BohemiAntipodean Samizdat

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Good marketing is partly a matter of following the rules.
Great marketing often happens by breaking the rules.
- Philip Kotler

Irony of mother of ironies ... Wristbands sold to raise money for a campaign against world poverty are made in Chinese sweatshops in "slave labour" conditions. Anti-poverty wristbands made in sweatshop

If tax can be sexy, international tax structuring is the glamour end of the industry. Glamour follows dollars, and the international financing deals into and out of Australia are where the dollars are: in deals and salaries. They reckon a tough tax system has spawned some great tax talent by Allesandra Fabro: 21/05/2005 Tough tax system spawns great talent

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: An audit of the Australian soul
I want you to call to your mind the film Seven Samurai — Akira Kurosawa’s masterful depiction of a Japan rent to pieces.

Remember how, in response to the depredations of bandits, the villagers hired as protectors seven itinerant warriors. Hold in your imagination the wind, which before our eyes tore at trees, at branches, which plucked at the cloth and bones and minds of men. In its breath, this wind carried a key message: in the absence of law and the authority of the law, only force, devastation, madness and death prevails.
Kurosawa’s villagers were fortunate that their samurai protectors embodied the ideals of nobility and sacrifice. The samurai epresented what was right: stability, security, an obligation shared between rulers and the ruled encapsulated in just law.
Yet these same villagers could equally have been ‘saved’ by a gang that hesitated not to impose malevolent rule. The rule of law, yes, but bad law and bad government.

Human rights: fixed or fluid? [Keating is onside - Beazley ; Proposed changes to our industrial relations law by Tim Dunlop: Because they can ; The Profit of a Free-for-All ]
• · Memoirs of a Failed Diplomat by Dan Vittorio Segre published by Halban 'I used to collect real information about Israel to throw like crumbs to French journalists, while avoiding giving them the key to the stupidity of certain decisions taken by the Israeli Government.' Munching on Memories ; Primo Levi called it "taut and illuminating… memorable… written with the humility of he who confesses himself and with the honesty of he who bore witness" Sequel to Memoirs of a Fortunate Jew
• · ·
Power to the Media Dragon, sang Common Dreams in 2005 Say You Want a Revolution: Start with the Silent Warriors; Greg Barns How Howard's Party takes revenge on true liberals; John Quiggin As usual Tim Lambert does the heavy lifting
• · · · Webdiary: Was Cornelia physically or sexually abused? ; From my kitchen table, by Christine Rau
• · · · · I never served in the military. Before my son unexpectedly volunteered for the Marines, I was busy writing my novels and raising my family, and giving little thought to the men and women who guard us. My attitude has changed. I did not choose to change. I was forced to Fathers, Sons and the Lessons of War ; Caspar Weinberger, WSJ
Friendly Fire: War's Most Tragic Consequence - Of all the terrible consequences of military combat, perhaps the worst are losses caused by that awful euphemism, "friendly fire."
• · · · · · An officer who was suspended and faces dismissal from the NSW Police claims her only offence was to have complained that she had been raped by a fellow police officer Officer who cried rape fights for her job ; Cynthia Gorney, NY Times Magazine A Mothers' War ; Somebody get Jacque-strap a le hanky French Voters Deliver a Crushing Defeat to European Constitution

Monday, May 30, 2005

Artist are cockroaches, you just can't kill us."
-Chris Latham

Sydneyrella is filled with cockroaches and creative minds. The city’s light, the Sydney Morning Herald, is the savviest newspaper the world is watching closely. On 30 May 2005 the Herald launched a campaign to fix, to heal, to mend, Sydney. A campaign to fix its water, air, urban development and transport. It is time for a boldness lacking for 50 years. Robert Whitehead

Art of Living in the City of Exiles: Power to the People
Sydney is in desperate shape. There are many signs, but you only have to look at the weather to see something is badly wrong.

By any account April was an extraordinary month in our Indian summer - hotter than March for the first time since records began. It was dry, too, with only 33 millimetres of rain, a quarter the monthly average.
Rain fell on just eight days; most of it uselessly went down the drains into the sea.
Dam levels have dipped below 40 per cent capacity for the first time, and there are fears Sydney's weather patterns will have far-reaching consequences for our water, food and gardens. People cannot control the weather, but there are things that are within their control.

Crowded, polluted and a mess – the fix list for Sydney [Cheeks of the Devil, Charms of an Angel City in Crisis ; Building liveable communities is vital to retain a creative workforce Do the myths: now is time to create the knowledge city ]
• · Car use forecasts put quality up in the air ; Keep writing those books, Bob, and the trains will fix themselves : Off the rails: the suburbs where the car rules
• · · Be mad if you will, but at yourself The south-west is wheezy, while the east breathes easy ; Fifty years ago the American economist John Kenneth Galbraith observed a paradox in advanced economies - how private wealth grows alongside public squalor. Frustrated commuters might think he was writing about Sydney in 2005. Despite unprecedented private riches, much of the city's public infrastructure is deteriorating. Once debt-ridden, now run down

Sunday, May 29, 2005

When I remember bygone days
I think how evening follows morn;
So many I loved were not yet dead,
So many I love were not yet born.
-Ogden Nash, The Middle

Some people are born creative.Others are born with drive. Others still have a entrepreneurial nose. At the Sydney Writers Festival one and all of these characters were there. Characters who do not know the meaning of boundaries. I was lucky to chat with Morry Schwartz as well as David Suzuki ... A river of opportunities runs thought these characters. Politics and the Novel session was one of the most impressive thanks to speakers who spoke in reverse alphabetical order - Christos Tsiolkas, Gillian Slovo, Eva Sallis, Caryl Phillips. As Christo noted: Artists need to create beauty to give moments of optimism and hope, but also think it is important that we be honest about nightmares. I think [nightmares] are just as important to art because that is part of human experience and part of human culture. This is a moment of darkness. It is dangerous, ugly time in Western Culture. Like Cold River, Dead Europe, does not want the postcard view of Europe.

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: A River Ran Through Sydney Writers Festival
Among the audience at the festival was a group of the world's leading publishers has descended on the Sydney Writers' Festival looking for authors to take to the international market

POWER to the people, sang John Lennon in the 1980s. If he were alive today he would see his dream coming true but not quite in the way he imagined. People are deserting established politics and resorting to social activism to get the changes they want in society. Almost every week brings new evidence. This week the Sydney Writers' Festival is sold out with people wanting to attend sessions and hear from overseas activists and polemicists such as Tariq Ali, David Suzuki and Jared Diamond. Explore international coversation:
CANADA - Iris Tupholme, V/P, Publisher, Editor-in-Chief, HarperCollins Canada
KOREA - Eric Yang, CEO, Eric Yang Agency
NETHERLANDS - Martijn David, Mouria (part of Veen, Bosch & Keuning)
UK - Marion Lloyd, Marion Lloyd Books, Scholastic UK
USA - Judith Curr, (not Lisa) Executive VP, Publisher, Atria Books, Simon & Schuster
USA - George Gibson, Publisher, Walker Books
USA - Sharyn November, Editorial Director, Firebird & Senior Editor, Puffin Books & Viking Children's Books, Penguin
Hat tip to the students at the UTS for making the coverage of the festival so colourful. As Anna Funder noted - Student talent isn't just the tip of the iceberg. Production of the daily newsletter, Festival News , radio program, video documentary and website for the Sydney Writers' Festival is an example of the many projects undertaken by UTS journalism students who are under the wing of Wendy Baker.

Catherine Rey credits two events in her life with making her an author -- being given away by her mother when she was a baby and moving from France to the fringes of the harsh Australian desert almost 40 years later.
Say you want a revolution: start with the silent warriors [Festival Club is a very intimate venue where Mandy Sayer showed a very special slide night of her family life. She not only took us into her family album for a night of pictures from the past but also tap dancing to a drum filled with her father’s ashes Mandy Sayer’s Pictures from Life ; The Saturday evening highlight .. wine and cheese on the Master and Commander type ship: Cockfighter's Ghost Wine Tasting with winemaker Patrick Auld - The wines of legend..... Behind every wine is a story - Cockfighter, the lead horse, became bogged in river quicksand and despite all efforts, drowned. A fateful night that gave birth to the legend of Cockfighter's Ghost.... Named after a ghostly steed, said to reside upon our vineyard, Cockfighter’s Ghost is unquestionably the best]
• · I missed a tribute to Czeslaw Milosz because it clashed with another session: A Certain Maritime Incident. Tony Kevin gave an extraordinary speech which he taped in case media attempts to twist his words around. He certainly gave audience an insight into the dealing with the press, defence, police and ministers. In October 2001, over 400 asylum-seekers departed from Indonesia in an overcrowded, unseaworthy boat bound for Australia. In the deep oceans between the two countries the boat sank and 353 people drowned. Tony Kevin asks what responsibility we have for the tragedy and exactly who knew what and when. Tony Kevin, author of the book A Certain Maritime Incident and well-known campaigner for a judicial inquiry into the SIEV X sinking, was awarded the Community Relations Award in the NSW Premier's Literary Awards, which are attached to the Sydney Writers Festival Story of Siev X : The longest applause went to Tony ; There were many other goodies, but I am too tired to detail so czech out the Big Pond streams at SWF
• · · According to Google: Free eBooks ; Lloyd Grove with the latest buzz
• · · · Note to You Liberal Weenies -- Yes, the Right Really Can Write; If you can't actually get to a writers' festival then the next best thing is for someone to bring it to you. And that's what BigPond have decided to do by providing a live streaming feed from the Sydney Writers' Festival this week. The Lovely Bones
• · · · · Head & Heart: Why don't we Muslims grow up?; There was a time when the big names in mystery writing turned a cold shoulder to romance
Chick lit heroines, humor give glam makeover to mysteries

• · · · · · If you are travelling to Blava czech out this website run by my naughty but nice cousins Bratislava also known as Pressburg or Pozsony ; Jobs in corporate social responsibility are growing as businesses try to do the right thing Debt to society

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Keep an eye on reaction to Corby’s case and million other subjects by using the thoughtful Hungarian-type search machine by the name of Mr Sapo [Conflict of interest - I liked the site on the first sight]

A drug smuggling case that has swept Australia like an out-of-control bush fire, and created almost as much heat and rage, came to a climax Friday when a 27-year-old Australian woman was found guilty of trying to carry nine pounds of marijuana into Bali inside her bodyboard bag Bushfire in the theatre of the Absurd

A theatrical system of law: Bali Determine to Stay on the Radar
Andrew Collis recently wrote about Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Marty Natalwgawa, who criticised Schapelle Corbys supporters for making her drugs trial into “theatre”, presumably by holding up placards calling for her acquittal. I watched Ms Corby make her impassioned plea for mercy on a television broadcast the other evening. One of the presiding judges was reading a book, while none of the judges were using interpreting services. Apparently the learned judges were handed a transcript of her plea at a later time.

Bear in mind, this is the same court that has tried many of the alleged Bali bombers. These individuals were brought into the body of the court, allowed to scream slogans of defiance, punch their fists into the air, acknowledge their supporters at the rear of the court and leer at the families who lost loved ones in the bombing. Was this not black theatre of the worst kind? To make matters worse, the chief judge in Ms Corbys trial, Linton Siriat, is quoted making public comment on the very trial that he is presiding over. Ms Corby would have every right to think that that was|“theatrical”, wouldnt she?
We in Australia can be thankful that although at times people complain about the “ills” of being colonised by the British, we were left with two great legacies, a system of law and a system of government, that for all their failings are still the envy of the world.

Anybody is is a somebody in the foreign policy sphere is well aware that Corby’s trail is part of a large picture. It is about national interests. There is no real friendship between Indonesian and Australian governments and even the nationals interests are part of the East Timor theatre of the absurd. As a blogger johnboy observed yesterday: Longer sentence than the bali bombers? That's your priorities for you.
• Can judges go against the government in a regime where the concept of the separation of power is at best misunderstood or ignored ... Furor down under over drugs case [Google Tearfully facing her bleak future; Google Corby's lawyers likely to accept QCs' help ]
• · Bali bombers and Editorial: Corby case not ours to decide ;
• · · Need to respect law of the land even if the law is ass? Then came the avalanche of terror and disbelief which Ms Corby had struggled in vain to control. There was pandemonium. Her family and friends screamed and it was almost too painful to watch. The tension rose by notches and when finally the verdict was delivered it was stretched like piano wire ; Google Labor asks for Corby pardon: Rudd
• · · · Corby case shades $4380 pay rise announcement; How the Corby case unfolded
• · · · · Merrick and Rosso scored the big laugh of the night when they advised the Premier: Keep writing those books, Bob, and the trains will fix themselves Durable Carr is given a roasting

Friday, May 27, 2005

Schapelle Corby dried her tears behind the walls of Bali's Kerobokan jail tonight, vowing to fight her drug smuggling conviction and 20-year prison sentence. Both sides to appeal 20-year jail sentence ;
Elisabeth Lopez analyses the online reaction to the verdict and sentence in the Schapelle Corby drug smuggling case Bloggers say boycott Bali - The media could not get enough of her. She was young, attractive and accused of a terrible crime. She steadfastly maintained her innocence. Everyone had an opinion on whether she did it or not. But publicly, she never cried. The national verdict: lock her up. That is what happened to Lindy Chamberlain 25 years ago, when her daughter, Azaria, disappeared and she was accused of murder. And, though the Schapelle Corby case may never enter the realm of folklore as the dingo-baby mystery has done, the author, journalist and lawyer who wrote the definitive account of that saga finds echoes of media overkill and public obsession in the drama unfolding in Bali. We'll go for whom the tears flow - Google and the world unite Australians express outrage at Corby verdict

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: GE 2005 Citizen Report
The degree to which corporations should also benefit society—corporate social responsibility—is a much debated topic, but giant GE has expressed firmly what it believes.

It’s a citizen of the world, and people have a right to understand how the business thinks about and acts upon on such topics as greenhouse gas emissions, offshoring, and globalization.
That’s the message in the company’s first “On Citizenship” report issued in mid-May, which aims to provide transparency on these and other issues. The seventy-eight-page document, available from the GE Web site in pdf format, will become a widely studied (and debated) model for how companies report their CSR programs.

The rising rates of concerns is a sign of our healthy integrity and compliance culture [Lloyd George caused a stir in Parliament when he did the sums and found that, according to the body counts announced by the British Government, they had killed more Boers than the entire Boer nation contained Good(?) News from Iraq ; Big companies understand the importance of brands. Today, in the Age of the Individual, you have to be your own brand. Here's what it takes to be the CEO of Me Inc Personal Branding ]
• · A new history of "losers" in American business, researched in part at Harvard Business School's Baker Library, explores the tension between the American Dream and those who fail to achieve it. The myth of the American Dream—from bootstraps to billionaire, if that is what you are capable of achieving—has been well explored. But what of this nation's losers? If we live in a country where anything is possible, then what do we think of those who don't succeed? What do people who fail think of themselves? Losers and the American Dream ; Plogress keeps track of what your senator or congressperson is doing; daily updated lists of bills and legislation, and an RSS feed
• · · Gaping hole means budget is dead on arrival: Brogden ; Take our ports, says minister
• · · · Brave face belies Corby's turmoil within
• · · · · It's judgement day for Schapelle Corby. Neil McMahon looks at the highly public making of an unlikely marty Indecent exposure
• · · · · · moderator, a Sydney blogger who uses the pseudonym "Weezil", got straight down to business: "Fundraising is a very good start. The Corby family are almost certainly going to be either staying in or commuting to and from Bali. I'm betting Mercedes & Wayan will be there for the long haul Someone has to feed Schapelle

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Hugh Martin: Jozef Imrich is a prolific researcher. This kind of blog can become a trusted source of links; effectively he's editing the web for readers interested in the media - When are bloggers journalists?

People's No. 1 question is How do I find stuff? Most advertisers who survive know that - The advertising business is undergoing an upheaval, forcing marketers to try desperately to stay ahead of technological innovations Advertisers Want Something Different

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Always on Google

Kudos to Google for succeeding to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Integrated Media Systems Center [ A new sensation is piggy-backing on the phenomenon that is the iPod: podcasting Come One, Come All: The Rise of Podcasting ; Corporate blogs have become something of a norm Another twist in blogging's fate]
• · Blogebrity: A to C list ; Ali, Rafat ; Ace ; Chris Allen
• · · Blogs Are Just the Medium, not a Profession ; What makes a blogger a blogger?
Being a blogger is a bit like being an alcoholic: if you say you are one, you are
What makes a blog a blog?
• · · · BitTorrent Creator to Launch Search Engine ; How Old Media Can Survive In a New World
• · · · · Are Bloggers Setting the Agenda? It Depends on the Scandal ; Why is it worth having a debate about whether blogging is journalism? Because, for one thing, as James Packer points out today, online companies such as Google and Yahoo! have market valuations of $US55 billion ($A72 billion) to $US60 billion while "media behemoths" such as Viacom, News Corp and Disney are capitalised at $US50 billion-$US55 billion. The dollars will follow the eyeballs
• · · · · · 'All time Greatest Aussie Bloopers'; We are at the end of the beginning in terms of the internet Online the way to go - Packer

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

As you can tell, it's the time of year for all kinds of statistical scorecards for 2005-2006. The real meaning of the forecasting season can be found in the Orwellean language: Forget land tax. The big promise in yesterday's state budget was that nobody would go more than five minutes without hearing the phrase strong and detailed plan. Since February, this has become the preferred cliche of Labour MPs Do not take our word alone: strong and detailed plan

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Why I'm Still a Liberal
I am, in most things, liberal because to my mushy eyes, the American "welfare state" has been (mostly) a success. Not a big fan of government, but a believer that some things are best done together, rather than individually.

History is quite clear about what happens when the "haves" don't bother to take care of the "have nots," or even the "have somes": Rule by the rich, the few, who will, eventually, lose control, often violently. But as diehard conservatives insist we move from America's New Deal ethic into Ayn Rand Adventure Land — minimal taxes; everyone out for themselves — I can't imagine why they think our (far from perfect) system has been so awful.
After all, since Roosevelt, the United States has won the only war that really mattered, blasted into the economic stratosphere, raised standards of living, cultivated the middle class (that powerful antidote to pluto-oligarchy), become a technological Godzilla, and built the most dominant (if excessive) military in history

Margo Kingston: Lib MPs 'stand up for human dignit Rebel Liberal backbenchers Petro Georgiou and Judi Moylan today pledged to present and vote for two private members bills to overturn their government's mandatory detention regime and grant refugees on Temporary Protection Visas permanent residency.
Gee, what a trainwreck [ Once again labor leaders are debating new approaches to organizing In Need of Lifeline, Labor Must Rethink its History and Future ; Tweed Shire Council Council sacked after property corruption probe]
• · ASIO doesn’t need all the emergency powers it was given two years ago, write George Williams and Ben Saul Will the PM welcome a compromise this time around?; The rise of the Christian right might suit the moderate Liberal leader's next election campaign Brogden a chance for the top job if he can ride the factional cycle
• · · In Robert Bolt's play, A Man for All Seasons, Sir Thomas More is confronted by Richard Rich, whose perjury will lead to More's execution. More's son-in-law, William Roper, urges More to arrest Rich. More answers that Rich has broken no law and is free to go. And go he should if he was the Devil himself until he broke the law! Saddam's Underpants are not the Issue. But the Law is ; President Bush said the other day that the world should see his administration's handling of the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison as a model of transparency and accountability. He said those responsible were being systematically punished, regardless of rank. It made for a nice Oval Office photo-op on a Friday morning. Unfortunately, none of it is true Patterns of Abuse
• · · · Ross Gittins: Take the Michael Egan out of Bob Carr and you're not left with much in the way of financial discipline. They've lost the plot, along with their nerve ; The world's dumbest tax has killed the property market in NSW and driven investment to Queensland, Victoria and even Bob Carr's preferred investment location, New Zealand Brogden attacks high-tax approach
• · · · · No-one even blushed, let alone admitted that last year's land tax changes had been a political misjudgement of the first order. A spectacular backflip with not a red face to be seen ; It was hard to know who was happiest at noon yesterday - Bob Carr, celebrating his 10th anniversary as Premier; Andrew Refshauge, celebrating his first budget as Treasurer; or his predecessor Michael Egan, tucked snugly asleep in his bed somewhere in France Left, Right, the Carr battalion marches on
• · · · · · Politics is not a profession for the weak-hearted Balmain Boys Do not Commit Suicide ; Put aside the issues of increased debt for infrastructure and the 10-year pay-as-you-go policy it reverses Like Carr's record term, a budget adding up to little

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

We give them money, but are they grateful?/No, they're spiteful and they're hateful No one likes us, I don't know why....

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Soul of the Senate
There's a new documentary on Sen. Robert Byrd's life story "of strength and fortitude" debuting this week. It's called "The Soul of the Senate" (website to be launched soon ). The Sunday Gazette-Mail reports:

Soul of the Senate highlights moments in Byrd’s life from his graduation as valedictorian from Mark Twain High School in Stotesbury in 1934, to being congratulated by President John F. Kennedy as he received his law degree at American University in 1963, to chairing major committee hearings in the U.S. Senate.

The Life and Times of Robert "Sheets" Byrd [Alex Robson demonstrates that every dollar the government raises in tax has a cost. He calculates the total deadweight loss of taxation could be as high as $61 billion per year – more than the federal government spends on health The costs of taxation ; Leigh, Andrew: Do income taxes levied at a state or regional level affect the after-tax distribution of income? DP 490 Can redistributive state taxes reduce inequality? ]
• · In a paper to be published by the University of San Francisco Law Review, Professor Mirko Bagaric and Julie Clarke of Deakin University make a case for legalising torture. Their argument fails morally and practically, write Sarah Joseph and Marius Smith Torture is inhuman, illegal and futile ; The international convention against torture needs to be strengthened, argues Ben Saul Law needs refining
• · · Scott Brenton examines data from the 2003 Australian Survey of Social Attitudes and the 2004 Australian Electoral Study, in considering whether there is declining confidence in Australia’s democratic institutions. He examines issues of democracy, government, politicians, parliaments, the legal system and public servants - Democratic Audit of Australia, Australian National University (PDF file) Public confidence in Australian democracy ; Poverty rates by electorate ; This study is examining the impact of Australia’s unique social and cultural environment on the next generation Growing up in Australia ; Was there another story behind this yarn in The Australian on Friday about electoral roll errors? What's going on with the electoral roll? ; Electoral Fraud And Multiple Voting
• · · · Does a university education make people more inclined to have an empathetic view of the world? David Burchell critically examines this view in his reappraisal of what he describes as the ‘empathy wars’ of the past decade, in which attitudes towards Indigenous people and refugees acted a marker of social divides The trouble with empathy ; In June 2004 the Liberal Party’s Bill Stefaniak introduced the Charter of Responsibilities Bill into the ACT Legislative Assembly Bills of responsibilities: is one needed to counter the ‘excesses’ of the ACT Human Rights Act 2004?
• · · · · Jo Barraket reports on a preliminary analysis of Australian third sector, or non-profit, organisations’ attempts to mobilise citizen engagement using online technologies. She reviews recent debates about the impacts of online technologies on citizen engagement in order to identify the significance of these technologies to third sector organisations. While the organisations reviewed are using online technologies to present information about their offline activities, they are less consistent in using these technologies to mobilise civic engagement in new ways Australian Centre for Emerging Technologies & Society Online opportunities for civic engagement? An examination of Australian third sector organisations on the internet ; ASIO’s questioning and detention powers
• · · · · · Do Australians surround themselves with like-minded people and what unites and divides them? Colliding worlds of people unlike us ; Does Peter Costello have something to learn from Prince Charles? Michael McGirr reports on three events and what they meant in southern NSW Last Tuesday, this Tuesday

Monday, May 23, 2005

Australia's elected representatives have shown just how ugly IT cost-cutting exercises can become if users are not consulted. An opt-in option has produced an uneasy truce over attempts to force-march senators onto electronic documents and away from paper Parliamentary paperless coup aborted (courtesy of Catherine the Great ;-)

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: V-E Day
Prague's World War II commemorations, as usual, all but left out a band of heroes who saved the city

Good progress, this year" said a colleague at Czech TV who had been monitoring the Czech press and TV coverage of the V-E Day celebrations — also 60 years after the fall of Nazi Prague — for references to the Russian Liberation Army, the ROA, aka "Vlasov's army" after its leader, the renegade former Soviet general whose troops turned on their Nazi sponsors and made possible the liberation of Prague without the massive bloodbath and destruction that would have undoubtedly happened otherwise.

Rewriting history [Political Affairs, on the “ultimate bullshit” which has deformed American politics since the beginnings of the cold war “Totalitarianism” or “Bullshit” ; Open Democracy, a look at the hidden history of the United Nations. The hidden history of the United Nations ]
• · David Starkoff’s blog The merits of torture ; Why Freedom? The Castle in real life
• · · At least 56 police officers are facing the sack for allegedly committing crimes such as rape, making up evidence and break and enter 56 cops face sack over crimes CityRail's train breakdowns are driving commuters insane Driven insane: 1242 train breakdowns ; Tomorrow's budget is expected to include infrastructure spending that will top last year's $7.5 billion. State budget aims at voter confidence
• · · · Via Scoop: Craig R. McCoy, Jennifer Lin and Mario F. Cattabiani of the Philadelphia Inquirer detailed the relationship between state Sen. Vincent J. Fumo and the bank he heads PSB Bancorp Inc. has served one man especially well: its chairman, Sen. Fumo ; Ames Alexander of the Charlotte Observer investigated the relationship between lawyers and judges in the North Carolina’s judicial district that is most lenient on drinking and driving. Judges Under the Influence
• · · · · Mike McAndrew and Michelle Breidenbach of the Syracuse Post-Standard analyzed records from New York’s Empire State Development Corp., which offers businesses tax breaks and other incentives to create jobs State gives away millions for jobs that never come ; Andrew Conte and Mark Houser of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review created a database from paper campaign finance filings in Pittsburgh’s mayoral race, finding that “about $1 million in campaign donations has come from people who live outside the city,” more money than came from people living in Pittsburgh Campaign dollars coming from afar
• · · · · · Lise Olsen of the Houston Chronicle compiled information on deaths at oil refineries from various sources to find that “BP leads the U.S. refining industry in deaths over the last decade, with 22 fatalities since 1995 - more than a quarter of those killed in refineries nationwide.” Fifteen of those deaths occurred in a March accident at BP’s Texas City facility BP leads nation in refinery fatalities ; Karen Augé of the Denver Post used state records to show that “nearly every agency, contractor and department that touched the state’s new $200 million computer benefits system in some way contributed to its debacle Blame aplenty in benefits mess ; Anne Applebaum The Torture Myth

Sunday, May 22, 2005

As a party servant, he looked a most unlikely premier. Now Bob Carr's unbroken stretch at the top is about to hit the history books - As good luck would have it Bob Carr Holding the Fort as Marcus Aurelius

For the Left, the wrongful deportation of the mentally ill Alvarez has been an apocalyptic journey into the heart of darkness, where stone-heart racists impose cold immigration laws with all the flexibility of Hitler's SS. Harry Freedman. George Newhouse had also spoken to NSW Premier Bob Carr's chief spin doctor, Walt Secord, another mate. As an immigrant with an accent, the Canadian-born Secord was horrified at the idea he would have to carry his passport around to avoid being deported by federal agents Behind the battle to save Vivian

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Brogden attacks Carr's on infrastructure
The NSW government cannot be trusted to deliver on promises of increased infrastructure spending, the opposition says.

Treasurer Andrew Refshauge is expected to announce major increases to infrastructure spending in Tuesday's state budget.
More money is expected to be pumped into significant public transport projects and capital works in the areas of water, power and ports.
But opposition leader John Brogden said the Carr government had a record of making "lots of promises that are either never delivered, delivered late or over budget".
Mr Brogden released a list of 25 key infrastructure projects, including major transport works and hospital upgrades, which were promised in the 2002 NSW State Infrastructure Strategic Plan.

He said six of the projects had been abandoned, the costs for 13 had blown out and 11 had been delayed
• Many of Bob Carr's promised projects have been abandoned, buried or are simply languishing in the assessment stage [Canberra is tough and ambitious on industrial relations and infrastructure but is decidely cautious when it comes to health Howard tightens his grip and pokes Labor states in the eye ; Google: I couldn't have beaten Howard: Carr ]
• · BOB Carr yesterday performed one of his greatest political backflips, ruling out Keno in hotels within 12 hours of it being confirmed by government sources as going ahead Carr denies plan to extend Keno to hotels; Faced with surging demand for power-hungry air-conditioners, the NSW Government is preparing to approve the extension of a coal-fired electricity plant near Lithgow and has cleared the way for more coal power stations Greens condemn coal power plants
• · · Just in case … the city steps up its terrorism-proofing ; Thousands of items of fake designer sportswear, sunglasses, watches and children's toys were seized Police raid market stalls
• · · · NSW Treasurer Andrew Refshauge's first budget on Tuesday will bury the Carr Government's previous aversion to big spending on infrastructure with a program of projects covering public transport, water, power and ports Refshauge's first budget to look at the big picture; Political donations plan raises corruption fears ; Schapelle Corby Meet the Corbys: dad busted for drugs
• · · · · Inverell has galvanised behind this American Christian group's attempt to beat immigration restrictions Town unites to save its model immigrants ; Right means might for state Libs ; Performances in the teatre of the absurd Loyal hardliner takes in his new view
• · · · · · Andrew Metcalfe PM's man tipped for ASIO job ; British tabloid publishes photos of Saddam in underwear ; Alvarez on police files

Thursday, May 19, 2005

A German woman in her 80s says she has been ordered by her pension fund to produce a certificate to prove she is still alive ...

Through the roof -- home prices set another record Bay Area median reaches $622,000 - In America and Australia sanity will return eventually, but with an awful cost to the people who speculated late in this crazy game Bubble, Bubble, Bubble, Bubble

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Torture, anyone?
The original article by Margo Kingston whether to torch or not to torch has generated 125 comments so far. One commentator wonders how many of us are students of history and proceeds to describe the tragedy of 20th century in a few sentences:‘WWI was the 'war to end all wars'. 10 million men died. In WWII, the toll went up to 50 million including civilians. That is three times our current population or the whole polulation of the UK.’

The Allies in the two world wars were united in their principles and morality. From the gross stupidity that brought that carnage lessons were taken and conventions applied and The League of Nations, later the UN, were born.
It seems that none of the lessons of two wasted generations have been learnt, least of all by people like yourself. You say "Yes I am a peace lover. I like peace through decisive victory not appeasement, real peace that can benefit society." 60 million dead and many more since are not enough for you ...? We need another "decisive victory" to really seal it?

Indecisive Cold War vs. Decisive Hot War [What is it about blogging that lends itself to buzzmaking? Political Bloggers and the National Discourse ; Talk about Politics and Religion: The internet has become almost like a 21st-century church or temple They're all god movies, in mysterious ways
• · History shows that there have been very few successful Independents, and it remains very difficult for an Independent to get elected Getting elected as an independent: electoral laws and party favouritism ; The Role of Collaboration
• · · Tim Blair: In certain circumstances, who wouldn’t resort to torture? ; Back in 1980 the Villawood Hostel was my home and then the Polish children next door were able to play wherever they liked: When three-year-old Naomi Leong left Villawood yesterday to attend a playgroup, she spent the morning painting in vivid colour. It was the first time she has played with children outside the detention centre Free to find her true colours, if only for a day
• · · · Rivers, rivers of water everywhere and hardly a drop to drink; People are under no obligation to rescue strangers in peril Court clears way for rude Samaritans
• · · · · Peter Costello, the self-proclaimed working-class Treasurer, was having trouble squeezing into his new blue singlet yesterda Treasurer Pete joins shame offensive against executive salaries ; The 4WD has begun an arms race on the roads, with many family sedans increasing in size Wheels of misfortune
• · · · · · It was a Jerry Springer moment in the NSW Supreme Court. The chief judge in equity, Justice Peter Young, in determining who owned a $500,000 lotto ticket Judge gets down to the naked truth ; Legalising torture would neither enhance intelligence gathering nor save lives because most suspects are willing to say anything to stop their pai No role for torture in fight against terrorism

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Forged letters, smear sheets and allegations of a secret cell running a phone campaign to discredit rival candidates. No, it's not the NSW ALP Right, but the NSW Liberal Party. Liberals at war show that dirty tricks are a universal political truth - [Rebel Rebel Tomorrow's leaders are already rocking the river ]

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: The pursuit of happiness: Torture, anyone?
An innocent life is an innocent life irrespective of race, situation, colour or time.

G'day. It's a funny old world. As we face the fact that our government and its organs cannot be trusted to respect the rights, or even the humanity, of innocent Australian citizens, the same government and its organs are calling for the downgrading of citizen's protections agains abuse of power by the State with a view, perhaps, to the legalisation of state torture.

• Has the pendulum swung? A case for torture [Capitalism has usually had a bad press. Left and right have combined to denounce mass affluence and the Church has been hostile from the beginning. Even one of the quotations printed on the back cover of Rich is Beautiful says it is “the indefensible argued with vigour” Rich is Beautiful: A Very Personal Defence of Mass Affluence ; Government that’s rational and the market that’s dumb The New York Times begins a special series on social class in the US ; Top 10 Kerrys ... The richest 200 Australians increased their wealth by $11.9 billion to a record $83.4 billion in the past year, according to BRW magazine's annual rich listBillionaire Beauty Boom ; While last week's budget rewarded the wealthy, the poor got more stick:
John Kenneth Galbraith, a now deeply unfashionable economist, identified one of the great doctrines of our age as a belief that the rich don't work because they have too little money, while the poor don't work because they have too much. Or, as John Button once paraphrased it, the rich need more money as an incentive and the poor need less money as an incentive Treasurer's tax cut justification a bit rich ]
• · Ironically, the extent of US failure to control Iraq is masked by the fact that it is too dangerous for the foreign media to venture out of central Baghdad. Some have retreated to the supposed safety of the Green Zone. Mr Bush can claim that no news is good news, though in fact the precise opposite is true Iraq is a bloody no man's land. America has failed to win the war. But has it lost it?; Increasingly, business must weigh in on hot social issues -- and suffer interest groups' slings and arrows Culture Wars Hit Corporate America
• · · Tim Dunlop: Professor Bagaric said that one of the reasons that he and Mrs Clarke had submitted the paper to a American law journal was because they are more open to new ideas on human right Torture is Good for you: Professor Bagaric is a part-time member of the Government's Refugee Review Tribunal and Migration Review Tribunal ; How to be a Conservative Pundit in Three Easy Traits
• · · · A Quick Guide to the Second Annual Personal Democracy Forum, This Monday, May 16 Second annual Personal Democracy Forum ; The Wall around the West: Globalisation along rich-poor divides is less the swan song of state power Than its siren song
• · · · · Most disturbing sexual fantasies include sleeping with Michael Sandel Sexual Fantasies ; Torture produces misinformation rather than information, since victims of torture will confess to anything to make it stop When democracy is corrupted; Premier Bob Carr's two limousines were slapped with parking fines worth nearly $500 last year and taxpayers picked up the bill Bob's left us in a fine state; Melbourne: Weapons seized in police raids on bikie gang
• · · · · · Top spy bound for Washington: Wanted: New chief spy for Australia ; Torture advocate dismays colleagues, survivors : Moving from Voluntary Euthanasia to Non-Voluntary Euthanasia ... Right to die ; PDF version Goodbye Justice, Hello Happiness: Welcoming Positive Psychology to the Law

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The landscape of international politics in a few decades will be dominated by a company of giants: societies that will range demographically down from India and China at over a billion each, through those at four or five hundred millions, like the US and the EU, to those at the hundred million plus level Living with giants: Finding Australia’s place in a more complex world

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Colliding worlds of people unlike us
Do Australians surround themselves with like-minded people and what unites and divides them?

This article explores the questions of real and imagined social and political divisions in its latest edition. In this introduction, Julianne Schultz explains that ‘in recent years the language of politics has focused on dividing and in this edition of the journal we investigate whether these wedges are real, the damage they cause, and what it is actually like to move out of our comfort zones

• Griffith Review (Pdf File) Dragon slayer [The Australia Institute (PDF file) Over nine million Australians travel to work each week, commuting by car, bus, train, tram, bicycle, ferry or foot. These days, more than ever before, employees are commuting for longer Off to work: commuting in Australia ; Rick Snell discusses the ACT government’s fees for Freedom of Information requests Open government: missing the target by a country mile ]
• · While opportunistic crime in Australia’s fishing industry has existed for a long time, there is increasing concern about illegal activity Crime in the Australian fishing industry: key issues ; Peter Mares reviews a new book that reveals the complex and diverse reasons why people leave their home country Stories of flight ; Vienna of Flights
• · · Should taxes be cut? ; Optimal design of earned income tax credits: evidence from a British natural experiment ; John Quiggin looks at the longer term trend in average tax rates The budget changes: who benefits?
• · · · Dr David Clune’s protege, Talina Drabsch, is not just a pretty face. Talina explores the possibilities of no fault compensation, where the entitlement to compensation is not linked to the ability to prove that a person’s injuries were due to the fault of another No fault compensation ; Australia’s year-old energy policy is already out of date, argue Allan Fels and Fred Brenchley It’s no time to be over a barrel
• · · · · Andrew Leigh explores the impact that individual, local and national factors have on voters’ decisions Economic voting and electoral behaviour: how do individual, local and national factors affect the partisan choice? ; The quest for democracy shouldn’t obscure the real lessons of Iraq Intervention and the left ; Over half a century ago Douglas Copland described Australia as a milk bar economy. How much has changed, asks Alex Millmow The Milky Bars are on him
• · · · · · Simon Evans and Carolyn Evans look at the issues facing a new committee A bill of rights for Victoria? ; David Peetz suggests the government industrial relations cure could be worse than the disease Still waiting for a plumber ; 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, governments and NGOs are attempting to extend citizen participation beyond voting, lobbying, and protesting Citizens and governments: Stroppy adversaries or partners in deliberation?

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Czech out this web site with the tax rates (individual income tax, corporate income tax, and value-added tax) for 55 countries around the world. Tax Rates Around the World

There’s a lot of evidence that people aren’t always rational, and suffer from a range of cognitive biases. But thanks to arbitrage, rational people stand to profit when irrational people let prices and wages stray from efficient levels. That’s what justifies the economist’s assumption of rationality—a small number of rational profit-seekers keep markets rational as a whole even when many participants aren’t. Unfortunately, tax policy has no such mechanism. Solutions To Bad Taxes - And Bad Government

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: America Needs a Better Tax System For
Debunking the Tax Basis Myth Taxes good, market bad

For millions of Americans, the annual rite of filing taxes has become a headache of burdensome record-keeping, lengthy instructions, and complicated schedules, worksheets, and forms – often requiring multiple computations that are neither logical nor intuitive.

• PDF version Sharing the burdens and benefits of the Federal tax structure [More comprehensive tax data are available on the OECD web site OECD Tax Database ; Subscribers only: Tax reform is in the political air, but not all reforms are created equal ]
• · Top Countries for Big Business Why does business seem to thrive more in some countries than in others? Best for Business ; Do taxes matter when companies decide where to locate? In theory, yes. After all taxes are just another cost of doing business, and companies streamline whenever possible Do Companies Run from Taxes?
• · · Control of large projects, such as upgrading Parramatta Road and high-rise developments near railway stations, may be removed from councils and given to the State Government as part of plans to build more than 450,000 homes in existing suburbs over the next 25 years. Councils to lose control of more sites ; Great leaders elevated by those they lead What Leadership Lessons Can We Learn From Alexander The Great?
• · · · Brogden wants 18,000 jobs axed; The sexual irony of the calendar is clever – the picture on the site is captioned “Are your butts covered? We thought ours were too!” In today’s PC world, this is definitely a shot across the bow cockpit. Stewardesses Stripped
• · · · · Not all characteristics VCs look for in an investment actually help a company succeed; some may just reveal value the company already had. In a world of ruthless efficiency weeding out evolutionary misfits, why in the world would a peacock evolve such a big, clumsy tail? Sex, of course. Why Are Startups Like Peacocks? ; As the monetary costs fall, the most important impediments to a transaction are non-monetary: search costs and psychic costs. Cold River Peppered with Matchmaker, Matchmaker: Of Searches and Psychics: The Costs of Long Tail Businesses
• · · · · · Which is bigger: Ad Dollars Spent on Outdoor Advertising or Online? ; What Keeps Us Where We Work?

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Other questions arise. If Britain endured six years of war and hundreds of thousands of dead in a war she declared to defend Polish freedom, and Polish freedom was lost to communism, how can we say Britain won the war?
-Pat Buchanan, The Death of the West

So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work. - Peter Drucker Working Wounded Blog: Baby Boomer Bye-Bye

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Who cares, indeed, Pat? Last Supper before 'Nuclear Option'
In the Bush vs. Putin debate on World War II, Putin had far the more difficult assignment. Defending Russia's record in the "Great Patriotic War," the Russian president declared, "Our people not only defended their homeland, they liberated 11 European countries."

Those countries are, presumably: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia (thanks to the Soviet Union cancer it no longer exists), Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Finland.
To ascertain whether Moscow truly liberated those lands, we might survey the sons and daughters of the generation that survived liberation by a Red Army that pillaged, raped and murdered its way westward across Europe. As at Katyn Forest, that army eradicated the real heroes who fought to retain the national and Christian character of their countries.

I mean, the Sudeten Germans wanted Hitler, right? So they were better off than the Czechoslovaks, who had Stalin's tyranny imposed on them. Oops!
• I've seen this answer before -- in more ways than one! Did FDR and Churchill sell out Eastern Europe? You're damn right they did. [In the sweatshops of Africa and Asia, workers toil for meager pay to sew clothes for the rest of us. Better than whoring or picking garbage, perhaps, except Defending Sweatshops ; Steven Levitt aims to show us the freakish truth about the way the world actually is, whether we like it or not. Freak Out!]
• · Love and War: It will survive, even if there is a war Tragicomedy of Life in Baghdad Is Brought Home in a TV Series ;
• · · Former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Jim Wright sees the battle brewing over renewal of Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act as "one of the most fundamental in defining [our] national character" and cautions against a willingness to give up "essential" liberty out of fear. This Op-Ed column originally appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on April 10 Former Speaker of the House Cautions Against Giving Up Liberty for Safety ; I'm innocent, says baggage handler ; He calls himself a humble garbage collector, but police know Michael Hurley as organised crime's head honcho. Michael Hurley and Les Mara have been as thick as thieves, literally Slipping the net: the life and crimes of Mr Big
• · · · If you have trouble remembering the last time someone debated Vaclav Klaus, you are not alone Klaus is the one-man debate king ; When does a president's personal opinion become public policy? Whom does Vaclav Klaus serve?
• · · · · This guy probably came as close as he could come without getting shot out of the air Confused Fliers Trigger Capital Scare ; Blogger Ernest Miller argues that Michigan appellate court's decision involving a joke-telling penis represents "a serious attack on the First Amendment": You can access his post, at Corante's "The Importance of..." blog. As regular readers may recall, I have long predicted that important First Amendment rights would end not with a bang, but with a joke-telling penis How Applealing: Howard Bashman
• · · · · · Extreme sports is big business in the West. One firm is betting on the Czech market to explode. High risk ; We're talking about drugs making the difference between life and death Who gets to see politicians and doctors first, you or the drug industry?

Friday, May 13, 2005

For Sweden, my homeland, the United Nations is a sacred cow. But today, many Swedes, like others around the world, are having second thoughts. Three events incited these doubts: Rwanda; Kofi Annan; Commission exists to promote human rights and democratic freedoms - yet some of the worst human rights violators are Commission members Make the UN Stand for Freedom

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Building a fairer Australia
Our great country is about to enter the second decade of conservative rule.

History will mark 1996 to 2006 as the Liberal/National Government’s decade of deception. Year after year of lowering the ‘truth’ bar then deliberately crawling under it. With one common theme – the Government deceives, and Australians pay.
But Mr Speaker, this year we’ve learned why this Government has been so deceitful. We uncover their motive with each new economic indicator. With one of the highest foreign debt levels in the world. With a record current account deficit. With household debt rising and rising. And with the tragedy of a Government that turns away tens of thousands of Australians from TAFE colleges whilst the Treasurer makes a virtue in his Budget speech of importing skills from overseas to make up for the difference.

The 2005 Budget: A squandered opportunity [The Case for Palestine: An International Law Perspective ; Beyond Free and Fair: Monitoring Elections and Building Democracy]
• · ISA is a leading provider of global analysis and forecasting. With an international presence and coverage which spans the entire globe, ISA has the scope to provide our clients with insights they will not find anywhere else ISA ;The former homeland terror boss implies that Ashcroft is to blame for the idiot color-coded alert system. Here's the solution: let's blame all the conservative commissars. (Thanks to Bill Sardi for the link.) Now, who was the duct-tape guy? Not Wasn’t Me: Says Ridge
• · · What the “long tail” means for the economics of e-commerce Disruptive obscure cold river technologies, learning curves, tipping points Profiting from obscurity ; "Has any country ever had a more arrogant, insolent, contemptuous leader than we have? Really, I can't think of any monarchs or popes who behave this presumptuously, but then they only think they are God's representatives on earth, not God himself. I guess we know why John Bolton is such a favorite around this White House." President
• · · · Most people know three things about Australia, and all of them are wrong. They think it is vast, remote and lucky—as in the lucky country, meaning blessed with natural resources and therefore in fact unlucky, because resources diminish the incentive to specialise in less capricious sources of wealth Beyond lucky ; This evening before you go to bed, get down on your knees and thank God that your children are safe Mayor's Advice Is Seriously Twisted
• · · · · Australia's constraints are all on the supply side The limits to growth; If you own Daimler Chrysler stock, sell it now. I’m not a stock analyst, nor do I even play one on TV, but my “sell now!” instincts were alerted by this post at the Forum by Reader Scott: Corporate Stupidity
• · · · · · "The Instapundit reacts to this Will Collier piece on the United Airlines scandal and states: Whatever you call this, it's not free enterprise.... Of course it isn't- it is a legally sanctioned attempt to pass on the financial obligations of private corporations to the public. And it is going to be successful.... They had a name for this sort of thing back in the day. I believe it was "Robber Barons." Robber Barons ; More on United Airlines

Thursday, May 12, 2005

This week's Economist magazine, in a rare cover story on Australia, warns that Australia's record run of economic growth is under threat if investment in infrastructure is not improved. Noting that Australia is now "bumping up against supply-side limits", the clear message for state governments is that investment in infrastructure is essential to maintain economic growth. It's time to rebuild a city collapsing under the weight of growth

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: 2005-06 Budget At A Glance
Fiscal Outlook
_The 2005-06 Budget provides for an underlying cash surplus of $8.9 billion. This will be the Government’s eighth surplus.
_A strong budget position is being maintained while delivering further personal income tax cuts and introducing significant reforms to the welfare system, aimed at improving workforce participation.

Economic Outlook
_ Prospects for the Australian economy remain strong.
_Economic growth is forecast to be 3 per cent in 2005-06.
_The unemployment rate is forecast to remain around its generational lows.

Tax cuts
_All taxpayers will benefit from a further $21.7 billion in tax cuts over the next four years.
_The 17 per cent tax rate will be reduced to 15 per cent from 1 July 2005.
_The tax threshold for the 42 per cent and 47 per cent rates will be raised on 1 July 2005 and again on 1 July 2006.
_This means that taxpayers will not reach the highest marginal tax rate until they earn around 3 times average weekly earnings.
_The Government will abolish the superannuation surcharge on contributions and termination payments made or received from 1 July 2005 to encourage private savings.

Welfare to work
_The Government is committed to increasing workforce participation.
_ From 1 July 2006 a wider range of income support recipients will be obliged to seek work.
_Newstart Allowance will be enhanced from 1 July 2006 to improve the rewards from part-time work.
_More than $2 billion will be invested over four years to ensure that those seeking work have the necessary support services and training.
_Incentives to find work will be strengthened by a change to the compliance framework, incorporating payment suspensions.

Reduced business taxes
_The 3 per cent tariff applying to business inputs where no substitutable goods are manufactured in Australia will be removed from Budget Night. This will cost $1.3 billion over five years.
_A broader range of expenses incurred by business will become tax deductible.

Reduced business taxes
_The 3 per cent tariff applying to business inputs where no substitutable goods are manufactured in Australia will be removed from Budget Night. This will cost $1.3 billion over five years.
_A broader range of expenses incurred by business will become tax deductible.

Ensuring a sustainable health system
_Record spending on health and aged care by the Government – $45 billion in 2005-06, up from $20 billion when the Government came to office.
_$196 million over five years for the Strengthening Cancer Care initiative, including funding for additional research, screening and prevention initiatives.
_$321 million package to make dementia a national health priority. This includes 2,000 dedicated places to provide high level care for people with dementia in their own home.
_Medicare Safety Net and the PBS made more sustainable.

More support for families and carers
_ Since the last Budget, the Government has increased the maximum rate of Family Tax Benefit Part B, costing $2 billion over five years.
_The level of income allowed before Family Tax Benefit Part A is withdrawn will be increased to $37,500 a year from 1 July 2006.
_A bonus payment for carers will be paid in June 2005. $1,000 for recipients of Carer Payment and $600 for recipients of Carer Allowance.

Providing for Australia’s security
_$239 million over four years to further enhance the investigation and language skills of intelligence agency personnel.
_$522 million over four years to improve protective security, including in missions overseas.
_$580 million for additional quarantine screening.

Enhancing our international engagement
_ $1 billion aid package to Indonesia to assist with tsunami reconstruction and development efforts.
_$841 million over four years helping the Solomon Islands restore law, order and sound public finances

• Treasury provides advice to Government ministers and other services in support of 'effective government spending and taxation arrangements' Budget 2005-2006 [Barista Budget in a Nutshell: Book of Budget ; Bloggers on Budget ]
• · Glance Back: Past Budgets ; When push comes to budget, we all did it
• · · Labor splits emerge over Budget response ; A taste of Crikey's Budget coverage
• · · · Mike Steketee: An eye on day after tomorrow; Tax cuts: the difference between eating out well and a hamburger The rich, the poor, the budget
• · · · · Daniel Gross, New York Times A Perfect Storm That Could Drown the Economy ; Politicians and their staff are chronic leakers and briefers because they know how important it is to get their message across to the public via the media Off the Couch, Deeper Into the Psyche
• · · · · · Hurley and Mara had told Hatfield RI 719 was the informer. At the meeting Hatfield asked him strip to his underwear and then go for a swim. RI 719 talked his way out of it but perhaps this was the point his handlers thought things had become too risky as police on Monday raided homes throughout Sydney Insider spills beans on coke smuggling ring ; Corby team says Keelty must go

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Tax systems are like septic tanks: they need to be cleaned out every 10 years or so What Should a Reconfigured Tax System Look Like?
Peter Costello is well aware of the old wisdom and in many ways Australia is the envy of the world in terms of strategies and innitiative to keep the economy moving in the right direction. Budget is an imperfect game, but the marathonial ten is pretty impressive Budget 2005: cash war chest

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Give & You Shall Receive: Big City Bosses
Builders, planners, salesmen, trash collectors — and political heavyweights. Meet the mayors who are making a difference

Walter Veltroni really gets around. During a typical working day recently, the mayor of Rome started with a visit to a children's hospital in the morning, attended a groundbreaking ceremony at a center for the homeless in the afternoon, and then dropped in on an outpatient rehabilitation clinic on the other side of town before the day was through. The gangly, bespectacled Veltroni, 49, may look like an economics professor, but some Romans call him the Plumber because of his hands-on approach to governing the Italian capital. Like an actual plumber, though, Veltroni isn't always available when people need him, so he's set up a network of municipal employees and volunteers who make the house calls he's not able to make himself. As part of the Solidarity Pony Express, a new assistance program for senior citizens, some 500 young people hop onto their scooters every day to deliver food, medicine or company to the elderly. In another initiative, about 3,000 mostly retired people fan out across schools and parks to keep a watchful eye on children. " Forum.

We want to show that in a huge metropolis, you can also be a community," says Veltroni, sitting in his frescoed office at the Palazzo Senatorio, overlooking the ruins of the
Meet the mayors who are making a difference [If only Bill Frist, the Senate majority leader, had attended the rallies in Riga or Tbilisi over the weekend to hear President Bush tell the budding democrats of Latvia and Georgia how important it is for them to protect minority rights. Perhaps Frist would have emulated former Soviet bloc countries and moved to dismantle his threatened ''nuclear option." But what's important for Eastern Europe is apparently not so important at home, where Bush and Frist are attempting to steamroll age-old minority rights in Congress in order to pepper the nation's courts with extremists A plot against the Senate ; Boiling Point on Judges: Powerful U.S. circuit courts of appeal ]
• · Has Germany sold its post-war liberties for a mess of pottage? Sixty years after the end of hostilities in Europe, Günter Grass argues, global capital has ensnared parliament, and democratic progress is in danger of becoming a commodity to be bought and sold on the markets The high price of freedom ; The country goes to the polls today after what many feel has been the most remote, unedifying election season ever. But when Simon Schama hit the campaign trail for the first time since he canvassed for Harold Wilson 40 years ago, the godless knockabout of British democracy felt like a breath of fresh air. And even Rousseau would have approved Now that's what I call democracy
• · · Too Much Logic, Too Little Evidence Defending Sweatshops; While Europeans share memories of the second world war, histories of 1914-18 are strictly divided along national lines Entrenched loyalties
• · · · The reduction in tax is welcome. The scrapping of the superannuation surcharge is also welcome, because in my situation it was nearly a $1500 levy Tax office's double dipping just not on: Ross Walker ; Qantas baggage handlers were paid $300,000 to smuggle a briefcase of cocaine through Sydney airport Baggage handlers 'paid $300,000' in drug plot
• · · · · Police investigating a cocaine smuggling operation run through Sydney Airport are hunting a man once dubbed the city's Mr Big of crime Cocaine trail points to crime head honcho ; Individual human rights need to be rethought in the age of terrorism and more consideration given to community rights, according to the head of the federal Attorney-General's Department Human rights must take a back seat in age of terrorism ; In the past our politicians offered us dreams of a better world. Now they promise to protect us from nightmares. The most frightening of these is the threat of an international terror network. But just as the dreams were not true, neither are these nightmares The Shadows In The Cave
• · · · · · The celebrations marking the end of the "Great Patriotic War" are underway in Moscow. But behind the ceremony, Russia is marked by deep hankerings for the past. Stalin for president ; Henry Kissinger, The Australian Atomic Arm Twisting