In the hands of thieves and loonies

Economic ignorance beyond the superhuman. These people are certifiably insane but we elected them. You just have to see the numbers: Victoria’s budget John Cain/Joan Kirner to a new dimension.

Victoria’s debt bill will skyrocket to $154.8bn over the next four years even as the Andrews government bets that it can avoid a third wave of COVID-19 and kickstart a rapid economic recovery.

Tim Pallas’s sixth state budget reveals the sea of red caused by the coronavirus crisis, with Victoria a whopping $23.3bn in deficit as the economy shrinks by 4 per cent this year after almost three decades of uninterrupted economic growth.

They must have already sold the State to the Chinese because there is zero means for these people to fix the books and pay these debts. And do let me add this:

The budget papers also reveal Victoria’s public service wages bill has soared almost 10 per cent this year – and will blow out by $6bn over the next four years.

Mr Pallas defended the massive increase in borrowing, saying it had been recommended by the Reserve Bank and the federal government, and that interest charges – averaging 4.4 per cent of revenue a year – were manageable.

I want every Victorian politician’s retirement super to be discounted by five percent a year until the deficit is gone. And if this has been endorsed by Morrison, I want to hear him say so. None of them know a thing about managing an economy.

Posted in Economics on the left, State Politics | 30 Comments

Not just a cancer. A highly malignant cancer on the face of Australian democracy.

TAFKAS strongly endorses the words of Doom Lord Sinc as he penned yesterday:

Not just a weed. A $1 billion parasite. A cancer that is metastasising and destroying local private media and public trust.

TAFKAS too received the Ramsay email with Chairman Butrrose’s speech but could not stomach watching any of it, let alone 10 minutes.

But in the cold light of day, TAFKAS read some media coverage of Ita’s speech.  This bit came from the Oz.  Make sure you are seated when you read this:

Ms Buttrose cited a Deloitte report commissioned by the ABC, which found the broadcaster contributed $1bn to the economy annually with more than a third going towards the broader media ecosystem.

An external consultant who would, for the right amount of money, produce an analysis showing that Australia is New Zealand has found that an organisation that costs tax payers $1 billion dollars a year “contributed $1bn to the economy annually“.

Now that’s an insight.  Now that’s public interest journalism.  Now that’s an organisation under resource constraint.

Cut the money.  End it now.  If there is a public policy need for “public interest journalism”, let the government put out a tender.  If there is a public policy need for niche entertainment content that no-one will watch, let the government put out a tender.  If there is a public policy need for regional news services, the the government put out a ficken tender.

Just because the highly paid bureaucrats in the over resourced Communications department don’t want to do the work of contract tendering and management does not mean that they should not.

Hey Prime Minister Morrison.  Here is a pathway for you offering plausible deniability.  Put Stuart Robert in charge.  Everything he touches usually comes a cropper.

Posted in Uncategorized | 62 Comments

US post-election thread III: From Kraken to calamari

Posted in American politics, Elections, Open Forum | 240 Comments

Anonymous Cat: Problems on the Brereton Inquiry front

Post-script Preamble

I wrote the opinion piece below a month before the release of the Brereton Report.  The language is harsh and unforgiving, but offers the best expression of my values I could muster.  In the aftermath of last week’s public announcements, have my views changed?  No, they have not, and Rex (Mango) and John (Comnenus) in particular have offered sane observations that reflect the best of the Cat family.

 CDF’s presentation was a trainwreck.  When you sit atop a chronically distracted organisation that more often seems obsessed with the whistles and bells of politically correct virtue signalling than keeping focused on your sole mission of providing operational capability to the government of the day; things fall apart.  I rate General Campbell very highly, but can’t see how his position remains tenable.

 Either values mean something, or they don’t.

For several years an investigation (or ‘Inquiry’) has been held in secret into the potentially illegal conduct of an unspecified number of Australian Special Forces personnel during our operations in Afghanistan.  The investigation was from the beginning based on rumours as reported in the Nine/Fairfax press and on the ABC.  This has in part been leveraged by Nine/Fairfax into a series of questionable legal actions against a highly decorated former member of the SAS.  All the while our ADF, Defence and Ministerial leadership have (when asked before Committee) voiced confidence in the process, and in the office and person of the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force (IGADF) who is leading the investigation.

The only evidence presented in public during this long process that comes close to providing something the Australian public could assess for themselves was the 4Corners footage of the apparent execution at close range of an Afghan national who likely posed no threat at all.  The footage is stark.  But there is little or no context of any detail provided with the vision.  Unfortunately, the political, uniformed, departmental and media classes in this country often forget the ADF belongs to all of us – not just their privileged circle.  In their eyes though we do not rate an explanation.  This is a significant cultural failure and does not bode well.

Worse will be the likely impact on our special forces.  When the highly redacted version of the investigation is handed down it will initiate a feeding frenzy of ethical training and awareness courses, reviews and reorganisations; all at great expense to the taxpayer.  This will make the unforgiveable run-around of meaningless reviews and elite hand-jobbery in the aftermath of misbehaviour by three fresh off-the-street ADFA cadets a decade ago; look like an episode of Playschool.  Our privileged circle will lead a years-long, look-at-me process of outdoing each other at converting Australian special forces from what they are now (highly capable) to something almost certainly lesser and definitely media allergic. On the IGADF website under the Afghanistan Inquiry’s Frequently Asked Questions there is a reason provided for the secrecy under which the investigation has been conducted.

The Afghanistan Inquiry is being conducted in private because it involves matters of operational security, protected identities and the reputations of individuals which may be unfairly harmed by publication. Continue reading

Posted in Australian Story, Guest Post | 78 Comments

Sound and Fury Signifying Kerry

This saying is that personnel is policy.  Who is appointed to a particular role says a lot about the importance and priority of the task at hand.

Generally, you put your best people onto the tasks considered most important and your lesser people on the tasks, obviously, less important.

In Machiavellian environments, like politics, there are certain tasks that you want to look like you are prioritizing but you really don’t want any traction.  In those cases, there is a certain class of people you appoint who will make a lot of noise, look really busy, but in the end will achieve nothing.  And in some cases, will retard the actual task.

In Australia, for example, whenever the government wants to take the political heat out of something but achieve nothing, they appoint Arthur Sinodinos.  Similarly, if they just want to retard a function without care for the politics or consequences, Stuart Robert is the man for all seasons.

It is no different overseas with the news overnight that incoming US President Joe Biden has nominated former Senator and Secretary of State John Kerry to be his Special Presidential Envoy for Climate.  For those unfamilar, John Kerry has an exceptionally long record of solipsistic bloviation accompanied with an equally long record of non-achievement.

For all the talk of green new deal, a renewables new world order and the end of US fracking, in 4 years at the end of the Biden administration, expect there to be a continuation of Kerry’s unblemished record of record of non-achievement.

Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments

… not just a weed: A cancer

Ita Buttrose  gave a public lecture for the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation  – chaired by John Howard  – on the ABC, Democracy and freedom of the press.

I was able to stomach just 10 minutes and that included the three minute introduction.

Turns out that the ABC is protecting us from right-wing extremism. Taxpayers they used to be called. Also turns out that public-service broadcasting promotes democratic values according to research presented to the United Nations and the European Union. Well-known paragons of democracy the both of them.

Anyway – I just couldn’t take it anymore. A precis from the Australian is here:

“Lately the campaign against the ABC has become more strident. It appears to have gone up a notch this year. And this development concerns me,” she said.

“Recently one of our detractors said there was a need to curb the spread of public broadcasters into every technological and programming niche. ‘They should be ring-fenced into set stations, networks and roles, lest they crowd out a thousand flowers in a thousand digital niches.’

“I thought: my goodness, is the ABC being equated to a weed?

Not just a weed. A $1 billion parasite. A cancer that is metastasising and destroying local private media and public trust.

If anyone wants to read exactly what is wrong with public broadcasting read Chris Berg and my book on this very topic.

Finally, the argument that public broadcasting promotes democracy might be a good story being peddled by the enemies of western civilisation but unfortunately is not supported by the peer-reviewed literature.

We examine the patterns of media ownership in 97 countries around the world. We find that almost universally the largest media firms are owned by the government or by private families. Government ownership is more pervasive in broadcasting than in the printed media. We then examine two theories of government ownership of the media: the public interest (Pigouvian) theory, according to which government ownership cures market failures, and the public choice theory, according to which government ownership undermines political and economic freedom. The data support the second theory.

Just to repeat: Government media ownership undermines political and economic freedom.

It also crowds out private media and private enterprise.

Posted in Fake News, Shut it down. Fire them all. | 73 Comments

No interest: spooks gave all-clear to another Muslim terrorist

How’s that preoccupation with non-existent Garage Nazis working out for the country?

Australia’s domestic spy agency told Victoria Police that the man who stabbed Sisto Malaspina was “not of current interest” at least twice before he attacked three people in Bourke Street, an inquest has heard…

Catherine Fitzgerald, the lawyer assisting the inquest, revealed the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) told Victoria Police on at least two occasions that it could not help the force approach Mr Shire Ali about national security matters.

“He is not of current interest to us,” the spy agency told Victorian terrorism investigators.

“We don’t have a great deal to help inform your approach either, unfortunately.”

Two weeks later, on November 9, 2018, Mr Shire Ali drove his blue ute, which was loaded with gas bottles, into Melbourne’s Bourke Street and stabbed three people within 19 seconds.

Posted in National Security | 22 Comments

Never change, Democrats

Wearing a mask isn’t a political statement — it’s a patriotic duty.”


– Former Vice-President, Joe Biden

Posted in American politics, History | 8 Comments

Told you so

And speaking of the Chump Effect, earlier this month TAFKAS noted that:

As CBD reported, Cormann flew out from Perth on Sunday and will spend the next couple of weeks pressing the flesh in Europe, no doubt ably helped by his old Senate buddy George Brandis, the Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. Best of luck.

In this same post, TAFKAS asked:

[W]hat’s the bet that travel and entertainment costs will not be borne by the beneficiary but rather by Australian tax payers.

Well.  Here’s your answer.  100%:

Cormann, a Liberal Party power broker and Australia’s longest-serving finance minister, left the Senate in October to run for the job and is travelling around Europe on a Royal Australian Air Force Falcon jet to rally support. Europe is central to Cormann’s push as it is home to 26 of the OECD’s 38 member countries. Full membership for the latest entry, Costa Rica, is still in train but they will also have a view on the next secretary-general.

Not even slumming it in first class.  Nope.  An Australian Airforce Jet with associated flight crew.

Good thing Australia is governed by a fiscally responsible Liberal National Party.

Oh and what is one of the OECD’s favourite projects?  To ‘name and shame’ and punish low tax jurisdictions to protect the OECD member oligarchy from tax rate competition.

Posted in Uncategorized | 16 Comments

The Chump Economy

This is a wonderful article from City Journal.  It is about the Chump Effect:

People feel like chumps when they believe that they’ve played a game by the rules, only to discover that the game is rigged. Not only are they losing, they realize, but their good sportsmanship is being exploited. The players flouting the rules are the ones who get the trophy.

This is the Australian economy.  It is bi-partisan policy and has been for quite a while.  This this is what it leads to:

And when government expands its role in distributing society’s resources, you can’t blame influential groups—farmers, unions, businesses—for lobbying in their own interests. But over time, the number of people and businesses dependent on subsidies and other targeted benefits will grow. So will their political influence. Meantime, the pool of people forced to get by without special carve-outs will shrink, even as its members pay the tab for everyone else.

This article was written about the US, but how does this sound:

In the end, Chump Effect policies encourage Americans to see themselves, not as self-reliant individuals and families, but as members of competing groups, all jockeying for advantage. This is a recipe for political conflict and resentment.

Welcome to Australia.  The chump economy.

Remind TAFKAS please.  Before CoronaSpendParty 2020, what was the proportion of the population who paid no net tax?  And generally, what is the proportion of the population that is required to achieve a democratic majority so as to to exert its will over the rest?

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments