Friday, February 15, 2013

Fri 15th Feb Todays News


Wreckage of the USS Maine





[edit]Holidays and observances


A new video I made for my friend, the incredibly talented Joshua Cole. The song is called Out In The Waves. This video is my anti-MTV music vid.


Packer looks to Labor for spin

Piers Akerman – Friday, February 15, 2013 (7:32am)

GAMBLING mogul James Packer has had the Aussie equivalent of an Oprah moment - a teary-eyed baring of the soul interview with local father/confessor figure Mike Willesee.
It would be hard to find a journalist with longer links to the Packer family. Willesee started working at Channel 9 42 years ago (when James was three and still Jamie) and stayed until the 1990s.
He worked for James’s father Kerry and grandfather Sir Frank. The interview was a superb piece of magazine television.
Those who recall Kerry’s forthright exchanges with the press and politicians and his often abrasive public persona would have found it difficult not to empathise with James as he spoke movingly of his father’s love and the deathbed telephone call he made to reach out to his son just 24 hours before he died on Boxing Day, 2005.
Compare Willesee’s interview with the one James gave to Nine’s Karl Stefanovic last May.
It seemed to lack the deeply personal touch the masterly Willesee was able to evoke but it did highlight Packer’s goal to build casinos for Chinese gamblers.
The Willesee interview was cathartic with just a mention of the development of the $2 billion Barangaroo project Packer wants to build in Sydney. In the Stefanovic piece, gambling was front and centre and the personal was kept to a discreet minimum.
As a publicity exercise for the Packer interests, the Willesee interview could not have been more fulsome but it left many questions unanswered. As mature as the relationship between James Packer and his partner in the Macau-based City of Dreams casino project Lawrence Ho was portrayed, there was no mention of the cloud that hangs over Ho’s father Stanley Ho, or his sister Pansy Ho, both deemed “unsuitable” to be engaged in casino activities in the US by law enforcement authorities.
In a 2009 report, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission cited numerous sources including a US Senate committee, several governmental and regulatory agencies, a private investigative firm hired by MGM Mirage in 2001, and an unidentified US law enforcement official asserting Stanley Ho has ties to the mainland’s organised crime.
“The character and reputation of Stanley Ho, the father of MGM’s joint venture partner, precludes any finding other than that he is unsuitable,” the gaming enforcement division wrote. “MGM (Mirage) senior executives conceded his unsuitability during this investigation.”
Though neither Ho has been charged with or convicted of any crime, they have not been permitted to invest in casinos in the US. The 2009 report found that: “Pansy Ho’s extensive and continuing personal, financial and professional relationship with her father directly affect her individual suitability and leave her vulnerable to his potential influence. Her interactions with other persons associated with Asian organised crime also call into question her individual suitability.”
There is no doubt that Sydney needs revitalising and that Barangaroo provides an opportunity, but I question whether another casino is the way this city or this nation needs to go.
In writing about his interview for The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday, Willesee raised another concerning issue.
He said: “Mark Arbib, formerly of the Labor Party, was there in some sort of advisory or counselling role, and he checked everything we were doing
“But he didn’t really interfere and James didn’t actually spend much time with him.”
Arbib is entitled to work wherever he wants to but it is where he has worked in the recent past that is interesting.
He was secretary of the NSW branch of the ALP from 2004 to 2007, a rather inglorious period in Labor Party politics and one which is now being put under some scrutiny by ICAC.
Arbib’s particular skill lay in raising money from business for Labor and he was rewarded with the No.1 position on Labor’s Senate ticket at the 2007 federal election.
After being one of the principal players in deposing prime minister Kevin Rudd in June, 2010, he was rewarded by Prime Minister Julia Gillard with plum positions which included the sports ministry and later, the assistant treasurer spot.
He quit his seat after Rudd’s unsuccessful challenge for the leadership last year and was succeeded by former premier Bob Carr.
Arbib is enmeshed in the mire that remains of the NSW Labor Party. He was responsible for its direction during some of its most noxious years, indeed he was praised for his skills.
That he was advising or counselling Packer and “checked everything we were doing” during the Willesee interview should not be surprising. He is a masterful manipulator.
One wonders whether he has been advising Packer on how to play the public since he joined him, given that James Packer’s appearances seem to be marked by the same techniques of emotional appeal as those made by a string of Labor leaders.
Packer has also hired Karl Bitar, Arbib’s successor as NSW ALP secretary and a former national ALP secretary and campaign director. Arbib and Bitar have been intimately associated with an organisation that is on the nose.
When Packer’s tears dry, the people of Sydney must ask themselves whether they believe that a new casino is the sole answer to the state’s lack of economic drive.
The glamour of high-roller gambling can also have a nasty downside as the US authorities acknowledge.
There are many types of tourism in the world. Thailand has sex tourism, for example, parts of Africa have enjoyed safaris.
In the US, Las Vegas, with its casinos and swarms of prostitutes, is a magnet for tourism but it is rivalled by Orlando, home to Disneyworld in Florida.
Can we be so sure that the benefits of a new casino, despite the obvious and welcome architectural bonus, will be worth the potential cost?



Tim Blair – Friday, February 15, 2013 (4:06pm)

Tony Abbott presents some detail
‘’We will trim back the Commonwealth public sector, not because we fail to respect the work of public servants … but there’s 20,000 more in the Commonwealth public sector than there were five years ago and there hasn’t been a commensurate increase in service delivery or efficiency.’’
Mr Abbott called the school kids’ bonus ‘’a cash splash with borrowed money that has nothing necessarily to do with education’’ and said increasing the refugee intake ‘’would send the wrong signal to the people smugglers’’.
‘’And in any event,’’ Mr Abbott said, ‘’at the moment the people smugglers are determining that intake’’. 
So far, so good.
UPDATE. On the other hand
TONY JONES: The Government gave the ABC a $10 million funding boost for its news and current affairs division last week. Do you support that?
MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well I don’t need to support it, but I welcome it.
TONY JONES: Do you endorse it? Do you think it’s a good idea?
MALCOLM TURNBULL: I am a great supporter of the ABC. 



Tim Blair – Friday, February 15, 2013 (3:59pm)

The Age‘s Mark Kenny
In Parliament, Labor’s despair is palpable.
After one barely convincing defence from Swan at the dispatch box, not a single ‘’hear-hear’’ was uttered as government MPs stared at their iPads. 
Perhaps they were reading about a rumoured poll involving David Bradbury.


Meanwhile, Kevin Rudd dismisses the latest leadership speculation
I am wearing a blue tie today. It has got ladybirds on it. I’m told there is a comet passing Sydney next week. There is bound to be astrological significance in that in terms of future leadership. Give us a break! It’s not happening. 
Whatevs, Kev.



Tim Blair – Friday, February 15, 2013 (3:53pm)

Some editorial attention for Sarah Hanson-Young: 
Yesterday’s Daily Telegraph exclusive on the Coalition’s draft paper calling for more dams prompted an editorial prediction. We foresaw that it would provoke anti-dam hysteria among environmentalists whose campaigns have resulted in a lamentable end to dam construction across Australia.
We claim no great predictive abilities, for these groups routinely oppose any form of material progress. Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young led the charge, claiming that the Coalition’s dam-building ideas were “poorly thought through and environmentally reckless”. The South Australian senator continued: “This is a pie-in-the-sky plan based on 19th century thinking.”
If that is the case, then the Greens should be the first to applaud. Practically all of their policies are based on 19th century thinking – specifically, the 19th century thinking of Karl Marx. 
Poor old Karl. He’s probably only two or three losses away from becoming British food.



Tim Blair – Friday, February 15, 2013 (3:41pm)

Fairfax may have secured the flying female demographic, but they’ve lost readers, the Guardian, and now Peter Costello
Fairfax has lost star columnist Peter Costello after the publisher told the former treasurer he would appear in the opinion pages only once a month, rather than his usual once a fortnight.
Costello told Capital Circle he had rejected the proposed change and decided to end his four-year relationship with The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.
“I enjoyed putting a contrary view to the prevailing political opinion and editorial line of the paper. The Age should try to broaden its appeal to people who live outside the inner-city suburbs.” 
Too late.



Tim Blair – Friday, February 15, 2013 (2:53pm)

Accused girlfriend killer Oscar Pistorius has some local support
Canberra Paralympic legend Michael Milton says Oscar Pistorius’ arrest on murder charges is a huge blow to disability sport …
“Those fighting qualities we’ve seen, the determination of him growing up as a double leg amputee, those have made him a mentally tough person,” Milton said.
“Hopefully it will put him in good stead to face the challenges that are going to await him.” 
Initial reports that Pistorius had mistaken girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp for a burglar have now been dismissed by police. The athlete seems an interesting character.


Deficit blowing out fast

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY152013(7:06pm)

The Gillard Government seems set to post a deficit that will stain Labor’s reputation for economic management for many years to come: 
The Australian government’s monthly financial statement ... showed a $3.85 billion shortfall in underlying cash receipts in the six months to December, compared with the budget update, while spending was $1.414 billion less over that period…
The government originally forecast a $1.077 billion surplus for 2012/13.
Don’t expect a fast recovery:


The one rigged game was the press conference

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY152013(4:28pm)

 Politics - deceits and stuff ups
Former Labor Senator John Black is rightly suspicious of the press conference that launched the astonishing smear of Australian sport:
JOHN Black, the former Labor senator who in the late 1980s chaired the first government-appointed inquiry into drugs in sport in Australia, has labelled the present Australian Crime Commission investigation as “amateur hour"…
The Black inquiry, conducted nearly a quarter of a century ago, covered virtually the same ground being explored by the ACC…
But he has little regard for the way the present investigation has been handled and sympathises with innocent athletes and sports angered by the fact they have been embroiled in what he views as a fairly cynical political exercise.
“Well, why the hell wouldn’t they (be angry)?” he asked. “It was just amateur hour. You looked at it and you thought, ‘Oh my god, this is going to end in tears.’ But it kept the Eddie Obeid (ICAC) inquiry off the front pages for a week, so that was the purpose of it.
One more allegation - raised in the media following the press conference fronted by two Gillard Government ministers - is just a farcical blunder:
CONCERNS $40 million was wagered on an A-League game by Asian punters have been put to rest after Football Federation Australia revealed the figure was in fact eight times less…
Even the classified version of the ACC report has nothing police feel worth investigating: 
THE Australian Crime Commission did not gather any new information about organised crime or doping in sport through telephone taps as part of its 12-month intelligence operation, which Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay says has not provided any basis for a criminal investigation…
The lack of specific, suspected crimes documented within the classified version of the ACC report has prompted Mr Lay to seek more information from the federal agency. Mr Lay said Victoria Police had examined both the published and unpublished versions of the report and not found any information on which to base a criminal investigation
“The advice available to us is there is little for us to investigate,” Mr Lay told Radio 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.
This is amazing.
I repeat: the five sports chiefs who were dragooned into Labor’s press conference to smear Australian sport should call another press conference to clear it.
Who goofed? Here’s the how the farcical match fixing claim started
A former FIFA executive has revealed Asian gamblers bet almost $50 million on an A-League match between the Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United in December.
Fairfax Media reported that FIFA’s former head of security, Chris Eaton, said a Hong Kong bookmaker took bets worth $49 million on the December 7 2012 A-League game in Adelaide…
Mr Eaton, who last year became the director of integrity for the International Centre for Sports Security, said it highlighted how Asia’s betting market is increasingly turning to Australian soccer. 
More farce. The head of anti-doping agency admits “there is not a positive test anywhere in any of this”: 
Yet more farce - and what sounds to me too much like a bit of guessing-as-we-go-along:
ASADA chief executive Aurora Andruska estimated that up to 150 players and officials across the codes would be interviewed as part of the investigations but she admitted that figure was only an educated guess.
‘’A lot of pressure has been put on me in recent times to try and come up with a number, particularly from the media, so I decided to come up with some number that was realistic with the information that I had at the time,’’ she said.
‘’When I have come up with that number I have taken into account that we would need to talk to administrators and players and others that would be associated with whatever was going on so at this early stage of the investigation that is my best estimate.
‘’Having said that it could widen because I am reading things in the media about people admitting to taking performance-enhancing drugs that I was not even aware of...”
When the 150 figure came out it was reported as if that’s how many athletes and staff were potentially guilty. Now it’s a guess at how many people may be asked about stuff that might not be a problem anyway. 


Government’s excuse blown

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY152013(4:07pm)

 Politics - deceits and stuff ups
Treasurer Wayne Swan in Parliament blamed a fall in commodity prices - and not his own incompetence - for his mining tax raising only 10 per cent of what he expected and has already spent:
Mr CIOBO (Moncrieff) (14:32): ... Given the mining tax has raised just $126 million in its first six months of operation, when will the Treasurer face the fact that all his revised tax has achieved is that his credentials have indeed been shot to pieces?…
Mr SWAN (Lilley—Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:33):  It is the case that, in the second half of last year, which coincided with the first two quarters of the MRRT, there was a huge crash in resource prices. The consequence of that has been less revenue… All of our profit based taxes—company tax, capital gains tax, superannuation tax, resource rent taxes—have taken a very substantial hit from global volatility at the end of last year. 
Julia Gillard in Parliament blamed the failure on state governments which increased mining royalties, taking money that would otherwise go to the Gillard Government: 
Ms GILLARD (Lalor—Prime Minister) (14:04): ... we have been critical of the reckless approach of state governments to royalties. Interestingly enough, the opposition that has always criticised an efficient profits-based tax in the minerals sector has gone tick, tick, tick to Liberal royalty increases around the country. We have been concerned about increases in these inefficient taxes and we have asked the GST Distribution Review to look at the matter.
But Swan’s own Treasury secretary has now contradicted the Government.  No, the tax failed because of Swan’s own mistakes:
TREASURY secretary Martin Parkinson has admitted the design of the mining tax is responsible for its failure to generate revenue, not the falling commodity prices, higher currency and state royalties blamed by the government.
In explosive testimony to the Senate economics committee yesterday, Dr Parkinson said ... when Treasury lowered its forecast for first-year revenue from the MRRT from the $3bn predicted in last May’s budget to $2bn in the October update, it had taken into account falling commodity prices, the high value of the Australian dollar and increases in state government royalties…
Dr Parkinson said the two big variables it did not take into account - and which resulted in the tax raising only $126 million in its first six months - were the value that the mining companies put on their assets (the starting base for the tax) and the share of the profits that is attributable to downstream operations not covered by the mining tax…
Dr Parkinson’s testimony highlights the concessions given by Mr Swan and [Resources Minister Martin] Ferguson, and signed off by the new Prime Minister, when they renegotiated the tax one week after the overthrow of Kevin Rudd in mid-2010.
Where the original resource super-profits tax proposed by the Rudd government had required mining companies to value their projects at their written-down book value, the new tax allowed them to use the market value of their assets at March 2010 and then claim depreciation.
An assessment by investment bank UBS compared the book value of BHP’s Queensland Coal mines of $3.7bn with its market value of almost $18bn.
With a higher value, the companies can make bigger tax deductions for depreciation.
The revised tax also applies only to profits derived from mining, not from processing, transporting and shipping minerals. Dr Parkinson suggested the mining companies may be attributing more profit to these downstream activities than Treasury expected. 
The Australian: 
As if Labor wasn’t in enough despair over Swan:
In Parliament, Labor’s despair is palpable.

After one barely convincing defence from Swan at the dispatch box, not a single ‘’hear-hear’’ was uttered as government MPs stared at their iPads.
First, he raises fears of income tax rises in the next Budget, refusing to rule them out: 
FRAN KELLY: Can you guarantee Australians there’ll be no income tax increases?
WAYNE SWAN: I don’t in the lead-up to any budget, Fran, this year or any of my five budgets go into that sort of rule-in, rule-out routine and I’m not doing it today.
Hours later, a backtrack, with Swan ruling out what he wouldn’t:
TONY ABBOTT, OPPOSITION LEADER: [Can the Treasurer] absolutely guarantee to the Australian people that the tax burden will be less under a Coalition government… 
WAYNE SWAN: We will not be increasing personal income taxes.
Then this: 
WAYNE SWAN: We stand here with an unemployment rate of 5.1!
Followed by this: 
JOE HOCKEY, SHADOW TREASURER: Would the Treasurer advise the House what the actual current unemployment rate is?
WAYNE SWAN: Yes, I do think it’s important and it is 5.4 and I did make a mistake.
On Sky News this morning, (Regional Australia Minister Simon) Crean said there was a “design flaw” in the tax that the government was seeking to address.
“We’re seeking to actually now change the design because of the way the states, without any criticism from Tony Abbott, have put up their taxes on mining and they themselves become a deduction under the agreement that we reached,” Mr Crean said.
Then, at a doorstop interview this afternoon, Mr Crean said the tax would not be overhauled, confirming any change to the regime would be the result of negotiation with the states.
“I didn’t say it was being redesigned. Go back and have a look at the transcript. Let’s get your facts right,” he told reporters.


Muslims liked Bush better

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY152013(2:10pm)

A “new beginning”? Well, that went well. Pakistan’s Muslims preferred George Bush’s America to Obama’s:
After four years of Barack Obama’s diplomatic ‘leadership’ and billions of dollars in attempted friendship aid, a new public opinion poll reveals that 92% of Pakistanis now disapprove of the United States
That’s the lowest favorable rating Pakistan’s citizens have ever given their ostensible North American ally. 


Reconciliation event has Rudd at Gillard’s throat

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY152013(9:56am)

KEVIN Rudd was left out of a key event marking the fifth anniversary of his historic apology to the Stolen Generations and the annual Closing the Gap report that he initiated.
The Australian can reveal that Mr Rudd did not receive an invitation to a Reconciliation Australia dinner attended by Julia Gillard and Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin on the eve of the Closing the Gap statement last week.
Mr Rudd also believes he was not invited to attend a special concert at Parliament House in Canberra on the night of the fifth anniversary of the apology, although the Healing Foundation, which organised the concert, said Mr Rudd was one of many MPs from both sides of politics who were invited.
Ms Macklin went to the concert, and her department provided logistical support for it.
Mr Rudd attended the event after his office saw a public notice about it. He was mobbed by indigenous attendees when he arrived.
I’ve always said reconciliation events are more for white politicians, making sonorous speeches, than for Aboriginal communities lost in despair.
Strange. I was told it was racist and unlawful to suggest people of mixed ancestry had a choice in defining their “race”. But then come statistics...: 
The Australian indigenous population surged 20 per cent to 550,000 in the five years to the 2011 census. But indigenous fertility is only marginally higher than non-indigenous fertility. The increase was due to large numbers of working Australians in cities and towns taking pride in their indigenous heritage and for the first time identifying as Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders.The indigenous population of Canberra, for example, grew by 34 per cent.


McClelland may force by-election on Gillard. UPDATE: No

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY152013(9:54am)

I wasn’t the only person to suspect this was one reason the Prime Minister set an election date so far into the future: 
The former federal attorney-general is likely to win a job with the NSW Industrial Relations Commission. Prime Minister Julia Gillard is expected to argue the resignation would be too close to the September 14 election date for a by-election to be necessary, further fuelling speculation the poll decision was simply a strategy to defend that position.
Labor holds the southern Sydney seat by 6.9 per cent but internal polling has the party worried they could lose it. .
The real injury which would worry Gillard would be to her leadership.
But if Gillard thought a September 14 election would let her dodge the embarrassing release of Treasury figures on the deficit, forget it: 
The election is due on September 14. The Treasury’s pre-election financial statement is due on August 22, but the final budget outcome is not due until September 30. Dr Parkinson said that although he would not have all the figures ready before the election he should be able to produce a final figure for the underlying cash balance - the most-watched measure of surplus or deficit - well ahead of the pre-election outlook.
‘’Nobody will be under any illusions, or shouldn’t be under any illusions, that they won’t know the underlying cash balance number in time for the election,’’ he said.
A by-election in western Sydney is the last thing Gillard can afford. Simon Benson says the anti-Labor feeling in seats out that way is poisonous: 
Senior Labor MPs are now talking about secret union polling over the past month that reveals the seat of Lindsay could return a swing against Labor of more than 20 per cent - which would set a Federal election record.
Labor sources in NSW claim knowledge of a recent poll conducted by the Queensland branch of the Liquor, Hospitality & Miscellaneous Workers Union, taken in the key seat… The figures are hard to believe:  Labor on a primary vote of just 22 per cent.
There is some dispute, however, over the poll’s legitimacy.  The “missos” claim they aren’t their numbers. They have done polling ... in Lindsay but claim the results are consistent with national polling trends. But several top Labor sources insist that the polling is real and are putting the numbers around caucus.
If the poll is genuine, it would mean a 20 per cent plus swing against sitting member David Bradbury, an outcome rivalled only by the Bass by-election in 1975 ...
But Benson discovers even a Rudd supporter has little faith in Labor’s only hope:
This is an edited version of an unsolicited phone call to me yesterday from a fuming Rudd supporter who fears that the circus tent is about to collapse around the entire Labor Party.
“There are two things operating here. One is that Rudd is insane, and the second is that NSW will blow this show up,” the MP said.
No by-election:
(Thanks to reader Peter.)


Bad timing

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY152013(9:52am)

FORMER Speaker Peter Slipper will face court next month on three charges of dishonesty relating to hire car trips he allegedly took to Canberra wineries.
The man who stood down from Parliament’s highest office last October after graphic text messages were published, was summonsed to appear at the ACT magistrates court, where his lawyer Peter Russo secured an adjournment to March 25.
(No comments.)


Kennett isn’t criticising Baillieu. Just, sadly, describing

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY152013(8:46am)

Jeff Kennett is, sadly, saying no more than has been blindingly obvious for many, many months:
JEFF Kennett has slammed Ted Baillieu’s leadership style - with his stinging criticism endorsed by members of the Premier’s own Cabinet…
“One of the responsibilities of government and leadership is actually taking the people with you, giving them a sense of buzz.”
He criticised the Government for “reacting rather than leading”.
“It comes to a broader point, and that is the ability of the Government to sell its message. And I’ve got to say to you,
I think that is far from good enough. I don’t think they are good communicators,” he said.
A pity for Labor:
The former minister in the Bracks and Brumby governments was widely seen as the man best equipped to succeed Labor leader Daniel Andrews.
But his power in the party diminished due to a split in the Victorian Right.
Baillieu hits back, but in a Jeff vs Ted contest there can be only one winner:
“Jeff was a great premier, did great things for this state… but he hasn’t been premier for a fair while,” Mr Baillieu told 3AW.

“He is not always right. I think you have got to let go.”


Fairfax papers lose another one in seven sales

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY152013(7:49am)

Worrying news for all newspapers, but disastrous for the Fairfax-owned Age and Sydney Morning Herald
In the three months to December 2012, the entire newspaper market fell 8.1%, according to figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulation, which measure the average per-issue paid print sales…
In keeping with the trend of recent circulation results, Fairfax saw a 14.8% decline overall in print sales, while News Limited dropped 5.3%…
In NSW, the weekday edition of News Limited’s Daily Telegraph fell 2%, compared to the weekday edition of the Sydney Morning Herald which declined 14.5%. The largest decline across all metro newspapers was seen by Fairfax’s Sun-Herald, falling 22.9%.
In Victoria, Fairfax’s The Age dropped 14.5% in its weekday edition, while News Limited’s Herald Sun fell 4.7%. Similar differences were seen in the Saturday and Sunday editions. 
Yes, there is some glimmer of hope - or a mirage:
Yes, that’s good. But digital subscriptions don’t bring in the money that print sales do. More readers can still leave mastheads with less money.
News Ltd mastheads still sell so many papers that they have time to figure out ways to fully monetise their on-line offerings. But The Age and Sydney Morning Herald are now falling so fast that their weekday print editions may well be out of business within five years. Or even sooner.
Reader Bruce:
The 14.5% fall in sales of the Sydney Morning Herald occurred before they raised the price from a $1.70 to $2.00. My local newsagent tells me that the drop off in sales has accelerated.


Richardson is right: more ministers should argue with sceptics

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY152013(7:21am)

I wish more ministers would listen to warmist Graham Richardson, the former Labor power broker, and argue their global warming beliefs on radio: 
Talkback radio is fast becoming the wholly owned domain not simply of conservative presenters but of conservative beliefs and values. Too many ministers in this government have simply wimped out on the task of taking on the presenters
What really irritates me is that this absence leaves a vacuum crying out to be filled. The climate change deniers have more than succeeded in this endeavour. I can’t remember the last time I heard a climate scientist speak up. Their silence is just as frustrating as that of the ministers.
Well, Graham, one reason warmists - particularly in Government - hate arguing the science is that it contradicts them.
Another reason may be that they know that they will be asked a question to which there is no answer that doesn’t expose the lunacy of their carbon tax and $10 billion clean energy fund: by how much will all this cut the world’s temperature by 2100?
Others would be too embarrassed to be asked about previous predictions - on droughts and empty dams, for instance - that have since proved bogus.
That’s why there’s a silence. And believe me, Graham, I wish that boycott of the sceptics would end, too - but for the very opposite reason you do.
As for this:
Why is it that Barack Obama is able to declare in his State of the Union address that he will, if necessary, act on climate change in defiance of his congress?
There are three answers. First, too few journalists are prepared to call out Obama on hisexaggerations and false claims, or can get close enough to him to confront him with the science.
Second, Obama doesn’t face re-election any more. He can say what the hell he likes.
Third, Obama can promise, but delivery is another thing completely. Ask Gillard.


A sign of the Left’s hypocrisy

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY152013(6:49am)

This sign, at a rally against Julia Gillard’s carbon tax which was addressed by Tony Abbott, was denounced as shocking, sexist and vile, and was said to be proof of Abbott’s misogyny: 
Here are some signs, at a rally yesterday of teachers against Victorian Premier Ted Ballieu’s education budget: 
The rally was addressed by Victorian Labor leader Daniel Andrews: 
Will Andrews be condemned as was Abbott? Are Labor leaders held to the same standard as Coalition ones?
Can we have a comment from Gillard on those signs?
(Thanks to reader Victoria 3220.)


My argument in a picture so even Emerson understands

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY152013(12:08am)

Trade Minister Craig Emerson on our 2GB show this week again tried to deny there had been a 16-year pause in global warming.
His argument was bizarre - that there cannot have been such a pause because the average temperature of the past decade was higher than of the decade before.
I was cross with myself for not being able to make Emerson understand the fallacy of that argument. I used an analogy - that my 18-year-old son stopped growing a year or two ago, but his average height over the past couple of years is still greater than his average height before then.
But Emerson refused to understand the point.
Forensic accountant Terry was equally frustrated with the mathematical ineptitude of a senior minister of the government which gave us a carbon tax on the assumption the world was warming fast.
So Terry has produced a graphic which surely even Emerson can understand:
As I tried to tell Emerson, to say the past decade was warmer than the one before is true - but still does not contradict the fact that for 16 years there has been no warming of any statistical significance.
Now, finally, will Emerson retract and apologise? 


Public servants complain even Rudd wasn’t this bad

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY152013(12:02am)

[A former Rudd Government insider], who operated in a key role and observed much of the discussion and decision making, says ... “the Rudd Government was never, and could never have been, a functional government because of the man who ran it"…
There is a section on “the culture of blame and fear throughout the government”, claiming that Rudd’s angry treatment of staff and public servants was very calculated…
The paper says Rudd was a poor Cabinet chairman who rarely arrived on time for meetings, leaving ministers and officials twiddling their thumbs...
But there is one word beginning to be used by people in and around the Government: chaos…
Key decisions are not being made…
A senior Labor figure who has until now been a strong Rudd supporter predicted the public service would begin leaking against Rudd because of his treatment of them…
Insiders say that barely a day seems to go by when the Prime Minister’s office is not derailed by an ultra-sensitive leader who abandons his program at a whim…
One senior government staffer said: “You’ve got no idea of the level of paranoia in Rudd’s office at the moment. 
The truth is, Rudd was impossible to work with. He regularly treated his staff, public servants and backbenchers with rudeness and contempt…
He made crushing demands on his staff, and when they laboured through the night to meet those demands, they received no thanks, and often the work was not used. People who dared to stand up to him were put in “the freezer” and not consulted or spoken to for months…
He seemed to feel that everyone was always letting him down....
Vital decisions were held up while he struggled to make up his mind, frequently demanding more pieces of information that merely delayed the final result.
High-level public servants across several departments have told The Canberra Times they believe the government to be in ‘’bunker mode’’ and fearful of leaks against it.

‘’Trust with the bureaucracy has evaporated and relations between ministers and departments are at their lowest since Labor came to office,’’ one said....
‘’The release of the September 14 election date has only served to elevate the level of panic within government,’’ one said.

‘’Staff in ministers’ offices are just being outright rude to staff in the departments. And some of the ministers are just as bad, if not worse.’’

Others spoke of workloads becoming ‘’ridiculous’’, ‘’over the top’’ and ‘’unsustainable’’.

‘’They want it yesterday and they want more of it than ever before,’’ one said…
‘’There is zero consultation on policy and announcements, which means there is a last-minute scramble to do their bidding once they’ve decided on a course of action.’’
This sounds very much like the last days of the Rudd regime, too.


Labor’s excuse exposed: it simply spent too much

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY152013(12:01am)

Reader Jonathan from Michael Smith’s blog on the real cause of Labor’s record deficits: 
What the attached document shows is that Labor’s claim that their record deficits result from falling revenue is absolute garbage.
You will see if they kept average spending as a percent of GDP to the average of the last 5 Coalition budgets they should have delivered surpluses in 3 out of 4 budgets. Instead they have increased expenditure as a percent of GDP by 3.85%…
Why a member of the Press Gallery has not taken the time to do this basic research task is beyond me.
Another of Michael’s readers describes the problem like this:


Will Dr Karl be corrected?

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY152013(12:01am)

Following my post yesterday, reader Jamie submits a complaint to both the Australian Communications and Media Authority and the ABC to test their impartiality:
Dear ACMA,
I would like to lodge a formal complaint in regards to misinformation supplied to me via a Twitter exchange on January 29, 2013.
My complaint extends to Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, a presenter of Science on the ABC, BBC and Twitter.Dr Karl has a broad and extensive following through his exposure to ABC, BBC and Twitter media, where he has over 177,000 followers, including impressionable minors.
I am a ‘follower’ of @DoctorKarl and routinely absorb some interesting facts as presented by Kruszelnicki. I put a question to @DoctorKarl via my handle (see timeline in link below) @JWSpry on the 29th January, querying whether the MET Office UK had correctly supplied information to me and others of ‘statistically-insiginficant’ global warming for the last ~ 16 years.
Dr Karl’s reply stipulated that in fact this was wrong and the “world has warmed 0.3C in last 16 years.”
I have checked the MET office data and they report a trend of about “0.03C/decade warming” So Dr Karl has exaggerated the science by a factor of 10.
Kruszelnicki has refused to correct his error…
As Doctor Karl has such a wide audience of over 177,000 Twitter followers and countless ABC & BBC listeners/viewers, I feel it necessary for a ‘Scientist’ of his status and fame to respect and uphold a higher set of scientific rigour in the pursuit of delivering science facts as they are empirically derived.
A formal retraction, correction or explanation of the incorrect information supplied to me by Dr Karl Kruszelnicki would therefore be dutifully expected to resolve this matter.
Yours Faithfully, Jamie S***
For anyone else thinking of complaining, I would note two things.
First, Dr Karl was actually out by a factor of six, not 10. The trend noted by the Met of 0.03C/decade warming actually works out to 0.05 degrees of warming over 16 years, rather than Dr Karl’s claimed 0.3.
Second, ACMA may be more interested in a radio broadcast than in a tweet. A reader yesterday reported that Dr Karl this week (on Wednesday, I believe) made the same false claim on 1062 ABC Riverland, and refused to retract it when challenged by a listener.
I did not hear that exchange so do not know if it was accurately reported to me.
I’m sick of seeing sceptics punished for minor, inadvertent errors while warmists seem free to push incorrect data and wild scares with impunity.
Make a stand against the scaremongers. Time to hold some to account.

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Hi everyone! Here's the newsletter for February 14th. Enjoy!

From the Blog

Another day, another Harry Reid whopper: GOP blocking Hagel has left the country without a Secretary of Defense

It must be solid info… Harry got it from the same dudes who told him Romney hadn’t paid taxes in a decade...

Steny Hoyer: We don’t have a spending problem — we have a ‘paying for’ problem

Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer partially made a good point in a CNBC interview, albeit unintentionally...

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It's the time of the season for looooooviiiiiiiiiiiing!

Beloved, no matter what kind of situation you are in today, I encourage you to see yourself in Christ. All that He is and has applies to you, right now in this world (1John 4:17)! 

And where is Jesus today? Ephesians 1:20–23 tells us that He is seated at the Father’s right hand, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named. 

So as Jesus is far above every principality and power, so are you! As He is far above every disease and physical condition, so are you! As He is far above every kind of fear, depression and addiction, so are you!

Speak God’s blessings over your family and children, and watch them rise up to be winners in the fight of life! Check out today's devotional. Be sure to click "like" to help spread the word! Thanks, all!
Beloved, there are essentially two ways to live life. The first is to depend on and trust entirely in the Lord’s unmerited favor, while the other is to depend on your self-efforts to strive for success. 

If you depend on your self-efforts, you will most likely end up stressed, with no quality time for your family. You may even experience poor health. But God’s ways are higher. When you depend on Him, He will cause you to not only accomplish much, but be relaxed, have time to spend with your family and experience divine health.

So beloved, I encourage you to choose God’s way. In all that you do, place your trust not in your good works, your efforts and your abilities, but in His unearned and undeserved favor that is upon you, and watch Him bring you to a place of good success that no amount of self-effort can ever achieve!

You might think that nobody knows what you are going through today. Jesus knows because He is a friend who sticks closer than a brother and He is right there with you to help you.
Establish your heart in righteousness, and you shall be far from oppression for you shall not fear, and from terror for it shall not come near you (Isaiah 54:14). Check out today's devotional. Be sure to click "like" to help spread the word! Thanks, all!
Teachers Make My Day

On a history test we were asked, "Who was Michelangelo?"
I answered, "Renowned artist/Ninja Turtle. Wore an orange headband. Weapon: daggers." My teacher marked this wrong and wrote back, "Weapon: nunchucks. Check your facts".
Teenage Mutant Ninja Teacher? Awesome.




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