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Reviews

Submitted by David Roffey on March 8, 2006 - 4:57pm.
Beyond Left and Right: Frank Furedi’s “Politics of Fear"

David McKnight’s Beyond Right and Left: New Politics and the Culture Wars was reviewed on Webdiary back in October. McKnight is essentially a politician whose analysis of the capture of the parties of the left by the market imperative is used as a basis for a program for regeneration of the left. Almost simultaneously with McKnight’s Australian publication, a very different analysis by a right-wing sociologist, Frank Furedi, was published in the UK: Politics of Fear: beyond left and right (London & New York, Continuum). David Roffey reviews it.

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Submitted by Tony Phillips on February 28, 2006 - 6:13pm.
Well say did you hear..

"With 2242 American soldiers killed in Iraq by the end of January 2006, and another 16,400 maimed in some way or another, with the Iraqi population suffering horribly and catastrophically, and all the while the affluence of America and Australia gliding along oblivious, one cannot help but feel a little bit of Vietnam coming back. Of course much is different but there is the pattern - of a floundering superpower, callous and crazy leaders, and a tragic morass of innocents killed from a distance, by men in offices making decisions in another language and with other priorities. It is all such that one can’t help but feel like a little bit of history repeating." Tony Phillips

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Submitted by Irfan Yusuf on February 13, 2006 - 4:07pm.
On Valentines and Half-Requited Love

"I seriously hope reading Van’s story doesn’t spoil your Valentines Day. Most of us find love in more conventional ways. But as Van’s story and Brokeback Mountain powerfully illustrate, unconventional love can be just as real even if the pressures of society and circumstance don’t allow it to be fully requited." Irfan Yusuf

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Submitted by Roger Fedyk on February 9, 2006 - 9:55pm.
Brokeback Mountain - a review

"Ang Lee has directed a film quite unlike anything that comes out of the US. There is a very disciplined way to Lee’s direction in that he stays true to his characters in every shot. So powerful is the Lee technique that it is easy to miss some of the most breathtakingly beautiful scenery because your focus is riveted on the characters." Roger Fedyk

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Submitted by Susie Russell on January 31, 2006 - 8:43am.
The end of the world as we know it (do you feel fine?)

"What Lovelock and other climate scientists are saying is that we can’t expect a gradual process of warming. Instead the warming will start off gradually (like it has) and as various thresholds or trigger points are crossed, things will start to go ballistic and it could all happen in a few decades. And that is Lovelock’s dire prediction. That civilisation as we know it won’t last 100 years and much of the planet will become uninhabitable for humans in a relatively short time (like the time it takes you to pay off your mortgage.)" Susie Russell

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Submitted by Chris Saliba on January 16, 2006 - 2:11pm.
The Third Try: Can the UN Work? A book review

"It may surprise the reader to know that a majority of Americans support a stronger United Nations, believe in international co-operation, favour spending money to help out poorer nations and even support the International Criminal Court (ICC). All this despite the current Bush administration’s pronounced displeasure with the UN." Chris Saliba

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Submitted by Chris Saliba on December 13, 2005 - 11:15pm.
Frank Hardy: Politics, Literature, Life, by Jenny Hocking

"Power Without Glory is an odd novel, in that it was actually commissioned by the Communist Party. Hardy was provided financial backing by the Party for four years; he also had a swag of party members act as researchers. The novel in a lot of ways reads like blockbuster fiction, yet doesn’t really have a plot, rather it piles political intrigue upon political intrigue, until you feel quite sick at the canker in the democratic bud. This was pretty much Hardy’s goal: a book aimed at moral improvement, not so much of the reader, but of the current political culture." Chris Saliba

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Submitted by Robert Bosler on November 26, 2005 - 1:39am.
Bosler's review of the Latham Diaries

"The notion that a politician could wrap up his time in public office in a book without amendment for how they might be regarded was inconceivable, before this one.  Mark Latham has not only (to use one of his own terms) pole-axed the Labor Party in The Latham Diaries, he has pole-axed along with the last of his public reputation that notion as well, at least for some time to come. But that seemed to be his intention. So why did he do it? The answer might be found in the great unspoken truth (by a serving politician) of the Australian political system - that it has been horribly reduced to falsity, treachery and showmanship - and that the media interface between that system and the Australian people, supposed to serve each of those, is even worse. Since his public regard was tied up in that mess, perhaps he considered it best to scuttle the lot of it." Robert Bosler

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Submitted by Guest Contributor on October 26, 2005 - 12:15pm.
Review of Roving Mars

"Mars hasn't given up its secrets easily, proving a graveyard for space probes; over half of all probes sent by both the US and the USSR failing. However it has now been the site of the most ambitious and successful space probe lander mission ever: the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity. Roving Mars is the story of this extraordinary project." Malcolm Street

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Submitted by Ian MacDougall on October 10, 2005 - 5:18am.
Beyond right and left: a review

"As McKnight points out, there is now no socialist movement to offer an alternative pole of attraction. The 150 year old socialist tradition has largely gone, unremarked and unmourned. The New Left, which rose in the 1960s and matured in the 1970s, has also joined socialism, at least as the world knew it, in the dustbin of history. “It’s now clear,” he says, ” that the socialist component of the New Left was the last gasp of an older Left, not the promise of a renewed one.” In its place, he sees the modern ‘broad’ Left (which to him includes members and supporters of the ALP, Democrats and Greens across to some current supporters of the Liberal and National parties.) But as far as he is concerned, all those people are standing on an eroding philosophical sandbank." Ian MacDougall

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Submitted by Kerryn Higgs on August 3, 2005 - 3:11am.
Blowin’ in the wind

"Blowin’ in the Wind was finished just in time to coincide with Operation Talisman Sabre 2005, the joint exercise of US and Australian troops conducted in June at Shoalwater Bay, Queensland – the first set of wargames conducted in Australia since a new defence agreement was quietly signed in Washington on July 7th last year." Kerryn Higgs

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Submitted by Stephen Smith on July 9, 2005 - 10:12am.
Live 8: Dylan, Sir Bob and the selling of illusions

"With Live 8, as with Live Aid before it, Geldof follows his perpetual star. His dream is an electronic world of solidarity. But is this a false salvation? One notable absence from Live 8 was Dylan. Instead he was busy issuing a CD of a long lost gig at the Gaslight Café in Greenwich Village from 1962. In a typical Dylanesque twist, its release is exclusive to the Starbucks coffee chain." Stephen Smith

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Submitted by Stephen Smith on June 19, 2005 - 11:00am.
Wake in Fright

"An end to the hard line on asylum seekers is not yet to take them into our hearts and out of the arena of political point scoring. Like racing on a tight stretch of desert road we have seen the PM playing ‘chicken’ with the Georgiou gang of rebels. He dared them to blink and swerve to avoid a collision. But outside of this drama he is running from a debate in Parliament. He may swerve but we must not let him escape the need for a Royal Commission into the whole immigration mess." Stephen Smith

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Submitted by Hamish Alcorn on February 22, 2005 - 11:25am.
Don't think of an elephant

G'day. Here's something to really get your teeth into, a review by Hamish Alcorn, my brother and convenor of my soon-to-be-launched website yourdemocracy, of the American bestseller Don't think of an elephant. After the review, an extract from the book with the kind permission of publisher Scribe. It's about how the hard right has hijacked the language of politics and how progressives can take it back. Author George Lakoff is the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, and is a founding senior fellow at the Rockridge Institute.

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