Thursday, October 21, 2010

Headlines Thursday 21st October 2010

=== Todays Toon ===
Sir Alan James Mansfield KCMG, KCVO (30 September 1902 – 17 July 1980) was Governor of Queensland, Australia between 1966 and 1972.
=== Bible Quote ===
“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”- Psalm 51:12
=== Headlines ===
Is Obama More Focused on Saving the Senate Than the House?
A review of the president's travel schedule in the weeks leading up to November's midterm elections shows that he's been focusing primarily on Senate and gubernatorial races, rather than the House, which most Dems are trying to salvage.

Al Qaeda Figure Dined at Pentagon After 9/11
Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, Anwar Al-Awlaki — the first American on the CIA's kill or capture list — was a lunch guest of military brass at the Pentagon

Girl Kicked Off Team for Not Shaking 'Booty'
Nebraska mother says her 11-year-old daughter got kicked off cheerleading squad after complaining to her coach that she didn't want to 'shake her booty'

Helping Homeowners at Risk — But Is It Fair?
Thousands of homeowners attend 'Save The Dream' expos hoping to lower payments and save their homes — but critics ask: Is it fair to homeowners who played by the rules and continue to pay more?

EU to save taxpayers from 'bad banks'
EUROPEAN Commission calls for a system to allow banks to fail without harming financial sector and forcing taxpayers to save them.

Ex-Playmate charged with attempted murder
A FORMER Playboy Playmate of the Year has been charged with shooting her boyfriend at their Hollywood apartment.

US economy growing at 'modest' pace
US Federal Reserve says US economy is expanding at a "modest" pace but job prospects remain dim ahead of an expected stimulus.

Fraudster's shoes sold for victims
NO one wants to be in Bernard Madoff's shoes -- but for the right price, you could own his slippers.

Man's body discovered in laneway
POLICE are investigating the discovery of a man’s body in a laneway at Manly this morning.

Our power bills in ridiculous state
THE more money we pump into the electricity network, the more the State Government reaps in dividends and tax revenue.

Amanda Fazio's porn ultimatum
KRISTINA Keneally's Labor Government descended into disarray, with the party suspending an MP after she crossed the floor.

Mystery of the dragon woman
IT is a beloved, if highly unusual, pet that a seriously ill girl could no longer care for. But who delivered Buudy the dragon to a surgery?

Bad officers feel force of the law
POLICE officers are crossing to the dark side, with up to 30 crooked cops booted out of the force in the past year. Have your say here.

RTA faces revenue raising check
NSW Coalition wants RTA's revenue raising to be monitored by new watchdog.

Pool pervert policy protest
SCHOOLBOYS banned from a pool changeroom because adult males feared they would be labelled paedophiles.

Country cheers as drought breaks
IT'S official. Not one inch of NSW is in drought, bringing to an end the painful, decade-long dry spell.

280kg man's plea for life-saving surgery
ROB Sarli's weight ballooned to 280kg after an accident. Now he wants his old life - and weight - back.

Man missing since the weekend
POLICE are appealing for the public’s help to find a man missing from his Mascot home since Saturday.

Shooting, car crash in small town
A DOMESTIC dispute is believed to be behind a shooting and a car crash in a small town west of Brisbane.

Spider-man waves knife at 7-11 worker
A MAN wearing a Spider-Man mask turned out to be no superhero when he threatened a 7-11 worker with a knife during a hold-up.

Man stuck up tree in floods
A MAN clung to a tree above floodwaters near the Bedford Weir for nearly two hours before being rescued by SES crews.

Rain, rain won't go away
SHOWERS will continue to sprinkle across southeast Queensland during the weekend and into next week, with thunderstorms expected in inland areas.

Motorists going green at bowser
TWO in five Queensland motorists choose ethanol blends and biofuels when filling up at the pump, well above the national average of 32 per cent.

Bay's gains may be flushed away
A REPORT has found Moreton Bay's water quality has improved slightly from last year, but it may crash again if heavy rain falls this spring and summer.

Watson case moves to US
THE saga of honeymoon killer Gabe Watson moves to a US courtroom on Saturday when an Alabama grand jury considers fresh murder charges against him.

Failed speed cameras on trial here
THE same point-to-point speed cameras that issued erroneous fines in Victoria are being trialled on the Bruce Highway north of Brisbane.

Green Loans cost war medals
A BRISBANE war veteran has been forced to sell his service medals after almost losing his livelihood in the Federal Government's bungled Green Loans Program.

$100m system slow on the draw
QUEENSLAND police are spending $6 million on a new computer package to process gun licences because their existing $100 million system is too time-consuming.

Man found dead at work site
A man has been found dead in a construction site in the inner city.

Man attacked with Samurai sword
A BALACLAVA-clad bandit attacked another man with a Samurai sword in Geelong last night.

Man arrested after bedroom crash
A VAN allegedly ploughed through a fence and into a child’s bedroom at a house in Melbourne’s outer southeast last night.

'Trigger-happy cowboys killed my son'
GUNSHOT residue on holes in Tyler Cassidy's trousers revealed he was shot by police at a distance less than 4m, an inquest hears.

Couple's $1m gift for animals
A HUMBLE Herald and Weekly Times worker and his wife are behind a million-dollar legacy for Victoria's animals.

Power bills could rise to $10,000
BILLS have shot past $3200 a year for some Victorians and could rise much higher amid soaring prices and blowouts in energy use.

Rain, glorious rain, fills dam
MELBOURNE'S water woes aren't over yet but recent rainfall has propelled the city's main dam to its highest level since 2006.

Pies offer Cup to fan for day
EDDIE McGuire set a scene befitting Collingwood's blue-collar background.

Booze caused Stathi's death
STAR jockey Stathi Katsidis' grief-stricken fiancee blames alcohol for his sudden death.

Hoon learns hard lesson
ONE of the first hoons convicted under a tough approach police approach has appealed to other young drivers to mend their ways.

Nothing new

Women sent to Yatala
WOMEN are placed under guard in a notorious division of Yatala prison that houses many of the state's most violent male criminals.

Grand home to rise from rubble
THE homestead of controversial winemaker Andrew Garrett has been razed, to be replaced by what will be one of Adelaide's most expensive homes.

Old school is back in fashion
JOSEPH Doyle has lived Australian history. Now he is studying it.

Locusts are on the march
FLINDERS Ranges farmers are losing the battle against hungry locusts, leaving crop farmers further south wide open to devastation.

High price for Ashes tickets
CRICKET Australia has warned that scalped Ashes tickets - already for sale on eBay at inflated prices - will be identified and cancelled.

Three years of water wasted
QUEENSLAND is flushing the equivalent of three years of Adelaide's water supply out to sea despite being connected to the Murray Darling Basin.

A saviour for Annesley?
A BAIL-OUT is on the table for prestigious girls' school Annesley College, which faces closure due to dropping enrolments.

Call to drop death-race charges
CHARGES should be dropped against one of two drivers accused of causing a fatal crash near AAMI Stadium last year, a court has heard.

Shooting victim permanently disabled
A YOUTH shot twice in the neck in a Hindley St tattoo parlour will either be a paraplegic or quadriplegic because of his injuries, a court has heard.

Jaws-dropping close encounter
THREE men were crabbing off Semaphore yesterday when they came into contact with a surprise visitor - a 5m Great White shark.

Loan shark to pay back $130,000
AN outback loan shark has agreed to pay back almost $130,000 in interest charged to desert Aborigines at "unconscionable" rates.

Woman on student sex charges
A 33-YEAR-OLD Education Department employee has been charged with having sex with two 15-year-old male students at a WA country high school.

Lawyers warn against 'stop and search'
THE police misuse of Tasers on an unarmed man is a warning to the WA government not to give officers extra stop and search powers, the state's law society says.

Police hunt violent home invaders
POLICE are hunting for four men who bashed and robbed a 46-year-old man in a violent home invasion in Clarkson last night.

Welcome rain hits South-West and Perth
A COLD front has dumped heavy rain on parts of the South West and city after crossing the coast around mid-morning today.

Extreme fire alert for much of WA
THE Bureau of Meteorology has forecast extreme and severe fire danger for much of the South-West land division, the Goldfields and inland Gascoyne today.

Rio unveils $3.2bn Pilbara expansion
MINING giant Rio Tinto has announced another multi-billion dollar investment for its iron ore operations in the Pilbara.

Apology to WA mums forced to adopt
A WOMAN who was handcuffed to a bed, drugged and forced to give up her newborn baby for adoption says an official government apology has helped her regain her 'selfhood'.

'Dirt sheets' on tasered prisoner defended
POLICE Minister Rob Johnson yesterday defended the publication of "dirt sheets" on a prisoner who was tasered.

Curtin expanded despite denials
IMMIGRATION officials signed off on expanding the Curtin detention centre, despite the government publicly denying the facility would be developed further.

Money sought to fund child sex victim's case
TASMANIANS are being asked to donate money to help a former child sex victim sue the state for damages.
=== Journalists Corner ===
Sneak Peek of Geraldo's Interview with Gen. Petraeus!
It's Geraldo's exclusive with General Petraeus, LIVE from Afghanistan! Watch as he sits down with the military commander to discuss how his latest strategy will impact the ongoing war on terror and our troops overseas.
Fighting for Tax Cuts!
Neil looks at the BIG push for extensions by small businesses. Watch 'Your World,' today at 4p ET.
Then, it's one rocky race! How are both parties trying to secure Colorado? Find out on 'Special Report' at 6p ET.
Tea Party Intolerance?
Tea Party intolerance? Inside the NAACP study about alleged bigotry in the organization. Dick Morris has analysis.
Plus, what do Americans think about "The View"/Muslim controversy? Frank Luntz polls the people for answers!
Jim DeMint Sits Down with Sean
Republican Revamp! Senator Jim DeMint discusses his latest strategy for the GOP. Tonight on 'Hannity' at 9p/12a ET.
Then, which party will really lock down the polls this election? Answers on 'On The Record,' tonight at 10p/1a ET.
On Fox News Insider
Poll - Only 1 in 4 Believe in American Dream
Peter Johnson, Jr. Says "I Told You So"
VIDEO - Fox News Channel: "We Move Forward"
=== Comments ===
Nancy Pelosi and Capitalism

As you may know, many Americans believe that President Obama and some in the Democratic leadership lean toward a socialistic philosophy when it comes to economics. That charge has damaged Mr. Obama because we are a staunchly capitalistic country.

Now Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi may have come out of the closet. Speaking before the United Steelworkers union on Monday, she said this:


NANCY PELOSI, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We are talking about addressing the disparity in our country of income, where the wealthy people continue to get wealthier and some other people are falling out of the middle class when we want to bring many more people into the middle class. But that disparity is not just about wages alone. That disparity is about ownership and equity. It's all about fairness in our country.


Wow. That's some sound-bite. The speaker implying that private ownership and private property may not be sacrosanct in America. She seems to be calling for a government intervention into the private marketplace in order to spread wealth in a more just way.

To understand Ms. Pelosi's breathtaking statement, you have to know that there are some bad things about capitalism. The system is set up so that an individual can acquire a massive amount of money if he or she can figure out how to do that. The system also allows for people to fail. So you have winners and losers, sometimes in extreme degrees.

Nancy Pelosi and other liberal Americans seem to believe that the deck is stacked against most Americans when it comes to making money, and that the federal government has an obligation to regulate capitalism so everyone profits.

But that isn't capitalism. If the feds begin intruding on the private sector, you enter the socialistic arena.

That's where France and other Western European countries are. And, once again, on Tuesday we see the results of an entitlement society, as thousands of French people rioted in the streets because they don't want the retirement age raised from 60 to 62. Many French believe they are entitled to strict work limitations and generous pensions.

We Americans are different. Ever since George Washington was sworn in as president, we have been competing for our money, our benefits, our retirement. But now the speaker of the House says that system is no good, that Washington should decide what we get.

The Democratic Party will be destroyed if it embraces Ms. Pelosi's vision. Yes, she's a San Francisco liberal, but she's also the second most visible Democrat in the country next to the president, who has his own image problems when it comes to economics.

Finally, if you want to evaluate how effective the feds are in regulating capitalism, consider that the Obama administration has spent nearly $1 trillion to stimulate the economy. How's that working out?
Gillard lied on “razor wire”: she’s “freeing” children from motels
Andrew Bolt
Julia Gillard has deceived journalists - and you. On Monday the Prime Minister suggested her changes to boat people laws meant freeing detained children now being held behind razor wire:
I don’t think it’s the Australian way to, you know, have kids behind razor wire in the hope that that may be a deterrent.
But the next day her secretary for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Andrew Metcalfe, revealed the truth: no child had been held behind razor wire in years. In fact,
No children have been held in a detention centre since June 2005.
So where were they now?
(In) immigration transit accommodation in Melbourne and motels and other facilities...
So why didn’t Gillard on Monday tell the truth? That she was freeing the children of boat people not from barbed wire, but from motels in Darwin and Brisbane?

Oh. Right.

That’s not all Metcalfe revealed to a Senate committee. Gillard’s proposed detention centre in East Timor will be astonishingly - hopelessly, ludicrously - small, given it will take all the boat people from 44 countries who are trying to reach countries like ours:
Mr Metcalfe— The centre, of course, is very deliberately intended to be part of an overall regional protection framework… So there is an international framework existing in the Bali process, and the government wants to utilise that capacity to provide a clear framework for dealing with displaced persons, to assess whether they are refugees, to accommodate them in the region, and to avoid their seeking to make the perilous journey to Australia with all the tragedies that can occur as a result, to find durable solutions for people who are not refugees to return home in conditions of safety, and, for people who are refugees, for their resettlement…

Senator CASH—In terms of the numbers, you said potentially a few thousand but possibly no less than 500.

Mr Metcalfe—We were thinking of between 500 and 2,000 as being a viable size.

Senator CASH—Given that there are already approximately 5,000 people in detention at present in Australia, how will a facility with only up to 2,000 people solve our problems in any way at all?

Mr Metcalfe—It is seen as a key capability within an overall regional protection framework…

Senator CASH—Thank you. In terms of the word ‘region’, what is the region?

Mr Metcalfe—The region, in my terminology here tonight, is the region of countries in South and East Asia—largely members of the Bali process, in other words.

Senator CASH—Could I get you to name those countries please?

Mr Metcalfe—I think there are 44… As I have said, we are largely talking about countries where displaced persons are travelling through. So of course we would include Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and other countries in Indochina, but the Bali process incorporates a number of other countries as well. Within our region, obviously, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and New Zealand are all seen as part of this region…

Senator CASH—Let me just get this right in my head. If a person managed to get to, say, the Philippines would they be eligible to be transferred to the centre?

Mr Metcalfe—That is part of the concept that we are working through…

Senator CASH—To go back to the definition of the ‘region’, you have referred basically to those countries participating in the Bali process. My understanding is that, in that respect, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and India participate in the Bali process, so those countries would be considered to be part of the region.

Mr Metcalfe—Yes. The Bali process includes some source countries, some transit countries and some destination countries....

Senator CASH—Seeing that we know what we would like, has any consideration been given to the thousands of people in camps on the Thailand-Burma border and whether or not they would be transferred to the regional processing centre?

Mr Metcalfe—We have largely been thinking about people who come from beyond the region and who move through the region. We are not talking about the fact that there are, of course, thousands of displaced people in the Asia-Pacific region. This is very much around the people who have been seeking to come to Australia. It is about people moving in an irregular fashion from outside this part of the world—Afghanistan, the Middle East, Sri Lanka—and who are moving through this region primarily with the objective of seeking asylum in a developed Western country.
This is a farce. And you are being deceived.

(Thanks to reader Paul.)


Meanwhile, more boat people get lured to their deaths:
Meanwhile, 85 Sri Lankan asylum seekers heading to Australia have struck tragedy, with three of them dying on board the boat as it ran out of food and petrol off the coast of West Java in Indonesia.

The group, which includes 15 women and 18 children, were last night in Indonesian immigration detention and being questioned. It was not immediately clear why the three had died, but early indications from officials were that they may have run out of food and water.
If the report is correct, we now have up to 173 people who have died at sea trying to get here since Labor weakened the boat people laws in 2008.


More from that boatload of Tamils, including children:
Two young men died during this time – drowning as they tried to swim from their vessel to nearby fishing boat to get help. Another woman died when the boat ran aground and she was crushed on the rocks.

You mean they aren’t deterred?
AUTHORITIES have intercepted a boat carrying 88 asylum seekers and two crew in waters north of Christmas Island… It was the 107th asylum seeker boat to be intercepted in Australian waters this year.
Save the planet! Scrap global warming conferences
Andrew Bolt
I don’t know if the planet can survive the alarmists trying to “save” it:
Department of Climate Change staff flew first class to 64 global climate change meetings in just 12 months at a cost of more than $4 million.
Never mind global warming. Ban global swarming.

(Thanks to Bernie Slattery.)
Max explores space
Andrew Bolt

So Max and his dad decided one day to send their HD camera into space, with an iPod to send back the pictures.

(Thanks to reader Ryan.)
Here’s how close to anarchy Mexico now is
Andrew Bolt
Eight murders in her town just last week, and the country torn apart by a drug war:
A 20-YEAR-OLD female criminology student has been named police chief of a northern Mexican border town plagued by drug violence because no one else wanted the job.
Brave woman. Desperate country.

(Thanks to reader John.)
Dakking makes her one of us
Andrew Bolt
I approve of this assimilation:
A six-year-old Muslim girl has reportedly been suspended from a Darwin school bus after she pulled a boy’s pants down after he repeatedly teased her about her hijab.
Good on her. Dakking is so Australian, and so is a woman standing up for herself.

(Thanks to reader Daniel.)
An odd thing happened to Hicks when he popped out for milk
Andrew Bolt
Miranda Devine gags at the evasions and deceits in convicted terrorism supporter David Hicks’ autobiography, now being touted by publishers and reporters who should know better:
Then he just happened to go to Pakistan. A new mosque mate happened to give him some addresses. One thing led to another and he ended up in Peshawar on the Afghan border where he just “came upon” members of the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

He met Osama bin Laden, a wealthy man, and it was all a boy’s own adventure.

Hicks skips over his extensive LeT training in a couple of pages, mentioning only that he did “lots of walks”, befriended a goat and that the training was mostly “sport-oriented”.

Pull the other one.

The paragraph that most perfectly captures his attempt to suspend reality has him firing on Kashmir.

“I participated in this exchange (of gunfire) under the orders and supervision of Captain Ali. We did not fire upon Indian soldiers or any other people. We only participated in the symbolic exchange of fire.”

The consequences of this “symbolic exchange of fire”? Two dead children.

Perhaps Hicks’ book is a symbolic telling of the truth.

Our accidental terrorist next finds himself on the wrong bus, and happens to arrive in Kandahar where he mingles with the Taliban.

Somehow he decided to do an eight-week “mountain warfare” course. Then he applied for the “urban warfare” course.

Then, in August, 2001, he took a mysterious course in Kabul. All he says about that is, “Kabul was an interesting and intriguing place”.

He is at pains to draw a distinction between himself and “actual terrorists”, who were trained at “very small and highly secretive” camps.

Hicks, by contrast, says he was at “big, very public mainstream camps” receiving “very casual basic military training”. He had no choice. “I reluctantly signed up.”
Coulda happened to anyone.
If you can’t run a family….?
Andrew Bolt
That’s embarrassing:
DARWIN’S Lord Mayor Graeme Sawyer will be summonsed to face court after a drug raid on his Wagaman home allegedly uncovered an imitation pistol and a silencer.

Police also say a small quantity of drugs including three grams of cannabis, 0.5g of methamphetamine and one MDMA tablet was also found, The Northern Territory News reports.

Mr Sawyer’s 21-year-old daughter Kylie and her 24-year-old friend will be summonsed in relation to the illegal drugs seized.
(No comments for legal reasons.)
But paying addicts to have children is worse
Andrew Bolt
Too, too far - but tell me some alternatives:
PARENTS with a history of child abuse should be forced to have sterilisations, a former Victorian ombudsman says.

Norman Geschke, who wrote several scathing reports on child-protection services between 1980 and 1994, said constant state care failings in Victoria compelled him to push the idea of baby bans…

Mr Geschke told the Herald Sun that parents with a history of abuse should be stopped from having more children, to stop the parents “sentencing” vulnerable kids to a life without proper care.

A model where drug addicts are paid to have a vasectomy or hysterectomy - being used by a US charity in Britain - should be considered, he said.
On that US charity’s scheme:
RACHAEL BROWN: Barbara Harris has been described as a Nazi who offers bribes for babies’ lives.

BARBARA HARRIS: We offer drug addicts and alcoholics a cash incentive of 200 pounds if they’ll use long-term birth control.

RACHAEL BROWN: By that, she means sterilisation for woman, a vasectomy for men.

BARBARA HARRIS: Typically, I just say one thing to my critics. If you truly believe that these women have a right to continue to have children, then step up, get in line, and adopt the next one born. I mean, to me, it’s that simple.

RACHAEL BROWN: Her controversial charity, “Project Prevention”, has paid close to 3,500 drug addicts in America not to have children. She set up her charity in North Carolina, after adopting the children of a drug addict.
If it’s wrong to pay drug addicts to be sterilised, how insane is it to pay them a baby bonus of $5294 to have children?
Why should immigrants respect a country that disrespects itself?
Andrew Bolt
Oliver Marc Hartwich draws a distinction with Australia to explain Germany’s failure with multiculturalism:
A different realisation drives the German debate: a multi-ethnic society may be a reality but a multicultural country does not work. Every country needs clear ideas about its basic rights, values and language. The Germans had long ignored this lesson of traditional immigrant nations such as Australia, Canada or the US. Multi-ethnic Australia works better than multi-ethnic Germany because Australia is not a multicultural country but one built on its traditional British heritage and the values of the Enlightenment.

Ironically, Germany’s lack of national pride and identity made it harder to integrate migrants. Why should they integrate anyway when Germans found their own culture so hard to love?
But Australia has for some time taught migrants - and especially their children - that this is a racist land, stolen from its true owners, whose children were in tern stolen in their tens of thousands. What’s more, it is a nation that’s befouling the environment and destroying the planet. The fact that some schools fly an Aboriginal flag side-by-side with the Australian says it all.

So I’m not so sure that we’re making Australia any more attractive to immigrants from prouder cultures than Germans are making Germany.

Then again, this does seem to be a problem essentially limited to one group of immigrants:
Germans are also learning the hard way that some groups are more willing to integrate into Western society than others. The debate is now about Islam for a reason. No integration issues are reported with respect to Danes, Poles or Vietnamese, all of whom live in Germany in great numbers.
Ford didn’t need to ban horses to sell his cars
Andrew Bolt
Henry Ergas warns that the Gillard Government is stifling competition to stop its $43 billion broadband scheme from being exposed as a gigantic white elephant:
YESTERDAY, the Gillard government became the first government in decades to seek to exempt a significant industry from the competition provisions of the Trade Practices Act…

The NBN was never viable without Telstra’s agreement. But the agreement that was struck is profoundly anti-competitive.

Under that agreement, Telstra would not only sell its customers to NBN Co: it would also scrap its hybrid fibre coax network, which would otherwise have many years life ahead of it…

To scrap so valuable an asset, Telstra obviously requires compensation. And that compensation will be provided with taxpayers picking up the tab. Taxpayers, in other words, are being forced to pay to destroy existing, perfectly serviceable, capital and drastically limit the choices consumers are free to make…

But it gets worse.

For it has now been disclosed (not by NBN Co or the government, which are refusing to disclose information, but by Telstra) that the agreement also hobbles wireless competition, including by prohibiting Telstra from encouraging customers who might move to NBN Co to choose high-speed wireless services instead.

Yet both Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy and Quigley have claimed time and again that wireless is not a serious rival to the NBN. If so, why prevent it from competing as best it can?
Howard asked Turnbull to stay - and could even be right
Andrew Bolt
It’s tempting to wonder whether Howard’s political judgment is as good as we often assume:
JOHN Howard’s continuing influence has been underlined by revelations the former prime minister helped convince Malcolm Turnbull to stay in politics.

”I think I played a part in persuading him not to retire,” says Mr Howard of Mr Turnbull, in an exclusive interview with The Weekend Australian Magazine, to be published on Saturday.

“He spoke to me the day after he’d made his announcement and said, ‘I think I’ve done the wrong thing’,” recalls Mr Howard of the conversation six months ago. “I said to him, ‘Change your mind - the party will be delighted and you’ll increase your majority in Wentworth’.
It’s clear that Turnbull is a poor fit in Liberal clothes, and turned out to be a tin-eared and self-serving leader. It’s also clear that he showed disloyalty to the party in the manner of his resignation, and that his return is motivated by his ambition to become leader again.

Still Howard may be right. Turnbull is by far a more credible and effective spokesman on communications, attacking the Government’s $43 billion gamble on broadband, than anyone else in the party. And if he does indeed become leader again, it must be because none of his rivals is better.

I guess Howard’s judgment will be vindicated - or not - by the way Turnbull now conducts himself.

Howard’s judgment on Rudd is less controversial:
We had a generation of economic reform and there were contributions from both sides, but that all stopped. My biggest criticism of Rudd is that he didn’t do anything.
Miners threaten to walk from their deal
Andrew Bolt
I know I raised this potential problem at the time on MTR, but was told by a mining industry lobbyist that what the Government now claims was indeed the case:
MINING giants BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata have called an urgent meeting today to consider abandoning their troubled tax agreement with Julia Gillard…

The big miners say the MRRT deal on July 2 allowed for all state royalties to be offset against the tax—a view supported by the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

But the government now says the deal will be limited to state royalties that were in place or “scheduled” when the original resource super-profits tax was announced in May.
The Government would have had to insist on that. Otherwise the states would simply jack up royalties to snatch money going to the Commonwealth anyway.


Jennifer Hewett says that whatever Gillard told the miners, the problem is she did not write it down:
JULIA Gillard says ... only existing state royalty rates or scheduled increases can be deducted from the planned mineral resources rent tax. That certainly was the wording of the original resource super-profits tax announced in May. Otherwise, the Labor government warned, the states could simply raise their royalties, confident that the bill would get sent to Canberra courtesy of the companies’ ability to deduct the cost.

Unfortunately, the Prime Minister’s haste to get a replacement pre-election mining tax deal done with the big three miners in July neglected to repeat this supposedly “obvious” point in writing. Quite the reverse, in fact.

Instead, the announced commitment was that “all state and territory royalties will be creditable against the resources tax liability”. The result is that BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata believe that Canberra’s sudden public use of adjectives such as “existing and scheduled” to temper this guarantee is reneging on the deal.
Surely the Government could be this incompetent, could it? Next you’;d be telling me that this bit is true, too:
Until now, the big three have been discreet in their comments about the impact of the revised mining tax. It wasn’t in their interests to acknowledge they didn’t believe the government was going to raise anything like the $10.5 billion it was budgeting from the tax for the first two years of operation.
Save the grass! Destroy the homes
Andrew Bolt
For how much longer will Victorians allow themselves to be monstered by green bullies?
The Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) has sent letters to around 30 families identified as part of the Urban Growth Boundary, telling them their land will be compulsorily acquired so a reserve can be established for native grasslands.
(Thanks to reader Tony.)
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