Maurice Newman 27 September 2016 The Australian
When your news and views come from a tightly controlled, left-wing media echo chamber, it may come as a bit of a shock to learn that in the July election almost 600,000 voters gave their first preference to Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party.
You may also be surprised to know that still deluded conservatives remain disenchanted with the media’s favourite Liberal, Malcolm Turnbull, for his epic fail as Prime Minister, especially when compared with the increasingly respected leader he deposed.
Perhaps when media outlets saturate us with “appropriate” thoughts and “acceptable” speech, and nonconformists are banished from television, radio and print, it’s easy to miss what is happening on the uneducated side of the tracks.
After all, members of the better educated and morally superior political class use a compliant media to shelter us from the dangerous, racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, sexist, welfare-reforming, climate-change denying bigots who inhabit the outer suburbs and countryside — the people whom Hillary Clinton calls “the deplorables”.
They must be vilified without debate, lest too many of us waver on the virtues of bigger governments, central planning, more bloated bureaucracies, higher taxes, unaffordable welfare, a “carbon-free” economy, more regulations, open borders, gender-free and values-free schools and same-sex marriage; the sort of agenda that finds favour at the UN.
Yet history is solid with evidence that this agenda will never deliver the promised human dignity, prosperity and liberty. Only free and open societies with small governments can do that.
Gradually, the masses are realising something is wrong. Their wealth and income growth is stagnating and their living standards are threatened. They see their taxes wasted on expensive, ill-conceived social programs. They live with migrants who refuse to integrate. They resent having government in their lives on everything from home renovations to recreational fishing, from penalty rates to free speech.
Thomas Jefferson’s warning that “the natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground” is now a stark reality.
The terms “people’s representative” and “public servant” have become a parody. In today’s world we are the servants and, if it suits, we are brushed aside with callous indifference.
Like the Labor government’s disregard for the enormous emotional and financial hurt suffered when, overnight, it shut down live cattle exports on the strength of a television show.
Or like the NSW parliament passing laws banning greyhound racing in the state. There was no remorse for the ruined lives of thousands of innocent people, many of whom won’t recover. Talk of compensation is a travesty.
Or like the victims neighbouring Williamtown and Oakey air force bases, made ill from toxic contamination of groundwater. Around the world it’s known chemical agents used in airport fire drills cause cancer, neurological disease and reproductive disorders, yet the Australian Department of Defence simply denies responsibility. The powerless are hopelessly trapped between health risks and valueless properties.
Similar disdain is shown for those living near coal-seam gas fields and wind turbines. The authorities know of the health and financial impacts but defend operators by bending rules and ignoring guidelines.
If governments believe the ends justify the means, people don’t matter.
When Ernst & Young research finds one in eight Australians can’t meet their electricity bills, rather than show compassion for the poor and the elderly, governments push ruthlessly ahead with inefficient and expensive renewable energy projects.
This newspaper’s former editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell reveals in his book, Making Headlines, how Kevin Rudd, when prime minister, brazenly attempted to use state power to investigate “the relationship between my paper and him”. Rudd’s successor, Julia Gillard, wanted to establish a media watchdog to effectively gag journalists.
None of this is fantasy and it explains why people are losing confidence in the democratic system. Australians feel increasingly marginalised and unrepresented. They are tired of spin and being lied to. They know that data is often withheld or manipulated.
As they struggle to make ends meet, they watch helplessly as the established political class shamelessly abuses its many privileges.
It appears its sole purpose in life is to rule, not to govern. This adds weight to the insightful contention by the Business Council of Australia’s Jennifer Westacott that Australia is in desperate need of a national purpose.
It’s no wonder, to paraphrase American author Don Fredrick, that a growing number of Australians no longer want a tune-up at the same old garage. They want a new engine installed by experts — and they are increasingly of the view that the current crop of state and federal mechanics lacks the skills and experience to do the job.
One Nation may not be the answer, but its garage does offer a new engine.
This is Australia’s version of the Trump phenomenon. Like Donald Trump, Hanson is a non-establishment political disrupter. However, unlike Trump, who may soon occupy the White House, Hanson won’t inhabit the Lodge.
This leaves Australia’s establishment and the central planners very much in control. It means we will remain firmly on our current bigger-government path, financed by higher taxes and creative accounting.
Nobel laureate economist FA Hayek observes in his book The Road to Serfdom: “The more planners improvise, the greater the disturbance to normal business. Everyone suffers. People feel rightly that ‘planners’ can’t get things done.”
But he argues that, ironically, in a crisis the risk is that rather than wind back the role of government, people automatically turn to someone strong who demands obedience and uses coercion to achieve objectives.
Australia is now on that road to tyranny and, with another global recession in prospect and nearly 50 per cent of voters already dependent on government, the incentive is to vote for more government, not less.
The left-wing media echo-chamber will be an enthusiastic cheerleader.
Original article here
July 09, 2014 Tim Challies challies.com
I have written about envy before and have referred to it as “the lost sin.”
Envy is a sin I am prone to, though I feel like it is one of those sins I have battled hard against and, as I’ve battled, experienced a lot of God’s grace.
It is not nearly as prevalent in my life as it once was.
Recently, though, I felt it threatening to rear its ugly head again and spent a bit of time reflecting on it.
Here are three brief observations about envy.
I am a competitive person and I believe it is this competitive streak that allows envy to make its presence felt in my life. Envy is a sin that makes me feel resentment or anger or sadness because another person has something or another person is something that I want for myself. Envy makes me aware that another person has some advantage, some good thing, that I want for myself. And there’s more: Envy makes me want that other person not to have it. This means that there are at least three evil components to envy: the deep discontent that comes when I see that another person has what I want; the desire to have it for myself; and the desire for it to be taken from him.
Do you see it? Envy always competes. Envy demands that there is always a winner and a loser. And envy almost always suggests that I, the envious person, am the loser.
Envy always wins, and if envy wins, I lose. Here’s the thing about envy: If I get that thing I want, I lose, because it will only generate pride and idolatry within me. I will win that competition I have created, and become proud of myself. Envy promises that if I only get that thing I want, I will finally be satisfied, I will finally be content. But that is a lie. If I get that thing, I will only grow proud. I lose.
On the other hand, if I do not get what I want, if I lose that competition, I am prone to sink into depression or despair. Envy promises that if I do not get that thing I want, my life is not worth living because I am a failure. Again, I lose.
In both cases, I lose and envy wins. Envy always wins, unless I put that sin to death.
Envy divides people who ought to be allies. Envy drives people apart who ought to be able to work closely together. Envy is clever in that it will cause me to compare myself to people who are a lot like me, not people who are unlike me. I am unlikely to envy the sports superstar or the famous musician because the distance between them and me is too great. Instead, I am likely to envy the pastor who is right down the street from me but who has a bigger congregation or nicer building; I am likely to envy the writer whose books or blog are more popular than mine. Where I should be able to work with these people based on similar interests and similar desires, envy will instead drive me away from them. Envy will make them my competitors and my enemies rather than my allies and co-laborers.
What’s the cure for envy? I can’t say it better than Charles Spurgeon: “The cure for envy lies in living under a constant sense of the divine presence, worshiping God and communing with Him all the day long, however long the day may seem. True religion lifts the soul into a higher region, where the judgment becomes more clear and the desires are more elevated. The more of heaven there is in our lives, the less of earth we shall covet. The fear of God casts out envy of men.”
Original article here
Mark Textor 9 June 2012 Sydney Morning Herald
One of the consequences of an increasingly expansive financial and political media field is the need for content to fill it. Some content is important. Most is borderline trivial, certainly irrelevant. But that has never discouraged the commentators. This search for content to feed the hungry commentariat has led to the rise and rise of the ”process story”. The ”process story” is about campaign mechanics, whether it be a political campaign or a big market offer, not about the issues of the campaign. It’s often no more than bundled-up gossip: who is important, who is not, the leaks, the expenditure, the personalities, the buzz and the fizz of the functioning of campaigns. These stories are almost always written by people who have never actually resided in a campaign headquarters of any worth.
After 25 years of sitting in more campaign HQs than I can count, I can assure you they are far from Hollywood in nature. They are more like a frontline base camp. Something to be survived, and savoured much later, rather than enjoyed.
To give you a true sense of the inner circle’s mindset here are a few survival tips.
One: Look after your feet. Campaign headquarters staff spend inordinate amounts of time in their shoes. If you go into any campaign HQ in its hectic last weeks, you will find staffers walking around in their socks because footrot has set in.
Two: Avoid the booze. The big decisions are made at 5am. It’s hard to make a sound decision when you are hungover before daybreak.
Three: Keep your lips sealed. The smallest piece of campaign gossip will inevitably become a story if it gets out.
Four: The biggest mistake you can make is to not tell someone you have made a mistake. Campaigns are planning machines. There is a process and a meeting for everything, including dealing with crises. But there is no machinery for the crises you don’t know about and the worst thing in politics is the surprise that bites you in the arse on a Tuesday morning.
Five: Ignore media commentators and stick to your part of the plan. Especially ignore their strategy, marketing poll interpretations. There are almost no former journalists who have been successful campaign managers. This is because they are tactically focused on Monday morning’s headlines and not the long-term strategy required to get a consistent and, critically, a salient message to the public.
Six: Look after your soul. The corruption of the soul happens in small steps, not big leaps. If you have a family, keep a picture of them in your wallet or on your screen. When you have a spare minute, call a loved one or mate. When you have a spare day, spend it with loved ones, not feeding your own need for career recognition by being a stayer in campaign headquarters just to be seen. They are the ones who are most likely to get your mindset out of the campaign bubble, to help you understand what’s happening in the real world. You are not more important than your family, friends or the community you serve. Nor is any campaign.
Seven: As they say in the Tour de France, pace yourself and wait for the mountains. Energy is finite. Save it for the times of greatest pressure. Waste no energy on that which does not matter. If nothing is happening, get some sun.
Eight: Be frank. You are not there to be popular. Only useful. If you are aching to say things are wrong, tell your colleagues, not outsiders.
Nine: Eat well. You don’t win a race on McDonald’s. Nor do you win a campaign on it. A colleague was once even diagnosed with scurvy during a campaign.
Ten: If you gamble on a campaign you are fired. Gambling in politics is a corruption of the democratic process.
Regardless, soak up that responsibility. Unlike the spectators, your actions have consequences on those relying on you. While this responsibility must be taken seriously, it is satisfying. Don’t enjoy being on the campaign, enjoy the satisfaction of the successful execution of your responsibilities.
Unshowered staffers, bad coffee, crap hours, crowded offices, rubbish food, people wandering around in their socks as well as lonely fathers, partners and any semblance of a normal life temporarily trashed. It ain’t the West Wing but it is an experience to remember fondly, especially if you win.
Original article here
CT Group link here
NSW the driving force behind total recall
WA Business News 14-Sep-2011 by Joe Poprzeczny
UNLESS something extraordinary happens, those who voted at the last federal election in the belief there would be no CO2 tax under a Gillard-led government are just going to have to grin and bear it.
Unless something unexpected happens, those who backed controversial Labor Dobell MP Craig Thomson, but have since re-calibrated his worthiness to represent them, are going to have to grin and bear him for another two years.
The basic, or cast-iron, tenets of Australian-style political representative practice deny voters the power to remove governments or individual politicians during their constitutionally prescribed terms.
Only death, debilitating illness, bankruptcy or resignation can terminate an MP’s tenure – and losing the numbers in parliament utterly dooms governments.
This may seem reasonable, but only because it’s always been so. But should it remain that way?
Should voters be encumbered with governments or MPs for full terms no matter what? What if parties dishonour solemn undertakings after elections, should they be immune from democratic retribution, meaning they face voters at the polls earlier than scheduled?
Yes, I’m referring to Ms Gillard’s unambiguous campaign commitment: “There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead”, which she wilfully dishonoured upon teaming-up with Bob Brown’s Greens, who attract just one voter in 10.
I’m also alluding to those who backed Mr Thomson, who appears set to sit out criticisms of his alleged misuse of a corporate credit card while national secretary of the Health Services Union.
Also in mind is NSW member for the seat of Lyne, Rob Oakeshott, who presented himself as an independent with non-Labor leanings. At the election, Mr Oakeshott attracted 40 per cent of Lyne’s primary vote to the National candidate’s 29 per cent and Labor’s 18 per cent.
Little wonder the latest poll in Lyne showed his backing had slumped from 47 to just over 14 per cent.
He’s hardly doing what most Lyne voters sent him to Canberra expecting him to do.
But no matter what, in each of these cases voters cannot constitutionally reverse their earlier decisions.
Also in mind are the half dozen or so NSW Labor ministerial resignations over 2009 and 2010 with voters forced to wait until March 2011 to oust that government.
Trick question: can voters be empowered to reverse earlier electoral outcomes ahead of scheduled elections?
If yes, how can this be done?
How, in other words, can representative democracy be enhanced?
Interestingly, work is presently being undertaken on this rarely asked question.
NSW Liberal Premier Barry O’Farrell announced in June the convening of a panel of constitutional experts to advise on adoption of what’s known across North American as recall elections.
The panel, chaired by David Jackson QC, will advise how to meet a coalition election commitment on such elections.
“A recall provision would give power back to the people,” Mr O’Farrell said.
“The NSW government supports fixed, four-year parliamentary terms, but it became clear in the last parliament that a safety valve allowing a fresh election was needed to rid the state of a corrupt, incompetent government that was not acting in the public’s best interests.”
The panel includes two Sydney academics: Elaine Thompson, a lecturer in public policy and Australian and US politics at the University of New South Wales; and George Williams, professor and foundation director, Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, at UNSW.
The panel has been asked to report to the government by September 30 on the feasibility of establishing recall procedures that could trigger early general state elections.
“Eighteen US states including California have a recall mechanism, as well as the Canadian province of British Columbia,” Mr O’Farrell said.
The panel has been asked to consider the viability of introducing such a recall provision in NSW and the relevant requirements for elections to be forced by voters.
“It will examine issues like the reasons required to trigger a recall election, the percentage of voters required to petition for a fresh election and whether or not time limits should apply before a government could be forced back to the polls,” Mr O’Farrell added.
“Generally my government supports fixed four-year parliamentary terms because they enable governments to make the type of tough decisions we are making now and deliver some certainty to the political process.
“But we have to look at creating a safety valve where a deeply unpopular and/or corrupt government has clearly lost public support and is damaging NSW’s performance or prospects.
“At present, the circumstances permitting an early election are very narrow – involving a vote of no confidence in the government or the failure to pass supply.”
The panel’s terms of reference require it to also examine potential risks and benefits of a recall procedure and, if recall procedures are adopted, the relevant procedures that would be involved.
To establish a recall procedure, NSW’s Constitution Act 1902 needs to be amended by referendum.
In December 2009, Mr O’Farrell committed a future coalition government to move towards putting voters back in charge of governance.
Six months earlier he’d suggested ‘recall elections’ were one way to do this.
“Recall elections are democratic, increase accountability, offer a safeguard against abuse and can help restore confidence in, and promote active involvement with, the political process,” Mr O’Farrell said.
“The spectre of being forced to an early election by the public could provide the stimulus needed for government – even a NSW Labor one – to put in a full four-year effort as well as a safeguard against political abuses.
“The last time recall mechanism firmly was used in the United States was when Californian voters recalled Democratic governor Gray Davis, in 2003, because he’d bungled the state’s electricity market.”
Republican-nominated Arnold Schwarzenegger won that recall contest.
Recall elections involve electors ‘petitioning’ to remove elected officials from office by presenting a certain number of voters’ signatures collected within a set time frame.
“Depending on the jurisdiction, the number of petitioners can range from 10 to 40 per cent of people who voted in the previous election, and must be collected within a period that can range between 60 and 180 days,” Mr O’Farrell said.
“In California in 2003, the signatures of 12 per cent of voters were to be collected within 160 days.
“In British Columbia, 40 per cent of voters are required to sign within 60 days.
“Those who argue against recall elections claim they undermine representative government, are expensive, are open to abuse and insult hardworking MPs.
“Yet, despite recall provisions existing in the United States for about a century, only two governors have been recalled.
“If the argument about expense were pursued there wouldn’t be any elections.”
Like Ms Gillard and Mr Thomson, NSW Labor wouldn’t go to the polls ahead of the scheduled election date.
Keep your fingers crossed the Jackson panel gives the all clear for NSW to blaze the trail with recall provisions.
But don’t hold your breath waiting for WA’s staid conservatives, led by unadventurous Colin Barnett, or Ms Gillard and Messrs Thomson and Oakeshott to back this democratic procedure.
What a shame they refuse to even consider voter empowerment.
Well done, so far, Mr O’Farrell. Let’s hope a referendum on recalling governments and politicians is promptly called.
There’s no reason why anyone should be guaranteed a full term. Voters should be empowered to act against dishonourable elected officials.
Original article here
A recall election (also called a recall referendum or representative recall) is a procedure by which voters can remove an elected official from office through a direct vote (plebiscite), initiated when sufficient voters sign a petition. Recall has a history dating back to the ancient Athenian democracy and is a feature of several contemporary constitutions.
Voter recall election explained on Wikipedia here
By Douglas Wilson
25 June 2011
Saul functions in this text as the last of Israel’s judges. He has been anointed as a king, and acclaimed as one, but he has not yet been made a king. This fact alone means that at the beginning of his reign, there is faithfulness to the theocratic ideal. And, at the very beginning of his reign, Saul is sure-footed—valiant and merciful both. This appears to be a very good start indeed.
The city of Jabeshgilead comes under siege from the Ammonites (v. 1). The inhabitants of the city see no option but to surrender. The Ammonite king says that they may surrender, provided they all agree to be blinded in the right eye (v. 2). This had a military point, but it was also intended for humiliation. The elders of the city asked for a week to see if there was any help available from the rest of Israel (v. 3). Nahash apparently was quite willing to fight the rest of Israel, which would be the only reason why he would agree to something like this. Messengers from Jabeshgilead came to Saul’s town, and the reaction was one of great sorrow, but no action (v. 4). Saul was out in the field, and when he comes in, he hears the weeping and asks what is the reason for it (v. 5). When he heard the reason, the Spirit of God came upon him, and he was very angry (v. 6). He took a yoke of oxen, cut them up in pieces, and sent them around Israel. Anybody who does not follow Saul and Samuel will have the same thing done to his oxen (v. 7). The fear of the Lord came upon everyone, and they all turned out. 300,000 from Israel came, and 30,000 from Judah (v. 8). They told the messengers from the besieged city that they would have aid before the sun got hot the next day (v. 9). So the men of Jabesh returned, and told the Ammonites that they would “come out” on the next day (v. 10). So Saul divided his men into three companies, launched an early morning attack, and fought until the heat of the day (v. 11). The Ammonites were so scattered that no two of them could be found together. Certain men among the Israelites said to Samuel that those sons of Belial who didn’t want Saul as king should be put to death (v. 12). But Saul intervened, and said that no one should be put to death on a day of salvation like this one was (v. 13). Samuel has the people go to Gilgal, in order to renew the kingdom there (v. 14). And this they do, making Saul king before the Lord (v. 15). They offered peace offerings, and there was great joy.
CAN’T TELL THE PLAYERS WITHOUT A SCORECARD:
A bunch of this might seem random to us because we are not familiar with these names and places. But consider this. Gibeah, Saul’s hometown, was the place in Benjamin where that horrific rape had taken place, and the Levite’s concubine had been cut in pieces and shipped all over Israel as a summons to war (Judges 19-21). Same town, and Saul cuts oxen up and sent the pieces all over Israel as a summons to war. Jabeshgilead was right across the Jordan to the east, and was the one city that had refused to go to war against Benjamin. As a result they were sacked, and 400 of their virgins given to the tiny remnant left of Benjamin’s army (Judg. 21:8ff). Bezek, the place where Saul musters his army, is the place of the first military victory in the book of Judges (Judg. 1:5). Gilgal, where Samuel takes them afterwards to make Saul king, is the place where Joshua renewed covenant with God after they had crossed over the Jordan (Josh. 5:9).
The name Nahash means serpent (it is the same word that is used in the Genesis account of the Garden). Before Saul can receive the kingdom, he must fight and defeat the serpent. 30 is the number of a royal retinue, and Israel is mustered at 30 times 10,000. Judah comes in at 30 times 1,000. Saul divides his army into 3, just like Gideon did, before his attack.
REVOLT AGAINST MATURITY:
Samuel has been holding the people responsible for their request for a king like the other nations. He continues to do this. He takes them all to Gilgal, where the people “made Saul king before the Lord” (1 Sam. 11:15). Note this well. Samuel had already identified Saul as the one (1 Sam. 9:17). Samuel in his prophetic office had already anointed Saul as the one (1 Sam. 10:1). The lots cast by Samuel in the presence of all the people had pointed to Saul as the one (1 Sam. 10:22). The people had cheered him as the one (1 Sam. 10:24).
And yet, with all this, he still was not the king until the people made him king. This meant that later, when the king began to mistreat them, they couldn’t treat him as an interloper. They had done it to themselves.
In our [USA] republic, we are reminded of this reality every four years—who is the incompetent who keeps putting these people in charge? Who is the search committee that has given us this string of incredibly bad hires? Why . . . it’s us.
What does this mean? It means that we cannot shuffle off our responsibilities with regard to tyranny. Bad government doesn’t just happen to us, the way bad weather does.
We get the government we deserve, and the way out is therefore the way of repentance. “Don’t blame me, I voted for the other guy” doesn’t work when you understand covenantal representation.
But the reason people like the “security” of tyranny is that, although the consequences are bad, they can just hunker down and take it, as though it were a stretch of bad weather.
They would rather have hard times with minimal responsibility than good times with a lot of responsibility.
But this is the mentality of the slave.
This is the reason why the children of Israel complained in the wilderness—freedom in every direction, and lots of responsibility.
Sure things were hard back in Egypt, but at least Pharaoh offered full employment.
Original article “Saul & the Serpent” here