Sunday Sanity Break, 22 January 2017 - Trump, Bourke St mall madness
Donald Trump is now sworn in and delivered what I assume is the greatest list of achievements his 'most IQ ever' cabinet is tasked to help him achieve. 'Make America Great again', create meaningful jobs for rustbelt workers, provide healthcare for all, better schools with less money, and restoring America's decaying infrastructure. If the Donald pulls off any part of this he will be hailed. Over half and his face joins the gang at Mt Rushmore.
And in foreign policy, smacking down China through tariffs and forcing them to give up the islands they have built on reefs in the South China Sea. How this can be done is not explained, but one doubts that the Chinese will agree without some serious discussion and with two mighty military machines playing chicken, what are the chances of accidental war?
Australia's Prime minister must be girding his loins to decide how to remain neutral if the shooting starts, or even what to say if he is asked to join our great ally when it sends its fleet to force the representatives of our greatest trading nation off land they regards as theirs.
Malcolm spoke with feeling about the tragedy that exploded in Melbourne last Friday. With 5 innocent lunchtime strollers now dead and around the same number fighting for their lives, two questions need to be answered. Why was such a clearly highly disturbed young man freed on parole after he was nabbed for some violent act? And why were the police unable, or unwilling to ram his car to capture such a clearly deranged person.
Even if the policy of backing off in the early car chase was in accord with sensible guidelines, a bloke hanging out of his car window shouting nonsense as he conducted multiple 'donuts' in a major intersection in the Melbourne CBD deserved to be stopped then and there. When the bloke headed off up Swanston Street, TV footage showed a police vehicle following at gentle speed. Surely the best option was to stop the bloke by crashing into his car? (This was my thought at the time, gentle readers, and I even wondered if some brave member of the public might give it a go.)
These two massive news events have rather displaced the usual economic discourse. One nice contribution is Grace Collier in the Oz pointing out the high cost of living in Australia despite houses and many other things to be paid for as 'not especially good.' Her key point is that senior pollies accept invitations to polo and other expensive events, get 'dressed' by sales houses, charge we taxpayers for the cost of transport and accommodation, even buy $800,000 apartment on a whim!
Ms Collier held back from noting (unless I missed the point) that all this is going on while the cabinet is deciding to remove or reduce pensions, use strong-arm tactics on alleged welfare bludgers (assumed guilty until they prove innocence) and slam a tax on incomes of self funded retirees without any attempt to apply some equivalent penalty on recipients of enormously generous defined benefit pensions received by pollies and senior public servants.
And in terms of real policy reform, Mr Turnbull's government is increasingly described as a 'do nothing' shambles.
Fiona visits Nude Live at AGNSW and finds it as beautiful as you could imagine the Sydney Dance Company dancers weaving their way through great art works from the Tate collection would be! Read on here.
Grace Collier's column reminds me a sign of the dud political culture that afflicts Australia's governing class, a poem in fact, or a crude Aussie version of a Japanese Haiku.
The working class can kiss my arse I've got a gummint job at last.
I have just finished reading Hillbilly Elegy. A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. The author is one J.D. Vance, a self-confessed hillbilly who fought his way to a better future. Now he is a principal at a leading Silicon Valley investment firm. He made it via the US Marine Corp, Ohio State University and Yale Law School, three place where he had dramatically to change his cultural norms and indeed his inbuilt response to various stimulii.
This brilliant book provides 'an acute insight into the reasons why these voters have put their trust in the Republican maverick'.
Image of the week