A man in Kansas has taken over the American political system

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.

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Phillip FrazerComment
News nuggets you may have missed:

“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.

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Trump, widely designated ‘a fucking moron’, still standing tall on his hind legs

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.

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Phillip Frazer Comments
When Helen Garner emerged from anonymity

"Why does the women have all the pain, miss?"

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).

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Phillip FrazerComment
Of The Digger, the counter-culture, and Helen Garner

She and I met for a Jamaican dinner in Carlton the week of Digger’s first issue, and she asked me “Why did you print that stupid story about Daddy Cool’s drummer and groupies?”

“I think we were scared no one would buy a paper about alternatives,” I ventured, “so we pitched the cover to rock music fans.”

“It was awful,” she said, “and no one except teenage wankers would have read it”.

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Phillip Frazer Comments
A LETTER FROM AUSTRALIA

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.

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Phillip Frazer Comment
Is nuclear war just a TrumpTweet away?

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.

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Phillip FrazerComment
The sands of time are running out ... for sand

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?

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Phillip FrazerComment
Walking home in Chinatown, New York, 4:30am, October, 1977

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.

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Phillip FrazerComment
What makes Americans think they’re exceptional?

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.

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Phillip Frazer Comments
Populism may be our last, best hope

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.

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Phillip FrazerComment
Why are our politicians so pathetic?

One term that gives me the irrits – neoliberalism. It sounds like a good thing – new and liberal – so it’s a cheer word not a boo word. But what it means is rule by business elites who believe that anything socially managed, eg public transport, education -- or socially minded eg clean air and water, art, theoretical science – should be run by businesspeople according to their values. In any case, not many pub-pundits lace their epithets with “neoliberalism” except in Mullum’s Couthouse Hotel.

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Phillip FrazerComment