Weekend Links 13-14 June 2015




United States


Bozo Joe and Lobotomy Tones Land


Global Macro

…and furthermore…

and a picture to horrify you and your children ( born or otherwise )



    • The Patrician

      +1 flawse
      It is now over a month since this very useful and popular function disappeared from MB.
      What is more disappointing is that polite requests from long term paid-up MB subscribers for an explanation as to why, have been ignored and gone unanswered.
      The former may have a reasonable explanation…the latter doesn’t
      I repeat the request in relation to the “recent comments” box and the strange decision to detach the “reply” box from the relevant comment

      • Ronin8317MEMBER

        The reply box is definitely annoying.

        MB runs off wordpress. As the number of viewer and poster increases, the load also increases because it’s all server side. Most WP sites uses Discus for comments (which I hate, since Discus have copyright over everything you write), so the basic comment module is a bit behind. The site needs to use Ajax a bit more to reduce load.
        (programming stuff, ignore if not coder)
        As to most recent comment, vsnilla WP has a really bad data structure. To implement the feature properly you must use a trigger to populate a temporary table that only keeps the most recent posy, then create the recent list from it. Order by date descending on the entire comment table will kill your database response time.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        The moving of the “Reply” box is definitely a massive PITA.

        Personally I don’t think I’ve ever used the recent comments box, but some people obviously find it very useful.

      • Patrician
        Yup! The ‘contact us’ button is also turned off. You go to all the trouble of filling in the damned details then it doesn’t work. At my typing speed that is designed to annoy(being polite) You’re right – no replies to emails either!

      • Good! Being upfront about your paid commenting is the way to go. I think people would find your comments much less objectionable if you didn’t pretend to be just an ordinary bloke. Turfers should end all their comments with something like “This comment was sponsored by the Mining Council of Australia” or “This comment is sponsored by an Australian mining magnate”. At least then the source and motivation of your arguments would be clear to all. Honesty is the best policy. 💡

  1. “If fiscal policymakers took more of the responsibility for promoting economic recovery and job creation, monetary policy could be less aggressive,” wrote Bernanke, a Brookings Fellow. SCMP

    This is the trend I’m interested in – no one really believes it can happen, but the mood seems to be changing.

    • AJ,

      Yes, that is exactly what everyone is ignoring. Although humans are remarkably resistant to change and new ideas it eventually happens and what was ‘impossible’ today gets barely a shrug tomorrow.

      All it will take is a few green lights from a few big ‘thought leaders’ that get adopted as the new normal and bang we could be looking at:

      1. Some form of QE for the people – cutting taxes with ‘special bonds’ issued to the RBA that don’t pay interest and are treated as notional debt. When that happens we will see the “lost” demand reappear.

      2. Increasing interest rates designed to encouraging deleveraging and manage any inflationary pressures from No. 1.

      3. Controls on unproductive capital flows that are designed to manipulate exchange rates.

      Three little things that every day that goes by become easier and easier to justify.

      It is just a matter of time before some overseas country does it and everyone follows along.

      The neo-liberal model was considered nuts prior to the experiment starting in the 1970s. It just requires a reversion to mean in thinking about economics.

  2. The woeful 13 year performance of South Australia’s Labor Party …

    Budget to respond to SA jobs crisis – Yahoo Finance New Zealand


    … extract …

    The treasurer’s comments came after SA posted its worst unemployment figures in 14 years on Thursday with the jobless rate rising to 7.6 per cent in May.

    That was up from 7.2 per cent in April and was the worst since July 2001. … read more via hyperlink above …

  3. Looks like it’s officially an open seasons on the Abbott Government with everyone now laying the boot in when and where they can.

    “Abbott’s tax review process is ‘infected’ Federal Court judge says”

    A Federal Court judge has slammed the Abbott government for ruling out changes to negative gearing, superannuation concessions and GST as part of its tax review, saying the entire debate is politically infected and “handcuffed” from being able to achieve any useful reform.

    Justice Richard Edmonds, who was appointed to the Federal Court under the Howard government in May 2005 and has previously been critical of the lack of political will by leaders to carry out tax reform, said the Abbott government’s review will turn out to be just as useless as the former Labor government’s attempts back in 2009


  4. The most annoying thing at the moment is the portraying of the rba as being frank and fearless public servants that bravely offer truth to power regardless of the consequences.

    I just had to let it out.

    • It is good they are finally speaking up but they needed a lot of prodding to get there.

      Hopefully, they are now thinking about what needs to change in the economic model and will lead the debate and not wait to be dragged kicking and screaming.

    • I stopped reading when the consulting “expert” was nothing more than a real estate hack spruking discredited data.

  5. Why such a delay in new foreign buying penalties?

    They’ll do a heap more damage in 6 more months.

    • rich, come on, use that cerebral mass of yours! They have no intention to do anything of the sort, other than effecting an appearance of enforcement.

    • Their politicians; it’s the appearance to be doing something is all that matter rather than actually doing anything,

    • Isn’t O’Rourke the arsehole who said:

      Climate change: There’s not a damn thing you can do about it.

      We need that kind of thinking like we need another Abbort Prime Moron as leader 🙄

      • O’Rourke is a bit of a prick. And he is the first to admit it. You’d be a fool to take him seriously.
        But this piece is not about Climate Change, it is about how to be irresponsible. When in the throws of stupidity, how to commit and get the absolute most out of it, damning the consequences. It is stupid and funny. And inappropriate. Not 3d1k or Abbott inappropriate, but knowingly so.

    • StomperMEMBER

      They could just let thr price drop to meet the market – I really hate these banksters

      • Yup busted already. If anything apartments should require a higher deposit, given they can be churned out like weeds and a high % will have building defects.

    • I just spent the morning going at my Dad about it.
      I’m going for emotional blackmail.
      He can’t look at it from his perspective, he has to look at it from his grand-daughter’s perspective.
      He will always struggle to see the good run he got through just been born when he was, but now that he has an emotional attachment to the future it is a lens I can get him to see through.

      • Bravo. Whatever it takes!

        The facts (data) speaks for themselves and I find it frustrating that the accompanying narrative, even if pitched at levels to suit multiple audiences, is misunderstood or willfully ignored (not implying either of these for your father). The need for shelter is gamed for self-interest, though, sadly, the emotional drive to ‘own’ overwhelms some of those who know they are being played like a fiddle; several friends have recently ploughed on to a decades of debt servitude despite the narrative being neither misunderstood nor ignored.

      • Good job Sir!

        My father is 84, and so can see the light at the end of the tunnel. He couldn’t give 2 shits about how much is (modest, already downsized) house is worth. He does have 7 grand-children though, and he does care about their futures.

        He gets all his info from radio, newspapers, and TV, and even he knew it was a bubble well before everyone had their epiphany in the last couple of weeks.

  6. Australian housing: Why are Federal Government politicians making fools of themselves ?

    Joe Hockey gives Labor an unexpected gift | afr.com


    … extract …

    One Labor source says Hockey’s fumble on Tuesday has provided Labor with the political opportunity to swing the debate. Only days before the gaffe, Labor had been playing down negative gearing.

    “In order to tackle that issue, we think there’s a lot of focus that needs to be on the supply side. Negative gearing changes are not the focus of the Labor Party,” said leader Bill Shorten on Monday. …

    … One of the more seasoned property experts, CBD-based real estate buyer’s agent Chris Curtis describes specific parts of the city’s market as a “time bomb” and that federal politics could do little to change affordability. …

    … Curtis also questions why Hockey opened the fraught affordability debate, given much of its causes are because of state issues, such as land supply.

    “The feds are bloodying their noses unnecessarily – they can’t change anything.”

  7. Yippee… Now it’s not just houses


    “The scramble for space in Sydney reached a new level on Saturday when a crowd of 60 gathered in Kirribilli to battle for a 12-square-metre plot of cement.

    The auction of a nondescript car spot had some neighbours scratching their heads when it sold for $120,000 under the hammer. Others were rubbing their hands together at the prospect they might be sitting on parking gold.”

  8. MELBOURNE: The new face of housing affordability: Buying first house too expensive for Victorian MP Tim Smith … The Age …


    Meet the new face of the housing affordability crisis: the 31-year-old MP for Kew, Tim Smith.

    Mr Smith confirmed on ABC radio on Friday he was renting in the seat he fought so hard to represent because of Melbourne’s skyrocketing property prices.

    Mr Smith, who is the opposition’s parliamentary secretary for affordable housing, moved to Kew in 2012 but is renting despite his desire to become a first home owner. … read more via hyperlink above …

  9. UK mortgage Cap 4.5 times … Ireland 3.5 times … what caps for Australia and New Zealand ? …

    New Zealand Home loans to be capped by your earnings … Richard Meadows … Fairfax NZ


    Irish Bank Slows Best European Market to Avoid Deja Vu – Bloomberg Business


  10. Richard Marles is on ABC right now telling us Labor are pretty much going to reopen our borders.

    LNP will win the next election and the senate, we’ll get turbo charged workchoices, mass rich immigration, massive high house prices. Fuck you labor you fucking clowns.

    Labor and Greens have destroyed Australia with their border policy that makes them unelectable. Fucking imbeciles.

    • In a perverse kind of way, I’m hoping the Libs get back in. It will be the lesson Australia needs to have and will also be the end of the Liberal Party as Abbott will destroy the party before he steps down. If Labor are smart, and I seriously doubt they are, they will watch what’s happening will position themselves accordingly. Once this occurs then Australia can rebuild.

      • Good call Wing Nut.

        I agree. Another term of LNP will be a lesson we never forget.

        Sadly Labor are neither smart nor noble, nor do they possess any other single positive attribute.. They are a bunch of the very worst cts in Australia taking us for what they can. We desperately need a revolution. It’s the fact we’re the land of plenty and we keep being given plenty of honey while in the background our entire future is being taken from us. We are gorging ourselves in luxury today and the outcome will be future generations are starved of wealth.

        I met a German guy the other month that said what we put up with is unbelievable. He said they would have shut down all the BS corporations running Australia decades ago. FFS, our land was given to James Packer to build a casino we can’t go in. Are you fucking joking? Hardly a whisper was uttered by any of the media. After the revolution we’ll take it back with the improvements and put every politician that touched it in jail.

        GenY need to learn what’s being done to them and get angry and fix it before it’s too late.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      It’s been argued that the luckiest thing Oz had in the 60s and 70s was having South Africa take the fall for pretty rotten behavior. We got to continue on our merry way.

      Our Tony may just be the one to end that luck.

    • Based on first-hand interviews, UNHCR is now saying the Abbott government basically paid people smugglers. As the Law Prof from ANU plainly said, this is illegal and we’re complicit with the human-trafficking trade.

      But the Abbott Govt doesn’t give two fucks about the law.

      ‘Straya has descended into a morally bankrupt cesspool of corrupt sycophants and neo-liberal boot-lickers.

    • I’m listening to a great podcast on world war one at the moment and it has made me think of one thing to be grateful for about this government, it isn’t a wartime one. Tony would be one of those leaders who wouldn’t flinch to send people to their death because of his faith in the cause and his belief that he is on the right side.

    • DE, if indeed we did pay the mooted ~$5K for the boats to make safe return passage (fuel,food etc) what a bargain. With processing costs per person running anywhere upwards of $70k, clearly we’ve saved big time – both in terms of $ and potential loss of life at sea.

      These smugglers knew they were toast, could be monitored until within 24 nautical mile continuous zone, and returned without a red cent! If these measures are applied ad hoc into the future, no asylum seeker will pay a smuggler for a return trip.

      We are genius.

      • You’re better than that 3d. We’re not genius, we’re, no Abbott is fuck’n dumb. There’s no we; Abbott didn’t do this shit on my behalf, he did it for himself. Caught paying criminals that…um..makes us…criminals! If he was ‘genius’, he would have come up with something better than paying a bunch of criminals money and hoping like hell no one would notice. Fuck. Me. Is this the best we can expect from out PM?

      • slightly flippant, but, whatever.

        We don’t know that we have paid; if we have assisted to ensure safe return passage, a humanitarian act it seems. What exactly is the fuss here?

      • And so the defence of the indefensible begins.

        It will be an interesting few days hearing people try to justify this act.

        What will Abbott do? My guess is he will send Joe out so that whatever silly thing he next says supplants this in the news cycle.

      • The elected government has a well publicised policy in regard to illegal boat arrivals. Measures to ensure the policy is adhered to appear to be working. This Government will not need hang its head in mourning at the loss of more than 1000 lives, as tolerated during the Killing Season.

        (Not continuous zone, contiguous zone)

  11. Aust is just 10 yrs behind the US re the massive divide between rich and poor. The rich understand the benefit of political influence etc and are slowing taking all the cake. If the average AUst doesn’t wake up, more fool them. Aust almost needs another ‘party’, one based more on comment sense than vested interests. Personally l cannot see a way forward for the Aust economy based on many factors including leadership. Yet we need to somehow bring in laws to reduce vested interest within gov on both sides, it’s killing society as we know it, largely the middle class. Barry ofarrell’s new job does little to reduce this inference. I feel all these vested interest groups who have/are limiting opportunity for most, need to be slayed.

    • For me it depends on where they source their cardboard from.

      During the week I drove by the giant piles of hardwood woodchips on the docks of Geelong and shuddered. What a waste.

    • @ V (for vendetta?)
      If you’ve assembled some of the Ikea furniture you’d see that cardboard is well present for long time. The future is here! /sarc

  12. Sloppy Joe really needs to be called to account for this. The entitlement should be changed immediately.


    The taxpayer could have bought the residence itself and saved itself years of travel claims by Sloppy & friends.. But no he continues to claim it is as a legit entitlement.
    The taxpayer already compensates him to be away from home half the year via a high ministerial salary and all the other expense claims.
    This is rorting plain and simple whether it is legal or not. As Treasurer he should be held to account.

    • V … note the Bloomberg article I posted further up-thread on this issue.

      The Central Bank of Ireland research on the risks involved in high loan to income lending will before long become more significant.

      The Aussie and NZ Banks are running truly massive risks with this irresponsible lending.

      It will be most interesting indeed when international lenders wake up … and start pricing these risks appropriately.

  13. “Some of Britain’s biggest pension companies are still refusing to let retirees withdraw cash from their retirement pots…”


    “Paul Dennison, 71, asked Friends Life if he could withdraw the full sum from his two pensions, together totalling £9,466. “I sent the application forms ahead of the changes, but I’ve been waiting ever since for payment without any communication about what the problem is, or when I might expect the cash.”

    He adds: “I’ve experienced huge delays, poor access to customer services, wait times by phone typically over 30 minutes, and ineffective complaints procedures. There will be plenty of older, vulnerable people who are facing horrendous problems accessing their money.”