I used to know this poem by heart. And I am still pretty familiar with it. Some of the verses come back to me whenever I experience a most beautiful early spring day. Just recently we had such a day with very “gentle winds” that “murmur and waft”. Maybe I would say gentle breezes instead of winds. The poem speaks about these feelings of hope that are awakened in spring. On a beautiful springlike day, such as we had the other day, one feels immensely uplifted.
Today is the 28th of August 2015. Our daughter Gabriele died in 2012. She would have been 58 today.
After Peter and I had seen the movie “Last Cab to Darwin” in the KINO in Melbourne, it was our plan to get to the Monarch Cafe. We knew that TRAM 96 would take us there to ST KILDA.
Somewhere in the city we got unto the 96 tram. We soon found out it was not going to St Kilda but to Brunswick. This meant we had to get off the tram and catch a tram into the other direction. The trams come along every six or seven minutes. So we were soon on our way towards ST KILDA. There are several stops within ST KILDA. We were not sure where to get off. Somehow the Canterbury Road stop looked to us like the right stop. Wasn’t that the corner where Acland Street was with the Monash Cafe just around the corner. we thought. It turned out we were wrong. There was no Acland Street. It took us quite a while and a lot of walking before we found Acland Street and the way to our chosen cafe. When we finally made it, we had some yummy cake and coffee. Next time we know we have to get off at Belford Street, just one stop before the terminal.
Catastroika is a Greek documentary on neoliberalism, with a specific focus on the privatization of publicly owned resources. Although it makes no mention of historian Richard Linebaugh, its depiction of the neoliberal privatization movement provides an elegant illustration of the ongoing theft of the Commons (see Stop Thief: the Theft of the Commons).
After a brief overview of the University of Chicago economists (championed by Milton Friedman) who first put neoliberal theory into practice during the Pinochet dictatorship, the documentary tracks the wholesale privatization of Russia’s state owned industries after the 1993 coup by Boris Yeltsin, in which he illegally ordered dissolution of the Russian parliament (see The Rise of Putin and the Fall of the Oligarchs).
The fire sale of state assets to oligarchs and western bankers would virtually destroy the Russian economy, throwing millions of people into…
Spring is in the air – an Australian Wattle in full bloom
Sometimes I wonder whether my brain is in charge or I am.
I have come to the conclusion that there is a difference. My brain is a bit of a bully. It likes to tell me what to do and how to do it. And this independently from my wishes.
It starts already in the morning. While I definitely want to sleep another wink, my brain has no compunction giving me signals to get up. The first signal arrives via the bladder of course. I try to ignore this signal by calling on the god of dreams, Morpheus. But he has gone to where the night has gone to and can’t hear my prayers anymore. I have to get up.
All day, my brain is urging me on, even when my body can’t go on anymore. We…
About two years ago, I wrote the post below, so if you read it at the time, you don’t have to re-read it. Actually, even if you didn’t, you don’t have to. We haven’t entered into a fascist state.
No, really. In spite of the fact that a journalist can be prevented from telling you what the security services have been doing – even if it’s illegal – without facing a ten year jail sentence, we haven’t become a fascist state. In spite of the fact that you could be taken in to custody by ASIO tonight and held for a period of time and neither you nor I wouldn’t be allowed to tell the media, we haven’t become a fascist state.
I could tell you that – under the new laws – a journalist has been arrested…
“Here is a government that has cut funding to Domestic Violence Support Centers, shelters and assistance packages to an all time low and telling us it was necessary due to a budget emergency left to them by the previous government. At the same time they increased funding to ‘border protection’ and ‘stopping the boats’ by 129% growing from $118 million to $3.3 billion dollars in 12 months. On top of this they have increased funding to a variety of law enforcement agencies but only as it applies to terrorism, as well as $670 million for new measures to deal with terrorism.”
I just found some report details from last year. I think they make for very interesting reading. I wonder how many people in Australia would know anything about these details and be concerned about it?
Offshore processing costs Australian taxpayers 10 times more than letting asylum seekers live in the community while their refugee claims are processed, the Commission of Audit’s report reveals.
It costs $400,000 a year to hold an asylum seeker in offshore detention, $239,000 to hold them in detention in Australia, and less than $100,000 for an asylum seeker to live in community detention. In contrast, it is around $40,000 for an asylum seeker to live in the community on a bridging visa while their claim is processed.
Relative cost per person for 12 months in detention, 2013 Source: Department of Finance, reproduced in Commission of Audit report.
The Commission of Audit’s report shows that in the past four years, the Australian government has increased spending on the detention and processing of asylum seekers who arrive by boat by 129 per cent each year. Costs have skyrocketed from $118.4 million in 2009–10 to $3.3 billion in 2013–14.
This is the fastest growing government programme. Projected costs over the forward estimates amount to over $10 billion.
At a time of fiscal constraint, this is an obvious policy area where expenditure could be slashed. Savings should not come from reducing services to asylum seekers (a solution proposed by the Commission of Audit). Services – such as healthcare, counselling, and legal assistance – are already limited and inadequate. Their reduction would only exacerbate the already precarious circumstances of asylum seekers in detention.
Offshore processing and mandatory detention are inhumane and unnecessary policies that violate Australia’s international legal obligations. They cause and exacerbate psychological harm, mental illness and trauma. They have led to many instances of self-harm, and as the events of February 2014 on Manus Island show, serious physical injury and even death.
The Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW is the world’s first research centre dedicated to the study of international refugee law. It was established in October 2013 through the generosity of Andrew Kaldor AM and Renata Kaldor AO, motivated by their deep concern about Australia’s treatment of refugees and asylum seekers.
Through high-quality research feeding into public policy debate and legislative reform, the Centre brings a principled, human rights-based approach to refugee law and forced migration in Australia, the Asia-Pacific region, and globally. It provides an independent space to connect academics, policymakers and NGOs, and creates an important bridge between scholarship and practice. It also provides thought leadership in the community through public engagement and community outreach.