Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category
Definitely a contest worth entering:
Introducing ‘The President Erdogan Offensive Poetry Competition’ – £1000 prize to be won.
Nobody should be surprised that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has instituted effective blasphemy laws to defend himself from criticism in Turkey. But many of us had assumed that these lèse-majesté laws would not yet be put in place inside Europe. At least not until David Cameron succeeds in his long-held ambition to bring Turkey fully into the EU. Yet here we are. Erdogan’s rule now already extends to Europe.
At the end of last month, during a late-night comedy programme, a young German comedian called Jan Böhmermann included a poem that was rude about Erdogan. Incidentally the point of Mr Böhmermann’s skit was to highlight the obscenity of Turkey already trying to censor satire in Germany.
What happened next happened in swift order. First of all the Turks complained to their German counterparts. Within a few days the programme had been pulled. A few more days and it was whitewashed out of existence altogether. In the meantime Mr Böhmermann himself was forced to go under police protection. The worst blow then came late last week when Chancellor Merkel allowed the prosecution of Mr Böhmermann to go ahead in Germany. Strangely enough, Chancellor Merkel is currently pretending that the trial of a German comedian in Germany for insulting a foreign despot is a liberal act.
Please submit all entries to [email protected], under the heading ‘The President Erdogan Offensive Poetry Competition’. The winning poem will be announced by 23 June.
via Andrew Bolt:
Antigone’s brave stance for Justice and Nature against unjust human laws is what electrified me. We in the Western world live in days of mad, accelerating, and bewildering change. A same-sex couple is the same as a man and a woman; male and female is an illusion; an unborn baby has a right to life only when her mother grants her that right; children may be taken from their natural parents for the gratification of adults; and anyone who opposes these schemes may, for their intolerance and bigotry, be ridiculed, sacked, fined, imprisoned, and, most sinister by far, re-educated.
At this time when the laws of nature and basic justice are conscientiously unravelled and suppressed, Antigone’s defiance makes the heart swell. “I was not like, who feared no mortal’s frown, To disobey these laws, and so provoke the wrath of Heaven.”
As the storm-clouds of social change gather and loom, here is Sophocles’ ancient and potent inspiration for all those who stand, whether in the Christian tradition or not, for Nature and Justice. Seeing that we must die, we had best do so, in this awesome battle, faithful and brave.
From a longer article by Campbell Markham at MercatorNet.
Walmart as an example:
“… while the company’s revenues seem high, Walmart’s profit margin is far from fat: a mere 3 percent. The company has billions in expenses every year—so significant that in a 31-day month, all its sales in the first 30 days go toward paying expenses. Only on the 31st day does the company actually turn a profit, assuming nothing goes wrong during that month—like an unexpected jump in wages.
Just like any other firm, Walmart employs individuals who will earn the company revenue. After pay increases early this year, the average full-time Walmart employee will earn $13.38 per hour, well above the industry average of $10.29. With other benefits, including short-term disability and paid time off, the company’s actual cost per employee is significantly higher.
That Walmart pays an average of $13.38 an hour plus benefits means it expects the average employee to earn the company more than that amount. While a jump in pay of just a few dollars may seem trivial, for a company that employs 1.4 million domestic employees, it is positively massive. This is not to mention the additional costs associated with taxes paid for each employee. With such thin profit margins, Walmart cannot afford to ignore these costs.
As the cost of employing workers increases, Walmart has to decide whether its current workforce is worth the price. For example, if a worker’s hourly wage plus benefits is $30 per hour, but he or she generates only $25 in revenue, the company loses money for every hour the employee works. Under those circumstances, it would benefit the company and its shareholders to lay off workers. It has nothing to do with “corporate greed.” It’s business. Firms can’t operate at a loss.”
It really is simple. If the government forces employers to pay workers more than those workers make for the company, the company will either stop employing them or go broke. There’s no point whining about reality. No one owes you a job. If you don’t want to work for yourself, get a job by proving to an employer that you will make more than you cost.
I have pretty much gotten to the point that whenever I see news of a hate crime committed against blacks, gays or muslims I assume it is a hoax.
There is a long. Very long. And growing. List of hate crimes that featured in the mainstream media and were subsequently shown to be false.
A Syrian refugee has admitted to setting fire to a German shelter where he was staying, spray-painting swastikas on the walls to make it look like a political crime. The asylum seeker said the arson attack was in response to poor conditions at the shelter.
I guess he was used to much better food and accommodation at home ….
And no, this doesn’t speak to a larger truth. Lies don’t. They are just lies.
Two articles from the Financial Review, both warning about Australia’s debt levels.
The first about the National Australia Bank’s concern that further debt increases will risk Australia’s AAA credit rating – meaning higher interest rates, and a less attractive business and investment environment, which in turn means higher unemployment and lower tax revenues.
Treasurer Scott Morrison says the coming budget will ensure the government lives within its means: “It means you don’t make promises for which there is no money. It means that you keep your expenditure control tight”
All well and good, but the NAB is not convinced, and neither am I.
“However, NAB’s Mr Jolly expressed unease that the looming federal election and next month’s budget may see both sides of politics ease up on budget repair efforts to maximise votes.
He also pointed out that debt levels are well above the average of the past 36 years, hitting 15 per cent of GDP last year and on the way to 18 per cent over the next two years. That’s about three times greater than the last time S&P cut the credit rating to AA in 1989.
Mr Jolly said that keeping the ratings agencies happy would require demonstrating “ongoing restraint”, thereby continuing the likely drag on economic growth of recent years.
“With a general election at some point over the next six months, where the government and opposition will be releasing policy initiatives and making promises, a question for investors is whether fiscal restraint will continue.”
In January, S&P warned that Australia’s AAA rating was based on an expectation of ongoing budget restraint that would result in “consistently narrowing deficits over the forecast horizon, maintaining the general government debt near or below current levels”.
The agency cautioned that there was a need for “strong” government savings to offset the exposure caused the offshore borrowings of Australia’s banks.”
Then there are similar concerns expressed by Forbes Magazine, which says Australia is the second most likely country in the world to suffer a debt crisis within the next three years. The most likely is China. And of course, if China suffers a debt crisis, it won’t be buying our resources, which means we will be in trouble too. If China falters, so do we.
We just cannot afford generous welfare schemes or refugee resettlement programmes, or health and education systems to which those who benefit directly make no meaningful contribution, nor trendy but pointless projects like fast rail systems. We must return to a system where those most in need are cared for, and at the same time, every member of society is expected to make a contribution.
This triangle of truisms, of father, mother and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilisations which disregard it.
A photo of the War Memorial in Adelaide, taken by my friend the Honourable Peter Lewis, former Speaker of the South Australian House of Assembly. The description is Peter’s words.
“An amazing moment when it is possible to see the brilliance of the Designer & Creator of such wondrous things. The Grand Geometrician of the Universe inspired the designing architect to make this amazing sight possible twice a year for ~8 days, just after the March equinox & ~8 days just before the September equinox at about the same time every day ~16:15hrs plus or minus a minute or two, depending on where you stand & how high you hold the camera hand piece.
The Vision of Glory is made possible by placing the Memorial on the site at 45° to due North (or due West) & far enough back from the northwest Corner of Kintore Ave/Gawler Plc with North Terrace, such that you can stand on/near the footpath and look at the head of the Angel to see the glorious energy of the beams of sunlight coming through the the sculpted open space around the Head, as though to give us a message from God that all things are noticed & known to the Almighty who provides understanding, succour & compassion to those prepared to make the effort to fight for righteousness, freedom & responsibility and whose choice in Service was to take the risk of having to make the Supreme Sacrifice, just as did the Son of God for us.
This was taken on my Samsung Galaxy 4. Notice that when you zoom in you can see the Angel’s head & how clear the image is of the scholar, farmer & nurse are, as they heed the responsibility confronting them.”
Just a little comment on Peter’s words. In most cases the farmers and nurses are still taking their responsibility seriously. I am not so sure about the scholars.
It is pretty clear now that Donald Trump will not get the required number of delegates to win the Republican nomination. There will be a contested convention. At this stage, although he has a majority of delegates, less than 40% of votes have gone to Trump, and a disturbing (for the GOP) proportion of people in the street say they will not vote for him if he is nominated, regardless of who he chooses as running mate, or of who the Democrat candidate is.
I like Trump, but I also said months ago that the only way the Republicans could lose the election was to choose Trump as their candidate. If the GOP has any sense, and I am hoping they still have some, they will choose someone else. Who?
Cruz is a viable option, but not likely to get the numbers at a convention, though I wouldn’t mind if he did. The likelihood now is that something completely unprecedented will occur, and that someone who has not participated in the primaries will end up as the nominee.
Nikki Haley has shown herself a courageous and competent politician. She does not bow to popular opinion. She is consistently conservative on social issues, and sensible on economic policy. Foreign policy is important, and that is an area where she lacks experience. But it is also an area where good advice counts and is available. Character, intelligence, experience and energy all matter more. Nikki Haley is a woman and the child of immigrant parents. Those things should not count, only who will do the best job for the US and the world, but they do count with voters and it is silly to pretend otherwise.
So Nikki for president! But who should she choose as VP? Well, Cruz, of course. Stacked up against either Clinton or Sanders, both bottom of the barrel candidates, Haley/Cruz would be an winning combination electorally, and an outstanding mixture of character, skills and knowledge in office.
The answer, Miranda, is none.
I was a great admirer of Frank Devine. One of Australia’s greatest newspaper men, a person of imagination and integrity, and a superb writer.
His daughter Miranda is an insightful and intelligent woman, and also a talented writer. I rarely disagree with her. But Miranda Devine has lost the plot here:
“Newspoll revealed Abbott’s usurper Malcolm Turnbull had suffered his first defeat, with the Coalition trailing Labor by two points, 49 to 51 per cent.
The poll was manna from heaven to delusional conservatives. Abbott was circumspect when interviewed on 2GB yesterday morning. But the glee of the delcons knew no bounds.
The Newspoll is a “gamechanger”, they cried excitedly. It’s all over for Turnbull, the great “waffler”. He’s a “dud”! His challenge to state premiers to control their spending was a “humiliation”. He will lose the next election. Yay!
Yes, these are conservatives, willing a Liberal rout.”
No. Nope. There is no glee here. No will for a Liberal rout. There is just appalled despair.
I said at the time of the coup that this could not end well. People in the media and public life who supported Malcolm Turnbull were people who would never vote for him, because he is a Liberal. Ordinary Liberal Party supporters will not vote for him because he is not.
Already it is clear that those who supported Turnbull are being punished in their own electorates.
It is not that we “delcons” (and no we are not deluded, far from it!) want a Shorten victory. Shorten and the Labor Party have nothing to offer except more debt, more illegal immigrants in detention including children, more unemployment because of investment and industry moving overseas, and less credibility in international relations. No one in his or her right mind wants that.
But the social conservatives and economic libertarians who make up the Liberal Party membership do not see a party led by Turnbull as being significantly different in philosophy or outcome. What moves us is what we believe is best for Australia, for Australian society, for ordinary men, women and families, and what will help us to be the best citizens we can be on the world stage. That does not include Mr Turnbull. Nor does it include Mr Shorten and any renewed Green/Labor alliance.
And no, we are not stupid. We know putting Tony Abbott back in the leadership, much as many of us respected him and would like to see him back at some time, will not solve the problem. Nor will any change of leadership prior to the election.
Turnbull will take the party to the next election. It will be a close run thing. None of us will delight in a Labor victory, should that occur.
Our local member, Jamie Briggs, voted for Abbott in the spill, and has done a good job for his electorate. Although there are matters on which he and I disagree (the ridiculous white elephant Kingscote airport project, for example), he has worked hard, and is a person of integrity. I will be happy to vote for him again. The senate, however, gives me an opportunity to send a message to the Liberal Party mandarins, without doing anything to endanger a renewal of sensible, business and family friendly policies. And that is to vote for the ALA, with preferences to the Liberals.
“How different then is that gentle, tentative sexuality between parent and child from the love of a paedophile and his/her lover?”
“Love, warmth, support and nurture is an important part of the paedophilic relationship.”
The author of these tributes to the beauty of ‘intergenerational love’ is Gary Dowsett, a professor at La Trobe University in Melbourne. He wrote those words, and many more in the same vein, in an article on ‘gay men and kids’ in a 1982 edition of a publication called Gay Information. Dowsett is a former schoolteacher now employed in La Trobe’s department of Sex, Health and Society, the nest of thinkers who gave us the Safe Schools Coalition.
Lest anyone think that Safe Schools is just the latest whim of an LGBTI establishment wanting to push its entitlements to the limit in a society which has lost its hitherto defining moral principles, Dowsett’s Gay Information article shows that initiatives of this sort are part a carefully thought out strategy, planned over the decades. Long before many of today’s advocates of gay ‘marriage’ and such novelties were born, the future professor was stating that:
…a new political position is needed for there are significant political struggles at stake. First, we have three legal/social questions to win: custody rights for gay men and lesbians; the legal right of paedophiles and their young lovers; and finally the sexual rights of children as a whole…
As with manifestos such as Mein Kampf, what ‘we’ intended to do could not have been spelled out more clearly for anyone who could be bothered to read it. This, of course, was back in the days when the ABC in its hippie mode was endorsing paedophilia as a ‘lifestyle choice’ and the fashionable LGBTI demand, the gay marriage of the day, was for the age of consent to be lowered to eleven.
For, women, it was nasty, brutish and short. An excerpt from an article by Tony Thomas on the Quadrant Magazine website.
Newly-arrived British and French were shocked at the local misogyny they encountered. First Fleeter Watkin Tench noticed a young woman’s head “covered by contusions, and mangled by scars”. She also had a spear wound above the left knee caused by a man who dragged her from her home to rape her. Tench wrote,
They (Aboriginal women) are in all respects treated with savage barbarity; condemned not only to carry the children, but all other burthens, they meet in return for submission only with blows, kicks and every other mark of brutality.
He also wrote,
When an Indian [sic] is provoked by a woman, he either spears her, or knocks her down on the spot; on this occasion he always strikes on the head, using indiscriminately a hatchet, a club, or any other weapon, which may chance to be in his hand.
Marine Lt. William Collins wrote, “We have seen some of these unfortunate beings with more scars upon their shorn heads, cut in every direction, than could be well distinguished or counted.”
Governor Phillip’s confidant, Bennelong, in 1790 had taken a woman to Port Jackson to kill her because her relatives were his enemies. He gave her two severe wounds on the head and one on the shoulder, saying this was his rightful vengeance.
Phillip was appalled that an Eora mother within a few days of delivery had fresh wounds on her head, where her husband had beaten her with wood.
In 1802 an explorer in the Blue Mountains wrote how, for a trivial reason, an Aboriginal called Gogy “took his club and struck his wife’s head such a blow that she fell to the ground unconscious. After dinner…he got infuriated and again struck his wife on the head with his club, and left her on the ground nearly dying.”
In 1825, French explorer Louis-Antoine de Bougainville wrote “young girls are brutally kidnapped from their families, violently dragged to isolated spots and are ravished after being subjected to a good deal of cruelty.”
George Robinson in Tasmania said in the 1830s that men courted their women by stabbing them with sharp sticks and cutting them with knives prior to rape. The men bartered their women to brutal sealers for dogs and food; in one case, such a woman voluntarily went back to the sealers rather than face further tribal violence.
Also in the 1830s, ex-convict Lingard wrote: “I scarcely ever saw a married woman, but she had got six or seven cuts in her head, given by her husband with a tomahawk, several inches in length and very deep.”
Explorer Edward John Eyre, who was very sympathetic towards Aborigines, nevertheless recorded:
Women are often sadly ill-treated by their husbands and friends…they are frequently beaten about the head, with waddies, in the most dreadful manner, or speared in the limbs for the most trivial offences…
…few women will be found, upon examination, to be free from frightful scars upon the head, or the marks of spear wounds about the body. I have seen a young woman, who, from the number of these marks, appeared to have been almost riddled with spear wounds.
Louis Nowra visited outback communities and found them astonishingly brutal: “Some of the women’s faces ended up looking as though an incompetent butcher had conducted plastic surgery with a hammer and saw. The fear in the women’s eyes reminded me of dogs whipped into cringing submission.”
Bashing of women’s heads appears to have been the custom for millennia. Paleopathologist Stephen Webb in 1995 published his analysis of 4500 individuals’ bones from mainland Australia going back 50,000 years. (Priceless bone collections at the time were being officially handed over to Aboriginal communities for re-burial, which stopped follow-up studies). Webb found highly disproportionate rates of injuries and fractures to women’s skulls, with the injuries suggesting deliberate attack and often attacks from behind, perhaps in domestic squabbles. In the tropics, for example, female head-injury frequency was about 20-33%, versus 6.5-26% for males. The most extreme results were on the south coast, from Swanport and Adelaide, with female cranial trauma rates as high as 40-44% — two to four times the rate of male cranial trauma. In desert and South Coast areas, 5-6% of female skulls had three separate head injuries, and 11-12% had two injuries.
… serious armed assaults were common in Australia over thousands of years prior to conquest. Settlers reported that sexual violence, including pack rapes and horrific genital wounding, was inflicted in many groups on girls barely out of the toddler stage.
Solicitor/historian Joan Kimm wrote: “The sexual use of young girls by older men, indeed often much older men, was an intrinsic part of Aboriginal culture, a heritage that cannot easily be denied.”
Even though our eyes are on the US presidential contest at the moment, this applies everywhere. Even in Australia.
8,000 refugee/asylum seeker children were placed in detention during the Labor/Green alliance governments of Gillard and Rudd. Some 1200 men, women and children lost at sea.
Now, for the first time in a decade, there is not a single child in detention on the Australian mainland. The last few, a baby, a toddler and a seventeen year old, left the Wickham Point detention centre in Darwin on Friday.
That is something worth celebrating!