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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

You have to live somewhere - it may as well be Paradise!


Here's a bit of an advertisement on my own behalf: the sale of our 7-acre-plus property "Riverbend" with almost 400 metres of absolute waterfront near Batemans Bay on the South Coast of New South Wales. For more information go to www.nelligennet.com.

It's the sort of property that is usually passed down the family as there are only a few like it on the Clyde River. I have been here for 18 years and for me it's time to move on - regrettably! - as we plan to live for part of the year in Kalimantan (Borneo) in Indonesia which makes it near-impossible to also maintain such a large property this far south.

The price - for those who can afford it - is very realistic as nearby unimproved waterfront blocks just 1500 square metres in size and with as little as 19 metres of waterfront have recently sold for $750,000. By contrast, "Riverbend" consists of eight titles, comprising approx. 29,200 square metres (see map), is on sale for $2 million, lock, stock and barrel. For those who feel a little financially challenged, I can offer very substantial vendor's finance on below-bank finance terms.

If you're interested, contact me by email to


This man's best friend

Little Rover


Humans live largely inside their heads from which they tell the rest of their bodies what to do except for occasional passionate moments when the tables are turned.

Animals, on the other hand, do not seem compartmentalised that way. Everything they are is in every move they make. When my little Maltese takes a shine to me, it is not likely to be because he has thought it over ahead of time. Or in spite of certain reservations. Or in expectations of certain benefits. It seems to be just because it feels to him like a good idea at the time. Such as he is, he gives himself to me hook, line, and sinker, the bad breath no less than the frenzied tail and the front paws climbing the air.

They say when a man's best friend is his dog, the dog has a problem but Little Rover seems to be taking it in his stride.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Rudd didn't completely bankrupt Australia at his first attempt so he's back for a second go!!!

There's an old sea story about a ship's captain who inspected his sailors, and afterwards told the first mate that his men smelled bad. The captain suggested perhaps it would help if the sailors would change underwear occasionally.

The first mate responded, "Aye, aye sir, I'll see to it immediately!"

The first mate went straight to the sailors' berth deck and announced, "The Captain thinks you guys smell bad and wants you to change your underwear."

He continued, "Pittman, you change with Jones; McCarthy, you change with Witkowski; and Brown, you change with Schultz."

THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Someone may come along and promise "Change", but don't count on things smelling any better.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

We've run out of yoghurt


So to maintain our daily intake of culture, we watched Chad Morgan's I'm Not Dead Yet. And the Sheik of Scrubby Creek didn't fail to entertain us. 80 years old this year and still dispensing Australian culture!

Thanks, Morgan! Back to Mozart tomorrow!


Padma's five square inches of fame

Things must be a bit quiet at the local rag, the BAY POST, because they devoted a whole five square inches to report on a knit-in at the local library.

If you knit your brows tightly enough, you can just make out Padma on the right.


Difference between Complete and Finished.

No dictionary has been able to adequately explain the difference between COMPLETE and FINISHED. However, in a recent linguistic conference held in London, England, and attended by some of the best linguists in the world.

Samsundar Balgobin, a Guyanese, was the clear winner when explaining the difference between COMPLETE and FINISHED. Here is his astute answer:

"When you marry the right woman, you are COMPLETE. But, when you marry the wrong woman, you are FINISHED. And when the right one catches you with the wrong one, you are COMPLETELY FINISHED!"

His answer was received with a standing ovation lasting over 5 minutes.

The man who's done what millions of us dream of doing but never do

Horst Berger's VILLA MAMANA

At last! An email - by courtesy of another island-dweller in Pangai on the neighbouring island of Lifuka - from my Austrian friend Horst Berger who many years ago made the Kingdom of Tonga his home. The photos show his new 'fale Tonga' native abode on remote Uiha Island. It has one solar panel to run one single lightbulb, his CD-player and a blender for the occasional 'banana-shakes, but no fridge and no phone. "What else do I need?", he muses.

He's adopted the islanders' approach to life, a life that is lived from day to day, secure in the knowledge that he has sufficient to keep body and soul together, that between the sea, the land and the small community around him he is well provided for and that, with no need to plan for the future, the passage of time has become inconsequential.

It's right out of Boys Own! Beats living in suburbia, doesn't it?

Here is Horst's description of his 'Place in Paradise' (loosely translated by me):

"My 6 x 3.8m 'fale Tonga' is not waterproof but water-resistant and made entirely with local material using traditional methods: the floor is beach sand, the framework coconut palmtree trunks, walls and roof coconut palmtree fronds. The only concession to modernity is the use of 100 iron nails. The 'furniture' consists of a bed, a cupboard and two small tables, all made from old wooden boxes, and a small gas stove. Under the bed is a wooden box which contains my 'power station': a 12V-battery and a 500W inverter which feeds my 10W-12V Halogen light.

Outside, on the northside, is the all-important solar panel. Next to it is a small space to wash and dry my laundry and a few steps along my small workshop which contains tools and fishing gear. To the left is the toilet and outdoor shower. On the westside of the house, next to the entrance door, is my 'kitchen' as I normally cook outside (the gas stove is for rainy days or when it is too windy or to bake bread with)."

However, even Horst has to admit that "natürlich sehe ich auch Nachteile in einem 'natürlichen Haus' zu wohnen aber auch damit kann man leben." (of course, there are disadvantages to living in a 'strawhut' but I can put up with them).

Is it really such a disadvantage that he no longer has to fumble for light switches or reach out for a tap, that cold drinks are no longer available, that he can no longer watch the news on television, and is no longer surrounded by all sorts of modern-day gadgets? Perhaps, like Robinson Crusoe, he now considers what he has gained: "It was now that I began sensibly to feel how much more happy the life I now led was, with all its miserable circumstances, than the wicked, cursed abominable one that I led all the past part of my days ...

There, but for good wine, Camembert, Pavarotti, private health insurance, and a few million other things, go I.

As one old Tonga hand emailed after seeing the pictures: "Thank you for putting the photos of Horst's 'Villa Mamana' on the Internet. I love that solar cell panel on its stand. He seems to have his private beach too. It looks like he has finally fully settled into the Tongan environment. I would say he will end his days there. Not a bad choice for someone who has been hurt in our type of environment. Funny if one considers that the Tongans nowadays keep their pigs in that sort of houses. Even on Uiha most people now live in wooden or even stone houses. I wonder if they respect him for his way of life which for the Tongans is a thing of the past. After I got married I lived in very similar fashion in Ha'apai, but only for holidays. I am not sure if I would like to give up my house and join him there. It gets uncomfortable when you get old."

If you want to write to Horst, here's his mailing address:

When I write to him, I always enclose a small (and sometimes not so small) banknote to help him with the return postage and let him share a beer with me ☺

More on Horst here and here and here.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

It's a boy!


Every year Australia is giving Papua New Guinea hundreds of millions of dollars to keep them afloat. Now we also want to give them our refugees. How many more hundreds of millions of dollars in 'bribes' did this little election fix cost, Mr Ruddiculous? The 'agreement' drawn up on the back of a table napkin makes no mention of this.

Welcome to yet another dud Rudd-on-the-run policy announcement!

This is not a solution to our problem. This is not a policy to stop the boats. This is simply a pre-election fix. This is simply something that is held together with Blu-Tak and sticky tape to last until the election, if possible.

The Prime Minister of PNG himself made very clear publicly and privately that the numbers that PNG would accept were strictly limited by the capacity on PNG and at the moment the capacity on PNG is about 300 persons only. Given the current rate of arrivals, this number, this capacity, would be swamped in just a couple of days.

So we remain with a Prime Minister who started a terrible problem for our country and for our region with no plausible plan to deal with it. Let’s face it, this is the Prime Minister, in Mr Rudd, who found a solution and created a problem by closing down and stopping the policies that worked under the former Coalition government. Almost 50,000 illegal arrivals later, about 750 boats later, 1,000 plus deaths at sea later, $10 billion in border protection cost blowouts later, Mr Rudd says ‘problem solved, I have a plan’. Well, he doesn’t have a plan. He has a scant two pages which are not even legally binding. This isn’t even an agreement, as such. It’s simply an “arrangement”, in inverted commas, and it’s an arrangement that doesn’t actually say what Mr Rudd said it does.

In the meantime, all these frantic activities make some people an awful lot of money - here is just one example.

Here's what Scott Morrison, the Opposition's Immigration Minister, had to say about it:

"Of course we continue to appreciate the contribution of Papua New Guinea to this issue but as we’ve always said, the problem here is with the person who’s going to have to implement it which is Kevin Rudd. We all know his form on implementing things. We all know Labor’s form when it comes to this issue and if you need any demonstration of Labor’s ability to implement offshore processing – upon which this arrangement so critically depends – then look at the fires on Nauru. It’s not the first detention centre Labor has run to burn to the ground and the fires on Nauru, we are every day now learning, have been a consequence of Labor’s failure to be able to get the processing arrangements in place in Nauru, almost a year after the announcement was first made.

But to the matters here that Tony has specifically referred to – and if you bear with me as I run through these – first of all, this arrangement, as Tony said, is an arrangement. It’s not an agreement. It’s not even a deal. What it is is a document that doesn’t even have the legal standing of a memorandum of understanding, and remember, it was the memorandum of understanding that was found not to be legally binding enough to protect the Malaysian people-swap when that was struck down by the High Court.

Secondly, this is an arrangement that can be struck down at any time by Papua New Guinea. They are not bound to stay in this agreement, I should arrangement, for any length of time. Sure, there might be 12-monthly reviews but it doesn’t even have to get to 12 months. They can walk away from this any day they choose.

Mr Rudd says there is no chance they will never be settled in Australia. This arrangement does not provide that compulsion on Papua New Guinea that would require them to resettle every single person in Papua New Guinea. It just simply isn’t there. This is Mr Rudd’s promise. This is Rudd’s talk. It’s not a deal, it’s just more talk. It’s his assertion that he’s asking the Australian people to take at face value.

I’m not surprised he didn’t want to release the details of this arrangement on the day because the details of this arrangement on the day destroy the very core promise and premise he was putting to the Australian people, and that’s everyone turns up and ends up in Papua New Guinea, which is not supported by this arrangement.

The situation is even worse when it relates to people who are not found to be refugees. People who are not found to be refugees, this arrangement talks about how they could be returned home – and we know particularly in the case of Iranians and Afghans and others that that process has proved extremely difficult, if not impossible, and if it were able to be done, then more Iranians, I assume, would have been returned by our government, or to another country of which the Government cannot name one when it comes to sending people who have been found not to be refugees. And as was relayed to us by the Papua New Guinean Prime Minister and his Attorney-General and his Foreign Minister the other night, at the end of the day, those issues will remain Australia’s problem. So, those found not to be refugees will end up being Australia’s problem.

The next thing is that the transfer arrangements require Australia to do the health and security checks first. So the processing that begins, not only processed immediately by Papua New Guinea, they’re actually being processed in Australia. Now, what legal issues that potentially raises, I am sure David Manne will give you an answer to at some point, but the processing that will first take place is on security issues, on health issues. This will effectively give Papua New Guinea a right of veto on who then goes to Papua New Guinea, just as was the case with the Malaysian people-swap. Once you got into the detail of the Malaysian people-swap, these things started to fall out and Malaysia clearly had a right of veto.

So, the devil is always in the detail with Mr Rudd and Mr Rudd always proves to be the devil in that detail when it comes to these arrangements.

So, in this detail I can only assume that if someone is a criminal threat, if someone is a terrorist threat, if someone has a communicable disease or anything of that nature, it won’t be PNG’s problem, it will be Australia’s problem and they will remain in Australia where under law we would have some obligations to them.

Moving on, there is also the potential for the PNG Government to form policy that may seek to prevent particular cohorts of people being transferred from Australia to Papua New Guinea. Now, in particular, they could form the view that they don’t want people who don’t have documentation of which we know almost 90 per cent of people who turn up in Australia have no documentation. So, if you don’t have any documents, PNG may well say as a matter of policy, well we’re not going to take any people who don’t have any documents. I’m not suggesting they’ve said that, but it is possible that the Papua New Guinea Government could form policy which says we’re only going to take certain types of people.

You may also be aware that in the Papua New Guinean Parliament at the moment there is a motion that is being debated that deals with the non-acceptance of non-Christian religions in that country. Now, it could be in the context of that debate a policy that is formed by the Papua New Guinean Government that they will only take people of Christian religion, for example.

Now, again, these are things that are within the sovereign domain of Papua New Guinea to determine. It’s their country, they get to decide who gets visas in their country and Minister Burke’s suggestion this morning that that was somehow Australia’s decision is simply absurd. I mean, we get to decide what happens on our borders and this government wants to contract those decisions out to Indonesia, and now Minister Burke is saying he’s going to make decisions about what is the sovereign right of Papua New Guinea. Again, just more detail that is not covered off by these arrangements. Now, the number transferred to Papua New Guinea is not an open-ended arrangement. It’s not, as the Attorney-General said, an unlimited arrangement. The Prime Minister, Mr O’Neill, made this very clear, not only in the press conference but in our own discussions. It is limited by the capacity of Manus Island and other places to take people. Now, as Tony said, that capacity now is around about 300, just around 300. They would need to increase the capacity in Papua New Guinea ten-fold on what it currently is, to be anywhere the starting level of arrangement that would need to be in place for this arrangement to turn into an actual plan; an actual, implemented arrangement.

Now, when you can’t keep the fires out of the detention centre in Nauru – that has a capacity of less than a third of what we’re talking here – and you’ve had almost a year to get permanent facilities up in Papua New Guinea and the best you can do is around 300 in tents, then what capacity can this arrangement really produce in any sort of meaningful time frame? And this is one of the other critical issues: the ability to deliver on the ground. There is no suggestion that any sites other than those currently available on Manus Island are being considered and as anyone who does anything in Papua New Guinea knows, dealing with land-owners on other sites is extremely problematic.

So, they don’t have any other sites, they’ve only got the sites they’ve got. Those sites themselves have proved extremely challenging to get the facilities up and running on and this whole thing depends on around 3,000 beds being in place as soon as possible. So, what does that mean? That means people who are getting on boats and coming to Australia will come to Australia and they’ll stay here. They’ll stay here until something is provided up there, whenever that is, and as they come, the lawyers will circle and the challenges will come; the injunctions will appear and all of this can very much go the same way as the Malaysian people-swap did.

There’s just a few more, if you’d just bear with me as I go through. So, the logistical challenges of getting this up and running in Papua New Guinea are extremely difficult.

Then there’s the issue of families. Now, Minister Burke rightly points out his responsibilities as the legal guardian of unaccompanied minors but also there is I think an equally high duty of care that is applied to those who are the children of others when they’re here and family groups.

You cannot send children aged under seven to Manus Island because of the issues of inoculation – you can’t do it – and there are no other sites. So, I have no knowledge of what fantasy site Minister Burke is talking about being able to send children and families to Papua New Guinea. At present, he has no site and if he has one, he should nominate what it is before the election and demonstrate how that’s actually going to happen because at present there is no such site and that means the perverse incentive for children and families to get on boats – and remember, we’ve had almost 3,000 children on boats this year – that perverse incentive will remain in place because the Government has no offshore processing facilities for children.

There are also very significant issues when it comes to legal matters in not only Australia but in Papua New Guinea. Remember, the Malaysian people-swap fell over in the High Court and they had more than six months to get that right and they gave all sorts of guarantees about the water-tight nature of that arrangement. This mob have cobbled this thing together in less than three weeks and are standing up giving you a similar pledge. Now, if people want to believe that, well, they’ll believe anything, frankly. The legal potential for challenge here is obviously going to be there and I’m sure the lawyers are busily beavering away as we speak to find the loopholes.

But in PNG there are also significant issues. There was a High Court challenge that involved the transfer of people from Australia to Papua New Guinea under the current arrangements which will continue for the transfer. That High Court case was dismissed on just procedural grounds and the legal issues that are there, that relate to the non-visa entry of these transferees, remains a live one – a very live issue up in PNG – and so, the potential for David Manne to land a High Court challenge – don’t assume it will be in Australia, it could very well be in Papua New Guinea – that could see this whole thing come tumbling down.

There are also the issues of Papua New Guinea’s reservations to the Refugee Convention. Now, that is a very cumbersome process to remove those reservations that they have. They can notify the Commissioner for Refugees but then they have to make those changes in their own law. Now, I’ve referred to some very serious political issues in PNG which will become very relevant in such a discussion. The changes they have to make, for example, include: they must give free public education to every asylum seeker and resettled refugee that goes within their territory. Now, currently, PNG kids don’t get free public education right across PNG despite the fact that it’s even government policy. I know because I’ve been in the villages in PNG when I was last there just in April walking the Wau to Salamaua track and I was told that directly by the Principal of a school who runs such a school and the frustration local parents currently have.

Now, that’s a difficult challenge for PNG and we respect that but what will happen here is, their government will have to give a guarantee to resettled refugees on public school education that would be arguably greater than the commitment they have to give their own kids and you can just imagine the difficulties of bringing those sorts of changes into the PNG Parliament.

Now, there are many other issues there which relate to West Papuan refugees. There are quite a number of West Papuan refugees. They are given particular classes of visas that restrict their movement within Papua New Guinea. They can only be in particular places. What they have to do to remove their reservations in Papua New Guinea is remove the restriction of movement for those transferred from Australia. So, you’d then have the real prospect of Melanesian refugees who are restricted in movement and then you have those transferred from Australia – because the arrangement doesn’t talk about a general lifting, it talks about a lifting of these arrangements for those transferred from Australia.

Now, I’m sorry to take you through so much detail on this, but this is the detail that the Government is not telling you about.

Kevin Rudd is great at the big announcement but he never thinks past the announcement and he’s not thinking past this election. He never has, from the day he started to plot to bring Julia Gillard down. If he thought this was such a good idea, as the suggestion was, that he knew about this well before taking over the leadership, if he really wanted to stop those boats, why didn’t he raise that with Bob Carr? Why didn’t he raise it with the Prime Minister?

This is a plan for Kevin Rudd’s election campaign and getting his colleagues on board to knock off Julia Gillard.

We would seek to salvage as much of this arrangement as you possibly could, but as I’ve gone through these details, that will be a difficult task. It’s no substitute. It’s no excuse, not to do the things you need to do on your side of the border. It’s no substitute.

So, if you want to stop the boats, by all means, salvage out of this what you can, but I wouldn’t be staking the Coalition’s credibility – I’m sure Tony wouldn’t either – on stopping the boats with this plan.

Our plan, which involves turn-backs where it’s safe to do so, having the fall-back of temporary protection visas when everything else hasn’t been able to address the issue, having genuine offshore processing run by people who believe in it and are convicted in their commitment to it, rather than those who had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the table, those policies remain as essential today as the day when Kevin Rudd abolished all of them.

So, that’s why we have outlined these issues here today, as matters that the Prime Minister must address because at the moment, these two pages look like nothing more than an election fix."

Boats, cars and carbon have now been sorted. At this rate, Kevin Rudd's 'policy on the fly' approach should mean that all the world's problems are solved come election time.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Why they sank TITANIC

Everyone knows the story of the TITANIC; how the largest moving object ever fashioned by the hand of man hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage and sank in the middle of the North Atlantic, and 1,500 lives were lost. The tragedy has been well documented in books and on films. No matter how often the story is told, it never fails to capture the imagination.

It is a story that has left many questions unanswered, and this documentary provides an intriguing hypothesis that the ship that plummeted two miles to the bottom of the sea was not the TITANIC but its sister ship the OLYMPIC.

This DVD is based on the research of Andrew Newton and includes the evidence of the British and American inquiries, the eye-witness reports of survivors, newspapers of the day, photographs, video, film and radio broadcasts.

It may be the ultimate conspiracy theory - or could it be the truth? The viewers are left to reach their own conclusions but here are some further interesting revelations - click here.

Of course, there is nothing new about maritime fraud of which the Salem case was the biggest ever. During my years in shipping and ship chartering (formation of Pacific Forum Line in Western Samoa; consultant to the Penang Port Commission in Malaysia; ship owner/charterer and commodity dealer in Saudi Arabia), one of my most entertaining textbooks was Ellen & Campbell's International Maritime Fraud. It beats Father Brown hands down!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pavarotti with paws

At the Stuart's Well Roadhouse 90 km south of Alice Springs is a very special dog, Dinky the Singing Dingo, who has just retired after a long career during which he gave up to twenty concerts a day.

Only in Australia!


These days my memory really sucks, so I have changed my password to 'incorrect'

That way when I log in with the wrong password, the computer tells me,
'Your password is incorrect'

Monday, July 15, 2013

I've been as sick as a dog

Whatever caused it, it was bad: dizzy spells, wobbly knees, and sitting on the loo for hours (and when I wasn't sitting on it, I had my head in it).

Then I spent a whole day in bed to get over it quickly as we had a dinner date at the club the following evening with neighbours to celebrate our anniversary of something-or-other (don't tell my wife I forgot! suffice it to say that the date coincides with Bastille Day which started the French Revolution; that should be hint enough!}

I got through dinner all right having taken the precaution of ordering a bucket of champagne. I don't like champagne; I wanted the bucket just in case!


The difference between a toilet and a wedding anniversary?

None - men generally miss both!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Rudd's Record

Friday, July 12, 2013

Superannuation imbalance

Click on image to read the small detail


Next time these self-serving cowboys (and -girls) start talking about devoting their lives to the nation and the public's good, you know what they really mean!

While our superannuation and life-time savings are subjected to the vagaries of the markets, these have-beens receive defined benefits which can never be reduced and never be lost, and that after having received from the public purse huge parliamentary salaries, travel allowances, printing allowances, entertainment allowances - the list goes on.

In fact, there is no list - or, if there is, it is well hidden from the public. I mean, we have had Grocery Watch, Fuel Watch, My School, and several other websites to "empower" us but I have yet to see a My Parliamentarian website to tell me what these time-servers are really being paid. And will continue to receive for the rest of their lives in the form of free Gold Card travel, government offices and cars, and whatever else is hidden in the fine print of their parliamentary entitlements.

And, of course, the real rewards come after they have 'retired' from their parliamentary sinecure in the form of 'jobs for the boys' handed out for past favours and lucrative corporate contracts on the strength of their inner-circle connections.

Will these comments earn me ten years in jail?

We always get the government we deserve! But do we really have a choice? Just as cattle are herded from one field to another, using incentives and their natural, trusting nature, only to find themselves imprisoned behind barbed wire fences again and living just as they were in the previous pasture, so the masses are continually controlled and manipulated.

The analogy even extends to that day when the trusting beasts are loaded onto a cattle truck and driven not to a new (and supposedly 'better') pasture, but to the slaughterhouse, where the screams, pain, terror and stench of the abattoir can be likened to the battlefields of yet another orchestrated war. The banksters (i.e. central bankers) grow fat from the blood of the masses, just as the livestock farmers grow rich from the blood of the animals that trust them.


Pickering is right

Rudd wanted SBY to tell him Australia was defenceless against the will of Indonesia and its people smugglers. He wanted to be told our defence forces should not attempt to defend our borders. He got what he wanted and at the cost of a simple rebuff to Abbott.

Involving other countries in Australia’s domestic politics is a very dangerous ploy, but this is Kevin Rudd and Kevin is preoccupied with Kevin, not the interests of Australia.

Rudd (the Asian expert) should understand that the overarching political concern of Asians is the potential loss of face. To lose face is the epitome of cowardice and loss of respect. "Kevin Rudd has just given Australia that reputation and he has given it to those who know exactly what it means." That is the measure of this man. He has confirmed Indonesia’s claim that Australia is an international coward and will accept being told it should be unwilling to defend its borders... all for a cheap point-score in domestic electioneering.

But SBY is also in election mode and although the average Indonesian voter couldn’t give a damn about our boat invasion, that voter will be in awe of a strongman President who can so easily dictate another foreign power’s defence policy.

Let’s get this straight (and I’m no hawk) but these are Indonesian boats, under Indonesian flags, with Indonesian captains that continue to leave from Indonesian ports with tens of thousands of illegal immigrants who have flown into Indonesian airports and Rudd asks Indonesia’s President to, “Please confirm you don’t want us to turn these boats back!” Crumbs!

At the same time we gift billions to this corrupt Islamic nation that has wealth beyond ours, the world’s fastest growth of billionaires and a military and bureaucracy that amass huge profits by virtue of breaching our borders. WTF am I missing here?

Rudd will of course confirm that all parties are now to embark on a “regional solution”. What a load of frog droppings! This is not a “regional problem”, it never was, it is an “Indonesian problem” and it should be dealt with from a position of strength!

“Regional” is a politic word meaning, “to dissipate responsibility”. “To involve others who are not really involved because it then appears it’s not our lack of resolve alone.”

Until Australia has a leader who will not cravenly cower to another foreign power's interests, until we have a leader who will cultivate respect for Australia’s sovereignty, then we remain dangerously exposed.

No nation has ever respected another nation's weakness... least of all an Asian nation.

If you didn’t like Rudd initially, you now have it confirmed in spades exactly why you didn’t."

                                                         quoted from Pickering Post


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Summer in Kanuckistan

Chris in Kamloops, British Columbia


Even Jack the Ripper would have found the fog on the river this morning a bit too thick for his work down in nineteenth-century Whitechapel. Unlike other mornings, it stayed thick and it stayed cold and I stayed miserable.

And became even more miserable after my Canadian friend had sent me this photo of himself in a pair of shorts and complaining about the heat in Kanuckistan. He loves chipping away at ice like bloody Amundsen and to him winter is like heaven on earth. For me it's the biblical opposite. I want winter as much as I want to join the Hitler Youth.

I think I will spend the rest of the day close to the fireplace while drinking a traditional hops-containing beverage effervesced with carbon dioxide.



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

So now you know!

Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other.
~Oscar Ameringer, "the Mark Twain of American Socialism."

I offered my opponents a deal: "if they stop telling lies about me, I will stop telling the truth about them".
~Adlai Stevenson, campaign speech, 1952.

A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country.
~Texas Guinan. 19th century American businessman

I have come to the conclusion that politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.
~Charles de Gaulle, French general & politician

Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks.
~Doug Larson (English middle-distance runner who won gold medals at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, 1902-1981)

We hang petty thieves and appoint the bigger thieves to public office.
~Aesop, Greek slave & fable author

Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.
~Plato, ancient Greek Philosopher

Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.
~Nikita Khrushchev, Russian Soviet politician

When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become PM; I'm beginning to believe it.
~Quoted in 'Clarence Darrow for the Defense' by Irving Stone.

Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel.
~John Quinton, American actor/writer