Colin Kaepernick. A true Patriot.

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The freedom of expression and free speech are just two of the cornerstones on which America builds it society.

Often we will hear commentators on the television telling the world one of the reasons America is ‘the greatest country in the world’ is because of their ‘freedoms’.

It would seem from the events of the past few days surrounding Colin Kaepernick that the truth is those same ‘commentators’ really mean that those cornerstones are great ‘so long as they align with me and my narrative.”

For those living under a rock Colin Kaepernick is the quarter back for the San Francisco 49ers and in the weekend he used his right of free expression and ‘speech’ to make a point during the national anthem. He did not stand up.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color, to me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Colin Kaepernick has used his freedom of expression, and freedom of speech to highlight an issue in American society where black citizens are being killed disproportionately by police officers and more often than not, those police officers are not held accountable.

Since then America has lost it’s mind because apparently this one form of free expression and speech is a step to far for many.

Donald Trump had some advice for the young professional athlete

“I think it’s a terrible thing, and you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him, let him try. It won’t happen.”

But what people seems to be missing is that if America holds onto these ‘freedoms’ as an essential part of who they are as a country, then Kaepernick is in the perfect country to make this protest, and in some other countries, who don’t have those ‘freedoms’ he couldn’t do it.

I find the American devotion to the flag to be incredibly odd. To me the US seems cult like in it’s infatuation with the importance of the flag and approach the flag in a fervor that resembles a religious experience.

It probably stems from the fact, that there is actually statutes dictating how people should address the flag.

“During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in (military) uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should render the military salute at the first note of the anthem and retain this position until the last note. When the flag is not displayed, those present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed there.”

Title 36 (section 171) of the United States Code

I look at countries like North Korea, countries where there are no ‘freedoms’, countries where a tyrannical dictator makes the rules that everyone must follow on pain of death and that is where I would expect to see legislation like the Code above, not in the land of the free.

It would seem to me you can either have a society that has rules and statutes that you must follow and if you deviate there are significant negative consequences, or you have a society where people are free to express themselves. I don’t think you can have both.

It seems that many in America want to place a North Korean ideology on Colin Kaepernick of control and expectation of a way he must act, whilst still trying to claim that the society is built and functions on some great rules for life like the right to freedom of expression and freedom of speech.

Well, which is it America?

What I guess I am saying is that because of the ‘freedoms’ that Americans hold onto as such an important part of what makes them ‘American’, then the protest against the Star Spangled Banner and the American Flag is the most American thing that Colin Kaepernick could possibly do

Reasons why Clinton, and every other Democratic supporter, must insist Sanders stay in the race

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton

So before I start this post I need to remind you of a couple of things. The first is that I publicly stated 10 months ago that Hillary Clinton would be the next President and the GOP knows it (although I did also state back then that the only person who could trip her up was Donald Trump). Also I want to reiterate that I think the best person to be President is Bernie Sanders, even more than his political ideology I think it would be a fascinating 4 years letting someone run the country who is not only outside the establishment, but also has a consistent track record of doing what is best for the people of America.

As I sit here today, over 15,000 km from the capital of the state of Vermont, I still think that Hillary Clinton will be President. I think that Trump will give her a much closer run than many did, and are yet to, give him credit for which they do at their own peril, and I have to say from my daily grind whomever wins will not change my life one iota. In saying all of that there are some very important reasons for every supporter of either Democratic candidate to insist that Bernie Sanders stay in this race right up until the convention.

The first, and most important, is that he could still win. I’ve already posted that it was improbable when he needed 57% of the remaining vote and now that he needs 66% it’s even more unlikely but it’s still not, as some are saying, mathematically over. He still has a shot to win so why should he pull out. When the Highlanders (that’s rugby for you Northern Hemisphere folk) are 20 behind with 10 minutes to go I don’t want them to walk off the field, I want them to fight for as long as the have a chance.

The second is that Hillary Clinton is currently under Federal investigation. Please don’t buy into the lie that the Clinton Campaign is feeding the media that it’s not an “investigation” but a “security inquiry.” There are currently a minimum of 12 FBI agents working full time on this case, there are important participants being given immunity to any potential charges. The FBI Director James Comey put this whole suggestion of “inquiry” to bed when asked by a reporter of this was actually an investigation. He responded by saying he was “not familiar” with the term “security inquiry” and put the nail in the coffin when pointing out that all the FBI did was investigations by saying, “it’s in our name.” So if Clinton get’s charged with anything and Sanders is not there, hello “President Trump!” Now most are saying that it will be hard to prove “intent” in this case, which means the FBI needs to prove that Clinton intended to show classified files to people who didn’t have clearance, but nonetheless the investigation is ongoing.

The third who all Democratic supporters should want Sanders to stay in the race is that if he was to bow out, then Clinton’s oxygen from the 24 hour news cycle. The main reason she is getting so much coverage at the moment is that this race continues and the GOP race is over. Once there are two candidates and the “news” media are looking for a lead who do you think they will go to? The establishment candidate who is trying to not rock the boat too much or the rodeo clown talking about chem trails? If you are a Clinton supporter, and Sanders was to bow out, your candidate will get zero coverage compared to Trump. News these days (unfortunately) is info-tainment in which Clinton might be the “info”, Trump definitely is the “tainment” and it’s the tainment that rates. Clinton gets far more oxygen whilst Sanders is still there.

The fourth reason reflects a little bit reason number two. It’s not that I think anything will be in the report, but it has just been announced that the House Report on Benghazi will be out before the conventions. Is there anything in there to hurt Clinton? Probably not but then I probably won’t be in a car crash when I next drive my car, but I still put on my seat belt. Sanders is the Democratic seat belt at the moment.

As an aside, there is potentially another “seat belt” out there at the moment who maybe the establishment is lining up should one if these scandals hit Clinton hard and that’s Joe Biden. Why else would he be coming out at this point in the political cycle telling the people of America that he would be the best President of the whole class of 2016…watch this space.

Finally to those people who are calling for Sanders to step aside because he is “doing Trump’s work” then let me ask you two questions.

  1. What do you think that Sanders has said about Clinton that Trump already doesn’t have in his barrel? What secret angle or piece of information does Sanders have that a man that would bring up Bill Clinton’s sexual past, and blame Hillary for it, doesn’t know, have or is willing to invent?
  2. Why would you support a candidate that some off the cuff remark, or opinion spoke about them, or truth be said about their record might be enough to lose this election to a maniac? That candidate doesn’t sound like a particularly strong candidate to me.

If you want to see a President that comes from the Democratic side of the isle, it’s pretty clear to me (and hopefully you now) that it is imperative that Bernie Sanders stay in the race.

 

Donald Trump finds his equal(s)

It seems Powershop has found the equal(s) of Donald Trump from within, what appears to be, the NZ Pre-School community

 

Ironically it’s not that far from the truth as the study, ‘A Readability Analysis of Campaign Speeches from the 2016 US Presidential Campaign’, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University’s Language Technologies Institute (LTI), who analysed a number of transcripts for each candidate, including campaign trail speeches, victory speeches and defeat speeches, found that Donald Trump has the vocabulary of an 11 year old.

He could be the leader of the free world, and he comes off as grumpy and difficult, but I can only assume that it’s because he hasn’t had his afternoon nap yet

It’s been confirmed, the lunatics are running the asylum

Gender_Neutral_AP_c0-66-700-474_s885x516I’ve had many people I’m connected with ask me if I am going to make any comment on laws like HB2 in North Carolina that, among other discriminatory actions, bans transgender individuals from using the bathroom they identify with.

When I was working as a talkback host, one of the most important questions I would ask my callers who had strong opinions was “then what?” The classic example I remember is about a house in Porirua that was frequented by gang members, that was occupied by a solo mum and several kids. There were calls a plenty to get them out of the state house etc…so I would ask “ok, then what?” Often people would be a bit stumped by that question so I would go on, “let’s say we get that solo mum, her kids and other associates out of that house…then what? Then where does the solo mum and her kids go now that they are on the street, or are they in another state house that might be next to you, or are they in a caravan that gets parked at the end of your driveway…then what?”

What the question did was cut through all the bullshit and rhetoric and make people look at the issue from a real world perspective. As you will probably understand some talkback callers didn’t like to be challenged to go a but deeper in their overly-simplistic ideologies.

So as soon as I saw the goings on in America, under the guise of ‘religious freedom’ laws like North Carolina’s HB2, my first reaction is “okay, then what?” What happens if a transgender woman, who was born male, uses bathroom facilities that now by law they are not allowed to use, then what? Is someone going to be standing at the door looking for evidence? Are the police going to be called if someone needs to wee? If the police are called and it’s confirmed that this woman was born male and she is sitting in the cubicle next to my wife peeing..then what?

Well one of the ‘then whats’ is that people start calling the police when they think a transgender woman is in their bathroom, the police turn up and remove that person from the bathroom even though they are female and were born female as shown in the video below.

 

She is a lesbian and dresses in what could be described as a ‘butch’ way, but she is legally entitled to be in that bathroom but as someone didn’t think she looked ‘female enough’ she was kicked out of the bathroom by the police. Madness! As an aside if she was born male the “show me some ID” cop needs to learn that you can re-apply for your driver’s license and even birth certificate and change you name and gender marker from ‘m’ to ‘f’ (as revealed in a recent ‘I am Cait’ episode) so it wouldn’t have been evidence one way or the other anyway.

A lot of this xenophobia is coming from the religious right who are using phrases like “Men should not be using the bathroom with little girls” as a way to increase the level of fear among the ignorant which then leads to situations like the video above, when a woman doesn’t look ‘womanly’ enough to someone, gets accused of being a man at birth. So it appears the law is to protect women from having to use the bathroom with men…or even people who are suspected of once being men…ok, so then what?

What about when this guy walks into the women’s bathroom

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Surely if the woman in the video above cause so much panic that the police turned up, what happens when he uses the women’s bathroom?

Well this is Michael Hughes and he is transgender, yes that means he was born a she and now laws like HB2 are forcing Michael to use women’s bathrooms…because that’s what religious freedom is all about, kicking our lesbians from the bathroom they have to use, and forcing men like Michael to use one they obviously should never be in.

Madness!

 

In a similar vein let me introduce you to Ella Giselle, she is 19 and was born male, she now, by law use the mens’ bathroom. I think that if one side of this conversation is allowed to use the “men with little girls’ scare tactic then I think it’s perfectly valid for me to ask “why you are forcing young, vulnerable women to use that bathroom with dirty, redneck truckers…are we not concerned for their safety?”

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The other more sinister side to this conversation is that what laws like HB2 allow is for a vulnerable sector of society, a sector of society that research shows over 40% attempt suicide compared to under 5% from society as a whole, to be put in a situation where they could be at their most vulnerable.

When using public restrooms the transgender individual is statistically the only one at risk of being attacked as research shows zero…that’s zero…reports of cis-gender people being harassed by transgender people using bathrooms for which they identify and, on top of that, “roughly 70% of trans people have reported being denied entrance, assaulted or harassed while trying to use a restroom,” according to a 2013 Williams Institute report.

So who is at risk with these so called bathroom laws? It’s not the ‘little girls’…it’s the transgender community.

I have a lot more to say about those who would like to bring in what I call “Yahria Law” (Christian Sharia Law) to the West, as you can imagine, when they look for ways to discriminate against minority groups within their society, but for today I wanted to highlight for you the ridiculous nature of laws like HB2 and how, to me at least, it’s now evidence that the lunatics are now running the asylum.

Bernie Sanders should get out of the race! Really???

So since Hilary Clinton won the NY Primary convincingly there has been chorus after chorus after chorus of Clinton campaigners, surrogates and supporters  calling for Bernie to drop out as it’s “mathematically impossible to win” which is both incorrect and hypocritical.

As you know from August of last year I have said that I thought Hilary Clinton would be the next President of the United States. but the rhetoric coming from the Clinton campaign is ridiculous.

So two charges aimed at Clinton supporters.

The first is that it’s mathematically impossible to win. No one is saying it’s now not improbable or unlikely for Sanders to win but impossible is a measurable statement that is pretty easy to dispute. If you don’t count super delegates, and you shouldn’t as none of them have voted yet, Bernie Sanders is currently 246 delegates behind Clinton and there are still 1668 delegates to be allocated to either Sanders of Clinton. For Sander to draw level on delegates before the convention he would need to win 957 of them to Clinton’s 711. That’s just over 57% of the remaining delegates. Improbable…but not impossible. That would then leave both candidates just over 200 delegates short of the majority needed which would then go to the super delegates. Unlikely, yes, but not impossible.

The second charge is the hypocrisy coming out of the Clinton camp. In 2008 when Hilary Clinton was running against Barack Obama, with Obama in the lead she refuse to suspend her campaign until June 7th and only when Obama had gathered enough delegates (including super delegates) to pass that majority number. Even with the delegates who have indicated they would go with Clinton (yet I say again haven’t officially cast their vote yet) she is still about 400 short of the mark. Sanders is also performing much stronger that Clinton was at the same time in 2008 when she refused to drop out.

So, whilst it seems the chips are certainly stacked against Bernie Sanders, he is very much still in the race and calling for him to get out is undemocratic, unconstitutional and hypocritical for anyone involved with the Clinton campaign.

 

Family First Distorts Facts Surrounding Venue Allowing Same-Sex Marriages

I read with interest an article on stuff.co.nz last week about Living Springs, a Christian venue in Christchurch, that has changed its position on allowing LGBTI couples to get married there. From the tenor of the article it seemed that the venue had come to this policy change in a sensible, rationale and logical way. The director, Denis Aldridge, was quoted saying, “we’ve been on a journey with this one, and we’ve got there… It took a while.”

Part of the journey involves a recent Human Rights Commission complaint against Living Springs after a lesbian couple were refused their request to hire the venue for their wedding. According to the article, Living Springs did not feel coerced by the Human Rights Commission to change their policy. In fact Elizabeth Wiltshire, one half of the couple who made the Human Rights Commission complaint, rang to speak to Aldridge after the change in policy. Wiltshire indicated that Aldridge seemed to be perfectly happy with the outcome.

“It was good, actually. I felt it was genuine. It wasn’t ‘Oh, we’ve had this unlawful policy and now you’re making us change it,’ [he was] very thankful,” she said, “It gave them a mandate to push for change.”

Fast forward one week and lobby group Family First distributes a press release headed “Function Centre Pressured to Allow Same-Sex Weddings.” The Press Release uses Living Springs as a reason to push the narrative that “Faith-based function centres” are being held hostage and forced into holding LGBTI marriages when they don’t feel they should have to. Family First also continues to make allegations that some in government said this would never happen which is factually incorrect as the opposite was clearly signalled at the time.

“If a church currently hires out their hall for money, they can’t discriminate against any group who chooses to hire out that hall.” Louisa Wall, Q&A.March 2013

I saw Family First’s Press Release on Facebook and it didn’t ring accurate to me after having read the stuff article. The change in Living Springs’ policy seemed more pragmatic than pressured. The conversation on the Facebook post ebbed and flowed between Living Springs and general negative comments about marriage equality. However anytime a contributor suggested the headline of the Press Release may be incorrect Family First director Bob McCoskrie pushed back with the idea that Living Springs “were certainly placed under pressure.”

This really didn’t add up to me, so I phoned Living Springs Director Denis Aldridge myself and requested a formal interview to use for elephantTV. It turns out Aldridge’s story is fascinating.

As a Pastor he was at the forefront of protests in Balclutha in 1986 opposing the Homosexual Law Reform Act. Since then he has been on what he describes as a “journey of thirty years”, where various people came into his life at different stages and challenged his perspective on what it means to be gay. Today Aldridge is an supporter for marriage equality. To have shifted from being someone who led the march against homosexual law reform to someone who is now ‘pro’ marriage equality is simply remarkable.

I wanted to clear up the most important claim by Family First that Living Springs was ‘pressured’ into changing their policy. Aldridge’s response was simple.

“It’s totally wrong and that didn’t come from us, that was the narrative that the guy that rung me wanted and I refuted it” he said. “The reality was [Living Springs] didn’t feel strongly that way, we’d actually come as an organisation [to the place where] we were seeing it, we believe, on a higher level and the higher level was ‘what would Jesus do?’”

Aldridge also made it clear that if they were to take what many Christians believe to be a “biblical interpretation” on marriage and reject marriage equality, then “we have to take a biblical line on re-marriage and divorced people” as well, given that the bible specifically denounces those forms of marriage.

Family First contacted Aldridge looking for comment on their change in policy prior to writing the press release and Aldridge wanted to make clear that he told Bob McCoskrie that they did not “feel coerced [into making the decision to change policy].”

“It’s actually that we have decided it’s the right thing to do” Aldridge said.

Aldridge feels as if Family First has purposely ignored their position.

”They obviously have an agenda, there’s a certain narrative that they wanted to hear and they’ve printed that narrative,” he stated.

Aldridge said they “weren’t pressured into [holding Same Sex marriages]” and they “don’t see it as capitulation.” The issue of Same Sex couples using the venue was already being spoken about at Living Springs, “we’d already had this conversation and that was the words I felt Bob [McCoskrie] was trying to put into my mouth that we were bullied into it, we answered that [we were not] but he’s gone ahead with that story anyways.”

Aldridge finished the interview with a challenge to us all, “I felt really proud of [Living Springs] in the end that we had, I suppose, the humility to say ‘well we haven’t always been right in this thing.’”

To clear up one issue with this whole thing. The law is clear, and it hasn’t changed since Same-Sex marriages were legalised. There is no ambiguity. If you hire a venue to the general public then you must abide by the Human Rights Act of 1993. This doesn’t allow discrimination in twelve main areas, one of which is ‘sexual orientation’. If you hire your venue to the general public for marriages, now that LGBTI couples can marry, then you cannot withhold the venue from them because of their sexual orientation. Prior to marriage equality, if your venue made itself available to the general public and that same LGBTI couple wanted to use it for a birthday party, or a baby dedication, or any kind of celebration that you’d hire it to any heterosexual person for, you also couldn’t refuse them because of their sexual orientation. There is no difference in the law.

I gave Family First the opportunity to retract or correct their statement about Living Springs informing them of the interview I had conducted and the information that came from that interview. They have refused to do so. It is now unequivocally clear that Living Springs were not ‘pressured’ or ‘bullied’ or ‘forced’ into making this policy change. They chose to, and were happy to change.

The full unedited interview with Denis Aldridge is below.

 

Update: 15/04/2016, 3.30pm

I’ve just been contacted by one of the people who I asked to speak to Bob McCoskrie from Family First claiming there is an inaccuracy in the post which I obviously want to correct. Bob maintains that the phrase “he declined to meet with them.” is inaccurate. Bob’s supposition is that the emails between them may be seen as a meeting and, as it was obvious that my representatives were going to support my position of challenging Family First, he felt there was no need to speak about the issue any further.

So, just to be perfectly clear, Bob did exchange emails with the people I asked to meet with him, in which he defended his position and said that there was no reason to meet.

There was no challenge to the accuracy of any of the other information I have provided in the post by either Bob McCoskrie or Family First.

What Bernie Sanders needs to do to win

Bernie Sanders has the momentum. He has won 6 primaries in a row and 7 of the last 8. Yesterday he received 80% of the millennial vote in the  Wisconsin Primary and there is a ground swell coming the likes of which American politics has never seen. With all this, it is still an uphill battle that most commemorators don’t think he will be able to climb to get that nomination for the Democratic Party to take on the Republicans in November.

He needs more

That ‘more’ comes in the Democratic Senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren who many believe will eventually come out to support Sanders but is currently keeping her powder very, very dry.

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren need to come together and announce that she would be his running mate should he be elected as the nominee. She answers many of the questions that are being asked about with Bernie Sanders including the most recent “is he a Democrat anyways?” by Hilary Clinton. Any women still sticking with Hillary Clinton because she is a woman would then also have the opportunity to take the gender difference out of the equation as both sides would be breaking the glass ceiling for women on some level.

The usual process of nominating a running mate happens in either July or August so this would be an unconventional step for the Sanders campaign to take but one needs to ask what about this Sanders campaign has been conventional to date. It could also be a risky step for Warren to take as if Sanders does not get the nomination she may well be in the wilderness in a Clinton presidency.

Sanders has the momentum, Clinton currently has the numbers but watch this space.

 

Why there is no path forward for Ted Cruz

Of the three remaining contestants in the GOP run for President, Ted Cruz is the only one with no path forward.

I used to do a radio slot where I talked to a Conservative American contributor one week, then a Progressive American contributor in the same slot the following week. I’ve stayed connected to the Conservative contributor even though it’s evident by the stone wall of silence I get from him that he now wants nothing to do with me, however I enjoy going to his page and seeing what his followers and ‘friends’ are talking about. Steve Deace is a ‘major surrogate of Ted Cruz‘, as Carly Fiorina described respondeding to a tweet he sent out claiming she “goes full vagina” during a debate introduction, and he actively tells his listeners and followers that if they support Trump they need to unfriend him Trump Deace Cruzand not listen to his radio show. I wanted to explain a bit of background to this because my comments about Cruz having no path forward is in no way support for Kasich or Trump as I have been accused of on  Deace’s Facebook page so to my American friends and readers please take this post as a perspective from outside America from someone who follows your election process religiously and can see the pros and cons from many aspects..

Ted Cruz has no path forward for three reasons. He will not get to the magical 1237 delegates before the GOP conference, he will not be the front runner when it comes to the GOP conference and he is not the candidate that the conference establishment will get behind so he is stuck in no-mans-lands.

For Ted Cruz to win the nomination before the conference he need to win about 772 of the remaining 848 delegates (or 91%) to make it to 1237 which is the number of delegates needed to become the GOP Presidential nomination so we can eliminate that as a possibility immediately.

For Cruz to become the front runner, and by that I mean leader in number of delegates, before the convention he will need to win between 60% and 70% of the remaining delegates. Even if he was awarded all the winner take all states he would still need to win about 55%-60% of all the remaining proportional delegates. These numbers are highly, highly improbable even if we just give a big win to Trump in New York, which will happen, the equation falls over for Cruz.

Finally if no one receives the 1237 delegates outright we go to a contested convention and, as we have seen in the past, these conventions are usually controlled by the party insiders whom today are referred to with disdain as the ‘party elite‘ or the ‘establishment‘. The ‘establishmenthates Ted Cruz to the core leaving John Kasich as the only candidate left for the elite to support.

So Ted Cruz won’t get 1237 delegates, he won’t be the front runner, he is not going to be the establishment choice…so what next?

The obvious answer is that there is no path forward for him, he ticks no boxes that lead to him being the nomination…apart from one. The ‘anyone but Trump’ box.

The only way that Ted Cruz could possibly become the GOP nominee for President is either John Kasich drops out making Cruz the lesser of two evils with two non-establishment candidates, or is the establishment move away from their candidate in Kasich because they think that Cruz has a better chance of beating Clinton or Sanders in November. Unfortunately for Cruz in most if not all of the head to head Presidential polls over the past few months Kasich has out performed both Trump and Cruz leaving the establishment at the convention to justifiably put forward Kasich as the most likely candidate to beat either Democratic nominee which leaves Cruz’s only chance being Kasich dropping out which looks unlikely.

Whilst you never say never in politics, it seems to me that speaking logically it is highly unlikely any of the above possibilities for Cruz above will be the scenario for him to get the nomination which leads me to believe that there is no path forward for Ted Cruz to be the Republican nominee for the 2016 Presidential Election.

Update US Election 2016. Are you about to #FeelTheBern

I said in August of 2015 that Hillary Clinton was going to walk away with this election and the GOP knew she was. I actually think in February of 2016 that is still the most likely scenario, but it’s not quite as clear cut as it was, and it’s certainly not what is best for America, but then again what is best for American may shock some Americans (unless you’re under 35).

Bernie Sanders is a septuagenarian politician who is resonating with Millennials/GenY population of the US. He is a Democratic Socialist and wants kids in American to be able to have access to free tertiary education and thinks that to have free access to health care is a human right that everyone should be entitled. He is the candidate, Democrat or Republican, who has the most consistent track record over 40 plus years of his political ideology and he would bring a revolution to the US should he get over the line and be the Democratic nominee…and there is a chance that may happen.

One of Bernie Sanders’ biggest issues is that as a ‘Democratic Socialist’ he has been tarred with a narrative from his opposition that he is un-electable, however polls are showing again and again that he is probably more electable than Hillary Clinton.

head to head

These are a series of polls by Quinnipiac University, a reputable source of polling, and shows that in a head to head race Hillary Clinton loses to 4 out of the 5 GOP candidates (even Bush who is no longer there) and only beats Donald Trump by one point whereas Sanders beats all 5 GOP candidates, two of them with double digit leads. Now ‘yes’ this is just a poll and we all know that the only poll that matters in on electron day, but the trend is showing Sanders’ support increasing and Clinton’s decreasing to a point where the votes are looking very 50/50 in most of the foreseeable primaries.

What the American population needs to understand that what this ‘far left’ oft called ‘Socialist’ candidate is promising them is what the rest of the world calls ‘business as usual’. In NZ Sanders would be on the centre-left, swinging to the left on some of his ideas, but he wouldn’t be seen as extreme in his views. In the UK it’s just been pointed out the Sanders is very much like their Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. I would like to see an interview with our ‘Right Wing’ Prime Minister asking him where he stood on some of Sanders’ ideas and you’d find that he would likely agree with a good portion of them. Say that to an American conservative voter and their head would explode.

Looking specifically at this election, the numbers are clear, that if Bernie Sanders is the Democratic nomination he is the favorite to be the next President, however the institution set up around the political world of corporate money, advertising dollars, SuperPac influence do not want Sanders to get the nod and whether he can overcome that is the biggest question. Clinton is weak in areas that appeal to the voter for Sanders, she takes money from SuperPacs, she earns from Wall Street (millions in fact from speeches she and Bill have given) and she doesn’t want to upset the apple cart with small manageable goals versus Sanders calling for a revolution. Clinton has chinks in her armor that a GOP nominee could exploit whereas they don’t have that opportunity against Sanders. She is still under a cloud with the FBI investigating here email server issue and questions around how money is being used in the Clinton Foundation, if either of those blew up during the presidential run, well I don’t want to alarm anyone, but you could well be saying “Hello President Trump.”

What both the Democrats and GOP need to understand is that, if not this election, then the reign of the institutional politician is coming to an end. If Clinton get’s over the line this time, then by the end of an 8 year reign that Millenial/GenY population will be late 20s to mid 40s and a very powerful voting block possiblly even having nominees running for President themselves.

I would love to see a President Sanders and yes I am prepared to say that whilst I think the odds are still with Clinton, the best thing for America would be to #FeelTheBern and put Sanders in the Whitehouse.

Police ramping up the hype to arm themselves

TVNZ reported tonight that the incidents of police confiscating illegal firearms is at record highs. Notice the title of the item is “Significant spike in illegally owned firearms” but the graphic we were shown demonstrates both “legal AND illegal firearms seizures” from 2010/2011 to 2014/2015.

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TVNZ Graphic on both legal and illegal firearms seized

How many of the 1504 firearms in 2014/2015 that were seized were illegal please? Surely that’s what the story is about.

We then get the voice over that confiscation of “the number of cut down shotguns has increased four fold.”

So when a media outlet doesn’t mention numbers, but goes to percentage increases it always raises a red flag with me because a four fold increase could be from one confiscation to four confiscations, or it could be from one hundred to four hundred, the devil is in the detail.

Currently the Police get about 1.7 million calls per year to their call center, from that there are 1500 firearms seized each year, of which we don’t know how many are illegal and we don’t know how many firearms are seized per call out, in other words there may be six firearms taken from one incident. But as you can see growing from roughly 1,000 firearm confiscations to 1,500 over five years out of potentially 1.7 million call outs does not support Greg O’Connors statement that “all of a sudden there’s a lot more firearms around out there.”

To their credit TVNZ does suggest that the number of call outs that involve firearms are “less than 0.5% of total recorded crime” although I wager that’s probably a little high of you think that 1,500 firearms confiscations out of 1.7 million calls is only 0.09% but I guess I can give them credit to painting the picture that this is not as dramatic as perhaps Mr. O’Conner is painting it.

Overall I am really concerned about this kind of story, it’s not actually about arming the police to me, it’s about how the media disseminates information and passes it onto us. It seems that TVNZ hasn’t asked the pertinent questions here or, if they have asked them, the Police haven’t given them the answers, either way it’s a lose for the NZ public in being informed.

It’s also completely clear now that Greg O’Connor is hell bent on arming the Police and for my part I am open to that conversation but only when all the information is on the table and the hype and hysteria about ‘four fold increases’ is turned into metrics that are open and obvious for the public of NZ to enable us to make an informed decision.