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THE WAR ECONOMY February 29, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Humankind/Planet Earth, Iraq.
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Aida Edemariam talks with two economists, Stiglitz and Bilmes, with a written in account in The Guardian. They seem to think that not only is war not good for the economy of the US, but bad for the world, and disastrous for Iraq. They are particularly down on Poor George, doubtless not his idea, for implementing tax cuts while going to war. In a understatement they suggest a political move that was underhand.
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TOUGH GUYS TORTURE February 27, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Duckspeak, Terrorism Issues.
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Then they lie about it. “We don’t do torture”.  Indeed. Tell that to the guards. Then the question is who will look after the guards, not the Veterans Administration because their trauma was not caused by combat. This might be another meaning to criminal behavior of “operating on the dark side“, as if the American Government was run by the Mafia, or in emulation of Mafia methods.
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GAZA: NONVIOLENCE AND VIOLENCE February 26, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Israel-Palestine, Peace, Social Environment.
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How is that a small country like Israel has such an effective propaganda service? Why is it that the norms of international behavior, if not international law do not apply to Israeli Government? The obvious answer might be the Holocaust, but the Palestinians were not responsible for that, and have been subject to racism and ethnic cleansing from at least the beginning years of the twentieth century down to the present time. It seems that the Palestinians have suffered consecutively from policies of the British Imperialists and those of the Western consensus lead by the Americans.
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OPENING GUATEMALA’S PAST February 26, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in LATIN AMERICA.
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Elections do seem to have a significant difference, and not only in Australia. Take the case of Guatemala. President Colom, who was elected three months ago, announced:

“We are going to make all of the army’s archives public so we can know the truth, to start building on a foundation of truth and justice”.

The Opposition Leader, retired general, described the announcement as a political stunt.
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RUMPUS ROOM February 25, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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Does it matter that the Opposition appeared to behave on the level of spoiled children in the House of Representatives on Friday? This question in the nature of things is a frame on their behavior, but in weighing up the issue in my mind that is the conclusion I have reached.
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TURKEY INVADES IRAQ February 24, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Iraq, Middle East.
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The pretext was to be that Iran was interfering in the internal events of Iraq, now the Turks have decided to invade, and the Americans are powerless to do anything. Since finding the PKK bases will prove difficult, their destruction is not the primary reason for the invasion, and there must be other objectives. The “brother Turkic” minority in the Kirkut area are possibily part of the picture. (more…)

WHITHER OBAMA? February 23, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
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As seems reasonable let us suppose that Obama will be the candidate for President, then what he will face from influential sections of the US media is not a snowstorm from which he will emerge like something in the washing powder adds. Far from it. The proud accomplishment of the agency at work here is have had elected the worst, least qualified president in American history. Bush has the poll ratings to show for it. Iraq will be his legacy, a legacy of indolence and iniquity.
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FRIDAY NIGHT DOG BLOG – SECOND ANNIVERSARY February 23, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in DOG BLOG -.
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As I recall the Latin motto under the clock at school was “Tempus Fugit“. That seems to be the way of things, time flies. This week marked Dexter’s second anniversary. We have survived this long. I cannot see too many changes. He has put on a few kilos in weight .
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PAKISTAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION February 22, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in South West Asia.
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The Pakistan parliamentary election held under the cloud caused by the allegations of vote rigging may nevertheless have become a turning point. The result has been interpreted as a rejection of dictator Musharraf. Now, the BBC reports, that the two major parties have decided to form a “grand coalition” with the intention to reinstate the Chief Justice and the other judges of the Supreme Court, sacked and imprisoned by Musharraf.
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BACK IN IRAQ February 22, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Iraq.
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I was struck by this report from Juan Cole:

Turkish jets struck at suspected bases of the Kurdish Workers Party terror organization in northern Iraq on Wednesday. The Turks are also considering a land invasion of northern Iraq in a bid to root out PKK terrorists that have been attacking Turks and retreating to Iraq where they benefit from an American security umbrella.

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OBAMA ROLLS ON February 20, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
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At this point it looks as if Obama has the wind of popular opinion behind him. I think at this stage that Clinton has gone with the weight of Obama’s consecutive run of successes, which today included Wisconsin and Hawaii, both won decisively. I doubt that Clinton can win decisively in either Texas or Ohio. Furthermore, it looks as if Obama appeal is spreading to the demographics that Clinton believed were her territory. Truthdig observes:
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CASTRO STANDS DOWN February 19, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in LATIN AMERICA.
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Today Fidel Castro has announced in the party newspaper by letter that, “ I will not aspire to or accept the post of president of the Council of State and commander-in-chief.”

Cuba’s achievement has been its ability to stand up to the American juggernaut. Castro observed in his letter: (more…)

STUCK IN AFGHANISTAN February 18, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in South West Asia.
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For some countries, particularly the Canadians, at least in the beginning, I am guessing that they conceived the conflict in Afghanistan as a peace keeping mission, in this case under the NATO umbrella. The Bush Administration, as is their wont, and as in Iraq, see Afgahnistan primarily as a shooting war in which the strongest force, which they imagine to be themselves, will solve the problem and prevail. Not all the European allies have been so easy to convince, or so supplicant as the British and the Australians to date. So what is the problem that must be solved?
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THEY SEEK HIM HERE. . . February 18, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
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Just imagine if you were the current US President where could you possibily go on the planet and be welcome. In Europe you would be the subject of willing demonstrations, in South America willing riots, which might leave Asia but they would be unwilling as would Australia and most places on the planet. You might make a quick, furtive and non-productive trip to the garrison state of Israel and pretend you are visiting the Middle East. Or you might make an even quicker and more furtive trip to the new American colony of Iraq, except the natives have not been fully suppressed yet. That leaves the three A’s: the Artic, the Antarctic and Africa. Bingo Africa!
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SHADOWS ON THE SUN February 17, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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The presence of J Howard’s long reign over Indigenous and Aboriginal affairs was as palpable as in his absence at last weeks parliamentary delegitimization of racist and violent legislatively sanctioned actions of the past. K Rudd, the fresh Prime Minister, framed his speech to repudiate the frames set in place by Howard. B Nelson, the Opposition Leader, managed to say sorry, and then enter into a series of qualifications. The proceedings were graced by the wisdom of an ancient culture that knows that actions speak more truly and enduringly than words.
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FRIDAY NIGHT DOG BLOG – THREE PHASES February 16, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in DOG BLOG -.
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Mackay, I heard on the ABC has experienced the most rain in 90 years, and has been subject to floods. I suspect the rainfall has been exceptional this year along the extent of the east coast of Australia. Certainly that was the impression I formed when I went up to the dam (to visit the ducks of course) with the dogs.
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DEATH OF A WITCH? February 15, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Middle East.
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Exodus (22:18) declares that, “You shall not suffer a witch to live”. Now it might have been thought that the burning of witches, or otherwise killing them was a thing of the dim and distant past. Not so it seems. Human Rights Watch has written to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in relation to the case of Fawza Falih. The Saudi court sentenced her to death for “witchcraft, recourse to jinn (supernatural beings) and slaughter of animals”.
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“THE TIME HAS COME” February 13, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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It may be my lenses but I find I am framing today’s events differently to most. My starting point is with racism and the associated violence and dehumanization. The policies of the forceful removal of Aboriginal children from their parents were violent measures conducted for racist purposes. At the level of feeling we can recognize the violence done when a child is permanently taken from its mother, and if we cannot every child can. Mother’s can sometimes abandon children, but that is symptomatic of either a mental breakdown or a social breakdown, or both, or in other words severe trauma.
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EVENTS IN TIMOR LESTE February 12, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in The Neighbours.
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People in countries such as Australia tend to take for granted our relatively long history of stable government and question why it is not so possible for others. While it is true that Australian government and democracy are evolving, as we have seen today in the “Welcome to Country” ceremony at Parliament House in Canberra, it is the case that government was not invented here. The same case could be made for the United States, although there the element of invention was greater, but nevertheless they too drew on precedents and historical experience of an early European history. Both Australia and the United States were formed self sufficient and not dependent on external forces for the maintenance of public order. Few countries, for example, could have weathered the 1975 Constitutional Crisis that Australia endured.
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THE OBAMA ROLL February 11, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
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With the latest, and to me surprising, victory in the Maine caucuses, the candidacy of Obama would seem to be on a roll. Yet that does not take account of the influence of Democratic Party rules, and indeed, according to Cockburn and St Clair at CounterPunch there are several precedents where candidates with the lead in popular support have lost the nomination noting the cases of Gary Hart and Jesse Jackson.
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