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.
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.
Though given the nickname from a simple slot machine, the Canadian fruit machine was anything but benign. It was a top secret system of persecution and oppression of queer Canadians, spurred by homophobia . It involved the calculated and systemic demotion and firing of queers in the civil service by the RCMP.
Christian Parenti talks about his latest book, 'Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence', a "brilliant weather report from the near future of world politics".
It's hard to explain to anyone under 30 (who'd have been 8 when the Berlin Wall fell) what the Cold War was like, or even that it happened. Clashes between "communism and freedom," a readiness to incinerate the planet, stalking "subversives." A culture bathed in politics. The Hollywood red scare, the career of Ronald Reagan: from B-actor to president. And spy mania. It seems as remote as the Middle Ages yet many of us were there.
If you want your kids to understand the Middle Ages, you can take them to Medieval Times at the CNE. If you want give them a sense of the Cold War, take them to a council meeting at city hall. Look for Giorgio Mammoliti.