BohemiAntipodean Samizdat

Saturday, April 30, 2005

As Solomon Burke sang in his Grammy winning CD, Don't Give Up on Me – None of us are free, if one of us is chained, none of us are free.

Can ordinary people win pre-selections these days? Not likely says Crikey's political correspondent Christian Kerr: Former staffers who are now pollies

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Fire Over Water

Wikinews is reporting that Boeing has just attained $11BN dollars worth of orders.

Within the earth, a mountain [courtesy of Baden Appleyard ; Jude McCulloch and Darren Palmer investigate common law actions in tort in Australia brought by citizens against police and police organisations Civil litigation by citizens against police between 1994 and 2002
• · Michael Wenzel investigated whether tax ethics and social norms constitute true motivations for tax compliance, or whether they are mere rationalisations of self-interested behaviour Motivation or rationalisation? Causal relations between ethics, norms and tax compliance
; Tax cheats steal identities of innocent victims ; The shadow treasurer insisted yesterday that the city's "battling families" were the worst affected by government land tax Tax cracks battlers' nest eggs, say Libs ; A simple way out of the maze for beleaguered landowners
• · · Why taxpayers pay their taxes voluntarily is an important question for tax administrations worldwide. Some believe it is because taxpayers are deterred from tax evasion out of a fear of being caught or penalised. Others, suggest that factors such as the level of ‘tax morale’ (the intrinsic motivation one has to pay their tax) affects compliance behaviour Tax morale in Australia: changing over time? ; Getting on or getting by? Australians in the cash economy ; Allegations that at least three of the Bali nine used false passports are being investigated by the Federal Government amid revelations that one of the group - and two members of his family - worked in the Sydney passport office Downer defends passport office integrity
• · · · The NSW economy stands to grow by $60 billion a year and each citizen will be $703 a year better off by 2022 under the current migration program, according to modelling carried out for the Federal Government Migrants will drive NSW jobs, income ; Chernobyl entombed and cracking ; Tougher dole scheme 'not the solution' ; Michelle Martin’s territory: Dr Jayant Patel: Butcher of Bundaberg Hostpital
• · · · · is offering two young writers aged 16-30 the opportunity to cover the upcoming Federal Budget from the inside Get an inside look at the 2005-6 Federal Budget ; Today is Tax Freedom Day. Every year the Centre for Independent Studies does the arithmetic to find Tax Freedom Day by dividing total per capita tax revenues by GDP per head. Most years, regardless of the political party in government, the tax take as a proportion of the nation’s GDP gets bigger. Total per capita taxation across all levels of government in 2002-03 (the latest available dates) came to $12,018, according to the ABS. GDP per person in 2002-03 was $37,172 (ABS again). This means taxation absorbed 32.33% of GDP, or 118 out of 365 days of the year. The 119th day of 2005 is today, 29 April Tax freedom arrives late; Incentives and disincentives: the potential of property taxes to support public policy objectives ; State of the sector: New South Wales co-operatives 2003
• · · · · · The Independent asks two legal experts if Tony Blair has misled the British public. Maurice Mendelson QC, an expert in international law, says "yes": "Whether the prime minister, the foreign secretary and the AG actually lied, the weasel words and economy with the truth was breathtaking, and sullied an already tarnished political process." Did Blair mislead GB? ; The public's faith in the nobility of lawyers lies somewhere in the same zone as its faith in politicians. The fact that these two tribes lurk, and sometimes breed, together is the reason unpleasant contamination seeps about. Journalists, on the other hand, have a sworn duty to try to catch out these purveyors of trickery at their rotten little games. Uncertain, to be sure, about legality of war

Friday, April 29, 2005

The American intelligence community has suffered two blows to its credibility in the past three and a half years. First, intelligence agencies failed to detect al Qaeda's terrorist plans for September 11, 2001. Then, estimates of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs proved to be wildly off the mark. n the wake of embarrassing revelations about faulty intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, Congress has been eager to reform America's spy agencies. However, it's a hydra-headed problem that lawmakers aren't anywhere close to solving. Bureaucratic re-organization isn't enough, and neither is increased recruiting of actual spies. We also need to look long and hard at how intelligence is analyzed. A tale of two failures: Spies and Bureaucrats: Getting Intel Right

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Boeing: Flying Into a Mountain
James Cumes sent me an email last night pointing out that ‘the article below by Eamonn Fingleton deserves to be distributed more widely. I have been explaining the gutting of American industry - and its causes - for decades. That gutting has of course also applied to Australia. We have followed the tragically dysfunctional policies of the United States, plus some of the equally dysfunctional policies of Britain - in a Reagan/Thatcher pact of self-destruction - at least since the 1980s. Some of those self-destructive policies we have indeed followed from even earlier - from as far back as 1969, just before I wrote "The Indigent Rich. Fingleton does not give the causes of the degenerative economic disease with the definition that I have done; but his account can readily be accommodated by the analysis I have given. There are of course aspects of security in this degenerative process that must be of deep concern. The political and strategic environment to which we have become accustomed is being fundamentally eroded - but most of our closest friends, as well as ourselves, show no real awareness that any such climactic changes are taking place.
That we should lose our most powerful ally of the last sixty years - because it is no longer powerful in the guts of its being - must be acutely worrying. Alongside that is the evidence that we are suffering from the same degenerative disease and that our capacity to provide for our own security is dissipating. We too are a "hollow shell."

The Boeing company has now become so hollowed out that its next plane, the super-advanced 787, will be more a Japanese product than an American one. This article, by Eamonn Fingleton, was first published in the January 31, 2005 issue of The American Conservative. First of two parts. One evening a generation ago, several up-and-coming aerospace executives gathered to commune with the Boeing aircraft company's chief executive Thornton Wilson. The discussion turned to Boeing's vaunted expertise in making aircraft wings. Wilson evidently came across as boastful--so much so that a young General Electric executive named Harry Stonecipher suggested that Boeing was arrogant. "And rightly so," came Wilson's serene reply.
The exchange, which was recorded in Fortune magazine a few years ago, is worth recalling partly for what has happened to Stonecipher in the meantime--and partly for what has happened to Boeing. In a remarkable twist of fate, Stonecipher now fills Wilson's old job at Boeing. But whereas the Boeing that Wilson led in the 1970s utterly dominated the skies, today's Boeing is another matter. Its once masterful technological leadership is gone and, in an orgy of indiscriminate outsourcing, Stonecipher is presiding over the destruction of what remains of Boeing's erstwhile manufacturing greatness--not least the world-beating wing business that was the apple of Wilson's eye.

There is a joke told among military intelligence officers, often with some bitterness, that when things go wrong it is labeled an "intelligence failure," but when they go right it is called a "military success" (or in this context economic success)
• Note the link is in a PDF format As the American press has latterly come to realize, Boeing is an embattled company. [James Cumes (Thanks to Google) ; Unsustainable: How Economic Dogma Is Destroying American Prosperity Eamonn Fingleton (thanks to Google) ]
• · You can forgive Democrats in Washington for feeling somewhat vindicated by the way the controversy over Terri Schiavo played out. For years, after all, they waited in vain for the moment when Republicans might trip over their own arrogance while crusading for moral values, and finally, if polls are to be believed, it happened Democratic Moral Values? ; All I did wrong was not lock my bag: Schapelle Corby
• · · The Best Places For Doing Business in America 2005 ; I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth City Life
• · · · The Future of the Center: The Core City in the New Economy Joel Kotkin on the survival of great cities; More than 100,000 low-income tenants will face rent increases of up to $30 a week and lifetime leases are to be scrapped under an overhaul of the state's public housing. Carr shuts door on the lifetime lease ; A hard line that doesn't wash with this household
• · · · · We thought we'd heard it all in politics until someone pointed out to us that one of the last acts of NSW Labor treasurer Michael Egan was to appoint former Victorian Liberal treasurer Alan Stockdale to the board of T-Corp, the outfit which manages NSW's $20 billion-plus debt portfolio. What is it that Stockdale has with NSW treasurers? First, he took up with Dominique Collins, the wife of former NSW Liberal treasurer Peter Collins. That was amazing, but for a Labor treasurer to then call in a Victorian treasurer to help manage the state's debt is truly breathtaking. Can anyone else come up with another similar example of both political and parochial rivalries being put aside like this? Cross Pollination ; And Responsible Wealth calls upon the feds to raise their taxes Tax me, please! ; Given the Australian Olympic Committee bankrolled Joanna Stone's $1 million-plus court costs, its breathless response to the High Court denial of tax exemption for sports stars is unsurprising. But the committee complains too loudly, too quickly A deep breath after tax marathon
• · · · · · Mark Latham has been hawking his personal diaries to the highest bidder and is being offered about $100,000 for what publishers describe as an explosive and insult-laden account of his years in politics Dear diary, I'm a fallen leader out for revenge ; Compulsory Voting but Voluntary Solidarity Thousands march to fight student union fee change

Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Bali drug-smuggling sagas Interview: Mick Keelty

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Questions hang over AFP role
What was the game plan of the politicised AFP with respect to the events surrounding the arrest of the nine young Australian heroin traffickers in Bali?

The track record of the AFP in dealing with their Indonesian counterparts has not been good. The Indonesian police, and military, are corrupt. The AFP has not gone down the path of investigating links between Jemaah Islamiah, the police and the military...
It is common knowledge the Indonesian police and army are involved in corrupt activities including extortion rackets, illegal timber felling, drugs, prostitution, employment and people smuggling. Was money fed into the Indonesian network to stop people smuggling? Most recently the problem became an issue over the delivery of foreign aid in Aceh.

Bruce Haigh is a former diplomat who ran the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Indonesian desk from 1984-86. He now grows grapes and olives at his farm in Mudgee, while writing his book about Australia's troops in France and Belgium in World War I.
Bruce Haigh outlined his views is a letter to The Australian , which published on 26 April 2005 [Ross Fitzgerald: Out of respect for the recently departed, we may forgive some of Joh Bjelke-Petersen's excesses, but it behoves us not to forget what he did in his 19 years, three months and 23 days as Queensland premier before he was forced to quit on December 1, 1987. The truth is that Bjelke-Petersen presided over a corrupt and vicious regime that blighted the lives of tens of thousands of people A corrupt and vicious regime; The man who sold Queensland ; Supporters of the reign of Joh Bjelke-Petersen argue he was wonderful for Queensland because he abolished death duties, oversaw the development of extractive industries, trampled on the unions and built dams and powerhouses. Such superficial analysis ignores the suffering he caused, the prostitution of electoral laws, the criminal abuse of the parliament and, most shamefully, his disgraceful treatment of the rights of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders Counting the cost of a mean-spirited opportunist ]
• · The End of Poverty': Brother, Can You Spare $195 Billion? ; A member of the U.S. Congress calls for an assistant professor at a major university to be summarily fired The New McCarthyism
• · · This article maps the background to a bitter controversy over Israel, historical truth and academic freedom Boycotting Israel: the uses of history ; After overthrowing the Taliban and embarking on an impressive worldwide police and intelligence campaign against Al-Qaeda, there are no more obvious steps to take in the War on Terror. Unfortunately ... How to Fight Terrorism
• · · · Public housing tenants in NSW will lose the right to life-long government housing and many will face substantial rent increases this year, the NSW Government has warned Public housing tenants lose tenure; Sadly, I was on a train just this very yesterday morning and an old lady with a walking frame (not a stick) almost ended up not making it onto the platform before the doors shut. How quick can you be as it is impossible to stand by the door since their legs are so weak ... Is anyone counting how many times are lifts out of order at the railway stations? [Designers of trains consider creating a carriage somewhere in the middle dedicated to the guard and parents with children and the aged - colour it in earthy red, yellow and black] A woman who watched in horror as two children in a pram caught in a train's doors were dragged along a platform says Sydney's CityRail must get serious about safety Pram caught in train doors exposes safety flaw
• · · · · Byron Shire Council has lost a bid to stop the property group Becton going directly to the State Government for approval of its planned $100 million resort on 92 hectares of beachfront land. Path clearer for developer ; Our toilets are better than most people's homes
• · · · · · Wonderful Jana Wendt Pope Benedict XVI ; Politics requires scapegoats, whether they bear guilt or not. And the media seem less interested in discovering who is responsible than in providing a megaphone for the accusations. But the questions need to be asked. We cannot begin to fix the policymaking process until we see who broke it--and even then, the damage may be beyond repair. In Defense of Striped Pants

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Very little, argues one book; quite a lot, says another; a huge amount, contends a third. It all depends on the quality of both the donor and the recipient. Does Aid Work?

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Aid to Our Very World
After decades of scepticism about development aid, the west is embracing it again... As James Cumes in his thought-provoking essay points out: The dilemma is not insoluble. The solution is there waiting for us to grasp. What is more, it is as simple as the solution which, after the Second World War, we applied to correct the economic and other miseries that had plagued us during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

As we were coming out of World War Two, a great part of the world was in ruins: almost the whole of Europe as well as much of Asia and the Pacific. Weestablished the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration(UNRRA) to deliver emergency aid. A Commission for the Reconstruction ofDevastated Areas in both Europe and Asia evolved into the United NationsCommissions for Europe (ECE) and for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE). Manydistinguished economists and other professionals worked on these bodies.
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were very different bodies from what they are now. Both were expected to help the majorcountries - the G7 of the postwar period, if you like - to avoid themiseries of the Great Depression of the 1930s and achieve full employmentand economic stability. The World Bank would provide funds for relativelyrich countries, such as Britain or Canada or Australia, to embark on majorinfrastructure projects and so enhance their fixed-capital investment,productivity and production. The IMF would enable the same countries - and others, of course - to maintain stable exchange rates, free convertibilityand non-discrimination in financial transactions.

UNRRA largely succeeded in its work of relief and rehabilitation. The chaos and suffering of the postwar period was cleared away more quickly throughthe food, clothing, shelter and medical supplies that it was able to supply to the needy in Europe, Asia and the Pacific.
• 23 April 2005 Aid Part of Life [We can never get rid of risk, because it is an integral part of life. Without risk, there is no opportunity, and without the endless quest for opportunity business - and life itself - would grind to a halt. Too many people in the modern world are trying to make risk disappear. Risk is good - learn to manage it ; If you have have a vision, pursue it. Even if it fails, it will be a valuable lesson Never be afraid to succeed ]
• · New perspective inserts road map back into the big picture ; Do today's politicians really understand that it is the public who elects them? Are the demands of a political career simply too great for outsiders - not party apparatchiks, but real people - to be able to win seats in Parliament? The politics of dullness
• · · Margy Osmond said the formula used to distribute GST was "grossly unfair" to NSW and worked too much to the advantage of states like Queensland Firms asked to join in GST fight ; The former assistant tax commissioner Nick Petroulias was accused yesterday of being both gamekeeper and poacher when, from 1997 to 1999, he issued about 70 private binding tax rulings Fraud trial told of tax officer's double dealing
• · · · Terror in the Past And Future Tense

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The cavernous hallway outside Chicago City Council chambers is echoing with the sound of 150 people chanting, "We're fed up, we won't take it no mo'! Deliver Us from Wal Mart?

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: 'Winning' the BUTTERFLY with the FREESTYLE

In 1991, in Hearts of Darkness, a documentary on the making of Apocalypse Now, Francis Coppola predicted that in the near future a teenage black girl somewhere in America would make a masterpiece using only a home video camera. Something like this has come to pass with Tarnation, a 90-minute autobiographical documentary made by Jonathan Caouette, a 32-year-old gay Texan living in New York.

That's the story of my life [In democracy promotion, nothing fails like success The thankless task of promoting democracy ; The Midwest is a mosaic of cities and small towns linked by spirit as well as geography Quest for vision led to path of fulfillment]
• · Russian President and former head of the KGB Vladimir Putin, seeking to lift a cloud of uncertainty among investors, told tax officials Monday to stop "terrorizing" business and tried to tempt Russians to bring their billions back home Putin Tells Taxman: Don't Terrorize Investors ; There are perhaps few jobs better than being a judge. Yet if you are a judge, there's a decent chance someone hates you Violence Against Judges: Why it Occurs and What We Can Learn from it
• · · That old reporter's dictum is also an excuse to ignore the afflicted. Research bv the Harvard fellow Ethan Zuckerman suggests that the amount of press attention a country gets depends on how rich it is. Follow The Money - Reuters Newswire Media Attention ; Everything that you can imagine about homelessness. Including standing in the rain all night Ex-homeless man is among honorees for mental wellness
• · · · Political Animals: Boris Johnson and Adriana Cronin The Parliament hour; The transition from Communism to democracy, the creation of the independent statehoodSlovak Spectator: No pain, much gained
• · · · · Thomas Macaulay told us copyright law is a tax on readers for the benefit of writers, a tax that shouldn’t last a day longer than necessary. What do we do? James Boyle: Deconstructing stupidity ;
• · · · · · Ordinary people don't agree to work for startups. They go get ordinary jobs. So, as an entrepreneur, you'd better like odd people, because that's who is going to agree to work with you. Startups Attract Sociopaths; Conservative activists made no apologies for mixing religion and politics. Our judiciary must be independent, impartial and fair ... Pulpit, politics mix

Monday, April 25, 2005

On April 25, 1915, the Anzacs landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula and carved a special place in our history. We come here and take photos, they came here and lost their lives. They didn't die for nothing if people can come here and appreciate that... Old enemies have buried differences along with the dead

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Gallipoli 90 Years On
The group stands in Ari Burnu Cemetery before the plaque carrying the words of Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

"You, the mothers who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears," it reads. "Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are at peace. Having lost their lives on this land, they have become our sons as well."There are tears in the eyes of the young people; one of the tour leaders, Rick Landers from Sydney, says he finds it too painful to read.
All the blood in the water, the men coming in on the boats, having to jump out and be brave. "They were so young and full of life. I imagine my brothers here, their camaraderie and mateship. They're typical Australian guys, they would have been saying: 'Come on, we've got to do it.' They would have given their all, regardless."

I can't even comprehend it, I can't even get close to what it must have been like ...
• Gallipoli's power to unite living and the fallen Out of a bloody battlefield [Helen Clark: The Prime Minister, already facing criticism over Australia's role in controversial roadworks at Anzac Cove, has drawn fire from New Zealand over his scheduled absence from a New Zealand commemoration in Gallipoli today Howard in hot water over snub ; When we look back we can see ... our military forebears have set in place a very proud and enviable record of achievement Their legacy to us includes very high benchmarks in idealism ]
• · Even the local priest, Father John, is praying that the perception of the new pope as the Rotweiler may become of the German Shepherd In the beginning: Pope starts his work as a shepherd ; There is the desert of poverty, the desert of hunger and thirst ... there is the desert of God's darkness, the emptiness of souls no longer aware of their dignity Meet the pontiff: he who must be loved, but obeyed ; No one does ceremony and pageantry better than the Catholic Church Pageantry to greet new Pope
• · · They were caught red-handed: Keelty Australia to hand over Bali nine evidence ; In the midst of the Bulldogs rugby league club sex scandal at Coffs Harbour last year police had been using telephone taps in an effort to obtain evidence on allegations of a pack rape by some players How Bulldogs dragnet hauled in police chiefs
• · · · A curse is a formula that becomes a doom. Someone with special powers of performative speech—a god, a wizard, or the framers of your nation’s constitution—describes your life in some dark way, and this description gets fixed as indelible fact. The two-party system is the curse of American political life Shh...Swing Voters Are Listening; When the advocates of republican patriotism encourage citizens to consider common liberty the highest good, they are indicating the safest means to protect individual liberty, not a way to enslave the individual to the state A review of Machiavelli, Hobbes, & the Formation of a Liberal Republicanism in England
• · · · · In Iran, as throughout in the Muslim world, the personal is political, and religion is always both. Aunt Kobra's Islamic democracy; This week, a top insurance company charted the world's most dangerous places to do business. Unsurprisingly, regions like Iraq, India and Russia were shaded brown on the "risk map", marking them as at severe risk from terrorism Wish you were here?
• · · · · · an exceptional high-wire performance by Gordon Hawkins, the Australian criminologist, comparing arguments for the existence of God to arguments for the existence of the Mafia Farewell to 'The Public Interest' ; The revival of states' rights may be the most substantial accomplishment of the Rehnquist Court's conservative majority. Salon magazine reports the emergence of why-go-to-Canada-when-you-have-federalism discussions within lefty circles Reclaiming Federalism ; The Powers of Mourning and Violence and Georgio Agamben’s Critique of Power: By Don Moore War on Mourning: Politics of Disaster; David Humphries: of SuperDome and Olympic Par and SMH fame writes: He was a poor farm boy who used every trick in the book to rule Queensland for 19 years Don't you worry about that

Sunday, April 24, 2005

At the dark and solemn time of 4.30am tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Australians will be joined as one, casting their minds back 90 years when an army of young Australian men went to war and crystallised the concept of nationhood...

Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen has died aged 94. Former Queensland Premier throughout his political career and beyond was one of Australia's most quotable public figures The sayings of Premier Joh

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Top police sidelined over Bulldogs case
The bombshell inquiry into the state's Deputy Commissioner Dave Madden and four others is linked to the probe into rape allegations against senior Bulldogs footballers

Police Commissioner Ken Moroney referred his trusted deputy Madden, who is also head of police operations, to the Police Integrity Commission after receiving an independent legal brief on the months-long Bulldogs inquiry.
The advice, prepared by barrister Glenn Bartley, of Frederick Jordan Chambers, reviewed the police handling of rape allegations made by a 20-year-old woman after an incident at Pacific Bay Resort, Coffs Harbour, in February last year.

Under investigation Strike Force McGuigon [Police ranks rocked as top guns sidelined Rooster one day, dusted up the next ; Police leak at heart of inquiry]
• · Address to the NSW Fabian Society seminar at Gleebooks: Could Chifley win Labor preselection today? Rod Cavalier (no) and Tim Gartrell (yes)
• · · Paul Martin hardly needs another scandal, but the news that Maurice Strong has stepped down from his UN post as special envoy to Korea in the wake of allegations related to the Iraqi oil-for-food debacle is potentially damaging on several fronts. Koreagate: a foot in the capitalist camp - oil-for-food ; White Smoke Which is more important - prayer or power – in deciding on a new pope?
• · · · NSW taxpayers were subsiding cheaper petrol in Queensland because of Treasurer Peter Costello's "unfair" federal funding arrangements NSW pays for others to fill their fuel tanks ;
• · · · · Civil-rights, suffrage activists didn't give up, and neither should environmentalists Quitters Never Win ; I knew little about Marla Ruzicka and her important work before yesterday, but her death -- much like that of Rachel Corrie in 2003 -- touched me deeply Marla Ruzicka, Rachel Corrie, and Revolution of Heart
• · · · · · (Note that the Sunday Terror (sic) links only last a week or so:) Cardinal George Pell Inside the Vatican's biggest decision; Internet elections may get Australia's vote

If enjoying 15 minutes of fame is wrong, I don't want to be right ;-:

As at Sunday 24 April 2005 AD at 7:07 AM, there is something for everyone on the Blogstreet . Want a proof? Look no further than all the content they have managed to squeeze into the top 50 (Fifty) political bloggers, the virtual movers and shakers ;-D Media Dragon is on a list (#40 or #430 in the whole wide world context) and who can blame us for making hay while the sunshine is smiling at us. We realise how fleeting the Warhol’s metaphor of15 minutes of fame really is. We also know that Blogger is under ruthless attack from the Microsoft which has created 7 Million blogs (as of Friday) and it is growing by 100,000 every week. The only sad news is that many blogs tend to fade and die within a month or so. Anyway if you decide to take a walk down the Blogstreet Boulevarde (sic) I can assure you that you can find something to suit whatever political mood you are in today. Scared of Dragons? Try Eschaton as Atrios is #1 Like conservative way of betting? Czech out the Soprano, also known as Instapundit, as Glen Reynolds is #2. How about daily political fights or rants on the state of the nation (US bias), as there is only MEdia Dragon and another antipodean Angry Bear on the loathed and loved Blogstreet ranking system. Turn to Daily Kos is at #5 (whole world wide web has him at #7). If you are a riverbend fan of war and peace, czech out Baghdad Burning at #12 (or overall #35) Do not forget that the smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. The Smallest Minority with cold dead heands is #49 (or #575 on www)

The Blog, The Press, The Media: CEOs & Followers - Tail or Heads
The yogurt-maker's CEO Gary Hirshberg and Chief Blogger Christine Halverson on how the Web journals connect them to customers

Stonyfield Farm, 85%-owned by France's Groupe Danone, is the largest organic yogurt company in the world. Based in Londonderry, N.H., Stonyfield took to blogging in a big way last year -- and even hired its own blogger, Christine Halverson. A former journalist and almanac writer, she landed the job a year ago in March and now authors five blogs for Stonyfield, including Strong Women Daily News and The Bovine Bugle

The Hot Breath of the Web [BusinessWeek Blog: Blogspotting, Where the worlds of business, media and blogs collide ; Adam Groves says he's "sure Bill Hobbs is feeling his age and trying to keep up with all the grassroots political reporting that blogs are accomplishing now statewide for different demographics with different biases." If my dream for the Tennessee blogosphere was realized, there would be a slew of Tennessee bloggers reporting ]
• · Headlines from Australian political blogs Blogdiggers ; Capture: Tim Dunlop on the way to catch the waves The Surfer is Back
• · · You Know the Internet Has Come of Age... When the two highest paid CEOs in business are Barry Diller (IAC) and Terry Semel (Yahoo) Semel, Diller are top dogs; Vertical Engine Lures IT Marketers
• · · · On a worldwide basis, Google employed 3,482 full time employees as of March 31, 2005 GOOGle Earnings are In: Big. Big. Big. ; This is a purely snobby elitist bad-ass-A-list-bloggers exclusive event BEFORE the dinner which is open to all EXCLUSIVE: Defining the A-List at BloggerCon
• · · · · Our media environment is very noisy, abundant, even polluted. Columbia journalism professor Todd Gitlin calls it “media unlimited,” while writer David Shenk calls it “data smog” Too Much Media ; These folks that, that sat in front of me today are the most remarkable, efficient producers we've ever known on the face of the earth. And they produce and produce, and we need to figure out a way to get their product sold A Bumper Crop of Government-Produced News
• · · · · · The future of journalism Yesterday's papers ; You can't afford to miss this wave -- and even more important, you can't afford to do it wrong Six Tips for Corporate Bloggers ; I've just been reading the drafts of the four interviews that Shel Israel posted in the past few days ... Why Every Company Should Blog

Saturday, April 23, 2005

No man is insured against poverty or prison
-Russian Saying

The online satirists have been busy as the British election nears Fade to Blair Flash Plugin WMD of Political Shaggy It wasn’t me: GBJab Making a Difference

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Top NSW cops to face PIC probe
NSW Police Commissioner Ken Moroney has referred a complaint involving Deputy Commissioner Dave Madden and four other senior police to the service's corruption watchdog.

Mr Moroney said the other officers were Assistant Commissioner Peter Parsons, Assistant Commissioner Bob Waites, Superintendent Dave Swilkes and Superintendent Dave Owens. A spokesman for the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) would not comment on the matter, saying it was not the subject of a public hearing.

I can't recall any other episode where five of the most senior police in NSW are put under a very serious matter for investigation and the police commissioner doesn't identify what the investigation is about
Senior police sent before watchdog: Neeedles in a Haystack [Police cannot be given all the credit for NSW's falling crime rates A true crime story ; Chris Nyst: From the cover that pays homage to Tom Domican chic, the action is set inside the grubby network of the NSW Labor Right Crook as a Rookwood ; Prominent in the row have been the state upper house MP and right-wing factional boss Eric Roozendaal and another Right faction member, Walt Secord, the director of communications in the office of the Premier, Bob Carr ALP turf war's up at Bondi ; Playing the game is tricky enough for political machiavellis, let alone ordinary citizens Liberal factions erupt over seats ]
• · The dramatic story of a Sydney family forced to flee the city because of fears for the safety of their youngest daughter, is the focus of this week’s Australian Story. The Norton case: Strikeforce 'Textile' ; Provocation is no excuse for derangement or Gettin' Square Judicial Insanity ; Harry Mount reviews The Trial by Sadakat Kadri: Next time you're up for mass murder, look closely at the jury. If they're laughing, you're in the clear. One of the criminal law's golden rules is that a laughing jury is an acquitting jury. And even people who think jury trials are ludicrous must agree that juries are marginally better than what they replaced in the 13th century: trial by fire or water, when the clergy had been happy to scald and drown suspected sinners in return for a small fee. Balancing the scales of the Trail by fire and water: Juries are marginally better than what they replaced
• · · Czech Prime Minister Stanislav Gross: The woman, Libuse Barkova, at the center of the prime minister's scandal tells her side Sexual politics How does it feel to be the woman who brought down the entire government? ; Ostrava: With energy prices rising, Small international oil companies are wildcatting The Czech Republic's black gold ; Last week Mr Watkins touted the signing of three contracts worth more than $1 billion - with Forest Coachlines, Crowthers and TransitFirst - as evidence that all deals would soon be secured Bus firms demanded vast profits
• · · · The four Australians arrested with heroin strapped to their bodies were shown photos of relatives and given this ultimatum - smuggle the drugs or your families will be killed Suicide mission ; Long day's journey into a nightmare ; Although he was the driver, Dax Satorre knew that the contract killers he was escorting planned to pour hydrochloric acid down an innocent man's throat Man who drove killers to scene of acid murder jailed for 16 years
• · · · · And on how the danger for governments is not from hubris, but that they will believe the myth that they are condemned to mistrust and powerlessness Lessons of Power ; And if democracy worked, there'd be no king
• · · · · · While ministerial responsibility remains a dominant feature of the accountability landscape, it is supplemented, or even supplanted, by managerial accountability. Changing patterns of accountability in Westminster systems: a UK perspective; Very little, argues one book; quite a lot, says another; a huge amount, contends a third. It all depends on the quality of both the donor and the recipient Does Aid Work?

Friday, April 22, 2005

There are tributes from every corner of NSW for the Mayor of the Greater Hume Shire, Ian Glachan, who died in hospital on Wednesday. I met Ian Glachan and his wife Helen even before he became a Member of Parliament in 1988. Yes, Ian was a much admired Member of Parliament. But oh, there was so much more. Everything he tackled, he gave 300 percent. Ian was one of those special people, who it was a privilege to know and a pleasure to work with. I recall fondly the thousand and one meetings Ian organised around the NSW rural communities during the inquiry into the Rural Assistance Scheme.
NSW Liberal Leader Mr John Brogden led the tributes, noting Mr Glachan had served the people of Albury with distinction for 15 years before retiring in 2003.

Eye on Politics & Law Lords:
Mr Glachan was a humble man who thrived on hard work.

He was proud of his service as a marine engineer who became a farmer, then a businessman and above all, a great servant of the people of this area. Mr Glachans achievements in his first few years were impressive: a new base hospital, a new police headquarters, a new school for Jindera and the Borella Rd bridge on the Riverina Highway.
Among his important State appointments was acting Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and chairman of the Public Accounts Committee. Ian Glachan was a true gentleman, Mr Brogden said.
Member for Albury Mr Greg Aplin said he would miss Mr Glachans voice of reason. “Ian was a great rock, a magnificent community member, a mentor and friend to me,” Mr Aplin said.
The Anglican Bishop of Wangaratta, the Rt Rev David Farrer said Mr Glachan had been a significant figure for St Pauls Church at Jindera, the Northern Albury parish and Trinity Anglican College.
Former trade minister Mr Tim Fischer said Mr Glachan never knew when to stop giving to the community locally, State-wide and nationally.

Mr Glachan is survived by his wife for 47 years, Helen, three daughters, and several grandchildren.
He will be sadly missed [When I was a child I lived fairly close to the Sydney Cricket Ground, In the summer.. my mother would give us some lunch you know to go to the cricket ground, and if we had no money we would just hang around the gate, and the old fellows on the turn styles would say what are you kids doing and we would say we haven't got any money, and they would say come on sneak in you'll be right. In we would go and we would watch whoever was playing.. "I saw Bradman a number of times and I saw Keith Miller too...Mr Ian Glachan had a vivid memory of Keith Miller on the cricket pitch ; Mr Glachan (courtesy of Google) ]
• · We are who we are because of our stories British Election Update, II: Understanding Ideology ; The magistrate, Paul Falzon, acknowledged Mr Knowles's regret, but noted that he had lost 49 points on his licence and had 14 speeding offences since 1980. "It's not a good driving record, it really isn't Drink-driver Knowles steered straight into a ban
• · · Theologian and minister, physician, musician, philanthropist and humanitarian, Nobel Prize winner, genius and saint; if there ever was a greater man alive in my lifetime, or perhaps any time, I don’t know who it could be Reverence For Life ; "Let's be clear about something -- there is not a single federal judge, there is not a single ACLU lawyer, there is not a single "liberal interest group" that wants to deprive anybody of any heritage or religious freedom. Religious Differences
• · · · Centrists Under Siege ; We had thousands of people from all over America come to Florida to knock on doors. But the Republicans had thousands of people all over Florida knock on their neighbors' doors, and that's more effective. - Howard Dean, on the recipe for the GOP's success. Quote of the Day: Howard Dean
• · · · · That bastion of Liberal values, the Utah Legislature, voted to ignore parts of the Feds "No Child Left Behind" program that conflict with state goals or are unfunded mandates that the state would have to make up. Good for them! Everyone, regardless of race or ability, deserves the best education possible;
• · · · · · Chris Ahmelman, a former member of the Australian Army working as a private security guard in Iraq, was among three foreigners killed in a roadside attack in Baghdad. Australian killed in Baghdad ; The 21-year-old alleged godfather of the Bali heroin syndicate told his Australian smugglers to follow his orders or he would kill their families. ‘If we dob them in, they kill our family, and we're dead anyway’ Godfather threatened us, claim smugglers ; Schapelle Corby waited until she was deep inside the holding cells at the back of the Denpasar District Court before she unleashed the wail that has been building inside her for months. This is the end of my life'

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Vatican uses electronic voting machines.... ...and Bush is elected Pope!
Catholics in America are getting quite an introduction in agenda journalism today, as report after report sells the liberal line about the new pope. Is it not possible that dissent on that single teaching is the exception that proves the rule of fidelity to the Church's teaching and leadership rather than compelling proof of a "liberal" laity disappointed by Tradition Church doctrine?

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Strong Reaction to His Holiness: Is the Smoke Really Black and White . . .
The new pope will not be a clone of the old. I've spoken to him several times over the last 40 years, and he is a much shyer man, quieter, more like a country pastor or a scholar than like an actor striding across all history as his stage. When one approaches him, he seems to back up an inch or two in diffidence. His voice is much softer than one expects.

THE election of Cardinal Josef Ratzinger as pope was John Paul II's last gift to the Roman Catholic Church. No cardinal was closer to John Paul II, or talked at length with him more often. In his sermon at the memorial for the late pope, Cardinal Ratzinger, with perfect pitch, praised his predecessor's gifts in poetry, drama and art, and the sweep of his vision and accomplishments. The sermon was interrupted many times by hearty applause, especially from the young.

The best man for the job: The Papacy is the oldest and most successful institution in the world. Asking the Pope to abandon or water down Catholic doctrine would be like asking him to abolish his own office. Joseph Ratzinger has been the most powerful figure in the Church after John Paul II for the past two decades. It is entirely right that he should have the opportunity to serve the Church in the capacity for which he is so obviously head and shoulders above the rest. Among so many eminences, he was pre-eminent.
Rome's Radical Conservative [Marla Ruzicka, bohemian by temperament and genes, was actually in Iraq doing practical work and saving lives. Our Heart and Conscience: Practical Poppess ; via Tim Dunlop ]
• · A Pope For The Grown-Ups: A pope who likes Acton, Madison and de Tocqueville. Works for me. The Hard Line on Ratzinger ; For the past 25 years, a meeting took place each week which defied the history of the 20th century. A Pole and a German met in peace to discuss the will of God. Every Friday, Pope John Paul II, the Pole, sat with Josef Ratzinger, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, alone. Now the Pole is dead, and the German is Pope. Pope Benedict has a sense of history
• · · After a tense day and a half of waiting, the tell-tale white smoke poured from the chimney and the faithful streamed toward St. Peter's Square as bells pealed the news that a new pope had been chosen. Waving crosses, cheering "We have a pope!" and staring expectantly up at the balcony above St. Peter's, the thousands gathered to watch the first appearance of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the 265th pope Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger Named 265th Pope ; Joseph Ratzinger Chosen as New Pope ; Tests for an Unbending Pope Smoke In The Air: Habemus Papam Following John Paul II, only two popes remain in the prophecy. The next motto is Gloria Olivae, the glory of the olive. This motto has led to speculation that the next pontiff will be from the Order of Saint Benedict or will at least choose Benedict as his papal name Lets Crucify him: Penultimate Pope
• · · · [ Arguments Against Joseph Ratzinger] Ken Parish said: How depressing Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI; Antony Loewenstein said: Personally, I salute the choice of Ratzinger, if for no other reason than the church's inherent bigotry and misogyny will finally be clear for all to see Ratzinger; Andrew Sullivan predicts civil war within Catholicism: How many winds of doctrine we have known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking
• · · · · [Arguments for Joseph Ratzinger] E. J. Dionne Jr. said: The modern world, Ratzinger insisted, has jumped "from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, up to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism and on and on. Cardinal Ratzinger's Challenge: A Society which Exchanges One Brutalism for Another ; Hugh Hewitt said: Neither of the two liberal columnists or the liberal Los Angeles Times tackles the central issue. Each in turn bumps and runs, refusing the challenge and instead veering off into comfortable canards or wrestling with straw men. ; Professor Bainbridge sez: I realize that calling Sullivan is an ass is not very charitable, but sometimes you just have to state harsh truths. Andrew Sullivan is an Ass
• · · · · · Robert Dreyfuss: The problem with holding elections under hostile occupation has finally reared its hoary head. Can civil war be avoided? Iraq's Catch-22; Bob Herbert Freedom From Want ; The business press, as always, reassures passengers that they are headed for a "soft landing," a slowdown rather than a crash, but even a mild jolt may be sufficient to end the current anemic recovery and throw all the dollar-pegged economies into recession Protection Racket: Riding the Real Estate Tsunami; George Soros told a carefully vetted gathering of 70 likeminded millionaires and billionaires last weekend that they must be patient if they want to realize long-term political and ideological yields from an expected massive investment in “startup” progressive think tanks Soros says be patient

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

White smoke reveals next pope: The Roman Catholic Church elected Germany's Joseph Ratzinger as its first new pope of the third millennium. It was done without an electoral battle, and without propaganda ... it was a miracle predicted by the omnipresent Google ;-D and the Media Dragon Joseph Ratzinger, elected pope today, from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica. He chose the name of Benedict XVI ; Text of New Pope's First Speech. See sea of Google links on Benedict XVI

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: The Loner: Inside a Labor Tragedy
It was an intimate dinner with a high price tag. A half-dozen business chiefs had gathered at the Sydney home of investment banker Paul Binstead to meet the Labor wunderkind Mark Latham. The entry price was $10,000 a plate and, along with Latham, NSW Premier Bob Carr had ventured out to Binstead's home on Sydney's leafy north shore.

It was mid-July last year and the ALP fundraising machine was in full swing, trying to shore up the party's bank accounts ahead of the federal poll. But if Binstead expected Latham to be gracious over his generosity, he was to be disappointed.
Jumping out of his commonwealth car, Latham looked over the up-market residence before saying to Binstead: "Who did you have to rip-off to pay for this?" The incident left a sour taste, but for many in the ALP it was typical of Latham's dismissive treatment of business. Latham was sullen at best, rude at worst when he was guest of honour at party fundraisers. He turned on chief executives with alarming regularity and would often speak for just a few minutes before heading for the door, leaving embarrassed party officials to try to explain away his ungracious behaviour. While this churlish attitude was effectively hushed up by party minders before the October 9 poll, there has been a steady release of anecdotes and vignettes over the past few months. And there is much more to come.

Full of human drama and political intrigue, this is the inside story of the meteoric rise and the tragic fall of the man who was to be Labor's saviour.
• Steve Lewis: For Labor it's once more unto the breach [Like Rossssss Coulthart, Bernard Lagan has New Zealand roots. Rebecca Kaiser of Allen & Unwin fame describes Berno is a highly respected veteran political reporter who has covered Latham's career since 1988 ISBN: 1741145155; It's a far cry from Mark Latham's last public appearance, Latham on track: I am falling like a stone, like a storm being born again ... ; What a Champion ]
• · A Lad Made Good ; The AussieSeek World Radio Talk Back Community Forums ALP and Latham ; Bernard Lagan's exposé on Latham Latham's biographers
• · · Lagan was able to tap into the boss's E-mail, because it seems the boss had defied elementary Internet strategy and good practice ; A drop in criminal offences has a lot to do with heroin, and a little to do with heroes Why it's not prime time for crime ; Bob Carr yesterday spent $35,000 of your money on a series of boastful election-style radio advertisements making political mileage from the hard work of NSW police In yet another example of Government spin
• · · · By all accounts, Renae Lawrence was desperate for money. For death row inmates in Indonesia, execution usually comes on a deserted beach or remote jungle at the hands of a paramilitary firing squad. Fast food workers who couldn't resist fast cash; Death by firing squad is rarely fast ; Webdiary: Bali busts: our road to a new form of fascism
• · · · · Royal commission into shooting ruled out ; Rau cell had spy mirror, inspection finds
• · · · · · Sydney Airport's chief executive, Max Moore Wilton, has vehemently rejected criticism from the Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, of the airport's proposed retail and car park redevelopment, saying her arguments are badly researched and outdated. Criticism flies over airport plan ; Telstra has announced this morning it will invest $A204.32 million in the Asian joint venture (IM)REACH Ltd. ; Two states will not buckle: NSW opposes GST funding compromise deal ; East coast towns welcome proposed railway line Carr scathing about proposed $3bn rail line

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The communist revolution that spanned the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was about concentrating government ownership of capital. Then, in the closing decades of the twentieth century, a counter-revolution swept the world, pushing for just the opposite: disperse capital as widely as possible by getting everybody involved as owners. The new spirit of democratic capitalism: Butlers, Bakers, and Capitalists?

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Tax Me More

My favorite authority on taxes is David Cay Johnston. Johnston reports: "Through explicit policies, as well as tax laws never reported in the news, Congress now literally takes money from those making $30,000 to $500,000 per year and funnels it in subtle ways to the super-rich -- the top one-one hundredth of one percent of Americans.

Tax changes that missed the headlines impact your bottom line [This Tax Day, I'm telling Congress to stop giving me tax breaks ; Would you be upset if someone spent millions of dollars to put your future retirement funds into a casino, while taking no risks with their own future? Your Risk, Their Gain]
• · The doubling of child malnutrition in Iraq is baffling Let Them Eat Bombs ; It's Better to be Poor in Norway Than in the US
• · · The Dirty Little Secret of Financial Globalization Profit Laundering and Tax Evasion ; Bushes Paid $207,307 In Federal Income Tax ; As Winston Churchill said "You dont make the poor richer by making the rich poorer:" Though it’s sometimes unfashionable to admit it, most of us are like Lady Bracknell. We prefer the fashionable side of the square. More trees, less noise, better view. Who knows, it might be nearer the river? Taxing position, position, position
• · · · Mr Bob Carr on the battle between the Federal Government and the States; Tax breaks for property investors have delivered a far greater boon to speculators than previously thought, gouging billions from tax revenues with the benefits going overwhelmingly to the rich. Landlords and speculators reap billions from tax rule changes ; The Australian sharemarket continued to tumble at noon, with investors panicked after a sharp fall on Wall Street on Friday night. Smell of panic hits sharemarkets ; If you believe in Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, you’ll believe the claim Dr Nicholas Gruen made this month in a weekly column that Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Graeme Samuel had “just uttered heresy” by saying “some consumer protection hurts consumers” Consumer Protection Hurts Consumer: A Beat Up
• · · · · Lebanese Catholics recruited to the Liberal Party by the Christian right allegedly flashed pistols to intimidate opponents at a meeting to establish a new branch, according to a complaint lodged with NSW Liberal headquarters. Lib anger over guns flashed at meeting ; John Azarias on The EU is currently Australia’s biggest trading partner
• · · · · · Friends say Pat Peritore is a mild-mannered professor of political theory during the day, but at night he’s a dueling sword fighter, even though he can’t even stand the sight of blood. Missouri's Pat Peritore ; Iraq: incredible weapons – incredible weapons. How do you know that? “Uh, well...we looked at the receipts.” Bill Hicks was a stand-up political philosopher ; Pushing Ten Commandments; Forgetting Ten Amendments

Monday, April 18, 2005

Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.
- Thomas Jefferson

Because debate between the parties usually dominates public discussion, it is often difficult for the backbench to make a mark. But at the moment, because the party contest is limping along without much fire in its belly, there has been plenty of attention given to the activities of government backbenchers. Some of them have become media stars or at least starlets. Howard’s backbenchers make their mark by being back in the spotlight

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Federalism
Federalism needs to be reinvented to end buck passing and duplication. Federalism seems to be dysfunctional and as George Williams noted: ‘we need to develop a new deal for Australian federalism. Aaron Timms has a strong metaphor: If federalism were a hospital patient, we’d be debating whether to switch off its life support...

AUSTRALIAN federalism has been dysfunctional for a long time. Recent disputes over GST revenue, a national industrial relations law and state referrals of power are just the latest examples of deep-seated problems. These can be traced back to when the Constitution came into force in 1901. At the time, Alfred Deakin, one of Australia’s first prime ministers, predicted that the states would find themselves ‘legally free, but financially bound to the chariot wheels of the Central Government’.

Time for long-term solutions [via Bespacific: After decades of official secrecy, periods of serious corruption and instances of political abuse, the Internal Revenue Service in the mid-1970s turned a corner and began providing the American people with information that allowed them to better judge what the agency was doing Denial of FOIA Request for Portions of IRS Manual Results in Lawsuit ; Jason Method of the Asbury Park Press reports that a construction official charged in an FBI bribery sting also is under investigation by a state agency for failing to detect several potentially deadly defects at a townhouse complex, such as inadequate fire walls. Construction Woes: Deficient fire walls ]
• · Many commentators assume that sometime before the 1980s and the emergence of economic rationalism, neo-liberalism and finance-driven capitalism was a golden age during which most people had permanent full time jobs, manageable workloads, viable communities and family life. Well, not exactly all of us, says Suzanne Franzway. Work and family life: what we’ve forgotten ; At a time when dissatisfaction with politicians is glaringly evident, the solution is not less democracy, of course; it is deeper democracy. And in deliberative experiments around the world, goverments and NGOs are attempting to extend citizen participation beyond voting, lobbying, and protesting. Lyn Carson assesses these experiments. Citizens and governments: stroppy adversaries or partners in deliberation? ; Peter Saunders analyses how the welfare state might be transformed to give ordinary people more control over key areas of their lives which are currently managed for them by the government The $85 billion tax/welfare churn ; In debates about changes in our tax laws, politicians have mostly hidden the real problems that threaten our future. They focus on the ideological class-warfare struggle that pits the poor against the rich and gets everyone screaming about unfair redistribution of wealth. Sharing the Tax Burden
• · · Bruce Kent surveys the chequered history of post-war reconstruction from the Treaty of Versailles to the present The great powers and post-war reconstruction, from Versailles to nation-building lite ; The state uses millions in tax dollars to help certain companies create jobs. But does that strategy pay off for taxpayers? Risky business ; Better to fix Telstra’s problems now, not later, argues John Quiggin Creating a risky and messy monopoly
• · · · With control of the Senate, the Coalition government will move further down the path of labour market deregulation The Australian labour market since the federal election ; The preservation of the apprenticeship system in the Australian construction industry contrasts with its collapse in Britain over the last three decades Construction industry apprenticeships in Australia and the United Kingdom: a tale of two systems ; The solution to skill shortages is intelligent planning The fear factor
• · · · · via Scoop: Attacks on vehicles have accounted for as many as 40 percent of the 1,037 deaths of soldiers attributed to hostile action. Iraq: Waiting for Armor ; The past fifteen years have seen a rapid growth in private sector firms supporting military operations. More recently, the ADF has employed the private sector to varying degrees in East Timor, Bougainville, Afghanistan and Iraq War and profit: doing business on the battlefield
• · · · · · Larry Margasak and Sharon Theimer of the Associated Press reviewed federal campaign. Similarly, Richard Simon, Chuck Neubauer and Rone Tempest of the Los Angeles Times Congressional Family Payrolls ; Tim Smith of the Greenville News used state records to show that relatives of two South Carolina Department of Transportation commissioners have been hired at the agency Highway commissioners' relatives hired at DOT ; Yahoo news in the new Beta version Taxing Times in America

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Not to know is bad; not to wish to know is worse.

Man will ultimately be governed by God or by tyrants.
- Benjamin Franklin

The Premier, Bob Carr, said the collapse of HIH had cost the Government $600 million and Williams's sentence had given him Great satisfaction in jail term

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Taxpayers to Profit from Legal Purge: Charles O. Rossotti Lives to Tell the American Tale

The IRS is like a police department that was giving out lots of parking tickets while organized crime was running rampant
-Charles Rossotti, Former Internal Revenue Service commissioner, the bearer of sunlight
When I stepped into the job as IRS commissioner in 1997, taxpayers were mad at the Internal Revenue Service. Really mad. People testified for days at televised congressional hearings on how the agency was ruining their lives by trapping them in Kafkaesque procedures. Complaints poured into Congress. A study commission recommended a complete overhaul of the IRS. Even President Clinton weighed in, using an entire Saturday radio speech to say that he was outraged at how the IRS was harassing citizens. The public uproar did create positive change... Many Unhappy Returns: One Man's Quest to Turn Around the Most Unpopular Organization in America
The 10,000-page Income Tax Act is set to be slashed by a third in a plan to reduce taxpayers' reliance on agents, accountants and lawyers to do their returns.

The legislation has tripled in size since the Howard Government was elected, while tax rulings, determinations, guidelines and court interpretations have multiplied. Three in every four taxpayers are now forced to rely on agents to complete their tax returns, and many consider Australia's tax system to the most complicated in the world.
Ultimately, the plan by the Taxation Board, the body which advises the Treasurer, Peter Costello, on tax matters, should result in faster processing of returns by the Tax Office, reduced reliance on tax professionals and lower fees for their advice. The board's chairman, Dick Warburton, said he would be pleased if half of the country's tax lawyers were rendered redundant as a result of his measures. "I'd like to believe that," he said.

State Treasurer Andrew Refshauge yesterday produced documents showing his federal counterpart Peter Costello had encouraged the NSW Government a year ago to increase land tax, stamp duty and payroll tax.
The Third Opinion: Time to Show Tax as it is [In the war of words between federal and state politicians over taxation, there is much heat but very little light. Political dummy spits drown out the taxpayers' cries ; Big money and bigger principles are at stake in the tax battle between the states and the Federal Government A fair cut of the cake ; Where the GST goes ; Tax breaks from negative gearing have almost doubled in just four years, wiping almost $2 billion off tax revenues in 2002-03 as a shrinking number of taxpayers paid a record level of tax Taxation bites as fewer paying more ]
• · Corporate criminals Rodney Adler and Ray Williams are likely to spend their jail terms in one of the state's four remote prison camps Farm life looms for silvertails from Silverwater ; Mike Gallacher MP, the Liberal politician who wants to be the next NSW police minister, once worked in Kings Cross as an undercover cop staking out crooked detectives involved in the drugs trade. Mr Gallacher, 43, is an unlikely Liberal politician. His great uncle was the legendary Willie Gallacher, leader of a revolt by Scottish shipyard workers during World War I who met Russian leader Lenin in 1920 and became a Communist MP in the House of Commons in the 1930s. My life as a 'dog': MP recalls his Serpico role
• · · The State is the coldest of all cold monsters. - Frederich Nietzche; Shot in cold blood - Strike Force Lauma: the task ahead. Often royal commissions are cheaper in a long run then task forces, but there must be a political will to call one ... Residents too scared to leave $2m homes at night ; After Melbourne Sydney starts the underworld battle of the nightclubs Fighting talk has a hollow ring: Sydney braces for gangs who rule ; Ghost of Gary Lee-Rogers The usual suspects: The secret note that could save Schapelle
• · · · Put yourself in Mike Bolesta's place. On the morning of Feb. 20, he buys a new radio-CD player for his 17-year-old son Christopher's car. He pays the $114 installation charge with 57 crisp new $2 bills, which, when last observed, were still considered legitimate currency in the United States proper. The $2 bills are Bolesta's idea of payment, and his little comic protest, too. A tale of customer service, justice and currency as funny as a $2 bill ; Ben Hills reports on an article by Paul Sheehan: Unique water seemed too good to be true to begin with - and the story just keeps getting stranger. Mystery of the magic water
• · · · · For a defendant in a criminal trial, Ray Williams made some good moves. But one of the most senior judges in the Supreme Court was in no mood for leniency Court was in no mood for philanthropy ; Ever so politely, Williams follows Adler down ; Mad, bad and running the company
• · · · · · Michael Gordon meets the last 54 asylum seekers held in Nauru and finds despair, depression and a sense of injustice ... and the triumph of the human spirit 'This is not detention, this is hell' ; Wealthy Poles are invading the border regions of Germany and snapping up properties at rock bottom prices in what estate agents call a dramatic reversal of historical roles Poland invades Germany: cheap homes the lure in game of catch-up ; Fred Nile’s Portrait entered in Archibald Prize

Friday, April 15, 2005

STOP the Sydney Presses This is how the Revolution started in Australia: Construction workers on the Chatswood underground rail link are furious after being ordered to shave their beards and moustaches and don masks to stop them inhaling dangerous silica dust. There lies a sleeping giant. Let him sleep, for when he awakens he will shake the world ;-) Barricades on the Harbour: Close shaves get tunnel workers in a lather (Can anyone imagine mmmmwwwaaa without a moustache? We need Vaclav Havel, Now!!! Ach, memories and family traditions held dear)

The intellectual struggle worldwide today is now between the beliefs encapsulated in the American Revolution and those in the French. It is interests versus reason. For most of the 17th and 18th centuries, the State and Freedom therefore existed in uneasy equilibrium -- neither complete, both limited. Then, in the late 18th century two momentous revolutions destroyed this balance, triggered a great battle between the State and Freedom.
Is the next revolution likely to take place in a remote island of Australia? [Balmain Boys Don’t Shy Away from The Freedom to Agree to Disagree] The issues of the State and Freedom are creating headlines in the mainstream media and the rivers of blogosphere be it federalism, health, education, corporatism ... The American Vs. French Revolutions

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Who Should Govern Who Governs?
Dennis Thompson (Harvard) is a thoughtful academic who has a knack for making news like no other academic:

If in a democracy the people have the authority to choose their representatives, then it would seem to follow that they should have the authority to choose the procedures by which they choose their representatives. Yet in nearly all democracies the procedures that govern elections have been established by officials or representatives themselves
Legislatures, courts and commissions rather than popular initiatives or constitutional conventions created and continue to control the electoral process in most democracies. Until recently, attempts to change any electoral system were rare and rarely succeeded.
But in the past decade, electoral reform has been gaining a place on the political agenda
in many democracies. In the 1990s, many newly emerging democracies designed their own systems, and nine established democracies made far-reaching changes in their existing systems

The Role of Citizens in Reforming the Electoral System [Google: Who Should Govern Who Governs? in PDF and Word Fromat; A review of books on democracy and the judiciary. From Democracy to Juristocracy ; Tony Vinson, a good friend of John Hatton, writes: Education is the key to keeping people out of prison Punishing the hapless is the true crime ]
• · Michelle Wiese Bockmann End of the umpire: Independent Parliamentary Speaker ; Downer under fire over overseas childcare centre warnings
• · · I don't like John Bolton's management style. Nor am I a big fan of his foreign policy views. He doesn't really believe in using U.S. power to end genocide or promote democracy. But it is ridiculous to say he doesn't believe in the United Nations. Loudly, With a Big Stick ; Dramatically broadening the scandal surrounding the United Nations Oil-for-Food program Oil-for-Food Scandal Broadens With New Charges
• · · · via Memeorundum: At least 39 members of Congress have engaged in the controversial practice of paying their spouses, children or other relatives out of campaign funds, or have hired companies in which a family member had a financial interest, records and interviews show. Paying his wife and daughter out of PAC funds is, frankly, the least of Tom DeLay's problems Nepotism: Political Payrolls Include Families; How an S.F. campaign finance law got fledgling online journalists all up in a tizzy Caught in a blog bog
• · · · · There are plenty of bloggers out there criticizing press coverage, but surprisingly few actually pro-actively suggesting questions the press should be asking. Kevin Hayden, who runs the progressive American Street blog, recently posted quite a few. Questions a 'real' press would ask ; Australia's biggest jail terms for businessmen ; China is responding to US politicking with a charm offensive Dragon's lure: arms before arms
• · · · · · Medicare: Howard unleashes policy whirlwind ; Economic development is being blocked by a $25 billion backlog of infrastructure investment to upgrade water, energy and land transport, the Committee for Economic Development of Australia says Lack of investment in infrastructure putting brake on growth