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THE BORING ELECTION October 31, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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Maybe it is my sources of information, or lack of them, but I am finding this election dominated by the leaders and their respective pledges of money over four or more years to be completely boring. That goes for the phoney or faux gaffs as well. I should bear in mind that we had the long phoney campaign of months in which Howard sort to wedge Rudd, and then that period when he was in denial about calling the election at all. The glittering promises, to someone, of the budget came and went. Then the billion dollar tax returns, to someone, came and sunk without trace. Then there was the one-off leaders debate, now a memory as we look ahead to more of the same in the three weeks ahead.
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BALANCE OF POWER October 31, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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We have n days, x hours, y minutes and z seconds to go. Now it seems to me, we might just introduce another stage in our drawn out election campaign, in which the question of the balance of power in the Senate is weighed. The Senate ballot paper, may be the only way to re-establish accountability and transparency in the political process. This view was expressed repeatedly by the callers on ABC National Radio’s Australia Talks.
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WHAT IS TO BE DONE? October 29, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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We are told by The World Today, J Howard had headed to Melbourne to go into the bunker with his political generals to reframe the campaign. Apparently, he did the same thing in the last campaign, and it worked for him in that Latham lost it in the last week. Rudd is a more measured, cooler and more cerebral character less liable to implosions, but clearly the Liberals need to get their messages lines straight on the Rudd personality and political history.
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LIVING FEAR October 27, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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Been there, done that, and now here come dessert with more of the same. As Barry McGuire then sang, “Tell me, you don’t believe we’re on the Eve of Destruction”:

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MAJORITY DECISIONS October 27, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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Since 1949 there have been 23 federal elections (if I have counted correctly as per Soapbox). As Bill Bowtell says. “. . . conservative parties have held government for 41 of these 58 years, and have won 15 of 23 national elections” (65.2 %). He goes on to observe that:

For all of its purported sophistication, the Australian electoral system does an astonishingly poor job of converting a majority of popular votes into a majority of seats in the House of Representatives.

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HOLY WAR October 26, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in South West Asia.
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Iran, since its revolution of 1979, has been a theocracy. The head of government, the executive, is the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, appointed for life from June 1989. Relations between Iran and the United States have taken a turn for the worst since the beginning of the presidency of G Bush, who recently linked their nuclear program and World War III.
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ELECTION PUZZLE October 24, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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The most obvious feature of the polls is that they do not appear to be moving in response to proffered inducements. Neither the budget or the tax concessions seem to have affected them. Dean Jaensch, who has been studying Australian elections for forty years and more, says:

I cannot remember any previous election in which the Government had a solid economic record and was so far behind in the polls.

It is usually the case that a government that has managed to give the majority of people a booming economy, and the resultant personal economic benefits, will be the favourite to win.

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YEP, THAT’S OUR ARGUMENT October 23, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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Good old G Henderson is undoubtedly right, most of us especially me, would be hopeless debating the issues for a 90 minute stretch. Still for the man who has been prime minister for eleven years, and is proposing the bizarre “education revolution” consisting of the basics, trade teaching in technical schools, and a sound narrative of Australian history, he should have his act together.
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THE LEADER’S DEBATE October 22, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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The so-called “leaders debate” excluded the leaders of the minor parties, and thus sidelined the importance of the Senate vote, which may not directly affect the choice of government in a two-party system, but it does affect the passing of legislation. Somewhere there will be a transcript, but I have not seen it. So I tried to type down scraps of what was said.

The coin is tossed. Rudd leads off.
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GOOD NIGHT, BAD LUCK October 21, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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Malcolm Mackerras, who has been famously wrong it seems on most predictions, has reasons for predicting that J Howard will be defeated in his electoral division of Bennelong. First of all he anticipates that the election will fall the way that the polls have indicated to date, and the ALP will win government. Voters, he suggests like returning the prime minister. All the opinion polls in Bennelong have shown M McKew ahead of J Howard, who was set to work hard to turn this situation around, but being Prime Minister J Howard has had other things to work on, and he might well be out of touch with the hard slog of a marginal electorate.
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TAKE AND GIVE October 20, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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Political largess is on offer now an election is upon us. Fiscal conservatism appears to mean take more money in the form of taxes than is needed to fund public services and investments and then give back to income tax payers. Moir sums up the critique of this approach:

moir-on-infrastructure-and-tax-cuts.jpg

This would seem to another bipartisan policy, not withstanding the Ruddian promise of the 21st Century tool box for all school children.

KARACHI BOMBING October 20, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in South Asia, Terrorism Issues.
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The Karachi bombing, apparently directed against Benazir Bhutto on her return to Pakistan after five years exile, and the other Pakistani bombings appear to be contrary to the anlaysis of suicide bombing by Robert A Pape. The puzzle is that Pakistan is a Muslim country, albeit with Sunni and Shia populations, and other ethnic tensions from its disaffected Baluchi and Pashtun populations among others.
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ELECTIONS AND VOTING SYSTEMS October 18, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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I suspect the election will get more interesting as it develops, and the polls will be the witness to that development at least with respect to two-party support. The government lost the advantage of office as soon as the election was called. While it was manna from heaven for the advertising agencies and media outlets, the $60 million dollars or whatever was spent on promotion of government policies, if the polls are to believed was not effective in their primary task. Now of course, the resources available, such for example travel, to the major two parties are more equal and more dependent on party funding.
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PUTIN IN TEHRAN October 16, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in South West Asia.
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After visiting Chancellor Merkel, V Putin has moved onto Tehran. He becomes the first Krelim leader to visit Iran since J Stalin for the 1943 meeting with Roosevelt and Churchill.

tehran-1943.jpg
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INTERNET JIHAD October 16, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Terrorism Issues.
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First we had the story of the worldwide internet operation run by Al Qaeda that had been penetrated by the Americans closing down before their eyes. This we are told was an impressive feat. Now The New York Times is running a story of a more mundane operation in which young Muslims living in the West, including the US, are promoting the views of Osama bin Laden and attack videos from Iraq.
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ELECTION ANNOUNCEMENT October 14, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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The ABC reports that J Howard flew to Canberra and is staying overnight at the official residence, The Lodge. It seems likely that he will be visiting the Governor-General tomorrow and the the election date will be announced.

Looking at the calendar, I suspect the election date will be 17 November on the basis that six weeks will be too long a campaign regardless of the political position of the government.
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REPEAT OR RETREAT October 13, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Iraq Policy.
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Unlike Vietnam, comparisons with Iraq are not usually drawn to the American War of Independence. Enter cartoonist Mikel Luckovich, via Truthdig:the-british-are-leaving.jpg

FRIDAY NIGHT DOG BLOG – K9 COMMUNICATION October 13, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in DOG BLOG -.
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Others are better at understanding dogs than I am. Yet it strikes me as odd, given the long association between humans and dogs, that we are not better at understanding them. The explanation might be that they have adapted to us, and been adapted to us through breeding. Often dogs communicate indirectly, which means that visual messages often go unread.
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WORK HAPPINESS OR EMISERATION? October 13, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Social Environment.
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While it is not the message of guru Tom Peters and his team, with the new computer technology the dumb workforce is leading edge management. Apparently Epicurus said there was four things needed for happiness: enough to eat, a place to sleep, friends, and time to think about life (a blog!).
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A RECONCILIATION REFERENDUM October 11, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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Yep he got my attention. What must Crosby-Textor be telling him! Unlike the Possum I do not have an inner Crosby-Textor, so I am at a bit of a loss, but I do know like every other voter that in the case of any Howard statement or commitment you must look for the fine print.
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