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.
out the archives or
onward march of petrol poverty
a long frustrating day of internet searching and phone calls to political
insiders, I downed tools and wandered down to the café for
a bite to eat. Joadja wasnt behind the bar but I found her in
the disused storeroom off the Brushtail Gallery where she and Old
Possum had set up a Petrol Crisis Situation Room.
On the wall there were two laminated maps of Sydney, compiled by UTS
researcher Peter Rickwood. The first showed a vast outer ring of suburbs
coloured orange, where , at $1.50 a litre, the average household was
shelling out more than 6 per cent of their income on petrol. This
zone was labelled Petrol Poverty Belt in a bold hand,
with a thick black marker. Scary, I thought, the $1.50 line passed
a few days ago and petrols now heading for $1.60.
The second map showed what will happen when petrol reaches $2 a litre.
The contrast was truly frightening. The petrol poverty belt was marching
inwards, tightening around the inner city. When $2 goes up at the
pumps and that could be before Christmas even the average
household in the inner west will be spending up to 4 per cent on petrol.
Of course sane people have been pointing out for many years that the
anti-public transport, pro-motorway obsession of the Carr and Iemma
governments were leading Sydney into a trap and now, there
it was on the map. You could almost see the trap snapping shut in
real time. A Sydney Morning Herald article, based on Rickwoods
work, was pinned up under the maps.
Joadja went back to the bar and came back with a couple of ciders.
Look what that idiot Alan Evans from the NRMA is saying in that
article, she said, Clearly it shows the failure
to build a public transport network is now coming back to bite people.
Ho, ho. Especially Alan and the NRMA. For years theyve been
pushing, pushing, pushing for billions to be spent on freeways. Theyve
hogged the transport infrastructure budget and pushed out public transport
projects. And now its their members in the outer suburbs who
are paying the price. Things are tough in here, but out there, where
its two or four cars per family, theyre really stuffed.
That $12 billion Costa wants to spend on the M4 East could buy
a whole vast network of light rail in the outer suburbs, but you wont
see Alan Evans speaking out against the M4 East.
I twisted the top off my cider. Ive been doing a bit of
snooping for a client who wants to know whether the Iemma mob are
fair dinkum about this North-West Metro Rail proposal, and the other
day I noticed a big display ad in the Herald calling for expressions
of interest for everything from construction to operation. Funny thing
was, the ad was in the paper on Thursday 8 May and the expressions
had to be in by the next day. The captains of industry got just one
working day to tell the government what they wanted to do on a $12
billion project. What does that say?
That the whole Metro things just something to wave in
front of the gullible while they push ahead with the M4 East.
my bet. The only other explanation I can see is that the governments
actually serious about Metro and theyve already done a deal
with their friends you know, the big donors and theyre
running this little ad scam to cut anybody else out of the action.
Its hard to say which one is more wicked.
I went back to studying the petrol poverty maps.
Ye Gods, I muttered, When it goes past two dollars
were going to see refugees from the outer west flooding into
the inner suburbs. The petrol bills will kill them, and the trains
and buses are already getting near saturation in the peak periods.
If they work in the city and they cant get on a train, theyre
going to try to rent rooms to stay in during the week. Or maybe theyll
sleep in their cars.
And remember this, said Jo, spinning a bottle cap on the
table, On top of the petrol price rises, the cost of everything
in the shops is going up because diesel and
LPG are going up. And their mortgages are going up while the value
of their homes is going down. I reckon what were facing here
is a wartime-like emergency.
The Greens certainly think so. I notice that theyve got
something called the Peak Oil Response Plan Bill before state parliament.
They want to set up a task force to get some emergency decisions in
Whatll happen to the bill, do you reckon?
Oh, Iemma and his crew of venal dimwits will vote it down of
course. Theyre from a generation whove never known real
crisis. Theyve never seen poverty or a serious economic calamity
and theyre too dumb to imagine them. Theyre dazzled by
the prospect of a post-politics sinecure with the MacBank. Such are