, or even if they can be discussed at all on johnquiggin.com.

    Much of the ‘discussion’ which has occurred above is not discussion I sought or wanted.

    I have attempted to raise issues which I see as every bit as critical as the examples of the Spanish Civil War and the Munich agreement of 1938. Had the leaders of the Western European democracies acted differently back then, the whole terrible conflagration from 1939, in which 60 million died, could have been prevented.

    In fact, the total death toll in all the conflicts I have discussed has already greatly exceeded the death tolls in the early years of the Second World War prior to Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union, and worse may be still to come.

    I intend to do whatever I can to stop things getting worse, hopefully with your help.

  3. The US political establishment in general, and the liberal MSM in particular, just don’t get the Trump phenomenon, do they? The more they get stuck into Trump, the higher Trump’s polls go.

    Its almost as if the the American people don’t trust the US political establishment. Now why would that be, I wonder?

    Since the enemy of my enemy is my friend, it follows: hullo, The Donald.

  4. rog,

    Thanks for that link. I saw Ian Dunlop speak last year. From the article:

    The consequences of dangerous climate change were so extreme, and evidence was now so compelling, that emergency action similar to placing Australia on a war footing was needed, he said.

    ‘‘This view is typically dismissed as unwarranted alarmism and extremism by the political and business incumbencies, but unfortunately the evidence is piling up, along with the economic cost of extreme weather events, to the point where continued denialism is simply economic illiteracy,’’ Mr Dunlop said.

  5. So now AUS, NZ and NSW all have former investment bankers as their chief ministers. Turnbull is an alumni of Goldman Sachs. Keys is an alumni of Merril Lynch. And Mike Baird worked for Deutche Bank:

    The surest path to political power, at least in Australia and New Zealand, may be to spend most of your working life avoiding it. Preferably at an investment bank.
    Since Malcolm Turnbull toppled Tony Abbott in the Liberal Party spill, former executives from Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank hold the top three political leadership posts in Australia and New Zealand.

    Turnbull, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and NSW premier Mike Baird together oversee $1.8 trillion of output– with the latter two demonstrating a knack of persuading the public to accept their economic programs. It’s the sort of day-to-day sales pitch any Wall Street dealmaker or investment banker around the world needs to master to get anywhere.

    Bankers know ‘how to sell change’
    “In banking, you’re saying to clients: here’s this transformative transaction and here’s what it can do for you,” said Alastair Walton, who ran Goldman Sachs’ investment banking business in Australia after Turnbull left the firm in 2001.

    Isn’t it great that Wall Street not only gets to run the economy, but now also the polity.
    What could possibly go wrong?

  6. I just thought of a great slogan for Closed Border fanatics like myself:
    “It should not be illegal to enforce the law.”

    Hopefully Turnbull won’t use his new found power to undo the one good thing that Abbott managed to achieve which was to stop the boats. But seeing what Angela Merkel, a supposedly conservative premier, managed to undo when riding a tsunami wave of sentimental treacle about refugees one can never be too sure.

    I mean the one good thing about Right-wingers is that they harbour a certain amount of xenophobia towards xenos towards about which whom is appropriate to be phobic. If they can’t even manage to do that properly then what the hell are we paying them for?

  7. The VW fraud was protected by the Copyright Act, a law which is supported by the EPA. They refer to a device as a technological protection measure (TPM) which hinders access to the carmakers software.

    http://copyright.gov/1201/2015/USCO-letters/EPA_Letter_to_USCO_re_1201.pdf

    From elsewhere

    Modern cars contain dozens of computers called electronic control units (ECUs), and the code on those ECUs is potentially covered by copyright. But many repairs require access to that code, as does research into vehicle safety. When auto manufacturers deploy technology to lock people out of the code controlling their own cars, that can transform an act of repair or research into a violation of the DMCA. The result is that only persons authorized by the manufacturer can effectively perform repairs, and independent audits of car safety and security take place under a legal cloud, if at all.

  8. More on VW; it’s been calculated that the true emissions equal those of another 19M cars – a powerful argument to switch to electric vehicles.

  9. @rog
    I just don’t know how they expected to get away with it. Surely after a while enough pollution checking of enough VWs would have been carried out producing consistent non conforming results for a rat to be smelled despite whether those carrying out the test had access to the computer or not.

    das smell… das rat… das jail time…

  10. @jack strocchi

    From my perspective the slogan ‘It should not be illegal to enforce the law’ is great only in its silliness.

    There is no appropriate xenophobia. In the strict technical sense phobic reactions are never appropriate, and in the looser generalised sense negative reactions to people solely because of their strangeness/foreignness/alienness are also never appropriate. In some cases it is appropriate to react to people negatively because of their actions, but being strange/foreign/alien is not an action.

  11. A “response” comes after the thing being responded to, not before.

    A response could be a repeat of something already stated, but it still has to follow. I haven’t yet seen the ALP response.

  12. @Megan
    Bowen was on Lateline that night with a response IIRC (If it’s the same thing we’re talking about). Of course it was littered with the usual political vagueness and future announcement BS they all spin.

  13. @Megan

    My mistake: reading the article in order I mistakenly assumed that the quotes from Chris Bowen, coming later in the article, were also chronologically later than the quotes from Scott Morrison; but on taking another look I see that Morrison’s quotes were given as being from Wednesday and Bowen’s as being from Tuesday.

    A transcript of the interview mentioned by Troy Prideaux can be found at this URL (munged to avoid moderation):
    http colon doubleslash www dot abc dot net dot au slash lateline slash content slash 2015 slash s4318590 dot htm

    And here’s the opening exchange from that interview:

    TONY JONES: So the first pronouncement from the new Treasurer: “We have a spending problem, not a revenue problem.” Is he right?

    CHRIS BOWEN: No, and we’ve seen the same tired and rhetoric and slogans from Scott Morrison today as we’ve heard from Joe Hockey. Exactly the same rhetoric. The fact of the matter is, if we are going to have a discussion and a process more importantly to return the budget to balance over the medium term, then both revenue and spending measures need to be on the table, both need to be on the table and it’s disingenuous and dishonest and just plain wrong for Scott Morrison to pretend otherwise.

  14. @jack strocchi

    Hopefully Turnbull won’t use his new found power to undo the one good thing that Abbott managed to achieve which was to stop the boats.

    Reality check.
    The boats haven’t stopped (although the numbers have decreased).
    We are still turning them back or paying the operators to turn around or giving them orange lifeboats and sending them on their way.
    People are probably still drowning. But we’ll never know, because it’s an on water operational matter. Wish I could be around in thirty years when they release the Cabinet papers.

  15. @rog
    Someone, somewhere, on a software development team, would have known the purpose of such a procedure: presumably the test team would have tested that the software did fake out the EPA style checks, and that means that several people knew what they were doing was immoral. Why haven’t they come forward, why didn’t they tell VW that they could not implement a faking-it procedure because it would be immoral to do so? Not just the CEO should take the fall for this.

  16. Interesting to learn that ex-PM Tony Abbott was lining up the BOM in his sights. We’ll look back at the past decade as the wasted years, climate policy being mauled by Abbott’s henchmen in opposition (toppling Turnbull in 2009 on the eve of the new deal with the ALP, thus preventing it from taking place—undoing two years of work by the ALP), and then throughout their regime’s rule during the past two years. In 2007, it looked like some sense might have finally prevailed with regards to AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming). At least the solar panels and wind farms have become a feature of Australia’s economic landscape, even if there is much more which needs doing.

  17. @Donald Oats

    There is no bottom to the pit of dishonesty that is VW. Nobody with any sense would ever buy one of their cars again. Destroy them with a total consumer boycott. It’s what they deserve.

    Along with other major corporation scandals, this shows again that corporate capitalism can never ever trusted. They must be strongly regulated, controlled and indeed eventually dismantled and replaced with democratic worker cooperative enterprises with full democratic societal oversight.

    Footnote: I have never bought or owned a VW or related car, new or used, and ain’t I glad now! Pure luck really, but I am pleased in retrospect.

  18. This isn’t a good look, “…they’re getting rid of all the Kiwis and the big boys, you know islanders…”.

    Luckily (for now) our establishment media is hiding it, but it isn’t a good look for its obvious racism as well as treatment of our ANZAC cousins.

    …The Prime Minister said he had very little information and was seeking more detail from the Australian Government.

    Another detainee, Otago-born Jason Wereta, said he was given no reason for being flown to Christmas Island in April this year.

    Mr Wereta, who is being held on Christmas Island for driving offenses and assault, said his case had shocked an Australian judge. …

    That guy has been on Christmas Island in detention for six months.

    First they came for all the brown people…..

  19. @Megan

    This is insane. Why detain New Zealanders on Christmas Island? Wouldn’t it be sensible to simply send them back to New Zealand? I mean, if they have broken any relevant Australia laws or visas which would lead to legal deportation then we would, after proper legal process, simply deport them to NZ. Why would we do anything different? What possible reason would there be for sending them to Christmas Island?

  20. What possible reason would there be for sending them to Christmas Island?

    Hence my reference to Niemoller’s famous quote.

    We have a criminal justice system in Australia. Sometimes people commit a crime that results in a custodial sentence. Sometimes people are guilty of an offence (such as a traffic offence) that might only lead to a fine. Our “Border Protection” system means that on the whim of a Kafkaesque farcist, such people may end up indefinitely detained extra-judicially on top of any penalty imposed by our justice system.

    Historically, the loss of a justice system, rights and due process etc… starts with “the other”. Those who can be deprived of such things with the acceptance of the general population because “that’s different, it wouldn’t happen to me, I haven’t done anything wrong, I’m a citizen etc..”.

    It happens because of those who can’t see, those who won’t see and – most egregious – those who work to prevent others from seeing.

  21. Ikon,

    Here is a link (pdf) to a masters thesis titled:

    “The Political Origins and Development of
    Australia’s People Smuggling Legislation:
    Evil Smugglers or Extreme Rhetoric?”

    It convincingly traces the roots of “stop the boats”, “queue jumpers”, “economic migrants” etc.. back to the 1950s and Australia’s signing of the UN Refugee Convention (with sources, footnotes, citations and annotations).

    A good read.

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