||Issue No. 144||12 July 2002|
The Lotto Economy
Interview: Capital in Crisis
Industrial: No Sweat
Bad Boss: Super Spam
History: Living Treasures
International: Axis of Evil
Solidarity: Pride of Place
Technology: The Art of Cyber-Unionism
Poetry: The Masochism Tango
Satire: Foxtel-Optus Merger 'Anti-Repetitive'
Review: Bob Carr's Thoughtlines
The Locker Room
Week in Review
Week in Review
Bulldust and Boofheads
Immigration Minister Phillip Ruddock's is proving an adept student of the American art of obfuscation. You know the sort of thing - "collateral damage" as code for killing 40 innocent wedding guests.
Ruddock describes as "humane" a new detention facility in which escapees are zapped by 9000 volts of electricity. Officially, the isolation block at Baxter will be known as "the separation unit" while the 9000 volt electric fence arrangement is to be called an "energised detection and deterrent system'.
Kind of appropriate really, given that the media, normally barred from detention facilities, was given an official guided tour at a time when no inmates were actually in residence.
The Teflon John uses a meeting with controversial Italian PM, Silvio Berlusconi, to back Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott's outspoken support for bad bosses.
Howard endorses the hardline right winger's three-year freeze on the rights of Italian workers to mount unjustified dismissal claims. He urges Labor and the Democrats to support him in removing protections from Australians who lose employment without justification.
Meanwhile, good ol George Bush is dishing up the biggest load of hogwash ever heard on the subject of corporate responsibility. Denying his status as a wholly-owned subsidiary of US Inc, Bush lectures big business on morals and American values.
It is Bush's response to Enron, World.Com and other corporate failures casting a pall over the US economy. Trouble is, the Bush administration is packed with hand-picked big business executives and he owes his entire political career, at state and federal levels, to the support of the most extreme end of US capital, men like his one-time personal buddy, Enron's "Kenny Boy" Lay, who demand, and get, complete deregulation.
Bush also neglects to mention the examples set by himself and vice-pesident Dick Cheney. The President is at the centre of a storm over selling $800,000 worth of shares in an energy company he was a director of just weeks before the price plumetted. Cheney, meanwhile, is being sued over claims of fraudulent accounting at the giant oil field services company, Halliburton, which he ran for five years. Cheney was chairman and chief executive of the company during the years in which the suit alleges it overstated revenues by $US445 million.
A US shareholder-support organisation is also suing for access to records of the Cheney-led energy taskforce that drafted the Bush administration's energy policy.
Meanwhile, there is no oppostion from either Bush of the Teflon John when their allies in the Israeli Government enact legislation that decrees certain towns will be "Jews Only", specifically barring Arabs from buying homes in them.
The bill effectively overturns a landmark decision of the Israeli High Court which had ruled that the one million plus Israelis of Arab descent were entitled to live on settlements on state land.
The Israeli cabinet also passes special legislation denying Palestinians the right to claim compensation for damages sustained during the army's invasion of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
When first we practice to deceeive ... and all that.
Poor old Cheryl's had a shocker. Not only is she no longer Speaking For Herself but just days out of a media campaign designed to sell the book, she is warning journalists who approach her that they will be breaching her privacy.
Workers Online wonders if you can flog yourself about print, radio and television outlets one week, then unilaterally pull up stumps and declare the game is over?
Honest, just one week after putting herself in the hands of a publicist, she's decided she would be better served by lawyers who warn that anyone from the media caught "following loitering near, watching, approaching, contacting in any way (whether by telephone, mail, email, facsimile or through the use of any other technology)" Kernot, or any member of her family, will be donkey deep in the smelly stuff.
Meanwhile, back in Sydney town, the Ayotollahs at State Transit are not being very nice to their bus drivers. In the middle of a cold winter they've come down like a tonne of bricks on the wearing of anything warm, like beanies or unofficial jackets, even in buses without heating.
Some drivers, starting shifts at five in the morning, are less than impressed by a message from the office wallahs which instructs: "Please note that when on duty only standard issue uniforms are permitted. Non-standard uniform items, including headwear such as beanies (with or without STA logos), are not to be worn on duty."
We're not suggesting this makes STA a candidate for Workers Online's Tony Awards, the competition from the private sector is far too hot, but still, you'd reckon, they could do better.
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