Thursday, June 30, 2005

The ex-Labor leader is honest, blunt and angry, but certainly not the least bit interested in rebuilding any bridges.
Mark Latham gets angry, err, angrier
Mark Latham's splenetic comments about the Labor Party, the state premiers, the media and anyone else who got in his way received plenty of newsprint today David Roffey signed in just behind Laurie Ferguson. Why is he here? Lets hope that the rest of Bernie's book will remind us all of a more rounded picture of Mark's career: not only the disappointment, but also the excitement. Not just the acrimony, but also the inspiration Not just the risk, but the reasons we were willing to take the risk.

Eye on Tax & Tragedy: The Loner: Inside a Labor tragedy
Bernie Lagan has taken a risk himself, engaging so closely and so soon with this highly-coloured and highly dramatic story.

When Bernie Lagan asked me to launch this book, I admit I had some misgivings. I disagree with some of the analysis, and with some of the opinions in this book – including those of its subject! There is always the risk that someone, motivated by stupidity or by spite, will think launching a book equals endorsing its contents. But, on reflection, I thought this was a risk well worth taking. Loner covers a very recent and very volatile episode in Labor's history. The dust has not settled. The wounds are raw. Some would say that nowhere near enough time has passed for a reasoned (or reasonable) discussion of Mark Latham's leadership...
We value our history without caveat. The light on the hill, and the shadows beneath, are both part of Labor's past. And we struggle to accept and learn from both. We hold our history close in the Labor Party, we breathe new life into old feuds. We use our history as a guide and a justification. It is our weapon of choice in battles against foes without and within the party. It's our weapon of choice, but it's a two-edged sword. Labor's close engagement with our history risks uncomfortable truths and awkward revelations. Perhaps this is why books about Labor's history sell better than those about the conservatives.

• Nightmare on Beazley Street: Latham bites back ... The Tsunami and the Mad End John Faulkner, Labor's leading historian, on 'Loner' [Sour Grapes: Latham book hot property: Costello A-list: Carr gives Latham an F for grade A insult ; A-Humour Preacher of Practicer: a Politician or a Priest ; Bernie Lagan; Labor got the leader it truly deserves - It’s beyond repair, beyond reform Google: Latham biography reopens wounds in ALP]
• · One of Australia's largest transport companies, Lindsay Australia, moved from New South Wales (NSW) to Queensland two years ago. Director, Tom Lindsay, says the company will never return, describing NSW as a "Gestapo state". By moving, he says the company has reduced the cost of payroll tax, worker's compensation premiums and vehicle registration. The savings paid for the cost of the move within 12 months. Other key businesses have also left the state because of higher taxes and charges How tax drove a company north ; Freedom in the Market
• · · The New Yorker: Did AIPAC lobbyists and a Pentagon analyst pass secrets to Israel? Real Insiders ; Ari Sharp John Howard's ten worst ministers ; Yearning for Great Men without too much of Executive Power Presidential Powers
• · · · The Australian goods and services tax (GST) has been successful overall. Lachlan Wolfers, of accounting firm KPMG, said that GST revenues had been higher than predicted, administration presented few problems, and it had been widely accepted. It had not dealt with the problem of the black market, but it had brought many businesses within the tax net. However, there were several problems. The treatment of property, financial services and non-profit operations was very complex. The GST also created problems for foreign buyers of goods and services in Australia, Wolfers argued GST a 'stunning success'. ; Taxing but 'relatively painless' - the GST rakes it in ; Attempts by the Australian Taxation Office to tighten the rules covering political advocacy and lobbying have left non-profit organisations fearful they could lose their charity status and some tax exemptions Charities fear losing tax-free status
• · · · · Tory David Davis said Labour's legacy would be "surveillance from cradle to grave" ... We can see no benefits, huge cost and serious risks to civil liberties and privacy The Good the Bad and the Ugly; MPs narrowly back ID cards plan ; The Blair government competes with the US for the prize of world's most intellectually bankrupt Western ruling party: the costly, redundant new ID legislation Rebels halve Blair's majority in vote on ID cards ; Let’s hope that it gets mauled in committee and then dropped Ministers plan to sell your ID card details to raise cash
• · · · · · No one knows yet whether William Rehnquist plans to resign this week. But if he does, the stage will be set for the most contentious nomination battle since the Clarence Thomas hearings of 1991. That battle will in all likelihood provide Washington's primary political drama of the summer Court Gestures ; In his 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, then-President Thomas Jefferson made it clear that the intent of the founders was to maintain a "wall of separation between church and state." Reinforcing the Wall ; If life tenure is a good idea, then why has it been shunned by all of the world's other democracies? Life Tenure Is Too Long For Supreme Court Justices ; Is it possible to square judicial review with democracy? Just where do judges derive the democratic credentials to overturn laws enacted by elected officials? The ideal of self-government constrained by law ; Rehnquist in the minority on a number of big rulings A season of dissent for the chief justice

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Recent raids show that the taxman's negotiations with wrongdoers will be of the bare-knuckle kind. A veteran tax consultant, Gordon Cooper, compares Trevor Boucher and Michael Carmody and parallels the Commissioner’s term in the office with a long term behind bars in the BRW article dated 23 June 2005. According to Cooper, Michael Carmody will be unlikely to accept a third seven-year term. ‘You do not necessarily do 14 years for murder; it is a tough job.’ And he predicts Carmody’s post-ATO role could be a finance post with the OECD. The article suggests that Michael D’Ascenzo or Jennie Granger who occupy the offices next to Carmody’s could be the likely Commissioners. [Locally and globally, Assistant Commissioner with the initials of JC is growing in popularity: Some men are destined to be gentle giants] Tax cheats beware: No Mercy

Eye on Taxes & Culture of Fear: What’s legal? What’s ethical?
What can we get away with? How do you measure up?

Like John, I decided that in approaching this task I had better do some research. Having done that it soon became obvious that ethics and taxation has been the subject of intermittent debate over many years, and I have to say without any general resolution. Views are generally polarised, each premised on what is said to be good public policy principles. Thus on the one hand, you have the view that derives from the role of taxation and its important community nature. This view is reflected in the often quoted notion of taxes being 'the price we pay for a civilised society'. On the other hand you have and equally principled rule of law view. Our society is based on the rule of law. To overlay any other measure, so this school of though goes is to introduce inappropriate subjectivity to this guiding principle. Continuing this line of logic leads to the conclusion that its people’s rights and advises responsibilities to minimise tax, including it seems taking advantage of loopholes provided by the courts and legislation.

The integrity of the tax-system [Tax Commissioner Michael Carmody learnt some painful lessons from his old boss Trevor Boucher, who lacked delicacy when pursuing rich and well-connected tax avoiders. Boucher was hounded mercilessly until he eventually retired Carmody's softly, softly approach delivers windfall ; It's being billed as the most sweeping tax fraud investigation ever conducted in Australia Probe uncovers $300m in unpaid taxes ; The Tax Office is preparing to triple the size of a data-matching program that makes it far harder for taxpayers to cheat on their capital gains tax declarations Tax Office will target capital gains cheats ; A celebrity lawyer has launched an 11th hour bid to avoid being questioned over an alleged multi-million dollar tax fraud involving tax havens, false documents and prominent sportspeople and entertainers Stars' lawyer faces tax scam trial ]
• · Listening to Paul Keating recently and listening to Malcolm Fraser last night one has to wonder why politicians start to talk sense only when they can no longer make a difference: Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser has criticised the federal Government's anti-terrorism policies, saying they have created a "secret police" and a culture of fear Australia 'secret police' state; In his Fulbright Public Lecture, delivered earlier this week at the University of Melbourne, George Williams looks at the lessons of Australia’s response to terrorism Balancing national security and human rights ; Mr Carr said NSW Police was working "hand-in-glove" with ASIO and the Australian Federal Police on counter-terrorism ASIO raids have Carr's full support ; Melbourne criminal lawyer Rod Stary today accused federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock's office of cowardly leaking defamatory information about anti-terrorism raid Ruddock accused of raid leak: Terror leaks run deep; It's rattling the cages at this stage More raids, still no arrests; Google: Web Wide World Watching Wild Invaders
• · · Labor is preparing for more internal bloodletting with former leader Mark Latham set to dump on his replacement Kim Beazley and the entire party - Loner: Inside a Labor tragedy Labor waits as Latham locks and loads ; Mark's career – short, spectacular and Labor through and through - world of self-made umpires ALP hits back at 'rat' Latham ; Staff in the Federal Workplace Relations Minister's own department have used a protest to accuse their boss of "hypocrisy" Workplace Minister's staff in IR protest: PM brushes off dissent on industrial law ; Bradon Ellem and Russell Lansbury: The gap between high- and low-income workers is about to widen Tough times ahead as proposed workplace reforms miss the boat
• · · · I live in # 20 Sydney, but I visited if ever so briefly # 3, 4, 6, 7, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 21 and both Budapest and Amsterdam at 24 [What # is Prague I wonder ...] Top 25 World's Most Expensive Cities ; Millionaire mile record topples; In 10 years, Glenwood has gone from cabbages, cauliflowers and tomatoes to houses, backyards and garages; from productive agricultural land popular with Maltese immigrants to a suburb chock-full of families Productive land lost for good under creeping suburban tide ; Corridors of Power Your money, ill spent ; Then, in a dramatic 11th-hour gesture, the Polish Prime Minister, Marek Belka, and his Czech counterpart, Jiri Paroubek, led a group of former Communist nations in offering to forgo some of their countries' cash in the interests of a deal 'Pathetic. Tragic. Embarrassing.' And then things got really nasty ; Applying the theories of the enlightenment may not be so enlightened More to the poverty trap than money
• · · · · Is it futile, or useful, to compare such punishments? The future of criminal law, by Michael Kirby ; The tax office and corporate regulators have signalled a softly-softly approach to businesses that have trouble with the new superannuation choice laws that start from Friday ATO, ASIC to go softly on new super laws
• · · · · · Police Commissioner Ken Moroney has given one of the state's top officers until the end of the week to respond to allegations concerning a $6000 desk and other furniture purchased for his police office Explain table purchase, Moroney tells top cop ; THE senior leadership of the NSW Police is in disarray with yet another executive officer at the centre of a corruption investigation that could destroy his career.
Senior Assistant Commissioner Dick Adams – touted as a successor to Commissioner Ken Moroney Moroney's crisis ; Moroney denies NSW police in crisis

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Shouting, interjections, hurled documents, missing closed-circuit TV footage - not just another day in State Parliament but the last day before MPs took an 11-week holiday Pollies muck up on last day of term

Comedian in training,, screams one of the headers of The Fitz Files by Peter Fitzsimons, in the Sun Herald. One of the TFF’s friends was on a platform at Sutherland station last Friday afternoon and heard the following announcement croaking through the speakers: ‘The 4:30 train to Dapto has been cancelled [audible groan from those on the platform] ... for today only ... For today, anyway. The train to Central due on platform one at 4.20 is approximately 10 minutes late ....[resigned sighs] The train to Waterfall due on platform four at 4.30 is ... on time! [The travellers look at each other, stunned] Hold on, I’ll just czech (sic) that ... Yes, that’s right, the 4.30 train to Waterfall is on time ...[Audible laughter from the long-suffering travelling public.] Ed. The entire Sydney is in comedy training ;-)

Eye on Tax and Comedy of Errors: 'Two Iraqis were shot while I was there'
A blindfolded Douglas Wood heard two Iraqi hostages being executed - one at his feet - during his 47 day ordeal at the hands of his captors in Iraq.

The freed Australian hostage has told how he heard the two executions at the second house in which he was held.
"Over a period of about five days three Iraqis turned up, the first of which was the only one that got out alive," he told the Ten network.
"He came out with me and the other two were shot while I was there."
Mr Wood said his captors came into his room one night, tapped one of the Iraqi men on the shoulder, and gave him a karate chop.

Rescuing Wood 'put off to save ransom' ["Ye have the poor with you always”, said Jesus (Mark 14: 7) From TLS, a review of books on poverty ; What's the difference between an Antipodean wet and moderate? Moderates win preselections: Wets are still drips ]
• · To the great growth industries of America such as health care and home building add one more: influence peddling ... Lobbying Firms Hire More, Pay More, Charge More to Influence Government The Road to Riches Is Called K Street ; It's sweeps week for corporate crooks How to Deter White-Collar Crime ; Only two Australian universities rank in the world’s top 100. Staff-student ratios have shot up nearly 30 per cent in 10 years. It’s not only quality that’s suffering. As students pay more and more for overcrowded courses, equality of opportunity is becoming a timeworn slogan The Degree Factories: a degree mill
• · · NSW Police Commissioner Ken Moroney denies ignoring a report two years ago warning that Sydney airport had become a haven for criminals. I didn't ignore airport crime report: Moroney ; Airport crime report ignored for two years ; Unscrupulous practices by shonky tour operators: As Australians we pride ourselves on our egalitarian nature, our love of the great outdoors and the fact that we are the only island continent in the world that can boast its own uninterrupted coastline. And so it is that our sweeping coast, beautiful beaches and magnificent harbour have become an integral part of our national identity as well as our greatest tourist assets. We also take a certain amount of pride in the fact that they are free, unlike many beaches that line the tourist-rich coasts of Europe, Africa and parts of north and south America. Anyone from any nation, no matter how affluent or impecunious they may be, can step on to our golden sands and enjoy the gifts of our national icons. Tourists charged $25 to walk on Bondi
• · · · Webdiarist Darlene Taylor says protesters should move beyond 1917 Anatomy of a rally ; The cords of collegiality that used to bind the members of Congress to one another - and to the president - haven't just frayed, they've snapped. This descent into enmity is not just one party's fault. There is blame to distribute among all The Best of Enemies ; Founding a democracy, rather like living in a democracy, can be very tough on friendship. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson began as friends
• · · · · Insurgent unionists have the right goals. But leaving the AFL-CIO may make them harder to achieve Big Labor, Big Choices ; Dozens of members of Congress have accepted trips from non-profits with registered lobbyists on their boards Congressional Non-Profit Travel ; State officials travel free as invited guests - Ethics law says gifts under $250 a day can go unreported Alabama Private Trips
• · · · · · Scoop: Buffalo Gun Traficking ; Australian Story tells the untold personal story of the nurse who lifted the lid on a medical scandal making front page news, not just in Australia, but around the world. Toni Hoffman is nurse in charge of the Intensive Care Unit at the Bundaberg Base Hospital in Queensland. For two years she tried to raise concerns about the lethal activities of a surgeon called Jayant Patel, a man now accused of murder Death Doctor: At Death's Door ; State revenue agencies across the nation are hunting for tax evaders with new high-tech tools: computer programs that mine an increasing number of databases for clues on the finances of people and businesses. Tax cheats beware - how the IRS will catch you

WELCOME NUDE & SEMI NUDE PAJAMAHADEENS OF TECHNORATI FAME who have stumbled across the Media Dragon via top 100 Naked Conversations
Michael might be moving a house, but still he manages to blog forward about a few websites of note: Rant or BIF?
Pay it forward is all about a notion of transformation and what drives us to cross to all kinds of wise and thoughtful blogs. It is also an opportunity for us to explore less known blogs or give an extra link to blogs that deserve wider attention ...
Czech out a creative Barista David Tiley
Get swept off your feet by a kind legal eagle David Starkoff
Invade Alan at Southerly Buster
... An answer came directed in a writing unexpected Perry Middlemiss
Ach, New is a place for you to speak out about the Australia you want New Walzing Matilda

CODA: Shel Israel and Robert Scoble have moved to Chapter 9 and kindly quote Media Dragon ... We, of course, believe your decision not to blog will hurt your company in the long run. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant -- all great CEOs encourage transparency and openness as long as sensitive data is not leaked,” Cold River author Jozef Imrich told us Naked Thorns in the Roses

Monday, June 27, 2005

I am such a complete atheist that I am afraid God will punish me. Such is the pithy wisdom of Jára Cimrman - Existence cannot not exist. Fictional Cimrman is so beloved because he is that most prickly of ironies: a Czech who was greater than all the world’s greats, but who for some hiccup of chance has never been recognized for his achievements. I like to think that the vote for Cimrman says something about the country’s rousing enthusiasm for blowing raspberries in the face of authority. Czech out the two things about the Czech nation: “that it is skeptical about those who are major figures and those who are supposedly ‘the greatest.’ And that the only certainty that has saved the nation many times throughout history is its humour.” When optimists should be shot: Jára Cimrman: the Greatest Czech of All Time

As in so many other countries and in so many other times, the rise of a newly educated intellectual class in the 19th century polarized the society with ethnic identity politics. All over Bohemia, the new Czech intelligentsia urged Czechs to think of themselves as Czechs, not Bohemians or Budweisers or anything else that would transcend their ethnic identity We Are All Budweisers [If only the grievances of past centuries had been left in the past! If only they had all remained Budweisers or Bohemians]

Eye on Tax and Irony: Move Over, Boomers
Contributing Editor Adam Werbach asks if the baby boomers are to blame for the sad state of affairs. "What should these leaders do now?" he asks. "Die?"

Raised during the heyday of ecological activism and the rise of a post-industrial networked society, practivists are steeped in systems thinking. Having come of age during the fall of the Berlin Wall, they are suspicious of nationalism and artificial dualities, a mistrust further informed by academic and political training in deconstructing absolute identity categories like race or gender. Practivists prefer to emphasize similarities rather than dwell in the "silos" of various "isms."

The old era of political party identification is giving way to a disaggregated thunderdome of cause-based politics, distributed democracy, MoveOn house parties and do-it-yourself politics
MoveOn ; Stephen Matchett's article shows much more than the usual superficial understanding of Kokoda and the fascination it has for so many of us The Digger Legend: James Cumes ; [American political parties, as we have known them for two centuries, are disintegrating Are the Parties Over? ; Why do those who stand to gain the least from virtually every policy of George W. Bush, support him the most? Let Them Eat War; What else could war dollars buy? Six billion dollars a month can pay for a lot of stuff, and we've got the T-shirts, tickers and widgets to prove it. Tim Grieve, in Salon ; The scale of the theft indulged in over the last forty years by the Nigerian ruling-class is almost unbelievable £220bn stolen by Nigeria's corrupt rulers ; Bulgarians vote, seen ending reign of ex-king PM - Bulgaria's ex-communists claim election victory Bulgaria's election lottery ]
• · Scary Stuff: Revolutionary Communist Party, a statement on the battle for the future ; Cathy Young on the hypocrisy of Hollywood leftists Bolshywood Revisited
• · · The False Problem of Free Will and Determinism Getting the Fly Out of the Bottle; Ever since the first Jew arrived on American shores 350 years ago, one question has persistently been asked but never definitively answered The Great Jewish-American Synthesis
• · · · What follows is a blatant intrusion into private grief. Well, very nearly private grief. The Tory party has not quite diminished to a level of importance at which its affairs are of concern only to members of its dwindling associations. But it has certainly declined to a point that is dangerously close to effective disappearance The Tory party faces an unenviable choice of leadership candidates ; Regime Change and Its Limits ; Senator Norm Coleman, New York Tax Cheats at the Government Trough ; Christopher Hitchens, Slate The Da Vinci Code vs. The Downing Street Memo
• · · · · We need a serious book about Hillary Clinton. Ed Klein's isn't it Eine Kleine Biographie ; Kathleen Parker, Townhall There's Something (Else) About Hillary; Amity Shlaes, Financial Times Don't Ignore Blue Dog Wisdom
• · · · · · via Tim Dunlop: In George Orwell's classic novel '1984', a central theme was the absolute control of information through the Ministry of Truth - a misnomer, if ever there was one. In a contemporary reality twist, control of information has become an integral part of the response of Western Governments to the so-called war on terror. Sledgehammer Politics ; Lionel Tiger, WSJ
An Anthropological Debunking Of The "Housing Bubble"

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Australian Tax Commissioner, Michael Carmody, received an Order of Australia (AO) medal in the Queen’s Birthday honours list. In addition he is highly respected by his international peers and the ATO is recognised as one of the world’s best tax administrations. It was only a few months ago he was rated number six of the most influential members of the tax industry globally, in the UK magazine Tax Business: Gong for Michael Carmody Coup de Commish

Swoops by the Australian Crime Commission and the Tax Office on a clutch of law and accountancy firms, plus numerous others of "interest" around town, have given rise to much indignity, not to mention indignation. This is the first phase in a bold operation by these agencies to track down the players in various offshore schemes and to recover up to $300 million that should have been paid in tax, but wasn't At last, the Tax Office is on the front foot
Michael Carmody has been Commissioner of Taxation since January 1993, his seven-year appointment having been renewed in January 2000 Raids tip of the iceberg: tax chief doing his bit for Australia

Eye on Tax & Power: ID crime Sages, spooks and scions
News that one MP has had 26 mistresses shouldn't surprise us. Power-hungry alpha males are always more likely to stray Mind of an Adulterer

Fellow-author Karl May - who'd earlier been imprisoned for impersonating German secret service agents and policemen - gained fame for 'wild west' genre novellas, presented as autobiographical although he didn't venture west to the English Channel. Adoption of a false persona didn't inhibit sales, which were above 50 million copies after 1912.
'Louis de Rougemont' (1847-1921), aka Louis Grin, gained fame for journalism about his travels - which apparently did not extend much beyond the Reading Room of the British Museum. He was exposed after enthusing over the marvellous "flight of the wombat", implausible given that wombats are burrowing creatures with the aerodynamic qualities of a bag of cement. He was more successful than Jean Christoph de Lancourt de Brenil, supposed companion of Jack London, master of 25 languages, war hero, equestrian, aviator and long distance walker.
Across the Atlantic 'Yellow Kid' Weill successfully posed as a major investor from Chicago, borrowing executive offices in several banks. His victims were then invited to the bank to meet that institution's CEO, duly being impressed by the surroundings and handing over large amounts of cash.
Perhaps more sadly, is the story of Jean-Claude Romand, who murdered his family when he could no longer maintain the fiction - as he had assiduously done for most of his adult life - that he was a senior World Health Organization bureaucrat.

• The Tax Office has shown its fangs ID theft and fraud before the dot [Crime Czechlist: Timeline; Princeton's Andrew Moravcsik explains the meaning of the European "no" A category error; the law has an even bigger ass ... ]
• · Federal Treasurer Peter Costello is preparing to crack down on the NSW and West Australian governments over their refusal to cut state taxes in return for the GST revenue Costello in GST crackdown on states ; Seemingly innocent requests over boozy lunches has ended in a jail term for a 25-year veteran of the Australian Taxation Office Fall of a veteran tax man ; Ten Stories the World Should Hear More About ; Human rights investigators cite "Persistent and credible" reports of torture at Guantanamo
• · · Que? Carr 'risking environmental legacy' ; Peter Slipper visited Thailand and Laos just weeks after the federal election for a fortnight-long taxpayer-funded trip that included just three days of official meetings Junket justified, MP says ; VIRGIN Money is set to shake up the $750 billion superannuation industry, offering its signature low- frills product aimed at the youth market Virgin puts sizzle into super ; A bold solution to Japan's floundering economy: 68 American-style law schools. Small world, big ripples
• · · · NSW Liberal leader John Brogden has accused John Howard of being too cosy with the nation's Labor premiers and creating the "perfect storm" where federal and state governments can successfully blame each other for their problems. Mr Brogden says the Prime Minister is letting down his state colleagues as they toil away in opposition by praising Labor leaders, especially NSW Premier Bob Carr PM letting state Libs down: Brogden ; More from presidential candidate and actor Michael Moriarty ; DNC finds no evidence of widespread election fraud in Ohio. In Ohio Vote, Woes, Yes, Fraud, No
• · · · · The Great Live 8 Debate ; Live 8 ; to Be Largest Global Broadcast' ; Every year the State of Israel goes into hysterics when the water level of Lake Kinneret dips below the red line Will water be the crude oil
• · · · · · The CIA says Iraq is now a terrorist training ground ; But not to worry: Evangelicals are building a base in Iraq ; Terrorism globally is big business. It also is rapidly becoming a new science; How thinking of terrorists as pirates can help win the war on terror

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The insider insider travelling stories have captured the public's imagination and the carrtoonists covering ‘Yes Minister’ have been drawn into the unfolding drama. The transcripts are pinpoint accurate in their dissection of the best of all oossible political worlds. The task of responding to and resolving parliamentary inquiries should be outsourced. That way, the vendor will be paid only when the job is completed, according to the agreed requirements and timelines. This will also allow the government to get rid of those useless backbenchers, thus saving the country a heap of money. So Lisa Pryor and Gerard Ryle are the most talked about duo at the Parliamentary cafeteria and the grassy areas of the Botanic Garden. It is all about the competency of certain parliamentary committee managers and the ‘Yes Minister’ principle. The meeting in Brussels did not start well for the two state politicians who had travelled half way around the world to find out about genetically modified food. NSW Parliament can waste money on inquiries with the best of them Brian and Tony's excellent European adventure

Eye on Tax & Law Lords: Pushing an Issue Under the Carpet
If only more of our senior public servants and department heads were so frank and fearless as Harry Evans... Most of us are often unaware about stories such as the one told by Avelyn Gogos so it seems like an absurd fiction ...

When Avelyn Gogos gave evidence at an inquiry into disability services, it was in the hope she might get her autistic son, Dean, into a group home. She didn't know what people inside the political system know - that calling a parliamentary inquiry is often a way of pushing an issue under the carpet and keeping backbenchers busy

At many levels, the processes of political processes are found to be sluggish and lacking impartiality. They are found also to be frequently incompetent.
Still waiting for peace of mind [World Travel [ ; Some parliamentary managers, Marco Polos, have been overseas twice or more during 2003-2004 period. The inquiry system in NSW is flawed, but it's a nice little earner for politicians MPs travel the world, inquiries go nowhere ; More than a year after NSW MLCs Tony Kelly and Brian Pezzutti returned from a European trip, they presented to Parliament hundreds of pages of transcripts of meetings entitled European and United Kingdom perspectives on agriculture, genetically modified food and rural development ; Perhaps you could repeat that?; Final report ; Marco Polos; A few ideas for the parliamentary suggestion box ; Unlucky timing - Tony Catanzariti ]]
• · British Prime Minister Tony Blair sees himself, not dissimlarly to NSW Premier Bob Carr, as an environmentally caring leader. The facts, of course, bring no such confidence, but our media prefers to play along with their delusional games Blair's (lack of) power; I’m too jaded and cynical to feel more than a brief pulse of anger at the news that Philip Cooney, the White House arachnid who dishonestly doctored US government reports on global warming, has followed his heart and joined Exxon Mobil. No, not even a whiff of corruption there…Monsieur Martin Pike has left Northcote Knob in suspended animation and taken to foreign policy via Barista
• · · The gang's all here ... last night, Senator Harradine, 70, the last Cold War warrior, unionist and father of 13, stood in the chamber that was his mainland citadel to bid farewell to national politics. Father of Senate says cheers for 30 years ; Phone-tap leak from chief's office: Brogden ; The demise of the Australian Democrats demonstrates what happens to politicians who decide the electorate owes them a living The Democrat party is all over
• · · · Jason Method and James W. Prado Roberts of the Asbury Park Press raised questions in the airplane death seven years ago of a pilot who was about to buy Marlboro Airport Accident or Sabotage? ; Jailed former HIH director Rodney Adler has not breached his corporate ban by getting reports on investments and business interests while in prison, Australia's business regulato Adler's jail mail cleared by watchdog
• · · · · There needs to be a balance of power - someone to make sure the company is running well and someone to make sure the board is checking up on what he's done Dual roles ; Damian Lataan asks, "What's happened to us?" That's the thing, isn't it? Something HAS happened to us. We are not the nation we were five years ago. My observation is that we have allowed ourselves to become lazy and frightened. Whatever happened to the healthy Aussie skepticism? Whatever happened to famous Aussie antipathy for authority? Democracy, the God that Failed
• · · · · · City projects face value checks ; Carr unveils Sydney shake-up plan ; Campaign for Sydneyrella

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Geoff Berry of Queenscliff thought that ‘the purpose of Senate inquiries was to get the problem off the front pages - oops!’

Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. Robert Kennedy and Public Confidence in Democracy
Ach, Sorry, members and clerks only

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Elective Monarchy: 'King John' under fire
The Australian Parliament has deteriorated into a form of elective monarchy where the Prime Minister "rules all he surveys", says the most senior public servant in the Senate, Harry Evans [and Linda V.]

In remarkably frank reaction to Herald revelations that parliamentary inquiries are being ignored by the Government, Mr Evans, the Clerk of the Senate, says it is time the public insists on better representation. Writing in the Herald today, he argues: "We no longer have parliamentary government in any meaningful sense of the term." On radio yesterday, Mr Evans likened John Howard to a king and said people needed to be more sophisticated about what they expected from their elected representatives. "There is in Australia an enormous concentration of power in the Prime Minister," he told 2UE. "People don't realise this, that we really have a sort of elective monarchy where, you know, you elect the monarch and … [he] rules all he surveys."

It is not just Senate inquiries that are spurned by the Government - it has ignored 27 of its own committee inquiries. Many public inquiries have been replicated in the federal and state arenas over the past decade. And the two levels of government often duplicate something else, too: inaction once the inquiries are completed.
The NSW and federal parliaments carried out inquiries into the issues of salinity, genetically modified foods and the dangers of railway crossings.
Senate boss blasts PM's monarchy [Parliament should be a place of debate, not a rubber stamp for the prime minister A day spent in the public gallery would shock the founding fathers; Thatcher in trousers Backbenchers complicate a tricky stretch ]
• · Revealed: Thornley Planned Privately Owned Faction a Year Ago - "Thornley First" ; Lay off the cheap grog at NSW State Parly! In defence of cheap grog at State Parly; The Parliamentary Reds
• · · The "ayes", not to mention "musts" and "mays", have put paid to public participation in development issues New planning code: trust us, we're the experts ; The Left Bank's well of ideas runs dry
• · · · The hero of the day is now a product being ripened by a platoon of PR agents, managers, stylists and personal trainers. There's a buck to be made with this boy Doug's grateful, but armed forces must make way for market forces ; In December 2004, Australian MP Andrew Refshauge was backed into a corner. In the light of the poor academic performance of indigenous students, he could no longer insist that the ‘one size fits all’ approach to school curricula is the best model Parent Power
• · · · · Laurie Taylor championed the 1960s sexual revolution; now at last he can be uproariously honest about it Freaked out ; On a satirical act that would fit perfectly in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 or George Orwell's 1984 Killed in Iran, banned here
• · · · · · Barack Obama makes the best case for liberal politics in recent memory Barack Star ; Start with the prevailing disposition of power, trim your principles to fit, and you end up with an organization stood on its head The United Nations system: 60

Monday, June 20, 2005

Is the situation better at the state levels? Most of the parliamentary committees have been politisized to a larger extend than ever before. It is a political trend not even the most powerful forces in democracy can stop it ... How a burgeoning political machine evolved
Millions of taxpayers' dollars have been wasted on more than 70 parliamentary inquiries whose recommendations have been ignored and left to collect dust. A Herald investigation has found that the Federal Government has not replied on time to a single public inquiry out of the 62 it has ordered in the House of Representatives since December 1998. It has given no reply at all to almost half of them. Democracy denied
Australia's darkest chapters: the brutal mistreatment of about 500,000 children in orphanages and children's homes We were given hope, and we got nothing

Eye on Tax Heavens: From the Bottom-of-the-Harbour to Out to Sea Tax
To some with a sense of history, this week's events hark back to the 1980s, to the days of the notorious "bottom of the harbour" tax schemes, and to the 1990s when mass-marketed agribusiness and film schemes were all the rage

The bottom-of-the-harbour tax schemes were a murky affair, deliberately designed to avoid company tax by stripping a company of its assets before tax was payable, or using another company as the entity which became liable for tax but ensuring it never had sufficient assets to pay money owed. These were closed down by legislation.

Dodgy schemes are destined to fail with our intolerant taxman [The national law firm Deacons is preparing to attack the Tax Office in the Federal Court this morning over its raids relating to alleged tax haven promoter Philip Egglishaw Legal firm to sue over tax raids ; The blitz on tax havens and money laundering is already bigger than the bottom of the harbour investigations that shook the Fraser government Tax raids eclipse '80s blitz: minister ]
• · He has been detained twice, firebombed once and defied the orders of the Soviet secret police and corrupt African warlords. But his tireless and sometimes dangerous activities are part of a mission he regards as sacred: to uphold the memory of his people and of the time when they were forgotten by the world. As a Jewish American whose family fled the Nazis and dispersed across the world, this vow is his birthright. Star of David ; Freed Australian hostage Douglas Wood has arrived in Melbourne in high spirits, saying it was "bloody good" to be home He's back: Wood arrives in Australia
• · · Remarks by Greenspan reflect concern that disparities in wealth may destabilize the economy Rich-poor gap gaining attention ; While pretending to help his children with their homework, Rodney Adler was secretly passing on instructions relating to his business ventures Today's lesson: the harder cell
• · · · Eugene Volokh (Law, UCLA) opines on evolutionary biology and religion, and Pharyngula correctly notes that most of the discussion is a tissue of confusions and mistakes. On Not Understanding Science ; Eighty Years After Scopes, a Professor Reflects on Unabated Opposition to Evolutionists Ruse on evolution
• · · · · Providing homes with electricity and heat from the sun is getting more buzz than it has in decades It's Getting Cheaper to Tap the Sun ; Good old Sir Bob, branded eBay as an electronic pimp and condemned the auctions as against the spirit of the event Geldof smartmobs eBay ; As the scale of Labor's victory became clear yesterday, the Chief Minister, Clare Martin, told reporters she had been given a mandate to push policies that included jailing habitual drunks who refused rehabilitation This is Labor's Territory, in a landslide
• · · · · · A secretary named Jenny Amner accidentally spilled ketchup on a Richard Phillips, a senior associate at the law firm Baker & McKenzie Executive vs secretary in case of spilled ketchup ; Blogging Iran, by Katrina vanden Heuvel, The Nation Democracy and Human Rights Front in Iran ; A former prisoner, Neil Heuston, claims his case for compensation, based on the proven corruption of the police officers who had him convicted, is being obstructed on technicalities Man fights for payout after 10 years in prison

Friday, June 17, 2005

Money may make the world go around but recognition is also a valuable workplace currency. Good leaders create opportunities to provide rewards, recognition and thanks to staff members. In the words of the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics -- there are two things people want more than sex and money - recognition and praise.
In many ways, I consider myself to be one of the luckiest man on earth as my former mentors Patricia Azarias and Dr Russell Cope (1982-2000 AD) were the most generous encouragers. As the one thing great managers know is what is unique about each person and to capitalise on it.
The leading US management academic, Professor Dave Ulrich says results do not just come in the form of short term financial impact, but even more as a longer-term intangible benefit where investors gain confidence in the firm as a result of the quality of leadership and, as a result, generate a higher market value

How to overcome the corporate conspiracy that keeps you chained to your job. BY: SUSAN CRAMM
If you want your life to be more than a series of meetings, e-mails and business trips, you are not alone. My objective in nearly every coaching relationship is to help my client find a balance between work responsibilities and personal life. Former GE grand pooh-bah Jack Welch has said in recent articles and interviews that he believes great managers don't have work-life-balance issues because they have the necessary "systems" in place. This is a ridiculous comment, even for those with a stay-at-home spouse and legions of personal assistants. The only managers who don't have work-life-balance issues are those who have already given up their lives to the company.Have
Susan Cramm is founder and president of Valuedance, an executive coaching firm in San Clemente, Calif. E-mail feedback to Your Work or Your Life [For more reader questions and answers from Susan Cramm, visitThe Executive Coach Column]

Opportunity Knocks 17 June -18 June 2005 AD: The Sydney Morning Herald Careers and Employment Expo
The opportunities that await motivated and career minded individuals are outstanding. Australian and global businesses are increasingly looking to build relationships with Australia's top talent.

The Sydney Morning Herald Careers and Employment Expo provides these organisations a platform to reach the talent they seek today and in the future - You

17-18 June [As people try to figure out how to navigate today's tough work realities, career and motivation gurus have a receptive audience. So they look for easy-to-swallow maxims to preach - and in so doing, have let loose numerous myths about how to carve career success Ten myths of career success debunked ; Work Makes You Free? ]

Wayne Swan discusses his new book, Postcode: The Splintering of a Nation - Rich and poor drifting apart Swan book launches debate on the poor : The richest 10 per cent of Australians enjoy almost half the country's total household wealth

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Former ABC staffer Stephen Feneley writes at Crikey
Moonlighting as Crikey's media correspondent, Christian Kerr has brought attention to one of the least talked about drawbacks of Aunty dumbing down – the dumber it gets the more it costs.

At the same time as ABC Radio boss Sue Howard is paying big bucks for intellectually light talent on the local network, Radio National is facing a major crisis because of a one million dollar shortfall. Sue Howard controls the budgets for both radio networks.
Here's my suggestion: a salary cap of $150,000 a year for all on-air personalities across all ABC networks (yes, that means a more than 50% cut in pay for you, Kerry). Also, no-one at the ABC should be earning more than the prime minister, which would see Russell Balding taking a dive in pay of more than $100,000. The money saved from those two initiatives would more than solve Radio National's funding crisis and there might even be enough money left over for a much needed boost to the quality of research on the local radio network. This is something the ABC board could insist on. If those suffering a pay cut don't like it, they can leave, which probably would result in the ABC sounding more like the ABC should sound. How likely is it this would ever happen?

There's probably a better chance of Andrew Bolt being offered a gig on 774 ; David Bowman pays tribute to Allan Ashbolt, who died last week The lion of the ABC [Bizarrely, Australia is giving a generous welcome to Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf. This despite a chilling tale from Nicholas Kristof, reporting that Musharraf has just ordered the detention of a gang rape victim who works to raise awareness of violence against women. Full text of the Kristof article over the fold Calling a Dictator a Dictator ; An anti-pokies group has signed up 200 problem gamblers to help challenge the legality of gaming machines in a class-action cas Duty of Care: Class case to battle pokies ]
• · WAYNE Swan is one of the hard men of Labor politics, but writing a book about the distinctly unfashionable subjects of poverty and disadvantage in Australia suggests there is more to him than that Down-home politics ; In recent years governments across the world have retreated from the task of nation-building and creating social justic Hands-off policies betray families; The operation and culture of the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs has been condemned Rau report damns department culture ; Detention didn’t deter, argues William Maley Government’s policy has been built on a myth ; Political meddling in the sentencing of criminals is creating all manner of muddle and unfairness Crushed in a pincer of politics and sentiment
• · · Thick vs. Think Tanks John Roskam, new IPA boss ; Deakin University law academic James McConvill criticises the lack of intellectual life at university Delusions of intellectual grandeur ; Tax haven promoter a smooth operator
• · · · Policymakers must do their homework Going With the Flow ; Generation where less is so much more Water prices to rise
• · · · · I have a disclosure. I know Doug Wood. At least I have met Doug a few times many years ago. That on its own put me somewhat closer to his kidnapping than if it had been someone else When evil happens to good people ; The report includes stories of widespread abuse and bullying, rapes, racism, drug use and flawed and inadequate prosecutions and investigations into cases Defence Force justice system under fire ; The military justice system has failed the personnel it is meant to protect and must be fundamentally overhauled, a bipartisan parliamentary committee has found Lid lifted on rank injustice
• · · · · · Tim Blair takes umbrage at a claim by Michael Gawenda that most Americans are creationists Tim Blair - pointy-headed liberal ?; James Surowiecki on how companies prepare for a crisis In Case Of Emergency

Thursday, June 16, 2005

You've got to find what you love, and that is as true for work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work, and the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking, and don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it, and like any great relationship it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking. Don't settle. Steve Jobs

Eye on Taxes and Invisible Economy State upper houses and parliamentary democracy
Strong upper houses are a distinctive and important part of Australia’s constitutional heritage.

While the Senate is the most visible and celebrated example, state upper houses (the legislative councils) are now also vital components of Australian democracy. Bruce Stone audits the state upper houses and finds electoral reform is the key to improved performance in legislative review and executive scrutiny, and that some houses are simply too small to be effective.

Democratic Audit of Australia [After a long period of neglect, infrastructure is back in the headlines The State of Priorities: On Queensland’s Infrastructure Mess; Living Parliamentary Digest ]
• · Greg B. Smith of the New York Daily News used state data to show that “in the state Department of Transportation alone, lobbyists schmoozed the agency on nearly $1.3 billion in contracts in the past two years … The back-room billions ; Huge scam in WorkCover certificates ; The funeral industry has deteriorated to such an extent that the dead are being buried in cardboard coffins Funerals bury mourners' savings ; Charges recommended against top cops
• · · Two months after he was released from federal prison after serving time for political corruption charges in 1998, the former Essex County Executive set up a charitable foundation. Loophole lets ex-con fund his retirement ; New tax haven clues point to firms' wealthy clients ; The fallout from the cooling of the housing market is still unclear Beware the bang if the property bubble bursts
• · · · Lenny Roth surveys the main legal restrictions on children and forms of discrimination against children Children’s rights in NSW ; More complex child-support formula on the table Many fathers to pay less child support
• · · · · From saving to empowering to including: changing understandings of poverty at the Brotherhood of St Laurence ; Wood rescued in military operation I am delighted to inform the house that the Australian hostage in Iraq Mr Douglas Wood is safe from his captors
• · · · · · Newly leaked documents reveal the extent of the British cabinet's concern over America's disrespect for international law Downing Street II ; It's official: blessed is the troublesome peacemaker The peace prize professor who came in from the cold

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The federal Opposition Leader, Kim Beazley, has expressed alarm at the size of Australia's national debt Nation at 'edge of debt cliff', warns Beazley

Up to 100 people are likely to be quizzed by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) as part of a major investigation into a $300 million offshore tax evasion scheme 'Wealthy and prominent' face tax evasion quiz

Eye on Tax Schemes: Live 8, The British Initiative and Victory Over Want
Bob Geldof's campaign for Africa is magnificent and unique. His persistence over a full generation is a measure of his dedication to a great humanitarian cause.

The proposals of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, his Treasurer Gordon Brown and their Government also deserve support, both in themselves and in the impact that we hope they will have on the policies of the governments of other highly-developed economies including the United States.
Our aim - the aim of all of us - should be to make these efforts as successful and productive as we possibly can. However, although some of the more prominent proposals, such as cancellation of debt, can be applauded, they will do little, if anything, to reduce poverty or stimulate self-sustaining growth in the recipient countries.

The case for helping the Africans to meet these challenges is unassailable
• · Citigroup to pay $2 bln in Enron lawsuit ; Richard Grant examines a specific challenge for each of the regulators, and the regulatory strategies they employ to monitor Australia’s corporate sector Australia’s corporate regulators – the ACCC, ASIC and APRA
• · · Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846 while John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946 Czech Amerikan History Lessons ; Report: FBI Had At Least Five Chances To Stop 9/11 Terrorists ; War: The Lethal Custom by Gwynne Dyer Reviewed by Antony Loewenstein: Call to arms could signal calamity
• · · · Who should pay for the children? Shaking up child support ; Charlotte and her three young children scrape by on welfare. The only child support she’s had from her estranged husband is a princely, one-off, $5 Costing the Children
• · · · · Two Chinese men, one a diplomat, and the other a policeman, have requested asylum in Australia, and a third Chinese man, a refugee, confirmed their claims that China persecutes its citizens and spies on them Interview: Kevin Rudd ; Defector Chen Yonglin's story is too intriguing to ignore Dragon's claws; Some of the actions taken by the Federal Government in the case of defecting Chinese diplomat Chen Yonglin could be seen as illegal Labor raises legal questions in Chen case ; Australians rally in support of Chinese defectors
• · · · · · None of Sydney's problems are without solutions. And none are unique to this city. Countless cities have found the solutions when they have had the right combination of leadership, will and money... Like the creeping sands of the Gobi Desert, the drought is closing in on Australia's major cities. Like the Gobi desert ; Australia's most important central business district will run out of office space as soon as 2015, but the City of Sydney has a plan to delay the crisis - allowing bigger office blocks. We've reached the city limits ; Save water, drink beer - and make mine a plastic

Forget the logo, the brand and the label, savvy companies want you to love their human side. The future of corporate blogs, however, is difficult to predict. Trevor Cook says that at some point companies will "get used to the idea that a bit of untidiness is attractive to people". These little bloggers went to market also via Cook Most Advertisers Interested in Blogs and Feeds

This is how the Internet was supposed to help music: last year, J. P. Connolly, a science teacher in Brooklyn, heard a song by one of his students, a rail-thin 15-year-old named Oliver Ignatius, who is the lead singer for a band called the Hysterics. Mr. Connolly, who had bonded with his student over independent music, loved Mr. Ignatius's song and posted it on Music for Robots, an influential blog he helps run and the rest is Hysterics Little-Known Bands Get Lift Through Word-of-Blog It seems there are moves afoot to give even more oxygen to Cold River soon ;-) Blogs give little known writers going under the pseudonym of Imrich a bigger reach

The Long Taxing Tail Among Blogs Meet the Masters: Around the World in 80 Blogs
The latest smart marketing tool, film directors' 'making-of' weblogs stoke fans' zeal by drawing them into what feels like an inner circle.

Consternation spread quickly across the Internet movie fan universe. In April, Peter Jackson, director of the big-budget remake of "King Kong," broadcast his plans to expand the ape epic (due in theaters this December) into a trilogy of films. But his "exclusive announcement" wasn't delivered through the usual channels — the obligatory press release or television interview. News came via his video production diary on the fan website

Using his weekly weblog, Jackson presented digital mock-ups and demonstrated motion capture technology to be used in the sequel, intercut with an interview with its star, Naomi Watts
• Another Blog is Possible The new kids on the blog [Besides LSblogs that I have just mentioned the other directory that generated some traffic was Blogarama Blog directories are they worth it ; You know blogging’s arrived when people start: 1) making movies about blogging; 2) fighting viciously over making “blogumentaries;” 3) conducting Stalinist-style blood purges of their fellow bloggers for purported ideological non-conformity; and 4) claiming that the liberal blogosphere has now surpassed cable TV news ]
• · Rarely can it be said that a blogger has defined a entrepreneurial sportsmanship, but never is that more true than in the case Mark Cuban who has well thought out and informative posts on every sporting subject under the sun NBA Refs and the playoffs ; For a while there, the Internet and the World Wide Web showed great promise. They whispered sweet nothings in our ears, promising to be the voice of the marginalized, the new democracy, the great equalizer. But it wasn’t to be, for the Internet has a new master. No, it’s not Google. No, it’s not Microsoft. And no, it’s not even good ole’ Uncle Sam. Is the Internet History's Greatest Hoax? ; Most of the time I don't buy into conspiracy theories. I no longer believe, for instance, that anyone shot JFK from the grassy knoll. Deep down I don't really think that Harold Wilson was the victim of an MI5 coup either. And I certainly don't believe the only reason why Gerry Adams isn't part of a power-sharing government in Belfast today is because the Special Branch will stop at nothing to prevent it Is Rupert Murdoch the man who saved Europe?
• · · The reality-TV graveyard is haunted by the ghosts of Donald Trump's "The Apprentice." Richard Branson’s "Rebel Billionaire" and Mark Cuban’s "The Benefactor" Tops on the tube: Mini-Mes ; In addition to serving as the most powerful vice president in history, Dick Cheney also finds time to be the King of Irony
• · · · Don't go toward fake blogs. Don't launch character blogs. Use a blog for what it's for, transparency Corporations turn to blogs as a way to talk directly to consumers ; Robert Manning Blogging Is Not Fundamental ; UPS guy says that blogs are overhyped, but he's on top on Google ; Shipping
• · · · · Naked blogger attracts thousands ; Sarong Party Girl ; A Singaporean blogger is now taking it off on her blog
• · · · · · How can readers determine that their newspaper has a watchdog culture? How could they identify or measure it? What should they expect from a watchdog paper? Watchdog Culture ; Bark and Bite Analogy: How to Create Watchful Culture Blogger Bites Dog at Bankstown ;-)

Sunday, June 12, 2005

If someone tells you he always tells the truth, you know you have a liar on your hands -Groucho Marx once said

Jonathan Chait, Los Angeles Times: Whenever you broach such inconvenient facts, conservatives invariably have three pat replies. One is to accuse you of envying the rich and/or wanting to kill them. Another is to suggest you want to turn the United States into a clone of some god-awful country. (The Soviet Union once served this purpose nicely. Since the fall of communism, though, conservatives have had to search about for other boogeymen, usually settling on some decidedly less-frightening Western European democracy.) The third is to insist that it's good for everybody when the country gets less equal Envy The Rich? No. Tax Them? Oh Yeah ; Larry Kudlow, RealClearPolitics Rich People Are Government’s Best Friend

Whatever is alive is at peril. Whatever is alive must compete for food and a mate while protecting itself against predators. Mendacity proves helpful in all three endeavors. But when lying occurs within the tribe, it weakens communal bonds and threatens the tribe’s survival. It is an oxymoron, however, if the next people revolution, bloody or not, where to succeed the community must ensure be honest about its weaknesses whatever the price Why We Lie and Deception at Work

Eye on Taxes and Work: Taking Control of the States: the ultimate barbecue stopper
Bob Hawke was going to abolish the states – but never got around to it – will the Howard Government seize the opportunity when they take control of the Senate on July 1?

Friday's COAG meeting in Canberra was portrayed as a great, cooperative love-in. But in reality, it was a major missed opportunity. If the idea was to only talk about things in which cooperation between the states and Canberra was possible, it was telling that our political leaders ran out of things to discuss after just two hours.

Bob Carr is a closet webdiaryist (sic) who keeps a daily record of the events in the state's top job.
Reflections on Australian Federalism [MPs, pay rises and public housing Who's Australia's lowest paid political leader? ; A series of arson attacks has sparked fears that Sydney's beleaguered tow truck industry is in the grip of a new, violent turf war Racketeer operators: Tow trucks in flames as war hots up ; The Left's assistant secretary Luke Foley launched the attack on the Right, with accusations that the Government's ministerial staff had been "dragooned" into joining the party's Bondi branch Peace is brief for ALP factions ]
• · U.S.-Iraq policy and the murder of a whistle-blowing contractor The Unquiet American; Amateur engineers are asking what they can do for the Pentagon Dave Warren had devised a lightweight vehicle armor ; Behind every liberal rich-person basher lurks a rich-person gawker. Or at least most of the time Wealth Porn
• · · As dust settles after the explosive referenda at the heart of the European Union, interested parties from all sides are peering nervously into the crater, trying to figure out what remains of the European "project." What America Can Do for Europe; How ludicrous that the prime minister of Luxembourg should insist, like some east European communist leader of old, that black is white and everything can therefore continue just as before Decadent Europe
• · · · It is obvious that something is very wrong with the old labels, with the categories of "left" and "right," and with the ways in which we customarily apply these categories to American political life Confessions of a Right-Wing Liberal ; Evangelicalism was once a tiny reform movement, one that was amazingly successful The Rise of the Evangelicals ; Good news from Iraq: skylights installed in Fallujah schools!
• · · · · A look at what today's demonstrators have to learn from the past G8 protest: how far should you go? Another World is Possible: Making A 'Mother World' Possible ; Yes, offshore banking is an outrage. No, it's not a metaphor for capitalism. If America needs a new enemy, the Cayman Islands might be a refreshing choice Out to Sea ;
• · · · · · James K. Galbraith on John Kenneth Galbraith; Jurgen Brauer and Nicholas Anglewicz: Taking all spending into account, the federal government spends 68 cents of every dollar on defense Two-Thirds On Defense ; Politicizing 9/11 at memorial site shows disrespect Mocking a memory: American Airlines flight 77

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Andre Glucksmann describes how the French no is the manifestation of a movement that cuts to the heart of Europe The victory of Euro-nihilism

Eye on Death & Taxes: Big end of town caught in tax raids
Raids on 85 homes and offices in four states have netted the big end of town and crushed a $300 million tax fraud scheme. Wealthy, high-profile Australians have been raided in their homes, and files and computer records seized from their tax advisers, in an unprecedented combined operation by the Australian Crime Commission, the Tax Office and the Australian Federal Police

The Crime Commission said in some cases deductions were claimed for payments for fictitious expenses and services, while in others, income derived overseas was not accounted for in Australia. The Tax Office said the income was secretly returned to Australia disguised as a loan, an inheritance, a gift, or through credit and debit cards

• The decision to make an unannounced visit … was taken by a senior officer Fat cat tax raids ['High rollers' linked with tax scam Google: Raids in four states target tax fraud ; Michigan restaurants raided as part of tax and immigration probe Police raid Great Wall, 16 other Chinese businesses; Regina Hackett and Michelle Nicolosi of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer found that millions of dollars in purchases by Washington art collectors have gone untaxed, and that an agent’s effort to collect that revenue was squelched by upper management at the state Department of Revenue, then suspended late last year Untaxed Art ]
• · The medical marijuana ruling is legally and morally flawed. Judicial federalism gets really interesting: What were those Justices smoking? ; Tom DeLay's former employees have brought the House majority leader power rivaling that of Boss Tweed Meet The DeLays
• · · John Brenkman on how EU leaders must inspire their citizens with their vision of a democratic Europe Europe does not inspire even its own creators ;The Cuban regime's apparatus of self-legitimization rests on the notion that political freedom has to be sacrificed for the sake of national sovereignty and social justice Is Cuba a fair country? ; A look at Official Portraits, a Unique collection of world leaders
• · · · Bert Dalmer of the Des Moines Register analyzed a list of Iowa’s “critical assets” in need of defending, finding that it “includes casinos, family farms and landing pads, but few if any skyscrapers, courthouses or banking centers.” List of 'assets' has some surprises ; Even now, after the demonstrators shouting and the finance ministers whizzing around in their limousines, after all the fussing about Iraq war architect Paul Wolfowitz taking over last week, who really knows what the World Bank does? World Bank's Loan Rangers
• · · · · Osama's Road to Riches and Terror Golden Chain: The Bin Laden family ; Deep inside the historical relationship between Islam and China, India and Southeast Asia. An account every student of politics and religion shoul read sooner rather than later Asia and Islam — A Historical Perspective
• · · · · · James R. Carroll of the Louisville Courier-Journal examined congressional travel records for Kentucky and Southern Indiana to show that “in a little more than nine years, the cost of privately paid trips for lawmakers in the area and their aides totaled nearly $1.5 million.” Private money pays for lawmakers' trips ; Debate about a new plan for Sydney has opened a hornet's nest: Locally and globally, vision is the key Here's the future ... if we dare