Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Week in Revue, ending Sun 17th May

This is the week in review. This week and in following weeks I will present you with headlines and news that defined the week. You will see pictures from political cartoonists, like ZEG. You will hear about columns from Andrew Bolt, Piers Akerman, Tim Blair, Bill O’Reilly and other columnists from all around the world, all having appeared in the daily columns.

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Of particular importance this week was the release of the Australian Federal budget. The second budget since the Rudd government attained office. Last year, the major focus of the budget was to lift spending while holding inflation. The job was half done. Spending cuts were made in areas where clear profit were not seen to be made by friends of the ALP. Limits were placed on payments for an effective program like the Baby bonus with the promise of a less equitable program to be introduced later. A tax was suggested for some alcohol, but not others. Promised reforms to payments to states were delayed as the incoming government claimed a weaker fiscal position than they had been lead to believe from economic figures. Standing by the government was the treasury and the reserve bank. The reserve bank lifting interest rates ‘just in case.’
A year has passed and the Global Financial Crisis became a big issue. Although Australian banks did not suffer from imprudent lending praxis of the US Banks, instituted by Clinton, Rudd guaranteed some of them, and almost caused a run on all financial services. The resulting crisis was used by Rudd to panic the government into giving away money. This became more of an imperative when Rudd was told by Obama that the Brazilians had a more popular politician than Rudd. Stimulus payments were given. The average Australian working family would receive $2900 and Australia was promised an annual interest bill of $2k per capita, or $8k per annum for the average working family. The budget was to establish when the borrowings would be repaid. Rudd promised seven years, but evidence suggests twenty or thirty years.
The budget was brought down and the architect, Swan, claimed it was severe because the previous government had spent big during the boom years. Peter Costello, Australia’s greatest treasurer pointed out that if spending had been excessive, then Rudd could have cut it last year. Rudd was looking ineffective and compromised, but luckily a current affairs program broke news about an old group sex session involving prominent footballers. No crime had been committed, although the footballers had shown appalling judgement and events may have been declared a crime under similar circumstances. ALP were spinning the issue of terrible morals among Rugby League players, and one former player was stood down from a tv program. Rudd forgetting his own incident at Scores in New York at about the same time, deplored the morals of the footballers. ALP insiders forgot they were dealing with Rudd, and Rudd saw that footballers were getting press, and he likes the limelight, so Rudd also decided to announce that Rugby League was a religion of his. The Zelig like Rudd had said similar things about Christianity when he was faced with Christians, and with Chinese ownership of Tibet when he was in China. NSW, which had been dudded by the budget had its premier stand up and claim he and Rudd were buddies.
Meanwhile, Obama found himself compromised by promises he had made in an election campaign. He promised to continue the war on terror, but in his own way. Firstly he set an unrealistic timetable for removing troops from Iraq with a proviso for letting them stay. He then began negotiating with terrorists, and when that didn’t work he began bombing in a way some identify as indiscriminate. Obama made noise about torture, but then condoned a practice which probably wasn’t anyway. Obama sacked a general for no reason, and put a friend in their place. A Taliban group won a press campaign with Obama’s help. Firstly, the Taliban rounded up villagers, putting women and children in a compound. Then they hit some US soldiers and goaded them into striking targets in the compound. In order to maintain the illusion of US aggression, they grenaded the victims in the compound too. Then they told the press what the US had done. And the US, which has a history of Democrat Presidents who bomb civilians and never get called to account wore the press loss. And so we see the change that Obama promised. The US has gone from being an effective guardian of the free world to a whining victim mistrustful of its own strength. Pelosi lied about her knowledge of CIA practice. That was the week that was.
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