Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Headlines Wednesday 24th March 2010

=== Todays Toon ===
Harry S. Truman (May 8, 1884 – December 26, 1972) was the 33rd President of the United States (1945–1953). As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice-president and the 34th Vice President of the United States, he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his fourth term.
=== Bible Quote ===
“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”- James 1:12
=== Headlines ===
President Obama was still celebrating and the ink had barely dried on the nation's new health care law when two states filed lawsuits as others scrambled to put up legislative barricades.

Poll: Most Americans Fear U.S. Economy Could Collapse
Fox News Poll: Most voters think economy may fail, and majorities don't think leaders have ideas to fix it

ACORN by Any Other Name...
Embattled community activist group says it is disbanding, but critics claim ACORN is just rebranding itself as local organizations with new names

Baby Robot Used to Boost Births
Students in Japan create eerily realistic robot baby to motivate young people to start planning a family

Michael Jackson's Doctor Interrupted CPR, Documents Show
Michael Jackson's doctor halted CPR on the dying pop star and delayed calling paramedics so he could collect drug vials at the scene, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press that shed new light on the singer's chaotic final moments. - he's bad - ed.

Netanyahu Pushes Back, Says Jerusalem 'Not a Settlement'
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented dueling positions on Jerusalem construction Monday, underlining a recent spat between the allies while simultaneously suggesting the incident is behind them.

Moon Water Comes in Three Different Flavors, Say Scientists
Since the surprise discovery last year of trace amounts of water on the moon, scientists have been redefining their concept of Earth's rocky neighbor. Now researchers say the water on the moon comes in three different flavors. Until recently the moon was thought to be bone dry. But measurements in the last year from the Mini-SAR and Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3 or "M-cubed") instruments on India's Chandrayaan-1 moon probe and from NASA's recent LCROSS mission have proved that wrong. Mini-SAR found 40 craters, each containing frozen water at least 6.6 feet deep on the lunar surface – which adds up to 600 million tons of lunar ice stuff altogether. LCROSS slammed into the moon on Oct. 9, 2009 and found evidence of water in another crater.

Mother has close encounter while out photographing sunset - and UFO experts believe she may have caught proof of extra-terrestrial visit to Australia. Picture: Fiona Hartigan

Teachers' sex scandals exposed
PAPERS reveal more than 300 teachers under investigation for inappropriate behaviour.

Israeli diplomat expelled over fake IDs
EVIDENCE Mossad cloned passports used in murder of Hamas chief is "compelling"

Obama's day of glory almost ruined
PRESIDENT signs healthcare bill into law but swearing gaffe takes shine off historic moment.

Thin naked man appears in bedroom
A WOMAN was in shock today after waking to find a thin, white man, completely naked and armed with a knife at her bedside before dawn broke this morning.

Australia's richest love child speaks out
ILLEGITIMATE daughter of tycoon Richard Pratt says she has no plans to enter family business.

Mum's drugs paid for bride's big day
POLICE swooped on family's ecstasy and amphetamine empire just days before wedding.

UN reveals huge spike in asylum seekers
REPORT shows 30 per cent jump in number of boat people coming to Australia as Christmas Island reaches capacity.

Fadi keeps double court date
FOR Fadi Ibrahim, it was a case of one court appearance down and one to go. The Kings Cross identity scheduled to be in two different courts at the same time.

Child carer made baby 'eat own vomit'
SUPERVISOR accused of force-feeding kids for laughs and slapping babies on the head.
=== Journalists Corner ===
Did the "Queen of Talk" say too much?
The Factor's "Is it Legal" team looks into the defamation lawsuit leveled against Oprah Winfrey!
Another Blow to the Economy?
As the president pens his mark, can America really foot his multi-billion dollar bill?
Guest: Newt Gingrich
Battle for the Bill! Some very powerful groups feel the dems sold them out! So will they take it out on them in November?
Guest: Sen. Lindsey Graham
It was an historic vote for reform - now get ready for an epic battle ... Sen. Lindsey Graham on why he says it's not over yet!
=== Comments ===
Why So Many Americans Despise Obamacare
By Bill O'Reilly
First off, we have been correct in our analysis of the health care controversy on all the major points.

You may remember I told Karl Rove early on there would be no public option. We also said that the "deem and pass" ruse would not be used because it would reflect badly on President Obama. Finally, last week we predicted the bill would pass, and it did Sunday night.

Now let's go forward.

There will be legal challenges to Obamacare. Specifically, it could be unconstitutional to force any American to buy health insurance. It's as simple as that.

Also, I believe many Americans will hold a grudge over Obamacare, and the big reason for that is all the backroom deals.

President Obama was elected largely because he promised to bring a new style of leadership to Washington. Yet in the Obamacare process, there were a number of outright bribes.

For example, the state of Louisiana gets $300 million more in Medicare subsidies.

The states of Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota and Utah will also get more Medicare money — $2 billion more.

Vermont will get $600 million in added Medicaid payments. Massachusetts, almost as much.

Connecticut will get $100 million to build a hospital.

And finally, 11 states will get an extra $8.5 billion in Medicaid simply because their representatives supported Obamacare.

With the country now owing $14 trillion, alert Americans understand that all the bribes will put the country in even more danger financially.

So let me ask you a simple question: Is this change we can believe in?

The Democratic response is it's always been this way in Washington, deals have been made since the Continental Congress, and that's true.

But the real deal is that President Obama and his party believe the end justifies the means.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Today's vote answers the prayers of every American who has hoped deeply for something to be done about a health care system that works for insurance companies, but not for ordinary people.


Mr. Obama sincerely believes that he did what he had to do to pass a health care law that will help most Americans. The president absolutely is convinced of that.

But reality might prove him wrong. Certainly the Obamacare process has damaged the Democratic Party. There's no doubt about that.

And if Obamacare goes out of control, which it well might, the country will suffer grievous harm. That is the drum that Republicans are pounding.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.: Outside the Beltway, the American people are very angry. And they don't like it, and they're going to — and we're going to try to repeal this. And we are going to have a very spirited campaign coming up between now and November, and there will be a very heavy price to pay for it.


We'll see.
Tim Blair
As some guy once asked: “How many times is Biden gonna say something stupid?"

And as someone else once said of the great moment-sullying bringer of death: “Vice President Biden, God bless his mouth.”

UPDATE. The best moment in that clip is Obama’s post-comment look of tense exasperation. Treacher captured perfectly the dynamic between these two last year.
Tim Blair
James Delingpole joins the Illuminati:
I need YOUR pledge NOW for the most important campaign in the history of the planet!

I refer, of course to LIGHTS ON – the vital protest being co-ordinated by my colleague Damian Thompson in response to the hideous annual exercise of eco-fascist triumphalism sometimes known as Earth Hour.

All Damian is asking us to do is that we screw up our courage, bump up our electricity bills and make damn sure we keep every single one of the lights in our home blazing between 8.30 and 9.30pm on Saturday March 27.
In fact, Thompson is aiming for a power burst beyond mere lights:
Just nipping out to the shops to stock up on lightbulbs (the old-fashioned variety, natch) just in case my electricity blows a fuse between 8.30 and 9.30pm on Saturday March 27.

Because EVERY SINGLE APPLIANCE in my flat will be on during the WWF’s “Earth Hour” switch-off, currently being plugged by a menagerie of celebrity bores including Chris Martin of Coldplay, Spartist actress Miranda Richardson (who’ll be in America, she tells us – how are you getting there, love?) and Don Foster MP of the Liberal Democrats. Yup, they’ve persuaded Don to sign up at last. Talk about a coup!
Britain’s LIGHTS ON campaign will shine in solidarity with America’s Human Achievement Hour and, of course, Australia’s mighty Hour of Power – which last year generated this beautiful comment from the mother of an Hour of Power toddler lieutenant:
Just preparing for earth hour. Max is loving running through the house turning all our switches on. We think he’s really learning something important!
That’s the Hour of Power spirit, Max! Besides educating our young and building an Anglospheric coalition of electrical unity, this year’s Earth Hour festivities will also feature visual contributions from those whose roofs glow ominously due to ill-placed insulation.

It’s going to be the brightest night of the year. Planning is essential. Please make certain that all your globes are operational. As for me … I’ve something special planned.

UPDATE. Bigmac emails:
I noticed on the Earth Hour site there is a game to find out how many planets are required to support your lifestyle. I wonder if anyone can get better than the 13.2 planets I got when I tried it.

There is another challenge to be made: Is it possible to get the usage down to less than one planet? Or is the game made so that no matter what, you feel guilty about your actions?
UPDATE II. An Earth Hour email to Fairfax journalists in Sydney:
All staff working during this period will do so with battery powered lanterns …
Tim Blair
US reader Mandy M. emails:
I’m sure you’re distraught that Barry O. is delaying his trip to your island paradise. To help lessen the despair of Kevin Rudd and all right-minded Aussies, I propose a swap. How about you take our most popular export and keep him, and we keep yours?
I understand Australia needs an apology czar to spearhead all the apology initiatives on behalf of the voiceless Aboriginal peoples being disenfranchised by global warming. And I know the perfect candidate. He doesn’t eat much and he never, ever shuts up.

We gluttonous Yanks, on the other hand, need cheesecake to appease our unspeakable appetites. And Ms. Rawson offers a lot of quality cheesecake. What do you think?
I think that this is a seriously imbalanced and unfair trade deal. For one thing, Anna Rawson will never record a 41 per cent “strongly disapprove” opinion rating.
Tim Blair
According to Peter Roebuck, Ricky Ponting is now a fine and popular leader of men – which he’d never have had the chance to be if it were up to Roebuck, who now revisits a certain controversial Test match:
Nor did Ponting stand apart from his men during the infamous SCG Test against India, when a visiting captain of immense dignity became the second man in the history of their game to damn an opponent as unsporting. Instead, he was swayed by the emotion of those days …
Excuse me; he’s saying that Ponting was swayed by emotion? Roebuck at the time emotionally demanded:
Ricky Ponting must be sacked as captain of the Australian cricket team
In the same piece, Roebuck announced that Michael Clarke “cannot be promoted to the vice-captaincy of his country”. Luckily for all, nobody important seconded those emotions.
Tim Blair
Wind, solar, burning thousands of tyres … it’s all good:
With just five words quietly slipped into legislation, Illinois lawmakers are moving to include tire burning in the state’s definition of renewable energy, a change that would benefit a south suburban incinerator with a long history of pollution problems.

Adding the “incineration or burning of tires” to a measure intended to boost wind and solar energy would clear the way for Geneva Energy to reap lucrative green energy credits for its troubled incinerator in Ford Heights, one of the poorest suburbs in the U.S.

The legislative change also would make the tire burner a player in the growing market for renewable energy in Illinois …
Finally, an environmental policy we can all support.

(Via Dan F., tyre-burner and ecological carer)
Minchin quits
Andrew Bolt
A great loss to the Liberals, and a sad decision forced on a decent man by a dreadful accident:
Liberal frontbencher Nick Minchin will not contest the next election and will relinquish his portfolio responsibilities immediately.

Senator Minchin has released a statement saying he will serve the rest of his term on the backbench....

Last month Senator Minchin’s son, Oliver, was seriously injured in a boat accident while training with the Australian Defence Force Academy.

In the statement, Senator Minchin said “recent events involving my immediate family” had been a factor in his decision.
Best wishes to him and his wife Kerry.
Leave it to government to turn two dollars into one
Andrew Bolt
Episode #225 in the saga of how Kevin Rudd blew your billions in his Building the Education Revolution spendathon:

Black Hill Public School is the only public school in the region self-managing its construction work and has been able to get almost twice as much for its $850,000 federal money as similar schools.
Black Hill is building a double permanent classroom, a single classroom plus a concrete basketball court with lights, solar cells and rainwater tank.

By comparison, Booral Public School, a similar-sized rural school that received the same amount of money, will get one pre-fabricated double classroom under department management and is $42,000 over budget. The classroom replaces demountables and won’t include replacement air-conditioning.
Getting people to spend their own money, rather than have government spend it for them, is usually the best option.

(Thanks to reader Terry.)
Your guy won yesterday
Andrew Bolt
I thought Kevin Rudd won yesterday’s debate. Reader John finds many of the polls say I’m wrong:
Sky News - Abbott 68% Rudd 32%

Australian – Abbott 52% Rudd 41% Draw 7%

The Age – Abbott 36% Rudd 64%

Daily Telegraph – Abbott 57% Rudd 38% Draw 5%

Courier Mail – Abbott 61% Rudd 34% Draw 5%

ABC - Abbott – 26% Rudd 63% Unimpressed 11%

Seems like Abbott might do OK when he actually has a policy to compare against Rudd’s. And some people on the ABC Drum still say that the ABC and their followers are right biased!
What those polls actually suggest is that the debate tended to confirm the biases of each audience.


Reader John reports on one of the “uncommitted” voters who drove Channel 9’s worm:
A few minutes ago (8.55am) on 3AW radio in Melbourne a man rang up on the Mictchell claiming he was a ‘worm button presser’ for ch9.

The guy seemed like an older chap with a slight Maltese accent. He said he was chosen at random and asked his political leanings before goin on. When asked about Rudd, he said ...."oh he came across as a man I can look up to and respect, someone to run the country!” (repeated this 2-3 times).

Neil Mitchell asked him about Abbott.."that guy’s an idiot, there is no way I would look up to him, ah..ugh” (repeated this 2-3 times)

Mitchell then asked “so I take it you were a Rudd supporter?”

“Oh no, I was uncommitted!”

A friend writes:

I was at Channel 9 yesterday, sitting next to Tracey Grimshaw with son XXX. I can tell you this:

9’s surveying company was desperate for volunteers and was scraping them together, worried that they’d fall short of the 100 needed. Consequently, they quickly cobbled them together from nearby university campuses, obvious hotbeds of Labor support and an easy source of people who can turn up in the middle of the day at 11am when everyone else is working.

The audience was clearly far from a balanced sample, with the vast majority dressed in old threadbare bluejeans and ragged T shirts (two terminal symptoms of Laborites), and rapt to get their $50 payment. For the first few minutes, I could see the worm on a studio monitor, and the worm jumped to the top even BEFORE Rudd began speaking! So
much for “fair and balanced”. Virtually every time Abbott started speaking, there would be groans and snickers.

The vice-chancellor could just not fly to Canberra
Andrew Bolt
This is not teaching but preaching, and it’s offensive that a vice-chancellor ask students to genuflect meaninglessly to his new faith. From a University of Queensland email to students:
I’m inviting you to join the University and people in more than 80 countries involved in Earth Hour 2010, a worldwide effort to reduce energy consumption and focus attention on climate change.

Between 8.30pm and 9.30pm on Saturday, March 27, the University will turn off non-essential lighting at the St Lucia, Gatton, Ipswich and Herston campuses as well as the Indooroopilly Mine, Customs House and Moreton Bay Research Station.
Er, if turning off “non-essential lighting” is so good for the planet, why do it for just this one hour a year?
Occupational health and safety guidelines will be observed, and emergency lighting and security systems will operate as normal.
Oh, does that mean more staff must be put on to stop people from breaking their necks?
Last year we achieved a 6.5 percent energy reduction during Earth Hour, with an estimated total saving of 730 kilograms of carbon dioxide and we will again calculate the amount of energy saved during this Earth Hour.
730kg? Wow! That’s as much as the vice-chancellor would save if he simply cancelled this one flight he’s planned to Canberra and video-conferenced instead. Way to go, planet saver.
This is an opportunity to acknowledge that our own actions can reduce our everyday carbon footprint. It can be as simple as remembering to turn off computers, air-conditioners, lights and other electrical goods when we don’t need them....

Professor Paul Greenfield, AO
I think it’s actually an opportunity to reflect instead on groupthink, misuse of power and useless gestures.


Fairfax drums the green message into its Sydney reporters - but is calling in more security and issuing battery operated lights to reporters helping or hurting the environment?
This email summarises the special measures that will be put in place at 1 Darling Island for Earth Hour Saturday night 27/03/10 between 830 and 930pm

All mains-powered internal lights, TV screens and signs will be switched off.
All staff working during this period will do so with battery powered lanterns to collect a lantern please see Alexandra Pappas no later than 12pm on Friday 26/03/10
Several areas, including all toilets, will be lit by emergency ceiling lighting which runs off the battery-powered back-up supply.
The gym will close from 7 till 10 pm.
External lighting will be switched off, including all LED signage and the car park.
Street lights remain on.
Extra security staff will be on hand to assist any staff who need to leave the building during Earth Hour.
Don’t Sun-Herald reporters feel like fools to be typing away to the light of battery lanterns and groping their way to the toilets? And which of them would dare type a sceptical column in that religious gloom?


Monash University preaches to its students, too:
Maybe they worked for insulation installers instead
Andrew Bolt
Another stunningly successful Rudd Government program. PM reports:
Eighteen months ago the Australian Government introduced a scheme to bring in Pacific workers for fruit-picking. But so far the Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme has only issued 137 of 2500 visas. A similar scheme in New Zealand has had a far higher take up rate.
Mind you, I thought it was a dumb scheme to start with when we have so many unskilled unemployed.

(Thanks to reader CA.)
If only the media showed priests the same mercy
Andrew Bolt
But do we demonise school teachers as “kiddie fiddlers” the way we do Catholic priests?
Documents obtained by The Courier-Mail print ... Right to Information laws reveal almost all 26 [Queensland] teachers who had their registrations suspended or cancelled in the past year were cited for sexual misconduct.

One state pre-school teacher, who was previously investigated for molesting young children, got his students to strip naked and paint each other while he took photos.

Another had a threesome with students in the back seat of his car after taking them to the Gay Pride march.

A long-term teacher did naked cartwheels in front of 12 year-old students on a school camp and entered their tents dressed in women’s underwear.

He was eventually convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl at a Brisbane private school…

QCT director John Ryan...acknowledged some sexual predators were flying under the radar, particularly before mandatory reporting of cases was introduced.
I wonder why the media is keen to pander to the savage stereotype of a dirty priest, yet are so (rightly) prepared to accept that almost 26 Queensland teachers in a single year are just exceptions in an otherwise honorable profession.

(Thanks to reader John.)
Blame the feral culture instead
Andrew Bolt
DEBBIE Webbe knew exactly who to blame when her daughter’s criminal boyfriend ploughed his stolen car into a young family’s little Mazda, killing himself and three others.

“I blame the police totally,” she said.

“I want the police to pay for what happened,” she added on A Current Affair, for which she wore a sleeveless shirt to better show her tatt, a symbol of the new barbarianism that is actually behind this tragedy.

Yes, I understand everyone wants to be kind and non-judgmental to Webbe, whose daughter Skye got in that stolen car with Justin Charles Williams and now lies critically ill in hospital.

Oh, hear the poor mother’s sobs on radio or on TV, while interviewers murmur their pitying there-theres - even as she crucifies the cops.

Oh, you poor dear, Mrs Webbe. So let’s not ask this tattooed lady in her moment of grief why she let her daughter go out with a twice-jailed 23-year-old father of three who’d been stealing cars since he was eight.

Let’s not ask this poor sniffing mum how she raised a daughter who’d admire a man with 37 convictions - a man Webbe in one interview said she knew had tried to outrun the police just last year, and who nearly killed himself in a crash then, too.

Let’s not ask what values she passes on to her children when even now she claims Williams was “not a bad kid”, “OK” and guilty only of a “petty little crime” after getting “a bit mixed up in the criminal world”.

Oh, I see, Mrs Webbe. There are no real criminals, right? Just the nice people you know who by pure chance mix with some faceless baddies, and can’t possibly be blamed when they steal other people’s cars, break into their houses, use false number plates, give two fingers to court orders, drive like death, flee the police and kill two parents and their baby, Brody.

You look at this mayhem and conclude ... what? That it could have happened to anyone?

You see the savage consequences of a savage acting savagely and “totally” blame ... the police?

But savaging the police for chasing Williams to his death is to blame the one symbol of authority that’s done its job - this time, at least.
MPs for rent
Andrew Bolt

Erk. The sleaze factor in British politics just got even worse:
CANBERRA-born British MP Patricia Hewitt looks set to end her career in humiliation after being suspended from the parliamentary Labour Party for offering to sell her political influence to corporate clients for pound stg. 3000 ($4935) a day.

Ms Hewitt, 61, and two other former cabinet ministers were banished yesterday after being caught on camera explaining how they could help to influence government MPs for cash.

Ms Hewitt has taken on lucrative advisory roles to corporate clients since leaving the cabinet in 2007 and in footage broadcast by Channel Four yesterday she appeared to boast of helping one of those clients get a seat on a government inquiry affecting its business prospects.

The two other suspended MPs are former defence secretary Geoff Hoon and former industry secretary Stephen Byers, who are due to retire along with Ms Hewitt at the election expected on May 6…

Mr Byers faces the most serious allegations because a camera hidden in a bowl of pot pourri showed him saying he could get confidential information from 10 Downing Street. He detailed cases in which he claimed he had used his contacts to influence government policy for companies.

Admitting that “I’m a bit like a sort of cab for hire”, Mr Byers said he worked for pound stg. 5000 (pound stg. 8225) a day and had once successfully lobbied the Industry Secretary Peter Mandelson to change food labelling rules on behalf of the Tesco supermarket chain…

Dominic Lawson isn’t surprised that all those caught in this sting are of the Left. Indeed, they may well be greens:

Last week, ...the academic journal Psychological Science issued ... a paper entitled ‘“Do Green Products Make Us Better People?’. Based on a controlled experiment tracking 156 students from the University of Toronto, the authors ... found that “purchasing Green products may produce the counterintuitive effect of licensing asocial and unethical behaviours by establishing moral credentials...”

Perhaps, therefore, it should not have come as such a surprise that two out of the three Labour MPs recently charged under the Theft Act were also the two elected politicians most admired within the Green movement: Elliot Morley and David Chaytor. This newspaper published a heartfelt elegy for Mr Morley after his collar was felt by the cops: “Most of all he became concerned about climate change… This man spent all his long ministerial career defending the environment....”

David Chaytor, meanwhile, is the long-serving Secretary of Globe UK, the British branch of the international network of environmentalist parliamentarians. Naturally both men protest their complete innocence of all the charges of theft, so it is too early to say whether they are a slam-dunk case for the Canadian psychologists’ theory that establishing one’s virtuousness as a Green makes one more likely to transgress in other matters, on the grounds that one has satisfactorily demonstrated one’s essential goodness…

...the Left, ...ever since Rousseau, has regarded the state, rather than the individual, as the source of a people’s moral salvation… As those Canadian psychologists suggest, the consequence might be that those politicians who regularly vote for “virtuous” higher taxes (to fund their various schemes of redistribution from the well-off to the less so) are actually more likely to exploit their hold on the public purse to their own personal benefit.

This does indeed seem to have been borne out by the great Commons expenses scandal. Despite the long-standing view that Tories are the most venal of politicians, it turned out that Labour MPs took the greatest amount of the public’s money… (The) whole episode ought to have destroyed the view that the Left in British politics is axiomatically less sleazy or corrupt than the Right…

(I)t was only Labour MPs who have fallen for the Sunday Times’ latest undercover scheme to lure greedy politicians into offering to sell influence for cash.

France refuses to do what Rudd plans for us
Andrew Bolt
Kevin Rudd looks more isolated than ever in planning to inflict a great green tax to cut our insignificant gasses:
(French) President Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday scrapped the country’s proposed carbon tax and reshuffled his cabinet in populist tilt after suffering a crushing electoral defeat over the weekend…

‘The government said its energy tax was being postponed indefinitely in order not to “damage the competitiveness of French companies”, fearing that it would be too risky for France to go it alone without the rest of the EU. Brussels has announced plans for an EU-wide tax, but the initiative already looks doomed.
Why would Rudd belt our economy with his emissions trading scheme just to set an example when barely a single country plans to follow us? That’s not cutting emissions but exporting jobs.
ALP force Rio hand to drop Stern Hu down the mineshaft
Andrew Bolt
Rio’s private briefings suggest the company is cutting loose Stern Hu:
As the Shanghai authorities dragged away all the computers in Rio’s offices, chief executive Tom Albanese and Rio Tinto Iron Ore boss Sam Walsh ordered an independent external audit of their whole China operation.... The obvious aim of the audit was to identify whether there was any evidence Rio had paid bribes to, or received illegal payments from, any of the steel mills that, collectively, make China its biggest customer nation.

It is understood the auditors found nothing that would uphold a claim that the company had supported any illegal activity or could have, in any normal circumstance, been aware of the alleged misbehaviour.... What the audit team could not do was give Rio similar assurances about the activities of the four executives, including Australian citizen Hu, who had been detained and then charged on August 12 with bribery and buying trade secrets.

Rumours continue to circulate that the internal investigation revealed that Hu, in particular, was the owner of assets that could not be explained by his income. Company insiders insist that was not the case, that the auditors simply did not have the local authority necessary to make such a sweeping review of the financial standing of its employees.
Another reminder that it was indeed wise for the Rudd Government not to stampeded by the inevitable xenophobic reaction to the arrest of an Australian into a confrontation with China over a man who may well have been guilty of taking bribes - and has since admitted he indeed did.
3000 per cent wrong
Andrew Bolt

You won’t have seen this on the news, I’m sure. But if George Bush had perpetrated this mathematical howler, how many times do you think this footage would have been aired by the media?

There are preferred media narratives - and there’s silence.
A very fond farewell to Sharan
Andrew Bolt
Honestly, Paul, do you go home at night and blush for shame at what you’ve said - or just laugh? Take your tribute to Sharan Burrow, the worst ACTU president in decades, and now off (thank heavens) to Brussels to help the toiling workers:
Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes said Ms Burrow had helped save unions after the 2004 federal election when ‘’our extinction as a movement was a very real threat and possibility’’.

Mr Howes said her leadership, along with that of former secretary Greg Combet, helped secure one of the brightest moments in the recent history of unions, the defeat of the Howard government and WorkChoices.
But behind the scenes, what do such blokes say? Well, let’s catch up with this bit of history involving Howes’ predecessor, Bill Shorten:
No, it really is Rudd’s red carpet
Andrew Bolt
Rudd’s excuse for the huge increase in boat people since he weakened our laws (red dot on the graph):
The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has attributed the rising numbers to global increases in flows of asylum seekers, pointing to the fighting in Sri Lanka as one of the ‘’push’’ factors causing more people to flee their homelands.
As Rudd put it:
There has been recently a very large and brutally fought civil war in Sri Lanka. That is leading to a huge set of pressures, push pressures out to the entire region.
But in fact:
The number of people seeking asylum in the West last year remained stable, shattering the myth that there is a flood of people trying to reach rich countries, the United Nations refugee agency said Tuesday. Some 377,200 people claiming to flee conflict or persecution applied for asylum in 2009, only 100 more than the previous year, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said.

“The notion that there is a flood of asylum seekers into richer countries is a myth,” U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said in a statement.
(Thanks to reader Martin.)
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