Friday Frolykz..

G’day,

How’s it going? And welcome to Friday Frolykz, our end of the week thread – beginning of the weekend thread.

And what an entertaining week it’s been! We’ve had the Budget and Budget Reply, which was quite a hoot. (Thank you Tony I’m still suffering).

And the footy sex scandal. Pictures of poor old Phil Gould in tears on television was the stuff of comedy. No he wasn’t crying out of sympathy for the alleged victim – no he was crying about how poor Matty Johns had been victimised by the meja!

It has all the makings of a caption competition don’t you think? Or perhaps that would be considered poor taste. I’d better think carefully about that lest someone takes offence.

Other reports just out suggest that the “alleged victim” was bragging about shagging the team at the time and is now just out for revenge. Who can you trust?

The other day, I also paused to reflect on why we do this whole blogging thing. And then it struck me. I really haven’t got a clue. I guess it’s a good place to come together and share our views. We don’t always agree with each other. Let’s face it, it would be boring if we did. And some people are passionate in their convictions and others in defending their opinions.

While there is the occasional flare up, one thing I really appreciate is that everyone still comes together again in a good sense of sharing the common ground of just open dialogue and expression.

And for what it’s worth, I reckon that’s still worthwhile. And hope that you think so too…

Have a great weekend folks!

Caption Competition

Caption Competition

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291 Responses

  1. Reb – “…one thing I really appreciate is that everyone still comes together again in a good sense of sharing the common ground of just open dialogue and expression.”

    I really have no time for this type of sentimental clap trap.

  2. “I really have no time for this type of sentimental clap trap.”

    That’s quite a good entry for the Caption Competition.

    And here I was trying to be nice, especially after my late night tirade on the live blog last night.

    And this is the thanks I get..

    C***.

  3. reb, may God bless you and keep you safe. I’ll remember to say a prayer for Matty tonight as I know he’s going through a dreadful time.

  4. Thank you Stephan. AND GOD BLESS YOU!

  5. Caption Competition:

    “Jeesus Matty, when you’re ready to go would you mind standing a bit further back!”

  6. F#@K OFF! when I’m obnoxious, at least I’m sincere about it.

  7. And what an entertaining week it’s been! We’ve had the Budget and Budget Reply, which was quite a hoot. (Thank you Tony I’m still suffering).

    I drank two bottles of champagne – two – and am also a tad crook. Damn those code words – damn them to hell.

    (BTW Reb, just sent you an email to above address.)

  8. “And then he … and then he … you know what he said to me? He said “Phil, if you don’t cough up the cash now, that’s the last hair plug you’ll ever get from us.” And now … I mean … LOOK AT ME! I’M A FREAK!!!”

  9. Caption:

    “…and to top it off, not only did the doctor tell me I was an ugly SOB he broke the news that I had incurable halitosis so no more Dally M Awards Nights for me,” sob, sob, sob.

  10. reb

    I have also reflected over the last 14 days and decided it is better to be part of a squabbling, fighting, swearing and passionate group who disagree and have their own opinions which are published unedited, even if those opinions at times conflict severely with some of my religious beliefs.

  11. I’ve changed jobs and Tom will be pleased to know that my new boss dislikes me (actually, she dislikes everybody). But I get a distinct feeling that she dislikes me more than others.

    Doesn’t say much for her IMHO.

  12. Welcome back Shane.

    Now, where’s that James fellow?

  13. Thanks Tony

    Yes I too hope James will return

  14. James is out buying up on cigarettes before they go up 3c once his beloved Liberals regain office.

  15. Either Tom goes or I go.

  16. Squishy hugs Shane..I was missing Riley.

  17. Sorry Migs..you’re not allowed to go. Currently we are missing 2 bears and a camel. But we have the return of a whippet.

  18. shaneinqld, on May 15th, 2009 at 12:31 pm Said:

    Good on you shane, always enjoy your input.

  19. Hi Shane,

    Welcome back!

    I’m sure I speak on behalf of all us that it’s great to see you back here.

    You have been missed!!

    I understand that some (if not a lot) of the stuff I post can be offensive to others.

    To be honest, when you and James left I was talking to to Joni about packing it in.

    But anyway, glad to see you back, and we all look foward to your knowledge and insights once more..

    cheers
    reb

  20. Thanks Min (squishy hugs ). Rileys boots have been ordered so should arrive soon.

    Thanks Kitty, its good to be back, I have always maintained I would never hold a grudge so had to reflect and get back to the reason I was here in the first place which was peoples freedom of opinion.

  21. Reb,

    To be honest, when you and James left I was talking to to Joni about packing it in.

    It goes without saying – but I’ll say it anyway – and I’m sure I speak on behalf of all most readers here when I say it: Your and Joni’s tireless work, and the waste expenditure of your valuable time, is very much appreciated.

  22. welcome back Shane.

    Don’t suppose you want to take over doing the NRL footy tips for me? I suck at it.

  23. To be honest, when you and James left I was talking to to Joni about packing it in.

    Oh reb, what are you doing, never let us see that you have moments of doubt and introspection, that you are human and fallible – just like the rest of us.

    Not another word, I can’t bear it if you waver!

  24. reb

    Don’t pack it in.

    I may not have posted but to be honest with you all, I followed every story every day and laughed at Miglo and Tom and read every ( well almost every) comment. I just needed to remember why we are all here and that is freedom to post our thoughts without censorship.

    I just hope James returns as well.

    It was your comments today that made me finally look past my expectation that someone temper their comments, even if it is a subject close to my up bringing.

    I do however wish to go on the record as saying I am not a blazing catholic and do vehmently disagree with a lot of their preechings, but also see the good as well.

    As for the pic of the Pope it made me cringe. Bring back Pope John Paul II, even if it means a resurection as this guy has made me squirm from day 1. I am sure I saw him in the Exorcist.

    Enough of my rant

  25. That’s wonderful Shane. My cousin Brenda the greyhound trainer who also takes in ‘rejects’ said to buy a baby lambs wool slipper (just from KMart) and cut it to pad the boots out a little for the sore paw. But to either take it out for walkies or to glue it in permanently if needed, in case of slipping. So pleased to have you back just to let you know re above.

  26. Shane, I had a comment 1/2 written (obviously not sent) about how the Catholic church has gone down the tube since JPII. But that’s another story.

  27. Thanks Dave

    Take over your footy tipping?, I coudn’t pick the winner from a race between a snail and a mouse.

  28. Either reb goes or I go.

  29. Shane – a BIG welcome back… you were missed.

    And James – come back too, your input is always valued here.

    And in other news, I feel that Delhi Belli is about to hit me (what is the Mumbai equivalent?)

    And what was Gould crying about?

    My caption is “… and then they made me wear a hession bag over my head before I could join in”.

  30. Shane,

    LOL

    That’s pretty consistent with my form this year as well.

  31. Thanks for the advice about the lambs wool slipper Min will get them this weekend.

    Min I agree the church has gone downhill since JPII. But as my old man used to say, he went to church to pray to God, not to judge the human at the altar, as many people decide whether they attend church based on if they like the priest/celebrant or not, rather than the real purpose which was to pray to God.

  32. Thanks joni

    Good to be back

  33. I though Gould was crying because he has to pay more for his private health insurance.

  34. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm………!

    Shanes back………………………!

    I thought you’d “topped” yourself after Timbercorp !

  35. Just wondering..has anyone got an opinion about Turnbull, well his response to the budget anyway. Whether he will decide to cause an election based on cheaper private health insurance for the wealthy such as himelf.

    Is Turnbull game to cause an election..hang the expense.

    I am certain that Turnbull realises that the headlines would be: Turnbull..the elderly denied their pension increase because of Turnbull. Major blackspot roads projects on hold..because of Turnbull. Upgrades to schools on hold..because of Turnbull.

    Was just listening to Turnbull and he stated (sadly). Mark my words…my friends..our children..small business..we are reaching out to business…red tape and compliance (and whose fault is that!).

    This budget response is a PR exercise for Turnbull to hang on to the leadership. My guesstimate is that he will not push the government so far as to cause an election, especially if it’s on the back of helping the wealthy ‘afford’ their private health insurance.

  36. It appears as though nobody is taking me serious. That’s it then. You can all get stuffed.

    I’m out of here.

  37. Hmm interesting freudian slip from Mal: People who cannot/will not take out private health insurance. So there are some stubborn buggers out there who refuse to take out private health insurance.

  38. Don’t go Miglo,

    I might even give you a set of keys to the executive washroom if you decide to stay. (Just don’t tell anyone else).

  39. IATW

    Would never “Top” myself over money thats for sure. Maybe a few lashings of the cat o nine tails for buying them in the first place.

  40. Min, I reckon the PM is setting up for an election early next year before the next budget because there has to be some tough decisions made.

    There should have been an excise hike on tobacco and that nasty alcohol to stop the kiddies from switching to spirits because it gives them more bang for their buck, so much for the government being serious!

    I expected more from the government this week, lower the baby bonus, get rid of the extra FHOG and wean the people off middle class welfare!

    This government has yet to make a hard decision in my opinion.

  41. Interesting that the Opposition are stating that there is No Problem with their opposing a tax on alcopops while simultaneously proposing an additional tax on cigarettes.

    The reasoning being that cigarettes cause far more deaths in Australia than alcohol. That deaths due to alcohol is ‘minimal’ compared with tobacco.

    Presumbly Turnbull isn’t counting the numbers of under 25’s as ‘road kill’.

  42. A 30% hike on all alcohol excise, a binge led recovery!!!

  43. Min

    I watched Malcoms full speech and he is, to his credit a very good speaker. The problem I had was there was no substance in his reply. His reply was simply to use the words Debt and Deficit as though they were the only words in the english language.

    As for content is was severly lacking. It would appeal to the die hards who take everything the Liberal party say as gospel, but there was nothing they would do differently other than tax smokes ( I am a smoker and have no problem with the tax being increased, it might make me give up). But I also have no problem with the more well off receiving less of a rebate for their private health insurance.

    He needed to be strong in his delivery as he still has Costello lurking like a piranah.

  44. Interesting Min – Looks like Turnbull has left himself room to negate the potential double dissolution trigger:
    http://www.thewest.com.au/default.aspx?MenuID=2&ContentID=141731

    The coalition will consider supporting a permanent tax increase on alcopops when Labor reintroduces the legislation later this year.

    Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull has been criticised for opposing the measure but then proposing a three cents per cigarette tax hike in his budget reply speech.

    On Thursday night, Assistant Treasurer Chris Bowen said Mr Turnbull could not be taken seriously on tobacco unless he got behind the government’s alcopops measures.

    Mr Turnbull says the comparison isn’t valid, but the coalition will reconsider its position on ready-to-drink beverages.

    “If and when they (Labor) re-present it we’ll examine it on its merits in the context of this budgetary environment,” he told ABC Radio.

    “in the context of the political environment” more like it.

  45. Costello a Pariah? LOL

  46. scaper

    I agree get rid of the baby bonus, remove FHOGS from existing homes and wean people off upper class welfare.

    They could have made those tough decisions and would still get strong support from the public.

    The Liberals had better tread carefully regarding an early election though.

  47. Do I hear a 35% raise in alcohol tax???

  48. Hi Shane, I don’t give a stuff who wins the next election, I just want to see this country run properly and prosper in the future, I don’t see that happening any time soon!

    I have said many a time that I fear that federal politics is going down the path of mediocrity just like the states and guess what?

    It is like choosing between a rotten lemon and a rotten grapefruit, democracy is suffering…bring on the REVOLUTION!!!

  49. shane,

    All that stuff will happen but not while there is still a downturn. Each of those things have a stimulatory effect at the moment and so they are being kept for the time being – removing them now would be counter cyclical. If things pick up between now and May next year, watch the axe fall on all of that stuff and probably the implementation of much of the red tape removal stuff that Turnbull has made out to be his idea but was a big part of Ken Henry’s speech to the Press Club last year.

    Someone mentioned that growth at 4.5% would result in high infaltion – that is partly right as well but if the Government starts to cut back on the midddle class welfare during this high growth phase, this cut back on government spending will counter to some extent the inflationary pressures associated with higher growth.

    I don’t actually think the high growth projections are that wrong – if there is sufficient international demand to fuel that growth (and there probably will be in the resources sector because companies have run down inventories much more than in previous recessions), there will be capacity in the country to grow and meet these demands (more unemployed people, infrastructure etc) quite quickly.

  50. But scaps..Family Last Fielding caved in after extensive lobbying by the alcohol industry. I’m still trying to understand why a Family First senator would oppose additional tax on sweet fizzy alcoholic drinks aimed at teenage girls.

    Re weaning the middle classes off welfare such as means testing private health insurance for families..and it only cutting out once one earns over $250 big uns. If a family has an income of over $250g, then to me they can afford their own private health insurance rather than expecting a welfare handout.

    The baby bonus has been melded into Maternity Leave..one can choose either one or the other. This now leaves the USA out in the cold. Many businesses have had their own maternity leave schemes for a while now, it was the lower paid women who were missing out.

    Re ‘hard decisions’. The Rudd government has raised the old age pension by over $30pw. But of course they have to find somehow to pay for this mega..

    Which is why the Opposition is ‘dead meat’ if they take this one to an election. It will be Pensioners versus wealthy private health insurance/and associated lobby groups. If Turnbull doesn’t know that he is on loser (in spite of all the ra-ra on Sky News)..then he needs to check his stats.

  51. Min, Feilding wanted all daytime alcohol advertising banned!

    The government caved into the advertising and sports lobby…shameful!

  52. Ok reb, I’m back.

  53. Miglo, on May 15th, 2009 at 2:47 pm Said:

    Ok reb, I’m back.

    Oh, thank goodness…I was sooo worried! 😛

  54. What did amaze me was the proposal by the Liberal Party that we have some body which looks at proposed budgets independently to examine if they are fiscally responsible. This is a suggestion we adopt from the USA.

    If this is such a great thing then why is the USA the most indebted nation on earth having to borrow from its enemies the communists to survive.

    In addition I caught the end of a programme on SBS where they were interviewing treasury officials from 2002 who were sacked by Georgw W Bush because they were honest and told him to stop giving tax cuts to the rich, especially if he planned to go to war in Iraq as it would decimate the tax base for the whole country then and into the future.

    George W Bush decided to ignore their advice and sack them all. They stated they were glad to be sacked because now they are not in there trying to fix the mess that he was warned about time and again.

    Having said that in regards to taxation cuts this is how our taxation rates changed under the Howard Government.

    1996

    0-5400 0%
    5401-20700 20%
    20701-38000 34%
    38,001-50,000 43%
    50,001 and above 47%

    2009
    0-6000 0%
    6001-34000 15%
    34001-80000 30%
    80000-180000 43%
    180000 and above 45%

    Meaning a person on $50,000 per annum is now $98 a week better off than in 1996 regarding tax.

    A person on $250,000 is now $358 a week better off regarding tax.

    Imagine how much better off all the CEOs on their millions are.

    With the new tax rates to become effective from 1 July 2009 a person on $50,000 will get a further $2.88 so will be $101 a week better off than in 1996.

    A person on $250,000 will get a further $41.35 so will be $399 a week better off.

    Percentage wise the low paid are better off but percentages do not pay bills actual dollars do and it shows that those on $250,000 received in dollars an amount equivalent to 4 times those on $50,000 in tax cuts.

  55. Scaper..Fielding wanted an IMMEDIATE halt to all advertising of alcohol. The government asked for time to be able to phase this in..for example, can you imagine the chaos if all advertising by the alcohol industry was immediately banned. For example the Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League club or maybe the Lion Nathan Brewery or maybe the Fosters Cup.

    Clearly time was needed so that other sponsors of sports teams could be found.

    Fielding refused.

  56. And still Shane, they’re screaming blue murder about having to pay for their own private health insurance.

  57. Yes Min,

    Those on $250,000 will get more via their tax cut on July 2009 than they will pay with the removal of the 30% private health insurance rebate.

    I suppose the old saying the more you have the more you want is still alive and well.

  58. I think what Fielding needs, is some sort of online web-based mechanism for keeping the public up to speed with his latest insights and movements.

    “Twatter” comes to mind…

  59. But as my old man used to say, he went to church to pray to God, not to judge the human at the altar…

    Nothing wrong with praying to your local deity, or quiet self-reflection without divine intervention.

    But for me, the observation that the humans in the church seemed to act pretty much the same as those outside in their treatment of other people (barring the public religious behaviour, of course) suggested it was (largely) all talk, no action. For example, I remember a study showing the child abuse rates were – if anything – slightly higher in the church community than the general community. I’m sure there are people who’ve had genuine transformations through religion, but you can find those outside of organized religion too.

    Each to their own…

  60. Min, I’ll just compare this issue with say, the ETS…this government is preparing the legislation to be presented during the Winter Session of Parliament that will not come into being (LOL) until 2011.

    Fielding did not request an immediate halt at all, that holds as much water as the PM spinning like a top today declaring that Turnbull wants to destroy Medicare!

  61. Scaper..2011 is only 18 months away.

    And Turnbull spinning like a top saying the Labor/workers/socialists are opposed to private health insurance.

  62. Funny how people put shit on Fielding for standing by his conviction, Brown and co, Xenaphon and Joyce have my respect regardless if I agree or not with their ideology.

    Come on, name me one politician on either side of politics that actually has conviction in the federal sphere?

  63. I see…because the opposition leader is spinning that justifies the behaviour of the person who is supposedly running the country.

    I won’t buy into that type of debate!

  64. Scaper, I have a problem with Fielding because he doesn’t stand by his convictions and seems very prone to laziness..that is, gaining his opinions from lobbyists.

    Fielding is supposed to be ‘family first’ but doesn’t understand how the alcohol industry targets young females via their alcopops.

    Fielding should get out off his office..perhaps go to Schoolies at the Gold Coast or at Byron Bay and make a mental note about what teenage girls are drinking.

    Turnbull still has a problem with voting down alcopops while wanting to raise taxes on cigarettes. Turnbull’s excuse is that one is health problem but the other is not. Anyone confused?

  65. Then raise alcohol excise 40%!

  66. And include alcopops!

    Was I hearing correctly, maybe not..but I’m sure that I heard someone say Ruddget. Shades of Matty Price when he called Costello’s last budget the Ruddget.

  67. [Scroll on by…

    – Conveniently for some, a detainee who was waterboarded to produce false claims that Iraq was co-operating with Al Qaeda died a couple of days ago
    – CIA’s list of torture “briefings” not so accurate, etc.
    – Reconciling Pelosi and Goss – not inconsistent as reported]

    Detainee al-Libi was apparently tortured until he reported that Iraq and Al Qaeda were co-operating – despite them being natural enemies. This claim was used in part to justify the Iraq invasion. The waterboarding was ordered continued by Cheney’s office even after the interrogation team recommended against it because he was “compliant”. Some time later he made the Iraq/Al-Qaeda claims, which are widely considered false.

    This waterboarding clearly took place before the OLC memos were issued, so it wasn’t under cover of that poorly constructed legal “fig leaf”. And it clearly has nothing to do with the threat of imminent terrorist attack, which is used as a “justification” by some. It looks more and more like it was chosen in this case BECAUSE it would produce false claims.

    And conveniently for those who’d rather investigations were not particularly thorough, he apparently committed suicide in a Libyan prison, despite being apparently in good health and a fighting mood. (That first link discusses the idea that Guantanamo was treated as a “battle lab” for experimenting with various techniques…and describes Zubaydah’s current condition in ways that make it hard to argue that he is not a victim of torture as defined by the law.)

    One of the Senators whom the CIA said they briefed on torture techniques has said “No they didn’t”. Furthermore, he has got the CIA to admit that two of the listed briefings were made up. Any bets there are other errors in their claims? The CIA has so far declined to comment.

    This post argues that Porter Goss’s statement on the briefings is not inconsistent with Pelosi’s, despite being reported as such.

  68. I don’t care how much they raise the alcopop tax as long as they don’t use the lame excuse that it will curb binge drinking, that’s bullshit!

    Will there be binge drinking if they raise the excise to 45% on all acohol?

  69. Min, with an aging population and a public health/hospital system that simply cannot cope, why do you have a problem with providing an incentive to people to take out insurance and use private hospitals?

  70. Lotharsson,

    From your final link:

    But as things stand today, Porter Goss’ statement is completely consistent with Nancy Pelosi’s.

    As long as you’re only talking about the latest incarnation of Pelosi’s statement. 😉

    The WaPo, however, spins it differently to your guys spin:

    For the first time, Pelosi (D-Calif.) acknowledged that in 2003 she was informed by an aide that the CIA had told others in Congress that officials had used waterboarding during interrogations. But she insisted, contrary to CIA accounts, that she was not told about waterboarding during a September 2002 briefing by agency officials. Asked whether she was accusing the CIA of lying, she replied, “Yes, misleading the Congress of the United States.”

  71. I don’t know about min tom, but I believe that public monies should be used to support public systems not private ones. All the money that goes toward private health and education is money that is detracting from our public systems (which is why they cannot cope).

    If people want to queue jump and go outside of a universal public system (which Australians have always overwhelmingly supported) they should be prepared to do it on their own $ not the taxpayer’s.

    Anyway, research also supports the fact that the public health system is much more efficient and we get much better value for our money than in the private system.

    if the private system is so great then it should be able to support itself, without public funds.

  72. Tom. I do not have any problem with private health insurance. My parents were members of HBA since..well since I can remember.

    However I do believe that a family with an income of over $250gpa does not need a welfare handout.

    Re ‘an aging population’. The vast majority of people with private health insurance are the well to do and certainly not pensioners. How on earth could a pensioner be able to afford private health insurance!

    I would much rather the $s be spent on public health so that everyone irrespective of income will benefit. For example, in spite of having private health insurance when the ambulance was called for my dad, he was taken to a public hospital. That is, St Vincent’s. The staff were amazing..the wonderful Shirley counsellor and Joseph night nurse plus doctors Christine and Melanie. Joseph (from somewhere in South America) placed a single red rose on my dad’s bed.

    Anyway..I’m obviously being a wee bit sooky due to these memories.

    But back on topic, people earning over $250gpa are unlikely to chuck their private health insurance and add to the public hospital waiting list.

  73. Min, the public system is not in any state to accept additional demands. Why adopt a policy that can only increase the call on the public system?

    This decision can only send people in one direction and that is towards the public system.

    Was this one of the commitments that the government has broken?

  74. But what about the waste in the private system? Try this one.

    http://www.hba.com.au/public_insurance_sales/vic/bestvaluehealthcover/index.htm?s_cid=10005s001

    Wow..12 Months of FREE Movie tickets. These are obviously a health essential.

  75. I heard Turnbull on the radio claiming that the means test for the health insurance rebate proves that Labor hates private insurance. (Huh?) Furthermore, he said that in an ideal world, everyone would have private health insurance. (Wouldn’t that look a lot like “everyone has Medicare, and pays for any additional insurance they think is necessary”?)

  76. Private health insurance will always be cheaper under a Liberal government.

  77. Was this one of the broken election promises?

  78. Quite right Loth..in Turnbull’s ‘ideal world’ everyone would be wealthy. It’s easy, just work hard and it will all be laid at your feet on a silver platter. It happened for me and so what’s your problem?

  79. Tom..yep, so far the only broken election promise and the one worth breaking in my opinion. Rudd is going for the record..only 1 broken election promise.

  80. Tony, from a quick scan I don’t see any inconsistency between that quoted statement and Goss’s.

    The CIA and Goss allege Pelosi and Graham(? can’t be sure I remember the name correctly) were briefed that waterboarding *had occurred* in Sep 2002 (plus other briefing points). Both Pelosi and Graham have denied they were told it *had* been used *at that date*. Goss’s statement refers to this briefing.

    The quote you gave referred to a brieing in Feb 2003 after Pelosi left the intelligence committee. This is the one where the aide was briefed that (as of that date) waterboarding *had* been used. The aide subsequently informed Pelosi.

    Aside – others have indicated that the aide telling Pelosi is an apparent violation of national security laws as briefees cannot talk to ANYONE about the content of the briefing. What the CIA was doing briefing her aide rather than her in the first place is anybody’s guess – they may have done this deliberately. They are also said to have briefed aides along with Pelosi and Goss in Sep 2002, which is hard to believe. But then, we also know they’ve been making some stuff up, so we don’t know how true their claims are here.

    Hopefully all of this debate adds to demand for a full investigation. That, and Cheney running around pointing to memos that Wilkerson now says he’s seen and don’t prove Cheney’s case. And Obama’s probably futile measures and embarrassing excuses to keep photos under wraps.

  81. Private health insurance will always be cheaper under a Liberal government.

    LOL 🙂

  82. That, and Cheney running around pointing to memos that Wilkerson now says he’s seen and don’t prove Cheney’s case.

    Then they should release those memos as well, and prove or disprove Cheney’s assertions, as the case may be.

  83. Min – I think there was another – superannuation. But then he is only a politilian

  84. The former PM will be expressing his views on the current situation at 8.15 tonight on SKY News.

  85. Private health insurance will always be cheaper under a Liberal government.

    hehe

    But then he is only a politilian

    is that a cross between a politician and a reptilian?

  86. Kitty..is this movie tickets included?

  87. The former PM will be expressing his views on the current situation at 8.15 tonight on SKY News.

    You mean the last one? Howard?

    But didn’t he say he would never utter another word he would never speak about politics again he wouldn’t be giving a running commentary?

  88. That was non core promise, Tony!

  89. Phelpsie wins! I knew that stuff was good for you.

  90. Scaper,

    Do you wanna live-blog the Howard interview? (I need to know if I need more grog.)

  91. Howard to Spiers,

    Je ne regrette rien.

  92. *Speers*

  93. Tony

    What did Howard have to say?

  94. It’s still on. Very wide-ranging. If they replay it (or if Scaper’s recorded it) we could do a post on it. Do SKY do transcripts?

  95. He’s writing a book, and has signed up with the Washington Speaker’s Bureau.

  96. And, he’s living in the ‘burbs of Sydney.

  97. In closing:

    David Speers: John Howard, describe in one word your Prime Ministership.

    John Howard: It can’t be one word, it has to be three words: A huge privilege.

  98. Howard: Kevin Rudd, if he’s being honest, should thank me every night for the economy he’s inherited.

  99. Howard: No I don’t regret Workchoices. Workchoices had given us the lowest unemployment we’ve seen in 33 years.

  100. Full interview repeated on SKY News tomorrow at 8:15 and 12:15. Well worth a look.

  101. So the old prick is writing a book! He just won’t go away, will he?

  102. Thank f**k you’ve arrived, Migs. The left-hand column (I dont know what the geeks call it) was filling up with only my avatar. How embarrassment.

  103. Soooo. Port v. Tigers hey? Hmmmm. How many goals-in will you give me?

  104. Thanks Tony for the details – sorry though you had to sit through it.

  105. Then they should release those memos as well, and prove or disprove Cheney’s assertions, as the case may be.

    Short answer – release all the information and investigate thoroughly – and independently of any political party. (I still won’t bet against your suggestion that will never happen.)

    Long answer:

    Well, taking a step back first, it depends on what the country wants to be. Cheney wants it to be a country that does what most people call torture and others point out is illegal under US and international law (or at least he wants a discussion about it to distract from and try and weaken the drive to investigate the legal issues). If you clearly don’t want to be that sort of country, then you really don’t need to answer his assertion that “it works”. But then this discussion is going on, at least in the press, and enough Americans in surveys seem to approve of some torture, so you probably do have to answer that question.

    If you’re prepared to be a country that tortures/abuses detainees, or you think there’s some other merit in answering “it works” beyond all the evidence presented by professional interrogators to the contrary, then release those memos. Alongside that release all the other memos and documentation that allows a proper assessment of its effectiveness and costs – including opportunity costs (from chasing all the false leads), closing information channels, creating motivated enemies, applying it to the wrong person, “confirming” false preconceptions, losing your most talented non-torturing interrogators, starting the odd rather expensive war based on misconceptions, etc. You’ll need to include the CIA Inspector General’s report from May 7, 2004. It apparently has a section that discusses effectiveness, or otherwise.

    You also need to define what “it works” means. Most people hearing that from Cheney think it’s being argued that it rapidly and reliably elicits concealed information. That’s a tough case to make, given the preponderance of evidence to the contrary. Cheney likely means, at least some of the time, that “it gives me a source of ‘information’ I want to see, no matter whether it’s true or false – particularly when it’s false” (like the non-existent Iraq-Al-Qaeda link that he was apparently so keen on “proving”).

    It must then be noted that “whether it works” (to rapidly elicit true concealed information) presumes as the next step in the progression “we should probably use it under some cases if it does”, which presumes “we can break the law if we want to under some circumstances” (unless you withdraw from the relevant UN Conventions)…which leads over time to executives with an awful lot of unchallenged power, rather like that overbearing King George fellow that the settlers in the New World rather objected to centuries ago…

  106. Lotharsson,

    Toiletboss asked me recently whether I believed the end always justifys the means. I replied that I didn’t, and that I didn’t agree with waterboarding.

    However.

    Since I watched this presentation by Bill Whittle, I’ve had pause for thought, and am now not so sure. I now lean more towards the end justifying the means, if the end means – in a nutshell – less lives lost.

    Would you kindly watch that video if you can (you’ll need about 17 minutes of free time) and let me know what you think.

  107. *justifies*

  108. [Scroll on by…Cheney and torture docs. And a Pelosi cartoon.]

    Cheney’s requested two specific memos to be released. He’s apparently being hoist on his own petard, at least a little. Under an Executive Order he helped create (and subsequently abuse – e.g. to reveal the ID of agent Valerie Plame), he can’t have those docs until two Freedom of Information Act cases are resolved. Those cases are likely to reveal a lot more than just those two memos.

    Pelosi cartoon – safe to say she’s not seen as being straightforward with her accounts…

  109. Hay Leftoids have a Captain Cook at this

    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25490780-29277,00.html

    “THE Rudd Government’s stimulus packages and its abolition of Work Choices have made the economic situation in Australia worse, not better, former prime minister John Howard has said in one of his first interviews since losing office.”

    SO TRUE, SO TRUE (also NB- one of the first interviews)

    “Work Choices helped give us the lowest unemployment rate in 33 years,” Mr Howard said.”

    YEP

    “If the name of the game is to protect jobs, why do you follow policies that destroy jobs?”

    MAKES SENSE TO ME

    “I wouldn’t have thrown money around and given cheques to people,” he said. ”

    I AGREE. ONLY BRAIN DEAD MORONS DO THINGS LIKE THIS

    “By splurging all of this money and adding to our debt enormously, Mr Rudd has actually worsened the situation that has been exported to Australia.”

    WHY DOESN”T THE LEFT GET THIS???

    “The big thing he had going for him was that we left him with the strongest budget in the Western world, and the lowest unemployment for 30 years. We left him with that inheritance, so he got off to a flying start, but when the tsunami hit he has actually made it worse.”

    ABSOLUTELY!!!!!

  110. Tony, there’s a case against the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, if only as evidenced by some of the top US military brass at the time who felt that if someone did that to America it would be called a war crime. (There is also some dispute over the assertion that the Lemay leaflets were dropped over Hiroshima at all, although it seems agreed that they were dropped over Nagasaki after the bomb.) The US also had knowledge that Russia was about to enter the war and could therefore have waited a week or three to see if that was enough – especially as the US had decrypted Japanese communications showing that factions within Japan’s command structure were also attempting to end it (and that they wanted the emperor to remain, which the US could have agreed to if they were attempting to speed things up, but didn’t). Both pieces of information could lead one to conclude that Japan would surrender – within months at most.

    On the other hand there’s certainly a case to be made for the bombing of Hiroshima – and even Nagasaki. As a matter of judgement at the time, based on what was known at the time and the available (and uniformly unpalatable) courses of action, it can certainly be argued that it appeared the best course of action and would likely save many lives, both American and Japanese (both military and civilian), compared to other options. And some post-facto weight is added to that argument by noting that the Japanese factions seeking to end the war seized on the bombings to reinforce their argument – let alone the post-facto calculus showing large numbers of lives were possibly saved.

    I’ll followup in a separate post to avoid tempting the wrath of Kamahl.

  111. But I’m not sure that the atomic bomb argument justifies “the end justifies the means” as a principle. (And in this case, I’m not sure it’s really an “end justifying the means” argument that people are making for dropping the bomb – at least in public – they’re saying “it was less unpalatable than the other options”.)

    If it’s argued that “the ends really and truly justify the means”, then the argument is that there are no limits at all, providing you have suitably noble ends in mind. Anything the most twisted sadistic imagination can come up with – and humans as a rule can produce some very very twisted and sadistic thoughts – is surely OK under this principle. You can brutally rape children in front of their parents in order to “get them to talk” – provided your ends are suitably noble. You can actually build the “human slicing machine” that they falsely claimed Saddam was using and start chopping bits of everyone in sight – provided your motives are good. I don’t know – my imagination is probably not sadistic enough – but those of some others are.

  112. Tony,

    I have said as much already and on more than one occasion. “CONTEXT” is always missing from this discussion…… Much like the idiocy of releasing “photos” that serve no purpose other than to inflame but done in the name of what “freedom of information”? Soldiers in danger, who cares, we are talking about “freedom of information”…….Give me a break, at least Obama had enough “common sense” to tell the “Left” to take a hike on this one and reintroduce “military tribunals” although releasing the memos was a bone headed move……Appears his “theories” have run into reality as well…….

    Many live in the world of “theory” and it isn’t until the enemy is “knocking” at the door do they finally, “get it”. History is littered with many such examples……

  113. Lotharsson,

    Thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate your “on the one hand this, but on the other hand that” replies. It shows you really are examining the issues, and not just trying to make the case ‘your’ side of politics has adopted. I would like to think I could be so impartial, but I’m not so sure.

    You can probably tell, at least on this issue, that I’m not trying to convert you to my point-of-view. The truth is I am really struggling with this one, and don’t have a set-in-stone POV.

  114. So, either people argue for no limits (hands up if you do), or we start talking about non-negotiable limits (and why we might have them in the first place).

    And then we must talk about costs and tradeoffs and ethical dilemmas and alternatives and uncertainty – and other practical issues of “saving lives justifies the means”:

    – how do you know the actions in question are saving lives? (Especially when they’re taken by leaders who tell you to just believe them when they say it? Even more especially when this increases their own power? Power-seeking authoritarian leaders will exploit such principles if they think they can…and then there are the supremely confident but fatefully self-deluded ones with charisma who merrily lead people off a cliff…)

    – on what basis do you think that other less objectionable actions wouldn’t do just as well, or close enough?

    – losing less of whose lives?

    – over what timescale? It’s really easy to argue that you’re saving a few lives now, only to find that the consequences of your actions cost more lives in the long run. (The CIA have probably had ample time to regret training up the mujahideen in Afghanistan to wage insurgency against the Soviet Union.)

    – who gets to say when “suitable” ends are truly being aimed for, and when someone or something has falsely claimed them? (Especially when the “means” are being used against you and your people by others, including your enemies. Terrorists are known to argue that their actions are necessary to “save lives”. Dictatorial repressive regimes say the same thing. Police could advance the same argument for routine interrogation and control of everyone – “papers please”.)

    – What about other undesirable side effects of the actions? Are “lives lost/saved” the only thing that we care about, or do other costs/impacts figure in the reckoning? (What about the large number of US soldiers returning from Iraq with horrific injuries – do those outcomes and the impacts on the soldiers’ families figure in the equation?)

  115. I would like to think I could be so impartial, but I’m not so sure.

    I’m not entirely sure I’m impartial either. I try to be as a rule (partly due to my personality type), but I’m basically a normal human who makes conceptual shortcuts in order to deal with the complexities of the world. And those shortcuts include the classic human foible – unless consciously subverted – of valuing information that reinforces my preconceptions and devaluing information that challenges them. Subverting that takes mental effort for which I have limited energy, so I don’t do it for everything. But at times this blog (and others) provide very useful challenges. So thank you (and others) for being part of that process 🙂

  116. Sorry, bad tag in my 12:18am post. Should have been far fewer italicised words.

  117. Israeli Human Rights organisation B ‘Tselem is gathering evidence in support of potential criminal charges against the Israeli Defence Force in Israeli courts over allegations that soldiers shot dead unarmed civilians trying to surrender during the IDF’s January 2009 Gaza onslaught.

    There are at least 20 documented cases of Israeli troops opening fire on groups of women and children carrying white flags, according to a recent report in the Le Monde Diplomatique newspaper.

    Other Israeli and European NGOs are also seeking various legal remedies against the ongoing anti-semetic behaviour of agents of the State of Israel – in various jurisdictions – proving many Jewish people are aware that democratic countries do not deliberately target and kill unarmed civilians, nor do they deliberately trap unarmed civilians inside a combat zone, or destroy United Nations and European Union-funded civilian infrastructure as part of their domestic political processes.

    Meanwhile across the sea in Washington, Monday could be high noon for Israel’s neo cons. President Obama will meet Israeli PM Nethanyahu to inform him of the more “hands on” role America is adopting to try and develop a functional Middle East peace process:

    http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/israeli-leader-flies-to-the-us-on-a-chill-wind-20090514-b4nb.html?page=-1

    The Times of London reported earlier this week that the Obama Administration has drawn up plans for a comprehensive Middle East peace plan which is said to include the creation of a Palestinian state and formal legal recognition of the State of Israel by all Arab countries.

    Can real change come to the Middle East? President Obama is making a “courageous move” in the immortal words of Yes Minister’s Sir Humphrey. Who knows what the outcome maybe but at least there is a serious effort underway by Israel’s-banker to restore some balance and sanity to the Middle East.

  118. Sparta,

    If the US wants to stop inflaming anti-US sentiment, then it should stop doing those things, rather than pretending to cover up what it does do. It’s the actions, not the photos, that are the primary cause of the anti-US sentiment. And those actions are really well known amongst the affected populations already.

    Greenwald lays out the case quite well. Feel free to disagree with Greenwald – his site takes comments. There are almost 400 on that article already.

  119. Ray Hunt, on May 16th, 2009 at 12:32 am Said:

    Israeli Human Rights organisation B ‘Tselem is gathering evidence in support of potential criminal charges against the Israeli Defence Force in Israeli courts over allegations that soldiers shot dead unarmed civilians trying to surrender during the IDF’s January 2009 Gaza onslaught.

    Doesn’t the IDF investigate itself and always find itself innocent of any wrongdoing?

  120. So when does the breach of a commitment become acceptable?

    When it is expedient? When a group becomes vocal?

    What exactly is the criteria for a breach of a commitment to be acceptable t?

  121. “If the US wants to stop inflaming anti-US sentiment, then it should stop doing those things, rather than pretending to cover up what it does do. ”

    Lotharsson, you do realize that every one of those individuals that were involved in said actions have been prosecuted for the most part and some are still active investigations? It is hardly a “cover up” by any means or United States phenomenon. Most investigation being taken up without the input of the ACLU! Nobody is trying to cover up anything? You can not seriously be advocating that releasing “photos” furthers anything but a blinded ideology at this point? The actions, have been dealt with, so where is the story?

    “It’s the actions, not the photos, that are the primary cause of the anti-US sentiment. And those actions are really well known amongst the affected populations already.”

    I wonder how they are “really well known” in societies where most don’t even have a television or have limited access to alternative points of view? Hmm……….I hear this all the time and I am sorry, but it is a load of dung! Please explain, Muslim terrorist “target” and kill “Muslims” every day and have done so in larger numbers for years but still what is the reaction? Why is it that individuals such as you are unable to see past this obvious “duplicity” and realize that such “logic” doesn’t add up when applied to a wider context? Again, you seem to look at everything as a snap shot while disregarding the “big picture”. I am not trying to pick another fight here but please explain how we fight a “Guerilla War” another way; a war in which Australia and many other Western countries are engaged but for which we are reserved “special” condemnation? Shall I point out the latest such incident involving the Australian forces? Our enemy purposely “hides and uses civilians” for the expressed purpose of baiting individuals such as yourself (and Greenwald) into posing such ridiculous accusations. They are well versed in the use of propaganda for which many in the West are all too happy to help propagate for them. The actions you speak of are hardly being delivered with any “context” as well ( to include Greenwalds dribble) and always seem to be swallowed whole by some….I cannot imagine why…….

  122. Sparta, you may have missed it, but lots of people have been on television and in the press lately arguing that (say) CIA officials and others who abused detainees when they thought they were doing so under orders should be assured they won’t be prosecuted. That only makes sense if they are trying to head off current or future investigations.

    And when Obama said he wanted to “look to the future” – that he was talking about NOT investigating various allegations.

    And when Spain launched a couple of investigations under anti-torture laws, it was doing so only because the US had NOT investigated.

    Feel free to explain how all of these people are under the misapprehension that various credible allegations of abuse have all been investigated and the perpetrators suitably punished.

    Not even Cheney is making the argument you make.

  123. …it is a load of dung!

    And you know this, how? Because you think they only way they could know it is by television, which they are too poor to have? (You realise Iraq has TV and phones, right? And even in Afghanistan they have communication networks, some ancient, some modern?)

  124. I am not trying to pick another fight here but please explain how we fight a “Guerilla War” another way; …

    NOW you’re asking the right question.

    The only way to fight a guerilla war is to win the hearts and minds of the population you’re fighting amongst – or at least get close enough that they don’t support the guerillas.

    And that means not abusing that population. And not pretending you didn’t do something that you did. And coming clean and taking proper disciplinary and remedial measures if you do so. And not doing the same sort of thing the following week.

    Take a look at the Taliban’s recent incursion into Swat in Pakistan. They came, they were very harsh on the local population and their lofty rhetoric did not match their actions, and large numbers of people who were previously somewhat tolerant of them were pissed off. That laid the groundwork for the Pakistani military to go after the Taliban, which had previously been considered impossible because too many hearts and minds were with them.

    Our enemy purposely “hides and uses civilians” for the expressed purpose of baiting individuals such as yourself (and Greenwald) into posing such ridiculous accusations.

    Huh? You mind explaining how that works, and which particular accusations are ridiculous?

  125. “That only makes sense if they are trying to head off current or future investigations.”

    Or perhaps they don’t feel we need a “public fishing” exhibition that would amount to what exactly? What purpose would it serve? Look, anybody with half a brain knows what you and others are really after with all of the “we must know the truth” mantra. You believe from the depths of your heart that the abuse was “policy” and you are looking for evidence that will support this claim so you can go after administration officials….Unfortunately, it is never going to happen…..Past American presidents and governments have taken “questionable” actions in the defense of the American populous during past conflicts. We can argue about what constitutes torture or abuse again but at the end of the day, opinions vary……..Besides, nobody, even the ACLU says the “photos” will lead to any future investigation only to put light on what everybody already knows, including the article you linked too. We had some soldiers make bad choices and a command that let it happen; choices for which they are being punished for.

    “And when Obama said he wanted to “look to the future” – that he was talking about NOT investigating various allegations.”

    You don’t investigate simply on the grounds of an “allegation”; they too must have some sort of evidence which substantiates them and warrants investigation. It is a favorite tactic in politics to make as many “allegations” as possible and hope some stick. This is no different except doing so would endanger lives, which is a reality not speculation like said allegations……

    “And when Spain launched a couple of investigations under anti-torture laws, it was doing so only because the US had NOT investigated.”

    Are we talking about “photos” which depict “abuse” or you back on the “torture” thing? Now abuse is also torture or what? Or because the US was not investigating in a fashion fast enough to suit the left you mean. Besides, Spain has since rescinded….

    “Feel free to explain how all of these people are under the misapprehension that various credible allegations of abuse have all been investigated and the perpetrators suitably punished.”

    I don’t know, perhaps the soldiers currently serving prison sentences and those who have been court marshaled or lost commands? Stop playing games Lotharsson…….

  126. And you know this, how?

    Well since you made the original claim that it was our actions, which cannot be physically viewed by billions I would pose the same question to you? How do you know it is our “actions” and not the drumbeat of anti-Americanism that sways them? Clearly, you haven’t watched one of the videos I posted……….

    “Because you think they only way they could know it is by television, which they are too poor to have? (You realise Iraq has TV and phones, right? And even in Afghanistan they have communication networks, some ancient, some modern?)”

    Well if the “world” holds this opinion of the US as you were implying world opinion were you not, then suffice to say that the billions around the world mostly do not have TV’s or phones of their own. The populous of the world is a tad bit bigger then Iraq or Afghanistan. Nor does this really address my point as to why Muslim slaughter of other Muslims is not held to account if it is our actions that fuel such sentiment? Seems if they can operate a cell phone they might be able to see the difference between civilians caught in a firefight and those “targeted” but perhaps there all idiots as you imply………

  127. “The only way to fight a guerilla war is to win the hearts and minds of the population you’re fighting amongst – or at least get close enough that they don’t support the guerillas.”

    This is well known but how is beheading and poisoning civilians winning the minds of those who you say judge us by our actions but apparently not the Taliban? Seems again, quite clear who is really out to harm them.

    “ And that means not abusing that population. And not pretending you didn’t do something that you did. And coming clean and taking proper disciplinary and remedial measures if you do so. And not doing the same sort of thing the following week.”

    See above and bear in mind that the murder of civilians or abuse takes place on most days at the hands of the Taliban and in wartime, it is a fact of life that there will always be rotten apples. Unlike your pal Greenwald, some are looking to report what has really happened, not what they “believe” has happened. It is now coming out that the latest attack for which we did run into and apologize for may have been set up by the Taliban. Information in the War zone is not delivered as fast we in the West would like it to be unless it is politicized……

    “Huh? You mind explaining how that works, and which particular accusations are ridiculous?”

    Perhaps Greenwald’s position that not releasing the photos somehow does an injustice; a position he simply cannot put to a rational argument. It boils down to “forcing us to see the light” of past deeds as if we did not have them plastered across the TV for all to see at nausea already. Pictures are more powerful he states…….As if most cases related to these photos have not already been investigated and dealt with. Now what does an Islamic propagandist do with such comments/pictures? They use it to raise more doubt and suspicion in the hearts and minds of those we are trying to win over. We have academic nut jobs trying to tell us how to win a war, a war most don’t even support….Are you kidding me? Where is Lincoln when we need him………

  128. Oh My God

    It was “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” on TV or the Blogs

    But I found Sparta and Lotharsson goin’ hammer and tongs.

    I’m so happy I actually like tomatoes

    Ciao

  129. I missed the interview last night on SKY but have seen excerpts on the news this morning,

    I don’t agree on the Workchoices take as the nature of many employers would have been to take unfair advantage of the situation that would have left employees no choices bar unemployment.

    Ditto for the Payroll tax!

    I would have to agree on the ex PM’s take on how this government has handled the threat of recession and the management of the nations finances though.

  130. Finally, the government comes clean on what I’ve known for months.

    They have no money for infrastructure…they blew it!

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25490709-601,00.html

    George has a good article on the deception of this government concerning their hollow announcements.

    http://blogs.theaustralian.news.com.au/meganomics/index.php/theaustralian/comments/not_nation_building_image_building/

  131. Neil of Sydney, on May 15th, 2009 at 11:40 pm:

    Do you ever question any claims (and that’s all they are) made by your hero? For a different POV read this:

    http://business.smh.com.au/business/big-deficit-is-a-good-step-for-more-jobs-20090515-b61k.html

  132. George has a good article on the deception of this government concerning their hollow announcements.

    George and Sutchbury also have good articles on the poor economic legacy of the Howard/Costello government.

    Coalition faces a ruinous record

  133. I only thought that Howard lied while he was a politician. His interview showed to me that he’s a liar full stop.

    Either that, or he is totally deluded.

    I suggest that he has a read of Peter Hartcher’s latest book before he keeps sprouting how almighty he his. There are differing opinions from his once closest allies.

  134. Kitty I just read the article from your link about how the coalition (small c) faces a ruinous record. It strengthens the opinion of mine that Howard was again misleading in his interview.

  135. Miglo, Sky must have repeated the Howard interview at least twice this morning and I was unfortunate enough to be home both times. So Howard would have kept WorkChoices..well there’s a surprise. Just what we need during a Recession, workers with less disposable income.

  136. True Min, that’s why I think he is deluded and perhaps still unable to grasp why he lost the election.

  137. Min, on May 16th, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Just what we need during a Recession, workers with less disposable income.

    Or unemployed workers with no recourse but to await Centrelink payments compliments of Workchoices.

  138. Just spotted on The Age courtesy of Michell Grattan.

    Turnbull to deny Rudd poll trigger. THE Coalition is likely to drop its opposition to the Government’s controversial $1.3 billion alcopops tax increase, refusing to make it a double dissolution election “trigger”.

    Passing the rise would also remove the criticism that Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull is inconsistent in advocating higher cigarette tax while the Coalition votes against the alcopops rise.

    I think that Michelle is spot-on. There certainly was an amount of hypocracy in Turnbull voting against a increase in a tax on alcoholic lollywater, then proposing a tax on cigarettes while wanting to retain middle and upper class welfare handouts.

  139. Sparta, back up a minute. You’ve thrown all sorts of stuff around that doesn’t appear to have anything to do with what I was talking about, and as far as I can tell you presume I was saying something I wasn’t.

    When I say the way to stop fueling anti-US sentiment is to stop various US actions, I’m not implying that the ONLY source of anti-US sentiment is the consequences of US actions. You’ll always have propaganda against you that is based on distortions and lies, but you’ll have it based on truths too, where it suits them. And your actions are the only part of the fodder propagandists use that you can control.

    Next point. I said the affected populations knows about a whole lot of US actions that have fueled anti-US sentiment already. In response you seem to imply they don’t because they have poor access to communications.

    OK, let’s presume for the sake of argument that you are right. In other words, presume that an awful lot of people with poor access to communications don’t know about the Iraq war, remote-control bombing of the odd wedding party by mistake in Afghanistan, support for the oppressive Saudi regime, supplying arms for Israel, abuse of detainees in various locations around the world, or anything else that might inspire anti-US sentiment (including propaganda based on lies and distortion). So happily, they don’t currently have any anti-US sentiment. Then the US releases the photos – and you believe those people will magically see them, perhaps via communications channels they don’t have access to and thus anti-IS sentiment will spring into life in their hearts? Doesn’t compute, does it?

  140. Do I hear a 50% increase in alcohol excise???

  141. RN..I’d almost forgotten about that one!!

  142. …er, make that “thus anti-US sentiment will spring into life…”

  143. Re private health insurance. I think that Turnbull could have shot himself in the foot with this one. Far from being the progressive that everyone thought that he was, his support for hand outs for the well-to-do confirms that a Turnbull government would have been just a continuation of the previous Liberal government.

    Then to have Howard miraculously appear out of the woodwork immediately after Turnbull’s budget reply..there you go and there you have it. A Turnbull government would have been (past tense because it isn’t going to happen ;-)) a return to WorkChoices and a continuation of poor policy such as these handouts.

  144. I only thought that Howard lied while he was a politician. His interview showed to me that he’s a liar full stop.

    I don’t think ‘the lying roden’t, was ever an affectionate term from his own party, IMO he remains a mean spirited, compassionless, ‘kiss up and kick down’ type of man.

    I heard on the radio this am, Howard with the WorkChoices mantra, we all know that WorkChoices is still the goal of the Coalition and it’s political recruiting branches – big business. Business even sends a letter listing the names to cull from the opposition benches, Australian democracy at work, who cares about representing the people!

  145. sorry, make that rodent not roden’t

  146. Kittylitter, there’s nothing new in George’s article today, we’ve been discussing those issues for months at his blog.

    Nothing will change until the PM gets the balls to abolish middle class welfare, which of course he won’t do because he’s a populist politician who really does not have the long term interest of this country at heart!

    I expected the legislated tax cuts to be deferred but he couldn’t even do that!

    The government now owns this mess and blaming the last person that was leader is not good enough, if he can’t take responsibility instead of playing the “blame game” then he should step aside and give Gillard the job!

  147. The government now owns this mess and blaming the last person that was leader is not good enough,

    It is quite legitimate to place the Coalition’s ‘legacy’ under critical scrutiny, otherwise we’d have all the Neil’s of Australia saying that the Coalition were wonderful economic managers, without contradiction, as if by saying it makes it true!

    Howard is out there, right now, lying and talking up his wonderful ‘economic legacy’ to the nation!

    It’s how Rudd works to get us out of the mess that counts.

  148. Thank you Bacchus. I’m yet to catch up with all the reading. Interesting that only The West Australian and Grattan are running with the story.

  149. “It’s how Rudd works to get us out of the mess that counts.”

    I just wish that the PM would start making the hard decisions, I would support them and vote for the government at the next election rather than the opposition in protest!

  150. Scaper, to my way of thinking the prime thing is how to get reforms through the Senate. So far all that the Opposition has done is to say No, leaving the hard yards and choices to Fielding and Xenophon.

    Meaning, if the Rudd government comes up with things that are too radical ie hard decisions they would have zilch chance of getting these through.

  151. scaper…, on May 16th, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Scaper, in an ideal world, one in which the neocon/neoliberal ‘pie’ hadn’t been ‘grown’ so much it blew up in everyone’s faces all over the world, that’s probably what would have happened, over several terms of office, which is how long things took to degenerate into that condition. However, back in the real world…it’s counter-cyclical triage the world over…including Rudd’s bit to replace the oil (money supply and multiplier) lost to the ‘credit crunch’ with government oil, to keep the engine of the Ferrari from seizing. I guess he could just print more money, like some other places, but that too will blow up in the faces of those who are doing that still, in the long-run…which should be good for another round of global catastrophe…hopefully, Australia will be better prepared for that next one, though, by not seeking to emulate the fine government-business models of overseas…as much as I do like Hockey’s attempt to sell the big pie to those who would like to maintain the pre-2007 illusions of a magic pudding which aint a pie as a viable future.

  152. Min, I disagree that the hard decisions would not get through the Senate.

    One piece of advice to the PM would be to drop this “my way or not at all” rhetoric and be more consultative.

    A bit of finesse would not hurt.

  153. Scaper,

    what do you call the means-testing of of the 30% private health insurance and child care rebates?

    It may not be total abolition of middle class welfare but at least its a start.

    Also, it is far removed from popular if the bleatings of those whose incomes are greater than 150k are any gauge. Check out the comments in this article:

    http://blogs.news.com.au/moneyandme/index.php/moneyandme/article/what_is_wealthy/P60/

    I hope this is the beginning of a long overdue weaning process for a group of Australian citizens who fervently believe that they work harder, longer hours, are more inconvenienced and sacrifice more than their average wage earning counterparts and are therefore more deserving of Government handouts. Poor, poor, upper-middle class!

  154. [Scroll on by…Pelosi calls for broad investigation.]

    Josh Marshall notes that Pelosi is calling for a “a broad-ranging Truth Commission to investigate what happened, who’s telling the truth and who isn’t”. As he says

    …The whole point of this storm about Pelosi is that her critics want her to be embarrassed and stop supporting a Truth Commission or any sort of examination of what happened. But she’s not. She still says there should be an investigation. Her critics still want the book closed. That says it all. …

    It’s either very ballsy bluff, or she reckons she’s on solid enough ground – and her critics are not.

  155. “what do you call the means-testing of of the 30% private health insurance and child care rebates?”

    A pretty piss poor start!

    I’d start with a pronouncement that there will be deep cuts in the following year to prepare the people then back it up, instead of a Treasurer advocating a tough budget that was really just fluff!

  156. It’s either very ballsy bluff, or she reckons she’s on solid enough ground – and her critics are not.

    Or a third option: she’s backed herself into a corner, and can’t say anything else without looking like a bald-faced liar and hypocrite.

  157. Or a third option: she’s backed herself into a corner, and can’t say anything else without looking like a bald-faced liar and hypocrite.

    Same as (or the reason for) my first option, IMHO.

  158. It’s either very ballsy bluff, or she reckons she’s on solid enough ground – and her critics are not.

    “Or a third option: she’s backed herself into a corner, and can’t say anything else without looking like a bald-faced liar and hypocrite”.

    Or, she knows she’s backed up by the US population. Polling shows that 2/3 of the population support a truth commission and the Bush Administration being held to account.

    “Truth Commission” proposal on Bush crimes reveals precarious state of US democracy

  159. Same as (or the reason for) my first option, IMHO.

    Yes, but not so much ballsy as stoopid.

  160. [Scroll on by…Graham says CIA didn’t brief as required.]

    Senator Graham says three briefings the CIA claims it gave him did not occur (and the CIA concurs), and the briefing that occurred failed to cover the waterboarding that had already taken place. Also, he reiterates that the CIA were obligated to brief the full Intelligence Committee, which they clearly did not do.

  161. Tony, Digby has a modest proposal to get at the truth.

  162. Scaper,

    My point was that the recent budget policies are hardly popular with upper-middle Australia. And at least it is a step in the right direction towards more equal wealth distribution amongst all Australians.

    Rudd & Swan have been steering the ship for just a blip in the grander scheme of things. The Rudd Government has indeed had the balls to start to reverse years of Howard hand-outs to those least likely to need them (voter bribes).

  163. And finally a journo is looking at Turnbull’s proposal in a realistic fashion. From Laurie Oakes at: http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25489647-5000117,00.html

    In fact, Turnbull’s reasoning was flawed.

    Means-testing the private health insurance rebate is intended to help pay for the pension rise.

    The amount saved would increase year by year, just as the cost of pensions will rise because of an ageing population.

    Cigarette tax revenue decreases over time because the number of smokers is dropping.

    The above were my thoughts also, but I figured that maybe I missed something.

  164. Yeah, might work.

  165. Raise the excise on tobacco to 55%!

  166. (Last comment @ Lotharsson.)

  167. If Rudd has any guts, he would means-test all of the entitlements on a single person that earns over $125.000 to couples over $200.000 per annum,this also includes self funded retirees, they should all be excluded from the first home buyers grant right down to the transport concession card, that on it’s own would save millions of $$$$$, but will he do it NO

    On another subject in regards to the matter of RIGHTING the WRONGS of Howard and his misdemeanors. I sent emails to the Attorney-General McClelland to my local Federal Senator Joe Ludwig and to my local Federal MP Brett Raguse, the reply I got back from Raguse on behalf of McClelland and Ludwig was a shock, they had completely whitewashed all politicians out of all of the inquiries(Royal Commission) I was hoping for from The Tampa Crisis right through to the Haneef Affair, will Rudd set up any inquiries into any of these matters(15)????? where is Honesty and Integrity these days.

  168. Make Quit Smoking patches free!

  169. Anthony Watts:

    This speech at the 22nd Annual UVU Symposium on Environmental Ethics, held April 1st and 2nd at Utah Valley University is one of the most sensible and pragmatic ones I have ever read…. Some in the crowd must have been ready to bust. But let us hope some of the soon-to-be graduates took away something from this other than a desire to pummel the speaker because it went against what they “know”. This is well worth the read.

  170. Tony, a very good link!

  171. RN – “It may not be total abolition of middle class welfare but at least its a start.”

    But why would you applaud a broken promise by the government?

    The ALP didn’t go into the election promising to abolish or change middle class welfare.
    I’d be entirely happy to support this change, if the ALP had proposed it during the election campaign, but they didn’t.

    They played an expedient political game and therefore deserve to be condemned,rather than congratulated, for this.

  172. Tony, That was an interesting link. And regretabely I agree with a lot that was said re the 70’s. But I think he lost the plot at the end of his talk.
    Human’s will be able to adapt (should GW be a fact.) And we can build sea wall and/or move those whose properties are affected. But who is going to pay for this given that the properties owners will surely demand compensation for ‘government’ inaction on the issue.

    As for sea walls, as a regular visitor to Lord Howe
    Island , I have great concerns for the place. The erosion on the lagoon in the last 5 years is remarkable. The consequence,I believe being a combination of two sea walls. One, the air port extension in 1972 and in 2000 (roughly) retaining wall to stop the road to the airport collapsing into the lagoon.
    Now, both were ‘necessary’ for the economic prosperity
    of the place, but at some stage I suspect there’re in for real trouble. (If I knew how I would link photos)

    As for polar bears, well, they have right to be free from gunfire and gw.

  173. And Min, As hopelessly nicotine addict I would love to see patches supplied at no cost, and a packet of fags increased to 20 30 50 dollars. Imagine what would do the budget bottom line!

    BTW always love your posts. (Sorry I can’t hear you.)

  174. WSJ:

    In any event, Mr. Obama deserves credit for accepting that the civilian courts are largely unsuited for the realities of the war on terror. He has now decided to preserve a tribunal process that will be identical in every material way to the one favored by Dick Cheney — and which, contrary to the narrative that Democrats promulgated for years, will be the fairest and most open war-crimes trials in U.S. history. Meanwhile, friends should keep certain newspaper editors away from sharp objects. Their champion has repudiated them once again.

  175. Hey Lotharsson,

    I bet your guy Froomkin has his boilerplate working overtime on a reply to Krauthammers latest column:

    My column also pointed out the contemptible hypocrisy of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is feigning outrage now about techniques that she knew about and did nothing to stop at the time.

    My critics say: So what if Pelosi is a hypocrite? Her behavior doesn’t change the truth about torture.

    But it does. The fact that Pelosi (and her intelligence aide) and then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter Goss and dozens of other members of Congress knew about the enhanced interrogation and said nothing, and did nothing to cut off the funding, tells us something very important.

    Our jurisprudence has the “reasonable man” standard. A jury is asked to consider what a reasonable person would do under certain urgent circumstances.

    On the morality of waterboarding and other “torture,” Pelosi and other senior and expert members of Congress represented their colleagues, and indeed the entire American people, in rendering the reasonable person verdict. What did they do? They gave tacit approval. In fact, according to Goss, they offered encouragement. Given the circumstances, they clearly deemed the interrogations warranted.

  176. Look, look look, Dear Leader Howard is the greatest political leader in human history But despite this being a 123% rock-solid fact, tha AL-bloody-P peasants are out there tryin 2 rewrite bloomin history.

    Crikey maties! The nerve of these bloomin people, the things they say. I mean next thing yer know these dangerous agitators are getting about the joint tellin porkies, OK? They’re sayin blatantly untrue things like the old bloke squandered hundreds of billion on corporate and middle class welfare, outrageously allegin that interest rates rose during the last term of Dear Leader Howard’s government, no infrastructure was built cos Big Pete Sea was asleep at the wheel, that kinda thing!

    Geez, what a bunch of lyin mongrels. What a flippin surprise.

    Best yers don’t trouble yer tiny egg-shell minds with the alternative script, OK? John Howard was the greatest political leader in human history, that’s all yer cyber bludgers need 2 know, OK?

    More importantly, my extra special mates in big business tell me given there’s no stake thru his chest yet, old man Howard will rise again 2 push the universe to tha right, yer pinko scroungers can count on it, OK?

  177. RN, on May 16th, 2009 at 10:15 am

    Big deficits are good. Yeah right. Isn’t that what gets people into trouble. I don’t disagree with some deficit spending but i do not agree with handouts.

    “It’s how Rudd works to get us out of the mess that counts.”
    kittylitter, on May 16th, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Kittypoo- Showpony was handed 4.3% unemployment and no federal govt debt with apparently $45B in the kitty. There was no mess.

    He has just blown the lot in one of the most criminal acts in australian history. Its now gone never to return. We will be in deficit for years because of people like you and the dishonest people who support the ALP.

  178. “Mark Twain‟s advice: respect those who seek the truth, be wary of those who claim to have found it.”

    Amen, unfortunately many can be found right here on this blog….LOL…..I think truth seekers in this case are otherwise known as “skeptics”…….

    “And guess what? We share this planet with 6.2 billion other people who all want the same things.”

    Well duh, why do you think I am always on about population control, the contradiction of the Left in regards to the construct known as poverty and AGW policies, immigration/refugee intake etcetera……..Unfortunately like he says, at our current rate (most of the growth coming from the 3rd world) we can expect almost 9-12 billion by 2050……..But many here simply could care less or simply don’t grasp. My money is on the latter after all, it does make one “FEEL” better to support the idea of importing poverty in an effort to alleviate it…..

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/special_report/1999/06/99/world_population/379083.stm

    “America‟s energy use has been growing at 1-2% per year, driven by population growth and prosperity.”

    Yes, and this is just America which grows by over a million people a year through legal immigration alone….We haven’t had Australia’s current population since our founding! So let’s think about it geniuses, we want to bring billions out of “poverty” to enjoy the way of life we were lucky enough to born into. Hmm……what kind of resources demand are we talking about now? Hmm…more people, more demand….Any light bulbs going off? I went over this same ground with Tim at nausea to no avail either.

    Great article Tony but it will either not be read by the “devout” or simply discounted. They will all start saying “what has he published”; regardless if they can actually challenge his claims/realities……LOL…..

  179. Tony,

    “I bet your guy Froomkin has his boilerplate working overtime on a reply to Krauthammers latest column:”

    Yes, well are mutual “friend” doesn’t really see things in light of “context”….Theory is much more convenient and comfortable…….

  180. Sparta of Phoenix, AZ USA, on May 16th, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    Amen, unfortunately many can be found right here on this blog….LOL…..I think truth seekers in this case are otherwise known as “skeptics”…

    Sparta, meet Pyrrho. If I were a skeptic, I’d be skeptical about your akas; your always on abouts; your truth claims about what will or won’t be read and how an by whom; and what’s particularly great about a piece that’s ostensibly riddled with basic logical fallacies and contains with in its internal inconsistencies, in parts and in whole, the seeds of its own self-destruction as an incompleted range of thought and, arguably thereby, a dialectic masquerading as an ‘alternate reality’ or a claim on ‘truth’, but alas skeptics are few and far between, and as a non-truth-seeker apparently I am not one.

  181. Legion,

    It’s a blog mate, and in case you haven’t noticed, many don’t want to read a dissertation every other post….Besides, I am pretty sure “you” were never mentioned? Now how about challenging the context of the article for a change. Besides, such a claim is amusing coming from the “master” of confabulation and poor syntax. I am sure you think such “syntax” makes you come across as “intelligent” but in reality it does no such thing and only highlights your insecurities…..Now go listen to your “word power” CD some more or stay on topic for once instead of trying to make it “personal” there adolescent. It really is getting “boring”……YAWN………

  182. Sparta of Phoenix, AZ USA

    I’m pretty sure my labels were alternately ‘genius’ or ‘knucklehead’, and here was my invite…

    So let’s think about it geniuses

    And, no, as an exemplar of the genii, I don’t have to conform to the agenda of the bottle-rubber nor the bottle once I’m out of the bottle; nor is there any requirement for me to even enter the bottle-necked mental constructs of another who might like to think of the world in the form of the topology of a bottle. It’s a different kind of ‘context’.

    Otherwise, a hypothetical skeptic might like you to challenge the content of the article yourself, and have you see what you you can come up with, merely as a thought exercise and demonstration of your nominal non-truth-seeking commitment, without your getting all anxious about the challenge to an initial position to which your ego isn’t attached.

  183. https://blogocrats.wordpress.com/2009/05/13/hes-just-not-that-into-jew/

    I suspected you were posting under different names “Legion”, a.k.a. “mark”, a.k.a. “knucklehead”……..Really man, you must get some variety in your life…..In regards to AGW, been there done that hence my stance but please, feel free to point out where the article goes astray……In English please…….LOL…..

  184. Sparta of Phoenix, AZ USA, on May 16th, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    Here’s a non-myside self-challenge to give context to the above and to keep you going, if and when you do seek to re-engage critically with your chosen topic. Simply suppose that a hypothetical skeptic were to parallel, and thence highlight the contradictions between, Rattie’s arguments about the one thing and Sparta’s arguments about the other thing. I’d guess that Tony might have already noticed echoes of Herbert Simon’s theory at work in Rattie’s piece, at least, in his having selected the piece and his also having an interest in Simon’s theory; and I’ve certainly noticed the implications of Rattie’s Simon-esque arguments when applied to Sparta’s arguments and vice versa.

  185. Oops, make that Julian Simon.

  186. Legion,

    Simon’s arguments are heavily weighted on the assumption of “stable growth” but by its very definition, “exponential growth” is not “sustainable” hence not “stable” in simplistic terms…..Yes, I am a “Bartlett” supporter/Malthusian……….Frankly, mankind has reached a “plateau” in regards to technology while populations have benefited around the world. I fear mankind has become just too distracted and interested in “self gratification”…..Where is the stimulus? The 3rd world’s stimulus is simply getting to the 1st world. Technology simply will not come in time…..Look to the “oceans” for starters……..The rest of the world “the bulk of the population” is simply seeking our lifestyle, not something beyond it. A lifestyle the planet simply cannot sustain for 6 let alone 9-12 billion! Especially as the “Western” world/lifestyle encompasses a mere fraction of the current 6 billion……A fitting analogy would be the “stationary phase” of bacterial growth …..

  187. Sparta of Phoenix, AZ USA, on May 17th, 2009 at 6:03 am

    No, you just attract my attention when you are having a ping-pong session with your strawman du jour…Beyond the specific invite, I also answer to “some”, “many”, “devout” and “they”, to provide some semblance of contradistinction to the wonted royal “we” and the round of nodding tacit agreement. You caught my attention on the other thread with “of course”; when, of course, the course is never so simple as when Sparta is plopping agreeable words into the mouth of a strawman to have repeated back. I always like to have the strawmen respond with some semblance of realism instead of just nodding their little straw heads in agreement, to keep Sparta thinking and in tip-top shape for when he has to meet a real adversary and not just a pushover.

  188. Simon’s arguments are heavily weighted on the assumption of “stable growth” but by its very definition, “exponential growth” is not “sustainable” hence not “stable” in simplistic terms

    Sparta and Legion,

    In the spirit of this thread’s evolving dialectical theme, I present the following for your consideration:

    As a point of abstract mathematics, there is no way around the conclusion that a geometric progression, if carried on far enough, will eventually overtake an arithmetic progression, no matter what. If population increases geometrically while “subsistence,” or food, increases arithmetically, then sooner or later the population will run out of food. End of story.

    Or so it would appear, except for the following embarrassing fact: “Population has never increased geometrically,” says Simon. “It increases at all kinds of different rates historically, but however fast it increases, food increases at least as fast, if not faster. In other words, whatever the rate of population growth is, the food supply increases at an even faster rate.”

    These, he says, are the actual and empirical facts of the matter, information available to any inquirer. Simon first got a taste of those facts while studying the data amassed by the economic demographer Simon Kuznets (winner of the 1971 Nobel Prize in economics) and by economist Richard Easterlin, in the mid-1960s. Kuznets had followed population growth trends that went back 100 years and compared them against standard of living, while Easterlin analyzed the same data for selected countries since World War II. The studies showed that while population growth rates varied from country to country and from year to year, there was no general negative correlation with living standards. <a href=”“>People did not become poorer as the population expanded; rather, as their numbers multiplied, they produced what they needed to support themselves, and they prospered.

  189. Legion,

    A laconic style is often mistaken for simplicity and it never fails to draw the pompous out…..But I am sure there is much to be learned from your usual style of engagement, ergo, interacting with those that have the exact same thought process and reach the exact same conclusions. Say for a few posters anyway….

    I enjoy browsing the comments of many here, especially yours, struggling to sound more enlightened then the next when a few words would suffice nicely and certainly come across more coherently. Reinforcement is often a mental crutch of the insecure and “peeling” back your lid has certainly highlighted this phenomenon. However, I do take note that for all of your compliments/condescension, you do spend an inordinate amount of time addressing my “simplicity” rather poorly if at all? Must be all those “invisible” straw-men that you seem to insist are behind every corner but yet lack the ability to define. Besides even if I did subscribe to your “excuse”, how many straw men “knocked over” would constitute a valid refute in your mind? Keep it up though “champ”, you’re getting there………..

  190. Sparta of Phoenix, AZ USA, on May 17th, 2009 at 7:38 am

    Good to see that you have factored in Rattie’s contradictions to your analyses, and that you aren’t just wantonly misrepresenting Rattie’s work as if it lends some or any credence to your theories and graspings, which seem more directed at some innominate Left and wholly unrelated to Rattie’s prescriptions, and with which you totally fail to engage.

  191. Sparta of Phoenix, AZ USA, on May 17th, 2009 at 8:32 am

    Yes, it’s funny how you managed to abstract two factoids presented by Rattie and thence spin a narrative around those which weren’t Rattie’s, as if Rattie’s work, whether premises or conclusions, either agreed with or didn’t contradict your premise-free conclusions at the time. Nothing like a strawman even in Rattie’s being used thusly. You catch me every time with your laconic style, and rigorous skepticism. I’d like you to highlight where Rattie was going on about anything you went on about, but, of course, you can’t, because he didn’t. Just as the many, the they, the devout, the Left, the could care lesses, the can’t grasps are all straw people, too. But that’s all beside the point, really, given that is your style and it is what it is. Moving on.

  192. Tony,

    It is a fascinating subject, at least to me…….Well on the surface I agree with Simon, however he seems to discount many of the variables needed to justify is theory….a.k.a. disease, famine and war………If one accepts these as a constant, then it makes a bit more sense. However, we have virtually “trivialized” the 1st two (via aid etcetera) and minimized the 3rd, historically speaking…..(think about it, where would the world’s population be now had we not lost millions to these variables) Regardless of where you stand, I believe we as a species/and the planet in general, have more to be gained from understanding “population” trends/impacts then trying to “control” the weather….. Seems we are always chasing the symptoms and not the disease. The whole AGW debate and proposed remedies remind me of the game pharmaceutical companies play with the public. There is simply no money in developing cures only in treating symptoms………….

  193. Sparta, what do you think the chances are of the US adopting an ETS?

    Personally, I think Obama has no chance of getting it through Congress (?), it would cripple your economy!

  194. “Rattie’s prescriptions, and with which you totally fail to engage.”

    What, did you somehow miss the part about the AGW discussion? I keep forgetting that I take a “special” place in your heart and as such I am held to a different standard. Generalizations are not permitted, got it sir! Please let me know next time what, how and when I should address a subject that would suffice in Legion’s world……

    “ Yes, it’s funny how you managed to abstract two factoids presented by Rattie and thence spin a narrative around those which weren’t Rattie’s, as if Rattie’s work, whether premises or conclusions, either agreed with or didn’t contradict your premise-free conclusions at the time. Nothing like a strawman even in Rattie’s being used thusly.”

    Factoids are factoids you moron……..My premise is as consistent as you are in delivering meaningless and pointless dribble, that adds nothing but an opportunity for you to self reflect on your own stupidity but feel free to continue venting on without me; Adrian, Legion, Lotharsson, mark or whoever you are today……..

    “I’d like you to highlight where Rattie was going on about anything you went on about, but, of course, you can’t, because he didn’t. Just as the many, the they, the devout, the Left, the could care lesses, the can’t grasps are all straw people, too. But that’s all beside the point, really, given that is your style and it is what it is. Moving on.”

    I’d like you to find a point to your ramblings for a change. Being a regular to this blog, however annoying you may find it, leaves no “mystery” as to what stance I take on a given subject. I am sorry you are unable to follow or “connect the dots” but “regurgitating” in great detail for your consumption is a bit tedious…..Anyhow, please do move on as “they”, “the devout”, “the left”, and “could care less” are all apparently “moving on” as well……..ping-pong.

  195. Neil of Sydney:

    “Its now gone never to return..”

    A bit like you and common sense.

  196. Testing..testing. Am back on the usual computer following a crash caused by trying to download Internet Explorer 8.

  197. Testing again..with apologies..

  198. handyrab@8.18pm. Am now back with the computer sorted out. One thing that I would like to see is anti-smoking taking a less politically correct line. For example, Honeyrose herbals are not ‘approved’ and are very difficult to come by. Yet I found them plus patches the most effective way to quit.

    Nice to see you again handyrab.

  199. Tony, on May 17th, 2009 at 8:30 am

    In the spirit of this thread’s evolving dialectical theme, I present the following for your consideration

    I have a slightly different, but not necessarily incompatible, philosophy to Julian Simon, drawing on noetics and other areas of systems theory, particularly autopoietics.

    The quoted Wired piece observes: “People did not become poorer as the population expanded; rather, as their numbers multiplied, they produced what they needed to support themselves, and they prospered.” Simon goes on to explain how that is to be understood:

    It makes no sense. Yet it has happened. So there must be an explanation. And there is: resources, for the most part, don’t grow on trees. People produce them, they create them, whether it be food, factories, machines, new technologies, or stockpiles of mined, refined, and purified raw materials.

    “Resources come out of people’s minds more than out of the ground or air,” says Simon. “Minds matter economically as much as or more than hands or mouths. Human beings create more than they use, on average. It had to be so, or we would be an extinct species.”

    The defect of the Malthusian models, superficially plausible but invariably wrong, is that they leave the human mind out of the equation. “These models simply do not comprehend key elements of people – the imaginative and creative.”

    In my philosophy, ‘they’ prospered because an autopoetic system afforded opportunities for (re)producing evolved and evolving complexity as ‘they’ proceeded to be challenged and to challenge themselves within, and between, and among themselves as knowledge agents.

    That evolving complexification may or may not involve accidental or deliberate adjustments to numeric growth in any given milieu; is not inconsistent with any of the routinely cited growth patterns; and is more likely than not to trace a segment of a logistic growth pattern depending on level of development and the evolved and evolving internal and external dynamics of appreciated resources, at a variety of scales.

    Otherwise, I’m inclined to think that more collective brainpower and brawn devoted to knowledge creations of all sorts, including the bringing of new resources into awareness and putting those new resources to use through active ingenuity and the happenstance by-products of activity, is superior to less, wherever possible.

    As I have mentioned previously, I also do not conclude that the human species is necessarily constrained to planet Earth or terrestrial resources in the indeterminate long-run; nor that an expansive population pressure or restrictive resource pressure on Earth in the short- and medium-runs is necessarily a bad thing for providing for now and for providing incentive for pioneering endeavours, whether on Earth or in pursuit of loftier realms, for knowledge creations and resource exploitations at present conceptually and practically out of reach, and perhaps only reachable through further evolutions and involutions to lend density and intensity to those knowledge creations.

  200. Legion,

    I have a slightly different, but not necessarily incompatible, philosophy to Julian Simon

    Not incompatible at all, I would suggest. In fact, I’m sure Simon would have beeen pleased to find a theory that fittted his conclusions, which he reached through merely studying the facts.

    And I think your concept of man moving futher afield as the necessary technology is conceived and produced, is also one Simon would wholeheartedly embrace.

  201. I see Roxon is warming to Turnbulls idea concerning tobacco.

    Gee, that Roxon is a smart cookie!

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25495799-12377,00.html

  202. Legion,

    I’m not sure if your philosophy requires a particular kind of political system in order to flourish, but Simon invokes David Hume in Chapter 26 of The Ultimate Resource II, who explains why freedom is a necessary prerequisite for human progress:

    More than two centuries ago, David Hume explained clearly why China fell behind Europe. “[I]t is impossible for the arts and sciences to arise, at first, among any people unless that people enjoy the blessing of a free government…An unlimited despotism…effectually puts a stop to all improvements, and keeps men from attaining…knowledge.”

    Hume then explained why freedom is necessary: “Though a republic should be barbarous,
    it necessarily, by an infallible operation gives rise to LAW, even before mankind have made any considerable advances in the other sciences. From law arises security: From security curiousity: And from curiousity knowledge.”

  203. Joni,

    That passage from Hume might be useful to you in your paper on Singaporean politics (as they relate to progress or lack thereof).

  204. [Scroll on by…deeply disturbing allegations of abuse]

    Deeply disturbing torture allegations said to be surfacing as part of the Spanish inquiries.

    One allegations refers to a detainee said to be blinded by a combination of macing the eyes, a finger in the eye, and withholding medical treatment. Others talk about biological experiments/assault including being injected with a canine disease. Still others talk about eye gouging, urinating on a detainee’s head, squeezing/hitting testicles, forcing detainee’s heads into toilets and repeatedly flushing, pepper-spraying toilet paper, throwing people to the floor so they hit their head, deliberately breaking noses, knee-dropping with full weight onto someone’s back, and brutal gang assaults. It is reported this kind of treatment was dished out to people who were praying, or refusing medication, or after insulting a guard.

    There are also allegations of deliberate use of contaminated force-feeding tubes (taking them from the nose of one detainee – many of whom were known to have hepatitis – and inserting them whilst still dirty with blood and stomach bile into another). The tubes themselves were “the thickness of a finger” and viewed by detainees as a means to inflict torture.

    Many allegations seem to relate to the “IRF” squads that are meant to be used to extract non-compliant prisoners from their cells when needed. It was IRF training that went overboard and inflicted brain damage on a US soldier playing the part of a detainee (and when I brought this up a few weeks ago, Sparta couldn’t understand at the time how this could possibly have any relation to torture). The article alleges that the IRF squads were part of the torture regime, at times brutally assaulting detainees at the slightest excuse – and aided by what seems to be deliberate provocation.

    It’s hard to say how much of this can be substantiated. However some of the allegations are given corroboration by a former military chaplain. One of the lawyers for the alleged victims asserts there is photographic evidence which would prove the allegations were it to be released. Other allegations from different former detainees seem quite consistent with one another.

    Furthermore, a former IRF member points out that IRF actions are supposed to be videoed, but most (all?) of the time he recalled the camera being present – but turned off, or pointed directly at the ground. He also claims to have witnessed the destroying of a video. When legal action was taken to release the videos, no videos were produced. (IIRC many missing videos were reported in a lawsuit a couple of years ago). The soldier who was brain damaged during training went immediately to get the tape of the incident – but there was none.

  205. [Scroll on by…seems like Iraqis don’t think releasing more torture photos will spark a lot of additional violence]

    Here.

    Harith al Obaidi, the head of the largest Sunni Muslim bloc in Iraq’s parliament and the deputy chairman of the Committee on Human Rights, also shrugged off the Obama administration’s concerns over the photos.

    “The people who want to express their opinions through violence are already trying their best to do so,” Obaidi said. “Showing them a few pictures wouldn’t make them any more able to do it.”

    Obaidi called on Obama to release the photos and to hold any perpetrators of abuse publicly accountable. Keeping the pictures secret will only bolster suspicions that the American government is trying to suppress evidence of more widespread abuse, he said.

    The desire to protect U.S. soldiers should be weighed against the need to show the world that America doesn’t condone such behavior by its troops, Obaidi said.

    A resident of Sadr City when asked about it said

    Nothing would happen….This is a very old issue, and we Iraqis have seen much worse than just photos.

  206. [Scroll on by…fairly comprehensive overview of the torture debate.]

    Complete with dozens and dozens of links to news articles and resources, and a thought-provoking WWII poster.

  207. Lotharsson,

    Some of us – me? – have been practicing our dialectical skills today, so, on that theme, here is Steyn in the OC Register on Pelosi (and “torture”, and all the other ‘scroll-by’ topics):

    Alarmed by her erratic public performance, the Speaker’s fellow San Francisco Democrat Dianne Feinstein attempted to put an end to Nancy’s self-torture session. “I don’t want to make an apology for anybody,” said Senator Feinstein, “but in 2002, it wasn’t 2006, ’07, ’08 or ’09. It was right after 9/11, and there were in fact discussions about a second wave of attacks.”

    Indeed. In effect, the senator is saying waterboarding was acceptable in 2002, but not by 2009. The waterboarding didn’t change, but the country did. It was no longer America’s war but Bush’s war. And it was no longer a bipartisan interrogation technique that enjoyed the explicit approval of both parties’ leaderships, but a grubby Bush-Cheney-Rummy war crime.

  208. [Scroll on by…fairly comprehensive overview of the torture debate.]

    Presents an overview and argument for most if not all of the major talking points, complete with dozens and dozens of links to news articles and resources, and a thought-provoking WWII poster.

  209. Today, Matthew – I am going to be Nasking.

    (some who know Stars in their Eyes from the UK will understand)

    Billy Fields – You weren’t in love with me”

  210. Kids in the Kitchen – Change in Mood

    (I am in an 80’s mood)

  211. Oh noes! Phelpsie gets beaten. (I wonder where Piersol gets his gear?)

  212. Hi Tony, I haven’t been able to look at the dialectic practice due to real life intervening…

    …but I’m not sure Feinstein really thought that quote through – or maybe she did, which may be worse.

    There’s some stupidity (or plain ignorance) in that article too…including the false frame at the end that NOT embracing (say) waterboarding and (say) the Geneva Conventions amounts to fighting with “one arm and both legs tied behind out [sic] back” – when fighting an asymmetric conflict which requires at a minimum changing hearts and minds, which is not possible via overwhelming force and cruelty; and when you presumably want actual timely information, not slowly extracted falsehoods.

  213. Dragon – Rain

    Todd Hunter, such an underrated songwriter.

  214. Good idea Joni.

    But whatever did happen to Nasking, aka VJ Bear?

    He was a severe critic of Murdoch and many other ‘conservatives’, and could be very strident in his criticisms, but I liked him. (Not least because he introduced me to his unusual habit of Tabasco-in-beer.)

  215. Tabasco in beer?
    What you talking ’bout, Willis?

    (been watching bad TV here while I am sick)

  216. Lotharsson,

    The part of the Steyn article I didn’t get was how the poisoning of Afghan schoolgirls by the Taliban somehow proved that Cheney wasn’t “a force multiplier for Muslims who hate America.” I’m not convinced one way or the other, mind you, but I don’t see the connection.

  217. Dave Dobbin “Slice of heaven”…

    I used to have a Footrot Flats t-shirt that I used to wear when I worked at a supermarket when I was a teenager (professional trollyologist) which said “Couldn’t give a stuff”… a bit offensive to some.

  218. Yes Joni, you should try it if you like hot food (drink?). Just add a dash or several of Tabasco to taste. Not bad for a change.

  219. Pink Floyd “Stay”

    One of my favourite Floyd songs, written and sung my the late Richard Wright. One of the great Gilmour solos if you ask me.

  220. Just tried some in my champagne in memory of the bear – not too bad

  221. Tony

    Nothing spicy for me at the moment – I am having half-hourly trips to toilet at the moment… but I am beginning to feel a little better – who knows, I might even be able to keep some food down tonight.

  222. Lotharsson,

    Hi Tony, I haven’t been able to look at the dialectic practice due to real life intervening…

    It’s good to see some here actually have a life. 😳

  223. Real life is an illusion created by a lack of blogging.

  224. Sparta really is like a dog who constantly returns to its own vomit.

    Personal abuse = personal abuse you, blustering, ignorant septic sociopath.
    No American site would publish such crap from a foreigner. So why do you expect anyone to publish or read your hate-filled, brainless trash? You are a guest here, meathead, so start acting like one, pig, or stay in the white-trash intellectual dumpster you call home

    No idea why the neo cons sunk Amerika have you, you brainless blowhard? No idea at all – just a testosterone charged mouth dribbling constantly in the breeze

    You belong in a museum under D for Dinosaur. Or N for Neandethal. Most of us already decided. You lose. Again. Blowhard. Ha ha ha.

    Oh yeah, and have a nice day “buddy.”

  225. LOL Joni.

    Since you’re in an eighties mood may I offer this one for a bit of fun? B52s ‘Love Shack’ (live):

  226. Good choice Tony

  227. Joni,

    I’m presently watching a big international race meeeting. Live from – guess where? – Singapore.

    Australia is represented by champion horse Takeover Target in the next race, the feature Krisflyer International 1200m Sprint.

  228. Ah – the Singapore Cup?

    I cannot wait to get back to SG, been fun here, but I need to get out of the bloody hotel (Hyatt Regency)

  229. No, not the cup Joni – a sprint worth $1.1 million. Go ‘the Target’. Ten minutes to the start.

  230. I saw the ads for that when I was in SG….

  231. I was listening to an Aussie in Singapore this morning and he said it was huge news over there. The local champ, Rocket Man, has had his photo in the Straits Times all week.

  232. Elton John?

  233. BTW the race after this is the International Cup with another Aussie, Pompeii Ruler, engaged. (Sprint about to start.)

  234. I am off for a while to watch the MotoGP – just about to start.

  235. Sacred Kingdom for Hong Kong beats Rocket Man. Takeover Target unplaced.

  236. Don’t flatter yourself Sparta.

  237. Tony, re: Afghan schoolgirl poisoning and Cheney – I didn’t get that connection either. I think I read it three times, thinking “WTF is he on about” each time.

  238. Real life is an illusion created by a lack of blogging.

    LOL 🙂 Touche!

  239. AUDIO: Professor Ian Plimer Launches Heaven and Earth; A Book About the Hot Air Surrounding Climate Change

  240. Tony, quick skim through the dialectic.

    Krauthammer almost always writes stupid things, not infrequently aided by “facts” that turn out to be false. Froomkin’s response should prove entertaining. Someone else already responded quite well to it here. Capsule summary: after two weeks to find a ticking time bomb, this scenario isn’t one. And if you accept his logic here, then police should routinely torture kidnapping suspects too. Some good comments as well.

    IMHO, that commencement speech is a mixed bag. It contains self-serving promotion and positioning from an energy CEO, standard propaganda techniques (wow them with small numbers like 0.00038 – can’t be very important then!), followed by some verifiable AGW mistruths (“if X … then water vapor is a pollutant” and a quote from an astrophysicist (!what, couldn’t find an ecologist or biologist who’d put his name to that claim?) claiming CO2 may benefit the ecosystem – when that sort of claim was made in ads that were laughed off the TV a year or two ago).

    The blithe statement that the wealthy will move away from rising sea levels – or build sea walls – ignores hundreds of millions of very poor who are unlikely to have that option. And as far as I know, he’s wrong about polar bear survival prospects too. They can indeed swim for miles, but they’re generally on a tight energy budget and if turns out that they regularly have to swim for miles to find food…they spend more than they earn from that food and die in winter because they haven’t stored enough fat.

    But there’s also some hard truths that need saying far more often and are rarely said in the Western world, e.g. “The hallmark of this dilemma is our inability to reconcile our prosperity and our way of life with our environmental ideals.”, some indications of what our personal energy budgets will need to look like if we are to meet CO2 targets, and some (somewhat biased and over-simplified) analysis of what it takes to reduce CO2 emissions and some provocative questions that should also be asked.

  241. I hope Plimer learned from his previous outings. IIRC he was way out of his depth and repeatedly shown to be talking about stuff he didn’t really understand.

  242. Adrian, Legion, Lotharsson, mark or whoever you are today……..

    Well, at least you spelled my name correctly this time 🙂

    But I must disappoint – I’ve never posted to this blog under any other name, and I’ve never observed anyone else attempting to post under mine.

  243. Getting Cheney

    In 1944, as Allied bombers devastated German cities, George Orwell received a letter from a reader who said that although he realized “the Hun (has) got to be beaten,” he was troubled by the civilian casualties suffered in cities such as Dresden and Hamburg. Replied Orwell in his newspaper column, “It seems to me that you do less harm by dropping bombs on people than by calling them ‘Huns.’”

  244. It really shouldn’t surprise anyone that support for the government has fallen significantly, and the popularity of the PM has also fallen by 10%.

    It is a consequence of becoming just another politician who provides commitments and promises before an election and sets about breaking them just as soon as it is expedient to do so.

    Rudd will struggle as he is more widely perceived as “just another politician”.

    http://www.theage.com.au/ed_docs/poll-table-may-2009.pdf

  245. WSJ:

    Guantanamo will join the growing list of security tools that President Obama once criticized as out of keeping with American values but has since discovered are very in keeping with protecting the nation. Wiretapping, renditions, military tribunals, Gitmo — it turns out the Bush people weren’t a bunch of yahoos but often thoughtful defenders against terrorism. This is all progress, though America might wonder if it could have been spared the intervening drama.

  246. Tony, it’s astonishing to me that a significant proportion of Americans are scared witless of having alleged and actual terrorists from Guantanamo locked up in US maximum security institutions – when several high profile actual convicted terrorists have been held in those types of institutions for years and years.

    Wasn’t there a saying somewhere that “fear is the mindkiller”? It’s certainly one of the primary tools of the Republicans.

    And reading the quote you provided, the US is sounding more and more like Soviet Russia, at least as far as its national security apparatus goes – although so far it hasn’t been used anywhere near as much against its own citizens as the Russians did. But many of the tools are in place.

    …thoughtful defenders against terrorism.

    Oops. Here, I corrected it for them:

    …defenders against perceived threats of near-term terrorism, whose misguided policies motivated more terrorism (including many deadly attacks on American soldiers) in the long run.

    But we don’t expect much from the WSJ.

  247. Lotharsson,

    it’s astonishing to me that a significant proportion of Americans are scared witless of having alleged and actual terrorists from Guantanamo locked up in US maximum security institutions

    Fair comment, but one would assume the elected representatives mentioned – who without fail have headed for the hills at even the mention of a nice detainee being offered the hospitality of their respective states – would have a reasonable handle on the mood of their own constituencies.

  248. If Israel expects the OECD and NATO countries to support it against Iran, they need to start treating their Palestinian neighbours with fairness and respect.

    Carry on shooting women and children carrying white flags and Israel might find they are on their own when they inevitably reap what they have sewn.
    The civiilised world has had enough of the Zionist’s beggar-thy-neighbour diplomacy and murderous political hypocrisy.

    Now is the time for peace and long-term strategic thinking in the Middle East.

    Now is the time for justice for the Jewish and Palestinian peoples. Israel might not get another chance to chose the wrong path.

  249. Tony, on May 17th, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    It is not a trivial question, and I am not ignoring it, nor am I answering it completely or immediately, here; a fuller answer would require a huge amount of detail work (this author contemplates multiple edges and multiple loops to the meta-thing, just on political cultures, let alone other cultural attributes; China circa 1748 – circa 1990 could operate in a loop whilst retaining its considerable stock of Chinese-specific cultural knowledge and knowledge creation potential at node, in relation to other nodes and edges; and that’s just one of the links; the fairytale story of Japan’s politico-economic burgeoning is not dissimilar, where ‘quality circles’ for design and production also embody uniquely Japanese stocks of knowledge previously looped without one of the edges becoming tangibly established, and thereby creating new knowledge when that edge was realised). But to give some general idea of the kind of things I am contemplating, and bringing it back to the textual terrain at hand…

    A partial answer lies in the original Hume, who contemplates a veritable variety of political cultures and potential interrelationships, but not necessarily the import of that meta-study across time and place, in nominating which is best for what in some idealised and abstracted present or future epoch without reflecting on how it takes every side and every cast of his notional dye to build up a picture of that which is and that which is not for his appreciation of an idealised state in a republic (and even then, that is a box he has created for himself, and without noticing that it’s never the same one dye cast, and that dye is not cast by him; or if it is, the geographic and temporal scales and scopes of his dye are quite possibly off by a factor or more).

    Simon also comes close to the kind of things I am contemplating in his 4th Chapter, when talking about what the meta-pattern is or might be.

    And even your question anticipates a similarly bounded state (one that both Hume and Simon assume, and also observe doesn’t apply in reality, and thence overlook that verity of open interrelationship in trying to build back in an ideal and bound ideal type per abstractive preference) when it tries to particulate a political culture (which is one of Hume’s internal contradictions, but one that he then goes on to ignore, arguably placing him inside the dye he cast and not outside of it, even if the number of faces to that dye seem verisimilitude from inside or outside that box; and one line of reasoning which Simon engrosses and extols, even though the bulk of his work says that no such ectopic or absolute domain does or can pertain, for cultures plural or otherwise, across time).

    Hume’s understanding of ‘science’ is also different from Simon’s; and that perhaps becomes important to a conception of an overall autopoietic process which concerns itself not with abstractive (political) cultures, but with the creative dynamics of a totality of knowledge stock(s), actual and potential; again rehearsed in Simon, but not its significance, I think.

    Still ticking it over, and presently I lack some (probably a lot) of the personal knowledge I would need to give a proper answer in the way in which I’d like to be able to give it; but a tentative answer based part in reason and part in intuition is: no it does matter at the meta-level or in the long-run, where there is a variety of political cultures (note: not a normative, a descriptive, except insofar as normatively there can and should be no such final political culture, no matter its type) in the short- and long-runs. The freedom that matters, arguably, is a meta-freedom and a relational one across, and between, and among (political) cultures embodying their subsidiary stocks of knowledge(s) about different kinds of (un)freedoms through or for (note: not necessarily freedoms of or freedoms from, which is to presume a freedom through or for) in the extensive and intensive meta-pattern; and there is no particular ideal type as advocated by either Simon or Hume that can be the repository of the stocks of knowledge (in the Simon sense) or sciences (in the Hume sense), nor represent (a beginning of) an end or a domain boundary to the origins, exemplars or functions of knowledge, knowledge creations, or knowledge creation potentials among and between them, even the looping nodes or nodes which have no apparent links at the scale at which those things are appreciated in the repeated casting of a hand-crafted dye by the hand that would cast it on a self-selected bed of felt.

    N.B. I think I also conceive of knowledge differently from both of the foregoing authors in that my philosophy’s perception is that knowledge is not a property of persons, nor bound up in the tangible knowledge products to which they attach values, but a broader, intangible characteristic of diffuse intelligence exhibiting itself, concentrating itself, and operating through and among them as knowledge agents, individually and collectively. Which, arguably again, makes those individual knowledge agents both more and less important than they might think: as repositories of accumulated knowledges of all sorts; and as the products of intelligence creating (self-)knowledge which iteratively stretches back at least billions of years in each of their chains of being; and which agency might be expected to extend similarly into the future through their (re-)iterative interactions.

    Messy, and unfinished, and tentative, and juvenile (in the Hume sense), and not helped by the perception that the things I am contemplating and trying to describe are dynamics in flux and reflux, not statics, even as they operate in contradistinction to Hume’s analytic construct of a dye for him to get around that problem, but there it is: one version of ’42’.

  250. Lotharsson,

    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25504968-401,00.html

    Just for you……

  251. Legion,

    (Did you lay a trap to see if I was paying attention?) Please clarify this for me:

    but a tentative answer based part in reason and part in intuition is: no it does matter at the meta-level or in the long-run

  252. Tony, on May 19th, 2009 at 8:52 am

    oops…but a tentative answer based part in reason and part in intuition is: no it does not* matter at the meta-level or in the long-run

  253. Thought so. (That was the only version that made sense given what followed.)

  254. Tony, on May 19th, 2009 at 9:03 am

    Just to concretise the kind of contemplation that I was attempting to make, I’d draw attention to one of Joni’s posts; and suggest that the little 18th Century Engines-that-Could wouldn’t have been getting too far, no matter how well or poorly Hume’s vaunted classical or renaisscent Europe was historically in dealing with the number ‘one’ (and it really didn’t deal all that well even with the concept of ‘one’ classically, or the metaphysics behind it, in the documentary, if it’s the one I saw), without something less, and not more (and the metaphysics behind that less-is-more and its transmission), added into the mix to create considerably more (potential) knowledge (creation) for everyone.

  255. Just for you……

    Thanks Sparta.

    I guess none of those guys will be visiting Europe any time soon then.

  256. Lotharsson,

    I guess none of those guys will be visiting Europe any time soon then.

    In an amusing twist, some are wondering whether the Spanish are engaging in extraordinary rendition.

  257. This is story of the guy bringing the lawsuit that Sparta referenced in his link. He was apparently picked up after 9/11 and held under allegedly abusive conditions for nine months because he had a Time magazine showing the WTC towers in flames, and he had been in NY on 9/11. He’s also an Arab Muslim.

    The Supreme Court said he couldn’t sue Ashcroft (former Attorney General) and Mueller (former FBI Director) for creating/condoning discriminatory policies because he doesn’t have strong enough evidence that they knew such policies existed. His lawsuit against various other official alleged abusers continues.

  258. Wow, hadn’t seen that Tony.

  259. Discussion from a law professor about that Supreme Court decision.

    The decision doesn’t mean that higher-ups are never legally responsible. It means that a plaintiff needs to be much more specific in saying exactly how the higher-ups were *specifically* involved in the alleged mistreatment.

    (It is worth noting, though, that the Inspector General of the Justice Department investigated allegations of brutality and other mistreatment of Muslim aliens at the Metropolitan Correctional Center after 9/11 and concluded that such abuse did in fact occur.)

    …it’s going to be mighty tough for plaintiffs to get their hands on any such evidence [that higher-ups specifically knew/were involved in planning] anytime in the near future. If the law requires this sort of complaint to be dismissed because its allegations are not specific enough, then naturally the plaintiff cannot pursue the lawsuit and get discovery of evidence in the defendants’ hands.

    Souter argues that the majority has taken the significant step of eliminating the concept of “supervisory” liability in an action against federal agents for allegedly unconstitutional conduct.

    So Sparta, what do you think of this ruling?

  260. Tony,

    I am not surprised we don’t have “hundreds” of “pirates” now “looking to be caught” with the prospect of a free trip to the US where some lawyer is ready and waiting to rationalize how he cannot be sent back now for fear of “torture” under International law etc and should be given “refugee” status instead for a life of crime he was driven into…Well perhaps now they will be a bit more selective about “who” catches them….

  261. BTW, this doesn’t seem like a case that will attract the attention of the Spaniards, because AFAIK (IANAL) it doesn’t fall under one of the law that has universal jurisdiction.

  262. The case seems mostly procedural, involving suggestion of a deficient pleading of particulars (?), which may or may not be remediable by a lower court through amendment (?)of the plaint, per this NY Times article

    Justice Kennedy, who was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr., wrote that Mr. Iqbal’s “account of his prison ordeal could, if proved, demonstrate unconstitutional misconduct” by officials other than Mr. Ashcroft and Mr. Mueller. And, Justice Kennedy added, the lower courts might yet decide to allow Mr. Iqbal to amend his lawsuit to make more specific accusations about the complicity of the two men.

    One of Mr. Iqbal’s lawyers, Alexander A. Reinert of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, said the decision amounted to a detour rather than a roadblock.

    “What they’re telling us,” Professor Reinert said, “is that we need to put a little more meat on the bones of our complaint.”

    Not much of a win, really, given another of the complainants received settlement already, and the thing has only been sent back downstairs.

  263. Lotharsson,

    AFAIK (IANAL)

    Aww, come on. Surely we can all claim to be jailhouse lawyers, especially in a place like this.

  264. I think I might just about see the diversion, if not the detour, appreciated by Reinert…Per the majority (and heavily abstracted, because I can; and because, arguably, all the rest was window dressing):

    Judge Cabranes nonetheless expressed concern at the prospect of subjecting high-ranking Government officials—entitled to assert the defense of qualified immunity and charged with responding to “a national and international security emergency unprecedented in the history of the American Republic”—to the burdens of discovery on the basis of a complaint as nonspecific as respondent’s. Reluctant to vindicate that concern as a member of the Court of Appeals, ibid., Judge Cabranes urged this Court to address the appropriate pleading standard “at the earliest opportunity.” Id., at 178. We granted certiorari,554 U. S. ___ (2008), and now reverse….

    ….Our rejection of the careful-case-management approach [cough, cough] is especially important in suits where Government-official defendants are entitled to assert the defense of qualified immunity. The basic thrust of the qualified-immunity doctrine is to free officials from the concerns of litigation, including “avoidance of disruptive discovery.”…There are serious and legitimate reasons for this. If a Government official is to devote time to his or her duties, and to the formulation of sound and responsible policies, it is counterproductive to require the substantial diversion that is attendant to participating in litigation and making informed decisions as to how it should proceed. Litigation, though necessary to ensure that officials comply with the law, exacts heavy costs in terms of efficiency and expenditure of valuable time and resources that might otherwise be directed to the proper execution of the work of the Government. The costs of diversion [cough, cough] are only magnified when Government officials are charged with responding to, as Judge Cabranes aptly put it, “a national and international security emergency unprecedented in the history of the American Republic.”

    Yes, that’s some emergency being had right now. I guess disruptive discovery about matters from all the way back as far as, say, in the actual emergency period in question immediately following September 11, 2001 could inspire some reluctance and an appreciated need for vindication about concerns had…nothing to see, folks, walk on by…the pleading is obviously deficient, and we still haven’t made any decision about discovery other than it can’t happen without sufficient pleadings, but could still allow that defense even with better pleadings; it is an unprecedented emergency after all, and September 11 can be used to distinguish just about any case or precedent in its own little parallel legal world. 😉

  265. “The decision doesn’t mean that higher-ups are never legally responsible. It means that a plaintiff needs to be much more specific in saying exactly how the higher-ups were *specifically* involved in the alleged mistreatment.”

    I can live with that……..In my opinion such lawsuits really do make a mockery of the system. Seems it has become routine in this day and age to simply make an accusation and hope it sticks, however ridiculous (everything is Watergate). The aftermath of 9/11 didn’t result in the incarceration of a whole group of American civilians, Habeas Corpus has yet to be suspended, and we have not dropped any atomic bombs on anybody since WWII, nor have we leveled entire cities with no military value at all, let alone a village. Again, those who wish to see Bush officials incarcerated are dreaming. It is never going to happen. At most, you will get a “commission” to do it’s best to embarrass but that will be all. Lots of grandstanding to please the base….Nancy Pelosi’s current dilemma is representative of where pushing this issue will inevitably go”. Clearly she and other members knew what was taking place in regards to EIT but given the “CONTEXT” officials did what they thought was necessary (in accordance with the law regardless of whether you feel it was the correct interpretation) because the alternative WAS in direct violation of their sworn duties. Now she wants to discount this context because doing so, in her mind, relieves her of the reality that she too is as culpable as those she has been condemning……LOL….

    On a more simplistic scale, I have yet to find one person (when given the “theoretical” scenario of letting their loved one’s possibly die vs. “water-boarding” somebody who might be able to prevent it) who will gamble with the loved one’s life……..The rest of this discussion is ideological, nothing more in my opinion…..

  266. Clearly she and other members knew what was taking place in regards to EIT but given the “CONTEXT” officials did what they thought was necessary (in accordance with the law regardless of whether you feel it was the correct interpretation) because the alternative WAS in direct violation of their sworn duties

    And breaking the law is in direct violation of their sworn duties, too, no? Or does that only apply to the President and VP? Oh, never mind, I see – you still think it was all legal.

    But wait. I do find it interesting that:
    (a) You say Pelosi has a “dilemma” and yet she is asking for a full investigation
    (b) You seem to think that culpability lies equally with Pelosi and those actually who made and implemented the policies.

    So, you admit there is culpability here, so it WASN’T all legal.

    Er, which one do you mean? You can’t have both.

  267. On a more simplistic scale, I have yet to find one person (when given the “theoretical” scenario of letting their loved one’s possibly die vs. “water-boarding” somebody who might be able to prevent it) who will gamble with the loved one’s life……..

    Meet yet again Major Matthew Alexander, former professional interrogator who was responsible for getting the info that located Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, former head of “Al-Qaeda In Iraq”.

    …the FBI uses normal methods of interrogation to build up trust even when they are investigating a kidnapping and time is of the essence. He would do the same, he says, “even if my mother was on a bus” with a hypothetical ticking bomb on board. It is quite untrue to imagine that torture is the fastest way of obtaining information, he says.

    I introduced him a number of times before, including this exact same article – and (IIRC) example of his mother on the bus.

    The rest of this discussion is ideological, nothing more in my opinion…..

    In your opinion. Some of us think that – whilst one can understand someone resorting to torture if they felt it might be the only way to save their loved one – building a policy around doing it is stupid, counter-productive, makes America and other countries less safe, and costs more American lives overall. Maybe wanting policy that produces better outcomes is “ideological” for you.

  268. And speaking of violating your sworn duties, what about all those who followed orders to abuse prisoners?

    Military officers have a sacred responsibility that is embedded in their oath of office: “I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…” The Constitution specifically prohibits cruelty to any person in the Eighth Amendment (“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted”). Those officers who ordered, authorized, or were complicit in the torture and abuse of prisoners violated their oath of office.

    Or is the revered Constitution of the United States, held up as an example around the world, something to be unilaterally discarded whenever it’s inconvenient? And if you don’t expect military personnel to uphold it, why should you expect anyone else to? And if military personnel violated that near-sacred American oath, what other standards, laws and codes might they feel can be acceptably violated? And if the Constitution is a mere nice-to-have “theory”, why should anyone believe any American promise in any negotiation or treaty? And doesn’t this play into the propagandist narrative – that America says one thing and does another?

  269. “building a policy around doing it is stupid, counter-productive, makes America and other countries less safe, and costs more American lives overall.”

    Building a policy? I don’t understand where you’re coming from? It is my understanding that “water-boarding” was used on 3 individuals under extraordinary times (Context)? Again, it is an “ambiguous” bar/construct the West has set for itself that seems most applicable in a “vacuum”. I believe the UN should get a bit more specific about “what is and isn’t torture” but something tells me, no nation would be signing on as fast and hence the current language. In all honesty, the argument that using such tactics makes us less safe is just more theory. Such an accusation certainly doesn’t hold up when applied to past American conflicts.

    “Maybe wanting policy that produces better outcomes is “ideological” for you.”

    Better outcomes? Like no attacks on American soil since 9/11? There is simply no way of knowing either way for sure and lamenting on is “ideological theory”………..We have the solace of retrospect. I personally feel that such a technique doesn’t amount to torture but is walking the line…Nor do I believe such a member should be employed regularly (executive privilege only). However, your stance would lump “water-boarding” in with let’s say, bamboo shoots under the nails. I simply don’t subscribe to such an equivalency…..However, that‘s just my opinion, like continuing to use “torture” in place of “water-boarding”……

  270. “such a member”?

    Hmm……Not sure why I slipped that in? No Freudian explanations please…I meant “tactic”…LOL

  271. I am just waiting for you sparta to defend anyone who uses enhanced techniques against a US citizen in the future to try and gain information. Because that is what is going to happen.

    And before you jump on the beheading or murder meme, those cases are, um, murder and not torture. Torture is where techniques are used to gain information. Dead people cannot supply information.

  272. This post contains the story of and the manual written by Major Sherwood Moran who was apparently the most successful interrogator of the Japanese in the middle of WWII. As the poster says

    I’ll see your “ticking time bomb” and raise you “hot lead in the middle of armed conflict”.

    I’ll see your “contractors posing as troops” raise and call you with “the most effective United States Marine Corps interrogator during the Pacific Campaign of World War II.”

    And this was against a fanatically dedicated enemy who could inflict heavy damage on the US.

  273. joni, on May 19th, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    Dead people cannot supply information.

    Somebody should have put that in the EIT manual, because there were dead detainees. Such a shame somebody lost a loved one as a consequence, either way.

  274. It is my understanding that “water-boarding” was used on 3 individuals under extraordinary times (Context)?

    Sparta, that’s evasion plain and simple. Water-boarding was US policy. As were the other EIT techniques. It wasn’t a spur of the moment transgression that took place 183 times on one individual over at least 30 days with frequent confirmation of approval up the command chain.

    It doesn’t even matter whether they meet the definition of torture under the law, because they violate several other laws and apparently the Constitution, a fact which you seem to willfully ignore.

    And _that_ is particularly interesting, because you once said you were stationed in the DMZ in South Korea, implying you were serving in a military or “other government agency” capacity, which means you would have
    (a) sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution, and
    (b) be taught that you must – and how to – refuse all illegal orders, and to treat all prisoners in accordance with the Constitution. And the EITs – especially in combination – would pretty clearly violate those standards. (As would the IRF techniques alleged in the Spanish lawsuit…)

    (BTW, which is it – is Pelosi potentially guilty of something to do with the EIT policies because of the briefings, or are the EIT policies legal?)

    BTW, saying “context” over and over again is not an argument. You need to demonstrate how “context” somehow changes things.

  275. “Dead people cannot supply information.”

    Yes, but again given what has befallen our troops thus far, “water-boarding” would be a welcomed change in tactics.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/20/AR2006062000242.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kristian_Menchaca

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Lowell_Tucker

  276. Better outcomes? Like no attacks on American soil since 9/11?

    Anthrax, anthrax, anthrax, anthrax.

    And what about nearly 5000 dead, an order of magnitude more with serious lifelong medical consequences (a lot more are coming back from conflict with brain damage, psych damage and missing body parts this time due to improvements in things like body armour), and $1 trillion spent overseas on not achieving much? Don’t they count as part of the outcomes that must be weighed?

    I guess if you close your eyes to that sort of thing, you can argue it has led to good outcomes.

  277. I’ll be happy to leave Freud out of it 🙂

  278. Fine, I’ll call it policy if it makes you feel better. It meets that definition but you and others are suggesting it was “wide ranging” that is what I am referring to. Aren’t you? Soldier’s took it upon themselves given this “policy” and acted now taking the fall for others? I haven’t seen anything that suggests this to be true if that is what your implying?

    You do know that 183 refers to how many times “water was poured” on the detainees face do you not? It doesn’t add gravity to your position in my opinion. I didn’t say it was a spur of the moment thing either, you did.

    “It doesn’t even matter whether they meet the definition of torture under the law, because they violate several other laws and apparently the Constitution, a fact which you seem to willfully ignore.”

    Dude, how many times do I need to go over this before you willingly stop mentioning it? Please tell me where and how “insurgents” captured on a foreign battlefield are protected under the United States Constitution or even the Geneva Convention? It is why this question went all the way to the Supreme Court. We have simply never engaged in a conflict of this nature and on this scale. The game has changed, surely you understand that?

    “And _that_ is particularly interesting, because you once said you were stationed in the DMZ in South Korea, implying you were serving in a military or “other government agency” capacity, which means you would have”
    (a) sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution, and
    (b) be taught that you must – and how to – refuse all illegal orders, and to treat all prisoners in accordance with the Constitution.
    No, we are “sworn to uphold” the Constitution and treat prisoners in accordance with the Geneva Convention. The “field manual” is our guide in “combat/the Field”….Not really “in” the DMZ, very near it, Camp Casey to be more specific……A location that some of your fellow countrymen know…….

    “BTW, saying “context” over and over again is not an argument. You need to demonstrate how “context” somehow changes things.”

    I have? Lincoln, Truman, FDR and actions they took during “CONFLICT” or the prospect of a threat. To be more specific, all leaders tasked with taking “questionable” action under extreme circumstance in order to protect American lives.

    P.S. Let’s stay focused shall we. One topic at a time makes for better communication………

  279. Sparta, policy is when there are official rules saying that certain things can be done, how they are to be done, under what circumstances, by whom, to whom, under what authority and/or chain of command etc. There’s no denying this was the case for EITs including waterboarding.

    I was saying that I can understand someone who feels desperate (e.g. in your theoretical loved one is about to be killed scenario) resorting to illegal techniques (which by definition should be outside the policy). They will almost certainly get a bad result for their loved one by doing so, but maybe they get lucky. But they should be under no illusions that what they are doing is illegal, and that they are likely to face the court. Maybe the court will be lenient under the circumstances, but there’s no guarantee of it. And that’s how it should be.

    But making abuse *official policy* – sanctioned by the authorities, coloured by a memo supplying a twisted interpretation of the law to say that it’s all legal – is what I’m saying is particularly stupid. It gives your enemies a huge propaganda win, and it corrupts your own organization because it implies that these methods are more effective
    when they are not, and it takes away the bright line limits that the military are trained to abide by, etc.

  280. Please tell me where and how “insurgents” captured on a foreign battlefield are protected under the United States Constitution or even the Geneva Convention? It is why this question went all the way to the Supreme Court.

    If you reserve the right to mistreat foreigners in ways that you wouldn’t mistreat citizens, that fact will be noted and exploited by propagandists who say America has one rule for herself and one for everyone else. But let’s leave the US Constitution out of it.

    If you’re on a foreign battlefield and you capture someone, then one or other of the Geneva Conventions apply to all prisoners – either the Third or the Fourth. And – as stated elsewhere – Conventions and Treaties that are ratified by the US are the HIGHEST law in the land.

    And didn’t the Supreme Court rule that the Geneva Conventions apply?

    So…how exactly do the EITs abide by the Geneva Convention that you were taught to uphold? Or even the Army Field Manual which you refer to, given that it also prohibits abuse of prisoners?

    We have simply never engaged in a conflict of this nature and on this scale. The game has changed, surely you understand that?

    Bulldust. WWII was *way* bigger than this, so the “scale” hasn’t changed. And you’ve fought large-scale insurgencies before in places like Vietnam. And you’ve fought fanatically dedicated enemies who employed suicide bombing and biological weapons – the Japanese in WWII, who had the industrial might of a whole developed nation behind them. So…I don’t see that it’s radically different when you fight a relatively small bunch of insurgents/terrorists who thus far have been armed with conventional explosives and boxcutters.

    And…let’s assume that the “scale and nature” are actually radically different. **HOW** does that justify violating international or domestic law…or if you don’t think those have been abandoned, the Army Field Manual?

  281. I note that “one topic at a time” allows you to avoid answering uncomfortable questions, which I find a plausible motive here.

  282. An overview drawn from many sources of reasons why torture/EITs have not been effective, and has not made America safer.

  283. Sparta, I am interested in your insistence that “Constitutional Protections” do not apply to non-US citizens. (It might help to clarify what you mean by “Constitutional Protections”.)

    In my (limited) understanding, I thought the Constitution was the highest law of the land, and defined the very rules by which the country came into being and was to be governed, thereby binding the government to behave itself according to those rules.

    As I said I have limited understanding, so maybe I haven’t come across it yet – but in the absence of specific language, I don’t see that rules that prohibit certain government behaviours necessarily results in prohibiting them when done to citizens, but allowing them against non-citizens. Is there language to this effect, or some other legal reason why it is believed that those restrictions only apply to government actions against citizens?

    I could see the argument that the Bill of Rights applies only to citizens (ignoring for the sake of discussion any concepts – or international treaties or conventions that might guarantee human rights), but it’s not immediately clear to me that the same can be said for the Constitution itself.

  284. Sparta, the second reason why your insistence that the Constitution is irrelevant is this – US military and constitutional lawyers keep bringing up parts of it and saying they apply. I’ve pointed this out several times before, but you never seem to take it on board.

    I suspect the most obvious reason why the Constitution keeps getting mentioned is this:
    (a) the Convention Against Torture, which the US signed and which therefore is “the highest law of the land”, prohibits “acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment which do not amount to torture” in territories under its jurisdiction.
    (b) When the US passed the laws ratifying this Convention, it added a “reservation” which says how it limits the interpretation of this particular prohibition. That reservation says that “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” means “the cruel, unusual and inhumane
    treatment or punishment prohibited by the Fifth, Eighth and/or Fourteenth Amendments”. The argument was (roughly) that the US already had kind-of adequate laws in place (those three Amendments) and therefore did not need to pass new laws in order to comply with the CAT.

    And therefore, those parts of the Constitution seem applicable – even if you argue that “the Constitution only applies to US citizens”.

    It was these three amendments that Congress asked the OLC to address when the first torture memo came out (because they had been ignored). It took (IIRC) Bybee a year or so to produce some arguments why these three did not apply – and these arguments have been widely considered to be laughably implausible.

    If your blanket assertion that anything written in the Constitution can never apply to non-citizens was correct, do you really think Bybee would have taken a year to produce dodgy complex reasons why they didn’t apply? Would he not have merely said (paraphrasing) “Dude, don’t be stupid – constitutional law 101 says it doesn’t apply to non-citizens. Go away!”?

  285. This article asserts that the Bill of Rights applies to everyone, including illegal immigrants. There may be some unexpressed nuance (perhaps they’re implicitly only talking about persons located inside the US or territories under its jurisdiction), and they note that immigration law is a different matter, but they aren’t saying “No Bill of Rights for you because you’re a non-citizen”.

  286. And this PDF contains a transcript where the lawyer talks about the Constitutional Rights afforded to non-citizen immigrants, so the blanket statement that “non-citizens have no Constitutional Rights” is false.

    (It may still be that non-citizens located outside of the US have fewer or no Constitutional rights – haven’t seen any statements specifically addressing that situation yet.)

  287. This article from 2001 discusses geographical impact on Constitutional rights, noting the evolution of the law and court decisions which show that under some decisions even non-citizens overseas are protected by the US Constitution in some fashion (and other recent cases have held that they do not have certain specific rights). Bear in mind this is from 2001 and subsequent cases have held that (say) detainees in Guantanamo have more rights than they were said to have in 2001.

  288. Lotharsson,

    “INSURGENTS/ENEMY COMBATANTS” NEVER SAID ANYTHING ABOUT “NON-CITIZENS”……

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