All hail Amerikanistan

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As late as 15:30 this afternoon I was trying to persuade myself that there had been a miscount and Clinton would win by a narrow margin. Like the ending of some nail-biting thriller with too many plot twists. But I was guilty of wishful thinking. And of having ignored a friend in the USA who had forecast for me quite consistently that the forces of barbarism she has lived with for decades would triumph with this improbably vulgar, buffoonish candidate. That Trump was just the logical next step in the obliteration of American post-war civilization. That Americans were just balefully malicious enough to summon the demon.

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Duterte is difficult to retract jack-in-the-box

Is Rodrigo Duterte the Filipino Trump? Brash. Vulgar. Homicidal. And now allied to America’s traditional foes?

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Or is it that America’s monotone rhetoric of free trade, and its supposed benefits, has worn too thin, at home as much as in its colonial outposts?

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Coalition lost in post-Trump era?

How will the Australian Coalition MPs who take their cues from the American Republicans orient themselves now?

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Sane people all over the world have recognised the moral and political bankruptcy of the Republican Party.

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Clinton murder threats: forest for the trees

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In some respects the threats to imprison or even kill Hillary Clinton emanating from the Trump camp are bitterly ironic.

Much though any civilised Western observer should be horrified by such threats, they are the logical outcome of a power granted to the President in 2001. The power to order the assassination of anyone anywhere.

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Trump denunciation a farcical cover for unexplored money trail?

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Republicans turning their backs on Trump for grotesque sexism is a bullshit cover story to disguise some unreported shadow-play, most likely about big money interests. Or so I propose.
The sudden outbreak of conscience and principle in the Republican agglomeration of reactionary sentiments just doesn’t ring true.

Nothing new is revealed about Trump in the apparently just-discovered open mic tape. What he said is hardly out of character for a man who has made his vulgarity a badge of honour.

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The political economy of our census fiasco

The root cause for the dramatic failure of the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) first online census is bipartisan Australian economic vandalism. What I mean is the pursuit by the major parties of economic policies that work to the detriment of the nation by serving foreign interests.

How that explains the cascade of technical failures which shut down the ABS census website requires taking a more strategic view of the fiasco than that offered by technology commentators.

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Nietzsche: prophet of the sociopaths

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In the past three decades I have read some – not all – of Friedrich Nietzsche’s works, finding him often obscure, dense, opaque, and less meaningful than I had expected from so famous a name. Scottish academic Lee Spinks has managed to change my mind with his undergraduate primer on the controversial 19th century German thinker.

Spinks’s Friedrich Nietzsche (Routledge, 2003) is part of the ‘Routledge Critical Thinkers’ series, designed to make complex ideas accessible without assuming the reader has absorbed the entire body of work produced by the subject of the primer. That’s an admirable service to interested readers.

One of the most powerful impressions on me after reading Spinks was just how pervasive Nietzsche’s ideas have become, woven into the most unlikely commonplaces, like television drama, art critique, literature, political debate, and even advertising, but mostly without explicitly acknowledging that parentage. This pervasiveness makes it easy to respond to direct contact with his unadulterated ideas with an indifferent shoulder shrug. Until it is recalled he originated these now normalised concepts when they might have been seen as revolutionary, and that his ideas have become enormously influential despite a common, naïve condemnation of his work as ideological justification for fascist excesses. Or was it because of that association? He was, in fact, rather contemptuous of any ideological justification for terror, and would have been disgusted by the Nazis as examples of weak, slavish, ressentiment-driven malefactors.

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Shorten cannot win against Turnbull

How lack of political talent and the rise of hand-held online chatter levelled Australian politics, and exposes the Labor fraud under Shorten of presenting itself as a desirable alternative to the Coalition.

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Vertigo and nausea in Canberra

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Whether Malcolm Turnbull will be a better Prime Minister for Australia than the outgoing Tony Abbott is highly questionable, given the constraints of Byzantine Coalition infighting and allegiances tied to murky patronage. But he is the worst sort of news for Bill Shorten’s Australian Labor Party.

Right now there is no one who more closely resembles Abbott in style and popularity than Shorten. The latter is secure only because he’s irrelevant; the Australian public is not focused on a potentially better leader of an opposition that is little more than a cut-rate Liberal party these days.

Why and how did Abbott become arguably Australia’s most despised and unpopular PM?

Within his own party he had long been known as an ‘attack dog’, apparently savouring his reputation as a rabid beast, and ruling his party like it was a street gang in which the most psychotic streetfighter is always the leader.

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