Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Rona Ambrose Speaks  

January 2017  Rona Ambrose   Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada
With the arrival of a new year comes a certain level of optimism and excitement for what lies ahead.
But troubling news has come to light that I felt compelled to share with you.   News that not only affects us, but future generations of Canadians.
Remember when Stephen Harper warned us that Justin Trudeau would let deficits spiral out of control?  The Liberals laughed!   They said it was preposterous – all they were proposing were “modest” deficits of “only” $10 billion per year.
But over the Christmas break, Finance Canada quietly released their latest long-term economic and fiscal forecast.   What’s in store for Canadian taxpayers now?  Annual budget deficits for the next quarter century.
Analysts predict the bigger deficits could lead to the collapse of our economy.   In 2015, our Conservative government proudly balanced the budget. Since then, Trudeau has implemented terrible fiscal policies.   This will culminate in $1 trillion in federal debt in the next 15 years.   And $1.5 trillion by 2050.   Not so funny now, is it?   It is often easy to disregard the content of these emails as just regular politicking, business as usual.   But this is something new.   
The seriousness of what Justin Trudeau is doing to our country can’t possibly be understated.   He is mortgaging the future of our country.   He is saddling our children, and their children, with debt.  (it has to be paid back with interest which can crowd out money needed for health-care and pensions)
Help us to bring fiscal common sense back to Ottawa.   Our Conservative policies allowed us to balance the budget in 2015.   And we had a plan to erase Canada’s debt within 25 years.   But now we’re facing generations of debt.   And for what?   Trudeau’s promised infrastructure projects are at a standstill, full-time permanent job growth is non-existent, and the economy has stalled.
I’ll be blunt: Trudeau’s plan to stimulate the economy by spending more has failed.   Canadians deserve better!   Canadians deserve a government willing to make the hard choices necessary to ensure prosperity in our economy.   We are the only party ready, willing, and able to keep Canada on track.   Support us, so we can fight to save the economy of tomorrow.
Sincerely,   Rona Ambrose,   Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada


Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Religion Plays the Role

“the presidency of Trump — and how religion does or doesn’t play a role — is expected to captivate the country in 2017.” 

The article below touches on this, that reveals why the American “big media” missed the grassroots voter surge for Trump.   Canadians were surprised at the election results, because the media, does not sympathetically report on the emotional issues at the “religious belief level”.   Trump supporters, had enough of the leftie moralizing and behavioral hypocrisy.   They held their noses and voted for Donald, as they recoiled from the government legacy.   The prospect of Hillary, meant more of the same, and the ideas of Bernie followers in her camp, sealed the deal, as voters recoiled.   Sarah writes about what really moves votes.

Here’s what we think will be the major religion stories of 2017.  By Sarah Pulliam Bailey January 3, 2017  Washington Post
The new year could be turbulent for religion in America.   Several hot-button issues — including immigration, abortion, poverty, health care, gay rights and education  —will put religion near the center of public life and debate.
But the issue that could especially flare up?   In a Trump administration, “religious freedom” is expected to either flourish — or come under attack — depending on who defines religious freedom.
In a divided, angry America, religious freedom is frequently seen through the lens of the “culture wars,” says Charles Haynes, director of the Religious Freedom Center at the Newseum.   Once Donald Trump is inaugurated, many religious conservatives will seek to rollback culture war advances made by President Obama, including on abortion rights and LGBT rights.
“For some, religious claims for exemptions and accommodations are a form of bigotry,” Haynes said.   “For others, minority religious groups — especially Muslims — are an existential threat to American traditions and values.”  
Many observers are especially watching how Trump’s relationship with Muslims in the United States and abroad will unfold after he campaigned on a pledge to ban Muslim immigrants.   In the weeks ahead of his inauguration, Trump’s advisers have issued conflicting statements about the status of his plan.   Trump’s own statements have been a mix of repeating, softening and vaguely re-endorsing a ban, so it’s unclear what might take place.
Trump’s policy on Muslims is likely the most anticipated religion story because Americans could see it as a referendum on anyone’s right to free belief, said Rashid Dar, a research assistant at the Brookings Institution.
“If the floodgates are opened to discrimination based on ideology or belief, then it threatens all Americans, who will have to ensure that they are not the next victims of policies aimed at rooting out ‘un-American’ beliefs,” Dar said.
Another major story expected early in Trump’s administration includes any changes to the Supreme Court. (in an appeal to religious conservatives, Trump promised to appoint justices who oppose abortion.)
Many of the current religious freedom battles could quickly disappear during Trump’s presidency, especially if the Affordable Care Act — the target of many religious freedom lawsuits and conflicts — is repealed, Haynes said.
Other battles may worsen, he predicts.   Many Native Americans, for example, fear that their religious freedom will suffer a significant blow if the Trump administration reverses the Obama administration and allows the Dakota Pipeline project to go forward near the Standing Rock Reservation.
Many religious conservatives think the Obama administration had overstepped on issues of religious freedom in areas such as contraceptive access under the Affordable Care Act and gay rights, especially the Supreme Court’s decision that was seen as providing sweeping protections to same-sex couples and potentially threatening the tax-exempt status of religious organizations.   Will the Trump administration now work to address these concerns?
Many states will be emboldened by the election to pursue laws that provide broad religious exemptions to same-sex marriage, and the ACLU expects more religious freedom bills than ever this year.   These cases will possibly resurrecting debates over what the government can — or can’t — compel faith organizations to do.   For instance, will business owners be required to follow anti-discrimination laws and bake a cake for a gay wedding if it violates their religious beliefs?
Other scenarios observers are considering include: Will legislators renew efforts to pass “anti-Sharia” laws and seek to limit what they see as the growing influence of Islam in America?
Will Trump fulfill his promise to end the Johnson Amendment, which prevents certain tax-exempt organizations such as churches from endorsing or opposing political candidates?   Will he quell concerns from some that academic institutions could lose federal funding over issues such as gay rights?
Will he reverse Obama’s declaration that transgender students must be allowed to use bathrooms consistent with their gender identity, a question the Supreme Court is considering?
The concept of religious freedom as protected under the First Amendment has become polarizing, but Haynes said it has one definition: Liberty of conscience for people of all faiths or of no faith.   “This should mean taking claims of conscience seriously and providing accommodations whenever possible,” Haynes said.   “And it should also mean standing up for the rights of others, including those with whom we deeply disagree.”
Other religion-related stories are expected to surface under a changing administration.   With reports of rising incidents of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism during the 2016 campaign, activists will look for ways to counter bigotry.   Will Trump’s presidency create unlikely bedfellows and spur interfaith efforts or racial reconciliation efforts? Some are less hopeful.
“Cynical me says the racial reconciliation efforts won’t happen,” says Anthea Butler, a religious studies professor at the University of Pennsylvania, who believes churches are drawing a line for or against Trump.   “I think that ship sailed a long time ago in the 1990s and things are too polarized right now.”
A conservative shift could also spur a rise of the “religious left.” For instance, some religious institutions are planning to offer sanctuary to undocumented immigrants.   Other organizations may undertake their own acts of resistance — and dozens of religious leaders, for instance, have already signed an open letter vowing to organize against bigotry.
Immigration is changing the face of religion in America. Hispanics are the fastest growing segment of the evangelical church.   They also make up a considerable portion of the Catholic Church in the United States.
“Pastors across the country view immigration not just as a political issue but as a church issue because many members of their churches are immigrants who will be significantly impacted by any changes in immigration law or policy,” said Jenny Yang, vice president of advocacy and policy at World Relief.
Policy changes in other major areas, such as health care and education, will be watched closely by religious advocates. Education activists are eyeing issues related to public education and federal funding because Trump picked Betsy DeVos as his secretary of education.   DeVos, who has deep ties to Reformed Christian circles in Michigan, favors school vouchers, a position that appears to be motivated by her Christian faith.
Christianity has been on the decline in the U.S., but religious voters such as evangelicals (26 percent) and Catholics (23 percent) made up a significant chunk of the electorate in 2016, especially compared to voters who do not affiliate with religion (15 percent).   Will Trump deliver on his promises to religiously conservative voters? Will they play a large role in his administration?
Many other religion stories this year will unfold apart from Trump’s presidency, which we will cover in news, analysis and commentary here at Acts of Faith. Globally, Protestant Christians are expected to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s “95 Theses,” the theological propositions and questions for the Catholic Church considered the spark for the Protestant Reformation.   And Pope Francis is expected to continue to shape a Catholic Church that emphasizes the marginalized.   But the presidency of Trump — and how religion does or doesn’t play a role — is expected to captivate the country in 2017.

Friday, 23 December 2016

The Christmas Story


The Christmas Story
Long ago, about 2000 years, when King Herod ruled Judea (now part of Israel), God sent the angel Gabriel to a young woman who lived in the northern town of Nazareth. The girl's name was Mary and she was engaged to marry.
The angel Gabriel said to Mary: 'Peace be with you! God has blessed you and is pleased with you.' Mary was very surprised by this and wondered what the angel meant. The angel said to her 'Don't be afraid, God has been very kind to you. You will become pregnant by the Holy Spirit and give birth to a baby boy and you will call him Jesus. He will be God's own Son and his kingdom will never end.' Mary was very afraid but she trusted God. 'Let it happen as God chooses.' she replied to the angel. Gabriel also told Mary that her cousin, Elizabeth who everyone thought was too old to have children, would have a baby boy whom God had chosen to prepare the way for Jesus.
Mary said goodbye to her family and friends and went to visit her cousin Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah. Elizabeth was very happy to see Mary. She knew that Mary had been chosen by God to be the mother of his Son. An angel had already told Zechariah that Elizabeth's baby would prepare people to welcome Jesus. He was to be called John. Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then returned home to Nazareth.
Joseph was worried when he found out that Mary was expecting a baby before their marriage had taken place. He wondered if he should put off the wedding altogether. Then an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and said: 'Don't be afraid to have Mary as your wife.' The angel explained that Mary had been chosen by God to be the mother of his Son and told Joseph that the baby would be named Jesus which means 'Saviour' because he would save people. When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel had told him to do and took Mary as his wife.
At this time, the land where Mary and Joseph lived was part of the Roman Empire. The Roman Emperor Augustus wanted to have a list of all the people in the empire, to make sure they paid their taxes. He ordered everyone to return to the town where their families originally came from, and enter their names in a register (or census) there. Mary and Joseph traveled a long way (about 70 miles) from Nazareth to Bethlehem, because that is where Joseph's family came from. Most people walked but some lucky people had a donkey to help carry the goods needed for the journey. Joseph and Mary traveled very slowly because Mary's baby was due to be born soon.
When they reached Bethlehem they had problems finding somewhere to stay. So many people had come to register their names in the census, that every house was full and every bed was taken in all of the guest rooms. The only place to stay that they could find was with the animals. People often kept animals in the house, especially at night, and used them like 'central heating'! People normally slept on a raised/upper level with the animals below to give them extra warmth.
So in the place where the animals slept, Mary gave birth to Jesus, the Son of God.
In those days it was the custom to wrap newborn babies tightly in a long cloth called 'swaddling clothes'. Jesus' bed was the manger that the animals ate their hay from.
In the hills and fields outside Bethlehem, shepherds looked after their sheep through the long night. As the new day began, suddenly an angel appeared before them and the glory of God shone around them. The shepherds were very, very scared, but the angel said, 'Don't be afraid. I have good news for you and everyone. Today in Bethlehem a Saviour has been born for you. You will find the baby lying in a manger.'.

Then many more angels appeared, lighting up the sky. The shepherds heard them praising God singing: 'Glory to God in highest, and peace to everyone on earth.' When the angels had gone the shepherds said to one another, 'Let's go to Bethlehem to see what has happened.' So the shepherds went to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph. The baby Jesus was lying in a manger as they had been told. When they saw him, they told everyone what the angel had said and everyone who heard the story were astonished. Then the shepherds returned to their sheep, praising God for sending his Son to be their Saviour.
When Jesus was born, a brand new bright star appeared in sky. Some Wise Men in faraway countries saw the star and guessed what it meant. They were very clever men that studied the stars and had read in very old writings that a new star would appear when a great king was born. They set out to find the new king and bring him gifts.
The Wise Men followed the star towards the country of Judea and when they got to the capital called Jerusalem they began to ask people: 'Where is the child who is born to be king of the Jews?' Herod, the king of Judea, heard this and it made him very angry to think that someone might be going to take his place as king. Herod sent for the Wise Men to come to him. He told them to go on following the star until they had found the baby king. He said: 'When you have found him, let me know where he is, so that I can go and worship him.'. But Herod did not tell them that he really had an evil plan in mind to kill the new king.

The Wise Men followed the star towards Bethlehem (where it said that the king would be born in the old writings). It seemed to stop and shine directly down upon the place where Jesus was.
The Wise Men entered the house where they now lived and found Jesus with Mary, they bowed down and worshipped him. The Wise Men spread the the gifts they had brought before Jesus. The gifts were gold, frankincense and myrrh. The Wise Men were warned in a dream, by God, not to go back to Herod. So they returned home to their countries in the East by a different way. 
When the Wise Men had gone, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream. 'Get up,' the angel said, 'take Jesus and Mary and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for Jesus to kill him.' So Joseph got up, took Jesus and Mary during the night they left for Egypt, where he stayed until Herod died.
When Herod realized that he had been tricked by the Wise Men, he was furious and he gave orders to kill all the boys aged two or younger in Bethlehem and the surrounding area. This was to try and kill the new King, as his plan to find the location of the new king from the Wise Men had failed.
After Herod had died, Joseph had another dream in which an angel appeared to him. The angel said, 'Get up, take Jesus and Mary and go back to Israel, for those who were trying kill Jesus are dead.'
So Joseph got up, took Jesus and Mary and they went back to Israel. But when he heard that Herod's son was now king of Judea, he was afraid to go there. So instead they went to Galilee, and lived in their old town of Nazareth.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Merry Christmas for the nation


The Trudeau Liberals are discovering that leading a nation is more than delivering platitudes and posing for selfies.

Looking over last year, the previous Conservative Government had left us a ‘balanced budget’ and an ‘economic blueprint’ to keep Canada moving forward, midst a troubled world.   Many hoped the Liberals could use this advantage and build upon it.   That hope was misplaced.

The Liberals campaigned on “Change” and “Sunny Ways.”  However, competent administrative substance is missing, and Canada is sliding down.   Looking back, we must ask if the Liberals accomplished much this year, aside from tripling the deficit, introducing another tax on everything (carbon tax), and breaking election promises.

The record reveals that the first year has been the least productive in decades.   Previous governments passed an average of 48 bills in their first year.   Following the Conservative majority, 58 bills received Royal Assent; but for the Liberals this year, the number is a mere 11.   Moreover, what should we expect from a Prime Minister who didn’t bother to show up to the House of Commons 66% of the time?   Unbelievable!   He’s managed to attend just 18 of 53 Question Periods this past session.  

Instead of facing his duty of Parliamentary accountability in the House of Commons, Trudeau spent his time jet-setting on the taxpayer’s dime.   Therefore, the expected balance of domestic and foreign attention is off base, as in some cases it was just to attend exclusive high-priced cash-for-access fundraisers.   Attendees included Chinese billionaires; one received government approval to open a bank, shortly after he spoke with Trudeau at an event.   This is a legal and ethical issue.   Trudeau tells voters not to worry.   He says his fundraisers have no sway on decisions.   If this were true, why would affluent special interests, be so willing to pay so much?

The Ethics Commissioner has expressed significant concern about these fundraising tactics, and has asked for a private review with Trudeau to deal with the situation.   The Lobbying Commissioner isn't buying the Liberal spin either.   She has opened an investigation into the matter.   Additionally, a third government officer has opened up a separate formal investigation.   The Federal Privacy Commissioner is looking into concerns, following the catastrophic launch of the “mydecomcracy.ca” survey on electoral reform.  

This poor record adds up to a sad reality.   Justin Trudeau may be good at taking selfies, but very poor at governance.   While the Liberals revert to their old tricks and ethical blindness, Conservatives remain focused on replacing them in the next election!   Help us stand up and defend Canada.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!


Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Minister Maryam Monsef


OTTAWA — Minister Maryam Monsef, who was tasked to fulfill the irresponsible election promise of Justin Trudeau, had to apologize in the Commons Chamber, after she misrepresented the report of the SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON ELECTORAL REFORM, when she accused them of shirking their duties and not making the kind of recommendations her Party wanted.

In her ‘come-down’ backtracking, she said she used words that she “deeply regrets” and in no way meant to imply committee members hadn’t worked hard or focused on the task at hand.

Opposition MPs were roused by Monsef’s dismissive response to the Committee Report, which recommended a Proportional Voting System, along with a National Referendum.

Monsef wrongly accused the Committee of failing to give a specific replacement choice, even though its mandate was to “identify and conduct a study of viable alternate voting systems to replace the first-past-the-post system.”

We recall that during the 2015 campaign, Trudeau promised that the October election would be the last to take place under the “first-past-the-post” system, which socialist critics say does not fully reflect the will of voters. 

Trudeau claimed the Committee’s job was to determine whether there was general consensus among parties on a way to move forward on electoral change.   He said there didn’t seem to be.   He was wrong.   There is a clear road, and it is through a referendum with a multiple-choice ballot that includes the option of keeping the current system.   The governments plan is to introduce legislation in the spring.

Many have said that the government should allow Canadians to decide whether or not to change the rules of their democracy, by using the most democratic method — a referendum, a vote by the people.

So, what did the Committee actually say, as compared to what the media says it recommended?




LIST OF RECOMMENDATIONS

Recommendation 1

The Committee recommends that the Government should, as it develops a new electoral system, use the Gallagher index in order to minimize the level of distortion between the popular will of the electorate and the resultant seat allocations in Parliament. The government should seek to design a system that achieves a Gallagher score of 5 or less.

Recommendation 2

The Committee recommends that, although systems of pure party lists can achieve a Gallagher score of 5 or less, they should not be considered by the Government as such systems sever the connection between voters and their MP.

Recommendation 3

The Committee recommends that mandatory voting not be implemented at this time.

Recommendation 4

The Committee recommends that online voting not be implemented at this time.

Recommendation 5

The Committee recommends that Elections Canada explore, in collaboration with relevant stakeholder groups, the use of technologies to promote greater accessibility of the vote while ensuring the overall integrity of the voting process.

Recommendation 6

The Committee recommends that the House of Commons refer the question of how to improve the accessibility of voting for Canadians with disabilities, while ensuring the overall integrity of the voting process, to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

Recommendation 7

The Committee recommends that any electoral reform seek to enhance the likelihood of improving voter turnout and to increase the possibilities for historically disenfranchised and underrepresented groups (i.e. women, persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, visible minorities, youth, and Canadians of lower economic means) to be elected. [Note that this recommendation applies to both Chapter 7 and Chapter 8]

Recommendation 8

The Committee recommends that the Government amend the Canada Elections Act to create a financial incentive (for example through reimbursement of electoral campaign expenses) for political parties to run more women candidates and move towards parity in their nominations.

Recommendation 9

The Committee recommends that, working with the provinces and territories, the Government explore ways in which youth under 18 years of age could be registered in the National Register of Electors, preferably through the school system, up to two years in advance of reaching voting age.

Recommendation 10

The Committee recommends that the Government accord Elections Canada the additional mandate, and necessary resources, to encourage greater voter participation, including through initiatives such as Civix’s Student Vote, and by better raising awareness among Canadians of existing options to vote prior to Election Day (voting at an advance poll, voting by mail, voting at any Elections Canada office).  

Recommendation 11

The Committee recommends that electoral system reform be accompanied by a comprehensive study of the effects on other aspects of Canada’s “governance ecosystem”, namely:

 the relationship between, and operations of, the legislative and executive branches of government;

 the relationship between, and operations of, the House of Commons and the Senate;

 parliamentary procedure and conventions related to government formation and dismissal;

 the impact on the operations of political parties.



Recommendation 12

Observation: The Committee acknowledges that, of those who wanted change, the overwhelming majority of testimony was in favour of proportional representation. The Committee recognizes the utility of the Gallagher Index, a tool that has been developed to measure an electoral system’s relative disproportionality between votes received and seats allotted in a legislature, as a means of assessing the proportionality of different electoral system options.

The Committee recommends that:

 The Government hold a referendum, in which the current system is on the ballot;

 That the referendum propose a proportional electoral system that achieves a Gallagher Index score of 5 or less; and

 That the Government complete the design of the alternate electoral system that is proposed on the referendum ballot prior to the start of the referendum campaign period. .

Recommendation 13

The Committee recommends that Elections Canada should produce and make available to the public materials describing any option, including maps depicting potential electoral district boundaries applicable under that option and sample ballot design, prior to the start of the referendum campaign period.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Castro Dead at 90

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz  August 13, 1926 – November 25, 2016
A lot of people died because this man used violence to seize power to become Cuba's dictator.   He did it for the same reasons that all tyrants take over, for their huge ego for power, and their twisted ideas about coercive social engineering.   He nearly facilitated a war of nuclear missiles.   He held power, through an extensive insidious network of community snitches, that fostered family betrayal, and a culture of social lies.   Evil ideas bring very bad social consequences.   Castro also exported his misery through military exploits.   There was no social redeeming value to what the Castro Regime did to Cubans.   His legacy should be sorrow for the millions he hurt.   Consequently, our Prime Minister got it very wrong.
**************************
Open Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau: Honour Castro’s Victims By Not Attending His Funeral
Lisa Raitt  MP·
Saturday, November 26, 2016
Prime Minister Trudeau,
To mark the passing of former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, you issued a statement in which you referred to Castro as a “larger than life leader” and a “legendary revolutionary” with “tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people”. You issued this statement “on behalf of all Canadians”. Not in my name, Prime Minister. Not in the name of millions of Canadians who have no love for injustice. Canada is one of the greatest free societies in the world.
As our Prime Minister, you must retract this statement and apologize immediately. To quote your statement, which Cubans do you feel have a “deep and loving affection” for Castro? The thousands of dissenters he arrested and executed? The hundreds of thousands who fled Cuba, only to be shot if they returned? The members of the LGBT community whom he had arrested and jailed? The society that he has trapped in poverty for decades? These actions can’t be ignored.
In your statement, you dismissed Castro’s crimes as simply “controversial”. They were not controversial. They were egregious crimes against humanity, and you should be ashamed to give your approval to a brutal regime that exported terror. In the coming days, you will no doubt be invited to Castro’s funeral. I urge you to decline in the strongest terms. Canada must not be seen celebrating the life of a tyrant. The eyes of Canadians are watching you. Will you stand with the millions of oppressed Cubans or side with their oppressor? 
Sincerely,
Lisa Raitt MP

Friday, 11 November 2016

We remember always, but especially on Nov 11th

Across Canada, we remember and give thanks for everyone who served, and is serving.  I have been to Vimy, and it is most special and emotional to walk those grounds.

100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge

The Government of Canada will mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge with commemorative ceremonies on April 9, 2017, at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France, the National War Memorial in Ottawa, and in major cities across the country.
The Government of Canada will take a delegation over to France and commemorative events are being prepared for France during the week of April 5 - 12, 2017. Events are tentatively planned to include the opening of the Visitor Education Centre and the signature event at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial on April 9, 2017.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Donald Trump Victory Speech Nov 2016

 
A transcript of Donald Trump's victory speech can be read below.
Thank you. Thank you very much. Sorry to keep you waiting. Complicated business. Thank you very much. I've just received a call from Secretary Clinton. She congratulated us. It's about us. On our victory. And I congratulated her and her family on a very, very hard fought campaign. She fought very hard. Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time and we owe her a major debt of gratitude to her service for our country.
Now its time for America to bind the wounds of division. We have to get together. To all Republicans and Democrats and Independents across the nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people. It's time.
I pledge to every citizen of our lands that I will be the president for the American people. For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, for which there were a few people, I'm reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so we can work together and unify our great country.
As I've said from the beginning, ours was not a campaign but rather an incredible and great movement made up of millions of hardworking American men and women who worked together to make America better for their family. It is a movement combined of all races, religions, backgrounds, and beliefs who want and expect to serve the American people and serve the people it will. Working together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding our nation while fulfilling the American dream. I've spent my entire life in business looking at the untapped potential of the American people all over the world.  
That is now what I want to do for our country. Tremendous potential. It's going to be a beautiful thing. Every single American will have the ability to realize their fullest potential. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, schools, hospitals. We will rebuild our infrastructure. Which will become second to none, and we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.
We will also finally take care of our great veterans who have been so loyal and I've gotten to know so many over this 18-month journey. The time that I have taken with them I consider among my greatest honors. We will embark upon a project of American growth and renewal. We will call upon the best and the brightest to leverage our tremendous talent to benefit all. It will happen. We will have a great economic plan. We will double our growth and build the biggest economy, anywhere in the world. At the same time we will get along with all other nations willing to get along with us.
We will have great relationships. We expect to have great great relationships. No dream is too big no challenge is too great. Nothing we want for our future is beyond our reach. America will no longer settle for anything less than the best. We must reclaim our country's destiny and dream big and bold and daring. We have to do that. We are going to dream of things for our country. Beautiful things. Successful things. Successful things once again. I wanna tell the world community that while we will deal with America's interests first, we will get along with all other nations, willing to get along with us. We will be. We will have great relationships. We expect to have great, great relationships. No dream is too big, no challenge is too great. Nothing we want for our future is beyond our reach. We will barely with anyone. All people and all other nations. We will seek common ground not hostility. Relationships not conflict.
 And now I'd like to take this moment to thank some of the people who have really helped me with this very historic victory. First, I would like to thank my parents, who are looking down on me right now. Great people. I've learned so much from them in every regard; truly great parents. My sisters, Mary Anne and Elizabeth, they're here with us tonight. They're very shy. And my brother, Robert, my great friend. My brother, Robert. And they should all be on this stage, they're so great. And also my late brother Fred, great guy, fantastic guy. Fantastic family. I was very lucky. Great, fantastic parents. To Melania and Don. And Ivanka and Eric. And Tiffany and Barron. I love you and I thank you and especially for putting with all of those hours this was tough. This political stuff is nasty and it's tough. So I want to thank my family very much. Thank you all. Thank you. And Lara, unbelievable job. Vanessa, thank you.
Unbelievable group. You've all given me such incredible support and I'd like to tell you we have a large group of people. Look at all these people. And KellyAnne. And Chris. And Rudy. And Steve. And David. We have got tremendously talented people up here and I have to tell you, it's been very special. I'd like to give a very special thanks to our former mayor Rudy Giuliani. Unbelievable. He traveled with us and he went to meetings. Rudy never changes. Rudy. Gov. Chris Christie, folks, was unbelievable. Thank you. The first man, first senator, first major, major politician. He is entirely respected in Washington because he is as smart as you'll get. Sen. Jeff Sessions. Great man. Another great man, very tough competitor. He was not easy. Oh, Rudy got up here. Another great man who has been a friend to me, but I got to know him as a competitor because he was one of the folks negotiating against those Democrats Dr. Ben Carson, get up here. Where is Ben? Where is Ben? And by the way, Mike Huckabee is here some place and he is fantastic. Gen. Mike Flynn. Where is Mike? And Gen. Kellogg. We have over 200 generals and admirals that have endorsed our campaign. And they're special people. It's truly an honor. We have 22 congressional Medal of Honor recipients we have truly tremendous people.
 A very special person who believed me, I never had a bad second with him, he is an unbelievable star. Let me tell you about Reince. I've said this. I've said Reince, I know it, I know it. Reince is a super star. But I said they can't call you a superstar Reince, unless we win. Because you can't be called a superstar — because if Secretariat came in second, Secretariat wouldn't have that beautiful bronze bust at Belmont. But I'll tell you, Reince is really a star and he is the hardest-working guy. And in a certain way I did this — where is Reince? Get him over here. Boy, oh boy, oh boy. It's about time you did this, Reince. Say a few words. Say something.
At that point, Reince Preibus (Chairman of the Republican National Committee) took the mic from Trump and said, "Ladies and gentlemen, the next President of the United States, Donald Trump. Thank you, it's been an honor, God bless, thank God."
Then Trump continued:
Amazing guy. Our partnership with the RNC was so important to the success with what we've done. So I've got to say I met some incredible people. The Secret Service people. They're tough and they're smart and they're sharp and I don't wanna mess around with them, I can tell you. And when I want to go to wave to a big group of people and they rip me down and put me down. But they are fantastic people, so I want to thank the Secret Service. And law enforcement in NYC. They're here tonight. These are spectacular people. Sometimes under appreciated but we appreciate them, honestly. With what they go through.
So. It's been what they call it a historic event, but to be really historic we have to do a great job. And I promise you I will not let you down. We will do a great job. I look very much forward to being your president. And hopefully at the end of two years or three years or four years or maybe even eight years, you will say so many of you worked so hard for us. And I can only say that while the campaign is over, our work is really just beginning. We're going to get to work immediately for the American people. And we're going to be doing a job that hopefully you'll be so proud of your president. You'll be so proud.
Again, it's been an honor. It's been an amazing evening. It's been an amazing two-year period. And I love this country. Thank you, thank you very much. Thank you to Mike Pence, thank you everybody.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

New United Nations Secretary-General

October 2016  António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres  (Portuguese)  -born 30 April 1949 is a politician and diplomat who is the designate Secretary-General of the United Nations.   Guterres was Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002.   He also served for a time as President of the Socialist International.   He was the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015.   In October 2016 the United Nations General Assembly elected him to become the next United Nations Secretary-General, succeeding the retiring Ban Ki-moon.  He takes over in January 2017.
Political career
His political career started in 1974, when he joined the Socialist Party.   Shortly thereafter, he quit his previous academic life, and became a full-time politician.   In the period following the Portuguese Carnation Revolution of 25 April 1974, which put an end to Caetano's dictatorship, Guterres was closely involved in the organization of the Socialist Party, especially the Lisbon section.   Guterres became one of the party leaders and held various offices.
His UN appointment was the result of a flawed process.   Essentially, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) find someone they can all live with.   If even one says no to a candidate, the candidate is out.   They then tell the rest of the Security Council, and ultimately the 193 states represented in U.N. General Assembly, to live with that choice.
The result is a lowest-common-denominator choice.   Someone who would not “rock the boat.” Someone who would not “spring surprises.”   In the worst case, it gives the super-pliant Kurt Waldheim (Austrian, 1986-1992) who elevated the role of the P5 (permanent five) even more.   In the best case, there is Dag Hammarskjöld (Swedish, 1953-1961) who tried to rise to the organization’s founding vision.
This time, as the search for Ban Ki-moon’s successor and the United Nation’s ninth secretary-general began, there were calls to make the process more transparent and more consultative, but in the end it was a controlled appointment.
Guterres is set to become the next United Nations Secretary-General on 1 January 2017, following his election by the UN General Assembly on 13 October 2016, based on the dictate of the 15-member UN Security Council.
The U.N. itself needs reform, especially on the Human Rights Council, so the new man has a big job for any change.   U.N. critics say that the problem has to do with the U.N. itself.   “We’re seeing very strong criticism by humanitarian workers about how U.N. agencies in Syria are effectively complicit with the regime (of Syrian President Bashar Assad) in distribution of aid,” which many fear is being used to benefit government supporters, said Hillel Neuer, executive director of U.N. Watch, a Geneva-based monitoring group.   “The secretary general is inheriting a big mess.”
The UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, this week said Russia and Syria may have committed war crimes in Aleppo.    U.N. leaders should change their rules, the commissioner said, so that permanent members of the U.N. Security Council cannot use their veto power to avoid referrals to the International Criminal Court.
Such an effort would have “no chance because Russia would veto it and China would veto that,” said Bill Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. under then-president Bill Clinton.   Each U.N. agency is its own fiefdom and they don’t like to be managed by a secretary general, Richardson said.
The world body does some good work, but  “a lot of the appointees in top positions are political patronage, so you don’t always get the best people,”  Richardson said.  “This is a huge bureaucracy with very serious management issues.”  
The socialist pedigree of António Guterres does not bode well for the world and the UN’s influence or helpfulness.
With files from USA Today and  www.theconversation.com