10 October 2003. Thought for the Week: "Every prohibition of individual initiative is a victory for the enemy to exactly the extent that is effective Not only does it, in itself, represent one more step towards the Slave World, but, except under certain conditions, it sets up a habit of apathetic acquiescence which is exactly what is desired The first strategy has many times been emphasized - it is to insist that Members of Parliament are representatives not delegates But the same principle can be carried into every official quarter. Once get the mental attitude well established in oneself that institutions exist only legitimately to serve individuals It is (also) necessary to face up to the fact of institutionalised Judaeo-Christianity which is simply Liberal Judaism. At the present time, ecclesiastics are making every effort in their power to identify the Kingdom of God upon Earth with Jewish Socialism (which is State Capitalism with monopoly control by Finance) derived from assuming as axiomatic, the tenets of a philosophy systematically inculcated from birth. Against this hypnotic obsession, argument is useless - dehypnotisation is essential."
C.H. Douglas "The Big Idea" 1942
RABBITS FROM TREASURY HATS
by Jeremy Lee
The surplus is the excess of taxation revenue over government spending. It is generally agreed that direct and indirect taxation is at a higher level than ever before in Australia's history. Its collection occurs in virtually everything we buy, through Sales Taxes, Excise and GST, as well as income tax, fees, fines etc. The machinery for its collection is huge and draconian, with heavy penalties for non-compliance. But, as far as the Treasurer is concerned, it is working, and the Budget "outcome" has cash jingling in its pocket.
One of the simplest ways to return the money to the people would be in a move like that in the State of Alaska, where oil royalties are distributed without a means test to every citizen over six months old. The government would simply send a cheque for $375 to every citizen above six months old, with an explanatory note: "After meeting our budgetary requirements for the year, we have a Budget Surplus left over. As it is really money belonging to the Australian people, we are therefore returning it with thanks. We enclose a cheque for $375 for each member of your household "
An unexpected cheque for struggling families, or for pensioners, or the unemployed, or students striving to get a tertiary education, would lighten many a day. Another way might be to ask each member of parliament to run a poll through the newspapers in his own electorate: "We have $7.5 billion in tax money left over, which the Government believes should be returned to the people. Have a say on how this could best be done" The people could be given three or four options, with a box to tick, and the results throughout Australia announced nationally.
Apparently, however, Prime Minister Howard has decided on the method he prefers. He would like to see the top marginal tax rate lifted to compensate for bracket creep. This, of course, would benefit a small number with incomes between $60,000 and $70,000. However, everybody really knows what's going to happen. The money will be injected in as a tax cut to be timed to give the best advantage in the coming election. Thus, the people really hurting in Australia - those with part-time jobs or no jobs at all, and therefore incomes so low they cannot benefit from tax cuts - will, as usual, be the 'forgotten' people who do not benefit from government tax-bribes to any degree.
I.M.F. MAKING THE DECISIONS
With the above in mind, the September
17 Press Release from Senator Len Harris is significant.
'The Australian people and even most members of Parliament know little about the IMF. It is extraordinary that the Fund has the ability to dictate Federal Government policy across so many areas,' Senator Harris said. 'Australia must have its own strategy for economic development. That can't come if every move we make is dictated by the IMF which is not democratically elected by the Australian people', he said. 'If the Government is collecting a surplus of tax revenue, it's time to slow down tax collection. Our unfair and complex tax system should be reformed to provide for tax relief for working people', Senator Harris said. 'The system should also be simplified and tax loopholes and tax shelters must also be eliminated. Wealthy individuals and corporations must pay their fair share of the tax burden'.
Senator Harris said tax cuts to high-income earners were a backdoor method of slashing federal spending that benefits working people. 'When taxes are cut, revenue to the government falls, leading to an inevitable belt-tightening', he said. With the next IMF report due late this month, Senator Harris said it was time to lift the veil of secrecy surrounding the Fund. 'It is unacceptable for Australia to continue to support the IMF as long as it continues to operate as a secretive, undemocratic institution', he said" (end of Senator Harris's statement)
Those who would like further information can contact Senator Harris at Box 2206, Mareeba, Qld, 4880 (07) 4092 3194 or at www.imf.org
PROPERTY RIGHTS UNDER SIEGE
The following "Letter-to-the-Editor"
by Councillor Bevan O'Regan was dated September 29, 2003,
and gives a picture of what's happening in NSW.
Bevan O'Regan can be contacted at: "Moema", Narrabri, NSW 2390
SELLING THE SILVER FOR TIN-POT PRICES
Six months ago one of Australia's oldest and potentially richest assets was sold into overseas ownership for a song. Mount Isa Mines sits atop some of the richest silver, lead, copper and other minerals in the world. It has operated for more than a century. Many of the deposits have been discovered but are still untouched.
Robert Gottliebsen, writing in The Australian (23/9/03) commented: "Xstrata shareholders who financed the MIM takeover have enjoyed an incredible 50 per cent gain in six months. Australians have therefore sold MIM for substantially less than its value in London. While some of the difference reflects the recent share market rises, the vast majority comes because the world sees in MIM a value we did not know existed .. It's time for Australian advisers, institutions, directors and commentators to forget defending themselves and face up to the mistake and look at who made it and what can be learned so we don't make the same mistake again. ."
Australia's mineral sector is the biggest factor in keeping the economy staggering along. Our incredible fortune in having such huge deposits of almost everything is being stolen from beneath us. The world's industrial nations queue up to load their carriers with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of copper, iron ore and coal. The biggest coal-loading complex in the southern hemisphere, at Hay Point in Queensland - is expanding again to cope with the mile-long trains which ply endlessly between our inland mines and the Pacific. The wages go to Australians. But the complex, capable of turning a giant freighter round in 24 hours, is operated by 50 men, who for the most part push buttons.
The royalties are pitiful. The profits are taken by those who manufacture the world's steel goods, made with the finest coking coal in the world. So we borrow to buy those steel goods back again, simply adding the bill to our foreign debt. That's 'Economics' Australia - a form of robbery and dispossession which we call globalism.
EDWARD SAID - PALESTINIAN-AMERICAN-CHRISTIAN
The news services were alive this last week with news of the death of Professor Edward Said. The following comments coming from an article by Laurie King-Irani of The Electronic Intifada, 29th September 2003 will outline why the man was respected by both Israelis and Palestinians.
Dr. Said's special kind of courage was visible to anyone who saw him during the last five years of his life. Looking painfully frail - until he began speaking and gesturing - he time and again overcame the pain, weakness and fear of living with leukemia to expound, without notes, on US hypocrisy, the Palestine Authority's corruption, the depredations of a brutal Israeli occupation, and media's malfeasance in obscuring the full extent and context of daily suffering in the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.
The potential costs and consequences
of Dr. Said's courage and honesty were especially clear to
anyone who read his remarkably candid memoir, Out of Place.
Here, he turned a searching and fearless eye on himself, his
parents, the dynamics of Middle Eastern family relationships,
the complexities of gender, Oedipal triangles, and manipulations
of authority to trace the links between the personal and the
political in a way that spared no one, not even himself.
Throughout his memoir, Said displayed a disarming and admirable ability to undertake searching analyses of his own society, its assumptions, illusions, and reflexes in response to the tragic loss of Palestine and the burdens of a diasporic existence. Like the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, who in a verse attempting to come to grips with the cataclysmic events of World War I stated that "if a way to the better there be/it exacts a full look at the worst," Dr. Said understood, and wanted all of us to understand, that difficult truths will not go away. To get through them, we have to go through them - honestly, bravely, and humanely.
The courage Dr. Said displayed in facing with grace the difficult truths of his life - as an intellectual, a Palestinian, an exile, an advocate for justice, a person living with cancer - offers precious lessons for us all. As long as we try to live out these lessons in our own lives, Dr. Said cannot die.
Courage of the calibre he displayed has something of the transcendent in it. Courage of this kind cannot but inspire, sustain, and guide those who respond to its power and beauty and open themselves up to its challenges Yes, Dr. Said's voice was unique and special, but no, it was not just for Palestinians, or even for Arabs. His was a voice for and from humanity, a voice for the telling of truths, no matter how discomforting they could be.
Six years ago, Dr. Said was invited to give a lecture on the history and repercussions of the Balfour Declaration in Washington, DC. It is a tribute to his bravery, genius and eloquence that he only focused on the events of World War I and the roots of the Palestinian tragedy as a starting point for his real message that day, a message that transcended the usual dualistic discourses that beset the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His aim was to force his audience to think new thoughts, question old categories, re-examine ethnic boundaries, and challenge received opinions in order to envision a new era of peace based on reconciliation between Arabs and Jews.
One could have heard a pin drop as his audience, expecting a familiar recounting of all the harm done to the Palestinians over the last 80-plus years, instead heard Dr. Said make an impassioned plea for Arabs and Palestinians to study and come to terms with the Holocaust and its searing impact on the Jewish people. For him, this was not about being politically correct or intellectually balanced, but rather, a matter of utmost moral necessity. In his view, this was a crucial issue that none of us could side-step or postpone, because of the inextricable interconnections between Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews: "It is simply remarkable," he exclaimed "that, in the entire Arab world, you cannot find a single institute devoted to the study of Israel, Judaism, the Holocaust, or even American Studies. This lack of knowledge and interest partly explains the lack of Arab success in dealing with US and Israeli strategies in the region." "Like it or not, this is the historical reality," he explained. "We must better understand Israelis, and they must better understand us. We must make clear the link between the Shoah (the European Jewish Holocaust) and the Nakba (the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948). Neither experience is equal to the other, and neither should be minimized. We must emphasize this link not for short-term political gains, but because we cannot continue to work apart as two wounded yet incommunicado communities. We have to begin to admit the universality and integrity of each other's experience of suffering. As Arabs, we demand acknowledgement and reparations. We cannot accept that the 'redemption of the Jews' required the dispossession of millions of Palestinian people. We must rethink our common past if we want to have a future, and it is time to honestly state that we are fated to have a common, not a separate, future."
If this were not enough to galvanize
his audience, Dr. Said went on to say, with characteristic
honesty and courage, that Israel is only part of the problem
facing the Arab world: "The current Arab situation is truly
depressing. So many resources, human and otherwise, are just
not being tapped. In spite of the size and potential of the
Arab world, the average Arab individual feels a sense of impotence.
Economically, the Arab world is a disaster area. The combined
GNP of Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt is still lower than
Israel's GNP. Exports are going down throughout the Arab world,
and the per capita income has been declining at a rate of
2 percent each year.
There is no excuse for us not to aspire to the courage and clarity that Dr. Edward Said embodied. There is no excuse for us not to envision a better future and to work with diverse Others for its realization. There is no excuse for any of us to let despair, anger, jealousy or fear poison us or slow us down. And there is no time to waste in honoring and sustaining the efforts of Dr. Said.
As an American poet, May Swenson, said about deep sorrow following a great loss: "Don't mourn the beloved. Try to be like him."
(All quotations above are excerpted from an article by the author, "Marking Balfour Declaration's 80th Anniversary, Edward Said Calls for Arab-Jewish Reconciliation and Reconsideration of a Binational State," found at http://www.washington-report.org/backissues/0198/9801019.htm)
IRAQ'S 'HARSH REALITY' HARD TO HIDE
by Bill Berkowitz, Workingforchange
Prof. Cole also questioned the veracity of the so-called success stories. "Although the universities are 'open,' Basra University was completely looted and lacks basic facilities, including a proper university library (burned) or computers (stolen). I guess they are back to clay tablets. "And while it is technically true that the hospitals are open, and that large-scale looting of their medicines seems to have been halted, most of them are not operating at an acceptable level, as a number of press accounts have pointed out."
As anyone who watches the cable news channels can attest to, for the past week and a half, the networks are now running with 'good news' stories, but it's too early to know whether the administration's propaganda blitz will bear fruit with the public. The Progressive's Matthew Rothschild hopes the media will not be cowed by (negative) statements and instead focus on the major issues: "If the big story is that there's a guerrilla war wreaking havoc every day in Iraq, then that's the story the media should be telling, regardless of how many happy story campaigns the administration launches."
TO ACKNOWLEDGE AND PAY TRIBUTE
It is the sad task of the editor of O.T. to observe the passing of outstanding League supporters and those friends whose steps, over the years, led them to the Australian League of Rights for whatever reason, before they returned once again down the road their own life took them.
BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS
"Red Over Black" by Geoff McDonald.
He had a deep respect for the genuine Aboriginal people. As
an industrial officer in the early seventies he made a number
of visits to reserves in Central and Northern Australia and
saw Marxist operators and their dupes hard at work advancing
their Communist strategy.
SYDNEY CONSERVATIVE SPEAKERS' CLUBThe next meeting will be held Thursday, 30th October 2003. It will be an Open Night for the Audience to have their say. Venue is the Lithuanian Club, 10 East Terrace, Bankstown; approximately 600metres from Bankstown Railway Station. Your cost of attendance is $4 - bring a friend for the first time and there is no entrance fee. There are a variety of restaurants along the South Terrace for those who require an evening meal and the Lithuanian Club has ample parking facilities. Date for your diary: The guest speaker for the 27th November, 2003 meeting will be Janne Peterson, Political Education Officer for the Christian Social Democrats.
ADELAIDE CONSERVATIVE SPEAKERS' CLUBOn the first Monday in November, Adelaide supporters will be treated to a presentation by Dr. Alec Burton of the Natural Health Association. Details to come. Note in your diary: The situation in Zimbabwe. While there are quite a number of refugees from that sad little land now living in Australia, they are reluctant to speak out publicly because of what could happen to those left behind. A speaker has been organised for the month of December.
"On Target" is published by the Australian League of Rights, Box 1052. G.P.O. Melbourne 3001.