Global Warming; Its Increasing Lava Flows


 The President of the Disgruntled States of America.

And the citizens have little to be gruntled about.

Bottom ruling the Kingdom and leading it into a Shakespearian tragedy.

I don’t know who the kid is, but he has already booked his ticket to Gaunatamo Bay!

Your Thought and Mine


One of my favourite poets is Kahlil Gibran. Known best for his distillation of wisdom, “The Prophet”, he wrote a lot more which is not as widely read.

Like all good poets, there is a touch of prophecy in his writings.

Writing in the time of Mussolini and Franco and Hitler, in this piece I find prescient echoes of Bush and Bin Laden, Mugabe and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Howard and Putin.

And I know it doesn’t rhyme.

YOUR THOUGHT AND MINE

Your thought is a tree rooted deep in the soil of tradition and whose branches grow in the power of continuity. My thought is a cloud moving in the space. It turns into drops which, as they fall, form a brook that sings its way into the sea. Then it rises as vapour into the sky.

Your thought is a fortress that neither gale nor the lightning can shake. My thought is a tender leaf that sways in every direction and finds pleasure in its swaying.

Your thought is an ancient dogma that cannot change you nor can you change it. My thought is new, and it tests me and I test it morn and eve.

You have your thought and I have mine.

Your thought allows you to believe in the unequal contest of the strong against the weak, and in the tricking of the simple by the subtle ones. My thought creates in me the desire to till the earth with my hoe, and harvest the crops with my sickle, and build my home with stones and mortar, and weave my raiment with woollen and linen threads.

Your thought urges you to marry wealth and notability. Mine commends self-reliance.

Your thought advocates fame and show. Mine counsels me and implores me to cast aside notoriety and treat it like a grain of sand cast upon the shore of eternity.

Your thought instils in your heart arrogance and superiority. Mine plants within me love for peace and the desire for independence.

Your thought begets dreams of palaces with furniture of sandalwood studded with jewels, and beds made of twisted silk threads. My thought speaks softly in my ears, “Be clean in body and spirit even if you have nowhere to lay your head.”

Your thought makes you aspire to titles and offices. Mine exhorts me to humble service.

You have your thought and I have mine.

Your thought is social science, a religious and political dictionary. Mine is simple axiom.

Your thought speaks of the beautiful woman, the ugly, the virtuous, the prostitute, the intelligent, and the stupid. Mine sees in every woman a mother, a sister, or a daughter of every man.

The subjects of your thought are thieves, criminals, and assassins. Mine declares that thieves are the creatures of monopoly, criminals are the offspring of tyrants, and assassins are akin to the slain.

Your thought describes laws, courts, judges, punishments. Mine explains that when man makes a law, he either violates it or obeys it. If there is a basic law, we are all one before it. He who disdains the mean is himself mean. He who vaunts his scorn of the sinful vaunts his disdain of all humanity.

Your thought concerns the skilled, the artist, the intellectual, the philosopher, the priest. Mine speaks of the loving and the affectionate, the sincere, the honest, the forthright, the kindly, and the martyr.

Your thought advocates Judaism, Brahmanism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. In my thought there is only one universal religion, whose varied paths are but the fingers of the loving hand of the Supreme Being.

In your thought there are the rich, the poor, and the beggared. My thought holds that there are no riches but life; that we are all beggars, and no benefactor exists save life herself.

You have your thought and I have mine.

According to your thought, the greatness of nations lies in their politics, their parties, their conferences, their alliances and treaties. But mine proclaims that the importance of nations lies in work – work in the field, work in the vineyards, work with the loom, work in the tannery, work in the quarry, work in the timberyard, work in the office and in the press.

Your thought holds that the glory of the nations is in their heroes. It sings the praises of Rameses, Alexander, Caesar, Hannibal, and Napoleon. But mine claims that the real heroes are Confucius, Lao-Tse, Socrates, Plato, Abi Taleb, El Gazali, Jalal Ed-din-el Roumy, Copernicus, and Pasteur.

Your thought sees power in armies, cannons, battleships, submarines, aeroplanes, and poison gas. But mine asserts that power lies in reason, resolution, and truth. No matter how long the tyrant endures, he will be the loser at the end.

Your thought differentiates between pragmatist and idealist, between the part and the whole, between the mystic and materialist. Mine realizes that life is one and its weights, measures and tables do not coincide with your weights, measures and tables. He whom you suppose an idealist may be a practical man.

You have your thought and I have mine.

Your thought is interested in ruins and museums, mummies and petrified objects. But mine hovers in the ever-renewed haze and clouds.

Your thought is enthroned on skulls. Since you take pride in it, you glorify it too. My thought wanders in the obscure and distant valleys.

Your thought trumpets while you dance. Mine prefers the anguish of death to your music and dancing.

Your thought is the thought of gossip and false pleasure. Mine is the thought of him who is lost in his own country, of the alien in his own nation, of the solitary among his kinfolk and friends.

You have your thought and I have mine.

Missing Person


After four unsuccessful years of war, thousands of casualties (well, alright, tens of thousands of casualties) and sending the USA almost bankrupt, the Bush Administration has finally decided to get serious about finding that Bin Laden Guy!

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101 Uses For A John Howard #80


While I try to use older cartoons from Australia’s great cartoonist, Kudelka, sometimes I cannot resist the brand new and apposite comments he makes.

Such as this one, brand new and hot off the drawing board.

Although he has not yet suggested what shirt our leaders should wear for the infamous “Group Photo” which is the finale for all APEC wind-bag-fests.

Sydney’s hosting APEC, and in honour of some of the more repressive regimes in attendance, we’ve given our police the chance to show them how it’s done with new and exciting powers to keep unruly citizens in line.

However, the centrepiece of our APEC celebrations is a gigantic concrete and steel fence around the centre of Sydney, symbolising Australia’s open and welcoming attitude to those attempting to escape countries with more permanent and enthusiastic systems of keeping their people safe from such dangers as being able to move freely through their own cities or express political views.

But while the fence is ostensibly in place to keep the riffraff at a safe distance from their mostly democratically elected overlords, it’s also the jewel in the crown of John Howard’s climate change policy. While the latte-sipping tree-huggers who signed up to the Kyoto protocol vainly try to hold back the tide, John’s embraced global warming and is looking to the future.

Climate scientists have calculated that during APEC, the volume of hot air emitted on the topic of climate change will be sufficient to entirely melt the polar icecaps, causing the sea levels to rise dramatically. Fortunately, John will be busily gathering two of every different type of bureaucrat into the Opera House early in the week.

At around 2.8 metres high, the fence will keep out the flood and with the air conditioning cranked up to maximum and snacks available in the foyer, they will ride out the apocalypse in the manner of Noah and emerge triumphantly to create a perfect society based on the Australian Workplace Agreement.

The only hole in the plan is that the fence is made of steel lattice which may not prove to be as waterproof as hoped. Nonetheless, you can worry too much about the details when it comes to the environment and as long as it looks like you’re doing something, that’s generally considered good enough.

101 Uses For A John Howard #63


After a week where reports have surfaced of our soldiers’ dissatisfaction with their weapons it is worth while reflecting on where many of them have been sourced.

Kudelka once again hit the nail on the head. Well, he would have if the army issue hammer had not lost its head!

I love the smell of citrus in the morning, and one thing you can say about Australia is that it’s got some of the the freshest citrus-scented military hardware on the planet. Much has been made of the importance of our alliance with the United States and this is mainly due to the fact that with the lemons the US has sold us to defend ourselves with, the only invasion we’d have a chance against would be a small battalion of gin and tonics.

With Abrams tanks that get approximately 30cm to the gallon, Collins-class subs that you can’t run after 10pm due to council noise restrictions, naval Seasprite helicopters that don’t actually fly over water and Joint Strike Fighters apparently named after the substance the designers were abusing when they drew up the plans, the US have ruled out selling us the apparently airworthy F-22 Raptor on the grounds that we might accidentally cut ourselves.

…mind you, all of the above pale in comparison to the biggest lemon sold to Australia by an American president, but apparently there are no refunds on the Iraq invasion because little Johnny lost the receipt.

The Iapple Irack


This has been around for a while but it is worth watching again!

BBC Quiz of the Week


It is back – Calloo Callay!

No, not the Jabberwocky but the BBC Quiz of the Week.

After a couple of weeks where I haven’t been able to find it, it suddenly re-appeared.

But it was so easy!

“You got 7 right!  A veritable astronaut”

101 Uses For A John Howard #74


 Desperation is setting in in the great USA.

Some even see the Heads of State APEC meeting later this week in Sydney as a chance for Australia’s John Howard to impart some wisdom to George W Bush.

It won’t happen!

Great cartoonist Kudelka shows us why!

Mark Latham: a man not averse to calling it like he saw it and “conga line of suckholes” was some of his best work. Dress up your old vacuum cleaner as George W, point John W at the appropriate orifice, whack on some conga music and the awesome suction power of the Liberal Party is at your service.It’s been worked out by reputable scientists acting on the best data available to them at the time that if John Howard were attached to the rectum of a real human being who he was convinced was either George W Bush, the Queen, a talkback radio presenter or any past or present Test cricketer, he would suck that person’s brain right out their backside. Some conjecture is that this has already occurred with at least one of the above.

Pictured here with the optional extra Alexander Downer module, the Howard CongaCleaner™ is suctioning up the gigatons of bullshit still festooning the landscape of Iraq. Even with industrial strength bullshit-inhaling capacity available, it’s going to be quite a long time before The Job Is Done, but at least we know now what The Job is.

US Attorney General Gonzales Resigns


US Attorney-General Alberto Gonzales has resigned, The New York Times says on its website, citing a senior administration official.

The official said an announcement would be made later in the day but Justice Department officials were not immediately available to comment on the resignation report.

The official told The Times Mr Gonzales had told Mr Bush on Friday in a telephone call he would resign.

The 51-year-old has been at the centre of a political firestorm for President George W Bush over the sacking of eight federal prosecutors, which critics in Congress complained were politically motivated. I seem to recall that it is possible he perjured himself before Congressional enquiry or admitted ignorance.

In fact, Wikipedia notes, “Through his testimony before Congress on issues ranging from the Patriot Act to U.S. Attorney firings, he has commonly admitted ignorance.”

Just what the world needed. An ignorant Attorney-General in the employ of an ignorant President!

The Power of Protest Returns


I’m old.

I’m a grumpy old man. A Curmudgeon.

When I was young I believed all of us young people could change the world.

With the power of the poets and the lyricists.

We almost did.

But the old people prevailed.

Now I am old and grumpy because I failed.

What was worse than failing was that it seemed my children, and their whole generation, had turned their back on all that I had hoped for. That their job was more important than changing the world. My heroes, the protesting poets, faded into obscurity and they were not replaced.

Then, last night, at a small family gathering to celebrate the youngest tadpole’s birthday, the Bullfrog showed me a segment of a music video.

The world may yet be saved. The protest poets are not dead, just fewer and mostly silenced.

But this one slipped through the guard of the music publishing censors. And the young people are listening again.

At Wembley stadium – - -

Continue reading

101 Uses For A John Howard #60


Leading Australian political cartoonist, kudelka, again says what we have all thought but never dared to articulate. Although the world would have been a better place without its garden gnomes, Napoleon and Little Johnny.

Who can honestly say they haven’t gone out for a big Saturday on the piss and woken up on Sunday morning facing a pounding hangover, a grinning garden gnome and an ever-expanding black cloud of remorse and dismay? Well, if that sounds like your last four federal elections, you’re not alone, though admittedly most hangovers don’t last 3 years and rather than being humped around the world in a backpack, the gnome gets its own private jet.

Lawn ornament has been the most suggested post-retirement occupation for our Man Of Plaster, and what better lawn for him to adorn than the grassy sward in front of the White House? Frozen conveniently in the Suckhole Position he could provide succour to American Presidents for years to come. An added bonus is that no other country’s likely to nick him, no matter how pissed they might be at the time.

A comment made by a reader on the above cartoon was brilliantly insightful.
Surely there is an enterprising Young Liberal out there who can cut his entrepreneurial teeth on the bulk manufacture of this magnificent icon. Supporters of the Born To Rule Party can sport them in their dried up lawns, just in front of the flag pole.

In centuries to come, quizzical archeologists from alien realms will ponder the abundance of these miniature totems, correctly assuming they were a last ditch effort to placate the Great God Satan for the continued reign of His Chosen One at the arse end of the world.

Truth in Labelling


Found whilst browsing over at Former Frontier Editor. I think Raincoaster borrowed it as well. I hope she doesn’t tumble-dry it before she returns it.

Originally it was somewhere on a starry starry blog

 

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BBC Quiz of the Week


It is that time of the week again.   BBC News Quiz of the Week time.

I got lucky and scored 6/7

How will you go?

Study: Iraqis May Experience Sadness When Friends, Relatives Die


July 25, 2007

CHAPEL HILL, NC—A field study released Monday by the University of North Carolina School of Public Health suggests that Iraqi citizens experience sadness and a sense of loss when relatives, spouses, and even friends perish, emotions that have until recently been identified almost exclusively with Westerners.

“We were struck by how an Iraqi reacts to the sight of the bloody or decapitated corpse of a family member in a way not unlike an American, or at the very least a Canadian, would,” said Dr. Jonathan Pryztal, chief author of the study. “In addition to the rage, bloodlust, and hatred we already know to dominate the Iraqi emotional spectrum, it appears that they may have some capacity, however limited, for sadness.”

Though Pryztal was quick to add that more detailed analysis is needed, he said the findings cast some doubt on long-held assumptions about human nature in that region.

“Contrary to conventional wisdom, it seems that Iraqis do indeed experience at least minor feelings of grief when a best friend or a grandparent is ripped apart by a car bomb or shot execution style and later unearthed in a shallow mass grave,” Prytzal said. “Last December’s suicide-bomb killing of 71 Shiites in Baghdad, for example, produced unexpected reactions ranging from crumpled, sobbing despair to silent, dazed shock.”

Iraqis have often been observed weeping and wailing in apparent anguish, but the study offers evidence indicating this may not be exclusively an outward expression of anger or a desire for revenge. It also provocatively suggests that this grief can possess an American-like personal quality, and is not simply a tribal lamentation ritual.

Said Pryztal: “When trying to understand the psychology of the Iraqi citizenry after four years of war, think of a small American town roiled by the death of a well-known high school football player.”

According to Pryztal, the intensity of the grief does not diminish if the mourner experiences multiple bereavements over time. “If a woman has already lost one child, the subsequent killings of other children will evoke similar responses,” he said. “In the majority of cases we studied, it appeared as though those who lost multiple kids never actually got used to it.”

Though Pryztal expects the results of the study may be of some interest to students of Arab psychology, he did concede that the data may not be entirely accurate because it was gathered directly from Iraqis themselves.

“Almost all the Iraqis we interviewed said the war had ruined their lives because of the incalculable loss of friends and family,” Pryztal said. “But to be totally honest, these types of studies can be skewed rather easily by participant exaggeration.”

Psychologists and anthropologists have thus far largely discounted the study, claiming it has the same bias as a 1971 Stanford University study that concluded that many Vietnamese showed signs of psychological trauma from nearly a quarter century of continuous war in southeast Asia.

“We are, in truth, still a long way from determining if Iraqis are exhibiting actual, U.S.-grade sadness,” Mayo Clinic neuropsychologist Norman Blum said. “At present, we see no reason for the popular press to report on Iraqi emotions as if they are real.”

Pryztal said that his research group would next examine whether children in Sudan prefer playing with toys or serving as guerrilla fighters and killing innocent civilians.

The Onion

(Published in the Archive without alteration or comment. The “Humor” tag was added in a moment of blackness)

Happy Birthday, Archive!


Twelve months ago I began this blog.

A month earlier I had attempted to begin blogging but found the host I had chosen to be fairly unfriendly. Then I found WordPress.

Easy to use, full of innovation and with wonderful people behind the scenes, the WordPress community is fun.

But I was a bit of a pontificator back then. Here is my first post from twelve months ago. A pity I mis-spelled “10″ as “50″.

 

Within 50 years China will be the world’s number one super power!

It is an historical imperative.

Since the beginning of civilisation the seat of power, which began in the middle east, has progressively moved westwards. Now that it has reached North America there is only one realistic place for it to go.

China has the numbers, the size (unlike Japan) and most of the resources it needs. It also has a strong government which can control the masses. Its major competitor for the role of super power will be India.

Is China behind a lot of the troubles in the world? I don’t know, but China has a long history of war, and of defeating the victors over the space of two or three generations. China has had the “Art of War” for many centuries as a blueprint for victory. Sun Tzu asks seven questions about two opponents and on the basis of the answers he claims to be able to pick a victor. Once the questions are asked, then the victor becomes obvious to all. Here are those questions;

(1) Which of the two sovereigns is imbued with the Moral law?

(2) Which of the two generals has most ability?

(3) With whom lie the advantages derived from Heaven and Earth?

(4) On which side is discipline most rigorously enforced?

(5) Which army is stronger?

(6) On which side are officers and men more highly trained?

(7) In which army is there the greater constancy both in reward and punishment?

As to the question of whether there is a war being waged at the moment, look at which nation blocks most of the peacemaking proposals put forward by the UN or by the US. Yes, it is China.

Of course, while we may worry about the rise of China, it is also worth remembering the other historical imperative.

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Look on my works, ye mighty – - –

The life of an empire has been becoming progressively shorter!

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