under the linoleum
Old newspapers show Mussolini's imperialism looked a lot like today's
I sat on the floor and picked through the tragedy of the country we now
call Ethiopia laid out on the yellowing pages. It was eerily reminiscent
of the current Iraq adventure.
tale for our times
The December 1934 assassination of Sergei Kirov
Seventy years on, the killing of Sergei Kirov casts an eerie light on
the events of 11 September 2001, the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan,
the war on Terror and the state-sponsored hysteria surrounding
the shadowy figures of Osama bin Ladin and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
years of bombing the Arabs
It was the Italians, hell-bent on acquiring an African empire, who got
the ball rolling. In 1911 the Libyan Arab tribes opposed an Italian invasion.
Their civilians were the first people in the world to be bombed from the
all over again
After spending nearly two months in the West Bank the pull towards my
village was growing stronger, especially after being detained twice and
threatened with deportation
an Australian Palestinian returns to
her ancestral home.
tragic inevitability of a forlorn hope
slides further into the Iraq quagmire
Cabinet documents recently released under the 50-year rule show that,
in 1954, Liberal (conservative) Prime Minister, Robert Menzies, and key
figures in his Cabinet were extremely gloomy about the prospects for success
in an American war against nationalists in Indochina. But eventually they
went to the Vietnam War anyway.
One mans freedom fighter is anothers terrorist
Some historians date the beginning of modern terrorism from the 1946 bombing
by Zionist terrorists of the British military HQ in Jerusalem.
loiter near the exit
Military debacle and economic decline haunt the Bush regime
When I was just a young possum in the school cadet corps there was a hoary
old war story that we all knew. It was almost certainly apocryphal, but
it ruefully expressed a nasty historic truth about the US role in the
demise of the British Empire.
We've been online since 1997.
Check out the archives
and despair at Owl Farm
Hunter S. Thompson cashes his chips
Character is Destiny. Richard Nixon told me that, the first time we
HST, Return to the Riviera Café, 1989
few days after Dr Gonzo blew his brains out, Joadja organised a night
of readings from The Greatest Prose Stylist Since Jane Austin. Old Possum
read from Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail and Joadja did
Nixon and the whale woman and I did some bits from Bad
craziness in Palm Beach which is his account of the Pulitzer divorce
case, and surely one of the greatest pieces of journalism ever penned.
There was standing room only in the Brushtail Café with much wry
laughter and not a few tears.
So why did he do it, do you think? I asked Joadja as the last
dregs of the group sat around the big table, just before closing time.
Reread his coverage of Nixon and the Watergate affair, and of Nixons
fall, Jo replied. Of course he hated Nixon and wrote eloquently
about him. Listen to this:
Innocence? It is difficult even to type that word on the same page
with Nixons name. The man was born guilty not in the traditional
Vatican sense of original sin, but in a darker and highly
personalised sense that Nixon himself seems to have recognised from the
the mainspring of Richard Nixons energy and ambition seems
to have been a deep and unrecognised need to overcome, at all costs, that
sense of having been born guilty not for crimes or transgressions
already committed, but for those he somehow sensed he was fated to commit
as he grappled his way to the summit.
Thats from Rolling Stone in 1974. Now compare that
with his despair over George W. Bush some people will talk about
Hunters waning powers, but this reflects a darker, highly personalised,
political despair, I reckon:
To say this goofy child president is looking more and more like Richard
Nixon in the summer of 1974 would be a flagrant insult to Nixon.
Did I say that? Is it even vaguely possible that some New Age Republican
whore-beast of a false president could actually make Richard Nixon look
like a Liberal?
We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the whole world
a nation of bullies and bastards who would rather kill than live peacefully.
We are not just Whores for power and oil, but killer whores with hate
and fear in our hearts. We are human scum, and that is how history will
judge us... No redeeming social value. Just whores. Get out of our way,
or we'll kill you.
Thats from Kingdom of Fear, 2003. The anger is deeper
but despair and frustration have sapped his eloquence and vitality. When
Nixon stepped down, he thought hed seen and helped defeat
the very worst American politics had to offer, but now, thirty
years later, the world is worse, much worse. Its hard to be witty
about the madness of this regime. Things are too serious now, too dangerous.
And think about how the world of journalism has changed for the
worst, Old Possum chipped in. In 1968, Hunter was a young
virtually unknown stringer covering the presidential elections for Pageant
magazine. And he has a few drinks with the candidates minders and
they offer him a ride with Nixon to the airport and he finds himself
wearing a badge of the far-left Students for a Democratic Society
sitting in the back seat with Nixon chatting amiably about pro football.
And later, when Nixon resigns, after Watergate, Hunter, whos been
writing the blackest, most flamboyant, anti-Nixon stuff, can still stroll
down to the White House, flash his press card, get admitted, and wander
out to stand by himself at the door of the Presidents helicopter
to farewell the old crook.
You compare that with today. It took Maureen Dowd, a big time scribbler
for the New York Times, six months to pass through the security
vetting to get a White House press pass, but Jim Gannon/Guckert, can get
the run of the house instantly.
Oh yeah, Guckert, hes the bloke who fronted for a Republican
Party fake news service posing as a conservative, family values,
anti-gay Christian but is actually an active gay prostitute who ran porno
websites with a US Marines theme. But they let him in so he can toss soft
questions to the President and his spokesman and put shit on legitimate
journalists who asked hard ones, and the mainstream media hardly utter
a peep about this outrage.
Yep. Is it any wonder Hunter wrote this:
The prevailing quality of life in America by any accepted methods
of measuring was inarguably freer and more politically open under
Nixon than it is today ..."
Things have slipped horribly backward and Hunter was too old to
weave the magic of his mad libertarian shtick on the ugly new reality
and too sane to think it could change anything.
Yeah, if Hunter had tried to interview Dubya, theyd have arrested