Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sat Apr 12th Todays News

Some things can't be ignored. One might try to, but they grow. One such problem was the abduction of a three year old girl from a sofa she was sleeping on. An open window showed how the abductor obtained her. A large search included helicopters with infra-red body heat sensors. The girl turned up more than a day later opposite her house. Too young to make sense of her experience, or talk about it. But the community needs to know the abductor will never do it again. 

Another problem that cannot be ignored is journalist Greste. He is Australian and has worked for Al Jazeera. Australia values freedom of the press, even sanctioning the corrupt abuse of the ABC and Fairfax actively promoting crime and corruption. But, Egypt is beset with terrorists, and those who are closely aligned to terrorism happen to be journalists who work for Al Jazeera. And it isn't even a debatable point, Al Jazeera has shown the world the terrorist viewpoint which has inflamed activity throughout the world. It isn't censorship to want competence, to expect appropriate weight is given issues. But, when balanced reporting is irresponsibly put aside, there are tragic consequences. What Greste faces is appalling. So is the organisation Greste works for. Greste is currently under arrest in Egypt and facing a possible death penalty. His crime is being a journalist for a reprehensible body. My suggestion is the ABC and Fairfax cover the issue from a distance. 

From the Bolt Report Supporter's Group we also have a very difficult problem to navigate which we cannot ignore. The issue is Islamic Terrorism which must be faced and can never be accepted. However, some have for their own reasons, broadened the issue to make sensationalist claims. One notes that such irresponsible behaviour is modelled by the ABC and Fairfax press as legitimate debate when advocating leftist positions. But what the ABC and Fairfax press do is wrong, and should not be copied in opposition to them. Last night, some valued contributors to the group got booted after they made claims along the line that all Islamic peoples are terrorist, that UK is a Sharia nation, that Australia is threatened by Islamic peoples migrating. Terrorism is wrong. Allowing Iran a nuclear capability is wrong. Supporting terrorism against Israel is wrong. But, the UK is still a united kingdom with a queen as head of state and strong secular values of a democratic state. And those who feel that all Islamic peoples are terrorist are bigots by definition. We welcome debate in this group, and will not accept the abuse which some post. We act proportionately. Booting is a last resort when we cannot reason. We don't have to agree on everything, or anything, but we must be civil, or we are not discussing. 

For twenty two years I have been responsibly addressing an issue, and I cannot carry on. I am petitioning the NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell to remedy my distress. I leave it up to him if he chooses to address the issue. Regardless of your opinion of conservative government, the issue is pressing. Please sign my petition at

Happy birthday and many happy returns Cathy Tucker. You were an inspiration to me at school. I note in anticipation of you, Yuri Gagarin entered space, the first time any person had done so. Remember, birthdays are good for you. As a child, they gave you wings. As an adult, they keep you grounded better than the best coffee.


Tim Blair – Saturday, April 12, 2014 (4:57pm)

It’s taken just 28 games to bring down the Blues:


UPDATE II. 3AW called it early.


Tim Blair – Saturday, April 12, 2014 (4:21pm)

The perfect Sydney Morning Herald reader offer: visit socialist wonderlands with George Negus! Cost: only $10,000.


Tim Blair – Saturday, April 12, 2014 (4:03pm)

Life in Barack Obama’s sweeter, kinder America
A few weeks ago, with no notice, the U.S. government intercepted Mary Grice’s tax refunds from both the IRS and the state of Maryland. Grice had no idea that Uncle Sam had seized her money until some days later, when she got a letter saying that her refund had gone to satisfy an old debt to the government — a very old debt.
When Grice was 4, back in 1960, her father died, leaving her mother with five children to raise. Until the kids turned 18, Sadie Grice got survivor benefits from Social Security to help feed and clothe them.
Now, Social Security claims it overpaid someone in the Grice family — it’s not sure who — in 1977. After 37 years of silence, four years after Sadie Grice died, the government is coming after her daughter. 
Seems a little unfair.


Tim Blair – Saturday, April 12, 2014 (3:07pm)

By strange coincidence, every area threatened by a mine, a popular restaurant or most any kind of development is always a gentle paradise untouched by greed or wickedness. The very ordinary suburban outpost of Tecoma, for example, was routinely described as a “village” during protests against a planned McDonald’s. Presumably the town features thatched roofs, a blacksmith and a communal well. And check this nauseating description of another menaced idyll: 
When Ros was growing up, Maules Creek was like an extended family. Even a few years ago, Boggabri “was a sleepy, laidback town, where you could go in to do your shopping and not bother locking your car. Where you could stop and have a yarn to almost anyone you passed on the street.” 
Frankly, this sounds like a hell on earth. Imagine jabbering busybodies cornering you every time you visit the shops. What are they asking about, anyway? They should mind their own damn business. 
Now the community is split between those who have sold up and done well out of mining and those who have been left to deal with projected impacts, like coal dust in the air and rainwater tanks, a diminishing water table, noise and, very probably, plummeting property values. “Because,” says Ros, “who wants to buy a farm up the road from a coalmine?” 
I might, if it gets me away from that creepy “extended family” in town. 
Town rents, conversely, have soared. “Older people who have lived in town all their lives have been pushed out of the rental market. Owners do up these houses and charge twice the rent to the miners.We don’t really know each other anymore. Mining has changed the character of the place.” 
Boggabri is now a teeming metropolis of more than 1000 people. No wonder the peaceful townsfolk are crushed by dehumanising feelings of alienation and anomie.


Tim Blair – Saturday, April 12, 2014 (1:19pm)

2012: Two Australian athletes pose with guns. Media panic ensues.
2014: NASCAR driver Tony Stewart poses with a rifle. Quite rightly, nobody minds at all:


Conclusion: NASCAR folk are more sensible and mature than the Australian press. 

The Bolt Report tomorrow

Andrew Bolt April 12 2014 (2:08pm)

On the show tomorrow – Network 10 at 10am and 4pm....
How Bob Carr makes Tony Abbott look even better. And how journalists tried to save Julia Gillard.
Guests: Employment Minister Eric Abetz, Janet Albrechtsen, Cassandra Wilkinson and Gerard Henderson.
The videos of the shows appear here.

La la la not listening

Andrew Bolt April 12 2014 (5:55pm)

Crazy Tim Blair seems to think I follow football. Wrong code, Tim. 

Marxism, the creed of rude children

Andrew Bolt April 12 2014 (2:00pm)

And this is what Marxism has come to, nearly 100 years after the Russian Revolution. Rude scrawls by kids on an Adelaide University wall to promote the biggest gathering of the year of Australian Marxists.
(Thanks to reader C.) 

Let’s all talk about awful Australia

Andrew Bolt April 12 2014 (12:36pm)

How the Left has hijacked our ABC ...
ABC 24 today demonstrates the very worst of the ABC. Waleed Aly introduces Chip Rolley (Anne Summers’ partner) who interviews Antony Lowenstein about our wicked boat people policies. 
Dear God. That’s not debate but a group hug in a Balmain tofu shop.  

Greste just a pawn in a dangerous game

Andrew Bolt April 12 2014 (10:10am)

David Wroe:
In public there are calls for the Abbott government to do more to help free Peter Greste.
But behind the scenes, officials face an extremely delicate task in lobbying for the release of the Australian journalist who has been caught in the middle of a region-wide struggle between the regimes in Egypt and Saudi Arabia on one side, and the Muslim Brotherhood and its perceived backers in Qatar – the home of Al Jazeera news network – on the other.
Publicly, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop have made representations to the top levels of the Egyptian government. Australian ambassador to Cairo, Ralph King, has met with many senior officials, while consular staff are meeting regularly with Mr Greste…
An academic with extensive experience in the Middle East, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the situation, said ... it is a fine balancing act…
“From an Egyptian perspective, the case is clearly not about Al Jazeera and Greste; it’s about the contest within the region between the Saudi and Egyptian concept of where political Islam should fit and the contrary view that is held by Qatar and obviously the [Muslim] Brotherhood.”
Australia needs to continue pressing home that it is deeply concerned about Mr Greste’s case – while making it clear that any decisions are Egypt’s alone and avoiding directly criticising Egypt’s judicial system.

Democracy in decline

Andrew Bolt April 12 2014 (10:01am)

Professor James Allan’s Democracy in Decline can be ordered now:
Democracy in Decline charts how democracy is being diluted and restricted in five of the world’s oldest democracies – the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. James Allan targets four main, interconnected causes of decline – judicial activism, the transformation and growth of international law, the development of supranational organisations, and the presence of undemocratic elites…
Identifying tactics used by lawyers, judges, and international bureaucrats to deny that any decline has occurred, Allan looks ahead to further deterioration caused by attacks on free speech, intolerant worldviews, internationalisation through treaties and conventions, and illegal immigration.
Former Prime Minister John Howard:
As a trenchant opponent of the so-called Bill of Rights approach to democracy, whereby ever-increasing decisions are handed over to unelected judges (oddly, in the name of expanding liberty), I have frequently been attracted to James Allan’s ideas on that subject.  His latest book Democracy In Decline is a thoughtful contribution to this debate.  It is disturbing that, even in the Anglosphere nations he discusses, too much power has been given to unelected and, in the case of the European Union, supra national bodies.  

Abbott was right: you don’t need to kowtow to win China’s respect

Andrew Bolt April 12 2014 (9:48am)

John Garnaut, a former Beijing correspondent, on Tony Abbott’s success in China:
It has become a rite of passage for Australian prime ministers to negotiate security and economic contradictions presented by rising China… China’s share of Australian merchandise exports has grown to a staggering 36 per cent…
When Abbott came to power he immediately responded to China’s muscular advances over its maritime perimeter - oceans that carry as much as 65 per cent of Australia’s export shipments - by siding closer to Japan…
In early December China’s top foreign affairs official excoriated Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop, with cameras rolling. Days earlier, ultimatums had been delivered by senior serving and retired Chinese officials at a forum this reporter attended in Canberra behind closed doors… (R)arely has there been such a pointed articulation of what the Australian National University defence strategist Hugh White calls ‘’the China choice’’.
Australia could no longer ‘’rely on the economy of one country and security of another’’, said an official. ‘’You must avoid getting into a corner you can’t get out of,’’ said another. ‘’If you don’t have China in future then your whole prosperity will be affected,’’ said a third.
These are the propositions Abbott set out to test this week…

Abbott gambled that he could ignore the torrent of warnings that he must start making hard choices between Australia’s reliance on the Chinese economy and dependence on the American security umbrella. It’s early days but, after his first major test, critics cannot say they have proved him wrong.

Call Richo

Andrew Bolt April 12 2014 (9:31am)

Graham Richardson, the former Hawke Government minister, could tell a thing or two about union slush funds and how they can be used to influence the political process. The Fixer suggests he’d make an interesting witness at the royal commission:
I of course make no allegation of impropriety against Richo, who I’ve come to like through our debates on 2GB.
(Via Michael Smith, who has more.)   

Don’t blame bosses for “donating” to slush funds when unions are free to intimidate

Andrew Bolt April 12 2014 (9:12am)

Jeremy Stoljar, counsel assisting the royal commission into union corruption, said employers who paid into slush funds were also targets:
If it were to transpire that a union official has received corruptly a sum of money or benefit, that is not the end of the matter… Corrupt receipt implies corrupt payment. Someone else must have been involved. This commission will look at both sides of the transaction — slush funds only operate if there are slush fund contributors.
All true. But I hope the royal commission accepts their is usually a power imbalance that gives some employers no real choice but to hand over the cash.
That power imbalance is caused in large part by laws and institutions which do not protect businesses from unions acting unlawfully or unreasonably.
Today’s example of an employer being left defenceless (and, note, there is not the slightest suggestion here that Boral would even contemplate donating to a slush fund, or that the CFMEU has asked it to):

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission insists it does not have sufficient evidence to back building company Boral’s claims it is the subject of an unlawful union-led boycott.
Boral claims the Construction, ­Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has engineered a boycott of its concrete business in Melbourne as part of the fallout of the bitter ­dispute between the union and building ­company Grocon.
Boral says the boycott, which has been in place for more than a year, is costing it about $400,000 a week. ­Secondary boycotts are illegal under competition law and the competition watchdog has in the past decade ­pursued unions for breaches including the blocking of concrete deliveries.
ACCC chairman Rod Sims said the regulator had examined the case and had not found enough proof to mount a prosecution…
Boral is pursuing a tort case against the CFMEU for damages, and in detailed affidavits filed in the Victorian Supreme Court as part of the case, Boral staff claim customers had cancelled orders because of union action.
Mr Sims said the ACCC had to have reasonable grounds to launch a prosecution and the sworn court statements from staff were “hearsay” evidence that did not provide the necessary basis for court action. Also, customers had not been prepared to back Boral’s claims of a boycott...
Boral CEO Mike Kane, 10 February:
Since the middle of 2012, the CFMEU has run an orchestrated and very costly campaign against Boral for one simple reason: we have refused to give in to demands by the union that we stop doing business with one of our long-standing clients, the Grocon group, in Melbourne…
Over that time, our trucks have been stopped, our workers have been intimidated, some of our drivers harassed and threatened, and many of our clients in Victoria have had a “friendly visit” from union officials essentially warning them not to do business with us. Many of our clients have refused to toe the union’s line, for which we are eternally grateful, but it’s a tough call for many small operators.
The result is that on many occasions, our trucks have turned up at sites and have been barred from carrying on their lawful business by union heavies at the gates, supposedly on health and safety grounds. It also means there are many other occasions where we have simply missed out on work because our traditional customers don’t want to take on the union…
When we have taken the CFMEU to court in relation to their boycott campaign, the courts have ruled in our favour. We had injunctions granted 12 months ago by the Supreme Court in Victoria, but these were simply ignored by the CFMEU – further proof that some in that union believe they are above the law.
(Thanks to reader Peter of Bellevue Hill.) 

Labor factions are brawling over power, not policies

Andrew Bolt April 12 2014 (8:59am)

Dennis Shanahan is right - Labor is losing because of its pathetic policies, not party processes:
THE time has come for someone to take the Labor Party by the scruff of the neck and shake it until it recognises reality, truly admits defeat, reorders its priorities and changes key policies that have failed it repeatedly at the ballot box…
Logic and survival dictate that ... Labor has to do what Tony Abbott did to the legacy of John Howard’s Work Choices, and bury and cremate the mining and carbon taxes ...
(T)here are numerous signs that its parliamentary leadership has still not sufficiently grasped the gravity of the situation and ...  is being distracted by dangerous internal preoccupations and obsessions.
Labor faces the political horror of a base support in many areas of less than 30 per cent. If that is the case, it will be consigned to a future of almost perpetual opposition or reliance on a coalition with the Greens to return to government…
Labor has convinced itself it cannot dump the carbon tax because it will be seen as not standing for anything after almost 20 years of fighting carbon emissions… But does refusing to repeal the carbon tax mean Labor will go to the next election with the same tax? Of course not. Then why not say: “The electorate has spoken and we will be back at the next election with a better solution.”
The fact is that Labor’s debate about “reform” is in fact not a contest of ideas to present to voters but nothing more than a brawl for internal power. The Left wants to cut union influence on the party to give the far-Left membership more control. The Right wants to preserve the key source of its waning power.
Nothing more, nothing less.
(Thanks to reader Peter of Bellevue Hill.) 

And now a word, but only one, from the Coalition

Andrew Bolt April 12 2014 (8:49am)

Readers CalJ and Antony watched a Latelinedebate” between the Coalition’s much-interrupted Paul Fletcher on one side and Labor’s Ed Husic and the ABC’s Emma Alberici on the other.
Is there a reason the ABC should almost invariably be hostile territory for a conservative? 

How Latham slimes the messenger of the AWU scandal

Andrew Bolt April 12 2014 (8:39am)

Gerard Henderson, my guest on the NewsWatch segment on tomorrow Bolt Report, on Mark Latham’s latest attempt to play down the AWU slush fund scandal:
In last weekend’s ‘The Australian Financial Review’, Mark Latham argued that journalist Michael Smith should not be allowed to get “involved in the mainstream media"…
The former Labor leader described Smith as a “nut job” who did not practise “journalistic impartiality” and who had exhibited a “virulent anti-Gillard bias"…
Latham is upset that, on March 22-23, The Weekend Australian published four articles totalling 8000 words that Smith co-wrote with Hedley Thomas. The articles documented the role of the Australian Workers Union in the Dawesville Channel project in Western Australia two decades ago. This was a $60 million taxpayer-funded project that was awarded without a public tender to Thiess, the building company that made payments of more than $300,000 to the slush fund..
The authors also focused on the operations of the AWU Workplace Reform Association, then controlled by the Perth-based AWU official Bruce Wilson. Wilson was, for a time, the boyfriend and legal client of former prime minister Julia Gillard.
Latham’s column did not contain one word of criticism of what Smith and Thomas wrote. Not one. His position was that Smith was a nut job…
It may be that nothing will come of the allegations concerning Gillard’s involvement with Wilson and the AWU slush fund. She denies any wrongdoing. But this is a legitimate journalistic story.
It is known that Gillard left Slater & Gordon following internal criticism of her involvement in providing legal advice to establish the AWU Workplace Reform Association… There is an ongoing Victoria Police Fraud Squad investigation ... and a royal commission has been established to probe union slush funds.
But to Latham, it is not an issue…
For Latham to answer genuine questions about a genuine scandal with the most vicious personal abuse of a journalist who first raise the issue is contemptible.
(Thanks to reader Peter of Bellevue Hill.) 

It’s Labor’s Left that wants the unions to leave

Andrew Bolt April 12 2014 (7:51am)

This is not likely to please Right-wing power brokers such as Victorian Senator Steve Conroy - which I suspect is the whole idea. You can imagine the language if the profane Conroy publicly spoke his mind:

A SWEEPING overhaul of Labor Party rules to crack down on factional branch stacking and increase membership involvement in the ALP is central to the review of Bill Shorten’s Victorian branch. The review backs a marked increase in grassroots ­engagement and a more centralised approach to membership, ­including traceable fees, to be paid electronically by individuals rather than in cash, which will curb the ability of the factions to stack branches.
The Victorian overhaul will be a test run for next year’s ALP ­national conference…
The rule changes are contained in a document prepared by former Victorian Labor official Andrew McKenzie and are set to be debated at next month’s ­Victorian ALP conference.
If adopted, the review could see the steady erosion of the power of many local branches, traditionally the domain from which factional warlords draw their power. The review notes an increasing number of people signing up as “central’’ members rather than through local ­branches in the suburbs…
A senior figure from the Labor Right attacked the decision to prevent members paying their dues in cash and warned that the ­McKenzie reforms went too far in dismantling party structures. “They are making the party a middle-class wank fest,’’ he said.
Such language! I doubt Conroy would say anything less pungent.
Needless to add, McKenzie is of the Socialist Left
For conservatives the choice is this: to back a change to Labor rules that gives the party’s far-Left New Class more power over the more conservative unions and makes Labor less electable; or resist a change that makes Labor more dangerous if it does finally get back in power.
New Senator-elect Joe Bullock, a former union boss, spells it out:
UNDER-fire WA senator-elect Joe Bullock says he was surprised when a key union affiliated with Labor said he should step down over controversial comments, labelling the attack “wrong” and “silly"…
Mr Bullock had told a Christian group in November that [fellow Labor Senate candidate Louise] Pratt was a “poster child” for gay marriage, adding that some Labor members were “mad” and that he saw himself as a bulwark against “every weird leftie trend”.
Today Mr Bullock said he was “absolutely” surprised United Voice WA secretary Carolyn Smith had denounced his comments as “inexcusable"…
“She’s on the left, you know… There are those on the left who believe the Labor Party belongs to the left, and there are those of us who disagree and say that the Labor Party can only be successful if it broadens its base to appeal to the average working person,” he said.
“I believe that if the Labor Party excludes the likes of me, then it loses its opportunity to broaden its base.”

Greens candidate in a house with no mirrors

Andrew Bolt April 12 2014 (7:41am)

Greens candidate Iain Fyffe says we should not weaken a tough law that limits free speech given it ”fosters a well-mannered, tolerant and respectful society”:
Andrew Bolt, for example, could be made immune from prosecution, no matter what social mayhem he contrives. It’d be safer to remove the muzzle from a rabid pit bull in a kindergarten…
Either Tony Abbott is supremely devious or he’s just plain thick. Given the big ears and the way he speaks so slowly at times strongly suggests the latter.
The Greens really are beyond parody. 

Bob Carr and the diary of a tourist

Andrew Bolt April 12 2014 (7:21am)

Chris Kenny, for five years a media advisor and chief of staff to Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, sums up the achievements of another foreign minister, diarist Bob Carr:
Those things Carr claims as achievements — such as the small arms treaty, deepening relations with China and India — were set in train long before he landed the job, as was the crowning glory of Australia’s election to a temporary seat at the UN Security Council.
Carr will cherish this slice of history but it belongs to Rudd and owes much to the prostitution of our aid budget and capitulation on Israel (the one policy on which Carr had a strong impact).
His thinking was guided by what was acceptable in Europe and what was politically saleable in the Muslim-influenced electorates of Sydney…
Remember Carr was crass enough to denounce Israeli settlements as illegal when speaking from the steps of the Lakemba mosque.  And he sent senior diplomats to Tehran to join a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement.
As foreign minister he was pained by being out of step with the overwhelming majority of UN nations — something he shouldn’t have given a moment’s thought.
It is illuminating that Carr was motivated to act on Israel while issues more vital to our national interest went begging.
Carr’s diary reveals the right instincts on border protection (voiced publicly after the election). But while the asylum-seeker issue was arguably the gravest foreign policy challenge during his time, he seemed to sidestep it.
Carr travelled much more extensively than was required, tweeting selfies with his interlocutors. He had the perfect pretext, with the UNSC bid making a visit to any country or forum justifiable in the quest for votes. But it often looked like tourism.
Peter Hartcher is brilliantly devastating:

Carr’s new diary reveals a Don Quixote figure, where the great struggles and heroic deeds take place in his imagination.
Consider Carr’s thoughts as he sat at the table with the leaders of all the world’s major powers at the Group of 20 summit in St Petersburg last year. Carr, though only a foreign affairs minister among leaders, was representing Australia because his leader, Kevin Rudd, was immersed in an election campaign.

Carr summarises comments by Russia’s Vladimir Putin, the IMF’s Christine Lagarde, China’s Xi Jinping, India’s Manmohan Singh, Japan’s Shinzo Abe, Canada’s Stephen Harper, all speaking about the world economy.
“I look around,” writes Carr. “Twenty leaders here. Parliamentary careerists, technocrats, political buccaneers, clan chieftains, dynastic heirs. As Gore Vidal remarked looking down on the US Senate, ‘I cannot feel humble.’ Interested, curious, of course. Just not humble’.”
The great man’s attention wanders. He thinks about what might be cooking for dinner. He sings in his head a 1939 song, Watercolour of Brazil. It never fails to lift his spirits, we learn.
“Slightly delirious, I indulge a fantasy of the world leaders moving from behind these tables, linking one another in a conga line and led by Putin – with Obama clutching his hips…
“How disrespectful. But there’s little to inspire respect in the contributions I had just heard. Having privatised three big enterprises and fought excessive union claims and struggled with State budgets I didn’t feel that any here – amiable democrats though many of them are – could teach me much."…
These lesser leaders, you’d think, were surely lucky to have a man of Carr’s calibre at the table, available to offer his counsel…
Surely Carr, representing the incoming chair country, was preparing to summon his wisdom and experience to help guide the group purposefully towards their agreed goal of structural reform?
So much for what went on inside Carr’s head. This is what he actually did: Nothing. He said nothing. He did nothing. He went to dinner.
When the summit was over, the leaders preparing to depart, our hero had another chance to demonstrate his mastery. The international media gathered for the press conference that is always held by the incoming chair country, in this case Australia. Here was a chance for Carr to contribute towards the G-20 agenda for the year ahead, with ideas so compelling that the group would be sure to embrace them.
What did Carr say? Nothing. He cancelled the press conference and left St Petersburg without explanation. He was mute. He had nothing to offer. No ideas, no words, not even a conga line.
Labor MP Anthony Byrne:
If you ever wanted an example of the narcissism, self-indulgence and immaturity that ran through the Labor party during its six years in government, Bob Carr is it. 









What would Joseph Campbell say? Something paternalistic, I bet.















=== Posts from last year ===
4 her, so she knows how I see her


Keep the Change: Hank Williams Jr. Unleashes Fiery New Anthem (Video)

Days after being dropped from ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” Hank Williams Jr. fired back at that network, “Fox and Friends” and what he called the “United Socialist States of America” in his signature style – a song bellowing biting lyrics in between guitar licks.



The Coalition this week launched our plan for Fast Broadband and an Affordable NBN.

Read - and click 'SHARE' - so you and your friends know what a few of the experts said about our plan:





The Last Tornado at Campo.

While going through my photos, I saw this picture and adjusted the contrast and lo and behold what should pop out but the last tornado of the day. It was pretty shrouded, but pops once a small adjustment was made. What a cool discovery!


To the person who posted an ad on Gumtree that said I was giving away adorable kittens - Well Played. I've already received 8 phone calls (one of which was at 5:30am this morning) and 3 text messages about them. 

Enjoy your victory for now, for this prank war has only just begun... (Although must admit, the background information on this ad is bloody hilarious!)

Beneath the surface of museum masterpieces lie the secrets of the art world, and airport scanners are now revealing these hidden pieces:

California Stormin'

Cars zip through the Altamont Pass as a rare California storm looms forwards while trying to organize...
 — with Miguel De La Cruz at Altamont Pass.

Yuri Gagarin




Holidays and observances[edit]

““He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”” - 1 Peter 2:24
Morning and evening by Charles Spurgeon


"I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint."
Psalm 22:14
Did earth or heaven ever behold a sadder spectacle of woe! In soul and body, our Lord felt himself to be weak as water poured upon the ground. The placing of the cross in its socket had shaken him with great violence, had strained all the ligaments, pained every nerve, and more or less dislocated all his bones. Burdened with his own weight, the august sufferer felt the strain increasing every moment of those six long hours. His sense of faintness and general weakness were overpowering; while to his own consciousness he became nothing but a mass of misery and swooning sickness. When Daniel saw the great vision, he thus describes his sensations, "There remained no strength in me, for my vigour was turned into corruption, and I retained no strength:" how much more faint must have been our greater Prophet when he saw the dread vision of the wrath of God, and felt it in his own soul! To us, sensations such as our Lord endured would have been insupportable, and kind unconsciousness would have come to our rescue; but in his case, he was wounded, and felt the sword; he drained the cup and tasted every drop.
"O King of Grief! (a title strange, yet true
To thee of all kings only due)
O King of Wounds! how shall I grieve for thee,
Who in all grief preventest me!"
As we kneel before our now ascended Saviour's throne, let us remember well the way by which he prepared it as a throne of grace for us; let us in spirit drink of his cup, that we may be strengthened for our hour of heaviness whenever it may come. In his natural body every member suffered, and so must it be in the spiritual; but as out of all his griefs and woes his body came forth uninjured to glory and power, even so shall his mystical body come through the furnace with not so much as the smell of fire upon it.


"Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins."
Psalm 25:18
It is well for us when prayers about our sorrows are linked with pleas concerning our sins--when, being under God's hand, we are not wholly taken up with our pain, but remember our offences against God. It is well, also, to take both sorrow and sin to the same place. It was to God that David carried his sorrow: it was to God that David confessed his sin. Observe, then, we must take our sorrows to God. Even your little sorrows you may roll upon God, for he counteth the hairs of your head; and your great sorrows you may commit to him, for he holdeth the ocean in the hollow of his hand. Go to him, whatever your present trouble may be, and you shall find him able and willing to relieve you. But we must take our sins to God too. We must carry them to the cross, that the blood may fall upon them, to purge away their guilt, and to destroy their defiling power.
The special lesson of the text is this:--that we are to go to the Lord with sorrows and with sins in the right spirit. Note that all David asks concerning his sorrow is, "Look upon mine affliction and my pain;" but the next petition is vastly more express, definite, decided, plain--"Forgive all my sins." Many sufferers would have put it, "Remove my affliction and my pain, and look at my sins." But David does not say so; he cries, "Lord, as for my affliction and my pain, I will not dictate to thy wisdom. Lord, look at them, I will leave them to thee, I should be glad to have my pain removed, but do as thou wilt; but as for my sins, Lord, I know what I want with them; I must have them forgiven; I cannot endure to lie under their curse for a moment." A Christian counts sorrow lighter in the scale than sin; he can bear that his troubles should continue, but he cannot support the burden of his transgressions.
[Jēhoi'a chĭn] - jehovah doth establish.
A son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, who was placed on the throne by Nebuchadnezzar, but only reigned for three months. He was carried away to Babylon and remained a captive until freed from prison by Evil-merodach and given palace favors (2 Kings 24:8, 12, 15; 25:272 Chron. 36:8, 9Jer. 52:31). Also called Coniah (see Jer. 22:24, 28; 37:1).
The Woman Who Wrongly Opposed Her Husband
Scripture Reference: Exodus 2:21, 22Exodus 4:24, 25Exodus 18:1-6
Name Meaning: A Midian name, Zipporah means "a little bird," "a sparrow." Wilkinson observes that "the feminine termination ah added to the common word Zippor, which is also the father of Balak, king of Moab." Such a name like "dove" or "lamb" would originally be a term of endearment, and thus the word passer - "a sparrow" - is used by the Roman poets. Passer is also being found as a Roman family name. The root of this word is an Arabic verb, signifying "to chirp."
Family Connections: Zipporah was one of the seven daughters of Jethro who is also called Reuel and Raguel (Exodus 2:18; 4:24, 25; 18:1-6Numbers 10:29 ). It was to the home of this shepherd-priest in Midian that Moses came when at forty years of age he fled from Egypt, and meeting the seven girls drawing water Moses assisted them. Arriving home earlier than usual they told how the Egyptian had helped them. Brought up as a son of Pharaoh, Moses must have looked every inch a cultured Egyptian. Invited home, Moses was content to live with Jethro's family, and married Zipporah, eldest of the seven daughters. Two sons were born of the union, Gershom and Eliezer. Some writers affirm, without adequate support, that the dark-skinned Ethiopian, "the Cushite woman" whom Miriam and Aaron were jealous over, is merely a description of Zipporah, and that therefore Moses was only married once. But the statement "He had married an Ethiopian woman" implies a recent occurrence, and that Zipporah, whom Moses had married 40 years previously, was dead. It is most unlikely that Miriam and Aaron would have waited all those years to murmur against Moses if Zipporah and the Ethiopian had been one and the same woman.
Zipporah, as a woman of Midian, did not share the spiritual values of her notable husband who found himself acting against the sacred tradition of Israel. This may be one reason why he named his second son Eliezer, meaning "The Lord of my father was my help." To keep the peace, Moses compromised with his unbelieving wife and withheld circumcision, the sign of God's covenant, from Eliezer. The Lord intervened, and as a sign of divine displeasure, Moses is stricken with a mortal disease. Both Zipporah and Moses became conscience-stricken over the profanation of God's covenant, and Zipporah yields. Moses is too prostrate to take a knife and circumcize the child, so his wife severed the boy's foreskin and, throwing it down before Moses said, "Surely a bloody husband art thou to me."
When Moses was restored to health relations in the home were not congenial, for he went on alone to Egypt, and Zipporah and the two sons went back to her home in Midian. Of this unhappy incident Alexander Whyte says, "There are three most obscure and most mysterious verses in Moses' history that mean, if they mean anything at all to us, just such an explosion of ill-temper as must have left its mark till death on the heart of Moses and Zipporah. The best of wives; his help meet given him of God; the most self-effacing of women; the wife who holds her husband in her heart as the wisest and best of men - under sufficient trial and provocation and exasperation, even she will turn and will strike with just one word; just once in her whole married lifetime."
When Moses became the mighty leader and law-giver of Israel, there was the episode when Jethro, his father-in-law came out to the wilderness to see Moses and brought with him Zipporah and the two sons. The union was devoid of any restraint for Moses graciously received them and neither disowned nor ignored his wife and sons. But after this visit during which Jethro gave his over-burdened son-in-law some very practical advice, nothing more is said of Zipporah. She disappears without comment from the history of the Jewish people in which her husband figured so prominently. "Neither as the wife of her husband nor as the mother of her children did she leave behind her a legacy of spiritual riches." How different it would have been if only she had fully shared her husband's unusual meekness and godliness and, like him, left behind footprints in the sands of time!

Today's reading: 1 Samuel 17-18, Luke 11:1-28 (NIV)

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Today's Old Testament reading: 1 Samuel 17-18

David and Goliath
1 Now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled at Sokoh in Judah. They pitched camp at Ephes Dammim, between Sokoh and Azekah. 2 Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines. 3 The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley between them.
4 A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span. 5He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. 7 His spear shaft was like a weaver's rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him.
8 Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, "Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me...."

Today's New Testament reading: Luke 11:1-28

Jesus' Teaching on Prayer
1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."
2 He said to them, "When you pray, say:
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.'"
5 Then Jesus said to them, "Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.' 7 And suppose the one inside answers, 'Don't bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can't get up and give you anything.' 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need....
Today's Prayer

God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

-- the tax collector in Luke 18, who in his awareness of his own sin would not even look up to heaven as he prayed

Today's Scripture Reading: John 12:20-33

20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. "Sir," they said, "we would like to see Jesus." 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
23 Jesus replied, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
27 "Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!"
Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again." 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
30 Jesus said, "This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
Today's Quote

"My life afrights me. For when carefully reviewed, its whole course shows in my sight like one great sin; or at least it is well-nigh nothing but barrenness. Or, if any fruit is seen in it, that fruit is so false, or so imperfect, or in some way or other so tainted with decay and corruption, that it must needs either fail to satisfy God, or else utterly offend Him." -Anselm

Something to Think About

All of us have sinned--if we were without sin, Jesus' sacrifice would not have been necessary to assure us a relationship with God. This week, take time to identify the temptations and sins that you struggle with. Are there unconfessed sins in your life that you need to bring before Jesus?

Today's Lent reading: John 1-2 (NIV)

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The Word Became Flesh
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world....
Knowing Him - An Easter Devotional


How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance–now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.... Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. ( Hebrews 9:14-15; 10:11-14)
For centuries the Hebrew people watched their priests performing the rituals of the tabernacle and then the temple. The word priest means “one who stands,” and these were indeed people who stood before the people on behalf of God, helping the people bring their sacrifices in worship. The high priest did such special things as going into the most holy place of the temple and offering the most intimate prayers on behalf of the people.
With Jesus all that changed. He came and took the role of the highest priest, the one mediator between God and man (1 Tim.2:5). He came and told us that the lessons learned from the temple and the priests and the animal sacrifices–lessons about our sin and the terrible judgment pronounced on sin and the possibility of substitute sacrifices–had been learned, and that he had come to be the fulfillment
Jesus is the great high priest. He also is the sacrifice. He came to be “the mediator of a new covenant” (Heb. 9:15). He is the “ransom” (“redemption”).
But Jesus is quite different from all of the earlier high priests. “Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties,” but these sacrifices “can never take away sins.” What those priests did was to provide a picture of and a teaching about forgiveness. Jesus actually accomplished it. He was both God and man, and thus stood before us linking heaven and earth. His death was the ultimate sacrifice, and indeed the only sacrifice that truly mattered.
Risen from the dead, and returned to the Father, he now continues to be the link between God and man. He doesn’t “stand” anymore, now he sits at the throne of God.
Ponder This: What is the uppermost concern in your life today that you would like to be brought by the great high priest to the throne of God?


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.

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