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OH YES, AND THE IRAQIS TOO August 30, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, Iraq Policy.
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Of course, there are problems for the Americans in withdrawing from Iraq. Perhaps the slaughter will continue – that is very sad and very tragic – but equally it is a fair bet that the suicide bombing will stop almost immediately, and that is important.

There must be nothing – nothing – that we should not do to help the Iraqis, beginning with the immediate withdrawal of our troops that has made us complicit in this criminal tragedy. We should immediately be looking at taking refugees, beginning with the most vulnerable people.

Mike Gravel, prospective Democratic presidential candidate, in this video via Truthdig makes the important point about a failure of political courage, while young Americans die needlessly:
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THE IMPORTANCE OF UNIONS August 29, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, US Politics.
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Every occupation in the society has its representatives, from the Law Council to the Business Council, but when more humble people organize to protect and further their interests, in the view of Howard, there is something fundamentally wrong. What twisted thinking underpins behind this attitude. Sure union leaders in some industries, for example building, are adversarial, but that reflects as much a response to the nature of those industries.
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BOTTOM-LINE GOVERNMENT August 27, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, US Politics.
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Some contracting of government services seems to work just fine. For example, our Council has contracted out the collection of the garbage and recycling we put out in roadside bins each week. I do not know the economics of this situation, but perhaps this is a win-win outcome for the local government and the contractor. Presumably one side saves money and the other able to invest in the relevant equipment. Contracts such as this work on the basis of a long term relationship.
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AND THE GOOD NEWS IS? August 27, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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Look I have the fullest sympathy for the horses suffering equine influenza, which seems to be a failure of quarantine procedures, but there is no cloud without its silver lining.

At least we do not have that Howard person in our face and ear drums this morning. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

SOMETHING FUNNY August 23, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Multiculturalism.
6 comments

I have had at least one operation before, but for this the recovery is taking its good time. To illustrate the point over about ten days, I have lost 12.5 kilos, mostly as fluid, so I am in the mood for humour. I was taken by this joke from Truthdig.

of-course.jpg

MORE CARTOONS:

Truthdig has others and there is also Mr Fish’s collection at Harper’s Magazine. Then there is Wiley and Non Sequitur.

There has to be joke in there somewhere you and I can laugh at.

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IRISH DEMOGRAPHICS August 22, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in European Politics, Humankind/Planet Earth, Modern History.
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The New York Times carried an article on the population of Ireland. Unusual among European nations, Ireland has an average age of 33, which is expected to be maintained with a growing population, such that the Irish Republic is now a migration country – the Australia of the North Atlantic. The population is now 4.2 million and the increase is due in equal measure to births and migration. Migrants are arriving from Lithuania, Poland and Nigeria – I like to think they are from southern Nigeria, and are attracted by the rain, if not the temperature.

In twenty-five years, the article says, combined with a growing population in Northern Ireland the island could match its largest population:

. . . more than eight million before the devasting19th-century that prompted waves of emigration. . .

. . . with their impact on the population of New York and Chicago, Sydney and Melbourne, and places between and beyond.

Of course, a growing population creates problems, from the problems of racism to the building of schools, but one thing that is very interesting, and perhaps not unique in Europe is that new settlers are able to immediately vote in local government elections.

JUST SAYING August 19, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, Iraq Policy.
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Having had an operation last Saturday, being subjected to the tender mercies of hospital registered nurses over the remainder of that weekend in that they put me in a bed in which I could not sleep and did not understand my condition, and finally placed in a ward that specialized in my underlying condition, but taking the first opportunity to get out and get home, driven crazy by the constant babble of a television set at two, three, and four o’clock in the morning, at least two things seem very clear.

Firstly, going to hospital, and having access to a public hospital with the range and degree of medical testing, and access to a surgeon with the relevant experience,  saved my life. So my criticisms amount to mere details, mere grumbles. Still I thought it ironic, you are given a life saving operating and then tortured with noise – at least the analogy to Guantanamo Bay was pertinent to me.

Then secondarily, the course of my recovery has not been the linear, progressive succession of stages including transition phases, that I had envisaged, and my span of attention has been very limited indeed. I was still interested in some matters. but I would lose patience with them very quickly.

Two comments:

I do not know whether John Howard will be prime minister after the next federal election, but I am sick of him. I tired of the last intervention, and the next intervention even before I have heard what it might be. Even though I do not consume much MSM, I want him out of my face.

The best way, perhaps the only way for the Americans to begin to fix the tragedy they have created in Iraq is to immediately leave. How did they get such a poor government when they have such a serviceable constitution? Like the rest of us, their concerns with democracy should start with themselves and their own situation.

RUPTURED APPENDIX August 14, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Life Experience.
192 comments

Although I thought it was food poisoning, my illness turned out to be a ruptured appendix. If you are interested you can read the medical details at Wikipedia. Luckily I have a low tolerance for pain and discomfit.

On Friday, I started to experience the symptoms. Then things appeared to get better, as is a characteristic of this illness, so Susan went into Sydney as she had planned to see an opera on the following day. That night I found I could not sleep, and began my mantra, not for first time: “Oh, oh, oh”. By 4 o’clock the next morning, having realized I had something I could not deal with, I organized a cab to take down to the local hospital emergency section. After their initial diagnosis, I was dispatched to Wollongong Emergency ward for a CT scan among other tests.
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August 10, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Category to be ascribed.
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Duckpond has come down with a severe case of food poisoning He hopes to have recovered in the next two r three days, provided the diet of water, water, lemonade and dry biscuits works.

WHAT IS TRUE? August 9, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Iraq, Philosophy.
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Harold Pinter gave a lecture on receipt of the 2005 Nobel Prize for Literature with the title, “Art, Truth and Politics”. The truth binds the artist he suggests with a remorseless logic. The politician is bound in a contrary universe. Then there is the media, which can choose to report, or not to report, or otherwise claim an omniscience. Harold Pinter is a flake so his argument can be dismissed and not heard.
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THE KOREAS TO TALK August 8, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in East Asia.
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BBC News reports that talks will be held between North and South Korea. I had not realized that the proposed summit to take place at the end of this month will be the second one between the leaders of North and South Korea. The previous talks took place seven years ago. The president of South Korea is facing an election this years so his political motivation is relatively easy to understand. What is intriguing following the recent deal to end the development of nuclear weapons that the North Korean government would be interested in talking with the South. At first brush, I am inclined to think, so much for the Bush doctrine of never talking or dealing with your adversaries.
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POLITICAL CHANGE: SOME THOUGHTS August 8, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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Perhaps, John Howard has stayed too long, for his own good, the good of his party, and for the country. What more can he contribute, except more of the same? Of course by staying he may, if he is electorally successful, protect his legacy, but that seems to me to be quite wrong.
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HIROSHIMA DAY August 6, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in East Asia, Humankind/Planet Earth, Middle East, US Politics.
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Sixty-two years ago, President Harry S Truman approved the dropping of the first nuclear bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. This single bomb devastated an area of 13 square kilometers and killed an estimated 140,000 people in a city of 350,0000. The second nuclear bomb was dropped over Nagasaki, three days later, killed 74,000 people.
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THE MINISTERIAL MIND August 5, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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We, as responsible citizens, might pause or give time to reflection, as we have given through our elected representatives magisterial power to ministers, to the minds and mental capabilities of those ministers and the inevitable political influences and contexts to which they are subject. These powers were granted in the usual rushed legislative process on the basis of pragmatics, exigency or the stampeding effect of often irrational, or least not carefully weighted, fears and risks.
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SOUTH ASIAN FLOODS August 5, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Natural Environment, South Asia.
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The Monsoons have brought with them heavier and more continual rain than usual this year, with particular effect on Northern India, Nepal and Bangladesh. It seems that the poorest people are the worst affected.

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Monsoon winds blow north-easterly for one half of the year, and from the south-west for the other half South-westerly winds bring the heavy rains from June to Sept. Winds arrive in southern India six weeks before the north west.Annual rainfall varies considerably. BBC Online.

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BRIDGES, PUBLIC POLICY AND IRAQ August 3, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
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Bridges are public goods. The bridge across the Mississippi connecting St Paul and Minneapolis that collapsed on Thursday was built in the 1960’s. It seems not to have been built with the engineering redundancy of for example the Brooklyn Bridge which was built in 1883. (There are reports according to the BBC that the Brooklyn Bridge is not safe have been denied by local officials.) (more…)

TRIAL BY VIDEO August 3, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, US Politics.
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Lying and deceptions by politicians is nothing new, rather it is standard fare. It is not the lies that matter it is the credibility. Enter the video testimony and analysis, and in this instance Richard Bruce Cheney’s failure to look his interrogator squarely in the eye is taken as evidence of fibbing.

Check out Josh Marshall’s Talking Points Memo via Scott Horton.

I do not believe the politician of the age, and for all time, John Winston Howard, “Honest John”could possibly be caught out by this new-fangled technology. It has long being the case with John that nothing he says is as it seems. In John’s case it is always better to take the opposite as the closest approximation to what is said.

THE EROSION OF NATURAL JUSTICE August 1, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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The Minister for Immigration is empowered by the Migration Act, as amended early in the time of the Howard Government, to ignore the provisions of natural justice. Thus the Minister in accordance with Section 501 (3) of the Migration Act can refuse or cancel a visa if:

(c) the Minister reasonably suspects that the person does not pass the character test; and

(d) the Minister is satisfied that the refusal or cancellation is in the national interest.

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