Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Headlines Tuesday 9th September

Back-room boys still hold the real power
Piers Akerman
AFTER 13 years of Labor government, the people of NSW have in Nathan Rees a second premier they did not vote for, heading a cabinet whose members were selected by unelected Labor officials, promoting policies voters have never been asked to endorse.
And, contrary to the Budget speech delivered by Michael Costa on June 3, the state is broke. The Government was relying on the sale of the electricity sector to cushion it from the worst of the fiscal disaster it was presided over.
Rees’ claim to be responsible for the selection of his Cabinet is similarly hollow.

``I chose these people. This is my Cabinet,’’ Rees said. But Karl Bitar (NSW Labor general secretary) did the process, he worked the factional numbers, balanced the incomings and outgoings, nailed together the wretched raft on which the Labor Government now relies. Maybe he let Rees allocate actual portfolios.
In the background, Unions NSW boss John Robertson, another unelected figure, can look at the wreckage of the parliamentary Labor Party and take credit for using his muscle at the state Labor conference to undermine the overdue reform of the electricity sector and initiate the process that swept Iemma from power.
While it is easy to point to the incompetence of the Carr government, which received record revenues from stamp duty on property transactions, and from the GST, and even easier to point to the dysfunctionality of the Iemma government, it must be noted that little has really changed over the past four days, despite the headlines.
First it must be recognised that the overwhelming majority of Cabinet members were members of the previous cabinet and some date back to the Carr years.
Just six are first-timers.
Given that the most senior positions have been given to the old lags, there can be no real expectation of change no matter what Rees says.
The Sussex St boyos and John Robertson will make sure of that.
There may be a blizzard of new promises but they, too, will end up in the same maelstrom of mismanagement that has seen millions frittered away on the scandalous Tcard fiasco.
Mention a state government department, any department, and there will be howls of protest.
Health? Waiting lists are longer than they were when Carr promised to quit should they grow longer. DOCS? One tragedy after another. Land? Scandal after scandal. Planning? The same. Education? Excuse after excuse. Transport? How long do we have to detail the cover-ups? Department after department, minister after minister, empty apologies, wordy explanations and the bottom line has always been no change.
For not only does NSW suffer under what must surely be the worst performing government since the convicts landed at Farm Cove, a gallery consisting largely of the same senior public servants has reigned since the days of Carr.
To say that Labor has politicised the state public service would be too kind, Labor has all-but captured the senior public servants and made them members of the club. Labor’s ferocious persecution of public service whistleblowers has cowed most into subservience but more than a few have willingly gone along with the ALP’s ever downward spiralling standards.
The public is entitled to ask why Treasury officials like secretary John Pearce failed to point out the clear flaws and obvious untruths in the NSW Budget three months ago; why Health officials have failed to alert the public to the inadequacies of their department; why Transport officials have continued to find excuses for their endemic failures.
The people of NSW deserve a better government. -I brought before the police, a month ago, information about the death of Hamidur Rahman that suggests it wasn't an accident but the result of neglect. The coroner has ruled on this case, so I understand it is not being investigated. The issue was raised through appropriate channels within the public service and the person who was reporting responsibly was harassed and felt compelled to resign. I think it would be timely to ask Tripodi and Della Bosca as to their activity in relation to the apparent cover up, and harassment of the public servant.- ed.
Hong Kong stays true
Andrew Bolt
Bravo to the democrats - and those who voted for them despite the racuous nationalism promoted by the Beijing Games:

Hong Kong’s pro-democrats breathed a sigh of relief on Monday after retaining enough seats to veto constitutional reforms following the city’s hard-fought legislative elections. Despite predictions that post-Olympic patriotism, factional infighting and scant election resources would hit their prospects, the various pro-democracy parties held on to all but two of their seats.
Tim Blair
The NYT’s David Carr reports:
In the press galleries at the convention, journalists wrinkled their noses in disgust when Piper, Ms. Palin’s youngest daughter, was filmed kitty-licking her baby brother’s hair into place. But to many Americans — including some I talked to in the convention hall — that looked like family church on Sunday, evidence of good breeding and sibling regard.
Tim Blair
They are completely terrified by her:
Beautiful Sunset
Tim Blair
“This race is not a personality contest,” says Barack Obama, who desperately hopes it isn’t. Anything else you’d like to rule out, Mr Obama, sir?
“You know, this whole résumé contest is not what the American people are looking for.”
Obama clearly wishes to focus on the main issues confronting America, like “change”, “belief”, and the “auhopity of dash”. Or whatever his book was called.
Tim Blair
Thanksgiving fantasist Barry Crimmins ("W’s photo-op with a plastic turkey …”) fires in a late entry for our Palin slurname contest:
Nananook of the Nazis
Tim Blair
The Guardian‘s astonishingly snooty Linda Grant imagines life as an American:
Were I an East Coast Democrat, which is the only kind of American I can ever imagine being, I would have no objection to small-town Republicans—to their church-going and their hunting rifles and their flag-decked porches and their meatloaf with gravy, and their lemon chiffon cake. I could admire their intimacy with the wide prairie and the vast sky.

The problem is that when they’re running the whole country, they want to take away abortion rights, drill for oil in Alaska (a Palin policy), ignore climate change, and start unwinnable wars.
Tim Blair
He’s critical of George W. Bush, but rock cartoon Henry Rollins gives some space to Charles Manson:
We corresponded a few times in 1984; I’d just tell him about what we were doing with our new record and he’d send back semi-lucid responses.

He made references to The Beach Boys stealing his ideas, which sounded like sour grapes, and told me to tell everybody else to take care of wildlife. That must have been the old hippy in him talking.
Tim Blair
Who was the source of those baby-fakin’ Palin rumours? Seems it might be a 23-year-old Ohio Kosboy.
Tim Blair
After endorsing Hllary Clinton – to keep her in the Senate and safely away from the White House – and subsequently endorsing Barack Obama over Hillary as Democrat candidate – but with no great excitement – the New York Post backs John McCain for President:
McCain’s lifelong record of service to America, his battle-tested courage, unshakeable devotion to principle and clear grasp of the dangers and opportunities now facing the nation stand in dramatic contrast to the tissue-paper-thin résumé of his Democratic opponent, freshman Sen. Barack Obama.
Unfair! Tissue paper isn’t that thin, compared to the alveolar epithelium. Also, it’s racist to mention thinness.
Tim Blair
NSW Labor hackbroker John Della Bosca seems to have lost some weight. Presumably he isn’t eating at restaurants so often these days.
Tim Blair
The New York Times reports:
Trig Paxson Van Palin [is] still only 143 days old …
Tim Blair
Both US presidential candidates were asked last month at which point a baby is granted human rights. McCain’s answer: “At the moment of conception.” And Obama’s: “Answering that question with specificity is above my pay grade.”

He’s had a while to think about that, and now comes back with this snappy rejoinder:
“What I do know is that abortion is a moral issue, that it’s one that families struggle with all the time. And that in wrestling with those issues, I don’t think that the government criminalizing the choices that families make is the best answer for reducing abortions.

“I think the better answer — and this was reflected in the Democratic platform — is to figure out, how do we make sure the young mothers, or women who have a pregnancy that’s unexpected or difficult, have the kind of support they need to make a whole range of choices, including adoption and keeping the child.”
This guy is even less capable of a straight answer than was Al Gore eight years ago
Tim Blair
(Just follow the link ..)
Tim Blair
French fury over Taliban-friendly media:
Paris Match magazine was condemned by politicians, the military and soldiers’ families for publishing a spread of Taliban posing with their French trophies from the battle ...

Hervé Morin, France’s Defense Minister, said that Match was advertising for the enemy.
Tim Blair
Lisa Schiffren on why Palin’s speech worked:
She is talented at properly inflecting words to maximize dramatic punch, and she doesn’t stumble over timing. These skills, and not the writing, are what make it possible for an audience to really hear a speech.
But one Democrat evidently heard a different speech
Tim Blair
Michael Moore describes Joe Lieberman as a Benedict Arnold for abandoning the Democrats.

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