Occasionally news filters over here concerning the Republican primaries in that strange country between Canada and Mexico. As someone pointed out recently, watching those primaries is a bit like watching a funnel-web spider walking across the floor of your living room. You know you should either get some poison-proof specialist to put it back in its natural environment, or squash it before it leaps in the air, sinks it fangs into you and puts you out of your misery. But you watch all the same.

Anyway, recently one of my sons, who is becoming quite politically aware, spent a few weeks in the USA. Early in his visit, he found himself talking to a local about local politics.

‘Have you heard of them progressives?’ The man asked.

‘Progressives?’ Said Tom.

‘Yeah, like Obama or Bush …’

‘Bush?’ Said Tom. ‘You’re kidding’.

‘Bush was too nice to them Muslims. Deep down, he was really just a rich liberal. And Obama, you see, he’s deliberately destroying this country. His father was a Muslim terrorist and he’s here as an agent of Al Qaida. Everything he’s doing is designed to bring America to its knees’.

After this enlightening political lesson, Tom said to me after he came home, ‘That place is really f&#cked’.


The hand-wringing, liberal commentariat has been waxing indignant about Barack Obama’s claim, ‘justice has been done’ – after some testosterone-pumped US thugs shot an unarmed and pyjama-clad Osama Bin Laden. No, no, say these bourgie commentators, it is an ‘extrajudicial killing’, an assassination that is ‘is not permitted under international (or any other) law’. So say some deadheads from the Monash school of law, Gideon Boas and Pascale Chifflet. And Geoffrey Robertson, high-flying QC and champion of all things bourgie such as human rights, argues in a similar vein: the killing was a travesty of the rule of law, precisely what the USA and other states who lauded the killing, are supposed to uphold. Far better, says Robertson, to have put Bin Laden before a law court and demystified the man, humiliating him on the world stage. In other words, Barack Obama and the USA are being fundamentally hypocritical in mouthing support of the rule of law and yet assassinating people.

This is bourgeois crap.It assumes that ‘the law’ is neutral, non-partisan, that all are equal before ‘the law’. Sure, but only if you assume the basis of that law: that it is a support structure for a particular social and economic system. Obviously ‘the law’ in question is deeply partisan – pro-capitalist, pro-bourgeois, pro-private property, etc.  Try testing the laws of treason and insurrection, or what are now called ‘terrorism’. Try overthrowing the state by organising an insurrection. And what is the standard response of police when dealing with protestors? Drag them through the courts.

Further, what would have been the result if Bin Laden had been put on trial? Would he have been found not guilty, able to skip away and start a new life, or indeed carry on as before? The outcome would have been exactly the same, except far more of a triumphant spectacle. I would suggest that by killing Bin Laden, the US did itself a disservice. If he had been captured and put to trial, the dance over the victim could have gone on for much longer.

All of which means that Obama’s claim that ‘justice has been done’ speaks the truth of the supposed ‘rule of law’.

The dim-witted pollies will always stick together and look out for one another before thinking of anyone else – at least that is how I read this advertisement at Taichung Railway Station: