July 22, 2016 | Graham

We are at war with radical Islamists – Newt Gingrich

This is an excerpt from Newt Gingrich’s speech to the Republic convention. To read the whole speech click here.

Now what I want to focus on is a subject that has dominated my thinking for decades, how do we keep America safe? Keeping America safe is the first responsibility of the American president. There have been many fascinating things to watch about the extraordinary historic rise of Donald Trump, but the most significant has been Donald Trump’s courage to tell some important truths about our national security.

For example, we are at war. We are at war with radical Islamists. They are determined to kill us. They are stronger than we admit. And there is no substitute for victory.

In contrast to Donald Trump, our national security and foreign policy elites, led by Hillary Clinton, are incapable of speaking with such honesty while they lie about the threat. We need to tell the truth about the danger.

If our enemies had their way, not a single woman in this room could define her future. If our enemies had their way, gays, lesbians, and transgender citizens would be put to death as they are today and the Islamic State and Iran.

If our enemies had their way, every person on earth would be subject to conversion by the sword and to a cruel and violent system of law. There would be no individual liberty. There would be no equality. There would be no freedom. If you doubt we are at war, if you doubt that the threat is as real as I say, let me refresh your memory.

On Monday, an Afghan refugee in Germany used an ax and knives to slash and wound train passengers while shouting Allahu akbar. Last week, ISIS claimed responsibly after a Tunisian man drove a cargo truck into a crowd in Nice, France. He murdered 84 people including 10 children, three Americans, and injured over 300 others. Two weeks ago, almost 300 people were killed and more than 200 were wounded in bombing attacks in Baghdad.

Two days before that, radical Islamists in Bangladesh killed 20 hostages, including three American college students. A few days before that, at the Istanbul airport in Turkey, ISIS attackers armed with guns and bombs killed 44 people and injured hundreds more.

Last month, a radical Islamist in Paris stalked a French police officer to his home where he murdered the officer, tortured his wife to death in front of the 3-old-son, while streaming it all on social media. He was pondering out loud whether to kill the 3-year-old when he was killed by police.

Two days before that, an attacker pledging of allegiance to ISIS killed 49 people in an Orlando nightclub, and wounded dozens more.

All of this in just the past 37 days. We cannot let ourselves grow numb to these accumulating atrocities.

One analysis estimated that since January, 2015, some 30,000 people have been killed at the hands of terrorists. Let’s be clear, Donald Trump is right. We are at war with radical Islamists. We are losing the war. And we must change course to win the war.

Let me be very clear, because I know the news media will do their best to distort this, we have nothing to fear from the vast majority of Muslims in the United States or around the world, the vast majority are peaceful. They are often the victims themselves. They are people we would be happy to have as our friends and neighbors.

The challenge, the challenge is when even a small percentage of a 1.6 billion people support violence against those who disagree with them, that is still a giant recruiting base. For example, Pew Research finds that only 9 percent of Muslims in Pakistan view ISIS favorably.

Unfortunately, 9 percent is 16 million people, and that is just one country. So the truth is although we are losing the war with radical Islamists, we have been very lucky.

The danger we face is much worse than the horrors that happened in Germany on New Year’s Eve when 1,200 women were assaulted. It is worse than what is happening in France where there are stabbings of Jews in the streets and the nation’s security chief warned recently that Europe is “on the brink of civil war.”

It is worse than what is happening in Israel where average citizens fear for their lives whenever they leave their homes. The danger is even worse than September 11th when 19 hijackers murdered almost 3,000 Americans. The worst-case scenario is losing an American city to terrorists armed with weapons of mass destruction.

Instead of losing 3,000 people in one morning, we could lose more than 300,000. Instead of losing two great buildings, we could lose block after block after block after block to a nuclear event.

That is not just my view, back in January of 2001, the Hart- Rudman Commission warned the terrorists quote “will acquire weapons of mass destruction and some will use them. Americans will likely die on American soil, possibly in large numbers.”

Fifteen years later, the dangers are even greater in a world where Pakistan has nuclear weapons, where North Korea has been weapons, and where Iran, the world’s state sponsor of terrorism, is close to having nuclear weapons, this, a catastrophic attack on innocent Americans is a very real threat.

Which brings us to the heart of the matter, we are sleepwalking through history as though this is all about politics. It is not.

It is about our safety and our survival as a country. We cannot keep in place the people and the systems that have brought us to this point and then lie to us every single day about the threat. That is why every American should be terrified at the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency. Hillary Clinton has been right at the center of this dishonesty.

We know this administration and its allies lied to us about the Iran nuclear deal. We know it because they openly bragged about it to The New York Times. We know that Hillary Clinton lied to us knowingly about the terror attack on our Benghazi consulate. We know that Hillary Clinton and President Obama lie to the American people when they say they can safely screen the Syrian refugees. They cannot.

And yet, Hillary wants to increase the number by 500 percent. So when you hear about Hillary’s dishonesty, of the emails, or taking millions from the Saudis or other Middle Eastern dictatorships, remember, this is not about politics. The cost of Hillary’s dishonesty could be the loss of America as we know it.

The first step forward to safety is electing a leader who will be truthful with the American people about the realities we face. Only then will we understand, support, and demand the strategies require to confront this threat.

And because safety and security are the preconditions for our freedom and prosperity, it is also the first step towards rebuilding the America we love.

Posted by Graham at 11:01 am | Comments (2) |

July 14, 2016 | Graham

Theresa May on her return from Buck Palace

Theresa May, the newly appointed PM of Great Britain, gave this speech on her return from Buckingham Palace after being commissioned by the Queen.

It strikes interesting notes that would resonate well in the Australian context, assuming of course that the politician delivering them could deliver on them.

I have just been to Buckingham Palace, where Her Majesty the Queen has asked me to form a new Government. And I accepted. In David Cameron, I follow in the footsteps of a great, modern Prime Minister. Under David’s leadership, the Government stabilised the economy, reduced the budget deficit, and helped more people into work than ever before. But David’s true legacy is not about the economy, but about social justice.

From the introduction of same-sex marriage to taking people on low wages out of income tax altogether, David Cameron has led a One Nation Government, and it is in that spirit that I also plan to lead. Because not everybody knows this, but the full title of my party is the Conservative and Unionist Party. And that word ‘Unionist’ is very important to me. It means we believe in the Union – the precious, precious bond between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

But it means something else that is just as important. It means we believe in a union, not just between the nations of the United Kingdom, but between all of our citizens. Every one of us, whoever we are, and wherever we’re from. That means fighting against the burning injustice that if you’re born poor, you will die on average nine years earlier than others.

If you’re black, you’re treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than if you’re white. If you’re a white, working-class boy, you are less likely than anybody else in Britain to go to university. If you’re at a state school, you’re less likely to reach the top professions than if you are educated privately. If you’re a woman, you will earn less than a man. If you suffer from mental health problems, there’s not enough help to hand. If you’re young, you will find it harder than ever before to own your own home.

But the mission to make Britain a country that works for everyone means more than fighting these injustices. If you’re from an ordinary, working-class family, life is much harder than many people in Westminster realise. You have a job but you don’t always have job security. You have your own home, but you worry about paying the mortgage. You can just about manage, but you worry about the cost of living and getting your kids into a good school.

If you’re one of those families, if you’re just managing, I want to address you directly. I know you’re working around the clock, I know you’re doing your best, and I know that sometimes life can be a struggle. The Government I lead will be driven not by the interests of the privileged few, but by yours. We will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives. When we take the big calls, we’ll think not of the powerful but you. When we pass new laws, we’ll listen not to the mighty but to you. When it comes to taxes, we’ll prioritise not the wealthy but you. When it comes to opportunity, we won’t entrench the advantages of the fortunate few. We will do everything we can to help anybody, whatever your background, to go as far as your talents will take you.

We are living through an important moment in our country’s history. Following the referendum, we face a time of great national change. And I know, because we’re Great Britain, that we will rise to the challenge. As we leave the European Union, we will forge a bold, new, positive role for ourselves in the world. And we will make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few but for every one of us.

That will be the mission of the Government I lead, and together we will build a better Britain.

Posted by Graham at 9:09 pm | Comments (3) |

July 13, 2016 | Graham

Good luck with Australian Conservatives Cory, but…

There has long been a need for a competitor to GetUp. I’ve been involved in at least two attempts which have gone nowhere. Now Cory Bernardi is giving it a go.

Good luck Cory, but the omens are not encouraging. For starters, you need to get some professionalism into your operation. Finding the site is a bit difficult. Didn’t show up in any Google searches (well it may have, but so far down I couldn’t be bothered finding it, which in the online world is the same thing).

And then registering www.conservative.org.au is not the smartest thing you can do when domain names like www.conservative.com.au and www.conservatives.com.au are owned by competing organisations. I almost signed-up for the Australian Conservative Party, before realising my mistake.

Plus, what’s with the name. I know Conservatives are sort of boring and reliable and reassuring, but can’t you come up with something a bit more exciting? This just doesn’t have the optics right. If you are going to run an insurgent organisation, it needs to have the feel of a revolution about it, not a museum.

And what does your organisation have to do with the Conservative Leadership Foundation? It’s good to to send out confirmation emails, but you want the sender’s name to be extremely closely identified with the organisation your contact thinks they’ve signed-up to.

Surveys are good. I like them. But I was hoping you’d be running some sort of campaign when I hit on your site. It almost looks like you’re waiting for me to tell you what I’m interested in so you can focus group your approach.

Getup didn’t get going by waiting around to find out what the audience wanted. It didn’t have to – it already knew. You’re not running a mainstream political party here where the aim is to get 50%+1 of the vote. What you’re after is a highly motivated niche.

And that niche is going to be pretty much like you. So talk to yourself, and that’s about all the market research you need to do in the first place.

These types of organisations are also transactional. You’ve been to MacDonald’s right? You don’t have to join MacDonald’s to get a burger, you just have to be interested in one of the burgers they have and be prepared to pay for it.

That’s all MacDonald’s asks of you. They don’t even care if you never buy a cappucino at McCafe. That’s just how you roll. They’ll make money out of whatever you do want to buy.

GetUp is like that. I might buy into their refugee campaigns, but not really give a toss about the Great Barrier Reef. They can wear that because plenty of other people are interested in the reef. They don’t need 100%. And they’ll take me on refugees.

So start a campaign. You’ve got nothing to sell on your website at the moment. As you run successful campaigns you’ll gather more and more people. They’ll sign-up on a campaign by campaign basis, and they’ll also tell you what they think you should be doing and soon you’ll have more campaigns than you can handle.

Just some quick advice Cory (and yes, I know, I’ve tried this twice and got nowhere, so I could be wrong) but scrub what you’re doing now, get a new funkier name, a unique URL, and hire a young turk or two who really get the Internet.

GetUp needs a rival, and I really hope you can do something. But what you’ve got isn’t it…yet.

Posted by Graham at 9:39 am | Comments (2) |

July 06, 2016 | Graham

Where are the “Children Overboard” pamphletts?

Labor perpetrated one of the great frauds of Australian politics when they persuaded some voters to accept the proposition the coalition was planning to privatise Medicare.

They’ve boasted about the tactic.

Now they are trying to justify it on the basis that the coalition has allegedly lied to win elections too.

Senator Dastyari downplayed concerns about Queensland Labor on election day targeting voters with messages purporting to be from Medicare.

“Honestly, I am not going to get lectured to about those kinds of campaign tactics by a political party that was responsible for ‘children overboard’,” he said.

Apart from the illogicality of this claim (they did it, and it was wrong, but that makes it OK for us to do it) it is patently untrue.

For there to be any parallel, Dastyari, or anyone else, would have to produce evidence of television ads, billboards, and pamphlets all making this claim. They won’t find one, let alone one distributed in the dying days of the campaign.

It was a mistake at the time, as admitted by Peter Reith, and never formed a part of the campaign.

In fact, when I go over my qualitative research records for that election the words “children” and “overboard” do not appear.

Labor has form in lying which is much worse than anything the coalition has ever done.

Remember the 1993 “sweetest victory of all”, won off the back of the L-A-W “law” tax cuts which were repealed almost as soon as the ballot papers ha been counted.

This was coupled with a dishonest campaign devised by Wayne Swan, of “Jobs not GST”, so it is interesting to note that his daughter was the author of the Mediscare.

And they spent the last term of parliament saying the government had cut the budgets of health and education when in fact spending was at record levels and increasing, and anyone could see that in the budget papers.

In Queensland we saw the ancestor of the Mediscare campaign when in 1995 Labor claimed the coalition would privatise the public hospital system.

At least you can privatise a hospital system, unlike a government payments system, but the lie had no basis.

But in 1995, Joan Sheldon, Deputy Opposition Leader, took it personally. We even took the ALP to court in an effort to prove conclusively the lie. Our efforts were so effective that we eventually had the media onside.

The icing on the cake was when it turned out that Labor was planning to privatise some functions at the Nambour Base Hospital.

It was one of the contributing factors to our win at that election with a swing away from the Labor Party of 7.5% which occurred during the course of the campaign.

Turnbull and Nutt should probably have been on the phone to Sheldon about Mediscare before it got legs.

Labor’s been at this particular lie for a long time, so they certainly should have been ready.



Posted by Graham at 9:28 pm | Comments (11) |
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