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“We showed the world that the US can change – has changed”

“We showed the world that the US can change – has changed”
by Michael Park

It is the victory that, not so long ago, dare not be spoken of. A victory that, forty-seven years ago, RFK dared suggest might happen – in forty years. It is a victory that has repudiated the presidency of GW Bush, dead these past years, utterly. It is a victory redolent with expectation and invested trust.

Obama has little idea, I think, of just what he's done. The Everest of expectation is palpable. The first "African-American" president and elected with a substantial landslide of Electoral College votes. Obama leads, at this writing, in North Carolina by 28,000 votes. Unbelievable.

Obama, it seems, will take Virginia. In Culpeper, Virginia, the BBC interviewed a black woman and her husband. What did it mean to them they were asked. The answer, in paraphrase:

"Forty years ago we took the first real steps, we were promised freedom. Today we've made it: we're free and we count. We voted today: blacks, Hispanics, Asians and all who make up this country. We showed the world that the United States can change – has changed. The United States is better than we have been. We are ready to meet our responsibilities."

I hope Obama was watching and listening. A vast constituency is expecting. These people – and it seems apparent there are lots of them – are investing huge trust in a forty-seven year old Negro (to use RFK’s term from ’68) that they see will deliver real equality. Here's hoping he can deliver.

For McCain this has been a sad result. I have always respected the man and his, seemingly, obsessed fight for campaign contributions reform, amongst other things. He seems not of any “party” and, in 2000, certainly was not of Rove’s party. In the Carolinas’ primaries of that year the Bush campaign demolished him: unbalanced; ambivalent sexually though a serial user of black whores; a wife who abused drugs and a black daughter from an affair with a black were just some of the organised trash totted out. Today he rose above the depths to which some of his campaign people had descended in the past two weeks to give what, to me, was the best concession speech I can recall – and I’ve heard a few. The last words are best left to an American patriot (pardon the cliché):

I've always believed that America offers opportunities to all who have the industry and will to seize it. Senator Obama believes that too, but we both recognize that we have come a long way from the injustices that once stained our nations’ reputation and denied some Americans the full blessings of citizenship. A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt's invitation of Booker T. Washington to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage in many quarters. America today is a world away from the cruel bigotry of that time. There is no better evidence of this than the election of an African-American to the presidency of the United States.

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Obama better not fluff the lines

It didn't take Iran long as I predicted it wouldn't (life does get boring without surprises I can tell you). Those pesky Iranians, so quick out the blocks, running about attacking "the one". And he's not even there yet. Ah, a good enemy is hard to find - you find one, you stick to it like glue (find part two even), lest anyone have a moment of actually looking at you. It's good to see the Iranian leadership has learnt the business basics.

It's all just a game, you know.

I have visions of these "globalized" behind the scenes "interests" meeting in a far away golf club, getting drunk together, telling tall stories, and singing ABBA songs. Most of all though, I have them laughing, laughing at the fools, those poor deluded imbeciles that place so much of their time and effort into taking these world-wide charades seriously. And indeed making some "people" seriously rich in the process. People of all creeds and religions. The creed and religion of cold hard cash is of course without prejudice.

I saw an oil executive interviewed recently. On the question of "world geopolitical problems", I thought, seriously thought, for a brief moment, he was going to burst out laughing. Yes indeed the joke is in, and it's on the 95% of the seals it takes to make up our present human race.

It's a cycle. America has electorially washed away its sins - it's time to move forward - there's no more to see. The usual conflicts, resentments, and most of all "moral arguments", will soon be safely restored. Good news for the net if nothing else.

In one sentence: It's back to business. Party hard, dudes.

How the US has changed

Well worth reading, by a Harvard professor of marketing, no less.

The Australian Dream

That's very interesting, Jay. Note this:

The most egregious recent example: so-called affordable housing policies to enable as many Americans as possible to own their homes. It started appropriately enough with the 1977 Community Investment Act, which challenged redlining policies of local banks that set higher hurdles for home-ownership among minorities. But it ended with the recent $5.2 trillion guarantee of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac assets after these quasi-government housing agencies over-leveraged themselves by lending against inflated home prices and requiring minimal evidence of ability to repay from borrowers.

If I'm not mistaken, home ownership is regularly promoted as the 'Australian Dream', too.

Thats' why panic breaks out every time there's slowdown in the housing market. But if there's not a slowdown, then housing affordability keeps getting worse.

Something's got to give eventually...

The meek will inherit the earth?

I have noticed that people like Michael de Angelos and Marilyn Shepherd not only have a positive view on the subjects they discuss, but, particularly in Michael's case, he can deal with matters unemotionally.

I wonder how well I would handle the American CIA interrogation tactics?

No contest. I would not be a Sir Thomas Moore nor his conviction about his after life.

When we remember those who have given their all for our political posture, and at a time, whether it is in WW1, WW 2, Korea, Malaya, Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan et al. our situation is to accept the result. 

Is it because we won? Or were told so?

But then, as the Americans and their allies have been considered the victors in all of those wars, most of the enemy have prospered after the event but, they will never be able to recover the life and times and love of the family to which they were entitled.. And that applies to the victors. Fair dinkum.

 A modern ADF member follows the dictates of the government of the day even when the defence attitude of the Labor Party has been superseded by the Howard principle of the "schoolyard bully".

I have no problem with Australia being a part of the Asian community as long as the Australian citizens of whatever origin have in their heart their duty to the country they have chosen as home.

It is time to realise that our future is in the Asian area.

On a lighter point, have you ever had a Chinese, Thai: or Vietnamese meal?

The Australian people will eventually see that as not a special delicacy but a normal Australian meal.


partly correct, Alan Curran

I'm not sure "corruption" is the right word to use about NSW Labor but the incompetence has been considerable. Most of the state's problems arise from the success of Bob Carr as premier who abandoned real programs of infrastructure and exploited Laura Norder to its fullest extent with the backing of the Daily Telegraph and the then-powerful shock jock Alan Jones.

The man was a phoney from start to finish, solemnly proclaiming the horror of NSW architecture whilst allowing property developers full pelt in shoving up buildings that horrify visitors.

Significantly, a decision was taken during Morris Iemma's election to ignore the shock jocks as the very clever Mark Arbib decided their "emperor with no clothes" status should questioned with the result that they are now basically history with their unfair influence.

None the less, the Daily Telegraph has continued on its endless campaigns – the minor Della Bosca / Neal charade as an example to rival the ridiculous Coogee Hotel tale that has riveted the state (not) for weeks on end.

But who will replace them? If you think the NSW Liberals and Barry O'Farrell under the influence of their hard right can do better you are dreaming. They will still face the same challenge: how to placate a state full of consumer groups who demand that billion dollar railways be built for their exclusive use because they purchased McMansions on the outer edges of Sydney when there are limited funds.

Unless they borrow – the most sensible policy, but they won't . They are as beholden to the ridiculous international credit ratings agencies that have been blackmailing world governments (despite their dismal failure in predicting the current Wall Street fiasco) as Labor is.

Choice of woids

Michael de Angelos: "I'm not sure "corruption" is the right word to use about NSW Labor but the incompetence has been considerable."

Yes, "corruption" is too mild. How about "malignant evil" instead?

Fiona: Oh Eliot, you do like to play with fire, don't you?

Enter the blonde

Yeah, well it was a heck of a coincidence....

Change and progress are not the same thing

John Pratt: "Eliot, you're correct, change is always with us. Progress is inevitable."

John, change and progress are not the same thing.

Change is the way the universe works.

"Progress" is, on the other hand, a metaphysical concept, implying that change is orderly and "good" and moves in some sort of providential, benign and pre-ordained direction.

That just through the processes of change, things will get "better".

That idea has proved to be the most dangerous, deadly myth of the last one hundred years.

It was the basic assumption of the great marxisant myths of the 20th Century which gave us Stalinism, Maoism and Pol Pot.

There was a bit of it underlying Nazism, too.

So, don't rely on change to do the work of "progress" for you.

All change is good, bring it on

Eliot, life is all about change. It is almost never orderly, I believe progress is always the consequence of change in the long term.

Name any change that has not brought about progress in the end.

If this was not true we would all still live in caves, or we would all be single celled life forms.

Life is always changing - the process is called evolution.

Change may end up destroying the human race, but then who knows what will replace us?

Progressive parties do not fear the future. They want to bring about change because they do not want to live on a planet where suffering is the norm.

We do not live in a perfect world but we should always aim for perfection.

Constant change is the road forward.

These are some of my favourite things...

John Pratt: "Name any change that has not brought about progress in the end."

I mean, we could go on...

God know best

This change eventually led Europe into the EU and almost every European alive today is better off than ever before.

Again this led to the establishment of the EU.

  • The overthrow of the Mensheviks by the Bolsheviks in 1917.
The end of the Russian tsars - most Russians would be better off today than under the tsars.

Brought western knowledge and medicine to parts of Africa that would still be in the stone age if this change had not happened, still in a state of change and will probably has a brighter future.

The Romans killed and raped to win control. The fall of the Roman Empire led us to the Europe of today.

Kept the European population down and played a big part in the Europe we have today.

Again brought western knowledge to the New World. And kept the population down for a while.

Obesity is playing a big part in reducing our carbon footprint by keeping the population down.

Was this a change?

Remember, every cloud has a silver lining.

If we removed any part of history we would not have the world we have today.

Who would try to out-guess God?

Can't have it both ways

You either subscribe to the concept that debt can be good when used the correct way, or you have a society where no-one buys a house or goods until they can hand over the full price in cash.

Same goes for a goverment. Debt used to boost infrastructure and social programs will generate tax to pay that debt. It's the most basic idea and for a goverment to go on, like the last one of Costello/Howard, with incessant tosh about a government free of debts merely shows how either incompetent or ignorant they were.

NSW's problems are caused by its massive raising of taxes in GST which are distributed to subsidise other states. Spent in this state, we would be in a paradise but the rest of the country would suffer.

Those who think otherwise should go off and listen to that goose of a Yank currently in town who uses dated words like "bludgers" whilst hiding the true condition of his own corporation in a US state where the books cannot be examined. This dill is about to find out that backing the wrong horse in the last two races after 10 years of bullying governments is about to backfire -badly.

Both ways

Michael de Angelos: "NSW's problems are caused by its massive raising of taxes in GST which are distributed to subsidise other states. Spent in this state, we would be in a paradise but the rest of the country would suffer."

Wrong, they are caused by an icompetant and corrupt Labor government, and it is a case of one cover-up after another. Ministers being sacked right left and centre.

Is it good policy?

In Australia, perhaps the most capitalist move (among many) by the Howard government was to remove the cross media ownership laws.

From a government which claimed to be in favour of competition, this was certainly a contradiction.

Very early in his undermining climb to prominence, Howard made sure that his relationship with the world powerful US and the international media was secure. Brown nose the bully?

It appears to me that the accepted consideration of the wealth of a nation is judged by its GDP. Whatever that is.

It also seems to be that the more the market values rises then that is considered as an indication of the wealth of a nation.

I confess that I don't understand because, during the Howard era, the divide between the haves and have nots increased remarkably.

Without any vested interest in the wealth of the wealthy, I find it repulsive that a government of a nation with the enormous resources we have can allow itself to be dominated by foreign interests. The sale of assets is considered as "investment". Fair dinkum.

Kevin Rudd's government is faced with an escalating Howard/Costello foreign debt in excess of $500 billion. Compliments of the Liberal capitalist government of a false economy.

Add to that, whoever the post Howard, post Bush governments may be, the massive problems that have been caused by the unsustainable policy of unrestrained capitalism in only one nation of this world. Fair dinkum.

In whom should we trust?

Charity begins at home.


Good policy

Ernest William, it sounds as though you are expecting  Rudd to better the lot of the "have nots". It is not going to happen.

Look around you at the State Labor governments. Western Australia tossed out for mismanagement and a wee touch of corruption. NSW teetering on the edge of bankruptcy together with the stench of corruption and incompetence. From what I have read South Australia, Victoria and Queensland are following the same path of their interstate Labor colleagues. In fact, if there were state elections next weekend they would all be tossed out on their ears, with NSW Labor facing obliteration.

Get a grip on reality: there has always been "haves" and "have nots" and there always will be, and there is a good reason for it. The "haves" tend to work a little bit harder and have a desire to better themselves, without the interference of Labor governments. Labor governments tend to be very good at increasing unemployment and bad at managing the economy.

Ask yourself this question, Ern. If you had some money to invest for your future or your kids future, who would you ask for advice - Turnbull or Swan?

Very concerning

The first real crisis after the Obama election.

Anybody who's been reading the NYT would know this was becoming a very serious situation. Watching adults reduced to gibbering, sobbing, thirteen year old schoolgirls was troubling enough (Bay City Roller disease from memory.)

It appears now, this is something much, much, worse. People it seems have nothing to keep their hope alive - they have, in fact, lost the will to live.

Perhaps the mystery surrounding whales beaching themselves may hide the answers. I don't know, I am not a scientist. I hope for the sake of us all the cure is soon found! All of us know at least someone who's been showing signs of "Obama disease".

Hello Eliot!

If I remember correctly, you hoped for an Obama win (one of the few things we agree upon). I'm not too sure why you draw a comparison between Mandela and Obama.

I attended a function for Nelson Mandela at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney - maybe about 8 years ago. What surprised me where the people there. From Dick Pratt to Bob Hawke, Malcolm Fraser and everyone in between from every conceivable political persuasion.

Like an adoring fan I waited in the foyer for Mandela to arrive. I don't think I've ever seen a man with such amazing charisma - the only word I can think of.

Extraordinary humilty and yet like a fabulous noble African chieftan.

But Barack Obama is surely someone entirely different - except you must be pointing to the fact he is part African, part black. Yes? It's a comparison that I could be easily be guilty of, but it isn't legitimate. There couldn't possibly be two men whose lives are so different - who basically have nothing in common.

Except for one thing. Both are great orators. When you hear Nelson Mandela speak it's the most humbling experience. He doesn't speak of the future - he speaks of the past and of the most appaling things that we have all had a hand in, no matter how innocently. And he tells us what we could all be capable of - as human beings. This is not a politician speaking, it's like some strange angel who has been sent to us to deliver the most obvious truths.

Yet at the same time, he gives one the feeling that all is not lost. A Mandela speech is like an arrow that goes straight to the heart. He inspires, he forgives and he humbles the most arrogant of souls.

Barack Obama is, from the limited speeches I have heard, one of the great orators of this century. I don't know who writes his speeches or if it's all off the cuff ,but what he delivers is a hope for the future. All is not lost, there will be change and it will work. In a sense, Barack Obama is a most American of presidents.

Obviously time will tell if I am correct and  it's am almighty task ahead of him.

But it's in the air, it's all around us and America has just gone into a tectonic shift that they somehow willed themselves should happen. Change is upon us, everywhere,

Cast your mind back to the (most appalling ) PM this country has endured - John Howard. Put out of your mind whatever you think about Kevin Rudd - just concentrate on Howard, Remember Howard stating that an Obama presidency would be a gift to terrorists. That statement alone demonstrated the what an utterly shallow and opportunistic man he was.

What happened over the last ten years? It's like the world went into a complete psychotic episode, except it wasn''t the world. Three men held sway - Tony Blair, George W, Bush and the most minor player, John Howard.

We have been delivered.


Michael de Angelos , "Barack Obama is, from the limited speeches I have heard, one of the great orators of this century. I don't know who writes his speeches or if it's all off the cuff, but what he delivers is a hope for the future".

I watched Obama on Meet the Press the other day and it was a bumbling effort,certainly not the performance of one of the great orarors of this century.
As for Rudd, he says nothing, better than anybody else.

Will you be attending Rudd's $1million party?


Alan, is there a time in your life you might want to say something remotely nice about someone beside your hero General John war CRIMINAL?

Obama is a great orator, an intellectual man who likes to be seen as intelligent instead of moronic like Bush.


Marilyn Shepherd, you have been conned along with millions of Americans. Read this from one of your favourite sources of information, ICH.

Business as usual

This is an interesting and eye opening read about Rahm Emanuel, a ruthless and determined man.It was published in 2006.

Looks like Obama has rewarded the "good and faithful servant."

It's disheartening..

From the Daily Times:

However, a letter from one William Samuel printed by the Washington Post on Friday says, “How short-lived was the Obama campaign’s promise of a new kind of politics. One of Senator Barack Obama’s first acts as president-elect was to ask Rep of Illinois, chairman of the House , to be his chief of staff. Yesterday, Mr Emanuel accepted the job. Mr Emanuel has a reputation as one of the crudest and most profane politicians on the national scene and is known for extreme partisanship. However, he did back President Bush on the Iraq war, being the only Democratic member of Illinois’s House delegation to support the resolution authorising the use of force. He fervently denounced Rep John Murtha (D-Pa) when Mr Murtha came out against the war. Mr Emanuel could be Mr Obama’s Dick Cheney. If this is a harbinger of how the Obama administration will do business, millions of Americans who voted for Mr Obama are going to be sorely disappointed.

I've said this before and I'll say it again. The more things change the more they stay the same (shakes head dejectedly).


Marilyn, it is about time you practised what you preached. You think it is alright to call John Howard "General John war CRIMINAL' but if I say Obama is not a great orator I am wrong.

You were conned by Rudd & Co. and now you are in raptures over another quick talker, more like a Billy Graham than a president.

Yes I know Obama likes to be seen as intelligent, but that does not mean he is.

He's a moron

 Marilyn:" Obama is a great orator, an intellectual man who likes to be seen as intelligent instead of moronic like Bush."

Marilyn, it's not a case of Bush wanting to be seen as moronic. He just is a moron, is all!


Michael, hello

Michael de Angelos: "I'm not too sure why you draw a comparison between Mandela and Obama."

I heard a couple of radio commentators making that not very appropriate analogy. I don't share their view at all. God help America if it ends up like South Africa. In fact, God should help South Africa ...

"Change is upon us, everywhere."

It always is....

Hello Eliot.

"Change is upon us, everywhere."

Eliot, you're correct, change is always with us. Progress is inevitable.

I can't understand why conservatives fight it every step of the way.

Been changing since 1776

“We showed the world that the US can change – has changed”

Of course, that change was entirely within the existing constitutional framework of the United States of America as Obama found it.

This is where the comparisons between Obama's achievement and that of, say, Nelson Mandela, fail.

Mandela was drawn from a majority social, ethnic and cultural group that had been politically marginalised, and he changed that.

Obama was drawn from a minority social, ethnic and cultural group that was politically empowered by the existing constitutional arrangements within the United States. And he operated within them.

The two outcomes are virtually opposite to each other.

It could probably only happen in the United States or other country like it.

Reality is the only preference

Eliot Ramsey: “Do you find personally that you are "easily ideologically controlled and sucked in by words", or is that something you feel applies to others primarily?”

No I'm not sucked in by words or ideology. My mind is reasonably free of ideological constraints. Only others can answer the second part of your paragraph by their actions and outcomes. I stand by my life outcomes for my veracity of psychological freedom and understanding.

“What would be your preferred mechanism for preventing others from being "easily ideologically controlled"?”

I don't have a “preferred mechanism” for controlling others. Ideology does that inadequately. Self-control should be the aim for the human species, not control. Ideology just gives excuses for inadequate self-control and ethical freedom.

“Perhaps some special leadership group with a "correct" understanding of things and who could "lead" the gullible masses along the correct path?”

Maybe that's the politically correct brain dead approach we see in the current political and bureaucratic system, but ethical freedom doesn't work that way. When you take the quotes, assimilations and rhetoric out of Obama's speech, it's pretty empty except for his reflections on the trials and advancement of African/Americans, which was spot on. I applaud him for the way he presented that reality and hope he proves us all wrong and can change the world. But being an ideologist, historically it means failure.

Your last post (Submitted by Eliot Ramsey on November 7, 2008 - 6:01pm) I agree with, so maybe your controlling ideology is not as strong as you hope or believe.

The dining room at Kirribilli house...

"Barack Obama will be a good friend and partner to Australia, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says, after telephoning the US president-elect to congratulate him on his win."

- Canberra Times, 7 November.


Barack Obama: "Hello? Hello? Is that Prime Minister Rudd?"

 Kevin Rudd: "Yes, Senator Obama. Thank you for returning my call. And congratulations on your superb election victory."

Barack Obama: "Why, thank your, sir. That's very kind of you. It's lovely to speak with you."

Kevin Rudd: "I'm just here in the dining room at Kirribilli House in Sydney. I'll put you on speaker 'phone."

Barack Obama: "Um, sure. Okay...."


 Kevin Rudd: "There, that's better. I'm delighted to be able to speak with you, too, Senator. We were very excited here in Australia when the news of your victory came through."

Barack Obama: "Thank you again, Prime Minister.. I'm very much looking forward to working with the Australian government on many common issues affecting our two nations in the Asia Pacific region especially....

Third voice: "Speak up!"


Barack Obama: "What was that?"

Kevin Rudd: "What was what, Senator?"

Barack Obama: "I thought I heard another voice there for a moment?"

Kevin Rudd: "No, Senator. No, it's just me here. Please continue..."

Third voice: "Martin, could you pass me a canapé."

Barack Obama: "There it is again..."

Kevin Rudd (whispers): "Could you keep it down over there. Jeeeesus..."

Barack Obama: "Um..."

Kevin Rudd: "Please continue Senator..."

Barack Obama: "Um...Sure. As I was saying, Prime Minister..."

Female voice: "This tiramisu is going off I think."

(longer pause)

Kevin Rudd: "Senator? .....Are you there sir? .......Hel-lo....?"

White Californians vote for gay marriage, Black & Latino against

Here is a very interesting fact about the Obama election.

In California, the President-elect secured a massive victory, obtaining than 61.1 per cent of the popular vote, with McCain trailing far behind at 37.1 per cent.

At the same time, Californians were asked to vote  on Proposition 8, the ballot measure overruling a state Supreme Court judgment that legalized same-sex marriage and brought 18,000 gay and lesbian couples to Golden State courthouses to be married in the past six months.

Seven in 10 African Americans who went to the polls voted 'yes' to  Proposition 8,

Fifty-three percent of Latinos also voted 'yes' Proposition 8, overcoming the majority of white Californians who voted to let the court ruling stand.

Indeed, Proposition 8 promoters worked closely with black churches across the state, encouraging ministers to deliver sermons in favor of the ban.

"What the church does is give that perspective that this is a sacred issue as well as a social issue," said Derek McCoy, African American outreach director for the Protect Marriage Campaign.

"The reason I feel they came out so strong on the issue is one, for them, it's not a civil rights issue, it's a marriage issue. It's about marriage being between a man and a woman and it doesn't cut into the civil rights issue, about equality.

"The gay community was never considered a third of a person."

No change

Obama's winning speech was interesting, but it lacked any real substance and just showed how easily ideologically controlled people are sucked in by words. After all, Obama's a lawyer and we can see where having lawyers in charge gets us: they and their friends get richer and the people get less justice and poorer. Already Obama is installing the same type of people of the Bush era who represent the elite religious corporate world, so nothing will change, just a different paint job.

We may see a calm at first, but the storm of dissent will rise its head very quickly in the form of righteous indignation. On forums around the USA the fear mongering and threats are flowing freely from the dedicated racists of god. For a god fuelled country, which preaches peace and enacts war, what else can you expect but crazy god fuelled racism and murder when discriminatory superiority and victim complexes clash? The USA is buggered no matter who won, just as the rest of the current world society is destined for the scrap heap having passed its zenith. We see the outcome in Aus of having just right wing religious nutters in control, one stuffed it and now the other is following the same pattern: lots of words but no action just propping up the elite. In the USA, one of the candidates is a right wing christian and the other a right wing black christian, so the only outcome either way could just be racist attrition and if McCain had won, race war, all under the auspices of the loving god.

The problem the USA faces is it has relied on its religious superiority ideology of suppressive force to provide a future, and neglected reality just as every ideological myth does. Now the only outcome is forced change and ideological collapse, along with its associated chaos, destruction and slaughter. But they shouldn't worry, god will come and save them, as he always does when anyone asks

Globalisation and global monopolisation are ideologies of the 20th century and not the 21st. They have and will continue to fail, just as market control is destroying environmental, social and economic life and driving economic collapse. The USA election was a good joke, but all it will attain is a bad joke for the world.

Have you seen my old Vanguard parked around here?

Alga Kavanagh: "Obama's winning speech was interesting, but it lacked any real substance and just showed how easily ideologically controlled people are sucked in by words."

Do you find personally that you are "easily ideologically controlled and sucked in by words", or is that something you feel applies to others primarily?

What would be your preferred mechanism for preventing others from being "easily ideologically controlled"?

Perhaps some special leadership group with a "correct" understanding of things and who could "lead" the gullible masses along the correct path?

Is there anybody who falls for this?

Ernest William "They took their Declaration of Independence and used it as a paranoiac document for the imagined possibility of attack from outsiders to destroy their comfortable self-supporting economy. Wow! And now they are paying for the part that allows and encourages them to be armed at all times. Surely they believe that to remove that “liberty” would be to reduce the fear and paranoia. And good luck to them".

That "paranoiac document" was the bedrock of what resulted on Nov 4.

The bedrock, of that which, apparently the Australian Treasurer hid under - whilst offloading news of his incompetence. Actually, the numbers were strangely on the government's "very" favorable side (I could go into details). Let's put it this way: nobody takes him or those numbers seriously. No wonder he was sneaking around! It took most a day to realize.

I remember last year here fondly. The Australian election was about "change". Seems it degenerated into blame, fairly smartly. Now it's not only blame of another nation, it's of that nation's entire history.

I expect soon for it to be apple trees, Eve etc.........

Have you ever considered the possibility the people you support aren't very good at their job?

The capitalists' great escape

Paul Morrella: "That "paranoiac document" was the bedrock of what resulted on Nov 4."

You do the document an injustice - it is the bedrock of illegal wars and invasions of sovereign nations, of the world record of gunshot killings in America, of their policy of kidnapping people from whatever country and transporting them to a servile nation to be tortured, abusing human rights throughout the world and lots more of bastardry.

"Have you ever considered the possibility the people you support aren't very good at their job?"

It is not surprising that you would raise that issue and attach it to one that has shown the capitalist system for what it really is.

If the question is as negative and treasonable as the Turnbull/Bishop bi-partisan attitude to the present Bush caused world financial crisis - my answer is no - I have never considered that the Rudd/Swan government are not good at their job and their demeanour over the last many months have raised their support in the Australian public.

Surely now a large sector of our citizens must be relating the sub-prime mortgage fiasco in America as the big brother of the Howard "New Order" debt laden false economy in Australia?

My understanding of the bubble-burst in the US was only a few months ago. Some of us have been warning of such an unsustainable mortgage lending system in Australia for at least two years.

The Pinocchio trap was there for all to see. And some people, who must be as cold-blooded as Howard, consider those who trusted him as the Prime Minister of Australia were morons!

And the banks over which he had APRA, that he would never let the working families borrow more than they could afford. Even Costello warned of over-borrowing when it was too late.

Especially since Howard's WorkChoices was reducing incomes and security of employment - goodness me, the Bush administration was getting away with it and that would be good enough for Howard.

Only two things have been positive in Australia so far in this world financial crisis and that is firstly: the Rudd/Swan Labor government of Australia acted as swiftly and as positively as they could reasonably be expected to do and in fact preceded many other countries who have done the same.

And secondly, the Turnbull/Bishop "New Order" cannot ever be trusted by any nation or political party. They are performing completely in self interest and taking advantage of a situation caused by their counterparts in the US.

Consider the description of the corporations to which they are wedded:

The operational principles of the corporation give it a highly anti-social "personality". It is self-interested, inherently amoral, callous and deceitful, it breaches social and legal standards to get its way, it does not suffer from guilt, yet it can mimic the human qualities of empathy, caring and altruism. Four case studies, drawn from a universe of corporate activity, clearly demonstrate harm to sorkers, human health, animals and the biosphere. Concluding this point-by-point analysis, a disturbing diagnosis is delivered, the institutional embodiment of laissez-faire capitalism fully meets the diagnostic criteria of a "psychopath".

As you have rightly noted, a corporation is legally a "person".

So far the Turnbull/Bishop "New Order" have not once detailed what they would have done if they were faced with this current biggest of all problems. Just whinging and bitching. Fair dinkum.

This is a world war against financial disaster, caused by greed and the Bush Administration. Australia is part of this war - let's see a more loyal attitude from these political opportunists.

Perhaps they could tell us why they didn't foresee problems when they agreed to the legislation?



Save your money, or invest it in production.

Spending doesn't save the economy:  it keeps the wheels spinning without getting traction, for a bit.  Production saves the economy.

Hang on to your cash...it's becoming scarce.  It will be needed.

Not so

G'day F Kendall, I don't think I fully understand your mention of production.

However, I was certainly only a boy during the aftermath of the 1930's Great Depression (now there is an oxymoron like the Great War).

I do remember my mother putting money in the back of our pianola - and in the disused fireplaces in our Federation home in Leichhardt NSW.

My maternal aunties also hid money behind the wallpaper in their homes. These were acts of fear and lack of trust in the government of the day.

I do not agree however, that this policy would in any way help the economy to get back on its feet. It didn't then and it wouldn't now.

Roosevelt had a policy of reviving confidence, of showing that the government cared and getting the people to back his efforts to resolve the situation. He succeeded.

As Keating opined, it is not so much a problem of liquidity but of solvency. You trust a business if it is solvent, don't you? And many of our companies are solvent even with a lower than normal profit - but they are solvent.

Like buying bonds during the World Wars, F Kendall, we are prepared to help our country to survive this possible recession. But then we do not have the Turnbull millions.

Cheers Ern G.

The US Can Change

but some parts of it slowly, evidently.

I understand that most white people did not vote for Obama.

Good God.  The U.S. never fails to astonish.

That statistic is incomprehensible, I would suggest, to most in the rest of the world.

Otoh, there is that old joke about the words that the US couldn't understand - the phrase "the rest of the world".

It's not Cuba

F Kendall: "I understand that most white people did not vote for Obama."

But the largest group of those who did vote for him were white.

And oddly enough, people in the US are free to vote for whoever they want.

I mean, it's not Cuba.

Living without God

The US produces less than a quarter of the world's GDP, but it rules the world's financial markets. It has less than a twentieth of the world's population, and is not the largest democracy. Why do we allow it to dominate the world and rule our lives?

It's about time the rest of us stand on our own feet and take responsibility for building a better world. Obama has said very clearly, that he is elected by the US to serve US interests, and however ethical the US may otherwise try to be, it is just not good enough in the 21st century.

I have hope and pity for Barack

Certainly this election appears to be a major shift in the American psyche and a brilliant way to lift the feelings of a world now suffering from the unrestrained US capitalist system.

He has to deal with a number of unpopular matters in order to bring America back to the world community. In my mind that is an absolute necessity.

With more than a half century of the US doing exactly what it chooses, ignoring the UN, the Kyoto treaty, the International Criminal Court, the Maritime Laws, climate change, and the sovereignty of any nation they dislike or suspect of doing what they are doing should hopefully be over.

Can you imagine the hatred that America has earned with its Military/Corporate being responsible for destroying the infrastructure of countries less able to defend themselves and then, having Cheney's Halliburton receive the contracts to rebuild that which they have destroyed?

Well might they say “remember the Alamo”.

I confess that I try to look at the big picture - it gives me a reasonable perception of what is going on in this ever-contracting world.

The United States of America has aggressively clawed its way to be the most powerful (and dangerous) nation in the world - and what have their “powers that be” done with that sometimes respected, sometimes hated and at all times worried about attitude of the “lesser” peoples?

They took their Declaration of Independence and used it as a paranoiac document for the imagined possibility of attack from outsiders to destroy their comfortable self-supporting economy. Wow! And now they are paying for the part that allows and encourages them to be armed at all times. Surely they believe that to remove that “liberty” would be to reduce the fear and paranoia. And good luck to them.

However, Bush has said “they hate us for our values”. Fair dinkum.

I don't believe that the citizens of any nation are totally stupid. However, when you indoctrinate people from childhood with a principle like the Muslims, Roman Catholics, and the American religion of “The Flag” then the powers that be have a ready made slavish workforce for their policies.

The successful method of the Howard “New Order” was to copy the policies of the Bush administration.

Now another capitalist “Liberal” leader - Malcolm Turnbull - is causing as much trouble for the Australian Government, in a time of global financial stress which is not of their making, but was created by his counterparts in America. Struth.

Let us remember the Malcolm Turnbull/Bishop conservatives' attitude to what is meant by bipartisan. Live that down, Malcolm.

The Howard/American style of negative politics has haunted our democracy for a decade and now we have an expert (Turnbull) in the financial policies that have devastated the world economies and who will undermine our elected government in every way he can.

At this time in our history, let the independents and the small l liberals combine to deal with a disaster not of our making but with which we must support the “pilot”.

My wife and I are maintaining our reasonable savings in a building society and will spend as much as we can afford, if that will help our economy.

Who needs enemies in times of stress - or at any time? Hang your heads you forever disgraced "bipartisan" Australians.



Ernest William: " My wife and I are maintaining our reasonable savings in a building society and will spend as much as we can afford, if that will help our economy."

I urge you to get your savings out of the building society and put it into a top bank. With Swan looking after things you are in great danger of losing the lot.

Why Jay? Why indeed...

"I urge you to get your savings out of the building society and put it into a top bank. With Swan looking after things you are in great danger of losing the lot."

Refreshing to see that you’ve returned to your normal hyperbolic form, Alan.

"The US produces less than a quarter of the world's GDP, but it rules the world's financial markets. It has less than a twentieth of the world's population, and is not the largest democracy. Why do we allow it to dominate the world and rule our lives?"

Because, Jay Somasundaram, the US is – up to now – the unchallenged hegemon. It is a position that the history of the twentieth century has served across the net to it. The US has played it back, initially from the baseline but, ever more increasingly, from the net. Those statistics, combined with events, have allowed it to become the only country with the unmatched ability to project power and thus push its policy position. It is entirely in keeping with the nature of hegemonic powers and it is nothing new under the sun in any way whatsoever. Its “policing” of the Middle East – and the strait of Hormuz and surrounding environs in particular – is redolent of Athens’ entirely rational fixation on the Hellespont in classical times. In both cases absolutely vital resources were at stake: for Athens – a city never able to feed itself – grain and the Pontic / Black Sea fisheries (not to mention precious metals) were the goal; for the US the fuel (literally) of the industrial economy. Like the US today, Athens did not always “control” or “own” those resources; it did, though, guarantee itself continued and uninterrupted access to same.

"The United States of America has aggressively clawed its way to be the most powerful (and dangerous) nation in the world…"

Well Ernest William, you get nowhere by not ever backing yourself. I don’t necessarily disagree with the import of the statement – if you are the most powerful you are, ipso facto, possibly the most dangerous – but rather take issue with the verb. I don’t believe the US has “clawed” at all. The sweep of events of the twentieth century facilitated the rise of a “third party”. By which I mean that Europe, involved in yet another internecine round of empire building in 1914, was ripe for an outside influence. In the case of Britain, outright help. If it didn’t realise at the time, it most certainly did come 1939/40 when Churchill aggressively courted the industrial giant that was its former colony.

Woodrow Wilson, during that war’s dying months, naively proposed to mediate between ageing and wilting powers who, although worn out and dog tired of the interminable rounds of mass slaughter of the last century (and more), were not ever prepared to listen to the upstart of the “new world”. It cost Wilson dearly at home and it cost his “League of Nations” life. It would usher in a return to isolationism that will have riled Theodore Roosevelt had he lived to see it.

The second world war provided an opportunity that FDR was not about to waste. The precarious state of England was laid bare in its isolation. Feeding itself was an issue; feeding its industrial base was more critical. The US made up the shortfall and more. By the time the US had entered the war it was not only supplying Britain and itself but also the USSR. The writing, as they say, was on the wall. An allied victory would see a new world power and, in its coming, a new hegemon.

"The curious thing was that the campaign wasn't particularly dirty…"

With which I’d agree. The 2004 campaign was a object lesson in character assassination. The Dems attempted to highlight Bush’s military record (or, rather, ducking the getting thereof) and the Rove response was to utterly demolish Kerry’s actual record. In 2000, as I’ve highlighted elsewhere, the Bush campaign took a flame thrower to McCain’s character and completely destroyed his candidacy in the Carolinas primaries.

My point was rather that McCain seemed not at ease with some of the stuff run against Obama in the closing fortnight. This resulted in certain reactionaries calling for Obama to be killed at a rally or two and the persistent disrespect shown when his name was mentioned. At all times McCain sought to close off such behaviour and restore “civility”. He did the same during his concession.

I do not claim the man a saint but I do claim that his concession speech is one hell of a piece of oratory and, I believe, a mark of the man.

Father Park

Alarm and despondency

Alan Curran, the Federal government's guarantee on deposits extends to building societies.

How fortunate that you aren't living in the UK sixty-five years ago. Otherwise, you might well be in breach of the provisions of their Emergency Powers legislation. 

Can we fix it - yes we can!

On a light note I had to grin at the 'yes we can' chanting from the audience during Obama's acceptance speech. Those with younger children or grand children might also have spared a thought for Bob the Builder.

Some points and reflections

Some points and reflections while watching the election coverage yesterday.

I thought John McCain did a Kim Beazely - his concession speech was by far his best and left you wondering why he hadn't gone for this style earlier.

McCain's speech nonetheless still positioned Obama as "their" president. Even while calling on Americans to support him and invoking the normal pseudo-religious themes of American nationalism there was a back story: that now they have "their" president, let's see what he does.

Obama basically sang from the same hymnbook of American nationalism as McCain but his preacher's cadence was a little more pronounced. He was also still cool. But what has been called the principal role of American presidential elections, the reconsecration and renewal of the national religion, America the idea/ideology, was still very much in evidence. The US president is in many ways first and foremost a high priest as much as an elected monarch.

A majority of Americans voted for him but not a majority of whites. However, as with Kevin Rudd's sorry, though more so, this is a breakthrough symbolic moment. A heck of a lot of white Americans did vote for Obama and perhaps whites and blacks can look more comfortably at one another now than two days ago. If they can now more easily join together to accomplish things, even better.

One of Obama's mantras was we can get there . Pleased with his victory though I am, I kept wondering, where is "there"? The traditional rhetoric of past black leaders has also been headlined by a mix of metaphor and emotion rather than an offering of policy, but even in the metaphor "there" was a place - the promised land, the top of the mountain, etc. Is this shortening to just "there" some sort of post-modernist intrusion in the rhetoric? A nod to the zeitgeist in what was otherwise pretty much a standard discourse mired in the tropes of modernity (progress, unity, development, etc), or what? Well I suppose we will, like, know when we, like, get there, or at least we can, like, live by the more post-modern and pragmatic light of "wherever you go, well there you are."

"Yes we can, yes we can" - sort of inspiring but sort of advertising jinglist as well. And on things like gun control, nationalisation of health, a decent living wage and protection of working conditions, I suspect, well "not really, no we can't" will be the answer. Still I hope he can prove me wrong.

It was fascinating to watch the various sanctioned authoritative commentators rush to corral Obama into a conservative position. He mustn't be too hasty on Iraq, he should not be too hasty in purging Bush's people and, most predictable, he mustn't let "a working class" agenda" overwhelm the more important issues. Like pay rises that can presumably always wait into the never never for their appropriate time, he wouldn't want to go making a priority of keeping the faith with the great majority of working stiffs and unemployed who voted for him.

Meanwhile in offices all over Washington, the sound of shredders starting up could no doubt be heard.

Eschatology and closure

Tony Phillips: "Well I suppose we will, like, know when we, like, get there, or at least we can, like, live by the more post-modern and pragmatic light of "wherever you go, well there you are."

Well, that's the thing about secular, inclusive eschatology. The 'there' is by necessity elusive and diaphanous, otherwise statements about going towards this or that specific 'there' immediately start to to cut whole swathes of folk out of the equation.

I mean, an Hasidic from Wiiliamsburg probably doesn't share too many common 'theres' with, I dunno, a Baptist farm boy from Iowa or a black lesbian atheist from North Beach in San Fran.

But I bet a few of each of those voted for Obama, and were as excited as most other people about the outcome of the election.

The interesting thing is, perhaps Obama is a 'there' to an extent.

He'll face the same complex and often intractable difficulties as any president, and will porobably disappoint a lot of his supporters from this week. That's just what happens.

But as I said way back on February 7, 2008 - 10:42am.

Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican President. But since Barrack Obama is also from Springfield, Illinois, where Abraham lived, we could be about to witness once of the most poetic acts of political closure in history.

That's definitely a 'there'.

sounds like right on to me

Well put Eliot, I couldn't have elaborated better myself. In fact that's unfair to you, I hadn't thought that through at all. And hey I missed your Lincoln reference the first time around, well worth putting it up there again.

And you've spurred me to futher thought, in age of where multiple identities make up the I, with very smooth psychological shifting between them taking place, that "there" captures not just the voters across the electorate but the many within the one of each.

But of course it can't last, for he must act and they must be, and disillusion on some level cannot help but follow. Whereas for now they have acted and his being is enough.


Tony Phillips: "But of course it can't last, for he must act and they must be, and disillusion on some level cannot help but follow."

Two of my three favourite US presidents from history were unpopular in their time, namely Harry S Truman and Abraham Lincoln.

Maybe it's the price you pay sometimes to be judged well by posterity. They cannot all be Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and admired widely while still in office.

LBJ had some fine points, too, and he's still thought well of by many black Americans. But he was reviled in his lifetime, and been subject to the most moronic calumnies in death.

Obama seems like a lovely guy, I hope it goes well for him. But, yes, the road ahead is going to be very, very hard for him.

An enigma

The curious thing was that the campaign wasn't particularly dirty. Probably the cleanest I've ever witnessed, if truth be told. The attacks were very standard considering Presidential elections. The belief it was dirty (a very common belief) is one of the more bizarre of post-election happenings.

I've seen otherwise intelligent people, people who know the political process, and understand electioneering emotive arguments, when they see them,  behaving just plain weird. Very experienced journalists, going above and beyond opinion support, and becoming just plain giddy. I've personally never witnessed something like it in an election before.

I saw it with otherwise staunch Dems not only dumping on Hilliary, they were dumping on Bill - seriously denigrating people who were otherwise Dem heroes! This then progressed onto McCain and Palin. It was like the "one" couldn't even be questioned on his greatness. It'll be most interesting when he does have a disagreement with other leaders. I'm seriously very curious to what the reaction will be.

I've asked many people what Obama stands for, and none up to date has given me the same answer. I mean even upon his election, insiders couldn't even answer the question. The truth seems to be that nobody really knows. It's like people look at Obama and they are looking at a mirror. A mirror that reflects their personal tale. it's almost as if any criticism of him (deserved or not) is a personal criticism of them. Darnedest thing I've ever seen.

Hilliary, Bill, and John have since been forgiven. They've now knelt before the one, and spoke of his greatness.  Be gone and sin no more.

Jack Kennedy began Vietnam (resulting in millions dying), along with coming within an inch off starting world war three. That's not even to mention his rather colorful personal life, that would never have been acceptable from another. The man in many quarters is considered America's greatest President.

The most dangerous of politicians: The society invented sociopath.

The day after the election I read a few Obama articles and posts. I realized, I'm not being asked to respect President Obama, I am being told to love him.

I don't believe this is a good situation for America or for the world. A politician, and I don't care who that person is, never, and I repeat never, should be given that level of adulation. The survival of democracy relies on the basis a person never is.

Dumping on Dem heroes, and other matters

"I saw it with otherwise staunch Dems not only dumping on Hillary, they were dumping on Bill - seriously denigrating people who were otherwise Dem heroes! "

It was, though, a rather hard fought primary campaign Paul Morrella. Hard and, at times, bitter. Clinton drew much of that "dumping" to herself via her style and attitude. She did not contest the caucuses as she evidently felt she did not need them. Indeed, this attitude of the anointed one seemed to characterise her primary campaign - particularly the early part. Super Tuesday was, it seems, a rude awakening: the anointed one had not swept all before her. By the time she realised that she was being out-campaigned it was all too little and too late. The bitterness was, at times, palpable, to me anyway.

"Jack Kennedy began Vietnam (resulting in millions dying), along with coming within an inch off starting world war three. That's not even to mention his rather colourful personal life, that would never have been acceptable from another. The man in many quarters is considered America's greatest President."

Began Vietnam? Yes, he certainly did. He was in the process of ramping matters up a notch in 1963 and RFK was also onboard. LBJ - an incorrectly maligned president - was saddled with that increasing escalation (and the Secretary of State driving it) and, like a rabbit in the headlights, could find no sensible way forward.

As to the third world war, he had some enthusiastic help from behind the Iron Curtain. It might be argued that Khrushchev, under immense pressure from within to match the US's lead in rocket delivered nukes, overplayed his game of brinkmanship. It certainly foreshadowed his precipitous fall.

JFK's private life was, I think, of little concern outside of the moral majority's view. I do not, and have not ever, seen JFKK as America's greatest president. Like Septimus on Tuesday, he would be hard pressed to make my top five box trifecta.

Would have been interesting to see how RFK might have done. Anyone who, off the cuff, can quote Aeschylus to a crowd that might have reacted in any fashion (to the news RFK relayed of MLK's death) is a little better than the average. I still have that speech on my home pc.

Father Park

but par for course

Paul Morrella, I think your observations have much to commend them, though I'm not entirely in agreement with your reading of Kennedy, but I'm not sure it's that much of enigma. I would offer the following, not to contradict your final point, but just to say we need not be fearful yet.

(a) this is the first black president of the United States, given the history, the symbolism and emotion of that fact is going to overwhelm much else at first.

(b) American presidential campaigns are always conducted at a higher emotional temperature than, say, elections in Australia or Britain. Part of it's the culture, part of it's the fact they are presidential not parliamentary elections.

(c) the so-called honeymoon period is in fact primarily a point where we know little about the new person on offer. It is that fact, plus the general readiness we may have for change, that means that we do indeed project onto them many of our hopes and desires. This is what you refer to as looking at them as if into a mirror, the narcissistic effect if you like. The role of the successful politician, or prospective lover, is to channel and not disillusion those projections.

(d) when we combine the above general tendency with a situation where the current relationship is very bad, and let's face it, you had to go looking in caves and hunting under rocks to find someone to say something good about Bush, and therefore desire for change is strong, well voila! There is the effect you are talking about. Rudd also enjoyed it last year in some measure. Turnbull is getting some of it now but it's not as strong because the desire for change in Australia has already been recently sated.

Anyway, there's a political psychological take on the whole thing. But yes, politicians aren't lovers and I firmly agree it's best to keep our critical faculties together with regards to them.

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