Voting Rights

Seattle Schitty Council

A Seattle citizen, Robert Schwartz, asks for the panel of Seattle City councilors to pay some mind to what he had to say. They couldn’t be less interested. Then people wonder why establishment politicians are being booted out.

The irony is looking at what these councilors purportedly have oversight – human rights, community safety, gender equality. The citizen made a point in his speech how the council allowed Seattle Democrat Rep. Pramila Jayapal to speak for as long as she wished the previous week while all others were given one minute. Some animals are more equal than others animals…

As he rightly points out, it was a damning indictment.

Gladys Berijiklian wipes the floor with Michael Daley

Listening to the NSW Election debate, incumbent Premier Gladys Berijiklian wiped the floor with Opposition Leader Michael Daley. Daley’s opening remarks were well prepared but it was all down hill from there when it was impromptu.

Daley was short on figures on pretty much every issue. Berijiklian knew them off by heart. Schools, climate change spending, public assets, electricity costs, mental health, hospitals, tolls, unemployment, education, water etc etc. Daley mentioned numerous times in his answers that he needed to double check his figures. On TAFE spending he guessed $3 billion. In reality it is $64 million.

When asked for a show of hands over the contentious Allianz Stadium rebuild, the Penrith audience backed the Premier by around 2:1.

The Premier made the rebuild costings clear and pointed out they’ve been in the public domain for over 12 months. Daley didn’t even have clear costings on how much it would cost to renovate. At one point Berijiklian was telling him how much bringing up to meet building codes would be. One would think he’d be all over the numbers on an issue he has expressed much passion over. She said that the new stadium would cost the same as renovating the current one.

Whether 100 undecided voters influence the election is a moot point but Berijiklian was the clear winner. The end result. Of 100 undecided, 50 would vote for the Premier and only 25 for Michael Daley.

Watch out for the growing totalitarian technocracy

ZeroHedge (ZH) has been temporarily banned in Australia and New Zealand by telecom companies to “protect consumers”. ZH is a regular staple for CM. As written with respect to the Facebook ban of last week, ZH is hardly a site which encourages race baiting or inflammatory journalism.

So on what authority do these telecom providers we pay monthly rates to have a say on what we consume? CM is sure there is some fine print backing this move but it is a very worrying sign when corporates arbitrarily start enforcing their own sense of morality on the public. Welcome to the new world of arbitrary censorship. Who are they to judge what is deemed safe? Have they canvassed customers to see if they’re happy to cede control to corporate boardrooms?

They already have tabs on who actually downloaded the horrific Christchurch video? Surely a better gauge on how society is decaying or recovering by getting facts of such trends rather than threatening people with 10 year jail terms. Do people grow a conscience when told they maybe thrown behind bars?

Perhaps if we could confirm more people wanted to watch the full 17 minutes of this latest atrocity it might provide insights on how our value standards in the community have shifted. Is this driven by the increase in broken homes over time? Violent video games? Lenient judiciaries? The advent of sites like Tinder which seek to promote promiscuity?What is it? Slapping on tougher laws that don’t address the problem won’t solve anything other than feed more resentment. We should be careful what we wish for.

The overwhelming majority of us probably have no stomach to watch the NZ gore. So in some respects such people face no direct impact from the heavy hand but who is to say that in the future they won’t if the censors narrow the definition of what is deemed acceptable to them? We the public clearly have no say in the matter.

Maybe underground printed media will make a resurgence? Or will the state seize dissenters and lock them up in concentration camps for re-education. Conspiracy theory? It might sound far fetched now, but if we stay silent we should not be surprised when more freedoms get curtailed. Remember that comedian Count Dankula faced a 12 month jail term for posting a YouTube video teaching his girlfriend’s dog to do a Nazi salute. Poor humour perhaps but hardly an act which was designed to incite hate speech. Welcome to 2019.

Let these poor people grieve in peace!

Image result for canterbury crusaders

Now it seems that the Canterbury Crusaders rugby union team is getting pressure to change the name in the wake of the horrible events of last week in Christchurch. At what point will activists stop creating outrage where none had existed to date? Can they cite one incidence of the NZ Muslim community demanding the 9x Super Rugby champions change it for the sheer offence it triggered among them before this tragedy? No. Would rebranding it the Sultans help redress the balance in the eyes of these apparatchiks? Let these poor people grieve without this politically correct nonsense to deal with! Where is the compassion? Where is the respect? Stop politicizing this tragedy to grief signal.

There have been numerous atrocities caused against the Muslim community around the world and even then we never heard the Islamic councils in NZ  murmur a word against changing the name of a professional sports club. Probably suggests the majority were already well above such trivialities and probably didn’t see any relevance. All Blacks legend Sonny Bill Williams, who converted to Islam in 2009, played for the Crusaders in 2011. He did not raise any issues against the club based on his learnings. Surely he should have rejected the contract if he thought it would create a problem for his brothers and sisters. He didn’t. Although he did take exception to having Bank of NZ sponsorship displays on his uniform as it conflicted with his religious beliefs on institutions that charge interest. So he has proved he is across his subject matter. Are the activists?

Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge, posted on the team website the following.

Like all New Zealanders, the Crusaders team and organisation are deeply shocked by this tragedy and our thoughts are with the victims and their families. This is bigger than rugby and we’re absolutely heartbroken for our wider community, which is where our thoughts are.
 
In terms of the Crusaders name, we understand the concerns that have been raised. For us, the Crusaders name is a reflection of the crusading spirit of this community. What we stand for is the opposite of what happened in Christchurch on Friday; our crusade is one for peace, unity, inclusiveness and community spirit.
 
In our view, this is a conversation that we should have and we are taking on board all of the feedback that we are receiving, however, we also believe that the time for that is not right now. Emotions are very raw and real at the moment. There is the need for this community to wrap our support around those who are most affected by Friday’s events, and that is the immediate focus for the Crusaders team. At an appropriate time, we will thoroughly consider the issues that have been raised and our response to that. That will include conversations with a range of people, including our Muslim community.
 
This team and the wider organisation are united with our community in standing against such abhorrent acts as that which occurred on Friday in Christchurch, and in standing in support of our Muslim brothers and sisters.” 

CM truly hopes that the Crusaders hold the line and refuse to buy into this political pressure. Good on the CEO made these sensible remarks. The club has never pushed a narrative other than playing rugby. Why then must it being singled out for demonization like this? Are we to believe that there are no Crusaders rugby fans that happen to be Muslim? While the activists are at it perhaps the Newcastle Knights and St George Illawarra Dragons should remove these symbols of Christianity from their logos to show their solidarity across the ditch. How did devout Muslim Hazem El Masri ever play for the Canterbury Bulldogs given that canines are considered impure? Can the social justice warriors answer that? 

There is a strong betting that the NZ Muslim community won’t ask for a change in the name of the Crusaders when things settle down if and when it gets to such a conversation. One can be confident it will be so far down the list of priorities. Far more pressing issues to help with the healing process after this senseless act than meddling with a professional sports club.  

Grazie Mille?

German MEP Elmar Brok has apparently told German media that Nigel Farage has secured Deputy PM Matteo Salvini’s assurance that the Italians will block the plan to extend the Brexit deadline. All 27 EU nations must unilaterally agree to such terms. Nice to see one nation state honour the democracy of another.

Note that even left-leaning UK House of Commons speaker John Bercow has said that May’s mildly altered versions can’t be brought before the House again for another vote. He’s right. Nothing short of wholesale change would alter the current drubbings.

How quickly can Eurocrats back down to offer the deal they probably ought to have done in the beginning? Did the British public ask for a watered down relationship with the EU at the time they voted to leave? No.

Hopefully Farage’s plan works. Sad to see that it takes a foreign leader to uphold democracy in the UK than the very people elected to do so.

Or do we cynically need to consider the idea that the EU will cut Italy some generous concessions to vote with the herd. Although siding with the British forces much needed change within the EU which probably can achieve the same result.

The unhinged left

How deranged must Washington State law makers be to legislate against someone on the ballot paper? Surely voters can self determine whether tax returns are an election issue without having the state pass laws to try to prevent it. How scared should they be? The silly thing is that Hillary Clinton took 54% of the vote in Washington in 2016. Some 1.742mn votes. 500,000 more than Trump. That’s a healthy margin. Ironically the law would protect only those who wouldn’t vote for him in the first place.

One can be critical of many things with respect to Trump. Grabbing p*ssies was on the 2016 ballot paper. He still won. Yet the Democrats show themselves to be the party that doesn’t believe voters are intelligent enough to make their own decisions. Talk about peak Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS).

Of course Washington wants other states to take its lead. However why not just come with superior policies and better candidates to fight for the 2020 election? If Trump doesn’t live up to expectations he will be booted from office anyway. Might as well fight fair. This does nothing but shore up his base.

Why?

What often surprises CM is the need to openly show one’s abhorrence to the now 50 people senselessly murdered in Christchurch. On the contrary, if one didn’t find the events appalling that would say something in itself. There is nothing ‘woke’ about publicly showing one is against what happened. Of course the overwhelming majority of us are. Yet moral preening does nothing to help stem the flow of such terror. Neither does capitalizing on tragedies such as this to pit division via unhinged political activism.

Social media has been whipped into a frenzy since the cold blooded crime. Ad hominem attacks against the usual culprits for being complicit does little to help the grieving process. There must be no words to understand their pain. So why resort to cheap shots and big noting on Twitter? Survivors and families of the dead will hardly find solace by reading the bile of ignorant apparatchiks making a bad situation palpably worse.

CM has often questioned the purpose of lighting up monuments and splashing avatars with national flags of where those atrocities occurred. Does anyone in their right mind think that would-be-perpetrators pay the slightest mind to such appeals? Might as well keep the lights on. Because unless proper action is taken, nothing will change. Instead of stifling debate, we need to engage in it. Tackle the issues burning the fabric of our society.  Social and mainstream media continue to push false narratives, making people even more afraid to speak their minds. Some countries like Canada have laws that jail those that dare to.

If we accept the vast majority of people in the world are decent no matter what their background, why is it activists expect certain groups to self-flagellate when such events occur? The background of the victims or the villains should be irrelevant. It is despicable beyond belief to murder innocent unarmed people whatever their race, skin colour, religious beliefs or sexual proclivity. No one should question this. Yet tougher and tougher legislation restricting freedoms ends up being the by-product. Unfortunately newly introduced laws end up causing the opposite of intended effect. It only emboldens these extremists to go deeper underground. It exacerbates resentment.

We have to ask ourselves why? It seems most of the political class is asleep at the wheel given the trend of rising nationalism, especially throughout Europe. Instead of having deep transparent discussion addressing the problems and issues driving these movements, our leaders think it prudent to bury their heads in the sand. Hiding behind the spineless guise of political correctness, they legislate against certain groups with ever harsher penalties in ways which seem only to underpin the popularity of those that seek to defend them. If the political elite think believe they understand the will of the people they are woefully out of their depth at selling messages of unity. For if they understood the layman, populist parties would remain on the outer.

Think about it. Alternative for Deutschland, Sweden Democrats, The Dutch Freedom Party, Lega in Italy, the Freedom Party in Austria, Vlaams-Belang in Belgium, Order & Justice in Lithuania, Law & Justice Party in Poland, Fidesz in Hungary, True Finns, Front National in France…the list goes on. From fringe parties (or not even in existence) a decade ago to Top 3 in many cases. Have more Europeans become racist bigots in the last decade by chance or do they feel their lot changing for the worse?

Take a look at the poverty statistics across Europe. There were 78mn living below the poverty line in 2007. At last count, Eurostat noted that number was 118mn  (23.5% of the European population). In the Europe 2020 strategy, the plan is to reduce that by 20 million. Fat chance.  37.5mn (7.5%) are living in severe material deprivation (SMD) , up from 32mn in 2007. 40 million extra Europeans are suffering in poverty in a little over a decade. No wonder these nationalist parties have gained traction. It is easy to whip up a disaffected mob by claiming their futures are being undercut by mass migration. Whether the arguments are sound or not is frankly irrelevant. People want their lives back. Seeing the inaction among incumbent parties, many are willing to chance those that supposedly feel their pain. Macron still faces yellow vest protests for four consecutive months. Is it any wonder nationalist Marine Le Pen polls higher than the young President?

Perhaps we should question the authorities in playing their part in firing up the discontented. After reading 200+ pages of the Rotherham Inquiry into grooming gangs, it was revealed that the police and local council turned a blind eye to the systematic rape of 1,000 minors over two decades because they feared being thought of as racist were they to target the perpetrators based on their ethnicity. It was political correctness gone mad. Now the scandal has broken out across the country, the courts are finally throwing the book at these criminals. Read the above link at your peril. It is utterly distressing. 1,000s of lives senselessly ruined because leaders were too gutless to stand up for principle. One does not have to be an extremist to be outraged at such cruelty going unpunished for so long.

Politically correct law makers or activist judges do not justify murdering 50 innocent men, women and children. Let us be perfectly clear on this point. However it is not hard to see how those on the fringes use such incidents to fuel their resentment.  Social media allows for such obscene behaviour to be normalised because of the echo chamber dynamic.

What do the statistics of extremism say?

According to the Australian Crime Institute, “understanding the precise nature and scale of the far-right in Australia is made difficult by a lack of empirical information and research. Gaining reliable data on the far-right is firstly complicated by debate over exactly what constitutes violence motivated by far-right ideology…Moreover, Australia does not have any formal monitoring systems for this form of violence, such as that of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s ‘Hate Crime Statistics’ (something CM did earlier this month)

In America, Anti-Semitic hate crimes are around 5x the level of Anti-Islamic hate crimes which are around 1.5x Anti-Christian hate crimes. Overall hate crime is lower than two decades ago.

Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Interior (BfV) updated its fact book on the size of left and right wing groups and the rise of Salafists at home. To summarize:

In 2017, the BKA (Federal Criminal Police Office) registered 39,505 offences in the category of politically motivated crime, an increase of 20.4% over the 2014 figure, but 4.9% down on the 2016 number.

Right wing extremist party membership has risen from 22,600 in 2015 to 24,000 in 2017.

There were 1,054 (2016: 1,600) registered cases of violent criminal offences with a right-wing extremist background, a fall of 34.1%. The number of violent crimes directed at foreigners came in at 774 (2016: 1,190, the highest level since the current definition of politically motivated crime was introduced in 2001) down 34.9%. The number of violent crimes against actual or supposed left-wing extremists dropped by half 98 (2016: 250) remained about the same. Attempted homicides fell from 18 in 2016 to only four in 2017.

Left wing extremist party membership has risen from 26,700 in 2015 to 29,500 in 2017, +10.5%.

In 2017,  6,393 criminal offences were classified as left-wing politically motivated crimes with an extremist background (2016: 5,230), +22.2%, of which 1,648 were violent crimes (2016: 1,201), +37%. The number of violent criminal offences with a left-wing extremist background that were directed against the police and security authorities significantly increased 65.2% to 1,135 (2016: 687) exceeding even the level of 2015. The number of violent criminal offences against actual or supposed right-wing extremists halved to 264 (2016: 542).

Islamic Extremists

Salafist movements in Germany have risen from 8,350 in 2015 to 10,800 in 2017 with the BfV noting on the whole, that all Islamist following in 2017 amounted to approximately 25,810 individuals, up 1,400 on 2016. BfV did note

The threat situation has not at all eased. On the contrary: the shift towards a violence-oriented/terrorist spectrum has revealed a new dimension of the Islamist scene, which was also illustrated by the attacks carried out in Germany in 2016However, Salafism in Germany enjoys undiminished popularity. Its continuous attractiveness shows the importance of Salafism being subject to a debate in society as a whole and of intelligence collection carried out by the community of the German domestic intelligence services. This is even more significant as adherents of the jihadist tendency of Salafism not only reject the West – symbolised by the free democratic basic order – but also actively fight against it: either by travelling to so-called jihad areas or by mounting attacks in the West.”

In the area of politically motivated crime by foreigners, 1,617 offences with an extremist background were registered in 2017 (2015: 1,524), including 233 violent offences (2015: 235).  In 2016, there were two homicides and 13 attempted homicides by foreigners with an extremist background (2015: three).

A fall of 4.9% in total politically motivated crime is hardly something to celebrate when the number is 40,000 on an annualised. There are 6x as many politically motivated crimes in Germany than America with only 1/5th the population.

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If we take a step back, were suspect Tarrant’s atrocities any more reprehensible than Anders Breivik in Norway gunning down 69 unarmed teenagers on Uttoya island? Stephen Paddock murdering 58 concert goers in Las Vegas? Adam Lanza slaying dozens of small kids at Sandy Hook elementary? The gunmen inside the offices of Charlie Hebdo or the barbaric eviscerations inside the Bataclan? The truck drivers in Berlin, Nice, Stockholm or Barcelona mowing down 100s of innocent pedestrians? Where was the outrage in 2018 when a church was bombed by extremists in Indonesia killing 13 people? What about the Jonestown massacre in 1978 which claimed 908 souls? All of them are deeply sickening not only in total loss of life but the grotesque manner in which these heinous acts were carried out. 

No-one with a pulse can look at recent events without utter disbelief. When the suspect tells us the motivations behind the attack, we will see social media get uglier still. If we truly want to put an end to this type of disaster, we must open ourselves up to debate. Going on recent trends, we will continue to light up statues and point fingers instead of actively seeking to find solutions through reasoned discussion. When will we wake up from this nightmare of our own making and communicate?

In the meantime spare a thought for the victims and their families and allow them to grieve their losses in peace.