Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Headlines Tuesday 27th July 2010

=== Todays Toon ===
Another Clunker of an Idea
And yet another CLUNKER of an idea from this idea-bereft ALP Government. The Cash for Clunkers scheme is not only another example of a socialist big government nanny telling you what to drive and using your tax dollars to instigate the regulation but also is an obvious way to appease the extreme left arm of the Labor Party, the Greens. - ZEG
- and if it will cost $200 million to the taxpayer, it will mean the poorest in our society will have stumped up over $2 billion. - ed.
=== Bible Quote ===
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”- Hebrews 11:1
=== Headlines ===
Next Stop for BP's Embattled CEO -- the Russian Front?
Tony Hayward — the face of BP's flailing efforts to contain the oil spill in the gulf — will reportedly leave his post in October for a job with the company's joint venture in Russia.

Dems Lock 'n' Load to Gain Gun-Rights Vote
As November's midterm contests loom, Dems turn to favoring gun rights in hopes of winning key endorsements

Is Illegal Immigration Bad for U.S. Health?
Dr. Manny takes a closer look at how illegal immigrants with no immunizations could pose a devastating and deadly threat to the U.S.

Karzai's Kill Claims Totally 'Unfounded'
U.S. military hits back after Afghan president claims as many as 45 civilians killed in NATO rocket attack in Helmand province

Breaking News
Facebook launches safety webpage
FACEBOOK today launched a webpage devoted to staying safe on the internet.

Noses to help disabled write, surf, move
SEVERLY disabled people may soon be able to use their noses to write, drive a wheelchair or surf the internet.

Mum cleaned bath with son's toothbrush
A WOMAN has been cited for harassment after her son told police she cleaned the bathroom with his toothbrush, then returned it to its holder.

Wages to rise after skills shortage
ANNUAL wages are to rise by $8200 in the next few years as the economy continues to recover and skills shortages start to appear.

Ancient legal code uncovered
DIG unearths fragments of a legal code etched 3700 years ago, at roughly the same time as the Code of Hammurabi.

Bishop to meet with Nauru minister
THE Coalition will meet Nauru's official to discuss reopening the Pacific nation's processing centre for asylum seekers.

Teen 'on the run with sex offender' found
A MISSING teenager who was believed to be on the run with a convicted sex offender was found in Las Vegas.

Wikileaks has 15,000 documents on standby
US Defence is assessing the damage caused by the leak of some 91,000 classified documents on the Afghanistan war.

Dollar higher on Wall Street rise
THE dollar opened higher today as a rise in US homes sales gave a boost to growth assets such as equities and currencies.

Dow hits two-month high
US shares extended gains today as sentiment was boosted by a surge in new home sales and higher earnings of companies

NSW/ACT
Wrongly taken girl denied dying dad visit
CHILD separated from her family for two years after bungle, paving the way for compensation.

Skeletal find may solve mystery
THE discovery of human skeletal remains in a creek may solve a mystery that has haunted a farming community for nine years.

New breast unit for public patients
THANKS to a new public health service - the first in regional NSW - Kylie Alder has her breast back, and with it her self-esteem.

Coroner confusion over ship name
TWO experienced sailors had been dead for up to 12 after a radio operator muddled up similar yacht names, a coroner found.

Jury fails to reach a verdict
AN ex-law student accused of murdering underworld identity Todd O'Connor will go to trial again after a jury failed to reach a verdict.

Shots fired after girls fight
A FIGHT involving a group of girls is believed to have escalated into a drive-by shooting attack on a family in their Glebe home.

Last messages of stampede victim
"MWA off to the Love Parade. Woo hoo," Clancie Riley's SMS read. Hours later, she would be killed in a stampede at a music festival.

Robber left dying - hold-up gone wrong
THE PLAN was to rob three armed guards carrying as they walked from the Dee Why RSL to a waiting Brinks armoured van. But ...

Foam sweet home for bird brains
LOVE-struck sulphur-crested cockatoos peck their way through Chinatown's Market City foam facade.

Queensland
Burglars working overtime
MORE than 25 business have been broken into over three days in a crime spree that's gripping Toowoomba.

Teen in court over school stabbing
A TEENAGE boy is expected to front the Brisbane Childrens' Court today over stabbing death of a 12-year-old boy at a Brisbane private school earlier this year.

Fines over student crowded houses
LANDLORDS who squeezed 35 international students into three houses have been fined in the first conviction of its kind in Brisbane.

Charges but no sign of Porsche
TWO men have appeared in court over the theft of a Brisbane doctor's $250,000 red Porsche - but police are yet to recover the stolen car.

Carjacking 'inspired by movie'
A MAN who allegedly posed as a buyer before pulling a toy gun on a car salesman and driving away tells police he got the idea from a movie.

Moreton Bay is a key to saving coral
SCIENTIST want to use Moreton Bay as a lifeboat for the Great Barrier Reef's equatorial species that are suffering from climate change and human impacts.

One in ten police chases end badly
MORE than one in 10 police pursuits in Queensland end in injury, with 268 people killed or injured in chases since 2005, including 52 members of the public.

'Buyer' takes car at gunpoint
A TEST-drive turned into a terrifying car-jacking for a car salesman on the Gold Coast today. Police have since arrested a 21-year-old man.

Bank manager faces court, family
BUSTED banker Colin Carleton's own children barely recognised the man in the dock whose secret double life led him to gamble $3 million of his customers' money.

Brisbane tops restaurateurs' menu
BRISBANE has become the hot spot for national and international restaurateurs opening their next locations.

Victoria
Masked bandits in pokie terror
FOUR masked men with machetes and a gun have ordered patrons to lie on the floor of a gaming venue during an early morning hold up.

Power cut triggers train chaos
UPDATE 9.15am: METRO is sorry after today's train chaos, Premier Brumby says they've had an ordinary start, commuters are still angry.

MCG spy camera blitz
FOOTAGE of unruly spectators will be beamed straight to security staff in a hi-tech assault on MCG cricket fans.

A little reminder
BORN at just 27 weeks gestation, Kimberlee Johnston had to fight for her life - literally.

Help my girl be her best
DENIED a chance to attend kindergarten, Sienna Horton is being left to fade away in a move that could cripple her for life.

Kylie's right for Scissor Sisters
SCISSOR Sisters Jake Shears and Babydaddy have caught up with their favourite Melburnian Kylie Minogue.

Grieving parents stay home
THE parents of dead Indian toddler Gurshan Singh Channa don't know if they'll return to Australia as planned because they are depressed.

Jobs fear at power plant
HUNDREDS of jobs are at risk as the State Government moves to shut Hazelwood power station.

Williams asked to be moved
SLAIN gangland figure Carl Williams had asked to be transferred from the prison section where he was ultimately killed.

Northern Territory
Darwin sweats through hottest July night
DARWIN residents can expect more warm evenings after sweating through their hottest ever July night. R

Neighbourhood bin brawl ends in stabbing
A MAN stabbed his neighbour twice with a steak knife after being asked to put his bins out.

South Australia
Pair charged with mum's murder
TWO men will face court today charged with the shooting murder of Sturt mother and disabled carer Karen Hodgson in front of her son.

Council gives no heart to inspectors
A PLAN to give city parking inspectors more powers to tear up fines has been rejected.

Help bottle the clipper City of Adelaide
FORMER Curiosity Show host and science communicator Dr Rob Morrison is blowing wind into the sails of the campaign to rescue the clipper ship City of Adelaide.

The Manse wins rare double at top awards
ONE of Adelaide's youngest head chefs beat more seasoned opposition to clean up two of the most prestigious prizes in the state's hospitality awards.

Wife smothered over 'cuddles'
FAMED race caller Ron Papps was no longer sharing a bed with his wife - and he was very unhappy with the lack of affection.

Bureaucrats bend school truths
THE Education Department has misled the public over the number of school students suspended over anti-social behaviour by withholding crucial figures.

Proof that we live in a political black hole
SOUTH Australia was finally graced with a ministerial visit yesterday - the first of the election campaign which has been firmly focused on the eastern states.

No case to answer for SAJC officials
CRIMINAL charges will not be laid against former South Australian Jockey Club chief executive Steve Ploubidis and other former members of the club's board.

Killer footballer jailed for 22 years
TWO years ago today, Melissa Allen died in what initially looked like a suicide to her devastated friends and family.

Trial for Miss World prize lawsuit
FORMER Miss World Australia winner Olivia Stratton will go to trial in her battle against pageant organisers who she says never handed over her prize money

Western Australia
Call for Aboriginal justice probe
FEDERAL Fremantle MP Melissa Parke has called for a Royal Commission into conditions faced by Aboriginal people in the WA justice system.

Tourists find dead dolphins
OFFICIALS are investigating the deaths of two dolphins at the internationally acclaimed Monkey Mia - made famous by the mammals.

College head on fraud charges
A MAN accused of falsifying student roll numbers at a Muslim college to get $1 million in extra government grants has appeared in a Perth court.

Couple celebrate $666,666 Lotto win
A BUNBURY couple in their 30s spent yesterday drinking French champagne before claiming a $666,666 share of the weekend's Lotto prize pool.

Man's body found in South Hedland
A BODY found in South Hedland is believed to be a 48-year-old man who disappeared eight days ago.

Perth's Tassie devils named
PERTH'S four new Tasmanian devils have been officially named by PerthNow readers.

Dad charged with punching umpire
POLICE have charged a 41-year-old father with assault after a football umpire was allegedly punched at a junior match in Clarkson.

Perth hospital workers stop work
PERTH'S major hospitals will be disrupted today as health support workers walk off the job over pay disputes.

Girl, 14, victim of sex attack
A 27-YEAR-OLD man accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl is due to appear in court today.

WA has number one economy
WA has taken the title from the ACT as the nation's best performing economy, underpinned by a strong job market and rising demand for resources.

Tasmania
PM tells Tassie she has the prescription
JULIA Gillard has made a whistlestop visit to Tasmania, putting nearly $100 million into health.
=== Journalists Corner ===
Exclusive: Ford CEO Alan Mulally Joins Neil
Harry Reid said, "We bailed out the auto industry. Well, isn't that a good thing we did ... If it were up to them, Ford Motor Company would probably be gone." REALLY? How does Ford CEO Alan Mulally feel about that?
===
A House Divided!
Why Democrats are at odds over extending the Bush tax cuts and the impact their final decision will have on America's economy. Dick Morris explains on Hannity.
===
Gov. Rick Perry Goes 'On the Record'
Texas-sized trouble! Overrun with drugs and violence from illegal immigrants, the state asks ... where's our help?
===
On Fox News Insider
War Documents Exposed!
The Leaked War Logs ... How Classified Are They?
The Right to Bear Arms or a Handout of Votes?

=== Comments ===
A Media War Breaks Out in America
BY BILL O'REILLY

Off the Shirley Sherrod controversy this week, there is now an open media war in play, and that situation extends from the White House to your living room
On one side is the liberal establishment media led by NBC News and The New York Times. These pro-Obama vehicles actively promote progressive policies in their hard news coverage.
On the other side is the new media that leans more traditional than the urban lefties who have dominated the press for decades. The new media, which includes Fox News and a bunch of Internet concerns, is skeptical about President Obama and liberalism in general.
The establishment media used the Shirley Sherrod story to attack Fox News, which after almost 13 years on the air has emerged as the dominant media force in America. We set the daily discussion and I don't think there's any doubt about that, certainly not in Ms. Sherrod's mind. She told CNN that she was fired because the White House feared FNC would run with her story.
And so the liberal media sensed an opening to weaken Fox News by using Ms. Sherrod's situation as a hand grenade. But the attack failed.
MSNBC and CNN on Wednesday received terrible ratings, while Fox News dominated as usual.
Also, Washington Post TV critic Howard Kurtz reported that from the beginning, Fox News executive Michael Clemente ordered his troops to be cautious in reporting the Sherrod story.
That fact made liars out of the far-left media people who told Americans Fox News had ginned up the story in order to hurt blacks. Once Mr. Kurtz's report became known, the tide turned and a number of liberal media people became more circumspect.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have in Fox News, they haven't retracted the story. Shepard Smith has said a few words. But this was a ginned up, fabricated story. And this country can't afford this kind of…
MATT LAUER, CO-HOST, "TODAY" SHOW: I was going to say Bill O'Reilly also apologized. And let's just make the point. They didn't run the tape until after the resignation. So it's not as if they forced the resignation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Over at CNN they also tried to diminish FNC, but even the very liberal Eric Deggans, the TV writer for the St. Petersburg Times, called them on it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC DEGGANS, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES: I also want to say that I understand, you know, this is CNN and you are competing with Fox News. And I just want to note that you guys have your reasons for wanting to talk about whether Fox News is a part of this, too. And I understand that. I'm not just singling out Fox News. You know, your competitor MSNBC has its own political tilt that people are concerned about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
The sad truth is that journalism in America is on the verge of collapse. "The Factor" has documented dozens of important stories ignored by the liberal establishment press and hundreds that have been slanted, and those people accuse us of doing the same thing.
For you, the honest American, this is bad news. The folks need accurate information because we are living in dangerous times. We must elect people who can solve complicated problems and truly look out for us.
The press was given constitutional privileges by the founders to serve the folks. But right now, many in the media are abusing those privileges.
===
TOO SOFT FOR THE SUDANESE
Tim Blair
The government was warned that its softened asylum-seeker policies would lure boaties, who are still seeking passage here despite an announced processing freeze:
Twenty one Afghan refugees who ran away from their shelters in Bogor, West Java were re-arrested on Sunday by police in Situbondo, East Java.

Reza, 38, admitted that he and 20 other refugees could not wait in uncertainty in Bogor as they sought asylum from Australia.

“We are confused. What’s else should we do to go to Australia,” he said as quoted by kompas.com.
Answer: you shouldn’t, at least not by sea routes used by people smugglers. Interestingly, Sudanese immigrants now settled in Western Australia support tougher laws:
“Obviously it (immigration) is an issue,” says Charles Salah, 30, a Sudanese refugee who has been in WA for five years and believes Mr Abbott will stop the boats.

“I’m voting for the coalition because in Australia we have queues and people jump the queues. They pay other people to get here while there’s plenty of other people suffering.”

Kuek Mangar, 23, from Sudan, who came here six years ago via Kenya, said “some of the asylum seekers are terrible people” and he felt he would like to see a return to John Howard’s solution.
(Via Garth Godsman and Goldie)
===
ASSEMBLY DEFINED
Tim Blair
Reader cuckoo devises the perfect name for Julia Gillard’s Citizens’ Assembly on climate change:
Boganhagen
Superb. Meanwhile, even the Age‘s Tim Colebatch – usually a sucker for anything green and hopeless – is now critical of Labor’s goofy eco schemes:
The latest in our dumbing down of policy is Julia Gillard’s plan to take $394 million out of programs to develop solar energy or carbon capture and storage so she can give $2000 each to people trading in pre-1995 cars for more fuel-efficient new ones. This, she says, will cut emissions by 1 million tonnes and save buyers $344 million in fuel costs.

Two points of basic arithmetic. First, $394 million spent to save $344 million? That’s $50 million wasted. Second, as prominent economist Warwick McKibbin points out, the scheme will cost us $394 per tonne of emissions saved. We’ve been talking about carbon prices of $20 or $30 a tonne. A solar power plant or carbon capture and storage scheme would cost a fraction of this price.
Which is more dopey: this scheme or the citizens’ assembly Gillard proposes to debate what to do about climate change? Mmm, hard call.
When you’ve lost Colebatch, you’ve lost … well, about 14 people in Northcote. But still.

UPDATE. Blogstrop observes: “Any commentator who fails to criticise this incredible blooper of an idea is either certifiably bonkers or so in-the-tank as to be permanently dismissed as a fount of sensible comment.” Seems about right, although an Adelaide writer may disagree.

UPDATE II. “He’s a very disappointed human being.” No sign of his party on Kevin Rudd’s campaign posters.
===
FIVE DECADES OF UGMOS
Tim Blair
The 50 ugliest cars of the last 50 years. You will disagree with at least five selections in this list, although the Prius is a good call. Where’s the Alfa Romeo SZ, a car so ugly that it was almost a virtue?
===
LET THE ADS ROLL
Tim Blair
The first time miners opposed a new super profits tax on mining, they were told:
“If you want to change the tax, you have to change the government.”
They changed the Prime Minister instead. Miners now oppose new taxes for a second time, and the government is far more receptive – not that miners much care:
A last-minute dash to Perth by Resources Minister Martin Ferguson has failed to block a renewed anti-government advertising campaign by mining companies.

Talks with Treasurer Wayne Swan also could not prevent the scrapping of the truce between miners and the Government in the battle over the proposed profits tax.
As Association of Mining and Exploration Companies CEO Simon Bennison says: “The time has come to re-launch our campaign.”

UPDATE. “There’s a third major player in the 2010 election campaign and despite their Labor preference deal it isn’t the Greens.”
===
Memo Age: a slander is still just a slander if it’s on Twitter
Andrew Bolt
Does this Age report mean that any slander in the Twittersphere can be used by mainstream journalists to float damaging rumors and force politicians into issuing public denials - denials make many voters think, “Ah hah! Where’s there’s smoke...”:
Ms Gillard, the first woman to seek a mandate as Prime Minister, is not only childless, but unmarried.

And yesterday, she confronted the fact that she would be alone on the trail. She said Mr Mathieson was neither a Labor Party official nor candidate and would not be joining her on the campaign.

Julia Gillard leaves her Altona home for Canberra on Saturday. Photo: Luis Enrique Ascui
Most observers have tried hard to avoid mentioning the matter. But yesterday, a Twitter correspondent claimed on the site that following Sunday night’s debate, Mr Abbott had loudly noted Mr Mathieson’s absence while dining in a Canberra restaurant. Asked whether this was so, Mr Abbott told journalists: “You shouldn’t believe poisonous gossip, OK?”
We’ve seen this new technique of the deniable slime before, of course, and again in The Age and again deployed against a conservative:
“SO SAMBO beat the bitch.” The internet has been aflame over the weekend after liberal internet columnist Charley James reported on LA Progressive that the Republican vice-presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, had uttered these words while dining at a restaurant just after the primaries season.
If The Age is relying on Twitter for its sources, why doesn’t it put to Gillard the foul accusations against her that are likewise floating in that open drain?

(Thanks to reader Victoria 3220.)
===
New media, but same ABC bias
Andrew Bolt
So, have the ABC’s new taxpayer-funded websites - The Drum and Unleashed - turned out to be more balanced than the usual ABC fare?

Silly question. Gavin Atkins checks all the stories of the first week of the campaign and concludes:
For the week starting Saturday 19 July and ending Friday 24 July at the ABC’s online website, The Drum and Unleashed, Prime Minister Gillard had 14 negative mentions and 7 positive mentions. Nearly half of all critical mentions of Gillard came from the Left, so did not reflect conservative opinion.

Over the same period, Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott had 24 negative mentions and one positive mention. None of his criticism came from the Right. Included in his criticism was a suggestion by Bob Ellis that he caused the premature death of Bernie Banton.

The only positive comment for Tony Abbott during the first week of the election in The Drum or Unleashed came from the Chaser’s Dominic Knight: “The irony is that Tony Abbott is one of the most natural, comfortable politicians we’ve got under most circumstances...” which then went on to criticise him for his appearance on Hey Hey It’s Saturday.

Thus in the first week of the election campaign, the ABC online opinion websites are running two negative comments for every positive comment about Julia Gillard, and 24 to one against Tony Abbott.
How can the ABC possibly justify funding this Leftist group-think? When will the management act on the sage advice of its chairman, Maurice Newman, that as a taxpayer-funded organisation it has a special responsibility to be balanced?
(We are) required by our charter to walk both sides of the street and be balanced and all those good things. That is really the contract we have and it’s important that we fulfil that obligation.
UPDATE

Here’s one of Unleashed’s latest offerings - a threat by “lawyer and author” Kellie Tranter to have evil global warming sceptics sued into silence:
Opportunistic exploitation of a pseudo-scientific position is all very well - “never let a chance go by” is the credo that set us on this course - but as our environmental predicament becomes more dire you shouldn’t be surprised if financially-backed green groups consider legal action to put a stop to it.

There is a view, widely and quite properly held, that care must be exercised before courts are asked to make orders restraining statements made in the course of public discussion. But that sympathy for honest and open debate won’t come to the aid of those whose printed works and publicly espoused “expert” views are deliberately misleading, whose actions are commercially motivated and who deliberately aim to enshroud the masses in falsehoods and exaggerated claims of uncertainty to avoid tackling the issue of climate change.
This kind of legal action, in an era when so many activist judges of the Left are now picked by Labor governments, doesn’t even have to be successful to kill an open debate. Well-financed green groups just need to drag enough people into the courts, at great expense and worry to the defendents, to make people think twice before questioning the group think.

This is a plan only a totalitarian could love.

(Thanks to reader George.)
===
All that green can’t hide the red
Andrew Bolt
Gerard Henderson notes the infiltration of the Greens by the “watermelons” - green outside, red in. Take, for instance, the Greens’ lead Senate candidate in NSW, Lee Rhiannon:
Sure Rhiannon’s resume contains scant material about her radical past. However, the details are set out in Mark Aarons’s The Family File, the author’s account of his family’s long-time membership of the Communist Party of Australia.

Rhiannon is not responsible for the fact she is the daughter of long-time CPA operatives Bill and Freda Brown (no relation to Bob Brown). But she is responsible for continuing the family’s tradition as a young adult. In his book, Mark Aarons, the son of Laurie and Carol Aarons, says the Aarons and Brown families tolerated the excesses of communist totalitarianism up until the brutal invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union in 1968. Then the communist movement split. The Aarons family stood up to Moscow but the Brown family adopted the position of continuing Stalinists and formed the Socialist Party of Australia.

Mark Aarons fell out with Rhiannon in the 1970s when, he claims, she refused to condemn the invasion of Czechoslovakia or the shooting of workers by the Polish communist dictatorship. He writes: “I could not conceive of someone of my age and experience supporting Moscow’s policies.”

Already there is evident tension between the Greens leadership in Canberra and Rhiannon. This is likely to increase if she wins a Senate vacancy.
===
Rudd stands for the Kevin Party
Andrew Bolt
Which party is Kevin Rudd standing for? The campaign posters he’s had printed for his seat of Griffith seem strangely uninformative.

Let’s line up Rudd’s posters with those of other candidates:
===
Not looking that confident
Andrew Bolt
Julia Gillard over the past couple of days has showed signs of stress and less of rest. I noticed this first with the leaders’ debate, and it was just as obvious yesterday.
===
The greens get hammered on Q&A, but for the wrong reasons
Andrew Bolt
Everyone claims to be greener than thou, yet it’s Climate Change Minister Penny Wong and Greens Senator Christine Milne who got the hammering on Q&A last night. Even Wong seems reluctant to defend Julia Gillard’s dumb focus-group idea - to put our future in the hands of 150 people dragged off the street. Graham Richardson attacks Milne and the Greens for being absolutists.

This should warn us that there is a calculation to be made between the real costs and benefits of any warming and the real costs and benefits of anything we do to limit it. I suspect that calculation leads us to where we accidentally now are - that it’s not worth the pain to do most of the useless things promised. Instead, people are still pandering to a religious fervor - and one day, left unchecked, we may be stampeded into even greater stupidities.
===
Abbott has a women problem, whether they actually like him or not
Andrew Bolt
If Tony Abbott doesn’t have women around him, his critics are free to claim he’s got a “women problem”.

But when his normally too-shy wife stands next to him, Abbott’s critics change tack. Now he’s got a problem with single women. Here’s Mark Riley on Seven News:

MARGIE Abbott is an asset to Tony on the campaign trail but I think there is a none-too-subtle imagery going on here. Tony Abbott, the father of three daughters out there with his wife while Gillard, unmarried, no children, goes alone to Tasmania. The message to the electorate? Don’t forget she’s not just about spin, she’s also a spinster.
===
Brumby’s latest green promise: unaffordable, undeliverable and insincere
Andrew Bolt
Victorian Premier John Brumby promises to shut down six per cent of his state’s electricity supply, ramp up the prices of what remains and make the whole ruinous deal conditional on huge subisidies from a federal government unwilling to give them.

This policy - as crazy as it is cynical - is lauded by the the green Age of a standard setter:

PREMIER John Brumby has exposed Julia Gillard over climate change by unveiling an ambitious plan that would require hundreds of millions of dollars in federal support and - eventually - a national carbon price.

As predicted by The Age this month, the state government climate change white paper, released yesterday, includes a plan to close a quarter of Australia’s ‘’dirtiest’’ power station, the Hazelwood brown-coal plant in the Latrobe Valley, by 2014.

The Hazelwood plan is integral to a proposed legislated target of cutting Victoria’s greenhouse gas emissions to at least 20 per cent below 2000 levels this decade.

But the target is likely to depend on federal action - initially money to compensate Hazelwood’s owner, International Power, and eventually an emissions trading scheme…

Federal Labor figures also believe partially closing Hazelwood would be extraordinarily expensive, with no guarantee it would be replaced by renewable sources of energy.

===
Government warned on refugees: you’re too soft a touch
Andrew Bolt
This, is true, proves two things - that the Government is indeed luring boat people, and that it lied about its role:
IMMIGRATION authorities were warned the government’s high success rate for refugee claims was acting as a “major pull factor” that encouraged boatpeople to make the voyage to Australia...

It is understood the government was told, before it announced its freeze on new asylum claims, that Australia’s success rate for claims was “out of whack” with the rest of the world and was encouraging people-smugglers.

In the early part of this year, the “recognition rate”, or success rate, for Afghan asylum-seekers was above 90 per cent. Senior government sources have told The Australian that the warning was contained in a document sent to the Rudd government prior to April 9, when it froze new Afghan and Sri Lankan asylum claims.

“It said our recognition rates were completely out of whack and this was a major pull factor,” a senior government source familiar with the advice told The Australian…

Since the boats began arriving in late 2008, the government has consistently blamed instability abroad as the main cause of the surge.

In October, Kevin Rudd blamed “huge push factors” in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka for the rush of boats… But the warning is the clearest evidence yet that domestic policies have been a major factor in pulling boats to Australia’s shores…

Up until six months ago the success rate for Afghan asylum-seekers, who have made up more than half the total number of unauthorised boat arrivals since late 2008, was 95 per cent. It has since fallen to 30 per cent…

The Department of Foreign Affairs declined to comment on the document, saying it did not discuss advice sent to ministers. And last night a spokesman for the Immigration Department said it would not discuss “advice or interdepartmental information-sharing”.
So why our much higher rate of acceptance? Check the poiliticisation of the Refugee Review Tribunal, for instance, which deals with appeals from on-shore asylum seekers:

The Rudd Government has purged the refugee bureaucrats most likely to knock back applications from asylum seekers. And it’s replaced many with activists more likely to let them in…

Last week the Refugee Review Tribunal announced which of its 43 members applying for reappointment would be kept, and which sacked.

An unusually high number - 18 - were shown the door, including a former Labor MP, Noel Pullen.

Furious RRT insiders have checked the case records of these 43 to see how they handled appeals by asylum seekers wanting a review of Immigration Department decisions to turn them down and send them home.

The 25 RRT members who were reappointed last week have, over the past three years, rejected appeals by asylum seekers in 62 per cent of cases.

In contrast, the 18 RRT members who were sacked rejected 78 per cent of appeals. What’s more, the toughest four RRT members were all sacked.

Here are some of the people who will replace them.

There’s Charlie Powles, a Refugee and Immigration Law Centre solicitor, and Anthony Krohn, a Melbourne barrister who has worked for many asylum seekers and the Refugee Advice and Casework Service.

Add to them the director of the Brisbane Catholic Archdiocese’s Centre for Multicultural Pastoral Care; a solicitor for the refugee advocacy group Southern Communities Advocacy Legal Education Service; and a solicitor for Sydney’s Immigration Advice and Rights Centre. Notice a pattern?

===
Stone on the Holocaust: sinister Jews make it seem so bad
Andrew Bolt

Oliver Stone has already made a hero of the dictator Fidel Casto and a true democrat of the authoritarian buffoon Hugo Chavez.

So, what new depths can he sink to in his fetid universe of moral inversion? Well. why not promote a Jewish conspiracy theory and pooh pooh the Holocaust?
The 10-part documentary [which Stone is planning] will address Stalin and Hitler “in context”, he says. “Hitler was a Frankenstein but there was also a Dr Frankenstein. German industrialists, the Americans and the British. He had a lot of support.”

He also seeks to put his atrocities in proportion: “Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people, 25 or 30m.”

Why such a focus on the Holocaust then? “The Jewish domination of the media,” he says. “There’s a major lobby in the United States. They are hard workers. They stay on top of every comment, the most powerful lobby in Washington. Israel has f***** up United States foreign policy for years.”
(The link goes to a Sunday Times paywall.)

Norm Geras:
No one who has taken any close interest in the history of the Second World War could be unfamiliar with the extent of Russian suffering and death under German occupation. So ‘more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people’ is a purely apologetic trope, since at that level of human catastrophe the insistence on maintaining a sense of proportion about five to six million Jewish dead is a plain attempt to diminish. And what follows that is then standard anti-Semitism: the Jews control the media and they work hard at it; and this is what accounts for the focus on the Holocaust (rather than any features of the genocide itself).

As I said, and without regard to Stone’s personal qualities: contemptible and brutish.
(Thanks to reader Bernie.)
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Abbott grows more into his role by the day
Andrew Bolt
An assured performance tonight from Tony Abbott on the 7.30 Report, where’s he’s come to such grief before in expressing too much self-doubt.

UPDATE

The Australian applauds.
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