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It's Elementary.


Anthony Element.




The Rise and Rise of Donald J. Trump, Esq


Harvey and I were well settled at the entrance to his garage, second bruskies of the day in hand, the sun heading towards the ridge line on the other side of the valley.


Beer yes, humidity no, and on a Saturday afternoon; doesn’t get much better than that. “I wonder,” I said, “what our wives are up to.”


“Wouldn’t have a clue,” Harvey replied. “Probably whatever it is they do while we’re out here sorting out the important stuff.” He belched a satisfied belch and scratched his capacious belly. “Speaking of which,” he said, “What do you think of young Donald?”


“As in ‘Trump’?”


“That’s the one.”


“Well,” I replied, after a moment’s consideration, “First off, if you’re going to dye your hair, why in God’s name would you pick that colour?  I’ve worn safety gear that wasn’t that garish.”


“Yeah,” Harvey said. “You can’t miss him in a crowd; which, I suspect might be part of the appeal. And you know how he gets that style?”


I shook my head.


“Well, he combs it all forward – and I’m assuming it starts a fair way back from his eyebrows – then he blow dries it, then he has it do a sharp U turn and go back more or less to where it started.”




“True story. If he left it all hanging forward it’d cover his face down to his chin and he’d look like a Yeti.”


I tried to imagine how that might appear. “Could be an improvement,” I opined. “And he’s going to bring those jobs back to America from China.”


“Maybe, although Trump has his own brand of clothing, which can be found for sale in his hotels and in certain, very expensive, clothing stores. And here’s the thing, one hundred percent of the clothes with his name on them are made in… you guessed it, China. So he’s not off to a real flash start.”


“Well,” I said, “That just shows he’s a good businessman.”


“I just wish I could agree with you,” Harvey replied as headed for his fridge. “Trump reckons he’s worth around 9 Billion. Price Waterhouse Coopers estimate his net worth at around 3 billion. They also worked out what he’d be worth today if he’d put the amount he inherited from his father into an investment fund and just played golf every day. They came up with a figure of 8.4 Billion. So, if he’d left his money alone, he’d be nearly three times better off than he is today. Add to that four of his companies have gone broke.”


I digested that. “Doesn’t sound like he’d make much of a president,” I said.


“You think?” Harvey replied. He took a long slug. “Have you heard of his book, ‘The Art of the Deal’?”


Who hasn’t?” I replied. “Best seller.”


“Right. Except Trump didn’t write it, a journalist called Tony Scharwtz wrote it for him. But Shwartz says he has it on good authority that Trump did read it.”


I thought about this as I polished off the last of my beer.  “So, how come,” I wondered, “he looks like becoming the Republican candidate?”


“Whoa, Dude, that’s deep,” Harvey replied.  He studied his tinnie in the way he does when he’s really thinking, as if, somehow, the answers to all the world’s tough questions were written somewhere in amongst bubbles in the beer. Which, now I come to think about it, is probably true.


“See,” he said, “if we’re to have a democracy, then we’re pretty well stuck with politics, because it’s hard to see how a democracy can work without it. But the thing about politics is, it only works when we recognize that in any society there are a range of opinions, some of them deeply held. And along with that, we have a range of different parties and groups, and a range of different interests, all of them legitimate, but most of them, in one way or another, opposing each other.”


Harvey paused and looked pointedly at the fridge. It was my turn to do the necessary.  As I pushed myself out of my seat, Harvey cracked on, warming to his subject.    


“So, the question becomes, how do we sort all that out? One way would be to have a good old fashioned peeing contest. Lots of fun, but if you’re genitally challenged then you wouldn’t get a win all that often.  Another way, would be for each side to choose a champion and send them out to do battle, like knights defending damsels’ honour. Only problem there, a fair few innocent damsels got seriously maligned back in the day. I mean, if your boy had gotten rotten on mead the night before….So, to sort out our differences, we in western democracies have chosen politics, which probably combines the worst aspects of peeing contests and mortal combat, but, well, you can’t have everything".


"And you know that old saying about politics being the art of compromise?” I nodded, as I handed Harvey a fresh tinnie. “Well, it turns out it’s true. And compromise means meeting somewhere in the middle, which inevitably leads to a whole lot of deal making going on. It also means nobody gets everything they want. We all recognize some limits and settle for a bit less than we’d really like, but, one way or another, we all muddle through".


"But in the US, over the past few election cycles, groups have appeared that don’t like the way politics has worked so far. They don’t like how messy politics is and they hate compromise and deal making. They’re from the ‘My Way or the Highway’ School of Diplomacy, a less than noble institution whose alumni includes Genghis Khan, Pol Pot, and that colossal wanker who’s running ISIL".


"The Tea Party is a perfect example".


"So they believe that any politician who talks to the other side or negotiates is a traitor who should be shot at dawn, or whenever they can get their “Right to Carry Concealed”, silver plated handgun out of its incredibly inconvenient ankle holster, whichever comes first. (Usually, it’s dawn, btw, as these clowns often have difficulty finding their ankles.) After decades of not achieving terribly much, they’ve decided that all politicians are the problem, so they’re lining up behind the one candidate who is NOT a politician".


"And that turns out to be one Donald J Trump, Esq".


"They love him, orange hair and all. Which, on the face of it, is bloody weird.”  Harvey looked up from his beer can. “Do you know why?”


“Wouldn’t have a clue.” I replied.


Harvey stuck a finger in the air. “Well first off, one of the reasons Trump is famous is his aforementioned book, ‘The Art of the Deal’, and yet one of the main reasons The Tea Party and their fellow travellers love him is because he is not one of them “Deal making, Washington Politicians.’ Go figure!”


Up came Harvey’s second finger.


“These groups all are anti-immigration. But here’s Trump’s wife, a Slovenian immigrant who sounds like one of Count Dracula’s entourage. In New Hampshire she got in front of the microphone and said, husky voice and all, ‘Ve love you, New Hampshire. Togezzer, ve vill make Americas great again.’


A third finger emerged from Harvey’s giant paw and pointed skyward.


Another thing about The Tea Party and many allied grassroots movements is they grew out of the Financial Crisis and started out hating all those Lying, Rip Off, Wall St Squillionaires.  The fact that Trump makes them look like kids grabbing other kids’ lunch money, doesn’t bother them at all.”


Harvey emptied his can in one, long chugalug.


“But above all,” he said, “They love him because he gives a voice to all the things they fear; immigrants stealing their jobs, Corporations sending jobs to China, Mexicans coming across the border to rape and pillage like 21st Century Vikings, and, above all, Muslims.” My best mate sighed and stared out at the setting sun. “And you know what?” he said, after a while. “None of it’s really true and even if he gets to be president, Trump isn’t going to be able to do much about any of those things".


"But he says them out loud".


"And apparently, in modern American politics, that’s all it takes.”



Anthony V Element OAM


Observation Point (Founder and Editor)

The Santiago Gospel




If all is not lost, then where the hell is it?




Harry Smith.


The issue of recognition for Australian soldiers who fought in the Battle of Long Tan, Vietnam, is to be reviewed again by the independent Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal.


In April 2015, Lieutenant Colonel Harry Smith (Retd), former Officer Commanding D Company 6th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment at the Battle of Long Tan in Vietnam on 18 August 1966, applied to the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal for review of a decision by the Chief of Army to refuse to recommend 13 members of the Australian Army who fought at the Battle of Long Tan for a range of gallantry awards, including a Victoria Cross for the late Warrant Officer John ‘Jack’ Kirby.


The Chief of Army’s decision was made in respect of submissions by Lieutenant Colonel Smith to the Tribunal’s Inquiry into unresolved recognition for past acts of naval and military gallantry and valour. Despite any previous considerations, Lieutenant Colonel Smith has a statutory entitlement under the Defence Act 1903 to seek review of the Chief of Army’s most recent decision in the Tribunal. In hearing this Matter, the Tribunal will consider the refusal to recommend the following 13 individuals for various defence honours.


Assistant Minister for Defence Darren Chester said he was pleased the Tribunal was progressing to public hearings for the review. “I’m confident that the Tribunal’s review will finally resolve this important issue for veterans and their families,” Mr Chester said. “I look forward to receiving the Tribunal’s recommendations, once the hearings and the Tribunal’s further deliberations are completed.”


Seventeen Australians were killed and 25 wounded when on 18 August 1966, 108 men of D Company, 6RAR held off an assault by more than 2,000 enemies in the middle of a tropical downpour.  They were greatly assisted by a timely ammunition resupply by RAAF helicopters, close fire support from Australian and NZ artillery and the arrival of reinforcements in Armoured Personnel Carriers late in the battle. The Tribunal will consider honours for 13 veterans (see HERE) of the Battle of Long Tan, including a Victoria Cross for the late Warrant Officer 2 Jack Kirby, who received a Distinguished Conduct Medal for his gallantry during the battle.


All ranks used for the 13 individuals in the table are the ranks at the time of the battle.


The Tribunal will hear evidence from veterans of the battle, representatives of the Department of Defence, and witnesses called by the applicant, Lieutenant Colonel Harry Smith SG MC (Retd). The Tribunal will hold public hearings from Tuesday 1 March to Thursday 3 March 2016, at The Sebel, Maroochydore, Queensland.


Harry has written an excellent book on his recollections of the Long Tan battle and how he and his men were let down unforgivably by the “out of their depth” Army Commanders. It’s called “Long Tan – The start of a lifelong battle” and is an excellent read, we can personally recommend it.


You can order a copy from HERE.


We met with Harry at his home on the Sunshine Coast recently and he is quietly confident the wrongs will be put right and his men will be justifiably honoured as they most definitely deserve.


We hope so!!  





The world only beats a path to your door when you're in the toilet.



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