oh sweet JESUS, no… don’t SING
Sunday July 31st 2005, 8:02 pm


image: ABC TV

Alex, you can go crash a few racecars, you can piss in the pockets of the Asian nations HoWARd said he’d pre-emptively invade… but sweet bloody, bloody Jesus on the cross… please don’t SING.


Your job according to HoWARd
Sunday July 31st 2005, 10:39 am


image: Bill Leak for The Australian

HoWARd’s proposed industrial relations "reforms" can only be viewed as enhancements to the workplace in the eyes of employers. Cutting paid holidays, lunchtimes, ‘tea’ or ‘smoko’ breaks and removing entitlements to contest unfair dismissal in 80% of Australian workplaces is where he’s going.

Workers have next to no rights in the USA. In general, Americans get 2 weeks paid holidays per year for the first 5 years on the job and perhaps 3 weeks per year between 5 and 10 years service. There is no protection against unfair dismissal in the USA, conveniently meaning few people survive 5 years on the job anymore.

The environment is known as ‘employment at will,’ where the employer can hire/fire or the employee can work/quit, ‘at will,’ with or without any notice- or just cause. Somehow, this arrangement qualifies in the minds of business-biased American legislators as ‘equal,’ despite the fact that one is in truly dire straits without a job in the USA.

There is no national healthcare system in America; you must buy your own health insurance for yourself and your family or negotiate it to be provided as a condition of employment. Unemployment benefits are very strictly limited to 60 months worth of payment in your employment lifetime. Politicians commonly demonise recipients of welfare payments and legislate for its abolition, despite genuine need. Potential workers are over a barrel- and must take what is offered these days. A little untraceable collusion between major employers’ HR departments and wages are forced right down.

HoWARd wants to establish free trade agreements with China and other southeast Asian nations. The only way Australia will be able to compete in such a globalised economic landscape is if labour costs in Australia are within striking distance of wages paid in those nations. HoWARd will argue that free trade will stimulate business, causing wage rises in Asian nations, bringing them into line with those in Australia. However, Australian wages and worker protections- and thus average Australian living standards- will necessarily have to fall.

NAFTA has certainly not benefitted American workers. In specific example, General Motors once had massive manufacturing plants in Flint, Michigan. The instant NAFTA was signed, GM moved operations to Matamoros, Mexico, where non-union workers wages are right about 30% (or MUCH less) of what GM had to pay American workers under UAW contracts. Flint is now somewhere between ghost town and war zone, with hundreds of abandoned homes boarded up and derelict. Young men in Flint have few economic alternatives other than crime or joining the US military. Matamoros has almost hopeless levels of pollution due to near non-existent Mexican enforcement of environmental regulations. Mexican workers have little protection against unsafe conditions and are frequently injured on the job, mainly due to safety deficiencies.

The shafting of the American working class started with ‘Reaganomics‘ in the early 1980s. This ‘trickle-down’ theorem postulated that if business was unfettered by government regulation, all ships would rise, including that of ‘Joe the Janitor.’ ‘Reaganomics,’ with the added aspect of privatisation of formerly national industries was adopted by Margaret Thatcher in the UK, with disastrous results for workers in the coal, steel and transportation industries.

The ‘supply-side’ theory is fundamentally flawed as it presumes that an employer who saves money on taxes, worker safety and employee entitlements will pass the savings on in greater wages. Ain’t so, folks. The employer will either pocket the money or reinvest to grow the company’s production and sales. More people may be employed in the short term to support increased production, but wages do not rise. Frequently, businesses temporarily enjoy a growth spurt, but when business levels off, employees are retrenched and business facilities are closed. This is known as a ‘flexible’ working environment, in the eyes of John HoWARd- but it’s only flexible for the very wealthy.

Private health insurance, laissez faire capitalism and your labour as a convenient, disposable commodity- sounds a lot like America, doesn’t it?

HoWARd wants his fat biz friends to succeed and have that success ‘trickle down’ to you, while you lose your holiday pay and reasonable working conditions- including a right to contest unfair dismissal. Medicare has been in HoWARd’s gunsights for many years in favour of a private user-pays healthcare system, where provider costs cannot be controlled. The arrangement doesn’t work well anywhere else in the western world- why would it work in Australia?

A little socialism never hurt anyone.


Honey, does my gun look big in this?
Wednesday July 27th 2005, 12:17 pm


image: Sydney Morning Herald

Sydney Airport Corporation’s manager of security infrastructure, Kylie White, is quite correct when she says that passive millimetre-wavelength (MMW) scanners will be hard to sell to the public. Above is an example of the sort of detail revealed by MMW. It’s obvious to me that this guy is wearing Levis 501 jeans and is right handed, considering were he keeps his car key, wallet and handgun grip! Could lay off the doughnuts, too…

However, Kylie appears to be working on old information when she claims that MMW scanners require a long "exposure" time which would slow down passenger movement through airports. UK based Qinetiq Corp has developed a MMW scanner which would provide imaging like the above in real time, with full motion video. The company claims that these scanners could be operated overtly or covertly.

Since MMW works on the principle of detecting emitted millimetre-length waves from the body (ostensibly waves below the infrared part of the light spectrum), about the only foil to the system would be… foil. If you wore metallised undergarments (perhaps aluminised mylar), the scanner at least would not see your pink bits.

That tin-foil hat is sounding better all the time.



Beware your local petrolhead
Tuesday July 26th 2005, 5:00 pm




In the government’s latest terrorism awareness campaign, we’re pointedly warned to watch for people who use their garages at odd hours. Better give the neighbours a heads-up before you start building that land speed record car.

Will HoWARd be stopped by Customs for possession of an unusual amount of fertiliser?


HoWARd to implement London anti-terrorism measures
Sunday July 24th 2005, 1:16 pm

image: Reuters

John HoWARd has so far been mightily impressed with the response of emergency services in London and has promised to implement similar measures in Australia. Let’s hope that the point-blank killing of innocents isn’t part of the plan.  

It’s far too easy to overreact with the climate of fear that the terrorists have to some degree succeeded in creating in London. All it took for this poor Brazilian electrician to be killed was to be dark skinned and wearing a heavy coat in the wrong season and be fearful of police.

Dunno about you, but when I see big burly mothers in riot gear with machine guns, I’m apt to get the hell out of their way, too.  Will this be interpreted as though I’m carrying a bomb? Perhaps I’m a little too blonde and blue eyed for that sort of thing…

It is arguable that the police were rightfully suspicious of this man and engaged him per terrorism training- that is to disable a suspected bomber without detonating his explosives. That unfortunately means a head shot…. but five EIGHT? How many bullets does it take to stop a brain from working?

I appreciate the level of honesty from the Metropolitan Police and also don’t envy them their task. However, being afraid of law enforcement can be no reason for an on-the-spot death sentence.

Johnny, if you’re going to bring home any lessons from London, bring that one.



Sieg heil, quack quack!
Saturday July 23rd 2005, 9:52 am

click for 12th's Scotty The Duck!

Despite having said that any person in Shrubbo’s White House found responsible for revealing CIA operative Valerie Plame to the press would be sacked, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan went into total stonewall mode earlier in the week (video, 8.2Mb, WMV) in a truly lame-duck effort to save Shrub strategist Karl Rove from being eaten by the White House press corps.

McClellan demonstrated he’s a doubleplusgood duckspeaker– which did not go unnoticed by the mightily talented Jon Fox of the 12th Harmonic Blog, who brings us his new country-swing ditty, “Scotty The Duck,” as heard on the Mike Malloy Show on Air America.

Don’t miss!


Vanstone ‘technically sacked’
Friday July 22nd 2005, 11:29 am

Vanstone claims there was no error committed by DIMIA when the Hwang children, Ian, age 12 and Janie, age 6, both valid Australian visa holders, were yanked out of their classrooms by DIMIA agents last March and taken to Villawood Immigration Detention Centre where they were detained as ‘illegal non-citizens.’

Vanstone is vomitously attempting yet again to blame the victim for DIMIA cockups. Amounda says that the children were detained in Villawood for 4 months, prevented from attending school, subjected to a deportation order and allowed to witness other detainees attempt suicide and inflict other self-harm- because their mother asked to see them.

Amounda also claims that a new immigration minister will not change the problems in DIMIA.

She’s right.

For the situation to be fully redressed, HoWARd should resign as well.



Your paperssss, pleees.
Monday July 18th 2005, 4:01 pm


image: eriding.net

Truly free societies offer a few perks to their constituents. A legal presumption of innocence is one of the primaries, along with the right to move about freely within the country, without police interference. That includes a presumption that all persons you might encounter are ashore legally, until such is proven otherwise.

In Australia, one’s skin colour or English language capacities can not be a legitimate cause for detention- unless these are causes to exclude a person from becoming an Australian citizen. Australian law recognises naturalised citizens as having rights equivalent to those of domestically born Australians. Citizens are not required to carry proof of citizenship at all times, whether that citizenship was acquired by birth or by naturalisation.

I am a naturalised Australian citizen, yet I speak English with a prominent American accent. All the same, I insist upon being treated by police as though I was born in Ferntree Gully. If I am approached by police over a traffic matter, I will produce my NSW driving licence, as would any other Australian. Being that I am blonde and blue eyed, I’m unlikely to receive any further scrutiny. However, if I were olive-skinned or almond-eyed, you can bet I would get more than a few queries about my residency permission.

John HoWARd has raised the spectre of a national ID card in the wake of the London bombings, as some sort of a means of protecting against terrorism in Australia. Given that the accused bombers in London were otherwise unsuspected, legal residents of England, even a compulsory ID card would have done nothing to stop that attack.

Further, knowing the nature of Aussies, if all persons in Australia were required to carry an ID card at all times, millions of them would appear at police stations without cards and volunteer to be jailed. HoWARd’s own backbench has already indicated dissent.

HoWARd himself opposed the introduction of a national ID card in 1987 when he was in the opposition. He now claims that times have changed and that a compulsory national ID card is desirable, though HoWARd admits that compulsory national ID cards may indeed constitute a breach of civil rights.

I’ll take that one step further and suggest that compulsory ID cards are a breach of human rights. A free society and the government thereof exists to preserve the way of life of a free people, not to curtail freedoms… and thus perpetuate itself.

Even if you vote Liberal, you cannot possibly agree that mandatory ID cards are a character of a free and democratic nation, nor will they significantly aid in protection against terrorist attacks. A policy of openness and trust with the Australian Muslim community will be a cornerstone in preventing the sort of attack suffered by Londoners.

Our foreign policy must match our intent. While there may be some merit in militarily opposing those who would change the culture of secular societies by force, I suspect that quite a lot of steam could be taken out of the Al Qaeda movement simply by western nations  recognising the existence of their Muslim neighbours and attracting the vocal approval of moderate Muslims.

Following the irrational GW Shrub’s illegal war into Iraq made Australia into a prime terrorist target. Only our relative geographical  isolation has so far kept us safe- while Madrid was bombed. Withdrawing Australian forces from Iraq may indeed redirect the attention of potential terrorists to other nations… hopefully before we have our own domestic sob-story in the headlines.

HoWARd, it seems, has so far only launched a ‘trial balloon’ as it is known in US politics, to gauge public opinion. While he’s listening, let him know how you feel about compulsory ID cards. Fire off a letter to JWH and also your local Liberal MP. 

The ‘fair-go’ should go worldwide. 


Thrusting with findings
Friday July 15th 2005, 11:46 am


John HoWARd mouthed the words of an apology to Cornelia Rau and Vivian Alvarez yesterday, as the Palmer Report into DIMIA stuffups was released. (Listen: ABC Radio News report – 1Mb, MP3 format) See also David Marr’s concise analysis of the report.

The facts of the matters have been known for some months- why didn’t HoWARd offer an apology then? Clearly, the government was given legal advice that the unlawful incarcerations and deportation of an Australian citizen were indefensible, even given the ability of this government to sweep their poo under the carpet. The problem is that concealed poo remains squishy and stinky, despite the reduced visibility.

HoWARd says he "…accepts the thrust…" of the Palmer Report’s findings. Translated into realityspeak, that means he’ll do what he sees fit, though he may not implement all of the report’s recommendations. This government does not do what is right- it does what it is legally expedient (or ultimately legally obligated) to do.

The HoWARd “apology” is the least of the matter, though given the paucity of HoWARd’s remorse for just about anything, it’s newsworthy!

Chris Rau has it nailed in one when she says that reform is the key goal, not necessarily beheadings. However, all faith is lost in the HoWARd government’s ability to implement the cultural change required for true reform in DIMIA when there is no responsibility assigned to any person for the cockups AND the principals are not only not sacked… but PROMOTED!

The government’s intentions and capability to implement change in DIMIA is easily read in the settlement offer made to Vivian Alvarez– 6 months free rent and a $500 phone card. Well, that’ll fix things RIGHT up, won’t it?

Imagine for a moment what would happen to your own life if you were incarcerated for 10 months or worse, deported from Australia and abandoned for several years on a foreign shore. Reckon a few rent vouchers and a phone card would compensate your damages? You wouldn’t have had much of a life to lose if it did!

S’CRAP! HoWARd mouths an apology and does sweet FA to redress the core problems. That’s his idea of "…accepting the thrust…” of the Palmer report… Frankly, the only thrust acceptance that’s going on is giving Australia a royal pain in the arse!

Vanstone MUST go! There MUST be a Royal Commission enquiry into DIMIA and those responsible for major stuffups should get the boot- even if that includes JWH!

I wanna know who it was in DIMIA that dreamed up the ’sex slave’ tale about Alvarez. I want to know the name of the psychologist in Brisbane who deemed Rau’s behaviours as “normal!” Who ARE these people and who told them to treat people like dogs first and as true-blue citizens second?

DIMIA must be apolitical and transparent from beginning to end- nothing else will do.


Palmer Report released
Thursday July 14th 2005, 10:55 pm

Courtesy of Amounda’s hefty webservers, it’s here, in Adobe PDF.

…reading now.