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ICEBERGS AHOY July 31, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Natural Environment.
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The SS Titanic, built in the shipyards of Belfast and the greatest passenger liner of its day sunk on its maiden voyage in 1912 when it hit an iceberg. The art of spotting icebergs has improved since then, and it seems the icebergs have gotten bigger that they can be spotted from space.
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CORRUPTION AND DEMOCRACY July 30, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, US Politics.
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I do not share any enthusiasm for Labor with respect to New South Wales, and specifically the sacking of the democratically elected Wollongong City Council on the premise of s systemic corruption when the misconduct is a function of the relationship with the owners of so-called property development companies.
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POLITICS AND MANAGEMENT July 29, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in European Politics, US Politics.
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Sometimes politics meets management in a way that for example Tom Peters would appreciate. On his just concluded trip Obama could to meet the movers and shakers of European politics. The very same ones, such as President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkell, would seemed not be around when McCain came calling. Obama also meet Brown in London, who if the recent Glasgow by-election, which was won by SNP, is a bellwether, is gone. His meeting with Conservative Leader, David Campbell, included a significant snippet caught by the ubiquitous open mike.
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TEHRAN HANGINGS July 28, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in South West Asia.
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The BBC reports that 29 people were killed by hanging for various crimes in Tehran on Sunday Morning. According to the report Iran is second to China in the number of people subject to capital punishment, which is interesting since Iran has a population of around 70 million people and China has over 1 billion.
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“LOYAL TO THE SKY” July 27, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Life Experience.
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Marisa Handler is evidence of the possibility of a new kind journalist. Her example takes us out of the frame suggested, for example, by Trevor Cook on Unleased at ABC Online between the millions of bloggers tapping away at their keyboards and the real professional journalists working going to the office each day working for the mainstream and corporate media, delivering definitive judgments on the state of the world. Marisa might be described as an activist-journalist. Her activism seems to have preceded her journalism, and she writes about injustice she has encountered in far flung places. She has written for The San Francisco Chronicle and Salon.com.
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FRIDAY NIGHT DOG BLOG – SUN AND RAIN July 25, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in DOG BLOG -.
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When skies are grey, or it is raining, and there is a chill in the air our mood tends also to be overcast. Well that is what this weeks photo collection tends to suggest. Dexter looks at times, especially in the rain, positively miserable, and to my surprise the same can be said for Sasha, who tends to like watery environments.

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OBAMA IN EUROPE July 25, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
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For Obama to attract the interest he has, when as yet he is not even the official party candidate, let alone the President, is surely extraordinary. Der Spiegel is following the story as it unfolds. The comparison with John Kennedy with Obama comes to mind in terms of intelligence and charisma. My sense is that Obama is eliciting the patina of Kennedy. The big difference that is immediately evident is that whereas Kennedy had an ambitious, bootlegging, millionaire father and relation who had been Mayor of Boston, Obama in effect had no father and has made his way though the world of Chicago politics. One would like to believe that Obama is not a phoney, but we will see.
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ISRAEL’S FRIEND July 24, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Iraq Policy, Israel-Palestine, South West Asia.
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Barack Obama has succeeded in disappointing some of this supporters. It has to be wondered who is making the political calculations because the range of choice is not wide in the American voting system. The choice is stark: vote for Obama, or McCain, or stay home. I am sticking to my expectation that Obama will be successful, but it is increasing looking to a change that I cannot believe in, and neither can some other commentators.
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CREDIBLE NARRATIVES July 22, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Humankind/Planet Earth, Natural Environment, Peace, Philosophy.
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“A little knowledge is a dangerous thing”, but I have to believe that a small understanding is better than none at all. The other extreme is to be so immersed in the story detail as to have lost the way out of the forest. You get that a lot of that here, but bear in mind that I know nothing about theologies, and that is unlikely to change. However, since “El Papa” graced us with his presence last week, and since this week we will are well on the way to forgetting about it, I thought in the contrary way, I might now reflect on these matters in general.
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PUBLIC OPINION AND DEMOCRATIC PRACTICE July 21, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Blogging in general, Humankind/Planet Earth, Life Experience.
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When Vice President R Cheney was challenged by the evidence of public opinion, he infamously said in effect “so what”. Implicitly, I take that to mean the proposition that “we can shape public opinion by our control of the corporate media”. Yet if the explicit meaning is accepted then the proposition is an espousal of the anti-democratic notion that majority opinions, or for that matter minority opinions, should be ignored. Cheney’s arrogance reflects an embedded institutional violence to democratic principle and practice.
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THE CASE FOR ISRAEL July 20, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Israel-Palestine, Terrorism Issues.
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David Kaiser sets out the case for Israel. On the contrary, I think that it should be wiped off the face of the map, or more exactly transformed into a pluralist society consisting of Jewish people and the original Palestinian people. South Africa is the analogy, and in that case while Apartheid was dismantled, the country was not wiped off the face of the map. It seems to me that Israel is in effect the military occupier of the West Bank and Gaza. Gaza is a form of Bantustan effectively blockaded by the Israelis, one imagines with the cooperation of the Egyptians.
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FRIDAY NIGHT DOG BLOG – WINTER SUN July 19, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in DOG BLOG -.
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No doubt the days are lengthening as the earth continues it’s journey around the sun, but at this time of the year we are conscious of the position of the sun in the sky. When the sun goes down beyond the escarpment, the temperature is noticeably cooler.

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WINNING WAR? July 18, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Iraq Policy, South West Asia.
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Historian Howard Zinn says nobody wins in war, and then recounts the recent history of American wars post World War II,which seems to prove his point. The war in Korea restored the status quo, Vietnam was lost at great cost, the same might be said for Iraq, and the same looks like happening in Afghanistan. Republican McCain wants to win in Iraq while Democrat Obama – much like the Australian Government wants to commit to winning in Afghanistan and the Pakistan no-go areas where Osama bin Laden is reported to be.
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CONSUMING CARBON July 17, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Natural Environment.
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Global Warming is an existential threat caused by human activities such as carbon emissions and logging that reduces the biospheres capacity to reabsorb carbon dioxide. We should remember when we consider denialists that while public relations companies and cigarette companies make profits, people still die of smoking related illnesses. The failure to recognize the obvious is mind boggling, and warrants some attempt at an explanation.
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WHAT IS SCIENCE ABOUT? July 16, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Philosophy.
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I used to think from reading Jacob Bronowski that I had gotten the hang of science. Now I am not so sure. Which is a good place to be because I am now paying attention to find out what I can learn. In doing so I have to keep in mind Richard Freyman’s maxim to the effect that we have to accept nature on her terms however strange it might seem.
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CHECKMATE IRAN July 15, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in South West Asia.
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I just hope that Scott Ritter’s analysis, via Truthdig, is correct. He basically argues that the United States and Israel do not have the military resources to cripple Iran in a massive bombing campaign that would impede any effective response by the Iranians. More exactly, he suggest that the Iran by holding the missile tests last week has signaled its intention to respond to any “surgical” air strikes on its nuclear facilities.
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14 JULY July 15, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in European Politics.
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The symbolic moment of the storming of the Bastille is not forgotten in Paris, as it seems to be in other parts of the world. Now that event was a mere 219 years ago, but was it the significant change it is made out to be?
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HERE COME THE OLYMPICS July 14, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Humankind/Planet Earth.
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The Olympic Games are boring, right. And they are due to begin on 8 August. Who care who wins a race and wins a gold medal? That is not to say that sometimes, if not almost always the individual athletes are outstanding. The whole jamboree is ruined by nationalism. What is that in human beings that suggests to them that they were born on some point on the planet, or members of a certain group of human beings that in some way they are special, and therefore immune from the frailties and suffering that befall us as a planetary species? Still the political symbolism from the Tibetan liberation campaign to the pollution of Beijing are far more interesting.
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THE STATE OF AFGHANISTAN July 13, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in South West Asia.
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I am always suitably impressed when I hear vaunted foreign correspondents give the official story with breathtaking intensity. While these days I tend not to read newspapers or listen to ABC News bulletins, simply because it is distressing to read and hear such reports, and living in hope tends to be a futile exercise, there are sources of the non-official view of events, and we are fortunate to have the internet to read them. So what is the state of play in Afghanistan?
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FRIDAY NIGHT DOG BLOG – WE CAN HEAR YOU! July 12, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in DOG BLOG -.
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Most days this week we could still hear Jock, our neighbourhood German Shepherd who accompanied us for a brief few days. However, today Jock was not barking, which hopefully is a good sign. On previous days we could hear him in our kitchen, from the back door and when we went to bed. We could also hear him out on our round.

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