Monday, 30 April 2018

The Arctic is telling us climate change is here in a big way.

This very important article was in Around the traps on Friday.
Mark Serreze writes about the arctic and how climate change is affecting it.

In summary

"Evidence that the Arctic is warming rapidly extends far beyond shrinking ice caps and buckling roads. It also includes a melting Greenland ice sheet; a rapid decline in the extent of the Arctic’s floating sea ice cover in summer; warming and thawing of permafrost; shrubs taking over areas of tundra that formerly were dominated by sedges, grasses, mosses and lichens; and a rise in temperature twice as large as that for the globe as a whole. This outsized warming even has a name: Arctic amplification."

The  future is not looking good.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Is Donald Trump responsible for the two Koreas getting together?deserve

On Friday the two Korean leaders got together for 'peace' talks. It all seemed to go swimmingly.
Donald Trump took full responsibility for the talks happening. although it is hard to interpret his usual dyslexic ramblings it appears he thinks his threats made North Korea come to the peace table.

Is there any substance to this?
Well there are ways to examine the veracity of this.

Did North Korea stop all nuclear tests when Trump made his threats? no more tests were made on Trump's watch than any other Presidents.
Okay then obviously North Korea does not possess an ICBM. ( remember there is no defence as yet against an ICBM but don't tell Trump that he thinks there is.
 Well no North Korea now possess an ICBM that can reach the USA and Australia that they did not have until Trump became President.
Well surely they do not have a nuclear bomb then.
Oops sorry North Korea now have that as well.
how about the Leadership was worried about how the increased sanctions were affecting the North Korean people? If they don't care when millions die from starvation in the past why would they change now.

So why has North Korea gone into overdrive to ensure it is now a nuclear power capable of striking against the USA.

My guess their leadership saw Trump simply broke deals so it was imperative to gets their nukes as fast as possible.

The North Koreans knew Trump made empty threats. Any strike against North Korea would bring on hundred of thousands perhaps millions killed in Seoul.

So why did North Korea wish to meet with South Korea? Well now they negotiate from strength. They can offer almost anything apart from getting rid of their nukes. This means their relations with South Korea are on very good terms whilst Trump tries to ramp up even more sanctions.

The North Korean leader has shown thus far he is very good at driving wedges , small admittedly, between South Korea and the USA. He has also shown he is very good at PR. something that is Trump's weakness.

I am no expert on this subject nut I would not be at all surprised if North Korea does not agree to reduce their nuclear capability but offer other concessions to make that wedge even greater.

Whoopsy I have been taken to task for  NOT saying getting nukes as fast as they could do it was a defence mechanism against Trump. Clearly Trump is mentally unstable however even he must understand what a nuclear armed ICBM could do to the USA if he ordered an attack on North Korea.

Two Three views:

Benjamin Habib
Ed Griffith
Virginie Grzelczek

I see 'media star' Robert E Kelly  agrees with me.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Around the Traps 27/4/18

It is time again for Around the Traps

Northern America
Andrew Gelman (mainly stats)
Genial Dave Giles (econometrics)
Dianne Coyle ( quirky + book reviews)
Vox Wonk

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

No Ambassador for Australia

Harry Harris who was going to be the US ambassador to Australia is now going to South Korea.
What caused this unbelievable insult to Australia.

Well Victor Cha was going to South Korea. He was actually a good appointment. BUT he was adjudges to be a non-person by the current administration.

James Curran strangely does not even mention this further evidence of chaos  within the Chaos house. He does say even though Harris is an impressive pick we may have just dodged a bullet given his potential remarks on China.

In the irony of ironies Victor Cha is the man Trump needs in South Korea right now not Harry Harris.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

John Monash, WW1 and all that

Everyone is now becoming a Monash fan it appears.

I first became aware of him when I was in primary school when my teacher made an offhand remark which quirked my curiosity. I was then and still am an avid reader of military history. Finding no books on him at the school library I went to Ryde library that afternoon/night It must have been a friday.
I gained two books I think and began my reading of his life which continues even now.
I think his military  genius came from two things.

His mathematical precision  ( he was an engineer and built umpteen bridges in Victoria.)
His innovative tactics. He was the first to use tanks and to overcome the noise of tanks he had aeroplanes in the sky to drown out their noise.

He was Jewish and faced quite a bit of antisemitism yet possibly because of this he was a superb net worker. He had the King as his biggest fan and received his knighthood in the trenches.You do not get to command allied troops as a jew unless some important allied Generals are in your camp!

The men under him had great confidence in his ability. The men killed under him was significantly less than  other Generals statistically speaking.

However we must acknowledge he engaged in adultery without any shame at all during the war and after.
To give him a posthumous promotion to Field Marshall is simply absurd. Yes he should have been promoted at the time but he was a Jew, a colonial and a part-time soldier. He missed out. Them;s the brakes.

This leads into whether Australia was threatened or not in WW!. I say no indeed I doubt if Australia would have changed all that much if Germany had won the war and not the Allies. Remember the social Democrats were in charge of the Bundestag  and they would have demanded a country fit for heroes. Not much money for colonial possessions particularly when they did not need any.

( I am in the camp of allowing Hitler to have Poland and thus leading eventually to a war of attrition between Germany and the USSR where the Allies could then come in and democratise both counties)

Indeed there are few wars Australia has been in where our land was threatened. This is not to say we should not have been in Korea, Vietnam etc  but our soldiers were not defending our liberties so to speak.

What we are getting these days is a silly view of our armed forces where they can do no wrong. When highly credible accusations were made against our sailors some time ago by asylum seekers taken back to Indonesia the was never a thought of investigating the claims. They were simply brushed off because they were our sailors!  Australians are human beings prone to evil acts as any nation.
Anzac day has become the religious day for most in Australasia and we are poorer for that.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Marx has something to offer?

Is there any value in reading Marx at all?  After all he  lines up with Hayek (ironically) in being the worst forecaster of all time.
However Samuel Bowles  believes he is of value in understanding micro-economics

Sunday, 22 April 2018

The Banks ( and others) are worse than we thought

The Royal commission has proved its stock very early on.

Thus far and we should just remember that the royal commission has not got to the banks' bread butter as yet it appears the banks bought financial planning firms yet did not understand therm.
Why did they buy them? They needed them as salesmen ( and it was mostly men) or distributors as they are known in the industry to sell their products from their funds Management companies.

It does show up the extreme ignorance the coalition had when the ALP proposed legislation on financial planners which amongst other things sought to make the customer the main person whom the planner severed.

I agree with Alan Fels and financial; planning firms should NEVER be in a company that has a funds Management arm.

It is yet another failure of the ACCC. Remember the regional banks at all??

This royal commission will be still going on when the election is called. Nothing is going the government's way.

I should outline the major problems of financial planning.

They get trailing commissions on products the consumer has. They get every year and do no work for this money. some even want a percentage of the increase in wealth you get each year. Yet they will not reimburse clients if their portfolio goes backwards at all.

financial planners get money on the more money they can get not on whether the client becomes more wealthy and more importantly has a reasonable income in retirement.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Around the Traps 20/4/18

It is time yet again for Around the Traps.

Northern America
Andrew Gelman (mainly stats)
Genial Dave Giles (econometrics)
Dianne Coyle (quirky +book reviews)
Vox wonk

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Do small parties understand their role?

Small parties do not hand around a lot..

I am thinking this could well be because they do not understand their own raison d'etre. Personality conflicts loom large as well.

Most small parties are their for purely to protect sectional interests like the National party or more usually as a protest against the major parties. Don Chipp put it best when he said a person votes for the Australian Democrats to keep the bastards honest!

If we examine any declines in small parties it is when they completely change their raison d'etre and try to be a mainstream party.

The Australian Democrats imploded when some people got too  big for their breeches and they are no longer around.

A small look at One Nation, Clive Palmer's once party, Nick Xenophon's party shows they lose big time when they change from being a protest party and think they will become a major party. When that party is named after one person it seems personality conflicts appear compulsory!!

Nick Xenophon after his SA election debacle has learned one lesson and that is get rid of a person's name. Neither Pauline Hanson nor Jacquie Lambie have learned this lesson. Neither could be accused of being intelligent with at least Lambie does not have a Svengali hanging around in the background.
It seems both women have made the choice that name recognition outweighs problems of personality.

We shall see

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

When to do Labour market reforms

There is a great article in what I call vox wonk on labour market reform.

Andrea Bassanni and Federico Cingani on the-short-term-employment-consequences-of-structural-reforms 

If I can make a short summary of the paper the any negative employment consequences are negligible when the economy is an an upswing.
Discernible readers will realise straight away this confirms previous OECD and IMF research on these subjects on which I talked about previously. ( some 6 years ago in fact).

Monday, 16 April 2018

The GFC reconsidered

Many thanks to Carola Binder ( the hottest economist around but she is married fellas) for a link to a very interesting paper which examines mortgage backed securities ratings and losses in the USA.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Evangelicals are the big losers from supporting Trump

We are used to the same apologists using the same excuses in discussing Trump however it is the evangelicals in the USA who have been badly burned by their using any excuses to support Trump.

However it seems the biblically literate evangelicals are hitting back. Timothy Keller here for example. There are other. My favourite Don Carson comes to mind.This is quite topical. Michael Gerson weighs in  Jim Wallis puts it very clearly.

It seems from afar that the biblically literate ones live in the north and the others in the south.That is only speculation however.

Let me give an demonstration. I was astonished to hear people who claim to be evangelical trying to show Trump was just like King David!
Let us go to that story.
 King David was in his palace . Although the greatest military commander of his age he delegated that to others in the current war.. It is at this time he spots a lady whom he then lusts after. He does indeed have sex with the woman. When he is told she is pregnant he tells the husband whom is a soldier to relax and be with his wife. He does not. Unlike David he knows his duty.
He then sends him to a part of the fighting where he must die and he does. Davisd apparently rationalises all this.
However when Nathan confronts him with his sinful acts David immediately repents. He knows and says he has sinned against God.

On the other hand Trump has said he has nothing to repent of. This clearly shows he is an unrepentant sinner.
It seems some in the evangelical movement have become like the Jews of the Old Testament and are now imitating the secular world.
In other worlds they are neither arthur nor martha!

It is all very sad. The question is whether those are truly Evangelical will escape from this and still be able to spread God's message.

Let us hope so

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Around the Traps 13/4/18

It is time again for Around the Traps

Northern America

Andrew Gelman (mainly stats)
Genial Dave Giles (econometrics)
Dianne Coyle ( quirky + book reviews)
Vox Wonk

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Israel Folau should stay off twitter

Israel Folau is in trouble because he answered a question on twitter.

He was asked what happens to gays.

He said they  go to hell unless they repent. This is a true statement but twitter does not enable a person to write all there needs to be on the subject. The best you can hope for is that a person may give you good links on various topics like the late great Mark Colvin did.( Soony please take note).

We really should say to say this answer was homophobic or hate speech is simply ridiculous.

 Israel should have done a few things which would have added to his answer IMHO.

Firstly ALL people need to repent if they do not wish to go to hell. Heterosexuals and homosexuals alike.
Secondly it is the ACT of homosexuality that is sinful not being attracted to the same sex.

Thirdly he should have said it equally applies to heterosexuals who indulge in fornication and.or adultery.
There is a lot more of them. ( Given homosexuals are only less than 2% of the population I have always wondered why the time and effort decrying homosexuals and little done towards fornication and adultery which is rife in our society and growing unlike homosexuality).

In most cases twitter is used by people to keep them in the public spotlight. Hence why journos. politicians, actors and actresses and of course sports people are wide users of twitter.

I would give twitter away Israel!
This is very good. This is what he should have linked to. you cannot do this on twitter!

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Some beauties on the ABC

Unforgotten finished last Thursday on the ABC. It was superb.
Well written and well acted where the chemistry was particularly on show.

No beautiful women and no chick magnets just people who looked and acted like detectives. the suspects were very good as well.

I am looking forward to the next season given the quality of the first two.

Harrow continues on friday night. This is an Australian production starring the inimitable Ion Gruffud as a forensic pathologist. sometimes it gets too close to Forever . This is a shame as even though Forever had a stupid overall plot line it had a hellva of a cast.
Harrow has a good cast and an interesting plot line which makes you wonder if you have it right.
Its major problem is the love interest. The female policewoman is simply not attractive. Perhaps because she is a redhead.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Liddell Power Station

There has been a lot of talk in recent days about the Liddell power station and its future.

Firstly Kriti Nagrath looks at this.  AGL do have a future without Liddell with which AEMO is comfortable with.

Secondly Simon Homes A Court examines how AGL acquired it and looks to its future.

A couple of things to contemplate.

  • AGL have stated their plans on replacing the power from Liddell when it closes.
  • AEMO is quite satisfied with that.
  • Liddell is a nice little earner for AGL mainly but not only becasuse of the absurd low prices it pays for coal, 
  • This ends when the plant closes.

On a related matter I offer up Hugh Saddler with a dated article on busting myths about South Australia's wind and solar power

In another fact free article  Big Al goes thew full Katesy and now advocates  nationalising coal powered Stations. He even goes further and believes Liddell should be adquired from AGL and owned by the Government.  I must have missed that in the 'conservative handbook. Nationalising industries.

Are there any conservatives in Australia with an intellect and consistency in views?

Sunday, 8 April 2018

News poll number 30

Yes it is the 30th Newspoll the Liberals have lost with Malcolm Turnbull as Leader. This was the benchmark set by Turnbull to get rid of Abbott.


What can be said.

Well Turnbull obviously did not think he would lose 30 Newspolls in a row. That was foolish thinking.
What is better to cogitate on is why did the polls rise and then fall under Turnbull.

We can ascertain that the public were heartily sick of Abbott. He simply was not up to the job and to be frank he never realised what the government had to do.
The public wanted a change of leadership. What was not known was the Faustian bargain Turnbull did with the conservative wing to become Leader. They all knew they were roadkill at the forthcoming election that is why they changed leaders. however Turnbull had to perform so many policy back flips it quickly became apparent Turnbull was simply Abbott lite and the public did not want that. 
Can the Government recover. I doubt it. It is not impossible but losing 30 polls in a row usually means the public have made their mind up.
Can the Government do much a bout it? I doubt it. There simply is no aspiring leader in the background ready to lead then to electoral glory. no-one has the ability. Plenty of ministers but no Prime minsters to be seen.

Greg Jericho on a-different-style-of-leadership-an-annotated-guide-to-malcolm-turnbulls-victory-speech

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Around the Traps 6/4/18

It is time again for Around the Traps

Northern America
Andrew Gelman (mainly stats)
Genial Dave Giles (econometrics)
Dianne Coyle ( quirky + book reviews)
Vox wonk