All posts by Michael F

About this blog

The thinly-veiled identity of lives and rants in Sydney. Views not his own, provided by hivemind. All my original work on this blog is licensed under a CC BY-NC License. Click here for the privacy policy

20 million people are dying from starvation, and you can help them with clicktivism

Est Reading Time: 5 min[CN: Famine, existential futility, genocide, Trump] It’s a cliche that when something bad happens to black/brown people, western mass media’s level of coverage is crap. The first time I remember being shocked by this is in 1997, when the newspaper was plastered with coverage of Princess Diana’s death/funeral. The Rais massacre of 400 people in Algeria that happened at the same time made page 1 of the world news section which due to the funeral coverage got pretty trashed that edition. I remember thinking: weren’t they embarrassed about being so blatant about it? But news publishers often know their audience […]

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Remembering Yevgeny Yevtushenko & the world’s most famous poem

Est Reading Time: 8 min[CN: Genocide] Yesterday the distinguished Soviet poet/dissident Yevgeny Yevtushenko died. I’ve published before about him writing possibly the world’s most famous poem as well as an appalling piece of propaganda, in honour of his impact here’s a repost of the above with adaptations for the present day. The world’s most famous poem The poem has some interesting backstory especially since Yevtushenko gave a Russian-language interview in 2011 with some insider details. The Nazi campaign of exterminating Jews was fought on two fronts. In Western Europe, they were more cagey about their antisemitism, with most of Jews being taken to concentration […]

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If Australian states were countries

Est Reading Time: 2 minThere’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 minOne 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 minTomorrow 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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