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Issue No. 207 22 December 2003  
E D I T O R I A L

Backs to the Wall
How does one judge a year like 2003, when on the surface the powers of darkness – read Bush and Howard and union-busting bosses - can point to the scoreboard and claim ‘we won!’?

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Robbo’s Rules
Labor Council secretary John Robertson rules the line through 2003 and looks forward to a bigger and better year to come.

Unions: Fightback 2003
Tony Abbott, no less, summed up the tone of 2003 when he complained workers were frustrating his agenda, as Jim Marr reports.

Bad Boss: Madame Lash Whips Tony
Jim Marr explains how a local can manufacturer knocked off a quality field, including a notorious American call centre operator, in the race for Bad Boss honours.

Politics: United Front
Facing a new leader and new rules, Jim Marr speaks to key union players about the hot issues at January’s ALP National Conference.

Economics: Looking Back - Looking Forward
The year ends with the thought that 2004 must be better, writes Frank Stilwell in his annual review of all things economic.

International: Net Benefits
International editor Andrew Casey looks back on a year where workers stood up globally for services we once took for granted.

History: The New Guard
Who were Australia’s fascists in the 1930s and was John Howard’s father in the New Guard? Labour historian, Andrew Moore, uncovers some surprising information about Australia’s fascist past.

Poetry: What is the PM singing this Christmas?
Our Kirribilli spies, led by resident bard David Peetz, have been listening in on the PM's preparations for Christmas, and have recorded the Howard family rehearsing this new Christmas carol.

Review: Culture That Was
2003 saw the Howard Government signal its readiness to swap culture for agriculture in a free trade deal with the US and film maker George Miller lament that Aussie's had run out of stories to tell anyway, writes Tara de Boehmler.

N E W S

 No Joy for ANZ - This Time

 Nurses, Teachers Win Big

 Govt Coy on Sackings Threat

 NSW: State of Discomfort

 Fashion Police Collar Moe

 Telstra Picks Up Union Signal

 E-Missiles Strike White House

 STOP PRESS: Doubts Over Driver Test

 Juggler Catches Union Gong

 Chubb Beats Up On Own Guards

 Commuters Face Long, Hot Summer

 MUA Members Play Santa

 Bennelong Grinch Strikes Again

 G’day To Union Made Wines

 Activists Notebook

C O L U M N S

Predictions
The Guessing Game
We have consulted our regular list of mystics and gnostics to offer these throughts for the future.

Culture
Folk You Mate
Jan Nary looks at the role of workers songs in the upcoming National Folk Festival.

Culture
Shane Maloney – Crime Writer
For a crime writer whose books are set against a backdrop of unions and Labor Party politics, Shane Maloney confesses to little direct experience of either.

The Locker Room
Workers Online Sports Awards
Noel Hester and Peter Moss give their annual rundown of the good, the bad and the ugly in the world of sport.

Technology
The Web We Weave
Social Change Online's Mark McGrath's annual review of how unions are using the web to grow.

L E T T E R S
 Tom On Mark
 Looking The Otherway At Christmas
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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Tool Shed

HAIL TO THE TOOL


Ever since George W. Bush has risen to the mantle of US President it’s hard to avoid the suspicion that somewhere a village is missing its idiot. This year there is one Tool who has risen above all others. That Tool is George W. Bush.

*****

The most dangerous US President in living memory is often portrayed as a homespun, simple fellow. The grin. The vacant gaze. The vacuous and inappropriate comment.

Let's face it. The leader of the free world is an idiot.

Money can't buy you love, but it can buy you the US Presidency. The humourist Michael Moore has documented the steps that were taken to stuff a ballot box in Florida in 2001 in order to elect the idiot son of a failed former Republican leader. Thanks to his criminally insane brother (not the one who defrauded millions of their savings, the other one) George was able to pick up the Electoral College in Florida and assume the presidency.

Thanks to George we are now in an arms salesman's wet dream - a state of permanent and total war. We must abandon the very freedoms that we are defending in order to defend them.

Irony, and a hell of a lot of innocent kids, are now dead.

This is the man who, in the face of mounting poverty, decided to give tax cuts to some of the world's wealthiest people. This is the man who put Osama Bin Laden in the too hard basket. This is the man who has torn up the rules of global diplomacy and replaced it with a wild free for all. This is the man who has unilaterally assumed the mantle of world leader. This is the man who has taken a bunch of people that even the CIA thought were crazies and has placed them at the centre of state policy. This is the man who has cut welfare and health care while presiding over the biggest national budget defecit in human history.

The only thing crazier than this demented loon are the dangerous fools blindly following him, such as the Vodaphone Prime Minister.

This year George W. Bush has fought terror at home by grinning like an idiot while slashing overtime conditions and health care for millions of America's working poor.

To solve the conflicting demands in any society, and between nations, requires the skill of patience, it requires thoughtfulness, diplomacy and wisdom. Luckily George W. Bush has none of these.

Reflect on these remarkable contributions to the human gene pool:

"[T]he best way to find these terrorists who hide in holes is to get people coming forth to describe the location of the hole."

Washington, D.C., Dec. 15, 2003

"Security is the essential roadblock to achieving the road map to peace."

Washington, D.C., July 25, 2003

"I'm the master of low expectations."

Aboard Air Force One, June 4, 2003

"First, let me make it very clear, poor people aren't necessarily killers. Just because you happen to be not rich doesn't mean you're willing to kill."

Washington, D.C., May 19, 2003

"I think war is a dangerous place."

Washington, D.C., May 7, 2003

The Hapsburg Empire collapsed because an inherited aristocracy became hopelessly inbred to the point of mental fatigue. In one generation the Bush line has managed to replicate the Hapsburg's 1400 years of evolutionary determinism to produce a chinless wonder with the intellect of a houseplant, and none of its aesthetic qualities.

Bush would be an unbelievable satire in the hands of, say, Peter Sellers or Charlie Chaplin. Scarily though, he's very real. Just as the conservatives in this country supported Hitler in the thirties, now, in the early part of the twenty-first century, they support Bush unquestioningly. After all, they share the same intellectual rigour.

Our Tool Of The Year George W. Bush should enjoy his time in the Tool Shed, as this time next year there will be a Democrat president-elect and Bush should be facing the International War Crimes tribunal in The Hague, charged for his Crimes Against Humanity.

Well, he should if there's any justice in this world.



Show Us YOUR TOOL!

The most inspiring interpretation of this week's tool get's a souvenir edition of Ship of Tools. Deface the Tool of the Week, click the button above to post your artwork, fill out the form and send your entry in and we'll post the winners next week in the Tool of the Week Gallery.

 
 

Ship of Tools - All the tools in one shed!

View our Gallery of Tools

Nominate a Tool!

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