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8 March 1991. Thought for the Week: "It is not too much to say that the practical aspect of all modern social problems is bound up with the over-riding problem of an effective democracy. If we cannot face the issue squarely, we cannot hope for anything but the succession and multiplication of crises, which now are almost our normal existence whatever the risks of democracy may be, they are preferable, and, indeed, insignificant, as compared with those to which we are submitted under the control of our taskmasters. A democratic Parliament is therefore from its inherent nature an assembly of representatives, not of delegates. It is concerned with impressing the will of the people upon the institutions of industry, agriculture, and commerce, and that will can only be concerned with results. Methods are for experts, and popular election is an unsound method by which to appoint an expert."
C.H. Douglas in The Alberta Experiment
THE PALESTINIAN TIME BOMB STILL TICKING
by Eric D. Butler
Zionist Israel has achieved one of its
stated objectives, the complete destruction of Iraq as a major
military force in the Middle East, while securing favourable
publicity as a result of its policy of "restraint" in the
Gulf conflict, and a flood of international financial and
military aid. Another winner, generally overlooked, is President
Assad of Syria who, while probably a more intelligent man
than his archrival Saddam Hussein, has used the same methods
as the Iraqi dictator to build a brutal, totalitarian State.
President Bush has stressed his great concern about the crimes committed by the Iraqis against the Kuwaitians. Judged by Western standards, these crimes have been horrendous. But President Bush is very selective about whose human rights concern him, as witnessed by the complete silence about what his new found allies, the Syrians, have been doing to the Lebanese Christians, who had developed the only type of democratic government operating in the Arab world.
Assad's ruthlessness has matched that of Saddam Hussein. And in his takeover in Lebanon, Assad has had the blessing of the Bush administration, with congratulations for his puppet Hrawi. Prominent Lebanese have been massacred. Having moved into Lebanon with the backing of the Bush administration, Assad is in the position to expand his own empire and will certainly attempt to fill any vacuum created by the disintegration of Iraq.
The Gulf War has destroyed one Arab tyrant while elevating another. Anyone who believes that the Bush administration can create peace and stability in the Middle East is divorced from reality, as the future will show. The main losers of the Gulf War are the desperate and disorganised Palestinians, whose plight has been temporarily forgotten during the Gulf War. The fact that the Palestinians and some of their leaders deluded themselves about the capacity of Saddam Hussein to offer them assistance, does not alter the truth that ever since the Palestinian refugee disaster was created by the Zionist terror of 1948, followed by the 1967 war and then continued by the Israelis ever since, has been like a time bomb in the volatile Arab world. It is an issue which affects the whole of the Moslem world.
The longer Zionist Israel is permitted to ignore the type of UN resolution used to justify force to remove Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, the greater will be the detestation of the West throughout, not only the Arab, but the whole Islamic world. If Western troops are required to stay in the Middle East for any length of time, it is preferable that they be British and French. Both Britain and France had had a longer and generally more understanding relationship with the Moslem world than have the Americans.
If there are to be "war crime" trials following the Gulf War, it is to be hoped that charges will also be laid against those who were accessories before the crime, namely all the Western firms and financiers who provided much of Iraq's sophisticated military equipment. Western politicians who gave aid and comfort to Saddam Hussein during his long assault on Iran might also be listed. As a major supplier of arms and thousands of military advisers, will the Soviet Union, particularly Gorbachev, be indicted? We doubt it.
The guns had not stopped firing in the Gulf War when another type of war started to emerge, a trade war. In order to hold Egypt in place in the alliance against Saddam Hussein, the USA wrote off an enormous amount of Egyptian debt owing to the USA and started to provide heavily subsidised grain supplies. It now emerges that the USA is going to expand its programme of subsidised wheat exports into the post Gulf War Middle East, with Iraq a major target. An Australian delegation is being rushed to the USA to stress Australia's fears. Before the Gulf War, Iraq was Australia's fourth biggest wheat market. The Australian delegation, headed by Dr. Blewett, will convey Australia's "grave concern about the damage being done to our farmers by the Export Enhancement Programme." The Australian delegation will naturally stress Australia's loyalty to the USA led coalition during the Gulf War. But it might as well save its breath. American Congress have to placate their own grain growers, who have votes. Trade wars poison all international relations and are the result of finance economic policies, which sustain the export or perish madness.
Remember all the propaganda before the Gulf War concerning the grave threat to the West if Saddam Hussein had control of Kuwait's oil supplies? Well, for nearly seven months, the sanctions programme ensured that no oil came out of either Iraq or Kuwait. Iraq has been one of the biggest oil producers in the Middle East. But there was no suggestion of oil supplies running short. And after an initial increase in oil prices, they then started to fall. An ominous report from Israel, quoting "a senior Israeli official" says that the Israeli Government was prepared to use "draconian" measures to prevent a resurgence of Palestinian protests and riots. The two-year popular uprising - intifada - ended when the nearly two million Palestinians living in Israeli occupied territories were placed under an almost constant curfew at the start of the Gulf War. A number of Palestinians have been shot over the past two years. Israel's threatened "draconian" measures can only further inflame the Arab world.
Using his far-reaching powers, Soviet President Gorbachev has appointed a hard line economist Vladimir Orlov, to his new cabinet and maintained orthodox Communist defence and KGB chiefs. President of the Russian Federation, Mr. Boris Yeltsin, has criticised Gorbachev's new Cabinet, charging that it is a further step towards dictatorship. Yeltsin is calling for Gorbachev's resignation. It is not surprising that Yeltsin is feared by the centralisers; he is not only calling for the Russian Federation to have greater freedom to administer its foreign trade but now threatens to print his own currency as a last resort. Centralisation versus decentralisation is emerging as the central feature of the struggle taking place in the Soviet Union.
ACT FLUORIDATION REPORT
In a shock decision in 1990, the ACT Government passed a bill to stop fluoridating the ACT water supply. Such was the uproar (mainly from the Federal politicians) that the ACT hastily turned the fluoride back on again, while an Inquiry into fluoridation was held. The Report from the Inquiry was presented last month, and is distinguished by the fact that the Dissenting Report is larger than the Majority Report. The Majority Report recommends fluoridating the water supply; the dissenters list massive evidence against fluoridation. 141 submissions against fluoridation were received, and only 10 in support. Mr. Dennis Stevenson, a dissenter on the Committee, said that evidence before them showed that fluoridation is ineffective, causes adverse health effects, disregards individual rights, is an environmental pollutant, and that dental cavities are not caused by a fluoride deficiency.
A BLAST FOR THE LEAGUE
EDUCATION AT CRISIS POINTfrom Herald-Sun (Melbourne), February 20th
"I'm impressed by MAHNTA's candour (Herald-Sun, February 8th) but why hide behind this acronym? My son thought you belonged to the MANTA GI-Joe troupe that had just landed at Bunyip. "Let me offer you a reason why V.C.E. education is in a crisis. An attitudinal problem has morally bankrupted many teachers in the State system. "Those who, in the past, wafted in the wind and fell in line with ideological and pedagogical rubbish are today exhausted, burnt out, crippled. Their only hope of survival rests on gaining system protection by being rewarded with an A.S.T. position. "Those that remained loyal to their teaching ideals have either broken down or have been ruthlessly pushed aside or out of the system. "The greatest casualty in this tragedy is the concept of truth. Social manipulators scorn this concept because they believe that they themselves are the creators of truth. Without truth telling, however, there can be no trust. Without trust our community falls apart. Dishonesty rots our society. Truth telling also implies courage, while telling lies - even white lies - implies cowardice. A liar is never honourable, and our society needs honourable people. "The time is ripe again for teachers to set high personal standards and lead by example." (Dr. Frederick Toben, Goroke, Vic.)
DEEMED A GOOD DEALfrom Herald-Sun (Melbourne), February 27th
"In recent months we have heard many times of government decisions being declared as inept, foolish, hard to understand and, even less charitably, as just plain madness. "I have as yet to see in print or on television a single complimentary comment concerning the new "deeming" law as applied to the savings of pensioners and the beneficial effect this will achieve on the amount paid out in age and veteran affairs pensions. "This is a well thought out plan to provide the Government with a great deal of new income and as such is surely a feather in its cap. "Savings of pensioners, no matter what the actual income, will be assessed as earnings of a minimum of 10% except for the first $2,000 and after amounting to $40 or $70 per week, dependent upon marital status, will reduce the pension payable by 50 cents per week for every dollar in excess of these amounts. This has been the case for many years. "However, since heretofore the resultant tax payable would have been at the rate of 22% it will now be assessed at a 'special pensioner rate' of 32.5% once the pensioner tax thresh hold is exceeded. "The benefits to Treasury will be very considerable. "There will be thousands of new taxpayers at a 50% increased tax rate, higher tax payments from those previously paying the 22% rate, cessation of any payment to those who were anywhere near the pension eligibility limit, and a drop in numbers of those who can claim a pension in the future. "The pensioner will also benefit as the 50% loss of pension and the 32.5% tax will mean that for every $2.50 earned they will be able to buy a postage stamp." (S. Graham, Mooroolbark)
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