Monday, April 06, 2009
Headlines Monday 6th April 2009
Aussies urged to spend big as bonus payments begin
Australians are being urged to spend, spend, spend as the bulk of the $900 economic stimulus payments start flowing through.
Rees under guard over fears of bikie payback
Armed police are guarding the homes of NSW Premier Nathan Rees and some of his senior ministers round the clock over fears of payback from outlaw bikie gangs.
Urinating dog leads to police murders
A fight over a urinating dog has lead two police officers into a deadly ambush at a home in the US that became the scene of a four-hour siege.
Eight weeks to fix struggling Sydney power
It could take up to eight weeks for Sydney's electricity supply to return to normal after the latest blackout, Energy Australia says.
Coalition Senate threat angers govt
A possible Senate threat to a third round of economic stimulus measures in the May budget has angered the Rudd government.
Top private schools get big cash bonuses
Some of the country's wealthiest private schools will receive up to $200,000 in the government's National School Pride Program.
League fans in post-match brawl
Families watched as a brawl broke out in the carpark after Newcastle's defeat of Manly, leaving two......
People urged to pass bonus payments to charity
The head of a Sydney charity is urging people to donate part of their stimulus payments and claim a......
Sydney CBD warned to prepare for more outages
EnergyAustralia is contacting building managers within Sydney's CBD about the possible need to use......
Front-page pointer at The Australian:
Most Aboriginal men and women now inter-marry with other Australians, but the practice is highly dependent on whether they live.
Mortality stops people doing all sorts of things. The full story:
Most Aboriginal men and women now inter-marry with other Australians, but the practice is highly dependent on whether they live in capital cities or remote areas, as well as their level of education and income.
And, of course, if they’re alive.
I’ve been critical of Julie Bishop, now the Opposition’s foreign affairs spokesman, in the past. But two of her recent interventions seem to me to show not just that she’s regaining her battered confidence, but is losing her habitual over-caution.
This media release was very good - going in (justifiably) harder rather than backing off:
Senior Labor ministers have damaged Australia’s international standing in key Asian capitals, by making ridiculous and offensive claims of racist sentiments in Australia.
In a desperate and disgraceful attempt to shield from proper public scrutiny the incompetence and dishonesty of Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon, the Treasurer Wayne Swan and Trade Minister Simon Crean have both introduced “the race card” on trips to Tokyo and Beijing.
In The Australian on 31 March, the Treasurer was reported as telling Tokyo correspondents that the federal Opposition had introduced a “yellow peril” tone to the controversy over Chinese investment in the Australian resources sector.
And her cut-through-the-spin performance on Insiders today was most effective on China, Rudd and the tantrum. For instance:
But the points that (Rudd) was pushing (at the G20), the global coordinated fiscal stimulus package - that did not receive support; the idea that China should receive greater representation, voting rights on the IMF was deferred until 2011; the strategy to take toxic assets off bank balance sheets was not outlined at all; the Doha round didn’t get a timetable put in place; and the executive salary issue, well I didn’t see anything in the communique that’s not already contained in Australian corporate law. In fact it was a series of non-binding guidelines.
Mr Rudd missed a golden opportunity for Australia when he was in the United States. He was on a national TV show that was internationally syndicated. That was a unique opportunity for him to sell Australia to the world, to talk about the stability of the Australian banking sector, what a good place we are for an investment. In fact he spent most of the time talking about his proposal that China have greater representation on the IMF. He mentioned China 20 times in that interview and Australia only five times.
Lovely president. So easy to ignore
Barack Obama gets no more troops from Europe for Afghanistan:
Barack Obama made an impassioned plea to America’s allies to send more troops to Afghanistan, warning that failure to do so would leave Europe vulnerable to more terrorist atrocities. But though he continued to dazzle Europeans on his debut international tour, the Continent’s leaders turned their backs on the US President.
Gordon Brown was the only one to offer substantial help. He offered to send several hundred extra British soldiers to provide security during the August election, but even that fell short of the thousands of combat troops that the US was hoping to prise from the Prime Minister.
Just two other allies made firm offers of troops. Belgium offered to send 35 military trainers and Spain offered 12.
Spain offered just 12 soldiers to fight the West’s most urgent war? Is that meant to be an insult, or an admission of a terrible weakness?
Obama is the American president who charms, but does not persuade. George Bush was the opposite in assembling a coalition for Iraq.
Pray such people don’t run your world
Yet again we must ask, what is it with the Left and violence?
Anti-Nato protesters have set fire to two hotels in Strasbourg and demonstrators in the city have been repeatedly hit by tear gas… Some of the protesters - throwing rocks - tried to storm a massive police blockade at the Pont d’Anvers bridge...
And what would a world look like that was run by people such as these?
The great Antarctic ice scare: the facts
The Age runs yet another exaggerated scare story on global warming without bothering to check the most basic of facts to see whether the world is really doing what the warming scaremongers claim:
UP TO one-third of all Antarctic sea ice is likely to melt by the end of the century, seriously contributing to dangerous sea level rises, updated scientific modelling on global warming shows.
First: when sea ice melts, sea levels do not rise. Try this experiment yourself with ice in a full glass of water.
Second: scary projects about runaway sea level rises are not being matched by observations over the past three years:
Third: sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere is actually increasing in extent:
Fourth: even sea ice in the Arctic has failed to melt as predicted:
Fifth: and, bottom line, the world is not warming lately as global warming believers said it must:
A racial divide is married away
Moore proof of how false it is to formally divide us by race through treaties, “welcomes” or race-based “parliaments”:
In their new analysis of 2006 census data, the Monash researchers found that, for the first time, a small majority of both Aboriginal men (52 per cent) and women (55 per cent) were married to non-indigenous people.
To give children more - or different - rights to their mother on the grounds that they are Aboriginal and she is not is beyond merely stupid.
Labor now unsure workers deserve fairness
How dare people be upset about bastard bosses:
CRITICISM of Kevin Rudd’s outburst on a flight from Papua New Guinea is completely over the top, Treasurer Wayne Swan has said.
This from the party that campaigned with ads like this:
Note which bastard boss made this pre-election claim:
Every working man and woman deserves to be treated fairly in the workplace.
G20 sells out freedom
Keith Hennessy, a former economics advisor to President George W. Bush, says G20 leaders seem to have had a disturbing change of heart about freedom since November:
Here is the key paragraph from the November summit, hosted in Washington by President Bush. Thanks to President Bush’s negotiators, led by his “Sherpa,” Dan Price, and Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs Dave McCormick, the following text is incredible… Formerly Communist China and Russia (along with all the other participating nations) agreed to the following text.”
12. We recognize that these reforms will only be successful if grounded in a commitment to free market principles, including the rule of law, respect for private property, open trade and investment, competitive markets, and efficient, effectively regulated financial systems. These principles are essential to economic growth and prosperity and have lifted millions out of poverty, and have significantly raised the global standard of living. Recognizing the necessity to improve financial sector regulation, we must avoid over-regulation that would hamper economic growth and exacerbate the contraction of capital flows, including to developing countries.
Let’s parse it a bit:
“… a commitment to free market principles …”
“… rule of law …”
“… respect for private property …”
“… open trade and investment …”
“… competitive markets …”
“… and efficient, effectively regulated financial systems.”
“… we must avoid over-regulation that would hamper economic growth and exacerbate the contraction of capital flows …”
Now let’s examine yesterday’s text:
3. We start from the belief that prosperity is indivisible; that growth, to be sustained, has to be shared; and that our global plan for recovery must have at its heart the needs and jobs of hard-working families, not just in developed countries but in emerging markets and the poorest countries of the world too; and must reflect the interests, not just of today’s population, but of future generations too. We believe that the only sure foundation for sustainable globalisation and rising prosperity for all is an open world economy based on market principles, effective regulation, and strong global institutions.
Parsing this new language:
“… a commitment to free market principles …” has been replaced by “… based on market principles …”. Note that the word “free” is nowhere in the document.
“… rule of law …” is nowhere in the document
“… private property …” is nowhere in the document
“… open trade and investment …” has been replaced by “… open world economy …” (This one is fine, I think.)
“… competitive markets …” and the word “competitive” are nowhere in the document
“… efficient, effectively regulated financial systems” has been replaced by “effective regulation, and strong global institutions.” The over-regulation caution is gone.
It seems we’re all socialists now.
Obama Sends a Clear Message to America’s Allies: You Are On Your Own
By Mark Joseph
Diehard fans of President George W. Bush make a habit of reminding the rest of us that his presidency was successful because America was never attacked on our soil after 9/11. This is a smart argument to make of course, since, absent omniscience, it’s impossible to refute. But a successful foreign policy is often difficult to analyze since it’s nearly impossible to judge what evil was prevented from happening by the way America postured itself.
President Ronald Reagan was often mocked for being “just an actor” but it is precisely the skills of an actor that are often required of an American president when conducting foreign policy successfully. Reagan the actor sent unmistakeable signals to his enemies that his tolerance for misbehavior on their part would be zero and dictators, tinhorn ones and otherwise, got the message and generally behaved themselves. How did he do it? First, there was the deep fear he instilled in the Soviet Union by turning a microphone test before a radio broadcast into a stern warning when he “joked” “I have just signed legislation outlawing the Soviet Union forever; We begin bombing in five minutes.”
Reagan also understood that his invasion of the tiny island of Grenada which had fallen prey to communist Cuba would have no significance in and of itself, but could nonetheless send a powerful message to the rest of the world and make it clear to America’s enemies that they might be next on the list were they to similarly misbehave.
I have no way of proving this, but I have a strong suspicion that the Chinese government would never have cracked down on freedom-loving Chinese students at Tiananmen square had Reagan still been in office. Reagan was a wildcard, the Chinese would likely have reasoned, and it wasn’t clear how he would respond at such an affront to American values.
But with George Herbert Walker Bush, a moderate fellow who had once been ambassador to their country, they were likely to have predicted what he offered up after their brutal crackdown: a muted response that was of little help to the dissidents or any harm to those who perpetrated the crackdown on them.
In a similar way, the world has been watching President Obama carefully in the weeks leading to this current North Korean crisis and in the weak response that has followed it. Japan has been one of the U.S.’s most loyal partners in the Pacific, and they have little comfort this morning of American resolve as they watched North Korea fire a missile over their nation with seeming impunity. The message they, and other countries who depend on the U.S., like Israel and Taiwan, have received is clear: You are on your own. The U.S. lacks the resolve and iron-will to defend you and stare down your enemies.
This lack of U.S. leadership will likely have other severe consequences as Japan, unable to depend on its unsteady ally, will likely respond with a military buildup of its own and Israel will decide to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran, and the world will slowly but surely spiral out of control — all because a lack of resolve on the part of an American president who doesn’t seem to understand that the world takes its cues from the resolve — or lack of it — shown by America’s leadership before and during moments of crisis.