Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sat 20th Oct Todays News

Happy birthday and many happy returns Joanna Chhour,Peter Trinh and Johnson Nguyen. Born on the same day, across the years. Remember, birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.


Now that is real hate

Andrew BoltOCTOBER202012(5:58pm)

Julia Gillard yesterday couldn’t even bring herself to say Tony Abbott doesn’t hate his daughters:

Prime Minister, do you think Tony Abbott hates his wife and daughters as a misogynist?

I gave a speech about this in Parliament as you might be aware and I said what I wanted to say, and said what I wanted to say about sexism and misogyny. I stand by every word of that speech and as I indicated in that speech, when I see sexism or misogyny, I’ll call it for what it is.


The Bolt Report tomorrow

Andrew BoltOCTOBER202012(11:54am)

On The Bolt Report tomorrow - Shadow Attorney-General George Brandis, Cassandra Wilkinson and former Finance Minister and fellow sceptic Nick Minchin.
Topics: scandals, Rudd, climate change, boats, UN Security Council and Anthony Mundine. Oh, and how deep a budget hole has the Government fallen into.
All that in just 22 minutes or so.
We have also invited Labor frontbenchers Nicola Roxon, Julia Gillard and Chris Bowen etc. Craig Emerson has a standing invitation. We’ll have on as many of them that say yes.
On Channel 10 on Sunday at 10am. and 4.30pm.


Newman survives his slash and burn

Andrew BoltOCTOBER202012(11:47am)

With the worst probably behind him, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman is doing pretty well. One more Gillard scare losing punch:


Feeling better already

Andrew BoltOCTOBER202012(11:43am)

Reader Suey:
Andrew, I feel the need to listen to some of the wonderful music you often post. I have spent this week closely following Michael Smith’s trail of documents and the amazing analysis by some of his expert readers. As a result I am feeling very down, please may this appalling excuse for a govt end its reign soon. Something uplifting would be most appreciated.
We do requests here:


AWU scandal: how the whistleblowers were punished

Andrew BoltOCTOBER202012(9:48am)

How Slater & Gordon helped a legal action to shut down whistleblowers:

LAW firm Slater & Gordon filed a legal action against union officials who blew the whistle on wrongdoing by Australian Workers Union bagman Ralph Blewitt, the controller of a secret “slush fund” that Julia Gillard had helped him establish 18 months earlier.
Concerns among union officials about financial irregularities and the conduct of the then branch secretary were silenced by Mr Blewitt in the Supreme Court defamation action brought on his instructions in October 1993.
The action came six months after Mr Blewitt, who now admits to being involved in fraud, transferred about $100,000 from the slush fund to buy a $230,000 Melbourne terrace for the use of Ms Gillard’s then boyfriend, union boss Bruce Wilson.
Ms Gillard attended the auction for the Melbourne property, helped in the transaction, and witnessed a power of attorney giving Mr Wilson control over the asset.

The Prime Minister has repeatedly and strenuously denied any wrongdoing, and said she did not know about the workings of the slush fund.


$4 billion down the hole

Andrew BoltOCTOBER202012(9:23am)

The Government blew a huge slurplus on trash, and racked up huge deficits on the bet the economy would come roaring back. It lost:
NEXT week’s budget update will reveal spending cuts and revenue measures worth an extraordinary $4 billion this financial year - a task made all the more difficult by the fact the year has only eight months to run.

Shocking revenue downgrades to be included in the update reveal that since May, deteriorating international conditions and collapsing export prices have knocked $21 billion from projected tax revenue over the forward estimates and $4 billion from forecast tax revenue this financial year.
Without action the downgrades would wipe out this year’s planned $1.5 billion surplus and those planned for the next two years as well.
That $4 billion black hole that opened in Wayne Swan’s Budget for this year will not be the full extent of the damage. The budget update next week is coming out several weeks earlier than usual, almost certainly to avoid having to include data on weaker-than-expected revenue.
Hey, why don’t we redistribute even more of the wealth that’s disappearing?
EMPLOYMENT Minister Bill Shorten has backed a growing push from Labor MPs, business and welfare advocates for an increase in payments for the nation’s jobless, declaring it “must be diabolically difficult” for the unemployed to make ends meet.
$4 billion down? Try three times as much:

Forecasts by the Canberra-based Macroeconomics, provided to The Weekend Financial Review, estimate revenue collections will be $9 billion below Treasury forecasts by June 30.
If the forecasts are accurate, they mean Treasurer Wayne Swan and Finance Minister Penny Wong will have to cut government spending or raise taxes by about $70 billion over four years, a task that will disrupt the bureaucracy and public services…

The analysis by Macroeconomics predicts the budget is heading to a $11.9 billion deficit in this financial year.
(Thanks to reader Peter.) 


McKew: Gillard’s office “sexist”

Andrew BoltOCTOBER202012(8:30am)

Julia Gillard has single-handedly made sexism not the cause of the day but the complaint - and the weapon:

FORMER high-profile Labor MP Maxine McKew has accused Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s office and her backers of an “offensive and sexist” smear campaign against her following allegations that her upcoming book on the ALP had been ghost-written by Kevin Rudd.
Ms McKew has also accused the government of leaking confidential correspondence between her and the PM as part of a slur on her professional reputation.
“The suggestions that my book, Tales From The Political Trenches, is anything but my own work, and that I have had to rely on Kevin Rudd or anyone else to write it for me, is offensive and demeaning and, dare I say, sexist,” Ms McKew told The Daily Telegraph yesterday.

“I am also disturbed that confidential correspondence between myself and the PM’s office - in effect, a host of questions I put to the PM for comment back in August, in the same way I put detailed questions to other members of the government - had apparently been released,” she said.
Is Gillard’s new style of all-out vilification and destruction of enemies really working?
(Thanks to reader Matt.)
Speaking of the culture of aggression, even thuggery, in the Prime Minister’s office, here’s Chris Kenny on one of the people most responsible - someone I personally like, but believe to be very wrong: 

... the Australian Labor Party must increasingly wonder whether Julia Gillard’s British communications svengali has delivered what it requires.
The government’s communications strategy has .... stronger discipline over its messaging. At times, Labor has also managed to switch the debate to chosen areas of strength, such as education and disability services.
But some elements of the Gillard government’s tactics have seemed vaguely foreign to the accepted norms of Australian politics: a prime minister placing the opposition leader centre stage; a prime minister as constant aggressor (even from overseas); a prime minister overtly highlighting division rather than unity; and a prime minister assuming the status of victim…
The Scotsman’s influence seems most pronounced in deliberate aggression from the government towards the challenger. There is a clue to his predilections in the 2010 article when he noted Gillard was expelled from parliament for calling Tony Abbott “a snivelling grub”. McTernan called it “a towering performance” - surely the first time “snivelling grub” and “towering performance” were linked in a thought.
...since McTernan galvanised the Prime Minister’s office we have seen divisive language on class and wealth, and deliberate fomenting of an indigenous protest on Australia Day…

The way this gender divide has been distilled into a character attack on Abbott is unusual… Our mainstream does not harbour the same class-warfare mentality of British Labour. Our workers have no chip on their shoulder… And there is every indication that the mainstream doesn’t like what it is seeing.

Take it or leave it, Labor’s short-term messaging is clearer, while its method is becoming a story in itself; the strategy’s brazenness, brutality, riskiness and effectiveness is, to a certain degree, embodied in the signature notes of a little-known foreigner in the Prime Minister’s office…
McTernan is lauded - and loathed within Labor, in part because of the Gillard-Rudd leadership issue.

“I can write your story in four words,” says a Labor MP. “McTernan is a c . . t.” ...
The Scot is viewed by the forsaken as having a role in Gillard’s ministerial reshuffles; his hand is seen in the almost deadly ferocity deployed by the Gillard loyalists against the former prime minister in last February’s leadership spill (the record of which will be used against Labor when it matters).

As well, there is resentment towards McTernan over the Australia Day fracas, with some figures not of the Rudd camp saying privately that the media adviser who lost his job over the incident, Tony Hodges, was the fall guy and the communications director must take responsibility for his junior charge’s behaviour that day…

According to former attorney-general Robert McClelland, a Rudd supporter who was dumped from the ministry after the leadership spill, “McTernan’s influence has been unhelpful to the government’s cause.” McClelland says: “He has brought a particular, combative media style from the UK that Australians are not comfortable with.”

Others in the heart of the Gillard operation are worried that the negative campaign against Abbott, and the so-called “gender war”, is hurting the ability of Labor to talk about the economy, its range of successes and reforms and signature policy advantages in health, education, aged care and mental health. “It steals the airwaves,” says one senior adviser. “The negativity turns people off. What if we knock off Abbott? What do we do then?”


World was warmer - twice - in the past 2000 years

Andrew BoltOCTOBER202012(8:09am)

Yet more evidence to disprove the alarmist claims of the IPCC and associated warmists that the recent warming is unprecedented:

The authors of a report, published in Global and Planetary Change, said findings that the northern hemisphere was warmer during both the Roman period, 2000 years ago, and medieval warming, 1000 years ago, highlighted uncertainties in making climate predictions.
But don’t try telling local warmists of science that challenges the great scare:
David Jones, head of climate monitoring and prediction services at Australian Bureau of Meteorology, said historic warming during the Roman and medieval period could be explained by changes in solar activity.


Spending big on UN trinkets

Andrew BoltOCTOBER202012(8:07am)

Greg Sheridan on spending millions and donating billions to win the great prize of a seat on the UN Security Council:

IT’S a wonderful, heart-warming endorsement of Australia as a good local citizen. It’s countries saying: “We like Australia. We think Australia’s role is good and positive and we want to see Australia provide leadership.”

Another good local citizen. David Smith, The Guardian, Thursday:
RWANDA’S election to the UN Security Council on Thursday was branded a major embarrassment in the wake of a UN report claiming that the country is fuelling a violent uprising in a neighbouring country. The timing of Rwanda’s ascent could hardly be more uncomfortable for the UN Security Council, whose own group of experts has produced a damning report of its support for the rebel M23 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rwanda was last on the council in 1994-95, a period that coincided with the genocide of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus…
ABC News online yesterday: 
THERE are also 10 non-permanent members serving two-year terms. They (include) Azerbaijan; Guatemala; Morocco; Pakistan; Togo (to the end of 2013).
And the dirt on Togo? BBC News Africa June 14: 
TOGO has for years been the target of criticism over its human rights record and political governance. Up to 500 people were killed in the political violence (in Togo) surrounding the presidential poll (in 2005) according to the UN. Around 40,000 Togolese fled to neighbouring countries.
How about Pakistan? Amnesty International’s website: 
AMNESTY International has long been concerned about the persistent pattern of human rights violations occurring in Pakistan. Arbitrary detention, torture, deaths in custody, forced disappearances and extrajudicial execution are rampant. The government of Pakistan has failed to protect individuals, particularly women, religious minorities and children, from violence and other human rights abuses committed in the home, in the community and in legal custody.
And Azerbaijan? Human Rights Watch’s current report:
THE government cracked down on all forms of public protest, at times violently, and imprisoned activists on politically motivated charges. The atmosphere for journalists is hostile, and government officials continue to initiate criminal and civil libel cases against journalists.
Chinese officials have signalled that Beijing expects Australia to take a less pro-American approach to diplomacy on the United Nations Security Council, a sign that the Gillard government’s successful campaign for the seat may force it to side against Australia’s major trading partner in international disputes…

An academic closely associated with China’s Foreign Ministry warned that China would expect Australia not to always vote with the United States on the council and called on the government to take an “unbiased attitude” to territorial disputes in the South China Sea and the East China Sea.
“The seat on the Security Council is another way to show Australia’s independence when it comes to foreign policy,” said Wang Zhenyu, a scholar with the China Institute of International Studies, which operates under the auspices of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.


Class act

Andrew BoltOCTOBER202012(7:38am)

Terrific speech, terrific one-liners:
In the spirit of Sesame Street, the President’s remarks are brought to you tonight by the letter O and the number 16 trillion.
Not as self-deprecating as Obama’s speech, but more effective, and much funnier.
Gallup corrects a little: Romney 51, Obama 45.


MPs horrifed to find themselves as exposed as any boss

Andrew BoltOCTOBER202012(7:03am)

ATTORNEY-GENERAL Nicola Roxon faces a backbench revolt from Labor MPs, who fear her handling of the Peter Slipper sexual harassment case has exposed them to huge personal legal bills if they are sued…

It is understood a special caucus briefing has been organised to address the issue when parliament returns on October 29. The chair of the caucus legal sub-committee has made a request to the office of Special Minister of State, Gary Gray, for the briefing on legal costs as MPs are particularly concerned about being personally liable for unfair dismissal or vexatious claims given the volatile political environment…
Ms Roxon said in April that Mr Slipper’s costs would not be covered because the parliamentary entitlements regulations only permit the payment of legal expenses for ministers or parliamentary secretaries.

This came as a great surprise to many Labor backbenchers as they realised they may not be covered in the event of any court action.
I hope any remedial action includes relief not just for MPs, who seem particularly exposed to crippling legal costs of the kind that are now wiping out Slipper, but for all small business employers. That should include a crackdown on the incentives for employees to sue their bosses, knowing it’s almost no pain for all gain - with bosses facing huge legal bills, win or lose.

Basically, if anything happens or is threatened to happen at a workplace or a potential workplace that a worker feels could or does “adversely” affect them in any way, and this thing can be linked to a “prohibited reason”, the worker can take the employer or prospective employer to court and can potentially make a lot of money…
“Prohibited reasons” mean the usual raft of discrimination-related descriptors such as age, gender, political affiliation and so on but also include “exercising a workplace right”, an undefined legal concept.
Here are a few examples of classic adverse action scenarios:
Bob lets it slip in a job interview that he is an ALP member and union activist and misses out on the job (loss of potential income due to union/ political affiliation).
Janine has a dispute with the payroll department over a pay mistake. She feels so upset about the whole episode she resigns (constructive dismissal for exercising a workplace right; the right to correct pay)…
The adverse action section of the Fair Work Act is written in such a way the odds of winning are entirely in the applicant’s favour. The employer, once the behaviour is established to have occurred, has a “reverse onus of proof”. This means it is up to them to prove the behaviour wasn’t for the alleged “prohibited reason”, making them guilty until proven innocent.
What’s more, there is no cap that can be placed on the amount of a person’s potential compensatory winnings and the court can make any other order it likes…

Workplace law firms love adverse action cases; the odds are so good and the winnings so big they can afford to do them all pro bono. Once the application is in, the employer is trapped in a legal nightmare with the whole system stacked against them. The employer has to choose whether to fight or to settle; if the lawyers’ fees don’t cripple them, the publicity, threat of uncapped compensation or any embarrassing orders a judge could make, will. 
Slipper now faces legal costs of $1 million more in the sexual harassment case pursued by staffer James Ashby. Roxon’s hamfisted involvement in the case cost the Commonwealth $750,000 plus a settlement of $50,000, but Ashby’s solicitors will be looking to Slipper for their costs if he wins.
(Thanks to reader Peter.) 


Super-trawler now fishing for compensation

Andrew BoltOCTOBER202012(6:40am)

I wish the Government cared about taxpayers as much as it did about fish and GetUp clicks:

Seafish Tasmania, the proponent of the 143m-long ship, has legal advice that suggests it has a good case to overturn the federal ban - imposed by federal Environment Minister Tony Burke last month - on the grounds of procedural unfairness.
Any such successful case would open up taxpayers to liability for compensation, believed to range up to $10 million…
Seafish argues that, for seven years, it was given to understand by regulators and government that there was no barrier to the use of factory ships in the small pelagic fishery.
Seafish director Gerry Geen told The Weekend Australian this included a February meeting in which the Australian Fisheries Management Authority assured the Dutch JVP a larger factory ship would be allowed to operate the Australian fishery…

“That gave our partners the confidence to make the investment and to actually come out here.”
I don’t blame AFMA at all. It knew the super trawler would not damage fishing stocks any more than conventional trawlers. It is the Government which acted irrationally.
(Thanks to reader Correllio.)


A feminist, with the help of her maid

Andrew BoltOCTOBER202012(12:13am)

The super-virtuous Chloe Angyal tells Age readers she’s just heard a racist speak:

The United States is possibly about to grant its first black president a second term in office. And yet, in the nearly four years since he was elected, coded racism has become a part of the national conversation like never before…

Post-racial? Romney stood up in front of a television audience of 60 million people and said that gun violence in America happens because poor black single women are bad mothers. He said it as he stood beside the black son of a single mother.

But let me mention another thing. And that is parents. We need moms and dads, helping to raise kids. Wherever possible the benefit of having two parents in the home, and that’s not always possible. A lot of great single moms, single dads. But to tell our kids that before they have babies, they ought to think about getting married to someone, that’s a great idea. Because if there’s a two parent family, the prospect of living in poverty goes down dramatically. The opportunities that the child will be able to achieve increase dramatically. So we can make changes in the way our culture works to help bring people away from violence and give them opportunity, and bring them in the American system.

Romney said nothing like what Angyal claims. 
As I went on to show in that post, so sensitive was Angwal’s moral radar that the racism she detected in Romney was the kind shared not just by Obama, but Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby and the facts.
What upbringing, reader James Campbell wondered, could have produced someone with such an ability to discover moral flaws in others while seemingly blind to what was under her nose? And he soon found out:
What was your feminist click moment? How did you realize that you were a feminist?

When I was 14 or 15 I went away on exchange to France… It was a very traditional family in that my host mother did work but she worked in her husband’s company and she came home early to take care of the kids and then he came home later. She would be cooking and he would make a bee-line straight for the couch and sit in front of the T.V. ... . And this was really foreign to me, because I grew up in a dual-run household. To be fair, my parents had permanent, live-in help so they could both have careers – but they shared household chores and child-rearing. I hadn’t realized how feminist my household was. 
Are we allowed to ask Angwal the gender of the “permanent, live-in help” of this “feminist” household? It could be significant.
But to continue this biography of a fashionable feminist:
And it turns out the reason why my household is so feminist is because my mom was a crazy radical second-wave feminist and my Dad is the man who married her. My Dad used to do my hair for ballet…

The other thing that happened was that in France it was very cold and French food is very rich, and I gained a shit ton of weight. I came back and I had just turned fifteen and I was two dresses sizes heavier than I was when I left. So it was the first time I was really, really not adhering to accepted beauty standards. And I hated it, and I hated how angry I felt. I hated how inferior it made me feel and it made me really angry that something so trivial could make me feel so inferior. And then I read the Beauty Myth and realized that it’s not trivial – it’s a really big deal – and I got really angry. And after the Beauty Myth I found my Mom’s old copy of the Feminine Mystique and I read that and I read parts of the Second Sex and I became a mini, radicalized, angry fifteen-year-old feminist. And the people in my life struggled with that. I couldn’t hold a conversation without making it about eating disorder statistics or rape statistics – it was really bad. And my boyfriend at the time was like “Oh my God, Chloe.” It was the first time that I really struggled with the personal and the political. Because I was reading all this stuff about how badly women have it in this world, but I was falling in love with this guy and I was like, “How can I be reading about this stuff and hanging out with you and hooking up with you and having a relationship with you?” I guess the mental complexity you develop as an adult is separating the problems from the individuals and from ideas – your 17 year old boyfriend isn’t the one raping people so you need to chill and not feel bad about hanging out with him. So that happened and that’s how I became a feminist.
She got fat, and blamed the world. It happens.
But after getting angry with the world for being fattist, it seems she went on a diet after all and now conforms to that beauty myth that once made her angry:
But don’t just blame a maid and getting fat for creating Angwal. A bit of cartoonishly stereotypical post-modernist indoctrination by a teacher with paranoid reading habits also helped: 
I was unusual enough that I became known as “Chloe the Feminist” in my high school, or “Chloe, the one who talks about rape statistics a lot.” Eleventh grade was interesting. I found other teachers who were really on board. I had a teacher in 11th grade – a sub English teacher – and we were doing fairy tales and she started talking about “virgin and whore” and all that stuff in fairy tales and how Little Red Riding Hood is actually about rape and the wolf was originally a man – it’s the biggest victim blaming story ever. And it just blew my mind… 
Of course, Angwin has probably heard that victimhood is a bit too yesterday for a hip new feminist, so she rejects it in favor of ... um, even more victimhood. If you think that doesn’t make sense, read for yourself:
Why else [don’t some women with feminist beliefs now call themselves feminist]? Because it’s scary. It’s so much more comforting to tell yourself that you didn’t get a job or you didn’t get elected school president or something you wanted didn’t work out for you, because of sexism. But the thing about blaming the sexism is that if you sit down and think about it for a second then you have to acknowledge that you might never be enough, and this whole vista of inequality opens up to you, a whole new world view of just how fucked up our culture is, opens up to you. And that’s really scary. So as comforting as it can be to blame the sexism, it’s only comforting for a second when you start thinking about it and you think “Well, holy shit, am I ever going to be good enough even when I’m good enough?” And that’s really confronting and I think for a lot of women it’s just easier to make it a personal problem rather than a political one because once you acknowledge that sexism exists and it’s powerful and is affecting your life and the lives of everybody around you – I personally find it very hard to sit with that knowledge and do nothing about it. 
So don’t blame sexism if you don’t succeed. Blame sexism instead. Or something like that.
I mean, she just writes for The Age and stuff. We’re not into consistency here. 


The Government’s border laws are smashed

Andrew BoltOCTOBER202012(12:06am)

The Home Affairs Minister’s media releases prove it - the Gillard Government’s border laws have collapsed:


Early look at Windows 8 baffles consumers


Superannuation funds deducting huge fees on millions of lost super accounts


Angry protesters block roads in Lebanon after car bomb


MSNBC host: Obama answering to ‘higher calling' by running again, Romney just moving on to 'next thing'


MSNBC's Matthews claims it's unconstitutional for Romney to challenge Obama


Memories of the Cuban Missile Crisis, fifty years later

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