On Monday night, ABC’s 4 Corners did a Julian Assange update. Here are my four takeaways:
(1) In almost an hour of reporting, the ABC’s Michael Brissenden barely glossed the crucial stories Assange has published: American interference in the internal affairs of dozens of countries (including invading many of them), US phone-tapping of world leaders, how and why the Democratic Party subverted Bernie Sanders in 2016, multiple financial outrages of global corporations and high-rollers.
America’s men of privilege and power (let’s call them MOPPs) have always defended the Constitutional rights they declared for themselves, and fought like hell to keep any other rights from creeping in – specifically, “social” rights like the right to health, a home, an education, a fair share of nature, and the right of non-MOPPs to invent new rules. Australia, having never dared enumerate our citizens’ rights, will protect Christianity from “narks”, if our Pentacostal PM has his way.
In America today, three mega-billionaires – Bill Gates (Microsoft), Jeff Bezos (Amazon) and Warren Buffett (an “investor”) – combined, have more than the collective wealth of the poorest-half of Americans. Those three guys’ net worth is $248.5 billion, compared to $245 billion for the bottom 160 million of the United States.
This is the kind of society USA-groupies like Morrison, Frydenberg & Co want in Australia.
The explosion of new ideas and ways of living that happened in the late 1960s and early 70s — known as the counter-culture — was not a frivolous indulgence in sex drugs and rock’n’roll, nor was it a failed attempt to redefine everything about our culture: it was a semi-successful attempt, and what we must do to save our species from self-extinction is complete the revolution.
Since Rupert Murdoch will die soon, surely, I’m posting here the first of several brief encounters I’ve had with him and his Empire over the last half-century. This is about bringing Rolling Stone magazine to Australia, when it mattered.
Millions of Trumpsters hate “political correctness” itself, meaning progressive reviewing of past and present injustices, more than they hate immigrants, or the other subsets of the community whom they see as benefiting from liberal social policies.
She spent the first 30 years of her adult life chasing after justice and equality for all, and particularly for people who were like her, black and female. She didn’t retreat or apologise on matters of principle.
The president at last admitted that the USA assumes the right to pillage resources from all over the planet while distracting everyone with bullshit about bringing us democracy freedom and prosperity. Everybody knows this but here it was on TV, straight from the horse’s arse.
Jim and Kim drank gallons of Johnny Walker Black Label while hatching new plots to whack the “mole” Angleton was certain was somewhere inside his team until, in 1963, Philby himself vanished and re-emerged living in Moscow. Angleton was shattered, unable to comprehend such treachery.
The current Congress might grant Trump powers never before given to a President, for example, to suspend the 2020 presidential elections, if enough people were in the streets protesting and enough right-wing open-carry armed thugs turned out to confront them
In practical terms, the Koch agenda is to remove all constraints on what individuals and businesses can do, which is what Charles Koch calls “libertarianism” (not to be confused with the anti-elite libertarianism promoted in the sixties by Sydney intellectuals such as Germaine Greer and John Anderson). They are shoveling billions into the US political system to build their dream society, the sole principle of which is unmitigated selfishness.
Let’s acknowledge everyone who went to war, as well as people who had the courage to not go on principle, and those who fought from the 1950s through to today against joining the many American wars on poor nations seeking independence from, well, rich Americans.
“Quietly, the Liberals’ expectation now is that Turnbull will not be leading them to the next election.” Peter Dutton will be backed by those in the Coalition who, openly or secretly, prefer a leader whose only job outside of politics was being a Brisbane cop. Dutton goes after journalists with the same mouth-frothing energy he uses for immigrants, environmentalists, Dustin Martin’s dad, and Jonny Depp’s dogs.
Facebook “mines” our personal information and sells it to advertisers who use it to target ads at us. You keep “liking” pink kittens and you’ll get ads selling baby cat food and pink hair dye. That simple business model brings in most of the company’s $42 billion annual income.
It is theoretically possible that the Australian Broadcasting Commission board might be persuaded to rein in its marauding Managing Director Michelle Guthrie, but in the USA, there in is no board, no way to rein Trump in.
After Trump’s first year on the job, actually most of it on the golf course, a fair percentage of the world’s 7.6 billion people now see that neither knowledge, understanding, compassion, nor concern for the planet press his buttons. We can only hope that he doesn’t press the button, and kill untold millions of us, which he’s odds on to do.
This crooked real estate moocher entered the White House with no plan other than to undo every socially useful thing President Obama did, and be his bullying self. He gave top jobs in his administration to people who’d given him campaign money, also to people who promised to demolish the agencies he hired them to manage (eg climate change denier Scott Pruitt to run the EPA, into the ground), and to fellow business alpha-males like ex-boss of Exxon-Mobil Rex Tillerson who knew jack shit about affairs of state, to be Secretary of State.
EDITOR'S NOTE: As we have rather piously explained on previous occasions, it is not The Digger's policy to run anonymous articles without exceptional reasons. This article is not part of the Diseases We Share series, although it elucidates a social disease and poses a remarkably simple and joyous solution. The reasons for the authoress's anonymity shall become obvious....
One afternoon last week my form one kids and I were about to launch ourselves dutifully on an assignment about Ancient Greece. Using the only class set that wasn't too blatantly patronising or out of date, I'd managed to base on the text a little number on sex roles in ancient times compared with those of today. (I've explained this to account for having actually handed round eighteen copies of a book like Looking at Ancient History).
When I left for the States in 1976, Australia had 15 million citizens who enjoyed the ninth highest per capita income in the world. The nation’s wool, meat, and wheat provided the largest share of export earnings followed by mineral ores and coal, both of which were firmly controlled by multinational corporations.
Today the population is 25 million and Australia is fifth in the world rankings of Gross National Income per person (the US is eighth). Minerals and carbon-based fuels dominate export earnings, just ahead of tourism and educating foreign students, while agricultural production has shrunk due to competition from low-wage regions of the globalized economy. Global finance, meanwhile, has moved in, led by Goldman Sachs and American Express, and so have the internet behemoths Google, Facebook, and eBay. All these mega corporations are expert tax avoiders, though none surpass News Corp, the propaganda empire run by Rupert Murdoch, who has dudded his fellow Australians out of untold millions in taxes.
In April this year I wrote an article headlined “On the brink, and at the mercy of a pair of mass-murderous buffoons”. I was of course referring to Trump and Kim, and some said my language was over the top. But I believe that anyone who advocates or even seriously contemplates exploding nuclear weapons anywhere anytime, is a threat to humanity. And anyone who is self-evidently a buffoon, and who advocates exploding nuclear warheads in the open air, on cities for example, is an aspiring mass-murderer.
Sand has always been an irritant, specially when it gets inside engines or bodily crevices. Right now in Byron Bay it’s irritating because it’s one of several factors delaying the rebuild of Byron’s Palace Cinemas complex -- nearly two years late with no reopening in sight. What’s sand got to do with it?
I head down to Tribeca, my stomping ground until a few weeks back when I moved to a loft in Chinatown. P kicked me out of her loft on Park Place because my new relationship with a co-worker (now also unemployed) at Seven Days displeased her. P is an artist whose latest work is a cardboard model of the World Trade Centre stapled to the floor over a map of surrounding streets showing where the towers would land if they were to fall over. Our loft (now hers) at 25 Park Place, is one block north and would cop it for sure.
Bill Clinton won the Presidency in part because he had absorbed a rare portfolio of the references, preferences, expressions, and even facial and bodily gestures of multiple subcultures. He could weave them all into his national TV appearances, or put them on like costume changes at rallies across the nation. Hillary never had that talent, though she knew its value and tried like hell to do it better.
Populism has become the catch-word for all political positions outside the mainstream, and I believe this is an abuse of a word, and of a noble movement. The American Populist party in the 19th and 20th century fought the Big Business parties, and the same spirit energised Australia... universal voting, access to health-care and education, fair taxes, wages and working conditions, rights for women and children, and more arose not from beneficent businessmen or wise politicians but from people’s campaigns.