Today, Thursday, August 6, is the anniversary of the atom bombing of Hiroshima; the day that inaugurated the nuclear age.
The destruction of the Japanese city, and that of Nagasaki that followed three days later on August 9, was justified as forcing the surrender of Japan without the need for the massive loss of life that would result from an invasion of the Japanese mainland. This justification was largely accepted by a war-weary Allied population, grateful that six long years of a terrible world war had at last come to an end.
My belief is that an invasion was never really contemplated; Japan was more than ready to surrender to the Western Allies, before the Soviets became involved. But that is another story: today is for remembrance.
On Hiroshima Day we in Canberra should reflect that uranium samples from uranium mines in South Australia were tested at the Minerals Survey Office, then in Alinga Street in Civic on the site of the GPO today. The samples were part of the world wide search for the raw materials for use on the Manhattan Project.
If the Japanese had not surrendered when they did, it is probable uranium tested in Civic would have been used in the production of further atomic weapons if the Allies had proceeded with an invasion of the Japanese home islands.
While COVID-19 overshadows much other news, there are important anniversaries this week that should not be forgotten - the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and Nagasaki three days later on August 9. Those events remain extremely significant, not only because of the horrendous toll they inflicted on civilians as their cities collapsed and burnt, and the radioactive legacy that is still killing, 75 years later. They also ushered in humanity's capacity to virtually destroy ourselves, an achievement we have come close to since on several occasions.
Despite the well-documented "near misses" since 1945 that almost destroyed civilisation as we know it, Australian policy still explicitly refers to US nuclear weapons as a key part of our "security". In March this year, the secretary of the Defence Department told a parliamentary committee Australian governments have "understood and respected the longstanding US policy of neither confirming nor denying the presence of nuclear weapons in any location".
As we mark 75 years of sheer luck in avoiding nuclear war, it's time for Australia to stop equating "security" with nuclear weapons. Most countries have already done so. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is likely to come into force within the coming year with the Australian government still steadfastly opposing our best hope of a nuclear weapons free world.
There appears to be a certain disconnect between the ACT government's recent announcement of interest-free loans to help cover the upfront costs of installing rooftop solar panels and household battery storage, and ActewAGL's (which is half owned by the ACT government) recent announcement of a 27 per cent cut in its solar feed-in tariff from 11 cents/kWh to 8 cents/kWh.
The ACT government needs to stop giving mixed signals. Does it want increased take-up of solar power? If so, then it needs to ensure that it and ActewAGL are singing from the same song sheet. A restoration of the feed-in tariff to 11 cents/kWh would be a good first step.
How dare the Premier of Queensland declare that the ACT is a COVID-19 "hotspot" when we are the "cleanest" place in the nation - no active cases and no new cases for weeks. Methinks her words and actions are directed at retaining government at the upcoming Queensland election rather than "protecting" Queenslanders.
When Federal Parliament meets next I trust all Queensland MPs, senators, and their staff, will be conspicuous by their absence from this "hotspot". Queensland; beautiful one day, troppo the next.
When Federal Parliament meets next I trust all Queensland MPs, senators, and their staff, will be conspicuous by their absence from this 'hotspot'. Queensland; beautiful one day, troppo the next.- Paul E Bowler, Chapman
The headline of your excellent editorial "Trump is destabilising and dangerous" (canberratimes.com.au, August 1) says it all - well, almost.
Mr Trump calls himself a "very stable genius", simply because he had a high score in an intelligence test designed for young children.
A group of 37 psychologists and psychiatrists concluded that Trump is a "malignant narcissist" and that "anyone as mentally unstable as Mr Trump simply should not be entrusted with the life-and-death powers of the presidency" (The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, 2nd edition, 2019).
Trump has said more than once that the US has huge numbers of COVID-19 cases because there is "too much testing": do less testing and the case numbers will fall (and Mr Trump will look better).
It now appears possible that Mr Trump may have to be evicted from the White House while protesting that the postal polls were "rigged". Good luck, Joe Biden.
The economic fantasy that it is possible for the Australian government to print "debt-free money" rears its dangerous head in a letter by D Fraser (Letters, July 31).
The fallacy rests on the false assumption that the value of money depends on the nominal amount printed on a banknote, or listed in a bank statement. In truth, its value depends on what it will buy.
Accordingly printing more money without producing more goods and services of equal value will simply reduce the real value of money.
Not only the value of "debt-free money" but the value of all existing money as well. It has been shown, again and again, in historical examples from Germany after World War I, to Zimbabwe, and Venezuela in more recent times that the end result is uncontrolled inflation and widespread suffering.
There is no magic pudding.
Modern monetary theory argues the government can print money to pay its debts, at least until inflation emerges.
Given free childcare contributed to deflation, it follows that the government can print money, avoid inflation and create unlimited prosperity simply by taking over from the private sector the functions of employment and the provision of goods and services.
That is the ultimate objective of MMT, and the reason it has found so many zealots among The Canberra Times' hardcore readership.
The only problem is that history suggests government control over the means of production really results not in unlimited prosperity, but in unlimited misery.
Reverend Dr Vincent Zankin (Letters, August 1) posits that Russia and China are seeking to create a multipolar world order they deem to be far more democratic than the present unipolar system of global governance.
Ignore for the moment that neither country could be said to be democratic themselves, despite holding elections.
Russia went from being a superpower to an also-ran.
This has never sat well with Putin.
His incursions into Georgia, Crimea, and Ukraine reflect his desire to restore Russia's status.
It also allows him to distract his own people from their country's economic ills.
In 1895 China was referred to as "the sick man of Asia". This description still rankles China's government.
The desire never to be seen as such again must surely be a motive for their belligerent actions and comments.
Their push for a position at the head of the global table is more about national pride than democracy.
Mike Ready (Letters, July 30), is being somewhat disingenuous when he admonishes those who critique state and territory governments on their lack of performance. Governments are elected by the people and for the people.
When they don't perform, particularly when human lives are put at risk through gross maladministration such as the failure of the hotel quarantine supervision in Melbourne, sideline critics are there to ensure they are made aware of the error of their ways.
In the immortal words of the late Don Chipp, senator and leader of the now defunct Australian Democrats, it's about "keeping the bastards honest".
So Don Sephton thinks that the name for the new public school at Molonglo should be just that, the Molonglo Public School, and so avoid all the politics and partisan squabbles (Letters, August 4). The man is brilliant. If he stands for Parliament I will vote for him.
Woolworths at Jerrabomberra on Tuesday provided trolley wipes. They were "Baby Wipes, Non Fragrant". Who knew there was disinfectant in wipes to clean babies' bottoms?
Mokhles K. Sidden is right (Letters August 4). Trump does seem to be "promoting dictatorship, not democracy". He is all about promoting his self-interest and agenda and that of his cronies. That's what dictators do. It's mind boggling that 62 million Americans saw it fit to vote him into power. They now have a better measure of the man they installed as president.
The Chief Minister will not allow a potentially fatal tree in Calwell to be removed, but will allow potentially fatal Sydney residents to enter the ACT. What gives, Mr Barr?
Mario Stivala (Letters, August 3) calls for the resignation of Premier Andrews, saying that he has been "inept' in his handling of the "crisis". So, shouldn't he also be calling for the resignations of Scott Morrison, Peter Dutton and Gladys Berejiklian for their handling of the "Ruby Princess" debacle - or is that different? NSW also used private security services to assist in implementing quarantine procedures.
If you thought dogs were hard to train, look at all the humans who can't "sit" and "stay".
It is hard not to be cynical about how governments make decisions when football matches can proceed with hundreds of spectators, but the Tulip Top Gardens near Canberra are told that they can only have a maximum of 20 people on site.
As an aspiring geophysicist I learned about the universe being governed by the conservation of momentum. It comes as no surprise therefore to see a balance developing between momenta in wealth and health with the neoliberal trickling down of wealth being balanced by a trickling up in the spread of coronavirus.
Re: the good ideas raised by G. Pinkas and D. Fraser (Letters, July 31). Australia Institute research shows that for every $1 million spent on education and health, 10 ongoing jobs are created. For every $1 million spent on infrastructure, 1.5 ongoing jobs are created. We are all now reassessing what jobs are important to a better society.
Not trying to be sexist, but the male equivalent of Karen is Karen (Letters, August 5).
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