New Year Weekend Mega Links Dec 31, Jan 1-2 2017

A Lord of the Bush Hans Heysen 1908

A Lord of the Bush, Hans Heysen, 1908, National Gallery of Victoria




United Kingdom

United States


Terra Incognita


Capital Markets

Global Macro

…and furthermore…

…and finally…

Something About This Russia Story Stinks – Rolling Stone, Taibbi…very good read….he is right, everyone is flying blind without some sort of data…

“I have no problem believing that Vladimir Putin tried to influence the American election. He’s gangster-spook-scum of the lowest order and capable of anything. And Donald Trump, too, was swine enough during the campaign to publicly hope the Russians would disclose Hillary Clinton’s emails. So a lot of this is very believable.

But we’ve been burned before in stories like this, to disastrous effect. Which makes it surprising we’re not trying harder to avoid getting fooled again.”

Latest posts by Gunnamatta (see all)


  1. Two of those articles tie together nicely. They are the piece on mental bandwidth’s relationship with poverty and the one on a UBI.
    If people don’t have to worry about the means for food and shelter they are able to focus upon looking after themselves and those around them. They also are given the chance to risk and fail. It is far easier to pursue an idea if you know that you won’t end up on the streets should it fail.

    Edit: first!

      • Nope -the next pension crash is merely “minutes” away… talk about the fallacy of valuing your homes on any pension test. What happens if they fall 50%???? Are they really going to revalue your home and pay you the difference? Really??? Could we even afford that event??? Real lack of analysis…

        People/extendedfamily I know decided back in 2009/2010 to not retire at aged 62-63 and have worked another six or seven years. Some still have pensions below that peak. What happens after this next maker correction, how can you physically keep working??? (

        People are quickly going to realise 9% contributions are not enough. They will be double that within a decade. Paradox of Thrift will hit Oz hard. Things are about to change.

      • Researchtime
        Same thing they do when our shares revalue. Revalue the house, or use the VG estimates for the asset test. Lots of options open to stop paying millionaires welfare.

      • Thats economics of nihilism… you want your houses tax free, but we deny our older generation a decent final few years???

        There are many ways to equalise payments, extending retirement, which should be 70 at a minimum anyways. Not only (a) does it delay retirement payments by numerous years, but (b) the time value of the pension pot (all things being equal) should be larger, and (c) reduced number of years withdrawal, not only that, its (d) not needed for as long.

        What you propose is a akin to Labours greatest failing, it minute legislation (social engineering???) whilst missing the big picture. Howard paid the baby bonus, and didn’t means test it because it cost too mush. In any case the country needs more babies. Labour came in, not only means tested it, and blew the budget on that Howard promise by 40% by doing so totally defeating the aim: then did the Nanny control thing, and tried to make us believe that people weren’t able to spend their monies in a responsible manner. So watered it down, the max anyone got, was $19 pw!!! And as everyone knows, most of the costs of babies is upfront.

        Legislation should grasp the big picture. If you want pensions to last, Make people retire later, make the contributions bigger. Life is actually pretty simple. Sure cut down on excessive contributions by the big wigs, but don’t penalise working people putting in big sums after the kids have left and 10 years before they retire. Its simply good policy.

        And millionaire houses – well everything in Sydney is now virtually above a million dollars. So that doesn’t mean anything anymore…

      • The thing I find hilarious about proposals to include the home in the assets test is this:

        Including the home will provide another level of government with a huge reason to boost asset prices. As home prices soar, government outlays drop hugely. As home prices dip, there’s a deterioration in the budget bottom line.

        I can imagine property investors slavering at the prospect of another tier of government dependent on high house prices.

        60% capital gains discount anyone?

      • RT, you appear to be writing “pension” when you mean “superannuation”.

        I would be OK with excluding the family home from the assets test so long as it had never been remortgaged, used as security or in any other way leveraged at a higher value. But a lot of people are reaping very material returns for unearned reward.

    • Footsore, Only problem is the assholes who live for exploiting our fears and seeding division in society would lose all power.
      I have no doubt it could work, the banks create billions in ‘fresh air money’ every year. Look at the RBA tables on money supply growth. Which is 99% going into asset prices. If we took away the ability for banks to create money and gave it back to parliament and only created a tiny fraction of new money compared to present then everyone would benefit from the huge wealth this country has and no one would go hungry or homeless.
      Come up with a similar plan to take away the power of the arms industry and you would have world peace too.

      Truly the kingdom of heaven on earth.

      So wont happen. We are destined for a new Fascist, total surveillance cashless society dystopian hell.

      For those that don’t believe me ask yourself why all the wars, coups, ( Victoria Nuland) crack down on freedom, public surveillance, rent seeking( new Feudalism). Major changes like these don’t happen without a concerted effort by those in charge behind the scene. Turdbull and ScoMo are just useful idiots. Happy to sell out their own children for a few dollars more.

    • And remember, Gillard gave 457 visas to KFC!

      So the ALP and LNP do not want the jobs to go to Aussies anyway.

      There should obviously be a $50k/year fee on each 457 visa to stop the rort.

  2. That article about Spain is worrying.

    “The country undertook a massive process of de-industrialization, and sectors such as tourism and construction were promoted. The problem with these sectors is that they are cyclic and the first to receive the blow in times of crisis,” he told DW.

    Good thing our leaders are forward thinking.

    • SchadenfreudeKing

      Oooh, yeah! Vehicle manufacturing going in 2017, with all parts suppliers going with it. Your critical mass in fabricating anything will be gone. Kids won’t go into fields like mechatronics, because to do so they’d either have to work in defence or leave the country. As your dollar declines, nothing will respond, because the main thing you sell (red dirt) ain’t priced in AUD, nor is the expensive capital equipment required to produce it.

      Your economy will be at the mercy of international capital flows (many of them state controlled) buying up your resources for strategic reasons. You’ll resist for a little while, but sooner or later (likely sooner) you’ll sell out your future – Australia has form in this area.

      Australia’s self determination is done. Start teaching your kids Mandarin, because the Chinese will be running the joint faster than you imagine possible. There is an ‘off’ switch for the Australian economy, and China owns it.

      And it’s all Australians’ own fault! You collectively voted for Tony Abbott, and look where that got you! Going ideologogically mental just as the rest of the world does the reverse and jacks up the subsidies and trade-barriers. And now you won’t have the economic diversity or industry network effects to recover. Ha ha ha ha ha!

      • Schad What you write is pretty fair but blaming this total mess on Abbot totally misses the point. You really have to go back as far as Harold Holt and maybe even Bob Menzies. Gough Whitlam operated in a world of total economic ignorance and was followed by the moron Malcolm Fraser. Hawke and Keating doubled down on financialisation rather than try to return to a productive economy.. Howard and Costello then blew it all to hell based on the foundation laid by Hawke and Keating. Rudd, Gillard Ken Henry et al were just total disasters. Then Abbot is supposed to be responsible for it all??

      • It’s that kill switch you speak of which makes me think that AUS is ultimately going closer with CHINA despite the resistance with the lower + middle classes and anti-china rhetoric in general. It’s hard to complain about the Chinese when they’re the ones that pay to keep you fed and tuck your kids safely in a warm bed at night. Australia has no alternatives now, they’ve been destroyed thanks to the high AUD and obsession with mining + property.

        The US does not need our beef, milk or IO and has less of a need for our property and fresh air. There are more Chinese in demand of a western lifestyle than there are US citizens that don’t already have a western lifestyle. On top of that there is of course the close proximity of the two nations, as well as an steadily establishing elite Chinese class that play in the shadows of Sydney, influencing the way things move heading forward.

        China has a lot of debt for sure, but after any implosion that would make that debt an issue, would cause a revaluation of gold which China has plenty of and the west does not. All global assets repriced in favour of gold means the Chinese will be the ones that keep on spending when the world has gone south. Or any other hard assets for that matter, that china has plenty of eg. enormousness stockpiles of stored oil and rail to every dot on the map.

      • as per flawse Abbott can’t be blamed for all of the above but we did voted another idiot – for the record I did not vote LBS.
        Otherwise your analysis is spot on. I said it many times that China has the on/off switch and they will use it – one opportunity will be given to them if US/China trade war escalates.
        Also, I totally agree about the manufacturing situation. H&H thinks that once AUD goes down to 50c or thereabout all sort of manufacturing industries will open up. I don’t think so and for the reason you outlined above – we will lose the critical mass and the know how.. The future is not bright.
        Time will tell.

      • …and the USA collectively voted for Trump… and look where that’s getting you.
        China also owns the off switch to the US economy.
        Schadenfrued is a 2 way street.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        The truth of your words make me sick to my Stomach and full of dread for my childrens future.

      • alwaysanonMEMBER

        One minor issue with that George – Australia is not that close to China. Bejing is closer to Dublin than it is to Sydney (I was amazed when I looked that up). That said we are in a much closer time zone.

    • china does not own the on/off switch for the US, it makes it for the US and the US can make it again, China is a cluster fuck just waiting to happen their phoney money will not last forever and thats strayas problem not the US’s

    • The Spanish economy didn’t deindustrialize ( see Industry became a lot more automated and construction was promoted via the EU cohesion funds as a stop-gapto absorb the youths entering the market. A bandaid for a global problem ( that Victor Reloma obviously doesn’t understand: “For Reloba, there is a solution to the youth employment crisis, but time is running out: “We must invest in research and development, and in high added-value industries. We have to retain all this talent that we produce and give our young people a new sense of purpose.”
      Ask any SME in Spain and they will all tell you that they can’t find qualified electromechanics, engineers, etc with any practical knowledge. The Spanish education system has been churning theory-only university degrees while at the same time destroying the “Formacion Profesional” ( TAFE equivalent) and Mr Reloma has been quite supportive of this policy. Until technical colleges are supported to the same degree as universities (or universities become more “hands-on”) the youth unemployment issue in Spain and other Club Med countries will continue.

    • Nice story Nikola, I like Macedonia and have many Maceo mates. I was in Skopje last year and hope to return in 2017 this time spend time in Lake Ohrid.

      • not sure if this is nice story – something tells me she will regret that decision. Hope I am wrong.

      • Already twice married? He then fits the category of ‘problem gambler’.
        Marries a 20 year old after 4 months and she is now pregnant. One born every minute.

  3. Something for us to think about this weekend (being tweeted around Friday eve)

    Note ANZ breaking from the peleton on investor mortgages (from Martin North’s blog)

    and market share

    • Remember flying into LA, over an industrial park, it it must have gone on for 10 minutes (seemed longer) as far as the eye could see in this single valley, sheds, glistening in the sun… it was only then I realised how big US manufacturing still is!

      Contrast how quickly we were willing to throw ours away? I mean seriously, how bad would have a 7% car tariff be? Why zero??? Who else is zero??

      In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.” – Yogi Berra

      • If the A$ is at a realistic value i.e.the value at which we run a Current Account Surplus (at LEAST a zero CAD) there is no need for tarriffs. What is a 7 or 10% tarriff as compared to a 30 or 50% over-valuation of the currency?

        Tarriffs, except in special cases, just further penalise efficient industries by helping set the A$ valuation higher than it should be.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        “Wake up to yourself flawse your,

        “Tarriffs, except in special cases, just further penalise efficient industries by helping set the A$ valuation higher than it should be”

        Is bullshit,… when it comes to vehicle manafacture, there isn’t a car anywhere in the world, built without some kind of subsidy from the host national/state government.

        We are about to be buying all of our Government cars, inc police cars, from the Koreans soon!
        All made possible by the brainwashed idelogical mentality that infects our politics and citizens like you.

        Jacking up the Wealfare State will lower the dollar to,…but we just couldnt do that!,… could we, Nooo.
        Especially when so many of the, not yet made “Conservative by age” have been indoctrinated hook line and sinker.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        “The majority of young Australians (52 per cent) who have entered the workforce support smaller
        government, fewer services and low taxes. Young Australians believe we can help the economy by cutting government spending by 5% (55 per cent) and cutting taxes (53 per cent) [See Figure 2].”

        Like I said, hook line and sinker.

        Wonder who they are gona blame when the boomers are all dead and the legislative process fully privatized?

      • Tariffs are self defence Flawse. They may have an effect on the dollar but this is a price worth paying. Without protection no car industry survives. The closure is nothing short of a catastrophe, for the ToT and for the society and country.

    • With regards to the importance of China in manufacturing, it is interesting to note that almost all PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards) are made in China, Taiwan and S Korea. The PCB is the (green) board that all the chips are attached to. They are everywhere.

      A lot of those numbers from Taiwan, S Korea and Japan would be for big companies like Apple and Samsung. For all the smaller PCB users, almost every one would be from China. China has completely dominated the PCB industry with low cost, high quality, fast turn around. This process is so streamlined that I could design a PCB (using a free open source CAD tool), upload it to an online service that consolidates the files onto a panel and passes it to a PCB house in China. For less than $100 I would get back some perfect PCB boards (Gold Plating standard) in less than 2 weeks. 10 years ago, that exercise would have cost at least $1000, so that might give you an idea about the level of streamlining and how deeply entrenched China is in the manufacturing chain.

      The last serious PCB manufacturer in Australia was probably in SA about 10 years ago – which was probably defense related. If you go back about 30 years we had a thriving PCB industry. Printronics was big – and then they moved over to China to become an even bigger player over there. The Chinese PCB industry was not home grown – it was built on Western Technology that moved to a lower cost base. PCBs are not rocket science, so if China turned the tap off we could restart, but without the huge investment in the factories, we would be back in the 1970s as a starting point. It would be a slow process. To build the machines to make PCBs you need – PCBs!

      • Some truth there. As robotics and manufacturing advances it does make re-entry easier as you skip the previous generations.
        Question is what it the point in re-entering a cut throat industry? Perhaps if there is an existing electronics prototyping, development and small scale ecosystem then it makes sense. Sure the economics of having a cornerstone defense and/or automotive industry would be helpful but I just don’t see that the public sees any value in that.

        PCB’s are a mass produced commodity item. Specialised IC’s fabrication and in particular the semiconductor architecture design is a slightly different game though. In some instances there is no easy substitute – unless you have much more extensive design resources in terms of skills, time and money available integrated IC’s just make designing far simpler, faster and easier provided those chips are available and genuine.

        Just look at the industry consolidation that is going on with takeovers of ARM, Broadcom, Altera, Amtel etc. It is like an electronic cold war is well and truly on and nobody noticed or cared.

      • Yes, it’s not that we would want to start making PCB again – slim pickings there for sure. The interesting point is how disruptive it would be if China turned off the supply of such a commodity item. I wonder if there are people actually modelling what would happen in that case? I suppose that is why no one really takes a US China conflict seriously – it would be massively disruptive in an unthinkable way.

  4. “The Chinese government is likely to “throw sand in the gears” and create friction in capital remittances such as scrapping or adjusting the annual US$50,000 individual foreign exchange swap quota, CICC analysts said, instead of imposing hardline capital controls.”

    Folks might recall I mentioned this as a strong hint when I was in China at the start of the month, and rumours of it even earlier. The appearance in SCMP is interesting as it aligns with exactly with the 2 actions I reported – abolition and reduction (we heard USD$20K limit with increased paperwork and split over several payments not a lump sum). For Ma and Pa Xu, if ya money ain’t out, and you ain’t a billionaire or already offshored business, the boat has sailed!!!


    This was also interesting as I reported in June we received huge incentives in our abattoir for the installation of a state-of-the-art processing system with automation everywhere.

    and this little beauty!

    My wife’s uncle is relocating his factory from China to Cuba to reduce transportation and labour costs and be able access the US custom electronics market. Lots happening!!!

    • The Traveling Wilbur

      and be able [to] access the bypass US customs electronics market. Lots happening!!!


    • I have only just survived germ warfare season otherwise known as Autumn/Winter in a crowded mega city, a pollution red alert and am currently dealing with an orange alert and significantly reduced lung capacity. Therefore I’m a bit late with the annual daily trek to the Bank of China to legally exchange my pitiful annual RMB savings from being exploited foreign labour into glorious USD at the maximum daily limit of 500 smackers. As I am preparing to get out of dodge and the universe is a cold and cruel place, on Jan 1 I fully expect the regulatory environment to change. I live in fear of being pulled over in the security queue of T3 and being asked about the (pitiful but significant to me) quantity of cash I’ll be carrying. I’m only half a fruit fly in the scheme of things, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I got squashed.

      • The way I read that article, liquidity was drained from the system in the last few days. Also, the move from savers to borrowers implies that there is an anticipation of increased loan activity in the new year to fund offshore purchases prompting the drain…. I wonder how this will play out? Reserves are not at levels where they can launch an outright defence of the Yuan, but the 7.00 level seems to be important to them and the populace at large…. Will be an interesting few days with long term implications for Australian property market.

      • GunnamattaMEMBER

        Thats right OJ, they are definitely draining – my understanding is they are draining with a view to making things difficult to move cash offshore over the next few days. What I meant was that someone ‘will want’ that liquidity – probably first thing next week. The state wants the liquidity

      • See post below – WeChat is hotting up – Bank of China post saying changes effective in June to lower limits, other sites have limit at USD$10,000 tomorrow, wife’s sources confirm the $10K limit and lower threshold for approvals. Right now it is very hard to know what the reality is but that liquidity drain was a big red flag….

    • yep – you and few others were predicting this – I am surprised they did not go full on and dropped the limit to $10k.
      It will have an impact on the Oz RE – the $2m-$4m market – and may spur the outer suburbs market as $20k per year can still make repayments for those properties.
      Another thing is, all those empty apartments may go For Lease as people struggle to make repayments.

      • They still might do the 10K…. and it won’t help Aus property in the lower price points and suburbs as offshore vulture lenders will want 20-30% deposits (the groups I have direct knowledge of in HK and Singapore) while the local Chinese banks have tighter LVR’s if it only Chinese income to be considered. So on a $500K property, deposit is $150,000 and at the USD$10K level (AUD$13880 approx), this is a lot of people combining together to buy an Australian property. As for the for lease signs, yes I suspect that may happen.

      • Nikola & OJ,

        If what you say comes to pass ($10k-$20k outflow limits), how long do you think before those prospective ‘For Lease’ signs would change to ‘For Sale’?

      • @Antony – I don’t know how long. The circle I mix in view Australia very differently to the typical off-the-plan tourists. They expect returns on their investment that exceed the outgoings, like an apartment building in Seattle which spins off some good cash even at the inflated price they bought for. Don’t forget the student “owners” will be caught up in this if they are unable to secure a job to remain in Oz. Many parents will not be able to continue to support the kids and outgoings on the property when the kid returns to China (assuming they break the rules and don’t sell).

      • @Anthony – If those limits change to $10k-$20K it will not matter if those signs change to For Sale at all. This will crush the market. A surge in For Lease volumes will crush rents and sale prices anyway. Also, new Chinese buyers will be gone so double whammy.
        Only the top end of town will be active as China will not be able to control those guys – they have way too many international links in order to be effectively controlled.

      • “Only the top end of town will be active as China will not be able to control those guys – they have way too many international links in order to be effectively controlled.”

        This all depends on the extradition treaty and ACC investigation into a prominent local Chinese real estate agent. If either of these occur/come to light in the new year, then you could see a lot of very influential Chinese selling up. Especially the investigation… One HK lady we know found out in early December that said real estate agent had marked up a Maroubra property from the vendor price of $8.5mill to $17mill on the day she was due to sign contracts and hand over the deposit. She had a chance encounter with vendor’s brother when she stopped to look at the property and he told her that they had an offer for $8.5 due to exchange that day. As word of her practices spread through the elite Chinese, the presence of an Australian court case will send a lot these folks into a tizzy and given they have missed the amnesty deadline, they will be very pissed as their properties get dragged into the court system as evidence. Already know at least 1 significant eastern suburbs lawyer is helping police with their investigations and several Chinese accountants……

      • John – can you explain why that RE Agent would be doing that? It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me? As in, I don’t see how it benefits anyone?

      • @tripster

        “Oh, a spare 8.5 million floating around in the trust account. Whoops, I wonder where that went.”


    I am enjoying articles about UBI. Here we have an economist writing about this economic furball and it sounds to me like a desperate cry for help. It must be a cry for help – how can economists possibly seriously suggest handing out money to everyone without finally admitting that they actually have no idea what money is or where the hell it comes from? Maybe they can spin up some story about why everyone needs a free $200 a week – probably no one will complain about it. I am pretty sure that suddenly giving everyone a cash handout every week will not erode the perception that money has value.

    With UBI there will be some serious disconnects to deal with. CentreLink has just booted up SkyNet to send out email Robocop threatening to get medieval on the asses of lots of poor people without any money. With UBI, those deplorables will have $200 a week to pay off their centrelink debts. Presumably those repayments will balance the budget, and what is left over can fund UBI. It’s a cunning plan!

    Of course, once you have the “basic” UBI, it is not a great leap to have the “Elite UBI”. People who are certified as in the top 1% may as well get $10,000 a week. They would normally be able to get this income, however with automation and unemployment the poor people can’t trickle up the way they used to – so just give it to them anyway and everyone will be happy. Economics is actually quite easy when you can just make stuff up. I suppose a Nobel Prize would be too much to ask for?

    • The Traveling Wilbur

      Tricky Dickie 300-hundred dollar bills for everyone! Hurrah!!

      Send in the choppers!

      Go long Harvey Norman.

      4k LED TVs – buy – and then buy some more.

      But absolutely, whatever happens, DON’T allow the proles to pay down debt with it.

      That will fix thing.

      • A UBI/debt jubilee combination would be good. Any cash you get goes towards paying off debt. The debt free cab do whatever they like with theirs.

        Of course, none of this can be considerd until reforms occur in our bubblearket. Otherwise all money will just go straight through to the FIRE sector.

    • The Popcod Institute of We Give 80% of Prizes to Mostly Deserving People and Sell the Rest to Whoever Pays the Most is honored to present Dark Matter with the Noble Prize for Economic Truth-seeking and Innovation in Concept Communication . Congratulations Dark Matter, we thank you from the bottom of our entitled hearts for your astonishing and tireless contributions to enhancing the understanding of human society, especially with regards to economic and social status interactions by the less fortunate among us, the naive, gullible and intellectually challenged.

      • @dark matter, the award ceremony dress code states that each profession must wear clothing commensurate with said profession’s usefulness to society. Therefore economists must wear a tutu. I’m presuming this will not be a problem?

      • Well, I am not an economist, so that puts anything back on the table so to speak. What the hell – reusa can have it instead. Then you might get tutu and chaps if you are lucky.

      • @ Dark Matter No you totally deserve to get an economics Noble Prize instead of a real economist for your UBI contributions. Once announced our prizes are never rescinded nor are they transferable. I made the dress code up while trying to supress a case of bank rage (that happens when you wait 90 minutes to buy 500USD on the last day of the year when the AQI is an apocalyptic 500+). Wear what you want, who am I to force anyone to wear something? Reus gets a special Darth Vader ‘You were right, tell your sister you were right’ Noble Prize for everything he has ever said. No dress code could compete with his astonishing looks.

    • UBI would allow the dismantling of all government safety nets and targeted social programs, then let the market decide, freedom and liberty for all…..


    … Political Reporter Katie Bradford takes a look back at what’s been a massive year for housing …

    A look back at the year’s housing news: Auckland’s $1 million average house price and homelessness | 1 NEWS NOW | TVNZ

    Pollster Roy Morgan says new Prime Minister Bill English must find a solution to New Zealand’s growing ‘Housing Crisis’ – the largest problem facing New Zealanders in late 2016 |

    … extract …

    … Michele Levine, Chief Executive Officer, Roy Morgan says:

    “Incoming Prime Minister Bill English must get to work finding a solution to New Zealand’s worsening ‘Housing crisis’ according to a cross-sample of 1,001 New Zealanders asked what the most important problems facing New Zealand, and the World, are just over a month ago.

    “A staggering 27% of New Zealanders named Housing related issues as the most important problem facing New Zealand in late October – including Increasing house prices/ Housing affordability 17% (unchanged from July 2016) and a further 10% (down 2%) named the closely related issue of the Homeless/ Homelessness/ Housing shortage. … read more via hyperlink above …

    … This is the John Key I (foolishly) voted for in 2008 …

    h/t BH. PH & NL

  7. Love seeing the western media’s heads, including Taibbi’s, explode at the realisation of the non-existence of Western exceptionalism.

    Those who cheered on, and profited from, the rape of Russia during the 90’s are at same time angry and scared of Russia’s resurgence as a superpower and the advancement of the quality of life of its people under VVP.

    • Huh? Did you even read Taibbi’s article? He is very critical of the Democrats. And I don’t think he would have been cheering on the rape of Russia. Can you give an example where he has?

      I thought western exceptionalism was what the neocons were about, not liberals.

    • Taibbi was in Russia as a reporter when the kleptocracy took shape. If you read his books he uses this as a reference point to how messed up America has become. He never claimed exceptionalism, just difference, and on his view the gap is shrinking.

    • GunnamattaMEMBER

      read this gents, (which is essentially just a comment put together for the MB Christmas links)…..

      The neo-liberal consensus comes face to face with Russian regret

      For the most part when it came to Russia there is no difference between the neocons and the neoliberals. Taibbi knows this inherently and has seen it first hand over the era which saw Putin rise and become quite popular with the Russian public, though he left about the time it became obvious Putin was creating just another heavy authoritarian state.

      Many years ago I too got tanked out of my skull with the Matt Taibbi Mark Ames world – and knew them both. I have spent more time speaking Russian over Christmas than english, and I still do a lot of work out of Moscow (from Geetroit) and this eve it will be more Russians.

      Those who cheered on, and profited from, the rape of Russia during the 90’s are at same time angry and scared of Russia’s resurgence as a superpower and the advancement of the quality of life of its people under VVP.

      First. Russia is no more returning as a superpower than it is flying to the moon. It has a military and state security apparatus backed by energy revenues. The shale oil (and Trump) and the excess OPEC capacity (and the Sauds) mean that isnt going to far from here. The electric car world means it is looking less and less likely to go anywhere in the longer term future.

      Second. The ‘advancement and quality of life’ of most people under VVP has not gone anywhere since about 2008. Sure it rocketed from 1998 to 2008 (as crude went from 10/bbl to 147/bbl) but hasnt gone anywhere since. Economically Russia has had something of a second wind with the mini crude rebound of the last 6 months or so, but still has major (though not existential) issues vis the budget and economic structure.


      Those who cheered on, and profited from, the rape of Russia during the 90’s are at same time angry and scared

      Those who actually cheered on were a small minority (most of the US and western world simply ignored Russia and let their media to the exploration for them during the 1990s), and those who profited were a miniscule minority (though those who did made megabucks). The fear and anger is actually (for the neoliberals) the realisation that they have been bed partners when it came to Russia of the neocons for a generation, and that the bed they have made has spawned VVP, and was a seriously ugly bed to be making – simply because they indulged in some ugly behaviours in Russia and for the most part looked the other way.

      The buyout of the 1996 election (which demonstrated to most Russians that democracy can be a fraud as much as Communism) and the lionisation of Khodorkhovsky (which demonstrated to most Russians that liberal – pro market – economic reform could be seen as simply giving authority and approval to some seriously ugly wealth acquisition processes – which in Russia involved whacking people and bribing on an epic scale) in the English language media (which underlined for many Russians that the global media was a plaything of the uber set – as they had seen with the 1996 election in Russia) and the subsequent embrace of the oligarchs (the beneficiaries of those processes) in London and New York in particular is what the neo liberal world is now concerned about – but still cant bring itself to mention let alone acknowledge.

      And it is that gaping hole in its narrative (particularly vis Russia) that VVP is able to drive trucks though. A genuine liberal and democratic impulse is actually something which would freak VVP out.

  8. This is what Michael Moore is promoting on his Facebook page. Colour Revolution techniques 101. I have capitalized the key elements as I see it from the #disruptj20 website.
    They are not limiting their protest to the policies of Trump but of the actual legitimacy of a democratically elected President. Crazy stuff.
    ‘On Friday, January 20, 2017, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as President of the United States.
    We call on all people of good conscience to join in DISRUPTING THE CEREMONIES. If Trump is to be inaugurated at all, let it happen behind closed doors, showing the true face of the security state Trump will preside over. It must be made clear to the whole world that the vast majority of people in the United States do not support his presidency or CONSENT TO HIS RULE.
    Trump stands for tyranny, greed, and misogyny. HE IS THE CHAMPION OF NEO-NAZIS AND WHITE NATIONALISTS, of the police who kill the Black, Brown and poor on a daily basis, of racist border agents and sadistic prison guards, of the FBI and NSA who tap your phone and read your email.
    He is the harbinger of even more climate catastrophe, deportation, discrimination, and endless war. He continues to deny the existence of climate change, in spite of all the evidence, putting the future of the whole human race at stake. THE KKK, VLADIMIR PUTIN, GOLDEN DAWN, AND THE ISLAMIC STATE all cheered his victory. If we let his inauguration go unchallenged, WE ARE OPENING THE DOOR TO THE FUTURE THEY ENVISION.
    Trump’s success confirms the bankruptcy of representative democracy. Rather than using the democratic process as an alibi for inaction, we must show that NO ELECTION COULD LEGITIMIZE HIS AGENDA. Neither the Democrats nor any other political party or politician will save us—they just offer a weaker version of the same thing. If there is going to be a positive change in this society, we have to make it ourselves, together, through direct action.
    From day one, the Trump presidency will be a disaster. #DisruptJ20 will be the
    start of the resistance. We must take to the streets and protest, blockade, disrupt, intervene, sit in, walk out, rise up, and make more noise and good trouble than the establishment can bear. THE PARADE MUST BE STOPPED. WE MUST DELEGITIMIZE TRUMP and all he represents. It’s time to defend ourselves, our loved ones, and the world that sustains us as if our lives depend on it—because they do.’

    • This is hilarious. Lefties are such imbeciles.

      The world is falling apart much because of the left and you want to attack one of the guys promising to save it? Beyond bizarre.

      • There’s been no significant left-wing influence in politics in most western countries for decades and you somehow think they’re to blame ? That’s “beyond bizarre”.

      • @drsmithy

        “There’s been no significant left-wing influence in politics in most western countries for decades”

        Every time they’ve gotten power they’ve used it so ridiculously stupidly, the electorate will never give them power again. Meanwhile sensible people that care for the environment and equality among existing Australians obviously can’t vote for the left anymore. The left chose their battles so poorly, they don’t get to make policy anymore.

        I guess it’s a good thing that the left are so clueless they thought that electorates would put up with their BS. What that’s given us sensible people is a chance to vote for protectionism. i.e. the left have helped give us Hanson, and will somewhat save us from LNP’s globalization.

      • Rich42 is that you?

        “Hanson’s support for the ABCC will see workers jailed and fined for stopping work due to an injury or death on site. So if someone dies on site, just keep working, productivity is more important than making sure it does not happen to you. That is the reality of this bill.”

        “…Hanson is treating the people who voted for her (and their kids I might add) who are mostly working class from regional and rural communities, with utter contempt.”

        “It’s about time third party politicians, especially the populist politicians who only yell back at people there is a problem, to be held to account for their actual actions.”

        …”Hanson was the first cross bench party to eagerly put up her hand to say that she would support Malcolm Turnbull’s anti-Worker ABCC Bill.
        One Nation who cleverly duped voters into giving their party four seats in the senate are voting for:

        Make illegal to insert into an agreement that they employ apprentices and mature aged workers.
        Make illegal to put Australian workers before Foreign Workers
        Make illegal to negotiate with the company that they use local manufactured building materials on the job.
        Make illegal to have safety officers on the job
        Make illegal to reduce casualised employment on a job”
        “The Australian Building and Construction Commission legislation is pretty intense: It would reverse the onus of proof, remove the right to silence, and allow officials of the ABCC to enter premises without a warrant and demand to know names and addresses.

        The ABCC Bill has already been knocked back in the Senate once, in August last year, with crossbencher Senators Jacqui Lambie, Glenn Lazarus, and Ricky Muir voting against it. In order to get the legislation passed when Parliament returns for a special sitting in April, at least two of those Senators would have to change their minds.”

        “According to Parliamentary Library research I recently commissioned, over a five-year period from 2010-11 to the present day the four big banks—the Commonwealth, NAB, Westpac and ANZ—have donated $2.56 million to the Liberal and National parties. That is why you will not see a banker lose their right to silence or prove their innocence if they are accused of an offence or crime in the finance industry. But if this legislation passes you will see blue-collar workers lose their right to silence and the right to a presumption of innocence while bankers are treated separately.”

        When one claims to be against the “establishment” yet praises the sycophants….cognitive diss…whatever.

      • @Econo-fart

        Scary stuff.

        I think most Australians will still vote for legislation they don’t understand before they would give Labor and Greens power again. It always comes back to what I’ve said for 5 or more years. Everything we are seeing is a result of Greens and Labor both losing control of our borders and their big Australia policies (yeah yeah yeah I know LNP are big Australia too but they’ve tricked the electorate by controlling borders Labor and Greens couldn’t achieve.

        The future for existing Australians is clearly doomed. It’s depressing. We need a party to come forward to look after existing Australians and their offspring. That’s not LNP, Labor or Greens, and it seems it’s not Hanson either.

      • @Econo-fart

        “She then complained how the Prime Minister can get a pay rise, but ordinary Australians are struggling to pay bills and hold a job. In her usual form, she told Australians in her campaign launch this was all the fault of foreigners”

        So it’s not at all the fault of foreigners? Dishonesty all around. Cameron can’t get his ABCC message across because he can’t tell the truth. Labor’s pro migrant position is costing existing Australians everything we’ve got.

  9. People may remember a while ago I posted how I was disputing a slumlord/agent and going to NCAT — for failure to undertake urgent repairs, and subsequent retaliatory eviction. I’m not sure how much information I should divulge here, but I can’t see anything that would work against me and Tribunals are public in nature and recorded anyway — so I figured I would provide an update, as I’m sure some of you would appreciate what a joke the legal system is, and the huge disparity between tenant’s and landlord’s rights..

    We attended the NCAT conciliation process, where the agent basically just piled lie on top of lie, and failed to negotiate. The conciliator played devil’s advocate at times which I appreciated, however I felt she crossed that boundary and was little more than an apologist for the agent at several points (i.e. stating how property managers have little training and
    understanding of legislation, which is NO excuse and NOT my problem).

    At one point, the property manager said she kicked the broken toilet (an urgent repair we are disputing) to see if it would move — and claimed it didn’t. Yes, you read that correctly. Apparently the way property managers determine during an inspection if something reported as broken actually is, is to try and break it further.. I also wasn’t aware property managers are qualified plumbers. Moving along..

    We submitted our evidence for the Hearing, and the respondent (agent on behalf of the landlord) did the same. This is where it gets hairy. We had been applying for other rental properties with other agents, given we were handed a termination notice by the agent which we are claiming is retaliatory in nature.

    As part of their ‘evidence’, the agent submitted rental reference checks they had received from other agents. I’m assuming they will use this in an attempt to say we moved of our own free will. One of the rental reference checks they received from a 3rd party agent includes my occupation and salary details — which they have submitted as evidence.

    So, a third party agent has breached my privacy and forwarded occupation/salary details to the agent acting on behalf of the

    I’m now attempting to raise hell with NCAT regarding this. Mid December, I pointed out to NCAT that this was a serious privacy breach, the agent had no right to obtain, record and use my occupation/salary and it should not be admissible as evidence before the Tribunal Hearing. I also highlighted that personal information containing salary details is irrelevant to the dispute raised.

    Fast forward to yesterday, and after having received no response from NCAT — I follow up with them. Their response is that they had sent my issues/concerns to the other party as ‘correspondence’ over a week earlier! This is not what I requested, and they did NOT notify me of this until I followed up.

    At this point I start digging through legislation and find s64 1c Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013, which states an order can be made ‘prohibiting or restricting the publication of evidence given before the Tribunal, whether in public or in private, or of matters contained in documents lodged with the Tribunal or received in evidence by the Tribunal’.

    I highlight this to NCAT representatives (who are supposed to be quite high up) in an email. The response is that the request for this order cannot be raised until the Hearing in question! So, in order for me to request that a respondent’s evidence (my salary details) be removed and not allowed at the Hearing, I supposedly need to wait until the Hearing in question when it is too late, and the respondent will already be in attendance with said evidence!

    I point out to NCAT that this is a catch 22 and impossible, and that the respondent should not be able to attend a Hearing, which is both public and recorded, and attempt to use my salary as evidence. At one point, NCAT attempt to tell me the conduct of the agent is not relevant to the Tribunal. If the conduct of the agent (breaching privacy) is not relevant to the Tribunal — then given the agent is acting on behalf of the respondent (the landlord), then their ‘evidence’ is also not relevant to the Tribunal as it is outside the scope of the dispute (a residential tenancy agreement). Salary details unlawfully obtained by, and irrelevant to the agent in question and then used as evidence over a tenancy agreement dispute should not be relevant to the Tribunal.

    I continue to receive push back from NCAT and so far they have failed to advise me how to apply for the order in question despite me explicitly asking this in multiple emails. I’ve highlighted that by definition, if I request an order that the respondent’s evidence be removed, then a new Hearing for this request will need to be scheduled before the existing Hearing, and the existing Hearing may need to be rescheduled while a determination is made regarding the admissibility of evidence. No response as of yet.

    For now, I’ve lodged an enquiry with the OAIC, and I’m not sure how to proceed apart from the expensive and arduous process of seeking legal representation on principle alone (and balancing this priority against the $$$ and lost time), and possibly going to Fair Trading — adding the privacy breach on top of all the other screw ups.

    Reading around, it doesn’t appear the legal community have a very favourable opinion of NCAT (or the tribunals or other states for that matter). On one hand, it appears they are able to literally make shit up and operate as a kangaroo court of sorts (e.g. the rules of evidence that apply to courts do not apply, along with other things), yet they have a ridiculously rigid and bureaucratic framework for making requests as an applicant which, as I found is inadequate, inefficient, slow and contradictory.

    Anyway, happy new year.

    • While I completely get what a massive pain in the arse this must be for you, I really respect the fact that you are pursuing this matter through the limited channels available to you. This situation typifies the contemptible way tenants in this country are treated by the law, and many of the businesses involved in the industry. It’s happened to me too in the past, and to my great shame, I have simply submitted to the injustice because of the personal and time costs I couldn’t afford.
      All the very best of luck to you, even if you pull out tomorrow at least you have called the fuckers to account, and whatever happens, by sharing your story, you are helping those who come after you.
      Good luck.

    • Thanks for sharing, this saga is beyond ridiculous and unjust. All the best with it. Shining a spotlight on the disgrace that is the agent, agency and tribunal will hopefully drive change. I also hope the privacy breach at the agent and agency level gives you a legal avenue to smash both these parties. Perhaps their salaries should also be submitted at the tribunal. Again, all the best.

    • I think the real problem you are up against is that the legal/bureaucratic channels you are using to fight this are most likely corrupt. Even if you do make some progress, it may be likely that the RE agents involved will retaliate by placing you on the “Bad Tenant” database. This database could be an urban legend, or it could be real. I wouldn’t put it past the RE people to do something like that. From their point of view, all renters are “deplorables”, and as such do not have any rights. What is worse is that all you have to do is go to the Bank, admit your sins, accept your mortgage and be accepted into the fold. Not doing that makes you worse than a deplorable – it makes you an apostate!

      The sad truth is that being a renter in modern Australia is not socially acceptable. Renters are an underclass. The level of prejudice against other members of our society based on their financial status (conferred by the Financial System) is appalling. The crazy thing here is that popular opinion seems to say this is not a problem, the real problem for Australia is rampant racism.

      Look at the monkey!!

      • Totally agree. As a side note, I also approached the local Tenant’s advocacy service on multiple occasions and was told incorrect information (apparently they’re funded by Fair Trading NSW).. As an example, they tried to convince me it’s not possible to request an order for reduced rent for a previous tenancy agreement. I told them they were wrong, yet they were quite persistent. As soon as I pointed to relevant legislation, they quickly came around after reading the relevant section.

        I think at this stage, the best I can do is drag the respondent through the mud as much as possible. It’s bureaucratic hell, but it seems the only way to get some kind of message across is to drag them through it as well. I am not even sure if I’ll bother with NCAT, as they seem to be an absolute joke from my correspondence with them — at this point, I feel better off approaching Fair Trading and advising I’m seeking legal representation. On one hand, NCAT exists under an extremely rigid framework which comes across as quite impotent and offers limited outcomes (e.g. if you seek an order that your eviction is retaliatory, at most they will let you stay in the property for some indeterminant period of time), yet on the other hand — they are able to operate as a kangaroo court of sorts and make shit up on the spot. So on one hand, they force you to jump through bureaucratic hoops and offer limited to no recourse, yet their legislation allows them plenty of wiggle room to rule as they see fit — even overriding legislation that applies to courts! (see the rules of evidence)

        The system definitely seems stacked and set up in a way to coerce people into a mega mortgage or forever live a life of serfdom as part of an underclass..

        I’ll definitely be requesting a lookup on tenancy databases like TICA. I’m also curious to see what kind of rental reference the agent has given us. I asked for a copy of my completed rental application from another agent as per the Privacy Act and Australian Privacy Principles, and immediately they caught on that I was concerned about my rental reference. In what is perhaps the most obvious example of protection within the industry I’ve seen, they kept trying to steer us away from gaining access to our completed application, and claim the agent had given us a terrific reference.. Hmm.. Depending on what’s on that rental reference, this may set the grounds for defamation — another exercise in mud slinging.

        My record is squeaky clean, but the main concern is that after being backed into a corner they start pushing back..

      • I also forgot to mention — one of the most telling signs of potential corruption (or at least lack of impartiality!) is the way in which NCAT conciliators appear to be little more than apologists for the RE industry. In our case, the conciliator kept attempting to make excuses for the property manager — saying how they are underpaid, undertrained, claiming that they ‘have to follow landlord’s orders’ and that they are likely to rid themselves of problematic landlords who won’t authorise repairs etc (a total furphy, IMO.. I’d imagine agents are climbing over each other to boost the number of properties they manage and maximise their commission — even if this means turning a blind eye to breaches of the lease on their and the landlord’s behalf!)

        I think this will be enough to raise a complaint along with the email correspondence I’ve had with them.

      • The “Bad tenant” Database is not a joke. It exists. BUT- and this is an important BUT- it requires the tenant to “opt in”.

        I’m no longer in the rental market but here’s what happened to me a few years ago.

        I was looking for a new tenancy as I’d been given notice at the old one. Found a place and applied. Got an email back saying I was up for consideration but I would Have To Fill Out This Form Please, which turned out to be a form to join this tenancy database.

        The language used by the form (and the agent) was clever in that superficially it was written to look like a legal requirement to get the tenancy. Fortunately there’s been a bit of stuff in the media about this and I was up to date on my tenancy rights and I said to the agent Thank You But I Value My Privacy and I would not be filling out this form.

        This was a but of a bluff because there was the risk I’d lose the tenancy. The agency gets a nominal sum to put people on the database but not enough to risk losing a good tenant.

        At the moment agents have the upper hand but I would suggest that where possible you resist the coercion to sign onto these databases, which are run by third party arseholes to make money,

      • I can only wish you the success in tilting the windmills.
        I have been slugged by the exiting landlord for terminating the lease on 21 Dec and for daring to ask for rental correction in line with the market.
        Kinda like the David vs. Goliath perhaps I am too old to be fighting the justice, too frugal to be paying $1mil for a shack. Been working on an exit strategy from Australia if homes do not correct in the next 2ish years.

        Why “Tilting at windmills”?
        Perhaps watched too much legal drama lately, there is a legal strategy “by exhaustion” that is in use by RE agents and frankly they could have ask for a blowjob with every application in the last teen years and there would be scores of applicants lining up – hence the attitude.
        I am sceptic that even if you win your case, you would have lost time, energy and life – and little or no legacy will stem from it. Until laws are changed and a dedicated ombudsman or similar is set, I find the fight to be futile. I’ve set my life to be mobile at short notice, have Ikea furniture not to worry for damage and will move at low threshold. Far from perfect but the only way to have anything resembling upper hand.
        Still, I do wish you all the luck and admire the stamina.

        If tide ever changes, I will invest all my spare time to fook the RE agents during inspections for sale, for rent etc.

    • I know this will sound heartless but, have you ever heard the phrase Victim Mentality
      From my reading of your posts, you fit the profile perfectly, misfortune seems to follow you, yet you seem unable to recognize the critical role that you yourself play in the evolution of your problems.
      I know I’ve been a landlord of a property that barely covered costs (as in it was positively geared) yet even in this positive geared state I hated the demands from tenants to fix things that they considered imperfect. Truth be told there just wasn’t that much money in it, and it simply wasn’t worth the hassle of trying to please a tenant that was unhappy.
      In Australia, from what I can gather, the typical rental property is “negatively geared” so I can’t imagine how pissed the landlord feels when they get a Tenant that makes what they consider to be unreasonable demands. Now I’m not defending the landlord just recognizing the systems constraints, in a way I see that you are failing to recognize the constraints of the system. The Mediators are well aware of the reality of these system constraints so they are motivated to find solutions that minimize the landlords expenses …you see this as illegal…I see it as reality. If they fail to minimize landlord costs than it follows that there will be even less people willing to rent houses and that this will exacerbate an already critical supply imbalance for house rental availability. Mediators are in a no win situation as are the real estate agents working with rentals.

      • So you read a couple of my posts, know nothing else about me and decided I’m a ‘victim’? How delightfully cute of you! Adorable!

        As with other posts of yours (I’m a long time lurker), I’ve noticed a theme of deflection and failing to reasonably address any of the points made. It’s little more than piss-poor excuse making and apologetics. If landlords are unable to cover costs, then housing is a bad investment. PERIOD. Hell, we might even see a shift from houses for rent to houses for sale and improved affordability. For now, we get to enjoy slumlords chasing capital gains, but unable to undertake basic repairs.. The same slumlords who will be squealing like little piggies if/when it all turns to shit.

        It’s absurd to expect to be able to pass on the costs to tenants and fail to adhere to a basic residential tenancy agreement.

        In my case, as I’ve already mentioned, the repairs were urgent.. We’re talking broken toilet system, dangerous electrical wiring, etc.. Expecting a landlord to abide by a basic residential tenancy agreement and undertake urgent repairs is hardly an unreasonable demand.

        In what way am I failing to recognise the constraints of the system? Being ‘motivated to find solutions that minimize the landlords expenses’ should not include constant breaching of a residential tenancy agreement. It’s pretty simple, really — there’s no reason to obfuscate. And yes, you are in essence defending the landlord by engaging in ridiculous apologetics and deflecting.

        Yes, I do see it as illegal — because it is. End of story, no excuses. Next.

      • That is all very well, however if there is a Victim Mentality, there is also an Exploiter Mentality as the other side of the coin. The problem really is that we have allowed what should be a minor feature of our society (finding a place to live) to be turned into something that is ugly, verging on an obscenity. Either option of a large mortgage or a landlord is very unpleasant – both have the power to control you.

        Your comment, CB, comes naturally to a man sitting on a 6 foot high bale of cash. Pragmatism, positive thinking. It is actually the very same argument produced by our previous Treasurer Joe Hockey – who advised people to just get a better job. Once you get to a certain level of wealth, the problems of Banks and renting and mortgages just seem like an unpleasant affliction of the poor – the deplorables. Poor people drink, take drugs, are too lazy to work, rent, and don’t drive much. Their “betters” like the Bank CEOs are paragons of virtue who are doing God’s Work.

        You do have to ask, if dealing with deplorable renters is such a dirty business, why do they do it? For any reasonable person with a conscience, taking control of the life of another person – or more often a family – should weigh heavy on their mind. There is an answer to this. Historically the role of the Landlord has always been a tricky business. Renting houses is a neccessity, even if it is ugly. The traditional role of the Landlord has mostly been as a necessary villain. A bit like pimps and prostitutes – tolerated but relegated to the fringes of society with the occasional extra judicial eviction of their black souls from their carcass. One of the most alarming innovations of financialisation has been the outsourcing of the Landlord to an intermediate group – the Real Estate Agencies – which are a de facto arm of the Financial System. This has been a bad thing, as it effectively “disinfects” the property owners from the social stigma of being a Landlord. In most Sydney suburbs (inner west at least) there is a slum-lord who owns up to hundreds of properties. In Gladesville I believe there is a Chinese Doctor who owns well over 100 properties – mostly run down dumps. Similar in Marrickville. By rights these people should be the most despised and hated people in our society, but instead they are invisible, fronted by Real Estate agencies manned by Bright Young Things and with car parks full of BMWs and Mercs.

        We should not have let things get this out of hand. If our economy was a roaring success, if our factories were humming along, if we had a CSIRO popping out new ideas, if our society was fresh and innovative – THEN we could say that giving it all to the FIRE sector was the right, pragmatic thing to do. None of those things are true. Instead we have built a society where the approved way to get ahead is by putting your boot on the other man’s neck.

      • Dont get me wrong NSW in general and Sydney in particular have a huge demand supply imbalance for available housing, especially rental housing suitable for a larger family. Prices to both rent and buy reflect this imbalance so a system is evolving that delivers what is available for the lowest cost point.

        If you just want to make repair demands so that you can see your landlord jump, then move to Perth, landlords are jumping through hoops to keep tenants happy in Perth, if the tenant isnt happy than everyone knows there are plenty of vacant rental units (again less so with houses) so landlords are very proactive especially during this transition period while rents are trending down. No one wants to give a tenant reason to seek a reduction in rents, from what I hear atm Perth landlords are very good landlords.

        Sydney’s supply demand imbalance can only be addressed through the construction of additional suitable houses or through reduced demand…nothing else actually addresses the problem.

        As for the legal system, it’s all well and good to make laws, however laws that only reduce the availability of supply rarely result in real world system wide cost reductions, matter of fact they tend to achieve exactly the opposite. The landlord that decides that tenants are too big a pain might simply prefer to lock up the house and keep it vacant this action only reduces the supply available. As a result there are no real solutions to be found by legally compelling anyone to do anything, you simply can’t compel a businessman to make an ongoing loss they’ll get sick of that and move on to the next investment. That’s why the real problem is with supply, if you want to fix this problem than there are three things you actually need to do : build, build and build.

      • @DM OK lets talk specifics. You mention one landlord that owns 100 houses in Gladesville. I know this part of Sydney very well, so I can guess that most of his/her properties are either per WW2 brick homes or post WW2 Fibro houses. Nobody expects these houses to still be there in 10 years but it’s entirely possible that they will still be there because it’s proving so profitable for owners to just hang onto their properties.
        In an ideal world this landlord would be able to subdivide each of these lots (mostly lots of about 1000sqm) but subdivision isn’t that straight forward (local councils dragging their feet and lots of NIMBY’s) the landlords would be knocking down these older houses (that they dont wish to properly repair) and building two or even three smaller townhomes on the lots. They cant do this so they speculate…simple as that really.

        PS just out of interest: Do you honestly believe that I’d be unable to find and carve out a valuable niche for myself without relying on my wealth or existing contacts? I don’t believe that that position recognizes the technical skills that I can bring to the table and the opportunities that I can create for myself with said technical skills.

      • Thats not victim mentality. Quite the opposite, being proactive and standing for his rights.
        And yes I have been landlord, renting my beautiful home In Northbridge to people who paid 1% and showed their resentment by constant small damages.

      • Oh wow, that’s quite rich China-Bob, victim mentality seriously? I don’t know how you came to that conclusion — sorry you do not make any sense at all in what you wrote and how it connects to Zara’s story. I am only hoping you wrote it a post celebration hungover stupor.

      • @CB

        “PS just out of interest: Do you honestly believe that I’d be unable to find and carve out a valuable niche for myself without relying on my wealth or existing contacts? I don’t believe that that position recognizes the technical skills that I can bring to the table and the opportunities that I can create for myself with said technical skills.”

        I think you missed the point. I wasn’t saying that you had an advantage – except perhaps winning the genetic lottery. What I was saying is that for someone who has skills/abilities/wealth it is easy to see other peoples struggles as their own fault. Whether it is via privilege or skills, you don’t have to live under the boot of a petty landlord. Other people do. Have you ever ever heard the quote “There go I, but for the grace of God”? You can have all the technical skills in the world, but without some other key traits you will be a water carrier all your life. It’s a fine line.

        Humility is the first casualty of success. Hubris is a common feature of human nature, so nothing new there. Have a look at any of our elites. Mark Bouris, Ian Narev, Gail Kelly … every one of them believes they are exceptional, superior, deserving. They live in fine houses, they preen themselves, they have exceptional children. They deserve it all because they are exceptional. That is why they forgive themselves for doing vile things to their inferiors. By and large, exceptional people don’t have a great track record.

        As for the slum lords getting a pass based on economic rationalism, well rats are pragmatic and economically rational, but they are still rats. I know its too much to hope for, but perhaps if a few of our exceptional members of society could aspire to something a little more than being pragmatic rats then we might have a better future.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        PS just out of interest: Do you honestly believe that I’d be unable to find and carve out a valuable niche for myself without relying on my wealth or existing contacts?

        I don’t believe that that position recognizes the technical skills that I can bring to the table and the opportunities that I can create for myself with said technical skills.”

        Jesus Bob!!,…Pack the ego away fella.
        We’ve all read your stuff and going by that, you seem to have accomplished more than most,…good boy,…pat on the head for you.

        But dude, do you really think that a world, without you and other “Hank Rearden types”, would collapse and have us longing for your return to save us all??
        Sorry to burst your bubble brother, but im sure we’d all be just fine if “you lot” moved to Gaults Gulch.

        Many think Ayn Rand was a psychopath Bob,
        What do you think.

        “psychopathy should be considered as part of a spectrum of pathological narcissism, that would range from narcissistic personality on the low end, malignant narcissism in the middle, and psychopathy at the high end.[20] However, narcissism is generally seen as only one possible aspect of psychopathy as broadly defined.

        Psychopathy, narcissism and Machiavellianism, three personality traits that are together referred to as the dark triad, share certain characteristics, such as a callous-manipulative interpersonal style. The dark tetrad refers to these traits with the addition of sadism.”

      • @EP wrt myself I wasn’t bragging, I was simply saying that whereas one person (new Eng graduate) looks at an Electricity utility industry that’s undergoing massive change and says’s: Where’s my job?…I’ve studies hard where’s my reward?…an understandable response BUT to be honest it’s the response of someone that can’t see the Forest for the Trees. The traditional employers (of Power Systems graduates) are not hiring because their businesses are starting to contract, they’re trying to make sense of the changes that both Politics and Technology are thrusting upon this once staid industry. Atm the sector itself is incredibly exciting, probably the most interesting area in all of Electrical Engineering but it’s not traditional employers that are hiring. That’s all I was saying
        IMHO all that any new Engineering graduate can pray for is exciting opportunities oh and maybe the vision thingy to be able to see the opportunities that are right in front of them. As for Full time permanent employment in today’s world …yeah good luck with that.
        Just for clarification we’re both (myself and the young eng graduate below) looking at the same market, both looking at the same facts, however where I see endless opportunity he sees uncertainty, where I move aggressively he moves pensively….it’s the very same market ..these opportunities exist for him….from my perspective he just needs his eyes pried open.

      • @DM there go I but for the grace of God
        Sometimes I do wonder about this, life has dealt me some really shitty hands and some really good hands, but for sure on balance they’ve been good hands. Would I see things differently if on balance they’d been shitty hands? Interesting hypothetical, however one that I obviously can’t answer.
        Deep down I do believe that some people just find a way to be “wronged” by life and it’s sad because they end up constructing a life where things just go wrong, I’m not sure what you can do about it, you find these same people in Autocratic systems, Socialist systems and full on capitalist systems, they’re existence is the only constant, that and the fact that they’ve been wronged. Maybe it all comes down to Genetics or maybe Environment, the old Nature vs Nurture argument…afraid I can’t help with that one, I suspect the intractable nature of the question accounts for the invention of most god’s.

      • CB,
        Something doesn’t gel here. Your opinions aren’t really consistent with those of a really successful person. Why do I say that?
        Because from experience and observation, it is pretty much impossible to be really successful in business and not understand how unfair the playing field is. In fact I would say it’s a pre-requisite of success to understand the playing field is rigged. Any entrepreneurial person believing reality conforms to a meritocratic science fiction novel would soon find themselves broke.
        However, while business success not only brings undeserved reward, it also brings a need to feel good about it. Deep down the successful know they are undeserving. Thus the meritocratic story telling. As I said though, deep down they know it is BS, and if for one second were to convince themselves otherwise, they would soon rejoin the ranks of the proles.
        Also your point about landlord costs is wrong. If residential lease obligations on landlords were actually enforced in this country it wouldn’t alter the demand/supply equation at all. It would lower the expected returns at current market prices. To get back to the required returns house prices would need to fall. ie. affordability would improve.
        Basic lesson – anything which hurts landlords benefits society.

      • That is why we have crowd funding. Imagine if people who didn’t like his plan could donate a one dollar coin that he had to swallow. I am thinking that at about fifty he would begin to seriously contemplate the hereafter. Sadly, thoughts like that belong in a more civilised age.

      • That story has made one of the Chinese language Australian news official wechat accounts that I follow.

  10. armchair economist

    Reading the comments are really interesting. I suggest creating a separate networking channel piggybacking the readership just as you have leveraged it to launch a vampire squid fund.

      • armchair economist

        They serve’em up sashimi style a la shanghai style…..whole on a plate for you to cut up, skin and eat….no sauce either

      • My wife is from Shanghai so this makes a lot of sense. I’ll stick with my steaks and Salmon/Tuna….

      • yeah Shanghais do seem to have some decorum but in the Shenzhen and Guangzhou area the joke in Taiwan is they will eat anything from the shit falling from planes at 27000 feet to grubs at 100ft below the ground, and hey its all protein right

  11. At 2:00pm Dec 31st 2016 a rumour appeared on WeChat from a “news source” in a Beijing university that reporting level (ie transaction level above which the central authorities are notified) for outbound USD transfers has dropped from 200,000RMD (roughly USD$29,000 at today’s offshore rate) to 50,000RMB (roughly USD$7200). They did not mention limit changes.

    • Nothing to worry about there! Just bringing the PboC in line with the rest of us. Just try taking cash over $9,999 out of your Aussie/Kiwi bank account and wait for bank store officers to come at you with metaphorical rubber truncheons to beat out of you “what are you going to do with that, then?!”

      • Janet I had that experience with the NAB a few years ago. Asked for a 30K transfer to my credit union… 5 days they said. big four to big four used take a couple minutes years go.
        So I said I will take it in cash, and deposit it in my account from the Post Office.
        I was treated as an improper low class person wanting to do something very wrong and shameful loudly across the bank by the manager and called ‘she’ in front of a bank full of customers. Finally he sneered tell ‘er to come back at closing and give ‘er 5000. So I went to 5 other NABS and got the money then came back for the last 5K, they freaked again about me walking around the corner to the Post Office. They were bewildered that I would do that, be so low, to lack self respect, to do something so unseemly. Weird.
        They insisted I be escorted round the corner by a young teller where I deposited the 30K in the Post Office.
        All in all a great experience.

    • At 9pm a senior official we know confirmed chages are coming but nothing has officially been announced. Wechat is still reporting limit has dropped to 50,000rmb but cap drop to 10k was rebuffed. This is so much fun, Wechat in crisis is hilarious ?

      • The Traveling Wilbur

        Much the same as one on MB. But takes less time to resolve and involves less viagra and digitalis.

        Happy new year!

      • Thx for all your updates OJ. This one re $10k and the other regarding the agent (I don’t think you’ve named names but please please please be MT from BD) are particularly exciting!


      This is what was told to Bloomberg. Note that the PBoC said the scrutiny limit had been reduced to USD$28,800 starting July 1. Timestamp puts this after midnight Beijing time, so I think it is consistent. We spoke to other bank sources around 4:00 pm yesterday (“WeChat is hotting up – Bank of China post saying changes effective in June to lower limits, other sites have limit at USD$10,000 tomorrow, wife’s sources confirm the $10K limit and lower threshold for approvals.”) where limit USD$10k was for bank scrutiny for currency transfers. BoC and our senior Official friend both highlighted mid-year for major change and offical word came about 5 hours later. It is reassuring that our sources in China are proving once again that they are reliable….

      On the surface, this is not a major change to the western eye. But looking at the intent, this “The State Administration of Foreign Exchange will require extra documentation for people seeking to sell yuan from Jan. 1” is a major change and will slow down currency transfers. Chinese frontline bank officials do not make decisions. They will push this to their managers to approve. The managers do not want be the one to approve a fake document (see all the Chinese press on forged bank guarantees etc recently) so they will push it higher and higher. Pop can confirm this aspect of Chinese business – gets very annoying. The question we have been asking the BoC is what is considered as acceptable extra documentation given this starts today… They did not know 🙂

      • So who wants me to brave 500+ pollution and ride cautiously through the gray miasma that tries to pass for air to the nearest Bank of China to change another piddling USD500 and report back on what happens? I had planned on staying indoors taking vitamin d and chlorella tablets where my air filters are not working as well as I’d like (AQI in apartment between 150-200), but I can dice with death and shorten my miserable life by 10 days, all for the greater good!

      • @Pop – buy a bottle of Blue Mountains.. ha ha
        Seriously, if not too dangerous could you please try so we find out what is going on.

      • @Popcod

        I do! Either wear a mask or just hold your breath long enough to, as Nikola said, get some Blue Mountains…with your $US of course…I can’t see them exchanging such a kwality product for any old devaluing currency!

      • @Nikola & Antony, sorry guys but it was an apocalyptic 600+ yesterday. That is stay in bed with 3 air purifiers in the bedroom type conditions, masks don’t help for too long in that stuff (after the red alert in Dec it took my lungs 2 weeks to recover from what felt like 50% lung capacity to 75%, I’ve never lost that much lung function and usually it only takes 2 days to get back to normal, so I’m being careful). I went today but the banks are closed. I’ll be going tomorrow (first day of the working year) and I’ll post updates until I get my savings converted.

        FYI Dec 31 money changing stats as follows: 90 minute wait, received 5 crisp $100 bills, cost RMB3483.6, was asked to supply electronic feedback on teller performance (gave her satisfied, not her fault I waited 90 bloody minutes) and I overheard some Chinese being served needing to do stuff with Australia.

        Dec 21, RMB3485.6
        Dec 23 RMB3,485.6
        Dec 26 RMB3,484.85
        Dec 30 RMB3,485.1
        That’s this years money changing saga so far. Why am I bothering to do this? I can only legally change USD500 per day. When I carry my dosh out, if I get asked about it (hasn’t happened in the past few years but you never know) I need the papers to show I obtained it legally. I could go to the black market, but I’d prefer not to. I’m aware changing money at the Bank of China is not guarantee of legit notes, a friend got given 2 fake 100 bills last year.

  12. What asset allocation are we starting the yr with kids.
    Seems conservative usd style investments are likely favored, yet is it worth leveraging this type of portfolio?

    • armchair economist

      Long financials & utilities & other necessities equities, short oil, healthcare, sell out of USD while its still burning hot. Buy EM when they hit rock bottom mid 2017

    • His grandchild’s face expresses the nation’s mood: just did a dump and now he has to clean it up.

      LNP PR always gets a space in Murdoch media. So cosy in its smugness.

    • “And a future that is not weighed down by a mountain of debt.”

      Haha.. Pull the other one! So, how about that Senate Inquiry into housing affordability that made no recommendations and was quietly shelved?

      Not only is Malcolm incapable of doing anything, he can’t even spruik.

      A more wordy ‘jobs & growth’ and ‘death cult’, but equally as empty.

      At least the three word slogans from Tones cut through the BS waffle and wasted less time?

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      Geez, that was inspiring. Especially the little bit that wasn’t about fear and loathing. Umm, actually that little bit wasn’t inspiring either.

      So, why did he bother? Is it in his contract that he must release a Xmas and NY message? That should change. At least our Tony was unintentionally funny. This bloke is just beige. Bet he wears beige chinos everywhere.

  13. His grandchild’s face expresses the nation’s mood: just did a dump and now he has to clean it up.

    LNP PR always gets a space in Murdoch media. So cosy in its smugness.

  14. Welcome to 2017…and for a cheery start…..

    The future of The Resistance is not lone bloggers making the same points over and over again: if it is to be anything, it will be firm affiliations of objective fact-hounds who between them can provide a portal for open minds with practical solutions….not closed ranks of backward-looking ideologists. I have a sense these days that blogging per se has had its nadir, and is now quietly fading away… if minds are more tightly closed than a clam (with a brain in there to match) then victory over the Darkness is impossible.

  15. Just spotted this one on Linked In:

    As someone with an Engineering degree, particularly in a discipline (Software) existing under the broad banner of IT which has been absolutely smashed by importing workers — this makes me livid.

    Engineers Australia — just another hopelessly compromised vested interest.

    • Hah…

      Do they still hold this position? And why wasn’t it mentioned in the brisbane times article above?

      If they wish for skilled migration to buffer against and moderate boom/bust cycles — surely they should still be advocating that the requirements for labour market testing be increased to absorb excess local labour supply before addressing any supposed skills shortage?

      I could give less of a shit about being ‘accredited’ through Engineers Australia now..

    • It’s comments like this that always cause me concern, I sit here wondering just what our Engineering schools are actually teaching their students. They’re certainly not covering the reality of employment within a cyclical business. Are our Uni’s preparing their Engineering students to recognize and seize the opportunities that change creates?
      Change is the greatest employment generator known to man, think about change for just one minute and you’ll realize that employment can never remain static when the industry it serves is undergoing massive change. The incumbent is always stuck with a bloated balance sheet and a an unproductive workforce, rules, regulations, meetings, meetings about meetings, 5 point plans, 5 year plans, plans about plans. The real games start when some twenty something external accountant raises an eyebrow about your asset valuations, how much are those poles and wires really worth? what are they worth in a growing industry? what are they worth in a contracting industry? Hmmm if your situation wasn’t bad enough you’ll now have Asset write-downs to declare, of course you can’t simply write down the corresponding debts, so the holes in your balance sheet quickly begin to mirror the holes in your revenue statement. Put bluntly, it sucks to be the CEO of as incumbent that’s suddenly facing change, everything that you try to do fails and with each failure your chances of success diminish rapidly. As the CEO you can see where you need to position your company but it’s just not possible to get there, bit like the Tourist that asks the drunk Irishman, How do I get to Dublin? Dublin: he answers, if I wanted to get to Dublin I wouldn’t start from here.

      OK so what has this got to do with the employment of Engineering Graduates?
      Well a lot actually, In the article we have a young Engineer that studied Power Systems and is trying to find employment within a sector that’s entering a death spiral. I can tell you one thing for a fact most of the new graduate employment opportunities wont be within the confines of the dying Incumbent. They’re too busy planning meetings to actually do the work. This young engineer needs to become the vector of change, there is so much opportunity within this sector he’s just looking in the wrong place.
      Microgrids WILL be created, microgrids will need to be managed, solutions, software, hardware, manhours all absolutely required, these jobs just wont be within the incumbent power businesses. There’ll be new companies with fantastic products that need local representation / installation. Think about Tesla Power-Walls, they’re a great idea but they’re only half the solution they need to be integrated into homes and businesses. Similar thing wrt PV Solar, to date most of the sector has been restricted to Residential and solar-farms but the market is rapidly shifting to factories, malls and small office environments. Lots of opportunities for the seamless integration of PV, Grid and Storage, just look at the Electricity contracts that many small / medium sized businesses are forced to sign the penalties for exceeding some Peak usage point often exceeds their actual Electricity usage for the month. Lot’s of business opportunities, not a lot of solutions, in my world view that equals employment for anyone with half a brain….it’s worrying if today’s Engineering graduates fail this final test.

    • Quote “Engineers Australia — just another hopelessly compromised vested interest”.
      They are a odd mob, the group has been for years heavily influenced by members connected at the executive level with peak engineering employer groups, big consultants like Worley Parsons etc..
      They might say they don’t make any profit from migration skills assessments by as you can see from their website, it seems to be a important part of their operations which they’d be reluctant to surrender. Go look on linkedin to see how many people they employ to manage their skills assessment business, for imports and local members .
      They also have developed the term “Continuing Professional Development” and heavily spruiked to members as a guaranteed money tree for funded their organisation.

      • Failed Baby BoomerMEMBER

        The “Continuing Professional Development” has been vigorously enforced by IEAust through audits. Most of the courses available are useless – sort of general management and skills. There are very few useful post-graduate technical courses.

      • Failed Baby Boomer, I have a more than few engineers where I work. They do all these courses as described above but they do add value to their day to day work? deliver efficiencies to their employers? Answer – NO.
        I’m forever trying to eliminate highly conservative designs and gold plating to engineering with the EPC contractor where I work who undertakes hard dollar tendering, the aim of many of these guys and the big consultants we hire, is to cover their ass, load the design up (very conservative designs), and just pass the costs on to the client and hope that the client does not notice. There are exceptions of course and unfortunately the exceptions are getting rare as hens teeth having graduated 30 to 40 years ago.

    • Yep. And I am not sure if Shorten will stop the 457 visa rort.

      For Gillard gave 457 visas to KFC and truck drivers!

      What an absolute joke!

      There has to be net zero immigration for the next 10 years and there has to be a $50k/year tax on each 457 visa to guarantee that it is cheaper to hire an Aussie/Kiwi instead of a 457 visa worker who just happens to have a 3rd world passport.


    Libs will still claim to be ugly. Anyway, if we install these devices on top of each buss station, train station (multiple devices), street light poles, house (if not loud).. Apparently ancient Persian technology.

    • Re the last link, have a read of Paul Ormerod’s ‘Death of Economics’, the title is misleading but explores the problems and failings behind theroetical and mathematical economics. Also J.K. Galbraith’s ‘A Short History of Financial Euphoria’ is as pertanant as ever.

    • A big problem with Economics is that it claims to be technical with complex mathematics, but in fact the maths that it uses is a fuzzy mish-mash of things from the 19th century and beyond. To some extent, the maths jargon is a smoke screen for the very real problem that complex systems – like economies, money and other natural systems – currently are not well understood.

      Much of the classical mathematics from the past was developed to study mechanical systems like planetary motion, ballistics, mass-spring behaviour, resonance, dynamic systems. This mathematics has been very useful, but it doesn’t work in complex systems – like computers and information networks. How do you think you would go trying to explain a computer program as a mass-spring- damper system? Explain your ISP server farm using orbital mechanics? Silly, isn’t it?

      Here is a very simple example of strange ideas in economics. The idea of “cycles” is well entrenched in economic thinking. Have you ever seen an economist explain the theoretical basis of repeating cycles? Well, in classical mechanics, “cycles” are inherent in dynamic systems and usually involve the cycling of energy from from one form to another. Capacitors and inductors swap magnetic field energy for electric field energy in an orderly way. Mass Spring systems swap kinetic energy for potential energy. The mathematics of these systems has been working well for over a hundred years, which is a good thing if prefer your A380 not to fall out of the sky.

      So … have you seen a business cycle analysed this way? If economists could build a lumped element model of the economy (which would presume that it is a linear dynamic system), then they would be able to predict what happens. They would all have known exactly when the GFC was about to hit and insert dampers to correct it. That is what an engineer would do. Have a look for yourself and see how many simple mass-spring resonators you can find in our economy.

      Computer systems can do cycles. How do they work? Well, the other way to make systems do “cycles” is by making a Finite State Machine. In this nonlinear example, the system moves between a number of discrete states, and the states just happen to form a ring. A->B->C->D->E->F->A That will appear to be a “cycle” however it does not require any of the constraints of the mechanical models. So, lets say that “Cycles” in economics are actually State loops in a complex system. If that is true, then economists would be spending a lot of time making state maps of important economic cycles. There would be endless discussions on identifying states and sequences. Maybe I don’t know where to look, but this doesn’t seem to be mainstream economics. The closest thing I can see is that many financial analysts look for patterns and shapes in the plotted charts. This appears to be an ad hoc form of state analysis although I don’t know if this is the accepted explanation.

      In a somewhat related theme, nobody really understands how the brain works. Over time, the model of how a brain works has changed to reflect current thinking, and it has always been wrong. The ancients saw it as infused with divine spirit, later it was an homunculus, then a clockwork engine, then a hydraulic machine, telephone switchboard, electronic computer, neural net, quantum device. We explain things we don’t understand with common models.

    • Thanks Econo-fart. That discussion between Chomsky and Varoufakis was well worth an hour and one half of my time. Varoufakis in particular provided a great insight into the modus operandi of EU decision makers. And much more besides. Essential viewing in my opinion.

    • Well when people pay (borrow) a million bucks for their home they don’t expect ghetto life! 😉


        Well put Andy! Can’t wait to observe how bizarre things get when prices double again. The ‘buy at all costs’ propaganda is still very cunning and effective up and down the east coast. Most, if not all, will have a buyer’s remorse that will surface regularly and instead of dealing with ‘that’, it’s easier to go full aggro on fellow citizens. Coming to terms with spending (borrowing) >$1.0m for a residence that is so ridiculously beyond ‘value’ on the world’s RE market will never be done rationally-it’s only possible emotionally. I also note the courtesy of drivers and usually the first thought is these folks are wound tighter than the high E on my piano. ‘Plink’ is the sound of annoyance.

      • I was recently in Chadstone Car Park over Christmas, in the disabled parking spot was a big flash Rolls Royce, I checked the windscreen for the handicap sign or something to indicate they were entitled to park there. Guess what? Nothing.. nada zip, I said to my partner I can’t believe the audacity of some folks and the sense of entitlement, it really mad me mad. Just because of their feeling of superiority (that’s what doing that said to me). I felt so mad I actually considered keying the car or deflating their tyres. Of course I didn’t, but the sudden urge to do it ran through my mind.

        If it was some shit old Toyota Camry I probably would have cared less, but it was the fact it was some grandiose luxury car that really tickled me the wrong way.

        I also can’t help but think that rising asset prices (mainly housing) is giving half the population a sense of superiority and smugness that they are clever and everyone else is just poor because they are not smart. When I see million dollar blocks of land with modest housing being smashed down to build some mega mansion of tacky proportions and a flash new Mercedes SUV parked in the drive. I wonder, where is all this money coming from? Then I remember it comes from the expectation that in a few years someone else will come along and buy the same asset for 200-300k more than what they paid for it.

        When the madness ends I don’t know..

      • Gavin, you’ve got to have some sympathy for the owner of the rolls, given the way property prices have gone up they can no longer boast or be accused of having a car worth more then a house.

  17. stop the stoats

    A MELBOURNE landlord has been blasted online after a tenant revealed he had installed a coin-operated toilet in the house, requiring the tenants to pay per flush.
    That’s right, the stingy landlord and owner of an apartment property in Thornbury has reportedly equipped the toilet with a mechanism that means residents have to pay $1 to flush the dunny.
    Unsure about the legality of such a contraption, the tenant posted the story on forum-based social media website reddit to ask the community if the landlord was allowed to do this.
    “I understand in our laundry having to pay for the communal washing machine. But I pay the water bill that goes into my apartment,” the tenant wrote.
    “[The landlord] said it was a government incentive to save water. But then why does he get to collect the money?”
    As you might expect, the tenant said it makes it very awkward to entertain guests.
    “The worst thing is not having any dollar coins on hand. Especially when I have guests over. It’s really embarrassing and gross for them.”
    Such is the ridiculousness of coin-operated toilet that the post was initially removed because reddit moderators on the Melbourne subreddit didn’t believe the story was true.
    But the tenant has since posted proof of the situation by sharing a picture of the toilet and the post has been republished.

    • I remember Thatcher had coin operated TVs in UK public housing slums in the 80s. This is even more extreme! What if you have diarrhea say, 10 bowel movements a day and run out of small change? Is it coin operated just to flush? Or does it detect turds? Perhaps get some buckets and save the laundry rinse and use that to flush by pouring the bucket of laundry rinse in the toilet and go by the rule, if it is yellow let it mellow. If it is brown flush it down. This is madness. Where does the money go? Obviously the landlord has to empty out the safe in which the coins end up after they are put in the slot. Does he do this once a month? Man this is rent-seeker cray cray. It cannot be legal.

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      This is clearly a bullshit story.

      That cistern and flush pipe is old and there is no way you could retro fit coin op flush mechanism on the side,… and even if you could,…as if the landlord is gona fork out $300 to a Plumber to fit it,…esp when the tenant is paying for the water usage anyway.

      Come on guys wake up,… most of the Journos are on holidays and some junior has plucked this one up from facebook.

    • This must relate to the article above where people put a sign on their bin asking others to stop putting poo in their bin.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      Just another #fakenews to make renters look like an underclass having to pay to pee.

      Methinks there’s quite a few tales out there to distract from the #centelinkfail debacle. Now there’s a story gaining legs.

      • It will be interesting to see if the Centrelink saga gets some momentum. The problem is that the Murdoch media doesn’t care. I think that everyone affected should march down to their local MP’s office to complain.

    20m podcast on Steve Keen’s outlook for year ahead. Possibility of Australia having the lowest reserve bank rates in the world with a trashed AUD should get all the property types excited for cheaper debt / higher prices, along with bargain prices for foreigners to outbid locals on a place to live. Happy 2017!

    • I would have thought a falling $A would make Australian property less attractive to overseas interests as any capital gains would be offset by the poorer exchange rate when they came to sell. Additionally the prospect of the lowest rates in the world that Prof Keen talks about would seem to make capital flight more likely.

      • Anthony and Andy – I think you are only looking at the FOREX impact and assuming these buyers will be around and able to chose to buy between Oz, Canadian, US RE.. Most of these foreign buyers are Chinese and there are lot of developments happening in China around stopping USDs going out the door. See OJ’s and others comments up/down this blog and you will see China is going to turn the tap off this year – they have no choice.

    • As I listened to SK discuss Australia having lower interest rates than the US, I could not help but think of our CAD and the need to attract funds to continue supporting this. If as he suggested the RBA continues to drop interest rates to below the US levels, what incentive will there be for foreign money to flow to Australia anymore? I can get a better return in the US and more likely a higher real return as the USD would be expected to rise as funds move there (looking at 2017 only). Thus if the RBA does drop as he discussed, selling pressure would be expected to mount on the AUD as other currencies come into favour, reducing the AUDUSD and in effect forcing the RBA to raise rates to attract necessary offshore funding. Now why would a foreign buyer want to buy here unless their currency is dropping more than the AUD? Surely it makes more sense to move to the US market and play the currency hedge/Trump reinflation boom?

      So this was one piece of SK’s comments I was unsure on. I can see the RBA lowering, but they are rapidly approaching the floor. This is highly likely to spur the locals into another debt load up at historical lows but I suspect the volume of sales will be lower still. If SK is correct on a recession, then there would be a counter to this debt run-up with the start of a credit crunch to reduce banks risk exposure. Even a reduction of reserve ratios would do little to help as cost of borrowing would be impacted by the reduced premium in Australia vs the US. Big unknown is the foreign buyers. Until the Government removes the current sale restrictions and the banks relax lending on foreign income, this party looks like it will wind down. Government holds the keys here and it will be up to them to kick this can by relaxing foreign ownership rules.

      • “This is highly likely to spur the locals into another debt load up at historical lows but I suspect the volume of sales will be lower still.”
        The Herd will rush to the banks to borrow moar but I think this time around the banks will start to require larger deposits and will probably tighten borrowing rules – I think banks will be making sure all new borrowers be able to meet repayments in an event RBA pushes rates up to 2%-2.5%. I am sure our banks can see the trend – but then again these are She’ll be Right Mate banks.
        Only problem is existing borrowers (most of them in my opinion) are not able to withstand >2% RBA rate. I will not be surprised if our banks decide to reduce their margins/profit in order to avoid total market meltdown.
        So you are right volumes will be lower.
        Top that with China slowing down the of-the-plan Herd with new $10k-$20k limit which will also trigger YUUUGE surge in For Lease apartments coming to market. If China continues to slow down, lot of Chinese will start looking for additional income and forget traditions so even apartments that are fully paid for may go on the For Lease market.

        2017 may become the one few of us have been waiting for.

      • @ Nikola

        “2017 may become the one few of us have been waiting for.”

        I’m banking on it, largely for the reasons you & OJ talk about.

    • In terms of interest rates I am particularly interested in how the RBA will balance their decisions (to hold/slash/raise) against their “official” role vs their personal ability to walk down the street safely. The over-leveraged are going to be looking everywhere but the mirror if/when TSHTF *and* their mortgage rate rises, especially if/when their “asset” which was once priced at 3x fair value reverts to fair value (or below!).

  19. Mr Modhi sure picked his time to throw a spanner in the works in India

    Talk about building a brick wall to bash your head against. Ret Gen. Michael Flynn will have a field day with the political opposition with this new agency.

    He is just as interested in internal security as external. The snowflakes are right to be scared, the draft will be back on the table and they will be first in the draw.

    • It’s like what my public service mates say when they’re asked to do a report then management hire a consultant at great expense to validate the report. It’s the default setting now: 457 workers first, locals second. Consultant over employees. Thanks a lot you Labor and LNP fucktards.

      • I lost count how many times I spoke to consultants from 2 of the largest global Consultants or seeing them talking to some of my colleagues.
        Such analysis will almost always have flows as whoever will be giving them the content it will always be biased – based on that individual views and preferences. I have seen some of those reports/recommendations and they are truly laughable. Based on recommendations I can tell who they used to gain inside knowledge. Worst thing is then Senior Management bases their strategy on such work.

        Worst thing is these consultants simply don’t use their own views and research but just borrow other people views and collect massive fees in order to put other people’s ideas/views in their own preso. They don’t invest time to truly analyse the industry and the company they’ve been hired to assist.
        To be fair on them it might be my own company not giving them enough time to do proper research we always end up with Zero Value. Screwing up every restructure and never moving forward.

      • @Nikola my experience is the same as yours, I’ve been in a large Internet company for many years now. You eventually see the same cycles over and over. In the support world the focus will be on smashing as many open cases as possible 1 minute, then 10 minutes later management has decided that quality support is important so the rules change, and back and forth it goes. There is variance of these themes but ultimately what happens is these consultants come up with models that say they want to achieve X but if you follow their guidelines you’ll never get there. So the outcome is Y.

        It’s incredibly frustrating, but you soon realise pointing this out just gets management on your back and it’s better to shut your mouth and do as your told.

  20. The Fall of the House of Clinton…actually I was a bit disappointed by the link above; does somebody have a better one? Seems momentous, to me.

    • thomickersMEMBER

      So if the household is suffering from gastro… does that mean the landlord gains from the flushing boom?

    • In about 2005 I was working for an IT Company doing SEO work, we had a request from Baker’s Delight, to do something about another listing from a franchisee that was unhappy with Baker’s Delight and was appearing as #1 on Google for the term “Baker’s Delight”, my boss at the time asked if there was anything we could do to help prevent this negative press from showing up on Google. We had a look for a while and I read through some of the comments from the franchisee about how they were treated and why you should avoid becoming a franchisee etc.. It was a real eye opener to say the least. After reading it, I took the side of the person who was speaking out about their treatment and said to my boss that I didn’t want to help them de-list this blog/website. He wasn’t too happy but understood.

      So it’s no surprise to see this company show up again to be honest.

  21. Interesting Ted talk by David Autor about modern day / future employment

    In a way this speaks to the issue that I’ve been talking about of the Engineer that is can’t find a job within the utility industry, the nature of employment in these sectors is changing, in much the same way as ATM’s changed the nature of employment in the banking industry, PV solar / self generation of electricity is changing the nature of employment within the Power System/ Utility industry.

    • That talk is half-truth. You cannot argue with the stats showing a reduction of total hours worked per capita. If managed properly this should have been a good thing (reduced working week for all) but instead we see rising underemployment and falling job security.

    • And Keen scorned those labour stats…TED talks are more often than not mere platitudes and nursery tales that hinge on glibly presented ideas and data: using a scale of 100 years of change is not much comfort to a person earning to provide for a life or family now. “I accept this great period of disruptive for the aggregate pace of historical change and next century my great x4 grandchildren are going to be in jobs I never dreamt of.”
      It’s the argument from ignorance which is convenient but deceptive.

  22. One from earlier last year;
    ‘Negative gearing has created empty houses and artificial scarcity
    At the last census there were nearly 120,000 empty dwelling in the greater Sydney region alone, representing nearly one fifth of the projected new housing demand to be met by 2031, or equivalent to nearly five years of projected dwelling need. When this is combined with under-utilised dwellings, such as those let out as short-term accommodation, the total number of dwellings reaches 230,000 in Sydney, and 238,000 in Melbourne.’

    • GunnamattaMEMBER

      Cheers for that – a good read.

      Q: How much money has been removed from China in proceeds of corruption?

      A: According to the Bank of China, way over US$120 Billion or CAD$160 Billion between the years 1995-2008. China appears to have quit sharing data officially after 2011 because it said that the outflows of proceeds of corruption was severe enough to threaten its economy and political stability.

      However, a Chinese Commission later said this:

      The amount more than doubled in 2010 to US$412 Billion (CAD$553 Billion);
      In 2011, it was at US$600 Billion (CAD$806 Billion);
      In 2012, it was at US$1 Trillion (CAD$1.3 Trillion); and
      By 2013, it was at US$1.5 Trillion (CAD$2 Trillion).
      So, over $2,000,000,000,000 missing from China and because China says it’s proceeds of corruption, it’s a $2,000,000,000,000 money laundering problem.

      It is an epic problem.

      Of course Australia’s AML approach in general is piss weak compared to Canada’s – we’d much rather deny the problem is a problem or call the people raising the issue racist

      • When I claimed this few months ago there were people laughing at me and couple of other who said same. Some even called me racist. Well here is your evidence. I did not need to see real numbers but from observing it was very clear for anyone to see WTF is going on in China.
        At that time I was asked to expand how money can be stolen out of China and how I know this is really happening. I did explain that what has been going on in China for the last 15 years already happened in Former Yugoslavia, Russia and Eastern Europe – only difference is this is now 10000 time larger in volume.
        In the EARLY years would have been really easy:
        borrow $100m to modernise your steel plant and spend $10m on 1 new machine and leak of paint and disappear in about 12 months. Move to Aus, Can or US and MSM and local politicians will refer to you as Chinese businessman.
        This would have been very common during GFC when China introduced large stimulus package but had nothing in place to monitor how/where funds were deployed.
        Hence why today’s government is chasing extradition treaties and why lot of western MSM don’t like Xi.

      • Gunna: “So, over $2,000,000,000,000 missing from China . . proceeds of corruption ”
        $2T plus laundered out of China?
        One Wall Street insider says more like $12.2T in unaccounted capital outflows from China since 2000.

        That laundered money went on a global spending spree and our Aussie politicians are part of this global scam. Mines, farms, residential real estate, businesses – how much traded for funds of dubious origin? The question remains, are foreign funds even real if they’re created in a shadow banking system?

        Govts of the day, on behalf of the elite, have allowed this to happen. Destroying the proles is just a bonus. After 10 years of dithering, our govt still refuses to introduce the 2nd tranche of AML legislation into Parliament. The mainstream media are also a part of the willful ignorance of corrupt practices happening right under their snouts. What assets have been exchanged for illegal funds is anyone’s guess but it’s the next generation who will pay for it.

        Recommendation 2 offers some ideas on correcting capital flow fraud into Aust.

  23. ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

    Michael Hudson, 20 minutes in,

    “We can either save the economy, or save the bankers and bond holders.”

    Which one would you vote for, if it was put to the people.?

    Id like to second Michaels motion, to write of the debt!,…just like they did for those ungrateful German bastards! Less than 10 years after they killed 10 to 20 million people.

  24. If the latest press is to be believed, and the application form for currency exchange in China is real (hard to judge as so many “fake” things around right now) then look out Australian rental properties!!!! Students from China will be queueing to rent in the future rather than buy! Dodgy landlords (and Reusa) take note: restructure your IP’s to facilitate ultra-high density Chinese student living to turn those nasty negative geared shitboxes into cash spinning vertical palaces lifting you out of the approaching Australian recession. Anything can be converted to meet this new need!!! Get in now before the rules change again!!!

    So USD$50K – deduct tuition, force the offspring to work to pay for food and $200 per week for a shared bedroom somewhere and all is good!!!! This just gave the Australian rental market and thus Sydney/Melbourne property markets the extra juice they need to move to new highs!!!! Throw in a rate cut or two and 2017 is shaping up to be a bumper year for AUSSIE INVESTORS, especially the brave who can pick up properties close to train, bus and tram lines, or even better, walking distance to a Uni. No I am not being sarcastic… The next leg up will be with Chinese help alright, but not in property purchases, rental property demand!!! The bubble has been saved…..

    • If Chinese “students” (the ones you see driving Merc’s and BMW’s around Sydney) cannot get mum and dads money out of China and into Aussie property, then there’s no point coming here even if PR is on offer upon graduation. They won’t like renting and sharing with their less well off classmates.. They might as well stay at home.

      • Yes, it will definitely knock a large potential pool out of the running, but offer letters from our Uni’s have already been sent and acceptance of the offer needed along with the foreign student deposit. Like I said this is only juicing the market for 2017. 2018 will be a whole different kettle of smelly wet things…… This may well be the final suck for money into property, get new buildings started just in time for the enrolments to drop when the costs and quality are compared to Chinese uni’s and other countries offerings. I do not see this lasting, but can see the pundits highlighting the need for student rental accomodation and the MSM jumping on this as the item that will lead Australia to a brilliant new education led future.

      • It is going to be interesting for sure. I know one Beijing student who left Sydney last year for a couple of reasons, quality of education not being what he expected but the fact that Sydney was full of Chinese peasant new rich majorly pissed him off. H Poor cultured soul couldn’t hack dealing with the dregs of Chinese society outnumbering him in Australia.

        However a friend’s good friend here in Beijing works for the American college system trying to get students to apply to go to college in America. She travels a lot out in central and especially western China trying to drum up applications. Apparently this year America was really on the nose with prospective Chinese due to anti migration rhetoric and possibly changes to the ease of students staying after completion of studies (I do not know what the rules are in the States). Apparently Canada was where everyone wanted to go as they could migrate. They didn’t care about the quality of education they just wanted to get out. So crap Aussie education will only dissuade some. Of course, if they can’t get money out and they actually need to work to survive and the are poorly educated once they’ve been here for a few years life might be very tough, but people don’t think that far ahead in my experience.