jump to navigation

STRANGE BUT TRUE January 31, 2006

Posted by wmmbb in Iraq Policy.
add a comment

. . . or so the ABC News would have us believe, that Japan intends to withdraw it engineers from Iraq, who purportedly are been protected by the Australian contingent.

And what is somewhat more stranger, the newly minted Australian Defence Minister, Brendan Nelson was unaware of this possible development. I suppose it might reasonably take time to get to grips with a new ministry, after previously been involved with Health. Perhaps, the inference is that so important was the Australian role, the Japanese did not see the need to advise the Australian Government.

However, if the report proves to be true, I would expect the Defence Minister, under instruction from the Prime Minister, to follow the course of his famous namesake, the British Admiral, and hold his metaphysical telescope up to his mythological blind eye, and continue the battle (One might ask against whom, and for whom?).

The protecting the Japanese dodge worked very well, especially among the sheep-like grazers in the backbenches of the Liberal Party, who apparently will swallow anything from the great leader, and so feel entitled to inherit the guise, if not the mantle, of the National, formerly the Country Party. They flock and bleet in Parliament in emulation of those animals who roam the vast fastness of the Australian hinterland, although my analogy is, of course, Animal Farm.

They are the ideal candidates to stand-up, while nicely dressed, to ask the sweet dorothy-dixers o f ministers in parliamentary question time. They are either, but not both, great servants of democracy, or of the great leader. Nor will any challenge of double-think be beyond them.

Perhaps Labor backbenchers behaved in a similar way when last in government, but pathetic, pre-programmed questions from backbenchers seems to be a feature of the Howard Government which has not drawn much, if any, comment. I suppose it is may well the case that the Labor backbenchers fare less well – they do not get to ask any questions. On that side, all is left to the great strategic minds of the front bench.

01/02/2006 – I gather from the headlines in The Australian and The Sydney Morning Herald that if the reports are true that the Japanese intend to withdraw their forces in Iraq, then Australia will follow suit.

How did I segue to a lambaste about the operation of the House of Representatives? When making such a critique, it may be prudent to remember that the Executive has been dominant for some time, going back sixty to seventy years. The trend in executive dominance has continued under Howard as it was fated to do. Now we have, for example, kitchen cabinets such as the National Security Committee composed of the PM, some members of Cabinet and officials, who make the decisions. One gets the sense that the democratic processes of accountability and responsibility have become undermined, if not defunct. Yes there are elections, but how are they conducted, and what real choices are we given? Industrial Relations did not get a run in the last elections. It was not part of the agenda of top of the mind issues.

HUMANITY AND PLANET EARTH January 30, 2006

Posted by wmmbb in Humankind/Planet Earth.
add a comment

The report says sea levels could rise by seven metres,
via The BBC.

The BBC reminds us, in referring to a report published by the British Government, that the climate of our planet is changing in dramatic ways. For example go to the BBC site and look at the comparison of the median extent of the Arctic Iceshelf in 1980 and 2004.

And the political leadership of one of the world’s current major emitters of greenhouse gases is not accepting the evidence of the significant human contribution to this state of affairs. There are suggestions that the planet has passed the point of no return.

All of that reflects poorly on President Bush. I personally do not blame him. By any measure, I would have thought he was not, and is not, qualified to be President. The political dynamics and processes associated with his appointment go back over time. There is an analogy, I suggest between the political climate and the weather.

Accepting that premise, it is interesting to consider what factors are common. In their different ways technology is one, although it is both the possible answer, as the prominent cause. This points to the power of special interest groups to shape, for example through redistricting in the American case, and control elections. I can see the emergence of the anti-science movement and the parallel refusal to accept scientific evidence.

The results for our planet and our species appear tragic – and their is no hope. We seem awash with stupidity and inertia contradicting our self-proclaimed description as Homo Sapien Sapien,

I strongly doubt whether we are motivated enough to fix our political systems, or to fix our influence on our climate system. And I think for two reasons: there are subtle, cumulative, long term effects, and there are self-indulgent interest groups who main objective is to retain their privileges and lull the rest of the population to sleep, and they are succeeding admirably.

THE PRESIDENT IN PRAYER January 29, 2006

Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
add a comment

Is this mere foolishness or, as suggested at Barista, a fake? An alternative is that it is comedy. However Richard Bruce Cheney is not laughing. So I dunno.

But here is the wide-angle picture from Truthdig:

via Truthdig.

And Gore Vidal has a few things to say about Jonah and the Whale, the American Empire, and the parallel with the onset of the Dark Ages.

And I might add, by way of elucidation, if not enlightenment, that the “American Taliban”1. have a bogus theology, and they are not Christian. That is just my opinion. I am not theologian, philosopher or novelist.

Footnote: 1. Adopted from Modulator. Click on for an enlarged version, if you can take it.

PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE MATTERS January 29, 2006

Posted by wmmbb in The Neighbours.
add a comment

This insight can be easily overlooked, not least by me. Therefore it is interesting to see it attested by Winston Peters in an interview with The New Zealand Herald.

Winston Peters is a politician with twenty-five years parliamentary experience. But his real distinction is the he is the New Zealand Foreign Minister, while not being a member of the minority government party and a leader of a minor party, which has guaranteed supply and confidence, such are the permutations of Multi-Member Proportional voting system.

It is fair to say he attracts strong opinions, but I would venture the opinion of all the possible Cabinet roles he is in his best suited position. Furthermore, I contend, when minor parties can be part of government they become real and responsible participants in the political system.

He made the following comment in his interview:

Interviewer: You’re very funny Winston. Do you love going down to the debating chamber?

WP: I don’t know how you’d stay long in this job if you didn’t like the debating chamber, or that part of politics. In the end, you can do all the other things but you’ve got to come to the House and defend yourself, your team and the programs you’re engaged in. Parties that don’t have competent people to do that suffer pretty quickly in Parliament. That’s National’s problem at the moment – they get killed in Parliament, it’s a verbal massacre. And there are those trying to excuse the National Party by saying it doesn’t matter. Well look, hey, they don’t know what they’re talking about, it does matter. Spirit, confidence, rapport among your colleagues, the feel-good factor – that sustains anyone in any profession. Those who underscore the debating chamber are making a mistake.

And Parliament has other roles, such as representing the range of opinion within the society, which depending on party discipline and the voting system, it does well or badly.

1956 REMEMBERED January 29, 2006

Posted by wmmbb in Modern History.
add a comment

Soviet Tanks in Budapest, 1956(via BBC).

All countries have to deal with their history. It seems it is not so much “the more things change, the more they remain the same”, as we are sometimes forced to remember what went before.

Hungary is a case in point. Now thought of as a go-ahead member of the European Union, fifty years ago it was invaded by Soviet tanks to store up that empire which crumbled twenty years later. The invasion remains part of the subtext in the relations today between Hungary and Russia.

Such an anniversary is made more poignant, because it remains in the living memory of those directly affected by it, and those whose lives were changed by this event.

The BBC has the story.

CRITICAL TURNING POINT January 29, 2006

Posted by wmmbb in Israel-Palestine.
add a comment

Will Hutton, writing in The Observer sees the election of Hamas as an opportunity for the peace process, albeit one that might be lost if the Israelis, and perhaps the Americans, take the position that they cannot deal with the new government.

He suggests that Hamas now they are in government, and therefore accountable to their parliament and to the wider Palestinian public opinion, do not now have the license to wage asymmetrical warfare through suicide bombing. Moreover, he says:

Hamas always was as much a political as a religious organisation and its political dimension was there for all to see. Now it has won, it is locked in a political, rather than terrorist, dynamic. . . The occupation may go on, but the political position of the principal resistance movement has been transformed.

The choice for the new government then is war, or ultimately negotiation.

And Hamas does not want war. Already this reality is forcing extraordinary change.

In the light of the conversation here, I am stuck by this opinion:

But it’s not just voting that will count in Palestine; it is, by Arab standards, the free press, the independent courts, trade unions and enfranchised electorate.

If indeed it is the West’s job to ensure that the Palestinian State is supported, and to ensure that Israel does not miss the opportunity to negotiate with the Palestinians, then this might be a transforming moment in their War on Terror for the Americans, and dare I suggest the Australian Government.

Postscript: Bad enought having disjointed sentences, but spelling errors are frustrating. I do have Word and I do have a spell-checker, so these mistakes are less acceptable, than simply not reading what I have written.

Comment: 29/01/2006 - I cannot see the flaw in the logic of Will Hutton. I cross-posted to John Quiggin to test the argument. I am not optimistic that the Americans or the Israelis will seize the opportunity, but I would put more faith in the Israeli public opinion than in the Bush Administration.

Now this is expert opinion from Gilbert Achcar, via Juan Cole, suggesting it is too easy to get optimistic, while ignoring the historical context of events. Sigh.

MOLLY IVINS January 28, 2006

Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
add a comment

I do not know who Molly Ivins is, and have never read any article she has written. However, I do recall Kevin Drum commenting that he preferred her to Maureen Dowd.

And finally I get to read a piece by Molly, and I am singularly unimpressed. This writing, via Common Dreams, is not by clear-sighted, uncompromised journalist.

Yet, it is interesting, to say the least, that the great and infallible Karl Christian Rove is of the mind that illegal wire tapping, or if you will, data mining is a great bone to the Republican ascendancy, or that version of it apparently espoused by George Walker Bush and Richard Bruce Cheney, and similar leading lights of Western Civilization.

Actually, I prefer Sydney Blumenthal, also via Common Dreams.

THE VICTORY OF HAMAS January 27, 2006

Posted by wmmbb in Israel-Palestine.
add a comment


Not that I follow Palestinian politics, but I am not surprised at Hamas clear victory in the parliamentary elections, as the BBC reports, with 76 seats of the 132 seats. The escalation of conflict, in spite of the asymmetrical nature of military capability with Israeli predominance, and the recourse to indiscriminate suicide bombing by the Palestinians, has I suspect, not so much hardened attitudes but squeezed out the expression of moderate opinions on both sides. After all, this almost always happens. For example,Bertrand Russell was, I think, very brave to oppose his government’s war against Germany, and go to jail.

I wish that Australia had followed a more middle course seeking the resolution of conflict and opposing the murder of innocent people, whether they be Palestinians or Israelis. I do not know why Australia adopts this position, other than to form an identity with American policy. Otherwise, we might perform the role of an honest broker with peace, justice and humanity as our objectives.

It seems to me the policy challenge for the US, begins with the policy makers themselves, who appear to ignore history and the grievances of the Palestinian people, and for that matter the grievances of the Israeli people, as distinct from the unilateralist and belligerent stance of the Israeli Government. I would expect “double standards” from the Americans. And sometimes, if not always, see map, a picture is worth a thousand words. The CIA gives the data on Israel, including the population, six million plus. Similarly, the CIA presents sets of statistics, including population for the West Bank. And here is a historical context in numbers, about which there are conflicting claims

Sure Israel is a democracy, but so now is Palestine, at least in that sense defined by the holding of parliamentary elections. They are both arguing over the same ground, without recognizing each others claims. I suspect unless the Palestinian historically based experience of dispossession is not addressed, and while Israel continues to claim entitlement as an apartheid state based on religion, the conflict will continue, regardless of the expected continuation of the Israeli predominance of military force.

Not withstanding, Juan Cole’s more informed outstanding of the developments, he concludes that ” a fatal paralysis will continue to afflict the region”, in part because of the lack of clear-sightedness of American policy.

We might yet, be a more valuable member of the international community, if we were to exercise an independent foreign policy in relation to those issues in which we could do so.

On John Quiggin’s Weekend Reflections, I added:

I appreciate this topic was covered on MMB, but my question is why is it that we seem to have a bi-partisan, as I understand it, pro-Israeli policy?

The Labor policy appears to more like I am espousing. I cannot find a policy statement on the Liberal site.

However, Peter Manning had this to say, which appears to provide a frame for our thinking about matters Middle Eastern.

Postscript: If I make a mistake here, I just fix it, something which is not so easy to do elsewhere.

NEIGHBOURLY RELATIONS January 27, 2006

Posted by wmmbb in Humankind/Planet Earth.
add a comment

I think this report from the BBC, means that the US Government does recognize global warming is occurring, but is otherwise not prepared to admit it, or do any thing about it.

Nor can they take issue with Canada acting unilaterally, in respect to what is arguably their territorial waters.

In the case of the US administration being “hoisted by their own petard” will neither stop, or give pause for reflection, such is the quality of that administration set, in the first instance, by the President, and in subsequent delegation by those he appoints – or supposedly appoints and delegates with the endorsement of the Senate.

Canada as well has to treat with its other interested neighbours – Russia and Denmark (in the form of Greenland).

FRIDAY NIGHT DOG BLOG – MOMENTS TO REMEMBER January 27, 2006

Posted by wmmbb in DOG BLOG -.
add a comment

Using the Dog Years Calculator, Taffy is at least 65 years old in human terms, and could be older, so he has slowed down, as most of us eventually do. His broken leg, now mended, and his recent seizure, together means that he was put on limited walks. At times he can still show glimpses of his former self.

I have no excuses for not taking Sasha out, and she tends to enjoy all the opportunities she gets.

These photos can be enlarged by clicking on to them.

Taffy striding out. Posted by Picasa

There is nothing to suggest in the following two pictures the risks taken to obtain them.

Sasha suitably relaxed.Posted by Picasa

“We have all the time in the world.”Posted by Picasa

I will remember these pictures anyway, and the circumstances in which they were taken. Was the risk worth it. Definitely.

Catching the evening sun.Posted by Picasa

“. . . but I’ll move to the shade.”Posted by Picasa

Keeping ahead.Posted by Picasa

Taffy standing on the verge.Posted by Picasa

Sasha in a verdant landscape. Posted by Picasa

Evidence of a coal mining past. Sasha is relaxed. Posted by Picasa

Then looks over there. Posted by Picasa

“Enjoy, Taffy.” Posted by Picasa

Taffy did get to go out with Sasha. Posted by Picasa

Some moments later – we are joined by Zack and Titan.Posted by Picasa

A rare sight – Taffy bounding. Posted by Picasa

Titan and Zack seem pleased. Posted by Picasa

. . . and so does Sasha – an adrenaline moment? Posted by Picasa

“Good bye from us.” Posted by Picasa

As always do check out more dogs and other animals at Friday Ark#71 at Modulator and The Carnival of the Dogs as Mickey’s Musings.

DISJOINT SPIN January 26, 2006

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, US Politics.
add a comment

Andrew Sabl proposes an axiom: “No argument can succeed in American politics if it contains a subjunctive.”

Seems to me that this proposition might well be true, and to equally apply to Australian politics. I think it is the spin thing again involving both management of the news and response to the news by those whose responses are judged politically significant.

I too have the sense that politics is post-subjunctive, although I have no idea when it began. Nevertheless, I will continue to listen for the exception, and wonder what would be, if it were not so.

THE END OF FOCUS GROUPS? January 26, 2006

Posted by wmmbb in Duckspeak.
add a comment

Technology keeps moving on, not least in its application to matters political.

Now it seems that brain scanning can identify how people are thinking, whether they are using emotional or rational responses.

Still brain scanning seems more intrusive than merely being given the opportunity to sprout strong and definite opinions, so it may not have the same apply focus group membership, or more likely, it may offer such strategically significant information to the spin doctors that it will pay more.

“Oh, brave new world . . .”

BONE MARROW BIOPSY January 25, 2006

Posted by wmmbb in Life Experience.
add a comment

This is one medical procedure that I have special dread of, with the dread exceeding the pain experienced. Bone marrow biopsy and aspiration is described here. I think the problem is that the patient has no control over the process – it is out of sight but not out of mind.

I have experienced a blood condition, including the surgical removal of an enlarged spleen, which was provisionally described as MGUS (monoclonal gammopathy unspecified), a blood disorder that relates to white blood cells, in particular paraproteins. About a year and half ago, I had a full skeletal x-ray, which was repeated recently.

The opinion of the radiologist was that the translucent area in my brain was evidence of myeloma, a form of cancer, which my haematologist suggests would still be in the early stage of development. It just makes sense to me that there has to be an underlying cause for my symptoms. The biopsy of my removed enlarged spleen was described as ideographic, that is, of unknown causes. The bone marrow biopsy will we hope either confirms the diagnosis of myeloma, or if not, we go back to MGUS.

I know for some this discussion may be mawkish and in bad taste, and I respect your response, but what I wanted to share with people is that in my experience that once I had gone through facing up to the fear and dread of cancer, which I had to when I had my enlarged spleen. I find myself now more detached. Of course, I appreciate these matters are subjective. It may be helpful though to share experiences.

Somewhat similar to clinical depression, some of the chemotherapy drugs, I understand, are well calibrated, and others less so, with hopefully progressive improvement to come in the future. I suspect that these strong drugs may have side effects.

In the course of conversation, a taxi driver I know quite well now, said that on one day he had four passengers with cancers, which had encouraged him to go to the skin cancer clinic and have some growths removed on his arm. I said nothing because I did not want to add to his statistics. I make the point that I appreciate that cancer, in its various forms, is relatively common.

CONSERVATIVES WIN IN CANADA? January 24, 2006

Posted by wmmbb in Global Electoral Politics.
add a comment

(via BBC News)

The Progressive Conservatives have won the most seats in the Canadian House of Commons without obtaining a majority of the representation, as reported by the BBC. This can be hardly seen as a ringing endorsement given the first past the post voting system. It is interesting to note that the minor parties – NDP and Block Quebecois – have jointly more seats than either of the major parties. Nor is there a process for negotiating for the support of minor parties to carry supply, as happened in New Zealand, or the prospect of a grand coalition, as took effect in Germany.

But the Conservatives have made a comeback as illustrated here:

(Via BBC News)

*Increased to 15 seats in 2002 after two by-elections and the admission of a New Democrat MP

**Reduced to 98 after defection of an MP

A grain of 25 seats under normal conditions would normally get them into a majority, with a significant swing to their favor, but it seems that the minor parties held, while the Liberals lost seats.Just looking at the seats, the support of the NDP and the Independent, would still give the Liberals a bare majority, and I am assuming that all the seats have now been counted.

There is more, and better informed comment, at Larvatus Prodeo.

24/01/2006 – Anybody can make a mistake, and it seems as the BBC has done in this case. However, I could have checked the figures, rather than assuming they were correct. It appears the NDP obtained 29 seats in the House of Commons, and Block Quebecois 51 and not 103, otherwise the figures do not compute. The Sydney Morning Herald had the correct allocation of seats. Then again, as the thought flickered across my time at the time, had this been the situation, the Liberals would have certainly looked into it, subject to the politcal stance and temperament of the independent, who in that case might have found himself (or herself) speaker.

CABINET RESHUFFLE January 24, 2006

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
add a comment

ABC News has a brief report on the cabinet reshuffle. I would expect more opinion to be generated, but here is my initial response.

It seems to me that John Howard has wimped his cabinet reshuffle, and perhaps, hope springs forth again, this is the beginning of the end.

I am not in a position to judge people such as Julie Bishop who is the new Education Minister, or Sharon Stone, the new Workforce Participation Minister, who both seem to be committed to their new jobs.

For the Prime Minister not to confront the administrative problems in the Department of Immigration is simply pathetic. Andrew Robb might have been a good candidate for this job. In fact, both Robb and Malcolm Turnbull could have gone straight into the cabinet, instead they get non-jobs as Cabinet Secretaries. For example, I do not think the pay rise will make too much difference to Turnbull.

When some people talk of John Howard’s leadership qualities, I am not impressed. To me leadership here means getting the best people and getting them to work with the team, and allowing them to shine. It might be expected that Howard would have the necessary confidence at this point in his career, instead we get this underlying mediocrity in evidence.

PARTY ALLEGIANCE AND SENATE SEATS January 23, 2006

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
add a comment

The story is carried by the ABC News. Senator McGuaran has switched parties from the National Party to the Liberal Party.

Senators are elected on the party ticket. The Senate has a list system, which means that Senator Julian McGuaran was as a National Party Senator, presumablysupported, at least in part, by rural and regional Victorians.

Therefore, if as he says he has been thinking about switching to the Liberal Party for some time, the last election was the time to that, or for that matter the next election.

As it is, I agree with Mark Vaile, the National Party Leader, that he should resign his seat, and let it be filled by next National Party candidate on the ballot. I would support any referendum to make this mandatory.

24/01/2006: Obviously, check out Andrew Bartlett and the links he provides. If the National Party was of a mind to be more independent in the Senate, they could make a difference, and to their electoral benefit represent their voters more effectively. Senator McGuaran’s unprincipled behavior may yet turn out well.

26/01/2006: Is this news? Or, merely the uncritical acceptance of spin? Apparently, journalists are not required to ask questions.

PHOTOGRAPHIC MADNESS January 22, 2006

Posted by wmmbb in Category to be ascribed.
add a comment

Some readers of this blog, and perhaps the greater majority who have never looked at it, would find the Friday Night Dog Blog feature irrelevant, or even laughable, but I have to tell because I am driven to get new, and hopefully interesting pictures, I take risks.

Sometimes, I have to tell myself the risks are not worth it. I wonder if this inclination to madness is shared by others?

And yet it is not something that other, more normal, people do not understand. I have just had a set-to this evening with a person could not understand. Of course, I said that these were photos for the family album and did not mention the word “blog”.

I got my pictures; I was happy.

WHITHER AMERICAN DEMOCRACY? January 22, 2006

Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
add a comment

Why is that those who would espouse to be conservatives, would act to undermine and ultimately destroy democratic government?

I recognize the same thing might be said of those from the left who give greater powers to the government, as distinct from the executive. There seems to have been, in recent times, a lack of debate, or more precisely curiosity and philosophical dialogue about ideology – a discourse that would exclude crude ad hominen labels and similar devices. Such a dialogue, even if not judged appropriate for the purposes of election seduction, may at least serve to expose the bogus.

George Bush proposed, as I recall, that he was an advocate of “compassionate conservativism”. The compassion, and intelligent imagination to make it possible, is far from evident, so we might conclude that we might conclude that part of the description was linguistic deception. There might be a useful political distinction between economic and social conservatism. I assume an economic conservative would seek for the most part to balance the budget, or run surpluses. The Bush Administration is not economically conservative, but it has given tax cuts to the wealthy and promises more. It can claim, in its opposition to gay marriage, to be socially conservative.

Not to have a coherent, and deeply held ideology other than to be pragmatic in the striving for, maintenance and expansion of power implies fascism, power for its own sake. An electoral system that provides for representation of a range of belief across the political continuum is, I suspect essential to maintaining a healthy democratic system. There should be no block assumption that all people of one cultural group, for example ethnic or religious, should be of like mind about all matters. Voting in elections might always, within the limits, be strategic, but the system should allow expression of belief.

President Bush has be are told taken the position that he responsible to no one, or saying the same thing he must act in an arbitrarily dictatorial way because of the dangers of war, and in doing so he effectively undermines the American Constitutional settlement which was the outcome of The War of Independence. Hardly being conservative, I would think.

Robert Freeman, in his article, “Should the President be King? Reflections from the Deep Origins of America”, via Common Dreams, describes summarily the origins and context of the American Constitution, including those who would ascribe the original intent without regard for the original context. He concludes:

Shorn of all distractions, the “unitary executive” and Bush’s claim to legitimacy in spying amount to this: that one man can lie the country into war and then, on the basis of that war, declare himself above the law – essentially suspending the Constitution. It is a legal prescription for the self-destruction of democratic government.

But the American form of government is a legacy that belongs to all Americans, indeed, to all humans. It is the product of four centuries of human aspirations for protection from an abusive executive. It is not Bush’s to take away. Which is not to say that it cannot be lost. Hannah Arendt once wrote that, “Although tyranny may successfully rule over foreign peoples, it can stay in power only if it first destroys the national institutions of its own people.”

Bush has openly declared and imperiously acted out his preference for a dictatorship-provided, of course, that he is the dictator. But dictatorship stands against every value, every virtue that lies at the heart of America. It will require a fierce determination on the part of the people to keep what is their most long lived, hard won, and (hopefully) deeply treasured gift. But it is a fight that can and must be waged. The alternative is a return to a medieval darkness of divine right, autocracy and oppression.

Such presumptions, made and enacted by a “compassionate conservative”, or otherwise means that the Constitution must only be restored, but that it is broken, and must be rebuilt, or at least renovated, including provision for a sustainable democratic electoral system.

AH! WE HAVE ANALYSIS January 21, 2006

Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
add a comment

But let us be very careful, otherwise we might break the American Dream, and if that were to happen what would that make the Australian proponents of a similar cruelty?

Bob Burnett in an article, Hustling Backwards, at Common Dreams notes:

A favorite conservative myth about the poor is that they are shiftless neer-do-wells. But this stereotype doesn’t match the reality of Weisberg’s quartet. They are working as hard as they can, but are falling farther and farther behind. They’re not unusual. One in four American workers – 30 million – are mired in low-wage jobs that do not provide for a life with dignity. When progressives call attention to this situation, Republicans attack them – accuse them of fomenting class warfare. A typical conservative reaction is that the rich are “those who are industrious and willing to work hard (the HAVES),” while the poor are “those who are lazy louts looking for a handout (the HAVENOTS).” The GOP argues that it’s the fault of the individual; if you’re working full time and not getting ahead, you did something wrong, you deserve it. But it’s not the working poor who have failed. It’s the system – the American economic system conceived by Republican conservatives and promoted by the Bush Administration.

In fact, the conclusion that lends itself best to the evidence is that justice and human dignity is not possible without class warfare. The question then becomes as to what form the class warfare should take. The United States has squandered, we are told, up to 2 Trillion dollars on the Iraq misadventure. Somebody has got to wake up. Enough with the fantasies.

FRIDAY NIGHT DOG BLOG – STEADY RAIN January 20, 2006

Posted by wmmbb in DOG BLOG -.
add a comment

This dog blog, I know, begins to sound like a weather report, but I just want to excuse myself for not being as conscientious as I might be. Taffy had another seizure, which explains why he is less in the picture. And I changed my routine.

But the rain has to be a good thing, especially when it was reported it fell over the water catchment areas for the city’s dams. Of course, the downside comes when after a few days of constant sunshine at moderate summer temperatures, the risk of bushfires is intensified.

Click onto the photos if you wish to enlarge them, which will not work as well for the photo of Lindy and Mick.

Focus on TaffyPosted by Picasa

Sasha takes her stand.Posted by Picasa

I don’t mind this.” Posted by Picasa

. . .illustrating the difference between breeds.

Sasha eyes the middle distance.Posted by Picasa

Now this is a pose.Posted by Picasa

I was astounded that Sasha took up this position. It was actually what I wished her to do.

“. . .and so is this.”Posted by Picasa

“. . .but if you are take long, I’ll sit.”Posted by Picasa

“This is the usual way we go.” Posted by Picasa

” . . .which is just through there.”Posted by Picasa

“We’ve done this before.”Posted by Picasa

” . . .and I just keep going.”Posted by Picasa

” . . .and then I am back.”Posted by Picasa

“Maybe it is time to get the horses back?.” Posted by Picasa

Ignoring the familiar. Posted by Picasa

Sasha on the scent Posted by Picasa

Unforeseen contingency – sitting.Posted by Picasa

Evidence of rain. Posted by Picasa

Morning sun catches the escarpment. Posted by Picasa

And one more photo in the Lindy and Mick series:

Best of mates.Posted by Picasa

As always for more dogs and other animals see Friday Ark#70 at Modulator and for more dogs, Carnival of the Dogs, at Mickey’s Musings.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 41 other followers