Showing posts with label Donald Trump. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Donald Trump. Show all posts

Friday, 29 May 2020

Australia 2020: distrust of Trump appears to be growing

In Australia's case, the country responsible for the greatest number of infections happened to be the United States, not China. We closed our borders to China as soon as we appreciated the risk; just as Trump himself did in late January. But the Americans weren't testing for the virus, and Australian health officials drew false comfort from their apparent low number of cases in February. The virus almost got away from us because of a failure to anticipate the threat of community transmission from Australians returning from winter holidays in the US.” [The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 May 2020]

Scott Morrison might owe Donald Trump a strategic apology. Australia's success in suppressing the first wave of the coronavirus doesn't sit well with the US President's latest attempt to avoid responsibility for the American death toll now approaching 100,000.

Because if Trump is to be believed, no one could have stopped the plague. How else should the Prime Minister read the tweet Trump sent on Wednesday, directed at "some whacko in China" who was "blaming everybody other than China for the Virus which has now killed hundreds of thousands of people"?

"Please explain to this dope that it was the 'incompetence of China', and nothing else, that did this mass Worldwide killing!" the President tweeted.

By that reckoning, the roll call of nations that have avoided the worst of the pandemic so far, including Australia and New Zealand in the Asia Pacific, South Korea and Taiwan in Asia, and Denmark and Greece in Europe, must have been lucky. All were in the direct line of transmission from Wuhan, but somehow the plague didn't bother knocking on their door.

This is patently absurd. In Australia's case, the country responsible for the greatest number of infections happened to be the United States, not China. We closed our borders to China as soon as we appreciated the risk; just as Trump himself did in late January. But the Americans weren't testing for the virus, and Australian health officials drew false comfort from their apparent low number of cases in February. The virus almost got away from us because of a failure to anticipate the threat of community transmission from Australians returning from winter holidays in the US.

It was only after we shut the border to the US in late March, and enforced a 14-day quarantine for all Australians coming home, that the virus was suppressed. But that detail is best avoided between friends, because it would only draw Morrison into the cross-hairs of Trump's digital grievances…..

Australia should pause and reflect. There has been a tendency lately for the Australian and Chinese governments to trade cartoonish insults. Who started it tends to get lost in the mutual indignation. The danger for Australia is that we validate Chinese invective by accepting it as the normal way to do business. The risk beyond the immediate commercial relationship with China is that the rest of the world sees us as a smaller version of Trump's America, and stops taking us seriously.

Obviously, the values of Trump's America don't align with ours. Trump divides his country by political reflex. This wouldn't be unusual if he understood where to draw the line between robust debate and vilification, and between the scrutiny of his opponents and the criminalisation of their public service. But he doesn't. The race baiting at home, and abroad, isn't a tactic; it comes from deep within. So do the calls to lock people up. It is who he is. The bully that is supposed to have our back, Washington, is often indistinguishable from the bully who now threatens our economy, Beijing.

And Trump's economic interest in promoting an America First international order undermines our interest in a global trading system in which all nations continue to do business in good faith.
Australia's two-way trade with China represents 26 per cent of our total trade with the world. Last financial year, that relationship was worth $235 billion, which almost equalled the combined value of our two-way trade with Japan ($88.5 billion), the United States ($76.4 billion), South Korea ($41.4 billion) and Singapore ($32.7 billion), our trading partners ranked second to fifth….

If Trump took the time to ponder these numbers he might just advise Morrison to play nice with the Chinese because they let us screw them. He'd also be grateful that Australia allows itself to be ripped off by the Americans.

On the other hand, if the Chinese continue to pick off our second-tier exports to teach us a lesson for speaking out, perhaps Trump might want to open up his economy to Australia to compensate us for our losses? For example, Australia is the world's second-largest exporter of beef. But the Americans only bought $1.1 billion from Australian farmers in the year to March, while the Chinese imported more than double that amount – $2.8 billion. The Americans would surely want some Aussie wine to go with their Aussie steak. Australia is the world's fourth-largest exporter of wine but once again, the Chinese have been more willing to buy alcohol from us than the Americans – $1.2 billion versus $450 million.

But this is not how Trump sees the world. He'd like Americans to buy local, and to sell their surpluses to the rest of the world. A world where China cuts out Australia, and leaves us to bargain with a protectionist US, is not one that serves our interests.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Is Donald Trump like a beast from mythology beginning to devour himself?

Jefferson "Jeff" Beauregard Sessions III, a hard right, openly rascist Republican Party politician from Alabama, has served in the US Senate from 1997 to 2017 when he became Attorney-General in the Trump Administration - a post he held until forced to resign by President Trump on 7 November 2018.

Sessions is recontesting his Senate seat in 2020 and that hard right, openly rascist, authoritarian, Republican Party politician Donald J.Trump is now actively campaiging against him, blaming him for his own presidential impeachment charges.

Alabama has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1980.

However, in 2017 the Republican Party lost Session's former Senate seat to the Democratic Party once he vacated to become US Attorney-General.

In 2018 Alabama's public debt stood at est. US$29.65 billion and in 2019 this debt had reportedly risen to US$39.8 billion.

The state's share of the US export market had fallen by -3.1% in 2018 to 2019.

During Donald Trump's presidency Alabama has remained the 6th poorest state in the nation.

With only around six months to go until the next federal election, this state's monthly unemployment rate had jumped to 12.9% by April 2020 - its worst rate in nearly 37 years - due to the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which has seen 13,418 Alabamans infected and 541 killed to date.

One has to suspect that much of the shine may have gone off Donald Trump as far as Alabama is concerned.

Monday, 25 May 2020

No two ways about it - 'Scotty From Marketing' Morrison has political egg on his face

In mid-April 2020 Australian Prime Minister & Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne decided that the middle of a global pandemic and, with a domestic economy in freefall, was a good time to antagonise our biggest trading partner.

Their weapon of choice was China's initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the possibility that the SARS-CoV-2 virus had escaped from a research facility in or near Wuhan.

It didn't go unnoticed that this foray into conspiracy theories marched side by side with media statements and outlandish ant-China comments being tweeted by a hypocritical* US President Donald J. Trump, whom Morrision professes to admire and with whom he consults during this pandemic.

Morrison's actions in particular raise the suspicion that he wanted to be seen as a 'world leader' that month because emerging domestic economic news was not encouraging and he saw the need for a political diversion.

Why else would he eschew normal diplomatic channels? Channels which would have allowed him to privately discuss his concerns directly with the Chinese Government.

Well, he certainly got that diversion.

It came in the form of an effective loss of Australia's barley export market in China due to the imposition of 80.5 per cent anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties and limitations on beef exports impacting 35 per cent of the beef trade with China.

But hey! The World Health Assembly issued a resolution eventually signed by 136 co-sponsors out of a total 194 WHO member countries.

Unike the Morrison-Dutton-Payne rhetoric, this measured document carefully refrains from targeting China and focusses on World Health Organisation (WHO) responses to the pandemic and the effectiveness of International Health Regulations

Resolution co-sponsors included both Australia and China. However, after all Trump's yelling and finger pointing, the resolution did not include the United States as a co-sponsor.

This left Scott Morrison with egg on his face. 

Particularly as three days ahead of the 73rd World Health Assembly Conference and four days before the announcement of that high barley tariff, the Australian public learned that China had increased its imports of barley from the United States and sourced additional beef from Russia

It doesn't matter how much Trump blusters about China's initial response to COVID-19 now - it's all for show, always was. The grain deal is done and the U.S. is moving in on our major market.

It would appear that out of the three principal buffoons leading Western democracies - Donald John Trump, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and Scott John Morrison - it is Morrison who is the most foolish when it comes to international relations and the most easily tricked by other buffoons.


* On or about 11 January 2020 China announced the first confirmed death from the novel coronna virus. By 24 January Donald Trump on behalf of the American people was publicly congratulating the Chinese Government on its public health response:

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Quotes of the Week

"Most politicians lie whenever they are uncomfortable or caught in a tight spot. Few lie with the ease and casualness of Morrison." [Journalist Dennis Atkins writing in The New Daily, 16 May 2020]

"USA started out by electing a reality tv show host to run it and now we are all on Survivor." [G. Dixon, Twitter, 19 May 2020] 

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Thanks a lot Scott Morrison & all those Lib-Nat goons who piled on China once he opened his mouth. The NSW Northern Rivers really appreciates the loss of trade

In mid-April 2020 Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne decided that the middle of a global pandemic and, with a domestic economy in freefall, was a good time to antagonise our biggest trading partner.

It didn't take long for National Party backbenchers to join these three Liberal Party ministers and mainstream media reported the situation thus.......   

"But given clear evidence that China is deeply unhappy with Australia’s aggressive calls for an inquiry, in a way that it sees as Australia teaming up with the Trump administration to point the blame at China, the foreign exchange markets are making up their own minds on the prospects of Australia being on the brink of a serious deterioration of ties with our largest trading partner." [The Australian, 13 May 2020] 

"Mr Morrison said Australia could not rule out that the virus escaped­ from a Wuhan lab, but “the most likely (origin) has been in a wildlife wet market”."  [The Australian, 6 May 2020]

" was immediately clear that the purpose of the Australian "initiative" was not to conduct a review of benefit to the whole world, but to engage in political warfare with the Chinese state, using failures of organisation and leadership as a stick with which to beat the state. This was underlined by the way in which the first Australian public mention of the need for such an inquiry, along with some words about "accountability and transparency'', came from Peter Dutton, otherwise in a witness protection program avoiding any transparency or accountability for Commonwealth failures to screen several thousand passengers and crew from cruise ships. Marise Payne took the idea further, if with every appearance of playing to a pre-prepared script several days later, before Morrison took extra steps to make the proposals unacceptable to the Chinese by advocating the equivalent of weapons inspectors battering down doors to catch those with secrets to hide."  

"Scott Morrison insists it would be "absolutely nonsense" to suggest the coronavirus started anywhere other than China. The prime minister is pushing ahead with calls for a global inquiry into the origins of the deadly disease despite diplomatic blowback from the Chinese government. "I don't think anybody is in any fantasy land about where it started - it started in China," he told 2GB radio on Friday. "What the world over needs to know - and there's a lot of support for this - is how did it start and what are the lessons to be learned."  [AAP Bulletin Wire, 1 May 2020]

"The Morrison Government is leading the international call for an independent review of the COVID-19 crisis to determine the origin of the virus and if more could have been done to slow its spread."
  [The Mercury, 20 April 2020]

Morrison, Dutton, Payne & Co got the column inches and media attention they craved, but it is rural and regional areas like the NSW Northern Rivers which are bearing the brunt of their total lack of a genuinely diplomatic approach to China on the issue.....

The Daily Examiner, 15 May 2020:

Casino’s Northern Cooperative Meat Company is one of the four Australian abattoirs that China imposed an import ban on this week. 

The black-listing of the three Queensland and one NSW red meat abattoirs is believed to be a “trade war tactic” from Beijing as trade tensions between Australia and Chine rise. There are fears the bans from China come after Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an independent investigation into the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. 

Northern Cooperative Meat Company chief executive Simon Stahl revealed the ban on imports relates directly to labelling and product description non-compliances. 

Mr Stahl was uncertain of the short or long term financial impacts to the business, but revealed NCMC production imports ranged from 15 to 25 per cent. 

“It’s too early to tell you about the financial impacts, I couldn’t put a figure on it at this point in time, could be a week, could be a month,” he said. “I’m always optimistic we can satisfy the authorities..... 

Food Leaders Australia general manager Bruce McConnel said it was unknown yet whether the bans were because of a breach of protocol or an act of political retribution. 

“The technical reasons have not been made available,” Mr McConnel said. “We’re not sure whether there has been a breach of protocol or if it’s pure political retaliation. 

“We’re awaiting details on how to alleviate tensions. “It’s not catastrophic, but it is a real issue that needs to be sorted out.” 

Mr McConnel said the banning of the Northern Co-operative Meat Company at Casino was a major concern for smaller beef producers, who use that meatworks to sell to China.

“The government need to get sorted how real are the technical aspects of this and how much is political tension around the relationship with China,” he said....

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Looking at the faces of people US President Donald Trump choses as props for his media appearances

The Atlantic, 26 April 2020:

Donald Trump loves attention, and people can’t help but give it to him. It’s been this way for a generation. Television cameras and tabloids were trained on him long before he was president, and even more so now. In the three years since he took office, it can sometimes seem impossible to look away. But I’ve always found that paying attention to the people around Trump is far more revealing than watching the man himself.

Monday, 9 March 2020

Facebook Inc. reversed its initial decision and removed an unlawful & misleading Trump political advertisement from its Internet platform

IMAGE: BBC News, 5 March 2020

The Washington Post, 6 March 2020: 

Facebook removed Trump campaign ads on Thursday for violating its policy against misleading references to the U.S. census amid criticism that it has given politicians too much leeway to misinform users on its platform. 

The Trump ads urged Facebook users to “take the official 2020 Congressional District Census today,” but despite the look and language of the ad, they were not related to the once-a-decade national count of U.S. citizens happening this year. Instead, the ads linked to a survey on the “Certified Website of President Donald J. Trump,” which collected information and requested a donation. 

Facebook initially said it would permit the ads, ruling that they were clearly not a part of the U.S. census, according to Popular Information, a politically themed online newsletter that first reported on the ads and the company’s refusal to remove them. Facebook announced its policy against misleading references to the census in December.... 

Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh declined to comment about the ads or Facebook’s decision. The ads were paid for by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, which raises money for the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee in support of the president’s reelection.... 

Facebook’s handling of the ads frustrated civil rights leaders and Democrats who have warned that the company’s rules against misinformation are too lax. 

“Facebook has demonstrated once again that protecting its users from misinformation is not a priority, and instead that its integrity can be bought by the Trump campaign,” said Rashad Robinson, president of civil rights group Color of Change, in a statement. “While Facebook has now committed to removing the mis-informing post in question, the damage is done.” 

The Trump campaign ads echoed similar surveys the RNC has mailed out that look like census forms but are in fact requests for donations. Congress has passed laws, including one after the 2010 Census, aiming to curb mail that impersonates a federal agency. 

At an Oversight Committee hearing last month, House Democrats pressed Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham on the matter, asking him to request that the RNC stop sending out fundraising mailers that mimic census forms.....

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Psst! Don't mention Donald Trump's constant use of makeup - he doesn't like it

On Friday 7 February 2020 photographer Brendan Smialowski captured a photo of U.S. President Donald Trump walking across the South Lawn of the White House after returning from Charlotte, North Carolina, with his face makeup clearly visible.

William Moon, who posts photos on the Twitter account @photowhitehouse, created and posted a headshot that same day which clearly reveals the president's makeup line.

In addition he posted this photo.

Apparently these images stung Trump and he tweeted an accusation that his image had been photoshopped - calling it "More Fake News" at 6:13AM on 9 February 2020.

Saturday, 1 February 2020

Quote of the Week

"If we nominate Trump, we will be destroyed… and we will deserve it."
[South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham, quoted in BBC News, 4 May 2016]

Monday, 23 December 2019

IMPEACHMENT OF A U.S. PRESIDENT: Dear Madam Speaker, Sincerely yours, Donald J. Trump

Nineteen politicians/public officials were impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives before Donald J. Trump became the twentieth individual and the third president to be referred to the Senate.

All but one of these nineteen had a Senate trial. Seven were acquitted, eight found guilty, with another four jumping ship through pre-emptive resignation and jurisdiction lapsing in the matter of another.

Of the two presidents in this list, Andrew Johnson and William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton - both were acquitted.

Richard Milhous Nixon is not on this list as he was the only U.S. president to resign in order to avoid a formal Senate trial.

Impeachment charges ranged from: conspiring to assist in Great Britain’s attempt to seize Spanish-controlled territories; waging war against the U.S. Government; sexual assault, obstructing and impeding an official proceeding; making false and misleading statements; criminal disregard for the office and accepting payments in exchange for making official appointments; income tax evasion; abuse of contempt power and other misuses of office; and of remaining on the bench following criminal conviction; through to charges of intoxication on the bench.

On 19 December 2019 the House of Representatives impeached Trump 
for "high crimes and misdemeanors" on a 230 to 197 vote regarding "abuse of power" and a 229 to 198 vote regarding "obstruction of Congress".

One Democrat and two Republicans did not participate in either vote and one Democrat declared neutrality with a Present declaration.

The day before the vote Trump wrote to Speaker Nancy Pelosi.......

After the impeachment vote Trump tweeted:

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Catching up on Trumpian politics

The New Yorker online, 4 September 2019, excerpt:

Trump not only makes us believe it now but, as we approach the three-year mark of his upset victory, in 2016, his project has succeeded in such a confounding way that it seems as though Americans will now believe anything—and nothing at all. 

Today there are few things too extreme not to have plausibly come out of the mouth, or the Twitter feed, of the forty-fifth President. 

In August, Trump called himself the “Chosen One” for the confrontation with China, grinned and flashed a thumbs-up during a photo op with the family of mass-shooting victims, accused Jews who voted for Democrats of “great disloyalty,” and called the chairman of the Federal Reserve an “enemy” of the United States. 

He cheered the robbery of a Democratic congressman’s home and labelled various critics “nasty and wrong,” “pathetic,” “highly unstable,” “wacko,” “psycho,” and “lunatic,” among other insults. 

The daily stream of invective from Trump was dizzying to keep track of, and so voluminous as to almost insure that no one could, in fact, do so.

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Tweets of the Week

*Unfortunately this was a Trump impersonator 

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Bully Boy Donald Trump has become a global threat to national economies

The picture is becoming clearer - Donald Trump is not just a political wildcard - he is a very real threat to the U.S. and the rest of the world.

Financial Review, 25 August 2019: 

A world of deepening political body-blows from Donald Trump to Brexit and Hong Kong are fast turning into genuine economic shocks that threaten to overwhelm central banks' powers, Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe has warned. 

In a speech to a closed-door gathering of some of the world's most powerful monetary policymakers, Dr Lowe criticised the global rush to lower interest rates as ultimately counterproductive but acknowledged the lack of political stability was making the pressure difficult to resist. 

While Dr Lowe refrained from mentioning Donald Trump by name, he referred to Friday's tumultuous market turmoil unleashed by the President's extraordinary attacks on the US Federal Reserve boss, who he suggested may be a bigger "enemy" than Xi Jinping, and a bizarre demand that US companies withdraw from China. 

The President's tantrum against Fed chairman Jerome Powell stunned many participants at the annual three-day Jackson Hole symposium over the weekend. 

While the central bank and academic participants refused to criticise Mr Trump in public, in private conversations with The Australian Financial Review many were scathing. 

One who was prepared to voice his outrage, former Fed vice-president Stanley Fischer, seething at how few members of the central banking fraternity were prepared to challenge Mr Trump, told the forum the greatest threat to the international monetary system was the President. 

He was "trying to destroy the global trading system", Dr Fischer said...... 

On the global political turmoil that dominates headlines, Dr Lowe said it was prompting businesses to shun investment and could end up weighing on their hiring plans. 

By contrast, a return to political stability could unleash around the world "a very prosperous period as we catch up with delayed investment and a period of easing financial conditions". 

With the US-China trade war set to deepen, as well as ongoing doubts about other flash points, central banks around the world have cut interest rates in recent months. 

However, Dr Lowe cautioned that if every central bank acted in the same way, no country would enjoy the normal benefits that rate cuts provided via exchange rate depreciation. 

 Read the full article here

The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 August 2019: 

The Australian sharemarket is set to follow Wall Street sharply lower at the start of the week after fresh salvos in the trade war between the United States and China over the weekend. 

ASX SPI 200 futures point to a decline of 1.33 per cent, or 86 points, when trade opens on Monday morning extending Friday's slide in European and US markets.
“President Trump’s trade war escalated again on Friday…whacking US stocks sharply lower with a flow on to other sharemarkets likely to be seen early in the week ahead,” Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital, told clients. 

All major US stock indices slumped more than 2.4 per cent to end the week, led by the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index which tumbled 3 per cent. Major European markets such as the German DAX and French CAC also shed more than 1 per cent for the session. 

The steep falls were caused by an unexpected and sudden escalation in the trade conflict between the United States and China with both sides announcing tariff increases on the others imports on Friday......

“At this stage there is still no end in sight and so sharemarkets likely have to fall further to pressure Trump to solve the issue and de-escalate,” said AMP Capital’s Oliver. 

The resumption of trade in Chinese markets is also likely to be influential on the performance of Australian shares, dollar and bonds later on Monday.

Australian Stock Exchange close of trading, Monday 26 August 2019:

UPDATE, 26 August 2019: 

The Australian share market has been hammered, losing $24 billion after a dramatic escalation of trade hostilities between the US and China over the weekend. 

The benchmark ASX200 tumbled at the open but recouped some of its losses by close to finish the day down 1.27 per cent. 

The Australian dollar was also hit hard, falling below 67 US cents to its lowest point in a decade but recovered slightly to be buying 67.37 US cents shortly after 4pm.

Saturday, 24 August 2019

U.S. Politics 2019

US President Donald J. Trump turning from the cameras with arms outstretched to raise his eyes to the sky at the moment he said "I am the Chosen One"C-Span YouTube account, 21 August 2019.