Archive for October, 2012

“This conflation of wealth and value is the root of the antagonism between the “one per cent” and the “ninety per cent” in this country. Some, perhaps even most, of the one percent are people who have milked, twisted, turned and sidestepped our banking and financial system…When Romney worked at Bain Capital, he was deft at making piles of money for investors, but often did so at the expense of the employees of the company being invested in…”

Excerpt of letter to the New Yorker (22/10/12) by Julie Naster, Nederland, Colorado.

Here @ the interpretOr, we’d like to add a seasonal touch to our Romney indictment – “disingenuous, oleaginous and highly dangerous Reagan/Bush Mk II figure of fear and loathing, with a bulging Swiss bank account, private jet and bizarre Tupperware fetish” – and add that he is also a venal corporate, blood-sucking vampire…

breaking news @ the Refugee Action Coalition:

The move by the Gillard government to excise the Australian mainland from the migration zone is “an absurd throwback to the draconian policies of the Howard government.”
“The blind application of the so-called ‘no advantage’ policy has led the government to implement yet another element of failed Liberal Party policy. Excising the mainland is a nonsense. Thousands of asylum seekers are arriving at excised places. The Minister can excise all the territory he likes, but the question is, ‘What is he going to do with the thousands of asylum seekers arriving at excised places who are languishing in Australian detention centres and on Nauru?’ ”said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“The government is desperate to be seen to be doing something, but excising the mainland is worse than nothing. The government’s off-shore processing arrangements are already in tatters…”

click here for more on this story @ the Refugee Action Coalition

Human Rights Watch (see our interpretOr link roll) adds that the Australian and Indonesian governments should urgently take effective measures to protect migrant children at high risk of abuse while in Indonesia en route to Australia.

“Threats, imprisonment, torture and even murder are used to curtail free speech, particularly that of regime critics and activists. This is particularly common in the most authoritarian countries such as China or Iran. The murder of journalists and political activists in authoritarian states remains frequent and the arrest and beating of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei changed the country’s political landscape by showing that no one, however famous or influential, was beyond the state’s reach….”           click through here to piece in full @ the Index on Censorship (UK)

“There are certain things in our nation and in the world which I am proud to be maladjusted and which I hope all men of good-will will be maladjusted until the good societies realize — I say very honestly that I never intend to become adjusted to — segregation and discrimination. I never intend to become adjusted to religious bigotry. I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few. I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism, to self-defeating effects of physical violence. But in a day when sputniks and explorers are dashing through outer space and guided ballistic missiles are carving highways of death through the stratosphere, no nation can win a war. It is no longer the choice between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence…”

Martin Luther King, Jnr.

“Social Justice and the Emerging New Age” address at the Herman W. Read Fieldhouse, Western Michigan University, (18 December 1963)

‘…during his time as head honcho of Bain Capital, there were no women partners in the firm. Today, only 4 of 49 partners are women. The candidate did mention that women need special accommodations “if” they work.  

And just as the poorly chosen words rolled out of Romney’s mouth, social media users latched on to the phrase. #Bindersfullofwomen trended on Twitter while an industrious user created an@Romneys_Binder account; it currently boasts more than 14,000 followers. “Binders full of women” was the “third-fastest rising search on Google during the televised debate,” according to the Daily Beast.’

Submitted by Bill Weinberg @ ww4 report    on Tue, 10/23/2012 – 00:2

We aren’t being ironic in the slightest. The only irony is that Mitt Romney posed as the protector of the Iranian protesters when by doing exactly that he actually utterly betrayed them—placing them at greater risk of repression and generally weakening their position within Iran. Here’s what he said, according to the New York Times transcript:

And then the president began what I've called an apology tour of going to — to various nations in the Middle East and — and criticizing America. I think they looked at that and saw weakness. Then when there were dissidents in the streets of Tehran, the Green Revolution, holding signs saying, is America with us, the president was silent. I think they noticed that as well. And I think that when the president said he was going to create daylight between ourselves and Israel that — that they noticed that as well.

Now this is a bigger betrayal of Iran’s protesters than anything Obama could ever do. Portraying them as looking to the US for sponsorship or protection, and linking them to US imperial interests in the Middle East, and even, implicitly, to Israel! Nothing could make Ahmadinejad happier than this verbiage, which plays right into his cynical strategy of tarring the protesters as dupes or pawns of the United States. Obama, in contrast, did the Iranian opposition a great service when he cut off money to the Iran Democracy Fund, over the outraged protests of the neocons.

Bill Weinberg is an award-winning 25-year veteran journalist in the fields of human rights, indigenous peoples, ecology and war. He is the author of Homage to Chiapas: The New Indigenous Struggles in Mexico (Verso Books, 2000) and War on the Land: Ecology and Politics in Central America (Zed Books, 1991). As a correspondent and contributing editor for Native Americas, Cornell University’s quarterly journal of hemispheric indigenous issues, he won three awards from the Native American Journalists Association for his reportage from Nicaragua to Arizona. His work has appeared in The NationThe ProgressiveThe Village Voice, NACLA Report on the AmericasMiddle East Policy,  Al JazeeraYes! MagazineIndian Country TodayThe Ecologist 

Iran and the bOmb: more wag the dog? (the interpretOr: Nov. 2011)

November 28, 2011
October 18, 2012 9:00 AM ET

Mitt Romney clearly wants to run away from the Bush legacy of unnecessary war, budget-busting tax cuts for the rich and economic collapse. When a town-hall debate questioner finally forced the GOP nominee to directly compare himself to Dubya earlier this week, Romney insisted: “President Bush and I are different people.” But place the two men’s biographies side by side, and the similarities that emerge are not just striking, they’re uncanny…

click here for piece in full @ Rolling Stone (US)

…and here @ the interpretOr, we view Romney as a disingenuous, oleaginous and highly dangerous Reagan/Bush Mk II figure of fear and loathing, with a bulging Swiss bank account, private jet and bizarre Tupperware fetish…

click here for the book of Moron: a histOry

We have reached a point in time when the level of our technical knowledge has gone way beyond the wildest dreams of past generations.

Indeed we can build a tower of glass a mile high to produce solar energy. We can change the genetic construction of our flora and fauna, even change our own bodies. We can now fight destructive wars in foreign countries from our lounge rooms using remote robots.

Although we have communication technology to enable anyone of us to contact anyone else, anywhere in the world, we are losing the ability or empathy to really listen to and understand each other.

Why is it our parliaments are characterised by combative argumentative oppositional political parties? Why do they mislead and propagandise us about wars and other crucial issues as though we are small children who can’t handle the truth?

Parliaments were meant to openly discuss important issues and arrive at the best solutions for our society through discourse and consultation. Not through a battle of ideas as they now claim.

Discourse is a method of honest examination of issues to arrive at the truth or best outcome not a competition for inflated ego’s to strive for popularity.

We are also being blinded to the fantastic possibilities of enriching our existence. Greedy men offering us trinkets and trivia in exchange for our countries, our planet and most importantly for our lives.

Many of us no longer dream our own dreams or follow our own hearts, and instead live some manufactured white flour and sugar existence dreamed up by marketers and politicians employed by the warmongers and the shallow and greedy profiteers.

The creative and caring and builders amongst us like the poets, the philosophers, musicians, healers psychologists and farmers, are not being heard.

We need them to step out of their shelters to create a new discourse, to build a society where people can see and hear and decide for themselves without the help of Rupert Murdoch the Koch brothers or Big Tobacco.

If we are to create a better world we need to challenge those who foment conflict for profit and power and who would convince us that those other tribes are different from us and wish us harm. We should not slaughter them for their oil and pretend it is for their good and our safety.

 Like Frodo Baggins, it is time for us to challenge our addictions and cast the ring of power into the flames of Mount Doom.

Our powerful weapon is not a bomb it is peace, discourse and understanding. We can start by talking to each other, to our families, to our friends and to our colleagues. It is only through each of us and our individual awareness and action that change can be generated.

We also need to pressure to our representatives to reform our parliaments. In particular to exchange the combative posturing that leads us round in a circle of negativity and abuse, for a more exciting and fulfilling role. The creators of a new more aware and more humane society.

Go on then Fones, put it to the test then, if you’re so damn sure! Go on, you potato of a man. Wretched, viscious…potato…bastard.

Ohhh, what vile scum duth I hear before me? Just crawl back to your microbiotical vegetable garden and yer…and yer friggin’ mung beans, you, you…

So to what, exactly, do you attribute global warming, ehh? You overpaid, foul-mouthed bigot, you…

Foul mouthed, foul mouthed?? I’ll let you jolly well know, that by MY calculations, human beings produce a mere, trifling 0.000001% of carbon dioxide – ya know – ceee ohhh tooo – in the earth’s atmosphere. 0.000001 percentile points…

Yeahh, right. And I’m a banana.

That you may be. Climate change…climate change is caused by the seasons. The SEASONS, man. Autumn, summer…err, errr…

Have you totally lost it, Fones?

Winter. Winter and autumn. Look, don’t you know WHO I AM. I’m Fones, NORB FONES!!!!

( for more Norb Fones: Norb Fones: mOnster of talkback… “well, hello Tony” )

I remember as a young kid asking my lovely English grandma – “granny, what was the most scary thing about the war?”

…and she answered immediately and unequivocably – “the Doodlebugs, darling…the Doodlebugs.”

– “oh, what are those?”

“V2 rockets, love. I was back in London with your mum and aunties and grandpa was still at sea. Mister Hitler fired them over the Channel and they’d come down when they ran out of fuel…they’d explode and were very powerful. Absolutely dreadful.”

– “very, very bad, then?”

“Well, yes, you’d hear noise in the sky…and then if it became suddenly silent….that meant the rocket had run out of fuel…the silence was very, very frightening.”

– “oh.”

This reaction came from a modest, strong and resilient woman who had survived an unexploded bomb descending through her sitting room, raised four kids and endured the pain of separation – her husband, my grandpa, on Arctic patrol, dodging U-boats, as best he could.

I was reflecting on this recently when I came across the following….

A new  joint report, Living Under Drones (2012), is by Stanford University’s International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic, and New York University School of Law’s Global Justice Clinic. The 165-page study looks at key aspects of the CIA’s drone programme – its legal basis, how strikes are reported, their strategic implications – and how civilians are affected:

Men, women and children are subjected to almost constant trauma – including fear of attack, severe anxiety, powerlessness, insomnia and high levels of stress – says a nine month investigation into CIA drone strikes in Pakistan by two top US university law schools. More than 130 ‘victims, witnesses and experts’ were interviewed in Pakistan for the study.

The new study heavily challenges US government claims that few civilians have died in CIA drone strikes, saying that there is ‘significant evidence’ to the contrary. As the report notes in its executive summary: ‘In the United States, the dominant narrative about the use of drones in Pakistan is of a surgically precise and effective tool that makes the US safer by enabling “targeted killing” of terrorists, with minimal downsides or collateral impacts. This narrative is false.’

“The problems are more difficult than I had imagined them to be. The responsibilities …are greater than I imagined them to be, and there are greater limitations upon our ability to bring about a favourable result than I had imagined them to be…there is such a difference between those who advise or speak or legislate, and between the man who must select from the various alternatives proposed…It is much easier to make the speeches than it is  to finally make the judgements, because unfortunately your advisers are frequently divided. If you take the wrong course, and on occasion I have, the President bears the burden of responsibility …”

JFK in 1962 interview with Bill Lawrence of ABC (cited by his former press secretary, Pierre Salinger,’With Kennedy’, p156)

It seems like our universe has entered the anti-world of Doctor Edward Teller.

Edward Teller, a brilliant physicist who has been described as the father of the atomic bomb, proposed a theory of a parallel anti-matter universe where there was a mirror opposite to everything in this universe. He hypothesised that if the anti matter came in contact with matter it would cause a massive explosion. It appears that in the opposite world  there is also anti truth.

A clear example of anti truth is the debate over a price on carbon. Climate scientists and conservationists are being to painted as self seeking destroyers of the Australian way of life, while the uneducated rantings of dollar blinded climate change sceptics and shock jocks is treated with reverence by the  media and especially by News Ltd.

In Australia right now there is a desperate campaign by right-wing politicians and newspapers to create another anti-truth. They are painting a new sanctified picture of serial abusers like the Sydney radio  shock jock Alan Jones, and his mate, Tony Abbott the leader of the opposition.

Those that were abused are now being blamed for objecting while the abusers are being presented as the victims.

The blatant dishonesty of this campaign would make Goebbels blush. As Goebbels would know this technique is not new. The Nazis used relentless negative propaganda to vilify the Jewish and other minority communities with slurs that were clearly untrue. To counteract the obvious truth, lie was layered upon bigger lie until the truth was perceived as a unpatriotic lie. These lies desensitized the public to the ethnic cleansing that followed.

After years of abuse and muck raking aimed at Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Labor supporters have hit back with a campaign highlighting Abbott’s thuggish behaviour as a student political leader. They linked this to his bullying and disrespect for women in and out of parliament. Abbott suffered a significant drop in the polls.

In response, Abbott’s minders have wheeled out his wife and daughters to tell Australians that Tony is not a misogynist and actually, Tony is a really nice bloke who even watches TV soapies with them. Desperate Housewives comes to mind. More was still to come.

Reacting to violent sexist commentary from Alan Jones against the female prime minister of Australia, thousands of outraged Australian women wrote to Sydney’s 2GB and their advertisers to complain about Jones’ comments. As a result many of the companies withdrew funding from his talk back program.

The loss of this substantial amount of money spurred the avaricious Jones and his backers to accuse the complainants of being a “lynch mob” who are” bullying” the people paying his wages.

These days the domination of the media by far right corporate interests ensures that the truth is reconstituted to suit their will. They value integrity and demand to be paid highly for it. In doing so the media have become the enemy of the people. A relentless ongoing campaign of lies and distortions is being used against anyone who threatens the profit or the political control being exercised by corporations.

For the past two years Rupert Murdoch’s Australian media empire has been on a mission to unseat the sitting government. However, their latest Abbott rescue mission is so hysterical and unbalanced that the once respected paper has used up the last remnants of respectability and will find it hard to survive into the future.

A bright light in all this murk and gloom is the emergence of online social media as a counter to the excesses of the corporate media. It must be clear to shock jocks like Jones and to Rupert Murdoch and his army of sycophants that their time in the sun is at an end. An army of women are ready to take them on.

Lord Monckton, sir, you have a call from a Mister Tony Abbott in the Antipodes…it sounds as though it may be urgent, your Lordship…

-Is that you, Tony, you Menzies in waiting, you…how the devil are ya, my dear, dear boy?

Lord Christopher, smashing to hear your dulcet tones…Alan and I were hoping you’d get back to us with your, errrr, look, err your prognosis…we so truly value the Monckton ‘appliance of science’…on this “shame” thingummy…

-Ho-ho, do ya now? Do ya now!

…Look, quite frankly, Jonesy and I both a little peeky and, uhhh…had better days…

-My dear, dear fellows, I’ll pop yooo on speaker phone….hang on just a tic, snuhhh…where am I now?? I’m weading some bits end pieces on symptomology that may determine the likelihooood….uhrumphh…your prognosis…here we are now…”have shame” means to maintain a sense of restraint…thet’s restraint against offending others…

Oh, ohhh…thank fuck for that!

Sorry, Lord Christopher…twas not me…Alan, just letting off a bit of steam…he’s not symptomatic on that one…

-Smeashing, smeashing…I shell continue then, my good cheps…here we go, here we…right…while to “have no shame” is without such restraint 

Oh, sweet Jesus, thank fxxxx

Alan again, Lord Christopher…look, we don’t seem to have any shame at all then?

-No. Me neither.

“The fact Bo Xilai is being put on trial represents an attempt of damage control; it……has nothing to do with justice. In any case, the era of neo-Maoism is certainly over…”

“Heck, Mitt’s bounce is smashing!!”, gushed Greg Sheridan…the newsroom at the Caucasian cheered. Cheered it did. Filled Sheridan with glee….ohhh, back with glee to fond memories of his first prayer breakfast with former President George W Bush…A much maligned tower of moral courage. He was just such a good darn president. Tip top. I was the only non White House press corp correspondent allowed to record this memorable initial meeting…one that I shall never forget. It branded my conscience with a vision of a stronger tomorrow, and I delight in sharing this recording with you now:

Nnn Gahhhd. Gahhhd, He spoke to me. Said son, you’re the one. The one with tha gun. Nnnn aah sayed  – Holy Father, I damnn that maan, that maan, Sadddaaahm.

Ahhmen, pruzudunt Dubbya. Ahhmen a doodly ooodly.

Nnnn Gahhhd, Gahhhd spoke to Deck. Spoke to him, heee deeeyed. “Deck.” “Deck,” he sayed, “Deck yur pruzudunt needs ya. He needs yahh real baaad…”

Pruzudunt Dubbya. Pruzudunt George, sur,  praise be, praise be Deck.

Nnnnn, ahh sayed, Greyeggg. Aprroach me Greyegg. Come to Dubbya. Nnnn, Greyeggg, he did. He come ta Dubbya.

Greyegg darn come to Dubbya. Greg, Greg, Greg Sheridanne.

Nnnn, Gregg Sheridanne. He come ta Dubbya. Nnn ahh sayed, Greyegg. Bless yahh, Greyeggg. Nnnn he sayed..Sir, ahhh praize that mann, that mann Deck. Baptized in fire – dya know, dya know that Deck bought hiz first house at 12, he had toiled ironing bibles. Ironing bibles for $25 an hour.

Nnn Gahhhd, He praised Deck. Nnnnn prayz Deck. Nnn bahhbles. He knoweth not leezure.

When a great national icon loses credibility there is no easy way back to the days of glory. If that icon is Australia’s only national newspaper it is important for all of us that it should get back to some semblance of balance and not continue to behave like a print version of Fox News.

Nor should it be so heavily biased and in denial of evidential and scientific fact, that it loses touch with reality, and with most of its readers. The tipping point is when a newspaper becomes the butt of jokes rather than the chosen source of information for the educated public.

“The Australian” is a newspaper that has crossed the border of strong opinion into the realm of deranged hysteria that is the home of movements like the US Tea Party and the British National Front. It is now providing a strange mixture of high culture and jack boot politics.

The newspapers recent crusade in the defense of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s reputation after he was accused of threatening behaviour to a female political opponent has been hysterical and well over the border of high farce.

 The Australians leading journalists and commentators are beginning to sound more like Tony Abbott’s teenage girlfriends than rational reporters or commentators.

Foreign editor Greg Sheridan has made a heroic leap from his newspaper columns to television programs to defend his flailing “best mate” Tony Abbott who is sliding down the popularity slope to political oblivion. In the style of one of his heroes, Donald Rumsfeld,  Sheridan assures us Abbott is a “good bloke who wouldn’t threaten a woman as everyone who knows him knows”.

Bravely storming the enemy territory to appear on ABC’ Q@A program, Sheridan acted like a man who had combined Dutch courage with paranoid delusions, as he angrily denounced Abbott’s detractors for making “disgraceful slanderous slurs” that were, according to Sheridan, “inaccurate as well as ugly and sectarian”. Another panel member who also knew Abbott during his student years strongly disagreed.

Irving Wallach said that the Abbott that Sheridan describes is not the Tony Abbot he knew. Wallach’s Tony Abbott was an aggressive drinker and who was very physical at meetings. According to Wallach he was aggressive and disrespectful towards people he didn’t agree with and particularly towards women.

 Sheridan however, knows the bad stories aren’t true because he knows Tony really well and he is a good bloke who does things for charity. And we do know he does, because the TV cameras are always there to record his acts of kindness. In fact to ensure we all know of Tony’s kindness, his ministerial front bench have chorused an identical message of Tony’s feats to any camera that strays within range. Tony is, by their reckoning a modern day Jesus!

 Sheridan prefaced his remarks by saying he needed to be careful not to lose his reputation for fairness and balance. It is on this matter that he is most delusional.

 To any rational reader Sheridan’s reputation for balance and fairness has not yet bloomed in fact it is more like Monty Pythons parrot, its dead, snuffed it, an ex-attribute.

 In his columns Sheridan has lauded Abbott as having all the qualities required of a “great world leader” who can comfortably mix it with the international political elite.

In reality Abbott’s behaviour is more akin to a steroidal stunt monkey who keeps forgetting his lines, than an august statesman.

The Australian’s “Save Abbott Campaign” has even drawn in the veteran commentator Paul Kelly. Kelly who although having a tendency to pontificate usually keeps his commentary to the more rational side of the street. However, on the Tony Abbott defence he tries to deviate attention onto Prime Minister Julia Gillards sins by comparing the importance of the unproven accusations against Gillard to the unsubstantiated claims against Abbott. In his pontifical way he absolves Abbott and suggests purgatory for Gillard.

What Kelly is trying to do is to rationalise The Australian’s position which is to malign Gillard on the basis of 17 year old unsubstantiated rumours while furiously attacking detractors for criticising Abbott’s behaviour in the same unsubstantiated way. Sorry Paul while you have been clever in trying to put the focus back on the Prime Minister, it hasn’t worked. You are simply building on the impression that The Australian is an untrustworthy informant not worth reading unless your into rugby or ballet or weapons of mass destruction.

It is clear The Australian is following the lead of its American owner in trying to bring about a change in government by manipulating public opinion through a campaign of misinformation. Just like it has done in the UK, by going too far it has lost the battle and ruined its own credibility.

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