Opinion

Home/Opinion
Opinion2020-07-20T11:24:32+00:00

US Election 2020: Why Donald Trump will win again on November 3

Forget the polls, ignore the experts and buckle up your seatbelts because Donald Trump is going to shock the world in just a few days.   OPINION The year before Donald Trump was first elected, I was lucky enough to take a meandering trip through the United States over several months. My wife and I had rented a car, which we put through its paces as we traversed a nation we thought we’d learned so much about through films, books and popular music. While the timeless landscape of its great mountains, canyons and deserts were forever etched into my brain, one moment altered my perception of the States and it plays increasingly heavily on my mind at this critical juncture in history, five years later. It took place while I was sitting in a dive bar in Philadelphia where, unlike Aussie pubs where we sit with the mob we came in with, everyone was perched along the bar — fuelling drunken conversation between strangers. I pulled a tall stool up, ordered a Pabst Blue Ribbon and – as seemed obligatory in the States – sparked up a conversation with the fella sitting next to me. We talked about my trip, where I was from and a bit about what there was to see and do in Philly aside from eating cheesesteaks. We left the bar shortly after someone threw up on the table.Source:news.com.au I cracked loudly with laughter as he shared a few anecdotes about his life and the city he called home, which he claimed [...]

October 28th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

China loses trust internationally over coronavirus handling

YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project shows most people believe China was not transparent A man works in a laboratory of Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech, which is developing a potential coronavirus vaccine. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters China appears to have comprehensively lost the international battle for hearts and minds over its handling of coronavirus with most people believing it was responsible for the start of the outbreak and was not transparent about the problem at the outset. The findings come from the YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project, a survey of 26,000 people in 25 countries, designed with the Guardian. It is the widest survey of global public opinion on China’s handling of the pandemic, and the overwhelmingly negative attitude will disappoint Chinese diplomats, who have expended huge energy to deflect blame and paint the country as altruistically helping others to recover. Overall, the poll suggests there is a receptive global audience for the next US president, if he chooses, to construct an international alliance to challenge China’s growing political dominance, and to question the moral values of its leadership. There is no sense in the findings, however, that the US would be able to exploit its handling of the crisis to take on that leadership role. The survey shows that in every country surveyed, apart from China, the public overwhelmingly believe that coronavirus was first detected in China. Nigeria had the highest rate (98%), closely followed by Greece and South Africa (97%) and Spain (96%). The countries with the lowest rates, apart from China, were Saudi Arabia, where 83% thought China was [...]

October 28th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Donald Trump has 87% chance of winning the election, stock market researcher says

President Donald Trump has a very good chance of winning the 2020 presidential election against Joe Biden, if a more than 200-year overview of the stock market is to be believed. That's according to research from the Socionomic Institute, a group that has long used the stock market to predict electionsand economic and cultural trends. The research, going back to George Washington, found 16 times in U.S. history when an incumbent president ran for reelection and the stock market was up more than 20% in the preceding three years. In 14 of those 16 times, the incumbent won reelection, giving a success rate of 87%. If the trend holds, Mr. Trump could be No. 15. The two times it didn't work out, for reference, were George H.W. Bush, who lost to Bill Clinton in 1992 even though the stock market was up 38% in the preceding three years, and John Adams, who didn't win his reelection bid in 1800, despite the fact that the value of capital in U.S. chartered banks had risen by 30% in the previous 5 years. (At the time, federally chartered banks were the only publicly traded stocks in the young republic.) "The stock market is an indicator of social mood," said Matthew Lampert, who is the director of research of the group. "Historically, a more positive trend in the market and social mood is associated with a win for the incumbent." That gives Mr. Trump a pretty clear historical edge. But there are some huge caveats to consider before concluding that [...]

October 28th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

China’s investment in Western elites really paid off

                               © Getty Images     Threat deflation is a rare thing in international politics. Many governments have a tendency to overestimate threats, not underestimate them. The rise of the People’s Republic of China is the poster child of how threat deflation — or underestimating threats — can be done expertly. It explains how China was able to prevent effective balancing against its aggression for decades. As Sino-American security competition increases and the bilateral relationship worsens, this issue likely will receive greater interest. China has successfully deflated its threat in the West through two discrete and effective tactics.  The first is an ancient one: rewarding the avarice of political leaders and opinion-makers is as old as recorded history. China’s investment in Western political, business, intellectual and opinion elites is complicated but is, fundamentally, an investment in the personal financial success of these elites, including their families, friends and partners. In turn, this results in a personal investment in China’s success — of the growth of its economy, closer economic ties, and ever-expanding political power and influence. Lamentably, this can cause a lack of a serious examination of the deleterious consequences of China’s rise on the West’s national security interests. This investment — in essence, a stake in China’s growth — results in the implicit message from the elites to the leadership and rank-and-file members of the national security bureaucracies, as well as to other institutions, that the negative implications of China’s rise [...]

October 28th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Biden leads Trump by 7 in Michigan: poll

© Getty Images   Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has a 7-point lead over President Trump in the crucial swing state of Michigan just days before the Nov. 3 election, according to a new poll. The former vice president has 51 percent support among likely voters in the Great Lake State, compared to Trump’s 44 percent in the ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Wednesday. Biden also leads Trump among women, 60 to 36 percent, among moderates, 67 to 25 percent, and among independents, 52 to 37 percent. The only demographic in which Trump enjoys a slim lead is among suburban voters, 49 to 46 percent. Trump flipped Michigan four years ago, narrowly winning it over then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by less than a percentage point. However, his handling of the coronavirus pandemic is proving to be his largest hurdle toward reelection in the rustbelt states. In Michigan, 56 percent of registered voters said they are very or somewhat worried that they or someone in their immediate family may catch COVID-19 and 55 percent said they disapprove of how the president has handled the health crisis.Approximately 53 percent said they trust Biden to handle it, compared to Trump’s 39 percent. There have been 164,274 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Michiganand 7,239 deaths as of Wednesday, according to the state's health department. The new survey also showed Biden ahead in Wisconsin, leading 57 percent to Trump’s 40 percent. It mirrors other polls released this week that show the Democrat leading in former “blue wall states.” One released on Tuesday found Biden leads by 10 points, 52 to [...]

October 28th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Russia never stopped trying to sway elections and sow mistrust. Best thing to do is vote.

Federal agencies say votes were not changed in previous Russian hacks, but just the perception advances Trump's false claim that 2020 is rigged against him. Last week, 12 days before the presidential election, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency alerted the public that Russia had targeted dozens of government and aviation networks, including some housing voter information, and had successfully stolen data from at least two servers. This breach should certainly raise alarm bells, but it comes as no surprise to the disinformation community. Both the Mueller report and federal indictments detail how Russia has been systematically targeting voter information for years, including in 2016 when it attacked voter equipment manufacturers and hacked into county-level government computer systems in Florida and Illinois. While political parties argue over whether or not Russian interference occurred in 2016, Russian influence operations have proceeded unchecked: Russia has used botnets to propagate false information, launched coordinated disinformation operations, and developed a network of fake journalists for hire to write articles critical of former Vice President Joe Biden. And those are just the things we know about publicly. Russia is a relentless adversary By sowing seeds of doubt in the American populace, nation-state actors like Russia further magnify political divides, targeting our nation’s vulnerabilities and undermining our national security. While there is still much more that needs to be done to stop foreign interference in our elections, the United States has taken some steps to prevent a repeat of 2016. During the 2018 midterm elections, U.S. Cyber Command ran a [...]

October 26th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

The week in polls: Trump gains in 9 of 12 swing states, but Biden still leads in 10 of them

With just eight days to go before the election, both national poll and swing state surveys make it clear the race is tightening. President Donald Trump gained on his Democratic challenger Joe Biden in national polling averages, and in nine of 12 contested states. But Biden still holds a sizable lead in the national polls and is still ahead of Trump in 10 of the 12 states that could decide the election. Biden's average lead is only 3 percentage points or more in five of the swing states, but those include the crucial states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that Trump flipped in 2016. And while Trump grew his modest lead in Ohio and cut Biden's leads in Arizona, Florida and Georgia further down to size, he also lost ground in Texas and Iowa. The USA TODAY average of averages is based on the polling averages calculated by RealClearPolitics (RCP) and FiveThirtyEight. Last week:Trump roars back in Florida, Biden gains in Georgia National average USA TODAY average of averages: Biden 51.4%, Trump 42.9% (Biden +8.6) Last week: Biden 51.9%, Trump 42.1% (Biden +9.8) Net change: Trump +1.2 RCP: Biden 50.8%, Trump 42.8% FiveThirtyEight: Biden 52.0%, Trump 42.9% At this point in 2016: Clinton +5.6 Swing state averages Arizona: Biden +2.7 USA TODAY average of averages: Biden 48.8%, Trump 46.1% Last week:  Biden 49.3%, Trump 45.5% (Biden +3.8) Net change: Trump +1.1 Florida: Biden +1.9 USA TODAY average of averages: Biden 48.9%, Trump 47.0% Last week: Biden 48.7%, Trump 46.0% (Biden +2.7) Net change: Trump +0.8 Georgia: Biden +0.5 USA [...]

October 26th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

The intrigue behind Pope Francis’ “bombshell” comments on same-sex civil unions

The remarks were a bombshell. In "Francesco," a new documentary that premiered in Rome on Wednesday, Pope Francis departed from Catholic teaching and endorsed same-sex civil unions. Seated on a gold chair in his residence, the documentary showed Francis saying gay people were "children of God." "You can't kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this," he said. "What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered." Predictably, this deviation from church doctrine thrilled liberal Catholics and LGBT activists, and infuriated Catholic conservatives. But this issue wasn't entirely new to Francis. He had already expressed support for gay civil unions when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, but only as an alternative to gay marriage.  This was the first time a pope had spoken publicly in support of such a controversial issue. The 20-second clip in question, however, didn't just raise eyebrows. It also raised suspicions. The setting, framing and lighting — even the slightly-askew position of the pope's pectoral cross — appeared identical to those in an interview by veteran Vatican reporter Valentina Alazraki for Mexican broadcaster Televisa a year and a half earlier. That broadcast, however, had not contained the explosive comments, nor had an official Vatican transcript of the interview. But the Vatican transcript did contain a clue. Although no trace could  be found of the call for civil unions, the pope had indeed said the other phrases. But there was an important distinction: He had not uttered them consecutively, and [...]

October 25th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

The Fight Over the World Trade Organization Has Begun

Will China be able to increasingly dominate the international system? Even repentant “panda huggers” and liberal internationalists have acknowledged that the World Trade Organization (WTO) is no longer up to the task of dealing effectively with the full range of challenges Beijing presents today’s global trading regime. There’s no point in debating whether Beijing should have been admitted to the WTO in the first place. It’s in. And the United States shouldn’t just pull out and leave the field there free to China. So, what now? China has used its economic power to bully, bribe, corrupt, and steal its way up the global economic supply chain, with only limited resistance from the WTO. It is past time to plug the loopholes that allow this. International organizations have become battlegrounds for today’s great power competition. The United States must act to protect its interests and foster equitable global norms—just as it did in the 1990s. After the Soviet Union collapsed, America was guiding international organizations to establish responsible rules for international relations. But that effort has been short cut by the rise of great power competition, in which we see nations like China trying to exploit organizations to their advantage. Beijing’s strategy of attempting to infiltrate and control key international organizations is well documented. There are two prominent and very different views on how to deal with this challenge. One is to just cut and run, decoupling from China and disengaging from international organizations. But a “take your ball and go home” approach makes no sense. It [...]

October 24th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Delisting Sudan From Terrorism List Will Drive Democratic And Economic Reforms

A democratic and economically robust Sudan is an incredible asset for Western democracies in Northern Africa. Ever since the first terrorist attack against the World Trade Center in 1993, the United States has designated Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism. However, since then, particularly over the past year and a half, Sudan has undergone significant democratic reforms, including a recent victory and step towards internal peace and stability in Juba, South Sudan. Even former Obama Administration officials agree with the move. Cameron Hudson remarked that “[Sudan] needs to have this label removed… Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism is a ‘vestige’ of its past.” And, the 9/11 Commission, an independent and bipartisan body, concluded that Sudan was not responsible, expropriating all of Osama bin Ladin’s assets when he left in 1996. In a historic move, President Donald Trump announced on Monday that the State Department would remove Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, in addition to unleashing new, sweeping economic and humanitarian assistance to continue their economic development plans. In response, Sudan is also formalizing plans to normalize their relations with Israel. The move comes at an especially important time. Although Sudan has undergone major democratic reforms and worked hard to expel terrorist links, the sanctions that had been in place since 1993 were crippling its economic and investment activities. According to Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, “there was no guarantee the transition to democracy would stay on course until elections scheduled for 2022.” Hamdok’s detractors have been attacking him at [...]

October 24th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Trump vs. Biden: USA TODAY Opinion contributors assess the final presidential debate

The USA TODAY Opinion section asked new members of our Board of Contributors to share their impressions of how President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden performed in Thursday night's presidential debate. Here are their answers: The setting and rules reflected Trump's failures: Christian Schneider Before the candidates walked out to take part in the debate, Biden had already won it. As with any debate, the actual words spoken by the candidates are ephemeral — but the visual for this debate will be permanent: Each candidate limited by a mute button because the incumbent president cannot control his emotions. And each candidate standing a half mile away from the other because of the president's failure to address a deadly viral disease that hit America nearly nine months ago. As for the actual debate, the candidates largely drew even on style, but that usually signals a win for the guy leading in the polls. Trump was in an impossible situation — go full-on aggressive, and you risk a replay of the first debate. Sit back and behave, and you miss the chance to provoke Biden into a campaign-altering gaffe. Trump finally acted like an adult, but in doing so, failed to change the race in any way. Christian Schneider is a senior reporter at The College Fix and author of “1916: The Blog.” Follow him on Twitter: @Schneider_CM If you brag about being 'least racist,' you might be the most: Erroll G. Southers Anytime someone tells you they are the least racist person in the room, they might be the most racist person in the room. Those [...]

October 24th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Trump or Biden: which does big business want to be the next US president?

This administration is full of plutocrats, CEOs and lobbyists. Yet the 1% see the modern Republican party as a threat   Joe Biden (left) and Donald Trump: the chamber of commerce has endorsed a cluster of Democrats in tight House races Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images  What has kept Donald Trump in the presidential race is his electoral base. It consists of white men, rural and small-town voters and small-business owners. The big bucks for the campaign come from a coterie of wealthy loyalists. This bloc will stick with Trump whatever he says or does. But the attitude of other groups that one might expect to be Trump’s natural supporters, such as big business, financial markets, a lobby like the chamber of commerce – “capital”, in other words – is far less clear cut. If anything, as Joe Biden’s lead has stabilised, so too has their optimism. With an eye to an impending shift of power, the Chamber of Commerce has endorsed a cluster of Democrats in tight House races, provoking outrage from the president. These unexpected alignments point to the scrambling of assumptions that is characteristic of the Trump era. The GOP is normally the party of business. The president himself is a businessman. His administration has been stacked with plutocrats, CEOs and lobbyists. It has delivered tax cuts and deregulation. The tax-collecting IRS is a shell of its former self; the Environmental Protection Agency has been gutted, and financial regulations slashed. Trump has packed the courts with judges who will deliver judgments against labour rights, [...]

October 22nd, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

China to make ‘necessary response’ after US approves $1.8bn arms sale to Taiwan

Female soldiers of an artillery unit take part in the live fire Han Kuang military exercise, which simulates China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) invading the island, in Pingtung, Taiwan, May 30, 2019. © Reuters / Tyrone Siu Beijing has warned that the US State Department's approval of a potential $1.8 billion arms sale to Taiwan would have "a major impact' on China-US relations, while Taipei says it's not seeking an arms race with the Chinese. China will issue a necessary response as the situation develops, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters on Thursday. Taiwanese Defense Minister Yen De-fa said earlier in the day that Taipei will not seek an arms race with China, and only needs a defensive combat capability. Yen thanked the US for the new weaponry that potentially includes sensors, missiles and artillery. The arms could help Taiwan deal with the "enemy threat and new situation," the minister said, but reiterated that it is not looking for confrontation with Beijing. We will not engage in an arms race with the Chinese communists. We will put forward requirements and build fully in accordance with the strategic concept of heavy deterrence, defending our position and defensive needs. The modernization of its armed forces, which centers on the development of asymmetrical warfare, remains a priority for Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. The 'asymmetrical' missile program focuses on the use of non-traditional weapons against a more powerful potential adversary in case of a cross-strait conflict. The Pentagon said on Wednesday that the US State Department has approved the [...]

October 22nd, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Mike Pence: Reelect President Donald Trump to renew America’s promise

Opposing View: For the last four years, I have stood with President Trump as he kept his promises to the American people. When Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president, he launched a movement to restore the promise of America. Since taking office, President Trump has delivered record-breaking results for all Americans. For decades, president after president, Republican and Democrat alike, failed to execute the agenda that they promised voters. For the last four years, I have stood with President Trump as he kept his promises to the American people, even when facing unprecedented attacks from the permanent Washington political class and their allies in the mainstream media. President Trump delivered historic tax cuts and tax reform, majorly rolled back burdensome federal regulations, unleashed America’s energy sector, and fought for free and fair trade. Throughout our first three years, businesses large and small created nearly 7 million jobs, including 500,000 manufacturing jobs. Unemployment rates for African Americans, Asian Americans and Hispanic Americans hit their lowest levels ever, and we achieved the lowest unemployment rate for women in 65 years. President Trump delivered America-First trade reform. He replaced NAFTA with the USMCA — the most significant and balanced trade agreement in history. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at the Republican National Convention on Aug. 24, 2020, in Charlotte, North Carolina. CHRIS CARLSON/AP     President Trump oversaw the world’s greatest economy before the coronavirus struck our shores. Because of the strong foundation established through his economic policies before the global pandemic, America is on track to bounce back bigger [...]

October 21st, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Biden leads Trump by 9 points nationally: poll

    Democratic nominee Joe Biden leads President Trump by 9 points nationally, according to a new poll. The latest New York Times-Siena College survey finds Biden at 50 percent and Trump at 41. Biden led the same poll from September by 8 points. The Democratic nominee is benefitting from a massive gender gap. Biden leads by 23 points among women, while Trump leads by 6 points among men. The economy, which has long been a strength for Trump, is now a split issue, with 48 percent saying the president is the better leader and 47 percent saying Biden. Biden leads by 19 points on who would better unify the country, by 12 points on who would better manage the coronavirus, and by 6 points on law and order. Biden has a 28 point advantage among the youngest group of voters and a 10 point advantage among the oldest. He also leads by 8 points among voters aged 30 to 44 and by 3 points among voters aged 45 to 64. The president has a 6 point advantage among white people, while Biden leads by 44 points among nonwhites. The president holds a 23 point lead among white people without a college degree, which is less than his margin of 37 points over Hillary Clinton in 2016. The New York Times-Siena College poll of 987 likely voters was conducted between Oct. 15 and Oct. 18 and has a 3.4 percentage point margin of error.

October 20th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Trump calls Biden family a ‘criminal enterprise’ as crowd chants ‘lock him up’

At a Nevada rally, the president doubles down on his claim the Democratic nominee is a 'corrupt politician' President Trump told a raucous Nevada rally on Sunday that he believes Joe Biden's family is a "criminal enterprise" as the crowd chanted "lock him up." "They're corrupt people. But Joe Biden is from a failed and corrupt political class," Trump said as he referenced recent stories alleging emails show Hunter Biden traded on his father's name to earn millions overseas when Joe Biden was vice president. "Joe Biden is and always has been a corrupt politician," the president added. "He always has been. And as far as I'm concerned, the Biden family is a criminal enterprise. It really is." President Trump told a raucous Nevada rally on Sunday that he believes Joe Biden's family is a "criminal enterprise" as the crowd chanted "lock him up." "They're corrupt people. But Joe Biden is from a failed and corrupt political class," Trump said as he referenced recent stories alleging emails show Hunter Biden traded on his father's name to earn millions overseas when Joe Biden was vice president. "Joe Biden is and always has been a corrupt politician," the president added. "He always has been. And as far as I'm concerned, the Biden family is a criminal enterprise. It really is." The New York Post published several stories last week citing alleged emails discovered on a laptop at a Delaware repair shop, including one that stated Joe Biden had met with an official from a corrupt Ukrainian gas copany that paid Hunter Biden to be a board member. Twitter and Facebook have [...]

October 20th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

VIDEO: Trump Isn’t EFFING Around Anymore: Responds ‘Lock up the Bidens, Lock up Hillary,’ After Crowd Chants ‘Lock Them Up!’

    OPINION – President Trump knows what is on Hunter’s infamous hard drive and from the sounds of it, there are some major bombshells yet to come. His speech at his rally in Georgia likely has Joey B and his boy sweating bullets. If there is one thing that the many Democrats and Republicans agree on, it is that Trump has worked hard to keep his campaign promises. He got us out of the TPP, he renegotiated NAFTA, he has been pulling troops out of endless wars for corporate profit. However, there are some things, major things he is yet to deliver on, although not for lack of trying.  It appears that it took President Trump about 3 years to realize that he is a man on an island in Washington.  The swamp is murkier and deeper than he could have ever imagined.  Trump promised to ‘drain the swamp’ and tossed Sessions out on his ass after he failed to go after the DS, rather stepping aside to allow coup plotters to try and further undermine him. Trump then appointed Attorney General Barr, who appointed Durham and Bash, all of which have proven to be horrific failures thus far. Hillary Clinton is still above the law and there is little hope that anything will be done to seriously investigate her foundation or email scandals. The other big promise that we are waiting to be fulfilled is ‘the wall.’  While Trump can point to the fact that 321 miles of wall have been constructed during his Presidency, according to Wikipedia, that is no where near what was promised.  It has not been [...]

October 20th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Hungarian Trade Minister BLASTS Crooked Joe Biden After He Calls Poland and Hungary Totalitarian Regimes

Last week during his patty-cake town hall on ABC Joe Biden smeared US allies Poland and Hungary as totalitarian regimes like Belarus. This was an ignorant and disgusting attack on our NATO allies to score cheap political points. On Saturday Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade DESTROYED Joe Biden in his official response. Péter Szijjártó called on Joe Biden to explain his corrupt family business stealing from the Ukrainian people. Hunter Biden wheeling and dealing for big money from Ukraine. Via the Hungarian Government Website: We may still remember the kind of Central European policy the democrats pursued for 8 years; we may still recall the continuous lecturing, accusations and attacks,” FM Szijjártó began his video statement, reminding viewers that, during his term as Vice President, Joe Biden was “particularly busy” with foreign policy. “We, Hungarians, have experienced this firsthand,” Szijjártó said, referring to occasions when members of the U.S. diplomatic corps in Budapest openly took part in opposition protests and published “extraordinarily biased” statements with the aim of supporting left-liberal parties and attacking the Hungarian government. There was a period during his term as VP, the Hungarian FM continued, when, and I exaggerate a bit, Biden spent more of his time outside D.C. in Ukraine than in rural America. “This was the time when his son happened to be a chief executive at a key Ukrainian energy company; this was also the time when there were deals in the Ukrainian energy sector that were suspected of being corrupt,” FM Szijjártó said in the video [...]

October 20th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Comment: Total power, total responsibility – Jacinda holds both in her hands after 2020 election

Opinion - With total power comes total responsibility, and Jacinda Ardern holds both in her hands. Jacinda Ardern's first words on Saturday night were: "We will be a party that governs for every New Zealander". Photo: Getty Images Her government can do whatever it wants for the next three years. No need for deals with support parties because Labour has the numbers to pass legislation on its own. The prime minister has 64 Labour seats to command in the 120-member Parliament. With the Greens holding 10, the centre-left has an unprecedented 74 seats. While there is no one to get in the way of what the government decides to do, there isn't anyone to blame either. This is Ardern's show, and she will be held accountable for anything that goes wrong. The prime minister and her senior Cabinet ministers will be acutely aware of that. National was hammered in this election, but not as badly as it was in 2002 when it came away with just 27 seats compared with the 35 it holds now. Three years later, it very nearly won the next election. Voters have thanked Ardern for keeping the country safe from Covid-19. They won't do it again. The next three years will be about economic recovery and the way the government deals with it, a very different challenge and arguably a more difficult one. They have also punished National for its own mismanagement. The slide began with the coup against Simon Bridges and the Todd Muller debacle made it worse. Judith Collins [...]

October 18th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

NEWS Text messages show raw and intimate exchange between Joe and Hunter Biden

Hunter and Joe Biden   A raw series of text messages show Joe Biden offering fatherly comfort as his son, Hunter, lamented from a rehab facility about being a “f–ked up addict who can’t be trusted” and had damaged his dad’s political career. The intimate family exchange took place on February 24, 2019, two months before Joe launched his campaign for the White House. “Good morning my beautiful son. I miss you and love you. Dad,” the elder Biden wrote at 6:57 a.m. Hunter responded with a lengthy diatribe about his ex-wife, Kathleen Buhle, and his father’s political advisers, and he also complained bitterly about a conversation with his sister-in-law-turned-lover, Hallie Biden. “For f–ks sake hallie for the first time [in] 17 days talks to me to say im an embarrassment. To MY family,” Hunter wrote. He then admitted, “Well dad, the truth is as you and hallie point out — I am a f–ked up addict that cant be…Trusted relied upon nor defended.” View Gallery “If you don’t run ill never have a chance at redemption,” he added. About three hours later, Joe sent Hunter an encouraging burst of short texts. “I’ll run but I need you. H is wrong. Only focus is recovery. Nothing else,” he wrote. Joe also praised Hunter for raising his three daughters, Naomi, Finnegan and Maisy. “Your girls are so smart truly amazing. Very focused. Naomi very upset with K,” he wrote. “When you can and feel like it call. Positive my text etc a target. Love.” The Bidens’ formerly [...]

October 17th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Exclusive poll: Biden up in Mich., Pa., tied with Trump in Fla.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leads President Trumpin Pennsylvania and Michigan, but the two candidates are tied in Florida with just more than two weeks to go before Election Day. A new Hill/Harris poll finds Biden opening up a double-digit lead in Michigan, which Trump won narrowly in 2016. The race is closer in Pennsylvania, where Biden has a 5-point advantage among likely voters. The perennial swing state of Florida, a must-win for Trump, is a pure toss-up heading into the home stretch. Trump is dragged down by his handling of the coronavirus, which is the top issue on the minds of voters in all three battleground states. The economy remains the president’s best issue, although a majority of voters in these states believe the economy is headed in the wrong direction. Trump’s backers are passionate — a strong majority are casting ballots in favor of him, while many Biden voters say they’re casting ballots against Trump. But Biden is running strong among some of the key demographic groups that powered the president’s 2016 campaign, including seniors, independents and suburban voters. Biden is also doing better than expected on issues that Trump has sought to make his own, such as policing, law and order and China. “Trump has pulled even in Florida and that indicates some momentum and the capability to win against long odds here,” said Hill/Harris pollster Mark Penn. “But his prior stronghold in the Midwest is where he is in trouble. In those states, he has lost some of his critical constituencies, especially seniors, and the chief [...]

October 17th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Nagorno-Karabakh: Not all politics are local

© Getty Images Is the eruption of violence in Nagorno-Karabakh the world’s first COVID war? The three co-chairs of the Minsk Process – France, Russia and the United States – that have been trying to resolve the conflict since 1992 are each distracted by rising infection numbers, not to mention the approaching American election. It has been an opportune moment for combatants on both sides to push to improve their strategic positions, before winter sets in in the Karabakh highlands and probably pauses the fighting. Given the failure of the recently Russian-brokered ceasefire, any pause will be temporary. The question is whether future fighting can be contained and a larger confrontation, drawing in outside forces, can be prevented. At stake is a territory, approximately the size of Delaware, populated by ethnic Armenians but recognized internationally as integral to Azerbaijan. The roots of the problem are deep. In antiquity the region belonged to the ancient Kingdom of Armenia but over the centuries changed hands between Tatars and Mongols, Russians and Persians, in the embattled fragmentation of the Caucasus. The Bolsheviks wanted to assign it to Armenia, but in 1921 Stalin, in all his wisdom, peremptorily gifted it to Azerbaijan as the “Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast.” As the Soviet Union collapsed 70 years later, ethnic conflicts between Azeris and Armenians erupted. The Armenians tried to secede from Azerbaijan as the “Artsakh Republic,” which currently controls the region. Prospects for a diplomatic resolution are in the hands of the OSCE Minsk Group, aspiring to implement the “Madrid Principles,” including a withdrawal [...]

October 17th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

China, Russia, terrorism are UK’s biggest long-term threats, says new MI5 boss

London: The new head of MI5 says China poses the greatest long-term threat to Britain because while Russia is responsible for "bad bursts of weather," it is China that is "changing the climate." In a speech at the Home Office in London, Ken McCallum called for a "broad conversation" across government and crucially beyond, to reach wise judgements around how the UK interacts with China on both opportunities and risks." Police at the scene in Londonderry, Northern Ireland in 2019, following the death of 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee who was shot and killed in a flare up of partisan violence.CREDIT:AP "Sometimes our role is to spot the hidden state hand in the pursuit of promising UK companies whose acquisition might dent our future prosperity and security," he said. His comments follow Britain's torturous debate over whether or not to involve China's Huawei in the rollout of the country's 5G networks. Prime Ministers Theresa May and Boris Johnson wanted to include the Chinese firm but were eventually forced to introduce a plan to phase out Huawei equipment after a rebellion by Conservative MPs and intense lobbying by the Trump Administration as well as privately from Australia. McCallum welcomed plans by the British government to tighten its foreign investment and foreign agent rules - changes which Australia has already implemented to counter Chinese interference. The UK has been the site of a major battle over Huawei's participation in the country's 5G network. CREDIT:AP   "Current legislation leaves gaps; some of the most damaging activity we have to confront [...]

October 15th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

The king and I: the student risking jail by challenging Thailand’s monarchy

Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul believes she has a duty to speak out about her country’s politics   Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul at a rally in Bangkok. Photograph: Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters When Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul decided to risk going to jail by calling for reforms to Thailand’s powerful monarchy, she had no idea how people would respond. In the hours before, she felt like she might faint. After turning to her friends for reassurance, she walked on to the stage of a major protest rally in Bangkok and calmly delivered a speech that would shake the country. In front of thousands of students, she called for the power and wealth of Thailand’s king to be curbed – challenging an institution protected by a strict lèse-majesté law and long considered untouchable. Its budget should be reduced, the king’s private funds should be separated from the crown assets and the king should not endorse any further coups, she said, reading from a 10-point list. Criticism of the monarchy should not be forbidden, she added. “If the people [disagreed], it was over,” said the 21-year-old student, looking back on that day in August. Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul speaking during a Bangkok protest in August. Photograph: Sakchai Lalit/AP In September, tens of thousands of people gathered for another, student-led demonstration, at which Panusaya not only reiterated demands for curbs to the monarchy’s power, but dramatically hand delivered them to the king’s privy council. Another protest is planned for Wednesday, when students intend to assemble at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument and march to Government House. Ultra-royalist groups have announced plans to [...]

October 14th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Report card: Jacinda Ardern’s government graded on the past three years

As the election approaches, 12 experts and commentators in New Zealand give their view on where Labour has succeeded and failed New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern has had to manage a broad coalition during her three years in power. Photograph: Mark Baker/AP   When Jacinda Ardern took over leadership of New Zealand’s Labour party less than two months before the 2017 election she had the country’s social woes firmly in her sights, blaming nine years of a National party-led government for child poverty rates and housing unaffordability. Ardern promised a government of transformation, pledging to do better on the climate crisis, tackle mental health and suicide rates, and build tens of thousands of new homes.Her ability to respond in a crisis – such as the Christchurch terrorist attack in March 2019, the deadly volcanic eruption at Whakaari, and Covid-19 – is well-documented and has drawn global praise. But domestically, she has had a political coalition as well as a pandemic to manage: Labour has been in power along with the Greens and New Zealand First. She promised a strong and empathetic government and a “fairer, better New Zealand”. How has her government performed on its promises of sweeping change? The Guardian asked two experts or political commentators in each field for their assessments. The environment Kera Sherwood-O’Regan (Kāi Tahu), a climate justice advocate, and co-founder of social impact agency Activate Grade: C+ Her introduction was strong with Ardern proclaiming climate change her generation’s “nuclear-free moment”, but unfortunately, getting climate change on the agenda is not the same [...]

October 12th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Irregular warfare with China, Russia: Ready or not, it’s coming — if not already here

© Getty Images   Last week, amid the hubbub of the presidential debate, revelations about President Trump’s taxes, the “SCOTUS War” and the COVID-plagued White House, something important happened that almost everybody missed. The Defense Department released the unclassified summary of the Irregular Warfare Annex to the 2018 National Defense Strategy. The strategy tells our armed forces how to prepare for and win the next war, which almost certainly will be an “irregular war” fight. The military uses terms such as “irregular,” “unconventional,” “asymmetrical,” “hybrid” and “gray zone” to describe any style of combat not resembling the Battle of the Bulge (aka, “regular” war). What makes warfare “regular”? No one knows. However, we do know what it looks like: state-on-state armed conflict, in which militaries are like gladiators battling for the fate of the world. Combatants are expected to wear uniforms, have patriot zeal, and honor peace treaties. It’s what famed military theorist Carl von Clausewitz envisioned, and what the “Laws of War” seek to regulate. There’s just one problem: No one fights this way anymore, except us. No wonder Afghanistan is the longest war in American history. Since 1945, the overwhelming majority of armed conflicts have been irregular: insurgencies that seek to topple governments, narco-wars that seize countries — “narco-states” — as booty, genocides fought between ethnic groups, and terrorists who wish to burn down the world. Ironically, there’s nothing more irregular today than “regular war.” Of the hundreds of armed conflicts since World War II, you could probably count the number of regular wars [...]

October 12th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Is China shifting the world order?

© Getty Images While the United States spends 2020 drawing and quartering itself, China continues to solidify internally then view outward. It has thrown its weight around the South China Sea and poured plenty of capital into the Belt and Road Initiative, a multinational infrastructure project valued at seven times the Marshall Plan after the Second World War. It has subtly tried to remove the liberal democratic “bias” from international rules. What is China up to with all this global assertiveness? Some experts say that it is simply flexing its new muscles, as the United States did in the early 20th century when it bullied countries in Central America and the Caribbean Sea. But others worry that China is in the early stages of the sustainable strategy to use its rising wealth and technology to supplant the United States and to dominate on the world stage. In fact, Xi Jinping and the ruling party are doing what the United States and other great powers have often done by shaping their international environment to favor the survival of their own domestic regime. United States administrations tended to use authority to bias the international system toward democracy. The ruling party of China is trying to build a bias for autocracy into the same international system. A clue to this ultimate goal comes from the ruthless suppression of all potential dissent in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, even at the cost of broad international condemnation. The leaders of China perceive the hostile environment of meddling democracies and many liberal international [...]

October 12th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Biden leads Trump by 6 points in Michigan and Nevada, race tied in Iowa: poll

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden holds a steady lead over President Trump in the key battlegrounds of Michigan and Nevada, while the race remains a dead head in Iowa, according to a new poll. A CBS News-YouGov tracking poll taken between Oct. 6 and Oct. 9 found Trump trailing Biden by 6 points among registered voters in Michigan and Nevada, 52 percent to 46 percent in both states. In Iowa, both candidates registered support from 49 percent of registered voters. The polls paint a bleak picture for the president, whose 2016 victory was largely made possible by a narrow win in Michigan, while former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) won Nevada by less than 3 points. Trump won Iowa comfortably in 2016. Democrats also hold the edge in two Senate races measured by the CBS-YouGov poll. In Michigan, Sen. Gary Peters (D) leads Republican challenger John James 47 percent to 44, while in Iowa, Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield leads incumbent Sen. Joni Ernst (R) 47 percent to 43 percent. Biden is buoyed in Nevada by a 2-to-1 advantage over the president among Hispanic voters, according to the poll, and he holds a 9-point lead among independent voters in Michigan. The CBS-YouGov poll surveyed 1,048 registered voters in Iowa, with a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points; in Michigan, 1,215 were polled, with a 3.2 percentage point margin of error; and in Nevada, 1,052 answered, with a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points.    

October 12th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Azerbaijan’s assault against Armenia threatens Democracy everywhere

© Getty Images On September 27, Azerbaijan began a coordinated full-scale aerial and missile attack on Artsakh, Armenia. Turkey has played an especially active role by not only supporting, but also driving much of Azerbaijan’s aggression. It has provided its proxy with foreign mercenaries and the full extent of its military arsenal, including its F-16s . In fact, shortly after the assault on Artsakh began, Turkish President Recep Erdogan announced his full support for Azerbaijan and called for the overthrow of the Armenian government. These tactics are not new: Erdogan has employed them countless times, from its intervention in Libya to its dispute with Greece in the Mediterranean. Unfortunately, some actors in the international community have dismissed Azerbaijan's role as the aggressor, calling both sides to “prepare populations for peace.” But if Armenia was never in search for war in first place, what more do they have to prepare for? In contrast, Azerbaijan has been preparing its population for war over the past two decades — institutionalizing anti-Armenian sentiment, stockpiling military assets purchased from Turkey and Israel, and steadily sidelining efforts for a negotiated solution to the conflict. In fact, Azerbaijan recently disavowed the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group peace process when President Ilham Aliyev called the Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh) mediation efforts “pointless” and threatening to resolve the issue militarily. What’s happening now shouldn’t come as a surprise to the international community — Azerbaijan telegraphed it all along. Azerbaijan and Turkey have been working strategically to influence international public opinion, especially [...]

October 11th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Eric Trump says his dad ‘literally’ saved Christianity

Eric Trump claimed that his father, Donald Trump, "literally saved Christianity" during a radio show interview in North Dakota last week. He made the comment while giving a list of the achievements he attributes to his father. "He literally saved Christianity, there's a war on faith in this country by the other side. I mean, the Democratic Party, the far left, has become the party of the quote-unquote atheist, they want to attack Christianity, they want to close churches, they want to - they're totally fine keeping liquor stores open, but they want to close churches all over the country," he said, before continuing his list of accomplishments. Even with Eric Trump's clarification, it was not immediately clear what he meant when he said his father "literally saved Christianity." While it was clear that Eric Trump's gripe seemed rooted in coronavirus-related church closures, the decision to re-open places of worship was largely in the hands of state and local officials, not the president. Eric Trump's reference to liquor stores is likely based on the conservative complaint that churches were forced to remain closed while businesses like grocery stores and liquor stores were allowed to re-open. Religious gatherings - particularly those that occur indoors - often last for an hour or more and often emphasise community, whereas purchases made at a liquor store often involve person-to-person interaction that lasts less than a minute. New research also suggests that the overwhelming number of coronavirus infections are driven by "super spreader" events in which a disproportionate number of infected [...]

October 9th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Kamala Harris vs. Mike Pence: USA TODAY opinion contributors assess the VP debate Both the vice president and Democratic nominee Kamala Harris suffered from a tendency to retreat into talking points rather than answer questions.

Both the vice president and Democratic nominee Kamala Harris suffered from a tendency to retreat into talking points rather than answer questions. USA TODAY asked a diverse group of contributors to its Opinion section their impressions of how Democrat Kamala Harris and Republican Mike Pence performed in Wednesday night's vice presidential debate. Here are their answers: Pence couldn't defend an indefensible record: Ellis Cose Vice President Mike Pence’s relatively calm demeanor reminded us that the White House executive suite is not peopled solely by raving maniacs of the sort Donald Trump became during the first presidential debate. But, unfortunately for Pence, that was not his only task. He had to defend Trump’s record and his own. And valiantly as he tried to make sense out of (or rhetorically revise) the nonsensical and the negligent, he was no more successful at that than the president himself. Both the vice president and Democratic nominee Kamala Harris suffered from a tendency to retreat into talking points rather than answer questions, although Pence was much clumsier at it. With all the polls going against the president, Pence had the biggest challenge, and he simply didn’t have a good story to tell. It’s difficult to spin an out-of-control pandemic, a collapsed economy, a decline in international standing and an apparent indifference to suffering. Pence did his best to change the subject, but his soothing words could not change the dispiriting record he was tasked to defend. Ellis Cose, a member of USA TODAY's Board of Contributors, is author of “The Short Life and Curious Death of Free [...]

October 8th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Election 2020 poll: Labour, Act steady, National, Greens dip

Jacinda Ardern has dropped in the preferred PM stakes while Judith Collins is steady   Labour's support has stuck on 47 per cent in the latest 1 News Colmar Brunton poll, while National has slipped one point to 32 per cent. Act is also still on 8 per cent while the Greens have dropped to 6 - close to the 5 per cent threshold. NZ First has nudged up to 2 per cent, but still well short of the 5 per cent threshold despite leader Winston Peters' predictions of a "surge". On these numbers Labour would be one seat shy of being able to govern alone. Labour leader Jacinda Ardern's popularity has taken a 4 per cent hit which sees her on a rating of 50 per cent in the preferred Prime Minister stakes compared with Judith Collins steady on 23 per cent. Ardern said she was keeping an eye on the polling "but I'm pretty happy with those numbers". Collins said she believed it was still anybody's race. Green Party co-leader James Shaw said the numbers showed there was a risk of one party being able to form a Government alone. Thirteen per cent of voters polled were still either undecided or would not say how they would vote. On that poll result National would have 41 seats in Parliament - down from 54 now. Labour would have 60. The poll sampled 1007 voters between October 3-7 and has a margin of error of 3.1%. The percentage numbers have changed little since the last poll [...]

October 8th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

ASPI Is Not A Politically Neutral Research Body

  The Australian Institute for Strategic Policy (ASPI) released a report on March 1 this year titled "Uyghurs for Sale" containing the topic of re-education, forced labour and surveillance beyond Xinjiang. The authors of this lengthy report attempted to demonstrate an untenable conclusion by garbling and fact distorting, which is accused by the Chinese officials and the public for charging the Chinese government with the fake evidence. It is obvious that ASPI and the authors aimed to demean China and to stigmatize the Chinese government's policies on Xinjiang. As the impact of the ASPI report, many members of the US Congress have jointly proposed the "Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act", and then US President Trump has signed the "Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020" into law. On July 10, 2020, the U.S. Customs seized a batch of products exported from Xinjiang to the U.S. on the grounds of “forced labor”. The action drew forth China's fierce opposition. ASPI used to be a less eye-catching research body over the years. Formed in 2001, it claims to be an independent, non-partisan research think tank. Its purpose is to provide the Australian government with fresh ideas on Australia’s defense, security and strategic policy choices. ASPI is responsible for informing the public on a range of strategic issues, generating new thinking for the government and harnessing strategic thinking internationally. According to its annual report, among the yearly funding of more than 9 million Australian dollars, 4 million dollars is provided by the Australian Department of Defense, and the rest [...]

October 7th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Negative views of China soar in western countries, poll finds

Survey in US, UK, Australia and 11 other nations shows unfavourable opinions about Beijing regime are highest ever, Pew says Donald Trump has accused Xi Jinping and China of failing to contain the coronavirus, leading to rising ant-China sentiment in the west. Photograph: Damir Šagolj/Reuters   Unfavourable views toward China have soared in the past year in the United States and many other advanced economies, according to a survey of 14 countries conducted by the US-based Pew Research Center. The survey, conducted between June and August this year and released on Tuesday, found that a majority in each of the countries polled had an unfavourable opinion of China. In all, 14,276 adults The report said perceptions of Beijing’s handling of the pandemic had coloured people’s overall views of China, with those who thought it had done a bad job much more likely to have an unfavorable view of the country. The same applied to people’s confidence in Chinese president, Xi Jinping, with a median of 78% across the 14 countries saying they had “not too much or no confidence in Xi to do the right thing regarding world affairs”. Even among those who rated China’s coronavirus outbreak response positively, no more than four in 10 said they trusted Xi, Pew said. Despite concerns about Xi’s rise, the survey found that in most countries more had faith in him than in Trump. In Germany, 78% said they had no confidence in Xi – but 89% said the same of Trump. When it came to perceptions of economic [...]

October 7th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

James Carafano: Trump hospitalized for coronavirus – what’s the impact on US foreign policy?

In times of crisis, America's adversaries looks for ways to weaken or threaten the US The president has been hospitalized. As always, America’s adversaries will examine this unusual development, looking for ways to use it to their advantage – either to weaken or threaten the United States. Fortunately, they won’t find much to work with. For starters, they’ve watched America weather COVID for over six months. They’ve seen that it’s had near zero impact on U.S. foreign policy. American soldiers and Marines remain deployed around the world. Our ships are on station. Our planes are flying. American diplomacy is as robust as ever. In fact, this week while the president recuperated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Defense Secretary Mark Esper was wrapping up a four-country tour of Northern Africa and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, newly returned from South America, went back on the road to Japan. Further, any adversary worthy of the name who has studied the U.S. knows that America has robust means to ensure continuity of operations in the federal government and an ironclad legal system to ensure presidential authority is unaffected by illness, calamity or malicious activity. In particular, post-9/11, much was done to update and strengthen the U.S. protocols that ensure continuity of government. We have come a long way from the days when Vice President Dick Cheney had to be tucked away at an undisclosed location. From the White House bunker to Air Force One, the government’s ability to communicate – both domestically and with friends and allies across the globe –  is far more resilient, secure [...]

October 6th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Biden leads by 10 points as majority of Americans say Trump could have avoided coronavirus

       Joe Biden has maintained an early advantage in securing the national popular vote.PHOTO: AFP       NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Democrat Joe Biden opened his widest lead in a month in the United States presidential race after President Donald Trump tested positive for the coronavirus, and a majority of Americans think Trump could have avoided infection if he had taken the virus more seriously, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Sunday (Oct 4). The Oct 2-3 national opinion poll gave little indication of an outpouring of support for the President beyond Mr Trump's core group of followers, some of whom have gathered outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre, where he has been hospitalised. Mr Trump has repeatedly dismissed the severity of the pandemic, painting it as something that would disappear on its own, and chiding Biden as recently as last week for wearing a protective mask, even as the coronavirus has killed more than 200,000 people in the United States, infected millions of people and forced businesses and schools to close. Among those adults who are expected to cast ballots in the Nov 3 election, the poll found that 51 per cent were backing Mr Biden, while 41 per cent said they were voting for Mr Trump. Another 4 per cent were choosing a third-party candidate and another 4 per cent said they were undecided. Mr Biden's 10-point edge over Mr Trump is one to two points higher than leads Mr Biden posted over the past several weeks, though the increase is still within the poll's precision limits [...]

October 5th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

China is winning the war for global tech dominance

           © iStock illustration When the United Kingdom announced in July that it no longer would allow the Chinese technology firm Huawei to be part of its 5G telecommunications network, it was considered to be a success for the Trump administration’s lobbying of its closest ally. Other countries such as Australia and Japan also have effectively banned the company, echoing Washington’s fears of a potential national security threat. Unfortunately for those hawkish on Huawei, the vast majority of the world remains open to using the company’s technology. Huawei has a presence in more than 170 countries, including dozens in Europe, and even Canada has yet to be persuaded to block the Chinese Communist Party-linked company. This is a reflection of the reality that America finds itself in today — namely, that China appears to be winning the war to build the world’s technology infrastructure. China’s push to dominate technology is being coordinated through a program called the Digital Silk Road (DSR), a subset of the more widely known Belt and Road Initiative. Launched in 2015, the DSR is a private-sector agenda heavily supported by the state with the aim of extending China’s digital presence abroad, and thereby enhancing its commercial and political influence. The DSR is answering the demand for connectivity from Asia to Africa to Latin America. Chinese companies have built out much of the world’s digital foundations, including fiber-optic cables and telecommunication network schemes. Data centers have been constructed, and projects set up in smart education and online surveillance. The [...]

October 5th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

On President Donald Trump and COVID-19, just tell the truth to the American people

Our View: Dr. Sean Conley says he'd 'rather not' disclose specifics. Dr. Conley, the nation would rather know more than less. This editorial, originally published Oct. 3, has been updated. When it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration has hardly been transparent or truthful. On numerous occasions, top officials, and President Donald Trump himself, have withheld, underestimated, downplayed and outright lied. But when actual scientists and medical professionals have been allowed to speak, they have generally been as accurate as possible. That ended Saturday when the president's physician, Dr. Sean Conley, refused to provide meaningful disclosure on the president's condition during a late morning briefing with reporters. Conley delivered the reassuring and welcome news that the "president is doing very well" and doctors are "extremely happy" with his progress. But the doctor undercut his credibility by saying he'd "rather not" give information on such questions as Trump's fever before admission and where and when the president contracted the virus. Conley was evasive when pressed about the use of supplemental oxygen. The next 48 hours Actually, Dr. Conley, the American people would rather that you do provide information. In fact, they insist on it. The health of the president is of urgent national and international security concern. All you have to do is tell the truth, without spin or evasion. The opaqueness of the response was even more troubling when, minutes after Conley concluded his briefing, an administration official (later identified as White House chief of staff Mark Meadows) told pool reporters at the hospital that the president was actually in worse health than [...]

October 5th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Jobs, health and climate: what Australians want the budget to pay for

With the economy in a Covid crisis, we ask people across states, sectors and stages of life where their priorities now lie Kuda Mangoma: ‘I’ve had a hit of depression, and so mental health is one of my biggest concerns.’ Photograph: Alana Holmberg/The Guardian  Australians are hoping to see extended financial support for workers in industries crippled by Covid-19 restrictions, as well as policies to make renewable energy cheaper and more accessible. While the government has indicated job creation will be at the centre of Tuesday’s federal budget, Guardian Australia spoke to Australians across several states, sectors and stages of life about where they want the government to spend money. Kuda Mangoma, 28, artist, inner Melbourne, Victoria After leaving his office job in September last year, Kuda had begun working at a cafe part-time so he could focus on a career as an artist. Kuda had been planning to move to Zimbabwe in late March with his wife. He had family there, and the pair wanted to open an art gallery and cafe. However, Covid-19 border closures saw their flight postponed indefinitely only days after his wife had finished working her notice period at her job. Shortly after, gathering restrictions saw the cafe Kuda was working at forced to shut. Unable to find other employment, Kuda has been relying on jobseeker payments since the beginning of the pandemic, with demand for his work as a freelance artist shrinking. “The higher rate of jobseeker has been very liveable,” he says. “For the first time in consecutive months [...]

October 4th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Pope denies audience with Pompeo; Vatican warns against playing politics over China

ROME (Reuters) - The Vatican said on Wednesday it had denied a request from Mike Pompeo for an audience with Pope Francis, and accused the Secretary of State of trying to drag the Catholic Church into the U.S. presidential election by denouncing its relations with China. The extraordinary remarks from the two top diplomatic officials at the Vatican came after Pompeo accused the Church in an article and a series of tweets this month of putting its “moral authority” at risk by renewing an agreement with China over the appointment of bishops. Pompeo, who was in Rome on Wednesday and due to meet Vatican officials on Thursday, repeated his denunciations of China’s record on religious freedom at an event hosted by the U.S. embassy to the Holy See. The Vatican’s two top diplomats, Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Foreign Minister Archbishop Paul Gallagher, said Francis had declined a request from Pompeo for an audience, as the pope avoids meeting politicians ahead of elections. “Yes, he asked. But the pope had already said clearly that political figures are not received in election periods. That is the reason,” Parolin said. The Vatican’s two-year-old agreement with Beijing gives the pope some say over the appointment of Chinese bishops. It was due to expire next month, but is expected to be renewed. Officials in the Holy See say the agreement is not perfect but call it a step forward, after decades during which Chinese Catholics who recognise the pope were driven underground. Parolin and Gallagher both described Pompeo’s [...]

October 4th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

EXCLUSIVE: Clinton Investigators Moynihan & Doyle Drop a NEW Bomb on the Clinton Foundation & THE FEDS — And All Holy Hell Breaks Out Inside DOJ & IRS

Famed Clinton Foundation investigators John Moynihan and Larry Doyle have the Justice Department and IRS — as well as the Clinton Cartel — running for cover. The investigative duo just quietly dropped a massive bomb on all parties, as detailed exclusively on the Thomas Paine Podcast. And now the FEDs are scurrying to help cover up yet another massive national scandal. And covering for the Clinton’s. Again. Buy why? Paine has the dirt. Truly incredible NEW Intel. Listen Above Listen to the insightful Thomas Paine Podcast Below --

October 3rd, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Chris Wallace Just Gave The Most Embarrassing Moderator Performance In History

'Well, first of all, I guess I’m debating you, not him,' Trump said to Chris Wallace during Tuesday's 2020 presidential debate. Fact check: True. Debating one person is difficult, especially if he’s had oodles of alone time in his basement to prepare while you’ve been a little busy leading the country. Debating that person and a partisan media hack at the same time is just BS. That, however, was President Donald Trump’s exact plight Tuesday night at the first 2020 presidential debate, when he was treated to a two-on-one showdown with his actual opponent Joe Biden and his honorary rival, Fox News moderator Chris Wallace. Wallace, a registered Democrat, failed to maintain any control over the debate. Even members of the left pointed out what a chaotic “disgrace” the whole ordeal was. But after a while, it was hard to pay attention to anything but Wallace’s Biden bias. Media moderators playing favorites with presidential contenders is nothing new, but Wallace’s persistent partisanship reached a new low. From interrupting Trump but not Biden at nearly every turn, blocking the incumbent before he could correct mischaracterizations and flat-out lies from Biden, to full-throated arguments with the president despite lobbing soft-ball questions — or no questions at all — to the former vice president, Wallace’s presentation was appalling. Wallace Did the Left’s Bidding Who needs the leftist media swarming to fact-check Trump’s claims from this debate when you have Wallace to recycle long-debunked claims? “Vice President Biden, you say that President Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville three [...]

October 1st, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

From interruptions to insults: 5 takeaways from first Trump-Biden US presidential debate

The debate at times descended into name-calling and insult-hurling.PHOTO: AFP   WASHINGTON - US President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden faced off on Tuesday (Sept 29) in the first presidential debate, just over a month from Election Day on Nov 3. There will be two more debates between Mr Trump and Mr Biden and one between the vice-presidential nominees Mike Pence and Kamala Harris. Here are five takeaways from the debate in Cleveland, Ohio. 1. EXTREME MESSINESS OF THE DEBATE Tuesday night was less a debate and more a spectacle. Mr Trump, 74, did the lion's share of interruptions, frequently talking over Mr Biden, 77, and heckling him with short, sharp comments and questions. Mr Biden, who often could barely get a word in, was occasionally thrown off balance. "Will you shut up, man?" he said at one point, adding: "This is so unpresidential...keep yapping, man." This would have played differently to different audiences. Mr Trump's supporters are likely to see him as strong and Mr Biden as a weak opponent who needed the moderator to stand up for him, while the President's detractors will call him a bully. It remains to be seen whether Mr Trump's combative approach will endear him to undecided voters and white suburban women, whom he needs to win over to close in on Mr Biden's lead. Mr Biden's strategy of addressing the camera at times, directly asking the audience whether their life experience contradicted the miraculous pandemic recovery extolled by Mr Trump, was very much in line [...]

September 30th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Big tech firms may be handing Hong Kong user data to China

Allegation follows new law that lets Hong Kong ask for sensitive data if deemed to threaten national security Hong Kong data. Composite: Leah Millis/Reuters  Big technology companies may already be complying with secret Chinese requests for user information held in Hong Kong and ought to “come clean” about the vulnerability of the data they hold there, a senior US state department official has said. The allegation of possible secret cooperation between major companies and Hong Kong authorities follows the implementation of a sweeping and controversial new national security law that allows Hong Kong authorities to demand sensitive user data from companies if it is deemed to threaten national security. While some tech and social media companies, like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, said in the immediate aftermath of the law being implemented in June that they would put a “pause” on complying with any Hong Kong data requests, interviews with activists, legal experts, and a current and former US government official have raised doubts about their ability to fend off such legal demands and their right to disclose if they have received them. The state department official said: “There is a possibility that things are happening but because of the restrictions put on by the Hong Kong authorities, they [companies] would not be able to divulge this.” The official added that if the request was “detoured” into the mainland legal system it would fall into a “black hole”. “The company would be told by mainland authorities ‘you will be breaking the [law] if you reveal the fact [...]

September 30th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Jacinda Ardern tipped to win Nobel Peace Prize despite competition from Thunberg, Trump

A political betting analyst has tipped New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to win the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, despite facing stiff competition. Photo / File   A political betting analyst has tipped New Zealand Prime Minister to win the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, despite facing stiff competition. According to Joe Short from gambling.com, Jacinda Ardern's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and her inspirational leadership sees her a strong contender to take it out. The World Health Organisation (WHO) is the current favourite according to Irish bookmakers Paddy Power, coming in at odds of 2/1. But Short believes Ardern, who is the third favourite according to Paddy Power at 5/1 odds, will be named winner of the prestigious award. “Its failings [WHO] over the past nine months have also been exposed. And there are calls for the WHO to be dramatically improved if the planet is to fight off another such virus in the future.“ "And that is why PM Ardern is probably the smartest choice for the Prize right now. At 5/1 the Labour Party leader has barely seen her price budge since the nominees were announced earlier this year. "Her Government has been credited with implementing an efficient crusade against the virus, using strong health messaging, widespread testing and effective lockdowns to combat the disease. "New Zealand had recorded just 25 deaths from Covid-19, with fewer than 1,900 cases identified across a country of 4.8m people. Donald Trump is the fifth favourite (12/1 odds), while the Black Lives Matter movement is the seventh favourite [...]

September 29th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

How the American “National Treasure” Was Removed from His Family Clan

Miles Maochun Yu, 58, was born in Chongqing, China. In 1979, with the honor of the top scorer in the college entrance examination in Chongqing Yongchuan Middle School, he succeeded to enroll in Nankai University and took major in History. In the Wenqu Square of Yongchuan County, where his alma mater is located, there is a stela on which the names of the top scorers in the college entrance examination in the region are inscribed. Recently, Yu's name has been eradicated from the stela. People of Shouxian County, Anhui Province, the hometown where he was born, are calling him a shame of the family clan. They recently decided to remove Yu from his family tree that is a book recording names of the family clan. Miles Yu is currently the principal China policy and planning adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and as the key man of a "Chinese Team", partnered with Assistant Secretary of State David Stilwell for East Asia and Pacific Affairs. Yu is considered to be one of the few people who can decode Chinese political terminology, understanding much more China’s soft underbelly than those American "China experts". He helps promote the great change of U.S. China policy not only from the academic perspective but also from policy practice. In the deteriorating U.S.-China relations in recent years, Miles Yu is regarded as part of the powerful behind-the-scenes force within the U.S. government reshaping U.S. policies toward China, which has been redefined as America's most significant strategic adversary. According to China’s political ethics, [...]

September 29th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Election 2020: New poll shows Labour could govern alone

A new Newshub-Reid Research poll has landed, with Labour polling 50.1 per cent and National 29.6 per cent. Photos / Mark Mitchell The latest Newshub-Reid Research poll shows Labour could govern alone three weeks out from the election. Labour polled 50.1 per cent, while National is on 29.6 per cent, according to the new figures. Labour is down 10.8 points from the previous Newshub-Reid Research poll - taken at the height of the Covid-19 recovery. Act was on 6.3 per cent, the Greens on 6.5 per cent and New Zealand First languished on 1.9 per cent. The latest poll may indicate that National has been hurt by its $4 billion fiscal error in its alternative budget. Judith Collins said her internal party polling showed something different to the Newshub-Reid Research poll. Collins told Newshub she was "getting a very good vibe on the ground" and said she wouldn't resign if she lost the election. "Certainly not," she said. She said her party would understand they'd "been through some difficulties". PM Jacinda Ardern told Newshub there hadn't been an MMP election in which a party was able to govern alone but it was premature to assume that would happen. David Seymour's Act party surged by 3 percentage points to 6.5 per cent, meaning it would no longer need the safety net of Seymour winning the Epsom electorate Seymour said the poll result energised their campaign. NZ First leader Winston Peters told Newshub he still thought he was going to get back into Parliament. "I don't have any [...]

September 27th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Sam Clench: Real reason Trump’s refusal to guarantee a peaceful transfer of power is dangerous

President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at Harrisburg International Airport. Photo / Getty Images COMMENT: No, Donald Trump will not be able to stay in office if he loses to Joe Biden in the upcoming US Presidential election. It is extraordinary that such a sentence even needs to be written, but after the collective freakout in response to Trump's remarks this week, we should be clear about this. The US President does not control the election result. He does not get to decide whether or not he leaves the White House. It is, quite simply, not up to him. If Biden wins, he will be inaugurated next January, and Trump will go back to being a private citizen, albeit one with very loud opinions and millions of fans eager to hear them. Still, the President's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power was as dangerous as it sounded, for reasons we'll get to in a bit. "Win, lose or draw, will you commit here today for a peaceful transferral of power after the election?" a reporter asked Trump at Wednesday's White House media briefing. There is only one acceptable answer to this question in a democracy, and Trump did not give it. "Well, we're going to have to see what happens," he responded. "You know that I've been complaining very strongly about the ballots. And the ballots are a disaster." "But people are rioting. Do you commit to making sure there is a peaceful transition of power?" the reporter pressed. "Get rid of [...]

September 27th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Joe Biden should enact critical government reforms if he wins

© Getty Images If Joe Biden wins the election, one of his first orders of business has to be to enact his proposed package of ethics reforms to ensure that no future president can replicate the abuse of power by the current administration. We must return independence to the Justice Department, tackle conflicts of interest, restore ethics in government, hold lobbyists and policymakers accountable, and reduce the influence of money in politics. A recent article by Jonathan Chait makes the case to prosecute Donald Trump after he leaves office. But Chait frames this as a choice between “the rule of law and mutual toleration.” Do we hold leaders accountable? Or do we ensure a peaceful transition of power? Chait ultimately selects the rule of law, which in this case is prosecution. While I would support a prosecution, I think the framing of this situation is not complete. The rule of law and mutual toleration do not have to be in tension if we run strong ethics reforms, including the independence of prosecutors. Chait defines the principle of mutual toleration as leaders accepting the legitimacy of their opponents. In times of clear criminal activity, however, the impact of accepting legitimacy is an erosion of the rule of law. Chait cites the pardon of Richard Nixon, which is hailed as an act of unification by Gerald Ford, but has also played a critical role in accepting legitimacy in certain actions by Trump. Chait offers instances from other countries, where acceptance of impunity by their leaders also preceded the [...]

September 27th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

There is now more evidence than ever that China is imprisoning Uighurs

Our findings from satellite images reveal 380 detention camps in Xinjiang, pointing to a campaign of ethnic replacement • Nathan Ruser is a researcher at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute   ‘All the trainees … have returned to society,’ said Xinjiang’s governor last year. An education centre near Kashgar, Xinjiang. Photograph: Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images     Since 2017, Xinjiang in China has been reeling from a brutal crackdown outlawing both public and private displays of Uighur culture or identity, not to mention political dissent. A cornerstone of this repression, and the foundation upon which all other coercive measures are built, is an intense and unparalleled carceral regime: a network of hundreds of political indoctrination camps, detention centres and prisons. This has forced the region’s inhabitants not only into obedience but also into a chilling silence. By most estimates, about 10% of Uighurs and other Muslim nationalities in Xinjiang have found themselves arbitrarily detained in these camps. While researching human rights in Xinjiang at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a non-partisan thinktank based in Canberra, I’ve spent two years scouring satellite imagery and working with journalists, researchers and survivors to locate as many of these secretive camps as possible. The results are shocking, and a direct contradiction to official claims. On Thursday we released the full findings on a newly launched website, the Xinjiang Data Project. In total, we have found 380 separate detention facilities that have either sprung out of the deserts and oases, or expanded from smaller detention facilities since 2017. We don’t believe that [...]

September 26th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Harvard Medical deans: Push for COVID-19 vaccine must put health above politics

We are profoundly concerned that avoidable missteps could undermine the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign. The COVID-19 pandemic — and its enormous social and economic consequences — poses the greatest threat to human health and welfare of our lifetimes. The fields of medicine and biomedical science to which we have devoted our careers are the most effective means to counter this scourge. Alongside preventative public health measures and treatments for the infected, developing a safe and effective vaccine to ward off SARS-Cov-2 infection is a critical national priority. Urgency has motivated progress with unprecedented speed, and government investment and unprecedented collaboration among scientists within academia and at several biopharmaceutical companies have catalyzed the most rapid timeline for vaccine development in human history. A return to our normal way of life will require public acceptance of the vaccine and delivery to a sufficient percentage of the population to achieve herd immunity. Yet a recent Pew Research Center public opinion poll shows that almost half of the U.S. population definitely or probably would not get vaccinated at this time, indicating widespread vaccine skepticism. And 77% worry that a COVID-19 vaccine will be approved before safety and efficacy are rigorously established. We are profoundly concerned that avoidable missteps could undermine the rollout of this essential vaccination campaign. Vaccines are among the most important achievements of modern medicine, yet vaccine hesitancy — delay or refusal by the public to accept vaccines — has been increasing. This unfortunate phenomenon has many causes, ranging from complacency, to inconvenience, to misinformation and a lack [...]

September 25th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

‘Mr Brexit to Mr U-turn’: German commentators befuddled by Johnson’s zig-zagging

Media criticise PM’s Covid strategy, as UK adopts job support scheme similar to Germany’s own Die Welt’s veteran British commentator says Britons feel ‘Boris Johnson is the wrong man to cope with an emergency’. Photograph: Frank Augstein/AP The UK followed in the footsteps of the German government by adopting a jobs support scheme on Thursday. The announcement came as German commentators spoke of their confusion at the zig-zag approach to tackling the coronavirus, describing a nation caught up in feelings of panic, disbelief and disillusionment. “Military intervention to control coronavirus rules a possibility,” ran one banner headline in the business daily Handelsblatt this week, while an editorial in the Süddeutsche Zeitung was titled: “Johnson’s skittishness endangers his country.” Brexit remains the dominant topic among those with an eye on UK affairs, but increasingly the current administration’s virus-fighting policies have been receiving more attention. For some, the two issues are intertwined. The main TV news recently said Johnson had “switched from being Mr Brexit to Mr U-turn”. The Wirtschaftswoche weekly business magazine said “one of the main reasons for the ongoing coronavirus chaos” in Britain was Johnson’s decision “to occupy lots of ministerial posts with Brexit hardliners”. “The perplexity of the British public is rising,” wrote Thomas Kielinger, the veteran Britain watcher for the conservative Die Welt. “Its government appears to be stumbling through a forest of lunacy ... and it’s dawning on many that Boris Johnsonis the wrong man to cope with an emergency.” Kielinger calls the punishments for those who do not abide by the [...]

September 25th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

New Zealand is in a ‘shecession’ – so where is the much-needed ‘she-covery’?

Both major parties are pinning their hopes on jobs for the boys to lead the post-coronavirus economic recovery New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern visits a construction site in Taupo. Labour is borrowing to invest in large-scale private sector infrastructure projects, which overwhelmingly benefit men. Photograph: Ben Mckay/AA  Some may have heard the terms “shecession” or “pink recession”; words associated with the worldwide trend for pandemic-related job and income losses to affect women more than men. In New Zealand, we saw it in the June quarter unemployment figures. Ninety percent of the 11,000 New Zealanders who had at lost their jobs due to Covid-19 were women. These statistics were shocking but perhaps not surprising. New Zealand’s early pandemic response was gendered when it came to which industries were, and weren’t, considered “essential”. In the highest alert levels (3 and 4) work in the personal care industries (hairdressers, manicurists, beauticians, domestic cleaners, personal trainers, gymnasiums) – largely done by women – was not allowed. Business owners and workers in these industries were told they could not offer services which involved face-to-face or sustained close personal contact; the risk of Covid transmission was too great. Meanwhile, tradies, construction workers, street repairers, telecommunication technicians – a male dominated workforce – were amongst the “essential” workers that were allowed to return to work first under alert level 3. They were advised to keep two metres separation from each other; a distance that, from my unscientific survey around my neighbourhood, was honoured more in the breach than the observance. That early [...]

September 25th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Covid 19 coronavirus: China comes out of pandemic ‘absolutely laughing’

Bill Birtles said the government had almost eliminated domestic transmission among a population of 1.4 billion people. Photo / Getty news.com.au An Aussie journalist who fled China says the difference between what you hear about Covid-19 there compared to elsewhere is unfathomable. A journalist who was recently forced to flee China on the advice of the Australian government says the country has come out of Covid-19 "absolutely laughing". Bill Birtles, who was the ABC's China correspondent in Beijing from 2015 until a few weeks ago, said it was a "parallel world" between what was being heard about Covid-19 there compared to elsewhere. "It is almost unfathomably different," he told a Lowy Institute webinar discussion about Australia's fractured ties with China. Birtles said the government had almost eliminated domestic transmission among a population of 1.4 billion people, compared to countries like India, the US and Brazil, which was an "extraordinary achievement". He said the US also gave China a "gift" with its terrible handling of the virus, which had been "absolutely exploited for all political gain domestically" in China through the state media. ” People who kind of say 'maybe this is China's Chernobyl' or something, they really underestimate the many levers of political control, and media control, and information control that the party now has. "I can't imagine a stronger position for the party to be in, except of course for the US trade war. "But certainly on Covid, they've come out of it absolutely laughing." Michael Smith, who was the Australian Financial Review's China correspondent [...]

September 25th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Vladimir Putin’s UN Speech: Will Russia Head A New Nonaligned Movement?

Putin has made an implicit proposal—to the Europeans and to the major powers of the global South—to avoid becoming involved in any emerging U.S.-China cold war. Russian president Vladimir Putin did not quite deliver the address he expected he would at the September United Nations General Assembly meeting—in fact, he wasn't even physically present at Turtle Bay! This is a far cry from his stated plans, whereby 2020 would serve as a triumphant milestone for Russia, celebrating the seventy-fifth anniversary of Moscow's role in defeating the Nazi menace and in creating the postwar international system—and where Putin, arriving in New York, would bring the other four permanent members of the Security Council to hold a global summit. The coronavirus pandemic upended those plans—but echoes of these aspirations remained in the text Putin delivered from the Kremlin. Nevertheless, the speech remains important for understanding Putin's state of mind as he considers the global system and the role he expects Russia to play in the 2020s—as well as the implicit warnings to the United States. Putin has always stressed the desirability of a “concert of great powers” system to manage world affairs, and he reiterated his vision of the United Nations and especially its Security Council as such a forum. Properly utilized, “it helps prevent unilateral actions that may result in a direct military confrontation between major states, and provides an opportunity to seek compromise or at least avoid solutions that would be completely unacceptable to others ...” Beyond the United Nations and its “G5” (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom [...]

September 23rd, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Here’s the company that Bill Gates thinks is the clear coronavirus vaccine leader

The billionaire philanthropist thinks one company could have a coronavirus vaccine ready by November. Bill Gates isn't an epidemiologist. He has no medical training. But when the billionaire philanthropist talks about vaccines, it pays to listen. He and his wife founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000. Since then, the nonprofit foundation has invested heavily in vaccine development across the world. Gates has personally championed making vaccines available to people in developing nations. When the coronavirus outbreak began, he was an early advocate of using science to prevent the virus's spread. The Gates Foundation quickly began funding initiatives to develop vaccines, treatments, and diagnostic tests for COVID-19. CNBC interviewed Bill Gates about his thoughts on the state of COVID-19 vaccine development. His comments indicate that he believes one company is a clear leader in the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine: Pfizer(NYSE: PFE). Bill Gates' reasoning Gates doesn't think a coronavirus vaccine will be available by Election Day, as President Trump has suggested. He told CNBC, "None of the vaccines are likely to seek approval in the U.S. before the end of October." However, Gates sounded optimistic that "at least two or three" coronavirus vaccines could seek emergency use authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration by December or January. He didn't hesitate to identify the company he viewed as the leader. Gates stated in the CNBC interview, "The only vaccine that, if everything went perfectly, might seek the emergency use license by the end of October, would be Pfizer." Pfizer and its [...]

September 23rd, 2020|Categories: Opinion|Comments Off on Here’s the company that Bill Gates thinks is the clear coronavirus vaccine leader

US election: Data guru Bela Stantic says Donald Trump on track to win again

news.com.au   A data scientist who correctly predicted Donald Trump's shock victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016 says the US President is currently on track to win again. Professor Bela Stantic is the founder and director of Griffith University's Big Data and Smart Analytics Lab, where he analyses social media data and sentiment to predict voters' behaviour. In the past, those predictions have been extraordinarily accurate. Four years ago, Stantic successfully picked the winner in 49 of the 50 American states. His lab also nailed the result of both the 2016 Brexit referendum and the Australian federal election last year. In all three cases, public opinion polling pointed to the opposite result. Professor Bela Stantic is director of the Big Data and Smart Analytics Lab. Photo / Griffith University  At the moment, the polls show Trump trailing his opponent, Joe Biden, by an average of 6.2 per cent at the national level. They're a bit closer in the key battleground states, where Biden leads by 3.9 per cent. It looks like a comfortable lead for the Democratic Party's nominee. But, just like Clinton's lead four years ago, it could be a mirage.p Stantic recently conducted a preliminary, draft analysis of the upcoming US election. His lab's complete analysis, along with a final prediction of the result, will come closer to polling day on November 3. "It is obvious again that Trump will lose the popular vote," he told news.com.au. "However, he's tracking really well in the crucial states. Florida is a coin toss, but he's slightly [...]

September 20th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

New evidence makes Hunter Biden’s ‘business’ deals reek worse than ever

Foreign entities looking to influence American politics sometimes devise lucrative commercial deals involving a politician’s family. While the deals can, and do, ensnare politicians of all stripes, those involving the Biden family are particularly troubling: The transactions implicate US national security. While Joe Biden served as vice president, his son Hunter received offers from foreign governments and oligarchs in areas where he had little or no expertise. That his foreign partners included a rival state, Communist China, makes these arrangements particularly brazen, even by Washington’s swampy standards. Newly released Secret Service travel records for Hunter paint a clearer picture of how extensive these efforts were. The documents, reviewed by Judicial Watch, show that between 2009 and 2014, Hunter made 411 trips across 29 countries. While some of those trips were perhaps leisure and others related to his volunteer work for the World Food Program, many of them appear to be connected to deals that he or his associates either secured or sought with foreign governments and oligarchs. For example, Hunter visited China five times between 2009 and 2014. Most notoriously, he traveled with his father aboard Air Force Two in December 2013 as part of an official visit with Chinese officials. Ten days after their return to Washington, Hunter and his associates partnered with the state-owned Bank of China to formally establish BHR, a new, first-of-its-kind fund aimed at making investments outside China through the newly established Shanghai Free Trade Zone. When this deal was first revealed in Peter Schweizer’s book “Secret Empires,” Team Biden attempted [...]

September 19th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Soros-Backed Coalition Preparing for Post-Election Day Chaos

AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta  Under the guise of seeking to “prevent a constitutional crisis,” a massive network of well funded left-wing activists and progressive groups are training, organizing, and planning to mobilize millions of Americans should President Trump “contest the election results,” refuse to concede, or claim an early victory. More than 80 advocacy groups and grassroots organizations have joined in a broad coalition calling itself “Protect the Results” and proclaiming that “we cannot ignore the threat that Trump poses to our democracy and a peaceful transition of power.” The coalition is a joint project of Indivisible and Stand Up America, two left-wing groups founded in response to President Trump’s 2016 election and whose goals are “to organize and resist Trump’s dangerous agenda” and “to defeat Trump and his enablers.” Seeking to “protect” election results by use of its millions of members, the coalition calls to “take coordinated action” and “prepare for a potential post-election crisis.” “Be prepared,” warns a video on its homepage. Both founding groups of the coalition (Indivisible and Stand up America) are part of the Soros-funded Democracy Alliance (DA), the largest network of donors dedicated to building the progressive movement in the U.S. DA’s large body of donors aggregates resources for “focused investment,” marshalling as much as $80 million per year. In 2017, DA developed a “resistance map” — a mix of anti-Trump groups it recommends its members donate to, many of which are now part of Protect the Results. Other Soros-funded coalition groups include MoveOn, Women’s March, the Working Families Party and [...]

September 19th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

The US election could be a danger for Taiwan, an opportunity for China

© © Getty Images Taiwan staged several military exercises in its regional waters this past week. Although the Taiwanese defense ministry would not disclose what it tested, it is likely — considering the “unlimited” flight ceiling that it mandated, and the involvement of Taiwan’s National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology — that the exercises included Taiwan’s most advanced anti-ballistic missile or short-range ballistic missile capabilities. Either missile would be critical in a confrontation between the mainland People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Taiwanese Republic of China (ROC), by mitigating the ferocity of a Chinese first-strike or giving Taiwan precision retaliatory capabilities. Either missile would be critical in a confrontation between the mainland People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Taiwanese Republic of China (ROC), by mitigating the ferocity of a Chinese first-strike or giving Taiwan precision retaliatory capabilities. China, however, did not remain idle. Its air force violated Taiwanese airspace at least twice during the exercises, deploying Su-30MKK air superiority fighters and Y-8 transport aircraft. This force composition deserves greater emphasis. The Su-30 is one of China’s front-line combat aircraft, comparable to the U.S. F-15 and capable of defeating Taiwan’s most advanced F-16s in an aerial dogfight. The Y-8, a Chinese version of the Soviet An-12 heavy-lift transport, can be used to deploy paratroopers or as a maritime surveillance, electronic warfare, and drone deployment aircraft. While the Y-8 variant that China deployed remains unknown, the central point is clear enough: In a cross-strait conflict, a Chinese “strike package” will look very much like the [...]

September 19th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

The Sexual Revolution, Not Racism or Capitalism, Ruins the Lives of the Poor

An interview with Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, founder of the Ruth Institute.       Jennifer Roback Morse is a scholar, wife, mom, and author. She founded perhaps the best comprehensive pro-life, pro-family thinktank, the Ruth Institute. Her work documents the devastating impact of the Sexual Revolution on society’s weakest, most vulnerable people, especially children. The Stream’s John Zmirak interviewed her about her sobering book,  The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives and Why the Church Was Right All Along.   John Zmirak: You founded the Ruth Institute. Can you please explain its mission? Jennifer Morse: The Ruth Institute is an international interfaith coalition defending the family and building a civilization of love.   In your book The Sexual State you make a bold claim: the Sexual Revolution is a totalitarian movement. Why do you say that? The key insight is that the goals of the Sexual Revolution are Utopian fantasies. The Revolutionaries promote the belief that a good and decent society should do everything possible to separate sex from babies, separate both sex and babies from marriage, and eliminate all distinctions between men and women. But all these goals are impossible. Sex actually does make babies. Children do need their parents. Life-long marriage between their parents does protect the needs of children. Men and women are really different. The Revolutionaries can demand unlimited power, once they have convinced people that these high-minded but impossible goals are non-negotiable and unambiguously good. After all, doing the impossible takes a lot of power to achieve as well [...]

September 18th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Biden platform would raise taxes by $3.4T, study says

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has laid out a multitrillion-dollar spending plan that would raise taxes by $3.4 trillion on mostly wealthy Americans and corporations over the next decade, according to an analysis released Monday. The former vice president's campaign platform would raise federal spending by about $5.4 trillion — or roughly 24% of gross domestic product by 2030, according to new findings from the Penn Wharton Budget Model, a nonpartisan group at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. The spending plan, which is more than double what Hillary Clinton proposed during the 2016 campaign, would be funded by a slew of new taxes, including a corporate tax hike. Biden's trillion-dollar proposals signal that he'll continue the unprecedented level of government spending that began in mid-March as American life came to a grinding halt because of the COVID-19 crisis. Biden has pledged to hike the corporate tax rate on "day one" of his presidency if he wins the Nov. 3 election. Increasing the tax rate to 28% from 21% would generate more than $1.4 trillion, making it the largest revenue-raiser in his proposal, the analysis showed. In addition, Biden has said he plans to reverse changes made to individual income rates for households earning more than $400,000 under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. By repealing those changes, the top income bracket rate would revert to 39.6% from 37%, raising an estimated $944 billion. He would also seek to increase investment and payroll taxes for those households earning more than $400,000, raising roughly $993 billion. Almost 80% of the tax increases backed [...]

September 18th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Catholic Group Launches $9.7 Million Campaign To Expose Biden’s ‘Anti-Catholic Record and Policy Agenda’

"For Catholics who cherish the Faith and their freedom to live it, a Biden presidency represents an existential threat." Democratic U.S. presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, stand together during a community meeting at Grace Lutheran Church after a week of unrest in the aftermath of the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by a white police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S., September 3, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque CatholicVote, a national faith-based advocacy organization, is targeting Catholic voters in swing states in its $9.7 million campaign against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. In efforts to “expose Joe Biden’s anti-Catholic record and policy agenda,” the organization on Tuesday announced its plans on reaching more than 5 million Catholics in crucial swing states. According to the organization, the campaign includes digital advertising, parish-by-parish canvassing, direct mail features, and GOTV initiatives in six states. CatholicVote also released a full report detailing Biden’s career from a Catholic perspective and where he stands on issues including “the sanctity of life, religious liberty, judges, education, the dignity of work, and other core issues.” The group will send the report along with a condensed voter-guide version to 5 million Catholic voters. The campaign will begin with a $350,000 digital ad in Pennsylvania and Michigan. The ad urges Catholic voters to “learn the truth about Joe Biden’s radical stance on abortion.” It alleges, “Joe Biden would force American Catholics to pay for abortions, sacrificing his Catholic values, to kneel before the leftist mob.” CatholicVote President Brian [...]

September 18th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Neilytics: Ray Dalio Warns the U.S. Dollar Will Be Replaced — Here’s Why I Still Love It!

When Trish Regan asks me a question, it makes me think. This morning’s question was no exception. She asked if I had seen Ray Dalio’s comments on the possible demise of the reserve status of the U.S. Dollar and did I have any thoughts on the matter? (Trish for her part believes there’s really no other game in town…and thus, we shouldn’t fear a declining dollar.) As I thought about it…I decided to approach her question from the standpoint of whether, at present, there are any viable alternatives waiting in the wings. Let me first say, given Mr. Dalio’s rather impressive track record, his investing advice is usually worth taking. He has been concerned about the US Dollar for quite some time…and he raises some very real issues; he suggests that fiscal spending and monetary injections are debasing the currency perhaps past the point of no return. He points out “[t]here is so much debt production and debt monetization.” And, to be honest, I have also worried about the consequences of such behavior, particularly vis-à-vis our government’s reckless spending, for a long time. Having said that, the question is whether fiscal spending and indebtedness, particularly relative to GDP, is sufficient to remove the U.S. currency from its exalted position. The U.S. Dollar’s “Magic Potion” First, I asked myself what goes into the magic potion that makes the Dollar so special. I came up with a lot of really good reasons, so many that I am not sure I can even rank them. There is certainly the [...]

September 18th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

The U.S. Air Force Has ‘Built’ and ‘Flown’ Potential 6th Generation Fighter

Details of this sixth-generation aircraft were in a word: sparse.   While the U.S. military is still "addressing" a few problems with its Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, efforts are apparently well underway to develop the next-generation fighter jet. The U.S. Air Force secretly designed, built and even flew a prototype of the fighter of the future. "We've already built and flown a full-scale flight demonstrator in the real world, and we broke records in doing it," Dr. Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logisitics told Defense News in an interview ahead of this week's Air Force Association's Air, Space and Cyber Conference. "We are ready to go and build the next-generation aircraft in a way that has never happened before." Few details were shared about the jet, which is part of the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program, the Air Force's effort to develop a family of connected air warfare systems. This group of systems won't be just piloted aircraft, but will include unmanned drones and other platforms that could operate in the air, space and even in cyberspace. Details of this sixth-generation aircraft were in a word: sparse. Roper didn't disclose how many prototype aircraft have flown or even which defense contractors were involved in their/its manufacture. Nor did he disclose when or where the mystery flight even occurred. No details on whether it was crewed, optionally crewed or even unmanned, or whether it has stealth capabilities. What Roper did say was cryptic. "We're going after the [...]

September 17th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Donald Trump Should Withdraw All U.S. Troops from Afghanistan Now

From the author:  "We have tried stealth and surge, over 100,000 boots on the ground and fewer than 10,000. None of it has “fixed” Afghanistan, nor will it. Afghanistan’s conflict is ultimately a political (and religious and more broadly cultural) problem in need of a local, political solution developed by the people who must live with its results." Diplomacy is moving slowly in Afghanistan since the U.S.-Taliban peace agreement was made in February. Each point of progress is followed by some setback, each positive headline by a negative one. Even with the Taliban and Afghan officials meeting in Doha for direct dialogue, violence steadily continues. One term of the U.S.-Taliban deal was a limited ceasefire: The Taliban would not attack U.S. and NATO coalition forces, and U.S. forces would only strike the Taliban in defense of Kabul’s troops. Though this arrangement has mostly held, breakaway factions within the Taliban network don’t always abide by its leadership’s commitments, and the Taliban continues to regularly attack the Afghan military. Taliban territorial control is on a years-long growth trend, and it remains unclear when intra-Afghan talks may begin—let alone conclude—or whether the U.S. drawdown timeline will be preserved. All American forces are supposed to leave Afghanistan by the summer of 2021, but at least one recently disbanded U.S. base has been re-established on a smaller scale, while another due to be closed is instead becoming a “strategic hub.” In short, it remains an open question whether the “peace deal” deserves that name. And given that the answer to that question depends significantly on the Taliban (hardly trustworthy) and Kabul [...]

September 17th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Bahrain’s diplomatic agreement with Israel is a building block toward Middle East stability

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at left, and King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa of Bahrain. (Ronen Zvulun/AFP/Getty Images) With Bahrain’s announcement Friday that it will join the United Arab Emirates in establishing diplomatic relations with Israel, dominoes are falling in the Middle East in the right direction for a change. Bahrain’s decision to join the UAE is a second solid gain for the Trump administration’s efforts to bridge the gap between Israel and Arab states. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser on the Middle East, said during an interview that the move shows that “a lot of the leaders in the region are tired of waiting for the Palestinians” before recognizing the reality of Israel. The significance of Bahrain’s action is partly that it wouldn’t have happened without the blessing of Saudi Arabia, which is joined by a causeway to the small Persian Gulf state. The Saudis have historically exercised what amounts to a veto over Bahraini policy. In this case, the Saudis silently endorsed their tiny neighbor’s decision, rather than vetoing it. Kushner believes the Saudis are waiting to see how the normalization process plays out before making the move themselves. He thinks an eventual Saudi normalization is inevitable, if not imminent. The Saudis gave tacit approval to the UAE’s decision last month by publicly announcing they would allow commercial jets traveling between Israel and the Emirates to fly over Saudi territory. President Trump will have a prized photo opportunity next week when he hosts Bahraini, UAE and Israeli leaders at a White [...]

September 16th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Concerns over Chinese data collection on influential NZers

Data leaked by a Chinese company on prominent New Zealanders could be linked to attempts to influence New Zealand politics and business, says Canterbury University professor Anne-Marie Brady.                  Canterbury University professor Anne-Marie Brady. Photo: RNZ / Jane Patterson The names of 793 New Zealanders have been found in data leaked from Zhenhua Data to an American academic. The company is believed to be owned by China Zhenhua Electronics Group, which is owned by a state-owned enterprise, China Electronic Information Industry Group (CETC), meaning "it's part of the military industrial complex in China", Brady said. A specialist in political interference from China, Brady said the Chinese Communist Party was trying to cultivate relationships with economic and political leaders worldwide. The leaked data included lists of New Zealanders identified by the Chinese company as "politically exposed" and of "special interest". "Only 10 percent of the data has been recovered, so there's quite a few things we're scratching our heads about," Brady said. "But we can see the pattern here very clearly: many of the individuals on the list... are very clearly some of the most influential people in New Zealand. "There's our senior court judges, there's our former ambassadors and present ambassador to China, there's China desk people... What's really heartbreaking is to see our most senior politicians family members there." The Chinese intelligence gathering on New Zealanders and people from other countries was followed by plans of action, which was "very concerning", Brady said. "It's happening on a grand [...]

September 16th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Election 2020: How much can you trust the polls?

Comment - Is the 2020 election result really the foregone conclusion that the polls and commentators are suggesting? Josh Van Veen suggests otherwise, pointing to some of the shortcomings of opinion polling, which could have some politicians saying "bugger the pollsters" on election night.   The complexities of human psychology mean political parties can take nothing for granted, Josh Van Veen writes. Photo: RNZ   In November 1993, opinion polls foretold a comfortable victory for the incumbent National Party. But there was no clear outcome on election night. For a brief moment, it appeared that the Labour Party of Mike Moore could reclaim power with support from the new left-wing Alliance. The upset led then-prime minister Jim Bolger to exclaim, "Bugger the pollsters!" To his relief the final count gave National a one-seat majority. Twenty-seven years later, polling suggests that Jacinda Ardern is on the cusp of forming her own single party majority government. Bolger was the last prime minister to enjoy such a mandate. The 1993 general election ushered in a new era of multiparty politics. A succession of coalition and minority governments would follow - right up to the present. But this era could soon be over. At the time of writing, Labour is projected to win more than the 61 seats needed to govern alone. Statistician Peter Ellis calculates a 0.1 percent chance that National can form the next government. These numbers may sound fanciful, whatever your politics, but they are based on highly credible data from the country's two most successful polling [...]

September 14th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Trump’s ‘law and order’ message expands electoral map to unlikely battleground state

Hundreds of protesters gather outside Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s official residence, Friday, April 17 President Trump has put Democratic challenger Joseph R. Biden on the defensive in Minnesota, an unlikely battleground that hasn’t voted Republican in a presidential election since 1972. It’s a rare opportunity for Mr. Trump to expand the electoral map and potentially capture Minnesota’s 10 electoral votes to offset a potential loss in Michigan or Wisconsin, two states that he narrowly won in 2016. Mr. Trump came close to winning Minnesota four years ago. He lost the state to Hillary Clinton by a little more than 1.5 percentage points. This time, his law-and-order message has been amplified by months of unrest and riots in Minneapolisafter the death of George Floyd, a Black man, in police custody. The president’s momentum prompted Mr. Biden’s team to spend millions of dollars on advertising in the state. “President Trump has tapped into an organic enthusiasm from Minnesotans who are tired of career politicians’ lip service with no results, and we see an opportunity to win Minnesota with voters who want four more years of the president’s ‘America First’ agenda,” said Samantha Zager, a spokesperson for the Trump campaign. The polling in Minnesota is mixed. Several polls show Mr. Biden with a solid lead, and the Real Clear Politics average of recent polls in the state puts Mr. Biden ahead by 5.8 percentage points. A recent Emerson poll, however, shows the president outperforming his 2016 exit polls for men and women, and among younger voters and voters without [...]

September 14th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Jack Tame: We need bravery from our PM

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo / Supplied COMMENT: Is it better to do what you think is right? Or better to do what is popular? Political leaders have to work with that tension every day. But it's in times like this, the midst of an election campaign when policies are laid bare, that we really get to scrutinise our main party's values. Labour's new tax policy once again shows they're more interested in doing what is popular than what many of their members and supporters think is "right". As some of my colleagues have pointed out over the last few days, their proposed new top tax rate is softer than what Don Brash proposed as National leader.   The policy isn't going to cost Labour much support in the election. But it isn't going to win them much, either. It's certainly not going to bring in much revenue for the government coffers. It's a middling policy by a party which is forever terrified of being criticised as taxing and spending too much. The mere title of their policy tells you everything. It's not a "tax" policy. It's a "revenue" policy. What's the bravest thing Labour and the Prime Minister have done during their first term in Government? What was the last truly difficult issue for which you saw Jacinda Ardern make a public stand? As Labour leader and Prime Minister, has she ever backed a big policy where the majority of voters weren't on her side? Maybe gun reform ... maybe? No, I don't think so. [...]

September 14th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Zuckerberg warns of post-election violence

Mark Zuckerberg tells "Axios on HBO" that Facebook is imposing new election rules to deter use of the platform to spread of misinformation and even violence, and to help voters see the results as "legitimate and fair." Driving the news: The new measures, announced Thursday, include throwing a flag on posts by candidates who claim premature victory, and forbidding new ads within a week of Election Day. "There is, unfortunately, I think, a heightened risk of civil unrest in the period between voting and a result being called," Zuckerberg told Axios' Mike Allen. "I think we need to be doing everything that we can to reduce the chances of violence or civil unrest in the wake of this election." The big picture: Facebook is under fire from all sides. New York Times opinion columnist Charlie Warzel writes: "Facebook is too big for democracy. ... Its size and power creates instability, the answer to which, according to Facebook, is to give the company additional authority." Between the lines: President Trump has repeatedly suggested that the heavy use of voting by mail this year, driven by the pandemic, could lead to a "rigged election" — despite the long history of voting by mail in the U.S. without fraud. Zuckerberg said that since the outcome may not be known on election night, Facebook and the media need to start "preparing the American people that there's nothing illegitimate about this election," even if it takes "additional days or even weeks to make sure that all of the votes are counted." [...]

September 13th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

POLL: 86% Of Americans Think The Media Is Biased

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images The vast majority of Americans think that there is political bias in news coverage, a new Gallup/Knight Foundation poll found. 86% of Americans said that the media is biased, with 49% of respondents saying that there is “a great deal” of political bias in news coverage and 37% saying there is “a fair amount” of bias, according to the poll. People are more concerned with other people’s news sources than they are with their own; when given a choice, 69% of Americans were concerned about bias in the news that other people were viewing, while 29% were concerned about the bias in their own news sources. 56% of respondents agreed that there was political bias in the news source that they relied on the most, the poll found. The poll found that Americans are divided along party lines when it comes to trusting the media. Republicans distrust the media more than Democrats – 71% of Republicans reported viewing the media “very” or “somewhat” unfavorably, while 22% of Democrats and 52% of independents said the same. President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized “fake news” and media bias, and Democrats and Republicans differ in their views of such attacks. They agree that the media is under attack, but 70% of Democrats who agree that the media is being attacked say that it is not warranted, while 61% of Republicans who think the media is under attack say that it is justified. The poll also found that Americans viewed political bias in news as a “major [...]

September 12th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Brexit: UK negotiators ‘believe brinkmanship will reboot trade talks’

Plan has enraged EU and many Tories but sources say No 10 thinks it will move talks along David Frost, Britain’s chief negotiator, arrives in Downing Street on Friday. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA Britain’s Brexit negotiators believe Downing Street’s plan to break international law, pushing the trade and security negotiations to the brink, may have helped reboot the talks by offering Brussels a reality check about the looming danger of a no-deal outcome. The publication of the internal market bill on Wednesday, under which key parts of the withdrawal agreement agreed last year would be negated, has enraged the EU and prompted an internal rebellion within the Conservative party. Brussels has set Boris Johnson a three-week deadline to ditch his plans or face financial and trade sanctions, with the clear suggestion that negotiations over a future relationship will fail unless the most contentious parts of the proposed legislation are removed. In a sign of the EU’s anger at Johnson’s move, a committee of MEPs coordinating the European parliament’s stance on Brexit, issued a statement on Friday stating they would refuse to ratify any trade and security deal if the UK government had breached the withdrawal agreement or threatened to do so. A Tory rebellion against Johnson’s bill is gathering pace: an amendment to the internal market bill by the former minister Bob Neill would give parliament a veto on overriding the UK-EU divorce deal. Late on Friday afternoon, the prime minister sought to quell discontent among some Conservative colleagues over the bill by addressing MPs on the [...]

September 12th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

China Has A Long History of Non-aggression

  Aningo (Malaysia) I'm from Malaysia. China has traded with Malaysia for 2000 years. In those years, they had been the world's biggest powers many times. Never once they sent troops to take our land. Admiral Zhenghe came to Malacca five times, in gigantic fleets, and a flagship eight times the size of Christopher Columbus' flagship, Santa Maria. He could have seized Malacca easily, but he did not. In 1511, the Portuguese came. In 1642, the Dutch came. In the 18th century the British came. We were colonised by each, one after another. When China wanted spices from India, they traded with the Indians. When they wanted gems, they traded with the Persian. They didn't take lands. The only time China expanded beyond their current borders was in Yuan Dynasty, when Genghis and his descendants Ogedei Khan, Guyuk Khan & Kublai Khan conquered China, Mid Asia and Eastern Europe. But Yuan Dynasty, although being based in China, was a part of the Mongolian Empire.  Then came the Century of Humiliation. Britain smuggled opium into China to dope the population, a strategy to turn the trade deficit around, after the British could not find enough silver to pay the Qing Dynasty in their tea and porcelain trades. After the opium warehouses were burned down and ports were closed by the Chinese in ordered to curb opium, the British started the Opium War I, which China lost. Hong Kong was forced to be surrendered to the British in a peace talk (Nanjing Treaty). The British owned 90% of [...]

September 11th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Trish: Biden Policies Would Destroy U.S. Economy

Former Vice President Joe Biden is finally hitting the campaign trail, hightailing it to Michigan for the first time since accepting his party’s nomination. We were provided with minimal but nonetheless, key details, on his economic plan–a plan that would send America straight back to the low growth years of the Obama-Biden administration. In typical socialist class-warfare style, Biden has already promised to effectively stick it to American business with higher taxes…promising to increase the President’s 21% tax rate on business, to 28%. In addition, he is announcing his intention to level a 10% tax on any U.S. company making products overseas that ship them home. He would, however, offer a 10% tax deduction to companies that make their goods at home…saying, “i don’t accept the defeatist view that the forces of automation and globalization mean we can’t keep good-paying union jobs here in america, and create more of them,” he said to michigan voters wednesday evening. “i don’t buy for one second that the vitality of american manufacturing is a thing of the past.” Well, that’s a new one! Because Joe Biden was singing a very different tune in June 2010. Back then, the Vice President told his audience of supporters at a Russ Feingold fundraising event in Milwaukee Wisconsin, “there’s no possbility to restore 8 million jobs lost in the great depression.” No possibility? The New Normal Meanwhile, at the same time, President Barack Obama was pitching his idea of a “new normal.” Low economic growth, according to the Obama-Biden administration, was just a [...]

September 11th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Vatican Coup? George Soros Funds Jesuit NGOs with $1.7 Million

Guest post by Collin McMahon Three Jesuit charities close to Pope Francis have received more than $ 1.7 million in recent years from George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, reveals veteran Vatican journalist Marco Tosatti. The Jesuit Refugee Service received $ 176,452 from Soros in 2018 to “support migrant rights” in Latin America. The Spanish Jesuit Migrant Service received $ 75,000 since its founding in 2016 and $ 151,125 in 2018. Jesuit Worldwide Learning USA received $ 890,000 in 2016 and another $ 410,000 in 2018, the only Catholic NGO to list Open Society as one of its “partners” on its website, Tosatti writes. In total, George Soros’ donations to Jesuit foundations totaled $ 1,702,577 over the past four years. The funding is particularly controversial due to Open Society’s aggressive support of abortion, gay marriage, drug liberalization and Islamization of the West. Over the past four years, the Soros Foundation has donated nearly $ 12 million to the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and its US political arm, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. In 2016, it became known that the Soros foundation gave $ 1.5 million to quash the scandal over the Planned Parenthood harvesting of organs and tissues from aborted babies. In 2017, the Irish government ordered Amnesty International to return more than $ 160,000 donated by Open Society to legalize abortion in that country. In mid-July it emerged that the Jesuit archbishop of Santiago del Guatemala, Monsignor Gonzalo de Villa y Vásquez, has been linked to Soros’ now-defunct Guatemala Foundation since the 1990s. US Catholic [...]

September 11th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

I’m a licensed gun owner but I haven’t carried in years. Why? I’m Black and I’m scared.

Open carry and concealed carry are white privilege at protests and everywhere. I'm a Black, trained, licensed veteran afraid authorities will kill me. I am an Army combat veteran and an NRA-certified pistol instructor. I own guns for hunting and personal protection. I have possessed concealed carry licenses in Virginia and North Carolina. I believe in the Second Amendment, but I won’t even consider carrying a firearm openly in public. I haven’t exercised my right to carry a concealed handgun in more than four years. The reason: I am Black. It has become clear to me that open carry and concealed carry are white privileges — permit or not. Despite having a license: I am afraid of being killed by police if I carry a gun in public. I have good reason to be afraid. In 2016 in Minnesota, a Black school cafeteria worker named Philando Castile was killed during a routine traffic stop after merely mentioning the fact that he was legally in possession of a concealed firearm. Tamir Rice, a 12-year old Black boy in an open-carry state, was murdered by officers in just seconds for holding a toy gun. John Crawford III was murdered in a Walmart holding a BB gun that was for sale in the store. There are too many more to mention. White protesters intimidate with guns On the other hand, just last month, when a 17-year old white male shot three people in Kenosha, Wisconsin, killing two, police wouldn’t even accept his surrender. Despite the fact that he was [...]

September 9th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Pandemic requires partnerships like never before

© Getty Images As the fall semester just begins, we have already seen colleges and universities try to open only to reverse course, while others undertake extraordinary measures to try to stay open. All the while, coronavirus cases keep rising around the country. As school leaders grapple with what to do, they must recognize their decisions have massive health implications for the cities and towns in which they reside — regardless of whether college students themselves are at serious risk of the disease. There are, for example, 154 counties scattered around the country that are home to large colleges and universities, and 18.6 million people. In our home city of Ithaca, New York, alone, each fall brings nearly 30,000 students back to Ithaca College, Cornell University and Tompkins Cortland Community College — in a county with slightly more than 100,000 residents. And these learners come from across the nation and around the world, including many regions struggling with COVID-19. The plans of our campus leaders affect everyone in our region. That is why Ithaca College and city leaders met regularly before the college decided it is simply not sufficiently safe for our students, faculty and staff or our town for the college to reopen. As much as opening would have financially benefitted the college, the pandemic and America’s response to it have become too unpredictable to plan safely otherwise for our campus or city. As colleges everywhere have had to revert to virtual modes, we are increasingly convinced that our town-gown planning — a partnership that [...]

September 9th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

China’s Man in Washington, Named Trump

Our president is bolstering a nation, but it’s not the United States. President Xi Jinping of China with President Trump in Beijing in 2017.Credit...Nicolas Asfouri/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images “Nobody has been tougher on China than me,” President Trump has declared repeatedly, and he is trying to exploit anti-China feelings for his re-election. He portrays Joe Biden as soft on China, and his backers have run ads denouncing “Beijing Biden.” All that is preposterous, for it is Trump who has been China’s stooge, a sycophantic flatterer and enabler of President Xi Jinping. If that wasn’t already evident, John Bolton’s new book, “The Room Where It Happened,” portrays Trump as practically kowtowing to Xi. The kowtow meant prostrating oneself before the emperor or a patriarch and knocking one’s head on the ground. Today it takes the form of a fawning American president publicly declaring, “President Xi loves the people of China” and hailing Xi’s “very capable” handling of the coronavirus. I’ve been gasping as I read an advance copy of Bolton’s book, particularly his chapter on relations with China, because China policy perfectly captures Trump’s soaring hypocrisy wrapped in venal incompetence. The passage in the book that got the most attention concerns a telephone conversation between Trump and Xi last year. “He [Trump] then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming U.S. presidential election, alluding to China’s economic capability to affect the ongoing campaigns, pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win,” Bolton writes. The government clearance process redacted Trump’s exact words, but Vanity Fair says he told [...]

September 9th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Donald Trump’s Strange Labor Day Press Conference: A Sign of Trouble Ahead?

How Trump will fare this fall remains an open question. But with his campaign in dire financial straits and pulling ads off the air in Arizona, his prospects do not appear auspicious. As the election looms larger, his predicament is unlikely to ease. It was vintage Donald Trump at the White House on Labor Day. Even as Joe Biden was campaigning in Pennsylvania to beef up his outreach to union members, Trump ambled out to the North Portico of the White House for a press conference, where he addressed the subject of his postmaster general Louis DeJoy—and promptly threw him to the wolves. Asked if DeJoy should be investigated, Trump didn’t hesitate: “Sure, sure, let the investigations go.” Really? This from a president who has spent much of his tenure assailing a variety of investigations directed at the White House? When it comes to his subordinates, however, Trump does not appear to feel the same degree of outrage. DeJoy, he indicated, should be tossed out “if something can be proven that he did something wrong.” When the most that Trump can say about you is that you’re “a very respected man,” you know that trouble looms. Soon Trump may allege that he never even really heard of DeJoy. If DeJoy, who allegedly shook down his employees as CEO of New Breed Logistics for campaign donations to the GOP, has only himself to blame for his joyless predicament. Anyone who signs up to work for Trump knows full well that loyalty to his subordinates is not among [...]

September 8th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

New York City Residents Flee In Mass Exodus – So De Blasio Doubles Down With Call For ‘Redistribution Of Wealth’

After voting for left-wing Democrats like Bill de Blasio, rich liberal New Yorkers are fleeing in droves. Even Governor Cuomo has admitted it’s a problem, and they won’t fix it by scaring people away. The way the liberal government handled the pandemic and riots seems to have driven many residents to move away. Things only appear to get worse, as de Blasio refuses to turn things around. In fact, it appears he wants to make things much worse—embracing even more socialism: “Mayor de Blasio made a public plea Friday for taxing the rich and redistributing their money even as the Big Apple reels from a coronavirus-induced budget crisis that’s already caused well-heeled New Yorkers to head for the hills. “Help me tax the wealthy. Help me redistribute wealth. Help me build affordable housing in white communities if you want desegregation,” de Blasio said on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer” show after a caller asked about integrating public schools. Even though his leadership is a train wreck, de Blasio is pushing some of the most radical ideas since Bernie Sanders.

September 7th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

ALERT: Occupy Movement Recruiting Enlistees For ‘Siege’ Of The White House

  OPINION – You may recall that it was Adbusters that was behind the 2011 Occupy movement in NYC.   Lacking any form of centralized control, the protests went by a variety of names, “Occupy Wall Street,” “American Autumn,” “The 99 Percent.” The one commonality was they derived their impetus from a disillusioned Canadian adman. Adbusters is an anti-consumerism magazine based in Vancouver, British Columbia. In the summer of 2011, it proposed the “occupation” of Wall Street, and the idea caught fire. According to an October 20, 2011 article in NPR, Adbusters never claimed any control over the protests seeing itself “more as an idea shop, sort of an “anti-advertising firm” that takes special glee in creating fake ads to subvert the message of real products.” Adbusters is back and calling for a siege of the White House… From Adbusters website… “We will lay siege to the White House. And we will sustain it for exactly fifty days. Are you ready for the revolution.” “Fifty days — September 17th to November 3rd…we’ll inspire a global movement of systemic change — a Global Spring — a cultural heave towards a new world order.” So who are the anarchist-Marxists that are a part of this revolution? Nick Arama, who has been following the Occupy movement since its inception writes that with each new iteration of the “leftist movement” the same general core of anarchist-leftists move from one movement to the next. “… if you check many BLM folks, many of them were also involved in Occupy.” Anarchists, Marxists, [...]

September 6th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

The Facebook Prime Minister: How Ardern became NZ’s most successful political influencer

COMMENT "Kia ora, everyone. I'm standing against a blank wall in my house – because it's the only view in my house that is not messy." So begins a 2020 campaign message posted by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. She speaks directly into her phone at the day's end, in a comfortable sweatshirt and with tousled hair, inviting Instagram viewers into her home as she lays out plans for the week ahead. Voters and fans view her message from their phones and smart devices: just over 22 per cent of her 1.4 million Instagram followers watched the two-minute video. She is candid, approachable, tired and funny. Facing a resurgence of Covid-19 just days later, the tone changes to one of concern. But the approach is the same in a 13-minute Facebook livestream, during which 34 per cent of her 1.3 million followers tune in. In the run-up to the October 17 election, Ardern's Facebook following alone is four times greater than those of the other seven main party leaders combined. Politician or not, this makes her a serious influencer by anyone's metrics. A natural communicator While the Opposition leader's husband has recently been feeling the heat for his anti-Ardern Facebook posts, Ardern's own activity is almost relentlessly positive. It's been that way since she began turning up regularly on live after-dinner Facebook feeds not long after becoming Labour leader seven weeks out from the 2017 election. Her organic appeal and clear comfort with the format helped her own the space. By the time she was [...]

September 5th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Investors Fear Constitutional Crisis

What a week.  This Labor Day weekend we have reason to celebrate and reason to be very, very concerned. The good news first: our economy is rebounding. Employment is increasing with 1.4 million jobs being added in August. This is significant and far more than many economists had anticipated. As such, the unemployment rate dropped to 8.4%! OUTSTANDING. But the mainstream media can’t give credit where credit is due. Hey, even the financial media outlets which typically try to provide a more in-depth analysis are trying to counter this great report with negativity. CNBC commentators made some obvious remarks about how we still have a long way to go…(no kidding.) Let’s cut to the chase—this is GOOD news for America. But, anything that is good for America these days seems to be quite bad for Joe Biden and therefore, the media acts accordingly. I discuss it all in my podcast so please make sure you subscribe for free. Meanwhile–one should be asking: why is the market so fragile, so volatile, and so DOWN given the positive signs in the economy? I’ll tell you why–investors have figured out that we are heading towards a constitutional crisis. Consider the evidence; ·      Hillary Clinton telegraphed through her former communications director in an interview on Showtime’s “The Circus,” that Joe Biden should “not concede no matter what.” That’s a pretty strong statement. She believes the Biden camp needs to fortify itself with lawyers and be prepared to contest the election. ·      Hawkish, a data analytics firm funded by billionaire and Biden supporter Michael Bloomberg, [...]

September 5th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

How Taiwan — with US assistance — can deter China’s overt aggression

© Getty Images Crucial to maintaining peace and stability in East Asia is protecting Taiwan’s thriving democracy. After the enactment of Hong Kong’s National Security Law and subsequent domination of Hong Kong’s democracy by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Chinese government undoubtedly has refocused its rapacious gaze upon democratic Taiwan. As the only functioning Chinese language democracy in the world, Taiwan’s democracy and freedoms pose an existential threat to the CCP’s authoritarian rule over the Chinese people. The United States must stand with democratic Taiwan as it continues to confront China’s efforts to take over the island. Taiwan’s geopolitical importance to the United States stands without question. Enjoying one of the world’s freest societies, Taiwan’s population of approximately 23 million is roughly the same as Australia’s. Taiwan is a world leader in advanced technology, particularly in the semiconductor industry. CCP control of centers of technological excellence, such as Taiwan Semiconductor, would give China an enormous technological boost, potentially resulting in a strategic disaster for the United States. Geographically, Taiwan sits astride one of the busiest trade routes in the world. The government that controls Taiwan also thereby controls Japan’s and the Korean Peninsula’s sea lines of communication. Should China succeed in its designs to take over the island, it would not be surprising to see People’s Liberation Army (PLA) submarine bases spring up in order to deploy submarines into the deep waters of the Pacific Ocean, a move that likely would complicate U.S. Navy efforts to locate them. Taiwan must improve its national security posture. It needs to strengthen its internal security [...]

September 4th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Political Roundup: The Greens’ private school funding scandal

Green Party co-leader James Shaw. Photo / File COMMENT: Was it just a terrible stuff-up? Or a reflection of the political direction the Green Party is shifting in? The announcement this week by co-leader James Shaw that he had secured nearly $12m for a private school has angered educationalists and raised significant questions about the Greens and what they now stand for. The decision to give this huge amount of money to an environmental school in Taranaki is further evidence for many that the Greens have either lost their way, making poor and unprincipled decisions in power, or are simply shifting towards a more "green capitalism" approach. Anger from the education sector In a time of heightened concern about economic inequality and the run-down state of New Zealand schools, the decision to put such a large amount of money into a new for-profit school was always going to be controversial. It's not surprising to see the whole of the public education sector speaking out angrily against Shaw's funding announcement. One of the strongest reactions has come from a decile 2 school in the same area. New Plymouth's Marfell School acting principal, Kealy Warren has written an open letter to the Prime Minister saying: "This action makes the rich richer and says loud and clear that you have little regard for the state school system. You have given to those who already have so much and yet again left us hanging" – see Rachel Sadler's New Plymouth principal writes scathing letter to Jacinda Ardern over 'elitist' funding [...]

September 1st, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

The Mystery of The Fort Detrick Laboratory

The global pandemic of coronavirus pneumonia is still in a rage and has caused more than 700,000 deaths and 20 million infected cases, which remains in the peak in most countries, especially in the United States where the daily number of new cases keeps around 50,000. The federal government is literally negligent on necessary measures such as closing communities and increasing testing. The actual and unmentioned herd immunity is being performed, while the Trump Administration is calling to open up economic activities and force schools to open to help the rapidly declining economy and the volatile presidential race. But the anti-open emotion in communities is strong, and the government is in policy difficulty. Who should be responsible for the failure to fight the pandemic? The five former directors of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agreed in an interview with ABC in early August that the government had ignored science and information coming from the administration which is the key reason why the United States is deeply caught in the epidemic crisis. They believe that the responsibility of the leadership is the only and biggest factor. The government failed to prioritize science and make good use of top global scientists in the fields of public health and epidemics. It is necessary to tell the truth to the American people, let scientific evidence show the truth of the COVID-19 to control the pandemic, instead of caring about what is best for political interest. The experts even regarded the Trump administration as an enemy in the [...]

August 31st, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Boris Johnson faces Tory wrath as party slumps in shock poll

Party in despair, senior MP says, as Labour draws level in wake of exam chaos and Covid U-turns The prime minister visiting Castle Rock school in Coalville, Leicestershire, on 26 August. Photograph: Jack Hill/AFP/Getty Images   The recent exams fiasco and other sudden policy reversals, most recently over the wearing of face masks in schools, led many Tory MPs to believe that Johnson and his cabinet ministers have lost their grip. Conservative MPs, including many ex-ministers with extensive experience inside government, are also increasingly angry that their voices and concerns, and those of senior Whitehall officials with many years of service, are being ignored and dismissed as power and decision-making is increasingly centred on a tight but inexperienced group within Downing Street. Today, in a further blow to Conservative morale, a poll by Opinium for the Observer shows Labour is now level-pegging with the Tories for the first time since last summer, before Johnson was leader. In just five months since the full lockdown was imposed by the prime minister, the Conservatives have lost a 26-point lead over Labour who now stand neck-and-neck with the Tories on 40%. The Liberal Democrats under their new leader Ed Davey, who was elected last week, are on 6%. Adam Drummond of Opinium said: “This is the first time Labour have drawn level since July 2019 when both main parties were in freefall and losing votes to the Brexit party and the Liberal Democrats. “Since Boris Johnson became prime minister the Tories typically had a double digit lead, peaking in [...]

August 30th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

A Cold War with China?

The CEO of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft believesAmerica is “sliding seamlessly into the next decades-long era of superpower competition”. And that can only mean one nation: China. Lora Lumpe, the CEO of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, believes the United States is “sliding seamlessly into the next decades-long era of superpower competition”—this time with China. For Washington to fall into another globe-spanning military confrontation would be a strategic blunder of our own making, warned Lumpe in an interview on the national security podcast, Press The Button. “There’s no doubt that we’re in a competitive relationship, but it’s a technological competition,” she said. “It’s not an effort by the Chinese military to exert dominance around the rest of the world.” What’s more, a wide-ranging contest with China “will drain resources away from the real threat, which, as most people acknowledge, is climate chaos.” Instead of leaning into a new Cold War, “what we really need to do is take down the military-industrial complex and clear the way for the green-industrial complex,” urged Lumpe. This won’t be easy, she readily admitted. Tension with China, after all, provides a useful raison d'être for the defense sector at a time when the War on Terror is winding down and the Pentagon budget faces increasing scrutiny. Problem China's J-20 Stealth Fighter Doesn't Have a Gun Even more concerning, the American national security apparatus itself—constructed in the early days of the Cold War and retaining its basic form ever since—is expressly designed for such an armed standoff with Beijing. [...]

August 30th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Covid 19 coronavirus: Experts call for rethink on Auckland’s move to level 2

Professor Shaun Hendy says we need to rethink plans to move Auckland down to alert level 2 on Monday. Photo / Greg Bowker A day before Auckland is due to come out of lockdown, experts are calling for a rethink on the city's Covid-19 restrictions as new cases of the virus across the city show no sign of slowing down. The Ministry of Health reported 13 new cases today including 11 in the community, the highest number for almost two weeks. Auckland University Professor Shaun Hendy, whose modelling has guided the Government's response to date, said ministers should reconsider moving Auckland to alert level 2 on Monday - and if the change still goes ahead, employers should keep workers at home if possible. "If you can work at home, you should continue to do so for the next few weeks," he said. Otago University Professor Michael Baker said Auckland should stay at least at a heightened "level 2.5" with the planned limit of 10 on social gatherings and everyone wearing masks in all indoor spaces outside their own homes. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declined to comment today but is due to confirm alert levels at 1pm tomorrow. Her office said she noted this week that "there was an expectation of additional cases from the cluster". The Ministry of Health said 10 of the 11 new community cases today "are clearly epidemiologically linked to the Auckland cluster". Six cases are associated with the Mt Roskill Evangelical Church – four in the same household and two who attended [...]

August 29th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

The Backstory: Our journalists’ top takeaways from the Democratic and Republican conventions

I'm USA TODAY editor-in-chief Nicole Carroll, and this is The Backstory, insights into our biggest stories of the week. If you'd like to get The Backstory in your inbox every week, sign up here. Susan Page has covered 10 presidential elections and all 20 political conventions. At her first in Detroit in 1980, she was such a junior reporter she was assigned to stay in a hotel in Canada. "I had to cross the border twice a day," she says. I asked Page, USA TODAY's Washington bureau chief, for her takeaways from the Democratic and Republican conventions over the past two weeks, Nos. 19 and 20for her. "These are the first conventions I’ve covered from various rooms in my house. Does that still count?" she asks. "The food is better at home, but I miss the serendipity of in-person conventions — the chance to catch the spontaneous reaction of the crowd, like Bernie Sanders’ supporters booing the DNC chair in 2016, and Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama igniting the hall in 2004." The conventions every four years are the Super Bowl for political journalists. As soon as host cities are announced, planning begins. We were ready for Milwaukee(Democrats) and Charlotte (Republicans). Then things changed (President Donald Trump to Jacksonville), then changed again (maybe Gettysburg) and changed again (the White House). Meanwhile, Joe Biden and the Democrats centered on Wilmington, Delaware, with feeds from all states and territories. White House correspondent John Fritze said that usually there is much action off the stage. "Which up-and-comers are addressing the Iowa delegation breakfast? What’s on the minds of the delegates or alternates — the party [...]

August 28th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

We should be free to talk about racism without being penalised

Historian David Olusoga talked of being isolated and devalued in the TV industry. It shouldn’t have to be such an act of courage. ‘David Olusoga’s candour and courage prompted widespread media coverage.’ Photograph: Jack Clark/PA British television is failing us. It’s excluding stories, talent, on and offscreen, and promoting only a “pathetic” number of people from minority-ethnic backgrounds to positions of power. These are not my contemporary thoughts. They’re the verdict of broadcasting chiefs back in 2000, when I was still in my teens. Twenty years ago all Britain’s major broadcasters were together promising to radically improve diversity and representation, to stop the “endless meetings” and to reflect the “plain realities of life”. It was an era when David Olusoga – a man now recognised as one of the best historians and presenters on British TV – found himself, in his own words, “sidelined, dismissed and desperately unhappy”. Giving the MacTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh TV festival this week, he disclosed that the racism and prejudice he encountered had left him “so isolated and so devalued that I twice slipped into clinical depression”. Olusoga’s candour and courage prompted widespread media coverage. That he described his experience so eloquently on such a prestigious platform was certainly news; yet the content of that experience, for many other minority-ethnic people who work in TV, was not. The subtext was important. Olusoga admitted his reluctance to expose himself so honestly before what he described as “the tribes of television”, because it was a genuine unknown to him if, at the [...]

August 27th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Covid 19 coronavirus: Heather du Plessis-Allan – I no longer trust Government to keep virus out

COMMENT: Can you believe that the Government still isn't doing the day three testing? After all those times they promised us they're testing people coming back into the country twice before they're let into the community, they're still not testing everyone on day three. I couldn't believe my ears when I heard Chris Hipkins admit that in today's 1pm press conference. Mostly, because we've been here before. Mid-June, they were busted not doing the testing when Thelma and Louise left their Auckland hotel without being tested. Following that, the Prime Minister went on her Facebook Live and told us her expectations hadn't been met. But we were assured everyone would now be tested. Twice. Day three and day 12. But fast forward two months and their assurances aren't worth the time we spend listening to them. Still not happening. Now, before they start spinning you that day three tests are not important, yes they are. That's why they assured us that day three tests would be done. Day three tests are important so they can find the people who have Covid and move those people to other quarantine facilities so they're not still mixing with other people in the managed isolation hotel lobbies without face masks – like we're seeing in the pictures - and making them all sick too. Because, by the way, if some of these people get sick just before leaving the hotel and coming into the community, their day 12 tests may not necessarily pick up the Covid which takes 5-6 days [...]

August 26th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Comment | Can a surging economy push Donald Trump to the greatest comeback in history?

COMMENT: Momentum appears to be shifting: The American president can and will boast of a record third-quarter recovery, writes Russell Lynch Donald Trump shared his own novel theory on the origins of coronavirus in a recent Minnesota stump speech to supporters. Forget Wuhan laboratories, or 5G broadband conspiracies: According to the president, "God was testing me." A tongue-in-cheek (one assumes) Trump said the Almighty was punishing him for his hubris in boasting about building "the greatest economy in the history of the world". So one pandemic later "now I have to do it again", he quipped. Just four months ago, when Covid-19 put more than 20 million Americans out of work, the thought of Donald Trump fighting November's election on the economy seemed farcical. Photo / AP Just four months ago, when Covid-19 put more than 20 million Americans out of work, the thought of Trump fighting November's election on the economy seemed farcical. A proud presidential record, including an unemployment rate at a 50-year low of 3.5 per cent, was in tatters.   A brutal April-June quarter saw the world's biggest economy shrink a record 9.4 per cent. But now that picture is changing. A look at the recent data suggests that the "Big Mo" beloved of US politicians is behind him. Suddenly, the bookmakers are shaving their odds on the property mogul becoming the first president since Calvin Coolidge almost a century ago to win a second term in the teeth of a recent recession. Take housing, for example. Even with unemployment at 10.2 [...]

August 26th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Sam Clench: Kimberly Guilfoyle’s speech sums up the 2020 US election

COMMENT: "THEY WANT TO DESTROY THIS COUNTRY AND EVERYTHING THAT WE HAVE FOUGHT FOR AND HOLD DEAR," Kimberly Guilfoyle bellowed. "THEY WANT TO STEAL YOUR LIBERTY, YOUR FREEDOM, THEY WANT TO CONTROL WHAT YOU SEE AND THINK AND BELIEVE, SO THAT THEY CAN CONTROL HOW YOU LIVE. "THEY WANT TO ENSLAVE YOU TO THE WEAK, DEPENDENT, LIBERAL VICTIM IDEOLOGY, TO THE POINT THAT YOU WILL NOT RECOGNISE THIS COUNTRY, OR YOURSELF."   OK, first of all, I want to stress that the whole all-caps thing is not me being facetious. It is my honest attempt at accurately transcribing Guilfoyle's speech at the Republican National Convention today, which was delivered with the volume - and the crazy - cranked up to 12/10. Despite the irreparable damage my eardrums and brain cells have suffered, I have to say, I appreciated the former conservative TV commentator's bluntness. It captured the spirit of this year's election campaign pretty well. Last week, the Democrats spent much of their own convention telling Americans four more years of the Trump presidency would be a threat to their democracy. "Character is on the ballot. Compassion is on the ballot. Decency, science, democracy, they're on the ballot. Who we are as a nation, and most importantly, who we want to be. That's all on the ballot," Joe Biden said in his speech accepting the Democratic Party's nomination. "That's what is at stake right now. Our democracy," former president Barack Obama said the night before. Today, the Republicans got their turn, and they decided to go [...]

August 26th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

To anyone familiar with Thailand, what’s happening is breathtaking

It's a recurring scene in politics through the last century and into the 21st – masses of demonstrators turning out to tear down a president or a prime minister. But mass protests against a king or queen seemed to be a relic, a very 20th-century thing. Until now. Growing numbers of Thais last month started taking to the streets to protest against not only their prime minister but also against their king. The case against a prime minister who seized power in a military coup seems pretty conventional. But a king? King Maha Vajiralongkorn was never popular. CREDIT:BUREAU OF THE ROYAL HOUSEHOLD VIA AP Why are tens of thousands of Thais, in protests that have now spread across most of the country's provinces, risking jail to demand that the Australian-educated King Vajiralongkorn, also styled Rama X, be deprived of his powers and privileges? Especially when we have long heard of the godlike reverence in which the Thai people hold their king. But the old king is dead. Reverence for the quarter-millennium reign of the Chakri dynasty appears largely to have gone with him. Apart from the Thais on the streets, more than 1 million have joined a Facebook group, Royalist Marketplace, to debate the future of the monarchy. To anyone familiar with Thailand, this is breathtaking. There wasn't just a taboo against criticising the monarch, there was – and still is – a 15-year jail term for the crime of lese-majeste. The police have arrested a few of the main organisers and unsuccessfully tried to force [...]

August 25th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Three things President Donald Trump and the GOP need to do at their convention

What Donald Trump needs to do at the Republican National Convention this week is, among other things, to keep it Trumpian. That's not difficult advice for the president to take. Indeed, for four years he has resisted the counsel of others to do anything else – to dial down his provocative tweets, for instance, or to reach out in a serious way to those Americans who didn't vote for him in 2016. That said, there was a reason he won the biggest upset in modern times four years ago – actually, a complicated combination of reasons – and with his current course heading toward defeat, he needs to remind millions of reluctant voters why they backed him in the first place. Trump now trails in national polls by an average of about 8 percentage points and in battleground state surveys by narrower margins. With his support at about 50%, Democratic nominee Joe Biden has the steadiest and strongest standing of any contender challenging an incumbent president at this point in modern times – a lead that is significant but not insurmountable. In the final 10 weeks of the campaign, the GOP's biggest opportunities to change that trajectory are during the four-day convention and in the fall debates. The setting was the message:For Democrats, a stark convention for a stark moment "Trump perceives all elections as base elections, so much of the convention will be about exciting that base and reminding them why they shouldn't abandon him," predicted Nicole Hemmer, a Columbia University historian who has studied the rising conservative movement. "But [...]

August 24th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

The persistence of ineffective disaster planning

© Getty Images After five months of “managing” the COVID-19 pandemic, what have we learned? For readers of The Wall Street Journal’s “A Deadly Coronavirus Was Inevitable. Why Was No One Ready?,” for viewers of the recent ABC News Special “American Catastrophe,” or for readers of the recent Johns Hopkins report, “Resetting Our Response,” the answer, sadly, is: nothing. Nothing, that is, that we shouldn’t have known from before day one, nothing that we shouldn’t have anticipated for years before the pandemic exploded. The elements of this catastrophe described at length in those reports — response plans left unexecuted, relegation of the issue to a lesser national security priority, early warnings from experts that were ignored, and muddled messaging that amplified confusion and frustrated a strategic approach — were both foreseeable and foreseen. These fatal defects are not limited, however, to the planning for pandemics discussed in those recent reports; they are intrinsic to the way governments have planned for and responded to a range of emergencies and disasters. The COVID-19 pandemic may seem to have little in common, for example, with the 9/11 terrorist attacks or with Hurricane Katrina. But the responses to these three very different disasters share this fundamental feature: The planning protocols in place prior to the events were abandoned immediately, and for a similar reason. Put simply, the plans the government developed to respond to the events bore little resemblance, in each case, to the way the events actually would be experienced, and thus became immediately irrelevant. The planning in place [...]

August 24th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Covid 19 coronavirus: Columnist blasts NZ’s elimination strategy, claims Kiwis ready to rebel

New Zealand's effort to beat coronavirus is being slammed internationally today, with the plan to stamp it out being likened to childish ambition and lockdown measures reminiscent of an authoritarian regime. Sunday Telegraph columnist Madeline Grant has poured scorn on New Zealand's elimination strategy and the means taken to achieve our low rates of Covid-19 in a scathing article that warns the United Kingdom not to follow suit. Dubbing New Zealand's eradication strategy as a "cautionary tale", the article, which was published on Sunday in the United Kingdom, slates our Government's response as little more than vapid political virtue-signalling. Her claims have been dismissed by a political commentator here as a "beat up" that grossly mischaracterises New Zealand's situation. Aucklanders social distancing at Takapuna Beach as the region lives under Covid-19 level 3 lockdown. Photo / Dean Purcell Grant opines it will only be a matter of time before the public turn against its young, charismatic, female leader Jacinda Ardern, who has enjoyed "fawning media coverage surpassing even the high water-mark of Trudeau-mania". She also believes if New Zealand intends keeping Covid at bay, the country faces years of indefinite isolation, with domestic lockdowns a fixture of life and a loss of Western-style freedoms. "We should be under no illusion- this is no model for New Zealand to follow, let alone a sophisticated global economy like ours. "New Zealand has contained the virus, for now at least, registering the lowest mortality rates in the OECD, but it has taken genuinely draconian policies and great economic pain [...]

August 23rd, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

The Guardian view on the US Democrats: Biden seized his moment

This year’s virtual convention gave the party’s presidential nominee an opportunity which he took with skill and stubborn decency. Joe Biden speaking during the Democratic convention. ‘His offer of hope and light is well crafted for such dark times.’ Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters There have never been two campaign gatherings like this week’s US Democratic convention and next week’s Republican one. Stripped to their essentials by the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 conventions cannot match the energy of normal years. Yet the big speech by the presidential candidate at the convention remains a defining campaign moment, and this year is no different. The greater severity imposed by the virtual convention is also appropriate. For this is not a normal US election year. It is one in which the central contest between Donald Trump and Joe Biden will define the future of the United States and the world like few others. Because of the constraints, the Democratic convention lacked true razzmatazz. In that respect it was tailor-made for Mr Biden’s decent, stubborn but markedly unexciting political message. And yet the lack of glitz had certain advantages. It meant that the nightly coverage offered to American voters this week was more serious-minded. The televised broadcasts were full of ordinary people’s video accounts of what they are going through as a result of the pandemic, recession and racism. The format also meant that Mr Biden could use his acceptance speech to cut to the chase about the issues at stake in November’s election, rather than play up the rhetoric that would [...]

August 21st, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Democrats must understand that hugs and empathy can’t defeat Trump

Mr Nice Guy Joe Biden looks like he’s no match for a president who has repeatedly shown how low he will go. ‘Tear-jerking speeches informed us that Joe Biden is a nice man.’ Photograph: Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images Imissed the balloons, the streamers, the strutting around the stage. I missed the lines carefully calibrated for applause and the veering off-script. I missed the theatricality. But the revolution is now streaming. The pandemic meant the Democratic convention was televised online, in four nights of two-hour party political broadcasts. There was no pizza big enough for this endurance test. The convention felt like a charity marathon without an audience, punctuated with unfunny comedy and sob stories. Tear-jerking speeches informed us that Joe Biden is a nice man. John Legend supplied the light entertainment, John Lewis the heroic archive. What a mishmash it all was. The US is standing on the faultline of a pandemic, a deepening recession and a racial divide, but the convention still subjected us to endless speeches about how great and good the country is. Though all nations sing their own praises, the US tends to do so for longer and with far bigger production values than others. Of course, I am biased: I’ve been to actual conventions and rallies in the US, and am familiar with their grandiosity, their pomp, and their insane security details. You go for the parties and the gossip that, as with Britain’s party conferences, always takes place offstage: the plots, the snubs, the affairs, the desperation. On stage, everything is [...]

August 21st, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Dynamic Joe Biden takes command in making his case to an America in crisis

Our View: Laying out how Donald Trump is a loser against coronavirus and unrest, Democratic nominee appeals to Americans to let him lead. Joe Biden had three main missions Thursday night in his speech accepting the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. The first was to show Americans that despite his age — Biden would be 78 at a swearing in if elected, the oldest president in U.S. history — he has the vigor and mental acuity to lead a nation stricken by twin medical and economic crises. That job was relatively easy in this new age of virtual convention, where Biden only had to read from a teleprompter in an audience-free conference room in Wilmington, Delaware, without any major gaffes. (A heavier lift on the cognitive-agility front awaits late next month, when the presidential debates begin, and in unscripted interviews.) But in this speech, billed as the candidate's biggest in nearly a half-century of politics and a decades-long pursuit of the White House, Biden displayed a command of his material and an emotional dynamism as if he could hear a packed convention hall cheering. 'No miracle is coming' The second challenge was to convince viewers that he could do a better job than President Donald Trump in battling the coronavirus pandemic that has killed nearly 175,000 Americans, shattered the economy and upended everyday life, producing this year's "unconventional" conventions, shorn of balloon drops and delegates in funny costumes. Without referring to Trump by name, the Democratic nominee called out the president for failing to plan or take the virus seriously. "No miracle is coming," Biden said, building a case for [...]

August 21st, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Five takeaways on Bannon’s indictment

Stephen Bannon, President Trump’s former top White House adviser and 2016 campaign chief, was arrested and charged on Thursday for his role in an alleged fundraising fraud. Bannon is accused of helping to funnel money from a charity that was soliciting donations for a privately-built border wall. According to court filings, he allegedly used hundreds of thousands of dollars for personal expenses and to secretly pay the co-founder of the organization We Built The Wall. The charges mark a stunning reversal of fortune for the man who once orchestrated Trump’s improbable election, making him the latest in a series of the president’s allies who have faced criminal charges over the past three years. Here are five takeaways from today’s indictment: Criminal charges are casting a shadow over Team Trump Bannon is the second former White House official and sixth member of the president’s inner circle to face criminal charges, casting a shadow over Trump’s administration and his 2016 campaign. Bannon has been credited with ushering that campaign to a general election victory after taking over as its CEO in August 2016. Paul Manafort, who served as the campaign’s chairman, is serving more than seven years in prison on various fraud charges. Manafort’s deputy on the campaign, Richard Gates, entered a plea agreement with special counsel Robert Mueller to cooperate with the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Last year, Gates was sentenced to 45 days in jail and three years of probation for his role in Manafort’s fraud schemes. Roger Stone, the longtime Republican operative and former [...]

August 21st, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Poisoning of Putin opponent could test US-Moscow relationship

      The alleged poisoning of a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin this week drew immediate rebukes from U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and will likely serve as another key test for President Trump’s relationship with the autocratic leader. Alexei Navalny, considered the unofficial leader of the Russian opposition and a noted Putin critic, is reportedly in a coma and intensive care after drinking tea laced with poison. The news of his illness was a shocking reminder of Moscow’s brutality and a possible warning that the government is becoming increasingly bold in its actions against the opposition. A senior Trump administration official called the reports “deeply troubling” and said the White House is following the situation closely. The circumstances surrounding the suspected attack on Navalny is still unclear, although poisonings are viewed as a familiar tool used by Putin against opposition figures, said Thomas Pickering, a former senior State Department official and a former ambassador to Russia. “If it were a poisoning, then almost everybody will believe it goes back to Putin,” he said, “and there is a very significant possibility that that is a correct judgement.” Navalny’s spokesperson, Kira Yarmysh, wrote on Twitter that this is the second time the opposition figure has suffered a poisoning, the first time occurring while he was in a detention center a year earlier. Both Democrat and Republican lawmakers expressed outrage over the fate of Navalny, a prominent anti-Putin figure who has built a reputation on exposing corruption among Russia’s political elite. They [...]

August 21st, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

How the twin disasters of climate change and Covid-19 could transform our cities

The existential emergencies we face require a wholesale reimagining of how we live, work and play in urban spaces Tower Works, Leeds. ‘We should be using public investment to build a network of new parks with playgrounds and sport and leisure facilities on underdeveloped sites in the city centre.’ Photograph: Paul Leach/Alamy Stock It’s  often been said that we’re living through an unprecedented moment. But in city centres, the coronavirus crisis has merely accelerated trendsthat have been unfolding for some time. In Leeds, where I live, many major banks and building societies, cinemas, shops and department stores declined or disappeared as society shifted online. The pandemic has caused the job market to contract, and many more people are now working from home. But in cities across the country, traditional office spaces have long been shrinking, as technology reduces the need for face-to-face contact and a growing number of self-employed people opt for co-working spaces.Despite the economic boom that some UK cities have experienced in the last 20 years, the centre of Leeds, like many other city centres, has not yet recovered from industrial decline. Vacated banking halls have supplied glamorous homes for bars and restaurants in regeneration areas, and housing has returned to the centre, albeit in the limited form of small apartments and poorly designed student accommodation. But the continuing trend of “meanwhile use” and sprawling ground-level car parks across the city are evidence that supply still exceeds demand. Coronavirus has accelerated these processes, but they aren’t new. Neither is Leeds a novice in dealing [...]

August 18th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Belarusians are speaking as one: Alexander Lukashenko’s time is up

More than a week after a sham election, public rage has not died down   ‘Growing from small night-time proteststo general strikes and the gathering of several hundred thousand peaceful protesters during the day, they are already making Lukashenko squirm.’ Photograph: Yauhen Yerchak/EPA “And what is it, what is it that they want / Centuries despised: those deaf, blind ones? / To be called people.” These words by Janka Kupala, Belarus’s national poet, published in the early 1900s, have come to mind in recent days as protests have rippled through the nation. Twenty-six years after Alexander Lukashenko came to power in the Republic of Belarus’ first and last democratic elections – almost immediately stripping the country of any ambitions to recover its national language, democratic process or historic myths and symbols after more than 70 years under the Soviet yoke – Belarus and Belarusians are seeing for the first time a fighting chance at meaningful politics and civic rights. Make no mistake, a people once described as the “dark, despised ones” (ciomny, pahardžany narod) have crossed a point of no return. Olga Shparaga, a leading Belarusian political philosopher (whom I work alongside at the European College of Liberal Arts), described the emotions of fellow protesters in a phone conversation last Wednesday morning: “People are completely infuriated, ready to go wherever they need. This is not the time to think, but to act.” The protests followed the sham election on 9 August: the election commission gave Lukashenko approximately 80% of the vote when in all likelihood the [...]

August 18th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

China’s Xi Jinping facing widespread opposition in his own party, insider claims

Exclusive: Cai Xia, who has been expelled from the elite Central Party School, says president’s ‘unchecked power’ has made China ‘the enemy of the world’ Transcript: ‘He killed a party and a country’ Cai Xia said Chinese president Xi Jinping’s ‘unchecked power’ had led to the coronavirus crisis. Photograph: Andrea Verdelli/Getty Images A former professor at China’s elite Central Party School has issued an unprecedented rebuke of the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, accusing him of “killing a country” and claiming that many more want out of the ruling Chinese Communist party. Cai Xia, a prominent professor who taught at the school for top officials, was expelled from the party on Monday after an audio recording of remarks she made that were critical of Xi was leaked online in June. The school said in a notice that Cai, a professor at the party school since 1992, had made comments that “damaged the country’s reputation” and were full of “serious political problems”. In her first interview with English-language media since her expulsion, Cai told the Guardian she was “happy to be expelled”. Why is Xi Jinping pitting China against the world? “Under the regime of Xi, the Chinese Communist party is not a force for progress for China. In fact, it is an obstacle to China’s progress,” she said. “I believe I am not the only one who wants to leave this party. More people would like to withdraw or quit this party,” she said. “I had intended to quit the party years ago when there was no [...]

August 18th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

The Conversation: Creating a Covid 19 coronavirus vaccine is only the first step

Most countries are awaiting a vaccine to save them from the pandemic. But a viable vaccine needs manufacture and distribution. Photo / 123RF The world is hoping a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine will soon become available. So far, more than 160 candidate vaccines are in development. Some 31 of these have entered human clinical trials. One of them is Russia's "Sputnik V", which was granted approval by the country's health ministry last week. But the World Health Organisation (WHO) and a large number of international experts have urged Russia to conduct more testing to ensure the vaccine's safety before using it. But even if this candidate and others are proven to be safe and effective, developing the vaccine is just the first step. Challenge 1: manufacturing the vaccine The first major challenge after a vaccine is developed is to produce enough of it to start vaccination programmes. One estimate puts global vaccine production capacity at up to 6.4 billion doses per year, though this is based on single-dose influenza vaccines. But some of the Covid-19 vaccines currently in development require two or three injections. This means, if the same technology for Covid-19 vaccines is required as for influenza vaccines, global production is severely reduced. It has been estimated that to achieve sufficient levels of immunity among the global population with a two-dose vaccine, we would need between 12 billion and 15 billion doses – roughly twice the world's current total vaccine manufacturing capacity. Shifting to exclusively manufacture a Covid-19 vaccine will also mean shortages of [...]

August 18th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

The Conversation: If we can get groceries under lockdown, we can vote under lockdown

               Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo / Mark Mitchell COMMENT If we can do our grocery shopping under lockdown, we can vote under lockdown too. As much as supermarkets and pharmacies, the general election is an essential service and it must continue. There are ways and means to safely exercise our democratic rights during lockdown. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern left it open at a press conference as to whether the election (currently scheduled for September 19) might be delayed and, if so, to what future date. While such a move is legally possible, it only defers the uncertainty about public safety at the polls. No one can predict whether one month later, for example, will be more or less safe than the scheduled date, or indeed any other reasonable date. Democracy delayed is democracy denied The dissolution of the 52nd parliament was deferred at the last moment on Wednesday until today. No later than seven days after dissolution, the governor-general issues the writ for the next election, including its date. This is all done on the advice of the prime minister, by long-established convention. Under emergency circumstances, it may be wise for the Prime Minister to consult leaders of other parties about the election date – but this is not mandatory. National Party leader Judith Collins has already accused the Prime Minister of a "lack of transparency" over the date. Collins called for a late November election, or even pushing it out to next year. It would be a shame [...]

August 17th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Letters: Elections, shop closures, small business and dictatorship

Checkpoints across Auckland have been stopping traffic leaving the city. Photo / Khalia Strong Letter of the week: Politically motivated Judith Collins' call for the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, not to front media presentations about Covid-19, is clearly politically motivated, and is potentially very dangerous for the whole country in my opinion. It must be called out for what it is. The reason given, that it is inappropriate during the pre-election period, is specious in my view, given the situation of a global pandemic and our recent second outbreak. The true reason appears to be that Collins knows that Ardern is a highly skilled communicator, and fears that this will affect the election and reduce her own chances of success in that election. She is clearly more concerned about that than about the welfare of her fellow citizens. For we all know that it was due in part to the Prime Minister's caring and calming influence in media conferences, each day, that we in New Zealand generally obeyed the lockdown rules, and achieved the great result we did. To propose not having that media presence on a daily basis to inform us simply and clearly of the situation and to allay our fears during the second outbreak, which has now been identified, shows Collins' true colours and her real priorities at this time. Claire Taylor, Parnell Small businesses We have all been exhorted to be fair and be kind. What is fair or kind about forcing the local, butcher, baker, greengrocer etc to close under level [...]

August 16th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Could the Beirut Explosion Be a Turning Point for Lebanon?

Chronic corruption must be rooted out. Demonstrators waved Lebanese flags during protests near the site of the blast at Beirut's port area on Tuesday.Credit...Goran Tomasevic/Reuters The appalling negligence that left more than 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate sitting for more than six years at Lebanon’s port in Beirut, just waiting to explode, perfectly if tragically encapsulates the official corruption and incompetence in a country where almost everything that can go wrong does go wrong. The huge explosion that resulted last week killed at least 200 people and left 300,000 homeless and a vast landscape of destruction. Beyond the human carnage, the blast also struck a devastating blow at a country already on the brink. A government structure designed decades ago to balance Lebanon’s mosaic of religions and cultures had become a coterie of sectarian cliques more interested in protecting turf than running the country. Exacerbated by the pandemic, the chronic corruption and misrule had brought the economy to ruin. For months now, prices have been soaring. Bread and medicines are in short supply, trash has been piling up, the currency has lost 80 percent of its value since October and a once-glittering middle class has been sinking into poverty and despair. On the day of the explosion, protesters tried to break into the energy ministry to protest daily power cuts, which often limit electricity to a few hours a day. It is no wonder that furious protests erupted, with demonstrators demanding no less than a clean sweep of the country’s ruling elites, up to the president [...]

August 15th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Barry Soper: Lack of contact tracing to blame for new Covid-19 outbreak

COMMENT: It's easy with hindsight to say I told you so. And it gives me no pleasure at all that the country is now facing the prospect of another lockdown, simply because contact tracing wasn't taken seriously. Someone close to the pit face in the Beehive's inner circle fighting Covid-19 confided some time ago that contact tracing was a shemozzle and that another Covid outbreak was inevitable. Even director general of health Ashley Bloomfield said as recently as last week it was not a matter of if, it was a matter of when we'd be hit again. Now we are seeing how a South Auckland family of four, through no fault of their own, inadvertently pulled the trigger on the country after testing positive and we are now all facing the consequences. This could all have been avoided. More than two months ago the Ministry of Health launched a Covid tracer app which on the face of it was simple to use. It was as easy as swiping a supermarket item's barcode across the automatic checkout. ine was downloaded then but going into bars, restaurants and retail outlets it was impossible to find a barcode, or what they call a QR code, to swipe. Few had bothered to put the poster up and reading the feedback to the ministry's website I wasn't alone. One woman said after downloading the app also said there wasn't anywhere she could use it, including her local MP's office! She, like many other users wanting to take responsibility and play their [...]

August 15th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Why Joe Biden and Kamala Harris would be a disastrous duo in the year of George Floyd

America needs a fix to our criminal justice system, not a glaring reminder of who broke it. SAN DIEGO — When campaigning for president, choosing a running mate tells Americans about your priorities, judgment and decision-making. It also tells us whether you’ve been paying attention. We need to know whether you’re in tune with what the country is going through or whether you’re locked away — or quarantined — within your own bubble. President Donald Trump is at a disadvantage. This is not the time for his divisive brand of politics, which pits “us” vs. “them” and drives wedges between groups. This is not the moment to engage in racial politicking, look for scapegoats and stoke fears. Such tactics worked four years ago, and Trump won by encouraging half the country to dislike the other half. But a lot has changed in this country in just the past four months. Given the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department in May, and the pain and destruction it caused, I’ll bet that a lot of Americans have lost their taste for the red meat of racial division. All this would normally be good news for Joe Biden. That is, if the likely Democratic nominee doesn’t botch his pick for vice president. Biden's 1990s crime record If the attack line against Trump is going to be that he is out of step with the moment, then it would be foolish for Democrats to put a presidential ticket that hearkens back to an earlier time. Like the 1990s, when — amid skyrocketing crime [...]

August 14th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Mike Hosking: ‘Covid election’ needs to be delayed if Auckland stays in lockdown

COMMENT: Didn't the week start well? The Warriors had won twice in a row from a lockdown of their own, the Crusaders wrapped up the rugby a week early, and we had the sell-out at Eden Park this weekend. Those were the days when we had sport, crowds and cafes sold you coffee.   By Tuesday that was shattered. A lot was shattered, like the delusion that an elimination strategy can actually work. The big question going forward - and once again one we ask - is, what's our plan? Beyond taking this day by day, and oiling the squeaky wheel with welfare money we don't have, how are we going to face the world? Deal with the world? Be a part of the world? Especially in a world where elimination, short of a vaccine, isn't happening, and we sit isolated with a failed policy. Or are we happy with the way we are doing this? Is this week's disappointment and despondency, not to mention anger and frustration, just the way it is? A couple of months of freedom, then a lockdown. Start your business, stop your business. Do we think we can afford that? Which is why we should also talk about the election. It needs to be delayed if Auckland goes beyond level 3 tonight. Level 2 is hardly the end of the world, but level 3 is no longer a level playing field. Campaigns need to be run, policies released, debates had, questions asked, and examinations conducted. That is how we do it, [...]

August 14th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Covid 19 coronavirus: Genomic tracing used to find source of latest outbreak

Dunedin scientist Jemma Geoghegan says four Covid-19 cases at the centre of the latest outbreak in NZ - at this stage at least - do not seem to be linked to earlier cases in managed isolation or quarantine facilities. Dr Geoghegan is using genomic tracing technology to try to solve the riddle of how the four Auckland family members became infected with Covid-19. It was hard to be definitive, but the viral genomes seemed to be linked with genomes from English data bases on the Sars-cov-2 virus, which causes Covid-19, and checks were continuing with Australian viral genomes. “It's really important that we find the source of this outbreak," she said. As before, the samples are being referred to ESR for genomic sequencing," she said. "It is vital that genomics is part of this response to enable us to track where these cases may have arisen and to estimate the size and number of clusters present. "By comparing the virus genomes from these cases to those from both the quarantine facilities and the global population, we can determine their likely origin and how long they have been circulating in the community." As before, the samples are being referred to ESR for genomic sequencing," she said. "It is vital that genomics is part of this response to enable us to track where these cases may have arisen and to estimate the size and number of clusters present. "By comparing the virus genomes from these cases to those from both the quarantine facilities and the global population, we [...]

August 14th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Covid 19 coronavirus: BusinessNZ boss warns ‘there isn’t really anyone who believes it’s going to only go on for three days’

BusinessNZ chief executive Kirk Hope said businesses were in a weakened state compared to the first lockdown. Photo / Michael Craig BusinessNZ is calling on the Government to reveal more information about the outbreak of Covid-19 in Auckland, with its chief executive warning the lockdown is unlikely to be over this week. "Constraining information right now is probably one of the worst things they can do," Hope, the chief executive of BusinessNZ, told the Herald this morning. Hope added that businesses are weakened by the first lockdown and warned he did not believe the current restrictions would end on Friday. "There isn't really anyone who believes it's going to only go on for three days". On Tuesday night the Government would not say which businesses were potentially impacted by the outbreak, in which at least four people are infected. Hope called for more information to be released. "What we certainly need out of Government is much more information about the situation that we are currently in and how we got there, so that people are aware, particularly in Auckland, people who have been in contact with people who are infected and have been around the businesses," Hope said. "That information needs to be made public ... There are too many people's livelihoods that are at risk to constrain information. The Government needs to be really transparent about what's going on and enable people to be able to respond really quickly." While he acknowledged concerns about privacy, Hope said there was a risk that the situation worsened [...]

August 13th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Winston Peters – Isolation facilities need to be managed with ‘military style precision’

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says the Government needs to get to the bottom of the recent cases of community transmission, which plunged Auckland back into lockdown. Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Peters – who is also the Deputy Prime Minister – said that "everything is on the line". And he's also concerned that some of New Zealand's managed isolation facilities are not up to scratch. He said that their effectiveness needed to be guaranteed – "that means we need military-style precision." The rest of the country will be in level 2 over the same period. Peters said he wants to know that the assurances the Government is being given by those running the facilities "day after day" were, in fact, a reality. "We have to know with precision what we're being told in every area is, in fact, 100 per cent plus operational." Asked about his reaction upon hearing community transmission was back yesterday, he said he was "brassed off". His comments came very soon after Auckland went into level 3 lockdown – where it would stay until at least midnight Friday. Brassed off at the circumstances, he said, adding that the Government needs to know "how it happened" – in regards to the new cases of community transmission. He also called for testing facilities across the country to be improved as well. Peters added that the Ministry of Health needed to make sure that people aren't waiting for hours to get a test and the process was as quick as possible. Meanwhile, he [...]

August 13th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Covid 19 coronavirus: World reacts to New Zealand being 100 days free of community transmission

The world has praised New Zealand's successful efforts at maintaining Covid-19, as the country marked 100 days of no community transmission yesterday. However, media have reported that the country's milestone comes with warnings that the country is becoming too complacent as the pandemic continues to spread across the world. The Ministry of Health said yesterday that there were no new cases of Covid-19 to report. It is the fourth straight day of no new daily cases. In a statement, director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield thanked every person who had been tested. "Achieving 100 days without community transmission is a significant milestone," he said. The Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield during the Covid-19 media update. Photo / Mark Mitchell The statement echoed across the globe, as the world heaped praise on Kiwis, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the New Zealand Government. Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama also congratulated New Zealand on its achievement. "Fiji and New Zealand are now among the only countries on Earth to go 100 days or more without cases of #COVID19 in our communities," he posted on Twitter. "Well done to the New Zealand Government and people - your friends in Fiji have all been rooting for your success." Fiji and New Zealand are now among the only countries on Earth to go 100 days or more without cases of #COVID19in our communities. Well done to the New Zealand Government and people –– your friends in Fiji have all been rooting for your success.https://t.co/VHjbeFkIwZ — Frank Bainimarama (@FijiPM) August 9, 2020 [...]

August 10th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

NZ Election 2020: Labour’s first campaign policy is revamped National policy

And they're off - the Labour Party has declared the election campaign officially underway. Jacinda Ardern kicked things off on Saturday with a policy to help get people back into work, and she's promising 40,000 jobs. But the first of her party's policies for the campaign is just a revamped version of National Party policy. Labour's campaign launch began with kapa haka and a performance from Tami Neilson. Her song 'Big Boss Mama' was fitting because Labour is hinging its hopes for three more years on their big boss mama - Jacinda Ardern. The Labour leader was introduced by her partner and some backhanded compliments. "[She has] drive that sees me getting a bit growly at midnight when Cabinet papers are still being read in bed, it's worse than toast crumbs," Clarke Gayford told the crowd. But forgiven her sins by her very loyal, loved-up followers, lapping up her every word and reflecting on the launch of 2017. "If you'd told me that we would have just completed a term in Government with both New Zealand First and the Greens, I'd assume you'd been watching excessive amounts of Stranger Things on Netflix," Ardern said. But it's round two she's after, and you couldn't miss the pitch. "But for all of that, there is more to do… And still there is more to do… And yet still there is more to do… But still, there is more to do." Luring voters with the first of Labour's campaign promises. "A wage subsidy to help employers hire those on [...]

August 9th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

The Key Reason DC Hates President Trump – It’s a Big Club, and He Ain’t in It…

Something 99% of American voters do not understand.  Congress doesn’t actually write legislation. The last item of legislation written by congress was sometime around the mid 1990’s. Modern legislation is sub-contracted to a segment of operations in DC known as K-Street.  That’s where the lobbyists reside. Lobbyists write the laws; congress sells the laws; lobbyists then pay congress commissions for passing their laws. That’s the modern legislative business in DC. CTH often describes the system with the phrase: “There are Trillions at Stake.” The process of creating legislation is behind that phrase. DC politics is not quite based on the ideas that frame most voter’s reference points. " alt="" aria-hidden="true" /> With people taking notice of DC politics for the first time; and with people not as familiar with the purpose of DC politics; perhaps it is valuable to provide clarity. Most people think when they vote for a federal politician -a House or Senate representative- they are voting for a person who will go to Washington DC and write or enact legislation. This is the old-fashioned “schoolhouse rock” perspective based on decades past. There is not a single person in congress writing legislation or laws. In modern politics not a single member of the House of Representatives or Senator writes a law, or puts pen to paper to write out a legislative construct. This simply doesn’t happen. Over the past several decades a system of constructing legislation has taken over Washington DC that more resembles a business operation than a legislative body. Here’s how it [...]

August 9th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

UK: Teacher fired from school for saying Muhammad was a false prophet

If he had said that Jesus Christ was not the Son of God, would he have been let go? Of course not. In shattered, staggering, dhimmi Britain, we’re all Muslims now. One simply does not say anything negative about the prophet whom everyone accepts and reveres. “Transgender row teacher calls Muhammad a false prophet,” by Liam Rice, ThisIsOxfordshire, August 2, 2020: AN OXFORD teacher who was forced to leave a school for calling a transgender pupil a girl was let go from a second school just months later after he said Muhammad was a false prophet, it can be revealed…. It can now be revealed that Joshua Sutcliffe left The Cherwell School in Oxford and reportedly began teaching at a London school. Mr Sutcliffe says he was then suspended because of comments made in a video he uploaded to YouTube. In the 12-minute video, titled ‘what does the Bible say about false prophets?’, Mr Sutcliffe says Muhammad is a false prophet. “I know this is controversial and I know that people might be offended by what I’m saying but I do it in love and because I want to speak the truth,” he says. “I believe Muhammad is a false prophet, I would suggest that Muslims have a false understanding of God because they’ve been led by a false prophet. “Jesus is the only true prophet because he is God in the flesh, he is the voice of God, he brings true revelation and understanding because he is God. “We have other false prophets in this [...]

August 8th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Trump Lays Out His 6 Promises To Americans For His Second Term

President Donald Trump laid out six initiatives he plans to pursue if he wins a second term on November 3. Trump announced the list during an appearance at the Whirlpool Corporation in Ohio, highlighting the promises he kept from his 2016 campaign while laying out new ones for his next term. Trump’s first promise was to defeat the coronavirus, saying his administration was using all its resources to develop therapies, a vaccine, and medical equipment to limit the spread of the virus. His second promise was he would return the economy to pre-coronavirus levels of success, saying employment would was already on the rise. (EXCLUSIVE REPORT: The Inside Story Of How The Trump Team Is Rebuilding Our Supply Chain Preparedness) Third, he promised to use the gains in America’s medical manufacturing capacity to turn the U.S. into the world’s top producer of medical products such as ventilators and pharmaceuticals. Fourth, Trump promised to rein in U.S. supply chains in other industries as well, ensuring for national security reasons that American companies don’t have to rely on other nations. His fifth promise was to use every tool at his disposal – including tariffs – to bring American manufacturing jobs back to the United States. He took the opportunity to announce new tariffs on Canadian-produced aluminum as well.  His final promise was to always put American workers first. The speech came hours after he signed a “Buy American” executive order aimed at onshoring America’s production chains. White House advisor Peter Navarro, who was present at the signing, praised [...]

August 7th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

BLM Release List of Demands for ‘White People’

This didn’t start with George Floyd, Chanelle Helm insists. Black Lives Matter just updated their list of demands for “white people” to comply with that Helm produced a couple years ago. To make the connection to George Soros a little less conspicuous, they used an independent group as a front. Concerned Citizens DC issued a list. A front group to release the demands George Soros is a little upset with the bad publicity he’s been getting lately. His name keeps coming up every time someone wonders who’s paying for the signs, the gasoline, and the media hype. When BLM put out a list of demands a couple years ago, the whole idea went down in flames so this time, they got a front group to release a polished press release with their real intentions glossed away. We know how they really feel from what Helm put out the last time. “It started 600 years ago when white supremacy was a tool for destruction,” the leader of Louisville, Kentucky’s branch of Black Lives Matter said recently. People of color are simply at “the boiling point of that outrage and frustration.” Chanelle Helm is demanding an end to the “broken system of policing that disproportionately hurts people of color.” If white people haven’t changed their minds in 600 years then its safe to assume that Black Lives Matter hasn’t changed theirs in the past two years. They still want the same things. In 2017 Helm wrote, “Commit to two things: Fighting white supremacy where and how you can [...]

August 7th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Twins’ letters to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern: Please let our dad in the country

If Hollywood stars can enter New Zealand, why can't our dad? That's what Tauranga twins Sophia and Michelle Toolen-Hemsley asked Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in heartfelt letters pleading with her to let him into the country. The 10-year-old Kiwi citizens have now spent more than six months away from dad Richard Toolen, who is locked out of the country by the Covid-19 border closures - despite intervention from MP for Tauranga Simon Bridges. "He's my superhero": Tauranga 10-year-old Sophia Toolen-Hemsley with her dad Richard Hemsley. Photo / Supplied The girls lived in London with British and US passport-holding Toolen and mum Kiwi Donna Hemsley. The family had been in the very final stages of permanently moving to New Zealand when the pandemic hit in March. They had put Sophia and Michelle into school in July last year in Tauranga. Toolen stayed back in the UK to run the financial services company he owned in Switzerland. The family then spent Christmas and January together in New Zealand before buying a home in Mt Maunganui. Toolen flew back out to Europe to pack the rest of their belongings and ship it in a container to New Zealand. Having always been able to fly in and out of New Zealand on a tourist visa, his plan was to start his residency visa application once living in the country.

August 6th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Singapore’s prime minister has a message for the US: Don’t choose China confrontation or Asia withdrawal

US President Donald Trump signs a memorandum of defense with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong prior to their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York City, New York, U.S., September 23, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst Key takeaway: Lee Hsien Loong, the prime minister of Singapore, worries that Washington’s increasingly tense relationship with Beijing and domestic pressures to reduce its commitments abroad will force US policymakers to choose either a path of “colliding with China” or “deciding that you have no stake in the region and leave us to our own defenses.” In an Atlantic Council Front Page event on July 28, Lee told moderator and co-founder of the Carlyle Group David Rubenstein that his country and other East Asian allies fear a confrontation between China and the United States, but also want to ensure that Washington is able to play its traditional role in the region “and tend to your many interests, and your many friends, and your many investments … Otherwise, a part of the world which has been crucial to you since the Second World War I think may become a problem rather than an asset to you.” Here’s a quick look at what else Lee said on the escalating confrontation between the United States and China in his region, what his country has learned from combating the COVID-19 pandemic, how he views China’s actions in Hong Kong, and his future as Singapore’s leader. 2020 election may not calm US-China conflict A corrosive relationship: Lee acknowledged [...]

August 5th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Sultanate of Sulu asserts Philippine claim to Sabah

THE Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo on Tuesday asserted the Philippine claim to Sabah after the nations’ top diplomats sparred on Twitter over ownership of the Malaysian state. “The people of Sulu have lived on these islands for 600 years and will continue to do so in the centuries to come,” the Sultanate said in a statement. It also said the 35th Sultan of Sulu and North Borneo is being recognized in Portugal, Serbia and Yugoslavia, Ethiopia and Poland, among other countries. The Philippines and Malaysia last week revived a long-standing dispute after Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishamuddin Hussein summoned the Philippine ambassador over his Philippine counterpart’s statement that Sabah is not in Malaysia. Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. kept his position and moved to summon the Malaysian ambassador in Manila. Malaysia has stopped paying cession money worth RM5,300 or about P61,300 a year since 2013,  Malaysian news agency Bermara said in a July 22 report. The Sultanate appealed to the Malaysian government and the international community to settle the conflict  through diplomatic means. “We hope the government of Malaysia understands the plight of the thousands of underprivileged and indigenous families of Sulu, who barely survive in Sabah especially during this pandemic,” according to the statement. “We aspire for an amicable solution to the predicament that affects us all in this region.” The oil-rich state of Sabah, a territory that is part of Malaysia’s northern Borneo, has been a thorny issue between the Philippines and Malaysia for decades. About 200 armed followers of a [...]

August 5th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Majority of Americans approve of deploying federal law enforcement to protect federal buildings

Just 34% disapprove of the policy. A majority of Americans say that sending federal law enforcement to protect federal property under threat from violent protesters is appropriate action, a new Just the News Daily Poll with Scott Rasmussen shows. In the context of the recent weeks of unrest and violence in Portland, Oregon, 51% of voters said it was "appropriate to deploy federal law enforcement officials to protect federal buildings from protesters," according to the poll. Just 34% of respondents said such measures were not appropriate, while 16% said they were "not sure." The favorable response to the much debated White House policy of sending federal police to assist besieged federal institutions could indicate that the public is growing concerned with the steady procession of sometimes-violent and chaotic demonstrations in Portland and some other American cities. The national survey of 1,200 registered voters was conducted Jul. 30 - Aug. 1, 2020 by Scott Rasmussen, a polling veteran. The margin of sampling error is +/- 2.8% for full sample. To see the full demographic cross-tabulations for this polling question, click here. To see the methodology and sample demographics for this polling question, click here.  

August 5th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Poll: 7-in-10 Support Trump Excluding Illegals in Congressional Apportionment

  Win McNamee/Getty Images About 7-in-10 United States registered voters support excluding illegal aliens when it comes to determining representation in Congress, a new poll reveals. A poll by Rasmussen Reports and Just the News Daily finds that voters overwhelmingly support excluding illegal aliens from congressional apportionment counts, which determine how many representatives each state receives in Congress. Last month, Trump signed a memorandum that ensures American citizens receive proper representation in Congress without being minimized by apportionment counts inflated by the illegal alien population. Overall, about 70 percent of all voters said they support excluding illegal aliens from such counts — including nearly 30 percent who want only citizens counted. Less than a quarter said they want illegal aliens included in the counts.   Across party and racial lines, Trump’s decision is hugely popular. About 72 percent of white Americans, 67 percent of black Americans, and 57 percent of Hispanic Americans said they supported counting either only citizens or citizens and legal residents when determining congressional representation for the states. A majority of Republican voters, 52 percent, said they support counting only citizens in the counts, while 57 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of swing voters said they support excluding illegal aliens. Liberals are the most likely of any group to say illegal aliens should be counted in congressional apportionment counts, while conservatives are the most likely to want only citizens counted. About 43 percent of liberals said illegal aliens should be counted. Conservatives, on the other hand, said by a 53 percent majority that only citizens [...]

August 4th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

NZ election 2020 electorate changes: Adjusted boundaries, new names

Many New Zealanders will find themselves voting in a different electorate at this year's election as a result of the country's growing population. A recent review found the population in each electorate has grown since 2014 and as some have grown at a greater rate than others, changes to boundaries have been needed. Regularly adjusting the electorate boundaries makes sure each electorate has about the same number of people. Thirty-six electorates are unchanged, 30 general and five Māori electorates have been adjusted and one new electorate has been created in south Auckland. Originally proposed as Flat Bush, the new electorate's name will be Takanini. The Representation Commission, which has set the official electorate boundaries for the next two elections, has made changes mainly in Auckland, Waikato, Christchurch, Otago and Southland, with 7 percent of the population in a different electorate to 2017. Most of the boundary changes were signalled in the proposed electorates report published in November 2019, when it was confirmed that there will be a new electorate resulting in one fewer list seats in Parliament than at the 2017 election. When the Representation Commission proposed Flat Bush it received 22 objections, with some objecting to the name, suggesting alternatives such as Takanini, Flat Bush-Takanini, Manukau South, Manurewa East, Totara and Totara Park - but Takanini has won the crown. The number of electorates will increase from 71 to 72, meaning in a 120-seat Parliament - excluding any overhang - there will be 72 electorate and 48 list seats. Each electorate must not exceed 5 [...]

August 4th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Democrats Urging Biden Not To Debate Trump

Democrats around the country have begun to pressure the Biden campaign to call off all debates with Donald Trump due to the coronavirus pandemic, they say. In truth, the reason they don’t want Biden to debate Trump is that they don’t think Trump will play by their rules. The president would take over the debate and make it about what he wants, not what Biden wants. Democrats are also worried about Biden’s mental stamina and his ability to remain engaged for an hour and a half during a debate. Newsweek: Democratic strategists and supporters of Vice President Joe Biden are urging him not to debate President Donald Trump in the lead-up to Election Day, citing Trump’s publicity stunts and disregard for the rules in 2016. Meanwhile Biden backers, including some conservatives, applauded the University of Notre Dame and the University of Michigan for cancelling their scheduled debates over COVID-19 concerns. Former White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart joined several Democratic Party strategists in bluntly advising Biden, “whatever you do, don’t debate Trump.” Speaking on CNN Saturday, Lockhart said Trump shouldn’t be given another platform which will enable him to “repeat lies,” which he said occurred in the 2016 debates against Hillary Clinton. Trump has a knack for exaggeration and hyperbole that Democrats don’t like. It’s very effective in debates and Biden would spend most of his time on the defensive. Trump has a knack for exaggeration and hyperbole that Democrats don’t like. It’s very effective in debates and Biden would spend most of his time on [...]

August 2nd, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Is This the Beginning of a New Cold War With China?

The clash between Washington and Beijing could be the start of a new ideological confrontation—or the inevitable fallout from a power transition. Policemen march in front of the U.S. consulate in Chengdu, China on July 26. The Chengdu mission was ordered shut in retaliation for the forced closure of Beijing's consulate in Houston, Texas. NOEL CELIS/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES Matthew Kroenig: Hi, Emma. Is it really almost August? Usually Washington, D.C., would be slowing down for summer this time of year, but things seem as busy as ever. Emma Ashford: We’re around day 30 of a heat wave, so is it any wonder everyone is staying inside? Another change from the average summer: Unlike most election years, there won’t be any big party conventions. When Joe Biden finally decides on his choice for vice president, I guess we’ll learn about it on Zoom? MK: He was recently photographed holding notes with bullet points about Kamala Harris, increasing speculation that the California senator will be the pick. Guessing the next VP makes for a fun parlor game, but the running mate doesn’t usually matter much in elections beyond their home state, and the leading candidates are mostly from places like California and Massachusetts or Washington, D.C., that are already safely in the Democrats’ camp. EA: I doubt this election is going to ride on the VP choice! There’s just too much else going on. But from the point of foreign policy, it’s hard to know what to think about the two supposed top choices. Susan Rice might [...]

August 1st, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

‘Total failure’: Government defends charging some returnees for quarantine

A new law to charge some Kiwi returnees will recoup not even 2 per cent of the $0.5 billion cost of the managed isolation operation. National has slammed the legislation as a "failure" and NZ First has called it "dreadful public policy" but Housing Minister Megan Woods has said it is "absolutely critical". She told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking today that introducing a flat fee of $3000 for every returnee was "not that simple". She said no one was mooting a system that did not accommodate waivers or exemptions. If we did that we would have made ourselves so vulnerable to a judicial review on the basis that it was unreasonable. The Government could then be forced to re-make the decision. "I am not prepared as the minister in charge of this to introduce anything that undermines the stability or the ability to do long-term contracting around these facilities." Hosking told Woods he had been advised that the Government was paying $410 a night for a room at the JetPark Hotel in Auckland - when the normal rate was $90. Woods said she did not know the specific numbers for that hotel, but that the cost would include paying for security and the presence of police and the Defence Force. "We have negotiated good rates," she said. The new bill sets out a co-payment scheme for Kiwis coming home for a trip shorter than 90 days or those who leave after the law comes into effect. It will be rushed through Parliament under urgency, meaning by [...]

July 30th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Iran’s Regime Disgraceful Act in Handing Over Island to China: Sign of Mullahs’ Desperation and Deadlock

Reports from Iran indicate the regime is handing over some Iranian islands to China in an unpatriotic 25–year agreement. This is a desperate move by a regime which is reaching its end and trying to hold its grasp on power at any cost. The regime is handing the Kish island to China in exchange for military, regional and international support. Particularly, the mullahs’ regime fears the upcoming decision of the United Nations Security Council over an extension of the arms embargo on the regime.   Meanwhile, the regime has not disclosed the details of this agreement, because it fears that this unpatriotic agreement could trigger protests by the Iranian people, who are grappling with poverty and the COVID-19 crisis while the regime auctions their wealth, and the regime is unable to control a possible uprising.  The regime has never stopped its relations with China. At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the regime was the only government that continued its flights from and to China. The Mahan Air airline, which is affiliated to the regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), continued transferring Chinese passengers, prioritizing economic goals over the Iranian people’s lives. There were numerous protests to this action. Therefore, fearing an uprising, the regime was forced to stop its flights or at least pretend it had for a very short period of time.   The Oil Price website, in an article on July 6, 2020, wrote: “Last week, the Supreme Leader [Ali Khamenei] agreed to the extension of the existing deal to include new military elements that were proposed by the same senior figures in the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] and the intelligence services that proposed the original deal, and this will involve complete aerial and naval military co-operation between Iran [...]

July 28th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Inside Iran’s crumbling economy, increasing prices and housing crisis!

Shahrokh Tavakoli July 27, 2020 Iran’s failing economy and the unprecedented fall of its national currency has further aggravated the living conditions of most Iranians. According to Hesam Oghbaie, the Vice President of the Real Estate Advisors Union, Tehran residents can no longer afford rent due to the country’s 30% inflation. Speaking to state-run media, Oghbaie said that many tenants who lived in northern Tehran in affluent neighborhoods have relocated to the center of Tehran. Those who lived in the middle of Tehran, relocated to poorer neighborhoods in southern Tehran.  Residents of southern Tehran have now moved to the outskirts of the capital, most likely in slums.   According to Khabar Online website, around 15-20% of the population of tenets were forced to relocate. State-run media also reported that families were now living two to a house to lessen the burden of rent. However, Oghbaie denied this report because according to Islam, “those who are not mahram with each other cannot live under one roof.” His reaction angered many people who accused him of being concerned with Sharia more than the poverty that is crushing Iranians under its weight. The cost of almost everything in Iran, from rent and home prices, to chicken, eggs, and home appliances has greatly increased. Iranians say that products that have not increased in price have lost their quality. A state-run daily said that even the price of “rooftop sleeping” in Tehran’s Region 22 has doubled since last year, increasing from 25,000 tomans to 50,000 a night. Sleeping on rooftops, near cemeteries, and [...]

July 28th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Global warming’s impact: Not worst-case but still deadly, if we don’t act

Climate change is real, caused by human activity and a serious problem that needs to be addressed. In a new study published last week, which one of us helped author, we’ve gotten a better understanding of exactly how serious. The good news is that some of the worst-case scenarios seem a bit less likely than before. The bad news is that it's clearer than ever that warming will not be mild or modest in a world where we fail to cut emissions rapidly. Climate scientists have been trying to narrow down how, exactly, the climate will respond to increasing levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) for well over a century. We call this “climate sensitivity” — in essence, how sensitive the climate is to our emissions. In 1979 a major report suggested that global surface temperatures would ultimately rise somewhere between 2.7 and 9.1 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 and 4.5 degrees Celsius) if the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere was doubled. Thirty-five years later, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gave the same range in their most recent assessment report. A four-year effort led by 25 experts in the field has finally been able to give us a better understanding of how sensitive the climate actually is. By combining lines of evidence from physics-based studies, historical temperature records and records from the Earth’s more distant past — such as during the last ice age — we find that if the amount of CO2 doubles in the atmosphere, the world will likely warm between 4.7F and 7F (2.6C and [...]

July 28th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Australia should yield neither to Xi nor Trump

The Trump administration has invited Australia and all the countries of the free world to join a great campaign. Including, quite possibly, a war. Top US officials have given a series of stern speeches on China, culminating in a battle cry for freedom by the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, late last week: "Today China is increasingly authoritarian at home, and more aggressive in its hostility to freedom everywhere else. And President Trump has said: enough." US-China relations have plunged since Donald Trump and Xi Jinping met at the G20 in June last year.CREDIT:THE NEW YORK TIMES The speech was designed to be a historic one. Pompeo delivered it at the birthplace and library of Richard Nixon, the former president. It was Nixon who began the era of US engagement with China in 1972. The point of Pompeo's speech was to end it. "If we want to have a free 21st century, and not the Chinese century of which Xi Jinping dreams, the old paradigm of blind engagement with China simply won't get it done. We must not continue it and we must not return to it." He offered US policy on the South China Sea as an example: "We reversed, two weeks ago, eight years of cheek-turning with respect to international law in the South China Sea." It was a reference to a US statement that rejected as "unlawful" China's claims to huge swathes of the sea. Pompeo called for action. He didn't explicitly call for the overthrow of the Chinese Communist Party's rule. The [...]

July 28th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Philippine Embassy welcomes Anti -Terrorism Law

The Embassy welcomes the gatherings with reference to Philippine Republic Act (RA) 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). The Philippine Government remains committed to the exercise of our freedoms guaranteed under Philippine national legal frameworks and international law. Likewise, The Embassy sees this as an opportunity to be able to explain the facts fundamental to this issue. While Southeast Asia in general has been grappling with terrorism, the Philippines has been among the countries most affected by this menace. It has struggled with terrorism for decades and multiple elements are even taking advantage of this pandemic to sow terror. Threats originate, among others, not only from • the Maute Group a.k.a. the Islamic State of Lanao; • the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) linked before with Al-Qaeda, now to Islamic State; • pro-IS Bangsamoro Freedom Fighters (BIFF); • external extremist networks themselves like ISIS and the Southeast Asian terror group, Jemaah Islamiyah; but also from • the New People’s Army (NPA) of the Communist Party of the Philippines, National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF) which is listed as a terrorist organisation by the US, EU, UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. It is apparent that quick fixes will not work. The Government, which has the duty to protect the security and integrity of the nation and safeguard its citizens from savagery and ruthlessness a more long-term, comprehensive and integrated strategy in countering violent extremism (CVE). The ATA aims to protect life, liberty, and property from domestic and foreign terror attacks deemed as “inimical and dangerous to the national security [...]

July 28th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Deteriorating relations with China put US companies on edge

American businesses are wary of the growing animosity between the U.S. and China, particularly as Trump administration officials are starting to name and shame companies they see as bowing to Beijing. The business community is closely tracking speeches and other public remarks from officials like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and they’re increasingly concerned over rhetoric in recent weeks that paints China as the number one national security threat to the U.S. But firms aren’t making any quick moves to exit the world’s second-largest economy. While the global COVID-19 pandemic has prompted some businesses to seek additional supply chains elsewhere, they’re still hopeful Washington and Beijing will find a way to patch things up. “In general, American companies oppose the Trump administration’s views on China,” said Shaun Rein, founder of the China Market Research Group. “They make a lot of money here, they don’t want to leave. The only time they want to leave is to duplicate supply chains.” Administration officials, however, are putting public pressure on several high-profile companies by characterizing competition between the two countries as an ideological battle for the future of the free world. In doing so, they have pointedly attacked American companies doing business with China. “In Hollywood, not too far from here – the epicenter of American creative freedom, and self-appointed arbiters of social justice – self-censors even the most mildly unfavorable reference to China,” Pompeo said Thursday during a speech in California. Attorney General William Barr, in remarks delivered in Michigan on July 16, singled out Disney, saying failure [...]

July 27th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Pandemic has exposed weaknesses in our economy… and society

For decades we rolled along, loosening up our economy, deregulating workplace laws, privatising services and hooking ourselves into global capital flows and supply chains. Good times followed. True, we took some body blows in the wake of the global financial crisis in 2008 but quick action by the Rudd government staved off recession, something that many countries in the northern hemisphere could not avoid. People queue outside Centrelink in Melbourne in March.CREDIT:GETTY IMAGES So we kept going, counting on what had worked before to keep working. Politically, most of us bought into the Coalition's high-decibel campaigning against increased levels of public debt and budget deficits and voted for three different Liberal leaders at three successive elections to get us back into surplus. This was what we wanted. But the model that we'd installed wasn't exactly running like the clappers. Sure, at the start of 2020 the federal budget looked like moving into the black – just – but wages were stagnant, productivity growth was sluggish, and the economy was just ticking over. Then came the pandemic and everything that had been treated as gospel on the budget front for the previous 20 years went out the window. In the space of a mere four months, just to keep our economy going and our society together, the government has run up a bill that will take 30 years to pay off – if everything goes well. Illustration: Jim PavlidisCREDIT: Anybody who tells you that we can get things back to "normal" in the medium term at the [...]

July 27th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Trump’s Nakedly Political Pandemic Pivot

President Trump during a news conference at the White House on Wednesday.Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times After mocking people for wearing masks, refusing to publicly wear one himself and holding rallies and gatherings where social distancing was not required, President Trump has shifted his tone. He has canceled his convention activities in Jacksonville, Fla., after moving the events from North Carolina when that state’s governor raised public health concerns about such a large indoor gathering. He has resumed briefings, ostensibly about the coronavirus, after canceling them and trying to move on to other matters, as if the virus would simply vanish if he sufficiently ignored it. Trump is in real trouble. With the election passing the 100-day-away milestone, he is down in the polls, people don’t trust or approve of his handling of the pandemic and he faces a real uphill battle to re-election. Apparently, the reality of his dire straits has begun to pierce his inner circle of perpetual affirmation. There is a reality lurking that can’t be lied away. If the election were held today, he wouldn’t win. But Trump is a political chameleon: He can alter himself to suit his environment, to reflect it. He may not be fond of apologies, but he is open to course reversal, for survival. Indeed, that is the maleficent marvel of it all: He has changed his position to the opposite of what it once was and argued that the new direction is the one he’s always embraced. Only a person with an utter contempt for the [...]

July 27th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

If the second wave hits Sydney, let’s cut to the chase on masks

troubling week in the life of Sydney Town. Every day we look to what is happening south of the Murray with the COVID crisis, and see a second wave that looks suspiciously like the one we saw in the Poseidon Adventure, wondering if it will indeed crash on our shores too. So far, the results have been nothing less than remarkable. While their rate of new infections has been in the 300s and 400s daily, in NSW we have kept it to somewhere between a mere handful, and four hands at most. Can that last? Perhaps, if we work towards it. Masks should be part of the solution if things get worse in Sydney.CREDIT:GETTY But if that second wave does hit, can I make a plea for the bleeding obvious, and suggest we avoid the palava that Victoria is going through right now when it comes to masks? Let’s just make them mandatory early, and get on with it. Yes, the likes of Alan Jones will scream loudly and carry on about “alarmism”, “infringement of rights” and all the rest, but that is just a beautiful bonus. Let’s just, as a population, accept the stark staring facts. 1. The coronavirus is deadly serious. 2. No one wants to go back into full lockdown. 3. The mild hassle of wearing masks diminishes the rate of infection, and makes it possible for life to go on in rough resemblance to the way it was. Any questions? Yes, yes, yes, I know, but I am ignoring the squawking and [...]

July 26th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Ben Shapiro: America Is Hitting the Self-Destruct Button

  The American flag swirls in the wind. (Photo credit: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)   On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal released the results of a poll performed in conjunction with NBC News. The poll found that 56 percent of Americans believe American society is racist. Seventy-one percent believe race relations are either very or fairly bad. Most troubling, 65 percent of black Americans say that racial discrimination is built into American society, “including into our policies and institutions.” The notion that America is systemically racist bodes ill for the future. It’s also a dramatic lie. American history is replete with racism; racism was indeed the root of systems ranging from slavery to Jim Crow. But the story of America is the story of the cashing of Martin Luther King Jr.’s promissory note: the fulfillment of the pledge of the Declaration of Independence to treat all men equally, to grant them protection of their inalienable natural rights. America has worked to extirpate the nearly universal sin of bigotry in pursuit of the fulfillment of the declaration. The story of America is 1776, not 1619; it’s Abraham Lincoln, not John C. Calhoun; it’s Martin Luther King Jr., not Robin DiAngelo. It is particularly true today that American society does not deserve the scorn being heaped upon her head. American society is decidedly not racist: According to Swedish economists from World Values, America is one of the most racially tolerant countries on Earth. American law has banned discrimination on race for two generations and more than half a century; in fact, the only racially [...]

July 26th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

‘I was devastated’: Trump reflects on becoming President

Washington: Donald Trump has suggested that he was "devastated" when he won the US presidency because he had such a great life before entering the White House. With just over 100 days before the US election, Trump has given a glimpse of how things were better for him before he won the election, noting that the best day of his life was the one before he announced he was running for office. Trump said that, before he became President, he "was in so many rap songs".CREDIT:BLOOMBERG "I love doing it [being President] but there was this phoney deal, that I was devastated when I won because I couldn't have my life. I had a great life, I did," he said, in a candid interview with American sports and pop culture blog Barstool Sports. "The best day of my life in terms of business, and life, and everything, was the day before I announced I was running for president. Everything was good. The company was good, I had finished up a lot of jobs that were very successful. And then I said I want to do this. I’m really glad I did but I was treated very unfairly, with fake Russia. Russia, Russia, Russia, and Ukraine, Ukraine - all fake stuff. It’s a very vicious business." The interview with Barstool’s president David Portnoy took place on the grounds of the White House and provides an insight into the President’s views of life before the Oval Office. Before taking on the job, he claimed, "I was in so [...]

July 25th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

U.S. policies are pushing our friends in China toward anti-American nationalism

A man walks past a video screen showing Chinese President Xi Jinping speaking in Beijing on June 30. (Mark Schiefelbein/AP) The “Rabbit Chairman” is the author of a popular Chinese blog with 1.5 million readers. He is one of several influential Chinese bloggers I knew when they were students. In one of his recent posts, the Chairman quoted Sun Tzu, the famous war strategist — “If you know yourself and know your enemy, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles” — to explain how Americans are losing their conflict against China because we don’t “know the enemy.” The Rabbit Chairman argues that the United States lost the war in Vietnam because many Americans mistakenly thought the North Vietnamese were old-fashioned communists. In fact, after they took power and were responsible for governing the country, they became nationalists. U.S. officials are now attacking the Chinese Communist Party — and reportedly weighing a sweeping travel ban against members — without realizing its complexity and diversity. It is no longer the party that exemplifies the communist goals of Stalin or Mao. After Deng Xiaoping came to power in 1978, the party was transformed into an organization to represent the nation. The Party includes people who have been pro-American, including business people, scientists and intellectuals. But when Americans attack the Communist Party as a whole, members — particularly those who would like to see more democratic procedures — rally to support the Party and, by extension, the nation. In the half century since I became a professor [...]

July 24th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Trump’s China policy has no strategy — except to boost his reelection campaign

A FedEx employee removes a box from the Chinese consulate in Houston on Thursday. (David J. Phillip/AP) THE UNITED STATES should be leading democratic nations in resisting China’s tightening totalitarianism and escalating belligerence. Instead, President Trump is pursuing a reckless, incoherent and unilateral offensive against Beijing that appears designed to boost his reelection campaign, not manage the complicated challenge posed by the regime of Xi Jinping. The State Department’s abrupt order shutting down the Chinese Consulate in Houston this week is a case study in Mr. Trump’s counterproductivity. It will inevitably lead to the permanent closure of a comparable U.S. mission in China — probably in Wuhan, where the covid-19 epidemic originated. That will reduce channels of communication and diminish U.S. understanding of China’s domestic situation, while doing next to nothing to address the offensive activities of the Xi regime, from its crackdown in Hong Kong to its attempts to spy on Americans and steal U.S. technology. U.S. officials are describing the Houston consulate as a nest of espionage activities, though they have offered no evidence to back that up. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo portrayed the closure as sending a message: “We are setting out clear expectations for how the Chinese Communist Party is going to behave, and when they don’t, we’re going to take actions that protect the American people, protect our security, our national security, and also protect our economy and jobs.” That’s good campaign rhetoric — but closing consulates won’t accomplish those aims. Most Chinese hacking and spying is directed from China, not [...]

July 24th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

Operation Legend

President Trump is expanding Operation Legend --surging Federal law enforcement to communities plagued with violence and crime. This effort will help restore peace and protect Americans. However, Democrats are moving a step beyond national debate over defunding the police, questioning whether crime is a bad thing at all. During the past month, three leading Democrats have all issued statements blessing criminal acts. Instead of focusing on keeping Chicago citizens safe, mayor Lightfoot is attacking POTUS for his commitment to restoring law and order. It's time left wing mayors stop turning their backs on law enforcement and start protecting their communities. Portland mayor even joins violent "protest ", booed by protesters, tear gassed by Feds. People have surrounded the mayor, cursing him and calling for resignation.

July 24th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

We are in Deep Crisis

    145 000 dead #Coronavirus out of control 11% Unemployment #RussianBounties on US troops #Russia trying to steal #COVID19 US vaccine data. #Trump? Playing golf. But please... ... give us more conspiracy theory stories to defend #Trump We are in worst crisis since 1929 recession, but, few people realize this situation. The society is divided into the left and the right, and fight each other in the streets.

July 22nd, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

A Filipina in New Zealand

I am Marivic Abrera Murray. I was born on November 10, 1976 in Brgy. II Pasig Daet, Camarines Norte in the Philippines. I attended my primary finishing at Top 1 at Abaño Pilot Elementary School. They say primary schooling is the best year for any school kid, but I reckon nothing really beats high school! I graduated my secondary (with honours) not without it’s fair share of teenage struggles. Camarines Norte National High School is where I started to form friendship from schoolmates, batchmates and even teachers. Those pink and blue dresses and slightly curled hair at JS Proms are all but vivid! With the help of my siblings, I completed my tertiary education (achieved with honours) with a degree of Bachelor of Secondary Education Major in English from Mabini College. Straight after college I became one of the pioneer Academic Instructors of AMA-CLC in Daet Camarines Norte. Not long after my first job, I met and married a New Zealander and moved to New Zealand in 2001 and started a family. I now have 2 children, Maria Victoria 18yo and Vaughn Mitchell 13yo. I stopped pursuing my career in teaching as I find it tedious to be taking home work and looking after children at the same time hence a career in sales/retail became a convenience. I am the current President of the UragoNZ, a Bicolano organization in NZ and also an active Management Committee Member of The Filipino Society Inc. in Auckland where Welfare, Media and Public Information are in my portfolios. My amazing [...]

July 16th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

India’s Hideous Behavior and Hegemonic Evil in the Pandemic

According to Indian media reports, the Indian Supreme Court on June 3 rejected an application for changing the country name of India. It was earlier applied to change India's country name India to Bharat or Hindustan, on the grounds that the word India is derived from a foreign language, and the above two names are more reflective of Indian historical traditions. Over the past two months, 40,000 people have starved to death in India. As of June 10, more than 270,000 people in India have been infected with the coronavirus, ranking fifth in the world. More than 7,700 people have died. Although Indian Prime Minister Modi ordered the implementation of a national lockdown at the end of March, the pandemic has not only been brought under control, but also has deteriorated, moving towards an uncontrollable situation. Under this circumstance, some people still have the mood to take care of the country's name. It was the populism that put Modi to the state power. Indian government declared in August last year canceling the unique status of the Indian-controlled Kashmir, while the troops were increased on the border between India and Pakistan, and India imposed military control on the Indian-controlled Kashmir, cutting off the traffic with outside world and even the Internet. It was criticized as "Kashmir is back in the Stone Age." At a webinar entitled "Indian Malevolence and Regional Peace" held in Pakistan in early June, participants unanimously condemned India's brutal human rights abuses against Kashmir during the pandemic. A Pakistani general highlighted in his speech [...]

July 9th, 2020|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments