Proof of time travel

I’m off sick from work at the moment, so this seems just a little bit suspicious.

US President (and a great president he is) Donald Trump held a rally in Orlando, Florida today to kick off his re-election campaign. Among the 20,000 people inside Amway Center and many thousands more watching on screens outside, was this person who managed to be in shot right behind the president.

Samuel at a Trump rally?

Is my absence from work merely a cover for jetting off to the States?

While I have assured my boss that it is not me, I have to wonder if it is? You see, I would very much like to help out with the 2020 campaign but I know I won’t have time. So, I would like to think that in the future when I have access to time travel, I will travel back in time to assist the campaign and attend this rally. Given an astrologer did forecast a few years ago that I would become the world’s most powerful wizard, it is not beyond the realm of possibilities.

Interesting twist to time travel technology: you revert to your age in the time to which you travel, limiting the range of available time travel to times in which you plausibly could be alive.

Samuel

4 comments June 19th, 2019 at 05:48pm

How to obtain your Payment Summary (Group Certificate) without a MyGov account

If you work for an Australian business with 20 or more employees, then by now you have probably received a note from your employer’s payroll or human resources department informing you that they will not give you a PAYG Payment Summary (sometimes still called by the outdated term “Group Certificate” by some people) at the end of the financial year, and you will have to go to MyGov to obtain it. If you work in a smaller business, you will hear all about this during the next financial year.

So, what is going on and why do you have to talk to the government to obtain a paper that used to come from your employer?

Well, briefly, the Australian Taxation Office now requires businesses to report payroll information after each payrun using an electronic system called Single Touch Payroll (which is a dumb name as there is nothing “single touch” about payroll unless all of your employees are on a fixed salary, never take any leave, and never leave the business) as opposed to the old annual reporting by a variety of methods. Ostensibly this is to simplify processes at the ATO’s end and make the information they receive more reliable as it now comes directly from the payroll software in use by each business and can’t be manually compiled by the business. For some very small businesses it means starting to use payroll software, but given the complexities of income tax and industrial awards, it is almost a form of madness to not use payroll software.

For employees this also means that information about their pay (such as year-to-date totals) are frequently updated and available through MyGov. Combined with ATO regulations which have changed how and when superannuation must be paid by employers, it also allows employees to see if all of their superannuation has been paid and if not, how much longer it may take for payments to be made. It also means that employers no longer have to provide a Payment Summary, although they can if they choose to.

In the case of my two employers, both of which are large enough to be forced on to the Single Touch Payroll system, one has stated that they will not provide payment summaries and employees should go to MyGov, while the other is still providing payment summaries this year with no word on what they will do next year.

The one downside to this is that it almost forces people through the federal government’s MyGov system. For most people this isn’t a problem as they already lodge tax returns through MyGov or deal with other government agencies such as Medicare or Centrelink through MyGov. However for some people the login system just never seems to behave, and for others (primarily the poor, some people with disabilities, the aged, and people who just don’t trust government websites to remain secure) they just don’t want to use MyGov or have no easy way to access it. This poses a problem when people are being pushed to use MyGov to obtain documentation which is critical to completing the mandatory annual process of completing and submitting an income tax return.

The ATO’s website has almost entirely unhelpful information on how to obtain your payment summary which basically boils down to “login to MyGov, click here, here, and here”. It also adds the handy note that if you use a tax agent, they can obtain the payment summary on your behalf (so don’t worry if you can’t print it out for them as you don’t need to hand it to them). It says nothing about what to do if you do not wish to lodge a tax return through MyGov and don’t use a tax agent. However the page I linked to earlier in this post describing what Single Touch Payroll is does add a single line stating:

You’ll be able to contact us for a copy of your income statement.

While also noting

You can continue to lodge your tax return as you do now.

Thus, if you want to get your PAYG Payment Summary on paper for whatever reason, you can contact the ATO and they will send it to you. It doesn’t state anywhere else that I can find how exactly to contact the ATO for a paper copy of your PAYG Payment Summary (Update: An ATO Spokesperson says you can call the “Individuals Line” 13 28 61 (within Australia) or +61 2 6216 1111 from overseas to request a paper copy of your income statement, which used to be known as a payment summary or group certificate), but working on the assumption that if you want it on paper and can’t or don’t want to obtain it from MyGov, you will probably also be submitting your tax return on paper, and there is a phone number on the ATO’s website for obtaining a paper copy of Tax Pack and you would expect that the people answering that line will be able to either arrange your paper PAYG Payment Summary or put you in touch with someone who can do that. That number is 1300 720 092. (Update: The ATO spokesperson advises this number is only for publications, not for obtaining a paper income statement) (Long gone, sadly, are the days of every newsagent stocking Tax Pack. I have fond memories of childhood when Dad would get two extra copies of Tax Pack, one in case he made too many mistakes and had to start again, and one so that I could have fun preparing my own pretend tax return…who needs video games when you can have hours of fun and calculations on paper?). That number is only able to be dialled from within Australia, so your guess is as good as mine as to what number you dial if you’re trying to do this from overseas. That said, I will be contacting the ATO for clarification of this point, and also to see if they have a preferred phone number for people to call to obtain their PAYG Payment Summary.

Update: As mentioned above, and repeating here to make it clear, an ATO Spokesperson tells me the number to obtain an income statement (previously known as a payment summary or group certificate) is 13 28 61 (within Australia) or our international line on +61 2 6216 1111.

So, to summarise, your options for obtaining your income statement, previously known as a PAYG payment summary or group certificate are:

  • Login to MyGov, link your ATO account, and get it from there
  • Ask your employer for a copy. They are not obliged to provide you with one, but might be in a generous mood
  • Use a tax agent. They can obtain your income statement on your behalf
  • Ring the Australian Taxation Office on the “Individuals Line” 13 28 61 (within Australia) or +61 2 6216 1111 from overseas and ask for a copy
  • If you also need a paper copy of Tax Pack to submit your tax return on paper, that can be requested from the ATO’s publications line: 1300 720 092

If I hear back with clarification of contact points for any of this, I will update the post accordingly.

Update: An ATO Spokesperson has kindly replied to my request with the following information (the post above has been updated with the key details from this).

While it’s not compulsory to have a myGov account, with the introduction of Single Touch Payroll, myGov will provide employees with access to their tax and super information at any time.

Setting up an ATO Online account in myGov is easy. Just go to my.gov.au and follow the instructions.

Employees who have trouble interacting online and don’t use a tax agent can contact the ATO to get a copy of their income statement (formerly payment summary) after 31 July (most employers have until 31 July to finalise the income statement).

Employees can call the individuals line on 13 28 61 (within Australia) or our international line on +61 2 6216 1111.

By calling this line, individuals can order a paper tax return form and their income statement at the same time.

Paper tax return forms can also be ordered on our dedicated publication ordering line 1300 720 092. Income statements are not available through this phone number.

Samuel

Add comment June 17th, 2019 at 06:10pm

A return of sorts for 2019

Greetings!

It has been quite a while since I have posted anything on here, and an awful lot has happened in the world in that time. In recent weeks I have come to the conclusion that I am keen to resume blogging on a regular basis, but at the same time I don’t know that I really have enough spare time in the day to blog “on a regular basis”.

That said, I do want to resume, so here we are.

It would be fair to say that, since 2008 I have had a number of periods of absence from this blog. Each time I come back and decide I want to blog constantly and frequently, then find that I have too many ideas that I want to blog about, not enough time to write anything useful about most of them, and end up putting off new posts until I complete the old ideas which, of course, I never do, and the blog grinds to a halt. I have learned from this.

What I propose to do instead is to return to blogging occasionally, sometimes frequently, but not worry about it if I don’t have time to write about everything which I would like to write. Assuming I do go on blogging, there are a couple maintenance tasks I would like to do which will affect the way you view the site. These include:

Updating the overall appearance a bit. The current look and feel of this blog has been in place with minor adjustments since I moved the blog away from Blogger and on to paid hosting all the way back in 2005. It has served the site well, and fundamentally I still like it, but it could do with some updating, especially the main column width which worked very well in the days when 800×600 and 1024×768 screen resolutions were the norm, but these days it is too narrow and is also quite clunky on a mobile device.

Removing aspects of the site which require Flash. Flash is a dying technology, and has been exterminated in a lot of places. Some web browsers make it very difficult to use. There isn’t much on this site which uses it. It is only in use for embedded audio and video. The audio is simple to deal with as this is generally all MP3 audio anyway which anything can play, so embedding a player adds minimal benefit, but embedded inline video is important in some posts. Back in the days when Google was buying YouTube and things like Flickr were shiny and new, I made the conscious decision to not host most of my media content on these external platforms because it puts the content at the whim of those sites. If a site disappears, so does the content. If a site decides to remove it for whatever reason (and we are seeing a lot of censorship by Google and Facebook in particular lately, primarily of conservatives) then the content is gone. Keeping it hosted locally takes up space, but provides much greater control and freedom. The video content on this site when embedded was generally in the Flash Video format, although in some cases I did upload alternative versions in Windows Media and Quicktime formats (back in the days when having different software really determined what would and would not play on your system), so these may need conversion to MP4 format but then should be easily embeddable without the use of Flash.

Another thing I would like to do is write some brief summary posts about various world affairs which have transpired since I last updated the blog, outlining my thoughts on some of these events. Assuming I do this, they may be a bit few and far between, depending on when I think of a subject which requires a summary. I can think of two right now, but I’m not ready to write about them yet.

So, with that, I will leave you for now and move on to the next post for the day.

Samuel

2 comments June 17th, 2019 at 05:30pm

Ted Cruz is out. Donald Trump will be the Republican Presidential Nominee

A short time ago, Ted Cruz announced that he is suspending his campaign (American political code for “ending”) to be the Republican nominee for President. John Kasich is still in the race (although if he has any sense he will now bow out too), but has no chance, and thus this clears the way for Donald Trump to be the nominee.

I wrote the following to 2GB’s Ray Hadley on the issue.

——————–
G’day Ray,

I’m a big fan of Ted Cruz and I’m sad to see him bow out of the race, but at the same time I’m also glad as Cruz dragging this out all the way to the convention would have been a disastrous spectacle for the Republicans, effectively handing an easy victory to Hillary Clinton. Instead, thankfully, Donald Trump has a clear run…and although he trails Hillary in the polls right now, I firmly believe he will turn this around and be the next president of the US, and be a very good president too.

Ultimately, anything which prevents the disaster of a Hillary Clinton presidency is fine by me.

And I also expect Donald Trump to appoint Ted Cruz to the Supreme Court.

Fox News have instantly updated results at http://www.foxnews.com/politics/elections/2016/presidential-primary-caucus-results and as I write this, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary in Indiana 53% to 47%.

Have a great day.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart
Canberra
——————–

I’ll make it clear that I do not believe Donald Trump is a true conservative. I believe he has come around to a conservative view on some important issues, but not on others, and then there are some things where I have no idea what he believes. As President though, I believe Donald Trump will do some conservative things, but for the most part will do things which are good for business. I believe he will pave the way for a future more conservative president to really make in-roads in reversing the rapid growth of government, and implement a conservative agenda. Sadly, government has become so big in the US that I think a truly conservative president might actually be too big a shock to the system for many Americans and result in conservatives not holding office again for quite some time, whereas someone like Donald Trump could be the bridge, easing the way for a return to conservative government.

It is possible that I am being too optimistic about how The Donald would govern, but at the end of the day, even if nothing else good could be said about him, he would be entirely better than Hillary Clinton, and that is good enough for me.

Samuel

1 comment May 4th, 2016 at 11:12am

Scott Morrison’s first budget

Having just watched Scott Morrison deliver his first budget as Federal Treasurer, I find myself wishing Scott had been Treasurer from the start of Tony Abbott’s government. If Scott had the simplified portfolio of “Money & Boats” (his work to stop illegal immigration was vital, as was his more recent work on welfare reform), the first budget wouldn’t have faced the opposition it did, and Tony Abbott would still be Prime Minister.

While I respect the work Joe Hockey did as Treasurer, there can be no doubt that Scott Morrison is better at explaining and selling these things to the public, and takes a more thorough and forensic approach to achieving outcomes. This is the first time since Peter Costello was Treasurer that I find the forward estimates to be believable. Peter Costello was a masterful Treasurer, Wayne Swan was a quack who seemed to think budgets were just meaningless numbers which got better as they got redder, and Joe Hockey tried hard but had some interesting logical leaps in the further-ahead forward estimates. Scott Morrison, on the other hand, has outlined a plan which uses incentives for business growth and increased employment to chip away at the budget black hole left by Labor’s debt and deficit disaster.

As Scott commends his budget to the House, I commend Scott for his budget. I wish the deficit was cut more and faster, but Scott’s approach seems prudent and practical.

Importantly, this is a fairly conservative budget (with the obvious glaring exception of greatly increased tobacco tax) and it is now up to voters to hold the government to these conservative principles as Malcolm Turnbull is not a conservative and will need to be kept in check. My view on how to do this is that, at the ballot box, only vote 1 for your Liberal or National candidate if they are a conservative, and otherwise vote for other conservatives first and then the Liberal/National candidate slightly further down the preference order. This has the benefit of boosting the smaller conservative parties by getting public funding for your first preference vote, and by either electing a conservative or electing a Liberal or National on the back of conservative preferences, which sends a message that voters want a conservative trajectory for government.

My congratulations and thanks to Scott Morrison. I sincerely hope that he is able to see his economic plan through over the coming years and beyond.

Samuel

1 comment May 3rd, 2016 at 08:29pm

How can a UN panel claim Julian Assange is being arbitrarily detained and should be released, when he is detaining himself?

The following is from an email to 2GB’s Luke Grant, filling in for Michael McLaren

The UN really does stand for “useless nonsense”. How do they come to the conclusion that Julian Assange has been arbitrarily detained when he is only confined to the Ecudorian embassy by his own choice. The British police aren’t detaining him in there…he is detaining himself, so the UN should be ruling against him.

I hope he does get arrested. Both he and his alleged victim in Sweden deserve a fair trial. I also would not be upset if he ends up facing the US authorities because his actions with Wikileaks were well beyond being a whistleblower.

Have a good weekend (although I guess you’re working just as I am).

Samuel

February 5th, 2016 at 04:47am

In Iowa, Cruz trumps Trump and Hillary feels the Bern

Some interesting results from the Iowa caucuses today with Ted Cruz winning the Republican vote and Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders virtually tied on the Democrat side.

For the Republicans, with 99% of the vote counted, Ted Cruz has won 27.7% ahead of Donald Trump on 24.3%, closely followed by Marco Rubio on 23.1% and then Ben Carson a fair way back with 9.3%. With less than 5% each we have Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Mike Huckabee (2008 Iowa winner), Chris Christie, Rick Santorum (2012 Iowa winner), and below 1% “other” followed by Jim Gilmore who received a whopping 12 votes across the state to score less than 0.1%.

On the Democrat side it’s virtually a tie between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders with Hillary leading by just 0.3%, 49.9% to 49.6%. Unlike the Republican vote, actual numbers of votes are not reported on the Democrat side so the size of that gap is unknown. Martin O’Malley (aka Maryland’s ex-Governor Rain Tax) received 0.5%, and both “uncommitted” and “other” received 0.0% which could be a handful of votes or could be nothing.

Ted Cruz winning is a good result in my books. He is a fantastic conservative candidate but is disliked by the establishment wing of the Republican Party and needed a victory in Iowa to build momentum. He is unlikely to win in New Hampshire where Donald Trump holds a comfortable lead in the polls, so this victory in Iowa puts him in good stead for the later states.

Donald Trump came in second, and while the media will portray this as a devastating blow for his campaign, it really isn’t. The Donald did very well in a lot of counties (especially rural ones by the looks of it) and, as Iowa is not a winner-takes-all state but rather selects delegates for the convention on a proportional basis based on the number of votes a candidate receives, Donald Trump has actually received quite a good start, although on a national basis, Iowa actually has very few delegates to send to the national Republican convention dues to its relatively low population.

Marco Rubio receiving as many votes as he did concerns me a bit because he has really fallen in line with the business-as-usual establishment wing of the Republican Party of late, but given his historic ties with the conservative and tea party wings of the party, the fact that he was the only “establishment” candidate to have a decent showing, and he is the least objectionable of the “establishment” candidates, it’s not a terribly-worrying result.

Dr. Ben Carson’s fourth place is good to see. I was worried he would be further back in the field, but it’s a decent spot and keep him in the public eye, even if it probably won’t get him any of Iowa’s delegates at the convention.

As for the rest…well, what can you say? They’ll be banking on Iowa’s 50/50 success rate in picking the eventual nominee, and complete failure in doing so in the last two presidential cycles, going in their favour. They will definitely be hoping to do better in New Hampshire, and then consider their position after Nevada and South Carolina.

It is worth noting that Mike Huckabee has pulled out of the race (officially he has “suspended his campaign” which is essentially the same thing). Huckabee was relying on the evangelical vote and has done a lot of work to drum up evangelical support. Alas, that work has ended up benefiting Ted Cruz and Ben Carson more than Mike Huckabee. I expect Huckabee will endorse either Ted Cruz or Ben Carson at some stage between the New Hampshire primary and Super Tuesday when a whole heap of states vote at the same time. For both candidates, given his political executive experience, he could be a valuable vice presidential candidate for either Cruz or Carson, neither of which have been a state governor.

Overall I’m pleased with the result on the Republican side as many of the good candidates have gone well. Some good candidates have not gone so well (ie. Rand Paul and Carly Fiorina in particular) but they will have chances in the next three states to raise their profile a bit before Super Tuesday. I would also be willing to accept any of the top four from Iowa (albeit with reservations when it comes to Marco Rubio) if they eventually go on to get the Republican nomination.

On the Democrat side, I’m happy with the result, mainly because the Democratic National Committee will not be happy with it, and Hillary Clinton won’t be overly impressed either. I’m not a fan of Bernie Sanders (although I will give him credit for not hiding his socialist views, unlike Hillary who tries to dress up her odd combination of crony-capitalist and socialist views as “fighting for the little people” and “against Wall Street”) but his strong presence in the campaign makes it harder for the Democrats to win a general election as his views are anathema to most of the country, even if he is managing to drum up support among an often unheard section of the Democrat base.

Hillary Clinton looks set to escape Iowa with one more delegate than Bernie Sanders, but she also looks set to lose New Hampshire by a decent margin if the polls are to be believed. The narrow Iowa result and a victory for Bernie in New Hampshire is a serious concern for the Democratic National Committee as Bernie Sanders scares off their major corporate donors, and these two states give him much better momentum going in to Nevada and South Carolina.

The DNC have, however, been well aware that Hillary could lose to Bernie or could face serious legal issues due to the ongoing scandal surrounding the classified emails which were illegally stored on her private email server. They, through influence via Obama’s office and the Department Of Justice, have been slowing down the FBI investigation in to her emails, much to the chagrin of the FBI, and have been keeping a standby candidate in the race just in case. Unfortunately for the DNC, their standby candidate, Martin O’Malley (the former governor of Maryland, who instituted a very unpopular rain tax) has failed to generate any interest, to the point where he may as well have been in the audience at the debates for the amount he contributed. He did not even get 1% of the Iowa vote and has pulled out of the race. I fully expect former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to enter the Democratic race soon as a standby option for the DNC should Hillary falter. Bloomberg has stated he is considering running as an independent, but given he has previously been both a Democrat and a Republican (who acted like a Democrat in office) he could easily become a Democrat again. It’s a bit late for him to get on the ballot in many states, but not too late for him to be a candidate at the convention and potentially have delegates from other candidates sent in his direction, especially if a candidate pulls out of the race, and I fully expect Hillary to pull out of the race at some stage, especially if she loses a decent number of states between now and the end of Super Tuesday and the brakes are then taken off the FBI’s email investigation.

As I noted earlier, Iowa has a relatively small population and thus a relatively small number of delegates to send to the Republican and Democratic conventions. It really only gets a large amount of hype and attention because it is the first vote in the nation in the process of selecting presidential candidates. It might not be all that important in terms of overall numbers, but it is a good indicator (especially for those who receive very few votes) of how a campaign is tracking, and a good momentum builder for future states. The winners in Iowa will not necessarily be the eventual nominee, and often don’t even make it all the way to the convention, but it is a good start for the winners and a good experience and testing ground for many of the rest. There is still a very long way to go.

The good news from this is that a number of very good conservative candidates are off to a good start, and the even better news is that there are some clear margins on the Republican side so the field will narrow quite a bit fairly soon, and we will then be left with one of the most conservative Republican fields in living memory. I’m looking forward to the ballots in the next few states, and after today I am even more hopeful of a solid conservative taking out the Republican nomination (as opposed to the disasters of the “moderate” nominees from the last two cycles) and going on to win the presidency. The great thing about this is that a good and popular conservative candidate would improve Republican turnout at the polls and have a good chance at electing a majority of Republicans to the House and Senate, which would in turn give them an opportunity to quickly go about undoing the damage done over the course of the Obama administration, and even some done in the late stages of the Bush administration.

It seems to be a great time to be a conservative, and in my books that makes it a great time to be alive.

Samuel

2 comments February 2nd, 2016 at 07:50pm

Happy Australia Day

Good morning and happy Australia Day. May your day be wonderful and patriotic.

This is a wonderful country, and long may it continue to be. I consider it to be important on this day, more so than others, to be mindful of the things which have made our country great such as the democracy adapted from the British; the compatible but necessarily different characteristics found between the populations of our vast and sparsely-populated states; and a (sadly diminishing) willingness to have a go in spite of circumstances, which goes hand-in-hand with a healthy and respectful scepticism of authority, and a non-reliance on government bodies to do things for us.

It is also a good day to ignore the detractors who aim to turn Australia in to something less great. Examples include those who, at this time each year, trot out plans to change the flag, the constitution, the national anthem, and other similar things. It also includes people who misuse Australia Day honours to call for more government intervention in this, that, or the other. It especially includes the subversion practiced each year by the government’s socialist FM “music” station which counts down the worst noises of the year and uses it as a way to entice youngsters to stay listening through the year so they can receive doses of socialist claptrap soothsaying between those awful noises which masquerade as music.

A happy Australia Day to you. May your patriotism serve you well and help to strengthen the nation.

Samuel

2 comments January 26th, 2016 at 07:11am

Some thoughts on the terrorist attacks in France

The bombings in France in the last day-or-so were an atrocity. The senseless and indiscriminate killing is undoubtedly the work of people who have no respect for human life or for the general peacefulness and freedom of the country which they attacked.

This should come as no surprise though as it is just the latest in a long string of attacks perpetrated by hardline Islamists. The fact that in this case at least some of the attackers were granted asylum in France should speak volumes about how little respect they have for non-hardline Islamic culture, and the inherent security risks in allowing unfettered migration. To that end, and while I don’t blame her directly for this attack and still agree with many of her policies, German Chancellor Angela Merkel should take this attack on France as a wake up call that her reckless actions of incentivising swarms of undocumented aliens to make their way across Europe on their way to Germany, with many undoubtedly vanishing in to countries along the way, is a surefire way to aide and abet Islamic State in getting a foothold right throughout Europe.

We often, especially in the days after one of these increasingly-regular attacks, hear the nonsense that it’s not really anything to do with Islam because Islam is a religion of peace. Donkey twoddle! The alleged prophet Mohammed was an angry and violent warmonger. It is my view that the peaceful Muslims are practicing a faith which is closer to Christianity than it is to Islam. The real Islamic faith is, as Tony Abbott quite elegantly describes, a death cult. Peaceful Muslims are right to condemn these terrorist acts, but not because it is being done in their name (which it is not) but rather because they hold a very different faith which is regularly confused with the Islamic death cult. You could call them two radically different denominations of Islam. It is now beyond high time that we stop being afraid to refer to this as an Islamic problem for fear of offending peaceful Muslims, for we will never be able to confront this problem if we’re afraid of naming it and accurately describing it.

And therein lies a problem. Our political leaders are, for the most part, afraid of tackling this problem of the Islamic death cult head on. Sure, they have all made the familiar sympathetic noises since the latest attack, but what have they actually done to fix the problem. Islamic State was able to build a foothold and strength in large part because Barack Obama was not interested in securing and maintaining the hard-fought near-victories in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has since aided the allies of Islamic State by helping to destabilise pretty much every government with a stabilising influence in the Middle East. America and allies now pretend to do something about ISIS by dropping an entirely inadequate amount of bombs on ISIS targets, and as if to just show how out of touch or uninterested he is with the situation, in the hours before the attack in France, Obama declared that Islamic State was contained and not growing in strength. In reality, it is growing and the only country seemingly willing to do anything about it is Russia, and it sure is unnerving to have Russia as the hope for the free world.

A further show of Obama’s disinterest in helping to solve the problem is a symbolic one. When the Supreme Court legalised gay marriage, Obama was ready with rainbow coloured lighting of the White House, and yet after this attack while the rest of the world was bathing buildings in a red, white and blue glow to symbolise France’s national colours, the White House and other federally-controlled American monuments remained their natural colours. The fact that France and America share national colours should have made it easier to light some buildings, so the lack of this symbolic gesture is very telling. If Obama really cared about gay marriage as much as his own political agenda, he would want to put a stop to the Islamic death cult which enjoys murdering homosexuals. None of his actions to date suggest he cares, although an argument could be made that he sympathises with the terrorists based on how much his actions have benefited them.

While the chain of events has begun and it is now too late to prevent ISIS from launching further attacks, it is imperative that we act now to wipe out Islamic State. While there will certainly be more attacks even if we strike with our full force immediately, the sooner we start properly attacking Islamic State, the better the chances are that we can win and wipe them out in a shorter timeframe, and the lower the chances of them achieving their aim of a tyrannical global Islamic caliphate.

That pretty much summarises my thoughts, apart to say that I am very sorry for the hundreds who were killed or injured, and I am praying for the families of the fallen. Equally I pray for the victims and families of a similar attack which happened in Lebanon where at least 41 people have been killed.

Over the last day I have seen some very insightful and useful things written and said by various people. I would like to share some of the more important points from these with you, and encourage you to follow the links to read the rest of these important thoughts.

Glenn Beck joined the dots elegantly and I think he is right that we are seeing the opening salvos of World War Three. While I still think there is a chance to avoid things escalating that far, Beck does make some very good points. From his Facebook page:

This was not a terror attack tonight this was the beginning of World War 3.

The Arch Duke Ferdinand moment was indeed the cart vendor in Tunisia. He lit the fuse that sparked the up risings in the Middle East

–which led to a collapse of
Libya
–which led to a refugee crisis in Italy, Spain and France.
–which led to the US arming the wrong people in Syria by running guns through Benghazi
–which led to the collapse of Syria and the creation of Isis.
–Which in turn led to the refugee crisis in Europe.
–which led to the first shots tonight in World War Three.

It may not be declared or seen as such for quite some time but make no mistake this is the beginning.

The refugee crisis will when history is written be seen as a Trojan horse invasion by Islamists in Europe. It was aided by the UN, the EU and socialists world wide.

This is a final fulfillment of the chalkboard: “a caliphate will be established and the chaos will spread across the Middle East. Then the chaos will spread to Europe where the socialist, anarchists and Islamists will work together to destabilize Europe and the western world.”

Remember, 3 years ago all of the so called experts said that this was nuts. It has all just happened.
[..]
What happened in Paris may be the beginning of a much larger movement. Which could spread globally. It is only a matter of time.
[..]
Pray for our nation.

Pray that the eyes of those who are blind will see, that our hearts will not fail us and that the mouths of our churches are opened.

Glenn promises to go in to much more detail during the week on TV and radio. Glenn’s shows can be found online at theblaze.com/tv and I think it will be a particularly enlightening and informative week, even if Glenn leans a bit towards the overly catastrophic.

Mark Steyn, in the hours after the attack, summed up the current problem wonderfully.

I’m so bloody sick of these savages shooting and bombing and killing and blowing up everything I like – whether it’s the small Quebec town where my little girl’s favorite fondue restaurant is or my favorite hotel in Amman or the brave freespeecher who hosted me in Copenhagen …or a music hall where I liked to go to hear a little jazz and pop and get away from the cares of the world for a couple of hours. But look at the photographs from Paris: there’s nowhere to get away from it; the barbarians who yell “Allahu Akbar!” are there waiting for you …when you go to a soccer match, you go to a concert, you go for a drink on a Friday night. They’re there on the train… at the magazine office… in the Kosher supermarket… at the museum in Brussels… outside the barracks in Woolwich…
[..]
When the Allahu Akbar boys opened fire, Paris was talking about the climate-change conference due to start later this month, when the world’s leaders will fly in to “solve” a “problem” that doesn’t exist rather than to address the one that does. But don’t worry: we already have a hashtag (#PrayForParis) and doubtless there’ll be another candlelight vigil of weepy tilty-headed wankers. Because as long as we all advertise how sad and sorrowful we are, who needs to do anything?

With his usual killer comedy timing, the “leader of the free world” told George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning, America” this very morning that he’d “contained” ISIS and that they’re not “gaining strength”. A few hours later, a cell whose members claim to have been recruited by ISIS slaughtered over 150 people in the heart of Paris and succeeded in getting two suicide bombers and a third bomb to within a few yards of the French president.

Visiting the Bataclan, M Hollande declared that “nous allons mener le combat, il sera impitoyable”: We are going to wage a war that will be pitiless.

Does he mean it? Or is he just killing time until Obama and Cameron and Merkel and Justin Trudeau and Malcolm Turnbull fly in and they can all get back to talking about sea levels in the Maldives in the 22nd century? By which time France and Germany and Belgium and Austria and the Netherlands will have been long washed away.

Among his other coy evasions, President Obama described tonight’s events as “an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share”.

But that’s not true, is it? He’s right that it’s an attack not just on Paris or France. What it is is an attack on the west, on the civilization that built the modern world – an attack on one portion of “humanity” by those who claim to speak for another portion of “humanity”. And these are not “universal values” but values that spring from a relatively narrow segment of humanity. They were kinda sorta “universal” when the great powers were willing to enforce them around the world and the colonial subjects of ramshackle backwaters such as Aden, Sudan and the North-West Frontier Province were at least obliged to pay lip service to them. But the European empires retreated from the world, and those “universal values” are utterly alien to large parts of the map today.

And then Europe decided to invite millions of Muslims to settle in their countries. Most of those people don’t want to participate actively in bringing about the death of diners and concertgoers and soccer fans, but at a certain level most of them either wish or are indifferent to the death of the societies in which they live – modern, pluralist, western societies and those “universal values” of which Barack Obama bleats. So, if you are either an active ISIS recruit or just a guy who’s been fired up by social media, you have a very large comfort zone in which to swim, and which the authorities find almost impossible to penetrate.

And all Chancellor Merkel and the EU want to do is make that large comfort zone even larger by letting millions more “Syrian” “refugees” walk into the Continent and settle wherever they want.

He followed up hours later with a few more prescient points.

Just in case our enemies needed another reason to despise us, today the inactivist group Somnolent Tilty-Headed Wankers for Peace launched an exciting new graphic: the same old clapped-out hippie peace symbol but incorporating the Eiffel Tower (right)! Isn’t that a cool, stylish way of showing how saddy-saddy-sadcakes you are about all those corpses in the streets of Paris? It’s already gone viral! And that’s all that matters, isn’t it?

Our enemies use social media to distribute snuff videos as a means of recruitment. We use it to confirm to them how passive and enervated we are: What was it the last time blood ran in the streets of Paris? Oh, yeah, a pencil – for all those dead cartoonists. But, given that blood in the streets of Paris looks like becoming a regular event, it helps to have something of general application. What about, ooh, a tricolor with a blue tear at the end? No, better yet: a peace symbol with a croissant in the middle. No, wait…
[..]
Oh, sorry. All they were saying is give peace a chance. And, having said it, they’ve gone back to sleep until the next atrocity requires another stupid hashtag or useless avatar.
[..]
According to the Government of Greece, one of the Paris terrorists entered Europe as a “Syrian refugee” through the Greek island of Leros on October 3rd. Under the Schengen Agreement, once you’ve been admitted to one EU country you can proceed, without further inspection by officials, to all of them – save for Britain and Ireland. If either the Schengen Agreement or Angela Merkel’s chancellorship survive this revelation, we’ll know just how serious M Hollande’s “war without mercy” actually is.

I would strongly encourage you to follow the links and read the rest of Mark’s brilliant pieces.

And one must also make mention of Tony Abbott who, until the treacherous replacement of him as Prime Minister, was a shining beacon of hope among world leaders, helping to strengthen the resolve of other world leaders who may have been a bit reluctant to face these challenges head on. Tony Abbott led by example on the world stage, instituting ordered migration rather than haphazard arrival chaos, as well as standing up for Australians and other innocents when other leaders lacked the courage to do so after the ruthless destruction of flight MH17, as well as calling Islamic State what it is: a death cult.

Thankfully Tony Abbott has returned to the world stage recently, explaining to Europe the perils of disorderly migration (a timely and important lesson which Europe desperately needs), and in the last day has been speaking out about the challenges we face in dealing with Islamic State.

Today on The Bolt Report:

Well this is not something that I think I should be giving public advice to prime ministers and presidents on, the point I make, is that this ISIL Caliphate, it can’t be contained, it has to be defeated. And it’s not going to go away, just by wishing it to go away. It’s only going to be defeated if people take very strong steps against it… What we’re seeing is more and more evidence of the malice and the reach of this terrorist empire or would be terrorist empire and that’s why I say my hope is that these latest atrocities will strengthen our resolve, our determination to protect our way of life and to stand up for our values.

And as Breitbart’s Simon Kent notes from today’s Sunday Telegraph and other recent speeches:

Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists are hiding in plain sight among the Syrian asylum seekers now invading Europe and tough border controls are needed to seal porous frontiers against people who regard western civilisation as ‘Satanic’.

That is the grim warning of former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, speaking in the aftermath of Friday night’s horrific attacks in Paris that killed 127 people.

Mr. Abbott, who was deposed in a party coup last September, told the Sydney Telegraph [sic] newspaper there was a genuine risk terrorists were hiding among the flood of migrants fleeing ISIS in Europe and taking advantage of Europe’s open borders.

“This is right. [..] But it is absolutely crystal clear that whether they are recent arrivals, whether they are second generation Parisians, the problem of Islamist extremism is severe.

“And it’s not going away anytime soon, particularly with this Caliphate remaining in place in Syria and Iraq which is encouraging its sympathisers right around the world to carry out attacks including on Australia.”
[..]
Mr. Abbott’s warning came as a Reuters report confirmed a Syrian passport was found on the body of one of the suicide bombers at the Stade de France in Paris after Friday’ night’s massacre.

In a speech in London last month, Mr Abbott warned expanded action, including ground troops as well as much more intensive bombing from the air may be required to defeat Islamic terrorism.

He lashed out at the “misguided” immigration policies of European leaders, including that of the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom, insisting: “unlike you, we now control our borders”.

Mr. Abbott also warned then that “misguided altruism’’ was stopping nations from denying entry at the border to people with “no right to come” and continued that theme in his latest interview.
[..]
“But the atrocities in France are yet another sign of the challenges that countries such as ours face. I fear that the struggle against Islamist extremism is going to be the great challenge of our generation and the great challenge of our time.”

Tony Abbott’s ousting from the role of Prime Minister probably deserves a blog post all of its own, but it is clear at times like this that we are a poorer nation and even a poorer world for the lack of Tony as PM.

Finally, I was hoping to bring you something of substance from Fox News Radio’s Todd Starnes who has been posting some insightful thought bubbles on Facebook, but I suspect he won’t collate them in to a substantial piece until he puts together his morning radio commentary on Monday. That said, his Facebook page is well worth a look and worth checking regularly, especially when it comes to matters surrounding Islamic terrorism.

We live in a precarious time, and I fear for what the future holds if we don’t deal with the increasing problems of Islamic terrorism swiftly and decisively. Unfortunately with our current elected leaders around the world, it is going to take voters electing people who take this threat seriously instead of what voters tend to do at the moment in shunning politicians who want to treat Islamic terrorism seriously. The longer that takes, the harder it will be for us to win and the more innocent lives that will be lost in the interim.

Islamic terrorism must be treated as a death cult and dealt with as such; the future of our civilisation depends on it. The question is whether our civilisation realises it. I pray that it soon will.

Samuel

5 comments November 15th, 2015 at 07:35pm

Civilian airspace near major airport shutdown for secret reason, and yet people only care about the noise from flight diversions

Sometimes I wonder and worry about how little curiosity people seem to have, and how accepting they are of statements from authorities which say absolutely nothing. What is happening to the west of Los Angeles International Airport right now is a perfect example.

The airspace to the west of LAX, over the ocean, is being shut down at night for some secret military operation. Normally, to limit night over residential areas, flights at night use this airspace, but those night flights are now being diverted over populated areas, so it is understandable that residents are a bit upset about the extra noise but it seems peculiar that the airport and not the military are being made the scapegoat for this anger by being thrust in front of the media to explain the situation while the military keep right out of the public eye.

We clearly understand that neighbors and communities east of the airport will experience noise and we apologize for that,” said Nancy Castles, LAX public relations director.

The military is not saying what exactly is causing the change, and LAX claims it’s also in the dark. Castles said all they know is planes can’t be flying at low altitudes to our west.

(h/t Jory Rand, ABC7 Los Angeles)

Having watched the video of the ABC7 report, I think the airport people know more than they are saying and are probably restricted from saying any more, but that’s a little beside the point. What really intrigues me is how little the residents interviewed by ABC7 seem to care that there is something weird happening a short distance from their homes.

One resident interviewed by ABC7 (seen in the video but not quoted in their article) seemed to be annoyed by the extra noise but not concerned at all about the cause, while another came up with this pearler of a statement which I think is sadly indicative of the attitudes of many when it comes to things done by authorities behind a cloak of secrecy or at least minimal disclosure.

“And plus if it’s a military thing it’s a good thing, that means they’re making it safer for us so I wouldn’t let it bother me,” said Steve Devosion of Inglewood. “I’d be more interested in them not doing something about what’s going on than them doing something about what’s going on.”

Putting aside the fact that the statement is at least partially indecipherable gibberish, it seems to me that Mr. Devosion is saying that if the military or the government is doing something, it must be for the best. What exactly he imagines is going on is beyond me, but his gibberish sentence seems to indicate that he has something other than a practice in mind.

And that is exactly why I don’t understand why people are not more curious about it. If it’s not a practice drill, then what exactly is happening just off the coast that can only be dealt with at night and needs to be kept from prying eyes, and what risk does it potentially pose? Or for that matter what future risk could it be preparing for? And if it is just a practice, why does it need to be in that spot when there are better, more covert, watered areas which could be used and not cause inconvenience to civilians?

Of course I acknowledge that there are some things which should be kept secret, and this could be one of them, but even things which should be kept secret should also be met with some scepticism and inquisitiveness by the public, and yet this seems to be blindly accepted by most of the people who are the most affected by it.

It is just another example of people not applying any critical thought or analysis to a statement by something which has an authoritative status. It seems that this type of blind faith in government and pseudo-government entities (but not the political masters of these entities) is growing in our society, and I must say I am more than a bit concerned that people who refuse to think critically are becoming the majority and are reaching a point where they will vote us all in to some sort of government enslavement (a thing which comes in many forms including the “nanny state”, growing socialist policies and programs, and burdensome extra taxation to fund it all) without ever giving any thought to the consequences because they believed the promise that it was all or their safety or protection.

While I’m on the subject of the unusual things people will accept and the odd things happening near Los Angeles International Airport, have a look at this view over Los Angeles which ABC7 included in their report but didn’t bother to explain.

Odd light formation over Los Angeles, ABC7 News, November 6 2015
Image credit: ABC7 News, Friday November 6, 2015. Click the image for a larger version.

What in the heck is that light formation? Sadly, I dare say most people aren’t interested in finding out.

Samuel

2 comments November 9th, 2015 at 03:14am

The eating of pies

Earlier this morning, 2UE’s George Moore and Paul B. Kidd had a chat with someone from Garlo’s Pies about the pie maker’s growth in Australia and their expansion in to the US. They noted that most Americans who are given a meat pie instinctively want to eat it with a knife and fork, and the people from Garlo’s Pies have been trying to get them to eat the pies by hand. In reply to that, I sent the following email to George And Paul.

***
Good morning George and Paul,

I’m sorry, this might be very un-Australian of me, but I think they only way to eat a pie is with a knife and fork, or sometimes I’ll use a spoon to eat the filling and then eat the pastry afterwards.

I don’t like eating much by hand though. Even apples need to be sliced before I eat them!

Have a good week.

Samuel
***

George and Paul were amused, but not impressed. I am apparently “one of those” people. I would maintain that one day my knife and fork people will convince the world of the merits of using a knife and fork with a pie, but I fear that day might be some time away.

Samuel

2 comments November 8th, 2015 at 09:46am

Research again shows solar cycles responsible for climate, with continued cooling forecast

While it is fairly well-known that Earth has not warmed over the last 17 years or thereabouts, contradicting pretty much all of the flawed computer models which predicted catastrophic warming, it is less well-known that a slight cooling trend has been evident for much of that time.

This year has marked a bit of a tipping point in that, while the mainstream media has generally not acknowledged the lack of warming, they have at least reported on some predictions of solar cycles bringing various levels and durations of cooling. Today there is another one of those predictions.

A team of European researchers have unveiled a scientific model showing that the Earth is likely to experience a “mini ice age” from 2030 to 2040 as a result of decreased solar activity.
[..]
At the National Astronomy Meeting in Wales, Northumbria University professor Valentina Zharkova said fluctuations an 11-year cycle of solar activity the sun goes through would be responsible for a freeze, the like of which has not been experienced since the 1600s.

From 1645 to 1715 global temperatures dropped due to low solar activity so much that the planet experienced a 70-year ice age known as Maunder Minimum which saw the River Thames in London completely frozen.

(h/t Jon Austin, The Express)

Ten years is a bit short in my opinion to call it a “mini ice age” as that period of time is at the lower end of being able to determine trends in global temperatures, but ten years of cooling followed by the inevitable few or more years following which would be required to see temperatures to warm to pre-cooling levels would certainly be a chilly time and is worth thinking about. It is even more worthwhile considering when you consider the accuracy rating for the models being used.

“Over the [solar] cycle, the waves fluctuate between the Sun’s northern and southern hemispheres. Combining both waves together and comparing to real data for the current solar cycle, we found that our predictions showed an accuracy of 97 per cent.”

(h/t Jon Austin, The Express)

A much much much higher accuracy rating than all of those computer models which predicted warming.

Of course only time will tell if this level of cooling comes to pass, but it is good to see increasing amounts of the media paying attention to research on the effects solar variability has on our climate, as this research has a much greater strike rate than the nonsensical man-made warming theories.

Samuel

1 comment November 6th, 2015 at 05:49am

Some good news and lessons for Conservatives from today’s US elections

A bunch of elections occurred across the US today. Being an off-year for the main federal elections, these elections were mostly of a state and local level, but were important all the same in deciding some important offices and issues, and more broadly for taking the temperature of the electorate. Off-year elections often have less turnout due to the lack of hype which would normally surround federal elections, but the turnout tends to also be more passionate, and so often serves as a good measure of what people think and what direction they want their local communities and the nation as a whole to go in. Just a year out from the presidential election, you can be sure that candidates on both sides will be paying close attention to today’s elections.

This is not a comprehensive list by any means, but a few of the results have stood out and proven to be good news.

Kentucky shows campaigning on a truly-believed conservative platform is a good thing
In Kentucky there is a new Governor. Matt Bevin, a Republican who certainly could not be considered to be an “establishment Republican” and who was not afraid to campaign strongly on conservative principles, won quite convincingly 52.5% to 43.8% over Democrat Jack Conway (a third-party candidate drew the remainder of the vote). Polls in Kentucky were very close, so this margin of victory is even more pleasing.

Republican Matt Bevin, a businessman and Tea Party favorite, beat Democrat Jack Conway on Tuesday to win the race for Kentucky governor — becoming only the second GOP governor in the state in four decades.

The off-year election, one of many state and local contests held Tuesday ‎across the country, was seen by some as a test for outsider candidates at a time when several such candidates are seeking the GOP presidential nomination.
[..]
Throughout his campaign, Bevin cast himself as an outsider, in both government and politics. The 48-year-old investment manager has never held public office and was shunned by the state’s Republican political establishment when he challenged McConnell in the 2014 Senate primary. He never took any meaningful steps to repair those relationships after the race, often deflecting assistance from party officials and likely affecting his fundraising ability.

He relied more on the details of his personal story — his Christian faith and his four adopted children from Ethiopia — than his political policies.
[..]
Bevin’s campaign was mostly self-funded, and he preferred to speak to small gatherings of voters instead of courting influential donors.
[..]
He has promised some sweeping changes, most notably repealing the state’s expanded Medicaid program and kynect, the state-run health insurance exchange.

(h/t Fox News)

Mr. Bevin’s victory sends a strong message that voters will respond favourably to a candidate who stands for conservative principles, and having the support of the Republican hierarchy is not necessary. This is not unexpected given the failure of long-term Republicans at the federal level to adequately oppose Barack Obama’s policies despite being given a mandate for such opposition over multiple elections.

Matt Bevin strongly opposed Obamacare’s effects in Kentucky, and was also an ardent supporter of Kim Davis, the county clerk who was imprisoned for refusing to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples. One can hope that, despite Democrats still controlling the House in Kentucky, there will now be enough momentum for the marriage licence format to be changed to remove the name of the controlling clerk, as this was the change Kim Davis wanted so that her name would not be enshrined forever more on a document which violates her personal beliefs and the beliefs of the majority of people who voted for her.

Even left-leaning San Francisco has had enough of unfettered illegal immigration
In San Francisco, another hot topic of interest to national presidential campaigns was a deciding factor. The Sheriff of San Francisco was ousted over his support of San Francisco’s status as a “sanctuary city”, which basically means that the city deliberately helps illegal immigrants to evade federal immigration officials.

Embattled San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi convincingly lost his bid for re-election Tuesday after spending months in the national spotlight as the face of his city’s controversial “sanctuary city” policy on illegal immigration.

Mirkarimi, 54, was defeated by Vicki Hennessy, a former sheriff’s official who had the endorsement of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and the sheriff deputies association. With 42 percent of precincts reporting, Henessy had received 63 percent of the vote to 31 percent for Mirkarimi.

Mirkarimi and his office received heavy criticism after Mexican illegal immigrant Francisco Sanchez allegedly shot and killed 32-year-old Kate Steinle on San Francisco’s waterfront July 1. Sanchez had been released from Mirkarimi’s jail in March even though federal immigration officials had requested that he be detained for possible deportation.
[..]
Hennessy has previously said the sheriff’s order barring the San Francisco jail from cooperating with immigration officials is misguided.

(h/t Fox News)

Illegal immigration is shaping up as one of the major issues in next year’s federal elections. The fact that a city which leans as far left as San Francisco has seen fit to at least start to take a stand against illegal immigration, shows that even places which have embraced illegal immigration are starting to see the error of their ways and the dangers of such policies.

Houston voters are smart enough to see through the bizarre discriminatory agenda buried in anti-discrimination ordinance
In Houston, a bizarre proposed ordinance which would have effectively turned all public toilets in to mixed-sex toilets has been overwhelmingly defeated by voters. The ordinance, which was a non-discrimination ordinance for all sexual persuasions other than straight people (yes, I’m trying to find a way to phrase this so as to avoid that silly ever-changing and expanding acronym), clearly went a few steps too far when it attempted to allow men in to the ladies room and vice-versa. Voters reacted as one would expect sane voters to react.

The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance was nicknamed HERO. It would have, among other things, allowed people with various sexual identities to use whatever bathroom of the sex they identified themselves as – regardless of their biological sex.

Opponents worried it could put women and children at risk. Pastors and their churches across the city fought the measure out of that concern and because of other language in the measure.

They say the way the law was written the city could fine and even imprison violators who did not make certain public accomodations.
[..]
Television station KHOU says those number were approximately two-thirds of the voters against the ordinance with a third for it.

(h/t CBN News)

It seems that efforts in other states to prevent Christians from living according to their own beliefs have had such negative effects that people are starting to wake up to the discriminatory agenda being pursued by many who claim to be against discrimination.

It is also clear that people are not comfortable with the relative safety of public toilets being diminished by the removal of gender segregation.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign suffers an indirect blow in potentially safe state of Virginia. (And voters are generally against more gun control)
Meanwhile in Virginia, a state which is seen as a potentially easy victory for Hillary Clinton next year (being just outside Washington D.C., large populated areas of Virginia are home to government many workers in much the same way that towns just outside Canberra are home to large numbers of typically left-leaning public servants), her hopes of winning the state have been dashed as Democrat governor Terry McAuliffe (who has an agenda which is quite similar to Hillary Clinton’s agenda) has been unable to convince voters to support his agenda by giving Democrats control of either the House or Senate.

Republicans held onto the Virginia Senate in fiercely contested elections Tuesday, leaving Gov. Terry McAuliffe without legislative leverage or political momentum as he works to deliver Virginia for his friend and ally Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2016.

The outcome was a blunt rebuke to McAuliffe (D), who had barnstormed the state with 24 events over the past four days and who portrayed the elections as a make-or-break moment for his progressive agenda.

All 140 seats in the General Assembly were on the ballot. But all eyes were on a handful of Senate seats that would decide whether Republicans held their 21-19 majority in Richmond’s upper chamber. Because the GOP dominates the House, flipping the Senate was the term-limited governor’s only hope for building a legislative legacy.

Democrats could have taken control by picking up just one seat because of the tie-breaking authority of Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D). But Republicans held all of their seats.

(h/t Laura Vozzella and Jenna Portnoy, The Washington Post — emphasis added)

Virginia’s result is also good news for supporters of the 2nd amendment and gun rights. Significant efforts were made by a high-profile anti-gun group to elect Democrats who would degrade gun rights.

A stated goal of Everytown – a group founded by Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York – is to counter the political and financial influence of the National Rifle Association. Everytown has enjoyed some modest victories since 2013, and the outcome of the two Virginia Senate campaigns could signal important changes in the politics of gun control at the state level, as pro-gun control activists significantly outspend gun rights groups.

(h/t Henry Gass, Christian Science Monitor)

And how did that go? Well, as per the emphasis added to the previous article, Republicans held all of their seats.

It seems that conservatives have been willing to stand up and be counted. In most cases conservatives are the natural majority of the US population, but with optional voting it has been made very clear in recent elections that an underwhelming Republican candidate will not attract the voters and will often be defeated by the remaining voters on the Democrat side. Today’s results once again show that solid conservative candidates can and should win as long as they stand firm on conservative values. This is an important lesson to which the candidates for next year’s presidential election should pay very close attention.

Obviously not every election in the US went the way of conservatives, but the cases I have highlighted here are particularly important as they have occurred in places where conservatives have either struggled to win previously or were not expected to win this time around. It is indicative of a national mood which shows that if Republicans run a good conservative candidate for president next year instead of some uninspiring moderate establishment type (eg. Mitt Romney, John McCain, or to highlight a current possibility, Jeb Bush), then victory should be well within reach, and with it the start of the correcting of the course of the nation.

Samuel

November 4th, 2015 at 10:02pm

Melbourne Cup 2015: Results

The Melbourne Cup has been won and run for 2015. Congratulations to the owners and connections of Prince Of Penzance on their victory. See below for dividends and the complete finishing order.

Photo finish of the 2015 Melbourne Cup. Image credit: Racing.com
Photo finish showing the first 12 finishers in the 2015 Melbourne Cup. Image credit: Racing.com

The stewards have interviewed jockeys about interference near the end of the race, but this will not change the outcome of the race. Frankie Dettori has been suspended for one month and fined $20,000 for “careless riding causing interference” during his ride on 2nd place getter Max Dynamite. Jamie Spencer has also been suspended for 14 race meetings due to interference he caused at the 250m mark while riding Big Orange.

Meanwhile Red Cadeaux suffered a suspected fetlock injury to his left foreleg during the race and has been taken away for urgent veterinary assistance. The injury is not believed to be too bad, but may spell the retirement of the 10-year-old horse.
Last updated: 5:16pm

Full replay, and data such as sectional times and margins etc are available on Racing.com’s 2015 Melbourne Cup page. Note free registration is required in order to view replays. Replays only available in Australia.

Final results and dividends
1st: 19. Prince of Penzance
Win: Supertab $65.90 , NSW $87.60 , UBET $74.10
Place: Supertab $16.60 , NSW $21.60 , UBET $19.20
2nd: 8. Max Dynamite
Place: Supertab $4.20, NSW $4.30, UBET $4.10
3rd: 2. Criterion
Place: Supertab $5.30, NSW $5.50, UBET $5.20
4th: 10. Trip to Paris
Quinella: Supertab $784.00, NSW $910.60, UBET $773.40
Exacta: Supertab $1,770.30, NSW $2,050.70, UBET $2,493.20
Trifecta: Supertab $20,010.30, NSW $26,045.00, UBET $10,678.30
First Four: Supertab $307,081.20, NSW $185,975.00, UBET $202,747.60
Double/Duet/Any Two
19 & 8 Supertab $238.40, NSW $287.70, UBET $303.60
19 & 2 Supertab $203.60, NSW $299.10, UBET $264.80
8 & 2 Supertab $38.20, NSW $37.60, UBET $33.80
Running Double Prince Of Penzance with the winner of Race 6 (5. Don’t Doubt Momma)
Supertab $646.80, NSW $588.40, UBET N/A

Complete finishing order:
1st: 19. Prince of Penzance
2nd: 8. Max Dynamite
3rd: 2. Criterion
4th: 10. Trip to Paris
5th: 5. Big Orange
6th: 24. Gust of Wind
7th: 23. Excess Knowledge
8th: 13. The Offer
9th: 16. Quest for More
10th: 4. Our Ivanhowe
11th: 11. Who Shot Thebarman
12th: 21. Sertorius
13th: 3. Fame Game
14th: 22. The United States
15th: 6. Hartnell
16th: 20. Bondi Beach
17th: 7. Hokko Brave
18th: 17. Almoonqith
19th: 18. Kingfisher
20th: 15. Preferment
21st: 14. Grand Marshal
22nd: 12. Sky Hunter
23rd (last): 1. Snow Sky
Did Not Finish: 9. Red Cadeaux

My Tips
Well, as usual my Melbourne Cup tips were an unmitigated disaster.
23. Excess Knowledge ran 7th
17. Almoonqith ran 18th
12. Sky Hunter ran 22nd

Samuel

1 comment November 3rd, 2015 at 03:13pm

Melbourne Cup: Useful information for people who aren’t familiar with horse racing

As Melbourne Cup day attracts a large number of people who have a bet on this day and not on any other day, the following information may be of use to some people.

Which prize amount on the TV did I win?
There are so many different prize amounts listed in the media because different states have different TABs, and they work with each other in some states to pool the prizes and not in other states. As a general rule, the TAB odds are valid for the following states:
Supertab (also listed as S-TAB and similar abbreviations): Victoria, ACT, Western Australia
NSW TAB: New South Wales
UBET (formerly known as TattsBet and still listed as such in some places): Queensland, South Australia, Northern Territory, Tasmania.

To add confusion to the mix, UBET/TattsBet offers betting services to people outside its four TAB states. If you’re using a Tatts or UBET account but don’t live in one of those states, then their odds are irrelevant to you as you are using their bookmaker service and will need to consult UBET for the relevant odds.

If you are not betting through a TAB but through an online bookmaker, then you will need to consult them for details of your odds. Most online bookmakers offer a number of odds, some are “fixed” which means they don’t change from the time you place the bet, and others will be tied to one or more of the TAB odds. Take note of the type of odds you are choosing when you place your bet, and you’ll be in a good position to know what you won if your horse or horses finish in a winning position.

Which television coverage should I watch?
As noted earlier today, both Channel Seven and Racing.com (channels 78, 68, 522 on Foxtel, and online) have full coverage of the race. If you have the choice, I recommend the Racing.com coverage on the basis that they are spending less time playing with silly camera angles on cars which make it difficult to see the horses, and are not adding unnecessary audio from the side of the track of horse hoofs pounding on the ground, and so the commentary is clearer, which makes it easier for you to follow your horses.

What are all of these types of bets?
This varies from betting agency to betting agency, but in general:
Win: Prize paid if the horse wins the race
Place: Prize paid if the horse finishes in the first three
Quinella: Pays if the two horses finish first and second
Exacta: Pays if the two horses finish first and second. You must nominate which horse will run first and which will run second.
Trifecta: Pays if the three selected horses finish first, second, and third. You must nominate which horse will finish in which position.
Other bet types have various names with various outlets, and the rules vary slightly between betting outlet, so if in doubt you should consult your betting agency for further information.

Good luck!

Samuel

November 3rd, 2015 at 02:38pm

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