Archive for the ‘United States’ Category

Tax free pot

September 19th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

An accounting error in Colorado is paying off for marijuana consumers Wednesday, when a quirk in a state tax law prompts the state to suspend most taxes on recreational pot.

The one-day pot tax holiday means Colorado won’t collect 10 percent sales taxes on pot.

The state is also suspending a 15 percent excise tax on marijuana growers.

The tax break is happening because Colorado underestimated overall state tax collections last year. Under the state constitution, the accounting error triggers an automatic suspension of any new taxes ” in this case, the recreational marijuana taxes voters approved in 2013.

Retailers are hoping for big crowds, rolling out bargains to attract shoppers. The state had no estimate on how many shoppers might turn out.

The taxes revert to 25 percent on Thursday.

I quite like this law. If your tax revenues are higher than forecast, then taxes drop or get suspended!

The final tax numbers covered the first full fiscal year in which adults over 21 could legally buy both marijuana and alcohol.

Alcohol excise tax collections were up 2.4 percent, to about $42 million. Marijuana-specific taxes came in at about $70 million.

The figures don’t include a statewide 2.9 percent sales taxes. In other words, alcohol likely still produces more overall tax money than pot, though the state doesn’t keep data on how much general sales tax comes from alcohol. Recreational pot is taxed much more steeply than alcohol.

The Government here should do the same – tax it, not ban it.


$100 million per rebel fighter!

September 19th, 2015 at 6:56 am by David Farrar

The Washington Post reports:

The Obama administration is moving toward major changes in its military train-and-equip program for the Syrian opposition after the acknowledged failure of efforts to create a new force of rebel fighters to combat the Islamic State there.

In comments that appeared to shock even many of those involved in Syria policy elsewhere in the government, Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the head of the U.S. Central Command, told Congress on Wednesday that only “four or five” trainees from the program, a $500 million plan officially launched in December to prepare as many as 5,400 fighters this year, have ended up “in the fight” inside Syria.

That has to win some sort of record for wasteful spending. $500 million on training to get four or five fighters!!

And people wonder why so many of us are sceptical of government spending.

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14 year old arrested for making a clock!

September 18th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Washington Post reports:

Fourteen-year-old Ahmed Mohamed just wanted to get noticed by his teachers.

Instead, he got arrested.

In an incident that has raised allegations of racism and made a Texas school district the target of online outrage, the ninth-grader was pulled out of school in handcuffs after a digital clock he built himself was mistaken for a bomb.

Mohamed, a self-assured kid with thick-framed glasses and a serious expression, had just started at MacArthur High School a few weeks ago. The Irving, Tex., ninth-grader has a talent for tinkering — he constructs his own radios and once built a Bluetooth speaker as a gift for his friend — and he wanted to show his new teachers what he could do. So on Sunday night, he quickly put together a homemade digital clock (“just something small,” as he casually put it to the Dallas Morning News: a circuit board and power supply connected to a digital display) and proudly offered it to his engineering teacher the next day.

But the teacher looked wary.

“He was like, ‘That’s really nice,’” Mohamed told the Dallas Morning News. “‘I would advise you not to show any other teachers.’”

The teacher and school are idiots. If they had any concerns at all about the device, they should have just asked to see how it worked more. But considering it was something a 14 year old is showing off to an engineering teacher (not something that he was hiding and they found), it was taking paranoia to a new level.

“I think this wouldn’t even be a question if his name wasn’t Ahmed Mohamed,” Alia Salem, CAIR’s executive director for the Dallas-Fort Worth region, told WFAA.

Sadly he is right.


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Guest Post: Cactus Kate attends a Donald Trump rally

September 17th, 2015 at 2:48 pm by David Farrar

Kiwiblog foreign correspondent Cactus Kate bravely attended a Donald Trump rally on behalf of Kiwiblog, so she could report back on what is actually happening there:

“I don’t care much for the chances of ever implementing Donald Trump’s “feed me less” tax policy coupled with promised massive spending or his ridiculous stance against gay marriage.  I also don’t care much for the identity of the US President because alone in the US political system they cannot make that much a difference in the real world.  Obama has proved this to be true more than any other.  So many promises and hope and yet so little delivery for his adoring fans.

Trump admires marriage so much he has had three weddings and god knows how many women on the side, but with an open mind I travelled down to San Pedro for the day to the USS Iowa for Kiwiblog to hear Trump’s short impromptu rally to Veteran’s For a Strong America, a group who have now curiously endorsed him.

The most appealing proposition was to go on a battleship. I mean who is going to turn that down? I’ve never been on a battleship. The event with national anthem, pledge of allegiance and chants of “Trump” was as spectacularly American as the post Summer Slam WWE Monday Night Raw I attended last month in Brooklyn.


Yes I too like possibly hundreds of million if not a billion  people would like to live in the USA but I can’t. I can only spend 90 days at a time here then I have to leave and re-enter and woman-up to the bitchy face customs again. Unlike the many illegal economic immigrants (and they are not refugees) crossing the border from Mexico still, I accept this law and the sovereignty of the USA attached to decide who she likes to have living and visiting here and for how long. I wasn’t alone in the paying audience some who had parted with $1,000 for their seats. The impotent rabble outside whinging don’t understand this. Yes even us white folk from nice countries like New Zealand have to follow immigration laws. Shocking.

Every speaker reminded the crowd that men and women fought so the rabble could come and protest. Every speaker also reminded the crowd to large applause that illegal immigrants were receiving better healthcare than these veterans. The protestors were better behaved and orderly than anything outside a National Party meeting. This may though have something to do with a thousand Americans coming on and off a battleship, many veterans and many very possibly packing heat.

Donald Trump, who once famously appeared on WWE fighting Vince McMahon in the “battle of the billionaires” (when neither actually probably was) make no mistake is a show biz politician. But then so really was Ronald Reagan and today Trump will be joining the other candidates debating in his library. Reagan didn’t turn out too badly. Fortunately David Farrar’s influence with the GOP didn’t extend to getting me a ticket to that yawn fest and I can do something more American like go to the movies and eat the world’s largest popcorn and drink the world’s largest coke.

Trump has turned himself into the candidate of the people. the anti-candidate. Like in New Zealand the Beltway typically do not understand the voters at all and like the repeater from NBC behind me who repeatedly falsely claimed the protestors were drowning out the speakers, misses the point of Trump completely.

The Media Party were in attendance, just like in New Zealand they overblew the protestors and focused on the most radical people in the audience they could find to say things.  The star was a young Mexican man who like plenty in America actually arrived and are here legally and support Trump’s most outrageous campaign wish – to erect a wall on the Mexican border and have Mexico pay for it.  I doubt this young man’s soundbites were cut in any other way than to make Trump sound Mexican-hating.


So in Trump we have an otherwise dodgy loud multi millionaire telling us that he is the rebel and the underdog. He’s not a Bush (my wife is Mexican and I speak Spanish) or a Clinton (my husband is Bill and you may like to wink wink pay his “speaking fee” instead of donating directly and openly to my campaign). The Republicans with Bush, Cruz, Christie, Huckabee, Rubio and Trump have what I would only studiously term some very serious chop chop to execute before the inevitable face off with The Robot that is Hillary. The woman best remembered as extorting her husband into standing by her side for her Presidency charade after forgiving him for blowing a cigar in the vagina of another woman.  Oh and don’t forget The Hill-bot from her private server has personal emails so boring that someone should really check her pulse regularly.  The best thing her campaign team could do right now is to leak some fabricated dirty emails between the Clintons just so some voters may actually believe they are real.

Don’t get me wrong Trump’s few announced policies make absolutely no sense and from a purist point of view he has been and will get destroyed in debates. But he is a candidate for our time. He can get away with blue murder on the campaign trail and needs to keep doing precisely what he has been doing – letting loose. This is what makes his campaign a must watch and why tickets are being scalped to attend these sorts of events. It is theatre at its finest. I couldn’t work out however if this woman was Trump’s hairdresser or a repeater not that interested in interviewing people accurately:


Middle America are dismissed by idiotic polisnobs (such as the knobs on Twitter polluting us all with their free snide opinions) as “uneducated”. These people are anything but.  They *are* America and they all vote and unlike the illegal immigrants all up in arms at Trump and having the political left speak for them, they’re actually eligible en masse to vote. Many like WWE, actually understand Honey Boo Boo, Duck Dynasty, shooting, God and the NRA. Underestimate their power at your peril. America isn’t about Los Angeles and New York, what the tourists and stereotypes on exported TV are. The bits in between are the most important and unless you have spent a decent amount of time with actual Americans not the Democrat liberal flower apologists for America you will misunderstand this.

I sat next to a man who had served on the USS Kittyhawk. To say he was euphoric about Trump is an understatement. Every second he seemed to turn to his wife and grab her hand harder, every word was induced through first the nose then the lips like a fine glass of Screaming Eagle. During parts of the speech the entire row of buttocks surrounding me came off their chairs with glee. Trump has made this Presidential race exciting.

The issue the Democrats will have with Trump is that he isn’t really attracting the religious far right who will infect his campaign. They are uneasy with him. Therefore to campaign against him they can’t write him off in one carefully constructed poll driven swipe.

The best they are doing now is predictably calling him racist and that he is a joke.  Having stayed at the Trump Soho last month I can report that there is no race boycott at that hotel and many of the guests were African-American, most of the entertainment at the hotel were too.

Trump’s blatant sexism and snide off the cuff remarks aren’t motivated by religion. I don’t think he’d really care about a lazy abortion or two with his shagging record or to beg and bully any mistress to actually have an abortion if the need arose so I think he’s just genuinely repulsive in a way that you would get in New Zealand if you crossed Bob Jones with Winston Peters if New Zealand had a Presidential race.

That though makes him genuine and dare I say it from polls currently and what I saw on the good ship USA Iowa with slogans such as “illegal immigrants get better healthcare than Veterans”, “the silent majority are not silent anymore” – fast becoming in a diverse land still ruled by middle America, highly electable.

Just when you thought that Trump couldn’t get any more theatrical he insists like a Commander on leaving the ship first for his waiting limousine, stopping right in front of the protesters and smiling and waving at them.

It is enough to make the left wingers and professional protesters who forget what they are actually angry about, spit out their Taco Bell.  Which is why Trump should always be welcome in this Presidential campaign and why it is not the worst thing in the world if he ends up as President.


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Kiwiblog to report on Trump rally

September 15th, 2015 at 5:25 pm by David Farrar

I’ve managed to get a ticket to the next Donald Trump rally. It is on board the Battleship USS Iowa, so should be a doozy.

A Kiwiblog Foreign Correspondent has been dispatched to the event, and will blog on it here.


The Iranian Nuclear Deal

September 12th, 2015 at 4:52 pm by kiwi in america

On July 14th the Obama Administration announced that an agreement (known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) had been reached with the Iranians regarding their nuclear programme. It was sold heavily by Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama as a good deal that will constrain Iran’s nuclear ambition and bring ‘peace in our time’. The deal was quickly ratified by the UN Security Council but faced a rockier road in the US Congress.

The US Constitution (Article 2, Section 2, Clause 2) states that all foreign treaties must be ratified by a 2/3rds majority of the Senate. With Republican control of the Senate, that would have been a hard ask. Obama decided to deal with the Iranian agreement the same way as he dealt with his immigration reform, do an end run around Congress where both Houses are controlled by his opponents. Obama announced that the Iranian agreement would be promulgated by Executive Order only. His Administration can also unilaterally refuse to enforce the sanctions without Congressional approval; all else to do with the deal does not have the force of a formal treaty which means that an incoming new President in January 2017 can merely rescind the order and the US side of the deal would collapse.

To overcome the legitimate objection that this hugely important agreement was going to be rammed through bypassing the usual constitutional treaty ratification process and at least give the impression of SOME consultation with the Senate, Obama agreed to submit the JCPOA to a process negotiated with both parties in the Senate. The agreed upon process was passed into law called the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, often called in the US the Corker – Menendez – Cardin law (after the Republican and Democrat senators who sponsored the bill). The Senate would get the chance to review the agreement but the Constitutional approval process was turned on its head stating that the agreement would be deemed to be approved by Congress unless effectively 2/3rds of the Senate vote against it.

For the opponents of the agreement, the Corker law erected a very high barrier because of the other Senate procedures and Constitutional checks and balances. In order for the Senate to even pass a Motion of Disapproval, opponents must first muster 60 Senate votes to overcome the Minority Democrats likely filibuster. Republicans would need to be unified and get 6 Democrat Senators to defect to get the 60 Senate votes needed to defeat a filibuster which would send the Motion to President Obama for his signature. Obama has already announced he would veto it and to override a Presidential veto, you need a 2/3rds majority in both Houses of Congress. Whilst a number of high profile Democrat senators announced their opposition to the deal (including likely new Democrat Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer of New York), last week Obama secured the support of the 34th Senator in favour of the deal thus ensuring his veto would be sustained in the Senate. Today (Friday 11 September) the House voted 269 to 162 to reject the deal, a margin of 107 which included 25 Democrat defections. However Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat House Minority Leader, says she has at least 150 Democrats who will vote against a veto override meaning the House would fall short of a veto.

On Tuesday 8 September, Administration officials announced that 41 Democrat Senators had announced support for the deal making it possible for Senate Democrats to block via filibuster the Motion of Disapproval obviating even the need for President Obama’s veto. As of right now, Republicans are toying with a series of amendments to the agreement that encapsulate the most egregious and unpopular aspects to force Senate and House Democrats into a series of embarrassing votes in favour of the worst aspects of the deal. This tactic worked a few months ago with a child trafficking bill that Democrats tried to add abortion funding amendments to and then tried to filibuster the whole law. In the end, the threat of filibuster was withdrawn. But even if the GOP succeed in having the Senate Democrats withdraw their filibuster of the Motion of Disapproval enabling it to pass, Obama will still veto it.

It is important to note that the JCPOA is very unpopular amongst the US voting public. All reputable independent polls conducted by the large polling companies (as opposed to pro deal lobby group polls) point to an almost 2:1 opposition to the deal with a recent Pew poll putting support for the deal at barely 21%. This post examines the reasons for this opposition and why, in my opinion, it is a bad deal.

Iran is not a trustworthy player

Since the overthrow of the Shah in 1979 and the ascension to power of the Islamic mullahs, Iran has conducted numerous of acts of aggression against enemies of its Islamic fundamentalist ideals beginning of course with the 444 day captivity of all but six of the staff of the US Embassy in Tehran.

Iran has been an aggressive funder of, and provider of weapons for, Islamic terror groups across the Middle East including Hezbollah in Lebanon (who provoked a war with Israel in 2006, who massacred 241 US Marines in 1982 and assassinated numerous Druze and Christian politicians in Lebanon), Hamas in Gaza (whose indiscriminate shooting of rockets into Israel has led to three Gaza wars with Israel), Houthi rebels in Yemen (recently overthrowing the Yemeni government) and a number of attacks on Israeli or Jewish targets around the globe with the most devastating attacks being in Argentina.

Iran engaged in an 8 year long war with Iraq (then seen more as a US proxy) with overall casualties topping 1 million. After the US led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Quds forces acted to foment Shia on Sunni sectarian violence in Iraq that was not quelled until the Petraeus led surge of US troops in 2007.

Iran cannot be considered as anything other than an extremist repressive theocracy. There are no free elections, no trade unions, no free press, an extensive and brutal secret police to stamp out opposition, woman are subservient as Islamic laws that treat them as second class citizens are enforced and homosexuals are routinely beaten, hung or thrown from high buildings [correction: Iran has hung over 4,000 gays since 1979 according to gar rights groups – throwing gays from buildings is a hallmark of ISIS].

The whole purpose of the JCPOA arose from the long efforts of the Iranians to build a nuclear weapons capability. The entire sanctions regime that was under review was imposed on Iran because it continued to develop this capability in spite of UN Security Council resolutions and the original opposition of the US and its allies.

Disappearing red lines

The US entered these talks with a number of so-called red or bottom lines. As the negotiations wore on in Geneva, the US progressively caved on each red line:

* The closing down and dismantling of the underground facility at Fordow. Now Fordow can continue to operate with nothing more than ineffectual Russian oversight.

* Inspections were initially going to be “anywhere – anytime”. These have been negotiated away to a farcical regime that gives the Iranians the ability to effectively police themselves.

Toothless inspections regime

The Bush Administration’s sanctions, its action to depose Saddam Hussein in Iraq then the IAEA’s (International Atomic Energy Agency – the UN’s nuclear inspection agency) inspections regime in Libya effectively brought an end to Muammar Gaddafi’s nuclear ambitions. Here was a peaceful precedent as to how to snuff out of a nascent nuclear weapons programme. But for it to work, any inspections regime must have teeth. With regards to inspections, there are three types of nuclear sites in Iran:

1st – Known nuclear sites. Policing of these sites will be more rigorous under the JCPOA. For this reason, the Iranians will migrate the weaponisation programme from these heavily policed sites (that are the most talked about) to secondary sites. These known sites are where the Iranians will very publicly reduce the numbers of centrifuges to give the impression of freezing their nuclear programme.

2nd – Secondary suspicious sites. It is activity at these sites where the scope for Iranian flouting of the JCPOA will first occur. The regime for inspecting these sites is frankly pathetic. The IAEA, the US and allies have long suspected the facility at Parchin to be a nuclear weapons development site. But in a secret side deal between the Iranians and the IAEA (that the Obama Administration refuses to show to Congress), the Iranians are allowed to monitor themselves at Parchin. This side agreement specifically makes Parchin off limits to US inspectors. No wonder Kerry and Obama wanted to keep Congress from seeing it.

3rd – Unknown sites. The Iranians will cheat the most at small unknown sites. The inspections regime makes finding suspicious activity at these sites all but impossible. If suspicion arises, the IAEA must first provide evidence to a P5 + EU committee which must approve of inspections (this will take months and the Russians and Chinese will delay and object) and only if the committee agrees, THEN the Iranians will be given 24 days warning of a formal inspection; enough time to clean up any nuclear material despite claims of technology to find even cleaned up sites. According to former IAEA inspector Ari Knownen, the chance of catching Iranian breaches of the JCPOA at these sites is zero.

JCPOA merely attempts to freeze capability not dismantle it

The Agreement makes no genuine attempt at dismantling Iran’s nuclear bomb development. It temporarily forces Iran to give up only SOME of its infrastructure for 10 years only to give it back after 10 years. The best example of this is the Arak Heavy Water facility. Heavy water only has ONE use – inside a nuclear bomb. Furthermore, there is no evidence of any extensive civilian nuclear power infrastructure (the claimed purpose of the nuclear programme).

Has the Iranian regime been required to halt research and development of the faster centrifuges that will enable it to break out to a bomb more rapidly than is the case right now? Answer: No. The deal specifically legitimizes ongoing R&D under certain eroding limitations. Iran can commence testing on the fast IR-8 single centrifuge machines as soon as the deal goes into effect and can commence testing on an additional thirty IR 6 and IR 8 centrifuges in 8½ years’ time enabling it to race to the bomb even faster.

Snap back provisions weak and ineffectual

Assuming that the IAEA IS able to detect Iranian breaches of the JCPOA what then? The entire sanctions infrastructure will have been shredded with almost no ability to effectively re-implement them for any Iranian bad behaviour. The so-called snap back provisions are far from that. It took many years to set in motion the sanctions. Whilst the US Congress could quickly re-impose restrictions on the flow of funds through US banks, without buy-in from the EU countries and Russia and China (two countries who opposed sanctions in the first place and sought ways to circumvent them), there would not be nearly the same deleterious effect on the Iranian economy from what the JCPOA proposes would happen in the unlikely event that Iranian subterfuge is caught by the severely weakened inspections regime that Obama’s people caved on.

‘Signing bonus’ of $100 billion in sanctions relief + bonuses Iran never asked for

The agreement gradually lifts the sanctions that had progressively become quite draconian and had severely constrained Iranian economic activity. Indeed the sanctions can be credited for bringing Iran to the negotiating table in the first place. The JCPOA provides for a massive $100 billion shot in the arm to the regime in the form of front end sanctions relief – a so-called signing bonus. The Iranians would like to have the west believe that this money will be spent on domestic improvements and infrastructure. A short examination of Iranian foreign policy tells us that plenty of this money will be spent by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (the elite fanatical well trained and armed special force that is Iran’s primary method of exporting terror) to further arm Iran’s Shi’ite proxies in Lebanon, the West Bank, Yemen and Gaza. Where else does Hezbollah get its huge arsenal of rockets to fire into Israel and Hamas to build its terror tunnels and its own arsenal of Israel bound rockets? The IRG will also continue to prop up the Assad regime in Syria and its own vicious civil war with ISIS.

The JCPOA will effectively fund a new round of Iranian sponsored terror in the Middle East further corrupting any hope of a proper democracy in Lebanon, any peace in Syria and significantly increasing the likelihood of Hamas and/or Hezbollah provoking another war with Israel.

Obama was so desperate to do the deal that Iran got other bonuses it didn’t even initially ask for.  First, it got the P5 to lift the ban on conventional weapons. This means that the signing bonus money can be spent on perfecting medium to long range conventional missiles that can threaten not just Israel but Europe (and beyond) as well. And you can plan on any accelerated development of Iranian missile delivery of conventional warheads to have cross over applicability to its parallel pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Second, Iran got a guarantee from sabotage of its nuclear programme. It’s not sufficient that the US gave away its “anywhere anytime” inspections goal, the agreement requires the P5 to protect the arrangement from external manipulation. Quite what that will mean in reality is hard to specify because the agreement is silent on how this obligation would be fulfilled. Will for instance the US be now required to prevent Israel from sabotaging Iranian nuclear facilities (like the joint US-Israeli Suxtnet virus that set back Iran’s programme several years)? How far would the US go in this matter? All the way to militarily preventing an Israeli strike?

But don’t the P5 and a lot of US and Israeli former military and intelligence staff support the JCPOA?

Britain will do whatever Obama asks. Germany wants to appear to be all in for peace meanwhile France and China are chomping at the bit to do business with Iran (indeed both countries have been at the forefront of sanctions circumvention) and as for Russia, they want to increase their trade and influence in the region and care nothing for the fate of Israel.

A war of words has erupted in the US between different groups of retired military and intelligence officers. In terms of the sheer number and quality, the signatories of those opposed to the deal far outweigh the numbers and previous rank/experience of those who support the deal.

The same is even truer in Israel. The left leaning western media are anxious to appease Iran (as they were to appease Hitler in hailing Chamberlain’s Munich Agreement as a breakthrough) and have found a small handful of retired Israeli intelligence officers who support the deal. Israeli politics is fiercely partisan with vocal proponents of the left and right and their supporting newspapers and other media. Unique in this country of constant, loud even brutal partisan political confrontation is the unanimity among the major Israeli political parties especially now from the left leaning Zionist Union coalition led by Isaac Hertzog (who initially supported the negotiations and campaigned against Netanyahu’s bold attempt to sway the US Congress by his personal appearance). Hertzog’s view of the deal is now the same as the right leaning Likud Party, its high profile PM Netanyahu and its coalition partners. Similarly, all recent opinion polls in Israel put public opposition to the deal at around 80%.

 The future

I see four important likely outcomes (assuming the Motion either fails to pass or, if passed, is vetoed and the veto is sustained):

1 – Almost all Republican candidates vying for their party’s nomination for the 2016 US Presidential elections have committed to rescind the Agreement by Executive Order. Because the agreement was not enacted by the normal treaty process but by Executive Order, it lacks the formal status of a treaty, and if rescinded by the same process, it would thus no longer be binding on the US. Only Donald Trump seems to be advocating for some modification to the JCPOA as opposed to the outright rescission proposed by the next highest polling candidates.

2 – Conventional war with Israel is more likely given that the sanctions thaw and signing bonus will have the effect of significantly ramping up Iranian arming of its anti-Israel proxies; an outcome ironically admitted to by key Obama Administration officials such as Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice.

3 – A nuclear arms race will commence in earnest in the world’s most dangerous region. The Saudis may have been temporarily placated by the promise of more US arms and military aid but as the prominent Sunni Arab nation, it will not stand by idly and allow Shi’ite Iran to ramp up its regional hegemony with a nuclear bomb. Egypt, as the next largest Arab nation, will likely follow suit as may the Kuwaitis.

4 – Israel will not allow Iran to go nuclear. Because this deal makes that possibility MORE not less likely, so the likelihood of an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities is now more likely especially if a Republican President is elected in 2016. Remember that Israel has its high profile prior form on this matter. In June 1986, the Israeli Air force destroyed Iraq’s fledgling nuclear bomb development programme at Osirak. They did the same to Syria’s similar attempt (assisted by North Korea) at Al Kibar in September 2007. Unlike many in the west who brush off the steady stream of annihilation rhetoric from Iran’s leaders as domestic political puffery, the Israelis remember similar dismissal of long published Nazi Jewish extermination goals and have vowed “never again”. Netanyahu has reiterated the threat of an Israeli military strike in the event that Iran ‘breaks out’ on more than one occasion. On matters like this, it would pay to take the Israelis at their word!

Few recall Obama’s campaign promise in 2007 to negotiate with Iran without conditions; a policy that, at the time, placed him to the left of even his Democrat rivals. With his showcase domestic reform (Obamacare) faltering and proving to be both costly and unpopular, with his presiding over the most devastating electoral losses for his party at the national and state level in over 70 years, after a raft of shambolic foreign policy catastrophes (Syria – need I say any more), Obama was hungry for a legacy building showpiece achievement. John Kerry’s appeasing instincts were on display soon after he returned from active duty in Vietnam so he made the perfect negotiator for Obama. After Obama ignored his Syrian red line over chemical weapons, stood by idly as the Russians took the Crimea and allowed militia incursions into Ukraine and ramped up the rhetoric against Israel, the Mullahs in Tehran knew they were dealing with a weak, pacifist dilettante anxious to sign any big agreement with them. The US gave away pretty much all its previous bottom lines and prostrated itself before the savvy Iranian negotiators in Geneva and have effectively given Iran a green light to obtain nuclear weapons AND arm their global terrorism activities for a generation. And for this I’m sure Obama and Kerry will be awarded a Nobel Peace prize such is the inverted world we now live in!

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Reporter covering Walker signed petition to sack him!

September 11th, 2015 at 7:14 am by David Farrar

The American Mirror reports:

A Gannett reporter who writes for both the Appleton Post-Crescent and USA Today covering local and Wisconsin politics, including Gov. Scott Walker’s presidential bid, signed a petition in 2011 to recall Walker from office.

Madeleine Behr is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Madison, and she wrote for a number of publications before joining Gannett earlier this year.

Her first story for the Post-Crescentappeared online on July 2, and since thenshe’s published 35 stories, including four that focus on Walker’s presidential bid, and others that cover the political aspirations and maneuvers of high profile Democratic candidates.

Another example of why trust in media is so low.  But she is hardly alone:

In 2012, then-Post-Crescent publisher Genia Lovett disclosed that 25 Gannett journalists, including nine at the Post-Crescent, signed Walker recall petitions

This was not a meaningless petition. It was a petition to sack the Governor that forced a recall election.


Little can shake Trump supporters

September 10th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

An interesting focus group of Donald trump supporters:

 “Nothing disqualifies Trump.”

That was the takeaway of Frank Luntz, the public opinion guru, after leading a focus group Monday night of supporters of Donald Trump’s Republican presidential campaign.

For two and a half hours, Luntz quizzed a group of current and past ardent Trump fans about their views on the businessman. He discussed the candidate’s past liberal stances and played past video of Trump saying provocative things about women. Yet when the focus group was over, not a single person who was planning to vote for him said they had changed their mind.

At one point, Luntz bolted from the room with the focus group to make sure the handful of reporters observing on the other side of the glass understood how big of a deal this was. “My legs are shaking,” he admitted.

“This is absolutely for real,” Luntz said of the intense and loyal support for Trump. “And he is not going away. And he is as strong as every survey shows. All those people who think he’s going to implode have not sat and talked to these voters the way that they should have.”

This is very interesting. It suggests that Trump’s support is locked in and nothing short of a monumental disaster will shake his supporters.

Yet the one thing nearly everybody took issue with was Trump’s past comments questioning former prisoner of war John McCain’s heroism.

“His statement about John McCain, that rubbed me the wrong way,” said one man.

But most signaled they are willing to look past it.

“He’s done some good things,” said a man. “The only real negative I had was his P.O.W comments. Everybody makes comments. You can’t judge his entire candidacy on a comment he made probably on the top his head.”

All this means the rules of politics don’t seem to apply to Trump. Things that would probably damage — or end — other campaigns don’t dent Trump at all.


I thought the McCain comments would kill him. I was wrong. They didn’t like it but they are not letting his comments change their support.

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Clinton struggling in New Hampshire

September 8th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

An NBC poll in New Hampshire finds:

  • Sanders 49% (+15% from July)
  • Clinton 38% (-9%)
  • Clinton Net Favourability -24% (all voters)
  • Sanders Net Favourability +13%
  • Jeb Bush Net Favourability -17%
  • Donald Trump Net Favourability -25%

And in general election matchups:

  • Bush 48% Clinton 43%
  • Trump 45% Clinton 46%

Trump leads Clinton for the first time

September 6th, 2015 at 8:05 am by David Farrar

The Hill reports:

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump leads Democrat Hillary Clinton head-to-head, according to a new poll released Friday.
The poll by SurveyUSA finds that matched up directly, Trump garners 45 percent to Clinton’s 40 percent.
In other head-to-head matchups, Trump beats out Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) by 44 percent to 40 percent; Vice President Joe Biden by 44 percent to 42 percent; and former Vice President Al Gore by 44 percent to 41 percent.
Trump’s surge past Clinton marks a dramatic turnaround in the polls.
A CNN/ORC sampling of national voters in late June — just days after Trump entered the race — found that 59 percent supported Clinton to 34 percent picking Trump in a head-to-head race.
So Trump is up 11% and Clinton down 15%. A huge swing.
Polls at this early stage aren’t generally that important. It is still highly likely Clinton will be the Democartic nominee and highly unlikely Trump will be the Republican nominee.
However momentum is important, and this Shows Trump has it and Clinton going backwards. A major argument against Trump is he could not win the general election. A few more polls like this, and that conventional wisdom will go the same way as all the other conventional wisdom Trump has smashed.
The demographic breakdowns are interesting:
  • Men – Trump +15%
  • Women – Clinton +5%
  • Under 35s – Clinton +19%
  • 35 to 49 – Trump +12%
  • 50 to 64 – Trump +15%
  • 65+ – Trump +17%
  • Whites – Trump +17%
  • Blacks – Clinton +34%
  • Hispanics – Clinton +19%
  • Asians – Trump +2%
  • Independents – Trump +13%
  • Moderates – Trump +4%
  • North East – Clinton +4%
  • Mod West – Trump +18%
  • South – Trump +6%
  • West – Clinton +2%
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A defiant county clerk

September 2nd, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

USA Today reports:

Defying the Supreme Court, a county clerk says she was acting under “God’s authority” Tuesday while continuing to deny marriage licenses to gay couples, whose lawyers asked a federal judge to hold her in contempt of court.

The Supreme Court refused Monday to allow Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis’ office to deny the licenses because of her religious beliefs. However, on Tuesday morning, she turned away at least four couples.

“To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience,” Davis said in a statement on the website of her lawyers, Orlando-based Liberty Counsel. “It is not a light issue for me. It is a Heaven or Hell decision. For me, it is a decision of obedience.”

Yet Ms Davis herself is on her fourth marriage!

But her detractors mock her moral stand, noting that Davis was married and divorced three times before marrying her fourth husband.

Pretty sure God says divorce is wrong also.

Davis won her $80,000-a-year office in November, running as a Democrat, and succeeded her mother who served as county clerk for 37 years, according to The Morehead News.

County Clerks don’t get to decide which laws they obey.  Her job is to implement the law, not to place herself above it.

Later in the morning, lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union filed two motions in U.S. District Court to hold Davis in contempt of court and compel her to start issuing marriage licenses again to those who apply. They want her to be severely fined, not jailed.

Maybe an $80,000 fine to match the $80,000 salary she is paid.

Regardless of your view on same sex marriage, it is the job of public officials to uphold the law.


A wall to keep the Canadians out also!

September 1st, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Guardian reports:

The Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker said on Sunday that building a wall on the US northern border with Canada was “a legitimate issue for us to look at”.

Asked in an interview on NBC if he wanted to build a wall on the Canadian border, the Wisconsin governor cited his experience talking to voters “including some law enforcement folks” in New Hampshire, an early voting state in the Republican primaries. Such people, he said, were concerned about terrorists potentially crossing over from Canada.

“They raised some very legitimate concerns, including some law enforcement folks that brought that up to me at one of our town hall meetings about a week and a half ago,” Walker said. “So that is a legitimate issue for us to look at.”

So a 2000 km long wall on the southern border and one of the same size on the northern border.

But what about the east and west coast? Terrorists could come in by boat.I think they need a 100 metre high wall along both coasts.

New Zealand may have to look at this also. We have no wall preventing Australian terrorists crossing over the Tasman Sea by boat.


Sanders closing on Clinton in Iowa

August 31st, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Washington Post reports:

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s once-commanding lead in Iowa has shrunk to just seven percentage points, while Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has surged in the state whose caucuses will kick off the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, according to a poll released Saturday evening.

The Des Moines Register-Bloomberg Politics poll, considered the gold standard of Iowa surveys, found Clinton with the support of 37 percent of likely Democratic caucus-goers, followed by Sanders at 30 percent.

There is little doubt that Clinton’s campaign is in trouble, and that she is inspiring Democrats.

However that does not mean she will not win the nomination. She almost certainly will. It is more about how much damage she takes along the way.

It’s not good when the most left wing Senator in the United States is only 7% behind you. In May she led him by 40%.

What is interesting is the net favourabilities (with Iowa Democrats) for the three possible contenders:

  • Biden +65%
  • Clinton +58%
  • Sanders +67%

Obama by the way is +79%.

If you look just at those who are strongly favourable, and strongly unfavourable the net differences are:

  • Obama +39%
  • Biden +23%
  • Clinton +18%
  • Sanders +35%

Sanders supporters are more excited about him.

Sanders is also leading the polls in New Hampshire by 3%. So he could win both Iowa (1 February) and new Hampshire (9 February).

However after that it is Nevada and South Carolina, where Clinton should romp home. Sanders has little support outside a small geographic area. However the danger to Clinton is that if he wins Iowa and New Hampshire, the media attention he’ll get might move others towards him.

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Was Flanagan mad or bad or both?

August 28th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports on killer Vester Flanagan:

Flanagan, 41, clashed repeatedly with photojournalists, belittling them in public and intimidating them with his violent temper, according to internal reports.

He was also censured for wearing an Obama sticker while recording a segment at a polling booth during the 2012 US Presidential Election – a clear breach of journalistic impartiality.

The complaints are outlined in court papers that include a scathing performance review carried out prior to his termination in February 2013.

The station filed the documents to rebutt a wrongful termination claim which he had brought, claiming he was the victim of discrimination because he was black and gay. The station won the case.

It’s an awful case. Any killing of innocents is terrible, but one live on air and them promoted on social media is so chilling.

Whether it was just a workplace killing, or also a political agenda is hard to work out.

Flanagan also claimed he was assaulted by a photographer, subjected to a hostile working environment and wrongfully terminated.

He demanded a jury comprised entirely of African American women and independent investigations by the FBI and Justice Department.

He seemed to be someone who blamed his failings on racial discrimination, and it seems became a racist himself:

In a 23-page “manifesto” letter sent to ABC News two hours after the shooting, Flanagan claimed the Charleston, South Carolina church shooting earlier this year was the final straw that prompted him to buy a gun.

So it was partly revenge for that. How very sad.

I saw a tweet on Twitter that reported that in ever single week of 2015, there has been multiple mass (4+) shootings in the US. 247 mass shootings over 238 days.


How to go up in the polls

August 27th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

This will send Donald Trump even higher in the polls.


Krauthammer on immigration

August 24th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Charles Krauthammer is arguably the most powerful conservative writer in the US. He writes on Trump and immigration:

For years, immigration has been the subject of near-constant, often bitter argument within the GOP. But it is true that Trump has brought the debate to a new place — first, with hisannouncement speech, about whether Mexican migrants are really rapists, and now with the somewhat more nuanced Trump plan.

Much of it — visa tracking, E-Verify, withholding funds from sanctuary cities — predates Trump. Even building the Great Wall is not particularly new. (I, for one, have been advocating that in this space since 2006.) Dominating the discussion, however, are his two policy innovations: (a) abolition of birthright citizenship and (b) mass deportation.

Abolishing a right to citizenship is no small thing:

If you are born in the United States, you are an American citizen. So says the 14th Amendment. Barring some esoteric and radically new jurisprudence, abolition would require amending the Constitution. Which would take years and great political effort. And make the GOP anathema to Hispanic Americans for a generation.

It would never ever happen. No Congress would approve such a change, let alone by two thirds majority. And You would not get 38 states to ratify it. I doubt you would get five.

And for what? Birthright citizenship is a symptom, not a cause. If you regain control of the border, the number of birthright babies fades to insignificance. The time and energy it would take to amend the Constitution are far more usefully deployed securing the border.

That is right.

Last Sunday, Trump told NBC’s Chuck Todd that all illegal immigrants must leave the country. Although once they’ve been kicked out, we will let “the good ones” back in.

 On its own terms, this is crackpot. Wouldn’t you save a lot just on Mayflower moving costs if you chose the “good ones” first — before sending SWAT teams to turf families out of their homes, loading them on buses and dumping them on the other side of the Rio Grande?

A good point.

Less frivolously, it is estimated by the conservative American Action Forumthat mass deportation would take about 20 years and cost about $500 billionfor all the police, judges, lawyers and enforcement agents — and bus drivers! — needed to expel 11 million people.

That is a sum of money greater than NZ’s GDP.

This would all be merely ridiculous if it weren’t morally obscene. Forcibly evict 11 million people from their homes? It can’t happen. It shouldn’t happen. And, of course, it won’t ever happen.

A mass deportation of 11 million people, some of whom were citizens, would bring back memories of Europe in the 1930s.

But because it’s the view of the Republican front-runner, every other candidate is now required to react. So instead of debating border security, guest-worker programs and sanctuary cities — where Republicans are on firm moral and political ground — they are forced into a debate about a repulsive fantasy.

Trump is Hillary Clinton’s best friend. As doubts about her grow, he is destroying the ability of the Republican party to win the electoral college in 2016.

Donald Trump has every right to advance his ideas. He is not to be begrudged his masterly showmanship, his relentless candor or his polling success. I strongly oppose the idea of ostracizing anyone from the GOP or the conservative movement. On whose authority? Let the people decide.

But that is not to say that he should be exempt from normal scrutiny or from consideration of the effect of his candidacy on conservatism’s future. If you are a conservative alarmed at the country’s direction and committed to retaking the White House, you should be concerned about what Trump’s ascendancy is doing to the chances of that happening.

Ironically Trump’s antics may help Marco Rubio win the nomination, as he may be the only candidate who could stop the Latino vote going the same way as the African-American vote – 90% Democrat.

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Vive la US military

August 23rd, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

US servicemen overpowered a gunman armed with a Kalashnikov who opened fire on a high-speed train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris.

Vive le US military.

As I understand it, they were unarmed, and took him on.

The gunman had a Kalashnikov, an automatic pistol and a box cutter, one police source said.

The suspect, who was arrested when the train stopped at the northern French town of Arras, was a 26-year-old from Morocco or of Moroccan origin who was known to the intelligence services, French investigators said.

So much for claims it might not be a terrorist attack.

“Then the man, who was bare-chested, returned to carriage 12 and someone in a green T-shirt, with a shaved head, saw him and jumped on him and pinned him to the ground.”

Only pinned him? Somewhat disappointing.


A bit more than pin him according to USA Today:

“As he was cocking it to shoot it, Alek just yells, ‘Spencer, go!’ And Spencer runs down the aisle,” Sadler said. “Spencer makes first contact, he tackles the guy, Alek wrestles the gun away from him, and the gunman pulls out a box cutter and slices Spencer a few times. And the three of us beat him until he was unconscious.”

Trapped on a train, the death toll could have been scores if he hadn’t been stopped.


$175,000 per Green job

August 21st, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Washington Examiner reports:

In 2012, California voters were peppered with grandiose promises, such that they could not resist approving Proposition 39. The measure, created and backed by wealthy environmentalist Tom Steyer, sought to raise taxes on corporations and use the money to fund green energy projects in schools.

He promised it would create 11,000 new jobs each year. What could go wrong?

The NZ Greens also promote Green jobs. By that they means jobs which they think are needed, rather than jobs there is a market demand for.

Naturally, it did not work at all. On Monday, the Associated Press reported that the program has “created” just 1,700 jobs in three years — just under 600 jobs per year or roughly five percent of what was promised, at the cost of $175,000 per job.

And even if you think it is worth paying $175,000 to create a job …

Even that paltry figure fails to account for opportunity costs — i.e. jobs lost statewide because of the forced diversion of economic resources away from productive industries and toward green energy. The number of net jobs created is likely zero or less than zero, which is to say that probably a few hundred or a few thousand jobs have been destroyed so far at a cost of $300 million.



So what does Donald Trump believe?

August 20th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Washington Post has an article detailing the different positions of Donald Trump on various issues. Now these are not different positions over a couple of decades, or even a couple of years. These are different positions over just a couple of months.

They find:

  • 7 different positions on how to defeat the Islamic State
  • 6 different positions on illegal immigration
  • 6 different positions on tax reform
  • 2 different positions on the Iran deal
  • 4 different positions on Obamacare

So that’s just in the last couple of months.

Further back, and you will find he changed sides on almost all the big issues in the US.

He was a registered Democrat back in 2001.

In 1999 he was fully pro-choice for abortion. He swapped to pro-life in 2011.

In 1999 he promoted a one off extra tax of 14% of wealth to pay off the national debt.

Went from anti-drugs to advocating in 2011 they should be legalised.

In 2008 was pro free trade and in 2015 advocated for an import tax of 35%.

Was for an assault weapon ban in 2000 but now against gun control

Called for universal healthcare in 2000, now against Obamacare

Those who support Trump because they think he is conservative might get a nasty shock if he ever achieved elective office.


Birth certificate names

August 17th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The first couple to be issued a same-sex marriage license in Florida sued the state Thursday, saying that the statistics bureau still won’t allow hospitals to list both same-sex parents on birth certificates.

Cathy Pareto and Karla Arguello of Miami, who had twins last week, filed the lawsuit in court in Tallahassee, Florida. Two other married, same-sex couples also are part of the lawsuit.

In the hours after giving birth, Pareto said she and her wife were told by the hospital records manager that both of their names couldn’t be on the birth certificate.

“We went through the whole fertility process together,” Pareto said. “The whole thing has been a unified front as a married couple. To then be told I couldn’t be on my own children’s birth certificate? It was degrading.”

I presume only one of them was pregnant?

But I guess the comparison is with a heterosexual couple where say the male is infertile and they use a donor. If the male partner would get his name on the birth certificate despite no biological connection, then I’d expect the same of a female partner.


A cunning Democrat

August 17th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill writes in Politico:

It was August 7, 2012, and I was standing in my hotel room in Kansas City about to shotgun a beer for the first time in my life. I had just made the biggest gamble of my political career—a $1.7 million gamble—and it had paid off. Running for reelection to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat from Missouri, I had successfully manipulated the Republican primary so that in the general election I would face the candidate I was most likely to beat

So how did she do this?

Tom Kiley, my pollster, turned up some findings that seemed crazy to me. For example, less than one quarter of the likely Republican primary voters believed that Barack Obama had been born in the United States. These were the voters who could help tip a Republican primary to an archconservative, but that conservative would have a hard time winning the state. Yes, it was a three-way primary of equally viable candidates, but a subset of energized people with strong religious convictions and serious aversion to gay people, public schools, immigrants and reproductive choice could help elect someone like Akin.

Pollsters can be useful to not just understand your voters, and swinging voters, but also your opposition.

His extreme positions on social issues and ridiculous public statements made him anathema to many independent voters. He sponsored an amendment that would define life as beginning at conception, thereby outlawing common forms of birth control. He voted against repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” legislation. When the Affordable Care Act was being debated, he stood on the House floor and asked for God’s help in keeping the nation from “socialized medicine.” In 2008, he claimed in a House floor speech that it was “common practice” for doctors to conduct abortions on women “who were not actually pregnant.” He had made speeches calling for America to pull out of the United Nations and claiming the government had “a bunch of socialists in the Senate” and a “commie” in the White House.

So how could we maneuver Akin into the GOP driver’s seat?


Akin went on during the campaign after he claimed that women who are victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant. This not only cost him the seat, but possibly the Republicans the Senate.

Using the guidance of my campaign staff and consultants, we came up with the idea for a “dog whistle” ad, a message that was pitched in such a way that it would be heard only by a certain group of people. I told my team we needed to put Akin’s uber-conservative bona fides in an ad—and then, using reverse psychology, tell voters not to vote for him. And we needed to run the hell out of that ad.

Clever – you make him your main opponent, which makes him more attractive to Republican voters.

My consultants put together a $1.7 million plan. Four weeks out we would begin with a television ad boosting Akin, which my campaign consultant Mike Muir dubbed “A Cup of Tea.” The production costs were pretty low, about $20,000, because we didn’t have to film anything. We just used pictures and voice-overs. We would spend $750,000 at first and run it for eight or nine days. Then we’d go back into the field and test to see if it was working. If it was, we’d dump in more “McCaskill for Senate” money, and we’d add radio and more TV in St. Louis and Kansas City. The second TV buy would approach $900,000. We hoped that some of our friends watching the TV ads would catch on and some of the outside groups would augment the last week with mail and radio. Sure enough, a radio ad calling Akin “too conservative” that went on the air in the closing days of the primary was paid for by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. We would later find out that their rural radio buy was $250,000.

As it turned out, we spent more money for Todd Akin in the last two weeks of the primary than he spent on his whole primary campaign.


That’s a big call – spending almost $2 million not on promoting your own candidacy, but trying to get Republicans to rally around Akin.

But it worked. I wonder how many other candidates have spent money trying to influence the opposition primary?

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Sort of logical

August 16th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A US politician said he won’t resign after planting a fake story that he was caught having sex with a male prostitute to deflect attention from a real affair with a fellow lawmaker who is also a home-school mum.

Both lawmakers are Christian conservatives who frequently refer to their faith.

Michigan state Representative Todd Courser, a married father of four, said in an audio recording that by anonymously emailing supporters about the male prostitution allegations, he intended to create a “complete smear campaign” of false claims so that a public revelation about his relationship with state Representative Cindy Gamrat would seem “mild by comparison”.

Sorts of makes sense, except he couldn’t even smear himself properly!

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A reader writes in on the US visa case

August 11th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Some readers may have seen this article by Linda Scott, who basically compares her detention by US border authorities to Nazi Germany.

A reader writes in:

So, to sum up this article in two sentences: Ms Scott applied for a USA work visa, was denied, and then attempted to subsequently enter on a tourist visa. She then wondered why she encountered issues at the border.

Consider this: if a foreign national, say from a “third world” country applied for a work visa here, got denied, then turned up anyway at AKL saying they are now a tourist, what would the reaction be? That they are genuinely a tourist? Or attempting to get in via a “back door” and will actually be planning to work or overstay, in contravention of their tourist visa?

Having worked in the border security industry, I can guarantee that you in this situation would be answering a lot of tense questions, and would quite likely be denied entry to NZ. As Ms Scott stated, the airline transporting a passenger into a country generally is then required to transport that person back if they are refused entry. Until that happens (i.e. their next flight, which could be anywhere between 4 hours to the following week away) you would be detained in a holding cell at AKL. This is standard procedure in almost all western countries, from the UK to Canada to Australia.

As for Ms Scott saying “Osama won” in her article what I have described above has been standard practice for decades, well prior to Sept 2001.

While law enforcement in the USA is harsh (and I agree with Ms Scott I would not want to be in a US prison), I am left wondering what exactly her expectations were here upon arrival? That they wouldn’t see through her deception? That when her name came up on their computer that her failed attempt to obtain a work visa wouldn’t be there? That she wouldn’t be detained? That your cell phone wouldn’t be taken from her while a prisoner? Do she think prisoners get to keep cell phones while in custody here in New Zealand?

The article – a kind of whine about American law enforcement having the temerity to be targeting you – an educated white woman from a western country lucky enough flying premium economy… seems quite analogous, albeit in reverse to the recent article in the Huffington Post by Janis Powers complaining about her treatment at the hands of NZ Police. Janis Powers didn’t understand the laws in NZ, and neither, it seems, does Ms Scott at an international border.

My personal view is that US border security is often over the top, but as the author points out, failing to get a work visa, and then turning up on a tourist visa is not a good idea.

I recall an acquaintance who once got held by the US for six weeks because his visa had expired by a day – and he was literally crossing the border to leave into Canada! That to me is a far better example of stupid overreach by the US, than this case.

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Fiorina emerges

August 10th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Washington Post reports:

Carly Fiorina took the stage at a conservative summit here Friday to a standing ovation, her first of four. She smirked and said: “I think we kind of won last night. What do you think?”

Fiorina spent the day traveling, bouncing between television interviews, taking selfies, fielding calls from giddy supporters and trying to capi­tal­ize on her highly praised performance in a debate for lower-tier Republican presidential candidates Thursday night.

The two things that I have heard time and time again were about Donald Trump attacking Megyn Kelly, and Fiorina doing very well in the lower-tier debate.

Here on Friday afternoon, a reporter asked Fiorina why she criticized Trump for being cozy with the Clintons when she was a featured speaker at an event hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative. Fiorina’s eyes narrowed as she stared down the reporter.

“So, you really don’t understand the difference between getting a personal phone call from Bill Clinton and showing up at a conference?” she said.

A great answer.

That became the focus of an interview Fiorina did that night as a guest on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” — a show many Republicans avoid in favor of Fox News Channel appearances. Matthews asked Fiorina why she would paint a possible opponent as an all-out liar.

“I was very specific, very fact-based — actually, you were the one who has made a generalized comment about her,” Fiorina said, refusing to let Matthews cut back in while rattling off critiques of Clinton.

Some of Fiorina’s most devoted followers point to that interview as more of a success than the debate.

Clinton will be the Democratic candidate and Fiorina may be the Republican who can make the strongest case against her.

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Is the Trump candidacy a Bill Clinton masterstroke?

August 9th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

USA Today reports:

In what would have been a fascinating telephone conversation to overhear, The Washington Post reports that Donald Trump, the leader in every recent poll of GOP presidential candidates, and Bill Clinton, the 42nd president and husband to the leader of every poll of Democratic White House contenders, had a “casual chat” about politics in late May.

The Post cites “four Trump allies and one Clinton associate” who said that, in the call, Clinton encouraged the billionaire real estate developer to take on a more active role within the GOP. …

Current campaign rhetoric notwithstanding, Trump and the Clintons have been friendly in the past, as evidenced by the former first couple’s attendance at Trump’s 2005 wedding as well as past donations from Trump to Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaigns.

The major beneficiary of the Trump candidacy is Hillary Clinton. If Bill was behind Trump standing, then he is even more cunning than James Carville.


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