Money buys lots of lollies

Who said that being a multimillionaire defence contractor doesn’t make good business sense? David H. Brooks’ daughter had her bat-mitzvah last weekend in the US, so naturally enough daddy wanted to show how much he cared – while ignoring the misery his job actually creates – and hired a plethora of A-list musicians to entertain…

Time to say goodnight?

Steve Wasserman, Truthdig.org, November 28: “Why continue to read newspapers? After all, newspapers are losing circulation at precipitous rates, giving rise to fears that they may not survive long enough to write their own obituaries. Cutbacks, buyouts and layoffs are widespread, affecting many of America’s most prestigious newspapers, including The New York Times, The Boston…

Piers: no elitism here

Piers Akerman, Murdoch’s dutiful columnist, fails to understand the outcry over convicted Australian drug smuggler Nguyen Tuong Van, due to be hanged in Singapore this Friday. Indeed, he seems to believe that the death penalty is a sign of a country’s maturity. Akerman, always portraying himself as a man of the people, is actually little…

No play-lunch for you

Islamophobic Daniel Pipes thinks Muhammad Ali is a fundamentalist traitor to the American cause: “Awarding of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Muhammad Ali gratuitously celebrated a man profoundly opposed to Mr. Bush’s own, his party’s, and the country’s principles. It represents, I submit, the nadir of his presidency.” Pipes wants to create an America…

Saluting the shrub

“…The president of the United States is all-powerful, that as commander in chief the president of the United States can do anything he damn well pleases.” Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, Associated Press, November 28

What balance?

Israeli historian and dissenter Ilan Pappe explains the inherent pro-Israel bias at the BBC: “The decision to maintain the disciplinary procedures against [BBC journalist] Barbara Platt and even to go as far as to establish a commission of inquiry into the way the BBC covers the Palestine question (BBC bias complaint upheld, November 26) is…

Lock ’em up

Australia will soon enter the dark ages with draconian legislation to fight “terror.” The political imperative will allow Australia’s tradition of (relative) legal fairness to be superseded and forgotten. Caution is being urged but the Howard government knows the power of being seen to be doing something against the terror threat. As ever, foreign affairs…

Another vote for democracy

Washington’s “war on terror” is a violent fantasy wrapped in a veneer of respectability. Ethiopia has some experience receiving US support for its fight on “terror.” Ethiopundit tells us that the West is knowingly aiding a tyrannical regime in the name of “stability”: “This year the Ethiopian regime put on an election show for the…