Crossing the Gulf on the Matilda Highway

Travelling solo with few vehicles on the road it was a lonely drive. Thank God nothing went wrong with the Rangie

Camped at Eagle Nest near Sharks Bay WA

You can just see the glow of my laptop where I was working on a clients web sIte in Tassie hosted through Rumcorps.net servers in Dallas Texas. As good an office as any!

Whales off the NW Coast

A pod of about 20 whales come fast from astern and passed either side of the yacht, frightening hell out of us.

Fire on the road

No flames apparent so I hardly slowed down until I had travelled a hundred odd meters with no visibility. About the time I started to panic I came out the other side.

 

Indonesia’s confused

Under the banner ‘Downer grilled on missile plan’ Brisbanes Courier Mail reports INDONESIA’S top security minister has asked Australia to explain in writing its reasons for supporting US plans to build a long-range ballistic missile defence shield.

Coordinating security minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono met Foreign Minister Alexander Downer in Jakarta on Monday night.

Mr Yudhoyono asked why the Australian Government wanted to sign up to help Washington in the development of the controversial missile umbrella.

“We asked for a complete explanation in writing so that we can study it,” Mr Yudhoyono told Indonesian journalists

Who does Yudhoyono think Australia is, Ache? One of the reasons for Australian defence procurement could be that we have flakey countries like Indonesia to our north.

Alan Dupont, of the Australian National University’s Asia Pacific Security Program agrees we should have Indonesia vet all our defence procurements.

“If the decision is to buy tanks or some other kind of military equipment, we need to learn how to sell the message to the region that this is not directed at regional countries.”

The problem kept surfacing with not only the missile shield, but the proposed purchase of new tanks, anti-aircraft destroyers and possibly stand-off cruise missiles for the air force.

Maybe we need to sell the message to the region that this is not primarily aimed at them but they might like to keep out of Papua New Guniea just the same.

That’s why we buy military hardware, isn’t it?

CHOGM

I have to wonder at the value of CHOGM and the Commonwealth in general. What does it do? What does it achieve and how does it help smaller countries in need?

The recent CHOGM meeting in Abuja ended up being a committee meeting on Mugabe with some black African nations supporting Mugabe and blaming the whole problem on us white guys.

Howard, trying to do the right thing by having Zimbabwe banned until Mugabe mends his ways, is attacked by the African chaps for his hardline stance.

I mean, does anyone consider Mugabe redeamable? He’s not going to change and Zimbabwe will simply sink deeper into the cesspit until someone knocks him off. African precendence will have the next guy doing the same thing.

Africans, black and white, get slaughtered and CHOGM discusses the problem. Too many tinpot African countries lead by tinpot men have a vote at CHOGM and at the other toothless tiger, the UN.

The death toll in Africa underlines Democracy’s weak points – another thousand poor bastards dead – lets have a committee meeting! The chair calls for a show of hands – I think the No’s have it!

Warning! The feint hearted, the politically correct, the Democrats (both of ‘em), the Greens and assorted dreamers should click the back button – racist statement coming.

The whole African continent has fallen to shit since the white guy got kicked out. There is no other word for it. History teachers are busy indoctrinating kids with the killings and arrogance of colonialsm while the Hutus in Rwanda slaughter 800,000 Tutsis and the UN takes seven years to set up an investigation.

Yeah, I know – old stuff. But are we going to lay back and accept that this will happen again?

What I’d like to see. A team of ‘suits’, some camouflaged, arrives in Zimbabwe and walk into Mugabe’s office.

Mr Mugabe, the millions you have stolen from your people has been withdrawn from your Swiss Accounts and deposited in Zimbabwe’s National Bank. You are leaving on a plane tonight to Nigeria where we have set up a small cottage for you to eke out the rest of your life. You may take two buffalos, one wife and all your children. Let’s go!

Administrators then manage the economy until local elections, monitored by soldiers, elects a government. Subsequent to the elected representatives being educated and attaining degrees in economics and government the Administrators hand over the reigns but maintain a small presence of advisors, backed by the aforesaid gentlemen wearing camouflaged suits.

Yeah, I know, won’t happen this side of hell freezing over. In the meantime people knock on my door and harrass me on TV with visions of starving African children. Starving because the warlords confiscate donated money and goods and sell them to their tribe. The other tribes can starve.

And we set up another committee!

Beyond the Razor Wire.

It’s not often the Sunday press has anything worth commenting on but today the Queenslands Sunday mail has a report on a new book.

Poet and stand-up comedian Sandy Thorne has written of her time behind the wire as a guard at Curtin and Woomera. For the first time we have comments from someone who was inside – not a dreadlocked and bejeweled hippy with bodily fluids trapped in the rings in his nose. Not Philip Adams or some other apologist for despicable behavior but someone from the coal face. And it ain’t pretty.

Ms Thorne says her book debunks the perception that most of the illegal immigrants were hard done by.

“Certainly some of them are very decent people, but some were very unpleasant characters,” she says.

She goes on to describe some of the inmates reaction to 11 September.

“I half-heard something on the television about what had happened and I went to the compound where the detainees were. There was a group huddled around a transistor listening to what was happening in New York and they were overjoyed. They were punching their fists in the air and laughing. Their reaction really shocked me.”

These guys are going to fit in well with the Australian society with their attitudes to women and kids.

“Some of the biggest fights happened in the medical centre where the men would do their blocks because women and children were treated first,” she said

She mentions some are decent people and worthy of help but any jerk who applauds the thousands murdered at the World Trade Centre or demands treatment before sick women and kids is only worthy of a ticket home.

The Democrats would have us release them all into the society before we have a chance to vet these sub-species out and send them home. Maybe Andrew Bartlet can help with the vetting. As I understand it, his workload will be light on next week.

Via reader Dave Burrows. Thanks mate.

Update: For further details on the book including purchase options visit Sandy’s web page. Via Dave again.

Bloody Rain

Well, I hope the farmers are happy because I’m not. Coming from the land I’ve always been in tune with their rain requirements but enough is enough. The drought was broken the moment I decided to start rebuilding the Patio. An eyesore and dangerous example of jerry building, it had to go.

I bought the timber and Solarspan sheeting with 50 ml of polystyrene insulation to handle the tropical heat. I lined up the plumber, electrician and carpenter but forgot to pay homage to the weather god.

Thirty minutes after I disassembled the old construction the drought broke. Now open to the weather, my bar, lovingly topped with Jarrah parquetry reflecting my home in Pemberton, West Australia – the heart of the Jarrah and Karri forests, is ruined as are the shelves for Bundy Rum and Gin and Vodka and glasses that I’ve purloined during my travels.

It’s bucketing down outside and plumbers, electricians and carpenters have lost interest in my little project as the city cops a hiding and everyone wants tradesmen to repair the rain damaged houses.

Bugger

Latham’s Baggage

If ever anyone ever wished Qantas had lost his baggage it has to be Latham. Three days as leader and he’s still trying to get rid of the baggage he brings with him to his new position. Intemperate language, quick-change policies and calling the leader of our major ally ‘the most dangerous…..etc must be trying on his stress levels.

His fans are busy saying he says what he stands for; he has clear non-coalition policies while Latham is busy proving them wrong. Three days ago the Left were thrilled. Here’s a new leader and he hates the US, Bush and Howard just like we do…he has our vote. Today he stands in front of the US flag and says ‘forgive me…I was young an impressionable and only a politician. Now I’m the leader of the Opposition and I see things more clearly now and the US is good.

Another bag he could lose is Whitlam sitting in the gallery cheering him on. The ‘Maintain the rage’ crew will be happy while the vast majority of Australian voters will be remembering strange days and everytime Whitlam says ‘what a wonderful chap’ people will remember more.

Abbott attacks him over his marital baggage and Latham and friends call ‘not fair’ yet it was OK for Latham to attack Abbott over the child he had adopted out during his Uni days.

Sorry, that’s unfair. Latham is more mature now he is the leader of the Opposition and wouldn’t dream of personally attacking a member of the house.

Howard calls for a stop to the personal attacks with the obvious aim of setting a standard of debate that he thinks Latham will never meet.

We’ll see.

Latham Debrief

Like many before him Latham only fixes half the problem. Tales of having to walk to meetings in the absence of local transport were common enough twenty years ago. So to were the ?Crash through or crash? remedies.

Mike Steketee mentions Latham’s first foray into political leadership;

After becoming Liverpool’s first popularly elected mayor at age 30, he did his best to correct the imbalance, embarking on an extensive building program that included two libraries, a heated swimming pool, a recreation centre and a revamped arts facility.

Noble sentiment but who?s going to pay for the fix?

It was one sign of the Latham style translated into action. A conventional mayor would have proceeded more cautiously. Latham’s legacy was $36million worth of new facilities but a deficit that prompted an expression of concern from the auditors and required the council to seek special permission to breach the annual rate ceiling of 2.7 per cent and hike rates by 8.1 per cent.

Australia will never recover from Whitlam’s excesses and the poor old rate payers of Liverpool have a similar problem.

He promises to tone down his language. He shouldn’t have spoken the way he did in the first place. The bridges are burnt and don’t think US Ambassador Schieffer?s public utterings of ‘…looking forward to working with’…reflect US thoughts on the matter. Schieffer is being diplomatic but the Yanks will be concerned.

Many commentators reflect on Latham’s right wing tendencies.

Frank Devine muses;

I was nudged towards Latham in the lead-up to yesterday’s caucus by, paradoxically, Robert Manne writing in The Age that if Latham were the man, Labor would “abandon interest in Aboriginal reconciliation” and “demonstrate a growing contempt for what Latham calls the left-wing ‘rights agenda’.” Splendid news, I thought.

I found his violent excesses from the frontbench…uncharacteristically gauche;

and

However, the member for Werriwa strode off in an encouraging direction on his leadership debut yesterday. “I am in favour of upward mobility through hard work,” he declared at his first press conference. In 10 words he gave Labor a philosophy the party has been unable to articulate for a decade.

If Latham can put this into practice, he will have demolished the politics of envy and effortless entitlement with which the lesser middle class has infected Labor.

Some problems.

The Left are going to hate him and this is potentially destabilizing. Watch Carmen (I can’t remember) Lawrence at the ALP conference in January. Carmen and her warriors, all with sword in their left hands, will be attacking and trying to turn the ALP further left. Latham has to steer down the middle or veer a little right to have an impact on the electorate.

I don’t believe he has a good grasp of economics. I see a tendency to balance the inequalities of life with cash deposits when the system itself needs repair.

Give a man some fish or teach him how to fish doesn’t seem to register with Latham. His time as Liverpool Mayor reflects this and his time with his hero and most everyone else?s fool, Whitlam, will have reinforced the mantra of ‘spend the money, fix the problem and let the Conservatives pick up the huge bills.

Given the above, watch his minders spend time and money on remaking his image. Remove the intemperate language. Only quote policies that have been thought out by Caucus (that will be hard) and lets see what transpires.

Latham Wins

Latham by two votes (47 to 45)

If Martin Luther King had a dream, I have nightmare. Latham leading Australia to insignifience via embarrassment. I accept youth , vigour and aggression but the subject has to be house trained first.

Walter Mittys under seige

People fraudulently claiming to be a returned soldier, sailor or airman could face six months imprisonment under proposed laws passed through the House of Representatives today.

Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence Mal Brough said anyone falsely claiming to be a returned service man or woman should face the force of the law.

“It’s a disgraceful act that warrants a strong penalty,” Mr Brough said.

“Many Australians have served our country proudly and wrongly claiming to be a veteran is an insult to those men and women.”

Along with a maximum prison term of six months, the fine will increase from $200 to a maximum $3,300.

The Defence Legislation Amendment Bill also increases the penalty for the wearing of medals to which an individual is not entitled.

There are a lot of Walter Mitty’s in the world and I’ve met quiet a few myself. Some years back, post Army, I had a framing business that specialized in framing medals and memorabilia for veterans. One day, after returning from picking up stock, my son Stuart told me of an order for replica medals that included the Vietnam War group with a Military Medal. Whereas I couldn’t claim to know the name of every Military Medal winner from the Vienam War the name on the order definitely didn’t ring a bell so I sent a letter requesting details of his actions that earnt the bravery award.

The reply came with supporting letters attached, supposedly written by an Officer at Victoria Barracks, Brisbane. It was all wrong. The paper was wrong and the language, the staff writing, was wrong. I read his own statement where he claimed to have been in an attack in 1971 where he single handedly assaulted a bunker system killing several occupants with a bayonet. His platoon Commander had been wounded and this man had definitely saved the day.

Admittedly, he didn’t know who I was or who I knew – He lucked out. In his statement he named the Platoon Commander as Gary McKay.

As it happened the day I received his answer was the scheduled day for a Regimental Happy Hour at Enoggera Barracks. I phoned Gary McKay, and old aquaintance and friend and confirmed he was going to attend. I also asked him what he was doing in 1971 on the date mentioned in the reply.

“In hospital in Australia recovering from wounds.” He said

That night I had a beer with Gary, the Platoon Commander of this supposed hero, the Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) of the Battalion at that time and the Chief Clerk, all of whom denied any knowledge of my Walter Mitty.

The following week he called demanding to know where his medals were as ANZAC Day was approaching. As a result of this conversation, somewhere on the Gold Coast lives a man in fear of his life. A different form of PTSD

We veterans have a lot of problems with these people and have a network and website that records posers. Often referred to as Wannabees we are onto them.

I wonder if we could get the anti-Veteran Left and wannabee veterans together in one paddock – maybe next Vietnam Veterans Day. We could have a chat.

Hat tip to Gary of Gravett fame and Defence Media Centre

UK gets tough

While the debate about illegal asylum seekers rages in coffee shops and the media in Australia it is easy to forget that the UK has a much larger problem. The Weekend Australian has an article that lays out their response to the problems.

Asylum-seekers in Britain face being electronically tagged or kept under satellite surveillance instead of being held in detention centres, under new government proposals.

Reducing legail aid and curbing opportunities to challenge decisions in the High Court are just the start.

In a further attempt to prevent lawyers and applicants from prolonging cases, a judicial review will be allowed in appeal cases only under certain circumstances. There will be no judicial reviews allowed of decisions that an asylum-seeker or illegal immigrant must be removed.

In future, immigration officials must take into account when considering an asylum application whether the applicant has any travel documents. An applicant faces two years’ jail for failing to provide a good explanation for not having the documents.

Makes sense to me. Arrive on our shores without papers and no valid excuse then go straight to goal and face extradition on release. That could go a long way to stopping the practice.

I think we need follow up on some of these points. Legal aid to non-citizens is very questionable and an invitation for our legal brothers to print money. Earlier this week the press quantified this legal aid at $40 plus million dollars last year, money that could well be used on Australians in trouble.

Deja Vu?

Beasley, Latham or Rudd.

Latham will never get my vote nor a lot of others after his ‘arselicking’ call in the house. I also notice the Unions don’t want a bar of him either.

Rudd blew his free plug in the Bulletin when Maxine McKew starts the her piece with this;

“I’m a Jeffersonian separatist,” says Kevin Rudd by way of explaining how he reconciles his faith with his approach to public policy. We’re passing the small wooden-framed Anglican church of St John’s in Oxford Street, Bulimba, in the heart of his ?Brisbane electorate of Griffith. Rudd, along with his wife, businesswoman Therese Rein and their three children, worship here every Sunday.

Jeffersonian separatist…mmmm..every votor should get that one. The ALP need maths and economics, not prayers. The first paragraph sounds too much like the Greens holding hands in a circle and chanting ohmm..ohmm..ohmm.

Even as Foreign Affairs shadow he’s only talking UN.

On the role of the UN, Rudd says: “The contrast between ourselves and the government could not be more clear-cut. We say the way to prosecute the 21st century is through a reformed UN charter which maintains an international rules-based system with new provisions to do with self-defence and intervention on humanitarian grounds. This is the most critical question in international relations today. What are the new rules? It ain’t theoretical. But what’s the ?government say? They say the UN is dead and that it’s full of namby-pamby pinko lefties driven by Third World dictators. So what’s the alternative? I’ve issued this challenge to Downer. But the response has been zero.”

Downer’s response is much more than zero. He says it’s driven by Third World Dictators and it is. In its current form it is useless and the Third World dictators sure as hell are going to fight any attempt by Australia to change it.

Mm….Beasley. Been there done that but might have to go back and do it all again.

Good luck!

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