A Free Lunch For All

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Alex Davidson notes Gillard's dangerous attack on private property rights:

"And here's the rub. You don't own the minerals. I don't own the minerals. Governments only sell you the right to mine the resource. A resource we hold in trust for a sovereign people. They own it and they deserve their share."

– Gillard addressing the Minerals Council of Australia's annual dinner.

This will have to go down as one of the most inflammatory, dangerous proclamations ever made by an Australian prime minister. It is a direct attack on the very heart and soul of peaceful society – respect for property rights – and little different to the rhetoric we used to hear coming from the communist leaders of Russia, China, and Cambodia.

It's obvious that the minerals in the ground don't belong to 'all Australians' at all, as Julia and her communist comrades continually assert. Most are in fact un-owned, and the rest are in fact owned by the companies and individuals who became the first owner by exercising ownership rights over them, or who have subsequently purchased them. In just society, ownership does not arise through decree.

In order to defend their strident assertions, Gillard and her supporters must answer some basic questions about how this presumptive ownership came about. Was it through contract and consent, or by declaration? Was it through being the first to exercise ownership rights over resources that were previously un-owned, or taking no action at all? And precisely when does one qualify for joint ownership of this resource – at birth; on becoming a citizen, an adult, or a taxpayer? Surely too, if this notion of ownership was in fact true ownership, shouldn’t we be able to trade our share in the loot when we decide to leave Australia for greener pastures? And what about new immigrants – shouldn’t they be required to pony up for their share in it?

What Gillard is really talking about here is communism – society based not on individuals and private ownership, but on the collective and public ownership of everything, where all decisions about the use of economic resources are made by a powerful, privileged elite who call themselves the government. While the free lunch brigade may have no problems with this, in the end we all suffer, because communism stands for the abolition of property rights, and with it, the abolition of capitalism – the very pillars of prosperity, freedom, and peaceful society.

Alex Davidson is a retired businessment and President of 5 Acres Now

Privatise Marriage!

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The Hon Dr Peter Phelps MLC argues for the abolition of state-sanctioned marriage:

Privatise marriage. What do I mean by that? Simply this—that the institution of marriage is, fundamentally, a private contract, voluntarily entered into by two adults. So why does the State need to get involved at all? In the comments that follow, I acknowledge—and will quote liberally from—the brilliant work done by David Boaz, in Slate magazine, in 1997.

Why should the government be in the business of decreeing who can and cannot be married? Why should anyone have—or need to have—State sanction for a private relationship? As governments around the world contemplate the privatisation of everything from electricity to Social Security, why not privatise that most personal and intimate of institutions, marriage?

When I say privatise marriage, I refer to two slightly different things. One is to take the element of State sanction out of it completely. If couples want to cement their relationship with a ceremony or ritual, they are free to do so. Religious institutions are free to sanction such relationships under any rules they choose; no-one's private life would have official government sanction—which is how it should be.

More importantly, and this is where the element of divorce comes in, marriage is to be treated it like any other contract: the State may be called upon to enforce it, but the parties define the terms. When children or large sums of money are involved, an enforceable contract spelling out the parties' respective rights and obligations is probably advisable. But the existence and details of such an agreement should be up to the parties.

Some say that marriage is a formal, public institution that only the government can grant. But that is a totally ahistorical view. The fact is that in the early Middle Ages all that marriage implied in the eyes of the laity seems to have been a private contract between two families. For those without property, it was a private contract between two individuals, enforced by the community sense of what was right.

By the sixteenth century the formally witnessed contract, called the "spousals," was usually followed by the proclamation of the banns three times in church, but the spousals itself was a legally binding contract. As I mentioned earlier, it was only with the Earl of Hardwicke's Marriage Act of 1754 that marriage in England come to be regulated by law. So why did it come about? As legal historian Leah Leneman has written:

"The only thing necessary for a legal marriage was the free consent of both parties, as long as they were of age (twelve for girls, fourteen for boys), were not within the forbidden degrees of kinship, and were free of any other marriage. Neither the consent of parents nor the presence of witnesses were required. A marriage could be established by … the statement of consent by both parties, or by … a promise of marriage in the future, followed by sexual intercourse. Because such things happened in private, various types of evidence came to be accepted in disputed marriage cases, such as letters in which the man wrote, or referred, to the woman as his wife, "habit and repute" (that is, the couple cohabited and were considered by their neighbours and relations to be husband and wife), and so forth.

A "regular" marriage was one for which the banns were publicly proclaimed and which was carried out in the parish church, but an "irregular" marriage was as legally binding. This was true in both England and Scotland before 1754, and in both countries the eighteenth century saw a marked rise in such marriages. Although a minister was not requisite, most couples preferred to have some kind of ceremony and "certificate," so there emerged "celebrators" of irregular marriage who made a living out of this trade. Such "celebrators" did not ask awkward questions and were quite willing to forge names or dates to please their customers. So their certificates alone could never prove a disputed marriage, but they formed part of the evidence.

The "irregularity" lay in the ceremony, not in the status of the couple once married, and there was no stigma attached to being married irregularly rather than regularly. The difficulty arose when one party claimed to be married and the other denied this. The national consistory court … was the only one in Scotland that could determine whether a legal marriage existed, though litigants could appeal to the higher civil court, the Court of Session, and from there to the House of Lords. The process was termed a "Declarator of Marriage" and could be brought by either sex. Although most were brought against a living spouse, it was permissible to bring such a process against a surviving heir who disputed the validity of the widow or widower's claims.

After a series of difficult cases in the early 1750s:

… the Lords to press[ed] for new legislation to prevent clandestine marriages, something Lord Hardwicke had long advocated…

Under Hardwicke's Act, from 1754 onwards only marriages for which the banns had been proclaimed and which took place in a parish church, unless under special license, were legal, although marriages conducted under Scottish law were also recognized in England. 

Hardwicke's Act was, therefore, the logical culmination of a long struggle against marital irregularity, which was only really a problem when allegations of bigamy and/or divorce proceedings arose.

But the law of unintended consequences inevitably rears its ugly head when governments intrude into areas that they should not; and, since that time, government has continue to intrude upon the marriage contract. In Australia, we had a standard formula, inherited from British law. Then, over successive generations, legislatures and courts have started unilaterally changing the terms of the marriage contract. Since the mid-1970s we have had no-fault divorce. The new arrangements applied not just to couples embarking on matrimony, but also to couples who had married under an earlier set of rules. 

Many people felt a sense of liberation; the changes allowed them to get out of unpleasant marriages without the often contrived allegations of fault previously required for divorce. But many people were hurt by the new rules, not the least of which were children who were left confused and hurt by the arbitrary dissolution of their family. 

There were women who had understood marriage as a partnership in which one partner would earn money and the other would forsake a career in order to specialise in homemaking. There were men who, expecting 1950s picket-fence stability, found their wives leaving them for the elusive—and often illusory—freedoms promised by second-wave feminism.

So why not privatise marriage? Make it a private contract between two individuals. If they wanted to contract for a traditional breadwinner/homemaker setup, with specified rules for property and maintenance in the event of divorce, they could do so. They could specify divorce actions were only possible under fault-based principles. Less traditional couples could keep their assets separate and agree to share specified expenses. Those with assets to protect could sign prenuptial agreements that courts would respect. They might be time-limited, with a review of the contractual relationship after a period of years. Marriage contracts could be as individually tailored as any other contract in our wonderfully diverse capitalist world. 

For those who wanted a standard one-size-fits-all contract, that would still be easy to obtain. Newsagents could sell marriage forms, just as they currently sell statutory declarations. Couples would then be spared the surprise discovery that outsiders had changed their contract without warning. Individual churches, synagogues, and temples could make their own rules about which marriages they would bless—or not. And that "not" is vitally important. Government should not be in a position, through anti-discrimination Acts or whatever, of forcing private bodies to accede to the will of outsiders.

Privatisation of marriage would allow people to marry the way they want to: individually, privately, contractually, with whatever ceremony they might choose in the presence of family, friends, or God. Under a privatised system of marriage, courts and government agencies would recognise any couple's contract—or, better yet, eliminate whatever government-created distinction turned on whether a person was married or not.

Marriage is an important institution. But the modern mistake is to think that important things must be planned, sponsored, reviewed, or licensed by the government. The contemporary debate over marriage unfortunately revolves around a collectivist, statist premise. I fundamentally reject that premise. I refuse to take part in the debate, if that debate is going to be skewed by such a priori assumptions. 

My own view is this: let us get the government out of marriage and allow individuals to make their own marriage contracts, as befits a modern, secular society that rejects statism and places the freedom of the individual as its fundamental objective.

Peter Phelps is the Government Whip in the New South Wales Legislative Council, and is a former long-term staffer in the Howard Government. He has a PhD in Australian History. This is an edited version of a speech tabled into the NSW Legislative Council Hansard on May 24, and was first published by The Punch

Politicians should lead by example.

 

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According to Crocker.

How many will you take?

In a wretched move by Labor related to their abysmal border protection policy, illegal immigrants are now to enjoy the unprecedented privileges of jumping from their boats right into the living rooms of Australians under the homestay programme.

The Australian Homestay Network scheme is promoted by the Australian Human Rights Commission to provide accommodation to eligible asylum seekers. Originally launched to accommodate international students it is the only accredited system in Australia for asylum seekers and is privately owned. That means taxpayer funded.

Authorities contend that more than 2500 potential hosts have either registered or made expressions of interest in taking, after they have undergone some basic training, one or more “guests” into their homes. Hosts can expect to receive $140 per week per “guest.” The term is six weeks and extensions can be negotiated.

The Coalition has warned interested hosts that guar

antees of safety cannot be given. Immigration officials said, “asylum-seekers participating in the program would have passed initial health and security checks and been approved for bridging visas.”

Australia’s detention centres are overflowing from an avalanche of 18,000 seekers and a desperate government is willing to allow what may well be a dangerous experiment. Given that nearly all “guests” are Afghan males aged 18 to 25, are Moslem, and that 90% of all illegal arrivals have no identification whatsoever, “initial health and security checks” from authorities are laughable.

 

No doubt there will be people wanting to take in one or two “guests.” Their reasons will likely differ. Some will be genuine; wanting to help while others will see the scheme as a chance to bring a few dollars to their struggling budget. And, there will be those who try to make a fast buck.

More important is the compatibility of these economic refugees who already know Australians are a soft touch and how we yield to noisy demands.

Playing the devil’s advocate: illegal immigrants, 1200 in May alone, now costing taxpayers more than $1 billion per year are not fleeing persecution as recently confirmed by Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai. In February Karzai called for young asylum seekers in Australia to return home as there was ''less and less reason'' for Afghan youth to flee than there was 10 years ago. “The Afghans should stay in Afghanistan to build Afghanistan,” he said. “There's no longer the threats that were here … those youth must come and build their own country.”

Prospective hosts should calculate, $145 is unlikely to cover food, increased energy costs and ancillaries like toiletries and laundry, etc. There will be special diets, private areas for prayer, frequent visits from their many friends and general dislocation of family life as the TV is permanently tuned to Al Jazeera. Forget the Sunday pork roast, ham sandwiches or pork chops on the barbie. Any such meat in the house is strictly verboten. Prepare to be very accommodating because Islam is a way of life, not merely a religion. Your house will not be your own.

Hosts with women in the house may recall for a moment the Sydney-based Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali who alluded that the Moslem attackers in the infamous Sydney gang rapes in 2006 were not entirely to blame. He compared Australian women to “abandoned meat that attracts voracious animals.” The Sheik also advocated death to Jews and Sharia law for Australia.

Of consideration should be the possible reactions of any “guest” whose visa application is rejected. Self-harm has proven to be commonplace in such cases. Starvation, sewing lips shut, self-electrocution, drinking caustic soda and setting fires, lots of fires, are just some methods already shown on the nightly news. A Senate inquiry found the authorities had not done any self-harm risk assessment. How many will expose their families to that risk?

The Homestay scheme also advises that “guests” will be searching for jobs. Worth remembering is that more than 90% of Afghan boat people that arrived in the past five years remain unemployed.

More worrying will be those who try to scam the system. Providing meagre and lousy food and accommodation will not be satisfactory to these “guests” who have been schooled in their rights. Complaints will invoke argument, especially through the frustration of poor language skills. Use your imagination for what could follow from “guests” dedicated to Shria law.

Only Labor, the Greens and perhaps a few followers pretend this social experiment is wonderful. Voters should call all members of those parties and ask how many “guests” they will be taking into their homes. Until each politician takes a minimum one “guest” I’ll sit on the fence as keen observer.

On the positive side, the host may give a deserving leg-up in life to a deserving person who becomes a grateful and loyal friend for life. You could be lucky!

In the meantime, let those who make policy lead by example.

 

Thought for the week: Confucius says: “He who allows strangers within gives key to secret treasure.



UN Asks Mass-Murderer Mugabe To Be Leader For Tourism

This is beyond satire.

The United Nations has appointed Robert Mugabe, a mass-murdering communist tyrant who has destroyed Zimbabwe, to be its new Envoy for Tourism:

Improbable as it seems, the Zimbabwean president, who is widely accused of ethnic cleansing, rigging elections, terrorising opposition, controlling media and presiding over a collapsed economy, has been endorsed as a champion of efforts to boost global holidaymaking.

Despite that fact Mugabe, 88, is under a travel ban, he has been honoured as a"leader for tourism" by the UN's World Tourism Organisation, along with his political ally, Zambian president Michael Sata, 75. The pair signed an agreement with UNWTO secretary general Taleb Rifai at their shared border at Victoria Falls on Tuesday…

Kumbi Muchemwa, a spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said: "I can't see any justification for the man being an 'ambassador'. An ambassador for what? The man has blood on his hands. Do they want tourists to see those bloody hands?"

Meanwhile, British MP Kate Hoey, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on Zimbabwe, said: "It is an absolute scandal – and an affront to the people of Zimbabwe, who didn't vote for Mugabe as their president but had him imposed because he used violence and the armed forces to hang onto power in defiance of the democratic will of the people of Zimbabwe.

"For a man who has destroyed his country's infrastructure and cynically engineered hunger to be an 'ambassador' for tourism is disgraceful – particularly as he has been personally responsible for the downward spiral of the economy and destroyed the hotel, travel and tourism industry in the process."

Mugabe and his allies are subject to EU and US sanctions preventing them from travelling to EU countries including Britain, although he does attend the UN general assembly in New York.

Muchemwa added: "Robert Mugabe is under international sanctions, so how do you have an international tourism ambassador who can't travel to other countries?

"The UN is losing credibility in this process. Does it think people should go to a country where the law is not obeyed? An MDC activist was murdered last Saturday. Zimbabwe is doing things which don't encourage the arrival of tourists."

There was also criticism from the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, an umbrella organisation of civil society groups. Dewa Mavhinga, its regional information and advocacy officer, said: "It boggles the mind how the UN could appoint Mugabe as an ambassador of any sort. I don't think he's an appropriate person…

Remember, our tax dollars go to support this morally bankarupt organisation… 

Same Sex Marriage: The Sinister Agenda

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Andy Semple argues that same-sex marriage will severely damage Australian society:

Question: How do you go about destroying our democratic capitalist society?  Where do you direct the critical blow so it will do the most damage?  In his Theses on Feuerbach, Karl Marx provided the answer: destroy the traditional family.

That's where same-sex marriage comes in.  It's no mystery why it commands considerable support.  After all, what can be more of a fair go than the idea of granting equality to a formerly persecuted group that has done nothing untoward other than being different in its sexual tastes?  Sort of like being discriminated because of the colour of one's skin (even though many US black leaders, jealously guarding their highly lucrative victimhood, take strong exception to equating gay liberation with the civil rights struggle).  So recognition of same sex unions as legitimate marriages seems to be a harmless idea.  But appearances can be deceptive.  Few things are more destructive than same sex marriage, a poison pill devised to corrode the very core of a healthy society – the institution of marriage.

Not a single society in the history of mankind has ever attempted to substitute homosexual relationships for traditional marriage. Marriage is viewed as sacrosanct and never called into question. Marriage has always been universally understood by all cultures as a biological, social, and economic arrangement to bring into the world and rear the young, thus perpetuating the human species. Indeed, humans took their cue from nature, where the heterosexual family is virtually the sole organising principle of life.

Indeed, so central is marriage to human existence that it forms the basic building block and prototype of any democratic capitalist society.  The many forms of social organisation are but permutations of the basic family pattern – the clan, the tribe, the society and the state are merely an extended family.

But why is same sex marriage unfriendly to the traditional matrimony? How does society suffer if it gives legal sanction to the sharing of gay couples and bestows upon them the rights traditionally granted to spouses? Homosexuals claim they have a right to “marriage” as a civil rights issue. They do not. Homosexual couples already have all the same rights as heterosexual couples. What certain homosexuals want to do is disrespect the heterosexual orthodoxy and co-occupy a word for their own use – marriage. The hard facts are that legalisation of same-sex marriage will compromise the institution of marriage and thus will undermine the family built on the foundation of marriage.

It has been known since the dawn of history that a family unit consisting of a man and a woman is the best nurturing environment for children.

Aside from the incredible damage same-sex marriage does to the well-being and normal development of children, by offering an alternative to a bedrock institution, same sex marriage calls into question all traditional values. There is a strong correlation between the rise of homosexual marriage and the weakening of traditional matrimony.

And Karl Marx's loyal pal Friedrich Engels, in his work, The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the States, disclosed the game plan in a single, succinct plan: change the concept of matrimony, and the traditional family will cease to exist. And once the family is gone, society will fall apart. Knock out the cornerstone, and the whole edifice will crumble, which is precisely the ultimate goal of the progressive (aka revolutionary communist) movement.

Need further proof? From the 1963 United States Senate Report on Communist Goals for America, Congressional Record – Appendix, pp. A34-A35

Line items 25 and 26, 40 and 41 of 45 Goals:

25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.

26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as "normal, natural, healthy."

40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.

41. Emphasise the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.

So beware of any politician who openly supports same sex marriage, as they are nothing more than a follower of the teachings of their true prophet – Karl Marx. Progressives like Greens leader Christine Milne, Labor’s Penny Wong and sadly the Liberal’s Malcolm Turnbull have all placed the destruction of matrimony high on their list of priorities. Social upheavals have always opened the floodgates of debauchery and pornography. The progressive leaders see the moral decay as a means of undermining the foundation of the society’s greatest structure – the family.

Undoubtedly, the overwhelming majority of rank-and-file homosexuals are well-meaning people who have sincerely bought into the myth peddled by their leaders that the marriage license is the ultimate token of recognition of their normalcy. They know not what they are doing. But the sinister shadows behind the curtain know better, and there shouldn't be any illusions about their ultimate intentions: they want nothing less than to bring down the capitalist system, and they view their movement as a battering ram to shatter its principal bastions, America, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. Bringing down the traditional family is a crucial step in that direction.

Originally published at Andy's Rant, and reproduced with permission. You can follow Andy on twitter

 

The Letter Of The Law

David-Russell David Russell argues that our political leaders need to aquire ethics and values, and another legalistic "code" is a step in the wrong direction: 

The question was asked recently as to why federal parliamentarians do not have a formal code of conduct. The issue emerged in the wake of the allegations levelled at Craig Thomson and Peter Slipper about the performance of their duties.

Now, admittedly, the Thomson allegations relate to his activities prior to election as a Member of Parliament but, given they include suggestions he utilised some $250,000 of union funds that were not his own to fund his election campaign, most people would regard it as a pertinent overlap.

What initially proved compelling political theatre as the lurid and sensational claims  about both MPs were made public by an excited media pack has become nauseating as we witness interminable attempts to prove or disprove culpability. The prevarication, posturing and pragmatism that has characterised most of those caught-up in these dramas has fomented a wave of public revulsion that all this has happened with, effectively, public money.

The frustrating aspect to the scandal is the almost complete focus on whether either man has actually broken the law. If they have, certain penalties will surely flow and a clear pathway to conclusion will likely have been determined.

But that is not the burning issue. It matters not, in the ultimate scheme of things, whether Peter Slipper as a Member of Parliament or as Speaker of the House of Representatives never once breached the regulations governing the use of taxis and hire cars. Similarly,  whether he remained strictly within entitlement for his extensive overseas and domestic travel is not the core issue.

What matters to taxpayers – and what makes them even angrier about the blame-shaming and buck-passing that has shrouded these incidents – is that Slipper has blatantly abused his moral entitlements. Even if every single journey he has ever made is entirely legal, most voters believe he has rorted the system.

But as Government and Opposition play games impinging on the bigger scheme – who gets to rule the nation – the abuse of ethical practice rates barely a mention anywhere.

The same goes for Thomson. He is, without question, entitled to the presumption of innocence when it comes to breaching the law. He is, without question, entitled to defend any charges that may arise and be granted full protection of due process.

But voters have unquestionably condemned him for flouting all accepted conventions about what standards of behaviour are morally appropriate for a Member of Parliament.

It is clear from the attitudes and statements of both these MPs that they resile from any sense of shame that they have flouted public expectations about a natural code of conduct for parliamentarians. Their actions are deemed morally reprehensible by a very large segment of the population but they refuse to act accordingly.

This makes is abundantly clear that a formal code of conduct would have little prospect of curtailing such abusive of privilege. A draft code was in fact developed and circulated not long ago but it ran to some 90 pages. Such complexity only aids and abets those who have only sufficient conscience to find loopholes to exploit.

What is needed is for our parliaments to demand moral and ethical behaviour and stop playing semantics with the letter of the laws they write.

David M. Russell is a professional communicator with a passion for good governance. His personal blog can be found at davidmrussell.wordpress.com.

Did You Tube Just Ban Criticism of Gay Marriage?

Take a look at this video, of a sixteen-year old who videoed herself criticizing the Obama and general liberal stance on gay marriage.  Innocuous, civil, standard-issue conservative commentary on the subject, really only distinguished by the commentator’s youth and her quoting Billy Graham. It went viral for some reason.

And You Tube banned it!!!

via www.firstthings.com

Leftist Activist Sends More police Raids On Opponents

Continuing our post from yesterday about left-wing activist and convicted terrorist Brett Kimberlin's associates setting up SWAT raids on people who expose his activities putting their lives in danger, and which has already forced conservative blogger Roger Stacy McCain to go into hiding, Erik Erikson from Redstate  has just been targetted:

Last week we spent a lot of time writing about Brett Kimberlin and the incident involving blogger Patterico where someone spoofed his phone number and told 911 he had shot his wife.

Tonight, my family was sitting around the kitchen table eating dinner when sheriffs deputies pulled up in the driveway.

Someone called 911 from my address claiming there had been an accidental shooting.

It wasn’t nearly the trauma that Patterico suffered, but I guess the Erickson household is on somebody’s radar.

Luckily it was two sheriffs deputies who knew me and I had already, last week, advised the Sheriff’s Department to be on the look out for something like this.

To those of you who are unaware of the story, Brett Kimberlain is a left wing activist who has collected $1.8 million in donations in the last 6 years from sources such as the George Soros-connected Tides Foundation, the Barbara Streisand Foundation, and the Heinz Family Foundation, connected to Democrat Sen. John Kerry’s wife.

Mr Kimberlain is also closely involved with another in another tax-exempt group, Velvet Revolution, which has gained national attention by demanding criminal prosecution of high-profile figures including Republican strategist Karl Rove, U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donohue, and the late Internet news entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart.

Recently, bloggers have been exposing his past:

Kimberlin was convicted of multiple federal felonies in 1981 and sentenced to 50 years in prison after he terrorized a small Indiana town in a brutal crime weeklong bombing spree. Law enforcement officials told the Indianapolis Star they believed the bombings were committed in an attempt to distract authorities investigating the 1978 murder of a 65-year-old grandmother, a crime in which Kimberlin was a suspect. 

You can read the details here.

Since conservative bloggers have exposed his past and his close connection to prominant Democrats, multiple bloggers such as Liberty Chick have been harassed, threatened, and in once case even framed with a crime. Spoofed phone  calls to the police "confessing" they committed murder and resulting in SWAT teams arriving at their doors. And for what? Why were these people targetted? 

The same thing that gets the rest of us targeted by vile leftists who want to silence us: he told the truth: about Kimberlin, his violent criminal history, the leftist operatives that he is connected to, and the plethora of money that The Speedway Bomber has been given by a myriad of well known progressives

So there you have it. If you're interested in more details then Michelle Malkin has the roundup.

Timothy Andrews
Managing Editor 

A Left-Wing Activist’s Campaign Of Terror

You’re about to listen to one of the most bone-chilling pieces of audio you will ever hear. At least, it was to me when I first heard it.

It’s a phone call that could have gotten me killed.

In this post you will hear that audio clip. You will also read about a months-long campaign of harassment carried out by at least three individuals: Ron Brynaert, Neal Rauhauser, and Brett Kimberlin — much of it directed at critics of Brett Kimberlin. This harassment includes repeated references to critics’ family members, workplace complaints, publication of personal information such as home addresses and pictures of residences, bogus allegations of criminal activity, whisper campaigns, frivolous legal actions, and frivolous State Bar complaints.

And finally, you will hear a comparison of one of those men’s voices to that of the man who made the call that sent police to my home. And you’ll read a declaration from a forensic audio expert comparing those two voices.

via patterico.com

Click through to read the whole chilling tale…

A Conscience Vote On Same-Sex Marriage

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Alex Greenwhich, the National Convener of Australian Marriage Equality, argues that denying Coalition MP's a conscience vote on state-sanctioned same-sex marriage will be a significant political error:

The clear message from recent elections and opinion polls is that the Coalition will suffer electorally if it fails to abide by its own principles and allow a free vote on marriage equality.

Currently, Tony Abbott refuses Coalition MPs and Senators a fully-fledged conscience vote on this issue.

This is despite the Labor Party having one, and despite the Coalition's tradition of allowing its members greater freedom than Labor MPs.

Indeed, according to Parliamentary Library research, this is the first time in history the Coalition is denied a free vote when the ALP has one.

Abbott's rationale is that he made a promise at the last election not to support reform.

His hope is that only opponents of marriage equality will notice and/or care by the time the next election rolls around.

But it seems the Australian people are not sticking to script.

At the weekend a Galaxy poll was released showing 77% of Coalition voters want the Coalition to have a conscience vote on the issue.

Yesterday, another Galaxy poll shows 73% of voters believe the Coalitions' tradition of allowing conscience vote on such issues is what should guide Coalition policy, not Tony Abbott's personal views or undertakings.

What's more, today's poll shows 61% of Australians want same-sex marriage in this term of government, not sometime down the track.

Is this feeling strong enough to count at the ballot box?

The Queensland election result suggests it is.

During a recent discussion with Kevin Rudd at the Sydney Writers' Festival, Bob Katter conceded his Australia Party lost 7% of its first-preference votes, or 15 seats, in the Queensland state election because of the anti-gay marriage ad campaign it ran.

Katter labelled it "the crowing glory of all mistakes".

Growing support for marriage equality also suggests Abbott's stance will be a liability for the Coalition.

Polls from the last three years show the minority of Australians who oppose marriage equality are becoming less committed to their position while the majority who support it are becoming more committed.

My guess is that this shift reflects resignation among those who oppose reform and growing frustration among those who support.

Further evidence that Australians are highly motivated to support marriage equality can be seen in the overwhelming response to recent parliamentary inquiries into the issue.

A Senate Inquiry received an astonishing 44,000 submissions in favour of marriage equality and a House of reps inquiry received an almost unbelievable 177,000 positive responses.

This makes legislation to allow same-sex marriages the most popular in our parliament's history, by a factor of ten.

What we are seeing here is the convergence of two emerging trends in Australia and across the western world.

Anti-gay discrimination is considered immoral, and is actively rejected even by conservative voters. Marriage equality is considered morally right, and is a highly motivating issue for millions of voters.

What this means for Tony Abbott is clear.

His hardline stance will guarantee the Greens will have the balance of power in the Senate.

Thanks to Julia Gillard's continued and clear opposition to equality, the protest vote against Tony Abbott will go straight to Christine Milne.

Abbott's intransigence will also make life very difficult for inner-city Liberals such as Kelly O'Dwyer, Malcolm Turnbull, and Teresa Gambaro, with their own electorate polling shows support for marriage equality running as high as 75%.

Unless Abbott allows a conscience vote the issue will plague these and other Liberals throughout the next election.

It will be raised at every meeting they attend. It will distract them from the issues they want to focus on. It will be used by those who criticise the Liberal Party for losing touch with its liberal roots and for not being "a broad church".

It will cost inner-city Liberals votes to the benefit of both the Greens and Labor, who will inevitably run pro-marriage equality candidates and will probably swap preferences.

I'm not questioning Tony Abbott's respect for his gay friends and love for his lesbian sister.

Neither am I asking Abbott to break his undertaking at the last election that he will continue to oppose marriage equality.

I'm simply warning the Coalition that it will make "the crowning glory of all mistakes" if it doesn't allow a conscience vote on marriage equality.

If Tony Abbott's plan is to increase the vote of the Greens at the next election then he should stick to his current course.

Alex Greenwich is the National Convener of Australian Marriage Equality and one of Samesame's 25 most influential gay and lesbian Australians. Alex recently married his partner Victor in Argentina, runs a banking recruitment firm, and graduated from UNSW with a Bachelor of arts in 2001.