Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Stateside: Inky Dinky, Kiss My Pinky

Stateside with Rosalea

Inky Dinky, Kiss My Pinky

I was wrong. It wasn't a harrowing week for news after all. First, Johnny Carson up and shuffled off this mortal coil, so we had lots of comic interludes. Then came the joyous sight of Iraqis all around the world voting absentee in the Castor Oil Election. And finally, the lines of Iraqis in their home country voting for the first time in several decades.

In fact, CBS was so hard-pressed for harrowing news that it resorted to showing images off a website that buys and posts photos from photojournalists in Iraq showing the human cost of the occupation. In the interests of fair and balanced reporting, they also showed images from the official US Army website, which doesn't show pictures of people, just the caches of arms found.

I saw only the local news that airs before the nationally televised talking heads shows this Sunday morning. On the ABC affiliate, their political commentator pointed out that it's a bit rich implying that democracy is a new concept to the Iraqis. The concept of a ruler calling together an "open council" before going to war pre-dates the Greek and Roman concepts of democracy and republic by a couple of thousand years..

And on CBS, the teaser link from the local news anchors to Bob Schieffer of Face the Nation was even more enlightening. The president has, Schieffer asserts, "bet the ranch" on the elections in Iraq going well. Even if they do go well--as they seem to have--the US public is probably only going to give about a six-month grace period for the situation on the ground in Iraq to improve.
If all does not go well, the Republicans seeking re-election in the House and Senate next year will be rushing to _not_ support the president on other unpopular measures, such as the privatization of Social Security, and Bush will be pushing those changes through at the risk of facing a Democratic majority in the House and Senate again in 2007.

It has been a strange week news-wise. On the one hand it's difficult not to be totally blown away (if you'll forgive the wording) by the determination of the Iraqis to vote under the most trying of circumstances. (And it's also difficult not to feel some pride-induced confusion that this was enabled by an outside intervention that I still do not support.)

On the other hand, it's frustrating for anyone interested in electoral reform in the US to have a party-list, proportional-representation electoral system--as is being used in Iraq--described as if it's a poor substitute for US-style democracy. Party lists will be forever equated in the US mind with fear, and remembered as a way of hiding people's identities. And that ain't what it's about.

Anyway, thank God that election is over with. I couldn't have stood another minute's build-up to it. Now that the US has a 52nd state called Iraq, to check and balance its 51st state, Israel, can we all just get on with life again?


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Globetrotter: How AUKUS May Damage NATO
The fallout over the AUKUS deal, as we are now seeing, has been a severe rift in relations between two historic allies, the U.S. and France. And the collateral damage may also include NATO. Only weeks after U.S. President Joe Biden courageously ended the war in Afghanistan—in the face of bitter opposition from the media and Congress... More>>

ANZUS without NZ: Why AUSUK might not be all it seems
We live, to borrow a phrase, in interesting times. The pandemic aside, relations between the superpowers are tense. The sudden arrival of the new AUKUS security agreement between Australia, the US and UK simply adds to the general sense of unease internationally... More>>

Bill Bennett: Farewell Clive Sinclair
My first brush with Sinclair was as an A-level student in the UK. Before he made computers, Sinclair designed an affordable programmable calculator. It fascinated me and, thanks to a well-paid part-time job, I managed to buy one. From memory it could only handle a few programmable steps, but it was enough to make complex calculations.... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Melbourne Quake: Shaken, Not Stirred

It began just after a news interview. Time: a quarter past nine. Morning of September 22, and yet to take a sip from the brewed Turkish coffee, its light thin surface foam inviting. The Australian city of Melbourne in its sixth lockdown, its residents fatigued and ravaged by regulations. Rising COVID-19 numbers, seemingly inexorable... More>>

Keith Rankin: New Zealand Superannuation: The Rules Versus Common Sense

Radio New Zealand (Checkpoint) ran stories last week about New Zealanders aged over 65 stranded in Australia who are at risk of having their pensions ('New Zealand Superannuation') stopped, and then having to repay the funds they received while in Australia... More>>

Dunne Speaks: Proud to call Aotearoa home

Te Paati Māori continues to provide a breath of fresh air in the political space, otherwise thoroughly choked by Covid19. Its call this week this week for a referendum on changing the country’s name to Aotearoa by 2026 is timely and a welcome diversion to the necessarily short-term focus engendered by Covid19... More>>