Monday, February 28, 2005

This is what happens in a war. This is why war should be a last resort.

This story highlights one of the reasons why the Invasion of Iraq was, and is, still wrong. This is why war should be used as a last resort. This is why all peaceful options are exhausted before there is a use of force.

War. Soldiers shoot at people. People get shot at.

The woman who was shot in the head by Australian Soldiers and her/a child who was wounded by the broken (presumably) windscreen is in an American military hospital in Baghdad's Green Zone, where she is in a serious condition.

The whole incident is part of war. We are in a war in Iraq. Women, children, soldiers will get hurt, many will die. Some are co-lateral damage some are not.
Most will suffer from psychological trauma.

Mind, HoWARd is cool with this. He is sending 450 more troops into this war and highlighting the legitimate, war-like, dangerous aspect of this Invasion is useful to him. The heat is rising on the question of economic benefit to Australia for this increase in troops and HoWARd does not like answering questions about his lies.

Reduce the PTSD now.
Bring them home.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Charles' woes

Australian women are the most opposed group to Charles eventually becoming King.

He comes woefully short of meeting any fantasy of what it means to be of royal stock. His lifestyle choices could come straight out of a Jerry Springer show - "He wants to be a tampon so he can live in your birth canal". The only thing separating Charles of Buckingham Palace from Chuck of Dryknob Missouri, is access to better dental care.

We want our future royals to be refined. They are supposed to be well mannered and restrained. These two scrubbers come across as tawdry, gaudy white trash.

Now for the alternatives. Harry, sadly is just a silly boy.
William. First born. Parentage assured. Tall. Handsome. Compassionate.
William will be accepted as our dashing, regal King.
He engages with his peers. He is certainly more favoured by the girl-child's generation than his father or grand-mother are.

This is of course if we even want a Royal Family.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

HoWARd happy to cut and run on seriously injured soldiers

As Australia prepares to send more troops to Iraq, tens of thousands of military personnel injured in recent years stand to lose their rights to lump sum compensation.

The Government is changing the definition of "impairment" in a way that could deny lump sum payouts to people with serious back or limb injuries. The compensation overhaul will also affect thousands of other Commonwealth employees.

I do hope we don't follow the US with our number of wounded.
Shame HoWARd Shame.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Carers do it tough under Coalition-of-the-Willing HoWARd

“Creating Choice: Employment and the cost of caring”, launched by the Taskforce on Care Costs (TOCC) on 24 February 2005 in Sydney, calls on the Government to improve financial support for carers to give them real choice about working and caring, and thus improve flow on effects for business and the national economy.

The report shows more than one in four workers with caring responsibilities have already reduced their working hours due to the high cost of care, and 25 per cent have considered leaving the workforce altogether. Juliet Bourke, Chair of TOCC said
“Forcing people to chose between work and care is not good for workers, their dependents, business or the national economy”.

The report observed that the Government has identified increasing levels of workforce participation as a key strategy for Australia’s future economic prosperity. Bourke said:
“Enabling carers to work to their optimal level will help achieve the Government’s objective of increasing workforce participation. It will increase taxation contributions, reduce government outlays and minimise skill wastage. This is a win-win situation”.
The report observed that the Government’s current financial support for workers with caring responsibilities is minimal, behind international best practice and narrowly focused (ie primarily on young children). TOCC’s survey found that a focus on children neglects the 20% of workers who care for elders and people with a disability. Bourke said
“We encourage the Government to be proactive about supporting workers with caring responsibilities.”
TOCC recommends that the Government:
1. Immediately draft legislation (for consultation) to implement its promised 30% rebate for care costs;
2. Extend the child-care rebate to cover elder and disability care costs;
3. Extend the 30% rebate to a more meaningful level (ie closer to a dollar for dollar rebate) and remove the proposed $4000 cap; 4. Introduce reforms to assist the cost of care in combination with a strategy to improve the accessibility and quality of care;
5. By June 2006 release a public report identifying the steps it has taken to implement the Taskforce’s recommendations.
I hope that HoWARd et al considers this data as he pushes through industrial relations reform with his compliant Senate.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

What will be said of this dissenting voice? Dementia? PTSD? No recent battle experience?

HoWARd would do well to heed and consider the voice of a former soldier who is drawing a comparison between Iraq and Vietnam.
Talking to commercial radio Major General Stretton said,
"Australia should not have been involved in Iraq in the first place as there were no weapons of mass destruction and no links with al-Qaeda. The whole lot of it has turned into a bloody civil war. All we are doing is reinforcing disaster. I just cannot understand it."
"You would have noticed the prime minister use a new word ... tilting. That is the same as the graduated response in Vietnam. In other words you just put a bit more in to stop it tilting the wrong way. It will end up exactly the same way. The whole thing is flawed strategy."
"This talk about fighting for democracy, that is absolute, to use a phrase, bullshit."
HoWARd had this to say in response to the Major General's comments,
"I don't think it is at all likely that we will send any more people but I am not going to get into this business of giving absolute guarantees and having everything I say on that analysed in the future."
Too late Johnny, we're onto you and we're counting your lies.

Dana wrong message wrong fax number

Dana Vale calls it a tragedy that there is a lack of counseling after an abortion. She believes this is causing untreated depression. Therefore she is asking for an inquiry into abortions.

The more useful option, one which would address a greater tragedy, would be to ask for an inquiry into the paucity of Community Health Centres, their services and their staffing capability. Specifically the paucity of qualified Psychologists, Social Workers and other trained Counselors/Therapists.

If this was done we would find a myriad of underlying issues that contribute to depression and allocate millions of dollars for qualified Practitioners to treat widespread mental health issues.

Referral options in the form of a post-abortion information pack are made. They are also discussed with the post-abortion support person.
Just try and get a Community Health Centre appointment with any Counselor in under 8 weeks!
That is if they can recruit and retain qualified staff.

Image from here

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

When I grow up I want to be Dr. Louise Newman

On my lengthy journey home from work every night I listen to Radio National. Tonight in perspective (just before the the six o'clock news) Dr. Louise Newman worked her lucid, insistent, just, logical, qualified, compassionate magic!

Thank you Louise.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

HoWARd at the suggestion of Tony and Junichiro, changes the social landscape of Darwin, Australia.

We are still in a war in Iraq.
Now HoWARd is sending more of our military because, well, Tony and Junichiro asked him.

In defense of his decision, HoWARd said:
"Al Muthanna was one of the safer parts of Iraq and was far less dangerous than areas around Baghdad and further north. It's remained relatively benign, it's a lot better and this is a much safer part of Iraq than the Sunni triangle."
"The government believes that Iraq is very much at a tilting point and it's very important that the opportunity of democracy, not only in Iraq, but also in other parts of the Middle East, be seized and consolidated."
"This has not been, is not and will not be an easy decision for the Government. I know it will be unpopular with many. I ask those people to take into account the reasons that I have given. I believe this is the right decision. It will make a significant contribution to the coalition effort."
"Self-evidently we would have liked the major combat to have gone differently ... [but] coalition withdrawal or defeat is unimaginable. The coalition must stay in Iraq if the country is to make a successful transition to democracy."
Kim, Andrew and Bob are not supportive of this latest commitment of 450 extra military personnel and
neither am I.

A snapshot of reality

A Single Parent's August to do list.
  1. Dust off resume
  2. Find jobnetwork member
  3. Make appointment
  4. Research childcare options
  5. Research more childcare options
  6. Place name on waiting list
  7. Call 131 500 to find out how to get to jobnetwork and childcare places
  8. Do budget of money in and money out
  9. Do sums again (this can't be right)
  10. Make a plan for what to do if I'm sick or kids are sick
  11. Count money again! (this can't be right)
  12. Call Child Support Agency asking if child support can be increased
  13. Call Centrelink. Make appointment with a Social Worker
  14. Call mum and ask for a loan
  15. Take savings and try to win money on the pokies
  16. Work against feelings of isolation and resentment
  17. Think about having another baby
Being a single parent is in and of itself very hard work.
Start up a conversation with the next one you see and ask them.
Thing is they don't get out much.

"Get familiar with Cannibalism" - Hunter S. Thompson dead at 67.

Unlike the rude pundit I never met Hunter S. Thompson.
But I read him.
I shared his rage and through his words felt connected to a saner analysis of the world. Particularly the world of men, power and politics.

In October 2004, writing for Rolling Stone magazine he had this to say:
"Your neighbor's grandchildren will be fighting this stupid, greed-crazed Bush-family "war" against the whole Islamic world for the rest of their lives, if John Kerry is not elected to be the new President of the United States in November.
The question this year is not whether President Bush is acting more and more like the head of a fascist government but if the American people want it that way. That is what this election is all about. We are down to nut-cutting time, and millions of people are angry. They want a Regime Change."
I miss him already.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Ever had to do too much overtime because management can't manage time? This is what goes through my mind...

I'd rather be blogging.
I'd rather be drinking coffee.
I have an urge to curse.
My favourite swearword is turd with unflushable in front of it.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Australians are different

Prime Minister HoWARd wants us to believe that when Australians are in a war zone and they are involved with prisoners they only interview them. Others do the interrogating, not Australians.

Canberra scientist Rod Barton told the ABC Four Corners program he took part in an interrogation.

David Kay, a former head of the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), said there was no difference between an interrogation and an interview. Mr Kay, who led the search for Saddam Hussein's (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction, said Australians were involved in the questioning of prisoners.

Kevin Rudd weighs in demanding answers,
"So I've got to say after a few days in Parliament we've got a prime minister saying 'no, none of this happened', but we have Mr Barton, (a) respected official who even the prime minister refused to get stuck into in Parliament yesterday, saying exactly the reverse,"
"The key thing here ... is simply whether Mr Howard is telling the truth to the Australian people."
Joe Hockey defends his leader,
"This is a semantic debate about what is an interrogation and what is an interview. The fundamental point is: were Australians there whilst Iraqis were allegedly being tortured? The answer is 'no'."
Pronunciation: in-'ter-&-"gAt
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): -gat·ed; -gat·ing Etymology: Latin interrogatus, past participle of interrogare, from inter- + rogare to ask
1 : to question formally and systematically
2 : to give or send out a signal to (as a transponder) for triggering an appropriate response
Pronunciation: 'in-t&r-"vyü
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle French entrevue, from (s') entrevoir to see one another, meet, from entre- inter- + voir to see
1 : a formal consultation usually to evaluate qualifications (as of a prospective student or employee)
2 a : a meeting at which information is obtained (as by a reporter, television commentator, or pollster) from a person b : a report or reproduction of information so obtained
Two thoughts John HoWARd.
Is the Australian Military poorly trained for the invasion of Iraq and can't manage a decent interrogation?
Or, is the Australian Military prepared to do all things military except interrogation/interview.

Curious HoWARd, because under the Geneva convention, interrogation is allowed.
Interrogation: While POWs the detaining power may interrogate them, POWs are only required to provide their surname, first names, rank, date of birth, and their army, regimental, personal or serial number under questioning. POWs, cannot be punished if they do not, but are not required to provide any additional information. "No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind." (Third Geneva, Art. 17).
John HoWARd, you have sent the Australian Military into an invasion of Iraq. We, as Australians are not naive. Stop sanitising war. Stop telling us Australians are different.
Stop patronising us, and them, and bring them home.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Minister of Defence says he wasn't in the room at the time, then asks for a glass of water...

When Australia joined the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, HoWARd said he was very conscious of the dangers for the civilian population. Almost two years later, a parliamentary committee has exposed that no one in the Australian Government knows how many Iraqis have died.

The Office of National Assessments' (ONA) Director-General Peter Varghese has told Senator Faulkner he too doesn't have any reliable (or unreliable) figures on civilian deaths in Iraq.
Questioning Robert Hill the Minister of Defence, John Faulkner asks: "What attempts has the Australian Government made to try and ascertain what these figures might be?"

Robert Hill answers: "Well, we've accepted that it's not possible at this time to produce an accurate figure on civilian casualties."

JF: "So, the committee is to take that as no attempts have been made, none whatsoever - zero, blotto, nothing."

RH: "Well I don't think there is reporting mechanism."

JF: "Obviously not."

RH: "That's what we've been trying to tell you, because I don't believe the Americans know and the implication of the briefing I received was to that effect."
If we suspend disbelief and accept that the invasion of Iraq is actually Operation Iraqi Freedom then the rhetoric of March 2003 still holds. Read a few more News Transcripts from our allies Minister.

Iraqis are human and value life. They mourn when life ends. Children die and families and communities are left shattered.

Count them Minister.
They matter.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

This movie should be viewed by Tony, Ron & George. Take along HoWARd and leave him in his beloved 1950's.

Vera Drake is a portrait of a selfless woman who is totally dedicated to her loving working class family. Vera has a secret side, though. Unbeknownst to family and friends, she visits women and helps them to induce miscarriages for their unwanted pregnancies, a practice that is illegal in 1950's England. While Vera believes she is simply helping women in need of assistance, the dichotomy of her idyllic home life and her illegal activities make for a fascinating study.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Referees do it for the sex and voyeurism

Referees are the latest group of men who gather in groups, near pubs, away from their homes and break rules regarding sex and women.

"When these guys aren't in the top flight and they're probably getting a can of Coke and a Mars Bar for their effort, of course it will discourage people from becoming a referee," - Players' Association president Tony Butterfield said.
Having read this piece it seems that referees aren't interested in their profession and only participate in refereeing for the chance to have sex, photograph sex or watch other men have sex with women.

"The big quest is to find the fattest or the ugliest woman, dance with her and see if you can get her back to your room," one referee told the Herald yesterday. "It is a boy thing. It is a laugh."
No, it's not a boy thing and it's not a laugh.
It is cruel and abusive and it can be defined as having an Antisocial Personality Disorder, displaying psychopathy or sociopathy.

Friday, February 11, 2005

A reverse fairytale where the mistress takes all...

In my youth I completed an Apprenticeship as a Florist. It's a Trade in Victoria, with all the usual low wages, poor conditions, long hours, indenture, and exploitation. The first year weekly wage was $72.50 (after tax).

Even with all this, I loved being an apprentice Florist and no days more than Saturdays when all the freshly-proposed-to would come into the little 'Weddings a specialty' flower shop with either their bossy mother or their bossy maid-of-honour to order wedding flowers.

Their rings would sparkle almost as much as they did, with what I thought was the true love of it all. Even then my nascent cynicism was evident as after an hour of discussing the relative benefits of a Cascade bouquet with Stephanotis or Frangipani I would think
"Shit make a decision! It's just a wedding bouquet."

Then, usually at about six weeks before the wedding the mother or maid-of-honour would come in upset saying that it was just so sad the wedding is off, and can we refund the deposit on the flowers?

Older and more cynical, with one of my brothers married for 26 days, I see weddings differently. Now I see them as,

  1. validation of your union before your god
  2. a rite-of-passage that most women feel measures their 'success' in society
  3. a community sanctioned structure to raise children with everyone having the ease of the same surname
I once created a huge wedding bouquet for a girlfriend who before her 36th birthday believed that she was too old to marry. Because this made her sad, we as her friends organised a wedding-day-themed-dress-up 36th birthday party to cheer her up.

I'm not anti-love, and I'm not anti-let's-give-it-a-go, but I am anti-dishonesty and Charles and Camilla have been profoundly mendacious. Unconditional, reciprocal love is so fundamental to a person's wellness that it is not unreasonable to expect it from those you marry, as Princess Diana did.

"Bring him a virgin and make sure she's fertile..."
...was what was overheard as Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mother discussed Charles' future.

I'm not sure if I applaud Camilla and Charles for their love-above-all-antics or they make me wretch as I remember the emotional abuse story that Charles' previous wife told of living in a relationship with he-who-will-be-King and the 'other woman'.

They will not be married in a church and I doubt either of them will be wearing white.

Either way I want to stay far, far, away from them both and I hope it doesn't turn out to be a shotgun wedding...eek.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

More liberal dissent, I'm hoping for an epidemic!

Petro Georgiou has called for a complete reassessment of the immigration system, specifically the way Australia treats Asylum seekers on people who hold TPV's.

This is what Petro had to say,
"I believe in brief, that we need to release asylum seekers in detention, of whom there are only a couple of hundred, and who have passed health and security checks, into the community until their applications are processed. And I believe that thousands of genuine refugees, who have temporary protection visas, should be given permanent residence in a one-off amnesty."
Amanda Vanstone had something to say,
"Oh look, it's a measure of the Liberal Party. People are entitled to have different views. We have people with different views. There are different views in the community. Hello? This is a free country. You're entitled to a different view. I'm not going to lie on the floor and die like Louis the Fly because someone's got a different view."
Kim Landers, Reporter:
"But you outright reject his call?"
Amanda Vanstone:
Now the image of our Amanda buzzzzzing around like a fly just has me running for the Mortein, however, because she came out on the side of pro-choice in the abortion debate I will blink on behalf of enemy and give the enemy a chance to retreat.

Amanda, take note of the humanity in Petro's request, and understand that his is a widely held position and dismiss it out-of-hand at your peril.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Queenslanders, liberal, Women, Goddesses!

I know these women are currently on the wrong side of my usual Politics, but I am so impressed at their stand that I am making them honorary Labor party-ites/Democrats, and alumni of Emily's list.

Powerful gender representation was, and always will be so important.

Pro-choice women from all around Australia thank you liberal women of Queensland.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Back to the 1950's for you Suki...

It seems I have been identified as a suspected uppity woman.
What is that van outside my house doing?

Abortion debate inevitable

John HoWARd is welcoming the abortion debate in parliament.

Please instruct your administration staff to provide access to the following resources from recent history as the abortion debate has been had!

This, this, this, this and this just for a start for all to consider.

Then analyse the non-cooperation from the States.
Then embrace all the women you know, both with children and childless, and respect their right to choose.

Heading towards a two-tiered society? No, not again!

A woman carrying a dangerous pregnancy was refused an abortion by a major Melbourne public hospital because of the current "political climate".

She was told an emotive debate over late-term abortions was behind a decision to deny her the legal procedure.

The woman involved who has requested anonymity said,

"I'm concerned this could happen to other women and that some wouldn't have the financial means, support or resourcefulness to go elsewhere,"

"If the private option is somehow removed, women will lose their choice."

Friday, February 04, 2005

Not willy-nilly Alan, there was a willy...silly!

I can't believe that this is not a spoof!

What is this man being paid to do, I hope his only responsibility is to untangle coat hangers in the parliament's cloakroom, because he is beyond clueless!

The only way to counteract this level of incredulity is to visit Crickey, where this opening line greeted me
"Mungo MacCallum memorably describes John Howard as an "unflushable turd". Will the unfolding abortion debate turn out to be Howard's turd?"
and somewhere a rebalancing occurs.

I am not concerned about the access Australian women enjoy to abortion in this country with MP's such as Cadman opening his mouth on behalf of the pro-life lobby.

With special thanks to the girl-child for finding this image.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Jon, Bob, Clare, the uteri in the house applaud you!

The ACT Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope, says,
"I won't supply statistics on abortions so the data can be used as part of some subterfuge to restrict a woman's right to choose."
Bob Carr had this to say,
"Now is there a case for a change in the way we handle abortion, in those figures? I think not. Laws in the state will not be changed."
Clare Martin, the NT's Chief Minister says,
"I think that the people who are opening up the debate want to close down the option of women to have abortions and I do not support that."

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

So Joe, what's the going rate for a womb?

Joe Hockey has made the statement that,
"We need to look at ways to restructure the taxation system or restructure so that people if they choose to have another child, or maybe if they don't, we can give them an incentive."
Seeing it's the 'taxation system' Joe wants to restructure, I'm assuming it involves more dollars not more daycare places.

Perhaps Joe is applying the principle of libertarianism to the abortion debate?

The following was found here written by Russ Nelson.

"A standard principle of libertarianism is that the best solutions are discovered when people have the most control over their own lives. Given private property and free markets, people will negotiate and trade to improve their circumstances. A difficulty with applying this principle to abortion is that neither a zygote, a fetus, nor a baby are particularly at will to enter into these negotiations. There are enough people who have an interest in protecting a baby's rights that they can act as a reasonable proxy for the baby's interests.

The libertarian problem here is that the baby has, without any intention on its own part, found itself at risk of loss of life without cooperation from the owner of the womb it needs for its nurture. What is clear is that the mother does not wish to cooperate, and history has proven that cooperation cannot be easily coerced.

Pregnancy is similar to other legal quandaries. Let's say that a person needs to use the resources of another to save their life, and cannot negotiate the use of those resources. A reasonable law will let them use those resources, as long as they "make the owner whole". That is, they must restore the owner's property to its original condition, and compensate them for the use of their property.

I think, then, that a libertarian solution to abortion is to allow a mother to rent her uterus to the baby. On a practical basis, that is what many parents do. Parents expect that their children will take care of them in their old age, just as they took care of the children when they were helpless and feeble. The trouble comes when a mother doesn't want the baby. Of course, there are these days any number of parents who are unable to have their own child and are willing to expend resources to adopt a baby.

So, you have a willing buyer, and a willing seller. Why not sell babies? Or, rather than buy and sell babies, perhaps anti-abortion groups could act as baby brokers. They could take a payment from someone who wanted a baby, be responsible for the actions of that person, and use the payment to compensate someone who didn't want their baby and wanted to give it up.

This would work just fine if there were no unwilling sellers. That is, if every woman had a price for which she would allow her womb to be used, then it just becomes a matter of finding enough money to clear the market. Doubtless, some women would be unwilling to allow their womb to be used for someone else's nurturing. In this case, the whole problem comes down to eminent domain. Would it be possible to "take" a woman's womb for use by a baby (that is, for public purposes). Clearly, if there were enough willing sellers of "womb services", it would be possible to establish a fair market value, and compensate women for the use of their womb.

Basically, then, the failure of current and past abortion laws to make enough people happy comes down to the confiscation of private property for public purposes without due compensation."
Please Joe, consider the usual and known implications of coercing women to give birth to unwanted, purchased babies.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

A mother rages and buries her only son...

When her son didn't call her to wish her a happy 72nd birthday, Margaret Pardoel thought he might be in the Middle East.

She was right.
He was one of the British military who died when their C-130 Hercules crashed.

Margaret Pardoel, says she opposed the invasion of Iraq and was always fearful her son would be killed.

"I don't think this should have gone on,"
she said.
"I think it's just cold-blooded murder. Look at all those young American boys that have been slaughtered."

Mrs Pardoel says her son often spoke of his fears on the job.

"One night he phoned [and] he said, 'Mum there's nowhere to hide here, it's just so dangerous, there's nowhere to hide',"
she said.
"He said it's so dangerous, that's all he said."

Image from here