Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sat 31/8/13 Todays News

A dithering Bill Clinton, using NATO for the first time in armed conflict, got the most advanced fighting force the world had then seen to hit a Serbian command tent on top of a hill. Aware of what a mistake in this maneuver might mean, the high command of Serbian forces were informed in advance of what would happen. So the offending tent was empty at the time. It was a response considered proportionate to the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Albanian citizens. A timely reminder of what Obama will be thinking as he considers how to respond to Syria's chemical attack on its' own civilians. Obama will want to do something, and not be criticised. At the moment, he is being mercilessly taunted by his enemies and supporters. This will have to stop. He has ruled out using troops. This will be a display of strength and commitment only a pressed button can display. Truman would be proud at both his party's forebears of Presidential office.
What is a proportionate response to ethnic cleansing? What is a proportionate response to the use of chemical weapons on civilians? US has been criticised as its effective artillery uses depleted uranium core shells and these have residual effects on the landscape. History suggests much can be achieved through denial, as Turkey demonstrates. The surviving victims can die waiting for justice. The chemicals used are being meme-pictured to suggest they may be from Al-Qaeda fighters .. but the evidence suggests otherwise. Were a western leader to commit such an atrocity their own justice system would intervene .. maybe. PM Rudd, in 2007 campaigning, claimed he had a way of bringing order to Timor. A few months after coming to office, The President and PM of Timor narrowly survived an assassination attempt by an Australia army trained officer. It marked a drastic cooling in the political philosophy aligned nations (ALP claimed history with FRETILIN). But no further inquiry. Assad may have used chemical weapons secured from Saddam's Iraq against his own people. Obama is afraid of appearing weak, and will construct a weak reply. Obama should have done something sooner .. before the chemical attack .. but that time is passed. Now some command tent must tremble waiting for a proportionate response. 
On the issue of trembling we have PM Rudd. And sweating. In the worst campaign in recent years, worse than Gillard's 2010 fumblings with a divided party, Rudd is hurting children, clawing pensioners, stealing chips and picturing himself with party loyalists as part of his relentless campaign. He is lying badly, and it is uncertain what his followers find more unforgivable, that he is lying, or lying badly. Rudd has very limited time if he is to sit in the UN's security council presidential seat. A trip to the G20 at week's end may be his last junket. On election eve, it might yet be a master stroke and prevent further hemorrhaging of votes. Or not. He keeps pointing to Liberal policies, all declared, open to scrutiny, and he claims they are un-costed, like his own policies .. which are not yet announced, but which we are reliably informed will contain no responsible cuts. Murdoch does not own or sell 70% of newspapers, but you wouldn't know that if you followed Rudd. Some do. Similar in number and outlook as those who follow Obama. 

Happy birthday and many happy returns Caligula (?!12), Maria Montessori (1870), Albert Facey (1894), James Coburn (1928), Clive Lloyd (1944), Edwin Moses (1955), Chris Tucker (1972) and Holly Earl (1992). On your day, Independence Day in Malaysia (1957) and Trinidad and Tobago (1962)
1813 – Peninsular War: At the Battle of San Marcial, the Spanish Army of Galicia under Manuel Alberto Freire turned back Nicolas Soult's last major offensive against Arthur Wellesley's allied army.
1888 – Mary Ann Nichols' body was found on the ground in front of a gated stable entrance in Buck's Row, London, allegedly the first victim of the unidentified serial killer known as Jack the Ripper.
1945 – The Liberal Party of Australia, one of the two major Australian political parties, was founded to replace the United Australia Party.
1982 – Anti-government demonstrations were held in 66 Polish cities to commemorate the second anniversary of the Gdańsk Agreement, which allowed the Solidarity trade union to be established.
1998 – North Korea claimed to have successfully launched Kwangmyŏngsŏng-1, its first satellite, although no objects were ever tracked in orbit from the launch.
Others may not believe you, but I know you launched. Solidarity to the workers .. united will never be untied. The Liberal party launched representing conservatives. Mary found her missing organs. Peninsulars are popular. Party on.


Tim Blair – Saturday, August 31, 2013 (3:27pm)

Former ALP president Warren Mundine cites this week’s costings debacle as an example of why he quit the Labor party
The lies & crap exposed by the PBO & Treasury on LNP’s costings. You’re a disgrace. 
Also on costings, here’s Michelle Grattan
The heads of Treasury, Finance and the Parliamentary Budget Office have called out Kevin Rudd’s attempt to use their authority to discredit the opposition’s savings figures.
It was a bureaucratic king hit the like of which we don’t often see, and certainly not in election campaigns. 
And Laurie Oakes
The Government’s aim was to damage the Coalition. Instead, by provoking the bureaucrats, it knocked the stuffing out of its own remaining election hopes.
It was possibly the biggest blunder in a bloody awful Labor campaign. Small wonder talk in the ALP has turned to who might lead the party in the coming wilderness years.
Frank Sinatra used to sing “Saturday night is the loneliest night of the week”. Next Saturday night Rudd is likely to be the loneliest politician this country has seen for a very long time. 
The Prime Minister is already sweating like a Fairfax circulation manager:

By comparison, Julie Bishop seems cool as can be while dealing with anti-coal activists: 
PROTESTER: You’re a very good friend of ours Mrs Bishop, we think you’re awfully marvellous.
(Via CL)



Tim Blair – Saturday, August 31, 2013 (2:53pm)

Australian sport provides useful lessons in organisational fragility. For example, anyone seeking to understand Labor’s current problems would do well to study the Richmond football club from 1980 to the present.



Tim Blair – Saturday, August 31, 2013 (2:27pm)

Tough on quips, tough on the causes of quips:


8 of 26

Tim Blair – Saturday, August 31, 2013 (2:22pm)

The distracting frivolity of block-and-giggle five-day matches behind them, Australia is proving far more competitive in the traditional T20 format. Besides delivering a rare Australian win, the first T20 match also provided Foley artists with a perfect helmet-breaking sound effect thanks to Joe Root. Tonight’s match is the eighth in a series that runs untilnext year. Current score:
England: Four wins, 3334 runs
Australia: One win, 3204 runs
Two draws



Tim Blair – Saturday, August 31, 2013 (2:14pm)

Mark Steyn on multi-culti murderer Nidal Hasan’s death sentence. The motiveless killer has lately moved to a new address.



Tim Blair – Saturday, August 31, 2013 (2:05pm)

Damn. Missed it.


What are the odds of two Rudds at a market?

Andrew Bolt August 31 2013 (6:38pm)

After another awful day of campaigning - marred by hecklers, claims of rudeness and a media lock-out - Kevin Rudd hastily organised a nicer picture opportunity, featuring a charming coincidence:

Rudd had only the health event scheduled in Darwin on Saturday, but a surprise stop at the Parap markets was soon added to the itinerary. Nothing like a few selfies to lift the mood and the video footage.
The PM was crowded and at times, crushed, by locals, as he sampled coconut rough fudge (he made sure he bought some for son Marcus) and toured the stalls selling indigenous art, candles and spices.
Among the barely contained chaos, he was especially keen to see seven-year-old Virginia, who shares a last name with the Prime Minister, giving her a ‘’cuddle’’ from ‘’one Rudd to another’’.
And The Age, of course, shows that cuddle at the link, with Rudd nearly burying himself in the girl’s arms.
We’ll, maybe that was not actually a compete coincidence… Virginia is the daughter of the NT Labor Opposition’s chief of staff.
Rudd does have a habit of trucking in his own supporters - bowlers, shoppers, mothers - to act like happy voters off the street. 


The Bolt Report tomorrow

Andrew Bolt August 31 2013 (8:49am)

On The Bolt Report on Channel 10 tomorrow: Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon, John Della Bosca and Michael Kroger.
Plus the most stupid stunt of the campaign - drawn from a rich field.
On Sunday at 10am and 4pm.

The twitter feed.
The place the videos appear


Keating didn’t sweat. So Rudd won’t do a 1993

Andrew Bolt August 31 2013 (8:25am)

The pictures were ghastly:

It was the press conference from hell.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was addressing the media shortly after speaking at a union event… But the room was hot and lacked air flow and sweat began to bead on Mr Rudd’s forehead.
Then a young girl, aged about 10, who had been standing for most of conference, collapsed…
A journalist began to buckle under the heat and walked away as Mr Rudd spoke.
Mr Rudd, looking annoyed, reminded the reporter he was answering his question. The journalist said he was feeling unwell.
To make matters worse, a Labor staffer accidentally turned off the lights in the room, leading the Prime Minister to briefly pause the press conference.
If that wasn’t enough, a radio microphone fell off the lectern Mr Rudd was using…
With sweat visibly running down his face, Mr Rudd also attacked the media for not doing enough to challenge Mr Abbott over his costings.
What would Tony Abbott, surf lifesaver and volunteer firefighter, have done?

A girl waiting for the behind-schedule Prime Minister at a press conference in Western Australia fainted as he spoke, with aides later forced to explain he didn’t pause while she received first aid because he was unaware of the incident going on just metres from him.
Tony Abbott claims Rudd could still do to him what Paul Keating did to Paul Hewson:

“Some of you might remember I once worked for an opposition that was careering towards an inevitable victory and it didn’t happen,” Mr Abbott said.
“1993 is proof that there is no such thing as an unloseable election and I think this election is very, very tight. It’s very, very tight.”
Rudd also pins his hopes on 1993:

“Keating in ‘93 came from behind,” he said. “We have one objective and that is to prevail in this election."…

Mr Rudd and his chief strategist Bruce Hawker believe that the Paid Parental Scheme will become to Tony Abbott what the GST was for Hewson in 1993.
But this news report from four days before Hewson’s 1993 loss shows significant differences - such as Prime Minister looking cool, not flustered; a challenger looking strident, not calm; and polls much tighter:

(Via Catallaxy Files. Thanks to reader Kneel.) 


Labor to lose in a landslide

Andrew Bolt August 31 2013 (8:19am)

It will be a landslide, according to Newspoll:
In NSW, Labor faces a coastal wipeout, with five marginal seats - Dobell, Robertson, Kingsford-Smith, Page and Eden-Monaro - all held by margins of 5.2 per cent or less but facing a 6 per cent swing to the Coalition…
In addition to the three ALP Victorian seats that are likely to fall and the five NSW coastal seats, there are up to 10 Labor seats at risk in western Sydney. Given the two independent seats of Lyne and New England are also going strongly to the Coalition, Tony Abbott could pick up 20 seats just in NSW and Victoria…
[P]olling suggests Labor will not gain any seats in Queensland but faces losses there as well as at least two in Tasmania and possibly a total of three in South Australia and the Northern Territory.
The results of polling in marginal electorates and independent-held seats suggest that the Coalition could pick up between 20 and 26 seats…
According to a Newspoll survey conducted in five western Sydney marginal Labor electorates ...  there has been a nine-percentage-point swing away from Labor to 43 per cent across the electorates of Greenway, Lindsay, Banks, Reid and Parramatta.
If the swing in the five seats is uniform across the neighbouring Labor seats of Werriwa (held by 6.8 per cent), McMahon (7.9 per cent) and Fowler (8.8 per cent), as well as Barton (6.9 per cent), where former attorney-general Robert McClelland is retiring, all eight seats will be lost.
Morgan Poll:

With only one week to go until the Federal Election, the swing to the L-NP has continued with the L-NP increasing its lead – L-NP 53% (up 1.5%) cf. ALP 47% (down 1.5%) on a two-party preferred basis…
Among the minor parties Greens support is 12% (up 1%) and support for Independents/ Others is 13.5% (up 4%) – including within that support for the Palmer United Party has jumped to 4% (6.5% in Queensland) ... while support for Katter’s Australian Party is 1%.
It gets worse, with a JWS poll showing huge swings in seats Labor once thought safe:

Labor risks losing Treasurer Chris Bowen and his predecessor Wayne Swan at next week’s federal election as support for the government continues to fall and party officials fret about a modest loss becoming a rout…
In Victoria, Bendigo is on a knife edge while McEwan appears lost.
But the JSW poll contradicts private Liberal polls suggesting Rudd was a 50/50 chance to lose his own seat of Griffth:

Rudd ... appears safe, leading Bill Glasson by 57 per cent to 43 per cent...
(Thanks to reader Peter.) 


Blokes who pay no tax attack women who pay plenty

Andrew Bolt August 31 2013 (8:03am)

Derek Rielly on the approved politics of envy, as seen at Rooty Hill:

Why should a blue-collar man whose net contribution to the public purse is close to zero, or even less, after various rebates and assistance packages and carbon tax hand-outs fund gilt-edged cribs and Dior nightgowns for the fabulously wealthy?…
Why should this pretty woman who put her head down at school, blitzed her year 12 exams, then studied for four more years at law school building a sizeable HECS debt in the process and then worked long hours at a law firm for most of her twenties and now, at the apex of her career while paying almost a third of her salary in income tax, be temporarily supported while she births a new Australian?
What a strange shadow that question, and our response to it, casts over the election. Do we really loathe success, however minor, that much? What intellectual runts we are…

An interesting exercise is to reverse the question. Why should a hard-working lawyer, putting in 12 hours a day provide any sort of assistance to a man who’s going to throw his carbon tax hand-out, family and healthcare rebates into the mouth of a poker machine at West Tradies …
(Via Catallaxy Files.) 


Too keen to please

Andrew Bolt August 31 2013 (7:53am)

David Burchell nails it:

Like Citizen Kane, Rudd is a vigorous public man of apparently limitless energy, iron determination and overweening self-belief who yet exudes the unmistakable aching neediness of the bereft child…
At the Rooty Hill RSL in western Sydney this week, there was the unmistakable sense that Rudd would have assented to anything his hearers wanted if it would have made them love him a little more.
In the end, the performance has always somehow fallen short. There never has been any clear sense, behind the plausible, painstaking arguments, the fastidious intonation and the conscientious attention to detail, of any stable political philosophy that a single awkward poll might not serve to upend.


Pick who’s really not fit for statesmanship

Andrew Bolt August 31 2013 (7:51am)

Dennis Shanahan on Rudd’s fantasy that he’d be a better statesman than Abbott:
In the past seven days, Rudd has travelled twice to Canberra for security briefings on Syria; delivered a major foreign policy speech; spoken to world and UN leaders, including British Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama; left open the option of attending the St Petersburg G20 summit on the eve of the election; and given priority to Syrian issues over domestic politics and on-the-street campaigning…
It is not a new tactic and is designed to build on Labor’s former framing of Abbott as aggressive and unstable…
[But] Rudd’s record as a foreign policy PM does not live up to the expectations he created with his diplomatic background…
On his first overseas trip as Labor leader, Rudd misjudged the balance between China and Japan and had to announce, mid-trip, that he’d make a special visit to Japan once it became clear he’d snubbed Australia’s biggest trading partner in favour of China…
Rudd later revealed a plan for an Asia-Pacific community so vague and unprepared it died of derision from our neighbours…
The biggest diplomatic setback as a result of Rudd’s foreign policy overreach and misjudgment was with the US… A confidential cable, leaked by WikiLeaks, ... [written by] the then US ambassador, Robert McCallum, ... criticised Rudd’s behaviour after a report in The Australian detailing a private conversation with the president. The article made Bush appear foolish, reporting that Rudd was “stunned to hear Bush say, ‘What’s the G20?’ “, in reference to a planned meeting of world leaders.
“Rudd’s refusal to deny that his office was the source of the leak has confirmed to most Canberra observers that he showed exceptionally poor judgment in trying to aggrandise himself at the expense of Australia’s most important relationship,” McCallum said…
The official US conclusion was: “Rudd undoubtedly believes ...he has the background and the ability to direct Australia’s foreign policy. His performance so far, however, demonstrates that he does not have the staff or the experience to do the job properly.”
McCallum’s view was that Rudd’s missteps largely arose from his propensity to make “snap announcements without consulting other countries or within the Australian government”.
(This post has been bumped from one below.) 


Argus: this debt is dangerous, and bought us trash

Andrew Bolt August 31 2013 (7:24am)

Former BHP Billiton chairman and National Australia Bank chief executive Don Argus says our debt is dangerous, but Labor seems not to care:

In Australia over the last six years, one could conclude we seem to be governed by those who wish to find reasons to abandon any move towards balanced budgets and reasonable fiscal policies…
Australia’s Gross National Debt – that is, the gross debt of households, businesses and governments – has roughly doubled since 2005, to around $3.2 trillion… This gives a debt-GDP ratio for Australia of around 215%. By comparison, for the USA total debt is around 280% of GDP. It seems to me that Australia’s total debt position is not especially good when you take into account the unusually buoyant times we have enjoyed over the past 20 years, including a once-in-a-century mining boom…
True, by the standards of other western world countries our government debt is low. But ... Australia’s Government debt-GDP ratio is now back to its peak levels of the early 1990s! So by the standards of the past 25 years, Australian government debt is high. It’s high and we haven’t had a recession, suggesting the armoury of fiscal policy available to protect Australia against future downturns is depleted.  It is very unsettling to hear our politicians promising to spend more money on uncosted, unscrutinised projects at a time when we need to be very careful with every penny we have.
What Labor spent it spent too often on trash:

The problem is that Australia’s debt accumulation did not deliver the optimal returns. There has been little infrastructure investment through the so-called boom, and remedial measures undertaken like stimulus cash payments and pink batts do not produce any ongoing return…

But one could conclude we have an emerging problem in this country that sizeable projects have not been subject to rigorous, publically disclosed costbenefit
analysis. The NBN is the most notable example of this, and the Government appears to have gone to great lengths to conceal its Budget impact.
And forget Labor fixing what it broke:
I would conclude that the current Government has no intention of addressing the now chronic Budget deficit and is in fact prepared to rack up more debt by not addressing growing costs…
The main problem with Government finances in my view is not revenue, but spending. It is remarkable that spending has grown well above revenue, at a 7%
annual rate over the past 5 years. 


Rudd’s great fraud

Andrew Bolt August 31 2013 (6:41am)

Laurie Oakes on the humiliation of a desperate and erratic Kevin Rudd - now called out by the heads of Treasury and Finance for pretending they’d found a $10 billion hole in the Coalition costings:
Kevin Rudd and his two most senior economics ministers crossed the line by trying to use the reputation of Treasury, the Finance Department and the Parliamentary Budget Office in a bit of political trickery.
Treasury head Martin Parkinson and Finance Department secretary David Tune cried “Enough!”.
The Government’s aim was to damage the Coalition. Instead, by provoking the bureaucrats, it knocked the stuffing out of its own remaining election hopes.
It was possibly the biggest blunder in a bloody awful Labor campaign.
Terry McCrann:

COSTINGSGATE—Kevin Rudd’s last desperate, despicable, and all too totally in character throw of the dice—doesn’t have quite the same instantaneous shredding of any remaining credibility that Ralph Willis’s flourishing of a forged letter had in similar circumstances in 1996.
But what Rudd did is actually far worse. It announces that he is totally unfit for office…
At least, in 1996, Willis thought he was releasing a true document that had come into his possession. A—fake—letter, purportedly written by then Liberal Victorian premier Jeff Kennett, supposedly detailing a secret plan by then opposition leader John Howard.
Willis, one of the most straight up and down politicians in my 40-year experience, was really guilty only of crass stupidity…
Rudd, and Bowen and Wong, don’t have the excuse of stupidity. What they did was a deliberate intent to deceive. To pass off analysis—especially from Treasury and Finance—commissioned by the government before the election campaign started, as costing opposition policies which were only announced in the campaign.
But it goes further than that. Rudd—and Bowen and Wong’s—release of the confidential minutes from Treasury and Finance fundamentally breached the caretaker principles that are supposed to apply through the campaign.
Paul Kelly:

This is the biggest story of the election… This is a multiple humiliation. It exposes Rudd and his economic ministers for making exaggerated and unjustified claims. It reveals that public service chiefs believe their advice to government has been misrepresented for political purposes in the election. And it undermines the only shot Rudd had left in his election locker: his negative campaign based on Coalition costings…
As for Rudd’s positive campaign, it has become increasingly haphazard and bizarre. Consider this list: relocation of naval assets from Sydney, populist alarms on foreign investment in land, recruitment of the Syrian crisis to attack Abbott’s character, raising high-speed east coast rail by 2035 and a special economic zone for the Northern Territory…
Being realistic, they are a series of improvised, opportunistic, disconnected moves that constitute ideas in search of a strategy.


By Madu Odiokwu Pastorvin
Abba Father, today I choose to trust in You. I release frustration, dreams and desires in my heart, knowing that You know what’s best for me.thank You for setting me free in every area of my life. I declare today that nothing can hold me back. I declare that You have set me free. Thank You for freedom and victory in every area of my life . I choose to trust Your timing because You are faithful, and I will bless You in all things in Jesus’ name, Amen.


By Madu Odiokwu Pastorvin
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.(Philippians 4:11, NIV)

In life, sometimes it’s easy to get so focused on our dreams and goals that we tune out everything else. But I’ve found that if we have to have something in order to be happy, our lives are out of balance. When our goals and dreams start to frustrate us; when we lose our peace and don’t enjoy life, that’s a clear sign that we’re holding on too tightly. What’s the solution? You’ve got to release it. Freedom comes when you say, “God, I’m turning it all over to You. You know my desires and what’s best for me. I’m choosing to trust You and trust Your timing.”

When we learn to be content whatever the circumstances, it takes away the power of the enemy. It takes away his ability to frustrate us. Not only that, but by our actions we are showing our faith in God. When you choose to trust in His timing, you can live in peace, you can live in joy, and you can rest in Him knowing that He has good things in store for your future. Today, find freedom in contentment and rest in His everlasting peace.God bless you.



My new book on the 10 Commandments has just arrived. This is the distillation of 14 years of teaching…
God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains; it is His…

THERE is nothing funnier than a dumb criminal. Nothing.
Don't believe us? Consider the recent story of Mario and Domingo, a pair of robbers who threatened to shoot a restaurant owner if he didn't give them free food.
The owner told the two men he was too busy for a robbery, and asked them to come back in an hour. So they did. Unsurprisingly, they ended up in handcuffs.
Funny, right? With that in mind, we have compiled a list of 10 absurdly stupid law-breakers for your shameless amusement. There's a famished banana brandisher, a crazy brave suburban lumberjack and an Amish kid who likes to run stop signs in a horse-drawn carriage.
Have a read of our top 10. Just be warned: it would be a crime not to laugh.
The term "outgunned" doesn't quite do this story justice.
Derrick Mosley strolled into a discount gun store with a baseball bat, smashed a glass display case and tried to steal a firearm. Yes, he tried to rob a gun shop with a baseball bat.
What happened next? The manager pulled out a gun of his own, pointed it at Derrick and kept him in the crosshairs until the police arrived.
Don't be too hard on yourself Derrick. Guns in a gun store? Nobody could have anticipated that.

Read more:


This photo represents the second time I've visited this unique spot in the Arizona desert. The place has an eerie silence when alone on a hot summer's day, and the wind was very still. Found between the Hopi and Navajo Indian reservations, this place stands out for it's multi-colored hoodoos and short mile long terrain.

He has gone "Digging" with his grandad, having put down his pen. And although the end is sad, I will smile for his life. - ed

Seamus Heaney died this morning in Dublin at the age of 74. It is a huge loss. The author of 13 collections of poetry, four books of criticism, two plays, and numerous translations, lectures, and other writings, Heaney received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995 and the coveted T.S. Eliot Prize in 2006 (for his twelfth collection, District and Circle). Beyond awards, he was an undisputed literary titan-professor-broadcaster that even the poetry-immune grew to cherish. (In 2007, his books reportedly accounted for two-thirds of the poetry sales in the United Kingdom.) “If poetry and the arts do anything,” he once said, “they can fortify your inner life, your inwardness." His particular music—forthright, humble, weaving in and out of the unseen—had an almost unprecedented way of nourishing readers’ inner lives. He produced the kinds of lines that turn into lenses—panes of thought through which you come to see the world.
Born in 1939 in Northern Ireland’s County Derry, Heaney absorbed the rustic rhythms of his surroundings and experienced firsthand the religious frictions leading up to the Troubles. Those sometimes bloody conflicts between Catholics and Protestants figured in his poetry, though often in disguise; everything was filtered through Heaney’s favorite element: earth, mud, sludge. Anthony Thwaite once called him the “laureate of the root vegetable.” For Heaney, the act of digging—uncovering spuds, streams, even bog people—stood for the act of thinking, of writing. And that violence, the upheaval of working the soil, spoke to the turbulence of dealing with a painful past—especially if the dirt was Irish, if it somehow housed the country’s divided soul.
Many have highlighted this “earthy” aesthetic, noting how Heaney’s work is frequently both mud-caked and temperamentally “down-to-earth.” In Newsweek, Malcolm Jones praised  “muscular language so rich with the tones and smell of earth that you almost expect to find a few crumbs of dirt clinging to his lines.” Jones was describing Heaney’s gorgeous 2001 translation of Beowulf, my first encounter with the poet. I remember leafing through Heaney’s introduction in thrilled disbelief—“lambent” heroes and “chthonic” dragons—who was this guy?
But Heaney always went deep. In his wonderful book of essays, The Government of the Tongue, he spoke of a chestnut tree his aunt planted in her yard the same year he was born. He grew up identifying with the tree and mourned when the family that moved into his aunt’s house after her cut it down. Then he forgot about it. And then—in one of those peculiar acts of memory so central to Heaney—it flashed back into his mind, or rather, “the space where it had been” did. “I saw [the opening] as a kind of luminous emptiness, a warp and waver of light, and once again, in a way that I find hard to define, I began to identify with that space,” he recounts.
“Except that this time it was not so much a matter of attaching oneself to a living symbol of being rooted in the native ground; it was more a matter of preparing to be unrooted, to be spirited away into some transparent, yet indigenous afterlife. The new place was all idea, if you like; it was generated out of my experience of the old place but it was not a topographical location. It was and remains an imagined realm, even if it can be located at an earthly spot, a placeless heaven rather than a heavenly place.”
You can see here why people love Heaney’s language—the sackcloth heaviness of it, the authenticity, the song. The critic Brad Leithauser, writing in the New York Times, offered thebest explanation I’ve yet read of its almost lullaby-like power. Heaney’s voice, Leithauser says, “carries the believability of the plainspoken—even though (herein his magic) his words are anything but plainspoken….His stanzas are dense echo chambers of contending nuances and ricocheting sounds. And his is the gift of saying something extraordinary while, line by line, conveying a sense that this is something an ordinary person might actually say.”
The chestnut tree is an ordinary symbol for an extraordinary poet. Heaney, bard of the ground, leaves us with shimmering outlines, a thousand ways to fill in his absence. Framed by and indebted to the dirt, his poetry remains a “heavenly place.” 


"What" is a word made up of 4 letters, "yet" is also made up of 3. "Although" is written with 8 letters, and "then" with 4. "Rarely" consists of 6, and "never" is written with 5.

on the same point, "Intentionally confusing people" is written with 28 letters and 2 spaces, but is neither here nor there - ed




 Jet Li
My second daughter graduated from college this year and wanted me to cook for her. I only have one move up my sleeve: Vegetable and noodle stir fry!

In response to what some consider over-reaching surveillance programs conducted by U.S. intelligence agencies, which have been shown to collect thousands of communications with no terror connection, a group decrying the privacy implications of these programs is turning the tables on the president.
According to the Creator’s Project, “Where is Obama” pinpoints the location of President Barack Obama using what the group calls the ”Crowd-Sourced Positioning System, or CSPS.”

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron in London, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013. (Photo credit: AP/Matt Dunham)
The ongoing hesitance and indecisiveness with which the West is reacting to the alleged used of nerve gas to kill hundreds of civilians in Syria enforce Israel’s skepticism of the international community in general and, specifically, the idea of security guarantees in any future peace agreement with the Palestinians, Jerusalem officials indicated Friday.


“I was so proud of her, and now I’m embarrassed of her.” #DrPhil 

Look who popped in to the Doctor Who Experience today. It’s Frazer Hines – AKA Jamie McCrimmon! 

Find out more about Jamie here:


"Our concern is not just about some far off land oceans away … Our concern with the cause of the defenseless people of Syria is about choices that will directly affect our role in the world and our interests in the world." -- Secretary of State John Kerry speaking at the State Department

Read the unclassified intel report concluding that the Syrian regime carried out chemical attacks killing 1,429 people:

Contents and artwork have been revealed for the upcoming DVD release of the First Doctor's last adventure "The Tenth Planet". 

Find all the details and get an exclusive look at the animated regeneration scene on


Multinationals baulk at cost of doing business

LEADING company directors claim the high cost of doing business in Australia could cause more multinational companies to close their local operations or abandon domestic investment plans, warning "we are not even in the race" in competing for foreign capital.
In an exclusive roundtable with The Weekend Australian, the directors of blue-chip companies including Transurban, CSL, Perpetual, NAB and Nestle also warned that xenophobic rhetoric -- which has flared during the election campaign this week -- was also threatening foreign investment.
Elizabeth Proust, chairman of The Bank of Melbourne and Nestle Australia, said that multinationals across a range of industries were likely to be following carmakers in reviewing their local operations, but there was also the issue of companies not investing here. "I'm not sure that there will be many more closures, although there might be, but I think the more invisible one is companies deciding not to invest here," Ms Proust said.
"You can't take politicians and show them a 'non-decision', but the (opportunity cost) is decisions taken to invest elsewhere like China or Indonesia or elsewhere, thanks to a number of factors, including wage rates."
Big corporates were downsizing, while manufacturers were assessing their costs constantly against key benchmarks.
Ford Australia announced in May that it would close its local manufacturing operations in October 2016, with high operating costs among the factors cited by the car giant.
Margaret Jackson, chairman of Flexigroup, ASM Liquor and Ansett Aviation, said that Australia had become less competitive on the costs front than its rivals across the Tasman.
In the beverage industry, she said, an analysis of Australia versus New Zealand had shown that the gap had widened.
"It's labour, it's the dollar et cetera, it's everything," she said.
"But in the last five years New Zealand has become 22 per cent more competitive than Australia internationally, or Australia has become 22 per cent less internationally competitive."
The tax system was part of the problem as it penalised Australia even further, she said.
Susan Taylor, the general counsel of SP AusNet, said that labour costs had been a big issue in the debate and that both big and small companies "will continue to downsize to try and tackle that problem".
The comments come as a political row has broken out over foreign investment.
During the week, Kevin Rudd proposed a crackdown on foreign investment in agriculture, while the Coalition confirmed its plan to lower the threshold for Foreign Investment Review Board screening of agricultural purchases of land from $248 million to $15m.
Debate over the $3.4 billion foreign takeover of GrainCorp has also raged, with Nationals leader Warren Truss saying he had "serious reservations" about whether the sale to foreign agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland was in the national interest.
Business leaders have been quick to argue that this sentiment is jeopardising foreign investment that is crucial to the economy, an argument also made at the roundtable.
Christine O'Reilly, who is on the boards of CSL, Transurban and EnergyAustralia, said that some sovereign funds in particular had "large spades of money they wanted to invest", but to do that in a "reasonable unfettered way", they had to keep a low profile.
"Particularly if you're looking at sovereign funds they want to stay under the radar screen, so they may own big slabs of Australian infrastructure assets around the place and yet you won't see their names up in lights. They're keen to stay below certain thresholds," Ms O'Reilly said.
Some offshore investors "really don't want to create any sort of obstacle or opposition along the way". "They do not want to see their names in the press," she said.
Ms Jackson backed this: "The average Australian is very xenophobic, but the reality is most of our companies are not owned by Australians." Ms Proust suggested the issue was not just obstacles in the way of investors, but also the message sent by the political class.
"I think if you look at a place like Singapore where from the prime minister down they ask people who are visiting from other countries, 'What can we do to get more of your business here?'," she said. "Have you ever known of an Australian prime minister of either side to have asked that question?" she added.
"It's more about a mindset about obstacles and hoops that you have to go through, so I think our obstacle is, on the one hand, that the attitude of other countries that are hungry for investment and understand that the future's in hi-tech jobs and the like and are looking for them, and I don't think we're even in the race."


The Greens care more about vague policy announcements than Australian jobs. Stop the Greens

I am in the process of rethinking how I'm going about using my fan page, and wondering if I should keep it going. I posted this image to it and it didn't get seen all too much. Thinking I might just do double duty and post to both this page and it simultaneously, or just post the images I intend to sell to that page... and ideas?

Either way, this image was shot as I was leaving Castle Valley Utah early in the morning. Monsoon clouds were building immediately after the sun rose. I have a lot of intimate landscape shots from this period, but really like how this six photo panorama turned out. It gives a sense of the size of the place. I need to get back there this winter. I'd love to photograph it with snow.
 — in Castle Valley, UT, United States.

This is something I have never seen before. While camping by red lake, up in the high Sierras, some cumulus buildup began by mid afternoon. It caught my attention because there were lenticular clouds forming out of them as you see here. They moved on pretty quickly and were soon out of sight. I was hoping for a good thunderstorm before heading back down to the valley, but the show never made it all the way to where we were.


Pastor Rick Warren
The desire to be a celebrity in the Body of Christ is an antichrist ambition, the opposite of being a Christlike servant.


Rebels Admit Responsibility for Chemical Weapons Attack - Syrian rebels in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta have admitted to Associated Press journalist Dale Gavlak that they were responsible for last week’s chemical weapons incident which western powers have blamed on Bashar Al-Assad’s forces, revealing that the casualties were the result of an accident caused by rebels mishandling chemical weapons provided to them by Saudi Arabia.

Legacy Week officially starts this Sunday (Father's day). To kick off the appeal we have created a brand new campaign with the help of Clemenger BBDO Sydney. The aim of the campaign is remind Australians that war/conflict is not a thing of the past and that Legacy's role is ongoing. Check out our TV, print and radio ads here:

You can't teach class like this.

See what George W. Bush said when asked about our situation with Syria...


Larry Pickering

Cannot possibly imagine how this can be done but it’s a necessary move. 

Access to our court system for those rejected as legitimate refugees is one thing but litigation involving damages paid for Australia’s alleged “unconscionable conduct" toward refugees is another.

Julia Gillard paid "refugee" litigants lump sums rather than allow the courts to set a compensation precedent.

It was reported one man who had sewn his lips was paid $800,000 in an otherwise undisclosed settlement.

Over $700 million has so far been paid to litigants in return for their silence.

Julia Gillard thereby avoided international embarrassment while busily buying votes for a Security Council seat.

Unfortunately other instances were kept from us.

Students at a Kentucky high school were encouraged to step on an American flag that had been placed on the floor as part of an art display, outraging parents and students.

Fifteen universities worldwide — including Yale University, Brown University, and Pennsylvania State University — will offer college credit to students who “write feminist thinking” into Wikipedia.
The program, “Storming Wikipedia,” will be part of the Dialogues on Feminism and Technology online course developed by FemTechNet, an organization of feminist educators and scholars.


He is the son of German Jewish immigrants who escaped Germany

Dean Hamstead'

Syria, where the enemy of your enemy is also your enemy



“So we’re bombing Syria because Syria is bombing Syria? And I’m the idiot?” - Sarah Palin

* President Obama wants America involved in Syria’s civil war pitting the antagonistic Assad regime against equally antagonistic Al Qaeda affiliated rebels. But he’s not quite sure which side is doing what, what the ultimate end game is, or even whose side we should be on. Haven’t welearned? WAGs don’t work in war.

* We didn’t intervene when over 100,000 Syrians were tragically slaughtered by various means, but we’ll now intervene to avenge the tragic deaths of over 1,000 Syrians killed by chemical weapons, though according to the White House we’re not actually planning to take out the chemical weapons because doing so would require “too much of a commitment.”

* President Obama wants to do what, exactly? Punish evil acts in the form of a telegraphed air strike on Syria to serve as a deterrent? If our invasion of Iraq wasn’t enough of a deterrent to stop evil men from using chemical weapons on their own people, why do we think this will be?

* The world sympathizes with the plight of civilians tragically caught in the crossfire of this internal conflict. But President Obama’s advertised war plan (which has given Assad enough of a heads-up that he’s reportedly already placing human shields at targeted sites) isn’t about protecting civilians, and it’s not been explained how lobbing U.S. missiles at Syria will help Syrian civilians. Do we really think our actions help either side or stop them from hurting more civilians?

* We have no clear mission in Syria. There’s no explanation of what vital American interests are at stake there today amidst yet another centuries-old internal struggle between violent radical Islamists and a murderous dictatorial regime, and we have no business getting involved anywhere without one. And where’s the legal consent of the people’s representatives? Our allies in Britain have already spoken. They just said no. The American people overwhelmingly agree, and the wisdom of the people must be heeded.

* Our Nobel Peace Prize winning President needs to seek Congressional approval before taking us to war. It’s nonsense to argue that, “Well, Bush did it.” Bull. President Bush received support from both Congress and a coalition of our allies for “his wars,” ironically the same wars Obama says he vehemently opposed because of lack of proof of America’s vital interests being at stake.

* Bottom line is that this is about President Obama saving political face because of his “red line” promise regarding chemical weapons.

* As I said before, if we are dangerously uncertain of the outcome and are led into war by a Commander-in-chief who can’t recognize that this conflict is pitting Islamic extremists against an authoritarian regime with both sides shouting “Allah Akbar” at each other, then let Allah sort it out.

Sarah Palin

Andreas Herrmann
Morgen schon Heimflug, schade, Irland war wunderschön, atemberaubend ...


Better be quick folks! 

Sale ends soon!

At a time when the world leaders talk about intervention in Syria as a result of the latest chemical attack in Damascus it’s perhaps equally important to raise the question who is (or are) responsible for the chaos in Syria and in the whole Middle East for that matter. Because every Western political leader has their say about Syria right now and they also know (or think they know) exactly what needs to be done. However, the reality is that not one of them really understands the middle East and subsequently don’t have a clue about what measures should be taken to put the genie back in the bottle. So unless Western politicians learn to deal with the Middle East in a realistic manner they will continue to make the same mistakes in dealing with the Middle East as they did in the past few years.
Of course, the jihadists are easily to blame as the ones who are responsible for the majority of the death and wounded in the Middle East nowadays (Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Libya). What in the West was (or still is by many) seen as a spontaneous movement of moderate Arabs who revolted against the prevailing nationalist dictators (Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain) quickly degenerated into a civil war between Sunnis and Shiites in the Middle East.
At this moment, nowhere is this more apparent than in Syria.
But in indirect meaning, US president Barack Obama is also to blame for many of the death and wounded in the Middle East as he did more harm than good since he delivered his Cairo speech in 2009. During this speech, where the invitees of the Muslim Brotherhood sat in the front row despite Mubarak’s objections, Obama let the “Islamist” genie out of the bottle especially the Muslim brotherhood’s Islamist’ influence in the entire Middle East. It was only a matter of time before the Middle East would explode.
Obama’s ‘appeasement theology’ makes it clear that he does not understand the reality of the Middle East. In fact, this marks the constant failures of many Western political leaders when dealing with the Middle East, because the political errors of today are a direct result of how they look through Western democratic values at the complex social, cultural and religious problems in the Middle East. But who cares, what works for us works for them, right?
Can we pause for a moment and point out a few failures of Obama’s Middle East policy:
  1. Obama’s supposedly friendship with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who actually is nothing more than a radical Islamist and antisemite, severely undermined stability in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Favoring his friendship with Erdogan, Obama isn’t going to speake up against his so-called friend when it comes to Israel, Kurds, Cyprus, the Armenian genocide, support for Hamas, and transforming Turkish secular society into an undemocratic Islamist society. Moreover, it was Erdogan who after the Israeli Gaza flotilla raid in 2010 demonized Israel publicly and terminated a long-term friendship with his former ally, who by the way is also UN member and an ally of the United States. But Obama did little to speake up for Israel. Meanwhile there is no country in the world where so many journalists are imprisoned as in Turkey. So much for freedom.
  2. With Obama’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt, one of the leading countries in the Middle East, dropped into chaos after the ousting of Hosni Mubarak. The anti-semitic Muslim Brothers’ candidate Muhammad Morsi became president (who the Western media stubbornly calls the democratic elected president of Egypt) and an Islamic constitution was forced upon the Egyptian people only three and a half years after Obama’s Cairo speech in 2009. Moreover, the Egyptians had to endure a rising tide of Islamic violence in their towns and neighbourhoods, with the Coptic Christians as the main victims. General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, head of the Egyptian armed forces, is trying to get grip of the situation again, but Obama continues to be supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood which for the most people in Egypt makes it clear that Obama supports terrorism. (To be honest, republican John McCain isn’t getting the picture either).
  3. Obama tried to appease the Syrian government during his first term as president of the United States which as a result convinced Bashar al-Assad he had nothing to fear from the Americans, and now a civil war is raging in Syria and Bashar al-Assad is still in power. Obama has no clue in how to deal with Syria while the civil war only ensured that Iran and Sunni Islamists now have a foothold near Israel’s border, Russia is waiting for an opportunity to get directly involved and Hizbullah is already directly involved in the Syrian Civil War.
  4. Do we really need to talk about the Israeli-Palestinian issue when it comes to Obama’s policies? Although the US continues to give military aid to Israel, Obama’s diplomacy efforts have done more harm than good. Thanks to the lax attitude of Obama, the Palestinians now have a ‘Non-Member Observer State’ Status in the UN despite the fact that this is a breach of the provisions of the Oslo agreements. Obama’s accomodating attitude with the Palestinians is diametrically opposed to his critical observations concerning the west bank (calling the armistice lines borders and the settlements an obstacle for peace) and during the Israeli-Hamas war in 2012. Obama lacked the political will to force the Palestinians to the negotiation table at the beginning of Israel’s previous 10-month settlements construction freeze in the West Bank. Although Mahmoud Abbas agreed to talk shortly before the freeze was scheduled to end, he broke off talks immediately when the freeze wasn’t extended.
  5. And we could go on, for example, what about Obama’s cowardly attitude during the attack on the US embassy in Benghazi 2012, Libya, where ambassador Chris Stevens was murdered by Islamists who received support from the Muslim Brotherhood, indeed the same Muslim Brothers that sat on the front row during Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech. But you know that already, don’t you?
To summarize, Obama has the worst record of all US presidents when it comes to Middle East diplomacy in a time when decisive measures where needed in support of moderate voices in the Middle East. Instead, Obama managed to strengthen his enemies (the anti-Western, anti-Christian, anti-Israeli and anti-American Islamists) and to estrange his allies (Israel, the Gulf States, Egypt, the moderate Arabs) who no longer have confidence in Obama’s policies. Obama sacrificed their interests in a blink of an eye, all this in support of his appeasement with Islam and in particular the Muslim Brotherhood.
Political leaders in the West don’t understand the Middle East at all. Perhaps they can better listen to the opinions of moderate Arabs. In any case, Arabs can explain how complicated the Middle Eastern issues have become as this letter in The Financial Times today illustrates. This letter should teach Western leaders that the problems in the Middle East will not be solved with unrealistic Western appeasement:
A short guide to the Middle East
Iran is backing Assad.
Gulf states are against Assad!
Assad is against Muslim Brotherhood.
Muslim Brotherhood and Obama are against General Sisi.
But Gulf states are pro-Sisi!
Which means they are against Muslim Brotherhood!
Iran is pro-Hamas,
but Hamas is backing Muslim Brotherhood!
Obama is backing Muslim Brotherhood,
yet Hamas is against the US!
Gulf states are pro-US.
But Turkey is with Gulf states against Assad;
yet Turkey is pro-Muslim Brotherhood against General Sisi.
And General Sisi is being backed by the Gulf states!
Welcome to the Middle East and have a nice day.
– KN Al-Sabah, London EC4, UK, “The Financial Times
Crethi Plethi is the pseudonym [or Nom de guerre] for Harald van Es and is the founder and director of He writes articles for in Dutch and English on the Middle East, Revolutionary Islamism, Multiculturalism and Europe. He has lived in Jaffa (Tel Aviv), Israel. He currently lives in the Netherlands. For all the exclusive blog entries by Crethi Plethi, go here.

Fighter: A Typhoon jet lands in Cyprus ahead of British involvement

Thousands of Syrian prisoners have been moved to military targets to be used as human shields against Western air strikes, it has been claimed.
The move by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad came as global tensions were mounting over the possibility of Western air strikes in response to the chemical attacks, which killed hundreds of civilians.
In Damascus, residents said they saw buses filled with inmates being taken from their cells to sites the regime believes could be targets.
Locals said the prisoners were moved late at night, with some taken to Mezzeh airbase – thought to be on the West’s hit-list.
Thousands of protesters, rebels and dissidents have been held since the start of the 2011 uprising.
The opposition Syrian National Coalition said: “Assad’s fascist regime is amassing activists and civilians in prisons in military locations that may be targets for foreign forces.
“Using civilians as human shields is a breach of international humanitarian law, and those responsible must be held accountable for crimes against humanity.”
The claims – mostly from rebels – have terrified Damascus residents.
One woman said: “People are scared the US will attack places where the prisoners are held.
"They are afraid as military bases are in built-up areas so civilians may be caught in attacks.
"They have seen the civilians killed by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

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Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah makes a rare public appearance.

The lines between Hezbollah and the Syrian regime are so blurred that Israel will hold Damascus responsible if Hezbollah bombards Israel in the coming days, Israeli officials indicated on Wednesday.
Israel has made it very clear over the past two days that while it is not involved in the Syrian civil war, it will respond fiercely if Syrian President Bashar Assad decides to respond to an expected Western attack by firing missiles at Israel.


Israel could be forgiven for having a siege mentality — given that at any moment, old frontline enemies Syria and Egypt might spill their violence over common borders.
The Arab Spring has thrown Israel’s once-predictable adversaries into the chaotic state of a Sudan or Somalia. The old understandings between Jerusalem and the Assad and Mubarak kleptocracies seem in limbo.

#Costingsgate is the most misleading and duplicitous piece of work I've seen for a long time.>
Labor trio


That is especially the case during an election campaign. They understand they have a duty to behave in a non-partisan way and they are serious about it. But sometimes senior bureaucrats can be pushed too far by politicians. That happened on Thursday.
Kevin Rudd and his two most senior economics ministers crossed the line by trying to use the reputation of Treasury, the Finance Department and the Parliamentary Budget Office in a bit of political trickery.
Treasury head Martin Parkinson and Finance Department secretary David Tune cried "Enough!".
The Government's aim was to damage the Coalition. Instead, by provoking the bureaucrats, it knocked the stuffing out of its own remaining election hopes.
It was possibly the biggest blunder in a bloody awful Labor campaign. Small wonder talk in the ALP has turned to who might lead the party in the coming wilderness years.
Frank Sinatra used to sing "Saturday night is the loneliest night of the week". Next Saturday night Rudd is likely to be the loneliest politician this country has seen for a very long time.
The Government claims now it did not suggest the departments had costed Coalition policies. Readers can judge for themselves.
A day after the Coalition unveiled what it claimed were cuts and savings totalling $31.6 billion over the Budget forward estimates period, the Prime Minister strode into a news conference with Treasurer Chris Bowen and Finance Minister Penny Wong.
"There is an error of $10 billion in the claimed $30 billion of savings the Opposition released yesterday," the Treasurer said.
"This is based on advice from the departments of Treasury and Finance and the Parliamentary Budget Office, which we are releasing today."
Rudd chimed in that the allegation of a $10 billion hole was "based on the most basic analysis driven by the advice of government agencies". The shortfall, he told journalists, "is clearly identified in the table circulated to you now".
The table, looking very official, was part of an ALP press statement that began: "Treasury, Department of Finance and PBO figures released this morning have exposed a $10 billion hole in the savings claimed by the Coalition yesterday."
Attached were a Treasury Executive Minute classified "Protected", a two-page Finance Department memorandum and several pages of costing advice from the PBO with the name of the person who had requested the information blacked out.
Sure, the departmental documents were dated prior to the calling of the election. And Bowen told the news conference: "This is advice given to the Government prior to the caretaker period."
But presumably we were supposed to believe the costings they contained were based on accurate information about the Coalition's proposals. Otherwise, what was the point?
There is no avoiding the conclusion that it was all calculated to create the impression that what Rudd, Bowen and Wong alleged was backed by the authority of the top economic experts in the bureaucracy.
Rudd's fatal mistake was to use what he claimed was Treasury, Finance and PBO advice to justify an accusation of fraud against the Coalition.
Liberal leader Tony Abbott, shadow treasurer Joe Hockey and shadow finance minister Andrew Robb were furious. Parkinson and Tune, presumably believing they and their departments had been compromised, decided not to cop it and put out a statement - brief, but more than enough to have a significant impact on the election.
At no stage, they said, had either department costed Opposition policies. In other words, the information and assumptions for any costings they had done came from the Government.
The key sentence read: "Different costing assumptions, such as the start date of a policy, take-up assumptions, indexation and the coverage that applies, will inevitably generate different financial outcomes."
IN other words, the so-called costings of Coalition policies put out by Labor were so iffy they could not be taken seriously.
The mandarins' intervention was, as far as I can recall, unprecedented. And it was a body blow for Labor.
At the start of the campaign, Rudd had cast the election as a test of who voters could trust. The unravelling of Thursday's exercise played right into that central issue of trust - and not to Rudd's advantage.
More important, perhaps, it devalued the one issue that might have been working for Labor and on which rested Rudd's dream of a Keating-style come-from-behind victory.
Surveys by Labor's research firm, UMR, in marginal seats had found up to 55 per cent of voters worried about cuts an Abbott government might make to jobs, health and education.
That finding probably explains why Rudd, Bowen and Wong went over the top with their allegations of a Coalition costings fraud in the first place.
It will be much more difficult to exploit now. And it will be much easier for the Coalition to keep its proposed cuts secret until the campaign's dying days.
Laurie Oakes is political editor for the Nine Network. His column appears every Saturday in the Herald Sun


Early Morning monsoon storm moves in over the mesas and mountains just outside of Castle Valley Utah.

You can also view the image here:

4 her
You must meet Malki. She is a 15-year-old girl…still. She has been 15 for the last 12 years; she will always remain 15. In order to understand the situation in Israel today, we must meet Malki.

On August 9, 2001, Malka Chana Roth stopped by the Sbarro restaurant on the corner of King George Street and Jaffa Road in downtown Jerusalem. A suicide terrorist entered Sbarro, wearing an explosive belt packed with nails, nuts and bolts, and detonated his bomb. Fifteen souls were massacred and 107 were injured.

Amid the recent decision to release 104 Palestinian terrorists from Israeli prisons and during a time of negotiations, boycotts and Arab civil wars, I needed to meet Malki, so I spoke with her father, Arnold Roth.

David Nesenoff: Can you please share with me briefly, that tragic day of 12 years ago and its aftermath?

Arnold Roth: Malki was on her way to a planning meeting for the summer camp of Ezra, a religious Zionist youth movement here in Israel, where she was to be a madricha. She and her friend Michal decided to stop off for a drink and a slice of pizza in the center of Jerusalem. According to one report, there was a young man with a guitar case who placed himself almost right next to the two girls. We know that Malki was happily tapping out a text message on her cell phone at the moment when the guitarist destroyed our world.

As if to prove how truly different our values and perceptions are from theirs, the Arabs created a physical homage to the Sbarro massacre six weeks later in Nablus. Published photographs and reports show that they created a grotesque replica of the pizzeria, complete with a “kasher” sign above the entrance, as well as body parts and adulatory photographs of the killer. For them, this was a victory to savor.

DN: Twelve years later, it appears that the Israeli government has forgotten the preciousness and value of our Jewish daughters. Could you please share your personal experiences with regard to any changes you have seen with regard to Israeli public figures’ concerns and actions?

AR: In the days immediately after the act of calculated mass murder that stole Malki’s life from her and from the family who loved her so much, we were flooded with messages of sympathy and support. Some came from public figures. As things have worked out, we have tried to engage with some of those public figures in the years since then in order to defend the rights to justice and fairness, which, we thought, were the entitlement of families like ours. To say the least, it has been a dis-spiriting experience, particularly since 2011.

First, the woman who engineered the Sbarro massacre was let loose and given a triumphant welcome in the land of her birth, Jordan. This was an outcome we had fought to prevent for 6 or 7 years, as soon as we became aware of its possibility, so seeing her smiling and being cheered by those who appreciated her for what she had done to the Jews was painful for us in the extreme.

Then a year later, in June 2012, her fiancé was given permission that, in the explicit terms of his conditional release, should never have been given. He is also a convicted murderer who was serving a life sentence right up until the Gilad Shalit deal. When he was set free, his freedom was limited by Israel to the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority. But he wanted to be with the fiancée he barely knew and whom he had met either once or never – the reports on this are vague. She is also his cousin.

We found out this was about to happen, and my wife and I immediately filed an application to the High Court of Justice in Jerusalem demanding that the government stand by their own refusal to permit him to cross over into Jordan to unite with the female murderer. The government’s lawyers finally responded to our lawyers some days after we filed the legal papers. But to our dismay it was to say: Oops, he left for Jordan three days ago, and we let him. I think of this a great deal when my thoughts go back to those messages of solidarity and support that officials sent us during the shiva.

DN: I cannot begin to understand why Israel is releasing these terrorists. Do you have any theories as to what is motivating the government? And recently, it seems rather crazy to release all of these murderers just to sit down to a table … and frankly sit down with little hope of anything being even accomplished. Why are they really doing this?

AR: If they have a master plan, they are being careful not to share it. My impression is the government of Israel’s calculations have more to do with keeping the Abbas regime in place and in power (the devil we know, certain shared interests etc) than with anything broader or more strategic than that. Israeli thinking seems to focus a great deal on keeping Hamas and its influence away from our cities and borders to the extent possible.

The Abbas circle has a similar strategy though naturally they do it for their own very different reasons and in their own way. What follows is that the Netanyahu government evidently sees a payoff in accommodating the passions of the Arab street to see their prisoners go free. Giving in to them is a disastrous miscalculation in my opinion. But disastrous miscalculations are not unknown in governments and public life.

And by the way, to no one’s surprise, there are also Jewish voices both here and in Hutz L’aretz, demanding that we be more ‘understanding’ of this Arab passion. Here is how one particularly loathsome Israeli voice put it, during a meeting at which I was present earlier this month. She was speaking as an Israeli and a bereaved mother about the Arab pressure to see their prisoners – the killers who are now being regaled in Ramallah and Gaza City – released:

“You know, we were willing to give 1,000 prisoners for Gilad Shalit. Why can we not understand that the prisoners mean exactly the same to the Palestinian people… Until we realize what the Palestinian prisoners mean to the Palestinian people, we will not move forward with the peace process. You have to talk, you have to understand what that is in that society… It’s just as important as Jerusalem, it’s just as important as the right of return to them. There’s no difference. These are their soldiers no matter how you may see them or what you think about them…”

By the way, the woman who said this is a key figure in an organization that has received lavish funding for the past decade. It lets them propagate a message that fits well with the Palestinian Authority’s winning strategy of demanding prisoners, up front and for no discernible benefit to the Israel side, as a precondition for agreeing to sit down at the negotiating table. Much of that financial support comes from US sources, by the way, including US government channels.

DN: I understand a group of bereaved families have joined together. Tell me a bit about this group. Who are they? What do they do?

AR: The Bereaved Families for Peace and Justice group is an ad hoc collective of concerned individuals. Four of us, friends and acquaintances from past years, formed it in the last few weeks to give a voice to the immense frustrations that welled up when we saw with horror that the decision to free the terrorists into the arms of the Abbas people looked it was becoming real. We only managed to reach out to a relative handful of other bereaved families in the short time between deciding to write to Secretary Kerry and the delivery of that letter to the State Department. I think we will have many more families, victims of the terrorists, when we do this again in the future.

I don’t know how it appears to people looking on from afar. But all of us are ordinary people with lives, with families, with jobs, with the usual problems and challenges. What brings us together is not politics, not a shared outlook on religion, not a common mission to solve the Arab/Israel conflict. We share a deep pain, each in our own individual ways, and a deep sense that injustice is being done over our heads and if we don’t speak out, then no one else will.

I keep discovering again and again when I meet with individuals in different countries who have had to confront life after terrorism burst into their lives… Your readers might be surprised to know how much I have discovered that I share with an Irish Catholic father whose son was murdered. Or with a Basque woman whose brother ‘s life ended in a car bombing. I don’t mean this figuratively, by the way. It’s literally true that we share so much, to our mutual surprise. The language and religious and cultural and age barriers matter less, it turns out, than the struggle to cope with living after a terrorist picked out your son or daughter or brother and pulled the trigger.

My sense is that if you had to distill a single shared sentiment out of all the pain and anguish of terrorism’s global victims, it would be something like the following imagined message:

This happened to me, and until we all learn to identify the terrorists and their supporters ahead of time, it’s going to happen to you too, and yes, I know you don’t want to hear this from me. Terrorism is not just a crime or an accident. It’s a social pathology that is growing more powerful every day.

DN: Is this terrorist release different than the times before, i.e. releasing terrorists for Gilad Shalit?

AR: The Shalit transaction, including its long prelude and its aftermath, constituted a trauma for my wife and me that even people close to us cannot adequately interpret. Once it became official Israeli policy, which happened just before Sukkot in 2011, we set out to do everything in our power to take the name of the woman, a Hamas agent, who engineered the Sbarro massacre off the walk-free list.

We did dozens of media interviews with some of the most important and influential news channels, in those few days. We wrote, we blogged, we spoke, we uploaded a petition and attracted nearly ten thousand signatures in three days. The message at the heart of our actions was a simple one. Releasing this particular woman will be a catastrophe, literally a cause of b’chiya ledorot [בכייה לדורות], deep painful regret for generations to come. We said this because that woman is determined, ideological and unbowed. In the eyes of the Arab and Islamic worlds, she was and is a heroine with a powerful message which I paraphrase this way:

She saw herself as the embodiment of divinely-commanded terrorism, and her freedom as a vindication from above.

That is certainly the way it was understood throughout the Arabic-speaking world; even more so in view of the fact that she was very quickly given a weekly television platform via the Hamas-owned Al Quds satellite television network to spread the hatred and zealotry that her life’s actions expressed. Because her venom is disseminated in a language that is foreign to most people outside the Islamic world, she is less well known than her influence and momentum would warrant. Today, she is almost at the end of a pregnancy that will be celebrated throughout the Middle East and Asia, just as her release in 2011 and her wedding, broadcast live on Jordanian television, was.

DN: What can you say about the world’s reaction and reporting on the Palestinian terrorists recent release?

AR: I want to urge your readers to pause for a moment and ask themselves why so few voices – other than those of the victims of terrorism like our group – are currently being heard, either in Israel or outside it, opposing the deal to let the convicted and unrepentant terrorists go free.

The confusion and befuddlement in our own ranks stems from a subtle kind of attack that scholars and thinkers are coming to recognize as a cognitive war. One of its key goals is to enable weak aggressors to disarm and eventually defeat a more powerful enemy – not conceptually but on the actual battlefield and in the cities and villages. To put this another way, cognitive warfare is about convincing your enemies to be pacifists and your own side to be patriots. And when done well, the enemy does not even know that war had been declared.

In a world of rational action, the decision to free more than 100 unrepentant terrorist convicts would have caused a firestorm of outrage and protest. Tragically, that is not what we are seeing, even here in Israel. I think this is because terrorists who kill and maim are seen as somehow posing a lesser threat than the ‘regular’ criminals who kill and maim. Because their actions are said to be politically driven, those ‘political’ terrorists are placed in our morals-based value system at a higher level. Doing political deals in which they get to walk free becomes thinkable and even do-able.

DN: What’s the feeling in Israel with regard to the terrorists being released?

AR: There is a scattering of voices calling rather superfluously and I would say artificially for understanding and reconciliation, but they are in a small minority. If I were to speak in the name of an Israeli consensus, I would say that we Israelis don’t need any advice on doing what it takes to bring peace. Israelis don’t have an abiding hatred for the Arabs in general, not for the Palestinian Arabs, not for the Hamas and Fatah and other segments. It’s nothing to do with hatred. What we do have is a deep and well-founded desire to keep our families and ourselves safe from the hatred that is so central to the lives lived in their societies.

Among all Israelis, I have not met anyone who wants peace more passionately and sincerely than the terror victims. We know how much it hurts to lose your loved one to someone else’s jihad. Whatever it takes to stop that hatred, we support, but first – above all and before everything else – we have to do what it takes to protect our own families, lives, communities. Everything else comes afterwards.

DN: Do you think the Jews of Europe, North America, Australia, etc… have an action to take with regard to Israel in general and with regard to this specific terrorist release? What should they do? What is your impression of them?

AR: Just as I avoided telling the Jews of Israel how to do the important things in life before I made aliyah and brought my family to Jerusalem, so too I feel reluctant to give mussar (ethical advice) to the Jews of the diaspora over the important things in their lives. It’s enough if all of us focus on ahavat Yisrael, the recognition that we share so much with each other and depend on each other. Most things work well once we have that part taken care of.

DN: I want to meet Malki. Introduce me to her please.

AR: Malki’s love of Israel owed nothing to her views about the Palestinians, the Middle East conflict, or Islam, because for the most part she had none. We do know from the diary in which she daily recorded her most private thoughts and fears, and which Frimet and I began reading only during the Shiva, that she was deeply agitated by Arab terror. It was on her mind a great deal. Her notes told us what she always kept private: that each loss of life in a piguah (terrorist outrage) brought her literally to tears, made it near impossible to focus on her studies. She was simply incapable of comprehending the fanatical hatred behind the horrifying acts, which have become so much a part of our lives in these last nineteen months.

Malki was a powerfully, unstoppably optimistic 15 year-old. We know from her friends that her wonderful smile almost never left her face, that her love and affection for friends and strangers were inspirational and infectious.

Malki loved Israel, and especially Jerusalem, with a pure and passionate love. Born in Melbourne, this was the home to which she was brought before she was three years old. This was the land which the Almighty had promised to the Jewish people and to which she felt a powerful connection.

DN: Please tell me about the Malki Foundation?

AR: After Malki’s murder, we were left during the shiva, in the grip of our grief, wondering what to do in Malki’s memory. The details are too many – I will say it simply. We decided to establish in her memory a fund, a not-for-profit that would benefit children with severe disabilities and help their families. Malki’s exceptional devotion to every disabled child she encountered in her brief life, and her love of chesed, were our inspiration.

She had volunteered to care for, befriend and nurture disabled children everywhere: at home with her own profoundly affected sister Haya; at the home of a neighbor, a single mother raising a dying disabled son; in school with learning disabled girls; at the Etgarim camp with special-needs youngsters where she spent her last week in this world, and in her beloved youth movement, Ezra.

We prepared the papers to establish an Israeli not-for-profit in her name and the registration papers came out on September 11, 2001. We collected them an hour before the events of 9/11 happened. We have always understood that the work of Keren Malki and the phenomenon of global terrorism, what we call this ongoing war (that’s the name of the blog my wife and I write) are tightly connected. Keren Malki has been operating now for 12 years, and has helped thousands of families who care for a special-needs child.

Malki’s love of chesed is honored every single day by the work done in her name. It’s not a comfort (in case anyone is wondering) but it is one of the things that keeps us focused on life and the future.


Dr. David Nesenoff is a rabbi, author and filmmaker who is noted for his viral video of White House journalist Helen Thomas when she said the Jews should leave Israel and go back to Germany and Poland. He currently lectures around the world to Jewish communities and campuses. Email:
The price Israel pays so Obama can call himself a peacemaker by promoting terrorism. ed

Alaska's part of Operation Magic Carpet

From the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News:

From the end of 1948 to the fall of 1950, Alaska Airlines took part in the airlift of 50,000 Jews from Yemen to the newly created nation of Israel. Known as Operation Magic Carpet, Alaska Airlines employees flew in perilous conditions while helping to fulfill a Biblical prophecy that said the Yemenite Jews would return to their homeland "on the wings of eagles."

More than 60 years later a new museum in the state of Alaska pays tribute to this piece of Alaska Airlines history. The Alaska Jewish Museum's first featured exhibit, "On the Wings of Eagles: Alaska's Contribution to Operation Magic Carpet," tells the story of a young Alaska Airlines and its employees' heroic efforts to avert a humanitarian crisis during a trying time in world history.

"We decided to have the'On the Wings of Eagles' exhibit at the museum because of the unique melding of energies between disparate groups (Alaska Airlines, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the State of Israel and the American government) to ensure the rescue of virtually an entire population from devastating circumstances," says Leslie Fried, the museum's curator.

The Yemenite Jews in Aden were living under extremely harsh conditions in the years prior to and immediately following the birth of the State of Israel.

At the time, Alaska Airlines was the largest non-scheduled carrier in the world. When the American Joint Distribution Committee contacted Alaska President James A. Wooten, he was moved after seeing the terrible conditions under which the Yemenite Jews lived in the Aden ghetto created by the British.

Throughout the next two years Captains Sam Silver, Warren Metzger, navigator Elgen Long and Chief Pilot Robert McGuire Jr. along with many others airlifted 50,000 Jews to Tel Aviv. The approximately 430 flights Alaska Airlines made were treacherous. Fuel was difficult to obtain, flight and maintenance crews had to be positioned throughout the Middle East and sandstorms wreaked havoc on the plane engines. There were no deaths during the flights though one plane was forced to make a crash-landing after the loss of an engine.

The exhibit provides a detailed look of the history of Operation Magic Carpet through historic artifacts, such as the jacket worn by Capt. Metzger and video footage of pilots sharing their airlift experiences. An interactive map also illustrates for visitors where the planes traveled while transporting the refugees.
More from the Alaska Airlines site:
When Alaska Airlines sent them on "Operation Magic Carpet" 50 years ago, Warren and Marian Metzger didn't realize they were embarking on an adventure of a lifetime.

Warren Metzger, a DC-4 captain, and Marian, a flight attendant, were part of what turned out to be one of the greatest feats in Alaska Airlines’ 67-year history: airlifting thousands of Yemenite Jews to the newly created nation of Israel.

The logistics of it all made the task daunting. Fuel was hard to come by. Flight and maintenance crews had to be positioned through the Middle East. And the desert sand wreaked havoc on engines.

It took a whole lot of resourcefulness the better part of 1949 to do it. But in the end, despite being shot at and even bombed upon, the mission was accomplished—and without a single loss of life.

"One of the things that really got to me was when we were unloading a plane at Tel Aviv," said Marian, who assisted Israeli nurses on a number of flights. "A little old lady came up to me and took the hem of my jacket and kissed it. She was giving me a blessing for getting them home. We were the wings of eagles."

For both Marian and Warren, the assignment came on the heels of flying the airline’s other great adventure of the late 1940s: the Berlin Airlift.

"I had no idea what I was getting into, absolutely none," remembered Warren, who retired in 1979 as Alaska’s chief pilot and vice president of flight operations. "It was pretty much seat-of-the-pants flying in those days. Navigation was by dead reckoning and eyesight. Planes were getting shot at. The airport in Tel Aviv was getting bombed all the time. We had to put extra fuel tanks in the planes so we had the range to avoid landing in Arab territory."

British officials advised them that Arabs, angry over the establishment of the Jewish state, would certainly kill all the passengers and likely the whole crew if they were forced to land on Arab soil. Many planes were shot at.

Days often lasted between 16 and 20 hours and the one-way flights, in twin-engine C-46 or DC-4 aircraft, covered nearly 3,000 miles.

"We’d take off from our base in Asmara (in Eritrea) in the morning and fly to Aden (in Yemen) to pick up our passengers and refuel," Warren said. "Then we’d fly up the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba to the airport at Tel Aviv to unload. Then we’d fly to Cyprus for the night. We couldn’t keep the planes on the ground in Israel because of the bombings."

"One of our pilots got a little bit too close to Arab territory when flying into Israel from the Gulf of Aqaba and tracers started arching up toward the plane," Warren said. "Another one of our planes got a tire blown out during a bombing raid in Tel Aviv. One of our crews practically lived on their plane from the end of April through June."

Bob Maguire, another Alaska pilot, once had to drop down to several hundred feet above the ground, squirming through hills and passes, to evade Arab gunfire.

What Warren and Marian thought was a temporary assignment turned into a seven-month mission of mercy. It also launched a marriage that has also celebrated its golden anniversary. Warren and Marian were married in Asmara in January 1949.

"I had met Warren when I started working for Alaska in July of 1948," Marian said. "We had both worked the Berlin airlift. I was sent to Shanghai and I didn’t know where Warren was. I landed in Asmara after one flight and when the door of the plane opened, one of the guys who knew I’d been seeing Warren from time to time said he was in Tel Aviv and he’d be flying in the next day."

Before her Operation Magic Carpet flights in the Middle East, Marian, who retired from Alaska in 1952, assisted on flights from Shanghai transporting Jews who fled to China to escape persecution in Germany. When communists came to power in China, the German Jews took flight again to Israel.


Obama publishes details of missile base Israel wanted kept secret

TEL AVIV, Israel — Israel’s military fumed Monday over the discovery that Obama had revealed details of a top-secret Israeli military installation in published bid requests.
The Obama administration had promised to build Israel a state-of-the-art facility to house a new ballistic-missile defense system, the Arrow 3. As with all Defense Department projects, detailed specifications were made public so that contractors could bid on the $25 million project. The specifications included more than 1,000 pages of details on the facility, ranging from the heating and cooling systems to the thickness of the walls.
“If an enemy of Israel wanted to launch an attack against a facility, this would give him an easy how-to guide. This type of information is closely guarded and its release can jeopardize the entire facility,” said an Israeli military official who commented on the publication of the proposal but declined to be named because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the facility. He declined to say whether plans for the facility have been altered as a result of the disclosure.
“This is more than worrying, it is shocking,” he said.
Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Wesley Miller said he couldn’t comment on the specifics of the Arrow 3 base, but he said the United States routinely published the details of its construction plans on a federal business opportunities website so that contractors could estimate the costs of jobs. He said such postings often might be revised after contracts were approved.
Israeli officials appear to have been well aware of the danger of outsourcing building projects to the United States. In an interview with the Reuters news agency in March, Lt. Col. Peleg Zeevi, the head of the bidding process at Israel’s Defense Ministry, justified Israel’s long history of relying on the United States to help build military installations by saying that Israel needed “a player that has the knowledge, ability and experience.”
“We are aware of the security issues that arise in deals with foreign firms, but because we want real competition and expertise, we will create conditions that will allow and encourage their participation,” Zeevi said.
It appears, however, that Israeli officials were caught by surprise that details of the facility at Tel Shahar, classified so top secret that Israel’s military won’t officially confirm its location between Jerusalem and Ashdod, would be made so public.
Jane’s Defence Weekly first wrote about the bidding documents, citing them in a story in which it recounted details of the Arrow 3, a defense system designed to intercept ballistic missiles outside the Earth’s atmosphere that’s expected to become operational in 2015.
According to the bid requests, the Arrow 3 system will include six interceptors in vertical launch positions to be placed in the facility, and a gantry crane would need to be erected for further missiles. The structures encasing the interceptor system are to be constructed from high-grade concrete reinforced with steel mesh grids. They’ll have steel blast doors and a system to protect electrical wiring from the pressure created by a launch.
Israeli officials had announced that they were fast-tracking the Arrow 3 system because of their fear that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon.
“We want to reach a situation in which Israel has a ready defense for any threat, present or future,” said Col. Aviram Hasson, the head of the Defense Ministry department that’s charged with developing the system.
The Arrow 3 is capable of intercepting missiles at a range of up to 1,500 miles and can maneuver in midair to chase them. Last February, Israel conducted the first test of the Arrow 3 in space. That test was overseen by the United States.
The new facility won’t be the first military installation the U.S. government has built in Israel. Since 1998, when Israel and the Palestinian Authority signed the Wye River memorandum, the U.S. has constructed about $500 million in military facilities for the Israeli army. In addition to bases in southern Israel, including the Nevatim air base, the U.S. has built command centers, intelligence offices and underground hangars to protect Israel’s jet aircraft.
Last year, U.S. defense contractors began constructing an air force base just outside Tel Aviv – known as the “site 911″ – that will cost up to $100 million. Israel’s military hasn’t revealed the purpose of the site, but it’s widely thought that Israel is trying to move some of its military headquarters from high-value real estate in Tel Aviv to the outskirts of the bustling city.


Five great ideas 'they' said would never work:

We knew Labor would try anything to cling to power. Not only are they prepared to do deals with the Greens, Independents and anyone else to cling to power, they are prepared to say anything in this election campaign.
Their most recent lies about our savings measures are so blatant that three of
Australia's most senior economic officials were forced to expose them.
Unfortunately being exposed by the Treasury and Parliamentary Budget Office as being dishonest and deceitful won't stop Labor.
With just a week to go, their grubby tactics, lies and smear keep growing, the union bosses are pouring millions into negative attack ads and Kevin Rudd is making policy on the run.
We need your assistance to help us fight Labor's Lies.
Choose real change.
Please help us get our message to voters in crucial battleground electorates in New South Wales.

Thank you,

Mark Neeham
State Director

PS: Your donation will go directly to the election of a Liberal Government that will help provide Australia with the strong, stable and competent leadership that our country deserves. 
Please donate today!
Authorised by Mark Neeham, Liberal Party of Australia (NSW Division), 100 William Street, East Sydney NSW 2011.

Our mailing address is:
Liberal Party of Australia (NSW Division)
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Rosh Hashanah is just two weeks away! Never fear, though -- we have all the gift ideas you need!

Judaica Webstore is proud to be the official online source for authentic products from Jerusalem's world famous Israel Museum. All the wonderful pieces you see below are genuine replicas and adaptations of actual historical exhibits from the Museum. 

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It seems very likely that the US will strike Syria soon. Although Britain will not participate, we just heard that France is supporting an attack on Syria's brutal regime who has gassed its own citizens in a most horrific way.

Syria has been threatening to strike Israel immediately after the US attack.

Following Syria's lethal chemical attack on its own people, what is their plan for the people of Israel? Yesterday, Israelis waited over 12 hours on huge lines to receive gas masks. IDF reserves have been called to report to their bases.

On Wednesday, we informed you about the need for a portable bomb shelter for kindergarten children in Kibbutz Gesher HaZiv in the north. Thanks to the generosity of friends like you, the shelter has already been ordered!

The need for more above-ground, portable shelters is great. With your help, we can supply more needy towns with ample protection for their children at school. 

Click to donate -->

There is no time to waste. The People of Israel need your prayers but more importantly concrete action to save lives. The time to act is now. You can make a real difference in protecting Israeli children, before it's too late...

We ask you to please forward this email to your family and friends. Give them the opportunity to take action in helping to protect the People of Israel. 


With Blessings from Israel,

The 'United with Israel' Family
PS - Please consider giving monthly (just check the box), as the vital need for more shelters is ongoing. May God reward you for your kindness and generosity.

Checks can be sent to our US address:
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PO Box 151 
Lawrence, NY 11559
United States

Checks can be mailed directly to Israel:
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To donate by phone please call:
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Hi everyone! Here's the newsletter for August 30th. Enjoy!

From the Blog

How many more Nidal Hasans in our ranks?

A military jury sentenced unrepentant Fort Hood jihadist Nidal Hasan to death on Wednesday...

Actual quote in LA Times story: Obama seeking Syria response ‘just muscular enough not to get mocked’

Being a Nobel Peace Prize winner trying to show you mean business is a tricky thing, because dancing that fine line between Rambo and Gandhi can be politically dicey...

More From the Right Side of the Web

Michelle's Top Tweets

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And ... Our Hate Tweet of the Day

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Welp, that's a new one.


An 1888 Punch cartoon depicting Jack the Ripper as a phantom stalking Whitechapel


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“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,”Ephesians 2:19 NIV
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon


"Wait on the Lord."
Psalm 27:14
It may seem an easy thing to wait, but it is one of the postures which a Christian soldier learns not without years of teaching. Marching and quick-marching are much easier to God's warriors than standing still. There are hours of perplexity when the most willing spirit, anxiously desirous to serve the Lord, knows not what part to take. Then what shall it do? Vex itself by despair? Fly back in cowardice, turn to the right hand in fear, or rush forward in presumption? No, but simply wait. Wait in prayer, however. Call upon God, and spread the case before him; tell him your difficulty, and plead his promise of aid. In dilemmas between one duty and another, it is sweet to be humble as a child, and wait with simplicity of soul upon the Lord. It is sure to be well with us when we feel and know our own folly, and are heartily willing to be guided by the will of God. But wait in faith. Express your unstaggering confidence in him; for unfaithful, untrusting waiting, is but an insult to the Lord. Believe that if he keep you tarrying even till midnight, yet he will come at the right time; the vision shall come and shall not tarry. Wait in quiet patience, not rebelling because you are under the affliction, but blessing your God for it. Never murmur against the second cause, as the children of Israel did against Moses; never wish you could go back to the world again, but accept the case as it is, and put it as it stands, simply and with your whole heart, without any self-will, into the hand of your covenant God, saying, "Now, Lord, not my will, but thine be done. I know not what to do; I am brought to extremities, but I will wait until thou shalt cleave the floods, or drive back my foes. I will wait, if thou keep me many a day, for my heart is fixed upon thee alone, O God, and my spirit waiteth for thee in the full conviction that thou wilt yet be my joy and my salvation, my refuge and my strong tower."


"Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed."
Jeremiah 17:14
"I have seen his ways, and will heal him."
Isaiah 57:18
It is the sole prerogative of God to remove spiritual disease. Natural disease may be instrumentally healed by men, but even then the honour is to be given to God who giveth virtue unto medicine, and bestoweth power unto the human frame to cast off disease. As for spiritual sicknesses, these remain with the great Physician alone; he claims it as his prerogative, "I kill and I make alive, I wound and I heal;" and one of the Lord's choice titles is Jehovah-Rophi, the Lord that healeth thee. "I will heal thee of thy wounds," is a promise which could not come from the lip of man, but only from the mouth of the eternal God. On this account the psalmist cried unto the Lord, "O Lord, heal me, for my bones are sore vexed," and again, "Heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee." For this, also, the godly praise the name of the Lord, saying, "He healeth all our diseases." He who made man can restore man; he who was at first the creator of our nature can new create it. What a transcendent comfort it is that in the person of Jesus "dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily!" My soul, whatever thy disease may be, this great Physician can heal thee. If he be God, there can be no limit to his power. Come then with the blind eye of darkened understanding, come with the limping foot of wasted energy, come with the maimed hand of weak faith, the fever of an angry temper, or the ague of shivering despondency, come just as thou art, for he who is God can certainly restore thee of thy plague. None shall restrain the healing virtue which proceeds from Jesus our Lord. Legions of devils have been made to own the power of the beloved Physician, and never once has he been baffled. All his patients have been cured in the past and shall be in the future, and thou shalt be one among them, my friend, if thou wilt but rest thyself in him this night.

Today's reading: Psalm 129-131, 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Psalm 129-131

A song of ascents.
1 "They have greatly oppressed me from my youth,"
let Israel say;
2 "they have greatly oppressed me from my youth,
but they have not gained the victory over me.
3 Plowmen have plowed my back
and made their furrows long.
4 But the LORD is righteous;
he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked."
5 May all who hate Zion
be turned back in shame.
May they be like grass on the roof,
which withers before it can grow;
7 a reaper cannot fill his hands with it,
nor one who gathers fill his arms.
8 May those who pass by not say to them,
"The blessing of the LORD be on you;
we bless you in the name of the LORD."

Today's New Testament reading: 1 Corinthians 11:1-16

1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
On Covering the Head in Worship
2 I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the traditions just as I passed them on to you. 3 But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 4Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head-it is the same as having her head shaved. 6 For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head....

[Ăbĭn'adăb] - father or source of liberality.
  1. An Israelite of the tribe of Judah in whose house the Ark rested after its return by the Philistines (1 Sam. 7:1; 2 Sam. 6:3, 4; 1 Chron. 13:7).
  2. The second son of Jesse, the father of David (1 Sam. 16:8; 17:13; 1 Chron. 2:13).
  3. A son of King Saul ( 1 Sam. 31:2; 1 Chron. 8:33; 9:39; 10:2). He was slain along with his father and his brother Jonathan at Gilboa.
  4. The father of one of Solomon's officers (1 Kings 4:11).
August 30, 2011
I Need a Friend
Part 2
Today's Truth
But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me." When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her (Ruth 1:16-18, NIV).
Friendship is the catalyst for every other love and the foundation of every healthy relationship. God created us to need each other. We need friends and we need to be a friend. Over the next few days, we will continue to uncover nine keys to healthy friendships.
Key two: Risk
The emotional demands on women are vast. One of the ways God replenishes the emotional drains we experience is through friendships. Many women are convinced that the risk of having close friends outweighs the rewards. I disagree. There is no love without risk. Every friendship must contain the element of risk if it is to grow and mature, reaching its full potential. Ruth was willing to risk her very future for the sake of her friendship with Naomi. John 15:13 says it well. "Greater love has no one than this; that one lay down his life for his friends." When we choose to lay down our life, we automatically take a chance on being hurt, rejected, betrayed or misunderstood.
Anyone who knows me also knows that living foliage is doomed to die a premature death if left in my care for any length of time. I have even been known to kill a plant without touching it. In fact, the only hope any plant of mine has to live past its purchase date is for me to ignore its existence with great diligence. I am certain you can understand why I am in awe of anyone who gardens and is actually capable of growing green things.
I once had a neighbor who was known for her green thumb. In fact, everyone in our small Mississippi town knew that the most beautiful roses were found in Joyce's back yard. It was in that same yard where I learned an important lesson about friendship.
Every afternoon, after their nap time, I took our two children, Jered and Danna, outside to play in our fenced-in back yard. While the kids enjoyed the fresh air, neighborhood friends and their swing set, I enjoyed visiting with Joyce. Most of our conversations took place over the vine-covered fence and her dazzling rose garden. After weeks of watching Joyce plant, prune, water, feed, talk to and even sing to her "Rose Babies." I noticed that Joyce never handled the roses without wearing thick gloves to protect her hands from thorns. One day, our conversation abruptly halted when she yanked her hand into the air and yelled, "Ouch!" When I asked her why she insisted on growing roses instead of some safer and less prickly foliage, her answer was profound. "The beauty of the roses is worth the occasional wound they inflict," she replied. Joyce had learned to handle the roses with respect and in such a way that her wounds were few. Friendships are much the same.
Friends will hurt you. Friends will wound you. We would be wise to don thick emotional gloves when it comes to handling friendships. It is a fatal mistake to assign the responsibility for our happiness to friends. In reality, depending on a friend to make us happy sets that friend up for failure in the relationship and positions that friendship for inevitable destruction. For example, I have a friend who simply cannot keep a secret. She would do anything in the world for me - except keep her mouth closed. Because I love her and don't want to write her off as a friend, I have simply chosen to be cautious about what I share with her. Every friendship has a price tag of some kind attached. We just need to get to the place where love covers the cost.
The words of 1 Peter 4:8 say it well, "Love covers a multitude of sins." In this verse, "cover" literally means to "hide" or "overlook" the faults. Friendship knows the weaknesses are there, but chooses to love anyway. Friendship is always costly but always well worth the cost.
Key three: Transparency
In verse 16, Ruth offers an amazing display of transparency. "Where you go I will go. Where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God, my God." Openness and honesty nourish friendship. We are naturally drawn to transparent people because transparency produces authenticity. In fact, one of the most winsome aspects of Jesus was the fact that He was so transparent and lived an authentic life. He did not remain aloof from His disciples. He lived among them, sharing every part of their lives. He ate with them, prayed with them, ministered with them, cried with them and laughed with them. Jesus repeatedly opened Himself up to the disciples.
John 15:15 "I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father."
Jesus made a deliberate choice to be transparent, modeling friendship at its best. He was hurt, betrayed and rejected by those He called friends. Still today, He waits for you and for me, longing to be the most transparent and authentic friend we have. Life can be a very lonely place. Jesus knows. Friendships are not only an important source of encouragement to us as women, but a valuable source of strength as well. I am convinced that if we built fewer relationship walls, we would have more friends and be a better friend.
Let's Pray
Father, I have to admit that it is sometimes easier to be lonely than it is to be authentic and real with others. Forgive me for letting fear keep me from reaching out to someone in friendship. I am willing to risk being hurt. I am willing to be transparent in order to be a better friend. I lay every friendship at Your feet as an offering of praise for the Friend You are to me.
In Jesus' name,
Now It's Your Turn
Think of a time when you were hurt by someone you thought was a friend. How did you respond? Answer the following questions in light of that response.
  • Would you change your response if you could? How?
  • Did your response make the friendship stronger or weaker? In what way(s)?
  • Have you let go of the hurt and forgiven the person who hurt you?
  • Read Colossians 1:13-14. How do these verses influence the way you forgive the friends who have hurt you?
More From The Girlfriends
Looking for a Bible Study that is both practical and powerful? Check out Mary's E-Book Bible Studies. Each one includes a study guide that you can download for your personal use or for a small group study. I Need a Friend is also available in Bible Study format.
Be sure to check out Mary's weekly Online Bible Study: Stress Management 101. Enroll now and have access to all 2011 lessons. Need a friend? Connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.
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Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 725
Matthews, NC 28106
Glynnis Whitwer
August 30, 2011
A Ram is on the Way
Glynnis Whitwer
"So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, 'On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.'" Genesis 22:14 (NIV)
Have you ever been in a situation so desperate that it looked hopeless?
Have you ever sat at the kitchen table wondering how you were going to pay the electric bill? Have you ever stood at a door that's been slammed in your face by an angry teenager and despaired at having a relationship with him again? Have you ever had your heart broken so deeply that you wondered if you would feel whole again?
Sadly, we live in a broken world where desperate situations happen every day. I know someone reading this devotion is wondering how she will make it through the day because her situation looks hopeless. If that is you, I encourage you to keep reading. I believe God has a message of hope for you today.
That message is found in the Bible, in the story of a man who was dealing with his own desperate situation. His name was Abraham and he faced the greatest testing of his life. After longing for a son for many years, God finally gave Abraham a boy, whom he named Isaac. Abraham never imagined God would test his faith by asking him to sacrifice his son. But it happened.
It had to have been the darkest day of Abraham's life as he trudged up the mountain, with firewood strapped to his son's back. Every step took Abraham closer to what he believed to be the sad ending of a hopeless situation-the death of his son. Yet in spite of his sorrow, Abraham trusted God. His heart wasn't soaring with joy. He wasn't dancing up the mountain. But he put one foot in front of the other. Walking through the darkness of the situation; obeying His God's commands.
Unbeknownst to Abraham, something else was walking up that mountain. Quietly. Out of sight. On the other side of the mountain. Something else was putting one foot in front of the other. Only Abraham couldn't see it.
For every step Abraham took, a ram on the other side of the mountain took a step.
All Abraham saw that day was his solitary journey of pain. As he got closer to the top of the mountain, his dread must have increased. I wonder if he asked himself any questions. I would have. I would have wondered why hadn't God intervened? Why hadn't God stopped this testing? Couldn't God see that Abraham was a man of faith? Why test him in this way?
But there was no answer. There was no voice from heaven. And so Abraham kept obeying his God's command. He put Isaac on an altar and prepared to sacrifice his one and only son.
And just at that very moment, at the very last second, when it looked like the end had come, God spoke, stopping the sacrifice. Abraham looked up and there caught in the thicket was a ram. Abraham took his son off the altar, replaced him with the ram, and offered the sacrifice to God.
Abraham named that place "Yahweh-Yireh" or "The Lord Will Provide." And the story was written down for generations of God-followers to read. It was written so that you and I today would read it as we face our own hopeless situations. It was captured in print so that you and I would know that God is already planning for our provision. We don't see it. We don't hear it. But we can trust that our God is at work. On your behalf, and on mine.
I choose to trust God today. A ram is on the way.
Dear Lord, You know how desperate I am today. You know that my faith has wavered. Although I want to trust You, I'm having trouble doing so. I ask for Your intervention in my situation, and for an increase of my faith while I wait. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Related Resources:
The Character of God: Understanding His Heart for Us by Brian T. Anderson & Glynnis Whitwer
Visit Glynnis on her blog for more encouragement and enter to win a copy of Renee Swope's new book, A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God's Promises.
When you purchase resources through Proverbs 31 Ministries, you touch eternity because your purchase supports the many areas of hope-giving ministry we provide at no cost. We wish we could, but we simply can't compete with prices offered by huge online warehouses. Therefore, we are extremely grateful for each and every purchase you make with us. Thank you!
Application Steps:
Read Psalm 91. List the promises God has for those who love Him.
God's timing is not our timing. What are some reasons God might wait to answer our prayers?
Read the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22. What are some of the things Abraham did right that I can apply to my situation?
Power Verses:
Psalm 91:14, "'Because he loves me,' says the LORD, 'I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.'" (NIV)
Psalm 22:5, "They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed." (NIV)
© 2011 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Everything New - A Weeekly Devotional


Here’s a word from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount that we would do well to ponder within the first waking hour of every day: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.” It doesn’t get any more practical than that. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus made some of the preeminent statements in Scripture about the providence of God. He was addressing one of the universal pressing questions we all ask: Who is going to take care of me?
The answer?
“Your heavenly Father knows you need them,” so don’t get caught in the rat race or, we might say, the pagan chase (“the pagans run after all these things”). There is a better alternative, in other words, to living a life of hoarding. As someone said, the problem with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat. Our security does not come from the bank statement telling us how much we’ve saved up, or from the number of suits in the closet. Food in the pantry is a good thing. But no matter how much any of us have to eat or drink or wear or drive or shelve, we will never know security until we see the face of providence: the God who clothes the lilies of the field and who tends to the birds of the air. And he knows. He knows what we have and what we need. He knows those days when we have less than we think we need, too.
Sparrows fly, but they also fall. But not one of them falls to the ground apart from the will of the Father (Matthew 10:29). This year may be a time for any of us to feed and fly and travel far, or it may be the year of a broken wing-or that final plummet. And that is where providence figures in more powerfully than anywhere else.
The fact of pain and loss and even overt evil does not nullify the reality of providence. While we try to explain the dark, the greater reality will always be the light. The only reasonable explanation for the way things work is that the Creator of all things keeps it all going day by day.
There are a thousand things that could go wrong with my body right now, but at the moment it seems to be working just fine. My breakfast if being converted from fuel to energy and the oxygen my lungs are sucking in is making bluish blood turn red and rich. My brain is sending thousands of commands a second, and my heart muscle is relentlessly contracting like a fist, pushing lifeblood to every external and internal cell. I’m not amazed that I can so easily get sick or injured. I’m astonished that my body works as well as it does. And there is only one explanation: a continual divine care.
Hearts don’t always work right, and sooner or later they all stop. Some pregnancies end in miscarriage. At the moment there are at least a dozen wars going on in the world. There are crimes against property and person, and unspeakable things that go on behind closed doors. But the incidents where things don’t work well are set against the backdrop of so many healthy days, and good relationships and proper exchanges. Generosity, forgiveness, forbearance, support, patience, kindness: these are among the many gifts given every day. And there is only one explanation for this: a divine governance.
The proof of providence is the fact that it never stops raining permanently, living things keep growing, and the human race keeps reaching out for hope and life. In so many ways the creation keeps asserting itself. It is irrepressibly alive, even though pieces of it keep dying. But more importantly, the Creator keeps asserting himself. God keeps saying, I’ve made what I’ve made. And I will keep it going and growing, and recreate when I need to.
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About The Author - Mel Lawrenz serves as minister at large for Elmbrook Church and leads The Brook Network. Having been in pastoral ministry for thirty years, the last decade as senior pastor of Elmbrook, Mel seeks to help Christian leaders engage with each other. Mel is the author of eleven books, the most recent for church leaders, Whole Church: Leading from Fragmentation to Engagement.

Can the Bible exaggerate and still be true?

This week's reading: 2 Chronicles 1:9-15
In a word, yes. When Solomon said the people were "as numerous as the dust of the earth" (v. 9), he didn't have an exact figure in mind. Solomon was using a figure of speech called hyperbole-an exaggeration not meant to be interpreted literally. He simply meant that there were a lot of people!
The writers of the Bible's 66 books used all the richness and variety of human language to communicate God's message. To understand the Bible accurately, its various literary devices and figures of speech must be seen for what they are. Interpret them at face value and the intended meaning may be missed completely.
The writer of Chronicles reports in verse 15 that Solomon "made silver and gold as common ... as stones, and cedar [a rare and costly wood] as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees [a commonplace tree]". His point was not to be exact, but to indicate great wealth-numbers that would boggle the mind.
There are many passages-especially in 1 and 2 Chronicles-where the Bible offers precise information. But when God promises Abraham as many children as there are stars or grains of sand (see Ge 15:522:17), or when Mark says that all the people of Jerusalem went out to see John the Baptist (seeMk 1:5), or even when Paul claims to be the worst of sinners (see 1Ti 1:15), the context and language indicate a meaning beneath the surface. Instead of being frustrated by the lack of precision in such statements, we should be thankful that God reveals himself in the richness of human language.


Today's reading is from theNIV Quest Study Bible
by Zondervan

This unique Bible addresses the common, uncommon, and perplexing questions people ask about Scripture.