Tuesday, October 04, 2011

News Items and comments

Labor revival a Ruddy hopeless case

Piers Akerman – Saturday, October 01, 11 (09:54 pm)

IF Kevin Rudd is seen as the only hope to restore the federal Labor government’s fortunes, then there really is no hope for the Labor Party.

Gillard is a joke, her example and industry is one of waste. Witness her “Building the detention centre revolution” which is wastefully ongoing, and similar to the BER.

Even the Financial Revue gets strong feedback showing a picture of Gillard which resembles a death mask.

People recognise Gillard is finished. But it is how she will be despatched that counts to the ALP. They are already destabilising her, and all that she has done will be shovelled over her political corpse when it is done. Even things from Rudd, will thrown on top of her. I heard that Rudd will probably be made leader come February when there will be a rush election. The intention being to attract votes for Rudd in a sugar rush, before people remember who he is.

Every single one of the other possible contenders have wimped out. The ALP are really grooming Jason Clare to take the reigns in the future. Only he keeps failing too, with his defence spending falling short, while our troops are dying, or his work for the BER.

DD Ball of Carramar/Sydney (Reply)
Sat 01 Oct 11 (10:11pm)
Leo G replied to DD Ball
Sat 01 Oct 11 (11:51pm)

When electors’ first preference intentions for Labor bottoms out, the Greens are likely pull out of the alliance. Rob Oakeshott is already hedging on that eventuality and has been “talking turkey” with the Opposition Leader.
But Tony Abbott can now afford to wait for the option that allows him a half-senate election.
Labor’s only chance may be in dumping the carbon tax and ETS and the alliance with the Greens and grovelling to the Coalition to permit the minority government to limp through its full term.

Charles replied to DD Ball
Sun 02 Oct 11 (10:41am)

Leo the nation can’t afford for Labor to continue to limp through
a full term or should that be continue its manic squandering
gallop through a full term.
In the national intenrest Labor should be dragged kicking
‘and screaming to an election as soon as possible.

DD Ball replied to DD Ball
Mon 03 Oct 11 (10:56am)

Leo, it is like market economics. No one really knows when the ALP will bottom out. It is mostly better to enter a market than to time it. The ALP is on the nose, but it isn’t because of Gillard or Rudd, directly. It is because they have abysmal policy. It is recognisably not conservative policy, but it also isn’t worthwhile.

Charles, the nation can afford quite a bit. But suffering related to the poor government’s practice will be felt for decades.

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Abbott book drawn with a poisoned pen

Miranda Devine – Saturday, October 01, 11 (09:50 pm)

image

FRUSTRATED Abbott-haters have been slavering in anticipation of a new book by Susan Mitchell which attempts a vicious hatchet job on the Opposition leader.

That book is one of many such which, combined with the criticism from mainstream media commentators will innoculate Abbott against the abuse. People will vote for Abbott and he will be the next PM following the next election. The ALP may have several more as PM before then.

Also, that abuse will bring down the Abbott administration some time in the future too. Much as the lies coalesced around Howard to bring down his administration in favour of the current jokes.

That is the way the media functions in our democratic society. It was said around the time of Nixon that conservatives (worldwide) needed an extra 5% of the votes to win a neutral election. That is what they have to fight in terms of media manipulation of stories endorsing the left. I see no reason to believe that resistance isn’t present today. The book Mitchell has written is evidence of it. It would not be possible to write something similar of Gillard.

DD Ball of Carramar/Sydney (Reply)
Sat 01 Oct 11 (10:22pm)
Roz replied to DD Ball
Sun 02 Oct 11 (08:25am)

You are right DD Ball, they wouldn’t allow anything to be written like this about Julia Gillard. It seems to be 2 sets of rules today. One for the left (who can say anything) and another for the right ( who are stifled at every turn). It seems to be getting worse the more we hear. I don’t know if I could call it a true democratic society anymore we seem to be losing that. Democracy only seems to apply to some. We only have to look at Julia Gillard as far as Glen Milne goes and now with Andrew Wilkie because someone has dared to have a say about his Poker machine reform. I don’t play the pokies so it doesn’t really worry me and I don’t spend much time in the local club. It just seems that all our freedoms are going.

P.J replied to DD Ball
Sun 02 Oct 11 (10:11am)

You are correct in stating they could not write about Gillard like that because there is no strength of character, faith, morals..so it would be a washout! Who would read it when we don’t even KNOW THE REAL JULIA! If she wrote it herself, it would be FICTION and LIES! Susan Mitchell, apparently ,has a problem with strong minded men! She probably prefers the Burnside twits!

Gordo replied to DD Ball
Sun 02 Oct 11 (10:17am)

Spot on David, I wonder what happened to the book that Gillard wanted to hide.

Tony the Space Cadet replied to DD Ball
Sun 02 Oct 11 (10:37am)

Media stories endorsing the left??? Where?? News Ltd have about 6 anti Labor diatribes per week. Bolt will go on 7 days a week just before the election! Their own editorials are biased!
The Age gets stuck into all sides of politics while the Australian is OWNED by the Coalition.

I do not hate Abbott but like many others do not see him as PM material. He still has a poor rating with high dissatisfaction rating.

I do see Malcoul as PM material. He has a brain!

sam replied to DD Ball
Sun 02 Oct 11 (12:06pm)

Tony the space cadet,

How did you manage to slip that post passed the telegraph censors?

Shane replied to DD Ball
Sun 02 Oct 11 (01:25pm)

Roz ,dont want to be pedantic, but you are mistaken in saying
‘’they wouldn’t allow anything to be written like this about Julia Gillard’’

....its not a case of ‘’wouldn’t allow ‘’,
they actually DIDN’T allow the bio of Julia to be published, even though it had already been written.

Now that would make interesting reading if it ever saw the light of day.

mags replied to DD Ball
Sun 02 Oct 11 (01:47pm)

Tony the Space Cadet Are you one of those who believe that there should be no criticism of the government? That the media should hide the realities of failure from the public? Judging by your comments you are woefully ignorant about a lot of things, particularly Tony Abbott.

Oldtimer replied to DD Ball
Sun 02 Oct 11 (08:49pm)

Tony the space cadet, ‘’ I do see Malcoul as PM material. He has a brain! ‘
Unlike you it appears.

LOL LOL

Pat replied to DD Ball
Sun 02 Oct 11 (09:12pm)

So this left wing writer wrote a book about Abbott, but did not speak to him to get his view, who did this person speak to the greens, labor, left wing people who hate him, another pathetic left wing loony who we can ignore.

She can’t call it a biography of Tony Abbott, maybe call it “hating Tony Abbott by someone who does not know him”. I might write a book about gillard after all I know more about gillard then this hack writer knows about Abbott.

DD Ball replied to DD Ball
Mon 03 Oct 11 (11:05am)

Tony the space cadet, I didn’t ask you to prove my comment on bias. But I see you have valiantly done so.

I notice the update too. Burnside clings to moral high ground blaming others for misunderstanding his slur. Nothing he wrote before or after suggests I should give him attention. He has nothing worthwhile to offer debate. Much like Tony.

DD Ball replied to DD Ball
Mon 03 Oct 11 (07:46pm)

A man enters a bar and orders a drink. The bar has a robot barman.
The robot serves him a perfectly prepared cocktail, and then asks him, “What’s your IQ?”

The man replies “150” and the robot proceeds to make conversation about global warming factors, Quantum physics and spirituality, bio-mimicry, environmental interconnectedness, string theory, nanotechnology, and
sexual proclivities.

The customer is very impressed and thinks, “This is really cool.” He decides to test the robot. He walks out of the bar, turns around, and comes back in for another drink.

Again, the robot serves him the perfectly prepared drink and asks him, “What’s your IQ?” The man responds, “About 100.” Immediately the robot starts talking, but this time about league, Holdens, racing, the new BIG Mac, tattoos, Jennifer Hawkins and women in general.

Really impressed, the man leaves the bar and decides to give the robot
one more test. He heads out and returns, the robot serves him and asks, “What’s your IQ?” The man replies, “Err, 50, I think.”

And the robot says...real slowly… “So...............are ya gonna vote for Kevin again?

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My friend Donald Marsh sent my letter addressing C. Fred Bergsten’s recent New York Times op-ed to Mr. Bergsten. Today comes this e-mail:

Professor Boudreaux,

Your comment on my op-ed for last week is ridiculous.

Of course the American seller of land to the Chinese COULD buy US pharmaceuticals. But she could also save all the proceeds. Or use it to buy more imports from China and elsewhere.

We would never have a trade deficit in the first place if your postulated scenario were to occur in the real world. Come on!

Sincerely,

C. Fred Bergsten

First of all – and despite calling my argument “ridiculous” – Mr. Bergsten, in his second paragraph, concedes that my scenario is possible. But apparently he believes it to be so far-fetched that it deserves his derision.

He misses my larger point that much of the U.S. trade deficit “comes back” as spending power to the U.S. I offered in my letter just one example to show that his suggestion that the trade deficit necessarily reduces demand for U.S.-made outputs is mistaken.

So let’s mention some other ways in which the dollars in the U.S trade deficit come back as spending power to America:

(1) if foreigners buy stock in U.S. firms. (U.S. trade deficit rises; sellers of stock have more money to spend – and U.S. firms have lower costs of capital.)

(2) if foreigners directly invest in America: those investment expenditures raise America’s trade deficit, but there’s no reduction in domestic spending of the sort that Mr. Bergsten implies in his NYT op-ed.

(3) if foreigners lend to Americans: the U.S. trade deficit rises. If Americans spend the borrowed funds (and why else would they borrow them?) there’s no reason at all why total expenditures need be lower in America in this case than if Americans never imported in the first place and instead spent all the money directly on the good and services that (in this hypothetical) they buy with dollars borrowed from foreigners.

Now Mr. Bergsten might worry that people hoard dollars (see his e-mail to me). But even if we grant that that is a problem, it has nothing to do with the trade deficit. The same problems would be created if Americans don’t trade at all with foreigners (or trade only in a “balanced” way) and yet hoard lots of dollars themselves.

There are other problems with Mr. Bergsten’s response to my letter – problems that I’ll address in a subsequent post. Suffice it here to say that his presumption that U.S. trade deficit = reduced aggregate demand in the U.S. economy is – while common – utterly without merit.

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The Great Stagnation?

by RUSS ROBERTS on OCTOBER 3, 2011

in STANDARD OF LIVING, UNCATEGORIZED

Tyler Cowen, my colleague at George Mason is a wonderful thinker and a superb communicator of ideas. But I have not been convinced by his argument in The Great Stagnation that living standards for the average American have either stagnated or grown very slowly since the early 1970′s relative to the earlier part of the 20th century because we have picked all the low-hanging fruit–the best ideas have been exploited and the new ones are less transforming.

The term “stagnation” actually means static, stuck in a rut, not progressing and so on. Tyler often concedes that there has been growth in living standards since say, 1973, but that the rate of growth has slowed. This is an easier thesis to defend. But recently Tyler invoked the lack of change in median income since 1973 has evidence for his thesis. I challenged him in this post to explain what he means by that claim:

Does it mean that the person who was the median or family in 1973 continued onward at a constant standard of living without any gains despite enormous gains in per capita income? This is the way the story is usually told–the rich (as if they were a fixed group of individuals, an exclusive club) somehow managed to gain all of the gains of the intervening 38 years for themselves. This is clearly not true. If you look at any data that follows the same people over time, you will see that their lives improve as they get older and that they are typically better off than their parents. Better off in absolute terms, not relative ones. Some people move up relative to others. Some move down. But the entire distribution moves up.

Or does it mean that the typical family or individual in America today has the same standard of living as people back in 1973? Is the median a surrogate for the middle class? This is a different claim from the first one. The problem with this claim is the types of people in the middle in 1973 are different from the types of people now. There was a major demographic change in the 1970′s. The divorce rate exploded. Suddenly (and it was pretty suddenly) new households were created as couples divorced. The rate of household creation grew faster than population.

In the rest of that post, I argue that the rise in the divorce rate changes the number of families, particularly below the median, lowering the measured median and distorting the measure of progress. I also mentioned that inflation is overstated (thereby understating the rise in living standards) and I closed with a discussion of the returns to education.

Tyler has responded at some length, which I much appreciate. I will quote the middle of his response verbatim and comment along the way:

Read the full post →

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Lost

by RUSS ROBERTS on OCTOBER 3, 2011

in CIVIL SOCIETY, FAMILY, WEB/TECH

I am reading a fascinating book, The Art of Immersion, by Frank Rose–I’ll be interviewing him this week for EconTalk and if all goes as planned, the interview will be up on the web on October 11.

The book is a look at storytelling and how the web has made storytelling immersive. Along the way, he discusses Lost, a very immersive story, obviously, for millions of people. I saw a few episodes but never immersed myself in that world. Rose discusses Lostpedia, the Lost Encyclopedia and the wiki available online about everything Lost. In particular he mentions that there is an article in the wiki on the economics of the island.

I checked it out for fun. It’s pretty bizarre. Written initially (then later edited by others) by a self-proclaimed socialist who at the time was a grad student in economics, it lays out three approaches to resource allocation on the island:

  • The socialist approach allocates resources through consensus and planning.
  • The capitalist approach relies upon a market to allocate resources based on supply and demand.
  • The tribal approach holds that in small communities economic decisions can be made at a personal level. That such a community is not of sufficient scale to require or manage a formal system of exchange or enforcement of laws. Thus the tribal approach relies on small-scale exchanges and community resources.
I’m not sure what role consensus plays in socialism. There’s lot of planning in capitalism of course. What distinguishes socialism from capitalism is who does the planning–whether it is done from the top down or the bottom up. Under socialism the State does the planning, and usually owns the means of production. There’s also a focus on egalitarianism under socialism at least in its ideal state.
The article continues:
Jack represents the socialist approach to resource allocation. Jack is a mostly benevolent person who attempts to solve the problems of the Island imposed by scarcity, even to the point of personal exhaustion. Jack’s surname, “Shephard,” reinforces this interpretation – he exists to care for and organize the survivors.
I wouldn’t call that socialism. I’d call it kindness. Or voluntary action which is part of a civil society allowing freedom of various kinds. I haven’t seen much the show, but does Jack even encourage (let alone decree) consensual decision-making by the survivors on who gets what? What I have seen of the show is that it’s full of conflict (better story). Is Jack really a socialist?
Later on, the article claims that Sawyer embodies capitalism–”every man for himself”–a quote evidently from Sawyer:
Sawyer is seen as representing capitalism. In this context, Capitalism is defined as an economic and social system in which the means of production are predominantly privately owned and operated for profit, and in which investments, distribution, income, production and pricing of goods and services are determined through the operation of a market economy.
One of the most depressing things about capitalism’s reputation is that many people believe that selfishness and greed are the essence of capitalism. I write about this at length in The Price of Everything (and The Invisible Heart.) Entrepeneurs are motivated by many things. Profit is one of their motivations–without profit it is difficult to sustain an organization. But surely you can make a profit and be a nice person. In fact, it is often the case that kindness enhances capitalist success while greed makes it harder to be successful in the marketplace. And you can get deep non-monetary satisfaction from doing your job well. We are all self-interested, but few of us are selfish. Most of us share with our family, our friends, and strangers.
The person who wrote the Lostpedia article appears to think that what defines socialist is niceness and caring about others and what defines capitalism is being cruel and selfish. This is a particularly weird view given that there is no State on the island (at least I don’t think so) and little or no market activity–later on in the article it mentions that there is very little exchange.
Maybe someone who is more familiar with the show than I am could edit the article to make it a bit less biased. The article at the top says the article has been nominated for a “clean up” for “better flow.” It won’t be an easy task–the structure is sort of set with Jack as the socialist and Sawyer as the capitalist. If you’re a fan of the show, take a look and see what you can do.
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Quotation of the Day…

by DON BOUDREAUX on OCTOBER 3, 2011

in MYTHS AND FALLACIES

… is from Jim Buchanan’s and Geoff Brennan’s 1985 book The Reason of Rules:

The individual is the unique unit of consciousness from which all evaluation begins. Note that this conception does not in any way reject the influence of community or society on the individual. The value structure of an isolated human being may be totally divergent from that of such a person described by membership in one or many social relationships. The presupposition requires only that societal or communitarian influences enter through modifications in the values that are potentially expressed by the individually and not externally.

This above is fine description of methodological individualism – a scientific presupposition that is too frequently mistaken as being an assumption that each individual’s preferences emerge only from within each individual and are not affected in any significant ways by other people.

….

I choose this quotation today because today is Jim Buchanan‘s 92nd birthday. Happy Birthday, Jim!

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This week’s EconTalk is Bruce Meyer of the University of Chicago talking about the growth in middle class incomes over the last forty years. He argues that the middle class has seen significant increases in its standard of living despite the usual claims to the contrary. If you wish to comment on this podcast, head over to the link above.

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THE ABC’S LATEST HIT

Tim Blair – Tuesday, October 04, 11 (12:16 pm)

Click to view the latest episode of Crownies, in which a idealistic young lawyer is set the task of prosecuting an assault case:

Idealistic young lawyer: “This guys’s my hero! I can’t prosecute him for assault!”

Legal secretary: “Oh. You still have heroes?”

Idealistic young lawyer: “Scientist heroes. Steve Coburn is trying to save human civilisation.”

Legal secretary: “Coburn. The global warming guy?”

Idealistic young lawyer: “He’s a lead author for the IPCC. He’s a climatologist who put together a global temperature reconstruction going back 12,000 years!”

Legal secretary: “So he’s a geek.”

Idealistic young lawyer: “He’s been on Four Corners.”

Legal secretary: “A huge geek.”

Idealistic young lawyer: “And on Oprah.”

Legal secretary: “Slightly cool. And the alleged assault?”

Idealistic young lawyer: “He punched a climate change sceptic, James Watt. Watt runs a blog, CO2 Fraud, a bunch of anti-science crap.”

Legal secretary: “Sounds like a fun day in court. You haven’t had a win yet, have you?”

Continue viewing to see the impressive physical differences between doddery old denier and punchy professor, who must be the only climatologist in history with a $250 haircut. Former Greens candidate Clive Hamilton loved it:

At last, the ABC has broadcast a program that accurately reflects the debate over climate science.

Yep – cool guys versus jabbering idiots who deserve a beating!

The program in question is the episode of Crownies aired last Thursday night. In it, DPP solicitor Richard Stirling (played by Hamish Michael and one of Crownies’ real stars) reluctantly has to prosecute an eminent climate scientist who allegedly punched a climate denier in the face. The denier James Watt (played with disconcerting accuracy by Richard Healy) had been harassing Professor Tim Coghburn for years, turning up at every public event to demand answers to his inane questions lifted uncritically from some denialist website.

Hamilton didn’t watch very carefully. The Watt character – possibly a dig at Anthony Watts – runs his own site. And the climatologist is Steve Coburn, not Tim Coghburn. Clive can’t even get TV credits right.

When Watt, after disrupting a public lecture, followed Coghburn out of the venue haranguing, insulting and poking him in the chest, the scientist finally lost his rag and lashed out. Who hasn’t wanted to do that?

Whoa! Better stay clear of Clive in future. He’ll murder a rock, injure a stone, hospitalise a brick! He’s so mean, he makes medicine sick!

Crownies scriptwriter Chris Hawkshaw must have attended a few public meetings to take notes on the boorish tactics of the deniers - bombastic old white blokes who stand to declaim their crazy views, insensitive to how foolish they appear and deaf to all counterarguments. Healy captures perfectly the ignorant self-certainty and Aspergerish insensitivity so typical of the breed.

You know, Clive sounds just a little insensitive himself.

I have to take my hat off to Hawkshaw. In 15 minutes of sharp dialogue and brilliant characterisation he has done more to skewer the arguments and expose the true character of climate deniers than my three books and 15 years worth of newspaper articles and public lectures.

It’s no great challenge to come up with better arguments than Clive’s. As he admits, even a crap drama is more influential.

More power to ABC TV drama.

Privatise it.

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SAINT FLANNERY

Tim Blair – Tuesday, October 04, 11 (11:59 am)

Yet another honour is bestowed upon Professor Panasonic, the Prince of Priuses:

Professor Tim Flannery will be given the distinction of ‘Officer of Saint Charles’ by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco at a ceremony at Prince Palace, Monaco on 7 October 2011.

This high distinction, a step above knighthood within the Order of Saint Charles, follows Flannery’s 2007 Australian of the Year honour and last year’s Academy of Natural Science’s Joseph Leidy Award.

This is sensational. Flannery really is becoming the Emperor of Geothermia.

(Via Ann J.)

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NOT PART OF YOUR SYSTEM

Tim Blair – Tuesday, October 04, 11 (11:38 am)

Anti-capitalist occupiers are coming to Melbourne. However, there are already signs that the movement is fracturing, judging by a comment from activist Matt:

I disagree on the climate change issue but that’s somewhat inconsequential to the bigger goal.

Splitter! Meanwhile, as US occupiers aim big, the 20 to 25 initial Melbourne occupiers are still working out basic details ("It was raised and almost unanimously voted that the event should start at 10am, City Square"). These folk need some theme music:



(Via Nilk, who might just attend in a photojournalist capacity.)

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PANEL DISCUSSION

Tim Blair – Tuesday, October 04, 11 (03:43 am)

First she hired Tim Flannery as her carbon tax salesman. And now:

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has enlisted the expertise of an Australian-born businessman whoadvises US President Barrack Obama on manufacturing to address her jobs summit.

Let’s all make solar panels!

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HOPE FOR ALL

Tim Blair – Tuesday, October 04, 11 (03:35 am)

A former 9/11 truther wises up:



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RAIN MEANS GRAIN

Tim Blair – Tuesday, October 04, 11 (03:32 am)

Over in ghostly, water-depleted, climate-ruined Western Australia, wheat defies warming:

About a metre above the well-watered soils of Western Australia, a record grain crop is swaying in the breeze.

Higher than average rainfall in September will help production in the state exceed 9 million tonsfor only the third time in history, reports The Australian Financial Review.

The rainless ghostland is set to feed the world:

ANZ senior agricultural economist Paul Deane, in research released on Friday, said WA exports were so strong they would fill demand in the traditional markets of Japan, Korea and south-east Asia. Wheat would have to be sold to “less predictable” markets in China, India the Middle East and North Africa.

Predictions are a difficult business.

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HOPE AND SPICES

Tim Blair – Tuesday, October 04, 11 (03:22 am)

Colonel Obama moves into China:

In Beijing, China, a restaurant is actually calling itself OFC with a logo that looks alarmingly like the President dressed in the colonel’s clothes.

Naturally, this is being denounced as racism.

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PICTURE THE STRANGLING

Tim Blair – Tuesday, October 04, 11 (03:16 am)

Janine Turner explains why she turned away from Hollywood:

In Hollywood, they deplore censorship. Yet they embrace tyrants such as Hugo Chavez who use their power to censor opposition voices. They sneer at Wall Street even as they fall all over themselves running to see how many millions their movies have grossed. They think Obamacare works nicely for poor people in the “flyover states,” yet they would never accept anything but the top doctors for themselves.

They think socialism is a novelty – a nicety whose time has come. Yet how odd to imagine their lot under a Chavez or a Castro or a Stalin. Just picture the collapse of Hollywood’s playground – the redistribution of their wealth, the despotic squelching of their free speech, the strangling of their rights and riches.

David Mamet’s latest book perfectly skewers wealthy LA leftoids. Much thanks to Melissa M. for my copy.

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More reaction

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, October 04, 11 (02:05 pm)

Former Labor Minister Barry Cohen admits to having committed a potential crime under the Racial Discrimination Act:

A newcomer to Aboriginal politics, I was fascinated by the views expressed by a group of speakers who could best be described as “whiter than white”.

I remarked to a veteran activist: “Those are funny comments from white people.” He replied: “They’re not whites, they’re Aborigines.” I responded, a little naively: “You’re joking.” He answered with a terse “No."…

For years I wondered what would happen when someone loudly proclaimed they were Aboriginal and their claim was rejected....

The bomb went off recently when the pin was pulled by Federal Court judge Mordecai Bromberg. The good judge claimed that prominent journalist Andrew Bolt had “sought to convey the message that certain people of a certain racial mix should not identify with a particular race because they lack a sufficiency of colour and other racial attributes to justify the racial choice which they had made”.

No one apparently had alerted him to the fact you could choose your religion or your nationality but not your race…

I don’t intend to discuss the details of the case brought by the nine pale plaintiffs for the obvious reason I could well be the next one in the dock. Oddly enough I had been planning to write an almost identical article to Bolt’s....

Bolt will be spot-on about freedom of speech going down the gurgler. More and more people will be scared to speak their minds. If that happens, the goodwill that has continued since the 1967 referendum will gradually disappear, and that would be a tragedy for all of us but particularly for the Aboriginal community.

UPDATE

A pocket guide to hypocrisy.

UPDATE

I apologise to Professor James Allan for not having linked earlier to his article calling for the repeal of the Racial Discrimination Act:

Start with section 18C, the provision relied on against Bolt. In an Orwellian way, it makes some conduct unlawful, but not a criminal offence, and does so if your act “is reasonably likely . . . to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” others, and done because of their race (among other things). Then, section 18D gives exemptions, if what you said or did was done reasonably and in good faith, including as part of a fair comment on a matter of public interest.

As I said, this legislation needs repealing not least because it has the potential to create some sort of half-baked group right not to be offended that sends the most chilling effect over all sorts of speech. And that is virtually how Bromberg of the Federal Court interpreted it in his judgment released two days ago. So he interpreted the section 18C “reasonably likely to offend” test to be one that is assessed by reference to some objective member of the group spoken about, those claiming victimhood, not by reference to a reasonable member of the community at large.

That pretty much finished off Bolt right there. But on top of that, Bromberg decided that the onus of proof for triggering the section 18D exemption lay on Bolt and, anyway, that the articles as written were not reasonable nor written in good faith. It is not at all clear on what basis the judge comes to those latter conclusions other than he thinks Bolt was being gratuitously offensive (a different point and not anything we want judges supervising, anyway), that Bolt made a few factual errors (a non sequitur) and, possibly, that deep down the judge didn’t see any genuine public interest in these pieces (again, not to the point of section 18D). So, as interpreted by Bromberg, bad legislation has become worse legislation.

UPDATE

Graham Young:

Viewed from outside Wonderland, the decision in Eatock and Bolt is bizarre. Unless and until there is a successful appeal, or the legislation is repealed or amended, you can breach the Racial Discrimination Act without actually racially discriminating against anyone, or being motivated by racial hatred.

(The legal risk is too high to allow your comments. I apologise.)

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Swan’s brother disagrees? So?

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, October 04, 11 (09:24 am)

So Wayne Swan’s brother disagrees with him. But should a family connection really elevate his opinion above that of anyone else?

THE Swan family is at war over the Government’s proposed poker machine reforms, which could leave their local surf club with a $720,000 black hole and struggling to pay for rescue equipment.

Treasurer Wayne Swan’s older brother Ian who sits on the Coolum Surf Life Saving Club board and is a life member told The Courier-Mail that small clubs would be in the firing line....

“This will have a huge impact on small clubs like surf clubs. It has the potential to wreck everything,” Ian Swan said.

I’m not sure it’s fair to play off siblings like this, although the counter argument is that both are adults who should be entitled to express their own views. Families can be complicated enough.

For the same reason, I am not really interested in what Kevin Rudd’s brother says about him, or what Bob Katter’s does ditto. Too many swirling motives to untangle, and sometimes the more famous half is constrained in how he and she can respond.

I was very much struck and impressed by Red Symons’s reply when a close relative unloaded with something hurtful. “Families are difficult,” was all he said.

UPDATE

Reader Artist Formerly Known As Chris:

Yet people are more than willing to bash Peter Costello with something his brother Tim said.The fact that Ian Swan is in a position to make a conflicting comment to proposed legislation is actually relevant and newsworthy, especially on the Sunshine Coast - because he’s Waynes brother merely makes it more interesting.If you read the whole article, the actual news is:

The brotherly-spat comes amid revelations from independent Andrew Wilkie that senior Labor MPs have met privately with him to try to talk him out of his threat to bring down the Government if it fails to legislate his pokie machine reforms by May.

(My bold)
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No debate: university shames itself

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, October 04, 11 (09:20 am)

How the global warming debate is managed by a university so that there’s none at all:

AGRICULTURAL consultants have expressed disappointment at the University of Western Australia’s (UWA) attitude towards a planned debate on global warming.

After hearing predictions of the impact that global warming could have on WA farming, Bill Crabtree and David Falconer approached UWA to hold a debate representing both sides of the global warming argument.

They said after getting the initial go-ahead from UWA’s vice-chancellor Alan Robson they were told that no speakers could be found for the pro-global warming side and that the speakers the pair had organised to speak against global warming were not credible enough to speak at a debate on UWA grounds.

Mr Crabtree said the speakers that had been approached to question the degree of climate change were credible and included mathematician and engineer David Evans, who between 1999 to 2005 worked full-time for the Australian Greenhouse Office (now the Department of Climate Change) modelling Australia’s carbon in plants, debris, mulch, soils, and forestry and agricultural products.

William Kinnimoth, among other things, worked with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology for 38 years in weather forecasting, research and applied studies.

For 12 years until 1998 he was head of its National Climate Centre.

Australia today.

(Thanks to reader John.)

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Hamilton’s dark dream

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, October 04, 11 (08:03 am)

Former Greens candidate Dr Clive Hamilton praises a play about “an eminent climate scientist who allegedly punched a climate denier in the face”. Hamilton asks:

Who hasn’t wanted to do that?

Now if a sceptic had said that… Or said a few other things said by this warmist.

UPDATE

Hamilton sins against the Racial Discrimination Act, by singling out people on the grounds of their race, falsely describing their disposition, and using offensive and sarcastic language. Naturally it’s published by the ABC:

Crownies scriptwriter Chris Hawkshaw must have attended a few public meetings to take notes on the boorish tactics of the deniers - bombastic old white blokes who stand to declaim their crazy views, insensitive to how foolish they appear and deaf to all counterarguments. Healy captures perfectly the ignorant self-certainty and Aspergerish insensitivity so typical of the breed.

(Thanks to reader James.)

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Killing detainees with kindness

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, October 04, 11 (06:09 am)

I thought we were rescuing asylum seekers from danger, not deliberately helping them to a lingering death:

BUYING cigarettes and tobacco for immigration detainees is costing taxpayers more than $1.4 million a year. While the federal government spends millions on anti-smoking campaigns, the cost of keeping up detainees’ habits costs about $4000 a day.

(Thanks to reader handjive and others.)

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I don’t think global warming is working out for Flannery

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, October 04, 11 (05:44 am)

Has anyone told Climate Commission Tim Flannery about the rains and heavy crops in the state he once claimed global warming would turn into a wasteland, with a ”ghost metropolis” as its capital?

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The bigotry of a book savaging Abbott as a bigot

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, October 04, 11 (05:35 am)

Gerard Henderson is astonished by the bigotry in academic Susan Mitchell’s biography of Tony Abbott:

Mitchell’s 196-page tome is essentially an anti-Catholic sectarian rant of a kind prevalent in Australia a century ago. Mitchell’s message is that Australians should not elect the Coalition led by Abbott because he is a conservative Catholic who has “never left the Catholic Church”. Mitchell, who did not attempt to interview Abbott for her book, presents the Opposition Leader as a “mad monk” and an immature “zealot” who is ingrained with “sexism and misogyny” and who does not acknowledge the separation of church and state.

In the author’s view, Abbott has been reliant on “a series of older male mentors throughout his life”. They include, wait for it, “his father, who once hoped to become a Catholic priest”. Shame. Then there are the Jesuit priest Father Emmet Costello, John Howard, Cardinal George Pell and the late political activist B.A. Santamaria. All except Howard are Catholic.

Henry Rosenbloom, who runs the book’s Melbourne publisher, Scribe, has allowed a number of factual errors to remain in Mitchell’s text. I will detail these in my Media Watch Dog blog on Friday. The essential criticism of Mitchell and Rosenbloom is that they believe it is acceptable to describe Abbott as “dangerous” on account of his Catholicism…

The fact is that Abbott, both in government and in opposition, employed a number of senior women on his personal staff. He is politically close to such senior Liberal Party MPs as Julie Bishop and Bronwyn Bishop.What’s more, according to the latest Newspoll, Julia Gillard leads Abbott by only two points - 39 per cent to 37 per cent - when females are asked who would make the better prime minister. The evidence suggests that, unlike Mitchell and Burnside, many voters do not regard him as a dangerous misogynist intending to create a Christian theocracy in the Antipodes.

Even Louise Adler, the Melbourne University Publishing boss whose Leftism ticks every box, is astonished by Mitchell’s caricature, having worked with Abbott on his own book:

Abbott the author is unfailingly gracious, reflective and responsive to editorial suggestions. To be sure, as with every politician we have published, Battlelines is the product of calibrating the political consequences of every phrase. My own experience, across the ideological chasm that divides us, is not of the ‘’bully boy’’ of Mitchell’s derivative account, and there’s nothing like authoring a book to inflame egoism and ignite self-importance.

The gap between Mitchell’s reading and my acquaintance makes me reflect on the disjunction between the public performance and the private reality.

Credit to Adler.

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You can be Aboriginal and still want development

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, October 04, 11 (05:20 am)

Dr Anthony Dillon, who identifies with both his Aboriginal and non-Aborginal background, says two reasons in particular stop Aborigines from grabbing the chance of economic development:

First, I believe there is a persistent belief among Australians, put forth by political and key opinion leaders, that many Aboriginal people are leading a traditional lifestyle, or at least maintain a traditional lifestyle mindset. In other words, they have the hunter-gatherer way of thinking, minus any hunting or gathering.

Leading Aboriginal people into the modern world (out of their impoverished world) would destroy the romanticised view some have of them as the hunter-gatherer and would also take away the jobs of many.

Second (again this is my opinion only), .... Aboriginal people are hindered by their own beliefs that every problem they face is the result of the white government.

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Is Julia written off by JRudd?

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, October 04, 11 (05:16 am)

Jessica Rudd isn’t telling us yet how it all works out:

A FEMALE prime minister who rolled the sitting leader to take Australia’s top job finds herself sinking in the polls - but it’s purely fiction, of course.

Such is the fantasy detailed in the new novel from Jessica Rudd - the daughter of rolled prime minister and now Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd.

The 27-year-old author and former Labor campaign worker is putting the final touches on the follow-up to her debut novel Campaign Ruby, the tale of a prime minister cut down by his ambitious female deputy.

Her 2010 chick-lit hit won praise and puzzlement for the remarkable prescience of its storyline, given it was finished months before the sudden departure of her father as prime minister in June last year. The book was released for sale two months after the Labor coup, which Ms Rudd later described as a “spooky” but a distressing coincidence.

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But the carbon dioxide tax will work out exactly as planned…

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, October 04, 11 (05:13 am)

Just another of those little bungles:

THE federal government is racing to plug a massive hole in its revenues caused by botched tax changes last year that are allowing companies involved in takeovers to claim tens of billions of dollars in losses dating back nearly a decade.

The looming fiscal debacle means Canberra is likely to take the extraordinary step of announcing retrospective legislation this month to try to fix the issue, despite the outrage this will cause in the business community.

The changes to the tax law came into effect in July last year but the government and the Australian Taxation Office belatedly realised in March the massive loophole created by accident in corporate tax.

The outcome will have far more impact than today’s tax forum on Labor’s intention to return the budget to surplus next financial year because the government faces a flood of claims for billions of dollars of tax deductions it was not expecting.

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As I was told to say…

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, October 04, 11 (04:57 am)

Oops. I’d thought that speaking your own mind, rather than speaking someone else’s, was the mark of a true commentator:

A RESPECTED NRL commentator has admitted that ostensibly off-the-cuff remarks during a rugby league final attacking proposed poker machine reforms were provided to him by Channel Nine management.

The admission by Ray Warren, one of Australia’s most famous sports commentators and a former gambler, emerge as the two independent politicians backing the pokie reforms lodge a formal complaint with the broadcaster over the remarks, which they say break the law.

Warren and fellow commentator Phil Gould have been criticised for statements made just after half-time in the preliminary final between Manly and Brisbane on September 23. ‘’The proposed mandatory pre-commitment that they’ve put forward is a rubbish policy. It won’t work,’’ Gould said.

‘’It was a directive from up top that it be read by at least somebody, so I read it,’’ Warren told his co-host, Dan Ginnane.

Warren said he supported the comments and while he could not be sure, he believed they were a paid message. ‘’I think it was an ad, if you like, it sounded like an ad. I think it was done on behalf of the rugby league, who is fully supportive of the clubs.’’

I’m now not so sure this isn’t a matter for regulators, but in any event I do very much think it’s matter for pubic criticism - that adults can sit there pretending what they are told to say is in fact their own genuine belief. I’d be mortally embarrassed.

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This suggestion is a calculated insult to the religious lobby.
Couples unwilling to commit "till death do they part" will be able to sign short-term marriage contracts under a proposal being considered by Mexico City lawmakers. Couples will be able to choose the term of their marriage, with a minimum length of two years, and renew the contract if they stay happy, according to a reform put forward by the liberal Democratic Revolution Party.
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The charges sound trumped up. They really want this man dead.
Imprisoned Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, originally sentenced to death for apostasy and refusing to renounce Christianity, is now in even greater danger of being put to death in light of reports in state-run media of other charges, including being a Zionist and a threat to national security.
· · Read more · 6 hours ago via Fox News
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It was not an advert. Every on air journalist has a list of talking points, that is common practice. For them to not do so is to abrogate responsibility that broadcasters are adhering to standards. Warren doesn't want to seem to oppose ALP
www.news.com.au
A WELL known NRL commentator has admitted Channel Nine management hand feed him supposedly off the cuff comments critical of the Governments pokie reform plans.
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ICAC were asleep under ALP
www.news.com.au
PUBLIC officials had iphones, cases of wine and camcorders delivered to their homes, as well as beach holidays, ICAC has uncovered.
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Yet more evidence that Paul and James et al were writing to address wrong beliefs.
Researchers have identified what is believed to be the world's earliest surviving Christian inscription, shedding light on an ancient sect that followed the teachings of a second-century philosopher named Valentinus.
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Sounds like a travesty of justice
After hours of deliberation, an Italian appeals court Monday ruled to overturn Amanda Knox's conviction for murder, allowing Knox to leave prison and return to the United States.
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Mitigating circumstance. Islamic vs Hindu.
A TAXI driver who bashed an 81-year-old woman in his cab has avoided jail.
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UK labor breeds them
YOUNG members of Britain's criminal gangs are so damaged by the violence of their lifestyle that they resemble the child soldiers of the Third World, a British MP says.
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Now for ALP to promise to pay for some for each home
SCIENTISTS say they have gained insights into a remarkable bacterium that lives without oxygen and transforms ammonium, the ingredient of urine, into hydrazine, a rocket fuel.
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Continuing education but at TAFE sounds reasonable for some.
ENGLISH students should be free to quit school when just 14 years old, the country's former chief schools inspector said.
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Were their parents tied up in the boot? Why are 15 and 14 yo being driven by 17 yo children?
JUST weeks ago, their 15-year-old friend died when her boyfriend's car lost control and plunged into a river.
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It isn't punitive to not pay for their habits. A little austerity is ok.
BUYING cigarettes and tobacco for immigration detainees is costing taxpayers more than $1.4 million a year. While the federal government spends millions on anti-smoking campaigns, the cost of keeping ...
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They won't be allowed to shoot at Gillard
TEENAGERS would be able to shoot guns during school hours under a secret plan hatched by the Education Department and powerful lobby groups.
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Wheels of justice are slow, and inexhorable
A 71-year-old Washington man accused in the 1957 kidnapping and killing of a 7-year-old Illinois girl has been charged in a separate case with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl from the same small town.
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Bolt points to an interesting observation by Stephen Fry, well known british intellectual. (Yeah, and comedian...)

Fry was talking about double meanings etc, in language etc, and said the following... Surely in terms of lineage, a 50/50 factor should apply - the dominant "bloodline" become the race of definition...

...It so happened that I was in Kenya at the time of Barack Obama’s election as president. I spoke to a member of the Luo tribe, from which Obama’s father came, and asked if he was pleased that America should not only now have a black president, but one from his people. “Very pleased of course,” came the reply, “but you should consider that had Mr Obama been elected president of Kenya, he would have been our first white president.”

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