Sunday, July 31, 2005

Society is like a stew. If you don't keep it stirred up, you get a lot of scum on top.
- Edward Abbey

Political-party memberships are sinking to new lows and the majority has become alienated from the political process.However there are signs of new grassroots activity in other forums. Power without people

Eye on Politics & Taxes: ALP machine reasserts grip on power
Arrogant factionalism makes a joke of our democracy Money must talk if Iemma won't

Plucked from political obscurity, Morris Iemma will become the 40th premier of NSW on Tuesday after being handpicked by five general secretaries of the NSW ALP - Graham Richardson, Stephen Loosley, John Della Bosca, Eric Roozendaal and Mark Arbib. The only other premier to be shoe-horned into the job by the Sussex Street machine, Barrie Unsworth, led the Labor Party to a slaughter in 1988. There is another parallel: both Mr Unsworth and Mr Iemma were health minister before the factional chieftains elevated them into the premiership. At a stroke, Mr Carr's precious legacy of keeping Sussex Street out of Macquarie Street has ended and the influence of the ALP machine now overshadows the incoming administration.

• Extreme Measures: Cheerleaders, horses and jockeys [Knives are out as Iemma plans his cabinet revamp ; Premier-elect Morris Iemma's first executive decision after Tuesday's formal coronation by the Labor caucus will be to scrap the hated vendor tax on the sale of investment properties New premier to axe property tax ]
• · Douglas Rushkoff has an interesting yet disturbing take on suicide bombs and their coverage in today's mediasphere News of one suicide leads to another ; The Naked Eye of the Sun Herald fame notes: Walt Secord, Premier Bob Carr’s larger than life media minder, was in Beijing a week ago addressing the State Council Information centre as a guest of the Chinese Information Minister. It was attended by 200 budding spin doctors from the central administration and provinces. ‘We discussed dealing with the media in the lead up to the Olympic Games in 2008 and how to respond to crisis issues such as mad cow disease and the recent formaldelhyde-in-beer health scare,’ said Secord, who has spent the past 10 years wheeling ‘the truth trolley’ around the NSW Parliamentary press gallery dispensing press releases and informed leaks to the media. When Carr steps down on Wednesday, the genial Canadian-born (Indian) spinmeister will be moving to fresh pastures, but where? China? Putting a spin on the Olympics and Mad Cow
• · · A judge and a DPP: which one served the public interest? via Webdiary; If we could gather Australia's 25 dead and living PMs in this grand lecture theatre to muse on government and media, I’d specially want to hear from Alfred Deakin Grattan on gatekeepers and gatecrashers
• · · · Bob Carr woke at two o'clock yesterday morning. Even in the recent desert heat of Dubai, he had not perspired. But in the pre-dawn chill he sat up in a cold sweat. I have a sneaky way of entering people’s dreams or nightmares If you took the politics out of Bob Carr there would be nothing left ; Bob Carr returned to his grass roots on Friday night to thank his trade union "comrades" for a decade of power Praise for the workers and a parting shot
• · · · · Estate Tax Advocates Shift Moral Spotlight onto Unbridled Inheritance ; Document Release Excludes First Bush Administration White House To Withhold Nominee's Tax Returns ; A panel of 36 distinguished public policy experts and scholars—ranging from Nobel laureate Milton Friedman to Eagle Forum President Phyllis Schlafly to former House Majority Leader Dick Armey—has selected the Internal Revenue Code as the No. 1 item on this year’s Human Events list of the Ten Most Harmful Government Programs. Ten Most Harmful Government Programs
• · · · · · Union threats to leave AFL-CIO generate waves, new possibilities Labor Split a Mixed Bag ; Female union members are gaining clout, but are still shut out of top labor positions Women’s Work ; Let's Put the Nature of Work on Labor's Agenda

Here's what Media Dragon looks like after the Googlesque website has had its way with our character string. As they say it is not what you know it is who you know ;-) (thanks Mark) Google as Media Dragon

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Bye, Dad
Lachlan Murdoch, heir apparent to the world's most powerful media company, has quit his executive role at News Corporation to come back to Australia

I look forward to returning home to Australia with my wife, Sarah, and son, Kalan, in the very near future. I would like especially to thank my father for all he has taught me in business and in life. It is now time for me to apply those lessons to the next phase of my career

Lachlan walks out on Rupert [Blogging is supposed to be democratizing the world of information, empowering the individual The feminine blogstique; Technorati Trends]
• · Jeni O'Dowd: Newspapers offer facts as their defining characteristic - and celebrity journalism is not exempt. Over the years Cindy Martin painted an image of life in the fast lane to colleagues, where she rubbed shoulders with the eastern suburbs' finest Between the lines ; What happens when you open up media platforms to bloggers, amateur critics, self-educated experts, passionate commenters, and independent reviewers? Garage Influentials
• · · Very Big Ad shows why we still call Carlton a beer ; A Comparison of How Some Blog Aggregation and RSS Search Tools Work for Keyword Search
• · · · Smart way to shop Price Comparison Center ; Scott Burgess' conservative/libertarian blog The Daily Ablution specializes in monitoring and commenting on some of the loonier aspects of Britain's leftist press Blog Bites Man; Blog Search Will Soon Be Extinct Blog sites boosted by increase in visitor numbers
• · · · · Encyclopaedia Britannica's challenge to Google, Yahoo and Wikipedia. ; Doing Business in Australia
• · · · · · Cyber criminals have found a new doorway into our hard drives, this time under the guise of seemingly friendly community sites, blogs and freebies Danger lurking on web freebies ;Help Discover Which Printers Spy on Users - Investigating Machine Identification Code Technology in Color Laser Printers

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Morris Iemma, NSW's low-key Health Minister, will become the state's 40th premier after his sole rival, Carl Scully, pulled out of the bitter inter-factional battle, saying he did not have the numbers. The 44-year-old son of Italian migrants is expected to be elected unopposed Introducing your new Antipodean-Italian Machiavelli For one so shy, Morris Iemma is about to taste the limelight like never before The machine has spoken

Eye on Politics & Leadership: Cold War
Less than 24 hours after announcing his retirement, the knives are out as many of Australia's most influential commentators set about trashing his legacy.

“As premier of NSW,” says the Fin Review, "Carr made a good intellectual." As for fundamental economic reform, he was an "absolute failure," says John Durie, also in the Fin. He lacked the political ticker to take on the unions, he basked in the Olympic-reflected glory without harnessing its potential long-term benefits, and he presided over never-ending hospital waiting lists.
He was the "master of the black arts of state politics" who presided with "splendid effrontery over what has almost certainly been the worst government in the history of NSW," says Peter Coleman in the Fin Review, and he goes on to list the failures: schools, suburban riots, drugs.
Even depression-expert Jeff Kennett hops in to Carr in the The Australian, – while "I like Bob, don't get me wrong," he spent ten years failing to "deliver on some basic issues."
The prime minister was just as critical: "NSW should be doing better, and the reason NSW is not doing better is largely the result of a number of bad decisions, such as property taxes, that have been taken by the Carr Government over the past few years," said John Howard. Carr conducted his third term wafting in "drift and detachment," says The Daily Telegraph. And Peter Ruehl caps it off with the most damning legacy for any premier. "In the end, Bob couldn't make the trains run on time," he says in the Fin Review. "Or the buses."

• Crikey Inside Edition -Stomping on Carr's grave liberals With malice for none, with charity to all [The short goodbye ; Bob Carr broke the political mould but toed the party line Portrait of a quirky conservative ; He may have held the top job for a long time, but history will quickly show it didn't amount to much Much ado about nothing; During the early days of Carr's career it was also part of the culture of the NSW Labor Right to identify heavily with the anti-communist American Democrats of the Cold War era All the obscure president's men ]
• · Helena said some of the 1000 people on her staff were "quite frightened of me" At the family home in Taiping, one of Helena's brothers, Ivan, lent across and whispered to her in Chinese: "I see you've brought home a kangaroo." The "kangaroo", at the time, was an ABC radio journalist, soon to become president of Australian Young Labor, then Helena's husband after a ceremony at The Swifts in Darling Point, where Bob, a nominal Presbyterian, never christened, married the Catholic Helena, looking as devout as her namesake, St Helena Major supporting act ; It has been a life of learning for the Premier, writes Kris Neill: My memories of the man for whom I worked for 12 years are of his support for, and loyalty to, staff and his sense of humour, which sustained us through the grinding lows of political life Even a U-boat commander has his doubts
• · · What does Roberts's Harvard history thesis tell us about him? ; You won't find two Polish towns more different than Nowa Huta and Krakow Watching Over Poland's Ghosts, in a Spirit of Renewal
• · · · The Federal Government has released all children from Villawood detention centre and moved to empty the immigration prison on Christmas Island, as it implemented the political deal struck last month between the Prime Minister and moderate Coalition MPs Cry freedom as families let go; Howard moves to calm IR law nerves ; via Polly Bush Watching Loyal Opposition
• · · · · Abe's on a roll Abe Saffron: Sin is fine, but don't mention the underworld; Agents report terror 'chatter' about Australia ; Car fumes driving us to early grave
• · · · · · Swings and roundabouts with Australia's exports ; Three of Australia's six Collins-class submarines have suffered potentially "catastrophic" fires, floods or equipment faults at sea Submarine fleet riddled with risks ; Navy secrecy threatens sub culture

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

I must be getting old as last weekend I had a tripple vision and I only had a glass of wine. Ach, even Dr Yau Yang Koh thinks I am as strong as an ox despite my inability to read or type with both of my eyes wide opened. So I have to wear a pirate's patch to read or type... Visual impairment is an important health issue facing the present and future generations of older Australians because it can affect physical, functional, emotional and social wellbeing, and reduce quality of life Vision Problems in Older Australians

Eye on Politics & Taxes: What is happening to Australian democracy?
In this discussion paper, Fred Argy looks at the issue of incumbency advantages in government by examining the use of taxpayers’ money for political advertising campaigns

The paper has a particular focus on the federal government’s current industrial relations campaign, and argues that public money should not be used for ‘proposed and unlegislated’ policy changes

• PDF version: Democracy Overtaken by Executive Solutions [Prime Minister John Howard has personally thanked Australian troops in southern Iraq, during a surprise visit, for their work in helping reconstruct the war-torn country PM to Aussie troops: we're staying in Iraq ; Sydney's 43 councils would be scrapped, dramatically restructured and carved up into 12 separate authorities, with paid elected officials and popularly elected mayors Labor designs on council carve-up]
• · With the world once again recovering from Pottermania, Sunday turns fiction into fact with a series of real-life encounters with wizards, witches, goblins and elves. They're part of an extraordinary cast of characters that spring to life in our cover story on paganism in Australia The wizards of Oz ; Alcohol, George Bernard Shaw wrote, enables parliament to do things at 11 at night that no sane person would do at 11 in the morning Dries call time on chambers keg
• · · London terror: deja vu ; An investigation into claims by a former Chinese diplomat that the Chinese government abducted a Victorian man involved only one interview Police check Chen story with one source
• · · · The rise and fall of Steve Vizard;
Vizard's bookkeeper pleads guilty to false accounting
; Somehow, sports stars such as Kostya Tszyu, John Farnham's manager, Glenn Wheatley, and establishment law firms such as Deacons, Gadens and Dibbs Barker Gosling have found themselves linked to an investigation into the most serious offences that can be committed without violence Flurry of big names ensures case will run and run
• · · · · Bitter outpouring at Carr's water plan; Team Beattie hit hard Filling the hole left by Treasurer Terry Mackenroth's sudden resignation
• · · · · · via Web Diarists : Beijing’s top leaders all know of you The thought crimes of Jennifer Zeng ; Canberra’s latest campaign underlines the need for controls over government advertising Public relations one; industrial relations nil

Monday, July 25, 2005

A Lieutenant Colonel was advised by the government to keep quiet about criticisms he made about Australia's intelligence system I was bullied and told to keep quiet ; I will fall on my sword over this: when something is so important an officer will take a stand Interview with Lance Collins

Eye on Politics & Taxes: Howard backs more security cameras
Closed-circuit television surveillance is expected to be boosted as part of tighter security arrangements to combat terrorism.

The Prime Minister, John Howard, was so impressed by the CCTV capacity used to identify four men believed responsible for 56 deaths on London transport that he wants Australian systems enhanced. "The biggest thing that I have learnt by a country mile out of my visit, particularly to Britain, is the extraordinary value of surveillance cameras," he said in London yesterday.

CCTV David Humphries [ Tax blitz widens to drugs, bribery ; The Smartest Guys in the Room Enron unmasked, but not comprehended ]
• · So many people dislike capitalism, it's a wonder it exists at all Stakeholder Capitalism One More Bind On Smith's Invisible Hand ; Environmental impact of consumption
• · · Recognising child workers: dilemmas of abolishing child labour ; Elba has something to teach us about tyrants and how they finish Tiny tyrants ; The Truth About Jihad
• · · · Premier Bob Carr today said Australia needed to have a "searching look" at its counter-terrorism laws after the second bomb attack on London in a fortnight. Can Western civilisation be glorified as the one true way, particularly when those who talk in this fashion usually sweep things like respect for liberties such as freedom of speech and freedom from fear conveniently under the carpet when it suits them? Strip citizenship: Carr terror plan ; As Australians, we tell ourselves many stories that stimulate our sense of self-righteousness and moral superiority; most societies do this sort of thing fairly regularly. Our myth-making is powerful - and very comforting - in a world of violence and destabilisation. Is this Islam? No. Is it "acceptable"? No. Is it caused by multiculturalism? No. A policy of assimilation would not solve any of this. The only "solution" in such a model is the forced baptism of the majority and the expulsion in boats of the remainder. A matter of respect
• · · · · Will intellectuals step forward when our political leaders fail us? ; Taxonomy of Political Conflict In Central and Eastern Europe
• · · · · · Bianca Jagger on sleeping with the enemy: Why she doesn't trust Bono, Bush, Brown, Bob and Blair on social justice Bedfellows; One drink does not a summer make Live 8 and Aristotle ; What can terrorists teach us?
It's Not Who We Are, It's What We Do

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Australia's children are victims of the new economy that has turned increasing numbers of men into casual or part-time workers Men out of work - why families are falling apart

Eye on Politics & Taxes: Police gunned down innocent man
A man shot dead on a London Underground train by police hunting attempted suicide bombers in the city has been named as a 27-year-old Brazilian, Jean Charles de Menezes.

He was formally identified in a brief statement from London's Metropolitan Police, who again confirmed that he was not linked to the four blasts on public transport in the city on Thursday. "He was not connected to incidents in central London on 21 July, 2005 in which four explosive devices were partly detonated," the statement said. Terrified onlookers described seeing plainclothes officers pursue the man through Stockwell Underground station in south London on Friday morning before cornering him in a train carriage where they shot him five times in the head at point-blank range.

How Big Brother & Terrorists Won the War [Shoot to Kill Policy ; Unprecedented volumes of personal information on millions of ordinary Australians are being shared between federal government departments under dramatic extensions of a little-known "data matching" scheme Personal data 'being shared' ; Laws no real protection against malevolent acts ; Random-search powers studied]
• · When Kerry Packer was asked by close mate and business partner Warren Anderson to plough $50 million into struggling merchant bank Rothwells in March 1988, Australia's richest man spat back: "Tell them to f... off How the red Inc flowed in WA ; Read NSW Public Accounts Committee reports on Intrastructure dated 1996-2000 and cry Burst main causes flooding ; NSW, traditionally the engine room of the Australian economy, is spluttering. While its counterparts are firing, the Premier State is looking sickly. Sydney's in a place that it's never been in - behind the pack. No wonder the next political bear hunt will be in the economic forrest called GST E(l)ections have consequences: On shaky ground
• · · Alberstein confirmed the authenticity of the Cisco pamphlets promoting police surveillance equipment to the Chinese Public Security Bureau acquired by businessman and author Ethan Gutmann from a Chinese trade show. Technology Companies as Arms Suppliers ; John Howard can't forever ignore China's threat to his relationship with the US Riding the dragon
• · · · Lessons from the late boom: Sydney is suffering the consequences of a once-in-a-generation housing boom.Sydney is now paying the price for wasteful property speculation encouraged by federal tax policy. Capital Gains Tax and Sydney housing ; David Humphries: Like an ALP card to go with that, sir? ; New wages umpire strips holidays from contracts
• · · · · I have just seen the most horrible thing of my life Survivors tell of deadly crossing ; Tax Panel Wants to End Alternative Minimum Tax
• · · · · · Courier Mail. Page 14, 22/07/2005: I can see some merit in having a national identity card but I have almost no faith in the keepers of this information keeping it safe and not allowing it to be stolen by commercial or, worse, criminal elements. No matter how dedicated they are, I cannot see public servants on fairly modest salaries protecting my personal information in the way I would like it protected Fears of identity being stolen ; Ukrainian President Yuschchenko disbanded the national traffic police (DAI). The main reason – they are too corrupt and take too many bribes from drivers. Today is the first day of police free traffic extravaganza in Ukraine Traffic Police Corruption

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Politicians are like vacuum cleaners: you need them, but you rarely enjoy using them After Armageddon, wages monster rises

Eye on Politics & Taxes: Jeepers creepers
Few things unite the nation - rich and poor, male and female, young and old - like the belief that we pay too much tax.

The Australian taxation system is in need of drastic reform. The changes to income tax brackets introduced by the Australian Government in 2005 have merely distracted taxpayers from the real problems. While the Federal Government would like to claim that Australians are not highly taxed, the reality is that they are among the highest-taxed in the developed world. The Australian taxation system is complicated, and poorly structured. It unfairly taxes low income workers, and actively encourages high income workers to minimise their tax obligations. Bracket creep is another major problem, as unlike Great Britain, Australian tax rates are not set to rise in line with inflation

Bracket creep [Will Melburnian poker champ Joseph Hachem have to hand over half his winnings to the taxman? Or can “professional” poker players keep the cash?
Tax issues for $10m poker champ ; Tax compliance costs: Cut or hidden? ; Taxman deals in on poker bounty ; Half of all borrowers using "low doc" loans have failed to lodge tax returns for an average of three years running Tax chief cracks down on loans that hide big income ]
• · Anika Gauja, University of Sydney Keeping the party under control: The legal regulation of Australia’s political parties ; Low doc loans
• · · The annual allowance for senators and members; In a paper delivered to the Fair Go or Anything Goes? conference this week in Sydney, George Williams argues that the federal government’s constitutional powers are not sufficient to enact a comprehensive national industrial relations scheme Federal powers not sufficient
• · · · Refugees and regional settlement: win-win? ; Australian Regulatory Review
• · · · · The G8: Hot air and high ground at Gleneagles ; Live8 ;
Nicolas Sarkozy has become the most popular French politician by diving headfirst into the country’s most explosive political issues. If he has his way, this hyperactive, pro-American, Gaullist, free marketer will transform French politics for good Solutions for Grandeur In the US Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas takes a wait-and-see approach, whereas MyDD's prolific Chris Bowers immediately deems him unacceptable. Moulitsas is not alone: many are resigned to the inevitability of Justice Roberts -- but they don't like it. Several admit that Roberts doesn't strike them as an extremist (although "partisan hack" quickly emerges as an epithet of choice) while others state the obvious explanation for their SCOTUS passivity: they want the focus to stay on WH dep. CoS Karl Rove (about which plenty more in the other Blogometer section) Divided Attention: Thinking Positively Negative About Roberts Confirmation
• · · · · · There can be no such thing as Catholic fundamentalism Relativism, Fundamentalism, Integrationism: Umberto Eco ; Europe’s Failure: A View From Germany

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Recent controversies in Queensland and Canberra have seen the 'parliamentary clerk' appearing more regularly in the news. Martin Leet looks at the role of clerks in our democratic processes Parliament and its clerk
This is how the Soviet bureaucracy worked. It is not the way the Westminster system worked or was ever supposed to work – we were supposed to have checks and balances. But we no longer have that system. We have a Soviet-style nomenclature, where the roles of politicians and administrators are indistinguishable, and blind loyalty is the performance criterion that matters above all else Soviet-style nomenclature

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Survey: Amerika
America is an extraordinarily dynamic country, says John Parker. But its very mobility may now be drawing people apart

On CHRISTMAS DAY 2004, Rick Warren, the pastor of Saddleback church in southern California, got a telephone call from Thailand. The caller, a pastor whom Mr Warren had trained, said a tsunami had just been reported and many people would need help. Before the tsunami had even struck Sri Lanka, Mr Warren was calling a vast network of churches in South-East Asia who got parishioners to safety, and e-mailing an even vaster network of clubs in southern California. Thousands of volunteers went into action overnight. Within a day, food and medicine worth millions of dollars were winging their way from a single church to the disaster-hit regions. This was American civic volunteerism in action, updated for the 21st century

By connecting people to their neighbours and to the wider world, argued de Tocqueville, civic associations made Americans better informed, safer, richer and better able to govern themselves and create a just and stable society
Degrees of separation [If domestic mobility is a centrifuge, immigration is a melting pot The Amerikano dream ; The glue of society ]
• · Despite the privacy advocates’ claims, public spaces are public—fortunately Cameras and Counterterrorism ; Terrorism can only be defeated by political compromise and negotiation Talking with the jihadists
• · · We were planning to survey our Slovak situation, where liberalism lacks tradition, and is often rather freely or superficially interpreted both by the admirers and the critics Public disagreement: The greatest contribution of liberal politics ; TaxAlmanac: The free online tax research resource and community; IMHO, ID card gives everyone a false sense of security, but again ID card help the Soviet block countries to disolve into the annals of history. Is it the right time for capitalism to turn to ashes? What kind of movement will replace current regimes? Identity cards can be forged, says Costello ; The Chinese defector Chen Yonglin flew out of Australia yesterday to give evidence to a US congressional human rights committee, in a move that threatens to exacerbate tensions between Australia and China. If half of Chen’ stories are true our current intelligence gathering mechanisms are set for a very rough ride Chen's pitch to Congress may fuel row with China
• · · · Boston and New York: Each city plays political hardball, but each in its own way - In Boston, some fathers still tell their sons how New Yorkers didn't want to go to war in 1776 because there was too much money at stake The Geopolitics of Two Cities in a Peanutshell ; The Counterterrorism Blog is following news and leads Political Crisis and the War on Terror
• · · · · From Counterpunch, a special report on The Making of Halliburton: Sticky fingers; Carr's wasteful water spending
• · · · · · But to describe plausible remedies is to explain why none are likely. The webs of mutual interests connecting government, corporate boardrooms and Wall Street are too deeply woven, as are habits of thought among policy makers and politicians. So I do not expect anything fundamental will be altered in time. We are going to find out if the dissenters are right Globalisation of Disaster ; Good background material, including info on the possible London bombing suspect at Terrorism Knowledge Base

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Would Martha Stewart, Bernie Ebbers, Nixon and Trotsky have stayed on top if they'd listened to Machiavelli? Reading The Prince

Eye on Politics & Economics: Cash vs. Assets
Herald reporters run the rule over the sectors to see which are looking strongest: from resources to transport to gambling to Telecommunications to building to property and more ...

Analysts predict strong results from the resources sector, thanks to record bulk commodity prices last financial year and continued high demand from China's economic revolution

Cash in the coffers, an eye on the horizon [But the marvellous Melbourne of the late 19th century, cocooned in wealth and complacency, had declined by the 1950s into drab suburban mediocrity - to a point where its tired and stifling provincialism was ripe for caricature by Barry Humphries ... But even if NSW received back all the missing $3 billion it loses in GST contributions paid to other states, would this Government know what to do with it? Sydney v Brisbane ; Although IT unemployment fell markedly over the past three years - much faster than the national rate - IT workers generally still find it more difficult to get a job than workers in other industries This is your next job ]
• · It could be a Sydney first: a prime piece of harbour-front real estate that no one wants to touch with a barge pole. The reason? The property is a ferry wharf in serious need of repair A faded gem in Sydney's property market ; Sydney's infatuation with home improvements has abruptly ended, as evidence grows that the end of the housing boom is hitting the city's economy. Renovators' nightmare for builders ; Treetops to be limit for boom-town apartments
• · · Too shy to ask for a rise? Here's what two experts say How to get a pay rise ; The Tax Office has been warned it could be sued over its attempts to rein in fees charged by service entities to professional groups such as accountants and law firms Service fee audits could be tested
• · · · Move your Mercedes off the union lawn, it's not very left wing! The Australian Labor Party: incestuous, secretive, sclerotic ; Smile for the cameras: technology and the ID card debate
• · · · · The London bombs were made with military plastic explosive. My guess is that it'll turn out to be Czech-made Semtex Nerf War and Real War: IRA vs. Al Qaeda ; Is war won by bullets or beliefs? The rule of law, not invasion, is the key. We used to read our children a book, long since lost, called Six Men. It was about a little band of men seeking a country where they could live and work in peace Justice is best weapon in fight for peace; Allen Northwood: Engadine The sooner the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs starts tattooing barcodes on our bottoms the better Government swaps fridge magnets for ID cards
• · · · · · The Palmer inquiry lays bare an inept and cruel system Cornelia Rau: the verdict; One woman caught in the net illustrates how desperately the Immigration Department needs cultural change Purgatory in Baxter

Monday, July 18, 2005

I must admit that Peter Beattie is onto something creative and the allegations at dinner parties that that I am on some kind of commission by Queensland Government are false ;-) Still most families and businesses in this internet age are looking for a sea change and Queensland is more than perfect most of the time. UP North everything seems cheaper and with better maintained infrastructure, even the trains run on time. We never received a huge electricity bills in Brissie as we seem to get in Sydney. To boot, today a very small number of local taxpayers can afford to buy a piece of dirt in Sydney. The four years I spent in the land of queens and toads were the highlight years of my two daughters’ lives. They discovered love for swimming and the squad culture was all about fun not just drills. Most schools have swimming pools and in fact we started swimming with Jan at the Wilson School, a stone-throw across the road from a church Heather and Peter attend with their three sons. Sydney certainly is great at producing wild men and political parties, but it is rare to come across a political family of the Beattie caliber ;-) While I loved Brissie, my better half who was born and bred in Sydney likes to invade other capitals, such Adelaide, only on temporary basis. I must admit in 2004 Brisbane was starting to get just as congested as Sydney and teenagers are bored more in Queensland than in Sydney. As the big smog still offers more opportunities... If Brissie ends up with a better transport despite the population explosion and if it attracts more private sector businesses such as IT or creates institutions like NIDA - well sky could be the limit ... From little things big things grow and Queensland might be showing the 21st century way of living and working:
While NSW Premier Bob Carr was in Dubai and London during the week, Mr Beattie was in Sydney spruiking his state's lower taxes. The move will pitch Labor's two most successful state leaders into the political equivalent of the State of Origin battle. "We are the fastest growing state in Australia," Mr Beattie said after a high-powered corporate lunch in Phillip It's State against State
If you have little children or grown up then run Hundreds make cross-border dash every week
While Queensland spends money to lure business to the state, the world's best city, Sydney, does not need to do likewise Street We don't need to advertise: Refshauge

Eye on Politics, Taxes & Planning: Spies who didn't love me
I've been asking ASIO to show me my file for almost 40 years. Having been a teenage Bolshevik, it seemed reasonable to assume one existed.

Though only 16 years old when I became a card-carrying member of the Australian Communist Party, I hung around with many of the best-known comrades, wrote for the Commo newspaper, worked for various "front" organisations, signed all the angry petitions, marched on May Day, painted anti-war slogans in railway viaducts and often heard strange clicks on the phone. All this during the coldest years of the Cold War, when Prime Minister Robert Menzies had tried to ban the party

• Beware the Ides of March My brief flirtation with Marxism-Leninism far behind [Any reader with more than a cursory knowledge of intelligence has two choices with Robert Littell's new novel, Legends. Toss it across the room into the discard box for the next library sale, or, if you prefer, push reality away for a few hours and enjoy an interesting if very fantastical read. I suggest the American language needs a new word to describe such books, and so I just made one up: spy-fi Spy fiction, the true Red October hunt ; The United States should cut its losses, pull out of Iraq promptly and never again use its military might to build a nation according to its own values US should pull out of Iraq now: ex-CIA chief ; John Deutch writes in the New York Times that Iraq is a lost cause All is lost: Time to Pull Out. And Not Just From Iraq ; I have the honour of being the only Media Dragon who links to Tim Blair and Phillip Adams in the same commentariat Enlarging on the response to the London bombs ]
• · If their families did not know what they were planning, then how did the British secret service stand a chance? The London bombers have emerged as the West's worst nightmare, defying every stereotype and chilling the blood of those who thought they understood the psychology of the suicide bomber The Enemy within ; Could it happen here? Risks of abundant tolerance ; Londoners were joined by thousands around the world, from Bali to Bucharest and from Spain to Iraq and New York, who stood in solidarity and silence and defiance of the terrorists London united ; We're not promoting terrorism: bookshops
• · · The appointment of bureaucrat Paul O'Sullivan as head of ASIO was a rank insult to many well qualified people within the organisation ASIO appointment insulting: ex-spy ; French judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere Terror team's Sydney mission
• · · · AUSTRALIA is unlikely to ever see a corporate crook spend as much time behind bars as Bernie Ebbers. Here, the crimes are a bit smaller and the sentences are a lot shorter Doing the crime but not time ; Once he was a star, but fast-forward to today and all has changed Vizard 'shunned' by corporate world ; Adler reduced to cleaning jail toilets
• · · · · Interview: Senator Amanda Vanstone ; From the Parliament of Australia, E-Brief: The detention and removal of asylum seekers ; Residents rally Against desalination plant ; Salt, brine and bitterness were in the air at Kurnell as more than 1000 people gathered to protest against the Government's plan Salt in the wounds: an angry suburb fights back
• · · · · · Costello dinner to rally support ; When Peter Costello carries on about how NSW taxpayers are being ripped off on state taxes, he's dead right. But it's him that's doing the ripping, not the State Government Costello piles insult on top of NSW's injury

Sunday, July 17, 2005

…librarians are more freedom fighters than shushers.”
-Carla Hayden, Ms. Magazine online
Radical Reference is a collective of volunteer library workers who believe in social justice and equality Radical Reference

The state Treasurer, Andrew Refshauge, has written to NSW Coalition senators asking them to stand up for their state in his conflict with the Federal Government over the carve-up of GST funding Senators' support sought in GST fight

Eye on Politics & Taxes: Rest assured, gallivanting MPs are travelling strictly for work
The Premier, Bob Carr, travelled with his wife, Helena, his chief of staff, Graeme Wedderburn, and a press adviser, Amanda Lampe, to the United Arab Emirates and England to look at a desalination plant and explore business opportunities

With the state's parliamentary chambers empty for the 11-week winter break, at least 10 NSW MPs and their staffers have flocked to the northern summer for study tours and business meetings

Arbeit Macht Frei Interpol were in the background when Mr Carr made this statement - the best way to counter terrorism was for local Muslims to mobilise against those who preached fundamentalist hatred
Exploring business and publishing opportunities [The defection of Chinese spies Chen Yonglin and Hao Fengjun has trained the spotlight on Australia's relationship with the world's seventh largest — and fastest growing — economy Behind Chinese walls; Some of our conservative politicians are giving a whole new meaning to Australian crawl on the global stage How about Pakistan: a shining light of democracy ; Pauline Arrillaga and Olga R. Rodriguez of the Associated Press reviewed court records from Mexico and the United States as part of an investigation into “the many pipelines in Central and South America, Mexico and Canada that have illegally channeled thousands of people into the United States from so-called ’special-interest’ countries - those identified by the U.S. government as sponsors or supporters of terrorism Pipelines Send Illegal Immigrants to US]
• · European Union officials agreed Thursday to begin storing phone and Internet records How far will Europe go to stop terror? ; The age of sousveillance Big Brother is "us", not "them"
• · · James Drew and Steve Eder of the Toledo Blade traced the path of former Ohio state aides-turned-lobbyists who “have traded their official titles for personal riches and the influence that comes with helping select a U.S. president ( links to other issues from the side bar) Potential conflicts of interest rife in S.C. Ex-state aides use old ties to make, raise cash: Jeff Stensland of The State reviewed financial disclosure forms from South Carolina state legislators to find that “about 20 lawmakers raked in more than $2.4 million in attorney fees by representing clients in front of state boards and commissions last year Lobbyists steered funds to Bush while they enriched themselves ; Karl Rove is turning out to be the real "whistleblower" in this whole sorry pseudo-scandal Karl Rove, Whistleblower
• · · · A series of articles on Srebrenica, ten years on ; After All These Years, Why Are We Still Besieged by the Search for Truth and Justice? Remembering Srebrenica ; What the genocide taught us about intervention From Srebrenica to Baghdad ; Israel The illusory Golden Age Susan Windybank speaks to Robert Kagan Americans don’t have a sense of how the rest of the world views us. We’re one of the most expansionist countries in the world. Expanding for over 400 years The Thoughtful Superhawk
• · · · · Parentalism and the fear of freedom Save Me From Myself! ; Charles Peters on how a little-known utilities executive saved civilization Axis of Civilisation ; Ulrich Beck Why full employment is an illusion
• · · · · · The aftermath of the housing boom, especially in Sydney and Melbourne, is seen as a global economic bellwether. If the US property boom ends with a crash we will probably all suffer Our obsession is the world's ; NSW is a state divided: the west is losing people and the coast is gaining them, but in Sydney the reverse is true Coastal explosion as NSW swells to 8.3m ; Timing of poverty in childhood critical to later outcomes ; Tennessee Lawmaker Spending: Michael Cass and Bonna de la Cruz of the Nashville Tennessean analyzed the expenditures of state legislators, finding that some of the money “goes to Tennessee Titans tickets, sorority memberships, car repairs and trips to political conventions far from Tennessee Campaign funds used on sports, tires, trips

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Political economy as usual in the land of the absurd. What makes some of us look out for each other, while others look out for themselves? Power brokers such as Jeff Kennett, Michael Kroger, Ron Walker, Don Argus, Steve Vizard, Eddie McGuire, Fraser Gehrig and even Paul Sheahan lucky recipients of the maximum priority retail allocation of 5,000 shares each Vizard a Tatts shares winner ... one of the biggest imbalances in supply and demand in Market history

Eye on Politics & Taxes: The Role of the Opposition
Parliament is the institution that embodies society in the diversity of its composition and its opinions and which channels this diversity into the political process

Its vocation is to regulate tensions and maintain equilibrium between diversity and uniformity, individuality and collectivity, to enhance social cohesion and solidarity. It is fundamentally about debate and the transacting of the people’s business in public. It is also about the right to dissent in a civilized manner. Genuine political opposition is a necessary attribute of democracy, tolerance, and trust in the ability of citizens to resolve differences by peaceful means

Opposition to a politician creates stronger opinions: Any opinion can be formed in two ways. You can support someone because you like them or because you don't like their opponent
Loyal Opposition [An axis of democracy; I am second to none in my admiration for what George Soros intended and achieved under this rubric, in the dark days of the Soviet empire The United States and the open society ; Labour should not follow Tory calls for smaller government, says Ann Rossiter: Size isn't everything ]
• · The development of democracy in South Korea is a miraculous achievement The dilemmas of democracy ; Why the country needs to choose its political model carefully Terestroika ; That's what legalizing undocumented immigrants would unleash, creating a win for everyone A Massive Economic Development Boom
• · · Radical Islam is spreading across Europe among descendants of Muslim immigrants. Disenfranchised and disillusioned by the failure of integration, some European Muslims have taken up jihad against the West. They are dangerous and committed -- and can enter the United States without a visa Europe's Angry Muslims ; Last week's attacks on London have once again stoked the fires of debate on the causes of terrorism So you want to stop the suicide bombers? ; Most Muslims abhor violence, yet the terrorists are a product of a specific mindset that has deep roots in Islamic history The struggle for Islam's soul ; War of the Worlds If the victory of liberalism is inevitable, do we need to fight in the Middle East? ; How can we tell if we’re winning the War on Terror? The Fog of War: The asymmetrical rhetoric of war and peace; Why is the U.S. Department of Homeland Security constantly telling every American to be afraid? Think Again: Homeland Security
• · · · Why Unions Are Like Typewriters ; That nocturnal strike against capitalism is emblematic of the soul of socialism What is the Soul of Socialism?; Black Rednecks and White Liberals: Who's a Redneck? ; Did the Founding Fathers Really Get Many of Their Ideas of Liberty from the Iroquois?
• · · · · It's a very interesting question, why a society doesn't even notice or doesn't successfully respond to problems that look obvious. Easter Island, C'est Moi: Jared Diamond ; Joseph Wilson: From the moment that what's now known as "Plamegate" emerged on the horizon, alternative media outlets have demanded accountability from the White House. Although the mainstream corporate media is now focusing on the legal issue of whether Karl Rove or other White House staffers will be indicted, the more preeminent issue is that the Bush White House committed treason by betraying the national security of the United States of America. It goes without saying that I found his comment to Chris Matthews, that Valerie was fair game, to be repugnant Bush's Culture of Unaccountability
• · · · · · In the law, predictability is usually important. People need to know the rules, and they cannot plan their lives unless they know the law in advance. Many conservatives expect a Supreme Court justice whose opinions they can predict. Predictability may be a virtue in a political leader. For judges, it’s a vice The Problem with Predictability ; With a Supreme Court Nomination on the Horizon, the Stakes Are High What Are the Rules and Standards In the Judicial Appointments Game?; How the Supreme Court sows moral anarchy Their Will Be Done ; To understand this Supreme Court, it's best to look at the justices themselves Under the Microscope Longer Than Most

Friday, July 15, 2005

When two senior public servants clash in the testy atmosphere of Parliament House, the fallout can get ugly. Dr June Verrier is – or was, until this week – head of the parliamentary library. Hilary Penfold QC is parliament's top bureaucrat, secretary of the Department of Parliamentary Services Quitting over parliamentary independence Strangely, I searched high and low and I only found one reference to this story. It is by Margo Kingston See the Reference in the Commentariat

Eye on Politics, Independence & Terrorism: The new Al Qaeda: local franchises
A decade ago Al Qaeda was an entrepreneurial jihadist start-up firm. Today it may have evolved into something bigger, and less tightly controlled: a worldwide franchiser of terrorist attacks.

That may be one lesson of last week's London bombings, say some terrorism experts. The British attacks were well-organized, low-tech, and prepared in great secrecy - all hallmarks of the now-decentralized Al Qaeda network. The Madrid subway attacks of 2004 were similar. So were the bombings carried out in Casablanca, Morocco, in 2003

The lessons of London [Actions such as the war on Iraq have alienated many ordinary Muslims This is no way to wage the war on terror ; It is essential that the Muslim world wake up to the fact that it has a jihadist death cult in its midst The police's nightmare: home-grown terrorists ; These were acts of "sacred revenge" for British massacres in Afghanistan and Iraq: Blowback from Bush and Blair's incompetently pursued war on terror has hit London. When will the U.S. figure out how to fight smart? The time of revenge has come ]
• · Terrorism. No government, no population, is safe from indiscriminate terror ; Plot to scar London with 'burning cross'
• · · Rau, Alvarez force the PM to say sorry;Sweeping changes are needed to fix deep-seated problems in the Immigration Department and the detention system. A damning report
has found
; Alvarez case shows failure after failure; The Palmer report
• · · · Brian Ray was on a roll Developer's comeback after 'lost' years ; Missing: a mate with a loan for Packer In politics, hypocrisy will kill you. This is something Prime Minister John Howard should consider after identifying himself this week as either a hypocrite or not across the detail of his own department's activities. Rhetoric is out of step with reality: You only get one choice: sign the contract or don't get the job ; An open and shut case of insider trading?Steve Vizard - Insider trader
• · · · · James Cumes continues with his stimulating debate How to Deal with the Rise of China (2) ; Andrew Norton of good analysis fame Religion and politics ; US troops' direct fire or clashes have claimed 39,000 Iraqi civilians' lives
• · · · · · June Verrier's departure is a sad loss. Another vertebra removed from the backbone of parliamentary democracy Successful delivery of professional and non-partisan services ; Senator MURRAY Parliamentary Library ; Parliamentary Service Amendmentt Bill 2005 ; Parliamenatary Service Legislation

Thursday, July 14, 2005

You Know You've Made It as a Blogger When... Blog Relations... are made to grow up..
Bloggers this month will be introduced to the "King of Content" and the "King of Ping" as a new multi-tasking web software breathes fire into that internet jungle we call the blogosphere 100 Blogs in 100 Minutes: Are You Multi-blogging?

Taxing Times: The Blog, The Press, The Media mX: A new flower in Rupert's patch
This News Limited freebie already publishes a Melbourne edition, and will soon be seen in Brisbane.

But the Sydney launch last week was deemed worthy of a front-page plug in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph the following day. It’s young, free and taking Sydney by storm The Tele is also a News Limited publication, and their page 3 news story was brazen cross promotion. Launch of first new newspaper in 30 years Young, free and bursting with fun. It’s young and sexy, with a no nonsense ‘pick me up’ approach, but unlike the trains this Sydneysider promises to make your ride home enjoyable

• Foreign Investment Policy eXile Young and sexy
• · A study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project finds US online users are getting more savvy about online security Online users becoming more Web savvy
• · · The Intuitive Life Business Blog ; It's one thing to fall in love with your iPod, but would you consider sleeping with it? iPod promiscuity?
• · · · In the days before Google, search engines like Excite, Hotbot, and Altavista larded themselves up with content in a desperate effort to delay users beyond the two pages of a search activity — search box and results. The goal was stickiness How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Relinquish Control ; Should Newspapers Sponsor Blogs Written by Reporters?
• · · · · A new edition to Blogovia, the liberal hemisphere of the blogospher : Liberal or radical economists with actual credentials in the field who blog I Feel A Change In The Force ; One of the best kept secrets (or maybe not so well-kept via fullcontext : I don't know his hit count) of the blogosphere is Jonathan Edelstein's. It's an indispensable resource for those interested in contemporary events in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and the Pacific. Jonathan's analysis is refreshingly free from ideology or ax-grinding; I don't know how he manages to keep track of all this stuff, but I'm glad he's there Head Heeb
• · · · · · Blogging up the Ladder Better jobs to people with clever blogs?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Puzzling Story of NATO's Secret Armies During the Cold War: After the Cold War had ended, then Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti confirmed to the Italian Senate in August 1990 that Italy had had a secret stay-behind army, codenamed Gladio – the sword Just What Were They Up to? - Nato's Secret Armies

Eye on Politics & Taxes: The Liberal
In the early 19th century, Romantic poets Lord Byron and Percy Shelley conspired to produce a magazine that would challenge the day’s conservative publications with a selection of original poetry, prose fiction and reviews. They called it The Liberal and brought together some of the foremost influences of the Romantic movement for its inaugural release.

But before the magazine would formally launch, Shelley died and the project ultimately dissolved after the fourth issue....
What I would say is, well – Zizek gave a brilliant lecture where he spoke against human rights and he railed against the culture of liberal interventionism. He’s interested in the real and the illusory and he spoke about how America would go into a country like Iraq with the illusory language of human rights. And in creating a human rights violation, would see the real varnish staring back at them. And it’s that sort of interesting mirror image.

Human rights [Survivors remember Srebrenica; This New York Times story about "meth orphans" is enough to make you weep A Drug Scourge Creates Its Own Form of Orphan ; Here lies the body of Jonathan Swift, where savage indignation can no longer lacerate his heart ]
• · Rich Pervert Tax Code for Themselves ; The best-laid plans of mice and men, as Robbie Burns famously said, often go awry. $1 Mil That's what it now costs to raise a child in Australia's most expenisve city. We explore the implications of paying such a hefty price to have a family How families make ends meet
• · · The stirring tale of Randy "Duke" Cunningham, congressman and bon vivant, becomes more entertaining by the day, and it is far more instructive than another case of a missing white female. In 2003, he sold his house in Del Mar, a very upscale town north of San Diego. The buyer was Mitchell Wade, a defense contractor, who paid $1.675 million. Wade later resold the house at a $700,000 loss Eaten Alive by Corruption: the only person in recent history to lose money on a San Diego real estate deal ; This is an edited version of a speech to Australian Council for Infrastructure Development on March 21, 2005 Lindsay Tanner - Infrastructure ; A rush to build a $2 billion desalination plant at Kurnell has been widely condemned, from the Prime Minister to green groups, as an expensive and environmentally harmful response to Sydney's water shortage Cold water on the salt solution ; Desalination plant 'too important to debate' The options: Pros and cons
• · · · by Desmond Tutu Much Has Been Done, But... ; For Tobias Levkovich, chief US portfolio strategist at Citigroup Smith Barney in New York, the timing of last Thursday's terrorist attacks in London could hardly have been better Markets factor in acts of terror
• · · · · Extremist recruiters Leaked No 10 dossier reveals Al-Qaeda’s British recruits ; Evan F. Kohlman: The Afghan-Bosnian Network, argues that the key to understanding Al Qaida's European cells lies in the Bosnian war of the 1990s Bosnia: The Birthplace of Al-Qaeda
• · · · · · Follow the money - A Virginia man charged with illegally wiring millions of dollars to his native Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and other nations pleaded guilty Thursday to operating an unlicensed money service business Vienna Man Pleads Guilty To Running Unlicensed Money Service ; Web Exclusive Another Lost Opportunity; Stephen E. Flynn - Interview Qaeda Attack in U.S. Likely to Be More Catastrophic Than London Bombings

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Come, woo me, woo me; for now I am in a holiday humor, and like enough to consent."
-Billy Shakespeare, As You Like It

Despite being well off by any objective standards, most Australians believe that their incomes are inadequate to meet their needs Why Australians will never be prosperous

Eye on Political Economy & Taxes: Hole in the Wall: Mountain of Debt Murmurs
A decade-long borrowing binge has left Australian families with more financial obligations than their US counterparts

Twenty years ago Australian households spent less than 11 per cent of their available income on meeting regular financial commitments, such as debt repayments, rents, council rates and insurance premiums. But this proportion has surged to 18.6 per cent, according to the financial obligations ratio. The results underscored how Australians were much more vulnerable to higher interest rates and rising unemployment than in the past

• Long shadows from the past Decade of debt eats family cash [Although ‘Super Choice’ arrived on 1 July, the overarching goal of superannuation is to constrain choice A super way to turn a vicious circle into a virtuous one ; The popular image of the welfare cheat as greedy and street-smart could not be further from the truth, new research shows. They are more likely to be poor, uninformed, "sad people" who are trying to survive Cheats turn out to be on the margins ; Over time, water prices need to move to their own level Going with the flow ; The government has control of the Senate but not of public opinion, writes John Spoehr. So the industrial relations debate is far from over Fightback revisited ]
• · In medieval art the rat symbolised evil and decay. At the Art Gallery of NSW the rat has come to symbolise either unfair dismissal or misconduct, depending on who's talking Gallery's sacked staff smell a rat ; Another long shadows from the past - Latham's former speechwriter Dennis Glover has some sound advice for the former ALP leader Second-rate rant will spoil the party
• · · As many as five Australians were on the bus that was blown apart by terrorists in London Aussies flee one blast to be caught in another ; Ruthless terrorists get their wish: public transport chaos across the globe - as planners assume attack is inevitable liberties to be thrown out of the window Security clampdown for Australian buses and trains ; State governments and public transport authorities ramped up security yesterday, deploying additional police and guards and conducting urgent reviews of counter-terrorism plans Transport security swoop
• · · · The former Chinese diplomat Chen Yonglin can stay in Australia and will be able to apply soon for citizenship after being granted permanent residency Chinese defector wins permanent residency ; Sex industry figures and brothel workers have been summonsed in an Australian Crime Commission investigation into sex slave trafficking Sex trafficking under the microscope ; The fairytale is definitely over for the Vizard of Oz - When the perfect storm engulfed Steve Vizard on Monday, the uncanny sixth sense that gives him his comic timing placed him overseas enjoying a European holiday with his family How funny money made joke of Vizard
• · · · · 137 people have signed up, 263 more needed St. Francis - from tiny acorns and all... ; ICYE is an international non-profit youth exchange organisation promoting youth mobility ; Hundreds of Sydneysiders are raking in huge rents from phone companies by allowing their roofs and walls to be used for mobile phone base stations Tower to the people
• · · · · · Health Minister Gordon Nuttall has been embroiled in the so-called "Dr Death" scandal after a senior bureaucrat yesterday disputed his claim that he had never been warned about problems with overseas-trained doctors Dr Death scandal embroils minister; Immigration head Bill Farmer has been made the scapegoat for a host of monumental departmental blunders but rewarded with the high-profile job of Australian ambassador to Indonesia Immigration scapegoat given elite job ; Career public servant Paul O'Sullivan was named Dennis Richardson's successor as head of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), with Mr Richardson now Australia's ambassador to the United States. PM's adviser appointed top spy

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Al Qaeda and their affiliated groups have declared war on our civilization, and we’ve responded by being feckless and distracted. Why, 4 years after 9/11, and just hours after 7/7, are we continuing to allow Pakistan’s borders to likely harbor Bin Laden - we allow the Saudis to finance terror How many more innocent human beings have to die because our leaders refuse to hunt down these killers and end them?

Eye on Politics & Taxes: A Radical Way to Be: Full-focus attention is the next aphrodisiac
Attention captured by marketing messages and leaders who give us a sense of trust, belonging in a meaningful way.

Now we long for a quality of life that comes in meaningful connections to friends, colleagues, family that we experience with full-focus attention on relationships, etc. The next aphrodisiac is committed full-attention focus. In this new area, experiencing this engaged attention is to feel alive. Trusted filters, trusted protectors, trusted concierge, human or technical, removing distractions and managing boundaries, filtering signal from noise, enabling meaningful connections, that make us feel secure, are the opportunity for the next generation. Opportunity will be the tools and technologies to take our power back

We Contain Multitudes [War Made Easy How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death Harsh insight into how we make war ; Tolstoy used fewer pages to sketch Napoleon's invasion of Czarist Russia - Writers of many stripes grapple with a country going off the rail Shock and awe - Five books on the war in Iraq ; Can We Fight The War On Terror Now? ]
• · Australian millionaires are reluctant to recognise themselves as well-to-do, and even the very rich still cry poor. Newly Rich: First Class, Upper Crust, Cream of Society Poor little millionaires ; History teaches us that there are two types of tyrants. Those who preserve the structures and forces that carry them to power - and those who, once they have attained their goal of unbridled domination, seek to destroy the organizations and people they had used to get to where they are Purging vs. Co-opting Tyrants
• · · The struggle against terrorism cannot be won by military means ; If the era of the Cold War is over it is, perhaps, less because one side has 'won' than because the legitimation of each political discourse found itself fundamentally challenged by material developments themselves The Betrayal of History: Dreamworld and Catastrophe ; The dumbing-down of audiences is as dangerous to newfound political and economic freedoms as are more explicit forms of repression. Both democracy and the free market will not survive long in the absence of an informed, alert, intellectually agile public. It is hard to retain one's critical faculties under the onslaught of televised conspicuous consumption and the unmitigated folly of mass entertainers Garbage in, money out
• · · · Focus groups? I thought we elected politicians to make big decisions Focus groups were almost as controversial within the Conservative Party as taxation ; The alliance between the NGO coalition Make Poverty History and the spectacular global Live8 concerts may seem a formidable challenge to the G8, but Tom Burgis in Edinburgh hears radical NGO campaigners who think it is far too close to power Insider-outsider: the NGO fracture zone ; Over the past 15 years, 'street politics' has lost its critical edge Live 8: How did protests become love-ins? ;
• · · · · Wes Boyd and Joan Blades and the formation of The Internet And Democrats ; For the sake of party unity, many Democrats last year put aside their differences with John Kerry's foreign policy positions, in particular his tortured support for the war in Ira Reconnecting to the World
• · · · · · An op-ed on activist judges So Who Are the Activists? ; The libertarian case for judicial activism Unleash the Judges ; 'Electing Justice': The People's Court

Thursday, July 07, 2005

A Sad Day for London & Liberty
O THE sad day! A series of explosions ripped through London's underground system on Thursday morning. 6 Blasts Rock London, Killing at Least 30 ... At least 90 casualties in London explosions, subway closed Terrorist Explosions rock London
The world's most powerful leaders got down to talks in Gleneagles, Scotland, on Thursday on aid to Africa and climate change, but the summit was brutally overshadowed by a series of explosions that caused casualties and at least two deaths in London London blasts upstage G8 summit - Olympic bid team devastated by London blasts news
United States: September 11, 2001
Spain: March 11, 2004
England: July 7, 2005
Today, we are all Britons

Matters Arising from the Terrorist Bombing: After the joy of winning the Olympics, Evil came swiftly , however, How to verify a terrorist group's claim of responsibility

CODA: James Bond once said, ‘You only live twice.’ Once when you are born and again when you face death. He may well have been referring to my life ... My life, all of it, comes down to 7/7