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Issue No. 247 19 November 2004  

In Defence of Jeff
Those of us who know and have worked with Jeff Shaw over the years have found the unfolding spectacle of his very public fall from grace profoundly distressing. Surely they have the wrong guy.


Interview: The Reich Stuff
Robert Reich has led the debate on the future of work – both as an academic and politician. Now he’s on his way to Australia to help NSW unions push the envelope.

Economics: Crime and Punishment
Mark Findlay argues that the present psychological approach to prison programs is increasing the likelihood of re-offending and the threat to community safety.

Environment: Beyond The Wedge
Whether the great forestry divide can ever be overcome or whether it is best sidestepped for the sake of unity and sustainability in other areas is up for debate, writes Tara de Boehmler.

International: The End Of The Lucky Country
Linda Weiss, Elizabeth Thurbon and John Mathews show us How To Kill A Country

Safety: Tests Fail Tests
Nick Lewocki from the RTBU lifts the lid on the shonky science behind RailCorp testing

Politics: Labo(u)r Day
John Robertson lets fly at this years Labor Day dinner

Human Rights: Arabian Lights
Tim Brunero reports on how a Sydney sparky took on the Taliban and lived to tell the tale.

History: Labour's Titan
Percy Brookfield was a big man who was at the heart of the trade union struggles that made Broken Hill a quintessential union town writes Neale Towart.

Review: Foxy Fiasco
To find out who is outfoxing who, read Tara de Boehmler's biased review of a subjective documentary about corrupt journalism.

Poetry: Then I Saw The Light
Brothers and sisters! Praise the Lord! Brother George has saved the White House from an invasion by infidels, writes resident bard David Peetz.


 Activists What's On!

 Union Baiter on Charges

 Commuter Champ Backs Workers

 Late Night Threats in Perth

 Corporates Gobble Apprentices

 Fleas Get Thumbs-Up

 Packer Perishes in Blue

 $5000 Bill for Teen

 Miners Plunge Before The Beak

 Cops Raid Press

 Christmas Sack at Broken Hill

 Admin Staff Exposed

 Teachers Swallow Lolly


The Locker Room
In Naming Rights Only
Phil Doyle has Gone to Gowings

The Soapbox
Homeland Insecurity
Rowan Cahill tells us how the Howard Government’s appointment of Major-General Duncan Lewis to head up the national security division of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has received little critical comment, until now.

The Westie Wing
New proposed legislation in NSW provides a vital window of opportunity for unions to ensure they achieve convictions for workplace deaths, writes Ian West.

 Backbone Derail Causes Paralysis
 Shawly we’ve heard enough
 Decline of The American Empire
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Letters to the Editor

Decline of The American Empire

After an exchange of emails with my nephew, who is a student of ancient Roman history, I have drawn the following parallels between the fall of The Roman Empire and the current situation in America.

Marcus Aurelius was a good leader. He wanted his stepson to succeed him.

But it is widely agreed that his natural son Commodus murdered both his father and step brother. Commodus was an inept ruler, and the decline of the Roman

Empire can clearly be seen to begin under the Caesarship of Commodus.

So Commodus took the throne falsely and through his incompetence the RomanEmpire started to disintegrate.

The parallel:

Everybody except a few ignorant Republicans are quite sure that the voting in Florida was rigged (I have various email friends in the US of all political persuasions who give me their opinions.)

Hence, like Commodus, Bush most likely became leader illicitly.

Bush is the most incompetent leader in US history. Already he has ensured that no country in the world (with the exception of Australia for as long as

John Howard remains Prime Minister, and Britain as long as Tony Blair remains Prime Minister) will ever again trust or respect the USA.

Additionally the US is about to be tumbled from its current position as the most economically powerful country in the world, partly because of Bush's

incompetence, but also because China, because of its sheer numbers, is rapidly heading to the top. A trade alliance between China, India and a few

other countries would certainly topple America from its current position. China has the numbers, India has the skills.

Additionally the European countries are working towards becoming a much more unified and powerful economic bloc.

Bush achieved his post illicitly, and because of the factors mentioned above, I think the US has passed it peak and it will be downhill from here


Whilst America accounts for 50 per cent of the world‚s entire spending on the military and armaments, it has lost the trust and respect of the rest of the world, and in the not too distant future will also most likely be toppled from its position as the most economically powerful country in the


And responsibility for this lies fairly and squarely with George W. Bush.

God knows what further havoc he will create now that he has been re-elected.

So it will be a case of goodbye America, thanks for helping to save us from Hitler and Japan, but we don't trust your motives any more.

America, under the bumbling Bush, who of course is merely a puppet manipulated by the likes of Rumsfeld and Cheney, has lost probably irretrievably the status it enjoyed (or at least claimed) as leader of the

free world.

Julian Hancock


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