Originally posted on The Nudge Wink Report:

So somehow, the April 1st post falls to me. This means I’m under even greater pressure to produce something observant and witty. Thankfully, our glorious leaders are providing us with all the material I need to turn this into a Pulitzer Prize-winning article.

Let’s start with Britain. I’d love to wake up tomorrow and find out Brexit was one big trick – a game, albeit a cruel one, that turns out not to be true. Failing that, I’d love to think we have leaders and negotiators that can do a half-decent job. Unfortunately, we have these:

wp-1490947273463.png

That’s the logo of the Conservative Party. I don’t have a lot of confidence in them. We have trusting our future to a party that have gladly quadrupled their champagne intake – boozy people are fun to watch from afar, but do we want them steering the ship?! They’ve been so drunk they forgot to declare certain expenses during the last election – oops. Perhaps this also explains their flip-flopping – who knows? Alcohol does strange things to the mind!

Yet somehow, it’s the Tories who will be representing all of us (even Scotland, who don’t want anything to do with this) when the talks start in earnest. Why am I not convinced they will put the best interests of the people first?

timondubious

That’s the exact face I made when Brexit won the vote. Now it’s the face I make whenever I read about Brexit. Or hear the word Brexit. Or think it.

Guys, this man wanted us to vote Brexit (there’s that face again). If that wasn’t a good reason not to, I don’t know what is. Here’s an exclusive photo of him in his lair, celebrating:

wp-1490947312359.jpg

Here’s another man who thought Brexit would be a swell idea – assuming he has any understanding of what it means:

wp-1490947323478.png

Speaking of Donald, he was America’s Trump card last year – just when Brexit (that face) seemed to be the lowest ebb politically, he raised his orange head and told everyone ‘hold my beer’. Unsurprisingly, he’s crashed hard in the approval ratings since becoming President – as it stands, only 38% of those polled think he’s doing a good job – where were the 57% who disapproved of him when the election was on?! Were you all sleeping?! Grabbing a quick latte?! I mean come on – now you’ve saddled yourself with Putin’s favourite horse.

Why can’t this be one big (unfunny) joke? The entire world would love to wake up tomorrow and find out Obama was back. ‘April Fools’ says Trump, announcing his presidency was one big prank, and he’s stepping down. What a sigh of relief for the entire globe (well, unless you’re Trevor Noah, who would lose a metric ton of material to work with if that happened).

All this talk of a drive toward populism is now being met with reality – and all of a sudden, no one wants populism anymore. If the Brexit (that face) vote happened now, we wouldn’t vote leave – not surprising given little details like misdirection on EU costsNHS spending, the economy and so on. Like it or not, we’re committed. The UK is committed to Brexit (that face), the US is committed to an orange wearing a wig.  What’s gonna be worse, Trump or Brexit (that face)?

The upshot for America is, Trump isn’t likely to last four years – I mean, how can he when his plans keep failing miserably? The guy has the temperament of a toddler and the ego of Emperor Palpatine. He’ll end up impeaching himself.

wp-1476194438653.png

I mean, come on people. This is where the surge to right-wing populism is heading. Donald Trump is the embodiment of what is wrong with this worrying trend, and he keeps demonstrating what this does – his latest move? Accusing Obama of spying on him, and implicating Britain, a long-time staunch ally of the US, of being involved.

What a complete moron. His bluster and his incompetence (and that of his administration, if his cronies are anything to go by) is going to be damaging for years to come, and we don’t yet know the extent of this. The only upside is that the Republican party will be taken down with him – and even that isn’t an upside, since for any system to work, the opposition needs to be strong. Trump is a short-term and long-term mess.

His notion that the UK (at the urging of US intelligence services no less) would spy on him is the latest in a string of stupid statements and ideas. Remarkably, his supporters are bedding down, and all I can ask is… how?! How can people repeatedly turn a blind eye to the lunacy that’s taking place in the US? Urgh, just talking about this idiot makes me angry. I wish he’d piss off!

Let’s preface this post by saying that it might be a good idea to read this article from Rae of Bookmark Chronicles, and this one from Violet Wisp.

Both articles offer an important perspective on the divisive issue of abortion – namely, they offer a female perspective. I have pointed these articles out to those in discussion on this issue over at Blogging Theology, where I have had discussions in the past on this very issue. My comments are in blue, and where I quote from Rae’s article, it is in purple. The first part actually concerns a brief remark about discrimination practices, before moving on to the abortion issue.

As I have said before (in comments here, elsewhere and on my own site), a business is a public institution and as such, has agreed to abide by anti-discrimination laws. At what point is the line drawn Ken? Should a Christian business be allowed to refuse service to a Muslim, or vice-versa? Can a business started up a white supremacist be permitted to refuse service to people of colour?

The bottom line is, if you are prepared to start up a business that expects to deal with the public, you cannot pick and choose on religious lines, or sexual orientation, or skin colour, sex, or faith. Not unless you want to open the floodgates to arbitary discrimination.

On the abortion issue, I would urge you to consider these words, from a woman (you know, women, who are affected far more than men on this issue, yet were curiously absent from representation when Trump was signing his order):

As for abortion, like I said I am pro-choice. Meaning that I think women should be able to choose not to have a baby if they are not ready to. I don’t think it’s fair to be forced to have a baby just because someone else thinks you should.

Some people think that others just aren’t careful and decide, “I don’t want kids but I’m just going to have a lot of unprotected sex and then get an abortion.” I have a feeling that those thoughts don’t run through a lot of people’s minds. Not like that.

Then there’s the “well then you shouldn’t have had sex” argument. This needs to stop.

Firstly, it’s usually directed at women when we all know it takes two to make a baby.

Second, no birth control is 100% foolproof and I think that’s forgotten a lot of the time.

It is possible to be on the pill, use a condom, take the day after pill and still get pregnant. What’s the argument then if everything was done “the way it should be done?”

What about the person whose life is hectic and forgets to take their pill just that one time? Shit happens. Sometimes life gets in the way. No one is perfect.

What about rape victims?

What about people (like me) who are chronically ill and can’t carry full term anyway?

What about people who are disabled and/or physically incapable of enduring the stress that pregnancy puts on the body.

What about the people who are incredibly careful but also don’t want children?

What about the people who just know that they are not financially capable of giving a baby it’s best life.

Yes, adoption is an option but look at all of the things that I just listed. On top of that child birth is painful. It’s really not something that one should have to do if they don’t want to.

Did you know that you can’t even get your tubes tied without being harassed by doctors? Some women don’t want children, it shouldn’t have to be up for debate, it should be accepted. It’s also common after the first child that the woman decides she doesn’t want any more. Some doctors refuse to do it. They say that they should wait until the second child. Or they think that the patient will change their mind. If you’re single, they’ll ask well what your future husband wants children? They won’t let you make a choice about your own body because of someone who possibly hasn’t even come into your life yet. Or might not come into your life at all. I mean, really how fucked up is that? They completely ignore the fact that the choice is not theirs, but they clearly don’t think it should be yours either.

My cousin recently had a baby and then got her tubes tied. Her doctor said, “oh, I was sure that you would change your mind” her response was, “Why, I told you that I wouldn’t.” So the question is why? Why do men and doctors think that they should choose whether or not we have children. It’s not their decision. It’s not their body. A woman in the U.S. had to go to the Supreme Court just to get her tubes tied. That’s absolutely ridiculous. Things like that should not happen.

From the comments (posted by a woman called Quinn, and highlighted in green):

If you google Savita Halappanavar you’ll see that she was a 31 year old woman who died in Ireland about four years ago. She had a septic miscarriage, where the foetus was still technically alive but was going to definitely die. It was infecting her, and killing her. She asked for them to abort the foetus and save her life and they wouldn’t, because laws hadn’t been put in place to allow that to happen. The doctors’ hands were tied; they couldn’t remove the foetus until its heart had stopped beating, and they couldn’t force the heart to stop beating. Eventually she delivered a stillborn girl, but it was too late, and Savita died four days later. For what?

Twenty years ago, a 15 year old schoolgirl went to a grotto behind the church (you know, those stony areas with the statues of Mary in an alcove) after school, and tried to deliver the baby she’d been secretly pregnant with. She was completely alone, with a pair of scissors in her backpack to cut the umbilical cord. She bled out and the baby died of hypothermia. For what?

This is what you end up with when you have pro-life legislation. These situations are what happen when shame and blame and backwards laws (that completely hamstring doctors and make them unable to save their patient) are in effect. Sorry, this was less of a comment and more of a blog post all of its own, but there’s a huge push now in Ireland to try to repeal the 8th Amendment and it’s been a long time coming.

It’s easy to say that these cases are the exception. Of course they’re the exception. But as the saying goes, “Today you, tomorrow me.” One day the exception could be one of your loved ones. Someone you know. People who wave their hand in dismissal and say “that almost never happens” are conveniently ignoring the fact that it still happens. It could happen to you. Or me. Or your sister. Or your neighbour. Or your best friend.

The fact that Savita was an unlucky exception doesn’t make it any easier to bear for her husband, or her parents, or her friends. It doesn’t make it any better for Savita. These kinds of completely preventable deaths should never, ever happen in a first world country. Nobody should be using clothes hangers, or trying to overdose on vitamin c, or taking mystery pills they bought online, or dying in hospitals pleading for their lives to be saved, or delivering babies in grottos alone in their school uniforms. Nobody should be forced into a corner like that because of their gender, when there is a possible alternative. I could go on and on about this (and I have! Sorry!) but I’ll leave it there.

So the strigent anti-abortion laws in Ireland effectively permitted the deaths of women – I fail to see how that is pro-life, when such measures lead to preventable deaths, due to laws that might as class women as vehicles for child-bearing, and not as human beings. Such is the misogyny of Trump’s regime.

This is where pro-life isn’t actually pro-life. It’s ‘pro-life until certain circumstances and certainly not pro-life in respect of the mother’. As Rae mentioned, it is possible to make full use of various contraceptives and still fall pregnant. What then? What in cases where the embryo is not viable, and would die shortly after birth? What of rape victims? What of the real risk to the mother’s health during pregnancy and birth?

The first reply I had to this was from one of Blogging Theology’s authors, Paul – he did not reply to the part regarding abortion, but instead on the first point regarding discrimination. His comments will be in red:

So you would be happy if a Jewish cake shop was compelled to make a cake for the KKK with a swastika on it?

As I said to him…

I knew you’d set up your misleading question and I also knew it would be that one. Conflating a hate group like the KKK with a gay couple asking for a cake to celebrate their relationship isn’t really fair now is it? Would you be happy if a Christian who happened to run, say, a fish and chip shop, wouldn’t serve you any chips, on the sole grounds of your faith? Even though they had set up a public-facing business?

Unfortunately, Paul is fond of asking the sort of question that he asked, and equally unfortunately, won’t answer such questions himself. His reply…

So is that a yes or a no?

… completely ignored the point.

It’s a misleading and frankly dishonest question Paul. Why should I answer it? Or maybe a better question is, why do you equate homosexuality with the KKK? That’s the implicit suggestion behind your question isn’t it?

Next, Paul replied with the picture below. Make of that what you will.

I’ll take your inability to respond as validation for my point. You know full well the KKK is a hate group – there is a marked difference between them and a gay couple seeking to celebrate their relationship, but if I am being honest and frank with you, I believe your pride is preventing you from acknowledging this point. Equally, I don’t believe you would welcome any scenario where people could use any excuse they wanted to justify discrimating against anyone else. Just look at Trump using the existence of a few fanatics to deny far more people access to help and support through his immigration ban.

Other people weighed in as well. Ken Temple (a long-time commentator who also runs his own site here) had this to say – his comments are in olive:

The gays and Lesbians who destroyed the bakers, the florists, and photographers lives by taking them to court and destroying their businesses, they were the one who were hateful, because they could have just gone to another business who would not mind going to their so called ‘wedding” ceremony, etc.

No baker should be forced to put two plastic men on a cake and write “Jim and David, Love forever”. Gross. No business should be forced to cater or go to their so called “weddings”.

But if they walk in and buy a product, no problem. Like a plain cake, no problem, or flowers no problem.

The problem is forcing people to participate in celebrating things that are wrong, immoral, and sin.

My replies at this stage were quite short as I was using my phone, which isn’t a great medium for responding.

Wrong Ken. They opened a public business and have hidden behind their faith to justify turning people away. Bigotry disguised by religious arguments is still bigotry.

no; they did not turn people away; when they wanted them to go to their celebrations and be a part of the wedding, don’t you see the difference? No it is not bigotry, because their ceremonies are wrong and sin; and besides, in today’s world, they can go to another photographer or baker, or caterer, etc. It is not bigotry. You don’t understand the difference between regular service with no indication of the sexual sins, and then the special kinds of services that require the business to go to their sinful ceremonies.

You make it sound like a baker (or florist, or photographer) is being forced to marry a homosexual – they’re not. They’re being asked to fulfil a business role, one they cannot do, out of bigotry, pure and simple. This is the same sort of mentality that allows discrimination against people of colour or people of one faith to discriminate against people of another faith.

No; not true. We cannot attend or celebrate a wedding that is sinful; by nature there is no such thing as “same sex marriage” – it is not a marriage at all. It is also a butchering of language, as it redefines the word. It is sinful to be forced to put 2 plastic men together or 2 plastic women together on a wedding cake and write words of marital love and passion.

there is a difference between regular service and buying a product; and the kind of services that require the business to leave their shop and go to their so called “wedding”.

If homosexuals and Lesbians want to buy a plain cake, that is fine, – they can take it and decorate how they like on their own.

So you favour being allowed to refuse service to someone along any arbitrary grounds you see fit?

The lines and grounds of these are clear about going to the wedding ceremony and having to write evil wording on the cake or put two plastic men on a cake ( a disgusting thing in itself)

Ken,

Making a cake is NOT the same as going to the ceremony. No one is forcing anyone to take part in the wedding itself. After all, when cakes are made for heterosexual couples, the baker isn’t actually taking part in the wedding, they are simply making a cake. Imagine the fury among the reactionary religious right if a gay baker (or florist, or photographer) refused to fulfil their obligation to a customer, on the grounds of the customer’s faith.

Making a plain cake is fine.
the problem is the wording and 2 plastic men or 2 plastic women kissing or together. Sinful. the government forces these businesses to sin.

No, the government expects public businesses to abide by fair and reasonable anti-discrimination laws. You want those laws cast aside, you’d better be prepared for the consequences. You will open the floodgates to a very unpleasant experience.

If they operate a public business they have zero right to use their faith as an excuse to pick and choose the members of the public that they serve. No one is saying they have to actually participate in the ceremony – making a cake is in no way doing that.

What’s the difference between refusing to honour a business agreement and refusing to hire someone based on their orientation? The answer is – nothing. It’s bigotry, simple as that.

No; I don’t accept you imputing bigotry to Christians and freedom of religion and Christian’s understanding of sexual sins and what marriage really is.

It is the Leftist-Marxists – Rioters that are bigots – like the ones setting fire to the buildings at Berkley and rioters and rock throwers and thugs and leftists who defecated on police cars at “occupy Wall-street”, etc. It is the extreme political left that does most of the bigotry nowadays. (in the west)

It’s right-wing fascists who carry out acts of outright murder Ken – the shooter in Québec being one such person. It’s the religious right that continues to create an environment where the LGBT community, women and minorities are denied rights, on a scale that dwarfs your faux outrage.

the government turned evil by approving of those sinful so called “marriages”. The Obergfell case ruling was evil by the Supreme Court – they forced all states to comply and over-ruled the state’s legislature and people’s authority to vote and legislate. The Supreme Court made new law rather than interpreted the law according to the Constitution. And the judges who punished Christian businesses are evil.

Ken,

The government did what it is supposed to do and kept religious interference out of peoples’ rights. There is no such thing as a ‘Christian business’. A Church is not a business, and is a private institution. They are not obliged and cannot be forced to carry out same-sex marriage ceremonies. A business though, is a PUBLIC INSTITUTION. They do not have the right to freely discriminate, and this is the point you keep missing – where does it end Ken? Should a Christian business be allowed to refuse service to Muslims and Jews and anyone who isn’t a Christian? Should any business be permitted to discriminate on any grounds they see fit (which is what you are advocating, and you have yet to address this)?

Maybe I should open up a business, sign up to rules and regulations (and do so knowingly), then decide I can pick and choose what customers I serve and who I employ, along racial, gender and ethnic lines? Would that be fair of me Ken?

This is the point I strive to make, but one that continues to not sink in – for all the cries of ‘religious freedom!, there is much greater freedom for Christians in America than for the LBGT community. Globally, the situation the LBGT community finds itself in is awful, yet there is no outcry about any of this.

There are several states in the US which offer only state employment protection for the LBGT community, and still others which offer zero protection. Meanwhile, Ken is complaining about making cakes.

Another poster (William Shraffner, whose posts will be in sky blue) weighed in on the abortion topic.

Is there something wrong with contraception? It’s rather cheaper, easy to use, and far less evasive than abortion.

Note – he meant ‘invasive’.

There’s nothing wrong with it, except that (as you will have read in the quoted article) it isn’t 100%. Plus the facilities that are under threat from Trump are the sort of places that would offer contraceptives and education.

So the massive abortion industry is due to the fact that contraception doesn’t have a 100% success rate?!

Define ‘massive’.

Fact 1 – no form of contraceptive is perfect. It is possible to take every precaution available and still get pregnant. The woman has her reasons for not wanting to become a mother and despite her efforts (and those of her partner) pregnancy has still occurred. Is it therefore reasonable to force her to proceed with the pregnancy (even though pregnancy carries an increased strain on the woman’s body, and childbirth is actually dangerous)?

Fact 2: there continues to be a social stigma around birth control. Call it ignorance. There is still the widespread belief that people (especially women) shouldn’t enjoy sex or regard it as anything other than a procreational act. As such, there is a prevailing ignorance about contraception and sex education, usually from the same sources as those oppose abortion (who are therefore creating a rod for their backs). I provided a link within this thread (and quoted from it), and I would urge you to go and properly read it, and to converse with the people who are commenting on it, so you may better understand a woman’s perspective.

That’s the discussion as it stands. I open this to the floor to discuss further.

On a few occasions now, I have ventured to Blogging Theology to discuss an oft-repeated topic – democracy. Incidently, these discussions have served as the basis for this page, which is a series of articles exploring the merits of democracy vs other forms of government.

The author of articles such as this one decries democracy as a form of tyranny, even though democracies do not tend to be anywhere as near restrictive of people’s rights and freedoms as other forms of government are. If you live in the communist regimes of China or North Korea, you are heavily restricted on the form of criticism you can make against the government (assuming you can do so at all), you cannot get information from or about the world beyond your borders without it being heavily filtered, and any rights you have are entirely down to the whim of rulers who have more in common with monarches of old than the elected officials of democratic countries.

Theocracies don’t provide the same measure of freedom for their people either. As you will see by my discussion on Blogging Theology, and my own page, they too are highly dependent upon the whim of whomever is heading up the ruling authority, and laws drawn up from religious texts are open to much interpretation (as are the texts themselves). Ruling from a theocentric position won’t work either – it is still a matter of determining which interpretation of which religion is followed, and as such, a consensus is nigh impossible.

The latest anti-democracy post from Blogging Theology is actually quoting another article, found here. I will make reference to one particular line that comes directly from BT, but I shall address that in due course. Meanwhile, let’s take a look at the Salisbury Review’s article:

In a tricky question such as this, it’s good idea to begin by getting the terms of reference clear. There are two such terms in particular: “Christianity” and “democracy.” What, specifically, does Christianity have to say? From its beginning, Christianity has consistently proclaimed belief in one God, maker of heaven and earth and in God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ who died and rose again to save us from our sins. I hope you will agree that that’s a fair summary of Christianity’s basic teaching. Christian authorities do not add the word “probably” to the content of their religious profession. In fact these authorities have stated the content of faith in what we call the Athanasian Creed and, having so stated it, they go on to caution: “Which faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled: without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.”

I notice that word “everyone.” The truth of the Christian faith is not then the preserve of those who attend the Catholic church across the road, the Methodist chapel or any one of the tin tabernacles belonging to the numerous Non-conforming sects. The Creed is plain – one might almost say to the point of sounding disrespectful. The Christian faith is a statement about the nature and destiny of everyone. It concerns the relationship between God and all humankind. Moreover, it is not a teaching that was very true in the 5th century, a bit less true in the 16th; still less is it something which all the best people today take with a pinch of salt, a nudge and a wink in these enlightened times.

Now, what happens when a Christian states his faith to a believer in democracy? The democrat, being one of the best people, will reply, politely: “So you say. You are free to believe that if you like, but others are free to hold quite different opinions and even to deny the truth of Christianity. Our democratic society contains many such people and we are proud of this fact as evidence of a wholesome diversity.”

There’s nothing that, to my mind, is immediately disagreeable about the first few paragraphs of the article. However, when we look at the next couple…

Thus from the democrat’s point of view, Christianity is quite compatible with the democratic principle, “Everyone has a right to his own opinions.” But that’s not quite what Christianity says. Indeed, it does agree with the democrat that we all have the right to hold such opinions as we fancy; but it goes on to say – with the sort of indelicacy frowned on by all the best people – that, if you hold the wrong opinions, you will perish everlastingly. So, from the Christian perspective, the faith is not compatible with democracy.

Christianity robustly, uncompromisingly, speaks of the truth. Democracy has no concept of truth. For the democrat, there is no such thing as objective truth; there is only the infinite variety of subjective “truths” – your truth, my truth, the believer’s truth, the atheist’s truth; pick where you like in the supermarket of opinions. Which just means that the democrat denudes the word “truth” of all meaning. Most certainly then, from the Christian’s perspective, his faith is not compatible with democracy.

… we see where the article is leaning. Christianity is objective truth and democracy isn’t – which creates an interesting compatibility question with what is said on Blogging Theology. If Christianity is objective truth, and Islam is objective truth, and Judaism, and all the other religions all happen to be objective truth… well, they can’t all be now can they? So what’s the fairest and most reasonable means for settling which religion forms the basis of laws and rules? Answer – none of them.

Back to the article itself. It affirms Christianity as objective truth and democracy as subjective. The misnomer here is that democracy itself isn’t a religion – the individual beliefs of people who believe in democracy will differ greatly, and in that number will include atheists, agnostics, Christians, Muslims, Jews, gays, transgender individuals, and well, pretty much everyone. To each and every one of these groups, their individual and collective experiences are unique. In that sense, their idea of the ‘truth’ will be different. Who am I to say to any of them ‘you are wrong, and must live your life in accordance to my belief system’?

But there’s more to be said. The Archbishop spoke of “freedom and democracy,” as if these two went together like fish and chips. All the best people would agree with him. But these two concepts don’t go together. You can have democracy or you can have freedom, but you can’t have both. The democracy which we inhabit is actually a tyranny – certainly to the practising Christian. Our democracy will allow the Christian to practise his faith only until this faith comes into intellectual conflict with the nostrums of secular society. The Christian is free to go to matins or to put on a jumble sale to raise funds for the church roof. But let the Christian, judging by the lights his faith provides him, declare publicly that there can be no such thing as homosexual marriage and he may well find that, under the supposed benignity of “democracy and freedom,” he is punished by the courts or loses his job.

Let’s flip this around. In parts of the USA right now, a push toward the religious right means in some states you can be denied jobs or fired from jobs if you are homosexual. You can be refused service in places of business under the guise of religious freedom. In Uganda, where Christianity is used as the basis of law, being homosexual can land you in prison. Discrimination against the LGBT community is often backed up with the argument of ‘religious freedom’, and damn the rights of the LGBT community. When someone uses their faith as an excuse to try and deny others their rights, that’s wrong, and thankfully, in countries like the UK, we have laws to prevent this.

It hasn’t taken long for Donald Trump to start pissing people off. Whether your cause is womens’ rights, climate change, LGBT rights, or whether your cause relates to Islam or Mexico, Trump has been putting the hammer down.

It all began with the inauguration. On only his second day, Trump was attacking the media, sending out his attack dog, Sean Spicer (remember the name) to decry the reports that Trump’s inauguration was considerably under-attended, when compared to Obama’s in 2009. This despite pictures of the ceremony, and information from transport authorities in Washington D.C.

Spicer’s remarks gave way to the term ‘alternative facts’, coined by Kellyanne Conway on his third day. Needless to say, Twitter has had a field day with this phrase, which is really another term for lying.

I’m not impressed so far…

On day four, Trump signed a ban US money going to overseas groups which perform or provide advice on abortions. This assault on the reproductive rights of women was signed off by a man, surrounded by several other men, with not a single woman present. On day five, he announced his government would press ahead with the Standing Rock oil pipeline, despite the disruption and harm this will cause to thousands of native Americans living in its path.

wp-1475571248461.jpg

Is it clear to people yet? This man is not fit to lead a country, least of all one with so much power

On day six, Trump announced he thought torture was a reasonable means of extracting information, including waterboarding, and he also stated he plans to press ahead with plans to build a wall on the US border with Mexico. Continuing his theme of exclusion, Trump also revealed his plans to block immigration from certain Muslim countries.

Today, he’s criticised Mexico after the country’s president cancelled a meeting with him, following Trump’s insistence that Mexico pay for this wall.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, and this is after just one week. What else do Trump and his cabinet have in store for us? What is next for the world?

Part three of this comparison of democracy to other forms of government leads us to look at what happens when you push to the far left of the political spectrum – communism.

The original idea (known as Marxism, after Karl Marx) is based on the notion that the ruling elite facilitate inequality and class-based manipulation of others. Communism was to be a means to letting the average worker have equal say on policy and governance. What Marx wanted was a classless society.

The principle is not devoid of merit, though serious questions have to be asked about implementation and management. Communism runs against many aspects of human nature, and historically it has only been maintained through violent and oppressive means (take a look at the USSR, China and North Korea, for but a few examples). Ironically, there has tended to be a ruling party, whose authority goes unchallenged. Equal representation, whilst existing in principle, doesn’t exist in practice.

Communism can only really represent one ideology and doesn’t allow for dissenting viewpoints. It is decidedly inferior to Democracy in that respect.

(Originally posted on The Nudge Wink Report) Last week I posted when I thought it was my turn to post, and it turns out it wasn’t. I poured my creative juices into my rant, and now I’m squeezing the lemons of creativity and getting only bitterness.

So, what to say? There’s one gigantic orange elephant in the room, or to be precise, an orange elephant that will soon take up residence in the White House, and I’ve deliberately avoided posting about this on my main site or elsewhere, up to this point, in order to digest this news. Three days on, I still have indigestion. I was sorely tempted to simply post this:

timonscared

timonannoyed2

timonannoyed

Timon7

I think Timon’s various looks of worry and fear accurately sum up the mood of the world. A man with a proven track record for bankrupting businesses is now going to hold sway over the global economy. I hoped everyone likes tinned peaches. A man who gets the thumbs up from quasi-dictator Vladimir Putin (if that doesn’t scare you nothing will) will be responsible for making policy.

Trump isn’t even the worst thing about this. The Republican party, a party so divided it’s mathematically impossible to explain, has held the Senate and Congress. They now control all three branches of the US government system, and yet half the party despises Trump. What does that spell for Trump’s presidency, and by extension, how will it impact those of us who live elsewhere? Maybe, just maybe, the utter failure of Trump to work with his party will break the GOP to the point where the US electorate realises they made a collectively huge mistake and the Dems crush them next time around.

Though part of me actually wants Trump to succeed. A tanking US economy will inevitably tank the UK economy too (assuming the Tories don’t manage that first). If Trump follows through with his stated goal of cutting back support for NATO, where will the buffer come from to prevent future Russian aggression in countries like Ukraine? I’ve heard the ludicrous suggestion that Hillary wanted war with Russia – erm, hands up if you truly believe that? The men in white coats are waiting outside.

I’m struggling to make this post light-hearted and funny. It’s proving to be an epic challenge. How can I be funny when Trump’s intended VP, Pence, believes he can ‘cure’ people of homosexuality? Or that smoking isn’t bad for you?

Within days of Trump’s victory, there’s been a surge in racist and sexist tweets and comments from his supporters, who are taking this as the freedom to be as openly vile as possible. I know I know – it isn’t fair to tarnish them all like that – but it’s not a promising sign.

Le sigh.