Survivor Strategiser – 2nd Edition

Hello & welcome back to Survivor Strategiser, the series where we look at the week’s events in the world of Australian Survivor, & analyse the gameplay & strategy that went down. This week, All Stars continued to impress with some major moves, & an Australian Survivor first. We’ve got a fair bit to get through, so let’s get right into it.

On Monday night, we bore witness to one hell of an episode, more so once we got to tribal. After last week’s blindside of Zach, Jacqui was celebrating & flaunting it like there was no tomorrow. After nicknaming herself the ‘Golden Goddess’, Jacqui began to plot her next blindside, this time on David. Meanwhile, Dave was back on the warpath with Jacqui in his sights & revenge on his mind. And after the reward challenge came to its completion, it was clear where the lines had been drawn, after Dave chose to take Tarzan, Moana & Sharn to the reward with him. Dave knew he had Tarzan & Moana on his side, but Sharn’s loyalties were still in question, and he knew he had to get her on side. Taking Sharn to the reward was his chance to do so. Sharn, however, was wary of Dave, & still had a blindside on her mind. Back at camp, Jacqui, AK, Brooke & Shonee began discussing their next move, one on Dave. They thought Dave had made a mistake leaving Jacqui at camp rather than attempting to get her back onside at the reward, but it didn’t appear to be, as Jacqui seemed to be gunning for Dave regardless. Come immunity challenge time, Dave, Tarzan, Sharn & Moana were looking clean & fresh, ready to take out the immunity necklace. A staggered immunity challenge saw 3 knocked out in Sharn, Shonee & Moana knocked out in the first stage, & Jacqui & AK knocked out in the second, leaving Dave, Tarzan & Brooke to puzzle it out. And while it came down to the last few pieces, Dave just managed to edge Brooke to win out & take the all-important immunity necklace.

After the immunity challenge, we saw a flurry back at camp. With Dave now immune from the vote, the Vakama 3 & Jacqui changed tack, deciding to put their votes on Moana. Meanwhile, the Mokuta 4 came to a decision to put their votes on Jacqui. The problem: it would be a 4-4 split, likely tying again in the second round of voting. With this in mind, Brooke, AK & Shonee were all too happy to take the risk & go to rocks. Yet AK knew that Sharn would be nervous about going to rocks, something that he could use to his advantage. After a conversation between AK & Sharn about the situation at hand, Sharn began to ponder once again flipping, ensuring her safety in the game. Tribal that night was one of the best we’ve seen this season. With conversations occurring between both alliances during the tribal, it was bound to be explosive. Dave, knowing something was up, decided to play one of his idols for Tarzan. After the first round of voting, the votes were split evenly on Jacqui & Moana. In the second round, Sharn told Tarzan to vote for Moana, something the most loyal player in the game refused to do. This ensured another even split on Jacqui & Moana, with no one changing their votes. And thus, Australian Survivor history was made, with the tribe being told they must either come to a unanimous decision or go to rocks. It was now that Dave’s idol wasn’t wasted on Tarzan, saving him from a potential rock draw. Dave & Tarzan were unwilling to budge. AK, Brooke & Shonee were willing to go to rocks. However, Sharn was not, & was willing to do practically anything to save herself. And so, Sharn pleaded with the Vakama 3, telling them she would work with them if they all unanimously decided to send Jacqui to the Jury Villa. And once JLP called time on discussion, the Vakama 3 agreed, & Jacqui was sent packing, with a rock draw narrowly avoided.

Tuesday night’s episode saw Dave attempting to bring Sharn back onside yet again. Sharn was still trying to figure out who she was going to move forward with, even though she had promised the Vakama 3 her loyalty. Meanwhile, Tarzan alerted Dave & Moana to the fact that Sharn had told him to switch his vote to Moana at the previous night’s tribal, something that Moana did not believe, putting blind faith in Sharn. After an appearance from a rogue cow, & conversations ensuing about a blindside on Dave, the immunity challenge was upon us. Again, the challenge, one of endurance, came down to Brooke & Dave, this time Brooke taking out the challenge. Back at camp, The Vakama 3, alongside Sharn, were seriously discussing a blindside on Dave. Yet Dave had an insurance policy, his second idol. Presenting the idol to Tarzan & Moana, they were enthralled. After discussing whether or not he should show it to Sharn, they left it up to him. Dave, knowing it would likely sow seeds of doubt in Sharn’s mind, pulled her aside, showing her the idol, & telling her he wasn’t going home at the upcoming tribal. Sharn began thinking about how amazing it would be to blindside Dave with an idol in his pocket. And so, tribal was upon us. With Sharn being the deciding vote, both sides were doing all they could to ensure she would vote with them. The Vakama 3 checked in with her during the tribal, & she guaranteed them her vote. After the vote, it seemed like Dave would have to play his idol. Yet he took a major risk, & decided not to. With 3 votes on Dave & 3 votes on Shonee, it all came down to Sharn’s vote. And just like that, Shonee was sent to the Jury Villa, Dave’s risk having paid off, leaving everyone wondering what Sharn was thinking.

Wednesday night saw AK & Brooke reeling from Shonee’s elimination, knowing they were next. Knowing Sharn had turned against them & couldn’t be trusted, they knew winning immunity was a must. The Mokuta 4 were fairly solid, knowing their next moves were simple ones, setting their sights on Brooke & AK. Going into the immunity challenge, Brooke & AK were ready to win, with immunity being their only guaranteed method of moving forward in the game. Dave had an early lead, however, Brooke managed to catch up. With the puzzle proving a challenge for everyone to hook with the monkey fist, it was anyone’s game. Yet AK had come to a halt, feeling nervous about jumping from a high point into the water. With encouragement from Brooke, he overcame his fear, putting him back in the challenge. Yet those minutes were costly. With almost everyone on the puzzle, Tarzan & Dave were piecing together the word puzzle, attempting to make sense of it. However, Brooke managed to come from behind yet again, figuring out the puzzle & winning immunity. After returning to camp, the Mokuta 4 were in agreeance that they’d vote for AK. But AK wasn’t going down without a fight. Searching for an idol, Moana tailed him just in case he was lucky. In order to lose the tail, he pushed over the well. Despite his best efforts, no idol was found, but after Dave followed him & Brooke into the jungle, it seemed that he might have another shot, with Dave seemingly agreeing to vote for Sharn. Although to me at least, it didn’t seem likely that Dave would vote for Sharn (something I’ll discuss in the analysis section). At tribal, AK was practically in tears, knowing it was likely he would be leaving for the Jury Villa. But the game of Survivor is never that simple, & after the vote was complete, JLP pulled another twist from his sleeves. This time, the tribe had a choice. If one of them knew they were on the chopping block, they could stop the votes from being read, & instead go to a fire making challenge which they would have to win to stay in the game. AK, knowing his game was almost up, jumped at the chance to save himself, putting his hand up to go to fire. The remainder of the tribe had to come to a unanimous decision as to who to put up against him or go to rocks to decide. Whoever competed against him would remain safe no matter what happened. After talking it over, it was decided Moana would compete. And so, after an intense fire-making challenge, Moana came through victorious, ending AK’s game, leaving Brooke on the outer as the last remaining member of the Vakama alliance.

Analysis

Now to the analysis of this week’s episodes of Australian Survivor. There’s a fair bit to unpack, but it’s worth it, so please bear with me. First, let’s look at Monday night’s explosive tribal council. Some would say that Dave’s idol play on Tarzan was a waste of an idol considering he didn’t receive a single vote. As I’ve said before though, Dave thinks about this game on multiple levels. He knows Tarzan is the only player there that’s completely loyal to him, & he didn’t want to risk having him taken out like Zach. Playing the idol for Tarzan ultimately saved him from a potential rock draw. Had Tarzan still been vulnerable, things may have gone differently after the second round of voting. But sticking to what actually happened, it’s questionable as to whether or not AK made the right decision in trusting Sharn, something which did come back to haunt him. However, if they had gone to rocks, there was a 75% chance one of the Vakama 3 would be evicted, the odds in Sharn’s favour.

Tuesday’s tribal was more of a pivotal one. First & foremost, Tarzan’s warning to Moana should have alerted her to be cautious of Sharn. However, she put blind faith in Sharn, & whilst it paid off this time, it may just be her downfall. But Sharn’s decision at tribal council that night was the pivotal moment of her game. This was the choice which would decide the remainder of her game. Ultimately, she turned on the Vakama 3, voting for Shonee, rather than blindsiding Dave, the biggest player in this game. It left everyone scratching their heads, wondering what she was thinking. Her reasoning: she was using Dave as a shield. But that can’t be right, because Dave is actually using her as a shield. Yet one thing was clear: That vote ended her game. Here’s why.

Sharn had been talking up a blindside on David. She was ready to send him packing. And when he showed her the idol, she was presented with the opportunity to send him to the Jury Villa with an idol in his pocket once again. Yet when the perfect opportunity for a blindside on the Golden god presented itself, Sharn backed down from the chance, opting instead to vote for Shonee. Sharn had promised the Vakama 3 her loyalty & vote at the previous tribal. This in effect forced her into a position where she had to vote with them, or lose their votes should she make it to Final 2. In voting for Shonee, Sharn has now lost a minimum of three votes should she make F2: Shonee, AK, & Brooke (likely to be the next eliminated). She has also likely lost the votes of Harry, Jacqui & Locky, who were supportive of the Vakama alliance & friends with the Vakama 3 that Sharn betrayed immediately. Whether Sharn gets to F2 is questionable, given even if she makes Final 4, she’ll be sitting at the bottom of the Mokuta 4 alliance. But if you ask me, she’s Dave’s best bet of winning this whole thing.

On the other side of the tribal was Dave. Dave played it brilliantly. Dave knew Sharn questions everything, & that she herself is never really all that certain of where she’s going to land. Some would say showing Sharn the idol was a terrible move. I’d say it worked out perfectly. Knowing Sharn could flip after heeding Tarzan’s warning, Dave knew showing Sharn the idol would make her doubt the move she was about to make & the people she was going to make it with. Reaffirming that he would use the idol if he had to, & that he wasn’t going home at the tribal to follow, Dave affirmed his place in the game. So once they came to the point at tribal where the votes were to be read, Dave figured Sharn would be unwilling to risk voting him out that night, & thus took the risk of not playing his idol, knowing he would catch votes. It paid off, & added another major move to Dave’s resume. If he makes it to F2, & mentions that he had the idol in his pocket & didn’t play it, knowing full well he was catching votes & at risk of going home, that’s sure to gain respect from the jury.

As to the twist that presented itself on Wednesday night’s episode, it was an odd one. At best, AK would remain in the game for one more day, likely to leave at the next tribal council. Otherwise, AK would go home as was going to happen anyway on the votes. What it did put on display, however, was Moana’s fire making ability. Moana was the best choice to ensure AK was eliminated, given she had just made fire recently at the exile challenge. Which made Brooke’s decision to support the unanimous agreement all the stranger. If Brooke had disagreed, it would have forced a rock draw, whereby AK’s competitor may have been easier to beat. Or, Brooke may have been drawn as his competitor, allowing AK to win out. Either way, it seemed AK’s time in the game was coming to a close no matter the outcome.

And just a final point of analysis from this week on Dave. By now, most would have noticed that Dave keeps going back to Sharn, trying to pull her back in every time she flips or tries to flip on his alliance. To any other Survivor fan or viewer, this may seem futile. It would make much more sense to burn someone after they’ve proven disloyal on more than one occasion. Dave was already wary of Sharn after the tribal where the votes fell between Phoebe & Moana. But even when she flipped again, & then made a deal with the Vakama 3 right in front of him, he still went to pull her back in. And even when Dave was presented with the chance to blindside Sharn on Wednesday night, he still didn’t flip on her. After Tuesday night’s episode, it became clear to me as to why Dave, who has been fairly unforgiving to others who have turned on him, would keep Sharn around. And it went back to something he said at Tuesday’s tribal council. He knew who he wanted to take to the end with him, to the Final 2. That person he wants to be sitting next to at the end is Sharn.

 

There are three reasons Dave would want to take Sharn to the end:

  1. Brooke could beat Dave. She has many friends on the jury who would be rooting for her to get to the end & beat Dave. She would garner votes from AK, Shonee, Harry, Locky & Jacqui, enough to win a majority & thereby win the game.
  2. Tarzan & Moana are unpredictable in terms of a final tribal. Moana has made some decent moves throughout the game, & if she could convince the jury she’s been manipulating everyone from the shadows, it could get her the votes. Although, it would be tricky to substantiate that quiet game unless she actually gets her hands dirty. Tarzan also seems easy to beat, however he still has the unique claim of being the only player not to receive a single vote to date, & has played a loyal game with Dave, helping take out some of the other big players. He could play the final tribal like Shane Gould, the quiet achiever way.
  3. Sharn has fallen out of favour with the majority of the Jury. In voting for Shonee, she has guaranteed a loss of votes from Shonee, AK & Brooke. Harry & Locky have also said they want to see big moves & were aligned with the Vakama alliance, & would likely vote for Dave over Sharn. Jacqui was eliminated because of Sharn’s broken promise to the Vakama 3, so would be unlikely to vote for her. And Zach & Tarzan are loyal to Dave. In a Final 2 consisting of David & Sharn, Moana may be the only vote that Sharn gets, leaving Dave with an 8-1 majority & the win.

And just back to that move Dave made in showing Sharn the idol. Putting Sharn off voting for him ensured she would vote for Shonee, & by extension fall completely out of favour with the Jury, making her his ticket to winning this whole game. It just shows again how Dave thinks about this game on all levels, right to the end, & is always three steps ahead of the rest.

Going into what is likely to be the final week, we are left with 5 survivors battling it out for the title of Sole Survivor & the $500,000 prize that goes with it. Here’s a quick rundown of the remaining players & their chances:

Brooke: There’s no doubt Brooke is in the worst position in the tribe. She’s on her own, with no alliance, & a very easy target for the Mokuta 4 to take out. However, if she can win individual immunity, or flip Sharn & Moana, she might be able to find a new path to the end. Personally, I think she’ll be next out.

Moana: One of the quiet players. Moana has the potential to flip on her alliance, particularly Dave, knowing he has the best resume out of the entire alliance by far. But it may prove too late to do so, with Dave still possessing an idol. Her only shot to get rid of him may come from a fire making challenge or at the final immunity challenge.

Tarzan: The loyal quiet achiever. Tarzan’s been loyal to Dave for a long time, & there’s no indication of that changing. If Tarzan wants to win, his best move would be to blindside Dave. Dave wouldn’t expect it coming from him, & it would likely be a game winning move for Tarz. He could yet make the Final 2.

Sharn: The indecisive one. Sharn could really go either way. She claims to be using Dave as a shield, but it’s quite the opposite. Sharn could be an easy flip vote for Brooke, but she could just as easily stick with the Mokuta alliance. Either way, it’s hard to see how she wins it from here. In my analysis, her game is over no matter what happens.

David: The big player. Dave has made the greatest moves this season. He has pulled off some amazing feats, & has only 4 votes to his name. With an idol still in his pocket, he is practically guaranteed Final 4. If he can somehow hold on to that idol (which is rendered powerless after the next tribal), then he has something he can show to the Jury at the Final Tribal which would just add to his already incredible resume. Taking Sharn to the end is his best bet, however he would likely beat Tarzan & Moana as well. Brooke is the only one who can beat him. Taking her out would practically win him the game. Additionally, Dave must win the final immunity challenge. If he doesn’t, he will likely be the final member of the Jury. The only player who may take him to the end is Tarzan.

 

And so, we await the final week. Unfortunately, the Finale will have no live audience due to the coronavirus, something which is disappointing. I would have loved to have attended & seen it play out live for myself, but alas, it’s cannot be. There will also be a change in the hosting, given JLP is still in LA & so will be joining via Skype, while Osher Gunsberg guest MCs from the studio. From what I’ve seen on social media, many of the All Stars castaways are already in Sydney for the Finale, along with a few others from previous seasons, like the King of the Jungle himself, Luke Toki. I’m sure it’ll be an amazing Finale.

And that’s it for another edition of Survivor Strategiser. As the final episodes are upon us, I’ll be doing one of these for each episode next week, to be released the following day. So Monday night’s episode’s analysis will come out on Tuesday, Tuesday night’s on Wednesday & so on & so forth.

Looking forward to next week. If I had to pick a winner, I’d put my money on Dave to take this thing out. One of the greatest players the game has ever seen.

See y’all next week.

 

Survivor Strategiser

Hello & welcome to a new series I’ve decided to start, looking at & analyzing the week that was in Australian Survivor. This year, All Stars has seen some of the most spectacular moments ever seen in Australian Survivor history, & arguably in the game of Survivor itself. And this week has been no different. So, let’s get down to it.

This week began with a tribe of 10, & viewers likely expected to see that whittled down to 7 by the end of Wednesday night’s episode. Yet this show is entirely unpredictable, & a new, never-before-seen twist would change the trajectory of the game. More on that in a moment though.

Monday night’s episode was a heart-wrenching one. As 5 of the tribe members read letters from their families back home, we saw a great mateship between Lee & Tarzan. However, just moments later, Lee received a devastating phone call, & when we all found out what had happened, our hearts all broke for him. It was truly amazing to see the camaraderie between this group of players when they were told what had happened. They all rallied around Lee, this tragic event bringing them all so much closer. And I think it was a blessing that Tarzan was there with him. Tarzan is probably one of the nicest & most genuine guys I’ve seen play this game, & whilst that may not guarantee him the win, it makes him a winner in the hearts of all who have watched this play out. It was unfortunate that Lee had to leave the game when he did, considering he was doing so well this season, however, family always comes first. I think we can all agree that no one ever wants to see someone go out that way, but Lee will always have a place in this game & in the Survivor world. I’d also just like to point out that Lee did not have a single vote cast against him the entire time he was in the game, a true testament to the player that he is. We’ll all miss him & his character in the remainder of the season.

Despite Lee’s departure, the game continued on, with Shonee taking out a second individual immunity win. After deliberations back at camp, with David once again targeting the remaining Vakamas, it appeared AK & Brooke were on the chopping block, & that one of them would be leaving for the Jury Villa that night. Yet nothing is ever a given in the game of Survivor, & JLP still had a twist up his sleeve. And so, after the usual conversations at tribal council, the twist was revealed to all. The three castaways who received the highest numbers of votes at tribal would be sent to exile, awaiting another three the next night. Five would return, one would exit & become the third member of the jury. Personally, I was expecting exile to make a return at some point, but I sure wasn’t expecting this twist. With that on the table, it was clear that AK & Brooke would be going to exile, & so it was just a matter of who the remaining Vakama three would put their votes on to send to exile. As it turned out, that would be Moana. An unsurprising choice given she had put herself in a position of power, & appeared to be heading up the Mokuta alliance. And so ended a tumultuous night.

Tuesday’s episode brought with it a different kind of vibe. With the knowledge that three more tribe members would have to go to exile, the thought of who should go was clearly playing on people’s minds. Shonee was an obvious choice provided she didn’t win immunity again. In the end, Sharn would take out the next immunity challenge, guaranteeing her safety from the clutches of exile, & ultimately putting her in a fairly powerful position of deciding who to send over to exile beach. With Shonee being agreed upon, & Zach volunteering to go thanks to some clever manipulation by David, there was a decision that had to be made as to who should be the third to go. After making a personal appeal to Sharn citing an illness, Dave threw Jacqui’s name out there, putting it to his alliance that she would be the best option considering her range of strengths. But Jacqui didn’t want to go. With that on her mind, Sharn decided to make a play for Dave, yet it didn’t go as planned when Tarzan, being the loyal man that he is, relayed this information to Dave, leaving him with the knowledge that Sharn was trying to blindside him. At this point, one thing was clear: If you come at the king, you best not miss. And so was the case for Sharn. At tribal that night, the twist was revealed in full. Once six people were on exile, there would be two challenges, two chances for players to win their way back into the game. Those who didn’t would be susceptible to a tribal council, in which only they could receive votes. Shonee & Jacqui received enough votes in the first round of voting to go to exile. However, a tie on Zach & Dave with one vote apiece resulted in a second round in which only Sharn & Tarzan could vote. It was uncertain as to whether Sharn would change her vote, yet she did, & Zach was sent to exile as per his wishes, with Dave left knowing he could no longer trust Sharn.

And so, we came to Wednesday night. Within this episode we saw Jacqui beginning to align herself more closely with the Vakama 3, having had enough of being told what to do. Moana also seemed to be tempted by new alliances, so as to have a backup in case things went awry with Dave. The Vakama 3, particularly Shonee, were just doing their best to turn some of the Mokuta people so as to ensure their own safety & progression in the game. Back at camp, Dave knew he had Tarzan on his side, but was questioning Sharn’s loyalties & wondering if he could bring her back in. Come challenge time, the Exile 6 were ready to win back their places in the game. The first challenge brought with it the element of fire making, a key part of this game, with fire representing life. The first two to get their fire to break the string would re-enter the game. It was a true test for these players, who should all have developed this essential skill by now. Moana was first out the gate with her fire, winning her spot back in the game. It ended up being a race between Zach & Brooke in the end, with Brooke ultimately edging Zach by a few seconds. With Moana & Brooke returned, it was now down to a battle of strength, with AK, Shonee, Jacqui & Zach all fighting it out for the one remaining guaranteed spot in the game. After AK & Shonee dropped out, Zach began to struggle, the rope clearly straining against his hands causing a fair bit of pain. In the end, Jacqui won out, earning her spot back in the game, with AK, Shonee, & Zach all susceptible to the tribal council that was to follow.

Back at camp, Shonee & AK were the obvious names brought up for the vote. Dave & his right hand man Zach were fairly confident in their continued alliance & Zach’s safety in the game, with Dave willing to play one of his two idols if they suspected something was up. Jacqui, on the other hand, was done with her alliance, instead opting to play with the Vakama alliance & gun for Zach. Bringing Moana in on the plan, they kept it on the down low, ensuring Dave nor Zach would suspect a thing. And so, at tribal council, Jacqui put her plan into action, successfully blindsiding Zach & sending him to the Jury Villa as the third member of the Jury. It was clear Dave could tell someone had flipped, something we’ll likely see more of in the next episode.

So, let’s do a little bit of analysis. This week’s twist was obviously a major turning point in the game. Up until this point, we had just been seeing the Mokuta 7 picking off the Vakama 5. But with Lee’s departure having already reduced the Mokuta 7 to 6, the twist was the final nail in the coffin for this alliance. What is clear is that Shonee, AK & Brooke are all still tight, & they’ve done a great job of surviving considering they were in a minority. Now, they may have a bit more power, having brought over Jacqui, and having Moana as a possible swing vote. Sharn also may vote with them, considering she’s still playing both sides. That in itself is a dangerous game to play, considering you could end up turning both sets of people against you & having no one else to turn to in such a dire situation. Yet if Sharn is able to effectively continue in this way, it may just get her to the final two. Whether or not it will be enough to outdo David if he should make it to the end however is questionable. Currently, Dave has put together a pretty amazing resume for a jury vote, & going off who is on the jury, he should be able to get the votes to win provided he can play his way to the end. Considering he still possesses two idols, he should at the very least make the 5, but there’s no doubt in my mind he’ll make it to the end.

Endgame is always a crazy yet crucial time in Survivor. Alliances that have endured for lengthy periods are broken, & new, short term alliances form. Everyone’s mind is on getting through the next tribal, progressing in the game, & ultimately, reaching the end. Obviously, this is the key time to win immunity if you’re seen as an immediate threat. There are clearly some big players in this game, the major one being the golden god, Dave himself. In some sense, it’s odd that Dave hasn’t had many votes cast against him considering how good he is at playing the game, & the big moves he’s made. In fact, he’s only received one vote to date, that being the one from Sharn this week. Yet at the same time, this shows just how well he’s thought this whole thing out. Dave is always three steps ahead of the rest. He thinks about the game on all levels. He considers the relationships between other players, as well as the relationships he has with them. He thinks about the numbers. He considers how other people are thinking, & how their way of thinking could impact his game. He positions other people in front of himself as shields, & as we’ve borne witness to thus far, it’s worked out well for him, as they have been targeted ahead of him. And this week, we saw him contemplating the impact of the exile twist & thinking about how alliances could change due to relationships formed on Exile Beach. Sure, he didn’t get the drop on the Zach vote (which, you’d have to admit, there was a sweet irony to given he had voluntarily gone to exile, confident that he’d return), but Dave can easily work out who turned on the alliance, & oust them the first opportunity he gets.

You also have to give it to Shonee, she’s playing a brilliant social game. Her ability to adapt to the situation at hand & keep it from ending her game has been great to watch. She’s managed to play from the bottom for much of this game, & as a result, has now gained power after turning Jacqui on her alliance. She’s also won herself two of the four individual immunity challenges thus far, which is no mean feat. It would be interesting to see her at the end with Dave.

Since the tribal after Lydia & Phoebe went to the fire challenge, I’ve been predicting who would go at each tribal. I’ve been right every time thus far, correctly predicting every boot since & including John’s. That’s John, Mat, Phoebe, Flick, Nick, Locky, Harry, & Zach, for a total of 8 from 8 since then. I also had figured Lee would be the one pulled from the game, considering I saw his social media post about his Mum’s tragic passing after he returned from the game. And so, if you were to ask me, I’d say Jacqui’s game is about to end. I’d also say Dave, Brooke & Shonee are pretty much guaranteed to make the 5. Dave has shown he can play his way there, & Shonee’s social game will no doubt get her there. Brooke will also be able to position herself away from the vote, as the Mokuta alliance will be too busy fighting each other, & when it comes to eliminating any former Vakamas, AK will likely be the first to be targeted. I’m also fairly confident Sharn will make the 5 considering her ability to play both sides effectively. As to the 5th tribemate to make it, I’m not certain, but I’m thinking it’ll either be Tarzan or Moana. It really comes down to whether Tarzan’s time as being a number comes to an end, or if Moana is targeted before that.

I think we can all agree this has been a hell of a week in Australian Survivor, & while we look forward to another week to come, our hearts are still with Lee & his family. And so, as an end to this edition of Survivor Strategiser (not sure if I’m happy with that name yet), I’d like to link Lee’s fundraising page for the Stroke Foundation so that you can get behind Lee & make a donation if you’d like to (he’s giving away 5 buffs to the top 5 donations as a bit of an incentive):

https://www.towelchallenge.org.au/fundraiser/leecarseldine

It’s truly inspirational to see the Survivor community, the Survivor family, rallying around Lee & his family. Lee, you were one of the greats in this game, & I reckon you could’ve gone all the way. Well done mate, & all the very best to you & your family. God Bless you all.

 

 

Year In Review: Personal

2019 is fast coming to an end, & with the end of another year, the end of a decade in fact, comes reflection of how we’ve lived our lives thus far. This piece serves as my own personal reflection of the year that was, the lessons I’ve learnt, and everything in between.

This year has been different to years previous. I’ve experienced a lot that I never really expected, and, to say the least, I’ve grown as a person. It’s come with it’s fair share of challenges, that’s for sure. I’ve had to deal with things that I didn’t see coming, things that were completely unpredictable in nature. But with the bad came the good, & the happy moments shone through when they were needed.

I started 2019 off in a good place. Up in Noosa with family, celebrating the New Year, going on adventures to Ipswich & Australia Zoo, seeing some of the most amazing creatures on the planet, becoming obsessed with meerkats, reacquainting myself with some of the cutest otters I’ve ever seen in my life, & seeing some spectacular sights. All the while, I was pondering things, considering the year ahead, considering decisions I would have to make, doing all the regular thinking & more. And whilst I may not have realised it at the time, the stay in Noosa would be one of the better parts of my year. I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent up there, & I’m hoping to go back soon. My first times on an airplane were pretty cool too.

Mentally, I was in a decent place. I’d been in pretty good condition mentally for years, with no real issues since a battle with anxiety back in 2012, something I thought was a one-off. Maybe that was why things caught me completely off-guard.

A few weeks after arriving back from Noosa, I faced my first challenge of the year. By the time February hit, a number of things happened that led to a major mental break. Mind barriers were broken, & the anxiety flooded my mind & body. Ultimately, a battle began, a battle between myself & my mind. It was something completely unexpected. Of course, I knew there was some degree of risk with things coming up in the year, I just didn’t expect them to awaken what must have lain dormant within me for years.

A number of you would have read my article from earlier this year detailing my battle with anxiety, something which can never be underestimated. Briefly, things escalated over a matter of weeks. I was mentally off-kilter, & felt physically unwell. After about a month, I finally decided to get some professional help, seeing a counsellor/psychologist, who was extremely helpful.

The next big event in my life was starting university. The process of simply enrolling was stressful enough to begin with. Having attempted to get in to a different major area for my degree at UTS (University of Technology Sydney), going from Creative Writing to Journalism, with no success online & over the phone on multiple occasions, I travelled to the Student Centre, talked to multiple people, & found a major flaw in the university system (the first of many). I enrolled in the necessary subjects for the Creative Writing course, & prepared for study once again. Yet it was not to last long at all.

After a single day at UTS, I knew something was wrong. Sure, it wasn’t a great day for me personally on a mental level, being alone at a new place, experiencing amplified anxiety levels for most of the day, doing all I could to keep the symptoms at bay. But coming home on the train that night, I knew I wasn’t doing the right thing for me. And that was when it clicked. I needed to do something for me, not for other people. It didn’t matter if others found it to be unconventional, it just had to be right for me. Whilst I’ve never been a quitter, I knew this degree, this university, was going to be toxic for me. So after one day, I quit.

Having come home & relayed my feelings to my immediate family, I felt lost. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I made contact with some people, some friends, & did some research. I eventually came across an amazing university degree run by Griffith University through Open Universities Australia, an online uni degree. Yet I knew that it would not appease everyone, considering it was not a physical university. The added pressure of that was something that weighed heavily on my mind, a similarity in many of the decisions I’ve made throughout this year. However, I chose to go ahead with the degree, & thus enrolled. I’d made a decision, a big decision, something I hadn’t really done before.

Around mid-March, in fact, right after I made the decision to withdraw from UTS, I made another decision that would really change my life for the better. For context, in late 2018, I had taken on a temporary role as a Special Religious Education (SRE) helper, assisting for a Year 6 class. It was a highly rewarding experience, & while I wanted so much to continue on in 2019, I ultimately knew that my university degree would make that difficult. This probably had some impact on the decision I would ultimately make to quit my degree & change things up.

I should say at this point, before I continue on, that there were a number of reasons that factored into my leaving UTS. It wasn’t a decision I made lightly. Being able to go back to SRE was a mid-range factor, as it was something I was passionate about. The content of the degree itself was also a factor, as well as the culture of the university in being quite the opposite to my own political views. That’s not to say that I withdrew because I couldn’t deal with opposing views. It was more to the point that I felt like I was putting myself in a space where I was going to be suppressed for three years, a place where if I spoke to my values and political opinions, or challenged the ones being put forth by lecturers & tutors, I would find myself being penalized simply for having a different set of views, a free speech issue. I thought about this, & I knew I couldn’t do that to myself. It should also be said that, whilst I could express those views online & through my blog, the university lecturers & tutors had said they were going to be checking the social media of students, something which I personally saw as completely unprofessional & unnecessary. The purpose of such a scheme could only be to find out the personal views of each student so as to categorize them into the political spectrum, something I find truly appalling. I will write more to this in a separate article, however I felt it fit here. To some degree, this whole keeping quiet thing stirred my anxiety, something which also led to my leaving UTS. That’s not to say that I still haven’t experienced similar occurrences online with Griffith. In fact, a recent assessment marking of mine, an assessment that I worked extremely hard on, came back to me with some fairly unfavourable feedback, which seemed to be politically motivated. As I said previously however, I’ll speak more to this in an upcoming article.

Back to SRE now. In mid-March, I made the decision to rejoin the SRE program in a permanent position. I became an assistant to a Year 5 class, who I ended up having the great pleasure of taking for around 6-7 weeks while their teacher was away on holiday. It was truly an amazing & extremely rewarding experience. Whilst it was nerve-wracking at first, as I got to know the students, I began to establish a real spiritual connection with them. Seeing them learn & understand more & more each week, building their relationship with God, was incredibly special. Throughout the year, up until the end of Term 3, I watched the students progress, & there was always a smile on my face when I was in the classroom with them. They were a joy to teach, & I couldn’t be more grateful for the time I had with them this year.

In Term 4, I got a promotion of sorts (well, not really, but a level up perhaps). After another SRE had to take time off, I was asked to take their Year 6 class for the term, an offer which I immediately accepted. It was incredibly daunting going in to take over a class who had been set with one teacher throughout the year, & I found it challenging at the best of times. The students, however, were amazing in the way that they guided me through how their lessons were usually run, & by the time we were a few weeks in, I was once again amazed to see how dedicated some of them were to building their relationship with God. While I had my fair share of challenging moments with some students, time flew by, & I felt blessed to have been a part of the spiritual journey of these students.

Alongside being an SRE, I completed a Level 1 Training Course, a requirement for becoming a full time SRE. This was a valuable learning experience, & something I was again truly grateful to be a part of. I met some wonderful people whilst participating in the course, we shared our experiences with each other, & we all grew in our faith & as SREs. I completed the course in November, & am now qualified to take my own class, something that I am looking forward to doing in the new year.

This year also brought with it it’s fair share of fun & friendship. I kept up to date with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, & saw the final instalment of the Eastrail 177 Trilogy (if you’re not familiar, that’s Unbreakable, Split, &, most recently, Glass). I also spent days out with friends, & went to a number of family gatherings, which are always a blast. I also got to see my Aunt & cousins who I hadn’t seen in a couple of years, & hung out with them for a few days, which was a highlight. I also got into new seasons of all my favourite television shows, but I also found a new love: The Office (the US version). This show became my all time favourite television series within the first few episodes. After watching all nine seasons through, plus highlight & blooper reels on YouTube, I watched it again with my brother. And trust me, it never loses its charm nor humour no matter how many times you watch it. The cold opens are fantastic. I’ve watched some scenes so many times, I’ve memorised the lines. And some of the catchphrases the characters use have also become a part of my own repertoire. It’s a fantastic show, & I’d highly recommend it. I’ll for sure watch it again.

Sporting matches were also in, this year’s feature being the NRL Grand Final, an event I never thought I’d go to. More on that in a moment.

Music also continued to play a major role in my life. I stuck by my favourite group by far, OneRepublic, listening to their new music as soon as it dropped. Other artists also made their way into my life, likely due to different moods & various goings-on. I got hooked on the music of Charlie Puth (an amazing musician, who also happens to have perfect pitch). And at various points in the year, there were appearances by Andy Grammer, Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco, Kygo, 5 Seconds of Summer & Guy Sebastian among others. I also continued to play music, playing piano & learning guitar, in addition to experimenting with producing music on my laptop. I’ve also recently purchased a microphone, something I’m planning on using to both record music & a podcast. Keep an eye & ear out for that next year.

Seeing as I love music so much, it stands to reason the highlight of my year would be music related. For around ten years now, basically since the beginning of the decade, I’ve been listening to the music of OneRepublic. More so since I was in Year 7, I began to follow OneRepublic & their front-man Ryan Tedder more closely. Ryan Tedder is likely my greatest musical influence, & one of the reasons I got into music. Their music has accompanied me through many times, good & not so great. For years now, I’ve dreamt of seeing them perform live, & meeting them, moreover Ryan Tedder, in person. So when OneRepublic announced this year that they were coming to Australia to perform at the NRL Grand Final, I jumped at the opportunity. Seeing them live, even for just fifteen minutes, was amazing. Although I’d really like to see them perform live at their own show, & I’m hoping they’ll be coming back to Sydney in the next couple of years, so that this time I can actually meet them.

Study has taken up a large portion of my year throughout this year, having been studying with no major breaks since the end of May. So far, I’ve completed four subjects, with another two underway currently. Thus far, I’m enjoying the degree, although there have been some setbacks over the last few months in particular which resulted in an immense amount of stress. Ultimately, this stress unfortunately resulted in a lapse of control over my anxiety, & so it’s returned. It’s something that has begun to impact on my life yet again, something which I hope to regain control over in the coming months.

I also had the privilege of going on a few holidays this year. The first was the one I’ve already mentioned, going up to Noosa. The other holiday was a Royal Caribbean cruise to the Pacific & New Zealand. This cruise was a good experience. It was nice to be able to spend time with family, particularly those I only get to see every now & then. The entertainment was good on some occasions, although it was a little underwhelming on others. Of the destinations, New Zealand’s Bay of Islands was by far the most beautiful. The food was also amazing, as were the waiters who served it to us each day & night. It was a true privilege to get to know these hard workers over the duration of the cruise. They made it all the more special. Whilst it was a good cruise, having the anxiety return did make it a little difficult for me at times, particularly in mornings. Overall though it was a really fun experience.

Looking back on this year, I feel like I’ve learnt a lot about myself. I’ve discovered my limits, but also my strengths. I’ve found that whilst you may hope for one thing, life will throw you a curveball & take you in a different direction. Personally, I’m grateful for not only the good moments this year has brought, but also the not so great moments. Because these moments show you things about yourself that you never realised. These are the times that truly bring your humanity to the surface, times of self-discovery. At the times when I was at my lowest this year, I took comfort in those who were there to support me. I’m so grateful to have those people in my life, because not only did they help me through my struggles this year, they also guided me on my journey of self-discovery.

There were moments this year when I was lost. There were times when I thought everything in my life was going wrong, & that nothing would ever go right. But certain people helped me to realise that there was still hope in my future. Hope is what kept me going, what got be back on my feet, & what inspired me to continue to share my stories.

Whilst 2019 hasn’t exactly been the most spectacular year, it’s been an experience that I likely needed. In some sense, I’m thankful to have gone through an experience that has changed me for the better. And I’m glad to have a platform to be able to share my thoughts & experiences with others, so that we can all be inspired to continue to have hope.

So, here’s to 2019: a year of learning, a year of growth, a year of self-discovery, a year of hope.

Cheers for a great year on the blog!

JJ

Abortion: Human Life In The Balance

Abortion; it’s a matter of life & death. It should be seen to be a simple topic. In fact, it should be entirely easy to see that human life is valuable, no matter what stage it’s in. Yet somehow, the topic of abortion becomes controversial. Why? Because some people don’t see that the unborn as human life. Some people place the so-called ‘choice’ of the mother-to-be above that of the life of the unborn child. And see that’s what the abortion debate truly boils down to. It’s a simple view. Those who support abortion do not see all human life as equal. If, however, you see all human life as truly equal, then you won’t support the abortion of the child. Because quite simply, you know that unborn child has just as much right to life as its mother, & as anyone living on this planet. Let’s delve a little deeper into this debate.

When it comes to the abortion debate, there’s two sides: pro-life & pro-choice. Yet when you get to the root of it, you begin to see that pro-choice simply means pro-abortion. Pro-lifers do not tolerate abortion. Pro-choicers think it should be down to the woman with child, & that it should be her choice as to whether or not she has the baby, thus being in favour of abortion if the woman so chooses. It’s important to note that it is a baby that is living inside of the pregnant woman. Often, pro-choicers will refer to it as a ‘fetus’ or a ‘clump of cells’ or any other term which aims to make this life seem small & insignificant, with the goal to make it appear as if it isn’t even a life. Yet it is. In fact, it’s scientific fact that life begins at conception. Do pro-choicers accept the science on this? Typically, they don’t. Yet life does indeed begin when the baby is conceived. From there on, the fertilized egg will grow, it will begin to form a head, body, arms, legs, hands, feet, fingers, toes, a brain, a heart, & the heart will begin to beat. Inevitably, it will form the necessary means to feel pain. In fact, while we’re here, let’s talk about that.

Pain; it’s something we all feel at some point throughout our lives. Of course, we do everything we can to avoid it, because we don’t want to feel it. But we do, in various forms. Be it physical or emotional, we feel pain, & it hurts. Some types of pain hurt more than others. Inevitable, when we feel pain, we do what we can to treat it, to rid ourselves of it, or at the very least lessen it. We are lucky that we have the ability to do so, because it would most certainly be hellish to be in constant pain without being able to do something about it. We as humans are also prone to fear. We all have our various fears, yet we can do what we need to avoid them. We can prevent them from taking hold over us. We can take ourselves out of certain situations that create fear within us. We have the capability to do that. We have the capability to escape our fears. Now I want you to imagine yourself in a situation in which you would be extremely scared. Now you might usually be able to get out of such a situation, however, in this case, you’re trapped there. You have no way out, there is no escape. You know that you’re about to feel excruciating pain, & that, ultimately, it will result in your untimely death. And there is nothing you can do about it. Not a thing. All you can do is sit there & take it as it comes. That scenario right there; that is the reality that millions of unborn babies face every single year. That is abortion.

Amongst the pro-choice side, you’d likely find that most do not think late-term abortion should be an option, unless of course it is medically necessary. Most would also say that late-term abortions only occur when medically necessary. Unfortunately, that’s incorrect. The vast majority of late-term abortions actually occur for no good reason at all. And on top of that, of all abortions, around 95% are completed at the behest of the woman with child simply because it will inconvenience her. Take a moment to think about that. All these women are denying their children a life, they are killing their children, simply because it would be an inconvenience to what they want to do. What this shows is that these women place their own lives above those of their children, they think their lives are more valuable. There’s no equality of life in their minds. It’s purely selfish. There’s no other way of saying it. These women are acting selfishly in aborting their children for their own benefit. It shouldn’t be allowed to occur.

By the same token abortion should not occur as a result of the unborn child having a developmental disorder such as Down Syndrome or the like. These babies are just as viable & just as human as anyone else. Sure, they might have some issues with development, however, they deserve just as much as anyone else to live their life. There is no valid reason to abort a baby in this circumstance.

Abortion shouldn’t be treated as some form of contraception. It isn’t contraception. Contraception is used in the prevention of pregnancy. Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy. Many women who have abortions seem to abuse it as a late contraceptive method. That’s not what it is. While we’re on this, if you don’t want to fall pregnant, then there is one simple thing you can do: practice abstinence. Many pro-choicers laugh at that suggestion, or they’ll say it’s a ridiculous idea. The fact is, abstinence is 100% effective in preventing unwanted pregnancy. It is simply impossible to fall pregnant if you’re abstinent. You can then have a child when you’re ready. It’s quite simple really. There’s really no excuse for being irresponsible & falling pregnant as a result.

Now those on the pro-choice side would likely hit back here & bring up the rare cases of rape & incest. Let me make this clear: pregnancies resulting from rape & incest are extremely rare. Cases of abortion as a resultant of rape make up around 1% of all abortions, with incest cases being at 0.5%. It’s not right to justify all other abortions by using these extremely rare causes of unwanted pregnancy & abortions.

On the same point, within the abortion debate, there is often talk of rape exceptions. Things are going to get controversial here. Now often I try to remain objective when writing these articles, however for this point, that’s going to change. I personally do not believe in rape exceptions. Let me make this clear: I’m not attempting to detract from what women who fall pregnant as a result of rape have been put through. These vile criminal acts are completely disgusting & have no place in this world. All those who perpetrate such acts should face the full extent of the law. What I’m saying is that, in the rare case that the victim of a rape falls pregnant as a result, the unborn child should not have to pay for the sins of its father. Allow me to explain further.

In order for you to understand this ‘controversial’ view, I want you to take a moment & think. Think of your best friend, the one you cherish the most, the one who makes your life so much better, the one who you might not be able to live without. Now imagine that best friend was conceived in rape. Imagine that, because that best friend was conceived in rape, he/she was aborted, & never entered your life. Now I pose a few questions to you: Do you truly believe that that best friend, who’s likely a shining light in your life, deserves to die because of how they were conceived? That friend didn’t do anything wrong, did they? Why should they have to pay for the crimes their father committed?

Often, pro-choicers will also claim that ‘abortion is healthcare.’ Healthcare is defined as ‘efforts made to maintain or restore physical, mental, or emotional well-being especially by trained and licensed professionals’. Healthcare is the nurturing of a human life. Healthcare does not pertain to damaging a human life in any way. Abortion results in the taking of a human life. That isn’t healthcare. In the case of an unborn baby, healthcare would pertain to ensuring it is growing healthily, that nothing is done to cause harm to it, & that it is delivered when required. Pro-choice women also often claim that they have a right to abortion. Abortion is not strictly a right. Even in the United States, it has only been justified under the Fourth Amendment protection of privacy. It is not a Constitutional right. Women do not have a right to choose. It simply does not exist. When such ‘rights’ are discussed however in creating abortion legislation, such Bills are often brought forward under the guise of a ‘Reproductive Health’ Bill. They are anything but.

Reproductive health would bring with it the connotations of reproduction, that is, actually having a baby, & the health of the baby during the time in which it is developing pre-birth. It would not pertain to aborting a baby. Yet in recent years, Bills have been brought forward in many states in Australia, with NSW being the last state remaining in which abortion has not been decriminalized, & thus being the final frontier for life in Australia. However, in recent weeks, a Bill brought forward by Independent MP Alex Greenwich which would decriminalize abortion & allow abortions up to 22 weeks, was pushed through quickly in the Lower House, whereby the Premier Gladys Berejiklian did not follow regular process, in which such a Bill, coming from a private member, would typically be given to a Committee first before being brought into the Parliament for debate & voting. The Bill passed the Lower House 59-31, with at least two-thirds of the Liberal Party voting against it, along with a smattering of Labor & Independent MPs. Berejiklian & her deputy John Barilaro refused to speak on the Bill, then voted down Amendments & voted in favour of the Bill itself. This has of course angered Liberal MPs. Berejiklian allowed a ‘conscience vote’, then sat on the other side, voting with Labor, Greens & Independents, as well as most of the Nationals & a few Libs. This isn’t a good look for the Premier. The way in which she has gone about this has rightly resulted in anger & a sense of betrayal from the Party faithful, especially from those who voted to keep her in power. What should also be noted is that this was a conscience vote. However, anyone with a conscience would have voted to protect life, rather than take it.

The Bill has now gone to an Upper House Committee, which is conducting a series of interviews with a number of individuals including the Sydney Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher, who has been quite vocal in his own dismay toward this Bill. This Bill is not a reproductive health Bill. It is an abortion Bill. What is concerning about this Bill is that, when an Amendment was put forward by Liberal MP Tanya Davies to ensure that sex-selection abortions were outlawed, it was voted down. The Premier was one of those who voted against this Amendment. Even though all MPs condemned it, it was still voted down. Those MPs who voted against it may have condemned it, yet what is their position if they are voting against such an Amendment? Such a vote would be considered to be a vote in support of sex-selection abortion, something which is extremely deplorable. Whilst it has been agreed that there will be a report completed over the next twelve months which will indicate whether there is an occurrence of sex-selection abortions within NSW, this is clearly not enough, considering that if such abortions do occur the unborn babies that have lost their lives as a result of such selfish reasons cannot be brought back from the dead. In addition to this, the Bill would likely allow for late-term abortions, practically legalizing murder. The Bill makes it legal for abortions up to 22 weeks of gestation. There have been many cases in which babies have been born prematurely at 22 weeks who have survived & are living without any defect or deficiency. There have even been cases of babies born at 21 weeks who have survived & thrived. These babies are able to survive. Yet politicians are supporting legislation which would effectively result in their legal murder. Let me put it this way: If a man killed a baby that had just been born, it would be considered murder & he would likely go to prison for 20 years or more. Yet an abortionist can kill a baby before it is scheduled to be born, & it is considered to be perfectly fine. Does that really make sense?

There is only really one other state’s legislation we can compare this Bill to in Australia. That is Victoria. Victoria passed similar laws in 2008, whereby it was thought this would discourage late-term abortions. However, late-term abortions have increased in number. There has even been a case in which an unborn baby was aborted at 37 weeks. There’s really no question about it, that’s murder. What’s even more disturbing is that there has been a significantly large number of cases in which babies have been born alive & left to die. That’s murder. This is what NSW has almost legislated. This is what Queensland legislated just last year. When Queensland politicians passed their Bill, they celebrated it, lighting up their major bridge in purple, celebrating like it was New Year’s. When NSW Lower House politicians passed their Bill last week, there were cheers & applause, & pictures were taken showing smiles & joy on the faces of some politicians & activists. Again, this is extremely disturbing. These people are celebrating death. And if this Bill does pass, they will be complicit in the deaths to come. It’s also concerning that the Health Minister, Brad Hazzard, would defend such a Bill. He’s the Health Minister. That should entail being concerned with the health of the unborn. Hazzard should not be Health Minister if he is willfully supporting & defending a Bill which would legislate the killing of the next generation.

Adverse to what is occurring in Australia, over in the United States, several States have, one by one, pushed through restrictions &/or bans on abortion, demonstrating a turning tide in the US, whereby life is being respected as opposed to being willfully destroyed. Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, & Ohio have all passed restrictive abortion bans. Alabama pass the most restrictive laws, whereby abortions are banned in almost all circumstances, including rape & incest, with the exception of cases in which there is a serious risk to a woman’s health. Tennessee has joined these states just a few days ago, whereby legislation is being debated & will likely be passed in order to ban abortions “when a viable pregnancy is presumed to exist or has been confirmed”. It is promising to see these bans being put in place, & to see more & more States doing the same despite court challenges. It hasn’t stopped others from trying to legislate abortion to birth & even post-birth abortion, two abhorrent ideas that have been spoken about & advocated for particularly in New York. However, ultimately, if enough States banned abortion, there could be enough ground for a legitimate challenge to the Roe v Wade ruling, put in place by the Supreme Court, so as to overturn this ruling & ban abortion nationwide.

Off legislation now & onto a few other points. First, the pro-choice side tend to also be those who advocate for children in detention as a result of illegal immigration. Quick point on that, if you want to immigrate somewhere, you should go about doing it legally. True asylum seekers do not pick a country halfway around the world that they like, rather they go to the nearest country in which they can seek asylum. If you want to immigrate, however go about doing it illegally, you should expect to face consequences as a result. Back to the main point here, pro-choicers typically also advocate for children in detention. They seem to care so much about their lives yet have little to no care for the lives of the unborn. It’s hypocritical, & puts their double standards on full display.

Within the abortion debate, the pro-choice side also continue to bring up ‘bodily autonomy’. Pro-choicers often use the phrase ‘my body my choice’ or ‘her body her choice’. They will say that others, particularly men, shouldn’t be telling women what to do with their bodies. Here’s what’s wrong with that. It’s not your body. Sure, you have autonomy over your own body, but that autonomy is limited to your own body. The body of the unborn baby is not your body. It is a separate body, a body of its own. Unless of course you have two heads, four arms & legs, twenty fingers & toes, two hearts & two brains, which I highly doubt you would. If you do, that’s a medical issue that likely needs to be explored further. I doubt you’d find anyone who had such an issue however. If these people care so much about bodily autonomy, you’d think they would respect the bodily autonomy of the unborn child. Again, this simply exposes the double standards of these people. By the same token, the pro-choice side have argued that the unborn are reliant on the women who they are living inside, & thus cannot make their own decisions/choices, thereby the woman should be allowed to make a choice on their behalf. However, a valid point was made by Archbishop Fisher in conversation with 2GB radio host Alan Jones on Monday when the Archbishop made it clear that children up to three years of age cannot make their own choices. Would that mean that we should be able to abort a child that has already been born? Or one which has lived for say a year or two? Of course not. This simply demonstrates that this line of thinking of pro-choice individuals on choice is completely flawed.

Women who are pro-choice, or pro-abortion, also seem to think that the views of males on the matter of abortion are completely irrelevant. Oftentimes you’ll see that when a male tries to express their views, if they are pro-life, or anti-abortion, they are brushed away by the pro-choice side. The pro-choice side will often say of these men that their opinion doesn’t matter because they’ve never been pregnant, they cannot get pregnant, or because they don’t have a uterus. However, if you happen to be a male who is on the side of these pro-abortion individuals, you face no such criticism. The issue with this is that abortion is just as much a matter for men as it is for women. After all, it takes both a male & a female to make a baby. Men should be able to express their views on the matter of abortion freely, no matter what side of the debate they are on. However, there are a group of men who may only be expressing a certain view for their own personal benefit. These are male feminists. Male feminists, who typically side with pro-choice women on this matter, are pro-choice as it gives them a means of engaging with women without consequence. If they get a woman pregnant, the woman can go get an abortion & everything carries on as usual. They’re in it, for the most part, for selfish reasons. To the main point here however, the views of men on abortion should not be swept aside as if they carry no value, simply because the man isn’t a woman.

By the same token, pro-life views in general should not be subject to censorship. Often this side of the debate is censored in some way, so that the reach of such views is limited, whilst pro-choice views are spread far & wide, censorship free. The most recent examples of this bias against pro-life views are the limiting of the distribution of pro-life films Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer, which tells the story of abortionist Kermit Gosnell & the vile things he was doing in his abortion clinics over a number of decades, & Unplanned, the story of Abby Johnson, & her journey from the youngest Planned Parenthood clinic director to one of the most prominent pro-life activists in America, after seeing just what occurred in the carrying out of an abortion. Both these films faced extreme difficulties in being circulated, which resulted in the films only being shown in a number of select theatres across the US. Gosnell was only shown in the US. Unplanned has faced even more hurdles as there are attempts made to get the film out across a number of countries worldwide, including Australia. It faced protest & censorship when it was to be released in Canada, & after being stalled multiple times, was finally released in select theatres. It’s extremely shameful that such films would face such difficulties in being released & distributed, & brings to light the issue of censorship when it comes to showing the truth. It shouldn’t matter if it is pro-life or not. The films are truthful, & so should be shown in order to educate people above all else on what abortion truly is. It has become more & more apparent that those who support abortion do not want the truth to be shown, as it will likely destroy their own cause.

One final point. When it comes to the abortion debate, if you’re a Catholic/Christian, your views are often attributed to your religious standing. The pro-choice side will regularly claim that you’re only pro-life because of your religion. There’s an important point to be made here. Abortion is not a religious issue. It’s a moral issue. Sure at some times our views may be affected somewhat by our religious values, however it really comes down to our moral standings, our views on what is right, & what is wrong. Within the moral spectrum, abortion falls clearly into the morally wrong section. If you have good morals, you’ll see that. Abortion goes against good morals. That much is clear. Morals are at the root of religious beliefs. The abortion debate is not one of religion at heart. It is one of moral standings.

Abortion. When it comes down to it, it’s disrespectful of human life. And at the heart of the debate lies one central question. I’ll put it to you in an analogy. You have a criminal, one who has committed unspeakable evils, & a charity worker who has dedicated their life to helping others. Is the life of each of these individuals equal to the other? Now some, mostly those on the pro-choice side, would say there is no equality that exists between the lives of these two individuals. They would likely argue that the life of the criminal is of significantly less value than the charity worker. This is incorrect. Because there is a correct answer here. The life of the criminal & the life of the charity worker are equal. The reason for this is quite simple. All human life is equal. Yes, these two individuals have taken very different paths in their lives & made significantly different decisions. However, whilst these choices may change the quality of their life, including how they are viewed by others, it does not change its value. That is what is crucial to this debate. In the forefront, it’s a debate on abortion. Deeper down, it’s a debate on morals. But at its core, this is a debate on the value of a human life. So I’ll leave you with a question to consider: do you believe all human life is equal?

JJ

Fascism: Antifa’s New Anthem

Fascism; one of the most misused terms in the modern age. The definition of fascism is as follows: a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition. Fascism is oppression. Fascism is the silencing of those who have opposing views to your own. Fascism is censorship. Fascism is violence. Fascism is not democracy. In the modern day, fascism is a destructive force, however, just who it is being perpetrated by is heavily misconstrued.

Fascism is often claimed to be a trait of the ‘radical right’. Whilst this may be true, it is not simply limited to one side of the political spectrum. In fact, contrary to what the Left would want you to believe, fascism has been displayed by both sides of the spectrum, including their own. In modern times, a group known as Antifa have began to draw more attention, claiming they are doing what is necessary to stop fascists. Antifa (which is a shortening of anti-fascist) have existed in some form since the early 20th century when Mussolini came to power in Italy under his National Fascist Party. They began as the antithesis to his fascist party, which could be seen as making sense. However now, their view of fascism has become extremely distorted, to the point where Antifa themselves have become the fascists.

Antifa have a logo. On that logo are three phrases: ‘ANTI-FASCIST ACTION’, ‘SMASH FASCISM’, ‘ABOLISH CAPITALISM’. Now sure, it makes sense that they don’t like fascism. No one really does. But that is some strong language they’re using there, & you’d be forgive if you began to wonder if they’re really going about all this the right way. Additionally, there’s nothing explicitly wrong with capitalism. It’s clear they only want to abolish it so that they can then proceed to replace it with the system of shared misery that is socialism. Antifa are described as a ‘militant, anti-fascist’ conglomerate of Left-Wing individuals. This description is in most ways accurate. They are indeed militant, often carrying weapons of many varieties, & often engaging in violence. They are also all of the Left politically. In fact, & I’m sure many would agree, those who are members of Antifa are far Left. The only part of the aforementioned description that is no longer accurate is that the group is anti-fascist. Allow me to explain.

The antics of Antifa have become well known in recent years in particular. They regularly attempt to deplatform those with opposing viewpoints to their own, as well as disrupting & obstructing their events, defacing their propaganda, & committing violent acts. The major issue is that they are no longer going after true fascists. Nowadays, Antifa target those who simply disagree with them & have opposing viewpoints. Antifa practically labels any Conservative as a fascist in the modern world, even though the vast majority clearly are not fascists. They also claim to go after white supremacists, however those they target are, for the most part, not white supremacists. Those who are labelled as fascists by Antifa are likely not as such. Their idea of what a fascist is has become skewed, with the true definition of a fascist now being embodied by Antifa themselves.

In recent days, we have seen just how violent & deplorable these people have become. They hide behind masks, attacking those whose views they do not like. Case in point, Conservative journalist Andy Ngo. Ngo is clearly no white supremacist, being of Asian ethnicity, & an openly gay man. However, Ngo has previously been threatened by members of the violent militant group, & this came to head on the weekend. When Ngo attended a rally taking place in Portland, Oregon, to document & report on the events taking place, he was violently attacked by members of Antifa. These thuggish individuals not only threw milkshakes at him, but also beat him & stole his GoPro camera. They left him bloody & bruised, & without his recording device. In addition to this, the milkshakes thrown at Ngo contained quick drying cement, which resulted in lesions forming on Ngo’s body where the cement made contact. Once the Portland Police finally turned up, having not been present when the attack occurred even though the threat of violence was very real & Antifa were highly likely to commit acts of violence, Ngo was attended to, & was transported to hospital where it was found he had a brain haemorrhage, in simple terms, a brain bleed. Antifa are not only guilty of the assault & battery of this man who had done nothing wrong, who hadn’t even provoked them, who was simply there to do his job & document the events occurring, they are, in reality, guilty of the attempted murder of Andy Ngo.

It is disgraceful that the authorities allow this violence to continue to occur in their jurisdictions. This is not the first time Antifa have been violent or had the intent to be violent. And it likely will not be the last. In the past, Conservative commentator & comedian Steven Crowder has had his people successfully infiltrate Antifa, & has shown that they have the intent to deploy violence wherever they go. In his video, members of Antifa state they have guns & knives, amongst a range of other weapons, at the ready. In the case of Andy Ngo, Portland Police should have known, in fact it would be extremely difficult to see how they wouldn’t, that Antifa are dangerous & that they were likely to deploy violence when crashing the rally occurring. It also brings into question the intentions of higher authorities, particularly the Mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler. In some sense, the police & authorities such as the Mayor are just as complicit in the violence as those who commit it, as they stand idly by & allow it to occur. It has also been claimed that Wheeler had a stand down order for Portland Police, which allowed Antifa to run rampant on multiple occasions, a despicable act if true. Not only was Andy Ngo violently attacked at that rally, but a number of others, civilians who had turned up to the rally, were also beaten, two men being attacked with a crowbar, leaving them with head injuries. None of this should have been allowed to have occurred, yet it was, & it is at the behest of a group who are no longer anti-fascist, but are indeed fascists themselves.

What worsens this situation is that there are people out there, including those in media positions, such as commentators & journalists, who are defending the actions of Antifa & blaming the victims for the attacks. A number of Left-Wing journalists & media commentators shared messages over the weekend & the days following, many on Twitter, accusing Ngo of bringing this on himself. For example, journalist for The Guardian Jason Wilson dismissed the claim that the milkshakes contained quick-drying cement, claiming ’Left-Wing protesters’ used ‘actual milkshakes’, whilst also whitewashing the assaults & implying that Andy Ngo exaggerated his injuries. This is gutter journalism. The fact that those in the media would defend actions such as those taken by Antifa is appalling, & continues to show that truth in journalism is still hard to come by, particularly when that journalism comes from those on the Left. Unsurprisingly, Democratic candidates running for President have failed to condemn the violent actions of Antifa & the attack on Ngo. Gay rights organisations have also remained silent, with absolutely zero condemnation of the terrible acts of violence. On the other hand, Republican Senator Ted Cruz has condemned the violence, & has called for action to be taken against those involved. Those who have in the past called for individuals to be milkshaked, including Vox’s Carlos Maza (who, you’ll remember, recently attempted to deplatform Steven Crowder, managing to create the Vox Adpocalypse in the process), still have their posts up on Twitter, & have not yet had any action taken against them, which is entirely unsurprising considering Twitter never seem to take action against those on their own side of the political spectrum. Antifa also still have a platform on Twitter & Facebook, who have banned a number of Conservative commentators & journalists from their platform simply for their Conservative views, which they have deemed as ‘hate speech’, & speech that is dangerous. It is clear that Antifa’s speech would likely be far more dangerous than that of any one Conservative commentator.

Antifa are clearly becoming more violent in their actions. It is past time action was taken to stop this group from hurting more people. In their so-called battle to stop ‘white supremacists’ & ‘fascists’, Antifa themselves have become what they loathe. They may wear masks to hide their identities in an effort to commit violent acts without being caught, but Antifa cannot hide from the darkness that is enveloping them from the inside out. Authorities must take action, & declare Antifa as a domestic terrorist conglomerate. Indeed, in recent days it has come to light that evidence of a working relationship between American Antifa activists & terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda & ISIS is emerging. Antifa may be dangerous individuals, however they do Conservatives a great favour. They are the epitome of everything that is wrong with the Left: They have no interest in respectful reasoned debate, they label anyone with opposing views, even those that may in fact be Left-Wing themselves for the most part, as fascists, racists, white supremacists & more, they resort to insults & extremely foul language, & ultimately, turn to violence when facing those who hold opposing views. It is clear that the meaning of fascism has been lost on these individuals, indeed even on those on the Left who are slightly less Left than those of Antifa are. Many on the Left make the bold & completely misinformed claim that fascism is purely a trait of the Far Right. In reality, fascism has become more aligned with Far Left ideology. That isn’t to say there are individuals on the Far Right who aren’t necessarily fascists themselves. But it’s not something that is limited to one side or another. Fascism is in no way a good ideology. But in some sense, it’s more aligned with Communism, & the Left would know all about that. All in all, violence is never the answer. Violence only shows that you cannot logically defend your argument. And those who commit acts of violence, especially those that occurred over the weekend, should be charged & prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Those that defend violence are just as complicit. Even if it’s an egg or a milkshake, it’s still violence, it’s still assault, & it can escalate from there if it’s condoned. It may start with an egg, or a milkshake, but once those are said to be harmless, the contents of the milkshake can change. It can escalate to a milkshake containing acid, or rocks, or, as was seen over the weekend, quick-drying cement. And soon enough, it’s a knife, or a gun. Violence is never acceptable, no matter what form it comes in, & it has absolutely no place in society. Whoever those were from Antifa that clearly committed assault & battery over the weekend, particularly those who almost killed Andy Ngo, should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law without leniency. Otherwise, their actions will be justified by the authorities, & will continue to occur, likely to greater extremes.