US at the crossroads: it means we are too
Americans, all 323 million of them, are living on the brink of major decisions. Do they make war on North Korea or Iran? Do they overthrow the government in Cuba or Venezuela? Do they declare China and Russia are “enemies of freedom” or keep talking to them? Should US troops be rebuilding Afghanistan or Puerto Rico?
On the home front, do they want lower taxes or a universal health system? Tighter gun controls or the “freedom” to sell them to anyone who wants one? And the big over-arching question – do they want to impeach President Donald Trump or follow him?
Although these questions are front and centre of the American dilemma, they are engaging people around the world, especially in Australia. Our mainstream news media is dominated by Trump news. In second place is drowning-not-waving Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
On the face of it, Australians, Europeans (East and West) and Asians seem more concerned about these questions than Americans who are buried on “social media” tweeting each other and taking pictures of cats, guns, coffee and themselves (“selfies”).
However, no one should be kidding themselves that the Trump debacle is a “foreign” story. It is a world story and it’s our world.
The hardest option is to try to follow what’s happening in the world and align yourself with the forces of peace, democracy, science, culture and the environment.
When you find them, hold them close and lend your support. They might be African-American gridiron players who are kneeling, Barcelona footballers opposing police state violence or someone in the crowd at the NRL grand final who came to hear Micklemore, the gender equality rapper.
All these disparate voices are sending a confused message – we live in confusing times – but they are authentic people whose roots are deep in working class history (slavery, fascism etc).
What is fascinating is that over-paid sports stars – rugby league, not rugby union and gridiron, not golf – have emerged with the clearest political message. They are being ridiculed and shouted down – “Just play football, for chrissakes, we don’t want you to talk about politics”.
Heaven help if having a public opinion spread to doctors, lawyers, singers, actors, musicians, scientists and civil servants. That would leave politicians as the only people with nothing to say – like now!
The Trumpeteers with their Goldman Sachs accomplices are courting the military and the police (the armed state) hoping to get their backing because, I tell you what, the mass of people are not falling into line.
There is a war going on, but not a hot one. It is being fought on a variety of fronts – social, political, economic and cultural – and the voice of resistance is growing.
Time to get off the fence, folks, it’s decision time.
Mrs May’s time is up
For more than two centuries, the annual British Conservative Party conference has been the venue where leaders triumph or are broken. On some occasions it has provided a platform for rising stars.
This week Theresa May took centre stage to make her keynote leader’s speech, and the wheels fell off. So did the letters on the Tory message on the wall behind her. It was a spectacular humiliation which left most of the UK falling off their chairs laughing. The grim-faced retired colonels in the Home Counties turned puce with rage, opened their whisky flasks and went to the backyard shed to weep.
As a group, Tories in the “nasty party” as Mrs May once called it, are utterly ruthless. They’d get rid of her tomorrow if there was an alternative.
But her chief rival Boris Johnson is an Etonian clown; it would be like putting Screaming Lord Sutch or Major Bloodnok in No 10.
For those too young to remember, Denis Bloodnok of Goons fame, aka Peter Sellers, had a slippery military career notable for cowardice and financial irregularities. He was dishonourably discharged after being found dressed as a woman although he claimed it was regimental carnival night.
The UK has enjoyed the carnival of four prime ministers in the past 10 years – Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and the vicar’s daughter.
In that period the poor have become wretchedly poorer, the number of homeless has trebled, the cost of living has gone through the roof, the rich have become richer, real estate prices have soared 50% and the British have voted to leave their chief trading partner, the European Union (EU).
Guessing the next step as Donald Trump destroys the US and the Tories tear Britain apart has become an obligatory parlour game in our household.
The RSL fraud
There’s a bloke living near me who hasn’t heard a shot fired in anger and he has never been in a war zone. Yet every ANZAC day he is one of the leaders of the ex-servicemen’s and women’s march through the town centre wearing a brace of service medals.
The local RSL officialdom know that he is a con-artist but they do nothing about it. They allow the charade to continue.
This is not peculiar to Australia. It is happening all over the world.
I am grateful to Ben Macintrye, London Times reporter, historian and author of the brilliant Kim Philby exposé A Spy Among Friends, for blowing the whistle on embellished wartime careers. He wrote this week:
“The Special Operations Executive (SOE) story, part legend, has inevitably fallen prey to fantasists and fraudsters, and the peculiarly British penchant for laying false claim to wartime heroics.
“The Special Air Service (SAS) has an entire filing cabinet of memoirs written by soldiers who claim to have served in the regiment, and did not.
“The SOE is particularly vulnerable to infiltration by latter-day Walter Mitty characters precisely because it has been so encrusted in myth.
“Yet dishonestly claiming military garlands is not a victimless sin. It does huge disservice to those who served and died, and further muddies the historical waters. One of the marks of real heroism is a disinclination to brag about it.” (The Times, 2 October, 2017).
The RSL hierarchy is so ridden by corruption and scandal that it can’t even defend wartime heroes and heroines. I propose we send the hierarchical remnants of the RSL to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and bury them. With full military honours, of course.
News not reported here
Julian Assange is an alleged rapist who is wanted in the US to face charges as a “world terrorist” and spend a lifetime behind bars.
On the other hand, to a majority of civilised people across the globe he is a hero whistleblower who has blown open the atrocities of the US military in Iraq and around the world. Now he’s done it again with a statement issued from the Ecuador Embassy in London where he lives in self-imposed incarceration.
On 22 September 2017 Assange told reporters via telecast: “Russian actions on its own doorstep in Eastern Europe do not in fact threaten the United States or any actual vital interest. Nor does Moscow threaten the US through its intervention of the Syrian Government in the Middle East. That Russia is described incessantly as a threat in those areas is largely a contrivance arranged by the media, the Democratic and Republican National Committees and by the White House.
“Candidate Donald Trump appeared to recognise that fact before he began listening to Michael Flynn [retired US Army Lieutenant-General Flynn who was sacked as National Security Adviser on February 13, after just 24 days in the job], who has rather a different view. Hopefully the old Trump will prevail. There is, however, another country that has interfered in US elections, has endangered Americans living or working overseas and has corrupted America’s legislative and executive branches. It has exploited that corruption to initiate legislation favourable to itself, has promoted unnecessary and unwinnable wars and has stolen American assets and military secrets. Its ready access to the mainstream media to spread its own propaganda provides it with cover for its actions and it accomplishes all that and more through that the agency of a powerful and well-funded domestic lobby that oddly is not subject to the accountability afforded by the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) of 1938 even though it manifestly works on behalf of a foreign government. That country is, of course, Israel.”
Buying the US Congress
If you think Assange is exaggerating, you should be aware that in the past week the US Senate unanimously passed (99 votes to 0) the Anti-Semitism Awareness Bill.
The legislation makes Jews and Jewish interests a legally protected class that is immune from criticism.
In future Americans will be able to burn the Stars and Stripes, sell pornography and automatic guns and attack the Christian religion – but they won’t be able to criticise Israel as that effectively becomes a “hate crime”.
The legislation was demanded by the Israeli lobby which bribes its way across Capitol Hill to propagandise on behalf of the apartheid-style Zionist regime in Tel Aviv.
Latest from Israeli press
The Israeli daily, Al-Haaretz, gave headline treatment to President Donald Trump’s recent visit to the UN General Assembly in New York: “Trump to UN chief: Netanyahu proving more difficult than Abbas in peace efforts.”
The article said: “In a meeting last month with US Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, US President Donald Trump termed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the harder side to convince in his efforts to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, according to seven Western and Israeli sources who were either present at or briefed on the meeting. ‘Trump said both leaders are problematic,’ said one Western diplomat who was briefed on the meeting. ‘But the general context was that from the two of them, Netanyahu is the bigger problem’.”
Quotes of the Week
Australia’s relationship with the US is fine. What is not fine is the Austral-Americans in this country conducting themselves as though Australia is some branch office of the US or, worse than that, its lickspittle.
- Paul Keating giving the Hayden Oration, University of Southern Queensland, Ipswich, 29 September 2017
Since 2001 it appears on both sides [of Australian politics] to have been driven overwhelmingly by 9/11 and its aftermath: the general enthusiasm for conducting military war on terrorism whenever and wherever that option arises, combined with – on the Labor side – an absolute determination, in the age of terror, not to be found wanting on any national security issue. Gushing sentiment has become the norm – in the case of Julia Gillard’s address to the US Congress in 2011 – cringe-making even by standards of Harold Holt’s “All the way with LBJ” in 1966.
- Gareth Evans, former Labor senator, Attorney-General and Foreign Minister in the Hawke and Keating Cabinets, in his new book, Incorrigible Optimist: A Political Memoir”
FOOTNOTE: To everyone who has asked, we have voted “Yes” to the introduction of same sex marriage in the postal survey being conducted across Australia. Please join us.
Abstention is not an option and voting “No” is simply wrong and will put you in the camp of Tony Abbott, George Pell, Cory Bernardi, Eric Abetz, Pauline Hanson and other unsavoury types.