Saturday, June 06, 2009

Headlines Saturday 6th June 2009

ALP Supporter banknote link to Saddam regime
A RESERVE Bank of Australia (noted for its support for the ALP) subsidiary secretly met officials from Saddam Hussein's Iraqi government during sanctions.

Labour suffers 'wipeout' at local polls
LABOUR saw its popular support evaporate today after it suffered heavy defeats in local council elections across Britain.

I will not walk away, says defiant Brown
GORDON Brown vowed to tough it out today as Britain's prime minister after three more members of his cabinet quit.

Chaser taken off air for two weeks, group apologises a bit
THE Chaser's War on Everything has been taken off the air for two weeks to allow the ABC to review its approval processes, amid controversy over a skit about dying children.

Couple gunned down at home
A COUPLE have been shot multiple times by gunmen during a home invasion in an exclusive suburb late last night.

How Jodi ended up in bedroom of a 'bikie'
JODI Gordon is struggling to remember what happened when she met an alleged Rebels bikie.

Rudd's savers lack interest in account
MILLIONS is being put aside to help young people buy houses - but no one is taking up the offer.

'Alcoholic' Symonds could lose millions
MATTHEW Hayden says Andrew Symonds must address alcohol problem as sponsors waver. - sadly, Symonds is a role model to many. - ed.

NY Mayor's only opponent is the press
DESPITE getting into public arguments with the press and angering public sector unions over deep budget cuts, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg looks to be sailing to a third term in the absence of a strong competitor.

Mystery remains over Carradine death
Mystery remained on Friday over the death of American cult actor David Carradine, best known for the 1970s TV series Kung Fu and whose naked body was found in a hotel closet in the Thai capital.
=== Journalist Corner ===
Kathie Lee stops by to talk about work, faith and politics!

Plus -- it's another call controversy! Rod Blagojevich on the new tape that has the Blago brothers in hot water!

It's a 'Huckabee' you can't miss!
Pay Czar? Good Idea or Bad Idea?
Do we need a "pay Czar?" maybe....but would you not think that these companies receiving money would abide by the rules? Is there no other way to make sure there will be compliance? Why not demand "transparency" and require the companies receiving our money to post this information on the Internet so we (taxpayers) can police instead of a czar? Perhaps giant penalties for violating so there is a disincentive to cheat and steal? We seem to be getting a lot of "czars" -- and Democratic Senator Robert Byrd pointed out that the use of all these czars [...]
=== Comments ===
Tim Blair
Five senior British ministers have quit in the last four days – three of them within 24 hours. Experienced political observers may detect vague hints of a possible crisis.

UPDATE. Make that six.

UPDATE II. Yesterday:
Europe minister Caroline Flint, who had been holding out for promotion, announced yesterday she would remain in the government.
Europe minister Caroline Flint this afternoon became the latest Cabinet resignation …
Robert Colvile: “Gordon Brown’s press conference - which ended seconds ago - was an astonishing affair. Caroline Flint resigning mid-conference?”
Tim Blair
A beautiful Facebook story. - I left the US where I was born to Sydney, where my parents were born when I was 11 years old. It was following the death of my sister from a failed Kidney transplant and my parents were divorcing, wanting to be among family. I left my friends behind, the closest being Sander. I didn't know his real name, or his last name. I overcame a life of neglect and abuse, and recently, in my early 40's, I went onto facebook and began to piece my life back together. I got a message from an Alexander M (within a month!!) asking if I was me. He had a wife and two beautiful children .. and i didn't owe him a thing after 30 odd years .. - ed.
Tim Blair
Lots work. Much busy. Here column. More soon.

UPDATE. The Chaser is suspended for two weeks. Good start.

UPDATE II. Jim Schembri:
The most consistent observation being made by people who are, or were, fans is that this latest incident is symptomatic of a steady decline in the quality of The Chaser.
That quality decline follows a steep increase in the show’s budget.

UPDATE III. Further on our comedy friends.

UPDATE IV. The Chaser apologises:
We now understand the sketch didn’t come across as intended, and we take full responsibility for that. Now we’ve seen the impact of the piece we wish we’d thought it through better. There was no value in it that justifies the impact it’s clearly had on people whose grief or trauma is so great already. We should have considered that. We got it wrong. We’re sorry.

We’ll be making no further comment at this time.
No further comment? An edgy, in-your-face satire team should camp outside their homes, demanding further comment.
Rudd's Triumphant Score
Andrew Bolt
Rudd's support network claims Malcolm Turnbull makes a mistake:

OPPOSITION Leader Malcolm Turnbull met Playboy founder Hugh Hefner’s daughter during a US visit in 1978. But he denies meeting Hef…

“I’m afraid to say I haven’t had a Scores moment in Chicago as suggested,” Mr Turnbull said.

If only he had. See what Scores did to humanise Rudd.
On making Rudd tremble
Andrew Bolt
What’s remarkable is that the Liberals have been so unable for so long to exploit the deep feelings of insecurity than make Kevin Rudd so driven - and so very shaky when challenged:

On Thursday, when Rudd was under pressure in question time over the Government’s dealings with the car salesman who gives Rudd free use of a car, the Prime Minister looked more vulnerable than at any time since taking office.

He had no ready answers to Malcolm Turnbull’s claims and questions. He seemed rattled. Frontbenchers close enough to Rudd to be able to see reported that his hands shook as he tried to fend off the Opposition.

He also had beads of sweat on his upper lip when interviewed on the ABC that afternoon, even though his questioner was the sympathetic Kerry O’Brien. In the past, reporters have likewise noticed how Rudd’s leg trembled or face broke out in sweat when under pressure over Scores, Brian Burke or even announcing his challenge - all issues involving judgments of Rudd personally. Note also his extreme - and privately abusive - response to well-based allegations he’d exaggerated his “slept-in-a-car” past.

Yet how often have the Liberals managed to make Rudd physically register this distress over the past two years? But give Rudd due for his coping strategy endless - (diversion and spin?) - ed.
First Fortuyn, now Wilders
Andrew Bolt
Britain’s Government cravenly banned him for fear of upsetting Muslims, but Dutch voters have now made his party their country’s second biggest in the EU Parliament:

The decision by every seventh Dutch voter to support the party of Geert Wilders, the anti-immigration politician, in the European parliament elections is likely to drag domestic politics to the right and unsettle mainstream parties in other European Union states.

Unofficial results from Thursday’s poll show Mr Wilders’ Party for Freedom, or PVV, will become the second-biggest Dutch party in the parliament with four of the country’s 25 seats… In government, Mr Wilders, a 45-year-old platinum blond who lives under permanent police protection due to death threats, has said he would stop immigration, ask Muslims to leave and ban the Koran. But he is also stridently pro-Israeli and supportive of gay rights.

That Wilders must live under police protection to save him from angry immigrants in his own land helps to explain why voters support him. That said, it must be remembered that Pim Fortuyn, the Dutch politician whose stance Wilders largely follows, was actually murdered by a green.
Knifing Blair now doesn’t look so smart
Andrew Bolt
Ben Macintyre in the Times describes the humiliating decline of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown:

Deserted by colleagues, pounded by the Opposition, attacked by his own generals and sinking deeper into the quicksand of public opinion, he ends the week ragged and shell-shocked, gravely wounded, perhaps mortally so. All week we have been treated to the vivid, excruciating and occasionally hilarious spectacle of political power wilting.

The measure of that “wilting”:
On a shambolic day for Prime Minister Gordon Brown four more high-profile Ministers, including Defence Secretary John Hutton, resigned and Labour was decimated in county elections…

(T)he number of Ministers who have resigned for various reasons in the past 48 hours rose to seven amid a growing campaign to oust him over his handling of the MPs’ expenses scandal and weak leadership style.

Besides Mr. Hutton, others who quit on Friday included Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon, Employment Minister Tony McNulty and Europe Minister Caroline Flint, who, until a few hours before, was protesting her loyalty to the Prime Minister… She accused Mr. Brown of treating women ministers “like female window-dressing.”

However, Mr. Hoon’s resignation was not linked to the crisis… Mr. Hutton too sought to distance himself from the anti-Brown campaign insisting that he was leaving for family reasons…

The reshuffle was expected next week but Mr. Brown was forced to bring it forward after the dramatic resignation late on Thursday night by Pensions Secretary James Purnell.

It came barely hours after Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and the Communities Secretary Hazel Blears — both embroiled in the expenses scandal — quit. In his resignation letter, he urged Mr. Brown to step down saying: “I now believe your continued leadership makes Conservative victory more, not less likely.”

The county elections were devastating:

Labour lost all its remaining county councils in its worst ever local election results....

The Liberal Democrats ... gained 28 per cent of the vote… Labour dropped to an historic low of 23 per cent, 1 percentage point lower than last year, while the Tories fell ...from a 43 per cent share to 38.
Obama doesn’t need Jews now
Andrew Bolt
The Barack Obama who wooed Muslims this week isn’t the Barack Obama who before the elected needed Jews:

The president reached out Thursday to the world’s billion-plus Muslims in a conciliatory Cairo speech that included a bow to that religion and its contributions to the United States. He spoke of the U.S. desire to remove its troops from Muslim Iraq and Afghanistan, lamented that Palestinians have spent decades suffering “intolerable” treatment, and decried their “daily humiliations” under Israeli “occupation.”

On June 4, 2008, presidential candidate Obama’s emphasis was different when he addressed his country’s most influential Jewish lobbying group. He promised the American Israel Public Affairs Committee an “unshakable commitment” to Israel’s security, bemoaned the “rockets raining down” on Israeli towns from Palestinian territory, and said he would never force the Jewish nation to make concessions to its Palestinian and Arab antagonists....

There was also more subtle differences between the two addresses.

Obama, who prides himself on his oratory and devotes time to carefully choosing his phrases, used the words “terror,” “terrorist” or “terrorism” 11 times when talking to AIPAC last year. In Cairo, those words weren’t used at all, with Obama instead referring to “extremists.”

The president also referred to Palestine, presumably the name of a future Palestinian state, twice during his Cairo remarks. He avoided the term completely to AIPAC....

When he was seeking Jewish-American votes a year ago, he said(Jerusalem) “will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.” After Palestinians complained, he later said the city’s fate should be decided by negotiation.

On Thursday, he wooed his Cairo audience in part by saying Jerusalem must be “a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims.”

America’s Jews should feel betrayed.
Pelosi less popular than Halliburton war-criminal
Andrew Bolt
I’d say “but of course”, but the Left would say “good God!”:

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former Vice President Dick Cheney have little in common politically, but they receive almost identical image ratings from the American public. According to a May 29-31 Gallup Poll, 37% of Americans have a favorable view of Cheney and 34% have a favorable view of Pelosi. Both Cheney and Pelosi are viewed unfavorably by at least half of Americans.

Cheney, a very impressive vice-president, has of late not coincidentally been one of Obama’s most effective critics.
Warming still postponed
Andrew Bolt –
The RSS satellite data for May confirms that in this century, so far at least, global warming has halted. The UAH data says the recent cooling puts the average global temperature anomaly only .043 degrees above the 1979-2009 mean.


THE fact-finding mission to the US of Family First senator Steve Fielding has culminated in him giving senior White House staff graphs provided by climate change sceptics and asking why he should not believe them.

Senator Fielding emailed graphs that claim the globe had not warmed for a decade to Joseph Aldy, US President Barack Obama’s special assistant on energy and the environment, after a meeting on Thursday…

Senator Fielding said he found that Dr Aldy and other Obama Administration officials were not interested in discussing the legitimacy of climate science… He said Dr Aldy had agreed to answer his email.

Note that word “claim” that I’ve emphasised. The Age ’s environment reporter is too lazy or fearful to check that data for himself - or to tell readers what that data clearly says. It’s not just Aldy who’re reluctant to discuss the legitimacy of climate science.

It’s like SBS political reporter Karen Middleton sneered when I mentioned the same data on Insiders:

Oh, science again, Andrew. (Laugh.)
Chaser yanked; will Rudd be damned?
Andrew Bolt
Just one bad skit couldn’t explain this, surely:

THE ABC has bowed to public pressure by pulling The Chaser’s War On Everything after a storm of outrage at a skit about dying children. The unprecedented move will see the show dropped from the ABC for two weeks.

What else did the ABC find in the upcoming shows? And is it worried that it spent so very much on sending the team to Poland and Italy to shoot lame material? These boys have talent, but something’s gone badly amiss.


What would David Marr make of the fact that this decision follows just a day after this:

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says The Chaser team should hang their heads in shame over a sketch about terminally ill children.

Given also Rudd’s damning of artist Bill Henson, his blocking of the promotion of Hugh Borrowman, his astonishing and deceptive spinning, his personal intervention in arts prizes, the increased sidelining of dissent, the political stacking of the ABC board, the deliberate creation of group think, and the co-opting of media bosses and leading journalists in the Rudd agenda, would Marr once more conclude (and I’ve changed just two words):
Since 2007, Rudd has cowed his critics, muffled the press, intimidated the ABC, gagged scientists, silenced non-government organisations, neutered Canberra’s mandarins, curtailed parliamentary scrutiny, censored the arts, banned books, criminalised protest and prosecuted whistleblowers.
President Obama Speaks to Muslim World
By Bill O'Reilly
In my opinion, the biggest mistake President Bush made in fighting the terror war was believing the Muslim world would embrace democracy. You'll remember the Bush administration thought the Iraqis would greet us as liberators. Obviously, that did not happen. And to this day, the corruption in the elected Iraqi government is massive, as is corruption in the Afghan government.

Well, Thursday, President Obama also appealed to the Muslim world to embrace Democratic values, equality for women, due process, not violence to accomplish goals, and basic fairness and decency when dealing with disagreements. President Obama's effort was noble and I hope he got through. The president began by defining his purpose.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I've come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive.


Well, a good speaker always finds common ground. The president did that and then promoted sympathy for Muslims.


OBAMA: More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations.


Well, that was smart. There's no question that history has not been kind to the Middle East. Then the president took a turn.


OBAMA: I made clear that America is not and never will be at war with Islam. We will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security, because we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women and children. And it is my first duty as president to protect the American people.


Very strong and necessary after the president's European presentation. Now, I would have continued on a pro-American course. The president did some of that, but then lapsed back.


OBAMA: Just as America can never tolerate violence by extremists, we must never alter or forget our principles. 9/11 was an enormous trauma to our country. The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable, but in some cases it led us to act contrary to our traditions and our ideals. We're taking concrete actions to change course. I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year.


All right. Enough, Mr. President. The USA is not and never has been a torture nation. The Cheney-Obama debate made that perfectly clear. To continue hammering the torture theme does not do anyone any good, so let's drop it.

And closing Gitmo so quickly was a bad idea. You may have good intent, but the situation is one giant screw-up and could turn deadly if any of these guys go free and start killing. So let's drop that as well.

Finally, President Obama did what Dick Morris suggested Wednesday night. He appealed to young Muslims to change a culture often steeped in bitterness and failure.


OBAMA: I want to particularly say this to young people of every faith in every country. You, more than anyone, have the ability to re-imagine the world, to remake this world. All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time. The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart, or whether we commit ourselves to an effort, a sustained effort to find common ground.


Now, I have no major beef with the president on the speech. He is trying to diminish tensions in a dangerous world, and I hope Muslim society listens.
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