From 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.

A 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.

Ninety-three 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 air.

Dispossessed 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.

The tragic inevitability of a forlorn hope
Australia 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.

Bombing King David
One man’s freedom fighter is another’s terrorist

Some historians date the beginning of modern terrorism from the 1946 bombing by Zionist terrorists of the British military HQ in Jerusalem.

Don’t 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.


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Crategate dogs Mitt Romney’s run for president

17 July 2012

I care not much for a man’s religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.
Abraham Lincoln

A cold westerly wind swept across the city but it was sheltered and sunny in Werrong Lane so I sat outside the café with a cider and caught up with the dead tree media. It seemed that four people were hurt but none killed in the Running of the Bulls at Pamplona last week, which I thought was a pity really. An ever-decreasing minority of Spaniards reckon bullfighting is a sacred part of their culture but really it’s just animal cruelty as sport, and a good enough reason not to visit the country until the government kicks the bloody thing into the wheelie bin of history.

I was meditating on this failure when Jesse Dingo came swaggering out of the cafe wearing a natty blue scarf emblazoned ‘I ride inside' and a badge on his collar saying ‘Dogs Against Romney 2012'.

“Right on, Dogger”, I said. “Where did you get the spiffy gear?”

“It’s not often the Boss Lady takes an interested in US politics but the Mitt Romney ‘Crategate’ affair has sparked her interest”, muttered Jesse.

Just then Joadja came out with my vegetarian wrap.

“You don’t have to love that sell-out Obama to hate this Mitt Romney character. Bloody dog abuser”, she said.

“How could he be a dog abuser? Mitt’s a dog’s name. There’s that collie with one white paw we see down at the park, he’s called Mitt”.

“Very funny. I can’t see too many people calling their dog Mitt anymore.”

What is it with political conservatives and hypocrisy I wondered as I wolfed down my wrap. Here’s Romney, a rabid hawk in foreign policy terms, and he’s another one – like George Bush – who sat out the Vietnam War. In his case spending two and a half years cycling around France with a bad suit and a Mormon bible posing as a “minister of religion”. After which he grabbed a couple more years with an academic studies deferment. Not that the Mormon Church was anti-war, mind, in fact nowadays it’s rabidly militarist. 

But in Mitt Romney’s case sleaze and hypocrisy is almost a way of life. I mean, the man profited from abortion – which he loudly claims to be against – and animal cruelty, by investing in a medical waste disposal company called Stericycle  that specializes in disposing of aborted human fetuses and animals killed by medical testing.

And the breaking news is that the would-be president also makes money from imported coats made from dog and cat fur. A dozen years years after “retiring” from Bain Capital, the investment firm he founded, Mitt Romney still reaps millions of dollars a year and not a little of that comes from Burlington Coat Factory, which is currently under investigation for “mislabelling” fur coats that have been proven to include the skins of dogs and cats killed in China.

And you couldn’t even say that at least he behaved decently towards his own animals.

First there was the case of Seamus, the Romney family’s Irish setter whom Mitt admitted strapping in a pet box to the roof of the family car (at least once) for a 12-hour drive to Canada as if he was luggage. Poor bloody Seamus was left on the roof even after he became ill and soiled himself and the car. Mitt, in what his campaign spindoctors charmingly described as “emotion free crisis management” merely hosed Seamus down and drove on for a few more hours.

And then there was ‘Horsegate’.

The Romneys owned a classy dressage horse called Super Hit, but in 2008 they sold it for $125,000. Super Hit was subsequently found to be lame and unable to perform dressage. The new owners consulted a Dr Steven Soule, who happened to be veterinarian for the US Equestrian Team and he found that Super Hit, at the time he was sold, had been drugged to the eyeballs with enough painkillers to, well, almost kill a horse. Dr Soule had never seen anything like it in his 38 years of practice.

The new owners sued Ann Romney, her trainers and her vet. The case was settled out of court last year. Romney’s spin doctors called the case “frivolous”, but refused to allow the LA Times to interview the Romneys, their trainers, or their vet over the matter. According to the LA Times, Romney’s lawyers have sought to keep the case out of the public eye by trying to get Super Hit’s new owners’ lawyers to sign a confidentiality agreement.