There is other news in the world

Tired of every bit of news in the world being about the Chinese Bioweapon? Same here, which makes it even stranger that I haven’t written about anything else this week.

Here’s a snapshot of some other news of note to break the monotony.

Dog learns to drive, leads to high speed pursuit

A resident of the western US state of Washington was arrested following a high-speed chase that left officers dumbfounded after they found the man’s pit bull behind the wheel.

The incident unfolded Sunday afternoon after police received calls about a driver hitting two vehicles in an area south of Seattle and then speeding away, state trooper Heather Axtman told AFP.

She said the emergency services subsequently got multiple calls about a car traveling erratically at more than 100 miles per hours (160 kilometers per hour).

Axtman said that as officers gave chase, they got close to the vehicle — a 1996 Buick — and were shocked to see a pit bull in the driver’s seat and a man steering and pushing the gas pedal from the passenger side.

The pursuit ended after police deployed spike strips and arrested 51-year-old Alberto Tito Alejandro, who was booked on multiple felonies including driving under the influence of drugs.

“When we took him into custody… he admitted to our troopers that he was trying to teach his dog to drive,” Axtman said.

(h/t Yahoo News and AFP)

The dog was not charged.

Robot can read minds. It’s touted as a took to help the speech-impaired regain their speech, but the other obvious uses are terrifying

An artificial intelligence can accurately translate thoughts into sentences, at least for a limited vocabulary of 250 words. The system may bring us a step closer to restoring speech to people who have lost the ability because of paralysis.

Joseph Makin at the University of California, San Francisco, and his colleagues used deep learning algorithms to study the brain signals of four women as they spoke. The women, who all have epilepsy, already had electrodes attached to their brains to monitor seizures.

Across the four women, the AI’s best performance was an average translation error rate of 3 per cent.

(h/t New Scientist)

Thought crimes here we come.

Pestilence time!
Rampaging monkeys stealing drinks in Thailand
Bats fall from the sky in Israel
More rampaging monkeys, this time in India
Locusts attack Africa and the Middle East

US Justice Department wants to track down and punish the robocallers who threaten to arrest you unless you pay an imaginary tax bill

“Many of the robocalls were made by foreign fraudsters impersonating government investigators and conveying alarming messages, such as: the recipient’s Social Security number or other personal information has been compromised or otherwise connected to criminal activity; the recipient faces imminent arrest; the recipient’s assets are being frozen; the recipient’s bank and credit accounts have suspect activity; the recipient’s benefits are being stopped; the recipient faces imminent deportation; or combinations of these threats,” the Justice Department said in an announcement.

“Each of these claims was a lie, designed to scare the call recipient into paying large sums of money. These calls led to massive financial losses to elderly and other vulnerable victims throughout the United States.”

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York entered orders in two separate civil actions that bar eight individuals and companies from “continuing to facilitate the transmission of massive volumes of fraudulent robocalls to consumers.”

(h/t World Net Daily)

That’s all well and good, but verifying the source of calls on an international phone network is pretty much impossible, and the scammers have proven that any time they get blocked they just change the route their calls take. The only way to effectively stop it is real-time monitoring of the content of the calls, and that’s not something the phone companies or the government have the resources to do, and the invasion of privacy outweighs the benefits significantly.

Many places which preach “mental health” tout Yoga as a path to a better mind, but is Yoga really worth the risk to your soul?

3. Spiritual deception: There is a satanic influence behind the practice of yoga. The “power” unleashed through the practice of yoga is called the “kundalini” (meaning serpent power). Yet a serpent is a symbol of Satan (see Gen. 3, Rev. 12).

4. Spiritual transfer: Serious students of yoga usually desire something called shaktipat (a guru’s power to transmit a spiritual awakening of the kundalini). Yet this is nothing more than the transference of a demon spirit. It can result when the word “OM” is chanted, or by assuming various yoga postures that are dedicated to Hindu deities.

6. Spiritual endorsement: Even if a yoga class is seemingly benign with no spiritual emphasis and no Hindu trappings; and the teachers are Christian and Christian worship music is played, still, by participating in a “yoga” class, Christians are endorsing a non-Christian belief system. That is wrong and an insult to the Lord Jesus Christ.

(h/t Charisma News)

It became obvious to me that there was an evil force pushing Yoga in this world when suddenly over the last couple of years, workplaces started encouraging it and running lunchtime sessions at the same time that various psychologists all started to promote it, and all of them in unisen without being prompted, had as their first selling point “it’s not a religious activity”. Most religious folk would see straight through that, but the non-religious are the ones who are truly vulnerable here. They don’t believe in demons so they don’t know when they’re being influenced or used by them, and they have no idea how much Yoga activities open them up to being used. People who believe have a chance to recognise the signs of demon attack and defend themselves against it, but the non-believers get used without knowing it, and the damage they can unwittingly inflict on the world in that state is immense.

And some good news from the Mythical Man Made Global Warming alarmists. Even their attempts to explain why the earth isn’t warming the way their models predicted just end up proving they have no idea what’s going on.

If we accept the study, climate models calibrated against pre-1980 temperatures are running way too hot, because in the pre-1980s period the anthropogenic global warming signature was being augmented by the deterioration of the ozone layer.

I’m not talking about a small calibration error. if the ozone layer recovery is strong enough to stop southern warming in its tracks the expansion of the Hadley Cell and contraction of the jetstream, given the vast amount of CO2 we have dumped into the atmosphere in the last 20 years, then the deterioration of the ozone layer in the years leading up to the 1980s may have contributed substantially to the pre-1980s observed warming.

On the other hand, accepting the study means accepting that two powerful opposing forcings can almost perfectly balance each other for two decades when they move into opposition to each other. It is not impossible that two independent forcings have the same magnitude, but it is not terribly likely either. The easiest way to explain two powerful independent opposed forcings which just happen to perfectly balance each other, without the uncomfortable coincidence of perfect balance, is to assume neither forcing actually exists.

(h/t Watts Up With That)

Natural cycles, just as those of us who follow empirical evidence rather than outcomes of models have been saying for years.

So there you go, a snapshot of other news around the world. It might be hard to find when every news outlet in the world seems to be focussing entirely on one story, but it’s there if you look hard enough. And it’s important to look, because it’s usually in times of distraction that some of the most egregious news in the world slips through unnoticed.

Samuel

2 comments April 1st, 2020 at 05:22am

The COVID-19 death toll is a tenth of what you think it is, so why are we becoming a socialist dictatorship?

It is interesting and terrifying to see how quickly we have effectively become a socialist dictatorship in Australia, and in many countries around the world, all because of fear that the Chinese Bioweapon COVID-19 is going to kill us all if we mingle in groups and fail to disinfect every surface in the world. It can be argued that saving lives is a noble pursuit, and that is certainly the rationale being used to lock us all down and launch great swathes of socialist fiscal policy, but is it the real reason?

Official statistics show that about 5% of people who catch the dreaded Chinese lurgy will die. 5% mortality rate is quite an alarming number. But is it accurate? Well, no, it is a lie.

According to Prof Walter Ricciardi, scientific adviser to Italy’s minister of health [..] Italy’s death rate may also appear high because of how doctors record fatalities.

“The way in which we code deaths in our country is very generous in the sense that all the people who die in hospitals with the coronavirus are deemed to be dying of the coronavirus.

“On re-evaluation by the National Institute of Health, only 12 per cent of death certificates have shown a direct causality from coronavirus, while 88 per cent of patients who have died have at least one pre-morbidity – many had two or three,” he says.

(h/t Sarah Lee at Red State)

In plain English, this means that of the people who caught COVID-19 and subsequently died, only 12% of them actually died from COVID-19. The other 88% died from pre-existing conditions and just happened to have COVID-19…it may have made them more unwell than they already were, but they were already vulnerable due to their underlying health conditions and ANY extra illness could have had the same effect.

So, only 12% of people who catch COVID-19 and subsequently die can have their deaths attributed to COVID-19. Let’s use round numbers to make this a bit easier and call it 10% or one tenth. This means the mortality rate from catching COVID-19 isn’t 5%, but 0.5%, which makes it roughly what you would expect from a bad flu season, especially one where a new strain is prevalent and people haven’t grown an immunity yet.

But as the saying goes “never let a good crisis go to waste”. (This is widely attributed to Rahm Emanuel, due to him saying it while Chief Of Staff to the worst President in American history, Barack Obama, but it has been used by many people before and after him, so he doesn’t really deserve all the credit for it)

Those who would push for control are using this crisis incredibly well. New South Wales and Victoria have effectively placed their states under house arrest with a very limited list of reasons why you can go outside, with almost identical rules in both states:

Under the order, “a person must not, without reasonable excuse, leave the person’s place of residence”.

The NSW Government Gazette lists acceptable excuses as: obtaining food or other goods and services; travelling for work or education if the person cannot do it at home; exercise; and medical or caring reasons.

In addition, the order directs that people must not gather in groups of more than two people in public places, exceptions include: gatherings of members of the same household, and gatherings essential for work or education.

(h/t Nadine Morton at The Canberra Times)

There has been video of police forcing people to leave parks and other public places, even if they were keeping their distance from each other. Jog in a park? OK, unless it’s a group. Sit in a park? Naughty, prison for you!

Prison? Why, yes. Back to Nadine’s article:

NSW residents face up to six months in jail and a $11,000 fine if they leave their home without a “reasonable excuse” after tough new restrictions started on Tuesday.

Here’s a question worth asking. If you own more than one property, does it matter which one you choose to isolate yourself in? Apparently it does…of course, because the socialist model confines you to the zone which is assigned to you.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr has labelled anybody considering heading to the South Coast as ”extraordinarily selfish” in the current health emergency, even if they have a holiday home there.

(h/t Ian Bushnell at The RiotACT)

The ACT Chief Minister goes on with some tortured logic about south coast hospitals not having the capacity to deal with extra people, but that makes no sense given the almost national state of house arrest applies to healthy people as well as the sick, and people are being urged to keep away from each other to avoid the Chinese Bioweapon spreading further, so it actually makes sense for people to get out of a city with a dense population and spread out around the country if they can. But what does logic matter when the socialist dictators are in charge and the masses have been trained to go along with whatever authoritarian dictate are handed down to remove their liberties. The comments on that article are almost entirely in agreement with Barr, and denouncing anyone who has a differing viewpoint.

But, all of these people believe that by following the authoritarian dictates, they are saving lives. They don’t know the truth of the statistics which I noted above, and even if they were told they either wouldn’t care or wouldn’t believe it, but the socialist Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews certainly knows the truth and isn’t letting a good crisis go to waste. He is being careful with his statements so that if people realise the truth, he can’t, in months ahead, be accused of claiming this was all about saving lives.

In order to avoid the distressing scenes we now are seeing around the world, National Cabinet has agreed to significant new restrictions on public gatherings and will also enforce that where people can stay at home, they must stay at home.

(Statement by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, 30 March 2020)

It’s not about saving lives, it’s about preventing hurt feelings. This is the same argument the socialists have used against freedom of speech. But if the bar for action is as low as hurt feelings, there’s is no end to the actions governments can take and how authoritarian they can become.

Take a look at Western Australia for a clue as to what is coming next:

From midnight Tuesday, West Australians will no longer be allowed to move around the state unless considered an essential worker.

The state will operate more like nine small countries, with random checkpoints and roadblocks at the borders of each zone.

Anyone caught crossing borders without a valid reason will be fined $1000.

(h/t 7News.com.au)

The great socialist model of giving everyone a zone and making them stay there unless the state gives them authority to move. At the moment it’s a few zones within states, but why do you think houses in cities are being torn up and replaced with apartment complexes where the bottom couple of floors are business space? Because once enough people are in blocks where the shops and businesses they need are all within walking distance, they can be forced to stay within their little zone. Make the roads harder to use by increasing petrol taxes, incentivising electric vehicles with seriously limited range, and making public transport seem more attractive in comparison (all of those trams running through corridors of apartment blocks, hmmm) and suddenly the state has control over where people go. First, by encouraging people to travel how the state wants them to travel, and then later once enough people are on-board to cheerlead, so to speak, the choices start to get removed.

But in order for any socialist scheme like this to work, people need to be dependent on something from the state, that way if people don’t comply, they can have that thing removed…the threat of which will keep most in line. The most obvious thing is income. Australia is already working on banning cash, with the limit on cash transactions being brought down to $10,000 already, and now stores are being encouraged to not accept cash because it might be dirty and carry the dreaded Chinese Bioweapon. When transactions are all electronic, the state can see everything, and it’s a short step to controlling everything. The federal government has talked about expanding the trial of a cashless welfare card to a national rollout for all government welfare recipients. The cashless welfare card allows the government to control what you can spend your money on, with the majority of the card’s contents being locked down to “essential items”.

One of the effects of the great panic over the Chinese Bioweapon COVID-19 is that the economy is slowing down and people are losing their jobs. As a result, people are turning to the government for financial assistance. The JobSeeker allowance has been doubled and all requirements to look for work while receiving it have been cancelled, making it rather attractive to just not work. But to receive that, you have to apply for it. There’s a more insidious plan being implemented which will make most working Australians dependent on a government income without having any say over it…the JobKeeper allowance. This is a $1,500 per fortnight payment which will be made to employees through their employers. The employer is the one that applies for it if they have seen a reduction in revenue this year, and uses it to subsidise the pay of all of their employees (the employees have no say in it). It’s supposed to be a short-term measure to keep people employed and allow businesses to close temporarily without having to fire everyone, however the tricky detail is that if an employee was earning less than $1,500 per fortnight before the JobKeeper allowance came in to existence, they must be paid the full allowance, meaning they get a pay rise from it.

So, here we have people out of work having their pay doubled and not even having to look for work, and people on low incomes getting a pay rise. It is unfathomable that these measures will be temporary. There would be riots if, in six months time, the government turns around and cuts pay rates back to their old levels. This is dependence by design. It might get scaled back slightly, but it won’t go away completely.

Now, think about this in terms of control. If the government puts in place a system where people who don’t work get $1,000 per fortnight and people in work have the first $1,500 per fortnight of their pay come from the government, we effectively have a Universal Basic Income, and all of a sudden the government has much more control over everyone as they have the ability to punish people for non-compliance by reducing or removing the government-paid portion of their income. To fund this type of system, taxes have to increase to extraordinary levels, making it not very worthwhile to try to earn more than what the government is paying, meaning that for most people they will get what the government is paying and very little else, and therefore be beholden to the dictates of the government, lest their income be halved for non-compliance.

Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote “they who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety” is especially apt. The left, of course, recognises the fundamental truth in this saying is a threat to their desire for dictatorial control over everything and thus has tried to claim in recent years that Franklin meant the opposite of what he said, which is complete nonsense of course.

The writing is on the wall as our society seems to be welcoming the promise of safety by giving up liberty. In the end, they will get neither. It might be too late to turn the tide back towards liberty right now, and indeed I fear we are headed for a dreadful era of authoritarian socialism and mass misery, but every little bit of pushback and consistent argument for liberty now will have some small impact now, and help to make it easier to return to a liberated society in times ahead, reducing the duration of the tyranny.

Liberty is well-worth the fight.

Samuel

Add comment April 1st, 2020 at 01:03am

You already know your phone is spying on you. The Chinese Bioweapon has presented all new “justifications” for the spying.

It’s no secret that smartphones are an incredible data collection tool used for all manner of spying. Most of the time the spying is by people who want to sell you things, but increasingly governments are finding uses for the amazing tracking device in your pocket, usually within some sort of legal constraint. The Chinese Bioweapon COVID-19 has given them new “justifications” for this spying, and it’s increasing almost as exponentially as the virus is spreading.

From Aaron Kesel at Activist Post:

All over the world, starting with China – the suspected origin of the COVID-19 outbreak – governments are increasing surveillance of citizens using their smartphones. The trend is taking off like wildfire; in China citizens now require a smartphone application’s permission to travel around the country and internationally.

The application is AliPay by Ant Financial, the finance affiliate controlled by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. co-founder Jack Ma, and Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat. Citizens now require a green health code to travel, Yahoo News reported.

China isn’t the only country looking towards smartphones to monitor their citizens; Israel and Poland have also implemented their own spying to monitor those suspected or confirmed to be infected with the COVID-19 virus. Israel has gone the more extreme route, and has now given itself authority to surveil any citizen without a court warrant. Poland on the other hand is requiring those diagnosed with COVID-19 ordered to self-isolate to send authorities a selfie using an app. Which, if Poles don’t respond back in 20 minutes with a smiling face, they risk a visit from police, Dailymail reported.

Singapore has asked citizens to download an app which uses Bluetooth to track whether they’ve been near anyone diagnosed with the virus; and Taiwan, although not using a smartphone, has introduced “electronic fences” which alert police if suspected patients leave their homes.

Meanwhile, here in the U.S. as reported by the Washington Post, smartphones are being used by a variety of companies to “anonymously” collect user data and track if social distancing orders are being adhered to. Beyond that, the mobile phone industry is discussing how to monitor the spread of COVID-19. If that’s not enough, as this author reported for The Mind Unleashed, the government wants to work with big social tech giants like Google, Facebook, and others, to track the spread of COVID-19.

[..]

As Activist Post previously wrote while discussing the increase of a police surveillance state, these measures being put into place now will likely remain long after the pandemic has stopped and the virus has run its course. That’s the everlasting effect that COVID-19 will have on our society. The coronavirus is now classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, and it may very well be a legitimate health concern for all of us around the world. But it’s the government’s response that should worry us all more in the long run.

Yes, I think Aaron is right. For those of us who value our privacy, this should prompt a long-overdue stocktake of what information we are making readily available. This doesn’t just mean thinking about what our smartphones know about us, but also what social media and tech giants know as well, and where they’re storing it.

I, for one, moved my email away from Google a few years ago to a service which is not owned or connected with any of the tech giants. First to my web hosting provider VentraIP, then later to Fastmail (an Australian company with a good privacy policy) because I found the functionality more of a match to what I had become accustomed to with Google. But right there is the dilemma. For most of us, we accept the loss of some of our privacy because we’re paid with convenience and functionality. I haven’t logged in to my Google account in years and don’t miss it as there isn’t any functionality provided by the account that is too valuable to me or can’t be replaced elsewhere, and I am slowly changing my search habits to use DuckDuckGo instead of Google where possible, but am very immersed in the Facebook and Apple ecosystems and can be sure both are tracking me across the web. Facebook is a worry, but apart from dog photos I don’t put much personal information on there these days so at least I’m limiting the damage somewhat, but could certainly be doing more.

Going back to the point, surveillance around the Bioweapon outbreak, I feel sorry for the people in Poland who are being told to send in selfies whenever the app demands them. I’d rather have the police knock on my door occasionally than deal with an app like that.

Is Australia heading down that path? Well, the Australian government has released a Coronavirus app full of “official information”. I’d be willing to bet it has more features than that and the potential the help enforce a lockdown, or at least the ability to monitor locations. I’m certainly not downloading the app.

There has also been information released by the telephone companies and the advertising companies which use your phone’s location data, about the number of people they are noticing using mobile data in public areas. This, apparently, provides a bit of a snapshot of how many people are staying at home and how many people are going out a bit less than or as much as previously. Undoubtedly this type of data can be used in (the very very near, such as later this week or next week) future to work out if people are congregating in groups, and track exactly who those people are and direct official uniformed people to them wherever they may go. Unfortunately phone location data is not particularly accurate when it comes to this level of tracking as it’s only really accurate down to a few metres, so the fact that you show up in the general vicinity of other people doesn’t prove much as it lacks any context about the reason for you being in your location, but in these times could put you in a position of having to justify a perfectly legal and innocent act. So much for innocent until proven guilty. To use a phrase common in US courts, the data is more prejudicial than probative.

For this reason I have taken the simple step of turning off the location services in my phone’s settings. This means the best that can be done is tracking my location is working out which cell tower or wifi access point I was connected to. This can give a general impression of movements within kilometres for phone towers and dozens of metres for wifi access points, but not exact locations. And as I only use wifi at home and work, this is a good enough effort at preventing suspicious minds from snooping too closely and making baseless accusations about my movements and activities.

If we get to a proper lockdown (and we’re certainly getting there) and uniformed officials observe me doing something they think is not acceptable under the rules, I’m fine with them challenging me in person, but I won’t stand for automated accusation based on dodgy location data.

Samuel

Add comment March 30th, 2020 at 07:01am

A new COVID-19-based global tyranny is being blindly welcomed by the masses

Of all of the ways I thought we could lose our freedoms, a response to a virus outbreak is not one that I considered to be very likely. But here we are. Welcome to 2020.

COVID-19 is clearly a serious illness. There is no treatment (or at least nothing publicly available, while there are stories of treatments being tested or being ready and suppressed for whatever reason, depending on where you look) and the effects it has on respiratory systems of people who get it can be quite horrendous and even lethal in the worst cases. I’m getting this out of the way now because I don’t want this post to come across as an attempt to claim the virus is nothing to worry about. Clearly there is something to be concerned about.

At the same time it’s important to not let fear paralyse us or push us in to doing silly things. The fact is most people who catch COVID-19 get very mild symptoms which are no worse than the flu, and make a full recovery in a short time. Just like every other virus, a good immune system is incredibly helpful in fighting it.

The numbers, as I write this, show 645,158 people in the world are known to have caught COVID-19, and 29,951 of those people have died from it. That’s just under a 5% fatality rate. 139,550 people have recovered (just over 21%). Of the 475,657 remaining people who currently have it, 450,939 (95%) have a mild case, and 24,718 (5%) have a serious case. The pattern here is very clear: 95% of people who catch this virus get a mild case and recover, while 5% develop a serious case and die.

A 5% death rate is very high compared to the flu which has a death rate of about 0.1%. However the flu seems to spread faster and further than COVID-19, with between 340,000,000 and 1,000,000,000 people believed to catch the flu each year, compared to only 645,158 people globally in the last three months. We are seeing exponential growth in numbers of COVID-19 cases, so maybe the spread will be similar in time, but the indications are that it will last for one season and have much less spread and impact in future years as people who catch it seem to become immune to it after recovering.

Over the last many decades we have seen many pandemics come and go over a season, with many deaths and even more fear-mongering in the media and from various official government and health groups, but on each of those occasions most people got on with their lives, and the next year the virus in question was still around but in much smaller numbers. The fact is, when a lot of people catch a new virus, their immune systems adapt to it quickly, giving the virus very little time to mutate, therefore reducing the rate of spread after an initial spike in cases. This is why all of those flu strains hyped by the media over the last couple of decades are given absolutely no attention now…they still exist, but people have enough immunity to it that when they catch it, they are able to fight it effectively enough to keep it down to a mild case.

And yet, for some reason with this pandemic we are being fed fantastic Orwellian phrases such as being told to “flatten the curve” by “social distancing”, which is supposed to mean that if we all keep a couple metres away from each other and live under virtual house arrest, the rate of increase in cases will “flatten”. The graphs which are used to demonstrate this show the same number of people getting the virus no matter what, but it just happens over a longer period of time if the “curve is flattened”. Ostensibly this supposed to reduce the death rate by having fewer people in hospital at any given time. But this makes no sense given that there is currently no treatment so being in hospital is probably not helping people who have caught this virus, and makes even less sense when you consider that the longer the virus has to reach bodies which have immune systems which are unfamiliar with it, the more time it has to mutate and re-infect people who are immune to the original strain.

Some people are under the incorrect impression that this “social distancing” and the complete house arrest which is happening in some places and looming in others, will kill off COVID-19 completely if it’s done for a few weeks, but the information from the organisations pushing the “social distancing” message is the opposite of that (just as many people will get it over a longer period of time), and an analysis of how that would play out in reality shows that more people who get it and the virus would mutate and give us multiple strains to deal with. So why are we being told to keep away from each other and having our freedoms taken away when it is probably the more lethal option?

The answer seems to come from the very point that we are losing our freedoms. Even worse, much of our society is embracing and cheerleading the loss of freedoms and liberty, and actively encouraging others to go along with it. My phone carrier (Telstra) has even updated its network ID name on customers’ phones to show that it’s a caring corporation (ooh! Orwell would be aghast at how much influence he had) or some such nonsense by changing the display to a Directive By Hashtag “Telstra #StayHome”. Thankfully I don’t recognise the authority of a phone company to tell me what my travel habits should be.

We’re all being told that restrictions on our freedoms are temporary and will go away when the virus subsides. That might be true, but that time won’t come soon and restrictions will become more onerous before they are relaxed, and the longer they are in place, the easier it will be to not relax them. Excuses such as “we need a staged return to normal to ease people back in to work” or “we need to keep sensible protections in place to continue to limit the spread of the virus” are very likely. And the longer we live with the restrictions, the easier they will be to reimplement down the line as they can be sold as “we did it before and we must do it again for the good of (insert next panic here)” which can then turn in to “we need to keep the restrictions in place to avoid more (insert Government-Speak for panic here)”.

Given the restrictions which are being put in place make minimal sense for the situation, it’s hard to tell if this is a dry run for taking away freedom in the future. Certainly, a lot has been learned about how people respond to having their freedoms taken away, and I’m probably getting myself put on a “dangerous person who is non-compliant and wants people to think for themselves” list just by writing this, which bodes poorly for me if we get full-blown restrictions in the future. The fact that so many people can be convinced very easily to voluntarily give up their freedoms, and are doing so with glee is a dreadful indictment of a society which has forgotten what it is like to not have freedom, and why people fought and died to secure it. Or maybe this is the real deal in taking away freedoms and not a dry run. Freedoms are only ever successfully taken away slowly and piece by piece, which could be why we didn’t all just get placed in house arrest on Day 1, and instead there seems to be a build-up towards it.

What does our authoritarian future look like? Andrew Korybko at One World Press provides a very good summary:

COVID-19 has fundamentally changed life as we know it, and it’s more than likely that our future will be a dystopian one given how various governments have already responded to this viral outbreak. The skeptics among us are fearful that this whole pandemic is overblown and being exploited as a smokescreen for stealing our freedoms, and while their attitude towards this disease is questionable (and quite possibly dangerous), their suspicion about a government takeover of society is warranted. Never before have governments had so much power over the people, though in these emergency conditions, that might not be an entirely bad thing for the time being seeing as how it could very well be necessary for our survival. The problem, however, is that these newly assumed powers probably won’t be voluntarily surrendered after this epidemic ends, which is why many people are so concerned. They’re convinced that we’ve suddenly entered a period of global dictatorship, and it’s difficult to argue with them. So much else is also changing as well, and it’s hard to keep up with the “COVID World Order” that’s been thrust upon us, but what follows is an attempt to briefly describe everything that’s already taken place and predict what will probably follow:

* De-Facto Martial Law…:

There’s no other way to describe both the “recommended” and mandatory quarantines that many in the world are experiencing than to call them what they are, a state of de-facto martial law, which isn’t being formally declared in order to not provoke any more panic than there already is.

* …Is The “New Normal”:

Now that de-facto martial law of a seemingly indefinite period has been accepted by the people (whether willingly or begrudgingly), it’ll probably become the “new normal” and be implemented countless times in the future, be it as an “overabundance of caution” in the event of another outbreak or under any other pretext.

* Social Media Censorship Will Intensify:

“Big Brother” is already here, but he’s going to become a bigger bully than ever before by intensifying his censorship of people’s social media posts on the basis that they’re “socially irresponsible” (e.g. questioning the seriousness of this disease), after which the “politically incorrect” net will widen to encompass other topics too.

* Travel Will Never Be The Same Again:

Domestic and international travel will never be the same again, with internal restrictions on movement likely becoming commonplace and most foreign guests being required to self-quarantine for a period of time except in special circumstances, thus all but killing the global tourism industry.

* Border Control Will Become More Robust:

Gone are the days of so-called “open borders” where anyone can freely move between jurisdictions at will (whether legally or otherwise), with more stringent controls being put into place to protect the local population from outsiders (including their own compatriots from elsewhere in the country).

* Mandatory Vaccines Are Coming:

For whatever one thinks about vaccines, there’s probably no way to stop them from becoming mandatory after the COVID-19 pandemic, with it being predicted that people will have to prove that they’ve been vaccinated in order to do anything at all such as study, work, travel, and receive government benefits.

* Remote Learning & Working Will Increase:

With so many people stuck at home and unable to leave except to purchase essential goods in most cases, it’s predictable that remote learning and working (the latter which will of course be for those whose jobs allow them to do so) will pick up in the coming future as society gets used to this way of doing things.

* 5G Is Inevitable:

The massive surge of online traffic from folks who are learning, working, or simply entertaining themselves online will necessitate the rapid roll-out of 5G technology despite what some people suspect are its serious health concerns.

* Society Depends On Just A Few Jobs To Function:

The “new normal” of de-facto martial law has made many people realize that society really just depends on a few jobs in order to continue functioning at the bare minimum, with these being techies, grocery store and pharmacy employees, bank clerks, healthcare professionals, food service workers, farmers, and truckers.

* Nationalization Might Be Imminent:

For better or for worse, governments across the world might go on a nationalization spree in order to take control of what they regard as “essential industries” (though whether some of them truly are or not is another story), which could lead to the informal imposition of either socialist or fascist economic models.

* “Universal Basic Income”:

Given the scale and scope of the global economic collapse that was catalyzed by the world’s uncoordinated response to COVID-19, it’s foreseeable that governments will unveil what’s been described as a “universal basic income” in order to ensure that their people can continue to at least purchase basic goods and services.

* Mandatory Medical Training In Exchange For Government Benefits:

Medical training is arguably more important than military service nowadays, so the state will probably make it mandatory in schools from here on out and for anyone who wants to receive government benefits, thereby enabling the government to draft them in the future whenever there’s a dearth of healthcare professionals.

* Say Goodbye To Cash:

The cashless society is coming, whether justified by the (real, false, or exaggerated) fear that lethal viruses can be spread by paper currency or as the government’s preferred method of dispersing its “universal basic income”, meaning that the authorities can cut folks off from their funds at any time that they want to.

———-

There’s no guarantee that everything that was described above will come to pass, but there’s certainly a high likelihood that at least some of it will transpire with time, though it’ll remain to be seen how sustainable these socio-economic and political changes are and whether or not they can ever be reversed.

I don’t normally copy/paste full articles, but in these times of mass censorship of material which doesn’t toe the line, it is important to keep a copy of this here in case the source site gets blocked or taken down.

Looking at the restrictions which are being proposed, are already here, and are likely to come soon, one has to conclude that the Chinese Communists would be happy to see what is going on and could very well be behind the whole thing. Don’t forget, COVID-19 is a Chinese virus. It started in China. The Chinese government did everything in its power to ensure it rapidly spread beyond China (constant disinformation about it being “under control” and suppression of information about its spread within the country), while being aided and abetted by foreign governments (which all owe China gazillions of dollars) refusing to turn away or even screen people coming in from China, while the World Health Organisation placated the masses by praising China’s response to the virus.

Through enormous debts, China effectively owns most governments in the world. Through economic fallout making it harder for countries to meet their debt obligations, it puts China in an even more powerful position. It really doesn’t matter whether China manufactured COVID-19 as a bioweapon, or it naturally occurred and China took advantage of it by treating it like a bioweapon, the types of controls being put in place almost uniformly around the world are draconian and what you would expect from a community government such as the Chinese government, not governments in free and democratic countries. The economic fallout alone is enough to give China more power over how our governments work, and the fact people are giving up their freedoms and increasingly looking to government to solve their problems (there are even businesses which, rather than just making a decision, are pleading with the government to tell them to close) is incredibly scary. That people don’t seem to realise that something like a “universal basic income” couple with an end to cash would hand even more control over to the government to decide what can and can’t be bought and sold, and by whom, is the true start of a Chinese style Social Credit Score. And then a quick check of the behaviour of people to cheerlead the loss of freedom and “dob in” people who aren’t excited by a loss of freedom, is a sure sign that people are already taking part in a Social Credit Score system without the points being calculated, and will cheerfully welcome it when it is fully implemented, not knowing the horrors which await in years to come.

Freedom and liberty are under assault. The COVID-19 Chinese Bioweapon is the latest salvo and it has been very effective. Communism and tyranny are on the horizon. And nobody cares.

Those of us who do care about liberty are in for a tough time, maybe for many years, but I have confidence that given enough time and tyranny, people will rise up and freedoms will be restored. What happens between now and then will be the tough bit.

Samuel

1 comment March 29th, 2020 at 06:34am

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

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

Previous Posts


@Samuel_SGS on Twitter

Recent Comments

Categories

Canberra Weather

Search Blog or Web

Links

Feeds

Login/Logout


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