Saturday, July 30, 2011

News items and comments


Tim Blair – Saturday, July 30, 11 (12:26 pm)

Melbourne is paying $9.00 for a win today over Geelong. Worth a shot.

UPDATE. The second-greatest winning margin in AFL history! To, er, Geelong.



Tim Blair – Saturday, July 30, 11 (12:01 pm)

Any assassination talk should rightly be examined, but I’m not sure that a crocodile cake reaches the same level of concern:

The Australian Federal Police is looking at statements by members of the public calling for the assassination of the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and members of her government but has yet to determine whether any warrant investigation.

The police confirmed developments were being assessing amid a rising concern about the increasingly spiteful nature of the public discourse that surrounds politics.

This concern extended yesterday to reports that the Northern Territory senator and Coalition shadow minister Nigel Scullion had won a local celebrity cake-baking competition with a cake shaped as a crocodile eating Ms Gillard.

How far back might investigations go? The band Frenzal Rhomb may require assessment, according to a 2004 report:

Several years ago when the rockers celebrated securing a $25,000 federal arts grant they made John Howard pinatas to be smashed to pieces during a Big Day Out performance.

Howard piñatas also featured during the 2007 election:

“Particular attention was paid to accurately recreating Mr Howard’s shifty eyes,” writes the seller.

“For the true Howard-hater, this piñata is made from four layers of papier mache, providing enough structural integrity for repeated beatings. It’s fun for the whole family!”

One such piñata met its demise at an election night party attended by various peaceful folk. Here we see the piñataprior to attack. Note the caption:

There were chants of ‘kill the pig’.

UPDATE. Threats lead to charges:

A man accused of making bomb threats over social networking sites will front court today after being charged by police.

Police attached to the Joint Counter Terrorism Team arrested the 30-year-old man after he allegedly posted menacing threats on a social networking site.

He was taken to Bankstown Police Station yesterday where he was interviewed and later charged with two counts of use carriage service for bomb hoax, and one count of use carriage service to harass/menace.

Two search warrants were executed and the man’s home and car were searched.

No court report as yet.



Tim Blair – Saturday, July 30, 11 (11:09 am)

Patrick Michaels hails the possible return of Ursus bogus, but a lot of Michaels’s fellow science people ain’t happy:

The suspension of a wildlife biologist known for his research on drowned polar bears is causingconfusion and alarm in scientific circles.

And that’s just the start of it. According to the same article, scientific circles are also befuddled, flabbergasted and outraged. It’s now emerged that the biologist in question wasn’t suspended over poley issues:

A federal official says the suspension of Alaska wildlife biologist Charles Monnett is unrelated to a 2006 article Monnett wrote about presumably drowned Arctic polar bears.

But the actual reason remains unclear:

The official overseeing offshore oil drilling in Alaska said that a top Arctic scientist was suspended for “integrity issues” outside his work on polar bears.

It’s an authentic poley mystery.


Jason asks me by e-mail “What is the best single article you know of [to explain why] high US tariffs in the 19 century were not why the US economy grew as it did then?”

Good question – save for the fact that picking a single article is difficult. Scholarship seldom advances both significantly and unambiguously with a single article. Although there are exceptions in economics – Hayek’s “Use of Knowledge in Society,” Demsetz’s “Toward a Theory of Property Rights,” and John McGee’s “Predatory Price Cutting: The Standard Oil (N.J.) Case” are three that leap immediately to mind – the complexity of the economy and the often-multiple plausible competing hypotheses that might explain some phenomena require, practically, that streams of research (both theoretical and empirical) be produced and absorbed before reasonably firm conclusions are reached.

With the above caveat, I’ll take a shot at answering Jason’s question – but with two articles rather than one; both are by Douglas Irwin:

1) “Interpreting the Tariff-Growth Correlation of the Late 19th Century”; American Economic Review (May 2002); pp. 165-169. After presenting data from the 19th century from more than a dozen countries (including the U.S.), Doug concludes this superb – and superbly concise – paper by saying:

Rather than higher tariffs causing higher growth, the relationship could be spurious: land-abundant countries [including the U.S.] relied on customs duties to raise government revenue and also enjoyed favorable growth prospects, with little link between the two.

2) “Tariffs and Growth in Late Nineteenth Century America,” World Economy(Jan. 2001), pp. 15-30. Here’s a pdf draft version


Sunday will be the 99th anniversary of the birth of the great – the truly, deeply great and sorely missed – Milton Friedman. Nick Gillespie and offer this splendid tribute.

The world is getting richer. (HT Karol) In light of today’s Quotation of the Day, I point out that I rejoice no less for the improvement in well-being enjoyed by people in, say, China, Laos, and Zambia than I do for the improvements in well-being enjoyed by people in, say, Alabama, Idaho, and Texas.

You do not want to be in a debate with my brilliant younger colleague Bryan Caplan.

Every word David Harsanyi writes is worth reading.

Here’s a pdf of the late Murray Rothbard’s marked-up copy of a 1975 interview with Hayek. (HT Richard Ebeling)

Former Institute of Economic Affairs Executive Director John Blundell celebrates 20 women who loved liberty.

This new collection, edited by Mario Rizzo, looks to be filled with must-read papers.

Steven Hayward weighs in on China’s alleged ‘green’ achievements.

Finally, Cato’s Dan Griswold discovers that Ian Fletcher freely trades with the past in order to reduce toil in the present.


Here’s my two-cents on the calamity du jour (namely, the possible ‘failure’ to raise Uncle Sam’s debt ceiling).

In response, Roger Garrison sent to me the following e-mail (posted here in full with Roger’s kind permission):

I enjoyed your “Capping the Debt Hyperbole.”

You mention, though, that the government could “choose to default.” Well, if default means that you’re unable to pay, then “choosing to default” must mean that you “choose to be unable to pay.” Hey, that really does sound like government-speak. But I think a more accurate and more revealing term is “renege.”

Another point. Remember that the government’s authority to spend rests with Congress, while the debt limit is set by Congress. So, on the one hand (the left one), the government would allow more spending, while on the other hand (the right one), it can’t exceed the debt limit. Now, which hand do we think will win this little arm-wrestling match.

One more point. The debt limit was first set in 1917. During the 94 years since then, the limit has been raised (by the left hand) more than 100 times—more than once per year. Isn’t there a close kinship, here, between debt limits and New Year’s Resolutions? The main difference is that New Year’s Resolutions are broken only once per year.

Only when the subject of the conversation is government do most participants in that conversation treat seriously the notion that ensuring a debtors’ future solvency – and signalling to skeptical creditors that that debtor is indeed taking sensible steps to reduce its debt – requires that that debtor renege on its previous commitment to keep its borrowing from going above a certain level.

(And, btw, as Veronique de Rugy, and Richard Rahn, point out, Uncle Sam also owns lots of salable assets.)


… is from page 101 of Will Durant’s 1935 book Our Oriental Heritage:

Moral progress in history lies not so much in the improvement of the moral code as in the enlargement of the area within which it is applied.


An awesome perfection

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, July 30, 11 (08:30 pm)


Ouch. But there is a terrible pleasure in watching a team display such unstoppable aggression.


Rann told to scram

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, July 30, 11 (07:42 pm)

I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest, but a Leftist as Premier...?:

Mike Rann’s reign as South Australian Premier is expected to end within weeks, with Education Minister Jay Weatherill set to be installed as the new state leader.

The ABC has learned that right faction Labor powerbroker Peter Malinauskas told Mr Rann he should leave the top job before the next party convention.

It is understood Mr Rann vowed he would not go quietly.

In separate factional meetings this morning, a majority of left and right aligned MPs agreed to back Mr Weatherill as the next premier....Mr Weatherill, from the left faction, comprehensively lost a ballot for the position of deputy leader in the days following the party’s 2010 election victory.

Sources say Mr Rann was told of the decision to replace him yesterday afternoon and vowed he would not go quietly.

But in an interview with the ABC last night, he denied he was under pressure…

“I can assure you that I have no intention of resigning before the convention.”

It could get ugly, to judge from the Advertiser’s account:

In a meeting in his State Administration Centre office the pair, Right faction powerbroker Peter Malinauskas and Treasurer Jack Snelling, told Mr Rann the factions had agreed on a new leadership ticket that would see Education Minister Jay Weatherill installed as Premier and existing Deputy Premier John Rau continue in the role…

Senior party sources today said Mr Rann reacted in “an extremely hostile manner” when given the ultimatum and told the pair he would not stand down.

“Needless to say, Mike was not impressed,” one senior source said.

He was angry, extremely angry and made all sorts of threats...”


President Loveless

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, July 30, 11 (02:36 pm)

Peggy Noonan says she’s never seen a president with Barack Obama’s problem:

It is that nobody loves Obama.

This is amazing because every president has people who love him, who feel deep personal affection or connection, who have a stubborn, even beautiful refusal to let what they know are just criticisms affect their feelings of regard…

The past few weeks I’ve asked Democrats who supported him how they feel about him. I got back nothing that showed personal investment. Here are the words of a hard-line progressive and wise veteran of the political wars: “I never loved Barack Obama. That said, among my crowd who did ‘love’ him, I can’t think of anyone who still does.” Why is Mr. Obama different from Messrs. Clinton and Bush? “Clinton radiated personality. As angry as folks got with him about Nafta or Monica, there was always a sense of genuine, generous caring.” With Bush, “if folks were upset with him, he still had this goofy kind of personality that folks could relate to. You might think he was totally misguided but he seemed genuinely so. . . . Maybe the most important word that described Clinton and Bush but not Obama is ‘genuine.’” He “doesn’t exude any feeling that what he says and does is genuine.” ...

The secret of Mr. Obama is that he isn’t really very good at politics, and he isn’t good at politics because he doesn’t really get people....

The fact is, he’s good at dismantling. He’s good at critiquing.... But he’s not good at building, creating, calling into being. He was good at summoning hope, but he’s not good at directing it and turning it into something concrete that answers a broad public desire.

And so his failures in the debt ceiling fight. He wasn’t serious, he was only shrewd—and shrewdness wasn’t enough. He demagogued the issue—no Social Security checks—until he was called out, and then went on the hustings spouting inanities. He left conservatives scratching their heads: They could have made a better, more moving case for the liberal ideal as translated into the modern moment, than he did. He never offered a plan. In a crisis he was merely sly. And no one likes sly, no one respects it.

So he is losing a battle in which he had superior forces—the presidency, the U.S. Senate. In the process he revealed that his foes have given him too much mystique. He is not a devil, an alien, a socialist. He is a loser. And this is America, where nobody loves a loser.


Japan v Australia

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, July 30, 11 (12:39 pm)

Japanese street art, unsubsidised:

Many of the bronze sculptures lining Osaka’s main street known as the “Champs Elysees of the Orient” got some artistic pop on Monday. Working in the dark of night, someone mysteriously gave the naked sculptures a wardrobe makeover, dressing about two-thirds of the 29 models in splashy red outfits late Sunday.

A lot of care went into the work. The dresses were premade in red fabric or otherwise dyed a pinkish red, and fitted to each statue, most of which are life-size or slightly smaller. Long dresses hung off statues of older women while shorter frocks hugged young girls posing mid-prance

Australian street art, subsidised:

A council-funded public art installation in Oak Park made from orange safety fencing and featuring nature-inspired shapes has divided residents.

(Thanks to reader Jason.)


Labor breaks another promise, voters lose another say

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, July 30, 11 (09:22 am)

Labor has broken so many promises and cheated the voters so often that this latest fraud slipped by almost without notice:

A LEADING business group has attacked the Gillard government for legislating a new, deeper long-term greenhouse gas reduction target without consultation, despite Labor having promised to seek an electoral mandate before doing so.

The Business Council of Australia said it was ‘’disappointing’’ this week’s draft carbon tax legislation would lock in a 2050 emissions reduction target of 80 per cent when Labor promised in 2008 to go to an election and seek a mandate before toughening its target of a 60 per cent reduction.
The council’s deputy chief executive, Maria Tarrant, said the new target had been included in the draft legislation ‘’without discussion or assessment of the economic impact and what other emitting countries will be doing in over 30 years’ time’’…

The Rudd government said (in 2008) that if the world reached a highly ambitious agreement for emissions reduction the government would increase its 2020 target.

‘’Should the world achieve this ambitious agreement, the government would seek a new election mandate for increased 2050 targets,’’ it said at the time.

It’s no coincidence that global warmists feel authorised to impose their policies without even a vote of the electorate. Global warming theory appeals to the inner totalitarian. The whole scare is not about climate, but control.


Time to fund some sceptics, too

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, July 30, 11 (08:46 am)

Joanne Nova says it’s time to pay for auditors of the global warmists’ books:

GOVERNMENTS across the world have paid billions to find links between carbon dioxide and the climate, but very little to find the opposite, and that’s a problem.

Teams of professionals have searched high and low for any possible hint that CO2 poses a threat, and that is all very well, but no one has been paid to find otherwise. CO2 has been convicted without a defence lawyer.

It is self-evident that any expert in a field will reap more rewards, fame and fortune if their field is critically important. Why would anyone expect such experts to go out of their way to hunt down evidence that might suggest their field ought not be the centre of a global economic transformation?…

Did anyone really expect that teams of volunteers without offices, budgets, access to data or PR writers would spontaneously arise and point out any flaws? Would people with the right training choose to forgo Sunday golf in order to download Hadley radio-sonde data and shoot holes in the national temperature record? Actually, they would and they have, but it’s taken years to build, and it’s a silly way to run the country. This was always a loophole begging to be exploited…

It’s as if the government has funded a team of QCs for the prosecution, but spent nothing on legal aid for the defence…

Between 1989 and 2009, the US government paid over $30 billion towards “climate change"… If a government spent $30bn to find better uses for carrots, there would be carrot appreciation societies, carrot conventions, 400 patents on carrot-based wing-nuts, tents, and textiles, and 4000 peer-reviewed references on worrying declines in carrot hue, nutrients, fertility and genetic diversity, not to mention gender inequality in dietary carrot content…

We’ve paid to find a crisis, and what-do-you-know, we “found” one.


I’ll believe it’s serious when Flannery sits on his roof, cuddling cats

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, July 30, 11 (07:34 am)

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard insists “the science is in”. The planet is warming dangerously—and man is to blame.

Here’s one sign that Gillard lies.

Check where Chief Climate Commissioner Tim Flannery lives.

Flannery in 2006 warned we could be on the brink of causing the seas to rise by 25m if we did not slash our emissions.

“Picture an eight-storey building by a beach, then imagine waves lapping its roof,” he said dramatically.

“So anyone with a coastal view from their bedroom window or kitchen window is likely to lose their house as a result of that change.”

So how terrifying it must be for Flannery as he gets his breakfast each morning to look up and see the estuarine waters of the Hawkesbury, just 5m from his waterfront home on Coba Point.

Why hasn’t he sold up and moved to higher ground? Is it because even he doesn’t believe his absurd scare?

But evidence that the warming theory is hokum goes far beyond the fact that the professional alarmists don’t live as they preach.

Here’s just some of the science news and views from this past month that nail Gillard’s deceit.

The science journal Remote Sensing now says NASA satellite data over the past decade shows our atmosphere releases much more heat into space than alarmist computer models predicted, suggesting the planet won’t warm anything like we’re warned.

Science magazine says that NASA scientists rechecking ice-monitoring data from eastern Antarctica say reports of a big melt from the continent have been exaggerated.

The world’s leading climate scientist, Prof Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told me “since 1995...there hasn’t been much warming, certainly not that can be distinguished from noise”.

Australian physicist Prof Brian O’Brien, who worked on the Apollo moon missions, told the ABC “it was certainly not proven” that man was largely to blame for any warming and the danger “had been wildly exaggerated”.

Prof Peter Ridd, head of physics at James Cook University, has demanded sceptics be funded to check warmist claims because “I have as much faith in (their) science as I did in the police system in Queensland in the 1980s”.

A study by Phil Watson, a coastal researcher with the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage, shows the centuries-long rise in sea levels has slowed, now increasing at “a reducing rate”.

Meanwhile, Charles Monnett , the US federal biologist whose headline-grabbing claim that global warming was drowning polar bears was recycled in Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, has now been suspended while authorities investigate allegations of scientific misconduct, reportedly in the study that made him famous.

The “science is in”? Who says so lies, and until I see Flannery move to high ground, clutching cats for warmth, I’d say he secretly thinks so, too.


Helping sex offenders to breed

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, July 30, 11 (07:30 am)

Surely the issue isn’t whether the sex offender is still a risk to minors, but whether he’d be the kind of dad we should help breed:

VCAT cleared the way for a convicted sex offender and his wife to access IVF - despite a law banning serious criminals from fertility treatment.

The man, 33, was denied the treatment after he was convicted on three counts of having sex with a teenager in his care in 2008. He and his wife had started IVF before his arrest and had planned to resume treatment when he was released after a 12-month jail term early last year.

But the move was blocked by the newly formed Patient Review Panel, a body set up under Health Department guidelines using the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act.

VCAT president Justice Iain Ross ruled there should be no barrier to treatment for the man because there was no suggestion he posed a threat to minors.


No more pity payments

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, July 30, 11 (07:10 am)

Good, but it seems mad that these new rules weren’t there from the start:

AN estimated four out of every 10 people currently eligible for the Disability Support Pension would fail to qualify for the payment under sweeping reforms to the welfare benefit to be unveiled by the Gillard government today…

Under the first changes to the disability eligibility rules since 1993, people with a hearing impairment would now be assessed when their hearing aid was in to decide their capacity for work.

Previously it had been a requirement to be tested without a hearing aid. By contrast, those being tested for sight impairment were required to wear glasses.

Issues such as obesity or chronic pain would no longer be considered grounds in themselves for DSP eligibility. Rather, they would be considered based on how they affect a person’s capacity to function and work…

There are currently 815,000 DSP recipients, up by almost 100,000 from just two years ago...

No wonder.


But maybe Gillard knows more about broadband than Perlman

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, July 30, 11 (07:03 am)

Seeing will be believing, but if Perlman is right about his breakthrough, the Gillard Government is throwing away $36 billion - and probably more:

A TECHNOLOGY guru who has been described as the Thomas Edison of Silicon Valley claims to have developed a new wireless technology that could one day rival the download speeds on the National Broadband Network.

The new technology, called DIDO, allows internet users to access download speeds up to 1000 times faster than possible on conventional wireless networks, without any fall in speed as more users get on to the network.

Opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull said the wireless breakthrough underlined the importance of being “technology agnostic” when it came to choosing broadband solutions to meet the nation’s needs…

The creator of the new DIDO technology, Steve Perlman, has built himself a successful reputation in his native US, where he has been credited with developing Apple’s popular film-watching software QuickTime, as well as being involved in a number of successful technology start-ups. These include WebTV, one of the first services to link the internet with televisions, sold to Microsoft in 1997 for $US503 million…

In a paper released yesterday, Mr Perlman claims his new wireless technology breaks Shannon’s Law, a fundamental theorem of communications that posits all users on a wireless network must share bandwidth.

This means that, on conventional wireless networks, download and upload speeds fall as more users are added to the network. But with DIDO that principle is turned on its head.

“We know we can get to 100-fold what today’s cellular systems provide, and we are optimistic we can get to 1000-fold,” Mr Perlman said in a recent talk at Columbia University, where he first publicly described the DIDO system.

His paper states: “The potential of DIDO is to have unlimited numbers of simultaneous users, all streaming high-definition video, utilising the same spectrum that a single user would use with conventional wireless technology, with no degradation in performance, no dead zones, no interference between users and no reduction in data rate as more users are added.”

The NBN would immediately become a dinosaur. And your billions would be gone.


How dare a Murdoch paper question Nixon

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, July 30, 11 (06:59 am)

RUPERT Murdoch’s wicked empire strikes again—poor Christine—and the true danger is revealed.

This latest Murdoch crime was revealed in The Age on Thursday under the screaming front-page headline, “News out to ruin me: Nixon”.

In the sympathetic article underneath, former chief commissioner Christine Nixon accused the Murdoch-owned News Ltd of trying to do her in.

“She believed she had been subject to a relentless campaign by News Ltd papers, particularly the Herald Sun, since she retired following the Black Saturday bushfires on February 7, 2009, to force her from public life.

“In the 2 1/2 years since retiring, they have run a vendetta against me. They have published articles and beat up stories saying I am not supposed to teach courses, shouldn’t be allowed to sit on boards, not allowed to do leadership lectures, should have quit my job as chair of the Bushfire Recovery Authority, should not mentor people, and the final one is I am not allowed to write a book.”

Much of that is exaggerated or untrue. To express amazement that Nixon lectures on leadership after her catastrophic lack of it on Black Saturday is not the same as saying she should be “not allowed” to lecture or write.

But read on:

“Ms Nixon said what had emerged overseas following the News of the World hacking scandal was that News Ltd tries to intimidate people who get in its way.”

Ah, how clever of Nixon to use that scandal to excuse herself and appeal to the commercial and ideological interests of The Age.

To recap: a few reporters on one Murdoch newspaper in London have, years later, been found to have hacked into phones and bribed police for information.

Other non-Murdoch British tabloids have since been accused of similar tactics, which seem a hallmark of a kind of British reporting, rather than Murdoch ethics.

Indeed, no Murdoch paper here has ever been accused of such crimes, but that hasn’t stopped opportunists of the Left from trying to now silence them.

Deputy Greens leader Christine Milne demands an inquiry into the “bias” of News Ltd papers, which she accuses of “running a very strong campaign against action on climate change”.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she’s open to the idea of a media inquiry, claiming Murdoch newspapers had “hard questions to answer”.

She, too, wants to cow the papers that have chased hardest the story of how she’s wasted billions of your dollars.

Meanwhile the far-Left Age gives an ear to any huckster touting a story of Murdoch wickedness that might hurt its competition. So along comes Nixon.


Oakeshott threatens

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, July 30, 11 (06:51 am)

The only time Rob Oakeshott is likely to dump Labor is close to the due date for the next election, when it’s too late… for everyone:

JULIA Gillard’s minority government has been put on notice it will need to start delivering on tax reform by the May budget or risk losing the support of key independent Rob Oakeshott.

The NSW member for Lyne, who helped the Prime Minister to office last September, yesterday upped the political stakes for October’s tax forum, declaring everything was on the table for discussion…

He also said he was “completely underwhelmed” by Labor’s response to its Henry review of taxation and called for Coalition participation in the tax forum, despite its omission from the invitation list. Mr Oakeshott, who made the tax forum a condition of his power-sharing deal with Labor, said it was “pretty much” a make-or-break issue for him.

I will be doing what I can to make sure that they treat it as their most serious work of the 43rd parliament and, without being too explicit, I will be extremely disappointed if they don’t,” he said…

This week, the government released its invitation list and discussion paper for the upcoming tax forum. But it ruled out any changes to half a dozen controversial tax issues, including the GST rate or coverage, the mining tax, negative-gearing tax concessions and alcohol taxation, to the chagrin of business. It later added congestion charges, which was canvassed in its discussion paper, to the list of exclusions. Mr Oakeshott signalled his plans to dramatically widen the forum’s remit, saying he was open to all options, including the GST.


Peter Hartcher is astonished:

If you are the most unpopular federal government in 40 years partly because of a new tax that you plan to introduce, do you:

A: Declare that you will not make any further tax changes?

B: Quietly edge away from any further use of the three-letter word starting with “t” and change the subject?

C: Call a big public meeting where 156 special interests get to come and demand tax cuts, setting off a frenzy of media speculation, unrealistic public expectations, Opposition scaremongering and talk-back terrorising of low-income households?


Turkey’s top brass quit in showdown with pro-Islamists

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, July 30, 11 (06:46 am)

I am not sure what this means, but know that the government is Islamic and the Turkey’s armed forces have for decades defended the secular state which Ataturk built:

Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. IIsik Kosaner requested his retirement Friday afternoon.

His request was followed by the similar requests by Turkey’s Land, Sea and Air Force commanders.

The Supreme Military Council ... is to meet on Monday.

One theory - that the pro-Islamist government is trying to crush the securalists in the military, perhaps even by framing them over an alleged anti-government plot:

Media reports blamed tensions between the military and Erdogan over army demands for the promotion of dozens of officers being held on suspicion of involvement in an alleged anti-government plot

Forty-two generals and dozens of officers are in jail in a probe of alleged plots to unseat the government led by the Justice and Development Party (AKP), the moderate offshoot of a banned Islamist movement… The government insists the group be forced to retire.

The most senior of the jailed group is four-star General Bilgin Balanli, head of Turkey’s military academies, who had been in line to become air force commander this year. He was detained in May…

An investigation into an alleged 2003 plan dubbed “Operation Sledgehammer” to overthrow the government will see 28 servicemen will go on trial next month… The investigation, the toughest challenge yet to the once-omnipotent Turkish military, has landed about a 10th of the army’s generals in jail.

The case has, however, been marred by serious doubts over the authenticity of some implicating documents.

The soldiers allegedly plotted to bomb mosques and down a Turkish jet over the Aegean and blame it on Greece, hoping to discredit the government and garner public support for a coup.

But the alleged plot leader, retired general Cetin Dogan, has said that papers from a seminar on a contingency plan based on a scenario of tensions with Greece and domestic unrest had been doctored to look like a coup plan.


Nixon peddles a conspiracy theory with no motive

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, July 30, 11 (06:39 am)

An extremely elegant and effective series of questions by Leigh Sales, interviewing Victoria’s former Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon about her claims of a Murdoch conspiracy:

SALES: You argue in your book that you’ve been judged more harshly around these events than perhaps you should’ve been. Why do you argue that’s the case?

Nixon: [The] media has in fact been critical of me, continuing to be critical of me for anything I’ve done since, and I think perhaps being a high-profile woman is part of that.

Sales: I’ll come to the gender issues in a second, but you believe that News Limited and in particular the Herald Sun wanted to bring you down. But why? What was their motive? Why would they want to do that?

Nixon: I believe that they had an agenda. And I was in fact advised by people in government that they had an agenda and that was to have me resign from the Bushfire Authority.

Sales: But why?

Nixon: Well I think it’s about, you know, egos. It’s an issue that I believe they had an agenda that it was to get rid of me to show they were powerful, that they could have influence and that this woman could be gotten out of the way.

Sales: But again I ask: what is the motivation for this, as you see it, vendetta?

Nixon: Look, I don’t know what the motivation is. Perhaps I don’t know what a newspaper’s motives are. I guess we have to look at News of the World and look at a lot of what their motives were. You know, scooping other people, having people buy their newspapers, feeding the various people who want to hear what they have to say.

Sales: But, if you—to go back to the bushfires, if you hadn’t made those misjudgments, if you hadn’t gone out to dinner, if you hadn’t failed to inform yourself, if you hadn’t failed to check the warnings being given to communities, then those newspapers would have had nothing to criticise you over. So I come back to the point: is it not your own fault to begin with?

Nixon: Well, I’m not sure that that’s the case, Leigh. I mean, you’re suggesting that all of those things, if they had have been done differently, I still wouldn’t have been blamed.


Gillard’s tax is Colombia’s gain

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, July 30, 11 (06:36 am)

It’s incredible that we should do ourselves so much harm by doing something so useless to fight what’s a non-problem anyway:

ANGLO American chief executive Cynthia Carroll says Julia Gillard’s carbon tax could lead the miner to favour new coal investments in Colombia over Australia....

Ms Carroll said the tax would make the nation less competitive in an industry already facing rising costs around the globe.

“The problem we face is the significant headwinds on inflation, and input costs,” she said… “If you top that off with something that got put on top with no schedule, no plan, no ability to adjust for it, like the carbon tax, it is very, very difficult and puts us on the back foot as a competitor in the global market.”

Anglo is planning about $US4 billion ($3.6bn) of investment in Australian coal operations over the next five years but has said the carbon tax would cut in half the net present value of these projects…

But she said the carbon tax could lead it to press the button on Anglo’s Colombian coal projects at the expense of Australian investment.

“That is very possible,” she said. “There is no other country imposing this sort of carbon pricing scheme, so it puts Australia in a difficult competitive position when comparing it to countries that haven’t taken this position, like the US, like Mozambique, like Mongolia and like Colombia.”

So the Government deceives you when it claims the rest of the world is acting, its tax won’t hurt, its tax will help stop global warming, global warming is continuing, the “science is in” that global warming is man-made, global warming is dangerous and the costs of inaction are greater than the costs of action. All of the above is false, yet see what madness is unleashed in its name.


Do not pay a madman’s ramblings such respect

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, July 30, 11 (06:24 am)

Frank Furedi:

It is symptomatic of our illiberal era that so much energy has gone into preventing Breivik’s manifesto from being accessed by people online. A group of activists led by Anonymous has called on people to destroy Breivik’s legacy by republishing sabotaged versions of this text. The aim of this crusade, titled Operation UnManifest, is to create so much confusion that no one will be able to work out which version of the manifesto is the original.

Outwardly, this campaign appears as a harmless bit of fun at the expense of a social outcast. The censoring of Breivik’s manifesto is not a loss to European civilisation. But this act of censorship has the paradoxical effect of endowing the content of this manifesto with a mystique and significance it does not possess. It is also motivated by a dangerous illiberal impulse that suggests that because “I loathe this man, you cannot read his statement”. But who gave anyone the right to prevent people from reading Breivik’s ramblings?

Trusting people to make up their own minds about the content of this manifesto demonstrates that the kind of free society that Breivik seeks to destroy continues to thrive. Perversely, this act of petty censorship undermines precisely the value of tolerance that Breivik himself so despises. Yet it is precisely in a moment such as this that the tolerance of a society is tested.

He must go now so they can restore credibility. But there is no one to replace him. No one with credibility.
SOUTH Australian Premier Mike Rann is facing a leadership coup but has insisted that he has no intention of standing down.
Just like the world Gillard sees.
THE human brain creates its own version of reality, and the world we see around us is mostly make-believe, according to a top British scientist.
If only Obama were a leader ..
The Boehner bill passed with all House Democrats opposed, as well as 22 Republicans, but Senate Democratic Leader Reid plans to move ahead with his own proposal to cut $2.5 trillion from the deficit over a decade

Space by AGW believers​m
Any sulfurous molecules that astronomers spot on alien worlds might be a way to reveal whether or not those distant planets host life, researchers suggest.
Sullivan Ballou (March 28, 1829 -- July 28, 1861) was a lawyer, politician, and major in the United States Army. He is best remembered for the eloquent lette...

Hung out to dry by ALP
HE was once in charge of a fleet of multi-million dollar ferries on Sydney Harbour - now Rear Admiral Geoff Smith is helping customers select nuts and bolts at Bunnings.
Lucky I don't have to.
ONE in three female police recruits have failed the basic physical tests at the NSW police academy.

Sounds like a mental health issue.
TWO police officers have opened fire on a knife-wielding woman in northern Victoria, shooting her in the shoulder and leg.
Not good bus like behavior.
THE Education Minister has praised quick-thinking teachers who evacuated students from a burning schoolbus moments before it burst into flames.
I don't drink or smoke, so the tax is auto set at zero for me.
SMOKERS will pay 16c-34c more tax for a packet of cigarettes from Monday.

Not funny
A MAN accused of making bomb threats over social networking site will front court today after being charged by police.
Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom
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Bad policy costs
ASYLUM seekers who escaped Julia Gillard's Malaysia Solution were flown to Darwin yesterday as pressure built on the Immigration Department over"bad detainees".
Do trysts with extra terrestrials count?
SAME-sex couples who have married overseas will have their unions counted in the Australian census for the first time.
There is still room for the ALP to threaten and bully.
APPLICANTS for the disability support pension will no longer be able to claim they are too fat to work or are unable due to other ailments that would previously have led them to claim benefits.
It is healthy to mourn those who die so young.
NORWEGIANS began a solemn day of memorials for victims of last week's bomb and shooting massacre, and the first funerals for the 76 victims were being held.
Bad policy costs. The ALP taught me that
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I found it touching, and a reminder of a patriot's desire​m
The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days -- perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write you again, I feel impelled to write lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more.
Proof the UN is unfit for duty.
Member states of the U.N. General Assembly are busy hammering out how to slam Israel and restrict human rights like free speech at “Durban III” – the racist “anti-racism” event to be held in New York on Sept. 22.

We live in great times
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It all seems to come back to drugs or alcohol. God needs to be in a life for fulfilment.
Former Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu has been found dead at a home in a wealthy Los Angeles suburb of an apparent suicide.
This makes the misery of Harry Potter real ..
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She will sink, but maybe not 2020
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If Obama knew how important this was he could speak and make it happen now.
The delay casts doubt on whether Boehner can muster enough support even within his own party to pass the measure, which aims to reduce the deficit while raising the debt limit.

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