WHITHER AFGHANISTAN, IRAQ AND IRAN? February 28, 2007Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, Humankind/Planet Earth.
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Bipartisanship in a system dominated by the two major parties leads to a lack of political investigation and debate. Both Labor and Liberal are committed to military support for the Afghan Government. They are not alone. Britain has just announced that it will increase its troops in that country. The revival of the Taliban has been extraordinary, suggesting significant social and other factors at work.
Iraq has now been recognized as a sideshow and a disaster, but the oil companies, in particular Exxon, who are behind the climate change fraud hope to make money, and it seems things are going their way. I suspect that Iraqis given all their suffering will not take kindly to seeing foreigners sealing their oil. The apparent dialectic of greed and triumph has yet to fully play out. Suicide bombing that was unknown has now become a way of life in Iraq, or so it seems.
The killing must not be troubling George Walker Bush. Why should that matter or cross “the beautiful mind” of a president? Despite the many warnings no doubt we will walk again into the slaughterhouse as this great man of history targets Tehran.
THE HICK’S CASE (CONTD) February 26, 2007Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, Human Rights.
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Lawyers for David Hicks have brought a case before the Federal Court in which they claim that the Federal Government has failed in its duty of care. The Solicitor-General for the Government argues that the case should not be heard since Hicks is a foreign affairs matter which is the province of the Federal Government and not the court.
There are all these wonderful legal arguments in play, which I could never conceive, including one from the former Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia as reported by ABC Online:
. . . Alistair Nicholson QC believes there is a case to answer.
“It’s strongly arguable that they’ve broken the law because to counsel or procure a person who’s entitled to the protection of the Geneva Conventions, as Hicks is, a trial of such a person before an illegal tribunal is clearly an offence against International Criminal Court statute and it’s also an offence in Australian law,” he said.
It is going to get interesting if the Federal Court rules in effect that the Military Commissions are “illegal tribunals” – which they might be. Why in principle should an American tribunal located off-shore to avoid the scrutiny of judicial process have jurisdiction over events that happened in Afghanistan, and for all we know Pakistan.
Of course, I do not think for a minute it is going to happen, but it is an interesting development, which I support in the sense that I support international law in hope that it is a condition for greater global peace with justice.
ARGENTINA TO JOIN TRI-NATIONS February 26, 2007Posted by wmmbb in Miscellaneous.
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Argentina is ranked sixth in the world according to the IRB standings. The South Africans, to their credit, are supporting Argentina joining up with the professional rugby union competition that also includes Australia and New Zealand.
There will be questions about the distances, and about the fact that Argentinian rugby is still mostly amateur, although the leading players are in Europe, and Italy seems to be benefiting from Argentine-born players.
And while they are about expanding the club, they could include teams from the South Pacific.
So allowing for politics and feasibility the competition will have to be called something like The Southern Nations.
PREDICTABLE BEHAVIOR February 25, 2007Posted by wmmbb in Iraq Policy.
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More correctly, I should have said, “expected behavior”. I almost said that the “surge” in Baghdad would turn out to be making war on civilians. That is the way it is turning out. It struck me in densely populated areas with house to house fighting there would be a higher casualty rate, and in response there would be the use of either artillery or aerial bombing. There is inevitably “collateral damage” to which the “warriors” can be indifferent, provided the socializing process of dehumanization has been sufficiently effective, a process that might prepare people for the inhumanity of war, but it does not prepare people for civilian life.
ABC Online reports, “More than 20 loud blasts rock Southern Baghdad”, and say :
Iraqi officials reported that US forces have launched air strikes in south-east Baghdad.
Residents in the area say there has been a fierce artillery duel and a series of detonations have rocked the war-torn city.
“American aircraft are bombarding terrorist targets that have been chosen by US and Iraqi forces, as part of our Baghdad security plan,” Brigadier General Qasim al-Mussawi said, spokesman for the operation.
A resident of the area says that insurgents have fired mortar shells and that US troops appear to have responded with artillery.
US spokesmen have not been willing to comment.
Shortly after the first blasts, electricity was cut in part of central Baghdad, but it is not clear if these events are linked.
That is OK then, they are terrorists. I appreciate that suicide bombing, which as in Palestine, has become a feature of the resistance, is by its nature indiscriminate. Nevertheless, artillery and aerial bombing launched against civilian targets is a war crime.
Conventional military forces are not trained for policing. There is no practical distinction to be made between gangsters and militarists.
Here is Juan Cole commenting on the unconscionable actions:
Late Saturday, the US Air Force launched a series of bombing raids on southeast Baghdad. This is absolutely shameful, that the US is bombing from the air a civilian city that it militarily occupies. You can’t possibly do that without killing innocent civilians, as at Ramadi the other day. It is a war crime. US citizens should protest and write their congressional representatives. It is also the worst possible counter-insurgency tactic anyone could ever have imagined. You bomb people, they hate you. The bombing appears to have knocked out what little electricity some parts of Baghdad were still getting.
FRIDAY NIGHT DOG BLOG – ANNIVERSARY WEEK February 23, 2007Posted by wmmbb in DOG BLOG -.
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Monday, 19 February 2007 marked Dexter’s anniversary at our place. It sure has been an experience, but we have had to learn that have changed us for the better, and I cannot judge how he has changed. It is fair to say that Sasha has got along well with him. She does not take a submissive role in their post dinner gambols. Nor did she object when she had an opportunity to taste the Cherry and Apple pie with ice cream on Monday.
Now, of course, this dog blog is not merely photos with a weather report; it also includes household events. I am finding it increasingly difficult to get up in the morning, or get to bed early. This is a problem because as the almost fully able-body human, I have carers duties following a hospital operation to remove a plate in the clavicle (collar bone) that was over and out of hospital in a day.
Still the dogs did go out. We share our walking path with motor bikes, mini-bikes and mountain bikes which each represent potential perils, and today we saw a black bush wallaby, which I think did not, as others have before, not appreciated my singing. I was caught up by how fluidity and grace of the animal’s movement. Of course, Dexter was a bit interested. So I had to hold him and Sasha, who at times shows extraordinary insouciance. I was further conflicted since the camera has been dropped on past occasions.
You may enlarge the photos by clicking on them. We will visit Friday Ark #127 at Modulator, and we will run to catch the Carnival of the Dogs at Mickey’s Musing.
CHENEY VISIT February 22, 2007Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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By this time, Richard Bruce Cheney should have arrived – and his early and permanent departure is anticipated. It seems that Cheney has been granted some form of exemption from Australian law with his minions allowed to keep their guns. Still everybody has to grateful that Cheney will not be given a shotgun for his after dinner treat.
It seems that the visit to Japan was not without some small problems, when the Defence Minister called the Iraq invasion and occupation a mistake. Strange to relate ABC Online reports the Australian Defence Minister”:
Dr Nelson has told a defence conference in Canberra that no-one should expect a Utopia in Iraq once the current conflict is over.
He says there will be Al Qaeda-inspired violence across the country for the foreseeable future.
“There is no such thing as victory in Iraq,” he said.
“And the Iraqis who’ve shown enormous courage to vote on three occasions to elect their own government, they should be the inspiration for what we do, but there’ll be no such thing as victory.
“The most important thing that we do is to make sure the Iraqis have control of their own destiny, and have the moral fortitude and courage to see the job through until they’re in a position to do it.”
And here was I thinking that Australians were training Iraqis, and not fighting with the participants in a civil war who miraculously morph into Al Qaeda.
One wonders what Cheney will make of that from his ally. Cheney, it seems, is the power behind the President. According to Holly Rosenkrantz (via Juan Cole):
Cheney seems to have suffered from the loss of close ally Rumsfeld at the Pentagon and the rise of Bush favorite Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state. Under Rice, the State Department has intensified Middle East peace efforts and brokered a nuclear-disarmament deal with North Korea.
At the same time, Cheney remains a powerful voice within the administration and retains his close personal relationship with Bush. For instance, he prevailed over outside adviser James A. Baker III, the former secretary of state, in urging the president to escalate military pressure on Iraqi insurgents rather than to begin the phased reduction of the U.S. troops that Baker favored.
“When you’re sitting around in that room and ideas come up, he doesn’t speak just to hear himself talk,” said Douglas Feith, a former Bush undersecretary of defense. “He is measured and careful about what he says. He is still going to be considered a heavy hitter.”
Cheney, for his part, dismisses the notion that his clout declined. When asked last month by Newsweek about Republican critics who say he misrepresented the case for war with Iraq, the answer was vintage Cheney: “Well I’m vice president, and they’re not.”
Oh, and Cheney, at the time of the Vietnam War, did not oppose it, but had better things to do.
. . . meanwhile back in DC, the grand jury into the Libby indictment is about to pass its judgment. I have not idea what the outcome will be, still if this report is be believed the prosecutor is pointing to a certain person – clue: Iraq Optimist 2007, as in “the insurgency is in its last throes”, c 2005, or whenever.
SINGING THE SAME LYRICS February 22, 2007Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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Or should that be reading from the same page? It all amounts to saying the same thing, and taking similar action. Anyway, ABC News Online has Foreign Minister Downer claiming that Australia is on the same page as the United Kingdom, who have announced they intend to decrease the number of troops in Iraq. He is arguing contingency, not principle and contingency. Even in a world of black-white thinking, a “decrease”, “reduction”, “withdrawal” or other words that reflect action with similar effect is not a “surge”, an “escalation” or an “augmentation”.
I suggest they are opposites, like up is to down. Now the Americans are increasing the number of troops and increasing the time of deployment in Iraq, so they are intensifying the presence of their ground troops, aside from any other tactics such as aerial bombing and use of helicopters. Hence the British and the Americans are not singing the same song, right? It is hard to see what practical effect the Australian personnel could have on their own, or have they been effectively subsumed into the British Army, which reminds me of the First World War.
The real question is should they have been there in the first place? Secondly, should it be necessary to have foreign soldiers in Iraq, as at least one Iraqi seems to think based on her first hand experiences (via Juan Cole) on what legal basis should they be there? This question is not just about the American alliance, and our memory of the Fall of Singapore and the Pacific War, with no memory of the history that lead to those developments besides the attack on Pearl Harbor1., in its dramatic effect similar to the suicide attacks of 911, but whether the former Uberpower should act with Straussian (in my view neo-fascistic) logic without regard to norms such as the rule of law and international law, and whether we should be allied to that project.
If we look at domestic practice in formally democratic societies, we do not generally presume that policing requires the adoption of the practices of gangsters or other criminals. Why? Because there is a need to promote the cause of justice as a basis for peace.
As has been repeatedly observed, the stance and behavior of the present American Regime, now subject to augmented Congressional scrutiny, is inimical to long standing American traditions and principles starting with the founders of the Republic. So we need to understand that the alliance has changed in substance. Anyway, the Nixon Doctrine, first stated as I recall significantly on Guam, has been long forgotten.
It is one thing to have alliances, it is another to forget who we are, and fail to see who they are. And aside from any question as to whether the Australian Government is singing from the Bush or Blair song lines, talking points, the actual commitment is purely symbolic, which is not to say that it does not endanger the personnel involved. The real point is that it is the wrong kind of symbolism and the wrong kind of song for us to sing as responsible global citizens.
I am not sure about the application of individual psychology, which to ignore the fact that leaders, and nominal leaders are part of groups, and groups reflect wider social and political factors, but I think it will be prove to be strikingly significant that those who promoted the Iraq Invasion and Occupation also espoused the notion that global warming and its human causality was a fiction. Now if that were used as an analytic framework, we would be warned against attributing the whole of the pathology of our involvement in Iraq to the Americans? I should note that this generalization may include Howard, it does not apply to Blair.
(Others will be better entitled to claim expertise in these matters, and there will be those who will be ruing the absence of dialectic materialism, otherwise known as economics. I try to understand as best I can, if not definitively, as least constructively.)
1. Last night, Late Night Live had Ian Bickerton and Kenneth Hagan, the authors of Unintended Consequences: The United States at War.
The dehumanization of US marines, or more broadly their socialization, in their induction and initial training is an insight into the training of terrorists. The existence of the article suggests that the methods are not completely successful, but they work well enough for the immediate purposes. In fact, assuming similar methods combined with a selection process, it makes serious terrorists far more frightening.
NOT READY TO MAKE NICE February 21, 2007Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Howard is verballing Rudd. Yawn. The Prime Minister seems to be making absurd statements in recent times, particularly his attack on Barack Obama. By the way John if you walk each side of the street, and do it on water, since water streets are not familiar to me, or to most electors, this represents in our minds a mixed metaphor. Perhaps the prime minister might set his thinking straight, then he might be more convincing. Rudd, I assume, is just ignoring him. My superficial sense is this is a sign that the prime minister has lost the plot and on the skids. But I was never a Machiavellian.
However, much to my amazement a stratagem may lie behind the curtain, and not just a fake magician. Mark comments at Larvatus Prodeo about the post Obama, Howard surge, which seemed to me to pretty much Democrat policy in lieu of the Senate vote, to concentrate on training and let the Iraqis do the fighting. In the context of a full-on civil war, withdrawal of foreign troops might be the best strategy. Mark argues that Howard has framed the wedge, and slipped it in with great acuity.
Howard’s great moment is yet to come, with the arrival of the Richard Bruce Cheyney. He will be a brief reign of sunshine, with his smiling face and engaging manner. He is afterall only the VP, and since when did they exercise real authority outside of presiding over the Senate?
ANNIVERSARY February 19, 2007Posted by wmmbb in DOG BLOG -.
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We have Dexter now for twelve months, so today was his anniversary. He is a dog like no other we have had, and we have had to learn to cope. I well remember the time, when a seemingly friendly dog stood at the top of the embankment at the back of the house, and see running and jumping to fly into the back fence. Neither the fence or Dexter carried any injuries from the incident. The story reminds me of the Dexter spirit – and keeps me wary.
HUMAN RIGHTS February 19, 2007Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, Human Rights.
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Human rights are not just legal provisions; they are part of the culture. The emergence of neo-fascism, which we see evidence of in the actions of the United States Government in relation to hostage taking and torture, and the Australian Government in the withdrawal of unfair dismissal laws.
We used to live in a dream world in which habeas corpus could be taken for granted. Simple principles of natural justice, or fairness, could be assumed. The case of Professor Sami Al-Arian appears to show that this development is not limited to off-shore hell holes such as Guantanamo Bay and the other torture camps spread around the world.
The neo-fascists have not completely won, but for that they have been remarkably successful. So what have been the reasons for this success? How is the rise of neo-fascism different from 1930’s.
FRIDAY NIGHT DOG BLOG – AMID RAIN, SUN, A LOST KEY February 17, 2007Posted by wmmbb in DOG BLOG -.
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The rain is lasting into the middle of February, and while we have rain we do not have bushfires. The routine of daily walks was disrupted this week. Since I have a lock on the back gate, just to remind me to keep it closed, because both Sasha and Dexter rather enjoy stepping outside when given the opportunity, to lose the key meant we had to go via the street.
As usual we hope to join Friday Ark #126, and catch the Carnival of the Dogs. You should be able to enlarge the photos by clicking on them.
Oops, I should say something about the first few photos. They got lost and I found then again. So they were surreptiously thrown into this week’s mix.
THE SHADOW OF THE PAST February 16, 2007Posted by wmmbb in European Politics.
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The story of the holocaust denier given five years prison does seem extraordinary, especially when coupled with the fact that he was extradited from Canada where he had an anti-Jewish website. He seems to have a hagiographic view of Adolf Hitler, which surely is an opinion, not a crime. As the incumbent of the rotating EU Presidency, Germany now wants other countries to adopt smilar laws.
We seem to be imprisioned by our histories, in particular Australia, Russia and Germany. To deny the suffering and brutal death of large numbers of people is offensive, but is not the same thing happening in Iraq, where the number of Iraqi deaths seem not to matter. I would suggest the denial of Aboriginal deaths by a government and its leaders is worst.
Fascism is on the rise, or at least the methods of fascism and they flow from the actions of government politicies and decisions, and those governments call themselves democracies. The ability of Hilter idolators to influence the social climate and public policy is negligible.
Still to be a population and to be defeated in war, is I imagine a seering experience, and quite reasonably, if only for reasons of self respect, it is understandable that Germans would not want that to happen again. It is a pity that the populations in the US and Australia do not fully appreciate the potential full implications and ramification of some policies a majority of their voters have supported – but in reality that might always be the case.
Still Germany is not merely living in the shadow of its history. Chancellor Merkel seems to running with the baton on matters European that Blair once believed he held.
TO DREAM, PERCHANCE TO IMPEACH February 15, 2007Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
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Paul Craig Roberts writing for CounterPoint typically makes several trenchant points about the “Bush/Cheney Regime” that would never see the living daylights in papers such as The NY Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe or The LA Times.
His laudatory view of former National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinki, might be tempered with the appreciation that he was the author of supporting the fundamentalist mujaheddin in Afghanistan which included the leaders of Al Qaeda. Nevertheless, it seems, Brzezinki is withering in his condemnation of the Iraq policy. He notes:
Brzezinski damned the Bush Regime’s war in Iraq as “a historic, strategic, and moral calamity.” Brzezinski damned the war as “driven by Manichean impulses and imperial hubris.” He damned the war for “intensifying regional instability” and for “undermining America’s global legitimacy.”
Although I could not be as eloquent, that sounds about right. Paul Craig Roberts reports that Brzezinki after predicting that the expansion of the war will lead to a regional conflagation concludes that “it is time for Congress to assert itself”.
This means Paul Craig Roberts asserts:
The American people and their representatives in Congress must face the fact that criminal and dictatorial persons control executive power in the United States and immediately rectify this highly dangerous situation.
No other impeachment in US history, he argues was ever more justified. He may be right, but my sense, unduly pessimistic, is that it will not happen for the disturbing reason from the point of view of democracy that legislatures around the world, not least the US Congress fortified with the Constitution, have been losing power and influence to dominant executives. I do not fully appreciate the reasons for this development. Wishing it were otherwise does not change anything.
But then again Clinton was impeached for something, but that was because he was a Democrat, right?
Postscript: 17 February 2007
Former Federal Prosecutor, Elizabeth de la Vega, has an interesting interview on this subject, following the publication of her book that argues that Bush Administration can be held to account on the basis of the fraud related to the invasion of Iraq.
DECISION TO MAKE February 13, 2007Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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Since I was sacked, last week, I have a decision to make as to whether I should make an application to the NSW Industrial Commission for Unfair Dismissal. I think I qualify as a casual employee since I was dismissed rather than terminated through lack of work. My inclination is not to bother, but I think that would be lazy and socially irresponsible.
The sure way to lose our rights is not to exercise them. It recent years there have been a number of examples of governments acting to withdraw human and political rights. These have included the refusal to allow refugees rights to tribunals, the incarceration in “detention centres” and framing of refugees as “illegal aliens”. By the way, I think, a good example of Christian values, or as leas the parable of the Good Samaritan was not before the minds of those who proposed the policy. Then there is the denial of the Indigenous rights and history.
The case of David Hicks comes to mind, in which it is argued that he made his situation worse by appealing against an unjust system, notwithstanding the validation of his stand by the US Supreme Court. Hicks situation is in contrast to a case involving an American soldier:
A military judge in Fort Lewis, Washington, has declared a mistrial in the court-martial of Lieut. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer prosecuted for refusing to go to Iraq. A new trial is believed to be unlikely before summer, if at all. The mistrial represents a significant victory for Watada, for the rights of military resisters and for the movement of civil resistance to US war crimes in Iraq.
. . .Watada maintained that his refusal to participate in an illegal war in Iraq was justified, indeed required, under the Army’s own Uniform Code of Military Justice. Under Judge Head’s rulings, however, there simply would be no way for a soldier to resist an illegal order. Indeed, an American military person could be ordered to commit mass murder or genocide and then be denied the right even to make a case for the lawfulness of his actions. The judge’s rulings fly in the face of the Supreme Court’s Hamdan v. Rumsfeld decision, which stood for the principle that all US officials are bound by national and international law not to commit war crimes.
The law, no less than the society, is impregnated with an individualistic orientation, incorporating the notion of conflict and individual responsibility ( not that I have understood individualism). Some actions, it must be considered, could be foolish and counter-productive. Even though I am confident that principles of natural justice are almost universal among small and large business, where exceptions occur it might be worthwhile to bring them to light, in so far as by doing so bullying can be identified, and simply because the application of principles of natural justice might lead to better decision making, with better social outcomes.
The argument that any outcome will not be of much benefit to me is, I think, an argument for selfishness, not individualism. I have had so many benefits from this society that I do not need more.
I do not expect this matter to go beyond the Conciliation process. If it did, I think, somebody would be seriously deranged, and I hope it is not me. I am absolutely hopeless in an interpersonal context at responding in an appropriate and timely manner. Still if you let others do what you might reasonably be expected to do for yourself, you become a dependent and do not learn from experience.
I have agian picked up Eric Fromm’s who wrote an analysis apparently explaining fascism Escape from Freedom, partly in response to hearing Chris Hedges talk at Truthdig about his book The Christian Right and the Rise of American Fascism.
After the Second World War there was, despite the Cold War, a belief by many that fascism had been decisively defeated, and Democracy had triumphed. Now I detect the sense the fascism is on the rise, whether is used to describe the behavior of Islamic fundamentalists or that of the US Government with the policy of torture, detention and “rendition”.
Postscript: 15 February 2007
I am getting encouragement to take my matter forward, which on balance is persausive with me. My motive is not malice or revenge. I simply observe that in work places it is often the people who are not immediately in the line of fire who are the most affected, although the culture and climate of the workplace will impact on everybody making it a desirable or undesirable place to be. I will endeavour to seek to be constructive and dispassionate, although success is not guaranteed.
WEDDING PHOTOS February 13, 2007Posted by wmmbb in Category to be ascribed.
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Some days ago my nephew decided to marry. I gather as well as coping with Bhasa and Arabic, he became a muslim. Our extended family, I know it is a bit distant from me, now has an Indonesian link.
The word “family” is used in a loose sense. Michael is my sister’s son, which just might make him family. But second cousins, for instance, are in another independent orbit.
UNFAIR DISMISSAL LAWS February 11, 2007Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, Life Experience.
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I notice according to ABC Online that Julia Gilliard, Labors Deputy Leader, is considering exempting small business from Unfair Dismissal Laws. Are they also thinking about excluding them from Occupational, Health and Safety Laws?
As I understand it, vexatious claims before the Arbitration and Concilation Commission were subject to penalty. The employees should have their union, and so should the employers, so that in relation to these and other laws, the parties have access to independent advice. I would suspect that the number of cases would be very small, and there must be statistice somewhere.
The remedy the court applies, following conciliation, includes re-employment and/or compensation. If there has been a breakdown in the relationsips in a small business it is very difficult to work there again. In my case, for example, I consider the decision to terminate my causal employment was harsh and unjust because the process was not equitable, fair or reasonable.
I have taken what I judge to be the appropriate action in my case, and I do not see there is much in the unfair dismissal process. I feel have spent too much time on it. In the eyes of some I might have been bullied and that aspect does not worry me. I do not care if I fed that person’s pathology. What frustrates me is my failure to deal with issues in a rational and intelligent way. To do people have to have insight into their own behavior, which can be difficult. As it was people were put off at the end of the week, so the smart thing to then, and I would have had no basis to act.
We all have social responsibilites, and there should be no exemption for small business. I feel for the people who were dumped, as for the those who suffer a dysfunctional management style, which will I expect to end in tears. Things do not have to be like that, and I so far failed hopelessly to change it.
FRIDAY DAY DOG BLOG – THE USUAL SUSPECTS February 10, 2007Posted by wmmbb in DOG BLOG -.
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This week again the usual suspects are at the usual places, and the pattern of walking the dogs continues as, in a sense, my life falls away. The humans in the household past their anniversaries with varying levels of grace and gracelessness. Sasha and Dexter followed their routine of sleep, walks and eating much as usual, although they found that I was at home, as I had lost my McJob.
. . . and she has had enough. (Let me go and lie in the dirt!) 04 February 2007.
These photos can be examined in detail by clicking on them. As usual we are now off to join Friday Ark #125 at Modulator and just possibly catch the Carnival of the Dogs at Mickey’s Musings, should it be playing.
SETTING THE MOOD February 9, 2007Posted by wmmbb in Miscellaneous.
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I just happened to be sitting on a rock, with a camera.
Here is a photo without dogs, just for a change, although they were close-by. At the foot of the escarpment we have some overcast moments, and then we have a brooding landscape. So it is not always sharp sunlight and intense blue skies, even in summer.
This scene might even envoke, for those with that experience, Northern Europe.
The rain is very much appreciated, even though the ground dries out very quickly.
SO BUSH IS STUPID? February 9, 2007Posted by wmmbb in Life Experience.
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I suppose it is reasonable to judge the President of the United States against a higher standard, if only because he is the leader of 300 million people, and as The LA Times observed he is nominally the leader of the West, which we are part of, even if displaced down in our corner. “Strictly speaking”, John Quiggin observes, “Bush is not stupid”, which I take it to mean significantly less than average intelligence, as it is normally measured.
I do not like judging others cruelly – although I make exceptions for politicians I do not like, and that would include President Bush. Yet when I review my own behavior I see evidence of stupidity, of paralysis or blindness that stops me taking the most appropriate action. I think my mind is so taken up with one aspect of an issue that I cannot see my way around the other intruding aspects. Sometimes, another person will be along and point out the obvious. These occasions about reordering mental priorities or mental refocusing.
Another example of stupidity took place the other day when I did not respond very adroitly to being sacked. That insight might have been one of the reasons I was selected as the sacrificial animal. There were four people sitting at the boardroom table. K and J looked distressed, and I knew enough about J to know he would take it badly, so I rang him up later at home. I could have used the lies that were expressed to turn the argument, and then perhaps say something that might make a difference, not for myself because I will not accept the treatment because I have seen it and heard about it before. I had the opportunity, but I could not take advantage of it.
So stupidity, as I define it, is an inability to think and act in a situation, usually unpremeditated, so as to take advantage of the opportunities that exist in it. I once read that destroying entropy, destroys stupidity.
John Quiggin goes on to observe that Bush can seize the short term advantage.
But he’s ignorant, narrow-minded, intellectually lazy and unwilling to learn from experience, a combination that produces reliably stupid policy decisions.
That is tough. I suppose that working through the long term consequences of policy decisions does require mental application, rigor and subtlety. I would throw into the mix another ingredient – I think that Bush is irresponsible.
I thought this slightly dated joke funny. And the next one. Then, I became bored.