Friday, February 27, 2009

Human Rights in China: Olympic movement should bow its head in shame over worsening human rights record of China.

The US State Department has got off on the right foot under Clinton by telling China its human rights record stinks. Of course her first visit to China did'nt put human rights front & centre in terms of the bilateral relationship, and you would not expect that from a first visit by a new administration. However, Clinton has signaled human rights will be taken seriously by the Obama administration, most particularly at home where the US needs to model what it preaches abroad.

China reacted badly to the State Dept report as expected, denouncing US human rights violations, which it has to be said have been many over the period of the Bush administration.

The cynical disregard for human rights underlying the Olympic movement's dalliance with this regime beggars belief. I can still hear commentators banging on about 'children being fed' and a 'stellar economic performance', justifying repression and brutality on a wide front. Apologists for totalitarianism eventually have their collective noses rubbed in their own excrement - for instance, where was that economic miracle when 20 million people were recently made jobless and forced to return to rural squalor? Where are the worker protections? Where are their human rights?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Australian Federal politics - some gratuitous advice for the Liberal Party

While you keep banging on about jobs, desperately trying to make political mileage out of economic harsh times, you reveal yourselves to be opportunistic buffoons and should stay in opposition.

Your 'work choices' fiasco further 'casualised' and 'atomised' the workforce, leaving many workers more vulnerable to an economic downturn. Do you actually think the electorate has already forgotten your policy hubris in this area?

On carbon trading you are equally challenged, with various rumps of your party so confused on the subject of climate change it runs like a french farce.

You need to take a constructive role in this time of national insecurity or you will be condemned to opposition for a long time!

Your current leader thinks he should be PM yesterday without doing the hard yards, and he has never been a team player! Good luck and good night!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Plaudits to a great blog - Road to Surfdom is winding up

I was saddened to click to the Road to Surfdom blog and find a post informing us of the winding up (temporarily I hope) of this great blog.

My blinkered efforts on behalf of refugees and other belaboured souls have trailed off since the election of the Rudd govt, which has a notional grasp on the universality of human rights, something the Howard govt singularly failed to understand.

I felt at the time of starting my blog that the mainstream media was largely inept in its analysis of human rights violations on Howard's watch. Although most bloggers with a political bent wear their hearts on their sleeves, they have battled to fill a vacant lot abandoned by media insiders in their slavish determination to be paid up members of the political club.

As Tim puts it so eloquently:

"The fact is, Australia’s mainstream media is moribund. Although there are great journalists and other contributors out there, the institution itself is stuck in a hopeless, self-serving, tenured cul-de-sac and is failing in its job to properly inform, discuss, debate and entertain. Not to mention, reinvent itself. The form is dominated by a handful of insiders who have grown so content with their own lot that they are immune to sensible criticism and lack the self-awareness to reassess what it is they are doing. They are supported in this self-satisfied loop by a political class that is happy to exploit the status quo, feeding them leaks and other tidbits to keep the whole charade ticking over in such a way that nothing really changes.

The narratives, the memes, the discussions of our political and social life are set in concrete and endlessly recycle. We have learned to accept the daily, largely manufactured, controversies of political and social discussion in lieu of genuine examination. The same voices — and there are only about 20 of them — continue to define what is important or useful or worthy of discussion and the few organs of the mainstream media keep churning them out. Their lack of seriousness is only matched by their lack of courage."

I'm a bit late but bon chance Tim in your next endeavours. Thanks for your brave insights comrade.

Beautiful NZ - images for the soul

I have recently been in picturesque NZ. What a fabulous feast for the eyes and the bruised soul. I decided to go the black and white route as brilliant colour shots abound and the stark contrasts of B & W speak to me of mystery and the unknowable...