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Articles by: Dr Binoy Kampmark

The Cardinal, The Church And Legal Theatre

The Cardinal, The Church And Legal Theatre

  “The world is watching.” Cathy Kezelman, Blue Knot Foundation president, The Washington Post, Jul 25, 2017 The show on Wednesday was grim, busy, crowded.  Cardinal George Pell, the highest Vatican official thus far to be brought within the legal fold of accusation and accountability for historical crimes of sex abuse, fronted for the briefest of shows at a lowly[Read More…]

Refugee Conundrums: Resettlement, The UN And The US-Australia Deal

Refugee Conundrums: Resettlement, The UN And The US-Australia Deal

Having poured scorn and not an indecent amount of bile upon the refugee deal between the Obama administration and Canberra last year, US President Donald Trump was never going to make things easy for the resettlement of various groups held on Nauru and Manus Island. Repeated emphasis has been made on the issue of how the anti-terrorism regime outlined in[Read More…]

Slaying In Minneapolis: Justine Damond, Shooting Cultures And Race

Slaying In Minneapolis: Justine Damond, Shooting Cultures And Race

It plays out as a horror story of law enforcement. A distress call to the Minneapolis police about activity taking place behind the house on Washburn Avenue, possibly a sound of intercourse, distress, or both, taking place after 11 during the night of July 15.  “Hi, I’m, I can hear someone out back and I, I’m not sure if she’s[Read More…]

From Spicy To The Mooch: A Farewell To Sean Spicer

From Spicy To The Mooch: A Farewell To Sean Spicer

What will entertainers do in his absence?  White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was more than grist to the mill of celluloid delights, becoming, by the admission of the US President, a “tv hit” smoking the ratings.  When a press secretary’s conduct is valued, not for the substance of his material, but the entertainment he garners, the Republic is surely[Read More…]

Curbing Participation: The US Congress and Yemen

Curbing Participation: The US Congress and Yemen

In recent times, there hasn’t been much cheery in the power circles of Washington. The US is gradually finding itself unmoored and floating from international agreements at a dizzying rate. Its president is cool-mad distant, self-serving and occasionally clenching in peculiarity.  And the traditional buffet room of conflict continues to be stacked with US interests and US armaments, armaments sales[Read More…]

Uhlmann’s Trump Problem

Uhlmann’s Trump Problem

It’s all well and good to huff at the current President of the United States, who has managed to get under more irritated skin than an army of dedicated leaches.  The immersion of the White House into the reality television show of Trumpland has set people on edge, lighting volatile fires and driving some commentators, quite literally, around the bend.[Read More…]

Militarising Civilian Life: Australia, Policing And Terrorism

Militarising Civilian Life: Australia, Policing And Terrorism

It is far from unusual in recent times: a spate of terrorist activity, followed by police seemingly agog, then the call for cavalry, usually in the form of military forces to guard vital installations and furnish the public with a reassuring presence.  Unfortunately, such moves tend to take place long after the horse has bolted, an ineffectual measure in terms[Read More…]

A Question of Accountability: Cardinal Pell, The Vatican And Child Abuse

A Question of Accountability: Cardinal Pell, The Vatican And Child Abuse

The Catholic Church, much in the manner of a modern corporation, is a sprawling edifice of operations and functions.  To hold part of it accountable for abuses – against human, bank account, or country – has presented a formidable legal obstacle. This nightmare has taken place amidst a broader question: the extent Church officials believe they are accountable to secular[Read More…]

Exaggerated Victories: The Mosul Effect

Exaggerated Victories: The Mosul Effect

The need to tick off the tactical and strategic boxes in the interminable war against Islamic State is so pressing it acquires the quality of ham acting, where generals and leaders become thespians of exaggerated promise before the camera. Nothing typified this more than the euphoric statements outlined by the Iraqi leadership in the aftermath of its efforts to retake[Read More…]

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Tensions in Hamburg: The G20 Fractures

Tensions in Hamburg: The G20 Fractures

  “I think it’s very clear that we could not reach consensus, but the differences were not papered over, they were clearly stated.” Angela Merkel, BBC News, Jul 8, 2017 Such gatherings and summits are not always smooth, but on a planet bearing witness to a Trump presidency, there was always going to be a chance for more excitement at[Read More…]

Dangerous Pantomime: Trump And North Korea’s Missile Program

Dangerous Pantomime: Trump And North Korea’s Missile Program

It’s all fine while it remains on the stage, a matter of contained, almost camp displays of grunting and strutting.  The diplomats can still have some say; the foreign ministries retain some hold over the military instinct. But the longer the Korean Nuclear Dance continues, the more likely it will repel the jaw jaw option in favour of war war.[Read More…]

Hillsborough: Holding The Police To Account

Hillsborough: Holding The Police To Account

“It is also a story of deceit and lies, of institutional defensiveness defeating truth and justice. It is evidence of a culture of denial within South Yorkshire Police.” Anne Burkett, BBC, Apr 27, 2016 It took 28 years for the tables to turn on the South Yorkshire police regarding the Hillsborough disaster that took the lives of 96 fans.  The[Read More…]

The European Commission, Google and Anti-Competition

The European Commission, Google and Anti-Competition

“Google’s practices have deprived millions of European consumers of the full benefits of competition, genuine choice and innovation.” Margrethe Vestager, June 28, 2017 Google, for some time, has been the leviathan of the tech world.  A KQED radio discussion on a Tuesday morning treats the company as a creator and dispenser: creator of transport infrastructure, funnelling employees from the city[Read More…]

In The Twitter Building: Tech Incubators And Altering Perceptions

In The Twitter Building: Tech Incubators And Altering Perceptions

San Francisco: The Twitter Building on Market Street, San Francisco, sounds like an aviary bustling with activity.  With its bright open spaces and chirping entrepreneurs hatching the next project, it might as well be.  Several floors are dedicated to what can only be described as a technological frontier, where the tech generation of pimply youths barely out of school are subscribing[Read More…]

Escalations In Syria

Escalations In Syria

To become enmeshed in a war of incalculable variables; to be at bloody bruised loggerheads – this is the Syrian nightmare, where there are more punters than odds. Savagely, Syria as a state is being ravaged and mauled to the point of non-recognition. It is now a mere terrain for heavily armed bullies, a smoky crusted ruin of dust and[Read More…]

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Barclays In Hot Water: The Qatar Connection

Barclays In Hot Water: The Qatar Connection

Qatar has been making waves for some weeks now, and in the deluge, it has also strung along a few companions. One is the UK bank Barclays, which prided itself for having avoided a government bailout in the financial crisis of 2008.  In the ensuing chest thumping, executives could claim to have spared the British taxpayer the need to fork[Read More…]

Puppet of History: Panama’s Manuel Noriega

Puppet of History: Panama’s Manuel Noriega

“Bush appeared on television to praise the invading troops and to say his cowardly vision – all that a wimp with an inferiority complex could be capable of.” Manuel Noriega on George H. W. Bush The late General Manuel Antonio Noriega has done more to demonstrate the bipolar nature of US foreign policy in the Americas than any single, historically[Read More…]

Teasing Theresa: The EU, Brexit And The British Elections

Teasing Theresa: The EU, Brexit And The British Elections

It took little time for political leaders in the European Union to start dangling the carrot in front of a wounded British Prime Minister.  Theresa May’s defeated victory in the British general elections had barely sunk it, and the comments, even invitations, were being issued by various European leaders. This all lies in the interpretation of the British election result. [Read More…]

James Comey, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, arrives to testify before the Senate Intelligence Select Committee during an open hearing.

James Comey’s Testimony

The entertainment reality show got another instalment on Thursday with the testimony of former FBI director James Comey before members of the Senate intelligence committee. The various birds of prey wishing to find smoking carrion were left only partially satisfied. The Republicans were left confused, and the right wing media felt that Trump had been exonerated. There was something for everyone.

Jeremy Corbyn’s Surge

Jeremy Corbyn’s Surge

The pollsters only got it partly wrong this time, though the most spectacular prediction cock-up was that on what would happen to British Labour prior to the exit polls.  Scotland crept up with a Tory surge, netting 12 seats, and there were scattering and skirmishing victories over the Scottish National Party, which suffered a considerable bruising. But what mattered here[Read More…]

Punishing Qatar

Punishing Qatar

Are we in need of distractions?  The political masters obviously think so.  There have been hackings, cuttings, slayings and crushing events.  As battles continue raging in Syria and northern Iraq, European cities face the next round of urban slayings. As that was taking place, eyes in the western media were taken off brewing troubles among the Gulf States.  Eager pots[Read More…]

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Terror As Opportunity: Exploiting The London Attacks

Terror As Opportunity: Exploiting The London Attacks

The hallmark of any administration worth its corruptly curing salt is making hay while the sun shines its searing rays.  Not long after the slashing and running down was taking place in London, moving from London Bridge to Borough Market, the tweets of blame and fire were already coming through. That nasty sovereign known as social media was already agitating.[Read More…]

Predictable Exits: Trump And The Paris Agreement

Predictable Exits: Trump And The Paris Agreement

The distress caused by US President Donald Trump in over the last week continues the theme of exit: old alliances and agreements need revision; compacts need unpacking. Thursday saw Trump add another graceless if direct announcement: the United States would be leaving the Paris climate agreement. “This agreement,” he claimed in a speech of fantastic make-believe, “is less about the[Read More…]

The U-Turn Queen: Theresa May in Action

The U-Turn Queen: Theresa May in Action

Authoritarian styles can come at cost.  The manner with which the British Prime Minister has reacted to the concept of debate has been one such point. While the joys of the Westminster system hardly suggest untrammelled enlightenment, one superficial element remains: the need to debate policies. Having called an election, the pollster community were more or less suggesting Theresa May[Read More…]

John McCain in Australia

John McCain in Australia

There is no getting away from the fact that a visit to that known outpost of American Empire, Australia, softens the mind and leads to a more vigorous wagging of tongues than usual. Away from the scrutiny of a full blooded Washington press corps, politicians can engage in speculation and hyperbole. The paternalists can slip into something more comfortable, and[Read More…]

Forrest Donations And False Charity

Forrest Donations And False Charity

It is easy to sneer, and availing oneself of this chance, let’s. The celebratory guff floating on the media glow of mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest for giving away $400 million to charitable pursuits is reminiscent to that of Mark Zuckerberg.   At least he did not dig up the earth in the process. Within the kernel of philanthropic generosity lies[Read More…]

Barging Through NATO: Donald Trump In Europe

Barging Through NATO: Donald Trump In Europe

From his big white bird did the President descend upon his dreading European hosts, looking much like natives waiting to be slaughtered or ravished.  As Donald Trump pushed his way through NATO members (the Montenegrin prime minister, for one, felt his forceful shove), representatives shot glances of discomfort and bemusement. In a refreshing blast of brutishness, the Ugly American, made[Read More…]

The Merry Life of Dragnet Surveillance

The Merry Life of Dragnet Surveillance

In the aftermath of Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013, a grudging acceptance was made by the Obama administration that something had to be done about a roguish surveillance complex unhinged from its foundations.  The National Security Agency had overstretched its powers, to the point where it was not only conducting its standard mischief against foreign targets, but against US citizens[Read More…]

Twenty-Seven Hours: Donald Trump in Israel

Twenty-Seven Hours: Donald Trump in Israel

It was time to do the Zionist boogie within a mere period of 27 hours, and anyone wishing to see two muggers of history enjoying each other’s company found themselves peering at Donald Trump of the United States, and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, nearly arm in arm on the recent tilt in US policy.  “We understand each other,” effused the Israeli[Read More…]

Back to Realpolitik: Trump in Saudi Arabia

Back to Realpolitik: Trump in Saudi Arabia

  “You are a unique personality that is capable of doing the impossible.” President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to President Donald Trump, New York Times, May 21, 2017 The business of making money on property, badly, has shifted to the business of making money, greatly, for the US industrial arms complex.  This is the technique of President Donald Trump, who has[Read More…]

Julian Assange, Sweden, And Continuing Battles

Julian Assange, Sweden, And Continuing Battles

It had been, from the start, a cruel wait and see game.  Lacking logic and consistency, the Swedish effort to extradite Julian Assange from the United Kingdom, not for formal charges but the pretext of questioning him over sexual assault and rape, collapsed on Friday. The Director of Public Prosecutions Marianne Ny and Chief Prosecutor Ingrid Isgren, in a press[Read More…]

The Release of Chelsea Manning

The Release of Chelsea Manning

It was one of the brighter acts in a darkening turmoil in the last parts of the Obama presidency, but the decision to commute Chelsea Manning’s sentence added a zest of enlightenment.  Manning had already found herself on the slippery slope to doom, having made two attempts at suicide the previous year, and facing the torment of incarceration in a[Read More…]

Trump Slip Ups in The Oval Office

Trump Slip Ups in The Oval Office

It has the air of a hunting party, and the quarry, on this occasion, was a lumbering US President with a loose tongue. The individual aiming the rifle in this case was The Washington Post, assisted by the murmurings and breathless whispers of various concerned officials as to what Donald Trump did in his meeting with Russian foreign minister, Sergey[Read More…]

Fantasies of Worth: Macron’s French Mission

Fantasies of Worth: Macron’s French Mission

The outcome of the French presidential elections did not suggest a France on the verge of rapid, vigorous renewal. It suggested the opposite, a state in atrophy, the Fifth Republic in terminal decline before unleashed historical forces. Dejected, voters feared by way of a majority that Marine Le Pen was simply too potent to be catapulted into the Élysée Palace[Read More…]

The World For Ransome: The Effects of Wannacry

The World For Ransome: The Effects of Wannacry

What a stealthy bugger of a problem. Malware deftly delivered, locking the system by encrypting files and making them otherwise impossible to access unless a fee is paid. A form of data  hijacking that can only be admired for its ease of execution, for its viral-like replication that seeks, even hunts, vulnerable “unpatched” computer systems. The global information environment is[Read More…]

Jeremy Corbyn’s Electoral Vision: Labour’s Leaked Manifesto

Jeremy Corbyn’s Electoral Vision: Labour’s Leaked Manifesto

It is unfortunate that policies otherwise deemed middle of the road and social democratic tend to be seen in Britain as offspring of a lunatic mother long held in indefinite detention at Her Majesty’s Pleasure.  But such is the nature of the current electioneering round, which has seen a source, most likely a disgruntled Labour hack, leak the manifesto of[Read More…]

Chopping James Comey

Chopping James Comey

“Having refused to admit his errors, the [FBI] Director cannot be expected to implement the necessary corrective actions.” US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Any sense that Donald Trump had found some accord with James Comey of the FBI gathered from his investigative zeal regarding Hillary Clinton’s improper use of a private email server should always have been doubted. Trump[Read More…]

The Macron Denial

The Macron Denial

The cheer was always going to be qualified. The bubbles would be less effervescent, more a case of relieved sighing rather than frothy exultation.  After another electoral hack, and another round of threats, the French election was being played out in an era that may, in time, be given the Trump name. The pollsters did rest a bit easier after[Read More…]

Olympian Politics: The Australian Olympic Committee

Olympian Politics: The Australian Olympic Committee

It was a scrappy affair, and it resulted in a predictable result: the re-election of veteran administrator John Coates as president of the Australian Olympic Committee by 58 votes to 35.  Such a process was all in all dull but for the notable lid it had blown off regarding Olympic harmony down under. King Coates, as it were, has ruled[Read More…]

Greater Albania And The Balkan Problem

Greater Albania And The Balkan Problem

The Balkans has always been cursed by a recurring theme: that each entity within it can, at some point, become greater and more consuming in territory than the next neighbour. Each nation has, and in some instances continues, to nurse dreams of enlargement, pecking away at borders and assuming that few will notice. Strategies of expansion tend to have one[Read More…]

Hillary Clinton’s Lament

Hillary Clinton’s Lament

“I’m back to being an active citizen and part of the resistance.” Hillary Clinton, May 2, 2017 Predictability in these tumultuous times will get you removed from office, or render you unelectable. Such a tendency has more than just a faint stain of the establishment, however accurate this might be in fact. This is not a point the defeated presidential[Read More…]

Empty Values: The Australian Concept of Citizenship

Empty Values: The Australian Concept of Citizenship

It has been a lowering conversation, and one that Australia’s politicians have been engaging in with various degrees of discomfort. The Australian prime minister, for one, doesn’t seem to know where to place his feet on this one, showing considerable trouble in navigating the term “Australian values” before probing questions. Would such values, posed Leigh Sales of the ABC to[Read More…]

The Trade Dreams of Boris Johnson

The Trade Dreams of Boris Johnson

“My chances of being PM are about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars, or my being reincarnated as an olive.” Boris Johnson, UK Foreign Secretary Few characters in history have seen so much spoken about him for one seemingly so irrelevant.  Out of obscure follies and foolhardy decisions, he rose from being a questionable journalist for[Read More…]

Days of Illusion: Donald Trump’s First 100

Days of Illusion: Donald Trump’s First 100

The human capacity, notably in cultures where measurements are valued, places much stock in numbering deeds.  In the case of the US presidency, power is supposedly meant to translate into something within the first hundred days, a ring fight between the president and other arms of government, a race to the policy making podium. The US political system, in its[Read More…]

North Korea’s Military Gambit

North Korea’s Military Gambit

“All options for responding to future provocation must remain on the table.  Diplomatic and financial levers of power will be backed up by a willingness to counteract North Korean aggression if necessary.” Rex Tillerson, Apr 28, 2017 The theatre unfolding in various international forums regarding North Korea is garnering top prices for front seats.  The press corps await the next[Read More…]

Turkey’s Kurdish Agenda

Turkey’s Kurdish Agenda

Any doubts that Turkey’s involvement in the conflict against Islamic State is purely symbolic were dispelled by a latest round of air strikes against Kurdish positions in northeast Syria and Iraq’s Sinjar region, killing at least 20 fighters.  (The number from Ankara is a more inflated 70).  Iraqi government officials were flawed by the action, infuriated by its audacity; the[Read More…]

Short Choices: The French Presidential Elections

Short Choices: The French Presidential Elections

The establishment got another burning in the French elections on Sunday, revealing again that there is no level of voter disgust that will not find some voice in the current range of elections.  The terror for pollsters and the establishment now is whether Marine Le Pen will realise her anti-Euro project and drag the French nation kicking and moaning into[Read More…]

Anzac As Apologia And Religion

Anzac As Apologia And Religion

Soaked to the core, Melbournians gathered around the War Memorial in thousands, gazing at the flickering, all-resistant eternal flame in an annual tribute to Australia’s fallen.  Each year, the secular religion of Anzac (the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) receives more adherents, gathers a few more followers, and nabs a few more converts among the young. This also shows[Read More…]

Mike Pence in Oz

Mike Pence in Oz

Vassal visiting time, and the next slot in the US imperium tourism schedule was one of America’s more cosy allies, Australia. The US Vice President Mike Pence popped in to keep an eye on matters just to make sure that all was in order. There had been that issue of the notable phone call, when Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull[Read More…]

Trump, The DOJ And Julian Assange

Trump, The DOJ And Julian Assange

“I’m glad that the Justice Department has found a way to go after Assange.  He’s gotten a free ride for too long.” Rep. Peter King (R-New York), Apr 20, 2017 There had been some doubts from initial enthusiasts about WikiLeaks once information from leaks released on its site started puncturing holes in an already worn Democratic campaign in 2016.  Accusations[Read More…]

Cults of Old Age: The Passing of Emma Morano

Cults of Old Age: The Passing of Emma Morano

The novelist Anthony Powell spoke of old age as penalisation for a crime one had not committed.  Obviously, not being biblically inclined in that sense, the antics of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden were discounted. Through the histories on the subject of aging, mythologies have accumulated as eager moss crossing moist rock.  These have assumed something of[Read More…]

Donald Trump, North Korea And Nuclear Brinkmanship

Donald Trump, North Korea And Nuclear Brinkmanship

Warring toddlers, fanatical children, one-eyed adolescents who confuse noise with constructive contribution – this is the state of the world, with the recent, and ongoing spat chapter of Washington and Pyongyang. However you wish to describe the stout, proud and foolishly dangerous Kim Jong-un, murderous leader of North Korea, comparisons must diminish somewhat before the trigger happy CEO of United[Read More…]

The Mother Of All Bombs Goes To Afghanistan

The Mother Of All Bombs Goes To Afghanistan

These are the times where magnitude and size matters. Bombs in number with much heft and presence are being sought to root out those non-state jihadists of the Prophet, destructively maiming and killing all before them in the name of the next heavily drawn out cause. On Friday, United States armed forces busied themselves with dropping such a weapon of[Read More…]

Pompeo, Power And WikiLeaks

Pompeo, Power And WikiLeaks

“Vested interests deflect from the facts that WikiLeaks publishes by demonizing its brave staff and me.” Julian Assange, The Washington Post, Apr 11, 2017. The Central Intelligence Agency’s current director, Mike Pompeo, has a view of history much like that of any bureaucrat as understood by the great sociologist Max Weber. The essential, fundamental purpose of bureaucracy is a rationale[Read More…]

Forced Removal From United Airlines

Forced Removal From United Airlines

Flying United Airlines was never a pleasant business. Functional, sterile, with staff more appropriately disposed to a deep freeze morgue than the hot blood of enthusiastic living, the airline was always an entity you wished ill towards, even as the flight started taking off.  Dreams of flying  a Gulf carrier or Singapore Airlines would fill the mind in the uneasy[Read More…]

Joining The War Train: Trump’s Liberal Cheer Leaders

Joining The War Train: Trump’s Liberal Cheer Leaders

“Action is consolatory.  It is the enemy of thought and the friend of flattering illusions.” Joseph Conrad, Nostromo (1904). At the psychological heart of every liberal is a milk soft tendency to succumb to the authoritarian personality, a feeling that, just around the corner, resistance will fold.  Before such authority, adoration and bruising follow in menacing union. As US President[Read More…]

Trump Strikes Syria

Trump Strikes Syria

All bets are off in the latest round of escalation in the Syrian conflict.  The attack on al-Shayrat airbase involving 59 cruise missiles launched from the USS Ross and Porter in the Eastern Mediterranean was meant to be a lesson of sorts. For US President Donald Trump, it was in the “national interest of the United States” to deter the[Read More…]

Ice And Busts: The Lost War On Drugs In Australia

Ice And Busts: The Lost War On Drugs In Australia

It was hard to tell whether Australia’s Federal Police authorities, along with their Victorian colleagues, were gloating at their latest effort.  Thrilled at the unearthing of a stash of methamphetamine, a form of it colloquially known as ice, trumpeted as the “biggest seizure” in Australian history, there was a sense of achievement. They had gotten one up on the drugs[Read More…]

The Hazara Dilemma: Ghani In Australia

The Hazara Dilemma: Ghani In Australia

Australian government officials are at it again, and the visit by President Ashaf Ghani to Canberra on Sunday piqued interest amongst various members of the Afghan community concerned about the next innovation in cruelty practiced by Canberra. If there is something exceptional in the otherwise dreary annals of Australian policy making in recent years, repelling unwanted refugees and asylum seekers[Read More…]

Trump In Outer Space: The NASA Bill

Trump In Outer Space: The NASA Bill

“You could send Congress to space.” Senator Ted Cruz, Mar 21, 2017 The NASA authorisation bill was another Trump huff and puff show, brimming with the usual air of minted if misplaced confidence.  “My fellow Americans, this week in the company of astronauts I was honoured to sign the NASA Transition Authorization Act right into law.” The bill was meant[Read More…]

Sebastian Gorka: Dreams of Fighting Jihad

Sebastian Gorka: Dreams of Fighting Jihad

Counter-terrorism has been a pop field for some decades. As vague as what it purports to counter, it has generated a pundocracy of sorts, guns and mouths for hire across the US imperium and its associate powers. Much of this resembles the various fictions common during the Cold War: the notion that insurgencies could be defeated from the outside; the[Read More…]

Brexit And Away!

Brexit And Away!

Painful moves and painful movements have been underway in Brexiting Britain.  Prime Minister Theresa May of the UK initiated the Brexit bluster via letter, and March 29, 2017 may well go down in the annals of the European project as more than a mere bruising farewell. The letter has the sense of having cake and munching on it too.  There[Read More…]

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What Cost Liberty?  Civilians In The “Liberation” Of Mosul

What Cost Liberty?  Civilians In The “Liberation” Of Mosul

Bombs do not have a conscience, however named, blessed or created.  They go, at least in a rough sense, where directed, and if the deliverer is ill disposed, confused or simply incompetent, disaster follows.  Between the ideological rants and principled feelings about killing the enemy, there is only one fact worth nothing: death and the ordinance used to cause it[Read More…]

The Electronics Ban And Lessons In Futility

The Electronics Ban And Lessons In Futility

Security measures are often exercises in futility.  Resembling placebos, they are the reassurance authorities make as acts of intrusive inconvenience.  Queues are increased at airports in the vain hope that an elusive gel carrier will be nabbed before the next detonating device is activated on a flight.  Shoes are checked to see if they pass muster.  Devices are scrutinised. Now,[Read More…]

Disaster As Joy: Cyclone Debbie Strikes

Disaster As Joy: Cyclone Debbie Strikes

“If the building starts to break up, protect yourself w[sic] mattresses, rugs etc under strong table or hold onto solid fixture.” Queensland Ambulance, Twitter, Mar 28, 2017 Townsville, North Queensland: The eerie sense that something is about to happen, with unsolicited fulsome vicious force was hard to avoid.  There is a pregnant sense in the air, the pre-moisture in the winds[Read More…]

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Romancing Coal: The Adani Obsession

Romancing Coal: The Adani Obsession

The rain pours with torrential fury in north Queensland, opening up with ominous welcome as it slices through layers of stifling humidity.  But the fury is also being registered in the rag like bleating sheet known to locals as the Bullie, that beacon of local sentimentality that noisily proclaims its voice. Another creature in the vast enterprise known as the[Read More…]

The Murky World of Deradicalisation

The Murky World of Deradicalisation

It has attracted money and the implementation of programs, another standard diversionary tactic common in many societies.  It is all touted as a good bit of social engineering, a form of anger management by other means.  The basis of that problematic term “deradicalisation” entails the erroneous idea that telling a person something should not be done politically is necessarily going[Read More…]

WikiLeaks, “Year Zero” And The CIA Hacking Files

WikiLeaks, “Year Zero” And The CIA Hacking Files

“It is now up to the device and OS manufacturers, like Apple, Google, or Samsung, to fix their volcanoes back into mountains.” Telegram Statement, Mar 8, 2017 The paradox with information releases that expose a supposedly grand internal stratagem is that they merely provide the food of confirmation otherwise lacking.  Such food is potent.  It blows the lid off the[Read More…]

Poaching In Europe’s Suburbs

Poaching In Europe’s Suburbs

“There has never been a case like this in a zoo in Europe, an assault of such violence, evidently for this stupid trafficking of rhinoceros horns.” Thierry Duguet, head of Parc Zoologique de Thoiry It was a matter of time. The war of poachers against those attempting to conserve species, and the animals themselves, took a gruesome turn this week. [Read More…]

Russia, Ukraine, And The ICJ: Opening Arguments At The Hague

Russia, Ukraine, And The ICJ: Opening Arguments At The Hague

Matters have been far from plain sailing for the parties in the Ukrainian conflict, and Kiev was determined to remind international audiences about matters in taking Russia to the International Court of Justice. This action is one of several fronts the Ukrainian government has been using against the persistent Russian bogey.  In addition to making good its January 2016 promise[Read More…]

Trump, Twitter And The Ban Debate

Trump, Twitter And The Ban Debate

It is said that Twitter has been responsible for stirring nascent revolutions in the Middle East, going beyond its initial description as the Seinfeld platform of social media.  It has also been targeted by authorities for stirring the pot, lighting fires and generally being a nuisance. From useless babble and inane navel gazing, users became connected activists, Molotov cocktail throwers[Read More…]

Electoral Interference As Reality: A Brief History

Electoral Interference As Reality: A Brief History

We should not forget the encouragement: hack those emails, extolled Donald J. Trump during the presidential campaign in 2016.  It was the first public evocation of its sort, an invitation to a foreign power, in this case Russia, to indulge in cyber activity that has now been described by various US members of congress as “an act of war”. The[Read More…]

The Reality Show Comes To Congress: Trump’s Joint Address

The Reality Show Comes To Congress: Trump’s Joint Address

Let us tear through these Trumpland evocations, the business pitches of this show and publicity act that was the first address by the President to a joint sitting of the US Congress. There were the common themes; there were the contradictory messages; and there was plain, traditional nonsense.  In the undergrowth were olive branches being offered (“The time for trivial[Read More…]

Australia’s One Nation Train

Australia’s One Nation Train

The global populist fever is catching.  Put the nation first before all else, patria before sense. Make America Great Again. One Nation before any other.  Australia has been a fairly non-responsive patient to that effect, keeping its symptoms to the rural fringes of the country, or the more bitter blue-collar edges disgruntled by immigrants.  While essentially conservative and reactionary, the[Read More…]

The Extradition Saga of Kim Dotcom

The Extradition Saga of Kim Dotcom

The hunger with which US officials pursue copyright or general intellectual property violations is insatiably manic. The degree of that hunger is expressed by the now suspended, and most likely defunct Trans-Pacific Partnership, an attempt to further globalise the policing of IP laws in favour of corporate and copyright control. Then come the vigilantes and those singing different, discordant tunes[Read More…]

From Rights To Repentance: Norma McCorvey and Roe v Wade

From Rights To Repentance: Norma McCorvey and Roe v Wade

“I wasn’t the wrong person to become Jane Roe.  I wasn’t the right person to become Jane Roe.  I was just the person who became Jane Roe, of Roe v Wade.” Norma McCorvey with Andy Meisler, I am Roe: My Life, Roe v Wade (1994) The late Norma McCorvey changed US legal and political history as the plaintiff “Jane Roe”[Read More…]

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A Tale of Two Realities: Donald Trump And Israel

A Tale of Two Realities: Donald Trump And Israel

“After what came out after the meeting between Netanyahu and Trump, I am not exaggerating if I say that yesterday there was a semi-official announcement of the death of the path of negotiations.” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Feb 16, 2017 It was supremely wicked, and rapidly meandered into horse muddied waters.  US President Donald J. Trump had openly expressed what many[Read More…]

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Adolf, The Donald And History

History may not be as useless as art, but it certainly performs a function that is almost without utility. George Santayana may well have crowed about the warnings of repeating historical mistakes if not learnt – the errant pupil ill-read would simply re-invent the same wheel of folly – but the point was not entirely accurate. What tends to happen[Read More…]

The Resignation Of Michael Flynn

The Resignation Of Michael Flynn

It takes little these days for the darkened air of the Kremlin to have an impact on the politics of other countries.  Across continents, it has become a tenured dark eminence with President Vladimir Putin on his irrepressible steed: Where will it strike next?  His impact is often alleged, it is almost never quantifiable, but the influence, after a time,[Read More…]

Between Message And Martyrdom: The World Press Photo Of The Year

Between Message And Martyrdom: The World Press Photo Of The Year

tur“Photographs really are experience captured, and the camera is the ideal arm of consciousness in its acquisitive mood.” Susan Sontag, On Photography (1977) The photograph is a still image of messages, trapped fleetingly.  For that reason, it has been seen as mimicking death, a mask forever preserved.  It suspends, a captured meaning hovering in time.  That such images become weapons[Read More…]

Bungling In Yemen: Trump And The Cult Of The Action Hero

Bungling In Yemen: Trump And The Cult Of The Action Hero

“Rather than advancing a political solution that almost everyone agrees is the only way to solve the conflict, it seems the Trump administration’s actions are just adding fuel to the fire.” Adam Baron, European Council on Foreign Relations, Feb 7, 2016 The seething bickering in Washington has been going on for over a week. Was the first authorised international raid[Read More…]

Legal Stutters: Trump Falters In The Ninth Circuit

Legal Stutters: Trump Falters In The Ninth Circuit

“SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!” Donald J. Trump, Twitter, Feb 9, 2017 It seems in little need of recapitulation, but the Executive Order 13769, otherwise known as “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” has been living a charmed and distorted life.  It sought to ban, for 90 days,[Read More…]

Populism In Australia: Channelling Trump Down Under

Populism In Australia: Channelling Trump Down Under

Australia’s prime minister has been politically tone deaf for the duration of his tenure, which was won by the political assassination of his predecessor, Tony Abbott.  Since being in power, he has squandered a workable majority, been held in a headlock by reactionaries in his party, and looking every bit the straw man of politics. As he withers, opponents within[Read More…]

The Courts versus Donald Trump

The Courts versus Donald Trump

The resilience of the US legal system is being tested in the first great and continuing confrontation between the Trump administration and his marshalled opponents. The battle is testing the Republic to its limits, pitting views of sovereign will and legality against each other with near unprecedented viciousness. The wail on the part of the Trump administration is that of[Read More…]

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Cold War Redux: The “Fake Information Age”

London.: The great tedium of history is that those who refuse to acknowledge its immemorial works tend to see exceptional events everywhere.  The next event of terror is singular; the next act of technology inspired hacking is remarkable. Listening to the crackling consternation of the airwaves this Friday morning, the sense of a dark, sulphuric fog, not unlike the polluted air[Read More…]

The Brexit Debate: Down The Rabbit Hole With Parliament

The Brexit Debate: Down The Rabbit Hole With Parliament

London: What role Parliament?  Edmund Burke put forth his known idea before the electors of Bristol on November 3, 1774.  An ideal, and therefore refutable notion, was advanced: “Certainly, gentlemen, it ought to be the happiness and glory of a representative to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with his constituents.”[1] The role[Read More…]

Fussing About The State Visit: Queen Elizabeth II And Trump Traumatic Disorder

Fussing About The State Visit: Queen Elizabeth II And Trump Traumatic Disorder

London: Trump Traumatic Disorder has been making its away across the Atlantic, numbing British officials, activists and commentators on one vital point: Should President Donald J. Trump be able to see the Queen on an official state visit? A good of deal of this was sparked by Trump’s executive order banning travel from seven Muslim majority states.  On a daily basis,[Read More…]

The Fake News Inquiry: Old Wine In New Bottles

The Fake News Inquiry: Old Wine In New Bottles

London: Any inquiry into fake news is much like having a Royal Commission into the make up and motivation for Halal food. (The latter absurd proposition has been put forth by a few Australian politicians irritated by the Islamist bogeyman.)  Neither mission is particularly helpful, other than to illustrate a mounting ignorance about a phenomenon that always was. In the[Read More…]

Chaos At The Airports: Blocking Trump’s Executive Order

Chaos At The Airports: Blocking Trump’s Executive Order

The diary of this particular US administration is bound to be heavy with incident.  Executive orders are now coming out of the Trump administration at pace, and the question of whether they will compel obedience or not looms.  In many parts of the US, the answers have already been determined in advance. As ever, it is the US legal system[Read More…]

Killing The TPP: Trump’s Executive Action

Killing The TPP: Trump’s Executive Action

One of the conspicuous absences from the sound and fury last weekend’s protests was the impending executive act of President Donald Trump affirming the US exit from the Trans-Partnership Agreement.  Not that that was much in doubt: it had not been ratified nor voted upon in Congress, and that particular body had been cooling towards it. It was a blow[Read More…]

Brexit And The UK Supreme Court

Brexit And The UK Supreme Court

It was predicted, it was warned against, and it happened: Prime Minister Theresa May’s government cannot commence the official process for leaving the European Union without parliamentary approval. In upholding the decision of the lower court Parliament, deemed the sovereign voice of the UK, was again affirmed as ultimate arbiter, the historical figure of force that cannot be bypassed.  This[Read More…]

The Revolt Of The Intelligence Community: Future Battles With President Donald Trump

The Revolt Of The Intelligence Community: Future Battles With President Donald Trump

Factionalism and fury are basic ingredients of the US Republic. Designed as a classic response to the lynch mob fantasy of direct democracy, and the weakness of unaccountable monarchy, those behind the US constitution contrived a select form of paternal snobbery: letting groups fight it out in the amphitheatre of politics. Such a battle would always adhere to certain demarcations[Read More…]

Sports And Security: Manchester United’s Counter-Terrorism Chief

Sports And Security: Manchester United’s Counter-Terrorism Chief

It seemed an unnecessarily grand gesture, but the English Premier league discovered last week that Manchester United had appointed its own counterterrorism manager.  The person is said to be a former inspector from Greater Manchester Police’s specialist research unit.  As with everything else in matters of security, such a move will stir and spark discussion: if they have one, why[Read More…]

Ignored Ironies: Women, Protest And Donald Trump

Ignored Ironies: Women, Protest And Donald Trump

  The USA has Urinary Trump Infection. Protest sign, San Francisco Women’s Rally, Jan 21, 2017 San Francisco: The man, called Bruce, goes by the name of DJ Chocolate Starfish.  He is energetically occupying himself in the corner of a room on the third floor of the often noisy San Francisco Public library, eyes moving with frenzied delight at the mixed[Read More…]

The Birth Of Trumpland: Notes On An Inauguration

The Birth Of Trumpland: Notes On An Inauguration

San Francisco: With the country ridden by woe and revulsion; with the discontent so profound and vicious, the Trump presidency began.  It did so by way of comparison – of the chalk-cheese variety.  In 2008, when the shining armour of Knight Obama took centre stage, there were sighs, ecstatic releases, heavy exhalations of hope.  The theme, then, to start this presidency:[Read More…]

Scoundrels Of Patriotism: The Freeing Of Chelsea Manning

Scoundrels Of Patriotism: The Freeing Of Chelsea Manning

‘Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.’ Samuel Johnson, Apr 7, 1775 in Boswell’s Life of Johnson. He might have had a sharp attack of conscience, but President Barack Obama decided, in the flickering days of his administration, to do good by Chelsea Manning, forever linked to WikiLeaks and the disclosure of US military war logs and 250,000 state[Read More…]

NATO And Obsolescence: Donald Trump And The History Of An Alliance

NATO And Obsolescence: Donald Trump And The History Of An Alliance

It should be a point of some delicious reflection for peace activists who have fought for decades against the nature of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.  It brought the US deep into West European affairs, turning European states into garrisons.  It involved the stationing of nuclear weapons. It compelled member states to go to war if the security of any[Read More…]

Pathological Terror: Health Fears Ahead of Trump’s Inauguration

Pathological Terror: Health Fears Ahead of Trump’s Inauguration

“Ain’t going to let no ego maniac turn me around, turn me around, keep on walking, keep on talking going to build ourselves a brand-new world.” Joan Baez, San Francisco, Jan 15, 2017 San Francisco.: The City Hall gleamed in the crisp air of an unusually wintry day in San Francisco, where gatherings ahead of the inauguration of the US[Read More…]

Dossiers, Make Believe And Fantasy: The CIA, Trump And Unverified News

Dossiers, Make Believe And Fantasy: The CIA, Trump And Unverified News

London: Morning breakfast news on the BBC’s Radio Four on Friday was a delightful affair filled with discussions on Russia (when do we not talk about that busy, stirring Bear these days?), Donald Trump, dossiers and the intelligence fraternity. Did it even matter that various sources have been unverified, subject matter lumped together in cumbersome conversations on fake news, sexual frolics[Read More…]

Liquid Modernity: Zygmunt Bauman And The Rootless Condition

Liquid Modernity: Zygmunt Bauman And The Rootless Condition

“It was the rational world of modern civilization that made the Holocaust unthinkable.”-Zygmunt Bauman Modernity, as the late Zygmunt Bauman noted in his magisterially provocative Modernity and the Holocaust (1989) has not necessarily entailed enlightenment, the liberation from immaturity.  Since the cave dweller existence, humanity has retained traditional forms of savagery.  What mattered was the sheer lethality of it all,[Read More…]

Squeeze And Wiggle: Transport Chaos In London

Squeeze And Wiggle: Transport Chaos In London

London.: It has the air of being a well minted yet distinctly first world problem: inconvenienced commuters in one of the world’s first true megalopolises, gnashing their teeth as they are pushed and grounded together during the rush hour.  All because of a strike by station workers on the London Underground, which supplies the arterial blood for commuter traffic in[Read More…]

Cities Of Sickness: Pollution, Dementia And The Modern Condition

Cities Of Sickness: Pollution, Dementia And The Modern Condition

London: The journey from Tooting to the British Library tends to be a crowded affair at the best of times.  Humans mash in ungainly fashion on the London Underground, though not mosh, as they tend to in Tokyo under almost brutal supervision. In the course of the walk, a breakfast of muffins and takeaway coffee is flavoured by furious fume blasts[Read More…]

The War On Experts: Brexit, Populism And Sir Ivan Rogers’ Resignation

The War On Experts: Brexit, Populism And Sir Ivan Rogers’ Resignation

London: Populism has a much needed place in political arrangements, the necessary, disruptive gust that keeps the complacent from losing touch. For one, it often threatens to destroy those arrangements altogether, or at the very least provide a blustery challenge. This, however, comes with its costs, notably in the modern State.  For one, it promises a mixture of bloodletting and indifference[Read More…]

Aping Washington: Tony Abbott, Israel And Australian Foreign Policy

Aping Washington: Tony Abbott, Israel And Australian Foreign Policy

He is one of Australia’s truly singular politicians, relentlessly zealous, hewn from the granite of an older fanaticism. Despise him, loathe him, but consider him for one fundamental point: he has escaped the management artists, the curbing focus groups, and the broad political classes in a way unusual for the modern Australian politician. Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has[Read More…]

False Unities: Brexit In The New Year

False Unities: Brexit In The New Year

London: The pile of detritus in Tooting had been growing ahead of the New Year’s Eve gatherings. The pubs were initiating their usual trick of closure and charging for tickets in the hope of getting some ruddy cash ahead of 2017.  In parts of London, an air of dark pessimism lingered like a cold fog.  Ominously, bad weather threatened Heathrow at[Read More…]

Carrie Fisher: Hollywood In-Breeding And The Velocity Of Being

Carrie Fisher: Hollywood In-Breeding And The Velocity Of Being

There was always going to be a good deal of thick drama around Carrie Fisher, by her own confession, a product of Hollywood in-breeding.  Her parents, Debbie Reynolds and the crooner Eddie Fisher, provided ample material for the gossip columns in a marriage breakup after Eddie sped away with Elizabeth Taylor.  This was the background of an “unfilmable Dynasty”, one[Read More…]

Cities Of Death: History, Pollution And China’s Smog

Cities Of Death: History, Pollution And China’s Smog

Cities are the monsters of civilization, the accrual of various factors of organisation that stress development and advancement.  The latter two terms are often impossible to gauge except by comparison with other cities or States. We are left with the consequences of these thanatic drives, where life will itself suffer because the better variant of it is supposedly around the[Read More…]

Road Blocks To Data Retention: Invalidating The Snoopers’ Charter

Road Blocks To Data Retention: Invalidating The Snoopers’ Charter

Deemed by the Home Office an exemplar of legislation balancing security and freedoms, the UK Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA), otherwise known as the Snoopers’ Charter, did not impress the EU Court of Justice.  The case had been brought in 2014 by two MPs, David Davis and Tom Watson.  Davis had since evacuated from the brief, leaving Watson[Read More…]

Scorning The Dead: The Berlin Truck Attack And The Refugee Question

Scorning The Dead: The Berlin Truck Attack And The Refugee Question

The hard-nosed neo-cons were certainly showing little interest in linking arguments, examining evidence, or even considering elementary logic in the aftermath of the Berlin truck attack near the Gedächtniskirche.  With the bodies fresh in the morgue, former US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, peered into the mind of the everyday German, and found teeth chattering fear. “Many Germans[Read More…]

Steve Biko At 70

Steve Biko At 70

“They had to kill him to prolong the life of apartheid.” Nelson Mandela Commemorating birthdays in the aftermath of a person’s death tends to be a false exercise. At best, it reminds us about an era that will have, almost certainly, vanished. This goes for whatever that era entailed – brutality, or peace; tranquillity or chaos. Then comes the issue[Read More…]

The Hack Of All Hacks: Yahoo And Information Security

The Hack Of All Hacks: Yahoo And Information Security

It took place in August 2013. It was a hack of unprecedented scale, impetuous, audacious, and, if we are to believe Yahoo, undetected at the time.  The result of that effort across 1 billion accounts was a profitable use of material to spammers and cyber criminals operating on the dark web, with some estimates on proceeds coming to $300,000. The[Read More…]

Mainstream Assumptions: The CIA, Presidential Elections, And The Russian Connection

Mainstream Assumptions: The CIA, Presidential Elections, And The Russian Connection

Intent and causation are important features in the course of history.  The former envisages motive and hope, irrespective of outcome; the latter envisages consequence.  Often, these get muddled in the jumbled process of reasoning.  An intervention in the affairs of another state goes awry; a historical incident goes belly up with ferocious consequences.  Suddenly, in the aftermath, we are wise,[Read More…]

Dumping On The F-35: Trump, Waste And The Military Industrial Complex

Dumping On The F-35: Trump, Waste And The Military Industrial Complex

That particular fighter never had good press.  Even before Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strategic Fighter attracted the ire of Donald Trump via his usual, belching medium, Twitter, the project was flailing in a swamp to the value of $400 billion. On Monday, Trump tweeted that Lockheed’s “F-35 program and cost is out of control. Billions of dollars can and will[Read More…]

Monitoring The Miners: Rio Tinto, Drones And Surveillance

Monitoring The Miners: Rio Tinto, Drones And Surveillance

In of itself, technological development is benign.  But behind every use is a human agent, and behind that agent is a motive, an inspiration, an agenda. Monitoring one’s employees has become the great mainstay of what companies claim is a productive exercise. The watched employee will have incentives to behave, to prosper, and to fulfil the ethos of the company.[Read More…]

 The Fall Of Italy’s Demolition Man

 The Fall Of Italy’s Demolition Man

“Long live Trump, long live Putin, long live Le Pen and long live the League!” Matteo Salvini, Lega Nord leader Demagogic in parts, simply irreverent in others, the populist wave that seized the White House last month continues to inflict its casualties across the Atlantic.  The Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, known as Il Rottamatore or Demolition Man, had to[Read More…]

Fossil Fuel Corruption: The Problem With Adani

Fossil Fuel Corruption: The Problem With Adani

“Every day that we stop Adani digging that coal is a day this planet is free from its pollution.” Paul Sinclair, Times of India, Dec 5, 2016 The relationship between the mining sector and the Australian government has been traditionally that of complicity and acceptance. Touch this sector at your peril. Changes in prime ministers, rumbles in cabinet, and the[Read More…]

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Troubled Waters: Trump, Taiwan And Beijing

Troubled Waters: Trump, Taiwan And Beijing

There was much tittering in the US-China fraternity over the casual, yet infuriating engagement US President elect Donald Trump had with Taiwan’s President, Tsai Ing-wen.  A reading of the reactions suggested meltdown, a terrifying, imminent apocalypse.  An outrageous booboo, or an typically uncharacteristic move hardly worth a mention? There are no covering laws on this, though international relations theorists attempt,[Read More…]

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The Virtue Of Protest: Democracy, Refugees And Australia’s Parliament

The Virtue Of Protest: Democracy, Refugees And Australia’s Parliament

There is no greater single human rights dilemma facing the Australian parliament at the moment: refugees, declining, mouldering, decaying in detention centres in carceral conditions, being shifted, carted, moved from one base to another, from one nation state to another.  Camps funded with Australian tax payer dollars.  Camps run by privatised security firms and brutal local police forces. The message[Read More…]

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Plucking The Foreign Goose: Australia’s Tax On Backpackers

Plucking The Foreign Goose: Australia’s Tax On Backpackers

“The old ladies at the bingo club wouldn’t carry on as much as the politicians have about this whole backpacker tax.” Fiona Hall, ABC News, Dec 2, 2016 The morning news on the ABC network featured blondes, and more blondes, riding a derelict van along a non-descript street in sunny Australia. It did not matter who they were, or even[Read More…]

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Fidel Castro: Initial Impressions

Fidel Castro: Initial Impressions

Reactions were generally predictable to the passing of Fidel Castro.  Britain’s Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, spoke of Castro as that “huge figure of modern history, national independence and 20th century socialism” (BBC, Nov 26).  The stage was set by his record in establishing formidable health and education systems, while forging a “record of international solidarity abroad.” The socialist vanguard could[Read More…]

Flawed Alliances: Australia, The US And Trumpism

Flawed Alliances: Australia, The US And Trumpism

Politics can be a deliciously self-defeating field.  For the US-Australian alliance, one born out of desperate insecurity on the part of Canberra, a dramatic change in the White House was always going to cause a shudder.  A Clinton presidency was presumed to be inevitable and, on taking place, a no-fuss affair, one which was to continue President Barack Obama’s “pivot”[Read More…]

The Reality Of Fake News

The Reality Of Fake News

Fake news as reality; the inability to navigate the waters in which it swims; a weakness in succumbing to material best treated with a huge pinch of salt. That, we are told, is the new condition of the global information environment. Laura Sydell of National Public Radio’s All Things Considered furnished readers with one such example: “FBI Agent Suspected In[Read More…]

Movement At Marrakech: Climate Change In The Shadow Of Denial

Movement At Marrakech: Climate Change In The Shadow Of Denial

While it was all but obscured in the course of the US presidential excitement, negotiators at the climate change conference in Marrakech were busy attempting to hammer out the means to implement the Paris Climate Agreement. The long and confusing shadow cast over the negotiations was considerable.  Donald Trump has made no bones about climate change as a plot conjured[Read More…]

Bodies As Propaganda: The US-Australia Refugee Agreement

Bodies As Propaganda: The US-Australia Refugee Agreement

It all has a hurried sense to it.  With the offshore detention system running into troubles, the Australian government has had to find ways to get rid of the human residents it has promised never to settle in the country. This highly dubious policy, far more than anything Donald Trump could ever wish for, entrenches a further wall of imperviousness[Read More…]

Bottling The Demon Of Free Trade: Trumpism And Protectionism

Bottling The Demon Of Free Trade: Trumpism And Protectionism

The election of Donald J. Trump on Tuesday, November 8 terrified many who consider themselves notionally progressive or traditional republicans.  It also terrified free trade ideologues, and those who believe that opening borders to boundless consumer goods and services eradicates poverty. There are few better exponents of this idea on trade than Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, whose insistence that[Read More…]

Fantasies Of Impeachment And Protest: Continued Misreadings Of Donald Trump

Fantasies Of Impeachment And Protest: Continued Misreadings Of Donald Trump

In an age where many pundits and pollsters ought to be put out to an ignoble pasture, predictions and astrology gazing on the US election continues.  While he did have a better sense of this election than most, actually predicting the result, Michael Moore has decided to essentially ignore it except in the negative. On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Moore took[Read More…]

Janet Reno: Bill Clinton’s Attorney General

Janet Reno: Bill Clinton’s Attorney General

  “Outspoken, outrageous and absolutely indifferent to others’ opinions, Janet Reno was truly one of a kind.” Paul Anderson She was the first woman to hold the job of US Attorney General, and on getting that position, held it for the duration of the Clinton administration, the longest tenure than any in the previous 150 years. Unfortunately for her, Janet[Read More…]

The Trump Effect:  Protesting The Result

The Trump Effect:  Protesting The Result

San Francisco: Donald Trump, even without raising a single pen, or signing a single legal document, has already had a profound affect on activism in the United States.  Much of this has taken form among the student body of various schools, a brushfire reaction of fury that has seen empty classrooms and vacated schools.  Walkouts have taken place over two[Read More…]

On The Eve Of The Vote: Trump Values, Islam And Militias

On The Eve Of The Vote: Trump Values, Islam And Militias

The chugging train of fear continues to drone away on the eve of what has been considered one of the most important elections in generations. Mind you, this was the sort of stuff spouted during the campaigns of 2008, when a disgusted electorate washed a mouth contaminated by George W. Bush’s years with Barack Obama’s honeyed promises. Eight years after[Read More…]

The Panic Train: Fear Before The Elections In Trump’s America

The Panic Train: Fear Before The Elections In Trump’s America

San Francisco: Coming into San Francisco, and a note of spellbinding terror can be sensed.  Donald Trump haunts the political landscape with a menace that has become a caricature of terror before the fact.  Even conservative bodies like the Hoover Institute run comments of angst such as those of one of its senior fellows, Victor Davis Hanson. For Hanson, Trump offers[Read More…]

Brexit Stumbling: The High Court, British Parliament And Article 50

Brexit Stumbling: The High Court, British Parliament And Article 50

Parliamentary supremacy in British law and politics is akin to the fetish of the union in the United States. Challenge it at your peril; question it to your misfortune.  The point was tested, with rumbling consequences, by the May government in its latest Brexit stumble dealing with Britain’s painful and at times confused response to exiting the European Union. The[Read More…]

Pirate Parties and Transparent Politics: Iceland’s Experiment

Pirate Parties and Transparent Politics: Iceland’s Experiment

“… [B]ecause Robin Hood was a pirate, we want to take the power from the powerful to give to the people.” Birgitta Jónsdóttir, New York Times, Oct 31, 2016 Getting transparency advocates into parliament and assemblies has proven to be a great challenge in modern politics.  Iceland has led on that point, giving the world political punditry much to discuss[Read More…]

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Having A Flutter: The Melbourne Cup And The Australian Gambler

Having A Flutter: The Melbourne Cup And The Australian Gambler

“In terms of prize money, the Melbourne Cup is worth more than the Grand National or any race in America, and it is far more popular in terms of national identity.” Richard Waterhouse, ABC Radio, Nov 3, 2015. An inspection of the hungry, jostling crowds gathering at the gates of the Flemington Race Course, Melbourne, gives a false sense of[Read More…]

The Illusion Of Meritocracy: Thomas Piketty In Australia

The Illusion Of Meritocracy: Thomas Piketty In Australia

No one likes being lectured, and when it comes in the form of Gallic smugness delivered from literally the left of centre, it can grate. The equally smug social engineers and commentators who see their society as an exemplar to emulate find that hardest to stomach. Thomas Piketty, repeatedly introduced as a “rock star” economist by those short of words,[Read More…]

Nobel Confusion: Ramos-Horta, Trump And World Disorder

Nobel Confusion: Ramos-Horta, Trump And World Disorder

History should tell us that writing scolding, even scornful letters, to electorates as part of a conversation for persuasion do not work.  They are even less effective when coming from outside that electorate, however well-intentioned.  Non-voters should be careful to judge and lecture. Consider the attempt on the part of The Guardian to mount its electoral high horse prior to[Read More…]

Manipulating Uprisings: Hungary 1956

Manipulating Uprisings: Hungary 1956

“Nobody foresaw it.  Nobody was ready for it – neither in Budapest, Moscow, Washington or anywhere else.” – Ralph Walter, Radio Free Europe executive, RFE, Oct 22, 2006 Magic, and tragic years, tend to fill the calendar of commemoration for central European patriots. There are religious intercessions; guiding symbols; omens.  Then there are the calamities, the crushing battles that empty entire[Read More…]

Creepy Clowns And Clownish Creeps: A Global Craze

Creepy Clowns And Clownish Creeps: A Global Craze

  “We live in a country where the Hamburglar can freely walk down the street, but Ronald McDonald can’t.” Twitter post by ‘BH’, Oct 12, 2016. They were always perfect as a foil to the criminal and dysfunctional outsider, with smile grotesque, garish mask, and nose obscenely red. The clown, in history, has often proved to be a fairly revolting[Read More…]

When Wasn’t It Rigged?  Donald Trump And US Presidential Races

When Wasn’t It Rigged?  Donald Trump And US Presidential Races

Hideousness is only one word that covers the third and last presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. But prior to that, as a warm up of mischief, Trump was insisting that he would find accepting a public vote for Clinton hard to stomach at the electoral level.  The only way he would accept any electoral result would be,[Read More…]

Retaking Mosul: The Illusion Of Peace

Retaking Mosul: The Illusion Of Peace

Forging certainty in the dust of Middle Eastern plays of power is an impossibility its participants never wish to accept.  The imminent defeat of Islamic State forces in Mosul – deemed imminent, at least, by the forces assaulting the stronghold – provide a suggestion that there will be greater stability in the region.  Nasty fundamentalist forces will be banished, paving[Read More…]

Nauru, Refugees And The Torture Complex

Nauru, Refugees And The Torture Complex

Two items of interest have tickled the airwaves and triggered some commentary over the last few days. The first was an ABC Four Corners program covering the fate of refugees in the detention facility on Nauru, known euphemistically as a “processing centre” costing $35.3 million a year to the Australian tax payer. The Four Corners program was, in turn, informed[Read More…]

Neither War Nor Peace: Shimon Peres, Israel And History

Neither War Nor Peace: Shimon Peres, Israel And History

“[Shimon Peres] thought about history where Netanyahu thinks about the next election.” Itamar Rabinovic, New York Times, Sep 30, 2016 “We learned from the British,” explained the late Shimon Peres in The Guardian in 2011, “what democracy means, and how it behaves in times of danger, war and terror.  We thank Britain for introducing freedom and respect of human rights[Read More…]

Demonising Wind Energy In Australia: The South Australian Blackout

Demonising Wind Energy In Australia: The South Australian Blackout

From the time when energy became a state ambition and the central, almost paranoid platform of security, its messiness became apparent.  Energy reserves needed to be controlled; corrupt regimes with access to such resources needed to be placated, or, if not, overthrown and replaced by compliant puppet governments.  The world of energy is one governed by invasion, acquisitive brutality and[Read More…]

Covering, And Exposing, Atrocity: Australian Commandos Come Forward

Covering, And Exposing, Atrocity: Australian Commandos Come Forward

Kevin Frost, a special forces sergeant in the Australian Army, has done something unusual. He wishes, even demands, to be tried for his role behind the summary execution of an Afghan prisoner in his captivity during a tour of the country. From Frost came a statement to an inquiry digging through allegations of war crimes by Australian troops that took[Read More…]

No-Fly Zone Madness:  Catastrophe And Conflict In Aleppo

No-Fly Zone Madness:  Catastrophe And Conflict In Aleppo

Tuesday’s House of Commons debate in Britain was filled with the hollow anguish of impotence, fresh with statements about Russian war criminality tossed about like freshly made blinis. Ever easy to point to, Russian support for a regime which Western powers wish to remove, at the expense of further catastrophe, has accelerated the ruthless disposition of the conflict.  Peace talks[Read More…]

Normalising The Brutal: Trump, Clinton And Second Presidential Debate

Normalising The Brutal: Trump, Clinton And Second Presidential Debate

There is no getting away from the degradation that is taking place, on colossal scale, in US presidential politics. The sense of two dysfunctional candidates beating each other over the remains of the US republic as it suffers the last paroxysm of what might have been an interesting future are all too evident. Sunday’s second presidential debate featured the depravity,[Read More…]

The Despotism Of British Sterling

The Despotism Of British Sterling

While British Prime Minister, Theresa May, keeps insisting that Brexit pathway will be a smooth, relatively painless process filled without dramatic compromise to lifestyle and outlook, the traders, stockbrokers and wolves of the City have gone about their own business.  They, the suggestion goes, knew better, whereas the idiotic Brexiteer ventured to the ballot in total ignorance. Central to the[Read More…]

Janus Faced On Banking And Finance: Hillary Clinton’ Economic World View

Janus Faced On Banking And Finance: Hillary Clinton’ Economic World View

“So we have two Hillary Clintons, which says we have a person who is a liar.” Rudy Giuliani, The Guardian, Oct 9, 2016 Again, WikiLeaks made its sniping foray into the US election with ample juicy material prior to the second presidential debate, this time revealing excerpts of paid speeches shedding light on Hillary Clinton’s view on banking, finance and[Read More…]

Droning Julian Assange: The Clinton Formula

Droning Julian Assange: The Clinton Formula

“We believe in what we are doing… If you are pushed you push back.” Julian Assange The mutterings have become furious, and it is clear that the Democratic contender for the White House has again shown how traditional her ploys towards power are going to be.  Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have again managed to pull the blinds off an episode[Read More…]

The Curse Of The Honorary Doctorate: The John Howard Case

The Curse Of The Honorary Doctorate: The John Howard Case

The honorary degree system at universities tends to be a rotten business, though Stephen Edward Epler, in his Honorary Degrees: A Survey of Their Use and Abuse (1943), regarded them as “perhaps the most important honorific in the nation.” Left to lauding the achievements of the exceptional, notably those who might not have spent much time in the direct line[Read More…]

Trump, Clinton And The Dictator Question

Trump, Clinton And The Dictator Question

Righteousness is rarely endearing, and when concocted in a brew of hypocrisy, it becomes noxious. US political campaigning tends to overflow in it, a mixture of rights, noisily championed liberties and supposed exceptionalism. To that end, Donald Trump is enigmatic. He does, to a large extent fit that bill, only in so far as he assumes making money is a[Read More…]

Suing Saudi Arabia: Overturning Sovereign Immunity In US Courts

Suing Saudi Arabia: Overturning Sovereign Immunity In US Courts

It was momentous on one fundamental level. Here was the President of the United States, Barack Obama, holding the torch for a wretched ally the politicians on the Hill and others have had reservations over for many years.  Saudi Arabia, ever the thorn and asset of US interests, facing the grief of families who lost members on September 11, 2001. [Read More…]

Pictures Left Incomplete: MH17 And The Joint Investigation Team

Pictures Left Incomplete: MH17 And The Joint Investigation Team

The investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over two years ago always had the flavour of pre-emption, caked with assumptions of premature adjudication. Neither side, be it the assembled Joint Investigation Team, nor those on the Russian side, was going to budge on the issue of the material. In the world of the post-factoid, what matters is[Read More…]

The Debates Of Loathing: Trump And Clinton At Hofstra

The Debates Of Loathing: Trump And Clinton At Hofstra

It really doesn’t matter that these two creatures loathed and feared in varying degrees should even be conducting a debate. What, after all, is there to dispute? Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump inhabit worlds of the disparately dislikeable, and reaped the bounty of the US with varying degrees of ruthlessness.

Jeremy Corbyn celebrates his victory following the announcement

Re-electing Jeremy Corbyn: The Triumph Of Momentum

He has proven to be one of the most stubborn of creatures in a political sense. Unlike the dinosaur of political thinking he has been accused of being, British Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn continues to survive the meteorites, and more nuanced weapons, directed at him. The initial strategy from Labour MPs was to oust their leader in July on procedural grounds. [Read More…]

Punishing The Punished: Chelsea Manning’s Fate

Punishing The Punished: Chelsea Manning’s Fate

“Essentially she is now being tortured as punishment for an act of desperation.” Nancy Hollander, lawyer for Chelsea Manning, Sep 24, 2016 It was not sufficient for US military authorities to sentence whistleblower Chelsea Manning to the onerous, disproportionate sentence of 35 years imprisonment for conniving with WikiLeaks in releasing classified material. (People have gotten less for gruesome, remorseless murders.) [Read More…]

The posters released by the Italian government for Fertility Day. Photo via Facebook

Controlling Bodies: Italy’s Fertility Campaign

Demography is destiny, and the destiny of aging Europeans is long run death.  How the demographic strategists have dealt with this varies, but the tendency in various countries is either to accept refugees en masse (the now questioned Merkel solution for Germany), or encourage home breeding through various initiatives. The latter point became an issue in Italy when the population[Read More…]

Bartering On Refugees: The Costa Rica Solution

Bartering On Refugees: The Costa Rica Solution

“We will also participate in a US-led program to re-settle Central American refugees currently in a resettlement centre in Costa Rica.” Malcolm Turnbull, Australian PM, Sep 21, 2016 It used to be claimed that you could not let the former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, go anywhere with any degree of freedom. The mouth would open, the madness would come out.  His[Read More…]

The Washington Post And Edward Snowden

The Washington Post And Edward Snowden

The tensions between those engaged in the dangerous and compromising pursuit of whistleblowing, and those who use the fruit of such efforts has been all too coarsely revealed in the Washington Post stance on Edward Snowden.[1] Oliver Stone’s Snowden has done a good deal of stirring on its release, suggesting that the pardon powers of the Presidential office should be[Read More…]

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Nuclear Theatre: The North Korean Show

Nuclear Theatre: The North Korean Show

It is a performance where few are laughing.  The DPRK has demonstrated again why it remains by far the most theatrically foolish yet prescient of powers.  Held hostage by the plump boyish leader, Kim Jung-un the nuclear program of that benighted state has been doing more than just stuttering along. It seems to be positively screaming away. Everything about the[Read More…]

The WADA Hack: Transparency And The Uneven Playing Field

The WADA Hack: Transparency And The Uneven Playing Field

The disclosure of confidential material has its own sometimes fraught ethics.  When it comes to medical information, assumptions abound that confidentiality comes first.  Not, however, in international sports, a notorious field where the corrupt rub shoulders with the desperate; where perspectives of the supposedly level playing field meet unevenness and disadvantage.  In such a case, disclosures can be both political[Read More…]

Turnbull As Fantasist: Selling Australia’s Security And Refugee Agenda

Turnbull As Fantasist: Selling Australia’s Security And Refugee Agenda

Island mentalities do not travel well.  When their sellers hawk the agenda before world forums, these start looking ludicrous. Coming close to this ludicrous display is Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, who has done what other Australian prime ministers have in previous years: sell the great discovery, the great hit of life on how best to protect borders in the[Read More…]

David Cameron, Libya And Disaster: The Findings Of The Foreign Affairs Select Committee

David Cameron, Libya And Disaster: The Findings Of The Foreign Affairs Select Committee

The UK Foreign Affairs Committee was a long time coming with this judgment, but when it came, it provided a firm reminder about how far the 2011 intervention against the Gaddafi regime was not merely flawed but calamitous in its consequences.  There had been no coherent strategy on the part of the Cameron government; the campaign had not been “informed[Read More…]

Banning Burkinis: The Politics Of Beachwear

Banning Burkinis: The Politics Of Beachwear

So the tendency continues; woman wears an outfit either provocative in its skimpiness or provocative in its conservativeness. Authorities beset by ideology intervene. The idea of control is never far away. Nor is the morally obsessed tape measurer and politically charged censor. Beaches as bastions of freedom? Forget it.

Hillary Clinton’s Extreme End Game

Hillary Clinton’s Extreme End Game

The loathsome two are moving into full view, mustering weapons and taking aim at each other in a US election campaign that continues to be filled with colourful missives. But the one to lose most is Hillary Clinton, whose nasty appropriation of the high ground of propriety seems more contemptible by the day. On Thursday, Clinton pushed further into the[Read More…]

Unwanted Images: The Nauru Incident Reports

Unwanted Images: The Nauru Incident Reports

When the first reports came through about the unfolding Holocaust during the Second World War, audiences were incredulous.  Surely no industrialised society could quite go so far?  Killings, yes; butcheries, certainly.  But a mass-scale industrialised gassing and massacring of whole populations was simply not tenable.  The same treatment could be said in the context of the gulag system and Stalinist[Read More…]

Labouring Hours: Sweden’s Six-Hour Working Day

Labouring Hours: Sweden’s Six-Hour Working Day

Sweden has been in the news of late for attempting to take the Marxist spirit to heart, with employers seeking to maximise the value of labour from the shorter work time offered. The latest reduction will take the form of a six-hour working day, though trials were already taking place last year.

Claims Of Exoneration: The Case Of Slobodan Milošević

Claims Of Exoneration: The Case Of Slobodan Milošević

Every age needs its cult of demonology.  It creates a social target of unified indignation and moral outrage. Finally, we can find a figure, prey upon it, and feel good that things are orderly in the world.  In the savage wars of the Balkans during the 1990s, the identification of good sides over bad, of noble warriors over ignoble ones,[Read More…]

Closing Manus Island’s Detention Centre: The Search For Alternative Cruelties

Closing Manus Island’s Detention Centre: The Search For Alternative Cruelties

It all goes back to April, when the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court found the Manus Island detention facility, ostensibly directed and run by the Australian government, in breach of the PNG Constitution. By the order of the court, “Both the Australian and Papua New Guinea governments shall forthwith take all steps necessary to cease and prevent the continued unconstitutional[Read More…]

The Hypocrisies Of Commemoration: Dispute At Long Tan

The Hypocrisies Of Commemoration: Dispute At Long Tan

One of the stranger sights in international relations is that of a defeated State seeking to commemorate its fallen in a country whose affairs it sought to disrupt.  Australia is particularly adept at this, having obtained near exclusive entitlements to commemorate the landings at Gallipoli in Turkey on an annual basis, thereby inculcating successive generations with the notion that the[Read More…]

Fingers On The Button: “First Use” And US Nuclear Weapons

Fingers On The Button: “First Use” And US Nuclear Weapons

Do you wait till the prospect of obliteration is upon you?  Or initiate, blithely, a nuclear holocaust upon your enemy as a matter of what is termed “first use” by the nuclear weapon high priests?  Neither prospect is particularly attractive, for each assumes the unthinkable made possible, madness made real. In one way, even articulating a policy on first use[Read More…]

Donald Trump And The ISIS Factor

Donald Trump And The ISIS Factor

Ever straddling that fine line between the absurd and the puncturing revelation, Donald J. Trump’s “ISIS” remarks about the Obama administration and the Democrat presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, were vintage.  “[Obama] was the founder of ISIS absolutely, the way he removed our troops. … I call them [Obama and Hillary Clinton] co-founders.” In a political environment where sarcasm is set[Read More…]

The Flagging Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: The US Election And Free Trade Politics

The Flagging Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: The US Election And Free Trade Politics

Being savaged by Donald J. Trump on one side of the electoral aisle, and modestly beaten by the Democratic presumptive candidate, Hillary Clinton, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is lying somewhere between near death and miraculous survival.  Those breathing life into that unfortunate beast remain politicians who embraced the mythology of free trade while never questioning what was free. The scurrying[Read More…]

Bungling The Australian Census

Bungling The Australian Census

Each country needs its exceptionalist message, its sui generis theme. We do something here no one else does, and such like. In Australia, there are many things deemed exceptional.  Compulsory voting, on pain of a fine, is one such case.  Compulsory voting in a census is another extension of that same philosophy. To not submit, and be damned by the[Read More…]

Refugee Trauma On Nauru: The Leaked Incident Reports

Refugee Trauma On Nauru: The Leaked Incident Reports

“Do I have to kill myself to go to Australia?” Asylum seeker, Nauru, March 2, 2015 Human sensibility has been given another sound beating with the leak of 2,116 incident reports from Australia’s remorseless detention camp on Nauru.  The reports total some 8,000 pages covering the period of May 2013 to October 2015 and were published by the Guardian on[Read More…]

Detained For Terror: Proposed Indefinite Detention Laws In Australia

Detained For Terror: Proposed Indefinite Detention Laws In Australia

The Turnbull government has come down rather heavily in its response to a spate of attacks in France and Germany, deciding that it is time that something be done in the face of this supposed global madness. The prime minister Malcolm Turnbull decided to press the issue in a letter to state leaders urging for the creation of a national regime to indefinitely detain terrorists even after the point of serving their sentence.

The Olympic Gold Obsession: An Australian Condition

The Olympic Gold Obsession: An Australian Condition

Obsessions of any sort, notably of a consuming nature, are never healthy matters.  The drive to win gold, laced with a desperation often reflected in steroid consumption and psychological battering, has made the Olympic Games the least of savoury spectacles. Even worse than the physical reduction of the athlete to mechanism and medal winning machine is the complicity towards it[Read More…]

Fires Of Illusion: Guarding The Olympic Flame In Rio

Fires Of Illusion: Guarding The Olympic Flame In Rio

“The investment is not for us, it’s for the foreigners.” Felipe Paiva, Rio favela resident, CBC, Aug 3, 2016 The hideous mess that is the Olympic spectacle is about to be charged at the opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro. Its lead-up has been tumultuous, suggesting that any ideal of peaceful reflection by states, participants, and observers about the broader[Read More…]

Meaningless Words: Terrorism, Mental Health And The London Knife Attack

Meaningless Words: Terrorism, Mental Health And The London Knife Attack

“And this is what disturbs me: the fact that people today, despite living with more safety and wealth and access to information than anyone in human history, feel as though the world is going crazy and something drastic must be changed.” Mark Manson, Jul 28, 2016 How quick one judges.  The warning about taking the draught of knowledge deeply, as[Read More…]

The Washington Vaccination Ploy: Puerto Rico And The Zika Quandary

The Washington Vaccination Ploy: Puerto Rico And The Zika Quandary

Should you fear receiving the needle from a stranger?  Yes.  Should you fear receiving it from a person you know all too well as a historical abuser?  Even more so.  Empires do it, states do it, and even local agencies do it.  Let’s all, as it were, vaccinate for all in this perverted paraphrasing of the Cole Porter song, the[Read More…]

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Rubbishing Pauline Hanson: The Campaign Continues

Rubbishing Pauline Hanson: The Campaign Continues

A virus of populism, as it has come to be called, has rattled established classes across the countries of Europe, the United States, and, to a lesser extent, Australia. The latter case remains striking for the return of the reactionary Pauline Hanson to office last month in the July 2 elections. Much of this was the subject of the documentary Pauline Hanson: Please Explain!, which aired on the SBS network on July 31.

Olympic Chaos: The Rio Games In World Of Global Sporting Corruption

Olympic Chaos: The Rio Games In World Of Global Sporting Corruption

Wounds have opened; recriminations are all around. The Rio Olympic Games, even before the first act, has already shown how it will be one of the more interesting ones for all the wrong reasons. (Eventually, such wrong reasons tend to seem right.) A glaring feature of the latest ruckus lies in the administration (or maladministration) of international sport.  Disagreement, for[Read More…]

Humanising Hillary Clinton: The Democratic National Convention

Humanising Hillary Clinton: The Democratic National Convention

“He [Bill Clinton] wanted people to know the real Hillary.” John Podesta, Jul 28, 2016 Moving beyond idea, beyond type, beyond cardboard cuts, was always going to be a central feature of the Democratic National Convention in 2016. With a US presidential election set to run between two largely unpopular characters, Hillary Clinton needed to show that she was a[Read More…]

Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted.  Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. Such a figure is former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who has[Read More…]

Cults Of Security And Terror: Fear Ahead Of The Rio Olympic Games

Cults Of Security And Terror: Fear Ahead Of The Rio Olympic Games

The Olympics remains a black hole of needless expenditure, sucking services into it with impending and merciless doom. Unused stadia, tracks left to moulder, services supposedly linked to urban renewal turned into dilapidated wonders. That is the Olympic legacy in its lingering aftermath. Another feature of the Olympics is the tendency to turn a city into a super security haven,[Read More…]

Dylan Voller, strapped to a mechanical restraint chair in Darwin’s notorious Don Dale juvenile unit was once a football-loving teenager, but was shackled and placed in a ‘spit hood’ in custody. Picture: ABC

The Scourge Of Youth Detention: The Northern Territory, Torture, And Australia’s Detention Disease

“What we’re changing is a culture in an organisation within the youth detention system and I think we’ve come a long way in that time.” Adam Giles, NT Chief Minister, ABC News, Jul 26, 2016 It was an image that would not have been out of place in the sickly procession of pictures that came out of Abu Ghraib and[Read More…]

Undermining Bernie Sanders: The DNC Campaign, WikiLeaks And Russia

Undermining Bernie Sanders: The DNC Campaign, WikiLeaks And Russia

Two aspects of Hillary Clinton’s response to the Bernie Sanders campaign have been notable in 2016.  One has involved her attempts to “adjust” to his views to make tactical gains. (Mixed mutterings of scepticism, for instance, about the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership.) Of more interest is the undermining effort made by the Clinton camp, which has certainly veered well beyond Queensberry[Read More…]

The Futility Of Collective Punishment: Russia, Doping And WADA

The Futility Of Collective Punishment: Russia, Doping And WADA

The idea of excluding a country wholesale brings with it dangers that decision makers may well not see. It eliminates specific, untainted talents who also deserve to be protected in international sport. It also violates that great presumption of innocence by pre-emptively judging the conduct of all athletes.

Laura Ingraham And Trumpism

Laura Ingraham And Trumpism

Never doubt the ballistic factor of Laura Ingraham.  Ingraham is never into facts, which tend to be the unwanted gate crashers of her party.  What matters in that particular world view is sentiment, often tinged by viciousness.  In so far as it matters, she is the great weapon that someone like Trump needs: intangible, but feeling; vicious but at heart[Read More…]

Apologist In Chief: Boris Johnson As Foreign Secretary

Apologist In Chief: Boris Johnson As Foreign Secretary

“There is a rich thesaurus of things I have said that have, one way or the other, I don’t know, that has been misconstrued.” Boris Johnson, Jul 19, 2016 It might have been seen as a form of expressive penal servitude. The UK Foreign Secretary’s position is usually one of the more prestigious ones.  Even with Britain being a faded power,[Read More…]

Australia’s Malcolm Turnbull: The Failure Of Success

Australia’s Malcolm Turnbull: The Failure Of Success

The term “mandate” has been sluicing through the Australian electoral system in its predictable wash-up. In that particular country, it never matters whether one wins by one vote or a hundred thousand: everyone has a “clear mandate” to do what they damn well wish they think they were encouraged to do. It is worth remembering that the Australian prime minister,[Read More…]

Banning And Banishing: The Nonsense About Muslims

Banning And Banishing: The Nonsense About Muslims

He was the kingpin of the whole affair by suggesting it. In December 2015, the US Republican presumptive nominee for President, Donald Trump, came up with that daft suggestion which seems so utterly devoid of informed meaning.  Ban Muslims from entering the United States and the phenomenon of terrorism would somehow be abated. His prepared statement was characteristically dramatic in[Read More…]

Failing States Of Emergency: The Nice Attacks

Failing States Of Emergency: The Nice Attacks

Security states, heavily policed and run by surveillance gurus and juju men of the intelligence community, have more failings than meritorious attributes.  If liberty is to succeed, then holes, sometimes gaping, will have to be permitted.  Freedoms can be costly. Even any crude assessment of France’s state of emergency since November last year would suggest that such political states are[Read More…]

Military Coups, Turkey And flimsy Democracy

Military Coups, Turkey And flimsy Democracy

“A minority within the armed forces has unfortunately been unable to stomach Turkey’s unity.”- President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Jul 15, 2016 Any aspect of instability in the state of Turkey is going to be greeted with trepidation by those partners who bank on its security role between East and West. The European Union, that rattled club of members who fear the[Read More…]

Boris Johnson And Anti-Diplomacy

Boris Johnson And Anti-Diplomacy

British politics has seen it before: a good deal of political bloodletting in a dramatic Cabinet reshuffle.  Prime Minister Harold Macmillan did so on July 13, 1962 in what became known as Britain’s own variant of the much cruder and bloodier German event of 1934. Similarly, the new Prime Minister Theresa May, was intent on going a bit deeper than[Read More…]

Bernie Sanders: The End Of A Campaign

Bernie Sanders: The End Of A Campaign

The slimmest of hopes, which got extremely threadbare in the last month, was nursed that Bernie Sanders might have taken his support base and made it into a third movement.  A US political scene so typified by the banking retainers, the counterfeit pioneers and fraudulent managers, could have done with a new force. Sanders, having watered and cultivated a genuine[Read More…]

Shootings In Dallas: Violence, Police Authority And Black Lives Matter

Shootings In Dallas: Violence, Police Authority And Black Lives Matter

While the police have been dishing it out extensively for years to the black community, often with murderous effect, retaliation was bound to come. A movement scolded for being narky and lacking respect became a sounding board for some who felt that violence was merely logical, the last refuge for the desperate. This is hardly an excuse, but it constitutes some explanation. The motor of revenge tends to be a hungry, and not always rational one

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The Mother Fetish: British Politics And The Tory Leadership Contest

The Mother Fetish: British Politics And The Tory Leadership Contest

What role the womb? Politically, it is exploited by the conservative creed as the indispensable mechanism for reproduction. To not add offspring to the ledger of life is not doing the good work of some sky god or inner instinctive voice.  Not being able to do so somehow renders the political figure barren in a more than figurative sense. Such[Read More…]

Satrap Guilt: Australia, Iraq And The Chilcot Inquiry

Satrap Guilt: Australia, Iraq And The Chilcot Inquiry

The release of the Chilcot Iraq Inquiry, examining the feeble reasons for launching a war against a sovereign state in 2003, did not merely land former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in the soup.  It suggested that other leaders should keep him in drowning company. The most obvious culprit was the person who led it all, US President George W.[Read More…]

The Eel Of History: Hillary Clinton, Emailgate And The FBI

The Eel Of History: Hillary Clinton, Emailgate And The FBI

Clinton was spared, even if the FBI recommendation remains just that. It was a textbook outcome pointing to the failures of consistent approaches all too familiar to that of her husband. Yet again, this eel of history escapes the realms of legality with institutional dispensation.

Hung Parliaments And Democracy In Australian Context

Hung Parliaments And Democracy In Australian Context

Hung parliaments are deemed the bane of the Westminster System. It makes politicians sweat, policy makers work, and the broader system of representative government unusually representative. The latter part is particularly irksome for the majoritarians. Authoritarian tendencies are never far away from the politically elected. It is always easy to become hubristic when voters go your way, less so when[Read More…]

Corbyn, British Labour And Anti-Semitism

Corbyn, British Labour And Anti-Semitism

In another attempt to kick the leader of the British Labour down and out, a campaign has been hatched with a now commonplace virulence.  A report into anti-Semitism within Labour party circles authored by Shami Chakrabarti was to be released with little fanfare, filled with the pieties that come at a time when language is a matter of moral policing[Read More…]

Who Is Special Now? The Mythology Behind The US-British Relationship

Who Is Special Now? The Mythology Behind The US-British Relationship

To any historian buff, it should be a known fact that Britain’s “special relationship” with Washington has been a tough one, subjected to periods of bruising and disagreement. States caught in a web of imperial domination can only be special to a certain extent. Despite this, the mythology of a special relationship between London and Washington continues to sound its[Read More…]

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The US Problem With Immigration: Railroaded By The Supreme Court

The US Problem With Immigration: Railroaded By The Supreme Court

Immigration, blood source of the United States, its motor of development, has been rocked by judicial pronouncements of late. The Obama administration had put much stock in reforming the general approach to immigration in 2014, ostensibly employing a wide reading of executive power against the possible deportation. It was always going to be haphazard, merely another periodic panacea in a[Read More…]

Texas, Abortion And The US Supreme Court

Texas, Abortion And The US Supreme Court

The abortion right in the United States, given full force in Roe v Wade, has never been a plain sailing affair.[1] The language of rights is ever a prickly matter, marred by the undergrowth of burdensome reasoning and poor application.  In a country where the foetus, less than quality of life, is holy, obstacles will always exist. The subject before[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Human Rights, Patriarchy, World
Iceland’s Football Story: The Glory Of Public Football

Iceland’s Football Story: The Glory Of Public Football

“These guys now with us in the [Iceland] national team were brought up on artificial pitches. Many would have had youth coaching in an indoor dome. They could go out if the weather was good, but they always had good facilities to train.” Heimer Hallgrímsson, joint Iceland football coach, BBC Sport, Nov 15, 2015 This has been a competition of[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Life/Philosophy
The Woes Of Brexit: Revolt Against Corbyn

The Woes Of Brexit: Revolt Against Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn, the grand hope of the Labour Party in Britain, is being politically assassinated. The process has been a gradual one, coming in the form of poison administered over a series of months and thinly veiled promises.  But now, the issue has become even more violent. The anti-Corbyn clique is now brandishing its weapons in the open. The Brexit[Read More…]

Headaches Of Empire: Brexit’s Effect On The United States

Headaches Of Empire: Brexit’s Effect On The United States

There remains a conspicuous fear in the US Republic that civilization must be a centralising endeavour. Smaller states only matter if they are wedged into a series of agreements and arrangements with an overseeing hegemon. The hegemon dictates the measures to be taken, even if they may be cushioned by promises of good relations and a false sense of autonomy.

Rubbishing Brexit: Post-Referendum Malevolence In Action

Rubbishing Brexit: Post-Referendum Malevolence In Action

Twenty-four hour news networks are both terrible and worthy sites to gauge herd-like assumptions. A gaze at CNN over the coverage of the Brexit over the course of Friday suggested the dismay, growing into outrage that the infallible market had somehow failed to detect the Leave voters on its all divine radar.

Brexit It Is! David Cameron Resigns

Brexit It Is! David Cameron Resigns

The Vote Leave chief executive Matthew Elliot was wishing to get voters out for the cause, circulating a message that, “There is a very real chance that voters in London and Scotland will vote to keep us in the EU today despite the heartlands of the country voting to leave.” The circulated email also sported a picture from a “leafy”[Read More…]

The Inhumanity Of Brexit

The Inhumanity Of Brexit

While the Brexit debate has become a matter of colliding blocs of speculators and crystal ball gazers, a glaring aspect has come to the fore.  Virtually nothing has been said about the role played by human rights, Britain’s role in building it up and inspiration in the European Convention of Human Rights, or the issue about citizenship. In that sense,[Read More…]

Bernie Sanders, Purgatory And The Third Candidate

Bernie Sanders, Purgatory And The Third Candidate

Bernie Sanders, who has been for many months the presumptive thorn in the side of the now presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, has the chance to sink with a trace. He began as one of the few independent Senators from his own chamber. He can go down blazing with impetuous, non-aligned fury, while doing what has been unthinkable in US politics for generations: create a third electoral force.

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Warmongering And Necromancy: The US State Department Dissent On Syria

Warmongering And Necromancy: The US State Department Dissent On Syria

 “To get 51 signatures on a dissent channel message is remarkable and suggests a very broad consensus at the working level responsible for implementing policy decisions, that the current [Syria] policy is failing and is destined to keep failing.” Robert Ford, The Detroit News, Jun 18, 2016 The entire messiness of the Syrian conflict should be an object lesson repudiating[Read More…]

Dreams About Terrorists: Wolves, Wolf Packs And Resources

Dreams About Terrorists: Wolves, Wolf Packs And Resources

Terrorists provide alibis for hungry security establishments in search of themselves. Their physical effect is always small relative to the psychic disturbances they cause. Know thyself, urges the Delphic maxim, but self-knowledge implies an acceptance of ignorance. Nothing doing when it comes to the issue of finding the elusive “lone wolf” terrorist, a creature that has become more irritant than[Read More…]

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Competitive Football Violence At Euro 2016

Competitive Football Violence At Euro 2016

“Russia and Poland are in top place in the hooligan chart. England has dropped down a long way.” Andrei Malosolov, Jun 15, 2016 It had gone into something of a hibernating state, but it is clear that the European Football Championship in France is being made an example of by that scourge of sport, the football hooligan. The modus operandi[Read More…]

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Dreams Of Control: Israel, Global Censorship, And The Internet

Dreams Of Control: Israel, Global Censorship, And The Internet

“Under the cover of darkness, there is no limit to the expansion of Big Brother.” Ilan Gilon, Meretz Party (Israel), Times of Israel, Feb 4, 2016 While Israel’s central justification for its often reactionary policies is couched in hyper-exceptionalist rhetoric, nourished by the ashes of Holocaust remembrance, current interest in censoring the Internet is far from exceptional. Like a machine[Read More…]

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Climate Change Censorship: Australia And UNESCO

Climate Change Censorship: Australia And UNESCO

Censoring climate change and its reporting is a big business, notably among fossil fuel obsessives and those in denial. It continues to fulfil a role in the policies of Australia’s Turnbull government. Even after the demise of Tony Abbott last year, his successor continues to scrub his own environmental credentials from his profile. As he does so, an assortment of[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Climate Change