US Politics

The unusual case of David Hicks is one of the most spectacular and politically supercharged miscarriages of justice in Australian history. Like the infamous Boer War case of Breaker Morant, Hicks was politically scapegoated and grossly denied a fair trial. Unlike Morant – a war criminal who murdered prisoners of war – even Hicks’s accuser, the United States, n ...

Paul Roberts’s The Impulse Society is the latest entry in a now familiar subtype of polemic: that of the society in decline, the symptoms of which run the gamut of Western post-industrialist ills from childhood obesity to the meltdown of global economic markets, and the syndrome of which is, at root, advanced capitalism. The lineage can be traced back through, among many others, Chris Hedges’ Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle (2009), Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985) and Guy Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle (1967).

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American writer Gore Vidal was an intimate of political power. His grandfather was a US senator; his father served as Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Director of Air Commerce. When his mother remarried, to Hugh Auchincloss, Vidal obtained a descendant of Vice President Aaron Burr as a stepfather ...

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This book is about a moral panic resulting in the deployment of huge police and bureaucratic resources to ruin the lives of some unlucky individuals who were, or seemed to be, Communist Party members or sympathisers. None of Deery’s cases seems to have been doing anything that posed an actual threat to the US government or population; that, at least, is how it looks in retrospect. But at the time the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and the FBI judged otherwise and saw them as dangerous anti-democratic conspirators pledged to undermine, if not overthrow, the state. (Does any of this sound familiar?)

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Hard Choices by Hillary Rodham Clinton & HRC by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes

by
September 2014, no. 364

It takes a village to run the world, and Hillary knows how to do it. These are the main lessons from Hillary Clinton’s new memoir, Hard Choices. The book traces the finality of her presidential campaign bid in 2008 and her four years as secretary of state. Her analysis of this period provides insights into ...

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William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868–1963) forged one of the most remarkable careers of his generation. Starting in the 1890s, often considered the nadir of race relations in the United States, he became the first black man to hold a Harvard bachelor’s degree; emerged as Booker T. Washington’s most eloquent opponent on the issue of segregation; published pioneering work across many genres, including The Souls of Black Folk (1903); and after founding the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) went on to become the dominant voice of the Pan-African movement.

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November in America signals a time to gather in, take stock and breathe a little. The elections are done by the end of the first week. Thanksgiving beckons, the high holidays begin, media fever subsides – a little – and morphs into retrospective political analysis and projected anxiety about the future, especially, since 2008, the economic future.

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In Australia today, Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908–73) seems a fleeting figure on history’s stage: a brief interlude between Kennedy’s Camelot and Nixon’s Watergate – ‘All the way with LBJ!’ – the retreat from quagmire Vietnam – and that’s about it. So how does one justify buying and reading Robert A. Caro’s seven hundred-page book (dubbed ‘bloated’ by one critic), the fourth in a five-volume biography?

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The Princeton Post Office, as befits this famed university town, has a certain grandeur. It is small – Princeton is a village after all – and modest in its proportions, but grand in aspiration. As you step through its panelled doors your gaze is drawn by the long parade of milk-glass and bronze lights towards the mural that adorns the far wall. Like the White House murals, it is lofty, but almost domestic in its depictions of American history, American hope, American mythology.

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Many of us would find it as hard as Shaw’s Ladvenu does to think of any good reason for torture. It seems medieval, it is abhorrent, it is internationally illegal, and it doesn’t work. Statements made under torture are legally useless, and their value as intelligence is not much better ...

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