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  • Writer's picturePete Jonson

News & Views, No 8, March 12 – 18

The Wentworth Report, Greg Sheridan, ‘The bloody obsession driving Putin’s war’.

‘Is Vladimir Putin out of his mind? As their savage invasion of Ukraine began a third week, Russian forces deliberately bombed a maternity and children’s hospital in the southern city of Mariupol. Last week, they attacked a nuclear power plant. The Ukrainian government accuses Moscow of using illegal thermobaric bombs, vacuum bombs, which suck the oxygen even out of people’s lungs.’

The Australian, Cameron Stewart, ‘The Zelensky government’s brilliant messaging about the horror of what is unfolding has become the X-factor in the Ukraine conflict.’

The Australian. John Carroll, ‘We may be emerging from the pandemic but things are far from normal.’

The AFR, Front page, ‘Damage Control. Expect to see plenty more khaki as Scott Morrison and flood-ravaged residents try to dig their way out of trouble.’ David Spiers and his team, especially the young lady, got stuck into Scomo and effectively gloated over the coming change of government.

‘Prudent’ to plan for rate rise: RBA’. Wow! At last! With US interest rates almost 8 % and other major countries following.

P42 leader: ‘Our flawed party leaders face of in an ominous world’. Sure is, brothers and sisters, and things will get worse before they become better.

P42, Bret Stevens ‘New rules for our grave new world’.

· Free trade for the free world

· Help those who help themselves

· Parallel global institutions

· Be honest about energy

· Get serious about defence

· Play to win

Any new government must address defence spending with great effort and a substantial increase of defence spending. But whoever is in charge must choose two other serious spending improvements.

The Oz, 14/3, Richard Spencer, P 9, ‘Putin wipes out entire city’. ‘Russian-backed separatists claimed on Friday to have captured Volnovakha. Days of heavy bombardment from the air and ground artillery assaults have demolished much of the small but strategically important city of 21,000 people.

Janet Albrechsen says: ‘Labor senator [Kimberly Kitching] took on misogynist rats in her own ranks’.

Jennifer Oriel adds her piece: ‘As disaster strikes self-responsibility, PM an easy target’.

AFR, 14/3, P 1, Ronald Mizen, ‘Inflation hits food prices’.

‘The price to supermarkets of about 100 household staples including SPC baked beans and spaghetti, Ardmona canned tomatoes and Goulburn Valley fruits will rise 10 to 20 per cent as parent company SPC Global passes on what its chief executive calls the biggest cost inflation shift of his career.’

Also soaring diesel and petrol, the latter from from $1.70 to 2.20 and probably rising further. The breakdown in peace talks -really? – ‘rekindled spiralling inflation sparked by soaring energy costs would demolish the global economic recovery’.

The weekend contribution by the RBA, grappling with the loss of its Deputy Governor, is especially laughful, perhaps a man creeping along hoping to eventually look good. As follows:

‘Prudent’ to plan for rate rise: RBA’. With US interest rates almost 8 % and other major countries following. Seems like a rattled man hoping for a deflationary miracle.

The Oz, 16 March, P 11, Paul Kelly, ‘Energy costs blowback to hit the West hard.’

‘The Ukraine war is going to rewrite the rules of the global economy, and Western consumers – enthusiastic backers of the campaign to isolate and cripple Valdimir Putin’s Russia – will pay a high and chaotic price for the cause of freedom.’ …

‘Australia will be careful about how far it goes in compromising its economic approach, …

‘Australia’s commodity-based, growth economy means it should be a bigger winner than loser from the energy shale-out.’

‘But that won’t save Morrison from being blamed for cost-of- living pressures given the current mood of the people’.

And Andrew Leigh says: ‘US lesson in why workers need a boost in real wages’.

Somewhere I recall reading that incomes of rich Australians have boomed (doubling in size in the Coalition decade) while wage earners have been losing ground.

AFR, Editorial column, P 54, ‘Bring clarity to the federation’s blurred lines’.

I cannot dispute this. Replace state governments by large but smaller than states and give all macroeconomic governments to the Federal government’

Phillip Coorey, P2, Deficit and inflation fears curb plan for budget relief;’

In my view, the current Federal government is spending too much in the face of an overall massive budget deficit. Presumably Treasurer Frydenberg has tried to rein Scomo in, but the PM’s natural desire to spread butter on the people has out-played the proper game.

And the mighty RBA still refuses to raise interest rates. Gor blimey Dr Lowe, and good luck to Guy Debelle.

AFR, 17 March, P1, Andrew Tillett, ‘Sanctions risk hangs over China’.

‘Although the prospect of sanctions against China would be a further rupture in relations between Canberra and Beijing, Mr Morrison said it would be an “abomination” if China offered military support to Russia after it had already thrown it a financial lifeline to skirt the impact of economic sanctions’.

The Oz, March 18, P 11, Henry Ergas, ‘Why Putin is in strife with his unjust war’.

So far as I can see, the logic is thus: ‘Putin acts alone’.

‘In so doing, he bears out Sophocles’ warning that “There is no greater evil among mortals than want of counsel.’

Mr Putin may not lose the battle, but ‘if he presses on ahead despite mounting losses, it will be barbarism to its limits, as the Russians have done in Syria, reducing Ukraine to a wasteland while decimating the living standards of ordinary Russians’.

‘Should [Putin] be allowed to succeed, the West will not only have compromised its vital interests but pounded one more nail into the coffin of its principles.’


Fiona Prior brings us 'Kyiv is Calling', the Clash anthem reborn ... More here.

Sporting news.

AFL started this Wednesday and Thursday.

Melbourne beat Footscray by a few goals – closer the last year’s Grand Final but still beaten.

Caaarlton!’ Henry’s long disappointment was overturned by flogging Richmond. A curious first quarter easily dealt with, catch up in the second quarter and in the third quarter dropped further behind.

Then the miracle happened. Carlton! kicked 7 goals 5 points to almost nothing and the Blues celebrated. Carlton! fans stood to cheer, the new coach allowed himself a small smile and the team congratulated itself and then fans. An amazing outcome and Richmond players and fans looked gobsmacked.

It is of course early days but clearly good new players have been hired, Carlton’s! Captain and last year’s co-captain played brilliantly, the latter player coming back from two years battling cancer and Captain Cripps (‘Crippa’ apparently) dominated the game and kicked 3 goals! and the new players kicked most of the rest. Wow!

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