Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wednesday 31st Oct Todays News

Happy birthday and many happy returns Michael Davis,Adam Morgan and Harmanto Nguyen. Born on the same day, across the years. Remember, birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

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Alan Jones 1 - Left-wing losers 0

Piers Akerman – Wednesday, October 31, 2012 (4:06am)

CHAMPION Sydney broadcaster Alan Jones’ domination of the ratings despite a vicious campaign organised by Labor Party members, unionists and second-rate media figures should send Prime Minister Julia Gillard a deeply disturbing message.
She and her dwindling supporters among the inner-city Left, the public service, the shrinking union movement and academia, are out of touch with ordinary Australians – the Jones audience.
The anti-Jones campaign was also heavily promoted by the ABC, the nation’s largest broadcast organisation.
On program after program, ABC hosts, paid for by the taxpayer, sneered at Jones and his audience.
Fairfax newspapers were the same.
Even yesterday, Scott Ellis, reporting on The Sydney Morning Herald’s website, claimed that Jones had told a joke about Gillard’s father “died of shame” at a Liberal Party gathering.
Not true, of course, Jones made his ill-chosen remark at a function organised by a university Young Liberal club which is not affiliated with the Liberal Party.
But the SMH’s slur was in keeping with the bulk of the coverage of the affair, inaccurate and designed to damage the Coalition and Opposition leader Tony Abbott.
Lacking any successful policies, this ragtag minority government of Labor, Greens and Independents must rely on gutter politics for headlines.
With boats flooding across the Indian Ocean, with the carbon dioxide tax artificially boosting power bills, with no revenue from its own mining tax, Gillard and her crew must reach into the mud bucket when they need something to distract the voters because they have no notable achievements they can honestly claim.
The Nielsen figures released yesterday showed Jones not only stayed ahead but he also increased his lead over rival stations in the breakfast market with a 17.3 per cent share.
The campaign against Jones targeted his advertisers.
Many of them could not take the pressure of the cyber sledging they received.
They should have shown some spine.
The best line of the day was delivered by a 2GB spokesman who said: “I guess a lot of the criticism that was directed toward 2GB was coming from groups who are not our listeners.”
That would be correct.
Jones’ audience, or at least those members of it who ring in, seem to be concerned with the future of Australia.
His detractors seem more concerned with their own Left-wing causes and appear obsessed with the success of one of Australia’s great achievers.
It may be that they are no more than a petty, spiteful and insanely jealous bunch of losers who yesterday demonstrated that they don’t rate with the public.

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How to argue against a warmist

Andrew BoltOCTOBER312012(7:57pm)

 Global warming - propaganda
Reader Luke has had enough of one warmist deceit:
I’ve noted a simple response to the following alleged evidence for AGW: 
“nine of the 10 warmest years in the modern meteorological record have occurred since the year 2000”. [used in this NASA article.]
It is (as I saw posted as a comment sometime ago by a reader of your blog - I won’t claim credit for it):
“10 of my last 10 years have been my tallest. I continue to grow.”

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Gillard refuses to say what she knew about this damning cheque

Andrew BoltOCTOBER312012(4:41pm)

 The AWU scandal
image
Julia Gillard in Parliament today refused to answer very serious questions about the AWU scandal that go directly to her integrity.
In particular, she refused to explain whether she could have been ignorant of the fact that the cheque sent to her legal firm to pay for a unit bought for her then boyfriend’s use was drawn on the AWU Workplace Reform Association - a “slush fund” she herself had drawn up.
UPDATE
Anyone watch Laurie Oakes’ report tonight? My, but a viewer could certainly get the impression he really is riding shotgun for Gillard, it seems to me.
His performance reminds me of this passage in Jacqueline Kent’s very benign biography of Gillard: 
image
I wonder again which senior press gallery journalists assured Gillard, without adequately checking, that she had no case to answer. I wonder why they wrote her this blank cheque. I wonder which of them feel they must keep downplaying the scandal to justify their first - and wrong - call.
I do not know which journalists Gillard was referring to, or ever whether she was telling the truth. But the coverage by most Canberra journalists of what is clearly a grave scandal has been disgraceful - a case of very much not wanting to know.
UPDATE
Reader Internet Nutjob:
Notice in their summary of Parliament on ABC 24 there was absolutely no mention of any questions to Gillard about herself & the AWU or about Williamson & the Fair Work Laws in relation to moneys misappropriated from members funds. You just have to love em. They should be privatised when Abbott wins the next election.
UPDATE
Michael Smith, who astonishingly lost his job at Fairfax after asking the Prime Minister “unauthorised questions” about the scandal which she is yet to answer, sums up today
The Prime Minister did not answer Julie Bishop’s question.  Incredibly, almost beyond belief the Prime Minister said words to the effect that “Just admit it, Tony Abbott has put you up to this as part of his misogynist attack on women.” I didn’t note the quote precisely, but that’s the gist of what I took away.
Julie Bishop was masterful in response.  Strong, independent, she wholly owned the preparation and delivery for the question she asked and she really put the other person Julia Gillard in her place.
“I ask my own questions, thank you.” As a former Managing Partner of a large law firm in Western Australia, as a professional manager who has no doubt had to deal with improper actions of employees, as an accomplished lady who has built an outstanding career, I think Julie Bishop was entitled to take some satisfaction from that moment.
UPDATE
Reader Gillard Should Resign:
Unfortunately I believe this was the wrong question to ask in Parliament as, from what I have read on Michael Smith’s blog, it has been discovered this cheque was drawn and Ralph Blewitt took it to his Branch in Western Australia and had the monies telegraphically transferred to the Trust Account of Slater & Gordon. A copy of the Trust Account ledger also confirms this. I think she should be answering whether she was in attendance with Ralph Blewitt when he signed the Specific Power of Attorney, and whether she wrote to the W. A. Commissioner vouching for the bona fides of the AWU Workplace Reform Association.
But Mark of Brisbane:
I recollect Mr Blewitt claimimg he took the cheque Ms Bishop referred to today to a bank in WA to have it telegraphically transferred into the S&G account for the settlement in VIC so the PM would not have seen the cheque and could quite legitimately rely on that as a reasonable response. When Ms Bishop asked the question, I thought the PM would easily swat it away but she gave another non answer which got me wondering why. Then I realised that if the PM gave an answer she was confirming working on the settlement, and if the PM referred to Mr Blewitts comment for support she would then have been validating Mr Blewitts comments, the most damning one of which was that the PM did not witness the POA. Very clever Ms Bishop - I wonder if the PM is feeling a little boxed in.
UPDATE
AN Opposition frontbencher has been ejected from parliament for calling Julia Gillard “corrupt”, as the Coalition steps up its pursuit of the Prime Minister over the Australian Workers Union scandal.
A defiant Andrew Laming, who is Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Health, later said the Prime Minister had “legitimate questions” to answer.

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Humans like human things most

Andrew BoltOCTOBER312012(1:10pm)

Casinos king James Packer puts Nature in its rightful place:
Mr Packer said claims he doesn’t rate Australia’s natural tourist attractions are a “load of rubbish”, adding that they are “absolutely critical”.
“But if you look at the most popular tourist destinations they are predominately man-made attractions,” he said.
“We have the most amazing environment, but just as Singapore did, we need to combine that with world class man-made attractions if we are to succeed in the future,” he said.
If green tourism was such as hit, why has Tasmania got the highest unemployment of any state? Where are those green jobs that Greens party promised?

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Romney ahead, but can he win the states that count?

Andrew BoltOCTOBER312012(11:36am)

The current polling suggests that Romney will win the popular vote. He has an average lead of 0.9 percentage points in the Real Clear Politics and 0.5 percentage points in the Huffington Post average.
Yes the state polling averages are clear: Obama leads in Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Iowa, and Michigan. Romney leads in Florida and North Carolina. The votes look very close in Virginia, Colorado and Pennsylvania.
If Obama loses both Virginia and Colorado he would still win with over 290 electoral votes.
Superstorm Sandy should help Obama, stalling Romney’s surge and allowing Obama to look presidential. Before polling was suspended, Romney led Obama 51 to 46 in Gallup.
But Romney does have a shot in Iowa, with the latest Rasmussen poll having him now ahead50 to 48 (a lead within the margin of error).
Much depends on turnout, which in turn depends on passion for each candidate.
UPDATE
Meanwhile, Obama is being hurt by a story the mainstream media is largely trying to downplay - while the social media is spreading the word.  Retired Admiral James A. Lyons, former commander in chief of the US Pacific Fleet and senior US military representative to the United Nations, on the administration that would not save its own and is covering up a scandal: 
There is an urgent need for full disclosure of what has become the “Benghazi Betrayal and Cover-up.” ...
We now know why Ambassador Christopher Stevens had to be in Benghazi the night of 9/11 to meet a Turkish representative, even though he feared for his safety.  According to various reports, one of Stevens’ main missions in Libya was to facilitate the transfer of much of Gadhafi’s military equipment, including the deadly SA-7 – portable SAMs – to Islamists and other al Qaeda-affiliated groups fighting the Assad Regime in Syria…
Once the attack commenced at 10:00 p.m. Libyan time (4:00 p.m. EST), we know the mission security staff immediately contacted Washington and our embassy in Tripoli.  It now appears the White House, Pentagon, State Department, CIA, NDI, JCS and various other military commands monitored the entire battle in real time via frantic phone calls from our compound and video from an overhead drone. The cries for help and support went unanswered…
This attack went on for seven hours. Our fighter jets could have been at our Benghazi mission within an hour. Our Special Forces out of Sigonella could have been there within a few hours. There is not any doubt that action on our part could have saved the lives of our two former Navy SEALs and possibly the ambassador.
Having been in a number of similar situations, I know you have to have the courage to do what’s right and take immediate action. Obviously, that courage was lacking for Benghazi. The safety of your personnel always remains paramount. With all the technology and military capability we had in theater, for our leadership to have deliberately ignored the pleas for assistance is not only in incomprehensible, it is un-American… The person who made that callous decision needs to be brought to light and held accountable.
UPDATE
It looks very tight, and easier for Obama, to judge from Real Clear Politics, which has 201 college votes for Obama, 191 for Romney and 146 up in the air. Romney needs better news from Ohio than he’s getting. The toss-up states:
image
UPDATE
Some of the latest polls suggest slightly better news for Romney, provided Florida doesn’t slip away:
Polls of Ohio in recent days have suggested Obama’s lead is narrowing, while polls of Florida and Virginia suggest the president is closing in on Romney after seeing the Republican take a lead…
Recent polls also show a tight race in Virginia, and one poll from Elon University over the weekend even found a tie in North Carolina.
In Ohio, Obama’s lead has narrowed. A Rasmussen Reports survey released Monday found Romney overtaking the president in Ohio for the first time since May, 50 percent to 48. This follows a Cincinnati Enquirer/Ohio News Organization poll over the weekend that showed the candidates tied at 49 percent.

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Why won’t Gillard answer?

Andrew BoltOCTOBER312012(8:51am)

How honest is our Prime Minister?
Ms Gillard again responded angrily to a question from Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop about her work as a lawyer in 1992 establishing the Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association.
Ms Bishop had asked in question time why Ms Gillard - then a partner at law firm Slater & Gordon - had drafted terms for the incorporation of the association that claimed it was for training and workplace safety when she knew and had since publicly admitted it was a slush fund.
‘’I have asked why the PM made a false statement in this document, which I do wish to table, and she should answer that,’’ she said. 
Ms Gillard responded by quoting a report in Tuesday’s Age in which some Liberal backbenchers advocated a change in opposition tactics to focus more on policy and less on muck-raking…
The Age revealed two weeks ago that the association was incorporated only after Ms Gillard wrote to the West Australian Corporate Affairs Commission vouching for its bona fides. Under WA law, such an association was not permitted to deliver financial benefits to its members or officials.
Ms Gillard said in late August that the association - which she set up without consulting her senior legal partners and without keeping normal records - had been established as a ‘’slush fund’’ to finance union election campaigns.
WA fraud squad investigators later confirmed that more than $400,000 had been stolen from the association by Ms Gillard’s former boyfriend, senior AWU official Bruce Wilson.
Ms Gillard broke off her relationship with Mr Wilson after the fraud was discovered in 1995 and has repeatedly denied she knew of any wrongdoing.
(Thanks to reader Michelle.)
UPDATE
How many rotten unions are there? 
The NSW division of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has run a rehabilitation facility in Sydney, Foundation House, since 2000, in partnership with the building industry.
Most of the foundation’s board, a mixture of industry and union representatives, quit late last year over the diversion of funds they believed were earmarked for drug and alcohol programs. At least $500,000 and maybe more than $1 million raised through a workplace levy on employees and employers was transferred to unspecified CFMEU “safety initiatives”.
The scheme was run by the union’s former state secretary, Andrew Ferguson, the brother of federal MPs Laurie and Martin Ferguson.
The union has a reputation for tough industrial tactics. Leigh Johns, the head of the Fair Work Building & Construction agency, wrote this week in The Australian Financial Review the industry needed to stand up to “the CFMEU’s continuing culture of coercion”. 
Time the Coalition considered calling a royal commission into regulations governing union activities.

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The HSU scandal: 28 more charges for Williamson

Andrew BoltOCTOBER312012(8:45am)

Michael Williamson, Labor’s former national president and former Health Services Union East head, will have news for us today.
UPDATE
Williamson already faced charges relating to allegedly hindering a police investigation. Today he was hit with 28 more charges relating to fraud and $600,000 of misappropriated money which police likened to money laundering.
Police said two other people faced arrest, and would neither confirm nor deny that one was MP Craig Thomson. Thomson denies any wrongdoing.
UPDATE
Detective Superintendent Col Dyson told The Australian the charges involved an alleged $620,000 worth of allegedly defrauded money.
At a press conference outside Waverley local court this morning, Mr Dyson said that 27 charges of defrauding the union of money had been laid, and one charge of dealing with the proceeds of crime valued at $400,000 - although this was part of the overall $620,000.
Mr Dyson said that if convicted, Mr Williamson faced a sentence of up to ten years in jail for cheating and defrauding the union, and 15 years for dealing with the proceeds of crime, which he said could be described as ‘money laundering’.
Outside the court, Mr Williamson’s lawyer, Vivian Evans declined to comment. Prior to being charged with allegedly hindering a police investigation and making false financial statements to union members, Mr Williamson strenuously denied the allegations against him and any wrongdoing.

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Karoly has no right to jeer at Alan Jones

Andrew BoltOCTOBER312012(8:23am)

Far more sinister, [Jones] was reported to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, which last week ordered he undergo “factual accuracy” training and use fact-checkers. Like some trainee journalist just out of school.
This, I suspect, was a deliberate humiliation that no Flannery of the airwaves will ever be made to suffer by any government-backed authority. Jones, after all, was wrong in the wrong cause.
Think I exaggerate?
Then note how The Age celebrated Jones’s comeuppance - with a gleeful article on Friday quoting warming alarmist David Karoly, who crowed: “Obviously, we would much rather prefer that the comments of people like Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt were, in fact, correct, so it is pleasing to get this ruling from ACMA.” 
Professor Bunyip now leafs through the internal emails as Karoly is informed by a co-researcher that his latest co-authored alarmist paper - produced with a $300,000 grant and claiming a warming trend in Australasia unprecedented in 1000 years - actually contains a major goof, as bloggers had pointed out:
Subject: Mistake in the Australasian TT paper
Date: Wednesday, 6 June 2012 9:46AM
From: Raphael Neukom 
To: Joelle Gergis , David Karoly

Conversation: Mistake in the Australasian TT paper
Hi Joelle and David,
As just discussed with joelle on skype, I found a mistake in our paper in journal of climate today . It is related to the proxy screening, so it is a delicate issue. In the paper we write that we do the correlation analysis for the screening based on detrended {instrumental and proxy) data, but in reality we did not use detrended data.
The origin of the mistake is that at the stage when we were writing the paper my approaches have already evolved and I had made the proxy selection for the SH reconstruction based on detrended data. I therefore had in my mind that we had done the same for Australasia months ago and was very negligent not to check this carefully.
Using detrended data would only select very few proxy records that would not allow a reasonable reconstruction. I think it is basically justifiable to do the screening without detrending but changing these words may cause troubles.
Fortunately we have not received the proofs yet. So my suggestion is to write to the editor, explain the mistake and ask for permission to correct the error, if necessary via sending it out to review again.
I apologize for the mistake and the troubles it may cause and hope that we can find a good way to correct it.
David your advice on this would be very much appreciated.
Thanks a lot and best regards
Raphi
First, Raphi concedes he was “very negligent” to use the wrong figures, a mistake he admits is at the root of the team’s problems. Yet he is desperate to be helpful, even to the point of embracing cognitive dissonance. Sticking with what has been submitted to the learned, peer-reviewed Climate Journal would not represent “a reasonable reconstruction”, he states in one sentence, only to suggest in the very next that it would be “basically justifiable” to bluff it out and leave things as they are.
The paper has now been withdrawn.
UPDATE
Steve McIntyre, whose blog seems to be what blew the whistle on the Karoly paper, is damning of Karoly et al’s apparent lack of candor publicly in conceding what went wrong, how it had been discovered and what it meant for their paper: 
On June 10, a few days after the Gergis-Karoly-Neukom error had been identified, I speculated that they would try to re-submit the same results, glossing over the fact that they had changed the methodology from that described in the accepted article. My cynical prediction was that a community unoffended by Gleick or upside-down Mann would not cavil at such conduct.
The emails show that Karoly and Gergis did precisely as predicted, but Journal of Climate editors Chiang and Broccoli didn’t bite. Most surprising perhaps was that Karoly’s initial reaction was agreement with the Climate Audit criticism of ex post correlation screening. However, when Karoly realized that the reconstruction fell apart using the methodology of the accepted article, he was very quick to propose that they abandon the stated methodology and gloss over the changes. In today’s post, I’ll walk through the chronology.

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Give this shock-jock critic a mirror

Andrew BoltOCTOBER312012(7:22am)

Radio presenter Sarah Macdonald has all the makings of the kind of shock-jock she describes - she slimes, she misrepresents, she divides, she grossly simplifies, she appeals to prejudices and she ignores evidence. And, of course, she seems to have no sense of self-awareness or self-doubt.
Observe:
So where are the female shock jocks? ... Women rarely get to rant and rave on the radio…

Shock jocks are by nature bullies who champion mates and attack and ridicule those who disagree with them.  They are, or pretend to be, alpha males. That puts women at a disadvantage. 
Hmm. I’d have thought that kind of work was just up the alley of hate-tweeter Catherine Deveny, who was tried many times as a fill-in on ABC 774. Or how about Germaine Greer?Marieke Hardy?  Indeed, the most spectacular example of public hate-speech this month wascourtesy of a Prime Minister who’d make an excellent shock jock, under Macdonald’s definition. 
Yet, movies and popular media often remind us that women are meant to be better at bullying with words.  If that conventional wisdom is correct we should be better qualified.  Perhaps the truth is that women are more likely to use words as communication rather than weaponry.
Gillard, anyone?
Shock jocks need to work in a world of black and white. There’s no grey.  Perhaps women live too much in the middle; primed to seeing or accepting alternative points of view.
Is Macdonald here allowing any shades of grey in describing “shock jocks” - a term I’ve heard levelled at a diverse range of (male) broadcasters from Kyle Sandilands to Neil Mitchell and Ben Fordham?
Shock jocks have to be rather narcissistic or at least mega cocky.  It takes a particular personality type to be able to label most of the world’s scientists as complete liars. 
Seems like Macdonald is good for a bit of abuse and no-greys simplification herself. How many shock jocks “label most of the world’s scientists as complete liars”? I haven’t heard one.  On the other hand, I’ve heard plenty of Left-wing shock jobs label most of the world’s sceptical scientists as liars, “deniers” or the paid tools of Big Carbon.
I know some confident women, but few with that level of gall.  Shock jocks can’t show self-doubt, they have to believe in their own rants and maintain a level of outrage. Women are more likely to listen to that voice in their head that self-censors.
I don’t think Macdonald is listening to her own little voice. Here is a short list of prominent women who “believe their own rants and maintain a level of outrage”: Gillard, Greer, Pauline Hanson, Helen Razer, Corinne Grant, Hardy, Louise Adler, Eva Cox, Anne Summers, Deveny, Ged Kearney, Larissa Behrendt, Joan Kirner… 
What’s more, we recognize self-doubt is not always a personality defect.
I certainly don’t. But I see no evidence of self-doubt in this rant.
For some reason, shock jocks are always conservative.
“Always?” Deveny has been a broadcaster and is far Left. Neil Mitchell is a Left-of-centre populist. Derryn Hinch is, if anything, Left of centre. Former shock jock Mike Carlton is mad Left, as is Peter Fitzsimons. Tiga Bayles is of the far Left. Jason Morrison and Ben Fordham seem even handed, and Paul Murray of the moderate Left.
Perhaps progressives are just too damn nice.
That is, when they are not censoring enemies, screaming “racist”, boycotting Jewish businesses, sliming “misogynists”, sneering at “shock jocks”, breaking political promises, orchestrating mini race riots on Australia Day, luring boat people to their deaths, abusing sceptical scientists as “deniers”, hijacking university arts faculties, denying ABC jobs to conservative broadcasters, vilifying rich miners as fat and ugly… 
Much has been written about Tony Abbott’s sexism as an explanation of why he attracts more male voters than female. 
Abbott is sexist? Another baseless smear - a nasty caricature - of the shock-jock kind. Is Gillard a sexist for attracting more female voters than male? 
But I see another influence. Abbott is great at ripping things apart – the republic vote, the belief in a carbon tax, possibly the Government – but can he build with consensus? Shock jocks like to pull apart, women prefer people who want to build. 
They do? So explain a Gillard, whose campaign is built on sliming Tony Abbott as a sexist, woman-hating monster. Whose global warming policy is built on scaring people stupid with wild claims of apocalyptic warming. Whose staff smeared Abbott as anti-Aboriginal, spread false reports of his comments about the tent embassy and then incited a riot against him. Who knifed Kevin Rudd and then trashed his reputation. Who attacked miners, punished newspaper critics, threatened free speech, betrayed Andrew Wilkie, dabbled in class war and still commands the unquestioning loyalty of a Macdonald.
But maybe women are too conciliatory. Taught to be too nice.  Too conditioned to build bridges rather than yell like the troll threatening to block the Billy Goats Gruff.  Is this the reason why we don’t have women on the radio rallying against feminazis, bleeding hearts and the luvvies?
Is this the reason we have woman right now ranting against shock jocks, Tony Abbott and conservatives generally?
Or how about a progressive female shock jock? Helen Razer and Catherine Deveny could rail against sexism, racism and inequality.  They’re just not asked.
False. Both have been asked. Deveny has often filled in on ABC 774. Razer was an ABC radio host on two stations for a total of 11 years before being sacked. Thanks for noticing. Bang goes Macdonald’s theory.
It would be interesting to hear and to see whether people would listen.
It was interesting, and it didn’t work out. Both turned out to be a bit too shocking. And actually a bit boring.
I feel the shock jock thing is getting old and tired… The campaign against Alan Jones is still playing out but seems to be holding firm.
Jones’ ratings in the last survey went up. He’s far and away the most popular breakfast host in Sydney.
So where has Macdonald practiced her own brand of divisive, simplistic and ranting analysis?On the ABC, but of course.
Shock jocks - they’re everywhere now. 

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Thomson called out - and blinks

Andrew BoltOCTOBER312012(7:01am)

Thomson threatens to sue - but not yet: 
‘’Our client has never used other people’s money or his own money to pay people for sex with him. Anyone who says the opposite will be sued,’’ Mr McArdle said.
Last week Katrina Hart, a branch president of the Health Services Union, took up the challenge.
‘’Craig Thomson, you are a liar, you paid for prostitutes with my money and the money of every other HSU member. You [took] $100,000 from us. I dare you to sue me,’’ said Ms Hart, in The Daily Telegraph last week.
Ms Hart received a threatening letter from Mr McArdle claiming her comments were defamatory. ‘’We will commence proceedings … most likely after we have achieved dismissal of the defective and wrongly based litigation that has been commenced against him.’’ 
Ms Hart may have a comfortable wait ahead of her.
UPDATE
How sexist, obnoxious and rude does Craig Thomson’s lawyer seem during the interview with Kathy Jackson? His appeal to anti-Catholic stereotypes is also very low, in my opinion:
(Thanks to reader Erin.)

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Billions wasted, 1000 dead and Labor retreats

Andrew BoltOCTOBER312012(6:43am)

The border policies have collapsed completely: 
LABOR’S tougher border protection regime will hit taxpayers for nearly $1.7bn this year, with $268 million being taken from the contingency reserve to build facilities on Nauru and Manus Island.
The Coalition went into attack mode, saying the money was being funnelled towards the management of a four-fold increase in the rate of monthly boat arrivals since the May budget
CHRIS Bowen, in opposition, August 10, 2006: 
THIS is a bad bill (Excision of the Mainland) with no redeeming features. It is a hypocritical and illogical bill. If it is passed today, it will be a stain on our national character ... If it is passed, it will be repealed by an incoming Labor government. Decency and self-respect as a nation would demand nothing less.
Labor MP Tony Burke, Hansard, August 9, 2006:
AUSTRALIA is better than this bill. The legislation before us today undermines our sovereignty, is offensive to our decency and makes a mockery of this parliament ... Labor is going to oppose this bill in every way, and we will oppose it at every stage ... The bill before us is wrong - it is just plain wrong. Labor will not have anything to do with it.
Labor’s Simon Crean, August 10, 2006:
LABOR opposes it outright. There is nothing you can do to this excision bill that will fix it. We do not seek to amend it; we will oppose it in its entirety. The bill is shameful and xenophobic ... The bill in effect surrenders our borders in the name of protecting them. It is a ludicrous proposition. It says that we defend ourselves by shrinking ourselves ... It seeks to legislate away a problem by creating a legal fiction: excising Australia from Australia by pretending that for asylum-seekers Australia does not exist - terra incognita indeed. This is a foolish nonsense. It is worse than that, though. It is a vindictive and vicious measure to take against unfortunate and desperate people. It does nothing to secure our borders and returns to the government’s old policy of deterrence and punishment based on fear. It is a bill that should be opposed.
Labor’s Anthony Albanese, August 2006:
TODAY this parliament is debating a bill that reduces us as a parliament and as a nation ... This bill is wrong in principle and it is wrong in motivation ... This bill is a disgraceful shirking of responsibility by Australia and it must be rejected. The Australian Labor Party rejects it ... I urge the house to reject this abhorrent legislation…
Ben Packham, The Australian online yesterday: 
THE Gillard government will introduce legislation this week to strip away the rights of asylum-seekers who arrive at mainland Australia by boat. The change, which would effectively excise the entire Australian coastline from Australia’s migration zone for unauthorised boat arrivals, was rubber-stamped by the Labor caucus earlier today…

Chief political reporter Kieran Gilbert: Now Labor has come full circle and is implementing the Howard government policy. 
[Immigration Minister Chris] Bowen: Well, it just shows what we’re prepared to do at our own political cost in some instances to try to get this issue fixed to save lives.
UPDATE
How gently the Sydney Morning Herald describes the backflip. It’s just a “sign” of a change in “the politics”:
The measure was once so controversial that, six years ago, the Howard government backed off trying to introduce it following a revolt by Liberal moderates. In a sign of how the politics has changed, Labor’s Melissa Parke was the only person to voice concern when the legislation was put to caucus yesterday for approval.
No old quotes are dragged up that might embarrass Labor’s merry band of hypocrites. 

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Fitzgibbon goes cool on pricey green power

Andrew BoltOCTOBER312012(6:36am)

Fitzgibbon is right - the renewable energy target is an expensive luxury which should be scrapped, given we have a carbon tax anyway: 
Mr Fitzgibbon, who represents the NSW coal-producing seat of Hunter, said he was “tempted” to call for completely doing away with the RET to make up 20 per cent of electricity production by 2020 but didn’t want to create uncertainty for business.
Responding in parliament to the Climate Change Authority’s recommendation not to alter the target for energy from wind and solar power, Mr Fitzgibbon said changes to the economy, including the start of the $23-a-tonne carbon tax, meant there had to be at least a lowering of the target.
The fact that green power sources - mainly wind and solar - need not just a carbon tax but mandatory renewable energy targets to stay in business shows how expensive they must be.
And what Fitzgibbon would not have dared add: the difference they make to any climate change is zero. It is pure symbolism - of our unreason.

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NBN business model crumbles

Andrew BoltOCTOBER312012(6:24am)

Kevin Morgan, the ACTU member of former ALP leader Kim Beazley’s advisory committee on telecommunications, warns the NBN is turning into a monster money pit that can’t be kept off the books much longer:
THE government’s ability to deliver surpluses in the short term is in large part dependent on maintaining that the National Broadband Network is a commercial investment and that equity injections consequently can be kept off-budget. This financial year NBN Co will receive $4.7 billion, with a further $6.1bn billion to be injected in 2013-14.
The key to keeping the NBN off-budget is the claim it is a public non-financial corporation, a commercial entity that ... ultimately generates returns that will allow the government to get its investment back.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics is responsible for granting such status and deemed NBN Co to be a PNFC in early 2010, based on a $25 million McKinsey NBN implementation study....
But the pretence the NBN is commercial is dissolving and the McKinsey assumptions that led the ABS to grant the NBN its off-budget standing are no longer tenable....
The NBN has been utterly incapable of meeting the business case on which the ABS relied. Only 3 per cent of its cumulative target for connections had been achieved by the middle of this year…
In reality the prices on offer from NBN Co were not commercially viable, given the risks contractors were expected to take. Now the risks have been pushed on to taxpayers and some contracts have been signed but with such small margins that subcontractors are finding it’s not worth taking on NBN work. Hence little rollout of cable appears to be under way…
Most tellingly, the revised corporate plan released in August confirms the original plan was way off the mark. The latter underestimated the size of the fibre network by 14 per cent - about 25,000km…

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Gillard discovers Asia three days ago

Andrew BoltOCTOBER312012(6:12am)

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BUSINESS has spearheaded stronger economic ties with Asia at the same time that Canberra’s spending on its main trade and diplomatic agencies has plunged as a share of the federal budget, adding to pressure on the Gillard government to match its rhetoric about the Asian Century with action.
As critics yesterday lined up to question how the government would bankroll and implement its ambitious blueprint, business leaders called for the role of corporate Australia in Asia to be better recognised and urged the government to significantly lift funding for agencies that encouraged trade, including Austrade.
UPDATE
Paul Kelly, who was very enthusiastic about the White Paper, now seems to realise it’s all spin and no traction:
Does Labor understand this reality? It is inconceivable that Julia Gillard, whose stamp is imprinted on this document, does not grasp this point. It is equally inconceivable that the chasm between the benchmarks and the policy has not been a major theme of the white paper’s finalisation…
The first question is: does the Gillard government take its own white paper seriously? If so, we need to see an implementation plan. Where is the plan? Why was the implementation strategy not announced? 
Because it’s spin, Paul. And the Government has now money left, anyway, after blowing tends of billions on trash.
UPDATE
Spin, spin, spin:
The scholarships have been reported as one of the few initiatives in the Asia white paper released this week. But a government spokeswoman said there were no new scholarships…
The Australia Awards - merit-based education scholarships and development aid scholarships - were launched in May last year by then foreign minister Kevin Rudd. Asked whether the Asian Century awards involved new scholarships, a government spokeswoman said they were “part of the existing Australia Awards programs” run by development agency AusAID and the tertiary education department - 63 per cent of which involve Asia.
UPDATE
The Asian Century is more than a slogan; it is the policy equivalent of Dr Who’s Tardis, a miraculous vessel that endlessly expands to provide a rationale for every idea the government ever had. The National Disability Insurance Scheme turns up in the white paper as a way to help the disabled participate in “Australia’s ... engagement in Asia”. The national broadband network rates a mention because it will make it easier for “people to interact” across borders. A budget surplus is part of the plan because surpluses build confidence among investors. Carbon pricing is vital as our well-known expertise in carbon pricing “will help build well-functioning and comprehensive markets in our region”....
A compelling narrative requires goals and the white paper has many. Our school system will be among the top five in the world, 10 of our universities will be in the top 100 and Australia will move from No. 13 to No. 10 on the list of richest countries (per capita). Although no strategies are provided for reaching these goals (let alone any suggestion of where the money might come from), it doesn’t matter. The deadline for achieving them is 2025, after the next four elections…
As international students prefer highly ranked universities, it makes sense to have as many universities as possible highly ranked. But 10 in the top 100 is unlikely because the ranking depends almost entirely on scientific and medical research, a very expensive business. The university ranked 99 (Case Western Reserve in the US) has a yearly research budget six times the size of Australia’s No. 9, Macquarie. Catching up would require huge government outlays at a time when the government has delayed planned increases in research grants…
Australia in the Asian Century will not produce successful businesses, or business leaders; it will not produce research and it will not grow the economy. What it will do is provide a compelling story that convinces voters the government knows what it is doing.

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US officials ID'd Libya attack suspect on surveillance video, sources say


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New York Times' Sunday Review goes wall-to-wall for Obama's reelection




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