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6 August 1999. Thought for the Week: "A stranger to our University, observing that undergraduates were inside their colleges before midnight, might believe that he had discovered a law of human nature - that there is something in the nature of the undergraduate which compels him to seek the protection of the college walls before the stroke of twelve. We must undeceive him, and point out that the law has a quite different source - the college authorities. "Should he conclude then that the law is altogether independent of undergraduate nature? Not necessarily. Careful research would reveal that the law depends on considerable antecedent experience of undergraduate nature. We cannot say that the twelve o'clock rule is not based on undergraduate nature; but it is not based on it in the way the stranger assumed."
Sir Arthur Eddington "The Philosophy of Physical Science."
MEDIA SINS CATCH UP
by Jeremy Lee
It was the American writer, Theodore Dreiser, who wrote in 1942: "The American Press with a very few exceptions, is a kept press. Kept by the big corporations the way a whore is kept by a rich man." A 'managed' press seems even more obvious in 1999. The Internet may change all that. In the Iraq "Desert Storm" war, and even more so in Kosovo, more and more were seeking alternative reporting on the 'Net, and it was surprising to find both quantity and quality of news which never appeared in the mainstream media. This is beginning to translate into a decline in both readership and television viewing.
Godfrey Hodgson, director of the Reuters
Foundation in Oxford, UK, included these comments in an in-depth
article in The Australian Financial Review (30/7/99):
"... Newspaper readership is declining in Britain... In the
US it is falling more sharply. Within newspapers 'serious'
news, rather than comment, features or sport, seems least
attractive to readers.
Journalists react to this growing indifference by seeking more and more sensationalism. The intrusions into personal tragedies and accidents become increasingly salacious. The search for 'scapegoats' is more like a witch-hunt and linked, one suspects, to the ever-growing 'compensation' industry. The media is too often a self-appointed public prosecutor, opinion-maker and political director than in the days when mature journalists were humble enough to seek to be objective.
THE IMAGE OF THE BANKS
Readers may be astounded to learn that the latest Morgan Poll, reported in The Bulletin (3/8/99) found: "Banks remain Australia's least popular industry, despite the Australian Bankers' Association's unconventional attempts at improving the industry's public image... Asked to nominate industries 'doing a poor job for Australia', 44% of Australians nominate banks, compared with only 6% in 1983..."Wonder why?
The survey was carried out in May and June before the news of the Laws allegations hit the headlines. It doesn't seem to have affected bank profits. ANZ will reportedly make $1.5 billion after tax this year, while NAB is reportedly heading for $3 billion.
On April 30th last year (1998) The
Australian carried a report of a speech by Michael Costello
as part of the paper's Australia Unlimited project. Costello's
views were almost unbelievable, even to those who know what's
going on. They included the following extracts:
Michael Costello, a former Senior Public Servant, certainly believes what he preaches! The Bulletin (3/8/99) reported: ". . . Michael Costello has walked away from a six-figure income as deputy managing director at the Australian Stock Exchange to work for practically zip for Kim Beazley.
ANOTHER VIEW OF OUR TRADE DEFICIT
Seemingly as night follows day, June
followed the previous months with another current-account-deficit
- $1.5 billion, or $2 million an hour over the 30 day period.
The analysis by two economists, Frank Gelber and Peter Jones
of BIS Shrapnel, Australian Financial Review (30/7/99)
is realistic and sobering:
This is the sort of analysis Kim Beazley needs if he is to offer a genuine alternative to the present disaster.
THE AGONY OF RUSSIA
Dads are used to handing their kids a few bucks for a present on Mum's birthday. They don't expect to collect either principal or interest. In the case of international loans there's some difference. The International Monetary Fund has just lent Russia a further $A7 billion. A previous 1996 loan of about the same amount has still not been accounted for. There is some evidence that it ended up in a foreign subsidiary of the central bank Fimaco, based in the Channel Islands.
According to Moscow correspondent Sheryle
Bagwell in The Australian Financial Review (30/7/99):
"... The $US4.5 billion loan will go towards paying off the
$23 billion that Russia already owes international financial
institutions (IFIs) such as the IMF - which means the money
will not even leave Washington. Indeed, the new loan is roughly
equivalent to the repayments Russia was obliged to make on
its debts to the IFIs this year
February 9th, 1992: US Congress establishes World War Foreign Debt Commission. Britain owes $4 billion; France $8 billion; Italy $1.6 billion.
October 22nd, 1923: German Mark slides to 40 billion Marks per 1 US dollar. US dollars buying up whole streets.
Friday, July 23rd, 1999: RUSSIA: Cannibalism is commonplace in Russia as people struggle to buy enough food (Herald-Sun).
These three news items, picked at random, emphasise the power of the banks over the life-and-death struggle of the people. In over 70 years it doesn't change - only the strategy and, maybe, a different scenario. One would think there'd be some confirmation - or otherwise - of cannibalism in Russia, and the blame apportioned by the International Human Rights Commission. There's no shortage of lamb or other foodstuffs - just the money to buy it. To apportion blame would involve the IMF; and nobody stands up to them!
The variety of controls exercised by the IMF and World Bank, and the private banking corporations behind them over the nations of the world (as demonstrated in the 'twenties and 'thirties right down to the present time) amounts to the ultimate arsenal that can, and will, blow the world apart. The question is not how, but when.
The scenarios are endless
December 27th, 1945: The International
Monetary Fund and the International Bank of Reconstruction
and Development (the World Bank) were born on this day, when
28 nations ratified the Bretton Woods Agreement. Currently,
these are the same banks heavily involved in the shifting
worldwide meltdown, causing such havoc as cannibalism and
all the perversions spawned by poverty.
REFRENDUM ANTAGONISMS SHARPEN
The Australian's religious correspondent, James Murray, in a rather woolly article with a strong republican bias (30/7/99), included the following question: "... The argument that the sovereign, being unelected, can rise above the clashes and contentions of politics is persuasive. But who, in fact, does royalty represent?"
Mr. Murray has missed the point completely. It is those who stand for elections, seeking votes and fighting opponents who "represent". The matter was well put by the late Yehudi Menuhin, in his autobiography Unfinished Journey: "The Monarchy... commands a loyalty owing nothing to power. Power must always be partisan; it belongs to money or the military, to Republican or Democrat, left or right, capital, labour or bureaucrat - to those in power. To have a 'non-power' above power seems to me to be the ultimate safeguard."
What we risk was well explained by David Flint in The Bulletin (3/8/99): "...Unlike any other democratic republic in the world, the president in the Keating-Turnbull republic would hold office at the whim of the prime minister. Imagine a football game where the referee is about to rule against the home team and the captain sends him off.
As Liberal legend Reg 'Toecutter' Withers claimed: 'Under the Constitution, it'll be easier for the prime minister to sack the president than his driver.' "This part - the key point of this republic - won't even appear in the question. We are being offered not only a politician's president, but one who will be the prime minister's poodle..."
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
The effort required to retain the American Lamb 'market' illustrates the foolishness of Australia's tariff wind-back. The argument for tariff reduction was that farmers could buy their machinery cheaper. Any gain in that direction has been at the cost of our independent machinery manufacturers. Meanwhile, other countries are maintaining and strengthening their protection when faced with the same economic problems we face.
Tariffs and non-tariff measures will never solve the basic economic flaw, which is that no economy distributes sufficient purchasing power to buy all it produces. Hence the paradox of trying to export feverishly while there is poverty and under-consumption at home. Trouble is, a potential market cannot be consummated until a means of putting purchasing power in the purses of those not needed in the production system is put in place. Fiddling with taxation reform (GST food in or food out) won't do it. A rewriting of the economic rulebook to take account of the increment of technology must eventually come. Yours truly, Ron Fischer, Talbot, Vic.
HAYDEN TOLD TO 'DISAPPEAR'One time Labor leader, and Governor General, Bill Hayden, is being asked to 'disappear gracefully' by his former Labor colleagues because of his public statement that multiculturalism is not working and should be abolished and immigration cut. Labor's Federal Immigration spokesman, Con Sciacca, publicly criticised Mr. Hayden saying his views were now closer to those of the Coalition and Pauline Hanson (Ballarat Courier, 9/7/99).
INHUMANITY OF PROPOSED EXTRADITION
by Nigel Jackson
Thirteen years later, the evil persists. Now Jewish pressure groups seek to push the Lithuanian and Australian governments into arranging the extradition of an 88-year-old man, Antanas Gudelis, of Adelaide to face "judgment" in Lithuania. What has happened to the moral sense of Australians? There should have been a storm of protest around the nation at the inhumanity of treating a man so old in such a fashion, at the hypocrisy of proposals to try him for "crimes against humanity"!
On July 22nd I sent letters to newspapers in Melbourne and Sydney protesting against the wickedness and naming Jewish groups as the culprits. None had been published by July 31st, nor had any other letter protesting the campaign. Are we monarchy, republic-to-be or tyranny-in-fact?
Jewish pressure on the Lithuanian authorities is intense, according to a Melbourne journalist who recently spoke to the chief prosecutor of that country, even to the point of threatening Lithuania "with exclusion from the European Union"! Australian newspapers publish statements by Jewish spokesmen berating us for not having yet successfully prosecuted a single 'Nazi war criminal'. It would appear enormous pressure is being placed behind the scenes on our Government to change that situation.
We need to recall the horror that Greek tragedians felt at the pollution of the state by evil actions. If Australians supinely allow the extradition of Mr. Gudelis to occur, they will have let such pollution of their community happen; and what expiation will they then make? But perhaps one of the purposes of the extradition proposal is precisely to morally degrade and humiliate Australia so that it can be more easily bullied into becoming a slave-republic in the Grand Tyranny of the New World Order world government!
THE AGENDA AFTER THE G.S.T.
by Q. Bunge
Those on $20,000 income per annum spend
it all on survival, so on the original Howard model they would
pay 10% G.S.T. on 100% of income. Those on $200,000 income
per annum reinvest about half of it, which does not attract
the GST. The effective rate payable on their $100.000 equals
only 5% G.S.T. of their $200,000 income. The reduced income
tax trade-off for the G.S.T. will result in perhaps a 10%
income tax reduction for $200,000 per annum earners.
While Mr. Howard has repeatedly signalled his 'tax reform' policy, the G.S.T. package was the only substantial item on the table. Since his success in the Senate with the G.S.T., the rest of the agenda can now emerge. The Democrats, always the political arm of the well-salaried chattering classes, delivered the G.S.T. for them. Whether their voters - more the "hopeful punters of protest type" - will accept the crumbs of compromise with thanksgiving, is less likely, come the next election.
Mr. Howard's recent visit to the U.S., home of Wall Street, had an aspect of "Didn't I do good Dad?" about it. "Nine out of ten for the G.S.T. is okay son, but what about C.G.T.?" "C.G.T. Dad? Oh, Capital Gains Tax well, we could reduce that for you Dad." On returning to Australia, Mr. Howard said, "If we're interested in attracting more investment and more economic activity, particularly from the United States, as far as practicable, the choice between investing in America and investing in Australia has to be neutral." - The Australian Financial Review, 19/7/99.
As the U.S. C.G.T. rate is capped at 20% (after 18 months), clearly, C.G.T. will be cut here. But what about the lambs? As is usual, lambs only bleat until they get to the slaughterhouse. After a little ceremony in which the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury said, "The U.S. has the right to protect its workers" and spoke of "free and fair trade" (News Weekly, 31/7/99), President Clinton cut the throat of Australia's protest at the increased lamb tariffs and our lamb producers are still bleeding.
The financial press has since speculated
that Mr. Howard hopes to establish Australia as the global
market place for the 24-hour trade in shares, bonds and derivatives
during our time zone. Asia has blotted its copybook economically
and we might be able to take this window of opportunity -
if our tax regime suits financial interests. Apparently, we
must 'jump out of this window' simply because it is there.
Why did C.H. Douglas say that the Finance party won every election? The Ralph Tax Review Committee, due to report this month (August) will no doubt tell us more about making our world safe for finance.
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