Saturday, April 30, 2005

Vietnam must be remembered

Vietnam is the defining historical event of the 2oth century, of our parents generation and which still has massive implications and lessons for the youth of today. Today we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the fall of Saigon. The tragedy of which was caused indubitably by the USA. That the US has never paid any adequate reparations for their war in Vietnam is one of the great travesties of history.

The lessons learnt must be reapplied today if for nothing else than so we aren't looked on as absolute fools in the history books who continue to repeat history over and over until our stupidity and short sightedness cause us to destroy the world.
George Bush, Tony Blair, John Howard: War criminals who must be held accountable.
The UK needs to send a short sharp and meaningful message to Blair this election: Fuck you!
It's one we didn't send to John Howard and it was one of the most appalling election results since 2001.

Troops out of Iraq! Full reparations need to be paid and the process of so called 'reconstruction' must stop, all the coalitions 'orders' must be struck down as invalid and illegal as according to international law.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

the weekend so far in dot point form

  • Friday- hung out at Alex's, Matt came over and out we went to shoot a music video.
  • Ran around southbank and crow casino
  • Felt wanged so went home
  • Slept
  • Woke up, watched FL CL with Alex
  • Matt K came over
  • Matt J came over
  • We went to the bus stop to catch the bus down brunswick rd to get to Emma's party
  • Waited there for about half an hour before realising that we'd misread the timetable and the bus wouldn't be coming for until the next day
  • Walked to Emma's
  • Bit of a blur, met some christians
  • Danced ecstatically to 'It's raining men'
  • Decided to go to Paul Scarmazzinos party
  • Took ages to leave but we did, about 7 of us including a german backpacking rugby player that we'd invited to play tiggy with us a few days before.
  • Got to Pauls
  • Danced ecstatically to John Zorn and then half of Abbey Road
  • Jumped on a table
  • Went to brunswick St
  • Saw Jethro
  • Saw Kat and Olaf and friends
  • Sad Braiden and George begging for beer money
  • Didn't give them any
  • Met random Adelaideian skater guys who said they were having a party but were really just playing playstation and being sleazy adelaidian fucks.
  • Ran away
  • Slept at Alex's
  • Celebrating Passover tonight

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Troops out of Iraq

Here's a kick arse debate with Naomi Klein kicking arse. In a way this is a continuation of the debate I had with Nic White a little while ago. Check it out.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Baghdad Burning

This is an interesting interview with Riverbend the writer of the Baghdad Burning blog.

In other news about Iraq, we here about the disgusting contempt that America has for democracy:

As politicians debated renewed violence, an Iraqi lawmaker accused a US soldier of grabbing him by the throat and shoving him to the ground after he parked his car in Baghdad’s Green Zone. Fattah al-Sheikh, an independent politician, said he had parked his car ahead of a session of parliament when US troops approached him and told him he didn’t have the right permit.

“I don’t speak English and so I said to the Iraqi translator with them, ‘Tell them that I am a member of parliament’, and he replied, ‘To hell with you, we are Americans,’” Sheikh told parliament.

This event left Fattah al-Sheikh in tears.

I don't mean to be too paranoid about conspiracy theories but:
The night before she died, at one of her thrown-together parties, she said she was staying in Baghdad longer than she had originally planned because she was close to establishing that the military kept records on civilian deaths in Iraq, despite military statements that such records don’t exist. From here
The death of Marla Ruzicka seems to have been a good thing for the Americans aswell as a great loss for the Iraqi people.

The Selection of Cardinal Ratzinger Is Bad News for the World and for the Jews

Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of the world's largest circulation progressive Jewish magazine, TIKKUN, and rabbi of Beyt Tikkun Synagogue in San Francisco, took the unusual step of criticizing the choice made by the Catholic Church for its new Pope, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Lerner was careful to make clear that he was NOT speaking as leader of The Tikkun Community, the interfaith organization whch he co-chairs, which has NOT taken a stand on these issues, but only as editor of TIKKUN magazine. Moreover, Lerner started with the following: "I want to bless the New pope and pray that he transcends his views on gays, women, secularists, the lack of validity of other religious paths, etc. I also pray that all the good people in the Church who do not share his views and want to preserve the social justice orientation of Jesus' teachings will join with us in creating an interfaith Network of Progressive Spiritual Activism--now more than ever such a context both for secular and for progressive religious and spiritual peole is badly needed."

Rabbi Lerner issued the following statement: "Since the days in which he served in the Hitler Youth and Nazi army in Germany (apparently against his will, but nevertheless apparently absorbing the deep patriarchal and authoritarian character structure that the fascists did so much to foster in younth) to his role as the leader of the forces that suppressed the liberatory aspects of Vatican II and purged or silenced the Church of its most creative leadership (including German Catholic theologians Eugene Drewermann and Hans Kung, Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff, and several prominent American Catholic thinkers), to the present moment in which he is recognized as the leader most identified with the forces of reaction and suppression of dissent within the Church, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has distinguished himself as a man who can be counted on to side with the most anti-humane and repressive forces, in opposition to those who seek to give primacy to a world of peace and justice.

"Although normally Jews would welcome any choice of leadership by our sister religion, we have particular reason to comment on this choice.

"Jews have a powerful stake and commitment in ending global poverty and oppression. We fully well understand that in a world filled with pain and cruelty, the resulting anger is often channeled in racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic directions. Both as a matter of principle, based on our commitment to a prophetic vision, and as a matter of self-interest, Jews have disproportionately supported liberal and progressive social change movements seeking to end war and poverty.

"So it was with great distress that we watched as Cardinal Ratzinger led the Vatican in the past twenty-five years on a path that opposed providing birth control information to the poor of the world, thereby ensuring that AIDS would spread and kill millions in Africa.

"And we watched with even greater distress as this Cardinal supported efforts to involve the Church in distancing itself from political candidates or leaders who did not agree with the Church's teachings on abortion and gay rights, prioritizing these issues over whether that candidate agreed with the Church on issues of peace and social justice. As a result, Cardinal Ratzinger has led the Church away from its natural alliance with Jews in fighting for peace and social justice and toward a stance which in effect allies the Church with the most reactionary politicians whose policies are militaristic and offer a preferential option for the rich.

"We can't help noticing that under Cardinal Ratzinger's tutelage the Church began moves to elevate the infamous Pope Pius XII to the status of saint. Instead of repenting for the failure of the Church to give unequivocal messages telling all Catholics that they would be prevented from receiving communion for collaborating or cooperating in any way with Nazi rule, or for failing to hide and protect Jews who were marked for extermination, Ratzinger has sought to whitewash this disgraceful moment in Church history. Many Jews are outraged at a Church that denies communion to those who have remarried or those who oppose making abortion illegal but that did not similarly deny communion to those who participate in crimes against humanity.

"In fact, Cardinal Ratzinger publicly praised the fascist movement in the Church known as Opus Dei and supported canonization of Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, an open fascist who served in the government of Spain's dictator Franco, and who publicly praised Hitler.

" While many of us agree with Ratzinger's critique of moral relativism, he extends that critique in illegitimate and dangerous ways, equating secularism with moral relativism and suggesting that secularism is now repressing religion. Since many, many Jews are secular, we have much concern about the way that this assault can quickly turn in anti-Semtiic directions (some of us remember the Nazi-supporting priest Father Coughlin of the 1930s whose US radio show always insisted that he was only agaisnt the secular Jews and hence wasn't "really" anti-Semitic). But whether or not he turns against Jews, those of us who are religious Jews or people of faith in other religions should rally against the attempt to demean all secular people and blame on them the problems of selfishness actually rooted in the dynamics of the the global capitalist market.

Ratzinger also publicly critiques all those inside the Church who are tolerant enough to think that other religions may have equal validity as a path to God. This is a slippery slope toward anti-Semitism and a return to the chauvinistic and triumphalist views that led the Church, when it had the power to do so, to develop its infamous crusades and inquisitions.

In 1997 Ratzinger said that Europeans attracted to Buddhism were actually seeking an "autoerotic spirituality" that offers "transcendence without imposing concrete religious obligations." Hindusim, he said, offers "false hope," in that it guarantees "purification" based on a "morally cruel" concept of reincarnation resembling "a continuous circle of hell." At the time, Cardinal Ratzinger predicted that Buddhism would replace Marxism as the Catholic church's main enemy.

"Ratzinger is being falsely described as a conservative, when in fact he, despite his publicly genteel manner, is a raging reactionary. Unlike many American conservatives who oppose gay sexual practices but not their legal rights, Ratzinger in 1992 argued against human rights for gays, stressing that their civil liberties could be "legitimately limited."

"Those of us in the Jewish world who have enormous respect for Christianity and for the wisdom and beauty of the Catholic tradition are in mourning today that the Church has confirmed for itself a destructive direction that will hurt not only Catholics but all those who seek peace and justice in the world.

"We remain hopeful that the new pope may return to his original more progressive positions (pre-1968) and realize that the world needs a church that can respond compassionately and wisely to what is needed rather than remain wedded to dogma that is so destructive. In a statement that Ratzinger made a few years ago, he seemed deeply aligned with TIKKUN's ciritque of the selfishness and materialism of the contemporary world. We hope that he stops blaming that on secularists and comes to understand that secularists too, as well as people from other faiths, can be allies in the struggle for a new ethos of love and generosity. We pray that he may find a way to bring a better, kinder, more loving and compassionate agenda to the Catholic Church.

It is precisely because we continue to feel allied with the Church and see it as an important ally in the struggle for social justice and peace that we are so dismayed at this misdirection. Meanwhile, we reaffirm our solidarity with the many millions of Catholics who had hoped for a very different kind of Pope who would make the Church more open to women's leadership, to prioritizing social justice, to rethinking its opposition to promoting birth control, and to returning to the hopeful spirit of Vatican II. We can say publicly what many of you can only say privately-that this new Pope does not represent what is most beautiful and sacred in the teachings of Jesus."

The loser now will be later to win.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Me and my mysterious alter ego have a discussion

Me: Yo man, has m3r started up again?
Also me: What, what are you talking about... m3r?
Me: You remember man, that cutting edge blog of the democratic youth movement at Princes Hill?
Also me: Oh yeah I kiiiinnnd of remember that.
Me: Yeah?
Also me: Yeah?
Me: Has it started up again?
Also me: I don't know, has it?
Me: There's a new post. It says that its being started up again. You don't know anything about it?
Also me: I may and I may not.
Me: What? You do know about it.
Also me:Maybe
Me: Well do you think it will be as wildly successful as it was before?
Also me: I don't know, Its really only me, _____ and ____.
Me: Oh ____. I love ____ he's so hot.
Also me: Me too. Well you know if m3r doesn't work out i've invited ____ to this blog anyway and that could be massively awesome.
Me: Will you blog about your 10 day party which will no doubt involve massive amounts of alchohol, sex (not between you two obviously), drugs and strippers.
Also me: Yeah I guess so.
Me: Cool
Who Should You Vote For?

Who should I vote for?

Your expected outcome:

Liberal Democrat

Your actual outcome:

Labour -28
Conservative -57
Liberal Democrat 96
UK Independence Party 7
Green 70

You should vote: Liberal Democrat

The LibDems take a strong stand against tax cuts and a strong one in favour of public services: they would make long-term residential care for the elderly free across the UK, and scrap university tuition fees. They are in favour of a ban on smoking in public places, but would relax laws on cannabis. They propose to change vehicle taxation to be based on usage rather than ownership.

Take the test at Who Should You Vote For

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Well I'm going way for a week to Philip Island.

The talk of Shane maloney over at Le Driver's reminded me of his speech at scotch college and so I thought I'd just post his excellent speech perhaps stimulating some discussion about Private Schools. Recently at school there was a petition put up around school about better treatment of year 12's or something and some demands. To these rather unimportant complaints a friend and I added our list of demands.

  • Abolition of private schools
  • Abolition of all school fees
  • Guaranteed entry into tertiary education
  • Abolition of HECs
And a couple of others but those were the important ones. Would you agree?

Well here's the Shane Maloney speech:

When I first received an inquiry about my availability to come and talk at this school, I was naturally reluctant. After all, this school has little to recommend it in the eyes of the wider community. Historically it has been simply a machine for the transmission of inherited privilege.

It is a place where boys from middle-class backgrounds are sent to improve their material prospects and to reproduce the values of their class, or where the boys of insecure parents are sent to fulfil the distorted ambitions of their fathers.

When I think of Scotch College, what comes immediately to mind are the values and actions of its most prominent Old Boys.

I think of the scene I saw on television after Scotch old boy Jeff Kennett used his power and his philosophy to close down the only high school in the state specifically dedicated to the education of young Aboriginal people. How students from that school came here and stood at the gates and how your principal went out and told them to go away.

I think of your old boy, David Kemp, the federal education minister, giving millions of dollars of public money to enhance the marketability of schools like this one - justifying his actions with statistics and arguments that he refuses to apply to the needs of the 70 per cent of Australian families who choose to educate their children in the democratic and equitable environment of government schools.

I think, too, of the newspaper reports of the violent behaviour of some of your students - and the quick readiness with which these boys were defended and excused in the courts by their adult class allies.

For these reasons, I was initially reluctant to come here.

On the other hand, I thought, 'Well, all this is hardly the fault of the current crop of students.' It is not your fault, after all, that your families decided to institutionalise you. It is not your fault that your mothers and fathers elected to place you in the emotionally distorting and educationally deficient environment of an all-boys school.

It is not your fault that your parents lacked sufficient confidence in your personal maturity and ability to respond to the opportunities offered by government school education - and Australia has one of the best systems in the world, by the way, despite the relentless propaganda to the contrary by the vested interest of the private-school lobby.

Right now, you are the victims. Later, of course, society will be your victim, and will suffer from the attitudes with which you are indoctrinated here.

But who knows? Just as prison does not always break the spirit of all who are incarcerated there, perhaps you will not turn out to be a burden to society.

Perhaps when you leave here, some of you will even manage to contribute to the wellbeing of this country.

I certainly hope so. But just to hedge my bets, I will be donating part of my fee today to the campaign for public education.

Good luck with your studies and thanks for having me.

You can read his opinion piece here

the Vietnam syndrome

Before I went to Vietnam although I was opposed to the occupation of Iraq, I like some thought of it as something inevitable and something that we were powerless to stop. But whilst I was in Vietnam, after hearing and thinking about the huge amount of damage done to that country, unimaginable damage that constitutes genocide and thinking about all I'd read... I remember this one day sitting on a boat just seething with anger about what had happened to Vietnam and thinking about how we absolutely could not allow it to happen again to Iraq. We went to a big craft shop that was set up as a charity for victims of agent orange. I don't know if you've ever read about the use of agent orange and it's still present effects on the Vietnames people but its simply horrendous. And also going to the museum of war crimes and seeing incredible photos and disgusting things done by the americans and their puppets in south Vietnam.
Then I came back home and more details about what had happened to Fallujah came out, we had these 'free fire zones' where anyone and anything was a legitimate target, we had the americans cutting off food and water and medicine from the city, shutting down hospitals, arresting doctors etc. And then we're now hearing about Napalm, the US using Napalm on cities and I think about Vietnam . Now when you as a westerner travel to Vietnam you encounter some of the friendliest people in the world, America and Australia absolutely devastated that country and yet they welcome us and share themselves and their culture with us. Somehow I can't imagine in 30 years going to Iraq and feeling safe and being welcomed.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Monbiot endorses Wolfowitz for the world bank presidency

And he does indeed make a compelling case. I'd previously thought that this appointment would really be of an inconsequential symbolic nature, but with these kind of stupid assertions of power America is setting itself up for a big fall. Anway read the article. Here's a sample:

Best of all is the outside chance that the neocons might just be stupid enough to use the new wolf to blow the Bank down. The former British minister Clare Short laments that "it's as though they are trying to wreck our international systems."(17) Well, what a tragedy that would be. I would sob all the way to the party.

Read it here

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Weekend roundup

  • The pope is dead. Antony Loewenstein has an interesting post about him.
  • As mentioned in comments there were 3-way, maybe 4-way kisses last night, thankfully not involving me. There was also Sex on Toast.
  • It was the first weekend of the holidays, I have a lot of homework to do, books to read, socialising to do, movies to watch, blogging to do.
  • I'm still tired, 10 people slept at my house last night, not including my family.
  • I can't really think of anything else, ... Amanda Vanstone is a horrible disgusting creature.
  • I think I might start reading Kafka on the shore. Anybody read it?
Cost of the War in Iraq
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