Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tue 19th Feb Todays News



Happy birthday and many happy returns Stephanie Ann,Jake BozdasJacki BaileySylvia PhanMatthew Tjong andSylvia Te. Born on the same day, across the years. Remember, birthdays are good for you. The longest lived have the most.
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Rodolfo Graziani

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Events

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[edit]Holidays and observances


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We need to welcome Geert Wilders

Piers Akerman – Tuesday, February 19, 2013 (2:54am)

DUTCH politician Geert Wilders is creating waves – and he has yet to hold a single public meeting in Australia.
The taxpayer-funded multicultural channel SBS gave what it would think was a lengthy interview with Wilders last night and the taxpayer-funded ABC provided a shorter and very slanted interview with anti-Wilders protesters.
But his message cut through strongly - Islamists make poor migrants in Western liberal democracies.
We need to hear his message and think about what our misguided multicultural policy has wrought here.
Coincidentally, almost exactly a year ago The Economist magazine examined the effect of Islamic migration in the Nordic nations and the picture was not pretty.
In Sweden, it found that despite the best efforts of the Swedish state, the city of Malmo is a no-go zone with a 62 per cent rate of unemployment.
Angry (Muslim) youths have taken to rioting, torching bicycle sheds and recycling centres as well as cars.
Mass immigration, the magazine said, is posing serious problems for the region. For the Nordic countries to be able to afford their welfare states they need to have 80% of their adults in the workforce, but labour-force participation among non-European immigrants is much lower than that.
In Sweden only 51% of non-Europeans have a job, compared with over 84% of native Swedes. The Nordic countries need to persuade their citizens that they are getting a good return on their taxes, but mass immigration is creating a class of people who are permanently dependent on the state.
In the mid-1990s immigrants in their 40s—the age group that generally contributes most to the public budget—paid only marginally more in taxes than they received in benefits.
In Sweden 26 per cent of all prisoners, and 50 per cent of prisoners serving more than five years, are foreigners.
Some 46 per cent of the jobless are non-Europeans, and 40 per cent of non-Europeans are classified as poor, compared with only 10 per cent of native Swedes.
High immigration is threatening the principle of redistribution that is at the heart of the welfare state.
Income inequalities in the Nordic countries are generally lower than elsewhere, but Matz Dahlberg, of Uppsala University, reckons that immigration is making people less willing to support redistribution.
Immigration is also causing culture clashes.
Nordics fervently believe in liberal values, especially sexual equality and freedom of speech, but many of the immigrants come from countries where men and women are segregated and criticising the prophet Muhammad is a serious offence.
Peaceful Denmark found itself on the front-line of the culture wars when Jyllands-Posten, a newspaper, published cartoons making fun of Muhammad.
Immigration has divided the Nordics.
The Economist said the Swedes regard their open-armed approach to asylum-seekers as an expression of what is best in their culture.
The Danes revisited their immigration policies in 1999, spurred by the rise of the anti-immigrant Danish People’s Party.
They tightened the rules for family reunification, made it more difficult for newcomers to claim benefits and set up an integration ministry.
Today Denmark receives more non-European immigrants than ever, but it has radically reduced the number of refugees while increasing the number of people on student and work visas.
Liberals are increasingly on the defensive.
The number of immigration-related attacks is rising.
In 2010 Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly blew himself up in the middle of a crowd of Christmas shoppers in central Stockholm; remarkably, he managed to injure only a couple of people.
Wilders has seen the problems arise in his native Netherlands and is here to warn Australians of the failure of multiculturalism.
He has travelled extensively in the Middle East and was invited by US politicians to address them.
Political correctness is so rife in Australia that former Immigration Minister Bowen stalled attempts to bring him here last year though Islamist hate speech imams appear to enter Australia and hold rallies at will.
What is good for hate-filled Islamists should be good enough for a Dutch MP and leader of the third largest political party in the Netherlands.
Wilders deserves support, his message needs to be heard – debate on this issue is more urgent than ever.
Yet the Q Society which brought him to Australia has had difficulty finding a venue and locations for his addresses must be kept secret until the last moment to make it more difficult for the protesters to disrupt those who wish to hear him.
This is what multiculturalism has reduced our once liberal democracy to.
Where once we used to pride ourselves on free speech we now need to hide champions of freedom from the bullies and thugs who don’t want or cannot debate its virtues.
Shame upon the nation. 

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This dark cloud sheds no light

Miranda Devine – Tuesday, February 19, 2013 (7:09pm)

IT’S not fair to accuse the nation’s five most powerful sport bosses of having “plastic spines” because they fronted up to the government’s Organised Crime and Drugs in Sports press conference. 

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How Labor hijacked sports bosses

Miranda Devine – Monday, February 18, 2013 (11:29pm)

WHEN the nation’s five most powerful sports bosses fronted a press conference about the Organised Crime and Drugs in Sport report, they thought it would be run by the Australian Crime Commission, which had authored the report and briefed them on its contents.
Instead they found the press conference, at Parliament House two weeks ago, hijacked in dramatic fashion by two government ministers, Sports Minister Kate Lundy and Justice Minister Jason Clare.
“We all honestly thought this was going to be an announcement from the ACC,” said one sports chief.
“Then it became an announcement of the federal government at which John Lawler [ACC chief executive] got to speak. All the emotive language and staring down the barrel probably looked good as theatre. Having us there probably added gravitas.”
All five men feel the press conference could have been “handled better”. But the seriousness of the allegations of organised crime, match-fixing and drugs contained in the ACC report meant they had little choice but to attend.
There were also 12 million other reasons why rugby league’s Dave Smith, AFL’s Andrew Demetriou, rugby’s Bill Pulver, soccer’s David Gallop and cricket’s James Sutherland felt under pressure.
The woman who invited them to Canberra that day on February 7, Kate Lundy, holds the purse strings on $12 million in federal government funding that goes each year to the NRL, ARU, AFL, soccer and cricket from the Australian Sports Commission.
After a personal phone call from Lundy urging him to fly to Canberra for the press conference, one sports head felt compelled, “especially when you’ve been the recipient of large amounts of federal government money”.
Two of the five sports chiefs had been in their jobs less than a week when the bombshell fell.
On Thursday, January 31, the day before he was due to start work as the NRL’s new chief executive, Dave Smith, 48, found himself locked in a secure room of the ACC headquarters in Canberra for 90 minutes as ACC head John Lawler read to him selected excerpts from the classified Project Aperio report alleging the widespread use of performance-enhancing substances and illicit drugs in Australian sport, as well as a suspected match-fixing and organised crime.
Unknown to Smith, AFL boss Andrew Demetriou, 51, had flown to Canberra that day for a similar confidential briefing. So top secret was the meeting that Smith and Demetriou had to surrender their mobile phones and sign a confidentiality agreement, under threat of jail.
They were not allowed to read the report but could take handwritten notes as Lawler read aloud selected excerpts relating to their sport.
The briefing was non-specific and they were not given the names of any players under suspicion.
Later that day, Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland, who is also head of the umbrella sports body, the Coalition of Major Professional & Participation Sports (COMPPS), received a confidential telephone briefing from the ACC, as did Football Federation chief executive David Gallop, 47.
The sports heads were told there would be a press conference some time the following week to release the unclassified version of the report. One received a personal call from Lundy inviting him to the press conference. Most spoke to her by phone in the week before, but their invitations came from the ACC.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday February 5, two days before the press conference, Mr Sutherland, as COMPPS chairman, organised a confidential meeting between the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, the ACC and sports heads, including Kate Palmer, chief executive officer of Netball Australia.
The meeting, attended by about 15 people, was held in a small room in the Qantas lounge at Melbourne Airport.
Gallop and Pulver, 53, were unable to attend but Demetriou, Smith and Sutherland were there, along with Richard Eccles, deputy secretary of Ms Lundy’s Department of Arts and Sports.
Coincidentally, on the same day, Essendon Football Club called a press conference in Melbourne confirming an investigation by the AFL and ASADA over supply of supplements to players last season. The following day, February 6, it was the turn of the new ARU boss Pulver, to have a confidential briefing at ACC headquarters, with the same strict security measures.
Like Smith, he had only started work on February 1, but was in Canberra to talk to the Brumbies about an unrelated matter.
“It was a very serious meeting,” Pulver said.
“That was how they got us to participate in the press conference. The links to organised crime and match-fixing took it to a new level. Obviously I was concerned for the reputation of professional sport in Australia. I felt a responsibility to stand shoulder to shoulder with the other (heads of sport).”
That day, Sutherland also happened to be in Canberra to watch the first one day international game held at Manuka Oval - against the West Indies.
The next morning all five sports heads assembled at Parliament House to provide the extraordinary backdrop for an extraordinary press conference announcing the “blackest day in sport”.
Like the rest of Australia, they’re still waiting for details.

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BLOWN AWAY

Tim Blair – Tuesday, February 19, 2013 (6:16pm)

Predictably, Washington’s big global warming rally was hit by coldness
Organizers of the “Forward on Climate” event estimated that 35,000 people from 30 states turned out in cold, blustery conditions for what they said was the biggest climate rally in U.S. history … Among the celebrities on hand were actresses Rosario Dawson and Evangeline Lilly …
Who? Anyway, activist Mimi filed this superb report: 
It was icy cold, very windy and I admit it, I almost didn’t go. At five pm on Saturday, I didn’t have a sign yet.  If I hadn’t made a comment on dailykos about being at the rally, I would have quit. No sign, no rally. But after some back and forth, I started to fall in love with making one and ended up wanting to show it at the rally.
That turned out to be minor disaster …
My experience from former rallies was that without a tripod I can’t take decent videos. But with a tripod you are lost in the crowd, if you are not a professional. So this time I took a one-legged tripod, but then I had my sign. How to carry the sign, the tripod with the camera and a mike and manipulate the camera’s buttons all at the same time, especially, if it is so cold that I had to wear thick ski-gloves, was just beyond me.
The wind blew my sign away and I had to chase it, so just visualize me (pretty out of shape and not the youngest) squeezing my sign between my legs, holding my hood over my head in the wind, cover my face with a scarf, bumping with my backpack into other people’s faces and trying to zig-zag throug the cracks of the crowd to get closer to the stage.
I couldn’t move one bit. In front of me nothing but the back-sides of huge men. Holding up my camera high enough and not shake was just impossible. My whole body was shivering, my heart sank, what a disaster. And on top of that - same thing as in November of last year’s Do-The-Math rally, my battery died. 
So she didn’t do-the-math on battery life. Click for more of Mimi’s arse-faced fussbudget complaints and also her remarkable photographs. There’s a compassionate head tilt in there worth framing.
(Via Andy

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ALLIANCE OVER

Tim Blair – Tuesday, February 19, 2013 (1:16pm)

Even the Greens turn away
Greens Leader Christine Milne has moved to distance her party from the embattled Gillard government, announcing the end of the minor party’s alliance with the Labor Party.
But the move - which she said was triggered by Labor’s mining tax debacle - is not expected to trigger a snap election as the Greens have pledged to still back the government on confidence and supply. 
Wimps.
UPDATE. Happier days:

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UPDATE II. Further from Milne: 
She promised to ‘’deliver confidence and supply until the Parliament rises for the election’’, saying the Greens ‘’will not add to the instability Labor creates every day for itself’’. 
Stabilidy! Cerdundy!
UPDATE III. The now-broken agreement between Labor and the Greens.
UPDATE IV. The Sunday Telegraph‘s Samantha Maiden
As pre-nups go not great for Labor. Greens demand a carbon tax which destroyed govt from inside and the payback is a giant F U. 
Seems about right. And further
Break ups are so ugly. Labor says: Greens a rabble, Milne can’t control krazy partyroom. “Incoherent” all year. Hope there’s no breakup sex. 
Quite so.

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BARGAIN

Tim Blair – Tuesday, February 19, 2013 (11:59am)

Labor is currently pleading for election cash. Here’s what your donation can buy:

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HE’S CACTUS

Tim Blair – Tuesday, February 19, 2013 (11:32am)

Language alert. That’s basically all you need to know.
(Via Roger B.)

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So why does the AWU support Labor still?

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY192013(3:57pm)

Mr Howes, a key supporter of Ms Gillard, said he was proud to lead a union “that backs her 110 per cent”.
Our economy looks ok on paper: but the figures disguise the bitter reality. Over the past five years 130,000 manufacturing jobs gone – because somebody had forgot to turn the lights on and wake Australia up.
Five.
UPDATE
More complaints about life under Labor on the AWU video - as narrated by Jack Thompson:
We’ve come through tough times before and they are here again.
One of the most outstanding new listings on the NSW north coast is the beachfront retreat of actor Jack Thompson.
Expected to sell for more than $2 million, the 10.5-hectare oceanfront estate occupies a prime parcel of land at Woolgoolga, a small town about 20 minutes’ drive north of Coffs Harbour…
Thompson purchased the property 15 years ago for about $500,000. The actor is retaining another property in the hinterland behind Woolgoolga, as well as his long-held terrace in Woollahra.

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Meet the union boss holding up Gillard

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY192013(3:46pm)

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Bill Ludwig, right, is the long time president of the AWU, which was once ripped off by a then boyfriend of Gillard who used a slush fund she set up to siphon off hundreds of thousands of dollars. Gillard says she didn’t know what he was up to. The union under Ludwig eventually ran dead in pursuing the boyfriend.
Now Ludwig holds in his hands the key block of votes saving Gillard - between 15 and 25 federal MPs controlled or influenced by the AWU. One of those MPs is his own son, Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig, who oversaw the live cattle export disaster. The AWU is alsobehind Treasurer Wayne Swan, and of course is the power base of Workplace Minister Bill Shorten, a former AWU national secretary.
This is why Gillard and Swan play public respect to Ludwig and court his union so intensely. The AWU is the very last prop of Gillard’s power - and Swan’s too: 
The Treasurer will answer his critics today in a fiery speech to the Australian Workers Union conference, where he will declare Labor must win the next election to ensure fairness and opportunity. He will defend his record as Treasurer and the fact the economy grew in spite of the global financial crisis.
Addressing the Australian Workers Union national conference last night, Ms Gillard praised her “good friend” Mr Swan, who had returned from a meeting of G20 finance ministers in Russia. 
“In that room, when they looked for leadership, they looked to Wayne Swan, a man honoured as the world’s best treasurer,” she said.
And Ludwig gives them a pat for faithful service:
Bill Ludwig, the union’s national president, praised Ms Gillard. He said when the union needed help to combat the Newman government’s public sector job cuts, “we turned to our friends in Canberra to help”.
Ludwig’s general is sent out to whip the faltering team back into line behind Ludwig’s PM:
Australian Workers’ Union national secretary Paul Howes used his speech at the union’s national conference on the Gold Coast to urge members to get behind Ms Gillard and fight Tony Abbott’s bid to wrest the Prime Ministership from her come September. During a 33-minute call to arms, Mr Howes glossed over Ms Gillard’s Carbon Tax backflip and declared the union backed her “110 per cent”.
This is how your country is run.
UPDATE
As I was saying, this is how your country is run: 
Documents released under Freedom of Information to The Australian show that the public servants who helped manage the selection process, including background checks, did not know of the long-standing relationship between Bernard Murphy and Ms Gillard until it was raised in media reports in 2011, soon after the appointment was approved by cabinet.
Mr Murphy was Ms Gillard’s manager in the industrial unit at Slater & Gordon lawyers until they both left the firm around the time of the Australian Workers Union “slush fund” affair in late 1995.
Mr Murphy had recruited Ms Gillard to her job as a solicitor at the firm in Melbourne…
The meeting of cabinet, chaired by Ms Gillard, rubber-stamped the appointment after a recommendation by Robert McClelland, the then attorney-general. Mr McClelland refused to comment when asked if Ms Gillard told him to recommend Mr Murphy instead of one of the other four candidates, all barristers, who had been short-listed for the job.
Hmm. Seems to me McClelland is going out with a bang.

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Greens divorce dying Labor

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY192013(3:14pm)

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Divorced!
Labor’s implosion continues. Now the Greens tear up their deal with the dying Gillard Government - having already extracted the carbon tax that destroyed Julia Gillard:
GREENS Leader Christine Milne has moved to distance her party from the embattled Gillard government, announcing the end of the minor party’s alliance with the Labor Party.
At issue is the mining tax, the Mineral Resources Rental Tax (MRRT), which the Greens want toughened to get more revenue and which the Government is refusing to re-design…
“By choosing those big miners, the Labor Government is making it clear to all that it no longer has the courage and the will to work with the Greens on a shared agenda in the national interest,” Senator Milne told the National Press Club.
But for all the talk, there’s no walk. The Greens don’t want an early election that will slash its seats:
But she said the Greens would not cause instability and would still honour its agreement to run full term…
“The Greens will not add to the instability that Labor creates every day for itself.”
No more cosy chats with Gillard, now wrung dry by the Greens: 
“There is no point having meetings if the meetings are only there to be told what the Labor party has already decided,” she said.
Labor will argue that being at war with the Greens will help its brand. That would be so had this happened two years ago. Now it just looks like thieves falling out, rats deserting a sinking ship or a rotting carcase being cut loose - pick your analogy.
And to think it was only a couple of weeks ago that Julia Gillard called a September 14 election on the grounds that setting the date so far out would give the country “stability” and “certainty”.
UPDATE
And Milne reminds Labor as she leaves how stupid it was to give a carbon tax and $10 billion “clean energy” fund to appease people with such an appalling grip on truth and the science:
People have suffered from the extreme weather events of this summer - the horrific bushfires in my home state of Tasmania and NSW and Victoria and the devastating floods returning in Qld and the heat waves across the country.
Refusing to acknowledge the link between the intensity of these extreme weather events and climate change; and the link between subsidising the mining and export of these fossil fuels and a four degree global temperature trajectory is studied ignorance.
Facts: there has been a 16-year pause in warming, making a four degree rise this century even more unlikely. There is no known link between the bushfires and climate change, man-made or natural. There is no known link between these floods and climate change, either. Indeed, global warmists once warned instead of a permanent drought. Milne is simply peddling scares, and it is to Labor’s shame that for more than two years it tethered itself to this unreason, trashing its brand, destroying the public’s trust and wasting billions of dollars. 

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ABC tougher on anti-Gillard tweets

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY192013(11:26am)

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This is deemed by the head of ABC radio to be in breach of the ABC’s social media guidelines - even had Stephens used a personal Twitter account:
Scott Stephens has a personal Twitter account which he calls @scottabc. If he were to have Tweeted these remarks via that account, would the ABC consider them to have been appropriate? 
No.
If not, would it take a different view if his Twitter handle and profile did not identify him as an employee of the ABC? 
No. The ABC’s Social Media Policy applies to all ABC staff, regardless of an individual account’s naming convention or any disclaimer used.
Now contrast.
ABC science presenter Dr Karl tweets completely false information about global warming, exaggerating the warming trend by a factor of six - an error he has failed to correct: 
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But in response to complaints, the ABC issues a defence that contradicts its pronouncements in the Stephens case: 
Dr Karl’s Twitter account is a personal account, not an official ABC account. Many ABC staff and contractors have personal Twitter and other social media accounts. They are not subject to the ABC Code of Practice which relates solely to ABC content and the production of ABC content. There are official ABC Twitter accounts, which are subject to the Code, but their handles are generally preceded by ‘ABC’, for example ‘@abcnews’.
A tough line on tweets criticising Gillard. A lax one on tweets exaggerating global warming.
Coincidence?
(No link to the complain reply. Thanks to reader Mike.)

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Believing warmists could drown your town

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY192013(10:27am)

What’s really hurting Australians and drowning their towns is not global warming but warming alarmism.
When southeast Queensland’s reservoirs began to run dry in the middle of the long drought, the obvious solution seemed to be to build another one… [But] in late 2009 [federal Environment Minister] Peter Garrett called in the Centre of International Economics in Canberra to look at it…
The independent advisers’ report ... [knew] that climate change alters everything, not just a little, but a lot…
Nowadays, they have “rain events”, too infrequent and too violent to flow obediently downhill from Mount Mee in an orderly fashion, meander north along the Mary River and fill a newly built dam. The Traveston Dam would just be another white elephant…
[The Queensland Government’s] calculations [had assumed] that Queensland’s precipitation would fall by 10 per cent in the long term. The independent advisers, however, found that it was “simplistic” to look merely at rainfall totals. It ignored the risk of bush fires ripping through water catchments; ditto the polluted storm run-off that would be washed into dams by what the report calls “extreme rainfall events”. The bottom line was that the “traditional approaches” (let’s call them dams) should be abandoned for “portfolios that rely to a lesser extent on rain-fed sources of supply” (let’s call them desalination plants).
So there you have it; the then environment minister had no option but to knock the Queensland government’s reckless plans on the head…

Within weeks of Garrett’s decision, the drought broke in Queensland, rain fell heavily and the Mary River was in flood. Gympie was flooded in March 2010, January 2011, March 2012 and again last month…
Had the Traveston Crossing Dam gone ahead, it would have reduced the flood risk considerably, according to Queensland Water Infrastructure.
Meanwhile Queensland desalination plant remains mothballed.

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Lee: beware China’s rise

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY192013(10:18am)

A word of warning from a great statesman to the growing army of Sinophiles and carpet baggers seeking a fortune in China: 
He says “America’s core interest requires that it remains the superior power” in the region, which is subject to a 21st-century “contest for supremacy” with China…
The very name China, he says - Middle Kingdom - recalls a region in which it was dominant, “when other states related to them as supplicants to a superior”.

“Will an industrialised and strong China be as benign to Southeast Asia as the US has been since 1945? Singapore is not sure. Neither is Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Thailand or Vietnam.”
 
Meanwhile, our own government has stripped defence spending to the lowest proportion of GDP since 1938, directing the savings largely to welfare payments instead.
Criticise Kevin Rudd all you like - not least for embarking on a spending spree that left the government critically short of the money he wanted to build up our defence - but on China’s rise he was no fool: 
Mr Rudd also told Mrs Clinton during a meeting in Washington on March 24 last year that China was ‘’paranoid’’ about Taiwan and Tibet and that his ambitious plan for an Asia-Pacific community was intended to blunt Chinese influence.

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How sports bosses were made to smear their sport

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY192013(10:03am)

An excellent column by Miranda Devine, detailing how five sports bosses were bluffed into fronting the Gillard Government’s press conference on alleged corruption in Australian sport: 
WHEN the nation’s five most powerful sports bosses fronted a press conference about the Organised Crime and Drugs in Sport report, they thought it would be run by the Australian Crime Commission, which had authored the report and briefed them on its contents.
Instead they found the press conference, at Parliament House two weeks ago, hijacked in dramatic fashion by two government ministers, Sports Minister Kate Lundy and Justice Minister Jason Clare.
“We all honestly thought this was going to be an announcement from the ACC,” said one.
“Then it became an announcement of the federal government at which John Lawler (ACC chief executive) got to speak. All the emotive language and staring down the barrel probably looked good as theatre. Adding us there probably added gravitas.”
All five men feel the press conference could have been “handled better”. But the seriousness of the allegations of organised crime, match-fixing and drugs contained in the ACC report meant they had little choice but to attend.
There were also 12 million other reasons why rugby league’s Dave Smith, AFL’s Andrew Demetriou, rugby’s Bill Pulver, soccer’s David Gallop and cricket’s James Sutherland felt under pressure.
The woman who invited them to Canberra that day on February 7, Ms Lundy, holds the purse strings on $12 million in federal government funding that goes each year to NRL, ARU, AFL, soccer and cricket from the Australian Sports Commission.
After a personal phone call from Ms Lundy urging him to fly to Canberra for the press conference, one sports head felt compelled, “especially when you’ve been the recipient of large amounts of federal government money”.
Read on. Needless to add, since that press conference we’ve learned not one athlete has failed a drug test, not one police force is investigating the ACC claims, not one allegation has been proved. Yet Australian sport has been comprehensively smeared.
But it’s one thing to anonymously brief a Miranda Devine on this amazing farce. The sports chiefs now have a duty to front another press conference to repair the damage.
(Thanks to reader gerald.)
UPDATE
When will the sports chiefs fix the damage they helped the Government to cause? 
NRL clubs named in the Australian Crime Commission report are considering legal action amid revelations the allegations have cost Cronulla up to $2 million in sponsorship...

Other clubs not named in the report into doping and match-fixing in Australian sport have also been affected, with Sydney Roosters general manager of marketing and communications Ted Helliar revealing his club had lost two potential new corporate partners.

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The fear around Wilders demands we hear him out

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY192013(9:48am)

 Culture warsFree speechMedia
Shame, shame on the ABC yesterday.
You see, I had lunch yesterday with Dutch political leader Geert Wilders.
His chief message is that Islam as an ideology is a danger to Western values and freedoms, and particularly to our freedom to speak our minds.
But his life is a more powerful argument than anything he can say. It is an argument that demands a hearing.
Around us as we ate at a venue north of Melbourne which I can’t disclose were some five or so Dutch police who help guard him day and night to prevent his murder.
He has lived under guard now for nine years. He could not tell me, even in private, where in Holland he lived. At one stage he was housed in a former jail for his safety.
He has been the target not just of death threats, but of actual assassination plots - like one by two Muslim fundamentalists arrested after a siege in 2004.
You may agree with Wilders or you may disagree, but the danger to his life and fear of so many people to be seen to be helping or meeting him should tell even the deaf that Islam does indeed threaten free speech - and threatens also your right to hear whom you like and decide for yourself.
On that last point there should be no disagreement: the threats to Wilders and those who wish to hear him are disgraceful. Astonishing. A stain on our free society. 
And they are testimony indeed to the intolerance of Islam. 
But now to the 7.30 report on Wilders last night.
I would have thought that with so many attempts to silence Wilders, 7.30 would have thought it both important morally and interesting for its audience to let him speak. Test him, sure, but let him speak.
Instead, the show vilified him with some preemptive and largely false labelling, and drowned out the few things Wilders was allowed to say with a barrage of vile abuse by some rent-a-mob of radical activists meeting in some concrete corner.
Wilders at least has a constituency, leading a party with 16 seats in the Dutch parliament and coming second overall in recent polls. The protesters found by the ABC to abuse Wilders represent virtually nobody.
What we got was simply another attempt to howl down Wilders, not to listen or even counter with arguments.
LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: To some, right-wing Dutch MP Geert Wilders is a courageous campaigner. To others, he’s just a racist bigot. And tomorrow he begins a speaking tour of Australia. Mr Wilders is here to warn about what he calls the dangers of Muslim immigration.
So who’s bankrolling his visit? A secretive group called the Q Society, an anti-Islamic organisation that hopes the Wilders world-view will catch on. Here’s Hayden Cooper.
HAYDEN COOPER, REPORTER: Most of Melbourne doesn’t yet know it, but there’s a newly-arrived tourist in this town and he just happens to be one of the world’s most divisive political figures. The Dutch right-wing anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders.
GEERT WILDERS, PARTY FOR FREEDOM: Australia can learn from our experience to stand up, to fight for who we are, for our own identity and never, ever we should become an Islamic society.
HAYDEN COOPER: He hasn’t even spoken in public yet, but he’s already causing a furore.
Like the introduction. Wilders need to live in constant and heavy security, but he’s painted as the one being “divisive” and “causing a furore”. He’s the one called “right-wing” and possibly “racist”, backed by a “secretive group” - although the group is secretive only because its members have a well-founded fear of threats and vilification of precisely the kind the ABC is dishing out.
JASMINE ALI, SOLIDARITY: This man is an extremist, he’s an Islamophobe and he shouldn’t be welcome. He’s not welcome.
YASEMIN SHAMSILI, STUDENTS FOR PALESTINE: I think Geert Wilders is a racist Islamophobe. And I think his visit to Australia is actually an attack on Muslims everywhere.
Solidarity is actually a Trotskyite outfit with a minuscule membership and an authoritarian plan for Australia far more threatening to our democracy and our freedoms than anything Wilders could ever dream of. It’s manifesto, for instance, declares: “Capitalism stifles democracy and smothers creative freedom… We stand for socialism, a society that would be based on democratically elected workers councils which control and plan the economy… Parliament, the army, the police and the courts are institutions of the capitalist state ... [which] cannot be taken over and used by the working class.” 7.30 does not mention this, or even label Solidarity “Left wing” as it (falsely) labeled Wilders “Right wing”.
Students for Palestine has helped to organise the disgraceful and - in my view - racist and intimidatory protests against Jewish chocolate shops to help enforce a boycott of things Israeli.  Wilders, in contrast, is supportive of Israel and a strong critic of anti-Semitism.
These protesters, in my opinion, do not represent the good but the bad. Yet nowhere does the ABC identify their true nature or label them as savagely as it did Wilders. 
HAYDEN COOPER: Ahead of the Wilders arrival in an unassuming Melbourne courtyard on Saturday afternoon, a small group of activists met to plot their protest.
ACTIVIST II: Maybe something like “Refugees are welcome, fascists are not,” or, “Refugees are welcome, Geert Wilders is not,” or something along those lines.
HAYDEN COOPER: These people come from a handful of different protest groups. They’re gearing up for the Dutch MP’s first Australian speech here on Tuesday, a speech they object to.
JASMINE ALI: The way that Geert Wilders hides behind the argument of free speech is really about him trying to promote what are I think very quite coercive and violent ideas, and in that regard I think it isn’t a debate about free speech; it’s very much a debate about hate speech.
So far the unelected, unrepresentive protesters for radical far-Left groups have had five times more time from the ABC than Wilders himself. Somehow it’s more important for us to hear their opinions on Wilders than for us to hear Wilders himself and make up our own minds.
Next follows a brief interview with a representative from the Q Society to explain why it brought out Wilders. Then, finally, the man himself:
HAYDEN COOPER: Our meeting with the Dutch MP is held outside Melbourne in a secret location. We’re told not to identify the venue for fear of reprisals.
Under tight security, Mr Wilders’ every move is watched by his own protection team from Holland.
GEERT WILDERS: It’s something you don’t wish your worst enemy to have, but if this is the price to speak out and warn people about the threats they are facing, then it’s worth it.
HAYDEN COOPER: The threat, as he sees it, for both Europe and Australia, is Muslim immigration.
GEERT WILDERS: We should stop the immigration from Islamic countries. I have nothing against the people. I have nothing against Muslims. I travelled through almost every Islamic country and I found often very friendly and helpful people, but they are all prisoners in this - well, this ideology called Islam and it’s pure terror by which they are ruled.
That just a bullet-point position statement, with no chance for Wilders to put his argument, so that an apparently dramatic statement is given context.
Back to a grab from the Q Society about the difficulty of booking venues, with 30 refusals, and then one last word with Wilders - not to put his arguments about Islam but just his confronting conclusion and how he’s a pariah. 
GEERT WILDERS: People are afraid. People are afraid to be connected to somebody that really is not me and I hope by speaking in Australia I can show people that our concern is their concern and that my message is a positive message for Australia: make sure you don’t make the mistakes that we made in Europe…
I understand it’s election time now in Australia, so even some of my old friends like your Liberal senator Cory Bernardi, who I met in Holland, now decides not to meet me. And I can even understand it; I am a politician. It’s sad, but I understand that.
Then there’s the uncorroborated allegations of one Muslim activist about what someone who went to a Q Society meeting allegedly said, so that Wilders is made to seem the as much a threat as the threatened:
HAYDEN COOPER: Geert Wilders is determined to support the fledging Q Society, an organisation that’s secretive about its membership and meetings. But one insider can take us behind the curtain.
ANONYMOUS MUSLIM MAN: Very extreme, very paranoid, very unsettling.
HAYDEN COOPER: This Muslim man attended undercover a meeting of the Q Society at the North Sydney Leagues Club.
ANONYMOUS MUSLIM MAN: They’re a group of people who are stridently anti-Muslim who are trying to generate fear in the Australian society about what Muslims really are. I mean, for example, I was in a meeting at one stage and there’s this woman sitting next to me, and she was talking to us, just an interchange about some fellow who was speaking a couple of rows in front of us. And I just leant over to her and said, “I think that man’s a Muslim.” And she said, “How would you know?” And I said, “Well he seems to know a lot about the Koran and the Hadith.” And her face just screwed up and she said, “I wish I had a knife. I’d stab him.”
We do get a word of support for Wilders from the Reverend Fred Nile - not so helpful - and a defence of the Q Society by Robert Spencer, before Wilders is slagged off again, this time linked to some alleged incidents he never incited and would deplore - and all this when he still hasn’t had a chance to explain his position: 
HAYDEN COOPER: For these protestors, the mere presence of Geert Wilders in Australia is offensive, and for those who are Muslim, the message he brings is deeply personal.
JASMINE ALI: You know, I hear stories all the time about relatives, family friends of mine who have had their hijabs ripped off their heads walking on the streets of Sydney. These are the sorts of consequences that these ideas bring. So in that sense it’s a very personal issue. And that’s what people actually have to get across as well, that this isn’t just some abstract debate about ideas. They have real consequences for people’s lives. 
This is a moral inversion of the reality, with Wilders fitted up as the demon and radical fringe group presented as our conscience. It works because Wilders is kept muzzled, while protesters can let rip. He is labelled, while his critics have their own radical agendas politely obscured.
This is not presenting a debate.  It is fixing it. Shutting it down.
UPDATE
Certainly not a friendly interview from the SBS, but the difference is that Wilders is at least allowed to put his argument. Viewers can decide.

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If fear and censorship is the price of immigration…

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY192013(9:41am)

Islam inspires fear in the West - and that fear turns into censorship. The latest example: 
The BBC has been accused of ‘extraordinary’ censorship by a leading playwright after dialogue was cut from her hard-hitting drama in case it offended Muslims.
Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti, whose 2004 play Behzti was pulled from a Birmingham theatre after it sparked Sikh protests, says the Corporation tampered with her work because it involved an honour killing.
Ms Bhatti was commissioned by Radio 4 to write an episode of its police drama Stone…
At the centre of her story is the honour killing of a 16-year-old Asian girl, and DCI Stone is told by his bosses to treat the case ‘sensitively’ because she is Muslim.
Although they have admitted removing dialogue from the afternoon drama, the BBC claims they did it to avoid ‘potentially misrepresenting majority British Muslim attitudes to honour killing’.
Describing the play’s final line, Ms Bhatti told a conference ...: ‘At the end, a character says: “There is so much pressure in our community to look right and to behave right.” The compliance department came back and said, “We don’t want to suggest the entire Muslim community condones honour killings”.
The BBC’s compliance department has an odd notion that a character in a radio play speaks for the BBC.
(Thanks to reader Jono.) 

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The government’s wild scrabble for cash is getting dangerous

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY192013(9:13am)

Another desperate grab for cash by the Gillard Government starts to unravel: 
FOREIGN multinationals will be largely spared from the Gillard government’s $1 billion cut to research and development tax breaks, despite Labor’s rhetoric about promoting Australian industry and cracking down on global firms that shift profits to countries with lower tax rates.
The Australian has confirmed that, as the government is taking away the R&D concessions only for companies with an Australian turnover of $20bn, the foreign revenues of multinationals will not be taken into account—meaning many big foreign firms could continue to tap the concession.
Having squandered billions on handouts, waste and utterly useless green schemes, the government snatches cash from Australians innovators, researchers and employers. Astonishing.
JULIA Gillard’s $1 billion jobs package will actually save the budget bottom line $600 million over the next four years, sparking business complaints that the package lacks transparency.
Government figures confirmed the package contained $421m of spending that would affect the budget bottom line over the next four years, compared with the $1bn in savings from cuts to research and development tax concessions for companies with Australian turnover of more than $20bn. The remaining money for initiatives in the package includes $370m for the venture capital initiative Venture Australia, of which $350m is equity and only $20m goes to the budget bottom line. The rest of the $1bn is made up of reannounced programs such as the Industrial Transformation Research Program and the Manufacturing Technology Innovation Centre, which account for a combined $266m.
Professor Judith Sloan is rightly sceptical about the Gillard Government’s plan to hand more control of private businesses to its bureaucrats - who’ve supervised the insulation scheme, the live cattle trade debacle, the boat people mess and the Budget blowouts:
Projects worth more than $500 million will require an Australian industry participation plan. I guess these plans will be judged by bureaucrats sitting in offices in Canberra.

For projects worth more than $2 billion, Australian industry opportunity officers will be embedded - bureaucrats moving from Canberra to sit in the offices of private businesses - to monitor purchasing…
There will also be innovation precincts; an investment fund; an enterprise solutions program so Canberra bureaucrats can help businesses bid for public sector work; an anti-dumping commission to protect local businesses ... and the list goes on.

The net result of this frenetic and pointless government interference in business, according to Uncle Greg, is $6.4bn in extra activity for Australian companies. This is according to modelling undertaken by bureaucrats in the federal capital.
Can’t be much longer before Uncle Greg Combet starts developing Five Year Plans as well.

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Screaming, crying, brawling, blaming - but not a single sorry

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY192013(8:15am)

Simon Crean said Labor couldn’t “gild the lily” and deny it was going backwards while Greg Combet said Labor couldn’t “sugar coat” poor polling or pretend it didn’t matter.
Supporters of Ms Gillard are expressing a growing anger towards Mr Rudd over his high profile in recent weeks and are blaming him for constant leadership speculation. The Australian has been told Gillard supporters believe more poor polls for the government in coming weeks will increase pressure on some MPs, who are “becoming more and more convinced they need a circuit-breaker”. 
Ms Gillard yesterday refused to comment on the polls. “I don’t do commentary on opinion polls and I’m focused here today on my plan for Australian jobs,” she said.
Some are blaming Wayne Swan’s poor performance as Treasurer, some blame Julia Gillard’s decision to call the longest election campaign, but most are publicly venting their frustration and anger at their former leader.
JULIA Gillard has three weeks to try to regain control of the political agenda as previously strong supporters contemplate the desperate threat to both the Labor Party and the union movement posed by Labor’s dire standing in the polls.
WAYNE Swan will today accuse Tony Abbott of fostering an Australian version of America’s Tea Party movement, claiming the Coalition has imported the “very worst aggressive negativity” and economic ignorance from the extreme right of the Republican Party.
You know what I don’t hear? Labor frankly admitting and apologising for its deceits and incompetence - the true causes of its catastrophic decline.

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No, the mining tax isn’t flawed. Just misconceived

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY192013(7:36am)

Treasurer Wayne Swan blames increased state royalties and a slump in commodity prices for the fact MRRT revenue came to a paltry $126 million in its first six months of operation, when it was forecast to bring in $2 billion over 2012/13…
Under the 30 per cent MRRT on the super profits of coal and iron ore miners, companies’ state royalties are credited back to them if they are liable for MRRT, including any increases in royalty rates imposed by the states. 
AUSTRALIAN Workers Union boss Paul Howes has sought to rally unions to oppose mining industry leaders he claims are “corporate robber barons” selling workers down the river…
“These corporate robber barons, in their shiny suits, think they own our country… They think they can do what they like with our minerals, without even paying a fair share.”
But Terry McCrann nails the deception: the real brawl between the Gillard Government and the states is not over whether miners should pay more, but which government should get its hands on the cash. In a critical sense, the royalties offsets provision is not a flaw but fair:
Yes, Gillard and Swan ‘stuffed up’ - considered in terms of political games played. But it would have been outrageous and punitive not to allow full deduction of any present and future state royalties.
Those royalties are a cost to the company like any other cost… It would be absurd to require the company to pay an extra tax on the money it is paying to the state government…
More fundamentally, what’s the problem?
Swan and Gillard - and Rudd’s - whole rationalisation for the tax is that the Australian public should be getting a bigger slice of the profits from resources.
And that’s exactly what happens if state royalties are boosted. It just means that a state treasurer rather than Swan gets the money.
And right now I’d trust any state treasurer above Wayne Swan to spend those billions well.
McCrann says Swan isn’t the only one to have completely bungled the mining tax: 
But this Treasury has failed comprehensively with the mining tax. Just as, it’s highly relevant to note, it also failed comprehensively with the carbon tax. 
Treasury saw “super-profits” where there were none, and pushed for a tax that would punish investment. A second critical “flaw” now decried in Swan’s tax is also no flaw at all:
The second supposed ‘flaw’ in the tax is allowing companies to upvalue their assets from their original historical cost; and that has meant that companies start with credits against any tax liability.
As Henry Ergas pointed out in our sister paper The Australian yesterday, to not have allowed this would have meant the Government would have been effectively expropriating - that is, confiscating - a portion of the actual mines.
Here’s why, using an example you might more easily understand. Many years ago, you bought an investment property for $100,000; it’s now worth $1.5 million, and you rent it out for $70,000 a year.
The Government says you are making a ‘super profit’ because you are earning 70 per cent on your investment. That $100,000 original cost.
When you are actually making a little under 5 per cent - on the $1.5 million you now actually have ‘invested’ in the house.
If the Government was to apply a super-profits tax that took, say $20,000 of that $70,000 - over and above any normal income tax - that would be like applying a retrospective, running, annual, capital gains tax on the rise in the value of the property.
In effect, confiscating a share of the property. And then of course, the ‘normal’ capital gains tax would still apply, when the property was sold....
So they are not ‘flaws’, but necessary components of the tax. But a Treasury that was advising competently, would have advised government its assumption of a harvest of revenue - which it then promptly went out and spent - was built on sand.
Read it all.

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Anything But Conservative

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY192013(7:29am)

Yesterday the ABC’s 7.30 ran an item on Dutch political leader Geert Wilders by quoting at length protesters from two tiny, ultra radical groups - the Trotskyite Solidarity and anti-Israel Students for Palestine. The real agenda of these groups was not identified, and they were not even labelled “Left wing” - while Wilders was tagged “Right wing”.
Today I switched on the ABC’s early edition of AM to hear an item presenting the Greens’ latest bright ideas to ruin the economy.
In another item it interviewed the Australian Conservation Foundation making unchallenged claims to sell wind power. The very next item started by promoting a Greenpeace study beating up fears about nuclear power in Japan following the Fukushima disaster - in which radiation in fact has not seriously endangered or hurt one single person. Again, Greenpeace was not challenge.
The ABC is mainstreaming highly unrepresentative activist groups of the far Left, presenting the fringe as the new centre.

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Labor killed by self-interest

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY192013(7:21am)

The polls don’t lie. There is no hard data yet, but one of the country’s best pollsters says he’s begun to pick up a hard edge in the qualitative responses that isn’t being fully reflected (yet) in the quantitative results. There is no drift back to Labor… Not necessarily because voters want the Coalition, you understand, but simply because they are so sick and tired of the puerile, wretched and pathetic collection of such obviously self-interested people making up today’s Cabinet…
Currently, with Gillard leading and Swan as Treasurer, Labor will be booted so far into the outfield its remaining members will take on the appearance of a self-help group labelled ‘’Politicians Anonymous’’.
This doesn’t concern the self-interested cabal that’s currently in charge of the party. Swan knows in his heart of hearts that the job is beyond him; that he’s electoral poison - he just can’t bring himself to admit it. Gillard knows the same thing and there is even a bizarre rumour that, if the polls don’t change (and they won’t) she’s prepared to stand down at the last moment and let somebody else take the party to the election. That would deprive voters of the one thing they really want to do: kick the government…
Both Gillard and Swan need to swallow their pride and depart. In their hearts, they know this is the party’s only hope. It’s what Simon Crean did when his polling was abysmal. It seems the current leadership is made of other stuff
(Thanks to reader ScottC.)

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No message left that anyone will hear

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY192013(12:05am)

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek tries to sell health policy when the only blood journalists at her press conference care to hear about is that of her terminal government:

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...Federal election is not far away now.

This girl said she recognised me from the Vegetarian Party but I'd never met herbivore.
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4 TMN
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There is no unemployment in the church. Everyone has a role.
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Announcing an additional $875,357 for an expansion of the highly successful Nyoongar Patrol into the Midland CBD with Police Minister Liza Harvey, Hon Alyssa Hayden and the Liberal candidate for Midland, Daniel Parasiliti - Peter Collier
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Swan compares $126m mining tax to the "big reforms" like floating the $,reduced tariffs and compulsory super. Fair Dinkum have a look at it

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Training to shoot high in our performances! @rawand_parkour #team9lives #parkour #summer #fly
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"Honey, it is over. I'm going to leave you. After the children have grown up, got married and had children of their own." - ed
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Beautifully illustrated .. I don't mind if others share my path. I also embrace travellers who take a different one. - ed
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Members of the Papuan Infantry Battalion rest on a bridge on the road from Gona to Soputa just after the fall of Gona in December 1942. [AWM P02424.116] ...

Green Shadows – the Papuan Infantry Battalion

On the Kokoda track

Soldiers of the Papuan Infantry Battalion (PIB) were the first to offer resistance to the Japanese invasion of their country. PIB Captain Harold Jesser said that the Battalion was called the ‘green shadows’ because of an entry found in a Japanese diary in Papua. It was written that the PIB ‘moved silently in the jungle, inflicting casualties on us-and then are gone, like green shadows.’

The PIB was formed in 1940 for the defence of Papua. Its privates and non commissioned officers were Papuan. Its officers, and some NCOs, were Australian. It was led by a New Zealander, Major William Watson.

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Che Guevara, a hero to communist dictators.
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<2 1.="" 3="" 4.="" 6.="" a="" above="" and="" backwards="" cheek="" crossroads="" cut="" forget="" forgive="" glance.="" in="" operation="" painless="" tongue="">
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Here's a photo my brother Chuck took yesterday of Todd & Scott during the National Anthem at the Iron Dog start. - Sarah Palin
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Website page: http://bit.ly/dcebgz

Labor promised to establish 36 so-called ‘GP Super Clinics’ to take the pressure off public hospital emergency departments.Labor had promised that 12 clinics would open in 2008-09 and another 10 in 2009-10.Today, just three are open and fully operational.
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Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
—Romans 12:2, NLT

Take a look at the above scripture. It tells us that the key to being transformed and knowing God’s will for us is a purposeful change in our thinking and believing. In other words, when you and I stop thinking like the world, and start meditating on God’s Word so that we can believe and think right, we will live right for His glory!

I want to encourage you to begin meditating on God’s Word like never before. I assure you that you will kick that addiction, overcome depression and low self-esteem, and walk in greater health and success, when you believe right about God, about yourself and about your future.

To help you meditate on a scriptural truth each day, I’ve written a series of bite-sized grace inspirations called, Meditate & Believe Right, which I would like to send to you.

Sign up by clicking on the link below and start receiving this free resource in your email every day.
http://www.josephprince.com/meditate/

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Celebrating the last of the holiday weekend. Hope everyone had a great one with lots of chocolate! 
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Purple reign ... huge bougainvillea may be world's largest.
The massive plant is attached to a university building in Nanning, China, and currently stands over 100ft high.
While the purple bougainvillea was planted just ten years ago, it has already grown enough to cover the five-storey building from top to bottom.
And university officials have been so impressed by the huge bloom that they have applied to the Guinness Book of World Records to see if it's the biggest-ever.
The massive plant has even made the university a tourist attraction, with sightseers flocking to check out the shrub when it blooms each spring.
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Bottom line: Loving smart means believing in you, your worth and your value.
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Whatever your valley of trouble today, God has opened a door of hope for you. Step into the victory that Christ has purchased for you and receive every provision that you need!
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Swept Away (draft 2)...

http://timothywenzel.bandcamp.com/track/swept-away-draft-2

...fewer warts, some added flowers. Time to question the acoustics. Is is pleasing to the ear? Anything even remotely distracting? (end too abrupt, squeaky violins too loud, parts too soft, bridge too short) It is longer than I would like so I will need to do a little surgery. But what to cut? Now come the myriad of details that are less fun to address.

This is also the time I would tend to abandon a song, at least temporarily, if I can't envision it being on a CD (e.g. too much major surgery, genre way too different). That is the hardest decision to make and I tend to rely on feelings rather than logic. This one? I am not yet sure.
Enjoy - and comments always help me see the song from a different perspective. Thank you!
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4 TMN
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"And that's how we measure out our real respect for people—by the degree of feeling they can register, the voltage of life they can carry and tolerate—and enjoy. End of sermon. As Buddha says: live like a mighty river. And as the old Greeks said: live as though all your ancestors were living again through you."

-Ted Hughes, in a letter to his son
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Hearing about exciting Kung Fu comedy projects by the talented Andy Minh Trieu. — with Andy Minh Trieu at Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE).
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