From Vegas and Chicago to Texas and Ohio

This afternoon the Tygrrrr Express will be headed to the city named after me, that being Sin City. Yet sinning will not be at a premium on this trip. I arrive in Las Vegas with enough time to get to the hotel for a gala dinner sponsored by the Republican Jewish Coalition. I am a member of the leadership, and it will be an enjoyable evening.

Tomorrow I will be in leadership meetings, where the keynote speaker will be the former Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard. He is one of the great world leaders of all time, and my admiration for him is boundless. The 1980s had Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. The 21st century has George W. Bush, Ariel Sharon, Tony Blair and John Howard.

With no time to breathe, as soon as the conference ends on Tuesday, I race back to the airport for a flight to Chicago. My plan is to freeze to death.

Yet as much as I will love Las Vegas and detest Chicago, my big regret is that by the time I get to the hotel Tuesday night, it will be time to go to sleep. Events will have occurred in Ohio, Texas, Vermont and Rhode Island that could determine whether Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama earns the right to get trounced by John McCain in November.

Due to my inability to provide quality analysis until internet access is provided on planes besides Air Force One, I will write my post game analysis before the pre game warmups. At least one of these scenarios will be right.

Also, I can now safely predict the results of the Iowa Caucus and the most recent Superbowl.

As for March 4th, below is the pre-advance for special people only recap.

1) Well all, it seems that the lights have finally been turned out on the nightmare that is the Hillary Clinton death squad. I hope she does not let the door hit her badonkadonk on the way out. Her spirit is crushed, and rumor has it Bill Clinton is recovering somewhere from a blow to the head. Not since Steadman Graham has a man so powerful been so incognito. Barack Obama is now the nominee.

2) Well all, it seems Hillary has not only lost the election but lost her mind. Apparently she was seen torching cars while yelling, “I hate you people.” Then again, this behavior often occurs after Browns games, so people assumed she was happy that Cleveland picked up a new wide receiver. Anyway, she has insisted that the dynamite they found on her was for peaceful purposes only, and that she is shocked that anybody would think that she would fly into a rage over something as silly as seeing  a lifelong dream that was owed to her because of her cheating husband get crushed. The police wanted to take her out with an elephant tranquilizer, but she hates republicans. They are looking for a donkey tranquilizer. Apparently she could be heard yelling about donkeys, saying, “You want to see an @ss, look at this.”

3) Hillary Clinton has pulled off a miracle. Not since the 1980 Olympic Hockey Medal Game have we seen such a shocker. Obama is searching the streets of Ohio looking for substance. He hopes he can glue it to his body and take it to Pennsylvania. Hillary is the new comeback kid, and superdelegates are flipping back to her faster than a Dan Rather metaphor that makes no sense.

4) The race is an exact tie. Confusion is reigning supreme, which is par for the course for the democratic party. Both sides are looking for one voter to break the tie and claim a mandate. A frozen guy in Cleveland died a few years ago. He was homeless for two decades, and Hillary and Barack are trying to revive him and get him to the polls. Chicago Mayor Daley has traveled to Ohio to get the dead man’s ballot prepared, while Hillary and Obama blamed George W. Bush for the cold weather and the cold cruel world that caused the homeless man’s death.

5) Both candidates are asking for Vermont and Rhode Island to be redone because they could not bring themselves to care the first time due to Texas and Ohio. An agreement in principle has been reserved to have the votes done in December. Both candidates have promised with every fiber of their being to show up then.

In other news, Andrea Mitchell is an expert on everything because she gets it in a (redacted) way from Alan Greenspan.

Larry King looks fabulous for a deceased guy, and he would marry Angie Dickinson in a heartbeat if he could remember who she was.

Greta Van Susteren forgot to cover the primaries because somebody floated rumors that somebody was going to announce that nothing new had developed in the Natalee Holloway case, and it had to be covered immediately.

Shepherd Smith and Anderson Cooper both want everybody to know how handsome they are.

Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes completely disagreed on what the results meant.

Celebrity guest analyst Tony Bennett began crooning “The Pennsylvania Polka,” as Geraldo Rivera and Chris Matthews announced that it was time to roll out the barrel, because the gang truly is all here.

Anyway, master prognosticator that I am, as soon as the results come in, I will delete the other scenarios and click on the one that I knew was right all along.

In further news, Barack Obama is black, Hillary Clinton is female, John McCain is old, and Mike Huckabee is religious.

Like Steve Marting in the movie “LA Story,” whose prediction of the weather was usually right, this concludes my post game analysis of Taco Texas Tuesday, or Tex-Mex Tuesday, or Where are Vermont and Rhode Island Anyway Tuesday, or whatever this day is called.

As for the candidates, they will most likely stay in Texas. Only an idiot would voluntarily go to Ohio or other cold weather states in February.

With any luck, the firm will move our office into the hotel I am staying at so I can conduct business meetings in my Hefner style silk pajamas.

Like Nicolas Cage, shortly after I arrive, I will be Leaving Las Vegas. Although I do not drink, I had better think of something to numb the pain.

I wonder if Hillary’s health care plan covers gang green surgery from frostbite.

This may not be the deepest analysis, which makes me qualified to work at MSNBC.

This concludes my coverage of the March 4th primaries. For those who found my analysis irrelevant, put things in perspective. I am covering democrats after all.


21 Responses to “From Vegas and Chicago to Texas and Ohio”

  1. micky2 says:

    “Bill Clinton is recovering somewhere from a blow to the head. ”

    Yea, and smoking a cigarette.

    I’ll go with #4
    They’ll probably find a couple of 50 year old homeless people sleeping under a bridge and say they were the veterans Edwards was talking about.
    Then they’ll tell the country that its Bushs fault that are so many homeless veterans living under bridges and that if you didnt have homeless people living under the bridges they wouldnt pee on the foundations and corode the footings
    Which as we all know is what happened in Minnesota.

  2. Jersey McJones says:

    John Howard? Really? Can anyone name me one successful accomplishment of his? Other than his rabble-rousing method to cling to power for endless years (until his ignominious district defeat last year), what has this guy ever done? Is Australia in any way better off for Howard? How about his party? Are they better off? Anyone? Anything?

    Bye bye, Johhny. Good riddance.


  3. Pam says:

    Wow! You’re one of the few people that actually enjoyed these past eight years. B=M=U.S. in the toilet.

  4. micky2 says:

    Gee Jersey, how about giving America a hand in Afghanistan and iraq ?
    Also, all you have to do is go to one of the weakest references their is (wikipedia)
    and you can see his many accomplishments. You may not think some things are accomplisments in your book. But there lays the difference.

    Lets put it this way.
    You may see an abortion as something of a successfull accomplishment.
    While others may see it as a murder.

  5. Jersey McJones says:

    Okay, it was nice of him to send over 500 troops into Afghanistan, just like most of our NATO allies. Accomplishment? Eh. But it was nice of him to help a little, I guess. At least we should thank the Aussies who actually had to do the fighting and working there.

    But oh yeah, Micky! That’s right! Howard made the brilliant move to send a whole big 1,400 troops into The Stupid War! That’s what I call and “accomplishment!” Too bad he didn’t send in the 15th Boomerang and Didgeridoo Brigade! That could have tilted the war in our favor on week 186! And to think he basically threw away his parties coalition rule in one of the soundest defeats in Australia’s history! Boy, he was really brave for that!

    As for abortion, I have no idea what you’re to what referring.


  6. micky2 says:

    Lets put it this way Jersey.
    Your reactions to Erics feelings about John Howard are not only predictble, but boring.
    It doesnt take much imagination for anyone to figure out why you said what you said. Anymore than it takes to figure out why you say Bush is a total and complete failure.

    Any level headed intelligent person knows that there is no way in earth , hell or heaven that either one isis true.
    Stupid war ? Thats another opinion that was predictable, so whats new ?

    Why cant you offer something of some kind of substance besides just accusations based on hate for anything connected with Bush?
    There are 21 other countries that went in with us. They are not all led by stupid , evil, inept leaders.
    You just disagree with them. And that in no way makes them all short on accomplisments or complete failures.
    It is childish , boring and incredibly predictable when you say that people you disagree with have done nothing.
    And I dont see how you garner any respect or expect anyone with any sanity to take you seriously.
    I have some less than beautiful feelings for you.
    As a matter of fact, they’re downright nasty.
    But I dont think that even you are a complete failure with no accomplisments in doing something that has bettered our world.
    Knock of the crap and grow out your ridiculous hateful rants.
    You even make it a point to let people know that you are so disgusted with something that you cant even enter the debate civily.
    Who gives a flying crap ?
    If thats how you feel then just dont say anything and wait till theres a post you can comment on civily.

  7. Molly says:

    Eric – You are a riot. Enjoy Chicago and don’t forget to bring a sweater. Oh, and don’t eat yellow snow. As for your comments for tuesday, only time will tell. However, I very much doubt that a clear cut (democrat) winner will be anounced for Texas though it seems like Ohio might just go for Hilary.

    As for John Howard, one thing he did was allow for dual citizenship. Consequently, groups like the Jews (who have the “right of return” ) and others could keep two citizaeships and not lose their Aussi status, something that they could not do previous.

  8. Jersey McJones says:

    Micky, unlike Blair who threw away his legacy on a mistake I’m sure he wishes he could take back, Howard threw his away but never had one in the first place! I can’t think of anything positive he accomplished for Australia! That’s why I asked the question: Is Australia in any way better off for Howard?

    Please enlighten me. Please!


  9. micky2 says:

    Its not a fact Jersey that Blair threw his legacy away on a mistake. Its only an opnion in the “hate anything connected with Bush” circles.
    Your comment about Howard makes no sense.
    If you believe he never had a legacy , how can you believe he threw it out ?
    I’m going to argue this the way you do. I;m going to come down to an emotional level and see how that goes, alright ?
    Why would a country elect a man for a second term if he was so useless ?
    You cant ” think” or you wont “look” for anything positive he has done for Australia.
    That is the question.
    And I think we all know what the answer is.
    It would humiliate you and embaress you if you actually had to do some research for once in order to prove your point , especially when that point would prove your hatefull childish remarks to be wrong.
    Like I said. Personally I have an incredible dislike for you.
    But I’m sure any fair minded person could dig up alot of good things that you have done in the last 8 years, right ?

  10. Jersey McJones says:

    Alright, so no one can answer my question. Obviously Howard never accomlished anything.

    How’d he get elected? Same way as Bush. Fear, xenophobia (against Americans too, ya’ know), nationalism, racism, etc etc. Nothing new there. He was a blow-hard. One thing I learned a long time ago – the big mouths often get the most attention.


  11. micky2 says:

    Like you ?
    Here ya go buddy.
    lots of good stuff in here, all you got to do is read it.
    First term: 1996–1998

    John Howard in the USA in 1997Heralded by the prompt announcement that a $10-billion “budget black hole” left by the previous Labor government would necessitate considerable reduction in many areas of government expenditure, prudent economic management became a major emphasis of Howard’s government.[29] Training and education programs developed under the Keating government were scrapped, infrastructure investment was scaled down, funding for indigenous bodies was reduced, and a “work for the dole” system was introduced that required able-bodied social security recipients to seek work. Thus began a trend of budget surpluses which would be maintained most years (excepting the 2001-2002 financial year where a cash deficit of $1.3 Billion was recorded).[30]

    Following the Port Arthur massacre in April 1996, Howard coordinated action by the state governments to restrict the private ownership of semi-automatic rifles, semi-automatic shotguns and pump-action shotguns and raised the prospect of a referendum on gun control. May 10 that year he structured a “National Firearms Agreement” covering related matters such as uniform firearms licensing, although this was never fully implemented.

    The Howard government did not have a majority in the Senate at this time, and instead faced a situation where legislation had to be negotiated with either the Australian Democrats or with the Independents. The Senate modified much of the Government’s more controversial legislation, including the partial privatisation of the government-owned telecommunications company, Telstra; the modification of industrial relations laws to promulgate individual contracts; increases in university fees; large funding cuts in the 1996 and 1997 budgets; a 30% private health insurance rebate; and the Wik 10 Point Plan, giving extinguishment of native title on pastoral leases.

    Howard had come to office promising to improve standards of integrity among ministers and politicians, introducing a strict “Code of Ministerial Conduct”[31] at the start of his term. The strictness of his code was enforced when a succession of seven of his ministers (Jim Short, Geoff Prosser, John Sharp, David Jull, Brian Gibson, Bob Woods, and Peter McGauran) were required to resign following breaches of the code, concerning a variety of “travel rorts” (misuse of the ministerial travel allowance) and conflicts of interest between ministerial responsibilities and share ownership. Prosser reportedly had improper business dealings and another two ministers (John Moore and Warwick Parer) were found to have breached the code.

    See also: Australian federal election, 1998
    The 1998 election campaign was dominated by two issues. One was reform of the tax system, including the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST; a broad-based value-added tax).[32] At the October 1998 election, the Liberal-National Coalition, suffered a large swing largely driven by an opposition campaign against the Goods and Services Tax. Labor leader Kim Beazley won 51% of the national two-party preferred vote, but the Liberals ran an effective marginal electorate campaign and were returned with a comfortable majority in parliament. During the campaign, Howard changed the Coalition’s preferencing policy. The coalition had been criticised for placing One Nation ahead of Labor on its how-to-vote cards at the Queensland election earlier in the year. Critics charged that this meant Howard was tacitly approving One Nation’s policies towards Aborigines and immigration, which they viewed as xenophobic. From the federal election onwards, One Nation was placed last on Coalition voting cards.

    Second term: 1998–2001
    Foreign affairs were significant in Howard’s second term when the people of East Timor voted for independence from Indonesia in a United Nations sponsored referendum. Pro-Indonesia militia, covertly backed by elements of the Indonesian military, began a brutal campaign of repression. Australia led a peacekeeping/policing force to protect the inhabitants against pro-Indonesian militias, attracting praise domestically and in several countries, but angering some Indonesians and Islamists. A side effect of these actions was that Osama Bin Laden later called Australia a “crusader force”, and that the Bali bombings were retribution for leading the action.[33]

    As recommended in the 1997 Bringing Them Home report, John Howard’s government also considered the issue of a national apology to Indigenous Australians, in recognition of the treatment by previous governments following the European settlement of the country. In the face of a growing movement in favour of a national apology, Howard was resolute in his refusal to do this, although all state and territory governments issued their own. Instead, on 26 August 1999 John Howard personally expressed “deep sorrow” while maintaining that “Australians of this generation should not be required to accept guilt and blame for past actions and policies.”[34] In February 2008, in the opening week of the new parliament that followed his election loss, Howard declined an invitation to the parliamentary apology to the Stolen Generations, being the only living former Prime Minister to do so.[35]

    Howard’s second term saw the implementation of the Goods & Services Tax (GST), replacing a range of taxes on specific goods with a flat rate on almost all goods and services. In accordance with an Intergovernmental Agreement, the Australian Government would administer the GST on behalf of the states and territories, to whom all GST revenue is paid. This was intended to give the states and territories responsibility for their own finances and end annual funding squabbles between them and the federal government. The federal government determines the share of GST revenue received by each using a formula recommended by the Commonwealth Grants Commission.

    Howard was able to pass the GST legislation through the Senate after making a deal with Australian Democrats’ leader Senator Meg Lees to exclude a number of items from the GST, most notably fresh food such as fruit and vegetables. As a partial offset for the GST, a $7,000 “first home buyers grant” was introduced in 2000.[36]

    Enforcement of the Code of Ministerial Conduct, introduced during the prior term, was less stringent this term and hereafter, with Howard said to take a “rather more relaxed attitude to … apparent breaches or misdemeanours and … far fewer sackings”.[37]

    The Howard government was trailing in the polls in 2001. It lost a by-election in the normally safe electorate of Ryan in Queensland and Labor governments were elected in all the states and territories except South Australia (which fell to Labor in 2002). In response, a number of policy changes were made, including the abandonment of petrol excise indexation and increased government benefits to self-funded retirees.

    The 2001 election campaign –
    See also: Australian federal election, 2001
    In August 2001, the government refused permission for the Norwegian freighter MV Tampa, carrying a group of asylum seekers picked up in international waters, to enter Australian waters.[38] When the Tampa entered Australian waters, Howard ordered the ship be boarded by Australian special forces. This brought censure from the government of Norway for Australia’s failure to meet obligations to distressed mariners under international law at the United Nations.[39]

    The government introduced “border protection” legislation. Kim Beazley and the Labor opposition offered half-hearted support to the legislation while opposing it on specific points. The issue, along with the shock of the recent September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, saw the Howard government portray itself as “tough” on border protection and national security. The Howard government subsequently received a big lift in the polls[40] and many commentators cite the MV Tampa as the decisive issue in the 2001 election.[41]

    For the 2001 election campaign, Howard used the slogan:

    “We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.”[42]
    Earlier that month, comments by Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock about a recent maritime incident involving a boatload of asylum seekers had sparked the Children Overboard Affair. Ruddock said that children had been thrown into the sea. Howard and Defence Minister Peter Reith repeated and defended the claim. After the election, naval and intelligence sources refuted the claim while two senate inquiries found the claim to be untrue and that the government knew this prior to the election.

    At the November 2001 elections, the Coalition was re-elected with a larger majority than in 1998 and achieved the biggest swing to an incumbent government since 1966.

    Third term: 2001–2004
    In the two years after the 2001 election the Howard government continued its tough line on national security and “border protection” issues, while seeking to further its agenda of conservative social policies and pro-business economic reforms. Despite its victory in 2001, the government did not have a Senate majority, and its ability to pass planned legislation was restricted.

    Howard faced a difficult issue in the allegations that his choice as Governor General, Dr. Peter Hollingworth, in his previous vocation as Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane, had not investigated Anglican priests who were accused of paedophilia in various churches. Hollingworth resigned the governor-generalship amidst controversy that threatened to damage the credibility of his office.

    The seat of Bennelong became home to many Asian immigrants, and in May 2002, Howard retracted his 1988 comments about Asian immigration:

    My instinct is that Asian-Australians are very much part of the community now. I think it (their integration) has been quicker. I just don’t hear people talking about it now, even as much as they did five years ago, and I have an electorate which is very Asian.[20]

    In April 2002 changes where made to Australian nationality law. These change meant that an Australian citizen who acquires another citizenship from this date forward will no longer lose their Australian Citizenship.

    Howard retained a clear political advantage over his opponents. Throughout 2002 and 2003 he kept his lead in the opinion polls over the then Labor leader, Simon Crean. Following the October 2002 Bali bombing, Howard placed a renewed emphasis on his government’s approach to national security.

    In March 2003, Howard joined 40 countries including the United Kingdom and the United States, in sending troops and naval units to support in the invasion of Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein from power. He told parliament:

    Full disclosure by Iraq of its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs and immediate and total cooperation by Iraq with the provisions of resolution 1441 of the Security Council will remove the need for military action.[43]

    Australian opinion was deeply divided on the war and large public protests against the war occurred.[44] Several senior figures from the Liberal party, including John Valder, a former president of the Liberal Party, and Howard’s former friend and colleague, former Opposition Leader John Hewson and former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser publicly criticised Howard over Iraq.[45] John Valder’s criticism was particularly strong, claiming that Howard should be tried and punished as a war criminal.[46]

    On Anzac Day 2004, Howard made a surprise visit to Australian defence personnel in Iraq. This came amid a bitter debate in Australia over the war following opposition leader Mark Latham’s promise to return Australian troops by Christmas. Howard portrayed Latham as a threat to the U.S.-Australia alliance.

    On 6 May 2004, Howard convened a meeting with a group of energy industry representatives called the Lower Emissions Technology Advisory Group (LETAG). Although it met with the renewable energy sector separately, the Government was later criticised for not inviting them to this meeting. According to leaked minutes from the meeting, Howard would conclude that technology would be the long-term solution to greenhouse issues and his focus should be on ways to accelerate introduction of technology for reducing greenhouse gases, but that he was not looking for the establishment of public policy. Concerns about the cost and effectiveness of the current Mandatory Renewable Energy Targets (MRET) were also raised.[47]

    In May 2004, and with the help of the Australian Democrats,[48] the Howard Government amended Australia’s superannuation law to allow same-sex couples to inherit their partners’ private sector superannuation.[49] Announcing the May 2004 proposal, Howard said:

    “The changes we are announcing today will provide greater certainty for the payment of super death benefits for those involved in interdependency relationships including, of course, members of same sex relationships”[50]
    The changes did not extend to members in Commonwealth superannuation schemes.[49]

    On 13 August 2004, the Senate passed the Howard Government’s[51] Marriage Legislation Amendment Bill[52] which incorporated the common law definition of marriage—”the union of a man and a woman to exclusion of all others”—into the Marriage Act and the Family Law Act.[53] The amendment, was opposed by the The Greens and Democrats.[54]

    See also: Australian federal election, 2004
    On 29 August 2004, Howard called an election for 9 October. The Labor opposition, after the resignation of Simon Crean and the election of Mark Latham as leader in December 2003, had established a large lead in some opinion polls by March 2004, and the government entered the election campaign behind Labor in all published national opinion polls. Howard himself still had a large lead over Latham as preferred Prime Minister in those same polls and most commentators regarded the result as being too close to call.

    During the campaign, Howard attacked Latham’s economic record as Mayor of Liverpool City Council. Howard also attacked Labor’s economic history.

    It is an historic fact that interest rates have always gone up under Labor governments over the last 30 years, because Labor governments spend more than they collect and drive budgets into deficit … So it will be with a Latham Labor government… I will guarantee that interest rates are always going to be lower under a Coalition government.[55]

    In the closing period of the election campaign, Howard promised a large spending program on health, education, small business and family payments with the aim of trumping Labor’s policy strengths.

    The election result was an increased Coalition majority in the House of Representatives and the first, albeit slim, government majority in the Senate since 1981. On a two party preferred basis, the Coalition achieved 52.74% of the vote to Labor’s 47.26%. However, for the second time since becoming Prime Minister, Howard himself had to go to preferences in order to win another term in his own seat. He took 49.9 percent of the first count and was only assured of reelection on the third count. Ultimately, Howard won 53.3 percent of the two-party preferred vote.[56]

    Fourth term: 2004–2007

    John Howard, Janette Howard, and U.S. President George W. Bush at the Sydney Opera HouseOn 21 December 2004, Howard became the second-longest serving Australian Prime Minister after Sir Robert Menzies.[57]

    The new Senate came into effect on 1 July 2005, giving the Howard government control of both houses for the first time. Not since Fraser had a government been able to pass legislation without approval from other parties. However, due to the slenderness of its Senate majority, internal Coalition discipline and dissent significantly influenced legislative outcomes on certain issues.

    The Howard government revisited and secured the passage of previously blocked legislation, including industrial relations changes, the abolition of compulsory university student union fees and liberalisation of media ownership laws (by lowering restrictions on media companies owning multiple different media). It also instructed the Governor-General to disallow a legislation, the ACT Civil Unions Act.[58]

    Howard chaired APEC Australia 2007, culminating in the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting in Sydney during September.[59] The meeting was at times overshadowed by leadership speculation following further poor poll results[60] and public criticism of security arrangements.[61]

    The Coalition trailed Labor in opinion polls from mid-2006 onward, but Howard still consistently led Labor leader Kim Beazley on the question of preferred Prime Minister. In December 2006, after Kevin Rudd became Labor leader, the two-party preferred deficit widened even further and Rudd swiftly overtook Howard as preferred Prime Minister.

    See also: Economy of Australia
    In April 2006, the government announced it had completely paid off the last of $96 billion of Commonwealth net debt inherited when it came to power in 1996.[62] Economists generally welcomed the news, while cautioning that some level of debt was not necessarily bad, and that some of the debt had been transferred to the private sector.[63][verification needed] Howard often cited the economic management of his government as a point in its favour, but came under heavy criticism toward the end of 2007 in the lead up to the Federal election. It was alleged by opposition leader Kevin Rudd during their single leadership debate that Howard had no plan to deal with inflationary pressures on the economy, and would not be able to handle future interest rate rises.

    Industrial relations
    Main article: WorkChoices
    In 2005, Howard announced significant changes to industrial relations laws. These became the subject of a national publicity campaign by the government and pronounced opposition from community groups, the union movement and state Labor governments. On 15 November 2005, public rallies were held to protest against the industrial relations changes. An estimated 100,000-175,000 people attended rallies in Melbourne and around 300 other meetings and rallies, held concurrently around the country, were also well attended.[64] These meetings were organised by various unions and community organisations with the help of Labor and the Greens. Due to the Coalition’s slim majority in the Senate, the passage of the proposed laws was put in doubt following criticisms from Queensland National Party Senator Barnaby Joyce, although he later voted in support of the legislation. The industrial relations laws were passed without substantial change.

    More troops sent to Iraq

    John Howard and U.S. President George W. Bush during a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House in May 2006.On 22 February 2005 Howard announced that Australia would increase its military commitment to Iraq with an additional 450 troops, telling John Laws, “I’m openly saying that some small adjustment at the margin might happen”.[65]

    Anti-terrorism measures
    In mid 2005, John Howard and his cabinet began discussions of new anti-terror legislation which includes modification to the Crimes Act 1914. In particular, sections relating to sedition are to be modified. On 14 October 2005, Jon Stanhope (Chief Minister of the ACT) took the controversial step of publishing the confidential draft of the Federal Anti-Terrorism Bill 2005 on his website.[66] This action was both praised and criticised.[67] Citing concerns about civil rights raised by the Australian National University as well as concerns over the speed of the legislation’s passage through parliament, he later refused to sign off on a revised version of the legislation, becoming the only State and Territorial leader not to sign.[68] The House of Representatives passed the anti-terrorism legislation which was debated in the Senate before its final implementation in December 2005.

    On 2 November 2005 Howard held a press conference to announce that he had received information from police and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) that indicated an imminent terrorist attack in Australia. Within a week, on 8 November, anti-terrorist raids were held across Melbourne and Sydney, with 17 suspected terrorists arrested, including Abdul Nacer Benbrika. These raids, according to Howard, demonstrated the need for his Anti-Terrorism Bill.[69] According to the Greens and Democrats, the raids demonstrated that no further legislation was needed as even the current legislation was sufficient to allow ASIO and the Australian Federal Police to act in some cases. Critics have also said that the press conference was held on the same day as the changes to industrial relations laws were introduced to Parliament.

    Since Mohamed Haneef spent 12 days in jail without charges (he was suspected to have supported the perpetrators of the foiled terror attacks in London and Glasgow in July 2007), the anti-terrorism bill and its impact for the separation of powers in a democracy became more publicly discussed. When a judge found insufficient evidence for the charges against Haneef, Minister of Immigration Kevin Andrews withdrew his working visa. While the Howard government unequivocally backed Kevin Andrew’s decision, members of the judicial community in Australia raised their concern about the interference of the government in judicial proceedings.[70]

    Mandatory detention policy
    Main article: Mandatory detention in Australia
    Throughout the first half of 2005, the Howard government faced pressure regarding the controversial mandatory detention program, introduced in 1992 by the Keating ALP government.

    It was revealed in February that a mentally ill German citizen and Australian resident, Cornelia Rau, had been held in detention for nine months. The government then established the closed non-judicial Palmer Inquiry promising that the findings would be made public. In May, it was revealed that another Australian, subsequently identified as Vivian Solon, had been deported from Australia and that the department responsible was unable to locate her. By late May, it was revealed that an additional 200 cases of possible wrongful detention had been referred to the Palmer Inquiry.[71] Also at this time Howard faced backbench revolt from small numbers of his own party demanding that reforms be made.[72] On 9 June Australia’s longest serving detainee, Peter Qasim, was moved to a psychiatric hospital.[73]

    In June, 2005, several backbenchers including Petro Georgiou challenged the Howard government’s holding of asylum-seeker children in immigration detention centres. [74] Over 2000 asylum-seeker children were held in detention centres during previous years. The longest period a child was detained was 5 years.[75] Under the agreement between Howard and the MPs, legislation was introduced to “soften” the detention system enacted in 1992. Detained families with children were moved out of detention centres and placed in “community detention”, and people detained over two years received an ombudsman review. [76] Questioned as to why the government had not acted sooner, Howard was quoted as saying: “We have to confess that was one of the many failings of this Government.”[76]

    Environment and energy

    John Howard meeting Maroondah residents, 31 August 2007On 6 June 2006, Howard announced a task force to conduct the “Uranium Mining, Processing, and Nuclear Energy Review”, the terms of reference of which include “the extent to which nuclear energy will make a contribution to the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions”.[77] Howard announced on 10 December 2006 the formation of a Prime Ministerial Task Group on Emissions Trading.[78] On 3 February 2007, the Australian government announced that it could not by itself have a significant effect on mitigation of global warming, though it would continue to make efforts to cut greenhouse gases; it would be necessary for Australia to find means of adaptation.[79] On 4 June 2007, Howard announced a new Carbon Trading Scheme to be in place in Australia by 2012. Only four months earlier, Howard rejected such a scheme by the states, claiming “knee-jerk reactions that are going to destroy the jobs of coalminers”.[80]

    Northern Territory intervention
    In August 2007, the Howard government announced the Northern Territory National Emergency Response. This package of welfare reform, law enforcement and other measures was advanced as a plan for addressing child abuse in Aboriginal Northern Territory communities that had been highlighted by the “Little Children are Sacred” report in mid-June.

    The plan drew criticism from the report’s authors and others for not incorporating any of the report’s numerous recommendations.[citation needed] Other critics expressed skepticism about the plan’s true intention, saying it was instead an attempt to remove land rights from Aboriginal communities.[81] Howard had been a long-time opponent of indigenous Native Title in Australia. Key components of the intervention included seizure by the Federal Government of local community land leases for a five year period and removal of the permit system that had allowed aboriginal communities to control access to their land.

    Some aboriginal activists such as Noel Pearson provided qualified support for the intervention, as it provided the first sign of the Howard government taking any significant interest in aboriginal affairs. Commentators noted the approaching November federal election, suggesting that the intervention was an attempt at “wedge politics” and an appeal to middle class non-Aboriginal voters concerned with child abuse and racial issues. Most of the government discussion regarding the intervention involved appeals to emotion, without attempting to address the specific criticisms put forward by opponents of the plan.[citation needed]

    Leadership and retirement doubts

    John Howard and U.S. President George W. Bush wave to the public in a Sydney street after leaving the Commonwealth Parliament Offices and walking to the InterContinental Hotel at APEC in September 2007In the lead up to the 2001 election, Howard did not commit to serving a full term if he won the election. Instead, he said he would consider the question of retirement when he turned 64, which would be in July 2003.[82] When July 2003 came, he announced that the party was strongly in favour of him continuing, so he stayed on.[83]

    In the lead up to the 2004 election, Howard again did not commit to serving a full term.[84] In 2006, there was mounting speculation that he would retire that year.

    In July 2006, it was alleged that a deal had been struck with Peter Costello in 1994 with Ian McLachlan present, that if the Liberal party were to win the next election, Howard would serve one and a half terms of office and then allow Costello to take over. Howard denied that this constituted a deal, yet Costello and McLachlan insisted it did;[85] and there were calls for Costello to either challenge or quit.[86]

    The impasse was resolved at the end of July when Howard, again citing strong party room support for him as leader, stated that he would remain to contest the next election, and that he and Costello would remain in their current roles.[87] Costello declared that he would not be seeking the top position in the Liberal Party while Howard was standing as its leader, saying on The 7.30 Report he would be handing down the 2007 Budget.[88] On 12 September 2007 John Howard told 7.30 Report host Kerry O’Brien that if re-elected he would “form the view, well into my term, that it makes sense for me to retire and in those circumstances I would expect – although it would be a matter for the party to determine – that Peter would take over.”[89]

    Early in September 2007, coinciding with the APEC Conference in Sydney, speculation broke out about Cabinet support for Howard’s leadership. Following a series of negative polls, senior ministers such as Alexander Downer, Nick Minchin and Malcolm Turnbull were reported to have doubts about his capacity to win the election.[90] Peter Costello, regarded by many as the leader in waiting, indicated that he would only take over the leadership if Howard voluntarily stood down. However, Howard stated that he would not step aside and warned he would fight any challenger, and the party restated their support for him as leader.[91] On 12 September 2007, during an ABC television interview, John Howard announced that he would step down from the Prime Ministership “well into the next term” if he is re-elected.[92]

    The 2007 election campaign

    By the way. Shamefully, I’m the only person reading this blog that will indulge you.
    So when you say” Alright, so no one can answer my question”.
    Its not that no one wants to or cant. They just dont ee ny point in talking to a blind hatefull person.

  12. Jersey McJones says:

    Micky, without just lifting a list from Wiki, can you put any of this into your own words? Have you actually read all that? The scandals? Gun control (never finished)? Aggravating the aboriginals? “Wrongful” detention? Turning around a budget deficit with Labor (What? Do you give Clinton full credit for doing that here?)?


  13. micky2 says:

    Thats not the point here jersey.
    You asked a question and there are the answers.
    I dont play games like you.
    You asked What good Howard has done . And there you go.
    It has nothing to do with anything other than the fact that you made an all encompasing statement that I have proven to be nothing but an emotinal baseless rant.
    Done deal.

  14. Jersey McJones says:

    Okay, Micky. From that list, what would you call an accomplishment?


  15. micky2 says:

    Here, this should be easier for you to read, this only in 2005.
    Key Howard Government Achievements in 2005
    Justin Wilshaw kindly suggested we publish the following statement from The Howard Government for discussion. I for one take it at face value and believe every word, but other Webdiarists may not agree. Hamish Alcorn.





    Kept interest rates low for another year with the variable mortgage interest rate at 7.3% compared with a high of 17% and an average of 12.7% under Labor. Kept business loan rates under 10% compared with a high of 20.5% and an average of 14.25% under Labor;
    Delivered an eighth Budget surplus and effectively eliminated all of Labor’s $96 billion of government debt;
    Established a Future Fund which will ensure that the Australian Government is able to meet the costs of Australia’s ageing population;



    Delivered the lowest unemployment rate in 29 years at 5% with 1.7 million new jobs created since 1996, compared with Labor under which unemployment rose to as high as 10.9% and averaged 8.5%;
    Continued to increase the real wages of Australian workers with real wages more than 15% higher now than in 1996. Under Labor, the low paid suffered a 3.1% fall in their real wages during its 13 years in office;
    Continued to improve Australia’s century old workplace relations system and strengthen the Australian economy by introducing a national system of workplace relations for the first time. This will enable employers and employees to establish arrangements which best suit their needs and strengthen the job prospects of many Australians by removing the burden of unfair dismissal from the back of small businesses;
    Passed Welfare-to-Work legislation which will encourage those on welfare who are reasonably able to work to do so while supporting them with an additional $3.6 billion in assistance, including through improved employment services and rehabilitation support;


    Announced and legislated another $22 billion over 4 years of personal income tax cuts to all taxpayers, ensuring that more than 80 per cent of taxpayers pay no more than 30 cents of their wages in tax while the highest marginal tax rate only cuts in at a taxable income of $125,000;
    Abolished the Superannuation Surcharge reducing the tax that is paid on superannuation savings by $2.5 billion over 4 years;
    Commenced delivering a further $3 billion in business tax cuts, including the removal of the 3% tariff on business inputs, allowing ‘blackhole’ tax relief and the 25% Entrepreneurs Tax Discount;


    Passed legislation that will provide an additional $3 billion in support for regional telecommunications while removing the conflict of interest resulting from the Government being both the telecommunications regulator and the majority owner of Telstra;
    Further enhanced drought assistance, including through increased assistance under the exceptional circumstances arrangements. This will bring the Australian Government’s total commitment to farmers during the drought to more than $1.25 billion including nearly $900 million which has been provided on direct welfare and business support;


    Undertook a major upgrade of airport security which will ensure a united policing force at key airports, and the introduction of high-powered Joint Airport Intelligence Groups and a Counter Terrorism First Response capability;
    Passed new counter-terrorism laws that give our security and law enforcement agencies much greater ability to prevent and pre-empt terrorist attacks, continue to increase the counter-terrorism capability of ASIO and the AFP, and improve the security of Australia’s overseas missions;
    Supported international security and counter-terrorism efforts, including through continuing ADF deployments in Iraq, the new deployment to Afghanistan, and expanded counter-terrorism regional engagement;
    Continued to boost Australia’s defence force and border security including through the Defence Update 2005, Hardened Networked Army, establishment of the Joint Off-Shore Protection Command, and the decision to build the air warfare destroyers;


    With the strong support of the Australian people, responded quickly and generously to the devastating Asian tsunami committing more than $1 billion of reconstruction assistance and providing troops and other assistance on the ground. We also led the region in developing a Tsunami Warning System to ensure everyone is prepared for any future tsunami;
    Further enhanced Australia’s position in the region by attending the inaugural East Asia Summit in December 2005;
    Continued to push for a fairer deal for Australia’s exporters both in various multilateral trade negotiations, and by finalisation of the FTA with the United States and commencing discussions on free trade agreements with China and Japan;
    Significantly enhanced Australia’s bilateral links with moderate leaders in the Muslim world – Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey and Pakistan – including through a series of high profile visits by President Yudhoyono, President Musharraf, Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi and Prime Minister Erdogan;
    Expanded our commitment to Overseas Development Assistance, international cooperation on Pandemic Influenza, announcement of a Technical College for the South Pacific, and a major scholarship plan for the Asian Pacific region;


    Increased health and aged care spending to $45 billion a year compared with $20 billion in Labor’s last year in office. Further enhanced Medicare by increasing the Medicare rebate from 85 to 100 per cent of the schedule fee and implementing Round-the-Clock Medicare which gives Australians greater access to doctors outside normal business hours;
    Announced ground-breaking family law reforms which recognise and encourage shared parenting in cases of family break-up and establish a national network of Family Relationship Centres to assist families prevent and adjust to break-up;
    Implemented the Child Care Rebate which will ensure that parents using approved care are rebated 30 per cent of their out-of-pocket child care costs, significantly reducing the cost of child care;
    Recognised the contribution of carers by providing an additional $1,000 taxfree to the 90,000 carers receiving Carer Payment and an additional $600 tax-free to the 300,000 carers receiving Carer Allowance;


    Funded the establishment of 25 Australian Technical Colleges to enable young Australians to learn the best trade skills. Also funded an additional 7,000 School Based New Apprenticeships and a further 4,500 prevocational training places for people interested in pursuing a career in traditional trades, bringing total Australian Government funding for vocational and technical education to a record $2.5 billion.
    Required the States to introduce plain English report cards clearly explaining to parents how their children are performing and progressing at school;
    Abolished compulsory student unionism so that students can choose whether or not to pay up to $590 a year to belong to a student union at university;


    Delivered on the Coalition election commitment to lock-up a further 170,000 hectares of Tasmania’s native forests in the reserve system while protecting the jobs of Tasmanians whose livelihoods depend on the forest industries;
    Delivered on the Coalition election commitment to provide $2 billion through the Australian Water Fund to build Australia’s water storage and supply infrastructure and to assist all Australians to use water more efficiently;
    Established the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate with the USA, China, India, Japan and South Korea. The Partnership will address the challenges of climate change, energy security and air pollution, and Australian will host its inaugural meeting in early 2006;


    Recognised the service and sacrifice of Australia’s veterans by commemorating the 90th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign and the 60th anniversary of VP day.

  16. I got lost about halfway through these posts, but I agree with all of it : )

  17. Jersey McJones says:

    Economy: Keeping interest rates low may seem like yet another simplistic success to some, but the rates are back on the rise and the rate inflation is high (, which gets to…

    Employment: Like Bush, howard was yet another cheap-labor con ( ), yet still couldn’t control inflation, even with his loose interest policies (which were a disaster here in America recently), which goes to this…

    Taxes: He may have cut taxes, but as usual the laughable LAffer Curve failed to raise revenue (,25197,23281257-30538,00.html ) and GDP has been flat as inflation rises…

    It goes on and on.

    Me thinks you’re just quoting from sites and really don’t know much about Australia. Howard’s legacy is going to be one of promises unfulfilled and bad deals gone awry. Yet another conservative failure.


  18. micky2 says:

    Thats right Jersey, I dont know much about Australia.
    But that doesnt change the fact that you are still wrong.
    You are wrong because commonsense and logic and fact dictate that this man was no more a”cmplete failure” than Bush was.
    You really ought to be more careful in your claims about decent people whom you dont agree with.
    It works both ways. But not in your case.
    Someone a couple days ago nailed you on how ridiculous you sound.
    It was pointed out that you are always calling cons sleazy, when its true that dems have been and are just sleazy.
    Face it, the man did not get elected to repeat terms because he was a complete failure.
    That is reality my friend.

  19. micky2 says:

    By the way, we can pull stories from any variety of sources that will make our points for us.
    Like I said, you may see abortion as a success.
    I see it as murder.
    It doesnt change the fact that at times it is murder and at times it has saved lives.
    At times Bush and Howard have failed, at times they have done great things.
    But as in your case, you seem to expect people to agree that because someone is not of your beliefs they are complete failures.
    Lunacy, complete lunacy

  20. Jersey McJones says:

    Micky, what the heck are you talking about? Abortion is what? Great things?

    Can you, as a man, in your own words, without pedantic silliness and vitriolic personalizations, describe one successful, beneficial accomplishment of Howards? If not, why are you even debating me on this?


  21. micky2 says:

    Its all perspective Jersey !!!
    How freaking long is it going to take you to realize that ?
    You are always , always guilty of projecting your perspective as truth, GET IT ?
    If you think Howard is a complete failure then label that as “YOUR OPINION”
    But to continue to try and convince me or anyone that its fact is idiocy, plain unadulterated idiocy.
    Before you ever accuse me of vitriolic personalizations again I suggest you read your own material.
    Calling someone a complete and utter failure with nothing to sibstain it is true vitriol.
    I dont need to prove jack to you.
    You are so hell bent that Howard has not done one good thing then make your case with honest research. Its not my job.
    But I did as (easy as pie) find a few things that a lot of peole view as good things that Howard has done for Australia.
    Some dont like NAFTA for their own reasons, to them its a failure.
    For corporate america its great.
    A cheeseburger is a failure if you dont like cheese and you orderd a regular burger.
    But for some its an extra bonus.
    But its still a burger, not a “COMPLETE FAILURE”

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