Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

The Media Sewer in Oz
February 5, 2013

Merv Brendle should know better.  Likewise Senator Cori Bernardi.  Australian media, let alone universities (sic) will exhibit no improvements without the present arrangements die: by starvation.  Cut university funding, abolish humanities and so-called social science departments that are little more than engines of lying propaganda at the expense of scholarship and a liberal education.  The ABC: abolish it.   Reform simply won’t happen.

Find alternative means to publish differing viewpoints.  That includes clearly argued opinion as well as equally clear reporting.  It happened in the past: The Advertiser in the 1910s reported Parliamentary debate and inquiry. Door-stop interviews were unknown.  And so on and so forth. . . .

Although one should not view the past with rosy-coloured glasses; it could be no less nefarious than it is today.  The difference is that it need not be.

Is there a market for media of integrity?  There may have been once.  I doubt it now.  Notions that reform of current institutions, not least those funded by taxpayers, is absurd.  People today read less.  The claim is that they read online.  That is false.  They may spend time online but not reading for understanding their time or even knowing about it day by day.  Friendship is now meaningless, community with it.  Collaborative learning (to use the term of one University librarian) tramples the individual.  ‘Be a team player’, is the cry. Conformity rules.  And that, today, includes slandering and belittling Tony Abbott.

Messrs Brendel and Bernardi chatter fatuously about reform.  Good luck with that!

Unless the Liberal Party, in particular, acknowledge that they have no friends and only enemies in Australian media and act accordingly they have no real chance at electoral victory except beyond the old saw that oppositions do not win elections, governments lose them.  They simply must find alternative means by which to communicate with the public.  I suspect it can be done, if not easily.  Trusting the old ways is a recipe for disaster.  Perhaps innovate.

 

 

Humbug . . . and then some—2
October 11, 2011

So the Carbon Tax has passed the House of Representatives. It’s a bad day. The Leader of the Opposition yesterday rightly suggested that none of the provisions of this legislation take effect until after another election. Government preferred cowardice; it cannot look the electorate in the eye.

Parliamentary despotism is commonplace in the modern world and likely to become only more so. In Australia it is unusual but is now the rule in Canberra. The basic definition of government is acting by deceit. Neo-Keynesiamism, NBN, “national security” and environmentalism: all have deceit at their heart. Not rubbish about being on the side of history changes that: thus Prime Minister Gillard:

“Whether they are on the side of history, whether they are on the side of action, whether they are on the side of change or whether they were content to stand against and watch the world change while Australia stayed the same,” she said.

Instead this government displays the deliberate intention to enter the trash-can of history like so many predecessors who have claimed the logic of history on their side. The Australian government can, today, continue only by lying. It is the most elemental definition of contemporary Australian government: lying to cover the utter cowardice of members of government and total contempt of the people of this country. Utterly loathsome.

Where now? Presumably the government must find some means by which to delay the next federal election due some time prior to 30 November 2013.

Update: The ABC finds much merit in the claim of The Atlantic that Prime Minister Gillard–or Gilliard for Americans–is a “Brave Thinker”. The claim is nonsense, fraudulent even, but since left-wing media organisations like the ABC and The Atlantic have little or no tolerance for the public generally, I guess we can expect no better. What’s brave about holding the electorate in contempt?

 

Critical faculties and evidence irrelevant now
September 30, 2011

The example is only a small one really but illustrates the decision by countless thousands of privileged individuals to forsake reason, to listen only to the voices that suit.

Julian Burnside is a lawyer, “prominent” apparently. Apparently, too, he doesn’t like Tony Abbott, leader of the federal opposition:

In [various] Twitter posts, Mr Burnside described Mr Abbott as a “dangerous man with no moral compass” who would lead Australia “back to the dark ages”.

He said new book Tony Abbott: A Man’s Man, by Susan Mitchell, was “a terrifying portrait of a truly dangerous, unprincipled person: a liar and a hypocrite”.

Pathetic. Anybody wonder why politicians are widely despised and why some of us loathe their self-righteous critics.

Years ago many observed Bush Derangement Syndrome. That, in 2008, extended to Palin Derangement Syndrome. In Australia, we may rightly pity those with Abbott Derangement Syndrome. Like this nation’s chief scientist, Burnside tolerates no opposition; like the government led by Julia Gillard, he tolerates no dissent.

Update: There’s more: see, for example Andrew Bolt. Inconveniently, Tom Dusevic, described as National Chief Reporter for the Australian and reporting Susan Mitchell’s book, included this paragraph:

A spokesman for Mr Abbott said: “Susan Mitchell has not sought to interview Tony as part of her research. The book is so inaccurate and over the top that if it appeared on the ALP website people would dismiss it as lacking all credibility.”

No Interview! No attempt to interview.Yet another person of privilege not deigning to speak with the object of her loathing.

Then there’s the publisher proclaiming a “blistering critique”. How can one claim to have blistered the blighter if you’ve not spoken with him? The long march through the insiotutions continues without rest. The hatred for persons of difference is absolute. The pathology increasingly self-evident. And as the Herald-Sun‘s Andrew Bolt might have said and the Catholic Archbishop of Paris did say during the German occupation of France from May 1940: prudence must dictate our words and actions.*

*See Vesna Drapac, War and Religion: Catholics in the Churches of Occupied Paris.  Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1998, passim.

 

 

Fiscal Austerity
August 11, 2011

Ever wondered what the term means? typed into Google it gives “About 1,400,00 results” in 0.35 seconds.

Top of the list is Wikipedia:

In economics, austerity is a policy of deficit-cutting, lower spending, and a reduction in the amount of benefits and public services provided. Austerity policies are often used by governments to reduce their deficit spending while sometimes coupled with increases in taxes to pay back creditors to reduce debt. “Austerity” was named the word of the year by Merriam-Webster in 2010.

There is much else besides, some interesting, some incomprehensible, some foolish. Of the latter, this gem is perhaps without peer:

some European experts have argued that, due to budgetary shortcomings, the year 2011 could mark the end of an era of government engagement in the economy started with the New Deal in 1933 that saw a massive deployment of public resources and the advancement of state ownership across (formerly private) industries and infrastructures throughout the Western world. . . .

If the American or British instances are any guide, shrinking government is a non-starter. Greece, Portugal and Ireland have begun to shrink but only under the duress of the EU financial authorities. Only Ireland has much chance of financial integrity and that owing to its unusual array of exports, particularly pharmaceutical products, as well as recently reduced interest rate on its loans from the EU.

In the British instance borrowing continues at around £3bn per week. The Australian government, overseeing an unemployment rate of (now) 5.1 per cent continues to borrow at a rate of $Aus50bn for the current financial year (1911–12).

Geoff Riley, some time Head of Economics at Eton College, on An A Level Economics Blog, tuto2u, writes:

Fiscal austerity is a term in common use in the media at the moment. It refers to decisions by a government to reduce the amount of government borrowing (i.e. cut the size of a fiscal deficit) over a period of years. Fiscal austerity normally involves a combination of measures including increases in the overall burden of taxation and cuts in either the real level or growth of government spending on state-provided goods and services.

He then offers several arguments for and against current UK policy, for some invoking the sacred name, Keynes.

Nouriel Roubini in The Financial Times, remarked a few days ago:

Until last year policymakers could always produce a new rabbit from their hat to trigger asset reflation and economic recovery. Zero policy rates, QE1, QE2, credit easing, fiscal stimulus, ring-fencing, liquidity provision to the tune of trillions of dollars and bailing out banks and financial institutions – all have been tried. But now we have run out of rabbits to reveal.

Roubini declined the self-evident invitation to say that not only had “all been tried” but that all had failed. That, evidently, was a logic too far. On the contrary, he argues:

The best bet is for those countries that have not lost market access – the US, UK, Japan, and Germany – to introduce new short-term fiscal stimulus while committing to medium-term fiscal austerity.

The definition of insanity for Albert Einstein was this: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Groucho Marx once remarked: “I have learned from my mistakes. Now I can repeat them perfectly.”

So it is with economists, journalists, commentators and the governments that have bought the Keynesian fantasy of seeming to produce something from nothing. The only austerity about all of them, a handful of honorable persons excepted, is their economy with the truth.

Someone once remarked that the truth with set you free. Yeah, right. Electoral disaster more like.

 

Poms fouled their own nest
August 10, 2011

The nearest to illuminating comment on the British “riots” (risible notion, also here) is from EU Referendum (longer post here). It helps reveal some of the cant and humbug flowing freely the greatly disturbed. Simon Jenkins in the Guardian conveniently overlooks one of the very real powers of local government authorities to wreck families in legal and public silence, something Christopher Booker has endeavoured to report over many years (see here, here, and here for just the most recent examples).

There was also somewhere, possibly from Ambrose, the proper complaint that the excitements found in various parts (then of London, latterly beyond the capital) were very small beer compared with the (probably irredeemable) irresponsibility of EU  and EMU authorities playing God with the lives of many, many millions of folk in the name of a totalitarian ideology.

Perhaps it’s the raw though hardly naive combination of open hostility and cavernous candor, hiding nothing, deceiving no-one, that draws us towards the heart of this darkness. It makes for stark contrast with the perpetual lying propaganda of political and governmental authorities and media. Stock markets in recent days, for example, have fallen rapidly for good reason. A ‘rumour’ —

Fund managers say the dramatic mid-afternoon rally was sparked by a rumour that the US Federal Reserve will announce another round of quantitative easing when it meets tonight in a bid to stop the financial market slide turning into an economic slump —

in the Oz instance reverses that. Absurd.

And that absurdity deepens with the bulk of news reporting, not least from the ABC. “Conservative” practice and “conservatives” as persons warrant only condemnation. I heard Malcolm Turnbull the other day effectively  spitting the term in regard to consumer caution. (Comparable with Hugh MacKay’s condemnation of irrational consumers on Radio National the previous week.) And, only “conservatives” have caused the US a problem of fiscal deficit. Better, like British social workers and family destruction, to have silence on the matter.

Hooligans won’t rule. Yet the all too typically unhelpful definition (per COD), “a young ruffian, esp. a member of a gang” points in the right direction. Thus “ruffian”: “violent, lawless person”. That’s better and brings us closer to the modern, softly (and often not so softly) despotic and parasitic state, democratic in name only.

 

 

The future has begun
August 3, 2011

At lat, a mainstream news organisatin that gets US debt levels right. AFP reports:

US debt shot up $238 billion to reach 100 percent of gross domestic project after the government’s debt ceiling was lifted, Treasury figures showed Wednesday.

Treasury borrowing jumped Tuesday, the data showed, immediately after President Barack Obama signed into law an increase in the debt ceiling as the country’s spending commitments reached a breaking point and it threatened to default on its debt.

The new borrowing took total public debt to $14.58 trillion, over end-2010 GDP of $14.53 trillion, and putting it in a league with highly indebted countries like Italy and Belgium.

Public debt subject to the official debt limit — a slightly tighter definition — was $14.53 trillion as of the end of Tuesday, rising from the previous official cap of $14.29 trillion a day earlier.

Add to that Ambrose’s less than cheery outlook:

The West’s horrible fiscal choice

The US, Britain, and Europe are together embarking on a sudden and severe tightening of fiscal policy, in unison, before economic recovery has reached safe take-off speed. The experiment was last tried in the 1930s.

Yet somewhat contrary to A E-P’s consistently presented argument (which has continued for many months), he overlooks the unattractive reality of no less persistent bad governance. Neo-Keynesian deficit spending has, unremarkably, failed. And as Albert Einstein once remarked:

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

The outlook is, frankly, dreadful. (Forget China.) To date I have been surprised by the relative passivity of the southern European publics at the straits into which governments aided by a ludicrous media have led them. The analysis offered, at least in part in Kenneth Minogue’s  The Servile Mind: How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life, is discouraging. Debt and much else has proven to be a truly faustian bargain.  How the West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly–and the Stark Choices Ahead, by Dambisa Moyo barely scrapes the surface. The essential argument is right but the means chosen to prove it are most unsatisfactory. Add to these a widespread culture of death and the great scam of climate change (apd). Messy.

It’s over twenty years since National Interest published Francis Fukuyama’s “The End of History” (see here).

A true global culture has emerged, centering around technologically driven economic growth and the capitalist social relations necessary to produce and sustain it.

Oops. Still, look on the bright side, lots of work for future historians!