If Australian states were countries

Est Reading Time: 2 min There’s been quite a few interesting maps imagining states of a particular country as countries of their own. Some examples: US states as countries – by education rank US states as countries – by GDP US states as countries – by area China provinces as countries – by GDP per person China provinces as countries – by GDP China provinces as countries – by life expectancy Australia has states but somehow doesn’t get the same level of attention! Luckily we have fewer states/territories so I made some. Australian states/territories as countries – by size Australian states/territories as countries – by […]

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Newslash: Racist anti-immigration “thinktanks” lie with statistics

Est Reading Time: 4 min [CN: White supremacy, eugenics etc] Anti-immigration groups/politicians have always been trying to intellectualise their views. Behind the veil it’s just the same old but if they put on a mask they can get more people than just their base to think they “have a point”. This is what happened when this 1996(?) video by founder of anti-immigration NumbersUSA Roy Beck recently went viral. It was misleading enough for someone I know to voice initial support, only realising after that it was not credible. Here it is: Video link The most misleading thing about this video is its existence – it […]

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Meanwhile in Russia: “mild” domestic violence has been decriminalised

Est Reading Time: 3 min One of the many, many side effects of HWMNBN is the extent to which the disproportionate media coverage is taking world attention from other crises, many of which were getting very little attention even before. Dictators are operating with more impunity and people are dying. To push back against this I want to start reaching into stories that would or should be front page news but now aren’t. There have been THINGS happening in Russia. Well one THING I want to talk about. Some of the links below are to Russian-language websites, provided for reference purposes although you can give […]

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What will we be hated for?

Est Reading Time: 5 min [CN: Everything.] There’s a great scene in Mad Men S2E07 (The Gold Violin). The family is having a picnic in the park and when they finish Betty Draper shakes the rubbish from the blanket onto the grass. There’s a lot of other subtext but it’s supposed to leave a modern audience shocked. Here’s the clip: [Video link] And it did: lots of people have been discussing this online: the degree to which such blatant littering was common in the 1960s USA, the other symbolism around it etc. I thought it was a bit heavy-handed in making us repulsed by the […]

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The stay against Trump’s travel ban upheld – a closer look at the ruling

Est Reading Time: 6 min [CN: Trump] It’s been a few days since the ninth circuit court of appeals unanimously rejected the Trump administration’s request to reinstate #MuslimBan. There’s been obviously a lot of commentary about where to from here but I wanted to look at the court’s actual ruling to see what arguments were used and whether they shed any interesting light on resistance to fascism in the USA and here in Australia. You can check out the 29 page PDF of the ruling here. In the meantime here’s a quick summary of each section. I. A. N. A. L. Background: A summary of […]

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Racist NIMBYism: anti-eruv “arguments” in Australia

Est Reading Time: 9 min [CN: Racism, propaganda] Yesterday I posted about some far-right anti-mosque propaganda. This type of fear-mongering doesn’t stop there; the campaign against the St Ives eruv shows its wide scope. Unlike the previous post, I should explain what an eruv is. In Orthodox Judaism, it’s essentially forbidden to carry (inc pushing a stroller) on Shabbat except for within one’s home or outside with the aid of an eruv. An eruv consists of boundary demarcations (usually poles/wires), the symbolic acts of renting space from a non-Jew and setting up a communal meal for each Sabbath. More here, and just to make it […]

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Racist NIMBYism: anti-mosque “arguments” in Australia

Est Reading Time: 7 min [CN: Racism, propaganda] Because of various uhm “reasons”, racist nativism is here to stay. One way it bubbles up in Australia is NIMBYism about religious structures by The Other. You’ve probably seen it in terms of opposition to mosque construction, but similar sentiments have come up against the Jewish community (see tomorrow’s post). These differ in how explicit they are but they all take from the same playbook, so it’s good to be familiar with the type of propaganda spread by white supremacist organisations to try turn the “general public” against minority religions. You probably don’t need to be told […]

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Any celebration on Jan 26th is neither apolitical nor bypartisan

Est Reading Time: 4 min Tomorrow is Australia Day. I’ve posted about it before and this column by Nakkiah Lui remains a must-read each year. One thing that has changed is that columns like Lui’s have ignited public conversation about the celebrations. This culminated last month with a City of Fremantle initiative. It started with this: Fremantle bumped Australia Day events by two days, citing Aboriginal cultural sensitivities. The assistant immigration minister, Alex Hawke, said the commonwealth would not allow the council to hold citizenship ceremonies as part of its planned events on 28 January because it would give an anti-Australia Day message. The council […]

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Trump inauguration as the reductio-ad-absurdum for US democracy

Est Reading Time: 4 min Democracy Index Map [CN: Trump] Today will be the US inauguration. Given the importance of the Electoral College for Trump’s victory it’s a great time to examine why self-identifying as a democratic country doesn’t mean shit. Democracy has a pretty good brand so naturally countries want to identify as having democratic institutions. A lot of the time discussions about whether something’s a democracy devolve into bickering about technical definitions (eg. “democracy vs republic”). I think that’s a waste. We can establish common ground about what people might mean by democracy. For example: a country where all its people (to the […]

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Rashida Jones on the documentary Hot Girls Wanted

Est Reading Time: 6 min [CN: Porn including some graphic exerpts, sexual assault] Vice has a very interesting interview with Rashida Jones on the documentary Hot Girls Wanted which she co-produced. I haven’t seen the doco yet but the interview alone is worth a look: [Video Link] Jones starts out saying she has “no problem with porn as adult entertainment,” and if she did, who cares since she can’t exactly put a stop to people watching porn. The rest of the interview is about the documentary which is a critique of the “amateur” porn scene in Miami, Florida. Jones’s take is much better than any […]

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