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17 August 2016 |
I fret more than ever for friends and family in the Philippines. If life is so expendable, who can be safe? What if my brother-in-law is mistakenly identified as a drug 'pusher'? What if my dad goes to a cockfight and armed vigilantes do a drive-by? It is disheartening that many Filipinos seem to approve of Duterte's methods. This is the purge many had wanted. They see the current campaign as a necessary, painful transition to better things. They are wrong. Nothing personal, just history.
16 August 2016 |
Horton desired to highlight the need for more stringent application of doping policies but in the process he enabled Chinese nationalists to bolster their inflated national pride, at his and Australia's expense. That he used his concern about drug use as a competitive tactic lessened its effectiveness, and only enabled Chinese nationalists to once more don the mantle of victim. Any chance for reform around issues like drugs in sport got caught in the wake of wounded egos and jingoistic pride.
09 August 2016 |
The recent Chilcot report on British participation in the Iraq War elicited embarrassing responses by British and Australian leaders and apologists of the time. Specious justifications were accompanied by a failure to take responsibility. The defects of the invasion and the moral irresponsibility of those who collaborated in it did not flow solely from its procedural inadequacies. The crudity now attributed to Donald Trump and his obiter dicta on war flourished before him among Washington insiders.
08 August 2016 |
The main legislative catalyst for the GFC was the repeal, in 1999 by Bill Clinton, of the Glass Steagall Act, which had prohibited commercial banks from engaging in the investment business. This allowed the investment banks to indulge in the debauch of financial invention that almost destroyed the world's monetary system. Trump has made the reinstatement of Glass Steagall official policy. Should that happen, it could be the most beneficial development in the global financial system for decades.
07 August 2016 |
The Rio 2016 Olympics has earned a well-deserved label: the jogos da excludad, the games of exclusion. It is a label that shames a ruling class that got its priorities wrong. In the name of the Games, 77,000 residents of Rio's favelas have been evicted and hundreds of these settlements have been bulldozed. Those favelas that avoided the bulldozers have been hidden behind concrete walls that epitomise what theologian Leonardo Boff has called the 'lack of shame' living deep in the Brazilian soul.
31 July 2016 |
The United Nations Security Council is in the process of selecting its next secretary-general. There is intense interest, not least because the General Assembly has made efforts to make it more transparent via an open nomination process and televised debates. The UN is seen in some parts as an edifice to bureaucratic ineptitude. But the internationalism that stitched the world back together after two calamitous wars has frayed. We need the UN as ballast against future instability.
27 July 2016 |
It was two years ago this month, in July 2014, that my flight touched down in Ben Gurion Airport half an hour later than scheduled. There were rumours of Hamas missiles landing in the vicinity of the airport. A few days later multiple airlines announced they were ceasing travel to Israel. What would become Israel's deadliest offensive in Gaza since the Second Intifada, 'Operation Protective Edge', was entering its second week. How did it come to this?
26 July 2016 |
The violence at the pastoral frontier of the British colonies here in Australia was all pervasive. 228 years after it commenced, we are still experiencing the after-effects. When I started advocating Aboriginal rights here in Australia almost 40 years ago, the prevailing wisdom was that the missions and missionaries were all bad news. It will come as no surprise that I have always doubted that Aborigines were well rid of religion and the missionaries in all circumstances.
26 July 2016 |
As the US goes through its convention season, it is becoming increasingly clear that the choice is between someone spouting decidedly undemocratic and possibly fascist rhetoric and someone for whom democratic decision-making is, at best, something to be evaded with as little scrutiny as possible. Both parties are moneyed and both seek foreign scapegoats upon which to direct media attention. November is shaping up to provide a distinctly unpalatable choice.
25 July 2016 |
John traces the political ascent and descent of Sturzo whose first public office was as mayor of his own town. The chapter headings mark each step up and down the Everest of Italy's experiment with democracy and fascism: the emergence of political Catholicism in Italy; the dream takes shape; democracy without direction; democracy in decline; the search for a leader; the stick and the carrot; the voice of the watchman; and enter the night. Sturzo goes into exile; Mussolini takes over; and the Vatican is well pleased because the Roman Question is finally resolved in 1929 with the Lateran Treaties negotiated by Mussolini and Pope Pius XI, each of whom got what they were looking for.
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