Democracy triumphs over Turnbull’s unfathomable foreign policy fiasco

Democracy triumphs over Turnbull’s unfathomable foreign policy fiasco, by Greg Sheridan.

It was a great day for democracy in Australia as the political class ­rejected the debasement of our laws and legal system involved in ratifying the extradition treaty ­between Australia and China, and rejected likewise the enormous pressure the Chinese government brought to bear on the matter. …

Rejecting the treaty was the right thing to do. Those Liberals who considered crossing the floor are an advertisement for decency and values in politics. …

Surely the most objectionable element of the government’s ­arguments was to cite the situation of Australians who are now in Chinese custody. … If the Chinese government is going to mistreat Australian prisoners because Canberra does not ratify a treaty this is itself proof ­beyond question that the Chinese legal system is not independent or truly based on law. …

The Labor Party has behaved well here. People are mistaking Penny Wong’s reticence to criticise the treaty in principle, but rather to base Labor’s public justification for rejection in process ­issues, as meaning Labor has no objection to this treaty in principle. That is dead wrong, as Bill Shorten’s several comments on the matter illustrate clearly. Instead, Labor consistently tried to offer the government a way out of the mess of its own making which did not humiliate the Chinese and caused as little diplomatic fallout as possible. …

No country other than China makes a remotely comparable ­effort to manipulate, coerce and control the political activities of its diaspora population in Australia as China does. And no other country has China’s ability to pressure an Australian government. This appalling treaty would institutionalise that manipulation and invite that pressure.

And a minor blow for anti-globalization.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

Scottish parliament backs call for second referendum

Scottish parliament backs call for second referendum, by Jacquelin Magnay.

Nicola Sturgeon has called the bluff of Theresa May and has received Scottish parliamentary backing to call an independence referendum.

Holyrood this morning voted 69 to 59 to back the First Minister’s independence plans, including a timetable to hold the vote between late 2018 and early 2019, when the Brexit deal with the European Union is expected to be nearing finalisation.

Ms Sturgeon told Scottish politicians: “My argument is simply this: when the nature of the change which is made inevitable by Brexit becomes clear, that change should not be imposed upon us, we should have the right to decide the nature of that change.

“The people of Scotland should have the right to choose between Brexit or becoming an independent country able to chart our own course and create a true partnership of equals across these islands.”

hat-tip Stephen Neil

Memo to the politically correct: you have failed

Memo to the politically correct: you have failed, by Chris Kenny.

Political correctness exists to shape our thoughts; as George Orwell explained in detail, control language and you control thought. But it is failing. Dissent is rudely breaking through.

The agenda of political correctness is that of the left — the green left, the socially progressive left, the virtue-signalling left. The politically correct pretend gender away, reducing heterosexuality to just one of a suite of options; they want us all to pretend we are saving the planet; they’d like to eliminate borders and nationality; and they decry organised religion — well, organised Christian religion.

But in all these areas the more the PC mob imposes strictures through universities, bureaucracies and the media-political class, the more the mainstream resists. The primacy of sovereignty is reclaimed by the masses through Brexit, European politics and the rise of Donald Trump. …

Intolerant anti-Muslim parties are on the march in Europe and Australia, and walls and bans figured prominently in Trump’s ascendancy. Not only is this happening despite a regime of political correctness in liberal democracies, it is largely a backlash against political correctness.

“I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct,” said candidate Trump — he was that blatant. So, too, is resurrected renegade Australian politician Pauline Hanson, who runs anti-Muslim and anti-immigration lines. “The problem is,” Hanson says, “we have not had leaders with the foresight or intestinal fortitude to cast aside political correctness.” …

Political correctness has divorced the media-political class from the mainstream, creating a chasm between political posturing and common sense. …

The politically correct believe it is more important to display moral superiority than confront reality and get things done.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

Islam and the Left gang up on freedom of speech

Islam and the Left gang up on freedom of speech, by Janet Albrechtsen.

There is no longer broad agreement about [the] importance [of freedom of speech] in a thriving democracy. In Australia, large sections of the media, the entire Labor Party, the Greens and crossbenchers refuse to acknowledge that section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act curbs free speech. A law that allows a claimant to rush off to a bureaucracy or go to court for hurt feelings is a law that chills free speech.

It’s no coincidence that identity politics is in full swing at the same time that more people chose to be offended for the purpose of section 18C in order to shut down opinions they don’t like.

It’s no coincidence either that Bill Leak was hated both by Islamic State, which wanted to kill him, and sections of the left, which wanted him to stop provoking debate about issues outside their orthodox positions. That curious ­coalescence reveals there is no longer solidarity or even basic agreement about the value of freedom of speech in our democracy.

Indeed, the terrain for acceptable talk keeps shrinking in the West. Take the recent Coopers brouhaha when gay marriage ­activists rose up to object to a civil conversation between Tim Wilson, an advocate of same-sex marriage, and Andrew Hastie, a supporter of traditional marriage. The bullies responded with clear intent to shut down a legitimate debate that stepped outside the boundaries of permissible talk. …

If we cannot have a civil, reasoned discussion about same-sex marriage, how can we hope to discuss the challenge of Islamic terrorism? In this diminishing domain of debate, each terrorist attack is followed by claims of ­Islamophobia and equally unhelpful exhortations that terrorism is Islamist, not Islamic. …

Bill Shorten’s Labor is wedded to the divisiveness of identity politics rather than seeking commonality among Australians. Rather than stand up for freedom of speech for all, Labor under Shorten wants more divisive legal redress in 18C. Rather than bringing 18C into line with community standards, Shorten prefers to widen the fault lines writ large by identity politics. …

Islamic State is engaged in a geopolitical, religious and ideological war with the West. Islamic terrorists are tightly united behind their aims. They have focus and unyielding solidarity on their side.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

LA mayor vows to fight Trump administration attempt to strip ‘sanctuary city’ funding

LA mayor vows to fight Trump administration attempt to strip ‘sanctuary city’ funding, by Elizabeth Chou.

Responding to the latest warnings by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that Department of Justice funds will be withheld from sanctuary cities, Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday he will fight efforts by the Trump administration to take away federal funding needed for law enforcement in Los Angeles.

Garcetti said that such actions would be unconstitutional, adding that the city’s policies are “designed to keep our residents safe.” …

Sessions said local jurisdictions seeking U.S. Department of Justice grants must first demonstrate they are not sanctuary cities, by proving they are in compliance with Section 1373 of U.S. Code Title 8, which requires notification of federal officials about the immigration status of people in local custody. The policy was issued under the Barack Obama administration in 2016.

“I urge the nation’s states and cities to carefully consider the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to enforce our immigration laws,” Sessions said in statements from the White House briefing room.

Trump said during the campaign that he would “defund” sanctuary cities by taking away their federal funding. But legal precedent suggests that would be difficult.

Sydney: Islamist leader says all former Muslims should be put to death

Sydney: Islamist leader says all former Muslims should be put to death, by Stephen Johnson.

A leader of a hardline Islamist group which campaigns for sharia law says Muslims who leave the religion should be put to death.

Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Uthman Badar was frank when asked about the group’s policy at a forum in Bankstown, in Sydney’s south-west, on Saturday night.

‘The ruling for apostates as such in Islam is clear, that apostates attract capital punishment and we don’t shy away from that,’ Badar said in the presence of children. An apostate is someone who decides to leave Islam.

His extraordinary admission was exclusively captured on camera by Daily Mail Australia and the matter has now been referred to the Australian Federal Police by Justice Minister Michael Keenan. …

Promoting it in writing too:

On Saturday night, Ms Bevege held up a printed copy of Hizb ut-Tahrir’s draft constitution of the khilafah state published on the UK site, which was on the group’s Australian website until 2015. This outlines their vision for a global Islamic caliphate, which has Muslims and non-Muslims living under sharia law.

Article 7c of the document said: ‘Those who are guilty of apostasy (murtadd) from Islam are to be executed according to the rule of apostasy, provided they have by themselves renounced Islam.’

Islam is not a religion like say Hinduism, so much as a totalitarian political ideology. See here and here.

Islam is the only “religion” where the penalty for leaving is death. As Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the most renowned and prominent Muslim cleric in the world, stated: “The Muslim jurists are unanimous that apostates must be punished … The majority of them …  agree that apostates must be executed.” Qaradawi also once famously said: “If they had gotten rid of the apostasy punishment, Islam wouldn’t exist today.

Political correctness has become the new truth

Political correctness has become the new truth, by Rex Jory.

The Australia I love is disappearing. It’s been hijacked by faceless people who worship at the altar of political correctness and personal offence.

These messengers of the new morality paint themselves as victims. They believe they are entitled to compensation or apology if they are offended. They seek reward or retribution for the slightest inconvenience.

These self-proclaimed victims use social media with such devastating effect they have wrested control of the nation’s political, social and moral agenda. They tear down people who dare express a contrary view. They humiliate and intimidate anyone who challenges their beliefs. Megaphone politics.

They know best. Their view of Australia in 2017 must prevail. My way or the highway. Never mind that it is not the view of the majority of people. …

They have crushed free speech and free expression by destroying community debate. People are now too frightened to say what they believe.

Political correctness twists and manipulates truth. It has become the new truth, the selective truth. Yet truth is no longer a defence. Just because someone expresses an opinion based on fact, they are not immune from being attacked and discredited on social media.

If someone dares criticise or even raise political, religious or racial issues which are contrary to the beliefs of the anonymous purists, the reaction and retribution can be swift and brutal. Often it resembles hate-speak. …

The Australian community has fragmented. We are no longer a single, coherent society. People are judged on what they are, what they believe and not what they have achieved or contributed.

How They Lie: Fake News Example from the New York Times

How They Lie: Fake News Example from the New York Times, by John Hinderaker.

This lengthy New York Times story is unintentionally hilarious. Here is the headline: “Amid ‘Trump Effect’ Fear, 40% of Colleges See Dip in Foreign Applicants.” …

But the article is all about how Donald Trump is devastating higher education. E.g.:

“I’d say the rhetoric and actual executive orders are definitely having a chilling effect,” Mr. Wiewel wrote, referring to the Trump administration’s travel ban. … “Our deans describe it as a chilling effect,” said Suzanne Ortega, president of the Council of Graduate Schools. …

And so on, endlessly. But here’s the point: if you look at the survey the Times article is based on, this is what you find:

39% of responding institutions reported a decline in international applications, 35% reported an increase, and 26% reported no change in applicant numbers.

That’s right: the Times headline equally well could have read, “Thanks to President Trump, 35% of Colleges See Increase in Foreign Applicants.”

The Times long ago gave up on being a respectable newspaper. It is now, purely and simply, an organ of the Democratic Party.

61% of the French say Islam not compatible with French society

61% of the French say Islam not compatible with French society, by Westmonster.

The poll also shows that the majority of the French (60%) believe cohabitation between the different religions does not happen well in France. …

The graph below shows that contrary to the bed wetting in the mainstream media, 79% of people support banning the veil in Universities and 77% support the burkini ban. 60% of the public oppose the public funding of mosques. …

74% of voters believe that secularism in France is under threat, despite 90% of voters saying it is an important value of the Republic.

DNA repair discovery could lead to drugs to reverse ageing, fight cancer and help space travel

DNA repair discovery could lead to drugs to reverse ageing, fight cancer and help space travel, by Jake Sturmer.

“For most of the 20th century we knew that our [cells’ ability to repair DNA gets worse over time] and we get old and it’s the main reason we get cancer,” Harvard and UNSW professor David Sinclair said. “So what we’ve discovered is the reason why.”

Published in the journal Science, the international team identified how a vitamin called NAD+ was regulating the interactions that control DNA repair. The scientists said experiments showed that when mice were given an NAD+ booster called NMN, their cells were better at repairing DNA damage caused by radiation exposure and ageing.

“We took old mice that were 20 months old which is [equivalent to] a 60-70-year-old human and we gave them NMN and we found that… many aspects of ageing were reversed,” Professor Sinclair said.

“Their DNA repair activities went up to youthful levels and they were more resistant to radiation and should therefore be more protected against cancer and ageing itself.

Looking back, and angry: what drives Pauline Hanson’s voters

Looking back, and angry: what drives Pauline Hanson’s voters, by David Marr.

One Nation voters in 2016 were almost entirely native-born Australians. …

Liberal 78% native-born
Labor 79%
Greens 82%
National 91%
One Nation 98%

One Nation is a party of old people but there’s no sign they are dying out. According to the AES figures, roughly a third of Hanson’s voters in 2016 were under the age of 44. And women are voting One Nation. …

1998 male 65%, female 35%
2016 male 56%, female 44%

Reports from focus groups suggest these are working women, better educated than the men. “They looked like nice Labor voters working in nice jobs,” said one researcher. “We had a childcare worker, two government workers, and I think there was a teacher. Yet they like Pauline.”

Other reports from focus groups suggest contradictions here: “Women like her because she’s a woman who speaks her mind. Men like her because she’s a woman who stands up against feminism.” That she’s a woman from the “life doesn’t owe us anything” school is a key aspect of her political makeup. Raising four children from two husbands hasn’t softened her heart towards single mothers. Twice divorced, she backs men burnt by the divorce courts.

Hanson is not pulling the religious vote. … Hanson’s staunch defence of Christianity in the face of Muslim hordes isn’t about faith but preserving our way of life. Hanson’s moral agenda is to punish welfare bludgers not perverts. One Nation voters rarely worship. While 48% of Australians never attend church – not even for weddings and funerals – the figure for One Nation voters is 60%. Breakaway Cory Bernardi is pursuing a tiny constituency who believe in small government and high Catholic morality. Hanson backs neither: she’s a secular, big government woman. That’s a big constituency. …

Labor party research and focus groups report strong growth of support for One Nation in seats on the fringe of big towns and capital cities, seats on the edge of — but not actually among — migrant suburbs. …

Reports from focus groups suggest city folk most respect Hanson. “The bush is more sceptical of One Nation than the cities,” says one researcher. “In the bush they tend to say she doesn’t have the answers. Those in the cities are more in agreement with her. They rate her intelligence in the city. They say she’s doing better, she’s learnt a lot. In the country they think she’s a bit stupid.” …

Many of Hanson’s voters missed out on a big dose of propaganda by not going to university:

Education is the clearest link between Hanson, Trump and Brexit. Surveys here, in the United States and in the United Kingdom all point to education as a key component of political dissatisfaction. In the UK, Matthew Goodwin and Oliver Heath found “educational inequality” was the strongest driver of Brexit. In the US, Nate Silver concluded, “The education gap is carving up the American electorate and toppling political coalitions that had been in place for many years.”

That about eight out of 10 One Nation voters dropped out of school doesn’t mark them as dumb. Queensland, the party’s heartland, made it extraordinarily hard for a long time for poor kids to get to university. But for whatever reason, few of Hanson’s people have been exposed to life and learning on a campus. …

Culture matters to Hanson’s voters:

One Nation is the nostalgia party. “Simply addressing economic inequality – which is what the left has tried to do – is just not sufficient,” says Huntley. “Prosperity is important, but what worries this group is the cultural, social slippage they feel in their life. They imagine their fathers’ and grandfathers’ lives were better, more certain, easier to navigate. Maybe they were and maybe they weren’t, but it’s the loss of that that is worrying for them. The economic argument alone isn’t persuasive for them.” …

Immigration: open borders not popular.

Twenty years ago Hanson’s people were hostile to immigration. Now they are extraordinarily so. One Nation is the party of those not bought off in the end by Howard’s great Faustian pact: close the borders to boat people and the nation will relax about mass immigration. More than 80% of One Nation voters considered immigration “extremely important” when deciding how to vote. …

More than 80% of One Nation voters also want immigration numbers cut. The wishes of the party are now even more extreme than they were 20 years ago. In 2016 the AES turned up only a single One Nation voter happy to see immigration increased. The numbers all went the other way. This puts Hanson’s people dramatically at odds with the sentiment of a welcoming country. …

Their grim attitudes to migrants also set Hanson’s people apart. For One Nation voters, there is little disagreement that migrants increase crime, are not good for the economy and take the jobs of native-born Australians.

Anger with government:

One Nation is the Pissed Off with Government Party. It was so the last time, when Australians still trusted their governments. In those days, being ignored by politicians was the base complaint of the party. Hanson was the gutsy politician who listened. Twenty years later, with trust in government sagging across the country, One Nation is coming into its own as the party that accuses politicians of not listening. It’s the brand. [They] believe politicians “usually look after themselves.”

Not conservatives:

Hanson’s people are not implacable conservatives. They aren’t hostile to unions and they believe – this figure in the AES is quite clear – that big business has too much power. Nor is One Nation preaching family values. They are not lining up against equal marriage. (In focus groups they say, ‘Why not let them get on with it?’) Hanson’s people are second only to the Greens in wanting marijuana decriminalised: 68% of Greens to 49% of One Nation. Not that they’ve given up on the War on Drugs. They loathe ice and fear it as a source of crime and violence. And Hanson’s people are absolutely of one mind on allowing the terminally ill to end their own lives with medical assistance: support in the party runs at 98%.

Crime:

On the other hand, Hanson’s people are particularly tough on crime. … And their faith in the gallows is complete. … Among One Nation voters, the passion for the death penalty is undiminished.

Huntley is struck by the links between One Nation’s two agendas: law and order, and immigration. “The general way this plays out in groups is for someone to say, ‘Once upon a time you could leave your door open,’ or, ‘You could go to the pub and put your wallet next to your beer and go to the loo and you’d be surrounded by people just like you, people who would never even think to touch your wallet. But now you can’t do that.’ A discussion about asylum seekers and immigration will slip very quickly into that sort of talk. There’s a really intense nexus between law and order and immigration in that group.”

Which parties are Hanson voters deserting?

Some Labor but mostly Coalition. … For every vote Kim Beazley lost, John Howard lost two. … There are signs she’s winning more of her new following this time at the expense of Labor. Hanson was a spectator sport for Kim Beazley. Not for Bill Shorten.

Race:

Those who see Hanson tapping into something murkier than mere disenchantment with politics fear One Nation will never be dealt with until the major parties find the courage to address the issue that haunts this country: race. Their understanding – it’s bipartisan – is that however they try to deal with the drift of votes to One Nation, they cannot afford to denounce Hanson as a racist. “We can only address this through dealing with their economic insecurities,” said Labor’s Kosmos Samaras. “If you say to someone, ‘Vote for us because that woman is racist,’ we’d be classified as elites. We’ll get killed electorally. If all we do is try to address the cultural issues, we’ll lose.”

The US Civil War is Here

The US Civil War is Here, by Daniel Greenfield.

The left has rejected the outcome of the last two presidential elections won by Republicans. It has rejected the judicial authority of the Supreme Court when it decisions don’t accord with its agenda. It rejects the legislative authority of Congress when it is not dominated by the left. It rejected the Constitution so long ago that it hardly bears mentioning.

It was for total unilateral executive authority under Obama. And now it’s for states unilaterally deciding what laws they will follow. …

It was for Obama defying the orders of Federal judges, no matter how well grounded in existing law, and it is for Federal judges overriding any order by Trump on any grounds whatsoever. It was for Obama penalizing whistleblowers, but now undermining the government from within has become “patriotic”.

There is no form of legal authority that the left accepts as a permanent institution. It only utilizes forms of authority selectively when it controls them. But when government officials refuse the orders of the duly elected government because their allegiance is to an ideology whose agenda is in conflict with the President and Congress, that’s not activism, protest, politics or civil disobedience; it’s treason. …

The left has no allegiance to the system. It accepts no laws other than those dictated by its ideology.

Democrats have become radicalized by the left. This doesn’t just mean that they pursue all sorts of bad policies. It means that their first and foremost allegiance is to an ideology, not the Constitution, not our country or our system of government. All of those are only to be used as vehicles for their ideology.

That’s why compromise has become impossible. Our system of government was designed to allow different groups to negotiate their differences. But those differences were supposed to be based around finding shared interests. The most profound of these shared interests was that of a common country based around certain civilizational values. The left has replaced these Founding ideas with radically different notions and principles. It has rejected the primary importance of the country. As a result it shares little in the way of interests or values. …

The Democrats were no longer being slowly injected with leftist ideology. Instead the left openly took over and demanded allegiance to open borders, identity politics and environmental fanaticism. The exodus of voters wiped out the Democrats across much of what the left deemed flyover country. …

We can have a system of government based around the Constitution with democratically elected representatives. Or we can have one based on the ideological principles of the left in which all laws and processes, including elections and the Constitution, are fig leaves for enforcing social justice. But we cannot have both. …

The left has made it clear that it will not accept the lawful authority of our system of government. It will not accept the outcome of elections. It will not accept these things because they are at odds with its ideology and because they represent the will of large portions of the country whom they despise. The question is what comes next. …

What this really means is that there are two competing governments; the legal government and a treasonous anti-government of the left. If this political conflict progresses, agencies and individuals at every level of government will be asked to demonstrate their allegiance to these two competing governments. And that can swiftly and explosively transform into an actual civil war. …

Civil wars end when one side is forced to accept the authority of the other. The left expects everyone to accept its ideological authority. Conservatives expect the left to accept Constitutional authority. The conflict is still political and cultural. It’s being fought in the media and within the government. But if neither side backs down, then it will go beyond words as both sides give contradictory orders.

hat-tip Stephen Neil