Friday, December 19, 2014

Fri Dec 19th Todays News

Security in a modern nation is partly built on the illusion that things are impossible and unthinkable. As with killing 148 school children or holding a cafe with staff and customers hostage. There is no way such a thing should happen because it doesn't achieve anything worthwhile. The response to such activity would be firm and final by any decent person aware of it. But since Palestinian terrorists in the late '60s began committing such atrocities the illusion of security has evaporated in places. US has prided itself that domestic terrorism was too hard to commit because somebody would speak up. And yet the World Trade Centre was hit twice, and Oklahoma and the Boston marathon bombing occurred catching authorities by surprise when people had not spoken loudly enough to be heard. The US has been exposed to terrorism domestically.

There is a myth in medical research that more money will solve any problem. There is an element of truth to that, but sometimes it isn't the case. Aids research in the mid '80s had many laboratories around the world duplicating research. In that instance research was slowed because duplication does not promote diversity in research. The successful Western world has had a technological advantage for several hundred years because brilliant scholars weren't chained to old ideas, as duplication does. In the United States duplication and not diversification has promoted terrorism. It isn't that people have not spoken out as they were supposed to. It is that authorities could not hear them because of the chaff that claimed other similar or worse threats elsewhere. Consider the pilot trainer who warned authorities of a suspicious character who did not need to learn how to land a plane? Or of those who led authorities to the jihadist who couldn't suicide on 9/11 because he had been arrested? Israel has successfully combated terrorism since before she was a state, but she has had failures to. But successful methods preventing terror are actually opposed by some very influential people who lie to get people killed. Should Israel build a defensive wall? Should Israel security forces racially profile? Should Israel defend herself with disproportionate force? The same questions get asked in the US with the same effect, making it easier for terrorists to strike.

At the moment, the champion of politics of division is President Obama. Obama has funded terrorists directly through aid programs (e.g. Hamas), indirectly through negligent failure to appropriately use security forces (e.g. Benghazi), through rhetoric which divides the nation (e.g. black deaths from resisting arrest) and through abuse of power which employs people to abuse tax office investigative powers or legal privilege. The result is terrorism is easier now than it was before. Australia has a similar brigade of people who undermine the nation to make terrorism easier. Weakening border protection to make people smuggling profitable meant deaths from drowning and exploitation of some desperate people. Meanwhile, refugees in camps around the world are left in a limbo, having years of their lives placed on hold. Police and media restrict themselves from appropriately describing offenders. It makes policing more difficult which makes it more dangerous for others. 

The competing theory, much as there are competing parties in democracy, places promotion of minorities at odds with promotion of cultural assets. If one promotes a cultural asset everyone benefits. If one promotes a minority, most people lose. Minorities do better too, when cultural assets are supported and the whole of society grows. And so, while there is no reason to kill 148 schoolchildren, one was given, and it scans for those who promote division. But for those who promote cultural assets, it makes no sense. It is worth looking at recent cases to see if there is a promotion of minorities which harms society, or a promotion of cultural assets which promotes cultural growth and benefits everyone:

  • Bludjahideen .. refugee program rorted and exposing Australia to danger
  • Child killers in Afghanistan
  • 8 children dead .. siblings in Cairns, 34 yo mother, eldest child is 20. 
  • Fairfax blames Abbott for not saving Australia from Monis.

In other news;

  • Sinodinos quits allowing a reshuffle of cabinet in Australia. Sinodinos has not been shown to do anything wrong, but the ICAC have tried to get themselves dismantled before they completely tear apart the ALP for corruption. They will report in March in a cynical attempt to influence the electoral cycle, as it is near the state election. 
  • Royal commission .. Gillard lied .. now demands apology. Gillard is upset she was called a liar when she had lied. 
  • Clive Palmer's senior media advisor arrested in Indonesia. Palmer calls it a political stunt. The charges are serious and not connected to government but police investigating a crime. 
  • Lambie wants to be talked to. She has declared she will oppose everything, but is now expressing hurt that people aren't discussing things with her. 
Sport India V Aus in Cricket
India tribute to Phil Hughes in second test with 408 eclipsed by lusty hitting from the Australian tail. Then Vijay's defence penetrated by Starc, leaving Indian honour bruised. 

2013
Left wing argue using abuse. Often, they will lay down a few false statements and then build on them. So, a lefty arguing about politics in Australia, with the recent change of government, might say they hate Tony Abbott and are disgusted by him. They will say he isn't popular and he hates poor people. They will say he wants to make workers get paid less and rich people to get paid more. But the reality is very different to what they claim initially, and so an attempt to dispute any of their false assertions results in them back tracking to "You can't trust any of them." In fact Mr Abbott is a compassionate, friendly man. He is trying to improve the economy so that all prosper through honest work. It is pragmatic to encourage savings and investment because that drives growth. On the other hand, ALP politics is driven by hate and envy with a touch of cynicism. The ALP agenda is to tax poor working people and reward rich union leaders. So it is worth reading Blair's column on Van Badham's tweets. I ask my self the question "So how do others feel about a left wing party like the ALP moving to make anti semitism legal? Does that ever turn out well?"
Historical perspectives on this day

In 211, Publius Septimius Geta, co-emperor of Rome, was lured to come without his bodyguards to meet his brother Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (Caracalla), to discuss a possible reconciliation. When he arrived, the Praetorian Guard murdered him and he died in the arms of his mother, Julia Domna. 1154, Henry II of England was crowned at Westminster Abbey. 1490, Anne, Duchess of Brittany, was married to Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor by proxy. 1562, the Battle of Dreux took place during the French Wars of Religion. 1606, the Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery departed England carrying settlers who founded, at Jamestown, Virginia, the first of the thirteen colonies that became the United States. 1675, the Great Swamp Fight, a pivotal battle in King Philip's War, gave the English settlers a bitterly won victory. 1776, Thomas Paine published one of a series of pamphlets in The Pennsylvania Journal entitled "The American Crisis". 1777, American Revolutionary War: George Washington's Continental Army went into winter quarters at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. 1796, French Revolutionary Wars: Two British frigates under Commodore Horatio Nelson and two Spanish frigates under Commodore Don Jacobo Stuart engaged in battle off the coast of Murcia.


In 1828, Nullification Crisis: Vice President of the United States John C. Calhoun penned the South Carolina Exposition and Protest, protesting the Tariff of 1828. 1900, Hopetoun Blunder: The first Governor-General of Australia John Hope, 7th Earl of Hopetoun, appointed Sir William Lyne premier of the new state of New South Wales, but he was unable to persuade other colonial politicians to join his government and was forced to resign. 1907, 239 coal miners died in a mine explosion in Jacobs Creek, Pennsylvania. 1912, William Van Schaick, captain of the steamship General Slocum which caught fire and killed over 1,000 people, was pardoned by U.S. President William Howard Taft after three-and-a-half-years in Sing Sing prison. 1916, World War I: Battle of Verdun – On the Western Front, the French Army successfully held off the German Army and drove it back to its starting position.

In 1920, King Constantine I was restored as King of the Hellenes after the death of his son Alexander of Greece and a plebiscite. 1924, the last Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost was sold in London, England. 1927, three Indian revolutionaries, Ram Prasad Bismil, Roshan Singh and Ashfaqulla Khan were executed by the British Empire. 1932, BBC World Service began broadcasting as the BBC Empire Service. 1941, World War II: Adolf Hitler became Supreme Commander-in-chief of the German Army. Also 1941, World War II: Limpet mines placed by Italian divers heavily damaged the HMS Valiant and HMS Queen Elizabeth in Alexandria harbour. 1946, start of the First Indochina War. 1956, Irish-born physician John Bodkin Adams was arrested in connection with the suspicious deaths of more than 160 patients. Eventually he was convicted only of minor charges. 1961, India annexed Daman and Diu, part of Portuguese India. 1964, the South Vietnamese military junta of Nguyễn Khánh dissolved the High National Council and arrested some of the members. 1967, Harold Holt, the Prime Minister of Australia, was officially presumed dead.

In 1972, Apollo program: The last manned lunar flight, Apollo 17, crewed by Eugene Cernan, Ron Evans and Harrison Schmitt, returned to Earth. 1974, Nelson Rockefeller was sworn in as Vice President of the United States under President Gerald Ford under the provisions of the twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. 1975, John Paul Stevens was appointed a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. 1979, Geoffrey Boycott became the first cricketer to be stranded at 99 not out against Australia at Perth. 1981, sixteen lives were lost when the Penlee lifeboat went to the aid of the stricken coaster Union Star in heavy seas. 1983, the original FIFA World Cup trophy, the Jules Rimet Trophy, was stolen from the headquarters of the Brazilian Football Confederation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 1984, the Sino-British Joint Declaration, stating that China would resume the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and the United Kingdom would restore Hong Kong to China with effect from July 1, 1997 was signed in Beijing, China by Deng Xiaoping and Margaret Thatcher. 1986, Mikhail Gorbachev, leader of the Soviet Union, released Andrei Sakharov and his wife from exile in Gorky.

In 1995, the United States Government restored federal recognition to the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indian tribe. 1997, SilkAir Flight 185 crashed into the Musi River, near Palembang in Indonesia, killing 104. 1998, president Bill Clinton was impeached by the United States House of Representatives, becoming the second President of the United States to be impeached. 2000, the Leninist Guerrilla Units wing of the Communist Labour Party of Turkey/Leninist attacked a Nationalist Movement Party office in Istanbul, Turkey, killing one person and injuring three. 2001, a record high barometric pressure of 1085.6 hPa (32.06 inHg) was recorded at Tosontsengel, Khövsgöl, Mongolia. Also in 2001, Argentine economic crisis: December 2001 riots – Riots erupted in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 2010, Sachin Tendulkar scored a record-breaking 50th Century in Test cricket against South Africa at the SuperSport Park in Centurion, Gauteng. Also 2010, Rahul Dravid crossed the 12000 runs milestone in Test cricket against South Africa at the SuperSport Park in Centurion, Gauteng. 2012, Park Geun-hye was elected the first female president of South Korea.
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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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Editorials will appear in the "History in a Year by the Conservative Voice" series, starting with August https://www.createspace.com/4124406
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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 Gerald Ě GrechEtaBeta ScsEris WittmannLam Nguyen , Tony Pham , Peter Au  and Kevin Smith. Born on the same day, across the years, along with
Charles Dickens
You've been crowned. Your ghosts are past. Those charges against you failed. Lifeboats are poorly named. Bill's boat floated. Let's party. 
Matches
Hatches
Despatches
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2014
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In a coup on December 19, 1964South Vietnam's ruling military junta led by General Nguyễn Khánh(pictured) dissolved the High National Council (HNC) and arrested some of its members. Khánh needed to satisfy the wishes of some younger generals to stay in power, after they had saved him from an earlier coup attempt. They wanted to sideline older officers who had previously been in high leadership positions, hiding their motives with a plan to force all general officers with more than 25 years of service to retire. The HNC, an unelected advisory body created to give a veneer of civilian rule, recommended against this, and was then dissolved. This dismayed the United States, South Vietnam's main sponsor. The US ambassador, Maxwell D. Taylor, harshly berated the generals and threatened aid cuts. Khánh embarked on a media offensive, criticizing US policy and what he saw as infringement of Vietnamese sovereignty. He and the other generals began preparations to expel Taylor before changing their minds. Khánh's tactics rallied support for his fragile leadership, at least temporarily. The Americans did not carry through on Taylor's threats to cut off aid, even though the HNC was never restored. (Full article...)
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BEATING THE BLUDJAHIDEEN

Tim Blair – Friday, December 19, 2014 (1:47pm)

“If we can stop the boats and the drownings, we can stop the undeserved free lunches, as well as the lawfare waged on civil society and our safety,” writes Alan R.M. Jones
More than that, we can stop heeding the excuses and rationalisations on behalf of those who would harm innocents and coarsen our civil soul. If we have the will, if the collective outrage of right now declines to flag, we can say loudly that we refuse to live any longer in the rotten edifice of a social-experiment freak-out ginned up at a bong party in the sociology department common room.
We must first overcome the absurd protests that Monis’ villainy was a one-off, an isolated case, which had nothing to do with his sinister religious beliefs. Likewise, we must recognise the dysfunctional welfare-industrial complex for what it is — a support scheme available to help manifest and advance social pathologies. Have we not recognised that Monis was a walking Venn diagram of victim handouts, subsidised weirdness and extremist hatred? To be the quintessential welfare queen and a psychopathic, parasitic criminal are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, in this case they were symbiotic. 
Read on.
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SUPER SMITH

Tim Blair – Friday, December 19, 2014 (1:40pm)

An excellent century to Steve Smith in his first Test as Australian captain. Smith joins a remarkable list of first-up captaincy centurions: William Murdoch, Harry Trott, Monty Noble, Clem Hill, Warwick Armstrong, Lindsay Hassett, Greg Chappell and Graham Yallop. Not bad for a bloke who looks as though he’s trying to bat left- and right-handed at the same time.
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EAT THEM SQUIRRELS, TENNESSEE BOY

Tim Blair – Friday, December 19, 2014 (12:33pm)

Al Gore isn’t fat. He’s just storing carbon
Do you know where your body fat goes when you lose weight?
Neither do most doctors, a study has found.
The correct answer is that 84 per cent is breathed out as carbon dioxide. 
Via David T., who asks: “Does this mean The Biggest Loser is a carbon criminal?” In another crucial climate development
Arctic ground squirrels could play a greater role in climate change than was previously thought.
Scientists have found that the animals are hastening the release of greenhouse gases from the permafrost – a vast, frozen store of carbon. 
Easy solution. Al Gore should eat them. Here are some tasty recipes from the Missouri Department of Conservation.
(Via J.F. Beck)
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CONFESSION TIME

Tim Blair – Friday, December 19, 2014 (12:00pm)

The former Greens candidate whose touching tale of multicultural compassion inspired the #illridewithyou movement has now changed her story.
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SHELF OF SHAME

Tim Blair – Friday, December 19, 2014 (11:53am)

Michelle Obama describes a recent “racist experience”
“I tell this story – I mean, even as the first lady – during that wonderfully publicized trip I took to Target, not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf. Because she didn’t see me as the first lady, she saw me as someone who could help her. Those kinds of things happen in life. So it isn’t anything new,” Michelle Obama, who is 5’11”, said. 
As it happens, last week I too was asked to help retrieve an item from a high supermarket shelf. This obviously occurred because I am a tall black woman.
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HOLLYWIMPS

Tim Blair – Friday, December 19, 2014 (10:56am)

Mark Steyn on Sony’s cancellation of  The Interview following North Korean threats: 
Kim Jong-Un has just vaporized a Hollywood blockbuster as totally as if one of his No Dong missiles had taken out the studio. As it is, the fellows with no dong turned out to be the executives of Sony Pictures.
I wouldn’t mind but this is the same industry that congratulates itself endlessly – not least in its annual six-hour awards ceremony – on its artists’ courage and bravery. Called on to show some for the first time in their lives, they folded like a cheap suit …
American pop culture – supposedly the most powerful and influential force on the planet – has just surrendered to a one-man psycho-state economic basket-case that starves its own population.
Kim Jong-won. 
Further from Zev Chafets.
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Sinodinos quits. Reshuffle starts

Andrew Bolt December 19 2014 (5:55pm)

More on the big reset for 2015:
TONY Abbott will refresh his economic team within days after accepting the resignation of Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos, who has stepped down to clear the way for the change. 

The Prime Minister said he would name a new Assistant Treasurer “in the next few days” after Senator Sinodinos announced he would move to the backbench.
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Hollywood kneels before North Korea

Andrew Bolt December 19 2014 (5:51pm)

North Korean threats are all it takes for Sony to cancel The Interview.  Mark Steyn on the gutlessness:
Kim Jong-Un has just vaporized a Hollywood blockbuster as totally as if one of his No Dong missiles had taken out the studio. As it is, the fellows with no dong turned out to be the executives of Sony Pictures.
I wouldn’t mind but this is the same industry that congratulates itself endlessly – not least in its annual six-hour awards ceremony – on its artists’ courage and bravery. Called on to show some for the first time in their lives, they folded like a cheap suit …
American pop culture – supposedly the most powerful and influential force on the planet – has just surrendered to a one-man psycho-state economic basket-case that starves its own population.
Kim Jong-won. 
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Royal commission: Gillard told untruths; boyfriend paid for renovations with “illegitimate” cash

Andrew Bolt December 19 2014 (5:11pm)

The interim report of the royal commission into union corruption is devastating to former Labor leader Julia Gillard and damaging to the current leader, Bill Shorten.
Royal commissioner Dyson Heydon says Julia Gillard did not tell the truth, and her renovations were paid for by her then boyfriend, corrupt AWU union official Bruce Wilson, using money she should have realised was “illegitimate”:

…the manner in which she uttered these words denying what [builder] Athol James said [about Gillard telling him the renovations were paid for by Wilson] seemed to be excessive, forced, and asseverated.  There was an element of acting in her demeanour.  She delivered those words in a dramatic and angry way, but the delivery fell flat.  She protested too much.  She chose to fight him.  It was a fight in which there could be only one winner.  Unfortunately, she lost that fight.’
There is a benign explanation for Julia Gillard’s testimony and there is a less benign explanation.  Behind each explanation lies the fact that, unlike Athol James, she had a strong motive to see her version of events accepted.’
The benign explanation is that the testimony proceeded from vellity.  She wanted it to be the case that she had paid for all the renovation work.  Over 20 years, subconsciously, she convinced herself that it was the case.  So dearly cherished an outcome became inexpugnably part of her mentality.’
The less benign explanation is that she knew her testimony was false.  It might have been knowingly false in the sense that she remembered the key events happening, but chose to deny them.  Or it might have been knowingly false in the sense that she could not remember one way or the other whether the key events happened, but chose to deny them.  In each case she was telling a knowing untruth about her mental state…

Julia Gillard was the recipient of certain funds from Bruce Wilson as described in the evidence of Athol James and [former AWU official] Wayne Hem. The skimpy nature of the evidence does not make it possible to infer on the balance of probabilities that Julia Gillard was aware that she had received the $5,000 which Wayne Hem put into her bank account on Bruce Wilson’s instructions. That is event truer of the events which Wayne Hem observed at her house…

The position is different in relation to the wads of bank notes observed by Athol James. Julia Gillard was at least aware of facts, had she turned her mind to them, which would have indicated that the source of those bank notes cannot have been the low union salary of Bruce Wilson of about $50,000...she must have been aware of facts, which, had she turned her mind to them, would have revealed that Bruce Wilson was making payments to her in the presence of Athol James using money which he had no right to use for that purpose because his duty was to repay it to Thiess … It is quite improbable that the source was legitimate, i.e. the salary’
Heydon is rightly scathing of what I called Gillard’s do-you-know-who-I-am defence:
Senior counsel for Julia Gillard put the following submission:

The Commission should give significant weight to Ms Gillard’s good character and reputation. The Commission has little or no evidence before it of the character or reputation of Messrs James and Hem. In the context of these proceedings there is no reason to prefer their evidence over that of Ms Gillard.’
This is a mystifying submission. It is a dangerous submission. And, if it were correct, it would be a troubling submission…
A further problem raised by the submission is that though there is virtually no evidence of Julia Gillard’s good reputation and character beyond that which is to be inferred from her status as a former Prime Minister and from the other aspects of her career which are notorious, she is given the accolade of having a ‘good’ reputation and character.’

There is no reason to adopt some presumption in favour of her and against them (James and Hem). If some such presumption were adopted, it would always be the case that the powerful, the celebrated and the successful will have undue advantages over the weak, the obscure and those of moderate achievement. Then would be the time to ask the question: ‘Little man, what now?’ It is a strange submission to be advanced on behalf of a former politician belonging to the Australian Labor Party tradition – a tradition of social democracy.’
And this goes without saying: there was a ‘lapse in professional judgment on Julia Gillard’s part’ in acting for Mr Wilson, with whom she had a personal relationship.
But Gillard escapes serious criticism for her legal work, and no charges are recommended against her, as Hedley Thomas reports:
JULIA Gillard faces no criminal action for her legal work on a slush fund for her allegedly corrupt union boss boyfriend, Bruce Wilson. 

But her two former AWU clients, Mr Wilson and his sidekick Ralph Blewitt, are likely to be charged with offences as a result of findings released today by former High Court judge Dyson Heydon’s Royal Commission into Union Corruption…

“The skimpy nature of the available evidence does not make it possible to infer on the balance of probabilities that Julia Gillard was aware that she had received the $5,000 which Wayne Hem put into her bank account on Bruce Wilson’s instructions.
Heydon also ruled that “It is no criticism of Julia Gillard to conclude that payments of that kind were being made if she was ignorant of them — any more than it is a criticism of her that Bruce Wilson arranged for Wayne Hem to pay $5,000 into her bank account if she was ignorant of it”.
He said the evidence was “ insufficient to justify rejection of her claim that she had no relevant knowledge”.
In relation to Ms Gillard’s role as a solicitor at Slater & Gordon, Commissioner Heydon found that if she “had interrogated Bruce Wilson and Ralph Blewitt closely about whether the (slush fund) Association existed, who its members were and how they had given authority to make the Application, a central pillar of Bruce Wilson’s plan would have begun crumbling"…
“However, that failure to interrogate Ralph Blewitt and Bruce Wilson was not itself a breach of the duties created by the retainer.”
As for Bill Shorten:
The royal commissioner accepts that former AWU state president Bob Kernohan told then AWU official Bill Shorten that ‘it was a bloody disgrace that they (Wilson and Blewitt) received redundancy payments whilst they were internally investigated for fraud.’
Kernohan claimed:
‘SHORTEN cut me off, not in a nasty way, and he said words like, “Bob, think of your future.  There’s been a payout, we are all just moving on.“‘
‘SHORTEN put his hand on my shoulder and responded, “Bob think of your future.” He said, “If you pursue this, a lot of good people will get hurt and you will be on your own.  Look Bob, you’ve been lined up to take a safe labor (sic) seat of Milton (sic) in the Victorian parliament.”
Heydon rules:

William Shorten’s position is that while he does not remember what he says, and while he does not believe he said what is alleged, he does not deny saying it.’
Over the last two decades William Shorten has had many cares, borne many burdens and performed many different roles while ascending the greasy pole.  It is accordingly not surprising that his position is as stated above.’
On the probabilities it is likely that the incident took place as Robert Kernohan narrates it.
So one former Labor prime minister had her renovations paid for with stolen money and did not tell the truth about it, and the man wanting to be the next Labor Prime Minister in all probability wanted it hushed up. So finds the royal commissioner.
And this is a story the ABC and many Canberra press gallery journalists refused for years to cover or take seriously.
Some of the other findings damage senior Labor figures Sam Dastyari and Tony Sheldon, as well as Kimberley Kitching.
UPDATE
Incredibly, ABC radio news bulletins throughout the day kept asserting Julia Gillard had been “cleared”.
Just as incredibly, Gillard demands an apology:
FORMER prime minister Julia Gillard says she is pleased a royal commission had made no findings against her…

“Decency would require those who falsely accused me to apologise,” she said.
Ms Gillard rejected the report’s suggestion that anyone other than herself paid for work done on her Abbotsford property.
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Clive Palmer’s senior media advisor arrested

Andrew Bolt December 19 2014 (1:16pm)

Yet more scandal for the Palmer United Party:
CLIVE Palmer’s senior media adviser, Andrew Crook, has been arrested by Queensland Police for his alleged role in an “elaborate scheme” to kidnap a National Australia Bank executive, the ABC reports…
Mr Palmer claimed the investigation was “orchestrated” by the Queensland government to discredit his party and obtain documents related to its state election strategy.
“I think it’s an effort to undermine my political support in Queensland and try to get Campbell Newman re-elected as premier, that’s how I see it politically,” the Palmer United Party leader told the ABC…
The ABC reports Queensland Police will allege Mr Crook and multi-millionaire property developer Tony Smith, were involved in a January 2013 attempt to coerce a witness in a $70 million civil case involving Mr Smith to recant his evidence, using subterfuge and threats of violence.
The pair allegedly lured the NAB employee to Singapore and on to Batam Island in Indonesia using the pretence of a possible job offer from Clive Palmer.
It will be alleged that once on Batam Island, the witness was stripsearched, threatened and forced to make a statement recanting his evidence, the ABC reports.
Mr Palmer is not thought to have had any involvement in, or knowledge of the plot, the ABC reports.
Mr Crook has been Mr Palmer’s media adviser and spokesman since before the tycoon entered politics
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Is #illridewithyou just #illfibtoyou?

Andrew Bolt December 19 2014 (9:56am)

The #Illridewithyou hashtag already seemed yet another Twitter outburst of narcissism. After all, how many of the hundreds of thousands who tweeted their support actually rode with a Muslim to work as a result? None? One?
But now it seems like just another typical Leftist myth, told to seem good rather than do it:
GAPS have appeared in the story that inspired the #illridewithyou Twitter phenomenon. 

University lecturer [and former Greens candidate] Rachael Jacobs had originally posted a status on Facebook, explaining how she offered to protect a woman who felt uncomfortable wearing her hijab.

According to her story, Ms Jacobs had seen the woman beginning to remove her scarf, and ran after her, saying “Put it back on. I’ll walk with you.”
The exchange took place on a Brisbane train, while the Sydney siege was taking place in Sydney’s Martin Place.
However Rachael Jacobs has admitted that she “editorialised’’ parts of her story.
“Confession time. In my Facebook status, I editorialised. She wasn’t sitting next to me. She was a bit away, towards the other end of the carriage,” she wrote.
Detailing her thought process, Ms Jacobs now says she wondered if she even needed to help."She might not even be Muslim or she could have just been warm!,” she wrote.
Almost nothing in Jacobs’ story can be taken for granted, given the profound encounter she described with a supposed Muslim ended with an almost wordless ”conversation”:
By sheer fluke, we got off at the same station, and some part of me decided saying something would be a good thing. Rather than quiz her about her choice of clothing, I thought if I simply offered to walk her to her destination, it might help.
It’s hard to describe the moment when humans, and complete strangers, have a conversation with no words. I wanted to tell her I was sorry for so many things – for overstepping the mark, for making assumptions about a complete stranger and for belonging to a culture where racism was part of her everyday experience.
But none of those words came out, and our near silent encounter was over in a moment.
What made this #illridewithyou so offensive is that it deflected sympathy from the hostages - still in captivity - to those who shared the jihadists’ faith, and that it presumed Australians were so racist that they’d go on a pogrom (which, yet again, they did not).
This was not a manifestation of tolerance but its reverse, as demonstrated by an earlier posting by Tessa Kum, the woman who created the hashtag:
I’m learning about hate because I am coming to hate you, white person. You have all the control, all the power, all the privilege, and there is nothing holding you accountable. I hate the double standards and hypocrisy you display, the rank dishonesty of your conduct. I hate that you can harm us, when we cannot harm you. 
(Thanks to reader Peter of Bellevue Hill.) 
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Reshuffle coming, but a communications shakeup is also needed

Andrew Bolt December 19 2014 (9:36am)

A reshuffle is coming, and new aggressive strategy that avoids the Senate where possible, targets Labor for its economic recklessness and focuses the debate on the economy.
Simon Benson:
TONY Abbott is considering a Cabinet reshuffle as early as this weekend with Defence Minister David Johnston tipped to be a casualty.
A senior Cabinet Minister confirmed that discussions had taken place this week over what to do about filling the vacant position of Assistant Treasurer.
It has not been decided whether Arthur Sinodinos will return to the role, after he stood aside when he became a witness in an ICAC investigation.
I’d suggest Sinodinos is damaged goods, and must wait until after the next election to return to the front bench - should the Liberals win it. Right now the Government cannot afford to give Labor any free kicks.
James Massola:
Prime Minister Tony Abbott will consider a frontbench reshuffle over the weekend… Fairfax Media has learnt the fate of Senator Sinodinos is foremost in Mr Abbott’s mind…
A key factor in Mr Abbott’s thinking will be whether or not to wait for the ICAC’s findings into an inquiry involving Senator Sinodinos, which were due to be handed down in January but have now been delayed pending a March High Court case over the ICAC’s pursuit of NSW Crown prosecutor Margaret Cunneen SC. That delay has thrown into question whether to move now or risk going through a second budget without an assistant treasurer....
[A] well-connected source predicted that if Mr Abbott moved to resolve Senator Sinodinos’ status before the end of the year that could open the door to a broader reshuffle. In that scenario, Defence Minister David Johnston’s fate would also be under a cloud, while Immigration Minister Scott Morrison could be given a bigger role…
Mr Abbott is said to prefer a “one in, one out” reshuffle that would see a rising star such as Josh Frydenberg or Steve Ciobo moved up from the ranks of parliamentary secretaries to fill Senator Sinodinos’ position.
I feel sorry for Johnston. He was absolutely right to blast ASC as not deserving of trust to build even a canoe. He should have been backed, not cut loose - another sign of the Government’s timidity in debate. He will be proved absolutely right if the blowout in the destroyer project turns out to be the rumoured $1 billion.
Replacing him with Morrison would not much help the Government. Defence is not a portfolio that wins elections for governments - and won’t unless Defence becomes part of a mega national security portfolio. Otherwise it requires an administrator, not the Government’s most potent attack dog.
More important is that the Government fix its communications weakness. That should include appointing a very senior and trusted media advisor with the Prime Minister’s willing ear. Even better would be to also appoint a key MP to head the communications strategy, and give him or her a title - perhaps Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Government Co-ordination - which would also give them the right to answer questions in Question Time over a range of topics. Such a figure would then take heat of Peta Credlin, the chief of staff, and make Abbott look less isolated.
(Thanks to reader Peter of Bellevue Hill.) 
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Our refugee program shouldn’t leave us in this danger

Andrew Bolt December 19 2014 (9:01am)

Paul Sheehan is right - our refugee program was rorted and leaves us less safe:

Now for the cover-up. Australians are entitled to know, but are highly unlikely to be told, who were the lawyers and officials who advocated that Man Haron Monis be allowed to live in Australia, and then granted citizenship, despite red flag after red flag that he was trouble…
Right at the start, in 1996, when Monis claimed political asylum, the Iranian authorities made it clear that he had been charged with multiple counts of theft that had nothing to do with either political persecution or capital crimes. The Iranian foreign ministry reiterated this week that his psychological instability and criminal charges were known to Australian officials when they granted him asylum status.
Within months, Monis had chained himself to the front gate of state Parliament in Macquarie Street in a political protest. He was later given citizenship.
Monis is a classic case study of why Australia needs to have probationary conditions applied to the residence status and then citizenship granted to immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers…
With instability growing in the Muslim world, the tacit policy of open borders, advocated by the Greens and the churches, would have seen the 50,000 people who bypassed Australian immigration under Labor grow exponentially. Noone in the Greens or the churches offers structures setting limits, not 100,000 undocumented arrivals, or 200,000, or 500,000. Only compassion without limits. This has been sensibly and emphatically rejected by the electorate.
(Thanks to reader Me 2.) 
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Isolated Lambie is angry the Government takes her at her word

Andrew Bolt December 19 2014 (8:50am)

Jacqui Lambie needs to grow up. She announces she will vote against every single piece of legislation the Abbott Government suggests yet still complains when the Prime Minister concludes there’s then no point in negotiating with her:
Jacqui Lambie’s threat to vote down all government legislation unless the Defence Force is offered a better pay rise appears to have backfired with the firebrand Senator revealing the Prime Minister is now refusing to negotiate with her.
Senator Lambie revealed on Friday Mr Abbott has refused to meet her on three occasions since she made her threat and declared him a “coward"…
“At least open up the negotiation lines, I would hope that the PM being a prime minister would be at least big enough to do that,” she told the ABC.
What’s there to negotiate about, Senator? You said no. The Government took you at your word.
Action, meet consequences. 
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What creed demanded these children be killed?

Andrew Bolt December 19 2014 (8:40am)

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The Sydney chocolate shop murders were in no way the worst atrocities committed by Islamists this week:
HEARTBREAKING images show the innocent victims gunned down by in a Taliban raid on a Pakistani school that left 148 children dead as grief-stricken families bury their dead and spoke of their dreams.
The child killers:
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A claim:
A military source told NBC News that the attackers were wearing police uniforms and suicide vests.
“They burnt a teacher in front of the students in a classroom,” he said. “They literally set the teacher on fire with gasoline and made the kids watch.”
UPDATE
This just in:
More than 185 people, including women and children, have been kidnapped by Boko Haram fighters in northeast Nigeria.
Gunmen killed 32 people during the attack in the remote village of Gumsuri in Borno state - the latest in a string of abductions by the Islamist group.
In April, Boko Haram, whose name means ‘Western education is sinful’, abducted more than 200 girls from a school in Chibok, only 15 miles from Gumsuri.
UPDATE
Alan Johnson has had enough of the pathetic excuses Western leaders make for Islam:

“There is nothing in Islam that justifies acts of terror.” (Prime Minister David Cameron reacting to the beheading of British soldier Lee Rigby by two Islamists who shouted “Allahu Akbar” and quoted 22 verses from the Koran.)
“They don’t represent Islam or Muslims in Britain or anywhere else in the world.” (David Cameron’s reaction to the massacre by Islamists in Nairobis’s Westgate shopping centre of anyone who failed to name the mother of the founder of Islam or recite verses from the Koran.)
“This hateful ideology has nothing to do with Islam… Let the message go out that we know Islam is a religion of peace.” (Theresa May’s speech to Conservative Party Conference, 2014.)
Islamic State has “nothing to do with the great religion of Islam, a religion of peace.” (David Cameron, denying any connection between the creation of an Islamic caliphate and Islam.)
“[The massacre in Pakistan] is nothing to do with one of the world’s great religions - Islam, which is a religion of peace.” (Prime Minister David Cameron speaking after a group of Taliban gunmen murdered 141, including 132 children at a school in northern Pakistan.)
Please. Enough.
The mantra that Islamism “has nothing to do with Islam” is well-intentioned. It aims to delegitimise the terrorists and strengthen the vast majority of Muslims who oppose terror. It is no doubt what the “comms” experts are telling the Prime Minister to say. But they are wrong. The unthinking, kneejerk, pro-forma and near-Orwellian denial of the deep and manifold connections between Islam and Islamism has to stop…
Listen instead to Perry Anderson, writing in the flagship journal of the Western left, New Left Review: “Since Muhammad clearly enjoins jihad against infidels in Holy Places, latter­day Salafism – notwithstanding every effort of Western, or pro­Western, commentators to euphemise the Prophet’s words – is on sound scriptural grounds, embarrassing though this undoubtedly is to the moderate majority of Muslims.”
Here is what we can’t ignore any longer: religious reform is essential if Islam is to overcome what the great Muslim scholar Bassam Tibi calls its “predicament with modernity”.
Until we admit that Islam has such a predicament, admit that the Islamists exploit that predicament to radicalise, and admit that when they do they can point to canonical sources (even if it is also true that moderates can point to other sources, and more of them) then we are not going to win. 
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Fairfax’s Mark Kenny slimes Abbott for not saving us from Monis

Andrew Bolt December 19 2014 (7:45am)

Mark Kenny, the Sydney Morning Herald’s chief political correspondent, does not let even this moment go by without indulging his pathological hatred of Tony Abbott:
Like prime ministers before him, Tony Abbott believes the first responsibility of government is national security – protecting the citizenry from those who would do us harm.

Being a remote island nation, historically regarded as a strategic advantage in itself, counts for little when the most immediate threat to public security now comes from a self-precipitating enemy within.
Yet judged against this criterion, it is arguable his government is failing.
Back in September, Kenny couldn’t resist starting another column with the same snark, but this time hinting that Abbott could be overreacting to terror threats:
Tony Abbott faces a unique challenge. The unpopular leader must unite a country around an idea that is inherently divisive. People will inevitably question his motives, and his judgment.
He is helped by the unflinching support of the Opposition, but many voters remain suspicious, fearing he is talking up the national security threat because it helps the government or, conversely, he is leading the country into a war that will render it less safe.
Kenny is the kind of Abbott hater who even attacks Abbott for wearing boots of the kind Kenny didn’t think exceptional when worn by Kevin Rudd.
Mark Kenny’s wife, Virginia Haussegger, seems to share Kenny’s patently obvious political sympathies:
KATY Gallagher will resign as ACT Chief Minister to pursue a seat in federal parliament… Bill Shorten yesterday ­endorsed Ms Gallagher as his “star recruit” in the preselection contest to replace senator Kate Lundy, who is retiring… Two other mooted candidates, CFMEU ACT secretary Dean Hall and ABC newsreader Virginia Haussegger, also ruled themselves out yesterday.
The great Labor/Fairfax/ABC nexus illustrated - and that AbbottAbbottAbbott streak common to all. 
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.. like Baby Maggie when her aunt says she wants a child .
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=== Posts from last year ===

community channel
New Vid! The Types of Friends You Shouldn't See Movies With http://youtu.be/gJM2wyWVKWQbecause there's always one of them...
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DESCENT OF VAN

Tim Blair – Thursday, December 19, 2013 (1:07pm)

Normal people don’t worry much about appointees to the Human Rights Commission. In fact, normal people can’t evenname any HRC appointees.
And then there is the Guardian‘s Van Badham, for whom the HRC appointment of Tim Wilson is an event equal to Princess Di shooting JFK during 9/11. Let’s follow Miss Badham’s desperate emotional journey as she struggles to cope with the terrible news:

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In other words, if he isn’t a veteran of the whining industry he has no business on one of the left’s precious little worry lobbies.

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These are universal rights. They apply to everybody.

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A leftist hears the words “freedom of speech” and understands them to mean “unfettered hatred”. Interesting.

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Tell it to your leftist mates in the anti-Jew club, Van.

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You just know where this is heading.

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Yep. Van’s gone the full Hitler.

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Now she’s hit the grieving phase.

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The “white space” of rage? RACIST. Apparently all of this distress led to a great crying fit:

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If the term wasn’t associated with masculine gender constructs that diminish the oppression of women, you’d almost think Van was hysterical.

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More grief. Van’s in turmoil. But next she discovers a smoking - or dripping, in this case - gun. Wilson once tweeted the quite reasonable view that water cannons be turned on Occupy deadbeats:

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This actually shows up Wilson as a weak moderate. A genuine conservative would have called for the deployment ofChewplosive™ acre-clearance detonation mints.
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HAWTHORN FOLDS

Tim Blair – Thursday, December 19, 2013 (5:58am)

Please enjoy Bernie’s Magic Moment. Some notes:
• The presence of Brad Rowe and Saverio Rocca indicates to AFL experts that this short film was made in 1994. Then again, the film’s credits also indicate this.
• Clearly, the broadcast game is at Victoria Park and not at the MCG. Artistic licence.
• The pizza boy is future Kevin Rudd advisor Rhys Muldoon.
• It is true that we Collingwood supporters can influence results by ironing. It’s just that we don’t iron very often.
• Why wasn’t he actually at the game?
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TEACHER TAUGHT

Tim Blair – Thursday, December 19, 2013 (5:45am)

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ANGRY KITTY

Tim Blair – Thursday, December 19, 2013 (5:41am)

Suppose you’re a baby Sumatran tiger, born in a fancy zoo. Everything is sweet for the first 12 weeks. You’re the centre of attention. Cuddles galore! And then your handler decides – in freezy November – that it’s time for a swimming test:

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Someone isn’t happy. And that zoo might not be so fancy after all.
(Via fearless reporter Leafy, floating at the scene)
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TRAPPED IN A MADHOUSE

Tim Blair – Thursday, December 19, 2013 (5:32am)

Energy companies, among many others, have long been spooked by climate alarmism. Now, as Tony Thomasobserves, those companies might be wising up: 
It must be a tipping point in the climate debate when a senior Shell executive notices something odd about the green activists with whom he has been consorting.
David Hone, Shell UK’s Melbourne-born “senior climate change adviser”, went to an academic conference on “radical emission reduction strategies” in London on December 10-11.
He concluded that he had fallen among eco-idiots wanting to remould society from the ground up. 
Do read on.
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SOAK SHOCK

Tim Blair – Thursday, December 19, 2013 (5:30am)

Mark Steyn sends a prayer
God save us from the bedwetter Left. 
Amen to that, especially when the dampeners are hitting Steyn and the National Review Online with vile lawsuits. Donate here to join the fight.
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PULLING WOOL

Tim Blair – Thursday, December 19, 2013 (3:30am)

David Thompson reviews the colossal scope and profundity of Australian performance art.
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The Left exposed: enemies of free speech, inciters of hate

Andrew Bolt December 19 2013 (7:12am)

Tim Wilson is a gay man who supports a form of gay marriage and should be a darling of the Left.
But here’s the problem. He also supports free speech.
Cue the vicious hate.
And cue a signature of the modern Left - a collective effort to abuse and cow him with a Hate Tim Wilson Day:
A day to denounce, fling hate at, and generally express our contempt for Tim Wilson, the new freedom commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission. 
Note another hallmark of the Left - the hypocrisy. This mass hatred is organised by someone whose job is to promote tolerance:
Timothy James Scrivens 
Vice President, chair of education committee and Disability equity officer. at Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association 
No honour. No shame.
(Via Catallaxy Files.
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That’s the trouble right there: Human Rights Commission denies freedom commissioner freedom to speak

Andrew Bolt December 18 2013 (8:07pm)

The president of the Human Rights Commission says new freedom commissioner Tim Wilson, who plans to campaign for free speech, is actually not permitted to speak out unless she and her fellow commissioners agree.
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Five reasons why Matt Smith was born to play the Doctor: http://bbc.in/JrVJRI (as argued byAnglophenia)
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CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY OF THE DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Anti-Socialist Stooge David Ball Condemned
PYONGYANG (KCNA) — With the people clamoring for justicethe organizing committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly announced that David Ball will meet the serious punishment of history.
The era and history will eternally record and never forget the shuddering crimes committed by Ball, the enemy of the party, revolution and people and heinous betrayer of the nation.
These crimes will be admitted to, following which hurrahs for the Workers’ Party of Korea and socialism will reverberate far and wide.
Ball let the decadent capitalist lifestyle find its way to our society by distributing all sorts of pornographic pictures among personal confidants. Ball led a dissolute, depraved life, squandering money at every stop.
Ball is a traitor to the nation for all ages, who perpetrated anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts in a bid to overthrow the leadership of our party and state and the socialist system.
Ball is a hooligan bereft of any personality as a human being,does not know even elementary diplomatic etiquette and lacks diplomatic abilityand will find that their desperate moves will be smashed.
Ball systematically rallied ex-convicts, those problematic in their past careers and discontented elements around him, and ruled over them as sacred and inviolable being.
Ball worked hard to put all affairs of the country under control, massively increasing the staff of the department and organs under it, and stretch Ball’s tentacles to ministries and national institutions.
All facts go to clearly prove that Ball is a thrice-cursed traitor without an equal in the world, who had desperately worked for years to destabilize and bring down the DPRK. The hateful and despicable nature of these anti-party, anti-state and unpopular crimes will be fully disclosed in the course of the trial. No matter how much water flows under the bridge and no matter how frequently a generation is replaced by new one, the lineage of Paektu will remain unchanged and irreplaceable.
No one in the world can stand in the way of the army and people who are advancing single-mindedly united around supreme leader Kim Jong Un under the banner of great Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism.
Citizens may discuss the trials in the official committee forum or denounce a friend using the form below.

Read more at Boing Boing

Support the Juche Idea!
Follow Rob Beschizza on Twitter
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www.buzzfeed.com
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energy drinks don't replace sleep - ed 
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““Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),” Luke 1:68-70 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Rend your heart, and not your garments."
Joel 2:13
Garment-rending and other outward signs of religious emotion, are easily manifested and are frequently hypocritical; but to feel true repentance is far more difficult, and consequently far less common. Men will attend to the most multiplied and minute ceremonial regulations--for such things are pleasing to the flesh--but true religion is too humbling, too heart-searching, too thorough for the tastes of the carnal men; they prefer something more ostentatious, flimsy, and worldly. Outward observances are temporarily comfortable; eye and ear are pleased; self-conceit is fed, and self-righteousness is puffed up: but they are ultimately delusive, for in the article of death, and at the day of judgment, the soul needs something more substantial than ceremonies and rituals to lean upon. Apart from vital godliness all religion is utterly vain; offered without a sincere heart, every form of worship is a solemn sham and an impudent mockery of the majesty of heaven.
Heart-rending is divinely wrought and solemnly felt. It is a secret grief which is personally experienced, not in mere form, but as a deep, soul-moving work of the Holy Spirit upon the inmost heart of each believer. It is not a matter to be merely talked of and believed in, but keenly and sensitively felt in every living child of the living God. It is powerfully humiliating, and completely sin-purging; but then it is sweetly preparative for those gracious consolations which proud unhumbled spirits are unable to receive; and it is distinctly discriminating, for it belongs to the elect of God, and to them alone.
The text commands us to rend our hearts, but they are naturally hard as marble: how, then, can this be done? We must take them to Calvary: a dying Saviour's voice rent the rocks once, and it is as powerful now. O blessed Spirit, let us hear the death-cries of Jesus, and our hearts shall be rent even as men rend their vestures in the day of lamentation.

Evening

"Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds."
Proverbs 27:23
Every wise merchant will occasionally hold a stock-taking, when he will cast up his accounts, examine what he has on hand, and ascertain decisively whether his trade is prosperous or declining. Every man who is wise in the kingdom of heaven, will cry, "Search me, O God, and try me"; and he will frequently set apart special seasons for self-examination, to discover whether things are right between God and his soul. The God whom we worship is a great heart-searcher; and of old his servants knew him as "the Lord which searcheth the heart and trieth the reins of the children of men." Let me stir you up in his name to make diligent search and solemn trial of your state, lest you come short of the promised rest. That which every wise man does, that which God himself does with us all, I exhort you to do with yourself this evening. Let the oldest saint look well to the fundamentals of his piety, for grey heads may cover black hearts: and let not the young professor despise the word of warning, for the greenness of youth may be joined to the rottenness of hypocrisy. Every now and then a cedar falls into our midst. The enemy still continues to sow tares among the wheat. It is not my aim to introduce doubts and fears into your mind; nay, verily, but I shall hope the rather that the rough wind of self-examination may help to drive them away. It is not security, but carnal security, which we would kill; not confidence, but fleshly confidence, which we would overthrow; not peace, but false peace, which we would destroy. By the precious blood of Christ, which was not shed to make you a hypocrite, but that sincere souls might show forth his praise, I beseech you, search and look, lest at the last it be said of you, "Mene, Mene, Tekel: thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting."
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Today's reading: Obadiah 1, Revelation 9 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Obadiah 1

Obadiah’s Vision
1 The vision of Obadiah.
This is what the Sovereign LORD says about Edom—
We have heard a message from the LORD:
An envoy was sent to the nations to say,
“Rise, let us go against her for battle”—
2 “See, I will make you small among the nations;
you will be utterly despised.
3 The pride of your heart has deceived you,
you who live in the clefts of the rocks
and make your home on the heights,
you who say to yourself,
‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’
4 Though you soar like the eagle
and make your nest among the stars,
from there I will bring you down,” declares the LORD.
5 “If thieves came to you,
if robbers in the night—
oh, what a disaster awaits you!—
would they not steal only as much as they wanted?
If grape pickers came to you,
would they not leave a few grapes?

Today's New Testament reading: Revelation 9

1 The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. 2 When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. 3 And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. 4 They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5 They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes. 6 During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them....
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