Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


NATION: Trump’s new world disorder catches Turnbull government napping

“Watching Donald Trump take the oath of office is like seeing Bobo the Clown Photoshopped into the Last Supper,” writes the ABC’s Simon Royal. Many Americans are equally shocked. A narcissist with no concern beyond himself and his wealth, a political simpleton, with no experience in public life and little understanding of public issues, an egoist who poses as a populist reformer, a redneck who made his contempt for tradition, protocol and taboo his byword, the 45th President of the United States is a shocker.

Could Americans have chosen a more divisive, more unfit figure? The inauguration, 20 January of the seventy-year-old, reality TV star, real-estate hustler, former beauty pageant entrepreneur, six-times bankrupt and one time professional wrestler installs a president with a 40% approval in opinion polls, the lowest on record.

Trump gained 3 million popular votes less than his rival, Hilary Clinton. It shows. Washington public transport figures reveal fifty per cent fewer locals turn out for Trump than Obama. Protesters take to the streets.

Trump already has half the population offside – and not just in the USA. Eclipsing the inauguration crowd, half a million women in pink knit “pussy hats” march on Washington, the following day in the largest protest demonstration in US history while around the world 1.5 million more march in support in 161 cities across all seven continents. “You can’t comb over misogyny reads one sign.” “Make America compassionate again” reads another.

… a platform of hate and division …

“It’s been a heart-rending time to be both a woman and an immigrant in this country, says activist America Ferrera. “Our dignity, our character, our rights have all been under attack and a platform of hate and division assumed power yesterday.”

“You are really special, amazing people” Trump tells the CIA the next day, ignoring the Women’s March. He makes a beeline for the CIA HQ in Langley Va; after the National Prayer Service. He’s going to need to build some bridges, at least, with the CIA, having trashed their reputation in dismissing evidence Russia intervened in his election.

The “amazing special people” will require more persuasion than empty flattery, however. Sadly, it’s all Trump knows – along with contesting the truth of anything unflattering to himself.

The newly inaugurated president has already gone to work on his attendance figures, attacking reports of poor attendance. The media’s lying, he says of estimates of 250 thousand. He’s sure it was over a million people. His media people are working on it. Give them a few weeks and it will be at least a million and a half.

White House press secretary, whining Sean Spicer uses his first White House briefing to lecture the press on its “deliberate false reporting” for ten minutes before walking out without taking questions. This administration will be holding the media to account, he says.

It’s an alarmingly adversarial start to the Trump Presidency’s relationship with the press, yet it continues the Trump campaign theme that bad news is fake news and the tactic of disputing all reporting which may be critical or hold Trump presidency to account.

Trump can, however, count on a Mexican wave of support down under. Luckily for the new president and for the “ordinary Strines” she claims to represent, (while consistently voting with the government), Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party has sent its envoy Brian Burston to give the 45th president its own special blessing.

… new type of One Nation candidate …

Burston’s already in the press with his endorsement of the new type of One Nation candidate and how they are heaps better than the 1998 train wreck, QLD PHON party. For starters, this time the party is way smarter. Any fool can see that unlike today’s breed,“They ran dopes, unemployed, inexperienced, not all that intellectual …

Hanson’s too busy, herself, she says with state election matters involving travel which she books up to her federal government account, unable or unwilling to see when challenged that this is a rort. Burston pays his own way to the US Trump mother ship.

Busy indeed. Hanson assembles her WA candidates but refuses to speak about them, in a Trump-style attack on right of the press to scrutinise public life. “I’m not going to have trial by media here, with all of my candidates. If this interview is going to be all about the candidates that represent me, I’m sorry, but this interview is finished,” Hanson says.

Piquing interest, is One Nation’s candidate for Dawesville, Pastor Lawrence Shave, whose Bikini Baristas business plan will enable consumers to ogle women in swimwear while they satisfy their caffeine fix. Pastor Shave also professes divine, healing powers but Hanson stops the presser.

Hanson’s new WA breed of candidate is a step up from the old guard including former PHON Senator, stand up comedian Rod Culleton whose latest routine is to refuse to accept the Federal Court and Senate ruling that he should be removed from his seat because he is bankrupt. He says he is solvent and will not leave his office. He could now face prosecution for impersonating a government official. It’s a sobering prospect. Yet Pauline’s distracted. A Trump-struck Hanson shuns the former sheep farmer to put tickets on herself.

So keen is PHON to be invited to Trump’s big bash, empiricist Malcolm Roberts badgers DFAT to find them some spare tickets. Later, these are flourished as evidence of One Nation’s hotline to The Donald and of PHON’s clout in US-Australian relations. Now all Strines can see how big PHON is. Earlier Hanson, or James Ashby on her account, tweets:

“Would you believe it? I have been gifted tickets to the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony of Donald Trump – What an honour!” Of course it’s not. Reports quickly emerge of masses of discarded tickets at the under-subscribed ceremony. “Gifted”, also, is a big stretch.

No actual Americans want to go …

SBS journalist, Lee Lin Chin is quick to attack Hanson’s grandstanding: “Who hasn’t got tickets? No actual Americans want to go so they’re just inviting everyone. I’ve got a +8 for my man harem,” the pint-sized presenter replies.

The Donald’s Oz cheer squad extends beyond One Nation, or Lee’s man harem, however. It’s a mile wide and an inch deep before you even consider Corey Bernardi.

Never to be upstaged, former Labor PM and UN leadership hopeful, Kevin Rudd calls for a fair go for Trump. Patronises him. Like a child with a tantrum, Trump, should “calm down” his dangerous talk on China and Taiwan, seize our help with nuclear disarming North Korea and bring back the TPP, suggests “One Kevin” Rudd ever bubbling with practical ideas.

Always at arms’ length from practicality, PM Turnbull is upbeat about the TPP. Why, he’s been on the blower to The Donald, jumping the Trump shark, thanks to Greg Norman. Bill Shorten says it’s “a waste of time” and “a distraction” from a PM who has no plans for jobs.

Shorten is proved correct on the time-wasting when an unusually coherent White House statement that is not a lecture or a tirade confirms Trump’s promise to withdraw from the TPP is one of the Administration’s first acts. So much to undo, so little time.

Oz-media’s made itself look silly smoothing the way for Trump, the vulgarian at the gate. The ABC’s inauguration commentary is saccharine with mindless Coalition optimism, which is quickly revealed as so much wishful thinking from a government caught on the nod.

The official ABC spin seems to be that now he’s thrown his rattle out of his playpen and he’s got what he wanted, The Donald will morph into a sensible and moderate monster who only wants our constant undivided attention and who has the nuclear codes to do it with.

“dark and inward-looking”

Nothing in the Donald’s inauguration speech, not even an echo of Batman, The Dark Knight Rises “… and we give it back to you, the people,” suggests that Trump will soften his campaign rhetoric in favour of more statesman-like role once in power. Everything he says about isolationist foreign policy, in his “dark and inward-looking” fourteen minute speech, his “America first, only America first” is an alarming departure from US interdependence.

So much for the Turnbull’s government’s agility. Its foreign policy, like its domestic planning is rooted in inertia; do nothing, or as little as possible, repeat mindless Abbott era slogans, bag Bill Shorten and see what evolves.

Now it’s caught flat-footed. Foreign Affairs lightweight Julie Bishop says she’s been on the job, briefing Trump’s team on Australia’s requirements but that could mean anything and besides, there’s no evidence whatsoever anyone’s listening. Or ever will. Even the national broadcaster struggles to spin that.

To be fair, Aunty is distracted by the shock resignation Friday of Director of TV’s Richard Finlayson which comes at a time of deep unrest within the ABC, under former Murdoch executive, Managing Director Michelle Guthrie, a Turnbull appointee, whose reign is mired in job losses, cost cutting and ringing accusations of “piss poor management”.

Guthrie is critical of Four Corners-type programs and seems not to understand the role of investigative reporting at all; wants to do “more about successful businessmen”. It’s a work in progress. Already ABC news is lurid with tabloid stories; sensation displaces information.

Expect a puff piece soon on Mr Donald Trump, the people’s president and the inspiring business types who comprise his cabinet. When it’s properly run down and ready to be privatised as the IPA wishes, the ABC could be flogged off to an American. Rupert Murdoch is reported to be currently enjoying Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull’s harbour-side hospitality.

Other media outlets are also complacent; Donald-conciliatory. The least predictable presidency, the least qualified and most divisive figure on the world stage ever is spun as more of the same. Nothing to see here. Business as usual.

Rudd’s voice upstages Turnbull …

“The fair-minded thing is to give the guy a go,” a folksy Rudd tells Seven’s Sunrise on Friday, aglow with sanctimonious hypocrisy given his undermining of Julia Gillard. Rudd’s voice upstages Turnbull as intended – briefly – but fails to quell what is reported to be hundreds of Americans who try to block the entrances to the Inauguration. Dump-Trump demonstrations take place in other cities in America and throughout the world.

“Illegitimate, bastard” shouts Code Pink women’s rights organiser, Madea Benjamin, who makes it into the section reserved for honoured guests and journalists and Joe Hockey before she is thrown out by police. A protester gets dangerously close to the new president, if not quite in The Donald’s orange face, at least not far below it.

“Trump is not going to be stopped at the top, he’s going to be stopped from the bottom, from people rising up,” says Ben Allen, a thoughtful 69-year-old retired teacher from San Francisco.

“We support the right of everybody in this country, no matter what nationality, what religion, the colour of their skin, to be respected as a human being, and this guy doesn’t respect anybody.”

As he speaks, removed from the web is the Department of Labor’s report on the rights of lesbians, bisexuals, gays and transgender people. The White House’s exposition on climate change and efforts to combat it are also excised. Police hurl flash bang grenades to banish protesters from the inauguration parade route. The smell of tear gas wafts over K street, the heart of Washington’s lobbying district. So much to undo. So little time.

To borrow a Trumpism, its 45th president is bigly disliked already – before he’s even had time to “bomb the shit out of ISIS” or leave NATO or reverse Obama’s sanctions against Russia for hacking the election. He’s yet to slash corporate taxes, bring back water boarding, dismantle Obamacare or lift a brick to wall out waves of Mexicans.

Civil Rights leader, veteran Democrat Congressman John Lewis boycotts the inauguration also because Mr Trump is an “illegitimate” President, he says. Thin-skinned Trump takes this personally, as he does all criticism – even working into his speech an “all talk no action” gibe at “politicians” to echo his earlier tweet that “Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results.”

“All talk, talk, talk — no action or results. Sad!” Trump dismisses Lewis’ role in the protest movement which led to the landmark voting rights act of 1965 and the end of racial discrimination in voting in the US. Lewis has already achieved more for his people and for human rights than Trump ever will.

… busy saving the TPP …

Malcolm Turnbull may not have been certain Tuesday just who would represent Australia at Trump’s swearing in but Ambassador Joe, Big Noter, Hockey clears that up with tweets that he, along with “all the chiefs of mission”, would attend all the events. We don’t hear that much from Joe: it’s good to know he’s still alive and tweeting. Doubtless he’s been busy saving the TPP and working on that people-trafficking asylum-seeker swap deal.

A messianic figure, in his own eyes, at least, Trump vows to be the greatest job producer that God ever created, a feat he will achieve by cutting taxes for corporations, a trickle-down con trick familiar to Australian voters deceived by similar promises. It’s a key detail in a fact free speech which is stuffed over-full of dreaming big and winning.

“We must think big and dream even bigger,” he says. “America will start winning again, winning like never before.” There’s no explanation of how this will be achieved or even what it means, just echoes of a former casino operator philosophy overlaid, perhaps, with the mindless Neoliberal cruelty which divides all human endeavour into winning and losing.

“We will bring back our jobs, we will bring back our borders, we will bring back our wealth and we will bring back our dreams.” Trump fist pumps. But expect delays. His transition team has only two of its fifteen cabinet members approved and has made only 29 of 660 executive appointments. Trump Inc. is nowhere near ready for government.

Big business is investing heavily in bringing back its wealth. Trump’s inauguration is awash with corporate donations. Chevron ($660,000) and Boeing ($1.3 million) are some of the big business donors who help the Trump team raise more than $131 million for their inauguration hoe-down — double any previous President’s send-on. A big donation secures an intimate dinner with the President and First Lady.

Doubtless, Trump aims to invest heavily in himself, (as did Turnbull with his $2 million donation to his own campaign.) Of course, he claims he won’t. Yet delegating his business affairs to his sons is no substitute for a blind trust. One expert on corporate governance warns that Donald Trump will be a “hopelessly conflicted president” whose unprecedented swag of commercial conflicts of interest will undermine his presidency.

“Parliament is set to return in just over a fortnight but why are they even bothering?”, asks Fairfax’s Adam Gartrell, who points out that MPs have little or nothing on their plates. The government’s legislative list is minimal. The new travel allowance and expenses bill shouldn’t take up more than six months. Yet suddenly all is called into doubt.

Beyond the beltway, the 45th President of a newly Disunited States of America prepares to ride roughshod over the old world order, call all the old certainties into doubt. Nothing is certain in foreign affairs or in trade or in any other measure of the Trump presidency except that nothing will be the same any more. Events will provide much to occupy our MPs with so much time on their hands, even if it’s only reading The Donald’s tweets.

And being terrified …

*David Tyler (AKA Urban Wronski) was born in England, raised in New Zealand and an Australian resident since 1979. Urban Wronski grew up conflicted about his own national identity and continues to be deeply mistrustful of all nationalism, chauvinism, flags, politicians and everything else which divides and obscures our common humanity. He has always been enchanted by nature and by the extraordinary brilliance of ordinary men and women and the genius, the power and the poetry that is their vernacular. Wronski is now a fulltime freelance writer who lives with his partner and editor Shay and their chooks, near the Grampians in rural Victoria and he counts himself the luckiest man alive. A former teacher of all ages and stages, from Tertiary to Primary, for nearly forty years, he enjoyed contesting the corporatisation of schooling to follow his own natural instinct for undifferentiated affection, approval and compassion for the young.

The New Yorker: Trump’s vainglorious affront to the CIA

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Leonard Colquhoun

    February 1, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    “Trump’s new world disorder catches Turnbull government napping” – doesn’t everything?

  2. TGC

    January 29, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    #27 Bring back Stalin- he’d soon crush all the current Western ‘leadership’ and return our several countries to a much saner controlled living.

  3. William Boeder

    January 29, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    Phil Parsons, to a large extent I agree with your recent posts. While Trump is entering into his electoral promises the mainstream media in America are still in their pro-Hillary Clinton mode and doing all that can be done to thwart the efforts and successes Trump has participated in up to this very day.
    My active interest in American politics today, also as to how the body of Congress functions within its prescribed boundaries, then one has to understand the dysfunction of what America’s government Administration has become, then one must add the absurdity of the prevailing bias being held by the non-compliant heads of most all of the heads of America’s Federal Agencies, all of this stacks up as the formidable pre-ordained difficult agenda that has arranged for Donald Trump the man that the disadvantaged sought to become the new American President.

    I have here attempted to provide some facts to the many obstacles that have found to have been set in place to shanghie the incoming Donald Trump, do understand that some 90% + of America’s mainstream media are still engaged in denying any at all loyalty and patriotism toward this incoming President.
    Let us not forget that a war against Russia (which Australia would have been requested (demanded) to engage in by our kindly caring war-mongering American ally) has now been defused by the Donald.

  4. phill Parsons

    January 29, 2017 at 9:41 am

    Trump has not taken on the Courts yet. His Executive order has been tempered and no vitriol. he may not have a strategy or playbook for the Courts yet but if they become an obstruction he will.

    Some in the world have awoken and the role of POTUS in the world may be curtailed as the Wilcomen mat is folded up and the red carpet at Buck House remains rolled.

    The UK is an example of a multi-cultural society and only days after May kissed and made up to Trump it has turned a little sour from an ill thought out entry ban that allows those from countries involved in 9/11 in and keeps others out.

    Stupid really or really stupid. It’s one of the two.

  5. phill Parsons

    January 28, 2017 at 8:53 am

    #9 Menken and morons. Trump was clever enough to know what white working class [WWC] voters wanted in the primaries and in a few key States in the Electoral College.

    The WWC admire what they are not [aint], rich. Their wants are met by steady good paying jobs, like existed in WW2 and post war America until the 1970’s.

    Whilst the middle class has been flexible and changed as the economy was changed arounf them by the elites in the interest of those same elites being richer the WWC was left stuck on wages from those same 1970’s whilst costs rose. They are not morons to want a better life.

    However electing trump is unlikely to alter the projection of the US economy into the future in a positive way for the WWC. More likely is a crash and burn.

    To appeal to this group in other electorates require both policies and a cultural sensitivity. Brexit allowed WWC to vote without voting Tory. it does not mean an automatic allegiance to the Conservative Party although thye will work at it.

    Labor has this dilemma in Australia and the Greens have a long way to go before conditions are such that the ‘WWC’ voters here will see the jobs and affordable houses in the policies.

    However, it cannot hurt to emphasize them as JobsnGrowth Turnbull has failed to deliver and now the new world order under Trump will make it more difficult for the old economy and perhaps even the new depending on how protectionism goes.

  6. bazzabee

    January 28, 2017 at 1:13 am

    (Mikhail Gorbachev has urged Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump to strongly denounce nuclear war in the face of the “militarisation of politics and the new arms race”.

    The 85-year-old, who was the eighth and final leader of the Soviet Union and its Communist Party, said he believed it looked “as if the world is preparing for war”). (The Independent online 28/012017).

    I couldn’t agree more; Mr. Gorbachev is right the world is spiralling down into an abyss. Trump has been US President for eight days and has managed due to his insane pronouncements to see the first advance in the nuclear clock in two decades.

    UK PM Ms T. May jets across the Atlantic and fawns at the feet of this deranged narcissistic sociopath even congratulating him on his massive victory, can someone please tell me WTF is happening?

    Why is that the very people who can and should be calling this lunacy out are sitting quietly with their thumbs up their bums? Or as May’s case in Washington kissing the arses of Trump and his neo-fascists oligarchs.

    Amazingly, there is at least one thing I agree with Trump and his bullies on and that is the timidity and mediocrity of the US media.

    Trump insults and degrades those wee timorous mice the men and women of the White House press core. When they peer over the parapet and our nervously and ask a question he assaults and insults them and the go to jelly.

    Trumps staff openly and frequently lie taking their lead from the President himself; following the leader is after all has history has proven way to success inside a totalitarian state. But this isn’t new behaviour he and they have been lying day in and day out for the last two years. The lies are now far more serious and bigger but they have been increasing since November when he won the election.

    Worse yet we are told they aren’t lies what we are being told are alternate facts, there are no alternate facts unless of course you work for Murdoch and Fox news or happen to be a right wing shock jock then they have been your stock in trade for a decade or more.

    The US in fact the western worlds 4th estate has allowed this shit to happen. It has been their silence, their lack of any obligation to report openly and truthfully the lies and the false facts as they piled up at their feet like bodies washed up on a Lebanese beach. It has been their obscene obedience to Trump that has allowed us to reach this point, they share the blame. It has been their willingness to obfuscate, their toadying acquiescence, and in some cases their cloying obsequiousness that has me fuming.

    Trump is right, the White House media lacks the balls to take him on. So do they lack balls to do the job that now needs doing? Let’s hope not. If we are not to go to war as Mr Gorbachev is suggesting the media must come out from under the safety of the trenches they have been hiding in before they too are overrun.

    I fear that has history has shown us the truth will come too late, it will be far, far too late. We now live in a post truth world where the truth is at best relative. Once again truth has, as it so often has been in the past the first serious casualty of war.

  7. Tim Thorne

    January 26, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    #25, Robin, I don’t want to be a “winner”. I would like to be a survivor.

  8. Robin Charles Halton

    January 26, 2017 at 1:26 am

    There is not much time for Australia to remain complacent to the fact that there is a major upheaval brewing over China.

    We have never had it so easy since the end of WWII but peace cannot last forever!

    Its a fact that human nature we all want to be winners when we cant conflict arises!

  9. William Boeder

    January 25, 2017 at 7:31 am

    #7. John we seem to be at odds regarding Reagan et al, Nicaragua and other South American countries have copped it in the neck on more than one occasion and during other American Presidency’s.
    Steady on with the Alzheimer’s, that affliction is available to if not already gaining a grip upon those others that deliver their comment on Tasmania Times also.
    I will not deny the comments submitted by others, though I did have a glance at the intensity of the war-mongering by the more moderate others I had referred to, as compared to the high intensity and full-scale destruction as was common to the last 4 I had mentioned in these often Oil targeted Wars.
    As we are all aware all military weaponry and military hardware are fuelled by the very substance of Oil, Oil that is deemed vital and as a necessary component to gain even more Oil so that more wars can be engaged in to acquire more Oil.
    He or their country that has access to the most Oil is as good as considered the winner of all future Oil wars.

  10. Tim Thorne

    January 24, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    #21: I stick by my criteria for being of the left as outlined in comment #11. I am aware that many perpetrators of violence have been described (usually by others) as “left”. To lump either of the Clintons in with that grouping would be approaching the height of absurdity.

  11. john hayward

    January 24, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    #19, TGC. It’s true. I probably lack the sensitivity needed to empathise with the pain you feel when prevented from insulting minorities.

    John Hayward

  12. Simon Warriner

    January 24, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    re the left/right thing, it seems that the terms are meaningless drivel because those using them adjust the labels to suit their argument.

    to wit:
    A: the “left are not violent”
    B: points to violent actions by a government “the left” are currently lionizing.
    A: I don’t support them, they are not really “left”.

    It is not governments that are complex, Tim, it is bullshit that loses its form when exposed to truth.

  13. Tim Thorne

    January 24, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    #19: That’s right. I was referring to acts of physical violence against people. Violation of rights is a different matter.

    #17: Simon, I could never support Obama, Clinton, Trump or even Sanders. This is not fence sitting, just a metaphorical tearing down of the fence.

  14. TGC

    January 24, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    #18 #15: “Meaningless question. The threat to use violence is wrong, but there is no such thing as violence in print except, perhaps, hitting someone with a rolled-up newspaper”
    Trivialising response– the writer appears to be saying that violence can only be ‘physical’
    So, there can be no such thing as “my rights have been violated” by a (for example) piece of legislation?

  15. Tim Thorne

    January 24, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    #15: Meaningless question. The threat to use violence is wrong, but there is no such thing as violence in print except, perhaps, hitting someone with a rolled-up newspaper.

    #16: The Obama administration was far from “left” but some of its policies and acts were supported by those who “thought of themselves as being left”. These would include same sex marriage, the ban on the big oil pipelines and health care reform. Governments are more complex structures than you seem to imagine.

  16. Simon Warriner

    January 24, 2017 at 7:12 am

    re 16, and much more to the pointy end of the issue, in the “left’s” ideal world Obama would have been followed by Hillary Rodham Clinton who would have continued the trajectory to the ringing endorsement of the Military Industrial Complex.

    Sorry Tim, but you cannot sit astride that fence. It will tear your nuts clean off.

  17. Mike

    January 23, 2017 at 11:24 pm

    Well you could use the Maoist PLA or Spanish left as examples of “lefty love bombing” but I was thinking of much more common and recent examples.

    “Under Obama, …the U.S. and its allies dropped 20,000 bombs and missiles in his first term. In his second term, they have dropped four times that number, bringing the total for Obama’s presidency to over 100,000 bombs and missiles striking seven countries, surpassing the 70,000 unleashed on five countries by George W. Bush.”


    I suppose you could argue that Obama is not really left (After all he was the creation of the Wall St Bankers) but more to the point, he had the support of those who think of themselves as being left, those who now cannot see the truth.

  18. TGC

    January 23, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    #14 “Violence is often used in the name of idealist ideologies, of self-defence or self-determination, or as the lesser of two evils. It is still, however, violence and still to be abhorred”.
    Even in print?

  19. Tim Thorne

    January 23, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    Leonard (#13), you are quite correct. None of the regimes you have mentioned could, by applying the criteria I listed, be called “left”. As I think we have agreed on a much earlier thread, the terms “left” and “right” are at best a fairly convenient shorthand, at worst completely useless, and usually somewhere in between.

    Violence is often used in the name of idealist ideologies, of self-defence or self-determination, or as the lesser of two evils. It is still, however, violence and still to be abhorred.

  20. Leonard Colquhoun

    January 23, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    About this Comment 11 claim, “The Left has never dropped bombs”, does that “never” therefore exclude the Maoist PLA in China’s civil war? Or the Spanish Left in that civil war?

    Or is “dropped” meant to exclude all sorts of other ‘bombs’, such as those used by the Viet Minh in Vietnam’s two civil wars? And radical Left urban guerrillas such as West Germany’s Red Army Faktion?

    Anyway, leftist regimes, like Latin American and post-colonial African armies, make war almost exclusively on their own people, and their POW camps are their gulags & laogai, and others such as SRVNs re-education camps & North Korea’s kwanliso.

    “The Left has never dropped bombs” – neat bit of spin if you can get away with it! Would surely have been worth a lapel pin as a Hero Propagandist of the Soviet Union order!

  21. Tim Thorne

    January 23, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    #6, I wouldn’t exclude Carter or Ford and, from my lifetime, I would add Kennedy (Vietnam), Eisenhower (Korea) and Truman (Hiroshima and Nagasaki).

    #8, The Left has never dropped bombs. Such an act automatically disqualifies any government, group or individual from being called “left”. Compassion is an essential component of “leftness” (for whatever limited value such a term has) along with equity, sustainability, tolerance and a preference for cooperation over competition as well as for negotiation over aggression.

  22. john hayward

    January 23, 2017 at 10:16 am

    #9, O’Brien. It’s taken a while, but Mencken has absolutely nailed his prophecy for the US.

    In Oz, a similar result is being promised by a similar form of Mammon worship which seems to be morphing into an inadvertent death cult.

    John Hayward

  23. O'Brien

    January 23, 2017 at 2:53 am

    “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

    ― H.L. Mencken

  24. Mike

    January 22, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    After many years I have come to the conclusion that the main difference between the left and right is:-

    The Right drops bombs on innocent children to exploit the situations to gain money and power.

    The Left drops bombs on innocent children because they love them and want to save them.

    Which side is the madder?

    Obama: A Legacy of Ashes

  25. john hayward

    January 22, 2017 at 11:28 pm

    William, #6. You might check with the denizens of Nicaragua and other past South American war zones before paying any further tributes to Ronnie Reagan. Alzheimer’s is no more legitimate an excuse than Trump’s idiocy.

    John Hayward

  26. William Boeder

    January 22, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    Let us all hope that the “so far so good new President” is first out of the starting blocks when it comes down to launching actions of retribution against the right wing mob that ran America as an oppressive belligerent war machine.

    America did have more moderate Presidents such as Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, and to some extent Ronald Reagan.
    The names listed below are the war-mongering American Presidents that have plagued the World during my time on planet earth.
    (L B Johnson, R Nixon, George H Bush, W Clinton, George W Bush, B Obama.)

    According to the ideals of Donald Trump, he is keen to revive the healthy international trade relationship with Russia.

    As for the feckless Prime ministers that have created their harms upon Australia seen in the most recent years we begin with our histrionic roll to the extreme right tax haven specialist Malcolm Bligh Turnbull, the former Loony-tune Tony (budgie smuggler) Abbott, then one must drift back to the time of the horrors wrought upon Australia as well as our international standing we had, there is the best mate of George W, John Whining Howard.
    Australia up until recently was still paying Lockheed Martin $300,000,000-00 per annum damages masked as Australia’s R & D contribution to the super special strike-force shock and super stealth-like sonic-blasting F-35, this financial penalty upon Australia began at the time A certain J W Howard had ordered some 72 F-35 fighter planes that at the time were I believe just cardboard cut-outs.

    I am told that Horrors Howard still treads upon the Australian soil, ordinarily persons of such mental decrepitude would now be ensconced in some taxpayer subsidised mental health repository.
    Urbanwrongski please continue delivering your much appreciated views on our political incumbents.

  27. Mike Adams

    January 22, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    It’s always possible that what happened to the following U.S. Presidents: Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy, could happen to lesser folk.

  28. john hayward

    January 22, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    Photoshopping Donald over the messiah in the Last Supper is less alarming in many ways than the much more insidious infiltration of our own body politic by the Right.

    Trump has demonstrated how easy it is to inflame an electorate into a lynch mob. Turnbull, his house guest, and Guthrie are demonstrating that the electorate can more easily be induced into the pens.

    John Hayward

  29. Birdz

    January 22, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Not sure who I like less, Trump or all those who came before him and said all the right things and then did nothing.

  30. phill Parsons

    January 22, 2017 at 10:04 am

  31. phill Parsons

    January 22, 2017 at 9:47 am

    There is now discussion in the US about alternative facts. These are the items used to refute the opposition, to create or to deny fake news.

    Those who pay some attention will be used to alternative facts and fake news. Wrapped and badged as political promises we are told how well the promises are about to be of indeed are being fulfilled as the facts tell us otherwise.

    Jobsngrowth, fraudband, adults in charge, debt and deficit, even L A W law from the Keating era.

    Of course we must let Turnbull off the hook with the TPP. The meaningless special relationship with our great and powerful ally has been unilaterally Trumped.

    Back to bilateral trade agreements as the US turns inward under it’s new administration.

    Trump will not be able to complain. His party dominates both Houses of the legislature, the only protector of the people being the people themselves as the fourth estate has been sent into Coventry for daring to disagree with the alternative facts by reporting on the numbers.

    Numbers will continue to haunt the world of alternative facts, employment, stock values, GDP, atmospheric CO2, temperature, the value of the dollar.

    With the end of post WW2 US dominance in the international sphere and America turning to a form of isolation similar to that of the 1930’s a new world will emerge.

    of course all of this could be affected by Trump becoming impeached and the best hope of the old guard, VP Pence, moving into the Oval Office but whilst ever the delusional conservatives run with their agenda of denial of the facts and robber baron reallocation of wealth upward you can be sure that many humans and the natural wirld will suffer.

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