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Archive for the ‘Tony Abbott’ Category

Yesterday we were treated to the painful video of Trump and Turnbull spruiking man love to the gathered reporters complete with “Alternative facts” which was dutifully accepted by those in attendance. I think it’s a photo finish as to who grovelled more. MT or the Reporters. With just one question about resettlement Trump could have imploded.

Most disgusting of all was the opening comment where Malcolm congratulated Donald for stripping away Healthcare from about 24 million of America’s poorest. He was so excited his eyes were watering. Don’t be surprised if this floats around in the next Election campaign.

This is the very same chap who decried that Labor ran a scare campaign about his support for Medicare because apparently we should ignore history and believe it when he said he loved the program (while actually making cuts to Medicare at the very same election.)

No sign at all of any embarrassment.

imageOne observation I would make though, is that if Trump had really paid any attention to MT he could have learned something. Trump uses the Tony Abbott approach of crash through or crash and we all know how that ends. MT already knows how to move up to the next step and it’s really quite simple.

Donald doesn’t even have to turn away from any of his policies. He can keep them as is. Just change what you announce but then do the opposite. If folk are worried about the Environment, tell them you are too, then claim you are making it better. When they start to get worried announce the very same thing but present it as new. Simply rinse and repeat.

If your mates want to prop up coal mining you do the same. Say you are making big changes, make an excellent speech. Then keep it handy for the next time someone realises nothing has happened. It works a treat.

Malcolm has companies in tax havens and makes great speeches about tax avoidance, then does nothing until the speech is required again. Same goes for Energy security, housing affordability, Superannuation, Climate Change, debt levels, all these he presents as something he cares about, but then nothing happens. Folk actually think he is different to Tony even though he has exactly the same policies. It’s amazing what learning to smile can let you get away with.

So the takeaway for Trump could have been better for him as far as popularity goes. MT has it sown up, and let’s face it folk, Trump has such a fragile ego that any help in that department would be gratefully received.

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Our embattled PM seems to be bouncing around like a silver pin ball in a 70’s style arcade machine. Granted a lot of his trouble is coming from the hard right faction within his own party but it’s far worse than that.

I will give him credit for sticking it out presumably in the hope that a miracle will occur, that but doing nothing it may help calm down Cory and Co but it’s killing any impression that he is actually leading his party.

Case in point, his embarrassment with Donald Trump which he can’t blame on his party. That was all his own doing.

Any one with a couple of brain cells could predict dealing with the current US President is extremely tricky. The chap is clearly suffering some sort of mental issue or has a personality not suited to his current job, but one thing is for sure, expecting to be able to pretend you had a fruitful phone conversation, when in fact you got humiliated, is not going to make it past the first drunken twitter outburst.

I don’t blame MT for Trump’s insanity, but I do for faking it.

Malcolm’s first stint leading the Libs came to an abrupt halt when he defied sensible tactics over Ute-gate and ran the campaign himself only to discover Goodwin faked the emails. If he had followed good safety practices he would have handed the ball to someone like Chris Pyne or Barnaby and then just thrown them under the bus and kept his job.

However he didn’t see it coming and suffered a self inflicted wound that gave the unlikely Abbott a shot at the leadership.

That vision problem hits him time and time again. Get an idea to deal with Climate Change? Out he comes all excited then gets humiliated by his Party. A good idea comes up about the lowest cost for reliable power? Here he comes again and there he goes again.

With today’s departure of Bernadi it looks like more trouble ahead. The Liberal party has been quick to hide behind Cory to explain their lack of action on Climate Change, but there is no way MT is going to show leadership here and come up with sensible ideas now Cory has shot through. Wonderful words and imagea winning smile are all he has to offer.

Tonight I suggest they get their heads together to find a new bad guy to blame for doing nothing, otherwise folk will begin to realise MT isn’t really interested in the Environment.

With each day bringing new challenges, I think it’s time to give Malcolm some sage advice.

Eventually there will be another phone conversation with Trump so the least I can do is point out what should have been obvious from the very beginning. Forget any educated conversation and realise Donald’s all about Donald, and a fragile ego it is too.

Don’t talk about a tough Election this time around, don’t go anywhere near the numbers from when he was sworn in. Just pump up his tires about his businesses, or tell him about the Cayman Islands for avoiding tax. You know, something you both can relate to.

Oh. And don’t forget the I Love Donald badges and a fake Trump coiffure. Pauline or Cory can help with the badges.

Links:

Utegate https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utegate

That phone call http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11794202

Tony beats Malcolm http://www.smh.com.au/national/shock-result-as-abbott-wins-liberal-leadership-by-one-vote–ets-dead-20091130-k1uz.html

Emissions Intensity Scheme http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-07/energy-minister-backtracks-on-emissions-intensity-scheme/8098196

The Trump wannabe http://www.smh.com.au/comment/blunt-instrument/bernardi-watched-trump-thump-the-establishment-up-close-and-learnt-nothing-20170206-gu6um6.html

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Neil Rowe works for the Australian Financial Review and his distinct style is water colours. Not only do they look fabulous, he also has a keen eye for seeing the ridiculous.

My American friends will have no trouble picking out Donald, Putin, the statue of Liberty sans her virginity, and a pig fresh from the trough which I would assume can be any Republican Senator (your choice), but I had better explain the Aussie bit.

In the top hat is Malcolm Turnbull, the prime Minister, who was recently abused by Donald. I’ll give Donald credit for one thing, he knows a lap dog when he sees one. Malcolm is a wealthy man who claims to represent the working class but comes from a privileged background and boy does it show. Tackling off shore tax avoidance has been beyond him and to his cost, having companies in the Cayman Islands is not helping the image. He cuts a tragic figure in Aussie Politics because he is continually having decisions reversed by the right wing faction of his Party. They bully MT too probably even more so than Donald.

The big mouth throwing peanuts at MT is Tony Abbott, the previous PM who is a poor loser who can’t be silenced. For some time Tony aspired to getting his old job back, but now that he sees he can’t he travels the world spruiking the sort of nonsense that Donald aspires to. In Tony’s view if he can’t have the job then he will trash his Party on the way out.

The chap sitting back comfortably with his feet on the seat is Bill Shorten the chap who leads the Opposition. I’m guessing it’s deliberate that he can see the stage while MT cannot. It also suggests that Bill can relax and watch the Liberal Tragedy unfold while he sits back and enjoys the show.

If you like the look of the cartoons, Google David Rowe cartoonist. He often has International characters in his efforts. But I should warn you, if you are a Trump fan (and if you are why are you visiting my blog) I’d probably give him a miss.

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After one of the longest and most exciting election campaigns, we finally have a result and a rare and beautiful result it is too, subject to the Liberal party recognising their rightful position in Australian Democracy.

Despite nearly all the Mainstream Media outlets ignoring the polling and trying to project a foregone conclusion, sadly including the once robust ABC, the Voters stuck to their guns and registered their unhappiness with a Party that trashed their promises from the previous Election and promised more of the Image result for we got the powersame.

The Voters were unmoved over the whole 8 weeks as the polling showed us.

Best of all, even if the Liberal party refuse to accept that the Voters have their number on the incessant attacks in Medicare, and continue to believe they can keep perpetuating the lie, failure to treat folk with more respect will see them heavily defeated next time around if Labor keep tracking with good policies and a stable team.

Of course it would be better for Australian Democracy if they wake up and decide to provide a credible alternative next time around, but it’s still a win for the country if only one major Party has worked it out.

Some of the interesting things we learned from this Election.

  1. An 8 week campaign doesn’t necessarily offer you a decent view of the policies, but it gives you a chance to explain them if you do have a real plan as Labor did.
  2. The popularity of the Party Leader (or lack of) doesn’t have a huge impact on the outcome. Except in the case of where all you are offering is Mr Nice Guy and folk wanted to know what you are going to do.
  3. Heavily attacking a low profile Opposition Leader can really backfire if he has policies that make sense and the Government has nothing to sell.
  4. Voters remember when you trash your Election promises and then deny you have done so. Previous governments have dealt with this via core and non-core promises which can work, but flat out denial tends to irritate them.
  5. Independent MPs have an important role to play even though it annoys the heck out of the Majors. There is another lesson buried in here that the Liberal party seems reluctant to take on board, and that is that bitching about being handed a close result doesn’t cause Voters to open up a vein because the PM feels let down. Quite the opposite. You are re-enforcing their theory that you need to be monitored. It doesn’t win you Votes. It loses them.
  6. Being good at taking “selfies” can only get you so far. That’s best reserved at very short campaigns where you can sneak through on the plastic and avoid the issues. (This one should have been learned from Kevin 07 in his 2nd stint.)
  7. Telling Aussies you are calling a Double D so you can get rid of Senators who hold you to account is not a good look when the trust with the Voters has been betrayed by the previous leader. Especially when you claim he did an awesome job. It looks like BS and further undermines the trust that you should be trying to restore.

There is a chance that the Liberal party can manage a partial recovery if Bernadi ignores history and forms a Hard Christian faction then gets ejected from the Party but I think that’s highly unlikely. It doesn’t take much brain power to work out that extremists need the cover of their more moderate colleagues to survive in Oz. That doesn’t even work in the US in the longer term where the high tolerance of religious hardliners eventually falls apart as the Republicans can attest. When it can’t survive in such fertile ground in the US, it has Buckley’s in Australia.

The best outcome of course, is the Party learns that pushing things for your mates and asking low income families to foot the bill is not working at all well these days, and is hardly likely to work again until the memory of Tony Abbott has faded away. They also need to learn that keeping corrupt officials on board until the last minute like Brough and Co, costs you a lot of skin and when sitting members front up to ICAC, you are probably going to lose a few more. Fighting a By election because of court action is tough so it might be an idea to run some courses about ethical behavior to try and head of the worst of it.

The next lessons on the horizon

  1. The definition of Mandate. John Howard inflicted his redefining of the word to “I won the Election so you have to pass my legislation,” and to the great cost of the Aussie Democrats. He sucked in Meg Lees into not standing up for those who voted for the Democrats. (Me included). The reality is that Opposition members have a mandate to Oppose legislation their constituents don’t like. That’s why we have Opposition benches. Otherwise they would just sit back and do nothing. The arrogance of this next possible tactic is it’s greatest danger with folk having had a gut full of unfair rule changes. Sinodinos take note.
  2. Independent Senators are probably going to save Malcolm’s hide. In a bizarre turn around, the commitment to Malcolm personally, is one of the two things stopping him being punished by his party. The other is that the slim margin held by the Government, if it even manages that, could easily see them lose a by election in Wentworth if MT gets rolled and hits the exit.

In conclusion, over the years I have taken a lot of flack for my optimism for Aussie Democracy and often called out for being too positive. Actually the word most often used was naïve. I have to concede that when Tony Abbott managed to win against all logic with his continual back flips to suit the current audience, I was starting to wonder about the gullibility of the Voters. But the one gain from Tony is that we now recognise it DOES matter who you vote for and that difference can affect you and your children personally.

Suddenly we have real accountability and rising numbers of folk who demand better. It turns out that MBT’s failed effort to demolish accountability in the Senate has proven to be a great leap forward for better representation and accidentally woken us up to the power we hold in our own hands.

The Liberal Party seem like they may not have received the message yet, but the Voters have and they are the ones who count rather than someone who feels he was born to rule. If Malcolm thinks the job is too hard under the numbers we have given him, Voters aren’t so concerned with what he personally wants. I’m sure they would be happy for him to step aside and make way for someone who relishes the role.

We get to set the rules rather than follow the guidelines set down by MSM.

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When Malcolm called a Double D to try and reduce his accountability in the Aussie Senate, most of the commentators, myself included, thought this was a high risk strategy, and I still hold firmly to that belief.

The reasoning being

  1. He had to burn his bridges with the Independent Senators to try and remove them.
  2. He had a previous Leader who looked determined to pull the roof down as he headed for the exit.
  3. He had to come up with a Budget that appealed to the hard right faction of the party as well as to the Voters.
  4. There was no wriggle room to sell the Budget before calling the Election and entering caretaker mode and previous Budgets have crashed and burned every time. Even Shadow Budgets.
  5. His Economic track record was especially bleak.
  6. And he kept floating ideas then hanging his Treasurer out to dry after he didn’t have the courage to fight for the cause.

And this is before we realised the depth of unhappiness around Western civilisations with the current treatment of the Voters by vested interests andImage result for malcolm turnbull cartoon their pollies. Both Trump in the US, and the Brexit campaign show that voters are getting sick of being disregarded. Especially by those who’s jobs get taken in the wonderful glowing world of higher profits and lower costs.

I have to admit that I was thinking along the lines of US Voters having had a gutful, but I didn’t realise this is also the case in Europe, and I didn’t expect Turnbull to offer a policy of “more of the same” when his track record is so weak. He didn’t even bother to try and blame shift to Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott. He simply pretended everything was apples and played the “trust me” card.

So how has he managed to turn a long Election into one that has addressed less issues than we would normally expect, and still be in with a fighting chance?

  1. Step one looks like a total fail. Not only has he managed to upset the current Senators, but he has built some of them up to levels where they can bring a mate or two along for the ride. Even worse, he has highlighted how effective these merchants of “chaos” can be in blocking the Liberal party from the excesses they were planning to inflict on Aussie Voters. Traditionally, Aussies like to have someone keeping an eye on pollies, and he has highlighted their effectiveness better than any of them could have hoped for. Quite rightly, his party is terrified of being held accountable but I’ll be surprised if he can scare folk into dropping the safety net of Independent watchdogs.
  2. After initially undermining his Party with bizarre public statements, despite Credlin’s forgetful claim, someone has suggested to Tony there is life after death, and Tony has been born again with the dream of promotion to the Front Bench. While wiser heads would remember Tony is electoral poison, he himself knows that Malcolm can be relied upon to bend over backwards for the Hardliners. Not only is it possible, but even probable, with the margin likely to be wafer thin when the votes are counted. Turning a healthy margin into a tiny one would mean that Malcolm’s chance of seeing out a full term is unlikely.
  3. The Budget test has been a surprising win (for Malcolm, not Australia). It isn’t one to rebuild the Economy as you would expect from a party that claims to be good financial managers. Instead it was a “steady as she goes, we got this” in spite of the data to the contrary.
  4. How does he deal with the unfortunate figures? Simple. Ignore them, and make sure the parts of the Media you have control of do the same. If asked a question quickly blame Labor, or pick up something about the Labor policies. Perhaps try a variation of Stop the Boats. DO NOT, under any circumstances, discuss the data. If a question seems likely, talk over the presenter or, and this one was especially bizarre from Malcolm, invite the questioner to ask a question while ignoring the fact that she just asked one. Then steer it away. This one actually worked on Leigh Sales. Go figure.
  5. Ditto point 4
  6. This he managed to control simply by not offering ideas to restrict spending. Ignore the obvious rorts. Don’t upset the main funders of your election campaign. Rage long and loud about the other Team. Play good cop to Sco Mo’s bad cop. And play the plastic fantastic.

Now the big question is, are the Voters going to follow the disgruntled Voters around the World and demand better representation, or sit back and calmly accept a smiling face and a “trust me” pitch?

It could go either way. In head to head contests, Shorten has clearly been the winner on the issues that the audience cares about but the trick may be that not so many Voters give a “Rat’s” about the subject. Are we as far along the path as our overseas friends who recognise they have been sold out to vested interests and done over by secret trade deals? Or are we going to go with a winning smile and not much else?

If we want substance from our pollies, we have the chance to Vote for it, or we can snooze on and vote for the smile.

So did Malcolm get it right?

Mostly no, but he had a huge margin to play with and he might just make it through. Longer term though, I can’t see him surviving. The hardcore of the Party are clinging to the belief that overseas problems are racist at their core, not understanding that it’s just a lazy façade that hides the root cause of unhappiness at being “played” by pollies. When folk start losing their jobs, it tends to focus their attention. Zealots, meanwhile, tend to take their theories to the grave rather than look at the data and think things through with the new evidence. Not many will know what hit them when folks shout “enough”.

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This is my post accepted by The Aim Network. Testing the best ways to share the content back to this blog. This image belongs to them.

 

I accept that I am a political junkie who delights in watching election campaigns, even to the point of trying to watch the last General Election in the UK, but I’m somewhat bemused by the incessant complaining about our upcoming Election in Australia.image from azquotes.com

It seems it’s now fashionable to whine long and loud about it being too long an adventure, and there is some sort of competition between Voters and the Political commentators, each trying for some sort of gold standard of showing off their dissatisfaction, or perhaps a better word is ignorance.

It’s frightfully unseemly and counter productive if we want a healthy Democracy, and dare I say a little bit immature not to recognise our thoughtful input is required to steer those we put in charge of the system?

It also flies in the face of the usual complaint that we don’t get enough information about Party policies.

Granted, the Liberal party has dropped back to 3 word slogans much favored by their previous Leader, after teasing the Voters with the promise of straight talking, but on the Labor side we have seen a lot of ideas and the opportunity to review and criticize those ideas if we feel unhappy with the direction.

This is a great leap forward from the usual process and one we should be embracing wholeheartedly.

This time around Labor has surprised the Voters, and to an even larger degree, the Liberal party, by having a lot of policies already mapped out, and even more importantly, most of the Team seem to be across the detail. This stands out starkly against their opponents where the slogans are being deployed, but the detail is often not understood by their team, and it’s now become fashionable to try and trip them up on radio interviews.

Add to that the supposed experts, like the Treasurer and the PM, are prone to becoming over excited and start making claims that crash and burn when examined in detail. The PM looked especially silly when it was discovered he was making his claims about Negative Gearing on gut feeling rather than any financial modelling. Even the impact of Labor’s policy confused the Liberals when it came to what would happen to prices. Malcolm called it one way while across town Kelly O’Dwyer, part of the Treasurers team and presumably with some economic expertise, was claiming the exact opposite.

But luckily for their party, Commentators are pushing the line that it’s a long and boring campaign and they seem unaware they could be serving the community by actually doing their job and asking the harder questions.

The Liberal Party is painfully exposed to direct questions about “Jobs and Growth” and nobody appears interested in what that actually means. Even the discredited Trickle Down economics generally gets a free pass and heaven help them if questions are asked about the delivery of government services or the sneaky increase in the cost of a doctor’s visit. Some Ministers even appear outraged if their policies are questioned. Michaelia Cash is especially outraged to be asked questions.

There is a mountain of opportunity out there for commentators to sink their teeth into, but it takes more effort than simply tweaking Party Press Releases and then you have some who are simply paid to spruik the Party line. For those folk the complaining about the length of the campaign is a helpful tool to disengage the Voters and they are exploiting it to the max.

I suspect the boffins who are in charge of tactics over at Liberal HQ are having a serious rethink about how the long campaign idea is playing out. Normally it would be a good idea but not when your opponent has their act together and your own team does not. The problems have been amplified by Mathias and his robotic delivery of the mantra “Jobs and Growth” Folks eyes are glazing over before he get to the word “and”. Malcom also has to share the blame too. Malcolm the likeable has terrible body language when he moves away from his comfortable social side and into over the top rhetoric about his opponents. He simply can’t hide his discomfort when he tries to push “Labor’s war on <insert scare campaign here>”.

In all likelihood Malcolm will survive especially if he can avoid scrutiny of his mantra, but imagine what happens if they lose control of the Media questions and Voters start taking note of his simplistic tactic? He is certainly encouraging criticism when you see the startling video clip of his single parent upbringing. That seemed more appropriate as a Labor negative campaign than actually out of Liberal ranks.

We still have 3 weeks to go and the Negative adverts are due to start. I, for one, will be enjoying the battle and keeping an eye on the gullibility of Aussie Voters. I’m thinking the Abbott experience should have heightened their awareness of 3 word slogans but how many have learned from it remains to be seen.

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In political history Australia generally follows America by about a decade, although that distance may have shortened up these days. And by watching the US we have avoided the more extreme outcomes like undue influence from religious elements or other extreme lobbyists. We start to head in the same direction but pull up short when we see what it leads to.

It has been to Australia’s benefit because we have much better Healthcare, more sensible gun laws, and generally offer our citizens much better support from the community than the more competitive US system where income has a much bigger say in your future than your ability.

Well after benefitting greatly from the US experience we now have the opportunity to return the favor and as an added bonus we will be beneficiaries too if US Voters take heed.

First some words of encouragement to the long suffering US Voter. We understand your frustration with the Republican party who have lost sight of the Voter in the US system and can’t seem to see beyond the providers of campaign funding. We recognise that it is your jobs that have been surrendered in favor of higher profits for the folk who run your companies, and we sympathize with you having to deal with pollies who talk a big game, but put their efforts into providing for their benefactors. The snake oil sales people.

We had the same problem here in Oz and we still aren’t out of the woods, but we can show you what happens when you give the top job to someone who is not fit for purpose.

For your education I offer the comparison of Tony Abbott, our previous PM, and your Presidential hopeful Donald Trump.

Tony talked a big game and had the confidence levels only really possessed by the less thoughtful in Politics. Where others see competing opportunities and complex risks, the “get stuff done” guys roar straight in and then find something was overlooked. A good example of this was George Dubya Bush’s unfortunate “Mission Accomplished” banner that will follow him to his grave. Where others remembered the Sesame Street axiom “think what happens next” poor Dubya was out the door and committed before the analysis was complete. The tragedy continues.

It was the same problem for Tony as well. Have a thought bubble then get the spin doctors on the job and keep your fingers crossed. If that isn’t Trump to a tee then I don’t know what is. Both men also seem blissfully unaware that the Internet is standing there recording every thought bubble and backflip and both find themselves being caught out by silly comments or inconsistencies. To make matters worse, both try to deny previous comments when a simple google search will reveal to them, and everyone else who cares, that they are being untruthful. When you consider that both men claim to be honest, and not your standard pollie, it looks especially silly.

Both man have achieved some success with their bullying style and this has the unfortunate side effect of them having a high opinion of their abilities. In Tony’s case, he thought he was pretty smart when it comes to Economics, when in actual fact he was a disaster when it came to balancing the Budget and clearing out his famous Black Hole. In reality he tripled the size of the problem and was only saved from public embarrassment by having an ego that simply ignored the data.

The huge red flag in Donald’s case is his comment that he was going to be his own most trusted advisor. Full marks for confidence but zero for getting clever outcomes. You need quality thinkers to run the US. Knee jerk reactions are the last thing you want. As if to confirm his ignorance, Trump proudly proclaimed he would be unpredictable in Foreign relations. Seemingly oblivious to the fact that the World only survives by knowing what is and is not acceptable to your opponents. Unpredictable equals warfare when you misjudge what you can get away with.

Tony also had a huge problem with international relationships. He simply didn’t understand that you have to leave the bully boy style at home. Each time he had an involvement with Indonesia we had to send our Foreign Minister in to repair the relationship. Tony’s current opinion of his record? He still thinks he was good at it despite all the evidence to the contrary.

And that is probably the biggest problem with both these chaps. When you think you are smarter than you actually are, you don’t realise there may be a better way and that you should be talking to experts to get the very best outcomes.

In Australia, that led to Tony being ousted by his party, which is no mean feat for the Liberals where the Leader has more autonomy than their opponents have. But he simply had to go once the level of destruction he was delivering via the Voters was recognised.

The Republicans are going to have the same problem with Trump. The party will need to be rebadged or reformed to remove the stain of Donald’s fingerprints. When folk measure his performance against other Presidents there will be no escaping that Trump is a Republican.

Pollsters are tipping that Trump will fail badly but I’m not so sure and we can see another comparison with Oz in this matter. Before he won the Election, Tony was a loose cannon in his party. Thought bubbles abounded as did backflips that were driven by his audience. While appearing at a red neck speaking engagement “Global Warming is crap’ while a week later he appeared before a crowd that cared about the Environment and it was “Global Warming is real.” For all of 1 week he was the poster boy of the Climate Change deniers.

To anyone thinking clearly about his claimed honesty, this should have been a big red flag, but in actual fact it wasn’t. Folk mistook enthusiasm for integrity and he and his Media mates ran a campaign that was basically “I’m not the Labor party”.

You can expect the same approach from the Trump camp (with the same Media magnate pushing the smear campaign). For some strange reason folk don’t seem to be expecting the mother of all smear campaigns from Donald but what else does he have to work with? He has to get every friend and every dollar into the attack, and as we have seen before in the US, that is a lot of money and there is a lot of integrity for sale in US politics.

If Americans get this wrong and vote for an unsafe pair of hands, not only will their Economy suffer and more of their kids be coming home in body bags, so the rest of the world will be adding to the death toll unless they step back and leave Donald friendless.

Fingers crossed that US Voters can see beyond the snake oil, but a good number of them appear to really want to hurt the Republican party and if he can destroy Hillary’s credibility, he may just bring more instability into a world that already has plenty on offer.

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