Voting Rights

A tick for Turnbull

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It is a rare occasion that CM praises the Turnbull government. However, the actions taken to say “NO” to a special UN investigation on Israel’s activities on March 14 are worthy of congratulation. Two reasons;

1) the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) is stacked with countries (Cuba, China, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar) with woeful human rights records and have no place dicatating impartiality. When the HRC has looked to investigate Israel more times than the rest of the world combined one doesn’t have to question bias. In the last 3 years, Israel has been the subject of 83 of 97 UN General Assembly resolutions. 86%. The UNHRC has zero credibility – period.

2) Hamas openly came out and admitted that 50 of the 62 dead were its own terrorists. 84% accuracy of those carrying handgrandes and other weapons. Yet honestly, who brings their children to an area where there is risk (and plenty of warning) of live fire? It is pretty simple. If you don’t want to get shot then don’t put yourself in a zone where there is a high likelihood of such. If no one turned up on the border, the body count would have been zero. As written last week, Hamas is far happier with sacrificing lives than Israeli Defence Forces are taking them.  When Hamas websites call for killing Israelis for those that break through, can you honestly blame Israel? The Israelis are not out to make headlines any worse than they already are. They are defending their sovereign borders and the reality is any of us would expect our armed forces to do the same if they were under siege.

The UN has long outlived its usefulness. Robert Mugabe is considered an ambassador for WHO. How he could possibly pass a sniff test on any level is beyond most. Such is the bias within that the UN, in an attempt to strike back at Trump’s intended cuts, considered deploying Blue Helmets in Chicago to help stem gun violence. These people are unreal.

It was once said, “if the Palestinians chucked their weapons into the sea there would be peace. If the Israelis threw their weapons into the sea there would be genocide.”

Trump bashing efficacy

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Rasmussen notes the obvious impact of a public growing tired of the broken record:

“Eighteen months after Election Day, many Democrats and their allies in Hollywood and the media continue to attack President Trump in an unprecedented fashion. But few voters think it will pay off for Trump’s opponents in the next election.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 43% of Likely U.S. Voters think there is too much Trump-bashing going on in the popular culture today. Thirty percent (30%) say there isn’t enough, while 21% feel the level of Trump-bashing is about right.”

When they love their children more than they hate us

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If world opinion is to be believed, the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) wants to maximize the Palestinian body count.  The reality is that there is no upside for them to set new records. As awful as such actions are, fence lines and announcements which warn of shooting those who attempt to cross are plain. It should have come as no surprise to all of those protestors what lay in store for them. It is recognized as a sovereign border but this was obviously not a deterrent. The kibbutz of Nahal Oz is less than 2km from the Gaza fenceline. Was the IDF to stand down and allow fenceline intruders to get through, what would we expect them to do once they got to Nahal Oz? Peacefully protest? Even the Washington Post reported in an interview with a 23yo protestor, “We are excited to storm and get inside [Israel]…[we will do] whatever is possible, to kill, throw stones.” If someone crossed your own sovereign border threatening to kill (no matter a veiled threat or not) your fellow citizens, what would you want your border security to do? Exactly.

Such incursions are too numerous. During a trip to Israel in 2011, Nakba Day (the day of Israel’s founding (May 14), also known as the Day of Catastrophe to Palestinians) produced similar results. Not in the numbers killed, but the open encouragement by the Palestinian Authority (PA) for people to die as martyrs. Death triggers higher pension payments to families than does injury. The numbers are not trivial either. What a sad state of affairs that life can be priced so cheaply.

Make no mistake, when the PA gladly insures and encourages loss of life to publicize its independence, the heavier the IDF response the more welcome it is to the Hamas leadership. So contrary to public opinion, Hamas is far more eager to sacrifice Palestinian life than the Israelis are to take it. After all Gaza kindergartens and children’s TV programs go to great lengths to teach hatred of Israel. When countless wars have been waged by neighbors that outnumber it 30:1 and threaten to ‘wipe Israel off the map’ forgive it for living in a state of paranoia. We should remind ourselves when Egypt made a peace treaty with Israel in 1973, President Anwar Sadat ended up getting assassinated for it.

How is that even with the 1993 Oslo peace accords, the PLO carried out 4,000 attacks in the six years that followed? The Israelis under PM Ehud Barak were so desperate for peace that they offered to give the PLO 95% of their territorial demands yet more than 1,000 Israelis were killed, a total exceeding the previous 25 years combined. Arafat never wanted peace with the State of Israel. Every time Israel has extended the branch of peace with Palestine it is rejected. What a surprise when Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, said several weeks ago,

In the last several decades, the Palestinian leadership has missed one opportunity after the other and rejected all the peace proposals it was given…It is about time the Palestinians take the proposals and agree to come to the table or shut up.”

Jews have lived in the West Bank area continuously for 3,700 years, even after the destruction of Judea by the Romans in 70AD. Arabs became the dominant local population for the first time from 700AD only after Muslim invasions of the land.

What is missed on most people when bashing Israel, is that Palestinians have automatic rights to Jordanian citizenship yet they only covet Israel. There are 21 Arab nations which share a common language which openly refuse to offer asylum to Palestinian refugees which provides a convenient excuse to maintain a hostile posture toward Israel using their suffering as bait. The Jordanians don’t actively push Palestinians to take up citizenship which is their right to do so. As a side note to history, why was it that King Hussein’s Jordanian army was able to murder thousands of PLO militants in the 70s yet the PLO never called for the overthrow of the Hashemite monarchy?

At the time of the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, 90% of Palestinian Arabs lived in Transjordan. At the time there was no movement to create a Palestinian state. It is somewhat ironic that no Arab outrage ensued when Jordan annexed the West Bank (what we know as the occupied territories) in 1950 blatantly disenfranchising the Palestinian Arabs in the process. Even then they never fought for self-determination. In fact it wasn’t until the PLO was first established in 1964, a time the West Bank belonged to Jordan.

Israel remains an open, democratic and multi-ethnic society. It’s 1.3mn Arab minority have full rights and can serve in the Knesset.  On the other hand, the PA has proven itself to be an intolerant, self-serving and corrupt dictatorship.  An independent audit discovered that international aid money lined the pockets of the Palestinian leadership. Money laundering authorities in France discovered that Arafat’s wife’s bank account had amassed $3bn over 20 years. It is ironic that most of the original founders of the PLO didn’t even live in the Palestinian Mandate when the State of Israel was created. Even Arafat was born in Egypt. 

People seem to blame these unfortunate and avoidable events on the shift of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. However that decision was made clear many months ago and many other countries have decided to follow suit. These events are only going to end when, as Golda Meir once said, “We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.

Afterall how can Israel make peace with people who can’t even make peace with themselves? Ask the majority of Jews, Christians and Muslims who live inside Israel and you can be assured that they want an end to all this violence but the media will never want to push that agenda.

#SpareMe & #ThankYou

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They say pictures speak a thousand words. One wonders whether there are a thousand threads in these pictures at the Cannes Film Festival. For all of the sanctimony we hear from celebrities about how important the #MeToo movement is, what better opportunity to let down the side than to minimize cloth to skin ratios. These ladies know they are walking billboards, overtly flaunting their assets to gain attention in the hope they are short listed on the next blockbuster given the likelihood of widespread media coverage. Why else would they wear the equivalent of postage stamps held together by dental floss? Who can blame them? Where are the male actors strutting in sequin g-strings? Hardly fair that only women get to show off the flesh!

By all means, these ladies who graze on lentils and alfalfa while completing grueling gym sessions 6 hours a day, have every right to dress as they please given they work so hard cultivating those figures. Isn’t objectification the intention? Appreciating beauty is certainly not a crime and it does not border on harassment. Should red-blooded males be shamed for seeing protruding nipples and exposed cleavage fall into their peripheral vision? Can we honestly say hand on heart that some in the Hollywood set didn’t/don’t willingly trade flesh for a $5mn role? It is not to condone the behavior rather to say that if in the end a budding actor/actress is willing to ‘pay in kind’ to nail a big role that is still consensual. Jokes about Weinstein’s sexual antics were made for years at award ceremonies before he was finally outed. If he is convicted of sexual assault/harassment then may the full extent of the law deal with the crime. However #SpareMe the sanctimony about how none of them knew. Staying on the lucrative gravy train and buying more global property was more way addictive than doing the right thing by standing up for the true victims.

It is surprising that the feminists haven’t been up in arms about Cannes. They managed to take down the F-1 grid girls effectively enough. Isn’t it ironic that the people most upset by the ban were the grid girls themselves. They liked what they did, got paid handsomely to flaunt figures they no doubt work so hard to maintain and welcomed the attention. Now they are out of a job! Yet it’s is we who must get in step with the times. Perhaps the F-1 teams could have been asked to pay a grid-girl tax and donate the funds to promote charitable causes that the girls themselves felt passionately about. It will be interesting to see whether the MotoGP franchise owners, Dorna, go the same route as F-1 which will be pretty hypocritical given the web pages dedicated to the brolley dollies at each round.

Maybe the bigger laugh was the Israeli 2018 Eurovision song winner, Netti Barzilai. She said that in the auditioning process that she overheard whispers about whether they could field someone prettier or skinnier. So sex appeal was preferable to ability? When was the last time we truly heard a properly decent song that didn’t have some singer surrounded by scantily clad women twerking?

Still the virtue signaling continues. Cate Blanchett was on the stairs at Cannes demanding equal pay, when she herself is one of the higher paid actresses in town. Her mate Benedict Cumberbatch is refusing to star in movies unless there is equal pay.  Such actions are nothing but self-indulgent attempts to create free publicity. Say he is offered $25mn for a role and his never seen before female sidekick is not granted the same? Will he protest, divide his own pot or star anyway? One wonders.

Here is an idea for celebrities. CM thinks that Hollywood should be run by a government agency which will ensure equality in all outcomes. Movie roles will be distributed evenly. Each movie will have exactly the same budget. It will have equal numbers of men, women, LGBT, races, religious representation and sexual orientation regardless of how factually incorrect a true story may seem. Movie directors will have no say in who is cast for each part. Box office revenues will be evenly distributed at the end of each calendar year to ensure that flops will get subsidized by the hits. The actors who star in blockbusters will receive exactly the same outcome as those whose films end up almost immediately on Netflix.

All actors and actresses will be required to work exactly the same hours, have the same contract terms and be required to attend the awards ceremony in exactly the same garb. No makeup will be permissible, no eyebrow stylists flown around the world at last minute and no speech longer than 10 seconds. As there is to be equality at all costs, there will no longer be gender based awards at the Oscars. Or alternatively Best Actor – male, female and the 63 other gender categories. “The winner of the Best Actor in the hermaphrodite category is….”

So Benedict and Cate, will you join a union which levels the playing field and calls for equality or do you still prefer that your acting skills determine how the free market sets your prices? If you choose the former, just don’t speak to Jack Nicholson. He is still collecting royalties from Batman. Just what I thought.

These are the Oscar stats. A 40% decline over 5 years. Is this a sign of a format that is no longer sustainable? Is the disintermediation/disruption caused by video on demand such that making a ‘date’ to go to the cinema is no longer a priority? Cinema attendance in the domestic US market is back at 1993 levels. In the 1990s Hollywood made 400-500 films annually. It now pumps out more than 700. The average revenue per film continues to head south. The strategy seems to throw more at audiences and hope it sticks. Are the movies the industry rates itself on actually reflected in the box office? Out of touch with the audience? It would seem so. 9 films in the last 13 have failed to breach $75mn. So instead of Hollywood being so preoccupied with espousing politics, perhaps it should look to the audience it ‘preaches’ to and starts ‘reaching’ them instead otherwise many of them will be staring at massive pay cuts. Or will that mean it is every man and woman for themselves again!?

Singapore Airlines wins whichever way the peace talks go

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June 12. Kim & Trump meet in Singapore. How the North Korean dictator will look in utter awe at how a city state of 5.6mn can build such a vibrant and prosperous economy with no resources of any kind other than grit, perseverance and common sense pro-business policy. The splendor of the skyline, architecture and cleanliness. Singapore will also get billions of people tuned in to the hours of global press coverage and news reruns. Surely Anderson Cooper will prop in front of the Merlion or Marina Bay Sands to convey the live coverage. How can Singapore Airlines not win from this global media freebie for tourism. One would imagine the place they sit down and talk will become a cult fixture for people to say they went to the spot where history was made.

Yet Singapore didn’t win the contest as a fluke. It has shown itself to be the outstanding beacon of independence in the region. Mongolia was a long shot and Switzerland would have caused poor old Kim to take a fuel stop. Let’s hope we get a peaceful resolution and maybe then we see Trump’s approval rating surge beyond the latest reading of 51% (Rasmussen). Ignore the noise around the midterms in Nov 2018. Iran is a separate issue and scrapping that deal was an election promise.

ABC goes bananas but slips up on cold truths that split the narrative

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On March 18,  CM wrote about the gross inefficiencies at the ABC, which have rapidly deteriorated over time. We said,

Since 2008, the average salary of ABC’s staff has risen 25% from $86,908 to $108,408. Total staff numbers have risen from 4499 to 4769. Therefore salaries as a percentage of the ABC revenues have risen from 37.1% of the budget to 50%. The ABC’s ability to generate sales from content has fallen from A$140mn to A$70mn last year. The multicultural SBS has seen its budget grow from A$259mn in 2008 to A$412mn in 2017. SBS staff numbers have grown from 844 to 1,466 over the same period with average salaries rising from A$82,689 to A$88,267 or 7.2%. Which begs the question why is the SBS able to operate at 31% of the budget in salaries while the ABC is at 50%? Surely the ABC’s economies of scale should work in its favour? Clearly not.

According to The Australian, in response to the budget cuts coming over the following three years,  the ABC responded today with,

The ABC says there is “no more fat to cut” following the federal government’s announcement to slash $84 million in funding from the public broadcaster…News director Gaven Morris has hit back at the three-year funding freeze announced in Tuesday’s federal budget, which maintains more than $1 billion a year for the broadcaster.

“Make no mistake, there is no more fat to cut at the ABC. Any more cuts to the ABC cut into the muscle of the organisation…We’re as efficient as we’ve ever been…We’re the most minutely scrutinised media organisation in Australia…$84 million over three years, there is simply no way we can achieve that without looking at content creation and certainly looking at jobs within the organisation.”

Well perhaps if the ABC stop airing radical feminists who demand that parents seek approval from their babies when changing nappies or called conservative politicians who served in the military as “c*nts” perhaps it might justify for more budget.

It is a pretty simple. Online media pretty much allows such a wide array of choice that we do not need a taxpayer funded media (which readily breaches its code of conduct with regards to political bias) to provide so much content.

We have multiple ABC TV & radio stations plus multiple websites. One could argue for one each. We certainly do not need to give the ABC more money to expand its platforms to make up for a shortfall in quality content to arrest declining market shares.

Red card your superiors

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News in the U.K. that a corporal training troops  went way too far with his treatment of a particular female recruit. The U.K. top brass has expressed its horror and anger, threatening to court martial the offending trainer. Didn’t Colonel Jessup answer the question of ordering a Code Red as, “you’re damn right I did!

Regardless of gender, isn’t the point of drill sergeants one that ensures that discipline is literally beaten into fighting forces? Isn’t the point of meeting minimum basic standards all about creating an effective fighting force?

If the cadet in question burst into tears after being berated for wimpishly bayoneting the sandbag should we feel sympathy? One can be sure the said corporal probably screams obscenities at all the people put in his charge, regardless of gender, religion or race. While it might not sound savory, will an enemy cut the opposing army some slack if they see tears? Will they roll over? Drop their weapons for the sake of equality?

While a leaked video is embarrassing, CM sincerely hopes those that join the armed forces are more than prepared to follow orders and accept the harsh discipline that is expected  of a soldier. The military is no place for social experiments. Yet more and more the army is pushing diversity ahead of capability. At least when the body count surges we can proudly posthumously award the dead with equality medals. The armed forces should strive for ability above all regardless of gender, sexual orientation or skin colour.