Monthly Archives: May 2012

Foco Nuevo in June

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Who took Ridha?

“The ghosts of those he annihilated at Dayr Yasin, all those whom he made disappear from time and place, so that through that absence he could impose the conditions of his own presence on the time and the place – … Continue reading

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Flowers at the Gorge on Straddie

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JOHNNY MONTANA Creative Genius’s SkyDrive ► Thanks to BUSHCARE these wonderful plants have somewhere to live at the Gorge!

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DOGITs over Musgrave Park — government deception

There is a common misunderstanding that all DOGITs are for Aboriginal people, but this is not so. Musgrave Park itself is all a DOGIT (Deed of Grant in Trust), with Brisbane City Council being the trustees. Musgrave was all a … Continue reading

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The right to strike, strikes and workers’ control

‘The right to strike, strikes and workers’ control’. Speech by Chris White at ACTU Congress fringe event 2012. Unionists need to organise for the right to strike, for the effective strike and for workers’ control. 1. Unions’ right to strike … Continue reading

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Justice4Palestine—photos of Nakba action/next meeting

Hi everyone, Here’s a link to some great photos of yesterday’s action to commemorate Al Nakba: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.360619227336411.85261.100001650097091&type=1 The next Justice for Palestine meeting is next Wednesday (May 23), 6:30pm at 8 Gillingham St, Woolloongabba. solidarity, KC

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From little things, big things grow

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Al Nakba

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Salam all There will be no meeting this week as it is Al-Nakba (the “Catastrophe”), an international commemoration of the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians in 1948. Most of us will be attending a remembrance rally in the city this … Continue reading

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Musgrave Park — Sovereignty!

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In 1998 the Qld government handed over a section of land at Musgrave Park to the Yaggera people. FOLLOWING a struggle that lasted more than 20 years, the Musgrave Park Aboriginal Corporation (MPAC) secured a portion of Musgrave Park in … Continue reading

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PUBLIC FORUM: 20 years too long: why mandatory detention must end

Dear supporters of refugee rights, You may be aware that the 20th anniversary of the introduction of mandatory detention passed about a week ago. The Refugee Action Collective is marking this doleful occasion with a public meeting on Saturday 19th … Continue reading

Greece 15-40% pay cut

Collective agreement continuance expires today; hundreds of thousands of private sector workers face 15-40% wage decrease

As mainstream national and international media occupy themselves with the forming of a coalition government, an extremely significant story has received little coverage in Greece: today marks the expiration of the collective agreement continuance (metenergeia ) for 80 out of a total 0f 220 branch collective agreements in the private sector in the country.

Effectively, this means that every single worker previously covered by these agreements is now left facing their bosses alone; it is expected that hundreds of thousands will see their salary reduced to the national minimum wage, while a number of allowances would also be cut. According to the official timeframe, the remaining 140 branch collective agreements will also expire by May 2013.

http://blog.occupiedlondon.org/2012/05/14/collective-agreement-continuance-expires-today-hundreds-of-thousands-of-private-sector-workers-face-wage-decrease/

Aside

Brisbane City Council to try to forcibly remove Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy supporters urgently needed at Musgrave Park 14 May 2012 Brisbane City Council has turned its back on negotiations with the Brisbane Sovereign Embassy over its right to exist in … Continue reading

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Police amass at James Price in the Kimberley after Mothers Day protest by 600 outside Broome Police Station – Save the pristine Kimberley

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by Gerry Georgatos Today, Monday May 14, after yesterday’s peaceful protest by 600 folk outside Broome Police Station, police are amassing in large numbers at Blacktank camp access route – to ensure Woodside Petroleum geophysical site work for the proposed … Continue reading

Driven by competition with China, US escalates military presence in Australia

by Alison Thorne

U.S. President Obama and Australian Prime Minister Gillard shake hands and cement an alliance to boost the U.S. military presence in Asia. Plans include a new military base in Darwin, and joint military exercises in Australian waters. Photo: HWT Image Library

Last November, U.S. President Barack Obama visited Australia to promote U.S. plans for a heightened presence in the region. In the northern city of Darwin, he teamed up with Prime Minister Julia Gillard to unveil details of the deal. Starting this year, the U.S. will station troops in northern Australia with numbers rising to 2,500 by 2016. More U.S. military ships and submarines will visit Australian ports, and more U.S.-Australian joint military exercises will take place off its shores. This is a major escalation of the 60-year-old ANZUS treaty — the military alliance between Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. It will transform Darwin into a major staging base for U.S intervention in Asia and the Pacific.

Obama made clear that undercutting China’s growing influence is of vital importance to the U.S. While the U.S. economy sputters, China’s economy booms, growing 10 percent a year. In her recent essay, “America’s Pacific Century,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asserts that the future of politics will be decided in Asia, and that the U.S. “will be right at the centre of the action.” And she tells her critics, who want U.S. troops brought home, that the U.S. “cannot afford to do so.”

Controlling the seas. A key U.S. strategic goal is to dominate the critical sea-lanes between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, through which a large portion of world trade passes. This includes the majority of China’s exports and imports, and the Middle Eastern oil supplies that are so essential to the functioning of its economy.

Currently, China spends more on domestic security to suppress dissent than on defence. It is now shifting resources from its army to create a naval presence. But the U.S., relative to the size of its economy, still spends twice as much as China on weapons and troops.

Even with China responding to U.S. manoeuvres, the U.S. far outpaces China in military might. It has 737 military bases with a presence on every continent. China has no foreign bases. The U.S. has 11 nuclear-armed aircraft carriers, carrying 85 aircraft each. The Chinese are still planning the launch of their first aircraft carrier.

Hypocrisy all around. While the U.S. shifts its military might to dominate China and the Pacific region, it is also lecturing China about what the U.S. expects. Ideological sabre rattling was a prominent feature of Obama’s visit to Australia, including criticism of China’s disregard for human rights. But while China’s record is lousy, Obama’s posturing rings hollow given his country’s own reputation. Mass incarceration, use of the death penalty, and images of cops beating Occupiers and dismantling their encampments are a few examples of how the U.S. needs to clean up its own act.

Before flying to northern Australia, Obama addressed the Federal Parliament in Canberra. The last visit by a U.S. President in 2003 resulted in Greens politicians being removed for interjecting anti-war sentiments while George Bush spoke. In contrast, Obama received rapturous responses from all sides. His accolades were thoroughly undeserved because the purpose of both speeches was identical: to tell the Australian parliament that the U.S. ruling class expects its deputy sheriff in the Pacific to provide uncritical support for shifting U.S. military priorities, from the Middle East to Asia.

Capitalism divided. Most mainstream analysts emphasise the Australian government’s unconditional support for the U.S. alliance, which they see as a means for advancing Australian corporate and strategic interests.

However, the situation is more complex. Since Britain’s decline as an imperial power at the end of World War II, Australia has allied with the U.S. But Australia has developed its own distinct imperialist interests in the Pacific too.

The interests of the varied branches of capital are not monolithic. Some sectors of the Australian economy rely heavily on the sales of goods and services to China. These include mining, agriculture, education and tourism. China buys 70 percent of Australia’s wool. Australian bosses also rely heavily on China to fill skill gaps through migration.

Australia is now in a predicament where China is its major trading partner, and the U.S. is its major strategic military ally. This is creating a tension, where the economic and strategic interests of Australian capitalism are pulling in different directions.

There’s an uneasy concern among some layers of the ruling class that profits may be at risk if friction between the U.S. and China heats up.

Revitalize the anti-war movement! While the capitalists’ loyalties are divided, the common interests of the working class are not. War moves and imperial rivalry in the Pacific is real bad news. Working and poor people foot the bill for spiralling military expenditures through higher taxes and cuts to essential services. Australian public service jobs are being slashed under the so-called “efficiency dividend,” while $62 million gets spent every single day on the military.

Turning Australia’s north into a giant military base will also be a disaster for the people who live there. Almost one-third of the population is Indigenous. The threat posed to the health of Aboriginal communities — with their deep connection to the land — by the use of cluster bombs and depleted uranium, is stark.

Militarisation of this territory also threatens to lead to increased violence against women. The U.S. military has an appalling record on this score. In Japan, feminists have identified more than 50,000 crimes against women on Okinawa, the site of a large U.S. military base.

To nip this impending disaster in the bud, Australia needs a re-energised anti-war movement that will challenge interventions at the behest of the U.S. and those initiated by Australian capital.

What should such a movement be raising at this time? For starters:

• No new bases and close existing U.S. military bases! No Darwin troop deployment.

• End joint military exercises with U.S. forces. End the military alliance with the U.S.

• Withdraw all Australian troops from Afghanistan, East Timor, Solomon Islands and other imperialist deployments!

Melbourne FSP: Solidarity Salon, 580 Sydney Rd., Brunswick, VIC 3056. Tel 03-9388-0062. Email freedom.socialist.party@ozemail.com.au.

Reposted with permission from  Driven by competition with China, US escalates military presence in Australia | www.socialism.com.

DATELINE AUSTRALIA
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Recognise the traditional owners of Musgrave Park

The Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Alderman Graham Quirk, has done his council and the people of this city a disservice by his failure to seek a genuine accommodation with the traditional owners of Musgrave Park over the Tent Embassy. In … Continue reading

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IWW – then and now

By Humphrey McQueen Given the parlous condition of the organised labour movement, it is hardly surprising that attempts are underway to revive the IWW (Wobblies – Industrial Workers of the World). My impulse is to send off the annual dues … Continue reading

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Brisbane Mayor to attend Embassy at Musgrave Park

URGENT THE LORD MAYOR ( CR. GRAHAM QUIRK ) IS ATTENDING THE GENERAL MEETING AT THE EMBASSY (Musgrave Park, South Brisbane) ON SATURDAY 12TH. AT 10AM TO TALK TO THE EMBASSY STAFF & COMMITTEE ABOUT THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE OF THE … Continue reading

LONDON – Solidarity with Nonviolent Resistance to Military Base Construction on Je Ju Island, South Korea

LONDON – Wed May 9th 2pm-5pm *Gather outside the South Korean Embassy in Solidarity with Nonviolent Resistance to Military Base Construction on Je Ju Island, South Korea

Wed May 9th 2pm-5pm

Peace activists, Catholic Workers & Veterans for Peace UK, a gorup of Swedish students will join Angie Zelter (recently arrested at JeJu Island) and others at the South Korean embassy/London in solidarity with residents of Je Ju Island nonviolently resisting the construction of a U.S. naval warfighting base on their traditional lands.

Wed May 9th 2pm-5pm
South Korean Embassy, 50 Buckhingham Gate London SWLE 6AJ
Nearest tube St. James Park

****This excellent video (10 mins) was made by Dennis Apel, a Catholic Worker from
California. Dennis who is involved in sustained nonviolent resistance at Vanderburg AFB California traveled to Jeju Island to show solidarity with their resistance. in February and put this together. He gives you a quick view of what happened during the trip.

Wed May 9 2pm-5pm
South Korean Embassy, 50 Buckhingham Gate London SWLE 6AJ
Nearest tubea St. James Park & Victoria

U.S. And South Korea Assault An Idyllic Island: Not For The First Time By Brian Willson, Veterans for Peace USA

Originally published by Veterans For Peace
The beautiful island of Jeju in South Korea is packed with natural and cultural treasures and designated a UNESCO world heritage site. But it has the misfortune of appearing to the U.S. military strategically positioned to play a part in surrounding China.l PHOTOS & ARTICLE CONTINUED…..
http://tinyurl.com/cobhty8

The great peace movement in South Korea
by John Dear SJ on May. 08, 2012

Fifty miles off the southern tip of South Korea lies Jeju Island, one of the world’s most beautiful islands, known for its glorious rocky coast, coral reefs and sacred vista. But as far as the United States is concerned, its sole purpose is its strategic location next to China, Japan and Taiwan. The United States has asked South Korea to build a major naval base there for U.S. Aegis destroyers — U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carriers that carry cruise missiles. These missiles, kept on U.S. destroyers and submarines at the proposed Jeju Island naval base, could be used someday to destroy Chinese ICBMs.
But contrary to all expectations, a magnificent campaign of daily nonviolent resistance against the base has grown in the last five years. What’s even more inspiring is that church leaders are at the forefront of the campaign. Everyone who cares about peace needs to know what is happening on Jeju Island.

ARTICLE CONTINUED……
http://tinyurl.com/ce5z3sm

Ciaron O’Reilly
Blog http://ciaron.wordpress.com/

“The poor tell us who we are,
The prophets tell us who we could be,
So we hide the poor,
And kill the prophets.”
Phil Berrigan

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What’s the plan, comrades?

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I got a call from a friend this week asking if I had seen the front page of Wednesday’s Australian. It was covering the 2012 Federal Budget. His wife had rung him from work saying have a look at the … Continue reading

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Radical Memory Collective

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PRESENTS FREE FILMS At Brisbane City Council Library, Brisbane Square Saturday, 19th May Community Room, Ground Floor 1:30—2:30 p. m FREE VOICE OF LABOUR Tells the history of the Jewish Anarchist workers’ newspaper that was published for 87 years in … Continue reading

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The Australian prison system has failed — warehouses of illness & death.

Bring on Bastoy for starters by Gerry Georgatos PhD researcher Australian Deaths in Custody, Masters Social Justice Advocacy, Masters Human Rights Education If you want to know the hearts and minds of a nation, of its consciousness, of its legislators, … Continue reading

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Swimming Free Palestine!

Swimming Free, Palestine

Emad, Gareth and I walked to the
starting line at Wategos beach, near the
Byron Bay lighthouse.

As we entered the water with the other
swimmers, the organisers called off
the race because of treacherous
conditions. Loud speakers announced
that we would be ‘swimming at our
own risk’.

We swam anyway.

Many other swimmers did the same.

As we rounded the point from Wategos beach,
Emad was dumped by a two metre
wave and had to be rescued.

We wish to thank the selfless swimmers
who kept Emad afloat until the Surf Life
savers arrived in their Zodiac.

Gareth and I continued swimming wide
of the big breaking waves. I came
across Gareth and could hear him distinctly
above the sound of the waves
and a nearby surf boat — as Gareth took
each breath in mid-stroke he yelled:
Free Palestine, Free, Free Palestine‘.

About one kilometer further on we
arrived near main beach at Byron Bay
where we were both hammered by big
breaking waves.

Gareth’s goggles were wiped off his
face and my swimming cap with the
Palestinian Flag emblem was lost in the
cauldron along with one of my flippers.

Gareth and I walked up the beach
alongside others swimmers saying how
their legs had cramped up as they came
into the beach.

We returned to the stall where Maxine
had spent the last hour engaging with
people asking questions about
Palestine and the campaign by MECA to
provide clean drinking water to children
in the West Bank.

We were happy to be re-united with
Emad who told the story of the bravery
of the swimmers who saved him in the
big swell. In his words he said ‘I
drowned’. But he was saved!

Some time later two young girls in
swimming costumes came up to the
stall holding my Palestinian flagged
swimming cap lost in the sea about 20
minutes earlier.

Maxine yelled out ‘Ian, these girls found
your cap!” I turned and asked how they
knew the cap was mine. The 11 year old
girl with braces on her teeth said she
and her friend saw the flag flying high
on the foreshore and looked at the flag
on the cap and put two-and-two
together.

Gareth said: ‘What are the chances of
that happening!” and Maxine rewarded
the girls with a sumptuous home made
cake. Thanks girls!

We are swimming to raise money for
the Middle East Childrens’ Alliance so
Palestinian kids can have clean drinking
water despite Israel’s best efforts to
desiccate them.

You can sponsor us by making
donations at MECA to help meet the
basic needs of Palestinian children and
give them opportunities to learn, play,
and envision a better future. Go to
https://www.mecaforpeace.org

A special thank you to Gareth and
Maxine for making this small
contribution to Palestinian kids lives
possible.

Free Palestine!

Music
‘The Other Side’ by Phil Monsour on ‘Ghosts of Deir Yassin’ see http://www.philmonsour.com/

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Proposal to start a Brisbane University Staff & Students Assembly

To our friends We are writing to you to announce the formation of, and invite you to participate in, the Brisbane University Staff & Students Assembly. BUSSA plans to be a city-wide organisation where workers and students from all universities … Continue reading

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“Al Nakba” – 15th May

“Al Nakba” is the name for the day that marks the start of the dispossession, ethnic cleansing, apartheid… for the Palestinian people, officially commencing in 1948. It’s commemorated each year on the 15th May. Al Nakba is the Pealestinian equivalent … Continue reading

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Launch of Brisbane Workers Assembly

Meeting – Launch of Brisbane Workers Assembly Dear friends and comrades Recently a small group of us looked around and realised that we need to do something about the lack of self-organisation in the working class. Our decision has been … Continue reading

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2 June Benefit Concert for APHEDA

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Benefit Concert CD Launch and Dinner Saturday 2 June 6.30pm CEPU Hall 41 Peel St South Brisbane $25/20 (children under 12 free) Bookings essential for catering 0400720757 or contact RSVP 27May All proceeds to Union Aid Abroad- APHEDA. Join us … Continue reading

That is why they call him a bookie


That is why they call him a bookie
BOOKMAKER Tom Waterhouse is at again.
The son of leading Australian racehorse trainer Gai Waterhouse is fresh from betting on the Sotheby auction of the Edvard Munch pastel The Scream.
Aussie author Miles Franklin

He follows up with a market on the prestigious and time-honoured Australian literary award the Miles Franklin which carries a winner-take-all purse of $50,000.
The Franklin is more than 50-years-old. An even older wordy institution The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper could not resist a comment on the bookie’s sideline from wagering on reality TV shows, The Voice and Brain Surgery with the Fishmongers. I apologise; I believe the latter one is called Dancing with Stars.
The SMH or the Herald – Sydneysiders are the only Australians who call it that, as there other Heralds in Oz – wrote about the betting on the books in one of its online entertainment stories.
The Herald wrote, ‘The day after the shortlist was confirmed, bookmaker and celebrated literary critic Tom Waterhouse released his list of odds on who would win…’

Oh yes, that bit about “celebrated literary critic” was definitely taking the piss, having a go/ dig at the bookie or having a lend of him. (Alright, you pedants technically that should be the noun loan, not the verb lend; but Aussie slang is what it is.)
The irony – bonus points coming for my using the term irony correctly – is the Miles Franklin yarn would probably have never made it to the SMH entertainment pages if it was not for the quirky gambling angle.
SHE: Darling, there is a story online about the Miles Franklin short-list
HE: Franklin, my Dear, I don’t give a damn.
Five Australian novelists have been shortlisted for the Miles Franklin and Waterhouse tells his punters what the race is all about:
‘…the $50,000 prize for the novel judged to be of the highest literary merit which must present Australian life in any of its phases,” said Tom Waterhouse, Managing Director of tomwaterhouse.com.
Tom or one of his agents copied the description from the Franklin website
http://www.milesfranklin.com.au/
It did not seem to trouble Tom or the many entrants what exactly “Australian life in any of its phases” is meant to  mean.
I automatically thought of the eight phases of the moon but the aim of such an allusion eluded me.

Judging this year was further confounded by the trustee The Trust Company formally authorising the five-person judging panel to use their discretion to ‘modernise the interpretation of Australian life beyond geographical boundaries to include mindset, language, history and values’
Crikey, when you add the fact, the winning author does not have to be Australian, the five Aussie scribes are bloody lucky Forrest Gump was not published last year.

Certainly the Waterhouse favourite for the Miles Franklin Anna Funder’s All That I Am, is only fleetingly grounded in Australia because one narrator Ruth Blatt is spending the last years of her life in Sydney around the turn of the 21st century.
Funder’s is a “factional’’ novel, a term the author may dislike but then she is unlikely to be reading this yarn.
The novel is about five Jewish-German opponents of Hitler who flee to London and later one to America.
Tom Waterhouse says the new rules are among the reasons he made Funder favourite.
‘(The new authorisation) is significant given that Anna’s highly acclaimed debut novel is set across three continents and several decades.’ (A note for future reference, Mr Waterhouse, it is not Anna. We in the writing game refer to authors and artists by their family names unless we regularly enjoy soy latte with them, a fact we need to disclose.)

The 2012 Miles Franklin winner will be disclosed on June 20 so we have lots of time to place our bets.
In my next yarn on the topic, I will discuss the form of the five finalists.
For more quirky looks at Australia’s place in the universe my book 7 Shouts is available from Google Books, Amazon and affiliates.
Cheers
Bernie

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Stolen Children – high noon at DoCS

Video of rally and march in Brisbane (Wednesday 2 May). People describe how their children were taken away by authorities — removing Aboriginal children from their families and their culture. This is part of a story that needs to be … Continue reading

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Latest on the trial of the Max Brenner 19

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Dear Palestine supporters. Some messages of support for and news about the Max Brenner 19 who are currently on trial in Melbourne for standing up for Palestine: Anthony Lowenstein This video clip from the Australian Jewish News. No, please don’t … Continue reading

Horseys painties and big bucksies

REMIND me not to bet on anything with fewer than four legs.
Aussie bookmaker  Tom Waterhouse was betting $1.90 Edvard Munch’s pastel painting The Scream would fetch more than $106.5M at an auction at Sotheby’s auction in New York.
My considered opinion was it would go for a mere pittance, less than, $80M. I was way off.
The Scream went for chump change under $120M.
The winning bid was taken by a Sotheby’s executive, and the bidder was not identified.
One of four versions by  Norwegian artist Munch, but the only one in private hands, The Scream easily topped the previous auction record held by Picasso’s Nude, green leaves and bust, which went for a piddling $106.5 million at Christie’s two years ago.
It is reported the sales room at Sotheby’s erupted in applause and cheering when the hammer came down. A few titters of laughter came from those who had read my estimation had paid 50% too much. I believe the laughter was directed at me rather than the buyer.
I could go on about some people having too much money and I will for a bit. Two resolute bidders drew away from the original field of seven to drive the price up by telephone.
Overall, the Sotheby fetched a record $330 million with Picasso’s Femme assise dans un fauteuil, selling  for $29.2M; Miro’s Tete humaine taking $14.86M out of someone’s purse and Dali’s  Printemps necrophilique, gathering  $16.3M in the dead of spring.
Talking of the dead, I made my money today on the annual Grand National Steeplechase at Warnambool, Victoria, here in Australia.
I say dead as the music for the unofficial Aussie national anthem Waltzing Matilda was supposedly the modification of a tune Christina Macpherson heard at this race meeting in 1894. I say dead also in remembrance of the horses and jockeys who have lost their lives during the atavistic sport of jumps racing.
I support the abolition of jumps racing while I will bet on them as long as they continue. You might call that horsey hypocrisy and it would be a good call. As I mentioned in my previous column, we Aussies will bet on two flies crawling up a wall.
Great Britain is the thorn in the side of a world-wide ban on jumps racing. Racetracks there have total programs with jumps racing. Many expensive racehorses run on both the flat and over jumps. The Grand National Steeplechase is an institution.
Banning jumps racehorses would create more reaction than recent attempts to stop the barbaric fox hunting. Oscar Wilde was awake to the essence of that sport  more than a century ago. He called it “the unspeakable in pursuit of the edible”.
Without presuming to improve in Wilde, he could have said the “ineffable in pursuit”. The prefix “in’’  can convey emphasis instead of negativity. Extreme ‘’effers” support fox hunting and jumps racing.
For more of my extreme pontifications see 7 Shouts at Google eBooks or  Amazon.
Cheers
Bernie.