Compare and contrast

As Michael Fullilove said:  “I have spent a great deal of time in archives reading presidential correspondence. I have never seen anything like this.”  And: “I actually thought it was a prank, a joke, that it couldn’t possibly come from the Oval Office,” the Democratic congressman Mike Quigley said to CNN. “It sounds all the world like the president of the United States, in some sort of momentary lapse, just dictated angrily whatever was on the top of his head.” See also Jim Belshaw last Friday: Trying to understand foreign policy in a Trumpian and febrile environment.

But, without further comment:


By way of contrast:


Hmm! Just compare the signatures!

And I blogged 15 years ago…

Longer, in fact, but this morning thanks to the Internet Archive I found quite a few survivors from Diary-X. “In early 2006, the server’s hard drive failed. Since there was no backup, the entire website and all of the users’ diaries were lost irretrievably.” Well, not quite.

Here are some samples.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

I had dinner with Sirdan last night — fish, asparagus and rice, and very good too. We got to talking about those ancient times we have both lived through, pre-leporine you know. (I just had to use that word, having found it recently.) Anyway, it turns out that among his past accomplishments are pottery and photography, and that last one I happen to have shared. In fact I began to get serious about it when I bought an ancient Praktica in Cronulla some time around 1968: single-lens reflex, a shutter that sounded like a gun going off, and no electronics whatsoever…

Later on I learned developing and printing (as Sirdan also did, but before me and in another country) and began to achieve some pretty fair results. I even taught photography for a couple of years…

Well, all my gear was stolen around 1987-8: the house in Glebe where I was living was burgled three times in one year. The last break-in happened while my flatmate Andy and I were both asleep upstairs; we heard nothing despite the burglars having neatly removed the back window in order to get in. The burglars, too, were disappointed and took nothing. In fact, one of them left behind a pair of sunglasses…

Yum Cha

Nine Dragons again today. We agree that it is probably the best over-all of the venues we go to. The spicy calamari, roast pork, duck are almost orgasmic. (I obviously should not have read Wendy Perriam!) Oh, and we, for the record, were Sirdan, the Empress, bus-driver Paul, James, Malcolm and myself.

20 September 2004:

Michael in Tasmania wrote a delightful entry yesterday, the last item being his reflections on 1964: “I remember 1964. At that time I had never seen a cassette tape, an FM radio, a calculator, a computer, a color television set or a video recorder. Heart transplants were still the stuff of horror movies and there were plenty of people who doubted that astronauts could ever land safely on the Moon.” It is indeed hard to believe this is forty years ago…

I had been talking to Mister Rabbit about this very year only last Friday, since this was the year I did my English Honours under Professor Sam Goldberg, got hepatitis, and completed my degree… I wrote about all this on my old diary, and looking back at those entries I am rather proud of them actually. So have a look, eh. (“Vermont 4 is wonderful. Well done.” — ICQ Message 🙂 18 January 2003.) This one and the one following it deal specifically with Sydney University.

Mind you, a few links there won’t go anywhere: Mister Rabbit’s old website is long gone and the new one is still in gestation, so to speak, and I doubt that literary quiz of mine still works….

12 February 2005:

One of the most marvellous writers of the 20th century, one whose enormous talents as a writer for the stage enthralled me totally, one whose wisdom I could only aspire to, has passed away. I refer, of course, to Arthur Miller, a voice for all that has been best in America. Interviewed in 2002 for the Christian Science Monitor, Miller ruefully acknowledged the applicability of his 1953 Tony Award winner The Crucible to the America of George Walker Bush.

In researching the play, Miller read through transcribed testimony from Salem court records. He compared the religious devotion of the 17th century with the trust Americans had in their judiciary and Congress following World War II.

In both cases, people in positions of power were “manipulating the faith” that Americans had in religion or in government, Miller says. “It’s a little bit like how you have millions of people in Muslim countries all worked up now, and I’m sure the mullahs who lead them are manipulating those people.”

The play’s prosecutor warns that “a person is either with this court or against it. There be no road between.”

Miller points out that “in one way or another, that speech is repeated anywhere this kind of a movement begins. It’s always ‘it’s a new time.’ We don’t consider the shades of evil. You’re either for us or against us.”

I am one of the many who found their own fathers in Death of a Salesman. Truly a wonderful writer….

Wow! Hard to take in the time that has passed since I wrote those. Naturally the internal links may or may not work, but being themselves web archived they just might!

Meanwhile here is an interesting 2004 item about the reality TV performer who later became The Donald, aka President Thug. Extract:

 Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed to have been against the Iraq War from the beginning, and he has cited this story as proof. The Iraq War began in March 2003, more than a year before this story ran, thus nullifying Trump’s timeline….

One thing about television, it brings out personality. People are able to watch me in action. They hear my voice and see my eyes. There’s nothing I can hide. That’s me. Television brings out your flaws, your weaknesses, your strengths, and you truths. The audience either likes you or it doesn’t. Obviously, the audience likes me.

In the history of the business, there’s never been anything like this—a businessman has the highest-rated show on television. Businessmen don’t even get on TV, let alone have the number-one show. What can I—[phone interrupts]. Hold on, I want to take this….Reeeeeg! How are you? … I’m sitting here with Esquire magazine. They’re putting me on the cover. It’s a story about…wait, I’ll let him tell you. [Turns on speakerphone.]

Esquire: What it feels like to be an American icon…

Everything I do in life is framed through the view of a businessman. That’s my instinct. If I go into a pharmacy to buy shaving cream, then I’m going to look for the best deal on shaving cream. I watch Carmelo Anthony play and think, How stupid was it for Melo to be drafted third? Can you explain that one to me? Look, I watched Detroit. Carmelo still would have been one of the best players on the team. He’s as smooth as silk. And Detroit uses its second pick to take this kid from Serbia. A project. First year, the guy doesn’t even play. A friend of mine says, “It’s gonna work out for them. It’s gonna be good.” What’s gonna be good? No matter how good Detroit is, is this Darko gonna be better than Carmelo? And even if he does become good in four or five years, he’ll look somewhere else for more money, right? I just can’t believe it. How stupid a move was that?….

I’m competitive, and I love to create challenges for myself. Maybe that’s not always a good thing. It can make life complicated. I’ve gone through so many phases—although to me it’s been one steady life. I used to be thought of as an eighties phenomenon. When the real estate market crashed in the early nineties, I was billions in the hole. Yet right now my company is bigger, stronger, and more powerful than ever. The show is the biggest thing on TV. And I’m saying to myself, Where do you go from here? And my answer is: I have no idea….

Of course now we know.

From my 2006 blog: Don’t Blitz Iran

Between then (18 April 2006) and now we have had the Iran Nuclear Deal, in rejecting which Donald Trump triggered the peril we, and Iran, are now in!

The Poet has been taking some very good … photos. rainbow1The one on the left is called Bellarine Rainbow, and shows the part of the world where he now lives. It is a nice counterpoint to the following.

The Poet has also sent quite a few news items in the past few days. This one he says is a must. I agree. Brian Cloughley [link to web archive updated 21 June 2019] was deputy head of the UN mission in Kashmir (1980-1982), Staff Officer 1 (Force Structure) in Australian Army HQ (during which time he was appointed to the Order of Australia, or AM), Director of Protocol for the Australian Defence Force, and Australian defence attache in Islamabad (December 1988 – July 1994). He now lives in New Zealand.

…Even if Cheney and Bush are not lunatic enough to send their cruise missiles and bombers to attack Iran they might manage to have harsh economic sanctions imposed, additional to the unilateral ones in place by the US for years. They usually ignore warning signals, so doubtless they dismissed the unmistakable threat in September 2005 that Iran could endure a self-inflicted cut in oil exports in the national interest of combating what it would consider rabidly hostile action. It is estimated that cutting exports would raise the price of oil to $80-100 a barrel. This wouldn’t matter to the rich in America, who are all that Cheney and Bush care about. But it would matter to the average man and woman who are even now struggling to make ends meet as a result of the rich-supportive tax policy of the present Administration.

There is no point in putting the moral position against attacking Iran. The Cheney-Bush administration has shown itself impervious to argument, and presenting a case against killing thousands of innocent people cuts no ice with blinkered zealots. The planned blitzkrieg of divine strikes will probably take place. It will alter the entire world and create hatred of America that will never be eradicated. And there is nothing we can do about it. At this Easter time (and Thai New Year), God help us all.

By the way, I have cut back on the rants I put up about the state of the world, compared with a couple of years back on the late Diary-X. What is the point? There is little I can add from where I sit. However, people who do have worthwhile things to say may be found in the links on the right.

I do share with The Poet a clear conviction that the patients have taken over the asylum so far this century.

Much in Brian Cloughly’s post is still relevant.

Washington will not dare invade Iran, of course, because Iran’s military would not be the walkover that the pathetic Iraqi army was, and US ground forces would suffer thousands of casualties. The stand-off attack will be the usual video game, controlled from air-conditioned coke-swigging comfort, followed by ham-handed attempts at public relations damage control.

Remind you of anyone?

Nice eBook that I have been reading through. It is a good compendium of sensible theory and practice.


When I came to this I could not but visualise someone we all know!

Unacceptable Responses To Student Misbehavior

•raising your voice


•saying, “I’m the boss here!”

•insisting on having the last word

•using tense body language (crossed arms or clenched fists)


•using degrading, insulting, humiliating, or embarrassing putdowns

•using sarcasm

•acting superior

•attacking the student’s character…

bringing up unrelated events

•generalizing about students (“Kids knew how to act in my day” or All you kids are the same!”)

•making unsubstantiated accusations


Great misspeaks of the ages!

Or typos. One treasure is the “Wicked Bible” of 1631.


Unfortunate. Such a bother, that word “not”! Churchill, you know, REALLY meant to say “this was NOT their finest hour”, and Mark Antony REALLY meant to say “DON”T lend me your ears.” So who can blame poor Donald J Trump who, overcome by standing so close to Vldimir Putin yesterday, tells us today that pesky N-word wreaked its havoc on what he REALLY meant to say.

The push for a hearing reflects a growing Republican backlash against Trump after his closed-door meeting with Putin and a stormy press conference where he sided with the Russian leader and discounted the U.S. intelligence community’s findings on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

On Tuesday, Trump walked back those comments, reading from a written statement saying he had “full faith” in the U.S. intelligence community and that he misspoke when he said he didn’t think Russia interfered in elections.

Speaking alongside Putin in Helsinki on Monday, Trump said: “He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

On Tuesday, he corrected that sentence, saying: “The sentence should have been, ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.’ Sort of a double negative. So, you can put that in. And I think that probably clarifies things pretty good by itself.

Do I believe him? Do you?

By the way, if you think I am a bit biased about the poor old Donald, check out James Traub in US magazine/site Foreign Policy. Ouch! Not to mention Arnie of course….

The “Governator” took to Twitter and excoriated Trump for his supine performance, deriding him as a Putin “fan boy.” “You stood there like a little wet noodle, like a little fan boy,” Schwarzenegger said in the Twitter video. “I was asking myself when you are going to ask him for an autograph or a selfie or something like that.”

Finally, which is correct? 1) The CIA interfered in Australian politics in 1975 OR 2) The CIA did not interfere in Australian politics in 1975. No prize offered. And yes, some still debate that one. The link goes to John Pilger, and I have to say I don’t always rely on him either!