Global war fever grows – who should we attack first?
Confused? I am. Citizens around the world are being told every day that they are surrounded by “enemies” and should prepare for war. The potential “enemies” cover every corner of the globe.
Take your pick. Do you believe that war is overdue against North Korea, Iran, Russia, Syria or China? Or perhaps you believe the time has come to invade some country or other in Central America, like Venezuela, Cuba or Ecuador.
Still other human rights organisations are begging for “humanitarian” military intervention in Myanmar, Libya, Mali, South Sudan and Somalia. (Obviously based on the tremendous success of earlier invasions, regime-change operations and other “freedom” projects.)
The confusion is boundless: Washington DC is consumed by Cold War and hot war confrontation with Russia while Canberra’s main target for aggressive military and political policy is China.
However, in Britain, aka the “mother country”, Prime Minister Theresa May’s Tory-Democratic Unionist coalition is hell-bent on developing good relations with China and preserving the peace with Russia.
When all else fails, there is always “the fight against terrorism” where the “enemy” is a mysterious person, or persons, who may be your friendly neighbour with a secret desire to blow up your local supermarket or kindy.
The media and their politicians wholeheartedly recommend that citizens support the new-fangled Homeland Security and its government-trained army of Blackshirts, and ever-more reactionary legislation curbing civil rights.
Meanwhile a collection of armchair generals and military theorists are busily lobbying Federal MPs to boost war spending to pay for more warships, submarines, warplanes and drones at a cost of billions and billions of dollars.
If successful, they will send Australia broke and force it into the ignorant cultural backwardness of America where education, science and culture are marginalised and strictly for the very few.
Do Australians really want to take that path? I don’t think so.
Turnbull’s anti-Chinese ploy
NSW Senator Sam Dastyari has been forced to end his political career by an hysterical anti-China campaign led by Liberal Party leaders, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Treasurer Scott Morrison, aka “the leadership team” or “Big Four”.
Their campaign has been xenophobic and racist. Its purpose is to frighten Asian voters in Bennelong into behaving themselves and voting for Liberal candidate John Alexander in Saturday’s by-election (16 December).
Liberal strategy is to make the new arrivals ashamed of being Chinese or Asian, terrorise them into falling into line with “Aussie values” and vote for the illusory emancipatory freedom of “jobs and growth”. Many will be intimidated into this mirage and they will regret it later.
America’s right-wing Republicans have quickly picked up the anti-China hysteria generated by Turnbull and have used it to mount their own broadside against Beijing. The US is utterly divided between Clinton Democrats still blaming Russia for their presidential election loss and Republicans who fear the economic loss they will suffer from China’s rise as a world super power.
Turnbull has confirmed Beijing’s fears that the Australian government is nothing more than the lapdog of Washington. He has thrown Australia’s “fair go” reputation under a bus to win a few votes in Bennelong to rescue his government and save his own skin.
Turnbull & chinky chinky Chinamen
As a dog returns to eat its own vomit, Malcolm Turnbull has returned to his first workplace, the Packer family’s Bulletin magazine, which began life in the 19th century vilifying Chinese people and championing White Australia.
Mr J F Archibald, the magazine’s founding owner/editor, heaped scorn on Chinese-Australians and called for a ban on migrants from China. Turnbull and Trump would have been proud of his clarion call to “defend the white race”.
In 1886 the magazine’s masthead motto was changed from “Australia for Australians” to “Australians for the White Man”.
When modern-day China wants to buy lamb, butter, milk, seafood or wine, do you think it will offer preferential treatment to Australia or New Zealand?
Furthermore, when Australia’s primary producers are shunned by China’s importers, I hope they remember Turnbull’s dishonourable vote-catching in Bennelong.
Dastyari is not alone
The Liberal Party’s “Big Four” are well aware that there are any number of federal MPs, from all major parties, who do the bidding of foreign governments. I estimate that one-third of Federal MPs do favours for overseas countries. They ask questions on notice and without notice on behalf of Canberra’s embassies.
They supply embassy contacts with pages from Hansard when the replies from Ministers are printed. They also attend all embassy functions and read very flattering speeches into the parliamentary record when “their” foreign power is celebrating a national day.
Do they receive any payment or free travel for services rendered? I don’t know the answer because I don’t have any evidence. I’m just asking, but Turnbull, the Member for Goldman Sachs … oops, I mean Wentworth … certainly knows more about foreign involvement in Australian politics than he is letting on. Dastyari is small fry.
ASIO’s media network
While on the subject of politicians becoming friendly “assets” of overseas governments, let’s not forget about journalists.
Award-winning journalist Ben Hills researched the secret world of spies in Australian newsrooms, coming to the conclusion that the domestic spy agency, ASIO, and its overseas accomplice, ASIS, have a large number of media recruits.
“The mainstream media were not immune from ASIO’s attention,” wrote Hills in his book, Breaking News – The Golden Age of Graham Perkin (Scribe 2010) before describing a series of spy agency approaches to news staff.
He concluded: “Unlike its sister paper, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age seems to have had remarkably robust defences against both giving up its sources and allowing itself to be used for propaganda purposes.”
What about other media? Hills has no doubt about the influence the spy agencies had on one media empire. He wrote: “If you wanted reds under the bed, you had to read the Packer papers.”
When Packer sold his Sydney papers, the Daily and Sunday Telegraphs, to Rupert Murdoch in 1972 for $15 million, the tradition continued.
Deodorising ad land
The ABC has spent tens of thousands of dollars to polish the image of the Australian advertising industry which has been a cesspit of sexist bullying and misogyny.
A forthcoming documentary series promises to tell us all the thrills and spills of ad land over the decades.
Yet I can remember when young women who went into Sydney and Melbourne advertising agencies from the 1960s to 1990s did so at their peril. It was a meat market where women were treated like prime cuts: tenderised, often raffled, barbecued, devoured (preferably with beer, wine and cigars), belched out and then the scraps were chucked in the waste disposal or to the dogs.
Few women survived intact. Some got pregnant and married very young to escape. Others took off and hit the bottle. For some the agency was a bus stop to drug addiction or worse.
Women’s self-worth was taken from them by rich men with paunches, braces, striped tailored shirts and boots with elevated soles. Women’s careers (and lives) were trashed in the gleaming offices of advertising agencies amid the pot plants, the Aboriginal paintings and the bar fridges.
How will noted feminist Dee Madigan, a Sky News and Gruen panellist with a long career as an advertising consultant, treat her industry in the ABC’s documentary?
I stopped watching the US mini-series, Mad Men, on New York’s advertising universe because all the characters were so loathsome. I suspect the Australian documentary version will inspire much the same loathing …
Windsor horror show
SHOCK! HORROR! OMG! Harry Windsor has become engaged to Hollywood actress Meghan Markle, an American divorcee. What could possibly go wrong?
Harry’s great uncle, the Duke of Windsor, aka Edward VII and Emperor of Australia, abdicated in 1936 to marry American socialite divorcee Wallis Simpson on 3 June 1937. A few weeks later the royal couple made a celebrated honeymoon visit to Nazi Germany to spend time with the Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler. He delivered the Trumpesque remark that the Duchess of Windsor, aka Mrs Simpson, “would have made a good queen”.
Harry’s engagement has been front-page “news” for two decades. Here’s just a few of those stories:
12 December 2004, Mail on Sunday: “Prince Harry and his South African girlfriend Chelsy Davy are discussing marriage.”
7 May 2007, Daily Mail royals correspondent Rebecca English: “Forget Wills and Kate – it’s Harry who’s found love. Could we even see Princess Chelsy on the Palace balcony?”
19 August 2007, Sunday Mirror “exclusive” by Susie Boniface: “Prince Harry has asked girlfriend Chelsy Davy to marry him – and she’s said ‘yes’.”
6 May 2011, Daily Star revealed “exclusively” that Harry and Chelsy are “hunting for a love nest in Suffolk” and that “Harry’s told his friends that this time next year there may be another royal wedding”.
25 August 2013, Daily Star revealed “exclusively” that Harry had a new bride-to-be. “Prince Harry is expected to PROPOSE to gorgeous girlfriend Cressida Bonas, royal insiders have revealed.”
5 October 2013, London Telegraph: “Prince Harry’s girlfriend Cressida Bonas has finally realised that she is happy to marry him, the Telegraph can reveal.”
3 April 2014, Daily Mail senior writer Sebastian Shakespeare’s “scoop”: “Cressida’s family hold a wedding summit on engagement to Harry”.
All these fantasy articles found their way into mainstream media in Australia and women’s magazines. And all the “exclusive” royal reports were wrong. Total fiction.
Next year the media is preparing for a royal family bonanza – anything to keep minds off climate change, the crisis in public education and public health and the tax-rorting by overseas and locally based corporations.
Stand by for a deluge of royals mania: a couple of royal state funerals, weddings and wedding anniversaries, plus an abdication and a coronation thrown in. The British film industry is doing its bit with a roll call of movies on Young Victoria, Victoria, Churchill, Dunkirk, The Crown and the King’s Speech. The film-making qualities are undeniably terrific but the sickly message is soaked in nostalgia, delusion and suet pudding.
Aussie Test side named
Australian Cricket Board president Norm Marsh today announced the squad for the Third Ashes Test in Perth.
The team is: Gary Marsh, Bruce Marsh, Harold Marsh, Troy Marsh, Swampy Marsh, Sleepy Marsh, Noddy Marsh (c), Marty Marsh, Sir Donald Marsh, W G Marsh, A B Marsh. 12th man Ferdinand Marsh III. Coach Algy Marsh.