US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Australia

Secretary of State Hillary ClintonThere are no big surprises so far as Hillary Clinton continues her visit to Australia. Secretary Clinton fielded questions in a “town hall-style” forum at Melbourne University from audience members selected by the US state department.

See link below from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) website:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/11/07/3059289.htm

G.B.C xo

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Obama Health Care Reforms Passed

That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

Greetings Political Junkies,

As you have no doubt seen, heard or read the Obama Administration successfully passed a long awaited and often fiercly disputed reform package.  Even down here in sunny Australia – where health is being debated today at the National Press Club – the US reform bill has been heavily featured on the news cycle (alongside FAR more pressing matters such as Tiger Woods’ return to golf, and Michael Clark’s un-engagement to Lara Bingle). 

Here are some links to related stories on the health care reform:

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC): http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/03/22/2853079.htm?site=news

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC): http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8580192.stm

A worrying clip from ‘You Tube’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pilG7PCV448

Analysis of the Australian leaders’ debate and links to a live stream12.30 AEST can be accessed here:  http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/03/23/2853470.htm

Good health to you all,

Grievous Bodily Charm

Thanks to http://mossagrow.wordpress.com/2008/07/01/health-cartoon/ for the image. Unable to trace original author.

In Brief: ABC Reports Minister’s Praise for Return of Indigenous Remains

The Smithsonian Institute in Washington, USA, has been praised by Australia’s Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin after it agreed to return the remains of 33 Indigenous Australians that were removed in the 1940’s. 

“These are remains from 33 Indigenous Australians that were taken to the United States and the traditional owners who are going to collect them believe the remains may include their grandmother, so it is a very significant collection,” she said.  (Source: ABC Online http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/07/26/2315450.htm )

Mr Mithen

Guest Student Editorial – Aleks Loesch

Just weeks after Senator Barack Obama’s nomination as the Democratic
candidate for the 2008 US Presidential election, cracks have started to
appear in his “whiter than white” appearance. After the embarrassment of
being supported by an “ex-terrorist” (Bill Ayer, ex-Weatherman), the new
revelations follow from news about the suspicious property deal between
Senator Obama, and Antoin “Tony” Rezko, the Syrian-born businessman who was a major fundraiser for Obama. 


In 2005, when Rezko was already known to be under criminal investigation for
money laundering, fraud, extortion and similar activities, the Obamas bought
a property in Chicago, and their friend Mrs Rezko bought a garden next door
at the same time. The only access to the garden was through the Obama’s
property. It turns out that just weeks before the purchases, Tony Rezko was
loaned money by Nadhmi Auchi, an Iraqi born British billionaire, arms dealer
to Saddam Hussein in the past. The result of Rezko breaking his bail
agreement by failing to declare a second £3.5 million US dollars loan from
Auchi, was that Rezko received a prison sentence. British billionaire Mr
Auchi, a business partner of Rezko’s who had loaned him millions of dollars,
has been accused of paying ‘kickbacks’ to obtain oil deals. In 2003 he was
convicted of corruption in France, but is respected as a successful
businessman by the British government. 


Barack Obama has donated to charity the amount of funds given to his
campaign by Rezko. He is not accused of doing anything wrong, and claimed
that he did not know about Rezko’s corruption and connections. However,
Obama has known Rezko for eighteen years, since being offered a job by him
while Obama was still in law school. Obama did not take the job, but in 1995
Rezko supported him in his campaign to become an Illinois state senator. In
2003 Rezko was on Obama’s finance committee when he ran for US Senate. 
Chicago and Illinois politics and government are notorious for corruption,
with three major investigations since the 1980s resulting in convictions of
sixteen judges and 56 lawyers, many Chicago Aldermen (1990s), and other
State officials (2000s). It may be hard to persuade voters later on in the
Presidential campaign that an experienced Illinois politician would not at
least hear strong rumours about who is and who is not corrupt. 


Perhaps Obama was not aware of Rezko’s activities, but there is no question
that he keeps strange company for someone running for the Democratic
nomination for the Presidential elections on a ‘clean and pure’ ticket. 

 

 

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/us_elections/article3486054.ece

United States Department of Justice: Northern District of Illinois.
Operation Safe Road. Operation Greylord. Operation Silver Shovel

http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/iln/osr/index.html

 

Aleks Loesch – Lower 6th Form

Guest Student Editorial – Harry Reidl

In Defence of George W Bush II 

George W. Bush is widely considered to be one of America’s worst presidents. I feel that he has been underestimated and he has befitted the USA and the world far more than people realise. 

George Bush came to power under difficult circumstances as a year after his arrival September 11th

happen putting his country into crisis. With a need for vengeance he did this by immediately attacking Afghanistan which was the central base for the Afghanis insurgents. It was also a very brutal regime and was popular with the world and at present there are 50,000 troops still stationed in Afghanistan. We are making great progress in the formation of a modern state unlike the Islamic barbarity of the Taliban. The soldiers fighting their have suffered losses but they have pushed the Taliban to Pakistan and they are no longer able to plan attacks against Muslims and western targets. 

He also made the unfortunate war in Iraq which only now is becoming a success and has removed many evil Islamic insurgents whose aim is the destruction of life. Following the destruction areas are only now being rebuilt. The mistake over Iraq damaged George Bush’s reputation. 

Another controversial aspect in which I agree with Bush includes Guantanamo Bay Prison/ Camp X-Ray where the Arabs are placed for eventual trial. This is a difficult situation for the president as he has to find a place for the many enemies of the USA and not reveal the secret methods used to detain them.  This has frequently caused problems among his own party and the two Houses of the US Parliament. 

George W Bush has been a tax cutting President and has lowed the rate of tax for the common American man. This has allowed him to reduce the tax burden on the US tax payer during the unprecedented rise in food and fuel prices he has been able to offer a tax rebate of at least $200 which has helped many poor Americans reduced their debt burden.  

The key issue which damaged George Bush was Hurricane Katrina which was unexpected but was refocused by the incredible incompetence of many of George Bush’s team as well as the incompetence of the government regarding Katrina apart from a few states with a black congressmen, who despite the incompetence was still reflected which was damaging to Bush.  

To conclude I feel that Bush has been blamed for things he was not responsible for and had to direct control of and both his wars have started bearing fruit in regards to security and become prosperous western democracies. 

Harry Riedl – Lower 6th Form

 

 

 

Guest Student Editorial – David Rank (Lower 6th Form)

In an unexpected turn of events, Ireland has rejected the controversial Lisbon Treaty. Following a nationwide referendum, the Irish rejection has placed the future of the Treaty into disarray.

 

However, President of the European Commission, Manuel Barroso has since declared the Treaty is ‘not dead’ despite the necessity for a unanimous vote in each of the twenty seven EU states. Barroso continued to state ‘we should not rush to conclusions’ causing many analysts to believe the choice of the Irish people could even be overridden by their political leaders. The Treaty was signed in December 2007 by the leaders of each state with the hope of it gradually coming into force from January 2009, however, the Irish rejection has placed its future into turmoil.

 

Under existing circumstances there are still options open for the Treaty but none of them can be implemented easily. Nine countries are yet to ratify the treaty causing many to believe by the time that process ends, a solution for the Irish “exception” mayt have been negotiated. For example, Ireland could be granted additional opt-outs and guarantees on sensitive issues such as abortion and national neutrality in order to ensure the Treaty has the backing of the Irish people.

 

Alternatively, The EU could scrap the Lisbon Treaty just as the proposals for the Constitution were repackaged following the Lisbon Treaty following French and Dutch ‘No’ votes in 2005. Key parts of Lisbon could be repackaged into a shorter, more comprehensible document to voters throughout Europe. Under this scenario, the ratification process starts again and Ireland holds another referendum. In 2001 Ireland rejected the Nice Treaty but then said ‘Yes’ to it just over a year later causing this process to appear a possibility. However, the process is already appearing indefinite while a further repackaging would just appear time consuming with no end in sight.

 

Perhaps most drastically a two tier system could be developed. Those nations keen on further EU integration could form an informal club within the EU creating dangerous internal tension. Both Ireland and the UK prefer a looser union which could threaten their position within the EU.

Irish Prime Minister, Brian Cowen, reflected Barroso’s statement: “Once again in Europe, a treaty supported by the leaders of all member states has unable to secure popular support in a ballot. We must not rush to conclusions.” He went on to explain the Irish government seeks to explain to EU officials that this does not mean Ireland are now anti-EU, making negotiations and compromise appear likely,

Foreign secretary David Miliband declared Britain would not pressurize Ireland on their future actions. He continued to state: “It’s right that we follow the view that each country must see the ratification process to a conclusion”,

The referendum is undoubtedly a historical event in Irish and European politics, with the continental project reaching a stumbling block by a country with a population of only four million people. With a low turnout of 40 per cent (the minimum necessary to make the referendum valid) and a narrow vote of 53.4% to 46.6% against the Treaty, some analysts have come to question the structure of the EU with such a small percentage of the overall population impeding the development of the Union.

The future of EU development appears to continue to be a highly divisive issue. Since the nature of the EU causes the backing of each state to be essential, future European integration remains without resolution.

 

David Rank – Portland Place School

NEWS FLASH: Clinton to Conceed and Endorse Obama

Hillary ClintonHillary Clinton will hold a press conference this weekend to formally announce an end to her campaign to be the Democratic Party’s Presidential Nominee and endorse her (now former) rival Barrack Obama.  She has aksed that her pledged deligates still be able to symbolically cast their votes for her to mark just how close a woman came to the nomination.