Fifty years ago this month, on January 17, 1961, outgoing U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower made one of the truly memorable presidential speeches of all time. Through his justly celebrated farewell address, Eisenhower wanted to alert his fellow Americans to two great dangers threatening public life in the Republic. For the first time in its history, the U.S. was home to a permanent arms industry. Allied with the military, this newly created military-industrial complex constituted a menace of "unwarranted influence" over U.S. decisions on momentous issues of war and peace, and for the structure of American society itself.
Six months ago, I wrote a piece for rabble.ca describing the appalling treatment of the people of the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean by the British government.
The islands were purchased by the government of Britain in 1966 from Seychellois Chagos Agalega Company, with the initial intention of running them as a U.K. government-owned plantation enterprise. This proved less profitable than the establishment of Cold War strategic military bases, so the islanders were removed.
This is no ordinary romp through Berlin. A transplanted Californian called Summer Banks, a stand-up comic by night and city tour guide by day, leads curious and slightly adventuresome tourists on a search for the finer examples of graffiti art and alternative living in the squats of the trendy and, in some ways, still-divided German capital.
Summer's stand-up routine is called "Comedy Gone Wild" and she's making them laugh every third Saturday at the Comedy Club Kookaburra. After a five-minute introduction there is little doubt that her tour will also be pretty wild. Her show's brochure says the comedy will be "uncensored." Ditto her tour commentary.
The failed United States policy against Cuba, which has for more than half a century stifled relations between these neighbouring countries and inflicted generations of harm upon the Cuban people, may finally be collapsing. On Wednesday morning, we learned that Alan Gross, a U.S. government contractor convicted in Cuba for spying, had been released after five years in prison. Another person, an unnamed Cuban imprisoned in Cuba for 20 years for spying for the U.S., was also released. This has made global headlines. Less well explained in the U.S. media are the three Cubans released from U.S. prisons. They are the three remaining jailed members of the Cuban Five. The Cuban Five were arrested in the late 1990s on espionage charges. But they were not spying on the United States government.
Edited by Bryan Evans and Ingo Schmidt, published by AU Press. Guest speaker: Leo Panitch.
Offering a comparative look at social democratic experience since the Cold War, the volume examines countries where social democracy has long been an influential political force -- Sweden, Germany, Britain, and Australia – while also considering the history of Canada's NDP, the social democratic tradition in the United States, and the emergence of New Left parties in Germany and the province of Québec. Once marked by redistributive and egalitarian policy perspectives, social democracy has, the book argues, assumed a new role -- that of a modernizing force advancing the neoliberal cause.
Based on columnist Cathal Kelly's criterion for Olympic greatness -- not how many medals you collect but what you embody for your times -- I'd call the highlight of week one the performance by Queen Elizabeth and James Bond on opening night. If they returned for week two, I'd watch them in anything: beach volleyball, synchro diving, badminton -- they were peerless.