I like to start the newsletter with something amusing. I guess this is not amusing, but it is interesting:-
“Look, having nuclear — my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart — you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, OK, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I’m one of the smartest people anywhere in the world — it’s true! — but when you’re a conservative Republican they try — oh, do they do a number — that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune — you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged — but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me — it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are — nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what’s going to happen and he was right, who would have thought? — but when you look at what’s going on with the four prisoners — now it used to be three, now it’s four — but when it was three and even now, I would have said it’s all in the messenger; fellas, and it is fellas because, you know, they don’t, they haven’t figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years — but the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators, so, and they, they just killed, they just killed us.”
Though not amusing, the above utterance represent the thoughts of the current leader of the western world, (while electioneering in 2016.) The extract is much quoted as evidence that a demented leader is suffering from dementia. That however is not what he is suffering from. Here is an extract from an analysis by a professor of linguistics:
“The difference between the younger man talking in sentences and the older one talking in vocal ejaculations is evidence not of decline but authenticity – he has settled into his normal. Late in life an artless man has learned that he could leave his linguistic fly unzipped and life would go on. It may not be pretty, but it isn’t a sign that his pants are going to fall down.” To summarise the Professor’s argument, which consists largely of a lengthy break-down, sentence by sentence, of the Trumpian extract, what the speaker is suffering from is extreme arrogance and conceit. He has so little respect for his audience that he cannot be bothered to order his thoughts and discipline his speech. He knows he is adored no matter what he says.
Moving on, I think I should make a comment about one of my favoured sources – the Asia Times. As I view NZ as being essentially an Asian nation, I find it more relevant to go to the Asian Times than the New York Times, the Times of London, or any other of the deeply compromised western mainstream media. The Asian Times, printed in Hong-Kong, was established by a Thai media mogul and remains, as far as I can gather, under Asian control. It seems to balance its articles between, at one extreme of enthusiasm, Pepe Escobar’s pro-PRC reporting and many items much more likely to please readers in Asian countries other than the government in Beijing. Trustworthy? 1 minute read
And as a PS: Newsletter No16, received a comment from one of the readers – recommending a lengthy article that, if you have leisure and are interested in that sort of thing, is well worth the read. Neo-feudalism It probably sums up where the USA has gone wrong and the root cause of its now rapid decline. It argues that whereas up to the 1980s, the democratic state worked to protect its citizens, since then, the state’s law-making functions have been usurped by corporate interests intent on turning citizens into serfs. “…private potentates have captured the state.”
Peace & Conflict Resolution
US Marines It looks as though nations within striking range of the Chinese mainland are going to be asked to accept occupation by the US Marines in order to avoid a remote risk that they might be occupied by the Chinese! That risk might no longer be so remote once the Marines arrive and start threatening China’s trade routes. 4 minute read.
Defeating China There can be no doubt as to which is the aggressive party. Who can be certain that NZ and Australia, with their commitment to the USA’s ‘rules based system’ have opted for the winning side? It is quite certain that both will lose heavily in an economic conflict, irrespective of whether or not their American ally ‘wins’ a hot war. Antipodean willingness to cooperate with the USA militarily only encourages it in its aggression towards our Chinese trading partner. When the elephants fight, the grass lies down and dies. 4 minute read
Environment and Climate Change
Sustainable investment The surge in sustainable investment. 6 minute read
Batty! Bats imperiled. 1 minute read
2019 Extinctions 2019 extinction score – includes the first mammal extinction directly attributable to climate change. 5 minute read.
Human Rights & Justice
Falk on Palestine Richard Falk is a professor of international law and a former UN special rapporteur on Palestinian rights. Here he explains the criminality of Israel’s US supported annexation of the West Bank. 6 minute read
NZ & Palestine A plea for NZ to stand up against Israel’s breaches of international law and human rights. A listing of recent such crimes and abuses so far this month. 6 minute read
Chinese confidence Chinese military confidence and technological advantage strengthened by the Covid crisis. 4 minute read.
Australian opinion With Murdoch’s help, Australian opinion opts for Sinophobia. 5 minute read.
Escobar’s view of the US/China conflict Pepe Escobar on China’s plans for recovery from the Covid crisis and the USA’s plans for taking advantage of it. 5 minute read.