50 episodes

The Iron Fist and The Velvet Glove is a weekly podcast which takes a look at news, political events, culture, ethics and the transformations taking place in our society.

We try to look at news events and examine whether they are good or bad, whether they are part of a larger trend, what social forces are at work and what are the implications for our future.

A typical episode is an eclectic mix of serious ideas and amusing stories. We might well be cataloguing the demise of civilisation but we try to have fun while doing so.

We are Australian so we include a lot of Australian stories but Australia is a small fish in a big pond and we consequently look at a lot of international events which are relevant to everyone.

We hope you enjoy the podcast.

The Iron Fist and the Velvet Glove The Iron Fist and the Velvet Glove

    • Politics
    • 4.7, 46 Ratings

The Iron Fist and The Velvet Glove is a weekly podcast which takes a look at news, political events, culture, ethics and the transformations taking place in our society.

We try to look at news events and examine whether they are good or bad, whether they are part of a larger trend, what social forces are at work and what are the implications for our future.

A typical episode is an eclectic mix of serious ideas and amusing stories. We might well be cataloguing the demise of civilisation but we try to have fun while doing so.

We are Australian so we include a lot of Australian stories but Australia is a small fish in a big pond and we consequently look at a lot of international events which are relevant to everyone.

We hope you enjoy the podcast.

    Episode 260 – 5 Years of Podcasting

    Episode 260 – 5 Years of Podcasting

    Today we briefly celebrate 5 years of podcasting and then move on to discuss contemporary topics.

    Who are we?

    Paul, a bike riding music loving libertarian English Teacher, with a keen interest in Japan and China who is looking for love and as elder statesman of our group he represents the Baby Boomers.

    Waz, is the founder and patron of a community running group but due to injury, he doesn’t run, he started a bike riding tour guide business but due to Covid-19, can’t guide and he is an engineer but due to job dissatisfaction has retired and no longer engineers. He started our beer sponsorships and thankfully still drinks beer. I wasn’t sure who he should represent but I looked up gen x.

    Scott, is a private school educated accountant and a former card carrying member of the Liberal Party. But being an openly gay man he is the closest thing we have to a representative of an oppressed minority.

    I’m Trevor. I’m an ex-lawyer who dabbles in watercolours and plays squash at a local country club. I live in a McMansion in the leafy western suburbs of Brisbane with a tennis court and a custom built wood fired pizza oven so I naturally represent the working class.

    Actually my credentials are pretty good.

    My grandfather.

    No middle name.

    Father Anonymous

    Congratulates us on 5 years

    What have we learned?

    5 years and 260 episodes.

    What have we learned?

    We started off thinking that if people only knew what unfair privileges are being handed to religious groups then they would be appalled and rise up and object.


    The people don’t care and when they do, they more often than not, are ok with the religious privilege. Think private schools.

    The ongoing power of religious groups is tied up with tradition and increasing embeddedness of religion in the key power structures of government, political parties and the media.

    All of the best arguments in the world won’t matter while powerful people have a pro-religious agenda.

    To remove religious privilege we must forget about winning arguments and think about winning power.

    And if we want to win power we must motivate the people with a tribal pitch. A narrow pitch of a secular utopia won’t work. A pitch to the powerless against the powerful might work.

    But it requires a salesman. A storyteller. Someone who can pull back the curtain and reveal the s****y wizard. And it will require tough times when people are hurting and are amenable to new ideas.

    There will be no changes without tough times and a charismatic revolutionary.

    You have heard the saying … Cometh the hour, cometh the man (or woman).

    You need both.

    Real power rests with either of the two major parties. The Liberals are beyond redemption. The Christian parasite has taken over the host. The ALP is still up for grabs. Join it and get some power while waiting for opportunity.

    Secularism needs to take a leaf out of the Dominionism playbook.

    Secularism needs to plant secular leaders in the Labor party and build power and be ready when the time is right.

    Meanwhile … as we speak …

    The left is strangling itself with identity politics and along the way has abandoned the working class and the importance of free speech. It has given up on left wing economic policies.

    The right has maintained popular acceptance of low taxes and small government. It continues to fool Australians into thinking the coalition are the better economic managers. It relies on the Murdoch press and religious support. Enthusiastic Conservative Protestant Christians willingly adopt prosperity gospel doctrine in return for conservative moral laws and their end times theology helps them ignore the dangers of climate change.

    Have I missed anything?

    From episode 177

    Besides bedroom issues, the two parties are the same.

    Remember the quote from Chris Hedges? Well, of course,

    • 1 hr 41 min
    Episode 259 – The Jakarta Method

    Episode 259 – The Jakarta Method

    In this episode, Trevor does a solo review of a new book called The Jakarta Method by Vincent Bevins.


    For 70 years we have been subjected to pro US propaganda. They won the war, they helped the countries they defeated, they defeated communism and they encouraged the world to pursue freedom and democracy. Their initiative and drive created new industries and they deserve their success.

    For most of those 70 years we were subjected to anti Soviet propaganda. As if they were devils who seeded evil communism around the world. With the demise of the Soviet Union, the focus has shifted to China.

    China is not perfect and is indeed deeply flawed. I don’t want to live under Chinese rule.

    But it is a mistake to say the Chinese are the bad guys, the Americans are the good guys and we should therefore support and follow the Americans.

    They are both bad guys. We should follow our own path.

    Many people look at the USA and see it as pursuing the principles of Truth, Justice, Freedom and Equality. The opposite is true. The proof of this is in America’s foreign policy over the last 70 years.

    Today, many people speculate that if unchecked, China could flex its power and control and subjugate smaller countries. That it could force its will and communist agenda on less powerful countries. That if necessary it would kill, jail and terrorise vast populations to achieve its aims.

    The terrible truth is that for 70 years the USA has been conducted the same sort of terrorism campaign that we fear the Chinese will start.

    Most people are unaware of just how badly America has behaved. The Jakarta Method by Vincent Bevins exposes 70 years of American terrorism.

    Read it. Read it twice. Many of you joined this podcast because you reject the nonsense of religious dogma. You pride yourself of being rational enough to spot snake oil salesmen in clerical clothes. I’m asking you to overcome 70 years of pro US indoctrination just as you overcame 2000 years of religious indoctrination.

    I’m not saying you should be pro China. I’m saying that powerful manipulators are painting a picture of China and you need to constantly assess what is likely to be true and what is likely to be false. Even for things likely to be true, you need to assess what is fair criticism and what is a beat up over nothing. And when you find real and terrible Chinese behaviour, don’t assume that the American response is the answer. The truth is that the Americans have probably already done something just as bad. The answer doesn’t have to be America.

    This podcast looks at The Jakarta Method by Vincent Bevins and examines his descriptions of horrendous crimes committed by America in foreign countries.

    Post WW2

    A new global order. Europe was weakened and the planet was broken into pieces.


    First world

    Second World

    Third World (two thirds of the World’s population and mostly had been under control of European colonialism.)


    Started before WW2. Just after the Russian revolution, President Woodrow Wilson joined other imperial powers in helping the white forces attempt to retake control from the Bolsheviks.

    Post WW2, Truman hated communism and there was a problem in Greece. There was a civil war as Greek communists (who had fought against the Nazis) were going well. Truman wanted to interfere. Enter The Truman Doctrine.

    From Wikipedia

    Truman told Congress that “it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.”[2] Truman contended that because totalitarian regimes coerced free peoples, they automatically represented a threat to international peace and the national security o...

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Episode 258 – Grassroots Censorship

    Episode 258 – Grassroots Censorship

    In this episode, we discuss indigenous spokespersons, grassroots censorship and Scott Morrison’s latest cock-ups.

    Feedback from Last Week

    From Graeme (Who is a patron)

    Disappointed that you indulged in a popular pastime of white fellas, of making sweeping generalisations about Australian Aboriginals without actually involving an Australian Aboriginal.

    Do better next time please Trevor.

    My response will be

    Graeme seems to be suggesting that our podcast was unbalanced and we needed to give time to alternative views from the Aboriginal perspective.

    Or maybe … there are issues here which you couldn’t possibly understand because you don’t have the lived experience

    But …

    The stereotypical indigenous viewpoint is pretty well documented and well publicised and we were basically responding to the position put forward by indigenous activists on QANDA, The Drum and the recent street protests.

    The arguments we made don’t get air-time anywhere. The right-wing media takes up some bits but pretty much ignores the nuanced cultural angle.

    Having said that …

    I actually called for listeners to Zoom in and push back. Based on previous correspondence and his online comments (on Dark Emu) I fully expected Paul to disagree. Any indigenous viewer was welcome to Zoom in and give their 2c worth.

    Suggesting an aboriginal guest is insulting to indigenous people. It assumes all indigenous people think the same. If I invited Jacinta Price you probably would have said “not that sort of aboriginal”. A less insulting request would be “someone who is likely to push back against some of your sweeping generalisations”.

    Is there a “white person’s” position on indigenous incarceration? No? Why would there be a black person’s?

    Is there a black person or white person position on immigration, private health insurance, private school education, drug legalisation?

    I would be embarrassed to pretend to speak on behalf of white people. The same should apply to black leaders. They should have ideas that they recommend but not pretend that those ideas have popular acceptance among black people unless they have done some sort of poll of black attitudes.

    Why would there be a black person position on anything unless you think of them as a noble savage hamstrung and pidgeon-holed by their skin colour.

    We have previously requested pushback and, other than a minor pushback from Bronwyn, received nothing. If you find a suitable guest, we will speak to them. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

    The call for pushback carries a condition. To argue the issues we have raised and the positions we have taken. Simply saying “you are white and therefore blinded by your privilege” is not good enough. It may be arrogant but I consider our arguments to be deeper and more intellectual than most people would be used to encountering. We are basically giving our opponents a free look and an invitation to think and reply without being forced to think on the run.

    Sweeping generalisations are unavoidable when discussing society and culture. That is the whole point of a study of society podcast.

    Where was your disappointment when, in multiple previous episodes, we made sweeping generalisations of Asians and Scandinavians and Americans?

    If Graeme thinks input from a black perspective was missing, I remind Graeme we spent considerable time describing the views of Coleman Hughes and he is …. an African-American man.

    Having indigenous heritage doesn’t necessarily make you a valuable commentator on indigenous social trends. A few weeks ago we were were going to invite a Chinese lady to discuss China and she admitted later that we knew a lot more Chinese history than she did. I’m not American but I’m convinced I have a deeper understanding of America and its place in the world, than many Americans. An individual indigenous person can offer ane

    • 1 hr 23 min
    Episode 257 – Black Lives Matter in Australia

    Episode 257 – Black Lives Matter in Australia

    In this episode, we look at indigenous incarceration in Australian and the recent protests.

    Our Spiked Discussion

    OK, Trevor was wrong to say Spiked is funded by the Koch brothers and should have said Spiked has received donations from the Koch brothers.

    Prepare to be challenged

    Dear Left leaning friends. Are you prepared to have some ideas challenged?

    This is not easy. It is uncomfortable. A voice inside says don’t go there.

    But so much has been said that does not make sense.

    Last week we compared cultures. Obedient community spirited Asian cultures Vs individual freedom loving Western cultures.

    Did you think it was wrong to examine and compare cultures in the context of examining human behaviour in response to the Corona virus?

    Some cultures were better suited to controlling the virus than others.

    That wasn’t racist was it?

    This past week with the BLM protests in Australia. Some of that focused on incarceration rates and the plight of indigenous Australians. Did you stop to consider cultural differences and the role that might be playing?

    Last week we looked at statistics. How they could be manipulated. How correlation is not causation. How statistics are sometimes a shadow of the real information. When hearing statistics this past week about Aboriginal deaths in custody, did you stop and consider if they had been presented without distortion?

    Two weeks ago we spoke about Chinese history, the cultural revolution and the Red Guard. Do you remember we spoke about “Struggle Sessions”. In general, the victim of a struggle session was forced to admit various crimes before a crowd of people who would verbally and physically abuse the victim until he or she confessed. Struggle sessions … were sometimes conducted in sports stadiums where large crowds would gather if the target was well-known.

    If you watched QandA last night, did you get the uncomfortable feeling you were witnessing a modern day “Struggle Session”?

    Previously we did episode 213 and 160. Look em up. If we skip over an idea or miss on entirely, we may have covered it previously.


    I don’t know about you but after the shutdown debate I’m wary about statistics.

    Lies, damned lies



    People who think the numbers don’t lie have never massaged the numbers on a model.


    February 2019 – Indigenous deaths in custody: 25 years since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody

    An Australian Government bulletin from the Australian Institute of Criminology by Alexandra Gannoni and Samantha Bricknell

    Since 2003–04, the proportion of Indigenous deaths in prison custody has been smaller than the relative proportion of prisoners.

    The majority of Indigenous prison deaths from 1991–92 to 2015–16 were due to natural causes (58%; n=140), followed by hanging (32%; n=78; Table A1). Twelve deaths (5%) were due to drugs and/or alcohol and nine (4%) were due to external trauma.

    … This pattern was similar for non-Indigenous prison deaths.


    Conclusion – In 1991, the RCIADIC concluded Indigenous people were no more likely to die in custody than non-Indigenous people but were significantly more likely to be arrested and imprisoned. The same remains true today.

    How does Australia rate on police brutality?

    a href="https://en.wikipedia.

    • 1 hr 43 min
    Episode 256 – American Riots and Covid-19 Shutdowns

    Episode 256 – American Riots and Covid-19 Shutdowns


    What’s Wrong with America by The Relatives live at The Bell House

    George Floyd.

    A summary

    America is still lynching black men. Except now they use their knees and the people doing are police in broad daylight. Imagine what goes on behind closed doors.

    Suspected of passing a forged $20 note,

    was lynched, in broad daylight, in the open street of a major US city,

    The murderer used his knee instead of a rope,

    The killer was a white policeman Derek Chauvin

    who was watched by 3 other policemen,

    when all the policemen knew they were being filmed by civilian bystanders,

    George told the police I can’t breathe and you are killing me and cried out for his mama,

    was held down for 8 minutes 46 seconds,

    was unresponsive for the last 2 minutes 43 seconds,

    video shows that Chauvin did not remove his knee for a full minute after paramedics arrived at the scene.

    Chauvin was not charged for 4 days while investigators waited for evidence

    the criminal complaint said the autopsy revealed “no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation”

    But, the cause of death, according to the private autopsy, was mechanical asphyxia and the manner of death was homicide.

    Shortly after the family’s autopsy findings were announced, the Hennepin County medical examiner released its own findings, also concluding that the manner of death was homicide. The county attributed the cause of death to “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.”

    This was on the back of the Ahmaud Arbery case whose killers were not arrested for 74 days and only arrested after the video went viral

    Riots have ensued

    Images of unnecessary violence from police and the national guard. Tear gas, rubber bullets, beatings of people who were non-violently protesting.

    Cop cars driving over protesters. At least in China with Tianenmen square the tank driver stopped for the man with the plastic bag.

    After being forced to hide in a bunker in the White House, today he got police to use tear gas and rubber bullets to clear peaceful protestors outside the White House so he could go outside the White House and hold a bible for a photo op at the nearby St. John Episcopal Church.

    TV footage showed people running, falling and scrambling for safety as officers removed them by force. … Military vehicles rolled out on Pennsylvania Avenue.

    The unprovoked action cleared the way for Trump to cross the street and visit St John’s church, … He held aloft a Bible and posed for cameras,


    Last week you asked where I’d rather be arrested. China or the USA? I said it depends if I’m black. At least in China I would survive the arrest process and make it to the watchhouse alive!


    Play clip, Waz referring to the China  (democracy, free speech, human rights and justice) and all those things the United States actually stands for …


    American Riots

    Why and How

    Wide spread gun civilian ownership creates a shoot first mentality (Cops fear for their lives more than Aussie or British cops)

    Police have been militarised with Ex-Military equipment.

    Police are often poorly paid and poorly trained.

    District Attorneys (in charge of prosecutions) are elected and need to show high conviction rates to get re-elected.

    White people are scared of the police so they can imagine how black people feel.

    From American Journal of Public Health

    Results. Police kill, on average, 2.8 men per day. Police were responsible for about 8% of all homicides with adult male victims between 2012 and 2018. Black men’s mortality risk is between 1.9 and 2.4 deaths per 100 000 per year, Latino risk is between 0.8 and 1.2,

    • 1 hr 36 min
    Episode 255 – China China China

    Episode 255 – China China China

    Due to history and culture, the Chinese think differently to us. In this episode, we look at the background events and influences that have shaped the Chinese.

    Why do a podcast on China?

    From John Menadue blog

    Recent articles in Pearls and Irritations, …  have highlighted the nonsensical nature of much analysis, reporting and opinion, particularly in relation to a trenchant and sustained bias against China. A fascinating question is to ask what is behind this trend.

    Several answers on different levels are possible. One is outlined here.

    As in many instances of prejudice, three interrelated underlying forces can be identified: fear, ignorance and projection. 

    … Whilst ignorance is not a direct cause of fear, it certainly feeds it. We all know people vehemently against some group, who abruptly change tack when they come to know more about members of that group, through sharing the workplace for example. It is simply human nature.

    … Dispelling ignorance about China is a major problem, not the least because Chinese culture is so different from Western culture. 

    When people are ignorant, there is a tendency towards projection. If we don’t know about others’ motives, in the absence of alternative information we tend to assume that they must be similar to ours. In relation to anti-China, there are now commentators questioning why we automatically assume certain things. We may ask ourselves certain questions. For example, why does China’s positioning of its naval forces directly off its own coast imply aggression or military posturing and not simply securing safety of shipping lanes or defence? Why is a warning from a Chinese ambassador about possible consumer backlashes in China a threat and not a piece of friendly advice?

    The Guardian reported a few years back that America dropped more than 25,000 bombs in 2016, mostly in Syria and Iraq, and had special operators in 70% of the world’s nations. If that’s how powerful countries operate, then surely China must operate that way as well, right? For people projecting their own values, the answer must surely be yes.

    It is tempting to think that these personal factors could not be so dominant in professional commentators, such as personnel in the mass media, academia, bureaucracies or public policy advisory circles. In my opinion, there is no reason to assume that fear, ignorance and projection aren’t equally prominent there, especially when they are swept along through public discourse.

    So what can be done to counter fear-based narratives based in ignorance and projection? It is positive to note that there are commentators attempting to disrupt these narratives, … Perhaps ignorance is the central factor in the above argument, but it is hard to see how such a deficit of understanding could be broached.

    The Fist: one way would be to listen to this special podcast on China


    Geography, size, climate, neighbours, population, demographics


    1.4 billion people

    China has the longest combined land border in the world, China borders 14 nations, more than any other country except Russia, which also borders 14.] China extends across much of East Asia, bordering Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar (Burma) in Southeast Asia; India, Bhutan, Nepal, Afghanistan, and Pakistan[r] in South Asia; Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan in Central Asia; and Russia, Mongolia, and North Korea in Inner Asia and Northeast Asia. Additionally, China shares maritime boundaries with South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

    Ancient and Modern History since 1850 – esp how this shaped modern-day China

    1839-42 – Opium wars.

    First in 1839.

    Opium had been used in traditional Chinese medicine for a long time before the British came, mostly to treat disease.

    • 2 hrs 20 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
46 Ratings

46 Ratings

By Maddy Wright ,

Trevor thinks he’s hilarious.....actually

The whole cast is. I was never interested in politics or the make up of the Australian Political Landscape, happy to be annoyed at whichever government in power. This show actually educated me..in a way I can relate to...with humour, bias opinion and simple language I can understand. Cast is great and the odd guest is well received...especially enjoyed Cam Riley’s tone. When can I vote for the Iron Fist party to rule the nation?

wheatwatcher ,

Great exchanges

I have only been listening to podcasts for around six months. This is one of the few which I have been able to stick with.

It is refreshing to see differing viewpoints on a number of subjects as opposed to the typical echo chambers which seem common in many current affair podcasts.

antifoo ,

Always thought provoking

Iron fist and velvet glove is a deep dive into secular discussion in Australia and some international sources. You won’t always agree with them but they will make you analyse your own views and at the very least inform you of some of the undercurrents in political and religious spheres.
Well worth your time.

Top Podcasts In Politics

Listeners Also Subscribed To