It would be a madness to allow Labor to govern if it is at all possible to prevent it

There is a view I sometimes come across that argues that The Coalition should willingly lose the election since things are certain to crater over the next year or so and therefore, Labor will be blamed for everything. That way, The Coalition will be able to win in three years with an even more solid majority. Even more fantastic is the belief that being in opposition will allow the Libs/Nationals to sort things out so that when they return in 2025 they will be able to govern from strength based on the newfound wisdom they will have generated.

There is a lot of crazy around at the moment, but that is up there with the worst of them. Witness the United States under Joe Biden. The Democrats are perfectly aware that there is a large possibility that they will lose the presidency in 2024 along with Congress. They therefore are going about doing everything to fulfil their insane agenda right now. They also believe they will also likely be able to again cheat their way back in, but are hurrying things along just in case they might really lose.

So for Australia. Labor is not a party of sense and moderation with a slightly socialist bent. They are out and out full-on Marxists who will do as much damage as they possibly can. They will wreck the economy, they will open our borders, they will demolish the private sector, they will further subvert the education system, they will socialise every aspect of society they are able.

These are not moderates. Albanese is from the Socialist Left and he means every stupidity he says, plus all of the others that he now keeps to himself.

It would be a madness to allow Labor to govern if it is at all possible to prevent it by not electing them in the first place.

A non-paid political advertisement for our current government

This is not a paid political advertisement in that I am not being paid. But I pass this along since I completely agree with the conclusion:

This is from Terry Barnes at The Spectator: Tezza’s how-to-vote card.

On Saturday, I’ll be voting Liberal, but out of loyalty rather than conviction. The party is no longer that of Menzies, Howard, or Abbott, and instead is riven with power-hungry egos and factional warlords.

The Liberal Party needs reform. It needs to rediscover its roots. It needs to be a party of the mainstream centre-right and to stop being so desperate in trying to appease affluent progressives on issues like ‘climate action’ and public health, even while knowing they’ll never vote for it….

I believe the only way necessary change will happen is from the heights of federal government, because the country can’t afford the Left-Labor alternative. Incumbency brings purpose and demands at least nominal discipline. Opposition would bring nothing but an open invitation for Liberals to eat each other alive, unleash ferocious factional wars, and set federal and state organisations against each other.

It’s a recipe for long-term opposition and unelectability, not a quick return to government….

As a Victorian, I also know that the shock of losing office to an inferior opposition can lead – not to a brief spell in the paddock – but decades in the unelectable wilderness…. 

If you’re a disillusioned Coalition voter, the Liberals’ need to retain your support gives you lasting influence and leverage over the Liberal Party’s (in a wordplay readers under 40 won’t get) future directions. You are their true base. Your preferences matter. Please use them wisely.

I only differ from this in giving the Prime Minister the benefit of the doubt since on most issues I think he sees things in an entirely conservative way (but who knows?). With the world filled with climate and covid zombies whose votes also matter, and who are found in large numbers even amongst those who vote for The Coalition, there is no way to remain a purist on either issue. 

Labor will follow Joe Biden on every issue. We will have open borders, massive deficits and a weakening of our national defence. Lockdowns and Covid restrictions will not come to an end.

Three years is a very long time in politics, specially if it stretches out to six years or even more. 

 

 

 

UAPs. No, not Clive’s lot

With the depressing election, and what not, my mind turned away, to almost anything of light relief. Lo and behold a U.S. House committee was being informed by the Pentagon of UFO sightings by military personnel, all 400 of them apparently in this century. Also, for you UFO spotters out there, they’re now called Unidentified Aerial Phenomena or UAPs. I guess that English is the international language of space talk, as it is in other international spheres, so UAP is probably now a global term.

One downer was a navy official saying that investigators are “reasonably confident” that the floating pyramid-shaped object captured on one leaked, widely seen video, were likely drones. I don’t know why the plural. That’s the way it was reported by American ABC News. In any event, yeah, OK, but what about the other three-hundred and ninety-nine sightings?

Certainly, the Democratic Chairman of the House Intelligence, Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation Subcommittee, André Carson was far from reassured. “UAPs,” he said, “are a potential national security threat and they need to be treated that way.” If that’s the case, why can’t they just shoot one out of the sky? We’d have wreckage to examine, maybe.

Perhaps there are secret video tapes. But when I tune in to Tucker Carlson, who loses his admirable common sense when it comes to this subject, yet again I see pictures of smudges. Are the cameras on US military planes part of a job lot purchased from Dodgy Dan the camera man? Is there one clear picture anywhere? After all, I assume that the Europeans, the British, the Russians and Chinese air forces have all spotted UAPs. Do they take better pictures? How about Japan? They make very good cameras.

Bring of a religious turn of mind, I think some of the sightings might be angels. Admittedly, there is no evidence for this. But they do apparently flit around ephemerally and indistinctly at unimaginable speeds. Angels could do that I think, not bound by or shaped by the material world in which we exist. It’s a theory. Not really falsifiable; and I’m not pinning any hopes on it.

Another theory is the flying saucer theory. This goes along the lines of there being so many sightings that some must originate from another planet. Of course, this betrays a lack of logic. Four hundred false sightings do not make the four hundred and first sighting any more likely to be genuine. In fact, it seems safer to assume in context that if there is a plethora of false sightings, that they are all false. By false I mean that the objects, or whatever, sighted have not been propelled earthwards by intelligent and engineeringly advanced beings from another planet.

It’s a quite a different thing to absolutely rule out flying saucers. I mean there might be intelligent beings out there in the cosmos. Personally, I ‘m not convinced. However many trillions of planets are out there, if the chance of intelligent life emerging is, say, the chance of an ape typing out Hamlet inside a week or two, then there are far too few planets to make it even barely possible.

But I don’t know what the odds are of intelligent life emerging on any given planet – and neither do scientists – so I have to concede the logical possibility of such life existing outside of earth. Assuming, safely I think, that intelligent life does not inhabit planets like Mars or Jupiter in our solar system, then the nearest planetary system is Alpha Centauri, about 4.3 light years away. That’s a very long way away. Over 25 trillion miles.

Beings clever enough to send craft over such distances, and cleverly avoid capture or being clearly photographed when here, might be a threat if they were so minded. And pigs might also fly. My assumption is that that the so-called sightings are either man-made objects or tricks of light or camera malfunctions or angels. Flying saucers, you gotta be kidding.  Tell it to Tucker Carlson.

Who is ‘culminating’ in Ukraine?

Armchair Warlord recently posted an interesting thread on Twitter on the current military situation in the Ukraine. I would direct you to the thread for his brief account, but, in summary, his speculation is that the Ukrainian strategy appears to be to allow RuAF (Russian Armed Forces) to attempt to establish several ‘cauldrons’ in the Donbass, pockets of trapped UAF (Ukraine Armed Forces), and once they have ‘culminated’ – that is exhausted their offensive capability – launch their own offensive operations in turn.

This strategy depends upon a number of factors. Firstly, on RuAF actually employing the greater portion of its operational reserve in the current fighting in the Donbass, and secondly, on the condition of the UAF being better than we might otherwise believe.

What do we currently now about (1) and (2)? Well, the indications are re (1) that RUS has held back a large operational reserve (at least 15 BTGs) whose location we are unaware of and can only guess.

Regarding (2), there are several indications that the morale and attrition of the UAF is waning and high, respectively. We have now the surrender of the remnants of the UAF in Mariupol. There are increasing reports of desertions, refusals to fight, and surrender by batches of troops along the Donbass front, on the grounds of poor leadership, lack of adequate supply, and constant bombardment and fighting. There is also evidence that Western munitions are not being held back to equip these new formations, rather they are being sent to the front as soon as they arrive, and being used, captured or destroyed.

What happens if the UAF strategy is correct? I wouldn’t expect to see any stunning collapse on either the southern or eastern fronts. While the RuAF will have exhausted any major offensive capacity they will still be capable of holding a coherent front. The problem, however, would be that there would be no decisive engagement that could end the war in Ukraine for Russia on favourable terms. On the other hand, if the RuAF are indeed holding back a large mobile reserve, they would simply do what the UAF is purportedly doing; namely, they would continue to make the small but important gains they are currently making, out of Popasna, west and south of Izyum, and along the Seversky Donets river between Liman and Pryvillyia, and simply wait for any UAF offensive to exhaust itself or simple attrition to sufficiently weaken parts of the current Donbass front and call their reserve into action at those points. If that were to occur, I think we would see the collapse of the entire Donbass front for the UAF.

Who knows what will eventuate. As always, events will bear out the truth of the matter either way, but if the last two days are indicative, for instance, the situation at Liman is rapidly deteriorating for UAF while the breakout from Popasna is progressing in four directions, we will in all likelihood see a collapse of the Donbass front in the next two weeks, if not the coming week, and certainly within four, and may even see breakthroughs north of Kherson that put Nikolaev in jeopardy as that front begins to move as well.

WolfmanOz at the Movies #21

In space no one can hear you scream

One of the downsides (I’m sure there’s many others) of the internet is that the surprise element in movies is very much negated. In addition, releases are now pretty much worldwide, especially as so many films are then released onto a streaming service within weeks of their cinema debuts.

So a film, like Alien, would somewhat lose its shock/surprise element to an audience today.

In the late 70s, sci-fi films were on a tidal wave of popularity, following Star Wars astounding success in 1977. There was Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Battlestar Galactica, Superman, Star Trek; The Motion Picture, The Black Hole etc etc. Anything related to science fiction was now serious box office.

But Alien was something else. It was a horror film that just happened to be set in a futuristic science fiction setting where it was more akin to a haunted house story than science fiction.

As we all know now the film follows the crew of a commercial space ship, who, after investigating a mysterious derelict spaceship on an undiscovered moon find themselves up against a particularly aggressive and murderous extraterrestrial alien that stalks their spaceship.

It has spawned numerous sequels, prequels, novels, comic books, video games etc. where now it is a cultural icon, especially in the alien itself.

The production was incredibly fortunate where screenwriter Dan O’Bannon introduced director Ridley Scott to the artwork of H.R. Giger who was then hired to work on all design aspects of Alien and its environment including all form of the alien from the egg to the fully developed alien.

Whilst exploring the derelict spaceship, one of the crew members, unfortunately, has a parasite attaching itself to his face. Once back on their spaceship it eventually frees itself from him and the crew have a final meal before returning to stasis . . .

The impact of this scene on audiences worldwide was startling. The sense of dread had been slowly building through the film but we weren’t expecting something like this. It also stands as a superb example of practical effects which are so utterly convincing. It also surprised the cast during filming who were not expecting the sudden outburst of blood and gore. Their reactions caught on film are genuine.

The crew now decide to locate the creature but it has grown . . .

The alien proceeds to kill the remainder of the crew, with the exception of Warrant Office Ripley who escapes from the spaceship aboard a shuttle but the alien has also boarded the shuttle. With ingenuity Ripley blasts the alien into deep space which allows the audience to regain their composure as the film ends.

Despite initial mixed reviews, Alien has received critical acclaim over the years, particularly for its realism and unique environment. One of its great strengths is its pacing. It takes its time. It waits. It suggests the enormity of the crew’s discovery by building up to it with small steps.

A sequel was inevitable but it would be another 7 years before the release of Aliens in 1986.

IMO, this is one of the very few times in movie history where a sequel has matched the original, albeit it is styled entirely differently in that it is more akin to a war movie . . . the catchline for the movie was “This time it’s war”.

Set years later, Ripley is sent back to the moon where the alien was first was discovered on, accompanying a squad of space marines to investigate why communications have been lost with a human colony on the moon.

Like the original film, Aliens is an incredibly intense experience with a standout performance by Sigourney Weaver as Ripley. It also cemented director James Cameron as a serious talent to be noticed.

Unfortunately after this movie the series petered out in a number of very poor sequels and recently there has been a couple of attempts to revive the franchise with 2 prequels – Prometheus and Alien: Covenant.

Despite both being directed by Ridley Scott, neither came close to replicating the visceral sense of horror and excitement of both Alien and Aliens.

Enjoy.

What would a modern economist know about economic theory?

I keep pointing out that the last person you should listen to about economic policy is anyone who has had a modern education in economic theory. Here is a bit of proof, from today’s Oz: Dismay at RBA as wages growth goes backwards. Here is the opening line of the article:

The person most disappointed with Wednesday’s sluggish wages growth figure is surely the Reserve Bank Governor. Real wages are now going backwards at 2.7 per cent.

How would it even have been possible for real wages to rise while the country has been in lockdown, our future sources of energy are under threat, government spending has risen at every turn, and while real interest rates are in negative territory?

Real wages can only grow if the flow of goods and services that wage earners can buy is rising. This can, of course, only happen if the private sector is expanding.

It is the proliferation of all these Keynesians who believe that increases in public sector spending on useless junk will somehow “stimulate demand” and therefore lead to a higher level of productive enterprise.

That is, these people believe that if governments waste our available resources and capital on unproductive projects of their choosing that when their overpaid virtually entirely unproductive public servants spend the wages they receive that this will propel the economy forward.

It does sicken me to watch all this in action since I can see how not only almost everyone else but also I too will have to experience a fall in my real level of income because of all this.

That central banks around the world seem to believe that negative real rates of interest are a stimulus to growth is just how it is. If you would like to be cured of this absurdity, the only place I can think to send you is to Chapter 17 of the third edition of my Free Market Economics: An Introduction for the General Reader which is titled, “Saving and the Financial System”. There are other books as well, but virtually all of them were written at least a century ago.

It is maddening to watch our economy trashed by such ignorance, but there you have it.

FROM THE COMMENTS: I try not to do this, and hardly do it at all, but this was the sole comment which to me really demands a response since I think  it is so instructive. From Hubris:

I read these tirades. Do you essentially advocate a return to industrial protection and supply? It seems like you just don’t like markets.

I know I am beating my head against a brick wall, but massive levels of public spending, enormous unfunded fiscal deficits and adjustment of market rates of interest by central banks are not in any sense leaving things to the market. Why is that not utterly obvious?

On the brink of an inflationary disaster

Increases in the price level (nowadays referred to as “inflation”) are embedding themselves across much of the world. And I would like to emphasise that it’s not just a money-supply thing. It is essentially caused by the growth of purchasing power relative to the growth in the amount of goods and services available for purchase. The key element is productivity growth relative to the level of spending.

I’m not interested in dwelling on any of this, other than to point out that getting inflation back down to zero hardly fixes the problem. Here are the latest data from the ABS:

  • The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 2.1% this quarter.
  • Over the twelve months to the March 2022 quarter, the CPI rose 5.1%.
  • The most significant price rises were New dwelling purchase by owner-occupiers (+5.7%) and Automotive fuel (+11.0%).

Suppose the growth rate went down to zero from 5.1%, which it won’t any time soon, if ever. Since the CPI figure is a percentage change in the index you have not recovered your lost purchasing power.

Most extraordinarily to me, the ABS only just mentions the latest index number, which is 123.9. The publication, so far as I could see, doesn’t even mention the index level a year ago which I calculate to have been 117.9.

The point: unless the Index falls back to 117.9, a zero inflation rate still leaves you 5.1% behind.

It is people on fixed incomes who will be really punished, but everyone who has not had their incomes rise by that 5.1% will be financially worse off.

So we now have all the ingredients of a wage-price spiral. This is what Labor has promised: ‘Absolutely’: Albanese backs wage growth at rate of inflation.

“I believe the minimum wage should at least keep up with the cost of living,” Albanese told a press conference in the Melbourne seat of Chisholm on Tuesday morning.

Productivity has fallen backwards since the lockdowns and the covid restrictions. Governments everywhere – see Victoria specially – have thrown away billions of dollars on useless unproductive projects. (The US has gone absolutely insane.)

Put in place a system that adjusts wages to the movement in prices and the disaster that will follow will still be with us twenty years from now.