BohemiAntipodean Samizdat

Friday, December 30, 2005

For America's number one liberal blogger politics is like sports: It's all about winning. Everybody says I'm an asshole, and they're right, I am Kos Call: Stepping over bodies
Capitalize on fear-mongering A study finds fear of death may be a factor into who we vote for

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Top spy warns on bias
New ASIO director-general Paul O'Sullivan has warned his spy network not to allow politics to colour their intelligence-gathering and to avoid overstepping their new counter-terrorism powers.

As spy agencies around the world reel from accusations of political bias, Mr O'Sullivan has told the intelligence community judgments need to be unbiased and not influenced by political considerations. What the Government needs is balanced assessments that draw on both classified and unclassified information

via Antony: Asking the impossible [ Lance Collins criticises army cover up culture; Deep in a remote, fog-layered hollow near Sugar Grove, W.Va., hidden by fortress-like mountains, sits the country's largest eavesdropping bug. Located in a "radio quiet" zone, the station's large parabolic dishes secretly and silently sweep in millions of private telephone calls and e-mail messages an hour The Agency That Could Be Big Brother]
• · Why are things the way they are, politically speaking? U.S. Spying Is Much Wider, Some Suspect ; Density Is Destiny: On Politics and the Paperboy ; Human spirit in a straitjacket
• · · Hope gives us the capacity to see beyond the mundane and the inconsequential. It motivates us to contemplate preferred realities, by never defining the future on the basis of present circumstances. Hope teaches us to not allow our past to destroy our future. It is audacious and bold. Our present realities should never define our consciousness. But the consciousness of hope should shape and define our ultimate realities. Christmas Story Brings Us Gift Of Hope ; Your daddy wants so much to be at home with you tonight. He's lonesome for you and Mommy, and he hopes you are for him, every night. But more tonight than any other. From a dad in harm's way,
one Christmas long ago

• · · · The great paradox of any civilized democracy, is that the primary organization which protects its interests and promotes its values -- its military -- is fundamentally anti-democratic. American society as a whole recognizes neither rank nor privilege; the American military must do both. American society permits the individual to do as he or she pleases, more or less; the American military cannot. Sam Mendes's new film Jarhead trades on this seeming contradiction, though it cannot understand why it is necessary. That Jarhead is also a brilliant piece of anti-American propaganda compounds the problem. Jarhead ; Can an intelligent person be patriotic? Or is national loyalty a base emotion, fit only for the tabloid-reading masses? The story of Europe is very largely a German story Patriotism is back in intellectual fashion ; Constituting Israel
• · · · · Why the recent riots in Australia should surprise no one On the Cronulla beach ; Cronulla: finger pointing not the answer ; Cronulla Beach riots: making waves for the Asia Pacific region
• · · · · · Benjamin Powell: We need not fear that immigrants will burden our economy, take more jobs than they create, or depress our wages. Quite the contrary, immigration brings economic benefits, so it should not be artificially limited. The Pseudo Economic Problems of Immigration ; Globalization Rocks, but African Leaders Fail to Understand It

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Without risk there is no faith, and the greater the risk the greater the faith.
—Sören Kierkegaard

As a father of two daughters of the Velvet Revolution I object to this finding ;-) Parents of daughters are more likely to be left-wing, whatever the feminists claim Voting and the feminine mystique

It has been four months since Bob Carr departed from public office as Premier of New South Wales. It was tempting in the immediate wake of his farewell to speculate whether Carr’s retirement might only be a temporary break before a draft into the federal Labor leadership. But he has remained in the public eye, participating in debates on the environment, national security, and foreign affairs. Bob Carr: Ethos was more important than ideology

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: No crystal ball: This was the year of the war
This was true of both nonfiction and fiction. For every The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq and Squandered Victory: The American Occupation and the Bungled Effort to Bring Democracy to Iraq -- to name a couple of the titles on our list of the best books of 2005 -- there was a Shalimar the Clown and The March (to name two more).

We can now imagine General Sherman, like an Iraqi villager, just minding his own business, when along comes Doctorow in a gleaming new F-16 and just blows his little house down. How depressed one has to be to resurrect Carthage, Flaubert said after resurrecting Carthage during the Second Empire; but also how hungry, how greedy, how large.

New Revelations of the Americas [Warning - Don't open Pandora's box ... Ten Political Christmas Wishes ; A philosopher who wrote with passionate eloquence about the heart and the human condition. Two centuries on, and Rousseau still provokes and maddens. Jean-Jacques Rousseau: - Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains; How bitterly ironic was it that the U.S. military ultimately acknowledged that it used the very same chemical weapon (white phosphorous) on civilians during the November, 2004 attack on Fallujah The Top 10 Bitterest Ironies of 2005 ]
• · Power to the People: Matthew Cookson uncovers John Lennon's radical past 25 years after his death - John Lennon was murdered in New York 25 years ago. This year has seen a slew of articles about the former Beatle's life. One key aspect that few of the media remembrances touch upon is Lennon's radical politics, but these were integral to his music, particularly in the later Beatles years and after Double Fantasy of Working Class Hero ; Economic liberties can not be separated from civil liberties. If a king or emperor could arrest or detain or search or torture anyone for whatever reason, there was nothing to stop him from taking private property, interfering in private contracts, commandeering private resources Business and the Rule of Law ; The Release of 'Dr Anthrax'
• · · Supreme Court opens door for swingers clubs ; An Insidious Culture of Surveillance = It always starts small, almost logically. Is US Becoming a Police State?
• · · · The incoming tax commissioner, Michael D'Ascenzo, has announced his arrival with a broad crackdown on European tax haven rorts, after his investigations revealed offshore tax evasion is much more widespread than feared Tax chief to target havens; While by no means new, it appears that more states are planning to get back at tax evaders by putting their names on the web Latest tax tool: 'Internet shaming' ; The federal government is once again under pressure to cut taxes Tax comparisons—Australia and selected countries
• · · · · New York City Housing Tax Breaks ; Ziva Branstetter of the Tulsa World used state documents and records to show that “at least 30 children have died from abuse and neglect in Oklahoma in recent years, despite the fact that the state had previous reports they were being abused or neglected or had requests to check on them.”Failed by the System
• · · · · · Bush Fundraiser Benefits ; Man makes war not merely against oppression but also to oppress Why poverty is the greatest threat to democracy ; Although the overwhelming majority of people are honest, fair and trustworthy, the average person simply can't be put into a position in which he has great authority and the power to act in complete secrec When Power Corrupts

Saturday, December 24, 2005

I think of you with every breath I take
And every breath becomes a sigh,
Not a sign of despair
But a sign that I care for you.
I hear your name with every breath I take,
On every breeze that wanders by,
And your name is a song
I'll remember the long years through.
Even though I walk alone you guide me.
In the darkness you light my way,
And all the while inside me
Love seems to say, someday, someday.
And when I sleep you keep my heart awake,
But when I wake from dreams divine,
Every breath that I take
Is a prayer that I'll make you mine.
Leo Robin,
I find it odd what a presence you've become in my life; I didn't think it was possible to care so much, to be so saddened by, to fear the loss of a person who caused you so much pain With Every Breath I Take (music by Ralph Rainger)

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Falling Down
Robert Scoble connection and Media Dragon go a long way back and I therefore I must agree with the sentiment that his wife is Indeed - the best blogger in the family

Seems like we fall so many times in our lives. I have fallen plenty of times, but I have always been able to dust myself off and walk away. Most of the time, there was a helping hand reaching out to me offering to help me up. Some believe we are here on earth because we fell from God’s grace; we might fall for the wrong person; we sometimes fall on the floor and hurt ourselves; other times things fall through; sometimes we fall apart and other times we fall in love.
I haven’t heard anything in the news about a suicide attempt near Bellevue, and I hope it was just our morbid imagination. I can’t get the stranded navy blue sweater by the sidewalk and the image of a man falling down to his death out of my mind though. Hope that through the holidays, if you are going to fall, you have some one near you to help pick you up, but if you get to choose, pick falling in love over falling apart.

This Blog Will Save Your Life [Dan Gillmor: Coming Soon: Center for Citizen Media ; Don't want to miss out on the latest buzz in politics? Start each day at wonk central: The Post Politics Hour Is WP staff regrouping after being hammered by bloggers? ]
• · Impeachment Talk at Georgetown Salon ; Blog Construction–What’s Your Function? ; Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media Guardians of Power
• · · McClellan has the right temperament to be a punching bag ; Here's looking forward to a great year in 2006. Happy reading! End of the Year Recap ; New Yorker International Fiction Issue
• · · · John Quiggin matters ; A dark matter of deficits; Cash for comment in the US
• · · · · Surfer Tim Dunlop ; Paddling
• · · · · · There was a void between the daily newspaper stories and the speed of the Internet Blogger in the Newsroom ; What they’re getting to now is a dissection of the most dangerous assumption being made — most surprisingly in the Washington Post newsroom — that if you criticize someone in power on one side, you must be on the other side, if the White House complains about you, then you must be liberal. Or to put it more simply: You’re either for them or against them Dan Froomkin on Attitude in White House Briefing; Washington Post chairman Don Graham: I have come to believe that we will be able to tell you about certain subjects better on the Internet than we will be able to in print Cultural differences between the two newsrooms ; Trust me, if Froomkin just called himself Dan Freakin' Froomkin and put his column right next to George Will's, everything would be okay Dissent Protects Democracy

CODA: Ross Dawson, CEO, Advanced Human Technologies featured in a recent issue of BRW on Blogging Power: People say ‘I haven’t got time to read blogs’, but it is the exact opposite of the truth. Blogs are a very efficient way of filtering information. They are not an additional source of information, they consolidate information.’

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Home was the middle-class Sydney suburb of Sutherland Shire, 'A freaky place where people don't leave'
- Donna Hay

The week I move from Cronulla for Bondi it is the time when the hell opened up at Folly Fortress Cronulla: no way through ...
The Government's dramatic move follows two nights of violence sparked by Sunday's race riot at Cronulla beach, when a drunken mob chased anyone of Middle Eastern appearanc Where the 'other' fears to tread: Emergency powers to stop riot

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: THE SHIRE: Reach Out and Touch Someone ...
Show of force … the police roadblock on Kingsway last night, one of many checkpoints around the Shire where officers screened cars trying to enter the suburb such as Sylvania Waters ...

No society, no matter how tolerant, says Salman Rushdie, can expect to thrive if its citizens don’t prize what their citizenship means: what it means to be French, or British

What this cultural debate needs is more dirt, less pure stupidity [ Prediction is one of the pleasures of life Conversation would wither without it --I won’t last. She’ll dump him in a month ... Political pundits turn out to be as unreliable as psychological research predicts. Maybe we’ll all have to start thinking for ourselves; As Baby Boomers retire, they are set to collect a fortune in benefits: $266,000 for every full-time worker. Might be a bit imprudent Demography is destiny: Must It Be Gloom And Doom For The Baby Boom? ]
• · Both sides of the Sydney street Strike force to track down culprits ; The Cronulla brawls are more proof of a vicious underbelly in our culture 'What is Australian anyway?'
• · · Tax reform? Turn 8500 pages and weep: There are 170 Australians honest enough to declare taxable income of more than Au$2 million a year. Yet they still manage to get their average rate of net tax below what someone on average weekly earnings has to pay How the rich slip through tax net ; Michael Egan: Financial prudence's legacy not to be squandere A user pays infrastructure
• · · · By Morgan Mellish; Fiona Buffini ; Brian Toohey. 12/12/2005. The Australian Financial Review, Pages 1, 4. There is to be a high-level inquiry into the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). The Inspector-General of Taxation, David Vos, has confirmed that he will monitor whether the ATO is following its own protocols in all cases. He will investigate whether the ATO is consistent in prosecuting individuals and businesses for alleged tax evasion and sham tax deals. Vos will also look at a controversial settlement that the ATO made with businessman Robert Gerard in 2003. The latter recently resigned from the board of the Reserve Bank of Australia, after his alleged tax evasion was made public Tax office faces probe over audits ; Young people - our greatest asset
• · · · · Sydney's racial hatred spills over to rest of the country ; Hard-earned dollars won't buy back time
• · · · · · Freedom for others means safety for ourselves. Let us be for freedom for others.” The neocon credo appeals to both left and right Neoconservatism: why we need it ; If you can afford the many millions you need to live at 720 Park Avenue - and you squeak past the co-op board - you will find yourself in a building with all the advantages New York has to offer. It is one of the great old Park Avenue luxury apartment buildings, with tasteful 12-room apartments and neighbors who grace the social pages, the business pages and the lists of the world's richest people. When It Comes to Taxes, Older Is Better

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

John Spierings discusses the main findings of the How Young People are Faring report Insiders or outsiders?

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Goanna tales
Last week, I told you a little of my strange friendship with a convicted murderer, the "enforcer" for the Painters & Dockers Union, Billy "The Texan" Longley. At the same time I had what might seem an even stranger friendship with Kerry Packer.

This week I'll tell you how those friendships collided.Although I'd worked for his father, Kerry and I had never met. But we disliked each other from a distance, on principle. Then he invested in a film I was producing, The Getting of Wisdom. Over the course of a few meetings I found myself liking him. I'll leave the details to the autobiography I'll never write - suffice to say that Packer was highly intelligent and very lonely. And we were more alike than we'd expected, both half-educated, both having survived harsh childhoods. Most of all, I liked Kerry's curiosity. He's not the sort of bloke who reads books so we'd talk for hours on end about anything and everything - from black holes to ancient history - passionately disagreeing about politic

Phillip Adams [The Reserve Bank’s relationship with government is working well, except from an anachronistic process of appointing board members, writes Time for transparency ; Following the seventeen arrests, the debate becomes more complex, argues Andrew Lynch Suddenly, Security is no longer abstract ]
• · Property boom hangover: the debt ; How is trust in government created? It begins at home, but ends in the parliament
• · · How well prepared is Australia to meet the twin challenges of infectious disease and bioterrorism? This paper explores these issues and offers some advice about how Australia should incorporate these challenges into our thinking about security. The paper considers the spectrum of biological threats, both natural and deliberate. A summary is available online. Plague anatomy: health security from pandemics to bioterrorism ; Behind the execution of Nguyen Tuong Van lies a repressive city-state whose problems are becoming clearer Managing the contradictions
• · · · Australia has been selective in implementing its international obligations How Australia protects war criminals but not asylum seekers from torture ; How Saddam's man was cleared
• · · · · It is difficult to discover just who is actually advocating the cold rational systems The Enlightenment revolt against rationalism ; Oil output may well be at or near its peak level, and oil prices are likely to remain high for the foreseeable future. But adjusting to changes in relative prices is what market economies do best, at least when adjustment is supported by coherent and well-designed public policies. The Oil Shock of 2005 John Quiggin
• · · · · · The trial of King Charles I of England before the High Court of Justice in 1649 was, in essence, a political contest between a former sovereign and some of his former subjects over the rights of sovereign Trying times: The life and times of a tyrannicide ; Four Corners goes inside Supermax, Australia’s toughest jail, home to killers and suspected terrorists. Supermax

Friday, December 09, 2005

The journey to democracy never ends. This is a constant journey.
-Bill Clinton

Margo's got more guts than the entire Press Gallery. What a pack of pussycats they are…oh look, I'd better stop now Love from all your friends

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Havel: Don't forget freedom
Former world leaders voice concern about authoritarian regimes

Former President Václav Havel's message is unequivocal: Democratic countries should support the struggle for greater freedom in authoritarian states such as Cuba, Belarus, Myanmar and North Korea.
So he told other former world leaders Nov. 10–12 at the Club of Madrid's first Prague conference, an annual gathering of retired heads of state. At the event, this year focusing on the state of democracy in the postcommunist world and attended by former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Havel said, "We should not forget that there are still countries that are not free."

Democracy was at a critical stage
• · Despite barking at others for the last decade, the Federal Government has conveniently overlooked two important competitive reforms. And the hypocrisy has come back to haunt it on both. Grain of politics in regulation ; No one feels guilty about using tax preparation software instead of a live accountant. Yet many feel it’s wrong to outsource tax preparation to India. Why?
Why People Hate Economics

• · · Terrorism arrests - moving from the political to the judicial ;
• · · · It is the beginning of October. A thick fog envelops Brussels. The solid headquarters of the EU Commission, like the other institutions, lies hidden beneath a compact, grey blanket. It feels a little peculiar to be researching lobbying, the very image of obscure politics, on a day like this. Fifty metres away I cannot even make out the entrance to the Commission - lobbying and a potential lobbyist registry ...Lobbying in the mist