Weekend Links – 29th-30th August 2015

20581321536_dc1eeb4c4c_z

Asia

Europe

United States

Americas

Terra Oz

Global Macro/Markets

…and furthermore…

Comments

  1. GunnamattaMEMBER

    Could someone explain to me………

    How it is it that a government which approves the spot checking of people on city streets for visa infractions – in a quasi military style operation which sure as hell wouldnt have proceeded without Ministerial approval……..

    Controversial Australian Border Force visa checks, Operation Fortitude cancelled

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-28/operation-fortitude-cancelled/6733008

    ……why it would be that that government cannot take the simple step – essentially no hassle to anyone, and certainly not intimidating anyone – of requiring proof of passport or visa status during the transaction of Australian real estate?

      • Operation Fartitude……..the arsemen of the Abbotalypse we’re coming to rescue the polls.
        Instead? Another nail in the coffin of the Abbott regime.

      • It was bloody lucky they called it off so quickly. It could have turned very ugly and violent as the protests would have got a lot larger later in the day.

      • “Just when you think we’ve hit peak stupidity”

        Are you still surprised after all these years?

        That said, I suspect Abbott will be re-elected. For one, many voters do not think and they feel secure when fellow idiots are in charge. After all, Dubya was re-elected after committing a shocking number of blunders, including highly damaging ones.

      • Are you still surprised after all these years?

        Actually this one kind of did. It’s not like the States where there’s this concern about “hordes of illegals” crossing the border. I cannot even begin to fathom what the person behind this was thinking.

      • – Passport!!
        – Don’t have it on me sir.
        -Driver’s license !!
        – I don’t drive my lord
        – Sergeant !! – we have a passenger for Villawood!
        – Wait Sir ……. I have …..something !??
        – Hmm … what’s this? A cheque for 3.5 Million eh ??.
        Well done son – Sergeant take this man directly to the station. Lock him up with the latest copy of Domain.

      • Ah, I think I know what the person behind this was thinking. They were measuring the stupidity of the electorate by probing how far they could push their luck.

      • It’s hardly a surprise to many outside of Australia and good article in Fairfax/WA Today:

        “The view we have of ourselves as Australians is at odds with the view that is rapidly developing among informed people of other nations and the gap is seriously troubling.” http://www.watoday.com.au/comment/martin-flanagan-how-we-see-ourselves-differs-from-how-others-see-us-20150827-gj9o42.html

        Many including on MB seem to view this farce as merely an unfortunate case of political incompetence or similar; then glibly claim that better executed techniques can be used to target ‘other types’ at property auctions.

        Most do not understand that it requires the same authoritarianism to be applied to Oz citizens, who do not need to show ID (indirect form of harrassament and conditioning to obey orders)….. best advice for prospective home buyers is to avoid auctions that represent only a small part of the market, and are used to artificially boost the price and advantage for sellers.

        Like many in Australia, human rights and civil liberties are neither understood nor desired? If that is the case a national socialist regime; xenophobic, authoritarian and run for some elites would be ok? Very confusing editorial line……

    • Doing that would be effective and might contribute to the fall in asset prices held by them, their mates, and their future eating boomer voters. Whereas putting on uniforms and beating up people who don’t salute is in their DNA. Anyhow, they’ve back pedaled now; Australia still bears some resemblance to a democracy.

    • No chance this wasn’t approved, at the very least by the senior departmental executives. Some of these cretins deserve a great deal more scrutiny than they are getting. We know the dills on the front bench of the government but some of the public servants appointed in recent times to the immigration portfolio are pretty nasty. The exodus of staff from immigration in recent months is testement to this and the militarisation of the service.

      Its keystone cop stuff, and to think it is still a year away from a fedeeal election. Peak stupidity is still over the horizon.

      • Unfortunately for us, it’s more Stasi than keystone cops.
        More paramilitaries on the streets intimidating the populace than cartoonish buffoons giving us a laugh.

    • St JacquesMEMBER

      Because it’s all a big show put on for simple minded fools from both sides. The whole thing was heavily flagged, meaning that most visa rule breakers would have had warning, either through the media or through others, so only a very unlucky few would be caught up in the sweep, and of course this would have “proved” the visa system was “sound” while also proving the government’s determination (cough) to enforce the law. Another distraction.

      • SoMPLSBoyMEMBER

        “Is it the part of the police department to harass me when this city is a flagrant vice capital of the civilized world? This city is famous for it’s gamblers, prostitutes, exhibitionists, Anti-Christs, alcoholics, sodomites, drug addicts, fetishists, onanists, pornographers, frauds, jades, litterbugs, and lesbians, all of whom are only too well protected by graft. If you have a moment, I shall endeavor to discuss the crime problem with you, but don’t make the mistake of bothering me. ”
        Ignatius J Reilly in John Kennedy Toole’s ‘Confederacy of Dunces’
        Pulitzer Prize winning novel set in ‘Nawlins’

    • Because this was about installing fear into the public and wedging the other Sociopath shorten on the issue of security .
      It was fine when we used the SAS against refugees and imprisoned them on islands made out of bird shit. But it was always the case that the same hard headed Pyschopaths would try to introduce a paramilitary goon Squad to patrol the streets checking people’s papers . Abbot is a True Pyschopath I am convinced . Shorten should go back to selling lounge suites .
      Get ready for the Army to kick down your door in the middle of the night to check your papers.
      Next year when civil disobedience is raging in the depths of the recession I have no doubt this guy will do something nuts like the national Guard did at the democractic convention all those years ago .

      We are fucked !

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        Who said distractions and fear do not go together? Howard used it brilliantly because, unlike Tones, he’s a clever man. Going overboard about an imminent full on fascist dictatorship plays right into his hands, politically speaking, it makes his opponents look silly. The visa breakers have mobiles and will be well informed as where the cops are, and Border Farce and Tones know that. The point is Tone’s ratings in the polls are dire. So he announces we are going to bomb rubble in Syria and have an ineffective but very publically visible reality TV police operation on the streets. High viz tokenism. The whole thing is just a distraction from the sagging economy, his disastrous captain’s calls, and his growing unpopularity.

    • notsofastMEMBER

      Most other developed countries (UK, US, Europe etc) have some form of random Stop and Check for immigration status as part of their overall strategy for tackling undocumented migration. As far as I can see, if Australia wants to limit the number of people overstaying their visa’s then I don’t see how Australia can be any different. The incompetence with which this policy has been introduced makes me think that this government doesn’t want to limit it…

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        If this was a sincere effort to enforce visa laws, all state police would be empowered to check people they were suspicious of, and could be highly effective. But that lacks public visibility. A small force of high viz goons is totally useless as visa breakers have mobiles and such goon squads are easily tracked. It’s a pure PR stunt about law enforcement.

      • St Jack,

        How would you define “a suspicious visa offender” in the police guidline or manual?
        Black, indian, chinese?

      • Has little to do with immigrants but is about trying to cow Australians into submission and accepting authority of ‘Australia’, classic white nationalist strategy not only highighting ‘immigrants’ negatively, but Australians too.

        Most European states have compulsory ID cards which must must be carried with you at all times. UK and US like Oz do not have compulsory ID cards, some US states have followed Arizona in drafting ‘stop and search’ laws and the UK has had similar stunts to the DBP http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/theresa-mays-stop-and-search-for-illegal-immigrants-is-only-a-tactic-to-win-votes-8743533.html

        The interesting aspect is that in the Anglo world these laws are not only similar, for political reasons and opportunities for media stunts, but were drafted by a ‘white nativist’ organisation in the USA, with links throughout the Anglo world, including Australia, eemplified by trying to influence debate on ‘immigration’ of ‘non-Europeans’, this is via compliant/naive media, academic ‘research’ and immigration related committees https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2010/04/28/hate-group-lawyer-drafted-arizona’s-anti-immigrant-law

        DBP and proxy authorities have many opportunities to monitor visa compliance from the time DBP assesses application and grants visa, checked again upon entry and via sponsors whether employers, education institutions, backpacker co’s, Oz relatives etc.. (all have reporting responsibilities with large fines etc. if remiss)

        However, why do these ‘immigrants’ make an excellent target in Oz?

        Because they cannot vote, have fewer rights, and are more likely to follow orders……. and is also the desired effect it has on Australians i.e. respect authority, don’t challenge it etc…

        For any stop and search to be effective, and non profiling, Australians also need to be stopped but if we do not have an ID system, how do we prove our bona fides if stopped? Can police doing such operations then detain Australian citizens temporarily without their ID (can happen in Europe if not carrying ID one is detained till someone else can bring ID to police station)?

        The effect on Australian citizens is the one that nobody considers, i.e. like Border Control and high scrutiny of incoming passengers under the guise of quarantine, this is also about conditioning Australians to follow orders…..

        Asssume the target constituencies of swing voters and Abbott’s conservative rump view Melbourne as some ‘multicultural’ swamp, once had QLD’er complaining that one needs a dictionary in Melbourne because no one speaks English 🙂

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        Djenka,
        There are plenty of European visa rule breakers here but of course there would be more from other regions. But if you want to understand the true intent of Border Farce, you have to ask why they went for such an ineffective way of enforcing the law. There are vastly more effective ways of enforcing the law using traditional policing but those low key methods have little appeal to a government that is only interested in making a show to help it in the polls and actually secretly likes the fact that illegal workers contribute to the undermining the bargaining power of Australian workers.

      • St J,

        you said: “If this was a sincere effort to enforce visa laws, all state police would be empowered to check people they were suspicious of, and could be highly effective.”
        and I asked only how would you recommend a guideline of “suspiciousness” recognition (relating to visa offenses) be issued to the police officers roaming the streets?
        You ain’t stupid chap so I’ll assume you avoided a direct answer.

        In history, there were attempts to superficially distinguish legal from illegal citizenry by compulsory wear of an armband, with an asterisk.
        The thing is that between democracy and fascism the difference is in only a few seemingly small legislations like racial/ethnic profiling or unwarranted harassment of its citizens. Irrespective of the motivation behind.

        I agree that this was a show.
        What I do not like is that it should be treated as what it its, not as a genuine mistake

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        Djenka, I’m guessing the main criteria would be “young foreigner”, regardless of race. With so much legal non caucasian immigration, I find that it hard to believe it would be an effective appeal to racism, but I could be wrong. As far as I can tell it is a poorly thought out attempt of a desperate government trying to wedge the opposition on security and law and order issues.

      • Canetti’s onto it. “Has little to do with immigrants but is about trying to cow Australians into submission………..”

        Fear & harassment campaign including dog squads, booze squads, plate cameras etc. http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-28/border-force-to-check-visas-on-the-streets-of-melbourne/6732086

        Yes, well I don’t think it’s been the Australia I knew for some time now 🙁
        Fortunately we’re not here – http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-08-24/raping-america-mile-markers-road-fascism – YET!

      • St Jack
        Fact check for you:
        Number of Chinese visa overstayers was on par with those from US alone and number of Chinese overstays vs total visa issued is dwarfed by the US overstayers. More Brits are illegal in Australia then Indians.
        Would you consider US visitors foreigners? What about Brits? Kiwi’s? Or the foreigners are only Wogs, Indians, Chinese etc?
        According to your rule, if you were to shoot on spot anyone with a US accent you would have a lesser chance of making a mistake then the same for Chinese.

        Also, approx per each 1 student visa overstay (guaranteed youth) there are 4.5 Visitor Visa overstays.
        ___

        I would like to see those ~6000 USA illegals currently in Aus in mandatory detention – e.g PNG centre (alongside the Chinese, Malaysians, Brits and others paupers that were arriving by the boat recently)
        /sarc

    • You lot are getting over-excited again!

      As I said yesterday, this Operation Border Farce was never going to get off the ground – and thank God for that.

      A too enthusiastic regional commander, a previously purely officious arm of the public sector transformed into a would-be quasi faux paramilitary outfit (wrong move from the outset) and voila – a demonstration of Milgram’s prisoner/guard experiment almost comes into being.

      And this is why we have a carefully constructed legal environment that ensures ordinary citizens are not unduly harassed by bureaucracies like BorderFarce and Governments of all persuasions. A free independent press is an important adjunct. Maintain vigilance!

      • GunnamattaMEMBER

        Ah yes, there’s something I haven’t done in a while…..considered what 3d is saying. What the hell; an hour to kill while waiting for my kid. Let us take a look…..

        You lot are getting over-excited again!

        As I said yesterday, this Operation Border Farce was never going to get off the ground – and thank God for that.

        OK, some historical perspective justification buttressing a masturbation accusation directed at others. Standard 3d1k fare….

        A too enthusiastic regional commander, a previously purely officious arm of the public sector transformed into a would-be quasi faux paramilitary outfit (wrong move from the outset) and voila – a demonstration of Milgram’s prisoner/guard experiment almost comes into being.

        ……well one supposes that is one way of seeing things. Maybe in 3d’s world enthusiastic regional commanders authorise operations impacting on the public without informing Minister’s – which leads me to the suspicion that in that world lots of officious regional commanders get squirrel gripped by politicians. ….

        Then we come to that previously purely officious arm of the public sector transformed into a faux paramilitary outfit……Now who would have made that decision? The public servants? Or a politician? Even 3d [who presumably has a public servant hatred based in experience at the local Centrelink or something equally mundane] couldn’t pin the blame for that on anyone other than a Torynuff Government [indeed this one] ….and a reference to an obscure experiment somewhere in someones criminal past rounds out the paragraph………all in all it is flyblown, reeks strongly and one needs to be careful not to step in it……

        And this is why we have a carefully constructed legal environment that ensures ordinary citizens are not unduly harassed by bureaucracies like BorderFarce and Governments of all persuasions. A free independent press is an important adjunct. Maintain vigilance!

        …for dessert we have a carefully constructed legal environment – which seemingly ignores the consensus that on visas and illegal migrants and their activities we have policy made up on the run [generally of 3 word statements] – all carefully massaged to ensure it never goes near posing the question of what are the economic benefits of migration [at any given level] and what are the costs of it [at that given level], and who are the immediate pecuniary beneficiaries of that policy miasma
        Then 3d follows up with some surety for ordinary citizens [does he know any?] about not being harassed – he tosses in Border Farce, but follows up with Governments of all persuasions, leading one to the view [seeing as the threat to ordinary citizens from Border Farce is about the same as that of being kicked to death by an ice crazed sparrow] that 3d is actually talking up the risk from government. Now that brings us around to the view that the risk from government for most ordinary people is that that government taxes the bejeesus out of them while allowing others [maybe large multinationals masquerading as Australian corporate entities despite marketing operations in Singapore, maybe property speculators sucking on the public teat, maybe wealthier types sucking on the taxpayers in the form of superannuation concessions] to get away with just a façade of government running strong on issues which don’t affect their bottom lines, while telling ordinary taxpaying punters to suck it up……

        somewhere in all that 3d also sees a free independent press, where the rest of us see a massively indebted press – both broadcast and print – haemorrhaging cash in such a way as to bind it to whomsoever would pay in the same way free and independent prostitutes bind themselves to whoever has the readies – to do whatever it is the client and they can agree upon

        …….and a final exhortation to be vigilant [suggesting we are already], whereas I tend to the view that this is slumberland and that any serious sign of the natives being vigilant will have an awful lot of politicians – of the type approving paramilitary style visa checks without doing things about those issues the public are concerned about – will see an awful lot of contortions required to retain seats in the next election [circa one year away – with neither side of politics having much honest idea on the economy, and the roles of migration, global warming, markets etc within that]

        always good to consider what life must be like on planet 3d1k…..

      • Lol. Too much to fantasy dissemble there Gunna.

        The VicCommander stuffed up big time. Probably others along the line have too, including the driver of Operation Farce, the Victorian Government and it’s police force. Too many incompetent public servants, too little oversight. I disagreed with the creation of the BroaderFarce, always skeptical of increase in the powers of the public sector. My misgivings appear well placed.

        Again I take the opportunity to remind readers here – the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. There are many here that are dead keen to inform on property purchasers of Asian appearance, those that outright reject immigrants of any type, regular exhortations to limit free speech, to ban this or that, including fellow readers of MB.

        It’s a slippery slope…

      • GunnamattaMEMBER

        a second helping always nice…..

        Lol. Too much to fantasy dissemble there Gunna.

        The VicCommander stuffed up big time. Probably others along the line have too, including the driver of Operation Farce, the Victorian Government and it’s police force.

        ………note how keen 3d1k is to direct blame away from the Federal Torynuff Government. Unfortunately the only government responsible for the presence of the Border Force boys in yesterday’s debacle is that federal Torynuff Government. If it was the Victorians making decisions, then they certainly should get a shellacking too. But the only politicians accountable for Border Force are Federal. And the only Federal politicians in a position of power to authorise the presence of federal authorities in such an operation are Torynuff

        Too many incompetent public servants, too little oversight. I disagreed with the creation of the BroaderFarce, always skeptical of increase in the powers of the public sector. My misgivings appear well placed.

        The only reason 3d1k is sceptical of increasing powers of the public sector is that these tend to need to be accountable [to politicians] and they tend to discover things which make the average public sector teat sucking small government aficionado find embarrassing

        Again I take the opportunity to remind readers here – the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. There are many here that are dead keen to inform on property purchasers of Asian appearance, those that outright reject immigrants of any type, regular exhortations to limit fee speech, to ban this or that, including fellow readers of MB.

        Just imagine how much easier and stress free things would be – admittedly without those snazzy Border Farce uniforms – if we just asked all buyers of real estate to provide a passport or visa proof of their right to buy existing Australian real estate when they go to buy, and/or with each years rates notice

        …and when it comes to free speech just remember if it is free then we are the product. All in favor of free speech, but let us have speech which freely acknowledges direct pecuniary beneficiaries. Those of us who have been media prostitutes have found freedom’s just another word for a set of managerial requirements amounting to ‘suck on this’

        It’s a slippery slope…

        ………but ordinary tax paying punters don’t have to pick up the soap on a rope, while the Torynuffs slip them a little something

      • I don’t entirely remove the Federal Government – I assume the creation of TheBroaderFarce was deemed politically opportune and, as I said, I was not a supporter. Abbott’s obsession with multitudinous terror threats drives me insane and needs to be tempered considerably. I assume the Victorian Government’s security operation orchestrated by the Victoria Police requested TheBroaderFarce to participate, an invitation only too enthusiastically accepted. A lot of people signed off on this, including senior highly paid public servants. They are (ir)responsible.

        Public servants regularly stuff up, are almost never called to account, correctly line management should be responsible for rectifying. In this case, additionally the Minister or his Department Head may consider release of TheBroaderFarce’s operational parameters along with a commitment to ensure all officers are cognisant of the responsibilities and obligations, including limitations thereof. This should assuage public sensitivities.

      • GunnamattaMEMBER

        …….I assume the Victorian Government’s security operation orchestrated by the Victoria Police requested TheBroaderFarce to participate,

        The Victorian police have absolutely no concern about visa laws – these are a Federal responsibility. More likely that the Border Shirts asked for some Vic cops to ride shot gun while they were out on a posse.

        In this case, perhaps the Minister or his Department Head should release TheBroaderFarce’s operational parameters along with a commitment to ensure all officers are cognisant of the responsibilities and obligations, including limitations thereof.

        Huh? and give the wider public a sight of the sort of idiocy that federal ministers sign off on and refuse to be accountable for? Disclosure of the operational parameters may give rise [through that independent press you warble on about, or the marketing and profit maximising management decisionmaking driving it] to ask why? and what are the other implications of it? There may be a load of spin doctors in the Torynuff [Prime?] Minister’s office suggesting he would be brave to do that

      • Do not be distracted by the obfuscator
        The theatrical incompetence of Border Farce comes from the same playbook as the elaborate sham of the O’Dwyer inquiry and subsequent faux FIRB “crackdown”. Theatre for the gullible while maintaining systemic regulatory failure.

      • bolstroodMEMBER

        This has got Minister Peter Plod Dutton’s prints allover it.
        Read his maiden parliamentary speech ,a fascist pig.

      • It’s always so hilarious seeing 3D being so thoroughly pwned. I know it’s easy to do but still fun. Almost as satisfying as watching the Abbottalypse self destruct in its own incompetence.

      • “A free independent press is an important adjunct. Maintain vigilance!”

        interesting how little prominence the story got in the murdoch rags

      • It now transpires that TheBroaderFarce did indeed reach Dutton’s office where staff deemed it low level notification of routine operational matters and allegedly did not proceed to read the attached press release. Serial ineptitude by well paid public officers.

        Let’s hope our public servants can lift their game.

      • “Serial ineptitude by well paid public officers. Let’s hope our public servants can lift their game” – And just how long have we been waiting for that to happen already? They’re gaining momentum on a slippery slope down! They’re trying to turn the tables & use distraction & fear to justify their own pathetic lives. They should be replaced by people who have their feet on solid ground.

        Going into damage control for clearly damaged & deranged people doesn’t help your credibility 3d.

      • The Traveling Wilbur

        FIXED: Serial ineptitude by well paid EMPLOYEES OF THE MINISTER’S OFFICE.

        Let’s hope THE STAFF WHO WERE ALMOST CERTAINLY LNP PARTY MEMBERS APPOINTED BY THE MINISTER DIRECTLY (and are therefore NOT public servants) can lift their game

        So… 3d, either stop posting about things you know not, or stop dissembling through disengenuous carefully worded bullshit. Feel free to pick whichever option is appropriate in this instance.

    • It’s deceptively simple Gunna.
      The government is losing the public opinion battle on a daily basis and need something to jolt the public thinking away from the core issues. Most governments could do this in a subtle way. but this bunch of loons led by the biggest loony tune of them all, can only see issues in very narrow terms. It had to be done while Abbott was swanning around up north so he could return and “set matters right”.
      That was the plan. Abbott is silent for now because his handlers have had to reconsider his response in view of the outburst from the Melbourne citizenry. They’ve miscued – almost like their own Bay of Pigs moment where it’s all done now how do we sweep it under the carpet?
      The terror mantra is wearing a bit thin so these crazies had to bring it home to the Australian shores. Some bright spark has a mental fart about illegal Alians on weekends attending auctions and this would be a show of “defending Australia” no doubt approved by the PM who likes the smell of shit, and the thing just got away from them. It doesn’t help that these uniformed bozos look like Gestapo front liner either – can you imagine the press getting hold of a snap of a black shirted border force officer checking a diminutive Asian’s credentials who turns out to be born and bred in St Kilda?
      Not for one moment did it enter the skulls of these idiots that racial profiling is akin to racism. They are in full panic mode, fighting a retreat in an unwinnable contest. Can you imagine if this crop of geniuses had the combination to the atomic control satchel?

      • WTF? Tell us how, you obfuscating drivel-machine. I bet you think people who point out fear mongering are themselves fearmongers… much like how you think those who are intolerant of bigots are therefore bigots.

    • I loved all the protests signs re being racist? This card comes out every time. What’s wrong with checking peoples visas, no harm in my book, yet could have been done without the MSM press release, or political spin,..out of control.

    • interested party

      At least the banks there seem to acknowledge reality and talk about it. Our institutions try to figure out ways to pass off the risk to unsuspecting muppets via gov actions and policy so the party can continue.

    • What a well written, well reasoned, totally insightful piece Peter Hartcher has penned. Thanks for bring it to our attention….

    • +1 Border Farce is just an extension of the “Stop the boats” nonsense.
      Grandstanding at the margins while the real damage done by unfettered (corporate-approved) excessive population growth and gross (FIRB) regulatory failure, rolls on regardless.

    • So important it has to be printed From SMH Peter Harcher.& WW
      If you were wondering why Abbott, without consulting his cabinet, decided to launch Friday’s ham-fisted assault on Australians’ freedom of movement, his poor poll ratings are only part of the answer. He invents faux security measures in a transparent effort to look tough.
      And, whether it’s stripping citizenship or ordering the stopping and questioning of ordinary citizens Abbott hopes to inflame Labor into opposing him so that he can point gleefully and shout “Labor is soft on terror!”

      We already have a national reform summit – it meets in Canberra for about 20 weeks of the year at taxpayers’ expense. It’s called parliament. But without leaders, parliament is just an expensive public stage for the parading of vanities and vendettas.

      The brilliant LNP political strategists who brought you the fastest implosion of any postwar prime minister, and confronted by his backbench with a spill motion halfway through his first term, think that this is a sure fire way of winning the country’s respect.

      But the other part of the answer is what Abbott doesn’t want to deal with. He is straining to find an unending series of security events, stunts and stirs because of the absence of an agenda for governing.
      He is conjuring colourful political tricks because he is not up to the work of addressing big, hard problems facing Australia, and none is bigger or harder than the one Abbott ostentatiously avoided this week. Global markets rumbled ominously.

      It was the perfect soundtrack to the inauguration of Australia’s National Reform Summit, a heartfelt cry for national leadership.
      The summit was a spontaneous rebuke to the political parties.
      The elites of business, the union movement and the community came together to try to goad Australia’s political leaders into doing their jobs.

      “We’re not going to stand by and let another election be a race to the bottom of what we are not going to do,” said the chief executive of the Business Council, one of the prime movers for the summit, Jennifer Westacott.
      Australia is in trouble, the summiteers concurred, and is in urgent need of repair.
      On cue, international financial markets issued a reminder that the world economy is exceptionally fragile. This is no time for complacency.

      Here’s a bracing fact.
      Global interest rates are lower than at any time in the 5000 years for which there is any type of record, according to the Bank of England. Mind-bendingly, rates are so low that the interest rate on a German or Japanese government bond is actually negative in real terms.
      “Investors are prepared to actually pay governments to look after their money”,
      The central banks have force-fed so much money about $US8 trillion of it, that money is not just free. It’s cheaper than free.
      About $US2.4 trillion worth of government bonds is trading at negative interest rates, according to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the central bank of central banks.
      This is unthinkable, yet it has become reality.

      Hiding this policy behind a technocratic term, “quantitative easing,” cannot disguise the fact that the world’s central banks are lost. Or, as the Financial Times’ Martin Wolf puts it, they are not the masters of the universe, merely “apes on a treadmill”.

      In spite of this unprecedented orgy of money printing, incomes in the big, rich countries are stagnant and falling. Americans, Japanese and people in the European Union have lower average incomes per head today than in 2007 before the onset of the US-led global crisis,
      Living standards are falling; the system isn’t working.
      “If this unprecedented journey continues, technical, economic, legal and even political boundaries may well be tested,” This is extraordinary stuff.

      The Western world, in a trance of wishful thinking, invested China with magical powers to defy economic gravity. This week, the magic wore off.
      China is not in the same condition as the exhausted West; it is, however, gasping for breath.
      Yet that was enough to panic markets around the world as investors were forced to confront the possibility that China might not be the magical solution to all their woes after all.

      China spent years in a frenzy of investment, including a great deal of malinvestment.
      Trillions of dollars of new investment is going into writing down, covering up, refinancing and reshuffling dud investments.
      One sign? Last year China had new fixed investment equal to a stunning 44 % of its GDP.
      Yet all of this produced GDP growth of only about 5 to 7 %.
      China’s economic adjustment “is closer to its beginning than its end,” as the prescient China-watcher Patrick Chovanec told me.

      With this as its backdrop, Australia’s political leaders addressed the national reform summit this week. Abbott sent a video recording of himself giving a stump speech bragging of his government’s achievements.
      It was an insult to the intelligence of the 90 or so chief executives, union leaders, economists and policy experts in the room. For instance: “A lot has happened in the past two years.
      We’ve undertaken budget repair with over $50 billion in savings over the forward estimates.
      Every year the budget deficit will come down by about a half a percentage point of GDP.”

      The summit communique pointedly rejected Abbott’s accounting fantasies.
      It urged the government to make “real progress in fiscal reform, not paper progress through unrealistic budget assumptions”.
      The summit existed because everyone in the room knew exactly what the Abbott government was doing, and knew it was woefully inadequate.

      Joe Hockey spoke next. He encouraged it to be “expansive and daring”. (unlike himself)
      Yet the substance of his speech was on how the “sovereign consumer” was doing most of the reform of modern economies, implicitly excusing the sovereign government from having to do the work.

      Bill Shorten spoke, too. He did, at least, hint at the prospect that Labor was considering reform of workplace practices. But he also repudiated a central tenet of the summit’s demand for a tax reform debate “that does not rule out options for reasons of political expediency.”
      Shorten did exactly that, emphatically ruling out any consideration of increasing the GST rate as part of tax reform.
      To sum up, Abbott tells us he’s already fixed the problem, Hockey tells us that the market will fix any remaining problems, and Shorten can’t see the problem.
      In other words, the politicians who addressed the summit vividly illustrated the problem rather than providing any solution.
      They are so preoccupied with the contest for political advantage that they have lost sight of their responsibility to the national interest.

      It fell to experts to address reality.
      The previous Treasury Secretary, Martin Parkinson, drew attention to the fact that, with the end of the mining boom, Australia had entered a new era of poor economic growth.
      The latest federal budget is built on Treasury forecasts for growth to accelerate from the 2 % range into the 3 % range.
      But Parkinson said that Australia was likely stuck with growth of 2.5 % instead of 3 over the next decade, a cumulative loss of 5%of economic growth.
      Without remedial action, “it means to willingly accepting the impact of a recession,” he said.

      Without concrete action, Australia was “sleepwalking into a real mess”.

      But the evidence is that neither the Abbott government nor the Shorten opposition is ready for that.

      Abbott’s alternative is to promise tax cuts which are based, like its budget forecasts, on compounding fantasies.
      It’s no wonder Abbott wants us to pay attention to security scares, real and imagined.

      Peter Hartcher is the political editor Sydney Morning Herald.

      • The article misses the fact that we have entered an age of degrowth. This idea is still foreign to Australians.

      • interested party

        WW,
        “Australia needs to embrace national reform program that lifts growth, creates jobs, generates revenue and pays down the national debt before the next great global crisis strikes.”

        Lifts growth?
        Ok, that would take “consumers” doing what they do best…consume…but with what? Welfare cards?

        Creates jobs?
        What industry do we have left to generate employment? I see comments here on MB about ‘infrustructure Investment”…..like that will help? All that will construct is bottlenecks and chokepoints for rentseekers and ticket clippers to skim your dwindling spare cash.

        Generate revenue?
        Who for? Rentseekers? Ticketclippers?…….no thanks, I’ll sit this one out.

        Pays down the national debt?
        Good grief…..we coudn’t print the stuff fast enough just to hold steady!
        We are not alone with this problem……it appears to me that the upper levels of global financial management ( note the lack of the term ‘elite’ here…… Important distinction ) are attempting to hold the system together in the HOPE that the system reboots, and that will take we-the-people to reload up on debt as that is the common commodity here…..just debt.
        You can count me out on that one…….how about you? Feelin lucky…punk…huh? It is one huge circular-reference-error.

        So…to put the original comment into it’s correct context…..
        “We need to create revenue for vested interests by building infrastructure that creates chokepoints and bottlenecks and this will create temporary jobs for a few and create no sustainable true benefit to planet or society.”

        These people are not clueless, yet they cry for more of what got us in this mess in the first place….being “unsustainable growth”.

        This facade will crumble.
        The charade will end.
        Growth is over.

      • interested party

        @ patrician
        “..apes on a treadmill..”
        Contemplate that image at 2.30pm Tuesday

        Cities of the world are full of this genus……and not just on Tuesdays either.
        Homo-economis futilitis…….

      • Alas Peter Hartcher’s overarching distaste for Abbott permeates everything he writes.

        Out of interest, did these Victorian operations, particularly the The BroaderFarce’s involvement, come at the behest of the PMO, or not?

      • 3d, Peter Martin’s pretty much in lock step with the majority of Australians regarding Abbott and this shitful Government.

      • I’m sure most of us have a distaste for one thing or another that shapes out thoughts. I was, however, reminded of you post yesterday(?) in the sentence “what Francis Fukuyama, in another context, calls a “vetocracy” and thought how spot-on you were re that process.

      • interested party

        @Wing Nut,
        “Peter Martin’s pretty much in lock step with the majority of Australians regarding Abbott and this shitful Government.”

        Most counties have a similar outlook……suggesting this is systemic.
        The failure of these Govs reflects the reality we now face. Growth is over…..yet we require growth to continue forward. It is becoming evident that policy is just re-arranging the deck chairs. What benefit any policy change can give is quickly arb’d away and captured by the rentseekers.
        The global monopoly board is full……game is close to over. Maybe one more drink before it ends.

      • “Creates jobs? What industry do we have left to generate employment? ”

        I actually heard a financial commentator on the ABC espouse the benefits of coffee industry when asked a similar question. I know people here joke about coffee being the future, but he was serious!! I’m over it all. When it comes to Team Australia I think Hudson (of Aliens) sums up my feeling best: “How do I get out of this chicksh!t outfit?”

      • BoomToBustMEMBER

        Good article, unfortunately the governments of Australia are between a rock and hard place. They know what the truth is, they know what needs to be done but no one want to tell Australia “this is the recession we had to have”, the people will not accept any other truth than the one they want to here at the moment. No politician in their right mind would go against the will of the people(moreso now than anytime in history), even if it is the right thing to do.

        All we can do is get our own house in order and go short on Australia. Those of us who are will win.

      • notsofastMEMBER

        The Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth is probably the best example of a democracy that became a Vetocracy. It may be worth noting that the dysfunction in the decision making processes in US today (and Australia for that matter) does not even come close to the dysfunction that was present in the decision making processes that existed in the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth. It is also worth noting that many of the problems facing the US today cannot be solved by legislative solutions. The problems are highly complex that don’t have straight line solutions. The answers to the types of problems facing the US often involve changing policies over time and changing policies in ways that cannot be readily predicted ahead of time.

    • That was an excellent article, thanks for the link. I wonder how many people are desperately waiting for a new, centrist party with grounded, balanced policies and a clear agenda for the future, not based on overly optimistic number games, nor a slave for either big business or unions. I would not be surprised if such a new party took off like a rocket. Could some of the esteemed participants of the recent national reform summit start up such a party, or provide guidance for those who might be about to start a party? Some of us have become cynical and pretty much given up on following politics. Sadly, maybe that is just mission accomplished.

      • bolstroodMEMBER

        The new politics have not been invented yet.
        Although there are signs emerging in UK with labor leadership contender Jeremy Grantham.

      • I wonder how many people are desperately waiting for a new, centrist party with grounded, balanced policies and a clear agenda for the future, not based on overly optimistic number games, nor a slave for either big business or unions.

        While they’re waiting, they can vote Greens.

        I would not be surprised if such a new party took off like a rocket.

        I would. Somewhere between 50 and 75% of the population will only ever vote Liberals or Labor because their view of politics is like a football game.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      I see the PMO has made Fairfax retract on that little story. Apparently our Tony knew nothing about it. Yeah, right.

      A precious little petal is Tones.

  2. For your weekend reading w/ a cuppa….

    Undoing the Demos
    Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution
    By Wendy Brown
    Overview

    Neoliberal rationality—ubiquitous today in statecraft and the workplace, in jurisprudence, education, and culture—remakes everything and everyone in the image of homo oeconomicus. What happens when this rationality transposes the constituent elements of democracy into an economic register? In Undoing the Demos, Wendy Brown explains how democracy itself is imperiled. The demos disintegrates into bits of human capital; concerns with justice bow to the mandates of growth rates, credit ratings, and investment climates; liberty submits to the imperative of human capital appreciation; equality dissolves into market competition; and popular sovereignty grows incoherent. Liberal democratic practices may not survive these transformations. Radical democratic dreams may not either.

    In an original and compelling argument, Brown explains how and why neoliberal reason undoes the political form and political imaginary it falsely promises to secure and reinvigorate. Through meticulous analyses of neoliberalized law, political practices, governance, and education, she charts the new common sense. Undoing the Demos makes clear that for democracy to have a future, it must become an object of struggle and rethinking.

    https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/undoing-demos

    Wendy Brown: In this book, I treat neoliberalism as a governing rationality through which everything is “economized” and in a very specific way: human beings become market actors and nothing but, every field of activity is seen as a market, and every entity (whether public or private, whether person, business, or state) is governed as a firm. Importantly, this is not simply a matter of extending commodification and monetization everywhere—that’s the old Marxist depiction of capital’s transformation of everyday life. Neoliberalism construes even non-wealth generating spheres—such as learning, dating, or exercising—in market terms, submits them to market metrics, and governs them with market techniques and practices. Above all, it casts people as human capital who must constantly tend to their own present and future value.

    Moreover, because neoliberalism came of age with (and abetted) financialization, the form of marketization at stake does not always concern products or commodities, let alone their exchange. Today, market actors—from individuals to firms, universities to states, restaurants to magazines—are more often concerned with their speculatively determined value, their ratings and rankings that shape future value, than with immediate profit. All are tasked with enhancing present and future value through self-investments that in turn attract investors. Financialized market conduct entails increasing or maintaining one’s ratings, whether through blog hits, retweets, Yelp stars, college rankings, or Moody’s bond ratings.

    Skippy…. “The Century of the Self” – like opti’s “Corpse Flower” is about to bloom….

    • interested party

      Skip,
      How does this system die?……or, what do you see it evolving into?

      Seems to me there are many just selling visions of the rear-view mirror. I want to understand what is likely to be coming.

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        That’s easy, look around. The system will become more and more uncontrollable and finally wars, revolutions and military coups will follow.

      • interested party

        St J,
        Suppose they held a war and nobody came?
        The greater public are opening their eyes….largely from social media and the internet. I don’t buy the war bit…not yet.

        Fully aware of your other points.

      • All this end-of-growth literature are but footnotes on Joseph Tainter’s ‘Collapse of Complex Societies’

        There are only two ways forward:
        1- society accepts eternal growth is not possible and embraces lower complexity (not going to happen)
        2 – all speed ahead towards collapse brought about by the diminishing returns of increasing complexity.

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        Skip is on the money.
        Share your sentiments IP. Your permaculture work may eventually become mainstream if the species survives.
        Yes Joao. Two centuries of exponential growth that is now engulfing the planet…..hmmm

      • What ever happens will be ad hoc as power nodes have a tendency to cling to rear view optics [self interest], in observing – “dictating” reality. The wild card in all of this is environmental conditions e.g. human society as we know it was directly a factor of environmental changes wrt Ag. in Turkey and the desertification of what we now call the Sahara, forcing widely distributed groups into one group in Egypt.

        Skippy… probably pot luck… BTW I see the Ukraine got a debt write off… new market thingy…

      • society accepts eternal growth is not possible and embraces lower complexity (not going to happen)

        What do you mean by “less complexity” ?

        It does not seem to me that a smaller number of us should be able to live like we do today, with technology available within the easily foreseeable future.

        The *political and economic* system to facilitate that, is a different matter…

    • As pointed out above, neoliberalism is all about letting market forces determine everything, which basically means little need for government. One might argue why not have a such a system that is simply based on competition? Corporations will end up running the show (many if not most being multinational corporations. It follows that if you don’t own shares or have sufficient assets you have no say (not a democracy). No welfare/social safety net. It follows that if you don’t own shares or have sufficient assets to sell and can not find work you are left at the mercy of others or become homeless and starve (corporations are legal persons and are legally allowed to have no ethics or morals) . We already see great unemployment around the World. On average it will only get worse as automation further develops. Starving people will riot to no avail since corporations will ensure that police and defence force is adequately supplied to stamp out such unlawful behaviour (not that costly where population has basically already been disarmed). As for those Australian who might have a million or two, you might be alright, but I’d bet on average most of your descendants will not be in such a system.

    • Strewth Skippy, I tell you there’ll be war if the boys down at Galt’s gutch ever come toe to toe with this Wendy character, they’re very liberal minded mob but this sort of heresy is definitely over stepping the mark.

      • Funny that you would say liberal China-Bob….

        Regulating Aversion: Tolerance in the Age of Identity and Empire
        Wendy Brown

        Tolerance is generally regarded as an unqualified achievement of the modern West. Emerging in early modern Europe to defuse violent religious conflict and reduce persecution, tolerance today is hailed as a key to decreasing conflict across a wide range of other dividing lines– cultural, racial, ethnic, and sexual. But, as political theorist Wendy Brown argues in Regulating Aversion, tolerance also has dark and troubling undercurrents.

        Dislike, disapproval, and regulation lurk at the heart of tolerance. To tolerate is not to affirm but to conditionally allow what is unwanted or deviant. And, although presented as an alternative to violence, tolerance can play a part in justifying violence–dramatically so in the war in Iraq and the War on Terror. Wielded, especially since 9/11, as a way of distinguishing a civilized West from a barbaric Islam, tolerance is paradoxically underwriting Western imperialism.

        Brown’s analysis of the history and contemporary life of tolerance reveals it in a startlingly unfamiliar guise. Heavy with norms and consolidating the dominance of the powerful, tolerance sustains the abjection of the tolerated and equates the intolerant with the barbaric. Examining the operation of tolerance in contexts as different as the War on Terror, campaigns for gay rights, and the Los Angeles Museum of Tolerance, Brown traces the operation of tolerance in contemporary struggles over identity, citizenship, and civilization.

        Review:

        “The triumph of toleration as the central liberal value, and the attendant inability of liberals to see the dark side of their favorite virtue, is the subject of Wendy Brown’s insightful and illuminating new book. . . . I find the analysis trenchant and the critique persuasive.”–Stanley Fish, Chronicle of Higher Education

        “This is a remarkable book . . . made attractive by its passion, the lucidity of its negative critique, and its intelligence.”–John Hall, Social Forces

        “Wendy Brown has produced a richly textured and timely analysis of some of the darker elements lurking beneath the tolerance discourse of western liberalism.”–Vincent Geoghegan, American Review of Politics

        “[This is a] bold, erudite, and timely study.”–Ely Aharonson, Criminal Law and Philosophy

        “Regulating Aversion is a forceful and, in many places, convincing attempt to account for the contemporary relevance and meanings of tolerance within liberalism in the West, and in the United States in particular.”–Emily Grabham, Feminist Legal Studies

        “The strength of Brown’s book is her trenchant deconstructions of the universalizing pretenses of tolerance specifically and liberal discourse more generally. Brown’s intervention successfully jars tolerance loose from the hallowed transhistorical ground on which it usually rests.”–C. Michael Hurst, Cultural Critique

        Endorsement:

        More Endorsements

        Table of Contents:

        Acknowledgments ix
        Chapter 1: Tolerance as a Discourse of Depoliticization 1
        Chapter 2: Tolerance as a Discourse of Power 25
        Chapter 3: Tolerance as Supplement
        The “Jewish Question” and the “Woman Question” 48
        Chapter 4: Tolerance as Governmentality
        Faltering Universalism, State Legitimacy, and State Violence 78
        Chapter 5: Tolerance as Museum Object The Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance 107
        Chapter 6: Subjects of Tolerance
        Why We Are Civilized and They Are the Barbarians 149
        Chapter 7: Tolerance as/in Civilizational Discourse 176

        Skippy….. I envision guises….

      • CB,

        The inhabitants of Galt’s Gulch may not be too concerned about being identified providing no effective means of addressing the situation is proposed.

        Not having read the book or the video yet I dont know how it ends. If it is merely an astute lament they may not be too concerned. In none of the reviews I flicked through was there any substantive discussion of the core problem – a frankenstein semi nationalisation of the fraud of fraction reserve banking. Without reform of the monetary system – not just pleas for tighter regulation of the current mutant model – little progress will be made.

        http://youtu.be/sUGSjd_OoQ0

      • phft007…. “fraud of fraction reserve banking”.

        Phft how do you arrive at that conclusion, especially when its does not pertain to operational reality e.g. how do you commit a fraud on something that does not exist.

      • Thanks for the link Pfh007, I found it well worth listening to. Very interesting how judiciary judgments in the US are starting to interpret its constitution in such a way that takes rights away from natural persons and gives rights to non-national persons such as corporations all in the name of market efficiency, never mind that only a very few, other than those employed by the corporations, benefit from their advancement in a significant way. Very disturbing.

      • Ah Wendy Brown takes me back to a misspent youth, Not sure I should admit this but many many moons ago I used to derive a perverse pleasure from heckling Marxist girls in comfortable shoes down in Santa Cruz. I cant remember the name of the bar in Capitola where all the Apple guys used to go and get tanked up on Friday nights but after a few pints of Dutch courage we’d go to the university and heckle their political meetings…. fun times

      • China-Bob part of the narrative is to compartmentalize everything into a black and white world view for the proles whilst the BSD go Flexian.

      • @PF,
        I’m not that concerned with Fractional reserve banking because it’s a necessary tool/ method.
        In the real world there’s no absolute currency and no need for one, valuing anything and everything is now (and always has been) a comparative sport. Basically if you debase your currency I’ll just want more of it before I part with anything of value to me. When you’re the CEO of a company your stock is your currency, you can create value or destroy value by managing / mismanaging your Stock…When you use your stock as deal currency its not that different to banks engaging in fractional reserve lending because you leverage a very thin capital base….In reality it’s just the way the game is played.

      • CB,

        While a few countries still have reserve requirements, China being one and in the news recently, for most countries the requirements were abandoned when the private banking model was semi-nationalised with the introduction of central banking. The most striking feature of course being that the private banks were now largely unconstrained in their ability to issue IOUs that were treated as fiat on a one for one basis. The only limits being capital requirements and the central banks use of interest rates to manage the demand for credit and thereby indirectly influence the banks ability to crank out interest bearing deposits.

        Such a complicated system which is nothing more than a dysfunctional or more dangerous mutation of private banking where risk is now with taxpayers and rewards remain with bankers was always bound to end up as a mess.

        Hoping to strap it back together with a bundle of regulations is wishful thinking as the rewards for bankers to subvert pollies are just too great.

        Let the bankers issue all the IOUs they like provided they are nothing more than a banker’s IOU. Let those who accept those IOUs negotiate a rate of exchange into public fiat. Return direct control of fiat to the public – and if to their political representatives they should be more accountable and subject to recall.

        Perhaps Wendy does understand the point but my impression was that she did not appreciate the connection between the monetary and banking system structure and her concerns.

        No stopping exciting speculations about MPS and Chicago and how they control the world but for me they are just taking advantage of a flawed model (Central Banking as guarantor of private banks) which was introduced with the best of intentions (to avoid the avoid the regular busts that were a feature of fraudulent fractional reserve banking) and has been supported by lefties and righties alike.

        Certainly allowing/encouraging private banks to pump up the money supply merely devalues the currency and one trading in it can allow for that but relying on a mechanism of private debt creation to do it and all the malinvestment that goes with that is most inefficient.

      • @Phf007. I inferred from the content at the hyperlink you kindly provided that Wendy believes that neoliberalism incorrectly values certain characteristics of humans. I don’t think it is necessary for her to appreciate the connection between the monetary and banking system structure and that neoliberalism incorrectly values certain characteristics of humans because a proper monetary/banking system is dependent on proper valuation whereas proper valuation is not dependent on having a proper monetary/banking system.

      • @ Pfh007, you mention banks being back by central banks and don’t like the idea. Me either, especially were the central bank is back by the government and therefore back by the tax payers, like in Australia as opposed to where the US central bank (corportation) is owned, but can not rely on the government and therefore tax payers to support it. As I see it, just more reason why further introduction of neoliberalism should be discontinued due it wanting a market dominated by corporations with little to no government regulation. Yes, I am a lefty. 🙂 Might change my mind when a level field is introduced. For example, the State inherits, not family. Bye the way, I am set to inherit a Sydney property, but I would happily forego such an inheritance where laws had been changed to properly level the playing field.

      • The first part of my last comment is wrong. I should have simply said that the concept of too big to fail is contrary to the neoliberal concept in general. Hardly consistent with the idea that markets should determine everything. Of course, corporations, especially banks, want both and it seems to me that governments, such as Australian governments, are happy to provide both while extolling the benefits of neoliberalism. I tell you now, many of our politicians know exactly what they are doing which is selling out the best interests of the Australian public. Of course, there are some who are simply so ignorant for whatever reason to realise they are doing the same thing. What is it, a couple or so years to recession or worth, time to look for greener pastures.

      • @Thomas – you may find this article interesting………http://johnmenadue.com/blog/?p=4412

        A snippet “The jungle drums for change are beating. But they will need to beat louder still – both internally among party members and externally with voters – if anything is going to change.”

      • @Thomas,

        “like in Australia as opposed to where the US central bank (corportation) is owned” – inaccurate

        I disagree with your idea that the Fed is owned by the stockholder members of the regional Federal Reserve Bbanks. That would require that member banks have some power to control the regional Federal Reserve Banks. Legally, they don’t. Practically speaking, they don’t, either.

        Since Berle and Means published “The Modern Corporation and Private Property” in 1932, the majority of corporate lawyers and law professors have come to accept the view joint stock corporations (the regional Federal Reserve Banks included) are not owned by shareholders: all shareholders own is a right to receive performance of whatever obligations the governing corporation law and corporate charter and bylaws happen to say the corporation owes them, and these obligations never add up to amount to the property law concept of private ownership. In the real world, corporations (including the regional Federal Reserved Banks) are so organized i as to prevent the stockholders from having any control, or any use, or much if any say, concerning what goes on in them.

        There is a formal legal argument to explain my reasoning, property law defines “ownership” as the exclusive right to possess and use a thing; “property” is defined as a thing that is owned. Corporations are not “things” that are capable of being owned in this sense. Also, “private property” is property owned by private “persons” (including private business associations fictitiously treated as persons). A regional Federal Reserve Bank can’t be “private property” of shareholders if they don’t collectively own exclusive right to possess and use the regional Federal Reserve Ban, and they do not own any such right to possess it, or use, exclusive or otherwise.

        So, if the Federal Reserve Banks aren’t the private property of their members, who owns them? The answer is: no one owns them. The Federal Reserve Banks themselves are fictitious corporate persons that own their bank buildings, office furniture, and other assets, as the private property of the Federal Reserve Bank. The regional banks themselves are not the private property of anyone. (They’re not public property owned by the state, either. No one owns a “Federal Reserve Bank” as such. No one owns any joint stock corporation, as such.)

        Skippy… I would note that the Fed is/has been increasingly managed by economists from the 70s, with that observation its important to understand the guiding principles by which the Fed is run via the dominate school of economics e.g. a hybrid of austrian neoclassical w/ a bolt on on neo-new Keynesian.

      • Thomas,

        Yes, the current banking model is not consistent with some aspects of neo-liberalism but instead is more of a fusion of neo-liberalism and state control. And a dysfunctional one into the bargain. This is why it is such a slippery eel. Some see the potential for state control /regulation to manage it while others are sceptical that the inherent flaws can be overcome by regulation in a sustainable way. I prefer the simpler approach of separating bank iou’s from public fiat rather than continuing the fused approach. Having said that I expect the regulatory route is probably the best we can hope for unless some other country goes first.

        I am not saying Wendy’s views do not stand on their own or that they do not have force, merely that our monetary system where interest bearing debt forms the basis of the money supply provides the locomotive force which results in so much of life being reduced to economic analysis. Fix the monetary system and that pressure is likely to be greatly reduced as the artificial shortage of money unconstrained by debt is addressed.

        Skip – I am not across the details of the corporate structures of the US Fed but your comments have sparked my interest in finding out more. The impression I get is that they are ‘independent’ which in practice means an unreviewable monopoly informed by certain unquestioned assumptions. Interesting that this is done notwithstanding a privately owned corporate form rather than as an ‘independent’ structure within the public service. Similar effect via different means.

      • Pft007…

        The Fed is a creation of Congress by an act of Law, as such, per say, Congress could fold the Fed right back into the Treasury. Again I would highlite that the Fed is an institution which is governed by people, the institutional group think, which drives its governance – is – of more importance than the institution its self. Since the 70s that would be Chicago-Freshwater marginalism with a side of quasi-neo/new-saltwater Keynesian, which then is just a reflection of the agency of others, etc, think fractals

        I would leave you with these two thoughts…

        “he central point in Keohane and Martin’s idea is that neo-realism insists that, “institutions have only marginal effects … [which] leaves [neo-realism] without a plausible account of the investments that states have made in such international institutions as the EU, NATO, GATT, and regional trading organizations.”[8] This idea is in keeping with the notion of complex interdependence. Moreover, Keohane and Martin argue that the fact that international institutions are created in response to state interests, that the real empirical question is “knowing how to distinguish the effects of underlying conditions from those of the institutions themselves.”[7] The debate between the institutionalists and Mearsheimer is about whether institutions have an independent effect on state behavior, or whether they reflect great power interests that said powers employ to advance their respective interests.[9]”

        “Individual investors and professional stock and currency traders know better than ever that prices quoted in any financial market often change with heart-stopping swiftness. Fortunes are made and lost in sudden bursts of activity when the market seems to speed up and the volatility soars. Last September, for instance, the stock for Alcatel, a French telecommunications equipment manufacturer, dropped about 40 percent one day and fell another 6 percent over the next few days. In a reversal, the stock shot up 10 percent on the fourth day.

        The classical financial models used for most of this century predict that such precipitous events should never happen. A cornerstone of finance is modern portfolio theory, which tries to maximize returns for a given level of risk. The mathematics underlying portfolio theory handles extreme situations with benign neglect: it regards large market shifts as too unlikely to matter or as impossible to take into account. It is true that portfolio theory may account for what occurs 95 percent of the time in the market. But the picture it presents does not reflect reality, if one agrees that major events are part of the remaining 5 percent. An inescapable analogy is that of a sailor at sea. If the weather is moderate 95 percent of the time, can the mariner afford to ignore the possibility of a typhoon?

        The risk-reducing formulas behind portfolio theory rely on a number of demanding and ultimately unfounded premises. First, they suggest that price changes are statistically independent of one another: for example, that today’s price has no influence on the changes between the current price and tomorrow’s. As a result, predictions of future market movements become impossible. The second presumption is that all price changes are distributed in a pattern that conforms to the standard bell curve. The width of the bell shape (as measured by its sigma, or standard deviation) depicts how far price changes diverge from the mean; events at the extremes are considered extremely rare. Typhoons are, in effect, defined out of existence.

        Do financial data neatly conform to such assumptions? Of course, they never do. Charts of stock or currency changes over time do reveal a constant background of small up and down price movements—but not as uniform as one would expect if price changes fit the bell curve. These patterns, however, constitute only one aspect of the graph. A substantial number of sudden large changes—spikes on the chart that shoot up and down as with the Alcatel stock—stand out from the background of more moderate perturbations. Moreover, the magnitude of price movements (both large and small) may remain roughly constant for a year, and then suddenly the variability may increase for an extended period. Big price jumps become more common as the turbulence of the market grows—clusters of them appear on the chart.” – http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/multifractals-explain-wall-street/

        Skippy…. Yet at the end of the day the onus is on Congress (realpolitik) and not the Fed (liquidity stabilizers).

      • Skip,

        “….Congress could fold the Fed right back into the Treasury. …”

        Yes – could but does not. The structural choice of ‘independence’ is critical support for the group think because something independent of politics cannot be political. It is vital to the monetary priesthood’s free pass.

        Independence may be nothing more than a fig leaf but fig leaves can be very very protective when they are all that stands between the naked truth and the public.

        Ideology / group think rendered into institutional form is a tough nut to crack – especially when they are supposedly ‘independent’ . It implies that any criticism is sullied by ‘politics’. Which is true but then the institution is essentially political even if that is denied.

      • Skippy,

        property law does make distinction between tangible and intangible things. Property law also makes distinction whether or not the things are tangible or intangible. These distinctions still allow ownership but the ownership may be different in the sense that the rights of ownership of one type of thing may be different from the rights of ownership of a different type of thing. Stock holders do own the company, but as you point out they do not decide how the company is run in a direct way. The board members basically do that. But due to the stockholders ownership they are provided the right to vote out any or all board members.

        As to the US Federal Bank and the Reserve Bank of Australia, I was trying to make a distinction between them. The former a privately owned corporation and the latter a statutory body owned by the State.

        Phf007,

        yes, not a good system. Incidentally, my understanding is that the US Federal Bank is a privately owned corporation (basically by US and UK banks) where as the Reserve Bank of Aus is a State legislated corporation owned by the State. As Skippy points out, the former relies on US legislation to function as the Reserve Bank of the US. The latter functions according the Australia legislation.

      • @Phft007…. decades of institutional group think has a historical record, Toynbee works here imo.

        Skippy… My rub is the diminishment of academe, starting around the 60s by vested interests, with an ideological agenda.

      • @Thomas,

        I would caution on conflating statutory differences with dominate international operational conduct, revolving door, environmental conditioning, small base to draw from wrt staff, and the over all hyper interconnectedness of the global financial system.

      • Skippy,

        yes many outside influences affect both in similar ways. More so if Australian politician think and act in the same way as those controlling the Fed. At least profits made by Australian Reserve are Australian Government profits whereas profits made by the Fed are private corporation profits, that is, not US Government profits.

      • Malcom,

        thank you for the link. The following paragraph from the article makes a lot of sense to me.

        “If the Australian political parties operated in a competitive market like other organisations or companies, there is no way they would survive. So how do they get away with it? The short answer is that our party political system operates a lot like a cartel. A general lack of competitive pressure means they do not feel the heat to reform. Australia’s pathetic party funding and donation disclosure arrangements are further evidence of this cartel-like arrangement.”

      • Thomas that starts getting into private credit monies vs. HPM and remittances to the Treasury.

      • Skippy,

        I will take your word for that. I do not even know the difference between private credit monies and HPM and remittances to the Treasury. It sounds like the former has to do with, for example, a reserve bank borrowing to private banks or to reserve banks of other countries and it sounds like the latter has to do with, for example, a reserve bank selling and purchasing its government’s bonds to and from its government.

  3. And what’s happening with the ChAFTA deal our early onset dementia Minister holds in his trembling paws………………………………..http://johnmenadue.com/blog/?p=4456

    PS: No disrespect meant to sufferers, but the Minister is exhibiting classic symptoms. Apologies for any unintended offence.

    • In my mind, the current prices of Australian homes pale into insignificance when I consider these so called TTP agreements. Our Federal governments have allowed foreigners to illegally purchase land. Our present Federal Government is considering agreeing to allow foreigners to work in Australia displacing Australian workers. Government official or whoever states “Treaties don’t override domestic laws in this country.” What an absolutely half truth, half lie, or more likely a statement made by a very ignorant person. It is true that for Australian ratified treaties to become Australia law it is necessary for the terms of the treaty to be legislated into Australian law. What this person fails to inform or understand is that at international law that it may be argued that there is an obligation to so legislate. Does the treaty make it clear that Australia does not have such an obligation? Also, why is the Federal Government considering signing and ratify such a treaty if it is not considering the possibility that such terms of the treaty will be implemented into Australian law? Maybe because many politician legitimately expect to sit on corporation boards, etc, after retirement and those corporations are more likely to be owned by foreigners than Australians? Entertaining such terms in a treaty that Australia is to be a party to is very scary stuff.

      • For example, a client that has a $100 million account with Universa would pay the firm a flat annual fee of 1.5% on that amount, or $1.5 million. The client would transfer to Universa typically less than 10% to fund the purchase of hedges for its account. Universa managed roughly $300 million in assets at the end of last year, according to a regulatory filing.

        Their strategies aren’t an easy sell to prospective investors because the funds tend to lose money steadily for several years before making a profit

        Interesting insurance policy, though it’s not clear if that 10% gets spent on put options expiring worthless in case of stable markets.

    • interested party

      Good stuff dude…keep em coming.
      “to paraphrase Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the “permanent lie [has become] the only safe form of existence”.
      Sold to us by the likes of 3d1k…..it seems. ( I don’t usually go at the man, but today’s effort with gunna above was a bit much )

  4. (John Mauldin) “A relevant thought comes from Mr. Yao Yudong, head of the People’s Bank of China’s Research Institute of Finance and Banking, who asserted recently that it’s not China that is causing the current market chaos so much as it is the Federal Reserve generating confusion around whether it will “lift off.” ….. I suspect that much of the rest of the world agrees with him. It’s quite easy to say that all problems are caused by someone else; but frankly, the Federal Reserve is the keystone of global monetary policy, and when there’s confusion emitting from the FOMC, a little market turbulence here and there should be expected. In reality, though, the recent global market turbulence is undoubtedly due to a combination of things. Whatever; let’s just hope the Federal Reserve finds some backbone and raises rates, if only by 0.25%.
    http://ggc-mauldin-images.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/pdf/150828_TFTF.pdf

    • Failed Baby Boomer

      A contrary climate scientist calls out cooling;
      http://notrickszone.com/2015/08/26/suppression-of-science-former-noaa-meteorologist-says-employees-were-cautioned-not-to-talk-about-natural-cycles/#sthash.yHQoNoK4.dpbs
      These cycle guys may get it right, who knows? One thing is for sure the Big Green rent-sucking hysterical AGW talking heads (i.e. Gore, Flannery, Big Ears Charlie et al) have got it totally wrong over the years, and they have no answer for the pause. After all their stupid hysterical failed predictions they have no credibility left.
      Perhaps we should keep an open mind for few years to see which way the pause ends.
      Our red hot young economists bang on about AGW climate insurance – well how about considering the risk if it does not warm, or even cools!

      • It would be nice and interesting to read articles going through overall contributors to our climate, such as jet streams, volcanic activity, solar cycles etc. I guess it would be just rubbish and insignificant according to many. Yet recent Icelandic volcanic eruption spewed very large amounts of sulphur into the air, which apparently tends to have cooling effects. Some scientists follow solar cycles of sun spot activity and predict a period of cooling. I felt almost guilty telling my little one who asked about the sun that it’s what helps keep us warm here on earth. What blasphemy! Yet in reality, nobody knows for sure how far climate will warm before it would be reversed into cooling, quite possibly by a combination of mechanisms which have existed for much longer than humans.

      • Bertrand Russell

        2015 hottest year on record – you absolute spastic.

        Therefore they are ALL CORRECT and you are simply speaking straight out your arse.

        There has been NO PAUSE. You don’t simply take the SINGLE hottest year as a measuring point and then declare any subsequent years which have not exceeded that profound extremity proof of no heating unless you are an ignoramus and totally mentally retarded in every single conceivable manner.

        It simply does not get any more feckless, moronic and quite frankly fucking STUPID than that.

        Any one still trying to deny the reality of global warming is not worth a pinch of shit beyond total, unrelenting and verbose public humiliation and denigration.

        There is simply no longer any reasonable grounds for maintaining even a civil dialogue or response – it is pure, unadulterated stupidity – absolutely the most moronic shit ever concocted by the dumbest fucktard ever to grace the planet.

        You don’t get an argument anymore, you don’t get a respectful reply, you don’t get a reasoned response – we have been providing that for 30 years, and nothing, not one single argument has ever even been considered. Just an endless stream of inane bullshit. From sun spots, scientist living off the fat of research grants, to “its happened before”.

        The result – potentially wiping out humanity.

        Absolutely fucking retarded moronic shit that has no place in the modern world.

      • Bertrand, I couldn’t agree more. It’s money paying for these comments, that’s what it is 😡 . Don’t expect some of the most profitable industries on the planet to role over and play dead when amoral losers living in their parents’ spare rooms can be hired cheaply to post unadulterated antiscience crap at sites like this. 😯

      • Bertrand Russell

        nyleta

        I disagree.

        If we stop burning fossils now we can overcome this. Recent advances in carbon tech has produced some interesting developments such as being able to manufacture almost anything directly from cabon nanotubes in a form of 3d printing – the cabon is extracted directly from the air.

        There is a very real prospect that our main raw material of the future will be cabon harvested from the atomosphere – this will turn into waste product which is buried – as a fossil fuel source for our children in a million years to discover – dig up – and repeat the disaster.

      • interested party

        Bertrand,
        I worry that we are now in a catch 22 situation. If we do as you suggest and stop burning FF right now….society, and all willingness and capacity to enact positive change is gone. The food chain will collapse within a month at best……we’re toast.
        If we continue with business as usual…..we’re toast.
        Granted, this action will clean up the population issues some are concerned about, but that process will destroy much of society and infrastructure….and the chance to bring your carbon future into reality.
        A solution?
        I believe we need to seriously scale back the use of FF….. 10% per year minimum and attempt to steer society through the rocky bits as lifestyles scale back to something resembling true sustainability. This is commonly considered an impossibility at present but we need to look at living examples like Cuba to gain insights and knowledge on how best to enact this process.
        Rough times ahead for certain…….

        .

      • interested party

        R2M,
        Re biochar,
        That is a localized small scale soil amendment…not an answer to our predicament.
        Granted, it can help a little…but more-so on food production, not carbon sequestration.
        I use it myself, have studied and implemented the process, and can tell you that it works in certain situations. Extremely beneficial in select situations.
        Search “Terra-Preta”

    • “A crowd of 100…. queued in the city’s early morning chill from 7am on Saturday …. in the Infinity by Crown development at Green Square. By 10am the crowd had ballooned to 300.”
      “We released 326 apartments and 105 apartments sold 221 apartments didn’t sell in the first hour,” said Crown Group chief executive Iwan Sunito”
      Perspective…..Who were those “buyers” anyway? Friends of the developers? The developers themselves? The oldest ploy int the RE playbook is to sell your first stuff, to yourself, to establish a trend! Perspective, Grasshopper…..

    • These people are crazy! They have doubts and see risks down the road but are buying blindly anyway just cause… wtf? And $1.5m for a shitbox apartment are you for real? Absolute insanity

      • M r Kumar will be f***ed when he realises nobody will want to rent his sh**box apartment in the future slums of Green Square for more than $800 per week.

    • Lol I saw that article. The photo that accompanies it shows the crowd: not a caucasian to be seen. Could have been taken in China.

      green square is a shithole as it is. They are planning to build 54,000 apartments there, it will be an even bigger shithole
      The only good thing about it is it has a train station – to take you away from green square

      Obviously Mr kumar had a 20% deposit, and so has borrowed 1.2 million
      1.2 million at 5% is 60,000/year
      So obviously in his mind the place will be rented for 1200/week x 50 weeks
      Ta da 60,000

      Unfortunately no one is going to pay 1200/week for a shitbox in green square, especially when there are 53,999 other shitboxes to choose from

      It says he is a ‘systems compliance manager’. I had no idea what that is, and was none the wiser after googling it. But apparently they average a salary of 84,000/year. A lazy 18x income

      It will just end up a sad ghetto of grasping asians

    • 326 apartments were launched simultaneously in Sydney, Jakarta, Surabaya and Singapore.
      Somehow this no longer bothers people. In the midst of the noise about illegal buying, people seem to forget that a lot of “legal” buying is happening by foreigners especially for new apartments. This means foreigners with deep pockets compete with locals. Did it occur to the morons running our policy that Australians are being priced out as a result of this? oh wait, we’re incapable as a nation of building shelter for our people, we have to rely on foreigners to do the job for us. Typical Aussie mentality.

      • I think that being priced out of this nightmare will, in due course, have been a very good thing.

  5. How is our amazing property bubble going the past two weekends – we have gone very quiet on that front??

    • house couple doors down from me went to auction today, a 20 year old or so chinese boy out bid everyone, decimating 2 couples with kids and then even putting the boot in by paying a few grand more then he needed to get the number to a bullshit lucky one!! i’ll email it to FIRB and nothing will happen.

  6. I’m on holidays in Europe and some australia ln boomers told me “You must buy property it always goes up!” The conversation the following day was concerns of their super fund with the stockmarket looking risky.

    • Ah……. Autumn in Europe – I’m so jealous. It’s cold and raining on this side of the world.

      • notsofastMEMBER

        For many Baby Boomers it is always Summer. But we should also not forget that for a significant portion of Baby Boomers it is now always winter…

    • Yes. Property is rock solid. Revered by all. Supported by the govt. you can rent it. You can live in it. So versatile. If you have some you can talk about it at a BBQ and look good and feel good.

  7. Credit Bubble Bulletin weekly commentary
    http://creditbubblebulletin.blogspot.com.au/2015/08/weekly-commentary-carry-trades-and.html
    ..And the analysis has once again circled back to China. Chinese markets are broken and policymaking is discredited. Chinese officials may now appreciate the risk of breaking the peg to the dollar. At this point, however, maintaining the peg will require the People’s Bank of China to blow through it’s reserves to fund what will surely be massive financial outflows. And, suddenly, the market seems to have awoken to the likelihood that China and other EMs have evolved into major sellers of US Treasuries (and bunds, gilts, etc.).

    • The Greens seem to be positioning themselves well as the party of the youth. Whereas;
      LNP party of business
      ALP party of unions

      • Unfortunately the Greens are also ignoring all evidence and want open borders – although with 1.4% population growth I suppose we have it anyway.

      • Unfortunately the Greens are also ignoring all evidence and want open borders […]

        [Citation needed]

  8. Data retention and the end of Australians’ digital privacy – http://www.canberratimes.com.au/technology/technology-news/data-retention-and-the-end-of-australians-digital-privacy-20150827-gj96kq.html

    I’m using 2 firefox plugins – ‘SSLueth’ and ‘SSL everywhere’, and I’ve noticed a lot of sites support HTTPS for regular browsing – reddit, yahoo, whirlpool, etc.

    Using HTTPS means that an intermediary computer can only see the IP addresses of sites I visit, not the articles I read or the comments I make.

    Would it be possible for MB to enable HTTPS everywhere?

    • Bertrand Russell

      HTTPS is pretty simple to implement. Its just installing a certificate which costs maybe $100.

      Google now DOWN RANKS any websites which do not have it like they down rank any websites which are not mobile friendly.

    • I agree, it would be nice if MB used SSL on their site. People are entering passwords for their account that may be used elsewhere, which are passed in the clear without SSL.

      The cost is minor, about $15-20 for a certificate that lasts a couple of years.

  9. Border Farse! It was obvious forma mile a away that this was coming. Tones is after the populist vote now that things are falling apart.

    While there is some merit to what the operation is meant to achieve, this is just a brain fart.

    Expect more, wouldn’t be surprised if 457s get wound back as well.

    • interested party

      F F,
      Even if cash is dropped from the sky, it cannot repel entropy. It may buy a short period of nervous calm, but you cannot unscramble a scrambled egg.
      I reckon the top will be marked by M&A activity in the big financial houses…..get bigger or get out sort of stuff. Till then, we will get these sort of articles that get sprayed around hoping for something to stick.

  10. GunnamattaMEMBER

    and for your Sunday morning real estate spruik hit

    Spooked stockmarket investors park cash in property

    http://www.domain.com.au/news/spooked-stockmarket-investors-park-cash-in-property-20150828-gj8383/

    a volatile global financial system…….

    what could possibly be safer than an asset class pumped up by the heaviest private debt load on the planet, provided by banks reliant on global capital markets, backed by a government requiring both austerity on its balance sheet, and a structural emphasis on real estate speculation, affixed to the most nefarious competitive position in the OECD, with a demographic time bomb on a 10 year fuse……….

    ……..all topped off with the most ostentatiously inept government in place anywhere, and a plain Jane opposition hoping to look good enough in comparison.

    …… and all joined to China by the fiscal hip – see DE’s map below

    • If an asteroid were to strike Sydney and billions of smithereen-sized pieces of rubble were to be blown into space, I’m sure there’d be specufestors somewhere predicting their value would only increase because soon they’d go into orbit around Jupiter.

      Surely.

      Anyway. I woke up constipated this morning. That means house prices will rise in Melbourne by 7-8% next month.

      Its as good a reason as any to expect/predict an increase.

  11. It doesn’t really matter what happens to the economy in the short-term, because in the long-term this country is ear-marked for new ownership, and with ownership comes the ability to dictate terms.

    So, whlie the groundlings are momentarily distracted by the political theatre of Operation Fortitude (with ticket sales for Operation Sovereign Borders declining after several popular seasons, something had to be done), things continue apace with Operation Open for Business (running off-off-Broadway to a devoted, in-crowd of financiers, property developers and mining magnates), in which this country continues to be sold out almost entirely to Chinese interests, who do not seem particularly concerned by the dismantlement of the rule of law, low transparancy, autocratic decision making, weakening of labour conditions, by over-built, uglified, high-rise, inner-city density, by inflating asset prices, by traffic congestion and groaning public transport, by the gradual dilution of everything that once made Australia so unique and liveable.

    The small human tragedies and lamentations that will play out over the next few decades are just a sideshow to the main act.

  12. DarkMatterMEMBER

    Over the last week I have been going out lookiing at Sydney rentals for a family member. What an eye-opener! Despite the glowing decriptions of the “gems” from the RE industry, the vast majority of these unit blocks are rundown dumps, only a few years away from being slums. This was around Lane Cove, Gladesville in the inner ring of Sydney. Not out in Mt. Druitt. The RE industry has developed their photoshopping skills to a fine art – the stark reality of these smelly, dingy little dogboxes is a million miles away from the chic desirable pads in the photos. How much? About $500 a week gets you into the first circle of hell with 2 “bedrooms”. Why $500 pw?

    OK, so I think I can see how this works. One of the unit blocks had a little concrete balcony hanging off the side and it was full of lolling bogans draped around the edges. Then it occcurred to me that the base rental price for these Sydney units is set by the dole and rental assistance – which I think is about $300 pw for an adult. These dogboxes have a carrying capacity of 4-6 for a 2-bedder. That puts the gross weekly income into the unit of $1200 – $1800 pw. That is easily enough to pay the rent and the rest goes to the other ticket clippers – utilities, supermarket chains, FIRE sector. On top of that the inmates might get some part time work and some cash economy. The bottom line here is that given low interest rates, negative gearing and the governments obligation to pay unemployment benefits, this is setup to be pretty much bullet proof. The banks can’t really lose on this part of the market. Even if they reposses, the rent money will keep flowing the same as always. Regardless of any economic downturn, the government can funnel money via the dole almost directly into the banks and no one will bat an eyelid. This mechanism can work with the higher levels of housing. A McMansion probably has a carrying capacity of 8-10 inmates. That is over $2000 a week – which will easily pay the bank. To fine tune this system alll the government has to do is open the floodgates of immigration. Fill up the “rare gems” with enough people to keep the banks healthy. No changes in legislation required – all the mechanisms are in place ready to go.

    There will be no crash. At least not in the short term.

    Well, that is all looking a bit gloomy. But then I saw Cope Street in Lane Cove, Sydney. This is a fairly affluent part of Sydney with some nice houses, but tucked away in the corner is a lane leading down to about six blocks of units – perhaps 100 units all up. Looking at some of the inmates, there were washed up middle age men, broken families, unemployed hopeless young people drifting aimlessly into middle age. In a flash of insight i realized what I was looking at. These places are the Bankers financial death-camps. These people are not getting out of there. There are no shiny futures or upward job prospects. These places are the final solution for the dreggs of our society once the FIRE sector has sucked the life out of them. A dole farm to feed the banks like a whale sucking up plankton.

    You might think i am being dramatic comparing these highrise hell holes to Nazi concentration camps, but there are some disturbing parallels. OK, nobody is being run through gas chambers – the sociopaths have cleaned up their act in that regard. What is similar is the same minds are at work – they use the same techniques recycled. At the end of WW2 when the nazi concentration camps were liberated, many of the SS were rounded up for war crimes. Britain sent over Pierrepont – sort of like the Roger Federer of executioners – and he hanged several hundred of the worst SS members. Everyone hoped that their twisted black souls would slither off down to hell and we would be done with them. No, their twisted black souls were just recycled. Have a look at some photos of SS commandants and then look at our Bank CEOs, Hockey, Abbott and friends. It’s the same dull, lifeless eyes looking out at you. Doll’s eyes.

    Arbeit Macht Frei (Work makes you free). This absurd slogan was above the entrance to many death camps. It was a lie – for most inmates death was the only thing that would set them free. The slogan was mostly for the benefit of the german people and the workers and designers who made the camps. The comforting delusion that the camps were a noble service offering redemption to the Jews and Poles and Gypsies who had brought all this on themselves. Blame the victim to feel better about yourself.

    Debt Makes you Free – This is the lie the banks tell us alll the time. Every mortgage ad is based on this idea. 20% credit cards make you free. Equity loans make you free. Insurance makes you free. Work + Debt is the Golden Ticket. Joe Hockey told us this a few months back – to buy a house in Sydney just work harder and get a mortgage. It is the same message 70 years later. Arbeit Macht Frei. Anyone who doesn’t work hard and get a mortgage will end up in one of the hirise hellholes – an undesirable financial gypsy.

    Another odd thing is that once the sociopaths start working their organizational magic, they can tie themselves up in knots with their compulsion for details, form filling and due process. The nazis would ship trainloads of jews halfway across the country in cattle trucks then engage in elaborate form filling classification and tattoing, only to then run the poor wretches through the gas chambers where their identity was obliterated. The organized sociopathic mind is a marvel of contradictions. Do you see the parallels? As unemployment rises and our economy becomes more and more dysfunctional, the requirements for details and identity check and financial history of the poorest is accelerating. On the other hand, as we have seen, a foreign investor can buy a million dollar property with a wink and a nod. Excessive form filling is a bad sign.

    The lesson we should have learned from the Nazi death camps is not just that industrialized murder is a bad thing. The real lesson is that our society is always at risk from the creeping wickedness of banal evil that hides in the amoral plodding of the efficient mind, the organized mind without a conscience. Market forces, supply and demand, smart investment. A thousand little slogans to hide the fact that what we are doing is stupid or cruel or wicked.

    The Banks are building financial death camps right under our noses. God help us.

    • interested party

      I will say it again……welcome to the global feedlot.
      Don’t know if it was planned or it just sort of evolved…….but sure as day follows night, it is our reality.

    • Banks are run by people, so are they run by the same sort of people, in say the last 50 years or is their a deeper agency at work. Lets not forget national-multinational corporations function in many ways as banks, that the shadow sector is many times larger than the traditional banking sector. In addition how has banking and the corporatist sectors evolved over the last 50 years and how does that effect our socioeconomic-sociopolitical landscape.

    • Yes, it is interesting just what type of information is needed to open up a bank account in Australia and what type of information must be provided when purchasing an Australian home.

    • I enjoyed that DM, thing is Sydney is so ffed up that the rent in Mount Druitt would nearly be the same.
      After chatting to a chap last night who had an engineering business over in Perth he told me he knows of two recent suicides he is aware off caused by the downturn and negative equity…so the banks don’t need the gas chambers, eh?

      • The human cost of the debt machine! There are similar cases on the side with family issues and divorce because people can’t or don’t want to take on large debt.

      • FF… all currency’s from inception are issued as a future tax credit e.g. credit + debt = money.

        Now if you want to quibble about disbursements of productivity, subsidized with woefully underwritten credit, in lieu of realized PPP, then you can get down to nuts and bolts.

        Skippy…. Gold was chosen in antiquity because of its scarcity, due to its function wrt taxes, not stores of wealth.

    • You mean, Dark Matter, that you actually got to view the properties…..by yourself?! Often it’s done on a cattle-call basis – get half a dozen or more ( more is better) potential tenants together to view said property at, say, 11.30 am ( Note to letting agent: Don’t turn up until at least 11.45 am to make sure a good competitive spirit has been ignited) and let the open viewing begin.
      “Of course all offers above the low advertised rental price guide will be considered. Who wants to make an opening Bid? You all do! Well let’s get that paperwork out and see who can tick the boxes and still be in the running……” I tolerated this eye-opening experience in all naivety, just once, and after enduring the process (“Hell. We’re here. We may as well have a look. Where are those forms….?”) was greeted with a Specimen 5, Part 11 letter in the mail a week later that started with “Thank you for viewing the property we advertised for rent last Thursday. However we regret to inform you that on this occasion you application has been unsuccessful……” We were lucky. We knew people. But for those who don’t? God help them…..

      You’re right! There’s something not right with the way our system is treating people, and it isn’t going to end well…..anywhere….

    • interested party

      DM,
      Most here have valid observations and complaints regarding the way society functions….and as you have expressed above, it has dark sides.
      The offered solutions that are few and far between mostly revolve around economics…….designed to keep a system that wants to die….alive! The way we go about our lives is like a disease…and we keep taking the pill to mask the symptoms….just to do the same thing tomorrow, and the next day, and the next……..
      I am going to be more and more vocal about the only solution I know that reverses this bullshit we call economics…because economics is just a methodology to measure how effective the rent-seekers and ticket-clippers are at extracting our cash. That’s it, as far as I am concerned.
      The solution is Permaculture. Live outside the system as much as possible. Starve the beast. Don’t pay the trolls.

      • Interesting how there are people at both end of the spectrum when it comes to social/environmental issues. Whilst I share the same concerns that you have regarding the environment, economics, etc.. there are many people out there at the opposite side of the spectrum. This weekend I was visiting a family member and we discussed several issues (environment, economics, politics). His views were as follows:

        Environment & climate change: What can I do? They will eventually sort something out.
        Politics: We have one of the best democratic systems in the world. If you’re passionate about changing things, join a political party and move up the ranks.
        Economics: On the subject of tax avoidance: That’s what every one else is doing.. One the subject of overseas investments here: That’s good for our economy.
        His stand on things pretty much can be summarized as follows: work within the system to maximize your personal gains, create an edge, and ignore everything else. Not sure how to label this type of thinking: Ignorant, simplistic, narcissistic, anti-intellectual, realist (or a combination) or perhaps something else?? I suspect that there are many people like this out there.

      • interested party

        “His stand on things pretty much can be summarized as follows: work within the system to maximize your personal gains, create an edge, and ignore everything else.”

        I deal with solutions on a daily basis. The problem most often is the solution.
        If there are enough people with these views…and there are…..then that is the solution to that problem. It will break under the weight of these numbers. I deal with sustainable systems everyday….and what I see here is simple unsustainablity…as is all modern just-in-time life. It will cure itself.
        The cure will be painful to watch, but it will right itself eventually…..and that can go for the economy, politics, and to some extent the environment. We have the capacity to stuff this up beyond its capacity to heal. That one is my biggest concern.

      • IP, that’s what I think.. it’s very hard to change ignorance, simplistic thinking, narcissism, and anti-intellectual to the opposite of these characteristics. Nature has a way of correcting things, but that might take a while to materialize.

    • Bertrand Russell

      CHeck out the kitchen on this piece of shit.

      http://www.realestate.com.au/property-house-vic-northcote-416477293

      Yes – that is a WOOD STOVE – no place for a fridge, no dishwasher.

      This is common.

      I visited half a dozen properties like this in the area.

      One was so bad, literally had a go at the agent told him it was a disgrace to even try and rent it out.

      One had boards hammered over the oven which was broken.

      I have a STRONG feeling these are all parents houses who have been forced into retirement homes and the kids are trying to hold on to the house.

      They are disgusting.

    • I wonder what the costs of WWI and WWII were in gold price, oh yeah, that’s what actually started them in the first place.

      • You seem to equivocate BB, do you understand the concept of psychological conditioning e.g. to someone never exposed to a gun it is just an object, tho to those that have been through environmental exposure, transfer its psychological and sociological imprinting in both emotional and cognitive states. The actions leading up to both wars were conditions which revolved around the concepts that are attached to gold, not to mention century’s of previous wars.

        Skippy…. there are study’s which conclusively show elevated emotive and mental activity just by being shown a gun, due to its ability and how that correlates to the subjects thoughts and feelings, as a response to cognitive biases established via environmental factors.

      • Skip,

        Your note to self hits a six. I visited family in Utah in July and a family friend took me out shooting, AK47, AR15, 2 shotguns (over/under and side by side) and a hand gun like a Glock. It WAS fun, but I don’t like the “feeling” it produces, it feels sort of corrupting! I’ve had a few other experiences with guns over the decades and it’s always the same.

      • @dennis,

        I grew up with guns on my grandfathers farm and with family and relatives in Arizona. The differences between the two groups was striking, in Arizona it was more spaghetti western w/ a side of Dirty Harry e.g. shoot stuff because. Where on the grandfathers farm is was completely opposite e.g. guns kill people and other stuff plus damage property and environment if used inappropriately. My grandfather allowed me at a young age to hunting by myself but, only got a few shells, if I can back empty handed I would not get another chance for awhile. Any use out side of strict guidelines meant a longer period of reflection. Needless to say no crazy armory either, Belgium browning .22s, 410/.22 over under, British .303 enfield bolt, Japanese 7mm, Winchester 1897, Damascus twist steel double barrel goose neck 10 gauge.

        Recently had some OZ friends move to Colorado springs as the father works for a IT concern. Wife now joins the other stay at home school moms twice a week after dropping off kids at school, going down to the gun range and grab a cappa, popping off rounds with their bedazzled-personalized hand guns. Little do they know in a real life event it will be of little good or end up shooting oneself or the wrong person/people. 22ft is the distance one can cover whilst another attempts to draw and accuratly discharge their weapon, total false sense of security, compounded by the mental positioning in unfortunately bestows its handler.

        @BB,

        Gold is fine, as long as others don’t attempt to make it out to be something it is not nor whitewash historical perspectives.

  13. No. It’s greed for land that you don’t have and want that starts most wars…..then there’s lust for power (politics) and religion mixed up in it somewhere…
    As for the ‘triggers’ that started WWI and WWII, well the assasination of the archduke Ferninand was the trigger for WWI-and for the life of me I don’t know why this was so, maybe there were connections to things/parties we are are not allowed to know about? WWII was because Hitler was sick of the state of German economy, he was tired of paying back the French for more than 30 years. This is my understanding.

    • You should look into bonds and wars during the last 200 years e.g. the British invasion of the Suez canal. WWI had more to do with monarchy’s and a guy called the Black Hand. The assassination of the archduke Ferdinand was just the flash point to trigger events, had it not happened that way, there were many other possible flash points, ready to go off.

      WWII is defiantly a gold standard event as everyone was looking to be payed back for the loans to fund WWI, to the point that 1/3 of Germany’s GDP was committed to it. Which ultimately lead to confiscation of its most productive sectors like the industrial Rhine, leaving Germany with little means to pay back the debt, which created a trade shock that eventually created a death spiral in internal financial demands leading to hyperinflation. This made German assets and labor extremely cheap to international corporations and banks, which funny enough helped Germany re-militarize, seems some thought the private could be controlled… oops.

      Skippy…. There is a reason the Bush family left South Carolina for Texas…. something to do with banking.

      • Skippy, why do you often end your posts with your inter-perspective thoughts? Say what you want with out the onus of sounding crazy by talking to yourself.

        Anyway can you or I sell an oz of gold today for $1130 usd? Yes? Then conversation over, it’s physical currency, get use to it.

        It’s value that has held for thousands of years, maybe check how many dollars have been printed vs gold price to find the real answers.

      • @Simplicity,

        Me sound crazy, look at yourself and your gold fetish, are you even aware of the barbarity our species has suffered for it, Yet some still think it has magic powers to store wealth. BTW it never held value, law dictated its use, as such the law is what gives it value.

        Humans have believed many things for thousands of years, albeit that does not make it empirical. You might look into comparative sociological studies – anthropology to fleshout how such group think transcends society to become acts of faith.

        Skippy… the end bit is just a thing, that it bothers you so much, seems more your drama than it is mine or others… so why is that?