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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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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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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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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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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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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Notes from an account of my 44 years in America

July 29th 1970.  I find her in a recording studio where Janis Joplin and band are finishing Pearl. Like on stage in San Jose, she’s drinking Jim Beam while the boys smoke dope.  “Who the fuck knew I had fans in Australee-a?” she yells. Her energy’s bursting her seams – it’s a force of creativity, or a cry for help.

 

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Will Trump be impeached? Does he have dementia?

Robert Reich, who was Secretary of Labor during Bill Clinton’s presidency, says that “barring a ‘smoking gun’ that shows Trump’s complicity with Russian operatives in interfering in the 2016 election – Trump’s fate seems to hinge on the midterm elections of 2018. Right now, Trump still has the support of 75 percent of Republican voters, which makes Republican officeholders reluctant to dump him.

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Glimmers of hope from strange places in America

I’ve worried lately about the pile of reasons to abandon all hope that’s accumulated in the corner of my office. So this week I went to the orchard of awfulness that our world often seems to be and plucked these precious four cherries of hope, from the ever-unpredictable USA:

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