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Monday, 14 March


Australian Federal Election 2016: another one for the FFS! file North Coast Voices

An article in the Brisbane Times on 8 March 2016 clearly indicates that climate change denying right-wing nutters still rule the Liberal Party of Australia and they want to spend the Turnbull Government to spend taxpayer dollars chasing their delusions:

The NSW Liberals have formally called on the Turnbull government to conduct public debates about climate change - including whether the science is settled - in a stark reminder of the deep divisions within the party over the issue.

A motion passed at the party's state council calls on the government to "arrange and hold public debates/discussions" between scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and "independent climate scientists".

The motion says the events should cover "the global warming/climate change debate"; "the claims by the IPCC"; and the statement "is all the science settled".

It proposes the first debate be held in Sydney, the second in Melbourne and "the others to take place one in each state"....


Who will the country be supporting in 2016 - Bill Shorten or Tony Abbott? North Coast Voices

This is Leader of the Opposition and Labor MP for Maribyrnong, Bill Shorten.....

And this is the Janus-faced Australian Prime Minister and MP for Wentworth, Malcolm Anthony Abbott Turnbull.......


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Sunday, 13 March


The Making of Modern Economics third edition Catallaxy Files

Economists barely understand the history of their own subject today, in large part because most economists no longer even understand what role it could play in making an economist a better economist. I wrote my own book on this very subject, Defending the History of Economic Thought, when many historians of economics were themselves conspiring to remove HET from within economic theory. Strangely many still are; it is a battle for the soul of economics that continues. If you would like to have some idea of what would be lost to economists by ridding themselves of their own history, the hands down best history of economics ever written is by Mark Skousen who has just brought out the third edition of this exemplary text. Aside from everything else, it has the astonishing additional feature of being readable and entertaining. You cannot genuinely understand economic theory without understanding its history, and there is no better place I know for learning this history than from this book. Below is the notice put out on the release of the third edition.

March 9, 2016 was the 240th anniversary of the publication of “The Wealth of Nations,” by Adam Smith. On this day Dr. Mark Skousen announced the publication of the new third edition of his bestselling history, “The Making of Modern Economics.”

skousen making of modern economics

As you can see from the cover, the heroic figure in Skousen’s book is Adam Smith and his “system of natural liberty.” (Interestingly, the official pub date of the fir...


Damn you Newtown greenie Barners, your coal-hating time has come, thanks be unto Akker Dakker ... loon pond

Now the pond has spoken sharply before to the Terrorists about their hagiographic, offensively large and intimidating portraits of their further to the right than Genghis Khan commentariat ...

It takes a brave, bold heart, one that refuses to be intimidated, to avert the eyes for a moment, and get past the bold, bloated face that's offered as a greeting, in order to get to the good, rich Akker Dakker coal seam beneath ...

Now the pond, as a child of Tamworth, who somehow ended up in Camperdown - we can spit or skip a stone across the border with Newtown - is expert on both cultures, and can testify to the infinite wisdom of Akker Dakker ...

These are genuine, died in the wool Newtownians:


AHPRA: Calls for overhaul of health regulatory body escalate Independent Australia

AHPRA: Calls for overhaul of health regulatory body escalateDr Don Kane discusses systemic bullying of health professionals – tolerated by the national regulatory body – and highlights the need for reform. read now...


Another take on Comminsure Catallaxy Files

I would normally prefer to clean out the garage rather than watch Four Corners.  But I knew that the Four Corners/Fairfax expose of the activities of Comminsure, the insurance company owned by the Commonwealth Bank, would continue to make news, so I gave in.

While I rather enjoyed watching the CBA CEO, Ian Narev, squirm about – don’t we realise that he heads up the Ethical Bank? – I actually thought the program was rather shabby journalism (hey, there are two sides to these stories) and didn’t really pick up the main issue – the fact that Comminsure is a major wholesaler of life insurance and the ‘clients’ are not really theirs but come via a dubious arrangement with industry super funds.

(Now maybe Narev did explain this off camera, but it would seem that he was effectively saying that he is not responsible for things that happen at Comminsure – for legal and regulatory reasons – although he was happy to meet up with the aggrieved clients.  Didn’t make much sense.)

There was also a strong assumption in the program that no one ever tries to make a fraudulent insurance claim.  Come on. (Note outraged Fairfax follow up of Comminsure using surveillance of claimants – no kidding.)

And let’s face it, there is quite a lot of grey area to many of these claims: the chap who had made a claim for having a terminal conditions seems to be quite well now, for instance.

But the real story is this.  When Bill Shorten was a minister in the RGR government, he was working very quickly to dole out as many favours to his mates in the union movement and the industry super funds as possible.

One of the changes he made to the SIS Act was to provide for an opt-out arrangement in relation to insurance attached to superannuation.  That is, all members of super funds are enrolled in insurance (for life and TPD, but not trauma &...


In which the sanctimonious, righteous Jensenists at last return to pride of place at the pond to smite and smote the sanctimonious and righteous liberals and their pieties this meditative Sunday ... loon pond

Now the pond rarely visits the ABC alone, let alone The Drum, but this piece was recommended by the Bolter himself ... and so it had to be taken seriously ...

Because the convicted Bolter is a man of his convictions, and surely just the right sort of person to preach the difference between goodness and mere sanctimony ...

Never mind the rich, redolent irony of a sanctimonious, righteous angry Sydney Anglican denouncing others as sanctimonious televangelists, here was rich, righteous company for the Jensenists ...

Could self-loathing reach any greater heights or depths?

Now the Bolter rather ruins the fun, by quoting the Jensenist at great length, but the pond would like to draw your attention to this illustration to the piece ...



Malcolm’s Bitter Harvest The Political Sword

It would be trite to begin with the platitude: You reap what you sow. To Malcolm Turnbull though, that cliché must have an ominous ring about it as he reflects on his past. To what extent has he brought upon himself the political troubles that afflict him now?

His career was illustrious before he entered federal politics, but once inside the rabbit fence the rules changed and so did he.

Brought up by his father, he had a sound education at Sydney Grammar School and the University of Sydney, from which he graduated in Arts and Law, and on a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford he took a degree in Civil Law.

He is remembered as an adventurous barrister defending Kerry Packer against the ‘Goanna’ allegations made by the Costigan Commission, and is famous for his success in the ‘Spycatcher case’ when he took on and defeated the UK government, which was trying to suppress the publication of the book of the same name by Peter Wright, a former MI5 official.

He tried his hand at journalism, moved into merchant banking and became managing director and later a partner at Goldman Sachs. Subsequently he showed his entrepreneurship and technical skills when he oversaw the expansion of Internet Service Provider OzEmail, which he later sold for $60 million. He was Chairman of the Australian Republican Movement, and entered federal politics in 2004.

Even his opponents acknowledge his intelligence, his enterprise, and his substantial achievements. So how has it come to this?

This week, Bernard Keane began an article in Crikey: The Abbott legacy: Turnbull heads for the...


A history of the minimum wage in Australia Catallaxy Files

1969 - Equal Pay rally at the Trades Hall, Carlton, Victoria.

1969 – Equal Pay rally at the Trades Hall, Carlton, Victoria.

There are many unique features about Australia but amongst them stands out our system of wage fixation. There is now a fascinating exhibition at Fair Work Australia in Melbourne on The History of the Minimum Wage which has a history going back more than a century. Few economists have ever understood what every industrial officer in the middle of a strike has understood, that if you want the work done, you have to get the workers to do it. And you will only make the wages system work if it is seen as fair. To tell someone fairness is shown by the equality of supply and demand has never convinced anyone yet. So we have the system we have and it has been with us since 1907.

The exhibition has been put together by my old comrade in fighting these wage increases, Reg Hamilton, now Deputy President of the Fair Work Commission. You can see the exhibit on the 7th floor of the Fair Work Commission in the Sir Richard Kirby Library at 11 Exhibition Street in Melbourne. If you get the chance, you should have a look.


Fighting in Apple Inc's corner in court battle wth US Federal Bureau of Investigation are...... North Coast Voices

In the matter of the search of an Apple iPhone seized during the execution of a search warrant on a Black Lexus IS300, California license plate 35kgd203 and the demand that Apple Inc. create new software to break its own privacy safeguards and potentially its encryption codes, the IT world steps in to help.

Apple Inc media release, Amicus Briefs in Support of Apple, 3 March 2015:

Amicus Briefs



Bank hold-ups to be certified A-OK? (Part 1) Independent Australia

Bank hold-ups to be certified A-OK? (Part 1)Dr Evan Jones discusses the latest in a series of parliamentary inquiries into systemic bank corruption as the victims of fraudulent foreclosures continue to wait for justice. read now...

Home on the Grange with Mr Polite — Gold Coast “bovver boy” Mayor Tom Tate Independent Australia

Home on the Grange with Mr Polite — Gold Coast “bovver boy” Mayor Tom TateGold Coast Mayor Tom Tate says he accepts bottles of Penfolds Grange because it is 'polite'. Managing editor David Donovan continues his investigation. read now...


In which a mortified pond belatedly brings news and opinion from the west suitable for a Sunday meditation ... loon pond

The pond is mortified ...

News sometimes travels slowly from the west, and it was only thanks to the Bolter that the pond came across an incisive philosophical text, published some days ago, which is of tremendous import, and worthy of a Sunday meditation.

That the pond should have overlooked a work of such overwhelming insight is a matter of deep and bitter regret ....

Hey nonny no, on we go ...

Now this is an exemplary beginning. No doubt the author will quickly move on to some simple illustrations of bullying at work in the public discourse.

Is there a better example than this?



Australian federal election date must be getting closer - Border Protection has been trotted out to spin indefinite, arbitrary offshore detention of asylum seekers North Coast Voices

Given the level of public and parliamentary debate, it would be hard to be completely oblivious to human rights issues surrounding Australia's asylum seeker policies, however Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection Michael Pezzullo appears to have managed an Olympic-level feat of amnesia, denial and spin.

Dept. of Immigration and Border Protection, news release, 8 March 2016:

Immigration detention and children: separating fact from fiction

A message from Michael Pezzullo - Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection


Saturday, 12 March


ASADA at the Senate Catallaxy Files

Transcript here.

HT: John Madigan

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