Saturday, April 19, 2014

Sat Apr 19th Todays News

One of the greatest books of the greatest US writers is now largely forgotten. Jurgen is a fantasy set in a fantasy land that is faintly European. The protagonist is an ageing pawn broker who was a poet in his youth. He sees a priest stub a toe on a cobblestone and curse the devil. He upbraids the priest, pointing out the devil had done far more work than the priest ever did. A large man of no necessary (to record) description thanked Jurgen for taking his part. And offered to reward him. Jurgen says that it is too late, because he is married. When Jurgen goes home, his wife has disappeared. Jurgen is fine with that, but family convince him he needs to do the manly thing and journey to get her back. On his journey, he finds a pink cave and, on donning a magic shirt, is transported into his earlier self, and meets those he loved or dreamed of, including Guinevere, Helen of Troy and his first love. It was published in 1919 and immediately faced legal troubles with censorship. It took three years in court, and finally was cleared for publication, but not until James Branch Cabell had added a chapter to it addressing censors. A greater work is the later Figures of Earth. 

On this day in 1925, Mae West was sentenced to ten days jail for her play she wrote and starred in, Sex. The play had run for ten months, and was seen by over 325,000 patrons before the censors sprang into action. The play had been inspired by a prostitute West had seen in 1924. The girl wore street clothes and had a sailor in each arm and West had remarked she could afford better clothes, but her taxi companion pointed out she couldn't and told her of the economics of the transaction. Fifty cents a trick might be the name of a modern rapper, but in 1924 it was a piece work salary. The play was not particularly inspired with original direction, but, Mae meant it as an instruction to liberate women. 

Censors managed to obscure the brilliant and pathetic, but as with those who attempted to kill Hitler, they just missed their mark. 

For twenty two years I have been responsibly addressing an issue, and I cannot carry on. I am petitioning the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott 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 https://www.change.org/en-AU/petitions/tony-abbott-remedy-the-persecution-of-dd-ball
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Hatches
Happy birthday and many happy returns Linda Nguyen. Born the same day Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI passed a law letting girls inherit Habsburg lands. Coincidence? I don't think so.
Matches
Despatches
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LIVE BY THE CODE

Tim Blair – Saturday, April 19, 2014 (4:38am)

Margo Kingston exposes a wicked conspiracy at the core of NSW politics:

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Students of psychology may find traces of paranoid personality disorder in Margo’s terrified analysis, which seems to run like this: Imre is Tim’s friend, therefore the premier of NSW is not a moderate person. Or maybe she’s really on to something, and Imre is taking over the state in the stealthy manner of his fellow Zionists. Elsewhere, Margo is nowexecutive editor of something called No Fibs, in which capacity she recently covered coal mining protests in NSW: 
I’ve never been an ‘embedded journalist’ before, and it’s testing. I was allowed inside the #leardblockade camp and was privy to its plans and problems, most of which I could not report as it would tip off the other side. 
Whoa! Margo admits to suppressing information for the benefit of her ideological allies. There is also horrible, horrible music:



Interestingly, Kingston’s own site requires that all contributors “abide by the MEAA Journalists’ Code of Ethics”, swearing the site is “bound by the MEAA code of ethics” and ordering the site’s volunteers to “abide by the MEAA code of ethics at all times.” Let’s see what that code of ethics actually demands: 
Report and interpret honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts. Do not suppress relevant available facts, or give distorting emphasis …
Do not allow personal interest, or any belief, commitment, payment, gift or benefit, to undermine your accuracy, fairness or independence …
Disclose conflicts of interest that affect, or could be seen to affect, the accuracy, fairness or independence of your journalism … 
One: Margo Kingston, by her own declaration, is an activist rather than a journalist. Two: if Kingston is still receiving government funding through Macquarie University, all such payments should be stopped. Three: due to clear violation of her union’s code, the MEAA should revoke Kingston’s membership.
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EARTH’S REVENGE

Tim Blair – Saturday, April 19, 2014 (4:19am)

Via Jo Nova:

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RACIAL PROFILING

Tim Blair – Saturday, April 19, 2014 (3:03am)

Guardian columnist Vanessa Badham has a question for the Attorney-General: 
Dear George Brandis,
Why is it, d’ya think, that the only people who want to destroy 18c are white? 
Two questions for Vanessa: Are you judging these people by their mere appearance? How do you know that these alleged white people don’t identify as Aboriginal?
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SCOTT BECLOWNED

Tim Blair – Saturday, April 19, 2014 (2:57am)

It’s all over for Mark Scott. The ABC boss seems to have attracted some species of Doom Clown:

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MORNING IN TEXAS

Tim Blair – Friday, April 18, 2014 (9:40pm)

From Gas Monkey Garage’s excellent collection of staff family photographs:

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“That’s Christie as a baby. That’s her dad sleeping. And yes, that’s a gun hanging on the bed post.”
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Bandt proves Brandis right: yes, the Greens want debate suppressed

Andrew Bolt April 19 2014 (12:49pm)

Free speech, Global warming - propaganda

Amazing. Attorney-General George Brandis accuses global warming extremists of being medievally intolerant by trying to shut down debate and the what do the Greens do? Prove him right:
ADAM BANDT (acting Greens leader):  I mean, if someone said ‘two plus two equals five’, would you insist on giving them as much airtime in the media as someone who said ‘two plus two equals four’? That’s in effect what the country’s highest law officer is arguing, and it’s very worrying.
WILL OCKENDEN: ...In your example of ‘two plus two equals five’, isn’t the free speech element an argument here saying ‘yes you’re wrong, but here’s why’, rather than just shouting them down?
ADAM BANDT: The science has been through one of the most rigorous peer-reviewed processes it can go through. And the answer that’s coming out from people right across the political spectrum, if you take your ideological goggles off for a moment, is that unless we act soon, the Australian way of life is under enormous threat from global warming.
WILL OCKENDEN: Should people be able to, though, nonetheless be able to say that climate change doesn’t exist?
ADAM BANDT: Well people are saying that, and they’re saying it at the moment and they’re wrong. The science community is now essentially speaking with one voice.  To say someone without science training can somehow simply on a free speech basis say that they’re all wrong is a very feudal way of thinking.
Bandt is recklessly, stupidly and in my opinion probably deceitfully wrong. He is not simply in favor of stopping sceptics from saying untruths - which would be illiberal and dangerous in any event.
In fact, he seems to want to stop sceptics from saying the truth - that key predictions of warmist scientists have been alarmist and in critical cases already proven false.
Here are some of the warmist scientists who Bandt falsely claims were simply saying “two plus two equals four” - but in fact were arguing they made five or even six degrees:
In 2007 Professor Tim Flannery, now Climate Council head, : “The soil is warmer because of global warming and the plants are under more stress and therefore using more moisture. So even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and our river systems...”
In fact: Queensland, NSW and Victoria have since suffered severe floods. Dams in Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra have all filled.
In 2009 Bertrand Timbal, a Bureau of Meteorology climatologist, predicted: “The rainfall we had in the 1950s, 60s and 70s was a benchmark, but we are just not going to have that sort of good rain again as long as the system is warming up.”
In fact: The Bureau has since declared 2010 and 2011 “Australia’s wettest two-year period on record”.
In 1999 Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Queensland University reef expert and an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change lead author, predicted warming would so heat the oceans that mass bleaching of the Reef would occur every second year from 2010.
In fact: The Reef’s last mass bleaching occurred in 2006.
In 2000 Hoegh-Guldberg claimed “we now have more evidence that corals cannot fully recover from bleaching episodes such as the major event in 1998” and “the overall damage is irreparable”.
In fact:  Hoegh-Guldberg admitted in 2009 he was “overjoyed” to see how much the reef had recovered and the Australian Institute of Marine Science says “most reefs recovered fully”.
In 2007 Professor Mike Archer, dean of science at the University of NSW, said: “Forget Venice; I mean we’re talking about sharks in the middle of Sydney” because the seas would rise “100 metres”.  The ABC’s chief science presenter, Robyn Williams, agreed “it is possible, yes” this would occur before the end of this century.
In fact: Sea level rises for the past 20 years have averaged just 3.2mm a year, according to the University of Colorado monitoring – or 30cm a century. 
In 2003 Melbourne warmist scientist David Karoly claimed “drought severity in the Murray Darling is increasing with global warming”.
In fact: the rains returned, the Murray-Darling flooded and the Climate Commission in 2011 admitted “it is difficult from observations alone to unequivocally identify anything that is distinctly unusual about the post-1950 pattern [of rainfall]”.
In 2008 Professor Tim Flannery asked people to imagine “a world five years from now, when there is no more ice over the Arctic”, and Al Gore predicted “the entire north polar ice cap will be gone in five years”.  Ted Scambos, of the US Snow and Ice Data Centre, told the ABC there was “a very strong case that in 2012 or 2013 we’ll have an ice-free (summer) Arctic”.
In fact: At the height of the summer melt last year, the Arctic was still covered by 6 million square kilometres of ice, more than in the previous three years.
In 2000 Dr David Viner, of the Climatic Research Unit of Britain’s University of East Anglia, claimed that within a few years winter snowfall would become “a very rare and exciting event” and “children just aren’t going to know what snow is”. In 2007 Sir John Houghton, former head of Britain’s Met Office, said “less snow is absolutely in line with what we expect from global warming.”
In fact: Five of the northern hemisphere’s six snowiest winters in the past 46 years have occurred since Viner’s prediction, according to Rutgers University Global Snow Lab numbers. Over two-thirds of the contiguous USA were covered with snow in the winter of 2013/14.
In 2007 Britain’s Met Office said: “By 2014 we’re predicting it will be 0.3 degrees warmer than 2004”.
In fact: The Met Office data for 2013 confirmed there had been no statistically significant rise in global atmospheric temperatures for at least 16 years.
In 2012 Professor Matthew England, a University of NSW climate scientist, claimed there was no hiatus in global warming and sceptics claiming that the warming was lower than predicted by the IPCC were “lying”.
In fact: In 2014 Professor England admitted there was a “plateau in global average temperatures”, after all.  Climate scientist Professor Judith Curry told the US Congress this year: “For the past 16 years, there has been no significant increase in surface temperature… The IPCC does not have a convincing or confident explanation for this hiatus in warming.”
(This is from a much longer list of spectacularly dud predictions I’ve put together for my chapter of a forthcoming IPA book, which you can support here.)

But the central fact that Bandt and his new inquistors are trying to suppress is that the atmosphere has essentially not warmed for some 16 years.  What they want to suppress is discussion like this:
What Britain’s Met Office predicted in 2007:

By 2014 we’re predicting it will be 0.3 degrees warmer than 2004 [red dot on graphics below], and just to put that into context the warming over the past century and a half has only been 0.7 degrees, globally, there have been bigger changes locally but globally the warming is 0.7 degrees. So 0.3 degrees over the next ten years is pretty significant. And half the years after 2009 are predicted to be hotter than 1998 which was the previous record. So these are very strong statements about what will happen over the next ten years, so again I think this illustrates we can already see signs of climate change but over the next ten years we are expecting to see quite significant changes occurring. 
What actually happened:

With none of the fanfare that accompanied their prediction of the global temperature for the forthcoming year the Met Office has quietly released the global temperature for 2013. It will come as no surprise after the 2013 temperatures released by NASA and NOAA that it shows the global temperature standstill – now at 17 years – continues. Once again the Met Office predicted the following year would be considerably warmer than it turned out to be. There is something seriously wrong with the Met Office’s forecasts. 
I really think we’re owed an apology or at least an explanation:
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Bandt and his kind are not trying to silence people who tell dangerous falsehoods about global warming. They are instead trying to protect them - and trying to suppress the truth. (Thanks to reader Andrew McIntyre.)
UPDATE
Reader Jimbo:
Andrew, It would be great if Adam Bandt was invited onto your programme to nut out these issues. To simply cut and paste information with a closing paragraph I consider lazy and increasingly tiresome. You have, at your disposal every Sunday morning to sit down and sincerely discuss important issues. Why not dedicate a whole programme to a solitary issue? Invite the guy on and at least have a conversation about it.
Just out of curiosity, how many “alarmist” have appeared on your show as opposed to “sceptics”?
Jimbo:
1. Most of the words I’ve “cut and paste” are actually my own, as I made clear. You read them here for the first time.
2. I’ve invited Bandt on several times, and his leader even more often. We’ve been rejected every time. Why don’t you ask Bandt to accept my invitation?
3. I’ve had warmists on my show and quizzed them. They include Professor Will Steffen, Anthony Albanese and Greg Hunt. Yes, I wish more would turn up but everyone else I’ve asked has refused: Tim Flannery, Will Steffen (again), Penny Wong, Peter Garrett, Don Henry, Ian Low, Simon Sheik....
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The Bolt Report tomorrow

Andrew Bolt April 19 2014 (10:20am)

On the show tomorrow – Network 10 at 10am and 4pm....
It’s the cover-up, every time… Two urgent lessons from Barry O’Farrell’s fall.
Assistant Minister for Infrastructure Jamie Briggs on how to stop the usual cranks from blocking Sydney’s second airport.
The panel: Michael Kroger and Kimberley Kitching on scandals, Mike Baird, airports, broken promises and more.
On NewsWatch - and to mark the weekend Marxism 2014 conference - my favourite Marxist, Brendan O’Neill, on the enemies of freedom.
Plus more, including Harrison Ford’s scary new God for Easter.
The videos of the shows appear here.
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The new racism - one protected by law

Andrew Bolt April 19 2014 (10:09am)

The kind of racism encouraged by the “reconciliation” industry. The kind of racism I cannot safely discuss and denounce - thanks to a Federal Court decision to ban two of my articles and declare my opinion (on the choice certain people have to identify as Aboriginal) an error of fact. 
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Hedley Thomas vs Waleed Aly on the AWU scandal. Not a fair fight

Andrew Bolt April 19 2014 (9:53am)

The AWU scandal

Hedley Thomas says the silly police should just listen to ABC host Waleed Aly, an instant expert on the ”complete non-scandal surrounding the Australian Workers Union and Julia Gillard’s time as a labour lawyer”:

IT is time to call off the dogs. Stand down, Detective Sergeant Ross Mitchell. You and your misguided colleagues in the Victoria Police Fraud Squad have clearly squandered valuable time and a truckload of taxpayers’ money for 18 months in a forensic and major investigation of what you strangely suspected were crimes. 

All this time, you have been on the wrong tram. You have been investigating, as Victoria’s Chief Magistrate Peter Lauritsen put it, “the commission of four types of offence in relation to (former Australian Workers Union boss) Bruce Wilson and others — obtaining property by deception; receiving secret commissions; making and using false documents; and conspiracy to cheat and defraud”.

But for Pete’s sake, just stop now.... You must try very hard, Sergeant Mitchell, not to dwell on the finding by Lauritsen in December ...  “that, in each instance, the communication was made or the document prepared in furtherance of the commission of a fraud or an offence”, thus waiving Wilson’s right to legal client privilege.
And your troubling disclosure, Sergeant Mitchell, in your sworn evidence to Lauritsen that you believe “Wilson, (Ralph) Blewitt and others were involved in committing these offences”, really should be removed from your consciousness. This belief of yours is clearly a falsehood.
For good measure, please banish from your mind the self-incriminating confession, absent any indemnity, by Ralph Blewitt, the AWU bagman and one-time friend and ally of Wilson. Who really gives a flying fox that Blewitt has admitted to fraud with the slush fund; and explained how the fraud was orchestrated by himself and Wilson; and provided you with the document trail; and pointed your team of 10 or so detectives to the actual cheques used to siphon hundreds of thousands of dollars; and even shown how a Fitzroy terrace house was bought in his name with some of the loot?…
As a senior detective ... you really should have run it all past one of the ABC’s renowned investigators, Waleed Aly.
After all, Aly, who speaks to several hundred thousand Australians every day as a Radio National presenter, ...  knows that there is nothing in it.
He said so this week when he wrote in The Sydney Morning Herald of the “bizarre pursuit of the complete non-scandal surrounding the Australian Workers Union and Julia Gillard’s time as a labour lawyer”....
And while you’re at it, Sergeant Mitchell, can you please disregard the statutory declaration of AWU employee Wayne Hem, who has sworn that he deposited $5000 in cash in Gillard’s personal bank account at Wilson’s direction when the slush fund was thriving?
Yes, it is a difficult one: the former PM has said she can’t recall the payment, which in the mid-1990s was worth quite a bit more than a 1959 bottle of Grange.... But we hasten to add, Sergeant Mitchell, that Gillard ...  has strenuously and repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. It was a long time ago. Move along, please.
(Thanks to reader Walms.) 
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More Labor waste

Andrew Bolt April 19 2014 (9:41am)

Yet another dud Labor spendathon - and how many of them did we get?:
A $115 MILLION Labor-era scheme to increase the supply of affordable homes in regional cities has joined the rollcall of taxpayer-funded projects that have failed to achieve value for money and fallen woefully short of targets.
The Building Better Regional Cities program, launched by Julia Gillard on the first day of the 2010 election campaign, was designed to provide infrastructure grants to councils to help support the delivery of 8000 homes and reduce housing stress in capital cities.
Just 2969 “affordable homes’’ in 15 regional cities including Wollongong, Ballina, Port Macquarie and Hervey Bay are expected to be delivered when the program is completed in mid-2016.
Each subsidised lot or dwelling will end up costing taxpayers about $38,100 in grant funding — more than three times the $12,500 per home originally envisaged, a federal audit report has revealed.
Just disgraceful. Add this to the school halls, the “free” insulation, the grants to dud green schemes like geothermal and wave generators, the solar hot water grants, the GP superclinics, the NBN ... Absolutely shameful.
Lesson: governments are usually best when they let you spend your own money, and worst when they decide to spend it for you.
(Thanks to several cross readers.) 
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In praise of George Brandis

Andrew Bolt April 19 2014 (9:23am)

British Marxist Brendan O’Neill, editor of Spiked and visiting scholar at the Centre for Independent Studies, is inspired by Attorney-General George Brandis, who gets a hearing few journalists here have allowed him:
Brandis has doggedly, and often controversially, devoted himself to reforming the section of the Oz Racial Discrimination Act that forbids people from ‘offending, insulting or humiliating’ a person or group on the basis of their racial or ethnic origins. Why has he done this? ... Why has he allowed himself to be branded by many on the Australian left as a ‘friend of bigots’ ...?
‘Because’, he says, ‘if you are going to defend freedom of speech, you have to defend the right of people to say things you would devote your political life to opposing. Your good faith is tested by whether or not you would defend the right to free speech of people with whom you profoundly disagree. That’s the test.’
In an era when European politicians are forever battling it out to see who can outlaw the most forms of ‘hate speech’, when Canada hauls so-called hate speakers before its Human Rights Commission to justify themselves, ...  Brandis’s single-minded campaign to rein in Australia’s hate-speech laws is quite something. In fact it feels positively weird to hear a mainstream politician ... talk about the ‘limits of the state to interfere with the utterance of ideas, beliefs and opinions’…
He describes the climate-change debate – or non-debate, or anti-debate, to be really pedantic but also accurate – as one of the ‘great catalysing moments’ in his views about the importance of free speech. He isn’t a climate-change denier… But he has nonetheless found himself ‘really shocked by the sheer authoritarianism of those who would have excluded from the debate the point of view of people who were climate-change deniers’....
He describes how Penny Wong ... would ‘stand up in the Senate and say “The science is settled”. In other words, “I am not even going to engage in a debate with you”. It was ignorant, it was medieval, the approach of these true believers in climate change.’ .... And to Brandis, this speaks to a new and illiberal climate of anti-intellectualism, to the emergence of ‘a habit of mind and mode of discourse which would deny the legitimacy of an alternative point of view, where rather than winning the argument [they] exclude their antagonists from the argument’…
The moral straitjacketing of anyone who raises a critical peep about eco-orthodoxies is part of a growing ‘new secular public morality’, he says, ‘which seeks to impose its views on others, even at the cost of political censorship’.
The second thing that made him sharpen his pen and open his gob about the importance of freedom of speech was the case of Andrew Bolt… In 2010, he wrote some blog posts for the Herald Sun website criticising the fashion among ‘fair-skinned people’ to claim Aboriginal heritage, under the headlines: ‘It’s so hip to be black’, ‘White is the New Black’ and ‘White Fellas in the Black’… They were removed from the Herald Sun’s website. Anyone who republishes them risks being arrested and potentially jailed.
Brandis is stinging about this case. The judge ‘engaged in an act of political censorship’, he says, with a journalist ‘prohibited from expressing a point of view’. The reason Brandis is so keen to ditch the bit of the Racial Discrimination Act that allowed such a flagrant act of ideological censorship to take place in twenty-first-century Australia is because while it is justified as a guard against outbursts of dangerous racism, actually it allows the state to police and punish legitimate public speech and debate. ‘And the moment you establish the state as the arbiter of what might be said, you establish the state as the arbiter of what might be thought, and you are right in the territory that George Orwell foreshadowed’, he says…
[Brandis] didn’t help himself when he said in the Senate a couple of weeks ago that people do have the right to be bigots. That unleashed a tsunami of ridicule, even from some of his supporters. But he tells me he has no regrets. ‘I don’t regret saying that because in this debate, sooner or later – and better sooner than later – somebody had to make the Voltaire point; somebody had to make the point [about] defending the right to free speech of people with whom you profoundly disagree.’
Brandis says ... he’s bent on overhauling Section 18C ... because it expands the authority of state into the realm of thought, where it should never tread, he says. ‘...In my view, freedom of speech, by which I mean the freedom to express and articulate beliefs and opinions, is a necessary and essential precondition of political freedom.’
And the second reason he wants Section 18C massively trimmed is because he believes censorship is the worst possible tool for tackling backward thinking....
‘The left has embraced a new authoritarianism’, he says. ‘Having abandoned the attempt to control the commanding heights of the economy, they now want to control the commanding heights of opinion, and that is even more dangerous.’...
A few of Brandis’s colleagues like to privately criticise him for the way he’s fought for free speech and intellectual liberty. They should instead ask themselves why they haven’t lifted a finger to help him. Brandis should above all be admired for his courage and his principles. 
Brendan O’Neill will be my guest tomorrow on The Bolt Report on Channel 10 at 10am and 4pm.
There are probably still a couple of tickets left to see him in Melbourne after his booked-out Sydney lecture:
Nannies, Nudgers & Naggers: The New Enemies of Freedom
MELBOURNE TUESDAY 29 APRIL 6:00PM - 8:00PM

Where:  Society Restaurant
23 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Is it a top-down Orwellian “boot on the human face” that is squashing our once cherished civil liberties, or is the greater problem today the public’s fear of being free? Is our freedom being taken from us by the authorities, or is it being undermined through our own failure to exercise it? An open debate on how we can boost human freedom.
Brendan O’Neill is the editor of spiked, the magazine that wants to make history as well as report it, and is a columnist for he Big Issue in London and The Australian. He also blogs for the Daily Telegraph and has written for a variety of publications in both Europe and America. He is the author of Can I Recycle My Granny And 39 Other Eco-Dilemmas, and he is currently researching a book on snobbery.

Book at the link
UPDATE
Pope Francis on the tyranny of the enlightened:
“Even today there is a dictatorship of a narrow line of thought” which kills “people’s freedom, their freedom of conscience,” the Pope expressed in his April 10 daily Mass…
“When this phenomenon of narrow thinking enters human history, how many misfortunes,” he lamented, adding that “we all saw in the last century, the dictatorships of narrow thought, which ended up killing a lot of people...when they believed they were the overlords, no other form of thought was allowed. This is the way they think.”
Explaining how even now people foster this idolatry of “a narrow line of thought,” Pope Francis emphasized that “today we have to think in this way and if you do not think in this way, you are not modern, you’re not open or worse.”
“Often rulers say: ‘I have asked for aid, financial support for this,’ ‘But if you want this help, you have to think in this way and you have to pass this law, and this other law and this other law,” he expressed, noting that type of dictatorship “is the same as these people.”
“It takes up stones to stone the freedom of the people, the freedom of the people, their freedom of conscience, the relationship of the people with God. Today Jesus is Crucified once again.”
(Thanks to reader Tom.) 
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Pension age to 70

Andrew Bolt April 19 2014 (9:01am)

The explosion in pension costs will kill us if something is not done:
THE pension age will be pushed out to 70 in next month’s budget and may come into effect as early as 2029 under a razor-gang proposal to accelerate Labor’s plan to raise the pension age from 65 to 67.
There are no plans to cut the existing pension but consideration is being given to changing the rate of indexation for age-pension payments…
No decision has been taken on the rate of the rise in the ­retirement age and neither scheme will have any impact on the four-year budget period from Joe Hockey’s first budget on May 13.
If the change to the indexation rate does not apply in this term of government, Tony Abbott will technically not have broken his promise of ”no changes to the pension”. Even so, it will be hard to sell an indexation change, which will in time affect the same pensioners who were given last year’s promise.
The only way this will be accepted, of course, is if everyone else takes a hit in the Budget, too. Be certain, then, that pain is coming.
UPDATE
Dennis Shanahan:
(T)here is political as well as economic reasoning behind what would seem to be a suicidal approach to a budget where the retirement age for age pension will be lifted to 70, perhaps as soon as 2029, pension indexation is being looked at, a $6 co-payment for visits to the general practitioner is being considered, the “age of entitlement’’ is said to be ending, and expenditure will be cut across the board.
The political basis of the budget is that having talked of a budget emergency, having convinced the public of the need for long-term structural change to deal with debt and deficit, ... the government has no choice but to deliver a tough budget…
This attitude is based on a belief that there is an appetite among voters for tough corrective economic measures to be taken — as evidenced by public polling showing support for decisions not to put more taxpayer funds into the automotive industry or Qantas and surprisingly strong support for a $6 GP visit co-payment — and an expectation the Coalition has to deliver…
This political challenge is made all the tougher because of Abbott’s pledges in opposition not to make changes to the pension, not to cut education or health, and even to spare the ABC and SBS cuts while sticking to the bipartisan acceptance of the NDIS.
(Thanks to reader Peter of Bellevue Hill.) 
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A royal tour doesn’t have to be so 1950s

Andrew Bolt April 19 2014 (8:53am)

Annette Sharp says New Zealand beat us in showing off the royals:

A royal tour is dreadfully proper and wearily formal ... Or so it was until the Kiwis revolutionised the Windsors’ itinerary with a prince v princess cricket game, a prince v princess yacht race, a gorgeous visit to a childcare centre that almost created an international incident when eight-month-old Prince George met 10 Kiwi babies of a similar age and swiped a doll from another, which he promptly threw on the floor…
There was also some predictable yet wonderful and spiritual nose rubbing, or hongi as the locals call it, a gesture which represents both greeting and exchange of breath to symbolise unity.
All of it was photographic gold for the Kiwis and a masterstroke of planning that has managed to make New Zealand look like the youthful, confident, adventurous, progressive nation it is.
And what did the Australian government have in place to return fire when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge landed here?
Since arriving on Wednesday the young royals have attended, without their photogenic son, a reception at the Opera House, a tree planting with Girl Guides, an afternoon cup of tea with the PM at Admiralty House, a meet and greet with bushfire victims in the Blue Mountains and, wait for it, a RAAF tour today. If you hadn’t noticed, apparently it is 1954.
Granted, yesterday’s schedule showed promise on paper — there was a Royal Easter Show outing, a visit with Surf Lifesavers at Manly Beach and a meet-and-greet with some children at Bear Cottage — but, sadly, the execution of the appearances have been as traditional and pedestrian as we might have feared.
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Did O’Farrell drink his Grange to forget a favor?

Andrew Bolt April 19 2014 (7:46am)

I’m having even more trouble believing Barry O’Farrell simply had a big “memory fail” about the $3000 gift he didn’t declare:
Two weeks after receiving the bottle of Grange Hermitage that would lead to his resignation as premier, Barry O’Farrell was preparing to appoint the man who bought the extravagant gift, businessman Nick Di Girolamo, to a well-paid position on a government board.
A May 3, 2011, email from the director general of Mr O’Farrell’s department, Chris Eccles, introduces Mr Di Girolamo to senior departmental officers as ‘’our replacement board member’’. Attached is a biography and photograph of Mr Di Girolamo forwarded by Mr O’Farrell’s then chief-of-staff, Peter McConnell.
When Mr Di Girolamo’s name was raised for a board appointment in the May email, Mr O’Farrell had failed to declare that only two weeks earlier he had been the recipient of a $3000 gift from Mr Di Girolamo…
The name of the board to which Mr Di Girolamo was to be appointed in May 2011 is not known and he was not installed on a board that year. But documents show that by March 2012, Mr Di Girolamo was considered for a directorship of Sydney Ports Corporation… Three months later an opening arose when corruption allegations forced the resignation of the now jailed union boss Michael Williamson, who had been appointed to the State Water Corporation in the last days of the Labor government by treasurer Eric Roozendaal.
[Treasurer and now Premier Mike] Baird and then finance minister Greg Pearce signed off on the appointment of Mr Di Girolamo to a three-year $100,000 directorship of State Water Corporation.
If I were Di Girolamo, I’d consider a $100,000 board position a fair return on a $3000 gift - especially a gift I didn’t personally pay for.
By the way, what is it about the State Water Corporation that Williamson and Di Girolamo were deemed the right people to sit on its board? 
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Who is running the ABC?

Andrew Bolt April 19 2014 (12:21am)

Gerard Henderson:
(T)he ABC is not run the way a newspaper or a commercial broadcaster is managed. Rather, its television, radio and online outlets are controlled by cliques and seem to operate independently of the editor-in-chief.
Take [managing director and editor-in-chief Mark] Scott’s role in the Chaser Boys’ (average age 38½) use of pornography against The Australian’s Chris Kenny. In The Hamster Decides program on ABC 1, which aired last September 11, the Chaser Boys depicted Kenny having sex with a dog under the heading “dog f. ker”.
This was clearly an attempt to close down debate, by the use of porno-politics, since Kenny was ridiculed for proposing that the incoming Coalition government led by Tony Abbott should cut ABC funding. As Scott acknow­ledged this week, the attack on Kenny “was triggered by his criticism of the ABC"…
Scott lacked the resolve to take on the Chaser Boys… (I)t took (Scott) seven months to recognise the mistake and issue an apology. Scott said nothing about the current standing of ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs’ ruling that the skit was consistent with ABC editorial standards. Does this finding still apply, or has it been overridden by the ABC’s managing director? Who knows?…
Scott’s formal apology had only just been released when Morrow responded. He sent out a tweet depicting, you’ve guessed it, Scott having sex with a hamster. Funny, eh? Morrow’s caption read: “We respectfully disagree with the ABC managing director’s decision and statement today"…
In a commercial business, such unprofessional defiance would not be tolerated — especially if it was capable of damaging the defence of a defamation writ.
Which raises the question, does anyone run the ABC? 
(Thanks to reader Peter of Bellevue Hill.) 
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Edward Snowden - Putin’s poodle

Andrew Bolt April 19 2014 (12:08am)

Snowden does Putin a favor:
Experts say Edward Snowden’s public questioning of Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested the former National Security Agency contractor is firmly in the Kremlin’s grasp.
They said it is hard to imagine that Snowden was not prompted and coached to pose his question about domestic surveillance in Russia to the country’s leader.

And the answer he got in return, they said — that none of Russia’s programs reached the size and scope of anything at the National Security Agency (NSA) — was most likely a lie…
Putin’s annual question-and-answer session on television on Thursday came ... just days after the stories on Snowden’s leaks won U.S. journalism’s highest honor, the Pulitzer Prize for public service.
The former NSA contractor appeared via a short prerecorded video clip to ask whether Russia had programs similar to the NSA....
Snowden pushed back Friday on the notion that he was whitewashing Putin’s record… Snowden said that he was “surprised that people who witnessed me risk my life to expose the surveillance practices of my own country could not believe that I might also criticize the surveillance policies of Russia, a country to which I have sworn no allegiance, without ulterior motive."…
Putin, a former KGB operative, told Snowden that Russia has “some efforts” to track terrorists and criminals, but those are “strictly regulated by our law” and aren’t on par with anything in the U.S....
Actually, elements of the Russian SORM program, which has its roots in the former Soviet Union, can reportedly collect records about all phone calls and Internet traffic in the country.
Unlike the NSA, which only collects metadata such as the numbers people dial and the length of their calls, the Russian programs capture the full range of people’s conversations, experts said.
“It’s a system designed for complete political control. There’s nothing that rivals it in the U.S.” said [James Lewis, director of the strategic technologies program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies].  
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4 her, so she sees how I see her




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HISTORY IN THE HEADLINES: Four years after Paul Revere’s midnight ride, a military disaster left the famous patriot under arrest and facing charges of insubordination and cowardice.http://histv.co/ZAqPbn
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Hulk Smash

HULK SMASH

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As a guitarist, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper’s cemetery in the back country. As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost.

I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch.

I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started to play.

The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I’ve never played before for this homeless man.

And as I played ‘Amazing Grace,’ the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. When I finished I packed up my guitar and started for my car. Though my head hung low, my heart was full.

As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, “I never seen nothin’ like that before and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years.”

Apparently, I’m still lost…

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The best photo yet of the bombing suspect ==>http://twitchy.com/2013/04/18/crowdsourcing-at-work-photo-seems-to-show-bombing-suspect-leaving-marathon-blast-site/
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April 19Feast of Saint Alphege (Western Christianity); Holy Saturday(Christianity, 2014)
Protestors in South Korea
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“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” - Romans 10:9-10
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"She bound the scarlet line in the window."
Joshua 2:21
Rahab depended for her preservation upon the promise of the spies, whom she looked upon as the representatives of the God of Israel. Her faith was simple and firm, but it was very obedient. To tie the scarlet line in the window was a very trivial act in itself, but she dared not run the risk of omitting it. Come, my soul, is there not here a lesson for thee? Hast thou been attentive to all thy Lord's will, even though some of his commands should seem non-essential? Hast thou observed in his own way the two ordinances of believers' baptism and the Lord's Supper? These neglected, argue much unloving disobedience in thy heart. Be henceforth in all things blameless, even to the tying of a thread, if that be matter of command.
This act of Rahab sets forth a yet more solemn lesson. Have I implicitly trusted in the precious blood of Jesus? Have I tied the scarlet cord, as with a Gordian knot in my window, so that my trust can never be removed? Or can I look out towards the Dead Sea of my sins, or the Jerusalem of my hopes, without seeing the blood, and seeing all things in connection with its blessed power? The passer-by can see a cord of so conspicuous a colour, if it hangs from the window: it will be well for me if my life makes the efficacy of the atonement conspicuous to all onlookers. What is there to be ashamed of? Let men or devils gaze if they will, the blood is my boast and my song. My soul, there is One who will see that scarlet line, even when from weakness of faith thou canst not see it thyself; Jehovah, the Avenger, will see it and pass over thee. Jericho's walls fell flat: Rahab's house was on the wall, and yet it stood unmoved; my nature is built into the wall of humanity, and yet when destruction smites the race, I shall be secure. My soul, tie the scarlet thread in the window afresh, and rest in peace.

Evening

"And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good."
Genesis 32:12
When Jacob was on the other side of the brook Jabbok, and Esau was coming with armed men, he earnestly sought God's protection, and as a master reason he pleaded, "And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good." Oh, the force of that plea! He was holding God to his word--"Thou saidst." The attribute of God's faithfulness is a splendid horn of the altar to lay hold upon; but the promise, which has in it the attribute and something more, is a yet mightier holdfast--"Thou saidst, I will surely do thee good." And has he said, and shall he not do it? "Let God be true, and every man a liar." Shall not he be true? Shall he not keep his word? Shall not every word that cometh out of his lips stand fast and be fulfilled? Solomon, at the opening of the temple, used this same mighty plea. He pleaded with God to remember the word which he had spoken to his father David, and to bless that place. When a man gives a promissory note, his honour is engaged; he signs his hand, and he must discharge it when the due time comes, or else he loses credit. It shall never be said that God dishonours his bills. The credit of the Most High never was impeached, and never shall be. He is punctual to the moment: he never is before his time, but he never is behind it. Search God's word through, and compare it with the experience of God's people, and you shall find the two tally from the first to the last. Many a hoary patriarch has said with Joshua, "Not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass." If you have a divine promise, you need not plead it with an "if," you may urge it with certainty. The Lord meant to fulfil the promise, or he would not have given it. God does not give his words merely to quiet us, and to keep us hopeful for awhile with the intention of putting us off at last; but when he speaks, it is because he means to do as he has said.
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Chloe
Scripture Reference: 1 Corinthians 1:10, 11
Name Meaning: Green herb
We are not told anything about the background of this Corinthian matron and head of a Christian household. Evidently she was well-known to the Corinthians by her personal name which means "green herb," and in the Greek represents the first green shoot of plants. Chloe is therefore emblematic of fruitful grace and beauty. It was while he was benefiting from the hospitality of her home that Paul received information of strife among leaders in the Early Church and which he sought to deal with in this first chapter of First Corinthians. The Church at Corinth gave Paul a good deal of concern and heartache because of its low spirituality.
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Shechem, Sichem, Sychem, Sychar 
[Shē'chem] - shoulder.
1. A son of Hamor, a Hivite prince - "a prince of the country" - that is, of Shechem. It is not certain whether the Levitical city was named after the son of Hamor, or whether he was named after the city (Gen. 33:18, 19; Josh. 24:32; Judg. 9:28).
The Man Who Disgraced His Princely Dignity
Shechem, a neighbor of Jacob, took advantage of his daughter's visit to the daughters of the Hivites. Doubtless Dinah was young and unaccustomed to the ways of the world, and taking advantage of her, Shechem proved himself unworthy of his high office. He was led into sin by what he saw, and while it is said that Shechem came to love the girl he had wronged and wanted to make her his wife, yet such a proposal was not possible, owing to God's command about His people marrying those of Gentile nations. The scheme of Jacob's sons need not be told. Suffice it to say that Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, treacherously slew Shechem for his betrayal of their sister. To the credit of Shechem it is said that "he was more honourable than all the house of his father." As for Simeon and Levi, they earned a sad epitaph (Gen. 49:5-7).
2. A son of Gilead, son of Manasseh and founder of a tribal family (Num. 26:31; Josh. 17:2).
3. A son of Shemidah, a Manassite (1 Chron. 7:19).
Shechem is also a name renowned in history. Jacob rested there (Gen. 33:18). Jesus met the woman of Samaria at the one-time city of refuge and the first residence of the kings of Israel (John 4:12). It is said that Justin Martyr was born here, about a.d. 100.
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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 3-5, Luke 14:25-35 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: 2 Samuel 3-5

1 The war between the house of Saul and the house of David lasted a long time. David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.
2 Sons were born to David in Hebron:
His firstborn was Amnon the son of Ahinoam of Jezreel;
3 his second, Kileab the son of Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel;
the third, Absalom the son of Maakah daughter of Talmai king of Geshur;
4 the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith;
the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital;
and the sixth, Ithream the son of David's wife Eglah.
These were born to David in Hebron....

Today's New Testament reading: Luke 14:25-35

The Cost of Being a Disciple
25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 "If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes, even their own life--such a person cannot be my disciple. 27And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
28 "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won't you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30saying, 'This person began to build and wasn't able to finish....'
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Today's Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 42:1-9

1 "Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will bring justice to the nations.
2 He will not shout or cry out,
or raise his voice in the streets.
3 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
4 he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
In his teaching the islands will put their hope."
5 This is what God the LORD says--
the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out,
who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it,
who gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it:
6 "I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,
7 to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
8 "I am the LORD; that is my name!
I will not yield my glory to another
or my praise to idols.
9 See, the former things have taken place,
and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
I announce them to you."
New Testament Reading: John 12:1-11

1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.2Here a dinner was given in Jesus' honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 "Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages." 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
7 "Leave her alone," Jesus replied. "It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me."
9 Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11 for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.
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Knowing Him - An Easter Devotional

THE BEGINNING BEFORE THE BEGINNING

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.... The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-2, 14)
Oftentimes we understand the beginning of a story when we approach its end. Like Genesis the opening words of the Gospel of John are “in the beginning,” except this beginning stretches beyond the creation, back to a time when there was God–and only God. There must have been such a time, of course, because if God is the Creator, then there was a time when it was only God.
The great truth of Christianity here described by John in his gospel, and repeated throughout the New Testament, is that Jesus Christ was there before the beginning. He is the Word of God, he was with God, and he was God. He took part in the act of creation; he is the source of life and light.
Then one day he took human form (“the Word became flesh”). He came and lived a life that looked just like ours, with hunger, tiredness, temptation, but without sin. He is the great enigma of the history of the world. People have worshipped him and have hated him. They have tried to ignore him, but that is the lease sensible thing to do.
He is the Lord of glory. “We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (vs. 14).
Ponder This: In what ways do you need the truth and grace of God through Christ at this point in your life?
WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Resources

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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Today's Lent reading: John 13-14 (NIV)

View today's Lent reading on Bible Gateway
Jesus Washes His Disciples' Feet
1 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"
7 Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand...."


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