Friday, September 19, 2008

The mill of the gods grinds slowly, they say, but it grinds exceeding small. In Washington, something very like the mill of the gods is the GAO (Government Accountability Office), whose anonymous researchers crank out facts about nearly everything the government does. Without opprobrious adjectives, the GAO just publishes facts and numbers with a droll combination of fearless frankness and resolute neutrality ("average cost of can opener for base kitchen in Kibangistan, $150," a report might say, its language primly denuded of words like "exorbitant" or "outrageous"). In a word—why pay taxes when you can buy politicians?

Who matters There comes a point in your life when you realize
LABOR'S Prague Spring is over. The election of a factionally unaligned Prime Minister who picked his own front bench rather than roll over for the party heavies was not, it turns out, a new dawn for Labor more widely.

Some saw the rise of Kevin Rudd as a tipping point, the equivalent of Tony Blair's Clause Four moment, when the political arm of Britain's Labour Party finally asserted its authority over the industrial arm.
How foolish we were to dream such dreams, for as the ugly events in NSW have shown this week, when party headquarters gives the order, the tanks come crashing through the gate

My Two Decades At NSW Bear Pit reflected in one week of turmoil; [ SEEING the pitiful demise of the once all-powerful New South Wales Labor Right is like witnessing first hand the collapse of the Roman Booze, techno and undies ; TWO days before his surprise resignation, the former premier Morris Iemma confronted the right-wing faction leader Joe Tripodi, the man he had regarded as a key lieutenant, and accused him of betrayal NSW Bear Pit ; Google on NSW]
• · The decision to stand up and say ‘enough’ is rarely easy and too often carries heavy costs, Senator Faulkner said. We depend very much on whistleblowers to alert us to misconduct and malfeasance ; WHISTLEBLOWERS who expose major government fraud would be financially rewarded with a proportion of public funds recovered, under a radical scheme presented to the Rudd Government. Reward plan for major fraud whistleblowers
• · Former premier Morris Iemma has blamed his forced resignation on the Finance Minister and ALP numbers man Joe Tripodi.In an interview with the Herald last night he also urged his successor Nathan Rees to keep the North West Metro project because a metro system Iemma dumps on Tripodi and Costa ; THE jailed former Labor MP Milton Orkopoulos is adamant that the Premier, Nathan Rees, did not know about his involvement with teenage boys when working as his chief of staff, because he had been clever enough to fool even those closest to him Rees didn't know: Orkopoulos ; Mr O'Grady told The Sunday Telegraph: "Nathan raised the issue with me on at least two, if not three, occasions. I said to him: 'As someone who wants to be a [political] candidate, do you think that's an intelligent question to ask?' 'As someone who wants to be a [political] candidate
• · · Voters stuck it to the NSW government big time with the message that sacking an elected council is not on. Sending a message to Macquarie Street; THEY call her "the Grim" for short and Reba Meagher's haughtiness during a 14-year parliamentary career was up and running yesterday as she delivered one last raspberry to Nathan Rees, the man Labor chose to sweep up the mess she and others left behind. Grim Reba
• · · · Rare insight into the Bear Pit where I spent two decades serving outside the corridors of power. Some poker hands can never win. The NSW Labor Right and Sussex Street ALP headquarters dealt Nathan Rees such a hand. He made a Faustian deal to get the premiership, surrendering any chance of the fresh start he crowed about at his elevation eight days ago. The price of ambition fulfilled was to be stuck with the very powerbrokers and bit players who have besmirched the Government's standing. Losing Joe Tripodi, Eddie Obeid and Eric Roozendaal would have made a good start to a fresh start, but they remain entrenched as ever. The joker is wild ; Wood
• · · · · JUST after midday on Thursday, June 26, one of the most powerful media executives in Australia, John Westacott, caught a taxi to the NSW parliament to visit his state political reporter, Adam Walters.Westacott, the Nine Network's head of news and current affairs, had told Walters he wanted to see him for "a cup of tea". But when Westacott asked a cameraman to leave the room, Walters realised something was up. Westacott said yesterday that he wanted to visit Walters to give him a "tip" that the powers that be in the Labor Party were moving to replace premier Morris Iemma with Nathan Rees. The move was slated to happen in October. Walters sees it very differently. "Instead of getting the cup of tea all I got was a shit sandwich," he said this week. According to notes Walters took afterwards, Westacott told him that key people in the Labor Party "don't like us -- Channel Nine -- and they don't like you". It's not surprising some in the Government didn't like Walters. A story the journalist had broken the year before exposing a cover-up led to the resignation of police minister Carl Scully and earned him a Walkley nomination. He also did a sensitive story about Rees, then a Labor staffer, and Milton Orkopoulos, a minister now serving a 13-year jail sentence for child-sex and drug charges. Walters asked Westacott bluntly if he was talking about former Labor senator Graham Richardson and Labor identity Peter Barron? Secret deals behind Morris Iemma ousting ; POLITICS is a rough, tough, hard and brutal business
• · · · · · UK Spin doctor Adam Walters acts out career switch ; LORD ASHCROFT, deputy chairman of the Conservative party, has channelled money into party funds from the Central American tax haven of Belize, despite a ban on overseas donations Lord Ashcroft funds Tories from Belize tax haven