Friday, February 06, 2009
Headlines Friday 6th February 2009
Tax cuts, not handouts, for our children's sake: Turnbull
Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull is demanding more tax cuts and less cash handouts as it fights Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's second stimulus package - saying the future of our children is at stake.
Coalition plan 'equals recession'
TREASURY Secretary Ken Henry has endorsed Labor's economic stimulus plan; says Coalition would plunge us into recession. - what Henry doesn't say is that the spending package of Rudd will not prevent a recession either .. or limit it. - ed.
BBC backlash over sacking of Thatcher's daughter from show
BRITAIN'S national broadcaster faced a backlash over its axing of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher's daughter for referring to an Australian Open tennis player as a "golliwog".
Carol Thatcher's agent claimed her client had lost her job as a reporter on BBC television program The One Show because of her political heritage.
Agent Ali Gunn told radio station TalkSport: "I would say that if her name were not Thatcher we wouldn't be talking."
Journalist Thatcher, 55, has said she does not condone any racist comments.
She was dropped from the show after details were leaked to the press of a backstage conversation in which she referred to an un-named player at the recent Australian grand slam as a "golliwog".
Gunn said: "They should be issuing us with an apology ... I think it's absolutely outrageous that the BBC has condoned this leak."
Katich 'grabbed Clarke by the throat' in dressing room dust up
Opening batsman Simon Katich grabbed Michael Clarke by the throat in a heated row after the team's victory in the Sydney Test against South Africa last month. - this looks like being the beginning of the media going sour on Ponting - ed.
Teen accused of Facebook sex blackmail
An 18-year-old US student is accused of posing as a girl on Facebook, tricking at least 31 male classmates into sending him naked photos of themselves and then blackmailing some for sex acts.
Rudd 'ready to crack skulls' to push enormous pork barrel through
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says he's ready to start "cracking heads and knocking skulls" to roll out the government's $42 billion spending package.
Girl tries to commit suicide to save dad
A 13-year-old girl is in a critical condition after trying to commit suicide so that her liver could be given to her cancer-stricken father.- poor kid probably did not know that had they been successful, their liver would have been useless - ed.
Actors, sport stars among those stung by Madoff
44 degrees: Heatwave ready to hit Sydney
Police stun 41 taser guns in raid
Fourth priest on child sex charges in Newcastle
Obama's pay cap clampdown should be just the start
Barack Obama's decision to cap executive pay at $US500,000 for government assisted companies is a great start, but we should go one step further, according to Tim Brunero. - typical of tim to endorse the ridiculously stupid .. but how many recognize it is? - ed.
CHANGE HE DECEIVED IN
Anthony Stancl seems an audacious fellow:
An 18-year-old high school student is accused of posing as a girl on Facebook, tricking at least 31 male classmates into sending him naked photos of themselves and then blackmailing some for sex acts.
Check the guy’s t-shirt:
Mr/Miss Stancl joins a select club of Obama-attired change enthusiasts who’ve required police attention.
The paper on which Ross Garnaut’s 500-page carbon-cutting report was printed came all the way from Italy. Local paper was rejected due to its “lower quality”.
You aren’t alone in thinking this will fail
KEVIN Rudd says he must spend a staggering $42 billion—and right now—to save us from recession.
“This is a time when economies need stimulus support,” the Prime Minister says. And who do you hear disagreeing?
Most economic analysts praise his “decisive” action. Most commentators backed his demand that Parliament pass his package by today. At the latest.
No argument allowed. For the Liberals to oppose this was “suicidal braggadocio,” scoffed a Sydney Morning Herald writer.
“It’s everyone against the Liberals,” a Melbourne ABC radio host jeered at a Liberal politician trying to explain why the Opposition wanted to spend half this, and more wisely.
Never mind the Herald Sun online poll or Channel Seven’s phone-in—both record a deep worry among many thousands of Australian taxpayers. Hey, what would you no-names know?
And so the stampede to gamble more money in one hit than we’ve spent before seems irresistible. You’d get more dissent in a clifftop of lemmings.
Yet, if you are as scared by this as I am, here’s something you need to know, to give you the courage to say so.
Killed in a green frenzy
MORE than 30 Victorians died in last week’s heat in one of the great scandals of green politics.
About 20 more people died in South Australia, but neither state government is telling yet how precisely the victims died, saying they are awaiting coroners’ reports.
But already warming extremists such as Prof Clive Hamilton are excusing these same governments—which almost certainly contributed to at least some of these deaths.
“Australians are already dying from climate change,” shouted this professor of public ethics at the Australian National University, and author of Scorcher.
But Hamilton is utterly wrong in portraying global warming as the killer.
Fact: Cold, not heat, is what really kills people, as we see now in Britain.
Fact: A warming world would save countless lives, not cost them.
And fact: Those who died last week were in less danger from global warming than from the deadly incompetence of green governments trying to “stop” it.
Kennett warns against free cash
Former Premier Jeff Kennett rightly worries about the damage done to our values by Kevin Rudd’s free cash:
Then, the amount handed out by the Federal Government in December - about $10 billion - was in my opinion a breach of the fundamental value of respecting cash and individual responsibility. It effectively threw a very valuable $10 billion of our cash into the air. There was never a chance of this kick-starting the economy - some went to pay off debt, some went overseas, some went into savings, some spent locally…
If all that’s not bad enough, we have now had our Government saying we will throw even more money at the community - a whopping $42 billion.
The training and values of the past have been replaced by a dependency philosophy of individuals, corporates and governments. The more we weaken the value system, the longer we throw inappropriate measures around in a crisis, the longer we delay genuine recovery. And the more we put at risk the strength of individual and industry initiative.
We have been living beyond our means and there needs to be a correction, whether it’s popular or not, in order that appropriate values return. Not only asset values, but human values....
AS Australians, we have been developing a most unattractive soft underbelly, for some decades. We are simply today increasing that sense of dependency - that softness - because we are not prepared to accept what we have collectively been part of has been based on that unsustainable greed. It totally ignores the values upon which this great country have been built. ..
I am not criticising the concept of deficit spending on long-term infrastructure projects - properly planned and properly managed they are vital to the nation’s future. But it must be through the wise investment of our cash, not associated with the flipping of billions of dollars in the air without it being targeted.
The whole thing is a must-read. It will prove an influential piece.
Measuring a man by the size of his staff
It’s an ego thing, in my opinion:
KEVIN Rudd’s entourage at the 2008 Olympics was bigger than most of the national teams that competed there. The Prime Minister and his wife Therese Rein were accompanied by 12 staff and five public servants at various times during a visit to China, Korea and Singapore during the Olympics last August.
There’s been previous such examples, of course:
KEVIN RUDD’S post-election visit to the Bali climate change conference to announce that Australia would ratify the Kyoto Protocol cost taxpayers more than $530,000… Mr Rudd took six ministerial staff and four departmental officials… (T)he whole Australian delegation ... also included the Minister for Climate Change, Penny Wong; the Environment Minister, Peter Garrett; the Foreign Affairs Minister, Stephen Smith; the Treasurer, Wayne Swan; and the Trade Minister, Simon Crean..., their staff and 31 officials… (I)n addition to the 53-strong federal team of delegates, there were another 40 people accredited as advisers to the Australian delegation.
Trying to think of betters ways to spend $42b
Kevin Rudd is splashing $42 billion on things like pink batts, public housing and free cash. Meanwhile in Victoria:
MELBOURNE’S train network is in an “unsustainable condition” and V/Line’s radio communication system is past its expiry date, according to internal Government documents.
The documents, obtained by the Coalition, warn of significant disruption to the metropolitan rail system without sufficient track replacement and note “demonstrably insufficient” replacement of track crossings…
A second document reveals a sample from the Bayside area showing an average rail age of 44 years, with some a century old. “This combination of advancing age, increasing rail flaws and low renewal rates is symptomatic of a system in an unsustainable condition,” the report says.
The document also recommends 53,700 rail sleepers should be replaced each year. In 2007-08 only 27,241 sleepers had been replaced.
Can Rudd really sell what Obama can’t?
Even Barack Obama, hailed as the Lincoln of our times, can’t sell a stimulus package that’s every bit as bloated and pork-filled as Kevin Rudd’s:
At this crucial juncture in the push to pass an economic recovery package, President Obama finds himself in the most unlikely of places: He is losing the message war.
Despite Obama’s sky high personal approval ratings, polls show support has declined for his stimulus bill since Republicans and their conservative talk-radio allies began railing against what they labeled as pork barrel spending within it.
The sheer size of it – hovering at about $900 billion — has prompted more protests that are now causing some moderate and conservative Democrats to flinch and, worse, hesitate.
The anxiety over lost momentum seemed almost palpable this week as the president in television interviews voiced frustration with his White House’s progress and the way his recovery program was being demonized as a Democratic spending frenzy.
Peter Howson, a former Minister for Air and Minister for environment, Aborigines and the arts, has died. An obituary of this learned, generous and genuinely kind man here. He contributed enormously to social causes right until his death at 89, and was a very generous mentor to me during my early battles over the “stolen generations”. Few people worked harder to bring real reform - and a genuinely good heart - to Aboriginal affairs policies. Naturally, his greatest desire was to help disadvantaged Aborigines get the skills, the chance and the encouragement to be able to make their way in the society that confronted them.
The Costello alternative
So what would Peter Costello do that Kevin Rudd isn’t, if he were in charge?
Well, for one, he sure wouldn’t blow $42 billion on things like insulation batts. Some extracts from Costello’s interview with the ABC’s Madonna King, outlining his alternative agenda (no link):
- the spending should be directed towards jobs and the best way of actually doing that would be to give financial incentives for employers who take on labour or preferably to cut the costs for employers to take on new workers.
- I actually believe in balancing budgets and I left a $20 billion surplus so we would have had $20 billion for incentives.
- The idea of insulating houses was put to me as Treasurer a couple of years ago. And I didn’t think it was a good use of taxpayers money. We didn’t get the Government paying for the insulation of houses when the economy was strong. Rudd and Swan say that the Government should pay for it now that the economy is weak.
- The most important thing is to make sure the financial system is strong. The deposit guarantee has been a mistake. That should be revisited.
- The next thing is to make sure that monetary policy is working in favour of the economy and it was a mistake to be raising interest rates last year.
- It will be a mistake to change industrial relations laws which will put people out of work. The Government shouldn’t do that. It shouldn’t have job-destroying industrial relations laws.
- the costs of employing labour should be lessened. That is some of the tax burden particularly in relation to employers should be taken off.
- I would be doing something for the unemployed. Now there was a lot in that statement that was about people who have paid tax in the last year and families who are on benefits and of course they will enjoy them but there is nothing actually for the unemployed… You would assist the unemployed and particularly assist the unemployed in being able to get into work.
And this bit of maths:
(T)he Treasury papers show this $42 billion (package of Kevin Rudd’s) will support – not create – “will support” 90,000 jobs. $42 billion for 90,000 jobs. The package will support one job for $400,000.
Greens eat their Flannery
When Clive Hamilton of all people damns Flannery as an opportunist, Tim is in real trouble!
When a symbol actually has to do something
Newsweek is frustrated with its Messiah:
Barack Obama began making his comeback Wednesday, apparently aware that he has all but lost control of the agenda in Washington at a time when he simply can’t afford to do so. Obama’s biggest problem isn’t Taxgate—which resulted in the Terrible Tuesday departure of his trusted friend, Tom Daschle, and the defanging of his Treasury secretary, Tim Geithner. Nor is the No. 1 problem that the president can’t seem to win a single Republican vote for his stimulus package. That’s a symptom, not a cause. The reason Obama is getting so few votes is that he is no longer setting the terms of the debate over how to save the economy. Instead the Republican Party—the one we thought lost the election—is doing that.