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Archive for the ‘current affairs’ Category

Malcolm Turnbull’s ego shames Australia on the B.B.C.

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Malcolm Turnbull tells.... um... does this even need a caption?

Malcolm Turnbull tells.... um... does this even need a caption?

Malcolm Turnbull, leader of Australia’s well-deserving federal opposition has been banging on and on for nearly 2 weeks now about a joke about George Bush.

Firstly, Turnbull has taken on the role of playing wounded, feigning shock that anybody could consider the least competent American President in history an idiot. It’s a strange position for an allegedly intelligent man to take, especially given that his unending melodrama of the last fortnight would have made better sense coming from a 7-year old boy with wet underpants.

Secondly, Turnbull has been flouncing on for so long about how some joke about George Bush, allegedly made by Kevin Rudd, will so hurt our international standing, and so harm Australia’s international security clearance, and so upset the rest of the world, that now the media of the world have walked into the story thinking it’s actually a story and thereby treating it as such. So after two weeks of hard and useless work, Turnbull may well have achieved that of which he has endlessly accused Rudd.

Thanks to Lord Snot’s ceaseless self-serving dummy-spit, the BBC world service is now carrying this ill-informed article freshly posted by Reuters.

“[It was] an account so self-serving that it presented him as a diplomatic encyclopaedia, a font of all knowledge, and the president of the United States, the chief executive of our greatest ally, as a fool,” Mr Turnbull was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

Aren’t parliamentary privilege and political power wonderful? You can be the gutless leading puppet of a rejected gaggle of climate change denying visionless racists focussed only on finding fault in everything that everybody who is actually doing anything puts forward, intent only on one day adding “Prime Minister of Australia” to your resume because it’s the one thing you haven’t been able to buy – yet – but if you spin the same irrelevant line long enough, the world will listen to your vacuous side of the story for, ooh, maybe fifteen minutes?

But that’s opposition isn’t it – so little to do, so much time.

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November 13, 2008 at 1:28 am

Juicy behind the scenes rumours from US election

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Sorry for the sleazy title, but if you’ve got such a problem with it, how did you end up here?

Turns out that Newsweak (NOT a typo) has been running a little project via its journalists, gathering anything not-fit-for-print or off-the-record pre-election to release post-election.

Genii.

Although it’s quite hilarious to read that Sarah Palin couldn’t grasp that Africa is a “continent” rather than a “country”, the eye-catching bit of awesomeness is a comment from Obama, in which he (rightly) derides the debate stage show.

When he was preparing for the Democratic primary debates, Obama was recorded saying, “I don’t consider this to be a good format for me, which makes me more cautious. I often find myself trapped by the questions and thinking to myself, ‘You know, this is a stupid question, but let me … answer it.’ So when Brian Williams is asking me about what’s a personal thing that you’ve done [that’s green], and I say, you know, ‘Well, I planted a bunch of trees.’ And he says, ‘I’m talking about personal.’ What I’m thinking in my head is, ‘Well, the truth is, Brian, we can’t solve global warming because I f—ing changed light bulbs in my house. It’s because of something collective’.

Apart from it being reassuring to know that Obama uses the F word, how on-the-money is that assessment of feelgood new age greenness. Lovin’ it. Gobama!

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November 6, 2008 at 7:52 pm

Yay World, Racism’s Finished Now!

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What an amazing year for black people: Kevin Rudd apologized to the Aboriginal Stolen Generations, Lewis Hamilton won the Formula 1 Grand Prix, and now this – Barack Obama, first African-American President. Yay, racism’s all gone now.

Of course it isn’t. And it’s freaky that media – credible, generally reliable media – are so gaga over the African-American component of Barack Obama that his victory is now being painted as the realization of Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream.

This is not to take away from what Obama’s victory is. It is profound, and by virtue of the fact that America must now change direction on so many globally impactive issues, it is world-changing. It is a relief, it is a chance for the world to take a long-awaited breath. It is generational and cultural change. It is the elevation of vision triumphing over the politics of fear.

But just like Rudd’s apology, although it is a starkly powerful symbol – and therefore open to all manner of broadly varying characterization from any and all with a response to such a symbol – it is not an end in itself. It is, if anything, a beginning.

The most pragmatic assessment (pre-election) of what an Obama victory might mean for shifting racial tensions in America was that people still beholden to racial discrimination, whether consciously or reflexively practised, might see their distrustful tendencies diminish over time. If they experience a long term engagement with or relationship of sorts to a black man as President, and come to judge him on his words and actions, rather than their kneejerk attitude to his skin, then their embedded prejudices might register as irrelevant and unsustainable. And, like most useless things, be let go.

That’s more realistic. Then again, this is perhaps more caustic than it is pragmatic (still thoroughly timely reading):

Jesse Jackson will be appointed lead editorial writer for The Wall Street Journal. and Al Sharpton will assume duties at The National Review.  Rush Limbaugh will inaugurate a series called “Great African American Inventors.” Spike Lee will be invited to run Columbia Pictures  and Amy Goodman will take over at NBC. The Newspaper Society of America will apologize for the lynchings and civil disturbances caused by an inflammatory media over the last one hundred or so years. A choked up Rupert Murdoch will read the statement on behalf of his colleagues.

In an emotional press conference, John McWhorter, Ward Connerly and Shelby Steele will admit that  they have been tools of the Eugenics movement and donate all of the millions they have received from far right organizations to scholarships for black and Hispanic students. Blacks will have as much access to a good education as those members of Al-Qaeda and Saddam’ s government who studied in  the United States. This will end the policy of you educate them, we fight them.

Gertrude Himmlefarb and Lynne Cheney will insist that the works by Hispanic, black and Native Americans be added to the cannon.  Cornel West will co host  a show with Dr.  Phil. The New York Review of Books will end its white only policy and begin to resemble America. Phillip Roth will admit that all of his novels are autobiographical. Several prominent abstract expressionists will confess that they can’t draw.

All of the blacks and Hispanics who have been driven out of New York, Oakland, and San Francisco, as a result of the policies of ethnic cleansing, advocated by Jerry Brown, Giuliani and Newsom, will be invited to return. The banks that aimed toxic mortgage loans to blacks and Hispanics, who would have qualified for conventional loans had they been white, will halt the foreclosure process and renegotiate these loans. CEOs on Wall Street will forego bonuses and golden parachutes. Sales conferences will be held at Day’s Inn. For rent signs will go up on K street. The American Enterprise will close its doors.

taken from Morning in Obamerica, by Ishmael Reed


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November 5, 2008 at 8:56 pm

President Barack Obama: It’s a lock!!!

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Given that the West coast of America is rife with filthy communist Hollywood types, the final handful of seats needed by Barack Obama is assured. It’s over. He wins. BIG!!!. It’s unlikely that even Republic*nts are stupid enough to take any part of these incoming election results to the Supreme Court for a bit of stacked judiciary revision.

UPDATE: OBAMA hits 273 seats with 138 still to count. Massive Win!!!!!!! Looking set to take Indiana and Virginia in massive redrawing of electoral map.

2 big outcomes: Americans made the right choice (finally), and NO MORE US ELECTION COVERAGE!!!!! Woo Hoo!

In the meantime, however, results are still coming in and analysts are trying to simultaneously milk and nail down the moment.

Bloomberg: Obama on Verge of Presidency

Peter Hartcher, in Sydney Morning Herald: US Voters reject Bush nightmare

The Fireside Post: Finally! An intellectual Moral President.

Al Jazeera: Ha Ha, American Infidel Scum!

UK Guardian: Breaking US Election coverage.

eating Defeat Nachos

eating Defeat Nachos

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November 5, 2008 at 2:15 pm

Obama by 123 seats! Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, New Mexico, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and The Senate..

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Game On!!! It looks as though the Republican election-stealing machine has stayed mothballed so far. Perhaps because robbing this election would be too obvious. Pennsylvania confirmed as first big swing state prize, with Ohio and Florida looking set to follow.

Latest locked in numbers from New York Times have Obama on 192 seats and McCain on 69. Meaning: McCain is getting smashed, the Republic*nts are getting smashed, and Obama is only 78 seats from victory. If current trends continue, the Democrats also look set to take a clear majority in the all important Senate race, meaning no more excuses for their role in approving further failed policy positions.

Up to date election result map here, and recommended result surfing here.

Also, check out Tom Edsall’s Guide for Watching Election Results, which makes it all more bearable.

Ben Smith of Politico is also logging mini-updates of useful breaking news here, with the latest – and welcome – byte being that Obama may be considering Democrat powerbroker and brains trust Rahm Emanuel for appointment as his Chief of Staff.

Incoming state reports and news bytes here from bloggers for the Washington Post.

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November 5, 2008 at 12:55 pm

Quick n Easy Access to US Election Day Coverage

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Here it is – Election Day, and if American foreign policy arrogance is anything to go by, today’s winner gets to be the new Ruler of the World. This is of course one more reason why everybody on the planet should get to vote for the US Presidency, which would be one solid reason why the result would not be in doubt. However, Americans and American Elections being what they are, today may yet be a very very long day.

In vague order of immediacy, here are the most useful pages for you to visit today, depending on your information processing needs.

For your immediate updates and easiest insight, go to the the New York Times front page. Clear mapping in red and blue as tallies come in, with percentages and additional headlines if you want to keep reading. Good news just in – Florida (North America’s wang) is swinging clearly toward Obama. With 10% of the vote counted there, he’s up 55% to 45%. North Carolina has also gone to Obama heavily in early voting, with South Carolina swinging from blue to red and backagain.

Can’t handle uncertainty, head to the New York Times President Map. This map shows the way that states are leaning as counts come in but, unlike CNN, MSNBC, FAUX, etc. only reports electoral seats gained once they are confirmed. It details the direct race between Obama and McCain. So far, Obama has only New Hampshire, while McCain has pulled ahead in states where you might expect to find bourbon served with breakfast.

If you have more time to spare and would like to choose between objects of hope and despair for yourself, Huffington Post has a full page worth of Election Day maps and widgets from different news and online sources, such as Google, CBS, and CNN.

Of course, if you’re wanting more depth to your coverage, just go straight to the Huffington Post front page where updates and new commentary are being posted almost half-hourly throughout the day – complete with stories of voting irregularities, legal challenges to ballots, and latest exit polls. It’s a good day to check out HuffPo if you’re new to the site.

http://punditkitchen.com/

For greater depth and breadth, Real Clear Politics is one of the most widely referred to early posters of political number crunching – and with good reason. Their information layout could be less painful, but if you have time to delve in search of salve for your political angst, RCP is the site for you.

And presented in a more NewsWeek type format, Politico also offers broad up to date coverage, but in a less constipated format, that makes quick check-ins and check-outs easier and more worthwhile.

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November 5, 2008 at 10:55 am

Naom Klein’s new Bailout piece for Rolling Stone

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Naomi Klein – intellectanarcho-justice consiglieri extraordinaire and author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine – has just had a mini-opus on the $700B bailout published here in Rolling Stone. It’s suitably entitled The New Trough and like all of Klein’s writing is well worth a look for anybody thinking that the most loudly repeated story isn’t necessarily the real story.

On October 13th, when the U.S. Treasury Department announced the team of “seasoned financial veterans” that will be handling the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street, one name jumped out: Reuben Jeffery III, who was initially tapped to serve as chief investment officer for the massive new program.

On the surface, Jeffery looks like a classic Bush appointment. Like Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, he’s an alum of Goldman Sachs, having worked on Wall Street for 18 years. And as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission from 2005 to 2007, he proudly advocated “flexibility” in regulation — a laissez-faire approach that failed to rein in the high-risk trading at the heart of the meltdown.

Bankers watching bankers, regulators who don’t believe in regulating — that’s all standard fare for the Bush crew. What’s most striking about Jeffery’s résumé, however, is an item omitted when his new job was announced: He served as executive director of Paul Bremer’s infamous Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad, during the early days of the Iraq War. Part of his job was to hire civilian staff, which made him an integral part of the partisan machine that filled the Green Zone with Young Republicans, investment bankers and Dick Cheney interns. Qualifications weren’t a big issue back then, because the staff’s main function was to hand over stacks of taxpayer money to private contractors, who were the ones actually running the occupation. It was this nonstop cash conveyor belt that earned the Green Zone a reputation, in the words of one CPA official, as “a free-fraud zone.” During Senate hearings last year, when Jeffery was asked what he had learned from his experience at the CPA, he said he thought that contracts should be handed out with more “speed and flexibility” — the same philosophy he cited back when he was in charge of regulating Wall Street traders…. [continue reading]

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November 3, 2008 at 10:56 am