Tag Archives: United States

#59 – Notes on Terror, Treason and Anarchy

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In this edition of the Aidan Project, Aidan talks about the infamous Gunpowder Plot, Guy Fawkes in popular culture, and the definition of terrorism. In 1605, Catholic dissidents in England attempted to mount an insurrection by first murdering King James I of England and Scotland, along with other notables, in a planned explosion of the Houses of Parliament. Robert Catesby led the audacious scheme to topple the Protestant hierarchy, but it is Fawkes who is most associated with the events of that dramatic 5 November near-miss. Moreover, the subsequent adoption of an abstract idea of Guy Fawkes as somehow playfully representing anarchism and anti-fascism is deeply ironic. The Fawkes mask is a feature of modern popular culture that is far removed from the intention Parliament had when it sought to commemorate the uncovering of the plot with an officially sanctioned annual observance. Parliament desired to remember 5 November as a deliverance from evil, but this message has since been diluted, if not quite altogether lost. In the modern age, ‘Bonfire Night’, ‘Guy Fawkes Night’ or ‘Fireworks Night’ is more notable for theatrical pyrotechnic displays and sickly candy-floss than as a reminder of what would have been an appalling atrocity. Aidan also comments on the definition of ‘terrorism’ in the wake of the Islamist terrorist attack in Lower Manhattan on 31 October.

Remember, remember
The Fifth of November
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot
I know of no reason
Why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot

Traditional 17th century rhyme

Related tweets

Further reading

Richard Dawkins, ‘I love fireworks, BUT…’, Richard Dawkins web site, https://www.richarddawkins.net/2014/11/i-love-fireworks-but/, 5 November 2014.

‘Terrorism’, Oxford Dictionary web site, https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/terrorism

‘V for Vendetta’, IMDB web site, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0434409/.

Bibliography

Lewis Call, ‘A is for Anarchy, V is for Vendetta: Images of Guy Fawkes and the Creation of Postmodern Anarchism’, Anarchist Studies, 16, 2, 2008, pp.154-172.

Antonia Fraser, Faith and Treason, (New York: Random House, 1997).

 

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Donald Trump: Man of Letters

[This is a podcast companion article for episode 38 – ‘Notes on Making America Great Again‘.]

Listen to #38 – Making America Great Again

Many of Donald Trump’s tweets have not aged well. And some tweets have certainly aged worse than others.

It seems apparent that neither Trump nor his supporters are affected by the shame or embarrassment of what have proven to be ridiculous statements. Meanwhile, the rest of the world experiences astonishment at the rich irony to be found from such broken proclamations. Indeed, even the pariah of the international community, North Korea, has been critical of Trump’s Twitter outbursts, noting that Trump posts “ego-driven thoughts” and “rubbish” (Independent, 23 August 2017).

Here is my countdown, from 10 down to one, of the most, in hindsight, embarrassing tweets that the current United States President has bestowed upon the world. This is not a list of the most egregious attacks on individuals nor the most troubling anti-democratic statements, but a look back at utterances which, for a morally conscious human, would be the most cringe-worthy to reflect on in terms of their later inaccuracy or hypocrisy.

Before we begin the countdown, there is a bonus tweet which I could not quite justify including in the top ten, though it may perhaps find its way there in the future. This potential promotion depends on the outcome of the ongoing investigation regarding alleged collusion between Trump and the Russian government.

The bonus tweet:

Hold on tight, here is the top ten:

Do you agree or disagree on the top ten? Please do tweet me and let me know. In any case, we can be sure there are numerous more tweets which will look utterly horrendous in the dark days yet to come.

[Further commentary: All Aidan Project Podcasts and Articles on Donald Trump]

 

#47 – Notes on North Korea

In this edition of the podcast, Aidan is back with everything you need to know about the ominous stand-off between the United States and North Korea. This potentially-catastrophic conflict focuses around Pyongyang’s nuclear capabilities, such as they are. In these ‘Notes on North Korea’, Aidan explains how this crisis has evolved, and addresses the potential outcomes of this long-running narrative, including a look at the unpredictable ‘Trump factor’.

For more ways to listen, to subscribe to the podcast or to sign-up for e-mail updates when new content is available, please click here.

#46 – The Emergency: Empire, Massacre, Duterte

The British Empire, and other European powers, began to leave South East Asia in the aftermath of World War 2. The region has changed dramatically since this era; a period when British troops were fighting communists in Malaya, several years before the US attempted its own communist supression in Vietnam. It was during the British Empire’s response to Chin Peng’s insurgency that the colonial rulers committed an atrocity that could be called ‘Britain’s My Lai’. On this edition of the Aidan Project, Aidan is talking to Christopher Hale, a distinguished freelance executive producer, producer/director and writer, to discuss British rule in Malaya, post-colonial South East Asia, press constraints in Malaysia and Singapore, Donald Trump’s tenuous grasp of history, and the incomparable Philippines President, Rodrigo Duterte, a man who has claimed to have personally killed criminals, among other controversies. Christopher has numerous documentary credits to his name, for the BBC, Channel 4, Discovery, and National Geographic, amongst other broadcasters. His programs include ‘Why Reading Matters’ for BBC4, ‘The Year the Earth Went Wild’ for Channel 4, ‘Naked Science: Universe’ for National Geographic, ‘Oasis of the Golden Mummies’ for Discovery, ‘Accidents in Space’ for BBC/Travel Channel, and many more. Christopher’s 2013 book, ‘Massacre in Malaya: Exposing Britain’s My Lai’, covers the Malayan Emergency of 1948–1960, which was the longest war waged by British and Commonwealth forces in the twentieth century.  Christopher has also written a number of books on wartime Nazi Germany, including ‘Hitler’s Foreign Executioners: Europe’s Dirty Secret’. For more information on Christopher and to check out his voluminous work, visit http://www.christopherhalemedia.org/. You can find Christopher on Twitter at https://twitter.com/chalemedia.

For more ways to listen, to subscribe to the podcast or to sign-up for e-mail updates when new content is available, please click here.

#44 – The New Cold War

Russia has signalled its intent to demand a reduction in the number of US diplomats in the country, following US Congress approving fresh sanctions against Moscow over interference in the 2016 US election. What is driving this new Cold War? Dan Kovalik is a human rights, labour rights lawyer and peace activist. Dan’s new book is called ‘The Plot to Scapegoat Russia: How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Russia’. Dan argues that the real threat to US democracy does not emanate from the Kremlin, but from within Washington’s own security services and vested interests. Dan opines that even if Russia did interfere in the US election, for the US to cry foul is entirely hypocritical, in view of numerous attempts to topple leaders and install preferential candidates in other nation states, including in, of course, Russia. Aidan and Dan discuss the Clintons, Vladimir Putin, the mainstream media, how Democrats should respond to Donald Trump if they seek to gain a foothold as an effective opposition, US exceptionalism, and much more. The show also covers a selection of current events, including the Pyongyang issue: Dan gives his take on why North Korea has – at some level – a legitimate grievance with the United States. Dan’s book at Amazon UK: http://tinyurl.com/ya8rcnuh. Dan’s Twitter address: www.twitter.com/danielmkovalik.

For more ways to listen, to subscribe to the podcast or to sign-up for e-mail updates when new content is available, please click here.

#40 – Downloading a President

The United States Intelligence Community concluded with high confidence that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In this edition of the Aidan Project, Aidan is joined on the line from Israel by Ran Levi, an accomplished technology expert, science author and podcaster. In this episode, Aidan and Ran discuss the Russian hacking and/or cyber-meddling, and whether this type of outside interference can be stopped or whether it will also affect the 2020 U.S. presidential election. What exactly did the Russians do? And how did they do it? This episode also takes a look at the recent ransomware attacks which counted the British National Health Service amongst its victims, Donald Trump’s use of Twitter, the echo chamber mentality of social media, a possible showdown between NATO and North Korea, and much more. Born in Israel in 1975, Ran studied electrical engineering, and has worked as an electronics engineer and programmer for several high tech companies in Israel. Ran has written three books in Hebrew, Perpetuum Mobile, The Little University of Science, and Battle of Minds.  You can find Ran on Twitter @ranlevi or visit his web site at www.ranlevi.com. Ran’s new podcast, ‘Malicious Life’, has topped the iTunes charts in Israel and is available at www.malicious.lifeYou can tweet Aidan with your thoughts @theaidanproject.

Aidan and Ran’s previous episode together is called ‘Malicious Assured Destruction‘.

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#38 – Notes on Making America Great Again

Donald Trump is indeed the pro wrestling president. In this edition of the podcast, Aidan looks at President Trump and the entirely surreal manner of his presidency. We have an emerging problem now of a dangerous new normal. Trump must be the mistake, the anomaly, the Chernobyl. We must push back at Trump’s vile online ranting, but not at the expense of challenging his policies. You can tweet Aidan with your thoughts @theaidanproject.

For more ways to listen, to subscribe to the podcast or to sign-up for e-mail updates when new content is available, please click here.