Though there’s a long, long way to go before we can hope to defeat the dark forces of fake news and false views, a least we’ve had a few small wins against them this week.
In China, for example, the country that still fakes it as Communist despite having turned capitalist, remains a Party dictatorship despite claiming to be a ‘People’s’ Republic, and continues as ever to control its people with a system of fake news and secrecy, the state censors have been forced to make fools of themselves by banning not just Facebook and Twitter as usual, but now also internet mentions and images of Winnie the Pooh.
According to Australia’s ABC News website, netizens in China have been poking fun at President Xi Jinping by drawing attention to his striking resemblance to the famous ‘bear of little brain’. This has not impressed the powers that be, apparently, especially with the 19th Party Congress approaching.
Of course the banning of Winnie the Pooh will not make the slightest difference to Xi Jinnie the Pooh’s regime, let alone bring it down, but at least it will render it a little more of a laughing-stock both at home and abroad.
Though not so much a laughing-stock, I grant you, as Trump and his fellow fakewits have been making of themselves, their supporters and by extension the US in general every week for their past six months in the White House.
And especially this past week, with the firing of foul-mouthed fakewit Anthony Scaramucci from his job as Trump’s Chief of Staff just 10 days after he was hired.
Then came the Australian connection, with the publication of the transcript of a phone conversation that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had with Donald Trump shortly after he was installed in the Oval Office.
At the time Trump was widely criticized, at least by the Australian media, for his reportedly hostile treatment of Turnbull, and for allegedly angrily and abruptly ending the conversation.
But, while the transcript reveals all this to be true to a considerable extent, it also reveals Turnbull as something of a fakewit for having previously falsely represented his side of the conversation about the terms of a refugee-exchange deal previously made with former President Obama.
Turnbull and his immigration minister, Senator Peter Dutton, have long claimed that the deal wasn’t intended as some cynical, self-serving ‘people-swap’, and the transcript revealed that’s exactly what it was.
Both cynical and self-serving in that Turnbull and Dutton’s motives for making the deal clearly had everything to do with their political concerns, and little if any care for the well-being of the people who have so long languished in Australia’s dismal offshore detention centres.
If this revelation had been the only sign of fakewitedness in Australia’s Turnbull-led Liberal-National Coalition government lately, it probably wouldn’t have been terribly damaging to its prospects at the next election.
But coming as it did on top of a whole string of other political atrocities by the same team of fakewits, like their total failure to carry out sorely-needed reform of the nation’s tax system, their pig-headed denial of climate-change and consequent resistance to renewable energy, and their refusal to countenance a parliamentary vote on the issue of marriage equality, it might well prove the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s (kangaroo’s?) back.
As fakewitted as Australia’s conservatives calling themselves ‘Liberals’ can be, however, at least, as in the US, there are strong opponents, vigilant media and independent legal and other institutions to keep them relatively sensible.
But in Malaysia, now in its 60th year of unbroken misrule by Umno/BN, the system’s so fakewitted from top to bottom that even a financial fraud as massive as the 1Malaysia Development Fund (MDB) fiasco appears not to faze the regime, its cronies and supporters.
Nor, as far as I can see, does the fact that last week the decade-old Scorpene Submarines scandal resurfaced in the form of a bribery trial in the French courts.
Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, allegedly a key person of interest, if not a suspect, in both the 1MDB and Scorpene affairs, not to mention in the murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu related to the latter of these, simply continues to blankly deny any involvement.
Meanwhile, Razak Baginda, originally a defendant in the Scorpene and Altantuya matters, but mysteriously discharged by the court on both counts, claims he hasn’t been charged with bribery by French authorities.
And who in Malaysia is about to call his bluff, if indeed that’s what it is? Not the fake police, who are still too busy falsely claiming that they’re investigating the 1MDB fraud. Not the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), which claims it’s far too busy with other matters to even look into the recent allegation by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has unaccountably amassed assets of RM230 million.
In fact the MACC still apparently hasn’t found the time to question Mahathir about how he and at least some of his sons, along with countless other Umno/BN ministers, members and cronies, prospered so mightily during his 22 years as PM.
Nor, to my knowledge, have Malaysia’s fake mainstream media ever reported Mahathir’s key role in creating the appalling levels of financial, judicial, electoral, religious and racial fakery and fraud that he now claims to have repented to the extent that he opposes it all.
A claim that, as far as I’m concerned, anyone who had followed his career would have to be either an incurable optimist or a total fakewit to believe.