Thursday, August 08, 2002

One thing guaranteed to angry up the blood is when I hear guff like
this, claiming that the
bombing of Hiroshima was unnecessary, that the Japanese would have
surrendered anyway blah blah.

Thanks to the Best of the Web, I now have the story guaranteed to shut them
up once and for all. In the Guardian, no less, is this quietly held tidbit
that the Japanese were working on their own bomb.

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

YOU WOULDN'T WANT TO GET AN UGLY ONE, WOULD YOU?

If you think you know what this story is referring to without clicking, you're probably right.

More from the New Republic.

Having read Greg Easterbrook's A Moment On The Earth, I can say that he is one of the most persuasive, rational writers on the environment I have ever read. The shame of it is that he didn't get the recognition that went to Lomborg, even though he was ahead of Lomborg by about five years.

In The New Republic, Easterbrook makes a good case for foreign aid.
The realistic benchmark is whether international assistance has made the world better than it would otherwise have been. And by that standard, foreign aid has not only been a success; it has been a triumph.

There is more optimism: a doubling since 1974 of the number of people living in multiparty democracies; doubling since 1975 of the number of people living in reasonable conditions; global literacy at 73 per cent, up from 40 per cent in 1970.

Easterbrook also makes some useful comparisons between the Third World and the rest, to give some perspective on the pace and spread of development.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, average life expectancy in the United States was 47 years; today it is 66 years--for the world.

It took about 150 years, from 1800 to 1950, for typical European life expectancy to advance from four decades to six. In most of the developing world, it has taken just 40 years, from 1930 to 1970. Helping most of the world achieve, in 40 years, the life-span improvement that took Europe 150 years is a spectacular achievement--partly attributable to the advent of antibiotics and partly to international aid.

He goes on to express his disgust at the way in which:
Anti-globalizers romanticize farming with animal-drawn plows as "appropriate," but most wouldn't last a day at the dehumanizing toil this form of existence imposes and rewards only with meager survival.

Easterbrook has maintained his anger about antiglobalisers who block projects in the developing world that fail to meet
the left's shaky definition of "sustainability," which more or less translates as no fossil fuels, no built structures, and no packaging. Indeed, foisting this standard on the developing world is a formula for keeping living standards low

I agree with his amazement that the broad left will support the banning of hydro-electric dams, not only for electricity and the wealth it brings.
Not only do nearly all developing nations need more electricity generation to improve living standards--India currently has 6 percent as much electric power per capita as the United States--but to improve human health. The number of children in developing nations who die each year from respiratory diseases caused by indoor air pollution, mainly from indoor fires for cooking and heating, exceeds the number of Americans of all ages who die of all causes. Anti-globalizers oppose the dams, power plants, water reservoirs, and other big aid-backed projects that could change that, and their views have gained surprising influence among the Western donor institutions that now live in terror of PC criticism.

In my not-so-humble opinion, the crunch for the green left will come when they are seen around the world preventing the export of GM crops to developing countries, for no reason other than scare ones (we don't know everything, so do nothing). Without a proven, or even quantifiable risk, they will show themselves as more interested in holding political positions, than delivering real benefits now.

The New Republic has a short sharp article that details the reasons to go to war.

Weapons of mass destruction: The CIA believes Hussein to possess 2,650 gallons of anthrax; Hamza testified that credible German intelligence indicates he already has enough uranium for three nuclear weapons by 2005. Thus, the argument: We must go to war to destroy the lunatic's existing arsenal.
Inspections: A related rationale holds that Saddam's decision to remove UNSCOM inspectors ("We will fool them and we will bribe them," he had reportedly said previously) in 1998 proves an unacceptable willingness to flout international will--specifically, Security Council Resolution 687, which made the end of containment hinge on the destruction of Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.
The ceasefire: Yet another related contention stipulates that we're already at war with Iraq, since Hussein violated the terms of the ceasefire that ended the Gulf War.
Al Qaeda: The final case frames the war against Saddam within the context of the war on terror, citing the dangers of Hussein cooperating with Al Qaeda fanatics or other terrorists who seek our destruction. Just as the United States destroyed one regime that gave succor to terrorists, so it must with another.

Read the entire thing, and you will find they dismiss three of the four, but the remaining one makes the attack necessary.

NO, THOSE ARE YOUR OPPONENTS. THE ENEMY IS BEHIND YOU.

Am I worried or surprised at this analysis of ALP infighting by Brad Norington? Not in the least.

The more ascendant the Left becomes, the more unelectable the ALP is. Imagine Anthony Albanese as Shadow Treasurer. Or Senator Kim "il" Carr as Foreign Minister. Victorians have long memories, and will not elect a Federal Government run by the people that brought them Joan Kirner.

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

I’m too tired for much new content tonight, but here’s a few bits and pieces I have been reading:
Professor Bunyip gives me reasons to buy magazines again, particularly those with sharp edges.

Jason Soon and Tim Blair beat up on an actor who is trying to make hay from having a familiar name. Kind of like those weird lookalike agencies. Creepy.

Gareth Parker praises Peter Walsh for his visceral loathing of greenies, and spends a moment to knee-drop Ian Macphee for his mopey views on immigration. Thanks are due to him for pointing out the implications of this
Surely it is time to abandon the legal mantra and adopt humanity.

And this from a Minister of the Crown. From a Red Guard, I would expect it.

On the international scene, Stephen Den Beste makes a good fist of explaining what the Bush Doctrine is, and how to recognise the straw men thrown against it.
In usual form, Phillip Adams tries to make a statement by asking questions about differences between members of the human race.
MALE vs female. Straight vs gay. Young vs old. Serb vs Croat. Haves vs have-nots. East vs West


How do I loathe thee? Let me count more ways we can be defined, differentiated, turned into enemies.


Class vs class. Caste vs caste. Sacred vs secular. Science vs religion. Church vs state. Right to life vs pro-choice. Tabloid vs broadsheet. Beta vs VHS. Jones vs Laws. Conservative vs progressive. Workers vs management. Capitalism vs communism. Good vs bad


Problem for Adams is, he is them. He’s rich, white, upper class, capitalist, conservative, straight, broadsheet. He makes his living doing the bidding of a billionaire. He moves carefully in wealthy circles, from Paddington to Yarramalong.

How much further to the right can he get?

Monday, August 05, 2002

There are reports that Federal Opposition Leader Simon Crean is facing an internal revolt over his drive to reduce union control in his Party from 60% to 50%. His own internal faction is reported to be organising a "revolt" against the move.

Call me cynical, but I refuse to believe that the Labor Party, which has some of the most skilled political operatives in the country, will deliberately throw the election by insisting on a vote that will cost the Opposition Leader his job.

Unless ….
The entire thing is stage-managed from the get-go to make sure that Crean gets to have a victory, in an internal rule reform that will do little to change policy, but looks hairy-chested to the punters.
Or …
The NSW Right Wing faction has decided that Crean in unelectable, and this is their chance to cripple him, so that one of their own can get the job.

I go for the first option, and predict that there will be a dramatic last-minute compromise that will let Crean look like a winner, regardless of reality.

He needs a win to dent the Prime Minister's popularity at home, and it's obvious that the coming war with Iraq will be very popular at home. That action will be done by this time next year, clearing the decks for Howard's retirement in favour of Treasurer Costello. Crean will be unable to stand against a "generational change", and to step aside in favour of another Labor aristocrat will not help.

So playing at ructions in the union-party relationship makes sense, as it doesn't require any actual policy reform, and the Head Office has enough clout and enough Byzantine rules to get around anything the State branches can throw at them.

Sunday, August 04, 2002

Take a look at Shannon Davies for an example of why Australian unions consider Freedon of Association to be a one-way street.

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