President Donald Trump declares war on North Korea and Iran – is he serious?
US President Donald Trump delivered his first address to the UN General Assembly in New York this week at its annual session for heads of government. Normally it is an occasion for immense hypocrisy as leader after leader takes centre stage to extol the virtues of “world peace”, “saving mankind”, “protecting the environment” and “exploring the galaxy”.
Trump did the opposite. He promised war against America’s “enemies” and deplored the UN for being a bystander in the face of tyranny.
War No 1: “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.
“Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able. But hopefully, this will not be necessary. That’s what the United Nations is all about. That’s what the United Nations is for. Let’s see how they do.”
War No 2: “The Iranian Government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind a false guise of democracy. It has turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos. Rather than use its resources to improve Iranian lives, its oil profits go to fund Hezbollah and other terrorists that kill Muslims and attack their peaceful Arab and Israeli neighbours.
“We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilising activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear programme. The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it, believe me.”
Not a single world leader – apart from Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani – has contradicted or condemned Trump’s orgy of misinformation and military brinkmanship.
As his poll ratings climb and the US the stock exchange soars on the prospect of post-hurricane profits, Trump is recklessly preparing to take on the world.
I expect Trump to provoke Iran by cancelling the treaty which was reached with the Obama administration in 2016 with the backing of the International Atomic Energy Commission, the UN, China and major states of the EU. After the treaty is ditched, Trump intends implementing Saudi and Israeli advice to to starve Iranians into submission or revolt with a regime of ironclad sanctions.
Unsurprisingly, The Australian’s war envoy Greg “Tony Abbott is my best mate” Sheridan disagrees. He greeted Trump’s UN speech with the observation: “Keep calm, Trump tactics are sound”. (The Australian, 21 September 2017).
By the way, Sheridan was the commentator who firmly predicted Trump “would never been president of the US”. How come the public is being so misled by a veteran commentator who believes subservience to Washington far outweighs the national interest and the safety of Australians in uniform and civvies?
Singapore’s first female president
Singapore’s sixth president is the first female to hold the position since the island gained independence from Britain in 1965. She is 63-year-old Halimah Yacob, only the second Malay to occupy the island state’s presidency. Yusof Ishak was the first president of the republic in a move designed to build bridges between the Chinese and Malay communities and to counter lurid British-instigated “fake news” stories of an anti-Malay “pogrom” following independence. Today Malays comprise 13% of the population while the Chinese majority fill 74%.
During last week’s official swearing-in ceremony she made no reference to god, the bible or any other holy book. In a quiet, firm voice she said:
“I, Halimah Yacob, having been elected as President of the Republic of Singapore, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully discharge my duties.”
And that was it. What a healthy antidote to the bible, torah and koran-waving ceremonies in Canberra and elsewhere.
Dressed in traditional brown and ochre clothes, the president wore a scarf over her head. Pauline Hanson and her One Nation followers would have suffered heart attacks! After the ceremony she said she would like to remain living in her own apartment across town and speculated about opening the grand presidential palace to public visitors.
The one jarring note about her ascendancy was the election process itself. Handpicked members of the election commission chose one candidate, Halimah Yacob, a former Speaker of Parliament, to be eligible to stand. No election was held and she was installed as president in a term which was designated for a Malay minority candidate.
Highlighting the difference between her previous public positions and the new role as head of state, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, eldest son of the late Lee Kwan Yew, said: “Hitherto, you have been fighting the good fight – in the unions, in the political arena and in the governing party. Now, as President, you have to be non-partisan and above the political fray.”
Friendly advice? The new president appeared unmoved.
Unmasking of Suu Kyi
President Halimah Yacob is a tireless political activist for the People’s Action Party (PAP) founded by pro-independence trade unionists and academics in the late 1950s. By nature, she is conservative-minded but public spirited.
I sincerely believe that she won’t be another Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner now leading the slaughter and mass expulsion of Rohingya Moslems from Myanmar. Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the UN’s top human rights official, called it “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”. Others called it a “genocide”, the mass extermination of a community of people, but Ms Suu Kyi called them “terrorists” and publicly supported the army’s “burn, destroy and remove” assault on village communities.
For two decades audiences around the world were bombarded with mainstream media stories that the pro-British and pro-American Ms Suu Kyi was a cross between Mother Teresa, the Virgin Mary and Nelson Mandela.
The ABC news department was captured by Suu Kyi luvvies who continued to rave about her gracious humanity until a mere couple of months ago. Eventually her cover was blown by veteran South East Asian correspondent Lindsay Murdoch in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.
In recent days the Suu Kyi lobby has struck back claiming that the fragrant leader is a “prisoner” of the military and has no choice but to go along with the well-documented genocide. This is piffle and everybody knows it. She has a voice, she’s foreign minister and she has a platform – it’s called the United Nations or the parliament.
Theresa May in flames
Long before fire swept through Grenfell Tower in West London killing 80 people and making hundreds homeless, six residents were burned to death in a housing block in the south London borough of Southwark. A “high-powered” review of building standards was ordered and – eventually in 2013 – a coroner launched an investigation.
These exercises amounted to little more than a whitewash. The recommendations came to nothing. The property developers, real estate investors and Tory councillors breathed a huge sigh of relief and broke open the champers.
Two players in the official clean-up were Brandon Lewis and Gavin Barwell.
Lewis, now MP for Great Yarmouth and a law graduate from the private University of Buckingham, is currently Minister of State for Immigration at the Home Office. One of his ministerial duties is deporting non-British refugees; another is looking after the fire service.
Barwell has come a long way too. He is Prime Minister Theresa May’s current chief of staff.
While Mrs May is desperately keen to shift the news agenda onto terrorism, Londoners remain singlemindedly committed to finding the real culprits behind the Grenfell disaster and demanding a fully funded public housing policy.
The latest official audit shows there are 20,000 empty apartments/homes in London. They’re called “zombie flats” because they are owned by rich [overseas and local] investors but empty. If the government confiscated them it would solve the city’s homeless crisis.
Commonwealth’s future at stake
Baroness Patricia Scotland PC QC has been a surprisingly brilliant choice to sink the dying entity known as the Commonwealth of Nations based in London. Originally known as the British Commonwealth, the organisation representing 52 countries, overwhelmingly former colonies, has long been a target of the Foreign (and Commonwealth) Office.
But the upper class Tories from Oxbridge who have managed the FO for centuries have been outplayed and outmanoeuvred by Mrs Windsor, aka Brenda, Queen of the United Kingdom and “Queen of other Commonwealth Realms” [including Australia].
Upon her elevation to the throne in 1952, Brenda made the management and protection of the Commonwealth her No 1 priority. She inherited the empire from her great grandmother, Queen Victoria, and gave a vow that it would remain the family’s power base. Luxurious vice-regal mansions were built on prime real estate across the world and regularly inspected. The bill for extensions and renovations was sent to faithful political leaders and paid without quibble. Think Menzies, Holt, Fraser, Hawke, Howard, Rudd-Gillard and Abbott.
In the event that the British followed France, Germany, Russia, Italy, Egypt, India and China and ousted the monarchy, the Windsors maintained their grip on the Commonwealth as an essential part of their retirement pension plan.
Since becoming the sixth and first female secretary-general of the Commonwealth the Labour-appointed baroness has been buffeted by one scandal after another. The latest involves the recent presidential election in Kenya which has been declared null and avoid after public uproar that it was all a fix. Baroness Scotland’s choice as head of the Commonwealth Observer Group was John Mahama, a former president of Ghana. After the poll he declared that the election had been “credible, fair and inclusive” and gave the result his blessing. Mahama is a close friend of Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta who won the now-discredited election.
When the Commonwealth heads of state voted Dominican-born Scotland into office in November last year, only two African leaders voted for her – John Mahama and Uhuru Kenyatta.
The Commonwealth Secretariat in London has become little more than a club for superannuated diplomats and politicians. They are rorting away while the former colonies languish in 21st century poverty and exploited by global corporations.
Hauling down the Union Jack
When 91-year-old Brenda calls it a day, it will be an appropriate time to pull the pin on the Commonwealth.
In Brexit Britain the romance of empire has done its dash. The British were happy with the empire when it provided them with cheap food, cheap holidays, sunshine, cricket and rugby. What they never expected – or wanted – was for their former colonial servants to call Britain their second “home” and want to live in Old Blighty and draw the pension.
Over the coming years Whitehall will unfold its detailed plans to lower the Union Jack all around the world – with the exception of Gibraltar (for defence reasons) and Canberra (for Summer Palaces at Yarralumla and on Sydney Harbour).
Australians can counter these unscrupulous royal fantasies by demanding a referendum to change the constitution 1) to recognise Aborigines as the original people of Australia; and 2) to have an Australian as head of state (and not one with dual citizenship either).
Nasty reviews for Hillary
In her latest book, What Happened, Hillary Clinton sets out to blame an assortment of villains and fateful events for her White House defeat. They include Vladimir Putin, FBI director James Comey, Bernie Sanders, sections of the mainstream media, the Democratic Party, Donald Trump’s “deplorables”, Julian Assange, Wikileaks and the rightist Christian lobby.
The purpose of the book seems clear enough; it is to bolster the Clinton legacy – Bill’s and Hillary’s – and keep alive the family’s dynastic delusions. Next in line for the Washington DC throne is their daughter Chelsea. I kid you not. In its review of What Happened, the London Guardian has given notice that its pro-Clinton love affair is over. Reviewer Thomas Frank, an American historian and liberal political commentator, writes:
“How do you lose the presidency to a man like Donald Trump? He was the most unpopular presidential candidate of all time, compounding blunder with blunder and heaping gaffe upon gaffe. Keeping him from the Ova Office should have been the single-minded mission of the Democratic Party. And it should have been easy for them.
Instead they lost, and now their 2016 candidate Hillary Clinton comes before us to account for this monumental failure, to tell us What Happened. Unfortunately, her new book is less an effort to explain than it is to explain away. No real blame ever settles anywhere near Clinton’s person.” (“Hillary Clinton’s book has a clear message: Don’t blame me”, by Thomas Frank, Guardian UK, 16 September 2017).
None of this will dampen book sales in Australia where Mrs Clinton has morphed from political heroine to political martyr.
For me, the 494-page sob story isn’t worth the cover price ($35). For one thing, there isn’t a single mention of Wal-Mart or Goldman Sachs although these notorious blood-sucking squids gave millions to the Clinton campaign and both Clintons spoke at their corporate events. (For six years from 1986 to 1992 she was on Wal-Mart’s board of directors when husband Bill was governor of Arkansas where the rabidly anti-union shopping behemoth is headquartered).
When What Happened was launched in the US, Democratic Party guru David Axelrod gave the failed candidate some sound advice when he said: “If I were her, I would move on.”
Gersh Kunzman, a pro-Democratic columnist with the New York Daily News, was more direct: “Hey, Hillary Clinton, shut the fuck up and go away already.”
Rather ill-mannered, I thought. Who the fuck is Mr Kunzman anyway? His name tells you all you need to know about him.
Who says you can’t ask that?
The ABC’s highly acclaimed series, You Can’t Ask That, this week won a Rose d’Or award at the Entertainment Awards in Berlin. Against competition from all around the world, the Aussie production team took the award for Best Reality and Factual Entertainment at the 56th award’s ceremony. Malcolm Turnbull’s aunt, Angela Lansbury, won the Lifetime Achievement Award and British comedian James Corden was named Entertainer of the Year.
Shown on ABC-TV to critical acclaim and staunchly loyal ratings, You Can’t Ask That is the brainchild of Kurt Docker and his accomplices Scott Mitchell and Aaron Smith. Avid fans will welcome news that production of a third series is already underway.
If the international TV award – or a worthless Logie – had been awarded to any part of the ABC’s news and current affairs division, we would never have heard the end of it. But the ABC hierarchy seems to have entirely ignored Berlin’s momentous recognition of one of its most innovative programmes. However, a very proud Mitchell family will be raising their glasses this weekend to Scott, Kurt and Aaron, their fellow workmates and technicians who gave a voice to “forgotten” Australians.
Headline of the week
Australian businesses are too friendly:
“Kill rivals, don’t collaborate with them”
- Front-page headline reporting Innovation Summit speech by Paul Shetler, American-born expert-in-residence at Sydney’s fintech hub, Stone & Chalk. The Australian Financial Review, 21 September 2017
Story of the Week
African American Christian University professor who said that Black Lives Matter activists “should be hanged” is suspended.
- London Daily Mail website