Wednesday, February 29, 2012

And so to another Interesting Question #auspol

Following on from yesterday - the obvious question to ask is why?

"Why is it that our political class lack any ability to act in the national interest"?

"Why are our politics more about *point scoring* between parties and personalities than about looking out for the people and the nation"?

Politicians can do the right thing as evidenced by the Rudd Government response to the GFC. Of course it was the Treasury and Ken Henry who developed the response and Rudd who pulled the trigger - but the effect was to save the jobs of tens of thousands of Australian's. A not insignificant achievement. That is probably why Rudd is so popular.

And that was both an advantage and a disadvantage.

An advantage because people kept their jobs and salaries and life continued without much disruption.

A disadvantage because they didn't notice that anything had happened and so didn't appreciate the Government's efforts.

And as it turned out that was a bigger problem because when Rudd got flicked - Gillard didn't want to mention any of Rudd's achievements and ignored the GFC response.

Dumb like much of her leadership - no political nous.

And the Opposition did what thick conservative right wing Opposition's always do - they tell lies and manufacture BS - all in concert with a f_cked up media desperate for attention and eyeballs to keep their egos happy and tickets clipped.

Meanwhile there are 22 million of us who are looking for some strong leadership - a political party and a class of MP's who can deliver something of value.

But as usual we seem to be p_ssing in the wind.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Grumpy Part II #auspol

I have written previously about being a "Grumpy Old Man". I didn't take my medication today and have continued with the theme. Turn the page now if you are offended by truth.

The current focus of my "grumpiness" is because of the complete lack of any interest or activity by our political class in understanding and dealing with the substantial risks to our nation and our people.

There are some quite amazing things happening across the Pacific as the US pulls itself up by its bootstraps and attempts to reinvent itself as a hi-tech designer of quality products - but not a single one of our politicians seem to have noticed. I am not going to link to any of these things - because you won't get a free ride here - but Uncle Polonius is worth a read.

How our people can be so preoccupied with digging dirt and selling houses to each other and driving around in twin-cab 4wd's is just sooooo beyond me ;-)

Our voters have a long and glorious history of electing politicians and anointing political parties who have neither the interest nor the ability to do any real thinking or take any real action to improve the place. With the single exception of Paul Keating. Mind you it's not much of a choice when you are forced to select either tweedledum or the Catholic dingbat.

"The Prize" according to these political actors is to win the big seats - and control the Treasury. They are in it for the glory and for the power. Nothing else matters - certainly not you or me. They have honed their systems over decades so that now the "low information" voter is just a small and insignificant part of the process. And *trust me* - most of us are now "low information" voters.

And our media are a major part of this pantomime. The US might be handicapped by its "Military / Industrial Complex" but we are handicapped by our "Politico / Media JV". The dance of the MP and the Talking Head is the key thing that keeps our politicians in the big seats - so of course they will be in mutual embrace. The single most significant thing that keeps our media dysfunctional is the relationship they have with our politicians. Don't believe me - check out what is happening in the UK with Uncle Rupert's "bribe-o-matic".

But the good news is that the place succeeds despite them all.

"Australia is a lucky country, run mainly by second-rate people who share its luck." Donald Horne was spot-on.

Now it's time for my medication.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Moving Forward Virginia #auspol

This is starting to look a little like a circus. Things appear to be going from bad to worse at ALP HQ.

Gillard and her claque of Ministers are the "B" team and are almost on track to "do some stuff" for and on behalf of the Australian people.

They believe that *Kevin Rudd* is the *problem* and think that he is the reason why they are perceived as morons by the electorate.

Well it could be possible I suppose ;-)

Their polling is so bad that they will be lucky to survive the next election with even a "ping pong" team populating the little seats. But hey who cares - we won't be dictated to by an ego maniac and a workaholic and a serial rude person - and someone who tells it like it is. Will we? Hell No!

Whereas Rudd knows what a bunch of dipshits he would inherit in the Ministry if he rolled the PM - and has chosen not to play their B Grade game.

This is the game of chess that is being played out between the "Bogan in Chief" and the pretender. How do you reckon it will pan out, Virginia?

I think we all know the answer.

Kevin knows that the party will be decimated when next they front the Australian people - and has decided to let them go for it - all on their own.

And in truth this is probably the best way to clear the place out. Let them meander along until there are fewer of them left - after the 2013 election.

And then pick up the pieces - and start *Moving Forward*.

Fun to watch.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs and other BS #auspol

All the vested interests have lauded this week's job figures. Apparently they are vindication of something.

For those with small short memories - this is what was happening all through last year.

One month sackings surged and the commentariat was all doom and gloom. The next month jobs surged and it was boom time again. For those who can't understand or work it out - it is called *volatility*. The talking heads and commenteers keep their jobs because of it.

A volatility that is compounded by the ABS way of measuring things. OK their hands are tied by a Government that is determined to never ever publish *bad news*. But the measure should be *truth and facts* not *obfuscation*.

Fortunately we now have an alternative information source and it is much better. Better in the sense that it is timely and accurate - the Roy Morgan employment series. If you want the facts on Australian jobs then go here.

You might be shocked.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bill Mitchell #auspol

I have become a bit of a fan of Bill Mitchell and his blog. Today he writes about how our meanness to the unemployed is just bad economics. And it is - read the story here and weep.

And he asks the following question.

"What sort of government deliberately creates unemployment by refusing to run budget deficits commensurate with the spending gap left by non-government saving decisions (and outcomes) and then deliberately chooses to force the unemployed to live in poverty – in an advanced and very wealthy nation"?

You can answer that question for yourself.

I suspect that this will become one of the main reasons why Australian's won't elect another Labor Government in the near term. The current crowd might call themselves Labor but they have forgotten what it actually means.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Conservatives on the Teat #auspol

There is some interesting research and dialog going on in the US regarding the welfare habits of conservative voters. Paul Krugman has a teaser here.

Interesting in the sense that these "so called conservatives" are often gung ho about "small Government and reducing Government services and making people fend for themselves and being self sufficient and getting rid of that socialist Obamacare" and other faux blah blah.

Apparently, they want to get Government out of everyone's lives except their own.

And they want to downsize all Government services except the *war service* - which they want to increase. Dickheads.

Turns out that the places where these *conservatives* live are actually more reliant on Government services than the average.

It looks to me like these *conservatives* have managed to find a nice secure little lifestyle courtesy of their Government welfare systems and now they want to stop anyone else from gaining access to them. They are agitating to close them down - for everyone but themselves.

In other words they are gaming the system. And they don't want you to know about it.

My guess is that we have a similar situation here in Australia. Lots of weirdo wingnuts on welfare sitting at home watching TV, tweeting and responding to blog posts all day and pontificating about wasteful Government spending etc. While they throw down another VB.

Actually that last para was a bit "tongue in cheek" - in reality it will be the folks who were targeted by little Johnny and his "vote buying middle class welfare" project. Of course by now that largesse has become an *entitlement*.

Many of the recipients probably don't even remember what it was for - they just remember to vote for the Liberals - because they are the party of handouts.

It may even take another electoral cycle before these folks realise that the vote buying *handouts* have disappeared - probably forever.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Superprofits - who needs em #auspol

So Virginia, the next time you decide to have a "good whinge about things" - spare a moment for the big players in the Australian resources sector. This info via Crikey today.

The Australian iron ore industry is probably second only to Apple in terms of the world's richest business.

One was built on the intellect of it's founders and the other was built on the stupidity of its regulators. I will let you work out which is which.

If Rio Tinto and BHP aren’t making superprofits then no one is and they never will.

Rio is achieving gross profit margins of 75%; BHP is close at 65%, compare that with the gross margin of 38% for Telstra in its latest half-year profit, issued yesterday.

Something is seriously *broken* if our Government can't or won't subject these industries to a real *super profits* tax - given their obscene profitability.

I guess we now know how Gina is rampaging her way through our media. We are paying her to do it ;-)

For a so-called clever country we are dumb as.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

How International Diplomacy Works #auspol

Dear President Obama,

I know that our Prime Minister Gillard has agreed to establish a US military base in Darwin - so American troops can wage war across our region as well as the Middle East - but I wanted to write to you directly with a better offer.

I am pretty sure that you and the American people won't have any objection to a foreign military base in the US homeland. So let’s do a deal whereby you get your base in Darwin and we get a new base in say California. How about Alcatraz - nice views and a central location and I hear it even has a water supply these days?

Your base will clearly have full military capability - and will enable your 2500 elite forces stationed there to rampage across our region to their hearts' content. B52's, nuclear submarines, the whole shebang - no worries.

Nothing quite so ambitious for us I am afraid - we are looking for an enclave to house maybe 1000 people - which is the entire living complement of Australian federal and state politicians - all political parties. You even get the wives and pets. Sorry their Gold Amex's stay here.

They aren't doing us much good so I thought that you might have more success. I was thinking of shipping them across using our six Collins class submarines - you might even be able to find a use for them as well.

So what do you think? BTW I wouldn't muck about because I hear that young Ms. Gillard may not be in the job for much longer and it will be a bit difficult to renegotiate your deal if she isn't.

Yours etc.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

My 2c worth

I have been in Adelaide these past few days and this time I was driving. Amongst other things I needed to take my classic Citroen there for some specialist work.

And what a shemozzle it is driving around the place - I usually write about how bad it is after I have left and today is no different. I won't link to previous posts - but if you are interested enough you will find them in my blog.

I have lots of complaints about the place but my biggest is that the road network is a joke. Various state governments - Liberal and Labor have neglected SA road infrastructure for decades - I reckon it is probably more than 40 years.

By neglected I mean that there has *never* been a comprehensive investment plan to make the road network usable and safe.

Of course there has been the odd headline project that gets announced by the Premier and presented by the talking heads in the local media - all designed to calm the locals down for a while. Big expensive, gold plated, taxpayer funded projects that treat a minor problem and take years to complete - mostly useless window dressing. A bit like our submarines.

Maybe it works with the locals but it doesn't work with me - or indeed many of my friends and colleagues. I left the place today thinking that I don't ever want to drive there again - because the road system is so unsafe.

So what do I mean by unsafe?

I don't have enough space or time to detail all the problems - there are many. So I will focus on one.

Many of the major roads have badly misaligned surfaces because there are *sunken* manhole covers everywhere. Sunken manhole covers result either from a poorly re-surfaced road or a manhole that has subsided over time. In any event there are thousands of them - everywhere. By sunken I mean where the manhole cover is more than 25mm below the surrounding road surface. I measured a few and some of those are *more than* 50mm below the surrounding surface.

What does that do to your vehicle when you run over it? How does it affect your steering and suspension and ability to control your vehicle when you hit it? What if you happen to be riding a bike?

But don't take my word for it - go for a drive around the place and see what you think. Try the main road from North Adelaide to Gepps Cross for a real experience. And then write to your local MP to complain.