:isten to today's Daily Breakdown

Pill testing utilised by kids

If it’s illegal for a 17-year-old Australian to order a beer in a bar, or buy alcohol from a bottleshop, how is it possible for a 17 year old to have their pills tested?

Even worse … why is the practice being applauded? Check this out from RiotACT:

Every fifth person who visited the pill-testing tent at Canberra’s Groovin the Moo music festival was under 18 years of age according to new data released by the Australian National University.

Of the 234 festivalgoers who entered Pill Testing Australia’s tent on 28 March, 53 of them were under 18 and were therefore excluded from the evaluation.

Another 22 participants declined to enrol in the evaluation while another knowingly presented a sample of candy for testing, and was therefore excluded, leaving a total of 158 valid participants.

The report said that 46 per cent of the 158 participants were 18 or 19 years old, with the oldest participant aged 51 years. In total, 76 females, 81 males and one person who did not identify as either gender had their drugs tested.

Read that first line again.

Every fifth person who visited the pill-testing tent at Canberra’s Groovin the Moo music festival was under 18 years of age according to new data released by the Australian National University.

What the hell? That’s a problem. Here’s one of the comments on the story:

This exposes many misconceptions about pill testing. The worst one is the thought – the complete misconception – the drug testing means the drugs are safe or, as the poster alludes, that the drug user is ‘taking care of themselves’.

The truth is that pill testing does not verify that the pill is safe or that you won’t have an adverse effect.

What this poster has proven is that many people think pill testing means the drug is safe. This is wrong.

According to Australian researchers, 100 per cent of people told their pills were contaminated threw them away; this is considerably higher than results from the UK. In the July 2018 UK study, test results revealed that one in five substances was not as sold or acquired. One in five service users utilised the disposal service for further substances of concern in their possession and another one in six moderated their consumption. Two-thirds of those whose sample was missold disposed of further substances, compared with under one in ten whose sample was as sold.

In other words, one in three kept the drugs (so they either used them or on-sold them, presumably).

Kevin Rudd should be better than this

Julia Gillard and John Howard are the gold standard for ex-PMs.

And considering her post-PM work with Beyond Blue, Gillard nudges Howard

Kevin Rudd is the worst.

On Friday he was interviewed at the National Press Club.

Usually, when Rudd talks about China it’s time to listen.

When Rudd talks about conservatives it’s time for the white coats with the long sleeves.

The former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd has accused members of the Liberal party of fomenting national hysteria and “going all hairy-chested” over China.

Rudd is still waiting for his first chest hair.

In an interview at the National Press Club on Friday, Rudd condemned Liberal backbencher Andrew Hastie, the chair of parliament’s intelligence and security committee, who compared western tolerance of Chinese expansionism with the appeasement of Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

“The Liberal party has a very bad history of using core foreign policy questions for domestic political gain or internal party management,” Rudd said.

Rudd is an expert in party management. Apparently.

Then he beclowns himself:

“If I look at young Hastie … I’m always cautious about post-pubescent politicians who decide – or pre-pubescent in his case, I’m not sure – the best way to make a name for yourself within the raging beast of Australian conservatism is to whack the Chinese on the head again every second Thursday.”

Rudd should be better than this. He isn’t.

What if Trump is right on trade?

Trump is playing a very dangerous game on trade.

But here are some interesting facts from the US Census Bureau on US exports.

  1. The US runs a massive trade deficit with China.

So Trump could argue that because of the massive trade deficit, China has more to lose than China does. Well, that depends on what the US exports …

2. What the US exports to China.

According to the US Trade Representative:


  • China was the United States’ 3rd largest goods export market in 2018.
  • U.S. goods exports to China in 2018 were $120.3 billion, down 7.4% ($9.6 billion) from 2017 but up 72.6% from 2008. U.S. exports to China are up 527% from 2001 (pre-WTO accession). U.S. exports to China account for 7.2% of overall U.S. exports in 2018.
  • The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2018 were: aircraft ($18 billion), machinery ($14 billion), electrical machinery ($13 billion), optical and medical instruments ($9.8 billion), and vehicles ($9.4 billion).
  • U.S. total exports of agricultural products to China totaled $9.3 billion in 2018, our 4th largest agricultural export market. Leading domestic export categories include: soybeans ($3.1 billion), cotton ($924 million), hides & skins ($607 million), pork & pork products ($571 million), and coarse grains (ex. corn) ($530 million).
  • U.S. exports of services to China were an estimated $58.9 billion in 2018, 2.2% ($1.3 billion) more than 2017, and 272% greater than 2008 levels. It was up roughly 997% from 2001 (pre-WTO accession). Leading services exports from the U.S. to China were in the travel, intellectual property (trademark, computer software), and transport sectors.


  • China was the United States’ largest supplier of goods imports in 2018.
  • U.S. goods imports from China totaled $539.5 billion in 2018, up 6.7% ($34.0 billion) from 2017, and up 59.7% from 2008. U.S. imports from are up 427% from 2001 (pre-WTO accession). U.S. imports from China account for 21.2% of overall U.S. imports in 2018.
  • The top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2018 were: electrical machinery ($152 billion), machinery ($117 billion), furniture and bedding ($35 billion), toys and sports equipment ($27 billion), and plastics ($19 billion).
  • U.S. total imports of agricultural products from China totaled $4.9 billion in 2018, our 3rd largest supplier of agricultural imports. Leading categories include: processed fruit & vegetables ($1.2 billion), fruit & vegetable juices ($393 million), snack foods ($222 million), spices ($167 million), and fresh vegetables ($160 million).
  • U.S. imports of services from China were an estimated $18.4 billion in 2018, 5.5% ($963 million) more than 2017, and 68.3% greater than 2008 levels. It was up roughly 414% from 2001 (pre-WTO accession). Leading services imports from China to the U.S. were in the transport, travel, and research and development sectors.

Trump’s tweets (there are a lot of them)

And then came these ones.

The US President is not a subtle man, and these tweets are absurd; most importantly, because he has no power to enforce this ‘order’:

However, there is an interesting method to the madness.

  1. From a trade perspective, China has more to lose.
  2. A lot of production that could be brought back to the US might be able to be done competitively due to mechanisation and increasing wages in China. Even once low-value work like textile, clothing and footwear manufacturing.