1. From the sublime to the ridiculous
I loved learning German at university through it’s poets and other great writers. One reason I never mastered colloquial German was it’s practice of borrowing foreign words and then rendering them in a way that just isn’t true to the Sprachgefühl (intuitive feeling for the natural idiom of a language. So we have:
Borrowed from Mark’s Facebook, not sure where he got it from.
2. Inspecting the entrails
Yes, Labor is still going through a process of discovering how it lost the last election. The truth will never be fully aired, but with a bit of a view from the inside, it’s difficult to see how Labor could have ever won it. To put it another way, if you deliberately set out to sabotage Labor’s campaign from within with dictatorial internal powers, you could never have succeeded half so well.
Looking on the positive side, there is plenty of room for improvement, and internally there is good-will based on frankness and self-reflection, so we’ll see how we go.
Murray Goot has an excellent piece Did late deciders confound the polls?
He tests every theory on what happened in relation to the polls and finds them all unsupported. We just don’t know, and probably never will know.
We do know that now some poll respondents will be gaming the polls. We also know that if you ask people why they did what they did, whether and when they changed their minds, or even how they actually voted, some will not be able to truly represent what happened. In other words, with the best of intentions, we are not always reliable reporters about ourselves.
Paul Bjionjorno told us the other day (in a discussion Why are voters so disaffected with – everything?) that Clive Palmer spent $60 million on advertising, whereas the election budgets for the main parties were $30 million for the LNP and $18 million for Labor. When both parties approached the media to run their adds they found that Palmer had already booked most of the suitable spots.
Fixing this experience may lead us down the track of public funding of elections, but fix it we must.
We should also ponder the best way of providing a context in which reasonable discourse on public policy becomes possible.
3. Trump’s ‘Whistlegate’
On last week’s thread Geoff Henderson has unloaded on Trump whose utterances have no necessary relation to truth or fact. If you want to follow the story, Buzzfeed has an explainer:
It’s quite complicated, but begins with:
- Here’s the short version of this entirely wild story up front: It seems more and more likely that in trying to find information damaging to former Vice President Joe Biden ahead of the presidential election, Trump pressured Ukraine’s government, both directly and indirectly, to investigate Biden’s son — and potentially did so using military aid as a means of leverage.
- They have been hampered thus far by a lack of cooperation from Trump administration officials, including the office of the Director of National Intelligence, which has refused to give Congresspeople full details about the complaint, despite being required to do so by law.
Given that the Trump administration has been uncooperative during investigations involving special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, there is little to suggest it will begin working with Congresspeople to further the whistleblower investigation. And since Trump has said he doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong, there is even less chance of him releasing a transcript of the call in question.
Instead, the Trump administration will likely continue making the case that Biden was involved in illegal activity in Ukraine with respect to his son, despite there being absolutely no evidence to suggest this is the case. The president did exactly this Saturday, tweeting, “Nothing was said that was in any way wrong, but Biden’s demand, on the other hand, was a complete and total disaster.”(Emphasis added)
You can tell from this Getty image photo that he’s guilty!
4. Trump may not hold all the trump cards
Sorry about that one!
Vox has a good explainer of what is going on with the Saudi Arabia-Iran tensions. The article says that Trump is looking at four main options:
- First, Trump ordered the Treasury Department on Wednesday to place even more sanctions on Iran — a move he naturally announced on Twitter.
- Second, the administration seeks to get other countries to work together to push back on Iran’s aggressive actions.
- Third, as the administration announced on Friday, hundreds of US troops are on their way to Saudi Arabia in an effort to deter further Iranian aggression.
- Fourth, it looks like Trump is weighing a cyberattack on Iran.
Frankly, this is all a real worry considering Trump essentially made Iran a problem. Normalising cyber attack may be spectacular, but others can play that game and I wouldn’t back American technological smarts against all-comers.
However, one comment during the week said that Trump does not want war with anyone. He came to office promising to extract the nation from these situations. In fact he would like to solve one or two in order to enhance his re-election chances.
The Iranian regime knows this, and they are understandably sick of the games that are going on. There is a red line, namely they must not harm US personnel or materiel. They could be expected to cross that red line some time soon. If they can. The US claims they have already tried, and been shot down.
Sparks and powder kegs.
5. How good is meeting the POTUS!
As it turns out Trump is a bit short of the friends he’d like to have, so ScoMo and his troupe have been royally duchessed. Flatter-o-meter has been turned to 11 for Morrison — but at home, things aren’t looking good, according to Laura Tingle.
However, being Trump’s ‘bestie’ comes with its own challenges, as Michelle Grattan explains.
ScoMo has put his trust in a man Australian’s don’t:
One challenge in being feted by Mr Trump is capitalising on the “bestie” status while avoiding the appearance of over-familiarity and identification with a leader Australians don’t much like or trust.
This year’s Lowy Institute poll showed that, despite their strong recognition of the importance of the alliance relationship for Australia’s security (72 per cent), only 25 per cent of Australians had confidence in Mr Trump “to do the right thing regarding world affairs”.
Problem is that we are not a properly grown up country able to look after ourselves. We can expect China to test that relationship some time.