Since Scott Morrison has become Australian prime minister back in 2018, we have learnt that wearing a baseball cap shows the nation and the world which side you are on. However, what happens if a prime minister wears a different hat each and every day? https://youtu.be/1UhSWcjgslA The Australian government, led by the man in an … Continue reading The robo debt scandal: A shocked nation and a rattled government
A wellspring of joy: Taking in the first bouts of freedom
At least in the West, we have almost won the battle against the Corona virus, an organism entirely tone-deaf to all of humanity’s sorrows, suffering and grief. While we start celebrating the ’new normal’ we all do well to remember that fighting COVID-19 remains a challenging task for countries in the developing world. After more … Continue reading A wellspring of joy: Taking in the first bouts of freedom
Politische Dickhäuter in Gefahr: Über einen Tübinger Elefanten im Grünen Porzellanladen
Seit einiger Zeit hält der Tübinger Oberbürgermeister Boris Palmer seine Partei in Atem. Die von Journalisten herbeigeredete Causa Palmer hat nun den Parteiapparat der Grünen veranlasst, Palmer aus der Partei ausschließen zu wollen. Was passiert, wenn aus Deutschland dem Wintermärchen eine Grüne Fabel wird? Hier meine Gedanken über den Niedergang und Verfall einer echten demokratischen … Continue reading Politische Dickhäuter in Gefahr: Über einen Tübinger Elefanten im Grünen Porzellanladen
Podcast: Linksliberalismus – weder links noch liberal
Vor knapp einem Jahr veröffentlichte eine Gruppe Intellektueller einen Brandbrief, in welchem sie dem Linksliberalismus vorwarfen ein Klima von angst und Zensur zu fördern. Linke Strömungen, so argumentierten die Autoren, werden dem rechten Spektrum immer ähnlicher. Diese verheerende Entwicklung hat nun die deutsche Volkswirtin, Publizistin und Abgeordnete der Linkspartei Sahra Wagenknecht auf den Plan gerufen. … Continue reading Podcast: Linksliberalismus – weder links noch liberal
Podcast: Why I write
Following my most recent piece on the Electoral College and voting rights in America, a close friend of mine dropped me a line asking me, “Why do you write?” Initially, I thought the question slightly odd and was taken aback. But then, when lying in the bathtub a few hours later, nursing a glass of … Continue reading Podcast: Why I write
Democracy skewed? About the future of the Electoral College and voting rights in America
“The process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications. Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honours … Continue reading Democracy skewed? About the future of the Electoral College and voting rights in America
Das Berlin der Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo: Eine Audio-Dokumentation
Natürlich können Drogen die künstlerische Arbeit befeuern, das weiss man von Göthe, Freud Bukowski und vielen anderen. Aber die haben eben auch die Regel befolgt: Im Rausch schreiben, nüchtern gegenlesen.Udo Lindenberg Ich würde eigentlich gern gepflegt Drogen nehmen, aber ich habe so wahnsinnige Angst vor Sucht und schlechten Spritzen und Gesindel, das mich erpresst.Harald Schmidt … Continue reading Das Berlin der Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo: Eine Audio-Dokumentation
Living through the second lockdown: Literary excursions
With wall-to-wall coverage of the pandemic in full swing and virologists suddenly elevated to stardom on various TV channels, with critical journalism constantly in decline and with a smug political class imposing lockdown after lockdown with scant regard for all the economic and social fallout, democracy as we know it has been put on halt. … Continue reading Living through the second lockdown: Literary excursions
Donald Trump a Jacksonian?
Not so long ago, the 45th president of the United States Donald Trump fancied himself a Jacksonian, referring to the 7th president of the Republic as his role model in public life. Relying on splendid historiography by H. W. Brands, I discuss this very question on my podcast. https://youtube.com/watch?v=EGfxyeuy8u8&feature=share So, then, are there any similarities … Continue reading Donald Trump a Jacksonian?
Introducing: How to Fix the Internet
With various governments poised to relaunch the Crypto Wars of the early 1990s, with social media conglomerates harnessing our data without our explicit consent and with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube employing algorithms without transparency, thereby shaping and manipulating our perceptions of reality, digital technology is a far cry from the ideals associated with the internet … Continue reading Introducing: How to Fix the Internet
US presidential election: A postmortem
After four days on constant Adrenalin, plenty of coffee and tobacco, it was time for a major comedown on Saturday night helped along by two bottles of red wine. However, now I am ready for my first more detailed postmortem on the election. In this podcast episode I ponder some questions weighing heavily on my … Continue reading US presidential election: A postmortem
A vote for a better more humane America: Biden has been elected 46th president of the United States
Two very different campaigns, two very different politicians - in essence two very different Americas. CNN just 10 minutes ago projected Pennsylvania for Joe Biden, making him the new president elect and denying Donald Trump a second term in the White House. I am proud of all Americans today, especially because Biden is poised to … Continue reading A vote for a better more humane America: Biden has been elected 46th president of the United States
Morning or mourning in America?
Morning or Mourning in America? Welcome to the twilight zone of political uncertainty as four swing States hang in the balance. No matter the final result, this election has not been the much anticipated repudiation of Trumpism in America. What went wrong for Biden and the Democrats tonight, and how did Trump stage one of … Continue reading Morning or mourning in America?
The Queensland State election: Labor escapes a severe sunburn in the sunshine State
With the polls having closed a few hours ago, and with counting well underway, it seems that the Australian Labor Party (ALP) has narrowly escaped a severe sunburn in the sunshine State. Since this election was held in the midst of a pandemic, however, an unprecedented number of postal ballots has yet to be counted. … Continue reading The Queensland State election: Labor escapes a severe sunburn in the sunshine State
Podcast: It’s the polling stupid
While they are shrouded in mystery, journalists love them; politicians obsess about them and the public craves them too. In the run up to the US presidential election in less than a fortnight, at least 4 polls are published each day, relentlessly feeding the frenzied 24-hour news cycle. In this episode I discuss my personal … Continue reading Podcast: It’s the polling stupid
Antiquiert ja aber Todgeweiht? Die Wiederbelebung meines Podcasts
Waren es lediglich die Anwandlungen eines in der Pandemie gestrandeten Einzelgängers oder letztendlich doch der gesunde Menschenverstand, welcher mich veranlasste auf persönliche Spurensuche zu gehen? Das Fischen in den digitalen Datenströmen unserer Zeit förderte Erstaunliches zutage: Die so wiederentdeckten Schätze waren das Ticket für eine kleine Zeitreise in meine eigene jüngste Vergangenheit. https://anchor.fm/joerg-tretow/episodes/Antiquiert-ja-aber-tot--Die-Wiederbelebung-meines-Podcasts-ektllp In der … Continue reading Antiquiert ja aber Todgeweiht? Die Wiederbelebung meines Podcasts
The battle over the Supreme Court: Don’t pack but reform
“Dissents speak to a future age. It’s not simply to say my colleagues are wrong and I would do it this way.’ But the greatest dissents do become court opinions and gradually over time their views become the dominant view. So that’s the dissenter’s hope: that they are writing not for today but for tomorrow.” … Continue reading The battle over the Supreme Court: Don’t pack but reform
A roadmap for victory: If all goes wrong for Australian Labor, can the 10 commandments bring salvation?
“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”Plato “The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.”Dante Alighieri “Male stupidity masks the will to power that lies just behind the goofy grin ... (and) … Continue reading A roadmap for victory: If all goes wrong for Australian Labor, can the 10 commandments bring salvation?
A fruitful endeavour? Writing about the plague during a plague
“I have been urged to write what happened here. Every city, every settlement, every place was poisoned by the contagious pestilence. When one person had contracted the illness he poisoned his whole family, and those preparing to bury the dead were ceased by death in the same way. thus, death entered through the windows, and … Continue reading A fruitful endeavour? Writing about the plague during a plague
Walk the talk: Becoming a foster parent for an orphaned elephant – it is time to act
It all started with one particularly moving documentary that truly got under my skin and, I am not ashamed to confess, made me tear up a couple of times. Researching for my previous piece on unexplained deaths of elephants in Botswana, I stumbled upon the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, an organisation founded in 1977 by … Continue reading Walk the talk: Becoming a foster parent for an orphaned elephant – it is time to act
Mysterious deaths of elephants in Botswana leave scientists puzzled
“They say an elephant never forgets. What they don’t tell you is, you never forget an elephant.”Bill Murray. “An elephant is never won by anger; nor must that man who would reclaim a lion take him by the teeth.”John Dryden. “Nature’s great masterpiece, an elephant; the only harmless great thing.”John Donne. https://youtu.be/FIBXHmby59w Nature’s giants are … Continue reading Mysterious deaths of elephants in Botswana leave scientists puzzled
Aus dem persönlichen Archiv: Über meine kurze Zeit als Radiomacher
Viele lamentieren unaufhörlich, und für die meisten scheint unser gegenwärtig stark entschleunigtes Leben ein Fluch. Auch in meinem eher spärlich bemessenem Bekanntenkreis wusste plötzlich niemand mehr etwas mit sich anzufangen, und obwohl ich es mir kaum einzugestehen wage, so ist die durch Corona verordnete Zwangspause für mich ein Segen. Wenn ein sogenannter Job lediglich unterfordert … Continue reading Aus dem persönlichen Archiv: Über meine kurze Zeit als Radiomacher
Book recommendation: The Rumour by Lesley Kara
Good literature is meant to be thought provoking, and in this regard bestselling author Lesley Kara leaves nothing to chance. Holding the reader in a permanent state of suspense, it is not by accident that her Novel The Rumour has been named bestselling ebook of 2019. The story is one of great human tragedy, realism … Continue reading Book recommendation: The Rumour by Lesley Kara
A penchant for Canadian politics: how a childish flight of fancy slowly grew into another burning passion of mine
Once television had replaced radio as the primary source of news and information, programs became geared more and more toward shallow entertainment. But it was the intimacy of radio that had made it so attractive to many people. My love affair with this particular medium started at a very young age. Turning my little wireless … Continue reading A penchant for Canadian politics: how a childish flight of fancy slowly grew into another burning passion of mine
A treacherous spot under the sun: Can Australia rise to the challenge of climate change?
The sunlight reaches Earth in just under 10 minutes; equally, it took the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison more-or-less the same amount of time to bury the notion of his country emerging as a global leader on climate change, bringing even more gloom and doom to Australia’s neighbors. https://youtu.be/TZ0j6kr4ZJ0 Combating global warming needs a concerted … Continue reading A treacherous spot under the sun: Can Australia rise to the challenge of climate change?
Arthur Sinodinos: A pair of safe hands prepares to steer the wheel of Australian diplomacy in Washington.
For most of us mere mortals, mastering the art of the deal is a pointless exercise, since even those whose profession it is to represent the interests of their countries in Trump’s Washington have grave difficulties finding their feet. At times it seems that the rulebook of diplomacy is rewritten these days, and even diplomats … Continue reading Arthur Sinodinos: A pair of safe hands prepares to steer the wheel of Australian diplomacy in Washington.
The Hawke and Keating years: A lesson in modern leadership.
Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.Ralph Waldo Emerson A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and those who are doing well to do even better.Jim Rohn If former Prime Minister Paul Keating is … Continue reading The Hawke and Keating years: A lesson in modern leadership.
The boy from Boree Creek: Paying tribute to Tim Fischer.
Like the American one, the Australian story is more of an idea than anything else. More rooted in mythology than actual facts, the country’s national ethos remains strongly attached to values such as individual aspirations and a fair go for all. From time to time, public life throws up the occasional personality embodying this still … Continue reading The boy from Boree Creek: Paying tribute to Tim Fischer.
Sensible proposal or mere ideological pandering? Does Australia need a Religious Freedom Act?
Even in liberal democracies, the policymaking process is rarely based on evidence alone or informed by reasoned debate. https://youtu.be/pn77LtwOA2s Whenever the law and religion come into conflict with each other, the ensuing battle is a toxic and ideologically charged one, calling to arms the most hardened and unrelenting warriors of our modern age; both sides … Continue reading Sensible proposal or mere ideological pandering? Does Australia need a Religious Freedom Act?
Exkurs: Das Radiofeature als medialer Wegbegleiter.
Als journalistische Darstellungsform entfaltet das Feature seine Strahlkraft vor allem immer dann, wenn es sich Themen jenseits der Tagespolitik widmet. Je kompetenter und kreativer die Autoren, desto stärker verschwimmen die Grenzen zwischen den einzelnen Stilmitteln und münden letztendlich doch in ein ästhetisch ansprechendes sowie informativ hochwertiges Endprodukt. Wobei sich dieser Anspruch keineswegs nur auf das … Continue reading Exkurs: Das Radiofeature als medialer Wegbegleiter.
Libra: Following the strategically brilliant move by Facebook and its associates to introduce a new, stable cryptocurrency, is salvation just around the corner?
Pursuing its relentless quest of expansion and world domination, will the likely introduction of the new cryptocurrencyLibra bring Facebook one crucial step closer toward achieving virtual statehood? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtHt1BMpCXs&feature=share The idea that the Libra Association, made up entirely of Venture Capitalists thus far, will ride in like a modern Robin Hood, helping hundreds of millions of … Continue reading Libra: Following the strategically brilliant move by Facebook and its associates to introduce a new, stable cryptocurrency, is salvation just around the corner?
Reformer or time-waster? At last, Australia may have reached a constitutional moment, giving indigenous Australians a voice to parliament. It’s time to embrace the change and move ahead full steam.
If Prime Minister Scott Morrison does not change his political calculus and raises his game quickly, any attempts to enshrine an indigenous voice to parliament in Australia's constitution might go nowhere. https://youtu.be/xwj5bcLG8ic Identity formation in settler colonialist societies is largely determined by either isolation from or conflict with their indigenous population, and any transformative change … Continue reading Reformer or time-waster? At last, Australia may have reached a constitutional moment, giving indigenous Australians a voice to parliament. It’s time to embrace the change and move ahead full steam.
Diplomatic home-truths: They can kill you, and, even if not literally, they can cut careers short. Ask the UK’s former ambassador to Washington.
Kim Raddoch's personal diary may look remarkably light of late, and it is not inconceivable that this senior and widely respected diplomat will be called upon to pass on valuable and much needed advice to aspiring civil servants in the Foreign Office. One wonders what sort of insights he will give future professionals. One of … Continue reading Diplomatic home-truths: They can kill you, and, even if not literally, they can cut careers short. Ask the UK’s former ambassador to Washington.
Playing for time? Scott Morrison has announced a parliamentary inquiry into press freedom. What looks like a timely and sensible move on the surface may well turn out to be another attempt to preempt further pressure and to kick the issue into the long grass.
Following the AFP raids on News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst's home and the ABC headquarters in Sydney, the possible lack of protection for journalists as well as whistleblowers was suddenly in the spotlight. Despite initial attempts by the Morrison government to evade the issue, domestic and international coverage assured that the government had to respond. … Continue reading Playing for time? Scott Morrison has announced a parliamentary inquiry into press freedom. What looks like a timely and sensible move on the surface may well turn out to be another attempt to preempt further pressure and to kick the issue into the long grass.
Who is Mike Pezzullo? A clear-eyed, farsighted patriot and civil servant or a shady, powerful and overly active bureaucrat trying to shape policies according to his own worldview?
Even the best writers of political thrillers build their characters mainly along two-dimensional lines; true, it is a bit of a simplification, but, in essence, there are the villeins and heroes fighting it out to the bitter end. Mostly, the heroes triumph, of course. Whilst this sort of fiction sells well on the market, it … Continue reading Who is Mike Pezzullo? A clear-eyed, farsighted patriot and civil servant or a shady, powerful and overly active bureaucrat trying to shape policies according to his own worldview?
A step toward authoritarianism? Recent actions by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) have drawn condemnation worldwide, and plenty of concerns have been raised about media freedom in the country. But, the problem the Australian public has to grabble with goes much deeper and can only be remedied if quiet Australians stand up for their rights; they must do so now
When Prime Minister Scott Morrisondeclared victory on election night a few weeks ago, he boasted about the 'quiet Australians' and their support, pointing out that 'quiet Australians' can be pretty noisy folks sometimes. Since politics never misses ironical twists and turns, it is his newly re-elected government and its questionable credentials on press freedom that … Continue reading A step toward authoritarianism? Recent actions by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) have drawn condemnation worldwide, and plenty of concerns have been raised about media freedom in the country. But, the problem the Australian public has to grabble with goes much deeper and can only be remedied if quiet Australians stand up for their rights; they must do so now
A second front? After the government declared war on the tech industry in general and encryption in particular, it seems that the Australian Federal Police (AFP) may have opened up a second front, and this time it has the fourth estate firmly in its sights.
On Tuesday, the AFPraided the home of News Corp political journalist Annika Smethurrrst, and by doing so has sent shockwaves through the media establishment. The police probe relates to an article she had published in April 2018, quoting government sources suggesting that the Australian Signals Directorate would potentially be granted the right to spy on … Continue reading A second front? After the government declared war on the tech industry in general and encryption in particular, it seems that the Australian Federal Police (AFP) may have opened up a second front, and this time it has the fourth estate firmly in its sights.
Seehofers Paukenschlag: Sind die Tage verschlüsselter Kommunikation nun auch in Deutschland gezählt?
Als das Australische Parlament im Dezember des vergangenen Jahres eines der weltweit umstrittensten Telekommunikationsgesetze beschloss, war zu erwarten, dass andere westliche Regierungen dem Beispiel aus Canberra schon bald folgen würden. Wer bis dato geglaubt hatte, dass die Crypto Wars der 90er Jahre beendet wären, sah sich nun eines Besseren belehrt. Schon im Jahre 2016 hatte … Continue reading Seehofers Paukenschlag: Sind die Tage verschlüsselter Kommunikation nun auch in Deutschland gezählt?
Bill Shorten stumbled, and the ALP is looking for a new leader; what went wrong?
The democratic process inevitably leads to political casualties. With the Australian election done and dusted, andBill Shorten having resigned on Saturday as Labor Leader, the fight for the soul of the party is now on. The sad truth in politics these days is that, all too often, the victors are cheered to the rafters, and … Continue reading Bill Shorten stumbled, and the ALP is looking for a new leader; what went wrong?
Decadent: Walking the treacherous paths of life
One Once every so often, usually all three years, I am treated to an extraordinary spectacle. To this, I am not an observer; on the contrary, I am its instigator and chief participant. It starts as an apparition, a line far off on the horizon. Then, it grows and turns into a tidal-wave of majestic … Continue reading Decadent: Walking the treacherous paths of life
Digitopia: Haven’t you heard? There are strange going-ons in a place we are all meant to be part of sooner or later.
When the Architect came along all those years ago and promised me the world, I was ready to commit. His offer was too tempting; in fact, it was impossible to say no. The Architect told me about this new place, this new civilisation he intended to build. A unique experiment in bringing humanity together; an … Continue reading Digitopia: Haven’t you heard? There are strange going-ons in a place we are all meant to be part of sooner or later.
A game-changer or merely a lifeline? The most recent political machinations of Australian billionaire turned politician Clive Palmer.
The deal may well have been in the making for quite some time and is likely to be officially announced on Monday. One of the most colourful and controversial Australians, the billionaire turned politician Clive Palmer, is expected to preference the Liberals over Labor, a move that could throw the race wide-open again. In order … Continue reading A game-changer or merely a lifeline? The most recent political machinations of Australian billionaire turned politician Clive Palmer.
1979: Ein Jahr im Schatten von Revolutionen
"Wer mit 19 kein Revolutionär ist, der hat kein Herz. Wer mit 40 immer noch ein Revolutionär ist, der hat keinen Verstand." Theodor Fontane "Die Krankheiten, die das Wachstum der Menschheit kennzeichnen, nennt man Revolution." Friedrich Hebbel Es ist wohl das Privileg von Dichtern und Philosophen, uns mit solchen anrührenden Zitaten zu begeistern. Zumindest die … Continue reading 1979: Ein Jahr im Schatten von Revolutionen
Confessions of a writer: Two time Pulitzer Price winning author Robert Caro spills the beans on how he works.
"The first draft is just you telling yourself the story." Terry Pratchett "Every secret of a writer's soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his work." Virginia Woolf It is the writer's curse and blessing alike; the constant desire and urge to get as close to the … Continue reading Confessions of a writer: Two time Pulitzer Price winning author Robert Caro spills the beans on how he works.
Hörspielempfhelung: Maria Magdalena von Friedrich Hebbel
Mir scheint, dass das Bürgerliche Trauerspiel auch heute nicht viel an Aktualität eingebüsst hat. Auch heute spielen Begriffe wie Moral und Anstand eine zentrale Rolle im kleinbürgerlichen Diskurs. Auch dieser Tage setzt der Bürger maßgeblich auf Aussendarstellung und materielle Inszenierung, um vermeindliche gesellschaftliche Akzeptanz zu erlangen. Auch die Gegenwart ist durch ein Kleinbürgertum geprägt, welches … Continue reading Hörspielempfhelung: Maria Magdalena von Friedrich Hebbel
The election marathon continues: Next week, voters in the Province of Prince Edward Island might make history.
There is little time to absorb the election results by which Alberta reverted back to the Conservatives on Tuesday, ending NDP rule after only one term in office. Next week, voters in Prince Edward Island will head to the polls. In contrast to Albertans, voters in Canada's smallest Province may well choose to use this … Continue reading The election marathon continues: Next week, voters in the Province of Prince Edward Island might make history.
Lessons from the past: What the Australian Liberal party can learn from its founder Robert Menzies.
In order for political speeches to be most effective, they have to do a number of things at the same time; they have to include plenty of symbolism, they must be rich in content and they have to incapsulate the zeitgeist of the nation at a given moment. If political success is achieved subsequently, a … Continue reading Lessons from the past: What the Australian Liberal party can learn from its founder Robert Menzies.
Who is Bibi Netanyahu, a musician of politics? Revisiting the 1996 election may give us a clue.
After winning his fourth consecutive term as Prime Minister of Israel, and his fifth one overall, the question which is being asked both domestically and internationally is who is the man now being the longest serving Israeli leader? What is the secret of his success? Not only for his supporters, but his detractors alike, Benjamin … Continue reading Who is Bibi Netanyahu, a musician of politics? Revisiting the 1996 election may give us a clue.
Australia: Morrison goes hard and negative.
With the federal election campaign still in its early stages, the sparks are already flying, with the Coalition attacking Labor's plans for the economy. Rather than bowing to Coalition pressure, Labor has chosen to reinforce and even push its economic plan by promising serious investment in infrastructure and healthcare, trying to remain on a positive … Continue reading Australia: Morrison goes hard and negative.
Electoral test for Justin Trudeau: Alberta goes to the polls.
People in the Canadian Province of Alberta are going to the polls on Tuesday, April 16th. Since Canadians will vote in a general election later this year, and the Trudeau Liberal government has been hit by a corruption scandal which continues to threaten its chances for reelection, the vote in Alberta is seen by many … Continue reading Electoral test for Justin Trudeau: Alberta goes to the polls.