It is Australians Tony Abbott should be apologising to, not Malaysians. The retreats from the pre-election rhetoric are coming thick and fast from the Coalition government and on no subject more so than asylum seekers. Following Tony Abbott’s backdown when he met the Indonesian president on turning back the boats, our Prime Minister has now apologised to his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak for the Coalition’s strident criticism of Labor’s failed asylum seeker swap with the south-east Asian nation.

Methinks it is Australian voters who really deserve an apology for the dishonest way that the Coalition pretended when in opposition that they actually knew a better way of dealing with this problem.

Closer to scary. The Washington Post’s Daily Default Dashboard (see yesterday’s Chunky Bits ) took a turn for the worse Monday.

All of the Dashboard’s market signals components pointed to higher odds of a US government debt default.

The falling cost of solar energy. Even without a price on carbon to reflect the real cost of burning fossil fuels, solar power is getting closer to grid parity.

The illusion of skill. A depressing summary of how the financial industry acts as a parasite on the rest of us over at the Daily Kos blogChronicles of the Parasites summarises how the “modern financial system that first developed in the US and the North-Atlantic countries and has now spread throughout the world since 1980 has in fact limited the growth of world wealth rather than grown it as some of its supporters, such as that dangerous man Milton Friedman, predicted.” Read it and join the campaign against the financial ticket clippers.

News and views noted along the way.

  • The Disrupters | The Powers That Be — The faster things change, the tougher it is to stay on top. In this year’s rankings, 50 leading innovators shake the foundations of their industries, while 25 members of the power elite demonstrate why they’re not going anywhere soon. [Note — Rupert Murdoch is in the power elite.]
  • China has more internet monitors than soldiers — “China has two million people working as online monitors, according to a report (link in Chinese) last week by state news publication, Beijing News — a new estimate that reveals the breadth of the country’s massive online censorship and surveillance systems. The monitors, who scour online comments and compile reports for officials or private businesses, outnumber even China’s 1.5 million active military personnel.
  • Abe promotes secrecy, sidelining transparency and open government — “Under the proposed [Japanese] new law, civil servants who leak classified information, and journalists who obtain such information, would face up to 10 years imprisonment.”
  • Terror: The Hidden Source — “Akbar Ahmed’s The Thistle and the Drone makes a clear argument that the president and his advisers are putting the al-Qaeda cart before the tribal horse. Rather than exploiting the denizens of remote tribal regions as President Obama has proclaimed, the terrorist activities associated with al-Qaeda and its affiliates are actively engaging the responses of tribal peoples whose cultures are facing destruction from the forces of modern society — including national governments — currently led by the United States.”

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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