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Monday, July 31, 2006

Embarrassed - perhaps?

Perhaps Israel - at long last - is embarrassed and feeling the tide of public opinion slipping away from it after the bombing of women and children at Qana in Southern Lebanon. Qana is said to be the site of the Wedding Feast of Cana where Jesus turned the water into wine. Word has just come through that Israel has suspended, with immediate effect, all aerial bombing for 48 hours while they investigate the events at Qana, the site of a previous Israeli atrocity in Operation Grapes of Wrath. Now this is a case of Caesar investigating Caesar when an independent investigation is what is called for. Failure to have an independent investigation give its verdict will mean that Qana will always be held over Israel's head as a war crime. Even Tony Blair has now demanded an instant cessation to hostilities. Is he embarrassed too - following the statements of Jack Straw?

Is this an ever so small indication of some people pulling their horns in?

Miss Eagle had not long finished putting a comment on Colin's blog:

Condi is not trying hard enough. If she wants a post-Bush reputation - or even to run for political office - you'd think it would be in her own interest to broker peace. Of course, the US never does - or perhaps are unable to do - the one thing that needs to be done: getting Israel and the people in the US and elsewhere who finance them to pull their horns in. Israel and the US and Tony Blair need to remember that Hezbollah who initiated this round of fighting are acting like terrorists - just what they are and just what one expects. Israel - on the other hand - tries to be pure and profess that it is democratic and the killing of civilians is accidental. Poppycock! Israel cannot carry on like this - particularly with the backdrop of the suffering of Jewish people in World War II - and demonstrate it has no care for any human being other than its own citizens and expect people outside Israel not to be repulsed by its actions. Israeli self-interest is a stinking, smelly, rotten affair. But the psychology of a nation that builds its own ghetto is outside the parameters of normal comprehension.

Converging towards Peace

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Pine Gap has been an emblem of Australia's involvement in the United States geo-military network since 9 December 1966 when the Australian and US governments signed the Pine Gap treaty. Pine Gap is a CIA-run facility as the ground control and processing station for geosynchronous satellites engaged in signals intelligence collection.

There are four categories of signals collected:

  • telemetry from advanced weaponos developmebnt, such as ballistic missiles, used for arms control verification;
  • signals from anti-missile and anti-aircraft radars;
  • transmissions intended for communicatins satellites; and
  • microwave emissions, such as long distance telephone calls.

It is widely beleaved that this facility and facilities like it around the world also benefit the commercial interests of the US government and US corporations, commonly referred to as US Inc. In short, industrial and commercial espionage is part of its brief. Bear this in mind when considering the Australia-US Fair Trade Agreement.

Pine Gap has been the focus, across the years, of numerous demonstrations. In December last year, a group of poeple known as Christians Against ALL Terrorism actually penetrated the Pine Gap perimeter by peaceful means and face trial on October 3, 2006 in Alice Springs in Australia's Northern Territory. Read an account of their experience here.This trial is of particular legal interest because Australia's Attorney-General, that ghost like person Phillip Ruddock, has charged these four people under a never before used Commonowealth law. Please go to the website where you can leave donations and look at other ways in which you might be able to support the Pine Gap 4, Jim Dowling, Adele Goldie, Bryan Law and Donna Mulhearn.

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Do we want to go to war on fuel prices?

Here, dear Reader, is an interesting viewpoint. John Murphy has called on the Howard Government to regulate fuel prices using the special defence powers reserved to the Commonwealth in the constitution. Read what he has to say and please let Miss Eagle know what you think. You can let John Murphy know at .

You might like to let Miss Eagle know what you are paying for petrol at the moment - particularly if you live in rural, regional, or outback Australia. Here in Upper Ferntree Gully in the outer south-east of Melbourne, Miss Eagle yesterday, Thursday, paid 144c per litre.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Spotlight Vigil - Bayswater, Melbourne

Dave Kerin, wise man of Union Solidarity

Spotlight, which proclaims itself to have Australia's largest fabric, craft & home interior superstores, has placed itself in the centre of industrial controversy in recent times by placing new employees on Australia Workplace Agreements (AWAs) which cut wages and conditions. This has led to protest after protest outside Spotlight stores across Australia. Today, the protest shifted to Spotlight's store in Canterbury Road, Bayswater in Melbourne's eastern suburbs organized by the Eastern Community Action Group.

Bob and Jenny came after hearing about the Vigil at the Knox City leafletting campaign.

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Dave Leydon chaired proceedings

This story has a postscript. Please go here.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

In our name...

There are those within our body politic who never cotton on to the workings of our national government. For them, but for many of us as well, the United Nations operates in a stratosphere all its own. That's why we should feel indebted to Brian Walters SC for his work in alerting us to how Australia has voted recently in the councils of the UN.

Fancy an Australian government opposing a resolution to put more work into framing a right to food!

Australia is so far along the American path, it appears, that it will do everything in its power to neuter the UN. Is this what Australians want? Is this who Australians perceive themselves to be? Why don't we want to enshrine in the laws of humanity a right to food? Doesn't all of humanity whoever they are wherever they are have a God-given right to eat?

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Man in Black for Breakfast

There is not much time for music on Radio National Breakfast on the ABC but for the last few mornings - including Geraldine Doogue's show on Saturday morning last - Fran Kelly has been playing a track from Johnny Cash's posthumous album, "American Five: a hundred highways". The tracks from this record were cut while he was ill in bed. He would sit up in bed and sing until he was to tired or exhausted and the tracks would be taken away and produced. Miss Eagle finds it difficult to listen without tears coming to her eyes. The great Man in Black in a weakened condition but still the music will out! And it has gone to Number One.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

No justice for Jean Charles

Last year, Jean Charles de Menezes died in what appeared to be a shoot to kill policy by London's Metropolitan Police following the London Tube bombings of 7 July 2005. Miss Eagle posted here, here, here and here. It was a case of mistaken identity. Menezes was not a terrorist nor did he have anything to do with terrorists.

Now, over twelve months later, it appears that no police personnel will face charges but that the Met itself could face charges under Occupational Health & Safety laws. The clouds have not yet cleared over the head of the Police Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair.

In war, when land forces are in battle, there is an event called 'hot pursuit'. This recognizes the fact that, in the heat of battle, troops may inadvertently cross boundaries in pursuit of the enemy. In such cases, the nation whose boundaries have been crossed usually ignores the incursion. Sometimes, a sympathetic neighbouring nation will turn a blind eye to such incursions when under 'hot pursuit' troops deliberately pursue their adversaries when they seek shelter across a national boundary.

It would now appear that the so-called War on Terror allows police, if only in a de facto way, the provisions of 'hot pursuit'. Jean Charles de Menezes is dead. His death was unwarranted. His death bore the hallmarks of a summary execution. No one has been held accountable. There is no justice for Jean Charles nor is his Brazilian family. Consideration has been given to the Metropolitian Police. Justice has been denied the Menezes family.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Yesterday or to-morrow, the decision will be made.

Yesterday's headlines

Yesterday's headlines, perhaps. And the news to-day is of the war-mongers of Israel and the internecine warfare of the troublesome Middle East followed by COAG (Council of Australian Governments) which will see grand-standing by State Premiers and general riposte from Howard and Costello. But the story behind the headlines has not and will not go away.

Beattie says that Costello has been taking lessons from General Custer. The boy has not handled the matter well, that's for sure. Keating did it - and with some finesse and success.

Costello clearly doesn't have the numbers or someone would be tapping Howard on the shoulder which is what happened to Hawke. So if Costello does not have the numbers and he has shot himself in both fee this week, will the damage be permanent? Miss Eagle thinks it might. Where are the numbers for Costello to come from? They will only come from those who think an election can be won with him at the helm. At this stage, it would seem that the majority of Liberal Party members of Parliament think they have more of a chance with Howard.

So, when Howard goes and if Costello is permanently impaired, who will win the day - the garrulous Tony Abbott, the show-off Brendan Nelson? Almost certainly it will not be the Suet Pudding, Alexander Downer. Or will someone come out of left field?

One thing is sure, the headlines will return. Howard will go. Someone unattractive will be elected to take over the Liberal Party from someone unattractive.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A Latin lover?

Last night, Herself put before Miss Eagle a little translation problem. She had seen some young fellas with mohawks in a clapped out Torana and a sticker on the car which said in Latin:

Ego subdolus consilium habeo
Miss Eagle dragged her Grade 10 Latin up from the hidden dungeons of her memory and managed to translate ego and consilium and habeo. But that subdolus had her stumped. So then Miss Eagle got out a Latin dictionary on the 'net but still it did not seem to make sense. So Miss Eagle - at this stage she needed a sort of Latin thesaurus - went looking for an alternative word for her own translation of consilium. Herself was standing at Miss Eagle's right shoulder and we were puzzling over how to put "subdolus consilium" together when - and this was within 30 seconds, dear Reader - Herself's face lit up. She not only had the phrase, she knew the source and the connection.
Now Miss Eagle has googled the Latin phrase without a result. So she thinks there may be some small degree of difficulty here for some people. The phrase, in English, is on the 'net - of course from its source. So Miss Eagle is offering a packet of Tim Tams as the prize for the first blogger with the correct translation and its source posted in the comments. If you come from outside Australia, Miss Eagle has to advise that this is a much coveted prize.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Just click to include your resume!

Pick the job applicant.
Pick who joins the unemployment queue.

So this is Rupert's view?

At the railway station this morning, this poster blared out its headline. Your correspondent, dear Reader, couldn't resist a snap.

But Miss Eagle has to ask, this is news? Miss Eagle remembers back in the long, long ago when John Howard became, in the days when he was Treasurer back in 1977-1982, widely known by the moniker, Honest John. And it was not given him for his honesty. And have we seen great displays of honesty since? Miss Eagle doesn't think so.

But at last we have the suggestion that Howard is a liar in a poster published by the Australian flagship of the Murdoch press. Surely the most myopic voter can read it in red and white.

And what of our current treasurer, Peter Costello? Herself says "Fancy getting up in the morning and going to work with Howard when you are as pissed off as that. What a way to spend your days!" But Costello is saying that he has, for moe than ten years, put his disappointment aside for the sake of the nation.

What self-discipline, what self-forgetfulness, what generosity of spirit all wrapped up in a free-spending Treasurer! Now why wouldn't we want someone like that for Prime Minister!

C'mon please tell Miss Eagle why - but mind your manners.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Miss Eagle - the fair go feminist

Over at Dragon Girl, Jules has posted about the F word. No, not that F word. It's the other one, Feminism. She has asked us to post on what Feminism means to us. Well, to Miss Eagle it means the F phrase - a fair go. Without Feminism women do NOT, and I repeat NOT get a fair go.

Without Feminism some do all right. They always have. They use their feminine wiles and sleep their way to the top. (In fact, Miss Eagle knows of some who would own the feminist tag who still do.) They find the time honoured negative feminine skills of manipulation designed to deceive the gullible MOTS (male of the species). And there have always been the power-behind-the-throne types.

But for a lot of us who want to be able to earn a living without harassment and get a fair day's pay for it; to have access to a decent and worthwhile education again without harassment; to be treated as intelligent human beings and consumers within a health system which has a powerful male dominated medical profession then feminism has been the way to express our view points and demand an equal footing. This does not automatically make us man-haters, neglecters of children, and self-centered creatures.

Lest we forget, a century ago women were chattels of the MOTS without ANY fertility control. Women were passed from the control of their fathers to the control of their husbands and that was the way their money and their children went too.

Feminists come in all sorts of shades from lesbian separatists to Marxist feminists and post-modernists. Just like any other school of thought in the whole wide world there is diversity. But to get done what women have done over the last 3.5 decades, women have co-alesced and co-operated on major issues such as domestic violence; rape; childcare; equal pay; and access to education and healthcare.

And Miss Eagle wishes it to be known that her marching shoes have never gathered dust whether in the cause of peace, racism, working conditions, or feminism.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Storm defeating the Broncos 10-4, Olympic Park, 7 July 2006

Miss Eagle went to Olympic Park on Friday night to see The Storm play The Broncos. Wonderful game. The Storm at the top of the NRL (National Rugby League ladder) played The Broncos who are number 2 on the ladder. The two top teams in the competition provided great entertainment before a - needless to say - partisan Melbourne crowd who cheered, applauded, and sang The Storm to victory. While competition League games in Melbourne are not well attended compared to the preferred code of the locals, Aussie Rules, The Storm did well on Friday night with an attendance of 15, 479 providing a packed stadium and the best attendance in six years. Now Miss Eagle is not the best sporting photographer ever to grace a League game but the slide show below will give a feel for the game and its excitement. Miss Eagle is a Billy Slater fan ever since his magnificent first try in the first game of 2004 State of Origin. This is helped along because they are both North Queenslanders. Miss Eagle's friends, Skye and Eden, who Miss Eagle accompanied to the game are fans of Cooper Kronk who comes from Brisbane.

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Roosting time....not yet, methinks!

The nation, or at least the metro media, is speculating once again on whether Howard will resign. The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that there is planned refurbishment of the Howard family home in the inner North Shore suburb of Wollstonecraft.. Former Howard staffer, Grahame Morris is saying that it is likely that Costello will know of Howard's plans by Christmas. The Age to-day is carrying a poll.

Last November, Miss Eagle posted begging John Howard not to resign. She has not altered her view. Miss Eagle does not want Howard to resign...yet. You see, dear Reader, all the chickens have not yet come home to roost, the pendulum is only now showing a little quivering which has yet to turn into a swing, the seeds that have been sown are not yet showing a clear and distinct form which will demonstrate to even the most myopic voter that they are a species of noxious weed. The myopic voter is not yet clear about Howard's meanness, cruelty, and indifference to human beings and the human condition; his subservience to great influence and power interests including the planning of a rich slew of retirement benefits and sinecures not only within Australia but from international, and - more particularly - U.S. sources; and his willingness to serve power and business against the interests of Australia and its people.

Australia has the shame and disgrace of AWA, and AWB. Keep going John and you can make it quite easily to AWZ.

One thing Miss Eagle would point to in suggesting that Howard will retire prior to the next election. Howard has to leave office well ahead of George W. Bush. And remember, George W. has only two years from next November left in office. There is every likelihood that George W. will become more of a lame duck, day by day, particularly if November's mid-term Congressional elections go against the Republicans.

The Howards in regal style befitting the nabob of an outpost of the American Empire

The reason Howard has to leave office well ahead of George W. Bush is so that he can take advantage of the benefices of Bush's office to undergird the international aspirations of his retirement plans. A place on the board of a bank or BHP Billiton will not suffice for this Prime Minister. It is difficult to imagine him taking on the international humanitarian role of former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser or the great campaigning in relation to a significant part of the human condition undertaken by former Victorian Premier, Jeff Kennett. Howard has grand plans for his retirement - and all venal. Roosting time is not yet....but could be nearing.

Friday, July 07, 2006

We must all be guardians

Miss Eagle's blogging mate, Denis Wilson, over at The Nature of Robertson has done numerous posts about the Kangaloon Aquifer and Sydney's profligate demands for water which see Sydney Water readying to rip-off the aquifers and catchments of the Southern Highlands to meet Sydney demands. This will have drastic effects on the environment and agricultural livelihoods in the beautiful Southern Highlands of NSW.

Denis's own efforts and encouragement have now led to Karen Guymer setting up a blog dedicated to the issues. It is called, quite simply, Kangaloon Aquifer Issues.

It seems to be the nature of things to-day, on this planet, in this place, and in this time, that each of us has to become a guardian of our own environment. Bush is accused of prosecuting an "oil war". This may only be a precursor to the "water wars". Water and air are our very life. When we pollute them, when we rob them - we reduce our access to life. Can't we see that? Can we only see self-interest?

If you, dear Reader, are standing guard over your environment, particularly in regard to water and air issues, could you please be in touch with Miss Eagle and tell her about it? If you too have a blog to alert people about a particular environmental issue, could you please advise Miss Eagle because she would like to put a cache of environmental blog links on her side-bar to alert and encourage people. And just like the RSL says at 7pm every night "Lest we forget", perhaps we ought to look around us at what we value and what we wish to protect and say each day, at sunrise and sunset, "Before it's too late....."

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Keep McArthur wild, free and clean - 2

Miss Eagle, you may recall dear Reader, posted back in March about X-Strata's proposal to divert the McArthur River and to mine its creek bed. They were knocked back by the NT Government then but have now come back with a revised - but basically the same - plan. Here are some links to explore on the subject:
Miss Eagle has to-day written to the Hon Kon Vatskalis at ''. It is interesting to note that Kon Vatskalis is not only the Minister for Mines and Energy but also holds the portfolio of Minister for Primary Industry and Fisheries. Please remember this, dear Reader, as you read the letter your Miss Eagle sent to the Minister. Of course, one has to ask if these portfolios can co-exist together without conflict of interest. Perhaps the NT Government could address this question. The Minister himself could prove this by giving a decision that takes into account the important fisheries of the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Dear Minister,

I am a former resident of McArthur River Station and a former electorate officer to Maggie Hickey who was formerly Member for Barkly and Leader of the Opposition.

I lived on McArthur River Station when the McArthur River Mine was just a pilot project. I worked for Maggie when all the negotiations were going on to develop the mine – particularly discussions with traditional owners and the people of Borroloola. The McArthur River itself has played a major role in my life and since 1977 I have always kept a personal watching brief on what has happened to it and to the mine because I have always recognised the capacity of the mine to interfere in the life of the river. Now interference is proposed in a drastic and dramatic fashion.

I am horrified by the plans of X-Strata to divert the river and mine the river bed. I ask you, Minister, to use your best efforts to thwart X-Strata’s plans and prevent this development. There is a more precious resource at stake than the mineral deposits of the McArthur River creek bed. There is the environmental and recreational and economic resource of such a river in pristine condition and its contribution to the Gulf of Carpentaria.

As you are well aware, arguably the best barramundi fishing in Australia is off Borroloola. By extrapolation, it is arguably the best barra fishing in the world. This is an environmental, recreational, and economic resource which we have to guard and develop for the future. The major risk factor to the protection and development of such a resource is mining and the outfall from its development and processes.

My view is that diversion of the river would be an environmental disaster to an otherwise pristine river. To add to this environmental rape, the mining process will mean further environmental damage with the distinct possibility of impact over a wide area. Particularly problematic are heavy climatic conditions during The Wet.

X-Strata can neither predict future events and outcomes with 100% accuracy nor is it able to control for all foreseeable contingencies, let alone the unforeseen ones.

Minister, please act to prevent X-Strata’s plans and to preserve the McArthur River for its traditional owners and custodians, for the people of the Borroloola and Barkly Regions, and as part of the heritage of Territorians and all Australians.

Monday, July 03, 2006

St Thom's celebrates 100 years

Yesterday, Sunday 2 July 2006,
St Thomas's Anglican Church at Upper Ferntree Gully
celebrated its 100th birthday.

The celebration was a wonderful mix of formality and informality.
All those white shirts in the pews on the left belonged to Singularity,
a local choir who performed magnificently.
Miss Eagle particularly enjoyed their rendition of Vivaldi's Gloria.

Of course, we had a Bishop (in full regalia) present to kick it along:

Bishop Stephen Hale, Bishop of the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne.

Susanne, our priest, presided over a beautiful event which
brought together young and old: those who have long memories
and contributions to St Thom's and those who are just embarking
on their journey with us.

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Corporate tommy rot at Channel 9, The Bulletin & PBL

The fur has been flying this week in corporate Australia - in particular Channel 9 and PBL. The corporate culture at 9 and within its owner PBL has been revealed in a most unattractive fashion.

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Julie Szego in her article Blokes on Top in to-day's The Age analyses it for its impact on women in corporate Australia, particularly in light of presenter of To-day, Jessica Rowe, and editor of The Bulletin, Kathy Bail. Both of these people and the way they have been and are being treated by PBL seem to give credence to the adage that women have to work twice as hard as men to be seen as being half as good. And guess who's in the thick of it, that sporting icon turned corporate executive, Eddie Everywhere. What a good look, Eddie! You've done yourself proud - I must say. And for all those blokes here in Melbourne who think Eddie is a creditable and shining example of Australian manhood, take a tip from Miss Eagle - he's not!

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What you won't get from the on-line edition of The Age that is in the print edition is the accompanying photographs of five top female Australian executives. Namely:

One "prominent male business figure" who declined to be named is quoted as saying that "more women will be appointed to boards when more put themselves forward". Well no wonder he doesn't want to be named - names won't be quoted to protect the guilty? Two points I would make to you Mr Cowardly Unnamed Businessman:

  1. Representation by women on boards and in higher executive positions does not and should not rely on women "putting themselves forward". Women should be there because they are just as entitled - and frequently more entitled - than men to be there based on skills, merits, and their ability to communicate with a wider public.
  2. If the system did rely on women "putting themselves forward", why on earth would they? Could Mr Cowardly Unnamed Businessman please tell Miss Eagle why any of the five women named above would want to or wish to or aspire to work in such a culture as that prevailing at PBL, The Bulletin and Channel 9? Why would any of those five women want to work with Eddie McGuire? What skills do Eddie McGuire and John Lehmann (who was preferred ahead of Kathy Bail) have that makes them stand out from a host of well-qualified women employed in media and business?

All Miss Eagle can say is thanks be that all this is being revealed. Too often, Australians are encouraged - particularly by political leaders - to admire business executives and directors as people of achievement and probity. If one thing is clear from the events of the last week, it is that these are shabby people doing shabby deals advancing people over whom hang doubts about whether their ability is of sufficient rank to justify their promotion.

And we are supposed to think that Australian business is operating at the height of efficiency and in the best interest of its "stakeholders"? Phooey!