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Archive for the ‘Editorial’ Category

Oh no, here we go again – I have that sinking feeling in my stomach, or is it my blood boiling. ScoMo is already following that long tradition of erstwhile Liberal PMs sucking up to a US president by offering to support the USA in actions against Iran (following America’s withdrawal from a nuclear deterrent agreement!). All the way with Donald J, who didn’t even request our help. Just like Vietnam back in the day, where we asked to join in. Remember how well that went for Australia, not to mention the poor Vietnamese?

Ironically within days Professor Hugh White, noted academic military strategist, has launched a new book ‘How to Defend Australia’, where he apparently argues strongly that we should shed any further delusions about Australia sheltering under the safety of a US security umbrella. A fictitious treaty obligation used by successive Australian governments to justify going to war alongside Uncle Sam, most recently in Iraq and Afghanistan? Another calamity for all sides involved!

As China rises and US dominance in Asia wanes, we are gunna be on our own, says the expert professor, who also suggests doubling our military expenditure and even discuss getting our own nuclear weapons. Tell him he’s dreaming, which he clearly is! But meanwhile he could drop by ScoMo’s Canberra office on his way to uni, and let him in on the latest strategic thinking. So that we don’t have to risk Australian troops on another needless military excursion into the Islamic world. With no guarantee of US protection insurance. 

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Following recent attempts by ScoMo and his attack dog Dutton to intimidate journalists and whistleblowers with Federal police raids and legal action, we should rightfully clamour for better protections of ‘press freedom’ and journalist sources.

However, the sine qua non of that protection, and privilege, is that the Fourth Estate must exercise that freedom rigorously in the public interest. A letter to SMH editor (28 June) succinctly points out its failings:

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Only eight days after the (terrorist) mass murders in Christchurch, punters voting for the glorious state parliament of New South Wales have elected three Shooters, Fishers & Farmers Party members in the lower house. 

The three seats comprise the western half of the state, which roughly equals the size of Germany (albeit with a somewhat smaller population), and are their first in the Legislative Assembly. 

How can country punters have the murderous event still fresh in their minds and vote for a political party referred to as Shooters, its original name? If they are the answer we are asking the wrong question.

Yeah, the discredited Nationals (ex-Country Party), are on the nose in the bush, but come on folks, what about the vibe? How can the Electoral Commission even allow a political party name to be registered these days as Shooters – a world first.

The three seats of Barwon, Murray and Orange encompass the disappearing Murray-Darling river system, which is literally that country’s lifeblood – the scene of massive fish die-offs and corrupt water mismanagement overseen by the Coalition’s junior partner. 

The Greens clamoured for decades to protect those vital rivers, and scored dismally in the same electorates. Country voters know that Greens are watermelons (green on the outside, red inside), evil socialists, the devil incarnate, etc., and so they viscerally reject a party defending their own environmental interests.

The new parliament will have three Shooters members and three Greens members.

Say no more.

Meantime the NZ government is now scrambling to finally fix up its slack gun laws. Not surprising that a NSW-grown terrorist murderer moved to New Zealand a couple of years ago: after wandering the globe building up his so-called manifesto, he then easily put together an arsenal of semi-automatic weapons.

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So, the ‘iconic’ (obligatory adjective) Sydney Opera House is our biggest billboard, so sayeth PM Scott Morrison aka ScoMo, endorsing NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s approval of advertising on the famous roof sails of this UNESCO Heritage-listed building, to promote a horse-racing event. 

It’s a quintessential Sydney story, where Shock Jock Supremo Jones pulls the strings on Our Gladys, and we then learn that his business partners have nags running in the race – a redolent whiff of his ‘cash for comment’ era. 

I’m not sure that’s what UNESCO had in mind, but maybe it’s the epitome of OzCulture for crass gambling promotion to prevail over aesthetic considerations in a display of rampant philistinism (a word to put back into common usage). To cap it off, ingenuous ScoMo doesn’t get what all the fuss is about. I believe him.

The Pentecostal PM evinces a daggy soccer dad image, and as self-styled marketing guru who in a previous gig at the Australian Tourist Commission oversaw the cringeworthy ‘where the bloody hell are you’ advertising campaign, he has a track record as Chief Philistine. And is Our Glad channelling Edna Everage?

The horse racing event is called The Everest, so how the image of that word on the Opera House will promote tourism here is a mystery only explained by bluster and bullshit. And make no mistake, the Sport of Kings is for gambling, and certainly not for the benefit of exercising the poor nags and jockeys.

Cultural cringe at being Australian is the only response to this travesty, at least amongst us elitists, but it’s not a comfortable feeling. Optimists thought we had left fundamental philistinism behind us in the maligned 1950s, but it’s in our DNA!

ducks in a row

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Well, it wasn’t rocket surgery for KC to correctly predict the PM’s imminent demise.

The political circus act in the big top tent in Canberra had its inevitable denouement yesterday with the elevation, so to speak, of the egregious ScoMo to the top job, after all semblances of personal loyalty and party unity were rudely trashed in a week of bald-faced lying and treachery amongst thieves.

Amongst the many Brutus look-alikes the Big Belgian aka Mathias ranked highly in his treasonous volte-face: one day standing photogenically alongside our erstwhile PM Malcolm of Point Piper, and the next day embracing the assassin’s cabal.

It’s another sad day for Australian politics, when once again personal enmities and hard-nosed ideologues behead their own leader in an orgy of self-destruction. The three As choir boys Abbott, Abetz and Andrews, all inspired by Christian self-righteousness and revenge, got their man. But they over-reached when their anointed Trojan horse Dutton went down to ScoMo, who of course is another bible-basher – is something Machiavellian going on there?  

Malcolm’s valedictory speech predictably also, was full of self-congratulations for a PM job well-done. He looked like he’d won the lottery instead of unceremoniously chucked out on his ear. That man’s ego is bullet-proof. An insincere opportunist, who will disappear into the ever-growing dustbin of minor prime ministerial figures who strutted and fretted their time on the political stage and signified nothing. 

A threnody to the disappearing Australian body politic, may it not rest in peace!

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Since this yummy headline appeared over a Paddy Manning article in The Monthly on 30 July, I’ve been hoping for an opportunity to recycle it, shamelessly. Regular KC readers know already that we favour and savour two-word ‘rhyming’ captions, and this one is a beauty: it’s short and sweet!

Manning was looking at the results of the ‘Super Saturday’ Federal elections, where Labor scooped four of the five electorates contested that day. Alternative PM Bill Shorten’s prospects of continuing as Labor leader and prevailing at the next election got a sugar hit indeed.

Well, today that recycling opportunity arrived, as PM Malcolm of Point Piper was metaphorically wounded (mortally?) in his own party room while staving off a leadership challenge from arch-conservative Peter Dutton. I agree with the pundits that Malcolm will not survive as PM, and the coup de grace may even come later this week.

Political soothsaying may be a sucker’s game, so to speak, but I reckon Shorten’s odds of electoral success just shortened again, and he’s definitely looking very sweet for the upcoming elections, not to mention the rest of his party in general.

The proverbial drover’s dog would also be looking pretty sweet against the motley Coalition crew running around like a mob of sheep in ever-diminishing circles, or is that lambs to the slaughter. Dutton is on the nose, outside a few supporters in the Shallow Deep North just up from Brizzie, so another feckless challenger may eventually claim the Titanic captain’s guernsey and get to re-arrange the deck chairs. Plus ça change!

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Neil MacGregor’s book is a real tour de force, to use an expression from south of the Rhine. Ex-director of the National Gallery in London and the British Museum, he has produced a unique and brilliant history of Germany, through close study of its monuments, landmarks, buildings, artworks and cultural artefacts.

I agree with (who wouldn’t?) R.J.W Evans of the New York Review of Books: it’s a ‘necklace of burnished cameos, witty and cunning, intricately constructed, but highly readable’. Each chapter offers an original and deep insight into the German universe and deserves to be digested slowly, with breaks between them to allow the ideas to settle. 

For example, MacGregor looks at the fascinating collection of ‘emergency’ banknotes (called Notgeld) produced by each German town towards the end of WWI as the central bank faltered, through the hyper-inflationary period of the Weimar Republic and Nazi use of them for their propaganda.

The book’s excellent photos do much more than illustrate his themes, they give it another cultural dimension, as a brilliant artefact itself. It was published in conjunction with a BBC 4 Radio program and 2014 exhibition at the British museum. 

As you can see, I was mightily impressed by this brief history of Germany. Apparently it’s also been translated into German and become a trending best-seller there! Finally, I also agree with Antony Beevor: ‘Anyone who wants to understand Germany should read this’.   

bruchhausen

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