The Trump Agenda
Trump's priorities are becoming clearer. The talk of walls, immigration reform and other issues is a smokescreen. His real agenda is to increase the wealth and power of the corporations and the repulsively rich. To put this in perspective it is necessary to consider the history of wealth distribution in developed economies. Gross inequality is the historical norm. The period from world war 2 to the mid-seventies was the period of greatest equality. Since then the trend has been back towards the norm.
This trend has been partially masked by economic growth in some areas but, since the financial crisis of 2008, the truth has been impossible to hide. The pathetic argument that all boats rise on a rising tide has been proven wrong in every developed economy. Consider that recent research found that the public health standards in parts of Appalachia were lower than in Bangla Desh. There are those who would claim that this trend is an unavoidable consequence of technological developments and globalisation. It is not true. The trend is driven by government policy and corporate lawlessness.
Consider the revelation in the Panama Papers that tax avoidance in Africa in recent decades has exceeded the combined national debt of all African nations. That is not an unavoidable consequence, it is a criminal conspiracy whose consequences are comporable to the holocaust. The money that should have built hospitals, school, universities and roads, is instead hoarded in secret bank accounts. And remember that these revelations refer only to one company, Mossack Fonseca. It is likely that other similar companies exist.
Government policies across the developed world have been equally deliberate and, in one sense, even less defensible. There have always been the kind of parasites and thieves responsible for the current corporate roguery, but the failure of governments to regulate such behaviour on this scale is something not seen in the developed world since the 18th Century.
Trump represents a triumph of money and influence over the remnants of a weak and ineffective democratic system. The United States has always been a plutocracy. Despite the high sounding language of its constitution, that was the intention of its founders. What is new is the disruptive power of technology and its capacity to further concentrate wealth and power. A side benefit is the power it delivers to manipulate elections and public debate. From climate change denial to the Trump campaign, the theme is the same. Follow the money and you will find the real power.
The recent tax package points clearly to Trump's main focus. It is theft, as clear and simple as a bank robbery, and the loot is to be distributed amongst the wealthy. It is further evidence, if any was needed, of his absolute contempt for ethical behaviour. The only real question that remains is how far he is willing to go. His massive increase in the military budget and his goading of North Korea suggest that he may be seeking that greatest of business opportunities, a war.
Completely with you up to the point you mentioned Trump .
It's the USA, to believe that the powers that be would let any one anywhere near the final contention for the presidency that wasn't utterly compromised or will fully supportive of their agenda says more about your own naïveté sorry mate.
And he's still better than Clinton .....who is also a paid shill.
It's at the point now where any logical person has to ask why he hasn't been impeached for all the obvious failings, nepotism & conflicts of interest and I think blowin's nailed it.
He's an easily manipulated egotistical pawn. He comes across as an unpredictable oaf but no doubt about it he has strings whether he likes it or not. The US powers-that-be wanted this wartime agenda pushed and Obama was too soft for it and Hillary would have been even softer.
I reckon you might be trolling fong but I'll entertain it because hypotheticals are often more interesting than Donald Trump.
Not intending to hijack the thread, but consider this:
In North Korea, a country where the state supplies housing, work is mandatory, Caste system is alive & well, privileges ie cars etc are based on cronyism & nepotism, government prints money and sets value to whatever ie an entirely totalitarian society in which all controls are centralized, how much control can a bank have? I'm thinking the answer is hardly any if the people and government have no need to borrow, hence (according to fongs theory) North Korea must die.
As far as Iran goes, well, Islamic banking forbids the charging of interest because cash can only be charged at face value and not future value (or something like that) and the bank shares more of the risk as a result. This puts it at odds with the western banking system of global entrapment therefore (perhaps in Fongs theory) Islam and Shariah law must die.
Or perhaps those two countries are just being run by insane wingnuts.
Blindboy, I'm glad you've reached the conclusion that you have.
As Blowin has said, it's inconceivable that anyone would reach the position of the U.S.'s ultimate figurehead/distraction without the approval of the Big Boys.
As I've been saying for months, it's business as usual just with a twist thrown in for the viewing pleasure of the masses.
My only question is, has the media really been vehemently against Trump the whole time or was it just playing the game.
Notice how the media has come on board recently e.g. with regards to missile strikes in Syria and a supposed looming conflict with North Korea. Now it's "all hail Donny" and full steam ahead.
Can't see how Blindboy can supposedly be aware of all the machinations of the uber capitalists and their resolute pursuit of complete inequity and yet still disconnect it from the realities of deleterious mass immigration and divisive cultural dislocation policies imposed on the western world by the exact same powers that he despises.
Yep, inextricably linked.
some of you blokes sound a bit defeatist. id like to think you don't think this way about australia politics and our leaders. despite the power of the incumbent wealthy, a leader has either the ability to effect positive change albeit small, sit back and watch the show, or actively set out to power the machine. id say trump falls further towards the latter.
we're not all climate change deniers, and neither were all the presidents. trump is though. so here is one example where we can truthfully say he will push in the wrong direction. words are signals and do matter because you can't make a positive change while your talking about moving in the other direction, regardless of how small the change you want, or how big or insurmountable the challenge may be.
i suppose the question i ask myself is whether I would be comfortable if trump was the prime minister of australia?
Happy, I absolutely think this way about Australian politics as well.
Again, why do you think people like Howard, Abbott and Turnbull rise to the top? They're there as representatives of an agenda, they're not there for the good of the people. Howard and Abbott are sociopathic freaks and Turnbull is a hollow puppet.
As we are all aware, world politics is reaching a crux, and Australia is no different.
I don't know how the Australian issue is going to be resolved apart from a wholesale re-arrangement of Australia's electoral system but of course with our two party system, that ain't going to happen.
I don't think I'm defeatist but I'm certainly aware of the scale of the infrastructure that influences politics pretty much everywhere.
Which is why I understand the frustration which drives people to vote for Sanders/Hanson/ Lambie/Le Pen/ Melanchon/Trump i.e. any candidate who may vaguely appear to not be part of the neoliberal agenda, however misguided this assumption may be.
so what about gillard? did she represent the same agenda as howard, abbott? she was brought to power by the people. how is it that hanson has the power she has? shes small yes, but along with the other independant senators does have the power to throw a spanner in the works of government.
i dont discount the power of the incumbent establishment but life is shades of grey. just because your not "against" the machine doesn't mean your for it either. sensible politics lies in the middle. life never changed overnight. politicians with patience to effect small incremental positive changes can exist if people give them the voice or better still be their own voice. replace hanson with a more sensible politician and you have a win. changing or at least skewing govt is probably not as hard or complex as you think. only if poeple care of course and TBH most australian's lives are all too good and easy to give a shit about politics.
A long time ago in the fledgling days of the north American continent's colonisation, the New York area prospered on the back of growing trade. The population and business leaders never prospered so much as when war was afoot with the British navy and army using it as a key supply port in wars with the Dutch, French and then the American revolutionary war. They learned one major business principle over and over - they prospered and got rich during war times and struggled and starved during peace. This history is ingrained into how the USA economy works and how war is viewed by government, Wall St and the MIC. To top it off and prove the point once and for all, WWII was their biggest win ever (during and after), as the key supplier to the combatants and only untouched major industrial power.
They need and want war (directly or indirectly) to consume product, let loose the reigns on budgets and to capture territory and markets. During WWII some amazing sales person from Coca Cola negotiated a deal where every GI had an unlimited supply of coke to drink for free - paid for by government. Unbelievable volume with super simple logistics - just deliver in bulk to Uncle Sam and send them the bill. What a business opportunity!
They (the club most of the population are not in and barely know exists) actually benefit from war and chaos to a degree as long as it is over "there" somewhere, not too big and nasty and not in their backyard. There have been around 23 years of peace for the USA in its history. Wars in Africa and the Middle East helped use up a lot of obsolete or ageing bombs and hardware over the years. The Middle East makes no sense unless you understand that they can win through successful "projects" and by chaos. One is just slower and messier than the other.
This mode of operation is nothing new in the world. In past centuries, for example, Britain blockading and capturing a successful French port in Africa was just an overt way of expanding their trade base and empire and lauded as it was - capture and war booty. These days, the media publicity machine and political spin just hides or obscures motives under plausible guises such as removing "dictators" and saving people from real or imagined weapons of mass destruction.
Whatever Trumps real views on things were, or are, the forces for him to conform to the way Wall ST, the MIC, Deep State, favoured foreign nations and other key power brokers want things are massive. The MSM, endless briefings and experts, "facts", highly smart people full of confusing and complex information would be bombarding him every day. Alternative views would be filtered out. Access to internet sites would be restricted as they could be security risks. Even excluding anything underhand the power of facing endless cold shoulders, smirks or being made to feel stupid by experts or nods of approval and warm handshakes once you step in line is powerful, especially for someone who needs approval and has flexible views. The endless Russian dramas softened him up, the Syrian chemicals led him down a favoured path and applause from so many quarters suddenly greeted his various steps towards the "light". JFK imagery always lurks in the background if needed.
I thought he may have been less "flexible" than he appears to be.
Yeah I was waiting for the "what about Labor?" comments Happy!
As I've said before (and copped flack for it) in my opinion Labor and the LNP have very similar basic ideologies and also the same masters, hence the problem whereby it largely doesn't matter who you vote for out of the two major parties. There's some window dressing but you're going to be fed the same neoliberal globalisation regardless.
It's just that apart from turkeys like Latham, the LNP mob seem to be more obvious (or is it more blatant and arrogant) in their dickheadedness.
And let's clear up one thing - we do not vote for the Prime Minister, the PM is appointed by the respective cabinet.
I agree that individual politicians can effect change, that's why people like Bob Brown are so important to politics, especially as senators.
At the same time, the media are brutal, and to me it seems pretty clear that if you don't toe the line, you're going to be crucified.
A current example is in France, where Melenchon is described with the pejorative term "far or extreme left" and Le Pen with the similar terms for the extreme right.
Meanwhile Macron, the ex-Rothschild banker who has has been groomed for years is "centrist" even though neoliberal policies can easily be described as extreme.
Sensible politics may lie in the middle but the current definition of middle has been significantly distorted.
That's the power of the media (and hegemony) and we have to take this into account in any attempt to "skew" the current situation.
Excellent posts gentlemen.
Time to rain on the parade/charade...again...
"As I've said before (and copped flack for it) in my opinion Labor and the LNP have very similar basic ideologies and also the same masters, hence the problem whereby it largely doesn't matter who you vote for out of the two major parties. There's some window dressing but you're going to be fed the same neoliberal globalisation regardless."
Bollocks. Actually, to be more precise, the balderdash of "false equivalence".
Funny, you mention that terminal sufferer of "relevance deficiency syndrome", Mark Latham, as he is the low-water skid-mark of neoliberalism ("Third-Way" or the highway) on the Labor side of the ledger in this country. Their tide is shifting. Don't you think?
You have nailed it with "the power of the media" though. The corporate media. Huzzah!
Apart from reading/revisiting "Manufacturing Consent", maybe a look at "Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order" is in order, comrades. Both oldies now, but it does take awhile for stuff to sink in, don't it?
Another worthy bit of homework.
On corporate journalism and journalists:
(oh, and "LEST. WE. FORGET." the under-siege & kow-towed & craven State media players)
Andy. you didn't answer my question about whether gillard is cut from the same neoliberal cloth as say abbott? was a gillard government in any way different to an abbott government? now imagine that our hostile senate didnt exist. what additional damage could the liberal government inflict. while 'good' leaders will no doubt struggle against the neo-liberal machine I think you underestimate the additional damage that 'bad' leaders like trump can inflict by either simply turning a blind eye, or directly supporting the agenda.
Labor vs Liberal? One word "Gonski".
Labor and Liberal similar? Maybe at a macro level that's the case, but that kinda goes without saying, the party in power doesn't own the economy they simply steer it, and the Australian economy is in essence a neo-liberal construction. Has been since the 80s.
But it's a tad bewildering when people say Labor and Liberal are the same. FFS, what about Work Choices, Gonski, NDIS, Safe Schools, Carbon Tax, Mining Tax, TAFE, not to mention attitudes to the environment, public utility, private schooling?
I'm with Happy A, anyone who calls Labor and Liberal the same is being defeatist and seems only to be viewing them at the 'economic' level and not at the individual level, where real differences can be felt, and I refer to the (incomplete) list above.
There are of course similarities across many of the parties, not just Labor and Lib. But yes they are different, significantly different when it comes to government and the party structures. Not sure why it is 'defeatist' to have policies which are common to the two major parties. I would say that to have consensus or agreement on policies is not 'defeatist' but most likely a positive point.
nice work Stu, summed it up beautifully and another thing the labor party ride red boards!
Your comprehension is a bit hazy TB. Big night on the Pimms?
Defeatist refers to the attitude that says both parties are as bad as each other, that it seves no point to differentiate, and that you've largely given up on politics. Hence defeatist.
Yes, both maybe as 'bad' as each. That's not 'defeatist' to me. Rather, if you look at when these two parties became 'similar' was in the Hawke / Keating era. This tends to indicate a more general consensus amongst the community. Hence many don't really care who is in government. But the parties do need to differentiate. Maybe by the personalities of their leaders - an important factor. The last thing is to give up on the politics. As uninspiring as it is at the moment, if we give up and put the blinkers on then yep, the 'bad' comes to the fore.
Pimms - what is that stuff. Pass that thru to the keeper.
Happy, I’m talking about Labor and the LNP as parties, not about individuals. Still, I agree with you and say that Gillard is a fair way away from Abbott ideologically but the point I’m trying to make is that Labor, same as the LNP, are constrained by neoliberal thought - the ALP has been unable to define itself as anything but a party devoted to free-market reforms since the Hawke government in the 1980s.
And apart from some progressive measures initiated between 2008 and 2013, Labor continues to be very neoliberal, even when they chose to implement progressive policies.
Stu talks about Workchoices but in the lead-up to the 2007 election, the Rudd–Gillard leadership gave focus in the IR debate to a narrow range of issues – such as individually based workplace agreements, penalty rates, overtime and unfair dismissal. Job security, casualisation and the share of wages and profits in national income all took a distant back seat.
You call yourself a progressive party and you sidestep addressing some of the key issues that workers are subjected to due to neoliberal policies?
Sounds like LNP Lite to me.
Gonski was mentioned by Blindboy.
When the recommendations of the Gonski panel were released the Labor government said it would contribute just 30% of the funding. Also, Labor announced $2.3 billion would be taken from university funding to pay for part of the extra allocation under the school funding changes.
Again, sounds like a LNP stunt.
Labor has definitely had some progressive wins though such as gaining wage increases of between 19% and 41% for workers in the social, community and disability sector.
The NDIS is also a good one.
At the same time, Labor continues to show where its ideology sits – Labor cut company tax when it was in government between 1983 and 1996 and at the 2010 election, the Gillard Labor government promised to cut company tax if re-elected.
Other policies, such as stripping the carer’s allowance, were highly regressive.
I could go on.
Policies on asylum seekers – indistinguishable between Labor and Liberal.
Following the U.S. into bullshit wars – Labor is there with bells on.
Neoliberalism has become hegemonic and the fact that so many people still think that there are significant differences between Labor and the Libs shows just how powerful that hegemony is.
There are definitely differences but it’s all in the same framework.
The field of vision has narrowed incredibly.
If we could see side by side, the major parties’ policies from the 50’s against those of today, we’d see just how much Labor and the Lib’s ideologies have converged.
Finally, calling me defeatist for communicating the above points is nonsensical.
I’ve given up on politics because I believe that neither of the major parties are serving the people?
Australia's politicians(both major parties) have not protected its people against the most expensive electricity prices in the world!the number 1 exporter of gas n coal in the world.Australia should have some of the cheapest power in the world and should be rich off the royalties which belong to the country and its citizens.not in debt!
K-Rudd's mining tax was brillant and look what happened to him by his own party!that proved who's really in charge of the country??IT AINT THE POLITICIANS.
we need to unite n start our own political evolution.whom better than surfers to do it?call it the SURF PARTY and show these clowns how to do it!M.R.,Tom Caroll or Occy for P.M.??tax the ultra rich as they need to contibute,turn the whole counrty into a nature reserve and make the the worlds largest renewable energy plants(go S.A. Jay Weatherill!)
Awareness of ignorance is the beginning of wisdom.......Socrates
Australia needs a new progressive party
And this article sheds some light on the lurch to the right of the whole political spectrum.
I would think the political structures and party systems in the west are still sound.
The problem is the people that manipulate those structures for personal or corporate benefit.
We have the wrong people elected and lobbyists dilute or destroy the notion of governing for the people.
Further, we are coming to the end of the neo-liberal experiment not because we have found something better but because neo-liberalism is discredited and has proven itself to an efficient wealth transfer system allowing the rich to get richer.
In this politically and economically unstable environment populism / nationalism has emerged further eroding any chance of a positive outcome for ordinary people.
If history teaches anything we should all be concerned about Brexit, Trump and the nationalism sweeping Europe.
The Tyranny of Distance not so anymore.
What has history taught us about nationalism ,Guy Smiley ?
Please don't forget to involve the dozens and dozens of nations that have existed for centuries without being involved in expansionist wars .
i'd prefer to see 5 year terms at the federal level.
Interesting analysis of US policy in the Middle East.
Agreed on the new progressive party Andy our current political representation is a wasteland.
But if there's one thing that the union movement and big business would agree on it would be annihilating any credible new party that tried to make ground in the lower house, and it would take another eccentric billionaire to fund the operation.
the free thought project...not a publication i'm too familiar with. but then again, i don't wear a tinfoil hat.
this is bit of well known bullshit is a bit of a give away that the whole story is bullshit...
"... President Trump sent an ‘armada’ of U.S. vessels to the waters off the Korean peninsula, which now includes the nuclear-powered U.S.S. Michigan and the U.S.S. Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group.."
Ah so its a flatearther website? ah good. Thanks chook.
yeah, thank god that one is false.
in some related "false news" news...there is talk that trump wants to change libel laws in the US. part of his war on "fake news". examples suggested are NYT for claims trump and his team have rusians ties.
fox news would be bankrupted within a week of any changes. so i can't really see that one happening.
Fake news websites and the writers are just plain reckless.
Blindboy, do you have any further thoughts on that "Middle East Misadventures" link you posted?
Gaz, I agree totally, ALL the players would come together to dismantle a credible new party.
With that in mind, I think we can do worse things than bring pressure to bear on politicians by supporting groups like GetUp!.
The LNP seem to think that GetUp! had some influence at the last election...
Andy I think it is probably the best analysis of US policy in the region I have ever read. It is particularly good, as might be expected from a senior diplomat, in considering the perspectives of all the participants.
BB, absolutely agree - for someone who was assistant U.S. Secretary of Defence and also ambassador to Saudi Arabia to express these thoughts is noteworthy and credible.
We won't be seeing this article reprinted in The Australian anytime soon.
as for america, well I couldn't care less if they wish to fuck up their own country. but as expected all the political stunts and statements by trump divert attention away from major issues like CC for which the likes of himself and our own Abbott should be held negligent for will-fully disregarding their own government departmental advice.
We definitely need more independent lobby groups but I don't think GetUp! is one of them. It's basically a hybridized young ALP/Greens movement. Bill Shorten was a founding director & it's union backed, I wish we had a few genuinely independent lobby groups that would hold both sides to account in Australia.
Things To Consider, Part 1:
The more progressive the party the more polarising the politics. Maybe an odd thing for me to say, my own politics can veer sharply that way, however I also know that centrist policies make for a more cohesive society, especially when society at large - read: the economy - is moving toward the right.
A far left movement will only move further away from the negotiating table and into the realm of confrontation, and when this happens expect an equal and opposite reaction on the right side of politics. Before long neither is giving much, if any, ground for the sake of compromise and cohesion.
Also, it's not like there's a sizable left constituency that isn't being served. All a new party on that side of politics will do is further fracture the left vote which plays into the conservatives hand and forces like-minded people to fight against each other.
Left and right are out of date. It's not so much rich vs poor as the ultra rich vs everyone else. The problem in terms of creating a political movement around this reality is the influence the ultra rich have over, not only mainstream media, but social media. Their agenda is always to divide. The issue doesn't matter, religion, sexuality, immigration, anything at all that will split what should be an immense coalition against their parasitism and outright theft. How you combat that, I am not sure but the first step is to recognise the strategy and not get drawn in by it.
hasn't it always been so, the ultra rich vs everyone else? it's never going to change.
the whole left/right was just one stage in the history of division.
use as little as possible so you don't need to work very much, grow your own, brew your own, surf, fuck and dance as much as possible...our time here is brief. as the specials said "it's later than you think".
You are almost right chook but the period of greatest equality of income was roughly 1945-1975. Since then the trend has reversed and that is what we should be resisting.
The powers that be love to divide us with left vs right politics as it seems to distract from the humanity that should be included in the argument. BB has it bang on with the rich vs everyone argument in this instance. 93% of us think we're middle-class, when that's obviously not the case. Why else would we support garbage like the recent announcement to put uni fees up and claw back HECS earlier? Just ANOTHER handicap on today's youth.
"Neoliberal government policy actively extends economic assistance to those who need it least. This upside-down welfare is paid for by savagely impoverishing the genuinely needy."
Ha ha! The Bull, indeed!
Yeah, pretty hard to imagine either Trump wanting to do that, or being allowed to get away with it.
Good to see Trump and Turnbull reinforcing the Oz-US alliance (sorry losers -Blindboy, sheepy, Andy, talkingshit, sharkboy. et al). Great that we will go forward pursuing the same agenda.