Saturday 31st of July 2021

we knew that...




















The one thing that the Covid-19 pandemic, now in its second year, has encouraged very few people to do, when most are despairing, has been to try to re-invent the wheel in the epoch of digitisation. 


For many people, the pandemic came like a shock. A depressing shock. Say you were a young kid happily finishing graduation with honours with brilliant prospects for a career in shoe polishing or bio-lab assistant, suddenly, the world goes apeshit. This is not good. Already, due to the bar of low expectation and beer on tap, many people were already on zombie-mode. The pandemic has increased this depressing situation where even looking at one’s navel is deemed to be progressive. 


I usually blindly choose a book on the shelf for distracting my regular early morning bowel motion and this morning was Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (first published 1973) that I had picked from one of those free exchange-book small street-box library. Of course, I opened the book by accident to page 80-81. 


“Do you think the men from Mars have accepted my invitation to the White house?” the president asked.


“Of course they have” said the Foreign Secretary. “It was a brilliant speech, sir.”


After a bit more vacuous dialogue from Miss Tibbs, the President’s nanny now the vice president, the President asks her to sing THE song once more:


This mighty man of whom I sing,

The greatest of them all,

Was once a teeny little thing,

Just eighteen inches tall.


I knew him as a tiny tot,

I nursed him on my knee.

I used to sit him on the pot

And wait for him to wee.


I always washed between his toes,

And cut his little nails.

I brushed his hair and wiped his nose

And weighed him on the scales. 


Through happy childhood days he strayed,

As all nice children should.

I smacked him when he disobeyed,

And stopped when he was good.


It soon began to dawn on me

He wasn't very bright,

Because when he was twenty-three

He couldn't read or write.


"What shall we do?" his parents sob.

"The boy has got the vapors!

He couldn't even get a job

Delivering the papers!"


"Ah-ha," I said, "this little clot

Could be a politician."

"Nanny," he cried, "Oh Nanny, what 

A super proposition!"


"Okay," I said, "let's learn and note

The art of politics.

Let's teach you how to miss the boat

And how to drop some bricks,

And how to win the people's vote

And lots of other tricks.


Let's learn to make a speech a day

Upon the T.V. screen,

In which you never never say

Exactly what you mean.

And most important, by the way,

In not to let your teeth decay,

And keep your fingers clean."


And now that I am eighty nine,

It's too late to repent.

The fault was mine the little swine

Became the President.



Now we know where presidents come from. “Brilliant! Tremendous!"


From Germany ( comes this:


I am not the first person to ever sit in a dark room watching a stock market index arrow plunge down. There is something a little different, however, about watching that arrow go down and not be thinking about investments losing money. When you're 23 and fresh out of university, the only thing that arrow represents to you is the loss of opportunities.

I felt like panicking watching that arrow as it plunged in February 2020. All I knew in that moment was that my prospects of getting a job quickly after graduating with my master's degree just became much, much slimmer. In shaky video chat conversations with my peers, we all related the same fears we had in the pit of our stomachs that we would end up like the last generation who watched the markets crash in 2008. Although we were fairly young when that happened, we all knew the horror stories.

Stocks have since recovered, which might comfort some investors. But for those of us searching for jobs post-graduation, the situation still verges on hopelessness.





From OffGuardian ( we have:


Years ago, I was sitting in a café with my rabble-rousing friend James, both of us gnawing our teeth over the myriad difficulties facing the peace and social justice movement in the United States. We cited the usual suspects that stood in the way of progress: the entrenched corporate and financial elite; the embedded Pentagon machine; too much TV.


“But you know what our biggest problem is?” James said, growing animated. “It’s our low expectations! Think about it, man. Folks in this country will always fight back when pushed hard enough, yet we always seem to settle for crumbs, grateful to achieve anything. And that’s because we’ve accepted that we can’t win much anymore. I mean, yeah, we want a better world, can imagine one, but we don’t expect it, not really.”


James went on to say that our expectations are triply low when it comes to the political and electoral arena, where choosing between lesser evils seems the best we can do, the most we can hope for.


“We accept that they’re all a bunch of crooks and lairs and even murderers,” he said. “But for the most part, we don’t settle for that ‘quality’ about our teachers and doctors—or even our car mechanics!”


James had a point, and his words ring truer to me now than when he uttered them a decade ago. This lowering of the bar has gone on for so long that having a president who can speak in complete sentences is considered a lofty achievement. If the sentences are about the righteousness of war and empire, well, who cares if they’re slurred or bellowed as long as they can work a crowd?


It seems increasingly the case now that we live under an epidemic of low expectations; a resignation to despair that has narrowed our struggle and sapped our vision of what is possible. The system we live under so broken, that even good, intelligent people, generous of heart and spirit, are losing the capacity to imagine genuine alternatives to a US Empire mired in endless wars and escalating repression. It’s to the point where even common sense issues devolve into a bewildering and complex morass.






It’s not for me to… well it could be for me ("in my days, you know…") to give advice to the next generation of losers. I have no clue what to do but there are some young winners out there. When going for that rare job interview don’t blow your trumpets. Just explain that this is is what you know and can do, but that you are humbly ready to learn more tricks from them. But mostly that you will do your best FOR THEIR BENEFIT… Don’t tell them you know more than they do and can teach them how to suck eggs because you’re super-nimble with your fingers on the smartphone, while you note that they can’t even write their long forgotten purpose on a bit of toilet paper. 


Sure, you might not become president. This demands the extraordinary skills enumerated above by the Nurse’s Song.


And not everyone can become a professional cosmologist, but you can try dreaming (


For Curtin University astronomer Hadrien Devillepoix, helping prevent Armageddon is all in a day's work.

Key points:

In 2018, a 1.5-metre rock broke up in Earth's atmosphere and plummeted into the Kalahari Desert

Scientists didn't know exactly where it came from

Today, an international team that included Australians announced its origin

"I'm sure most people remember the movie Armageddon … If a really big asteroid came towards you, it really comes down to how much warning time we have," he said.

Dr Devillepoix is part of a global team that announced today it had solved an asteroid "detective mystery".

In June 2018, a 1.5-metre rock broke up in Earth's atmosphere and plummeted into the Kalahari Desert in Botswana after being accidentally captured on multiple video recordings.

But scientists didn't know exactly where it came from, so they launched an international effort to gather and share whatever information they could find.

Solving the puzzle

In September 2018, Christopher Onken from the Australian National University got an email from Dr Devillepoix, who was working at the Global Fireball Observatory.

He wanted to know if ANU's SkyMapper survey saw the asteroid on the day it crashed to Earth. So, Dr Onken examined the database.

"Imagine my surprise when there's this little streak that moves from image to image … very close to the edge of our field of view. We could have quite easily missed it," Dr Onken said.



Imagine! You and we could be hit on the head by one of these! But it seems that these little space rocks — not from Mars  mind you — always end up landing in a desert somewhere. Lucky us...


And the French Cook for the President, who is also a spy, bien entendu, is asked what do "men from Mars eat?"… “Mars Bars, of course” ….“Baked or boiled?” …. “Baked!”…. We knew that...

now the bad news...

US Involvement in the Yemen War: A Tale of Hypocrisy

The battle for Marib is escalating. The city, which hosts over 2 million civilians – including an estimated 1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) – is the last military stronghold of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi’s government in northern Yemen. Uprooting the government from Marib would help Houthis access the governorate’s important oil and gas resources and position them for a push[Read More…]

by Yanis Iqbal — April 23, 2021 — Imperialism







Biden’s Appeasement of Hawks and Neocons Is Crippling His Diplomacy

Written by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies President Biden took office promising a new era of American international leadership and diplomacy. But with a few exceptions, he has so far allowed self-serving foreign allies, hawkish U.S. interest groups and his own imperial delusions to undermine diplomacy and stoke the fires of war. Biden’s failure to quickly recommit to[Read More…]

by Medea Benjamin — April 22, 2021 — Imperialism






Empire’s Afghan War: A lost war, a profitable war

Afghan-chessboard is difficult. Now, with the US president’s latest Afghan-move, the chessboard is going to be more difficult, and more complex. It’s now neither a Stunning Queen Sacrifice nor a Bishop Endgame. Is it a Desperado Sacrifice or a Rook and Pawn Endgame? It’s difficult to ascertain now. US President Joe Biden has officially announced that US troops will leave[Read More…]

by Farooque Chowdhury — April 17, 2021 — Imperialism






Read more:











Some of the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies have used advertising to “greenwash” their ongoing contribution to the climate crisis, according to files published by the environmental lawyers ClientEarth. They describe the practice as “a great deception”.

The files compare the adverts produced by ExxonMobil, Aramco, Chevron, Shell, Equinor and others with the companies’ operations and products, overall climate impact and progress toward climate-safe business models.


ClientEarth is calling on policymakers to ban all fossil fuel company ads unless they come with tobacco-style health warnings about the risks of global heating to people and the planet.

Its lawyers lodged a complaint in 2019 alleging that BP’s advertising campaigns had misled the public by focusing on the company’s low carbon energy products, when more than 96% of its annual spend was on oil and gas. BP withdrew the ads before the complaint was assessed. ClientEarth said it was now putting other fossil fuel companies on notice over greenwashing adverts.


Read more:



The federal government has removed the milkshake consent video following widespread criticism from both Liberal and Labor education ministers on Tuesday morning.

Key points:
  • NSW and Victoria's education ministers have labelled videos in the campaign as "woeful" and "cringeworthy"
  • Young people have said the milkshake video makes consent more confusing than it is
  • Advocacy groups have called for an evidence-based approach to teaching consent

The now-deleted video formed part of a new campaign called "Respect Matters", which aims to provide educational material for schools to teach children about consent and boundaries.

As well as deleting the widely criticised "milkshake consent" video, a video that discussed coercion using the metaphor of entering shark-infested waters was also removed.

But videos that use tacos to illustrate the importance of "stopping, asking and listening" in relationships are still active on the campaign's website.


Read more:




Most people don’t think ‘Jingle Bells’ is a racist song, but most people aren’t Kate Pollard, a lecturer in music education determined to root out any trace of unwokeness from the classroom.

Pollard lectures in music education at the University of Nevada-Reno. Like many in higher education, she’s embraced the doctrine of Critical Race Theory, a set of beliefs that sees the history of the US as a tale of “white supremacy,” and requires white people to apologize for their own “privilege” and work to “deconstruct” their own “whiteness.”

For Pollard, doing this work involves making sure America’s youngsters never have to listen to a song that might be considered vaguely insensitive. In a recent blog post that reads like a forced confession, Pollard stated that she’s been on an “anti-racist journey,” and realized that the innocent-sounding children’s classics that she taught educators to use in the classroom are riddled with invisible racism.


Read more:




And now for the really bad news: Assange is still prison...