Australia’s tragic media

How independent do you suppose these two stories are?

First: Fox News Heir Spent $20 Million Opposing Trump. First para:

James Murdoch, an heir to the Fox News fortune, spent $20 million opposing Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection while funneling another $100 million through a nonprofit to support leftwing political groups, according to a new report.

And then, second, from The Australian today: Evangelicals’ faith misplaced in Trump. This is the second last para.

In all the circumstances, and given the available choices, voting for Trump was not unreasonable. Idealising him, seeing him as a cultural saviour, learning to hate all his enemies, letting something of his abusive, spiteful spirit seep into your being, that was a terrible mistake.

That is a classical statement from a journalist employed by the newspaper to present the news. There is a difference on the editorial page, where there is a range of views presented, from the astonishingly deep and readable Henry Ergas through to a number of others who are barely worth a glance at the headline put above the waste of newsprint they publish.

But as for the paper itself, it has been and remains deeply on the left and as anti-Trump as the New York Times. It was, you will recall, this same paper that supported Kevin Rudd against John Howard in the 2007 Federal election.

This is part of the tragedy of the times in which we live.

Lies, damned lies and the National Accounts

We close down much of the economy for more than a year and this is where we supposedly now find ourselves: Economy back in record recovery. And looks who the star of the recovery has been.

Australia’s economy is larger than before Covid-19 triggered the worst recession in a century, with GDP lifting by 1.8 per cent over the first three months of the year to confirm the most rapid recovery from a downturn in peacetime history.

National accounts figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show quarterly economic activity reached $501 billion in real GDP terms, 0.8 per cent above the pre-pandemic peak of $497 billion in the December quarter of 2019.

The economy grew by 1.1 per cent over the year.

Victoria was the best performing state, with its final demand jumping 2.3 per cent in the quarter as the momentum from its delayed reopening late last year carried into early 2021.

If you would like something a bit more realistic so far as the economy is concerned, there is this chart below on seasonally adjusted growth in wages between September 1998 and March 2021. A very dismal story and these have not even been adjusted for movements in the price level.

The National Accounts are an absurdist Keynesian form of misleading indicator that never tells you what you really want to know, unless you know where to look and how to interpret what you read. Despite what that GDP stats might say, living standards are falling and are only going to get worse, assuming they ever get better again.

For more on just how much of a junk science Keynesian economics is, I invite you to have a look at THE GEEK IN PICTURES: KEYNESIAN CRIME WAVE EDITION from Steve Hayward at Powerline. I will only take in one of his graphs which is this: The Number of Democrats relative to Republicans for Each Academic Discipline. Even economics has 5.5 Dems for every Republican – a left-right balance of 5.5:1 – which is why Keynesian economics remains the standard issue nonsense that it is.

LET ME ADD: I probably shouldn’t buy into this since it will be misunderstood at every level but the question of my interest in rising real wages was mentioned in the comments. As it happens, I used to write the employer economic submissions to the National Wage Case from 1980 through until 2004 and even presented the employer submission from 2002 to 2004. And if you will note, during my time within the system, wages continued to rise, which was, in fact, the aim of every one of us who were party to wage fixation in those days. Real wage increases without inflation was the gold standard which was the outcome we all sought.

Alas, it has always been a mantra on the Coalition side of the fence that wages should be left to the market with no institutional interference of any kind, the sort of system that exists absolutely nowhere in any place on earth. In fact, Australia had, and may still have, the best wage fixing system in the world which is based on ensuring money wage growth is kept within the limits permitted by the growth in productivity. Of course, Labor has even less of an understanding of these issues, but was saved time and again by decisions of the centralised system which made the effort to encourage money wage restraint but higher output per hour worked.

It is a bad business that this ethos has disappeared from our wage system along with the outcomes which were not so long ago absolutely routine. There are probably  a host of reasons but I have been away from it for too long to know what they are. But if anyone believes that higher government spending and an enlarged public service are part of the answer, they could not be more wrong. That is a large part of what has gone wrong with very little indication, given the deficits that are now being routinely run, that anyone will anytime soon figure out what needs to change, or will be able to put those changes into effect.

A state of idiocy

49 cases – no deaths – in a population of 6.5 million.

Chadstone among new exposure sites; vaccine hubs overwhelmed

Chadstone Shopping Centre has been added to the expanding exposure site list!

You might as well complete the set and include Flinders Street Station. In fact, that is just where this woman was arrested yesterday in an anti-lockdown protest.

The (Police) State of Victoria

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You would think we were in the most upbeat of times from the look of this front page. But more to the point, there is the letter sent out by John Roskam at the IPA. He begins:

This morning there was a headline to a story in The Australian that I don’t think qualifies as fake news – but at least half of it was wrong. It was by the journalist Cameron Stewart and it was ‘My Melbourne now resembles a poorly run police state’. It’s true Melbourne does resemble a police state (although it not so much resembles one as is one) and ‘police state’ is a term I and a number of other people used about Melbourne and Victoria back in May last year. I think the part that’s completely wrong, though, is the bit about ‘poorly run’. On the contrary – if your ambition was to run a police state then Victoria is a pretty good example of how you’d efficiently operate such a regime. You’d convert the police force from disinterested guardian of the peace to political operatives of the government, you’d co-opt the media to parrot your message, you’d intimidate civil society into silence, you’d ban public protests, you’d force your political opponents into acquiescence (that is if you’re not actually attempting to entirely subvert democracy itself, as the Andrews government did when it suspended the sitting of Parliament), and you’d give yourself the legal authority to govern by decree. That to me sums up the state of Victoria in May 2021 and that looks to me for all intents and purposes like a pretty well-run police state. If I’m wrong I’d like to know how. I know that I’ll probably get a few emails from IPA Members saying ‘John – I know it’s bad but aren’t you exaggerating just a little? – in Victoria the expression of political dissent is not actually against the law yet is it?’ And I’ll reply sadly it is – Zoe Buhler was arrested for a Facebook post that advertised a protest march. It’s true that in Victoria opposition political parties aren’t banned – but the Andrews government’s laws have crippled their capacity to raise funds. The title ‘the opposition’ implies they’ll oppose something – but the Coalition opposition in Victoria has meekly surrendered to the government and refuses to take a position on the lockdown.

The great discovery among the left is how easy it is to subdue a population. You don’t need actual gulags or torture or mass arrests. You need a bit of cancel culture and the fear of some disease from which no one is protected by anything done by governments, and weirdly, in Victoria, as in New York State which seems to have been Daniel Andrews’ template, it can even be the government that inflames the disaster but the population still falls into line. I also find the last bit of the quote particularly apt:

The title ‘the opposition’ implies they’ll oppose something – but the Coalition opposition in Victoria has meekly surrendered to the government and refuses to take a position on the lockdown.

We don’t even have to lock the opposition up. They do it by themselves without anybody having to lift a finger.

Does the government have a duty of care to ensure young people do not freeze in the dark?

Sister Brigid Arthur, 86, and Anj Sharma, 16, are among a group who secured a judgment from the Australian federal court that found the government has a duty to protect young people from climate change.
Sister Brigid Arthur, 86, and Anj Sharma, 16, are among a group who secured a judgment from the Australian federal court that found the government has a duty to protect young people from climate change.

Australian court finds government has duty to protect young people from climate crisis.

The federal court of Australia has found the environment minister, Sussan Ley, has a duty of care to protect young people from the climate crisis in a judgment hailed by lawyers and teenagers who brought the case as a world first.

Eight teenagers and an octogenarian nun had sought an injunction to prevent Ley approving a proposal by Whitehaven Coal to expand the Vickery coalmine in northern New South Wales, arguing the minister had a common law duty of care to protect younger people against future harm from climate change.

Justice Mordecai Bromberg found the minister had a duty of care to not act in a way that would cause future harm to younger people. But he did not grant the injunction as he was not satisfied the minister would breach her duty of care.

Fear is in the air. A dozen new cases and no deaths.

Victoria in lockdown from midnight; over 40s now eligible for vaccine; CHO defends tracing
Acting Premier James Merlino has announced Victoria will be sent into a seven-day lockdown from midnight after the state recorded 12 new COVID cases in the past 24 hours.

The Acting Premier is even the Leader of the Opposition:

Snap lockdown will be ‘difficult’ for businesses: Merlino

As if they care.

Belt up and hit the road

From The Age: ‘Cold War mindset’: Beijing suspends key government dialogue with Australia. Fascinating really since I still don’t know what the Chinese Government is aiming to punish us for.

China has taken the first formal step towards severing government ties with Australia after more than a year of incremental trade strikes, veiled threats from the Chinese embassy and escalating attacks by Chinese state media. Beijing sent a message to Australia on Thursday that all dialogue at the political level will be cut off for years after the superpower’s top economic planner suspended the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue.

Actually, I do know what has gotten under their skin.

The decision to indefinitely suspend what was once a key communication channel came two weeks after China’s Foreign Ministry said it would “respond firmly and forcefully” if the Morrison government did not reverse its decision to cancel Victoria’s Belt and Road agreement.

Here I thought this B&R was a form of kind-hearted assistance program. Seems there may have been something in it for the Chinese Government that we are not being made truly aware of. Even Joe Biden is wary and that is really saying something.

The Australia-China dispute comes as the G7 group of nations meeting in London called on China to respect fundamental freedoms. Beijing has been accused by the Biden administration and some members of the European Union of human rights abuses, economic coercion and military threats against Taiwan.

How do you translate “Beware of Greeks, even bearing gifts” into Chinese?

BTW the Knight cartoon is from The Herald Sun.

The Rudd-Turnbull axis strikes again

From Ace of Spades just now, under the heading, “Top Story”. I think they’re laughing at us.

  • Future tense, present tense, what’s the difference?

    “Today, approximately 3.5 million premises across Australia can access the NBN Home Ultrafast wholesale speed tier with wholesale download speeds of 500 Mbps to close to 1 Gbps, on demand.”

    Oh, really? I’d like to sign up then.

    I can’t? No fucking surprise, because it took you bastards twelve fucking years just to wire up suburban Sydney.

    I do at least have 80M down and 40M up now, though, which is a hell of an improvement from the 14/2 I had a year ago.

These are the people who saved us from Tony Abbott. What a pair of clowns they were are.

An infinite supply of idiots

Labor seems to have an infinite supply of idiots: Victoria unveils its own climate change strategy, emissions target.

The Victorian government hopes to cut emissions by almost double the level of the Morrison government by 2030 in an ambitious policy positioning the state as a leader in tackling climate change. Acting Premier James Merlino said Victoria would aim to reduce emissions by 28-33 per cent by 2025 and 45-50 per cent by 2030, nearly twice the 26-28 per cent target made by the federal government by the end of this decade. Victoria criticised the lack of action from Scott Morrison on climate and said it was embarrassed by Australia’s showing at the recent climate summit run by US President Joe Biden. “The Commonwealth government cannot continue to abrogate its responsibilities on a global stage when it comes to climate change,” Victoria’s energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio said at a press conference on Sunday.

Might note there is no mention of the Victorian Opposition position in the news story.

Brittany Higgins demands sweeping changes

I have to say that this really is a surprise. From Former staffer Brittany Higgins demands sweeping changes from Scott Morrison, and the surprise is found in what it turns out Brittany wants:

On Friday she met Mr Morrison to outline changes she wants to the employment law covering staffers, known as the MoP(S) Act, and to advocate for an independent body to handle complaints relating to political workplaces and act as a “one-stop-shop” for human resources information.

Specifically, she wants the power removed for politicians to sack staffers on the spot or on the basis the MP or senator has lost trust or confidence in them – a clause she says is far too vague.

Must say, this is not how I thought the story would unfold. This is from, in the words of Bettina Arndt, “the woman who alleged she’d been raped in a Minister’s office in Parliament House, after being found by security guards drunk and naked on the office couch.” Turns out the core issue was job security.