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Tag Archives: Joe Biden

Murdoch’s monster Trump all trussed up and in for a wild ride

A hog-tied Joe Biden is depicted in a life-size decal on the tailgate of a pickup truck in an image Donald Trump posts on Truth Social, Good Friday. Cue howls of outrage. Clearly, The Donald wants to make himself centre of attention again, via a “dead cat on the tailgate” decoy, in case we dwell on Biden’s rise in the polls. Or his success in fund raising.

Biden-gate is bad. But if anyone is all trussed up and in for a wild ride, it’s Trump. He is indicted on eighty-eight charges which include two federal counts for attempting to overturn a federal election and the alleged mishandling of presidential documents.

If full penalties were applied, (it’s unlikely), Trump could face seven hundred years in prison and eleven million in fines. This week, he must explain to a Manhattan court how he dipped into campaign funds to pay hush money to keep his squalid personal life out of the news.

Just before the 2016 presidential election, Trump pays $130,000 hush money to adult film star and film director, Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, with whom he had a brief affair in 2006. Fearing for her life, Clifford signs a non-disclosure agreement.

“… There would be a paper trail and money trail linking me to Donald Trump so that he could not have me killed.”

But look over there. It’s Kevin Bloody Rudd. Reports he calls Trump “destructive” and a “traitor to the west”. How very dare he? A barrage of smoke bombing erupts. Murdoch’s Empire strikes back. Every corporate news outlet has a Simon Benson, an Andrew Bolt or a Rita Panahi, huffing and puffing and clutching their pearls, over how Kevin Rudd cannot possibly be our next US ambassador because Trump hates him.

It’s clear Trump has no idea who Rudd is, but even our ABC credits his response to a loaded question written by Sky News and asked by yet another Murdoch tool. Take a bow, Brexit dimwit, Nigel Farage. Nigel’s another life member of chameleonic, cheapjack populism international.

It’s a tempest in a teapot but it shows how deeply our MSM is in thrall to Murdoch. Trump, a FOX production, is unlikely to be re-elected. But he’s still Murdoch’s sock puppet. He can’t even recall Joe Hockey, an embarrassingly unctuous toady, who as Bondi Partners founder, tapped into a lazy $368 billion, AUKUS boondoggle, where grift meets graft.

POTUS doesn’t appoint our US ambassadors, of course. The manufactured incident, Trump’s Gulf of Tonkin, disrupts news of the former failed president in court, as his sleazy past and lack of fiscal probity catch up with him. It slows his campaigning. For a while.

Trump is charged with no fewer than thirty-four cases of having falsified business records in relation to bribes or blackmail. No president can pardon state felonies.

It’s a world first even in the hanky-panky of POTUS which stars the late Marilyn Monroe’s breathy, X-rated rendition of Happy Birthday to JFK at a Madison Square Garden party fundraiser, 19 May 1962. Marilyn is sewn into a sequinned gown which just sold at auction for US$4.8 million. No room for underwear, commentators spluttered at the time.

Seven other presidents are alleged to have dropped their daks; or had affairs while in office, from FDR to Trump, yet Lyndon Baines Johnson is -until the current Trump case is settled- the only POTUS known to have paid child support for a child he fathered.

In a new twist, which Trump’s former doorman, Mr Dino Sajudin is prevented from discussing there is evidence that American Media Inquiry, a company offering a “catch and kill service” to those evading bad publicity, paid Sajudin $30,000 to keep mum about the child support Trump pays for a child he fathered in the late 1980s, at his World Tower built on the site of a department store, demolished by underpaid, undocumented Polish workers. Classy? He did quietly settle a class action with $1.4 million in 1988.

“Whenever Trump would come to the building, he would quite often give everybody a hundred-dollar bill,” the doorman recalls. On the other hand, he adds, “It’s like a corporate mob, so to speak. They’ll try to be nice to you in the beginning, to try and get what they want. And then, if that doesn’t work, they try to strong-arm you.”

The strong-arming in focus, today, in court is via non-disclosure agreements. Trump has a company for those, The National Enquirer, a supermarket tabloid has American Media Inc, a shell company. AMI pays you to keep silent while you pay them a million dollars if you blab. What makes the three hush money payment cases felonies, and not misdemeanours, is that they are alleged to have been made from election campaign funds.

The seventy-seven-year-old dotard faces thirty-four counts of fraud in the first criminal trial of a former president. Trump’s payments to Daniels and McDougal break federal rules on corporate and individual campaign donations, prosecutors contend. Above all, the bribes are meant to “conceal damaging information from the voting public.”

Will a hog-tied Biden upstage Judge Juan Merchan? The federal judge slaps a gag order on Trump for threatening the judge’s daughter and orders Trump not to publicly attack potential witnesses, prosecutors, court staff, their families or prospective jurors.

Sounding off on the oxymoronic Truth Social, Trump calls Merchan a “true and certified Trump hater who suffers from a very serious case of Trump Derangement Syndrome.”

“In other words, he hates me,” Trump adds, should the word “hater” need a gloss. “Judge Merchan should recuse himself, he cannot give me a fair trial.” Trump also alleges Merchan’s daughter is “a senior executive at a Super Liberal Democrat firm.”

The gag order won’t worry Trump. Nor curb his antics. His dog-eat-dog world view is of life as a bleak, pitiless, contest in which winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.

But wait. Is Trump condoning vigilante violence, riot and affray, again? A Biden kidnapping is mild compared with his MAGA mob, of two thousand rioters, led by Proud Boys and sundry other, gun-toting, thugs which attempted to hi-jack democracy, 6 January 2022.

How could anyone forget Trump’s assault on the Capitol and the violent disrupting of a joint session called to ratify Biden’s election as America’s forty-sixth president according to the Final Report of the House January 6 Committee, published late last December?

Trump was conspiring to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election, obstruct the certification of the election results, and discount citizens’ legitimate votes as special counsel Jack Smith spells it out. Nor was he any innocent bystander.

“The central cause of January 6th was one man, former President Donald Trump, who many others followed,” reads the report. “None of the events of January 6th would have happened without him.”

A grave threat to democracy, the attack “put the lives of American lawmakers at risk,” the nine-member panel concludes. But that was yesterday. Or at least last year.

Trump’s invective is ever more violently dystopian. Biden’s border bloodbath? Immigrants are poisoning the blood of the nation, claims the son of a Scottish mother and the grandson of an enterprising Bavarian immigrant, Friedrich Trump, 1869-1918, who ran a barbershop and a Yukon brothel among other ventures, in his quest to make his fortune.

Ironically, when Friedrich did make enough money to return home to marry the girl next door, authorities deported him as a draft-dodger. Too young for military service when he left; he was a few months too old when he returned. He and his wife were deported.

Trump warns of “a bloodbath” if he’s not re-elected causing the nation to forgo Don- economics which include a hundred percent import duty on China’s cars. It will be the end of democracy itself, he says. Everybody knows Biden is a dark state tyrant.

A rich kid who was sent to military school to cure his teenage intransigence, Trump, once the playboy of the Western World who dedicated his life to burning through his father’s fortune, is down on his luck, broke and increasingly desperate and demented.

Appearing in his fever-dreams, doubtless, is the ghost of a doting father, Frederick Christ Trump, workaholic property developer, rack-renter and a Republican who made donations, developer-friendly friends and did favours for the Democrat machine running Brooklyn.

Fred Trump’s idea of fathering was to let his boy watch him work. A master of the art of the crooked deal, Fred’s scams include setting up a company to inflate invoices relating to the upkeep of his rental empire. His tenants would see their rents increased according to the fraudently calaculated expenditure. What a mensch!

“Be a king. Be a killer”, he told Donald. Yet he expected his son to learn how by osmosis.

A quick and dirty way to build identity and forge community is by mocking, vilifying and excluding outsiders and transgressors. Get in the van, Biden. The decal is selling well.

The $254 million which poured into Donald Trump’s “election defense fund” between 4 November 2020, the day after Joe Biden’s election and 20 Jan, Bidens’ election, is almost gone on legal fees. Baulky billionaires alienated by Trump’s followers’ armed attack on Capitol Hill 6 January are now kissing and making up with Mr Tangerine Tan.

What makes Trump richly attractive is that the professional hustler, serial liar, sex pest and rapist is no Joe Biden, who proposes a twenty-five percent billionaire’s tax.

Not content with his gold, “never surrender” sneakers, a steal at $399, freak of the week, in the elite billionaire redhead class, goes to Father Don Trump who is now flogging bibles to help pay his legal fees. Come on down. For $59.99, you, too can say “God Bless America” by ordering your own (two testaments for barely the price of one).

You also get all the words to God Bless The USA, The Declaration of Independence, The Pledge of Allegiance and a copy of the Constitution of the United States, which Trump broke in at least eight ways during presidency, before we even getting to the vexed question over his legal culpability for his role in inciting the insurrection.

But Trump’s bizarre attempt to pose as an honest to goodness, sweet little old Bible-toting guy, itself so deeply inappropriate yet so fittingly inauthentic will not save him. Nor will Trump Media and Technology Group Corp Inc., a way of floating his cash-strapped vanity publishing and propaganda unit, Truth Social, on the stock market.

True, in another richly attractive world first, Trump Media etc provides a vehicle for any kind of outfit to buy a stake in his presidency, without the risk of being named or found out,

“Think about it: Saudi sovereign funds, Russian oligarchs, Sicilian mobsters, Nigerian oil ministers, hedge-funders, private-equity bros, and MAGA-loving billionaires now have a direct, unregulated money pipeline into the presumptive Republican nominee.”

Yet on the downside, Trump Media and Technology Group Corp Inc. has attracted the attention of authorities who suspect it of being another Trump, pump and dump scheme. Whilst its value soared following its float, DJT is beginning what may be a rapid if not disastrous free-fall. Trump, himself is prohibited from selling his shares for six months but by that time, the company will probably be yet another Trump bankruptcy.

One sure way of triggering that decline is for a desperate Trump to get his henchmen to collude in his selling some of his fifty-eight percent holding. Once the market gets wind of that, his stock like his political fortunes will sink like a stone.

The image of Joe Biden hog-tied is a type of call to violence as is Trump’s thinly veiled attack on the daughter of a judge and his increasingly violent imagery of bloodshed. In the context of his urging over two thousand supporters to storm the Capitol and in the testimony of those he has paid hush money, moreover, there is every reason to take Trump’s threats seriously – especially in the context of what we know of his upbringing with its emphasis on ruthlessness, cruelty, dishonesty and winning at any price.

The Murdoch empire’s attempts to distract our attention from the monster it created and its legitimising of one of the most toxic candidates for the presidency of the US should be called for what it is, a last-ditch attempt to prop up an ugly and increasingly strident faux-populist demagogue who has only ever been interested in his own, personal gain and who will cheerfully destroy whatever remains of justice, democracy and decency in his path.

 

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Fake democracy

Leaders from “approximately 110 countries were invited to take part in” President Biden’s two-day Summit for Democracy.

The complete list of participating countries can be found here. You’ll notice that Australia attended (represented by Prime Minister Prime Minister Scott Morrison), which I will get to shortly.

President Biden focused on a few issues, including “election integrity, countering authoritarian regimes and bolstering independent media.”

It is the latter that I wish to comment on.

The President clearly takes independent media seriously, requesting “$236 million dollars in the 2022 budget to support independent media around the globe, announcing that:

“A free and independent media [is] the bedrock of democracy,” Biden said in remarks kicking off the virtual Summit for Democracy. “It’s how the public stays informed and how governments are held accountable.”

Let’s repeat that. “It’s how the public stays informed and how governments are held accountable.”

Scott Morrison should have excused himself at that very moment. If a democracy means that you encourage independent media or independent journalism, then ours is a fake democracy.

Why?

Consider this:

Amendments to the Federal Treasurer’s media bargaining code will be tabled in the New Year.

In a nutshell, if passed, it will mean that in Australia, Facebook and Google can only publish articles from the Murdoch media, Kerry Stokes media, and Fairfax/Channel 9.

Basically, it will be ensure that the voices of independent (or dissenting) media is muffled in the lead up to the next election.

Consider also, that the largest media empire in Australia, the Murdoch media, do absolutely nothing to hold the Morrison government to account. If anything, they seem to behave like the government’s mouthpiece.

The two considerations above should disqualify us from calling ourselves true democracy.

 

 

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More Hopeful Times Ahead with President Joe Biden in a Post-Virus Era?

By Denis Bright

Can the politics of hope replace the normal circus of a US Presidential election in these times of public health and financial crises? Is Joe Biden as the Democratic hopeful up to the task against a well-resourced and canny incumbent?

How are things trending on the Twin Fronts? What unchartered scenarios lie ahead before the scheduled Presidential voting day on 3 November 2020?

Coping with the COVID-19 Crisis

The Guardian (9 April 2020) provided useful updates of the COVID-19 Crisis across the USA. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) web site in Atlanta provides daily updates of the trend-lines.

While the North Eastern Metropolitan Areas are virus epicentres, there are clusters of COVID-19 around all major urban hubs across the USA.

Graphs of cases of COVID-19 may follow trends established in South Korea and China in the coming weeks after the peak of the crisis is finally attained.

 

 

Countries with different health systems may be following similar trajectories.

Perhaps the degree of enforcement of social distancing is a key factor.

 

Regrettably, President Trump is uneasy about keeping the US in lockdown. The US was a late starter in issuing lockdown directives. The Trump Administration took its lockdown cues from the key epicentre states.

President Trump’s unease is linked to his concerns about the consequences of an over-extended lockdown for the financial welfare of the nation.

The US Financial Crisis-The Times They Are A-Changing

As the vital COVID-19 case numbers are likely to plateau and then to flatten in a few weeks, it is the financial crisis which is likely to intensify (The Guardian 9 April 2020). Perhaps there is provision to defer the presidential and congressional elections if unemployment trends worsen at a time of public health crisis. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first landslide victory in 1932 at the height of the Great Depression came with a voter participation of 56.9 per cent. This was similar to recent voter participation rates in recent presidential elections.

McKinsey Global Institute in New York offers the possibility of a China-led recovery if the pandemic can be contained in the medium term in 2020:

 

 

Trajectories for the US economy and its global influence are of course unknown quantities at this stage. The McKinsey Institute does not extend its more detailed US projections beyond the current year.

 

 

Unchartered Social Outcomes of Previous Crises

In these times of financial and health crises, it is surprising that the US is turning to veteran leaders on both sides of the congressional aisles.

Old musical folk-heroes are being respected anew even if they maintain some left-leaning agendas as in the 1960s. Perhaps the popular music scene is an ongoing escape from the excesses of centre-right politics now as before.

Like Barry McGuire (Born 1935) of Eve of Destruction fame, Bob Dylan might be still alive to sing out the Trump Era. This is less likely if President Trump gains a second term. The changeover inauguration date in January 2025 is still a very long way off.

From near-retirement, Bob Dylan has just offered a new release on 27 March 2020. Murder Most Foul recalls the social aftermaths of President Kennedy’s (JFK’s) assassination on Friday 22 November 1963 (Full lyrics here).

Writing for MIT Press Reader, literature guru Timothy Hampton of the University of California, Berkley reminds every one of the haunting tragedies that afflict US society over which a cheery popular culture continues to offer band-aid compensations (The MIT Press Reader 3 April 2020).

Social band-aids were needed as high-profile assassinations in the 1960s. Formal politics in the USA tilted to the right while most of society continued its freedom-loving ways in the shadows of a more disciplined corporate society with its enormous and growing military industrial complexes.

The losses of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King within a few weeks of each other in 1968 deepened the wounds against a healthy social recovery from JFK’s assassination. When the Woodstock Festival convened in upstate New York in August 1969, President Nixon had already won by a landslide at the 1968 election. There was no It’s Time Era in formal US Politics as in Australia, Britain and across the expanding European Union.

Writing in The Conversation, Aniko Bodroghkozy, Professor of Media Studies at the University of Virginia summed up the eerie mood across the USA as COVID-19 takes its toll:

Over the past few weeks, the coronavirus has turned the country’s cultural spigot off, with sports suspended, museums closed and movies postponed.

But the virus hasn’t stopped Bob Dylan, who, on the evening of March 26, released “Murder Most Foul,” a 17-minute long song about the Kennedy assassination.

Many have pondered the timing. So, have I. I’m a Kennedy scholar, writing a book about how television handled coverage of the Kennedy assassination over a traumatic four-day “black weekend,” as it was called. I’ve also explored how Americans responded to the sudden upending of national life with the murder of a popular and uniquely telegenic president.

NBC News anchor David Brinkley, as he signed off that first night, called Kennedy’s death “just too much, too ugly and too fast.”

The coronavirus crisis may also seem too much and too ugly, though it’s unfolded much more slowly. While a global pandemic is certainly different from a political assassination, I wonder if Dylan sensed some resonance between the two events. Inscrutable as always, he’s unlikely to ever explain. And yet it’s hard to ignore the poignant similarities in the ways Americans have responded to each tragedy.

Ana Swanson of the New York Times notes the switch from trade and investment wars with China to increasing dependence on China for vital medical supplies in the current health crisis:

WASHINGTON — A commercial aircraft carrying 80 tons of gloves, masks, gowns and other medical supplies from Shanghai touched down in New York on Sunday, the first of 22 scheduled flights that White House officials say will funnel much-needed goods to the United States by early April as it battles the world’s largest coronavirus outbreak.

The plane delivered 130,000 N95 masks, 1.8 million face masks and gowns, 10 million gloves and thousands of thermometers for distribution to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, said Lizzie Litzow, a spokeswoman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Ms. Litzow said that flights would be arriving in Chicago on Monday and in Ohio on Tuesday, and that supplies would be sent from there to other states using private-sector distribution networks.

While the goods that arrived in New York on Sunday will be welcomed by hospitals and health care workers — some of whom have resorted to rationing protective gear or using homemade supplies — they represent just a tiny portion of what American hospitals need. The Department of Health and Human Services has estimated that the United States will require 3.5 billion masks if the pandemic lasts a year.

That overwhelming demand has set off a race among foreign countries, American officials at all levels of government and private individuals to acquire protective gear, ventilators and other much-needed goods from China, where newly built factories are churning out supplies even as China’s own epidemic wanes.

This sharing of medical assistance from China in a time of crisis is particularly significant. Australia has the green light to respond in a likewise manner (ABC News):

A freight flight from the city where the deadly coronavirus first appeared has arrived in Sydney, carrying 90 tonnes of protective masks, gowns and ventilators.

Tough restrictions on travel in and out of Wuhan, China were only lifted in the last 24 hours, and the city’s airport whirred back into action along with many other transport hubs in Hubei province.

The cargo flight, operated by Chinese carrier Suparna Airlines, arrived in Sydney after 9:00pm on Wednesday, and is the first flight from Wuhan to land at Australia’s busiest airport since late January.

“This flight will be carrying up to 90 tonnes of much needed medical supplies,” a spokesperson for the Home Affairs Department told the ABC.

Readers who would like to promote discussion on this possible change agenda should add their comments in the interests of citizens’ journalism.

The Atlantic (20 November 2013) has offered some trivia from The Wire to assist in your assessment of Joe Biden from a selective focus on his College Years (The Atlantic 20 November 2013). Select quoting from this article would spoil its punch-lines.

Luck will have to be on Joe Biden’s side again if he is to overcome the challenges posed by the political colours on the 2016 US Presidential Election Map. The 2016 Campaign delivered a 304 to 227 margin for President Trump in the Electoral College. Hillary Clinton gained almost 3 million primary votes over Donald Trump and attained 48.2 per cent of the overall vote.

The campaigning style of Joe Biden has yet to be tested against a canny incumbent with almost limitless campaigning resources to communicate with a nation in lockdown. Joe Biden’s ultimate political trial on 3 November 2020 must surely attract some of the silent majority who are not scared off by the long-odds.

Australia is so entwined in the global soft power network of the USA that our interest is imperative. I can recall the exact ABC radio news bulletin at 6 a.m. on that Saturday morning here which informed me of JFK’s assassination. It took years to understand the long-term even immediate consequences. With the assassin incorrectly portrayed as a communist sympathiser at the time, the electorate was already ready to stay with Robert Menzies on 30 November 1963 with his commitments to new F11 Fighter Jets and negotiations to accept the North West Cape Communication base through negotiations with US Ambassador William Battle. Australia was intimately caught up in the right-wing tendencies in global politics within the US Global Alliance.

The guide to form map from the 2016 Presidential Campaign shows the challenges facing my own outsider wager in favour of Joe Biden knowing that President Trump has a knack of mobilising his own support base in those key Swing States like Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania which have the numbers to change our political world through the strange mechanics of the US Electoral College. Building up more progressive majorities in California and New York do help congressional numbers but do not influence the race prize for Joe Biden.

In the Hope of Progressive Change, I choose to Trust in my current assessment of Unchartered Times.

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

 

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Send a peace-keeping team where it’s needed most, ScoMo

Em şîv in hûn jî paşîv in,” or, if we are dinner you are supper, Armenians warn Kurds before Turkish massacres – a recurrent motif in Kurdish oral history.

As Donald Trump abruptly withdraws US air support and a trip-wire of US troops from North-East Syria, in the vast Kurdish-controlled triangle, locals call Rojava or “The West”, Sunday, he clears the way for Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to begin Operation Peace Spring, a long-planned, long-threatened military offensive to purge the Kurds. Erdoğan’s blitzkrieg starts Wednesday 9 October.

Turkey is pressing on with its alternative buffer zone concept, trashing the neutral corridor plan the US and Turkey say they’ve been working on for a year – at least. Erdoğan’s plan is to invade Syria and fill the illegally occupied territory along Turkey’s southern border with 2 million Syrian refugees – or “up to half the 3.6 million people”, the UN registers as currently taking refuge in Turkey. The EU can pick up the tab. Ankara’s pitch is far-fetched, impracticable and threatens to re-ignite ISIS but Trump buys it.

ISIS is more acceptable to an anti-Ataturk Erdoğan than Rojava, a Kurdish radically decentralised and democratic social revolution which embraced gender equality and inspired activists worldwide. Rojava’s the antithesis of the more common Middle Eastern patriarchal despotism. It’s easy to see why its radical egalitarian political and social structure is ideologically repugnant to the conservative autocrat Erdoğan.

On top of ancient hatreds are grafted newer layers of distrust. And on top of these are military realities. Former legionnaire and YPG (Peoples’ Protection Unit) volunteer, Jamie Williams successfully volunteered to fight with the Kurds against Daesh in 2017, he writes in The Saturday Paper. He soon realised that the Kurds were as much at risk from Turkey as from Daesh or ISIS as it prefers to be known.

Kurdish force YPG has its women-only counterpart the YPJ. Our government has provided air support to the group – yet it is linked with PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party, whom Erdoğan regards as terrorists, responsible for acts of terror in Turkey. To many commentators they are one and the same group.

Propaganda from Turkey is all about fighting terrorists, spin which our own PM repeats even as civilians are indiscriminately killed in the first few days of the Turkish onslaught. Trump sets off a powder keg.

“All hell breaks loose” says The Washington Post after a Sunday phone call between the two populist presidents. Talk turns to trade and help with defence in the exhausted superlatives Trump favours. Only late in the call, does the topic turn to Erdoğan’s impending invasion and grander aims.

Trump offers a “really good package”, of F35 jets, lemons at $100m a pop, from Lockheed’s $1.5 trillion defence boondoggle, the most expensive in the world, even though Turkey will still buy a missile defence system from Russia, and keep a multi-billion-dollar plan to dodge US sanctions on Iran. A presidential visit is thrown into the deal. Trump tells Erdoğan not to invade, he insists. Turkey’s actions attest otherwise.

A White House statement issued after the phone call certainly appears to confirm the withdrawal.

“Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria. The US Armed Forces … having defeated the ISIS territorial ‘Caliphate,’ will no longer be in the immediate area.”

Turkish officials maintain Trump privately gave Erdoğan the go-ahead. Trump ups his bluster.

Congressional Republicans erupt in protest. Trump denies all report of any such undertaking. Hapless administration officials are scrambled to explain, ineffectually, that Trump’s yes means no; the US does not consent to Turkey’s plans to invade Syria nor collude in Erdoğan’s fantasy of an Ottoman Empire 2.0.

A bipartisan group forms to devise sanctions; put Turkey’s war machine genie back in its bottle. As if.

By Monday, having provoked outrage from even the typically recumbent if not supine Republicans in the House and the Senate, Trump threatens to “obliterate” his NATO ally’s economy, if Erdoğan doesn’t stop invading Syria; rhetoric he quickly tones down. Turkey is now warned not to do “anything outside what we think is humane” – or the country will “suffer the wrath of an extremely decimated economy.”

What we think is humane? Pressed for time to interpret Trump’s double-speak, Ankara could do worse than glance at Amnesty International’s summary of the Trump administration’s human rights abuses in its immigration policy alone. Amnesty says the Trump administration’s policy and practices have caused:

“..catastrophic irreparable harm to thousands of people, have spurned and manifestly violated both US and international law, and appeared to be aimed at the full dismantling of the US asylum system.”

Meanwhile, a new wave of 2000 US troops is deployed in Saudi Arabia, the Pentagon announces, topping up a thousand recently deployed there to pot-shot the odd drone, all part of the US bogus war on Iran which Trump & Co are trying to gin up, purely to help his 2020 re-election prospects. The troops will be on hand to “assure and enhance” Saudi Arabia’s defence and no doubt help its women learn to drive.

It’s a low blow to Canberra’s attempts to paint Trump’s capitulation to Erdoğan as consistent with The Donald’s avowed isolationism; his public wish to “get out of these ridiculous endless wars”. Someone needs to tell ScoMo and Co not to confuse Trump’s performance shtick with any deeper conviction.

ScoMo tells Nine Newspapers and others that there’s nothing to see here. The most erratic president in US history is just acting consistently. It’s all going to plan. A po-faced ScoMo claims Trump outlined his aim to withdraw troops from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq a year ago and is now acting on that message.

“I think it would be wrong to not draw an element of consistency between those statements almost a year ago and the action the United States has been taking since, including most recently,” ScoMo bloviates.

“As is the nature of alliances and friendships, you work through these issues together and you understand them together and you speak frankly to one another and you do that in the spirit of that relationship.”

Bunkum. Part of the outrage amongst even his own party, is Trump’s total lack of consultation. Left out of the loop, say Politico and others, were foreign allies, Congress even some in his own administration.

Trump is working nothing through together, ScoMo. Nor is there any element of consistency. Trump’s administration has, in fact, increased US involvement in what he calls their “ridiculous endless wars”.

US Air Forces central command reports late last month, it launched the most airstrikes in Afghanistan over a single month in roughly a decade. American troops have ramped up airstrikes in Libya targeting ISIS fighters there. And the US continues its shadow war in Somalia to repel terrorists there. The new wave in Saudi Arabia means a total net increase of 17000 US troops in the region since May.

Stung by accusations of incompetence, Saturday, Trump appears on Fox’s Justice with Janine to utter his most pathetic self-justification yet, “He (Erdoğan) was going to go in anyway. They’ve been fighting the Kurds for 200 years. He was going in anyway,” Trump professes US impotence to host Jeanine Pirro.

In doing so, Trump unwittingly confirms that he’s given in to Erdoğan’s demands. It is unlikely to boost his party’s trust or Trump’s self-appointed role as super-patriot and nationalist. His wimpy surrender to Turkey’s territorial ambitions makes America great again? Like his protégé, Scott Morrison, when the chips are down he doesn’t give a toss about principle or consistency or even plausible deniability.

As with any of our current crop of political monsters, the winner-take-all strong men thrown up by neoliberalism’s decline, sky-rocketing inequality and the rise and rise of hyper-nationalism, it’s all about political survival – at any price.

Trump needs a diversion from his impeachment narrative and Rudy Giuliani’s erratic stunts are not helping. He puts on his isolationist mask when it suits. Only Murdoch hacks and ScoMo take it seriously.

Isolationist Trump is stymied because continuous war is vital to the United States military industrial complex if not the economy, a neoliberal supreme being second only to the free market in the cult’s articles of faith. Kentucky’s Senator Rand Paul – even more of an embarrassing Trump fanboy than our own PM, rushes to defend his president’s isolationism but, as with toady ScoMo, his credibility is low.

As Republicans and Democrats alike bag Trump for enabling Turkish attacks on U.S. Kurdish allies which could enable ISIS prisoners of war to escape and reform, Paul declares that most Americans would actually agree with President Trump that this is not a war that has our national interest at stake.”

Even if national interest can mean whatever you choose it to mean, it’s difficult to agree with Paul that America’s national interest will emerge unscathed as its reputation as an ally is trashed – and as the Kurdish body count mounts – so far, Turkish authorities claim to have killed 277 terrorists.

Kurdish sources claim that most of those killed or maimed by bombs and air strikes are civilians.

Does Trump give “a green light” or “a trigger” to Turkey’s military ambitions? Experts differ. Trump, himself, is increasingly incoherent and – like his disciple, Scott Morrison -consistently fast and loose and with the truth. What is certain is that the US betrays its military allies, the Kurds who have lost eleven thousand men and women fighting America’s Syrian military intervention in the last five years at least.

What is also clear is that Trump crafts a week of utter confusion over US Middle-East policy in a desperate bid to stem the growing movement to impeach him for enlisting Ukraine’s sad clown, former comic turned President, Volodymyr Zelensky, to help him smear Joe Biden and the whole Mueller inquiry.

Zelensky is now rapidly running up a trust deficit in polls reported this week. His dealings with Trump; his proposals to end the Kremlin-backed war in Ukraine’s East – don’t help. Ukrainians see him less as a running gag on Ukraine’s hopelessly corrupt political system and more like a puppet of a local billionaire.

“Never get into a well with an American rope,” goes a saying, The Independent’s Patrick Cockburn reports, is spreading across the Middle East. Will Trump’s treachery also be an object lesson to Canberra?

It’s unlikely given the obsequious fawning of ScoMo’s recent Washington junket, to say nothing of Titanium Man’s subsequent mimicry of Trump on how China is a developed nation and expect no favours over Kyoto targets such as Australia enjoys. But ScoMo knows that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and this week sees him morph even further into a Trump even without fake tan or combover.

On song with Donald, ScoMo also rails against “unaccountable internationalist bureaucracies” which UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, reminds our PM, Australia helped set up. The scrutiny Morrison’s government rejects is based on international standards it helped create.

We’re also backing out of the UN Climate fund, Morrison decrees, following Trump’s inspiring example. Money saved can go to the Pacific, (it would, anyway, under the fund), especially our fruit-picking Fijians who will love their rugby until Fiji’s playing fields are underwater courtesy of our heroic contribution to global warming as we squib our commitment to our Paris Agreement target with carry-over credits.

Heroic? When we take into account our exports’ carbon dioxide emission potential, Australia ranks as the world’s third largest fossil fuel exporter, behind only Russia and Saudi Arabia reports The Australia Institute. Wherever our exported fossil fuels may be burnt, they emit more carbon dioxide than the exported emissions of all but two of the world’s biggest oil- and gas-producing nations.

Helping galloping Trumpism sweep the nation in their own self-righteous, dismissive way on Sunday’s ABC Insiders are Murdoch’s Michael Stuchbury and mining lobby tool, The Sydney Institute’s, merry Gerry Henderson who talk up ScoMo’s climate leadership and still find time to defend Peter Dutton for just stating the obvious about how China does not share our “Australian values”.

Gerry scotches all notion of ScoMo criticising his mentor and BFF Donald Trump.

“There is no reason why the Australian government should criticise the American President” says Henderson, airily, ignoring years of utter chaos, corruption and racist violence since January 2017.

Certainly no criticism of Trump appears in ScoMo&Co’s fabulous Dr Doolittle routine, the Payne-Morrison Foreign Policy Pushmi-pullyu duo who sing from the same ponderous song-sheet, in eerie fidelity.

“The Australian Government is deeply troubled by Turkey’s unilateral military operation into North-Eastern Syria. It will cause additional civilian suffering, lead to greater population displacement, and further inhibit humanitarian access. While Turkey has legitimate domestic security concerns, unilateral cross-border military action will not solve these concerns.”

Take that, Erdogan and your domestic security concerns. Neville Chamberlain couldn’t have put it better.

Or as Orwell warns, “A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details… When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.”

Weasel words and the vexed question of his aiding and abetting mad elected-King Donald aside, ScoMo and Co are “deeply troubled” only by having to fake moral outrage at Turkey’s turpitude. It’s a tough gig.

Causing “additional human suffering” bothers a PM who plans to revoke Medevac legislation in November? Hardly. “Humanitarian access” worries the gate-keeper of our asylum-seeker gulags both on and off-shore where mandatory, indefinite, detention is denounced by the UN as be a form of torture?

Greater population displacement worries the architect of the Cambodian Solution? A government which opens Christmas Island for one family is averse to additional civilian suffering? A key aim of our mandatory detention of asylum seekers is to punish those on Manus and Nauru or those locked up on the mainland and deprived of any social welfare payments -as a deterrent to other aspiring boat people.

Shunning the UN and similar international bodies is a retreat from co-operative globalism into barbarism. It is also, as the UN makes clear, a denial of our own humanity, a futile attempt to evade our own conscience; our sense of accountability and social responsibility.

Trump’s sudden withdrawal is a triple betrayal. The Kurds are now at risk not only from Turkey but from ISIS fighters they have captured, five of whom already liberate themselves after Turkish shelling from nearby. Kurdish fighters also face hostility from Assad’s regime – and will lose their homes to strangers.

Many of Syria’s Kurdish people live in cities and towns such as Qamishli, Kobani and Tal Abyad just south of the Syrian-Turkish frontier. By Sunday, hundreds of thousands are fleeing south, terrified by the prospect of a Turkish occupation, backed by bands of Syrian Arab paramilitaries with links to al-Qaeda type groups. CNN reports that the bombardment could displace 300,000 people. Some say more.

Operation Peace Spring is Ankara’s Orwellian title for Turkey, and its Syrian proxies’ air strikes, heavy artillery, rocket fire and land assault; a campaign to illegally annex a “peace corridor” of Northern Syria thirty kilometres deep and some say 480 kilometres along Turkey’s entire Southern border with Syria.

Some sources suggest a more modest but no less illegal 120 kilometres of lebensraum is Turkey’s aim. But how can anyone be sure? In a Rafferty’s Rules-based world of disorder only might is right.

Is this what we’ve become?

Ankara has plans to relocate two million Syrian Arab refugees from other parts of Syria it currently has within its borders immediate aim is to seize Rojava; embark upon further Kurdish ethnic cleansing. As it happens, President Erdoğan announces, he’s just discovered that the land doesn’t belong to the Kurds.

It’s not his first invasion. On 20 January 2018, Turkey attacked the Kurdish city of Afrin in Operation Olive Branch, an offensive which displaced 300,000 Kurds who lost family homes to strangers resettled from eastern Ghouta, an urban suburb of Damascus. Human Rights Watch reports that armed Syrian paramilitary groups were permitted to detain and “forcibly disappear civilians.

Nothing to fear from a mafia, murderer and serial killer Turkish state mobilising its armed forces to massacre more Kurds? Hurriedly, publicly walking back any commitment he has made privately to Erdoğan, Trump says he’ll keep the Turks in check; “obliterate” their economy if they try any funny stuff.

“As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!)” the USA’s Tweeter-in-Chief warns Ankara via Twitter.

His Stable Genius has it all under control.

Erdogan gets a hand, meanwhile. Prior to withdrawal, CNN reports, the US persuades Kurds to dismantle fortifications and to move troops away from the border whilst helpfully giving Turkey airspace access and intelligence on the area to improve its aim – or in military newspeak, formulate its target lists.

Our own Trumpista, Scott Morrison has only recently returned from a brief but sell-out US tour where he did a star turn as Trump’s muppet. It’s a stunt, as Bernard Keane puts it, in which all of Australia’s foreign policy is outsourced to The White House. Now ScoMo must come up with something. He fails.

He rushes to urge “restraint of all those who are involved” – lest Kurds throw themselves rashly under Turkish tanks, or rush to put themselves or their families in line of fire of bullets or mortar attacks.

It’s all in a good cause. More grandiose plans and delusions aside, Erdogan and Trump are both down in the polls. Trump happily abandons US allies, Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces, (SDF) and Kurdish civilians to Turkish genocide. It’s certainly diverting attention from moves to impeach him for seeking Ukraine’s help, for his own political advantage; to dig dirt on Joe Biden’s son. He has to be prepared. What if Joe Biden should win the Democratic nomination and not Elizabeth Warren?

Trump’s dumping of former US allies ought to be a wake-up call to those who fetishise the ANZUS alliance- merely an agreement to consult in times of crisis, despite the reverence our MPs bestow upon it.

The world sees clearly both the limits of US authority and how Trump treats US allies, an object lesson unlikely to be missed by Asian nations. Yet the warning is unlikely to be heeded by ScoMo and Co. Morrison’s government and its Murdoch mouthpiece is now so much part of the Trump cult that not only does our PM’s speeches on foreign policy now mimic the US President’s pre-occupations; lecturing China on trade and climate, he reneges on Australia’s commitment to the UN Green Climate Fund.

“I’m not writing a $500 million cheque to the UN, I won’t be doing that. There’s no way I’m going to do that to Australian taxpayers,” ScoMo tells reporters, an antipodean Zelig aping Trump’s 2017 decision.

In other words, ScoMo, you’ll sell us short. Don’t copy Trump. The UN Green Climate Fund -decades in the making – was inspired by the urgent need to support developing nations in responding to the challenge of climate change. It helps developing nations curb their emissions and adapt. It provides for our children and grandchildren – and their children and grandchildren.

Above all, aping your mentor Trump in attacking the UN and other international bodies designed to promote global citizenship and co-operation, you are betraying all Australians and especially those who helped create internationalism; a set of rules and responsibilities, which might help us to act according to our higher instincts. These include resolving conflict, offering refuge, respecting human rights and applying the rule of law so that we might all benefit from a civilised international society.

The least Australia can do, for starters, is to censure Trump for colluding in Erdoğan’s invasion of Syria; giving the green light to his genocidal plans towards the Kurds. Other nations are already applying sanctions on Turkey. It is imperative we also take a stand against Erdoğan’s invasion before it is too late.

Prevailing on your BFF Donald Trump to resume control of the skies over North-East Syria would be a start while an international peace-keeping team could follow. You can send a team to the Golan Heights on Israel’s border. Surely you can also send a team where it’s needed most.

 

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