You don't have to go too far back in history to realise as to what yet another US president has done to potentially start a war. Correct me if I am wrong, but was it not just last week that hundreds of thousands of Iranians were protesting against their own government?
Fast forward to Trump ordering the execution of a top Iranian general, and now we have millions of Iranians on the streets supporting their government. It's yet more brilliant strategy from the US: let's kill someone, but whatever you do, don't consider the consequences.
It would appear that it is a requirement as a US president, that you have to be able to lie to your country about how bad every other country is except your own. From Roosevelt through Kennedy and Johnson, Nixon to Bush, Obama and now Trump; it seems to be lie after lie.
The US has taken it upon itself to fight wars in far-flung countries for its quoted reasoning of defending its interests. I find it difficult to understand as to how wars in Cuba, Vietnam and Iraq were defending US interests.I just hope that our sycophantic prime minister doesn't join Trump in any madcap actions.
I have been a strong advocate for Australia to be covered by the ANZUS defence umbrella, but perhaps it is time for us to produce our own nuclear weaponry and stand on our own.
Mike Sargent, Cootamundra
IT'S TOO HOT TO HANDLE IT
BEN Scott (Short Takes 8/1) wrote that the original custodians learned to use cool burning off in a different climate with different conditions to what we have now, in the 21st century. I believe the changing climate of this century makes this method of controlling fires no longer the success it was for over 35,000 years.
The changing climate has gradually produced different conditions to those experienced last century and for thousands of years before that. That the changing climate was altering conditions on land and sea has been observed for over 20 years. Back burning as a control method is no longer applicable, and for many reasons in my opinion will no longer work successfully over the large expanses of land that have different conditions now. The current, and still changing, climate sees extended and hotter summers, an extremely dry fuel load, and lack of moisture in the soil and air.
We have to work out new methods to prepare for these extended hot, dry summers, and we have to work with the world to try and slow down and stop the causes. The climate is still changing, and the change is threatening all life on earth as we know it.
Wendy Davidson, Toronto
CHANGE POSES QUESTIONS
INTERESTING word, transformative. Although a term technically describing simply a change in form, it's value-laden.
It suggests improvement and growth, such as the literal transformation of a larva into a butterfly, or the phoenix metaphorically rising from the ashes. Which is why, along with "revitalisation", it's a term much favoured by property developers. And so this is how we find Michael Sheargold of the Sheargold Development Group describing the Parry's Cove development at Tea Gardens ('Tea boom', Newcastle Herald 8/1), although he does hedge his bets a little.
He says the development will "hopefully" be transformative "in a good way." You might have thought a little more certainty than that would be required of a developer who proposes something of this scale, but apparently not. Let's transform the place first, and ask those questions later.
It seems to me that far more apt descriptions of what a 935-lot development might do to the amenity, quality of life, beauty and environment of a small seaside village would be ruin or wreck. That's not to mention its potential impact on that NSW koala population we keep getting told will disappear if coastal developments of precisely this kind keep getting approved.
I understand we will always have developers and that they will do what developers do. I get that. I just wish we didn't have to listen to so many claiming to be motivated by benevolence rather than their bottom line.
Michael Hinchey, New Lambton
DON'T BOTTLE UP WATER USE
YES, we are growing plastic bottles.
My neighbour and I have been doing so for many years, much to the ridicule of visiting friends and relatives. It is very simple: grab an empty soft drink bottle, punch four holes in the cap and replace. Cut the bottom off it, turn it upside down and push it firmly into the ground next to a plant in the garden. Next time you water fill it up, or put a bucket under your air conditioner run-off and fill the bottles with that.
The weeds on top, starved of water, will die while the plants you love will live. Yes, we are all growing plastic bottles.
Jenny Henderson, Maryland
LET THE FIRE MONEY FLOW
AS the generous pledges continue to flow in from all around the world and within Australia, I'm sure all Australians extend a heartfelt thank you for the financial support afforded those who have suffered extreme losses along with those unsung heroes who continue to risk their own lives to ensure the lives and properties of people unknown to them in most cases.
I believe a decision needs to be made as to who will manage the millions of dollars pledged, and guidelines established as to how funds to those effected will be allocated. Obviously, there are a lot of issues to be address as to priorities along with ongoing financial support to the families who have lost loved ones protecting us and the like. However, the last and worst scenario is to end up with various government organisations and states procrastinating and arguing over who should get what and then establishing working parties or committees to investigate various options while those who have suffered are left high and dry over an extended period. I'm sure those who have pledged want it distributed efficiently to ensure the suffering, loss and heartache is kept to a minimum. Please, let the politics be forgotten in this time of need for fellow Australians and an expedient settlement from pledges be organised, with no funds withheld by any authority for any reason.
Peter Mullins, Rankin Park
ANSWERS ARE PROTECTION
IF and when the smoke from our current disastrous bushfires subsides, I believe there should be a royal commission with wide scope. The terms of such an inquiry should be both wide and relentless.
Loss of life and property has been horrific and such an inquiry will have to be conducted by an extremely resolute and earnest bench. In my opinion the value of such a commission will be judged by the integrity of said bench. It will be the most important royal commission our country has experienced. It should not become a witch hunt but a foundation our nation's future safety.
Robert Tacon, Adamstown Heights
I WAS reading this morning that Harry and Meghan are stepping back from public duties and intend to spend their time traveling between the UK and North America. As Harry seems so concerned about climate change and what carbon emissions are doing to the planet, I guess that means he and his missus will travel by sailing ship.
Margaret Priest, Wallsend
IN response to John Matthews (Letters, 9/1) I think there's a lot of people thinking exactly the same thing about funds raised for the Newcastle earthquake and now for fire victims. Personally I never knew the money raised by the public was given out as interest-free loans. My question is, if that's the case where did the money go that was repaid? I'll never donate money again.
Karen Mitchell, Lakelands
THE climate change debate is as clear as crystal now. If you believe in man made climate change you believe in science, while if you believe we are not responsible you believe in the propaganda this government and fossil fuel companies bombard us with so they can still go on making their billions. Scientists have no hidden agenda, unlike fossil fuel companies and the government of the world's biggest coal mine.
Dan Kirkpatrick, Karuah
NOW that Iraq and America have locked horns ('Middle East on the brink after Iran strikes', Newcastle Herald 9/1), Australia will as usual be dragged into any ensuing conflict. I just ask that Australians keep a clear head and be watchful of suspicious activities in your neighbourhood. I fear radicals and terrorists will use this conflict to inflict death and destruction. Be alert and be vigilant please. Notify authorities immediately, don't be a hero.
Graeme Kime, Cameron Park
WILL the Jets stop bagging Ernie Merrick, especially the CEO? Give the man a budget and he could have been competitive, plus you don't get injuries that cruel such a shallow squad.
Bruce Cook, Adamstown
REGARDING Ernie Merrick's sacking, in my opinion he's one of the best coaches around in the A-League. I believe it's actually most of the players that are not up to scratch. I feel sorry for him having that problem every week. The new coach will have the same problem.
Mick Walker, Elermore Vale
ROBERT Dixon (Short Takes 9/1), thanks for not renewing your Jets membership. In my opinion it clearly shows you're not a true supporter and I believe any half-hearted efforts of support are not required.
Ethan James, Whitebridge
WHILE we should be very pleased and surprised by the amount of money pledged to the bushfire appeal by many so-called celebrities and unknown numbers of social media adherents, my cynical side wonders how much of this promised fortune actually arrives for use and whether any type of accountancy procedures are adopted to show the amount forthcoming balanced against what was promised. Empty promises are easy to make, but they are just as easy to break or ignore when the spotlight fades.