President Trump’s visit to terror central – Saudi Arabia and Israel … Our black mob entitled to recognition … Where is James Packer? … Sam Dastyari: creation of a myth … Catholics stiff-arm Liberals for more money … Guide to getting a mine in Queensland
Trump spreads arms largesse
US President Donald Trump’s lecture to reactionary Gulf Arab rulers about terrorism and then Israeli Zionists about ending anti-Palestinian violence is screaming proof that the Western leadership has gone incurably mad.
Anyone with the slightest knowledge of Gulf Arab potentates knows that the Saudi kings and princes are the biggest financial supporters of regional terrorism.
And anyone with the slightest knowledge of Israel’s evolution from a plucky Kibbutz statelet turning the desert into a garden of olive groves and inter-racial harmony will recognise that it has evolved into a racially-based apartheid state and Washington’s nuclear-armed battleship in the eastern Mediterranean.
In 2013 the European Parliament published a closely researched report on Middle East terrorism which began by saying: “Saudi Arabia has been a major source of financing to rebel and terrorist organizations since the 1980s” and predicted that the number of Saudi-backed jihadi fighters would increase. That prediction came true in Libya and Syria in particular.
The Euro-parliament’s report estimated that Saudi Arabia had given $10 billion to promote the extreme agenda of Wahhabism, the ideology that foments terrorism and finances regime-change militias in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Patrick Cockburn, a noted authority on Islamic State terrorism, wrote: “The 9/11 Commission report identified Saudi Arabia as the main source of al-Qaeda financing but no action was taken on the basis of it.”
On the contrary, Washington rulers George Bush and Barack Obama stepped up the sale of guns, warplanes and warships to the Gulf kingdom and its accomplices in the neighbouring emirates.
In last weekend’s deal the Donald trumped his predecessors with a $110 BILLION arms deal with Saudi King Salman which includes tanks, artillery, radar systems, armoured personnel carriers, Blackhawk helicopters, ships, patrol boats, Patriot missiles and the THAAD missile defence system (which is also deployed in Israel and South Korea). It has been celebrated by the Washington war industry as “the biggest arms deal in history”.
For the record, the Saudi feudal regime has never arrested or prosecuted any Saudi citizen for supporting terrorism although they have been identified by the UN, the media and international legal groups.
The same is true in the pariah state of Israel. Trump’s predecessor made sure that the Zionist regime continues its role as Washington’s armed camp guarding its vital oil interests; last September he signed a $38 BILLION arms deal with Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyahu.
Calling white Australia – It’s time!
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Labor leader Bill Shorten stayed away from the Aboriginal constitutional convention held in Alice Springs this week.
Probably just as well. The referendum question on constitutional recognition is a blackfellah’s demand and whitefellahs just need to turn out and vote for it.
Both Turnbull and Shorten found time to attend an A-lister event marking the 50th anniversary of the Aboriginal rights referendum in 1967. The ticket-only lunch was crowded with self-regarding politicians, boardroom bandits and lawyers.
Where was this knees-up held? At James Packer’s Crown Casino function centre in Melbourne – a tasteless, vulgar venue for gambling addicts and broken-down footballers.
But where is the billionaire son of Kerry Packer? He hasn’t been seen or heard for weeks. While out of the limelight, his empire is being stripped in what seems like a fire sale. This week marked the end of his ambitions to join the casino industry in Las Vegas. (“Packer cashes out of Las Vegas”, The Australian, 22 May 2017).
For years, the Packer camp has been telling everyone that James Packer had “conquered” Asia with his Macau casino deal with Stanley Ho’s family and next he would “conquer” the centre of world gambling in the Nevada desert.
Now he has put the 35-acre (14-hectare) strip of land on Las Vegas Boulevard up for sale and abandoned his flamboyant ambition to become a player in the US casino industry.
Meanwhile, his equally ludicrous plan to become a casino owner in Israel has run into horrendous problems with the media crawling all over his business association with Donald Trump supporters, Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Sheldon Adelson, both uber-Zionists.
The Packer conundrum
James Packer’s problems continue to mount: a group of his senior casino executives are in jail in China awaiting charges and a possible state trial; he’s ended his relationship with failing songbird Mariah Carey; he’s terminated his 12-year partnership with the Macao-based Ho family; and he’s cashed in other sentimental chips including pieces of real estate, polo horses and stables, boats and planes.
The sell-down seems to be in hands of John Alexander, former editor-in-chief of The Sydney Morning Herald who, along with a small boardroom group, have taken charge of the listing empire.
Why does the billionaire need to get into cash all of sudden? No one seriously believes James intends following the example of Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest who this week gave away $400 million to the nation for education, jobs, cancer research and to fight slavery.
So why the dash for cash? And where is James Packer?
Who takes Senator Dastyari seriously?
The NSW Labor Party has a history of sending senior officials from its Sussex Street headquarters to Canberra to become senators. Over recent decades the bureaucrats who have been gifted with senate seats include Graham Richardson, Stephen Loosley, Mark Arbib, Matthew Thistlethwaite and Sam Dastyari.
How and why the National Press Gallery take Dastyari seriously is easily answered. He is Mr Rent-a-Quote, Mr Vaudeville and Mr Deep Throat all rolled into one. His life is spent on the phone; it’s almost an addiction. He Facebooks, Tweets and Instagrams. Among the media brain-dead he’s a prized possession – someone who makes them feel connected to the political class – when they are connected to nothing more than a $200,000-a- year vacuity with a mop of black hair and an attention span of, like, 10 seconds and 50 characters.
At a Senate hearing last week Dastyari was badmouthing the bid for Fairfax Media claiming one of the companies involved had Russian connections. It was pure Cold War stuff that you could have heard from the Bob Menzies crowd or the DLP in the 1950s or 60s.
After some fact-checking it was revealed that the suspect director had not worked for Fairfax bidder TPG since 2011. And by the way, his other allegations about another employee being involved in “insider trading” in Beijing, turned out to be bullshit too. The employee had engaged in his nefarious conduct AFTER he had left TPG.
So much for the “Russian connection” and the “Chinese peril” stories peddled by Dastyari.
Has he corrected his testimony or issued any form of retraction? Not that I’m aware of. Presumably he’s found someone else to tweet about …
Catholics demand more public money
In 1965 the late Maxwell Newton, founding editor of The Australian, wrote an editorial suggesting that the introduction of state aid for Catholic schools would be a commendable policy initiative.
As retired Sydney journalist Evan Whitton has recorded: “Cancelled subscriptions flowed in; money flowed out.” Rupert Murdoch, publisher of The Australian and then an avowed Protestant, grew alarmed and quickly dismissed Newton from the editor’s position.
Today Murdoch has forsaken his Scottish Presbyterianism and he is now a convert to Roman Catholicism. (He is no longer an Australian; he is a naturalised American. He is no longer a republican either, but a lukewarm monarchist; and he is no longer a heady socialist with a bust of Lenin on his mantelpiece but a rabid free market, Trump-supporting capitalist.)
Last weekend, Murdoch changed his underpants once again. The blaring headline in The Australian warned: “Catholics declare war on Liberals.” The story revealed that the National Catholic Education Commission, a paid unit of the Vatican, would mount an election campaign against Liberal MPs in marginal seats at the next Federal Election.
Only 50 years ago B.A. Santamaria Catholics had the financial backing of the church – and Menzies Liberal Party – to target Labor MPs who were opposed to state aid to schools.
Its next campaign will replicate the BHP, Rio Tinto and Gina Rinehart TV and radio propaganda against the proposed tax on super profits made by the big mining houses. The mining companies threw tens of millions of dollars into the campaign, and won.
With banks promising to fight the Budget’s proposed bank levy and the Vatican anxious for Australian voters to continue paying for church schools and compensate the victims of child sex abuse who attended Catholic institutions, voters can expect to be ear-bashed by a record-breaking level of electoral propaganda when the next election is called.
How to start an Aussie mine
Imagine you’re in a public bar in a pub in Cloncurry when an overweight Indian businessman in a black silk suit approaches you and says: “Allow me, honourable Aussie person, to introduce my humble self. My name is Toadi Anakonman and I can make you into a billionaire.”
“I’m all ears,” you reply.
TA: “Would you become a director of my Aussie company to obtain a mining lease to create the world’s biggest uranium mine stretching right across the Gulf Country from Mount Isa to Normanton?”
“Sure, where do I sign?”
TA: “You are too kind, Mr Aussie. Your family will be blessed for what you have done. Will you also ask your government to give me a honeymoon period of five years in which I pay no taxes.”
“No worries, mate. Anything else?”
TA: “Yes, I would like honourable Australian people to build a railway line for me and a deep water port on the coast south of Townsville. It will create jobs and growth for Australia’s great future.”
“Okay, but what’s in it for me?”
TA: “Have you got an overseas bank account? No, well get one. May I respectfully suggest Panama City?
“Your director’s fees and bonuses will be placed in your esteemed account every month.”
“Great, when do we start?”
TA: “As the Honourable Minister for Incentivisation and Agility you will receive an extra bonus of $50,000 a month. I’d like to give you this brown envelope with your first payment.
“Kindly convey my respectful and honourable greetings to your Leader. Tell him we’ll look after him too.”
“Terrific to do business with you, Toadi. You’ve changed my whole attitude to curry-eaters.”
TA: “My pleasure.”
“Do you think that the mine will ever be built?”
TA: “Are you joking? As we say in Mumbai, ‘Don’t come the prawn dhansak on me, Sanjay’. We’re raising millions on the back of this project.
“Excuse me, Your Worship, I have an incoming call. It’s my Honourable friend Clive Palmer.”
* Any similarities with the Adani coal mine project in Central Queensland are purely coincidental. – AM
The Wright Brothers: a pioneering legacy
On 17 December 1903, the Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, made the world’s first controlled flight of an aircraft made of wood, paper, nails and wire.
On 20 July 1969, 66 years later, American astronauts landed on the moon and Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on its surface.
History records that the Wright brothers’ achievement was derided by the major transport industries – trains and ships – and largely ignored by the newspapers. Critics said Wright’s plane might find a niche as a circus stunt but that was probably its limit.
Today aerospace scientists are proposing to launch a series of long-distance space probes in our galaxy and beyond to find planets which may be habitable.
Last month at a press conference hosted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) the latest research on “ocean worlds” in our solar system was revealed and major announcements made on “the broader search for life beyond Earth”.
The news was greeted with a torrent of scepticism in the “social media” sector. One tweet said: “Don’t tell me. There’s other planets out there that may support life. Yaaaaaaaaawn. Next”, while another said, “National Academy of Space Actors [NASA]. The truth is out there but you won’t learn it from these liars and frauds.”
The human struggle for scientific advance moves independently and reflects both subjective and objective forces. Sometimes it marks time while at other times it rushes forward in leaps and bounds. Organised religion no longer has the capacity to hold back science. Its new enemies reside within the human race itself in the form of scepticism, cynicism and individualism.
Does anyone seriously believe that at the end of this century, human beings will still be earth-bound? After considering the example of the last century which began with the triumph of the Wright Brothers, I think not.
Bye bye Roger
Months ago I vowed not to allow my Weekly Notebook to turn into one long obituary column but I cannot let the passing of Roger Ailes, founder of Fox TV, go unmentioned.
In the past 12 months Ailes had been outed as a serial sexual predator among female staff at his top-rating network based in New York. The revelations were inspired by the Clinton camp which rightly regarded Ailes as its No 1 enemy in the local media during the US presidential race.
In a rather belated attempt to sanitise the network, the Murdoch family forced his resignation.
There is undoubted truth in the untested allegations of Ailes’s sexual depredations, but his sins go way further. He played a vast role in creating the Tea Party crazies, trashing and vulgarising the media and reducing US politics and war adventures to the very lowest common denominator.
He deployed racism and homophobia to demolish anyone who didn’t conform to the Fox view of the world.
As Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi remarked: “Ailes was the Christopher Columbus of hate. He is on the short list of people most responsible for modern America’s vicious and bloodthirsty character.
“We are a hate-filled, paranoid, untrusting, book-dumb and bilious people whose chief source of recreation is slinging insults and threats at each other online, and we’re that way in large part because of the hyper-divisive media environment he discovered.”
I agree with Taibbi but I would make add one further comment – what about the media baron who hired him, encouraged him and protected him for more than 20 years? His name is Rupert Murdoch and he owns 70% of Australia’s newspapers, Sky pay TV network and he wants even more.
M’learned friends – quote unquote
If all the lawyers were hanged tomorrow, and their bones sold to a mah-jongg factory, we would be freer and safer, and our taxes would be reduced by almost half.
- H L Mencken, Baltimore Evening Sun, 2 August 1924