Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sun Nov 16th Todays News

Witch hunt 
A theory doing the rounds regarding the Salem Witch trials is that a substantial role was played by ergot poisoning. The LSD like effects of the mould found in uncooked affected wheat has been said to have substantially explained other events too, like when a French Village went mad shortly after WW2 after a popular bakery distributed some affected wheat. The theory is attractive to the Conservative Weasel because it positions Arthur Miller's The Crucible as a polemic which was more propaganda than reality. Although the late unlamented Senator Joseph McCarthy went about his witch hunt the wrong way, he had investigated communists, many of them, while it is arguable that none of the women accused at Salem was really a witch. But sometimes witch hunts take on a life of their own. 

NSW Police Chief  Scipione is being investigated by the Police Integrity Commission and it has been said that the commission has nothing on him, but is investigating him to smear him, much as the ICAC has smeared innocent Liberal Party members while giving passes to Australian Labor Party members who are corrupt. In the case of the ICAC, it appears as if they are trying to appear biased so as to be rounded up before they ever investigate the ALP on the many serious issues needing to be examined. The ICAC has been so bad, that it reflects poorly on all such bodies. Maybe the PIC has a valid case. Scipione was also police chief under several corrupt ALP administrations, and there is every possibility of mud existing. Many say he has been very effective under the Liberals, but personally he has failed over the issue of Hamidur Rahman. 

Another witch hunt is being conducted against Sydney University Professor and Poet Barry Spurr. Spurr has been suspended by the university after emails he privately made including crude jokes were hacked and publicly released. Spurr has a credible explanation for them, but the university has kept him sidelined during a glacially slow investigation. One suspects New Matilda will be sued for a lot regarding their action in publishing the private emails for no public good. However ABC's Media Watch have approved the publication. By way of contrast, the University was hosting a staff Christmas party which was themed Mexican. But an ethnically Argentinian who possesses some Mexican clothes complained that such costumes would denigrate him. The university quickly cancelled the theme when it might have been better to dis-envite the complainant. There is a difference between Spurr and the complainant. Spurr had agreed to be part of a Federal Government investigation into improving the school curriculum. He suggested ways to balance what had been left wing claptrap. So he is a little conservative in some things. According to the ABC and Fairfax, that means he is fair game for any smear. 

Another witch hunt involves attacking an eminent scientist who had just had an amazing success, for the clothes he wore and the tattoos he bears. The success for the astro physicist was to land a probe on an asteroid. Even after twenty years planning with the mother ship at matched velocities with the meteor, the success of the probe was anticipated to be fifty percent. Afterwards, Matt Taylor wore a Hawaiian shirt made by a female friend which featured scantily clad females holding guns. That was too much, and so Matt was attacked for misogyny of the worst kind. And he has tattoos. The wowserism of feminists is embarrassing for Christians. Yes, Christian conservatives are judgemental at times, but at least they have judgement. 

Another witch hunt involves the ABC campaigning against the Abbott government. Abbott recounted four promises his new government made fourteen months ago, and ABC news wouldn't play it beyond the first two. It was a calculated insult. They had no problem explaining their theory that Mr Abbott had presented poorly 
  1. repeal carbon tax (Senate obstructed but successful)
  2. Stop illegal boats (Senate obstructed but successful) 
  3. Building roads (infrastructure, being done) 
  4. Budget under control (Senate blocks)
ABC news played the first two, but stopped before playing all four. Insider played all four under their current affairs program, but then the left wing panelists said it was strange and weird. In contrast Obama was making promises he wouldn't keep. Insiders labelled Abbott's contributions as boring and for a domestic audience. While Obama was applauded as visionary after offering empty promises for his domestic audience. Insiders personally attacked Putin over Ukraine and expressed their contempt by saying Putin was not popular. Putin, was diplomatic as he left, saying discussions had been frank and fruitful. Obama said that Putin was behaving dangerously badly. Obama might have been looking in a mirror. 

Another witch hunt involves Putin and the Ukraine. Savaging Putin to obfuscate issues of Ukrainian culpability in the downing of MH17. Russia should not have allowed the separatists to fire such a weapon uncontrolled. But Ukraine were fighting a war, and hadn't warned international civilian flights and probably were involved with targeting MH17. 


Other issues
Desperate hope for a sensible block of senators by separating Lambie from PUP. But it seems outrageous to suggest Lambie would be part of any sensible bloc. 

Men giving birth by legal definition. According to medicare data, 54 men gave birth around Australia last year. Medicare is that good. 

Historical perspective on this day
In 1272, while travelling during the Ninth Crusade, Prince Edward became King of England upon Henry III of England's death, but he would not return to England for nearly two years to assume the throne. In 1491, an auto-da-fé, held in the Brasero de la Dehesa outside of Ávila, concluded the case of the Holy Child of La Guardia with the public execution of several Jewish and converso suspects. In 1532, Francisco Pizarro and his men captured Inca Emperor Atahualpa at the Battle of Cajamarca. In 1632, Thirty Years' War: Battle of Lützen was fought, the Swedes were victorious but King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden died in the battle. In 1776, American Revolutionary War: British and Hessian units captured Fort Washington from the Patriots. Also, American Revolution: The United Provinces (Low Countries) recognised the independence of the United States. In 1793, French Revolution: Ninety anti-republican Catholic priests were executed by drowning at Nantes. In 1797, the Prussian heir apparent, Frederick William, became King of Prussia as Fredrick William III.

In 1805, Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Schöngrabern – Russian forces under Pyotr Bagration delayed the pursuit by French troops under Joachim Murat. In 1822, American Old West: Missouri trader William Becknell arrived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, over a route that became known as the Santa Fe Trail. In 1828, Greek War of Independence: The London Protocol entailed the creation of an autonomous Greek state under Ottoman suzerainty, encompassing the Morea and the Cyclades. In 1849, a Russian court sentenced writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky to death for anti-government activities linked to a radical intellectual group; his sentence was later commuted to hard labor. In 1852, the English astronomer John Russell Hind discovered the asteroid 22 Kalliope. In 1857, Second relief of Lucknow – twenty-four Victoria Crosses were awarded, the most in a single day. In 1863, American Civil War: Battle of Campbell's Station near Knoxville, TennesseeConfederate troops unsuccessfully attacked Union forces. In 1885, Canadian rebel leader of the Métis and "Father of Manitoba" Louis Riel was executed for treason

In 1904, English engineer John Ambrose Fleming received a patent for the thermionic valve (vacuum tube). In 1907, Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory join to form Oklahoma, which was admitted as the 46th U.S. state. In 1907, Cunard Line's RMS Mauretania, sister ship of RMS Lusitania, set sail on her maiden voyage from Liverpool, England, to New York City. In 1914, the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States officially opened. In 1920,  Qantas, Australia's national airline, was founded as Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited. In 1940, World War II: In response to the leveling of Coventry by the German Luftwaffe two days before, the Royal Air Force bombed Hamburg. Also, Holocaust: In occupied Poland, the Nazis closed off the Warsaw Ghetto from the outside world. Also, New York City's "Mad Bomber" George Metesky placed his first bomb at a Manhattan office building used by Consolidated Edison. In 1943, World War II: American bombers struck a hydro-electric power facility and heavy water factory in German-controlled Vemork, Norway. In 1944, World War II: Operation Queen, the costly Allied thrust to the Rur, was launched. Also, World War II: Dueren, Germany, is destroyed by Allied bombers. In 1945, UNESCO was founded. 

In 1965, Venera program: The Soviet Union launched the Venera 3 space probe toward Venus, which would be the first spacecraft to reach the surface of another planet. In 1973, Skylab program: NASA launched Skylab 4 with a crew of three astronauts from Cape Canaveral, Florida for an 84-day mission. Also, U.S. President Richard Nixon signed the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act into law, authorizing the construction of the Alaska Pipeline. In 1979, the first line of Bucharest Metro (Line M1) is opened from Timpuri Noi to Semănătoarea in Bucharest, Romania. In 1988, the Supreme Soviet of the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic declared that Estonia was "sovereign" but stopped short of declaring independence. Also, in the first open election in more than a decade, voters in Pakistan elected populist candidate Benazir Bhutto to be Prime Minister of Pakistan. In 1989, a death squad composed of El Salvadoran army troops killed six Jesuit priests and two others at Jose Simeon Canas University. In 1992, the Hoxne Hoard was discovered by metal detectorist Eric Lawes in Hoxne, Suffolk. In 1997, after nearly 18 years of incarceration, the People's Republic of China released Wei Jingsheng, a pro-democracy dissident, from jail for medical reasons.

from 2013
Everybody makes mistakes, but in entertaining the fallacy endorsing genocide of the Armenians by Turkey, Bolt makes a big one. Bolt is correct that there should be debate, but he is wrong to excuse. There are excuses that Turkey might give for the atrocity. Hitler gave excuses too. For one thing, Hitler pointed out nobody seemed to care about Turkey's actions. Meanwhile, in another abuse of justice, Syrians have killed the wrong person. Climate change hysterics killed the wrong clam. Julia Baird is being harassed by Jellyfish for AGW hysteria promotion. Whatever floats your boat, Julia.

In assessing degrees of wrongness, it is hard to position accurately Rudd, Gillard or Whitlam as the worst Australian PM ever. They all shared talentless front and back benches. They all had corrupt colleagues they were compromised defending. They all killed Australians going about their normal lives. They all left a ballooning debt. They all hurt industry. They all have stand out achievements of ineptitude. They also retained fanatical supporters in the press. The only thing certain is that Malcolm Fraser thought they had admirable qualities and policies. 

Speaking of corruption, there is that investigation into Craig Thomson. Time for a paper to act its' age?
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This column welcomes feedback and criticism. The column is not made up but based on the days events and articles which are then placed in the feed. So they may not have an apparent cohesion they would have had were they made up.
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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


Or the US President at
https://www.change.org/p/barack-obama-change-this-injustice#
or
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/change-injustice-faced-david-daniel-ball-after-he-reported-bungled-pedophile-investigation-and/b8mxPWtJ or http://wh.gov/ilXYR

Mr Ball, I will not sign your petition as it will do no good, but I will share your message and ask as many of friends who read it, to share it also. Let us see if we cannot use the power of the internet to spread the word of these infamous killings. As a father and a former soldier, I cannot, could not, justify ignoring this appalling action by the perpetrators, whoever they may; I thank you Douglas. You are wrong about the petition. Signing it is as worthless and meaningless an act as voting. A stand up guy would know that. - ed

Lorraine Allen Hider I signed the petition ages ago David, with pleasure, nobody knows what it's like until they've been there. Keep heart David take care.

I have begun a bulletin board (http://theconservativevoice.freeforums.netwhich will allow greater latitude for members to post and interact. It is not subject to FB policy and so greater range is allowed in posts. Also there are private members rooms in which nothing is censored, except abuse. All welcome, registration is free.
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Happy birthday and many happy returns David HoangAnya Guan and Daniel Nguyen. Born on the same day, across the years, along with
Louis Riel
Hessian rugs are warm. Trials are fair. Queens are dramatic. The hills are alive. Be good to good people. Let's party. 
Matches
Hatches
Despatches
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2014
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ABC is happy to lie in low attack on PM

Piers Akerman – Saturday, November 15, 2014 (11:56pm)

THE uniformly Leftist reporting of the Abbott government by the ABC and Fairfax Media is either maliciously and mendaciously obtuse or just plain malicious. 

Icon Arrow Continue reading 'ABC is happy to lie in low attack on PM'
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Attacking our heroes

Miranda Devine – Sunday, November 16, 2014 (10:26am)

HERE we go again. A powerful, secretive, unaccountable quasi-judicial body out to destroy our heroes. 
Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione and deputy Nick Kaldas are in the sights of the Police Integrity Commission over trivial, pathetic complaints that have nothing to do with corruption but could damage their careers. 
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The witch hunt of a Sydney professor

Miranda Devine – Saturday, November 15, 2014 (11:54pm)

I MUST assume Eden Caceda is an inspired satirical creation by Sydney University students outraged at the brutalisation of poetry professor Barry Spurr. 
After all, the anagram of the name is “A Decadence”. That’s one way of looking at the descent into Orwellian thought-control at the nation’s finest university, which has suspended Spurr indefinitely and banned him from campus for using “offensive” language in private emails, which he said had been hacked and sent to a left-wing website.
“Eden Caceda”, an office-bearer with the university’s “Autonomous Collective Against Racism”, ho, ho, led the campaign last week against vice-chancellor Michael Spence’s “racist” Mexican-themed staff Christmas party.
The dress code was “Mexican Fiesta — bring your own sombreros and ponchos”.
But “Caceda” was deeply ­offended by the “culturally ­insensitive” invitation.
“My family has a poncho and it is really important to us, and these people are treating it like a costume,” he said.
Spence, who made the decision to render Professor Spurr a non-person, now finds himself hoist with his own petard.
He has been forced to send an email to staff, cancelling the Mexican dress code: “I have today asked the event organisers to amend our plans so the party has no particular theme.”
You really couldn’t make this stuff up.
Cowardly capitulation to political correctness only ends when the barbarians are pouring molten silver down your throat. But Spence deserves everything to come, because his treatment of Spurr is a shameful disgrace. It dishonours everything that a great university is supposed to be. Rather than exalting reason and truth, it is prosecuting Crimethink — banishing people for having private thoughts.
Spurr wrote some of his private thoughts in jocular emails to a friend in which he refers to “Mussies”, “chinky-poos” and “whores” and describes the university’s chancellor, Belinda Hutchinson, as an “appalling minx”.
New Matilda has published some of the stolen emails, while the university conducts a top-secret and extremely slow “investigation” into whether they constitute evidence of closet racism, sexism, misogyny, Islamophobia etc.
Spurr said the comments were not serious, but part of a “whimsical linguistic game” in which he and a friend tried to outdo each other with extreme language. 
Any half-literate person would understand this boundary transgression. Yet one of the few people to speak up for Spurr lives in London.
“How could anyone take such deliberate touretting seriously?” wrote comedian Barry Humphries, asking if Australia has “gone slightly mad”.
You might have thought that students would rise up in fury and condemn the disgusting treatment of a good man. 
But, alas, the only student protests have been by the campus Trotskyists, Socialist Alternative, who shrieked through megaphones outside Fisher ­Library that 
Spurr was “racist filth” and a “vile bigot” and gathered signatures to have him sacked.
In the days after Spurr was driven out, his fellow ­professors read aloud the ­administration’s ritual denunciation of him before every class, urging students who may have experienced discrimination to come forward.
Spurr is Australia’s only poetry professor. He is the world’s pre-eminent T.S. Eliot scholar. His CV, which has not yet been erased from the university’s website, shows a man of extraordinary literary and academic accomplishment. Students come from across the world just to be in his classes.
Most are dismayed by his banishment, but are so ­oppressed by the McCarthyist atmosphere on campus that they daren’t speak out.
Michael Davis is one brave exception. In a brilliant article in next month’s Quadrant, the 20-year-old blasts the university for “caving to the efforts of 100 caustic teenagers who insult and abuse a 60-something year-old who’s given the better part of his life to that same institution. There would be no University of Sydney without men like Barry Spurr, and there would be no Australia without the Western Civilization he defends.”
Of course, the reason Spurr was marked for destruction was because he helped in the Abbott government’s review of the national curriculum, recommending greater emphasis on the Western literary canon.
Along with review co-author Kevin Donnelly and four other subject experts deemed “conservative”, he has been monstered by the authoritarian Left who control education.
He agreed to help fix the curriculum because he believes English studies are in crisis. He believes democracy is under threat when its people are “inarticulate in their use of language and sub-literate in their linguistic discernment”.
Spurr has devoted his life to eradicating the sort of slovenly, deceitful, politically correct language that “makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts”, as Orwell put it.
Now he is its victim. 
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MEN CAN DO ANYTHING

Tim Blair – Sunday, November 16, 2014 (4:16am)

Men have given birth to 54 babies in Australia over the past year according to official Medicare statistics which now allow patients to nominate their own gender …
According to the Medicare data, there were 16 men who gave birth in NSW last year, 22 men in Perth, seven in Victoria, one in Tasmania and two in South Australia. 
Only two in South Australia? This makes no sense at all.
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SICK AND DANGEROUS

Tim Blair – Sunday, November 16, 2014 (4:14am)

Reader Geoff M. was unimpressed by a recent column
So you are smarter than 99% of the world’s scientists. You are truly sick and dangerous. I am getting closer and closer to confronting you far-right radicals. 
An email chat followed, during which I invited Geoff to nominate a meeting place for our showdown ("I enjoy oysters, if that helps.") Haven’t heard anything since.
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NOT EXACTLY ROCKET SCIENTISTS

Tim Blair – Sunday, November 16, 2014 (3:53am)

A team of scientists land a spacecraft on a comet. Feminists are angry about a shirt worn by one of the scientists, and have forced him to apologise.
The shirt was designed by a woman.
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THE HORROR

Tim Blair – Sunday, November 16, 2014 (3:48am)

Hippies. Dancing hippies. Dancing anti-gas exploration hippies:

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HIS FAMILY HAS A PONCHO

Tim Blair – Friday, November 14, 2014 (4:10am)

Multicultural tension at Sydney University: 
It was to be a Mexican fiesta, complete with sombreros and ponchos. But Sydney University’s annual staff Christmas party will be without a theme this year after students and academics complained it was racist.
The university’s vice-chancellor, Michael Spence, has been forced to email all staff and tell them to ignore the suggested theme and dress code on the invite, which was sent to hundreds of staff. 
Opposition to the Mexican party was led by student activist Eden Caceda
Eden Caceda, an office-bearer with the university’s Autonomous Collective Against Racism, told Fairfax Media that students were deeply offended by the invitation …
“We felt the vice-chancellor was perpetrating insidious stereotypes about Mexican people and its culture.”
Mr Caceda, a second year arts student, said some people had suggested that the collective’s stance was taking political correctness too far.
“I would say that is not the case. If you have any Mexican heritage in you, you would see this party as offensive and uninformed.
“I am Hispanic and I have some traditions from Mexican culture and the vice-chancellor’s invite said ‘bring your own sombreros and ponchos’, which reduces Mexican culture to just a costume,” Mr Caceda said.
My family has a poncho and it is really important to us, and these people are treating it like a costume.” 
Caceda’s family arrived in Australia 40 years ago. From Argentina.
(Via Steve Price)
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On The Bolt Report today, November 16

Andrew Bolt November 16 2014 (6:13am)

On The Bolt Report on Channel 10 at 10am and 4pm.
My guests:  Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Cassandra Wilkinson, Michael Kroger and Gerard Henderson.

Did Barack Obama stab Tony Abbott in the back? Plus Obama’s phoney climate deal, the ABC crosses a line, getting even with Putin and the Palmer party implodes. And lots more.
The videos of the shows appear here.
UPDATE
From my interview with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop:
ANDREW BOLT: Barack Obama gave a speech in Brisbane
yesterday, flogging his global warming deal with China, urging
Australia and other countries to get on board, warning the Great
Barrier Reef could possibly be gone in 50 years. My god! It sounded
like a rebuke to Tony Abbott and a bit of politicking, meddling in our
domestic affairs. Inappropriate?

JULIE BISHOP: I think President Obama has an eye on the next two
years in the lead-up to the presidential elections, and he’d be thinking
about his legacy. Last time he was in Australia, he made a significant
announcement about the United States’ re-balance, or pivot, to Asia,
and this time he’s made a statement, I think, about the next two years
of his presidency. I’m expecting a number of nations to give similar
statements about their proposed commitments to climate change in the
lead-up to Paris climate change summit in the second half of next
year. And the big issue, of course, will be whether countries take the
step from making statements about what they’re going to do to
actually committing to legally-binding targets and commitments, and
that’s what happened in the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference.
It was all very well to talk about it, but people didn’t commit to
legally-binding targets that would backed by legally-enforceable
penalties, so -
ANDREW BOLT: That’s exactly the story with his deal with China,
isn’t it? I mean, China promising, “Yeah, we’ll cap it in 16 years’
time.” All talk, no action?
JULIE BISHOP: Yes, well, some are saying that China now has the
free reign to continue to operate as usual until 2030…
ANDREW BOLT: Just before we go, there’s a lot of mockery by
some in the media, especially in the ABC, in a skit this week, of Tony
Abbott’s threat to shirtfront Vladimir Putin. What did you make of
that ABC mockery?
JULIE BISHOP: I was very sad to think that the ABC thought it was
appropriate to make fun of what is a very serious issue that the Prime
Minister is taking very seriously, and that is holding Russia to account
for the shooting down of a Malaysian airline that killed, amongst
others, 38 Australian citizens and residents. The families of those
killed on that plane are still grieving deeply. I’m in touch with a
number of them. Their anguish, their heartbreak, is almost too much
to bear. And if any of them had been watching that ABC program, I
think they would’ve been devastated. And to think that taxpayers’
funds went towards making it, I really think the ABC should have a
long, hard think about what is appropriate in these circumstances
when you’re talking about the deaths of so many Australians.
The full interview:

Icon Arrow Continue reading 'On The Bolt Report today, November 16'
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Obama’s fake promise to spend on a fake problem

Andrew Bolt November 16 2014 (5:48am)

Australia’s Left are ecstatic that Barack Obama has spoiled Tony Abbott’s party, putting global warming on the G20 agenda with an alarmist speech and the promise of $3 billion to a climate fund:
BARACK Obama has moved to thrust climate change to the centre of the global political agenda in the middle of the Brisbane G20 meetings pledging $3 billion to a global climate fund.
The US President used a speech in Brisbane today at the University of Queensland to push the world to do more on climate change.
His comments before the start of the G20 meeting came as United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki Moon described climate change as the “defining issue of our times’’…
Greens Leader Christine Milne said President Obama’s realism on global warming had shown up the “small-minded’’ Australian leader.
The Financial Review’s Laura Tingle gloats:
Conservatives, including in the Abbott Government, enjoy the discomfort that US President Barack Obama feels at the loss of any control of the US Congress…
Unfortunately for our Prime Minister, however, Barack Obama has delivered a rather humiliating exercise in power politics over the weekend: showing how leadership and power lies in setting and controlling an agenda… Whatever the G20 communique says about climate change, everyone will know our prime minister – rather than leading and shaping the debate – dragged kicking and screaming to it.
Small problem. What’s Obama’s promise worth when the Congress is against?
Sen. Jim Inhofe, the incoming chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, vowed to fight the pledge, which he said was part of a climate-change agenda that’s “siphoned precious taxpayer dollars away from the real problems facing the American people."…
Bloomberg last week quoted an aide for incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as saying “On the president’s desire to send the U.N. a ton of money, I’ve never heard the leader endorse that approach.”
In a statement today, McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said the pledge would be “part of the regular appropriations review and would have to compete with priorities.”
“Just because the President announces it doesn’t mean Congress will pass it,” he said.
Once again, we see a key divide between the Left and conservatives - an obsession with seeming over doing. The Left is impressed by a seeming promise to seem to do something about what seems a problem. Conservatives note that it’s actually a highly qualified promise to spend unaffordable money on largely non-solutions to an unlikely problem.
Oh, and how rude is Obama to take on Abbott with politicking on a visit?
(Thanks to readers Nathan, Peter of Bellevue Hill and WaG311.) 
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Hopes for a new Sensible Bloc

Andrew Bolt November 16 2014 (5:28am)

Leyonhjelm and Day would be better mentors for Lambie than Palmer - both for her and for us - but do the two men really need the drama?
Crossbench senators David Leyonhjelm and Bob Day will formally approach the Palmer United Party’s Jacqui Lambie on Monday to propose forming a new voting bloc in the Senate.
In an interview with Fairfax Media, Senator Leyonhjelm spelled out how the proposed new voting bloc would work, saying he would be happy for his staff to assist Ms Lambie with bills and senate procedure…
“If she joined in a voting bloc that would give us leverage because three is the magic number. If you’ve got three votes you could say to the government, ‘No, I won’t support that unless you change it’.”
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Putin playing the bully in a dangerous game of bluff

Andrew Bolt November 16 2014 (5:09am)

Vladimir Putin is playing a very dangerous game, and a miscalculation could prove deadly:
In Ukraine:
Tanks and other military vehicles pouring over the border from Russia into eastern Ukraine. Nightly artillery battles in the region’s biggest city, Donetsk, and reports of fighting around another regional capital. And now, sightings of the “green men,” professional soldiers in green uniforms without insignia, the same type of forces that carried out the invasion of Crimea last spring.
A senior NATO official confirmed on Wednesday what Ukrainian military officials and monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have been saying for days now: Russian troops and military equipment are crossing the border into Ukraine, seemingly preparing for renewed military action, though what exactly remains unclear.
In the Baltic states:
Two Dutch F-16 fighter jets on a NATO mission intercepted a Russian aircraft in the Baltics after it approached Estonian and Lithuanian airspace…
NATO says interceptions rose to 100 since the start of the year, three times the total for 2013… Latvia’s northern neighbor Estonia and non-aligned Finland have reported repeated incidents this year where Russian aircraft violated their airspace… Russia’s increased military activity in the Baltic region is aimed at undermining security and testing the preparedness of the country and its NATO allies, Lithuanian Chief of Defense, Major General Jonas Vytautas Zukas, said on Facebook Nov. 11.
In Japan:
Russian jets flying perilously close to Japan airspace forced Japanese fighters to take to the skies 533 times over the past six months — a number up from 308 in the same time period a year earlier. Now Japan is trying to figure out why the Russian military jets have made Japan a target.
In the US:

Russia plans to send long-range bombers to the Gulf of Mexico in what appears to be Moscow’s latest provocative maneuver in its increasingly frosty relations with the West.
Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said Wednesday that “we have to maintain (Russia’s) military presence in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific, as well as the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico”—including sending bombers “as part of the drills.” ...
“We do not see the security environment as warranting such provocative and potentially destabilizing activity,” a senior Obama administration official said Thursday.
In Sweden:
Sweden has released a sonar image it says is proof that a foreign submarine entered its waters in October… Suspicion fell on Russia, but its defence ministry denied any of its ships were involved.
In Australia:
In recent days, four Russian warships have entered international waters off the northeast Australian coast to coincide with Putin’s visit to Australia for the summit that brings together the leaders of the world’s 20 biggest industrialized and developing economies. Australia, in turn, sent three warships of its own to monitor them.

The Russian embassy said on Friday that Russia’s Pacific fleet was testing its range, and could be used as security for Putin.

In Canada and the US:
Russian bombers in the Labrador Sea off the coast of Canada practiced cruise-missile strikes against the U.S. in early September. Also in September, Russian military jets made repeated incursions into U.S. and Canadian air-defense zones in the Arctic. Last spring, a Russian military plane was spotted 50 miles off the coast of California, the closest such approach since the Cold War.
In Europe:
Russian planes have violated the airspace of Estonia, the Netherlands, and Sweden in recent months, the report says, and on Oct. 3, a Russian fighter flew “within meters” of a Swedish surveillance plane in the Baltic region.
UPDATE
Another shirtfront:

Russian President Vladimir Putin got a blunt message when he approached Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for a handshake at today’s Group of 20 summit in Brisbane, Australia.
“I guess I’ll shake your hand but I have only one thing to say to you: you need to get out of Ukraine,” Harper told Putin, the prime minister’s spokesman Jason MacDonald said in an e-mail. 
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“Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands give me delight.” Psalm 119:143 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"The Lord's portion is his people."
Deuteronomy 32:9
How are they his? By his own sovereign choice. He chose them, and set his love upon them. This he did altogether apart from any goodness in them at the time, or any goodness which he foresaw in them. He had mercy on whom he would have mercy, and ordained a chosen company unto eternal life; thus, therefore, are they his by his unconstrained election.
They are not only his by choice, but by purchase. He has bought and paid for them to the utmost farthing, hence about his title there can be no dispute. Not with corruptible things, as with silver and gold, but with the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord's portion has been fully redeemed. There is no mortgage on his estate; no suits can be raised by opposing claimants, the price was paid in open court, and the Church is the Lord's freehold forever. See the blood-mark upon all the chosen, invisible to human eye, but known to Christ, for "the Lord knoweth them that are his"; he forgetteth none of those whom he has redeemed from among men; he counts the sheep for whom he laid down his life, and remembers well the Church for which he gave himself.
They are also his by conquest. What a battle he had in us before we would be won! How long he laid siege to our hearts! How often he sent us terms of capitulation! but we barred our gates, and fenced our walls against him. Do we not remember that glorious hour when he carried our hearts by storm? When he placed his cross against the wall, and scaled our ramparts, planting on our strongholds the blood-red flag of his omnipotent mercy? Yes, we are, indeed, the conquered captives of his omnipotent love. Thus chosen, purchased, and subdued, the rights of our divine possessor are inalienable: we rejoice that we never can be our own; and we desire, day by day, to do his will, and to show forth his glory.

Evening

"Strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us."
Psalm 68:28
It is our wisdom, as well as our necessity, to beseech God continually to strengthen that which he has wrought in us. It is because of their neglect in this, that many Christians may blame themselves for those trials and afflictions of spirit which arise from unbelief. It is true that Satan seeks to flood the fair garden of the heart and make it a scene of desolation, but it is also true that many Christians leave open the sluice-gates themselves, and let in the dreadful deluge through carelessness and want of prayer to their strong Helper. We often forget that the Author of our faith must be the Preserver of it also. The lamp which was burning in the temple was never allowed to go out, but it had to be daily replenished with fresh oil; in like manner, our faith can only live by being sustained with the oil of grace, and we can only obtain this from God himself. Foolish virgins we shall prove, if we do not secure the needed sustenance for our lamps. He who built the world upholds it, or it would fall in one tremendous crash; he who made us Christians must maintain us by his Spirit, or our ruin will be speedy and final. Let us, then, evening by evening, go to our Lord for the grace and strength we need. We have a strong argument to plead, for it is his own work of grace which we ask him to strengthen--"that which thou hast wrought for us." Think you he will fail to protect and sustain that? Only let your faith take hold of his strength, and all the powers of darkness, led on by the master fiend of hell, cannot cast a cloud or shadow over your joy and peace. Why faint when you may be strong? Why suffer defeat when you may conquer? Oh! take your wavering faith and drooping graces to him who can revive and replenish them, and earnestly pray, "Strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us."
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Today's reading: Ezekiel 1-2, Hebrews 11:1-19 (NIV)

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Today's Old Testament reading: Ezekiel 1-2

Ezekiel’s Inaugural Vision
1 In my thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was among the exiles by the Kebar River, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.
2 On the fifth of the month—it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin— 3 the word of the LORD came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, by the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians. There the hand of the LORD was on him.
4 I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north—an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal, 5and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was human, 6 but each of them had four faces and four wings. 7 Their legs were straight; their feet were like those of a calf and gleamed like burnished bronze. 8 Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands. All four of them had faces and wings, 9 and the wings of one touched the wings of another. Each one went straight ahead; they did not turn as they moved....

Today's New Testament reading: Hebrews 11:1-19

Faith in Action
1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.
3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
4 By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.
5 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith....
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Caiaphas

[Cā'iaphăs] - a searcher or he that seeks with diligenceJoseph Caiaphas, the son-in-law of Annas, was high priest of the Jews for eighteen years (Matt. 26:3, 57).

The Man with Sadducaean Insolence

Dr. David Smith refers to this wicked man whom the Spirit of God used to declare divine purposes as, "a man of masterful temper, with his full share of the insolence which was a Sadducaean characteristic." The Sadducees were a sect among the Jews, so called from their founder Sadoc who lived about 260 years before Christ. Their principal tenets were:
I. There is no angel, spirit or resurrection; the soul finishes with the body (Matt. 22:23; Acts 23:8).
II. There is no fate or providence - all men enjoy the most ample freedom of action - absolute power to do good or evil.
III. There is no need to follow tradition. Scripture, particularly the first five books of the Bible, must be strictly adhered to. Caiaphas, as an ardent Sadducee, figures three times in the New Testament.
A. At the raising of Lazarus. After the miracle at Bethany, the rulers were alarmed at the popularity of Jesus which the resurrection of Lazarus brought Him, and convened a meeting of the Sanhedrin to decide what should be done with Jesus. Caiaphas presided and with a high hand forced a resolution that Jesus should be put to death (John 11:49, 53).
B. At the trial of Jesus. At a further meeting of the Sanhedrin when Jesus appeared before its members and was tried and condemned, Caiaphas again displayed his character by his open determination to find Jesus guilty. Since he was the high priest, his announcements were clothed with authority, but his shameless disregard of the forms of law to bring about the death of Jesus, revealed his warped conscience (Matt. 26:57; 58; John 18:24 ). Yet Caiaphas used language somewhat prophetic when he said that it was expedient for one man to die for the people, and Christ did die for Jew and Gentile alike. By His death He broke down the middle wall (Eph. 2:14-18).
C. At the trial of Peter and John. Caiaphas also took part in the examination of Peter and John when called in question over the marvels of the healing of the lame man. The manifestation of God's power was so evident that Annas and Caiaphas could do nothing about the apostles (Acts 4).
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