Saturday, July 18, 2009
Headlines Saturday 18th July 2009
Australian among Jakarta bomb dead
An Australian trade official is believed to have been killed in the deadly bomb blasts that rocked Jakarta on Friday. - Ever notice how Rudd describes terrorists? He calls them ugly. Why is everything to Rudd about image? Why does Rudd claim to be Christian among Christians, yet supportive of abortion in government? Why does Rudd's wealthy wife have to slim up to be seen by the public? Why are so many of Rudd's colleagues in jail? When Rudd tries to expand his power base, why does he meet with criminals? Isn't it the case that Rudd's timidity in the face of terrorism is the result of more tragedy? - ed.
Jakarta blasts show hotel weaknesses
Twin hotel suicide bombings in Indonesia have exposed new security weaknesses in an industry increasingly in the crosshairs of terrorists - and pointed to evolving tactics by the militants.
US TV news legend Walter Cronkite dies
US TV news legend Walter Cronkite, dubbed "the most trusted man in America" for his calm delivery during a tumultuous period in US history, has died in New York at the age of 92, says the CBS network, where he spent most of his career. - I grew up with him reading the news. My mother adored him. He made liberal media news palatable for conservatives without ever compromising on the central message of accepting the weakness of liberal ideals.- ed.
Endeavour arrives at space station
The space shuttle and space station have hooked up after a round-the-world chase, making for the biggest crowd ever gathered together in orbit - 13 earthlings.
Catholic church is climate change sinner
The Catholic Church has confessed it is one of the biggest carbon emission sinners in Australia.
Children stone man dead after stabbing
A SWAZI man was stoned to death by a mob of schoolchildren after he stabbed a 13-year-old girl to death with a spear and wounded 12 others at their school.
Clinton urges India to back terror fight
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has urged India to join Washington in supporting Pakistan's fight against terrorism, but Delhi demanded results before it begins formal peace talks with its rival.- Clinton is a fool. India has been fighting the very terrorism that Democrats claim have moral ascendency for over thirty years. - ed.
=== Comments ===
PM turns blind eye on thugs bullying Aussies
KEVIN Rudd has now let down Australian citizens in two foreign countries. The Chinese Government has so far snubbed his attempts to get any substantial news about the arrest of Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu.- I understand that the nation with the most number of English speakers is China.
I also undestand that if you don’t write in Chinese, but in any of many other languages indigenous to China, then you won’t get far with getting driving permits .. or any of many other essential things. On the matter of RTA, the last two years I have fronted to them to show my medical documents allowing me to remain on the road. Each time they have lost them. The last time I couldn’t be bothered renewing after they lost my documents, so I’m now suspended from driving having never committed a moving violation and with nothing wrong with my ability to drive. - ed.
Grambo replied to DD Ball
However much money Indonesia earns I doubt it will be enough to filter down to the poor. I don’t understand your reference to Reinado (another word cloud?).
DD Ball replied to DD Ball
Alfredo Reinado death occurred within weeks of Rudd becoming PM. It looked like a bungled black ops sting, and Rudd had been strident on the issue before the election, and silent after the death. If I were to guess, Rudd nodded to a sub contractor to finish Reinado and Reinado got very close to kidnapping President Gusmao and the Timor PM. The ALP have historic links to several significant Timor figures and the question is a natural one to ask .. but Rudd has never had to face it.
Grambo replied to DD Ball
I don’t think I’ll be the one to stand up and ask those kind of questions. I hope to be able to afford to retire one day.
Save the planet! Crash into people
Steer clear of the planet-saver’s Prius:
Quite a few big-name auto insurers have been giving hybrid owners a discount on their premium. But those deals might not last much longer; as an insurance data-analysis firm points out, the insurance industry could be losing big because of this.
The surprising result: Hybrid drivers typically drive farther, get more tickets, and have significantly more expensive insurance claims.
More, less, whatever
Global warming is intensifying the monsoon in Central India, according to a study that warns of increasing risk from heavier rains during the season.
Each year, millions of farmers in India hope and pray for the right kind of monsoon rains to help grow their crops. But it’s believed climate change is delaying the onset of the monsoon - threatening crops and pushing up the prices of basic foods. .
Dr Ian Wilson suggests a more likely culprit - and a looming famine. He tells me the signs have got worse since he wrote this.
The Indian Government isn’t sure at all that any warming is man-made or would even be bad, and definitely won’t agree to cuts in gases:
India was the last dissenter on a “recognition” that the world should try to keep temperature rise to under 2 degree Celsius by 2050. At the final round of negotiations to a climate change document in the recent Major Economies Forum (MEF) in Italy on July 7, ...the developing countries successfully fended off the demand for 50% cuts…
While the 2 degree is a compromise, PM’s special envoy Shyam Saran told journalists in Italy, “We do not regard this as an arithmetical target; we regard this as a political decision because there is a great deal of uncertainty with respect to what would be the actual rise in temperature, what would be the consequences of that rise of temperature.”
China’s useful idiots
The Australian’s excellent Cut & Paste nails the finger-waggers who played the racism card against those who warned - long before the Stern Hu case - that Chinese companies such as Chinalco were still organs of a totalitarian regime:
Michael Pascoe in The Age on February 12:
THERE’S more than a touch of Sinophobia underpinning some of the commentary on Chinalco’s suspected bailout of the hapless Rio Tinto chaps, 1 1/2 centuries of yellow peril mentality doesn’t disappear overnight.
Yes, and Beijing’s evolution as a decent world citizen is in its early stages given the thugs and criminals it continues to support. But the cadres are learning.
Finance and Deregulation Minister Lindsay Tanner on Radio 3AW on April 4:
THESE innuendos are being spread deliberately to connect with what is inevitable latent sentiment in this community. It goes back a long way of, you know, fear of China as, you know, the famous yellow peril.
Katharine Murphy in The Age on April 4:
WHERE the opposition has been wrong has been to aggressively simplify the “national interest” to something as pantomime-ish as this: Australia must win a staring competition with those crafty Chinese.
The Coalition also leaves itself open to the charge of racism when the innuendo stretches further, that there is something inherently sinister about a Chinese state-owned enterprise, as opposed to state-owned enterprises from other countries: Canada, the Middle East, Singapore or anywhere else. They all add complexity to a foreign investment calculation, not just the ones from China.
More of the same symptoms of idiocy, I’m afraid. Gerard Henderson gives examples of three common Leftist responses to the Stern Hu case, all from commentators from the ABC and academia:
1. Liken Hu to the terrorist recruit David Hicks.
2. Brand Hu guilty.
3. Agonise over what Australia has naughtily done to offend great China.
Named by Henderson: Virginia Trioli, Clive Williams, Alexandra Kirk and Greg Hoy. I’d have been a little more forgiving of Waleed Aly, actually.
First the Melbourne International Film Festival stands up to China:
Organisers of Melbourne’s International Film Festival have defied calls from China not to show a documentary about an exiled Uighur leader.
Now it likewise stands up to an anti-Israeli bigot:
ENGLISH filmmaker Ken Loach has withdrawn his film Looking for Eric from the Melbourne International Film Festival because the festival receives funding from the Israeli Government. Loach told the festival if it did not reconsider the sponsorship, he would not allow the festival to screen his film.
In a letter to festival executive director Richard Moore, he said that “Palestinians, including artists and academics, have called for a boycott of events supported by Israel”. He cited “illegal occupation of Palestinian land, destruction of homes and livelihoods” and “the massacres in Gaza” as reasons for the boycott. It was, he said, aimed “not at independent Israeli films or filmmakers”, but at “the Israeli state”.
Mr Moore said he would not accede to the request: “I wouldn’t do it. The festival wouldn’t. It’s like submitting to blackmail.”
Interesting that communist China and Israel-haters should be linked in this way. Richard Moore deserves respect for showing both the door.
Moore has more backbone than the Edinburgh Fim Festival - and more integrity - in standing up to Loach, whose other link to China is his Marxist politics, as evidenced by his valorising of communism and support for the Socialist Resistance.
Rein and religion
Therese Rein on her faith:
Religion is integral to her calling, her values. “It’s fundamental to who I am,” Rein reveals in one of the first interviews she has given since her husband, Kevin Rudd, became Prime Minister in December 2007…
She’s tentative as the conversation turns to the “very personal” question of her relationship with God, a commitment that became unshakeable after a period of searching during her years at ANU, where she first met Rudd in 1976.
“There are two particular pieces of scripture that shout to me from the rooftops, and they are about freedom for the captive and recovering sight for the blind,” she says. “They are all about inclusion, they are all about being there to feed the hungry, to visit people in prison and hospital, to house the people who are not housed.
“This is very difficult to talk about. Faith is a living thing. It’s hard to put it into words. Yes, I pray. Yes, I sing, but only in private.”
Even as (or especially as) an agnostic, I find this reassuring:
(A) study shows federal MPs are invoking Christian beliefs with increasing frequency to justify policies and articulate their values and visions for the nation.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was the politician who most cited his Christianity in public speeches, followed by the former Liberal treasurer Peter Costello and Treasurer Wayne Swan.
Melbourne University politics researcher Anna Crabb analysed 2422 speeches by 60 prominent federal politicians — the leaders and senior frontbenchers of the three main parties — between 2000 and 2006. She tallied the number of these speeches that included the words Christ, church, faith, pray, Jesus, Bible and God and found the use of religious language by politicians had increased.
In 2000, 9 per cent of the speeches in Ms Crabb’s sample used religious terms. The proportion increased in each of the following five years, reaching 24 per cent in 2005, before easing to 22 per cent in 2006.
Labor: flogging quack cures for cash?
Again, you’d think from the Gordon Nuttall case that Labor would now learn to avoid anything that looks like pay-to-play politics:
FEDERAL Agriculture Minister Tony Burke is listed as an honorary adviser to a Chinese-Australian businesswoman who donates to the Labor Party and convinced him to use a ministerial visit to Beijing to promote her cause.
Mr Burke is one of four Labor MPs involved with the China Australia Co-operation Society, an organisation established by Brisbane developer Deborah Lei and run out of her company offices, as a means of promoting Chinese medicine.
Bernie Ripoll, a Labor backbencher from Ipswich and chairman of the corporations and financial services committee, is honorary president of the organisation. Mr Ripoll - whose family has also become involved in the development business, with a well-timed investment in the emerging north Queensland industrial hub of Bowen - is so well-regarded by Ms Lei she named a street in a housing estate after him. Federal Employment Participation Minister Mark Arbib and NSW senator Michael Forshaw are also listed as honorary advisers to the society.
What makes this even more inapporpriate is that Labor politicians are promoting an unscientific form of medicine that is dubious at best.
Our dead counted, and one named
It’s astonishing the carnage wasn’t worse:
A MAN in a suit and baseball cap with a backpack on his chest and carrying a suitcase walks awkwardly into the Ritz-Carlton’s sprawling Airlangga restaurant just before 8am. Moments later, the hotel’s closed-circuit television footage shows the large open doorway to the restaurant erupt with glass, debris and smoke as a bomb is detonated inside at 7.57am.
Only two died in that bombing, but another seven were killed at the Marriott:
AN Australian man is dead and grave fears are held for two others after deadly twin hotel bombings killed nine people and left 42 injured in Jakarta, signalling the re-emergence of terrorism four years after the last bombing attack in Bali… Kevin Rudd said last night he held “grave concerns” for three Australians. Sources said businessman Nathan Verity, 38, a West Australian who ran a human resources company in Jakarta had died in the blast. Grave fears were also held last night for Craig Senger, a leading Australian trade official in Indonesia.
It’s the fourth Islamist attack in Indonesia in which Australians have been murdered:
The bombings yesterday follow the 2004 attack on the Australian embassy in Jakarta, which killed nine people, and the 2005 Bali bombing, which killed 20 people including four Australians. In 2002, in the deadliest strike on Indonesian soil, a JI-led terrorist attack killed 202 people, including 88 Australians…
The two bombs that went off and the unexploded device were identical to bombs seized several days ago at a house in the southern Java town of Cilacap. ABC reported last night the house was thought to belong to the father-in-law of Bali bomb-maker Noordin Top.
This is a tragedy, both for the families of the dead and for Indonesia. But it should nevertheless be remembered how much Indonesia has succeeded so far in limiting the spread and scale of Islamist violence in a country many feared was very ripe for it.
Joke of an economy
The US Treasury Department wants someone to help it find the humor in driving a nation broke:
The purpose of this announcement is to seek qualified contractors with the capability to provide presentations for The Department of Treasury, Bureau of the Public Debt (BPD), Management Meeting with experience in meeting the objectives as described herein.
The Contractor shall conduct two, 3-hour, Humor in the Workplace programs that will discuss the power of humor in the workplace, the close relationship between humor and stress, and why humor is one of the most important ways that we communicate in business and office life
And, boy, do they have a lot to laugh at:
(The Congressional Budget Office) estimates that in fiscal years 2009 and 2010, the federal government will record its largest budget deficits as a share of GDP since shortly after World War II.
Health Care Bill: Con or Great Thing?
By Bill O'Reilly
America needs to change the health care system because regular folks are getting hosed. There's no question about that. Greedy insurance companies and insane medical charges have made it impossible for millions of Americans to protect themselves against disease. That cannot stand. We have to fix the problem.
President Obama's vision is a giant federal apparatus, funded primarily by affluent Americans. That's not going to work. The expense is simply too great. Punitive taxation will not be able to pay the bills, and the USA could very well go bankrupt, just as California has.
So what do we do? Let's run it down. The Senate Health Committee has passed a bill with every Republican on that committee voting against it. That would force all Americans to enroll in a health insurance plan or face tax penalties. The government proposes to subsidize American families making up to $88,000 a year. That would cost the feds more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years.
To pay that enormous sum, Mr. Obama wants to raise taxes on Americans making more than $280,000 a year. The tax increase might top out at five percent for millionaires, raising their overall income tax rate to 45 percent, the highest since 1986. But even raising taxes that high on the affluent wouldn't pay the total health care costs. Thus, the federal deficit would grow even larger, putting the nation's financial system at great risk.
The plan, of course, fits into President Obama's vision of redistributing income, transferring money to those less well off. In effect, wealthy Americans paying the bills for non-wealthy Americans.
But there is another way, if Mr. Obama cares, which he may not.
In Switzerland, where I visited a couple of weeks ago, every citizen by law has to have health care insurance. But the government doesn't pay. This citizen himself or herself pays, but the government regulates the insurance industry to make sure there's no gouging and premiums are fair. If a Swiss citizen can't afford to pay, the government provides. About 19 percent of Swiss are in that category.
The key to reforming in the American health care industry is oversight on costs, punishing frivolous lawsuits against doctors, mandating that hospitals charge according to government guidelines. Also, setting up clinics for the poor, where they can go to be treated free of charge. That's doable and wouldn't bankrupt the nation. It allows the private system we have in place to continue, but prevents exploitation and price gouging. Every state has medical boards right now. All they have to do is police costs and any violation could result in a loss of license.
"Talking Points" doesn't believe the feds can run an efficient health care system, but the government can stop profiteering and unfair practices. But if the Obama vision becomes law, care will be rationed and expenses will run wild. That will happen. You heard it here.