Posted by: Bruce | August 10, 2014

Smokey sunset at Lake Macquarie: bushfire Aug 9, 2014

Went for a wander on Saturday afternoon. A fair bit of smoke over the Lake produced a misty blue atmosphere just before sunset.

The sun looked pretty good too, like a bloodshot eye. The smoke came from a bushfire somewhere between Awaba and Toronto.

Good for the camera, not the bush. (Click on a pic for large images if you like)

The Lake still smoky this morning.

Word for today;    Images – there for the taking

More to come;     same blog time, same blog channel

Posted by: Bruce | August 9, 2014

Russia’s sanctions on Australia; why the surprise?

The swinging voterFrom my stuffed political armchair comes surprise.

Surprise that the P.M. and others are shocked at Russia imposing santions on Australia and other Western countries.

Maybe I’m missing something here but wasn’t it common sense to expect this in response to Australia’s sanctions on Russia?

Russia’s President Putin has been saying this for ages; impose sanctions on us and Russia will respond with it’s own sanctions. Now he’s done it.

President Putin does not give a stuff about anyone or anything except his own agenda; and only he knows that. He might be a warmonger but he isn’t necessarily all stupid. He knows as well as anyone, how to hurt another country economically. It’s been used historically against Russia time after time for various reasons. Maybe Putin is out for revenge.

The sanctions war is just starting, there is going to be a price to pay and our farmers are going to take a beating. These are scary times and it all goes back to Russia.

I wonder if the Russian people support Putin? If not, why not turf him out? Maybe they want to but can’t.

Word for today;     Sanction;   Two meanings – official approval for an action…

            ……or a threatened penalty for disobeying a law or rule.

More to come;     same blog time, same blog channel.



The swinging voterEvening, July 31, 2014 and I was sitting, briefly, on the edge of my stuffed political armchair. I flicked through the news but went back to David Speers who hosts the PM Agenda and The Nation on Sky news.

David Speers was talking with one or two people, I didn’t get their names but one guy was pushing the Liberal Governments policy on the unemployed; ie working for the dole, 40 job applications a month and so on. I figure he is a young Lib. MP but will be happy if someone can correct me if I’m wrong.

There were a few things that caught my attention but two were standouts. Firstly, the expectation of young unemployed to apply for 40 jobs every month. That’s some serious thinking fodder for reality.

The second thing was the mention of potential employers, their ability to employ young people and having to pay penalty rates, especially on weekends. Why it would be different to older employees I don’t know.

And then it happened. The ‘W’ Bomb, the ability to negotiate individual contracts between the employer and young unemployed to make a job possible. The MP said this without flinching and David Speers didn’t bat an eyelid. The actual word, WorkChoices, wasn’t used.

WorkChoicesThe conversation moved on but my mind stayed with the resurrection of a WorkChoices component that really worried me; that is, the negotiation of an individual employment contract (especially by the younger unemployed).

Having worked for many years in Industrial Relations and those years spent at the pointy end ie; face to face with employers and employees; I know that negotiation of individual contracts of employment is an area fraught with danger.

Now I liked John Howard as PM whether I voted for him or not, but I’ve never forgotten his spruiking on telly about how good would it be for an 18 year old to negotiate his own working conditions? This was at a time of many more job vacancies that now.

It helped him and his government to a humiliating election defeat.

Tony Abbott said, before the election, that WorkChoices is dead and buried. A little bit later before the elections, he said he can’t rule out revisiting Industrial Relations but won’t do so during his first term.

I think his talk of mandates is bull and bluff; disappointingly his actions are much the same as any previous governments, he just goes a little more slowly to allow digestion.

What comes next? The ‘W’ bomb but with a different name.

For purposes of illustration, big Arny can be called WorkChoices.

Word for today;     WorkChoices – but wait, there’s more.

More to come;     same blog time, same blog channel

Whichever way I look at it, the tragedy of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 can only be attributed to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He is responsible for the invasion of Ukraine, and for whatever happens following this invasion.

President Putin is shaping up as a war monger who doesn’t give a stuff about anything but his own agenda.

Doesn’t Russia keep a seat shiny in the United Nations Security Council? There’s some strange irony.

It would be great to know what an everyday Russian thinks about the Ukraine invasion and its consequences. Is reality very different from the news that we get? Is President Putin popular or feared?

Is an average Russian able to speak out or is speaking freely a difficult thing to do?

MH17. Image

Word for today;    Dangerous – Russian President Putin

More to come;   same blog time, same blog channel

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