||Issue No. 189||01 August 2003|
The Secret Life of Us
Interview: The New Deal
Unions: In the Line of Hire
Culture: Too Cool for the Collective?
International: The Domino Effect
Industrial: A Spanner in the Works
National Focus: Gathering of the Tribes
History: The Welcome Nazi Tourist
Bad Boss: Domm, Domm Turn Around
Poetry: Just Move On.
Review: Reality Bites
The Locker Room
It Is Still About The Members Isn't It
Just as Great Leader John Winston Howard was reassuring everyone that everything was fine and that we could all come out of our bomb shelters, the US Decided to tell everyone else that Australia was, in fact, a likely terrorist target.
The claim came from the rather alarmingly named US Department for Homeland Security. Ubergroppenfuhrer Tom Ridge, who allegedly runs the quaintly named department (it is reminiscent of a certain 20th century regime from central Europe) that has been whipping up the general sense of panic and paranoia in the US prior to the next American presidential election.
The warning was quite specific; it said that "Terrorist actions may include, but are not limited to, suicide operations, hijackings, bombings or kidnappings. These may also involve commercial aircraft. Other potential threats include conventional weapons, such as explosive devices, or non-conventional weapons, such as chemical or biological agents."
Well that has narrowed it down.
Following on from the advice of George Bush's very own Chicken Little, Tom Ridge, the Australian government issued a clarification - assuring someone that Ridge‚s bureaucracy simply bungled. Considering that people like Ridge are what stands between us and the forces of darkness (or crude oil hitting $30 a barrel, which is the same thing) it is alarming that they are not more alert.
Either that or we must be led to believe that when the US Department of Homeland Security says that there is a grave and credible threat that it actually means that there is no threat at all.
Ridge tried to cover up his faux pas by saying that Australia would be the STARTING point for any terrorist attack, not the TARGET.
Well, that's reassuring isn't it!
So with the official level of warning shifting from Panic to General Confusion we can thank our lucky stars and stripes that our capable ally the US is just as incompetent as anyone in our own intelligence services or Prime Minister's Department. Many people in the tourism and hospitality sector will also enjoy this little joke courtesy of our Tool Of The Week, Tom Ridge and his band of merry pranksters.
Ridge was initially reluctant to amend the travel advisory but relented when it was pointed out that it could cause electoral damage to the Australian Federal Government.
Ridge, who does sound like he is a character on the TV soap the Bold And The Beautiful, has pioneered the first Homeland Security "centres of excellence". File that one under :Only In America".
Ridge, a former US Governor from Central Casting, was appointed by Bush so that it would appear like he was doing something useful after September 11. While he was a Governor Ridge cut taxes for the wealthy, which apparently helps the poor. No one is quite sure how, but apparently it does. In any case it certainly helps the rich, and that was a good thing in Dubya's eyes. Ridge also managed to run a pro environment program that boosted pollution.
So while the End Of Life As We Know It continues apace George Dubya's right hand man in The War On Error, Tom Ridge, can safely take cover in the Tool Shed. Or can he? Who knows? Certainly not the general public.
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