Wednesday, August 24, 2011

News Items and comments

RACISM MEETS WARMENISM

Tim Blair – Wednesday, August 24, 11 (04:06 am)

This is beautiful:

Federal Climate Change Minister Greg Combet has accused Opposition Leader Tony Abbott of having a racist climate change policy.

It’s the law, people.

(Via Currency Lad)

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CELL SELL

Tim Blair – Wednesday, August 24, 11 (03:49 am)

You know, there are probably better names for inner-city Sydney apartments than Attica.

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ONE DAY IS A LONG TIME IN POLITICS

Tim Blair – Wednesday, August 24, 11 (03:48 am)

On Monday:

Senior cabinet minister Anthony Albanese said there was ‘’absolutely no reason’’ why Thomson should not serve as chairman of the economics committee.

On Tuesday:

Craig Thomson bowed to pressure and quit as head of parliament’s economics committee …

The member for Embattled – also representing the nearby electorate of Besieged – now won’t have his opportunity toquestion Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens about national finance issues. He faces greater questionshimself:

The opposition is pushing for a criminal conviction against Mr Thomson because it would force him out of Parliament and cause a byelection in his marginal central coast seat of Dobell. Labor would most likely lose that byelection and, consequently, government.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie said last night he was ‘’uncomfortable with the Prime Minister’s strong public show of support’’ for Mr Thomson.

The Prime Minister’s support apparently isn’t helping:

Colleagues say the MP is shattered by the controversy and the unrelenting pressure.

But Thomson’s Labor mates are right behind him:

“Mate, if he f---ing murdered someone, we’d try to keep him in until 2013,’’ a Labor MP said.

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WORKSHOP MANUAL

Tim Blair – Wednesday, August 24, 11 (03:46 am)

Are you the owner of a Red Bull F1 car? Then you’ll need this book.

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WURLEY

Tim Blair – Wednesday, August 24, 11 (03:05 am)

Shane Warne in 1994.

Elizabeth Hurley in 1994.

The chances then that they would ever be married? Not great. The chances now? Not so shabby. Best wishes to this unexpectedly well-matched couple.

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BERLIN FIREWALL

Tim Blair – Wednesday, August 24, 11 (02:04 am)

Some kind of car-b-q activity is occurring in Berlin:

German authorities are scrambling to contain and make sense of a surge in car torchings in the nation’s capital that have raised fears that the vandalism spree could escalate into the broader, more dangerous forms of street crime that have recently hit other pockets of Europe.

Setting cars on fire has become a popular form of class protest and petty crime in recent years in Berlin, triggered in part by tensions over fast-rising rents and other forms of gentrification in this relatively poor city compared with other major German cities. But the latest spate—including some 70 cars torched over the past week—marks a sharp surge in the arson attacks.

Could be “youths”. Could be commies. Most likely, of course, to be Norwegian Christians.

(Via Michael Rittenhouse)

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Diane Rehm Show

by RUSS ROBERTS on AUGUST 23, 2011

in STIMULUS, WORK

I was on the Diane Rehm Show today. Listen here if you’re interested. Some heat and a little light, perhaps. The highlight for me is the first caller who got through, Gray from Concord NC. A man of superb taste. Just after the 27 minute mark. I also enjoyed when Diane and I agreed about the bailouts. A rare moment of harmony.

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Krugman Stimulus

by RUSS ROBERTS on AUGUST 23, 2011

in UNCATEGORIZED

I have not found time to comment on the Onionesque argument by Paul Krugman(scroll down) that if we could only get people to believe that the world was about to be invaded by aliens from outer space, the spending that would then be justified would end the recession in 18 months. So instead for your education and pleasure, check out this thread on twitter and particularly the tweets of Political Math. Somewhere, Bastiat is smiling. I presume from the top down and not the bottom up. The latter is a reference to where the smiling is happening, not the policy perspective…

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… is from the final paragraph of my GMU colleague emeritus – and the 1986 winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics – James Buchanan‘s 1978 essay “Natural and Artifactual Man” (emphasis in the original):

Man wants liberty to become the man he wants to become. He does so precisely because he does not know what man he will want to become in time.

This exquisite and profound essay is reprinted as Chapter 5 in James M. Buchanan, What Should Economists Do? (H. Geoffrey Brennan & Robert D. Tollison, eds., Liberty Fund, 1979), pp. 93-112.

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5.8 magnitude earthquake hits DC

by RUSS ROBERTS on AUGUST 23, 2011

in HEALTH

I thought someone had driven a truck into the side of the house and kept the accelerator going. Then I thought maybe the washing machine was really out of control. Neither. Hope everyone is OK.

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Here’s a letter to the Washington Times:

Reviewing the Congressional tariff debate of 1909, the eminent Harvard economist Frank Taussig lamented that the unfamiliarity of members of Congress with facts, and with the tenets of even the most basic economics, is “disheartening” and “depressing.”*

Rep. Duncan Hunter’s (R-CA) harangue against free trade in your pages today suggests that little has changed in the past century (“Stop exporting American jobs“). Asserting that U.S. manufacturing “began its decline even before the current downturn,” Mr. Hunter apparently confuses manufacturing employment with manufacturing output. Manufacturing employment began declining in the 1970s; not so for manufacturing output. In fact, new orders for U.S. manufactured durable goods reached an all-time high in December 2007, the month the recession began. And today (June 2011), these orders are 20 percent higher than they were at their recession nadir in June 2008.

Ignorance of these (and other) facts couples with Mr. Hunter’s outrageous complaint that “The Chinese government is also the single largest holder of U.S. debt” to render Mr. Hunter’s essay a laughable screed.

Whatever are the demerits of foreign governments lending money to Uncle Sam, for a member of Congress – the very agency that is now issuing debt in historically unprecedented volumes – to complain that Beijing is buying much of that debt is the height of duplicity. And for Mr. Hunter then to propose that the same Congress that is issuing this debt ‘solve’ the alleged problem by further restricting Americans’ freedom to trade is an obnoxious insult to our intelligence, our wallets, and our liberties.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux

* F.W. Taussig, “The Tariff Debate of 1909 and the New Tariff Act,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 24 (1) 1909, pp. 1-38. The quotations appear on pages 7 and 10.

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Here’s New York Times columnist Joe Nocera on the N.L.R.B.’s enterprise-dousing effort to prevent Boeing from manufacturing some jetliners at a facility in South Carolina:

But a fair-minded person would have to acknowledge that the N.L.R.B.’s action is exactly the kind of overreach that should embarrass Democrats who claim to care about job creation. It’s paralyzing, is what it is.

The law, to be sure, forbids a company from retaliating against a union. But the word “retaliation” suggests direct payback — a company shutting down a factory after a strike, for instance. Boeing did nothing like that. It not only hasn’t laid off a single worker in Washington State, it has added around 3,000 new ones. Seven out of every 10 Dreamliners will be assembled in Puget Sound.

Before expanding to South Carolina, Boeing asked the union for a moratorium on strikes — precisely because it needed to get the airplane into the hands of impatient customers. The union said it would agree only if Boeing promised never to manufacture anywhere but Puget Sound. Boeing refused — as any company would.

It is a mind-boggling stretch to describe Boeing’s strategy as “retaliation.” Companies have often moved to right-to-work states to avoid strikes; it is part of the calculus every big manufacturer makes. The South Carolina facility is a hedge against the possibility that Boeing’s union work force will shut down production of the Dreamliner. And it’s a perfectly legitimate hedge, at least under the rules that the business thought it was operating under.

That is what is so jarring about this case — and not just for Boeing. Without any warning, the rules have changed. Uncertainty has replaced certainty. Other companies have to start wondering what other rules could soon change. It becomes a reason to hold back on hiring.

Ya think?!

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Sharing the pain

by RUSS ROBERTS on AUGUST 23, 2011

in UNCATEGORIZED

A number of people objected to my mentioning in this post the need to “share the pain” to get the economy on the right track. I wrote:

Our biggest challenge as a nation is our political system. We have overpromised and a democracy that ignores its Constitution isn’t very adept at taking away goodies from the masses. I am very worried about how that is going to turn out. We need to share the pain very widely and that too is not the strong suit of democracy.

What I meant is that the Ponzi scheme called Social Security and the demographics of Social Security and medicare are going to require a lot of people to get a lot less than they are expecting. That’s what I meant by sharing the pain. My point about democracy is that politicians hate dashing expectations. See Greece, riots in the streets of.

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Musical chairs

by RUSS ROBERTS on AUGUST 23, 2011

in CRONY CAPITALISM, UNCATEGORIZED

From a WSJ alert:

Standard & Poor’s President Deven Sharma is leaving the credit-rating firm at the end of the year, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The credit-rating firm plans to announce Mr. Sharma’s exit on Tuesday before the markets open. Douglas Peterson, chief operating officer of Citigroup Inc.’s Citibank unit, will succeed Mr. Sharma on Sept. 12. Mr. Sharma will remain at S&P through the end of the year in an advisory capacity.

According to his Citi bio, Peterson has been with Citigroup for 25 years. Citibank has been a huge beneficiary of government largesse (#2 recipient of emergency lending from the Fed–over $100 BILLION) as well as an eager participant in the affordable housing game in the 1990′s and early 2000′s. They are not a particularly healthy institution. Nor have they given any sign of understanding risk in the traditional sense. Given the help they’ve received from Washington, maybe their executives understand it all too well.

I have tried a number of different additional sentences to summarize my thoughts but I keep crossing them out. The main thing to realize is that both Citibank and S&P have little to do with capitalism and everything to do with crony capitalism. This is a game of financial musical chairs where the government keeps the market from calling the tune. The cronies call the tune.

I should add one more thing. People talk as if S&P and Fitch and Moody’s are independent private organizations. They are, sort of. But the structure of regulation empowers them. Without the regulations requiring their imprimature, I’d assume they’d be gone. Without the implicit support of the regulatory apparatus, why are any of the ratings agencies in business?

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We won’t tell you, they explained

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, August 24, 11 (05:31 pm)

Briefing notes supplied to Labor MPs - and leaked to The Australian - are a coaching manual on how not to answer any questions about Craig Thomson.

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What is going on in Thomson’s former union? UPDATE: Union goes to police

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, August 24, 11 (11:27 am)

Is the Health Services Union, whose credit card to Craig Thomson was used to pay for prostitutes, trading while insolvent? Its last published financial records, from 2008/9 show an alarming debt:

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Its auditors say this:

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This audit was signed off on only last month. Where is Fair Work Australia?

And can the union explain why it’s not asked for police to investigate its books over the use of its union credit cards to pay for prostitutes?

Oh. Silly question?

UPDATE

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Michael Williamson is increasingly a man with questions I think he should answer.

He was the Health Services Union president when Thomson’s credit card was being used to pay for prostitutes and withdraw $100,000 from ATMs.

He is still president of the HSU, which has yet to call in the police.

Williamson was national president of the Labor party last year, and is a vice president this year. NSW Labor paid Thomson at least $90,000 this year, reportedly to stop him from going bankrupt.

Thomson thanked Williamson in his maiden speech to Parliament for being “a marvel in relation to the long-term support he provided to me”.

His union has not published complete and fully audited financial accounts for more than two years.

I make no allegations at all of any wrong doing. I wish only to know whether Williamson knew of the use of Thomson’s credit card, whether he approved any of the payments made on it, why he hasn’t called in the police, whether he had any say in the payment Labor made to Thomson, what the purpose of that payment was, what union funds were used to help Thomson win his seat, and whether Williamson has any knowledge of any other HSU officials using prostitutes paid for out of union funds and what steps he’s taken to investigate.

A producer from my TV show has, like many reporters, asked for a comment but not received an answer.

UPDATE

The Health Services Union’s national executive has just announced it will refer the allegations against Thomson to police. Very, very late, since it admits it first heard of these allegations three years ago.

(Thanks to reader GL. No more comments for legal reasons.)

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I prefer lights on

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, August 24, 11 (11:03 am)

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Who else in the Health Services Union knew?

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, August 24, 11 (11:00 am)

Reader John wonders why the Health Services Union did not take action when its then secretary, Labor MP Craig Thomson, authorised a $2475 payment to a brothel charged to his union supplied credit card:

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Singer on the protesters

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, August 24, 11 (07:09 am)

Jill Singer is a modern Leftist. So when she sees a protest by working Australians against a government threatening their jobs, she instinctively sides with ...

Well, let’s extract her descriptions of the protesters outside Parliament on Monday:

... miserable little bunch ... fizzer… middle-aged .... pot-bellied ... angry ... refusal to accept that the Coalition got voted out ... scant regard for our democratic processes ... nonsensical ... loony territory ... loony ... whingers… bad losers ... more than a touch of paranoia ... kidding themselves.

Oh, and Singer teaches journalism:

Radio, TV, daily papers – Jill Singer has excelled at them all. Now the 25-year industry veteran issharing her skills with journalism students at RMIT University.

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Bagging another disastrous green scheme

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, August 24, 11 (07:06 am)

HERE’S a trick story, about a mad green plan to save the planet that’s just gone bung.

No, no. Don’t guess yet.

It’s a green plan based on ludicrous exaggerations and no common sense.

It puts consumers to lots of inconvenience, costs plenty, and now turns out to be all pain for zero gain.

I know, I could be describing any one of a dozen green schemes: solar rebates, wind power, “free” pink batts, the whole global warming scare…

All close, but I’m talking about the ban on plastic bags that was once one of the hottest green issues in the country.

The Rudd Government once seemed keen to slap a charge of at least 25 cents on every plastic checkout bag to wipe out what it swore was a planet-blanketing, animal-strangling menace.

Victoria’s Labor Government was just as keen, even trialling a scheme in 2008.

And South Australia’s Rann Government went the whole crazed hog, banning free bags in 2009.

You’d have thought our politicians had thought carefully before agitating for something that would be such a nuisance to so many people.

After all, who wants to carry around spare bags in case they pop into a shop? Who wants to fork out so much money for plastic bags each time they forget to take their luggage to Coles?

And why deny shoppers all those plastic bags so useful for odd jobs at home, from lining a rubbish bin to picking up the dog’s business?

But remember the horror stories we were told to justify a ban or surcharge?

Take Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett’s scares. We had “Four billion plastic bags floating around Australia’s environment”, he said.

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Labor’s arrogance is killing it

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, August 24, 11 (07:02 am)

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THE Gillard Government this past week made the same deadly mistake. Twice.

The first was to cover up for backbencher Craig Thomson, whose union-supplied credit card was used five times to pay for prostitutes.

The second was to sneer at the hundreds of people who drove their trucks and vans to Canberra on Monday to protest against this Government.

These are the same mistakes because they both expose this Government’s fatal flaw: Its arrogance.

There is one sin that Australians will never forgive its politicians. No government should dare to act as if it couldn’t give a damn what voters say. It should never seem beyond our control.

Paul Keating was flogged in 1996 after treating the public with disdain. John Howard was punished in 2007 in part for sneaking in WorkChoices without having asked permission.

And Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s already fatal mistake was to break her promise before the election never to give us a carbon dioxide tax.

The poll figures since that betrayal should have warned her she now had to do everything she could to reassure voters she was humble. Responsive.

But this past week? It’s as if Gillard and her ministers went out of their way to rub battery acid into the wounds.

Take their response to the Thomson scandal.

Thomson, chairman of Parliament’s economics committee until he resigned yesterday, was before his election in 2007 the national secretary of the Health Services Union.

Extraordinarily, his union credit card was used to withdraw $100,000 over five years from ATMs. It was also used to pay for prostitutes, and the vouchers for at least two of those payments were endorsed with his driver’s licence number and a signature that looks like his.

His mobile phone was also used to ring those escort agencies, in between calls to Labor and union powerbrokers.

One of the five payments to an escort agency was for $2475 - around five or six times more than all the other payments - suggesting more than one man was entertained. But who?

Thomson’s sketchy reply to these facts is that someone else, he won’t say who, used his card, and presumably forged his signature, presented his driver’s licence and used his phone.

If Thomson is telling the truth, a forgery was committed and union funds stolen. If he’s lying, a fraud was committed.

Now to the cover-up. NSW police at first refused to investigate what is a crime on any reading.

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said he would be “happy” to investigate, but needed a complaint from the Health Services Union. Only yesterday did police change their mind - perhaps mindful of how a refusal to investigate the powerful would look to the powerless.

But why hasn’t the union complained to police about the misappropriation of its members’ money?

That’s a question to put to its president, Michael Williamson, who was also Labor’s national president last year. But the union refuses to answer.

Then there are questions for the NSW Labor Party. Why did it this year give Thomson between $90,000 and $150,000 of its own members’ money?

Is it because Labor does not want Thomson to go bankrupt from having dropped the expensive defamation action he launched against the newspaper which first reported these allegations?

That seems likely, given bankrupts can’t sit in Parliament, and if Thomson quit, Labor would almost certainly lose the byelection, and government with it.

But could that huge gift from Labor also be an inducement for Thomson to not dob in anyone else?

Who knows? NSW Labor won’t explain its payment, and Prime Minister Julia Gillard says it’s not her business to answer such questions either.

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Treachery to attack Gillard

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, August 24, 11 (06:44 am)

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Bruce Wolpe, the former Fairfax mouthpiece now working for a US Democrat, can be instantly dismissed as a serious analyst for this one paragraph:

President Barack Obama retains the audacity of hope and summons us to greatness, but the winds of change are stalled.

What does “audacity of hope” even mean? And to what greatness precisely does Obama summons a Wolpe? Already it’s clear that Wolpe is a man in whom the most trite of slogans is allowed to displace any independent thought.

But on he goes. When Gillard was first selected as Prime Minister, the coverage of her was wildly enthusiastic (above). Even now, despite having not a single substantial achievement to her name, and only a string of the most absurd failures and broken promises behind her, Gillard’s personal popularity is little lower than that of Tony Abbott. Yet to Wolpe, sexism, rather than unbroken failure, explains the criticism of Gillard now:

The media coverage of her leadership reveals an obsession, a frenzy, at times an orgy, of rant and vilification. It is the woman being played.

But this is the most ludicrous line of all in Wolpe’s rant in The Age (but of course). To criticise Obama or Gillard for their utterly hapless leadership is an act of treachery:

Yes, there is a hell of a lot of treacherous anger out there.

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Well, nearer than Moscow

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, August 24, 11 (06:35 am)

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Oh, dear:

Fiction became reality last weekend when Channel 9’s weekend news bulletins crossed to reporters in a helicopter allegedly hovering over the Daniel Morcombe search site ”near Beerwah”.

On Saturday, the helicopter was in reality over Chapel Hill in Brisbane’s western suburbs.

On Sunday, the chopper was sitting on Channel 9’s helipad, with the rotor blades whirring.

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But the gallery agreed we wouldn’t mind being lied to

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, August 24, 11 (06:27 am)

It’s extraordinary how the conventional wisdom of the Canberra press gallery on the carbon dioxide tax and the broken promise turns out again to be no more than a case of wishful thinking:

Laura Tingle in The Australian Financial Review, September 30, 2010:

THE opposition gave every impression of being stuck in early 2010, dressing up questions about a carbon tax and the onshore processing of asylum-seekers as “broken-promise” questions. Prime Minister Julia Gillard might have said the day before the election: “I rule out a carbon tax.” But she also said: “I don’t rule out the possibility of legislating a carbon pollution reduction scheme—a-market-based mechanism.” And she certainly hasn’t ruled in a carbon tax yet.

Her comments could equate to a “never, ever” promise on a GST.

It’s only natural for the Coalition to pursue Gillard on the issue, but as question time moved forward, it was hard not to think the material was too thin to carry the Coalition all the way to the next election.

My own take on the broken promise, just three days before Tingle gave us hers:

Circumstances always change. But no circumstance has changed that warrants Gillard today reneging on a promise she made less than two months ago.

More than 80 per cent of voters at last month’s election gave their first vote to a party which opposed a carbon tax. There is no way any carbon tax could be inflicted on the public while Labor and the Coalition keep their promises. The only way it could be imposed is by Labor breaking its word to please the Greens - which would be a classic case of letting the tail wag the dog.

So this is not a situation in which a minority Labor Government is unable to fulfill a promise because of opposition in Parliament. No, this is instead a case where Labor voluntarily breaks a promise it is perfectly able to keep, with the Coalition’s willing help.

And that is not forgivable.

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Qantas struggles to fly with its unions on board

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, August 24, 11 (06:21 am)

Janet Albrechtsen says struggling Qantas is being dragged down by its unions:

Unencumbered by logic, the unions are the biggest drag on our flying kangaroo. Take, for example, the pilots’ union demand that all pilots on Jetstar and other Qantas affiliate airlines be paid the same as Qantas pilots. This is sheer economic lunacy. Jetstar ... has excelled because it has negotiated different enterprise agreements with its staff that enable it to compete favourably with other low-cost airlines.

Now check out the terms of your average Qantas pilot. They receive higher salaries than most long-haul pilots across the globe and fly fewer hours, receive six weeks’ leave and 25 sick days. They get cheap flights and upgrades to the pointy end of the plane. But they want more - for starters, a 2.5 per cent wage increase for the next three years, free international economy tickets, upgradable to seats closer to the cockpit and $1 million to fund their union bosses each year.

The pilots’ greedy demands will endanger the low-cost Jetstar business and burden Qantas with costs its international airline cannot afford....

Consider also the deceptive claims from the highly educated engineers’ union ... Their emotive claim for “job security” is a demand to entrench outdated and inefficient maintenance practices that most other airlines have long since reformed....

And don’t fall for the unions’ wicked use of emotional tricks. Steve Purvinas, the boss of the engineers’ union, said last month: “Alan Joyce does not want Australian aircraft engineers inspecting aircraft because we find things wrong with them; he’d rather take his chances that nothing goes wrong at 40,000 feet."… This arrant nonsense highlights why the union movement has only itself to blame for its slow demise…

One need only look at the Qantas share price today to fathom the challenges facing Qantas. Recall the takeover bid at $5.45 in 2007 rejected by large shareholders as inadequate. Yesterday, Qantas shares closed at $1.54. The world has changed and Qantas is trying to change to survive.

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The analogy is right. So why is it dangerous to say so?

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, August 24, 11 (05:59 am)

Greg Smith is right - but for saying the very same things I face two threats of legal action, which suggests he might also recommend changes to the law to protect free speech on this issue:

NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith has accused the Greens of echoing the worst aspects of historical anti-Semitism in Europe in their bid to ban economic, sporting and cultural contacts with Israel.

In a speech at Sydney University today, Mr Smith will argue the party’s support for the BDS campaign reveals “an ugly underbelly of the Australian Greens’ agenda”.

“The BDS resolution against Jewish businesses passed in December 2010 by the Marrickville Council and, more recently, violent activist protests against Jewish businesses, in particular Max Brenner chocolate and coffee stores, are eerily reminiscent of Jewish pogroms of earlier times,” he will say.

Intensifying his attack on the Greens, Mr Smith will accuse the party of displaying “a strong atheistic and anti-religious tendency” that works against religious freedom. “Where there is an attempt to curtail the rights of religious groups, particularly Christian ones, the Greens are never too far away.”

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Why are all these people protecting Thomson?

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, August 24, 11 (05:51 am)

The question may be: “What has the union got to hide?”:

THE Health Services Union will today consider whether to make a complaint to NSW police over Labor MP Craig Thomson’s alleged misuse of a union credit card claimed to involve personal expenditure of more than $100,000 of union funds.

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione yesterday issued a statement that he was assessing whether a criminal probe should be launched following an approach from federal opposition legal affairs spokesman George Brandis.

But legal experts said a formal complaint from the HSU as the alleged victim of credit-card misuse would compel him to act, and spare him from any suggestion that such an investigation was due to political pressure.

HSU sources said the matter would be discussed at a scheduled national executive meeting today.

The meeting could pit the HSU’s national secretary, Kathy Jackson, who launched the union’s investigations into Mr Thomson’s credit-card use, against the head of its Victoria-NSW branch, Mike Williamson, who is a long-time friend and supporter of Mr Thomson.

Does Labor have anything to hide, or is this spending of members’ money really just to stay in power by keeping Thomson solvent after dropping his disastrous defamation action against the Sydney Morning Herald?

He recently withdrew a defamation action against Fairfax, which first published the allegations. Labor elders in NSW said it was desperation that led party bosses to foot his legal bills. They told The Australian it was unprecedented for the party to cover the costs of an MP who had sued for defamation, but Mr Thomson’s case was different because it could bring down the government.

Party chiefs have refused to confirm or deny spending up to $90,000 to bail the besieged MP outof his failed attempt to sue Fairfax newspapers, but continued to insist it was “not unusual” for political parties to lend a financial hand to MPs involved in defamation suits. However,senior figures said this had occurred only when an MP was the target, rather than the initiator, of court proceedings. “There are any number of instances of Labor figures who sued and didn’t get any coverage from the party,” former NSW education minister Rodney Cavalier said.

Andrew Wilkie gives a hint that ethics in government might be an issue for him:

Last night independent Andrew Wilkie said he was ‘’uncomfortable with the Prime Minister’s strong public show of support ‘’ for Mr Thomson - but he emphasised proper process needed to run its course.

The Opposition turns up the heat:

Shadow finance minister Andrew Robb declared: ‘’Look at the evidence that comes out … that he has lied, that he is a thief, yet the Prime Minister stands up here daily and supports [him].’’

Labor’s response - that the others do it, too - lacks a certain sophistication:

In the Senate, party elder John Faulkner branded the Howard era ‘’11½ years of sleaze, ministerial scandals and abuse of power’’.

Thomson denies any wrongdoing with union funds, and denies using the prostitutes.

What signal does this send, this desperate protection of Thomson? This failure to call in police to investigate the misuse of union members’ money by him or some unknown other to pay for prostitutes?

UPDATE

It could get far worse yet:

Chris Seage, CEO of sex industry consulting firm Brothel Busters, says ... “On entering the client’s premises, the prostitute will normally seek to ensure the identity of the customer by viewing a form of photo ID - I would have thought particularly in this case with large amounts of money involved....”

Before investigating brothels, Seage was a senior audit manager at the Australian Taxation Office. And he believes his former employer would be taking an active interest in the claims being made about the use of Thomson’s credit card while he was with the HSU - particularly claims of cash withdrawals and the use of his corporate credit card for non-work-related brothel, escort and other services… “Whether it’s Thomson using this card or someone else, the ATO would have serious issues with this, as they would classify many of the cash advances as private expenditure because of the absence of receipts....

“It’s an absurd notion that any employer in Australia would provide sexual services as a fringe benefit,” he says.

“There’s no way the ATO would wear that. They would instead look at that as private expenditure, and add it to the assessable income of whoever was using the credit card.”

A formal ATO investigation is now likely, if it has not already taken place, Seage says… “If Thomson is served with a formal notice by the ATO, he is obliged to answer all questions and must take an oath or affirmation in giving that evidence.” ...

“It is my view that whoever was using Thomson’s card could face a substantial tax bill, penalties and possibly even prosecution for not declaring the income.”

UPDATE

Does Thomson have any sense of propriety?

NEW revelations have emerged that MP Craig Thomson lobbied a Central Coast firm for a job for his ex-wife as the Opposition again attempts to have him answer allegations in parliament today.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal the besieged MP used his parliamentary email to lobby Central Coast Group Training (CCGT) on behalf of his ex-wife Christa in March - at the same time it had applied for $2.7 million in Commonwealth funding

In an email to CCGT manager Alison Cook dated March 11 this year, Mr Thomson wrote: “Hi Alison, here is Christa’s resume as discussed. I will get her to give you a call.”

However, CCGT management decided it would be inappropriate to give Mrs Thomson work due to the role played by her ex-husband in the funding.

UPDATE

The Health Services Union has decided today to refer the allegations against Thomson to police.

(No comments for legal reasons.)

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And in exchange for this pain…

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, August 24, 11 (12:02 am)

And the effect on the world’s temperature will be...?

THE Gillard government’s carbon tax will hit Queensland the hardest, costing an estimated 21,000 in forecasted new jobs and slashing state growth by 2.76 per cent to 2020, according to economic modelling commissioned by the Bligh Government.

The Deloitte Access Economics report, tabled today in the Queensland Parliament, warns that Queensland is the most vulnerable to the tax estimated to cut state growth by 0.57 per cent more than the rest of the country over the decade—because of its dependence on the high-emitting resources sector.

Treasurer Andrew Fraser released the Deloittes report, as well as separate modelling from Queensland Treasury which predicts a smaller impact over the next decade of just 0.4 per cent to growth and almost half the job losses of 12,000 in 2019-20.

Both reports have estimated falls in projected new jobs.

But both reports warn that the economic burden of the Gillard Government’s carbon tax will steadily increase with the windown of financial assistance to high-emitting industries.

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In England, after a drought, mice learned to dive in a lake for shell fish.
www.news.com.au
MURDOCH University researchers believe a recently documented method of fishing maybe spreading throughout a population of Western Australia's dolphins.
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Liked on www.youtube.com
Gore speaks to congress on the problem of Manbearpig


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I do not know the depths of that grief. But I would do much to share the burden.
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Zombie Apocalypse and Australian Made .. from Fairfield.
Hidden Peaks is a digital series that takes viewers through a first-person experience through the eyes of two characters on a struggling and dangerous journey in a world shrouded with evil and terror. Survival is a must, but in this scenario it's never eas...

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More ALP corruption
www.news.com.au
FORMER Queensland premier Peter Beattie has been appointed by the federal government to help Australian manufacturers compete for mining-related contracts.
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He is taking his skirt elsewhere.
www.news.com.au
LIBYAN leader Muammer Gaddafi said today he had abandoned his Tripoli compound, seized earlier by rebel fighters, in a "tactical withdrawal."
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I am sure she did a good job with the accent.
Surprise! Despite her reputation as a goody two-shoes goofball, Anne Hathaway finds it less


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This is a test of building codes.
An unusually strong magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck central Virginia Tuesday afternoon and sent tremors along the East Coast, which prompted office buildings from Washington D.C. to New York to be evacuated.

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More likely he is wearing women's clothing.
Libyan rebels have completely captured Muammar al-Qaddafi’s main military compound in Tripoli after several hours of resistance, rebels and media reports say. The embattled leader, however, has not been located.

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Stop stealing money.
UNIONS in South Australia will today unveil the next phase of their campaign to refocus the state government on core Labor values.
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It is a mistake to think the social engineering is the Greens and not Gillard. The Greens want it, but Gillard is exploiting that.
MORE than 50 church leaders have directly appealed to all 226 federal MPs not to change the Marriage Act, kicking off a campaign to defeat moves by Labor and the Greens to allow same-sex marriage.
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Lawyers win
BY all reports, Samsung's third tablet computer is its best.

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Which is why global warming evangelists often fail with the young
FORGET baby talk. Kids as young as four are so savvy they can detect if you are an unreliable source of information - even when you give them the right answer.
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Including getting around media bias
FRUSTRATED consumers sick of companies ignoring their complaints are turning to Facebook and Twitter to get satisfaction.
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What is the bet all the religious icons exploited are Christian?
THEY come with a sign on the front door warning visitors may be offended.

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This is heroism. This is the ultimate price. Mr Abbott is right
AS an elite sniper, Private Matthew Lambert would have been at the head of the Australian, US and Afghan troops out on foot patrol in the early hours of the morning.
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Teachers have been doing it since the beginning of recorded history. It doesn't hurt.
ARE you multi-tasking while reading this? That's checking your emails and making the kids breakfast, for instance and it may not make you smarter.
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The solution is simple. Vote Liberal and National
MEN are more optimistic about the future than women.

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Don't protect the perpetrators. Turn them in to the police.
FIVE drive-by shootings in as many days - peppering homes and businesses with bullets which narrowly missed several people - has sparked the formation of a specialist police strike force.
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What is the complaint? Can we have those 1200 signatories verified? If the complaint is meaningless then the work should proceed.
ORTHODOX Jewish residents were outraged last night after their council rejected an application to construct a religious enclosure around their northern Sydney suburb.
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Clover seems to represent the rich and indulgent.
FOR more than 100 years it has been a key naval facility, a site where warships dock for repairs and maintenance.
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Embezzlement?
THE former chairman of directors of Sydney's Malek Fahd school claims he was removed from the position in 2008 after he refused to transfer several million dollars from the college to Australia's peak...
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Gillard is right to say the Malaysian solution is different to the Pacific Solution. The Pacific Solution was fair and effective
PRIME Minister Julia Gillard says Labor's asylum-seeker deals with Malaysia and Papua New Guinea are not the same as John Howard's Pacific Solution.

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My dad said a few words to me and they were far more effective than public humiliation like this. But the assumption has to be that the home communication isn't always antagonistic. There has to be some respect.
A MUM has ignited a national debate after making her 10-year-old son stand in a busy park wearing a sign saying, "Do not trust me. I will steal from you as I am a thief".


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Smith nails it
NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith has accused the Greens of echoing the worst aspects of historical anti-Semitism in Europe in their bid to ban economic, sporting and cultural contacts with Israel.
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The policy is bad. The Pacific Solution was effective.
THREATS to burn Curtin Detention Centre "to the ground" have seen seven detainees from the remote centre transferred in handcuffs to Christmas Island in a secretive high-security operation.
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I never go to these places.
THE state's clubs and pubs are anxiously awaiting a legal decision in a landmark legal case which tests NSW's tough smoking bans.
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Whatever it was, she isn't going to get up and walk. Drugs had damaged her.
AMY Winehouse had no illegal drugs in her system when she died, the official toxicology report has revealed.
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It isn't news. It is entertainment. It is also parochial and unbalanced.
IT'S the type of thing that happened in the fictional current affairs show Frontline.

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Is there any evidence of competence? The ALP should boot him for his bad work. Instead they embrace him. Some call it loyalty. Good people know it is corruption.
CRAIG Thomson bowed to pressure and quit as head of parliament's economics committee last night.

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