Publish and be damned

This might be nothing or it might be quite significant. I’ll defer to our regular legal expert for the definitive opinion in the comments.

A defamation case has just concluded in Australia where the judge found in favour of the plaintiff’s claim that Creepbook page owners are liable for comments made under their content.

There is a very lengthy but highly-informative Twitter thread here with a detailed breakdown of why Creepbook page owners are simply unable to comply with the ruling. In summary, the tools aren’t made available to control the content and it is currently impossible to switch off comments…. wait for it… unless you are a pharmaceutical company.

No, really….. go to the bottom of that Twitter thread to find that gem and shake your head.

The ruling seems to hold a page “owner” liable for anything anyone posts in reply. Unfortunately, Creepbook doesn’t provide the ability to disable comments on pages (“groups” have this function though) and the keyword blocking function is far from watertight.

There’s much debate currently in the USA about whether the social media giants have become the de facto “public square” and therefore should be subject to the First Amendment or they are publishers curating content and therefore have liability for anything which breaks a law or incurs libel cases.

The general position of the tech companies is that they are common carriers like the postal system or a phone company. Except there’s a major inconsistency with their actions; the phone company doesn’t cut you off if you say something it disagrees with.

Somewhere between these three positions the US courts will eventually rule. Many other commentators have written and spoken extensively on this dichotomy and have speculated on how it might land. My voice isn’t going add much either way.

In the meantime, it looks like an Australian judge may have hurried things along a little.

Bill’s Opinion

It might be argued this ruling has restricted free speech in Australia. However, regular readers will likely concur that ship sailed from Australian shores a long time ago.

My personal position is one of free speech near absolutism; with the exception of calling for violence, I’m generally ok with people saying whatever the hell they want.

That’s not to say they can say it without consequence, public opinion and libel laws are useful moderators.

Freedom of speech doesn’t mean the right to an audience though. If social media giants “de-platform” voices they dislike, that’s fine. Those voices will find a way to be heard, particularly if what they are saying resonates with others as being virtuous and true. We should have faith in our fellow humans in being able to discern mendacity from honesty.

This Australian case might result in changes to Creepbook globally, it might result in changes only to the way Australian companies engage on Creepbook, or it might result in very little change at all. Anyone who claims to know is deluding themselves and you.

Creepbook and its page owners might be liable for what’s written by others or they can remove opinions they dislike. I don’t care either way, I’m not on Creepbook so was unlikely to read it anyway.

Yet somehow I manage to keep myself informed of a diverse range of opinions. It’s almost as if, I dunno, there’s an entire world outside of Creepbook.

Nobler than your average savage

The Budj Bim Aboriginal site in Australia has been granted “World Heritage” status. 

Budj Bim is the site of an Aboriginal aquaculture farm, where the inhabitants farmed eels and used ditches and nets to provide year round protein. This enabled permanent settlement and stone huts were built in the area. Estimates are that this practice commenced several thousand years ago.

Of course, that would be fine if that’s where the reporting ended; ancient and important historical and cultural location, preserved for future generations. Great.

It’s too much to hope that would be it. Predictably, we have to replay the “in harmony with nature” trope for yet another tedious outing.

Right on cue:

This, combined with the use of basalt rock formations to build small rock dwellings with thatched roofs would provide “a counter-narrative to this idea that Aboriginal people didn’t have any form of settlement and that they continually moved”, Mr Jennings said.

Correct. The small rock dwellings prove that some Aboriginal people settled in a place. Anyone who claims every Aboriginal throughout time was peripatetic would be wrong. 

Let’s keep this in perspective, however; there are only two known permanent settlements on mainland Australia, suggesting everywhere else was more suited to nomadic or semi-nomadic existence.

This isn’t a negative judgement on the ancient indigenous peoples; human developments at the time and the native flora and fauna were likely the major inhibitors. After all, complex agriculture only developed independently in perhaps 11 locations globally.   

Mr Jennings said the most important aspect of the World Heritage listing was recognising the sensitive way in which the Gunditjmara people had lived in harmony with the landscape, while adapting it to their needs.

Here we go… “sensitive“.

When people were farming eels several thousand years ago in order to feed their families and keep their loved ones alive, one suspects any translation of the adjective “sensitive” was not heavily employed. Not having to bury yet another of your children would presumably be somewhat higher up the priority list than the long term welfare of individual eels or even the species as a whole.     

Most thought of the landscape in this part of western Victoria as being changed by pastoralists who came from Europe and removed rocks to create vast tracts of grazing land. But the Gunditjmara people demonstrated at Budj Bim that manipulation of the landscape was possible in an entirely more sympathetic way.

Sympathetic“, now?

I doubt there’s even a local translation of that word.

If a herd of oxen were handed over to the Gunditjmara people ten thousand years ago and they had been taught how to use them to provide meat and milk, and as beasts of burden, do you really think they would have eschewed the opportunity to produce more food over matters Gaia?

“This was manipulating it by using the landscape’s form to cultivate aquaculture, and to live in that landscape in harmony with it, rather than completely modify it to change its land use,” Mr Jennings said

And, ding ding, “harmony” gets us a full house of noble savage references. It presumably never crossed Mr. Jennings’ mind that the landscape wasn’t modified because the ability and technology required hadn’t been developed. 

Bill’s Opinion

Hobbes famously suggested human life throughout nearly all of history was defined by the terrible qualities of being, “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”.

One highly doubts Australian life 10,000 years ago was more communal, wealthy, pleasant, kind and longer than anywhere else in the world at the time. They had it just as shit as every other human on the planet and were motivated by exactly the same needs and desires. Any semblance of “harmony” would look suspiciously like a population that was limited (i.e. died from hunger) by the available resources.  

Living at one with nature would lose its romance about 30 seconds after you broke a tooth on a bone in the raw meat you had to track and hunt all day for dinner. 

If you are still unconvinced about whether or not Aboriginal Australians manipulated the land to suit their needs rather than being “harmonious”, here’s a painting of Mount Eccles from the time of the arrival of the Europeans;

Image result for mount eccles painting

Today, the same location looks a little more overgrown:

Image result for mount eccles

It’s almost as if someone had regularly burned the trees to corral animals into clearings to hunt them….

Also, I wonder what happened to the Australian megafauna?

 

Give me that old time religion

There’s a brutal civil war being waged within veganism, apparently.

Stop laughing at the back.

The battle is one between the highly-committed vegans and those who take a more casual attitude to it.

Of course, it’s all relative (as they say in East Anglia); to describe a lifestyle decision to cut meat and all animal products out of your life as “casual” is to minimise the contortions they must endure.

Nonetheless, the vegans are eating their own.

As an advert for the lifestyle, vegans are rarely attractive poster material, both visually but also psychologically. The “Vegan Comedy” Netflix category is not trending high in the charts for good reason.

Complete lack of humour aside, a simple skip through the article indicates underlying psychological issues with each of the adherents to this lifestyle;

Around his late 30s, however, Faulkner’s health began declining. He developed severe back pain and crippling haemorrhoids. He had so little energy that he was struggling to do his job as a primary school teacher. Worse still, he had erectile dysfunction, and was “even looking at using Viagra”. One day he was searching the internet for answers when he came across an Australian vegan YouTuber called Freelee The Banana Girl. Freelee, whose real name is Leanne Ratcliffe, is a former cocaine- and speed-using bulimic from Queensland who found fame in 2014 by spruiking a raw vegan diet that consisted of up to 51 bananas a day.

There’s quite a lot to unpack there…

Firstly, if Faulkner didn’t have back pain, haemorrhoids, and erectile dysfunction for the first 40 years of his (carnivorous) life, it seems less than logical to seek banana remedies from bulimic ex-junkies on YouTube rather than, say, medical professionals.

There’s more;

Freelee’s then boyfriend, Durian Rider (real name: Harley Johnstone), is also an avid vegan whose “fruitarian” diet allowed him to become an endurance cyclist.

Perhaps the least controversial thing one can say about endurance athletes is that they are an “outlier”. It takes a certain kind of mind to be motivated to train for events that require hours (or even days) of constant intense exercise.

There then follows a description of Faulkner’s Damascene conversion and transformation into a vegan activist. Once you’ve accepted as true one or two assertions, the logic takes you to several subsequent actions;

Call yourself an animal lover? If you’re not a vegan, you can’t be an animal lover. Call yourself an environmentalist? Animal agriculture causes up to 18 per cent of global greenhouse emissions – so unless you’re a vegan, you can’t be an environmentalist.

Here’s an interesting revelation though;

After leaving teaching, Faulkner started a business holding discos for primary school kids, but has now reduced his school visits from four a week to one per week. “I don’t have any children, so it’s enough for me to survive on.”

Hmm. More on that later.

Once you’re in the activist trench, you’re in deep;

Right now, his preferred form of activism is the Cube of Truth.

Originally developed in Melbourne, a Cube of Truth involves activists standing in a square, facing outward, holding signs or, in tonight’s case, TV monitors. The monitors, which are powered by a portable generator, play a constant loop of what is possibly the most confronting footage I have ever seen, including piglets in holding pens drowning in their own excrement, cows having their necks sliced open, and live baby male chicks being fed into a macerator, where they are ground up into pet food. ”

Here’s Andy Faulkner on a Cube of Truth event;

Strictly speaking, it’s a square not a cube, unless people are standing on people’s shoulders.

Bill’s Opinion

Muslims who murder non-believers in order to enter paradise are acting in a manner that is entirely consistent with their religion. It’s all there in their sacred texts, there’s no point criticising them for misinterpreting “kill the infidels“.

An argument with a jihadi on the basis of interpretation is a strategy bound to fail. The problem is far earlier in the logical sequence; the basis of the revelation is not sound. Mohammed didn’t have a direct line to Allah and therefore anything he wrote is false.

You know where I’m going with this….

Jihadis, in the West especially, are almost exclusively socially-awkward males who have been unsuccessful in many areas of their lives, be it career, romance, social, etc. By accepting one false premise, they then trace a subsequently highly consistent path resulting in their tragic actions.

Let’s return to the radical vegan, Andy Faulkner. It would seem from the article, the pinnacle of his career was being a Primary School teacher, yet he has no children of his own (is he single? We aren’t told). He seeks health advice from ex-junkies with eating disorders and endurance athletes on YouTube. He requires the rest of society to make a radical change to his chosen lifestyle….so we can all be as happy and joyous as him.

I have a question for Andy Faulkner; how tidy is your room?

Shite sports you don’t usually watch

Otherwise known as “The Olympics”.

No, seriously. If you really consider what the Olympic Games has become, it is mainly a collection of events you wouldn’t ordinarily switch the TV channel over to watch and certainly wouldn’t pay an entrance fee to attend.

Sure, the track and field events can pull a crowd outside of the four year cycle, and some swimming and cycling events have support but our friend Pareto then produces a very low and long tail of barely-supported sport for the rest.

Follow this link to the full list and count how many of the categories you’ve physically attended in the last decade. If the answer is more than 4 and you aren’t employed by Sky Sports or aren’t the parent of a very athletic child, I will be amazed.

Nobody in the history of the planet has ever said to their significant other, “Hey, there’s a rhythmic gymnastic competition on Saturday and an indoor climbing event on Sunday. That’s our weekend sorted then“.

Pierre de Coubertin’s re-imagining of the Olympic Games adopted “Citius, Altius, Fortius” as its motto. Or, for those of you who didn’t have a classical education, “Faster, Higher, Stronger“. I’m not sure which of those three categories Artistic Swimming falls under.

A side note, I’m scratching my head as to why the motto is in Latin, not Greek.

Grigorótera, Psilá, Ischyróteri“, for example.

But I digress.

You and I vote with our wallets and feet on non-Olympic years. We don’t attend, watch or have anything to do with most events deigned by the Olympics organising committee to be worthy of time and resources at their games. I would guess that perhaps 95% of the sports don’t have any significant number of spectators who aren’t relatives of the competitors outside the four year festival.

For Australia, the breakdown of sports’ attendance was helpfully recorded by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2010. The following summary table is interesting:

Obviously Australia has its own unique code of football which hasn’t penetrated much in the rest of the world, possibly due to a slight marketing problem with the name, but horse racing and motor sports are popular elsewhere.

So why no Olympic V8 car event?

Because it needs expensive equipment? Go visit a boat show and examine the prices of the various categories of Olympic class racing vessels….

My hypothesis stated in the title seems robust, especially given the ridiculous news that breakdancing is likely to be an Olympic sport.

Breakdancing. Is. A. Sport.

Bill’s Opinion

One feels the Olympics may have been just a little guilty of overreach over the years. When League of Legends is made an Olympic sport, the shark will have been truly jumped, altius.

Oh, and for those curious why I was reading the Philadelphia Inquirer, I was sent there from David Thompson’s place to read this. It isn’t a parody.

Foresight Battle Royale

This is hilarious; Australia’s over budget, late, poor quality National Broadband Network can’t cope with the demand from a bunch of teenagers playing video games.

Unexpectedly high levels of downloads can cause sluggish connections for all customers using broadband, not just those downloading game updates.

Some games companies release their updates, which can be tens of gigabytes worth of data and are known as “patches”, without much notification or the ability to download in advance of the release.

Hang on, that’s not what we signed up for. Back in those halcyon days of 2009 we were told we’d get 100Mbs over which we’d be able to run all sorts of society-changing services.

Here’s the original 2009 press release, just for the record.

Ah, promises made, not honoured. Just $43 billion over 8 years, eh? And the suckers believed them.

The NBN really has stood the test of time in the 24 carat lies department hasn’t it, right up there with, “the cheque’s in the post”, “yes, I love you too” and “of course I won’t come in your mouth”.

Gaming was baked in to the capacity according to the original “business case” (we use that term loosely; it doesn’t bear much resemblance to any I’ve seen in my career). Here’s the document, page 26 has the mention of gaming.

You’d think a modern, highly technical and, most importantly, centrally planned telecommunications network would be able to either cope with a few spotty kids playing shoot ’em up games OR be capable of prioritising other traffic.

After all, the UK are planning to block porn sites unless people have registered to have them unblocked (nobody’s told the government nanny state about VPNs), so it must surely be simplicity itself to block or throttle a single games company?

Yet here we are, begging Epic Games for details of their forthcoming updates and promotions.

How utterly embarrassing.

Bill’s Opinion

Australians are no different to many other nationalities in their belief that the government can magically deliver major programmes of work on time, to quality and on budget… despite all the evidence to the contrary.

I still have conversations with people who believe the plan was poorly executed because their political opponents’ duplicity and/or incompetence.

The reality is, a simple further deregulation of the telecoms industry would have done the same job quicker, cheaper and more suitable to the demand.

The government could have concentrated on making some provisions for the 3% of the population who don’t live in the metropolitan areas. Posting them porn DVDs each week, for example.

A rose by any other name?

It’s too easy to point at this kind of thinking, shake our heads and mutter, “…and this is why you got Brexit and Trump”. The thing is with clichés is that they are obviously based on an observable phenomenon other people can see as clearly as the person offering it. Whether or not the pithy cliché is completely accurate or not isn’t the point; there’s something true within the theme.

Witness this outstanding article by Brandon Ambrosino;

The invention of ‘heterosexuality’.

Before you click that link, a warning; it’s a 3,000+ word essay, so have a comfortable seat and a hot beverage ready if you’re planning on reading it.

A good rule to apply before reading anything on any subject is to consider the motivation of the writer when creating the content. This rule is particularly relevant to articles about sex in “news” media. My personal view is that these can be broken down into broad categories of;

1. Designed for prurient titillation – most stories about the sex lives of celebrities fall into this bucket,
2. Medical/informative – a new treatment for an STD, for example. There can be quite an overlap with category (1) at the same time, though, and
3. Persuasive – this is a variation on Sailer’s First Law of Female Journalism. Put simply, “you normies are doing it wrong and, if only you would find me hot, you’d be so much happier and a better person”. Hence the current swathe of opinion pieces explaining how straight men are being transphobic for not getting aroused by men in dresses.

Guess which category Brandon’s BBC essay fall into?

An early clue can be found as to the motivation of the article;

“Sex has no history,” writes queer theorist David Halperin at the University of Michigan, because it’s “grounded in the functioning of the body.” Sexuality, on the other hand, precisely because it’s a “cultural production,” does have a history. In other words, while sex is something that appears hardwired into most species, the naming and categorising of those acts, and those who practise those acts, is a historical phenomenon, and can and should be studied as such.

It’s fascinating, isn’t it? The “queer theorist’s” statement that sexuality is a “cultural production” is accepted as fact and remains completely unchallenged for the remainder of the article.

Everything that then follows is built upon that foundation;

Or put another way: there have always been sexual instincts throughout the animal world (sex). But at a specific point in time, humans attached meaning to these instincts (sexuality). When humans talk about heterosexuality, we’re talking about the second thing.

We then have a potted history about the invention of the terms “heterosexual” and “homosexual”, chucking in reference to another term invented at the same time, “heterogenit”, which was a synonym for bestiality. Because shagging animals is such a normal part of life’s rich tapestry that it needs a less pejorative term, doesn’t it?

One could be excused for wondering at this point whether the article’s headline could be amended to “The invention of the word ‘heterosexuality’’ and result in a much shorter opinion piece?

But of course, we know where this is going….

“Normal” is a loaded word, of course, and it has been misused throughout history. Hierarchical ordering leading to slavery was at one time accepted as normal, as was a geocentric cosmology. It was only by questioning the foundations of the consensus view that “normal” phenomena were dethroned from their privileged positions.

Normal” in my world describes the frequent naturally-occurring version of something. I’m not aware of a radically-different meaning universally-accepted by English speakers. If that makes the adjective “loaded”, we’ve not got much common ground on which we can converse.

Subsequent paragraphs continue to convince us that commonly-understood nouns and adjectives have a different meaning to those we previously thought. Everything you hold as true is wrong, is a theme we are being told, for example;

Socially, too, heterosexuality is losing its “high ground,” as it were. If there was a time when homosexual indiscretions were the scandals du jour, we’ve since moved on to another world, one riddled with the heterosexual affairs of politicians and celebrities, complete with pictures, text messages, and more than a few video tapes. Popular culture is replete with images of dysfunctional straight relationships and marriages. Further, between 1960 and 1980, Katz notes, the divorce rate rose 90%. And while it’s dropped considerably over the past three decades, it hasn’t recovered so much that anyone can claim “relationship instability” is something exclusive to homosexuality, as Katz shrewdly notes.

Sure, being outed as gay was a scandal in the past…..perhaps because it was illegal?
Heterosexual affairs by the rich and famous are scandals….. perhaps because the participants are rich and famous?
Affairs, in general, are scandalous…..perhaps because they are evidence of a failure of trust and human nature is to be shocked by this?

Let’s cut to the main message, found in the final paragraph. Clearly this isn’t a category 1 or 2 article about sex, it’s a “please find me hot” category 3. What is it the writer is trying to convince us to do that we currently frustrate him by refusing to?

The line between heterosexuality and homosexuality isn’t just blurry, as some take Kinsey’s research to imply – it’s an invention, a myth, and an outdated one. Men and women will continue to have different-genital sex with each other until the human species is no more. But heterosexuality – as a social marker, as a way of life, as an identity – may well die out long before then.

Bill’s Opinion

This article was paid for by the British taxpayer. They have paid for someone to explain to them that they are having the wrong kind of sex.

The reason they are having the wrong kind of sex is because, according to Critical Theory, as hinted at by the “queer theorist”, we are born with no inherent qualities. Everything we desire and act upon is a result of societal factors. We are empty vessels, tabula rasa, and if only we could start again, we could build a utopia where everyone would be happy to stick their bits into anyone or anything.

You can believe that to be true.

I don’t believe it to be true and my evidence is my existence; an inherent desire to put their bits into members of the opposite sex for thousands of preceding generations, predating language and recognisable societal groups has resulted in my birth. If that innate desire didn’t exist and was simply a result of a social construct, how did the society come into existence in the first place?

Tastes like chicken

The scolds amongst us claim you can’t laugh at some subjects, and that comedy about certain topics is beyond the pale.

Perhaps, though, they mean one shouldn’t laugh….

Oh, hello;

This is a tragedy for humanity; unfortunately, David had already contributed to the gene pool, so does not qualify for a Darwin Award.

More than six months on, his family are still searching for answers after hearing conflicting accounts from those who were at the party and going without details from the coroner.

“Searching for answers”.

It’s a harsh message to hear that your loved one got drunk, ate a gecko, contracted “food” poisoning and died but it’s hardly the fucking Da Vinci Code, is it?

Beside the Logan River where he liked to go fishing, they placed paper boats in the water with messages they never got to tell him.

Presumably “don’t eat a gecko” was a common theme.

Dr Turner said a wide range of warm- and cold-blooded animals carried salmonella, including turtles, snakes, frogs and geckos, which have the bacteria in their gut.

….“It just goes to show that things as innocent as geckos can carry disease bacteria.”

Won’t someone think about the innocent geckos? Well, one innocent gecko in particular…

Bill’s Opinion

Take it away Gordon;

Low information journalism

Part of the phenomena of the decline of traditional or “legacy” media is a failure to come to terms with the unprecedented connectedness of the world in which we now live.

The old world where only a select few gatekeepers were privy to a majority of facts and selected which ones made it into the finite resource of tomorrow’s paper or this evening’s TV news has gone. The delivery capacity for news is, in effect, infinite and the key restriction is now the curiosity and availability of time for the recipient to gather information.

We get our world views from diverse sources and quickly write off as not credible those which have been proven to be untrustworthy or, worse, manipulative either by false reporting or selective reporting.

The older generation of journalists are taking a huge amount of time to realise this and their failures to come to terms with it are highly public.

Today’s particularly excellent example is courtesy of Jaqueline Maley, “Columnist and senior journalist“;

Let’s get the easy response out of the way first; the reason so few people are talking about it is because the accuser is clearly suffering from severe mental health issues that call into question her credibility, as this disturbing interview demonstrates.

Well done Anderson Cooper and CNN team for putting her up for public consumption simply because you don’t like the result of the 2016 election. What next, trawl the mental institutions for more accusers?

Another reason few people are talking about it is that it’s an accusation in a book, but no police report has been filed. Apparently, she is “considering” it.

You and I are not in a position to know and certainly not to judge whether or not Trump forced himself on Ms. Carroll, but we can judge Ms. Maley’s article where she does exactly that and finds him guilty.

Rape is a terrible crime with long term consequences for the victim. It’s also a crime that can be practically impossible to prove once any significant time has passed. If you were raped in the 1990s, 2019 is somewhat too late to press charges and expect a satisfactory result.

If your expectation is otherwise, may I suggest you haven’t spent enough time considering the consequences of applying that standard to the males you care about, such as your father, spouse, sons, grandsons and close friends.

The more amusing point though is Jaqueline Maley’s failure to treat her readers as having an intelligence quotient much above molluscs.

To even consider writing her opinion piece with a laundry list of reasons she dislikes Trump anchored around Ms. Carroll’s book published accusation, requires her to have completely discounted the possibility of her readers seeking an alternate source of information.

The simplest of internet searches would have given her readers the following internal answers when they read the question, “why are so few talking about it?”;

  1. Ms. Carroll does not present well, and in fact gives off an air of being a nutter,
  2. She’s publishing the accusation in a book but hasn’t informed the police,
  3. The alleged assault happened 4 decades ago.
  4. With the best will in the world, Ms. Carroll seems to have been a bit of a serial target of rape, if her writings are to be believed.
  5. All things considered, Ms. Carroll is really not credible. That’s not to say she’s lying but just that the “optics” are terrible.

Bill’s Opinion

Dear journalists in 2019,

The internet is available and can be used as an incredibly quick and convenient fact checker against which your entire audience can judge your work.

You may wish to consider keeping that sentence at the front of mind whenever you submit copy.

There is a form of bigotry you may not have considered that you are guilty of; the bigotry of low expectations. An example of this would have been evident if you had asked most Australians whether they knew the name of the person this article was referring to in 2013;

They knew it was Rolf Harris despite nobody in the Australian media being brave enough to name him.

Trick me once, shame on you. Trick me twice, shame on me.

This is a knavery of them….

So said Bottom.

There’s another bottom around, apparently:

Sydney’s biggest correction in house prices since the 1980s should be over by year’s end but there is no sign of a return to boom times, according to new forecasts.

Ok. I’m sceptical but let’s hear their reasoning behind this.

Domain’s property price forecast for June 2019, released on Wednesday, expects median house prices in Sydney to bottom out at just about $1 million and median unit prices to dip just below $700,000 in spring.

I don’t want to play the man not the ball here but isn’t Domain’s entire raison d’être to sell property?

The market is tipped see a modest turnaround next year, a forecast supported by low interest rates, strong population growth and ongoing low unemployment. 

House prices are expected to increase by 3 to 5 per cent over next year, while unit prices are forecast to rise by 2 to 4 per cent.

The thing about predictions, as the American mathematician Stanislaw M. Ulam famously said, is they are notoriously difficult, especially about the future.

Domain economist Trent Wiltshire said the trifecta of an interest rate cut, the Coalition’s election win and potential lending rule changes helped the market bottom out sooner than expected.

Yes, all three of these are potentially good news for property prices. I suppose the missing question and answer is, are any of these actually the most important factor driving rises and falls in the asset class?

“The big factors contributing to prices bottoming out is what has happened in the past few weeks … it turned around the market’s thoughts,” Mr Wiltshire said. “People will be able to borrow more and that should follow through.”

Quite, Mr. River for a Firstname, County for a Lastname, “economist” for a property services website.

Perhaps people are able to borrow more, having the resultant flow on for prices as demand increases. It doesn’t necessarily follow they will borrow more though.

More on that later.

By the way, who knew that a market was a sentient being with thoughts? Hello Skynet.

Meanwhile;

Sydney’s auction clearance rate is at its highest in more than a year.

Don’t, whatever you do, mention that volumes are half of what they were at the peak and those few properties that do sell at auction (rather than sold privately earlier and then added to the highly-fictitious figures) are sold because they are being greatly-discounted to meet the market.

ANZ senior economist Felicity Emmett said the forecasts were in line with her expectations.

There’s a prediction we will return to in a year or so then.

Economist Stephen Koukoulas said it was more likely for property prices to see zero or negative growth than a dramatic turnaround next year.

Nice to see The Kouk has stopped trolling and returned to reasonable market commentary now he’s come to terms with not landing a plum government advisory job for the duration of this Federal term.

One has to love the use of “negative growth” there, if only there was a shorter, more commonly used synonym in the vernacular. I don’t know, something that rhymes with tall and is a homonym for autumn in American-ese….

Anyway, back to that minor factor impacting property prices; lending.

For reasons of incompetence or mendacity, most commentators talk about supply and demand as if the latter is simply a function of sentiment.

In a real world where most purchases are leveraged through borrowing, demand is less about what one would like to buy and more about what the bank will lend me in order to buy.

So, the RBA’s lending figures have been published for calendar month May. What’s the data saying?

Oh dear, that wasn’t supposed to be story.

Here’s the updated Are We There Yet, Mum? Index;

Now, obviously I’m not as educated and clever as someone employed as the “senior economist” for ANZ or “economist” for Domain but it would seem to me one of two things need to be true for property prices to stop falling and then begin to rise, either;

  1. The blue line on that chart needs to reach the 0.4% hurdle and stay there or above for at least a couple of months, but probably much longer, or
  2. A new magical source of funding is found that doesn’t involve domestic banks.

As you were, people, as you were.

Never apologise, never explain

….is a quote by Canadian feminist (back when that wasn’t a label of insanity), Nellie McClung. Possibly.

Then again, it may have been Gertrude Stein. Or it might have been Benjamin Jowett.

PG Wodehouse was more verbose but does give us a clue as to why we should never show contrition (highlighting, mine);

It is a good rule in life never to apologise. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort of people take a mean advantage of them.

The fact many people may have said something similar about the value of apologies, particularly public ones, might be a clue to a universal truth we might be seeing playing out frequently in “woke” 2019.

Let’s draw a distinction here between being sorry and saying sorry.

An example; “I’m sorry it was discovered that I did cocaine in my youth and then went on to be vehemently anti-drugs when I became Home Secretary (the UK’s minister for crime)” is not the same as, “I’m sorry I did cocaine in my youth”.

The latter is an expression of personal regret. The former is, in effect, offering oneself up for the judgement of the world.

Socialists have long known the difference. They understand the vast power of the public apology and have used it to great effect to further their causes.

The Moscow Trials in the 1930s were simply powerful propaganda pour encourager les autres. If the defendants refused to cooperate in the charade, they were executed anyway.

These are lessons we seem to have to learn the hard way every generation.

Twitter is awash with people who have had to show public contrition for some speech or thought crime from decades earlier as righteous offence archaeologists dig up ancient wrongdoing and present it, in the public interest natch, and sit back smugly as the mob is whipped up and baying for blood.

The Parkland Shooting survivor, Kyle Kashuv, has recently learned how little value there is to showing public remorse. Similarly, Milo Yiannopoulos made an apology he has since come to regret. There are countless examples to be found and, if you can’t be bothered to look for them, wait a few days and the next one will come along.

Two people seem to have found a method of surviving this problem; Donald Trump and, recently, Boris Johnson. Both have lots of reasons to say sorry in public but generally wave it away as if the burden of someone else.

Depending on your personal animus, this could be taken as a proof they are of poor character and borderline sociopathic.

However, given the left have made it clear there is absolutely no redemption available, regardless of whether or not one shows contrition, it could be argued theirs is the only logical response to a call for sorrow.

The ancient Athenians looked at this unintended consequence following the Mytilenean revolt on the island of Lesbos. During the Mytilenean Debate, an earlier decision to send a boat with orders to execute all men and enslave everyone else was reversed and another boat was sent the following day to halt the implementation of the first order. One of the most compelling reasons offered in support of the reversal was that it would incentivise future revolts to fight to the death, as they would otherwise have nothing to lose.

Science has caught up with what Donald, Boris and the ancient Athenians already knew; academic paper confirms public apologies are, at best, not helpful to the individual and possibly even worse for them

Bill’s Opinion

If you mean it, say sorry to the specific individual you wronged. At the point the apology goes wider than just people you could name from memory, forget it and move on; they weren’t actually hurt and it’s not going to help you in the slightest.

Oh, and to the person who hosted the party I attended in an apartment in Hong Kong’s Wan Chai in August 1997; it was me who threw up on your bathroom floor and for that I am deeply sorry.