Valerie Yules Letters

October 4, 2014

Democracy can be worse than useless

Filed under: political, politicall problems — Tags: — valerieyulesletters @ 9:10 am

October 1 2014

Democracy can be worse than useless

The first great democracy, in 5th century Athens, with all citizens voting, showed the dangers of democracy when the people are uninformed.

The citizens voted for an attack on another city for the sake of glory and gold, and had a catastrophic defeat; they treated a rebellious island with the utmost cruelty; they followed a charismatic leader and then rejected him so that he led their enemies against them; they squabbled over an oligarchy.

We should all consider how democracies can fail, before seeking to impose them on other countries

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October 16, 2013

The Israeli illegal settlements – could this be a solution?

Filed under: Fantasy, political solutions, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — valerieyulesletters @ 4:57 am

One solution to the illegal Israeli settlements’ oppression of the dispossessed would be the solution to oppression of the dispossessed in Exodus – as much of the ten plagues of Egypt as was necessary-
Water like blood (red algae), frogs, gnats, flies, death of cattle, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and if none worked, the death of the first-born.

August 12, 2013

Australian elections

Blurb: Yes, indeed Australians have preferential voting, but how does it work out in the Polls before the election, and choices on the ballot papers?

Voters’ Choice in Elections

Elections that in practice give a choice between only two parties, leave hundreds of parties without a chance

Australia has preferential voting, which should mean that all parties and individuals standing have a chance of winning votes. Yet the Polls that keep up polling them before the election, offer a narrow choice, that has the effect of convincing most people that there are only two parties, coalition and ALP, that they can vote for without wasting their vote

So many parties are contesting this election! The Senate ballot paper alone with 53 people standing could be wallpaper for every voter’s home. Yet no party has any chance except the two that figure always on the Polls as being the parties that must be preferred.

This constant feature of the regular polling has many bad consequences.

Britain once had two parties which contested power between them – Conservative and Liberal. But when Labor entered the arena it eventually became one of the two leading parties in the early 1920s, ousting the Liberal Party, which became the third party. By that time, the Conservative and Liberal parties were so close in policies and appeal, that the Labour Party brought in something new and allowed new people to vote for it.

That cannot happen in Australia, even when the Coalition and Labor parties tend to be funded by most of the same people and corporations. Parties like the Australian Democrats (which effectively committed suicide) and now the Greens, can get up to 15% of the vote in some electorates, but no more.

People are convinced by the format of the Polls that only the Coalition and the ALP have a chance. There is widespread ignorance of how preferential voting works, and many believe that if they do not vote for either of these, their vote is wasted.

The ballot paper confirms this belief. Voting above and below the line confuses them. Voting above the line only shoes in the Coalition or ALP, and their blanket policies. Voting below the line requires the voter to put a figure in every box and there are too many boxes to be able or willing to fill in properly.

Many of the parties and individuals on the Senate paper are really shadow parties that will help to push in one of the two major parties. Nobody knows what all of them mean, or their policies.

Our electoral system is a farce at present. It requires cleaning up, so that ordinary people can tell what the choices are and how to vote for what they really want.

There is no chance of us repeating what Britain did in the 1920s, changing the top parties as society and economic conditions require. Three effective parties meant that the party gaining power took heed of all the country’s needs including those represented by the other two.

Australia is different.

Samples were taken of the Radio National News on 5 August 2013. ABC Federal Election News contained mention of the Greens or Green program ONCE in ten broadcasts that all mentioned the two main parties. This mention was citing a Greens leader saying that if you wanted to save the Tarkine, the possum (or was it the potaroo?) and the Barrier Reef you would vote Greens. And that was all the News said about their platform! Nothing about their economic, social, political or other conservation policies!

The leading letter to the Age on June 7, p 16, by Chris Pettifer said that a Greens vote will only guarantee an Abbott government. This is not true as preferential voting will give the vote to a failing first preference on to the second preference. Yet many believe like Chris Pettifer, not understanding preferential voting, and the media does not help them with the facts.

The results are serious. In Australia today, the climate is widely recognized as the great ‘moral issue’ but we do not have the leading parties that give us a chance to really act. Neither wish to take the steps that are needed. They need the push that a really plain election ballot paper vote would give the public a chance to vote for policies as well as parties. They need the facts of preferential voting made clear in the polls they are given. And the media must give the public the chance to know what all the parties mean, their policies, and their alignments to the major parties.

The Electoral council remains uncommunicative on these issues.

In theory our election policies are democratic, but when it comes to how they operate, they give the ordinary voters little chance to find out how they can really tell whatever party wins what are the policies they would really support.

February 15, 2013

A Peace Museum

http://home.vicnet.net.au/~ozideas.peacemu.htm

 

The Peace Museum

Many countries have War Museums, but war does not stay in museums.

Peace Museums could glorify Peace.

   How?  Displays of civilisations, and Before and After  Displays of Lost Treasures, built up over hundreds of years and destroyed in brutal minutes. A child, nine months in the making and the short time of its little life, and the minute that destroys it.  Smiling countrysides and beautiful cities – and the desolate wastelands made of them The suffering of survivors. War is harder on the living than the dead. The other creatures that die when men fight.

What it is like in countries that do not know war.  That do not pay for  armies, and military research.  The many causes of war – and how they could   be removed.

See the delights of constructing, and creating. Little toddlers love to smash  towers that others set up – when they grow rightly, the greater pleasure can be to build towers ever more wonderful, but stopping before the pride that brought down Babel.  Nine-year-old boys love to scuffle, and join a mischievous gang, and revel in tales of blood – but as they becomes men, they can put away these sorts of childish things.

The Peace Museum would show how human energy can turn away from aggression, and if there is a Freudian Death instinct how even this might be turned to prevent killing and grief.

The stories and histories which live to warn us.  Gulliver’s little people, who fought over which end of an egg to cut first   An honour roll of real life Peace-makers, who made ‘Peace with Prosperity’ and not just a staving-off, and not those who ‘made a desert, and they call it peace,’ as Tacitus said of his Romans.  Stories from this honor roll would be studied in schools –  but not killed by exams.

The Black Lists of arms manufacturers and traders and similar war criminals, kept up to date.   Inventories of what poor countries pay for the arms that destroy them, and how they paid for them.

Music is playing in the Museum forecourts – “Where have all the flowers gone?“,  and the music that Beethoven composed as he was deafened by the siege of Vienna, and the laments that have arisen at so many times, in so many languages.

Peace blockbuilder films and documentaries go all over the world  to arouse appetites for Peace, with ‘Irene’ awards  more beautiful than Oscars.

Whom the gods destroy, they first make mad.  The people of Athens knew this saying. Their story too, would be in the Peace Museum, in hopes that we can stop our own madnesses.

One of the most mad of our ideas is that we would find peace and goodness boring.  Real peace and real goodness are not neutral and boring – they are at the opposite extreme to war and evil, and far more satisfying.

 

Write a Script for a Peace Block-builder Film

 

A Fijian full of dignity said on television that civil war in Fiji was possible; he said, it was probable, and his face was impassive.  He did not scream and howl, that those fair islands could be swept unnecessarily with ruin and suffering, and with modern weapons, might be made deserts.

When I was small, the Preacher would say, “I have set before you life and death, light and darkness; therefore choose life.”  The answer seemed obvious to a little child  – everyone would choose life.  Then when I was eight, Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia, and I was shocked to find that in real life, not just in adventure stories, people would deliberately choose darkness.

The choice of darkness has spread so far.  When as an adult I worked (played) with children, we had a set of little toytown buildings, which in recent years included a blackened ruin.  Young children often chose the ruin first for their play, saying it was ‘more interesting’.  A salesman of these toytowns told me that they included the ruins because they were so popular.  Young teenagers will choose smoking or drugs or self-mutilation, taking the risks willingly.  And what is there that adults will not do, to destroy the world around them.

The Holocaust Museums around the world could contain many mansions, for Jews, gipsies, Armenians, American Indians, Cathars, Caribs, thousands of extinct peoples, and now every day more rooms are added as more innocents are slaughtered on the grounds of ethnicity for the sake of the space they take up. It is as if Death, hand in hand with injustice and crowding beyond resources, has sown dragon’s teeth broadcast over the world.

Many many countries have War Museums, but war does not stay in museums.

The Peace Museums that could be built would glorify Peace, and show how fair and fragile she is, and how much more beautiful and interesting than black destruction and red explosions and the ruins that they leave, silent except for vermin.

The Peace Museums would not be like the War Museums that show the business of war.  Instead, there would be displays of civilisations, Before and After.  There is a book  Lost Treasures of Europe.   There would be displays about so many lost treasures over the millennia,  destroyed for a brief brutal delight.   We would see a cathedral as it was hundreds of years in the building, and the ten minutes that smashed it, and the loss afterwards.  We would see a child, as it is nine amazing months in the making and the short time of its little life, and the minute that destroys it, and the grieving after it.    We would see smiling countrysides and beautiful cities and the desolate wastelands that have been made of them – and the remorse after, if any are left to feel remorse.   We would see the other creatures that  also die as we fight each other.  We would see how people suffered who survived.  War is harder on the living than the dead.

We would see what it is like in countries that do not know war. And how their disputes are resolved and how much peace depends upon justice.  What happens in countries that do not have to pay for standing armies, and what could happen if other countries could be saved from realistic fears that make military defence appear essential.   The Peace Museum would include examinations of the causes of war – and how they could have been and still could be removed.

We would see the delights of construction, and slow creation – and how children learn this delight.  It is the little toddlers’ pleasure first to smash he towers that others set up – but as they grow, in the normal way of things, the greater pleasure is in building towers ever more wonderful, short of the hubris that brought down Babel.  It is the nine-year-old boy’s delight to scuffle, and join a mischievous gang, and revel in tales of blood – but as he becomes a man, he can put away these childish things.  The Peace Museum would show how human energy can turn to other things than aggression, and if there is, as Freud came to think, a Death instinct, an urge of Thanatos, how even this might be turned to prevent killing.

There would be the stories and histories which live to warn us.  The little people that Gulliver met, who fought over which end of an egg to cut first – and how Gulliver could see how to stop that war.  An honour roll of real life Peace-makers, who made ‘Peace with Prosperity’ and not just a staving-off, and not those who ‘made a desert, and they call it peace,’ as Tacitus said of his Romans.   And the stories from this honor roll would be studied in schools, but not killed by exams.

There would be the Black Lists of arms manufacturers and traders and similar war criminals, kept up to date.   Inventories of what poor countries paid for the armaments that destroyed them, and how they paid for them.

 

There would be Peace blockbuilder films and documentaries, that would go all over the world to raise imagination about what can be done in place of strife, and to arouse appetites for Peace.  The ‘Irene’ awards would be more beautiful than Oscars.

There are 250 bible passages about peace.  How many, even among fundamentalists, know more than about a dozen?

In a Scots warning about the Last Judgement, the sinners cry, “Lord, Lord, we didna ken!  We did not know!” And the Lord replies, “Ye ken the noo.”  This too would be written up over the gate, together with, “All hope take with you, you who leave this place.”  The Peace Museum would be a chance to take up hope and resolution.

Imagination is the ability to consider what may be possible, in the real world, not only in fantasy.  On the TV screen, ruin, destruction and suffering are entertainment for voyeurs.  Through the living eye of imagination, we try to feel what these really would be like for our own selves,  and imagining further, imagine peace and pursue it.

March 10, 2012

Articles on political and social issues

 

The future of fire in Australia
Environment – 28/02/2012 – 14 comments
Rapid obsolescence as a form of waste
Economics – 3/02/2012 – 6 comments
The effects of violent video games
Media – 19/01/2012 – 7 comments
The curse of the McMansion
Economics – 24/11/2011 – 7 comments
Free trade and fair trade
September 2011 Feature – 19/09/2011 – 11 comments
Bias on ABC Radio National
Media – 6/09/2011 – 38 comments
Climate change at Radio National
Media – 12/08/2011 – 39 comments
Ageing populations need not be disastrous for Western governments
Society – 27/07/2011 – 29 comments
Our age of paradoxes
Society – 31/05/2011 – 5 comments
The Arabian Nights and Muslim beliefs and practices
Religion & Spirituality – 4/05/2011
How puny are you?
Environment – 8/04/2011 – 19 comments
Unnecessary costs of the elderly
Society – 31/03/2011 – 13 comments
Australian consumers, and our floods and cyclones
Economics – 9/02/2011
Challenges and responses to disasters
Nation Building – 19/01/2011 – 1 comment
Spare that tree: the arithmetic of supply and demand
Environment – 23/12/2010 – 5 comments
Nothing over a million dollars
Society – 14/12/2010 – 37 comments
The cost of elections
Domestic Politics – 12/10/2010 – 5 comments
Don’t waste the Murray River!
Environment – 1/07/2010 – 3 comments
Ballyhoo and balloons: political elections
Domestic Politics – 23/02/2010 – 3 comments
We’ve never had it so good
Society – 9/02/2010 – 7 comments
What a difference a lot of humans make
Society – 21/01/2010 – 6 comments
Combatting prejudice: African Australian refugee youth
Society – 19/08/2009 – 6 comments
The Internet at home – a member of the family
August 2009 Feature – 5/08/2009
A stitch in time …
Society – 25/06/2009 – 9 comments
Damage control – a greater problem than climate change
Environment – 14/05/2009 – 34 comments
Carbon trading has problems
Environment – 5/03/2009 – 7 comments
Housing for our changing climates
Environment – 23/02/2009 – 17 comments
ABC TV for children
Media – 22/12/2008 – 4 comments
Rupert Murdoch on education for the disadvantaged
Education – 4/12/2008 – 1 comment
Manufacturing, jobs and low technology
Science & Technology – 9/10/2008 – 12 comments
Language and literacy
Education – 8/09/2008 – 2 comments
Could the Olympic Games become fair sport?
Sport – 27/08/2008 – 7 comments
An audit for educational disadvantage
Education – 15/08/2008 – 9 comments
Cardinal Pell’s babies – quantity or quality
Society – 31/07/2008 – 18 comments
Marriages for the modern world
Society – 16/07/2008 – 7 comments
Who owns your sewage?
Environment – 3/07/2008 – 8 comments
The case for an Australian-made small second car
Environment – 5/06/2008 – 29 comments
Rubbishing on about plastic bags
Environment – 30/04/2008 – 12 comments
An ambit claim for the Ruddfest 2020
March 2008 Feature – 11/03/2008 – 2 comments
Revolutionary change in education
February 2008 Feature – 20/02/2008 – 10 comments
Cutting waste – saving the planet without destroying economies
Environment – 7/02/2008 – 19 comments
Australian citizenship and human rights
Law & Liberties – 17/01/2008 – 12 comments
Population is not a front page issue
Environment – 17/12/2007 – 43 comments
Improving politicians’ behaviour
Domestic Politics – 5/12/2007 – 11 comments
The big election myth – is the economy strong?
Economics – 24/10/2007 – 62 comments
Compensation as a right?
Health – 8/10/2007 – 10 comments

October 14, 2011

Ten political verses

Filed under: Political reforms, social problems, verse — Tags: , — valerieyulesletters @ 8:52 am

1. The self-awarded  emoluments of Directors

(with apologies to Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries)

“These in the day when heaven was falling
The hour when earth’s foundation fled,
Followed their mercenary calling,
Asked for more wages and are dead.
Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood and earth’s foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And what they wanted was more pay.

2 WHAT I SAID I DID NOT KNOW

(Niemoller in Germany wrote:

First they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew;

then they came for the communists and I did not speak out, because I was not a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak out for me.”)

——————————————————

They came for the local councils and I did not speak out,

because I did not know

They came for public lands and I did not speak out, because I did not know

They came for electricity, gas and fuel and water and I did not speak out, because I did not know

They came for public transport and I did not speak out, because I did not know

They came for schools as property and I did not speak out because I did not know

They came for the unions and I did not speak out because I did not know

They came for Crown Land that was pastoral leases and I did not speak out

because I did not know

They came for Australian industries and I did not speak out because I did not know

They came for the Carlton gardens and I did not speak out because I did not know

They came for the site of the museum that Labor had started building and I did not speak out because I did not know

They leased public beachfront for a private marina and I did not speak out

because I did not know

They cut the funding for the disabled, the mentally handicapped and the psychiatrically disturbed and I did not speak out because I did not know

They cut the funding for hospitals and community health and baby health and I did not speak out

because I did not know

They came to turn annual riverbank and coastal leases into 99-year leases and I did not speak out because I did not know

They came to allow anything to be developed for private profit regardless of public and long-term harm and I did not speak out because I did not know

They came for prime sites on St Kilda Road to build private towers and I did not speak out

because I did not know

They came for what they wanted in the City to build private developments and I did not speak out because I did not know

They came to clearfell in State forests for private profit and I did not speak out

because I did not know

They came to impose problematic brothels and gambling in areas where people did not want them and still I did not speak out

because I did not know

They came to ruin natural beauties on Crown land by private developments for private profit and I did not speak out because I did not know.

They came for the hospitals and prisons that were on desirable land for developers and I did not speak out

because I did not know

They came for the prisoners and the sick because they were profitable for private businesses and I did not speak out

because I did to know

They came to spend millions on glitz and entertainment at the cost of the people’s needs, and I did not speak out

because I did not know

They came for the banks and for telecommunications and I did not speak out

because I did not know

They came for the workers to put their hard-won conditions at risk and I did not speak out

because I did not know

They came to put profit for shareholders above the Common Wealth and I did not speak out

because I did not know

They came to change the Constitution dozens of times to curtail rights and liberties but I did not speak out because I did not know

They came for people who did speak out from their official knowledge and did not speak out because I did not know

They came to allow anything to be developed for private profit regardless of public and long-term harm and I did not speak out because I did not know

because I did not know

They came to ruin natural beauties on Crown land by private developments for private profit and I did not speak out

because I did not know.

They came to silence by  threatening  and law suits and I did not speak out

because I did not know

They came to give the rich a better deal than the poor and I did not speak out

because I did not know

They came for the banks and for telecommunications and I did not speak out

because I did not know

They came for the workers to put their hard-won conditions at risk and I did not speak out

because I did not knows that were to let them be sold out

They came to put profit for shareholders above the Common Wealth and I did not speak out

because I did not know

They came  dozens of times to curtail rights and liberties but I did not speak out because I did not know

They came for people who did speak out from their official knowledge and did not speak out because I did not know

They came for the independent broadcaster and I did not speak out

because I did not know

 They came to silence by  threatening  and law suits and I did not speak out
because I did not know
They came to give the rich a better deal than the poor and I did not speak out
because I did not know
They came to turn the universities into profits and administration, not learning and I did not speak out because I did not know
They came to operate in silence so that I could not speak out
because I did not know
They came to sell Australia to foreign interests and I did not speak out
because I did not know
They came to sell the people and I did not speak out
because I was dumb and I had been sold.
The Scots say that when many folk arrive at the Judgement, they will plead, “Lord, Lord, we dinna ken!”  and the Lord will say,
“Well, ye ken the noo.”

3. A highly colored boy

I pass among a hostile crowd
I live their public shame
For all that should not be allowed
Or needs a dirty name.
I stand outside the house afraid
And pick my foreign skin
For every more familiar shade
Combines lest I get in.
I am the far researcher’s joy,
The local folk’s chagrin;
I’m just a really colored boy,
My colour is bright green.

 

4.Star Wars Star Peace  –

post World War II

 

At the last moment the missiles

Saw the trees in the field

And the wild things that run

In the woods and the streams,

From the ricks and the barns,

The town roofs and the weather vanes,

Faces on people in the streets,

And history that had lain

Six thousand years.

 

They were poised, hung above this

It was a theatre, a war theatre.

The scenario of the sky

was black around it.

Within the sky shone, white,

Those stars already dead.

5.   Matriotism – the countries  I love

 

This is my country I come from – rolling hills and green leas,

My country, interlaced with the deep seas.

I would live and die for my land of the tall trees,

And this land that I love, that spreads white and far.

Oh earth, the lands that I love, how beautiful you are.

 

This is my country I come from, barren and grand,

Here are my red skies over the redder sand,

And the canyons drop away from the great plain,

Where the land I love lies deep in the yellow grain.

 

This is my country with the music of the gamelan,

The rain forest and the island reef where the singing began.

Drums repeat my steppes far away

And by a northern marsh the echo, and the reed pipes play.

 

For these great cities I would fight,

For these lands that are my own birth-right,

For these peoples, this earth, this world, irreplaceable and dear –
What bombs may yet fall on you, what spreading death I fear.

 6. After a meeting in Aberdeen, Scotland,  about nuclear bunkers for the ‘essential people’

 

Batten down this earth and its trees

before the hurricane

Cover the farms and the forests,

net over the streams,

Butterflies and insects,

shield – how? from this flame.

But none of these

is in a bunkering scheme.

 

Bury the books deep,

make cellars for your heritage.

Is there a deepfreeze

you can bank grandchildren in?

 

Dustcovers for democracy –

a military entourage

will come to take the scenery,

when the war begins.

 

(And must all countries bear that wrath?

And must this landscape die?

What flesh can barricade their path,

What blood unspilled can cry?)

 

Beyond the screens of lies and smoke I see

One Fate still spins a spider thread –

that it need not be.

 

7.  Star Wars Star Peace  –

post World War II

 

At the last moment the missiles

Saw the trees in the field

And the wild things that run

In the woods and the streams,

From the ricks and the barns,

The town roofs and the weather vanes,

Faces on people in the streets,

And history that had lain

Six thousand years.

 

They were poised, hung above this

It was a theatre, a war theatre.

The scenario of the sky

was black around it.

Within the sky shone, white,

Those stars already dead.

8. The bird in the egg

The bird is in the egg,

while the bomb is in the shell,

the child is in the womb,

the souls are in hell.

Fresh blows the breeze over  new ruins.

Flowers with the weeds

are in the seeds in the cracks

that brought down these empires.

 

Take away the syringe from the brain,

gun from the head,

horror from the eye of the children,

soot without the fire,

pitch without the road,

offer no God’s flesh

when the communion is dead.

 

Tell the young children

the bomb is in the egg,

the bird is explosive,

that the infant is monstrous,

the man born raging.

that cities lie vacant,

winds carry the plague.

And that in the cracks waits a hope,

waiting for a movement of will.

 

Turning from that screen,

from the images, from the wall,

let your small hands, as the tendrils,

reach for the sun.

Listen within you,

there’s silence, there’s music,

                     Look now.    Life’s done.   and again begun.

9. The Crocodile in the Mangroves

 

Unravelled, stripped, an onion in the dark,

Food of the ancient crocodile, in the dark,

A capitalist conspiracy, the spark

Of futures trading in the murky mangroves.

 

The reeking onion splits its coat of brown,

Sprayed scents of evil from its surface brown,

Not the killing cruelty

But greed more than the fear coming down

Grasping at power, at everything, in the dirty estuaries.

 

Peel an onion whichway, it has no core,

Unless the rising shoot can spike its  flesh,

Shiny brown surface, covering, dark as it is,

Is not more evil than a rotten law,

The tears from food, tears like the crocodile,

Oppression of the crate-dwellers, or operatives in a steamy factory.

 

Murky mangroves, tears from food, dirty estuaries, steaming factories,

Three of these come from the mind of man.

10.  The fiery moon

 

Evening-

A fiery moon surprises

Her face is rent with tears

The opposite horizon

Is spread with scarlet spears.

 

The sun will plummet downwards

But fire still stokes the sky

To celebrate destruction

White rockets wheel and die.

 

So far, her lonely spinning,

So near, her piteous freeze,

Earth’s former chunk of ruin,

Flung from her deepest seas.

 

I flew my kite, part hoping

To pull her off her shelf,

She floated to the ocean

Like a mirror of herself.

 

Her image still sails skyward

Tied, as the tides pull free,

It would leave us unattended,

But the moon now lives with me.

 

____________

Dawn –

 

Anger rips the world,

The old Promethean fire

Is sunken as earth’s secrets

Make other smoke rise higher.

 

Before a lunar landscape

That lunatics will make

That fiery moon is cold now

Her very rocks will break.

 

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