Trump's final follies reveal electoral deficiencies in the US

Trump's final follies reveal electoral deficiencies in the US

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Illustration: John Shakespeare

Illustration: John ShakespeareCredit:

Your editorial on Trump’s presidency is a reminder of the deficiencies in the US electoral system (“Trump’s turbulent presidency cannot end soon enough”, January 5). An Australian version of Trump would have been quickly put in his place, but the US Electoral College mechanism and the requirement of a final congressional approval have encouraged Trump to attempt novel ways to upset the election result.

Fortunately, the US judiciary and his own administration have withstood his efforts, and a group of former US secretaries of defence have called for a peaceful transfer of power, apparently concerned that Trump or his supporters may attempt a coup. My dictionary says it all, as trumpery is defined as “something showy or of little intrinsic value, trifling or rubbishy”. James Moore, Kogarah

Over the past two months, Trump’s petulant tantrums are worthy of a tinpot dictator in some backwater. And given that all 10 living former defence secretaries from both parties have felt the need to publicly reject his thought-bubble of imposing martial law, there are clearly serious concerns that Trump may be crazy enough to attempt some sort of coup d’etat. Is American democracy able to survive this latest crisis? Rob Phillips, North Epping

The editorial summed up what thinking people, regardless of political leaning, feel. Yet some Trump supporters keep crying foul. Martin Luther King called those who lose rationality as ''soft minded''. He stated, ''the greater the lie, the more readily it will be believed''. John Cotterill, Kingsford

Illustration: Matt Golding

Illustration: Matt GoldingCredit:

The tape revealing Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn his election defeat in Georgia is concerning, but more so is the realisation that similar, unreported pressure must have been attempted on officials in states such as Pennsylvania, Arizona and Wisconsin, since Georgia on its own is not nearly enough to flip the results (''A call to do harm: Trump's last stand'', January 5). Steve Bright, North Avoca

From day one of Trump’s presidency, when in the face of actual recorded footage and photographs, he lied about the size of his inauguration crowd and introduced the phrase “alternative facts", any sober assessment would have declared him delusional and unfit for office. If the democratic world is serious about protecting itself from Trump’s dangerous legacy, every single person of power and influence who threw their support behind this draft-dodging, tax-evading, self-confessed sexual predator needs to be called out for their total lack of principle. Phil Bradshaw, Naremburn

Now that Trump’s unhinged, grifting mediocrity is suddenly as plain to everyone as it has been to mere hundreds of millions of us for the last mere 30-odd years, will we see any mea culpas from the useful idiots who’ve failed him relentlessly upwards? Jack Robertson, Birchgrove

So in the end, the only real evidence of interference in the US election is the President's interference. I have seen this sort of thing before but I am reassured by the assessment in your editorial that a coup is unlikely. Denis Goodwin, Dee Why

My word of the 2020 year? Distrumpian. Tristan Parry, Cremorne

Assange suffered enough and deserves a pardon

It is as well that Julian Assange's extradition hearing has determined that for mental health reasons he should not be sent to the United States, where he would face inhuman conditions of detention (“Assange avoids extradition to the US on spy charges”, January 5). Yet given his incarceration over the last year under punitive and vindictive high security in Belmarsh prison, we must conclude that it is not Assange's health that concerns the British court. Perhaps the incoming Biden administration, like Obama's, is not interested in a controversial trial with serious implications for media freedom. The US should not pursue an appeal, and if they do, the UK should release Assange on bail. He has a partner and two children in Britain and cannot seriously now be considered at risk of default. Scott Poynting, Newtown

The magistrate's decision in the Assange case is a first small step to freedom for a brave and innocent man. But the loser was freedom of expression for all of us, thanks in no small part to the gutlessness of our own government, opposition and so many of his colleagues in our media to stand up to US tyranny. Shayne Chester, Potts Point

Now for bail to be granted and Donald Trump to drop all charges. I will not retire my ''Free Assange'' banner just yet. May Assange now regain health, sanity and happiness. I despair at a system which stood by and watched him lose all three. Diane Davie, Rose Bay

Special condolences to all the propagandists, hacks and stooges who've poured so much energy into attempting to get Assange in a US prison cell over the years. This must be hard for you. Norman Broomhall, Port Macquarie

The reputation of journalism and journalists is being eroded further by claims that someone who publishes classified material sent to him by a confused Chelsea Manning is a "journalist". Assange may be a "publisher" on the internet, like all of us can be, but "investigative" he is not. Manning, Snowden, Assange are the darlings of uncritical, emotional and lazy thinking. Garrett Naumann, Cammeray

The US should issue a pardon for Assange and end this saga once and for all. Whatever crimes you may feel this man had committed, he has suffered enough over the past few years. Vincent Wong, Killara

No extradition of Assange and Joe Biden as president. Perhaps 2021 is already reminding us that justice and sanity still exist. Andrew Greig, Avalon Beach

Third Test: It's just not cricket

Kerrie Mather, Venues NSW chief executive, has said numbers will only be limited to 10,000 for the first day of the third Test ("SCG hoping for larger Test crowd despite hotspot ban", January 5). The number may be increased for subsequent days. The NSW government does not appear to have learned anything from the Ruby Princess debacle. Everyone can see that allowing the third Test to proceed, especially with unknown spectator numbers, spells disaster for the people and economy of NSW, but those in a position to take action to prevent it are doing nothing. Here we go again. Julian Hare, Penshurst

I have just heard the NSW Minister for Health speaking at the COVID update in which he stated that residents in the Berala cluster area are not permitted to attend the Test. He mentioned a number of suburbs including Rookwood. I doubt that many Rookwood residents would have attended. Richard Sutton, Berala

John Barilaro advises people from rural and regional NSW not to go to Sydney for the Test. As a resident of regional NSW I hope that people from Sydney do not travel to rural and regional parts of the state. We do not want to be exposed to them and their virus. Michael Chapman, East Albury

Venues NSW wants to host more cricket fans for the coming Test. Should there be an outbreak and lockdown following the Test, could Sydneysiders take a class action against Venues NSW? Peng Ee, Castle Cove

Borders closed, lockdowns still in place, current COVID cases with unknown sources scattered and worryingly rising, unacceptably long queues for testing, businesses and the economy struggling to survive. The COVID journey just rolls on unabated and unstoppable. Yet despite all, a cricket match which we can safely watch on TV is allowed to go ahead with spectators – madness. Elizabeth Kroon, Randwick

Ten thousand? That's 9999 too many ... Richard Ellis, Thirlmere

Northern composure

We who live in the northern area of the northern beaches are now the safest people in Greater Sydney (''No lockdown in west as beaches virus vigil continues'', January 5). There are now no exposure venues listed here, and we are not allowed to go to any of the locations that appear to be inexorably taking over all suburbs not in the northern beaches. Robert Kitchen, Elanora Heights

Domino effect

I get testing but not the queues. I recently bought a pick-up pizza online from a prominent chain. I told them what I wanted and they told me when and where to pick it up, steaming hot. Why can’t COVID testing stations do this? I tell them all my details online and they tell me a window when I should turn up with minimal wait time. Maybe the PM could come up with an app for it … OK, forget it. Donald Proctor, Cremorne

Brave renew world

And so it has come to pass. Householders, business and industry have ''powered'' ahead with the uptake of renewable energy options, leaving the federal government dragging its feet to catch up with the community (“Fears of grid failure as renewables blast off”, January 5). After years of denial, Angus Taylor finally agrees it’s “critical” to act swiftly to manage the transition from coal to renewables. If past behaviour is any guide Scott Morrison and Taylor will take credit for the nation’s switch to renewables after sitting on their hands for years. Therese Schier, Casino

More sports rorts

Foxtel picks up $40 million dollars of our money to cover women’s and community sport when we have a taxpayer-funded national broadcaster hungry for local sport content (''Foxtel accused of double-dipping in public purse'', January 5). Call that governing? For all Australians? Aargh! Ron McQuarrie, Budgewoi

True lifesavers

I almost drowned at Whale Beach 33 years ago. I was a new immigrant, got caught in a rip, thought my life was over and lost consciousness. A lifeguard miraculously saved my life. Your excellent feature (“Keeping your head above water'', January 5), was an invaluable how-to on water safety. I write to acknowledge the many men and women who fearlessly and anonymously put themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe at the beach. Thirty-three years later, that profound sense of gratitude has not dissipated. Vic Alhadeff, Darlinghurst

Malls mauled cinema

Prior to 1983, all films stayed off TV and video home entertainment for five years ( “No more cinemas: Operators lobby Government for survival”, January 5). This narrowed to nine months by 1985. Hence a regrouping of the cinema industry with new cinemas of the '80s and '90s and that experience, “the multiplex in a shopping centre”, turned the previous luxury status of cinema-going into a supermarket and devalued but bulked up the experience with plastic toys and overwhelming cost. Movie history shows that with every home entertainment entry, the cinema industry must reinvent itself as a quality destination. The “supermarketing” of the cinema experience has lowered the value of the experience by shunting families into a mall while the classy cinemas with a street front and a sophisticated “luxury hotel” atmosphere will survive better. Every home has a stove and still the public will seek to eat out. Future cinema will be the same. Paul Brennan, Woollahra

A meal and a movie is the answer. Move the cinemas to the clubs and out of the shopping malls once and for all, and just think – there’s all that parking too. A darkened shopping mall is not the place to be exiting a cinema at night whereas a club offers security and activity and in many cases a late-night snack. Anthony Buckley, Point Clare

A quiet drink

While at uni, my mate Leo would run an informal bar in the quiet library fire stairs (Letters, January 5). Tim Schroder, Gordon

Toff togs

Re your correspondence on the naming of swimwear, I happened upon a report from the Herald from 1939 (Letters, January 5). A man named Alan Denny swam from Manly to Luna Park while dressed in ''socks, suspenders, trunks, trousers, shirt, vest, collar and tie'', and claimed a world record for so doing. That’s proper swimwear, that is. David Markham, Flynn ACT

My nothern Irish wife calls my speedos “dookers” and forbids the use of them when friends are around. Peter Cowan, Mount Keira

Novel approach

Various novels, still in print after more than 100 years, are getting a drubbing in the Letters pages (Letters, January 4). It’s a pity if this dissuades people from having a look at them. I’d like to nominate a few “most boring” novels by famous 20th century authors: Ian McEwan’s Saturday and The Children Act; JM Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello; Doris Lessing’s Canopus in Argo novels - and that’s just a start! Jaime McInerney, Cowra

Has anyone mentioned Virginia Woolf's Orlando? Don Thompson, Running Stream

Nah-tional anthem

Why not make it Advance Australia, Yeah Nah (Letters, January 5). Liza Rybak, Bellevue Hill

The digital view

Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on
''Few saw the plot twist in the Assange ruling but the saga is not over''
From Craig: ‘‘I’m not much of a fan of Mr Assange and question the motivations for what he does, despite the important stories he caused to be published. That however doesn’t discount the fact this verdict will give cold comfort any journalist wishing to expose corruption, war crimes and other malfeasance by public officials.’’

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