Webdiary - Independent, Ethical, Accountable and Transparent
header_02 home about login header_06
sidebar-top content-top

The Daily Briefing 24/11/05

Your round-up from today's newspapers plus the best writing, analysis, critical thinking and humour from around the world.

In today's email:
1    Jonathan Freedland on stopping the growth in inequality/Guardian (link below)
2    David Boyle on private affluence and public squalor/Green Futures (link below)
3    Magnus Linklatter says nuclear energy is no answer/Times (4 links below)
4    Nicholas Kristof on Darfur/NYTimes (link below)
5    Murray Waas says Bush knew no Saddam-Osama link/National Journal (5 links below)
6    Christopher Hitchens and the Iraq debate/Slate (link below)
7    David Bell on Voltaire, Rouseau and the enlightenment/Nation (link below)
8    Nigel Bowen on the politics of post-boomer generations/Bulletin (link below)
9    Report on a bio-recovery business/NYTimes (2 links below)
10    IN THE PAPERS: National, Opinion, Business round-up

1 Two nations: need and greed
A return to Disraeli's "Two Nations"? Jonathan Freedland begins his column with a recipe for the world's most expensive cocktail (Richard Hennessy cognac, Dom Perignon champagne, fresh lemongrass and lychees - all topped off with an extract of yohimbe bark - £333 a glass) and concludes by saying that the unfashionable debate about the growing gap between rich and poor is making a come back. "Talk to anyone in politics about this and they will look at you blankly: this is the deadest of dead letters. Labour won't touch it for fear of seeming like anti-wealth, socialist dinosaurs. Few yearn for a Maoist-style cap on salaries, but there are other options ... Above all, we need to start talking about it. Like wearing flares or tight tank tops, people will mock at first. But this issue's coming back - just watch."

(Shades of Ross Gittins' column yesterday, which you'll find here for those who missed it.)

2 Private affluence, public squalor
Why are we prepared to spend so much on junk for ourselves and run in horror at the suggestion of a tax increase for social spending? David Boyle (link below) thinks part of the answer is a cynicism about institutions and offers some suggestions on how to deal with it. "‘Private affluence, public squalor’, as economist John Kenneth Galbraith dubbed it back in 1958, is a central issue when it comes to working out how to save the planet. Our chances of tackling global warming are pretty slim if we consume so inefficiently, yet baulk when it comes to paying for a congestion charge in Edinburgh – or complain about the fuel tax, although it barely pays for half the actual cost to society of driving."

And the NYTimes reports on business profiting from going green. "It is impossible to quantify the size of the environmental industry. Many of the newer companies are privately held. And many "green" products - more efficient power generators, say, or biodegradable plastics - are parts of other industries. But investors are clearly funneling ever more money into green technologies."

3 Nuclear energy, climate change and soybeans
The debate the world has to have in response to climate change, is nuclear energy the alternative, has gathered momentum in the UK following the report that Prime Minister Tony Blair will support the building of more nuclear power plants. Magnus Linklatter in The Times (link below) argues against: "Nuclear power stations of the future will have to rely on second-grade ore, which requires huge amounts of conventional energy to refine it. For each tonne of poor-quality uranium, some 5,000 tonnes of granite that contains it will have to be mined, milled and then disposed of. This could rise to 10,000 tonnes if the quality deteriorates further. At some point, and it could happen soon, the nuclear industry will be emitting as much carbon dioxide from mining and treating its ore as it saves from the “clean” power it produces thanks to nuclear fission."

In The Guardian, Simon Jenkins argues for, while acknowledging that more will need to be done. "Fighting our way through the vested interests dogging this debate is near impossible. The rub is that if Britain can only overcome the nuclear taboo, as have Sweden, Finland, France and other countries, there is no point in wasting subsidy on the relatively small relief to global warming offered by most renewables. Nuclear can do it all, as France shows. Spend money instead on energy-saving - with money raised by taxing energy-greed."

Also in The Guardian, science writer Ian Sample reports that England will face greater extremes of climate. "The report found that while rainfall is set to increase significantly during coming winters, summers in the north-west and south-east are likely to be 25% drier, leading to a greater risk of water shortages in the months it is needed most. "The picture is one of much wetter winters, leading to an increased risk of flooding, and more heatwaves during the summer, which is likely to put pressure on agriculture," said Malcolm Haylock, one of the authors of the report."

The Washington Post reports that the biodiesel industry is looking to soybeans as an energy source. "In such rural areas as Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, where farming is slowly waning, some officials are hoping that the biodiesel market for soybeans might help halt that slide."

And the NYTimes reports on one man's passion about the potential of obtaining clean fuel from dirty coal. "Governor Schweitzer, a Democrat, has a two-fisted idea for energy independence that he carries around with him. In one fist is a shank of Montana coal, black and hard. In the other fist is a vial of nearly odorless clear liquid - a synthetic fuel that came from the coal and could run cars, jets and trucks or heat homes without contributing to global warming or setting off a major fight with environmental groups, he said."

4 More talk, still no action in Darfur
The tragedy the world seems determined to ignore continues in Darfur, Nicholas Kristof continues his campaign for action, and TDB continues to link (below) to his columns.

In The New Yorker, Samantha Power explains why she thinks the African Union's mission is failing, and what can be done to make it a success. "Persuading these countries to send their troops to Darfur won’t be easy. Nor will obtaining permission from Sudan, which, in a ghastly coincidence of timing, takes over the A.U.’s rotating presidency in January. But the alternative is a far bigger African problem—with no African, or international, solution."

5 No Saddam-Osama link
Just when you may have thought there was nothing more to be revealed about the "sexed up" intelligence used to justify the invasion of Iraq, along comes Murray Waas in the respected National Journal with one more revelation. Bush administration figures continually connected Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda in the lead up to the invasion, to the point that most Americans thought Hussein had something to do with the 9/11 attack. According to Waas, Bush was told in the "President's Daily Brief" for September 21, 2001 (which the White House still refuses to release) that there was no such connection. "Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda, according to government records and current and former officials with firsthand knowledge of the matter."

And this is the revelation the world's media does not seem to know what to do with. The Daily Mirror has reported that Tony Blair had to talk George Bush out of bombing Aljazeera. The White House has denied it (well, dismissed it to be precise), but the British Government gave the story more legs by banning reporting of the memo on which the Mirror's story was based.

The Washington Post has a round-up of reaction to the story; and even  Bush critic Josh Marshall is not sure what to make of it but he does have some thoughts on it: "With my very limited sense of how George W. Bush operates in private, I think it does sound the like the sort of thing the president might joke about or say merely for effect, though I wouldn't say that shows him in such a great light either."

6 Iraq, better than it seems
Because TDB can only link to what is available out there on the net, and because sentiment has turned so solidly and so quickly against the invasion of Iraq, there has been little word of late from the pro-war camp. But two pieces today will redress that a little. Christopher Hitchens in Slate (link below) shows no signs of joining the 'liberal hawks' deserting the cause, but he does sort of come close to admitting that the invasion has been badly handled. "For reasons that I have explained at length elsewhere, I think that the continuation of the Saddam Hussein regime would have been even more dangerous than the Bush administration has ever claimed. I also think that that regime should have been removed many years before it actually was, which is why the Bush administration is right to remind people of exactly what Democrats used to say when they had the power to do that and did not use it. No, there are two absolutely crucial things that made me a supporter of regime change before Bush, and that will keep me that way whether he fights a competent war or not."

And Max Boot in the LATimes argues that things on the ground in Iraq are better than media reports would suggest. Boot, the neo-conservative in residence at the Centre on Foreign Relations refers to the Brookings Institution's Iraq Index which you can find here.

7 Voltaire, Rouseau and post-modernism
The Enlightenment. How quaint it all seems, in the "age of terror", when fear drives the body politic and commentators, notably Gerard Henderson, insists that thinkers and intellectuals should be silent in the face of the demands of the "great majority". David Bell, Professor in the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University, says that the movement always was a fragile thing as he reviews biographies of Voltaire and Rouseau. "If nothing else, though, our own century's retreat from the Enlightenment should help us appreciate that this great movement of ideas has been a fragile thing all along, and never more than in its supposed eighteenth-century heyday. Its swift apparent triumph in the American and French revolutions makes it easy to forget that its greatest authors constantly ran afoul of the authorities and took great personal risks throughout their careers. Both Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, as these two excellent new biographies point out, had books officially shredded and burned in Paris--even if, in Voltaire's case, the responsible official surreptitiously substituted another volume at the last minute, so as to take the offending one home for himself."

And Larissa MacFarquhar from The New Yorker went along to listen to Jean Baudrillard promote his new book “The Conspiracy of Art".

8 Left, right or in the middle
Nigel Bowen examines the conventional wisdom that the children of the children of the revolutions are far more conservative than the Baby Boomers, and comes up with one of the better examples of journalism's cultural analysis genre, which often tend to be a string of cliches held together by a few "telling" anecdotes. "And their supposedly reactionary offspring? They were actually keener on ­legalised marijuana and premarital sex than their parents. The putatively conformist Gen Yers were also revealed to be more willing to experiment, to be “different” and do their own thing than boomers at a similar age. Only 34% expected they would “have a fuller and happier life if they choose legal marriage rather than just ­living with someone”. Gen Yers were slightly more religious than their parents but no data was collected on what form that took. While it’s become conventional wisdom they’re all trooping off to Hillsong, the fastest-­growing religion in Australia isn’t pentecostal Christianity but Buddhism."

And John Lennon fans from all generations will probably enjoy this essay by Jeff Giles to mark the 25th anniversary of his death.

9 Human remains, sharks and Maggie
A hell of a job, but somebody has to do it, literally. The NYTimes (below) reports on a company that cleans up the mess that humans leave on the way out of this vale of tears.  "Mr. Gospodarski, a paramedic for 23 years, is what is known as a bio-recovery technician, a highly trained, extremely efficient, self-employed house-cleaner of sorts whose specialty is removing the unpleasant aftereffects of suicides, attempted suicides, shotgun murders, accidental impalements and, in the case of lonely, unnoticed passings like that of the man in 6-F, "decomps." In a city like New York, Mr. Gospodarski and his six employees are rarely idle."

Analyse this. The Guardian reports that Maggie Thatcher threatened to nuke Buenos Aires during the Falklands War to force François Mitterrand to give her the codes to disable Argentina's deadly French-made missiles, according to the book "Rendez-vous" by Ali Magoudi the former president's psychoanalyst.

The NYTimes reports that Fabien Cousteau, grandson of Jacques, has been swimming with White Pointers and thinks they are much misunderstood.

10 IN THE PAPERS: National, Opinion, Business round-up

Before looking at the broadsheets, there are a couple of strong stories in the state papers (links below), with The Courier-Mail reporting that the Federal Government's industrial relations shake-up faces possible defeat or amendment in the face of a stand by the Nationals in Queensland; and the Advertiser that SA Mike Rann wants Parliament's Upper House abolished. And for what it's worth, the editor’s pick for the read of the morning is Chee Soon Juan's column in The Australian on Singapore and the execution of Nguyen Tuong Van.

The Australian's lead reports that Treasury officials are predicting a near-record budget surplus of more than $14 billion next year, giving Peter Costello the chance to deliver big tax cuts (a cause the paper is promoting, and which gets heavy emphasis in this story). The paper also reports that Robert Doyle put his leadership of the Victorian Liberals on the line when he challenged his party room yesterday to kick out a rebel MP who has criticised him; that the commander of the nation's largest naval base made a diary note that "bullying is alarming" and "harassment issues are a great concern" on the day he met an officer who alleges she was repeatedly sexually harassed in the navy; that monopoly wheat exporter AWB admits to working in "very murky areas" but insists it has always acted properly in its controversial deals with the deposed Iraqi regime; and that changes to social security rules will do little to reduce the nation's $8 billion disability pension bill but will increase the pressure on struggling single parents.

The SMH's lead reports that Sydney's planned desalination plant will be smaller than expected and funded by taxpayers not the private sector, after the NSW Government decided it needed more flexibility on operating the energy-intensive plant. The Herald runs a couple of articles, here and here, highlighting problems with the plant, so it seems safe to suggest it is running against the proposal. Alan Wood hopes the plan doesn't mean the end of private-public partnerships, which he argues need to be changed, not scrapped. The paper also reports that increasing numbers of women who escape from domestic violence with their children are being placed in caravan parks and cheap motels and hotels due to a critical shortage of vacancies in women's refuges, a report has found; that scientists believe corals may be able to protect themselves from devastating bleaching events after discovering some can adapt to climate change; that a federal Labor government (what's that?) will promote urgently needed infrastructure projects by removing duplication of powers now held by different tiers of government; and that the Government will spend more money advertising its workplace changes than anyone has spent advertising anything else in Australian history, if it maintains last month's spending rate.

The Age runs with the new fisheries management plan, reporting that consumers can expect to pay more for their favourite fish as the Federal Government prepares to buy back as many as 600 commercial fishing licences in a $220 million package bid to rejuvenate dwindling stocks. It also reports that senior Liberal MP Bruce Baird has called for federal cabinet to "take into account" the execution of Nguyen Tuong Van when it decides whether to give Singapore Airlines access to a lucrative Pacific air route; that the fight to save penalty rates for Australians who work on Christmas Day and Anzac Day is gathering support in Coalition ranks, as more Nationals throw their weight behind demands made by Queensland senator Barnaby Joyce; that Peter Costello stonewalled yesterday under questioning about the March-April 2006 "deadline" his supporters talked up earlier this year for John Howard to quit the prime ministership; and that obstetricians have stepped up calls for the ban on abortion pill RU486 to be lifted, releasing a statement saying the drug is backed by medical evidence and preferred by many women.

The fascination with "femme fatale" gangland lawyer Zarah Garde-Wilson continues; and a water bottle found with the bodies of explorers Burke and Wills in 1861 will be offered for sale for the first time next week.


The Age: Lachlan de Crespigny sees a strong and insidious campaign being waged to limit access to abortion; Sushi Das counts the ways in which Tony Abbott is using and abusing his position to promote his anti-abortion views, and would like to be rid of him; Tim Costello opposes the anti-terrorism laws (interesting Christmas lunch coming up in the Costello family), saying that the first challenge for political leaders is to fall not in the temptation to use the climate of fear for one's own political advantage, and calling for action on poverty; Sanjiva Wijesinha extols the value of laughter, happiness and friendship in promoting good health; and Kenneth Davidson thinks Victoria's new outer suburban development tax is bad economics and bad politics.

The Australian: Chee Soon Juan (leader of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party) with a must read column on Nguyen Tuong Van's execution, the failure of the death penalty, Singapore's relationship with Burma and its lack of democracy (not sure how good he is as opposition leader, but Chee Soon Juan writes a great newspaper column); Mike Steketee, who doubts that John Stone's Queen Isabella Society is such a good idea, supports a "more clear-eyed view of multiculturalism" arguing that "alienation ... encourages terrorism"; Mark Steyn, conservative at large, on the Jordan bombings, Iraq and talk of a US exit (you know what he is going so say, and he says it well enough, with a couple of gratuitous kicks at the ABC and Fairfax on the way through); and Ross Fitzgerald would rather not live in a world that censors s*x, but revels in violence.

The SMH: Julia Baird takes a compassionate view of Michelle Leslie’s behaviour as she ponders the role of religion in public life, particularly in response to terrorism; George Szirtes (The Guardian) ponders the usefulness of poetry in a world where most people have shoes (a delightfully quirky read); Miranda Devine sort of has sympathy for Nguyen Tuong Van, but says his actions were morally repugnant, before flinging some mud at harm minimisation and those who support it; Anthony Bubalo says Ariel Sharon's decision to leave Likud should be seen as a positive and pragmatic move that could lead to the resumption of negotiations if it is "echoed in Palestinian legislative elections in December"; and Bruce Wolpe (Fairfax spokesman) on threats the proposed anti-terrorism bills pose to democracy and free speech (a piece The Age ran last week).


It must be a quiet morning on the business pages, when The Herald is leading with Lachlan Murdoch's memory lapses whilst giving evidence in the One.tel case; and The Age gives prominence to a report on how big business chips in to help prisoners learn the many skills involved in running a successful company.  The Fairfax pair also report that skills shortages and rising wages are adding to worries that inflation is poised to accelerate, putting upward pressure on interest rates, as the economy moves into its 15th year of unbroken growth; that Australian bosses spend about two years less in the job than their overseas counterparts, are under more pressure to deliver short-term results, and work with boards that invest little in succession planning; that the minority shareholders of Equatorial Mining have proven that it's possible for a few ants to topple an elephant; and that despite Lion Nathan improving its offer to $310 a share, Coopers Brewery directors have again urged shareholders to reject the brewing group's bid for control of the Adelaide beer maker.

That last bit of news has, of course, upset Bryan Frith who says it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the family-dominated board consider the company is not for sale at any price; and Stephen Bartholomeusz thinks the prospectus for the Goodman Fielder $2.5 billion-plus float provides another insight into the financial acumen and asset trading abilities of New Zealand entrepreneur Graeme Hart.

The Australian reports that HP Billiton and Cazaly Resources have provoked the ire of other Pilbara players after reaching an agreement to take iron ore from the unexplored but strategically located Shovelanna deposit pinched from under the nose of Rio Tinto; that grocery and liquor wholesaler Metcash expects to continue its positive momentum for the rest of the financial year, after yesterday unveiling a 4.8 per cent gain in pre-tax profits that was attributed - unusually - to rising petrol costs; and that fashion retailer Just Group has made a strong start to the new financial year and is well-placed for a bumper Christmas trading period, but warned yesterday that the outlook remained uncertain because of economic volatility.


The Daily Telegraph: The Singapore Government insists it must hang Australian Nguyen Tuong Van - because the heroin strapped to his body was enough to ruin 26,000 lives: Prime Minister John Howard yesterday flew into the earthquake-shattered mountains of Pakistan promising Australian aid for survivors.

The Herald-Sun: Robert Doyle has dared Ted Baillieu to challenge him for the Liberal Party leadership; Three Victoria Police officers were suspended last night and are facing corruption charges. It is believed they failed secret integrity tests, and will be charged on summons with a range of offences.

The Courier-Mail: The Federal Government's industrial relations shake-up faces possible defeat or amendment in the face of a stand by the Nationals in Queensland; Brisbane's aged and leaking mains lose enough water every day to run the decommissioned King George Square fountain for more than a century and a half.

The Advertiser: Premier Mike Rann wants Parliament's Upper House abolished and will ask South Australians to bring about the greatest electoral system change in the state's history in a 2010 referendum; Police are investigating the death of an 18-month-old girl at Swan Reach on Tuesday night.

The West Australian: The Gallop Government expects serious offenders to find it much tougher to win parole but West Australians could still be kept in the dark over why murderers and rapists are released into the community under recommendations made by retired NSW judge Dennis Mahoney; Multanova cameras hidden in "wheelie bins" behind trees will form part of a two-pronged crackdown on speeding motorcyclists to be announced today.

The Mercury: An influx of criminals to Tasmania, money laundering through banks and rigged and crooked horse races will be the outcome if the Betfair sports betting agency is licensed in Tasmania; A Hobart doctor being sued for negligence over a fellow doctor's breast cancer has denied discovering an abnormality in her breast during a routine medical check-up.


The ailing Australasian Tour was in turmoil last night after Mark Hensby launched a savage attack on Greg Norman, prompting an angry defence of the Shark by other players; Richard Hinds turns his attention to Norman and Hensy; Amid renewed concern about the standard of international umpiring, Australian leg spinner Stuart MacGill has called for the game's elite umpires to be paid more generously and, in turn, held more accountable for their decisions; The career of one of the most prolific small forwards in football was brought to an abrupt and unexpected end yesterday when Phil Matera announced that a degenerative hip injury had forced him into retirement.

[ category: ]

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

re: The Daily Briefing 24/11/05

These photo-ops for Howard are becoming tiresome. Grinning like a fool while shaking the Pakistan president's hand shows some he believes dictators with WMD are more equal than others.

re: The Daily Briefing 24/11/05

Did Michelle Leslie's skimpy top beat John Howard's brown leather bomber jacket off the home-front pages?

He was driven from Kabul airport to the presidential palace in a high-speed, heavily armoured motorcade, which careened through Kabul's narrow streets of mud-brick homes, sending children scattering as they played beside the road.

Our leader in combat. What a thrill. With a few more lessons in the cockpit, he'll be able to land a chopper on the roof of the Opera House, proclaim victory and announce "No more war".

re: The Daily Briefing 24/11/05

On the perils of affluence, put any gold-toothed rat on a big yacht, or in a dinner jacket, and Labor will join the queue to pump his hand.

If Labor wants to retain any hope in the next Howard-for-life poll, it will have to offend the interests of Big Business. If that happens, they will have the advantage of surprise.

re: The Daily Briefing 24/11/05

Damian Lataan says, "Mark Steyn in today’s Oz seems to think that '…rumours of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s death may be exaggerated'. I wouldn’t be so sure about that."

Whether al-Zarqawi, or bin Laden for that matter, are alive or not is irrelevant in my view. In fact there are people willing to bomb Muslim weddings and funerals, and shoot Muslim teachers in front of their students, in the names of these two figures. I wonder what the "resistance" was "resisting" in Amman? Marriage?

re: The Daily Briefing 24/11/05

Mark Steyn in today’s Oz seems to think that “…rumours of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s death may be exaggerated”. I wouldn’t be so sure about that. Certainly rumours of his feats have been grossly exaggerated over the past few years and, of course, the rumour that he may even be alive is, in itself, an exaggerated rumour considering he was reported killed in March 2004.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Scarlet Pimpernel of the Middle East, has served as a very handy scapegoat for the Coalition of the Killing in Iraq over the last couple of years being blamed for everything from beheadings to suicide bombings to bringing in foreign fighters to running al Qaeda in the Middle East and even wanting to take-over al Qaeda as a whole, and just about every other dirty deed that has ever taken place in Iraq.

Al-Zarqawi’s artificial leg also seems to be no handicap to him when it comes to daring escapes. Jumping from moving vehicles while being chased seems to be no problem. It is why I have referred to al-Zarqawi as the ‘Scarlet Pimpernel of Iraq’; he certainly seems to be as elusive – despite the $25million on his head.

They seek him here; they seek him there; they’re seeking bits of him eveywhere!

re: The Daily Briefing 24/11/05

We have had Hicks, Habib, Rau, Alvarez and Van (is there hope?) and now this.

Someone born in France (1980) who came to Australia at the age of two is deported to Serbia (a country he has never set foot in before and one that does not rcognise him as a citizen) because he has a criminal record. There are many people who are criminals in this country but we don't deport them to "elsewhere". I guess that is what the Brits did to the convicts - deport and let rot. The man is a criminal and has lived in Australia since the age of two - why is he a criminal? Upbringing in which society turned him to crime? Whose problem is he really!!

re: The Daily Briefing 24/11/05

Will Howard: "Whether al-Zarqawi, or bin Laden for that matter, are alive or not is irrelevant in my view. In fact there are people willing to bomb Muslim weddings and funerals, and shoot Muslim teachers in front of their students, in the names of these two figures. I wonder what the "resistance" was "resisting" in Amman? Marriage?"

Yes these so called Muslims do more to harm their own cause than anything the US could do.

I don't expect these people will stop in the near future however I expect that the support that they need is starting to wane. I expect this to continue after next month's democratic elections in Iraq.

That is the thing with progress once it begins it is all but impossible to stop.

re: The Daily Briefing 24/11/05

It is interesting and ironic that al-Zarqawi (whether alive or not) should be compared to the Scarlet Pimpernel. The Pimpernel stories were about an Englishman who saved French aristocrats from the guillotine during the French Revolution's Reign of Terror. So it's odd that al-Zarqawi, a real character more noted for cutting off heads than for saving them, should be so admiringly placed alongside an 18th-Century fictional hero. (I really liked the BBC series with Richard E. Grant in the title role).

re: The Daily Briefing 24/11/05

Surjit Wadhwa, regarding Pobert Jovicic: "The man is a criminal and has lived in Australia since the age of two - why is he a criminal?"

I'll take a punt at answering that one. He is a criminal because he made certain decisions in his life that meant that he broke the law, and he got caught doing so. In the course of his criminal activity, which includes burglary, he caused loss and damage to other people.

"Upbringing in which society turned him to crime?"

That presumes of course that his upbringing turned him to crime rather than that, like the rest of us, he is a person responsible for his own actions. He made bad decisions of his own volition and has to live with the consequences of those decisions. It also presumes that we, collectively, are responsible for his upbringing, which we are not. That is his family's responsibility, and as he grows older, his own.

Mr Jovicic came to Australia, with his parents, as a two year old, presumably to seek the benefits that living in our society confers. With those benefits come responsibilities which, it is clear, he chose to disregard. He was silly enough not to seek Australian citizenship when he turned eighteen, but from newspaper accounts , it seems that not only does he want abuse our hospitality by stealing from us but he also wants to continue get a free ride from us.

Meanwhile his father, who is now living in Serbia, is doing nothing to assist him. That should raise a few questions about his upbringing, for which the Australian society is not responsible.

He is not society's victim. We have been his victim and now, happily, we are rid of him.

re: The Daily Briefing 24/11/05

"I expect this to continue after next month's democratic elections in Iraq." How pleasant to hear a positive view on Iraq for once Jay White, unlike those Yankee generals and politicians who preach doom and gloom. Especially that Murtha chap who butts his nose in visiting US troops and reporting back their phoney gripes and pessimism. I reckon they're just whingeing so they come home out of that awful heat.

Let's hope a progressive democratic and peaceful Iraq does blossom after the election - this time. Mind you I thought it was all going to happen after the last election. Or so we were told. I vividly remember flying back from the UK the following day and seeing the same joyous group of Iraqi ladies dancing and holding their purple fingers aloft. It was remarkable how 10 ladies were chosen to represent millions of Iraqis. One would think the combined mass of media could come up with some different voters. BBC, CNN, Fox, London Athens and LA airports, two different lots of in-flight news and finally Sydney, over and over same footage played.

Now that Bali is off grounds to me, I'm looking forward to a fledgling tourism industry flourishing in Bahgdad. It should be a fascinating place to visit, if there any hotels left standing.

re: The Daily Briefing 24/11/05

NY Times in TDB: “More talk, still no action in Darfur” Kalma Camp, Sudan.

“When the Arab men in military uniforms caught Noura Moussa and raped her the other day, they took the trouble to explain themselves.

“ ‘We cannot let black people live in this land,’ she remembers them telling her, and they used racial epithets against blacks, called her a slave, and added: ‘We can kill any members of African tribes.’

“Ms Noura is one of thousands of women and girls to be gang-raped in Darfur, as part of what appears to be a deliberate Sudanese government policy to break the spirit of several African tribes through mass rape.

“This is the first genocide of the 21st century, and we are collectively letting the Sudanese government get away with it. Sudan's leaders appear to have made a calculated decision that some African tribes in the Darfur region are more of a headache than the international protests that result when it depopulates large areas of those tribes. In effect, it is our acquiescence that allows the rapes and murders to continue.”

Sudan is not diplomatically represented in Canberra.

Chancery: of the Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan with jurisdiction throughout Australia is at Mayapada Tower 7th floor Suite 01, Jl Jend. Sudirman Kav. 28 Jakarta 12910 Indonesia. His Excellency Mr Siddig Yousif ABU-AGLA, Ambassador (30/01/2003) and Mrs El-Haj Sulaiman Omer SAMIA.

On this day of opposition to violence on women, why not drop by or give them a ring? Hours of Business: Monday - Friday: 9.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m.

If you’re not in Jakarta, an e-mail might suffice.

Tel: (62 21) 521 2075, 521 1929
Fax: (62 21) 5212077
Email: sudanind@centrin.net.id

Don’t be surprised if Osama bin Laden answers. He’s long a friend of Sudan, but if he’s not dead, may well be living in Jakarta.

Many in the more palatial districts share his interests.

And don’t forget to copy to the People’s Republic of China, represented in Canberra by Her Excellency the redoubtable Madame Fu Ying, Email: chinaemb_au@mfa.gov.cn.

China is energy poor, and desperate. The cash poor, and desperate Sudan has been most accommodating on oil. And conveniently right next door to the USA’s Eurasian oil-rump.

Hire any services you want, right up to the Caspian Sea.

But China can’t have those black people in the way of the rigs, though. Not nice.

Just ignore Mr Bush’s peculiar affection for Chevron’s Ms Rice. She’s black, but soon she’ll go away and stop bothering China.

The PRC would rather deal with that nice Mr Cheney who has the right guanxi and doesn’t carry on about Formosa like some kind of moronic (thanks, Mr Chretien) mountain bike dork.

So try to get rid of those black people, would you? Or let Osama’s very thorough friends finish the job.

Anyway, it’s dangerous for them, hanging about oil rigs, chopping grass. Don’t they have jobs?

Are they on welfare? No wonder these counties are in poverty and constantly have their hands out.

If only they would reduce taxes to the wealthy productive end of their society’s economy, they might just pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

Look at Saudi, just across the Red Sea. Prosperous. Productive. Free and democratic.

Well, it has a free and democratic army. The US army, in fact.

Right where it counts.

Peter The oily Idiot Woodforde

re: The Daily Briefing 24/11/05

Ahmm... where to begin Greg M? I will keep it brief as I can. I am sure you have heard of nature and nurture and the effects of the environment on behaviour. I am sure you are capable of doing a "google" search.

As a society we try to set up an environment so that our children learn the moral and ethical issues we as a community value most. The teaching environment includes the home, local community, our religious and cultural institutions as well as our education and sporting system among other things. We hope that exposure of our children to such an environment will help to become good members of our future community.

You are correct, we expect persons to take responsibility for their own actions. That is one of the values our rearing environment endeavours to instill. When we find that some persons do not we have a system of laws and punishment. We also recognise that those among us who have integrated into our society (I can't find the exact link at the moment but this has been discussed in the media) and have been influenced by our nurturing environment deserve its protections as well even though they are formal citizens.

There is no doubt that this man has been influenced by the Australian nurturing environment and has not taken responsibility for his own actions. For this he has been punished by our own rules and laws. He is now also entitled to the protections that our established nurturing environment provides. We as a society recognise that those who have lived among us for many years, even though "failures" are our problem and not someone elses.

The actions of the present government however would indicate that maybe our nurturing environment is failing in many key areas of humanity, fairness, kindness and sympathy.

re: The Daily Briefing 24/11/05

Telegraph: "The Singapore Government insists it must hang Australian Nguyen Tuong Van - because the heroin strapped to his body was enough to ruin 26,000 lives"

Usual tripe, but I thought Singaporeans were famous for their skills at maths competitions, seems even at creative maths they excel when in politics. One could also say "take the pain from thousands of patients" as it was the best pain killer used in the UK until recently. Make it illegal and the Afghani farmers get 150 times the payment per area cropped. That is why the UN proposal to make Afghanistan an official international supplier of opium, like Tasmania, won't work.

Might as well have the Taliban back in, less anarchy, no opium crops, and at least some form of rule of law, not harsher than in Singapore. But that would'nt suit the drug barons and those who move it for them would it?

Reading about Mr Hitchens I think of death. I wonder if he does, ever.

Thanks for linking Christopher Hitchens, sad little neocon mouthpiece though he is. Is it to his credit that he still earns his Rendon fee so diligently? Does anyone believe these guys anymore now? I just find them entertaining as to how puerile and tricky their language can get to spin so blatantly without shame.

A journalist? Nope, a warwhore presstitute. Pen for sale, red ink that sets. Reminds me of death.

We know their lies. Still they lie and manipulate.

Lots around. Wonder how they sleep? Wonder if they have nightmares about bloodsoaked limb torn children grabbing at them dragging them down clawing down into the ground to the dark, empty silence of nothing. Chosakovic in the backgound then zip.

Most do bad things and justify them in one's mind. That is why the story teller, the journalist is so important, because they face us with our deeds, how they are affecting others, the story of others that we ignore or do not see. A journalist that tells stories to blind us to our crimes, the reality the pain inflicted by those crimes, is taking those upon himself. For money.

People in our society rarely think of or speak of death. It is a verboten topic at the dinner table and a real conversation stopper at tennis. Sometimes to be there amongst it... see the change as it happens, one is never the same. Nor is yourself.

We are here for such a short time and usually manage to screw it up for so many.

Reading about someone like Tim Costello is a true inspiration, as is meeting a mum from our school, a new neighbour, who has had to change houses 14 times to escape violence but still keeps a happy face and cared for smiling children. Hopefully he'll win this chess tournament coming up.

Such is life. Do we have to make it so hard for everyone else once we get a bit of power and money?

Cheers and sweet dreams peace lovers.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
© 2005-2011, Webdiary Pty Ltd
Disclaimer: This site is home to many debates, and the views expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the site editors.
Contributors submit comments on their own responsibility: if you believe that a comment is incorrect or offensive in any way,
please submit a comment to that effect and we will make corrections or deletions as necessary.
Margo Kingston Photo © Elaine Campaner

Recent Comments

David Roffey: {whimper} in Not with a bang ... 12 weeks 6 days ago
Jenny Hume: So long mate in Not with a bang ... 12 weeks 6 days ago
Fiona Reynolds: Reds (under beds?) in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 1 day ago
Justin Obodie: Why not, with a bang? in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 1 day ago
Fiona Reynolds: Dear Albatross in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 1 day ago
Michael Talbot-Wilson: Good luck in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 1 day ago
Fiona Reynolds: Goodnight and good luck in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 3 days ago
Margo Kingston: bye, babe in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 6 days ago