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Seeking the Post-COVID Sunshine Through Inland Rail: Or the Saga of a Country Without Real Plans for the Future

By Denis Bright

With its strong mandate at the 2013 national election, the federal LNP sought to reconstruct Australia on neoliberal principles. Resources exports to China and other Asian countries carried the post-2013 as the incoming government imposed its austerity programmes.

Data from the RBA tells us that nothing really replaced investment from the mining boom as the LNP selected its third leader on 24 August 2018.

Australians were offered an ideology for the future but not real plans for transport, energy, the financial sector or Australia’s role as an independent player in international relations. Some symbolic gestures like the Inland Railway were promoted as a changed progressive agenda for the regions.

The federal LNP proceeded with some haste on the Inland Railway Project which passed through most National Party electorates across Eastern Australia.

During the Keating years, the National Rail Corporation took over most interstate rail freight operations.

The Howard Government moved quickly to privatize the Commonwealth Railways. It formed the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) in 1997 to offer token financial support to the remnants of interstate rail services which would always require track maintenance for key interstate links like Sydney-Melbourne line.

Consideration was given to the privatization of the ARTC by Tony Abbott in his initial austerity drive.

With ARTC assets valued at only $4 billion, incoming Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull decided to keep the freight and track networks in government hands despite their deteriorating state after decades of cost-cutting by state authorities for both freight and the remnants of passenger services. Speed restrictions on the Sydney-Melbourne link continued as the ARTC was involved in its own cost-cutting programmes.

Surprisingly, the ARTC was left to construct the new inland railway project with significant use of public private partnership arrangements.

The overall blueprint looked great. It just needed to be embedded in a national transport plan would assist in raising the profile of rail transport for the long-distance movement of passengers and freight.

Instead, Australians were offered a freight line. It would end at a freight interchange at Bromelton, some 70 kms south of Brisbane.

From here freight could be expected to move after 2025 to another interchange at Acacia Ridge to the Queensland network or take a single standardized track to the Port of Brisbane.

Most freight will of course be distributed by road from Bromelton.

Having lost federal funding for cross-river passenger rail projects in Brisbane, the Queensland Government can and should bargain hard for rail access rights to the intermodal terminal at Acacia Ridge closer to Brisbane.

At stake, is the funding for extensions to Queensland Rail’s much needed southside services along urban growth corridors which are poorly served by existing transport networks.



More critical reporting of the Inland Rail Project could have achieved better outcomes for local communities along the 1,700 kilometre route.

Victoria has secured billions in road and rail upgrades to ensure that inland freight can be moved to ports such as Warrambool and Geelong with great benefits to both freight and passenger services. The remarkable details are in the list of projects in the 2020-21 federal budget.

In NSW, federal expenditure on duplication of the Port Botany rail freight line is a most welcome initiative

In contrast with the amount of expenditure that has been successfully negotiated in Victoria, NSW sections of Inland Rail seem have close links to private road haulers with little commitment to track upgrades to connect with upgrades of vital rail connections across NSW.

Investing the Parkes National Logistics Hub

The NSW Government is investing $185 million in regional development near Parkes.



Some of this funding has come from the sale of its share in the NSW Hydro Scheme to the Commonwealth.

There are no details yet of investment by the ARTC in rail truck upgrades on the Sydney to Parkes and Parkes to Adelaide and Perth Links which will be serviced from the National Logistics Hub.



As well as the billions being spent on new tracks and upgrades between Parkes and Brisbane, announcements are progressing on interchanges along the way as Inland Rail traverses many rail tracks which have fallen into disrepair.

From Passing Trains to Missed Policy Agendas

Through local lobbying, the Commonwealth has been prepared to fund some of these projects and it is important to have local leaders who are as skilled as negotiating as the Victorian Government.

Commercial and environmental stakeholders are also involved in behind the scenes negotiations with Inland Rail. It is important for the wider community to be involved in finalizing outcomes.

Readers can decide how much public involvement has been reported in this press release from Rail Freight (17 March 2020):

Pacific National and Wagner Corporation have entered into detailed discussions for a major logistics hub at Wellcamp Business Park, in Toowoomba.

The announcement is tangible evidence of the $13.3 billion in benefits that the federal government estimates Inland Rail will bring to regional communities along the alignment.

The two companies are looking to build a 250ha logistics hub at the site next to the Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport, said Pacific National CEO, Dean Dalla Valle.

“The proposed 250-hectare Wellcamp Logistics Hub also has frontage to the future Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project, allowing extensive future intermodal operations for freight to be transferred between trains, planes and trucks,” he said.

The future Wellcamp Logistics Hub would include 2.7km of frontage to the rail corridor, allowing for 1,800m long freight trains to operate. Daily cargo jet flights operate from a fully licensed and bonded international air cargo terminal next door, and the site has the potential to process up to 350,000 shipping containers by 2030, and up to half a million by 2040.

It seems that Corporate Australia has a plan for the future that extends to 2040 and beyond. Meanwhile, the Australian Commonwealth seems to lack a defined plan for transport, energy, finance and our international relations options as a more independent nation.

Before the double-decker container trains and other forms of bulk freight rattle over inland Australia, there are passing policy opportunities which should be addressed. Hundreds of community forums organized by Inland Rail are a poor substitute for an overall transport plan for Australians.


Denis Bright is a member of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). Denis is committed to citizen’s journalism from a critical structuralist perspective. Comments from insiders with a specialist knowledge of the topics covered are particularly welcome.


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Three strikes out!

The intention of this post is to examine three areas of concern which have arisen or have persisted in concerning the world at large. They are: the COVID-19 pandemic; Climate Change; and Donald J. Trump. The focus will be on how these topics are presented in various arenas, including Murdoch media.


At The Washington Post, Ishaan Tharoor writes that; “Sweden’s coronavirus strategy is not what it seems.” He tells us:

“… there have been no invasive lockdowns to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Restaurants and even nightclubs are operating, though under guidelines to enforce social distancing. Schools for students under the age of sixteen remain open. Large meetings are restricted to a maximum of 50 people, a far cry from the enforced confinement imposed on entire cities in other parts of Europe.

“These seemingly lax measures attract the attention of lockdown skeptics elsewhere, who hailed the ‘Swedish model’ as an example of how a Western democracy ought to deal with the pandemic.

[Karin Ulrika Olofsdotter, Sweden’s ambassador to the US] said: Some media outlets make it look like ‘everyone is out drinking and partying’…That is not the case.”

“A key distinction for Sweden is that its government believes it didn’t need to enforce guidelines regarding social distancing on a population that would heed advice of the country’s independent agencies. According to polling data, Swedes have a high level of trust in the country’s public institutions.

“Authorities in Stockholm have had to close down a handful of restaurants that weren’t adequately following social distancing measures. Although these sorts of establishments remain open, they still feel the pandemic’s toll. Like in other countries, many Swedes are working from home, curtailing travel and avoiding public places.

“’The whole tourism sector and hospitality industry are in an extremely dire situation,’ said Olofsdotter.

“Indeed, Sweden’s strategy was not crafted with economic imperatives in mind. The country’s economy is heavily dependent on now-snarled global supply chains and is projected to suffer somewhere between a 6 or 7 percent hit to its gross domestic product this year – approximately on par with the US and Germany. Unemployment could reach 10% by the summer, a strikingly high figure in Scandinavia.

“But Sweden benefits from a robust welfare state that the government has only sought to boost during the pandemic, including an initiative to fast-track sick pay to ensure those with symptoms don’t possibly spread the virus.”

Information posted later in the year at The Lancet (22/12/2020) in “COVID-19 and the Swedish enigma” tells us about the second wave.

“In the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Swedish national response continues to be an outlier with cases and deaths increasing more rapidly than in its Nordic neighbours.

“… the answers to this enigma are to be found in the Swedish national COVID-19 strategy, the assumptions on which it is based, and in the general governance of the health system that has enabled the strategy to continue without major course corrections.

“Rather than anticipating the second wave and change course, the Swedish Government loosened restrictions in early October, increasing the number that could attend public events from 50 to 300 and allowing people older than 70 years to meet with family and friends.

“The singular most important factor according to the Corona Commission (Dec. 15 2020) for major outbreaks and the high number of deaths in [elderly] residential care is the overall spread of the virus in the society.

“In addition, the failure of the COVID-19 strategy, there are other unresolved structural factors relate o the organisation of the care of older people.

“The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences’ independent review of the available evidence validates WHO’s recommendations to keep a physical distance, wear a facemask, keep rooms ventilated, avoid crowds, and practise good hand and respiratory hygiene. However, not until Dec. 18, 2020, did the government give directives to start to translate more of those recommendations into practice including the use of facemasks, as the trajectory of rapidly rising cases and deaths continues and intensive-care facilities and health-care professionals are stretched to the limits in many regions in Sweden.

“The ability to work effectively across sectors to minimise the spread of COVID-19 has been further hampered by a decentralised and fragmented system of health and social services, including the care of elderly people.

“The pandemic has revealed failures in the governance and legal framework for health and social services including inadequate multisector coordination, accountability of multiple authorities at different levels (commune, region, and central levels) that share responsibilities, and transparency in policy-making and decision-making processes.

“Moreover, there has been insufficient participation and engagement of key stakeholders, including informed scientists, civil society, and behaviour change communications experts.

“Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases continue to increase and too many people are dying unnecessarily in a country without timely concerted actions to interrupt the high transmissions and reduce the burdens of deaths and illnesses.”

A witty and sharp attack on those politicians and journalists who favoured the Swedish strategy to deal with the coronavirus was made by Gary Linnell at The New Daily (2/12/2020) in his article “How Sweden’s magic trick fooled the anti-lockdown brigade”.

First he tells us the story of how people were convinced that a man could fly. It was, he writes, what psychologists call “motivated perception – a tendency to see what they want to see”.

“Which brings us to Sweden, once the poster child for that swaggering congo-line of misanthropic columnists, business ‘leaders’ and politicians who pilloried Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews throughout his strict COVD-19 lockdown.

“One of the most strident critics about the ‘over-reaction’ to the pandemic was Adam Creighton, a columnist for ‘The Australian’ who gushed extensively about brave Sweden’s decision to go it alone and defy the virus with a business-as-usual approach.

“The way Creighton and others saw it, Sweden’s leaders were the antithesis of the ‘evil’ Victorian Premier, a man so twisted he had used the pandemic as a screen to introduce the draconian police powers and achieve his lifelong ambition of tearing down the pillars of the capitalist society…

“Just four weeks after Creighton’s fan-boy praise, Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven was finally forced to concede the virus was ‘going in the wrong direction fast. More are infected. More die. This is a very serious situation’…

“Late last week the Swedish royal family announced Prince Carl Phillip and his wife, Princess Sofia, had tested positive.

As new limits on public gatherings were introduced, a poll revealed the country’s confidence in its coronavirus strategy had slumped.

It also appeared the Swedish government was beginning to distance itself from the man who devised its no-lockdown strategy, epidemiologist Anders Tignell…

“The ideologically driven mob who sneered at Daniel Andrews, who sounded like a choir of ventriloquist dolls nestled in the lap of corporate Australia, went searching for a magical world immune to coronavirus and its potential for social havoc.”

Data re coronavirus early 2021:



Climate Change

In “Q+A: Malcolm Turnbull clashes with News Corp’s Paul Kelly over climate coverage”, The Guardian (11/10/2020), Lisa Cox records the nature of the so-called “debate” about climate change.

[Malcolm Turnbull is clearly angered by the Murdoch stance on the presenting of climate matters]

” ‘The campaign on climate denial is just staggering and has done enormous damage to the world, to the global need to address global warming,’ he said. ‘I mean, it is so horrifically biased and such propaganda that Rupert’s own son James can’t stomach it.’

“Kelly responded, saying Australia had many other publications and news outlets that were dedicated to ‘promoting the cause of climate change.’

“It’s OK to be a propagandist for one side, but if one is a critic or sceptic about some of these issues, that’s not Ok?”

[Kelly is telling Turnbull that Murdoch media is “a critic or sceptic” and that justifies its stance on some aspects of climate change. We will look at Murdoch’s ideological arm and its attitude to climate change at the IPA. Meanwhile Turnbull, who has backed Kevin Rudd’s e-petition for a royal commission into Murdoch media, says Kelly’s response highlights the problem with News Corp’s coverage of the climate crisis]

[Turnbull says:] “How offensive, how biased, how destructive does it have to be, Paul, before you will say – one of our greatest writers and journalists – ‘It’s enough, I’m out of it?’

“Kelly responded by telling the former Prime Minister not to lecture him. ‘Your problem was with the right wing of the Liberal Party,’ Kelly said. “At the end of the day, you failed to manage it properly.’”

[And so the argument becomes an ad hominem squabble rather than a debate about the presentation of climate change itself]

“News Corp on Tuesday accused Turnbull of making a ‘false assertion’ when he said its newspaper blamed the bushfires on arson.

“’This unsubstantiated statement is blatantly untrue,’ News Corp said in a statement. The news organisation said its main newspapers published 3,335 stories about the bushfires between September 2019 and January 23 this year. “Only 3.4 percent mentioned ‘arson’ or ‘arsonists’. In this same period also published more than 300 bushfire stories, of which only 16 mentioned arson, equivalent to 5 percent. Not one of those small number of stories stated the bushfires were ‘all the consequence of arsonists’.”

[No doubt not all the stories said the bushfires were all the consequence of arsonists. The statistics which were used by Murdoch media when arson was mentioned came from Queensland police data about police interactions with citizens about various matters in the year before the fires began. No wonder the newspaper did not make much mention of so-called ‘arsonists’. What the Murdoch media also did was to deny the fires were the result of climate change, but were the result of poor forest management, and were not ‘unprecedented’]

“Rudd’s petition was tabled in Parliament on Monday with more than 500,000 signatures.”

The Murdoch media has the propaganda arm, the IPA, partly supported by Gina Rinehart, which has a big influence on the ideology of this right-wing entity. That includes its response to climate change. It has published material such as “Climate Change: The Facts, 2017”. Jennifer Mahorasy writes in an introduction:

“An advantage of my approach in compiling the chapters for this book – an approach in which there has been no real attempt to put everything into neat boxes – is that there are many surprises. I’m referring to the snippets of apparently anomalous information scattered through the chapters. These can, hopefully, one day, be reconciled. As this occurs, we may begin to see the emergence of a coherent theory of climate – where output from computer simulation models bears some resemblance to real- world measurements that have not been ‘homogenised’.”

For an explanation of what ‘homogenised’ means, see the website Skeptical Science: “Homogenisation of Temperature Data: An Assessment“, 11/2/2015. Mahorasy believes homogenisation of temperature data is a cheat by the IPCC, but that is not the case.

Notice also that deniers/sceptics use computer models, but they criticise others for using them. They speak about “real-world measurements”, but where do the deniers/sceptics think the IPCC and others get their data from?

Mahorasy’s real problem is the “apparently anomalous information” – or contradictions – in her supposedly factual volume which she hopes will be “reconciled” one day. How Ian Plimer’s claim that carbon dioxide has nothing to do with climate change and Bob Carter’s assertion that carbon dioxide is a powerful greenhouse gas will be reconciled is hard to imagine.

The economist Judith Sloan considers Climate Change to be a matter to be considered as more about economics than science. Every now and then she considers science predictions which seem to be false and therefore proof of the Climate Change to be a sham. She writes about such predictions and falsities in “No slowdown in scary climate prophecy phenomenon”, The Australian (20/1/2021). The by-line says:

“Every year new climate doomsday projections seem to pop up. These gratuitous and unverified claims are not science, no matter what Al Gore and Greta Thunberg would have you believe.”

The ABC is the first target, seen as a carrier of false climate news. And then Paul and Anne Ehrlich, authors of “The Population Bomb” (1968), [which is about more than population]

Yes, there are problems with what the Ehrlich’s claim – which they have admitted – but there are matters which are still in contention, as the article “A Long Fuse: ‘The Population Bomb’ is still ticking 50 years after its publication’,” The Conversation (7/10/2018) demonstrates.

That article says this:

“Global population has increased at a remarkably steady rate since 1968, and the UN projects that it will reach 9.8bn by 2050 and 11.2bn by 2100.

“Human-driven climate change is an overriding threat, and is unambiguously driven by population growth… Economic and population growth continue to be the most important drivers of increase in CO2 emissions from fossil fuel consumption.”

The author also considers aspects of environmental and economic migration.

Next Sloan target is Al Gore:

“During the first decade of this century [Al Gore’s] film ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, was released in 2006… He repeatedly declared there would be no ice in the Arctic by 2013 or 2014. As it turned out, there was actually more ice than ever in those years.”

“More ice”? Well, no. In 2012 there was the lowest expanse of ice in the Arctic and just recently there was the second lowest extent of ice in the Arctic. Not no ice, exactly, but heading that way.

“Polar ice caps are melting as global warming causes climate change. We lose Arctic sea ice at a rate of almost 13% per decade, and over the past 30 years, the oldest and thickest ice in the Arctic has declined by a stunning 95%… If emissions continue to rise unchecked, the Arctic could be ice-free in the summer by 2040.” (WWF, 2021).

Judith Sloan goes on to sledge Tim Flannery:

“And we can’t go past our own Professor Tim Flannery, a mammologist by training [remember that Sloan is an economist by training], predicting in 2007 that cities such as Sydney and Brisbane would run out of water because of climate change and that ‘even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and our river systems.’ “Brisbane’, she says, “endured a ghastly flood in 20011.”

This seems a rather muddled explanation of what was said by Tim Flannery. First of all, ‘Flannery did not say that Australia’s dams will never fill again’ (August 6, 2012). And we have had towns with no water and rivers with little water and millions of fish dying in recent years.

Sloan has no hesitation in attacking the University of East Anglia. Remember, they are ‘The same unit that was the subject of an email scandal in 2010’. This time she is referring to a statement by Dr David Viner at that University who predicted that winter snowfall will become ‘a very rare and exciting event’.

So, what do scientists say about snowfall in an age of global warming? Following is part of an abstract from a publication from the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate, vol. 26, issue 20, (15/10/2013), titled “Future Changes in Northern Hemisphere Snowfalls.”

“When considering the potential for future changes in snowfall in a warming world, it is important to recognise that snowfall requires the coexistence of sufficiently cold temperatures and the occurrence of precipitation. Changes in snowfall will be governed, therefore, by the interplay between changes in temperature and precipitation. In locations in which temperatures are marginal for snowfall, warming may tend to reduce the amount of snowfall by reducing the amount of snowfall by reducing the fraction of the total precipitation that falls as snow. In places where air temperature are cold enough that increases in temperature will not greatly impact the partitioning of precipitation into snow and rain, the increased moisture content of the warmer climate (eg, Held and Soden, 2006) may lead to increased snowfall. For some locations and seasons, these two tendencies will oppose one another leading to an uncertain outcome.”

It depends on where we are and when. But even if Dr David Viner is wrong, does that prove Climate Change is a scam?

As for the “Climategate” incident involving the hacking of emails, numerous inquiries have proven that no deceit or cover-up was to be found. In fact, the matter in point was not published at the time because it was still under discussion and not confirmed.

Then there is the matter of melting snow in the Himalayas. The IPCC took a while to confirm this matter because access to evidence was difficult, but now says the glaciers could disappear by 2035. “Spy satellites” have solved the problem of access.

“The melting of the Himalaya glaciers has doubled since the turn of the century, with more than a quarter of all ice lost over the last four decades, scientists have revealed. The accelerating losses indicate a ‘devastating future for the region, upon which a billion people depend for regular water.” (The Guardian, 19/6/2019).

As yet, neither the Murdoch media nor the IPA, with all its chatter, has a coherent “theory of climate change denial”. Its modus operandi is to cherry-pick what often eventually turn out to be errors they perpetrate themselves.


Donald J. Trump

“Trump was always a contemptible and unworthy character,” writes Greg Sheridan in his essay “Trump’s assault on democracy” in The Australian (8/1/2021).

“And pre-COVID he had a defensible record: deregulation and tax cuts had turbocharged the economy – reducing poverty, especially Black and Latino unemployment, and increasing wages , especially for the low-paid; he hugely increased the defence budget; he appointed uniformly good judges; he gave pro-life arguments their best hearing; he called out China trade misbehaviour more clearly than any previous president and he achieved a series of historic Middle East peace agreements between Israel and its neighbours…

“Trump damaged the US, its allies and the West.

“The COVID-19 crisis has exposed many Western governments as facing a basic crisis of competency and capability, in contrast to most East Asian governments. Trump has now added the COVID failures a partial American failure at the very mechanics of democracy. The Chines Communist Party tells its people, and would-be friendly governments in the Third World that the Western model is clapped out, doesn’t work anymore, 8eif it ever did, and that the US is irreversibly trapped in decline and stagnation.

“Many of trump’s policies contested that dishonest caricature of America quite effectively.

“Many things the Left say about Trump are untrue. And many things thy say about his record over the past few years are untrue. They have contributed more than their fair share to the poison running though American democracy today. But since November 3 Trump has lived down to the worst expectations of the critics.”

Sheridan does not sound convinced – and nor should he be. Alan Austin is a prolific writer on matters political and economic. He wrote “World’s largest economy in free fall” at Independent Australia (28/12/2020).

Austin wrote:

“The first warning signs appeared when revenue collapsed in 2018, as tax cuts for corporations and rich Americans took effect, while spending ballooned alarmingly.

“Government revenue in President Obama’s last full year, 2015-16, came to 84.8% spending. In the transition year, 2016-17, spending again increased faster than revenue, despite Trump’s promise to fix the books. Final revenue reached just 83.3% of spending.”

Austin goes on to say how the revenue fell to 81% after Trump’s first budget in 2017-18, to 75.4% in 2018-19, and into 2019-20 it is running at 51.8% of spending. This means that there is less money available for infrastructure, education, health-care, protection of the environment or assistance for people in poverty or homelessness.

Through 2016-17 US exports increase, but in January, May and August, 2018, Trump imposed tariffs, now abandoned, but which cost over the last 18 months trade deficits averaging $47.3bn.

“Over the last three years”, says Austin,” no area of the economy has improved either relative to earlier periods in recent US history or relative to comparable developed countries. Not one.”

Austin had mentioned the role of News Corp’s role in spruiking Trump’s achievements in a post which claims “News Corp expands its pro-Trump #fakenews despite failing US economy”, Independent Australia (7/2/2018). And also on Independent Australia, “Donald Trump: Putting the con back into economic recovery“, Austin writes that:

“Donald Trump promised Americans he would fix the ailing economy and make life better for Americans. He is achieving the opposite. All but the richest 10% are worse off than they were.

In The Australian last week there was this: ‘No American president in recent US history has so dramatically improved the American economy, boosting pay rates, job numbers, retail sales, business investment, profits and, of course, the share market. It’s an astounding transformation that will create a tidal wave of repercussions around the world.”

At (30/1/2018) “FACT CHECK: Trump Touts Low Unemployment Rates for African-Americans, Hispanics,” Trump is shown to have done this several times: at his State of the Union address, on Twitter, and in a speech to the American Farm Bureau. The npr says Trump is true on his numbers:

“However, that is not all that Trump is doing in this tweet. He is implying that he caused these low African-American employment rates.

“And a big problem with this claim is that those rates had been falling for long before Trump took office, and their declines don’t seem to have picked up speed. This implies that there’s nothing specific that Trump did to change this rate.

“Indeed, both of these rates have been falling relatively steadily since around 2010, early in President Obama’s tenure in the White house.”

So how is the Murdoch media coping with the demise of Donald J. Trump? Adrian Epstein at (9/1/2021) said in his post “There isn’t going to be a post-Trump pivot at Fox News” writes that:

“No. Fox isn’t changing. If anything, it could move even further into conspiracy-mongering in an attempt to reinvigorate the audience it lost over the last few months. [Fox had called the state of Arizona for Joe Biden] In the hours and days since the attempted insurrection, which some national security experts describe as a ‘terrorist attack’, Fox anchors , contributors, and guests have spent much of their time on the air justifying the rioters’ violence and floating conspiracy theories without any evidence.

“Hosts Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Lou Debbs and several guests referenced ‘reports’ that Antifa – the term for an unorganised movement of ant-fascist political activists – had embedded covert agents to instigate the insurrections. In truth, many of the rioters were well-known white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and QAnon conspiracy theorists, who did not take steps to conceal their identities. There is no evidence the rioters were infiltrated or encouraged by anyone with other motives.”

[Here in Oz, Alan Jones and Rowan Dean told us that the election had been “stolen” from Trump. And old conspiracy theories have been brought out of mothballs in Murdoch media – postmodernism and literary theory – to explain Leftist activity in our universities and schools. But that is another story]

Trumpism will not go away either in the USA or here in Oz. Greg Craven, an Emeritus Professor and constitutional lawyer, has written a piece in The Australian (19/1/2021) entitled: “Hints of Trumpism in Daniel Andrews, Mark McGowan.” No need to go into details very much. The heading says it all for those who will read only that and remember it for ever.

The premise is that if Trump is not a conservative but is an “authoritarian populist”, then so too are Daniel Andrews and Mark McGowan and Craven has taken time to analyse their ‘political personality disorder”, ironically on the Left. They have “an absolute belief in one’s own rightness”, “self-love”, and “deep vindictiveness”. There are other historical examples, such as Napoleon.

It’s all a hoot, really. Such laughs to brighten up the day at the Surry Hills bunker.

“What Andrews has excelled at is the popular bit of populist authoritarianism. This has two strands. His media barrage has convinced many Victorians he is all that stands between them and a horrible death. The constant media appearances, dire warnings, carefully marshalled statistics and severe impositions daily daily underline this message.”

[If we try to apply this to Trump it does not seem to work very well. Trump failed badly with the coronavirus. Consider some facts:



And then we have Craven’s criticism of McGowan, that he looks as if he wants to secede from Oz with an eastern wall. Is that a bit like Trump’s southern security wall which he never built?

And so we come to David Alexander, managing director (Federal) at Barton Deakin Government Relations, who also has a post at The Australian (21/1/2021): “We need to learn from Trump’s rise and fall”.

“But what now? Obviously there are a welter of major questions to resolve”. [Mr Alexander will consider five]

“First, consider huxters. Australians are pretty good bull-dust detectors and thy overwhelmingly saw Trump as confidence man from the beginning. A bloke who says, as Trump did in 2016, “I will give you everything. I will give you what you’ve been looking for for 50 years’ is obviously a top-order scam artist…”

[Were we ever told that in the last half dozen years by the Murdoch media and the IPA?]

Then he tells us to be ‘historically aware’ of how authoritarians come to power; about ‘partisan echo chambers’; standing up to bullies; ‘don’t provide fertile grounds for would-be tyrants’.

[It sounds a little like Jordan Peterson’s “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos”. But briefer]

If Australians are ‘pretty good bulldust detectors as claimed here with regard to Trump’, they have a very good chance to face ‘risks to our democratic processes and institutions… always lurking in our midst.’

Now for a defence of Donald Trump, not so much for what he said, but for his right to say it.

Janet Albrechtsen is writing in the Weekend Australian (23/1/2021): “Fighting for the right to speak, even Donald Trump”.

Some people have been complaining that they cannot breathe, but Albrechtsen is saying that some people are preventing other people from speaking because they do not like what those people are saying. So what did trump say?

“Trump’s behaviour denying the election result was abhorrent. Trump’s speech on January 6 to an audience of supporters, and his refusal to immediately condemn he storming of the Capitol by some Trumpists, was even more repugnant. And lastly, free speech is not the freedom to speak without consequences. But more on that later.”

[So what Trump did not say was also “repugnant”. Albrechtsen goes on to say she has been speaking by phone to Alan Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard University. Albrechtsen herself has a PhD in Juridical Science and is chairman of the IPA.]

AD: “…I think I am the only prominent liberal democrat who is now speaking up on behalf of free speech. Free speech for Donald Trump, free speech for those who supported President Trump who are now threatened with having their jobs taken away and their degrees rescinded. Free speech for those who listen and rely on the internet and social media.”

JA: “… On a more important matter, should Trump have been impeached by the House for inciting violence? And should he be tried by the new Democrat-controlled Senate now he is a private citizen, not a president?”

AD: “Remember this about the President’s speech. He spoke to thousands and thousands of people. Most of them didn’t listen to him and go to the Capitol. And among those who went to the Capitol, most of them didn’t break into the Capitol. And among those who broke into the Capitol, most of them didn’t engage in violence…

[So it was a quiet little group and only five people killed (he omits to say). And other people in other times have said worse than what Trump said. See how the whole matter is played down, despite the virtue signalling at the beginning]

AD: ”…This speech by Trump was pabulum compared to those speeches. And pabulum compared to the speech made by Brandenburg.”

[Brandenburg, JA explains, was Ku Klux Klan leader. In 1954, he rallied with a mob carrying guns and nooses, calling for African-Americans and Jews to be expelled from the country.

We remember very well what Trump himself said about non-citizens and immigrants.

‘Pabulum’ is Latin for food or fodder. Metaphorically it means ‘mental food’ or what people want to hear – a common practice in journalism]

AD: “Those speeches were deemed (by the US Supreme Court) to be protected speech.”

[See the importance of the Supreme Court, which Trump expanded recently. See also how there is being built up here a kind of legal defence of Trump, no matter what impeachment the House or the Senate have decided]

What we have here are two libertarians of like mind agreeing that the left is responsible for the repression of free speech – and that the cancel culture is as well, and giant tech companies, the internet and social networking…

What I not clear is what was mentioned at the beginning – about how “free speech is not the freedom to speak without consequences’. Did I miss something?

Finally, a couple of writers who tell us very clearly the kinds of things we learn from the past handful of years and the way they have been presented.

A post by Henry Giroux of McMaster University. Ontario, Canada, in The Conversation (14/1/2021) makes many points about the Trump presidency, any one of which could be unravelled in many theses. Following are some of those point:

“America no longer lives in the shadow of authoritarianism. It has tipped into the abyss.

“Trump has fanned fascist impulses consistently through the language of violence and division, aided by right-wing media outlets such as Fox News and Breitbart.

“In plain view, Trump flouted, ignored and destroyed institutions of accountability. He degraded political speech. He openly used his office to enrich himself. He publicly courted dictators.

“Criticism has become ‘fake news’ unworthy of serious reflection or analysis. Trumpism shreds shared values and national unity into distrust and fear. It disdainfully views the common good and democratic values as registers of weakness and resentment.

“Trumpism is a giant disinformation machine that aims to colonise culture and public consciousness by emptying them of democratic values and destroying institutions that nurture critical thought and civic courage.

“The public sphere has become a barrage of bomb-like daily events that obliterate the space and time for contemplating the past, while freezing the present into a fragmented display of shock. Under such circumstances, the lessons of history disappear.”

Another Canadian writer, Wade Davis of Columbia University, goes into some historical detail in an essay appearing in Rolling Stone magazine. The essay was recommended by an AIMN reader in Dr Jennifer Wilson’s essay: “How Many Lies Are Too Many Lies?” Davis’s essay appears as: “How COVID-19 Signals the End of the American Era”, Rolling Stone (6/8/2020). It is a ripper.


We have now looked at quite a few sites exploring the three topics COVID-19, Climate Change and Donald J. Trump. The ideological propaganda appears very badly as just that: propaganda. With a strike for each topic, as verified by so much evidence which is only a small part of what is available, that is, I humbly submit, THREE STRIKES OUT!

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Was COVID-19 born in the United States? (part 3)

Continued from: Was COVID-19 born in the United States? (part 2)

By Outsider

Now, here’s another element, whether it is relevant or not. On October 18th Event 201, Baltimore, Coronavirus Simulation and Emergency Preparedness Task Force at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health Security, they identified the virus under the acronym nCoV-2o19. I’ll repeat: nCoV-2019. [Emphasis added] Now, when the actual virus was discovered two months later – it was early January, two and a half months later. To be precise, it was on January the 7th that the Chinese authorities identified a new type of virus. They isolated it on 7 January and the coronavirus was named by the WHO as 2019-nCoV – exactly the same name as that adopted in the World Economic Forum/Gates/Johns Hopkins October 18th, 2019 simulation exercise. So it’s as if they took that name and they stuck it into – it became then, of course, a real pandemic. But bear in mind, at a later date they changed the name. They must have realized that that name was misleading because it was the name of a simulation. But it started up as 2019-nCoV and then after that they adopted the COVID-19. [Emphasis added] But I think that happened almost a month later, and these were names which were attributed to the virus by the World Health Organization.

B.F. (Bonnie Faulker of the Guns and butter radio programme): It seems to me that they had to change the name because it was too big of a giveaway as to what was going on.

M.C. (Michel Chossudovsky, Director and Editor of the Center for Research on Globalization): I don’t want to draw any kind of implications. I’m just saying it appears odd that they would choose the same name for the virus as the one which they had for the simulation, and in my view, thenCoVreflects what it is. N stands for novel and Co, Coronavirus. It was a novel coronavirus.

Now, I think to avoid any confusions they then adopted a different name to that of the simulation and exercise. Nobody denies that these simulations took place. There’s a video – I’m going to play that video for you, and I think it’s the video from the simulation. [Emphasis added] They had tons of videos – you can go through it, but let’s say this video is so incredible because it’s the first few minutes. Here it is:

“Woman: Okay. We will now advance three weeks to the fourth and final meeting of the Pandemic Emergency Board, on December 18th, 2019.

Man: Okay. Thank you for reconvening and let’s get an update from Dr. Rivers.

Dr. Rivers: In the last three weeks, case numbers have continued to grow exponentially. We now have an estimated 4.2 million cases, and 240,000 deaths. Almost every country is now reporting cases, and those who aren’t may simply not have the resources to conduct surveillance. We don’t see any change in the rate of rapid spread, and models estimate that we could have more than 12 million cases and close to a million deaths by mid-January. We’re not sure how big this could get, but there’s no end in sight. Financial markets are universally down by 15% or more on the year. [Emphasis added] Fear of a catastrophic pandemic and uncertainty about the capacity for governments to respond.”

When the organizers of the simulation were confronted, particularly at the height of the financial crash, end of February, they said, “Well, we’re not predicting anything. We’re not predicting what happened. We’re just simulating.” But it just so happens that in fact it was practically word by word, that they simulated an initial collapse of financial markets of “15% or more.” [Emphasis added] Now, I checked the financial press in late February. In late February I checked the financial press and Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal, and that was exactly what happened, and they used the same words, 15% or more, was the collapse of money markets at that time. Now, since then, the situation has evolved.

But the thing is that this simulation was not taken by an independent body of scientists and researchers and economists. No, it wasn’t. It was taken by Big Money and Big Pharma. Big Money and Big Pharma were simulating. And then, meanwhile and before the pandemic was actually declared on January 30th – and there was no basis for declaring that pandemic – there were only 150 cases outside of China. About, what, six cases in the US, three in Canada, two in the UK. Well, we have the complete list; it’s provided by the World Health Organization. But before that historic venue, there was already a vaccination program, which was ongoing by different pharmaceutical companies.

B.F.: Michel, I’d like to go over some of this in greater detail. You write that, “The World Health Organization did not act to reassure and inform world public opinion. Quite the opposite. A fear pandemic rather than a genuine Public Health Emergency of International Concern was launched.” Would you describe this development as a media disinformation campaign?

M.C.: Absolutely. And I don’t think that the World Health Organization spearheaded the media disinformation campaign. The media disinformation campaign was already embedded with the organizations who were behind this initiative, in other words, the foundations, the World Economic Forum and so on. The media campaign, if it had been real news, first of all they should have said the decision of the WHO borders on ridicule; it’s in violation of its mandate; you don’t declare a global health emergency for 150 people. Punto. Six in America, two in Canada, three in the United Kingdom and so on. I think that should have been put forth, that this historic January 30thdecision was a big lie. And it was not only a big lie; it was the launchpad of a process of ultimately economic warfare. [Emphasis added]

I should clarify, because there’s a lot of confusion. This is not biological warfare, because the coronavirus is not a dangerous virus. It has certain similarities with other viruses. It triggers pneumonia, then there’s a recovery process. In fact, if we look at recent developments, the pandemic in China is more or less resolved. They’ve announced that more than 80% of confirmed cases have been resolved. Now, the media will not discuss that because once they say, “Oh, people are recovering, they’re getting well” and so on, that sort of undermines the panic. What they want to do is trigger panic, and that’s what people are doing right now. It’s fear and intimidation, it’s panic. People feel threatened, and the authorities are taking actions, which are not protecting people’s health but ultimately doing exactly the opposite.

Now, I’m not saying that coronavirus is not a health concern. It really is. But what is more of a concern are all the millions of people who lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus, not to mention those who lost their lifelong savings on the stock exchange. Think of all the smaller investors who put their money with their broker and so on, and what happens? They lose everything when the market collapses. Now, that, of course, is a concern, and that has also health implications. Some people commit suicide when they lose their savings. But that simply is considered as part of a market mechanism.

It’s not part of a market mechanism. It is part of a process of manipulation through sophisticated speculative instruments such as short selling. We know that. And if you have foreknowledge that President Trump is going to implement a ban on trans-Atlantic travel to the European Union, immediately those who have foreknowledge can speculate on the collapse of the airline stocks. It’s very easy. They place a bet and if it goes down, they make money, and they know it’s going to go down. So that is where, of course, these powerful corporate interests and financiers and hedge funds are making a tremendous amount of money.

And what we are witnessing now is a transfer of money wealth, a concentration of money wealth, which I think is unprecedented. It’s perhaps one of the largest transfers of money wealth in modern history. In other words, it’s characterized by bankruptcies of small and medium-sized firms, mounting debt, mounting personal debts, corporate debts, the takeover of competing companies. And in a sense, it’s characterized by conflict within the financial establishment. [Emphasis added]

It’s not only a war against China. At the beginning it appeared to be an economic war against China, which led to the closing down of trade and shipping and so on, where factories had to close down and so on, not to mention the tourist industry. But it is more than that, because it also affects the internal balance of power within the financial establishment. The fact that the airlines are the victims of this is significant, because the airlines – their stock may collapse and then, of course, they’ll be bought up, and that means that there’s been a redistribution not only of money wealth but also of real wealth. These are assets.

Without pointing to the fact that the existence of the coronavirus, which generates uncertainty, panic, is ultimately the ideal environment for people who want to speculate and make money at the expense of those who have savings, at the expense of small businesses and at the expense of perhaps competing corporations. That’s the situation we’re in, and I don’t recall any period in our recent history that is comparable to what we’re living now, where entire economies are in a standstill – I think of Western Europe, Italy, where people are ordered to stay at home and so on, and this ultimately has been achieved under the pretext – the pretext – of a virus, of a coronavirus. They said, “We must protect our population so let’s close down the economy.” Well, you don’t protect your population by closing down an economy. You can take certain public health actions which are selective and well thought out, but that’s not what’s happening.

B.F.: Getting back to the virus, you write, “Remember the unusual circumstances surrounding the April 2009 H1N1 Swine Flu pandemic.” What were these unusual circumstances? Was the data manipulated?

M.C.: This is not the first time that the WHO has declared a fake pandemic. I am talking about the decision taken on the 30th of January where we only had 150 people outside of China who were confirmed cases.

In 2009, April, there was another case, which was called the H1N1 Swine Flu pandemic. The same atmosphere of fear and intimidation prevailed. The process was somewhat different but the statements made by the WHO Director-General at the time were far-reaching, because [Dr.] Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General in 2009, stated with authority that as many – I’m quoting, from the World Health Organization – “as many as two billion people could become infected over the next two years, nearly one-third of the world population.”

Now, what was Margaret Chan involved in, in making this statement? It was a multi-billion-dollar bonanza for Big Pharma, which was instructed by the WHO Director-General Margaret Chan to implement a massive vaccination program. She further states later on the following and, again, I’m quoting, “Vaccine makers could produce 4.9 billion pandemic flu shots per year in the best-case scenario.” Can you imagine 4.9 billion pandemic flu shots per year in the best-case scenario? In other words, this was a green light to the vaccine producers to produce billions of flu shots for the H1N1 and it was also a green light to national governments to actually purchase these billions of flu shots from the pharmaceutical companies.

Now, it turns out that this campaign in 2009, which was launched by the WHO, relied on fake news, fake statistics and lies at the highest levels of government. When it was debated under the Obama administration, Obama actually said, “Swine Flu could strike up to 40% of Americans over the next two years and as many as several hundred thousand could die if a vaccine campaign and other measures aren’t successful.” There were several statements – Associated Press: “The US expects to have 160 million doses of Swine Flu vaccine available sometime in October.” That statement was made in July of 2009. Business Week: “Wealthier countries such as the US and Britain will pay just under $10 per dose for the H1N1 flu; developing countries will pay a lower price.” And so on. This was a multi-billion-dollar fraud in favor of Big Pharma and, in fact, there was no pandemic. Millions of doses of Swine Flu vaccine had been ordered by national governments. Millions of vaccine doses were subsequently destroyed. There was a problem of collecting the data as to whether it was the seasonal flu Influenza Virus B, or whether it was the Swine Flu vaccine. The data was manipulated and there was ultimately no investigation into who was behind this multi-million-dollar fraud.

But I think we have to acknowledge, because things sometimes come much later, that in the wake of that fake pandemic there was a meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which is a human rights watchdog, and they questioned the motivations of the WHO. They actually made the statement that the World Health Organization was involved in conflict of interest and that the pandemic was fake. That investigation is on record with the European Parliament. There we have an example of what happened. There were no economic and social implications as exist today, there were no actions to repeal air travel and so on but, let’s say from the point of view of the vaccination program – that vaccination program was launched and ultimately it was totally dysfunctional and the pharmaceutical companies cashed in on large amounts of money, which were largely funded by the taxpayers’ because it was the budget of the Ministries of Health.

And then, of course, the H1N1 mutated. So the vaccines were totally useless. It’s very similar to a seasonal flu pandemic; there’s a mutation of the virus. I recall in Canada, the Ministry of Health ordered millions of doses of the vaccine and then they acknowledged, they said, well, we can’t use them because you know the H1N1 virus has mutated. So what they did is they said we’re going to send that in the form of aid to developing countries, which was in effect also a fraud because the vaccine couldn’t be used from a health point of view, but then they decided simply to send it off to some country in Latin America or Sub-Saharan Africa, knowing that the virus in itself had mutated and that these vaccines were totally useless.

So there we have a situation where the Director-General of the WHO gives the green light to Big Pharma, making erroneous statements to the effect that billions of people across the world will be affected, as many as two billion, she said, and we must act, and Big Pharma comes to the rescue and in effect the vaccine makers made a bundle of money at the expense of the public purse.

B.F.: Now, in the current situation, coming up to 2020 – you’ve been talking about 2009 – you write that, “The campaign to develop vaccines was initiated prior to the decision of the WHO to launch a global public health emergency.” Is that right?

M.C.: That’s correct. There are several things. One, there was a decision taken at Davos where they actually stated that a vaccine campaign was necessary, and that decision precedes the pandemic by about a week. But there are indications that, in fact, for them to have made that statement the companies involved were already working on the vaccine. Now, I can’t say exactly when they started, but certainly well before the World Economic Forum and certainly well before the launching of the pandemic. Mind you, the number of cases were so small in late January of 2020 – it was 150 cases outside China; those are WHO statistics. Now, you’re not going to initiate a vaccine campaign internationally for 150 people, but I think that there must have been some kind of foreknowledge that eventually the pandemic would move forward with a fear campaign, the media disinformation and then ultimately the recipients would be the vaccine producers, Big Pharma. And they already had a working relationship with the foundations. They were involved in the consultations in Davos. They were also directly or indirectly involved in the simulation scenario back in October. So maybe the simulation back in October is what gave the green light to Big Pharma. I think that’s certainly feasible because they were already talking about vaccinations in the simulation. So the simulation was talking about the need to develop vaccines for their hypothetical nCoV virus, as it was called at the time, and there was also evidence that before the pandemic was actually officially launched on 30th of January that the vaccination program had been announced at Davos.

Now, there’s another important announcement that was made, but it came a month later. That was by the WHO saying – I think it was in mid- to late-February when the WHO confirmed categorically that there was the need for a vaccination campaign. But that statement was made after the industry took the decision to develop the vaccines. And there are quite a number of companies involved.

B.F.: What is CEPI? What does that stand for? Is this a vaccine organization?

M.C.: Yes. The CEPI is a very important body and also actor in this whole process. It is the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and it is essentially part of the World Economic Forum/Gates partnership. They made an announcement quite early in the game to the effect that they would be funding several programs to develop vaccines against the so-called coronavirus. At that time it was called nCoV-2019. The CEPI works in consultation with the Gates Foundation and the WEF, and it also is tied into the pharmaceutical industry. Their major partner is GlaxoSmithKline.

B.F.: Now, at the same time as this simulation Event 201 in Baltimore on October 18th, from October 18th to the 27th of October 2019, the CISM Military World Games were taking place in Wuhan, China. What are Military World Games, and who were the participants?

M.C.: These games, it’s a sport event, which takes place I guess once a year in different countries. There are more than 100 countries which participate, and they send in members of the armed forces, but essentially for sport events. Some people call it the Military Olympics.



Now, what the Chinese authorities have raised, and this relates in a very direct way to the fact that the virus may not have originated in China but may have originated in a foreign country, including the United States, is that there were 200 American military personnel [actually the personnel was 369 units] participating in this 10-day event. Of course, they’re there and they visit the city and they go around, etc., etc. It has been intimated that the virus could have been either accidentally or deliberately dropped somewhere in the seafood market in Wuhan. [Emphasis added]

Now, we have absolutely no proof, but there are scientific assessments of the virus, and it’s a bit complex to explain, to the effect that what they call patient zero which – there’s patient zero and patient one – the thing is, where is that patient zero? Is the patient zero in the United States? In other words, assuming that it comes either from an animal or from a lab, etc., and then it’s transported to China.

Also, interestingly, the Chinese as well as Taiwanese and Japanese virologists have examined – looking at different strains of the virus in different locations – they have come to the conclusion that the virus was not made in China. At this very moment there’s a big debate in China on whether the virus is made in China or made in America. Increasingly, the scientific evidence points to the latter.

What is significant is that in recent developments we even have evidence that emanates – at least statements which emanate from the Director-General of the CDC – in other words, I’m talking about [Dr.] Robert Redfield, who made a statement just this week to the US Congress. It was during hearings of the so-called House Oversight Committee. He makes statements to the effect that some of the diagnoses of the common flu in the United States, the seasonal flu, Virus B, could have been coronavirus. This was in a committee context, and he answered the questions in a somewhat candid way and he said, “Yes, in some cases diagnosed as seasonal flu could have been coronavirus.”

Bonnie, there are two pieces of audio which I think you should broadcast. I’ll broadcast the first one now and you’ll hear it. That is the one by Redfield. It’s 30 seconds.

“Redfield: University of Washington has developed their own tests.

Congressman: Were those test kits available last Friday?

Redfield: Yes, sir.

Congressman: Thank you. And without test kits, is it possible that those who had been susceptible to influenza might have been mischaracterized as to what they actually had, it’s quite possible they actually had COVID-19?

Redfield: The standard practice is the first thing you do is tests for influenza. So if they had influenza they would be positive for…

Congressman: But only if they were tested. So if they weren’t tested, we don’t know what they had.

Redfield: Correct.

Congressman: Okay. And if somebody dies from influenza, are we doing post-mortem testing to see if it was influenza or it was COVID-19?

Redfield: There is a surveillance system to test for pneumonia that the CDC has. It’s not in every city, every state, every hospital.

Congressman: So we could have people in the United States dying for what appear to be influenza when in fact it could be the coronavirus or COVID-19.

Redfield: Some cases have been actually diagnosed that way in the United States today.

Congressman: Thank you.”

Now, that statement corroborates the studies conducted in China and Japan and Taiwan, but it also begs the question, when? Was it in October? Was it in November? Was it in December? In other words, Redfield’s statement doesn’t say when those influenza tests were conducted. Well, they’re conducted on a routine basis. Presumably if it’s seasonal it starts in November or October and it extends right through the winter.

But what happened is that this statement in effect provides legitimacy to studies conducted by Japanese, Chinese and Taiwan virologists to the effect that it is possible that the virus did not originate in the seafood market in Wuhan; it actually could have originated in the United States of America. And the Taiwan virologist stated, because he was following what was going on, that there were more than 200 pneumonia type cases which resulted in death in the United States, and it was triggered by the patient’s inability to breathe. Then he said he was in touch with US health authorities and he begged the question whether those deaths could have been the result of the coronavirus. He also said that the virus outbreak may have begun at an earlier period than what is assumed, suggesting that it could even go back to September. And I presume it goes back to September because that’s when the flu virus actually starts to develop.

But I think what’s important is that – one of our own authors, Larry Romanoff, who is based in Shanghai, has done extensive research on this issue and if we patch together the statements of Robert Redfield, the Japanese, Taiwanese and Chinese studies, there is a good likelihood that the virus did not come from China but it could well have originated in the United States. [Emphasis added] It is a talking point in China at this very moment because the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – and the Chinese don’t actually improvise in the same way as Americans their foreign policy stance – but when they’re commenting on the CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield they say, well, you know, this kind of information has to be explained. If the US reported 34 million cases of influenza that’s – I think he’s exaggerating but that’s what he says – I’m talking about the representative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I think it’s more like 15 million – but in any event, he then concludes and says, please tell us how many are related to COVID-19. That is a tweet – the Chinese also adopted tweets.

What the Director Robert Redfield has admitted is that seemingly some people who have died from influenza could have been tested positive for the coronavirus. So this has opened up Pandora’s Box, so to speak, because the consensus in China is that the virus was not made in China; it was made in America.

It remains to be fully assessed and so on, but it changes the rhetoric. It also changes China’s geopolitical position. China is now at the stage where the pandemic is almost over. I think in a matter of a couple of weeks they’re going to go back to normal life throughout the country, and then they also are now going to acknowledge that the possibility is that this virus did not originate in China.

B.F.: Michel Chossudovsky, thank you so much.

M.C.: Delighted to be on the program. This is a very important topic. Best wishes.

B.F.: I’ve been speaking with Michel Chossudovsky. Today’s show has been COVID-19 Coronavirus: The Crisis. Michel Chossudovsky is an economist and the Founder, Director and Editor of the Center for Research on Globalization, based in Montreal, Quebec. The Global Research website,, publishes news articles, commentary, background research and analysis. Since posting a series of very credible research articles on the novel coronavirus, Global Research’s readership has exploded, and they have added many tens of thousands of new readers in China.”

To be continued…

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America the Terrible

By Elizabeth Dangerfield

America is broken because a whole lot of people are fighting desperately to maintain their delusion that America has been and should always be the greatest country in the world, that they as individuals should be able to do whatever they want because that is what freedom is all about and that is the American way.

They try to maintain the delusion that they are the supreme patriots and everyone else is an enemy to be taken out. The list of enemies is a long one – anyone who is even slightly progressive, anyone of colour, women who don’t toe the line, people who want abortions, people who support family planning, people who are not heterosexual, people who come to America seeking a better life from Central and South America, people who want to get them to wear masks to stop the spread of COVID-19, Muslims and people who are non-Christians – basically anyone who is different. They want to maintain the delusion that Trump was actually telling the truth, that he actually cares about them, that they are the chosen ones.

White supremacists are very insecure – their basic fear is that they are losers, insignificant and powerless and this is due to all the progressive changes that have occurred in America so that white people no longer can lord it over all others. These changes have undermined their status and their ideal place in the world. Everything is topsy turvy and it is outrageous to them that they should find themselves misplaced, insecure and even considered inferior in a world that is passing them by. This is why no amount of evidence and facts that you throw at them will ever hit the mark because they are clinging desperately to their identity in a very uncertain world. Maybe if America were great again, they could feel proud patriots in the land of the free. And what better way to feel better about yourself than to think that white people are genetically superior to all others.

An article in Business Insider Australia describes what motivates individuals to become white nationalists. Experts say that they are typically motivated by feelings of ‘insignificance’ and feel minority groups are responsible for their disempowerment. It is hard to identify who will become an extremist but people who are narcissistic, paranoid, and aggressive are most likely to become white nationalists. To my mind, these also seem to be the characteristics of most dictators. The article quotes one social psychologist as saying that:

“… people become white nationalists for three reasons: a desire to feel significant, attribution of their lack of personal success to another group, and a sense of belonging among other white nationalists. These motivations could stem from feeling ‘humiliated’ or ‘insignificant’ at school, in relationships with loved ones, or by society at large.”

The top 20% richest Americans owned 77% of total household wealth in 2016 – and the top 1% alone holds more than the entire middle class. Meanwhile, one in five American children live in poverty. White nationalists feel deprived, but they don’t seem to blame the successful wealthy people but rather minorities. The murderous hate associated with this can be shown by the El Paso massacre by a white supremacist in Texas and the storming of the Capitol Building in January 2021.

The growth of this movement of hate is totally terrifying. Arwa Mahdawi says in an article in the Guardian that the Squad shouldn’t have to feel terrified of their colleagues in Congress, but they are. The ‘Squad’ are 6 Democratic members of the House of Representatives in the USA. They are all coloured and progressive. Five are women and two of them are the first Muslim women to ever be elected to Congress. They are targets for unthinking American nationalists. A Florida Republican running for Congress openly suggested that Ilhan Omar be executed for treason. The newly elected Congresswoman, Marjorie Taylor Greene, posted a Facebook picture of herself holding an assault rifle next to Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib with the caption – “We need strong conservative Christians to go on the offensive against these socialists who want to rip our country apart.” It seems to me that the right-wing, white nationalists are doing a good job of ripping the country apart on their own.

But the threats to the Squad are real. Ocasio-Cortez fears for her life, not just from rioters, but from white supremacist members of Congress. Rioters carried guns and other weapons into the Capitol building, it seems with the intention of kidnapping or even killing members of Congress. One member of the Squad, Ayanna Pressley, reported that every panic button in her office had been torn out before the riots. This seems preconceived and there is conjecture that some members of Congress and the Trump administration aided and abetted the storming of the Capitol. New safety protocols that have been put in place in the Capitol following the storming of the building including having to walk through metal detectors and leaving their guns behind to vote. Some Republicans are blatantly circumventing the security measures because they see it as their right to carry loaded guns into the Chamber. As Arwa Mahdawi says “nobody should have to go to work every day wondering whether one of their colleagues is going to kill them.

White nationalists see themselves as victims, but they are quite different victims to the ones protesting that Black Lives Matter. As Tristan Bridges, a professor of sociology at the University of California says in the Business Insider Australia article:

“Because Americans view inequality as a personal – not structural – problem, white people may blame other individuals for their lack of money. White life expectancy has fallen, and more than half of white Americans believe they face discrimination despite being the racial majority. Not surprisingly, people who get screwed by economic transformations look for something to blame, but they’re sending their mail to the wrong address.”

It should be noted that white life expectancy has only fallen slightly mainly due to drug and alcohol abuse and higher suicide rates and while more that 50% of white people believe they face discrimination less than 20% say that they personally have experienced it. Whites and blacks and Republicans and Democrats have very different views of discrimination in America.

While there is no doubt that some white people in America have difficult lives, the facts are indisputable. Overall, you are much worse off being a black in America than being white. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2014 the median adjusted income for households headed by blacks was $43,300, and for whites it was $71,300. Blacks also lag behind whites in college completion, but even among adults with a bachelor’s degree, blacks earned significantly less in 2014 than whites ($82,300 for households headed by a college-educated black compared with $106,600 for comparable white households). These differences are due to systemic discrimination against blacks which affects all areas of their life such as health.

It is not surprising that Trump supporters tend to display a sense of egocentric victimhood rather than believing they are the victims of systemic discrimination. Psypost reports on recent research that shows that people who voted for Donald Trump and feel warmly towards him tend to score higher on a measure of egocentric victimhood (e.g. I rarely get what I deserve in life and I usually have to settle for less). Those who exhibit heightened levels of systemic victimhood (e.g. the system works against people like me, the world is ‘doing it’ to me and there’s nothing I can do about it), in contrast, tend to be more hostile towards Trump. Americans tend to blame the individual for their situation and disadvantage, but black Americans recognise that they are the victims of systematic discrimination hence the Black Lives Matters campaign. There is no comparison between the Black Lives Matter protests and the storming of the Capitol Building in Washington despite people like the Acting Prime Minister of Australia at the time trying to make one.

One way of dealing with systemic discrimination is via cancel culture. Charity Hudley in a VOX article on cancel culture pointed out that cancelling someone is akin to a boycott, but of a person rather than a business. What’s more, it promotes the idea that black people should be empowered to reject the parts of pop culture that spread harmful ideas.

“If you don’t have the ability to stop something through political means, what you can do is refuse to participate. Cancelling is a way to acknowledge that you don’t have to have the power to change structural inequality. You don’t even have to have the power to change all of public sentiment. But as an individual, you can still have power beyond measure. When you see people cancelling Kanye, cancelling other people, it’s a collective way of saying, ‘We elevated your social status, your economic prowess, [and] we’re not going to pay attention to you in the way that we once did. … ‘I may have no power, but the power I have is to [ignore] you’.”

Not long ago the Australian Government was concerned that GetUp! was asking its members to boycott certain companies that were supporting the continuation of the fossil fuel industry in Australia. Somehow it seemed outraged that ordinary people had the power to do such a thing. The truth is that our power as a consumer, including our consumption of social media, may be the only effective power we have to change things; to send a strong message that we don’t approve of certain behaviour. Collective action this way works as is shown by the number of superannuation companies that have divested themselves of fossil fuel companies in their portfolios. No matter how certain individuals may have distorted the process it is a valuable way of addressing systemic discrimination when, like in America, all else has failed.

There is some suggestion that the left needs to listen to those on the right such as white nationalists to find out where they come from, to be able to understand their concerns and to empathise with their situation. First of all, I don’t think the division of people into left wing and right-wing is particularly useful. It is a typical way that humans look at things, one or the other and nothing in between. I rather see the situation as people who tend to believe that we can improve on what we are doing and therefore support progress (the progressives), those who think that what we have now is good and shouldn’t be changed (the conservatives), and those who want to go back to sometime in the past when everything was much better (the reactionaries). Of course, as with all things, there is a spread of opinions across the progressive and conservative approach depending on the issue. Hopefully, most people are moderates in the middle but there will be a few extremists at either end wanting revolution or total control.

One can find people who are kind and happy to listen in either camp. But it tends to be the people who are progressive who are most tolerant as they can see possibilities and accept that there are different ways of being. Consider who you would prefer to be governed by – President Trump re-instated by an unruly mob or a democratic president who is going to serve for all Americans? Under the Democrats people won’t be forced to have abortions, undertake family planning, accept their status as inferior if they belong to minority groups, stay out of the country because they are Muslims, threatened with violence and intimidation if they don’t agree with extremists, ridiculed for being articulate women politicians. In the whole time that President Trump was in the White House no left-winged person tried to shoot him, it was a right-wing mob and their supporters that threatened peaceful democratic congress men and women. I worry that reasonable people are going to be away by unreasonable people using violent methods.

This all seems to stem from the desire to make America great again, to make white people feel great again and to restore what is seen as lost entitlement while not entitling anyone else.

In a country that seems obsessed with individual freedom, even if it kills other people by giving them a dreadful disease, the idea of putting society first, and helping those less fortune seems akin to communism. It seems ironic that the countries that are truly great are Scandinavian countries that are social democracies on the whole. For example, consider performance on valuable attributes such as happiness (Finland No. 1, USA No.18), education (Finland No.1, USA No. 20), community (Iceland, No. 1, USA No. 21), and life satisfaction (Finland No.1, USA No. 17). Given its enormous wealth, America is consistently outperformed by other developed countries on things that really matter to people. It seems the problem is that for far too long many Americans have believed their own propaganda.

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Seeking the Post-COVID 19 Sunshine: New Opportunities for Peaceful Foreign Policy Agendas

By Denis Bright

Progressive members of Joe Biden’s caucus are ready to implement their change agenda. But how much change is in the latest political storms? In the traditions of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy Gales encounters with elites might land the current crews of actors back in the same old Kansas.

Dorothy’s tilt at policy orthodoxy commenced with the publication of Lyman Frank Beam’s (1856-1919) adventure story in 1901. The theatrical version became a Broadway hit long before the colour film version in 1939.

By some strange coincidence, the various genres of Wizard of Oz would have all been well-received in today’s Trump heartlands.

Over a swathe of the USA, there had been lingering support for the Republicans from the South to the Industrial rustbelt, the Mid-West and the Plains. There are just a few pockets of Democratic Party support across this formerly Wild Frontier in Hollywood movie sets.

In Kansas, Democratic Congress Representative Sharice Lynette Davids retained her house seat in District 3. Sharice is the only house democrat from the four congressional electoral districts in Kansas. Her story is well covered by Joaqlin Estus (Indian Country Today 5 November 2020).

Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal Team performed better across Kansas in 1932 when the US turned from old time capitalism to embrace a change agenda which kept the Democratic Party in office until the 1952 election during the Cold War era.

In retrospect, some of the policy changes associated with the New Deal had negative consequences on global economic recovery and international relations conventions.

Australia was already at war with Italy and Germany before MGM’s Wizard of Oz arrived at our movie theatres with a musical fantasy diversion from grim realities in full colour.

In the 1939 movie version, Dorothy and her United Front support base defied local conventions to take their problems to the very pinnacles of wisdom to the Wizard himself to restore life and honour to their beloved community in the midst of a multi-faceted crisis with its depression, dustbowl climatic crisis and psychological despair.

In this fantasy, Dorothy Gale lived near Sedan in Kansas where she was caught up with her dog Toto in an unexpected tornado. How relevant to today’s multi-faceted crises in the USA.

In reality, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and its sequels were written long before the New Deal era.

Lyman Frank Baum (1856-1919) sought to advance the cause of the left leaning populist movement across the USA. The Populist Campaigns centred on efforts to elect William Jennings Bryan as President at elections in 1896, 1900 and 1908.



With 45.5 per cent of the popular vote at the US elections in 1900, Populist Democrats challenged the imperialist global agenda of President William McKinley.

The Wizard of Oz was said to be a metaphor for President McKinley.

The author rejects the value of personal direct action as the whole exercise lands Dorothy Gale back where she commenced her struggles.

Hence, there is even more justification for populists to support political parties which will take up their fundamental causes and eventually achieve power in the interests of struggling families.

Prospects for Winding Back the Ethos of Global Empire

Today’s elites cling to such old notions of US strategic greatness both here and in the USA. Scott Morrison’s visit to the opening of the box plant of Pratt Industries in Wapakoneta, Ohio is covered in one of my earlier articles for The AIM Network.

Image of The Wichita Lineman from the The Economist, 13 August 2019

In Kansas, apologists for the old economy cling to their support for both the oil and gas industry and the defence sectors to assist in polarizing local opinion against change agendas.

Conservative elites are now keen to disassociate themselves from outdated images of Kansas with its focus on high IT economic diversity.

The Kansas State Department of Commerce is a strong advocate of the new economy in its own promotions.

However, Congressman Ron Estes in District 4 has one foot in old Republican agendas in rejecting the majority House of Representatives vote in favour of an impeachment trial for Donald Trump (Press release 13 January 2021).

Progressive members of President Biden’s own caucus will have to extremely proactive if they are to challenge the drift to neo-colonialism which has inherited from seventy-six years of dubious political practice on both sides of politics since the death of FDR on 12 April, 1945.

Joe Biden’s preferences for Anthony Blinken as incoming secretary of state with Lloyd Austin as Defense Secretary President Biden do suggest that Scott Morrison will have his way in Washington in advocating a strategic status quo.

Sharice Davids is already in the Democratic Party caucus in Congress and represents the western outskirts of Kansas City with its large population of 3 million.

Laura Lombard as Democratic Party candidate in District 4 took on more challenging demographics around Wichita and the Ozark countryside.

Laura’s Linkedin profile is truly outstanding.



There was a notable difference in campaign spending across District 4 which leaves Ron Estes with more than enough to spend next time (Ballotpedia):



Splashing millions to support local Republican campaigns across Kansas is a real threat to democratic processes. It requires the mobilizations of the millions to redress such imbalances.

Denis Bright is a member of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). Denis is committed to citizen’s journalism from a critical structuralist perspective. Comments from insiders with a specialist knowledge of the topics covered are particularly welcome.


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Was COVID-19 born in the United States? (part 2)

Continued from: Was COVID-19 born in the United States? (part 1)

By Outsider

In late February 2020 financial manipulation had characterised stock market transactions worldwide.

The stock value of airlines companies collapsed overnight. Those who had ‘foreknowledge’ of President Trump’s 11 March decision to ban transatlantic flights from European Union countries made a bundle of money. It is called ‘short-selling’ in the derivative market among other speculative operations. Institutional speculators including hedge funds with ‘inside information’ had already placed their bets.

More generally, a massive transfer of money wealth had occurred, among the largest in world history, leading to countless bankruptcies, not to mention the loss of lifelong savings engineered through the collapse of financial markets.

This process is ongoing. It would be naive to believe that these occurrences are based on market forces. They are deliberate, part of a carefully designed plan involving powerful financial interests.

A new bombshell emerged: the Trump Administration unfounded accusation of China for spreading the ‘Wuhan virus’ worldwide. It did not matter that such infamy had been questioned by both Japanese and Chinese reports. A report from a Japanese TV station which suspected some of the 14,000 Americans died of influenza may have unknowingly contracted the COVID-19 went viral on Chinese social media, stoking fears and speculations in China that the new virus may have originated in the United States. The report, by TV Asahi Corporation of Japan, suggested that the United States government may have failed to grasp how rampant the virus had gone on the United States soil. (Japanese TV report sparks speculations in China that COVID-19 may have originated in US, Global Times, February 23, 2020).

Nor did the presence of suspected similar cases had occurred in Italy in late 2019 and elsewhere, as will be seen.

On 12 March 2020, in a statement to the House Oversight Committee of the United States Congress the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert R. Redfield candidly admitted that: yes, some cases diagnosed as seasonal flu could have been COVID-19.

As to exactly when that occurred, in October?, in November?, he could not be precise.

China’s Foreign Ministry reacted to Dr. Redfield’s statements intimating that the virus could have originated in the United States.

Zhao Lijian, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, asked: “When did “patient zero” begin in the United States?” ‘When’ is of course the fundamental question. “How many people are infected, what are the names of the hospitals, It might be U.S. Army that brought epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent, U.S. owe us an explanation.”



Clearly, the world had come to the crossroads of the most serious social and economic crisis in modern history. People worldwide were being misled. They were told: “It’s going to get worse.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel stated without a shred of evidence that “seventy per cent of the German population could contract coronavirus if more is not done to stop its spread.”

In several countries, the economy had closed down. Supermarkets, shopping malls, offices, factories, schools, universities were at a standstill. People were confined to their homes. Fear and intimidation prevailed.

In the meantime, coinciding with the coronavirus lockdown in Italy, 30,000 United States troops had been dispatched to the European Union, as part of the U.S.-N.A.T.O.’s “Defend Europe 2020” war games against Russia, in the largest military deployment since the second world war.

To be clear, the COVID-19 pandemic was not the ‘cause’ of this unfolding economic and social crisis; it is the ‘pretext’ for the implementation of a carefully designed ‘operation’ – supported by media disinformation – which would destabilise national economies, impoverish large sectors of the world population and literally undermine the lives of millions of people. It was similar to an ‘act of war’.

While COVID-19 appeared as an important public health concern, the freeze of economic activity coupled with the lockdown and an ongoing fear campaign did not constitute an effective means to combating the virus. What was required was a carefully designed and coordinated preventative and curative public health programme. (See also: M. Chossudovsky, COVID-19 Coronavirus “Fake” Pandemic: Timeline and Analysis, Orinoco Tribune, March 12, 2020).

Those who formulated the United States’ ‘yet undeclared economic war’ against China, failed to envisage the potential backlash on the American economy. It appeared more like as ‘harakiri’ than an economic plan.

In a matter of months, if normal U.S.-China trade relations and transportation were not resumed, the impacts on the national economies of western countries could be devastating.

A large share of goods displayed in America’s shopping malls, including major brands are ‘Made in China.’ ‘Made in China’ is the backbone of retail trade in the United States which indelibly sustains household consumption in virtually all major commodity categories from clothing, footwear, hardware, electronics, toys, jewellery, household fixtures, medical supplies, medicine and prescription drugs, TV sets, cell phones, et cetera.

‘Made in China’ also dominates the production of a wide range of industrial inputs, advanced technology, machinery, building materials, automotive, parts and accessories, et cetera not to mention the extensive sub-contracting of Chinese companies on behalf of United States conglomerates.

While the United States has a powerful and sophisticated financial apparatus – which has the ability to manipulate trade and stock markets worldwide – America’s ‘real economy’ is in a shambles.

Production no loge takes place in the United States. The producers have given up production.

The United States trade deficit with China is instrumental in fuelling the profit driven consumer economy which relies on ‘Made in China’ consumer goods. Meanwhile China holds a large part of the United States public debt; it can readily convert it into real assets – overnight.

At this juncture of the COVID-19 crisis, Beijing policy makers were fully aware that the United States economy is fragile and heavily dependent on ‘Made in China’. Moreover, China has overtaken the United States in several high-tech areas, including 5G.

And with an internal market of 1.4 billion people, coupled with a global export market under the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ the Chinese economy will have the upper hand.

Much of what precedes was discussed – and expanded – by professor Michel Chossudovsky, who is an award-winning author, Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa, the founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization at Montreal, and the editor of Global Research. In addition to his teaching as visiting professor in western Europe, Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Latin America, he has served as economic adviser to governments of developing countries and has acted as a consultant for several international organisations. He is the author of eleven books, published in more than twenty languages, and a contributor to the EncyclopaediaBritannica.

In mid-March 2020 professor Chossudovsky was interviewed by Ms. Bonnie Faulker of the Guns and butter radio programme, a project of Inquiring Systems, Inc.

The programme was introduced as follows: on 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization – W.H.O. declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern – relation to China’s novel coronavirus, then named 2019-nCoV categorised as a viral pneumonia. The virus outbreak was centred in Wuhan, a city in Eastern China with a population in excess of 11 million.

In the week prior to the 30 January decision, the W.H.O. Emergency Committee “expressed divergent views”. There were visible divisions within the Committee. The 30 January far-reaching decision was taken without the support of expert opinion at a time when the coronavirus outbreak was limited to mainland China.

There were 150 confirmed cases outside China, when the decision was taken: 6 in the United States, 3 in Canada, 2 in the United Kingdom, etcetera.

The premise of the Chossudovsky interview was this: Out of 150 confirmed cases over a population of 6.4 billion, that is to say, world population of 7.8 billion minus China’s 1-4 billion, what might have been the risk of being infected? Virtually zero.

The W.H.O. Director-General, who had been in Davos, Switzerland just a few days earlier, determined that the so-called outbreak constituted a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, and that decision was taken on the basis of 150 confirmed cases outside China.

Enter Chossudovsky: “Now, anybody who takes cognizance of that should not trust anything else that they say because at the beginning is a big lie, and it’s a big lie which is instrumented by very powerful people. It’s the combination of what I call Big Money and Big Pharma.”

Bonnie Faulkner: “Today on Guns and butter: Michel Chossudovsky. Today’s show: COVID-19 Coronavirus: The Crisis.

Michel Chossudovsky is an economist and the founder, Director and Editor of the Center for Research on Globalization, based in Montreal, Quebec.

Today we discuss the historical background and lead-up to the World Health Organization’s January 30th Declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern; Event 201: Simulation of a Coronavirus Pandemic; the World Economic Forum; financial warfare; and the economic and human toll of the declared pandemic. Michel Chossudovsky, welcome.”

Michel Chossudovsky: ”Good morning. Delighted to be on Guns and butter.”

B. F.: The United States government has now declared the COVID-19 virus a global pandemic. Your article, (COVID-19 Coronavirus “Fake” Pandemic: Timeline and Analysis (Timeline from September 2019 – April 2020, 11.0.2020, first published 08.04.2020) begins with the January 30th, 2020 World Health Organization declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in relation to China’s novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV, categorized as a viral pneumonia. Both the timing and the intent of the WHO’s declaration raise serious questions. Where is the best place to start and examine what is behind this now global disruption?

M.C.: First of all, I should mention – and this is where all the lies come in – is that on the 30th of January the global public health emergency was declared on the orders of the Director-General of the WHO. There have been recent statements that this public health emergency has been declared but, in fact, it was declared on the 30th of January, but nobody wants to talk about that for the simple reason that at that time there were only 150 confirmed cases outside of China.In other words, we’re talking about a population of 6.4 billion, (excluding China which is 1.4), out of a world population of 7.8 billion, and there they go ahead and declare a global health emergency. 150 cases does not justify it. But in fact, it did, but it was dictated by very powerful economic interests. So we’re starting with a lie.

But the thing is, we’re starting with a lie on January 30th. And then on January 31st what happens? Immediately the Trump administration calls for a ban on air travel to China. In other words, a declaration to the effect that both Chinese and foreign travelers (from China) will not be admitted to the United States. This has the effect of essentially intimidating people, closing down trade and trade transactions.

We’re talking about a very important volume of trade and transportation with China, affecting, of course, major airlines and shipping companies. So that happened on the 31st. We’re talking about the timeline. On the 31st of January, Trump already launches a hate campaign against China, and there was no health issue of concern, because 150 cases worldwide outside China is virtually nothing as far as risk is concerned.

Then we see the evolution of this crisis and what I’m saying, and we must be very clear on that, is that this is not a biological war against China or against of anybody else; it is the use of the coronavirus as a pretext to implement drastic changes which affect economic activity, trade, transportation, which ultimately has an impact on national economies. It sort of pushes national economies into a situation of crisis. At the outset, we were dealing with economic warfare supported by a media campaign, and this was coupled with the deliberate intent by the Trump administration to undermine the Chinese economy.

But I think we should be clear that the media disinformation campaign was fundamental, because first of all, they never mentioned that it was 150 cases to start with, and they’ve always distorted the figures with regard to the extension of this health threat throughout the world.

B.F.: What is the WHO Emergency Committee?

M.C.: The WHO Emergency Committee is a committee made up of specialists – and I should mention that they first met on the 22nd of January and there were divisions within the committee as to whether they had the justification to actually declare a global emergency [the pandemic was declared on March 11]. And then, when they met on the 30th, the meeting on the 30th took place shortly after the Davos World Economic Forum, which took place from the 21st to the 24th of January. And at that meeting there were important discussions between different partners including the World Economic Forum, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and various entities linked up to Big Pharma.

Those consultations at the World Economic Forum were essentially instrumental to the decision taken on the 30th. It happened just about a week later. It was essentially the World Economic Forum, the Gates Foundation, a body called CEPI, which is this Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations for the Development of Vaccines – already there were discussions with Big Pharma, GlaxoSmithKline, which is also integrated into this group. There were discussions with the IMF and the World Bank, with the State Department, with US Intelligence. And one suspects that the decisions were taken a few days before, because when they met on January 30th in Geneva there was virtually no discussion. The WHO Director-General, who had been in Davos just a few days earlier, determined that the so-called outbreak constituted a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, and, as I mentioned, that decision was taken on the basis of 150 confirmed cases outside China.

Now, anybody who takes cognizance of that should not trust anything else that they say because at the beginning is a big lie, and it’s a big lie which is instrumented by very powerful people. It’s the combination of what I call Big Money and Big Pharma. And essentially they initiated this process. They also have a vaccine program and, ironically, the vaccine program was – in a sense also announced at Davos before even having pandemic. It was announced at Davos and discussed, and it was only much later in February that the vaccination campaign was announced by the World Health Organization. In fact, it was February 28th. It was a month later. Dr. Tedros of WHO announces that a massive WHO vaccination campaign has been approved by the World Health Organization. And who is behind that campaign? GlaxoSmithKline in partnership with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, which is a Gates/World Economic Forum partnership.

Another important thing is that back in October, on October the 18th, the Gates Foundation together with the World Economic Forum and in partnership with Johns Hopkins School of Public Health – but it was a very specific component of the School of Public Health – it was the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. You can see that Johns Hopkins School of Public Health is already linked to Wall Street.

But it was the Center for Health Security. So there you have a partnership between the Center for Health Security, the World Economic Forum, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and what do they do on October 16th? This was, of course, way before the public announcement of the coronavirus, which was at the beginning of January when the Chinese authorities discovered it and began testing it. They discovered it on January 1st and then on January 7th they actually came up with lab exams and so on.

But back on October 18th there was a simulation of a coronavirus pandemic. It was called Event 201. That simulation was integrated by a whole series of people from mainly private financial institutions, corporate execs, foundations, Big Pharma, CIA, there was a representative from the CDC but there were no health officials on behalf of national governments or the WHO. It was essentially a simulation which included quite a number of things, including the collapse of stock markets, the extension of the virus to something like 65 million people and so on and so forth.

Now, what I am suggesting, without necessarily drawing conclusions, is that the organizations involved in the simulation, which was a detailed simulation with videos and so on examining what would happen to financial markets, what would happen to the media, to the independent media and so on – essentially the people involved in the simulation were also involved in the actual management of the pandemic once it went live.

So the people who were simulating actually went live on January 30th, 2020, which was the day when that [global health emergency was launched] [Officially the pandemic was launched on March 11]. I should mention that the people who actually were behind the WHO meeting on the sidelines of Davos are the same people who organized and financed the [global health emergency]: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Economic Forum and the Bloomberg School of Public Health.



So there you are. You simulate and then you go live. I’m not suggesting any kind of conspiratorial relationship, but I’m just saying there was a simulation and a couple of months later the whole thing goes live with the same actors involved in the simulation who are now involved in saving the world from the coronavirus. [Emphasis added]

To be continued…

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Guide to an Insurrection

By John Haly

Just when we thought 2020 was finished, 2021 got off to a foreboding start as Americans attacked their own capitol building in scenes reminiscent of some third world coup. Fortunately, it was completely unsuccessful. Trump has ignominiously left office with a whimper rather than any fanfare. Still, it is worth reviewing this coup/insurrection attempt by Trump and his allies, to understand both the depths of their treason and the legacy America has yet to deal with appropriately.

Long history

America has been deeply embedded in rebellion from its inception, commencing with British setting fire to the U.S. Capitol in 1814 during the British invasion of Washington. By 1861 to 1865, the American Civil War tore the country apart, demonstrating internal schisms have a deep-rooted history. The end of the American civil war gave rise to the KKK and a growing racist and fascist movement in America. By the time German Fascists emerged in the 1930s, America had established its own fascist movement as manifested by Charles Lindbergh’s “America First” isolationists rhetoric. American support by corporate fascists for the German’s authoritarian efforts in WW2 are well known. Enabling corporations such as IBM, Ford, GM and industrialists like Fred Koch (father of the Koch brothers) enabled a fascist regime. They experienced no real reprisals for supporting the German’s murderous regime. The USA continues to breed fascists and racists and strengthen its growth within its borders. For all the Americans’ rhetoric that protests “this is not who we are“, they might consider a review.

Insurrection or coup?

Percentages hide the depths of the problem in America that real numbers might reveal

These “movements” breed the insurrectionists amongst their constituents. Trump’s leadership encouraged their “activism” within America. I use the description “Insurrectionists” as defined under U.S. law to mean “a violent uprising by a group or movement acting for the specific purpose of overthrowing the constituted government and seizing its powers.” However, the Capitol riot’s description as a “coup” by Fiona Hill of Politico is compelling. On Wednesday, 1 pm on the 6th of January 2021, America’s right-wing racist/fascist community descended upon Washington’s Federal Capitol building. They began climbing its walls and smashing into its doors and windows, beating – and in one case killing – Capitol police officers. All to gain access to modify the outcome of the Electoral count, due to be finalised inside what many other Americans, consider the epicentre of American democracy. The insurrectionists were driven by either/or Qanon conspiracy theories, white supremacist racism and a Trump glorifying conservative Christianity. Despite philosophical contradictions, one consistent belief shared by all who stormed the Capitol was a false idea that Trump somehow won the 2020 election. This, despite all the evidence in recounts, court cases and scrutiniser’s oversight evidence, that the opposite is true.

It has been described as a failed attempted coup, long-planned by the rioters and motivated by America’s white supremacist-in-chief, Donald Trump. A president who has now been impeached, yet again, and this time for “aiding and abetting” the insurrection. Accepted now even by his previously most fervent supporter amongst the Republicans, Mitch McConnell. What has become increasingly evident is that the most significant reason for its failure as a coup was the insurrectionist’s incompetence and imbecility.

Election countermoves

Not, although for the lack of endeavoured planning. It wasn’t until the 12th of November a little over a week after the 2020 election that Trump tweeted his alignment to a debunked Qanon claims about voter fraud connected to Dominion Voting Systems that makes voting machines. Having descended into that “rabbit hole”, the claims became more absurd over time. Unfortunately, too many Donald Trump followers began to believe the lies and follow him down that “rabbit hole“. On the other hand, these rioters-to-be had been preparing and training, as revealed in intercepted Zello conversations.

Plans fermented over Social Media on sites such as Twitter and Facebook and later Gab and Parler. The consequences of which pushed Twitter and Facebook to crack down on QAnon and other conspiracy nonsense over the summer. Qanon followers frequently openly called for violence and an event known as “the storm“. Many expected January the 6th, was “the storm” although, given the way “after more than four hours, the mob was cleared” and subsequent protests fizzled away, it blew itself out as most storms do.

By the 22nd of December, the media (social and otherwise) raised the alarm about January the 6th. Arieh Kovler Twitter thread expressing anxiety about that date also speculated about the 2200 Capital police officers’ inability to defend the capital.

Capital offences

If journalists knew it then so did America’s security apparatus but only 500 capital police were assigned to the Capitol Building

Instead of a cast of thousands, the Capital police felt they did not need a full complement nor any extra support from the FBI or Pentagon despite foreknowledge by US Security services. Barely 500 Capital police without riot gear were deployed to defend the building against a cast of thousands. This failure of command led to U.S. Capitol Police Chief’s resignation, Steven Sund, as he fed his woefully equipped police force to the “lions”. Oddly the Capitol Police arrested only 14 people in sharp distinction to the 400 people arrested protesting Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, or the 181 people arrested in 2017 objecting to the GOP’s elimination of aspects of Obamacare or the 575 people arrested in 2018 while protesting the president’s immigration policies or … well it is a long list. The anomalous treatment of protesters gives credence to the idea that amongst the Capitol police were sympathisers to the “cause“. This was also evidenced by some police taking selfies with the rioters and providing unrestricted entrance to the Capitol while staff and lawmakers were still inside.

Accusations of complicity with the rioters were not isolated to the Capitol Police. Investigations into Republican lawmakers giving Capitol tours to insurrectionists in the week before the riots are being opened. Many events before January 6th prepared the insurgents, as Sandi Bachom, Video Journalist reported. Alex Jones (of Infowars) held a rally inciting crowds in preparation for January 6th where Donald Trump was scheduled to address the crowds at the Ellipse near the Washington monument. By Wednesday the 6th at midday, President Donald Trump in a recorded address encouraged thousands of supporters to march on the US Capitol to protest the election results. Promising to “be there with you” as they proceeded with his march on the Capitol, Trump had other premeditated plans. Trump travelled back to the White House to view what he had unleashed, in a Tent equipped with monitors, where his family drank and watched the coup in complete safety.

Meanwhile, on Capitol grounds, some insurrectionists organisers armed with megaphones attempted to coordinate an orchestrated event with a coordinated plan. Many others had not been so well briefed or had the pre-riot tours. The results, although, were chaotic. As some called for peaceful protests, other demanded and exhibited violence dragging police into the crowd and beating them. What was ironic was the numbers of law enforcement and military personnel amongst the rioters and racist support staff amongst the Capitol Police. Eventually, Mike Pence authorised the National Guard to end the riots, as Trump had no stake in ending the chaos.


While Electoral Certification proceedings were halted when the riot began, they resumed at 8 pm. Despite ridiculous objections raised during the proceedings and the mass of Republicans who voted against the count, Biden was confirmed to be the next president. Thereafter the innumerable videos posted by the insurrectionists became the evidentiary material for their subsequent arrests. The FBI’s capacity to track the insurgents was aided by collected Parler posts’ depositories (including deleted entries), as used by the insurrectionists.

The embers are still hot, & the passion for conspiracies, racism, & RW Christianity still smoulder.

Despite whatever planning was put into the coup, it would seem they did not take into their considerations some features of telecommunications infrastructure unique to the Capital building. The Capital has it’s own “cellular and wireless data infrastructure of its own to make communications efficient in a building made largely of stone, and that extends deep underground and has pockets of shielded areas.” Hence every insurrectionist that entered the building were tracked and triangulated by their phones, that innumerable rioters were using to photograph and record. The computers that constitute that telecommunications infrastructure logged everything from their phone number to their location in the building.

Emboldened by the day, right-wing agitators planned further protests in the following days at other capitals. However, the turnout to these was classified as non-events by observers, as National Guard, and law-enforcement agencies were assigned to protect many other State’s capitol grounds.

Despite never winning the popular vote in either election, the twice impeached Donald Trump’s ascension to the president’s office was always supported by racism, religion and xenophobia. On page 13 in his book “Everybody Lies” by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, it was demonstrated that racist Google searches had the highest statistical correlation with support for Trump in the Republican primaries. Trump’s support amongst the bigots for whom racism, xenophobia and misogyny are psychological norms, I discussed four years ago, so I need not rehash that again. Nor do I need to discuss Trump’s relationship to Fascism which has apparently being rediscovered. The American’s support for this social dysfunctionality has not diminished, it has been – for now – merely suppressed.

The insurrection fire supporting installing Trump as president for an indeterminable further term of office cooled, spluttered, but has not died. They are repressed, not repentant. The embers are still hot, and the passion for conspiracies, racism, xenophobia and authoritarian Christianity still smoulder amongst the 74.222 million Americans who voted for Trump. God help America if they ever find a competent fascist to vote for in 2024.

This article was originally published on Australia Awaken – Ignite your Torches.

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Was COVID-19 born in the United States? (part 1)

Continued from: Of Eugenicists, Oligarchs and Psychopaths (part 18)

By Outsider

Chapter 5: Was COVID-19 born in the United States?

Cui prodest? (to whose advantage?)

President Trump has been constantly referring to COVID-19 as ‘made in China’; in recent times Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has been referring to it as ‘Wuhan coronavirus.’ That there be no proof of it does not matter.

As far as President Trump is concerned, his credibility has been punctiliously examined by the fact checkers of The Washington Post. They estimated that during the four years of his term of office President Trump uttered some 25,000 false or misleading statements. As far as COVID-19 President Trump must be held responsible for a very ‘Big lie’.

If one were to give the lie a date, it started on 30 January 2020 when Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, most likely under pressure by powerful American economic interests, declared a global public health emergency with only 150 ‘confirmed cases’ outside China and with only six cases in the United States. And it was called a pandemic. What President Trump customarily called ‘faked media’ immediately went into high gear and China was held responsible for ‘spreading infection’ worldwide.

On the following day, 31 January 2020, President Trump announced that he would deny entry to the United States of both Chinese and foreign nationals “who have travelled in China in the last 14 days.” This immediately triggered a crisis in air travel, transportation, U.S.-China business relations, as well as freight and shipping transactions.

While the ‘Made in China’ coronavirus label served as a pretext, the unspoken objective was to bring the Chinese economy to its knees.

It was an act of ‘economic warfare’, which has contributed to undermining both China’s economy as well as that of most countries – both seriously allied and ‘de facto-hostages’ of the United States, such as Australia – leading to a wave of bankruptcies, not to mention unemployment, collapse of the tourist industry, isolation of foreign students etcetera. An ostensible change of attitude to people of Chinese origin especially in places like Australia, where the anti-Chinese prejudice – in particular – but anti-Asian in general is like a latent disease, has translated to a campaign against persons of ‘oriental features’, regardless of they being Chinese or not.

A new phase was launched on 11 March 2020, when the Trump Administration imposed a 30-day ban on Europeans entering the United States through the suspension of air-travel with the European Union – with the exception of Britain.

America is now waging its ‘economic war’ against western Europe, while using COVID-19 as a justification.

European governments have been co-opted. In Italy a lockdown prevailed, ordered by the Prime Minister. Large cities in Northern Italy, including Torino and Milano literally closed down. The Region of Lombardy, and particularly its capital Milano, had become the epicentre of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic in Italy is part of the pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. The virus was first confirmed to have spread to Italy on 31 January 2020, when two Chinese tourists in Rome tested positive for the virus. One week later an Italian man repatriated back to Italy from the city of Wuhan, China was hospitalised and confirmed as the third case in Italy. Clusters of cases were later detected in Lombardy and Veneto on 21 February, with the first deaths on 22 February. By the beginning of March, the virus had spread to all regions of Italy. On 6 March 2020, the Italian College of Anesthesia, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care published medical ethics recommendations regarding triage protocols which needed to be employed. The cost has been enormous. By the middle of November 2020: 1,345 million cases; 520,022 recovered;48,569 deaths had resulted.

The first part of a group of 300 Chinese intensive-care doctors began to arrive in Italy, on 12 March at the Fiumicino ‘Leonardoda Vinci’ airport of Rome and on 18 March at the Malpensa airport of Milano. They were some of several Chinese offers to support epidemic-stricken European countries, among them France and Spain.

While welcome, the relief efforts were small compared with European health-care needs. One temporary hospital in Milano alone – it was estimated – would have needed 500 doctors and about 1,400 nurses for intensive-care beds.

But there was a profound feeling of solidarity and kindness in terrible need, such as few other countries would experience. And there was tangible help. On one charter flight of China Eastern Airlines to Milano alone, there were also 17 tons of new health aids, including medicines, chemical reagents for tests, protective devices, automatic respirators and monitors of intensive care. There were more than 400,000 masks, 5,000 white coats, as well as gloves, protective glasses, monitors, and much more.

Accompanying that delivery were seven doctors, three nurses and two officials from various hospitals and the Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention from Zhejiang Province.

“In Italy the medical level is advanced. In China, the situation of the infections is contained and under control as we thank Italy for the help it gave us. Now we come to help you fight this battle against the virus,” explained the Head of Delegation Dr. Qiu Yunqing.

In the hands of the Chinese experts was a banner. It said in perfect Italian: “Siamo onde dello stesso mare, foglie dello stesso albero, fiori dello stesso giardino.”



It translates: “We are waves of the same sea, leaves of the same tree, flowers of the same garden.” (Coronavirus emergency: a delegation of Chinese doctors arrived to help).

The first team of specialists from China had arrived in Rome on 12 March, accompanying 31 tons of essential supplies and equipment, including respirators, protective suits, masks and medications. China was also helping hard-hit Spain with medical equipment and assistance was also expected to arrive in France. More deliveries to the European Union from China, such as 2 million protective face masks, were expected to be delivered after talks between the European Union Commission President Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen and China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang. The European Union had provided assistance to the Chinese during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, with several E.U. countries shipping 56 tons of essential equipment. (COVID-19: China steps in to help Italy battle the virus). But delivery to Malpensa would not stop: in the night between 23 and 24 March it would welcome another humanitarian load, a 787 Dreamliner flight from Beijing with 25 tons of aid: over 1.4 million masks, 155 complete respirators, 205,000 latex gloves, 1,000 diagnostic kits and as many protective suits intended for the Lombardy Region, the Civil Protection and the Italian Red Cross. (At Malpensa 25 tons of aid from China).

To be continued…

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Scomo, I thought you said they’d be back by Christmas!

By Janet Grogan

I’m wearing this shirt on behalf of my son and the other 37,000 Australians currently stranded overseas.

While tennis players from around the world are being welcomed to our shores, taking up quarantine rooms in hotels, seemingly circumnavigating the waiting lists and restricted flights, our citizens are left wondering when their nightmares will end.

Many, like my son, have been unable to work while overseas. They have had to use all of their savings, superannuation and rely on the help of family and friends. Many will be in debt for years to come.

There has been little help from Federal or State MPs. They seem to see these people as numbers. The few that have recognised the problem are both surprised and shocked when they realise that our Federal Government has nothing to offer these Australians stranded abroad.

The much lauded Repatriation Flights do not apply to many of them, as my son and his friends can attest to while stuck in Canada. They roll their eyes when yet another generic email arrives advertising flights from Los Angeles. This is not much use when you are in Vancouver.

Even when you think you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, this can so quickly be eclipsed. My son has just learnt that his connecting flight through Tokyo (due to arrive 4TH February) has been cancelled, and may not reopen until April. I wonder what the Prime Minister would do if it was his flight, or his family’s?

When you said they’d be back by Christmas, Mr Morrison, which year did you mean?



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Seeking the Post COVID Sunshine: The Bipartisan No Malarkey Era Approaches

By Denis Bright

Civil disobedience in Washington has cleared the decks for a quite proactive era for President Joe Biden. More irreversible foreign policy escapades by Donald Trump or his chosen international supporters are now unlikely as the countdown to Inauguration Day moves forward.

Politically progressive commentators might have preferred a more liberal, greener or charismatic president.

History gave the nod to Joe Biden by a narrow margin of US Electoral College votes as in the 1960 presidential campaign when John Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon.

The results in Georgia’s two Special Senate elections were an added ingredient to a smoother than expected transition of power.

Even here the result was closely contested by Republicans with an extraordinary expenditure of campaign funds on both sides of US politics as in other swing states last year



It would be expected that the Biden team would strengthen its hold on Congress in 2022 with a pragmatic outreach to states like Florida and Texas which were held by the Democratic Party in the Kennedy era.

By good fortune, the US has now more in tandem with allies in Britain, Europe and Japan to shape the return to normalcy and bipartisan commitment to the challenges of COVID-19, global warming and détente. Perceived adversaries in Russia, China or even Iran and Turkey are likely to support the new global consensus. The financial burdens and sheer risks of Trumpism justify support from even Israel and Saudi Arabia.

These changes are impacting on Australia. Scott Morrison is already in consensus-mode. Our official Australia Day rhetoric for 2021 is a now long way from nostalgia about the arrival of Captain Cook:



Image: Australia Day advertisement 2021


Foundations of the Wider New Global Change Consensus

Unexpected and tragic events have a capacity to bring the leaders of humanity to their senses. Contemporary challenges coincide with the current US leadership transition.

The Global Health Consensus Trumps Last Minute Strategic Manoeuvres?

The devastation caused by COVID-19 and its new variants have cast a shadow on all sides of global politics.

With its lighter incidence of COVID-19 Australia has a capacity to lessen these divides and to intervene on behalf of people in difficulties as with the Tsunami crisis of 2004 in the Indian Ocean Basin. Details of the current COVID-19 map are offered by the WHO:



Whilst the incidence of COVID-19 in Indonesia is far from being the worst by global standards, our neighbours could certainly do with more assistance in prevention and management of the virus as shown in Worldometer data.



There are pockets of higher than average COVID-19 infections across Indonesia as shown in the older WHO data across Indonesia from 21 October 2020:



In these times of health crises across parts of Indonesia, it was highly inappropriate for the Trump White House to be fostering last minute strategic tries with Indonesia as a reward for new foreign aid incentives to outsmart the incoming Biden Administration as noted in the Jerusalem Post (23 December 2020):



The Economic Consensus?

Trumpism has extended its polarization over global management of the COVID-19 virus to attacks on the benefits of globalization with tariffs on trade and barriers to investment flows. Such actions have pushed our perceived strategic opponents towards more self-sufficient directions without any real benefits to neoliberal economies.

The closer than expected result in the US Presidential election was engineered in part by anticipation of the rebound in US growth rates in the September Quarter of 2020:


US Growth Rates (Per Cent)


This statistical illusion leaves US economic growth rates still 3.5 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.

Long before the current pandemic era, labour intensive US manufacturing has been largely outsourced to developing countries.

Even US investment is being tracked through a network of tax havens which are of great value for tax minimization globally. This global network of tax havens is an immense resource for US corporations investing in Australia as noted by Anne Davies in the Guardian (28 September 2020).

A political illusion persists that global capitalism continues to operate in the traditions of a struggling family farm or the corner grocery store which survives on a commitment to thrift and moral integrity.

Image from ABC News 6 March 2020

The regression to contract labour and piecework deliveries has been a feature of the current COVID-19 era for pizza and food deliveries by multinational brands.

Strategic practice insists on offensives against countries with legitimate but alternative economic systems. Nothing imperils our strategic security more than pushing perceived adversaries into a return to old commitments to self-sufficiency and rigid central planning.

Ironically, central planning can be incorporated into capitalist economies as achieved by countries like Japan, Germany, France, South Korea or even Israel during their own miracle years until the arrival of the tax revolt era policies of Richard Nixon and Margaret Thatcher with the support of the Murdoch Press.

Now the paradigm change to No Malarkey Politics is perhaps in the wind.

No More Social Malarkey?

Reducing political choice to confusing marketing choices has continued right up to the recent senate elections in Georgia.


Image from techchrunch


Data on the extent of US campaign marketing challenges the very foundations of democratic processes.

Cheers then to the arrival of this new No Malarkey era in the traditions of John Kennedy’s New Frontier (1961-63) and to momentum for the politics of hope:


Image from Irish Central 29 October 2020


Denis Bright is a member of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). Denis is committed to citizen’s journalism from a critical structuralist perspective. Comments from insiders with a specialist knowledge of the topics covered are particularly welcome.


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Seeking the Post-COVID-19 Sunshine: Consolidating the Slender US Progressive Mandate from Georgia

By Denis Bright

Early returns from the special senate vote in Georgia on 5 January 2021 do suggest that Vice President Kamala Harris may have the casting vote in a deadlocked US Senate.

The result is so close for the second contested spot in Georgia that NBC News has not called the final seat in race between John Ossoff (Democrat) who is narrowly in the lead against David Perdue (Republican incumbent) by less than 18,000 votes across a divided Georgia.

Having control of the Presidency and the Congress is essential for Joe Biden to implement the national mandate he received on 5 November 2020.

The slender Democracy Now mandate must be seized on so many fronts.

The urgency of the COVID-19 challenge rages in every community.

Beyond the health emergency are the deep structural problems in the US economy which is facing its second recession in ten years (Image Trading Economics of US GDP Growth Rates by Quarter):


United States GDP Growth Rate


To Trump supporters, the economic rebound in the September Quarter of 2020 is proof of the absolute wisdom of the President Trump.

Social reality shows a grimmer picture of high trade deficits and a fixation on China as the source of the US economy’s structural woes when the rise of China as actually a lifeline to the stability of the US and global economies. Chinese investment in the US economy would have rectified a negative trading balance and contributed to new productivity in the US economy in the medium term.

The Trump Administration locked the US into an old economy in which coal, oil and arms sales were cheered on by its Republican support base. Now the US might venture into a new world of commitment to zero net emissions by 2050 to control global warming with the support of Japan, Britain and the EU Countries.

The Biden Administration needs a senate majority to move the US economy in these new directions with commitment to national health as its prime short-term objective.

To neoconservatives globally, the Trump wisdom is based on old perspectives about the moral superiority of an unregulated corporate ideology with its veto over sound environmental initiatives particularly in the transport and electricity sectors and efforts to restore authenticity to globalizing processes and international diplomacy.

There is a woeful education divide embedded into the challenges posed by Republicans on the streets of Washington to protest against the transition to the Biden Administration on 20 January 2020.

The folly of the retreat back to tariff barriers under the Trump Administration and the increasing use of tax havens like the Cayman Islands, Ireland and Luxembourg to protect US corporations from their commitment to social restructuring is simply not reported on Murdoch’s Fox news or other populist outlets who stoke up support for market ideology as the way forward.

Although the Harvard Business School (HBS) is a key training ground for US political elites, its academic staff are keen to advice students of the folly of market ideology at a time when US capitalism needs a remake.

Data about the weaknesses of the fundamental corporate structures has a time lag as shown by the months taken to develop the essential argument for change in this outstanding paper which is available online from the HBS at no cost to readers.

Alfaro, Laura, Ester Faia, Ruth Judson, and Tim Schmidt-Eisenlohr. “Elusive Safety: The New Geography of Capital Flows and Risk.” Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 20-099, March 2020. (Revised September 2020.)

The data presented is largely from the US Treasury’s Treasury International Capital System (TIC) which is at the very heart of the financial establishment in Washington.

Trillions in US corporate wealth are embedded in tax evasion scams in the Cayman Islands (CYM), Britain (GBR), Ireland (IRL) according to the data presented in the HBS paper with its two year time-lag on new data.


Profile of US Corporate Liabilities


The folly of lowering corporate tax rates here in Australia to attract more corporate tax avoidance was indeed sufficient for our senate to reject the LNP’s offer with the support of Labor and key cross-bench senators.

As those final votes are counted in the second senate race in Georgia, our own future lies in going with the changes that might come out of the campaign miracles which commenced in 2018 when the Democrats gained control of the US House of Representatives.

Contrary to the advice offered by Trump’s outgoing ambassador in Canberra, Australians should be embracing to opportunities to go with the change and to avoid more lost trillions in the future on more US strategic communication and space warfare projects directed at our more profitable trading and investment partnership.

Denis Bright is a member of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). Denis is committed to citizen’s journalism from a critical structuralist perspective. Comments from insiders with a specialist knowledge of the topics covered are particularly welcome.


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2020: The Top 5

Welcome to our annual Top 5.

2020 had it all as far as articles on The AIMN, but it was the incompetence and distrust of the prime minister and his government that stirred the senses, dominating our Top 5 list.

There was one exception, as you will soon see.

But to cut to the chase, here are The AIMN’s five most popular posts in 2020:

(The Top 5 is based on the number of views only. It does not take into account the number of comments or the post’s popularity with other online media sites such as Facebook or Twitter).

Number One: Downfall. Bunker Boy starts his run for the big house, by Grumpy Geezer.

Grumpy came from nowhere to grab top spot – with the help of tens of thousands of Americans who Grumpy’s bite and humour appealed to. Not since Roswell’s Dear America, please don’t make Donald Trump your president in January 2016 has an article on The AIMN attracted so much interest from beyond our borders. If you haven’t read Grumpy’s post then you’re in for a New Year’s treat.

The opening sentences set the scene for a few good belly laughs.


No grace, no dignity, no humility, no magnanimity, no class, no morals, no empathy, no soul.

He has no friends, not even a dog.

His wife can’t bear his touch, his daughter can’t avoid it.

Devoid of humour he doesn’t make jokes, he doesn’t laugh. Not ever. An occasional dismal rictus, a necrotic gash in his ochre-lacquered face-bladder signifies nothing more than his satisfaction in transacting another con.

He’s a loathsome coagulation of every human failing with no compensating virtues.



Number Two: Some Of Us Owe Scott Morrison A Big Apology! by By Rossleigh.

Rossleigh can say “I woz robbed!” Holding top spot from mid-January until mid-December he would have felt quite comfortable that he’d take the crown, but he’ll have to take the issue up with Grumpy Geezer.

Rossleigh’s article proved one thing: don’t judge an article by its title. If so, you could miss out on a satirical masterpiece.


Morrison had a natural advantage in that he was boring even before he was made Treasurer. Once he was made leader after Dutton’s aborted coup, Morrison managed to keep people in their semi-hypnotic state throughout the election campaign by talking about such things as curries and a fair go. Somehow he managed to have various people think that they were back in the fifties and it was a bonza country, but he was just a little bit alternative because he embraced these curry things, while Jen could whip up a mean salad…

All of which brings me to the apology…

Given his total and absolute inability to demonstrate empathy or competence in any job he’d ever held, and his ascent has only been through bastardry and nastiness, why on earth would we expect any better once he became our PM. Really, it’s our fault for electing him to a position far beyond his capabilities. He’s possibly doing the best that he can.

And so, on behalf of the Australian people, I’d just like to say, “Sorry, Scottie. We’ve expected far too much of you.”


Number Three: What a competent government would have done …, by Michael Taylor

This article was essentially a re-post of a Bill Shorten media release (LABOR’S NATIONAL FIRE FIGHTING FLEET) just days prior to the 2019 federal election. Compared to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s incompetence in handling the bushfires that raged in January, one was left with a feeling of “if only”.


Who said there’s no difference between Labor and the LNP? I thank Henry Johnston for pointing me to this media release by Bill Shorten (on 17 March, 2019) which provides us with one glaring difference. Read on, and be the judge:

A Shorten Labor Government will boost Australia’s firefighting capabilities with a national fleet of aircraft and dedicated smokejumper units to keep Australians safe from bushfires.

All Australians understand the devastating impact that bushfires have. Lives are lost, homes destroyed and communities shattered.

Our firefighters and emergency services personnel are among the best in the world, and they do a tremendous job, often putting their own lives at risk. But they need more support from government.


Number Four: The Liar from the Shire, caught out again, by Kaye Lee.

Kaye Lee – as only she can do – called out Scott Morrison’s “bullshit” about bushfire management. It’s a short article, but it has plenty of sting.


In May 2016, when Scott Morrison was Treasurer, the National Aerial Firefighting Centre called for a “national large air-tanker” fleet to confront a growing bushfire threat. Despite a Senate inquiry backing the proposal, the government rejected it in September 2017, “noting that bushfire responsibility is a matter for each state and territory.”

Are firetrucks or planes to come to a screeching halt at the border? Do we ignore another state’s need to keep our resources in case we need them?

Smoko has defended his decision not to meet with former fire chiefs last year, who were also calling for more aerial firefighting capability, saying he chooses to listen to those ‘in their jobs now’.

Then up pops NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons who says the federal government has sat on a business case for a boosted national aerial firefighting fleet for at least 18 months.


Number Five: Asking Peter Dutton, by John Lord.

John showed as the value of asking questions and digging for answers.


A couple of days ago I received this message from a Facebook friend:

“Hi John, Part of the bloated Dutton budget is spent on this group [AIDR]. Young Peter has been strangely silent of late so may be an appropriate time to highlight his expertise.”

A Google search and it tells me that:

The Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience (AIDR) develops, maintains and shares knowledge and learning to support a disaster resilient Australia.

So why haven’t we heard about this institute before or during the course of this ongoing disaster? What is the reason for its existence, and why does it come under the umbrella of Peter Dutton’s department?

What is their total funding and what is it spent on? With a bit of checking I find out that it is funded by the by the Attorneys General’s Department


Special mention must go to Steve Davies, whose article Pentecostalism – The decline, infiltration and fall of Australian Democracy finished a not-too-distant sixth.

And special mention must also go to RosemaryJ36 and Dr Jennifer Wilson whose articlesScott Morrison should resign, and Where is Scott Morrison and why is it a secret? (respectively) – that were both Top 5 finishers in 2019 – also scored highly in 2020.

And a big special mention must also to every author who published articles on The AIMN in 2020. Anyone of those could have been, and deserved to be, in the Top 5.

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Will the Biden Administration Develop More Even-Handed Middle Eastern Agendas?

By Denis Bright

The arrival of the New Year is an appropriate time to check the prospects for greater stability across the Middle East Region. The strength of the Morrison Government’s strategic ties with Israel adds an added layer to Middle East politics with the opening of Australia’s Defence and Trade Office at 20 King George Street, Jerusalem.

New layers have been added to strategic ties between the US and Israel since President Trump lost office on 3 November 2020.

The evolving game plan seems to offer a shared hegemony between Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia over the Middle East Region. Including Turkey in the game plan at the last minute is still a fond hope. This inclusion could be sold to the world by President Biden as a recipe for change from old conflicts.

In the meantime, the US Congressional Research Service (16 November 2020) has updated the extent of foreign military aid by the US to Israel. This surpasses any other theatre of military assistance. Israel has a network of new age missile equipped fighter planes, stealth bombers and elaborate missile defence systems. The Middle East Eye (15 June 2020) adds the weapons of mass destruction which are not on Australia’s current shopping list:

Israel may have increased its nuclear stockpile from 80 warheads in 2019 to 90 in 2020, according to a new report by a leading global arms watchdog.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) said in its annual report on Monday that Israel, one of the world’s nine nuclear powers, could be in possession of up to 90 nuclear warheads.

The watchdog said that the true number could be higher as Israel does not officially comment on its nuclear capabilities.

“There is significant uncertainty about the size of Israel’s nuclear arsenal and its warhead capabilities,” it said.

“Israel continues to maintain its long-standing policy of nuclear opacity: it neither officially confirms nor denies that it possesses nuclear weapons.”

Israel is one of only three countries, along with India and Pakistan, not to sign the 1968 non-proliferation treaty (NPT), and is widely assumed to have the Middle East’s only atomic arsenal.

Sipri said that it believes Israel has around 30 gravity bombs that can be delivered by F-16I aircraft, and up to 50 warheads that can be delivered by land-based ballistic missiles such as the Jericho III – which, according to foreign reports, has a range of 5,500 km.

“It is possible that some of Israel’s F-15 aircraft may also serve a nuclear strike role, but this is unconfirmed,” Sipri said.

The report also said that the locations of the storage sites for Israel’s warheads, “which are thought to be stored partially unassembled,” are also unknown.

Declassified government documents from both Israel and the United States indicate that Israel began building a stockpile of nuclear weapons in the early 1960s, likely with the assistance of the US, Sipri said.

Israel’s own breaches with security protocols within the US Global Alliance are also conveniently overlooked by apologists for Israel.

Israel’s German built Dolphin-class submarine fleet is equipped with nuclear weapons in Israel.

Just recently, there was a high profile meet and greet at Ben Gurion Airport for ex-US Navy analyst Jonathan Pollard arrived in Israel after 35 years in prison in the USA for the sale of US intelligence protocols to Israel (Times of Israel 30 December 2020).

However, Israel’s insider status within the US Global Alliance soon excuses such breaches of protocol and this has contributed to the contemporary state of geopolitics across the Middle East Region.

Israel wants to reinforce this privileged influence by new strategic tries with neoconservative Arab countries from Morocco to Saudi Arabia. With a nod from Israel and leaders in the Biden Administration, Turkey is keen to support the new diplomacy with overtures to key sources of strategic tensions such as Russia. President Trump team has even offered financial incentives to Indonesia to establish last-minute diplomatic ties with Israel through new assistance from the US International Development Finance Corporation (Times of Israel 23 December 2020).

The pro-NATO Atlantic Council has offered an update on the current security situation in Syria (5 November 2020):



The reopening of key roadways between Iraq and the Syrian coast probably assisted in giving momentum from Iraq for a new focus on development in besieged Syria which is a logical outlet for oil and gas exports from both countries and even from Iran.

Search for new allies is also a positive Israeli initiative for Israel’s strategic stability. Overreaching with the sectional Israeli-Arab accord invites avoidable future conflicts across the region. Some softeners are always needed.

A federated Iraq offers a homeland to those Kurds who choose to leave both Turkey and Syria. The idea is popular in Israel which offered support to the Kurds during Saddam Hussein’s years.

This support for the Kurds in Iraq is good news for the Turkish government with its long standing-separatist problem from the Turkish Workers’ Party.


Image: Times of Israel Showing Support for Israel as Protector of Iraqi Kurds 27 November 2020


However, the grim statistics from Syria are also sources of instability.



The flight of millions from Syria to Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and countries across Europe is embedded in the continuation of Syria’s economic malaise. US sanctions on Syria’s allies in Iran and Russia are not assisting the partial recovery which was apparent in 2019 from the most recent data available from the UN development agency, UNCTAD.

Sanctions against Syria have eliminated major capital investment flows and only personal remittances to families at home and assistance from NGOs remain in the latest UNCTAD data.

Even minor initiatives in Syria during 2020 were not enough to turn around the economic malaise imposed by international isolation.

The approach of New Year brought an ISIL attack on a passenger bus in Homs province which killed 28 civilians (Times of Israel 31 December 2020).

Southern Syria is also under siege from Israeli militia units in the Golan Heights. True to form, Israeli missile attacks were reported in Syria to counter support offered by Iranian militias to the Assad Government near Masyaf (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights 25 December 2020).

The Golan Heights is on the disputed frontier between Israel and Syria as shown by the BBC News map. Retaining this territory is unlikely to be achieved by decades of Israeli control since the 1967 ceasefire in the regional Arab-Israeli war.

Once the highest mountain on the border of Lebanon and Syria, Mount Hermon (2,814 metres in elevation) is now a popular snowfield for Israelis beyond the 1967 DMZ line left by the Arab Israeli war.

Real estate projects abound on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee in former Syrian territory (Times of Israel, 14 June 2020):

An Israeli cabinet minister on Sunday said the government approved plans to build a new village on the Golan Heights named after US President Donald Trump.

Settlements Minister Tzipi Hotovely wrote on Facebook that her ministry will start preparations for Ramat Trump — Hebrew for “Trump Heights” — to house 300 families.

These locations are popularized by Israeli tourist promotions showing Mount Hermann, Israeli settler developments, busy roadways and peaceful fields which were once Syrian farmlands.


Image: Land of the Bible-Israeli Tourism


Amidst this real estate hype, BBC News (16 June 2019) noted the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the naming ceremony for the Trump Heights subdivision:

At a naming ceremony on Sunday, Mr Netanyahu said Trump Heights honoured Mr Trump for his decision to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the territory.

Building work has yet to begin but a sign bearing Mr Trump’s name and US and Israeli flags was unveiled.

Critics called the move a publicity stunt with no legal authority.

Israel seized the Golan from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war. In March, the US became the first country to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the area since Israel effectively annexed it in 1981.

“This is a historic day,” said Mr Netanyahu, hailing President Trump as “a friend of Israel”.

US Ambassador David Friedman, who attended the ceremony, called the move “well deserved, but much appreciated”.

Despite the presence of these settlements in the Golan Heights, Israel objects to similar annexations by Turkish militias in contested areas in Northern Syria. The competing insurgent mix of militias in Syria is based largely on outside support from Turkey, Kurdish separatists, Saudi Arabia and Israel as the US winds back its presence to the protection of oil fields in North eastern Syria with pipeline links into Iraq.

In the year after most US troops were withdrawn from Northern Syria, there had been anticipations of better times with the arrival of tourism in localities under the control of the Assad government. The historic water wheels were restored at Hama during 2020:


Image: Arab Weekly 8 July 2020


Prior to the Syrian Civil War in 2011, tourism was a major source of foreign currency with the arrival of 8.5 million tourists in 2010.

COVID-19 has added to Syria’s domestic woes and to displaced people from a range of conflicts across the Middle East Region (Red Cross Media).

As might be expected, Syria is opting for the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine (Middle East Monitor, 22 December 2020) as Syria struggles with its own COVID-19 challenges:



Pragmatic initiative can be reactivated. Land routes for travel across the Middle East Region are likely to assist in breaking the isolation of Syria. Syria has had success with the restoration of motorways which foster better ties with a more independent Iraq (SANA, 27 December 2020):



Such proactive images conceal the continued isolation of Syria when the winter sun could be attracting millions of expatriates and tourists.



Time will tell just what happens out of all this Machiavellian intrigue. The latest rocket attacks in Yemen against the arrival of a new Saudi backed Yemeni Government show up the fragility of old-time balance of power diplomacy (SBS 31 December 2020).

Hopefully, the Biden Administration can bring some predictability to US policies for the Middle East Region. Adding a loyalty award for Australia’s loyalty to the US Global Alliance should not be a badge of honour as hoped for by the US Embassy in Canberra, 10 November 2020:



A multicultural nation which claims to be now One and Free should be above such partisan diplomatic politics which stoke up the international tensions as covered in the risk and opportunity assessments from the pro-NATO Atlantic Council.


Denis Bright is a member of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). Denis is committed to citizen’s journalism from a critical structuralist perspective. Comments from insiders with a specialist knowledge of the topics covered are particularly welcome.


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The mug punter

By 2353NM

When we entered 2020, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was ‘livin’ the dream’. He had narrowly won the 2019 election and after a few months of pushing the tautological fiction that the Australian budget was already in surplus next year, he was kicking back in Hawaii with ‘Jen and the girls’ having a grand old time.

The problem was that Australia was being burnt to a crisp and the acting Prime Minister was invisible, allowing the Prime Minister’s office to attempt to convince us that Morrison was in the country and in charge. Until the The New Daily blew the whistle on the scam (and deservedly winning a 2020 Walkley for the report) Morrison must have thought we were all mug punters to fall for the story.

Morrison did return to the county and morphed into care and concern mode. The bushfires had at that stage been blazing for months, well before he left the country. His care and concern was being shown by visiting various staging areas and small towns — including forcing himself on people who had recently lost literally everything they had, including at times their friends or family to the fires — for a photo opportunity with his compliant media pack. He must have thought that the mug punters would accept his ‘thoughts and prayers’ because there wasn’t much coming their way in real assistance from the Coalition government.

After a period of time when Morrison was being justifiably pilloried for the lack of financial and physical support for the fire effort, he promised $2 billion, creating the National Bushfire Recovery Agency who have details on their website of where the money has been spent.

In November 2020, the Morrison Government settled out of court for the illegal (and unethical and immoral) Robodebt class action. It cost $1.2 billion in taxpayer funds. The money doesn’t consider the additional needs of the people who have ongoing mental health issues or even more tragically bring back to life the over 2,000 people who committed suicide due to the tyranny of the system. Robodebt was conceived at the time Morrison was the Social Security Minister, initiated when Morrison was the Treasurer and the pay-out authorised while Morrison was the Prime Minister. The payout also avoids the gory detail of how and why of Robodebt’s creation, implementation and management being publicly discussed in an open court.

Compare the two amounts, one was paid out by taxpayers to help Australians recover after a widespread event caused in part by the Coalition’s inability to accept science and commence the process of minimising climate change, the other was a taxpayer funded payout to preserve Morrison and his government’s reputation. Even if he believes we are mug punters, does he think that we should accept that?

We haven’t even got to the elephants in the 2020 room yet — COVID-19 and the maybe temporary demise of US President Donald Trump. A few days ago we took a close look at both of these topics, suffice to say here that Australia’s relative fortune in dealing with the pandemic is more to do with most State Premiers (as well as the two Chief Ministers) effectively implementing controls on movement and travel until they had confidence that their contract tracing and health systems were up to scratch. Premier Berejiklian was late to the party as there seemed to be little planning around the Ruby Princess but in the end that state’s contact tracing and health systems held up to the challenge. Premier Andrews also was forced to enact draconian measures on Victorians later on due to failures of economics (casualisation of employment) and the Federal aged care system, but his model to contain the virus is now being hailed around the world.

But COVID wasn’t going to stop Morrison. When Morrison announced that restrictions would be enforced to limit the spread of COVID-19 on 13 March, the planned implementation date was the following Monday. Everything was ok he said, despite the imminent banning of crowds over 500 people he was going to see the Sharks NRL team play their first game for the year over the weekend. Maybe someone told him that he was the mug punter here, as he subsequently backflipped.

By August, Morrison was engaged in political warfare using the sensible precautions of some states against them. It was interesting to watch as the jurisdictions with ALP Governments seemed to be incurring far more flak than Liberal states. Between August and the end of 2020, the Northern Territory, ACT and Queensland ALP government all had to go to elections, so they were singled out for special mentions in regard to case numbers and border closures. Despite Morrison’s obvious partisan support of the various Coalition parties in those states, all ALP Governments were returned. As noted by Macrobusiness

When the pandemic began, the power vacuum created by the Morrison wrecking ball had to be filled by somebody and state premiers did it, as they should.

When the Morrison wrecking ball repeatedly arced towards reopening borders as the pandemic raged worldwide, states shut theirs making it impossible.

When the Morrison wrecking ball gyrated wildly from lockdowns in some states to suppression in others as if there were no state borders, state premiers did what they had to protect constituents.

When the Morrison wrecking ball swerved behind a mad billionaire’s attempt to crush borders and democracy, state leaders blew it aside.

When the Morrison wrecking ball crashed into stimulus mid-depression, state leaders forced him to keep writing the cheques we can so very obviously afford.

When the Morrison wrecking ball smashed the virus into aged care centres (yes, that is s federal responsibility) across the east coast, driving a much higher death count, states picked up the tab in their health systems.

Maybe we have worked out who the real mug punter was in the past couple of months. As we discussed a few days ago

Then we have the politics. Wherever it exists, we are assailed by the unedifying spectacle of partisan, adversarial behaviour where virtually everything the opponents do or propose is wrong, inadequate, incompetent, ‘too little, too late’, or simply foolish. We are pleasantly surprised when agreement is achieved, or a compliment thrown across the political divide.

On the global front, intrigue, dishonesty, blackmail, manipulation, gaslighting, mafia-like behaviour, even assassination, are the tools of trade. ‘Throwing someone under the bus’ is a slightly less offensive trademark, but just as aggressive.

Immediate past Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (who you could argue had an axe to grind here because Morrison helped to knife him in the back), suggests that Morrison was ‘dazzled and duchessed’ by Trump on a number of issues including climate change. In short, Turnbull is claiming Morrison is a mug punter. Now that Trump’s corrosive influence has been nullified, can Morrison sniff the breeze, realise he backed the wrong horse and understand there is need for a policy pivot, as he won’t last long if he doesn’t?

Mug punters are usually classified as people that frequently wager more than they can afford, Initially they may revel in the satisfaction of beating the odds, usually the odds catch up and the punter loses the lot. Morrison was, in a previous life, the head of both the New Zealand and Australian Tourism Commissions. He was ‘let go’ prior to the expiry of his contract in both countries. They reckon things happen in threes.

What do you think?

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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Vale 2020

By Ad astra

As we exit the year past, what do you consider to be the most significant event of 2020?

Among a plethora of extraordinary events, as a doctor, the occurrence of COVID-19 gets my vote. Why?

Look at the statistics:

At the time of publication, this is the stark situation worldwide:

Cases: 72 million
Recovered: 47 million
Deaths: 1.6 million

In the US alone, the figures are startling:

Cases: 16.3 million
Deaths: 300,000, equivalent to the entire population of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

The US now records more daily deaths from COVID-19 than occurred on the day of that infamous terrorist assault on the US – September 11, 2001.

The bald numbers worldwide though fail to capture the anxiety, distress, pain, and sorrow evoked by COVID-19. We know that there are many undocumented cases, notably in the underprivileged, poverty-stricken countries of the world. Clearly, this is the most devastating pandemic since the Spanish Flu, which none of us are able to remember.

The pandemic threatens to continue for years, at least until an effective vaccine is created and administered to sufficient of the world’s population to create enough herd immunity to abort the spread of the virus. We have to accept this ugly reality, even as we hear promising talk of emerging vaccines in every news bulletin.

It is wreaking its legacy of disease, disability and death against an appalling background of war and civil strive the world over, far too widespread and enduring to list in this piece. Instead, if you have the stomach for it, take a look at this catalogue of contemporary events: Be prepared to be dismayed.

Add to these violent events the sad reality of political turmoil in hundreds of countries, in some manifest by benign disagreement, but in others characterised by confusion, uncertainty, political oppression, civil disorder, violent behaviour, even war. You don’t need a catalogue. Just turn on the TV each evening.

Then we have the politics. Wherever it exists, we are assailed by the unedifying spectacle of partisan, adversarial behaviour where virtually everything the opponents do or propose is wrong, inadequate, incompetent, ‘too little, too late’, or simply foolish. We are pleasantly surprised when agreement is achieved, or a compliment thrown across the political divide.

On the global front, intrigue, dishonesty, blackmail, manipulation, gaslighting, mafia-like behaviour, even assassination, are the tools of trade. ‘Throwing someone under the bus’ is a slightly less offensive trademark, but just as aggressive.

We hear regularly about the dubious or dishonest behaviour of Putin, Netanyahu, dictators in Central and Eastern European nations, and those warring in Armenia and Azerbaijan. It scarcely attracts our attention; these situations feel remote, not our concern.

While we bridle at some of the utterances of our own politicians, they pale against those we hear from other countries; ours are a relatively benign mob!

For sheer effrontery though, is there anyone who can hold a candle to POTUS Donald J Trump?


Image from


We know we won’t have to endure his shenanigans in the role as President for much longer, but realise he will continue to affront many of his own Americans, his allies, his enemies, and all who follow his extraordinarily bizarre behaviour, while all the time energising his cult followers.

Whilst he now seems prepared reluctantly to exit the White House, he will continue to insist that he won the recent Presidential election ‘in a landslide’, and that he is being deprived of victory by his adversaries (especially his nemesis ‘the fake media’) whom he accuses of perpetrating fraud on a massive scale, notwithstanding the repeated rejection of his assertions by several courts, and even some of his closest staffers. Moreover, he will continue to insist that he will contest the next election for President.

We must not take this threat lightly! He means it. His narcissistic need for continual publicity and adoration will never abate. Nor will the devotion of the cult that follows his every move, and accepts his every word. He will continue to be their inspiration, their saviour; indeed they will still insist they would ‘die for him’. The dangerous toll of entrenched belief starkly highlights this reality.

We have to acknowledge his enduring capacity to inspire, arouse, and enlist the unquestioning devotion of his followers. He has been doing so for many years, starting with his reality show The Apprentice. Attracting such devotion is his lifeblood, the very reason for his existence. We may struggle to understand such devotion, but it is real and enduring. His addiction to his adoring supporters is incurable, such as is his chronic narcissistic personality disorder.

Even during the interregnum between Trump, and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris being in office and in complete control, Trump will continue to tweet his disapproval and protests. His disruptive comments will continue long into Biden’s rule. Remember Trump is insane. Nothing will change that stark reality.

Even as he recedes into the mists of times past, don’t believe we’ve heard the last of him. He will continue be there in the background, sticking his nose into public affairs, offering his learned analysis and advice, insisting he is the one, the only one who has the wherewithal to govern the US, and steer the world in the right direction.

What have we done to deserve this?

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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