WE are witnessing the culmination of a toxic presidency of the United States of America.
Donald Trump's defiance and inability to accept the vote of the American people along with his determination not to hand over the reins of leadership to incoming president Joe Biden, is nothing short of dangerous and undemocratic.
With COVID-19 raging through the country and the huge strain on the health system, businesses going broke, unemployment and widespread poverty, the country is in an extremely weak and fragile position.
Many of the fringe groups such as the Proud Boys and white extremists claim to be patriotic but does patriotism cease if a democratically elected president is not your preferred choice? Is it patriotic to storm the Capitol, wreak havoc and threaten politicians because you believe the wrong person won?
While Trump is watching warm and well-fed in a secure room, his followers are doing his dirty work out in the bleak cold, angry but also tired and hungry after travelling from far off places.
When will they accept they voted in a dud, nothing more than a spoilt, rich bully who refuses to accept reality?
Julie Robinson, Cardiff
Chaotic scenes, but no coup
DESCRIBING the storming of the US Congress building by Trump supporters as "it has the look of attempted takeovers of power by tin-pot generals in Latin American countries in the 1960s and 1970s or of the coup in Spain in 1936" by journalist Steve Evans (NH, 8/1) is exaggerated.
A real and successful coup usually requires more planning with a committed leadership and backing of sections of the military and police.
Trump was not organising a real coup and did not have the support of all of the Republican Party who are divided over Trump's continued intransigence. Only some of Trump's followers invaded the Congress building in the chaos primed by Trump's exaggerated tweets. They had no follow through or organisation for a real coup.
The real shock is not the unorganised mob that invaded Congress but the example that it is possible and a more organised and successful right wing future coup may result as divisions in the US between rich and poor increase which neither US parties have done much about.
Previous US governments know how real coups are made, e.g. Chile in 1973, where the CIA helped to install dictator Pinochet after forcefully removing a democratically elected Allende government. That was a coup.
Kerry Vernon, New Lambton
Brainwave: Use the ocean
SO much has appeared in Newcastle Herald letters regarding renewable energy, especially solar and wind generated energy and more recently, pumped hydro electricity generation.
As an avid reader I appreciate these letters because the variety of opinions expressed can assist interested readers to better understand the merits of renewables when compared to coal and gas generation.
Rarely mentioned is electricity generated from tides and waves, which is surprising because most of our capital and large regional cities are situated adjacent to the ocean and rivers.
Waves build up energy over long distances, maintain their energy and dispense it along our coastlines. Ocean and river tides become strong currents as they approach the coast and can also be converted into usable, and reliable electricity.
Considering our approaching energy dilemma, and the abundance and consistency of tide and wave energy in Australia's coastline of over 25,000km, I am questioning why we do not hear more about, and as a country, seriously invest in this potential energy opportunity.
Trevor Anderson, Jewells
14 years later it's less than clear
IN response to John Arnold's letter praising Tim Flannery, I would like to point out that many of Tim Flannery's predictions have not come true.
In 2004, he predicted Perth would be a ghost town by 2034 due to climate change. I cannot see that happening.
In 2007 he said "so even the rain that falls isn't actually going to fill our dams and our river systems'' and yet we are predicted to produce record crops in 2020-2021, as per the Department of Agriculture.
Some other bold Tim predictions, Adelaide and Brisbane would run out of water and Warragamba Dam would never be full again and yet as we speak Warragamba Dam is 97.2 per cent full and about to spill water. Adelaide dams are at 60 per cent and it's not their rainy season yet.
Some of his other inaccurate claims have been an increase in cyclones, both in number and intensity. Also not correct, in fact the opposite is true. Or that the Arctic ice cap would be gone by 2018 and that's not come true.
It's actually hard to find any of Mr Flannery's predictions that have come true.
What must be remembered is Tim Flannery calls himself a climate activist and he has made millions out of being a climate activist.
As I would say on climate change, follow the money, it's going to China for the manufacture of wind farms and solar panels or to climate activists in funding a lot of business.
Activists are making millions, if not billions, out of our ever-changing climate.
Andrew Hirst, Beresfield
There can be no more argument
THERE should be no more argument tolerated about "degradation of the planet".
I have sourced the information contained in this letter from Waleed Aly's opinion piece in the SMH, 25/12, which said: "This year wasn't unprecedented - if anything - it set the precedent".
Aly writes "the destruction of forests is a double whammy ... keep going this way and once-in-a-century events seem very optimistic".
An author for journal NATURE, laments "we have been warned about this for decades ... nobody paid any attention".
Australia is clearing land faster than ever before. The World Wildlife Foundation lists "11 deforestation fronts, which will account for 80 per cent of the world's deforestation between 2010 and 2030. Only one of them is a developed country and it's a massive area spanning NSW and Queensland."
Nobody is leading mankind away from the notion that being successful is determined by wealth, acquisitions, powerful positions and the ability to garner "whatever/anything they want".
The bubble is leaking and unless there is some immediate suturing of the site, the future looks grim.
Success will be registered by resilience, comradery, and health.
Sadly, I feel, I'll be writing this type of message as my 'swan song'.
Pat Garnet, Wickham
I DON'T know whether to be flattered or spooked by Peter Dolan's meticulous tracking of my letters (4/1). I do know it appears that he wants to have his cake and eat it too. Through inventive paraphrasing, selective quotes and omission of context, Mr Dolan misrepresents the full import and intent of my opinions, and then inflates the significance of his disagreement with them. Again. If Mr Dolan, and others, feel I'm lecturing them from elevated and saintly regions, perhaps they should simply change their mindset. Whatever I think of their opinions, I don't feel at all threatened by them.
Michael Hinchey, New Lambton
JOHN Arnold (Letters 7/1) it's no surprise your obvious left leanings led you to try to defend the indefensible, ie, professional climate alarmist Tim Flannery's dud prediction. Perhaps now you should try to defend his other ones involving Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane running out of water leading to his urging the government to build desalination plants, four of which are mothballed and are wasting up to $1 million a day.
Greg Hunt, Newcastle West
SORRY Donald, unlike China, Russia, North Korea and others, the US is a democracy which doesn't allow you to install yourself as president for life. From POTUS, you shall henceforth be known as WEPUS (Worst Ever President of the US). More than 400,000 deaths from COVID whilst you play golf will be your legacy.
Zenon Woloszyn, Rutherford
OUR nation is, arguably, facing its greatest threat ever. In the middle of a pandemic, our PM acts in the manner he finds necessary. He alters one word of our national anthem and then takes leave. The actions of a truly great leader!
Robert Tacon, Adamstown Heights
AMERICA is dead in the water. Once anarchy takes hold there is no hope of peace and harmony, national pride and decency because the rednecks have stolen that, and maybe it could mean the destruction of the so-called land of the free. Right or wrong, Trump should straight out condemn this violence, stand down and eliminate the violence that is occurring now. God help America because the so-called free people, certainly are not.
Dennis Crampton, Swansea
WHY is tidal flow not being explored as a means of electricity generation? Recent news reports tell us that with the closure of coal-powered electricity generation we will be involved in potential blackouts in both industry and domestic use. Rivers on our coast run all day with the exception of the peak periods of high and low tide, both of relatively short duration. I cite the entrance to Lake Macquarie as one example. The flow there, both in and out, is fast, regular and unused. Why is its potential not being utilised?
Brian Roach, Whitebridge
UNFORTUNATELY for him, Donald Trump may be remembered more for his weak, fragile personality and the way he left office rather than for the many good things he achieved while President of the US.