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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But is it a threesome?

3 July 2006

As months go, June was grim. For most of it I was laid low by a bout of possum flu. My paws ached, my sinuses backed up like a blocked drain and my libido was somewhere down with George Bush’s credibility rating.

I retired to bed for days with the DVDs of the old ABC comedy Frontline and worked my way through all 39 episodes. The classic exposé of TV current affairs is still as fresh as when it went to air in the mid 90s. The only problem was that it hurt so much when I laughed.

“Didja pick up Miranda Devine’s little slip in her Sydney Morning Herald column the other day?” Joadja asked, when she brought up another box of tissues and a four litre bottle of apple juice and slipped between the sheets to comfort me. “She wrote that Pru Goward and her husband, whathisname … John Barnett … had written an ‘autobiography’ of John Howard.”

“I didn’t notice it when I read the column myself”, I said, “But Janet Howard didn’t miss it – I got another call from her. She’s still worried that John’s having an affair with Pru, that curious little quote, unquote, slip made her think that maybe John had hired Pru to ghost-write an autobiography and that Miranda was trying to warn her that something was up, as they say.”

“Well if someone or something’s going down Miranda would be in a position to know. She’s got deep roots in the Howardista scene. This thing reminds me of Blanche d’Alpuget’s horizontal interviews with Bob Hawke while she was researching him back in the 80s … and we know where that led. ”

“Yeah, but that was for a biography. To get this scenario to work we have to assume that Howard might have decided that Pru and her hubby, having already done the background on him for their own book would be well positioned to bang out a quickie. Such a process would also avoid the onanism displayed by so much autobiography.”

“And it’d leave Pru and the two Johns plenty of time for research of a different, more penetrating kind, so to speak. Intellectual collaboration isn’t exactly unknown as a cover for an affair: ‘Won’t be home till late tonight Janet, I’m going over to Pru and John’s to let it all hang out for the autobiog’. Do you think Barnett’s just the beard?”

“Not necessarily. It might be a threesome thing. They’re all monarchists and you know how those folk like to keep everything in the clan.”

“Yeah, the family that gets its kicks together, sticks together. But should you be discussing this with me? Aren’t you breaching client confidentiality?”

“Not really, I didn’t accept the job and, hey, it’s just between us. And while I think the evidence is suggestive, it’s too thin to hold up in court. That’s what I told Janet, anyway. I tried to comfort her. ‘Have no fear, Mrs Howard. No scandal will threaten the government’, I said. ‘Never worry about married women’, I said. ‘They don’t swell and they don’t tell’”.

“These things do happen in the ruling elites. What about Condi Rice’s little slip about Bush, eh? At a dinner party she referred to the president as ‘my husband’! Half the Washington press corps heard it. It was a dead give-away because Condi’s never been married and the last bloke she was ever romantically linked with was a footballer… about 30 years ago.”

“Well, one thing we can be sure of is that, if Pru did expect she had some special call on Howard’s loyalty, she’ll now feel badly used and abused. Here she was expecting his support in the pre-selection for the seat of Epping, and now she’s getting fucked over by David Clarke’s Uglies faction who are backing Mr Greg Smith SC, a right-wing Catholic and her Mr Howard ain’t rushing to her aid.”

“This Greg Smith used to be a member of the ALP and the president of the NSW Right to Life Association. They say David Clarke is making sure he gets up ahead of Pru by stacking the branch with Lebanese Maronite Christians, 150 of them.”

“Hey, speaking of uglies, Paul Sheehan has always been down on ethnic branch stacking in the Labor Party. It’ll be interesting to see if he decides to write about this particular example.”

“Oh I doubt it. These are Libs and they’re Christians not Muslims. Doesn’t count.”

“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. I don’t reckon Pru is the type to take it lying down”

“Ooooh, I think not. I’m sure she’ll end up on top somehow.”