Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Archive for the ‘USA’ Category

A character like Trump could not exist in decent fiction

Posted by Dave Bath on 2020-01-30

A writer of fantasy fiction looks at Trump and his enablers, doing character analyses as if they appeared as villains and minions in her novels – and notes that if she wrote a villain like Trump, she’d be pilloried for writing such an unbelievably cartoonish character.
This is an interesting way of looking at the story of the times, not as politics, which is naturally partisan, but as if it was literature, doing the character analysis that we’d all do in class assignments – except authors, used to criticism of their characters, have seen more character analysis than most.
And it is so often as literature and as characters that we look at history in the long term, and it is character that drives history when it is at delicate times. Without Tarquin the Proud being so proud and arrrogant, would Rome have ejected kings and become a republic, developed into the powerhouse it did? How do we look at Caesar and Cicero and Brutus and Antonius? Character analysis, by a practitioner in the art of character authoring and criticism, is a valid way of looking at what will be history one day. It’s how today’s news will be looked at a few centuries hence, if Trump and his buddies, in the USA and overseas, don’t prevent a future having memory of the present.
I’d add the real world is not a fantasy novel. In fantasy novels, the saviour flies in on a dragon with the sword of destiny to take out the minions and then the evil overlord one by one.
In the real world, they’ve got no magnificant dragon, but got to ride a damned donkey. And this particular donkey has for too long been fed by those who helped the likes of the Evil Overlord to power in the first place, so cannot be trusted to carry you all the way.

Posted in Politics, USA | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Scopes Monkey Bill – Victory for anti-Science

Posted by Dave Bath on 2012-04-15

"Tennessee Monkey Bill Becomes Law" (Nature News 2012-04-11) reports the continuing death-throeas of Thomas Jeffersons informed and active citizenry essential for democracy, at least in the USA.

The infamous 1925 "Scopes Monkey Trial" pitched Tennessee against a teacher who dared to cover Darwin and evolution in class.

The governor of Tennessee has allowed the passage of the ‘monkey bill’, giving public-school teachers licence to teach alternatives to those mainstream scientific theories often attacked by religious and political conservatives.

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Posted in Biology and Health, Education, Politics, Society, Theology and Religion, USA | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Gillard says the hard things to the US

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-03-14

While Gillard’s speech to US politicians made me wonder if ever in recorded history has such a long nose been so brown, I’m now beginning to see she did say some tough things – even if neither she, nor her hosts, realized it.

Let’s translate part of her speech into what could be read between the lines.

Listen Uncle Sam, I love you and all, but your best years are long ago, and you have to adapt.  When I was was a kid, you were putting astronauts on the moon – and now, well your astronauts will pretty soon be sticking out their thumbs, trying to hitch a ride from the Russians and Chinese, and even then will only be able to get into low earth orbit.
Then, you were a "can-do" nation, now you are a "can’t-do" country.
Did I say mates say the hard things?  Did you hear any?  So are we mates?
And by the way, don’t bother getting annoyed about the Chinese.  What are you going to do about it?  Start a war?

Posted in Australia, Politics, USA | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

China and Middle East uncertainty

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-02-01

With pro-democracy protests springing up across the middle east, predicting the overall outcomes is nigh impossible.

There is little talk of how China might view opportunities in the region, despite China’s skill gaining access to resources such as rare earths in Africa, despite the diplomatic opportunities when everything is up in the air.

Those diplomatic opportunities for China are considerable.

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Posted in China, International, Middle East, Politics, USA | Leave a Comment »

Reaganomics, Bogan Xtianity and Climate

Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-12-30

US environment policy statements from 30 years ago might explain much of climate policy today.

Even back in the Reagan years, at the start of the rise of the political influence of the xtian right, policies and statements of senior politicians explicitly supported the idea that environmental destruction is ordained by god and even a desirable policy outcome.

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Posted in Australia, Economics and Business, Environment, International, Politics, Society, Theology and Religion, USA | Leave a Comment »

When a life sentence is humane

Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-12-12

Something is rotten in a society if the kindest thing one can do for a sick person is give them a life sentence.

A 71-year-old terminally ill man has been sentenced to 21 years in a California prison for rolling his wheelchair into a San Diego bank and holding it up with a replica BB gun.

The poor old guy wanted to get caught so he wouldn’t have to live and die on the streets.

What a system!

Thank goodness the judge showed mercy the only way he could, by giving the guy a roof, food and medical treatment the only way it could be ensured.

Posted in Law, Politics, Society, USA | Leave a Comment »

With friends like these 2 – BF4eva

Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-12-10

The US rejected the Australian government’s request for details on upcoming leaks, a request to prepare for the fallout that, if Gillard’s hyperbole about the impact and therefore irresponsibility of the leaks is correct, needed planning for damage control.

Imagine this were a group of schoolgirls:

  • Anne has written in her diary all the gory details about the fantasies and doings of her "best friend 4 ever", Brittany.
  • Anne’s diary is stolen by Cass (the loner of the class), who announces she’ll be posting pages, bit by juicy bit, around the school.
  • Brittany asks Anne about what is in Britt’s diary to limit the fallout.
  • Anne refuses, apart from saying "some of the things you’ve told me and other stuff".

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Posted in Australia, International, Media, Politics, USA | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Arbibeque time

Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-12-09

Arbib, presumably unlike McMullen and Danby, wanted his anonymity guarded by the US because he was divulging stuff in an improper way, underhanded enough for punishment.

But the Libs might not want to burn him.

The beauty of these improper chats is that what was said cannot be denied, and the Libs looking for a scalp will be wanting a suitably small level of disclosure to a "friendly" to not only force him from cabinet, but to force him to resign as MP [and bring on a byelection in a hung parliament – my bad].

If the Libs don’t try and wipe Arbib from cabinet or even parliament with a big ALP scalp and tainting of ALP members as traitors [possible change of government – my bad] as the prize, then what might be stopping them from the attempt?

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Posted in Australia, Ethics, International, Politics, USA | Tagged: | 8 Comments »

Rarer than oil

Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-10-19

Finally the mainstream press is recognizing the battle for economic supremacy, indeed survival, being waged over not oil, but the more critical rare earths.  To get a feel for how tight the supply of rare earths are, and how they are both necessary for waging wars of both economic and military varities, and the incentive for such wars, review the summary of rare earth reserves and usage in "Climate change might not be our worst problem" (2007-05-27).

China has a better grip on rare earths, essential for any electronics, than OPEC has had on hydrocarbons.  Unlike oil which can be made from hydrogen and carbon by a host of means, you cannot make rare earths except by smashing atoms in an accelerator.

China has already been sabre-rattling, with typical "official plausible deniability", with supplies to Japan threatened using the pretext of a maritime border dispute.

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Posted in China, Economics and Business, International, Science and Tech, USA | Leave a Comment »

Barnaby was right and should have gone further

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-12-15

Poor Barnaby Joyce!  When he points out an elephant in the room, he cops flak from all sides: the elephant in the room in this case being US indebtedness and the risk of default, and the need for Australia to have contigency plans for either the default or the necessary collapse of US consumer spending.

If he’d followed his chain of reasoning further, noting the commonality of risks and appropriate responses of the economic corrections for both US default and climate change, he’d have had the environmentally responsible wings of both left and right calling him a hero.

Which makes me wonder: why didn’t he follow the chain of logic he started?

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Posted in Australia, China, Economics and Business, Environment, International, USA | 1 Comment »

Gubernator Gaffe – Or Goody?

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-10-29

A veto note from the Gubernator, 
replete with a profanity 
not immediately obvious,  
intentional or highly coincidental? 
Enjoy the links below.

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Posted in Humor, Language Use, USA | Leave a Comment »

Obama’s Elf

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-02-17

While it’s in my Eclectica of shared items, it’s worth going to a 2009-02-16 Language Log post "Worst pun of all time?".  It points to an 18-second YouTube video which had me clutching my sides in pain.

Anybody want to do a punny vid based on "Devil went down to Georgia"? (And of course, the demon on George’s shoulder would look like Cheney!)

Posted in Humor, Language Use, Politics, USA | Leave a Comment »

Director of the Orchestra

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-02-11

I’ve seen a lot of cartoons critical of Israel in Gaza (and Lebanon), and the failures of USA governments to do anything but give funds to Israel (and therefore encouragement).

But the following cartoon does take a bit more of a broad education to appreciate than those I typically see.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised: it’s from the same site that gives you Fidel’s blog, and Cuba does have a literacy rate as good as, if not better than, Australia’s (if you care to look at the CIA World Fact Book – hardly an organ for socialist propaganda!).

Director of the Orchestra

Director of the Orchestra

And if you don’t recognize the artistic reference… go here.


Posted in Media, Middle East, Politics, USA | Leave a Comment »

Krugman echoes in favor of nationalization

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-02-03

Paul Krugman, the 2008 Economics Nobel Laureate, has an opinion piece in the The Age that isn’t too far off my own piece "Catchcries" (2009-01-24), arguing "No capitalization without representation and returns".

If there is a failing in Krugman’s piece, it is that he limits his discussion to the finance sector, rather than applying the same logic to other sectors (e.g. the car industry).

Until Krugman’s piece, I’ve felt like a lone voice in the Australian wilderness.  Opinion pieces in Oz have either argued that capitalism should be dumped, the "moral hazard" of the bailouts, or for specific tweaks to the administration of bailouts.

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Posted in Australia, Economics and Business, Governance, USA | 3 Comments »

Carna Cardinals

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-02-01

This is the first US Football "superbowl" I’ve ever had any interest in….

…and I was alerted to it by a series of articles in The Geelong Advertiser.

Ben Graham, former Cats captain, is playing for the superbowl underdogs, the Cardinals, so most of Geelong is probably taking an interest in the superbowl for the first time in history.

Well, even if his team doesn’t win, apparently the Cardinals got into the superbowl by beating a team that has a former Collingwood player in it, and Cats fans (and Ben Graham) will probably accept that as a consolation prize.

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