Friday’s Missing Link


Best Post

Predictably, the blogosphere is  full of posts about GW Bush’s “Iraq surge” policy announced yesterday.   At least, that’s true of the left and centrist blogosphere.   I can’t find even a single post about it amongst Australian RWDB bloggers.   Can anyone point me towards one?   On the left and centre, the volume of posts on this topic  is so great that I’ve had to be  fairly selective, which means that quite a few worthy posts aren’t linked.

The arts blogs are also fairly quiet at the moment, most seemingly taking a prolonged Christmas break. Nevertheless, I’ve included the usual Friday Yartz section.   I might as well again appeal for help with compiling an arts digest for Missing Link once a week.   I don’t really have either the time or knowledge to do it justice, so if there’s anyone out there willing to assist I’d be most grateful.   There are lots of Australian visual arts, book and theatre blogs that I seldom get time to peruse.

I should also give an honourable mention to Boynton’s alternative  “Best Posts” compilation (listed here and here), the winner of which is reproduced at right.

Anyway, on with the show.


News and politics stuff

Iraq and the “surge”

Other news-ish topics

  • Mr Catmeat requires context – Tim Blair examines the appalling Sheikh Hilaly’s latest appalling utterances.   Personally I’d support a tightly drafted federal law to strip this  odious little man  of his citizenship and deport him.   Even Niall Cook agrees!
  • What I’m writing – why do referendums fail? – Paul Norton
  • Has Schwarzenegger crossed the floor? – Paul Mitchell  reflects on some distinctly “girly-man-ish” policy stances recently adopted by the Governator.
  • Roll Rastafari Chariot Along – Eric Martin with a detailed 3 part analysis (here  and here  with part 3 still to come)  of the current situation in Somalia and its implications.
  • Vote 1 Labor – not yet, Ken Lovell argues, but Rex Ringschott at Labor First (predictably)  reckons he’s being a bit harsh on Ruddard.     Mind you, I don’t think Howard’s strategists will be losing too much sleep over either Ken’s or Rex’s  opinion, because neither  is likely to  be preferencing the Coalition ahead of Labor any time before hell freezes over.
  • Election year staff boost for MPs – Andrew Bartlett highlights the latest resourcing rort favouring incumbent federal pollies in general and the Coalition in particular.   You seldom hear about this in the mainstream media, because it doesn’t suit either major party to focus on it and the Parliamentary Press Gallery are largely too lazy to go out and look for stories themselves.


Life and other serious stuff

  • Does diversity affect what we think about the welfare state (or its size)?   Yes, says Andrew Leigh, but fellow economist  Andrew Norton doubts it.
  • The Killers – Helen ‘scepticlawyer’ Dale on genocide, Saddam and related matters.   Recommended reading.
  • None so deaf as those who cannot hear – David ‘Barista’ Tiley with a wonderful piece about deafness and associated issues.  
  • Childcare, taxes and corporations – “John the Analyst” argues for abolition of current childcare subsidies and tax breaks, and their replacement by a fully public childcare system.
  • Most forecasts are crap – Peter Martin presents a compelling case.   I especially liked this passage:

My own view is that we need delusional optimism in order to survive childhood. And when we become adults we often join corporations (or public service departments) in which delusional optimism is encouraged.

In most jobs it counts against you to admit that you don’t know, or are not sure, or that you have doubts.

Whoever has the least doubt gets promoted, becomes manager and gets their optimistic proposals accepted, often with disastrous results.

  • Pollution and rainfall – Robert Merkel takes a sceptical look at claims that industrial pollution is adversely afffecting Australian rainfall.


The Yartz


From The Art Life
  • Pursuing happiness – Darlene Taylor blogs about the forthcoming (opened today in Oz) movie The Pursuit of Happyness after seeing its star Will Smith interviewed on Oprah.
  • On tragedy – Alison Croggon links to an interesting  discussion  on US theatre blogs.  
  • ‘Paul F****n’ Robinson!’ – David Nichols  muses about the seemingly vanishing taboo on  use of the “f” word on Australian television after it was used on Neighbours (apparently).
  • Stage Noise – not a blog at all, but Diana Simmonds’ new site is a wonderful resource for arts-related stuff, including theatre and visual arts reviews, a “what’s on” section and lots more.   David Tiley’s Screen Hub should also be mentioned here.   It’s more a news digest for TV and film-related stories from the MSM than a source for reviews and criticism, but it’s also a great resource.


Mad bad sad and glad

  • Armagnac blogs the birth of a brand new baby daughter.   Congratulations!
  • Look! Up in the Sky! Is it Absurd? Is it a Pain? No! It’s Superlativeman! – Tim T draws our attention to a Melbourne ‘performance artist’ aiming to talk entirely in quotes/cliches for the next 2 1/2 years.   I’m awestruck with admiration, and wish her the best of British luck.  
  • Buying bad things – Sarah discussed her ethical shopping practices.   Me?   I’ve never lost any sleep over using plastic bags or products from third world countries where child labour remains a problem, or even disposable nappies when Bec was a baby.   Moreover, I fail to see how “buying Australian” is an ethical choice (despite the self-promoting antics of Dick Smith), unless you think it’s ethical for Australia to keep getting richer and richer while poor countries are denied the opportunity to get richer as well  by selling goods to us even where they’re cheaper and better.   I’m sure Sarah’s heart’s in the right place, but her brain is another issue.
  • Susoz doesn’t think much of motor racing in general or the Paris-Dakar race in particular.   Glen Fuller disagrees (or at least I think he does, assuming  I’ve managed to translate his impeccably po-mo jargon into English) and posts a masterly and entertaining po-mo riff on motor racing.   Glen  may well be Australia’s most over-educated rev-head.  
  • Adam Smith spinning in his grave – Tim Lambert posts on yet another right wing idiot global warming denialist, this time claiming to be an economist and posting at the Adam Smith  Institute blog.   I bet Nicholas Gruen would be spinning in his grave too, except that he’s still very much alive.  

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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17 years ago

I think the lack of posts is because the idea of sending more troops leaves most people a little speechless with disbelief……

17 years ago

I suppose we don’t count as RWDB, but c8to did a nice piece on Bush’s ‘surge’ here.

Andrew Norton
Andrew Norton
17 years ago

“Does diversity affect what we think about the welfare state (or its size)? Yes, says Andrew Leigh, but fellow economist Andrew Norton doubts it. ”

I’m flattered that people believe I am an economist, but I am not (BA(Hons)/LLB). Andrew L and I both did political science, however, and that’s the main discipline we are drawing on in our (very civil) disagreement.

17 years ago

Dunlop, Sear, Quiggin and Larvatus Prodeo against BusHitler’s Iraq policy? And a comparison with Vietnam!

My God, this is incredible. I can hardly believe it.

Mark Bahnisch
17 years ago

He’ll just blame Clinton and Whitlam, Ken.

The silence of the RWDBs on Iraq is itself a measure of how reality has finally hit home.

Christopher Sheil
17 years ago

Personally I’d support a tightly drafted federal law to strip this odious little man of his citizenship and deport him.

Rather harsh, Ken. For mine, I can’t decide whether the media coverage of this dude strikes me as more analagous to picking on someone with a disability or taking the Chaser seriously.

17 years ago

You have to give it to Currency Lad. He’s the only bloke still steadfastedly maintaining his view and support for Iraq, from a whole swag of gungho heroes. I mean that at as a genuine note of respect.

And still he keeps a sense of humour. You’ve got to stay positive and hang onto your mates, C.L.

17 years ago

That image can be put to a whole lot more use than just as reflection of C.L’s long lost mates in the Iraq war discussion. It could just as easily represent Bush himself on this issue. But more, it represents the whole neo-con pre-emptive militaristic our-way-only agenda.

Currency Lad’s belief in the war, as I understand it, comes from the perspective of a much longer term view than is most often being discussed. As it appears, C.L. equates the Iraq war with other major world wars (perhaps not in geographic scale, but allowably in terms of influence), and his view may well prove correct. The USA may well, in the very long term, have sparked off such dramatic change that the region finds overall benefit.

My beliefs don’t align with C.L.’s in terms of how the war was brought about, or that war is the way to go at all. Apart from the blind and brutal urgency of their private agenda, Bush and Howard spun their intentions to bomb Iraq and, like those headstrong (at the time) advocates, C.L. caught that tornado ball and swallowed that spin. I don’t know if that ball sitting inside those who remain with their original views on Iraq is doing them any good.

Likewise, I think it doesn’t hurt to be open to a changed view on the possible benefits of Iraq for those like me who thought it shouldn’t have happened originally. The last thing we want the way things are is to have a media swing around and serve the public hue and cry, now, about its horrors.

This brings us back to the way the war was brought about. Whether it was needed in the first place is now academic; what is real is that the neo-con pre-emptive our-way-only style has left its advocates with no voice.

That that incredibly headstrong style didn’t work and is now unsupported can be exacted as a fact. Ken Parish points repeatedly towards the silence from those once vociferous sectors. That silence is explicit in proving the way the war was brought about was wrong. Support, whatever it was from around the world, is lost, as it is lost from within the US itself.

Had the war been prosecuted differently, supporters of any possible overall benefits would now have a stronger voice. They’ve all ended up looking like the bloke in the picture. C.L.’s presence, while perhaps disagreeable, is in the very least keeping the door open to others who supported the war and decide to untangle themselves and rejoin the discussion.

17 years ago

There is no “silence”, Robert. There are hardly any right-wing blogs, that’s all. It would be more sensible and profitable to analyse the silence of the left-wing blogs on Iranian exterminationism. Mark’s blog, for example, sees that as an over-rated issue – y’know, all that talk of liquidating the Jews etc. As for TEH neo-cons – mostly an invention of leftist conspiracy theorists – their view of pre-emption is here to stay and anyone who thinks otherwise is deluding themselves. All future US administrations will pre-emptively target forces, nations or individuals who threaten to attack America with WMD or terror attacks. That’s not going to change – ever – so get used to it.

The Iraq War is an undoubted success and even the “insurgency” is piss-weak, historically speaking. The terrorists find it very hard to kill Americans, they get slaughtered by the hundred on an almost weekly basis and mostly blow up passers-by and little old ladies in market squares. Somehow I doubt they’re winning hearts and minds.

For the Vietnam analogy to be accurate, you’d have to imagine Ho and Jiap captured, tried and dead; the North Vietnamese big battalians beaten and its air force and other regular fighting forces destroyed; the Communist government overthrown; elections held and the sovereignty of the renewed nation officially recognised at international law. The only worthwhile point of comparison is that, like Vietnam, we are fighting a war caused by Democrat incompetence which hyperventilating critics want to lose in order to get square with a President they loathe. That’s about it.

Armagnac Esq
17 years ago

Thanks for the congrats mate, she’s an angel, puts politics into perspective (say it isn’t so, I hear you gasp!).

Sad thing about Iraq/Bush dynamics is the Dems will see how the far right managed to turn the Vietnam debacle against them and will probably not try too hard to block Bush’s escalation, allowing cold calculus to prevail. Because, without a scintilla of doubt (yes, please quote me if I’m wrong) he will fail, it will go from worse to worst, and after a huge amount more bloodshed he’ll be roared out of office along with the entire misguided theory of violent large-L liberalism.

Christopher Sheil
17 years ago

Currency, you’re outta ya tree. Time to have a good look, as they say in rugby league. As you know, establishing differences in historical events has nothing to do with the validity of comparisons. All history is different, and proving “the obvious by definition” is only to claim ground that was uncontested in any event. The analogies, as you know, do not rest on similarities among the circumstances of the invaded, but common mistakes on behalf of the invaders. On this side, like you, I would also identify many diferences. This disaster has little to do with cold war fever, for instance. It is, perhaps, more accurately characterised as a check on post-cold war fever.

John Quiggin
John Quiggin
17 years ago

“There are hardly any right-wing blogs, that’s all.”

But the disappearance of right wing blogs (which dominated the scene as recently as 2003) is of interest in itself, as is the increasing rarity of comment by the remaining right wing blogs on the Iraq war or the merits of the Bush Administration, which used to be their core topics. If you check the Troppo blogroll, you’ll find that about half the RWDB sites have shut up shop since the last update, and several others have shifted mostly to cultural or personal stuff.

Of course, as you say, this could be because the war is an undoubted success and the Bush Administration is universally recognised (except by the handful of anti-American Democrats who voted against it last November) as the greatest of modern times. Given this stunning success, maybe there’s no need to blog about it.

Bring Back CL's blog
Bring Back CL's blog
17 years ago

most of the US RWDB are simply saying the Bush Administration has been incompetent in running the war as much as I can make out.

There does appear to be few CL apologists around having at least recognised the reality of Iraq and therefore realising something has to be done.

It would be good for CL to write his pearls of ‘wisdom’ on this topic as it always provides a laugh