Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Tue 2nd Oct Todays News

Snopes on FB Private Messages

Labor encourages the lynch mob

Piers Akerman – Tuesday, October 02, 2012 (4:18am)

THE Labor Party has now overplayed its hand with its contrived outrage over broadcaster Alan Jones.
Labor is recklessly pandering to a lynch mob.
Even Julia Gillard looks churlish for refusing to accept even a phone call from the chastened commentator.
For heaven’s sake, it is perfectly reasonable that he should seek to personally apologise and offer words that probably do not belong in a public forum.
She has denied him that opportunity thus far, and it is starting to look as if her refusal is intended to draw this incident out for purely political ends.
This morning, he reiterated his unqualified apology.
He said his press conference may have gone on too long - but let’s face it, he was answering questions put to him by the same media that is now whining about the fact that he covered other material during that conference.
Media lightweights, one and all.
When they start challenging Labor and Gillard, particularly, about the lies that have spewed forth during the term of this government they will have some credibility.
What began as an unacceptable remark to a group of student Young Liberals has been seized by the ALP and its supporters and exploited as a means to attack Jones and through him in some bizarre fashion, Opposition leader Tony Abbott.
The anti-Jones brigade, always there, is encouraged.
Labor minister Anthony Albanese says he will indefinitely boycott Alan Jones’s 2GB radio show.
A lot of people will say “hooray”. Albanese is one of the prominent Labor smear merchants and hearing less from him on such a popular program will be no loss.
Albanese has never addressed the culture of deceit and cover-up within the ALP but now sees himself as an expert as the “modern culure” of the Liberal Party.
He has never reined in his colleagues when they have made outrageous comments about prominent female Liberal MPs. He exemplifies the hypocrisy that is now attached to Labor’s attacks on Jones.
Attorney-General Nicola Roxon, no slouch in the hypocritical stakes, and totally lacking in the gravitas which normally attachs to the AG’s role, has tried to have a swipe at the Liberals but at the same time she confirms she would still appear on Jones’ program if asked.
Of course she would. And so would most Labor politicians because they know that Jones has gained an audience because of the quality of his broadcasting, not his after dinner remarks at student rallies.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman, who was mercilessly and maliciously maligned by the Labor Party during the state election campaign earlier this year commended the broadcaster’s “guts” for publicly apologising Ms Gillard.
As I and others have done, he noted that while Jones’s comments were “clearly wrong and clearly highly inappropriate”, “At least he had the guts to get out there and apologise.
“I’m still waiting for federal and state Labor and people like (Queensland Council of Unions president) Mr John Battams ... to make their apology to the people of Queensland for misleading them,” he said.
Labor figures made unsubstantiated claims during the Queensland election that he and his family had been involved in improper financial dealings.
He was cleared by the Crime and Misconduct Commission of any wrongdoing.
Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella, who during a pregnancy was the victim of an outrageously vicious attack from former Labor MP Belinda Neal, tweeted: “Why should Tony have to apologise for Jones words? Rudd PM + Gillard DPM never said sorry to me re Neal demon child slur.”
Liberal Senator Mitch Fifield highlighted Labor’s hypocrisy when he told Sky News: “If they actually cared about a grieving daughter they would not be talking about this.”
“We would all shut up and we would all move on.”
The muckraking has even seen union boss Paul Howes digging out two-year-old tweets sent by Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey praising Jones’ show, in an attempt to vilify the opposition.
A handful of sponsors have reportedly pulled their advertising, too, but all businesses are notoriously cowardly in the face of staged and organized campaigns.
The uproar reflects badly on Labor.
It demonstrates Labor’s love of the mob and its distaste for discussion.
The roar against Jones is the same as the roar that erupted from the massed thugs who smashed their way into parliament in 1996.
In another country, it would be the same as the roar from the brutish mediaeval fundamentalists.
Labor is fueling a dangerous fire as it stokes blind hatred. It is responsible for the mob.



Tim Blair – Tuesday, October 02, 2012 (11:08am)

“I have a bit of the problem with anonymous snarks,” claims the ABC’s Jonathan Green. “I reckon people who express strong opinion in public should own them. By name."
In 2009, Green – then editor of Crikey – introduced a blog called Pure Poison to his site. Two of its authors, “Tobias” and “Ant”, wrote under fake names.
You were saying, Jonathan?


Laws refuses to perform for Sales

Poor Leigh Sales. She invited John Laws, a long-time foe of Alan Jones, onto 7.30 to join in the group vilification. The ABC even sent out a press release to announce the big pay out.
But oops. Laws showed class. He didn’t like Jones, that was clear, and thought his comments offensive and hasty. But Laws, genial and clutching a glass of refreshment, declined to turn this into the Worst Thing Ever and dismissed it all as a mistake. He neatly defused Sales’ attempt to link Jones’ comments to the Liberals.  Attention: an adult was being interviewed.
Sales kept probing for the damnation she’d clearly wanted, and eventually protested that viewers watching would be surprised Laws was “moderate”. She goaded him on this point.
Laws, with tremendous good humor and a knowing look, replied:
You want me to get angry? ... I’m a performer. You tell me what you want me to do.
Point made. Very funny.


Hypocrites. Just hypocrites

Labor backbencher Steve Gibbons on Kevin Rudd:
Kevin Rudd on Alan Jones:

Wayne Swan on Alan Jones and Tony Abbott: 
Treasurer Wayne Swan said “bully boys and whingers” such as Jones and his “poster boy” Opposition Leader Tony Abbott were trashing Australia and filling the national debate with “bile, aggression and needless personal abuse”.
Wayne Swan filling the national debate with “bile, aggression and needless personal abuse”:
Describing the influence of the wealthy few as a “poison” that had “infected our politics and is seeping into our economy”, the Treasurer ... said politicians had a choice between “standing up for workers and kneeling down at the feet of the Gina Rineharts and the Clive Palmers”....
- He said the Labor Party had given Mr Rudd every opportunity, but he wasted them with his ”dysfunctional decision making and his deeply demeaning attitude towards other people… Colleagues are sick of Kevin Rudd.” ...
- Wayne Swan has delivered a speech labelling some elements of the United States Republican party as ”cranks and crazies”…
FORMER Democrat Andrew Bartlett, Sky News, yesterday: 

(ALAN Jones) is a serial offender in regards to this sort of thing. Although this one is probably up there with the worst.

Kerry-Anne Walsh, The Sydney Morning Herald, December 7, 2003:
DEMOCRATS leader Senator Andrew Bartlett stood aside in disgrace last night after an astonishing . . . attack on Senator Jeannie Ferris, which involved an alleged drunken physical assault and abusive name-calling during a late-night Senate sitting.

Bob Ellis, September 12:
(JULIA Gillard) fled an important conference, and a meeting with Vladimir Putin, because her father had died at 83, and went home weeping to Adelaide. Leaving a battlefield because of a dear one’s death is not what she lets our soldiers do. They must stay and fight on till battle’s end. Yet she thinks she is different somehow. She is allowed her tears and her time off, playing hookey from her national obligations, her duty.

From Ellis’s bio on ABC1’s Q&A:
BOB Ellis . . . has written speeches for the likes of Kim Beazley, Bob Carr, Mike Rann, Cheryl Kernot and Bob Brown.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr, Network Ten’s Meet the Press, Sunday:
I’VE heard some indecent things in politics but never something as thoroughly indecent as this. Tony Abbott ought to do the decent thing and say today loud and clear that he apologises to Julia Gillard for unacceptable remarks.

Jonathan Green, ABC Radio National host, tweets last Wednesday:
BREAKING: Alan Jones to die contemptible and alone.

Rebecca Mifsud, wife of minister Chris Bowen, retweets on August 31:
ALAN Jones age 71. Avergae (sic) lifespan for an Australian male age 79. Patience my pretties #Auspol bahahaha.

Catherine Deveny tweets, Sunday:
I WONDER how Alan Jones wife feels about this.

Deveny tweets yesterday:
DEAR @Freedom--Au, every time you spend money you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want. And by #boycotting2GB so do we. And @Freedom--Au, if you still advertise on 2GB you still promote hate and misogyny…

Deveny’s farewell tweet on her former editor, Paul Ramadge, June 26:
I WISH him arse cancer.

Deveny tweets about fellow ABC1 Q&A panellist Peter Dutton, March 15, 2010:
HAD nightmare they sat me next to a chinless, ex QLD cop with a face of a rapist who refused to go to the stolen generation apology #qanda…

Deveny on people who live in the Melbourne suburb of Craigieburn, The Age, April 19, 2008:
THE reality is that it is impossible to watch these brainless retards belt the crap out of each other without enjoying it just a little.
Jones’s remarks and Labor’s response had this in common: they all used a deeply personal tragedy for base political purposes. It was tawdry…
If the aftertaste left by Jones’s remarks was fury, the feeling after Labor’s orchestrated response (with the implicit or explicit approval of the Prime Minister’s office) was nausea.
First, the ALP has been consistently silent about the language of hate and abuse from various left-wing commentators.
Journalist Mungo MacCallum declared John Howard to be unflushable faecal material, only in blunter terms. No criticism from the ALP here.
ABC First Tuesday Book Club panellist Marieke Hardy went much further, however, and wrote [in fact, published] of Brendan Nelson, “glass the c . . .’s wife and their children because they don’t deserve to procreate and have any children themselves”.
This was accompanied by a demand for the genital mutilation of Tony Abbott and a piece published on ABC’s The Drum calling for Christopher Pyne to be raped by a dog. I am not sure the ALP or others who support them have spent much time denouncing these extraordinary comments.
After appearing on the ABC’s Q&A, left-wing writer Catherine Deveny tweeted of a Coalition frontbencher and family man who appeared on the same panel, “he has the face of a rapist”. About as offensive as it gets. But silence from the ALP.
At the second level, there are the comments from ALP frontbenchers themselves.
On March 11 last year, the Prime Minister’s Cabinet Secretary, Mark Dreyfus, wrote an opinion piece for The Sydney Morning Herald comparing Abbott to a Nazi war criminal.
The SMH not only published the piece without criticism, it took the comparison of Goebbels and celebrated it in the newspaper’s headline.
To date I have yet to see one criticism from within the ALP of a scripted comparison with a Nazi war criminal by the Prime Minister’s own Cabinet Secretary. 
AM, to its credit, confronted (albeit gently) Immigration Minister Chris Bowen with Labor’s hypocrisy - first by asking him whether his wife regretted retweeting the above message.
Unfortunately Bowen simply blustered. He said this was done a month ago. (Which makes it OK?) He said it was a retweet and not necessarily an endorsement. (Oh really? Pull the other leg.) And he said mentioning was just an attempt to distract from Jones’ comments.
Well, no, it isn’t. I first raised that retweet a week before Jones’ comments - and not as a distraction from them - and noted that had this tweet been about, say, David Marr, and retweeted by Tony Abbott’s wife, the outrage from the Leftist media would have been extreme. Instead, there was a total silence. Followed now by this vicious pack attack on Jones.
Raising again the Mifsud retweet is not to distract from the Jones comment, which I don’t defend, but to vividly illustrate of the double standards of Labor and its media allies. 
(Some material bumped from a post below.)


Spending billions to buy Labor a Security Council seat

What a colossal distortion of our national interest - and our budget:
Countries traditionally not supported by Australia, which the government believes are now backing the bid, have been lavished with tens of millions of dollars…
Spending in Africa, where the government has concentrated much of its effort due to the region’s 50 UN votes, has included a $300,000 membership of a convention on biological diversity in Kenya.
The number of African countries receiving support doubled between 2008-10, a government aid spending report revealed, with total spending in the region leaping from $101 million in 2007-08 to $354 million this financial year…
Five years ago Australia gave no aid to the Caribbean but the region, along with South America, has been lavished with almost $170 million in assistance since the UN bid was announced… A scholarship program in 2010 cost $150,000, diplomatic training came with a $330,000 bill and $210,000 was spent on a Caribbean Economic Resilience Design.
South America has also benefited with $65 million given to a giant telescope project in Chile’s Atacama Desert.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr denied the aid and development splurge is linked with the bid.
And wise heads just laugh at his effrontery.


Nauru may have failed already. Next?

I think we can now tentatively conclude the Gillard Government’s Nauru “solution” - so belatedly, slowly and half-heartedly applied - has failed. More than 2000 arrivals last month, and today:
THE navy has intercepted another asylum seeker boat… Initial indications suggest there are 39 passengers on board.


Call this a war?

While we’re in a civil war about what one broadcaster told some university students over dinner, a more trivial dispute is occupying an autistic giant revelling in its new strength:
The four maritime surveillance ships entered the waters shortly after 12:30pm (1330 AEST) today, the coastguard said, adding that it was telling the ships to leave the area.
True, conflict between China and Japan are small beer compared to what Alan Jones said about Julia Gillard.... 


Jo Nova back

Jo Nova’s site cannot be killed by hackers. She’s back - and even punchier.

Swan takes credit for China crumbling

Wayne Swan takes the credit: 
TREASURER Wayne Swan says a 25 basis point cut in official interest rates is due to “responsible budget policy"…
Er, really? Looking at the Reserve Bank’s explanation for the rate cut, the only way Swan could take credit for this cut is if he engineered the worrying slowdown in China:
At its meeting today, the Board decided to lower the cash rate by 25 basis points to 3.25 per cent, effective 3 October 2012.
The outlook for growth in the world economy has softened over recent months, with estimates for global GDP being edged down, and risks to the outlook still seen to be on the downside. Economic activity in Europe is contracting, while growth in the United States remains modest. Growth in China has also slowed, and uncertainty about near-term prospects is greater than it was some months ago. Around Asia generally, growth is being dampened by the more moderate Chinese expansion and the weakness in Europe.
Key commodity prices for Australia remain significantly lower than earlier in the year, even though some have regained some ground in recent weeks. The terms of trade have declined by over 10 per cent since the peak last year and will probably decline further, though they are likely to remain historically high.
Let’s go through the rest of the statement to see whether any of the other factors cited by the Bank include a reference to “responsible budget policy” by Wayne Swan:
Financial markets have responded positively over the past few months to signs of progress in addressing Europe’s financial problems...Low appetite for risk ...  Share markets have generally risen over recent months.
...growth has been running close to trend, led by very large increases in capital spending in the resources sector. Consumption growth was quite firm in the first half of 2012, though some of that strength was temporary. Investment in dwellings has remained subdued… Looking ahead, the peak in resource investment is likely to occur next year, and may be at a lower level than earlier expected. As this peak approaches it will be important that the forecast strengthening in some other components of demand starts to occur.... 
Labour market data have shown moderate employment growth… The Bank’s assessment, though, is that the labour market has generally softened somewhat in recent months. 
Inflation has been low… The introduction of the carbon price is affecting consumer prices.... However, credit growth has softened of late and the exchange rate has remained higher than might have been expected…
At today’s meeting, the Board judged that, on the back of international developments, the growth outlook for next year looked a little weaker..
To sum up: the world economy, and especially China’s, is slowing faster than expected when employment here is already worsening, consumers are skittish and the “investment pipeline” the Government had counted on is shrinking. Growth next year is likely to fall, and the carbon tax is meanwhile hiking prices. And all the Reserve Bank board can hope for is that forecasts came true in a hurry: “it will be important that the forecast strengthening in some other components of demand starts to occur”. 
Nice work, Wayne. 


Wilders finally let in. Too late

Chris Bowen would have betrayed our principles of free speech to simply shut out someone whose views he doesn’t like (and now attacks without actually rebutting):
IMMIGRATION Minister Chris Bowen will not block the visit of Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders, claiming Australia is robust enough to withstand his strong anti-Islamist views just weeks after rioters caused chaos in the Sydney CBD.
Writing in The Australian today, Mr Bowen says Mr Wilders is wrong and his views are offensive. “To read his writings is to be struck by their ignorance and their wrong-headed views of other people’s beliefs,” Mr Bowen says.
But Bowen gets to have his cake and eat it. He hasn’t banned Wilders, but I am told his delaying of the visa has forced Wilders to postpone his trip - at least until February,
I don’t think Michelle Grattan has argued this through to the proper conclusions. What is the “serious trouble” Wilders could cause simply by speaking, and is the real danger his words or those who make it dangerous for them to be spoken?
The presumption when a high profile figure wants to visit Australia on a speaking tour should be on the side of free speech, whatever their views. But security must also be weighed — which presumably has been done.
The ultimate test of Bowen’s decision will be a very practical one. If the visit sparks serious trouble, he’ll be criticised for a misjudgement. 
Here’s a hint to one likely conclusion: Wilders already needs permanent protection. From whom? And if free speech is met with violence, is it proper for a government to simply ban the speaker?
I really don’t think violent people should dictate who may come to our country.


With twice the advice, the Government steers us over a cliff

Twice the advisers have produced more than twice the disasters - which I guess it what happens when you pick spinners above thinkers:
The Gillard government’s 60 media advisers make up almost double the number under the Howard government, which had 34 in 2001, and three times that of the Keating government’s 21.
The 29-page document highlights how the experience of ministerial advisers has fallen while their ranks have swelled, especially those of media advisers, a trend that began with the Howard government…
Staffers with a media or political background dominate numerous ministerial offices, in sharp contrast to the Hawke and Keating governments, which were advised by high-calibre ministerial staff with formidable specialist experience.
The Australian’s analysis of the directory shows that at least four cabinet ministers with complex portfolios have promoted generalists, who have graduated from media and political roles into their top positions.
They are: Wayne Swan; Immigration Minister Chris Bowen; Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten; and Tertiary Education Minister Chris Evans.


Bob Carr, prize hypocrite

Bob Carr isn’t a hypocrite is he? So surely he’ll apologise for these comments by his long-time speechwriter, and resolve never to use him again:
THE opposition has demanded Foreign Minister Bob Carr apologise for attacks on Julia Gillard by his associate Bob Ellis over her response to her father’s death, accusing Labor of double standards over the Alan Jones affair.
Ellis, a speechwriter to Labor figures including Senator Carr, accused the Prime Minister of “girly tears” and taking “time off playing hookey from her national obligations” on his Table Talk blog last month....
“She fled an important conference, and a meeting with Hillary Clinton, because three of her soldiers had died by gunfire in a war, and went not to the warfront but Canberra. She fled an important conference, and a meeting with Vladimir Putin, because her father had died at 83, and fled home weeping to Adelaide.
“The doctrine of ‘Gillard Exceptionalism’ should now be abandoned. She should either do the job, or get out of it."…
Deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop said yesterday Labor should hold Ellis to account for his remarks. “People who have criticised Alan Jones for his remarks should be equally critical of Bob Ellis… As Bob Ellis is a close confidant of Bob Carr, I call on Bob Carr to apologise to the Prime Minister.”
Any comment, Bob Carr? Hello?
“Those people who have complained about what I said about the prime minister and the language I used are using vile language in their comments about me. That apparently is OK.

“I don’t mind, I can cop it, I can wear it and I’m not complaining.

“But if the criticism and the pressure and the headlines and the stories and the intimidation are designed to silence me in what I do on this program, then I’m sorry the bad news is you’ve picked the wrong bloke.”
Jones in The Telegraph:
But if only some of the trenchant criticism directed towards me is inspired by a ruthless determination to silence legitimate comment and condemnation of government policy, then just as comments which strike at the grief of a daughter for her father should be condemned, so too should be condemned the widespread efforts by the Gillard government, and Julia Gillard herself, to silence or punish anyone who dares to articulate one political certainty that this may be the worst and least trustworthy government in Australian history.
(Some material bumped to the post above. Comments to some of that are in this comments thread.)


Let’s talk more about Jones and not Gillard’s disastrous management

Here’s why the Gillard Government would much, much rather talk about how nasty a Sydney broadcaster is to its leader:
The latest surveys of China’s manufacturing industry showed that activity has continued to ease as the world’s second-largest economy faces a seventh consecutive quarter of slowing growth…
Economists are cutting their forecasts for Chinese GDP, which fell to 7.6 per cent in the second quarter—its lowest point in three years. Most estimates for the third quarter come below that figure…
Treasury estimates for China’s growth are more than 8 per cent for the next two years, but those levels are unlikely to be reached, putting pressure on the budget and the Gillard government’s promised return to surplus in the 2013-04 financial year.
I suspect more trouble is coming our way, with our money all spent and our entitlements locked in: 
The overall unemployment rate in Spain has reached 25.1pc, while the latest data from Greece for June shows a figure of 24.4pc. The outlook is far more optimistic in Germany, however, where just 5.5pc of people are out of work.
And isn’t that Alan Jones terrible? 
Although the jobless rate is low, domestic pressures are building. The employer lobby Australian Industry Group’s latest business survey, released yesterday, shows that for the seventh consecutive month, a majority of manufacturing firms are contracting.
Let’s insist Tony Abbott criticise that Jones again, but this time like he really means it: 
Prominent Labor government adviser and noted economist Ross Garnaut has warned of a long and tough China-induced downturn in Australia that will require restraint in government spending and wages growth for the rest of the decade.

Professor Garnaut, who forecast the rise of China in 1989, said the “salad days” of the boom were rapidly becoming “dog days” of faltering incomes and living standards in Australia.


Trouble on Nauru

Let’s hope Nauru doesn’t get second thoughts:
THREE asylum seekers on Nauru have spent a night in the local police station following damage to processing facilities on the Pacific island.
A spokesman for the Department of Immigration said there was a “minor disturbance” at the temporary regional processing centre at Topside, Nauru, on Sunday night.
There were some minor damage to kitchens, tents and lights, but no staff nor asylum seekers were injured, the spokesman said.


Peter Slipper slammed by judge over court no-show

PETER Slipper and his one-time advisor James Ashby will come to court tomorrow in an attempt to resolve their bitter dispute.
Justice Steven Rares said it is hoped the case will be decided through that, but still described the Speaker's non-attendance at court today as "outrageous behaviour."

He added that while he mediation "may work or may not work", Mr Ashby and the Commonwealth had been able to settle their dispute last week.

"The resolution (Mr Ashby) had with the Commonwealth is something that may not have been anticipated earlier."

Counsel for Mr Ashby, Michael Lee SC, said there may have been difficulty for Mr Ashby to get to Sydney from regional Queensland but he would do all he could " to physically be here."

Justice Rares said that Mr Ashby "should be here" and ordered both men to be in Sydney for the mediation tomorrow. 

If the resolution attempt, to be done before a court registrar, doesn't work, the case will return to court before Justice Rares on Thursday.

Mr Slipper is currently without legal representation, but the counsel for the Commonwealth Julian Burnside QC told the court of Mr Slipper's intention.

Mr Ashby's barrister Michael Lee SC described Mr Slipper's non-attendance at court as "an indulgence."
The Parliamentary Speaker has yet to hire new lawyers after parting ways with his Melbourne-based representation earlier this month - and his non-appearance at the Federal Court in Sydney this morning was met with scathing remarks from Justice Stephen Rares.

Justice Rares described Mr Slipper's conduct as "discourteous" and added he "makes enough money" to hire new lawyers if he didn't want to show up this morning.

The court heard Mr Slipper had been subject to "intrusive media attention", which he believed would be intensified if he had come to court today.

Justice Rares said the non-appearance was "an unfortunate situation."

"There's absolutely no reason why he's not here today," Judge Rares said.
 "He can't just treat the court as something where he can say 'I'm sorry, I'm not here.'

"He should be here...there are clear consequences (for not doing so)."

The court heard Mr Slipper emailed the court yesterday, and has indicted his wish for the case to be moved into mediation.
Lawyers for the Commonwealth, who last week settled their case with Ashby for $50,000, believe there is no longer a case against Mr Slipper as it is the government, and not the Speaker himself, who is Ashby's employer.

Mr Ashby said following last week's settlement that he would press ahead with the sexual harassment case against Mr Slipper.


Minister rules out rail ticket hike

TRANSPORT Minister Gladys Berejiklian will ignore a recommendation from the pricing regulator to raise CityRail ticket prices by more than 13 per cent over the next 3 years.
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal today handed down a draft recommendation to lift ticket prices by 4.4 per cent each year for the next three years, potentially raising the cost of some yearly tickets by almost $300.

But Ms Berejiklian today said increases would be capped at the rate of inflation - currently just 2 per cent - until the service improves.

"While the NSW Government is working hard to provide more trains for customers and increase the service standard they receive, we have decided that the fare increase proposed by IPART is not warranted at this time," Ms Berejiklian said.

"We are undertaking massive reform of RailCorp because services must improve and the organisation needs to be more sustainable.

"I absolutely believe that with efficient operations, we can offer more and better train services for customers while at the same time getting a better deal for taxpayers."

IPART chairman Peter Boxall said limiting increases to the rate of inflation would see taxpayers subsidising the service by about $95 million over the next three years.

End to Philippine Muslim insurgency near

THE Philippine government says a "historical" roadmap to end a decades-long Muslim insurgency that has left more than 150,000 people dead could be signed within days.
The government issued the upbeat forecast on Tuesday as the latest round of peace talks with the 12,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) began in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.
"We are on the brink of layering the written predicates that can frame the process of building trust as we usher in an era of peace, of hope and of recovery," chief government negotiator Marvic Leonen said at the start of the talks, according to a Philippine government statement.
"We cannot postpone any longer. Now is the time," he said.
"To state that what we hope to be able to do in the next few days is historical is definitely an understatement."
Mohagher Iqbal, chief negotiator for the MILF, said in his opening remarks that negotiations were "now on the home stretch", according to the statement.

However he warned a resolution must be reached soon, after previous false dawns in the peace process had led to more violence.
"If we cannot conclude it soon successfully, now that we are at the brink of the exercise, we will be in trouble," Iqbal said, warning of "spoilers" who may want to derail the peace efforts for their own interests.
The government and the rebels said ahead of the talks there was a strong spirit of co-operation following months of intense diplomacy.
But they also conceded many of the issues that derailed previous peace efforts had still not been agreed upon.
Among the toughest points to be resolved are the extent of the MILF's power in an envisioned autonomous region in the southern island of Mindanao, and the exact terms of proposed wealth sharing in that area.
Mindanao is home to vast untapped reserves of gold, copper and other minerals, as well as being one of the country's most important farming regions.
There are roughly four million Muslims in Mindanao, which they see as their ancestral homeland dating back to Islamic sultanates established before Spanish Christians arrived in the 1500s.
The MILF and other Muslim rebel groups have been fighting for independence or autonomy in Mindanao since the early 1970s.


French prosecutors drop A DSK rape probe

FRENCH prosecutors say they are dropping an investigation into accusations that the disgraced former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn took part in a gang rape in the United States.
Strauss-Kahn had denied any criminal wrongdoing in the incidents investigated, which involved evenings with prostitutes and took place in Washington in late 2010, while he was still the International Monetary Fund boss.
The Belgian woman who was supposed to have been the victim of the alleged rape wrote to French police in August to say she had consented to sex acts and was not pressing any charges, said the prosecutor's office in Lille.
It added in a statement that as there was no offence committed, a preliminary investigation that had been opened was now being shelved.
Strauss-Kahn, two businessmen and a police chief were in March charged with "aggravated pimping in an organised gang" for allegedly organising a prostitution ring for orgies in France, the United States and elsewhere.

That investigation is ongoing.
The Socialist politician's career collapsed spectacularly after his arrest last year on accusations he sexually assaulted a New York hotel maid.
The charges were eventually dropped but Strauss-Kahn, who was once considered a favourite for the French presidency, has since faced a series of criminal and civil actions in connection with alleged sex crimes.
The hotel maid, Nafissatou Diallo, has launched a civil suit against him in New York seeking unspecified damages, while he has in turn filed a countersuit for malicious prosecution and defamation.

Probe slams VA over $6M conference tab including parody video, official resigns

An Obama administration appointee has resigned in connection with another bombshell report detailing the waste of taxpayer money at feel-good conferences -- this time, at a pair of Veterans Affairs summits in Orlando that cost more than $6 million. 
John Sepulveda, who as assistant secretary for human resources and administration was the agency's top HR official, resigned just as the VA Office of Inspector General released its 150-page report on the conferences, held on his watch in July and August 2011. 
The report said he "abdicated his responsibilities" in overseeing the conferences, leading to "numerous examples of excessive costs, and unnecessary and unsupported expenditures." 
The resignation follows that of General Services Administration chief Martha Johnson, who stepped down following a report on a 2010 Vegas conference for GSA that cost taxpayers more than $800,000. 
The Veterans Affairs conferences were far costlier, with the planning described as "dysfunctional" by the IG report. 
And the IG report included allegations that Sepulveda made a false statement to investigators, and that other VA employees broke federal law and conduct policies by accepting improper gifts from hotels during the selection process. 
The conferences for the department's human resources employees included a litany of expenses covering everything from whimsical videos to karaoke to hors d'oeuvres, including artisan cheese displays. 
One of those expenses, a video parody of the movie "Patton" in which an actor pep-talked the audience about HR "mission imperatives" in the style of the original movie's opening scene, had already drawn lawmakers' attention earlier this year when the nearly $50,000 expense first surfaced. 
The IG report, though, documented another $16,500 video expense for a so-called "Happy Face Video." This was a daily video recap of the prior day's conference events, which according to the report was "improperly authorized." 
The report specifically flagged $762,000 in "unauthorized, unnecessary, and/or wasteful expenses" -- which included the "Patton" video, as well as $43,000 in awards paid to staffers "for their roles in the management of these conferences." 
The IG's office tallied $6.1 million in total costs, though acknowledged the full price tag could be even higher. 
Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, decried what he called a "lack of leadership" and called for accountability. 
"It is blatantly clear that VA does not know how much it spends on conferences," he said. "This sort of funny money accounting must stop, and will no longer be tolerated, especially in today's tight fiscal climate." 
The report further alleged that Sepulveda gave a "false statement" in claiming to investigators that he hadn't seen the Patton video until the first day of the conference. 
"However, several individuals testified that Mr. Sepulveda in fact viewed the videos before the conferences took place," the report said. The IG's office said the Department of Justice declined to prosecute the alleged false statement. 
The VA announced a series of departmental changes in response to the investigation. 
"While the IG report makes clear that 'VA held these conferences to fulfill valid training needs' and 'offered legitimate, substantive training courses at the conferences,' this does not excuse the misconduct of even a few individuals," the department said. "Misuse of taxpayer dollars is completely unacceptable. The actions cited in the report represent serious lapses in oversight, judgment, and stewardship." 
The VA said other employees will have allegations of wrongdoing reviewed for appropriate administrative action. Two employees, the VA said, were placed on administrative leave pending review. 
"Employees who have misused taxpayer dollars or violated VA standards of conduct will be held accountable," the department said. 
The IG report also found 11 department employees in charge of managing the conference "improperly accepted gifts from contractors seeking to do business or already doing business with VA." These ranged from lodging to meals to helicopter rides to massages. 
Further, the report said one unnamed employee tried to get Marriott to give him and his family "additional lodging benefits."

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/10/01/probe-slams-va-over-6m-orlando-conferences-official-resigns/#ixzz288pbxpAA

GOP lawmaker accuses Obama officials of seeing 'what they wanted' in Libya details

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, in an interview with Fox News, suggested the Obama administration politicized the intelligence in the immediate aftermath of the deadly consulate attack in Libya to fit a convenient story line, that it was spontaneous violence and not pre-meditated terrorism.
Rep. Rogers, R-Mich., specifically faulted the administration for suggesting the attack was an escalation of Muslim protests against an anti-Islam video produced in the U.S. and then doubling down on that theory.
“I argue the administration made some serious mistakes when they highlighted the video, escalated its credibility to the presidential level and then took it on TV in Pakistan with U.S. taxpayers dollars,” Rogers said, referring to an American government ad that aired in Pakistan condemning the video and the violence.
“I think those are all serious mistakes that we're paying the price for," Rogers told Fox News. He suggested the problem stemmed from the Obama administration seeing the intelligence as "what they wanted it to be -- not what it was."
U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans died in the attack, which authorities now suspect was carried out by extremists with ties to Al Qaeda.
Rogers and other Republican lawmakers have expressed specific criticism of U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice for her statements on several Sunday talk shows on Sept. 16, five days after the Libya attack, when she said portrayed the violence as a spontaneous demonstration that spun out of control.
For three weeks, the administration has gradually walked that position back, and officials now say what happened in Benghazi was a coordinated terrorist attack. On Friday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a rare statement explaining that administration officials were given the best assessment based on the available intelligence. Even so, at least one Republican lawmaker has called on Rice to resign.
Rogers, who told Fox News a day after the attack that evidence pointed to a pre-meditated act of terrorist, said the intelligence director's statement appeared to be an effort to obscure the facts.
“Part of problem is this circling of the wagons," Rogers said, calling it "concerning." 
"Again Americans need to understand the truth," he said. "And the facts are what the facts are -- and the intelligence is what the intelligence is -- and we've got to avoid this notion of any political convenience, of any political interpretation, or we will make serious mistakes.”
Fox News asked the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to identify the exact date when the intelligence showed the strike was terrorism and not a protest spun out of control. Knowing that date could indicate whether Rice’s comments were in line with the intelligence community’s overall assessment of the attack or contradicting it. A spokesman would not comment on the record about that matter.
Fox News also asked an administration official why the administration chose Ambassador Rice to go before TV cameras to discuss the sensitive intelligence details, instead of officials like Counterterrorism Adviser John Brennan, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper or National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon.
“We lost an ambassador in the attacks," the administration official told Fox News, asking to remain anonymous. "It made (sense) to put out a senior diplomat to speak to that tragedy.”
On Monday, the State Department defended Rice and rejected calls by House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King for her to resign.
Rogers said his worries go beyond the politics.
“It's clear to me that (Obama administration officials) try to find the most convenient parts to what their narrative was, and that's always a dangerous thing," he said. Citing the aftermath of the 1979 hostage crisis in Iran, and the “lack of response” to the USS Cole attack in 2000, Rogers suggested that failing to respond honestly and forcefully in this attack will embolden America’s enemies.
“This was a successful attack (in) Al Qaeda's view," he said. "We need to treat it exactly the same, and we need to make sure that they don't have the ability to do this again."

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/10/01/top-gop-lawmaker-accuses-obama-administration-circling-wagons-on-libya/#ixzz288pruVHT


“You gotta see it to believe it!” That phrase has been ingrained in our minds, and for good reason. For ages, it was true. To see something with your own eyes silenced skepticism. But now, with the modern magic of Photoshop and other tools, seeing is no longer believing, and that is the central tenant to most hoaxes. Of course, the vast majority of ghost stories are hoaxes, yet according to a CBS News poll in 2009, nearly half of Americans believe in ghosts. Maybe that explains the popularity of so many ghost-hunters shows. Or does it
reinforce the phrase, “There’s a sucker born every minute”? Click ahead for 10 tales of the supernatural that were nothing super at all.
Jhakri Waterfalls Ghost
This photo made the rounds in 2010, supposedly taken at Jhakri Falls of Gangtok. The story goes that a child, after visiting the falls, later died that night. When the parents developed the photo from earlier in the day, they saw a ghostly image behind him. Well, with the help of computer forensics, the photo was determined to be nothing but a case of Photoshop.


Hollywood, hypocrisy and Matt Damon's anti-fracking film

It is true that there is nothing new under the sun, especially when it comes to Hollywood movies and TV shows. Ripoffs, remakes and reboots abound and the villains and heroes chosen by Tinseltown rarely shift.
Successful business people? Villains, of course. Environmentalists? Heroes, naturally. And few industries are maligned by entertainment media more than oil and gas, whistleblower characters, excepted. The left-wing Hollywood message is clear: oil and gas are bad, from children’s movies like “The Muppets” which dished out its trademark farcical, silliness for viewers in late 2011, to the much more serious 2005 film “Syriana” which had George Clooney to sell its message that the oil industry is full of murderous villains.
Now, it’s the business of natural gas. A process called fracking that has come under fire from the left, and naturally it has also become the target of Hollywood writers and celebrities, on and off the screen. The biggest example of that is Matt Damon’s “Promised Land,” which will be spewing that anti-fracking sentiment on screen when it is released in January 2013.
Hollywood hates fracking – so much, that the makers of that particular upcoming flick were willing to be accept financing from an oil-producing foreign government (the UAE) that stands to benefit by less domestic energy supply in the U.S. Imagine the outcry if a conservative film had gotten oil funding, especially from a foreign nation.
Those left-wing views aren’t just peddled on the silver screen. Episodes of “Dallas,” “CSI” and other shows have attacked fracking. One convoluted plot from TNT’s “Rizzoli & Isles” featured a panoply of liberal stereotypes when an ex-Blackwater agent, masquerading as a yoga guru, killed a vegan student and a professor in order to hide his drilling for natural gas. One of the main characters also declared that fracking “pollutes groundwater,” in that episode.
Such Hollywood tales ignore available information, such as University of Texas at Austin researchers who concluded “there is no evidence” of polluted drinking water from fracking.
The fact that Damon and John Krasinski decided to collaborate on an anti-fracking movie called “Promised Land” is as predictable as the end of a saccharine rom-com. But the true plot twist has come from reality, not fiction. As documentary filmmaker Phelim McAleer wrote in the Sept. 25, New York Post, “In courtroom after courtroom, it has been proved that anti-fracking activists have been guilty of fraud or misrepresentation.”
Things aren’t panning out the way the left wanted. In the small Pennsylvania town of Dimock, anti-fracking activists claimed the drilling had harmed the water supply. “[W]hile “Promised Land” was in production, the story of Dimock [Pa.] collapsed. The state investigated and its scientists found nothing wrong. So the 11 families insisted EPA scientists investigate. They did — and much to the dismay of the environmental movement found the water was not contaminated,” McAleer explained.
Not easily dissuaded from their fracking opposition, actor Mark Ruffalo and “Gasland” filmmaker Josh Fox scheduled an event in Dimock shortly thereafter to still protest fracking. Despite the EPA’s ruling that water in there was safe to drink and the Department of Environmental Protection’s decision to allow Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. to resume fracking in seven wells.
Fracking was invented in 1947, and if it’s used to extract natural gas from shale it stands to vastly increase the supply of natural gas and could generate $332 billion toward GDP and create 2.4 million jobs by 2035, according to estimates from IHS Global Insight.
None of that matters to Hollywood, which prides itself on “ripped from the headlines” storylines, but they persist in ignoring facts that support fracking. They care little for stories of townspeople who wanted fracking to revive their troubled local economy. Businessweek wrote in June that natural gas drilling could have done a lot for “struggling farmers” in Wayne County, Pa., who said “the biggest thing that ever happened around here” was stopped by a regional regulatory agency.
And of course, Finding out that one of those scary, flaming tap water videos was a sham wasn’t the plot twist Damon and Krasinski were looking for, either.
All that news did have an impact on “Promised Land,” according to McAleer reports. He said the film went through a series of rewrites. What the actors came up with was a conspiracy worthy of Damon’s “Bourne” franchise. Now Krasinski’s character will play NOT just an environmentalist who reveals the “evil” oil company’s plot. Instead he will actually be a deep undercover agent for the oil industry to make fracktivists look like frauds.
Fox, is one such real-life fracktivist, who helped galvanize fracking opposition with his movie “Gasland.” Many have criticized the movie for having errors, but the most dramatic scene was when Fox lighted a glass of water on fire and attributed it to fracking.McAleer proved Fox knew of instances where tap water could be lit on fire decades ago. When McAleer confronted Fox with a 1976 report that there was a “troublesome amount of methane in the aquifer” Fox said, “Well, I don’t care about reports from 1976. There were reports from 1936 that people say they can light their water on fire in New York State.” He claimed it had “no bearing” on the issue. The viewing public might disagree.
You see Hollywood doesn’t face facts, it ignores them or twists them beyond recognition until they fit the left-wing agenda. And they’ve been doing it for years. Hollywood has hated on all kinds of businesses and businesspeople, from old man Potter in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” to Gordon Gekko on “Wall Street.” Instead of finding a new tale to tell, Damon and Krasinski are being typical lefty environmentalists. They’re recycling.
Julia A. Seymour is an assistant editor for the Media Research Center’s Business and Media Institute.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/10/01/hollywood-hypocrisy-and-matt-damon-anti-fracking-film/#ixzz288r6SguY


Audi developing synthetic fuel for automobiles

Automakers are desperately trying to lower the carbon dioxide emissions of their vehicles, but what if they could just figure out a way to run their cars on C02, instead?
That’s what Audi is planning to do with its new e-gas project, which will produce a synthetic fuel made from carbon dioxide and hydrogen. The resulting fuel is methane, the main component of natural gas, but created here in a novel way.
Audi is building a pilot facility in the U.K. that is powered by windmills and can produce hydrogen from water through the process of electrolysis. That gas can then be used to fuel electric cars that get their energy from hydrogen fuel cells, but since that technology is prohibitively expensive for mass production today and the infrastructure to distribute hydrogen has not yet been built, Audi has figured out how to make it more useful in the meantime.
Methane, which has the chemical formula of CH4, is often manufactured through the decay of organic waste, but the process generates a large amount of carbon dioxide. Instead of releasing this into the atmosphere, the excess C02 from one of these plants will be transferred to the e-gas facility where it will be combined with hydrogen to create even more methane.
From there, this synthetic fuel can be pumped into the existing natural gas infrastructure for use in cars -- distributed through compressed gas refueling stations or pumps installed in homes. Audi will begin selling a bi-fuel version of its A3 compact in Europe next year with a four-cylinder engine that can burn either methane/CNG or gasoline.
Carbon dioxide will still come out of the A3’s tailpipe when it is running on methane, but it will be the same amount that was used to create the gas, so there will be no net increase in the amount of C02 released into the atmosphere. Audi is working on a system that will allow drivers to purchase offsets tied to the synthetic fuel.
Perhaps more important, the transference of energy involved in this method facilitates a way for cars with existing internal combustion engine technology to indirectly run on the electricity that was used to produce the hydrogen molecules in the methane, alleviating some of  the issues caused by battery performance that has yet to catch up with consumer desires for range, recharging time and price.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2012/10/01/audi-developing-synthetic-fuel-for-automobiles/?intcmp=features#ixzz288rjEZ2h

'Fast & Furious' report leaves Americans with crucial questions

Finally, the media is showing the staggering human cost of Operation Fast & Furious. But the news broadcast wasn’t in English. 
Sunday, Univision, the Spanish language television network, ran a program showing the faces and stories of dozens of people who have been killed in Mexico with guns the Obama administration supplied to Mexican drug gangs. One Mexican interviewed summed up the theme: “Americans aren’t moved by pain beyond their border, only with their own.” 
Americans are now getting some partial answers about Operation Fast & Furious. The recent report by Justice Department's Inspector General identified Jason Weinstein as the highest-ranking DOJ employee to have been in a position to stop the program. He has now resigned from his post as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division.
It sure is about time. 
This is 34 months after Operation Fast and Furious began supplying guns to Mexican drug gangs in October, 2009, and 22 months after one of those guns was involved in the murder of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.
Ironically, at the same time that people were poring over the new report, President Obama was denying that his administration had any responsibility for the program. On Univision Thursday, Obama claimed: “I think it’s important for us to understand that the Fast and Furious program was a field-initiated program begun under the previous administration.”
Remember the strange set-up: the Obama administration was ordering gun dealers to sell gunsto individuals the dealers feared were criminals. Despite desparate warnings from Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive (BATF) agents, the guns were not traced. To top it off, Mexican officials were never informed. The report clearly notes that the program started in October 2009.
With about 300 Mexicans also killed and other crimes committed with weapons supplied, it is not surprising that someone in the Obama administration had to be blamed. Yet, Inspector General's massive 512-page report still leaves crucial questions unanswered.
Most importantly, did knowledge of Fast & Furious reach the political appointees in the Department of Justice, and if so, when? The report mentions that Weinstein was briefed about the operation in weekly updates on March 4th and 11th, 2010 (p. 257), but the report neglects to ask whether information provided by Obama's political appointees is at all credible.
Among the puzzles never really investigated by the Inspector General includes briefings that Weinstein gave his boss, Lanny Breuer, in April 2010. Breuer is the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. On April 19, 2010, the report finds, Weinstein briefed Breuer about a related program, instituted during the previous Bush administration, Operation Wide Receiver (pp. 73-75). That program also "walked" guns to Mexico, though under that program there were at least some attempts to trace the guns. Also, Mexican authorities were informed about the program. Nevertheless, the program failed and the reason was technical: tracing guns simply didn't work.
The DOJ report further reveals that after the April briefing, Breuer agreed with Weinstein that Wide Receiver was an "obviously flawed" program and ordered Weinstein to communicate this conclusion to the BATF. Yet, the report never questions whether Weinstein told his boss that a similar and even much more flawed program was then being run by the Department of Justice.
If "Wide Receiver" failed in tracing the guns and was subsequently shutdown, why would the solution be to not even bother try tracing the firearms?
If Breuer knew about Fast & Furious, that creates problems for Attorney General Eric Holder because Breuer reports directly to him. Holder and Breuer are extremely close, having been partners for years at a Washington law firm, Covington & Burling.
Other than continually asserting “we found no evidence that the agents responsible for the cases had improper motives” (e.g., pp. 298, 431, 441), the Inspector General’s report never answers the question of why the federal government would insist that gun dealers sell guns to Mexican drug gangs when they knew that the guns weren’t being traced. The report concludes: “we concluded that the conduct and supervision of the investigations was significantly flawed.” But if the problems with the operation are so obvious to everyone, why was it ever set up? Something more is needed than simply saying the program was flawed.
Other documents that have been turned up in the investigation are never mentioned in the Inspector General’s report. For example, a July 2010 memo by Michael Walther, director of the National Drug Intelligence Center, told Holder straw buyers in the Operation Fast and Furious case "are responsible for the purchase of 1,500 firearms that were then supplied to the Mexican drug trafficking cartels."
There are other problems with the report. Three BATF managers, Phoenix Agent in Charge Bill Newell, Supervisor Dave Voth and Case Agent Hope MacAllister, bear much of the blame in the report, but they “contend that the report's conclusion thatthe strategy for Fast and Furious was hatched in Phoenix is not true.” MacAllister says that the policy was part of an overall BATF strategy, implying that it came directly out of Washington.
Alas, a report produced by Obama administration itself can hardly be considered an unbiased final arbiter over whether Holder or even the president were involved or knew about Fast & Furious. 
Remember the scandal where the Obama administration replaced the Inspector General for AmeriCorps after he filed a criminal referral against the U.S. attorney against Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a self-described friend and supporter of President Obama. The administration hardly looks objective when it has been caught coordinating press coverage of the scandal with Media Matters. And Mexico’s government is not just going to unquestioningly accept the report’s conclusions.
Now that Department of Justice has released its report, its high time that President Obama stop stonewalling and grant Congress access to the documents it badly needs to complete its own investigation. If indeed the DOJ investigation has been thorough, what does President Obama have to hide?

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/10/01/fast-furious-report-leaves-americans-with-crucial-questions/#ixzz288ryLb6g

The law the White House wants companies to ignore

Liberals like to complain about the “imperial presidency” when individuals of a different political stripe occupy the Oval Office.  However, they have little to say when one of their own becomes president and ignores a law. The most recent case of this phenomenon occurred this past Friday when the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) told defense contractors that they could disregard a statute requiring them to notify employees that might lose their jobs. 

The law OMB wants companies to ignore is the WARN (“Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification”) Act.  Central among its provisions is the requirement that employers provide written notice to their employees of “plant closings” and “mass layoffs” affecting them at least 60 days in advance.  With the prospect of a $500 billion dollar cut in defense spending automatically going into effect on January 2 if sequestration is not avoided, the administration is desperate to stop defense companies from sending out WARN notices on what would be the eve of the presidential election.  
At least when Abraham Lincoln appeared to ignore existing laws at the start of the Civil War he had the excuse that he was trying to save the Union.  All President Obama seems to be doing is trying to save his job.
Really, there are only two questions to be addressed to when considering whether the WARN act applies in this instance.  The first is: what is a “mass layoff” and does it apply in this instance?  According to the law, a “mass layoff” amounts to the loss of employment at the single site during a 30-day period for at least 50-499 employees (if they represent at least 33% of the total workforce at a site) or, simply, the loss of employment for 500 or more employees (again at a site). 
Now, there is little question that sequester would lead to layoffs of this scale and, accordingly, apply in this instance. 
In fact, just within the past two weeks, two major defense contractors (Northup Grumman and Sikorsky) let go well over 500 workers as a result of defense cuts from this year.  Given that the size of the defense cuts mandated by sequestration are of the same magnitude as this past year, there seems to be little question that similar size layoffs can be expected come January.
The administration counters by saying sequestration can be avoided, and hence the need for WARN notices, if Congress and the president reach an agreement on an alternative path to make $1.2 trillion in federal budget reductions as required by the Budget Control Act. That’s true.  But saying sequestration need not happen is a far cry from saying it won’t happen or even that it is unlikely to happen.
As the act’s acronym suggests, the purpose of the law is for the employer to give an employee fair warning that he or she may well lose their job. Indeed, according to the Labor Department, one of the few exceptions for the 60-day notice requirement is “unforeseen business circumstances,” a situation that hardly applies in this instance.  To the contrary, given how little effort the White House has made so far to avoid sequestration, any reasonable assessment of the likelihood of avoiding a new round of defense cuts would have to be low.
In a backhanded way, the administration admits as much.  In Friday’s announcement, OMB stated that, if a company follows the administration’s advice but the federal courts—whose job it is under the act’s terms to enforce the law—nevertheless find the company as having violated the act, the company’s liability, civil penalties and even lawyer’s fees can all be passed on to the contracting agency—in this case the Pentagon, one of its agencies, or the military services—as “allowable” program costs.  In short, OMB is saying that money appropriated by Congress for, say, for developing a particular weapon system can now be used to cover the costs of ignoring a law.
Nor is Friday’s announcement by OMB the first to attempt to ignore a law when it comes to the consequences of sequestration.  Just two weeks ago, OMB refused to abide by the terms of the Sequestration Transparency Act which required the administration to spell out the impact sequestration would have on specific programs.  In doing so, the White House made it even more likely that defense companies would feel obligated to send out wide-spread WARN notices since they lacked any information on how exactly January’s cuts would be implemented.  Indeed, it may be that the refusal to follow the law in this first instance forced the White House to double down this past week by offering in effect “liability insurance” for companies to disregard the WARN Act altogether.
One is tempted of course to say, “this is just politics.”  But, in fact, it’s far more than that.  It’s a case of the president abusing his “executive power” to turn duly enacted laws on their heads.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/10/01/law-white-house-wants-companies-to-ignore/#ixzz288sJSFc6

Help protect the Galilee: a nonviolent means for solving this problem

Israel Ranches are being attacked, their land being stolen and their passive European cattle are being mutilated and killed by local Palestinians, jackals and wolves. Israel needs desert cattle that fits its environment and can defend it's self and it's calves. That breed of cattle is Texas Longhorn. The self-sustainable project will help Israel. Help us raise $240,000, to start. A 501c 3 nonprofit # 74-3177354.

This is some of the ranches under attack


Thank you

Robin Rosenblatt
Israel Longhorn Project
815 Hill St Apt 5
Belmont, Ca 94002

A new, 18-minute mini-documentary follows the journey of Irina, a 23-year-old liberal, Jewish New Yorker who voted for Obama in 2008. Yet as her connection to Israel has grown, and she has learned more about the President's policies across the Middle East and towards Israel in particular, Irina has come to realize that "when the chips are down," the President may not "have Israel's back" as he says.

The short film features:

Exclusive interviews with leading journalists and politicians in Israel 
(Bloomberg, London Times, Jerusalem Post, etc.)



Their anti Semitic foreign policy is all in vain.

THE BDS , boycott, sanctions and divestment (BDS) attack on Israel has failed once again.


Malkin: White House hosts Muslim Brotherhood operative

On March 30, Hisham Y. Altalib visited the White House. According to visitor logs, Altalib was received by Joshua DuBois, the director of President Barack Obama’s Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Four days later, White House officials welcomed a foreign delegation of the radical Sharia-enforcing Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt.
The White House confab in March with U.S.-based Altalib — which appears to be a prep session with the global Muslim Brotherhood’s American advance team — has received no attention until now. So, who is Hisham Yahya Altalib? What is his agenda?
And why exactly did the Obama administration conduct domestic “faith-based” outreach with this Muslim Brotherhood figure in Virginia, who just happens to be 1) tied to bloody jihad and 2) a major contributor to the left-wing Center for Constitutional Rights, the group of jihadi-sympathizing lawyers who helped spring suspected Benghazi terror plotter Abu Sufian bin Qumu from Gitmo?
Altalib is an Iraqi-born Muslim identified by the FBI as a Muslim Brotherhood operative before he moved to America in the 1970s to earn an advanced electrical engineering degree from Purdue University in Indiana. By his own account, Altalib “soon became active in Islamic work in North America, which continues to this day.”
He was the “first full-time director of the Leadership Training Department of the Muslim Students Association of the United States and Canada” — a longtime Muslim Brotherhood front group whose explicit goal is to “conquer” America through Islamic propagandizing.
Altalib is also a founding member of the SAAR Foundation and the International Institute of Islamic Thought. Last year, his online biography notes, he was awarded the Islamic Society of North America Community Service Award. The Saudi-subsidized ISNA is regarded as the primary U.S. umbrella group for Muslim Brotherhood fronts and was named specifically by the global MB godfathers as a key player in their “Grand Jihad” strategy of infiltration.
SAAR was founded in Herndon, Va., in 1983 as part of a radical Islamic charity front for Saudi financiers called the SAFA Group. The feds raided SAAR’s offices in 2002 as part of Operation Green Quest. Investigators confiscated 500 boxes and seven trucks’ worth of documents illuminating the network’s terror ties to the Al Taqwa Bank (a Swiss-based Muslim bank suspected of funding the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorism plot) and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Altalib worked for one of Al Taqwa Bank’s main owners, Youssef Nada. Altalib’s more prominent Muslim Brotherhood partner, Jamal Barzinji (one of the champions of the Ground Zero mosque), also worked for Nada. FBI and Customs officials think SAAR/SAFA laundered money for a plethora of violent Muslim terrorist groups, from Hamas and Hezbollah to al-Qaida and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Altalib, Barzinji and IIIT were also all listed in funding statements from the Center for Constitutional Rights as major donors giving in the $25,000 to $49,000 range.
CCR is the umbrella group providing more than 500 pro bono lawyers to Gitmo detainees. They have regularly dismissed national security concerns about Gitmo recidivism as “irresponsible ... scare stories.” That’s exactly what they did after one of CCR’s clients, Libyan terror leader Abu Sufian bin Qumu, was sprung in 2007.
Fast-forward five short years. Qumu is now the lead suspect in the Sept. 11 attack on our U.S. consulate in Benghazi that resulted in the murders of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, consular official Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs/private security contractors Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.
This administration’s idea of domestic “faith-based outreach” is tea with Muslim Brotherhood community organizers who have embedded themselves in American life for four decades with the express intent of “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.” Meanwhile, our commander-in-chief is squawking to the world about YouTube videos. The Ikhwan are laughing their bloodstained robes off.
Michelle Malkin’s email address is malkin@bloggmail.com.

According to the Obama Administration & its supporters these young people are criminals & haters: God Bless them:)

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