BohemiAntipodean Samizdat

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Two small tsunami waves hit the Perth area this morning, triggered by a huge earthquake in waters off Indonesia. Tsunami waves reach Perth

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Surfing paradise suffers second disaster
A three-metre-high tsunami struck Simeuleu Island near Aceh minutes after the huge earthquake that struck off Indonesia's western coast, Kyoto.
And the fate of around 5000 people living on the isolated Banyak islands close to the epicentre of the massive earthquake remains unknown, as aftershocks continued to rattle Sumatra today.

A centre of ancient and remote communities surrounded by magnificent surfing beaches, Indonesia's Nias island, is ill-equipped to handle the double-disaster of another huge earthquake on top of last year's devastating tsunami.

Panic as quake strikes tsunami region [Google & Thousand Links to Quake ; Tsunami's lessons taken to heart ]
• · They have been shifting the load to the private sector and blaming each other - states versus national - for shortcomings, demanding coherent integrated solutions and cooperation Lessons from life of Paul Hester ; In 2004, 10 boys from a school labelled the worst in Australia for violence decided to prove their critics wrong, creating inspirational school leaders by trekking the challenging Kokoda Track. Kokoda Challenge
• · · Thousands of property investors hit with land tax bills for the first time are also receiving hefty bills for back tax - for which they did not know they were liable. Back tax on land catches investors ; Australand says the city's strict development rules all but barricaded it out of the CUB site, but the reality is more complexUnder lock and key
• · · · Our new nightmare: the United States of America The Australians Speak: 2005 survey ; Rejection: Turning point in Western history
• · · · · Reality check for those in the Federal Government who want to introduce voluntary voting; A group of MPs studying Canada's prostitution laws is seeking $200,000 in federal funds to visit European cities with red-light zones and legal brothels Silver chain of sound: MPs want $200,000 for hooker junket ;
• · · · · · Now that David Hurley has made a comeback, taking back the reins at A Current Affair, we can clear up one of the great misquotes of recent political history. Twenty years ago Hurley was press secretary to former NSW premier Neville Wran during the Rex Jackson affair and was quoted as telling a reporter: "We're eating a turd sandwich on this one and we're gonna have to say it's yummy" Whichever way you slice it ; Gap mystery: police unsure if car dealer jumped ; Flexible work practices NSW police detectives in work practice row

Monday, March 28, 2005

Ye shall know the Truth,
and the Truth shall make you angry
- Aldous Huxley

Commonwealth warns States it may render void the GST agreement So, what options do the States have now?

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Carr's 10-year reign 'killed 200'
Mike Carlton gives a ringing endorsement: Bob Carr is the best, most accomplished Premier I have encountered in more than 40 years of observing politics in Macquarie Street.

NEW South Wales Premier Bob Carr was yesterday accused of being responsible for the deaths of almost 200 people through his Government's mismanagement. “He has ratted on the people of NSW," he added. The report card coincides with an advertising campaign launched by the State Opposition, showing Mr Carr and Labor as a tired rat on a slowing exercise wheel.

Bob Carr's record is a litany of lies and broken promises which have brought unnecessary physical and economic hardships for people in NSW.
Collateral Damage [You can’t do anything except get on with your life ... Labor Premier Bob Carr did not offer a word of remorse over the deaths but mobilised hundreds of heavily armed riot police ; Bob Carr has long blamed immigration for Sydney's creaking services, but experts are now blaming his services for pushing people away Immigration myth exploded as Sydneysiders flee ; He's a self made man in the sense he's a complete construction. I don't want to die in the job but I want to stick around for some time to come: I count the improvement of State Education as the proudest single achievement. I didn't do that well at school, until the last year or so Premier of New South Wales, Bob Carr is the first to admit his political fortunes have surprised even him ; Parents too poor to outfit students ]
• · As propaganda: Adolf Hitler had hoped to use the 1936 Berlin Olympics to promote all things Aryan. As stage for self-promotion: no politician, least of all an Australian one, can resist the temptation to line up with winners. As career path: such is the kudos enjoyed by sports stars that American wrestlers can become state governors, Australian distance runners Gold Coast mayors All the boys come out to play when the game is political football; Libya has adhered scrupulously to its WMD commitments and its dismantling of its previous programs has offered a powerful, positive example to other countries Gaddafi's rehabilitation now complete, the US is expected to reopen full diplomatic relations with Libya this year
• · · The Liberal state MP Robyn Parker has accused a party colleague and Reverend Fred Nile of exploiting the abortion debate for political gain ; Mark Ballard of the Baton Rouge Advocate obtained a Louisiana database that pinpoints places on state roads that [the state] suspects are so defective and so poorly maintained that they cause crashes or, at least, contribute to wrecks. The Abnormal Locations Report identifies more than 12,000 spots ; Mayoral meals cost taxpayers thousands
• · · · Records show buyer got back property for less than airport paid Depreciating Deals: Taxpayers lost out in land swaps ; The UN has again attacked the Howard Government's record on race Geneva v Canberra
• · · · · New laws to target casino chip gangsters ; Hassan "Sam" Harb - owner of Strathfield business Sam the Paving Man Paving business owner under ICAC probe
• · · · · · MP hurt in street scuffle with girl ; Ban gay parent books from school: Stoner

Sunday, March 27, 2005

I think the reason gamblers habitually gamble is to lose. Because they know they have to lose, it's the law of averages. I'm not talking about bookies or gentlemen gamblers. I'm talking about the compulsive, neurotic gambler. Pain is what he's searching for. The emotion of pain. It's much greater than the emotion of pleasure. Bigger, larger, stronger. Therefore more interesting.
-Walter Matthau

John Howard's apparent rebirth as a centraliser sits oddly with his conservative credentials. But each issue should be taken on its merits...The search for a federal system that is supple enough to serve our economic and social needs today and into the future is far too important to be sacrificed to political argy-bargy. Canberra falls out of love with the states

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Australia doesn't need states
Australia would be better off without state governments, Prime Minister John Howard declared yesterday as he strongly backed Treasurer Peter Costello's demand that the states abolish $2.5 billion in business taxes.

Speaking on radio about the federal-state tax deadlock, Mr Howard said it would be better if Australia had no state governments - adding that it was "unrealistic" to wish for that now.
"If we were starting Australia all over again, I wouldn't support having the existing state structure," he said. "I would actually support having a national government, and perhaps a series of regional governments having the power of, say, the Brisbane City Council (Australia's most powerful local government).
"But we're not starting Australia all over again, and the idea of abolishing state governments is unrealistic."

There is a historical irony in the making of the reversal of the federal history of the 20th century: in 21st century the ALP defends the existence of states whilst the conservative Howard Government are the centralists ;-D
The Joy of Federalism [When we have 29 energy regulators in the country, is it any wonder that there is a brawl about whether it is possible to make an appropriate investment and a reasonable rate of return? Alarm bells on infrastructure ; Water restrictions are in force across the country. Power outages have become a fact of life during summer. The conditions of our major roads is such a worry we are talking tolls – yet a creaky and expensive rail system does not provide a feasible alternative to the large trucks that are doing the worst damage. Stuck on freeway car parks ]
• · former Governor General Sir William Deane Australia's multiculturalism: time for assessment and renewal ; Dr. Klaas Woldring is a former Associate Professor from Southern Cross University [Proportional Representation system] Why was there a by-election in Werriwa anyway?
• · · Castle restitution drags on (and on) as two families fight for justice and their reputations: Schwarzenberg and Liechtenstein families (My first western bread put on the table came from working at the Schwarzenberg Palace in Vienna back in August 1980 - Similarly, the government refuses to give land to my Pecharcik side of the family grandfather’s land boasts the therapeutic hot springs in Vrbov) Waiting & freezing ; An ongoing struggle with depression and the likelihood of adverse findings in a new report on the oil-for-food scandal is raising questions about the political future of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. UN chief fights demons within
• · · · Abortion case a Kafkaesque nightmare ; Journalist Matt Price has highlighted in The Australian today, the humiliating nature of revelations about Tony Abbott's contraceptive methods, revealed by his former girlfriend on A Current Affair last night. Astonishingly frank Kathy Donnelly
• · · · · In Praise Of Soeharto The Despot, Anthony Loewenstein We know your people love you ; A Review of God Under Howard Marion Maddox
• · · · · · Gravy Train: David Blunkett, Indepen Consulting Ltd. and the "Identity" speech;
Brothers, you came from our own people. You are killing your own brothers. Any human order to kill must be subordinate to the law of God, which says, 'Thou shalt not kill'. No soldier is obliged to obey an order contrary to the law of God. 24 March 2004 is the anniversary of the assassinaion of Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Goldámez archbishop of El Salvador Southerly Buster: Romero

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Most people could put together a team to lift a body, put it in a box, put it in the ground, or deliver it to a crematorium.
-Arthur Chesterfield-Evans, MLC at NSW Parliament, backs do-it-yourselves funerals

Perhaps the NSW Department of Fair Trading was feeling a little bruised when it completed its consumer guide on arranging funerals. In most cases, cemeteries and crematoria will not deal directly with anyone other than a funeral director Digging up dirt

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Carr's decade of lost opportunities
If the Carr Government was a Broadway show getting the sort of reviews that have lately been coming its way, producers would be quietly lowering the curtain.

In reality, the Government's 10 years have been characterised by largely wasted opportunity, false starts, unrealised promise, half-hearted effort and timidity. Given a choice between spin and substance, the Government more than not has opted for the former, convinced that papier mache is less electorally risky (but not necessarily more affordable) than solid carpentry. In part, this is because real changes are guaranteed to offend some, particularly those with interests vested in old methods that benefit the few at the expense of the many. An unproductive bureaucracy weighed down by a Government commitment not to force out those who are unnecessary, comes to mind. And this from a Government played off a break by trade union mates whose obstinacy retards reform of education and public transport, to name but two.

Spin v Substance [ What a farce. Labor state treasurers spat the dummy and walked out of a meeting that affects 20 million Australians ("States defy deadline to wipe out taxes", Herald, March 24). No wonder we are looking for alternatives to how we are governed ... one is a tax, the second a duty and the third is a levy Answer to tax stoush is to abolish state governments; Business sounds warning on infrastructure ; Defaults on home loans and credit cards have plunged to historic lows despite record household debt, a sign that Australians are taking more care with credit. Swimming in debt, but we're not drowning ]
• · For Europe, for ourselves, and for humanity, comrades, we must make a new start, develop a new way of thinking, and endeavor to create a new man The Wretched of the Earth ; The Utilities Minister, Frank Sartor, says that the former Liberal premier Nick Greiner - now the chairman of a powerful international water and infrastructure provider - reported adversely to him about a company fighting to get access to the city's pipes and sewers. Water firm in grab for $500m effluent subsidy, says Sartor
• · · The excruciatingly personal details watched by the nation on prime time television may have softened Tony Abbott in the eyes of the voters Sting in the tale ; So surreal that if it had been a plot for a novel, publishers may well have rejected the storyline as being ridiculously over-blown In the Name of the Father, Part 2
• · · · Thirty years on, Vietnam and its people are still living through very tough times Vietnam: 30 Years On ; Kofi Annan’s plan for revitalisation Kofi Annan’s plan for revitalisation
• · · · · New liberals justify their policies by pointing to the danger of social engineering. Republicanism: a trap for progressives? ; Peter McDonald and Rebecca Kippen Reform of income tax in Australia: a long-term agenda
• · · · · · Call it an ROTC program for the CIA: young researchers are trained to analyze global conflicts in the interests of national security ... Many social scientists say a new government program will turn fieldwork abroad into spying. Can secrecy coexist with academic openness? Cloak and Classroom ; Mr Ruddock will meet his NSW counterpart, Bob Debus, to produce a report on uniform defamation laws, following a meeting of Attorneys-General this week. Mr Ruddock said the States and Territories will take a second look at three key issues: jury trials, correction orders and the ability for corporations to sue for defamation Interview: Philip Ruddock

Friday, March 25, 2005

We are glad the general public is more and more aware of the fact that investing into NGO’s is sort of business culture. Citizens of Slovakia can decide what happens to their taxes Petr Bokuvka: Two Percent: To The Ones Who Need Them

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: An Invisible Government
In every existing government we find clamor, abuses of power, newspapers with triumphant, lying headlines, lies of every kind in public life. This being the case, someone like me, who understands nothing of politics, is compelled to think about politics and despair of ever understanding it, is compelled to envision something entirely different.

I’ve always found it rather strange that after an election, nearly all the party newspapers proclaim victory even if they’ve been defeated. If I were a party leader, I would proclaim the truth in big red letters. If we had suffered a major defeat, the headline in my paper would read: “Major Defeat for Our Party.” I can’t see why every party newspaper instead finds it necessary to display exultant, triumphant headlines after each election. The few exceptions after the recent elections were remarkable indeed.

Natalia Ginzburg: Major Defeat for Our Party [This weekend, three guys carrying bread tried to push past police officers guarding Terri Schiavo's hospice. It's good they were arrested, because if they'd fed her the bread, she would have choked Culture Vultures ; Central to the last federal election was the question of risk. John Howard portrayed Mark Latham as ideologically extreme, erratic and dangerous. He cast himself as the embodiment of reassurance, especially on interest rates. He was the safe option The changing of the risk factor ]
• · Troppoarmadillo Roulette: Police in the US can't pull people over at random, since this has been ruled a violation of the bit in the Constitution dealing with unjust and discriminatory search and seizure. Blogger Ken Parish: Drug testing v alcohol testing v petrol sniffing; Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration Roadblock-sobriety checkpoints ; The judicial system is being undermined by lawyers who talk to the media, attorneys-general who do not defend the courts and superficial and inappropriate performance indicators (also link is available to the entire speech) Chief judge hits back at court critics
• · · GST fight hots up on both sides ; Brothel scandal engulfs tax office ; Death, Taxes and Secrets Google on Secrets
• · · · James Giffen — facing an $84 million forfeiture and the rest of his life in jail — is mounting a stunning defense to charges he siphoned $78 million in Mobil's money to despotic President Nursultan Nazarbayev, as well as money laundering, mail and wire fraud and tax evasion. Superspy ; Petr Bokuvka Is paying for education like paying for sex?
• · · · · Jan Carnogursky would be too modest to mention the sacrifices, such as frequent imprisonment, that he made on this movement's behalf. But we ought to remember the evenings when the Carnogurskys waited desperately for smuggled shipment of medicines that a vicious regime had denied their son. Just like medicine was denied to my sister Aga. Like double dragons, Slovakia's reformers have been doubly brave The Bridges of Bratislava ; Winning Back Europe's Heart
• · · · · · Protesters stormed the presidential compound in Kyrgyzstan on Thursday, seizing the seat of state power after clashing with riot police during a large opposition rally. President Askar Akayev reportedly fled the country and resigned Kyrgyzstan President Resigns ; Vibrant Cities Find One Thing Missing: Children

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Charlie Lynn’s political philosophy embodies the belief that courage, hope, fortitude and endurance are all nurtured by conviction. The strong and united community is supported by a continuity of a great tradition. He believed that it is not wealth and power and organisation that hold a society together but its Christian faith.
Please note that Channel 9 will be creening tonight their 'Dareing the Kokoda' program which involves a group of young blokes from Punchbowl Boys High School which had been written up as the worst school in NSW. For the school and its community, the change was immediate and profound and for the boys testing themselves to the limit, the discovery of a new reality and a new attitude.
There are two men who put the Kokoda Trail or Track back on our radar screens again. One of them is Charlie who at Easter 1991 began organising the heart-wrenching Kokoda trail tours. The other man is James Cumes who around Easter 1995 published His-story about the WWII experiences. The boy who was born in Beenleigh became a man on Kokoda trail. Just as Tolstoy wrote about the Napoleonic wars with which he was familiar, so, in his story Haverleigh, we are intimately told about a war near Australian shore

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: The Epicentre Cannot Hold
O'Farrell swore at the speaker of parliament today after a question was ruled out of order during question time.

Speaker John Aquilina ruled Opposition Leader John Brogden could not ask Assistant Planning Minister Diane Beamer if she had been "lying her head off". As he prepared to make a point of order, Mr O'Farrell called to Labor MPs across the chamber, "He's the joke", in a reference to Mr Aquilina.

Liberal MP swears at speaker [Carrnage in NSW: The Reader Issue 87 wonders whether Bob Carr is a dead man walking ; Google on Unparliamentary Language ; This Easter will see a number of senior liberals meeting to discuss what is happening with the NSW Party. J-Bro seems to be suffering under a weight of half way blues and everyone is hoping he will break out of it soon. A small group of MPs, staff and party officials will be meeting in the Blue Mountains this weekend to discuss the matter. Blue Mountains Link ]
• · For those interested in this continuing debate, Andrew Leigh and Justin Wolfers have a new paper (PDF) comparing the performance of polls and betting markets in predicting election outcomes. Blogger John Quiggin ; The trouble with responding to unserious wannabes like Currency Lad (below) is that the real issues tend to get lost or neglected altogether. So let me take a step sideways and address some of the matters arising from the Terri Schiavo case. Blogger Tim Dunlop ;
• · · My life has been a very fortunate one, Ian Glachan told the NSW Parliament in his farewell address two years ago. I was fortunate to have worked for him when he was a chair of PAC. The most relax MP with the most caring wife in the world: New era for Glachan ; One year on and Clover is only just beginning to fight
• · · · Or is insecurity the message the United States is conveying to the world? Security Check: The view from here ; The 'Wolf' has been shown the path to the henhouse. It's hard to imagine peaceful development under his leadership Dismay at Wolfowitz's nomination
• · · · · Why Don't We Have Senators Like This? ; The U.S. needs Senators like this
• · · · · · Black Economy or Real Economy? New figures released by the Reserve Bank show that hundreds of thousands of low-to-middle income earners are burdened with massive housing debts Australians saddled with massive housing debts ; New Jersey philanthropist Herbert Axelrod has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for tax evasion Axelrod To Jail

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

In an effort to increase pressure on North Korea, the Bush administration told its Asian allies in briefings earlier this year that Pyongyang had exported nuclear material to Libya. Search for peace and democracy starts with sunlight U.S. Misled Allies About Nuclear Export

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: The Greatest Game
For connoisseurs of intelligence fiction a few titles epitomize the essence of the craft. Rudyard Kipling's Kim is perhaps the most well known. John le Carré's The Spy Who Came In From the Cold has become an icon of the anti-hero spy.

No spy novel can capture the twists and turns that a genuine spy goes through in pursuit of his mission of treachery and betrayal.

If precedence is an indicator, one thing seems certain. As long as the Great Game continues, we can expect more fiction and non-fiction books about this calling. As Kipling wrote, When everyone is dead the Great Game is finished. Not before ...
The Myth and Reality of Espionage Reality of Espionage [Spy books are at home in the White House. Our Literary Leaders ; Small step in the right direction ]
• · Did Abbott fire prematurely? ; The chequebooks have been flying around the tabloid television corridors of A Current Affair and Today Tonight as they gobble up every last morsel of the Tony "who's your daddy" Abbott DNA fatherhood saga Pregnant pause
• · · Their victory lies in the death of innocent civilians, ours lies in its lawful prevention Terror suspects on loose, warns spy chief ; The second man arrested over a plot to kidnap the daughter of a wealthy Sydney Chinese business family and hold her ransom for $800,000 was an illegal immigrant who had obtained a legitimate driver's licence and business and tax file numbers Kidnap sidekick not here legally
• · · · The $35 billion GST agreement between Canberra and the states is in doubt, after the states rejected Peter Costello's ultimatum to abolish business stamp duties States defy deadline to wipe out taxes ; State treasurers Eric Ripper, Paul Lennon, Andrew Refshauge, Ted Quinlan, John Brumby, Terry Mackenroth and Kevin Foley: the political pantomime cannot mask growing problems with fiscal equalisation, the system designed to give each state or territory the same capacity to provide public services Big states hit hard in fight for federal funds
• · · · · The Premier, Bob Carr, yesterday launched a double-barrelled assault on the Grants Commission's methodology used to carve up the GST funding pie between the states, as it became clear that the treasurers' meeting in Canberra would yield no more than the usual ritual squabbling Taken for a ride: NSW pays price for providing services ; It has been now two years since the United States, UK and other countries invaded our nation 2 Years On in Iraq
• · · · · · The son of the owner of the Orange Grove factory outlet has told the Independent Commission Against Corruption the Carr Government minister Joe Tripodi was "a coward and a liar" for not supporting the centre. Tripodi a coward, ICAC hearing told ; Those of us who read liberal blogs also know that this grandstanding by the congress is a purely political move designed to appease the religious right and that the legal maneuverings being employed would be anathema to any true small government conservative. The ghoulish infotainment industry is making a killing by acceding once again to trumped up right wing sensationalism Using Terry Schiavo issue for their political gain

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

I naively bought into the notion that the wholesale use of journalists and media executives by the CIA, for example, written about by Carl Bernstein in Rolling Stone, was an impediment to a free press. I uncritically accepted the notion that administering chemicals, electric shocks, and prolonged isolation illegally to unwitting victims to test theories of behavior modification suggested that an agency that purportedly existed to "gather intelligence" was coloring a little outside the lines. I Was a Victim of the KGB
Ach, I was a victim of the Bondi train breakdown . But, after the strange detour, I was rewarded by exchanging a few ideas with a former MP, who is now in his 70s, and out of all places over at the blood bank of the Red Cross fame ;-D (I blew his anonymity as he prefers to stay incognito.) It was a day filled with another former MPs who is subject of 50,000 word thesis. I also noticed an interesting development at the State Library which now issues a magnetic card to anyone who wants to use the internet (minus - email). Users are required to fill in their address and provide contact details as well as a proof of ID under the less known Aussie Patriots Act ?!...

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Policies and participation
Evidence of the disengagement of civil society is everywhere. Members are fleeing the political parties, leaving control in the hands of careerist insiders. Parliaments are losing respect and politicians are cynically regarded. Corporations are run by unrepresentative boards.

Democracy is the compelling ideology of our time. We all have an innate urge for community. As one institution breaks down, resourceful Australians have shown in the past that we can renovate some and build others. I know that many parliamentarians, journalists and ordinary citizens share these concerns.

• John Menadue Helping voice the personal and public disquiet: Stop complaining and do something about it [Yesterday's effort, in which he claimed the Carr Government had blood on its hands over the deaths at the Waterfall and Glenbrook rail disasters and deaths caused by hospital waiting lists, signals the fight is going to get dirty. Brogden rolls up his sleeves for state putsch ; South Australian Liberal director Graham Jaeschke, the former head of the Queensland party, has been be parachuted into the top job in NSW A great career move ; Turnbull calls on Carr to recycle Sydney sewage ]
• · Army allegedly failed to investigate kickback scandal ; Australians implicated in Iraq kick-back scandal Axis of Oil ; If a small proportion of the energy and capital that has been devoted to the dangers following September 11, 2001 had been lavished on the problem of AIDS, I feel sure that the world would be a better and probably a safer, certainly a kinder, place Threat of terrorism overblown, says Kirby ; Activist Legislators: The boundless overreaching behind Congress' new Schiavo bill
• · · Zalman Shoval How the Saudis got to be 'special'; This is either an act of provocation by America, or an act so insensitive as to look like provocation ... Wolfowitz is US deputy defence secretary and widely regarded as the chief intellectual architect of the Iraq war. An arch "neoconservative", he is probably Bush's most hawkish advisor and, in some diplomatic circles, an incendiary figure. The Intelligence Made Me Do It: 'The World Bank will be hated'
• · · · Frank Luntz, Los Angeles Times The Lexicon of Political Clout ; History of floods caused by servants, first the BBC, and now COSTA: The Minister for Economic Reform has triggered alarm for the Carr Government by stating up to 20 per cent of the state's 340,000 public servants might be surplus to requirements. Too many workers in Costa's empire
• · · · · The man who once flaunted the biggest muscles in baseball, Mark McGwire, is now the smallest coward in Washington Home-run heroes come off as zeros before Congress ; Owen Harries, Prospect Magazine Power and Morals ; Paternity shock: Health Minister Tony Abbott today said he was numb after learning he had not fathered the baby boy he gave away 27 years ago Surreal and Bizarre twist in love-child tale
• · · · · · Ignoring the truth about American Communists: Since the end of the Cold War, documents released from American and Soviet archives have convinced most Americans that long-disputed spy charges against Alger Hiss, the Rosenbergs, Lauchlin Currie, and Harry Dexter White, among others, were accurate, and that hundreds of Americans worked for Soviet intelligence services during the 1930s and 1940s Professors of Denial ; Cab ride cost $312, but return trip was just fine ; Business supports the NSW Government in its attempt to end the significant unnecessary cross-subsidisation of other states with taxation collected from NSW businesses and residents, the business group said. The State Chamber of Commerce chief executive, Margy Osmond, called on the Federal Government to take a lead in reforming the GST carve-up Business firmly behind Carr in tax onslaught against Costello

Monday, March 21, 2005

There have been times when an individual murder has set forces in motion that have changed history. The most dramatic example was the 1914 shooting death of the Hapsburg heir to the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, Francis Ferdinand, at the hands of a Serbian assassin in Sarajevo, which triggered World War I. When killers rule

A secret service dossier based on Soviet interrogations of the Führer's staff shows how he swung between humour and hubris What the Butler Saw in a Bear Pit Bunker: Funny Führer

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Russia Today
The old Soviet secret police kept their apartments, dachas, and pensions. Their victims, Anne Applebaum explains, remain poor and marginal ...

The more we are able to understand how various societies have transformed their neighbors and fellow citizens from people into objects, and the more we know of the specific circumstances that led to each episode of mass torture and mass murder, the better we will understand the darker side of our own human nature.

The Gulag: Lest We Forget [Why don’t they listen to us?” Poor and working class America is turning away from the Left’s messages of hope and change. Lillian Rubin on a widening gulf... Speaking to the Working Class: the strange intensity of political polarization ; Representing the disadvantaged in Australian politics: the role of advocacy organisations Democratic Audit of Australia ]
• · Thousands Protest Iraq War Across Europe ; From Casablanca to Kuwait City, it is good to light a fire under their feet From Prague Spring to Arab Spring ; Iraq could be entering its most dangerous phase, argues Aldo Borgu, and that has implications for Australia’s commitment Iraq: A two-way street ; Patrick Barkham, The Guardian: Could Tony Blair Lose The May Election?
• · · Women in politics: destroyed by the media or slowly changing the status quo? Some Like It Cool ; On the use and abuse of power: a snapshot of ‘an extraordinary woman in an extraordinary time’ The Natasha Factor
• · · · If the consequences weren't so serious, Senator Ross Lightfoot would be the biggest joke in Parliament since Bill Heffernan ran away from the media down the stairs during his ill-fated Justice Kirby allegations three years ago Interview: Jenny Macklin; Is Westminster Dead in Westminster (and why should we care)?
• · · · · The estimates committees will become even more important after 1 July, according to Stephen Bartos, but they are already under pressure The trouble with Senate estimates; Five days after telling Congress that the emperor had had no weapons of mass destruction, David Kay, said "We were almost all wrong" in thinking that Saddam Hussein had possessed WMD Intelligence Gap If you want an image that captures what American politics will be like over the next few decades, imagine two waves crashing down upon us simultaneously, each magnifying the damage caused by the other. The Do-Nothing Conspiracy [David Brooks, New York Times
• · · · · · "Little Eichmanns" and "Digital Brownshirts" Deconstructing the Hitlerian slur ; Thomas Lifson, The American Thinker Judicial Activism's Perfect Storm

Intellectual property is important, say executives. So why don't they act as if they mean it? Like the late Rodney Dangerfield, intellectual property (IP) doesn’t get much respect. Yet the reason is still a bit of a mystery. To be sure, executives at both big and small companies acknowledge that it's important to handle IP—the intangible assets most often defined as patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets—correctly. Courts and Torts: Touching on Intangibles

Invisible Hands & Markets: Enter the Double Dragon
For the past three months, Chinese police and central bank officials have been mounting a publicity drive to stop a hemorrhage of cash estimated at $US70 billion ($88.3 billion) a year that leaves the country through a network of underground banks, many connected to cross-border casinos.

In dealing with Macau's Ho dynasty, the Packers may be risking the house for a place at the biggest game in Asia, writes Hamish McDonald.

Frontier Square [Tax warning over bet shops ; When well-lubricated lobbying fuses with prejudice, the release of political energy can be truly frightening; there are few more powerful natural phenomena in the universe. Lobbyists score damaging wins ]
• · HIH founder Ray Williams still doesn't understand his role in the company's collapse Blinded by the light ; Let's keep torch on remuneration abuse
• · · Morgan Stanley and UBS helped Parmalat Finanziaria, Italy's largest food maker, hide the cost of selling €720 million of bonds six months before it collapsed in the country's biggest bankruptcy, according to a report prepared for Milan prosecutors. Duo helped Parmalat hide costs: report ; Black & Decker's court victory over the IRS turned a venerable ''sham'' transaction legal test on its head. Will other corporations be able to capitalize? Tax-Shelter Shocker
• · · · Directors may have to cough up unpaid fines ;
• · · · · Sinners are more interesting than saints. What you get taught about in a course on micro-economics is a model of the way markets are supposed to work, known as "perfect" competition. How to beat the information skew blues ; Clive Crook, National Journal America's Economy: More Fragile Than It Looks
• · · · · · I believe there is now a professional, well-trained elite, supported by large institutions, that is adept and willing to use corrupt practices to accumulate wealth. CEO Predators Tamed?; Paul Krugman: The Ugly American Bank

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Australia's longest-term detainees may soon be released into the community under a major change in Government policy being spearheaded by John Howard Howard set to free 120 detainees

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Naked Eye: The Political Script
The script runs along these lines. On May 25, 2005, Bob Carr will become the longest, continuously serving NSW premier, breaking the record of his esteemed predecessor, Neville Wran.

Wran's unexpected announcement precipitated a power struggle at the conference, all in living colour on television. It was Labor's equivalent of the Tet offensive during the Vietnam war. And it meant the best candidate to succeed, Barrie Unsworth, enjoyed little honeymoon with the voters, courtesy of the raw conference manoeuvrings. Labor learned not to repeat this experience.
Bob Carr is unlikely to depart the premiership while a job remains to be done. He is unlikely to leave unless his government is comfortably on the ascent. He is unlikely to contemplate departing until he can see that the most pressing issues – in rail, health and policing, for example – are no longer in need of solutions. In Parliament, Carr remains dominant. In the polls, he remains preferred premier by the length of Maroubra beach. And there are two milestones that beckon. On March 1, 2007, Carr will beat James McGowen's record as NSW Labor leader. On January 18 of that year, he will eclipse Sir Henry Parkes' record (over five separate terms) as NSW premier.

• For Carr, a devoted historian, these dates may prove irresistible. Carr unlikely to relinquish reins - Stephen Loosley [Carr and Brogden in support slide ; Hand-held fingerprint devices, shoe-print databases, portable identikit equipment and scores of new crime scene investigators will all form part of the forensic science law enforcement package. It's a big investment, but it's an investment in smart policing Police get $26m scientific edge over criminals ; Debus set on ending lawyers' immunity ]
• · Precious cargo of democracy: Naked Eye of the Sun Herald fame, the invisible political torch, lists today how many days state MPs have sat this year (s(i)x days). Under the headline Carroff - again we learn that Premier is heading overseas next month, his eighth trip abrod since the March 2003 e(l)ection. (Parliamentary clerks are often referred to as Marco Polos or Pacific Islanders,) Minister exploring the universe under Greiner were called the Travelling Wilburys ...; Premier Bob Carr has been reminded of the election-winning health promise he gave exactly 10 years ago today to halve the State's hospital waiting lists or resign. He delivered the pledge on March 20, 1995, at the official launch of Labor's election campaign which resulted in a shock one-seat victory over the Coalition led by Premier John Fahey. What about your pledge on hospital waiting lists, Mr Premier ; Premier's new deal for young workers ; Premier Bob Carr has revealed he no longer plans to retire to New Zealand There's no place like home: Love Affair
• · · Senators line up for attack on Lightfoot ; Senate numbers behind PM's inaction: Labor ; Lightfoot's friendly gesture
• · · · Life or death battle, and death looks like winning: Two years after the invasion of Iraq the rate of US soldiers being killed is averaging 18 a week, almost double the rate in the first year after the war No time for rejoicing as Iraq toll keeps climbing ; Labor holds Latham's old seat
• · · · · He'll be known as the man who killed ATSIC, but Geoff Clark says he's made a difference for Aboriginal people. I walk through a crowd and somebody will throw something at me, somebody will spit on me, bump me, somebody will kiss me. That's what life dishes up. I don't think I'm different from anyone else Under the skin ; Each week as many as three Australian children are abducted by their parents and spirited away across international borders International abductions by parents on the rise
• · · · · · Hefty Tasmanian politician Dick Adams spent six minutes in Parliament last week extolling the virtues of the parliamentary librarian before sticking the boot into the cleaning service and the staff canteen Dirty politics
Jobs go as backpackers work for beds - National - Jobs go as backpackers work for beds ; Daily Terror exposes Aliens: 'Illegal' backpackers earn up to $800 a week

Saturday, March 19, 2005

George F. Kennan, a diplomat and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian who formulated the basic foreign policy followed by the United States in the Cold War, died last night at his home in Princeton, N.J. He was 101 Long Telegram: Outsider Forged Cold War Strategy

Eye on Politics & Media Marshals: Carr's Long Haul: Taking Toll
There has been no open society in NSW, no Creativity, no Solidarity. There was, first of all, the meticulous efficiency of the Carr Sound Bite, which will keep the media machinery oiled for years to come.

He has a fear of being the swimmer furthest out off Maroubra because a shark might take the outrider. Anne Davies and Gerard Noonan look at the risk-averse Premier's decade in power.
When Carr became leader of the Opposition, you had state Labor governmentscollapsing because of economic irresponsibility. That is seared into Carr's mind. Asked to nominate his worst political moment, Carr does not hesitate: February 2004; that sweltering day when the Sydney rail system experienced what he calls "a general nervous collapse".

[The Prime Minister has three media advisers; Bob Carr has five Tight and tireless grip on public perception ; I look forward to contesting the 2007 election: (You sneeze and Carl's there with a tissue) Extras audition daily for the lead ; Inadequate early warning systems and a dysfunctional work environment mean that it is only a matter of time before a Campbelltown-Camden-like crisis cripples other hospitals Threat of sick-hospital syndrome spreads in NSW; CityRail's transit officers (dressed in Stasi style uniforms) will come under scrutiny by the State Government after hundreds of complaints from commuters Complaints prompt rail staff inquiry ]
• · The blogosphere is gobsmacked by Eugene Volokh’s startling admission that he approves of this Iranian style justice: Intuitive Barbarity ; via Digby ; Werriwa: Labor expected to retain Latham's seat
• · · Ukraine admits exporting missiles to Iran and China ; What Iraq's checkpoints are like
• · · · The Bush administration's campaign against openness The Age of Missing Information ; The Liberal senator accused of smuggling cash, bribing officials and carrying a concealed weapon in Iraq faces censure or suspension from the Senate if he is found to have breached pecuniary interest rules. Register slip may hurt Lightfoot ; Money man says senator in the clear
• · · · · Chopper project should be reviewed: expert ; Just how much worse can Australian defence procurement get? Navy Seasprite helicopters are just the latest billion-dollar lemon in a procurement history pockmarked by acquisitions that run into cost and delivery overruns and fail to perform as promised. The $6 billion Collins-class submarines were too noisy and couldn't carry the torpedoes bought for them. The last of the Anzac-class frigates arrived 15 years after the first, its original communications obsolescent. The $1.2 billion over-the-horizon radar came five years late. The Bushranger utility vehicle is 10 times less reliable than the army wanted but its only rival was twice as bad again Getting fizzle for our extra bucks
• · · · · · Geoff Shaw is a man of considerable and many strengths but one, catastrophic weakness A $3000 fine, but a judgement that will last a lifetime ; Electors vote in substantial shadow of its missing man

Now is the time for all good men & women to come to the aid of their Blogosphere Experiment in Democracy

Invisible Democracy & Markets: Clouds over Democracy Start to lift
We the Bloggers, in order to form a more perfect Blogosphere, hold these truths to be self-evident: Free Thought and Free Speech are the cornerstones of Free Societies and Free People

Why a Blogosphere Democracy? Throughout our history, high-minded tools and actions have often been slandered and oppressed by those who wouldn't benefit from them--to mention a few: Science, Religion, Arts, Philosophy and specifically the study of Rhetoric which has never recovered, the Printing Press, Democracy, etc., etc., etc. To that end, the following proposition is a mere outline to establish an inclusive organized system to benefit the overall Blogosphere; all constitutional decisions should be clarified and ratified by the Foundation Board, Elected Congress Members, and engaged Bloggers (see below). Issues of concern to the Blogosphere can be addressed in this system as determined by the Members of the Board and Congress; likewise, individual Bloggers can appeal to their representative for action. The Blogosphere Democracy, in the hands of the Foundation Board and Congress of Bloggers, can achieve a democratic voice (Congress), support (Foundation), unity (Union), and advances (Guild) for the Blogosphere while finding methods of defending (Bureau) it.

Ach, Out of Many
• · Understanding the Process of Economic Change ; Rafsanjani to Buy Some Good Publicity
• · · In its first four years, the GST has collected $194.58 billion for distribution to the states. A partner at KPMG, LachIan Wolfers, says although that revenue is broadly in line with federal Treasury's expectations, it has grown faster than inflation and gross domestic product. [Hard Copy of Business Review Weekly, 17/03/2005, Page 20] State love their cake, too
• · · · When Hamlet's father was killed, his right to the throne and the fortune of Denmark were usurped by Claudius (his uncle, who married his mother). If only they'd had a family trust, none of the brutality that followed would have happened. [Hard copy of Australian Financial Review, 17/03/2005, Page 20] Face to face with a question of far-reaching implications
• · · · · Information Technology Minister Vladimir Mlynar has denied wrongdoing over the use of state funds to establish a company to operate an Internet portal for the government Minister denies misuse of money ;
• · · · · · The Irish are exporting more than woolens and property funds to the Czech Republic, and the trend is just bound to grow, say figures on both sides of the Irish Sea. It's highly probable that potatoes were planted in the Czech lands for the first time in the garden of their college. The pub is the meeting place for many Czechs, and the social cornerstone of a lot of Irish life is also in the pub Irish investment, culture on the rise ; Prague gets in touch with its Celtic roots

Friday, March 18, 2005

Pat Buchanan: Freedom and democracy are on the march. So, says President Bush. And, surely, something is on the march on the unpredictability of revolutions An essay on a heterodox perspective on the meaning of war: The key to the accelerated pace of empire building over the past decade is the “open spaces” resulting from the demise of the collectivist states (USSR, Eastern Europe and Asia) and their overseas dependencies and allies in Africa and elsewhere Closed Spaces

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: The endless quest for ethics grail
In ancient Greece the philosopher Plato considered any form of rhetoric, or what we might call persuasion, to be spin. Being fond of the simple truth he would have called a spade a spade, and spin would be lying.

But in the 3rd century BC the art of persuasion started to appear. Aristotle, a pupil of Plato’s, saw the value of the art of persuasion in the political arena and wrote treatises on rhetoric, or what we might call spin today.
In the following centuries the sophists became masters of rhetoric, and taught this sometimes black art to the politicians and lawmen of their day. (The sophists would be able to tell their charges how to explain their New Year stay in a friend’s Spanish villa; articulate how your partnership in a law firm is not a conflict of interest with your role as leader of the opposition . . . in addition to allowing you to sound off on complex issues such as 24-hour licensing, stem cell licensing or human cloning).

Sophists: an ancient version of Celebrity Big Brother . . . or First Minister’s Questions [A conversation with Larry Diamond on Rial Politik What to do about Iran's nuclear revolution? ; Who Should Apologize to Whom? Where is the country that Bill Clinton, a former president of the United States, feels ideologically most at home? Believe it or not, the country Bill Clinton so admires is the Islamic Republic of Iran ; Encounters is an electronic journal of political science featuring prize-winning articles by non-english language political scientists from around the world, is out The inaugural issue]
• · Mike Steketee The Right's friendly new face: Mark Arbib & Kelli Field ; Back in February 2005 Naked Eye of Sun Herald fame noted that queues were forming for Bob Carr’s seat. For the third time in recent months, Premier Bob Carr has attended his local branch meeting, spreading good-will among the comrades of Maroubra. Among the application to join the branch is Mark Arbib. Official rumours Fire began to sizzle when penalties faced the chop ; The inside word...; Sydney train driver charged over threatening letters Sour Grapes on Trains
• · · Malcolm Turnbull's tax adventures ; In new democracies and closed societies, The Open Society retains its freshness and relevance The Open Society Revisited
• · · · Ian Thorpe isn't swimming at the Australian Titles and World Championships in Sydney this week, but at the weekend he made a very astute remark when he warned about the perils of over exposure Thorpe in drowning pool; One hears the groan every four years: only one Olympic bronze medal for one billion people. Are Indians born losers?
• · · · · However, tonight on the radio the US military denied troops killed Iraqi general US troops shoot dead Iraqi general: police ; The assassination of Chechen leader Aslan Maskhadov Thanks from the new Czar ; How Has War Changed Since
the End of the Cold War?

• · · · · · Belgium confronts its colonial past ; The Techno-Politics of the Indonesian Crisis: An Opportunity Lost

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Senior Liberal Senator Ross Lightfoot smuggled $25,000 into Iraq on behalf of Australia's biggest oil company and armed himself with high-powered pistols for protection Senator Lightfoot with Kurd fighters and an AK-47. Senator Ross Lightfoot has had more than a passing interest in Iraq during the past 12 months. He's been there twice – last year with a Woodside Energy representative and then in January with an Australian-based representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Simko Halmet. ; Lightfoot tells Senate: I didn't do it : Google on Lightfoot

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Project talks stall despite backlog
A high-level committee of eminent business leaders and five NSW Government ministers established by the Premier to fast-track urgent infrastructure projects has not met for 18 months, despite a backlog of public works.

The NSW Infrastructure Council was set up by Bob Carr in 2001 in response to private sector concerns that not enough was being done to build road, rail, water and energy facilities.
News of the council's demise comes in the wake of Mr Carr's failed attempt last Sunday to sell the 2004 capital works budget announcement as a new $30 billion infrastructure program.

Coordination Unit [The Tax Office is cracking down on lawyers, accountants and other professionals using trusts to avoid paying tax, as John Howard insists the Government has been "very tough" on the rich Trusts under hammer as PM hints at tax cut ; We're beating the black economy: Tax Office Shades of black ; Eastern Europeans entrenched in black economy ]
• · The annual allowance for senators and members ; Larry Anthony moves from youth portfolio to childcare company, ABC ... ABC Learning Centres Ltd
• · · Diploma phonies used me: engineer ; OECD studies consistently indicate that failure to make an effective transition to permanent work or to full-time study is associated with long term risks of marginalisation Local investment: national returns ; Jennifer Talhelm of The State reviewed campaign contributions to South Carolina state lawmakers during the final six months of 2004, finding that “36 cents of every dollar … given to House and Senate lawmakers in the last two reporting periods of 2004 was tied to businesses, PACs or other special interest groups South Carolina Contributions
• · · · The F6 motorway from the Sutherland Shire to the city could be revived after the Roads Minister, Michael Costa, overturned his predecessor's decision to dump the $700 million road Scully buried it, now Costa resurrects F Six ; Casualizing, cobbling and e-Coping: Back to future cottage industries for older workers?
• · · · · Police Minister Carl Scully said he had written to Labor MP Jan Burnswoods, who chairs the upper house standing committee on social issues, requesting her committee to carry out an inquiry into the unrest About face: government now backs riot inquiry ; NSW Police officers involved in the Macquarie Fields riots today backed police chief Ken Moroney but condemned the state's opposition leader. Police back Moroney and blast Brogden
• · · · · · Argument raged today over immigration officers removing children from schools and locking them in detention centres Outcry over school 'raids' to detain children; Don't deport my son, detainee mother pleads

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

This is a dynamic landscape, where the changes come by the day, by the hour. The force of popular will is now driving what was at first a dewy American project. It is a scenario developing amid tears, violence and near unprecedented public freedom of expression. Its mid-term consequences are still unclear, but few observers have kept pace with events
- Nicolas Rothwell; 2005

For 24's producers, in their fourth season of constructing a save-the-world scenario that must be completed in one day, the use of torture is about "real-time" drama, not politics: In the post-9/11 world, they can take our lives, but they can never take our freedom

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Tyranny of the Minority
The latest brouhaha at Harvard, home of the perpetually offended, is over a motivational speech telling women that they can have it all: career, marriage, and children.

Women, you can have it all -- a loving man, devoted husband, loving children, a fabulous career. We are a new generation of women. We got to set a new standard of rules around here. To my men, open your mind, open your eyes to new ideas. Be open.

Heteronormative means treating heterosexuality as the norm [Beside being rife with errors obvious even to lowly bloggers, the Times piece treats Saadi like a legitimate if colorful businessman, when he's essentially Uday Hussein. His father-in-law is chief of Libya's sinister security apparatus, & his family has simply looted the country & squirreled billions of dollars away in European banks while Libya remains impoverished & unfree. Saadi Gaddafi is jockeying to buy the controlling share of a well-known British soccer club for $300 mil; Matilda Walzblogging]
• · Iran has been developing nuclear weapons under the cover of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Tensions are building and there has been speculation that the United States might invade Iran as it did Iraq. That is improbable, given the formidable costs it would entail: Defusing Nuclear Iran ; via Austhink
• · · Senator Jon Kyl: Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security, which I chair, held a hearing on a major threat to the United States, not only from terrorists but from rogue nations like North Korea. One Way We Could Lose the War on Terror
By Jon Kyl
; James Taranto: Is There a Doxy in the House? Walter Cronkite's Foreign Policy Wisdom
• · · · Coalition MPs insist on tax cuts ; D. Francis, Christian Science Monitor As Corporate Taxes Shrink, Who Pays?
• · · · · A fully developed [consumer-driven health care] market would be chaotic, to say the least, and in such a system continuity of care would be virtually non-existent Doctoring the Market ; Ron Menchaca and Glenn Smith of the Charleston Post and Courier investigated South Carolina’s agency that oversees law enforcement, finding “endemic failures in the state’s system for tracking police officers that allow problem cops to keep their badges despite histories of misconduct and even criminal behavior… Problem Cops
• · · · · · Throughout much of the Cold War, people feared above all else a global hot war, the third great one in a century of devastating world wars; and we crept up to it more than once -- most desperately, there can be no doubt, at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962 Are We in World War IV? ; Swift-moving trains routinely kill people when they crash on the nation’s railroad tracks — and local governments have almost no power to slow them - 77 percent of all fatal accidents on the nation’s main rail lines occurred when trains ran at speeds of 45 mph or higher: Speed often factor in fatal trainwrecks

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Tax reform should be added to the eternal certainties of death and taxes. A medium-sized open economy in an increasingly integrated and competitive global trading system, Australia must always improve and update its tax system in response to economic change here and abroad. Such need was highlighted last August when the Reserve Bank governor, Ian Macfarlane, noted "the nature of a first-rate democratic country" involved constancy in economic reform A tax reformer's job is never done

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Fifteen judges join secret summit on terrorism
The High Court judge Michael Kirby and ASIO chief Dennis Richardson have presented powerful, conflicting views on the balance between fighting terrorism and individual rights in an extraordinary closed-door conference in Sydney.

Senior judges, top public servants and lawyers joined Mr Richardson, the Federal Police Commissioner, Mick Keelty, and the air force chief, Air Marshal Angus Houston, to discuss the implications of the war on terrorism for the rule of law. The unprecedented meeting at the weekend covered highly sensitive issues including the right of terrorist suspects to an open trial, detention without charge, the doctrine of pre-emptive strike and even the use by the Bush Administration of targeted assassinations on terrorist suspects.

Doctrine of pre-emptive strike [Carr funding spin offers little light at end of tunnel ; Professor Ed Blakely, who was appointed to the panel in 2003 after he helped rebuild New York in the wake of the September 11 attacks, said long-promised strategies to revive under-performing road and rail corridors and suburban centres were urgently needed City overhaul loses fizz, says Carr's planner ]
• · In Melbourne Confidential Chris Masters profiles the murder of Terence Hodson and his wife, and reveals new evidence that links gangland killings with the corruption that has plagued the Victoria Police. For legal reasons, two versions of this program will be screened – one in Victoria, the other throughout the rest of Australia Melbourne Confidential – Four Corners ; Controversy follows the US giant Halliburton wherever it goes but little is known about its Australian operation A profit powerhouse
• · · This Sunday Jana Wendt looked at Cornelia Rau's tragic 10-month journey through our prison and immigration detention system Cornelia Rau: A case of neglect ; Millions for programs, but results are sparse ; Tensions between the supporters of two Sydney football clubs who clashed violently on the weekend escalated overnight when a car was firebombed and a clubhouse was peppered with bullets. Sydney Club riot
• · · · With the Federal Government introducing legislation this week to safeguard Telstra services in the bush, and the Communications Minister talking up a proposal on the separation of the telco's retail and wholesale divisions in a bid to boost investor confidence Interview: Helen Coonan ; Closer communication is needed between intelligence agencies and the federal police about when intelligence services should provide assistance, a parliamentary report recommends Spies and police need to get along
• · · · · Context is all for Hitler's swastika ; The mask slips ... Looks like Germany's getting itchy to take over the world again Hitler Revisited ; The Mongers Among Us: Where Do Civilians Get Off Leading Us into War? by Russ Wellen Speaking truth to cowards
• · · · · · Webdiary: Iran Crisis ; A medium for everyone’s voice ; The Nature of Democracy ; The State Government has big plans to redevelop areas of the city Psst: Sydney's future is on the line

It is not often I am asked to compile links for a particular book. Well today I was asked by one of the colourful characters at Ville of Hurst who has reread Da Vinci Code three times and is familiar with the issue of the Catholic Weekly. How many people around us are being treated like non-people or like they do not exist? In this book there are no surprises for me - I know how incompetent and unkind most managers are towards their charges. Media might be peppered with massive skill shortages yet most workers travel to work in the red rattler train style afraid of being sacked at the end of the day. Is this smart practice? Whether you work on the ground floor or the underground it seems that Only inconspicuous cleaner is a good one. Ach, in hard-core irony style one wonders how many suspicious and caprious bosses are only after perks rather than the responsibilities that comes with a true leadership. Like Orwellean pigs inside those fat barns they fail to acknowledge real or virtual lesser human beings ;-)
There aren't many authors or journalists being sought for interviews by both the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, but The Australian's Elisabeth Wynhausen is a little unusual. Her new book Dirt Cheap is an expose of life "at the wrong end of the job market" and involved the author working in a string of low-paid jobs incognito. Wynhausen has now been interviewed by both Boss magazine and the Socialist Alternative. Surely a first? Everyone keen on dirty deeds

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Art of Surviving
Over a period of ten months Elisabeth Wynhausen went undercover and worked as a factory hand, an office cleaner, a retail worker and a kitchen hand, moving from state to state and attempting to live on her meagre earnings.

Dirt Cheap - Life at the wrong end of the job market is the inside story of what it is like to work twelve-hour days on a factory line sorting eggs at a battery hen farm; of working a split shift of thirteen hours cleaning a nursing home for just over ten dollars an hour.
As Elisabeth discovers that many so-called 'unskilled' jobs actually require an incredible amount of skill, so too does she learn that exposing the conditions of low-wage work can be sheer hell for your lower back, not to mention your morale.
Caustic, courageous and often funny, this is a unique view of class, power and middle management seen from the other side of the serving counter, and a very personal experience of what it is like to be under-paid, under-appreciated and part of Australia's emerging underclass.

His Greed and Heart and Mind of Ston(e) [I came to Dirt Cheap, Elisabeth Wynhausen's account of a year working for minimum wages, fully expecting to hate it. An Australian knock-off of Barbara Ehrenreich's best-selling Nickle and Dimed seemed eminently cringe-worthy ; ISBN: 1405036443; Pages: 240; Price: A$30.00; Imprint: Macmillan Australia: Dirt Cheap: Life at the wrong end of the job market]
• · Dirt Cheap: Life at the Wrong End of the Job Market Julie McCrossin: Life Matters ; by Edmund Campion in Online Catholic: God under Howard
• · · Life at the wrong end of the job market ; The class system is alive and well ; Underclass expose just doesn't work
• · · · In her new book, Elizabeth Wynhausen learns how hard it is to live on the minimum wage Masters & Slaves ; Life at the Bottom; A slippery slope to inequality
• · · · · The final of Lit Idol took place on March 14 at this year's London Book Fair, the world's leading publishing business event Lit Idol 2005 UK ; Bruce Elder, who "agrees", and Susan Wyndham, who "disagrees" Writers' festivals are a waste of time ; Increasing sex frequency from once a month to at least once a week provides as much happiness as a $US50,000 ($63,000) a year rise Sex better than cash in the happiness stakes

Monday, March 14, 2005

The Berlin Wall fell, the Soviet state ended, Japan Inc. turned out to be insolvent, and look at those elections in Iraq. Why can’t journalists see the news coming at them?... A First Draft of History? Call the rewrite man!

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Age of Extremes: The Paranoid Style in Politics
In constructing, we resolved that we would make it an informational site useful for all, regardless of political persuasion

In politics men who make speeches do not go out of their way to explain how differently they would speak if the enemies they had were larger in size or different in character. On the contrary whatever enemies they fight they paint in satanic terms, so that a problem sufficiently difficult to begin with in a liberal society becomes complicated further by the inevitable perspectives of political battle.

Traditionalist historian John Lukacs laments the direction of conservatism in America ... From Joseph McCarthy finding treason in the bright young men who are born with silver spoons in their mouths to Richard Nixon speaking up for the silent majority to George W. Bush complaining about those who ''think they're all of a sudden smarter than the average person because they happen to have an Ivy League degree,'' the right has consistently won elections by talking the language of Power to the People
The Plain People of the Internet: You're not serious! [The Sex Pistols created some of the least boring music of the modern age out of the experience of being bored A Philosophy of Boredom ; Bush misread Camus Outside View: Bush, Camus and Sartre ]
• · The richest man in Parliament wants his Point Piper neighbours to pay more tax - to make room for tax cuts for everybody else. Juraj Janosik: Tax the rich and give to the poor - Turnbull does a Robin Hood ; Slavoj Zizek: A small note – not the stuff of headlines, obviously – appeared in the newspapers on 3 February. In response to a call for the prohibition of the public display of the swastika and other Nazi symbols, a group of conservative members of the European Parliament, mostly from ex-Communist countries, demanded that the same apply to Communist symbols: not only the hammer and sickle, but even the red star. This proposal should not be dismissed lightly: it suggests a deep change in Europe’s ideological identity. Heidegger can’t be pardoned for his Nazism, but Lukács and Brecht are excused for their engagement with Stalinism The Two Totalitarianisms ; During the Stalin years in Russia everything labelled veal was actually chicken. You can imagine what everything labelled chicken was ... Did perestroika herald "the end of history"? The collapse of the experiment initiated by the October Revolution is certainly the end of a history The Age of Extremes ; But after a lifetime of suffering it's too little, too late for some. Following her brother's death, Humhalova explained, her family members were treated as enemies of the state. Victims of occupation recognized
• · · In a collision between two radically different visions of how cities should grow, claims under Oregon's new law are pitting neighbor against neighbor, rattling real estate values, unnerving bankers and spooking politicians Anti-Sprawl Laws, Property Rights Collide in Oregon ; Things have not improved since 1990s as inspectors have discovered one in 10 child care centres fail to meet national hygiene standards and 14 per cent are unsafe Sydney Kids at risk in unhealthy centres
• · · · I'll just be glad to see the old terrorist put in the ground and sink straight down to hell. Have you carried out Cold River? On Arafat's death, a cold river of memory ; Terrorism Research Center ; Bin Laden blueprint blotted out
• · · · · Australia would be better off if more young people downed books and took up tools. But it begs some big questions Trading places ; Ultimately the lie is an instrument of power Traffic levels far outstrip predictions
• · · · · · In many ways Max Weber's predictions have proved accurate, with the world united into an iron cage called globalization. Dr. Johnson said that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. It is perhaps the least enduring of his famous statements, in part because it is oblique and in part because it is too specific. It is often trotted out to condemn patriotism. What is actually implies is this: when something seems good in itself, though its value cannot be divorced from its use, that thing will be easily and frequently abused. Patriotism, benevolence, and--back to the matter at hand--free speech fit the bill. The Calvinist Manifesto ; Labour are in power...but the tories still get to take the blame ... Boris Johnson: Both the Government and IRA seem content to ignore due process of law, and both are wrong