BohemiAntipodean Samizdat

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

One and Only Professor who was elected as the first academic onto the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board Roger Simnet

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Feeling trapped in a kind of unreality
It was only a casual encounter with Australia's second-richest man in the foyer of the NSW government offices in Sydney's CBD.
But bumping into Westfield boss Frank Lowy and chatting for only one minute was enough to see Katherine Keating, daughter of former Labor prime minister Paul Keating, reluctantly hauled into the political limelight to answer questions before a NSW parliamentary committee yesterday.
Young Keating has political baptism ; [Orange Grove Turning Red]
• · Liberals dominate campuses. Coming soon: Moon Implicated in Tides, Studies Find
• · · Of course, now that the shoe is on the other foot, and it is House Majority Leader Tom "The Exterminator" DeLay who is about to be indicted, all of a sudden the Republicans don't think that's such a good idea After we revisit the dark side
• · · · There are so many major problems in this country now; so much that literally depends upon concise and accurate information, that this simple phrase –Who can we trust, may be the difference between life and death
• · · · · A article on that subject written by Stefan Karlsson (John Quiggin of Austria) was published on the Australian Misesian web site Brookes News. He adds at another forum that while there are many similarities between the situation in Australia and the United States, with a housing bubble (The bubble is even greater in Australia) and huge current account deficit, one striking difference is that the Australian dollar has been very strong. There are probably two reasons for this. One is that Australia unlike the U.S. has a balanced budget and thus enjoys more confidence in the world markets and second that Australia as mentioned in the article greatly benefits from the rising commodity prices. That Bubble Has It
• · · · · · For reasons best known to itself, the Government has decided the public is not to be trusted in discussing the issues involved with such an ambitious plan Democracy is one British import that did not survive the crossing to Australia

Read, every day, something no one else is reading (such as Cold River - smile). Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity.
-Christopher Morley, American Novelist, Journalist, Poet (1890-1957)

What better spirit of Christmas than to continue giving year-round? That's part of the idea of the richest 31-year-old in history, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, as he gives away $10 billion dollars Christmas Gifts Year-Round

Monday, November 29, 2004

Czechoslovak diggers created the People’s Charter of 1977 which 12 years later rolled in the Velvet Revolution. Australians celebrate the People's Charter of 1838 and this Friday will be the 150th anniversary of the storming of the Eureka Stockade (1854) Dawn of a democracy
In this context, another kind of founders of democracy are emerging in Australia. The Redfern-Waterloo Authority Bill 2004 gives one minister immense power: Dangerous law, more dangerous precedent. Just as Mugabe used the Land Aquisition Act to stifle political opposition, the Carr Government relies on the Liberals' pro-development habits and the popular kneejerk to "clean up Redfern" forever, to push through legislation that no democratic government should be seen dead with. Secret business puts a community at risk

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Political Waterloo Divided: Svejk’s worst fears are realized
In the false belief that we are better off ignoring that which we think we cannot control, just like Dr. Faust, we are ceding our futures to someone else.

It's not enough that certain politicians, sociologists and citizens reminisce once per year about 1989, restricting their actions to debate, as is again the case. There must be a more definitive solution. There must be a confrontation in which one side will win, and the other will finally and definitively lose.
For change to come, it's not enough for us to go into the streets, jingle our keys and go home, as was the case in 1989. We must not stand on the banks of the river we must dive into the river and swim or sink!

There must be a real change; [Central Europe and Kundera’s vision ]
• · Good News About Poverty Recession of global poverty
• · · I commence my very strange story, one that never fails to amuse, bewilder and ultimately dishearten anyone who has ever wondered why combat that was supposed to end on May 1, 2003, you know, Mission Accomplished, still rages with no end in sight The day I almost led the Iraqi army; [Timothy Garton Ash Europe must give immediate and total support to Ukraine's velvet revolutionaries ; These are painful times for the rulers of Central America Mireya Moscoso was stripped of her political immunity by the nation's electoral tribunal ...]
• · · · When news broke about the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, many people questioned: Who could do such a thing? According to Princeton psychologists who reviewed decades worth of studies, the answer is: Anyone [No passion in the world, H.G. Wells declared, is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft. Speaking of drafts, the most pationate bullies inside the Czechoslovak army (1977-1979) were those guys who rarely expressed an independent thought. They usually kicked the new recruits when they were lying down or they liked to intone in comradely fashion ach, it feels good to stab the freshman in the back! Crowd mentality rules the day of the bully: the scary reality of life is that real flowers wilt and need care compared with plastic ones. There are many managers and politicians who are morally despicable, most of them are scared of thinking differently from the plastic or popular crowds. If you did not bully someone as a second year soldier you were the odd man out! They were the people who were scared of being different as there was no room for variety... This describes the popular management mentality of 21st century does not it? (team is mighter than the individual smile)]
• · · · · Since the 1980s, a far-flung trafficking network has equipped Iran, Libya and North Korea with a range of centrifuge equipment (as well as nuclear material in some cases), design data, blueprints, and know-how needed to produce enriched uranium,which can fuel nuclear weapons.7 (PDF) In the modified words of Cyndi Lauper, Radiation Money changes everything
• · · · · · Lowy denies influencing Carr over Orange Grove

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Kiev is a magestic city; it certainly made a long lasting impressions on this blogger when he was seventeen. I can still taste the vodka layered caramel icecream and the glorious views from the boat on the Dnipro River (smile).
Behind the scenes - A very informative piece in the Guardian from Ian Traynor looking at Ukrainian Pora youth movement and Milosevic of Serbia repeating history in Kiev
Are we sure that shouldn't be 'rigged elections and topple regimes unsavoury to Bu$hCo'? Thanksgiving in Kiev

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Vaclav Havel to replace Kofi Annan at the UN
UN: When Even the Good News is Bad... One of the next big chapters in the United Nations oil-for-food scandal will involve the family of the secretary-general, Kofi Annan whose son turns out to have been receiving payments as recently As early this year from a key contractor in the oil-for-food program ... Is there any reason whatsoever to suffer the continued presence of Kofi Annan at the United Nations?
(Also czech out David and his useful links to Kiev’s events also November entries of Scott )
Somehow today it seems all too easy to take moral characters like Havel for granted...
Is there any way to get Havel to come out of retirement to succeed Kofi Annan as head of the UN, please? I mean, if ever there were a guy with the guts and moral clarity to insist that the UN live up to its ideals, it's Havel
Kofi out, Havel in. It's an idea whose time has come [28 November 2004 - Poll invalid, says Ukraine parliament Havel Sends Message to Ukrainian People ]
• · Talking about feelings has never been the fashion in this country. We would rather medicate them or drown them in alcohol. We are not taught how to care for the emotional needs of others Unbearable Sadness of Others' Pain
• · · 20th Anniversary of Bhopal Trespass Against Us
• · · · Where governments enjoy large majorities in a unicameral parliament, or effective majorities in both houses of a bicameral parliament, the role of the courts in protecting minority rights becomes more important Justice Michael Kirby
• · · · · Sydney's the train system is at a standstill, the buses crawl at horse-and-buggy pace through the CBD, and the transport duo, Costa and Scully, are implacably opposed to light rail Carr's transport strategy goes off the rails ; [Sydney’s patron saint of the train traveller, Rebecca Turner, has reached another international fame. This time Singaporean Straits Times features Rebecca on the front page.]
• · · · · · The waterfront set loses its privacy ; [(PDF) The High Court and indefinite detention: towards a national bill of rights?]

Saturday, November 27, 2004

For the first time ever in the known history of Portcullis House there came before us, unsuspecting Westminster villagers, something of a mirage: the figure of the Rt Hon Baroness Thatcher looking heavenly in a sharp-cut royal (Tory) blue suit.
The Barons have spoken; we just don’t know what they said

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Timothy Garton Ash
Ever since I learned how to read the sentences in English I have been reading one and all stories By Timothy. As an outsider to Central and Eastern Europe, Timothy sees events which to many of us were invisible. His imagination and concrete interpretation make the paragraphs in his stories to transcend the words into images and spirits. Ash is just a fireproof Giant!
This is a crisis of the West that's quite different from all the crises we had during the Cold War, because then we were always brought together again by the common enemy, the Soviet threat, and now we're not. We see "the enemy" in different ways. I think the Iraq crisis brought to the surface something that was latent, and not just since 9/11, but from what I call "the first 9/11," Nov. 11, 1989 [9/11/89 in European notation], not the fall of the Twin Towers but the fall of the Berlin Wall, when the common enemy disappears and Europe ceases to be the center of world politics. If you're sitting in Washington, you say to yourself, "Well, what do I need Europe for? It's irrelevant." And I think somebody like Dick Cheney does say that to himself. I think that's the deepest root of the crisis. Of course, it was exacerbated by a) 9/11 and b) the Bush administration reacting as it did.
A British historian of the present ponders America, Europe and the future of the West [Deutscher’s Trotsky was thought by two generations – his own and its successor Victory in Defeat ]
• · The pajamahadeen are firing their virtual bullets into the cyber-air in celebration of CBS anchor Dan Rather's death The pajamahadeens are digging their own graves
• · · Brilliant title behind this sad case of a woman basher Legal Precedent Doesn't Let Facts Stand in the Way
• · · · There is some association between the idea that I have a right to be let alone by the government and not having a large dog circle my car Smells like privacy invasion
• · · · · Evolutionary roots of altruism and moral outrage

Friday, November 26, 2004

In the fallout over Charles' controversial memo on ambition and opportunity, onlookers have debated just how meritocratic society really is. Unfortunately, in crowds it is stupidity and not mother wit that is accumulated. For a group to be smart, it should be autonomous, decentralized and diverse and the same applies for royalty and politicians. Politicians are responsible for the leaders they choose. Their choices reflect their moral values ... In terms of moral values, this is where the rubber meets the road. The rules you apply to yourself are the true test of your moral values. Hypocrisy at the highest levels of government is toxic to the moral fiber that holds our communities together ...
In this context, Slovakia publishes the names of former secret police officers, causing mild shock in a country that has made little effort to bar communists from public posts Slavic Pandora

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Why Mark Latham must be in it for the long haul
Our hit-list on schools reminded me of what Joe Chamberlain said to me about state aid for Catholic schools in 1963: For every vote we lose from the Catholics who want state aid, we will gain votes from the Protestants who oppose state aid.
• Czech-grown Westfield Mallers and the Maller from the Bribery (sic) Island The Labor Party should remember Whitlam and think long term, writes Graham Freudenberg ; [Recommended Reading Your Shout and the New Matilda ]
• · Sydney at the post election railway crossing All stations to frustration; [Everybody knows the federal election was decided on federal issues ; NSW Premier Bob Carr has rejected claims by Federal ALP leader Mark Latham that state issues contributed to Labor`s Federal election lossThere`s no Labor Party polling that says state issues intruded even to the slightest extent in NSW or in other states... economic management, and particularly interest rates, were the dominating issues]
• · · A new report [nicknamed Work til you Drop] say that Australia`s ageing population will cost taxpayers $2.2 trillion and will cut economic growth in half over the next 20 years Huge cost of going grey: My saltish hair is getting less and less of that peppery look
• · · · Looking back, we may also one day see 2004 as the year when a new iron curtain descended across Europe, dividing the continent not through the center of Germany but along the eastern Polish border. The New Iron Curtain ; [Speech by Premier Ladislav Adamec at the extraordinary session of the Czechoslovak Communist Party Central Committee, 24 November 1989 This remarkable previously secret transcript shows the party elites choosing against violent repression of the mass protests in Wenceslas Square]
• · · · · Political and Economic Armageddon predicted
• · · · · · A billboard recently put up in Orlando bearing a smiling photograph of President Bush with the words Our Leader is raising eyebrows among progressives who feel the poster is akin to that of propaganda used by tyrannical regimes. Our Misleader ; [The election is over. The fight is not Elections are only one part of democracy ]

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

(Real) political science blogs

Eye on Politics & Law Lords:
Margo maintains her view that an independent public inquiry is needed. The honour of six people is under a cloud. The integrity of our democracy is under question in the seat of New England. Fat chance, Kingston. You're dreaming. Noone cares about that crap anymore. Least of all the media.
Your right to know? Silly you - trust the AFP [ Untangling the Windsor knot]
• · The Americans are Sowing Dragons' Teeth in Iraq
• · · Invisible Dissent
• · · · Could the peaceful triumph of Czechs and Slovaks over communism fifteen years ago offer A model of democratic revolution to religious fundamentalists today?
• · · · · Why Central Europe’s young are dancing, dressing, and drinking as their parents did before 1989
• · · · · · Raper: Carr has a rail Mr Fixit ... and his name isn't Costa ; [A philosopher produces ideas, a poet poems, a clergyman sermons, a professor compendia and so on. A criminal produces crimes The Sopranos, Capitalism And Organized Crime

Few happy days are entirely unspotted by melancholy. I just had an exceptionally fine one, and my mailbox overflowed with congratulations by the time it was done, but I couldn’t help thinking of departed friends with whom I would have rejoiced to share my good news, and how they would have rejoiced to hear it. As I remembered them, I thought of the stark confession Dr. Johnson made in the preface to his Dictionary: “I have protracted my work till most of those whom I wished to please have sunk into the grave, and success and miscarriage are empty sounds: I therefore dismiss it with frigid tranquillity, having little to fear or hope from censure or from praise.”

Tim Dunlop and his liberal views: Blogosphere on the road to being amusingly vexatious

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Here's To The Losers
Study the front page of a major paper some time; huge portions of the content are all about keeping score. Who's a billionaire now? Whose movie flopped? Who's being sued? Who lost everything?
In politics, one man's win creates many losers. And America knows what to do with those pathetic figures as they lie there prostrate and broken. Kick 'em hard.
Here's Slate's Fred Kaplan on the departing secretary of State:
And so the other shoe has dropped on the sad career of Colin Powell. Here is a man who enjoyed the most appealing life story in American politics... a proud black man who could have made a serious run for president under either party's banner -- chewed up and spit out on the shard-strewn sidewalk of Losers' Boulevard.

• I once was blind -- and still can't see. My blind spots blot out half of Australia: Born Losers
• · I love blogs and bloggers:
Says WP's polling director

• · · · If journalists manage to capture the diversity of this topic, They may help the public understand that moral values involve a way of life -- not just a label

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Disclaimer: The following editorial is not politically correct

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: After the Fall: People's voices are crucial ...
It is possible that what we are witnessing is a mere change of paradigm, caused by new technologies, and we have nothing to worry about. But perhaps the problem is deeper: global corporations, media cartels, and powerful bureaucracies are transforming political parties into organizations whose main task is no longer public service, but the protection of specific clienteles and interests. Politics is becoming a battleground for lobbyists; media trivialize serious problems; democracy often looks like a virtual game for consumers, rather than a serious business for serious citizens.
Vaclav Havel; Sametova a Nezna revolucia
• · Prague Posts Memories
• · · Velvet surprise: Commercial-driven media and populace
• · · · Charter 77: Heroes, villains and observers of the Velvet Revolution respond
• · · · · Many Czechs want to move ahead but are not ready to ask the big questions Wanting it Both Ways
• · · · · · Prague’s Most Private Eye

Monday, November 22, 2004

We weren't born yesterday, we didn't come down with the first snow ... Charles prefers that serfs remain serfs

My thoughts are probably similar to the Janosik's prayer on being chased up a tree by a huge grizzly bear in High Tatra Mountains:-
Lord you did deliver Daniel from the Lion's Den,
And Lord you did deliver Jonah from the belly of the whale
And then three Hebrew children from the fiery furnace, the Good Book do declare.
So Lord, if you can't help me, for goodness sake don't help that bear

I am part of the Lost Generation of ‘68 and ‘89. Like the Slavic serf Janosik I know what being a disobedient servant means.
This year is the 15th anniversary of the Czech people's overthrow of 41 years of communist rule ... If democracy is emptied of values and reduced to a competition of political parties that have `guaranteed' solutions to everything, it can be quite undemocratic!
15 years ago, exactly, (smile) my first daughter of the Velvet Revolution was conceived in Sydney Long Live Havel
Slovakia will become the first post-communist country to make documentation of repressive state organs in the Communist and Nazi era accessible to all ...Long Live the Memory of the Nation

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: In Falluja, Young Marines Saw the Savagery of an Urban War
Some great war reporting... Dexter Filkins of the New York Times, who provides us with an emotional inside glimpse of Marines in action in Fallujah
Eight days after the Americans entered the city on foot, a pair of marines wound their way up the darkened innards of a minaret, shot through with holes by an American tank.
As the marines inched upward, a burst of gunfire rang down, fired by an insurgent hiding in the top of the tower. The bullets hit the first marine in the face, his blood spattering the marine behind him. The marine in the rear tumbled backward down the stairwell, while Lance Cpl. William Miller, age 22, lay in silence halfway up, mortally wounded... Nothing in the combat I saw even remotely resembled the scenes regularly flashed across movie screens; even so, they often seemed no more real.

Focus on the bravery and sacrifice of the Marines
• · · Mike France and Stephanie Anderson Forest What Cheney did at Halliburton

Ach, my computer was mysteriously fixed by the Apple Mac doctors!
A girl by the name of Rebecca has had more emails - in the last three weeks than I have had in 3 years. How she managed to keep up with her daily secretary’s job as well as a night position as a supermarket packer will remain a mystery...
We may not enjoy the luxury of a functional rail system in Sydney at the moment but thank God for people like Rebecca Turner who remind us that we still live in one of the greatest democracies in the world.

Today Momentum Gathered for a Grassroots Protest
Hold onto your bootstraps folks! If you liked Erin Brockovich, you’ll be thoroughly intrigued with the adventures of this Sydneysider, , and her knack for civil disobedience.
· Free trains on Monday: Carr, grandson and son of a traindriver, caves in [ via British Rail News Global News ]
· Commuters got a fare-free day

Monday, November 08, 2004

While my Apple is being built again, I am digesting lots of trees and paperbacks. Blogosphere is also very actively creating stories and analysis...

Ken Parish gathers posts from various bloggers such as Chris Sheil and Don Arthur who are trying to make sense of the Amerikan elections Land of the Free

Closer home Car chases take a brutal toll: 21 young lives snuffed out Dangerous Pursuits

John Grisham would have struggled to come up with the saga of Jeff Shaw's missing blood sample as Boilermaker Bill McKell explains

Neil Mitchell stole from kids with cancer. His crime shows how easy it is to commit fraud in Australia Art of the Con