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Thursday, 21 January


Rafe’s Roundup 21 Jan Catallaxy Files

UPDATE. Don Aitkin on ten years of commentary on the global warming caper. Don Aitkin on what do about the United Nations.

OPEC oil producers vs US shale gas producers. Low energy prices for the foreseeable future.

The full measure of the shale oil model’s impact will be tested when the current crude glut clears and geopolitical risk returns, which is a near certainty. As oil prices eventually rise, will production from America’s shale oil fields rise in tandem and absorb the shock? The next president is likely to find out, and the answer will almost certainly be “yes.” And maybe that president will do something President Obama has never done — acknowledge the game-changing shale revolution as the most extraordinary energy success story in U.S. history.

Good news. Some CEOs still have their feet on the ground.

Climate change fails to top list of threats for business leaders at Davos. Geopolitical uncertainty, over-regulation and cyber attacks among biggest threats to business. The high profile UN summit on climate change in Paris appears to have had little impact on the decision making and worries of global business leaders.

More good news. Refutation of the claim that 20 years of manmade heat have been stored up in the ocean deeps.

Even more good new...


Gaming the budget Catallaxy Files

During the break I got sent this snippet of news:

Are you a pensioner

Of course, this sort of behaviour is not actually illegal, but it does seem inconsistent with the intent of the age pension. Blowing $100,000 on travel shouldn’t be considered an “investment” that earns a greater return than the banks.

(HT: RW)


Coalitions in conflict: Behold the great environment policy jumble! Independent Australia

Coalitions in conflict: Behold the great environment policy jumble!We all pay when Liberal-National Coalitions at a state and federal level directly contradict each other on environment policy, writes Dr Oisín Sweeney of the National Parks Association of NSW. read now...


The 1% and the 99%. Catallaxy Files

Oxfam is at it again.  In advance of the Davos conference (yes a waste of oxygen that it is), Oxfam’s Executive Director Winnie Byanyima is “calling on leaders to show they are on the side of the majority, and to bring a halt to the inequality crisis.  From living wages to better regulation of the activities of the financial sector, there is plenty that policy makers can do to end the economy for the 1% and start building a human economy that benefits everyone“.

It is absolutely clear that most of the poor people in the world are so because there are billionaires in other parts of the world and because of the regulation of the financial sector.  Poverty has nothing to do with governance, resources or institutions.  It is entirely the result of rich people in other countries.

This wishful thinking and disconnect from reality is that same as that pushed last week via the innumerate meme that sharing the $1.3 billion US Powerball lottery evenly would give everyone in the US$4 million.  It would actually be $4 per person, before tax.

Don’t let facts and (now) arithmetic get in the way of a good moralising narrative.


Lambie attends Australian Shipping Conference in Melbourne. Senator Jacqui Lambie - PUTTING TASMANIA FIRST

Independent Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie has attended the Coastal Trading meeting or shipping conference in Melbourne today and delivered an opening address.  The Coastal Trading meeting attracted more than 75 people who represented all sectors of the Australian Shipping and Maritime industry.

As well as Senator Lambie who attended and addressed the conference, crossbench Senators Muir, Madigan and Rice (Greens) also made contributions.  Senator Lambie noted and was disappointed that Australia’s major political parties failed to send elected political representatives to this important meeting.

“I’m particularly disappointed that the Government elected representatives failed to attend and contribute to the debate.  It shows that they don’t want a consensus shipping reform plan to be presented to Parliament – and they just want to use this avoidable crisis for political gain, in an election year,” said Senator Lambie.

The following is a part transcript of the Senator Lambies’s speech.

“I’d like to acknowledge the traditional owners, their elders past and present on whose land we meet – and pay my respects to them.  Members of Parliament, fellow Senators, Ladies and Gentlemen thank you for coming today.

And thank you for the opportunity to briefly speak with you at the start of a shipping conference that I hope – will be described as:

1)     Historic and

Senator Lambie at Coastal Trading meeting today...


The bromancer's love for Malware on a sound footing ... loon pond

Of course it's the first sign of madness when the commentariat begins to refer to the commentariat in the third person, as if the member of the commentariat isn't a member of the commentariat, but perhaps instead is a spectre hovering above the crowd ...

This is the sort of alienation and distant dreaming, an echo of some kind of airport dreaming castle, was memorably celebrated in Bliss ...

Look, down there, it's the commentariat ... seen from the perspective of a wise Zeus ...

Well it wouldn't be a good week if the pond didn't have the commentariat thinking of that central figure of the commentariat, the bromancer, to hand ...


Townsville's favourite uncle political geometry

It's just a little  ditty Clive Palmer and Gina Rinehart perform on opera stages around the place.

I regret how the government has fucked you yokels around, but I don't see what that has to do with me, I've an important lunch engagement.


Special privilege and reciprocity Catallaxy Files

An article in the Australian this morning highlights an interesting problem:

The NSW corruption watchdog’s star barrister, Geoffrey Watson SC, has threatened powerful radio host Alan Jones with a defamation suit if he does not publicly apologise for calling him a “character assassin”.

Mr Watson is famous for launching attacks against senior politicians in ICAC hearings, with many of his victims feeling he has unfairly tarnished their reputations.

All that I know about the NSW ICAC comes from what I read in the Australian. By all accounts it is a star chamber and should have no role or place in any legal system in the English speaking world. I don’t know Geoffrey Watson or whether what Alan Jones has said about him is fair or unfair commentary – so let’s look at the principles at play.

There are good public policy reasons to provide politicians and public servants some legal privilege. Having them being constantly sued or harassed in the legal system would undermine the functions they perform. This is especially the case for prosecutors. It is their job to accuse people of wrong-doing. Many of those accusations will – after the fact – turn out to have being false accusations. Of course, those accusations need to have occurred within a framework of governance and accountability. (This instance is made a bit harder because, by definition, the ICAC cannot be an appropriate framework of governance and accountability).

So here is the issue – if politicians and public servants can’t be sued for doing their job should they be able to be sue when people criticise their performance?

Let’s think about how the norm has evolved for judges: judges are meant to be i...


U.S. currency dictatorship: The struggle to end it Independent Australia

U.S. currency dictatorship: The struggle to end itAre India and the BRICS giving the U.S. dollar the boot? Rakesh Krishan Simha asks if it is really so. read now...


Peter Garrett – an economic dry. You heard it here second. Catallaxy Files

In a recent ABC interview on Radio National, former Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Minister, The Hon. Peter Garrett described himself as an economic dry.  Yes, the Minister who brought you pink bats and Gonski reforms is an economic dry.

Listen for yourself here.  Around 31.00 into podcast.  It is also a quote from his book (ps thanks to the tax payer funded broadcaster for promoting a private venture).


Minister defends Abbott's wasteful war museum boondoggle Independent Australia

Minister defends Abbott's wasteful war museum boondoggleAfter copping criticism about the $100 million war museum in France (including from the prime minister's own son-in-law), the Turnbull government is blaming everyone but itself for proceeding with another of Abbott's wasteful Captain's Picks. Dr David Stephens from Honest History reports. read now...


Language, and civil discourse No Place For Sheep

  If you don’t use Twitter, you likely aren’t aware of the kerfuffle of the last few days over the use of the term “brokens.” Really cool people spell it “broekens” or “broekns,” adding an inexplicable Afrikaans note. In itself it’s not an exceptionally noteworthy kerfuffle, except that it does starkly demonstrate a current conservative […]


Speaking of elites, as the pond often does, let's give full credit to the News Corps elites and especially the reptilian Oz editorialist ... loon pond

While others dawdle and dally, the vigilant, agile and innovative poodle with a pinned tweet Innovation Agenda is always on the case ...

Because 2016 is going to be a big year for the domestic  auto industry ...

Oh alright, it was just so we could note the way this image has spread like wildfire amongst poodle devotees ...

Dear sweet long absent from Adelaide lord, only in crow eater land ...

Meanwhile, for those who live everywhere else, some foolish types have been distracted by scare-mongering headlines .....


Haters going to hate Catallaxy Files

Yesterday we heard the sad news of the passing of Bob Carter. Alan posted the news at 7.44. By 8.24 some dickhead posted:



Japanese whalers active again in Antarctic waters North Coast Voices

Snapshot, Google Earth image of Antarctica, 14 December 2015

Sea Shepherd Australia, Monday 18 January 2016:

Sea Shepherd’s Flagship, the Steve Irwin, has departed Fremantle, Western Australia for the Southern Ocean. The ship’s departure marks the official commencement of the organization’s 12th Southern Ocean Defense Campaign, Operation Icefish 2015-16.

Led by returning Captain, Siddhar...


Clarence Valley Council in residents & ratepayers' bad books North Coast Voices

It's a local government election year in the Clarence Valley (unless the NSW Boundaries Commission decides otherwise) and locals are getting restless as Saturday 10 September is marked in red on many a fridge calendar.

A vague suspicion is developing that a whole lot of payback may be going down at polling booths across the valley on that date.

Clarence Valley Independent, 14 January 2016:

Forum campaigns against CVC's 'secrecy'
Story By: Geoff Helisma
Convenor of The Clarence Forum lodges a petition with Clarence Valley Council last week. It asks the counc...

Wednesday, 20 January


George's diary Independent Australia

George's diaryMore from the pudding and pie man ... read now...


Framing the political debate - the key to winning The Political Sword

Why did Tony Abbott thrive as Leader of the Opposition, but turn out to be such a dud as Prime Minister?

What was it about his period in opposition that was so different from his period as the nation’s leader?

There are many possible answers to these questions.

This piece asserts that the most plausible reason for the difference is that in opposition he had the uncanny ability to frame the political debate in his favour, but in government that ability deserted him.

Let’s begin by defining what framing means. In common parlance, to frame something is to provide it with a surrounding; objects of art are commonly framed. A suitable frame contributes to the appeal of the object. An attractive object can be diminished, made unattractive or even repulsive if placed in a discordant frame.

In the political arena, suitable framing is crucial. It has been around in politics since time immemorial, but perhaps not well known by that name. Concepts that have a name are more easily understood simply because they are named. The name ‘framing’ makes it easier to understand what the concept means. Framing creates a perspective, an orientation, a way of viewing. Suitable framing is a winner, unsuitable a loser. Cynics diminish the concept of framing when they label it simply as ‘spin’. Framing is much more than spin. Spin conflates with misinformation.

By way of illustration, let’s begin with a classic example of framing in our own federal political arena. During the global financial crisis, Labor framed the stimulus package as saving jobs, spurring economic growth and supporting communities. After the first tranche, the Coalition strongly opposed the package, framing it as needlessly running up unmanageab...

IndyWatch Aussie Politics Feed Archiver

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