TRUMPED BY TRUMP

Donald Trump is the worst American President in my 86 years on Planet Earth.

In all likelihood, he is the worst since George Washington kicked out the British.

But, let me stop beating around the bush and admit that I utterly and thoroughly despise him.

Having said this, I must confess that there are times when I am tempted to cheer him, especially when he kicks the hell out of the political establishment. They absolutely need their guts hit out of the park because of their complacent insensitivity to the needs and aspirations of humanity.

But, the problem is that his skills end at the point of his boot. He has not got a clue what to do next, because his sole skill in life is as a gut kicker.

All this means is that we should pause for more than a moment and do some objective analysis of THE DONALD because we are stuck with him. Continue reading “TRUMPED BY TRUMP”

Goodbye Menzies

The great political party, The Liberals, formed by Robert Menzies seven decades ago, is in its death throes. It has been assassinated by right wing zealots, none of whom would have ever been welcomed into its ranks by Australia’s longest serving Prime Minister.

I was at High School when Menzies commenced his political comeback by uniting a collection of conservative parties to form The Liberals. In doing so, he declared that he was commanding the centre ground of politics in Australia, planning to push Labor to the Left and the Country Party (now The Nationals) over on to the Right. It made common sense as most Australians wanted a government without ideology that made pragmatic decisions to secure Australia’s post war prosperity.

Menzies achieved his aim for 16 years, retiring at his own timing and on his own terms. Then, the rot set in as the Liberals moved steadily to the right, finally going heavily in that direction when Tony Abbott arrived and inflicted 19th century economics and morals on the nation, sending it into decline on many fronts. Continue reading “Goodbye Menzies”

Iowa sends message to Australia

I have been an avid student of politics all my life, with American Presidential Elections always having a special fascination. My first experience of it was in 1940 when I was just 9 years old. I clearly remember sitting by the radio with my grandfather listening to the result of Wendell Wilkie’s failed attempt to toss Franklin Delano Roosevelt out of the White House.

Three quarters of a century has passed since then and I can tell you with great certainty that no US Presidential Election has ever been more baffling than the current one. Who would have believed that the most powerful nation on earth would contemplate having Donald Trump as President.

Given the immense tragedy that would be, can we take a few moments to look at the pointless struggle of mediocrity that took place in Iowa yesterday. Continue reading “Iowa sends message to Australia”

Economic Growth or Quality of Life – measuring the progress of a nation.

Politicians and economists calculate the stature and prosperity of a nation by the annual percentage increase in its Gross Domestic Product. Governments rise and fall on the basis of this statistic, mainly because nations are declared to be in recession if there is negative GDP growth on three successive occasions.

However, the thoughts of many support the view that it is long overdue for this inadequate gauge of a nation’s growth to be declared the farce that it is.

I want to suggest that it should be replaced by a new measure that could be called General Domestic Prosperity. This means that a GDP will still be calculated, but it will have a new meaning and a different basis of measurement. Continue reading “Economic Growth or Quality of Life – measuring the progress of a nation.”

The Commonwealth of The South Pacific

Creating a Union of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands

In the 1890s, when the Federation of Australian States was being fervently debated, there were seven negotiating parties at the table — five States on the Continent, plus Tasmania and New Zealand.

Just before referendums were held to determine whether the grand venture would go ahead, New Zealand withdrew. Their stated reason was that Australia was experiencing a major economic recession brought on by the bank collapses of 1893, combined with the worst drought of the century. New Zealand had avoided both of those disasters and was motivated to take the short term view that it would be wise to pull out. In hindsight, it was a bad decision.

So, Federation proceeded without them. Yet, the provision remains in the Constitution for them to change their minds at some time — but it is an option that has never been taken up. Continue reading “The Commonwealth of The South Pacific”

Can boat people be turned back?

In August  2001, MV Tampa, a freighter owned in Norway, was on the high seas south of Indonesia when it picked up a May Day call from Palapa 1, an overloaded people smuggling boat with 438 souls on board. It was reported to be sinking not far from Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean.

Observing the long-time law of the sea that he believed no-one should ever violate, Arne Rinnan, captain of the Tampa, went immediately to their aid, taking them on board his boat and sitting them on the open deck. He sailed to Christmas Inland, but was stopped from disembarking his human cargo by the Australian Navy.

There was a stand-off for several days. Rinnan was humiliated aggressively and treated as a criminal.

After the Border Protection Bill was rushed through Parliament and a challenge to it was dismissed by the High Court, we eventually took the refugees from the Tampa and flew them to Nauru, from where most of them were eventually admitted to either Australia or New Zealand.

It was one of the most shameful weeks of our history, and it achieved absolutely nothing. Continue reading “Can boat people be turned back?”

Will Obama’s second term be a great one?

I hope so. He was disappointing in his first term, but he probably handled the volatile financial recession better than any of his political opponents could have done. He also had to overcome a lot of racist prejudice because he is a black man.

He has started his second term well by tackling the gun lobby head-on and proposing positive solutions to illegal immigration, but his big test will be to turn the budget deficit into a surplus.

I am one who believes in not spending money that you don’t have, unless there is a dire emergency. The economic crisis situation has now passed, so there is no valid reason to continue with deficits.

Having said that, he does have to spend money wisely and urgently on America’s infrastructure. It is in a decrepit state. Even worse than Australia’s.

He also has challenges with Foreign Relations. Primarily, he must make the USA a genuine partner of other nations on a basis of equality, not as a dominant oppressive force. The world has had enough of an America that smothers them.

Beware the Social Distortion of Money.

The world’s most favoured and heated topic of conversation is money. It dominates every facet of life, and it is true to say that most people handle it badly. Governments manage it particularly poorly, as I have mentioned often in other articles. This being so, I decided to do a bit more in-depth reading about money over the past few weeks.

My first port of call was a book called ‘What Money Can’t Buy’. It is an absolute classic, written by Michael Sandel. Its sub-title is ‘The Moral Limits of Markets’ and it vividly outlines the extremes to which people go in using their money to gain them privileges that others cannot aspire to. Continue reading “Beware the Social Distortion of Money.”

Is it time to embrace Community Capitalism?

Those grand times when some people made lots of money ceased forever when the Great Financial Crisis hit the world in 2008. It is a lie to promise people that it will happen again in its old freewheeling way.

Capitalism in the form that we once knew it actually died that year, and rigor mortis set in rapidly. It is beyond resurrection and will be replaced gradually by something more meaningful to the era in which we live. Continue reading “Is it time to embrace Community Capitalism?”

Can Indonesia become our most important ally?

The first step in answering this question will be for us to decide that we do want Indonesia to be an integral part of our world. Nothing in our national body language to date conveys a genuine desire for this to happen.

For example, we can take a look at the vexed issue of boat people. On every occasion that an Australian politician declares that he or she will ‘turn back’ the refugee boats and point them in the direction from which they came, we offend the Indonesian nation, as the refugees are not their citizens and the people smugglers are a criminal element of their population that they do not condone.

It is to our shame that the smugglers are often supported by the Australian underworld.

Continue reading “Can Indonesia become our most important ally?”

Who won the Games?

Australia went backwards at the London Olympics, but the Brits have enjoyed great success both in a sporting and organisational sense, except for their inability to sell tickets. There is no doubt that the Games did wonders for the morale of the British people. It has been at rock bottom for a long time for a wide range of political, economic and social reasons, a large measure of which is related to its fateful decision to join the fiasco known as the European Union half a century ago.

The Olympics have cost Britain a lot of money, and the debate about whether they have or will ever receive value for money will go on for a long time. Continue reading “Who won the Games?”

Is it a sin to sell the farm?

The gossip around town is that a majority of Australians believe that, when foreigners invest in farming in Australia, they actually dig-up the land and take it back home, lamentably leaving us with a continent which is just a massive hole in the ground.

From what I hear, the same majority enthusiastically applaud Australians who invest overseas; this is seen as courageous entrepreneurial activity by fine Australians who want to help lesser beings to prosper from our benevolence. Naturally, we expect that they would not have the audacity to protest about our presence in their nation.

All of this means that the loud cries to stop foreign investment in any Australian business are sanctimonious hogwash. The reality is…. Continue reading “Is it a sin to sell the farm?”

The Problem with President Romney

If the polls are to be believed, there is an even money chance that Mitt Romney will become President of the United States around 20 January, 2013. Presuming that this becomes a reality, we need to consider what the world will be like under his presidency of the most powerful nation on the planet. Continue reading “The Problem with President Romney”

Jewel of the Old British Empire -India’s role in our future economic growth?

Commentators of all persuasions give us constant reports, often positive and occasionally dismal, on the economic and political health of China, and incessantly tell us that our future will be determined by the power brokers of Peking. Rarely do they comment on India’s role in our prosperity.

Indeed, they make it clear that if China dumps us as a trading partner, we will be finished as a financially viable nation. This over-emphasis should cause us concern, as our fascination with China is a dangerous one when all the lessons of life tell us never to have too many eggs in one basket. Continue reading “Jewel of the Old British Empire -India’s role in our future economic growth?”

The Bell Tolls for the Euro.

Every day I read the voluminous comments of eminent economists and columnists who make predictions about the future life or ultimate death of the European Community and the Euro. Just like climate change scientists, they are poles apart in their viewpoints, and so I can’t claim to be providing you with ground breaking comments that will be accepted by all. I just want to raise a few basic issues.

The concept of a united Europe was a good idea that gained life soon after the end of World War 2, but it has proven to be a flawed vision. The great nations of Britain, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Austria, etc, have been at war with one another for at least a thousand years, and the lack of trust that generated those wars has not abated. Continue reading “The Bell Tolls for the Euro.”

Obama and Sarkozy – are they assets or liabilities?

The future leadership of both the United States and France is an important issue for the world, and their respective Presidents — Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy — will face the voters within the next year.

Both are in trouble. In fact, you have to search hard to find a national leader anywhere in the world who is not in trouble. They are the most ordinary lot that I have encountered in my life. Continue reading “Obama and Sarkozy – are they assets or liabilities?”

Too many people in the world!

Politicians go to extremes to avoid discussing this subject.

Politicians across the globe take up the debate on climate change every day and tear one another apart in the process. Scientists do likewise. However, they all agree on one thing — no-one must raise the issue of the serious over-population of the world because that will scare too many voters into believing that people in powerful places are considering a serious culling of the population, causing some to worry that they may be among those who are targeted as being surplus to need.

Nevertheless, political leaders know that overpopulation is the major cause of the world’s pollution, and they are very aware that it will get worse. In addition, the governments of the world know that they have little hope of providing the food, shelter, housing and fresh water that billions of new people will need just to survive with the bare basics. Continue reading “Too many people in the world!”