Posts Tagged ‘Australia’
Trump the anti Intellectual yet idiot

Amazon opens in Australia, moves to tax foreign packages go into hyper-drive. Quelle surprise, big business always wants to impede competition. It’s the easiest way to lock in fat profits. They legally bribe politicians and regulators with donations and post public service sinecures.

You need to extend patent or copyright induced monopolies? No problem. You want to do it in other countries? Well, have we got a treaty for you.

Milton Friedman stood up for the consumer and against big business and government:

“There’s a common misconception that people who are in favor of a free market are also in favor of everything that big business does. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

In this he followed in the footsteps of Adam Smith:

“People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”

Few modern economists, policy makers and politicians do. All too often they impose the same harmful policies. Our establishment class, be it of the “left” or “right” are cognitively captured. Their blinkered mindset and arrogance make them Taleb’s Intellectual Yet Idiot.

“These self-described members of the “intelligentsia” can’t find a coconut in Coconut Island, meaning they aren’t intelligent enough to define intelligence hence fall into circularities — but their main skill is capacity to pass exams written by people like them. With psychology papers replicating less than 40%, dietary advice reversing after 30 years of fatphobia, macroeconomic analysis working worse than astrology, the appointment of Bernanke who was less than clueless of the risks, and pharmaceutical trials replicating at best only 1/3 of the time, people are perfectly entitled to rely on their own ancestral instinct and listen to their grandmothers (or Montaigne and such filtered classical knowledge) with a better track record than these policymaking goons.

Indeed one can see that these academico-bureaucrats who feel entitled to run our lives aren’t even rigorous, whether in medical statistics or policymaking. They can’t tell science from scientism — in fact in their image-oriented minds scientism looks more scientific than real science. (For instance it is trivial to show the following: much of what the Cass-Sunstein-Richard Thaler types — those who want to “nudge” us into some behavior — much of what they would classify as “rational” or “irrational” (or some such categories indicating deviation from a desired or prescribed protocol) comes from their misunderstanding of probability theory and cosmetic use of first-order models.) They are also prone to mistake the ensemble for the linear aggregation of its components” Taleb, The Intellectual Yet Idiot, “https://medium.com/…/the-intellectual-yet-idiot-13211e2d0577

Is it really any wonder that Trump was able to run rings around them? He bested what Republicans claimed was the most talented field ever. He then defeated the Democrat candidate in the face of fierce media, academic and public servant opposition. “Intellectual yet idiot” Trump is not. The world needs more like him, so we can reform peacefully rather than through revolutionary rivers of blood.

 
Moves to control the internet

Perhaps the music industry is the work of the devil after all:

Canadian music labels demand keys to the Internet: The Canadian Independent Music Association is seeking to create liability risk for social networking sites, search engines, blogging platforms, video sites… it is also calling for a new iPod tax, an extension in the term of copyright, a removal of protections for user generated content, parody, and satire, as well as an increase in statutory damage awards… ADISQ is asking the government to add a requirement for Internet providers to disclose customer name and address information to copyright owners without court oversight. Meanwhile, CIMA wants takedown with no due process and unlimited statutory damages.

They may actually be a bigger threat to our freedom than the greens. Truly  amazing. Of course, once they get something like this through in one jurisdiction they will seek to extend it to all others. In today’s globalized interconnected world the “it can’t happen here” view is indefensible. The same vested interests see the same gain from the same changes. They will go through the same processes to impose them. That”s if they can’t bypass much of the legislative scrutiny by getting an august international body to approve it first.

Australia is not much better. Indeed may be worse, with its fascist tendencies far clearer:

THE Gillard Government’s media inquiry threatens not only our freedom to speak, but to hear and decide for ourselves. But why?

Its report last week, by retired judge Ray Finkelstein, proposes a super media-cop, funded by government, to police all that’s said and written in the media.

It would even have the power to disappear you – or, rather, your words – by requiring offending articles to removed from the Internet, never to be read again.

It’s time to gird your loins and accept that our generations time to stand up for our culture, our freedoms and our rights is fast approaching. That our moment of testing truth is soon to be at hand. Will our descendents wonder how we could have allowed our Hitler to rise? How we could have cast aside the cultural components our forebears fought and died for. That we could have sentenced several generations to tyranny, despotism and destitution.

Your government will be inspired by the moves afoot in Australia and Canada. Even if these specific threats go the way of SOPA and PIPA, they will re-emerge in a new form. The money to be made or power to be maintained by removing your rights, liberties and freedoms are too tempting to those without a moral compass or understanding of what they do.

Many really don’t know what they do as they cut our cultural underpinnings out from under us. Most of the left are thoroughly brainwashed against our culture. While some on the right go so far as to deny there is even such a thing as society. Amazing. Our individual interactions are shaped by our society which reflects our culture.  Just try ordering  beer in Mecca if you think otherwise, or even stepping foot in it. Our society and our culture are good and worth protecting.

It is so sad that we have such a powerful enemy within. The Australian government in particular seems to have taken the “hear no evil, speak no evil see no evil” to heart. It is seeking to impose a distorted version on us:

Hear nothing speak nothing and see nothing that criticizes our government.

We might be being led by a bunch of monkeys, but they are certainly not wise. They rarely are, which is part of the reason why it is best to limit their power and influence over us. The framers of the US constitution got that right. They knew their English history with its the battles between the King and Parliament. They were right to stand up for their rights as Englishmen. You are right to stand up for your rights. It’s your cultural inheritance, you owe it to your descendents to pass it on intact. Take it back.

 

 
Vested interests co-opt Australia

Australian financial vested interests move to gorge themselves on taxpayer bailouts once the credit expansion contracts. They make the money we take the risks. They get the bonuses we get the bills. Elect idiots and they will make us pay. On covered bonds we previously stated:

Covered bonds are the canary in the coal mine for Australia. If a bank issuing covered bonds became insolvent the holders of the covered bonds will receive money from the sale of assets covered by the bonds before depositors get their money.  Currently the government insures most depositors. Basically covered bonds help stop investors taking a loss and increases the chance the taxpayer will pick up the tab.

In Australia there are still strong institutions working for the public good:

The RBA Prudential Regulation Authority have warned that covered bonds could threaten both depositors and existing debt investors. Source: The Australian

But the financial vested interests are making their move:

Borrowers may face higher interest rates unless Australia’s prohibition on covered bonds is lifted, allowing banks to compete more easily for funding when a global debt refinancing wave hits in 2012, analysts say. Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

And

The ABA (Australian Bankers Association) supports the development of a covered bond market in Australia and supports more reforms to boost securitisation markets. Source: NineMSN

The RBA is enormously influential in Australia. Normally one would not bet against it. But the lure of lucre and the appeal of jobs in investment banks will seduce many. It will be interesting to see what happens. The financial sector has not captured government in Australia to anything like the extent it has in the USA.

Well at least as far as the Australian Labor-Green government is concerned the question is answered:

Allow Australian banks, credit unions and building societies to issue covered bonds

The Government will amend the Banking Act 1959 to allow Australian banks, credit unions and building societies to issue covered bonds, to secure the long-term safety and sustainability of our financial system so it can continue to provide reasonably priced credit to Australian households and small businesses. Source: Treasury

And to make sure that when it does blow up the taxpayer is liable to the maximum possible extent:

Confirm the Financial Claims Scheme as a permanent feature of our financial system. Source: Treasury

And

The Gillard Government will invest a further $4 billion in high-quality, AAA-rated RMBS. Source: Treasury

The Gillard Government, not the Government! – That’s how it appears on the Treasury website. It looks like the labor spin doctors have well and truly penetrated the Treasury, as if we were in any doubt. Either that or it’s a Freudian slip on the part of some Treasury official. The decision is manifestly against the best interests of the nation. Even the Treasury econocrats can’t miss that. But he who pays the piper calls the tune

This takes government exposure to non-bank players since the onset of the global financial crisis up to $20 billion. Hat tip Business Spectator. $20 billion may not seem like much, but there are only around 20 million Australians. It’s around $1,000 for every Australian or nearly $2,000 for every working Australian. That’s equal to about two weeks of total average Australian earnings. Way to go government. We will thank you for it when our property bubble eventually pops.

If that’s not enough exposure for you, there is another $150 billion in large deposits and wholesale guarantees as well. That’s around $7,500 per Australian or $15,000 per working Australian. Approximately 15 weeks of total average Australian earnings.

Apparently this represents 6.6% the value of the scheme. I’m not even going to try and calculate what that adds up to. But it’s a lot of risk to have taken on board since the financial crisis. Particularly as most people do not even realize they are exposed to it.

If your exposure through your government is not enough, they have changed the rules to increase your exposure through your superannuation fund:

Financial institutions have expressed interest in using this bullet structure to raise funds. A recent Commonwealth Bank issuance included a $210 million bullet tranche. The success of that deal further demonstrates the viability of the bullet RMBS concept, with more bullet issuances expected over the coming months.

Bullet issuances can be structured to be eligible for inclusion in certain bond market indices, such as the UBS Composite Bond Index. Many institutional investors, who invest on behalf of Australian superannuation funds, are required to replicate or invest in the securities contained in these indices. This additional structural demand and diversification of investors has the potential to make RMBS more reliable and cost effective. Source: Treasury

Are we really gong to live a comfortable retirement selling houses to each other? How’s that working out in America? At least it is possible to create a reasonable sounding argument for selling our houses to the Chinese. Sure it priced us out of decent property, but at least it would be foreigners left making the losses when prices eventually collapsed.

If someone has to be hurt, I’d rather it was not my fellow citizens. But if citizens must suffer, it should be those responsible, and those who knowingly took the risk. Although it could be argued that Australians took the risk of electing the Labor government. It’s their incompetence that will cost us dear. So many voters are not blame free. But as with the US, we are effectively selling our unborn children into debt bondage. It’s either that or trashing our reputation for paying what we owe.

Also the Treasury has not thought through the web address when posting the extracts, unless they never intend to issue another banking report:

http://www.treasury.gov.au/banking/content/report/report_12.htm

Bright boys in Treasury, our national finances are in good hands. Sigh. For when the extracts disappear the full report is available from here. Note the usual Orwellian name “Competitive and Sustainable Banking System”.  That’s as opposed to “How to Shaft the Taxpayer when all our Dodgy Loans Come Home to Roost”. As they inevitably will when our credit induced expansion reverses itself.

Poor old Glenn Stevens, a good man in a tough spot. He may have to follow the Chinese example and raise reserves. That will be politically popular. I can just imagine the vested interests taking that quietly. And we now know how powerful they are. His successor, who knows? He might be cognitively captured. I’d say the same about Swan, but I am not sure he has much by way of cognition to be captured.

Not that the Opposition are looking much better. Initial media reporting suggests Hockey has not grasped the problem with covered bonds. As for Malcolm Turnbull, the former Chair and Managing Director of Goldman Sachs Australia, he will look out for us. People never have a tendency to believe in the merits of whatever they do.

I’m optimistic on Abbott, his opposition to carbon trading cost the financiers dearly. He saw the truth then, he may do so again.  As for the “independents”, who knows? There is always a chance they can be made to see sense, particularly as the Reserve Bank is probably still against allowing banks to issue covered bonds.

If ever there was a tea party moment for all Australians, this is it. The rebellion against Turnbull’s ETS shows that the grass roots of a political party can get active and make a difference. But this needs to extend beyond that into the midst of those not normally involved in politics. I don’t think things are obviously bad enough in Australia to energize the masses of decent law abiding citizens. Those focused on making a living and looking after their family, friends and neighbors.

We will have our tea party moment, just as Ireland will have its Guinness one. That’s if the Irish have not had one, or two or three or…. already.  Imagine fighting so hard for for so many centuries for independence from England, only to give it up to the EU a couple of generations later. Is that what their forebears died for? Remember it’s better to laugh rather than cry.