Rafe’s Roundup 31 August

Not much good news around at present. Tasmania made it to the international news in Britain with the Big Sheep. Some light relief: crashing wind turbines and a problem with demolition.

The history of Europe in maps, note especially the consolidation of the Germany from a myriad of princedoms to become the big bully of the 20th century, especially under the influence of their walkover victory over the French in 1879-71.

The trendiest neighbourhoods in the world. Eat your heart out Byron Bay and Carlton.

How to be a good colleague at work.

The joy of worrying about climate change. And the pain of not being alarmed in academia – the strange story of Murry Salby.

Books. The bookshops of Chicago, Scott Fitzgerald books, the evolution of rock/pop music, minimalist book covers.

Around the town. IPA HEY. The Sydney Institute. Australian Taxpayers Alliance, Liberty on the Rocks, the notice board for the ATA: Quadrant on line, Mannkal Foundation, Centre for Independent Studies.

The Black Steam Train, back on deck and running hot on s18.
Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch Dog. Don Aitkin. Jim Rose, feral and utopian!

Sites of interest. Richard Hammer, Free Nation Foundation.
Aust NZ libertarian students.
Powerline.

For nerds. Melvyn Bragg’s radio program. Pessimistic comments by Frank Knight on teaching economics to people who don’t want to learn.

My interest has of late tended to shift from the problems of economic theory, to the question of why people so generally, and the learned elite in particular, choose nonsense instead of sense and shake the dust from their feet at us.

And I also note that the period of my career as an economist has been marked by a series of “movements”-I will not say fads-in economic writing and teaching, consisting largely of attacks on traditional views of the nature and function of economics, in which the term “orthodoxy” commonly appears as a “cuss-word,” an epithet of reproach. The critics, aggressors, have more or less explicitly advocated the abolition of an economics of economic principles and its replacement by almost anything or everything else.

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6 Responses to Rafe’s Roundup 31 August

  1. Badjack

    You forgot steynonline.com
    “The Reformation of Manners” is an interesting read….particularly for Victorian parents of vulnerable children.

  2. Giorgio

    Just sent an email to Dennis Naphthine ,Victorian Premier protesting Victorias enployment of the Sharp woman from Rotherham UK,who knew of the fithy muslims industrial Rape and sexual abuse of 1400 girls. She must have known in her position therefore she is guilty of complicity.Rally Round Cats,pepper Dennis with emails demanding her removal from Any position near children. Send her back to the Uk to face the fate she deserves.

  3. docket62

    Reprinted from Piers’ blog with authors name: this should be published on Page 2 of every newspaper in Australia…

    Labor’s broken promises.
    7th September, 2013
    PROMISE – “I am an economic conservative, I am committed to balancing the budget” – Kevin Rudd 2007 election
    BROKEN – Labor’s first budget produced a $27.1 billion deficit (double the previous highest ever deficit). The 2009-10 budget deficit was $54.8 billion. The 2010-11 budget deficit was $47.7 billion. The 2011-12 budget deficit was $49.4 billion, in 2012-13 it reached $18.8 billion and on leaving office the 2012-13 budget was heading for a $47 billion deficit
    Net debt predicted to reach $107 billion in 2011-12. Labor increases its debt ceiling from $75 billion to $200 billion in 2009, to $250 billion in 2011, and $300 billion in 2013. That figure was exceeded in 2013 and is now headed for $667 billion over the next ten years.
    PROMISE – Parliament will resume before Christmas and Ministers will not be allowed a Christmas holiday break
    BROKEN – Ministers all have 2007 Christmas holidays and Parliament does not sit until February 12 2008, the latest start in memory
    PROMISE – Labor will deliver fibre to the node broadband with speeds of 100 megabits per second to 98% of Australians beginning by Christmas 2008 at a cost of $4.7 billion
    BROKEN – Labor axed the $900 million Opel contract to deliver wireless broadband to regional Australia and has not delivered fast speeds to any household by Christmas 2009. Labor watered down its promise so that only 90% of Australians would ever get fibre to the home and 2 million Australians in regional areas were excluded from Labor’s promise. The cost of Labor’s scheme had blown out to $43 billion. At the end of 2011 only 2,315 subscribers had been connected to NBN fibre optic cable. When Labor left office in September 2013 a review of the NBN found that only 80,000 premises were connected, less than 3% of the total target and the estimated cost of completing the NBN was now $73 billion
    PROMISE – Labor will give a computer to every secondary school student in years 9-12. The scheme will cost $900 million and be completed in 2009.
    BROKEN – The promise was downgraded. Computers would only be available for every second child and only if the State Government or parents pay for electricity, programs, cables, repairs, upgrades etc. Later the program was restructures to Year 9 students and completion delayed til 2012 and the cost blew out to $2.4 billion
    PROMISE – Labor will create an education revolution
    BROKEN – Literacy and numeracy at record lows. National curriculum was mired in controversy and most states have deferred its implementation
    PROMISE – Labor will provide a Trade Training Centre at all 2650 secondary schools in Australia
    BROKEN – Promise to provide a centre to every school abandoned and instead the centres would be provided only to a cluster of schools. Only one has been opened after Labor’s first two years in office. As of October 2011, only 111 are operational and in May 2013 only 252 had opened
    PROMISE – Labor will establish Grocery Watch to put downward pressure on grocery prices
    BROKEN – After spending $13 million on failed grocery price reporting schemes, Labor abandons Grocery Watch
    PROMISE – Labor will establish Fuel Watch to help motorists buy the cheapest petrol
    BROKEN – Labor abandons its failed Fuel Watch scheme after spending $21 million
    PROMISE – Labor will provide an extra $15 million for Rural Research and Development Corporations affected by drought
    BROKEN – $10 million provided for climate change activities instead
    PROMISE – Labor will establish an Office for Children and Young People
    BROKEN – Never delivered
    PROMISE – Labor will reduce expenditure on consultancies by $395 million
    BROKEN – Labor paid $952 million in consultancy contracts in its first two years in office, more than any other government in history. In 2009-10 Labor spent $458 million and in 2010-11 $441 million. In its first four years, Labor spent $2.17 billion on consultancies. Labor also changed the definition of consultancies so that many were classified as ‘general contracts’
    PROMISE – Labor will give the states until mid 2009 to fix hospitals or the Government will hold a constitutional referendum to transfer responsibility for health to the Commonwealth
    BROKEN – June 30 2009 passes with no action – just an announcement to review the review. In April 2010, the Rudd Government backs down entirely and allows the States to continue to run hospitals The promised local Hospital Boards became large Regional Health Authorities. Julia Gillard concedes that the States will not be required to give up any of their GST revenue as originally required
    PROMISE – Labor’s modern award will not make workers or employers worse off
    BROKEN – Labor’s new awards leave most employers worse off and also many employees. ACTU Secretary admitted Labor’s changes to industry based awards had left child care workers, aged care nurses, bar staff, funeral workers and some transport workers worse off (Hobart Mercury 2-3-2011)
    PROMISE – Labor will maintain and improve the Regional Partnerships Program
    BROKEN – Labor axes the Regional Partnership Program
    PROMISE – Labor will take legal action to stop Japanese whaling
    BROKEN – Japanese whaling continues without interruption and no court action commenced until demanded by The Greens very late in their term.
    PROMISE – Labor will establish 35 general practice super clinics to improve local medical care
    BROKEN – After two years in office only one super clinic was operational and another was opened at the end of January 2010. The 2010-11 Budget promised 23 more general practice super clinics, all in centres that already have many doctors. By late 2011, only 19 were fully operational and only four bulk bill all patients. By May 2012, only 24 of the clinics were operating and others are mired in controversy, contractual disputes and poor services
    PROMISE – At the 2007 election, Labor promised to establish 12 Defence Force Family Healthcare Clinics, to provide free GP and dental care to families of serving ADF members at defence bases
    BROKEN – 8 trial services introduced but no Defence Family Healthcare Clinics ever established
    PROMISE – Labor will hold a referendum with the 2010 federal election for four year terms for Members of the House of Representatives and Senate
    BROKEN – Government abandons referendum promise (28-1-10)
    PROMISE – Labor will deliver 750 new homes, rebuild 230 houses and refurbish 2500 dwellings in the Northern Territory at a cost of $672 million
    BROKEN – $170 million spent and only seven new houses completed
    PROMISE – Mr Rudd promised he would update the House of Representatives on the progress towards closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage on the first sitting day of each year
    BROKEN – Mr Rudd didn’t do that in 2009 or 2010. A report was given on the second sitting day of 2011
    PROMISE – Labor promised to take legal action against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on a charge of incitement to genocide
    BROKEN – Labor never took any action
    PROMISE – Labor will spend $100 million to re-engineer Menindee Lakes to save 200 billion litres of water a year for the Murray Darling
    BROKEN – Nothing has been done
    PROMISE – Labor will establish a Coastguard with purpose built vessels and dedicated trained staff
    BROKEN – Coastguard promise abandoned and Labor cut the budgets for Customs and Quarantine in nearly every budget, slashing inspection staff numbers and reducing the number of inspections by many millions of items every year
    PROMISE – “We will create the right incentives for individuals and business”
    BROKEN – Labor gutted $1 billion from business incentives including axing the Commercial Ready program, Small Business Field Officer program, New Business Incentive Scheme and the Global Opportunities program. Labor abolishes the 25% Entrepreneur’s Tax Offset increasing the tax burden of Australia’s 400,000 small businesses. 300,000 jobs lost in manufacturing industry in Labor’s first four years. One job in manufacturing was lost every 19 minutes Labor was in office
    PROMISE – Labor will simplify GST paperwork for small business
    BROKEN – Labor abandons its BAS Easy Scheme after review reports it will deliver minimal reductions in red tape and be a cost to revenue
    PROMISE – Labor will increase the overall size of the Australian Federal Police by 500 sworn officers
    BROKEN – Only 100 officers to be recruited between 2008-10, Labor winds back the Air Marshals program and cuts AFP budget. Another $23.5 million cut from AFP in 2010-11 Budget
    PROMISE – Labor will retain private health insurance rebates (letter to private health funds, September 2007)
    BROKEN – Labor repeatedly introduces legislation into Parliament to reduce the rebates and finnay succeeds winning Greens support to index the rebates
    PROMISE – Labor will end the blame game
    BROKEN – Of the first 500 Questions Without Notice in Parliament asked of Labor Government Ministers, Labor blamed the Coalition in 77% of their answers (81% of answers to questions asked by Labor Members of themselves)
    PROMISE – 260 child care centres will be built in schools and TAFEs
    BROKEN – After two years in office only one has been opened. The Rudd Government abandons the promise ‘to end the double drop off’ saying only 38 will be built
    PROMISE – Labor will pay a $6,000 bonus to attract 7,750 nurses back to work
    BROKEN – Only 752 nurses accepted the offer
    PROMISE – Labor will introduce mandatory filtering of all unlawful and inappropriate online material on websites
    BROKEN – After years of procrastination Labor decides only “refused classification” material is to be filtered and that is already banned. Labor then abandons its internet censorship promise altogether and announces a new 12 month inquiry to be followed by COAG consideration
    PROMISE – Labor is the Party for the environment
    BROKEN – Labor axed the previous Government’s Natural Heritage Trust and the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality and replaced them with its Caring for Our Country program spending $1 billion less
    PROMISE – Labor will lower the tax burden
    BROKEN – Since the Labor Government was elected in 2007, Labor has introduced or increased more than 40 taxes including
    1 – Great big new Carbon Tax, $9 billion per year and increasing every year
    2 – The Mining Tax, $11 billion over 4 years
    3 – Cutting what Australians can put into superannuation tax free, $2.8 billion over 4 years. Twice delay higher tax free superannuation contribution increases, $4.3 billion over four years
    4 – Restrictions on business losses, $700 million over 4 years
    5 – Alcopops Tax, $3.1 billion over 4 years
    6 – Cigarette Tax hike of 25%, $5 billion over 4 years. Only two packets of cigarettes can be purchased duty free, $600 million over four years
    7 – New tax on Australians working overseas, $675 million over four years
    8 – Changes to Employee Share Scheme, $200 million over 4 years
    9 – Ethanol and Biodiesel Tax increases
    10 – LPG Excise increase – $540 million over 4 years. Truck Road User Charge increased by $166 million, $700 million over four years
    11 – Tightening restrictions on medical expenses before you can claim them on tax, $350 million over 4 years. Medicare Safety Net means tested, threshold increased from $2000 to $5000 and tax concession slashed
    12 – Increase in Luxury Car Tax, $555 million over 4 years
    13 – Increase the Income Tax Rates from 15% to 19% and from 30% to 33%
    14 – Flood Tax, $1.8 billion
    15 – Tax increase on company cars, $970 million over 4 years
    16 – Abolition of Entrepreneurs Tax offset for small business, $356 million over 4 years
    17 – Phasing out of Dependent Spouse Tax Offset, $755 million over 4 years
    18 – Disallowance of deductions against government assistance payments
    19 – Removing minors’ eligibility for the low income tax offset on unearned income, $740 million over 4 years
    20 – Defer and in 2011 Budget axe the tax breaks for Green Buildings, $700 million over four years
    21 – Increased taxation on Employment Termination Payments, $200 million over four years
    22 – $500 mature age tax offset axed, $255 million over four years
    23 – Superannuation tax doubled to 30% for people on income above $300,000, $1 billion over four years
    24 – Passenger movement charge increased in almost every budget – to $55 in 2012 budget raising $610 million over four years
    25 – Increased charges for aged care for all but full pensioners, $2.1 billion over four years
    At the time of leaving office, Labor had failed to legislate more than 100 tax measures which it had announced up to seven years earlier
    PROMISE – Labor will request UN Security Council to take court action against the Burmese Junta for crimes against humanity
    BROKEN – No action taken
    PROMISE – Labor will provide rain water tanks to all of Australia’s 305 surf lifesaving clubs
    BROKEN – After two years only 45 have been provided and program axed altogether in 2010-11 Budget
    PROMISE – Labor will standardise business regulation across the states and reduce red tape
    BROKEN – Labor admits its program is behind schedule and virtually nothing has been achieved
    PROMISE – Labor will close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage
    BROKEN – Labor’s reports to Parliament shows little or no progress in health, education or employment outcomes
    PROMISE – Labor will provide 200,000 households with interest free loans of up to $10,000 each under its Green Loans scheme
    BROKEN – After the election, the commitment was cut to 75,000 households. The scheme was scrapped after providing loans to only 1,008 households, leaving 10,000 Green Loan assessors who paid up to $2,000 for their own training with no work
    PROMISE – Labor will address the systemic skills shortage faced by the shipping industry due to high training costs
    BROKEN – Despite a Coastal Shipping Inquiry, no action was taken to address skills shortages until the last year of Labor’s term when Labor established a $5 million committee to improve training. Labor’s union inspired shipping reform legislation devastates what is left of Australia’s coastal shipping industry
    PROMISE – Labor will establish a fourth free to air commercial TV network
    BROKEN – Labor abandons the fourth network and grants a $250 million reduction in licence fees for the existing commercial TV networks
    PROMISE – Labor will take “a very hard line… a very tough line on people smuggling”. On the day of her election, Julia Gillard said she would fix the flood of illegal boat arrivals
    BROKEN – In August 2008, the Rudd Government relaxed Australia’s border protection laws – after only 18 boats carrying 201 people had arrived in the last 5 years of the Howard Government. By 19 May 2010, 121 boats carrying 5932 unauthorised people had arrived Australia. By 18 November 2011, 13,205 had arrived in 255 boats. In December 2011, 1,050 people arrived – the most in a month since Tampa. The total for 2011 was 4,573 – over half in 10 weeks after Labor re-introduced on-shore processing. During Labor’s term more than 50,000 unauthorised people arrived in Australia by boat. At least 1,100 more perished at sea. Border protection costs blew out by $11.6 billion
    PROMISE – “Labor’s policy is that if people are intercepted on the high seas, then the vessel should be turned around”
    BROKEN – Not one vessel was turned around
    PROMISE – Labor will “increase… x-raying and inspecting containers arriving at our ports from

    Maryann of Forster
    Sun 31 Aug 14 (06:36am)

  4. David

    A must read:

    An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth

    A former AP correspondent explains how and why reporters get Israel so wrong, and why it matters
    By Matti Friedman|August 26, 2014 12:00 AM

    http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/183033/israel-insider-guide

  5. Rabz

    Rafe,

    Those maps are fascinating. It’s easy to forget how disjointed Europe was for much of the Nineteenth century, ‘resolved’ somewhat, by the unification of Germany and Italy.

    When I was in Europe in 1996, some maniac was killing people in the Tyrol – he was described as a “German Nationalist”. We were driving through the region at the time, blissfully ignorant of such shenanigans. Our travelling party was an interesting bunch, consisting of two krauts* and a Sicilian, driving a brand new, French plated Renault.

    *Myself and another mate, who were invariably regarded as Germans by the locals. My other mate had no such troubles – everyone just assumed he was from Southern Italy – mind you, his fluency in Italian did come in handy on several occasions.

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