Posts filed under 'Samuel’s Editorials'

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

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

On freedom of speech and section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act: if it’s broken and you look away, it’s still broken

Tony Abbott’s decision last year to abandon proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act whereby the silly and restrictive section 18C was to be removed, was a disgrace in my view, and an absolute betrayal of the mainly conservative voters who trusted him ensure that freedom of speech, a cornerstone of any free society, was protected.

So it was with a small amount of pleasure in recent days that I saw something good come out of the awful terrorist attack on satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo…the calls to scrap this section of the law were renewed, mainly because it is quite clear that the magazine would almost certainly be in contravention of this section of the law if it was an Australian publication. Simon Breheny from the Institute of Public Affairs summed this up very well the other day:

Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) makes it unlawful to “offend, insult humiliate or intimidate” a person on the grounds of “race, colour or national or ethnic origin”. Section 18C was the provision used against News Corp Australia journalist Andrew Bolt in 2011 for two columns he had published in 2009.

“This week leaders from around the world have united to defend the right of publications like Charlie Hebdo to publish content that is offensive to some,” says Mr Breheny.

“But a publication such as Charlie Hebdo would struggle to survive in Australia, due to laws that censor offensive, insulting, humiliating and intimidating speech. Section 18C could be used against the publishers of cartoons that satirise figures based on their race or ethnicity. Content not caught by section 18C would almost certainly be censored by current state religious vilification laws, which are specifically designed to target the kind of content published in Charlie Hebdo.”

“The attack on Charlie Hebdo is an attack on freedom of expression. And as Prime Minister Tony Abbott rightly noted in response to this atrocity, ‘Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of a free society.'”

For a little while there I thought there was some hope that sanity would prevail, and the silly idea to abandon the plan to repeal section 18C would be washed away by a renewed effort to enshrine freedom of speech in law, in an effort to show that we won’t kowtow to attempts by terrorists to intimidate us in to silence. Alas, instead, I found myself screaming at the radio yesterday when clips of Tony Abbott being interviewed on 3AW were played.

“I would prefer that 18c were not in its current terms but we made an attempt to amend it, it was obvious that that attempt to amend it was generating a lot of division in the community,” he said.

“The government made the decision not to proceed with it at this time and that remains the government’s position.”

(h/t Latika Bourke, Sydney Morning Herald)

Well that’s just silly Tony. The main reason for abandoning the changes was a perception that it was upsetting the Muslim community. Since the atrocities in France last week, the Muslim community and pretty much every other group which appeared to oppose the repeal of 18C have come out in support of freedom of speech, and in particular the type of speech which Charlie Hebdo published…this amounts to supporting the repeal of 18C. To not take advantage of this rare solidarity in favour of freedom of speech is either a boneheaded decision, or indicative of some other agenda…I honestly don’t know which one I’d prefer it to be. On the one hand one doesn’t want boneheaded decisions from governments (but they’re not uncommon), but on the other it can be very difficult to trust a government which has hidden and unknown motives.

But Tony wasn’t done.

Mr Abbott made his pledge [to repeal section 18C] after the laws were successfully used against News Corporation commentator Andrew Bolt in 2011 after he claimed a group of prominent Aborigines used their skin colour to seek professional advantages.

The Prime Minister said the Andrew Bolt prosecution was an “aberration”.

“I don’t believe that we are likely to see an Andrew Bolt prosecution again. If we do, let’s rethink things,” he said.

(h/t Latika Bourke, Sydney Morning Herald)

This is what really had me screaming at the radio. The law is broken and people who oppose freedom of speech know that it can be used to silence people who say things which offend anyone. Everyone in the country knows this law is an assault on freedom of speech (even if some would characterise it as some sort of necessary protection), and there is an opportunity to fix it right now. This is a rare opportunity which probably won’t last for long. It is inevitable that somebody will offend somebody else at some stage in the future and end up being silence by a court under this law…it might not be as high-profile a case as Andrew Bolt’s case, but it will happen. There is an opportunity to prevent this travesty of justice from happening, but it seems that Tony Abbott is comfortable to let it happen and only consider fixing it after the damage is done once again.

Ignoring a broken law will not magically fix the law.

Tony Abbott’s promise to repeal section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act was one of the core reasons for him having my full support, and was more important to me than some of the policies with which I took issue (such as Paid Parental Leave and Direct Action when Tony knows as well as I do that global warming does not require a government response). While I’m pleased with the work on stopping the flood of illegal immigrants and am seeing some slow progress on repairing the budget, I feel very betrayed by this unwillingness to do the right thing and follow through on the common-sense promise to repeal section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

This sort of betrayal makes small parties look appealing. Perhaps Tony Abbott should think about that before he next complains about his policies being obstructed by the small cross-bench parties.

Samuel

1 comment January 15th, 2015 at 10:06am

Islamic terrorists kill a dozen in France; the hesitation to call them terrorists helps the terrorist cause

Islamic terrorists struck a satirical newspaper in France killing a dozen people. The newspaper in question had not been afraid to call describe Islamic terrorists as terrorists, and to comment on their actions, and was probably targeted because of this…they’ve certainly received plenty of threats in the past.

The “Religion of Peace” struck again today against the West, this time in the heart of France, which has more Muslims per capita than any other E.U. nation.

Black-clad gunmen stormed the Paris offices of a satirical newspaper known for lampooning Islamic radicals early Wednesday, killing 12 and injuring as many as 15 before escaping, French officials said..

As many as three Kalashnikov-toting shooters were being sought after the attack at Charlie Hebdo, the newspaper known for challenging Muslim terrorists with a 2011 caricature of Prophet Mohammed on its cover and which recently tweeted a cartoon of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Two policemen and several journalists were among the dead.

“We’ve avenged the honor of the prophet!” the killers shouted, according to witnesses who spoke to Sky News.

Stunning video shows the gunmen brazenly strolling down a Paris sidestreet with their AK-47s shouting “Allahu Akbar”, opening fire on a policeman, then as he lies on the ground, finishing him off with a head shot.

(h/t Brian Hayes, Top Right News)

Update 10:49am: YouTube have removed the video previously posted here via Top Right News. Dar0s Studios posted a more graphic version of the video on Facebook which is now included below, replacing the previous YouTube video. Thanks to Casey Hendrickson for the link. End Update
Content Warning: graphic uncensored terrorist violence

Amazingly it seems that the reaction from French police was hindered by the fact that many police there choose to not be armed!

Several Paris police officers who came into contact with the armed terrorists who slaughtered 10 journalists at the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine, retreated from the gunmen because they were unarmed, according to an eyewitness.
[..]
Paris police officers have the option of carrying firearms, though many choose not to.

(h/t Chuck Ross, The Daily Caller)

There are places where general duties police officers are not allowed to carry a gun, and that is mystifying enough…but for a law enforcement officer to choose to not be armed despite being the front line of law and order and consequently being a target of any armed nutter…I can’t comprehend the logic in that decision.

Meanwhile, sadly, it seems that once again certain countries which should be showing strong leadership against such brutal terrorist acts, are once again showing ineptitude.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest made multiple media appearances this morning across many hours, all of which were after French President Francois Hollande called this event an act of terrorism, and for hours Mr. Earnest refused to call it an act of terrorism. He finally, hours later, changed his mind when he appeared on Fox News, but then couldn’t provide any reasonable explanation as to why he’d changed his mind, and why he’d previously spent so long refusing to call it terrorism.

“As you rightly point out, the French president called this a terrorist attack, without a doubt. Last hour, you called them perpetrators. I’m trying to figure out why the language changed,” Fox’s Bill Hemmer told Earnest. “Did you get different information, are you characterizing in a different way, Josh? What is it?”

“What we’re seeing here is an event that just occurred a couple hours ago,” Earnest said “We’re still learning details exactly what happened. But what is clear this is an act much violence, an act of terrorism, that we condemn in the strongest possible terms and we’re going to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our allies in France.”

(h/t Al Weaver, The Daily caller)

The French are still learning details too, but it didn’t take them hours to figure out the basic facts of what happened.

Unfortunately this is all too common with this White House. Many-a-time they have refused to call a terrorist attack a terrorist attack, with probably the most egregious example being when they lied through their teeth about who attacked the US Consulate in Benghazi, and why they did it, blaming the incident on an anti-Islamic video that had absolutely nothing to do with it, when the attack was actually the work of Al Qaeda.

I’m not blaming Barack Obama or his administration for today’s terrorist attack in France, but I will say that it is just another example of how his weak foreign policy and weak responses to terrorist attacks of this type help to foster an environment where terrorists feel freer to roam and do their dastardly deeds, as they know it is unlikely they will be brought to account for their actions, especially when so many countries wait for their lead from the US before doing anything themselves.

Samuel

3 comments January 8th, 2015 at 04:46am

If the Republicans want to regain the trust of their conservative base, dumping Speaker Boehner would be a good start

Update 5:57am: Boehner has been re-elected as Speaker, which is a shame as I doubt even the scare of discontent among conservatives will be enough to make him work towards more conservative ends. End update

The Republicans won a majority in both the House and Senate at last year’s mid-term election, not because they necessarily stood for certain actions or programs or initiatives (with the exception of some local candidates, as a whole they stood for no new actions), but rather because the voters want someone to stop or at least slow Obama down.

Unfortunately, shortly after winning this majority of both houses of Congress, the remaining Republicans in the lame-duck session of the Congress late last year sided with the Democrats to pass a full-year funding measure which does nothing to slow Obama, and in fact helps him as it makes it easier for him to bypass congress with executive actions on things such as amnesty for illegal immigrants. This was a clear betrayal of the people who voted for Republicans last year who expected Republicans to pass a short-term spending bill which would put the next spending bill under the control of this congress which has a Republican majority in both houses and barely needs to worry about appeasing Democrats, and thus would allow for defunding of programs which Republicans (and their voters) oppose.

Sadly, this was par for the course for much of the Republican leadership, especially Speaker Of The House John Boehner.

The good news is that the new House must elect a speaker, and John Boehner faces serious challenges, such as conservative Louie Gohmert.

Texas Republican Louie Gohmert announced Sunday morning on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” that he would throw his hat into the ring, saying he’s officially a candidate for the speaker gig.

Gohmert’s announcement comes as Boehner’s approval from conservative voters sags.

Gohmert’s office also sent a statement to TheBlaze[..]
***
After the November elections gave Republicans control of the Senate, voters made clear they wanted change. There have been numerous examples of problematic Republican leadership, but we were hopeful our leaders got the voters’ message. However, after our Speaker forced through the CRomnibus by passing it with Democratic votes and without time to read it, it seemed clear that we needed new leadership. There had been much discussion. But, until yesterday, no one had stepped up.

I applaud my friend Rep. Ted Yoho for putting his name forward as an alternative to the status quo. Ted is a good man for whom I could vote, but I have heard from many supporters and also friends in Congress who have urged me to put forward my name for Speaker as well to increase our chances of change. That is why I am also offering my name as a candidate for Speaker.
[..]
At this point, the Speaker’s election is not about a particular candidate. It is about whether we keep the status quo or make the change the country demands. I am putting forward my name for consideration as Speaker and hope that with a new Speaker, be that me or someone else, we can fight for the ideals and principles that the voters wanted when they elected us in November.
***
In TheBlaze’s Saturday poll on who should be the House Speaker, Gohmert snagged 16 percent of the vote, putting him firmly at No. 2 on the seven-person list.

TheBlaze readers’ favorite pick among the options provided: South Carolina Republican Trey Gowdy, whose nearly 10,000 votes gave him 70 percent of the poll participants.

(h/t Zach Noble, The Blaze)

Today we have confirmation that the moves to dump Speaker Boehner and respect the wishes of the electorate are growing, seemingly to the amazement of Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill:

A bloc of at least 15 conservative lawmakers will vote Tuesday to deny John Boehner a third term as Speaker[..]
The incumbent Speaker, who is facing long-shot challenges from two Tea Party favorites — Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) — needs support from a simple majority of the lawmakers present to secure another two years as the House leader.

That magic number won’t be known until the vote, given a number of absences. Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.) will miss the vote as he undergoes medical treatment. A number of New York Democrats will be attending a funeral of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. And the inclement weather could delay some lawmakers trying to make their way to Washington.

(h/t Scott Wong, The Hill)

It will be an interesting vote in Washington, and without wanting to overstate the case, I think dumping John Boehner as speaker is not only the right thing to do, but could be crucial if there is to be a good chance of a conservative Republican elected to the White House in 2016, as failing to dump Speaker Boehner will make it very difficult to show the public clear differences between Republicans and Democrats at election time.

Samuel

January 7th, 2015 at 04:58am

ACT Government considering a tax on something already funded by a tax

The ACT Government is considering implementing a “container deposit scheme” which would add 10 cents to the cost of drinks sold in recyclable containers such as plastic bottles or in cans. The idea is pretty simple: ten cents is added to the cost of the drink, and you (or anybody else) can redeem the ten cents if you return the container to a special recycling location…although The Canberra Times has a much more convoluted way of describing it which almost excludes the consumer from funding it and instead makes it sound like consumers profit from it:

ACT Environment Minister Simon Corbell says Canberra would probably follow NSW into a scheme that paid people 10 cents a pop to return cans and other drinks containers.

Container deposit schemes are industry funded – paid for through a levy on the cost of drinks – and have been strongly opposed by the big drinks manufacturers and by some states, with attempts to develop a national scheme failing.

(h/t Kirsten Lawson, The Canberra Times)

It pays people to return drink containers? Ummm, not quite…it returns the money which was already paid by the customer.

It’s industry funded? Well, if we ignore the consumer-funded levy for a moment, from an administrative standpoint that might be true as it costs money to administer such a scheme and if the entire ten cent levy is being returned to the customer when the container is returned, then the administration costs have to come from elsewhere, and obviously it will come from the drink manufacturers. It fits in well with the saying “a fine is a tax for doing something wrong, and a tax is a fine for doing something right”.

It could be argued that not everyone will return drink containers to the special recycling centres, and the levy from those containers could fund the administrative costs…but alas, as per the proposed NSW scheme which the ACT wants to follow:

Containers could also be recycled as usual in household recycling but in that case the council would redeem them and get the refund.

(h/t Kirsten Lawson, The Canberra Times)

ACT taxpayers (and NSW ratepayers for that matter) already pay for recycling services which handle such drink containers, so all this does is tax them a further ten cents per container for a service which they’re already paying, unless they choose to go out of their way by taking the drink containers to special locations in which case they get their ten cents back, but the drink manufacturers still have administrative costs which they will undoubtedly add to the cost of drinks.

This scheme is allegedly designed to improve recycling rates and reduce the amount of recyclable materials going to landfill, but there are two big problems with it.
1. The latest recycling statistics available from the ACT Government’s website suggest that 75% of recyclable materials are being recycled (as of 2010/2011, an increase of 4% of 2009/2010), and this rate is increasing year-on-year. The vast majority of people are already recycling such materials, and this scheme punishes them for “doing the right thing” unless they go out of their way to do so in specific locations.
2. Other items can still be recycled through standard domestic household recycling services at no extra cost, so even if 100% of drink containers are recycled through the new scheme, trucks will need to continue with their existing suburban runs to deal with other recyclables. When this is added to the number of individuals making trips to these new recycling locations with their drink bottles, and (in the case of NSW’s proposed “reverse vending machines” in public locations) the extra trips by trucks transporting the bottles from the “reverse vending machines” to the recycling depot, what we have is a much less efficient recycling scheme in terms of the number of vehicle trips required to deal with the transportation of recyclable materials.

These container deposit schemes made sense at a time when recycling schemes were new and an incentive such as “have your levy back” helped to educate people to recycle, but at a time when three quarters (and increasing) of recyclable material is being recycled, this is an inefficient scheme which places an unnecessary impost on drink manufacturers, and punishes people for doing what, up until now, governments have insisted is the right thing to do.

Samuel

3 comments January 6th, 2015 at 03:57am

Government-run terrorism insurance scheme’s unintended consequences are hampering businesses

The Sydney Morning Herald had an interesting story this morning about a federal government scheme which is designed to take over from insurance companies in the event of a terrorist incident.

Sydney retailers whose earnings were slashed by up to 70 per cent during the Martin Place siege face smaller insurance payouts if the siege is deemed a terrorism event, because a government body will step in to curb insurers’ losses.
[..]
Under legislation passed following the September 11 attacks in America, the federal Treasurer can declare certain events to be acts of terrorism for insurance purposes.

In those circumstances a federally funded body, the Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation, can step in to assess the likely loss from the incident and, where necessary, reduce the scope of claim liability for insurers. The aim of the arrangement is to shield insurers from catastrophic losses and thus ensure they continue to offer the products.

(h/t Mathew Dunckley and Lisa Visentin, The Sydney Morning Herald)

The article goes on to quote a spokesperson from IAG who says the federal government’s decision, regardless of the decision, is unlikely to affect how IAG pays out claims for loss of trade, but completely ignores something which came up on 2GB this morning…the federal government scheme is designed to insure for loss of buildings and does not cover loss of trade, but is set up in such a way that it can effectively nullify any need for insurers to pay out any claims if the incident is declared to be an act of terrorism. This is currently delaying the processing of claims with some insurers as they wait to see if they will need to pay anything, and has the potential to leave some businesses seriously out of pocket despite paying for insurance for exactly this type of event.

It’s just another example of how governments interfering with private business arrangements often leads to all sorts of unintended consequences, partially because governments rarely understand the private sector well enough to write rules which work, partially because governments take time to process things which cause debilitating delays to the private sector which doesn’t have the benefit of ongoing funding from taxpayers, and also because such rules are so often filled with easily exploited loopholes which bureaucrats often can’t anticipate because they’re not familiar with life outside the public sector.

I wrote an email to 2GB’s Luke Grant (who is currently filling in for Ray Hadley and Chris Smith across the middle of the day) about this shortly after he conducted an interview (from memory I think it was with Russell Zimmerman from the Australian Retailers Association, Update: It was, and audio of the interview is on 2GB’s website End Update) on the topic.

Good morning Luke,

This terrorism insurance debacle is a perfect example of the unintended consequences which occur when a well-intentioned government interferes with private business dealings.

It’s amazing that with so many bureaucrats writing the rules, government terrorism insurance for building loss can somehow nullify private “loss of trade” insurance, and nobody in government sees the problem. Unfortunately it’s all too common that bureaucrats who live in government land rather than the real world cause such a mess, and of course the private insurers don’t oppose the measures when the government makes them because they can see just how much money they’ll save.

It’s a mess which would never occur if governments kept their noses out rather than interfering with every little thing.

Regards,
Samuel Gordon-Stewart
Canberra, Australia

In this case the good intention of the government was to ensure insurance companies don’t go under while trying to pay out terrorism-related claims. Unfortunately, as is usually the case with such bailout type programs, it ignores the simple economic fact that if a product can’t be offered viably at a price which people will pay, it probably shouldn’t exist, and certainly shouldn’t rely on some magical fallback position of a government bailout from finite taxpayer funds. Sadly it seems that far too many people and industries see the government as a magic pot of infinite money and forget that government money only exists because it is legally confiscated from people via taxation, and thus should be treated with more respect and not expected to be a magical fix for every ill.

Samuel

January 5th, 2015 at 12:49pm

US Midterm Elections: the early washup

Counting is still going but the overall results are a certainty. Republicans now have control of the House and Senate, effectively stopping Obama’s awful agenda where it is. Some efforts might be made to wind back some of Obama’s policies but while he still has the power to veto legislation, there probably won’t be much progress on returning the US federal government to conservative governing principles…that might have to wait until after 2016. In fact, I think you will see the next two years on both sides being more about what they plan to do after 2016 rather than what they plan to do before the Presidential election.

Republicans have increased their Senate stake, taking up to nine of the seats which belonged to Democrats. It’s not a filibuster-proof majority, but (detestable) Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Democrat-Nevada) got around not having a filibuster-proof majority by perverting the rules of the Senate. It will be interesting to see if Republicans follow his lead (I hope not) or uphold the rules even if it slows them down.

The Republican majority in the House has increased by more than anyone realistically expected.

Currently the Senate has Republicans 52 to Democrats 45. An easy locked-in majority for the Republicans with three seats still to decide.

Currently the House has Republicans 233 to Democrats 159. A locked-in majority with 43 seats left to decide.

Republicans have gained multiple Governorships, including two states which are traditionally hostile territory for them: Massachusetts and Illinois. On the subject of Governorships, Jan Brewer was not able to run for Arizona Governor again due to a term limit. Her successor Doug Ducey easily defeated the Democrat challenger Fred DuVal, currently 54% to 41%. Keep an eye out for Jan Brewer on the national stage.

Maryland is another difficult state for Republicans, but they have taken out the Governorship, with the “rain tax” imposed by Democrats being one of the major issues there. Larry Hogan is currently leading Anthony Brown 52% to 46% late in the count.

The one incumbent Republican (of the eight House seats in Maryland) Andy Harris utterly obliterated his Democrat opponent 71% to 29%, while six of the other seats have stayed with Democrats easily (showing how hard this area is for Republicans to win) while in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District, Dan Bongino is maintaining a 2% lead over Democrat incumbent John Delaney with 14% of the count to go. It will be tight, but Dan is putting up a very good fight.

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, one of the great examples of good conservative leadership, won easily as well, currently leading 53% to 46% very late in the count.

Before I bring up a race in Virginia, I have to bring up the fact that I made the mistake of turning on ABC News 24 for a few minutes earlier when they were discussing the US midterm elections. Their analyst made the odd statement that ‘the Tea Party has really been sidelined in this election’, and then went on to talk about how Republicans have won so much because of their conservative, small-government, constitutional message. Given that is the definition of the Tea Party, one wonders what he thinks the Tea Party is?

I bring this up because in Virginia back in the Primaries, Dave Brat managed to oust then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor as the Republican candidate for Virginia’s 7th House District. Dave Brat today defeated Democrat challenger Jack Trammell in a landslide, 61% to 37%.

Elsewhere there is mixed news out of California. Democrat Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown (who has helped to create a man-made drought across the rural parts of that state) has defeated his Republican challenger Neel Kashkari, currently leading 57% to 43% with 29% counted.

There is some good news from California though. Sandra Fluke, the peculiar woman who made headlines a couple years ago when she effectively demanded that society as a whole should pay for her birth control measures and was subsequently called a “slut” by Rush Limbaugh, has lost her bid to get in to the state Senate…the bad news though is that she was one of two Democrat candidates without any other challengers, so the victor was another Democrat. Currently Ben Allan is leading Sandra Fluke 63.3% to 36.7%.

There were a heap of ballot initiatives around as well. I’ll have a look through some of them and point out some of the more interesting ones in a future post.

Overall it looks like a fantastic day for Republicans and conservatives…but more importantly for the American people and the world. At long last, after six years of Obama, Congress is finally in a position where there is a willingness to keep the executive branch in check. It is probably safe to say that the days of Obama’s executive overreach are over. Unfortunately it will take longer to undo the effects of his disastrous policies, but at least he won’t be able to get many more (if any) of his wishes through the Congress. Alas it might take until 2016 to get some real momentum on fixing the country.

Still, a very good day with a very good outcome. I’ll have more on this tomorrow.

Samuel

November 5th, 2014 at 05:24pm

Two big Republican Gubernatorial victories

Massachusetts, a fairly left-leaning state, has gone to the Republicans. Charlie Baker has defeated Democrat Martha Coakley. Currently leading 48% to 47% with 82% counted and most of the rest of the count being fairly safe Republican ground. Safe enough for media outlets to be willing to call it.

Illinois, home state of Barack Obama, has gone to the Republicans. Bruce Rauner is leading incumbent Democrat Governor Pat Quinn 51% to 46% with 85% counted.

Samuel

November 5th, 2014 at 03:54pm

Previous Posts


Calendar

June 2016
S M T W T F S
« May    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

Posts by Month

Posts by Category

Search Blog or Web

Login/Logout

Ads By Google


Blix Theme by Sebastian Schmieg and modified for Samuel's Blog by Samuel Gordon-Stewart.
Printing CSS with the help of Martin Pot's guide to Web Page Printability With CSS.
Icons by Kevin Potts.
Powered by WordPress.
Log in