Maybe we should Bring Back the Noose?

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Capital Punishment On 3 February 1967, serial robber Ronald Ryan, convicted of the felony murder of a gaol warder at Pentridge Prison, was hanged in Victoria. 50 years after Ryan, the last man in Australia to swing, new calls for abolition of the death penalty abound. Some 141 countries have either abolished or suspended indefinitely the penalty, or limit it to war crimes, the remaining 57 still applying it to serious crimes.  10 October 2017 was the 15th “World Day Against the Death Penalty.”  (In Reversal of Fortune, the Alan Dershowitz character says of the death penalty, “that’s no penalty,…

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Playing With Fire

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(by Lawrence O’Donnell) (2017) Our favourite book on the incredible 1968 Presidential election remains the superb and impartial work by visiting British journalists, An American Melodrama. But this work by leftie Lawrence is a terrific read, once you learn to shut-out the partisan noise swirling about every chapter.  There’s nothing new here except the charge of treason by Nixon over the Anna Chennault affair, which O’Donnell mines from a book by the almost equally, but less noisily, partial John A. Farrell. [For his Book Richard Nixon: The Life, Farrell has read Haldeman’s notes of conversations with Tricky Dick and implies…

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The Cars That Ate Reason

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Mitsubishi folded car manufacturing in Australia in 2008.  Last year, Ford closed. This October, Holden closed its plant at Elizabeth, with stacks of local workers shown the door and associated industries going to the wall.  It is not as if we made crap cars.  It wasn’t from lack of an enthusiastic local market for Holdens and Fords. And it’s not as if the good old Aussie taxpayer hadn’t stumped-up its fair share of subsidised cash to keep the embers glowing. Market forces are many and varied. But they tend to follow immutable, organic, rules.  When organised car-making started up in…

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Don’t Burn Kevin!

November 2, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | American Politics, FILM, POLITICS, Ulalume |
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It has come to The Varnished Culture‘s attention that some Hollywood types lack the virtues of the Saints.  Well, fancy!  Turns out that getting drunk and a little ‘forward’ in the 1980s means you go to hell in the 20-teens. Kevin Spacey is getting the Harvey Weinstein treatment, with trimmings, because he not only failed to remember an inappropriate pass from long ago (and thus he must have dunnit) but he formally ‘outed’ himself at the same time, thereby cheapening the sanctity of such a rite of passage (apparently). So forget all about his stage work, or Glengarry Glen Ross, Swimming…

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We Won a Battle – Are We Losing the War?

October 22, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, POLITICS, Ulalume, Uncategorized |
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“I have of late, lost all my mirth, Such that this goodly frame, the earth Seems to me a sterile promontory; Golden fire frets roof in glory Majestical, but foul and pestilent, Vapours gather, and are spent. What a piece of work is man! When he formulates a plan ‘Gainst nature, how very like a god! He presses boots so heavily shod Upon his fellow, so that he will learn That everyone must have their turn Or, dust and ashes, all will burn.” (with apologies to William Shakespeare) October 2017: One hundred years ago Lenin issued his famous call to arms and ‘the people’ (well,…

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