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Weekend reflections

February 16th, 2008

It’s time once again for weekend reflections.Feel free to write at greater length than for a standard comment thread. As always, civilised discussion and no coarse language.

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  1. February 16th, 2008 at 15:56 | #1

    i came across a report on american ‘watch, capture, or kill’ by aerial surveillance and drone bombs in the middle east. all very clinical, only the guilty die, you may believe. but i don’t.

    america has a long history on wanton murder, and refining the execution tools reduces the collateral damage, but does not protect the innocent. it is still police state murder. it’s a breath-taking example of the arrogance of power.

    there was a low-tech variation practiced in vietnam, called the ‘phoenix program’. lot’s of vc found themselves thrown out of helicopters over the ocean after they had been tortured for information. you may think ‘fair enough’ but vc was anyone some informant wanted to get rid of, for fun or profit. nothing new about how humans make war, nor about what kind of humans do it for a living. but i got tired of wearing those colors.

    if you wouldn’t do this sort of thing yourself, shouldn’t you sever connections with those that do?

  2. Peter
    February 16th, 2008 at 16:31 | #2

    Wayne Swan is talking about inflation for quite a while. He is blaming the banks for raising the interest rates. Why can’t he then allow more foreign banks to operate in Australia ?

    Also to control the wages going over the roof top, why can’t he get people from nearby island nations such as PNG, Fiji etc.. For example people who are driving trucks in remote Australia are demanding around 80-130kAUD/year. Surely Australia can get truck drivers(and other similar trades people) much cheaper from other nearby countries.

    Swan should stop the blame game and start looking for realistic solutions for controlling price rise in Australia.

  3. kyangadac
    February 16th, 2008 at 16:57 | #3

    On the 1000 great thinkers 2020 conference – I’ve been thinking that what we actually need is a thousand great ideas for these thinkers to think about.
    Perhaps somebody with more resources than I could cajole the blogosphere into setting up a resource where such ideas may be gathered, dissected, paised and panned prior to the long awaited party – so that the Baggins’s chosen may have a few useful weapons in their arsenal beyond a kiss from Galadriel.

  4. February 16th, 2008 at 19:40 | #4

    The issue of obesity as a social/public health issue seems to have died away. Any suggestion why?

  5. Ikonoclast
    February 16th, 2008 at 22:50 | #5

    Four very different reflections above. On #1, yes watch out for fully automated warfare. The possibility of small strike fighters being flown by pilots at a base rather than in the aircraft is the next step. Armoured divisions may well start using remote piloted vehicles in the lead of the column clearing mining fields, laying supressing fire and so on. These developments will continue to escalate the “lethality” and indiscriminate nature of the killing.

    On number 2 and 4. Inflation will be solved by the next great depression. Obesity by the coming world food shortage. Only the very rich will be able to afford to be obese.

  6. observa
    February 17th, 2008 at 06:09 | #6

    “The issue of obesity as a social/public health issue seems to have died away. Any suggestion why?”
    Blame Labor ;)
    http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,23227111-2682,00.html

  7. Ikonoclast
    February 17th, 2008 at 07:42 | #7

    I might speak a little more seriously now on the obesity topic. The solution to obesity is in self control. I mean two kinds of self control.

    1. Individual self control.
    2. Societal self control.

    Both types of control are necessary to solve or ameliorate obesity just as they are necessary solve or ameliorate any behavioural/health problem. Just as an individual should not give up the effort to control him/her self neither should a society to give up its efforts to control and coordinate its total set of activities and customs as a society.

    Debates on this topic will often break into two groups. One group emphasises self control and individual responsibility (usually right wingers). The other group emphasises societal controls (usually left wingers). In fact, both sets of controls are necessary. Teaching and training new young individuals to be self controlled begins as a societal effort.

    We are failing to teach indiduals to eat sensibly and exercise. We are also failing to control the production and advertising of unhealthy foods. The excessive embrace of laissez faire capitalism involves an abdication of our reponsibility to properly regulate our society. Self regulation and societal regulation go hand in hand.

  8. gordon
    February 17th, 2008 at 15:40 | #8

    The (US) Economic Policy Institute’s report “Renewing U.S. manufacturing: Promoting a high-road strategy” is now available to download from their website. There are other accompanying reports, on the importance of manufacturing and on “green” strategies.

  9. February 18th, 2008 at 10:47 | #9

    does the high road strategy refer to production of sufficient drone camera/bombs and low orbit satcams to blanket the planet?

    as opposed to the low road strategy of building roads? (and hospitals and schools….)

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