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The cost so far of Filipinos' gamble on thug rule

13 Comments
17 August 2016 | Fatima Measham

DuterteI 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.


Mack Horton vs the People's Republic of China

3 Comments
16 August 2016 | Jeremy Clarke

Sun YangHorton 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.


Recent reflections on Iraq War ignore key ethical questions

2 Comments
09 August 2016 | Andrew Hamilton

Tony Blair and George W. BushThe 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.


The merits of Trump's economic agenda

15 Comments
08 August 2016 | David James

Donald TrumpThe 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.


Corruption and calamity in Rio's Games of exclusion

4 Comments
07 August 2016 | Antonio Castillo

Rio Olympics logoThe 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.


Can leadership change revive the UN?

6 Comments
31 July 2016 | Fatima Measham

Helen ClarkThe 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.


Israeli voices raised against hatred and division

10 Comments
27 July 2016 | Na'ama Carlin

The separation wall in Qalqilya in the Occupied Territories (West Bank). Photo by Na'ama CarlinIt 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?


Religion and violence in Australian-Indigenous history

2 Comments
26 July 2016 | Frank Brennan

COV&R ConferenceThe 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.


Trump vs Clinton: Americans' unpalatable choice

9 Comments
26 July 2016 | Justin Glyn

Hillary ClintonAs 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.


Frank Brennan on John Molony's Don Luigi Sturzo: The Father of Social Democracy

3 Comments
25 July 2016 | Frank Brennan

Frank Brennan and John MolonyJohn 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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