Saturday, September 10, 2011

News Items and comments

Enemies of free speech

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, September 10, 11 (03:07 pm)

Will the inquiry come up with a blacklist of conservative columnists? A guide on how to report the news to suit the Left? Laws against any newspaper proprietor with the first name of “Rupert”?” title="THE Gillard government is understood to be considering a media inquiry with narrow terms of reference focused on the print media">THE Gillard government is understood to be considering a media inquiry with narrow terms of reference focused on the print media, despite a strong push from the Greens for a much broader probe.

The Greens leader, Bob Brown, will move to set up an inquiry on Wednesday, with draft terms of reference seen by the Herald proposing it consider whether technological change is hurting quality journalism and whether the government can do anything to encourage investment in quality journalism.

Senator Brown also wants the inquiry to look at whether the ‘’media ownership landscape’’ is serving the public interest, whether the print media regulator - the Press Council - is effective and at ‘’past and present practices of the media both in Australia and internationally’’.

The agenda of the greens and the Government is transparent and sinister. It is nothing less than an attempt to intimidate or even muzzle its critics.

It is a disgrace that this should be openly proposed, and a scandal that the usual noisy defenders of “human rigts” say nothing in protest.


Rudd or no one

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, September 10, 11 (12:01 pm)

Laurie Oakes:

Kevin Rudd’s popularity with the public can’t be ignored, even by the faceless party and union heavies who like to think they decide issues about leadership.

With Rudd at 57 per cent as preferred Labor leader, according to the latest Newspoll, and Julia Gillard languishing at 24 per cent, the power brokers are in no position to blithely anoint someone else for the job.


Rudd swears he won’t bite:

ALLIES of Kevin Rudd are telling colleagues he is ready to forgive and forget if offered back the ALP leadership.

Senior Government sources say a small group of MPs, who backed Mr Rudd in last year’s coup, are trying to convince their colleagues that there will be no retribution if he is returned to the Lodge…

Mr Rudd’s backers vowed he was “no longer autocratic” and had eaten humble pie. They claimed he had learnt from his mistakes.

One minister, who confirmed he had heard such statements, said no one should be fooled.

“Rudd must think we all have the memories of goldfish,” he said.


Apart from her mistakes, what has Gillard done wrong?

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, September 10, 11 (08:57 am)

The ABC’s Richard Glover doesn’t get it:

Can someone explain to me why people hate Julia Gillard with such intensity? Why is she getting so much more heat than other politicians who have made mistakes?

There may be a reason for Glover’s bemusement. Missing from his analysis are the following words:

- “there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead”

- “East Timor detention centre”

- “Cash for Clunkers”

- “mining tax”

- “Citizens’ Assembly”

- “Kevin Rudd”

- “there’s more chance of me becoming the full-forward for the Dogs than there is any chance of a change in the Labor party”.

- “Building the Education Revolution”

- “live cattle exports”

- “$36 billion national broadband network”

- “white elephant”

- “media inquiry”

- “Nauru”

- “spin”

- “clean energy future”

- “patronising”

- “how much her tax will actually change the world’s temperature”

Included in Glover’s analysis are improbable excuses for:

- caving in to the Greens

- standing by a guy whose union credit card was used to pay for prostitutes


At least our Macedonians are free

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, September 10, 11 (08:03 am)

IS it a rule that you have to be Anglo-Saxon to be a racist?

I ask, because the human rights division of VCAT has let off a Macedonian newspaper for the kind of hate-speech I doubt I’d be forgiven.

The Australian Macedonian Weekly two years ago published - in English - a furious article listing all the alleged ways Greeks had crushed Macedonian culture.

Boy, did the author let himself go. The Greeks were “a thieving nation”, “these Greek deranged dastardly monsters”, “stinking Greek teacher and a spy-for-a-priest”, “freaks of nature”, “deranged monsters” and “an evil alien abstraction”.

“What evil spirits possessed your moronic conscience?” howled the author. Why were Greeks “predisposed to such ghastly monstrosity”?

Having myself been served with please explains from equal opportunity enforcers for suggesting Anglo-Saxons could learn from the study ethic of many Asian students, that Italy’s war record wasn’t first-class and that it is absurd to insist on racial divisions so trivial as to be indistinguishable to the eye, I expected the Macedonian Weekly to go down like the drachma.

What is Victoria’s sinister Racial and Religious Tolerance Act for, if not this kind of thing? But VCAT senior member Noreen Megay has found the paper not guilty of inciting racial hatred.

If I read her judgment right, Macedonians are already so riddled with racism one more article of spittle-flecked venom couldn’t make things worse.

Or, as Megay put it: “For the average Macedonian reader, this article is probably just ‘preaching to the converted’ and is not likely to stir up such raw emotion as to breach the Act.”

I wonder how this argument would apply to Nazis or Ku Klux Klansmen. Would one more article in the club newsletter vilifying Jews or savaging African Americans be dismissed as mere “preaching to the converted”?

But Megay continues: “I suspect that the average non-Macedonian reader who might stumble across the article on the website or who might flick through it at the local shop would just wonder what it was all about without being incited to any extreme emotion about Greeks.”

So non-Macedonians, of whom there are surprisingly many in Australia, are judged by Megay to have such good sense as to be unmoved by even the most inflammatory racist rants.

And, suddenly, I’m warming to Megay, who has a sturdy trust in the judgment of her fellow Australians.

In fact, her judgment concludes with rousing words.

“A commitment to free speech is an essential concept of all liberal democracies of which Australia is one…

“I am firmly of the view that restrictions should only be placed on discourse in the most egregious of cases.”

Good on Megay. But the question remains: Do you have to be Macedonian to be free to speak? Are only Anglo-Saxons racist?


Ten years on, we’re winning. So far

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, September 10, 11 (07:58 am)

TEN years after the September 11 attacks we can say we’re winning the war on Islamist terrorism.

So far.

It’s odd that we haven’t taken more comfort from this astonishing success.

When those two jets slammed into the World Trade Centre in 2001, did you think this would be the last successful attack by al-Qaida on US soil?

So far.

When the second Bali bombing killed 20 people, including four Australians, in 2005 did you believe this would be the last time we lost civilians to a terrorist attack?

So far.

Across the West, it’s the same story. It is seven years since Spain suffered the bombings in Madrid. It is six years since the London bombings, the last terrorist attacks on British soil to claim any victims.

Six years ago, ASIO chief Paul O’Sullivan warned a terrorist attack on Australian soil was “feasible” and “could well occur”. It hasn’t.

This is not to say the threat was exaggerated ... much.

Since 2001, more than 100 Australians have been killed by Islamist terrorists, and the Federal Government’s White Paper on Counter-Terrorism last year reported numerous other attacks have been thwarted.

Thirty-five people have been prosecuted for terrorism offences here, and 20 convicted, including nine men arrested in Melbourne in 2006.

Counter-terrorism agencies overseas have also smashed a string of terrorist plots, or had good luck.


Rhiannon spruiks the “fairness” of aiding Stalinism

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, September 10, 11 (07:48 am)

Gerard Henderson on new Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon:

In her first speech in the Senate, Lee Rhiannon claimed that her late parents were “deeply committed to making the world a fairer, more peaceful place for all”. This claim is completely misleading – unless Senator Rhiannon seriously believes that supporting Soviet totalitarianism was consistent with working to achieve fairness and peace. If she does hold this view, Senator Rhiannon is seriously deluded.

Not deluded, just deeply misleading - and some might even claim deceptive. Read on, as Henderson details Rhiannon’s whitewashing of her communist past.

Did I say “past”?


Union scandals may cripple Labor

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, September 10, 11 (07:14 am)

This is going to drag on and go who knows where. I’m tipping the result will be a comprehensive trashing of the Labor brand, and perhaps even an inquiry into union rules governing spending by union officials:

A HEALTH Services Union official has lodged a complaint with NSW Police alleging ‘’systemic and organised fraud within the HSU, including the procuring of secret commissions and corrupt rewards from suppliers and contractors’’.

The Herald revealed yesterday that the national president of the union, Michael Williamson, and the federal MP Craig Thomson, formerly the general secretary of the union, were given credit cards by a big supplier to the union.

John Gilleland, who is paid $680,000 a year to produce the union’s newsletter, Health Standard, has previously given Mr Thomson and Mr Williamson credit cards attached to his American Express account. This year, Mr Gilleland’s wife, Carron, told union officials that Mr Williamson had ‘’run amok’’ with the credit card and used it to pay for a variety of things, including wines for his cellar and his children’s private school fees…

Mr Williamson, who is on the national executive of the ALP, issued a statement rejecting the allegations....

Nicknamed the ‘’million-dollar man’’, Mr Williamson is also the vice-president of the NSW ALP. He is on the boards of the State Government Employees Credit Union and First State Super.

Apart from his union salary, Mr Williamson’s company, United Edge, bills the union hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for mobile phones and IT services.

Michael Stuchbury says union scandals - such as the use of the union credit cards of Williamson protege Craig Thomson to pay for prostitutes - makes the media refusal to investigate Julia Gillard’s past even more unforgivable:

In contrast to the Fairfax newspapers’ work on the Thomson scandal, most of the media has a blind spot over Gillard’s relationship with former Australian Workers Union official Bruce Wilson when she was in her early 30s and a partner with Melbourne law firm Slater & Gordon.

The details remain sketchy. Wilson “broke her heart and then threatened to destroy her political career”, Glenn Milne reported in The Sunday Telegraph in 2007.

No one disbelieves Gillard’s strenuous claims that she didn’t do anything wrong. But journalism surely has a duty to fully report this part of the PM’s life story…

To Gillard’s fury, it was bound to resurface as the Thomson scandal over the alleged misuse of union funds threatened to bring down her minority government.

Both episodes underline police reluctance to interfere in the sort of intra-union power struggles involved in both the Wilson and Thomson scandals. The Wilson case occurred as Bill Shorten, one of the Labor factional warlords who brought down Kevin Rudd, was starting to build his own AWU power base.

It involved the octogenerian AWU national president Bill Ludwig, whose backing keeps both Gillard and Queensland Premier Anna Bligh in power…

The media by and large treats this as part of the furniture of Australian life rather than an unhealthy phenomenon, notwithstanding the many good people in the labour movement. And this has succoured another blind spot of Australian politics: Gillard’s reregulation of Australian workplaces.

(No comments for legal reasons.)


Blair’s got guts

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


Tim Blair is living large in Louisiana:

Shreveport, a few miles down the interstate from an establishment that sells - I am not making this up - fried pies.

Tonight’s meal was a spectacular seafood jambalaya, which basically involves dredging an entire swamp and then cooking every living creature thus harvested.

No word yet when this bludger will get back to work.


Labor’s choice: dump Gillard now, or suffer her tax later

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, September 10, 11 (06:57 am)

Peter van Onselen is right, which may explain why Julia Gillard is rushing to have her carbon dioxide tax passed in early October:

...passing the carbon tax closes the door on a range of leadership contenders taking over from Gillard to give Labor a better chance at the next election.

The only viable option to a catastrophic defeat under Gillard is for a new leader to replace her and dump her tax. But that becomes very, very messy once the tax is actually legislated.

Van Onselen adds:

...the introduction of the carbon tax locks Labor into either Gillard or a shift back to Rudd further down the track. No cleanskin could assume the leadership tarnished by a legislated carbon tax: the shift would look sneaky and the cleanskin image wouldn’t last.

Which means the window for a shift to anyone other than Rudd will close in a matter of weeks if the carbon tax becomes law.

The counter-argument of Gillard’s wilfully blind supporters is that voters will forgive her, even admire her, once the tax comes in and they can see it doesn’t hurt.

Problem. Even if you truly believe that Labor can implement this tax without pain, and that voters will forgive, the truth is that the next election is actually likely to be held before the tax is imposed in July 2012.

That’s because independent MP Andrew Wilkie has warned that he will indeed vote down the Government in May if it does not give him what it can’t - technology to limit poker machine losses.

And so Labor may well go to an election just weeks before the introduction of a big new tax, with the Coalition offering voters one last chance to stop it.

Good luck with surviving that one, with Gillard in charge.

So Labor really can’t run from the logic of the calendar: its best chance lies in dumping Gillard and her tax, and by early October at the very latest.


Faith survives the sinners

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, September 10, 11 (06:46 am)

The extraordinary story of an abuse by priests of a boy, who yet maintained his faith as an adult and now forgives:

AN Australian archbishop leading a breakaway Anglican faction that wants to reunite with Rome has revealed that he fled the Catholic priesthood after experiencing systematic sexual abuse over more than a decade.

Archbishop John Hepworth, the primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion, a 400,000-member Anglican breakaway group seeking reconciliation with the Vatican, broke decades of silence after securing an apology from the Catholic church and an offer of $75,000 compensation.

The revelation of his private pain, known until today only to family, a few close friends and senior church leaders, adds an extraordinary personal twist to the creation of Anglican ordinariates that have opened the way for the largest mass defection to the Catholic Church since the Reformation.

Despite what he suffered over a 12-year period from 1960 at the hands of two priests and a fellow seminary student who went on to be ordained, Archbishop Hepworth said he was determined to continue his mission to bring the churches together.


Gillard to crash through or crash with boats

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, September 10, 11 (06:12 am)

Julia Gillard is travelling so badly that any crisis meeting with colleagues represents potential disaster for her:

JULIA Gillard has called a special meeting of Labor MPs on Monday to stare down her opponents, confront head-on the issue of asylum-seekers and find a way past the High Court’s rejection of the Malaysia people-swap deal.

As border protection authorities yesterday intercepted the first illegal boat to arrive since the shock High Court ruling derailed the government’s Malaysia Solution, the Prime Minister called an unscheduled cabinet meeting - to be held before a special meeting of caucus - at which senior ministers will attempt to reach a position ahead of a potentially bruising week in parliament....

It is expected that the cabinet meeting will discuss the High Court’s decision, and alternative policies and proposed legislation, before the special Labor caucus meeting at 9.30am on Monday…

Senior government sources are confident Ms Gillard will be able to win the day on offshore processing if cabinet endorses the policy, and stare down Labor critics who want the government to drop all offshore processing.

It’s crash through or crash.

Meanwhile, the first boat since the High Court set-back arrives to add to the air of crisis:

The opposition leapt on the arrival of the latest boat, carrying 72 asylum-seekers.

Paul Kelly tries to put some pressure back on the Opposition:

THIS week’s Immigration Department briefings mean the onus falls on Tony Abbott to decide whether his aim is to stop the boats or merely sink the Gillard government. ..

The private advice from Immigration Department chief Andrew Metcalfe is entirely predictable: offshore processing is the key to halting boats, Nauru doesn’t work as a disincentive, tougher steps such as the Malaysian deal are needed and more boat arrivals threaten Australia’s big and orderly immigration intake…

What is required now is obvious: Labor and the Coalition need to amend the Migration Act to restore power to the executive government to negotiate offshore processing arrangements in the region. It is an open and shut case - except for the politics…

The opposition needs to think hard about the powers it will need in office to stop the boats. Denying such powers to Gillard now will not help Abbott later.

But wait. The Opposition’s policy goes beyond Nauru, and included Temporary Protection Visas. Malaysia is a deal that would work only for the first 800 arrivals. Nauru is easier to get past the High Court. So, really, the first move is still the Government’s to make, whatever the Immigration Department briefers are briefing.

Greg Sheridan, prone to bouts of hyperbolic condemnation of Liberals, has another:

IN rejecting legislative change to allow the Gillard government to revive its Malaysia deal for asylum-seekers, Tony Abbott is making the biggest policy mistake of his life.

As a nation, Australia needs all the potential policy tools it can muster to deter and prevent the determined illegal immigration that is threatening to swamp our institutions in northern Australia.

But in the same piece:

The real criticism of the deal is that it was not likely to work in deterring people-smugglers.

Abbott is giving the government an alibi and allowing it to create a myth that the Malaysia Solution would have been an effective deterrent, whereas its entire deterrent value would have expired once the 800 people had been sent.

But then again, and still in the same piece:

However, it would have had some beneficial effect.


Bad law, and worse motives

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, September 10, 11 (12:02 am)

A sinister law, planned by a government with sinister motives:

GOVERNMENT plans to encourage people to sue each other using a statutory privacy tort have been denounced as so uncertain as to undermine the rule of law.

The Rule of Law Institute says the privacy scheme being considered by the Gillard government is so subjective it would leave ordinary people in doubt about what they could say to each other without incurring liability.

“As far as the rule of law is concerned, it is bad to have an uncertain law and it is bad to have a law that is subjective,” said Robin Speed, chairman of the Rule of Law Institute.

He said it was clear the federal government had decided to revisit plans to create a statutory privacy tort as a way of intimidating the media.

It is really that bad. Some in the Government are prepared to trash our freedoms just to cling to power. They are acting like gangsters, not statesmen.

(Thanks to reader Steve.)


… is from page 199 of Karl Popper’s The Open Society and Its Enemies; here he’s talking about Plato:

He transfigured his hatred of individual initiative, and his wish to arrest all change, into a love of justice and temperance, of a heavenly state in which the crudity of money-grabbing is replaced by laws of generosity and friendship. This dream of unity and beauty and perfection, this aestheticism and holism and collectivism, is the product as well as the symptom of the lost group spirit of tribalism. It is the expression of, and an ardent appeal to, the sentiments of those who suffer from the strain of civilization.

It is a mistake to allow these protestors that power. Egypt is failing.
Protesters broke into the Israeli Embassy in Cairo Friday and dumped documents out of the windows as hundreds more demonstrated outside, prompting the ambassador and his family to leave the country. The unrest was a further worsening of already deteriorating ties between Israel and post-Hosni Mubarak Egypt.
Never to be released. Ever.
A 22-YEAR-old mother is facing child abuse charges after police say she glued her toddler daughter's hands to a wall, kicked her in the stomach and assaulted her over a potty training issue.
I hope he is convicted. I also hope it is Rudd
THE identity of a Salisbury man accused of murdering St Agnes man Edward Camilleri cannot be revealed.

The fear is Williams was killed because he was cooperating with police. That is also the apparent truth.
THE prisoner accused of murdering Carl Williams but who is claiming self-defence appeared to read a copy of the Herald Sun containing an article about defensive homicide before the killing, the Suprem...
It is disappointing the famed rough justice of prisons never happened.
HE is a proud and strong man, but Brian Morse wonders how much more his family can be expected to take.
ALP is bad for education
NSW students are behind those in Victoria and the ACT in every subject except spelling, according to results from this year's NAPLAN tests, released yesterday.
Judges decision is ridiculous. It seems to be the law as ALP made it.
A COURT decision to acquit a terror suspect who shot and wounded a police officer has been criticised as "out of touch" by the officer's father.
Why does the ALP tolerate abusers?
THE Daily Telegraph's campaign to introduce tough new penalties for predators has been praised by the Parents and Citizens' Federation and leading legal figures.
It is a small world and younger people are smaller
THE generation divide is extending to the dinner table as young foodies ditch European favourites for Japanese cuisine.
Yakuza said my wife would work it off
ONCE the domain of bikies, crooks and bogans, tattoo parlours have become home to grannies, businessmen and painted ladies.
IT doesn't matter if the pies at the footy are cold or the popcorn at the movies is soggy we will eat it.
The good fight
GARY Ramage suits up with Australian diggers in Afghanistan and finds himself in the heat of battle.
Stunt. The ice will be back next winter.
AN artist has recreated Leonardo da Vinci's most famous sketch "Vitruvian Man" in the Arctic ice to draw attention to the ice melt, Greenpeace said yesterday.
She was involved with self help stuff. God is a better supporter.
THE Queensland family of the woman who ended her life after her daughter's murder say they had done everything possible to help her.
Lawyer looks for excuse
ONE of the state's most respected judges has been asked to disqualify himself from sentencing a paedophile after he was alleged to have said that all child-sex offenders are "guilty" and "should be th...

I have never watched, and won't.
CONTROVERSIAL reality series Big Brother is set for a reboot, with a 2012 version believed destined for Channel 9.
Welcome. Sorry about the mess.
PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has hit a century of illegal boat arrivals less than 15 months since taking the top job from Kevin Rudd.
He is still a failure
LABOR MPs behind a Kevin Rudd comeback have been spruiking the former PM to colleagues, saying he is a changed man and ready to forgive and forget if offered back the leadership.
Democrats may weaken USA, but she still stands proud.
AMERICA remains on high alert this morning following a report of a credible threat to the US on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, warning its enemies "mess with us and we will come and get y...
I knew it was an attack when the first plane hit. Accidents can happen, but not That.
THE gripping story of Sydney mum Alison Summers' escape from Ground Zero. published in full for the first time.
Death wasn't certain, only likely. We live in hope, and that is a blessing of the Lord.
PAUL Toohey examines what prompted so many of those trapped in the Twin Towers to jump into the unknown.
He should sue himself
A FATHER in Northern Ireland is suing Facebook after his 12-year-old daughter posted lewd photos of herself on the site.
She was a pretty and gifted clothes horse. Not a diplomat and not compassionate. A fool whose wealth did not extend to heaven or god.
President John F. Kennedy openly scorned the notion of Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson succeeding him in office, according to a book of newly released interviews with his widow, former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

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