Gearing-up for the Mardi Gras.

Today, Saturday March 4, 12,000 people from Australia and around the world identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer (LGBTIQ) will be proudly participating in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras street parade.

And like millions of Sydneysiders of both these and other sexual persuasions I’ll be watching them with a mixture of particular pleasure and pride.

Pleasure in the fun the marchers will be having showing off the fabulous floats and costumes they traditionally create to dress – or undress – in for the occasion, and pride in being part of a community that doesn’t just tolerate individual difference, but outright celebrates it.

And then there’s the feeling of achievement that comes from seeing that society can change for the better, recalling as I so vividly do that the Australia in which I grew up was so disrespectful of difference that when the Sydney Gay Mardi Gras started in 1978 it was a march of protest against the homophobia that was rampant back then.

Not, of course, that homo- or other phobias are entirely extinct in even this comparatively enlightened year of 2017, or in this comparatively enlightened country of Australia.

As recognised by the theme of this year’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, ‘Creating Equality,’ there is still a very long way to go before we achiever the organisers’ stated aim of ensuring that ‘everyone is treated fairly and equally – and no-one is discriminated against for their sexuality, sex, gender identity, race, beliefs, age or abilities.’

Many of my fellow Australians are as bigoted, racist, sexist and religionist as ever.

In fact the most extreme example of this deplorable reality is the subject of a story in today’s Sydney Morning Herald.

‘Neil Prakash, Australia’s most infamous Islamic State recruit,’ the story begins, ‘strode the streets of the Iraqi city of Mosul with four bodyguards and acted as supervisor for the terror group’s medieval punishments.’

Punishments overseen by Prakash, the Melbourne-born son of Fijian and Cambodian parents, reportedly included public beheadings, stoning and whippings conducted in Mosul’s main Bab al-Toub Square, and the throwing of people accused of homosexuality from the top of the 10-storey Orizdy building on one side of the Square.

Such atrocities are, of course, as anathema to the vast majority of Muslims as to the adherents of other religions or to agnostics like myself.

As also, I imagine, or at least hope, are such attitudes as that expressed by state executive councillor Mohamed Fadzli Hassan of Kelantan in his recent announcement of his government’s intention to stage a public-caning demonstration in support of the PAS – or, as I think of it, PUS – party’s push for hudud in Malaysia.

Lest I start to appear unfairly islamophobic here, however, let me make the point that I’m strongly if not violently opposed to all religions whose ‘believers’ consider that as long as they pray to some divinity or another they have a right to prey on other people.

As witnessed in the shocking numbers of Catholic and other Christian clergy that have been revealed as predators on the children in their congregations, and other self-styled ‘conservative’ Christians in right-wing racist, religionist political organisations like Australia’s One Nation and the Christian Democratic Party.

Founder and leader of the Christian Democratic Party, the Reverend Fred Nile, is as ferocious an opponent of homosexuality and thus of the Sydney Mardi Gras as almost any mufti or other be-robed cleric of any religion could possibly be.

An observation that brings me to the point that it’s impossible to avoid noticing that clerics of all major religions and significant numbers of the participants in the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras have in common: cross-dressing.

But, paradoxically, priests, monks, muftis, mullahs, archbishops, popes and whatever try and dignify the fact that they’re decked-out in dresses by trying to pass them off as robes, habits, cassocks, vestments or other such euphemisms, most seem opposed, if not outright frocking hostile, to good, honest trannies and others who cross-dress for fun.

Just one more reason why, if I had the choice between watching or joining some religious procession in support or praise of some alleged divinity, or grooving along with the gang at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, I’d go for the latter, any day.

 

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Enema of the people 2.

I never dreamed I’d find myself in agreement with former US President George W. Bush on any issue whatever, but I see that we’re united in our antipathy to Donald Trump’s demonization of major sectors of the US media as ‘fake news’ and ‘enemies of the people’.

Admittedly Bush didn’t go so far as to brand Trump an ‘enema of the people’, as I did in a recent rant, but nor did he pull his punches.

In an interview on NBC’s Today, he declared that a free press is indispensible to a democracy, as it is necessary to hold those in power to account.

‘Power can be very addictive and can be corrosive, and it’s important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power,’ he added.

However, I fear that the enema of the people himself is in no mood for platitudinous lectures by former presidents, as he’s busy ramping-up the amount of power that’s available for him to abuse.

Trumpeting his intention to seek a ‘historic increase’ of $US74 billion to the United States’ already world-beating military budget of around $US600 billion in order ‘to rebuild the depleted military of the United States of America at a time we most need it,’ he omitted to explain this dire need.

Leaving us all to guess whether it’s the threat from China that he has in mind, or from his erstwhile buddies in a resurgent Russia, or Islamic State.

But the US already, in its allegedly ‘depleted’ military state, has far and away the most powerful war-machine on the planet. So maybe this surging splurge is more about the greater aggrandisement of President Trump and the further enrichment of his cronies in the military-industrial complex.

Or, in other words, precisely the kind of abuse of power that independent media, along with a political opposition and an independent judicial system, are essential for preventing an enema of the people from getting away with.

 

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Enema of the people.

 Judging by the gusto with which Donald Trump keeps sticking it up those elements of the media he deems insufficiently respectful of his anthropoid antics, he clearly thinks he’s being clever.

But, as all but he and the most cretinous of his supporters are aware, the more stridently he strives to smear true and accurate reporting as ‘fake news,’ and its most honest and earnest disseminaters as ‘enemies of the people,’ the more vividly he reveals himself as the enema of the people.

In other words, he’s the sorely-needed purgative for not only a Republican Party so crappy as to have no better candidate for the presidency, but for a United States where sufficient people are so totally full of shit as to either vote for such an idiot or to fail to vote for anybody whatever.

Or, to make this point a little less scatologically, he’s living proof of the prediction by the great H. L. Mencken that ‘on some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.’

Nothing that Trump says or does makes sense. As instanced, for example, by his ban on entry visas on alleged ‘security’ grounds for people from seven Muslim-majority countries, not including Saudi Arabia, of which most of the 911 terrorists were citizens, and also not including Pakistan, the country whose secret police harboured Osama Bin Laden while George W. Bush was busy hunting him in Afghanistan.

And then there’s his suspiciously cozy relationship with Vladimir Putin, whose comprehensively corrupt and outright criminal Russian regime is strongly suspected of colluding with Trump underlings in under-handed efforts to swing the presidential election their boss’s way.

When these dirty deeds are revealed in their full, disgusting detail by the very media that Trump is so desperate to denigrate as ‘enemies of the people’, I suspect that even the man’s most avid ass-lickers will see him for the enema of the people that he undoubtedly is, and that the con he calls ‘conservatism’ will end up in the toilet where it rightly belongs.

But meanwhile, in the time it takes to finally give the man the finger, whether painfully proctologically by means of impeachment for one of his outrages, or at the earliest possible electoral opportunity, no doubt he’ll continue his campaign of verbal and virtual diarrhoea until the stench of so many stinking lies finally gets too unbearable for words.

 

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Can POTUS trump PMOM?

Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Abdul Razak, must be feeling tremendously superior to his alleged erstwhile golfing buddy and recently-elected President of the United States, Donald Trump, even without a chance to play a round with him recently.

Because, however many courses Trump owns, and however close to scratch his game might be, he’s competing at world-class level according to US and international rules in full view of a global gallery, and thus has no chance of hiding just how green, gruesomely handicapped and doomed to defeat that he thus far appears to be.

Whereas Najib plays mostly for Malaysia on a minor circuit restricted to such similar small-timers as North Korea and Zimbabwe, who all consider themselves winners because they not only make-up the rules of the game and fake their own scorecards, but also feel free to club any who dare criticise or oppose them into silence or submission.

Or, in some special cases, to death, as in the current case of the alleged hit on a member of North Korea’s Kim family at a Kuala Lumpur airport, or the murder and C4 dismemberment of Mongolian ‘model’ Altantuya Shaariibuu in KL a decade ago.

No wonder POTUS Trump is so mightily teed-off at the way he’s thwarted at every stroke as he strives to triumph over obstacles like that mother of all sand-traps, the Middle-East, and looming water-hazards like the South-China Sea, while simultaneously trying to deal with domestic challenges ranging from hostile Democrats and disaffected Republicans to hostile news media and intractable courts.

At least you’d imagine that a golfer as avid as Trump so evidently is would be aware of Theodore Roosevelt’s proverbial advice to himself and successive US presidents to ‘speak softly and carry a big stick.’

But apparently not, as in the blustering press conference he held recently to praise his own allegedly ‘fine-tuned’ administration’s bumbling, stumbling performance in its first few weeks, he seemed rather to be still resorting to speaking bigly because he’s getting so much stick.

And if he’s even slightly sincere in his avowed desire to ‘make America great again,’ he can look forward to getting even more stick in the future, in light of the fact that two of the principal principles that have contributed most to America’s self-perception as ‘great’ are the freedom of the press and the doctrine of the separation of powers underpinning the independence of the judiciary.

And it is right here, of course, where Najib’s Umno/BN regime, North Korea’s Kim dynasty, Zimbabwe’s Mugabe-figureheaded Zanu-PF gang and the similar dominant players in countless other no-account countries well and truly have the wood on Trump attempts to run the US.

Because while Trump can only endlessly and impotently repeat his lying refrain about the forces of ‘fake news’ that he claims are so ‘unfairly’ ranged against him, Najib, the Kims and Mugabes can, as they so efficiently have done, abolish independent news media, fake or otherwise, and create fake news in their own favour.

Thus, to refer back to the headline of this column, Najib easily trumps Trump in the management of negative or hostile news and views by the simple expedient of making sure there aren’t any. None that can be printed or broadcast, at least, as Umno/BN either or both owns and controls all of Malaysia’s ‘mainstream’, or in other words traditional news media.

This blacking-out of bad news about Malaysia’s ruling regime is reinforced by an Official Secrets Act so severe as to cover virtually every activity of the government, the civil services and crony so-called ‘government-linked corporations’ (GLCs), and of course backed-up by regime domination of what should by rights be Malaysian citizens’ final bulwark against the misrule of their country by the Umno/BN kleptocracy, the courts.

Admittedly this game-winning strategy has one tiny flaw, which is that former Prime Minister Mohamad Mahathir, the man who devised and from whom Najib has inherited it, was so keen to create a world-class IT complex he grandly conceived as ‘Cyberjaya’ that he promised global players like Apple and Microsoft that he wouldn’t censor the internet.

Cyberjaya, like so many of Mahathir’s megalomanic projects, never really took off. But at least the internet has surprisingly remained relatively free in Malaysia, and thus I can write what I like, or rather what my editors deem not so dangerously politically provocative as to get Malaysiakini raided or banned, in this column.

But Najib and his Umno/BN accomplices and supporters are apparently quite prepared if not happy to tolerate this relatively minor annoyance, as it gives them a pretext on which to pretend they permit at least some slight degree of press freedom.

And in any event they must figure that however much bad news gets out about them, they can keep buying enough voters to keep them in power with money they SK1M from the public purse to fund annual hand-outs billed as BR1M, which Najib recently boasted increases in amount every year.

Or, to put this another way, there are always enough Malaysians prepared to be so D1M as to accept BR1M and in return to pretend that they’re unaware that Najib, like every one of his fellow Umno/BN members and cronies, is a KR1M.

In short, though Najib Abdul Razak might seem to the embarrassed, embarrassing and deeply-embattled Donald Trump to be a winner in the contest between himself and the essential democratic institutions of truth, transparency and justice, the Malaysian people are the sure-fire losers.

Just as the American people will be if Trump and his gofers can’t be persuaded or if necessary forced to finally get themselves on the ball, stop playing around like dimwit banana-republic demagogues and realise that there’s as huge a gulf between their performance so far and true world leadership as between hit-and-giggle golf and the real thing.

 

 

 

 

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Be my Vladentine?

With St Valentine’s day due next week, my thoughts naturally turn to love. And given that a column is no place for portraying or pursuing my personal amours, I’ve been getting lots of vicarious, indeed voyeuristic enjoyment from observing some of the most passionate love affairs currently being conducted publicly, if not pubicly, by various famous or notorious figures.

To me the most extreme of these, and by far the most excruciating because it’s impossible to avoid incessantly watching, reading and hearing about, is the absolute orgy of self-regard, adoration, infatuation, call it what you will, between New US President Donald Trump and himself.

The man personifies and projects narcissism to such a pathological extent that it’s almost beyond caricature. And in any event all the countless attempts to caricature him only seem to accentuate the crush he has on himself.

Just as those who swoon over him are genuine and only doing him justice, he seems to reason, those swine who refuse to swoon are just revealing how justifiably jealous they are of his supreme excellence.

And every time the media rebut one of his pathologically-lying statements, he feels entitled to justify himself with the flagrant falsehood that he’s the innocent victim of ‘fake news’.

At this juncture I imagine some readers will be thinking I’m being a bit unfair to Trump, as on the face of it he does appear to have feelings for some others, like, for example, First Lady Melania and First Daughter Ivanka, even to the point of flagrantly un-presidentially promoting the latter’s fashion brand.

But I’m not prepared to believe that Trump sees these or any others who belong to him as people in their own right, but only as part of his desperate narcissistic need to feed his love of ‘me’ with as much as possible as he can get of ‘my’ and ‘mine’.

That being said, however, I can’t deny one glaring piece of evidence against my thesis that Donald love only Trump and Trump loves only Donald. And that’s the curious fact that, while he hates just about everybody but himself, or possessions, extensions or supporters of himself, he has the total hots for the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin.

Given the plainly-evident fact that Putin runs a kleptocracy as corrupt as inept as any on earth, including my perennial bugbear, Umno/BN’s Malaysia, and is an ally of Bashir Al-Assad in his all-out bloody war on the Syrian people, this is a very curious love-fest indeed.

So much so, that as I wrote on Trump’s inauguration, or, more accurately, Inughuration Day, I’m amazed that the penny or rather rouble hasn’t dropped with conspiracy theorists that he could well in real if not TV reality be a KGB operative named Trumpski, and thus the first Russian agent to not only successfully and safely breach US security, but to actually run for and seize the Presidency into the bargain.

But whatever the rationale for the bizarre blip, flaw or anomaly in his constitutional narcissism that enables Trump to feel something that looks for all the world like romantic love for the highly-undesirable Vladimir Putin, as far as I’m concerned I can’t help thinking of February 14 2017 as international St Vladentine’s Day.

Though of course members and supporters of Malaysia’s Umno/BN regime won’t agree with me at all. Firstly because in their attempts to appear supportive of Islam, the religion they so disgrace, these crooks choose not to recognise St Valentine’s Day or any variant of it because it’s Christian.

And secondly they would surely claim that the love that dares not speak its name between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin is far outshone by the relationship between Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and any significant world leader who deigns to give him a game of golf.

As he’s already boasted that Donald Trump did years before he even thought of running for president, although as far as I’m aware Trump himself has no recollection of this event.

In any case, as his supporters can persuasively argue, Najib is every bit as big-time as Trump is in the self-love stakes.

It was Najib, after all, who, earlier in his premiership, lavished heaps of public money on signs proclaiming ‘I love PM’ and on paying crowds of people to carry and display them.

And Najib, allegedly, at least, who even arguably trumped Trump in the self-love department by arranging to have RM2.6 billion of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds into his own, personal bank account(s).

But then came Najib’s big mistake in my book. Any world-class narcissist worth his salt would have welcomed revelations of these payments with the comment that he was entitled to the cash and worth every cent of it, but Najib failed the test by claiming that it was a ‘donation’ from some anonymous ‘rich Saudi’ benefactor.

In other words, Najib’s pretence to pure, narcissistic Trump-style self-love is fatally marred not only by his lust for other people’s money, but also by his complete failure to take responsibility for, let alone to show pride in this self-indulgence.

So, even though as I recall giving him a dishonourable mention in ‘Be my Villaintine’ back at this time in 2014, and he’s clearly right up there with Trump and Putin when it comes to self-love, he’s clearly not a party to their special relationship, and thus, however hard he might be Valentryin’, he’ll never be a candidate for Vladentine.

 

 

 

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Crasstianity on the march.

In a piece a couple of days ago on Donald Trump, I made the point that the man’s single apparent saving grace, probably because his extreme narcissism prevents his perceiving any other real or imaginary being as superior, let alone supreme, is that at least he’s not a God-botherer.

In other words, in his thrusting lust for power and profit, at least he’s openly and unabashedly crass. Unlike most other right- or rather wrong-wing conservative Western politicians like, for example, those in the so-called ‘Tea Party, who self-interestedly pervert Christianity into a contemptible Crasstianity.

A concept that brings us to South-Australian Senator Corey Bernardi, whose self-description as ‘socially conservative and economically liberal’ places him in such polar opposition to Christian values of compassion for the meek, the mild and the poor in spirit and contempt for the worship of money, as to make him the very model of a Crasstian.

He’s demonised Islam as a ‘totalitarian, political and religious ideology,’ clearly without realising that the very same words would just as aptly describe the Catholic religion or most of the myriad other allegedly Christian sects.

He’s derided the idea of gay marriage by suggesting that it would logically lead to the acceptance and normalisation of bestiality.

He’s deplored the phenomenon of single parenthood, and by comparison praised his own mother for remaining a housewife and staying at home to look after him.

Little realising, apparently, that most mothers, single, or out working or otherwise, would be horrified to have raised a child that turned-out as big a Crasstian bigot as he has.

And as for Bernardi’s adherence to whatever ‘totalitarian, political and religious idealogy’ he personally prefers to Islam that forbids abortion, all I can say is that it inspires in me the so un-Christian as to be almost Crasstian thought that I wish abortion could be made retrospective, and in Corey’s mother’s case compulsory.

He appears unstoppable, however. And now, reportedly emboldened by US Crasstians’ elation at the ascendency of Donald Trump because in his however ungodly way he shares their deeply un-Christian views on religion, race and gender, and supports their creed of unbridled greed, Bernardi has decided that it’s time for him to make his move.

To abandon the Liberal-National coalition that he’s increasingly seen as far too wishy-washy for his Crasstian taste, and march at the head of his own party. On the one hand I regret his defection from the coalition, as it’s such a rat’s nest of other falsely ‘Christian’ Crasstians that it richly deserves his destructive influence.

But on the other hand I’m enjoying the prospect of seeing him march off into the South-Australian wilderness, hopefully to the same pitiful and richly-deserved fate that Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party has already suffered once, and, as the Senator or rather non-Senator Rod Cullerton fiasco has already foreboded, will eventually suffer again.

 

 

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Trump’s rumble with ‘Trumble’.

If there was anyone in the world yet to be convinced that Donald Trump is a disgrace to the US Presidency and a disaster for the country he claims to be capable of making great again, the fallout from the now infamous phone conversation with the Prime Minister of Australia should have done the trick.

This loud-mouthed know-all can’t even get Malcolm Turnbull’s name right, let alone stop telling bare-faced lies about what happened in the course of the abusive and abruptly-abbreviated phone call between them last week.

Having leaked or either ordered or approved the leak of the report of the call to the Washington Post, presumably as evidence of what a tough-talker he is on America’s behalf to some small-time, pissant ally presuming to insist that an agreement be honoured, he then claimed that, far from throwing a tantrum (tantrump?) on the phone and prematurely cutting the call short, the talk he’d had with Turnbull/Trumble had been ‘cordial.’

And now he’s tweeted his thanks to Turnbull/Trumble for going along with the ‘cordial’ story, when in fact the only comment the latter has made has been ‘no comment’, a remark that didn’t in any way support Trump’s barefaced lie that the original story based on the White-House leak was an example of ‘fake news.’

Australia hasn’t emerged from this ludicrous situation looking too special, either. Though Turnbull/Trumble certainly managed to keep his prime-ministerial cool and thus not totally trump himself as Trump did, the spectacle of his government’s so desperately trying to rid itself of a couple of thousand refugees that it should by rights (and under the terms of international treaties) accept as immigrants, was pathetic.

Keeping these helpless, guiltless people in semi-permanent limbo on Manus Island and Nauru for the purpose of placating right-wing, or in other words wrong-wing, elements of the Liberal-National Coalition in particular and the Australian electorate at large, is a crime against human decency.

Not to mention against the Christianity so many right- or rather wrong-wingers claim to believe in. These people exhibit none of the humility, compassion and charity of true Christianity. Quite the opposite, in fact. They employ their alleged faith in Christ and the prophets in their pursuit of power, privilege and profits.

In short, they’re not Christians, they’re Crasstians. An observation that brings me to the only saving grace I’ve yet be able to discern in Donald Trump.

Unlike most other US Presidents, indeed US politicians in general, at least he’s not forever going on about God this and God that, and God the other thing, and as a confirmed agnostic I find this a breath of fresh air.

Even though I’m all too aware that Trump’s lack of evident interest in the Almighty is most likely due to the man’s narcissistic, monomaniacal belief that he outranks all known divinities, including God the Father and Jesus Christ, and especially the one whose followers believe is the hottest competitor for Trump and America in the greatness department, Allah.

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