A US pastor Tony Perkins, who believes natural disasters are sent by God to punish gay people, has fled his home in Louisiana after it was swept away by a devastating flood.
Perkins, who heads up the rabidly anti-gay “Family Research Council,” has revealed that he was forced to escape his property in a canoe with his family.
“This is a flood of near-biblical proportions,” Perkins said on his radio show.
“We had to escape from our home Saturday by canoe. We had about 10 feet of water at the end of our driveway. Our house flooded, our cars flooded.”
In a 2015 interview with Messianic Jewish pastor Jonathan Cahn, Perkins agreed that Hurricane Joaquin, a devastating storm that hit Hawaii last year, was “a sign of God’s wrath,” punishment for abortion and for the legalization of same-sex marriage.
“God is trying to send us a message,” he said at the time.
Perkins also frequently compares homosexuality to pedophilia. “It is a homosexual problem,” he said.
He also believes “the homosexual community” is engaged in behavior “that will destroy our nation”.
A decision by the Australian Taxation Office to install “squat toilets” at its new building in Box Hill has attracted the ire of One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson.
According to ATO’s acting chief finance officer Justin Untersteiner more than 20% of ATO employees come from a non-English speaking background.
The decision to install a number of squat toilets in addition to the traditional “Western style” variety was taken in response to meeting the needs of a diverse community.
“This commitment includes building designs with a range of facilities that cater for the different needs of our employees,” said Mr Untersteiner.
Squat toilets are commonly found in parts of Indian subcontinent, Asia and Europe. Many offices in Australia carry visual signs on the use of western toilets for employees who may not be familiar with the western style toilets.
However the move has infuriated Pauline Hanson who has slammed the decision as an Islamification of Australia by stealth.
“It starts with our toilets and ends up costing us our way of life,” she said.
In a Facebook video published yesterday, Ms Hanson is seen standing on a beach with her iPhone in her hand.
She holds up a sign demonstrating how to use a Western-style toilet and criticises the ATO for the fact that 20% of its workforce comes from “non-English speaking backgrounds”.
“If they don’t know how to use a toilet here in Australia … regardless at just the ATO, our parks, convention centres, in the Aussie homes, everywhere else … Then what the hell is going on?” asks Hanson, as she demonstrates how to squat.
Less than seven days ago, the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull held a press conference to reassure Australians that the security of the Census was rock solid.
“The security of their personal details is absolute and that is protected by law and by practice,” he said last week.
“That is a given.”
The assurance came in the wake of growing community angst and concerns over the security and retention of confidential data submitted online via the ABS website.
ABS chief statistician David Kalisch also fronted the media, appearing on ABC 7:30 to allay concerns.
“The ABS has the best security features,” he said.
“We’ve never had a privacy breach with Census information.”
At the time, Dr Mark Gregory from the RMIT School of Engineering issued a stark and largely ignored warning that “Australians should be worried” about the ABS collecting their personal information.
“They can’t guarantee the security of the information. We know that Australia does not have mandatory data breach reporting laws and until those laws are put in place and security improved both within government and business then Australians have a great concern about the privacy of any information that they provide,” Dr Gregory said.
Today the so-called guarantees of “absolute security” issued by both Malcolm Turnbull and the ABS are in tatters with the ABS forced to take down the site overnight due to inadequate security and the risk that systems had been compromised.
The entire sorry affair vindicates Greens senators Scott Ludlam, Janet Rice, Sarah Hanson-Young, Lee Rhiannon and Larissa Waters and fellow crossbenchers Nick Xenophon and Jacqui Lambie who all declared they would be refusing to give their names when filling the census out.
And Christopher Pyne one again looks like a total twat after saying:
“I think Senator Xenophon is engaging in somewhat of a tinfoil hat kind of politics when he says that he’s raising doubts about the census.”
But then, this is the government that brought us the copper NBN, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised.
Widely hailed as a “masterstroke” by the mainstream media at the time, and in particular Chris Uhlmann and Leigh Sales at the ABC, Malcolm Turnbull’s double dissolution election – y’know the election we had to have for the sake of the ABCC (remember that?) – has been hailed as a “resounding success” by almost no one with the full senate results now sitting at:
Coalition – 30
Labor – 26
Greens – 9
One Nation – 4
That’s right, the Party that John Howard once declared as an “irrelevance” is now the fourth strongest political power in the nation thanks to Malcolm’s monumental genius.
Yes, the once revered so-called “moderate” within the ranks of the Liberal Party has now orchestrated the stratospheric resurrection of Pauline Hanson and her party of blindly ignorant Islamophobes, racists and homophobes. Congratulations Malcolm! Only you could’ve pulled this off.
The so-called double dissolution election and the associated pre-election deals between the major parties was intended to wipe out the influence of the independents and put an end to their ability to stifle government legislation. Instead we now 11 independent crossbenchers (up from eight in the previous parliament).
In order to pass a bill through Parliament, the government now needs 39 votes in the Senate, meaning it is nine votes short. Before the election, it was six votes short.
Won by One
With counting all over bar the shouting the Turnbull government has been returned to power with the barest majority possible – by just one seat in Parliament.
The result represents a resounding rejection of Turnbull’s “trickle down” economic plan for jobs and growth with the economy stagnating and wages growth on the decline.
Turnbull’s standing within his own party was already on the ropes before the election but now must be clearly be on life support, so much so that he felt compelled to donate $2 million of his own not-so-hard-earned cash to the Libs’ coffers to shore up his position.
With Cory Bernardi and the right wing nutjobs to riding roughshod over what little left there is of Turnbull’s authority within his own party, and a public disenchanted with his spineless leadership, it’s only a matter of time before the whole sorry charade of this self-professed “adult government” falls over in a heap.
Occasionally one reads things on the interwebs that are beautifully written, this piece by Helen Razer is one of them…
Did you know that Pauline Hanson is not only an ultranationalist who seeks to throw everything she doesn’t understand into a bin of flaming turds?
She’s also a person, just like you and me.
This humanity was the preoccupation of a documentary that aired last night on SBS.
In Please Explain we learned that Hanson came up hard, has been treated callously by men and that what she lacks in understanding of nearly everything, she makes up for with good knowledge of deep-fried, battered foods.
Look. I don’t give a shit. I don’t care about the private lives of politicians generally, and I care even less to learn the backstory of an isolationist menace.
As Europe braces for the release of its bank stress tests, the world could be on the verge of another banking crisis.
The signs are obvious to all. The World Bank estimates the ratio of non-performing loans to total gross loans in 2015 reached 4.3 per cent. Before the 2009 global financial crisis, they stood at 4.2 per cent.
If anything, the problem is starker now than then: there are more than $US3 trillion ($4 trillion) in stressed loan assets worldwide, compared to the roughly $US1 trillion of US subprime loans that triggered the 2009 crisis.
European banks are saddled with $US1.3 trillion in non-performing loans, nearly $US400 billion of them in Italy. The IMF estimates that risky loans in China also total $US1.3 trillion, although private forecasts are higher. India’s stressed loans top $US150 billion.
Once again, banks in the US, Canada, UK, several European countries, Asia, Australia and New Zealand are heavily exposed to property markets, which are overvalued by historical measures.
In addition, banks have significant exposure to the troubled resource sector: lending to the energy sector alone totals around $US3 trillion globally.
Borrowers are struggling to service that debt in an environment of falling commodity prices, weak growth, overcapacity, rising borrowing costs and (in some cases) a weaker currency.
To make matters worse, the world’s limp recovery since 2009 is intensifying loan stresses. In advanced economies, low growth and disinflation or deflation is making it harder for companies to pay off what they owe.
Many European firms are suffering from a lack of global competitiveness, exacerbated by the effects of the single currency.
Government efforts to revive growth – largely through a targeted expansion of bank lending – are having dangerous side effects.
With safe assets offering low returns, banks have financed less creditworthy borrowers, especially in the shale oil sector and emerging markets. Abundant liquidity has inflated asset prices and banks have lent against this overvalued collateral. Low rates have allowed weak borrowers to survive longer than they should, which delays the necessary pain of writing off bad loans.
In developing economies, strong capital inflows, seeking higher returns or fleeing depreciating currencies, have contributed to a risky build-up in leverage. So have government policies encouraging debt-funded investment or consumption to stimulate aggregate demand.
What’s most worrying, though, is the fact that the traditional solutions to banking crises no longer seem available or effective.
To recover, banks need strong earnings, capital infusions, a process to dispose of bad loans and industry reforms. Yet today, banks’ ability to earn their way out of their problems and write off losses is limited.
Current monetary policy is partly to blame. Zero or negative rates drive down bank lending rates more than deposit rates, which can’t be cut because of the need to maintain deposits and comply with regulatory requirements for stable funding.
Traditionally, banks have built capital by earning the margin between low deposit rates and safe, longer-term fixed rate assets, such as government bonds. Today, the term premium – the difference between short and longer-term rates – has fallen sharply.
Attracting new capital requires that the industry’s long-term prospects be sound. To the contrary, several structural factors are creating uncertainty about the future of banks and may have permanently reduced available returns.
Bank business models in several countries are in need of major reform, which means consolidation and cost reductions ahead. Many countries where banks need assistance remain resistant to foreign ownership, capital and expertise that might help them become more efficient.
Poor institutional and legal frameworks, especially inefficient bankruptcy procedures, discourage new investment in banks or distressed assets. Foreclosures in Italy can take more than four years, compared to 18 months in the US or UK.
In many emerging markets, the pervasive influence of the state among both banks and borrowers complicates the enforcement of claims. Politically connected borrowers can force loans to be rescheduled forever rather than recognised as unrecoverable.
Unanticipated political developments are added complications. Energy prices are affected by geopolitics as much as market forces. The Brexit vote has rippled through the banking system by driving down the pound and radically altering prospects for British financial institutions.
In Italy, political factors are impeding the recapitalisation of banks. European Union procedures require progressively writing down equity, subordinated debt and then senior debt, protecting only insured deposits.
But “bailing in” creditors in this way would result in writing down around $US220 billion of securities held by retail investors, creating a political headache for the government.
At the same time, EU banking regulations as well as budgetary and debt limits make it hard for the Italian government to intervene.
Whether a crisis might begin there, perhaps as some fear with the world’s oldest bank, Monte dei Paschi de Siena, is impossible to say.
But regulators everywhere should be asking themselves some tough questions: Has the financialisation of advanced economies gone too far?
Does the role of banking need to be altered to ensure that such crises are less frequent? Increasingly, the answer to both would seem to be yes.