18.6 C
Byron Shire
October 25, 2021

Trumpmania: Has America gone mad?

Latest News

No Ballina commemoration for 11 November

Speaking on behalf of the Ballina RSL sub-branch, Dick Wills BEM has announced that there will be no public commemoration service in Ballina for Remembrance Day next month.

Other News

Biz smashed by new COVID-19 regime

It was proudly trumpeted as ‘Freedom Day’ by the State Government. But for much of the local business community in the Northern Rivers region, October 11 was anything but.

Locals gathering to object to burning forests, plastic, foils, and tyres for energy at Condong sugar mill

A public protest is taking place this Friday meet near the Condong sugar mill, north of Murwillumbah, at the big fig tree on Tweed Valley Way on Friday, 22 October at 10am to object to the burning of trees and ‘forest waste’ by Cape Byron Power to generate electricity at the Condong sugar mill.

Cr Darlene Cook: ‘working to restore accountability and trust in our Council’

Current Lismore Councillor Darlene Cook has served one term on Lismore Council and at the December LGA election, she plans to run for Mayor.

COVID’s genetic solution?

A lucky few are unusually resistant to COVID-19. Scientists are trying to find a reason in their genes.

When is a sock not a sock?

A sock is not talked about much – it’s a simple device that is very well known. As the world...

Staff cuts at Murwillumbah mega school

The NSW Teacher's Federations says that the proposed merger of four schools in Murwillumbah will result in the loss of at least 19 teaching positions.

The Simpsons cartoon series took up the claim that Donald Trump paid people to seem like supporters during his speech announcing his intentions to run for president.
The Simpsons cartoon series took up the claim that Donald Trump paid people to seem like supporters during his speech announcing his intentions to run for president.

Phillip Frazer

Nope – it was already mad.

Americans are angry mad at the fact that the government – and the corporates who run it – have their sticky fingers in everything their citizens do and everything they think, and all the citizens get is another day older and deeper in debt.

And America is batshit crazy mad in that it doesn’t believe in global warming and diplomacy but does believe in angels, insurance agents charging $2,000/month per family to look after their health (not counting the costs of treatments), and it still believes it’s the best country on Earth.

Okay, let’s stop this thought-train right there: something’s wrong with all the stuff I just wrote, which is that ‘America’ doesn’t exist, and nor do ‘Americans’.

‘America’ is a wide stripe of the North American continent, about the same area (omitting Alaska) as Australia with 13 times as many people, who are more diverse and disconnected than Australians are.

I went to the US in 1976 to see if I could figure out how much ‘they – the Americans’ had to do with undermining the Whitlam ALP government and, more generally, why ‘it – America’ behaves the way it does. The short answers to those two questions, I conclude 40 years later, are:

Of course the bullying paranoid president Nixon and his equally power-mad secretary of state Henry Kissinger wanted to get rid of Whitlam and his goddamn communist cabinet ministers, and of course the CIA did all it could, short of having him shot, to help the lords of Canberra and London toss Gough off the cliff. Whitlam himself said later, ‘I got off lightly’, compared to Chilean president Salvador Allende who died in the US-backed coup of 1973.

As I unravelled the facts about which politicos in Washington and bankers in New York screwed Whitlam and Australia over, an image of how America works formed in my mind, a moving image, like a live-feed. It goes like this:

The whole country consists of shifting alliances of people engaged in a never-ending battle for ascendency, in which the most valuable weapons are money, access, and strategic knowledge.


These alliances might be economic or class based, such as recently laid-off auto-workers (over 100,000), or family based, like the Kennedys or the Rockefellers, or a social movement such as LGBT activists, or geographically based such as people living in the Rocky Mountains, or alliances of common interests such as former defence or state department officials now working for weapons manufacturers, or weapons manufacturers invested in drones and other cyber-warfare industries, or teachers and educational managers working in charter schools, or the alliance of second wave feminists that grew in the 60s whose ‘bosses’ include Gloria Steinem, who recently damaged Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid by dissing younger feminists, or Christian fundamentalists … organic farmers …

These alliances are ever-changing and there are no guarantees nor any agreed-on overall goals.

There are various rules, variously obeyed or dishonored, including the Constitution, Congress, the vast bureaucracies, the courts, the military and intelligence agencies with their own secret laws, and so on one – but in practice, life proceeds like the warlord societies of China in the early 1900s, or Japan in the 16th century.

Now this image of alliances that drift along with shifts in who is exerting power over whom could describe Australian society, or any other society, but what distinguishes the American system is that it has more diversity than any country in a similar stage of ‘development’. It is a country shared by hundreds or thousands of distinguishable cultures, full of disparities and inequalities. It might be a paradise of political correctness, or a multicultural morass, but what it is not is a community of shared experiences, myths, priorities, and, ultimately, loyalties.

Unifying notions

There are unifying notions about what America ought to be about, and they compete for the people’s allegiance: constitutionalists strive to organise the populace around the noble ideals of the founding documents, but Bernie Sanders and the late Supreme Court Justice Scalia would have agreed on that while drastically disagreeing on what it meant. And Donald Trump couldn’t give a shit about founders or documents; he believes Americans are united around the lusty battle to make money, or more accurately, to take it from others – the more you take the better you are.

It’s a donnybrook among crooked warlords, idealists, crooked idealists, and idealistic warlords.

Okay, so where are we in the 2016 presidential election?

Donald Trump is hanging on as a loose cannon über-capitalist with an army of mostly white folks who are united by diminishing wealth, income, and hope. His two Christian crusader challengers, Senators Cruz and Rubio, look more looney toons by the day. Watch out for Mike Bloomberg, John Kasich, Mitt Romney and Gary Johnson. Any one of them could be nominated at the Republican Convention in July.

Democrat Hillary Clinton says she represents the middle class, poor people, women, blacks, Latinos, Wall Street, and everyone really. In the real world, she and Bill are members of the Washington/New York power elite. If she loses this year, all those dinner party invites, board directorships, and deals behind closed doors will finally cease and desist.

Bernie Sanders is still a chance to beat Hillary for their party’s nomination. He has been more popular than Hillary or Trump in every poll for the last six months, and he still is. He has come from obscurity by building an alliance of people tending younger and more ethnically diverse than anyone else’s followers, arguing calmly for taxing the super rich to pay for free tertiary education and health care for all.

But it’s not about a rational choice for the good of the country. It’s about shifts on the battlegrounds of warlordism, right up to November 8.

Phillip Frazer is a dual Australian/American citizen who will send his presidential ballot to the USA in November. See more at www.coorabellridge.com.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

COVID update: two new cases in Lismore and fragments in Byron’s STP

The Northern NSW Local Health District, Lynne Weir, today say that two new cases of COVID-19 have been reported for the District to 8pm, 23 October.

Mutual obligation or mandatory vax?

There is much being said about the pros and cons of the vaccination. Do we? Don’t we? Must we? Must we not? But the answers...

Christian fundamentals

Robin Harrison’s letter (13 October) made me realise how Christian fundamentals are little known, yet so freely referred to. There are at least three...

A dumb act of STP

Council is stating that breaches of licence conditions, in part, justifies spending $10m on transferring raw sewage from Ocean Shores Sewerage Treatment Plant (OS...