Tuesday, August 31, 2004

When Did We Become so Polarized That We Lost Our Ability to Have a Civilized Discussion About Complex Issues?
Ken Parish continues to examine the price of an opinion and the logic behind election (playboyish smile)
While Don Arthur elaborates How politicians can change your vote without changing you

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: DO I REPEAT MYSELF, Electorate's mood hard to gauge
The rule in politics is repetition, repetition, repetition. Not just any words, but THE words - the ones which have been market tested and convey a subliminal message.
German filmmaker Fritz Kippler, one of Goebbels' most effective propagandists, once said that two steps were necessary to promote a Big Lie so the majority of the people in a nation would believe it. The first was to reduce an issue to a simple black-and-white choice that "even the most feebleminded could understand." The second was to repeat the oversimplification over and over. If these two steps were followed, people would always come to believe the Big Lie.
Malcolm Mackerras, one of the most respectable Nostradamus who comes from the land Down Under thinks that John Winston Howard has a better chance to win a fourth term in Australia
than George Walker Bush has to win a second term in the US.
A six week campaign, the longest since Orwell’s 1984. Australia is a bit more like the Spanish case, where you do have one party saying get out and another party staying the course, and the party in power is the one wanting to stay the course ...

[John Howard and Mark Latham are accusing each other of lying, and each has something of a case Porn Diary 39 days to Come]
• · · · As the federal election campaign heats up, blogger Antony Loewenstein counter-spins the news ; [As for invoking Harry Evans in the whole raising the GST rate 12.5% or 15% debate, I'm sure the fastidiously anti-political Evans would be JUST thrilled to have his name dragged into SLI's hate campaign; New Matilda]
• · · · · At the fag end of a Government more than 10 years old: There’ll be plenty more time to provide running commentary on the Federal Election. God knows that there’ll be plenty of opportunities for the Boilermaker to tap into the popular mood at rail stations at 6 in the morning; [Factory Outlets of Grove Lowy pact to block cinema: site owner]
• · · · · · Oedipus wrecks Graeme Wedderburn, chief of staff for the NSW Premier, Bob Carr, and Matthew Strassberg... The Hardie inquiry: The spirit of Oedipus Rex, of turning a blind eye to the bleeding obvious, lurks behind every corporate and organisational disaster

Monday, August 30, 2004

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: It goes on.
Robert Frost, American poet (1874-1963)

JOHN Howard has signalled the mother of all scare campaigns over Labor's ability to run the economy and keep interest rates low and another John, John Quiggin, analyses the Beatups! In the red corner a brash young upstart takes on the wily older campaigner, the man of steelx versus the rough diamond

Eye on Elections 2004: E(l)ection We Had To Have: Punters Hunger for Hung Parliament
Australia's most successful Olympic team ever will be welcomed home on Wednesday by Prime Minister John Howard and Labor leader Mark Latham.
AN international betting agency expects the federal election to pull in more money than both the Olympics, NRL and AFL grand finals combined.
Centrebet analyst Gerard Daffy predicts punters will pour more than $2 million into the October 9 election outcome - money into the clowns with the masks of mirth. Prime Minister John Howard's Coalition is the early $1.55 favourite, while Mark Latham's Labor is the $2.30 underdog ...
Mr Harry Evans, Clerk of the Parliament, said The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Neil Andrew's actions were most unusual. I don't know where the Speaker gets the power to stop the House of Representatives sitting.
Mr Andrew said he had consulted the Clerk of the House, Ian Harris, who advised that it did not sit...

Running Porkies: No silver or bronze in fight for the Lodge; [The Whole World is Watching: First Spain and now Prime Minister John Howard will become the first of three allied leaders who launched the US-led invasion of Iraq to face voters ; Truth is multi-coloured and we may prefer the rose-tinted shades to black and white ... Values versus bribes: Margo Kingston ]
• · From Road To Surfdom to King versus Bull; [ALP's cynics fear a victory: Although no one will admit it, many in the State Government fear a federal Labor win might be worse than a loss
• · · Southerly Buster: Starting Gun
Why parliament gets 19 guns and the governor-general gets 21 is not immediately obvious
• · · · Orwell and Wizards of Oz practicing Election Speak: Tax or levy: Latham lost on difference
• · · · · ; Second Amerikan blogger, John Adams: The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger public liberty: Seriously Polling ; This the Only Issues You Need to Know about E(l)ections and the state of the shocking state of the Princes Highway
• · · · · · · Pendulum Professor: Malcolm Mackerras ; [ At this election, candidates or parties that win more than 4 per cent of the vote will earn $1.94 for each vote; Antony Green's E(l)ection Guide: Comic views on the nation's 150 electorates ]
(ELSEWHERE: How Long Can the Country Stay Scared? ; Abolish the Electoral College ... The best argument the staff at the NYTimes can come up with for dumping the electorial college )

'What's one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one?'
'I don't know,' said Alice. 'I lost count.'
'She can't do Addition,' the Red Queen interrupted.
Lewis Carroll, Author (1832 - 1898)

Invisible Hands & Markets: The Magic Mountains and Rivers are flooding bookstores
Everyone in publishing agrees it is getting harder to sell a new novel, even by a distinguished name, in this country; book buyers seem interested only in non-fiction
She hit the same spot aimed at by those adverts beginning 'Ashamed of your English?' by encouraging people to think they could turn this knowledge to their advantage.
Imrich, therefore I am published [ For every occupation, there is a catalog of secrets only its employees are aware of Proofreadering Australian rechtub klat: If you’re reading too fast, your brain can “correct” typos, preventing you from catching them. That’s why it’s sometimes a good idea to read a page upside-down ; Three magic verbs: “weighs,” “mulls,” or “considers” ]
• · Gas can be frozen into liquid form near its source, shipped to market in refrigerated tankers, warmed back into gaseous form on foreign shores and injected into the local pipeline system. Thanks to this technological advance, gas has the potential to be a fungible, global commodity like oil
• · · Guy Kawasaki's - Art of the Start manifesto (PDF version)Mantra" instead of mission for the enterprise.In his own inimitable way,he expands this with some real examples. Nike -"Authentic Athletic Experience", Disney -"Fun, Family and Entertainment", Starbucks - "Rewarding Everyday Moments"
• · · · Germany, the country is united, but Easterners are dissatisfied ; [123]
• · · · · ACH, IS immigration a danger or a ray of hope?
• · · · · · As far as I can tell, the first recorded thinking on the "six degrees of separation" theory started in Budapest around 1929. That's when Frigyes Karinthy wrote a short story entitled "Chains" in which he postulated that one billion people had only five degrees of separation. He was not a mathematician, scientist or engineer but a poet and writer, so where the number five came from remains unclear. There is absolutely nothing amazing about the six degrees of separation theory

Thursday, August 26, 2004

US sociologists are finally challenging the intellectual stranglehold of economists

Invisible Hands & Markets: Regime-shaking George Soros goes at Washington
One of the first jobs he found when he arrived in London from Budapest in 1947, practically penniless and speaking little English, was as a traveling salesman. The young George Soros would try to sell little knickknacks to tobacconists - unsuccessfully, as he now recalls. Often, he couldn't even find parking. His girlfriend left him because he seemed to have no future. He missed his parents. It rained incessantly.
Hard-pressed to think of a nongovernmental figure in the US today - except maybe Oprah [When we speak of "mental" versus "manual" labor, are we overlooking anything? ]
• · Two economists look at America through very different glasses
• · · Cooking Books Accountants show they are versed in Panther speak
• · · · The Meedya Report: The best value-for-time occupations, which pay good salaries and enable workers to clock off after between 35 and 40 hours, are librarian ($997) ...
• · · · · Cop to Reverend: Close laptop outside library Make up your own joke about working on Sunday
• · · · · · Christopher Orlet Why women will not marry down

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

3,000 Jobs; 500,000 Seekers
In a story focused on how the company is changing its workforce, that check of Monster provided telling detail and understated irony in an article that could have otherwise been a routine layoff story

Invisible Hands & Markets: Open Spectrum International
Space in Hearts promotes regulatory forms to enable freer public use of the radio spectrum globally. OSInt is a project of Mista v Srdce, a Czech nonprofit formed by Petr Marek in the early 1990s when he was host of Czechoslovak Radio's most popular daily talk program, RadioForum From the "About" page on the site:
OSInt hopes to promote international awareness of Open Spectrum as a practical and desirable option, especially in emerging democracies and less-developed countries. Gathering and translating the best of the OS literature, participating in foreign regulators' public consultations, organizing workshops and conferences, developing this website as a resource, and working with transnational policymaking institutions - these are our initial plans.

Free speech ; [ Follow the Money: How John Kerry Busted the Terrorists' Favorite Bank ; World Bank Ignores its own Advice ]
• · AP Handing over keys, not control...Campaign turns nasty...Political billions
• · · Wisdom: Knowledge economy opportunities for Australian firms in the Asia–Pacific ; [ Queensland’s music industry basics: people, businesses and markets ; Commercialising Australian biotechnology ]
• · · · Government Doing the bidding of Frank Lowy’s Westfield Imbroglio reaches right into Carr’s office – to the door of his Chief of Staff, Graeme Wedderburn ; [Polygraph politics ]
• · · · · Pat Kane argues Play-not Work-is the key to a Healthier Society
• · · · · · Warning PDF version: From riches to rags: what are Nauru’s options and how can Australia help? [Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, The Princess and the Pea, The Swan Princess On the persistence of the princess myth]

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Over the years, bloggers could have made more money working minimum-wage jobs and become part of the elitist ‘ownership society'. However, we do it for the love of it. Evil vs. Evil: From Bad to Worse

Invisible Hands & Markets: Get Rick Quick in Iraq.
@ least $8.8 billion in Iraqi funds given to Iraqi ministries by the former US-led authority there cannot be accounted for, according to a draft US audit set for release soon.
The exact methodologies of the thefts was inventive and varied, forming a veritable encyclopedia of third-world graft, diverted funding and government fraud. The specific schemes mentioned in the article involved padded payroll; often thousands of salaries would be on the books but only a few hundred workers actually existed.

US audit cites lax 'stewardship'
• · Can Shareholders Fight Terrorism?
A right-wing campaign against companies that do business in terror-sponsoring states ignores the most obvious targets
• · · Applicants wait to obtain their visas in the longest line at the Foreigners' Police I am aware that what people go through here is undignified
• · · · It is amazing in late 1980s Jeff was just another voiceless librarian on the internet forums. Listen to his entrepreneural voice now! Jeff Bezos, the dotcom king: Amazon irrepressibly casts every challenge as an opportunity [Amerikan and Japanese Goodness Grecious How About this! Amazon.com is buying Joyo.com, China's largest online retailer of books, music and videos, for $US72 million
• · · · · A fish-eating bird called the anhinga: Elusive Kozeny may prove too big to catch
• · · · · · Dreams Coming true: Huge net gains for Google staff

Thursday, August 19, 2004

The count begins. How long does it take to repair a huge hole, the size of Skase variety (Spanish) suitcase, on the major highway? Take care just before you turn to the Rawson Street from the Princes Highway, heading towards the SLC AquaDot Swimming Pool, as for almost three days carr and trruck drivers of all accents have been blaming the local, state and federal authorities for the unexpected Luna, Prater, Disney, Park experience. Ach, day three!

The history of human civilization has basically been the efforts of a small minority to get the majority to do things they wouldn't otherwise do, like pay taxes and fight against strangers. There is nothing intrinsically evil or oppressive in this tendency. In order to perform all of the complicated and diversified tasks involved in building a civilization, the efforts of large groups of people need to be coordinated and directed. It's just that it seems inevitable that the group of people giving the orders soon come to see themselves as inherently superior, deserving of special treatment, and feel an almost genetic drive to accumulate wealth and power to insure the reproductive success of their offspring. Ach, Power corrupts whether you fight for your existence under kommunist Czechoslovakia or some place Down Under or Up Over...

Tracking Policies & Investigative Stories: Corruption and Democracy in Australia
In this detailed study, Barry Hindess from the Democratic Audit Team argues that corruption is a more substantial problem than Australia’s impressive performance on conventional international measures would seem to indicate
Democratic Audit of Australia, Australian National University (PDF file); [Not happy, John - Prime Minister John Howard is also the subject of a stinging attack in a Sunday feature this week, from the man who first engineered his ascent to the Liberal leadership in the mid-1980s — former party president John Valder. JOHN VALDER; About 20 will be happy because it says exactly what they think. Another group will be luke warm. A large group will want to chop my head off ; Margo Will be Based in Canberra]
• · Victory has suddenly many fathers: In the shadow of the corporate veil: James Hardie and asbestos compensation
• · · National land transport plan: The AusLink White Paper: an overview ; [ Energy White Paper: fuel excise grants reform]
• · · · Allan Fels: The problem of poorer countries not having access to knowledge can be remedied... How to bring knowledge to the entire planet
• · · · · George Williams The people need a say in selecting governors and the governor-general Troppical Ken Parish is currently being technocratied to every corner of the world with his latest salvos on so many gutsy political topics that you have to set aside plenty of time to digest them. For example, Ken reports how the mainstream media has now picked up Rob Corr's revelation that Howard said on ABC Four Corners way back in February 2002 that he spoke with Scrafton about the photos as well as the video (thus contradicting Howard's claim of only yesterday that they only spoke about the video). It's taken the journalists less than 24 hours to catch up with the blogosphere. Ach, do czech out why the Hungarian Professor Bunyip, a.k.a. Imre, tends to spin right out of control...
• · · · · · Trendy Ned Kelly of Blogging, John Quiggin, pinches an article from the WashPost Op-Ed piece by Pradeep Chhibber and Ken Kollman, claiming that the failure of third parties to do well in the US is due, not to plurality voting or other institutional factors but to excessive political centralisation. [Original story from WashPost Op-Ed piece by Pradeep Chhibber and Ken Kollman

Monday, August 16, 2004

The perfect one-line response to the Marxian maxim, From each according to his abilities to each according to his needs.
What better incentive does someone need to minimize his abilities and maximize his needs?
Slogans that helped topple communism are now used to defend the welfare system...

Invisible Hands & Markets: The Invisible Hand Bites Its Nails
You know what's efficient? private companies. Much more efficient than the government. That's why we farm everything out to them, because they can do it better, cheaper and more efficiently than the government. And the nice thing is that the unions haven't made them all unaccountable and stuff.
Can't fire people in the government, they're unaccountable
• · New Statesman An unequal society is an unhealthy society
• · · PDF version States and Markets in an Era of Globalization [I'm going to become rich and famous after i invent a device that allows you to stab people in the face over the internet]
• · · · Brotherhood of St Laurence (PDF file) 2004 federal election: call to the parties
• · · · · Invisible Education Why there is no substitute to knowing your stuff Let's remind ourselves here that the UK government's response to a fall off of 21 per cent in the take up of A-level maths was the proposal to make the course easier!
• · · · · · No to moral imperialism - and moral defeatism

Friday, August 13, 2004

We are all Olympians in the eyes of God: While My Favourite Paper tracks Exclusive Olympic Stories, Robert Scheer types at all hours at his Summer Olympics blog

OLYMPIC GAMES With the countdown entering its final phase high hopes enter our hearts: On Your Marks
Finally, someone else gets to host an Olympics and Sydney is relegated to the role of married older sibling watching with patronising amusement as a younger brother or sister prepares for the big day.
First thing first, Czech Out the official home for Athens 2004 Greece will make history once again, as it did in 1896 with the revival of the Games.
The graphics are eerily familiar and much of the information reflects all those issues we were so concerned about four years ago: tickets, transport, volunteers, etc. There is an impressive interactive schedule of every session of every sport. So if you simply have to see the Preliminary Duet Free Routine of the synchronised swimming, you'd better keep the morning of August 24 (Australian-time) free.
The other big "official" Olympics site belongs to the IOC, where you are left in no doubt that the international sporting fest is a Very Important Thing Indeed. This dry effort is short of anything resembling fun or excitement.
Here, for example, is the bizarre entry under a section entitled Passion: Over and above sporting exploits, Olympism is a source of multiple passions which unite the worlds of sport, art, culture and collections. Olympism is a state of mind and the Olympic Museum is its symbol. Glad we got that straight.

ATHENS OLYMPICS ON LINE [A hit of escape, the suggestion of Olympic stamina, balanced with a surreal experience: If I could get every teenager to memorise it, the future world would not be peppered with bullies]
•· · Olympians barred from blogging? No blogging from Olympic village [ Making the case for Milo of Croton, winner of 6 consecutive Olympic wrestling titles before 500BC, to be named as greatest Olympic champion of all time]
•· · Great Aussie hopes for gold All that glitters is gold, they say. See who amongst the Australian team is most likely to reach glittering glory in Athens
•· · · PVRBlog: Tips and thoughts and comments; [ The idea doesn't have to be Olympic. It just has to change the world]
•· · · Will Athens win a gold for security? [ GREEK SECURITY TEAM FAILS TO NOTICE GIANT HORSE ; Security Czech and Slovak Style anti-chemical warfare specialists to help guard the Olympics: The country's specialised troops were the only ones to detect traces of nerve gas in the Saudi Arabian desert during the 1991 Gulf War]

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

2004 UK defence cuts: possible Australian implictions In mid July 2004 the UK Ministry of Defence outlined potential cuts of up to 25 per cent in existing UK combat systems and 20 per cent in UK personnel numbers within four years.

Tracking Policies & Investigative Stories: An End to Poverty?
A wealth of ideas about an age-old problem...
The poor have, proverbially, always been with us, even if ideas about who they are, what poverty is, and why it exists, keep changing. It's less clear how far back the notion of abolishing poverty goes. Probably, as Gareth Stedman Jones suggests, utopian dreams of a world without want are age-old. It was only in the late 18th century, though, that serious debates first emerged.

By Gareth Stedman Jones [FTA Amerika and Australia Agree to Disagree ]
• · John Quiggin the election of a non-partisan President Major parties have been increasingly willing to replace party nominees with Independents, for offices including MPs, Lord Mayors ... [for legal aspect see Ken Parish ]
• · · Public V Private Schools: Go private? Not even if it were free, say loyal parents
• · · · Scott McMillan: Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, al-Qa'ida operative
• · · · · Chernobyl II Accident at Japan nuclear plant
• · · · · · Partisan Rhetoric (PDF version) David Bennett on The 2004 Election: A Watershed Moment

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Invisible Hands & Markets: Widespread Agreement
Abiola Lapite is somewhat nonplussed to find himself agreeing with John Quiggin:
Foreign Dispatches: Something on Which We Agree: I rarely agree with John Quiggin on political matters, so when such an instance does arise, it's worth commenting on. Today he makes an excellent case against the Australia-USA "Free Trade" Agreement, which turns out to be little more than an excuse for America to foist harsh intellectual property laws on the Australians.
I know that “Trade agreement said harmful to small faraway country” is the stereotype of a boring newspaper story, but this one is really important to Americans as well as Australians, and to anyone interested in health policy. If you ever hope to see affordable health care in the US, you’d better hope that (against all the odds) this agreement falls at the final hurdle.

Abiola Lapite ; [via Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal ]
• · Edward Hugh writes that morale in Germany appears to be low: A Fistful of Euros: Watch Your Piggy Bank!
• · · Bob Herbert looks at the real economy and says it's time to Admit We Have a Problem.
• · · · Brad DeLong: Why Oh Why Are We Ruled by These Fools? (Fiscal Policy Edition)
• · · · · The Corporation: The film which starts from the legal conceit of corporations as legal persons, and asks, what kind of people are they? [Federal Court records obtained by the Herald show that in one year, 1980, Rivkin was successful in having his taxable income reduced from $627,610 to a mere $6763 ]
• · · · · · The first synthetic diamonds made from the ashes of a man are to be set into jewellery so they can be worn by his family Question If I have diamonds made out of my ashes, who wants one? Diamonds are a widow's best friend ...

Monday, August 09, 2004

Russia introducing a new law to scrap the highly inefficient, Communist-era welfare system

Invisible Hands & Markets: Contract Figures Show Halliburton's Startling Growth
Halliburton, the giant services firm formerly run by Vice President Dick Cheney, saw a sixfold increase in earnings from contracts with the Defense Department last year, making the Houston-based company the nation's seventh largest defense contractor.
Halliburton received Pentagon contracts worth $491 million in 2002; that figure shot up to $3.1 billion in 2003.
Data on the top 200 federal contractors was compiled for Government Executive by Eagle Eye Publishers Inc. of Fairfax, Va., from information collected by the General Services Administration.
The bulk of Halliburton's 2003 federal revenues derived from two contracts let by the Army to Halliburton's engineering and construction division, Kellogg, Brown and Root, before the invasion of Iraq. Under one contract, the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, which ultimately could be worth up to $5.6 billion, the company provides logistical support to troops, such as cooking, laundry, housing and other services. The other agreement, known as the RIO contract, worth $2.5 billion, was to fight oil-field fires that U.S. commanders anticipated before the start of the war and to restore Iraq's oil infrastructure during reconstruction.
Both contracts have been controversial. David Walker, the head of the Government Accountability Office, told the House Government Reform Committee in June that a GAO audit showed that the LOGCAP contract was poorly managed.

GAO found that the Corps properly justified the sole-source contract to KBR to restore Iraq's oil infrastructure ; [To pursue profits: The American President Calvin Coolidge once said that the business of America is business ]
• · Economics does not contain all the answers of life, nor does it claim to: It does, however, show how the morally acceptable desire for profit leads to spontaneous social cooperation that obviates the need for a bloated state apparatus to direct production [ Free Raid Agreement: Interview: Tony Abbott]
• · · CickiRail Excuses for same old grind In October next year Rail of NSW will be 150 years old: Sydney trains and railway stations are like a scene from some post-apocalyptic movie -- a futuristic, industrial detention area from a Mad Max [This coincides with the death of Ruth Morrison, 82, of Bayview, Sydney, who fell from an Indian Pacific carriage early on Monday: Great Southern Railway Safety]
• · · · Invisible Marketing Reed-Elsevier Boss Defends Profits ; [Search rival Google owns one of the better Blogging solutions, called Blogger.com. And right now, when it comes to Google, all bets are off!; [Dear Media Dragons, Media Discover Promotional Potential of Blogosphere]
• · · · · Making Fatal Headlines ; [Forget the Media Dragons, it's the Video Dragons showing the way on the internet ; Internet fraud targets John Kerry supporters]
• · · · · · When oil was found in 1996 in Equatorial Guinea, the former Spanish colony in West Africa was one of the poorest countries in the world: The Boom that only Oils the Wheels of Corruption

Friday, August 06, 2004

Why Labor shouldn’t budge on the FTA ├čand why it’s already gone too far

Invisible Hands & Free Trades: John Quiggin: A striking Southerly Buster
Sir Humphrey: Alas, there are grave problems about circulating papers before they are written.
Two Thumbs Up to Links by APO On FTA
In Parliament today, Howard solemnly announced that five government departments had looked at Labor's proposed amendments to the FTA, and all had agreed they would be completely impossible to draft. Latham just laughed at him - he might as well have announced that his advice had come from the Liberal Party secretariat.
We've reached the point where anything coming out of the Public Service can be assumed to be propaganda on behalf of the government. This assumption isn't always correct, but when it matters, it's usually right. Labor has contributed to this trend, but things are far worse now than when Howard came to office. If Latham wins, I hope he sticks to Labor's promise to reverse this process.

• · Processes and Outcomes Haeding Overboard Barista, aka David Tiley enclosed this letter in relation to Free Rade Agreement; further he links to FTA and Copyright and Authors
• · Cash Kills Forget the old saw that cash is king: When companies hoard, the economy suffers
• · · John Quiggin More Thumbs Up
• · · · Free In The City Signs of panic from the PM
• · · · · · See Also Free economic news bar

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Terrorism's Harvest How al-Qaeda is tapping into the opium trade to finance its operations

Tracking Policies & Investigative Stories: Free Bitter Pill
Australian concession card holder David Nolan pays just $3.80 a month for the tablets that keep his cholesterol from reaching dangerous levels and the Australian taxpayer subsidises him to the tune of $60. American patient Paulette Beaudoin would pay at least twice as much for the same script…out of her own pocket.
It is this striking difference between the two systems that has raised suspicions about what the Free Trade Agreement will mean for our system of subsidised medicines.
Since signing the Free Trade Agreement in May, the Australian government has continually insisted that it will not affect the price of drugs, nor will it affect our much-valued Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
And yet, there are influential Americans who argue that Australia has been freeloading for too long and point darkly to the future:
…there's no such thing as a free lunch. Somebody has to pay for the research and development of these miracle drugs, says Senator Jon Kyl, a Republican who has visited Australia as one of the chief lobbyists.
Jonathan Holmes travels to the United States and discovers why a powerful and vociferous lobby group would like to wear down the Australian system…and why the ordinary American, struggling to meet the cost of much-needed drugs, looks at Australia with envy.

The Rich Gang up on the Poor at Trade Talks... [via Four Corners ]
• · Out of Many, One: Out of This Long Political Darkness a Brighter Day Will Come [Media Watch: Politicians in the ABC archive]
• · · PDF Format: Capitalism with Chinese characteristics: the public, the private and the international [From The Globalist, on how Russia met the world]
• · · · All The Pretty Words Optimists or opponents, we need our politicians to deal with the real problems facing America [The French, Russian and now Marketing Antipodean Revolution in Politics]
• · · · · Everyone has a favorite investigative journalist: Stacy St. Clair writing for the Chicago's Daily Herald [Michael Schwalbe: New Tobacco Image Masks Deadly Business as Usual... ]
• · · · · · Lawrence Martin Patriot Game, Media Shame

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

After tracking the career paths of former Howard Government staffers, Crikey has decided to do the same for ex Hawke and Keating staffers.

Invisible Hands & Markets: Crony capitalism is alive and well in Australia
If this isn't blatant picking of winners and worse, what isn't? Why ban online casinos but not betting exchanges co-owned by the Packers? This isn't the only example of favortism towards the Packers of course, as people familiar with current regulations on free to air commercial TV would realise. Kerry Packer truly is the personification of the evil stereotype of politically connected big business that gives capitalism a bad name. While the US continues to produces visionary entrepreneurs like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Marc Andressen who succeeded mostly on their merits, Australian capitalism continues to be dominated by these vulgarians who succeed through the art of political contacts.
Aussie Roullette [Jason Soon and Complex Catallaxy]
• · In Archives, Now and Coming Soon at the Southerly Buster you will find priceless analysis together with links to a growing mountain of reports on the preferential trade agreement with the US [Backpages Blog By Chris Sheil also bites into the debate with The FTA: policy vs politics]
• · · In an early article last year Peter Gallaghan criticizes the views of the conspiracy theoriests about the US and the bilateral Free Trade Agreement with Australia: True Believers and Gary Sauer-Thompson [Crikey, Steve Mayne McMullan vs Costello on tax policy release ]
• · · · Ken Parish Counsel for the Cummins estate must be thanking their lucky stars that barristers can't (in many circumstances, anyway) be sued for negligence
• · · · · Troppo Armadillo Wayne Wood on Consumption Tax and the Middle of the Street et al
• · · · · · See Also A Refugee policies in Australia

Monday, August 02, 2004

How some truths tends to stay the same. Hell yeah! The article linked below triggered many surreal memories of months and months of lining up for work with other migrants at the dollar wall in Traiskirchen, the Viennese refugee camp. Although in Sydney one had to travel from Villawood to Flemington at 4 am for a prospective heavy lifting yakka, the longish trip seemed to be generally lot more productive than the short side walk in Traiskirchen. Even if the pay was pathetic the fruit from Queensland was just divine ... and the Greek and the Italian lessons were always free!
As bloggers of broken English, we metaphorically line up along the cyber-wall and most days we get a satisfaction of being part of some kind of human experiment whose little joys include a simple comment here; a thoughtful link there; and building hope everywhere. There is even that prospect that one day we might enjoy a hearty multicultural lunch accompanied by home made grapa which will allow our conversations to puncture the surface with amazing stories about survival skills ...the perils and wonders of exile are embedded in our destiny. While the possibilities might be infinite, they can make the bravest man feel scared. We all know too well that an imperfect beings cannot make perfect decisions.
The wailing immigrant wall, is not a topic that has been explored too often in literature or movies. It's a place that reinvents itself almost on a daily basis, especially when the surreal (de) inflation hits. Who, living in the Villawood (Our Australian Hollywood) Hostel in September 1980, would disagree with the young character, a Lady to be, Mary Wein, whose parents migrated to Australia from Poland in 1920s. In her memoirs Lady Fairfax wrote, I came home to my father one day. I was the youngest, at 22, single, female, wage-earner in NSW. Dad I have found out about money. It is lovely stuff, it makes you free. (Ach, according to my Irish spies that Lady Mary will soon feature on the cover of their very own Vogue magazine.) Through the lenses of my favourite paper, the Fairfax press, I learned about Frank Lowy, Czechoslovak-born Australian, who emerged as a successful entrepreneur whose rags-to-riches story one might have expected to google on the screen of the real Hollywood.
By sheer coincidence, it was John Newman, the Australian Yugoslav, who spread the word of various job opportunities in the Slavic pub at Cabramatta and during the October Fest of 1981. Newcomers piggybacked on tips, networks and contacts over a beer. In the life of a migrant, the big news event is not who came in first in the Bass Hill election. It was the paying job for me and for my friends. The Slavic pub, situated opposite the rail station almost next door to the Austrian Club where my Bay St, Croydon, neighbour Frank used to play on Saturday nights, was not far from a home where John Newman, the member for Cabrammatta, would be shot fourteen years later. As I later learnt the area around the pub was practically the Grand Central Station of the Sydney drug trade, where on average one person a month overdosed. [My next big dream is to examine in more details the story of migrant experiences in the 1980s so if you know of any souls who happened to cross their paths with hostels at Traiskirchen or Villawood or Coogee please let them know about it.]

Invisible Hands & Markets: Brick wall is all many Poles find in London
They call it the wailing wall, but the only act of devotion on this west London street corner is to mammon not God.
Dozens of young, newly arrived Polish men line up here every day, often all day, waiting in vain for the promise of jobs in the new Europe to materialise.
They look like a ragtag collection of heavy-set male prostitutes.
For many the days are turning into weeks as optimism turns to desperation, dreams to poverty and squalor. London was not supposed to be like this.
Back home the papers had told them by joining the European Union on May 1, hard-working Poles would be welcomed in Britain with open arms. There were tens of thousands of well-paid, legal jobs.
But the truth is the opposite. There are jobs ads at the wall, the window of Mr Patel's newsagency in Hammersmith just down from the Polish cultural centre. And, as members of the newly expanded 25-nation EU, the Poles are free to work in Britain. But most of the jobs are either gone, non-existent or so poorly paid (about $9 an hour) that they barely cover rent and food. The day's best outcome is for a builder's van to pull up looking for workers. Then, witnesses say, there's a mad scramble. But that is if the employer actually pays them.

The local Polish newspaper, Dziennik Polski, has been deluged with calls from Poles who say they were dudded after a week of hard labour and sacked with a minute's notice [link first seen at Isn't it really terrible to be an adult in the Free Speech Zone? What ideas are we willing to live and die for? ]
• · Chilly Puritanism defined by H.L. Mencken as the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, is having a good time:
Dancing in the Streets: Revolution with a Smile

• · · James Hardies and Ethics: Duties to rich clients
• · · · See Also The IMF says its policies crippled Argentina
• · · · · On postmodern slogans and the difference between Christian practice and a Starbucks purchase
• · · · · · · Prague Post has a photo and a story which has over 200 links on Google this morning. One and all news agencies are covering this story as athletes from different countries are heading to Europe for the Athens Olympics hand grenade exploded outside a casino on Na Prikope, a street near Wenceslas Square; Scotsman: A car exploded injuring at least 16 people in a crowded shopping area in Prague

Sunday, August 01, 2004

How To Be Creative: Companies that squelch creativity can no longer compete with companies that champion creativity.Nor can you bully a subordinate into becoming a genius. The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props. Meeting a person who wrote a masterpiece on the back of a deli menu would not surprise me.... your company needs you now more than it ever did

Invisible Hands & Markets: We Have No Shame: Global Hunger
Malnutrition makes the poor less productive. To beat poverty, hunger must first be defeated
PEOPLE in very poor countries are, on average, less intelligent than those in rich ones. Some readers may be shocked by this statement, so let's rephrase it. Some 800m people do not have enough to eat. Without proper nutrition, the human body cannot develop properly. That includes the brain. Those who are ill-fed tend to end up both physically shorter and less mentally agile than they otherwise would have been. Hunger also spurs millions of children to drop out of school in order to scavenge for food, and those who manage to attend school despite empty bellies find it excruciatingly hard to concentrate.
Famines grab more headlines, but chronic malnourishment is a far more serious problem because it is so widespread...

Empty bowls, heads and pockets [On a more Positive Note The Economist Encourages Readers to Czech Out The New Golden Age of Philanthropy If money can't buy you happiness, why do they look so pleased with themselves?]
• · Is Dems' Biggest Money Man Mob-Connected? Stephen Bing, a wealthy film producer
• · · See Also Taxable income and tax paid in Commonwealth electoral divisions, 2000–01 ; [Paying off your house can be a fate worse than debt]
• · · · The continent of my birth is now known as The Land of Leisure; [Norway is looking for ways to keep its workers on the job; Workplaces in Germany and France Undergoing Velvet Revolution; Speaking of Revolution the Britons have taken a leaf out of Bohemian book and are Leaving in Greater numbers than ever before.]
• · · · · Bradford DeLong: The Era of Incompetence when it comes to Inflation, Deflation, Anti-flation: Time to Blow the Issues Up?; [ Banks relearn the value of branches]
• · · · · · Baring all for Canada Pitty the Immigration officers who have to pore through naked pictures of hundreds of exotic dancers to keep impostors out of Canadian lap dancing market