Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thu 25th Oct Todays News

Slush fund silence may prove PM’s Watergate

Piers Akerman – Thursday, October 25, 2012 (5:04pm)

WHEN parliament resumes next week, attention will be re-focused on character - Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s character in particular. 


Look behind Labor’s con trick

Piers Akerman – Thursday, October 25, 2012 (3:56am)

THE Gillard-Labor-Green-Independent government believes it has successfully conned the Australian people with its phony outrage over trumped up charges of sexism and its constant whining about Tony Abbott.
It thinks it has blinded the public to the three big issues, the boats, the carbon dioxide tax and the rising cost of living.
It is even hopeful that voters are tired of the union scandals in which the government is enmeshed – the HSU scam which has seen charges laid against former ALP president Michael Williamson and search warrants acted on yesterday in the case of Craig Thomson, MP, and the ongoing work being done to expose the fraudulent practices of Gillard’s former boyfriend Bruce Wilson, formerly of the AWU.
As much as Labor’s strategists may believe this, however, it is difficult to believe that Australians do not care.
Cover-ups generally come undone.
The biggest political scandals here and abroad have never worked, further, the public seems to get angrier about the cover-up than they might have been angered by the initial crime.
The polls this far out from an election still to be called don’t really count for much.
Pollsters know that the voters don’t focus on their choices until they may actually have to exercise their vote.
Until then, they react to the pollsters questions with different responses that may not accurately reflect their voting intention.
Labor thinks it has come through the worst.
It believes the public is warming to Gillard. It thinks she has won a new constituency with her strident attack on Abbott both in Parliament and since.
Context kills this, of course.
If young women cheered Gillard for her screechy speech, they won’t cheer when they are reminded that Gillard was defending her handpicked Speaker Peter Slipper, whose remarks about women’s genitalia were and remain grossly offensive. She should apologise.
Of course, they may have to actually think rather than subscribe to the Emily’s List propaganda, to understand the issue.
Similarly, Abbott’s remarks about families and babies only reflect genuine understanding of the pressures new arrivals present.
Anyone who has ever had to pay for an infant would understand immediately.
That Gillard chose to whine, again, showed that in this, as in everything, her politics are really all about her.
Just like her policies – there is nothing behind the headlines.


All the Obama news the New York Times thinks fit not to print

Andrew BoltOCTOBER252012(11:56am)

What Libya scandal? What emails showing the White House was told within hours it was actually a terrorist attack, not a film protest?
More news the New York Times won’t print:
The funny thing is that even when President Teleprompter - misreading the first C in Colorado as a cue for somewhere else - claimed he wanted more wind generators made in China, some idiot supporters cheered.
There was now a small item on the website about Libya the last I looked.
(Thanks to reader Peter.)


WiFi breakthrough. NBN looking worse

Andrew BoltOCTOBER252012(11:09am)

Uh oh. More evidence that the Gillard Government’s $37 billion wire-in-the-wall National Broadband Network could be the biggest white elephant in our history. Gizmodo reports:
Technology Review reports that the scientists have been developing algebraic techniques to eliminate the task of resending dropped packets of data—something that really clogs up networks. Creating a new way for devices to solve the problem of missing data eliminates the wasted effort of resending data—but also means devices can weave data streams from Wi-Fi and LTE together, instead of having to use one or the other.
Technology Review quantifies:
Testing the system on Wi-Fi networks at MIT, where 2 percent of packets are typically lost, Medard’s group found that a normal bandwidth of one megabit per second was boosted to 16 megabits per second. In a circumstance where losses were 5 percent-common on a fast-moving train-the method boosted bandwidth from 0.5 megabits per second to 13.5 megabits per second. 
(Thanks to reader Kev.) 


On the war against Islamists

Andrew BoltOCTOBER252012(9:38am)

Four aircraft bombed a military factory here on Wednesday, officials said, killing two people in an explosion and fire for which Sudan blamed Israel.

.Ahmed Belal Osman, the Sudanese minister of information, told reporters that the aircraft hit the Yarmouk complex, setting off a huge blast that rocked Khartoum, the capital, before dawn…
“We are now certain that this flagrant attack was authorized by the same state of Israel,” he said…
A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces declined to comment on the accusation. 
Some background:
Sudan’s links to the U.S.’s longstanding enemies run deep. Carl Wege in the scholarly Perspectives on Terrorism points out that Iran has mentored the Khartoum regime since the National Islamic Front seized power in 1989. Iran supplies weapons and militia to this day, using Khartoum as a safe house for wanted Hezbollah operatives before they are infiltrated back into “operational areas” in the Middle East, and shipping weapons through Sudan. Iran is considering manufacturing its weapons in Sudan.
Hamas militants fired more than 70 rockets into southern Israel on Wednesday, one day after the emir of Qatar became the first head of state to visit Gaza since Hamas seized control there five years ago.Three Thai workers on an Israeli farm were wounded – two seriously – when a missile struck a chicken coop near the Gaza border, officials said. 


How army generals get fired in North Korea

Andrew BoltOCTOBER252012(9:36am)

The new guy has a creative mind:
Kim Chol, the vice-minister of the army, was taken into custody earlier this year on the orders of Kim Jong-un, who assumed the leadership after his father died in December. On the orders of Mr Kim to leave “no trace of him behind, down to his hair”, Kim Chol was forced to stand on a spot that had been zeroed in for a mortar round and was “obliterated”, South Korean media reported.


Government’s mining tax fails to raise a cent; budget smashed

Andrew BoltOCTOBER252012(7:11am)

No wonder Wayne Swan rushed out the MYEFO early, before these embarrassing results were posted. But the fact remains - the Government tried to deceive voters about the scale of its finances:
WAYNE Swan’s $1.1 billion budget surplus projection has received an immediate body blow, with the government’s new mining tax raising zero revenue in its first three months.
None of Australia’s biggest miners - BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto or Xstrata - has any liability under the minerals resource rent tax so far in 2012-13 and the government did not receive any revenue by Monday’s payment deadline.
Tax revenues are also down from the oil and gas sector through the petroleum resource rent tax, and the mining companies - the biggest contributors to corporate tax - are warning that price cuts, the high dollar and falling profits will drastically reduce their company tax contributions.
The government has already slashed predictions for the MRRT revenue in 2012-13 from $3.7bn at the May budget to just $2bn in Monday’s mid-year economic forecast, which was prepared before the mining giants confirmed there would not be any payments under the tax.
Julia Gillard’s promise that there would be a company tax cut under a government she led is dead:
The business tax working group declared late yesterday in its draft final report that it could not find a way to recommend a revenue-neutral company tax cut as requested by Julia Gillard.
The shock revelation after 5pm by the BTWG that it could not recommend a way to finance the cut by slashing billions of dollars in tax breaks, came as corporate Australia is already reeling from the government’s move in the mid-year budget update on Monday to raise $8.3 billion by forcing businesses to pay tax earlier.
When spending and real savings decisions (as opposed to tax increases and accounting fiddles) are totalled, government decisions add a further $1.6bn to outlays across the next four years. That the budget update managed to keep a lid on total spending was due to forces beyond the government’s direct control.
The real scandal is that the Government has already spent the money before raising a cent. In March:
JULIA GILLARD: We’re going through a spectacular resources boom. That’s good for our economy but it also means we need to share the benefits of that boom right around the country. The mining tax will do that with new tax benefits for 2.7 millions small businesses, better super for more than 8 million Australian workers, and we will have a stream of funds to build the infrastructure we need for the resources boom. 
Of course, by May, the company tax was scrapped and the money spent on carbon tax bribes instead:
The cash will be used to boost payments under the Family Tax Benefit A from July next year, adding as much as $600 a year to the incomes of some households.
That great welfare splurge now turns out to be unfunded.


Liberals slump in Victoria

Andrew BoltOCTOBER252012(6:35am)

It takes a talent for Ted Baillieu, alone of Liberal leaders, to send his vote through the floor: 
The latest Newspoll survey of Victorian voting intentions, taken exclusively for The Australian, shows Labor holding a commanding 55 per cent to 45 per cent two-party-preferred lead on the back of a six-point surge in the ALP’s primary vote…
Mr Baillieu won power in November 2010 with a two-party-preferred vote of 51.6 per cent to Labor’s 48.4 per cent and reached a high point of 55 per cent to 45 per cent a year ago.
It is accused of being too slow to act, indecisive and remote from the realities of daily life.


Time Abbott got up and moving. And rose above the abuse

Andrew BoltOCTOBER252012(6:13am)

Tough, but Niki Savva is right to say the Opposition Leader is a stationary target right now, making uncharacteristically sloppy mistakes: 
At three critical times, Abbott has failed to respond fast enough and well enough to stories that cast a shadow over his character and challenged his credibility…
Abbott courted disaster again on Tuesday by blaming the government’s lack of experience with families for the cut to the baby bonus… The story ran for hours before Abbott told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell that of course it was unintentional and if the Prime Minister was offended, he was sorry…
Gillard muscles up and wins accolades. She tolerates sleaze, misogyny and incompetence in her own ranks and excuses are made for it. Abbott is forced, rightly, to sack a frontbencher for tasteless remarks and held to account for everything he says, also quite rightly.
Conservatives can whinge all they like about unequal treatment from the media… It was ever thus. What is missing is the ability to deal with it fast and smartly…
Several times, and at critical times recently, Abbott has failed to [quickly clarify or change a story or set the agenda]. The first time was when the allegation surfaced he had punched the wall beside a woman’s head when he was a 19-year-old student. The second was the die-of-shame speech by Alan Jones; and the third was last week when Gillard accused him of being gutless for not raising his tow-back policy with the Indonesian President… Whole days, almost a week went by before he addressed these issues…
Sometimes Abbott made matters worse with verbal blunders, such as saying the government should die of shame, or with tactical mistakes such as exaggerating the impact of the carbon tax when the fact of a 10 per cent increase in electricity prices, substantial by anyone’s reckoning, will suffice…
Abbott has to get people to stop talking about his personality and refocus on policies, his own or the government’s, without falling back on the carbon tax and telling the same story the same way. The Coalition desperately needs a wider economic narrative… .
I’m less convinced the carbon tax is a dead issue, given the latest inflation figures. It is certainly a potent symbol of Gillard’s deceit and now of economic bungling as well. It is also a symbol of cost of living pressures - and a totally unnecessary one.
But I do think Abbott needs to move faster, propose a clearer agenda and sail more above the abuse. A tip there: don’t try to deny what the public believes of you (Abbott is a sexist); try instead to redefine the impression (Abbott is strong).  And do not exaggerate: the case against the Government is strong enough as it is.


One boat we really should turn around

Andrew BoltOCTOBER252012(5:47am)

Will the boat be turned around? Or will we have to pay for another expensive court battle?
Sri Lankan police have also called in Interpol in the hunt for the group that bound the hands of crew, cut one man’s throat and then tossed at least two deckhands into the sea south of Sri Lanka.


Column - Where the hell is our money, Wayne?

Andrew BoltOCTOBER252012(5:43am)

 EconomyPolitics - federal
THERE’S one thing Treasurer Wayne Swan didn’t explain this week. How the hell did he run out of money?
Run out of our money, to be precise.
Plus another $144 billion he slapped on the Government’s credit card and has no clue how to repay.
It takes a special skill for Labor to get to this in just five years - deep in debt, and Swan this week announcing he must strip us of $10.5 billion more over the next four years so he can finally balance a Budget or two.
In fact, it’s a downright mystery why Swan needs this bail-out, given he confessed that the economy, in his opinion, is motoring along brilliantly with a “strong set of economic fundamentals”.


Column - Revolt of the victims of the greens

Andrew BoltOCTOBER252012(5:40am)

 The green movement
GREEN crusaders have given us a perfect laboratory experiment of their policies in action. It’s called Tasmania.

You know the place - the one with the highest unemployment rate (7.3 per cent) in the country. The one that other states must bail out.

In fact, the rest of us must give every Tasmanian $1300 of extra GST money each year because they’re too bloodymindedly green to earn it themselves, preferring to lock up endless forests and rarely visited rivers than give humans a job.

Mind you, a lot of Tasmanians aren’t happy about it, and have taught one multi-millionaire green a sharp lesson for denying them work.


Gillard to Rudd: there must be no ETS under a government we lead

Andrew BoltOCTOBER252012(5:29am)

Gillard was in fact right to oppose the ETS. Her real mistake was to give us a carbon tax instead - after promising not to:

JULIA Gillard warned Kevin Rudd in writing that under no circumstances would she support taking an emissions trading scheme, which insiders say she thought had become electoral poison, to the 2010 election.
In Tales from the Political Trenches, former Labor MP Maxine McKew says Ms Gillard met Mr Rudd at Kirribilli House, where the then deputy prime minister cited Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce’s campaign against the ETS, which the prime minister then dumped in April 2010.
“On one occasion, she sent a written message to Rudd that went to the absolutism of her position: she would have nothing to do with an election campaign that re-argued the case for an ETS,” McKew writes in the book to be released next week.
McKew for the first time names one of Ms Gillard’s closest friends and allies, Small Business Minister Brendan O’Connor, as one of the key spruikers of research designed to undermine Mr Rudd. Former attorney-general and Rudd backer Robert McClelland says he was shown the research by Mr O’Connor the week before the coup was launched to roll Mr Rudd on June 23, 2010.
McKew recalls a conversation with Ms Gillard after their appointments as education minister and parliamentary secretary for early childhood education and childcare after the 2007 election.
“There was only time for a functional chat about immediate tasks before she ended with a lighthearted crack about the fact that two childless women were now the policy guardians of Australia’s children,” McKew writes. “Not something that had even crossed my mind, but perhaps Gillard was still thinking about Liberal senator Bill Heffernan’s tasteless remark about her being ‘deliberately barren’.”
Still, I am not sure this will hurt Gillard too much. That she is untrustworthy, is ambitious and stabbed her way to the top is factored in already, and has been redefined as just Gillard being tough:
McKew alleges that Ms Gillard and her supporters manufactured a leadership crisis to become prime minister. “Equally, I do not believe that Gillard can be seen as a passive player. She was impatient for the prime ministership and allowed others to create a sense of crisis around Rudd’s leadership,” she writes.
“She then cut down a prime minister in his first term and tried to pretend it was in the national interest to do so. Since then, she has been the architect of her own misfortune. The struggles she has had since the disastrous election campaign . . . can be traced back to the early months of 2010.”


The Wolfe’s last howl

Andrew BoltOCTOBER252012(5:35am)

At first, he was going to write about the Vietnamese in California. Then he discovered that the entire Greater Miami area, including the local government and police force, was now run by first- and second-generation Cuban immigrants.
‘As far as I know, it’s the only city in the world where people from another country, with another language and a totally different culture, have taken over in this way,’ he says. ‘Invasions do the same thing. Whites, or what they call “Anglos” in Miami, are down to about 10 per cent of the population now, which is a huge change. Of course, our government created this unusual situation. They were letting in Cubans by the tens and hundreds of thousands to show the world what a dreadful regime it was over there under Castro. They tried to spread these Cubans around the country, but they all made a beeline for Miami.’
Wolfe is probably the only writer in America who is proud to call his novels ‘highly journalistic’. He does the same amount of legwork for his fiction as he used to for his non-fiction. In Miami, he spent a lot of time with police officers, and distilled it into his leading character, Nestor Camacho. A young, well-intentioned Cuban-American cop with almost superhuman physical strength, he has an unfortunate knack for igniting the city’s racial and political tensions.
‘Miami is a melting pot in which none of the stones melt,’ Wolfe says. ‘They rattle around. A lot of Russians are there now, Haitians, Nicaraguans. Miami is plan B for everyone in Latin America at this point. And everybody hates everybody, as my guide put it.’
He was shown around the city by a Cuban-American journalist on the Miami Herald. Attempting to be inconspicuous, Wolfe left his white suits in the closet, and usually wore a navy blazer with khaki trousers and a tie. None the less, he was recognised by a bouncer at a strip club and a horde of drunken half-naked students at an orgiastic yachting regatta, who dive-bombed his boat. Both these venues furnished rich material for the book. He also went to the crack-ravaged black slums, and the private pre-opening of Art Basel Miami Beach, the show where the billionaire collectors come to do their shopping.


Not the carbon tax we were promised

Andrew BoltOCTOBER252012(5:07am)

HOW much will electricity go up? Ten per cent over five years. Modelling a Carbon Price, Treasury, 2011:

THE carbon price leads to an average increase in household electricity prices of 10 per cent over the first five years of the scheme.
Fifteen per cent in a month. TD Securities-Melbourne Institute Monthly Inflation Gauge, July: 
DUE to the introduction of the carbon tax from (July 1), the price of electricity rose by 14.9 per cent.
Ten per cent. Julia Gillard, speech, August 7: 
WHEN the government priced carbon, we forecast an electricity price impact on consumers of around 10 per cent, a forecast which has now become reality.
Fifteen per cent in a quarter. Australian Bureau of Statistics, yesterday: 
OVERVIEW of CPI (consumer price index) movements. The most significant price rises this quarter were for electricity (+15.3 per cent).
Don’t ask us. ABS, also yesterday: 
THE ABS will not be able to quantify the impact of carbon pricing, compensation or other government incentives and will not be producing estimates of price change exclusive of the carbon price or measuring the impact of the carbon price.

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