Sunday, 9 August 2020

REX Regional Express airline announces reinstatement of passenger service to Grafton NSW - accompanied by a thinly veiled threat aimed at the people of the Clarence Valley

Rex Regional Express Airlines, media release excerpts, 6 August 2020:

Rex to Resume Flights to Grafton

Regional Express (Rex) announces today that it will resume flights to Grafton with effect from Monday, August 17, 2020.

Rex notified the Clarence Valley Council of the withdrawal of services on June 4 2020,….

Upon the intervention of the Member for Page, Mr Kevin Hogan, Rex accepted the apologies of the council and accepted Mr Hogan’s assurance that the remarks of the said councillor were condemned by the vast majority of the community.

Rex will operate return services three days a week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Rex Deputy Chairman, the Hon John Sharp AM, said, “Although Rex has always taken the view that elected representatives speak on behalf of the community, Rex is giving the benefit of the doubt to the community of Grafton and is accepting at face value the assurance from the Federal Member for Page. Rex will be watching the developments at Grafton closely.”

Mr Hogan said, “I am extremely pleased that Rex have reconsidered and are now reinstating this important service for our community.”

I have continued to work with Rex, Clarence Valley Council and the Deputy Prime Minister to resolve this issue.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the resumption of REX flights to Grafton was a step in the right direction for the industry….

The reintroduction of the flight from Sydney to Grafton is a great step forward for the region to reboot the economy in what has been a difficult year for everyone.”

Clarence Valley Council Mayor Jim Simmons welcomed the announcement and restated the importance of this service.

I would like to personally thank Kevin Hogan for continuing to advocate for this important community service,” Cr Simmons said.

Flights into Grafton are vitally important for our local economy and connects our region to major population centres.
[my yellow highlighting]

When Rex commences flying into Grafton Airport again it will have been absent from the Clarence Valley for 39 days since 3 July.

Coincidentally Rex's re-entry follows on the heels of media reports that Clarence Valley Council had begun looking for another airline to take its place.

It certainly hasn't escaped North Coast Voices' notice that REX shares stopped climbing in July and the volume of shares traded also fell.

Perhaps this airline's bully boy tactics have not instilled confidence in the market place. Just as going straight to the Murdoch media by way of email copy to The Daily Examiner before Clarence Valley Council had time to consider the email's contents failed to impress more than a few people in the Clarence Valley.

ASX Chart, 8 August 2020

Morrison & Co called out for victim blaming

Chief economist at The Australia Institute, Richard Denniss, on the subject of Coalition economic stories........

The Guardian, 5 August 2020:

Australian economic debate relies more heavily on metaphors than it does on evidence, experience or expertise. While the prime minister, treasurer and self-appointed business leaders drone endlessly about what the economy “needs”, they simply refuse to provide any evidence that they know what they are talking about. For decades the inanity of Australia’s economic debate has been concealed behind the sugar hit of surging world demand for our exports, and surging population growth on house prices and retail profits. But in the deepest recession in modern history, the shallowness of Australia’s economic debate is about to become clear for all to see.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s admission last week that his favourite politicians were Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan was as informative as the fact that my favourite Marvel heroes are Thor and Iron Man. Given that Thatcher oversaw burgeoning unemployment and Reagan doubled the US government’s debt, you can see why our current treasurer might have an affinity for his cold war heroes. But for those of us interested in the Morrison government’s actual plans to get us out of the hole we are in, the treasurer’s last big interview told us even less than his recent “mini-budget” did.

According to Frydenberg, Australia’s economy will shrink by a record 7% in the current quarter. To put that into perspective, the entire 1991 recession saw GDP fall by 1.4% and the 1983 recession, which saw four quarters of contraction in a row, saw GDP fall by “only” 3.8%. For the 60 years we have collected quarterly GDP data, the biggest previous quarterly contraction of GDP was back in June 1974, when the economy contracted by 2%. But apart from drawing inspiration from Thatcher and Reagan, what exactly is the government’s plan to create jobs for the almost million people who are already unemployed, let alone for the many more who are predicted to be unemployed by the end of the year?

In March and April, the Morrison government was more enthusiastic about stimulating the economy than many expected but, by July, it had grown tired of its flirtation with Keynesianism. In his mini-budget, Frydenberg simply turned his back on all that economics has to offer and – at the same press conference where he announced the largest ever decline in GDP – he announced his government would be cutting spending in September this year. The consequences of that decision will be disastrous for the economy and, most likely, for the Coalition.

If private demand and investment is falling (it is) and if foreign demand for our exports, including education and tourism, is collapsing (it is), the only thing that can stop GDP spiralling downwards is a big increase in government spending. That’s not ideology or theory, it’s just maths. GDP is the sum of its parts, and if the private-sector parts are shrinking (they are), virtually every economist agrees it’s a good idea for the government to spend more. Morrison and Frydenberg spent the first half of year pretending to understand and accept this most simple of economic tenets but, as of last week, they have clearly decided to put storytelling ahead of solid evidence.

In explaining why they had to cut government spending on unemployment benefits – and in turn cut the amount of money the unemployed spend in their local shops – the prime minister and treasurer dusted off old anecdotes, unsourced, about unemployed people turning down work because life was “easier”. To be clear, there are currently 13 unemployed people for every job vacancy.

The Coalition love to tell stories about what great economic managers they are, despite ABS data suggesting otherwise. But, of course, in Australia the key to being a “great economic manager” isn’t delivering high rates of economic growth or budget surpluses (neither of which the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison governments have actually done). On the contrary, the key to being a great economic manager is to tell great stories.

Central to the Coalition’s economic narrative is to take credit for everything good that happens in the economy and shift the blame for anything bad. When unemployment is falling, say it’s because your tax cuts are working to “strengthen” the economy. When unemployment is rising, blame the unemployed and say you need to cut unemployment benefits.

The same applies when telling stories about the budget. When times are good, cut taxes for your friends and, when times are tough, cut spending on those who never vote for you. Likewise, with productivity growth, consumer confidence or private investment. If things are looking up, link it to your tax and welfare cuts, and if things are going badly, blame it on union power and lazy workers.

Conservatives have masterfully implemented the old adage to “never let a crisis go to waste” – successfully blaming the victims of Australia’s economic system for all of its failings, while taking credit for managing all of its successes. But they have never had to tell a story about an economy that shrank 7% in a single quarter, driving unemployment to 10%…… 

Unemployment is about to rise, and the economy is not going to “snap back”. Increased training will not create jobs. Cutting unemployment benefits will not create jobs. Industrial relations reform will not create jobs. The reason that companies are shedding staff is that there aren’t enough customers with enough money, or enough confidence, to buy the things that companies sell. The only thing that will pull Australia out of this nosedive is a big increase in government spending, and the government has just announced it plans to cut spending. Strap yourself in – the storytelling is about to go fantastical as the economy goes very, very quiet.

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Cartoon of the Week

Cathy Wilcox

Quote of the Week

'“Yeah, it is quantitatively if you look at it, it is. I mean the numbers don’t lie,” Fauci said when asked during an interview with CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta whether the U.S. had the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak. The U.S., which accounts for less than 5% of the world population, leads all other countries in global coronavirus infections and deaths.'  [Director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, quoted by CNBC on 5 August 2020]

a woman who had told NSW Police at the Victorian border she would be self-isolating at Nimbin on the NSW North Coast was issued a $1000 fine after she was located 470 kilometres south in a vehicle at Nabiac. She was also directed to return to Victoria.” [WAtoday , 7 August 2020]

Friday, 7 August 2020

Scott Morrison still running away from scrutiny

Prime Minister Scott 'Job Shirker' Morrison suspension of the Australian Parliament drags on and on.

Even though he has appropriate IT capability at his disposal Morrison is still refusing to let both the House of Representatives and the Senate sit virtually.

This means that the Australian Parliament has only sat for 28 days so far this year.

Which has left Scott Morrison and his cronies free of official scrutiny for most of the last six months.

Even during the 1919 Spanish Influenza pandemic which killed est. 15,000 Australians the Senate sat for 39 days and the House of Representatives for 51 days.

Both houses also sat during the world war years of 1914-1918 and 1939-1945.

However it seems, like his 'mentor' Donald Trump, Scott Morrison is made of lesser stuff.

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Queensland locks down its borders once more

ABC News, 5 August 2020:

Queensland will close its border to all of New South Wales and the ACT from 1:00am on Saturday.

The 68-year-old Queensland woman was diagnosed with the virus in the past 24 hours and authorities are still investigating the source of the infection.

Two historic cases have also been added to the state's total of 1,088 cases.

The hotspot declaration means anyone travelling from NSW or the nation's capital will soon be banned from entering the Sunshine State.

Queenslanders who return after travelling there will be sent to mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.

Queensland COVID-19 snapshot:
Confirmed cases so far: 1,088
Deaths: 6
Tests conducted: 581,286

Latest information from Queensland Health......

New South Wales COVID-19 numbers as of a 5 August 2020 NSW Health update:

Confirmed cases (including interstate residents in NSW health care facilities) 3,631

Deaths (in NSW from confirmed cases) 52

Of the 12 new cases reported to 8pm last night:
  • one is a traveller in hotel quarantine
  • 10 were locally acquired linked to known cases including:
    • two cases linked to the Thai Rock restaurant in Wetherill Park
    • two cases linked to the Apollo restaurant in Potts Point
    • six cases associated with the funeral gatherings cluster
  • one is locally acquired with unknown source
There are now:
  • 105 cases associated with Thai Rock Wetherill Park cluster
  • 58 cases associated with the Crossroads Hotel cluster
  • 46 cases associated with the funeral events in Bankstown and surrounding suburbs, including 15 associated with Mounties in Mount Pritchard.
  • 30 cases associated with the Potts Point cluster, including 24 cases linked to the Apollo Restaurant cluster and 6 cases linked with the Thai Rock Restaurant Potts Point cluster (two cases attended both and are counted as Thai Rock cases).

This is the man Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison consults concerning the way forward in the current global pandemic

CNN Politics, 4 August 2020:

Washington (CNN) Jonathan Swan, a reporter for Axios, has revealed the magic words that expose President Donald Trump's lies for what they are. 


In an interview that aired Monday night on "Axios on HBO," Swan demolished some of Trump's most dishonest talking points with a powerful tactic that has rarely been used by the people Trump has allowed to interview him: 

Basic follow-up questions. 

Many of Trump's interviewers are right-wing sycophants who have no interest in challenging him. But Trump has defeated even his other interviewers by employing a strategy we can call the hit-and-run -- saying dishonest stuff, then darting ahead to other dishonest stuff before the interviewer reacts. 

Swan -- like Fox News' Chris Wallace, to a slightly lesser extent, in an interview that aired July 19 -- came armed with facts and prepared to use them, even if he had to interrupt Trump like Trump interrupts others. 

And Trump wasn't ready to respond. 

Take their exchange about coronavirus testing. Trump uttered a version of his now-familiar refrain about how testing is overrated -- attributing this nonsense to unnamed "those that say." Swan pressed for details. 

Trump: "You know, there are those that say you can test too much, you do know that." 
Swan: "Who says that?" 
Trump: "Oh, just read the manuals. Read the books." 
Swan: "Manuals? What manuals?" 
Trump: "Read the books. Read the books." 
Swan: "What books?" 

 Trump moved on without offering a direct answer. While Swan couldn't get the President to concede that he is making up these "manuals" and "books," he exposed him nonetheless. 

Swan had similar success when Trump returned to his laughably inaccurate claim that the virus is "under control," which he has now been making for more than six months. 

Trump: "Right now, I think it's under control. I'll tell you what --" 
Swan: "How? 1,000 Americans are dying a day." 
Trump: "They are dying. That's true. And you have -- it is what it is. But that doesn't mean we aren't doing everything we can. It's under control as much as you can control it." 

Again, Trump didn't explicitly surrender. But Swan's basic follow-up -- a "how?" and a single key statistic -- forced Trump into a de facto surrender ("It's under control as much as you can control it") and another revealing remark, "It is what it is." 

Other false claims 

Trump made at least 17 additional false claims in the 35-minute interview. (We're still reviewing the transcript, so the final total might be higher.).....

Read the full article here.

The interview Trump participated in over the bodies of 4.7 million COVID-19 infected Americans and almost 157,000 dead: