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Christa Schwoebel on why she's Not Happy, John!

Hello. On Saturday night I was a guest at a Not Happy, John! event at the Wauchope Arts Hall, hosted by my friend Susie Russell, a Webdiarist who is standing for the Greens against Mark Vaile in Lyne. The only other competitor to Vaile, Labor's James Langley, came along. We sat in a circle and relayed why we became Not Happy, John in prose, songs and performance, before tossing around ideas for the campaign. Wonderful! The first person to have a say was Christa Schwoebel, of Kempsey. She recited a piece she had written inspired by the play Vagina Monologues, which I publish below.  

The Canberra launch of Still Not Happy, John! will be at 5.30pm on Monday 8 October at Manning Clarke House. It will be hosted by my friend Kerrie Tucker, and John Valder will speak. Hope to see a few Canberra Webdiarists there. The flier is here.

Monologue about Democratic Participation

by Christa Schwoebel

When Howard appears on the telly, my hand can’t get fast enough to the “off” button. A lot of my friends abuse the box every time John or George are on the news.  Quite often I throw my slippers at the telly  …  and that’s been the extent of my democratic participation for years.  

Yeah, I had been more active in the past; went to marches and vigils, wrote letters to politicians and to the papers.

Then, 4 years ago now, I went to the Peace Rally before the invasion of Iraq.  There was a huge crowd - never before had there been so many people protesting in Kempsey.

But Honest John said we were all stupid   

Funny that – about stupid people protesting.  Every single person with tertiary education must have been at that rally.  

John said that however many marched in the streets and however loud we screamed, he wouldn’t pay any attention, he wouldn’t listen.   

I bet he now wishes he’d listened! Secretly.

After he brushed us off like a bit of fluff on his lapel, I didn’t say much anymore, hardly spoke to anyone about politics.   

Howard and his ministers sent soldiers into Iraq.  In my name they are participating in a brutal invasion and war.   

Too much “collateral damage” to take in.

My brain and in my belly became empty hollows.  I just closed down.

As I said, there had been a time when I wrote to politicians.  Like, I wrote to the Minister for Immigration, Ruddock.  It was, about the concentration camps for those poor bastards from the boats.  Didn’t call them concentration camps, of course, gotta be careful with words when you write to somebody as sensitive as Mister Ruddock.  I think he used to call them “Welcome, Mate, to our Fair Country Centres”.   

Anyway, as replies to my letters I got bundles of glossy brochures giving me a good rundown on the government policies.  I felt very guilty that they had to cut down trees for paper and spend so much tax payers money for all those explanations.  So I stopped writing.

But then, late last year, he went too far - when he came back from a visit to George Bush suddenly stating that Global Warming was indeed happening and immediately told us his solution: nuclear power!   

Nuclear power?  Nuclear – in the land of sunshine?  Nuclear as in atom bomb?  

He announced that the country would have a public debate about it.   But, in the same breath he declared that everyone with an opinion different from his was “stupid”, “juvenile”, “uninformed” and “behind the times”.   

Every school kid knows that only those resolve to insults who have no valid contribution to the debate.   

And he had called me stupid again!

It jolted me out of my daze.  A kind of fury came over me, the constructive type.   

I don’t feel like fluff anymore, I’ve become an activist again.  Joined a group.  Organise public events to really debate the issues.  I speak about the government's lies at every opportunity I get.   

I even went to the APEC protests with a group of very respectable women

Now I just feel sorry for him.   

I still throw my slippers and I speak out and I vote!

We’ll vote the liar out.

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"I have a Lot More to Do" - Howard's Negative Fear campaign.

Does any Australian really want Howard’s “More of the same”?

  • A Fascist Australia.
  • Abuses of the National Emergency laws.
  • Abusing Freedom of Information laws.
  • Anti-Terrorism
  • Arranging for Nuclear Reactors against public opinion.
  • Babies overboard.
  • Bankruptcies continue to increase.
  • Banks and Financial Institutions de-regulated.
  • Blindly following President Bush into “100 years war”.
  • Blindly following the Bush administration.
  • Building a front bench of past and present rorters, incompetents or people under threat of prosecution.
  • Conscription for U.S. wars. (Crystal Ball)
  • Constitution abused.
  • Continued increases in taxes.
  • Creating a U.S. style working poor.  (White Coolies) while Corporation profits soar to record heights.
  • Creating the highest foreign debt on record.  (Over $530 Billion).
  • Debt-laden false economy.
  • Degrading Royal Commissions.
  • Destroying Medicare by “1000 cuts”.
  • Dirt files and scaremongering in politics.
  • Disabled people to work.
  • Dismissing Climate Change as false and scaremongering.
  • Dismissing U.S. V-President Al Gore as “peeved politician”.
  • Dis-enfranchising State and Territory voters.
  • Economy skewed for the wealthy.
  • Education under-funded.
  • Employment “goal posts” altered.
  • Fascist ASIO laws and further increases in power.
  • First home buyers “Pinocchio” trap.
  • Governing by lies, deceptions and secrecy.
  • GST to “never ever” to be introduced.
  • Hospitals under-funded.
  • Howard knew that Workchoices was unfair.
  • Howard’s “working poor” Pay Commission.
  • Ignoring 5 year old Labor warnings about the Murray-Darling.
  • Illegally invading a sovereign nation.
  • Increases in Australian Police Force powers.
  • Increases in in-solvency and repossessions.
  • Increasing Censorship laws.
  • Intervention of Aboriginal settlements.
  • Interventions in State affairs.
  • Introducing the “Onus of proof” by stealth with “Anti-Terrorism” laws.
  • Limitless enquiries.
  • Making “Shoot to Kill” Australians legal by ADF.
  • Massive increases in part-time work (1 hour required).
  • Medibank sell off.
  • Medicare Safety Net for the wealthy.
  • Not listening to the people on any major issue.
  • Offending American Senate, Congress and voters by attacking Democrat Barack Obama on behalf of Bush.
  • Planning for world Nuclear Waste.
  • Preparation for major American Bases in Australia.
  • Prosecuting Journalists for refusing to divulge their informant/s, while applauding another Journo of the same newspaper for doing the same.
  • Refusal to allow Public Servants to testify.
  • Refusal to sign Kyoto Treaty unless Bush does.
  • Registering a Nuclear Energy Company.
  • Removal of basic Human Rights.
  • Removal of I.R. fairness test.
  • Removal of unfair dismissal laws.
  • Repeatedly increasing Fascist laws.  
  • Return of the I.R. fairness test (for election only)
  • Rewarding those of the Liberal/Nationalist coalition who are caught for malfeasance in Office by promotion or Administrative duties overseas.
  • Sedition laws.
  • Sell off of natural resources.
  • Sends DFAT Minister Downer to undermine U.N. efforts on Climate change.
  • Silencing of Public Servants.
  • Spying of the internet of all Australians.
  • Taking the country to war against the will of the people.
  • Taxes upon taxes (fuel).
  • The Tampa affair.
  • Tormenting Hospital patients with false expectations.
  • U.S. Nuclear Railway line (Halliburton – VP Cheney)
  • Using abused Aboriginal Children for election purposes.
  • Using Anti-Terrorism laws to remove human rights.
  • Veteran’s Affairs Spying on war veterans to avoid pensions.
  • With election near, remains sceptic but puts Climate Change on top of APEC agenda.


No more please - bring on the elections.


Star recruit

Ernest William, did you see Nicole Cornes, one of Labor's star recruits, doing a Rudd gaffe? She has no idea what the IR is all about.

Then Rudd had the nerve to say "She is doing a great job". Actually they are not gaffes really, it is just idiots opening their mouths and talking.

Keep your eyes on the ball Ern, there is more to come as people ask Rudd and his star recruits more questions.

Jenny, Jenny, Jenny

I only said we should be responsible for our own behaviour - specifically the lying hypocrisy of starting a war for phoney reasons.

Once again you exonerate the west for our lying murderous behaviour. 

There is no reconstruction in Afghanistan.  There is no honour in the west.

Ought we be responsible for our failures?


Bryan, it seems to me you are not listening to what Jenny is saying. Or maybe even dodging her points. The greatest oppressor in the Middle East by far is not the U.S., nor Israel, but Islam.

Bryan Bryan Bryan

Bryan: Once again you exonerate the west for our lying murderous behaviour. 

No Bryan. I have said no such thing, and such statement presumes I agree with it anyway. Nor do I agree that the war in Afghanistan was started for phony reasons for that matter.

I merely pointed out that the problems Afghan women face are not new. They pre-date any invasion by the West, and the terrible circumstances under which many of them live are attributable in very large part to the men who rule their lives, and a religious system that denies them basic human rights and freedoms.

Seeds of their own destruction

PF Journey asks:

I wonder why is it that when it comes to the farm sector, socialism is accepted and supported lock, stock and barrel.

Because of agrarian based political parties' representation in Parliament, Congress, Chamber of Deputies, Diet, Reichsrat, People's Congress, etc, etc, etc.

Also, try rationalising global agricultural production and getting rid of subsidies.

I'm Michael and I'm a Howard Hater

My 'defining moment' was the night he was elected and I've never stopped wanting Howard to go. I knew he was bad - but never quite why. He's produced an ugly Australia and it's gotten worse after each election. I always though he would go too far and the IR legislation is it although I'm thoroughly ashamed of the other Aussies who continually fall for the Coalition's shameless and false boasting on how good they are at running the economy and the toadies in the media who perpetuate this myth.

It's sad that it's the hip pocket wage packets that will finally do this creep in when he is responsible for so many other disasters-Iraq, demonising refugees - you know the list. I simply can't bear to ever watch him on TV yet I've always been able to tolerate listening to other pollies I dislike: Menzies, Fraser, state politicians.

And this endless claim of how 'clever' he is: he is anything but. He has used every old cheap trick in the book available to any politician.

Yet the time I see this man in person he appears to be an ordinary bloke devoid of charisma. The only time I've seen him demonstrate his dark streak was at some charity do where he and Bob Hawke arrived at the same time and greeted each other. Hawke, who forever taunted Howard as a "small" man is actually a tad shorter than him, but to watch the two almost nose to nose both tilt their heads upwards as both seemed to be trying to look taller than the other was a lesson in body language. Well, that's how it looked.

I'm also reminded of talking to a 1936 Berlin Olympic veteran in '98 who had been given his medal by Adolf Hitler (OK - not comparing Howard to Hitler despite his fascist tendencies). I asked him what Hitler was like up close: "an ordinary looking man with a pasty face and dreadful halitosis" .

Now that drongo Keelty is banging on about new laws, which sound like "thought laws" to me, and this from someone who can't even administer the ones he has - the dreadful Haneef affair and the AFP's dealings with the Indonesian forces with the arrest of the Bali Nine's head jailer on drugs charges. Keelty knows these guys are completely corrupt.

And yes - what other small businessman is paid $150,000 to move into another industry or bailed out endlessly (apart from Stanley Howard)?

There - I've got that out of my system.

Richard: Catharsis feels good,doesn't it? I think you'll enjoy the piece Im putting together. 

Blame the victim Jenny

Hi Jenny, nice try at blaming the victims, but you’re wrong.  We are responsible for our behaviour in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Patriarchy rampant in Afghanistan may well be at the root of women’s oppression there.  But what do you say to the snivelling hypocrisy of neo-cons who dare to pretend that our intervention was meant to help women and bring justice?

Why aren’t we building schools, supporting widows and orphans, skilling the population and limiting the power of drug-running warlords?  I missed your answers to those questions.

I know what John Howard thinks – which is that any money not spent on guns and bombs, ought go to corrupt dictators for kick-backs and wheat deals.  As for coloured people? Well’ there are just too many poor ones around.

Remember the Army is a key part of Howard's present intervention into Aboriginal NT.  More military help for the women and children.

Nice try Bryan

Nice try Bryan to distort what I said. I think I made it very clear who the victims are and who are the greatest perpetrators in Afghanistan of their abuse. Such abuse did not start with the invasion. As I said, that abuse will continue no matter how much money the Allies pour into the place, no matter how many schools or other facilities they build, unless the men are prepared to change their attitudes and behaviour toward women. And no one should hold their breath on that score.

So easy to blame the West and avoid the real issue which is Islam and the treatment of women under it. I lived under Islam for a year. I saw and experienced the restrictions and attitudes to women first hand. I know who the victims are and who are the greatest perpetrators.


I wonder why is it that when it comes to the farm sector, socialism is accepted and supported lock, stock and barrel. No criticism, no debate, especially when the socialism is to support the business, the life style and the combination of business and life style. I wish I can also have some.

Subsidies and support

PF Journey: If you are alluding to the aid and subsidies dished out to farmers during the current drought to enable them to try and survive, and think that is the extent of aid to industry in this country then I cannot agree. You only have to look to the car and other city based major industries to know that is not true. And one could hardly claim the horse racing industry was a rural industry.

Rural industries in fact have always been at the bottom of the support ladder.  

I think you would find the lifestyle in the bush has paled rather considerably these past seven years. Many farmers look with envy at the affluent lifestyle of many those in the cities. But of course a lot do not. That traffic in Sydney is enough to drive a person mad for a start.

Cheers PF. Come and help me chop some burrs and experience the good life. Oh I forgot. There are none, as they need rain to get going.


Afghanistan and its women

I note Mary J's comments on the 4 Corner's program this week and it is the usual one eyed stuff.

The problems these unfortunate women face is due to many things, not the least being the way many Afghan men see and seek to control their women, and the lack of any real protection under the law. Even though the Taliban have gone, the traditional view of the role and place of women in that society has not changed all that much.

I think the program made it very clear where the real problems stem from. It did that despite the obvious bias of the reporter who seemed to want to believe it was somehow a failing on the part of the West.   

Only when Islamic countries really address the issue of womens' rights will there ever be any hope for the women of Afghanistan, Iran and elsewhere. And I suspect that could take 500 years or more.

Ah yes, the moving finger. The Koran is written and none dares change a line of it. 

So let us get a bit of perspective on this issue. It is not the foreign soldiers sneering at the widow sitting in the mud begging to support her daughters; or causing women to die in childbirth; or to burn themselves in an attempt to escape the prisons they are forced to live in, and the abuse they suffer.  It is the Afghan men.

And It is not foreign troops who those brave women fear will stone them to death as they try to lobby for change. It is Afghan men. Activism in Afghanistan by a group of women would sure take some courage. 

The foreign forces could leave that country tomorrow and nothing would change for those women. Probably the Taliban would come back and even those little girls who are now going to school would be locked up in the home again, or even executed. The opening scene in the program was of an Afghan woman being publicly executed by the Taliban. While over in Iran they hung a 16 year old girl who had a history of mental illness from a crane.  And even in the West Muslim men have been found to have carried out so called honour killings.

Says it all really. 


The Sour and the Sobering

Every now and again something happens that takes much of what we've been talking about on this site and manifests it in "the real world." For me it was Sydney and APEC, and I hope for a lot of people it will be the election debate.

Iraq, AWB, Tampa, were occurences that take time to digest. You simply wouldn't think that activites as those related to these issues would be carried out in the name of the Australian public. I think that much of the Liberal's bad polling figures might be at least subconsciously attributable to a healthily growing cynicism feeding on a cancerous (to this government) community mistrust.

I read somewhere once that 70% of icecreams choices are made by point-of-sale influence. Of course, behind this is, if the marketing has been good, an instilled brand perception that will herd the customer to the appropriate product.

When polling day comes round, the number of people who supposedly choose who to vote for on the day and according to the last how-to-vote card that was placed in hand - ask any seasoned electioneer about the jostling for front-of-booth "pole position" - will have an accumulation of perceived injustices and mistruths at the backs of their minds.

"Point-of-sale voters," for the reasons that Christa has eloquently pointed out,  must surely be gaining a brand perception of the Liberal Party as something that looks okay at first, but leaves an extremely unpleasant  taste in the mouth, not to mention an awful hangover.  How would anyone want to touch it?.

Paul, you're right, it's a long way down, and possibly a very slippery and speedy descent.  Bugger of a way to play snakes and ladders, really.

Dead wood

I remember an Adelaide Labor politician, a foreign affairs expert from one of the southern mortgage-belt seats whose name I ought to remember but can't, making exactly the same point on the way to losing his seat in the early 'nineties. A decade and more involving the encumbrance of government means, he said, that people will start to associate you with the bad things in their lives, whereas whatever you did that was useful is forgotten, buried in a changed cognitive landscape.

The ideas and tactics that worked for earlier elections become an encumbrance too. People switched off with Keating and his “big picture" stuff, and are doing the same as to Howard and his version. Now, to Alan Curran's comments concerning AQIS failure. They may be right on one level, but don't forget the hamstringing of AQIS is one of these free trade market forces things that has preoccupied economic rationalists for a generation, now. They don't want organisations like AQIS or CSIRO to be strong. It interferes with the import-export activities of vested interests and trading partners offshore. Our grotty rivals in the Third World don't have the expense of all the extra "science", so imposing that on "us" puts "us" at a completive disadvantage.

Remember the recent upset with the Kiwis over access to our markets involving contaminated NZ growing areas of apples and potatoes? The quarantine arrangements were seen as hindering "free" trade, in the interests of local "protectionism". This stuff goes on all the time with the Yanks, too. That’s what AUSFTA overcomes, for the Yanks, and is the price we pay for US "protection".

It makes "accidents" like the equine 'flu one inevitable, given that downplaying/sizing involves the tactic of operational funds-cutting. It works for short term gain without consideration of downstream problems later (hmm better not start on Murray-Darling and climate change, had I?)


Watched the comments since Mary J's on Afghanistan and noticed how sober the comments have become. 

Yes indeed, we certainly do have a long way to fall, if we aren't careful!

Howard's 30 year Plan for a Fascist Australia.......

Has more to be done!

Kevin Rudd encapsulated Howard's aims thus:

"When you strip their tradition back to its absolute philosophical core, it says that human beings are of no greater worth than any other economic commodity in the marketplace".

The Asian Australians in the electorate of Bennelong should be made aware of Howard's hatred of them evidenced by his speech in 1988.

Howard and Costello boast of a $17 billion surplus. Besides increased taxes; the commodities boom and hoarding the GST for blackmail purposes, every portfolio has been razored to the bone.

But at what cost to the people?

Apart from one underfunding disaster regarding the escape of equine flu from quarantine, very little has been said about who is absolutely responsible.

The Howard mob shuffles about with McGauran and MacFarlane and Turnbull and Abbott and Downer et al - so that no one seems to know what happened.

The racing industry warned Howard/Costello three years ago that this could happen if they continued with the cut-backs. They dismissed it and continued to starve the service.

Now he is spending billions of our dollars in compensation and to an almost shattered industry that is important to Australia's economy. But - they have a surplus!

All voters should remember that the Howard "New Order" coalition voted unanimously in the Senate to refuse the Green's Accountability and Transparency Bill moved by Bob Brown.

Well might we say - what have they got to hide?

There is no truth in Australia - only the powers that be.

Bring on the election.


Horse flu

 Ernest William, "Apart from one underfunding disaster regarding the escape of equine flu from quarantine, very little has been said about who is absolutely responsible".

I can well imagine it was a worker who was not doing their job properly. At least you have not blamed the CIA for the outbreak.

Fiona: Why shouldn't it have been the Yanks, Alan? After all, we all know what they did to Phar Lap...

The "New Order" Crystal Ball of Negativity.

The most senior of Howard's robots are getting massive free coverage in the media, especially the TV.

Unfortunately, that includes the ABC. the only medium that the people can trust when the chips are down.

As the Liberal/Nationalists continue their negative campaign, they add to it their Crystal Ball of prior known disasters that await an Australian Labor Party victory in the federal election.

They have worn out the "look at him not at me" of the past because people are sick and tired of it.

Their boast of unemployment being its lowest for 33 years fails to admit that they are trying to equal the records set by the Whitlam Labor government of 3 and 4% in 1972-74.

Their indignation at the Keating 17% interest rates to slow down a booming economy, completely ignores the record of 21% by the Liberals in 1982 with the spiteful little schoolboy at the helm of Treasury. And with four consecutive deficits in a row.

So now, new tactics - the "Crystal Ball" ideology (negative of course). This is how they know what would happen if the Australian Labor party took over the government with positive plans for the future.

The truth is that the Howard "New Order" has no plans for the future except Howard's mad desire to hit us with more of the same. And more of the same is what the country certainly doesn't need.

In their inimitable fashion, they begin to tinker around the edges of problems that, by any measure, are due to their own debt-laden false economy.

But it would be worse under Labor – it’s in the Crystal Ball.

Like the mortgage stress - the increases in bankruptcies - the lies about the people's assets increasing when the assets they consider are not really assets at all.

Like the plans to regiment public schools and schoolteachers to the dictates of a fascist system of "do as I say, or no money".

Like feeding into the 35% private schools more taxpayer funds than the 65% public. And the Minister also says that since the private schools require a financial commitment from the parents (if they have it) that is their choice and the "New Order" will not dictate to them how to spend our money.

Like the HECS fees for those bright students whose family doesn't have over $200,000 for up-front fees required for a university education. The Howard government will lend it to them at 6% interest (variable?). Do they have a three ball shingle? That has been judged as being a burden of unacceptable proportions after the students have qualified.

But that would be worse under Labor - the Crystal Ball shows it.

Howard has found a fair dinkum pork barrel in the farmers’ plight, but hasn't he been guilty of depraved indifference to their problems while he was considering selling water rights to private enterprise? Hasn't a significant number been gobbled up for fire sale prices?

And, even though he was warned some five years ago about the pending problems with the Murray-Darling basin by Labor leader Simon Crean and his famous "Let Our Rivers Flow" policy. Howard dismissed it - were other plans in train?

Now it is a disaster and he gives the portfolio to a self-serving and inexperienced school bully in "where's the mirror" Turnbull.

But it would be worse under Labor - they know. Struth.

The truth is that Howard's "I have more to do" is simply saying that to elect him would give Australia a lot more of the same fascist policies which would deliver Australia to those who are born to rule.

Bring on the election - we are entitled to know.



Listening to Radio National Life Matters program this morning. I came across this very interesting story. 

Have you experienced a moment while watching or hearing something where a bell goes off in your head, an epiphany occurs, and life, or the way you view life is changed forever?

This is what happened to this week's Meet the Listener Guest, Richard Friar.

Once a first grade footballer and ski instructor more interested in surfing and beer that being socially and politically aware, Richard had a bell go off in his head while watching a peace protest against the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

If you want to be a part of the Millionvotes4peace see here. 

The time for doubt has passed.

On Monday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the highest-level UN gathering on climate change that "the time for doubt has passed".

Mr Ban is hoping to inject a sense of urgency to the political negotiations on global warming that are due to be held in Indonesia in December.

"If we do not act now, the impact of climate change will be devastating," he said.

Seventy percent of Australians believe that urgent action is needed on climate change. No wonder Howard is not polling as well as he would like.

The TV ads being run by Howard are costing taxpayers a fortune. I get angry every time I see one.  When will the coward call the election?

Taking Action

I notice how Christa Schwoebel sank into despondency from 2003 on as her values and self-esteem were quite deliberately ground down by the forces of darkness (Rupert and his pals).

I see she's feeling much better about things now that she’s taking overt action, and that she sees the election as a field to direct energy in.  How joyous.

Let me inject a little note of caution though by observing that a change of government (while highly desirable) is insufficient in itself to remedy the problems we confront.

We’ve already seen Rudd supplicate to Rupert, and his policies on the US Alliance and Security policing show true pal-ship.

The ongoing challenge is developing a confident, aware and powerful Australian citizenry, well equipped to direct any government as required.

Now I have to detail 2 great pleasures I got from this article.

One is seeing James Langley as the ALP candidate in Lyne.  I spent time with James in the 80s and 90s as nonviolence activists together in peace and green issues.  We were arrested and served time together in Brisbane around nuclear warships.  Once he came to Cairns to help me out with an eco-campaign and a Magistrate Pollock (who James nick-named Padlock) slung us in both Jail for five days with no fine option.

James had to get back to Lauriton (for a cricket match) so we got him out of jail by appealing to the District Court, and put him on a bus just in time.  He hasn’t come back since.  Did he play “Special Branch Blues” on his harmonica?  James is a great fan of Peter Garrett and I was happy to see him in his beaut suit and tie.

The second sweet moment Margo was your notion about getting 2 anti-Coalition Senators up in the ACT.  What a triffic idea.

I don't cry quite so much

Until I see a program like Four Corners and sob in despair for the women of Afghanistan whom we claim to be helping but are not.

About 2 million widows are on the edge of starvation, 65 women self-immolated last year to get away from the brutality of their lives, 7 year old girls are sold into marriage to pay gambling debts.

Poverty, starvation, dread, no hospitals and every 28 minutes a woman dies in childbirth. Imagine that. Every day in Afghanistan 51 women die having a baby. That is over 18,000 mums die every year just because they have a baby.

If they survive they have 10 or 12 or 15 babies before they die.

And yet we whine here about missing out on a bigger TV or that new CD, or the price of petrol is too high, or the mortgage is too high.

Women in Afghanistan live in bombed out hovels and beg in the streets.

And we are dismissed as nothing in Australia. Don't have red hair, or be ambitious, or intelligent, or be an aboriginal mum, or girl, or muslim mum and wear a scarf, and don't be a single mum because you will be hounded out to work while the rich stay home and get paid.

What I do now to save my sanity is to spend hours on LIMEWIRE getting free downloads of music. I have explored the Canadians, the Irish, the Scottish, the English and the American folkies to get the most amazing sad songs, songs anti-war, songs of love and peace and caring and despair because they feed my mind and my soul.

And I weep for the dead Afghan mums and their left behind children, and realise we have made Iraq into Afghanistan and weep for the Iraqi widows forced to beg or be prostitutes to feed their kids when prostitution is a shameful thing in islam.

And we whine about the lack of water and rain, and we whine about the food and grocery prices and we whinge about the transport - no-one in the world whines about trains as much as Sydney does - and we wait for the lying rodent to call an election as the polls put him so far behind one wonders why he bothers to wait.

But if he doesn't wait there is nothing left to whine about.

Today I did something that I have not done since the TAMPA and the concentration camps. I read an ordinary novel about ordinary people in other places before WW11. It felt strange.

We're Ruled By Fear!

"He (Chairman Mao) understood ugly human instincts such as envy and resentment, and knew how to mobilize them for his own ends. He ruled by getting people to hate each other." From the Wild Swans by Jung Chang.

Howard and Bush are also masters at this dark art. Divide and conquer, isn't it?

Sadly, it is also the rationale behind far too many blogs. 

P.S. When is Seeking Utopia going to be put on the list of Member's Blogs again? 

Yes I can identify with that

Thanks Christa. Now I can breathe a sigh of relief when it comes to guilt free swearing at the TV or radio during news and current affairs shows and of course, ads.

Would like a dollar for every time I have swore, hit the mute button or channel changer or switched off or raved at the sight of someone who pushes my buttons. Then there is the guilt that comes from knowing you're the only overtly shameful wing nut in the street (they are at least as daft as I am, but too stupefied to express it).

Was telling a friend the other day how am inclined to tape shows where I know I am going to react so that am in a better mood later to face the show involved.

Might start up a self-help group for people who "spit" at the sight of certain people on telly.

Y' know. Something like:

1. Admitted I was powerless over Peter Hendy....

2. Came to believe only a power greater than myself could stop me kicking the screen in.

3. Turned my will and remote over to the power of Jones and O'Brien

4. Did a thorough inventory on every b........d who aggravated me on "Insight".

5. Let the entire embarrassed neighbourhood know how I was feeling with my shrieking, what I thought of these ....s.

and so on.

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