Thursday, February 06, 2014

Thu Feb 6th Todays News

The massacre of My Lai was raised by Ray Martin recently on Q&A in the context of reporting stories. According to Ray, if the ABC were not biased, then such incidents would not be reported. So it is worth looking at what happened then, and how it was reported by the biased press of the day. It is worth remembering that the then President of the US was Democrat Lyndon Baines Johnson. Johnson was more incompetent than Kennedy had been. As President, he disliked and distrusted the military. He once ordered a secret service agent to stand in the shower, and then urinated on him. It was apparently an accident by the secret service which had killed Kennedy. Press were keen to support Democrats and amplified the peace movement to let the President know 'what was really going on' in Vietnam. Johnson was keen to hold off Bobby Kennedy as President, but when Bobby was assassinated, LBJ retired after one term and one year. But as of Feb '68, LBJ was President and determined to keep the job and that meant resolving the fighting in Vietnam.

In Vietnam, the failed Tet Offensive had ruined the North's capacity to wage standing battles. But covert operations were still damaging. The guerrilla tactics included women and children and US troops were poorly equipped to handle the vagaries of civil war. A few villages were identified as being targets and orders were given which were ambiguous, but interpreted by some officers on the ground as 'kill everyone.' Some soldiers refused to follow orders, and attempted to hide some of the women and children, but failed. 

Following the massacre, Democrat Congressmen Mendel Rivers, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, denounced the soldiers who had tried to save women and children as traitors. However, soldiers continued to protest the action and an investigation was held. The action was held on March 16th. On March 28th a report labelled it a success. Six months later, a soldier wrote to a general of their concern at the casual killing of civilians. Colin Powell was then appointed to investigate. It is claimed he attempted to whitewash it. 

In March of '69, after LBJ had retired and Nixon was President, GOP Barry Goldwater urged the house armed services committee to investigate a letter he'd received from one of the soldiers who had been present at the massacre. Only after a report was tabled in November '69 was the incident reported. So why does Ray Martin believe that the bias of the ABC was essential for reporting on the massacre? Was it for covering up the massacre until a Republican was President? 
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Hatches
Matches
Despatches
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Sydney can be a city of barbarians

Piers Akerman – Thursday, February 06, 2014 (6:04pm)

THIS is a story of shame. Sydney’s shame and a sorry reflection on our slide into disgrace. It is also a horror story, a tale of outrageous behaviour towards a young woman who was critically ill. It is also every caring parent’s worst nightmare.

Icon Arrow Continue reading 'Sydney can be a city of barbarians'
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AUSTRALIAN BAKING CORPORATION

Tim Blair – Thursday, February 06, 2014 (2:11pm)

The ABC sucks down more than $3 million in taxes every single day, but the state broadcaster’s constant pleading of poverty and victimisation has convinced a six-year-old girl to run a charity bake-off: 
Six-year-old Isabelle from the Melbourne suburb of Diamond Creek became worried about the future of the ABC in January.
The past few months have seen the ABC attacked over its news reporting, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott commenting that many believe the Government-funded broadcaster “takes everyone’s side but Australia’s”.
The controversy has seen renewed calls for the ABC to have its funding reduced, or be privatised altogether.
Concerned by the reports young Isabelle organised a bake-off, raising $40 for the national broadcaster.
774 ABC Melbourne mornings presenter Jon Faine presented the cheque to ABC managing director Mark Scott live on air, while he was in the studio to take talkback.
The cheque was accompanied with a hand-written letter from the six-year-old.
“I love ABC,” says the letter. “Love from Isabelle.” 
Instead of cringing with embarrassment, Mark Scott ($805,392) actually poses with the little girl’s cheque and uses the moment to push some ABC propaganda: 
“That’s remarkable,” Mr Scott said.
“We know despite the noise in the news we operate with this enormous groundswell of support from the Australian people.
“Our most recent research shows that 85 per cent of the Australian people believe that the ABC provides a valuable service, that we’re the most respected media organisation in the country and one of the most respected organisations in the country.” 
This might be one of the most ill-advised PR stunts in local media history.
(Via David B)
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GREENOID GROUNDED

Tim Blair – Thursday, February 06, 2014 (1:58pm)

Weepy eco-worrier Eric Holthaus describes his great sacrifice: 
That September morning, after an emotional morning of tears and tweets, I decided to take action.
I’m never going to fly again.
My reason was simple: Flying used to be my biggest personal source of CO2 emissions. With a single action, I was able to cut my personal impact on climate change by nearly 50 percent. 
Let’s see similar commitment from Australia’s carbon-blasting eco-community, beginning with Tim Flannery.
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$46 MILLION OF SLOW

Tim Blair – Thursday, February 06, 2014 (12:59pm)

This site, just a few hours after the ABC reported video “evidence” of asylum seeker torture: 
All we have here is some burned hands. There is no evidence at all as to the cause. 
It took the ABC’s Mark Scott ($805,392) and Kate Torney ($350,394) nearly two whole weeks – or $46,153,846 of ABC thinking time, considering the organisation’s $1.2 billion annual budget – to finally reach exactly the same conclusion: 
The ABC’s initial reports on the video said that the vision appeared to support the asylum seekers’ claims. That’s because it was the first concrete evidence that the injuries had occurred. What the video did not do was establish how those injuries occurred. 
Given how long it takes the ABC to process basic information, the delay over an apology is understandable. These people are simply slow.
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BACON DELIVERY SYSTEM REPRESENTED

Tim Blair – Thursday, February 06, 2014 (11:57am)

Fascinating legal developments in Queensland: 
A man accused of animal cruelty for having a photo taken with a pig with its snout taped shut at the Gabba Ashes Test in Brisbane last year has been ordered to attend mediation …
The RSPCA will appear on behalf of the pig at the mediation in April. 
(Via CL)
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NOT HELPING

Tim Blair – Thursday, February 06, 2014 (11:18am)

When your ex-client is on the verge of parole after serving nearly a decade for drug possession, it might not be the best time for this: 
Schapelle Corby’s former lawyer, Kerry Smith-Douglas, says the convicted drug smuggler will celebrate her release from a Bali prison with a “big marijuana joint”. 
Smith-Douglas later added
“If the Indonesians can’t take a joke then that’s their problem.” 
Or potentially Corby’s. Does anyone else pick up a similarity between the lawyer and Strangers With Candy‘s Jerri Blank?

image image
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HOWES ENDORSED

Tim Blair – Thursday, February 06, 2014 (10:19am)

Wondering what to make of Paul Howes’s National Press Club speech? Consider this view, from Greens MP Adam Bandt
“Paul Howes should resign as union secretary and join the Liberal party if he is going to just parrot Tony Abbott’s attack on people’s wages,” said Mr Bandt in a statement.
“On the same day the government is in the Fair Work Commission attacking people’s wages, Paul Howes is out there spinning Tony Abbott’s argument. Why is one of the most prominent union leaders in the country giving ammunition to Tony Abbott’s attack on Australian wages? It is a disgrace.” 
There can be no higher praise. Here’s the whole speech.
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POOR FINANCIAL PLANNING

Tim Blair – Thursday, February 06, 2014 (10:13am)

Sometimes I regret not having children. Such as right now, for example, when I might be able to pay some of BMW Sydney’s service bill by selling the kids to organ harvesters.
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NOBODY TALKING ABOUT THE TIMES

Tim Blair – Thursday, February 06, 2014 (10:08am)

New York Times staff smash their own paper’s editorial page: 
“The fact of the matter is the Wall Street Journal editorial page just kicks our editorial page’s ass. I mean there’s just no contest, from top to bottom, and it’s disappointing ...”
“[Editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal has] got 14 or 15 people plus a whole bevy of assistants working on these three unsigned editorials every day. They’re completely reflexively liberal, utterly predictable, usually poorly written and totally ineffectual. I mean, just try and remember the last time that anybody was talking about one of those editorials.” 
Further on this from Roger L. Simon.
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Just an ABC oversight, right?

Andrew Bolt February 06 2014 (5:47pm)

The Victorian Liberal Party today put up this YouTube clip of the rort-ridden CFMEU’s links to Labor.
The clip was quickly yanked off air, and the Victorian editor of ABC News gave this snippy explanation:

image
Hmm, OK. But why didn’t the ABC take the same action against these Labor ads?


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ABC boss hides behind six-year-old Isabelle

Andrew Bolt February 06 2014 (4:51pm)

ABC boss Mark Scott this morning denied the ABC was too biased, and posed with this evidence of support:

image
The following story was then written by an ABC staffer who - like the ABC boss - seems not to see how pathetic it is to defend the ABC’s bias in news and current affairs by hiding behind the skirts of a six-year-old girl:
Six-year-old Isabelle from the Melbourne suburb of Diamond Creek became worried about the future of the ABC in January.
The past few months have seen the ABC attacked over its news reporting, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott commenting that many believe the Government-funded broadcaster “takes everyone’s side but Australia’s”.
The controversy has seen renewed calls for the ABC to have its funding reduced, or be privatised altogether.
Concerned by the reports young Isabelle organised a bake-off, raising $40 for the national broadcaster.
774 ABC Melbourne mornings presenter Jon Faine presented the cheque to ABC managing director Mark Scott live on air, while he was in the studio to take talkback.
The cheque was accompanied with a hand-written letter from the six-year-old.
“I love ABC,” says the letter. “Love from Isabelle.”
“That’s remarkable,” Mr Scott said.
“We know despite the noise in the news we operate with this enormous groundswell of support from the Australian people...”
And I wouldn’t be surprised if Scott even banked Isabelle’s cheque. After all, an ABC which soaks up $1.2 billion a year of our money must really, really need the savings of six-year-olds, too.
Still, this isn’t a new strategy. As Tim Blair has noted before, the ABC and its Leftist allies routinely defend its currents affairs shows from claims of bias by warning children that conservatives are just out to squash the Bananas in Pyjamas:
image
(Thanks to reader Paul.) 
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Crossing a Lines

Andrew Bolt February 06 2014 (4:29pm)

Labor Senator Sue Lines displays all the courtesy for which the Left today is famous, and gets the comeuppance she deserves. After various snarky comments by Lines about the witness’s alleged lack of preparation, this finale:
Senator LINES:  I will quote, on page 236—
Ms Tarrant : Senator, the submission is only 19 pages long, so I do not know what you are quoting from.
(Thanks to reader Nick.) 
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Is it true, or was it in The Age?

Andrew Bolt February 06 2014 (11:19am)

The Age prints a ludicrous opinion piece by John Legge - “educator, author and consultant” - replete with wild claims such as this:
Abbott, when asked about the Holden workers who will lose their jobs, said they should be grateful they were being liberated from slaving on an assembly line, moving to living off Newstart and Work for the Dole. If this sort of liberation will suit Holden workers on $60,000 per year including overtime, how much more delightful it should be for Productivity Commission analysts on three times that. It can’t happen soon enough.
Here is what Abbott actually said:
Mr Abbott has conceded that some workers will have difficulty finding new jobs.
“Some of them will find it difficult, but many of them will probably be liberated to pursue new opportunities and to get on with their lives,” he said.
“We have to accept that what was right for people 10 years ago or 20 years ago is not necessarily going to be right or possible for them far into the future, and we do have to be prepared to adapt - individually and collectively.”
Doesn’t the Age check the truth of what it publishes? Doesn’t it care if its readers are told falsehoods? 
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We’re killing ourselves with green energy policies that make no difference to the climate

Andrew Bolt February 06 2014 (11:13am)

Global warming - general

Two things still amaze me - that we could have done something so pointlessly damaging, and that it’s taken years for our elite to wake up to our madness:
QUEENSLAND’S largest power generator will today declare that Australia is one of the world’s most expensive countries for energy and warn that the electricity market is being distorted by the carbon tax, mandatory renewables target and solar-rooftop subsidies.
After Stanwell took the extraordinary step yesterday of announcing it would mothball its biggest gas-fired power station and resurrect a coal facility built in the 1980s - sparking predictions that gas-fired power plants would be withdrawn in other states - it will today call for a scaling back of the renewable energy target.
Before the introduction of the carbon tax, the RET scheme and solar feed-in tariffs, the abundance of coal had made Australia a source of low-cost electricity, the company will say.
“These policies appear to have been implemented for ideological reasons with little analysis of the impact on electricity prices and economic growth,” Stanwell chief executive officer Richard Van Breda will say.
The renewable energy target must go. It makes no difference to global temperatures and just makes power prices too high. We’re insane to have agreed to it in the first place, and it’s scary that so few journalists and even Liberals opposed it. 
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Shorten pays the price of ratting

Andrew Bolt February 06 2014 (11:06am)

I don’t think AWU boss Paul Howes much cares if he’s hurt former AWU boss Bill Shorten:
BILL Shorten has branded union leader Paul Howes’ plan for a new grand bargain on industrial relations as “a fantasy’’, saying there is not even a remote chance of it becoming reality while Tony Abbott is prime minister.
The Opposition Leader said he was all for consensus in the workplace but the Coalition wasn’t interested in sitting down with unions to resolve industrial issues.
Some necessary background:
[T]he AWU stuck to Gillard like glue - national president Bill Ludwig, former deputy prime minister Wayne Swan and national secretary Paul Howes, as well as the eight or so MPs aligned with the union.
Shorten’s problem is he played both sides of the contest, telling Gillard and her inner circle he was loyal while talking to Rudd behind the scenes…
The Shorten defection hit Howes hard. A mentoree of his predecessor as national secretary, he didn’t want to believe his mate would rat on the union.
On the night of Gillard’s toppling, Howes was red-eyed from a tearful response to events and Shorten’s betrayal.
Corridor gossip suggested he had to convince Ludwig not to fly to Canberra to strip Shorten of his union membership.

Abbott cleans up:
Mr Abbott was quick to draw a distinction between the AWU boss and the Opposition Leader.
“I certainly think that he’s pulled the rug out from underneath Bill Shorten’s scare campaign,” Mr Abbott said.
“That was a very powerful assault on everything Bill Shorten’s been doing for the last few months.”
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The Left:  natural home of the barbarian

Andrew Bolt February 06 2014 (10:04am)

The foul language, intolerance and spitting hatred of the modern Leftist exposes the sham behind such preachers of peace and reconciliation. The hate-orgy that follows Deveny’s post is astonishing - an insight into a cultural barbarism.  That Deveny has been so heavily nurtured by the ABC says much about the ABC’s decline. 
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Labor’s Griffith candidate “proud” of Labor “opening our borders”

Andrew Bolt February 06 2014 (9:40am)

Terri Butler, Labor’s candidate in this weekend’s Griffith by-election:
Labor has such a proud history of welcoming immigration, of opening our borders and encouraging people of all cultures to come her and that’s something I’m proud of.
Michael Smith:
Terri Butler might be happy about Labor’s proud history of “opening our borders and encouraging people from all cultures to come here” but I can’t imagine too many electors for the Seat of Griffith will be.
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Bias makes the Australian Bloated Corporation even more dangerous

Andrew Bolt February 06 2014 (9:11am)

Media

image
THE ABC’s bias wouldn’t be so serious if the ABC wasn’t this dangerously big - bigger than is legal for any other media organisation.
Attention Tony Jones, Fran Kelly, Paul Barry, Virginia Trioli, Phillip Adams, Robyn Williams and the ABC’s other Leftist hosts.
Imagine if every single one of the main ABC current affairs shows were hosted not by the likes of you, as they now are.
Imagine them all hosted instead by me and fellow conservatives Janet Albrechtsen, Gerard Henderson, Tim Blair, Miranda Devine, Piers Akerman, Tom Switzer and Rowan Dean.
Imagine Four Corners no longer hosted by a former staffer of Gough Whitlam but of John Howard. Insiders no more hosted by a former staffer of Bob Hawke but of Tony Abbott.
Imagine the result: an ABC that no longer crusaded on boat people, same-sex marriage and global warming, but on free speech, climate scepticism and free markets.
Get it now?
(Read full article here.) 
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A party at the Corby joint

Andrew Bolt February 06 2014 (8:56am)

Karl Stefanovic interviews Kerry Smith-Douglas, Schappelle Corby’s former lawyer, about Corby’s impending release from a Bali prison midway through a 20-year sentence for smuggling marijuana:
Karl asked, “You must be a little bit excited by all this, not very far away now?’’.
Smith-Douglas replied: “Yes, it’s very exciting, there’s going to be a lot of parties going on once she is released, and I can’t wait’’
Karl: “Are you going to be having a party?’’
Smith-Douglas: “Oh you betcha’’…
Karl: “How do you think she will celebrate?’’
Smith-Douglas: “She’ll probably pop a cork of champagne and then roll up a big marijuana joint the size of a cigar and kick back and enjoy herself.’’…
Karl...:  “You haven’t been smoking this morning have you?’’
Smith-Douglas replied with laughter: “My eyes are red, I know”.
It isn’t the first time Smith-Douglas has given us reason to doubt her client’s claims of innocence:

SCHAPELLE CORBY’S Australian lawyer has been sacked after saying she would not be surprised if the drugs Corby went to jail for carrying to Bali had belonged to Corby’s father.
This month, Kerry Smith-Douglas contradicted her own client’s claim that baggage handlers were responsible for the 4.2 kilograms of marijuana found in Corby’s boogie board bag in October 2004.
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ABC wars: Turnbull now joins the party

Andrew Bolt February 06 2014 (8:44am)

Malcolm Turnbull defended ABC boss Mark Scott, denied the ABC was biased and refused to back Tony Abbott’s criticism of the ABC’s cultural hostility to our institutions.
But with the ABC itself now conceding (a tiny) fault and Liberal MPs with their tails up, the Communications Minister moves to bayonet the wounded:
Mr Turnbull said: ‘’The ABC has acknowledged that their reports were wrong. That is good. But this has caused enormous offence and an apology, in my view - just a suggestion - would be appropriate.’’
UPDATE
Nick Cater:
In the 1998 financial year the ABC drew $555,991,000 from the public purse, the equivalent of $853,467,000 in 2013 dollars.
In 2013, the ABC received $1,023,700,000 from Treasury, an increase of 20% over 15 years in real terms.
The result: more repeats and more overseas programs…
As Paul Keating once said: 

We pay them more than the state of Tasmania. Do we get value for it? It’s a moot point.
(Figures at the link.) 
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So who is lying about SPC?

Andrew Bolt February 06 2014 (8:29am)

LIBERAL MP Sharman Stone calls Prime Minister Tony Abbott a “liar”, but who exactly is telling whoppers?
It’s already an ask to trust Stone when she evasively claimed on 2GB that “you can’t find a transcript ... of me saying the ‘l’ word”, despite earlier saying of Abbott: “It’s lying.”
So why trust her angry attacks on Abbott for rejecting a $25 million handout for SPC Ardmona, owned by Coca-Cola Amatil, when Stone is the cannery’s local member?
First, Stone claimed Abbott lied because he “explained as the reason for not supporting SPCA, which was basically awards and conditions”.
False.
(Read full article here.
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Abbott now getting it together

Andrew Bolt February 06 2014 (7:46am)

Niki Savva is right (although too critical of Abbott’s “home team” comment):
Abbott was doing his job, and appeared to have spent his break thinking about it. Since the political year resumed, he has shown he is beginning to get the hang of it. Not completely, not always, but certainly better than before…
Abbott has also benefited from issues breaking his way. Some of it is luck, some of it is luck he has created or helped along.
One issue where the government has absolute control is asylum-seekers. Like it or not - and the Greens and Labor clearly hate it, even though no boats mean no drownings - the policies are working.
If Abbott shows the same unswerving commitment and passion to fixing the budget deficit without killing the economy as he has to stopping the boats, and as he will to improving the lot of indigenous people, then he will have a handsome record as Prime Minister.
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Howes offers deal. Abbott will be smart to consider, wise to dump

Andrew Bolt February 06 2014 (7:41am)

Economy, Politics - federal

Paul Howes wants big business and big unions, aided by big government, to make a big deal to fix our future for us:

Union boss Paul Howes has dramatically undermined Bill Shorten’s depiction of the Abbott government as anti-worker, proposing unions enter into a new partnership with the Coalition and business to rein in high wages and lift productivity.
Calling for a ‘’grand compact’’ with business and the Abbott government and a new spirit of co-operation to echo the Hawke-Keating government’s accord with unions, Mr Howes stunned fellow unionists by railing against union propaganda and workers pricing themselves out of the market with high wage claims.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott and some employer groups immediately welcomed the call from one of the nation’s most powerful union leaders for an end to workplace conflict through a return to a 1980s-style summit of business, government, and unions. But some employer groups, the opposition and fellow union officials rejected out of hand the radical suggestion of a deal to end what Mr Howes called the ‘’see-saw’’ of industrial relations policy in Australia.
It’s a vision with little detail, lots of fine sentiments ... and lots of threats:
“A grand compact is not just possible, it is desperately needed,’’ he told the National Press Club.
“A grand compact in which unions, business and government create an industrial engagement pursuant to agreed national goals; an industrial engagement that is a key organising imperative, and provides certainty ... on 10,15 and 20-year horizons.’’
Such a deal would acknowledge that productivity is a shared responsibility and making concessions in pursuit of shared goals was seen as a strength, not a weakness.
The threats are these:
- no plan or “key organising imperative” (????) can offer “certainty” on “20-year horizons”. History moves too fast. Economies riding high this year could be rocked the next. A Spanish miracle economy, fashionably green, can fast become a cripple.  Howes is searching for certainties at a time when we need flexibilities instead.
- unions represent just 18 per cent of Australian workers, and just 13 per cent in the private sector. They do not have the right or moral authority to make any “grand compact” binding on the rest of us.
- a deal by big business and big unions will suit both, but neither group represents the the majority of Australians. Add big government and you have almost a kind of soft fascism. Remember when big miners signed a deal with big (Labor) government on the mining tax to the immediate benefit of both? Remember how small miners were clobbered under that deal, and Australian taxpayers got barely a penny?  Remember also when big unions, big business and big (Labor) government agreed a carbon tax was a terrific compromise?
So why might Howes be offering this deal? Some context:
- we could be facing a fall in living standards as the bill comes for our debt binge. Unions will come under severe pressure to defend wages and conditions made in better times.
- Howes offers a deal now that a Labor government under union instruction is replaced by a Coalition one carrying a big hammer.
- and, of course, Howes may simply be worried that this country really is in trouble.
Mark Kenny is right to suggest Howes is pulling a rug from underneath Bill Shorten, which explains Tony Abbott’s quick embrace:
Like Howes, government and employers are also reading the mood. Their assessment is that Howes is proposing a return to the corporatism of the accord, where big unions, big employers and the government set the outcomes in order to deal unions back into the game.
And their response is to say this is not the workplace relations system in Australia any more.
Still, with Bill Shorten characterising everything the government is proposing as anti-worker union-bashing, the olive branch being extended by Shorten’s successor at the AWU must feel like manna from heaven.
Shorten was asked on the ABC today if he’d known beforehand what Howes was about to say. He dodged giving an answer, which I must presume, then, is “no”. Mates no more.
And while I applaud Howes’ warm-fuzzies call for bosses and union leaders to be less confrontational, I recall how Howes himself has trawled for his members’ votes by playing the bovver boy:
On Wednesday he spoke of the need for a ‘’Grand Compact’’ between employers, unions and government and the need for a ‘’profound attitudinal shift’’. He felt uncomfortable about the government hectoring ‘’respected business leaders’’. Nice words.
But Howes, in 2011, delivered an inflammatory speech directed at a significant business that employs his members. Rio Tinto, he said, was ‘’sucking out the blood’’ of its workforce and ‘’monkeys’’ could do a better job running the miner. He told Rio Tinto’s bosses they ‘’cannot hide behind your slimy, grubby mates in the Coalition because we’re coming after you’’. They never really did come after them in the way Howes said they would. But that didn’t matter. There were plenty of headlines.
And members’ votes. 
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What good does the ABC’s Australia Network do?

Andrew Bolt February 06 2014 (6:52am)

Why on earth are we wasting all this money on the ABC’s Australia Network? Greg Sheridan:
The money for the Australia Network does not come from the ABC. It comes from [the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade]. At the moment, DFAT’s global public diplomacy budget is about $5 million…
Founded by the Keating government, the Australia Network in all its guises has been a colossal waste of money and a complete, absolute failure as public policy…
I have been annoyed on occasion at what I see as an anti-Australian tic in much of the news and documentary stuff on the Australia Network, but that is merely its inevitable reflection of the political culture of its parent organisation, the ABC....

So long as Australia Network exists I don’t want it to become an organ of Australian state propaganda. But nor do I want it to make life harder for the Australian government by taking the ABC editorial line on asylum-seekers, climate change etc, which is opposed to the policies of the Australian government. There’s a simple solution. It doesn’t need to exist at all…
In all of my countless trips to Asia I have never met an Asian who watches Australia Network. But half an eye is cast on it in a desultory fashion by Asian governments and some Asian news organisations. So while it has almost no capacity to do good, it has a substantial capacity to do harm.
I would just query this assertion of Greg’s:

But in reality there is absolutely no reason to have it at all. Our highly competent but resource-starved professional diplomats could do much more, much better targeted, with a proper public diplomacy budget. 
I wouldn’t be so sure, given some ways it’s spending that cash, for instance on Muslim apologist Waleed Aly:
Lex Bartlem, Australian Ambassador to Lebanon:
Today is the last day of a tour that has taken you through the United Arab Emirates, SaudiArabia, Turkey and now to Beirut in Lebanon. We are delighted that you came. In most of those countries I know that you have met with academics, clerics, students, members of parliament, government officials and ministers. You came to speak to them about Islam in Australia—about its diversity, and about the community’s successes and problems.
Aly:

Firstly, let me say it has been a fantastic trip and a great opportunity, and I have to thank you for even thinking of inviting me.... What [people met on the trip] were trying to figure out, it seemed to me, was the relationship that Islam in Australia, or Muslims in Australia, or really anyone in Australia, has with the state…
Bartlem:
I know that we are hoping to get you back to the region in January to visit Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories.
The video DFAT posted of this interview had 30 views when I first linked to it this morning. 
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Time to can SPC instead for misleading

Andrew Bolt February 06 2014 (6:32am)

Those who called Tony Abbott a liar should be asked to explain themselves:
In an SPC media release sent to all Coalition colleagues by Ms Stone yesterday, [SPC Ardmona] said the excessive redundancy payments had been trimmed back to 52 weeks in 2012. However, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union has confirmed that almost all of the plant’s more than 400 or so employees were employed under a previous enterprise agreement that provided for redundancy of four weeks’ pay for every year of service, up to a maximum of 104 weeks.
A company paying generous conditions can hardly expect taxpayers for a handout when the money is gone. I don’t think Stone should be forgiven for her false claims, either:
Dr Stone yesterday stood by her comments and continued to press for government assistance for the company, which has joined her in challenging the assertion of “overgenerous” entitlements at the company’s plants.
“Recent claims that SPC Ardmona is a ‘union shop’ or that the cause of its difficulties are because of ‘over generous’ allowances and conditions to staff are mistaken and need to be refuted by the facts,” SPC Ardmona said in its release. However, [AMWU food and confectionary division secretary Tom Hale] confirmed that at least 90 per cent of the company’s production staff were union members.
UPDATE
Grace Collier on the true deceivers:
No one is telling lies when they say the EBA must be altered. Anyone who says the EBA is blameless is the liar....
This week journalists claimed that SPC workers earned on average a modest $50,000. This is hardly possible given that base rates alone range from $48,538 to $61,359…
I estimate SPC labour costs are double what they should be because of direct costs as well as the cost of a wide range of productivity restrictions. Crucially, the EBA shows the ... union has been allowed too much control..
Harvest Freshcuts is a food processor. The plant at Bairnsdale is about the same distance away from Melbourne that Shepparton [SPC’s home] is. Its last EBA, just terminated, was much more appropriate than SPC’s and made with staff rather than a union. The working week is longer. Labour costs look a third lower. Conditions are much closer to or capped at award rates and wages are adjusted only by CPI.
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Reflexively liberal, utterly predictable

Andrew Bolt February 06 2014 (12:59am)

New York Times staff talk about the New York Times:
“The fact of the matter is the Wall Street Journal editorial page just kicks our editorial page’s ass. I mean there’s just no contest, from top to bottom, and it’s disappointing ...”
“[Editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal has] got 14 or 15 people plus a whole bevy of assistants working on these three unsigned editorials every day. They’re completely reflexively liberal, utterly predictable, usually poorly written and totally ineffectual. I mean, just try and remember the last time that anybody was talking about one of those editorials.”
What would Age staff privately say about Age editorials? 
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www.spiked-online.com
Israel is the safest place in the Middle East for Islamic peoples not wanting to be killed by their neighbours. It is a modern democracy with its own ridiculous self hating left movement. Israel supports all peoples of any creed, whereas those that would eliminate Israel are often those who practice apartheid ..
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Keep Searching! But where are Wally and Wizard Whitebeard?
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Daniel is a cousin of mine - ed
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February 6Sami National Day (Sami people); Waitangi Day in New Zealand (1840)
Duckworth's Action off San Domingo, 6 February 1806
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“For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.” - Psalm 33:4-5
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon
February 5: Morning
"The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." - 1 John 4:14
It is a sweet thought that Jesus Christ did not come forth without his Father's permission, authority, consent, and assistance. He was sent of the Father, that he might be the Saviour of men. We are too apt to forget that, while there are distinctions as to the persons in the Trinity, there are no distinctions of honour. We too frequently ascribe the honour of our salvation, or at least the depths of its benevolence, more to Jesus Christ than we do the Father. This is a very great mistake. What if Jesus came? Did not his Father send him? If he spake wondrously, did not his Father pour grace into his lips, that he might be an able minister of the new covenant? He who knoweth the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost as he should know them, never setteth one before another in his love; he sees them at Bethlehem, at Gethsemane, and on Calvary, all equally engaged in the work of salvation. O Christian, hast thou put thy confidence in the Man Christ Jesus? Hast thou placed thy reliance solely on him? And art thou united with him? Then believe that thou art united unto the God of heaven. Since to the Man Christ Jesus thou art brother, and holdest closest fellowship, thou art linked thereby with God the Eternal, and "the Ancient of days" is thy Father and thy friend. Didst thou ever consider the depth of love in the heart of Jehovah, when God the Father equipped his Son for the great enterprise of mercy? If not, be this thy day's meditation. The Father sent him! Contemplate that subject. Think how Jesus works what the Father wills. In the wounds of the dying Saviour see the love of the great I AM. Let every thought of Jesus be also connected with the Eternal, ever-blessed God, for "It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief."
Evening
"At that time Jesus answered." - Matthew 11:25
This is a singular way in which to commence a verse--"At that time Jesus answered." If you will look at the context you will not perceive that any person had asked him a question, or that he was in conversation with any human being. Yet it is written, "Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father." When a man answers, he answers a person who has been speaking to him. Who, then, had spoken to Christ? his Father. Yet there is no record of it; and this should teach us that Jesus had constant fellowship with his Father, and that God spake into his heart so often, so continually, that it was not a circumstance singular enough to be recorded. It was the habit and life of Jesus to talk with God. Even as Jesus was, in this world, so are we; let us therefore learn the lesson which this simple statement concerning him teaches us. May we likewise have silent fellowship with the Father, so that often we may answer him, and though the world wotteth not to whom we speak, may we be responding to that secret voice unheard of any other ear, which our own ear, opened by the Spirit of God, recognizes with joy. God has spoken to us, let us speak to God--either to set our seal that God is true and faithful to his promise, or to confess the sin of which the Spirit of God has convinced us, or to acknowledge the mercy which God's providence has given, or to express assent to the great truths which God the Holy Ghost has opened to our understanding. What a privilege is intimate communion with the Father of our spirits! It is a secret hidden from the world, a joy with which even the nearest friend intermeddleth not. If we would hear the whispers of God's love, our ear must be purged and fitted to listen to his voice. This very evening may our hearts be in such a state, that when God speaks to us, we, like Jesus, may be prepared at once to answer him.
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Today's reading: Exodus 36-38, Matthew 23:1-22 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Exodus 36-38

1 So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the LORD has commanded."
2 Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work. 3 They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary. And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. 4 So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing 5 and said to Moses, "The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the LORD commanded to be done...."

Today's New Testament reading: Matthew 23:1-22

A Warning Against Hypocrisy
1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them..."

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