Ol’ Blind Joe
By Stirling Hamilton
I PAID a thousand bucks for my laptop but a five-year obsolescence feature built into it kicked in last month and it died.
Charitably, The Herald gave me a retired old Windows desktop computer but I’ve encountered more gremlins in it than there are gargoyles in Gotham City.
I’d saved everything six months ago on a USB thingy but the data transfer to my new machine was disappointing.
My photos used to be in groups such as stonework, timber, furniture, etc. but now I’ve got 48,514 shuffled photos with no rhyme or reason to be found.
Same with my documents which were grouped by country or subject but are now lost meandering in digital cyberspace.
It’s a bit like owning a dictionary without the first letters – the words are there somewhere but you gotta go through the whole book to find what you are looking for.Read more
At first I thought it would take months to sort out this shemozzle but I realise now it could be years, so I’m winging it and working with what I’ve got – please excuse me if I jump around a bit.
Up shit creek?
The biggest voting bloc in the US is the millions of Americans who don’t cast a ballot because they either don’t care or think they’re up shit creek whoever wins.
So much for that country’s boast that it has world’s greatest democracy.
Meanwhile, Sydney-based APAC News questioned last month whether the ABC was complicit in allowing senior journalists to promote the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) an outfit funded by US weapons manufacturers, the US State Department and the Australian Department of Defence, without declaring any conflicts of interest.
The shadowy institute has since removed references to ABC broadcaster Stan Grant as a Senior Fellow of ASPI from its website – but forgot to scrub his name from its ‘meet the team’ page.
The Pentagon is complicit in US economic sanctions that affect one-third of the world’s population in 39 countries.
They block shipments and purchases of essential medicines, testing equipment, personal protection equipment, vaccines and even basic food.
Sanctions also worsen chronic shortages of basic necessities, economic dislocation, chaotic hyperinflation, artificial famines, disease and poverty, leading to tens of thousands of deaths.
It is always the poorest and the weakest – infants, children, the chronically ill and elderly – who suffer the worst.
US Pentagon spends $1 million every minute
Former US Labor Secretary Robert Reich says: “The Pentagon already spends $740 billion every year, $2 billion every day and $1 million every minute.”
This includes more than 18,000 Pentagon contractors who will remain in Afghanistan while US President Joe Biden reduces American troop numbers to a much-vaunted 2500.
America will leave behind US Special Forces, mercenaries and spooks by privatising and downscaling the war but not ending it.
It is clear from official documents that Uncle Sam covets Afghanistan’s mineral wealth.
A US Geological Service survey in 2007 discovered nearly $1 million in Afghan mineral deposits.
These include huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold, and critical industrial metals such as lithium, which is used to make batteries for laptops, mobile phones and other hi-tech electronic equipment.
‘The Saudi Arabia of lithium’
An internal Pentagon memo stated that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium”.
Meanwhile, Australia’s remote Christmas Island detention centre has cost taxpayers almost $27 million since being reopened this year despite holding just four detainees.
They are a Tamil couple who arrived in Australia by boat in 2012 and were welcomed into a Queensland rural community where two daughters were born before their freedom was snatched away four years ago.
Imagine locking up those children for four years behind razor wire in a high-security prison at the far end of a remote island with little or no physical or emotional contact with the outside world.
That’s what your taxpayer dollars are doing.
A place for everything, and everything in its place – US Founding Father Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790).