Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Headlines Wednesday 15th April 2009


Tamil protesters hungry for govt action
The health of three Australian Tamil protesters is rapidly deteriorating as they enter a fifth day of a hunger strike.

ATM bombing bandits strike again
Sydney's ATM bandits are back, another ATM blown up, this time at Lane Cove in Sydney's north.

Hijacking spree: pirates hold 60 hostage
Somali pirates captured four more ships and took more than 60 crew members hostage in a brazen hijacking spree.

Push to stop bikies running companies
The crackdown on outlaw motorcycle gangs continues with new laws drafted that would prevent bikies from controlling companies anywhere in Australia.

Press won’t deny plot to knife Bishop
There are further suggestions of a Liberal leadership challenge against Julie Bishop, after the deputy leader refused to deny the claims. - press haven't tired of Costello, but they might feel this is a fresh area of attack. - ed.

Nick Bolton pockets $4.5m on BrisConnections
The major shareholder in Australia's largest road tunnel project has torpedoed his own plan to wind up the company, selling his voting rights for $4.5 million.
I feel most of the unit holders have been betrayed. Unit holder John Cunningham

ABC childcare centres’ fate known today
housands of anxious parents and childcare workers will today find out which ABC Learning centres......

Make cigarettes $20 a pack: Quit
There is a big push to increase the price of a pack of cigarettes to around $20, to prompt smokers......

Dog cheats death by G-string
A dog with an undie fetish is lucky to be alive, after indulging in his owner’s G-string over......
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PLASTIC OBAMA
Tim Blair
Barack Obama is accused of plastic turkey shenanigans in Iraq … but in this case, the accusations may – may – turn out to be accurate. Let’s wait and see. - we are awaiting confirmation Obama prescreened his 'surprise visit' and gave out cameras (same make and model as those soldiers use) as seen in the picture - ed.

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WUSS LEVELS MAXED OUT
Tim Blair
Victorian Governor David de Kretser worries about what citizens may buy with their stimulus money:
“Should it prop up rampant consumerism that takes no note of the reality that we live on a planet with finite resources?” he said.

“Or should it be spent on building a sustainable lifestyle that emphasises the values of a society that cares for this planet, that cares for and values its biodiversity, that creates a framework where citizens respect each other, where children and adolescents are nurtured, mentored and cared for and in return who respect the older generations for their wisdom and contributions?”
He’s a compassionate head tilter, of course.
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WORSE THAN WARMING
Tim Blair
Live Australian TV from 1975. Check those dancers in the crowd:

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CHANNEL REES
Tim Blair
Apparently we’ve had a state government television station since 2004. Who knew?
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White is the new black
Andrew Bolt
MEET the white face of a new black race - the political Aborigine.

Meet, say, acclaimed St Kilda artist Bindi Cole, who was raised by her English-Jewish mother yet calls herself “Aboriginal but white”.
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Great “victory” won’t stop pirates
Andrew Bolt
BE worried. The West has sure gone soft when killing three Somali teenagers is hailed as a big victory.

True, these teenagers were armed pirates who had held an American sailor hostage on his ship’s lifeboat.

But see the praise for new US President Barack Obama when the three were shot by US Navy Seal snipers.

“An Early Military Victory for Obama,” cried the Washington Post.

“Obama Earns Praise For Captain Phillips’ Rescue,” the US News and World Report gloated. An AP story quoted a military correspondent saying the president had now won the respect of European allies.

But rather than prove the US under Obama is still to be feared, the frantic praise suggests the West has grown dangerously timid.
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Great “victory” won’t stop pirates #2
Andrew Bolt
No sooner predicted {above}, than…

Somali pirates seized two more ships on Tuesday, brushing off their losses from deadly rescue operations and throwing down the gauntlet to US President Barack Obama after he pledged to curb piracy. It brought to four the number of vessels taken since the US navy operation on Sunday...
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Costello’s multiple choice
Andrew Bolt
Peter Costello enjoys himself:

I’VE been feeling sorry for Belinda Neal. Neal, you will recall, is the Labor MP who let fly at a waiter when he asked her to move tables at Iguana Joe’s, a restaurant/nightspot on the NSW Central Coast. “Don’t you know who I am?” she demanded. Soon all Australia knew who she was. Kevin Rudd stepped in, reprimanded her, and ordered her to undergo anger management counselling.

I’ve never been to this sort of counselling, but I can imagine how it operates. A therapist gives you a tricky case and questions you on how to respond. The idea is to keep your anger under control. Here’s a case study for Neal: You are flying on your private jet when the flight attendant brings you the wrong meal. Do you (a) eat it anyway; (b) point out you ordered something else and ask for an alternative; or (c) shout at the flight attendant and reduce her to tears? Neal should think carefully about this question. At one level the answer appears obvious. But there’s a bit of precedent for answer (c). Some powerful people that she doesn’t want to alienate have adopted approach (c).

Which brings me to Craig Thomson. He’s the Labor MP in the seat next door to Neal. Before Thomson was elected to Parliament in 2007, he worked for the Health Services Union. Apparently a union credit card was used to pay for “escorts” in Sydney. Thomson denies he was involved.

He should think carefully about whether this is the best political approach. It is just possible that Thomson could turn this incident into a big improvement in his polling figures. Let’s take another case study. You’ve visited an establishment offering sexual titillation. Do you (a) deny being there; (b) call an identification parade to see whether anyone can recognise you; or (c) say you were too drunk to remember what you were doing and ring home to apologise?
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Rudd’s cash won’t save Holden
Andrew Bolt
Just one of the many problems with Kevin Rudd’s mad handout to Holden that we raised:
GENERAL MOTORS shares fell 16 per cent to $US1.71 on Monday amid reports that the Obama Administration was contemplating a short, sharp bankruptcy for the company…

The new, tougher criteria (for federal assistance) raise uncertainties for GM’s Australian operation, even though the Rudd Government has given the Holden Commodore plant at Elizabeth, in Adelaide, large, ongoing subsidies to retool for the production of a smaller, more fuel-efficient car…

The Government had pledged $149 million in December under its green car scheme after Holden Australia promised to build a fuel-efficient four-cylinder car at the plant. But the pledge depended on General Motors supplying as much as $450 million.
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They’re not laughing now
Andrew Bolt
I’m sorry I didn’t watch this great clip of You’ve Got Talent singer Susan Boyle when the first dozen readers sent it in. It took my wife to finally make me open up one of the links to see the most wonderful take-that and so-there.
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Have you seen these shonks?
Andrew Bolt
Janet Albrechtsen alerts authorities to a $43 billion scandal:

A couple of unlicensed share spruikers went on television imploring Australian mums and dads to invest in a company yet to be formed, with no business case, no feasibility study and whose viability is extremely doubtful.

The same guys paid no attention to the financial needs or risk profiles of their audience but simply asserted this was an investment not to be missed. They probably broke three or four critical sections of the Corporations Act, some of them carrying jail terms. Just the sort of corporate cowboys that our Prime Minister has condemned in his moral sermons about corporate excess.
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Truth is beyond the Age’s imagination
Andrew Bolt
The Age editor should imagine less and research more. Let’s fact check just the start of his latest love-letter to Barack Obama:

IMAGINE if, only a year ago, the President of the United States had visited Turkey, addressed its parliament, then kissed the Prime Minister on both cheeks. That might have been considered far-fetched, but so, too, would have been the President’s affirmation that his country was “not at war with Islam” and that being Muslim in the US is part of the fabric of life: “Many other Americans have Muslims in their family, or have lived in a Muslim-majority country. I know, because I am one of them.”

It is indeed unimaginable that George Bush would have embraced such thoughts, words and deeds.

Unimaginable? Only to the spectacularly uninformed.

True, Bush hasn’t yet kissed the Prime Minister of Turkey:

But will this do? After all, the Muslim that Bush is kissing here is the then Saudi Prince Abdullah - an Arab, not just a Turk, and traditionally dressed to boot:

So how did the Age editor come to write this patronising nonsense?:

(Bush’s) arm’s-length policy, bred out of a certain conservative caution and suspicion, certainly applied to being seen to be in too close a contact with Islamic nations, let alone within kissing distance of their leaders.

Back to the fact check. How is it “unimaginable” that Bush could have said, as has now Obama, that his country was not at war with Islam? Here he is in 2002, saying exactly that:

Because this great nation of many religions understands, our war is not against Islam, or against faith practiced by the Muslim people..

How is it “unimaginable” that Bush could have insisted Islam was part of US life? Here, again, is Bush saying precisely that:

There are thousands of Muslims who proudly call themselves Americans, and they know what I know—that the Muslim faith is based upon peace and love and compassion.

This is not the first time The Age editor has praised Obama excessively for words which Bush in fact had said before, on the lazy assumption that for Bush to have said them was “unimaginable”. It seems he’s writing not about the world as it is, but about the melodrama he imagines.

His editorial is worthless, based on myths and not facts, easily discovered.
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China’s field of broken green dreams
Andrew Bolt
Global warming preachers for some odd reason keep telling us to follow China’s noble example - much as the Left did when Mao persuaded them he’d developed magically abundant crops:

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is ... visiting China and has travelled to the world’s first environmentally-friendly city, which is being built at Dongtan near Shanghai.

China is fast becoming the world’s biggest polluter, but after talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Mr Brown said Mr Wen was taking the problem of climate change seriously…

Eco-city Dongtan may be the answer to the needs of a country with an enormous energy hungry population and little space to grow. It will house 50,000 people in low-rise housing. Its power will come from renewable sources and no petrol-fuelled cars will be allowed.

Professor Herbert Girardet, the “cultural ecologist” and former Thinker in Residence in South Australia, preached the same glad message at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development:

Dongtan is meant to set an example. It will be pioneering eco-city that could become a template for sustainable urban development, in China itself and elsewhere in the world. It holds a promise high-efficiency, small-footprint urban design. By 2010 Dongtan will be a model for how to build sustainable cities worldwide that could be too compelling to ignore.

Futurologist Richard Neville also spruiked the Chinese vision at the National General Assembly of Local Government, as Byron Bay Councillor Richard Staples memorably reported to fellow councillors:
Richard Neville gave a rambling, whimsical presentation skirting over the importance of the past in understanding the present, and planning for the future. He managed to weave in St Francis of Assisi, Google Earth, micro credit in Bangladesh, a (supposedly) carbon neutral city in China (Dongtan), technology inspired be Nature, and getting stoned at the Aquarius Festival in 1973. I found him amusing as always but I fear some of the more red-necked delegates concluded he was a bit of a jerk.

And Chris Luebkeman in the New Statesman gave this ominous imprimatur:

Dongtan represents the response of some of the world’s best brains to the problem of climate change.

So shall we check how some of the world’s best brains are getting on in the Dongtan eco-city, the hope of humanity and the proof of China’s serious green cred?

If all had gone as planned, “the world’s first eco-city,” as press releases billed it back in 2005, would now be well on its way to completion… Today, almost nothing has been built. Some residents have been moved off the island, many of them becoming cab drivers in bustling Shanghai. Although the project was widely publicized internationally, most locals knew little about it. The political leaders who championed the project were ousted in a corruption scandal, and their successors have allowed construction permits to lapse.
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Promise dogged
Andrew Bolt
Barack Obama promised that the dog he’d get his daughters would a mutt rescued from a pound.

Does a Portugese water dog from Senator Edward Kennedy count?
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Why Rudd’s $43 billion broadband is a mad gamble
Andrew Bolt
Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull is astonished that Kevin Rudd’s can promise $43 billion broadband plan without the slightest idea if it makes financial sense:

The assertions he made in his announcement and which he used to solicit investments from the public are not supported by a business plan, a financial study, advice from Infrastructure Australia or, so far as we know, anything other than his desire to get a big headline (it worked).

His own Treasurer, Wayne Swan, was unable to say how many people he expected to take up the service or what they would be asked to pay. And yet those are the two key assumptions that determine whether a venture such as this will be a good investment or a complete catastrophe.

Turnbull warns there are real risks, and real competition:

Telstra has its own extensive broadband fixed line hybrid fibre network offering higher and higher speeds including, so Telstra claims, up to 100Mbps before Christmas in Melbourne and within a year or two in other capital cities.

In addition to competition at the fixed-line level, the new company, let’s call it Ruddnet, will face competition from wireless. In the past six months 650,000 people signed up to wireless broadband services, four times the number that signed up to fixed-line broadband. As wireless broadband becomes faster and cheaper, its mobility and flexibility will offer real competition with fixed-line services, just as it has with telephony…

Unless we (completely unrealistically) assume the vast majority of potential customers take up the Ruddnet services and that they will pay very high monthly fees in the order of $150 to $200 a month then there is no way that Ruddnet can deliver a commercial return on $43billion of investment.

How is Rudd allowed by his minister to promise anything so rash, and with so little study?
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Training the new Rudd Guard
Andrew Bolt
First Climate Change Minister Penny Wong offers children prizes to write an essay on ”what climate change means to me”. Now this:
(Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education and Child Care) Maxine McKew wants to train toddlers and pre-school children to become political activists.

She has drafted her controversial Early Years Learning Framework which, if adopted, would cover all kindergartens, childcare centres and other early childhood settings....She wants children to:

CONTRIBUTE in a meaningful way to reconciliation, including flying the Aboriginal flag and inviting elders to give talks.

USE “social inclusion puppets” and “persona dolls” to explore exclusion and ethical issues…

ASSESS and act on power dynamics as they get older.

Teaching children to simply be nice and treat others as you’d wish to be treated yourself should cover all the ethical teaching a pre-schooler needs. The rest is propagandising, and McKew should be ashamed of herself. That totalitarian instinct should be resisted, not indulged.
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Rudd’s spending just isn’t working
Andrew Bolt
Yet more of Kevin Rudd’s big-spending plans fall flat:

AUSTRALIA’S car industry will not survive the economic recession, and Holden will probably be the first to go, an industry expert says.

Editor of the car buyers Dog & Lemon Guide, Clive Matthew-Wilson, said the Australian car manufacturer is poised to shut down for good because it can no longer compete in the global market.

Holden signalled the beginning of the end when it recently halved production at its South Australian plant, he said…

He said Holden will be the first to go, followed by Ford and then Toyota…

Earlier this year Toyota, the world’s No.1 car maker and Australian market leader, accepted a $35 million federal government grant to build a hybrid version of its four-cylinder Camry sedan in Melbourne from 2010. But Mr Matthew-Wilson said the money is a waste.

So, it seems, was this other $149 million spend of Rudd’s, as I warned at the time:

First, he announced Holden would get $149 million from his ``green car’’ fund—and another $30 million from the South Australian Government—to build a new ``green’’ car in Elizabeth.

Except it’s not green. Holden promised only a diesel model and another using twice the petrol and emitting twice the greenhouse gas of a Toyota Prius.

But the jobs! Rudd boasts he is saving 600 jobs at Holden and 600 more in component manufacturing. Except he’s not creating jobs, he’s subsidising them.

Do the sums. The Government’s handouts to Holden work out at $50,000 a year for three years for every single one of those 1200 workers. But they’ll build more cars, right?

Except we’re not in a mood to buy. New car sales last month were the lowest in five years.

How many more billions must Rudd waste before someone saves us? Julia, do something! Do you really want to be known as another Rex Connor, Frank Crean or Jim Cairns - one who just saluted as the captain pointed the Titanic into an iceberg?
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'Special Report' Panel on Handling of Somali Pirates
This is a rush transcript of "Special Report With Bret Baier" from April 13, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I want to be very clear that we are resolved to halt the rise of privacy (sic) in that region.

And to achieve that goal, we will have to continue to work with our partners to prevent future attacks. We have to continue to be prepared to confront them when they arise. And we have to ensure that those who commit acts of piracy are held accountable for their crimes.

BAIER: President Obama promising action against piracy, not "privacy," one day after Navy Seals shot and killed three Somali pirates who had been holding and then pointing an AK-47 at the back of American Captain Richard Phillips.

The captain of the Maersk Alabama cargo freighter was rescued by the Seals unharmed. A fourth pirate surrendered and may be tried in the U.S.

As you look at the aerial shot, these Navy Seal sharpshooters took out these three pirates from the USS Bainbridge. That's the lifeboat there that the captain was being held in, and the Bainbridge just a few yards away.

So what about the developments over the past day, and what will this administration do about the growing problem of piracy around the Horn of Africa going forward?

Let's bring in our panel — Bill Kristol, editor of "The Weekly Standard," Mort Kondracke, executive editor of "Roll Call," and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer - Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, what do we do with pirates? We shoot them. That appears to be the American way, and it rather works, if you have an opportunity.

I think this is very important because it is the kind of a deterrent. It doesn't deter all of the piracy, obviously, but it does tell a pirate, if you have a choice of ships, stay away from the U.S. Navy, which is good. "Don't tread on me" is a good lesson.

Secondly, the question is what do you do for the future? I think the idea of the United States organizing an international sort of agreement or sort of a committee, or some kind of concerted action, is not going to happen.

There are only two options — a, you arm the ships, which is a passive mode, but I think it might be the most effective. The most effective is to attack the lairs — that's the word you use for a pirate — they don't have bases. They always have lairs — attack them in Somalia.

But that requires a military operation of some scale at a time when we don't have a lot of slack or spare capacity. We have wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and this is not at that high enough level.

Perhaps at a time of quiet, you would want to mount a campaign in Somalia, but America has a history in Somalia. It's not a happy one.

So I think what America ought to do is to encourage the use of armed guards the way that we have marshals on airplanes, and to continue to send a message that if you attack an American ship, you will likely die.

BAIER: I should point out that I said a few yards. It was about 300 yards away, the USS Bainbridge, and these shots were pretty amazing in rough seas for Navy Seals sharpshooters to take out these three guys with one shot, a kill shot to the head — Mort?

MORT KONDRACKE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "ROLL CALL": The Navy performed spectacularly well in this case. The Captain, Captain Phillips, is a hero if I have ever seen one. I mean, giving himself up to be a hostage to get his men free, and having trained his men on how to resist an attack without benefit of guns, is pretty amazing.

And I think Obama did the right thing. I mean, I was in church with him, the same church on Sunday, and he looked very preoccupied. And now it's apparent why. It's because he was thinking about what was going on off Somalia.

But I agree with Charles — Sea Marshals is the answer. It works on airplanes. Also arming the crew, having certain people on these ships who are trained as sharpshooters and trained to fight back, is the answer. I mean, if the pirates know that they're going to meet with resistance and they're liable to get killed, they're not going to attack.

BAIER: Bill, I have seen some in the mainstream media portray President Obama's decision to authorize the captain of the Bainbridge to use lethal force as somehow his first successful test of foreign policy. What's your take on that?

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": I'm shocked by Mort and Charles. Haven't you guys learned that force doesn't solve anything, that militarism is a huge problem of U.S. foreign policy, unilateral preemptive action?

(LAUGHTER)

We don't know they were going to shoot Captain Phillip, you know. And there were these trigger happy guys authorized by the U.S. government, just killed them without due process. Where were their — they didn't get read their rights first. It was really — we have learned no lessons, obviously, from the Bush years.

And what about the moderate parts of the pirate community?

(LAUGHTER)

How are they going to react to this? What about the pirates street?

BAIER: We have learned —

KRISTOL: The pirate street will be up in arms!

BAIER: We have learned about the Kristol sarcasm factor.

KRISTOL: Right. What should we do? I actually do think we need to go in. We don't need to go in on the ground into Somalia, but we need to destroy the pirates' safe havens. It can be done from the air —

KRAUTHAMMER: The lairs.

KRISTOL: The lairs, I know, right. We can have a good anti-lair offensive by the Air Force and the Navy. And the Marines and the army have done a fantastic job in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Air Force and the Navy want to get in the fight, and here's a good chance for them.

We need a little bit of intelligence. But, look, it would make a big difference if the people on the ground, which is what they need, they need the ground support, they need the ground networks, they need the ability to bring the hostages into Somalia to hold them. If we can destroy those lairs and disrupt them, that would be —

BAIER: Will the administration do it? Will the administration do it?

KRISTOL: I think they will. I think it is the only way to be serious about dealing with piracy.

You can put some sea marshals on the ships and arm the merchant ships. That's all fine. I think they'll do it.

Look, it is amazing that these pirates, these so called pirates — in an article today, two of them are quoted by name, "We have decided to kill U.S. hostages in the future." One of them is names Abdullah Ahmed, one of them is named Ali Noor. They even tell which towns they are in in Somalia.

We can find these people, I would think. And we are killing people in the wild lands of Pakistan who are terrorists. Some of these people, if they had an accident due to a cruise missile or due to a predator, or just due to a bomb, that would be a healthy thing, I think, for the pirates.

KONDRACKE: I really do think that this is an opportunity for Obama to test the level of international support that he can get. Wait a minute, just a second. Why not — the French are ready to join us in such an endeavor.

(CROSSTALK)

KRISTOL: On Sunday, he didn't call the allies before authorizing the Seals to act. He didn't go to the U.N. Security Council. Mort is very upset about that. Where was that Security Council resolution?

KONDRACKE: No, no. There is an international problem, here. And Obama has great prestige overseas. Why not see what kind of posse he can organize —

BAIER: And there are other hostages from other countries being held.

KONDRACKE: Absolutely.

KRAUTHAMMER: Let me give you a why not.

BAIER: Last word.

KRAUTHAMMER: Because the war in Afghanistan is more important. Al Qaeda is more of a threat. And if you want to waste or use your diplomatic capital, use it on getting the French and the British and the Germans and the Dutch to help us in northern Pakistan and Afghanistan. I wouldn't waste it on Somalia.

BAIER: President Obama campaigned against the Bush administration's secrecy policies, but now he is being accused of taking them even further.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My view is that it wasn't OK when the Bush administration did it, and it is not OK when the Obama administration did it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: We'll find out what the panel thinks about the Obama switch after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVIN BANKSTON, ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION: Other than being flat wrong, the Obama administration's position is seriously disappointing to those Americans who listened to candidate Obama's promises of a new era of government accountability and transparency.

BRYAN CUNNINGHAM, FORMER CIA/JUSTICE DEPT. ATTORNEY: I don't know what the critics think happened. I don't know if they think Admiral Blair and Attorney General Holder got sent into the Dick Cheney mind meld machine, or what. But they are either saying — they're wrong, or they're saying they're lying about the facts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: Liberal supporters are up in arms. Why? Because the Obama administration is invoking what's called the "State Secrets Privilege," just like President Bush did to shield eavesdropping programs from public exposure, something Mr. Obama criticized as candidate Obama.

We're back with the panel. Mort, how about this?

KONDRACKE: And it's not just surveillance policy and secrecy policy here as well. The Bagram air base in Afghanistan could well be the new Gitmo. They're taking their prisoners there by rendition, and so on. That policy continues.

And also, the — he's left a loophole in his questioning policy and his interrogation policy to opt for the Jack Bauer option, you know -

BAIER: Of "24" fame.

KONDRACKE: Yes — for intensive interrogation, shall we say, abusive interrogation. So Obama is — when you get into the Oval Office, I have a feeling that the world looks different from the way it looks on the Democratic campaign trail. And you are now responsible for the safety of the American people. And you tend to operate conservatively, if that's the word.

Now, I do think that he owes an explanation to his supporters and to the public about why he changed his mind, and, perhaps, an apology to George Bush.

BAIER: One point of clarification. The Bagram issue is opening up a floodgate because a judge has ruled that three of the detainees there have a right to challenge their detention in civilian courts inside the U.S. Some think that could be a problem for the administration — Bill?

KRISTOL: I'm glad that to the degree that President Obama is not letting ridiculous campaign promises and the demands of the American Civil Liberties Union and people like that to have lawsuits and legalisms prevent an effective defense of the United States citizens against terrorists, I'm very happy that he has moved in that direction.

And if he wants to be a little hypocritical about it, that's fine, too. Hypocrisy is the tribute that liberalism pay to conservatism.

When liberals come into power and come into the Oval Office, as Mort said, and they have to deal with reality and they realize, you know what, you cannot run the world as candidate Obama though. You can't defend the country as candidate Obama thought he could.

BAIER: Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: And that's why I think he won't actually explain in public and do a mea culpa on this, to say he has now changed his mind. He never admits to ever having changed his mind. He never admits to any error. It is always everyone else who commits errors.

And the reason is that he is glib enough and still has enough charisma to play a double game. He goes abroad, and he says "I'm closing Guantanamo," and he gets huge applause. He wallows in that applause. He loves it.

And, of course, as Mort indicates, he is shipping Gitmo east. Bagram will become East Gitmo.

And the same on interrogation. He left a huge loophole, and yet he makes these statements in Europe — "We do not torture," as a way to, of course, have himself stand above Bush and America before him.

That's how he operates. And some of the left wing groups in the Democratic Party are aware of his hypocrisy, but it's not a general impression. All these loopholes are fairly well hidden. And as in this interrogation stuff, he will get away with it.

It's no surprise that a president of any party defends the prerogatives of his office, to defend his office. And also because he likes the power, Obama likes the power, he's going to keep it.

BAIER: Quickly, is there any —

KONDRACKE: A good question for a press conference. This is reaching a crescendo enough on the left, complaints. Enough people are complaining about it that he will be asked about it in a press conference.

BAIER: Note to correspondents from Mort.

KONDRACKE: Absolutely.
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