Monday, 28 July 2014

When Australia is not Australia – Scott Morrison and the mad, mad world of boat people

On AM  this morning:
CHRIS UHLMANN: Why have you broken your policy for off-shore processing and decided to sent them to Curtin?

SCOTT MORRISON: We haven’t broken our promises for off-shore processing. Off-shore processing is the backstop measure. Where we can get people sent back to the country from which they’ve come from, then that’s exactly what we’ll do and that’s the step we’re now engaged in. 

It’s not the policy of this Government to send out the water taxi the second the whistle goes up, as was the practise of the previous government, that’s not what we do. We seek to frustrate every aspect of this venture, and that includes having people sent back where we can do that. And now you’ll know that he mainland of Australia is an excised off-shore place for the purposes of the migration act.

CHRIS UHLMANN: That’s true, Australia is no longer part of Australia for the purposes of the Migration Act.

SCOTT MORRISON: And that was the legislation brought in by the previous government which we supported. Now that means the off-shore processing options remain open to the Government in relation to this caseload of people that have come by this method, and the Government reserves those options.
And I particularly liked the “anyhow, don’t blame me it was Labor wot done it” reference: ” Unfortunately true enough to make a fellow want to go green

Big hook nosed Jews

From my former Crikey colleague Christian Kerr in the Oz’s Strewth! column this morning comes this observation:
SATURDAY’S Sydney Morning Herald featured a nuanced — not — column on current events in the Middle East by Mike Carlton, accompanied by an equally subtle cartoon of a nasty Israeli with little round pebble glasses and a big nose. Just like, as eagle-eyed spotters at Quadrant noticed, this cartoon from Der Sturmer from 1934. How very tasteful.
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Sunday, 27 July 2014

Antarctica’s point of no return and other news and views for Sunday 27 July

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  • Antarctica’s Point of No Return – “Recent satellite observations have confirmed the accuracy of two independent computer simulations that show that the West Antarctic ice sheet has now entered a state of unstoppable collapse. … Rather than reacting to global warming with gradual and predictable patterns of change, the West Antarctic ice sheet has suddenly “tipped” into a new state. A relatively small amount of melting beneath the Amundsen Sea’s ice shelf has pushed its grounding line to the top of a sub-glacial hill, from which it is now “rolling down.” Simply put, one thermal kick was enough to initiate an internal dynamic that will now continue under its own momentum, regardless of any action that humans might take to prevent it.
  • Powerful and Coldhearted – “Can people in high positions of power — presidents, bosses, celebrities, even dominant spouses — easily empathize with those beneath them? Psychological research suggests the answer is no. … On the basis of a study we recently published with the researcher Jeremy Hogeveen, in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, we contend that when people experience power, their brains fundamentally change how sensitive they are to the actions of others.”
  • Five myths about the gender pay gap - 1. The pay gap is closing rapidly. … 2. Women earn less because they work in industries that pay less. … 3. Women earn less because they don’t negotiate well. … 4. Women earn less because mothers choose to work less. … 5. To close the pay gap, we should focus on deterring discrimination. …
  • Boat turnbacks make harsh deterrents pointless – “Australia’s policy of mandatory detention isn’t what is stopping the boats, and we should put an end to the untold damage that is being inflicted on people’s lives, writes Mike Steketee.”
  • Government anti-piracy plan one of the world’s toughest – “Australia would have some of the toughest anti-piracy measures in the Western world if leaked government proposals to crack down on online copyright infringement were implemented, according to copyright experts. The draft discussion paper, published by news site Crikey on Friday, includes proposals to block overseas websites that host pirated content and to compel internet service providers (ISPs) to stop users illegally downloading movies and music.”
  • The Long History Of The Gaza Tunnels – “In his forthcoming book, Gaza: A History, Jean-Pierre Filiu describes the ‘first historic reference to the loose subsoil of Gaza’ during Alexander the Great’s 332 BC siege of this Mediterranean city, then under Persian rule. Filiu writes that Alexander expected quick victory. But ‘the siege of Gaza involved 100 days of fruitless attacks and tunneling.’ When Gaza finally fell, Alexander was infuriated and went on a vengeful rampage.”

Miranda Devine’s selective selection to “prove” Fairfax hating

From Miranda Devine’s Sunday Telegraph column this morning:
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Look at the original SMH letters page and decide for yourself who has “an obsession bordering on sickness”.
2014-07-27_atlastA critical and, in my opinion, wrong-headed letter, sandwiched between two that praise the government, does not seem very obsessive to me.
But then, I clearly have different view on many things to Miranda Devine. Consider for a moment the implications of this opinion also offered in this morning’s column:
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Now I have no desire to support head-lopping terrorists but I do worry about a system that would allow people with Ms Devine’s views to judge which natural born Australian citizens are to be forever banished from Australia. Just a tad sick and obsessive?

An update on bank settlements still flowing from the financial crisisticket

A deal to resolve a U.S. regulator’s claims against Goldman Sachs Group Inc over mortgage-backed securities sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac leading up to the financial crisis could cost the bank between $800 million and $1.25 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The person said Goldman Sachs is discussing a settlement with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which filed 18 lawsuits against Goldman and other banks in 2011 over about $200 billion in mortgage-backed securities that later went sour.
Goldman Sachs and the FHFA declined to comment on Saturday.
In other ticket clipping news, Reuters reports that according to a Swiss newspaper about 80 of the 106 Swiss banks that signed up for a deal with U.S. tax authorities could be fined less than they had feared for their role in helping wealthy Americans cheat on their taxes, but must widen their cooperation. The banks, which include Geneva-based Lombard Odier and Zurich firm EFG International, came forward under a program brokered by the Swiss and U.S. governments, after criminal investigations of roughly a dozen Swiss banks including Credit Suisse in the United States.
NOTE: For other stories on this subject see the Owl’s Ticket Clippers archive.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

A 1968 Robert Kennedy speech on GDP I’d like an Australian politician to give today

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  • Robert Rubin Echoes Robert F. Kennedy: GDP Is Fatally Flawed Measure Of Economic Health – “Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin has a must read piece in the Washington Post, ‘How ignoring climate change could sink the U.S. economy.’ The centrist economic panjandrum main point: The notion that tackling climate change will harm the economy is the exact opposite of the truth. In this regard he makes a similar point to one Climate Progress made last week — one that Sen. Robert F. Kennedy made so powerfully on the presidential campaign trail nearly half a century ago ,,, — the GDP is a deeply flawed measure of the economy’s health.”
  • When all the jobs belong to robots, do we still need jobs? – “… there’s a real scarcity of economists willing to think about the possibility that abundance makes markets obsolete altogether. Property rights may be a way of allocating resources when there aren’t enough of them to go around, but when automation replaces labor altogether and there’s lots of everything, do we still need it?”
  • Longest UK slump in a century ends – “Of the G7 major economies, only Italy has taken longer than the UK to regain its pre-crisis size and output per head in Britain is still 4 per cent below its pre-crisis level. A muted Mr Osborne admitted there was ‘still a long way to go’.The big question for him is whether the rebound has come too late to save the Conservatives at the next election, but he is convinced voters will not turn back to a Labour party that was in power when the crash hit in 2008.
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  • Britain’s economy is finally bigger than it was in 2008. What took so long? “Britain’s economy is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. And finally, six years later, it’s an economy that’s bigger than it was before the Great Recession.”
  • Former CIA Officials Denied Chance To Preview ‘Torture’ Report – “About a dozen former CIA officials named in a classified Senate report on decade-old agency interrogation practices were notified in recent days that they would be able to review parts of the document in a secure room in suburban Washington after signing a secrecy agreement. Then, on Friday, many were told they would not be able to see it, after all. Some of them were furious, while Democratic Senate aides were angry that they were given the chance in the first place. It’s the latest chapter in the drama and recriminations that have been playing out behind the scenes in connection with what some call the Senate torture report, a summary of which is being declassified and is expected to be released in the coming weeks.
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Friday, 25 July 2014

Down under a carbon tax goes down and other news and views for Friday 25 July