You can’t be serious

I’m used to Australian commentary on the American election to be one-sided and Democrat, but the AFR piece this morning – These times call for a serious president, not a childish one like Donald Trump – reaches a new low in stupidity and ignorance. You would at least think that after eight years of Obama, he might be just a touch reticent about his own judgment in such things, but instead he can still write about the difference between outsiders entering the race when Obama did in comparison to now when the outsider is Trump:

In 2008, the challenger was The One. In 2016, it’s The Donald. Then, the themes of the day were hope and change. Now, the themes are anger and retreat.

If he can still write “The One” and the words “hope and change” without feeling the irony and disappointment, then this is one commentator who can with the greatest safety be ignored. I wonder why he thinks all this is taking place after eight years of Obama:

Every day, the liberal international order that has existed for 70 years seems less liberal, less international and less orderly. The United States has inched back from the world and challengers have stepped into it. The West is drooping. The historic project to unite the European continent seems shaky. The Middle East is a bloody mess. There are more refugees, asylum seekers and displaced people than at any time since the end of the Second World War.

So his solution: more of the same. So let us have a look at who will be president if it is not Donald Trump. This is from Instapundit:

CLINTON FOUNDATION GOT $100 MILLION FROM “BLOOD MINERALS” FIRM: Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unaccountably delayed implementation in 2009 of a congressionally mandated certification process designed to bar human rights abuses by mining companies in Africa.

The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group’s Richard Pollock found a hundred million reasons for Clinton’s dallying. Two years before, the Clinton Foundation got a $100 million pledge from the Vancouver, Canada-based Lundin Group.

Lundin is one of the giants of the global mining industry, with huge operations in the Congo, Sudan and Ethiopia. Those operations were repeatedly condemned by human rights groups claiming native populations were being forced to flee their homelands and even being killed because they stood in the way of Lundin projects.

“’Blood minerals’ are related to ‘blood diamonds,’ which are allegedly mined in war zones or sold as commodities to help finance political insurgencies or despotic warlords,” according to Pollock. Lundin has a long history of “cutting deals with warlords, Marxist rebels, military strongmen and dictatorships” in war-torn Africa.

The least surprising aspect of this story? Spokesmen for the Clinton Foundation and Lundin refused to comment.

Not the Nine O’Clock News, or the news anywhere. And this is one that comes to our attention. How many others just like it are there?

Which really does make this article more than odd which is A Response to My Conservative #NeverTrump Friends on why he won’t vote for Hillary. Why is such an article even necessary? How can anyone who is even remotely Republican think of voting for her?

Here, then, are nine reasons (there are more) why a conservative should prefer a Trump presidency to a Democrat presidency:

• Prevent a left-wing Supreme Court.

• Increase the defense budget.

• Repeal, or at least modify, the Dodd-Frank act.

• Prevent Washington, D.C. from becoming a state and giving the Democrats another two permanent senators.

• Repeal Obamacare.

• Curtail illegal immigration, a goal that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with xenophobia or nativism (just look at Western Europe).

• Reduce job-killing regulations on large and small businesses.

• Lower the corporate income tax and bring back hundreds of billions of offshore dollars to the United States.

• Continue fracking, which the left, in its science-rejecting hysteria, opposes.

For these reasons, I, unlike my friends, could not live with my conscience if I voted to help the America-destroying left win the presidency in any way.

I just don’t understand how anyone who understands the threat the left and the Democrats pose on America will refuse to vote for the only person who can stop them.

It is hard to understand, almost as hard as to understand why people on the left also want to vote for Hillary.

Posted in American politics | 34 Comments

Wednesday Forum: May 25, 2016

Posted in Open Forum | 1,844 Comments

From the Heart of Green-Land

If I could do my David Attenborough voice, I would, but …

Deep in the heart of inner city Luvie Land, Glebe, in the electorate of Sydney (Tania Plibersek – ALP) and Balmain (Jamie Parker – Greens) comes this ditty :

Glebe residents protest as McDonald’s cafe moves in to a building about a 25 minute casual walk to ABC’s Ultimo global headquarters.

You see, McDonalds wants to open a “pop-up” store but the the NIMBY residents disapprove.

… residents, business owners and local politicians have no taste for the idea, and a “No McDonald’s working group” has been formed.


Organiser Amanda Tattersall, a Glebe resident and mother of two, said a permanent McDonald’s store would smother the suburb’s “village feel”, undercut independent local businesses and offer an unhealthy option for school children.

You see, local business should not suffer the fate of, hold your breath, competition and other locals, god help us, should not have choice.  Stuff the landlord who needs to rent out the place and stuff the consumers who may actually like to consume the product.

It’s apparently not enough for the Luvies to not like McDonalds.  No-one else should like McDonalds and all the power of the state should be harnessed to make sure no-one can express a preference different to the Luvies.

But this is the inner city Luvie class.  They think of themselves as the cool kids.  They think they are modern, hip and with it.

But what they really are are puritans   Or as H.L. Menken would describe them, those with a haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.

Their economic and governing philosopy was designed in the 1930s and it involves centralisation, cartelisation and collectivisation.  Forget this local communities meme.  No.  They demand a huge central state to keep everyone in check.

PS – the kids in the photo are wearing the uniform of Annandale North Primary School.  This is the Greenest voting booth in Australia.

Posted in Uncategorized | 47 Comments

Fans say cheap solar is inevitable but give us a subsidy anyway

While claiming it is not a prelude to a carbon tax,  Greg Hunt has approved the release of the Clean Energy Regulators “Safeguard mechanism”.

This sets limits, initially very easy to meet, on firms’ carbon dioxide emission levels with the corset being tightened come 2020 when Australia can embark on a UK-style carbon tax.  This sorry policy has led to the demise and relocation of the UK steel industry with no net greenhouse gas savings just an industry reduced to a rust bucket by punitive regulations that impose a tax at a level similar to the wholesale price of (fossil fuel generated) electricity and scheduled to rise to three times that rate.  UK Minister Sajid Javid is desperately trying to find a way of emasculating the industry by selectively excusing the Port Talbot works from its ambit.

In Australia’s case Minister Hunt is struggling to claim that there is nothing to see here.  “Mr Hunt denied this was a “stealth” emissions trading scheme and said any reduction in the limits would be decided by future governments”.  At the same time the usual lobbyists are claiming that it does not go far enough, thus painting the Turnbull government as the acme of moderation on economy destroying climate measures!  The Climate Institute has noted that the Safeguard mechanism could readily be turned into a UK style cap and trade tax.

To promote the case, greenhouse gas rent seeker and lobbyist, Infigen, has brought over a Californian, Max Seba, who tells us that it will all be wind, solar and batteries in a few years anyway What good news because it means we can stop all this economy busting regulatory business and let the nirvana engulf us!

Unfortunately the obvious “do nothing” response to this forecast of a relentless march of green technology is never voiced by the rent seekers and fanatics.  Green espousers talk up the technology in one corner of their mouths and seek subsidies to give the inevitable future a push (and to ensure the survival of their business plans).

Even some energy firms are joining in and feasting on their own carcasses.  AGL (which has a disastrous record in appointing CEO’s from outside the firm) has its current CEO, US import Andy Vesey, busking for greater speed by both the Coalition and the ALP in promoting renewables. AGL is making massive investments in renewables but is not leaving anything to chance by doing so without the taxpayer and consumer being forced to pay two thirds of the cost.

Posted in Uncategorized | 24 Comments

The Narcissism of the Rent Seeker

You got to love it.  Doctors are the medical industry.  Supermarkets are the food industry.  And now, authors are the publishing and book industry.  Or at least Australian authors.  Modest aren’t they.

In another spray at the proposed recommendation of the Productivity Commission to end restrictions on book imports, the Artist Industrial Complex has come out in force.  Now I seem to recall that these are same recommendations made to the Rudd Government who kicked the can down the road.  Also, this is the sixth major review in 30 years on this matter.

But you see, according to these folk, the end of import restrictions will result in the literacy of Australians and the end of reading as we know it.  At least so says Peter Frankopan as published in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Frankopan claims that:

Authors have average incomes of $13,000 per year and receive next to no funding from government sources: total subsidy for all writers last year was $2.4 million – about the same as the home that David Feeney forgot to declare.


The single rate of unemployment benefit, excluding rental assistance, energy assistance and other assistance is $13,700.  Does this mean that the average author PAYS $700 per year to publish?

Worse, given Francopan’s $13,000 number is an average dragged up by successful authors, the less successful ones have to PAY more than $700 per years to publish.

Good thing we have Oxford University historians like Francopan on their side.

Perhaps Francopan and his fans have a read of the writings of James Paterson, Senator from Tasmania.  His analysis is not as self serving or emotional.  He also compares what happened in New Zealand …..


Posted in Uncategorized | 50 Comments


A few weeks ago the UK conference that I was going to be attending next week was cancelled and so I thought I would be spending the crushing ice age (usually known as winter) in Victoria. Then last week I suddenly got the opportunity to travel and so I’m off until mid-June.

Posting may or may not be light. Various open forums will appear as scheduled. Comments that get spammed or otherwise held up will take some time to appear.

Posted in Site News | 19 Comments

Growing the economy

download (7)Bill Shorten is suffering the unicorn disease big-time, he is not even bothering with establishing a plausible segue between points.

  • He is asked a question on the economy, look over there – health and education;
  • He is asked a question about same sex marriage, look over there – our renewable energy commitment;
  • He is asked a question of foreign aid, look over there – our commitment not to introduce $100,000 degrees.

He makes up his mind about the topic on which he wants to speak and irrespective of the question, he makes some bamboozling point about it.

Mind you, the press gallery seem to be lapping it up.

Here is my favourite to date: paying more to doctors, courtesy of the taxpayer, will grow the economy.  Go figure.

“You grow the economy by making sure that when people are sick they can get to a doctor without having to pay a big co-payment fee upfront,” Shorten said.

Posted in Uncategorized | 58 Comments

Economics from bad to worse

I’m afraid I have now come upon the definitive evidence that economists have no idea how an economy works. It’s from The Economist last month, it’s titled, “Money from Heaven”, but it is the subtitle that provides all the evidence that economic theory is lost in the forest and is unlikely to find its way out any time soon: To get out of a slump, the world’s central banks consider handing out cash.

“HELICOPTER money” sounds like an item on an expense claim at a hedge fund. In fact, it is shorthand for a daring [!!!] approach to monetary policy: printing money to fund government spending or to give people cash. Some central bankers seem to be preparing their whirlybirds (and their printing presses). In March Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, described helicopter money as a “very interesting concept”. Ardent supporters see it as a foolproof way to perk up slumping economies.

The notion has as much potential to drive recovery as the NBN or Building the Education Revolution. It continues to believe that public sector waste in the form of fake versions of productive investment (green energy, crony capitalist enterprises, rail and roads) will make an economy grow. No modern economics text so far as I know even discusses the notion of value added outside of the national accounts, which means economists grow up without knowing the single most important part of what causes growth. It is never part of the equation. Seriously, how could any self-respecting economist endorse this?

Advocates of helicopter money do not really intend to throw money out of aircraft. Broadly speaking, they argue for fiscal stimulus—in the form of government spending, tax cuts or direct payments to citizens—financed with newly printed money rather than through borrowing or taxation. QE qualifies, so long as the central bank buying the government bonds promises to hold them to maturity, with interest payments and principal remitted back to the government like most central-bank profits. (The central banks now buying government bonds insist they will sell them at some point.) Bolder versions of the strategy make the central bank’s largesse more explicit. It could, for instance, hand newly printed money directly to citizens. Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain’s Labour Party, has proposed “people’s QE” of this sort.

The advantages of helicopter money are clear. Unlike changes to interest rates, stimulus paid for by the central bank does not rely on increased borrowing to work. This reduces the risk that central banks help inflate new bubbles, and adds to their potency when crisis or uncertainty make the banking system unreliable. Fiscal stimulus financed by borrowing provides similar benefits, but these could be blunted if consumers think taxes must eventually go up to pay off the accumulated debts—a problem helicopter money flies around.

Haven’t these people ever heard of Venezuela? Do they really not understand that growth comes from value adding production and can come from nothing else. Do they not understand that for a project to be value adding, the value of what is produced must be greater than value of the resources used up. Loss making enterprises cannot cause growth. If this is really what economist think, economics is beyond a pseudo-science and into the region of crackpot.

Posted in Economics and economy | 57 Comments

Say goodbye to the El Nino

How much cause for alarm here? The Figures tell the story.

Posted in Global warming and climate change policy, Rafe | 15 Comments

Q&A Forum: May 23, 2016

Posted in Open Forum | 144 Comments