STRAWS IN THE WIND: by Max TeichmannNews Weekly
Israel and Hezbollah / Still call Australia home? / Night thoughts / Victoria and the pokies
, August 5, 2006
Israel and Hezbollah
A few days ago, I picked up a statement by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, on her way to yet another of those meetings to resolve a runaway conflict. She said that the Middle East was about to enter a period of great transformation.
What she meant - I don't think we know yet; but one of our hayseed tele-commentators said it was just political spin. I wouldn't think so. Things are much too serious, and changing with enormous speed - unlike the IQs of our rustic scribblers.
The Israelis and their friends and allies are damned if they do, and damned if they don't. Hezbollah is a tried and tested terrorist organisation which operates, and has cells, wherever it can establish itself. It would kill anyone, and has.
Its lofty aim is the destruction of Israel, and it flourishes with the support of powerful like-minded states, Syria and Iran. It does not recognise the sovereignty of Lebanon and the authority of its government, any more than it does that of the state of Israel.
Hezbollah is a revolutionary terrorist organisation - a Muslim one, just as the IRA is Irish, or the Ustasha Croatian. But it is international in scope and recruitment and, like the mafia, is an international criminal organisation.
Israel, which had been showing many signs of wanting to make peaceful links all round, had no alternative but to defend itself, and
try to win so decisively as to make a renewal of these terrorist attacks too costly, and doomed to fail.
Israel is as tired as anyone of this game, this Dance of Death, and is one of the few states in the region without territorial ambitions. A far cry from the days of Begin, Dayan and Shamir.
Success is not guaranteed in many areas of conflict, but given the almost complete inability of these Muslim countries to create or sustain viable states, other than dictatorships, and given the remorseless rise in their populations and the never-ending resort to violence to settle all disputes, either domestic, national or international, I see few prospects for lasting peace in this region.
The Israelis may defeat Hezbollah, though this is speculative; but the prospects of growing populations and more acute shortages of water and fertile land make it likely that Israel is never going to be allowed to live unmolested.
Nowadays, she cannot afford to lose one big battle; whereas her opponents can keep losing theirs - and have - but still wear down one Western country after another.
Israel now finds herself semi-isolated, although the realities have barely changed. This is more a story of the decline of the West than it is of a new potency and intellectual plausibility of Islam. We are watching a rush to fill a vacuum, voluntarily abandoned by the West.
Russia and China are equally involved in filling the world power vacuum. Only the myopic imbeciles of the public media don't understand this, so go on bumping and grinding with their demonisation of the Americans. And, increasingly
, the Jews.Still call Australia home?
More than a million Australians, many with a second passport from a foreign land, live permanently overseas. Perhaps half a million more depart Australia to other lands for work or whatever, then return, and, often go away again. Five million take holidays overseas per annum.
Are we really
obliged to them to repatriate each and every one of them each time, and cover the costs, if things blow up where they are living or travelling? And those who keep two residences - they can't afford to move themselves?
The fact is, more and more countries are unsafe or their politics unpredictable, so we should have a special class of travel warnings,
just as we grade shares from blue chip shares to junk bonds.
I think the Middle East is now an area where we might publicise the realities. But as to this double passport folly - it was clearly a mistake, driven by ideology and making possible every kind of skullduggery, bad faith and double standards. Yet another weed from the Garden of Multiculturalism.Night thoughts
It took me many years to realise, if you want a revolution, and it's not possible, that calling in the intervention - or at least seeking the active support of outside countries or agents - is necessary for success. Just like the Renaissance Italian city-states which called in outside powers, thereby encompassing the political ruin of Italy. Machiavelli said it all.
But if revolution is impossible, indigenously, then you can drop the idea ("the opium of the intellectuals", as Raymond Aron termed this drug of choice in his famous 1955 book of that name).
Or, you can sit on the wire like an old crow, putting the evil eye on all and sundry. The talkback, and the simulated scandals, "outrages", whinges of our gutter media often serve this liberating function, or
you can play the voyeur on every revolution, uprising, social dysfunction in the world, like the addicts of horror movies. Revolutionary pornography.Or
, you actually search the world for allies - no matter what their provenance - either to hoist you and yours into power, or just to smash or injure the damned society (your own) that you hate above all things. I took my harp to a party but no one asked me to play.
Someone wrote that if that Jewish art bureaucrat had admitted Hitler to the art college as a budding painting student, instead of refusing him, we would have had no Nazi party.
I always knew that from the ranks of our unrequited revolutionaries came our spies, collaborators and traitors - "better Hitler than Blum", Stalin better than Roosevelt, Truman or Eisenhower - but I didn't realise those supporting a world revolution had the seeds of treason and betrayal of their country as the logical
Some were prepared to take this logic to its conclusion, while others desisted. So we shouldn't be surprised at the spectacle of so many of the Western "intelligentsia" lining up with some of the most execrable murderers in modern history. In fact, they are just being logical.
Pope Leo XIII may have twigged this when he set his face against international socialism - as against the domestic product, for which I felt he had respect.
And this is how social democracy, as against communism, operated, and drew its line in the sand. It was not a disagreement only about wholesale nationalisation, or thought control, or centralism, or trying to dissolve the class system - but the allegiance to your
own state, your
society with its customs, mores, traditions and laws.
Liberalism and social democracy wanted to retain all these, while maximising justice, sharing affluence, giving everyone their private space. The communists, the fascists, the theocrats and the one-party tyrants respected none of these.
So, if the Coalition of the Willing beats back Islam, and the West regains its senses, our revolutionaries will not turn in their cards. They will simply go looking for another way, a new Demon, a new God - meanwhile trying to live off the fat of the land while they do this.Victoria and the pokies
A couple of years ago, when Victorians were asked whether gaming machines (i.e., "pokies") numbers were too high and whether these numbers should be reduced, 78 per cent of them said yes. In fact, we know
that this is what people have been thinking and saying and
also their views on the Crown Casino, ever since its inception. But our politicians have been deaf.
Now Ted Baillieu and our state Liberal Opposition are campaigning on the promise to cut pokies by a quarter, i.e., by 5,000. Naturally, the companies running and benefiting enormously from this social cancer just pooh-poohed the Baillieu proposal, as did the Steve Bracks Labor Government which also profits enormously from the same.
It's sometimes difficult to decide whether the Government is a branch of the Casino and its culture, or vice versa. What do you think? Anyway ... wot about the builders, the developers and the building unions?
We're looking here at a palace with many apartments - like Saddam Hussein's temples of culture, patriotism and good taste. Or like Trades Hall.Critics
One remembers the critics of the pokies, and the demands by Labor, when in Opposition (and also by the Melbourne Age
and the ABC), to inspect the contracts between the former Kennett Liberal Government and Lloyd Williams' people.
Within two or three days of election, Labor's new premier Steve Bracks and one or two other cronies were being wined and dined at the Casino. No hard feelings - and gambling has never looked back.
This fight, like so many make-believe brawls in a corrupt political system, is just to fool the punters. The real fight is to be gatekeeper, with the usual commission that gatekeepers receive. In passing, many if not most of our "ethnic communities" engage - sometimes permanently - in such make-believe struggles. They are advertised as being about "principles" - "where ignorant armies clash by night" - whereas they are really about who is to be trustee of the Magic Pudding.
Channel Ten, suitably disturbed by the Liberal proposals, immediately ran their
poll: "Would cutting down pokie numbers reduce the number of problem gamblers?" Not
the same question. But, to their chagrin, two thirds of respondents said, "Yes, it would reduce them."
Fellas, you'll have to revamp the question - again.
There are of course numerous factors in problem gambling, or drugs, or drinking - we all
know that. But so are there many undesirable features of gambling besides the problem people.
There's the opportunistic but now intractable dependence of our Victorian Government on gambling revenue, which gives it a vested interest in increasing it. And in deliberately supervising gambling less.This
industry has thrown up a whole new class of rich spivs who have infiltrated the ranks of politicians, bureaucrats and, quite likely, the police - as have the paladins of the booze culture.
Government would like to decriminalise at least some drugs, so as to tax them, and go to bed with some even sleazier clients. We are living in Gotham City. So Baillieu has taken on some powerful characters. And serious conflicts.
While the supermarket giants and the ludicrous extension of shopping hours have wreaked havoc with small business, so has the diversion of surplus consumer monies to gambling - just as soaring petrol prices are starting to create gaps in other areas of our consumer spending.
I have not the space or time here, but I could name a number of shopping streets where the drop in trade - especially of niche and specialty shops - followed immediately upon the appearance of pokies in their areas.
The really sad thing about Labor parties now is that once they were aware of the hazards of gambling and booze for their members and their families. But now they are out there defending, when they are not advertising, these traditional enemies of the workers. ("But Mummy, what's a worker? And Mummy, what's a Daddy?").
In the same way, we have watched our churches go virtually silent at the phenomenon of gambling, of boosting alcohol, of the toleration of drugs, of abortion on demand, gay marriage and virtual tolerance of crime, via their unlimited sympathy for the executants. All practices which the churches had previously excoriated.
The community, in its struggle to preserve a humane, tolerant civil society can no longer expect help from those two, perhaps irreplaceable historic estates of the realm, the liberal Left and the churches. Both appear to have been captured by heretics.