Monday, 16 January 2017
Sunday, 15 January 2017
Given that Donald Trump will be inaugurated pretty soon, I thought, gentle reader, that it might be a good idea to look at what he has promised.
The bulk of these promises were made at campaign rallies, but they have been repeated over and over again, so he obviously intended that they would be believed. The issue, of course, is whether they will be honoured.
I will undertake to review of this list on an annual basis, and publish the results here.
It should be fun.
These promises, were recorded by the way by the Washington Post and are all on the record. They are in no particular order.
1. Build a wall along the southern border.
2. Make Mexico pay for the wall.
3. "If I become president, we're all going to be saying 'Merry Christmas' again."
4. Get rid of Common Core because it's "a disaster" and a "very bad thing." Trump says he wants to give local school districts more control and might even eliminate the Department of Education.
5. The Environmental Protection Agency might also disappear.
6. Get rid of Obamacare and replace it with something "terrific" that is "so much better, so much better, so much better."
7. Knock down the regulatory walls between states for health insurance, making plans available nationally instead of regionally.
8. Rebuild the country's aging infrastructure -- especially bridges and airports that look like they belong in a third-world country -- for one-third of what the United States is currently paying for such projects.
9. Save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cutting benefits.
10. Defund Planned Parenthood.
11. "I will take care of women, and I have great respect for women. I do cherish women, and I will take care of women."
12. Frequently use the term "radical Islamic terrorism."
13. Temporarily ban most foreign Muslims from entering the United States "until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." Trump would allow exceptions for dignitaries, business people, athletes and others who have "proven" themselves.
14. Bar Syrian refugees from entering the country and kick out any who are already living here. Trump says wealthy Persian Gulf nations like Saudi Arabia should pay to set up a heavily guarded "safe zone" in Syria.
15. Heavily surveil mosques in the United States. Trump has said he's open to the idea of closing some mosques.
16. Create a database of Syrian refugees. Trump hasn't ruled out creating a database of Muslims in the country.
17. Never take a vacation while serving as president.
18. Prosecute Hillary Clinton for her use of a private e-mail server while serving as secretary of state.
19. Make medical marijuana widely available to patients, and allow states to decide if they want to fully legalize pot or not.
20. Stop spending money on space exploration until the United States can fix its potholes. Encourage private space-exploration companies to expand.
21. Pick Supreme Court justices who are "really great legal scholars."
22. Ensure that Iowa continues to host the nation's first presidential nominating contest.
23. Strengthen the military so that it's "so big and so strong and so great" that "nobody's going to mess with us."
24. Be unpredictable. "No one is going to touch us, because I'm so unpredictable."
25. Allow Russia to deal with the Islamic State in Syria and/or work with Russian President Vladimir Putin to wipe out shared enemies.
26. "Bomb the s--- out of ISIS." Also bomb oil fields controlled by the Islamic State, then seize the oil and give the profits to military veterans who were wounded while fighting.
27. Target and kill the relatives of terrorists.
28. Shut down parts of the Internet so that Islamic State terrorists cannot use it to recruit American children.
29. Bring back waterboarding, which the Obama administration considers torture. Trump has said he's willing to use interrogation techniques that go even further than waterboarding. Even if such tactics don't work, "they deserve it anyway, for what they're doing."
30. Leave troops in Afghanistan because it's such "a mess." Protect Israel. And increase U.S. military presence in the East and South China Seas.
31. Find an "out" clause in the Iran deal and then "totally" renegotiate the whole thing.
32. "I promise I will never be in a bicycle race. That I can tell you." (This promise is connected to criticism of Secretary of State John F. Kerry, who was injured while riding a bicycle amid the Iran negotiations.)
33. Refuse to call Iran's leader by his preferred title. "I guarantee you I will be never calling him the Supreme Leader... I'll say, 'Hey baby, how ya doing?' I will never call him the Supreme Leader."
34. Negotiate the release of all U.S. prisoners held in Iran before taking office. (Five hostages were recently released, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian; Trump has taken some credit for this.)
35. Oppose the killing of journalists: "I hate some of these people, but I would never kill them."
36. Find great generals -- like the next Gen. Patton or Gen. MacArthur -- and do not allow them to go onto television news shows to explain their military strategy: "I don't want my generals being interviewed, I want my generals kicking a--." Trump likes generals who are rough, foul-mouthed and beloved by their troops.
37. Drop that "dirty, rotten traitor" Bowe Bergdahl out of an airplane into desolate Afghanistan without a parachute. Trump says he will review Bergdahl's case if elected president
38. Fire "the corrupt and incompetent" leaders of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and dramatically reform the agency. Allow veterans to take their military identification card to any medical facility that accepts Medicaid patients to receive care. Embed satellite VA clinics in rural hospitals and underserved areas, and ensure than every VA hospital is permanently staffed with OBGYN doctors.
39. Invest more heavily in programs that help military veterans transition back to civilian life, including job training and placement services. Also increase funding for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries and mental health issues. Veterans who apply for a job at a VA facility will have five points added to their qualifying scores.
40. Bring back jobs from China -- and Mexico, Japan and elsewhere.
41. "I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created." Trump says cities like Reno, Nev., will "be a big fat beautiful beneficiary" of these new jobs.
42. Students at Wofford College in South Carolina, where Trump attended a town hall, will all have jobs at graduation.
43. Aggressively challenge China's power in the world by declaring the country a currency manipulator, adopting a "zero tolerance policy on intellectual property theft and forced technology transfer" and cracking down on China's "lax labor and environmental standards."
44. Rather than throw the Chinese president a state dinner, buy him "a McDonald's hamburger and say we've got to get down to work."
45. Replace "free trade" with "fair trade." Gather together the "smartest negotiators in the world," assign them each a country and renegotiate all foreign trade deals.
46. Put billionaire hedge fund manager Carl Icahn in charge of trade negotiations with China and Japan, and pick an ambassador to Japan who is "a killer," unlike the current ambassador, Caroline Kennedy.
47. Tell Ford Motor Co.'s president that unless he cancels plans to build a massive plant in Mexico, the company will face a 35 percent tax on cars imported back into the United States. Trump is confident he can get this done before taking office. (Last year he incorrectly said this had already happened.)
48. Force Nabisco to once again make Oreos in the United States. And bully Apple into making its "damn computers" and other products here.
49. Impose new taxes on many imports into the country. Numbers thrown around have included 32 percent, 34 percent and 35 percent.
50. Grow the nation's economy by at least 6 percent.
51. Reduce the $18 trillion national debt by "vigorously eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government, ending redundant government programs and growing the economy to increase tax revenues."
52. Cut the budget by 20 percent by simply renegotiating.
53. Get rid of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
54. Simplify the U.S. tax code and reduce the number of tax brackets from seven to four. The highest earners would pay a 25-percent tax. The corporate tax rate would fall to 15 percent. Eliminate the "marriage penalty" for taxpayers and get rid of the alternate minimum tax.
55. No longer charge income tax to single individuals earning less than $25,000 per year or couples earning less than $50,000. These people will, however, be required to file a one-page form with the Internal Revenue Service that states: "I win."
56. Ensure that Americans can still afford to golf.
57. Allow corporations a one-time window to transfer money being held overseas, charging a much-reduced 10 percent tax.
58. Get rid of most corporate tax loopholes or incentives, but continue to allow taxpayers to deduct mortgage interest and charitable donations from their taxes.
59. On his first day in office, Trump would get rid of gun-free zones at military bases and in schools.
60. Use "common sense" to fix the mental health system and prevent mass shootings. Find ways to arm more of the "good guys" like him who can take out the "sickos." Get rid of bans on certain types of guns and magazines so that "good, honest people" can own the guns of their choice.
61. Impose a minimum sentence of five years in federal prison for any violent felon who commits a crime using a gun, with no chance for parole or early release.
62. Fix the background check system used when purchasing guns to ensure states are properly uploading criminal and health records.
63. Allow concealed-carry permits to be recognized in all 50 states.
64. Sign an executive order calling for the death penalty for anyone found guilty of killing a police officer.
65. Provide more funding for police training.
66. And provide more funding for drug treatment, especially for heroin addicts.
67. On the first day in office, terminate President Obama's executive orders related to immigration. This includes getting rid of "sanctuary cities" that Trump says have become refuges for criminals.
68. Deport the almost 11 million immigrants illegally living in the United States.
69. Triple the number of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.
70. Continue to allow lowly paid foreign workers to come to the United States on temporary works visas because Trump says they are the only ones who want to pick grapes.
71. End birthright citizenship.
72. Say things that are politically incorrect, because the country does not have time to waste with political correctness.
73. Make America great again -- and strong again, as it has become too weak.
74. Be a cheerleader for America and bring the country's spirit back. "Take the brand of the United States and make it great again."
75. Bring back the American Dream.
76. Start winning again. "We're going to win so much -- win after win after win -- that you're going to be begging me: 'Please, Mr. President, let us lose once or twice. We can't stand it any more.' And I'm going to say: 'No way. We're going to keep winning. We're never going to lose. We're never, ever going to lose."
Don't forget to check back down the track.
Wednesday, 4 January 2017
Friday, 23 December 2016
I'm posting this for Christmas, because it captures pretty well the spirit of this special time.
My music teacher sister posted it on Facebook.
The singer is an Irish girl with ADHD. The choir is a slightly rehearsed, but enthusiastic bunch of wiggly Irish school kids.
Her performance is electric because she puts every fibre of her being into the song.
Christmas is about hope, togetherness and love.
All of these are expressed so strongly here.
Happy Christmas, gentle reader.
Monday, 19 December 2016
|I reckon this is a pretty good shot (taken with my vintage Asahi Pentax).|
This was taken back in September 1995, when my two sons and I went for a camping trip at lake Moondarra, to the North East of Mt Isa.
There's not much there, except for the artificial lake on the Leichhardt River, from which Mt Isa draws the bulk of its water supply.
To access the camping area, we had to traverse a pretty rough track which had a 4WD access only sign posted at the turnoff from the main road. I wasn't sure the 1970 Peugeot 404 which I was driving at the time would make it, but thought it was worth a try.
We were going well, crawling along in 2nd gear and avoiding the nastiest looking goolies, until we came upon a very steep little climb. It was obvious that the only way we would successfully negotiate this would be with the advantage of momentum.
In other words, we'd have to take a run at it.
The worry was somebody coming the other way, so I sent the boys to stand at the top of the climb to keep an eye out for the very slight off chance of approaching traffic, and set off.
The old girl did it, but we left the last half of the exhaust system behind. I strapped it to the roof rack, and we proceeded very noisily to the campsite. the boys thought the noise was great.
The best part was the occasions when I was approached by other campers in their very expensive and over equipped 4WDs, asking "how did you get that thing in here?".
I would smile and say "It's a Peugeot. They're pretty good off road", which was true. The 404 had a great record as a rally car including wins in the East Africa Safari. What i didn't tell them was that it had cost me the princely sum of $500 and was the result of cannibalizing my first 404 (which had broken a camshaft) for the best bits.
|My first 404 which was cannibalized when it broke a camshaft.|
We had a great time, got lost, caught a few fish, and I refitted the exhaust system using new clamps when we got home.
Saturday, 17 December 2016
Followers of this humble site will know that occasionally I make mention of family members belonging to the species canine.
We have two, a three year old female Blue Heeler and a two year male old Coolie Corgi.
They get on pretty well, and spend much of their time play fighting, which does them no harm at all, but doesn't do much for the state of the lawn.
The Coolie is a digger. This is not a problem, as he confines his digging to a couple of areas where he has created what looks like a shell scrape, and into which he retreats when the weather warms up.
He would have been an asset in an infantry section, as he can create a respectable shell scrape in about ten minutes flat. But I digress.
Early this morning, I heard strange noses emanating from the area of the doghouse, which we have lined with old outdoor furniture cushions, and which both dogs have happily slept upon when the weather is cooler.
The Coolie was doing his level best to drag the cushions out of the doghouse. It was a bit of a struggle (see first video).
Once he had managed that, he set about trying to dig holes in the wooden floor of the doghouse (second video).
He wasn't successful in this, of course, but did a fair bit of damage to the floor, and it can't have done his paws much good.
I have resorted to blocking access to the doghouse in the short term, until I can get to the bottom of the behaviour. The Heeler is not happy, because she does lurk in the doghouse from time to time.
Funny thing is, the Coolie is rarely inside it in the Summer.
Apologies for the quality of the videos. They are the product of an iPhone shooting through a gauzed window.
Dogs are strange.
Tuesday, 13 December 2016
|5 Platoon briefing on the morning of the day we hit bunkers (April 23rd). Pic courtesy AWM.|
I'm posting this video, gentle reader, because it's one of the few I've seen which actually shows pretty accurately the business of patrolling in my old unit all those years ago.
As it happens, when this was recorded I was already home as my tour finished on December 10th 1970. This was happening in February 1971. By then I was back teaching after the two year hiatus caused by National Service (more accurately "Conscription").
This was Delta Company led by Major Andy Mattay of Bondi. The lift was by RAAF helicopters and APC's of 3 Cav also feature.
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