BohemiAntipodean Samizdat

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Moon to cast red glow; Ferocious wind and rain lash the city of exiles; could it be an omen? It's impossible to conceal the disastrous state of NSW's health and transport services, so Treasurer Egan tried to cover up the size of the budget deficit instead Auditor-General Bob Sendt
21st century Manning Clark of the Evatt Foundation, Chris Sheil, Creates Ripples in the Blogosphere with His Water’s Fall The Infrastructure Volcano

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: And Now a Few Randy Words About E(l)ections
The air is thick with lies, deceptions, distortions, demagoguery, sleaze and vicious rhetoric, uttered every day by President Bush, John Kerry or their surrogates. Both candidates offer evasion and snake-oil non-remedies for dire national problems, ranging from the existential threat of nuclear terrorism, to the war in Iraq, to global warming, to the looming Social-Security-Medicare-deficit disaster. And each campaign is whipping its most partisan supporters into a frenzy of hatred for the opposing party.
Unfortunately, elected officials have a vested interest in perpetuating the systemic causes of polarization.
It's almost an act of faith to cling to Winston Churchill's wisdom that democracy is the worst form of government -- except for all the other ones

How Our Political and Bureaucratic System Elevates The Wrong People [RANDY KENNEDY And Now a Few Words About Our Candidates ]
• · Never mind opinion polls and focus groups 10 unusual ways to pick a president
• · · Roger Cohen The dirty word 'liberal' boasts a proud history
• · · · Munir Attaullah Root causes of terrorism.
• · · · · Blackouts in the Elitist North Sydney
• · · · · · Charges for water, electricity and other services are likely to rise because the NSW Government has seriously undervalued the cost of upkeep on government facilities. Over nine years, Bob Carr and Michael Egan have ripped out $6 billion dollars in dividends to deal with immediate issues but they have failed to put money aside to re-invest in this state's ageing infrastructure Clouds are Gathering Over Future AAA credit rating

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Christine Milne has won the battle for the final Senate place in Tasmania, making her the Greens' third member in the new Senate

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: The Lesson of Her Story: Rome, or no Rome
This is where the story of Rome— and the manner of its telling—is particularly instructive. This is because, as frequently happens in life, if we look beyond the banner headlines of despair, we can find cause for hope.
Let’s take a glimpse at how Rome and her history can give us a reaffirmation of our unshaken belief in the ability of Everyman, acting as a free individual, to repair all the damage ever done by history’s tyrants and their tax gatherers.
The first thing to be pointed out is that, however dramatic the official version of those past events, what historians—and, more emphatically, archaeologists—are coming to realize is that, changes in political leadership aside, nothing very much at all can otherwise be found to distinguish the days before 410 a.d. with those afterwards.
Rome may have swapped leaders. Violence may have been done and property destroyed on a considerable scale. Individual tragedy was, we suspect, both undeniable and heart-rending, as it always is in such times.
Yet, the vast majority of men and women still lived their lives, tended their livestock, took their goods to market, and worshipped their gods, as they had always done—Rome, or no Rome.

The thrifty and the enterprising still, on the whole, fared better than the prodigal and the unthinking [Maxine Aaronson: thought-provoking speculations There are two things you never want to watch them make: sausage and laws ]
• · Tim Dunlop posts challenging questions to spin doctors who would love to bury their mistakes al-Zarqawi and bin Laden have heaps in common ; [Cynthia Banham, Ellen Connolly and Tom Allard: Iraq war spurs local terrorists, says ASIO ; Derek Willis Thousands of civil claims made by Iraqis against the U.S. Army in Iraq]
• · · George Soros: In His Blogging Mode Radical Fallibility: there is an asymmetry between verification and falsification ; [Chris Sheil on verification and detectors They're not rubbish. More rubbish detectors [Generating Deeper Questions]]
• · · · Marc Holtzman figures the Premier, Bob Carr, has a great future - as a Republican president of the United States
• · · · · Jon Stewart gets serious: If you interview Kissinger, are you still a comedian?
• · · · · · Mordecai Roshwald Democracy and elite ; [Carmen Lawrence Democracy is failing if the majority are alienated from politics]
(Political, or commercial market, is too serious a matter to be left to politicians, or managers. Unaided they will not reform our political and social outlook ... John Menadue is not just bashing politicians. He is making the more serious point that improving the health of our democracy depends on a greater involvement from party members and the community at large.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Can this country's political scene be so fractious that members of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies can't even agree on a joint commemoration of the Nov. 17, 1989, fall of communist rule? In a word: yes.
The world of Czech politics is rife with rivalries: Havel versus Klaus, Social Democrats versus Civic Democrats (ODS), everyone versus the communists, etc. To that list, add Senate versus the Chamber of Deputies.
Chamber Chairman Lubomir Zaoralek told reporters Oct. 15 that the two legislative bodies have not been able to agree on a joint plan to commemorate the revolution.
For whatever petty reason, the senators and deputies are putting their own differences and agendas before the order of the day: namely, a dignified commemoration of that important turn of events 15 years ago. Surprised? Don't be. Politicians here find it nearly impossible to rise above petty politics when appropriate. It's happened before and it will happen again.
In Absurdistan, however, nothing's easy -- especially when politicians are involved.
It is at least a comfort to know that come Nov. 17, everyone else will be remembering a day when the impossible became reality, when the Russian overseers were sent packing and freedom returned to the Czech lands. No one will be thinking about bickering politicians.
Bickering pols should remember velvet tone of 1989

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Toxic Neighbors
No two people deal with death in the same way. No two people look the same at the Yiddish word for funeral, levaya, which means to accompany. To accompany means to be be there. I was not there for my father’s funeral in 1992. I was not there for my brother’s funeral in 2004. I was not there when my family said goodbye to my godmother Sidka this year. I was not there when they said goodbye to my Godfather Jan.
The Importance of Being There. Is there an experience as profound, as indefinable, as feared, as damaging as revisiting your soulmate’s funeral?
Whenever I come across stories like the one I read last night in the Prague Post, I found myself torn between two poles: between present and past; between memories and now; between a yearning for answers to the complex life of the Slavic race. Would I be in Australia writing this absurd blogger entry if I was not at my sister’s funeral in September 1975? My sister and many others who worked in the chemical factory in Svit were just left to die ...
Frequent accidents at chemical plant alarm local residents and politicians who call for halt of manufacturing of potentially lethal chemicals
Spolchemie Usti nad Labem has lost popularity with its neighbors after a series of accidents released potentially lethal chemicals. By Katka Krosnar
Pressure is growing on Czech chemical plant Spolchemie to stop production after the fourth leak from the plant this year. The latest incident at the chemical works in Usti nad Labem in north Bohemia happened Oct. 11 when chlorine leaked during pipe repairs

• Now we come again to the heart of darkness The incident came less than two weeks after another leak of sulphur oxide [KORISTKA AFFAIR TIMELINE - Agust 2004: Deputy Zdenek Koristka claims he was offered 10 million Kc ($385,000) if he withheld support for Prime Minister Stanislav Gross' new government in a parliamentary confidence vote. October 2004: State attorney Josef Blaha drops the charges. Scandal erodes public trust in politics, police and courts; ]
• · Resting on their laureates Kerry leads Bush in endorsements from Nobelists Mommy, why do you hate the president?; [: AP EXCLUSIVE: Iraqis reveal in secret interviews how Saddam manipulated oil-for-food program]
• · · Tim Porter: Why presidential endorsements have little, if any, impact on voters ; [Chris Sheil links to the Doctor living in the fortified compound in Woody Creek, Colorado and includes links to Amerikan elections: even junkies will cry for mercy after visiting]
• · · · From Backpages to Top Headlines ; [
State vs state, and more ...
• · · · · If the Americans would be smarter, they would be worried about the state of their democracy.
• · · · · · Polio was stopped in its tracks, but now we must make sure the price was not too high The dragon is slain, but its legacy lingers
[It's like a sort of blizzard in the bloodstream,
A deep, severe, unseasonable winter,
Burying everything. The white blood cells
Multiply crazily and storm around,
Out of control. The chemotherapy
Hasn't helped much, and it makes my hair fall out.
I know I look a sight, but I don't care.
I care about fewer things; I'm more selective.
It's got so I can't even bring myself
To read through any of your books these days.
It's partly weariness, and partly the fact
That I seem not to care much about the endings,
How things work out, or whether they even do]

Monday, October 25, 2004

Last week Rex Jory of the Adelaide Advertiser screamed: Lack of incentives to build a better society
The Opinion piece suggested that governments and corporations had `forgotten the carrot` in favour of `applying the stick`. It was said that there should be incentives for good drivers in addition to penalties such as new legislation to cancel the drivers licences of those convicted of drink driving. My army days in Nitra where certain characters demolished houses as they drove along the Line of Duty (uncesored beauty)
Some of the tanks will even feature during The trial of Saddam Hussein

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Exactly the Day After My Wedding Vows The Term Spin Doctors Was Born
The carrot behind every wedding is the honeymoon. I rather decline to comment about what is behind the stick. Anyway, many, many years ago, twenty years in fact, I came across the term spin doctor (via International Herald Tribune). It was around the same time that I met some of the Sydney spinners from Sussex Street and Riley Street for the first time.
Twenty years ago, on October 21, 1984 the term 'spin doctor' made its public debut:
Under the headline "The debate and the spin doctors", the New York Times reported: "Tonight at about 9.30, seconds after the Reagan-Mondale debate ends, a bazaar will suddenly materialise in the press room of the Kansas City Municipal Auditorium. A dozen men in good suits and women in silk dresses will circulate smoothly among the reporters, spouting confident opinions. They won't be just press agents trying to impart a favourable spin to a routine press release. They'll be the Spin Doctors . . .

Hunger which is now the fuel most of the spinning engine, is not a hunger for democracy [via Backpages; Spin-doctoring is bad for our democracy, but journalists' passivity is worse ]
• · In PDF version The Democratic Audit of Australia explores how political parties use technology in Australia to entrench themselves in power Freedom From Information; Deep structural flaws in a system where violence dominates, gangs rule and fear pervades ]
• · · Down ABC Memory Lane ; [
Postal Voters: Look Who Is Counting and Deciding whether or not 1233 is out ]
• · · · Boilermaker Bill's Macquarie St musings Carr trip to Canberra – Part XXII
[Mr MALCOLM KERR: It is the wisest project this Government has undertaken. The honourable member then referred to buses. I would like to give each honourable member opposite the money to buy a copy of the Daily Telegraph.
Alan Ashton: I wouldn’t use the Daily Telegraph if I was in an outback toilet!]
• · · · · Someone once described Parliamentary condolence motions as organised hypocrisies. But Wednesday night saw a genuinely moving tribute to Tony McGrane, the independent member for Dubbo, who died on 15 September just weeks after being diagnosed with what would prove to be a vicious liver cancer. [As Pam Allan said, if there were 92 others like Tony, none of us would ever have been elected. Thank God there are not that many Tony McGranes around, because some of us do want to be here.
From my experience most indepents who become representative of lower houses are the most fascinating people. Tony was among the handful of members who welcomed in Wei Jingsheng, the celebrated Chinese dissident who was imprisoned for almost 20 years for engaging in peaceful dissent from official policy, when he visited the New South Wales Parliament on 30 August, 1999. Tony was the only one who knew more about the Chinese dialect Wei was speaking than anyone else in the group. ]
• · · · · · Redflex Holdings State's traffic chief held shares in a speed camera company; Federalism Inc Sydney hospitals on code red for most of August Carr offers sacrifice in return for health switch ; Premier Bob Carr and his wife Helena have taken a further step in their strategy to exit public life in NSW

Saturday, October 23, 2004

As you are aware, this weekend is the weekend of Dragoness’s 20 wedding aniversary, our marriage produced two healthy children of the Velvet Revolution. One was conceived in the heat of the revolutionary moment and the other one in the mortgage belt of the 90s. As a result, I do identify with the suggestion that voting for president is a lot like sex—and not just because it takes place every four years in the solitude of a semi-private booth. Both are intensely personal activities that nonetheless can have profound public consequences. We might add that both often involve drug-and-alcohol-fueled delusions and morning-after feelings of guilt, shame, and recrimination. Who's Getting Your Vote? Political Medico John Tierney Takes the Town-Hall Pulse, for the Election and Beyond
Rick Perlstein: America might be a democracy, but that doesn't mean the Democrat has a right to campaign ... Sucking Democracy Dry and Losing America's birthright, the George Bush way The End of Democracy
Hunter Thompson: Armageddon came early for George Bush this year, and he was not ready for it. His long-awaited showdowns with my man John Kerry turned into a series of horrible embarrassments that cracked his nerve and demoralized his closest campaign advisers Fear and Loathing, Campaign 2004

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: After The Electoral Blood Bath Altered States Are Making a Federal Case
A century after Federation, Australia is facing a revolution in the way our money is spent.
In the brave new world of Bob Carr's federalism, Maggie would probably not have suffered the pain and indignity of bed sores. She may also have avoided a fall which broke her hip, a blood infection and subsequent renal failure.
Maggie is not a figment of a bureaucrat's imagination, but a flesh and blood 73-year-old; a patient tracked by State Government health experts as she battled for treatment in the Hunter area, north of Sydney.
Her frustrating and shameful case is a litmus test for Carr's argument that the system of delivering health and education, not to mention roads, water, child care, disability services and dozens of other services could be vastly improved by a revolutionary framework of funding, restructure and accountability between state and federal governments.

• The Herald has not made ferealism a special feature yet, but I hope the great librarians of Fairfax school will bring stories out from the archives Maybe the Dog Didn't Eat Common Sense [Drunken sailor`s just a drop in the ocean ]
• · If you ever wondered why I keep saying that the Sydney Morning Herals is my favourite paper here is a proof in the reading. The Herald's chief correspondent, Paul McGeough, was last night awarded a prestigious media peace award from the Australian division of the United Nations for his coverage of the war in Iraq Peace prize for war reporter ; [The Ultimate Objective of Democracy ]
• · · Ken Parish a regular reader of Catllaxy brings to the blogosphere his views on defamation and offers John Howard and Mark Latham a few pointers in his post entitled Doubling up at the defamation casino ; [Roy Baker notes Every time people sue for defamation, the question arises whether the offending publication harms their reputation 101 Dalmations ]
• · · · The Princes Highway of our Modern Spy Tales is littered with leaking James Bond carrs (smile) Legitimate concerns with civil liberties sandbagged with a lot of protective measures ; [Mike Carlton, who likes to prove at every opportunity that he is a better historian than Bob Carr, writes We are now the only English speaking country that does not have a bill of rights. Our parliament can pass legislation that could not be passed in Britain, could not be passed in America or New Zealand, or anywhere in Europe This is a warning worth heeding. Maintain the rage, Malcolm Fraser...]
[Persons of such views tend to live in a remote world of fantasy, inflaming themselves by their rhetoric into more and more unreal passions, usually engaging in serious dialogue only with people of like persuasion. For the rest of us, who live in the real world, and know our country and its institutions better, time will not be wasted over such fairytalesAn instrument for the defence of fundamental human rights and dignity]
• · · · · Dr Russell Cope was the first to draw to my attention to an article by John Button earlier this year during my visit to his Blue Mountain retreat. Today Alan Ramsey quotes from this sobering cold river paper: Labor's politicians have nearly all been to factional finishing school but not many to the school of hard knocks. The ALP has become truly professional. And, in the process of professionalising itself, it has lost much of its capacity to relate to the community and a lot of its charm ; [Daniel J. Flynn ( not David Flint) Intellectual Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas ]
• · · · · · Ach, the real running mates Teresa Heinz Kerry and Laura Bush [An Era of Instability in World Politics ; Corruption Perceptions Index 2004 ]

Friday, October 22, 2004

All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.
-Ernest Hemingway, American author (1899 - 1961)

Bad politicians are like 17-year locusts: When they show up en masse, the public greets them with fascination and fear. The current prolonged infestation naturally provokes questions both analytic such as Why do they say what they say? and introspective such as Why do we let them do what they do to us?
Back in bad old Czechoslovakia I got used to seeing the rotten fruits sold at the markets by our political masters. However, even in Australia it is rare to come across fruits rich in political vitamins and democratic fibre. I was not suprised yesterday to read cynical observations in the letters section of the Sydney Morning Herald regarding federal-state-financial-dysfunctions. One bohemian writer employed hard-core irony and wrote: Bob Carr’s offer to trade power with Canberra is a step in the right direction, but why stop there. A merger of the NSW Parliament and Commonwealth parliaments would be real progress.
[Some MPs would be delighted to be called Senators...]

Julian Burnside shares with Czechoslovak born Tom Stoppard the view that we are all born with an instinct for justice. In Professional Foul, one of his characters tells of the child who in the playground cries “It’s not fair” and thus gives voice to ‘an impulse which precedes utterance’. Our perception of justice may be blunted by exposure to its processes. At the start of a career as a law student, we see law and justice as synonymous; later we fall into cynicism or despair as clients complain that Law and Justice seem unrelated. We might remember the observation of Bismarck, in a different context, saying “He who likes sausages or law should not see them in the making” be it in the NSW Parliamentary Library or the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Yet there are a number of MPs who have done their bit to preserve my sense of my faith in politicians on both side of the Parliament and almost one and all independent. I view the suggestion made by Miranda Devine yesterday as rather exaggerated. In her article, entitled Headaches All Around at Town Hall, (a great title for a rock song) Miranda wrote that Clover Moore is creating a royal court of servants by expanding her personal staff by a third because she is not coping with her work.

Clover is a capable politician and an amazing person as is the former chairman of the PAC Andrew Tink. As an insider’s insider’s insider I saw the stone of the fruit and I just wish we had more politicians who come to Parliament after having a real career, real family lives, real interests outside politics and real appreciation what democracy mean...

Czech out the thoughtful contribution by Andrew Tink. I gather that most library newsletters and journals in Australia and even overseas are liberal with extracts from this brilliant speech. This speech was written even before the journal New Matilda saw the light of the publishing day.
Public language is not decaying under a death sentence as proclaimed by Don Watson on the front cover of his latest book.
Rather it is being used as it always has been by those in power, those seeking
power and their critics to attack, defend and criticise.
At the very beginning of his book, Mr Watson accepts this by quoting Primo Levi’s description of public language as ‘an ancient repressive artifice, known to all churches, the typical vice of our political class, the foundation of all colonial empires.
If the title to Mr Watson’s book ‘Death Sentence The Decay of Public Language’is correct, then the decay of public language is something to celebrate: (PDF format) Attack and Defence: Public Language Across Four Centuries

Repeating History Classes: Towshend puts Lord Sydney in shadows
The fact is that few Sydneysiders know exactly who the city was named after and even fewer could tell you what was his non-aristocratic name. New South Wales parliamentarian Andrew Tink laments how little honoured is Lord Sydney in his own backyard:
'The 1780s were arguably the most important period in the history of the English speaking world and Lord Sydney was right in the middle of it. 'How many people have cities on two continents named after them and can say they directly influenced the futures of Australia, Canada and the United States as well as his own country Britain.'
Tink, who has made himself almost a lone Australian expert on Lord Sydney through painstaking archive searches, recounts his hero's achievements and the part they played in the history of the English speaking world.
In appreciation of Lord Sydney's efforts, the loyalists named Sydney in Nova Scotia after him. Tink argues that it was Lord Sydney's support for the loyalists that was a key reason why the English of Canada went on to dominate the country over the country's French settlers..
It was a grateful captain Arthur Phillip, unlike Tommy Townshend, revered by Australians of all ages, who named the new settlement after Lord Sydney.
Born in 1733 as the son of aristocrat Lord Townshend, and later to become an aristocrat in his own right as Lord Sydney, Tommy Townshend graduated from Cambridge University with a Bachelor of Arts when he was just 21.
He went almost immediately into politics, holding a number of key parliamentary posts before taking on his colonial roles

Andrew Tink: the Lover of History [Andrew Tink ]
What do Andrew Tink - historian politician, Andrew "Boy" Charlton - Swimmer, Banjo Paterson - poet/writer, David Gonski - Coca-Cola chairman, Baz Luhrman - film director and Malcolm Mackerras - Psephologist have in common SGS
• · Even Sydney's Charms Cannot Save the Politician who Angered a Poet
• · · PDF Words that Haunt Sydney
• · · · Speech can stop people being afraid or sorry; it can promote happiness and increase feelings of pity. Speech is a ‘powerful ruler’ because, though invisible, it achieves superhuman results

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Al Gore gave an excellent speech at Georgetown University. You can watch the C-Span video or read a transcript of the speech: Love of power for its own sake is the original sin of this presidency [Mr. Gore critiques Pres. Bush's presidency in many areas, specifically Iraq, jobs retention and creation, the environment and people's trust in government]

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Making Light Political Jokes
So George is doing yet another photo op at an elementary school, and this one’s been going pretty well, so he offers to take questions. A little boy raises his hand.
“Okay, you,” says George, smiling. “What’s your name?”
“Billy. And what’s your question?”
“I have three questions,” Billy says. “First, why did you go to war without UN approval? Second, why are you president when Gore got more votes? Third, where’s Osama bin Laden?”
George is taken aback. “Uh, those are really hard questions,” he says.
Just then the bell rings. “Whoops, time for recess!” George says. “Guess I’ll have to answer your questions when recess is over.”
After recess, when the kids have settled back down again, George says “Okay, who’s got a question?”
A little kid raises his hand, and George calls on him.
“What’s your name?” George asks.
“Okay, Steve. What’s your question?”
“I have five questions,” Steve says. “First, why did you go to war without UN approval? Second, why are you president when Gore got more votes? Third, where’s Osama bin Laden? Fourth, why did the bell for recess ring twenty minutes early?

And fifth, what happened to Billy?
• · PM agrees to power talks with premiers
• · · Labor blues take toll on confidence
• · · · Asking Big Spenders to Be Big Savers, Too
• · · · · George Soros on Terrorists
[We cannot eliminate terrorists by following foreign policies but we sure as hell can reinforce them by following the wrong ones. We must isolate the terrorists by gaining the sympathy and support of the populations from which they come. Only that way can we get rid of terrorists.]

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

John Kenneth Galbraith is famously quoted for saying: In the choice between changing one's mind and proving there is no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof. The quote is apt not only to describe human behaviour in general, but more particularly in the context of the Commonwealth state relations.

The ink is still wet from 30 September 2004 post in relation to Nick Greiner’s vision on federalism. Amazingly Greiner’s ideas are back with the speed of light and part of the political lanscape:
Mr Carr proposes a prompt report from two eminent statesmen, such as the former NSW premier Nick Greiner and the former Queensland premier Wayne Goss, who could then act as emissaries for the states' ideas. The Premier has called for a new deal on federalism in the wake of the Howard Government's big election win, offering to hand over responsibility for the health system to the Commonwealth
The importance of Pimping Choices

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Too Much Truth?
George Orwell shaped our imagination of a future in which a propagandistic media produced a steady stream of up-is-down, right-is-wrong, war-is-peace lies in order to impose the will of a governing elite upon the subject citizenry. Orwell reckoned this ultimate diminution of democracy would come in the year 1984. Imperfect genius that he was, the author missed the mark by twenty years. But, after watching the controversy regarding the Sinclair Broadcast Group's scheme to air the truth-impaired mockumentary Stolen Honor in an attempt to stall the momentum John Kerry's campaign gained from the presidential debates, it becomes evident that the future Orwell imagined is unfolding.
Orwellian Twist on the Campaign ; [Cover of naked antiwar protesters draws objections, police attention ]
• · Bush campaign adviser Mary Matalin describes The Note's readership as a kind of - Skull and Bones for the political class The Note's Halperin is the insider's insider's insider dope; [We try to channel what the chattering class is chattering about, and to capture the sensibility, ethos, and rituals of the Gang of 500, which still largely sets the political agenda for the country Mark Halperin: political news digest]
• · · Crikey, as usual, was the first to break the story about Lindsay Tanner via email Sixth frontbencher abandons Latham ;
Labor housing spokesman Daryl Melham has become the seventh frontbencher to retreat to the backbench Latham's incredible shrinking front bench
• · · · The Australian journalist freed late yesterday after being held by Iraqi militants has contradicted claims by Foreign Minister Alexander Downer that he was captured in an area he was advised not to go to ; [Matthew Rothschild Refusing Orders ]
• · · · · Developers' cash funded poll win Under what circumstances could it be said that political donors had bought their candidates victory?;
• · · · · · Byron Williams: Rejection of Bush is based on policy, not politics The Difference Between Disagreement and Hate

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after,
And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
And when he cried the little children died in the streets.
- poem of Auden
(The sting in the poem is that the subject is not identified, and no tyrant could assert that he was the subject of the poem without admitting the truth the poem seeks to expose)
Julian Burnside

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: The Election Luxuries and The Lowest Blow
One by one, American vote swingers typically settle on a presidential candidate after weighing his, and his rival's, views on the mosaic of issues that each of us finds important.
Some years, though, force vectors we didn't anticipate turn some of our usual priorities—our pet causes, our own economic interest—into narcissistic luxuries.

The NYT has endorsed John Kerry for President
The Chicago Tribune, on the other hand, has endorsed George W. Bush for president
• Election 2004 Reuters/Zogby Daily Tracking Poll: Kerry Closes In On Bush Lead; President Loses 2 Points (Bush 46%- Kerry 44%); Race Remains Close, New Reuters/Zogby Poll Reveals Suddenly Politics Is Hot Again. Sometimes, Really Hot [Joi Ito Move On and Kerry Inc ]
• · Czech Parties sharpen rhetoric in campaign marked by bribery scandal, 'red' claims Prime Minister Stanislav Gross faces the first major test of his popularity
• · · The Army's intelligence chief said yesterday that he has great confidence in the ability of Maj. Gen. Barbara Fast, the highest-ranking intelligence officer tied to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, to lead Army's intelligence school. ; [A word to the wise: Be careful who you're telling lies. There's an elite group of people who don't need to see Pinocchio's nose grow, but can pick up on subtle signs that they're not hearing the truth Superliars ; A 17-member Army Reserve platoon with troops from Jackson and around the Southeast deployed to Iraq is under arrest for refusing a "suicide mission" to deliver fuel Platoon defies orders in Iraq]
• · · · Bologna Archbishop Carlo Caffarra drew attention to the underlying ethos that should inspire a democracy. First is
the influence of moral relativism,
which denies the existence of objective truths in ethics, justice and politics. Second is the incapacity to coordinate individual liberty with social obligations. What Catholics Should Do About Democracy ; [Much of the information governments use to shape policy is available via non-secret channels Flinging Open the Doors to Intelligence Gathering ]
• · · · · Among the striking cultural differences between France and Britain is the way their intellectuals operate in the public arena Nicely structured and well told account of Silence of the intellectual lambs ; [As societies dumb down and reality shows take over, facile pundits now overrule true intellectuals]
• · · · · · If the boomers were obsessed with off-road cars, Generation Xers seem to have had a special preoccupation with subversive running shoes... The system tells you that you have to swim in a straight line, down some river that The Man has built for you. The rebel can't be tied down like that; he yearns for freedom. He needs to be able to veer off at any time and start following his own river I'm not one of those losers with kids, living in the suburbs. My life is an adventure. It tells them that you're not a square, not a cog in the machine; [Pop culture pyramid And pop! The culture goes political ; Movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn once said: If you want to send a message, call Western Union.
Translation: The job of entertainers is entertainment. Leave politics to the politicians. Controversy just alienates the audience.]
[[So while it's fine to be cool, we should all recognize the wanting to be cool is just another form of social striving, like wanting to join an exclusive golf club, to have the nicest front lawn, or to drive a BMW.]]

Monday, October 18, 2004

It is bad to be oppressed by a minority, but it is worse to be oppressed by a majority..... from the absolute will of an entire people there is no appeal, no redemption, no refuge but treason.
-- Lord Acton - The History of Freedom in Antiquity (1877)

What follows is a conversation between Kurt Vonnegut and out-of-print science fiction writer Kilgore Trout. It was to be their last. Trout committed suicide by drinking Drano at midnight on October 15 in Cohoes, New York, after a female psychic using tarot cards predicted that the environmental calamity George W. Bush would once again be elected president of the most powerful nation on the planet by a five-to-four decision of the Supreme Court, which included “100 per-cent of the black vote.” Requiem for a Dreamer

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: How deep the divide?
Thanks to the power of the image--namely, those brightly colored maps used by TV analysts--the 2000 presidential election has come to be seen as the birth of two nations, one red and one blue. But what do those colors really tell us about American voters and the election that lies just ahead? The answers range from almost everything to almost nothing. For even on the question of our divided condition, Americans, it seems, are strongly divided.
• Jay Tolson: Scholars and pundits don't agree on the meaning of red and blue [Presidential Endorsements Around the country newspapers are taking a position on the upcoming election. This site seeks to archive some of these positions]
• · Bush Judicial Nominees Bring Close Corporate Ties to the Bench; CIR Posts Judges' Financial Data Online: Courting Influence's database of judges and nominees from 2001 to the present, covering Circuit and Federal Claims courts. Includes biographical data from nominees' Senate questionnaires, and downloadable financial disclosure statements. Courting Influence Federal Judicial Nominees and Their Ties to Special Interests; What is judicial independence? ; [The inmates at the Allred Unit, a tough Texas prison, mostly go by names like Monster, Diablo and Animal. They gave Roderick Johnson, a black gay man with a gentle manner, a different sort of name when he arrived there in September 2000. They called him Coco Under the protocols of the prison gangs at Allred, gay prisoners must take women's names. Then they are assigned to one of the gangs ]
• · · Paul McGeough: Washington bills him as the spearhead of the bloody insurgency that is wrecking virtually all efforts to impose security in liberated Iraq Zarqawi: the new bin Laden
• · · · Katherine Keating, daughter of former prime minister Paul Keating and adviser to the Minister for Infrastructure, Craig Knowles, will be the next star witness at State Parliament's Orange Grove inquiry [Freedom From Information: One of the documents which is being denied is the official register of visitors to the premier's suite at the top of Governor Macquarie Tower]
• · · · · Capital Punishment For the Liberal Party Labor had achieved a fantastic victory, receiving a swing of at least six per cent in the election
• · · · · · Liberal Ross Cameron last night conceded defeat in his bid to retain his seat of Parramatta, and blamed his revelations of infidelity for destroying his political career and his family life ;
[K. A. Taipale, Technology, Security and Privacy: The Fear of Frankenstein, the Myth of Privacy and the Lessons of King Ludd, 7 Yale J. L. & Tech. (forthcoming Dec. 2004, 88 pages, PDF):
Article Maintains Security and Privacy Are Not Mutually Exclusive ]

Sunday, October 17, 2004

The European Dream: How Europe's Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream
Tang Yiwen seems to materialise from nowhere when she approaches at the agreed rendezvous outside a Beijing restaurant. She cuts a nun-like figure in a girlish dress, white ankle socks and black shoes. Tang's conversion to Falun Gong followed a familiar pattern

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Democracy Is Everybody's Business
In the early '90s, Krist Novoselic played bass for Nirvana, one of the most popular bands of the decade. While politically active as a musician, in his post-rock-idol life he has become very involved in politics. In September, Novoselic released his first book, "Of Grunge and Government: Let's Fix This Broken Democracy," which takes on the issues of political activism and electoral reform. Novoselic is currently on a lecture tour, including a stop in Denver last month.
As far as music goes, I like to say that democracy is everybody's business. Musicians have an edge on other vocations or pastimes because people really look for meaning in music, and I believe that people look for meaning in their politics. I say in the book that it's no mistake that a political event is called a rally, because you want to rally people. I make the analogy that there is a time for a new wave in music when things get predictable and the establishment is just entrenched, and I believe the time is right for a new wave in politics. This new wave would be greatly facilitated by a change in our electoral system to have more inclusive elections and have more competition.

Meaningful work takes time. It's going to be a colossal undertaking [ ]
• · Chris Sheil, Backpages What's that on my neck? [Don Watson: This is the danger with old enemies, especially ones your side has humiliated. One day – a day perhaps when you are gazing at your reflection in a pond – they at last get their foot on the back of your neck, and there’s no pity left in them and nothing will persuade them to take it off. All the days of your life they will make you pay.]
[Canberra defied the national trend in the federal election by swinging marginally to Labor when most of the nation swung to the Liberals: It may be that Canberrans - most of them more intimately acquainted with federal than local government - will exact some revenge ]
• · · The major media networks have been willfully ignoring alternative voices in this presidential election, focusing only on the two major parties, Democratic and Republican Michael Badnarik’s and David Cobb’s arrest last Friday
• · · · Adam Wolfson: We have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom The Two Faces of Liberalism ; [Was informing the government of the investigation into Mr Dunning before the subject was informed wrong. Is it is the Police`s role to protect the Government from embarrassment? Not when but why: Police chief 'right' to tell ministers]
• · · · · I team: Bombshell piece on voter fraud
• · · · · · They leave home with the promise of a better life in a wealthier land, but a sad and degrading existence awaits. Leonie Lamont reports on women caught in the sex trade

Friday, October 15, 2004

Following is a transcript of the presidential debate last night in Tempe, Ariz., between President Bush and Senator John Kerry, as recorded by The New York Times
Cameron Marlow just could not help himself, could he? Now Where is Poland?

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Left Jab v. Right Hook
Senator, in the mainstream of American politics you sit on the far-left bank. Your record is such that Ted Kennedy, your colleague, is the conservative senator from Massachusetts, zinged Bush.
Kerry retorted that he plans a pay as you go approach and suggested that for Bush to talk about balanced budgets is a little bit like Tony Soprano talking to me about law and order.

Debate hits hot buttons ; [Left Right and Centre ; Google Latest links to the Third Presidential Debate]
• · but in the corrupted Orwellian journalism of our time, power and truth did not make it "fit to print" in our most important paper Is not the Farnaz Fassihi story a perfect little parable of the "transformation" we've been talking about for a year now
• · · I fault this president for not knowing what death is. He does not suffer the death of our 21-year-olds who wanted to be what they could be. On the eve of D-Day in 1944 General Eisenhower prayed to God for the lives of the young soldiers he knew were going to die. He knew what death was [Even in a justifiable war, a war not of choice but of necessity, a war of survival, the cost was almost more than Eisenhower could bear.]
• · · · Backpages Chris Sheil In the Shadow of the Forrest (Election Wood)
• · · · · From Amerika Marian Wilkinson Head-to-heart battle to be first past post
• · · · · · Damian Murphy From the Down Under Politics is next to godliness

It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. One begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.
-Sherlock Holmes told Watson

The combined wealth of Australians has topped $5 trillion for the first time, thanks to a house price boom and surging sharemarket We're richer than ever - on the funny sand foundations.
Ironically, who determines what constitutes an essential worker (or plum worker) who cannot afford rents in the suburbs where they are most needed? Superworker (2004)

Invisible Hands & Markets: America Is Undergoing a Creative Brain Drain
As the outsourcing of U.S. jobs continues, America is also experiencing the exodus of many of its most creative business, research, and academic minds to other countries, according to the cover story of the latest issue of Across the Board, The Conference Board’s bimonthly magazine.
Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Ireland are among the newly favored hotspots for creative talent in business and other sectors.

America’s Best and Brightest are Leaving … and Taking the Creative Economy With Them [Children of Immigrant Children]
• · The G7 no longer governs the world economy. Does anyone?
• · · If America is richer, why are its families so much less secure? [Citizens for Tax Justice - PDF format Corporate income tax in the Bush years ]
• · · · 400 Richest Amerikans; [All the riches of the east restored How China has become a major player in the world economy ]
• · · · · Russia retreats into repression
• · · · · · Books on crude oil and cruder geopolitics.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

If Oprah moderated a presidential debate, the whole country would come to a standstill ... In just under 24 hours American’s will have their third and final look at John Kerry and George Bush, go heart to heart as well as head to head before the election on November 2

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Oh my, yes! State By State Guide for Amerikan Voters
From Newsweek, via MSNBC, a state by state voters guide to election 2004. Information provided includes how each state voted in the 2000 election, a brief analysis/projection of the 2004 race (to be updated), number of electoral college votes, whether e-voting is offered, if Nader is on the ballot, absentee ballot information, and population data.
Amerika Amerika ; [BeSpacific ]
• · The wholly grail of Senate control is close for the Coalition and the complicated voting scenario in Queensland is at the heart of it, as Charles Richardson explains Senate majority ; [It's a burning hot blue day here that feels like the absolute height of summer. taste of things to come by Gianna]
• · · We will never achieve what we can't imagine, so what are we hoping for? Democrazy: ten ideas for change (Margo Kingston); [What accounts for the staying power of Democracy and Distrust? ]
• · · · The United States maintains more than 700 military bases worldwide, spanning an area that dwarfs the great empires of world history. U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed A synopsis of The Empire Has No Clothes
• · · · · Jack Shafer Kissinger and Reston Good friends [Kissinger's career has been guided by one principle: If you have friends, use them]
• · · · · · Debate analysis - From Saunders, Tapper and Borger Reliable Sources

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The art of prophecy, Mark Twain once said, is very difficult, especially with respect to the future.

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Why your ballot is not as meaningless as you think
Landsburg is arguing against voting, not chicken-dancing: Your presidential vote, he says, "will never matter unless the election in your state is within one vote of a dead-even tie." That, of course, is extremely unlikely. So, the negligible chance of casting the deciding ballot is outweighed by the small but certain costs of voting, like the gas you'll use and the time you'll spend.
And yet people vote anyway, by the millions. Political scientists call this conundrum "the paradox of voting," and you could stay up half the night (I just did) reading research literature on the subject.

Why do people vote when it's so unlikely to matter? Walter Cronkite, Charles Brown and John Anderson on questions for Bush and Kerry
• · Dan Chaon, Amy Tan, John Updike Who are novelists voting for?
• · · Why Catholics may find themselves returning to their Democratic roots in 2004
• · · · Europe's Private Affair From prisons to hospitals to toll roads, the next chapter in the dismantling of the public sector has arrived
• · · · · Jiri Pehe The government of Poland collapsed first, followed by the Czech government. Then the Hungarian prime minister resigned. The government of Slovakia lost its majority and is unstable. Within months, if not weeks, of realizing the long-sought goal of European Union membership A wave of political instability surged through Central Europe

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Spectre of arrogance haunts Liberal chiefs
West Australian, 11/10/2004
Ben Ruse and Karen Middleton write about the Liberal Party needing to avoid appearing `arrogant` having defeated the Labor Party in the federal election, and not make the same mistake as former Labor prime minister Paul Keating by trying to pass legislation that is not supported by the community.

We're not going to allow this to go to our heads. We're not going to start proposing things that are disruptive but we certainly will press ahead very strongly with things that we've believed in for a long time, particularly in the area of industrial relations.
-John Howard 11 October 20004; after the metaphorical game of two-ups

A train less travelled via Webdiary

Eye on Politics & Second Longest Serving PM: Time to Say Good Night to Election Counterspin
Counterspin is closing for business. The last six weeks have been a wonderful journey of political discussion, media analysis and insights. Thanks for all your support, emails, thoughts, links and ideas - it's been an inspiration.
Blogging is the future. Believe it.

Rates bell rang: The Phar Lap with two hearts versus The Lightning Horse with two heads [Australia's wonder horse. Phar Lap triumphed during the Great Depression of the early 1930s, when a hero was most needed by the people of Australia. Phar Lap's name was derived from the Thai word for lightning rather than train wreckChris Sheil: Backpages Confessin' the blues; Tim Dunlop: Road to Surfdom Reaching Out In A Big (And Highly Visible) Way ; Hugh Mackay: It is not what happens during campaigns that determines what voters will do]
• · Peter Hartcher: A leader of rare power, with an unczeched mandate for change John Howard said the election was about trust, and Australians responded by giving him more trust than we have extended to any prime minister in a generation
• · · The furiously contested 2004 election has had an unexpected artistic bonus: more political songs than any election since the dawn of rock 'n' roll, and more openly partisan songs than anyone might expect. Return Of The Protest Song ; [Scientists imagine Lennon at 64 ]
• · · · Cross-media and foreign ownership: Election a turn-off for TV viewers
• · · · · Election opens way for media bidding frenzy

Monday, October 11, 2004

Ach, opinion polls are the narcotic of choice for the politically active part of the American electorate. Like all narcotics, polls have their uses: they sometimes allow us to function better as political practitioners or even as dreamers, and don't forget that fabulous rush of exhilaration when our candidate shows dramatic gains. But polls are an addiction that also distort our political feelings and actions even as they trivialize political campaigns -- and they allow our political and media suppliers to manipulate us ruthlessly.
The negatives, as pollsters might say, outweigh the positives.

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: How Others Saw Howard Claiming Historic Victory
PM's win creates mixed world reaction
Prime Minister John Howard has thanked the Australian people for his historic fourth federal election victory. Federal Labor leader Mark Latham conceded defeat after the Howard Government won an increased majority in the federal Parliament.
By 8pm the word massacre was heard (Miranda Devine, October 10, 2004, The Sun-Herald)
ABC: New era dawns for an Australia in Howard's image; [New Facesin Parliament; Maimon Schwarzschild: Advance, Australia Fair — John Howard won an unexpectedly strong re-election victory in Australia yesterday; FrancoAlemán: CONGRATULATIONS, AUSTRALIA, for, er, not pulling a Spain.; Orrin Judd: THE WILLING ARE ABLE; Pejman Yousefzadeh: AUSTRALIA DOES NOT EQUAL SPAIN — As Will Collier notes, Australian Prime Minister John Howard not only won a fourth term in office, but also increased his parliamentary majority; Bill @INDCJournal: Yahoo A key ally in the war on terror wins re-election; Charles Austin: Today's Favorite Omen/Precursor/Touchstone; Will Collier; Ginny @ChicagoBoyz; Glenn Reynolds; David Cohen; Mrs Greyhawk; Tim Blair: I WAS WRONG — Never again will I doubt the wisdom of Australians; Andrew Sullivan: HOWARD'S LANDSLIDE: A big and unexpected fillip for the Bush campaign from down under. Tim Blair is in heaven.]
Gore Lawsuit Challenges Australian Election Results [Rosa Maria Pegueros The Election Campaign and the Internet]
• · ALP blames interest rates as Tampa of 2004; [Brogden uses win against Carr ; Old foes join new Labor force ; Campaign insiders give final anaylsis, predictions]
• · · JOHN ALLEN PAULOS: Commentary: How to Prevent Nuclear Terror With some enriched uranium, a little knowledge of physics, and Internet surfing, a crude nuclear weapon can be made in about a year...
• · · · This is a 3+ meg .pdf file A Military Guide to Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century
• · · · · Vladimir Putin has mourned the death of the Soviet Union as a national tragedy He’s on the way to turning Russia into a dictatorship
• · · · · · Afghani people have displayed a strong will for Democracy - the ball is rolling downhill

Sunday, October 10, 2004

[Media Dragon] who writes in blood and aphorisms does not want to be read, he wants to be learned by heart.
Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

They say all politics is local but in the end all politics is actually personal. On a day after the election it is important to be superstitious about the elections as myths add something interesting to political life. We need to admit that politics and literature are really the same coin and like success and failure there is a fine line between the two sides. Politics is the dragon head while literature is the dragon tail. Literature is all about our personal emotional tales and reading someone else’s obituary or memoirs helps us to remember our own memory of childhood; our own identity and the identity of the significant others; but most of all literature helps us to explore the myths and realities of global village and the oddness of the neverending political number crunching. If maintaining awareness of myths has any use in society, it is that it keeps in mind the human capacity for belief. As Bertrand Russell said: Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
Pundits pouring over the election results should consider reading this educational story about some strange social-psychological truths.
Mark Latham represented the capacity to believe via our hearts while John Howard represented our need to believe through our heads. As you do, sometimes we let the heads to win. Central Europeans tend to read so much into the symbolic game played on the Anzac day. The two-ups was so foreign to me at the Winston Hills Hotel where I first met Lauren all those years ago ... In many ways, the Australian elections are really a legal game of two-ups.
The papal literary bed is not made but come on down and explore words of Pope John Paul: Communism was a necessary evil that God allowed to happen to create opportunities for good after its demise. As Pope observed: The full extent of the evil that was raging through Europe was not seen by everyone, not even by those of us who were living at the epicentre. We were totally swallowed up in a great eruption of evil.

Eye on A Road More Travelled and Mutual Surprise: Has Australia and Afghanistan Missed Their Date with Destiny? The First Two Global Elections
I can’t think of a better example of a more internationally watched election results than the Saturday election Down Under. H.L. Mencken once suggested that in a well-run universe, everybody would have two lives, one for observing and studying the world, and the other for formulating and setting down his conclusions about it. This is more or less the way that the Liberal Party has contrived to arrange things. On the state government level the liberal party members are studying how not to deliver local services or run state schools, hospitals or railways.
While on the federal level the party is implementing their own policy conclusions about the realities of daily family lives. Alas, much of Howard’s achievement is married to the failures of the state governments, especially the lesson they have learnt when John Fahey lost the unloseable election in 1995. Privately a number of people who were close to the Paul Keating’s camp admit that it is unlikely the federal election would have been lost if John Howard was the Liberal Premier in 1996. The trick is to keep the Labour Government in power at the state level especially in NSW where 50 out of 150 seats happen to be

Why has the economic development-first myth prevailed? ; [ A country in Howard's image: The kitten games of syntax and rhetoric; The Flag of Fairfax the SMH Provides a Coverage of the Day After the Election] [I gather that this week the New York Times will be assessing its own attitude to editorials on elections. Will the NY Times follow the extraordinary example set in concrete by the Sydney Morning Herald last week in relation to the impartial editorial advice during the election campaign?]
• · Google is launching a new search engine which would allow anyone to search the content of books online, from Cold Mountain to Cold River, and observers are saying that the move could help touch off an important shift in the balance of power between companies that produce books and those that sell them. GoogleLit On The Way ; [Sergey Brin and Larry Page know too well that you only live twice and as a result Frankfurt witnesses yet another pioneering debut. My story made its first International Debut at Frankfurt last October (Thanks to James Cumes) Cold River & Haverleigh: Giving Survivors Voices; Ach, Southern Star International is making another film history, Australia's most popular family drama series, McLeod's Daughters, has cracked the all-important US television market: Our Birriga Road next door neighbour of Seven Years; Sonia Tod ]
• · · You don’t need the bullet if you got the ballot What happens when we vote? Czech Out Jana Wendt Greens smiling, despite Coalition win ;
• · · · The ancient world is on a Hollywood roll. First Gladiator, then Troy, and now Alexander the greatest
• · · · · Social Justice and Democracy: Investigating the Link. Democracy and social justice, defined as the just distribution of opportunities and life-chances, go together ; [Czech Out Mark Riley]
• · · · · · It is quite amazing what our emails hide when we dare to open it. Last week I came across an email from Jozef Vernic (translating into Slavic as Believe Nothing) which included in the email address. I was suspicious, however, since it had the subject title Cold River I opened it. It was not a spam. In fact, Jozef read my story and related to me his story of the escape across the Iron Curtain. Yesterday I also hesitated whether to open an email with Cold River in a subject title and this time Rick from Texas included this rather odd link: Cold River was code word for execution
[I did not know it was possible to be so miserable & live but I am told that this is a common experience.
Evelyn Waugh, letter to Harold Acton]

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Australians are a naturally conservative lot. They have thrown governments out at the federal level only four times since 1949. Four times in 55 years. [In 1972, 1975, 1983 and 1996]
And the bookmakers clearly agree, allowing Labor's odds to drift out to $4.50 during the week. Ominously for Labor, the same bookmakers are offering attractive odds about Labor candidates in some of the key seats, like Parramatta and Eden Monaro in NSW. Mark Latham and Labor will have to defy history - and the bookmakers - to win Saturday's federal election

Eye on Election Illustration of John Shakespeare of SMH Fame : The Russian Doll: Almost impossible for ALP to win: Ray
It was almost impossible for Labor to win the election and unseat the Howard government, Labor powerbroker Senator Robert Ray said on Saturday night.
I think at this stage of the evening it's going to be almost impossible for Labor to win this election.
We are too far behind in too many seats at this stage for victory.
Senator Ray said Labor would probably come out of the election with fewer seats in the House of Representatives.
But even if Labor lost seats, he believed Opposition Leader Mark Latham would hold on to his position.

Let the Real Specter of the Russian Roulette Reign
ABC, the Australian National Broadcaster - at 9:31 PM on Saturday night - has headlines along the lines that Mr Howard has won a Historic Fourth Term
PS: John Howard, just like the Russian man of steel, John Stalin, knew that self-interest would prevail. Both campaigners chose their strategies well, but fear tactics on the economy won. No man or woman would give a damn about a child in little country far away such as Iraq or a strange child trying to reach the fatal shores of Australia. Mortgage is more important than truth or a touch of humanity. It is for this reason that I assumed that the Liberals would end up with at least 75 seats while Labour might end of with 70. Giving the Greens and Independents the remaining 5 seats. My webdiary entry speculated this outcome back in September 2004. It looks like I was partially right for the first time in my life on any major political issues as for example I never thought or dared to even dream that the Iron Curtain would come down in my lifetime. John Howard pleaded on Friday for mortgage belts not to kick him out ... Electors who have experienced delays in hospitals and on railway stations voted with their feet. In my humble opinion, the Federal Liberal Party should be grateful to one and all labour state governments for the historic landslide.

Friday, October 08, 2004

To announce that there should be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American people.
-Theodore Roosevelt

Knock the vote: Students could play a crucial role in deciding the next US president and influencing the outcome of next year's general election in the UK. What a shame they don't seem to care Students could play a crucial role in the election, but they do not seem to care
Give people a fish and they will eat for a day; teach people how to fish and they will eat for their lifetime and ...they will buy fishing equipment The Next Green Revolution
Speaking of October Revolutions, Daily Flute likes being rich and elitist
Matt Liddy shares with us the Black Friday Editorials while the Duckpond paddles below the surface of Black Sunday

One and Only, Katarina Konkoly of E(l)ection Tracker fame ventures where not many bloggers dare to post ... Katarina, who is now tracked by the ASIO (irony-intended), exposes the great dangerous silence among the vote counters. Disclaimer: Media Dragon is not in any way associated with the or the E(l) Media Dragon does not own the & E(l) domain names. We are as surprised as anyone by this turn of events: Don't read this - it's illegal
[Extract: When I first found out about this way of voting, I had an argument with my father who thought I was wrong. He had been a counter, and, I think, had even been in charge of a voting room. What he, and the other counters used to do was to throw out all the ballots numbered 1233 etc as informal. It seems that learning about the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 isn't part of a counter's job description.
So, even if you vote this way now, you'll make no difference. But if you want to make a difference, as I read it, you're only not allowed to encourage people to vote 1233. There is nothing that says you can't encourage counters to count votes with repeated preferences. If anything, this enforced silence, which means I can't even encourage you to do something that's legal, means that in the past our elections haven't been as representative as they should have been as anyone who votes this way has had their votes, incorrectly, thrown out. ]
(Scrutineers from the Labour and Liberal Party insist that voting 1233 is considered informal. I bet you that most managers at the AEC have not even read the case let alone encouraged counters to count repeated preferences vote. MEdia Dragon used to be one of the many ignorant counters during the Federal Election, repeated preferences were not only considered informal by many at House of Representative level but even below the line Senate repeated preferences were considered not so kosher. However, who is to argue with electoral commission managers or party scrutineers? If you ask too many questions your part-time employment might just not be a possibility in the future (smile) Anyone out there for referendum for Electronic Voting where intelligent programmers provide a consistent and legal counting mechanism within the system?)

Eye on The Most Talked About Election Stories & Related Conversations: Sydney home of both John Howard and Mark Latham
Today Sydney will be at the epicenter of the election. The headlines scream:
Howard hits the hustings in Sydney
Latham makes last sweep through Sydney
It is getting harder and harder these days to tell the difference between headlines that counts and those that are just mere bubbles. I doubt whether any of the chess players at the Hyde Park (consisting of Eastern European taxidrivers, Aussie hairdressers, Greek cleaners and Hungarian musicians) will get excited by the headlines. It was hard to believe for some unknown reasons why Mark Latham was not considered the most popular politician with the taxidrivers yesterday ... As David Marr noted, John Howard is the confrontation with Australia many Australians have been waiting to have. The biggest confrontation in many migrant fathers' hearts is the fact that the parents who wanted to save their children as a priority have been accused by John Howard and his spokesmen of throwing the children overboard. Virtually every politician portrayed in film or on television over the last decade has been venal, corrupt, opportunistic, cynical, if not worse. Whether these dramatized images are accurate or exaggerated matters little. The corporatist system wins either way: directly through corruption and indirectly through the damage done to the citizen's respect for the representative system.
Somehow the chess game we happened to watch for over an hour yesterday portrayed kind yet pokerish faces of the players who dared to win and lose with dignity. A few hours of watching the migrant taxidrivers to win and lose small and major battles and to eventually hear one call out Czech Mate was more inspiring and enjoyable than the last seven weeks of watching golden streams of core and non-core promises floating past our TV screens.
NSW is always important in a federal election simply because it has 50 seats up for grabs - one third of the whole parliament.
But since 1996, when John Howard ousted Paul Keating as prime minister, the ALP has failed to make gains in NSW despite clawing back ground in other states.
The Liberal Party now holds 21 seats, which the Liberals' state director, Scott Morrison, notes is a historic high. With the Nationals, the Coalition has 28 seats to Labor's 19, with the remaining three being held by a Green and two independents.
Unless Labor reverses this trend it's difficult to see how it can win government.

It's worth the biggest slice of election pie - and everybody wants a piece; [James Packer ]
• · States warn of federal government collapse Velvet Divorce in the Making?; [The Problem of “Dirty Hands” and Corrupt Leadership; A detective attached to the Child Protection and Sex Crimes Squad was one of two NSW police officers suspended today over allegations of child pornography ]
• · · Seven's Chief Political Reporter Mark Riley talks to Opposition Leader Mark Latham
• · · · As part of a series of debates on the big election issues Sunrise debated finance with Treasurer Peter Costello and Shadow Treasurer Simon Crean ...; [The Sunrise 'Vote for me' campaign to find Australians to run for Senate unearthed budding politicians of every hue, each with fresh ideas and original policies Alicia Curtis and James Harker-Mortlock]
Sunrise invited Defence Minister Robert Hill and Shadow Minister for Defence Kim Beazley to discuss the issues in the lead up to the poll Robert Hill and Kim Beazley
Sunrise invited Education Minister Brendan Nelson and Shadow Minister for Education Jenny Macklin to discuss the parties' policies Brendan Nelson and Jenny Macklin
• · · · · SunRise: Complete set of transcripts - Election 2004...
• · · · · · Bob Ellis once observed that Tony Jones undressed John Howard on the Lateline over a number of issues, but no one was watching. Howard to win: the media's self-fulfilling prophecy The pundits have made up their minds: John Howard's got the election in the bag ; [Each side hopes that fear of a future shaped by the opposing candidate will help win over undecided voters Yet psychologists who study the effect of emotion on voting behavior say that undecided voters are the least likely to respond to fear as a persuasion tactic]

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Operation Ohio: Looking Forward to It: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the American Electoral Process
Commentators have long been fixated on how to measure, aggregate, and interpret ‘public opinion’. Opinion pollsters in modern democracies claim to gauge public opinion and to tell governments how they should act. Is polling dangerous because it claims to inform about democracy without involving any flesh-and-blood democratic exchange? Is public opinion good enough for democracy? Election times are a ready reminder that polls are here to stay, and that they are a resource for the worst kinds of political cynicism: an artificially crafted responsiveness to the public for the purpose of winning elections, pitting majorities against outsiders (‘wedge politics’) and cultivating short-term thinking on policies. Yet our social and political compasses are probably more reliant than ever on polls. Australian-Amerikan Election 2004: Barely registered

Eye on Mystics Among Us: The Seven Storey Paradise of Eden
Eden Monaro's Carr trouble
Carr is 'on the nose throughout NSW, and it's no coincidence that Mark Latham faces a challenge in the State – just as, in the days when the Liberals’ controversial Nick Greiner was Premier, it was difficult for Liberals in the State to break in to the Federal Government. Now, Liberals are frequently comparing Latham with Carr, even though they are quite different people. Indeed, it’s pretty clear they don’t even like each other. But they’re both Labor.

Mark Juddery, from inside the crucial Eden Monaro campaign [Webdiary: Too bad the only people who know how to run the country are busy driving cabs and cutting hair Election Blogjam: the final countdown]
• · Blogging Life begins at Number 40 for Tim Blair The Crystal Ball of Election 2004
• · · Australia Getting to Know Leaders Beliefs ; [David C. Cochran How Catholic are the Amerikan candidates?]
• · · · On Oct.3, Germany marked 14 years since reunification. Although the physical barrier between east and west is a thing of the past, many Germans still speak about the "Mauer im Kopf" -- the Wall in the head In Berlin today, there's very little left of the Berlin Wall ; My Escape Across the Iron Curtain - Bear Pit & Human Rights Operation Enduring Failure: Humor, like Hope and Jozef Imrich, is a very difficult thing to kill
• · · · · FRANCIS X. CLINES: Bragging, unflagging and just plain posing, their television images rain into the archives of a voracious academic project dedicated to measuring the now-you-see-it, now-you-don't advertising stratagems of the political campaign The Graduate Students Search for Signs of Intelligent Campaign Life ; [STEPHEN GREENBLATT: Have we learned something about listening to political oratory that Shakespeare's Friends, Romans, Countrymen ]
• · · · · · Elizabeth Kolbert analyzes the presidential debate Winning miscalculation; Boston A special series on how Congress is closed, for business ]
[Kurt Werner Schaechter: Britons secretly kept in postwar French camps]