Thursday, March 26, 2009

Headlines Thursday 26th March 2009

Defence accused of leaking dirt file on Fitzgibbon
The Defence Department is accused of conducting a covert investigation into their own minister, leaking private details about Joel Fitzgibbon.
'World President' in Trouble?
Months after Europe anointed candidate Obama next leader of the free world, he faces potential 'public relations disaster' there at G20 summit
Mexico Nabs 'Most Wanted' Drug Lord
Soldiers capture Hector Huerta Rios just two days after posting list of 37 top drug suspects featuring his name
US Navy Chemist May Have Rediscovered 'Cold Fusion'
Twenty years ago this week, a pair of previously unknown scientists stunned the world by announcing they'd done the impossible by achieving nuclear fusion in a lab flask at room temperature.
Man shot in chest and buttocks in Sydney driveway
A man's been shot in the chest and backside after pulling up in the driveway of his home at Beaumont Hills in Sydney's northwest.
Student liason cop on child sex charges
A program designed to improve relations between police and school students has backfired, with a former liason officer accused of indecently assaulting a child.
Three Aussie soldiers seriously wounded in Afghanistan
Another three Australian soldiers have been seriously wounded in Afghanistan, but defence experts say it's no reason to give up the fight.
Men raid service station with sledgehammer
Staff at a service station at Doonside have been robbed by three men armed with a sledgehammer. ...
Five charged over ATM skimming scam
Five men have been charged over an complicated ATM skimming scam in which they stole over $500,000....
Powerful storms lash Sydney's southwest, Blue Mountains
Severe storms have wreaked havoc in the lower Blue Mountains and Sydney's southwest, cutting power......
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We were warned about airport security... four years ago
We were told our airport security was rubbish in 2005, so why wasn't anything done? Chris Smith wants answers.
Terrorists are controlling Indian Cricket
The decision to move the Indian Premier League from the subcontinent to South Africa is a win for terrorism, according to Alan Jones.
Dead in the water and two more years of Labor to go
Piers Akerman
THURSDAY March 26 marks the halfway mark of the NSW Labor Government. More tears than laughter, more pessimism than optimism. - I think this article highlights how good the few years were for NSW under Nick Greiner. The wealth that he endowed the state while others fell into screaming heaps can be best illustrated by how long the ALP has retained office without falling into a screaming heap since .. and the fact there was a great Federal government for much of the time to suck funds off.
The ‘talent’ of the ALP are aware they sucked the teat dry. All that is left is the ideologues and those deemed worthy of carrying the can. One is not sure if the ALP will ever pay for their corruption, but after Rudd and Bryce, NSW ALP have many questions to answer. - ed.

Tim Blair
You could hide a child labourer in some of Sydney’s potholes, but the council is dealing with bigger issues:
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore has banned Tim Tams from council events for fear they’re partially produced through cruel child labour on Africa’s Ivory Coast.
From now on she’ll only serve fair trade Tim Tams.
Tim Blair
Prime Minister K-Punch meets President Obamaprompt Telebama:

Tim Blair
The finest comic book ever published:
Tax-funded, naturally. Read on, and remain alert for the fierce drama of an unexpected yes/no question:
Tim Blair
An army of dim assembles:
Twitterers, bloggers, podcasters and Facebook users are getting behind Earth Hour in unprecedented numbers as event organisers embrace the explosion of interest in online social networking …

“People can really do whatever they want on the web,” [Earth Hour’s John Johnston] said. “We take the attitude that the more activity there is on the web and the more people there are talking positively about Earth Hour, the better it is.”
Just as well none of that pointless dark-chatter requires electricity.
“You have to let it go, you can’t control it too much,” [Johnston] said, adding that Earth Hour supporters vastly outnumbered its critics online.
Online, shmonline. Organisers of Human Achievement Hour – a sister event to the already-established Hour of Power – count among their supporters the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Institution, WMATA, Target, George Washington University Hospital, Wal-Mart, the New York Times, and the United States Marine Corps. More about Human Achievement Hour here. Greens don’t like it.
Tim Blair
For sale. An 800-horsepower Ferrari F1 engine:

Only $90,000. You might think this device has no application outside of race tracks, but think again. By happy coincidence, an F1 car and a Tata Nano weigh almost exactly the same (600kg) … and the Nano is already set up for a rear-engine installation.
Tim Blair
Life in country Victoria: can’t remove trees, can’t shift rocks, can’t use a dozer and can’t fix roads, according to Kinglake resident Chris Petreis:
Mr Petreis said that on the day of the bushfires, flames came up the open northern end of Coombs Road, leaving residents like “rats in a tube” …
Mr Petreis said he had suggested to Whittlesea Council that he pay privately for grading and levelling of this part of Coombs Road, and of another exit track, Parkers Road, that he believed was poorly maintained. ”I was told that if I touched the road I would be fined,” he said.
Following the fires, another untouchable road appeared:
Mr Petreis and Ms Peters were infuriated to see that a good-quality track was created on Melbourne Water land within days of the bushfires. It runs parallel to and just 10 metres from the unmaintained section of Coombs Road but is fenced off from public access.
The eventual full inquiry into these fires will be epic.
Tim Blair
Astrophysics in Ipswich:
A large black hole appeared in the main intersection of one of Queensland’s major regional cities today.
Traffic was disrupted, which is the least you’d expect.
Tim Blair
Whenever someone makes an epic attempt to reduce their environmental impact, they always write a book about it.
Tim Blair
“Labor is committed to a culture of greater disclosure and transparency,” according to Kevin Rudd. Indeed it is. Especially towards the Chinese:
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd held private talks with China’s fifth most powerful man - Li Changchun - on Saturday. Chinese state-owned media were told about the visit at The Lodge involving the propaganda chief of the Chinese Communist Party but Australian journalists were kept in the dark.
Interesting. In other secret developments, Barack Obama’s teleprompter is booked to scroll a commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame – yet the university seems strangely quiet about it, reports Kathryn Jean Lopez:
Notre Dame is not highlighting the Obama news on its homepage (or in its news mainpage) …

“The secret life of frogs” now trumps the president of the United States.
I bet their secret life involves former Weathermen.
A discriminating inquiry
Andrew Bolt
A church and its believers pay a lot of money to create a school that inculcates their faith. Then this happens:

A CHRISTIAN school in Werribee has been forced to defend its refusal to offer a training placement to a Muslim teaching student on the grounds of her religion. Victoria University student Rachida Dahlal has reportedly lodged a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Commission against Heathdale Christian College, accusing it of discrimination and prejudice…

Principal Reynald Tibben said Mrs Dahlal - who wears a head scarf and is a devout Muslim - may have found it difficult to work at a school where the teachers’ morning staff briefing includes prayer devotion and Bible reading.

You may think this punitive nonsense will be tossed out of the commission (after the school has racked up big legal bills) on the grounds that there is an exception in these much-abused laws against discrimination for religious schools wanting to hire teachers of their faith. But that exemption may not be much protection for much longer in Victoria, headquarters of the authoritarian Left:

Deputy Premier and Attorney-General Rob Hulls today announced a review of the exceptions and exemptions in the Equal Opportunity Act… “With the introduction of the Human Rights Charter, it is timely to review these exceptions and exemptions to ensure they are compatible with the Charter,” Mr Hulls said.

Now observe the next step in the process initiated by Hulls - the appointing of someone to help this inquiry:

Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee… met on 10 March (2009) and resolved to engage Associate Professor Elizabeth Gaze as the consultant for the inquiry.

But wait a minute. Isn’t that the same Elizabeth Gaze who had earlier made a submission to Hull’s exemption review, declaring:

Religious susceptibilities should not be able to be protected in situations where the offence to them would be small and the effect on the person affected would be serious.

The fix is in. Religious schools - well, Christian ones, anyway - can start worrying now.


How come Victoria’s discrimination laws are now used so often against Christians, but virtually never against real hate-preachers of other faiths?
Bryce Government reveals policy
Andrew Bolt
Governor General Quentin Bryce leaves yet another African journalist under the impression that she’s running Rudd’s Government:

Ms Bryce said on Sunday that she was impressed with Zambia’s policies to provide for the underprivileged in society and that her government was ready to help.
Maybe Clark’s Kiwinomics will work for Africa
Andrew Bolt
Having failed to develop New Zealand ...

Former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark has been appointed the head of the United Nations Development Program.
Three soldiers down
Andrew Bolt
Afghanistan is fast turning into a serious problem for the Rudd Government - militarily and politically:

THREE Australian soldiers have been wounded in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb after engaging Taliban fighters… The injuries come in the week after two Australian soldiers were killed in Afghanistan, bringing the death toll to 10.
God save Me, Me, Me
Andrew Bolt
How banal has Western civilisation become? So banal that when two of Britain’s top artistic bureaucracies (now there’s an oxymoron) combine to write a new national anthem, this is what they produce:
I am England - England is inside of me

I am England - England is what I want Her to be.

Congratulations to the BBC and the Arts Council England for perfectly capturing these utterly self-absorbed and inarticulate times.
Britain cremated
Andrew Bolt
Britain’s marvellous multiculturalism pitches an imported faith into a conflict with the dominant one:
The High Court is being asked to rule on the legality of open air funeral pyres. If Davender Ghai gets his way in the case due to be heard on Tuesday, traditional Hindu cremations could become commonplace across England and Wales.

But leaders of Britain’s leading faith are unlikey to accept this assurance that Hindu cremations don’t offend against one of their most fundamental commandments:

According to the (Anglo Asian Friendship Society), past opposition on health and environmental grounds no longer applies.
Obama praises those who spend wildly, too
Andrew Bolt
Barack Obama yesterday cited Kevin Rudd and Gordon Brown as supporters of his brand of economics:

It’s not just me by the way; I was with Kevin Rudd, the Prime Minister of Australia today who was very forceful in suggesting that countries around the world, those with the capacity to do so, take the steps that are needed to fill this enormous whole in global demand. Gordon Brown, when he came to visit me, said the exactly the same thing.

Uh oh.

European Union MP Daniel Hannan tells Gordon Brown to his face - in an astonishing broadside - exactly what is so disastrous about the Ruiddernomics of the Three Big-Spending Amigos:

And back in London:

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s effort to win Group of 20 support for more ambitious budget support has been undermined by Bank of England governor Mervyn King warning that Mr Brown’s own Government cannot afford to take his advice. Addressing a parliamentary committee, Mr King said that “the fiscal position in the UK is not one where we could say, ‘Well, why don’t we just engage in another significant round of fiscal expansion?”’

In Europe:

The head of the European Union slammed President Barack Obama’s plan to spend nearly $2 trillion to push the U.S. economy out of recession as ”the road to hell” that EU governments must avoid.

The Washington Post explains in pictures the debt that Obama’s plans are bequeathing to the next generation, according to note just the White House but the more alarmed Congressional Budget Office:

Interesting ideological company Neo-Left Rudd is keeping as he pushes Australia way ahead of the pack in spending, when Australia is way behind it in feeling the recession’s pain:

The International Monetary Fund has called on countries to introduce fiscal stimulus equivalent to 2 percent of each country’s aggregate GDP. It said last week that only the United States, Saudi Arabia, China, Spain and Australia are moving toward the target.

In Australia, the Rudd Government prepares to writes sime more blank cheques:

THE Rudd Government will guarantee all state government borrowings - possibly up to $150 billion - to ensure that the states can continue to raise money to stimulate the economy with infrastructure spending during the credit crisis.
What influence does China have over this Government?
Andrew Bolt
The Defence Minister is not trusted by his own department, which has undertaken some extraordinary snooping:

OFFICIALS in the Defence Department have conducted a covert investigation into their own minister, leaking personal information about Joel Fitzgibbon’s relationship with a wealthy Chinese-born woman with past financial ties to Beijing.

Mr Fitzgibbon’s 16-year friendship with Sydney businesswoman Helen Liu has been raised recently by officials within the Defence Department’s intelligence and security areas as a possible security risk…

As part of their investigation, officials from defence’s security and intelligence areas discovered Mr Fitzgibbon stays in a Canberra residence sublet from Ms Liu and her family. The minister’s office confirmed this arrangement yesterday… During their investigation, it is further alleged a Defence Signals Directorate officer accessed Mr Fitzgibbon’s office IT system and is understood to have found Ms Liu’s banking details. Mr Fitzgibbon’s office confirmed the Minister pays rent to Ms Liu.

It has been alleged officials from defence’s security and intelligence areas passed on their concerns about Mr Fitzgibbon’s association with Ms Liu to “top brass” within defence, but the matter did not go further…

Ms Liu has been a generous financial supporter of the NSW ALP over the past decade. Two of her former property development companies contributed about $90,000… ASIC documents show several of her deregistered Australian companies had Chinese Government-owned enterprises as shareholders.

This may rekindle interest in a story previously let slide - the sponsorship of Kevin Rudd by Beijing Aust-China - a company so close to the Chinese Government that the evidence suggests it may in fact be owned by it.

Unrelated to this, Greg Sheridan wonders about the reach of Chinese influence - and our weakness in resisting:

KEVIN Rudd’s semi-secret meeting on Saturday with Li Changchun, the Chinese politburo member in charge of propaganda, media and ideology, is one of the most bizarre episodes of his prime ministership. It is almost certainly more stupid than sinister, but it does raise legitimate questions about Chinese influence in Australia… Rudd welcomed Li and the accompanying Chinese media to the Lodge in Canberra but didn’t tell the Australian people about it…

Members of Li’s delegation, and presumably Li himself, ...seem to have three central messages for Australians. We must not support Tibet’s Dalai Lama. We must support the Chinalco bid for a large stake in Australian miner Rio Tinto. And we should know that Chinalco, though wholly owned by the Chinese Government, is an independent commercial entity run at more than arm’s length from the Chinese Government…

(T)he chutzpah of the Chinese official position is remarkable. Just as they are telling us Chinalco is not directly related to the Chinese Government, the general manager of Chinalco, Xiao Yaqing, has been appointed to the Chinese cabinet…

The broader exercise of Chinese power in Australia should be a preoccupation of the media… Chinalco gave $250,000 to the Australia China Business Council to produce reports on the benefits of Chinese investment in Australia. It has signed up as a corporate sponsor of the Lowy Institute for International Policy. More generally, the Chinese Government has sponsored the creation of four Confucius Institutes at Australian universities. Former Australian consul general in Hong Kong and University of Sydney visiting professor Jocelyn Chey has labelled the institutes as propaganda vehicles for the Chinese Communist Party.
Just the kook the UN would love
Andrew Bolt
The United Nations saw something in Richard Falk that made it appoint him its expert on the Palestinian territories. Here’s a clue, from an article he wrote last November:
GIVEN the dark cloud of doubt that lingers over the official 9/11 narrative, why was the issue not even discussed during the many months of presidential campaigning? As far as I can tell, the real explanation is a widely shared fear of what sinister forces might lay beneath the unturned stones of a full investigation of 9/11. Ever since the assassinations in the 1960s of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, there has been waged a powerful campaign against conspiracy theory that has made anyone who dares question the official story to be branded as a kook or some kind of unhinged troublemaker. The persisting inability to resolve this controversy about 9/11 subtly taints the legitimacy of the American government. It can only be removed by a willingness, however belated, to reconstruct the truth of that day, and to reveal the story behind its prolonged suppression.

Former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton puts it well:
I think (Falk’s beliefs are) fruitcake city, but among many delegations to the UN it’s probably the conventional wisdom.

He’s even too much for the BBC, which asks him what he was thinking of to accuse Israel of committing its own “Holocaust” and of having “genocidal tendencies”. See him slip-sliding here as he’s nailed to the floor. This deceptive, conspiracy-minded, anti-Israeli radical is now the UN’s pointman in Israel. What an insight into the UN today.
Save the planet! Gut Gippsland
Andrew Bolt
And all for a plan that couldn’t stop global warming, even if it hadn’t already stopped a decade ago:

REGIONAL economies could shrink by more than 20 per cent over the next 40 years under the Rudd Government’s emissions trading scheme, according to secret modelling commissioned by the NSW Government but never released… The modelling found the impact on coal prices would mean the economies of Gippsland and central-west Queensland contracting by more than 20 per cent.

By the way, what else are these governments keeping secret about the effects of the global warming policies?
Good and Bad of Obama's Joust With Press
By Bill O'Reilly
First of all, the press conference was designed to rally support for Mr. Obama's $3.6 trillion, with a t, budget, which has frightened many members of Congress. That kind of spending could lead to bankruptcy if the economy continues to be weak.

While the president was authoritative Tuesday night, he was also dull and repetitive. Only a few times did he connect with the folks. Here's one of them:

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: With respect to the American people, I think folks are sacrificing left and right. You've got a lot of parents who are cutting back on everything to make sure that their kids can still go to college. You've got workers who are deciding to cut an entire day's worth of pay so that their fellow co-workers aren't laid off. I think that across the board people are making adjustments large and small to accommodate the fact that we're in very difficult times right now.
But most of the time, President Obama gave long-winded answers and evaded direct questions. Here's an example of that:

JAKE TAPPER, ABC NEWS: Will you sign a budget if it does not contain a middle class tax cut, does not contain cap and trade?

OBAMA: Well, I've emphasized repeatedly what I expect out of this budget. I expect that there are serious efforts at health care reform and that we are driving down costs for families and businesses, and ultimately for the federal and state governments that are going to be broke if we continue on the current path. I've said that we've got to have a serious energy policy that frees ourselves from dependence on foreign oil and makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy.
Heard it all before. The president went on and on, never answering that question.

"Talking Points" suspects many Americans missed the singing on "American Idol" Tuesday night but there was some dancing as the president just demonstrated, just a little press conference levity. All in all, pretty much the same old stuff. Important stuff, but not much new in his presentation.
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