The Oz is the New York Times of Australia

For myself, there is no insult I could make that is greater than that, but so it seems. Having discussed here  just this morning how bizarrely anti-Trump The Australian is, I now come across this from The NYT. A series of vague general statements with a complete absence of policy issues over which they might prefer Joe Biden instead.

Donald Trump’s re-election campaign poses the greatest threat to American democracy since World War II.

Mr. Trump’s ruinous tenure already has gravely damaged the United States at home and around the world. He has abused the power of his office and denied the legitimacy of his political opponents, shattering the norms that have bound the nation together for generations. He has subsumed the public interest to the profitability of his business and political interests. He has shown a breathtaking disregard for the lives and liberties of Americans. He is a man unworthy of the office he holds.

The editorial board does not lightly indict a duly elected president. During Mr. Trump’s term, we have called out his racism and his xenophobia. We have critiqued his vandalism of the postwar consensus, a system of alliances and relationships around the globe that cost a great many lives to establish and maintain. We have, again and again, deplored his divisive rhetoric and his malicious attacks on fellow Americans. Yet when the Senate refused to convict the president for obvious abuses of power and obstruction, we counseled his political opponents to focus their outrage on defeating him at the ballot box.

Nov. 3 can be a turning point. This is an election about the country’s future, and what path its citizens wish to choose.

The newspaper of broken-record disseminates the lies for every shallow nitwit across the world to repeat ad nauseum. Let me just return to the comments section on Van Onselen,  and pluck just this from the hundreds of criticisms of his sophisms listed according to “Best”. This is from “Spud”; obviously from his aristocratic name a well-known and highly regarded non-deplorable:

“Trump’s poor performance”
He’s led the US into no new wars
He’s routed ISIS (remember them?)
He’s rebuilt the US military (you know, the military we depend upon)
He’s stood up against China’s rapacious trade policies
He’s forced NATO countries to front up more for their own defence
He’s relocated the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem (long promised, never delivered until Trump) and recognised the Golan heights as being part of Israel (a must-have for Israel’s defence)
He’s brokered peace deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain (Nobel Peace Prize 2021?)
He’s curbed illegal immigration, including with a wall (OK, the Mexicans didn’t pay for it)
He’s replaced NAFTA with an improved trade deal with Mexico and Canada
He reduced regulations and taxes, producing US energy independence and, before COVID hit, the lowest Black and Hispanic unemployment on record; combined with an upsurge in real wage growth
He’s brought back manufacturing jobs when Obama and those in the know said it couldn’t be done
He’s promoted and signed the First Step Act to lessen the over-incarceration of black offenders
He’s established business opportunity zones in the inner cities to help minorities escape despair
He’s supported school choice and charter schools for disadvantaged children
He’s promoted and signed a bill to provide permanent funding for traditionally black colleges.
He’s appointed objective federal judges and Supreme Court justices to defend the constitution, as distinct from politically motivated activists.

It turns my stomach how straight-out ignorant our supposedly educated class actually is.

Proving by the absence of a contrary argument why Donald Trump should be re-elected

These independent columnists at The Oz are for the most part a pretty shallow lot when it comes to discussing American politics. There are not one but two anti-Trump articles today. I read all such articles religiously wherever they show up, since I am in an ongoing pursuit of the contra case which has been utterly invisible up until now. There is, of course, no case for Biden, But after four years of his presidency, there must be an anti-Trump case somewhere. But if there is, you won’t find it in The Australian.

This is Peter Van Onselen’s take, who, he writes, “seriously toyed with renouncing his [American] citizenship four years ago when Trump won”. I’ll bet. Just like all the folks who threatened to move to Canada. From what he has written today, he is obviously unable to have learned anything since 2016. Here’s what he has to say four years later: US election 2020: For decency’s sake, Trump must not be returned. Why then is that?

“The damage four more years of Trump would do to American society, its standing in the world, the Republican Party and conservatism as an ideology isn’t worth thinking about…. His mocking of people’s looks, gender, sexual orientation and those with a disability makes him unfit to run a corner shop much less a country…. The cause of conservatives will continue to drift further from what conservatism is supposed to represent: a defence of institutions and respect for process and good governance.

“[There is] his ongoing (near endless) personal abuse of anyone who challenges him. His profound mishandling of the COVID crisis. Despite the way Trump threatens to tear down institutions and denigrate the fourth estate at every opportunity. All the while bringing American democracy into disrepute….

“[There is also] Trump’s flippant attitude towards the dangers COVID-19….

“Trump has never been about anything other than his own aggrandisement. But the way so-called conservative commenta­tors and politicians have abided Trump, even spruiked for him, is much harder to forgive. Doing so exposed how shallow their collective beliefs and ideological understanding really is.

There it is. That’s the case. If anyone can find anything else, they are welcome to add it in. Especially absurd is his telling conservatives what to believe as if he has even an inkling of a notion what conservatism is. How do people like that get paid real money to write such trash?

There is then the equally dense Troy Bramston in his US election 2020: Voters are tired of Trump’s catastrophic presidency. Same challenge, to find anything of substance from one end of the column to the other. Not that there is much effort made to make such  case. The entire article is about polling and how Trump is almost certain to lose which he may well do, in large part because of the full court press all across the media. These are, in full, his reasons why he ought to lose.

Trump has been a catastrophic president….

The most important election issue is COVID-19. Trump’s handling of the pandemic has been disastrous.

Both are an embarrassment to The Australian and to journalism. The Murdoch Press is gung ho in opposing Trump’s re-election. Their columnists have apparently followed the boss’s orders in trying to make the invisible case for voting for Joe Biden instead. What their writings show beyond anything else is that no such case exists because if it did, someone would be able to make it.

Australians watching American politics according to the NYT

If you have had any doubts about the quality of insights found in the New York Times, they can now be put to rest: Australians Watching American Politics: ???!!!!***$%%#. Here’s how it starts:

Australians used to talk about American politics the way they talk about sport — they followed the ups and downs, marveled at the competitor, and tried to game out who would win.

This year? It’s more like the discussion of a car wreck involving a neighbor or an uncle.

For months, friends and even strangers have been asking if my relatives are healthy, worried they may have perished in the American coronavirus catastrophe. And this week, after a debacle of a debate and the news that President Trump and Melania Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus, I saw and heard more than just empathy — also shock, dismay, fear, heartbreak and just head-shaking alarm.

Van Badham, a commentator who often writes for The Guardian (and occasionally the New York Times Opinion section), replied to my tweet about Mr. Trump’s positive test result with what many Australians seem to be feeling:

“I just
I can’t
I mean
Oh god”

My very reaction and so well put. All the news that’s fit to be ignored.

Might also add in this from Paul Krugman on the NYT editorial page: Trump Is Killing the Economy Out of Spite. So much to choose from but this will have to do:

Last year Donald Trump called Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, a “nasty, vindictive, horrible person.” Actually, she isn’t — but he is.

Trump’s vindictiveness has become a major worry as the election approaches. He has already signaled that he won’t accept the result if he loses, which seems increasingly likely though not certain. Nobody knows what chaos, possibly including violence, he may unleash if the election doesn’t go his way.

Even aside from that concern, however, a defeated Trump would still be president for two and a half months. Would he spend that time acting destructively, in effect taking revenge on America for rejecting him?

Well, we got a preview of what a lame-duck Trump presidency might look like Tuesday. Trump hasn’t even lost yet, but he abruptly cut off talks on an economic relief package millions of Americans desperately need (although as of Thursday he seemed to be backtracking). And his motivation seems to have been sheer spite.

Why do we need economic relief? Despite several months of large employment gains, America has only partly recovered from horrific job losses in the early months of the pandemic — and the pace of recovery has slowed to a relative crawl. All indications are that the economy will remain weak for many months, maybe even years.

How long it takes for recovery to be complete, in spite of all the employment gains already, will depend on who wins the election. Obama-Biden couldn’t effect a recovery following the GFC although they had eight years to try. Not in a single year did the economy grow faster than three percent! You know Einstein’s definition of political insanity about continuing with policies that fail. I only hope we are not given the opportunity to find out for ourselves as the Democrats once again try their Keynesian economic magic.

First presidential debate @ 11:00 AEST today

Where to Watch

11 a.m. AEST on Sept. 30 on SBS, ABC News, Sky News and Channel Nine

The first presidential debate was originally planned for Indiana’s University of Notre Dame, but the school pulled out due to COVID-19 concerns. Instead, the debate will take place at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. However, the city will decide when the event gets closer whether or not to allow a live audience.

Can also pick up the debate on C-Span and all over the net.

Topics for the first Trump-Biden debate

The first debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will cover six topics. However, the topics are subject to change and the debate itself may not follow this exact order:

    • Trump and Biden’s records
    • The Supreme Court
    • The integrity of the election
    • Covid-19
    • Race and violence in US cities
    • The economy

How the Dems are trying to steal the election

NYT: 18 Revelations From Trove of Trump Tax Records...
'Can you believe how f*cking stupid the IRS is?'
FLASHBACK: Ripped Obama 20.5% Rate...
Said poor should have to pay to 'be part of game'...
WIRE: National Security Threat...
Biden ad compares to what workers pay...
Sells 'I paid more' stickers... 

There is not a Democrat policy proposal from one end of the election to the other, other than to make it compulsory to wear masks. The New York Times has released a set of the President’s tax returns and that is what they are turning into the central issue. So far as I can tell, there is no suggestion that there was any cheating on PDT’s taxes, only that he used various existing tax laws to minimise the amounts he paid.

These are amongst the various replies with the first where the video above comes from:

Democrats Are LYING About Trump’s Taxes, Push INSANE Theory That He’s A National Security Threat

New York Times’ Trump Tax Return ‘Bombshell’ Is A Joke

The New York Times Recycles Old Reporting To Drop ‘Bombshell’ Trump Tax Return Story

NYT Debunks Three Media Conspiracy Theories With Trump’s Tax Returns.

And there are the various attacks on Amy Coney Barrett bordering on religious bigotry, but so what? Here’s one post defending her nomination: THE HANDWRINGING TALE.

Meanwhile, the American economy is picking up in spite of every effort to spike it, especially via the Chinese virus: Unemployment is Improving Far Faster Than Projected – Unlike After the Great Recession.

And Trump has been nominated for a third Nobel Peace Prize, this nomination coming from Australia! Australian Law Profs Nominate Trump For Third Nobel Prize For ‘Trump Doctrine’.

And do not forget the old political equaliser that goes beyond the lying and the media bias, well beyond: Trump Calls On Justice Department to Investigate Ilhan Omar Over Illegal Ballot Scam. There is a new story on Democrat electoral cheating coming out every day.

The Murdoch Press and the left

From Five myths about Rupert Murdoch published in The Washington Post. Myth Number 1:

1. Murdoch is on the far right.

Fairness and balance aside, Fox News serves up some of the most conservative voices active in American politics. The Wall Street Journal publishes consistently anti-tax and anti-regulatory editorials and opinion pieces. Murdoch’s London tabloids beat the drums for the invasion of Iraq, while his Australian tabloids routinely mock the idea of global warming.

And yet, this is a guy who kept a bust of Lenin in his student chambers at Oxford University. Murdoch founded his native Australia’s sole national newspaper (the Australian) in 1964 and encouraged its reporting on conditions confronting aboriginal peoples. Even though he is hostile to government initiatives on climate change, groups that examine corporate carbon emissions have given News Corp. high marks for monitoring and disclosing its footprint; the company beat a five-year deadline that he set back in 2007 to become carbon-neutral. A naturalized American citizen, Murdoch supports more liberal immigration laws.

Over the years, he has moved to the right. But his cultural conservatism and skepticism of regulation are tempered by more progressive stands, influenced in part by his three adult children with his second wife. And his political instincts prove flexible. Although he went after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a leading Republican, last year for cozying up to President Obama in the wake of Hurricane Sandy so close to Election Day, Murdoch has made common cause with center-left Democrats such as the late New York City mayor Ed Koch and Hillary Rodham Clinton when she was a senator from New York. Similarly, he backed Labor’s Tony Blair for prime minister three times in Britain. He is simply not as conservative as Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes or the Journal editorial page.

And then there is this from Wikipedia:

 At the end of the Thatcher/Major era, Murdoch switched his support to the Labour Party and its leader, Tony Blair. The closeness of his relationship with Blair and their secret meetings to discuss national policies was to become a political issue in Britain.Former [Labour] Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s official spokesman said in November 2009 that Brown and Murdoch “were in regular communication” and that “there is nothing unusual in the prime minister talking to Rupert Murdoch”.

And in Australia.

Rudd certainly has a lot to say about the coverage of the 2007 federal election by this august organ’s parent company in his new book, Not for the Faint-hearted, released today:

True to the Murdoch newspaper and Howard government form guide … The Murdoch press continued with its breathless reporting …

We gave him a hard time in 2007? We gave him our endorsement. The Australian’s editorial, November 23, 2007:

Mr Rudd has spoken of recapturing some of the reform zeal of the Hawke and Keating years … We recognise that no change is free of risk, but we recommend a vote for Mr Rudd.

Rudd hated News’s coverage of his time at a strip joint in New York. Rudd’s memoir, yesterday:

Sure enough … I was hit with the full barrage of Murdoch front-page headlines, screaming RUDD’S STRIP CLUB SHAME and DRUNK RUDD CAN’T RECALL STRIP CLUB …

And our investigations into his multi-millionaire wife’s business dealings. Not for the Faint-hearted, continued:

The Murdoch press stalking her as if she was a criminal … This was a type of McCarthyism; where once a charge is made, then published and sensationalised, it becomes legitimate to publish any subsequent charge …

Didn’t stop our sister paper The Daily Telegraph from endorsing him. November 23, 2007:

The Daily Telegraph believes Kevin Rudd should be the next prime minister … we now believe Mr Howard has reached his use-by date …

As did Brisbane’s The Courier-Mail, November 23, 2007:

Kevin Rudd is a man for his time … he has the support of The Courier-Mail, only the second endorsement we have given federal Labor since the newspaper was established 74 years ago.

Columnists who try men’s souls

I get all the papers now since there is so little to do that the extra crossword puzzles and sudokus help fill in the day. But these are columns that try men’s souls, I can tell you, and from The Oz as well. And once again, Daniel Andrews is the cause. Let me take you first to Angela Shanahan and her pathetic Let’s give these poor pollies a break. There we find:

The Victorian Premier is held up as an incompetent fool, a crazed ideological warrior with no sense of “reality”, careless of the econo­mic devastation cutting a swath through his state, and adopting totalitarian methods of control.

And so he is and all of that. Angela, however, thinks we are being too hard on this poor, misbegotten sod:

These two premiers [Dan and the premier of Queensland] have become symbols of ideological warfare that preceded the pandemic. Many attacks directed at them have nothing to do with how well, or badly, they are managing to control the spread of the virus in their states. It is a type of proxy warfare. The border closures and even the economic versus fatality arguments are an extension of the ideological warfare that apparently cannot be halted even in times of national emergency.

She then added this, gratuitously to my mind, towards the end, so that I will now feel free to never read another word she writes:

Generally our politicians are men and women of quite high calibre and good character. (If you don’t believe me, look at the two contenders for the American presidency.)

Unbelievable. You can tell almost everything about someone’s politics by their attitude to Donald Trump.

Then we come to Katrina Grace Kelly who writes in her column today, We are managing the pandemic quite well, so stop the wild shrieking. Someone I had long ago stopped reading. The heading did get me in today, but the contents will keep me away for even longer after this. She is discussing the poll results that show Daniel Andrews has 61% approval for his handling of the Corona V:

This data rises above the chorus of remarks by federal coalition politicians, and hyperbolic and often inaccurate criticism from the angry tub-thumpers on SAD (Sky after Dark). On SAD, our Premier is called “Chairman Dan” or “Dictator Dan” and Victoria is referred to as a “socialist republic” and a “failed state”. These insults demean every Victorian, regardless of how they vote.

What about the extra 750 deaths in Victoria, you absurdist goose? The Sky After Dark crowd are trying to tell you something, but you are obviously too thick with sentimental eyewash to take in what they are saying. Any thoughts on the Chinese Road and Brick business? These are the first four comments under “Best”, that is, the comments most in keeping with the views of others.

Fact number one: the Victorian government’s massive incompetence in handling hotel quarantine has led to awful human and economic loss. It’s the biggest failure of public policy and administration in modern Australian history. This, really, is all that needs to be known. Nothing to do with the political opposition or politics more generally. Just sheer, industrial scale incompetence by the Victorian government.

Walking though the Geelong CBD is hard not to notice around 20% of the shop fronts are empty. The economic pain Andrews has caused with the bungled hotel quarantine program is yet to be felt and will linger for years to come. Andrews economic record is headed south at a rapid rate. He wasted $1.3 billion on not building a road and now the road he’s building to replace has a cost overrun of $3 billion and it not even half build. It pretty clear Andrews government is following the trajectory of the Cain Government and like Cain I expect Andrews to jump ship just as the economic pain starts to wash across the deck.

In this country your state of Victoria has failed to control this virus. 700+ deaths , billions lost, thousands of jobs lost, denial of civil liberties resulting in the hardest lock down in the world. People are shrieking because the ALP have lowered the standard of accountability of Government to the point that your Premier sets up an inquiry to investigate a failed hotel quarantine management policy that HE introduced and after months he finally shows up unprepared and doesn’t know who introduced private security guards. And you still “stand with Dan”. And the worst performing state govt in this country probably ever.

Nobody does diversions better than Labor or the sycophantic media cheer squad.

It’s lucky I now subscribe to The Age so I can get some balance in what I read in the press.

One Supreme Court appointment away from a totalitarian patriarchal theocratic society it seems

It is always a fascination however depressing it might be to enter into a conversation with someone on the left. The Trump presidency has exceeded even my expectations for virtue and achievement, with the peace agreements in the Middle East beyond all anticipation. Yet there they are, Democrats who won’t concede even a scintilla of credit to the president for anything whatsoever. This is yet another example, but a very good example, of the idiocies of the left in looking at Trump and the last four years: Trump’s 1776 commission is proof America is spiraling toward fascism. From the Guardian but even so, how can there be people this ignorant that this doesn’t look like the ravings of a lunatic:

Gilead here we come

Can we use the F word yet? Can we finally admit that America is dipping its feet in fascism? Armed militias are roaming the streets; Donald Trump is laying the groundwork to discredit the results of the 2020 election; the press has been labelled the “enemy of the people”; there are credible allegations that migrant women in detention camps are being coerced into having their uteruses removed; “anti-fascists” have been branded public enemy number one. And now Trump has announced a “national commission to support patriotic education” – in other words, a racist propaganda program.

“Leftwing rioting and mayhem are the direct result of decades of left-wing indoctrination in our schools,” Trump declared in a speech on Thursday. He went on to condemn critical race theory and the 1619 Project, the New York Time’s Pulitzer-prize winning initiative to reframe American history by placing the consequences of slavery at the center. “[T]he crusade against American history is toxic propaganda [that] will destroy our country,” he announced. Per Trump, the only way to save the United States is to revise its history entirely; to gloss over violent colonialism and slavery and pretend America doesn’t have a bigoted bone in its body. Which is why, Trump said, he is setting up a 1776 Commission to teach students “about the miracle of American history”. Well, “miracle” is certainly one way to describe something completely made-up.

And in case you don’t get the reference to Gilead:

The Republic of Gilead, colloquially referred to as simply Gilead or elsewhere sometimes called, by its leadership, the “Divine Republic”, is the totalitarian patriarchal theocracy that rules over most of the territory that belonged to the former continental United States in The Handmaid’s Tale.

Just around the corner, is it? These people are mad. These people seem to really believe that the US is one Supreme Court appointment away from a totalitarian patriarchal theocratic society. They are beyond discussion and reason. They are plainly crazy. As a kind of counterweight, let me just bring up this: Van Morrison Attacks ‘Fascist Bullies’ In Anti-Lockdown Protest Songs.

Irish singer-songwriter Morrison has released three new protest songs railing against the ‘pseudoscience’ surrounding Chinese Coronavirus and accusing the UK government of being ‘fascist bullies disturbing our peace.’

Sample lyrics:

No more lockdown / No more government overreach / No more fascist bullies / Disturbing our peace …

No more taking of our freedom / And our God-given rights / Pretending it’s for our safety / When it’s really to enslave …”

Come to Victoria if you have any doubt about where reality now lies.

The case for calling off the Covid dogs

This is from Chris Uhlmann in the Age and Sydney Morning Herald, and yet for all that, I find I agree with the whole thing. There is some minor softening of his criticisms but he does seem to get to the heart of the matter and relentlessly makes the case for calling off the Covid dogs. Is Australia reaching some kind of consensus on the madness of the past few months? It’s titled, COVID-19 has hammered home some uncomfortable truths about us as a people.

Soon enough there will be a global reckoning on whether the coronavirus defences did more damage than the disease. It will be driven by the swingeing economic destruction imposed by governments that will deliver millions into poverty, driving internal and external conflicts. Beggared states will turn inward, the world will become more polarised, angrier, more dangerous. In time it’s a fair bet the cure will be seen by many as the real curse, as people whose lives have been destroyed seek retribution.

The COVID cure will be seen as worse than the disease, particularly in Victoria. Though it will be a small wave in the storm, here the Victorian solution and internal border closures should be counted among those judged as doing much more harm than good. That’s because there was abundant evidence by mid-year that pointed to more road maps to recovery than the “only way” decreed by the Victorian Premier or the self-interested, colonial-era border wars led by his peers.

You can forgive the early response of all governments to the horror of a novel virus. Plagues are in the front rank of human threats. In February and March little was known about COVID-19 and the worst was rightly assumed. Australia’s leaders reacted quickly, worked in unison and chose to buy time; to lock their populations down while health systems were fortified with a timetable set for easing their way out. That was a sensible, defensible plan. Now there is no nation plan and that is as indefensible as Victoria’s panic-stricken response. Because now we know much more about the disease and, while it is a serious illness, it is a whole lot less frightening than it is made out to be.

COVID-19 is nowhere near as deadly as the Spanish Flu, which killed an estimated 50 million, mostly young, people worldwide. Fifteen thousand of those deaths were in Australia, in a population that was then just 5 million. At the time of writing, COVID-19 had killed about 930,000 people globally. Here 816 have died in a population now pushing towards 26 million. No matter how hard the death of anyone under 50 is spun, it is so vanishingly rare among Australia’s body count as to be close to zero. If you are a woman, it is zero. In Australia there is a far greater statistical chance that someone under 60 will die in a car accident.

COVID-19 mostly kills the elderly, especially if they have an existing chronic disease. That is not an argument to let them die but it should guide government responses. Of the 816 Australian deaths the vast majority, 606, were in residential aged care. So if you are going to throw a ring of steel around anything it should be around aged care homes, not Melbourne. The rest of the population should be liberated to get on with their lives while taking sensible health precautions.

Governing should be about balancing risks against costs and only fools and sophists make arguments based on false choices. The debate is not between what we are doing and doing nothing. It should be about what response delivers the greatest good for the greatest number. The Victorian solution punishes the many for the few. It preferences the very old over the young, mortgaging the future of the entire school and working age population. It is hard to imagine how you could design a policy which is more profoundly unfair or damaging to a society.

If the argument is we must do everything in our power to protect the elderly then were are already doing well. Federal Health Department data, first published in The Australian, shows that there were almost 1000 fewer deaths in residential aged care in the first seven months of this year than in the same time last year. I sourced the same data from the department and received two a tables and a note.

“The lower number of deaths for this period in 2020 (32,398) compared to the same period in 2019 (33,383) is likely the result of increased influenza immunisation rates, and increased infection control protocols introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the health department note said. So, why is it a crime for someone to die of COVID-19 in care but it’s OK if they die of absolutely anything else?

This disease has revealed the character of our leaders and hammered home some uncomfortable truths about us as a people. As a nation we seem comfortable with authoritarianism and too many relish the role of prefect [he means dictator, but that’s the only bit where I feel he may have pulled his punches – SK].

And nowhere in this often-opaque democracy has a less transparent court system, bureaucracy, police force or government than Victoria. The people there have been badly served, even as some revelled in the servitude. Its systems of power have combined to deliver the wanton destruction of its vibrant society. Its government has condemned its people to a poorer future, to higher unemployment, more poverty and less opportunity.

Rejoice. Dan Andrews has destroyed the village to save it.

If the mainstream of the mainstream media are worrying about threats to our freedoms and prosperity from centralised government controls and an overbearing politicisation of the public service and the police, we may yet be able to save ourselves.