Thursday, February 09, 2017
If conservatives want to copy Trump, embracing Putin is the worst place to start (?)
Like Mr Trump, I see some virtue in Vladimir Vladimirovich and I have written to that effect on several previous occasions. (See here. Scroll down). I like Mr Putin nearly as much as I like Mr Trump, in fact. So I am one of those evil people that the Leftist Australian journalist below is inveighing against. Vladimir Vladimirovich is in fact an exceptionally enlightened ruler by Russian standards.
The Leftist writer below, David Wroe, tries to make the case that Putin and Russia generally are dangerous, evil and should be shunned. Which is amusing. A few decades back Leftists would hear no ill about Russia -- at a time when there really was cause for concern about Russia. The points made below are however specious and are typical of the Leftist habit of telling only half the story.
Mr Putin is somehow blamed on the shooting down of a Malaysian airline over Ukraine. But the Ukraine was at the time in a civil war and was known as dangerous airspace -- and most airlines kept away from it even though that increased their costs. It was penny-pinching bureaucrats running the Malaysian airline who took the big risk of flying their plane over Eastern Ukraine. It is they who are to blame
It took Russia's intervention to set in train the now almost complete destruction of ISIS but our friend below can only complain that the defeat helps the Syrian government.
The Syrian government is certainly brutal but dictatorships seem to be the only sort of regime that works in Muslim lands. Islam is an authoritarian religion. "Submit or die" is its historic message. Democracy didn't last long in Egypt. Turkey has once again returned to a version of the authoritarian rule that has characterized most of its history and vast American efforts to democratize Iraq and Afghanistan have certainly been an abject failure.
I could go on but I think I have said enough to show that it's just the usual dishonest Leftist propaganda below. You believe anything in it at your peril>
The Trumpification of the right wing of Australian politics has begun.
On Sunday night, Coalition backbencher George Christensen defended Vladimir Putin's Russia, saying on Twitter it had been "demonised unfairly" and asking, "What threat do they cause us or the West?"
This is a startling message to a country that lost 38 people in the shooting down of flight MH17 in the skies above Ukraine. In his tweets, Mr Christensen distanced Moscow from involvement in MH17 and said only that separatists "allegedly" shot down the plane, though on Monday morning he clarified that he accepted most investigators' conclusion that "separatists backed by Russia" were responsible.
But his string of tweets point to an affinity with the US President's foreign policy view that strong men who pursue their country's national interests with scant regard to the international system are to be admired and emulated.
Pauline Hanson did much the same on Monday morning, saying "I've got no problems with Vladimir" because he is "a strong leader" who is "standing up for his nation" and that's what Australians want of their leaders too.
Newsflash to them both: Australia is not the US or Russia. It is a middle power that needs rules and a level playing field. As one of our finest foreign policy thinkers, former Department of Foreign Affairs head Peter Varghese, put it in a 2015 speech: "Australia can neither bully nor buy its way in the world, so an international, rules-based order is in our best interests."
Take another one of Christensen's Sunday night tweets: "Russia [is] the real reason ISIS is losing."
Moscow has propped up Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad but has targeted a wide range of anti-regime forces, not just the Islamic State, and has indiscriminately bombed civilians, killing thousands.
Its intervention has removed any incentive for Assad to compromise and allow a political solution in Syria, ensuring that Syrian Sunnis will feel aggrieved for at least another generation. That will help seed the next generation of sectarian fighters and jihadists that will replace the Islamic State when it is defeated.
By contrast, the Australian Defence Force has for more than two years carefully targeted Islamic State forces in airstrikes while advising and training Iraqi forces on the ground. Not one civilian is known to have been killed in Australian air strikes, and the ADF's efforts alongside the US have tried to avoid empowering the Assad regime.
Mr Christensen also called Russia "a democracy" and branded the hacking of US political parties "fake news", even though Mr Trump himself has admitted Russia was responsible for the hacking and US intelligence agencies have stated in a public report that Russia hacked political parties for the express purpose of tilting the election in Mr Trump's favour.
Russia is working to break up Europe and tear up the international system of rules and norms that has made the last 70 years the most prosperous and stable the world has seen. It wants to return the world to spheres of influence around powers that use might to make right.
That is the threat Russia poses to us all.
A new study has found that the vast majority of left-wing protesters arrested in Berlin, Germany in recent years live at home with their parents.
Ninety-two percent of demonstrators arrested for politically-related protests between 2003 and 2013 were found to still be living with their parents, and a third of them were unemployed, according to a report published in the German newspaper Bild that was flagged Tuesday by the Daily Mail.
The study was conducted from 2003 to 2013 and based on 873 arrestees from that period. The statistics came from the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution.
Additionally, 72 percent of those arrested were between the ages of 18 and 29, while 84 percent of the total were men.
In 15 percent of the cases, the victims of the protesters were right-wing activists. Approximately 80 percent of the victims were police officers.
A harrowing revelation from the report says that between 2009 and 2013, left-wing activists attempted to commit 11 assassinations.
Wing commander's prayer breakfast invite sparks IG complaint
A wing commander's prayer breakfast invitation to his subordinates has resulted in an inspector general's complaint from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.
More than 40 people at Maxwell Air Force Base contacted the foundation after Col. Erik Shafa, commander of the 42nd Air Base Wing, used his commander's box to send a message to everyone in the wing, inviting them to the Feb. 23 Maxwell Air Force Base National Prayer Breakfast.
On behalf of those clients, Mikey Weinstein, president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, filed a third-party complaint with the 42nd Air Base Wing IG, claiming the invite constituted a clear violation of Air Force Instruction 1-1, Section 2.12, Balance of Free Exercise of Religion and Establishment Clause.
It states: "Leaders at all levels must balance constitutional protections for their own free exercise of religion, including individual expressions of religious beliefs, and the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion. They must ensure their words and actions cannot reasonably be construed to be officially endorsing or disapproving of, or extending preferential treatment for any faith, belief or absence of belief.
Because the wing IG reports to Shafa, the complaint was later transferred to the Air University IG on Maxwell.
One of the foundation's clients, a former airman and now an Air Force civilian on base, said Shafa's message was "terrible for morale."
"The National Prayer Breakfast is very Christian-focused," said the civilian, who did not want to be identified due to fear of reprisals. "I mean they might let a Muslim say a prayer or a Jewish rabbi, but Maj. Gen. Dondi Costin [Air Force chief of chaplains] is going to be there giving his Christian perspective. It's all Christian, Christian, Christian.
"What do you do when you are in the military and your commander says, 'hey, I invite you to this thing?' ... Well, the implication is that you go. It's not one of those invitations that says, if you would like to or perhaps if you are interested. It's very much giving the implication that you are expected to participate or at least understand that he thinks its important and that's where he stands on the issue."
The civilian who spoke with Air Force Times identifies as an atheist, but Weinstein said the people who brought complaints to his organization about the prayer breakfast invite included Air Force officers, enlisted personnel, civilians, Air University students and permanent party.
"Our 43 MRFF clients come from the Protestant, Roman Catholic, Islamic and Jewish faith traditions, as well as those MRFF clients who identify as atheist, agnostics, secularist and humanists," he said.
Michael Ritz, chief of media operations at Maxwell, said that "per standard procedures the inspector general does not identify complaints or complainants. However, all IG complaints are taken seriously and are investigated with the utmost care, rigor and protection of information."
He did acknowledge, however, that Weinstein had corresponded with 42nd Air Base Wing leadership to express his dissatisfaction with the invite.
"The Air Force places the highest value on the rights of its personnel in matters of religion and facilitates the free exercise of religion by its members," Ritz said. "Our airmen are sworn to protect our rights and liberties as Americans, including the right of all airmen to practice their religious faith or to practice no faith at all."
He noted that "the National Prayer Breakfast is a historical, interfaith and clearly voluntary event, which has been observed across the U.S. government since 1953."
The civilian complainant argued that the voluntary nature of the Maxwell event would have been much more clear if the invite had come from the base chaplains, who are not in the chain of command, rather than the commander.
"The invitation itself said, 'Col. Eric Shafa invites you to this event,' so it's extremely clear that this is coming from the commander himself," the civilian and former airman said. "He expects us to go there, and he expects us to understand that he thinks it is an important thing for people to go and partake in this Christian event."
Those not inclined to attend the event worry that their ability to advance in rank will be affected, and that they won't get opportunities to excel and stand out, the civilian said.
"I don't think you will be punished if you are not there, but I think it is implicit that if you don't support this type of event you won't ever become part of the inner circle," the civilian said.
The civilian added that "the only thing that should matter is the job you do, but then when you throw things like religion into the mix, such as with these prayer breakfasts, it really throws everything up in the air. It leads to a complete lack of unit cohesion, and it really makes me not respect my leaders at all."
Australians support making it HARDER for Muslims to come to Australia - with 44 per cent supporting Donald Trump-style measures
Almost half of Australians support a Donald Trump-inspired measure to make it more difficult for people from Muslim-majority countries to come to Australia.
Newspoll found more than half of Coalition voters supported blocking citizens from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen from travelling Down Under.
President Trump's executive order also blocked all refugees from travelling to the U.S. for 120 days, and put an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees.
Overall, Australians were divided on whether we should follow that lead.
44 per cent of all respondents said Australia should take similar action, and 45 per cent opposed the measure.
11 per cent of the 1,734 respondents were not committed.
The Newspoll question was: 'Donald Trump has introduced changes that make it harder for citizens from seven mainly Muslim countries to enter the U.S. Would you be in favour or opposed to Australia taking similar measures?
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has refused to comment on the executive order.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has said she would go further than President Trump's measures.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.