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Issue No. 310 09 June 2006  

I'm No Economist, But �.
I'm no economist, but there a few things about the national economic debate right now that I don't quite get.


Interview: Rock Solid
Bill Shorten gives the inside story on the Australian Workers Union's involvement in the Beaconsfield rescue.

Industrial: Eight Simple Rules for Employing My Teenage Daughter
Phil Oswald bought up his kids to believe in their rights; so when his 16-year old daughter was told to cop a pay cut she was never going to take it quietly.

Politics: The Johnnie Code
WorkChoices is encrypted deep in the PM's political DNA, writes Evan Jones

Energy: Fission Fantasies
Adam Ma�anit looks at the big business push behind the 'clean nuclear' debate that is sweeping the globe.

History: All The Way With Clarrie O'Shea
The WorkChoices Penal Powers are the latest in a long line of penal sanctions against trade unions, writes Neale Towart

International: Closer to Home
If Australia can forgive its debt to Iraq, why not to Indonesia and the Philippines, write Luke Fletcher and Karen Iles

Economics: Taking the Fizz
While the Treasurer has been popping the post-Budget champers, Frank Stilwell gives a more sober assessment.

Unions: Stronger Together
Amanada Tattersall looks at the possibilities of strengthening alliances between unions, environmental and community organisations

Review: Montezuma's Revenge
Tommy Lee Jones directs and stars in a film about racism and retribution, writes James Gallaway.

Poetry: Fair Go Gone
Employers in the land rejoice, for we are girt by greed.


 Grandmother Fights Fabrication Company

 Bog Standards, Hanssen Exposed

 Foxtel Channels Contracts

 Telstra Dials Up A Shocker

 Viva La Resolution

 Smirk Boss Loses Control

 Iemma Told To Change At Central

 On The Tiles

 APHEDA Offices Attacked

 Vanstone Sits On Wages

 PM Slap for Battered Women

 "Spineless" Andrews Apologises

 Howard Lags �Best Practice�

 Harper's Bizarre Theories

 Process Abused - Call Peter McIlwain

 Activists What's On!


The Soapbox
The Beaconsfield Declaration
As the Prime Minister feted Brant Webb and Todd Russell, their colleagues were outside with a message to the rest of Australia.

The Locker Room
Run Like You Stole Something
Phil Doyle observes that there are some tough bastards out there.

The Westie Wing
That fun-loving friend of the workers, Ian West, reports from the red leather of the Bear Pit.

Class Action
Phil Bradley draws the lines between education funding and the current skills crisis.

 Her Honour Judge Judith Scheindler
 Greens Are Good For You
 Calling All Micks!
 Coming Up Swinging
 Belly's Bit
 Mining For Gold
 Blood Spangled Banner
 Never To Be Repeated Offer
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Letters to the Editor

Blood Spangled Banner

In 1812 the United States of America declared war on the British Empire The War [1812 to 1815] fought on land in North America and at sea around the world, seems to have set the pattern for the bellicose foreign policy profile so much a part of American culture to this day. The British violations portrayed by the United States as the real reason for the declaration of war had ceased by the start of the conflict. The United States, as the aggressor nation, went to war to gain territory. No territory changed hands. The casualties, for the time were considerable and the body count included many civilians.

On September 13th 1814 Francis Scott Key [1779-1843], patriot, poet, lawyer and US attorney for the District of Columbia [1833-41] visited the British fleet in Chesapeake Bay, a strategic inlet of the Atlantic Ocean separating the Delmarva Peninsula from mainland Maryland and Virginia. His purpose there was to obtain the release of Dr William Beanes captured after the burning of Washington, DC. Key succeeded and, being obliged to pass the night onboard ship - for security reasons - found a place in history. He witnessed the shelling of Fort McHenry, one of the forts defending Baltimore.

In the early morning light Francis Scott Key was delighted to see that despite the British bombardment the American flag was still flying over this audacious fort. To capture the moment he wrote the poem 'Defence of Fort McHenry' which became 'Star Spangled Banner'. The poem found popularity with the tune 'To Anacreon In Heaven', written by the English composer John Stafford Smith [1750-1836] in 1780 as a London club drinking song about an old Greek chap who had choked to death on a grape seed. In 1931 'Star Spangled Banner' already adopted as a 'song of honour' by the US army and navy, became the American National Anthem.

In the intervening years the stars have lost their lustre and the banner, ragged and bloodstained, is daily dishonoured by those who wave it most.

In the history of the USA the profligate and contemptuous use of power has become the hallmark of a self-indulgent and narcissistic culture. Internally the nation is coming apart at the decaying seams. Externally the great American dream, now sustained by lies, brutality and aggression, is characterised as the great American nightmare. 'God bless America,' chants the President. 'God help America,' is the desperate and muted response from the once proud inhabitants of the home of the brave and the land of the free.

Say guys, can you see, by the dawn's lurid light,

how proudly we march through the bleeding and screaming,

grim smouldering ruins that we bombed last night,

and death and destruction beyond wildest dreaming?

When our rockets red glare, our bombs burning the air,

gave proof to the vanquished, now our flag stands there.

Say guys, does our blood-spangled banner proclaim,

the American nightmare, our despot's vile reign?

Over smoke-blackened corpses of children we weep,

when the world of TV comes to captures our poses.

What terrible stench through the ruins will creep,

as the wind gently blows, and we wrinkle our noses.

Then the spin-doctors sneer, and our loyal folks cheer,

and the body count grows as our victory draws near.

Say guys, does our blood-spangled banner proclaim,

the American nightmare, our despot's vile reign?

Oh, thus be it ever when, tyrants shall stand

for death and destruction and war's desolation.

Bless us with riches, in this oil-bearing land

praise the lord that we serve and preserve us as a nation!

Then conquer we must, though our cause is unjust,

and this is our motto: 'In George Bush we trust'.

Say guys, does our blood-spangled banner proclaim,

the American nightmare, our despot's vile reign?

Remember the uncounted dead: Chileans, Vietnamese, Kurds, Iraqis, Afghanis, their worlds destroyed by American greed and hypocrisy. Remember the faceless, unidentified torture victims of Abu Graib and Guantanamo Bay, and the slaughtered innocents of Haditha and other hidden places. Remember the mounting death toll of betrayed, young, working class Americans who volunteered for military service neither to die nor to kill but to find employment. Remember all those throughout the world united in death by the corrosive culture of the Imperial Empire of the United States of America. Remember the buck stops at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

'It's in our country's interests to find those who would do harm to us and get them out of harm's way.' - George W. Bush

'If George [W] Bush were judged by the standards of the Nuremberg Tribunals, he'd be hanged, so too would every American President since the end of the Second World War.' - Noam Chomsky

'If Chomsky's view [on George [W] Bush] holds good then history, as recorded by any reasonable person, will conclude that his co-conspirators Tony Blair and John Howard, accessories before and after the fact, should suffer a similar fate.' - Albert Abercrombie

Finally: Dateline Washington DC: June 2nd 2006. The 43rd President, in response to yet another report of a US military massacre of civilians, has announced that all US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan will undergo training in ethical conduct. There are no plans to introduce this training to the White House, The Pentagon or to the American Congress.

Blood Spangled Banner (c) Dermott Ryder


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