Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thu 15th Nov Todays News


Happy birthday and many happy returns Andrew Cheng,Tony LeBarney Day and Nathan 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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November 15 is the 319th day of the year (320th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 46 days remaining until the end of the year.

Events


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Births


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Deaths

[edit]Holidays and observances


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This issue is far too serious to get wrong

Piers Akerman – Thursday, November 15, 2012 (7:33pm)

JULIA Gillard’s calling of a royal commission into child sex abuse risks appearing as nothing but a diverting thought bubble unless she addresses the outstanding concerns she has raised. 

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Gillard wedding talked of as last resort

Piers Akerman – Thursday, November 15, 2012 (5:27am)

WHEN the First Bloke gets a gallop, the political heat is being felt at The Lodge.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s hairdresser house de facto Tim Mathieson emerged after a few quiet months.
He was in New York for her UN foray (and privately said he hated being the only male partner among the world leaders’ wives) but he has been out of the spotlight.
In The Daily Telegraph today, he tells reporter Sue Dunlevy that when he’s not running her bath, fetching the newspaper or blowdrying her hair, he is often flopped on the couch at The Lodge watching her in parliament.
Her now notorious misogyny speech had him sitting bolt upright.
But ALP strategists hint that if the pressure on Gillard increases his role might be to make the nation sit up.
Marriage. A wedding. Now what would that do for the polls?
Opinions vary. Some suggest that a wedding as an election is called might be seen as “jumping the shark” ie, a stunt too many.
Others say the nation will melt.
Some say that it would turn off the young people who aren’t too politically savvy and who are most likely not to have followed Labor’s disastrous series of policy bungles too closely.
They are countered by others who say young women, in particular, would cheer.
Certainly, Gillard herself was not cheering yesterday when she was asked about a claim that a trade union worker deposited $5000 in her bank account in the mid-1990s on the instruction of her then boyfriend, the AWU boss Bruce Wilson.
Gillard, a partner in the Labor law firm Slater & Gordon, which had the AWU as a client has admitted she set up a slush fund called the AWU Reform Association for her boyfriend.
That fund was used by Wilson to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Gillard has always denied any knowledge of any criminal activity and yesterday said she was being smeared by organisations which raised the new allegations.
She said the matter “has been trawled over for the best part of 20 years. There is not one finding of wrongdoing by me. And there is a reason for that - I didn’t do anything wrong.”
But there has never been an official inquiry into the operation of the slush fund because AWU officials moved to close down an investigation when union members first raised concerns.
Wedding bells ringing?
Keep an ear tuned.

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SAFETY FIRST

Tim Blair – Thursday, November 15, 2012 (1:05pm)

Excellent advice from the IDF’s Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai: 
I encourage all members of Hamas not to walk around above ground. 

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A DIFFERENT KIND OF HATE

Tim Blair – Thursday, November 15, 2012 (12:51pm)

Anti-Muslim hatred in California: 
On March 21, Shaima Alawadi, a 32-year-old Iraqi Muslim and mother of five, was found brutally beaten at her home in El Cajon, a community just east of San Diego that is home to more than 50,000 Iraqi immigrants. A note left next to her read, “go back to your country you terrorist …”
Even before Alawadi’s death, San Diego-area Muslims were experiencing a notable increase in discrimination, bullying, and physical assaults, according to the local Council on America-Islamic Relations ...
The young mother’s killing is the latest in a disturbing increase in anti-Muslim incidents in and around San Diego. 
“Her crime?” asked Abdulrahman El-Sayed. “Having the courage to wear a Hijab in a society where Muslims are openly vilified for the crimes of others.” But now
Eight months after the beating death of an Iraqi-American woman that drew international attention because it appeared to be a hate crime, the woman’s husband has been arrested on suspicion of her murder.
Police in the San Diego suburb of El Cajon announced the arrest Friday of Kassim Alhimidi, 48, and described the killing as an act of domestic violence. 
Jihad Watch was alert to this back in April. So was Nina Burleigh
New information in the Shaima Alawadi murder case in El Cajon, Calif., suggests that the family was cracking over a forced marriage for daughter Fatima, 17, and that Alawadi herself was preparing to divorce her husband. If female freedom turns out to be at the heart of the murder, it will highlight not so much the intolerance of Muslim immigrants by Americans, but the cultural restrictions on women in those communities … 
Quite so. Meanwhile, Alhimidi has pleaded not guilty.
UPDATE. Charles Johnson, March 25: 
I have no doubt that the climate of deranged xenophobia and anti-Muslim hatred built and fed by people like Newt Gingrich, Pamela Geller, and Robert Spencer played a large part in this brutal crime. 
Charles might want to correct that.

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DUCKLING DESCENDS

Tim Blair – Thursday, November 15, 2012 (12:49pm)


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TECHNICALLY CORRECT

Tim Blair – Thursday, November 15, 2012 (10:36am)

Oh dear.
UPDATE. Another web image debacle
When Australian students in the state of Victoria sat down to take their level 12 history exam, they learned a shocking lesson: apparently, the revolutionaries in Russia were able to defeat the Czar thanks to at least one giant fighting robot. 

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This is what the streets look like when you’ve kept spending more than you earn

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER152012(7:20pm)

Warning.
Anti-riot police Wednesday clashed with anti-austerity protesters who threw stones at police in Madrid and set a police van ablaze in Barcelona.
After engaging in sporadic skirmishes through the day, battles broke out again at the tail end of rallies that drew hundreds of thousands of people in Madrid and cities across Spain.
Greece’s Parliament has passed a crucial austerity bill in a vote so close that it left the coalition government reeling from dissent.
The bill, which will further slash pensions and salaries, passed 153-128 in the 300-member Parliament. It came hours after rioters rampaged outside Parliament during an 80,000-strong anti-austerity demonstration, clashing with police who responded with tear gas, stun grenades and water cannons…

The rally eventually turned violent outside Parliament, with hundreds of rioters hurling gasoline bombs and chunks of marble at police. Clouds of tear gas rose from central Syntagma Square as the police fought back.
Tens of thousands of anti-austerity protesters have taken to the streets of Italy as part of a general strike gripping the EU. Injuries, arrests, and violent clashes between protesters and riot police have marred rallies throughout the country.

Rome descended into chaos as thousands of anti-austerity demonstrators violently confronted riot police throughout the city. At least 50 people have been arrested as the city’s central thoroughfares have been choked off, bringing the central Rome to a standstill. 
In Lisbon, thousands of demonstrators marched to the parliament building, where deputies were debating the budget. Riot police charged after at least five people were injured by stones and bottles thrown by protesters and several arrests were made.

Marches and protests were held in another 38 cities and towns across the country.
Australia risks losing its AAA credit rating if it is unable to get its federal budget back to surplus by 2014, according to the global director of public finance at Standard & Poor’s Financial Services.
The official, Kyran Curry, has been a long-time primary credit analyst for Australia and told The Australian Financial Review that there are similarities between Australia’s relatively indebted banking system and Spain’s position before it began its rapid descent into its debt crisis. 

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2GB, November 15

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER152012(7:14pm)

With Steve Price from 8pm. Listen live here.
Last night: more discussion on the royal commission into sexual abuse of children. Stalked by Mark Latham. The AWU scandal.  And more. Listen here.

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Americans fume as Gillard disarms

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER152012(5:33pm)

Don’t be fooled by the official platitudes, says Greg Sheridan:
THE Obama administration is appalled at the Gillard government’s cuts to the defence budget. The genial platitudes of the AUSMIN meeting should not disguise reality. Americans have a tendency to lavish praise on allies…
But privately they are extremely disappointed and concerned at the Australian action, the infinitely fatuous denials of Defence Minister Stephen Smith notwithstanding… The Americans would like to do more with Australia, but the government is too timid. The Obama administration was deeply shocked that after the marine announcement, which involves an enhanced US commitment to Australian security, the government then slashed the Australian defence budget by a staggering 10 per cent in one year.
Anyone familiar with the US-Australia relationship knows the Americans are appalled by this. 

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One of the greatest goals of all time

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER152012(10:54am)


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Hamas decapitated

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER152012(10:45am)

Israel launched a major offensive against Palestinian militants in Gaza on Wednesday, killing the military commander of Hamas in an air strike and threatening an invasion of the enclave that the Islamist group vowed would “open the gates of hell”.
The onslaught shattered hopes that a truce mediated on Tuesday by Egypt could pull the two sides back from the brink of war after five days of escalating Palestinian rocket attacks and Israeli strikes at militant targets.
But where this goes next…

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Warning: Labor putting us on the path to Spain

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER152012(8:19am)

 EconomyPolitics - federal
How could this Government have run out of money in a mining boom?
Australia risks losing its AAA credit rating if it is unable to get its federal budget back to surplus by 2014, according to the global director of public finance at Standard & Poor’s Financial Services.
The official, Kyran Curry, has been a long-time primary credit analyst for Australia and told The Australian Financial Review that there are similarities between Australia’s relatively indebted banking system and Spain’s position before it began its rapid descent into its debt crisis.
“For Australia, it comes back to the government restoring its fiscal position as conditions allow and there won’t be significant pressure on the ratings unless something cataclysmic happens and the government is unable to return its balance to surplus this year or next,” Mr Curry said, according to the AFR.
“If there’s a sustained delay in returning the balance to surplus, as the economy gathers momentum and as people start spending again, as the import demand picks up and current account blows out, we might not see the government’s fiscal position as being strong enough to offset weaknesses on the external side and that’s what worries us.”

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Obama: we sent out Rice

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER152012(8:10am)

 US politics
Obama sent out Rice, who then deceived the public about Benghazi: 
President Barack Obama revealed at his press conference this afternoon that he is responsible for sending U.N. ambassador Susan Rice to speak to the American people a few days after the September 11 Benghazi terror attack.
“As I said before, she made an appearance at the request of the White House in which she gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her,” Obama said at the press conference, defending the statements the ambassador to the U.N. made regarding the Benghazi attack.
Rice has been widely criticized for giving misleading statements about Benghazi. She maintained that the killing of four Americans stemmed for a spontaneous protest that got violent.
Later evidence, however, revealed that U.S. officials had real-time updates from Americans on the ground in Benghazi, and that terrorists were immediately suspected.
McCain no longer trusts Obama: 
Several Republican senators Wednesday urged a congressional investigation of the Sept. 11 terror attack in Libya, separate from the administration’s.
The administration has “no credibility” left to address the issue, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said while calling for a select committee to investigate.
The attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three members of his staff…
McCain said there is “no credibility amongst most of us considering the administration and the numerous controversies and contradictions that have been involved in their handling of this issue.”

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The bull of Greg Combet

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER152012(7:53am)

 Global warming - propaganda
Everything, and I do mean everything, that [Climate Change Minister Greg] Combet and indeed prime minister Julia Gillard say on climate change is either a direct lie or a very deliberate constructive lie…
The lie from Gillard was that China was closing a coal-fired power station every fortnight or so… What Gillard, of course, didn’t say is that China is opening many more and much bigger, new coal-fired power stations…
Similarly Combet keeps claiming ... China is making huge increases in renewables.
Yes, they are making huge increases in the production of solar panels to sell to gullible politicians and the public in developed countries.
The lie to all this utter Combet crap was give by the latest IEA (International Energy Agency) projections, which showed China, already the world’s biggest emitter of CO2, ... will increase its annual CO2 emissions by something over 2.5 million tonnes… We will cut ours by around 150,000 tonnes. China is going to increase by 16 times what we cut. And India is going to pump as much extra as China.
And that’s only what we cut in theory. We are going to buy two-thirds of our CO2 “cuts” from Europe, via pieces of expensive bits of paper. We are only going to cut our real emissions by around 50,000 tonnes a year.
That is to say, China and India combined will add to their emissions by around 90 times what we actually cut.

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Lucky she’s not me

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER152012(7:41am)

 The politics of race
Comments on Aboriginal culture for which I would have risked being sued for had I said them myself in Australia Salem:
A host of mostly Sydney-based tweeters, including indigenous writer Anita Heiss, who sued columnist Andrew Bolt for racial vilification, led a Twitter movement yesterday using the hashtag “I tried to be authentic but . . .”.
Ms Heiss tweeted: “#itriedtobeauthenticbut I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to join the dots . . . Just paint them!” and “#itriedtobeauthenticbut I’ve thrown more parties than boomerangs!”.
Aboriginal academic Marcia Langton hit out…
“Anita Heiss and her followers are at least as off the mark as Abbott with their unwitting denigration of all things traditional in Aboriginal life.”
All this blacker-than-thou offence-taking is a menace to free speech and the old ideal of being judged not by race but character.

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Couch potato

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER152012(7:38am)

Not at work, then?
WHEN he’s not running her bath, fetching the newspaper or blowdrying her hair the Prime Minister’s partner, Tim Mathieson, is often flopped on the couch at The Lodge watching her in parliament.

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What’s a $7 billion blowout to Labor?

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER152012(7:27am)

 Politics - deceits and stuff ups
You can either believe Labor, despite its record of blowouts, or you can believe the independent costings of one of its latest unfunded grand-sounding promises:
THE National Disability Insurance Scheme could cost a whopping $7 billion a year more than expected, meaning governments will have to seriously slash middle-class and corporate welfare to afford it, a new report says.
The Productivity Commission had estimated the scheme would cost about $15 billion a year when fully operational in 2018, but a report by the Australian Government Actuary, released under Freedom of Information, said the cost would be $22 billion.
Andrew Baker, from the Centre for Independent Studies, who obtained the FoI, said it would force governments to make choices and they should axe welfare such as family tax benefit part B and taxpayer assistance for the car industry.
And this is the case if everything goes to plan - and there is no cost blowout, “scope creep”, mismanagement, incompetence or inefficiency.

There is a real danger the scheme could be even bigger and more expensive than we imagine.

Political pressure is being applied to expand the scheme to those who will not be included. About 500,000 people on the disability services pension will not be eligible for the scheme. Another 600,000 people aged 65 and older with a severe or profound disability will miss out on funded supports as well because the scheme is rightly targeted at those who are of working age or younger.

Together, these groups represent more than one million voters with a vested interest in having the size and scope of the scheme blow out so it can provide services and support to them as well.

Costs are already starting to blow out. The draft eligibility criteria for the scheme have expanded to lock in funding for early intervention therapies and the scheme will provide supports for those with a “psychosocial disability”. It is not clear what impact these decisions will have on the cost of the scheme in the future.

And we still don’t know how we are going to pay for it. 

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Column - This inquiry could be useless, unfair and anti-Catholic

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER152012(7:09am)

 Culture warsReligion
I AGREE, we need a royal commission into the sexual abuse of children. The air must be cleared.
Yet this royal commission called by the Prime Minister already risks going badly off the rails and becoming not a force for good, but of cultural destruction.
Here are the three greatest dangers:

It becomes an anti-Catholic crusade
Many in the largely anti-clerical media want to use this excuse to smash a church which lectures on modesty, duty, faithfulness and other fun-killers.
On ABC TV, columnist Joe Asten put the main lines of the media attack:

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AWU scandal - Questions for Gillard, not asked by the ABC

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER152012(6:51am)

 The AWU scandal
The Australian says it’s time for Julia Gillard to stop screaming conspiracy and start answering questions:
This controversy was not conjured up by nut jobs, conservative politicians or journalists. It has emanated - piece by piece - from senior ALP and union sources. It involves the nation’s largest Labor law firm, oldest and largest blue-collar union, and the woman who went on to become Prime Minister. Despite constant attempts to shut down inquiries and repudiate those asking questions, the revelations have forced Ms Gillard to admit she helped to establish a secret “slush fund” for Wilson that was officially registered as a “reform association”. She did not alert her firm through the normal accountability practice of opening a file. Ms Gillard also attended an auction with Wilson of a property later found to have been paid for with the proceeds of fraud. In the Slater & Gordon interview, she said she could not rule out that slush fund money had been spent on her home renovations. And she has not explained why when she became suspicious of Wilson - ending the relationship and leaving the firm - she did not alert the AWU or the police.
While we make no claim - nor is there any evidence - that Ms Gillard had knowledge of Wilson’s fraud, her responses have been inadequate.
But Gillard’s non-answers are good enough for the ABC: 
Her plea for incuriosity, however, has been heard at the ABC. It is deeply worrying that a taxpayer-funded media organisation - which did not hesitate to run allegations from three decades ago about Tony Abbott’s alleged behaviour as a teenager at university - is censoring coverage and avoiding legitimate questions about Ms Gillard’s professional behaviour as a 34-year-old partner in a law firm, and her stubborn reluctance to be open about it now.
Despite extensive coverage on commercial radio and television, and after several days of coverage across the News Limited and Fairfax press, the ABC chose to ignore yesterday’s fresh allegations reported by The Australian concerning Julia Gillard and claims she received $5000 cash from then boyfriend and union official Bruce Wilson.
With the exception of one question from Radio National Breakfast host Fran Kelly to The Age’s political editor Michelle Grattan about whether the revelations were “a problem” for Ms Gillard, the story was one the ABC did not think its listeners were entitled to hear until late in the day when the Prime Minister, who denies wrongdoing, dismissed it as “a smear”....
Melbourne 3AW broadcaster Neil Mitchell discussed the issue at length and devoted his online editorial to the issue, calling on Ms Gillard to explain the $5000…
[But] the ABC refused to comment on why Maurice Blackburn principal and director Liberty Sanger ignored The Australian’s front page story while discussing the daily newspapers on its News Breakfast program. Sanger is the wife of Labor senator and faction leader David Feeney and her law firm represents the union involved in the allegations, the AWU.
The wife of a Labor faction leader - and herself a Labor Party member - is exactly who the ABC would want to tell its viewers what was news and what was not. No?
The ABC is embarrassing itself and cheating taxpayers. The ABC Radio National breakfast summary this morning (before 7am) of the latest revelations was a joke. Attention ABC: no, this is not a story simply being obsessed over by The Australian - code for “Murdoch plot”. It is also being extensively covered by The Age and Australian Financial Review.  Your own lack of interest seems to be driven by little more than considerations of partisan political advantage.
UPDATE
...there is still no satisfactory explanation about why the Prime Minister did not refer the corruption to the police as soon as she knew of it.
Yes, some of the events are 20 years old.
But on Monday evening, the Prime Minister announced a royal commission into sexual abuse against children inside Australian churches that will investigate incidents dating back much further.
Gillard has twice been able to use relatively minor mistakes to force retractions. She did it last year with Glenn Milne’s column in The Australian, then again on August 23 when she called a press conference and declared it would be the one and only occasion she would answer questions on the matter.

That press conference was prompted by one wrong word in a news story in The Australian written by another journalist. It wrongly reported she had set up a trust fund instead of, as she had admitted in her interview with her law partners, a slush fund.

She used that minor error to vehemently deny any wrongdoing and launch a vigorous defence. The denial formed the basis of the stories that night on the television news and in rival print organisations the next day. The substance of all the other allegations was lost.

Still, it has become the story that will not die, no matter how hard the Prime Minister tries to kill it off, and no matter how much she paints herself as a victim, first of love, then of naivety, then of gender.

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AWU scandal - “Bullsh.t artist” not happy

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER152012(6:40am)

 The AWU scandal
Julia Gillard did not speak highly of Bill Telikostoglou, her boyfriend’s tough guy, when her Slater & Gordon partners confronted her in 1995 over the AWU slush fund:
After [boyfriend Bruce Wilson’s] scams in Victoria were exposed in August 1995, Mr Telikostoglou hurriedly quit the union and Australia, leaving a trail of bounced cheques.
But it was his work on the renovation of Ms Gillard’s house in Abbotsford in Melbourne that led to her describing, in her Slater & Gordon interview, his “obvious difficulties with the truth"…
Ms Gillard replied: “He’s just a big Greek bullshit artist.”
Mr Telikostoglou, who says he is now semi-retired in Greece as a life insurance salesman with a bad back, ... expressed surprise and anger at his depiction as a habitual liar.
“I lived with Bruce, and Julia was my best friend then,” he said.
“I’m not very happy with her. She did not say nice things about me . . . I would cook for her—and she cooked for me.
“I changed my bloody political party to support her. I said: ‘I like you because you are a very good friend.’ I’m a capitalist and I changed, I joined the Labor Party. She never replies to my emails. I don’t think she is a nice person now....”

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The great anti-Catholic witch-hunt

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER152012(5:58am)

Julia Gillard announces a royal commission into child sex abuse in institutions: 
“This is a royal commission that would be looking across religious organisations, as well as state-based care and into the not-for-profit sector,” she said.
Maybe not. But it’s been the excuse for a great onslaught of hate in the media directed at the Catholic church - its traditions, its practices and its most effective advocate in this country.
This, for instance, is absurd:
Cardinal George Pell pledged this week confession was “inviolable” but the sweeping powers of a royal commission into the cover-up of child sexual abuse will compel priests to answer questions.
Constitutional lawyer George Williams said he expected clergy to face jail rather than divulge what they have been told inside a confessional.
How many children would truly be saved from child abuse if law-makers destroyed the seal of the confessional? How much better off would anyone be if we started to jail priests for refusing to break their sacred duty not to reveal confessions?
It is a pity that Tony Abbott seems too worried about being trapped politically as Captain Catholic to defend the church:
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott also said priests should tell police when they knew a child was being sexually abused.
UPDATE
Here are just some excerpts from just one episode of one ABC current affairs show yesterday.
TIM PALMER: Bishop Robinson says Sydney archbishop George Pell has been an embarrassment on the sex abuse issue, and that he should be confronted by other bishops for his comments.
GEOFFREY ROBINSON:  He’s not a team player, he never has been. So he doesn’t work with the other Australian bishops, he does his own thing.
When the office of president was vacant some years ago, and they had an election for a new president, I know for a fact that he got six votes out of 42, and that gives you a pretty fair thing.
Now on this subject too, he’s not consulting with anyone else, he’s simply doing his own thing. I personally believe he’s doing it very badly indeed and I think the other Australian bishops, it’s one of the very first questions they need to face. They’ve got to confront him and determine who it is who speaks in their name and who doesn’t.
TIM PALMER: You seem to be suggesting he’s an embarrassment almost to the other bishops.
GEOFFREY ROBINSON: Well, the other bishops would have to speak for themselves. I have to say that on this subject, he’s a great embarrassment to me and to a lot of good Catholic people.
The royal commission on institutions and child abuse will not be able to avoid this question - particularly since Cardinal Pell insisted yesterday on the sanctity of the confessional. If a child abuser confesses and won’t go to the police, is the priest who receives the confession effectively letting the abuser offend again? And how could that be the moral thing to do?
Already, federal and state politicians, including practising Catholics, are contradicting Cardinal Pell and asserting that priests are obliged to report crimes to police.
ENDA KENNY [Irish Prime Minister]: Through our government’s action to put children first, those who have been abused might take some small comfort in knowing that they belong to a democracy where humanity, power, rights, and responsibilities are enshrined and enacted always for their good - where the law, their law as citizens of this country, will always supersede canon law that has neither legitimacy nor place in the affairs of this country…
NICK XENOPHON: Ireland’s commission of inquiry into child sex abuse recommended that the so-called seal of the confessional be broken in cases of child sex abuse, and that’s very significant, that in Ireland they’re now looking at law reform to abolish this mediaeval law. 
ASHLEY HALL: The University of Western Sydney’s criminology lecturer, Dr Michael Salter, says the church has a number of characteristics that make it a haven for abusers.
MICHAEL SALTER: A culture that’s very focussed on discipline, control and surveillance and there is a lack of accountability and oversight, then we have a situation in which children are very vulnerable to adult control…
ASHLEY HALL: You’ve described the church’s structure as mediaeval - that suggests that what this royal commission needs to do is tear the structure apart and completely rework it. Is that likely to come out of this inquiry?
MICHAEL SALTER: All organisations in the 21st century, particularly those that have responsibilities for vulnerable children, must aim for accountability, they must aim for transparency, and that is not facilitated at the moment by the highly centralised processes and structures that we see in the church at the moment.
UPDATE
Yet another warning against treating allegations as fact. Guardian columnist George Monbiot blogs on Saturday
THE tweets I sent which hinted, as I assumed to be the case, that Lord McAlpine was the person the child abuse victim Steve Messham was talking about were so idiotic that, looking back on them today, I cannot believe that I wrote them. But I did, and they are unforgivable. I helped to stoke an atmosphere of febrile innuendo around an innocent man, and I am desperately sorry for the harm I have done him. I have set out, throughout my adult life, to try to do good; instead I have now played a part in inflicting a terrible hurt upon someone who had done none of the harm of which he was wrongly accused.

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Pains in the neck for the US army

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER152012(5:35am)

image
The twin Florida socialites at the centre of the David Petraeus affair gained intimate access to America’s military and political elite through their high-rolling lifestyles even as they quietly racked up millions of dollars in debts and credit card bills.
Jill Kelley [above], whose complaint over threatening emails prompted the FBI inquiry that has ensnared two generals, is mired in lawsuits from a string of banks totalling $US4 million, court filings obtained by London’s The Daily Telegraph in Florida show.
The 37-year-old sisters have emerged as central players in the saga gripping Washington’s national security establishment since Mrs Kelley was named as the “second woman” allegedly harassed by jealous emails from Paula Broadwell, Mr Petraeus’s biographer and mistress....
Mrs Kelley was also named as the woman with whom Marine General John Allen, the top US commander in Afghanistan, exchanged more than 20,000 pages of emails, some of which were characterised as “flirtatious”, one senior US official told AP…
In a further revelation this morning, the Huffington Post alleged that the Kelleys ran a “questionable charity” - the Doctor Kelley Cancer Foundation - that spent all its money not on research, as it claimed on tax forms, but on entertainment, travel and legal fees.
I suspect the charity was raising money to cure hereditary neck problems of the kind that so tragically affect the twins:

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AWU scandal - A whistleblower now doubts own story

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER152012(5:05am)

 The AWU scandal
image
Still no evidence that AWU slush fund money was used to pay for Julia Gillard’s renovations:
Mr Cambridge, the former national secretary of the AWU who is now a Fair Work commissioner, kept a detailed diary while investigating serious fraud in the union in the mid-1990s....
The diary reveals [pictured] that on September 25, 1995, Mr Cambridge received a telephone call from AWU official Helmut Gries, who told him of allegations that union funds, controlled by Ms Gillard’s then boyfriend, union official Bruce Wilson, had been used for Ms Gillard’s renovations - and The Age newspaper was on to the story…
However, Mr Gries, 72 and retired, has told The Australian that while he is not infallible he is sure that he did not make such disclosures at the time.
He said Mr Cambridge was an honest union leader who was genuinely trying to identify the union’s corruption. But he said he could not explain the diary’s entry quoting him because while he did not believe he said it, he could not believe that Mr Cambridge would have made it up.
While he recalled telling Mr Cambridge about dishonesty involving Mr Wilson and fellow union official Bill “the Greek” Telikostoglou - and confirmed that parts of the diary shown to him by The Australian were accurate - he said he would not have known anything about the renovations at Ms Gillard’s house.
The Prime Minister has repeatedly and emphatically denied wrongdoing in relation to a union “slush fund” she helped set up for Mr Wilson when she was a salaried partner at law firm Slater & Gordon. The fund was later used to defraud hundreds of thousands of dollars from the AWU. Ms Gillard says she had no knowledge of the operations of the fund.
There is no evidence that she received union money, or that anyone other than Ms Gillard paid for the renovations to her Abbotsford home in Melbourne’s inner-east in the mid-1990s.
It’s odd Gries says he did not say what Cambridge records him saying at length. And while I’ve heard the gossip, I’d like more information on why The Age dropped the story.
The Cambridge diary states that in September 1995 Mr Gries revealed to Mr Cambridge that a journalist at The Age newspaper was going to publish a “fairly correct” story about union-funded renovations at Ms Gillard’s house… The diary states that Mr Gries knew the proposed article was the work of Age journalist Joanne Painter.... According to the diary, Mr Gries said he had “specifically requested” Painter drop the article and she had agreed to do so. Painter declined to comment yesterday.
The diary entry states that Mr Gries said, “the (spiked) article essentially involved the exposure of Wilson and the Greek (Mr Telikostoglou) using union money to pay for renovations that took place at the house of Julia Gillard”.
Mr Cambridge recorded: “I clarified that the Julia Gillard we were talking about was the person who was a solicitor with Slater & Gordon, and Helmut said yes and that she had been recently trying to enter parliament and seeking preselection for a seat in parliament. I asked Helmut if he was certain that this really had occurred and he said yes, and that it was probably only a matter of time before it was all exposed ...”
Telikostoglou says there was no wrong-doing with Gillard’s renovations, which he worked on.
UPDATE
Caucus members publicly backed Ms Gillard, but privately some said a fuller explanation was in her interest and the party’s.
“The caucus is getting nervous. They just don’t understand why she’s not answering the questions—they know they are new questions,” one MP said.
“The time has come for someone to go forward and just make sure the party’s being protected.”

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OAKESHOTT & WINDSOR .. Larry Pickering
... last roll of the dice

There is much gnashing of teeth in New England and the North Coast. Both men, when you scratch the surface, are Labor men but the deal they did with Gillard was against the tide of their electorates’ wishes.

They now need to consider how they want history to view them. They do have an “out”. But will they use it?

The deal Gillard hatched with three
Independents was entirely unnecessary, as was the deal with the Greens. Abbott was beguiled by the possibility of moving into the Lodge and the Independents played him off a break with a view to embarrassing him, and they did that with venomous alacrity.

It became clear that Oakeshott and Windsor had been misleading their electorates all along. They were posing as conservative Independents when they were Labor through and through. It was simply an opportune time to screw Gillard for $1.4 billion and embarrass the hated Catholic, Abbott.

Terms of the signed Agreement with Gillard have not in any way been adhered to. The Agreement was a no more than a publicity stunt to showcase Gillard’s “negotiating skills”.

Condition 2.1 (a) was the pursuit of “transparent and accountable” government and Condition 4.4 Standing Order 100 be altered to ensure answers to Questions are relevant and that an “independent” Speaker ensure the Opposition is not impeded in holding the Government to account.

These and almost all conditions of the Agreement, signed by Swan and Gillard, have either been ignored or varied out of all recognition.

Windsor said he had “opted for stable government”. Australia has been served up anything but stability. So the Independents, including Wilkie, have ample grounds for reneging. But will they?

Windsor has said the AWU/Gillard scandal is all nonsense and, “we should get on with governing”.

The truth is Oakeshott and Windsor would rather go down with the ship than align with a conservative government and that has always been the case.

Gillard has been shown to be a corrupt liar whose word can never be trusted. She has been shown to have been complicit in millions defrauded from union members. She had no compunction in knifing a sitting PM only two days prior she was declaring her loyalty to.

Such a flawed character holds no concern for Oakeshott and Windsor. They are regularly spat on as traitors by those who elected them.

But they will hang on to the bitter end not because they are true Labor men. True Labor men are sickened by Gillard.

They will hang on because of their hatred for the Catholic, Abbott.

History is bound to view them poorly.
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