Anzac Day 2019

While it’s worth remembering the sacrifices of wares last century, one of them now over a hundred years ago, and remembering the relations that many of us had who were involved in both World Wars as well as other wars, perhaps it’s time we moved the focus more to the present and the future.

We are very unlikely to see repeats of the large number of boys and men sent into battle, often wantonly and needlessly.

But the same mentality of mostly if not exclusively men abusing power by ordering death and destruction seems to be  all to prevalent. We may be just one bad decision away from a world catastrophe.

So while learning from the past we need to apply those lessons to changed times and a changed world.

We should reach out to our neighbours and all our fellow Kiwis, learn to show more love, more understanding, and more tolerance of differences.

We shouldn’t just sit waiting, dreading what some stupid bastards may inflict on the world.  We should be thinking of how we can reduce the risks.

Sure we should remember the red poppies representing blood spilled in historic wars.

But we should look more to the white poppies of peace.

 

Trump with Netanyahu

Having delivered an address in Saudi Arabia promoting peace and condemning extremist Islamic terrorism in the Middle East, but attacking and ostracising Iran and driving a wedge Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims, US President Donald Trump is now meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Again the talks are of pro-peace and anti-Iran.

Netanyahu:

“We’re committed to the freedom of all faiths and to the rights of all. We protect the Christian sites as no one else does anywhere in this region.”

To Trump: “I want you how much we appreciate the change in American policy on Iran. I want you to know how much we appreciate your bold decision to act against the use of chemical weapons in Syria. We appreciate the reassertion of American leadership in the Middle East.”

“I believe that together we can roll back Iran’s march of aggression and terror in this region.”

Trump:

“Today we reaffirm the unbreakable bond of friendship between Israel and the United States.”

“We want Israel to have peace.”

“That includes advancing prosperity, defeating the evils of terrorism & facing…an Iranian regime that is threatening the region.”

“There are many, many things that can happen now that would never have been able to happen before.”

“These leaders voice concerns we all share about ISIS…and about the menace of extremism that have caused so much needless bloodshed and killing here and all over the world.”

On peace between Palestinians & Israelis: “I’ve heard it’s one of the toughest of all but I have a feeling we’re going to get there.”

“There’s a lot of love out there.”

‘But we hate Iran’?

Earlier:

Trump is on his first foreign trip since taking office. Over the weekend, he visited Saudi Arabia. Earlier today, he met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem for a bilateral meeting where they discussed Iran.

“There is a growing realization among your Arab neighbors that they have common cause with you in the threat posed by Iran,” Trump said during his joint remarks with Rivlin.

Trump is obviously siding with Israel, and has also sided with Saudi Arabia, an autocratic country with a poor record on human rights, and with links to terrorism, against Iran, a country that has just re-elected a moderate leader.

The world’s great peace broker?

Or peace after they have smashed the enemy?

The Trump card peace in the Middle East?

President Donald Trump is starting his visit to the Middle East in Saudi Arabia this weekend (he has arrived in Saudi Arabia). One of his aims is to encourage and help Israel and Arab countries work towards more peaceful relationships. If Trump achieves this he will have done very well, because peace in the Middle East has been long sought after but unattainable.

Obviously this is peace involving Israel, but I presume civil wars in Syria and Yemen and the ongoing problems, especially with ISIS and Al Qaeda, in Iraq and Afghanistan, will also be on the agenda.

A different approach to Israel-Arab peace is certainly worthwhile, a lot has been tried and failed already.

Wall Street Journal: Trip to Test Trump’s Ambition for Middle East Peace

President is exploring a solution that is based on cooperation between Israel and Arab countries

President Donald Trump faces a set of early challenges to his aspirations for a regional solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as he begins his first international trip.

Typically Trump is confident.

The Atlantic: Trump: Middle East Peace Is ‘Not as Difficult as People Have Thought’

One of Donald Trump’s great strengths is his ability to project confidence and bravado nearly constantly. The president is sometimes peevish, and he sometimes lashes out, but he seldom seems glumly resigned.

Who else, in the middle of a rough stretch of his presidency (one that, arguably, has persisted since Inauguration Day) could blithely assert that he would solve the most famously unsolvable problem in international diplomacy? Yet there was Trump Wednesday afternoon, appearing with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and promising to bring peace in the Middle East.

“We want to create peace between Israel and the Palestinians. We will get it done,” Trump said. “We will be working so hard to get it done. I think there is a very good chance and I think we will.”

At a lunch later on, he was even bolder: “It is something that I think is frankly, maybe, not as difficult as people have thought over the years.”

Haaretz: Trump’s Plan for Middle East Peace Is to Do the Opposite of Everything Obama Did

Crazy as it may sound, Trump’s haphazard approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may succeed where Obama’s by-the-book route failed.

Here’s one thing Barack Obama and Donald Trump have in common. Both of them believed early in their presidency that they would be the U.S. president to bring peace to Middle East. In his United Nations General Assembly address in September 2010, Obama felt confident enough to say that “when we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that will lead to a new member of the United Nations – an independent, sovereign state of Palestine, living in peace with Israel.”

We all know how that ended. But Trump of course is not deterred. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal on the day after his election victory, he called Israel-Palestinian peace “the ultimate deal,” and said that “as a deal maker, I’d like to do … the deal that can’t be made. And do it for humanity’s sake.”

But here’s where all similarities end. The two presidents may have shared the same goal, but so far, Trump is going about achieving it in exactly the opposite way that Obama did. And as crazy as it may sound, on this issue at least, Trump’s haphazard approach may actually have more chance of success than Obama’s.

After decades of fruitless engagement, all the American by-the-book diplomacy in the region has failed to yield results. Trump’s unique style of diplomacy will at least make a change.

That’s not to say, of course, that there’s anywhere near a good chance of an Israel-Palestine peace treaty being reached. The issues on the ground remain as intractable as ever and ultimately it will be the two sides who have to bridge their wide differences – no outsider, not even the president of the United States can do it for them. And besides, Trump is very likely to be totally sucked in soon by the political turmoil at home and have no time for any foreign policy whatsoever.

But in the meantime, before yet another president calls time on the peace process, it’s worthwhile to consider how this new and unorthodox approach may actually be better.

Trump sees it as a glittering prize

Obama wanted an Israeli-Palestinian agreement for the best reasons in the world, he wanted an end to hatred and bloodshed and to bring peace, prosperity and justice to all sides in the region. He dealt with the process rationally, reaching the conclusion toward the end of his administration that the U.S. couldn’t want a deal more than the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Trump’s approach to the conflict, like to many other thorny issues that he is only now beginning to grasp, is visceral. He hasn’t weighed the pros and cons and won’t think through his chances of success. He wants the glittering prize, to prove that the master deal maker can deliver the “ultimate deal” that has eluded everyone else. It will probably blow up in his face – but he could also be the one to go the extra mile.

Trump won’t play by the rules

Despite all his frustration with Netanyahu, Obama never broke the unwritten rules of the U.S.-Israel relationship. He didn’t threaten Israel that it would lose America’s financial, diplomatic or military support, and signed the largest aid deal ever with Jerusalem just before he left office. Just like every president in the last three-and-a-half decades. He also vetoed every UN Security Council resolution criticizing Israel, except the last one of his administration. Previous presidents did so much earlier in their term.

Trump has no rule book. He may still move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, he may abandon the two-state solution, and – in a fit of anger over Israeli intransigence – he may just threaten to withhold aid. The last president who seriously pressured Israel to make concessions was Jimmy Carter, who, for all his many faults, delivered the peace deal with Egypt. Maybe Trump will break the rules again?

A different approach may work, and may be worth trying, but there are risks in a volatile region.

Trump will be here for only 24 hours but he’s going all out to create a lasting impression. There will be the first visit of a serving U.S. president to the Western Wall, which is certain to create a thousand headlines and tweets on “Trump’s Wall.” And then, of course, there’s the backdrop he chose for his signature speech: From the cliffs of Masada it really doesn’t matter what he’ll say. We won’t forget it.

At the end of the day, once Air Force One takes off into the sunset, it will probably change nothing for us remaining behind, but this is a region where grand gestures sometimes work better than quiet and patient behind-the-scenes diplomacy.

But some Israeli hope and optimism that something different is at least worth a try it won’t be easy.

AlJazeera: Palestinians expect nothing good from Trump

As President Trump and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met on May 3, Palestinians held their breath, but not because we expectеd any progress towards just and comprehensive peace to emerge from the meeting. Quite the opposite.

First, Trump’s bias towards Israel’s far-right regime of occupation and apartheid does not bode well for bringing about respect for international law and human rights principles.

The US has been arming Israel’s wars on Palestinians and Arabs, and generously funding and protecting Israel’s system of oppression, well before Trump. Obama, after all, has committed a record $38bn in military aid to Israel over ten years, even as domestic health, education and employment programmes face severe cuts across the US.

But Trump takes this decades-old US complicity to the next level.

Take Israel’s settlements built on occupied Palestinian and Syrian land as an example. Despite recent rhetoric to the contrary, Trump stands out in politically and financially supporting them, when almost the whole world considers them as flagrantly illegal under international law and as a fatal obstacle to “peace”.

Trump also frequently refers to Israel’s policies to justify his own, whether on ethnic profiling, the refugee and Muslim ban, or the racist wall with Mexico, which Benjamin Netanyahu openly champions.

Trump’s Middle East team must be the most dishonest broker in the history of US “peacemaking”. Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman explicitly support Israel’s fanatical, settler-influenced government, with Kushner and Friedman deeply invested in financing extremist settlement groups.

One has to be clinically delusional or irreparably opportunistic to expect any good to come out of this administration in the pursuit of freedom, justice and equal rights for Palestinians.

Bringing Israel and the Palestinians together in a peaceful solution has huge challenges for the very inexperienced Trump and his inexperienced administration, but perhaps it will prove to be easier than achieving peace and progress at home in US politics.

One of Trump’s first big Middle East publicity events is a curious way to kick off a peace mission.

Fox News: Trump in Saudi Arabia signs $110B arms deal with Persian Gulf ally

President Trump in Saudi Arabia on Saturday signed a nearly $110 billion arms deal to help the Persian Gulf ally with its military-defense system.

“That was a tremendous day,” Trump said after signing the deal with Saudi leader King Salman. “Tremendous investments in the United States. Hundreds of billions of dollars of investments into the United States and jobs, jobs, jobs.”

The White House says the package includes defense equipment and other support to help the Arab nation and the rest of the Gulf region fight again terrorism and the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, according to the White House.

Multitasking on a foreign trip is fine, but major military backing of an US ally (a country complicit in 911 and influencing conflicts through the Middle East) might not go down well with everyone.

Shouldn’t Iran be a part of any peace process?

Tom Scott on and off Radio NZ

Tom Scott (the musician one, not the cartoonist one) featured on Radio NZ’s Playing Favourites with Kim Hill this morning. Discussion started on Scott and his music but moved on to talk about his infamous song that featured in the election campaign. See PM death threat in hip hop song.

ain’t doin’ nothin’ so I’m gonna kill the prime minister I been tryin’ to get a job but they got none so I instead I got a sawnoff shotgun and ‘pop’

And…

That’s why I’m going to kill the Prime Minister. I’m going to kill the Prime Minister, because we are down and suffering and the motherfucker ain’t doing nothing. Going to kill the Prime Minister.

There was more controversy over references to Key’s daughter in the lyrics.

One of these days I’m going to fuck your daughter. This poor boy going to make his seed, going to wake up in your girl – well hello Miss Key.

This came up in the discussions. Scott didn’t like Hill’s line of questioning. He dropped an f-bomb and soon afterwards walked out.

TomScott

Transcript (excluding the general music stuff).

Hill: You also got yourself into a spot of bother. We’ll talk about that. Scott: Oh yep. What bother? I’m not bothered. Hill: No. No you don’t look bothered, but plenty of other people were quite bothered.

The next song was discussed and played, then discussed again.

Hill: Let us talk about the bother. The song that @Peace brought out. About you know, getting rid of the Prime Minister. And more importantly and more offensively targeting his daughter, the song… Scott: No, more importantly should be I’m trying to kill this man. Why, why are we not addressing the murder in this song? Hill: Well because everybody thinks that that’s full of nonsense but… Scott: That’s nonsense but the other part’s not… Hill: Well pulling family into the public eye… Scott: But I’m talking about murdering this man. Hill: Well you can stress that factor if you like… Scott: …so you should get me, should get me…you should call the police right now ’cause I’m obviously a murderer and a rapist… Hill: Ah I see what you’re meaning, where you’re going… Scott: You you can’t pick and choose what lyric you want to take out of someone’s song. I mean… Hill: What? Scott: Obviously, obviously I might regret what I said, I probably should have said I was going to rape his son. Hill: What do you mean obviously you might regret what you said, do you or do you not regret what you said… Scott: …I I don’t regret what I said actually. Screw that. Hill: Ok. Lot’s of people disssssss, dissed you for it. Scott: I I don’t like the man one bit. I mean I’m sure his daughter’s a lovely person but… Hill: Well yeah, so why bring her into it? Scott: Just ’cause that will piss him off more. Hill: Have you got any kids? Scott: No. And if someone said they were gonna – I never said I was going to rape her, I just said that one day I was going to come home with her. Hill: I don’t care what you said, you shouldn’t have talked about her at all is the feeling. Scott: Yeah well I did. Hill: Yeah I know. You won’t do it again though will you? Scott: I don’t know, I don’t like John key one bit… Hill: Yeah so you say, but you know you can’t go round threatening to kill people even songs… Scott: But I can, cause I did that. Hill: Come on. Did you vote? Scott: Yes. I tried my best to get everyone in my fanbase, in my demographic to vote and it didn’t work, and I think the system’s, it doesn’t cater for people that are getting the disadvantages of it… Hill: One of the justifications you said, um, about the song was that it was written with a purpose of getting young people to enrol, which most people … Scott: Yeah and it made more noise than any song I’ve ever made so… Hill: Yeah but it was hardly an endorsement of the democratic process Tom… Scott: But I wasn’t talking to your generation Kim. Hill: Oh. Scott: So your generation are always going to be offended by that. Hill: I’m too old to understand… Scott: Well you’re already voting. Hill: I don’t think that anybody who heard that song would think “oh, I must go and vote now”. Scott: Well they at least understood that maybe this man that is running their country isn’t liked by a lot of people. I think a lot of kids grow up when their parents are like, you know, this is a great man, he’s helping us, we own a business, um you know he’s the , the economy’s booming because of this man, and you know a lot of these things might be true. But these kids have no idea that this guy is the enemy to the working class. Hill: Oh hang on… Scott: So I just want, yeah a lot of my fanbase are wealthy middle class upper class kids who you know dream of  being the ‘have not, but they don’t understand the politics behind that kind of, um, being the ‘have not’, they don’t understand that this guy is making life hard for some people. Hill: Are you portraying yourself as a have not? Scott: Well growing up I was definitely a have not, I have a lot more, ah to be thankful now but i grew up in a working class neighbourhood where we needed people like Helen Clark and we needed people like David Lange, you know and the down my street that I grew on are still poor, and now they’ve got kids and now I go to the dairy and now the dairy owner’s son is running the place and nothing’s changed, it’s the same working class neighbourhood. People are still struggling. Hill: Well if it’s still poor Tom then David Lange and Helen Clark didn’t make much difference either, did they. Scott: Well I don’t think they did. I don’t think, I mean I’m quite disillusioned with it all after that election to be honest. It was really heartbreaking for me ’cause I really put a lot of effort in. I mean that was one song that ah old boy Whale Rider or whatever his name was chose to pick up and you know make a big fuss about, because that was going to make the left look like a bunch of morons, and you know I never chose to release that song, it’s not like it was some kind of song I was going to be proud of, I just hate when people pick it apart when, you know, you should be focussed on the part about me saying I’m going to murder this man if you’re going to be focused on anything. Hill: And it was um pointed out that it’s all very well to talk about have nots but you did quite well out of New Zealand On Air… Scott: What do you mean? Hill: Well New Zealand On Air granted @Peace something like thirty thousand quid, ah dollars, and so you can hardly, oh well you feel free to bite the hand that fed you in some peculiar way didn’t you? Scott: Well what does that, I don’t understand. Hill: Well if you get money from New Zealand On Air can you simultaneously use that money to say that nobody’s helping us and John Key is leading us to hell in a hand basket because he’s mean and nasty? Scott: That that money goes straight to making a music video, it doesn’t go to paying the rent, it doesn’t go towards anything like that, it goes to making a creative piece of work and what we made out of that was a video for a song called Matter which ah shows the funeral of an average bum who never meant anything, and I thought we depicted that in a good way, and spent the taxpayers money well. But um, I mean I’m not asking for taxpayers money to go around and blow it on things that aren’t important, you know, I mean this this, every musician gets grants from the Government. Hill: Whoa. Some might say not. Scott: And it’s not like John Key set up New Zealand On Air. Hill: Poor John Key. Scott: He’s probably doing everything he can to get rid of it. Hill: I, well, I’m not sure whether you could say that, and I’m inviting John Key to respond to that calumnious accusation… Scott: I just really worry about how misled the population are by this dude. And I know he runs this, I know the reason I’m sitting in this room is because the Government are paying for it. But this is not a good leader. I’m no better. Don’t get me wrong, I’m just a musician but… Hill: How are politics in Australia? Scott: Worse. Hill: Yeah I would have thought they might be a spot worse… Scott: And that’s why we need to make action now I think. And look I honestly don’t, I honestly don’t claim to be some kinda leader or some kinda politician… Hill: No no no no but what kind of action do you think is… Scott: I just came to play music. Hill: I know. But music that immediately got yourself into political hot water, and it’s not the first time, so you know you need to take the heat. Scott: No no I came onto this show to play music, look I was told I was just here to play three songs, I didn’t know I was coming to get executed on public TV, on public radio… Hill: Oh. Do you feel like I’m executing you? Scott: I don’t know, I just think it’s a bit of a played out issue bringing that song back up when that was like months ago and look, who lost in this, who who really lost? The guy I voted for didn’t even get anywhere near close getting in. Hill: Now we’re not talking about that… Scott: So at the end of the day you don’t have to worry about Tom Scott, ’cause him and the working class got fucked. Hill: Well I don’t think you can say that on National Radio Tom. So let’s edit you out… Scott: Well it’s nothing less than that. Hill: Let us edit you out, try to persuade people to forget you said the f word, and play your next track which is Free Life – There’s Something Better, which should make you feel better. Um what’s Free Life, I don’t know them? Scott: I don’t know. Some group. Hill: Some group. Also from the seventies? Scott: Uh-hmm. Hill: Let’s have a listen.

The song played.

Hill: That’s Free Life, There’s Something Better, from the 1979 single from an album Free Life, that was one of Tom Scott’s picks. Ah Tom, having become perturbed at the question line about his song threatening to kill John Key, has ah bailed on the rest of the Playing Favourites, good on you Tom. Um leaving with the f-bomb which is always a nice touch.

Audio. Listen to Kill The Prime Minister

EDIT: Joel has asked me to take down a photo, I’ve no reason to doubt his claim that he took it so fair enough. It can be found on Google images and this is the source at The Orange Press on a post TOM SCOTT – DANCING BY MYSELF MIXTAPE that says:

Tom Scott from Home Brew and @Peace is a pretty interesting character, full of dichotomies and contradictions. An man of impressive intellect, who seems to court controversy at virtually any opportunity…

Scott does court controversy, deliberately with his promotiion of Kill The Prime Minister. “Impressive intellect” is debatable.