Friday, September 09, 2011

News Items and comments

A Malaysian delusion that still lingers on

Piers Akerman – Thursday, September 08, 11 (06:47 pm)

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard is racing home from Auckland to discuss offshore processing of asylum seekers with someone.

oh for crying out loud.
This state announces the most important budget for 12 yrs and you rehash another episode of the “love boat”

Jeez piers, sometimes you give me the tommy tits.

grumpy of casino (Reply)
Thu 08 Sep 11 (07:03pm)
DD Ball replied to grumpy
Fri 09 Sep 11 (01:02pm)

It is interesting to conjecture why the state budget is being opposed by unions. It is almost as if the union leaders feel that by antagonising the public they take some weight from the shoulders of the ALP.

I thought it was funny when the teachers union opposed the Fahey government’s policy for teacher pay in favor of the less well remunerated Carr policy. But I can now see they were being consistent. Here they are opposing pay rises for the next few years. About the only thing I can think of that might make the unions back off is to point out the ALP offered no better.

Even so, teachers still tried to access FACS leave to attend the strike. Shame on them. Every day the teachers go on strike the education department becomes more efficient. They will still teach their kids the same things, but in less time.

Winjan. replied to grumpy
Fri 09 Sep 11 (01:30pm)

That is exactly the point Grumpy, it is the “love boat”. Pay the people smugglers $10,000 per passenger without ID and this Government will give you permanent protection visas,welfrare for life and medicare for the whole family courtesy of the Australian taxpayer. Then send for extended imaginary cousins to apply for the same deal ASAP.

At least the refugees from offshore detention camps have been properly identified. Has anyone ever asked the criteria of an assessment for refugee status under the UNHCR. Europe went broke handing out welfare under the previous leftist Governments Grumpy.

Who gives a toss about the budjet anyway. Residents of NSW have lived beyond their means under Labor without much to show except for an overpopulated city from our North. A bit like Greece Grumpy, the slackers never wanted the tap to turn off. Time for a beer Grumpy & it’s your shout............... excaim

Mandrake replied to grumpy
Fri 09 Sep 11 (03:05pm)

DD Ball, I saw a nurse interviewed on the news last night and she waffled on about how understaffed and busy they are. Now this would no doubt be true, but I thought the whole point of the strike was in relation to pay rises being capped at 2.5%? Nurses were given a substantial pay rise just before the ALP was shown the door at the last election. Staffing in the health care system has been diabolical for years under Labor governments but as far as I can recall the NSWNA did not call for strike action. If this is incorrect, please feel free to correct me. Witness the degrading of the states Psychiatric Hospitals and Maternity services, it was an absolute disgrace but the NSWNA did nothing. Now pay rises are capped at 2.5% and they are outraged. This is a joke. The members should try to think a little about what they are being told and stop simply believing their union officials. They have a serious credibilty issue.

grumpy replied to grumpy
Fri 09 Sep 11 (03:08pm)

I am so over this stupidity called labor. There was no problem until they turned up. I have never seen a biggger more corrupt bunch of liars and inept idiots in my whole life.

As for the budget, whats not coherent about about my sentence. The bludgers come out of the wood work demanding, as usual, more than we can afford. Others say we should have gone into more debt.
For crying out loud that’s why the state and country and almost every other country in the world is in strife and the media fools want more of it.
Am I the only sane person in this state, no, dont answer that
tongue rolleye
not all of us lived beyond our means, its not really fair to ask those who were financially responsible to pay more and work longer for those who put themselves into financial risk.
Why should my wife and I have to work another 5 yrs paying more taxes and going without to provide for families who demand more for having a child, for child care, for buying a house and to top it off paid holidays for having a kid.
I am tired of hearing these people with families talking about their overseas holidays, swimming pools, solar panels and new cars. I have none of that so why should I have to pay for them.
I hope that is coherent enough.

Try for coherency Grumpy.

Piers Akerman
Fri 09 Sep 11 (12:18am)

Like a chook with its head cut off-aimless, directionless,unable to do anything and without realising she’s a dead chook walking.

AB of Jerra (Reply)
Thu 08 Sep 11 (07:04pm)
DD Ball replied to AB
Fri 09 Sep 11 (01:04pm)

I agree with the description without liking it.

Is it true that Craig Thomson has had all charges dropped?

There was so much evidence against him.

A Heiner-type “fix” ?


John Jay (Reply)
Thu 08 Sep 11 (07:15pm)
Peter B replied to John Jay
Fri 09 Sep 11 (07:20am)

Any one still a member of the HSU is a fool.

Death To The Left replied to John Jay
Fri 09 Sep 11 (08:30am)

JJ - in the Oz today there’s a story that Thompson and some other corrupt thug unionist were using a credit card belonging to a graphic design firm, a firm that was being paid $670,00 to produce 10 issues of a newsletter, one that should have cost a tenth of that. So what did Thompson and his boss Michael Williamson do with this money?

Well, Williamson paid school fees.

These union bastards are corrupt, Labor is GUTLESS to not pursue them, and the stench of the whole corrupt thug union system, with its snouts in troughs and archaic marxist IR beliefs hangs like a pall over the rotting corpse that is Gillard.

This ‘government’ is being kept in office by a thug union thief. This whole stinking ALP/Union cadre makes me sick to the stomach.

I demand an election, Jooolyaaah, you fraud.

Anthony of WA replied to John Jay
Fri 09 Sep 11 (08:32am)

The way I read it is, the police are saying he used the credit card so no crime commited. The question is for the union and its members, Is spending money on hookers right?

Maggie replied to John Jay
Fri 09 Sep 11 (09:08am)

Great Reply. Union members must kick up a fuss if they want their money used to further the cause of workers and not supplement an obvioulsy unlimited income of union officials so they can afford to indulge in whatever pastime they choose. It appears they are answerable to no one. Damned disgrace.

Andy replied to John Jay
Fri 09 Sep 11 (09:59am)

That being the case, why aren’t the Tax Office taking him to task over undeclared fringe benefits??

Trish replied to John Jay
Fri 09 Sep 11 (10:30am)

But didn’t he say someone else used his card without him knowing. If there was no fraud then this allegation must be a lie and he did use the card himself. question

Leo Gere replied to John Jay
Fri 09 Sep 11 (11:03am)

There were no charges and NSW Police were only investigating whether someone other than Thomson was fraudulently using Thomson’s HSU credit card.
They established that Thomson was the person who made the questionable transactions and that there was no evidence of another person using his card.
So the evidence against him mounts, but not in the jurisdiction of NSW.

Farce Observer replied to John Jay
Fri 09 Sep 11 (11:54am)

The stench of shady dealings grows ever stronger.
Whatever happened to common decency and responsibility
in this country. When were those qualities shown the exit door
and who pray tell insisted they go and why ?

ausebell replied to John Jay
Fri 09 Sep 11 (12:52pm)

Not over yet John Jay - I’m wondering whether this is the reason gillard is coming home early? Have a look on Tony Abbotts blog today - not sure if its mixed messages, but I believe with both gillard and thompson’s lying, this will bring the government down. What a great day for Australia that will be!

DD Ball replied to John Jay
Fri 09 Sep 11 (01:11pm)

Unionists can’t just drop the HSU. There is much fear holding them on. I know of two nurses, one makes a mistake with a syringe, and so both lose the privilege of syringe use. Imagine how those nurses would feel without the ‘cover’ of a union?

It is clear to me the union is exploiting its members in a non beneficial way. I feel the union members should stop paying dues until the matter is cleared. Maybe the union members can be compensated for their loss? If Thomson wants investment advice, he could consult Rivkin.

Hilly replied to John Jay
Fri 09 Sep 11 (03:22pm)

They’re not off the hook with Heiner yet…

The evidence only indicates that as a union official he was entitled to put hookers on his credit card.

Piers Akerman
Fri 09 Sep 11 (12:18am)

I believe Gillard was a very mediore Solicitor and I doubt whether any other large firms would have promoted her to Partner level ....

Louisa (Reply)
Thu 08 Sep 11 (07:21pm)
DD Ball replied to Louisa
Fri 09 Sep 11 (01:12pm)

The field is small. It has to be someone who is also supported by the ALP.

It is demeaning to compare Gillard with a child. A child is capable of learning. Gillard was wrong to attack the Pacific Solution when it was implemented. Gillard was wrong to attack the Pacific solution when it clearly had worked. Gillard was wrong to remove the Pacific Solution. Gillard was wrong to characterise the new wave of boat people as being unrelated to the removal of the Pacific Solution. If a child made those mistakes in a classroom they would be labeled as being unteachable.

DD Ball of Carramar/Sydney (Reply)
Thu 08 Sep 11 (09:03pm)

Labor policy belongs in an asylum

Miranda Devine – Wednesday, September 07, 11 (06:41 pm)


IT is extraordinarily pig-headed of the Prime Minister to be in Auckland this week for the Pacific Islands Forum, and not take the opportunity to speak to Nauru’s president Marcus Stephen about offshore processing for boat people.

I object to the argument that says “We don’t want those people” being employed to justify any of the positions. I get it that desperate people do not look their best. I think Australia can afford to be generous with refugees. I feel the Pacific Solution was generous and fair. I think the policy following the Pacific Solution by Gillard and Rudd to be terrible, unfair and lacking compassion.

People have died for bad policy. Put an end to it. Give us the Pacific Solution.

DD Ball of Carramar/Sydney (Reply)
Wed 07 Sep 11 (07:09pm)
Fair and Balanced replied to DD Ball
Thu 08 Sep 11 (10:51am)

DD..... your not a stupid person, just obsessively bias and conservative while ignoring the facts.

Which is facinating in it’s self.

This is the second time you have linked Labor policy, much to your shame, to death. When in fact more, on one boat alone, 357 died on SIEV-X Oct 2002 under Howard. More died under Howard, on one boat, then have died in the whole period of Labor Government. I pointed out to you that this was NOT Howard’s fault as a result of his policy. Yet you persist implying that Labors policy causes death… Complete and utter rubbish…

Regardless of the recent deaths on the rocks… Have the boats stopped...NO. So ask yourself, what policy is going to stop these desperate people from coming...?? None is the answer.

As a Christain and Child Protection Officer, I abhore putting children behind razor wire in the middle of the Australian desert in demounables or on an atol, Nauru, mined to within an inch of it’s life for phosphate, leaving a hot dry lunar landscape.. with barely enough water to shower or flush the toilet. As Howard/Abbott did.

How Christain of them and you..??

As per the Solictor General advice.. the High Court decision sinks off shore processing. It is now illegal to transport under eighteens (minors) to detention while in the care and control of this government to a detention centre run by another goverment..

Malaysia camps are supervised by the UNHCR, Nauru is not.

Just some facts for you ....DD.

DT replied to DD Ball
Thu 08 Sep 11 (12:38pm)

Not the Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel X again. The vessel was not given a SIEV number because it was nowhere near Australian territorial waters, the Christmas Island tragedy was on Labor’s watch, and let’s not ignore the other boats reported missing.

Pacific Solution did effectively stop the people smuggler boats, as DFAT website reveals the flood of boats was reduced to a trickle and the Howard government was able to close down most detention centres as they were no longer needed.

Labor abandoned the deterrents that worked and effectively gave the people smugglers their business opportunity and the resulting flood of paying passengers Australia is now trying to cope with and with concerns that the flood will turn into a tsunami since the High Court decision.

Fair and Balanced you need a reality check.

DD Ball replied to DD Ball
Thu 08 Sep 11 (01:46pm)

FAB, you forgot, Howard changed policy (ALP policy) from what attracted SIEVX to the Pacific Solution with TPV which worked. ALP introduced a new policy which hasn’t. Your gripe about children being denied water in desert conditions is current ALP policy which I suppose you would oppose if the ALP weren’t in government.

Weird Al replied to DD Ball
Thu 08 Sep 11 (03:33pm)

Dear Fair and Balanced.

Please refrain from using facts in your comments. This is a News Ltd paper and facts have no place amongst the blogs of their opinion writers.

Gordo replied to DD Ball
Thu 08 Sep 11 (06:25pm)

Jeez Livid what is it about “ INTERNATIONAL WATERS “ you don’t understand.
Your hatred of Howard has become laughable and how you can support this inept Government makes me think your mental health is not to good.
Relax take your meds and you will be ok.

Fair and Balanced replied to DD Ball
Thu 08 Sep 11 (08:20pm)

Sure DT...

...because the boat sank outside our waters, it was not under Howard’s watch. And DD is struggling with reality… Apparently all boats come to Australia because of Labor Policy ...even in 2002. And none have ever come under Howards Policy… Maybe the Vietnamese also came as a result of Labor Policy…

The problem with you lot is your lack of reasonable objective anlysis, rather than ideologically driven interpretations…

Sorry Weird Al...I’ve done it again. Hate to see a lower creature suffer… with ignorance.

James P. replied to DD Ball
Thu 08 Sep 11 (09:23pm)

@Weird Al

THe only facts that we want to hear are the truth, not the adjusted facts that you use to portray the picture you want.

DT replied to DD Ball
Fri 09 Sep 11 (10:52am)

FAB working from the present day position backwards it is very clear that Labor lost control of the border by abandoning the Howard deterrent system that had effectively stopped Suspected Illegal Entry Vessels from coming in the flood that had been, DFAT website describes the flood becoming a trickle.


Office of the Repealer



Government innovation from Kansas: Office of the Repealer. (HT: Matt Warner)


From Libertarian News (HT:Steven Wagner):

Background here.


This quote from the New York Times article on the president’s speech, highlights everything wrong with macroeconomics as practiced in the public domain:

Preliminary analyses of the White House plan estimate that the tax cuts could create more than 50,000 jobs a month, a significant boost considering that employment climbed by 35,000 jobs, on average, in each of the last three months.

Yes it would be a significant boost. If it happened. Of course, 100,000 jobs a month would be even better. But I guess the preliminary analyses didn’t show that. But how did they get the 50,000 number? A preliminary analysis. By whom? When? Using what assumptions? And where did the Times get that estimate? From the White House press team?

But the number 50,000 is treated as something like a fact. One reason it’s not close to a fact is that there’s no way of verifying whether this “estimate” is accurate after the fact. So what’s the meaning of this estimate? None. It’s a meaningless statement. But the media treats it like it’s science. It’s not science. It’s fake science. It’s scientism.


Is Scarcity On Hold?



Paul Krugman recently wrote that

As some of us keep trying to point out, the United States is in a liquidity trap: private spending is inadequate to achieve full employment, and with short-term interest rates close to zero, conventional monetary policy is exhausted.

This puts us in a world of topsy-turvy, in which many of the usual rules of economics cease to hold. Thrift leads to lower investment; wage cuts reduce employment; even higher productivity can be a bad thing. And the broken windows fallacy ceases to be a fallacy: something that forces firms to replace capital, even if that something seemingly makes them poorer, can stimulate spending and raise employment.

Let’s accept here, for argument’s sake, Krugman’s insistence that a large-enough quantity of idle resources nullifies, or even reverses, “many of the usual rules of economics.” (Unlike Krugman, I don’t believe that even significant unemployment of labor and resources in fact renders scarcity such a minor fact of reality that the laws of economics – nearly all of which are based on the prevalence of scarcity – are rendered null. But I here grant him that assumption.)

My question here is this one: Is an unemployment rate of 9.1 percent – heck, let’s call it an unemployment rate of 15 percent – so large, especially compared with a natural rate of unemployment of, say 4.5 percent – to truly suspend the laws of economics to the degree that Krugman suggests these laws are suspended? Does a (say) 10.5 percentage-point increase in the unemployment rate – as in, from 4.5% to 15% – work to make our world “topsy-turvy”?

Asked differently, at what rate of unemployment above the natural rate does the broken-window fallacy (start to) stop being fallacious?

I am not here attempting to be provacative so much as I’m seeking to understand how Keynesians evaluate the ‘conditional-ness’ of the laws of economics. IfKrugman’s general point is correct, how high must the unemployment rate rise above the natural rate in order to justify policies that make sense only in a world of widespread super-abundance of resources?

It’s certainly not clear that even a 10 or 12 percentage-point increase in the unemployment rate above the natural rate justifies the assumption of sufficiently widespread topsy-turviness – sufficient idleness of potentially productive resources – that policies meant to work only in a world of super-abundant resources are justified.


Quotation of the Day…



… is from page 249 of Vol. 9 of Hayek’s Collected Works; here – in an essay written in 1983 and originally published in The Economist – Hayek is discussing J.M. Keynes:

In these theoretical efforts he [Keynes] was guided by one central idea – which in conversation he once described to me as an “axiom which only half-wits could question” – namely, that general employment was always positively correlated with the aggregate demand for consumer goods. This made him feel that there was more truth in that underconsumption theory preached by a long row of radicals and cranks for generations but by relatively few academic economists. It was his revival of this underconsumption approach which made his theories so attractive to the Left.


Neal Phenes sent me this item from The Daily Ticker.

Mr. Task and his interviewees should check the data before concluding that the problem with today’s economy is inadequate demand – that is, before concluding that what today’s economy needs above all is “demand stimulation.”

Inflation-adjusted personal consumption expenditures in the U.S. today are higherthan they were in the third quarter of 2007 (the quarter before the recession began). True, these expenditures are only about one-percent above their pre-recession level, but higher they nevertheless are – a fact that requires some twisting of Keynesian dogma in order to continue making a case for more government ‘stimulus’ spending.

The problem isn’t that consumers aren’t spending; it’s that businesses aren’t investing. And businesses aren’t investing because Congress and, especially, the administration exhibit a ceaseless fetish for top-down, command-and-control, debt-financed ‘governance’ of the economy – an enterprise-quashing recipe made only more poisonous by Mr. Obama’s soak-the-rich speechifying.


Relatedly, see Michael Boskin’s fine essay in today’s Wall Street Journal.

UPDATE: I’ve updated the title of the post to better reflect my intended meaning – which was never that aggregate demand is today at its full-employment level. Rather, my meaning was, and is, that the originating problem – the cause of our woes – isn’t inadequate aggregate demand but, rather, whatever is causing business investment (and, hence, aggregate demand) to be too low. Failure of households today to spend seems an unlikely candidate.


Un-’Loch’-ing Liberty



Here’s a letter to the Washington Post:

George Will eloquently summarizes the lesson of my GMU colleague David Bernstein’s powerful book Rehabilitating Lochner (“Lochner and Liberty,” Sept. 8). David’s book centers on the 1905 U.S. Supreme Court decision that properly affirmed, in accord with the Ninth amendment, what Mr. Will accurately describes as “an unenumerated right of individuals, the liberty of contract.”

For this reason, Lochner has indeed been “the liberals’ least favorite decision.”

But many conservatives – including Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Scalia – routinely join “Progressives” in bashing Lochner. No less a conservative icon than Robert Bork derides Lochner as being “the symbol, indeed the quintessence, of judicial usurpation of power.”*

This overreaction by conservatives to Warren Court hyperactivity injudiciously expels the Ninth and Tenth amendments from the Constitution and, consequently, elevates majoritarian politics to a role in Americans’ lives that would appall the very framers whose constitutional design conservatives claim to champion.

Donald J. Boudreaux

* Robert Bork, The Tempting of America (New York: Free Press, 1991), p. 44.


The Bolt Report on Sunday

Andrew Bolt – Friday, September 09, 11 (05:18 pm)

On The Bolt Report on Channel 10 on Sunday: Peter Costello, Michael Costa, Dr Andrew Phillips and, joining me in the studio to talk about September 11 and more, the Opposition’s foreign affairs spokesman, Julie Bishop. Plus: has the ABC given Julia Gillard a secret weapon?

Sunday, at 10am and 4.30pm.


Of course police should check. It shouldn’t need the Opposition to say so

Andrew Bolt – Friday, September 09, 11 (04:39 pm)

My word, this needs investigation - and it’s surprising that the union hasn’t done so already:

THE Coalition has referred fresh allegations against scandal-hit Labor MP Craig Thomson to NSW Police commissioner Andrew Scipione, urging an official investigation.

Opposition legal affairs spokesman George Brandis said today he had written to Mr Scipione over alleged secret commissions from a major Health Services Union supplier during Mr Thomson’s time as the union’s national secretary.

Mr Thomson and the union’s president Michael Williamson, who is on the ALP national executive, allegedly received American Express cards from John Gilleland, who runs a graphic design business that printed the HSU newsletter, Fairfax reports today.


If this is the worst they can do, 10 years on…

Andrew Bolt – Friday, September 09, 11 (11:18 am)

Marking the anniversary:

Federal authorities are warning local law enforcement agencies of a potential terrorist threat involving car bombs that could coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, several sources told Fox News on Thursday.

The Department of Homeland Security confirmed that it had information about a “specific, credible but unconfirmed threat,” and the White House said President Obama was briefed Thursday morning and has been updated throughout the day.


Gosh, world domination is easier than I thought

Andrew Bolt – Friday, September 09, 11 (10:36 am)

Basically, I just type stuff at a keyboard in my study with an imprudent lack of concern for the consequences - and I keep typing to avoid having to think of some more meaningful way to fill in the hours between now and the grave.

But apparently this makes me someone to be feared. Who knew?

Must think of getting a proper job soon.


Gillard is wrong: Nauru isn’t dead, too

Andrew Bolt – Friday, September 09, 11 (10:12 am)

Reader Paul McSweeney is astonished that the Gillard Government is claiming the High Court decision against its Malaysian people swap means Tony Abbott’s Nauru solution is dead, too:

In its desperation to avoid admitting that the Howard Government got it right, the Gillard Government has been dissembling on a number of fronts about the effect of the recent High Court decision and aspects of the Pacific Islands and Malaysian “solutions”. ... Foremost in this web of deceit is the claim that the High Court would have regarded the Nauruan solution as being as illegal as the Malaysian one.

There is express contradiction of this claim by the High Court itself in the following 2 paragraphs of the joint judgment (Gummow, Hayne, Crennan and Bell JJ):

127: The Minister and the Commonwealth also submitted that the circumstances in which s 198A was enacted pointed against the adoption of this construction of the section. They submitted that s 198A was enacted with a view to declaring that Nauru is a country specified for the purposes of s 198A and that it was known, before the enactment of s 198A, that Nauru was not a signatory to the Refugees Convention or the Refugees Protocol.

128: Two points may be made about this submission. First, it is by no means clear what use the Minister and the Commonwealth sought to make in the proper construction of the provision of what they asserted to be facts known to those who promoted the legislation. The facts asserted do not identify any mischief to which the provision was directed. Rather, it seemed that the facts were put forward as indicating what those who promoted the legislation hoped or intended might be achieved by it. But those hopes or intentions do not bear upon the curial determination of the question of construction of the legislative text[121]. Second, even assuming them to be in some way relevant, the arrangements made with Nauru were very different from those that are now in issue. Not least is that so because Australia, not Nauru as the receiving country, was to provide or secure the provision of the assessment and other steps that had to be taken, as well as the maintenance in the meantime of those who claimed to be seeking protection. Thus it was Australia, not the receiving country, that was to provide the access and protections in question. Further, although the arrangement between Australia and Nauru was recorded in a very short document, the better view of that document may be that it created obligations between the signatory states. But whether or not the arrangements with Nauru had the various features that have been identified, the question of statutory construction should be resolved in the manner indicated.

Heydon J in his dissenting judgment went even further and accepted that s.198A was introduced for the purpose of implementing Nauru and he impliedly accepted in his judgement that Nauru would not have been a problem (paragraph 169).

The other judgments (French CJ and Kiefel J) either did not refer to Nauru in argument (French) or said it was not relevant for this case (Kiifel).

In summary, one judge of the High Court impliedly had no problem with using s. 198A in the context of Nauru. Two judges said nothing at all about the legality of using s. 198A in the context of Nauru. Four judges of the High Court said that Nauru was a completely different kettle of fish to Malaysia and left open the distinct probability that it would have been legal to use s. 198A in the context of Nauru.


No, it’s the gunfire that causes that sentiment in the first place

Andrew Bolt – Friday, September 09, 11 (09:39 am)

I think the judge has got this exactly the wrong way around:

A MUSLIM terror suspect who wounded a policeman in a gunfight escaped conviction on serious shooting charges after a judge found “anti-Muslim sentiment” made him fear for his safety...

Sgt Wolsey had been asked by a supervisor to arrest the man, wanted over terrorism-related offences. ..

Sgt Wolsey stated he and Sgt Bates spoke to the man who spun around, pulled a Browning pistol out of his pants and fired.

Judge Flannery accepted one of the three shots fired by the man struck Sgt Wolsey in the hand. ..

The man maintained he did not fire at police but at the horizon in what was intended to be a warning shot so he could flee…

Judge Flannery accepted it was a reasonable possibility he may have focused on Sgt Bates during the arrest, not noticed Sgt Wolsey, and fired a “warning shot in panic”.

“I am not satisfied that he put the Browning in his pants because he was planning to shoot his arresting officers, rather he did so because he was concerned for his safety, and the state he was in brought about his illness, his concern that he was going to be arrested, and the climate of anti-Muslim feeling in the community at the time, he believed that he might be harmed by the police.”

On the face of it, this strikes me as utterly bizarre.

(Thanks to reader Beryl and others.)


If Christianity is bad, why are Christians kinder?

Andrew Bolt – Friday, September 09, 11 (09:25 am)

What a surprise. A religion which urges people to be more loving, responsible and generous tends to produce better citizens:

The results are in: religious people are nicer. Or so says Robert Putnam, professor of public policy at Harvard.

Described by London’s Sunday Times as the most influential academic in the world today, Putnam is not a religious believer. Best known for Bowling Alone, the book that made ‘’social capital’’ a key indicator of a healthy society, Putnam, with his co-author David Campbell (a Mormon), has waded into the debate about religion in the public square with his latest offering, American Grace: How Religion Unites and Divides Us. The book emerges out of two massive and comprehensive surveys into religion and public life in America.

Their most conspicuously controversial finding is that religious people make better citizens and neighbours. Putnam and Campbell write that ‘’for the most part, the evidence we review suggests that religiously observant Americans are more civic, and in some respects simply ‘nicer’ ‘’.

On every measurable scale, religious Americans are more generous, more altruistic and more involved in civic life than their secular counterparts. They are more likely to give blood, money to a homeless person, financial aid to family or friends, a seat to a stranger and to spend time with someone who is ‘’a bit down’’.

Another reason to marvel at the suicidal drive by many of the intelligentsia to destroy Christianity, one of the few remaining civilising influences.

By the way, where are the hospitals, schools, ambulance services and old folks homes set up by the Greens?


The Age shows student what she should have said about me

Andrew Bolt – Friday, September 09, 11 (07:40 am)

I was a bit sad about this report in The Age, to be honest:

FORMER Liberal senator Julian McGauran is a politician of the old school, who has just begun his post-Canberra career at a new school - as a trainee secondary teacher at Genazzano Girls College in Kew.

Yet even ex-politicians find it hard to stop talking, so yesterday the school was putting this tendency to good use, with him instructing a year 11 English class on the finer points of public speaking…

One of the questions was his thoughts on Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt.

The former senator answered this with a straight bat, describing Bolt as ‘’very popular’’. ‘’Very prejudiced,’’ responded the girl questioner.

But even sadder about this report is the girl who was allegedly quoted. She writes:

Dear Editor

I refer to the article on page 3 of The Age of 8 September 2011 by Mr Geoff Strong entitled ‘Ex-pollie takes a crack at being a class act’.

I am the ‘girl questioner’ referred to in the article and I am concerned that I have been seriously misquoted in describing Mr Bolt (quite wrongly in my view) as ‘prejudiced’.

What in fact happened is that during Mr McGauran’s presentation to the class on public speaking focusing at that point on ‘influential speakers’, I asked Mr McGauran what he thought of Mr Andrew Bolt. After Mr McGauran answered, he asked me what I thought. I replied along the lines of, ‘He is an influential commentator. Some people think he’s a bit biased, but I don’t.’

I never used the word ‘prejudiced’ to describe either my or anyone else’s impression of Mr Bolt.

Mr Strong should take more care in correctly reporting the comments of others. Otherwise, he could easily stand accused of expressing the very prejudice that he sought to ascribe to Mr Bolt or my comment about Mr Bolt.


Aggrieved student

The student, already given one lesson about biased reporting, now awaits her next: will a newspaper caught out on an error correct the record?

(No link to the email.)


You read it here first

Andrew Bolt – Friday, September 09, 11 (06:30 am)


A new study reaches an astonishing conclusion about men:

In short, they are highly attracted to nice breasts and a cute backside.


Labor happy that ripping off unionists is legal

Andrew Bolt – Friday, September 09, 11 (05:49 am)

Several journalists yesterday bought the spin that Craig Thomson had somehow been exonerated by NSW police, and the Liberals had some sorries to say:

The Opposition says it does not owe Labor backbencher Craig Thomson an apology, despite police deciding not to formally investigate allegations of fraud made by shadow attorney-general George Brandis…

Asked if he owed an apology to Mr Thomson, Senator Brandis said: “Not at all. What I and others have brought to light shows a course of conduct by him, over years, in which he used members’ money as if it were his own.”

Government ministers acted as if Thomson was an innocent man wronged:

CRAIG EMERSON: Well this is obviously a bitter disappointment to Tony Abbott and George Brandis who thought this was going to be their cheap, easy way to the Lodge. Now they are actually going to have to do some policy work to put in front of the Australian people instead of sleazing their way, trying to get into the Lodge the easy, cheap way… And for Mr Brandis to seek to mislead people by saying there was insufficient evidence when the police statement says there is no evidence is a very bad reflection upon him indeed and he should apologise to Mr Thomson for this muckraking.

Treasurer Wayne Swan was no better:

FRAN Kelly: NSW Police this morning have said they will not be investigating Craig Thomson.

Swan: What it does is it exposes Mr Abbott’s tactics, his tactics to wreck everything, to talk everything down and to throw as much mud as possible regardless of the facts

The Prime Minister remained staunch:

JULIA GILLARD, PRIME MINISTER: I’ve consistently expressed my confidence in the Member for Dobell. He is there working for his local community. .

But the truth is that Craig Thomson’s defence - that some other unidentified union official had used Thomson’s personal union credit card to pay for prostitutes - has just been blown sky-high:

LABOR MP Craig Thomson is expected to rely on the disappearance of financial records and slack union rules when he makes a “comprehensive statement” to defend allegations he misused his union credit card in a $100,000 splurge on prostitutes, cash withdrawals and air tickets.

But he faces a dilemma over his claim that another person forged his signature on the card dockets for a brothel, after NSW police determined they were genuine.

We are satisfied that the person who used the card was the person whose name was on the card,” a senior police officer told The Australian.

“It would have been deception if someone else used it; that would have been a crime.”

I give the Government a little tip: it’s actually a very sleazy look to celebrate a finding that spending union members’ money on prostitutes is legal.


And is this kind of stuff legal, too?

THE Labor MP Craig Thomson and the union leader Michael Williamson, who is on the ALP national executive, allegedly received secret commissions from a major supplier to their union.

The two men, both senior figures in the Health Services Union at the time, were provided with American Express cards by John Gilleland, who runs a graphic design business, a Herald investigation has found....

At an HSU function this year Mr Gilleland’s wife, Carron, privately complained to senior union officials that Mr Williamson had ‘’run amok’’ with the credit card. According to one official, Mrs Gilleland said, ‘’He even paid his private school fees on it’’ and ‘’this was not part of the deal’’....

According to the HSU’s accounts for 2009-10, Mr Gilleland, 64, and Mrs Gilleland, 51, receive about $680,000 a year to produce 10 issues of the union’s newsletter, Health Standard.

These production figures were up to 10 times the amount other unions paid for similar things, industry sources said....

Mr Williamson, through the public relations firm Hawker Britton, denied the allegations. He said the suggestion he had been provided with a credit card by the Gillelands was ‘’complete nonsense’’.

Mr Thomson did not return the Herald’s calls....

Mr Williamson, 58, has been general secretary of the NSW branch of the HSU for the past 14 years. A former national ALP president, he is vice-president of the NSW Labor Party ... His daughter, Alex, is a media officer for Julia Gillard…

Mr Williamson is also a director of United Edge, an IT company that provides computer and mobile systems to Mr Williamson’s union.

United Edge is listed at the same address as the HSU’s state headquarters in Pitt Street. The company pays no rent, and it won the IT contract without going to tender.

Williamson helped to negotiate the payment of between $90,000 and $150,000 of NSW Labor money to Thomson, allegedly to keep him from going bankrupt and losing his seat.


Meanwhile, let’s not mention another case involving a union official ripping off his members:

BROADCASTER Michael Smith must make an undertaking not to broadcast material from an interview with Bob Kernohan, former president of the Australian Workers Union, before he returns to air on Sydney’s 2UE.

Smith was suspended on Tuesday as Fairfax Media and 2UE management investigated material to be aired in Smith’s interview with Mr Kernohan, including allegations of misappropriated union funds.

Yesterday, 2UE management issued Smith with a document requiring his undertaking not to broadcast material from the interview unless the station has evidence to support any claims that will be made.

“If he signs the document, he’ll be back on air tomorrow (Friday),” said Fairfax’s head of radio, Graham Mott… Fairfax Media chief executive Greg Hywood had no qualms over the suspension. “That was Graham Mott’s decision, which I fully support.”

The afternoon host remains indignant about the neutering of his questioning of alleged misallocation of union funds by Bruce Wilson, with whom Julia Gillard had a personal relationship before she entered politics.

To be clear, Kernohan is the accuser, not the accused, and Gillard had not only a personal but professional relationship with Wilson - and was not aware of his misallocation of funds.

(No more comments, for legal reasons.)


Flailing as they sink

Andrew Bolt – Friday, September 09, 11 (05:13 am)

An attack from the Greens should normally be good news for Labor. But Bob Brown this time has a point about the Immigration Department bureaucrats who briefed the media on why the Liberals should back the Malaysian people swap:

The bureaucrats also warned that a return to onshore processing would overwhelm the nation’s processing facilities and lead to asylum-seekers being released into the community, where they could cause social tension similar to that in England and France…

Earlier, Senator Brown vowed to fight any reintroduction of offshore processing. “We Greens won’t have it,” Senator Brown said. “I won’t have it. The Prime Minister is wrong. She is letting down this country on immigration and the decency that Australians want to see towards asylum-seekers.

“As far as the bureaucrats, these turkeys out of the bureaucracy in Canberra who are prognosticating about Australia somehow or other becoming a Paris or London burning, they should be out on their ears.”

The curious thing is that the bureaucrats made this alarmist claim when briefing reporters, but didn’t think it worth mentioning later when briefing the Opposition:

On Wednesday, Tony Abbott and several of his frontbenchers received a government-approved briefing from Immigration Department head Andrew Metcalfe, outlining the implications of the recent High Court ruling on Australia’s offshore processing regime.

The number of 600 appears to have been provided to journalists who, according to The Daily Telegraph, were also briefed by officials in Canberra a few hours before the Coalition…

The opposition’s immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison, confirmed that the figure of 600 was never mentioned and ... said Mr Metcalfe did not warn the Coalition of the risk of social disorder if offshore processing were not pursued.

And he said suggestions Australia was headed down the European path, where high immigrant numbers have been a major and chronic source of social instability, were irresponsible.

Michelle Grattan names the man responsible:

The comments, by Immigration Department head Andrew Metcalfe, were likened to the defence of the White Australia policy, with critics calling them inflammatory and devastating.

Labor defends him:

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen hit back at the critics and their ‘’simplistic characterisation’’ of Mr Metcalfe’s comments. ‘’The allegations of xenophobia against respected senior departmental officials … is highly offensive,’’ he said. Ms Gillard also defended the officials. ‘’They are giving the best of their advice and experience,’’ she said.

So now it could be war - with the Greens hinting at blocking a tax the Government badly needs, and which was one of Gillard’s first promises in taking over from Kevin Rudd:

In an apparent attempt to pressure Labor, Senator Brown also dumped his pledge not to block its planned mineral resources rent tax, demanding it be reviewed.

His shift came as Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie added to the uncertainty by describing the tax as unfair.

No wonder there’s a crisis meeting:

Ms Gillard left this week’s meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum in Auckland ahead of schedule last night, as colleagues drew up plans for a tactical summit today designed to wrest back the political initiative lost when the High Court ruled that offshore processing of asylum-seekers was illegal.

Ms Gillard and her ministers will consider the handling of legislation to deliver the planned carbon tax and minerals tax, as well as how to turn the political pressure back on to the opposition on issues including the economy and jobs.


Meanwhile, John Howard pours it on:

THE Gillard government is in a policy wilderness, with neither ideals nor ideas, according to former prime minister John Howard.

He said the government was incompetent, had bungled its asylum-seeker policy more comprehensively than any issue he could recall, the Prime Minister lacked authority and Labor suffered from “an identity problem” after chaining itself to the Greens.

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