Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Headlines Wednesday 4th August 2010

=== Todays Toon ===
Lieutenant General Sir Eric Winslow Woodward KCMG, KCVO, CB, CBE, DSO (21 July 1899 – 29 December 1967) was an Australian military officer and Viceroy. Following long service in the Australian Army, including terms as Deputy Chief of the General Staff and General Officer Commanding Eastern Command, he was appointed as the Governor of New South Wales from 1957 to 1965, thus becoming the first New South Wales-born Governor of the state
=== Bible Quote ===
“But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”- 1 Samuel 16:7
=== Headlines ===
9 Dead, 2 Wounded in Warehouse Shooting in Connecticut
A warehouse worker at a Connecticut beer distributor opened fire when called in for a 'disciplinary hearing' Tuesday morning, killing 8 before turning his gun on himself.

White House, Pakistan Disagree on War
White House officials say Obama doesn't see eye-to-eye with Pakistani president's conclusion that the U.S. war in Afghanistan is a lost cause because of the failure to win over the Afghan people

Ground Zero Mosque One Step Closer
Unanimous vote by New York City panel would allow demolition in downtown Manhattan and pave the way for a 13-story, $100 million mosque near the World Trade Center site

Will 'Hispanic' Kids Sink Nev. Candidate?
A few muted words allegedly spoken by Brian Sandoval, the GOP nominee for governor of Nevada — who was talking about his own children — have left the candidate open for a hammering on immigration

Breaking News
Scientists disprove all-over tan myth
A CONSISTENT all-over tan is almost impossible to achieve, no matter how often you hit the beach or tanning salon, because different parts of the body react differently to sunlight, researchers said today.

Woman stabbed to death at bible study
A TEEN who was arrested for allegedly stabbing a woman to death in Dallas had invited the victim to his home to pray.

Gun used in hotel robbery
HOTEL staff and patrons were threatened with a gun during an armed robbery in Sydney last night, police say.

Girl, 13, missing for three weeks
POLICE are searching for a 13-year-old girl who has been missing from NSW's north for three weeks.

New tests on busted BP oil well
BP has started new tests on the integrity of its capped oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, hoping to clear the way for the latest effort to stop the oil spill permanently.

Nine dead in 'race abuse' work shooting
A BLACK warehouse driver in the US who had complained of racial harassment at work went on a shooting rampage at a beer distributorship after he was asked to quit, killing eight people before apparently committing suicide, authorities say.

Mystery as Japan loses centenarians
JAPANESE authorities have admitted losing track of a 113-year-old woman listed as Tokyo's oldest, days after police searched the home of the city's official oldest man - only to find his long-dead, mummified body.

Russia struggling to quell wildfires
FIREFIGHTERS are struggling to contain the worst wildfires to hit Russia for decades, as a relentless heatwave and campfires left burning by the public sparked hundreds of new blazes.

Photo ban for supermodel's UN evidence
A UN court has granted supermodel Naomi Campbell's wish that she not be photographed arriving on Friday to testify about a diamond she allegedly got from war crimes accused Charles Taylor.

Two car bombs kill 33, wound 80 in Iraq
TWIN car bombs in south Iraq have killed 33 people while al-Qaeda fighters shot dead five policemen in Baghdad and planted their flag a day after the US pledged no delays to a major troop pullout.

Thanks for nothing, Premier
IT was the Cabinet session meant to help reverse the desperate Keneally Government's poll hopes. But she's staying quiet.

It's not the end of time, just repairs
THE prominent timepiece and 90m-tall Central Station clock tower is undergoing an intricate overhaul by dedicated heritage experts.

Urban koala's return visit
FOR some people you can't beat a home in the bush. But Susan the koala prefers life in the 'burbs, coming back for a third time.

Boyfriend sought in Gap case
AN ARREST warrant was issued for the former boyfriend of Sydney woman Katrina Ploy, whose body was found in Sydney Harbour.

Still a month of winter left to go
WE'VE been lashed with winds and drenched in rains, and there is still another month of winter.

Drink driver over (city) limit
IT used to be a blood-alcohol reading that determined whether a person was convicted of drink driving - now, it's a postcode.

Missing girl knew life's cruelty
A TRAGIC picture of little Kiesha Abrahams' life was emerging as the search for her widens.

Hazel Hawke's grandest love
HAZEL Hawke's deteriorated condition has prompted her loving granddaughter Sophie to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease.

'Drink responsibly' man 'drove drunk'
A MAN wearing a "drink responsibly, pace yourself'' T-shirt charged with drink driving after allegedly crashing into a security guard twice.

Rush parents await appeal date
THE parents of Bali Nine drug mule Scott Rush are on tenterhooks, awaiting confirmation the hearing of their son's appeal against his death sentence will begin on August 18.

Straddie miner offers to cut back
CONTROVERSIAL sand miner Unimin has offered to cut its North Stradbroke Island mining leases from 44 per cent to 15 per cent to keep operating.

No lead tests on most Mt Isa kids
MOUNT Isa parents have been urged to bring their children forward for lead testing, after it was revealed only a quarter had been checked for the poison.

Missing Rockhampton man found safe
THE 30-year-old Rockhampton man, Ross Hunt, who has been missing since last night has been found.

Alleged serial robber in custody
AN alleged serial armed robber is in custody after an investigation over several months ended with detectives raiding his Underwood address earlier today.

Policeman shot in the face
A POLICEMAN accidentally shot himself in the face at Albany Creek police station on Brisbane's northside today.

Animals killed in house fire
A CAT and dog and some chickens are dead after a house fire near Childers, north of Maryborough. No occupants were home at the time of the fire.

Dear parents: stop swearing
FOUL-mouthed parents who let fly with four-letter words in front of children have been told to wash their mouths out by a fed-up school principal.

Henson hysteria claim
A TEACHERS' group has defended the right of artist Bill Henson to discuss and display his work in schools.

Footy dad denies making threat
A FOOTY dad has told a jury he had not threatened to throw an eight-year-old boy into a river before the boy's father struck him.

Shaping up to cancer
MORE than 3000 Victorians needlessly die of cancer each year unaware that an unhealthy lifestyle is a major cause of the disease.

Husband sees wife fall from cliff
THE family of a Melbourne women critically injured after a cliff fall have flown to Europe to be with her.

Eat Greens and spit them out
IT'S getting personal out in Gippsland.

Town slams Brumby visit
BUSHFIRE survivors lashed the Premier for being focused on spin after visiting a town without telling residents he was coming.

Our cup runneth over with glamour
SUPERMODEL mum Jerry Hall and her teenage daughter Georgia will inject some international glamour into Melbourne Cup Week.

A mass killer turned vexatious litigant
JULIAN Knight, armed with two rifles and a shotgun, opened fire in Hoddle St, Clifton Hill, about 9.30pm on August 9, 1987.

'All I can remember is the smell of her perfume'
ADAM Skinner can't picture his mother's face, nor can he remember her voice.

Mum's killer should never be set free
ADAM Skinner was 18 months old when his mother was shot in the head and killed in the Hoddle St massacre.

Northern Territory
Aussie cop dies in mountaineering fall
A NORTHERN Territory police officer has fallen to his death while mountaineering high up in the Bolivian Andes.

South Australia
Scratchies in new scam warning
PUNTERS who believe they have scratched their way to a a lottery prize could be duped by overseas scammers.

Senior officer's dark side exposed
WHEN Darren Clohesy played a hands-on role - literally - in the arrest of murderer Bradley Murdoch in November 2003, the police officer's star began to rise.

Heat on double dippers
ELECTRICITY companies have been caught out trying to double dip into a household energy efficiency scheme and using unlicensed workers in home insulation works.

Why was this beautiful life cut short?
THE devastated football teammates of Michael Benson will honour the teenager, whose young life was cut short when he stepped into the path of a car.

Bold recycling plan unveiled
A NEW waste-management plan proposes the amount of rubbish being recycled in South Australia be increased to 75 per cent of household waste within five years.

Does alcohol belong in our cinemas?
WOULD you drop your children in the front bar of your local pub to watch the football?

Griggs leads bid to revive kids' sports
ONE million Aussie kids don't play sport. The damning statistic for a nation which prides itself on sporting prowess has forced the Federal Government to act.

Gunshots spark suburban terror
THE first shots made a "tapping" sound - but the second time residents of an Andrews Farm street woke to the sounds of gunfire, it was a series of booms.

MP returns to inspect Penola damage
DEPUTY Opposition Leader Mitch Williams, criticised for not returning to Penola after it was hit by a tornado, has cut short a visit to Darwin.

Youth speak out on social issues
FATHERS should be informed of planned abortions, South Australian youth have told the State Government.

Western Australia
Judge to rule on 'burqa ban'
PERTH judge to decide whether a Muslim woman can wear a full burqa while giving evidence before jury in fraud case.

Fisherman slapped with $83,000 fine
FORMER commercial fisherman caught in possession of more than 1348kg of pink snapper slapped with $83,000 fine.

Couple injured in road rage attack
A COUPLE in their 60s have been injured when their vehicle was forced off Roe Highway in a latenight road rage attack.

Perth gripped by Spring sunshine
PERTH is in the grip of a serious early outbreak of Spring weather, with the temperature rocketing to 24C for the second day running.

Woman's throat slashed - man held
POLICE are questioning a 29-year-old man after a woman was slashed across the throat at a Rockingham shopping centre this morning.

Cops want hi-tech concept car
THE WA Police Union has called for a trial of a hi-tech emergency services concept car, amid concerns about the safety of WA police vehicles.

Mine a 'threat to Margaret River'
THE WA Conservation Council says a coal mine proposed for Margaret River is at odds with everything that makes the region special.

Curtin to expand as boats surge
PLANS are under way to expand West Australia's Curtin detention centre to hold 900 people.

Mother, son charged over stabbing
POLICE have charged a mother and son over a confrontation in North Beach last night during which a teenager was stabbed in the chest.

Knifemen hold up EasyPlus stores
POLICE are investigating two armed robberies at metropolitan EasyPlus stores overnight.

Nothing New
=== Journalists Corner ===

Nikki Haley Speaks Out!
From key issues and tough decisions facing America, to her role as a leading woman in the GOP, it's a must-see interview with S.C. gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley!
'Born in the USA!'
Should babies of illegal aliens automatically be U.S. citizens? 'The Factor' asks the question!
Sen. Chuck Grassley Goes 'On the Record'
The explosive "amnesty memo" - Could backroom politics lead to backdoor deals for illegals?
On Fox News Insider
Pole Dancing for Kids?
Major Garrett on Fox's New Seat
Is This Gentrification or Civil Rights Violation?

=== Comments ===
Why Liberals Oppose Helping the People of Afghanistan
Last week, the House voted 308 to 114 to continue funding the war in Afghanistan. One hundred and two Democratic congresspeople said no, including uber-liberals like Barney Frank, Maxine Waters and Dennis Kucinich. Twelve Republicans joined them

This despite the fact that TIME magazine featured an 18-year-old Afghan woman on its cover, her ears and nose cut off by her husband who objected to her conduct. A Taliban leader imposed the sentenced.
Now, liberal philosophy is built around fighting oppression, so you would think that liberal politicians would want to defeat the Taliban at almost all costs, but that is not the case.
Before they were removed by American special forces, the Taliban in Afghanistan brutalized the population, especially women. These people are Nazis. They routinely commit atrocities. They are lunatics. They are dangerous to the world.
Yet 114 American congresspeople want to walk away from the conflict.
Right now in Iran, a woman has been ordered stoned to death for committing adultery. A recent movie called "The Stoning of Soraya M." depicted that brutal execution-technique that is also practiced by the Taliban.
So there is no question that if the U.S. withdraws from Afghanistan, millions of people will be harmed should the Taliban regain power.
"Talking Points" believes the reason some liberal Americans oppose continuing the war in Afghanistan is that they see the USA as an oppressor, as a force that creates more problems than it solves. That mindset has been in play ever since Vietnam and was recently illuminated by Jane Fonda in a conversation with Fox News producer Porter Berry:
PORTER BERRY, FOX NEWS PRODUCER: What do you think about what happened to the three million Vietnamese and Cambodians who died after the U.S. troops left Vietnam?
JANE FONDA, ACTRESS: It's too bad that we caused it to happen by going in there in the first place.
Ms. Fonda's opinion that America's foreign policy drives barbaric behavior is a very dangerous mindset.
Unfortunately, the war in Afghanistan may turn out the way Vietnam did. We are backing a corrupt government and the people are scared to help us, knowing that the Taliban could execute them if they do.
But President Obama is correct in giving the U.S. military a chance to defeat this terrible enemy.
Once again, America is trying to protect the innocent while the left objects.
Tim Blair
NSW, Queensland and WA boost Abbott, while Gillard finds better numbers in the nancy states:
Huge swings towards Labor in Victoria and South Australia could yield five seats to the ALP, offsetting the Coalition gains in the north and west …

In South Australia, where Ms Gillard grew up, the primary vote support for Labor leapt 12 points to 46 per cent compared with the Coalition’s 38 per cent, down three points.

One South Australian is especially supportive of the Prime Minister:

UPDATE. “Prime Minister Julia Gillard won’t say who will replace Lindsay Tanner as finance minister in a re-elected Labor government.” Why keep it a secret?
Tim Blair
An ABC press release promotes the screening on August 12 of Dick Smith’s Population Puzzle:
For the last six months, Dick has been travelling the country – meeting experts, politicians, ordinary Australians and has been giving talks and undertaking media interviews in an effort to get a national debate started on the dangers of unplanned population growth and he seems to have had some success – you may have heard him on the radio or noticed that we now have a Minister for Sustainable Population ?!? – The one hour tv show - Dick Smith Population Puzzle, documents Dick’s busy past couple of months getting the issue of population talked about.
Great writing, ABC. The release continues:
Dick will also be announcing the $1 Million Dollar Wilberforce Award – he wants to giveaway a million dollars to a young person who shows responsible leadership by communicating the impossibility of endless economic growth in a finite world.
Just read that last paragraph one more time. Smith will give one million dollars to some kid who opposes economic growth. Shouldn’t he take money away?
Tim Blair
Extraordinary US photographs:
Louisiana, 1940.

(Via Bernie Slattery)
Petraeus to the troops: fight, and do as I would have told you
Andrew Bolt
General David Petraeus has issued a new guidance to Coalition troups in Afghanistan that tells them to muscle up. It’s removed from the old guidance this example of how it’s best not to fight:
One ISAF unit and their partnered Afghan company were participating in a large shura in a previously hostile village. Over 500 people, to include former fighters, were in attendance. Nearly the entire village turned out. The unit had been working for months to build relationships with the elders and people. As the relationships strengthened and local projects began improving quality of life and employment opportunities, the village elders requested the meeting. During the meeting, two insurgents began firing shots at one of the unit’s observation posts. Knowing the stakes of the meeting, the young sergeant in charge of the OP told his men to hold their fire. He knew this was a provocative act designed to get him to over-react and ruin the meeting. He reported the incident. The shura continued. Later, the village elders found the two militants and punished them accordingly.
Instead, it sounds the attack:
Pursue the enemy relentlessly. Together with our Afghan partners, get our teeth into the insurgents and don’t let go. When the extremists fight, make them pay. Seek out and eliminate those who threaten the population. Don’t let them intimidate the innocent. Target the whole network, not just individuals.
And this order is a cracker:
Exercise initiative. In the absence of guidance or orders, figure out what the orders should have been and execute them aggressively.

Reader B writes about that last Petraeus order:

This is an Australian/British system of command and control in warfare, it is called Directive Control. Traditionally not used in the USA as it requires the troops to be smart and able to think on their feet.

You may know that no plan survives the first shot, directive control allows a commander to outline his intent, the missions objective and thus the junior leaders are ‘in their leaders mind’ and can react appropriately when a situation arises that was not detailed in the plan.

It is a brilliant system for our troops (I have commanded our troops in the UN, PNG and in Afghanistan) and that is why our troops are so highly prized and commended overseas. I recall the US Commander in Afghanistan saying that he would never want to go to war again without the Aussies.

It does however requires highly trained and smart diggers for it to work well.

How can Gillard promote Rudd when she won’t speak to him?
Andrew Bolt
How can Julia Gillard promise to have in Cabinet a man she can’t even bring herself to ring when he’s in hospital?

KERRY O’BRIEN: You and I talked in the interview I did with you the night you became Prime Minister about the fact - you said that you had built a real and genuine friendship with this (Kevin Rudd) over the time you’ve worked together. Now, he went to hospital for a gallbladder operation. I’ve read somewhere that you sent him a note. Why wouldn’t you lift the phone that would have been at his bedside or his mobile at some stage either before to wish him well or afterwards to say, “How did it go? How are you feeling?”

JULIA GILLARD: Well, Kerry, as you know, we’re in the middle of an election campaign, ...

KERRY O’BRIEN: Five minutes.

JULIA GILLARD: And, well, that’s not the point I’m making. In the middle of an election campaign you know that inevitably everything I do and say becomes the subject of public speculation and further commentary ...

KERRY O’BRIEN: But what is there to speculate about you, as an act of human kindness, ringing this man that you spent hundreds and thousands of hours working alongside over the last two and three quarter years in a spirit of friendship?

JULIA GILLARD: And, Kerry, you know and I know that if I went to, say, see Kevin Rudd whilst he was in hospital, that there would be, you know, 10 TV cameras and 40 journalists trailing behind me.

KERRY O’BRIEN: A discreet private phone call.

JULIA GILLARD: Well, Kerry, in my world because I’m asked by journalists questions every day, I’ve done two press conferences today, I’m here with you now, a number of radio interviews - I would be asked - I would be asked to reveal the conversation. I think ...

KERRY O’BRIEN: A lot of people would be comforted, I would think, and perhaps reassured, who are still not over the way Kevin Rudd was deposed to hear that you’d actually lifted the phone to him in his hospital bed.

JULIA GILLARD: My judgment, Kerry - and you can dispute it - but my judgment is in the middle of an election campaign when Kevin Rudd has had an operation, actually the best way of helping him, giving him a bit of time...

Red Victoria could save Gillard’s bacon
Andrew Bolt
No wonder both launches are in Queensland:
LABOR could lose enough seats in NSW and Queensland alone to be turned out of office or left relying on independent MPs...

With a strong “state of origin” factor at work, Kevin Rudd’s home state of Queensland has lurched towards the Coalition since he was removed, Tony Abbott’s home state of NSW has boosted the Coalition ahead of Labor for the first time since the last election and Julia Gillard’s two home states—South Australia and Victoria—have lifted Labor back to the highs of the Rudd government…

If the swings against Labor and Ms Gillard were uniform in Queensland, NSW and Western Australia, the Coalition would win the 17 seats it needs to unseat the Gillard government, because there are so many marginal ALP seats in those states.

Huge swings towards Labor in Victoria and South Australia could yield five seats to the ALP, offsetting the Coalition gains in the north and west, but a high vote for the Greens in Victoria would also take the seat of Melbourne from the government.
The analysis confirms that Victoria is mainland Australia’s reddest state - 59 per cent to Labor on a two-party preferred vote. It also suggests that Labor will win, after all.

Paul Kelly says the demonisation of Tony Abbott could backfire on spin-mad Labor, which has none of the convictions it mocks:

For years, Abbott has been mocked and demonised as a far Right, anti-woman, Catholic zealot, climate-change sceptic and political thug too reactionary for the Australian people. This narrative was supposed to prove, beyond doubt, his unelectability. This branding did Abbott much damage but it had a dividend; it stamped him as a conservative with convictions. In short, as a values politician. Many mainstream voters who elected Howard four times were drawn to Abbott as a values politician.

This narrative has produced three great consequences. First, despite all Labor’s denials, it has embedded complacency in its mind and strategy. Liberal unelectability has been the story of repeated Labor success at state levels. The revolving Liberal leader’s door merely confirmed this tactic could be repeated at the national level. Labor cannot recognise, let alone confront, its pivotal problem: the crisis in the Labor brand. This is an issue of substance. The public lost confidence in Rudd because of Labor spin and uncertainty about his substance, conviction and competence. The same malaise is now eating away at Gillard…

If Abbott wins, it will testify to the great Labor hubris in its belief that Abbott’s unelectability gave Labor immunity for its lack of campaign substance and future policy agenda.

Tanner still won’t deny he leaked
Andrew Bolt
Three times on ABC radio yesterday, and again on MTR 1377, Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner refused to deny he was behind some of the leaks against Julia Gillard.

On SBS Insight last night, he refused twice more to deny it:
JENNY BROCKIE: Lindsay Tanner? You said today that you are not prepared to respond to suggestions it might have been you who did the leaking and I just wonder if you are going to turn to Stefen now and say “it wasn’t me.”

LINDSAY TANNER: We have had some stuff about a bloke who is allegedly a former security guard attending national security meetings and I have no idea who this guy is. So I just think this - like he’s not on my staff, I don’t know the man personally. I just think this is classic media stuff that is designed to replace serious discussion about the issues that actually matter to people, and the truth is although, yes, people will have concerns from time to time about leaks or political arguments, we could go back to the Liberal Party in December last year and here what Eric Abetz and some of his colleagues were saying about each other then, but that ultimately is not the issue. The issue is what is going to be delivered to the Australian people by the government over the next three years.
JENNY BROCKIE: Will you look at Stefen and say “it wasn’t me, I didn’t do it.”
LINDSAY TANNER: I am not going to engage in that kind of nonsense frankly, on the basis of non accusations with zero evidence, I am not going to sit here and in some way participate in some kind of debate about those things - How about we talk about some issues. It is SBS after all. You do pretend to be serious, if I may.

Tanner now does deny - but denies only one set of leaks:
After refusing to respond directly to the claims for the past week, the Finance Minister and member of former prime minister Kevin Rudd’s “kitchen cabinet”, today rejected claims he had given details of Cabinet conversations to Channel Nine’s veteran political reporter, Laurie Oakes.
Let’s assume Tanner is telling the truth, and his denial also includes inadvertent releases of information and embraces anyone leaking on his behalf. Which non-Oakes leaks does that leave?

Leak one: Gillard went back on an offer which Rudd “understood” meant he’d be appointed straight away to another Cabinet ministry.Leaked to the Australian’s Dennis Shanahan to hurt Gillard.

Leak two: Gillard skipped meetings of the powerful National Security Committee, which includes the heads of defence and spy agencies and discusses security threats, and even sent her former bodyguard. Leaked to The Australian’s Nicola Berkovic and Patricia Karvelas to hurt Gillard.
Business prices down, government prices up
Andrew Bolt
Julia Gillard thinks the Reserve Bank has given her something to boast about::
THE fragile economy has spared Julia Gillard from an election campaign interest rate rise.

The Reserve Bank yesterday cited consumer anxiety as a key reason to leave rates at 4.5 per cent....

.. the Prime Minister seized on the RBA decision as evidence of Labor’s superior economic management skills...
In fact, thee are two reasons to worry not just about the economy, but about the Government’s mismanagement of it.

Despite her optimism, figures released yesterday showed retail sales grew only 0.2 per cent in May, with the annual growth rate of 1.9 per cent far below the long-term average of close to 6 per cent. Department stores were struggling, with the volume of goods sold down 1.4 per cent in the June quarter, while cash through the tills fell 2.2 per cent.
As Terry McCrann explains:
Retail sales - the biggest element of consumer spending which in total is nearly two-thirds of the economy - can best be described as soggy…

The pace of sales increase peaked in the middle of last year when the ‘cash splash’ was still working its magic, along with all the other fiscal and monetary (low rates) stimulus.

The pace has been slowing ever since. In the latest June quarter sales were rising at barely 2 per cent in annualised terms. In part because food retailers and electronics retailers were cutting their prices.

While that’s good for buyers, it most certainly does not signal a strong economy. And we’ve seen a similar trend with building approvals.
But the Australian Bureua of Statistics inflation bulletin suggests another failing even more directly attributable to Labor governments both state and federal - and especially to their tax hikes and green follies:
The most significant price rises this quarter were for tobacco (+15.4%), hospital and medical services (+3.8%), automotive fuel (+2.1%), rents (+1.1%) and house purchase (+0.6%).
The most significant offsetting price falls were in domestic holiday travel and accommodation (-6.0%), fruit (-4.8%), audio, visual and computing equipment (-6.3%), vegetables (-3.0%) and overseas holiday travel and accommodation (-1.9%)....

The main contributors to non-tradables were electricity, house purchase, water and sewerage, beer, gas and other household fuels and take away and fast foods.
What we are seeing - broadly speaking - is a fall in the prices set by private enterprise and a rise in the prices most influenced by government. I’m talking of taxes or prices charged by governments or set by state-regulated authorities, or prices directly influenced by government laws on such things as renewable power, water supplies and land releases.

Barnaby Joyce does the comparison:
After promising to reduce the cost of living, since Labor was elected:
Electricity prices have gone up 34%
Water prices have gone up 29%
Gas prices have gone up 26%
Overall, utility bills have gone up 31%
To compare Labor against the Coalition on an annual basis (and correcting for inflation):
Electricity prices are going up 9.3% a year under Labor. They went up 0.5% a year under the Coalition.
Water prices are going up 7.6% a year under Labor. They went up 1.2% a year under the Coalition.
Gas prices are going up 6.5% a year under Labor. They went up 1.3% a year under the Coalition.
Overall, utility prices are going up 8.2% a year under Labor. They went up 0.8% a year under the Coalition.
(Thanks to readere economist John.)
A po-mo campaign about a campaign
Andrew Bolt

THIS is the election for morons. For the easily fooled. For people so clueless they wouldn’t vote if it wasn’t the law.

And so - as “the real” Julia Gillard spectacularly confirmed this week - we have the election almost entirely about spin.

In fact, it’s now a campaign about a campaign, as Labor spins even its spin.

Never before have I heard a Labor or Liberal leader concede mid-campaign their old spin was no good, even deceitful, and declare they would try a new “real” spin.

And never have I seen the news then dominated for two days by a debate about whether the new spin is better - a spin backed by not a single policy or action to make a scrap of difference to the lives of a single voter.

Prime Minister Gillard this week announced she was changing a floundering campaign that for weeks had presented her as an air-brushed, slogan-heavy, pearl-necklaced queen.

“I think it’s time for me to make sure that the real Julia is well and truly on display,” she declared.

But what did this actually mean? Gillard talked and talked about seeming more real, but what did she actually do to demonstrate the difference between “the real Julia” and the fake one?

In trouble, she changed not the substance but the spin. All the difference I can detect in the past two days is that Gillard’s accent has perhaps flattened again, that she meets a few more startled shoppers, that’s she’s more aggressive and that her pearls were yesterday replaced with a scarf of the Central Coast Mariners.

That’s it. Unless we include a promise on Monday to give state school principals more power to hire and fire teachers, and run their own budgets.

Great spin, showing Gillard as passionate about education (which she is) and having the guts to push policies she knows will be loathed by the teaching unions.

But, as I said, this is an election about spin, not substance - our first post-modernist campaign - and, as with so many policies of both sides, the fine print on this one showed it was yet again more about seeming than doing.
It’s not the oil but the slick greens who should scare you
Andrew Bolt
THERE’S only one species of wildlife that the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill could finally kill off.

It’s not a dolphin, turtle or a pelican unable to tell oil-black from blue.

No, they’ve been remarkably unscathed by what President Barack Obama excitedly called “the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced”.

The species that’s really endangered is another denizen of the deep forest or concreted jungle - the green alarmist.

Once again we see yet another colossal, terrifying and unprecedented environmental holocaust collapse into one more green beat-up.

We should have seen this coming. Oil may be the ultimate symbol of wicked capitalist excess, but it’s actually a natural substance, and it shouldn’t be surprising that nature has learned to cope with the occasional spill.

Nor, after so many fake scares on spills, should we have been such suckers for another.

Remember the Exxon Valdez spill of 1989, which greens turned into the iconic indictment of the oil economy?

Ten years on, researchers from American universities, research groups and government reviewed all the studies and concluded the spill hadn’t caused real long-term damage, even on the supposedly worst-hit species.

“They demonstrated that earlier suggestions of negative impacts may have been unfounded (harbour seals) or that the species either exhibited no obvious detrimental effects of the spill (pink salmon population runs, population density and habit occupancy of half the 23 seabirds examined) or indicated impacts followed by clear evidence of subsequent recovery (sea otters, the remaining seabird species).”

The report warned people to check the claims of activists against the facts, “divorced from advocacy positions”. But who listened?
Obama just keeps slip sliding away
Andrew Bolt
New lows for for Mr Hope and Change:
Only 41% of those surveyed Tuesday through Sunday approved of the way Obama is handling his job, his lowest rating in the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll since he took office in January 2009. In Gallup’s separate daily tracking poll, his approval was at 45% Monday.
And does this sound familiar?

The Obama administration has credited its $862 billion stimulus program with pulling the economy out of the worst recession since the Great Depression. But a new report by two Republican senators argues the stimulus is riddled with wasteful projects that do not create jobs.
Say hello, children, to nice Mr Henson and his nude pictures
Andrew Bolt
I don’t think this is the way to persuade parents that the dizzily irresponsible aren’t actually in charge of their children, especially in state schools:
A TEACHERS’ group has defended the right of artist Bill Henson to discuss and display his work in schools.The photographer’s pictures of naked children were not pornographic and the reaction to his work was hysterical, Art Education Victoria executive officer Marian Strong[/url] said on Tuesday.
If newspapers dared to show some of Henson’s sexualised pictures of nude children, this debate would be less unhinged to reality.

(Thanks to reader CA.)
Brown won’t say he wants growth
Andrew Bolt
Greens leader Bob Brown can’t say he supports growth, yet won’t admit he doesn’t:
JENNY BROCKIE: Interesting. Bob Brown, on this question of economics, it has come up online, people are raising concerns about that. Do you believe in economic growth?

BOB BROWN: We believe in a sustainable economy which involves innovation and which involves giving prosperity to the nation without running down its resources and without facing us with the awful problems of climate change, sea level rising, loss of the Murray Darling basin, loss of the Great Barrier Reef as I said. Yes, we have an alternative to the growth economic model but it is not about continuing to plunder the resources - like in Eric and my home state. The great forest, the big carbon bank is being destroyed at a great rate.
JENNY BROCKIE: Does that mean you don’t believe in economic growth?
BOB BROWN: It means I don’t believe in the growth of the destruction of resources. We have to get that into balance. Let me explain this to you because you are using a few terms from last century. It doesn’t mean we can’t have sustainability or prosperity, and a great deal of innovation.
No wonder Brown cannot say he believes in growth, given his policies will clearly make us poorer, as I’ve outlined before:
Vote Greens in this election and you won’t get cuddlier koalas, bigger hugs and cleaner rivers.In fact, you’ll be voting to “transition from coal exports”, which means ending a trade worth $55 billion a year .

You’ll be voting to “end ... the mining and export of uranium”, worth another $900 million a year.

You’ll be demanding farmers “remove as far as possible” all genetically modified crops, which includes GM cotton worth about $1.3 billion a year.

You’ll be voting to close down many other businesses and industries, including the export of woodchips from old-growth forests, certain kinds of fishing, oil and mineral exploration in parks or wildernesses, and new coal mines of any kind.

You’ll even be voting to close the Lucas Heights nuclear facility, even though it actually produces treatments for cancer.

In fact, you’ll be voting for policies deliberately intended to make us poorer. Less industrialised. Or as the Greens’ policy puts it, for a ”reduction of Australia’s use of natural resources to a level that is sustainable and socially just”. Whatever that formula means.
And if you think this madness should turn off all voters, think of the kind of people the Greens have appealed to in these increasingly irrational times - and which flocked into this SBS group discussion:
JENNY BROCKIE: And Eunice, the Greens drove you to the Sex party, you voted for the Sex party in the Bradfield by election, why?

EUNICE MARKHAM: Again, I was very disappointed at that time. I listened to the debate in the Senate and heard the Green Senators blocking it and I know the argument that it wasn’t a perfect solution, but I think it was better, a lot better than no solution.
(Thanks to reader Nathan.)
Labor buying its way in this race
Andrew Bolt
Just counting the recent ads would have told you the story:
As Tony Abbott narrows the gap on Julia Gillard in the polls, the party has been disadvantaged by the relatively poor state of its finances, leaving it well short of Labor in funds for advertising, particularly over the last week…

A media-buying source said advertising commitments for the length of the campaign, mostly for television, were running at $19 million, split 55:45 in favour of Labor. “But . . . Labor has spent a lot more in the last week or so.”
Then add the ACTU ads on high rotation, and you’ll see how lucking Labor is to have unions hoovering the wallets of their members, many of them Coalition voters these days.
Did her eye twitch when she swore it was true?
Andrew Bolt
I agree that reading a face helps us to judge the truthfulness of what’s said. It’s also the case that it’s not just the witness who will suffer if a jury presumes she’s being evasive:
A PERTH judge is set to decide this week whether a Muslim woman can wear a full burqa while giving evidence before a jury in a fraud case.
WA District Court Judge Shauna Deane is due to hear submissions on Thursday from lawyers for the prosecution and defence regarding the witness who wishes to wear the burqa, also called a niqab.

The woman is a strict Muslim who does not want to show her face to men....

... defence lawyer Mark Trowell told reporters a jury would not be able to “make a proper assessment” of the witness if they could not see her face.
What’s a bar to communication in court is also a bar to communication in the street, of course.
No doesn’t mean no when another Greens senator says it
Andrew Bolt
So which fool started this ridiculous beat-up:
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has rubbished claims he’s insensitive to women after lobbing what the Greens claim is an “inappropriate” sexual phrase at the prime minister.

On Tuesday when he was asked whether he would take up Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s offer of another election debate, Mr Abbott ridiculed the invitation, before saying: “Are you suggesting to me that when it comes from Julia, ‘no’ doesn’t mean ‘no’."…

Earlier on Tuesday Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young told reporters in Brisbane she thought Mr Abbott’s comment was “inappropriate”.
Ah, our atrocity-mongering friend Hanson-Young again. This time she’s seriously trying to claim Abbott is mean to rape victims:
The Greens Sarah Hanson young says that’s an inappropriate phrase to use because No means No usually refers to anti-rape campaigns.
Tell me, dear hyperventilating Greens senator: did you likewise accuse fellow Greens senator Scott Ludlam of inappropriate language, offensive to rape victims, when in your hearing he told the Senate this:
We were led to believe that the nuclear waste thing would be all overturned and overruled, and at this moment we are extremely disappointed. How many times do we have to say no? No means no.
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