Thursday, February 11, 2016
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
I have just gotten home from State of Origin game one 2013. Awesome game, had a wicked time with some nice people, had a grand old chat to two old fellas on the bus on the way home and thoroughly enjoyed listening to the young 5 - 10 year olds who were at their first game with their folks as they talked about what parts they enjoyed best/who was the best player.
I had a killer time, just big smiles all around. So I was lying in bed and having a look at ye olde Facebook as I tend to do (far too often) and what struck me as strange as with all the obvious football related posts, there were as many anti Rugby League/anti sport posts.
Most of them with the obvious tone of superiority, the idea that this is solely an activity for the stupid. It seemed for enjoying this night, I was a piece of shit meathead with misogynistic tendencies?
That's cool if you don't like it, by all means, go right ahead. But to so vehemently be against it? To suggest that much bad about someone because they like a sport?
Hey, I do love to joke about AFL to my Melbourne mates and I do shit on rock Festivals but that is more from a technical standpoint, in that the best place to see a band is indoors, there is simply no comparison, hence I pay out the rear end for 'sideshows' and 'sidewaves'.
I am not being anti-complainer here, not at all, heck I complain all the fucking time, much to my friends annoyance I am sure.
But that is about actual issues, not getting butthurt and taking some pseudo-intellectual stance against a simple game that people enjoy.
I am positive that a lot of sports fan think me, wasting my time at a rock n roll show, is incomprehensible. But hey, different strokes for different folks. So long as no one is getting hurt, no harm no foul.
I totally get the 'games to distract the populace' ala Orwell's 1984.
I understand that often sport can be used to distract you and for you to allow yourself to get to care more about the achievements of others than your own achievements. But is that not the person? Is that not the issue of people having a general malaise or maybe there is a deeper issue as to why we do that?
To imply that someone must be a thug, misogynist, stupid etc. because they enjoy Rugby League and enjoyed the hubbub surrounding it is flat out ridiculous.
Oh but Mo, you say, what about their absolutely appalling record on player behaviour, treatment of women, racism etc. etc.?
I'm not denying any of that or reducing it, but those are not issues about the game itself. That is about an ingrained culture of misogyny. Those issues need to be tackled, they really do, but those are issues that we need to address in general for a lot of young men. Actually in society as a whole. Same goes for rape culture, racism, sexism and so on.
But it's much easier to say footy is fucked because they're all dumb than to actually look deeper and start to tackle some real issues. Pun intended.
I really like a lot of sport. I love the competition. I love the heart element. I love the story. I love the raw humanity of it.
I also happen to read a fuck tonne and know a thing or two about current events and history.Not for a second putting myself above someone else, simply stating I am a boring fuck AND saying that things are more complex than footy is dumb/fuck jocks etc.
Speaking for myself, one of the best things I have personally done for myself is begin training martial arts. Something I have not done for a very long time (primary school, if that even counts...). Mainly Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and some private training in stand up with an amazing..how would I describe him... I guess several dan black belt in karate, but studied many many styles of fighting so a real mixed martial artist I guess...or what I would consider a real martial artist to be more specific.
You'd imagine (if you were anything like me 5 years ago) that this would be an arena filled with "jocks" and "meatheads" but the people I have met through Jiu jitsu, I find incredible. I am speaking in terms of meeting some of the most genuinely nice people I have met in a long time who I also (and they me) try to choke out. In the friendliest manner possible.
Or with my stand up trainer who I spend two hours training with whilst discussing design, philosophy, music... you name it.
The effects on my life have been fantastic. One in terms of my body and mind feeling better overall, I am also thoroughly enjoying knowing and testing my limits...having a dude half your age, weight and strength make you tap out is fantastic for the ego.
I guess my point is that there is more to sport/physical activity than just dumb meatheads who have no mental capacity.
There is something to be said for the pursuit of excellence and the sacrifice to achieve it and the reward for that, in whatever field you chose or enjoy.
I am not saying some footy players aren't the biggest idiots on earth and some football fans are the most horrendous people. But that, for the most part is issues with horrendousness and idiocy.
Consensual release of aggression is not that bad in my opinion, it's where it is harmful to yourself and others be it through non-violent means i.e. stress (road rage etc.) or violent means or where you allow your absorption into the achievements of others that you do not achieve on your own that shit gets problematic.
Heck, some of the calmest, loveliest and deep thinking people I know are utter weapons in physical activities.
So please, I'm not a moron misogynist thug because I like Rugby League and I like Origin.
I also happen to love the board game Risk, playing Big 2, Rock n Roll music, an unhealthy obsession with a younger Mavis Staples and equally love the writings of Gandhi, Rumi, Chomsky, Mick Foley (Wrestler) and JK Rowling (yes, I fkn like Harry Potter, fuck you).
Play the man, not the ball.
P.S. If sport statuses irritate you so much on the couple of times a year your Facebook feed gets cluttered with them, spare a thought for me, I don't particularly like cats and I'm not a fan of bacon either.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
The Narrative I’m not Seeing – Why European Offers of Peace Seem Strange
Ok so like I said earlier I’m not really writing blogs anymore, I am writing something larger but I do feel the need to write this because there is something I’m seeing, but am not reading, perhaps I am mistaken but I think the conclusions are pretty evident, perhaps I am wrong.
So first, this does require some extra reading, yes, reading, sorry, I know how frustrating that is but if you have a spare couple minutes I think it’s worth the read.
Today I read: (14.6.2011)
Berlusconi offers to host Mideast peace talks in Sicily (full article link below)
“ROME – Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi offered to take personal steps to help restart stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, telling Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Rome on Monday that he would be willing to host negotiations in Sicily.
In a press conference of the two leaders following a meeting that both sides said went well, Berlusconi reiterated his opposition to UN recognition of a Palestinian state at the General Assembly session in September.”
Then today: (14.6.2011)
EU pushing peace plan based on Obama's '1967 borders' speech (full article link below)
“Ashton's (EU's foreign policy chief) letter was coordinated with the governments of France, Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain, a senior European diplomat said. The diplomat added that the Americans had rejected the French peace initiative, but EU countries had decided that the U.S. needed to be pushed to advance a peace plan that would head off the Palestinian effort to secure recognition of an independent state at the UN in September.
Secretary of State Clinton and the U.S. administration are not enamored of Ashton's initiative at this point, a senior European diplomat has told Haaretz, adding that the Americans are losing precious time in which to attempt to stop the Palestinians' UN plans for September.
The Americans prefer to secure Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's support for renewed negotiations with the Palestinians, based on the Obama State Department address. However, Netanyahu is not expected to respond positively to that suggestion when he meets U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, David Hale, who arrives in Israel tomorrow.”
Now something struck me as strange, I remember reading this last week:
Haaretz exclusive: Secret cables show Israel's battle plan over Palestinian UN bid:
- Published 10.06.11
Israel has started mobilizing its embassies for the battle against UN recognition of a Palestinian state in September, ordering its diplomats to convey that this would delegitimize Israel and foil any chance for future peace talks.
"The goal we have set is to have the maximum number of countries oppose the process of having the UN recognize a Palestinian state," Barak wrote to Israel's ambassadors in his cable, which was sent June 2. "The Palestinian effort must be referred to as a process that erodes the legitimacy of the State of Israel...
"The primary argument is that by pursuing this process in the UN, the Palestinians are trying to achieve their aims in a manner other than negotiations with Israel, and this violates the principle that the only route to resolving the conflict is through bilateral negotiations."
"The goal is to get the country in which you serve to vote against recognizing a Palestinian state," Barak wrote. "Your plan must include approaching the most senior politicians, mobilizing the relevant force multipliers [such as local Jewish communities, nongovernmental organizations], using the media, influencing local public opinion, and public diplomacy aimed at all the relevant communities."
Don’t these statements from foreign officials in the highest of offices, sound like the stated aims of a clear propaganda campaign?
What is worrying here is where this leads next.
If the Palestinians do not accept these calls for talks, they are ‘stalling the peace process’. Do not be surprised if that is the narrative that is taken, that is repeated consistently from most ‘pundits’ and ‘middle east experts’ (rarely, if ever Palestinian, of course).
Now, were the calls for peace genuine, the ‘commitment to resumption of the peace process’ sincere, we could accept that. However when you consider this in light of recent events with regard to peace talks will it be any wonder that the Palestinians do not accept?
Just a quick summary: (if you want references, read the Guardian, London independent, Al Jazeera or Haaretz for the timeline references)
· Obama Govt. sponsors peace talks with Palestinian Authority and Israel
· Talks fall over when freeze on illegal Israeli settlement building (settlements which are illegal under international law on what is recognised as ‘Palestinian territory’) ends and Israel refuse to extend the freeze.
· Obama Govt. offers 4 billion in military and financial aid to Israel in exchange for a temporary 30 day settlement freeze with NO ONUS to ever freeze settlement building again
· Israel refuse
· Talks end
· Al Jazeera release Palestine paper: leaked documents show Palestinian Authority willing to compromise further than publicly shown including huge concessions before unheard of to an unwilling Israeli government.
· Israel has announced the building of 1000’s more dwellings for settlers in illegal settlements and extensions to settlements.
Now when one considers how often these Peace talks were used to legitimise (Oslo, Camp David) more land grabs in the form of illegal settlement building I do not think it is surprising if the Palestinians spurn these half hearted attempts at Peace.
Rightfully so, where was the EU pressure during Operation Cast Lead? Why has Berlusconi not spoken clearer during the US sponsored talks?
I too would think this most certainly a case of too little too late.
That is under the presumption that the intentions are honest, when past experience shows that most of the time the peace talks have been used to maintain status quo.
Palestinians occupied, settlements unabated and so it goes. With some pandering words to ‘peace’ and ‘viable two state solutions’ (of course) but very little in the form of action or reform.
So this leaves me with the question, why is Israel and the United States so scared of Palestinian recognition by the UN?
If a precursor to Palestinians being “viable partners for peace” is being their recognition of the State of Israel, how about the Palestinians, after entering into peace talks after peace talks, get a bit of recognition for a change?
But the question remains, why are they so scared of UN recognition of the Palestinian state? Might be that change thing Obama was talking about.
But after Binyamin Netanyahu gets over 55 standing ovations in congress ‘more than the average Baath party congress in Damascus’ (as Robert Fisk wrote) for directly defying their President’s wishes, and US elections around the corner, I seriously doubt it.
Monday, January 17, 2011
So I haven’t written a blog in a while, I’m concentrating on writing something else, bigger. That’s all I’ll say for that on that for now. However I did feel on this day that I had to write something.
Eisenhower Warned Us, We Failed: 50 Years On & the Military Industrial Complex Marches On
President Dwight D Eisenhower’s goodbye speech was given 50 years ago to this very day on the 17th of January 1961, and its statements are all too clear, more prescient now than I am sure he could have ever imagined.
For those who aren’t familiar, audio of the speech can be found on YouTube and I have posted a link below to part one.
Transcript can be found here: http://www.h-net.org/~hst306/documents/indust.html
For those too lazy (it’s ok, you should see my list of home delivery menus) I want you to read these, most important parts.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, January 17th 1961
“Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
Let’s go over that again:
“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications.”
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist”
“We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
Now I know the under lining is a tad dramatic, but you get the point.
Now look at the top 20 of military expenditure by country:
Rank of Country By Military expenditure, 2009 % of GDP,
1 United States 663,255,000,000 4.3%
2 China 98,800,000,000 2.0%
3 United Kingdom 69,271,000,000 2.5%
4 France 67,316,000,000 2.3%
5 Russian Federation 61,000,000,000 3.5%
6 Germany 48,022,000,000 1.3%
7 Japan 46,859,000,000 0.9%
8 Saudi Arabia 39,257,000,000 8.2%
9 Italy 37,427,000,000 1.7%
10 India 36,600,000,000 2.6%
11 South Korea 27,130,000,000 2.8%
12 Brazil 27,124,000,000 1.5%
13 Canada 20,564,000,000 1.3%
14 Australia 20,109,000,000 1.8%
15 Spain 19,409,000,000 1.2%
16 Turkey 19,009,000,000 2.2%
17 Israel 14,309,000,000 7.0%
18 Greece 13,917,000,000 3.6%
19 United Arab Emirates 13,052,000,000 5.9%
20 Netherlands 12,642,000,000 1.4%
When you look at the kind of money being spent on military, by country, and then you look at the eternal wars we are constantly engaged in, be it the cold war, the war on terror, whatever necessary ideological nonsense or lies that we need to be fed to go to war. It gets a little scary doesn’t it?
You start to wonder,” well damn war is profitable”. This huge military industrial complex surely does not want Presidents, Prime Ministers and others that would not support war. “Peace is incredibly unprofitable” don’t you know.
When you consider the amount of money involved, are governments and politicians and presidents above or more powerful than those who sell them the weapons? I don’t think so, I honestly don’t. To be a politician is transitory, the arms industry never goes away.
Eisenhower was right. We failed to monitor this, we listened, too often unquestioningly to the excuses to murder innocents and “liberate” and in the process, sell a whole shitload of weapons. We allowed centres of power and democratic processes to be corrupted, manipulated and worse, a whole bunch of people probably died unnecessarily.
Ike must be spinning in his grave.