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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Marriage - a rite for all

Marriage is an expression of love and commitment, not gender

Australia's same-sex marriage plebiscite is dead after Labor voted to block it. There'll be no funeral for it, but instead a celebration of its demise. Oh and we'll save $160 million in the process.

The plebiscite was originally promised by the feckless former Prime Minister Tony Abbott as a disingenuous means of procrastination and shifting the decision making to someone else. The plebiscite  wasn't binding, so numerous conservative MPs stated that they wouldn't vote for marriage equality regardless of the outcome. These MPs clearly hadn't gotten the memo that they were elected to represent their constituency not their personal beliefs. The plebiscite therefore was a massive waste of time and money.

Current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull responded to the blocking of the plebiscite by stating that marriage equality will not happen in the current term of parliament and in typical Liberal Party fashion, is blaming this on Labor because they voted against the plebiscite. It appears that Turnbull also didn't get the memo that parliament can vote on an amendment to the Marriage Act at any time. If Turnbull actually had the guts to stand up to the religious extremists in his party, he would allow a free vote on marriage equality which would likely see it accepted.

The idea of a plebiscite was ludicrous when there is only around 33,700 same-sex couples in Australia, representing approximately 1% of all couples in Australia(1). So for something that has no bearing on 99% of couples in Australia, why should the public even be asked about their view on this. It doesn't affect them.

Opponents of same sex marriage have argued all sorts of things as to why it shouldn't be legalised, including that marriage is a union in the eyes of God or that same sex marriages can't produce off-spring.

Churches conduct weddings, not marriages. Marriage isn't a rite of the church, is not exclusive to the church, nor is it made legal by the church. It's the State that makes a marriage legal. If marriage was the sole domain of the church, then atheists or people of other faiths wouldn't be able to marry.

Similarly, marriage isn't just about procreation, otherwise there'd be no point in people who are infertile getting married.

Marriage is about love and love isn't determined by gender. Both genders feel love and therefore there are those of the same gender who love each other. Why shouldn't they be allowed to express that love through solemnly swearing their commitment to each other and registering it formally with the State.

Marriage is about commitment. The sort of life-long commitment that people who are bat-shit crazy in love with each other like to make. The sort of life-long commitment that people like to make when they are beyond the bat-shit crazy in love stage and have realised that love is more than warm gooey feelings and hot sweaty romps in the hay; that love is a desire to be with someone forever, to care for them, enjoy them, protect them, not hurt them, grow with them, share life and everything that comes with that - good or bad. Commitment is clearly very important to people from all walks of life, hence the reason that every culture formalises marriage as an act of commitment.

We often hear that traditional marriage is a union between a man and woman. Well ... whose tradition? The Christian church? Even the bible talks of multiple variations of marriage, including polygamy, forced marriage, rape, and incest. (For more on this refer to the Ranting Panda article 'Church of the Poisoned Mind' published 14 February 2016).

The bible talks against divorce, yet the church and many Christians accept divorce. Ironically, a number of Christians who oppose marriage equality as being unbiblical ignore the fact that their own divorces haven't met the bible's criteria for divorce. And then there is remarriage which according to the bible, is tantamount to infidelity.

Marriage isn't about gender. This may be a newsflash for some, but homosexuality and all its iterations have been around for millennia. Funnily enough, the early church sanctioned marriage between same sex couples and performed marriage rites for them(2). In fact, both the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox churches sanctified dozens of same sex marriages in a ritual known as Adelphopoiesis, or 'brother-making'(3). This ritual would unite two people of the same gender, usually men, in a partnership akin to marriage. Some have argued that this isn't what brother-making was about, but historian John Boswell in his book, 'Same-sex marriage in pre-modern Europe', produced meticulous research and evidence that the unions were indeed of a sexual nature. Perhaps one of the most famous such same sex unions was of 3rd century Saints Sergius and Bacchus. A 10th century Greek text (prepared by Symeon the Metaphraste) provided a comprehensive list and description of saints and described Sergius as being the 'sweet companion and lover' of Bacchus(4).

Same sex couple, Saints Sergius and Bacchus
The attack on marriage equality and the concept of 'traditional' marriage is a relatively recent phenomena. Adelphopoiesis was practiced by the Catholic Church until the 14th century. The Eastern Orthodox churches practiced this until at least the 18th century. It was only in the 20th century that marriage equality became an issue for the church.

Unfortunately, the campaign against marriage equality tends to resort to dog-whistling by using outrageous claims and conflating irrelevant ideas. It is largely based on fear that the world as we know it will end, that heterosexual marriages are at risk, that it will destroy the family unit, that it will enable paedophilia, that it will be a slippery slope to allowing people to marry their pets.

If an opposite sex couple's marriage is threatened by a same sex marriage, then that couple has bigger issues than worrying about someone else's marriage.

Contrary to popular opinion, same sex marriage doesn't deny children the right to a family. There are around 6,300 children living in same sex couple families. The key word is family. They have parents. The most important thing to children is being loved and respected. The biggest threats to children are abusive environments or divorce in which they're taken from one or both parents. Some will argue that children should be raised with a mother and father. Firstly, I'd refer back to the issue of divorce which often denies children access to their biological parents. Secondly, children in same sex couple families are no worse off than children in opposite sex families(5).

Any claim that homosexuals also tend to be paedophiles is not borne out in reality. Numerous studies have been done into this and there has been 'no empirical evidence found that homosexuals are more likely than heterosexuals to molest children'(6).

As for people marrying their pets? I challenge Senator Cory Bernardi or any others who postulate this outrageous claim to produce any evidence of this being legalised in any country. If you pardon the pun, it is dog-whistling at its worst and surely only the most gullible would believe this.

Arguments against same-sex marriage often stem from homophobia. The Christian Right may argue that it is not homophobic to oppose homosexuality because of bible scripture. However, when they start using fear-mongering in order to make their point, then they are being homophobic. They are clearly scared of legalising same-sex marriage based on the arguments they use against it.

There are dozens of countries which have legalised marriage equality, including New Zealand, Holland, Belgium, Canada, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. Interestingly, even though these countries have allowed same sex marriage for years, nothing has really changed apart from gay couples being allowed to marry. The sun still rises in the east and it sets in the west.

It's ironic that those opposed to marriage equality tend to describe themselves as pro-marriage or pro-family, yet they spend their time trying to prevent loving couples from marrying.

For all the doomsayers out there claiming that marriage equality would be a marital Armageddon, how can this possibly be so when there are only around 1% of the population who are in same sex relationships. Those relationships will continue to exist whether they are allowed to marry or not, so there will be no impact on society than already exists. The only change is that those who chose to, can have those relationships formally acknowledged by the State.

The government identified that homophobia is a major problem and is responsible for assaults, self-harm and suicide, particularly among young people. To counter this, the Safe Schools program was implemented. Disappointingly, a number of conservative Christians complained about this and elements of it were scrapped with the government stating they would not fund it beyond 2017(7). The hectoring behaviour of these so-called Christians demonstrates why the Safe Schools program is so necessary. Perhaps instead of gutting the program, the government could have looked at extending it into churches to reduce the incidence of bullying and discrimination in those institutions.

A study published by the National LGBTI Health Alliance found that 'discrimination and exclusion are the key causal factors of LGBTI mental ill-health and suicidality'(8). The continuing exclusion of marriage equality is a factor in the ongoing discrimination and bullying against LGBTIQ people. Acceptance and legalisation of same sex marriage will go a long way to assisting LGBTIQ people in being accepted and hopefully help reduce bullying and other forms of discrimination against them. If people are so concerned about the impact of same-sex marriage on families and children, then surely they should be taking all reasonable steps to reduce bullying, discrimination and hate-crimes against LGBTIQ people instead of opposing Safe Schools and marraige equality.

A recent Essential Poll revealed that 53% of Australian Christians are in favour of same sex marriage, 62% among members of other religions and 67% among those with no religion(9). A Fairfax Ipsos poll found that 70% of people support marriage equality(10), and a recent Essential Poll found that 62% now support marriage equality(11).

Rather than being driven by a few extreme ideologues, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull could show some strength and allow a free vote in parliament on the issue. If parliamentarians are truly representing the electorate, they would legalise marriage equality in this term of parliament.

The world will not end, the sky will not fall down and families will not be destroyed.

Instead, more people will be able to express their love for each other through marriage.

There will no longer be a requirement to differentiate between opposite-sex marriage and same-sex marriage. It will simply be known as:



1. Australian Bureau of Statistics, '4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, July 2013 - Same Sex Couples', Accessed 18 October 2016.

2. James Neill, 'The Origins and Role of Same-Sex Relations in Human Societies', McFarland (3 October 2011 - digital edition).

3. John Boswell, 'Same sex unions in pre-modern Europe'. Fontana, New Ed Edition (1996).

4. Dennis O'Neill, 'Passionate Holiness: Marginalized Christian Devotions for for Distinctive Peoples', iUniverse (3 February 2010).

5. La Trobe University, Jennifer Power, 'Kids of same-sex parents not worse off', 9 March 2016, Accessed 18 October 2016.

6. University of California Davis, Psychology, Professor Herek, 'Facts About Homosexuality and Child Molestation', Accessed 19 October 2016.

7. The Guardian, Lenore Taylor, 'Turnbull government unveils dramatic changes to Safe Schools Program', 18 March 2016, Accessed 19 October 2016.

8. Rosenstreich, G. (2013) LGBTI People Mental Health and Suicide. Revised 2nd Edition. National LGBTI Health Alliance. Sydney,

9. Australian Marriage Equality,'A majority of Christians support marriage equality' Accessed 19 October 2016.

10. Australian Financial Review, Fleur Anderson, 'Election 2016: Majority of voters would say yes in gay marriage plebiscite', 1 July 2016, Accessed 19 October 2016.

11. The Guardian, Gareth Hutchens, 'Support for marriage equality has grown since election, Essential Poll shows', 23 August 2016, Accessed 19 October 2016.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Of songs & flags - Nationalism, Patriotism and the Arrogance of Arrogation

Of songs & flags - Nationalism, Patriotism and the Arrogance of Arrogation

The global rise of nationalism is disturbing considering its correlation to the rise of nationalism in 1930's Germany. And we all know how that ended. It seems that any criticism of the 'mother' (or 'father') country is tantamount to treason and all left-wingers are traitors.

Of course, nothing new to see here. Herman Goerring stated at the Nuremberg trials, ' ... the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country'.

Recently, Australia has seen a couple of incidents in which patriotism was tested. The first was by a call from boxer and former rugby league star, Anthony Mundine, for indigenous players to refuse to stand for the national anthem. Mundine's call was partly in relation to the over-representation of indigenous people in the prison system and on-going deaths in custody(1). Since the conclusion of Royal Commission into Black Deaths in Custody in 1991, few of its recommendations have been implemented and the incarceration rates of indigenous people have increased from 14% to 27%(2).

Mundine also opposes Advance Australia Fair because he believes that it glorifies Captain Cook's invasion of Australia. At the bottom of this article there is a copy of the full national anthem which has five verses, not just the two (verses 1 and 3) that are commonly sung. Mundine has a point when looking at verses 2, 4 and 5 as they do bang on about Britain's glory and conquest of this great southern land. These verses are no longer sung in polite company, so in essence it could be argued that Australia is already boycotting elements of the anthem.

Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP(3)

One other reason for Mundine's boycott was that the anthem was written at a time when indigenous Australians were not even considered human, but were covered under the Flora and Fauna Act. It wasn't until 1967 that indigenous people were counted in referenda and the federal government was given the right to legislate for aborigines regardless of whether they were in a State or Territory. Unfortunately, since then much of the human rights abuses against Australia's indigenous population has continued through stolen wages, removal of children from families, prejudice in education, health services, employment, housing, incarceration and so on.

The key word from Advance Australia Fair is 'fair', yet there is no fairness in Australia's treatment of its indigenous people. For our first nation people, 'fair' is a word that much of Australia only pays lip-service to as they continue to be discriminated against in all areas of society.

Over the last 20 years or so there has also been a marked increase in fear and intolerance towards asylum seekers and refugees. Ironically, the verse 3 of the national anthem, states 'For those who've come across the seas, we've boundless plains to share', yet these days few Australians want to share the land with migrants of any type.

So if Australians are failing to honour the words of the national anthem in relation to fairness and sharing, why get so upset when someone calls for it to be boycotted? If the words are meaningless to the majority of Australians, then it appears that people are valuing the concept of patriotism and nationalism, and as Mundine points out, the racist origins of the anthem rather than any real appreciation of fairness, equality and welcoming others. How can anyone claim to be a patriot if selectively ignoring key elements of the national anthem?

This comes as no surprise because only recently, one of the right-wing anti-everything parties, Australia First has won the right to use the Eureka Stockade flag as its logo(4). This is from a party that opposes migration, opposes the settling of refugees in Australia, opposes multiculturalism - so is already ignoring those elements of the national anthem. To compound the patriotic selectivity, Australia First is appropriating the Eureka Stockade flag which is a flag for all the oppressed from all nations on earth. Its origin is in the acceptance of refugees and in the fight against oppression from a belligerent and racist government that was robbing and exploiting workers. The flag stood for fairness, acceptance, inclusion and represented the fight against tyranny.

Raffaelo Carboni, one of the architects of the Eureka Stockade rebellion when the flag was first flown, stated in his speech four days before the battle in Ballarat: 

'Irrespective of nationality, religion and colour, I call on you to salute the 'Southern Cross' as the refuge of all the oppressed from all countries on earth'(5).

Like the concept of fairness and welcoming of migrants and refugees in Advance Australia Fair, the extreme right wing is ignoring the true meaning of the Eureka Stockade flag in its arrogant arrogation of it.

Nationalism requires symbols of national pride. National anthems and flags are the go-to symbols for self-styled patriots. These symbols often take on a meaning that is far removed from their origins in order to exploit, oppress and discriminate against. The scapegoating and fear of others is used to justify the fascism and tyranny that accompanies nationalism.

This isn't the first time that symbols or ideologies have been misrepresented in order to mislead people and to invoke national sentiment.

The archetypal nationalist, Adolf Hitler, reinvented the flag for Nazi Germany, hijacking the Swastika which was a symbol of good fortune and hope in India for a number of religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Odinism(6). The Swastika was misappropriated by Germany's extreme right-wing and used to represent white racial purity and supremacy.

Further to this, Hitler noticed that Marxism was attractive to the masses and so appropriated the title 'Socialist' because of its broad appeal(7), particularly to workers and hopefully to trick the left-wing into embracing his ideology. To further this, he even went so far as to appropriate the colour red that represented Socialism and Communism. Hitler's rambling biopic, Mein Kampf is full of vitriolic attacks on Socialism and Communism which he believed were part of a Jewish conspiracy to control the world's economy. In Hitler's own words:

'The suspicion was whispered in German Nationalist circles that we also were merely another variety of Marxism, perhaps even Marxists suitably disguised, or better still, Socialists. The actual difference between Socialism and Marxism still remains a mystery to these people up to this day ... We used to roar with laughter at these silly faint-hearted bourgeoisie and their efforts to puzzle out our origin, our intentions and our aims. We chose red for our posters after particular and careful deliberation, our intention being to irritate the Left, so as to arouse their attention and tempt them to come to our meetings--if only in order to break them up--so that in this way we got a chance of talking to the people'.(8)

Hitler's idea of Socialism was not the same as Marxism. For Hitler it was a 'social' ideology, one full of nationalist fervour and Aryan supremacy. It had nothing to do with the class struggle and socialising the means of production into the hands of workers that Marxism espoused. In his own words, Hitler described how the Socialist (social) and Nationalist elements of National Socialism were represented in the flag thus:

'We National Socialists regarded our flag as being the embodiment of our party programme. The red expressed the social thought underlying the movement. White the national thought. And the swastika signified the mission allotted to us--the struggle for the victory of Aryan mankind and at the same time the triumph of the ideal of creative work which is in itself and always will be anti-Semitic'.(8)

The rise of nationalism in Australia and globally is not a new thing. Like Nazi Germany, it is founded in a dissatisfaction by the people with the current economic system which has resulted in mass redundancies, out-sourcing, off-shoring, extreme profit-driven behaviour by large corporations at the expense of workers, the creation of the 'working poor' in which many workers need more than one job to make ends meet, the casualisation of the workforce, the privatisation and subsequent increased costs of essential services and price gouging by corporations. Right wing politicians are using migrants, refugees, Muslims and even the poor themselves as scapegoats for the world's economic ills, just like Hitler did with his scapegoating and demonisation of Jews, Unionists, Communists, Socialists, gypsies, homosexuals, the infirm and so on.

The great irony in the current rise of the extreme right-wing is that it is capitalism that has led to their dissatisfaction with the world, that has led to the destruction of the workforce and also to the creation of refugees and poor who are demonised so much by the right-wing. But instead of embracing an ideology, such as socialism, that would promote the welfare of the worker and a more equitable sharing in the profits of their labours, the misguided right continues to worship at the altar of capitalism in some sort of perverse version of the Stockholm Syndrome - the more they are abused and oppressed, the more they glorify their oppressor.

Capitalism is based on competition, greed, selfishness and fear; the very things that motivate the ultra right-wing in the pursuit of extreme Nationalism at the expense of those who don't fit their picture of perfection or who they deem to be a threat to their 'way of life'. A way of life that ironically, was established in Australia through the vast contribution of our first nation's people and more than 200 years of immigration.

Nationalism is a cry for help from those who don't understand who or what is truly to blame for their social ills: namely the insatiable greed of unfettered capitalism and neo-liberal economics.

It's time to end the demonising and maligning of other races and religions. No race or religion is better than another, no nationality is better than another. Patriotism, as a love for one's nation, should never become hate for another. This is when it descends into nationalism, jingoism. And from there the slippery slope to fascism and tyranny.


1., AAP, 'Anthony Mundine wants national anthem boycott at NRL, AFL grand finals', 30 September 2016, Accessed 15 October 2016.

2. The Conversation, Thalia Anthony, 'Deaths in Custody: 25 years after the royal commission, we've gone backwards', 13 April 2016, Accessed 15 October 2016.

3. The Guardian, Elle Hunt and Paul Farrell, 'Anthony Mundine says he will never stand for the national anthem again', 30 September 2016, Accessed 15 October 2016.

4. The Courier, Jessica Black, 'Australia First wins right to Eureka flag', 14 October 2016, Accessed 15 October 2016.

5. Carboni, Raffaelo. 'The Eureka Stockade', chapter XXIX, location 642, Kindle version. Amazon Digital Services, Inc, ASIN B004TP1N5I, 24 March 2011. (Digital version of original book published in 1855).

6. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 'History of the Swastika', Holocaust Encyclopedia, Accessed 15 October 2016.

7. Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Volume I: A RETROSPECT, Chapter XII. THE FIRST STAGE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE GERMAN NATIONAL SOCIALIST LABOUR PARTY, translated by James Murphy. Project Gutenberg,

8. Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Volume II: THE NATIONAL SOCIALIST MOVEMENT, Chapter VII. THE CONFLICT WITH THE RED FORCES', translated by James Murphy. Project Gutenberg,

Advance Australia Fair 

(Only verses 1 and 3, highlighted below in blue text, are usually sung these days). 

Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We've golden soil and wealth for toil,
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in Nature's gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In history's page, let every stage
Advance Australia fair!
In joyful strains then let us sing,
'Advance Australia fair!'

When gallant Cook from Albion sail'd,
To trace wide oceans o'er,
True British courage bore him on,
Till he landed on our shore.
Then here he raised Old England's flag,
The standard of the brave;
With all her faults we love her still,
"Brittannia rules the wave!"
In joyful strains then let us sing
'Advance Australia fair!'

Beneath our radiant southern Cross,
We'll toil with hearts and hands;
To make this Commonwealth of ours
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who've come across the seas
We've boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine
To advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing
'Advance Australia fair!'

While other nations of the globe
Behold us from afar,
We'll rise to high renown and shine
Like our glorious southern star;
From England, Scotia, Erin's Isle,
Who come our lot to share,
Let all combine with heart and hand
To advance Australia fair!
In joyful strains then let us sing
'Advance Australia fair!'

Should foreign foe e'er sight our coast,
Or dare a foot to land,
We'll rouse to arms like sires of yore
To guard our native strand;
Brittannia then shall surely know,
Beyond wide ocean's roll,
Her sons in fair Australia's land
Still keep a British soul.
In joyful strains then let us sing
'Advance Australia fair!'

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Trumpery of Trump & the Credibility of Clinton

Choosing between a demagogue and a diplomat

The farce that is the 2016 American election is rapidly approaching its zenith (or nadir, depending on your level of pessism). There are only two who are actually in contention to be president, namely the Republican nominee Donald Trump and the Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton.

The nomination of Trump surprised many, including a significant number of Republicans. The selection of the Republican nominee saw a contest between a number of candidates whose campaigns drew heavily on xenophobia, Islamophobia, racism, sexism, bigotry, fear, nationalism and greed. Not exactly Christian principles, yet each of the presidential hopefuls was eager to claim that they were church-going Christians who walked the walk of Christ. The gullible believed them and accepted what amounted to platforms of white-supremacy, fascism and paternalism.

Many people have since stated that Trump and Clinton are as bad as each other or that Clinton is the lesser of two evils. Some have stated that people shouldn't vote for either of them.

These positions are ludicrous and dangerous.

Without doubt, Donald Trump is a demagogue who is motivated by one thing only: his own personal gain. He exhibits signs of extreme narcissism. Trump is an ultra-rich failed tycoon who inherited his wealth and has since managed to preside over multiple business failures.

Criticism of Clinton stems around a few common themes:

* Benghazi bombing in which four American embassy officials were killed. A senate inquiry cleared Clinton of any wrong-doing(1). These critics were silent over the bombings of 13 American embassies which caused 66 deaths during President George W. Bush's administration(2).

* Use of a private email server to access official government emails. While careless(3), she isn't the only government official to have done this. Her critics have been silent over the 22 million emails that were deleted from private mail servers by George W. Bush's administration(4).

* Honesty. Fact checking revealed that Clinton was the most honest of all nominees during the primaries. Since 2007, Clinton has told far fewer lies, around 26%, than Trump whose lies are at a staggering 70% of what he has said(5)(6). In relation to lying, Trump has been described as borderline pathological(7) and of lying 'all the time'(8).

* Abortion. Clinton has supported legalised abortion. For many this is tantamount to murder. Yet, these critics have in the main, opposed raising the minimum wage or providing welfare to the poor even though poverty is one of the main drivers of abortion. And then there is their ovewhelming support of waging war across the globe. As the old saying goes, 'War is not healthy for children and other living things'.

The main difference between Clinton and Trump is that Clinton is sane and stable, whereas Trump is arguably less than sane and demonstrably unstable(9). Clinton understands foreign affairs and diplomacy. Trump not only has no concept of diplomacy, but seems to not care about it and worse, is more than happy to antagonise other nations.

Trump's campaign has been one of trumpery. In other words, lies, foolishness, nonsense. It is a concern that someone who wants to be the most powerful man in the world, is more interested in discussing the size of his dick(10) or his right to grab women by their pussy without their consent, then actual politics or economics.

The world is in a fragile state. The west is still recovering from the effects of the GFC, nations such as Russia, China, Germany and Britain, among others are struggling with internal and external forces that have led them to increase their military spending or even directly into armed conflict with other nations. Recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened nuclear war and has recently recalled all Russians living abroad to return home, sparking fears that war is imminent. Former MI6 boss, Sir John Sawers has stated that the world is entering an era 'more dangerous than the Cold War(11).

And then there is the conflict in Syria which is contributing to much of the fear-mongering and bigotry in relation to the refugees who are fleeing there, as well as the heightened international tensions as the major players compete with each other over jurisdiction and actions to be taken against the Syrian government, ISIS and other militant groups.

This is not a time to elect a trigger-happy, petulant, nationalist bigot who wants to assert American dominance on a very fragile world.

Bigotry and hate crimes are on the rise across the globe, fuelled by ultra-right wing politicians and fear-mongering within western nations. After Donald Trump announced that he would ban, track and deport Muslims, there was a 78% increase in hate crimes against Muslims in the United States(12). In Australia, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott played the xenophobia card and this has resulted in the election to parliament of politicians elected on racist platforms. Abbott has recently come out in support of many of Trump's policies, describing them as 'reasonable enough'(13). There is nothing reasonable about preaching hate, spreading fear and demonising entire races and religions.

Trump's campaign has gained momentum on the back of racist, xenophobic and sexist propaganda, which makes it even more incredulous that so many white evangelical Christians have openly supported him. This support has cost the Christian right-wing all legitimacy. Their claim as moral champions of family values comes unstuck when they defend the sexism, racism and hate speech of Trump. A man who is now into his third marriage and has been known for his philandering ways. At present, there is a law-suit waiting to be heard in which he is accused of raping a 13 year old girl(14). This law-suit is set to be heard on 16 December 2016, approximately 6 weeks after the election but before the inauguration of the new president.

Yet the critics of Hillary Clinton refer back to her husband's affair with Whitehouse intern, Monica Lewinsky. While it is true that then President Bill Clinton did have the affair, it is testament to their marriage that the Clinton's are still married 20 years later.

The aggressive, bombastic and bullshitting Trump displayed his moral turpitude in all its beholden hideousness during the presidential debates. Trump showed complete ignorance of American politics and foreign affairs. He showed his most abusive, impulsive, sexist, racist, fear-mongering character and clearly displayed his inability to tell the truth. Clinton on the other hand, maintained her composure and demonstrated why she is suited to the presidency, drawing on her years of public service and political experience(15).

Some of the evangelical supporters of Trump have made claims that are truly bizarre and reflect poorly on the intellect and morality of anyone who believes them. For instance, Michele Bachmann warning Christians that a vote for Hillary Clinton will lead to an increase in sexual assaults(16). Jerry Falwell, founder of Liberty University and co-founder of the Moral Majority, has publicly supported Trump and advocated for Christians to carry guns, which even some of Liberty's students have protested against(17). One of the Godfathers of the Christian Evangelist movement, Kenneth Copeland claims that Christians who vote for Clinton are guilty of murder and God would hold them accountable(18). And the list of Christian pastors supporting the depraved Trump goes on(19). One Christian pastor, a Dave Daubenmire, founder of Pass the Salt Ministeries, stated that 'rather than worrying about the immorality of a sinful man', Christians should not be voting for Hillary Clinton 'because women are not to have authority over men'(20). Apparently, a woman in leadership will incur the wrath of God but a proud man who boasts of sexual assault will be blessed with the most powerful position in the world.

Apparently, God has gone from giving the world his only begotten son, Jesus - a humble, bleeding heart who called for the love of all and to give everything away to support the poor, to now giving the world a narcissistic demagogue who assaults women, stands for white supremacy, war, violence and hatred. But what can be expected of the religious right which has been dominated by greed and selfishness for decades (for further critique of the religious right refer to the Ranting Panda article 'From Frankincense to Franchise - the Corporatisation & Politicisation of Christianity' published 21 August 2011).

Make no mistake, there is nothing that even vaguely resembles Christ in either Trump or this extremist version of the Religious Right. Remember, Christ was the one who gave us the Beatitudes that emphasised the importance of humility, pacifism, mercy, purity and calmness (not anger). Christ told us to love our neighbour AND to love our enemy. He told us to 'turn the other cheek' rather than unleash vengeance or 'bomb the shit out of them' (to quote Trump)(21). Trump is the antithesis of Christ's teachings, so how deluded are Christians who believe that Trump represents Christianity.

The support for Trump has waned as details of Trump's views on women and sex come to light, but disturbingly others continue exhorting him. It was recently revealed that he was recorded in 2005 boasting that because of his fame he could 'grab women by the pussy' without asking for permission(22). He was caught on tape making lewd comments about a 10 year old girl and there have been numerous women make complaints against him of sexual harassment or assault(23). Former major league baseball player, Curt Schilling stated that it was totally normal for Trump to eye-off a 10 year old girl(24).

Political commentator Rush Limbaugh felt that the left-wing critics were being strict about 'consent'(25). In Limbaugh's mind, consent isn't really required for sex and that non-consensual sex does't equate to rape.

In terms of politics, Clinton has continued to support Israel and by extension, Israel's illegal settlements and crimes against humanity. However, a Republican President would also do this. Clinton, as part of the Obama administration, was party to the support of Libyan rebels in the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi. Wikileaks released emails showing that Clinton was aware that the USA had provided weapons to Libyan rebels. Hillary's critics lost their minds when Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, stated that it was his belief that weapons supplied to Libyan rebels had found their way to ISIS. Assange's comment was an assumption, not a statement of fact(26).

But this isn't the first time a US government has done this. The US has been instrumental in the overthrow of many world leaders including Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddegh (1953), Indonesian President Sukarno (1967), Chilean President Allende 1973), Iraqi President Hussein (2003), among around 70 others(27). And then there was the funding, training and arming of the Mujahadeen to engage in terrorist and guerilla activities in opposition to the Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. This directly led to the creation of Al Qaeda and the Taliban(28). The rise of ISIS is a direct result of President George W. Bush's overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003 which gave strength to Al Qaeda in Iraq, out of which grew the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (this is covered in detail in Ranting Panda article ISIS - who's your daddy? The war crimes of Bush, Blair, Howard dated 7 July 2016).

While not perfect, Clinton is the best presidential candidate that the USA has. Given her more right wing policies and hawkish tendencies, it could be argued that she is the best Republican candidate that America has. Compared to Trump, she has years of experience in the political arena, she understands diplomacy and foreign affairs. Among her achievements, Clinton is a former Secretary of State, a two-term New York Senator, has served on five Senate Committees and brokered a peace deal between Israel and Hamas.

Clinton has genuine and achievable plans to boost the economy, including raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and to strengthen the Affordable Care Act. She intends on combatting terrorism with intelligence rather than troops(29).

Trump on the other hand is more interested in deporting Muslims and building walls between Mexico and the United States. An analysis of his economic plan reveals that it would increase the debt and if anything, his plan to grow the economy by 6% per annum would increase inflation dramatically, creating a boom-bust cycle followed by a crash(30). Trump's economics, like the rest of his politics is based on misconceptions, misrepresentations, fear-mongering and jingoism.

Clinton has the experience and realistic plans for government. She is the only credible alternative for President.

Trump? Well, Trump's only claim to fame is his trumpery.


1. The New York Times, David M. Herszenhorn, 'House Benghazi Report Finds No New Evidence of Wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton', 28 June 2016, Accessed 14 October 2016.

2. Politifact, Louis Jacobson, 'Prior to Benghazi, were there 13 attacks on embassies and 60 deaths under President George W. Bush?', 12 May 2014, Accessed 14 October 2016.

3. Australian Financial Review, Mark Landler, 'Hillary Clinton cleared by FBI for use of personal email server', 6 July 2016, Accessed 14 October 2016.

4., David Emery, 'Data Entropy', 11 October 2016, Accessed 14 October 2016.

5. Attn, Aimee Kuvadia, 'One Chart Addresses a Misconception About Hillary Clinton', 5 August 2016, Accessed 14 October 2016.

6. The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof, 'Clinton's Fibs v Trump's Huge Lies', 6 August 2016, Accessed 14 October 2016.

7. The Washington Post, Kim Soffen, 'Trump lies more often than Clinton. But Americans think she's more dishonest. Here's Why', 27 July 2016, Accessed 14 October 2016.

8. Vox, Dara Lind, 'Donald Trump lies. All the time', 27 September 2016, Accessed 14 October 2016.

9. Vanity Fair, Keith Olbermann, 'Could Donald Trump pass a sanity test?', 21 July 2016, Accessed 14 October 2016.

10. The Sydney Morning Herald, Paul McGeough, 'A new low for the Republican debate: the size of Trump's penis', 4 March 2016, Accessed 14 October 2016.

11. Independent, Samuel Osborne, 'Worlder entering era 'more dangerous than Cold War' as Russian power grows, former MI6 boss warns', 13 October 2016, Accessed 14 October 2016.

12. The Huffington Post, Matt Ferner, 'There were more Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes Last Year Than Any Year Since 2001', 20 September 2016, Accessed 14 October 2016.

13. The Sydney Morning Herald, Latika Bourke, 'Tony Abbott says Donald Trump's policies are 'reasonable enough' and his voters are not deplorables', 14 October 2016, Accessed 14 October 2016.

14. The Guardian, Ed Pilkington, 'Trump lawyers given court date over lawsuit alleging rape of 13-year-old', Accessed 14 October 2016.

15. Slate, L.V. Anderson, 'Forget this "Hillary Is Unlikable" Stuff. Hillary is Downright Inspiring', 12 October 2016, Accessed 14 October 2016.

16. The Huffington Post, Ed Mazza, 'Michele Bachmann Warns Christians: Voting for Hillary ClintonWill Lead to Sexual Assaults', 13 October 2016, Accessed 14 October 2016.

17. Sojourners, Wesley Walker, 'Here's Why Liberty University Students Are Denouncing Trump', 13 October 2016, Accessed 14 October 2016.

18. Patheos, Michael Stone, 'Televangelist: Christians Who Don't Vote For Trump Are 'Guilty of Murder' ', 11 October 2016, Accessed 14 October 2016.

19. The Daily Beast, Betsy Woodruff, 'Evangelical Leaders Shrug At Donald Trump's Lewd Comments', 8 October 2016, Accessed 14 October 2016.

20. U.S. Uncut, Tom Cahill, 'Conservative Christian pastor: It's better for a president to grab a vagina than to have one', 12 October 2016, Accessed 14 October 2016.

21. Business Insider Australia, Pamela Engel, 'DONALD TRUMP: 'I would bomb the s--- out of' ISIS', 14 November 2015, Accessed 14 October 2016.

22. The Guardian, Ben Jacobs, Sabrina Siddiqui and Scott Bixby, ''You can do anything': Trump brags on tape about using fame to get women', 8 October 2016, Accessed 14 October 2016.

23. The Huffington Post, Catherine Pearson, 'A Running List Of The Women Who've Accused Donald Trump Of Sexual Assault', 14 October 2016, Accessed 14 October 2016.

24. The Huffington Post, Maxwell Strachan, 'Curt Schilling Says Trump Eyeing A 10-Year-Old Was Totally Normal', 14 October 2016, Accessed 14 October 2016.

25. NY Daily News, Chris Sommerfeldt, 'Rush Limbaugh suggests 'the Left' is too uptight about sex having to be consensual: 'here come the rape police' ', 13 October 2016, Accessed 14 October 2016.

26., Kim LaCapria, 'Shots Hired', 13 October 2016, Accessed 14 October 2016. 

27. William Blum (2004), 'Killing Hope: US Military Interventions and CIA Interventions Since World War II - updated edition', Common Courage Press, Monroe ME.

28. John Cooley (2002), 'Unholy Wars - Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism - 3rd edition', Pluto Press, Sterling VA.

29. The Balance, Kimberley Amadeo, 'Hillary Clinton's Economic Plan', 13 October 2016, Accessed 14 October 2016.

30. The Balance, Kimberley Amadeo, 'Donald Trump 2016 Economic Plan', 26 September 2016, Accessed 14 October 2016.