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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Brushtail Graphics

Can Mick Costa pull off the big one?
Privatisation as penis art

13 February 2008

It was mid afternoon when Joadja and I got back to the Brushtail Cafe after the rally and march against the Iemma Government’s crazy-mad plan to duplicate the Iron Cove Bridge and squeeze extra lanes into Victoria Road through Drummoyne.

EcoTransit’s Gavin Gatenby spoke at the rally, pointing out that the world reached the maximum possible level of oil production in late 2006. Production is already falling, he said, and petrol will probably hit $2 a litre within twelve months, but this loony government have their hearts set on a vast underground road system linking the Eastern Distributor with the M4 and Port Botany, complete with subterranean interchange.

Nothing quite like this boondoggle would exist anywhere else in the world. It would cost something like $7 to 10 billion, with the money coming from Treasurer Michael Costa’s proposed sell-off of the state’s power industry, Gatenby told the rally.

“How much dumber can this government possibly get?” said Joadja, as we tucked into a late lunch. “People are flooding back onto public transport, petrol sales are declining, traffic is static or falling, and we’re staring fuel shortages and rationing in the face … but these loonies want to build more billion-dollar roads.”

“You know Michael Costa has always struck me as a deeply artistic person”, said Aubrey the artist, who’d wandered in from his studio at the end of Werrong Lane.

“Pull the other one”, I snorted.

“No I’m serious. I see him as very much in the tradition of the Viennese Actionism group and Rudolf Schwarzkogler in particular.”

“Um. Yeah. The name’s vaguely familiar. Just remind us again”,Joadja muttered.

“Back in the 1960s and early 70s the Actionists were into ‘happenings’, ‘performances’ and body art – their version of which isn’t to be confused with tattoos. Schwarzkogler’s happenings and manifestos never got a wide audience but he eventually achieved recognition by lopping off various bits of his body and recording the process photographically. The artistic cognoscenti hailed this as a breakthrough – real bleeding edge stuff.”

“Encouraged by the critical acclaim, Schwarzkogler went further. In 1969, at the age of 29, he lopped off his dick, centimetre by centimetre, with a razor blade and the resulting pics were reverently exhibited. The man was clearly a genius. Shortly afterwards he died by throwing himself out of a window emulating the photographer Yves Klein’s montage, ‘Leap into the Void’, or so they say.”

“Hang on, so what you’re saying is that Schwarzkogler was into making public art out of reducing his, um, private bits, while Costa is into slicing off and making private what’s now, um, whole, and in public ownership …”

“Exactly! It’s like Schwarzkogler in reverse. And that’s where the real performance comes in – by doing so he’s enlarging his already swollen dick. You see, what I’ve heard is that Mick has been, for some many years, into ritual penis enlargement – he’s used implants, vacuum thingies, politics, swaggering arrogance, Mussolini impersonations, Viagra, Horney Goat Weed … anything. Now he’s sort of run out of the usual things that work, so he needs a power industry privatisation and a big new motorway project, followed by a job with a merchant bank.”

“Cool! But can he pull it off!” exclaimed Joadja, wiping the last of the mayonnaise out of her bowl. “And it’s also a tribute to Clive James’ description of that other Austrian Schwarz – Arnie Schwarzenegger – as a ‘condom full of walnuts’.”

“Holy Merchant Banker … you’re right! It’s all falling into place now. But Schwarkogler was just nuts, right?”

“That’s the point. While they were hailing his genius, the critics failed to notice that he was certifiably insane. Same like Costa. The editorialists and the bourgeois commentariat keep going on about Mick’s machismo … but really, he’s just a sad case, forever tripping over his dick.”

“Yeah. As Zsa Zsa Gabor observed: Macho isn’t mucho.”

AND SEE ALSO:

Don’t mention the oil
Howard and Rudd avoid the burning issue of our time

10 November 2007
Oil has bumped $US100 a barrel. Right. That’s $US40 more than it was at the beginning of the year. Supplies of crude are getting tighter and tighter and competition for them more intense. If the situation from Pakistan to Palestine continues to deteriorate it’ll quickly go to $120 a barrel. If Bush tries to bomb Iran back to the Stone Age it could go anywhere.
Pretty soon, petrol will cost as much in Sydney as it did in the middle of the Nullabor a couple of years ago, but you won’t hear much debate about that grim fact from Liberal or Labor.