Dual Loyalty

As writers and bloggers are so fond of saying; you couldn't make it up. You don't cross the Iron Curtain and come out without scars ...
· Jozef Imrich, Survivor of the Iron Curtain Crossing

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dedicated to a character who SHAW (sic) make my life very colourful ...
The man who put a price on my head back in 1980 is nicely captured by Yuri Felshtinsky and Vladimir Pribylovsky who make it clear, it's the KGB that rules the roost in Putin's Russia A land fit only for crooks and killers

A new look in Putin's eyes Exclusive: Vlad the Impaler - What Is the World to Do with Putin
The intelligence community has its share of suck-ups, political assassins, incompetents and outright traitors.

A few months after he was sworn into office, President Bush flew to Slovenia where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The meeting was closely watched around the world because Bush had talked tough about missile defense plans and relations with Russia during his presidential campaign.
Coming out of their first meeting, Bush embarrassingly told the world, "I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul."

Smiling assassin: No friend of freedom ; [Putin; The Age of Assassins: The Rise and Rise of Vladimir Putin: How Scary Are Russia's New Rulers? ]
• · The future of Russia now looks even gloomier, and The Age of Assassins provides an admirable background to what we should expect in the years ahead. SSS Assassins; In The New Cold War, Edward Lucas says the fate of Politkovskaya and Litvinenko symbolises the Kremlin's plans for the rest of the world in a new Cold War that the West is already losing, "having barely noticed that it has started". Vladimir Putin and his corporate gangsters
• · We delve into the world of corporate recruitment of the best and brightest students in Australia. In a new book journalist and former law student Lisa Pryor asks why so many of our achievers end up studying law when they mean to pursue other careers? She argues this represents a brain drain away from jobs that potentially have greater value for the public good. The pinstriped prison; Booked in
• · · Australian journalist and blogger Antony Loewenstein explains that blogging is not the sole domain of pornographers or Hollywood gossips and that a previously voiceless Saudi Arabian female can now, by blogging, explain the realities of her life and culture with readers in Sydney. The Blogging Revolution, ; Bloggers of the world, let's shop!; Internet mapping is wiping the rich geography and history of Britain off the map, Britain’s most senior cartographer warned yesterday. Web
• · · · Dangerously Addictive Addiction Memoir Thanks for the memoirs: Costello sells his story An extensive author tour; Biden's memoirs suddenly becomes a best-seller
• · · · · With the contemporary serious novel in such a mess, travel writing, like biography, offers many of the traditional pleasures of the novel: story, character, good dialogue, development, resolution. Memoirs are made of this; The crackdown on memoirs came after the publication of Sir Christopher Meyer’s book DC Confidential book. The former British ambassador to the US used his . A ban on civil servants writing 'warts and all' accounts about their time in Government is "unduly restrictive", a committee of MPs have warned. Gagging order on civil servants' 'warts and all' memoirs is too strict, MPs warn

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I don't care what anybody says, there is nothing, and I mean nothing, to come close to our dreams and dreams we have for our loved ones … The Olympics are in full swing, and we can once again marvel at dedicated people from all parts of the world aspiring to achieve the very pinnacle of human transformation. My girls Sasha and Gabbie spent four years at Redcliffe swimming with Kylie Palmer (aka Kyles) and Jessicah Schipper as well as Liesel Jones
… I reckoned we need more memory today because Olympic memories and songs have so many more images and words in them ;-)
Kevin Roberts noted last week that it could not have been easy for a New Zealand television reporter to get a word with Michael Phelps, the Olympic superstar, but through good luck, good management or sheer grit, she did it: What advice would you give young people at home in New Zealand who are just starting out in the pool? Now I watched a lot of sport on television and most athletes talk about the hard work involved and the commitment needed. All very true. However, Michael Phelps didn’t reach for train harder, faster, longer or any of the other 'er' words. He didn’t even hesitate. He simply looked her in the eye and said, Dreaming. That’s right, dreaming. He went on to say Go for Gold: When I first got into the pool…I dreamt I would be at the Olympics…anything is possible
PS She ran not for just a medal - Cathy Freeman had to run for her life = The dark side of the Olympic spirit

Hot, Hotter, Hottest: One World, One Dream Trust

An interview with Stephen MR Covey, (son of Stephen R Covey), whose latest book 'The Speed of Trust' argues that trust is an economic measure, enabling organisations to move faster and at lower cost.

• Why does corporate decision making largely take place in what could be called the men's room? The economics of trust; [Ben Stein is also a true believer in the power of love. His extended piece on love in the The New York Times is well worth reading An economist by trade, ; - According to AFR research, The Australian Public Service Commissions website includes a list of speeches, mostly by agency heads, of special interest to senior executives (at www.apsc.gov.au/sesmedia.htm). But only four out of 40 were made this year, which might say something about life under Kevin 24/7. I say, I say, I say ]
• · The rape of the Olympic spirit: For the rest of China's netizens, the China's Great Firewall and monitoring will remain firmly in place Emotional heat: One World, One Dream; Protest rallies and online blogging are increasingly popular outlets for young Australians seeking a political voice, a new study shows. Study shows young Aussies not apathetic
• · Italian Film Festival is in Sydney - Filippo Costa (Michele Lastella), a young tax officer of modest social origins has enormous ambition that isolates him from his colleagues and his background. Initially aspiring to climb the career ladder, once he has come face to face with corruption he realises that he can set his sights much higher. In his unstoppable social climbing, he is helped by Caterina (Fanny Ardant), a beautiful, cultured and well-connected gallery owner. Before long, Fillipo is mingling in high society and rubbing shoulders with the mighty. But will his reach exceed his grasp? Rush Hour: Tax evasion is a national pastime ; Mal and I love this movie shown in Sydney in June at the French Film Festival – Like As it is in Heaven it deserves to be seen by one and all of us ;-) Only Titanic has taken more money at the French box office than this comedy and it is poised to become the most successful French film ever released in France. This is a comedy that is directed at exposing French prejudices among communities that live in separate regions of France. North is magnetic as French flick sinks ship
• · · One of the experiences I love in Italy (one of the many experiences) is eating alfresco. There is something about the open air and food that brings a whole new dimension to flavor and good company. It’s a kind of paradoxical intimacy – the outdoor space seems to draw you closer to your fellow diners. A bread roll on a park bench does it. So do sandwiches at the beach or a barbecue in the backyard. But for a truly great alfresco experience, nothing beats a long table punctuated with bottles of wine and platters of food, good friends, perhaps some vines overhead and a light breeze. Alfresco ; Never underestimate an intimate gesture. In today's digital world of email and texting, the traditional postcard seems to be holding its own and indeed experiencing something of a revival... The Power of Postcards
• · · · Educational Advancement (IDEA) is a non profit organisation working to improve the ways people interact with technology. Finding information: factors that improve online experiences; For reasons of accountability and integrity, I start from the position that as much information as possible about government decisions and actions should be in the public domain. In other words, the more transparent the actions of governments are: the cleaner they tend to be-the higher their ethical and administrative standards; and the more comfortable the public will be that they are getting value for money, that policy challenges are being dealt with effectively, and that their personal information is open to scrutiny by them Climate of disclosure: the public service and the right to know ; This book examines the changes in the culture of the Australian Public Service including the purported loss of traditional public service values of impartiality, intellectual rigour and the willingness of public servants at all levels to offer frank and fearless advice to their superiors and their ministers Whatever happened to frank and fearless? the impact of new public management on the Australian Public Sector
• · · · · Companies and governments around the world are spending more and more on management consultants - but are they getting what they want? More bang for your buck ; FEDERAL public servants are systematically sanitising the Wikipedia entries for federal politicians and have shown MPs how to change their entries Politicians' Wiki entries altered

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sydney is a modern city but many of its traditional values remain, including some of the best restaurants in the world all of which have been around for 20 years or so. Master chef Tetsuya has now moved into new beautiful premises and is still cooking up incredible contemporary Japanese seafood. Loving Sydney
Let the love flow at Clareville Kiosk Dining Remembering the past in images

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The death of Russian Nobel Prize-winning author Alexander I. Solzhenitsyn clearly marks the end of an era Cold War River; Like my father Jozef, Alexander (Sasha) survived Civil War, World War and Cold War. However, only few suffered as much as Alexander who suffered Stalin's camps and Brezhnev's repressions; he fought cancer when exiled without possessions in remote Kazakhstan, and resisted Western materialism to concentrate on his writing as a rich exile in his Vermont estate. As he himself had predicted, he lived to see the sorry collapse of Soviet Communism, and returned to his homeland in triumph. As a youth, he believed in the promises of Marxism-Leninism, but was brutally disillusioned when arrested as a young officer fighting Nazi Germany, turned to Christianity, and roundly defeated the legions of Soviet stool pigeons, security police and censors who tried to suppress the revelations which poured from his acerbic pen. Solzhenitsyn's truth outweighed the world; Without individual conscience, argues Solzhenitsyn, both Communist and capitalist societies have repulsive aspects. ALEXANDER Solzhenitsyn took millions of readers inside the horrors of Stalin’s prison system – and by extension, ripped the mask off the brutal regime which I escaped in 1980 A soul in exile

Literary Giant, Solzhenitsyn inspired many Chinese who will tear the wall down just like the Ztmbabweans will … Alexander Solzhenitsyn is the man who put the writing on the wall for Leninist totalitarianism. In a country that employs a vast bureaucracy to monitor all types of internet activity and where posting a comment critical of the authorities can land you in re-education camp, people have to choose their words very carefully Chinese netizens rail against Great Firewall

The face of 'human rights The Great Writer Who Buried Communism: The wealth manifesto
Ehrenreich's skill, apart from the sheer quality of her writing, is to illustrate her opinions with wave after wave of examples of unglamorous labour disputes and everyday injustices that don't get much of a look-in elsewhere.

There's this powerful myth that America doesn't have classes; that they're an ancient English or European thing that we abolished. And that if you're not rich, it's your own damn fault

• Warren Buffett recently said that he thought the effects of the financial crisis were far from over… A hunger for anything except more of the same in Sydney Society; [They came in a trickle rather than a flood, but raw emotions were never far from the surface To Russians, 'a ray of light' is now dimmed ; 'SOUL-DESTROYING" has become a cliche for life in a Soviet prison camp. He lived not by lies. Solzhenitsyn: exiled then exalted in Russia Of Good and Evil - One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich]
• · Read SPIEGEL's final interview with Alexander Solzhenitsyn, my teenage hero, the last given to the Western media. I Am Not Afraid of Death: SPIEGEL INTERVIEW WITH ALEXANDER SOLZHENITSYN; Solzhenitsyn -- a prophet the West must prove wrong
• · Evil is all too real and had to be confronted – why be afraid of death? One Day in the Life of Jozef Imrich; Solzhenitsyn and piercing pens
• · · There is this belief that all those other worlds are only being temporarily prevented by wicked governments or by heavy crises or by their own barbarity or incomprehension from taking the way of Western pluralistic democracy and from adopting the Western way of life. Countries are judged on the merit of their progress in this direction. However, it is a conception which developed out of Western incomprehension of the essence of other worlds, out of the mistake of measuring them all with a Western yardstick. The real picture of our planet's development is quite different. Other worlds are only being temporarily prevented by wicked governments or by heavy crises ; Harvard Class Day Afternoon Exercises: Without any censorship, in the West fashionable trends of thought and ideas are carefully separated from those which are not fashionable; nothing is forbidden, but what is not fashionable will hardly ever find its way into periodicals or books or be heard in colleges. Legally your researchers are free, but they are conditioned by the fashion of the day. There is no open violence such as in the East; however, a selection dictated by fashion and the need to match mass standards frequently prevent independent-minded people from giving their contribution to public life. There is a dangerous tendency to form a herd, shutting off successful development. I have received letters in America from highly intelligent persons, maybe a teacher in a faraway small college who could do much for the renewal and salvation of his country, but his country cannot hear him because the media are not interested in him. This gives birth to strong mass prejudices, blindness, which is most dangerous in our dynamic era. There is, for instance, a self-deluding interpretation of the contemporary world situation. It works as a sort of petrified armor around people's minds. Human voices from 17 countries of Eastern Europe and Eastern Asia cannot pierce it. It will only be broken by the pitiless crowbar of events. A World Split Apart