Saturday, January 31, 2015

Sat Jan 31st Todays News

On Bolt Report a new policy is that any Islam post can only be on the pinned leader. Normal rules apply in that if it is merely foul and abusive it will be deleted. Otherwise comments are welcome.  
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All indications are Queensland has lost the election to the ALP and Campbell Newman has lost his seat. It is a sad end to a responsible government and it will be difficult to bear the gloating of the press for a few weeks, until their attention wanders to NSW. The ALP will form government and thanks to media patronage, will not be encumbered by policy beyond employing more public servants and not selling assets. The wider political view in Australia shows media outlasts claiming to have successors for Mr Abbott, naming Mal Brough or Malcolm Turnbull. Hysteria over the Prince Philip knighthood is dying down too, with quoted critics admitting it was a good call and it was Mr Abbott's position to make the call. One salient lesson is that in election conditions the partisan media will lie and inflate issues for the ALP against conservatives. If they hadn't, the average Queensland voter would have known the state was being well run under Campbell Newman. Victoria are losing $100's millions from a single bizarre ALP decision to not build a road which had been paid for.

At half time in the Asian Cup final Australia leads 1-0 over South Korea. The goal went against the run of play with South Korea unfortunate not to have scored three, while Tim Cahill for Australia narrowly missed one. Whomever wins, soccer will be the winner, and history will be made. Soccer in Korea has ancient history, with a similar game, chuk-guk, being played before Europeans showed their ball skills. Still, South Korea has not won it since 1956. After 90 minutes, South Korea evened the scores, and an exhausted Australia faced extra time. Australia went 2-1 about twenty minutes into extra time. 

A 20 yo woman has breast enlargement surgery. She has a cardiac arrest early in the surgery, but the surgeon proceeded after to do both breasts, not solely one. Patient is satisfied with outcome. Question needs to be asked who someone so young was having the augmentation surgery for cosmetic reasons?  She would not have finished developing yet.

Not many are Charlie Hebdo now, with a German carnival dropping plans for a float featuring a cartoonist pushing pen into the barrel of a gun. Apparently the image was deemed too provocative to jihadists who continue to bring Islam into disrepute.

Amanda Knox is still free despite a 28 year conviction for murdering a flatmate in Italy. Obama's wars in Libya and Syria are going badly.

On this day in 1606, Guy Fawkes was executed for the gunpowder plot. In 1747, the world's first venereal disease clinic at London Lock Hospital opened. Treatment could involve injecting mercury through the urethra. In 1848, John C Fremont was courtmartialed for mutiny and disobeying orders. He was the original GOP leader to oppose slavery and, in losing the 1856 election, the Democrats supported by Know Nothings, with President James Buchanan, careered towards civil war. In 1865, US congress passed the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery. In 1915, Germany became the first to use poison gas. They used it against Russia at the Battle of Bolimów. In 1930, 3M began manufacturing scotch tape. In 1950, the only President to have dropped an atom bomb on a civilian population twice, Democrat Harry S Truman, commissioned research for a hydrogen bomb. In 1958, the first successful launch of a satellite by the US coincided with James Van Allen discovering the Van Allen Belt of radiation which Earth has. In 2001, a Scottish court in the Netherlands convicted a Libyan bomber of the Lockerbie terror hit. In 2003, the Waterfall rail disaster continued an ALP NSW government tradition of deaths on trains (CF Granville and Berala rail tragedies). 
2014
Several threads are discussing justice at the moment. Convicted US killer Amanda Knox is claiming to be confused because a court had mistakenly freed her. US prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in their prosecution of terrorist Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. ABC is defending it's well remunerated status attacking Australia while claiming to hate conservatives. ALP is defending it's many choices of facilitating corruption in the workplace, recently threatening the existence of Shepparton. It is illustrative to look at an abuse of power from WW2. 

The US army in WW2 was different to what it is today. Today it is a volunteer force. In WW2, there was conscription. Eddie Slovik. Eddie (born 1920) was from a Polish American family in Detroit. From age 12, he had been involved with petty theft, break and enter and disturbing the peace. He was paroled in '38 after crashing a car with two friends while drunk. He was jailed in '39. Paroled in '42, he became a book keeper for a plumber and married. Because of his convictions, he was unfit for duty, but soon after the first anniversary of his wedding, he was ruled fit. He was drafted. Trained until January '44 and sent to France in August '44. 
Wikipedia reports
Canadian military police unit and remained with them for the next six weeks. Tankey wrote to their regiment to explain their absence before he and Slovik reported to their unit for duty on October 7, 1944. The US Army's rapid advance through France had caused many replacement soldiers to have trouble finding their assigned units, and so no charges were filed against Slovik or Tankey.The following day on October 8, Slovik informed his company commander, Captain Ralph Grotte, that he was "too scared" to serve in a front-line rifle company and asked to be reassigned to a rear area unit. He told Grotte that he would run away if he were assigned to a rifle unit, and asked his captain if that would constitute desertion. Grotte confirmed that it would. He refused Slovik's request for reassignment and sent him to a rifle platoon.[8]The next day, October 9, Slovik deserted from his infantry unit. His friend, John Tankey, caught up with him and attempted to persuade him to stay, but Slovik's only comment was that his "mind was made up". Slovik walked several miles to the rear and approached an enlisted cook at a headquarters detachment, presenting him with a note which stated:I, Pvt. Eddie D. Slovik, 36896415, confess to the desertion of the United States Army. At the time of my desertion we were in Albuff [Elbeuf] in France. I came to Albuff as a replacement. They were shelling the town and we were told to dig in for the night. The following morning they were shelling us again. I was so scared, nerves and trembling, that at the time the other replacements moved out, I couldn’t move. I stayed there in my fox hole till it was quiet and I was able to move. I then walked into town. Not seeing any of our troops, so I stayed over night at a French hospital. The next morning I turned myself over to the Canadian Provost Corp. After being with them six weeks I was turned over to American M.R. They turned me loose. I told my commanding officer my story. I said that if I had to go out there again I'd run away. He said there was nothing he could do for me so I ran away again AND I'LL RUN AWAY AGAIN IF I HAVE TO GO OUT THERE.—Signed Pvt. Eddie D. Slovik A.S.N. 36896415[4]The cook summoned his company commander and an MP, who read the note and urged Slovik to destroy it before he was taken into custody, which Slovik refused. He was brought beforeLieutenant Colonel Ross Henbest, who again offered him the opportunity to tear up the note, return to his unit, and face no further charges. After Slovik again refused, Henbest ordered Slovik to write another note on the back of the first one stating that he fully understood the legal consequences of deliberately incriminating himself with the note and that it would be used as evidence against him in a court martial.Slovik was taken into custody and confined to the division stockade. The divisional judge advocate, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Sommer, again offered Slovik an opportunity to rejoin his unit and have the charges against him suspended. He offered to transfer Slovik to a different infantry regiment where no one would know of his past and he could start with a "clean slate". Slovik, convinced that he would face only jail time, which he had experienced and found preferable to combat, declined these offers, saying, "I've made up my mind. I'll take my court martial."> 

The court martial found Eddie guilty of desertion and he was given the death penalty. He appealed, and his appeal was heard by Eisenhower, who declined to commute the sentence. On this day, in 1945, Eddie was executed by firing squad. Nobody could be excused from fighting, but the death penalty is normally reserved for crimes like rape, murder or desertion under fire. Eddie had not done any of those things. It is unlikely President Truman cared. Within months of the sentence being carried out, fighting stopped. 

Eddie merely wanted to live, but was still willing to serve. In contrast, Knox merely wants to get away with murder. Knox does not face a death penalty. There is no doubt about Tsarnaev's terrorist activity, only his justification of which there is no excuse. People have died from the activity of the ABC and ALP, that should not be excused.
Historical perspectives on this day 
In 314, Silvester I began his reign as Pope of the Catholic Church, succeeding Pope Miltiades. 1504, France ceded Naples to Aragon. 1606, Gunpowder Plot: Guy Fawkes was executed for plotting against Parliament and King James. 1747, the first venereal diseases clinic opened at London Lock Hospital. 1801, John Marshall was appointed the Chief Justice of the United States. 1814, Gervasio Antonio de Posadas became Supreme Director of Argentina. 1846, after the Milwaukee Bridge War, Juneautown and Kilbourntown unified as the City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 1848,  John C. Frémont was Court-martialed for mutiny and disobeying orders. 1849, Corn Laws were abolished in the United Kingdom pursuant to legislation in 1846. 1862, Alvan Graham Clark discovered the white dwarf star Sirius B, a companion of Sirius, through an 18.5-inch (47 cm) telescope now located at Northwestern University. 1865, American Civil War: The United States Congress passed the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, abolishing slavery and submitted it to the states for ratification. Also 1865, American Civil War: Confederate General Robert E. Lee became general-in-chief. 1867, Maronite nationalist leader Youssef Bey Karam left Lebanon on board a French ship bound for Algeria. 1891, History of Portugal: The first attempt at a Portuguese republican revolution broke out in the northern city of Porto.

In 1900, Datu Muhammad Salleh was assassinated in Kampung Teboh, Tambunan, ending the Mat Salleh Rebellion. 1915, World War I: Germany was the first to make large-scale use of poison gas in warfare in the Battle of Bolimów against Russia. 1917, World War I: Germany announced that its U-boats would resume unrestricted submarine warfare after a two-year hiatus. 1918, a series of accidental collisions on a misty Scottish night led to the loss of two Royal Navy submarines with over a hundred lives, and damage to another five British warships. 1919, the Battle of George Square took place in Glasgow, Scotland. 1929, the Soviet Union exiled Leon Trotsky. 1930, 3M began marketing Scotch Tape.

In 1942,  World War II: Allied forces were defeated by the Japanese at the Battle of Malaya and retreated to the island of Singapore. 1943, World War II: German Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus surrendered to the Soviets at Stalingrad, followed 2 days later by the remainder of his Sixth Army, ending one of the war's fiercest battles. 1944, World War II: American forces landed on Kwajalein Atoll and other islands in the Japanese-held Marshall Islands. Also 1944, World War II: During the Anzio campaign the 1st Ranger Battalion (Darby's Rangers) was destroyed behind enemy lines in a heavily outnumbered encounter at Battle of Cisterna, Italy. 1945, US Army private Eddie Slovik was executed for desertion, the first such execution of an American soldier since the Civil War. Also 1945, World War II: About 3,000 inmates from the Stutthof concentration camp were forcibly marched into the Baltic Sea at Palmnicken (now Yantarny, Russia) and executed. Also 1945, World War II: The end of fighting in the Battle of Hill 170 during the Burma Campaign, in which the British 3 Commando Brigade repulsed a Japanese counterattack on their positions and precipitated a general retirement from the Arakan Peninsula. 1946, Yugoslavia's new constitution, modelling that of the Soviet Union, established six constituent republics (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia). 1949, These Are My Children, the first television daytime soap opera was broadcast by the NBC station in Chicago.

In 1950, President Harry S. Truman announced a program to develop the hydrogen bomb. 1953, a North Sea flood causes over 1,800 deaths in the Netherlands and over 300 in the United Kingdom 1957, Eight people on the ground in Pacoima, California were killed following the mid-air collision between a Douglas DC-7 airliner and a Northrop F-89 Scorpion fighter jet. 1958,  Explorer program: Explorer 1: The first successful launch of an American satellite into orbit. Also 1958, James Van Allen discovered the Van Allen radiation belt. 1961, Project Mercury: Mercury-Redstone 2: Ham the Chimp travelled into outer space. 1966, the Soviet Union launched the unmanned Luna 9 spacecraft as part of the Luna program. 1968, Viet Cong attacked the United States embassy in Saigon, and other attacks, in the early morning hours, later grouped together as the Tet Offensive. Also 1968, Nauru gained independence from Australia. 1971, Apollo program: Apollo 14: Astronauts Alan Shepard, Stuart Roosa, and Edgar Mitchell, aboard a Saturn V, lifted off for a mission to the Fra Mauro Highlands on the Moon. Also 1971, the Winter Soldier Investigation, organised by the Vietnam Veterans Against the War to publicise war crimes and atrocities by Americans and allies in Vietnam, began in Detroit, Michigan.

In 1990, the first McDonald's in the Soviet Union opened in Moscow. 1995, President Bill Clinton authorised a $20 billion loan to Mexico to stabilise its economy. 1996, an explosives-filled truck rammed into the gates of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in Colombo, Sri Lanka killing at least 86 and injuring 1,400. Also 1996, Comet Hyakutake is discovered by Japanese amateur astronomer Yuji Hyakutake. 2000, Alaska Airlines Flight 261 crash: An MD-83, experiencing horizontal stabiliser problems, crashed in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Point Mugu, California, killing all 88 aboard. 2001, in the Netherlands, a Scottish court convicted Libyan Abdelbaset al-Megrahi and acquitted another Libyan citizen for their part in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. 2003, the Waterfall rail accident occurred near Waterfall, New South Wales, Australia. 2007, Suspects were arrested in Birmingham in the UK, accused of plotting the kidnap, holding and eventual beheading of a serving Muslim British soldier in Iraq. 2009, in Kenya, at least 113 people were killed and over 200 injured following an oil spillage ignition in Molo, days after a massive fire at a Nakumatt supermarket in Nairobi killed at least 25 people. 2010, Avatar became the first film to gross over $2 billion worldwide. 2011, a winter storm hit North America for the second time in the same month, causing $1.8 billion in damage across the United States and Canada and killing 24 people. 2013, An explosion at the Pemex Executive Tower in Mexico City killed at least 33 people and injured more than 100.
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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/4124406October https://www.createspace.com/5106951, or at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/1482020262/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_dVHPub0MQKDZ4  The kindle version is cheaper, but the soft back version allows the purchase of a kindle version for just $3.99 more. 
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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 to those born on this day, across the years, along with
Sirius
The first cat Pontiff? Can it be Sirius? Leaders continue long after they are dead. We have Hill 170, now for 171. The terrorist was guilty. Let's party. 
Matches
Hatches
Despatches
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2015
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QUEENSLAND VOTES

Tim Blair – Saturday, January 31, 2015 (4:25pm)

Even by Queensland standards, today’s state election will be a weird one. Most likely outcome: the government to be narrowly returned, but Premier Campbell Newman to lose his seat. Polls close in two and a half hours. Updates to follow.
UPDATE. Both Michael Kroger and Antony Green say Campbell Newman is gone: 
“Early indication from two booths is that there is a swing of 12 per cent to Labor in that seat which is twice what is needed to win that seats from the LNP,” election analyst Antony Green said. 
The LNP presently trails Labor with 36 seats won to 42, or 37 to 41 on the ABC’s counter.
UPDATE II. No wonder Queenslanders are upset. Most of them cannot afford clothes.
UPDATE III. Union types are overjoyed: 
ETU national secretary Allen Hicks said the 2015 election had been a referendum on the Liberal National Party’s privatisation plan, with the people of Queensland today making their view clear by delivering a record swing against a first term government.
“The people of Queensland have unequivocally rejected the government of Campbell Newman and his plan to privatise electricity assets,” Mr Hicks said. 
Labor presently ahead 43-36.
UPDATE IV. Federal Labor MP Graham Perrett offers his “easy trick” for remembering how to spell the name of Queensland’s potential next premier: “Its P-A-L-A, Sydney Zoo, Canberra Zoo, United Kingdom.” And then subtract ten per cent.
UPDATE V. Former Labor premier Peter Beattie: “I can’t see the Labor party losing it from here. This is going to be a boilover. This is extraordinary.” The ABC’s tally now has Labor leading 41-38.
UPDATE VI. Antony Green: “I’m currently predicting Labor to win 46 seats with a majority government. I keep looking at my screen trying to work out if something is wrong or there’s an error.” A few minutes later, the ABC’s count is revised to give Labor 40 seats to the LNP’s 39.
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Put a sock in it, Mal

Andrew Bolt January 31 2015 (6:36pm)

Mal Brough is an idiot for letting his vanity overwhelm his judgment:
Former Howard government cabinet minister Mal Brough is being urged by his colleagues to challenge Tony Abbott for the prime ministership if Saturday’s election result in his home state of Queensland is as bad as many MPs fear.
Fairfax Media has confirmed with multiple sources that Mr Brough has been approached to act as a leadership circuit-breaker. He is said to be a taking a wait and see approach.
Mr Brough did not deny approaches had been made to him when contacted by Fairfax Media.
He said only that: “clearly people are talking to each other because we are all interested in doing what’s best for the nation”.
The Liberals’ best chance of survival is a better performance from Abbott - and from many of his ministers. 
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Queensland votes

Andrew Bolt January 31 2015 (4:19pm)

The Newman Government will be returned today, albeit with Newman himself perhaps defeated:
THE Liberal National Party is set to return to government at today’s Queensland state election, albeit with a much-reduced majority, with the latest Newspoll revealing a likely 11-point swing towards Labor.
On a two-party-preferred basis, the LNP leads Labor by a 52 per cent to 48 per cent margin...
If the swing against the LNP were uniform across the state, 30 seats could be at risk for the LNP — including that of Premier Campbell Newman, who holds Ashgrove on a margin of just 5.7 per cent.
Newman doesn’t deserve to lose. He has had the guts and integrity to start to tackle Labor’s colossal and dangerous debt. But should he return as Premier, more humility might suit his government well.
UPDATE
As with federal Labor, Queensland Labor is bouncing back because voters now seem fast to forget who blew the budget - and slow to accept that debt must be repaid. Des Houghton:
THE polls point to a nightmarish election result tonight. A great reforming Premier may be thrown to the lions because some Queensland voters don’t like the way he holds his jaw…

As his opponents plot Newman’s political demise, a gang of five Labor heavyweights are leading the charge to return Labor to an undeserved victory in Queensland.

Tragically, they are the same gang of five who held cabinet posts in the Beattie-Bligh era and therefore must share responsibility for the economic pain inflicted on Queenslanders.
They must be hoping the electorate has a short memory.
The gang of five were members of governments which squandered billions of taxpayer dollars on botched hospital projects, the payroll disaster, the flawed water grid and the failed desalination plant. They are the members who did deals to favour unionists in the bloated public service. They were the members who left a crippling debt.
Now these same people want another shot. Come on down Cameron Dick, Kate Jones, Stirling Hinchliffe, Kerry Shine and Annastacia Palaszczuk.
In Greece, too, there is the strange denial of economic reality. Have too many voters become too dependent on government to accept one that cuts wild spending?
UPDATE
Sky News is reporting that LNP strategists in Newman’s own seat of Ashgrove say the biggest vote-killer there was Newman himself, thanks to his perceived arrogance and misuse of power. The second biggest was Abbott.
Both factors, I believe, point to the greatest threat to a serving leader - a perception of being beyond the power of the voters, doing as he or she pleases. Abbott seems to many to be too remote and self-willed. Howard overreached with Work Choices, Jeff Kennett and Paul Keating seemed to arrogant and overmighty. Bob Hawke at the end seemed too flighty. Julia Gillard seemed too dishonest and feckless.
Be humble. Be in tune. Respond. Keep promises.
UPDATE
The swing seems bigger than expected. Newman is gone and Labor could conceivably form a minority government if a few more results go its way.
This will be very bad news for Tony Abbott. 
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Is anyone really Charlie Hebdo now?

Andrew Bolt January 31 2015 (3:08pm)

As predicted, more submission to what should be defied:

A German carnival has dropped plans to build a “Charlie Hebdo” float with a cartoonist forcing a pencil into the barrel of a terrorist’s gun, after receiving messages from locals worried about safety if the float went on show…
Explaining its decision, the carnival committee in Cologne said they wanted to preserve the event’s lighthearted mood in the west German city and make sure no one felt afraid—even though they had been assured by police that displaying the figures would not pose a security risk.
(Thanks to reader Mick.) 
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Visiting Frans and Cees

Andrew Bolt January 31 2015 (9:42am)

image
In the Dutch province of Groningen, I visited old friends Frans Payrable (below) and Cees Twisk, who so impressed me as a teenager with their insistence on living true to their vivid sense of beauty.
image
Frans and Cees even run tours of their extraordinary home and mini zoo, studded with around 10 huts fitted with the kind of antiques, curios and icons they once traded. The rules are that guests cannot talk of work and cannot complain. And don’t step on any of Frans’ nine chihuahuas:
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Victorians to pay hundreds of millions for a dud Labor promise

Andrew Bolt January 31 2015 (8:20am)

Labor’s Dan Andrews made a stupid promise in his desperate campaign to win the election, and now voters must pay:

PREMIER Daniel Andrews is refusing to say whether the East West Link contract saga will be resolved by May, casting a shadow over preparations for his first Budget.
Compensation clauses in the road project’s contract, which was signed shortly before the election by the Coalition, mean the taxpayer-funded liability is increasing the longer the issue lingers....
Australian and international financiers are demanding compensation worth more than $1 billion, based on what sources say are watertight termination clauses.
Judith Sloan at The Cat,:
(T)he government is the government until the caretaker period commences. Any contract entered into by one government binds the next.
Now our Dan knew all this, but decided it was electorally attractive to assert that the East West Link contracts were invalid and there would be no need for compensation. He even got a tame lawyer and ex-judge – Labor inclined Finkelstein – to back him up, although in fact his advice did admit that payment for damages to the contracting parties was a possibility.
Now the CFMEU-backed, my name is now Dan, is in office, it doesn’t seem that simple. In fact, the Labor government hasn’t even given notice under the contract to the relevant parties.
To think that over a billion dollars of taxpayer money could be blown away on a tacky political ploy – it simply beggars belief.
(Thanks to reader Peter of Bellevue Hill.) 
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Nine punts Turnbull for being too much like Plibersek

Andrew Bolt January 31 2015 (8:17am)

There’s a message for Liberal supporters here:
Malcolm Turnbull and Tanya Plibersek have been given the punt from the Today show’s Friday political segment.
The inner-city MPs are supposed to be opponents but Nine bosses found they were too much alike.
It seems Nine executives have more political smarts than some Liberal MPs:
The two leading contenders to replace Tony Abbott as Liberal leader are resisting the efforts of their colleagues to draft them to challenge the Prime Minister.
Despairing of Abbott’s ability, Liberal MPs have approached deputy Liberal leader and Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull to urge them to run for the leadership. Both are refusing to challenge their leader.
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I want Davies’s head on a platter instead

Andrew Bolt January 31 2015 (7:32am)

The Sydney Morning Herald’s Anne Davies has just made this up:
Every editor and journalist at News Australia now knows what the boss thinks about Credlin. News’s commentators Miranda Devine and Andrew Bolt have already called for Credlin’s head on a platter. Will any at News now be brave enough to swing in to defend her?
I have in fact defended Credlin in print, on television and on radio.
Davies should correct the record and apologise for the smear - the clear insinuation that I write to order. She might also consult more than her cartoonish assumptions when writing. 
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What’s one dud knighthood compared to Labor’s colossal debts and deaths?

Andrew Bolt January 31 2015 (6:44am)

Fight!:

Even the man who wrote the infamous internal memo describing the Howard government as being seen as “mean and tricky” — former Liberal Party president Shane Stone — has backed Abbott and called for reason to prevail.
“After all, unlike the pink-batts debacle, unchecked people-smuggling and junking of our live cattle trade — no one died, the economy didn’t falter, our national security wasn’t compromised and unemployment rates didn’t go up,” Stone told The Weekend Australian…
“As for all my conservative colleagues who have offered an opinion on the knighthood, I wish you demonstrated as much passion and conviction in your public utterances in persuading the public that we have to clean up the mess that was left behind by Labor,’’ Stone declared yesterday. “Whatever your view, two years out (from the election) it’s not a vote-changer.”
UPDATE
Shane Stone:
I KNOW I am on a hiding to nothing when I put my head up to defend the award of Knight of the Order of Australia to Prince ­Philip.
A one-time activist for an Australian republic as chief minister of the Northern Territory and federal president of the Liberal Party, I might be considered among the least likely to step up.
However, as national chairman of the Duke of Edinburgh award, I feel a sense of obligation to give a competing perspective and defend two men I admire and respect: Tony Abbott, who is a thoroughly decent bloke trying to clean up a monumental mess left behind by the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Labor governments, and Prince Philip, the hands-on founder of the Duke of Edinburgh award that has touched millions around the world including more than 700,000 young Australians in the past 52 years.
I didn’t see the knighthood coming, I wasn’t asked about it and, given my background, I might have offered an opinion. But what’s done is done. We all make mistakes, I’ve made a few, but this is not a hanging offence…
Some are comfortable mocking and belittling Prince Philip, a veteran of WWII who saw active service in the Mediterranean and Pacific, was mentioned in dispatches for his role in the Battle of Cape Matapan and won the Greek War Cross of Valour for heroism (hold that thought, how many of you knew you were sledging one of our war veterans in his 90s?)…
As for the Prime Minister, all the experts have had their say. I agree it could have been sold better in the context of the Duke of Edinburgh awards celebrating over 50 years in Australia. The Prime Minister would have been better served had he consulted more widely — which doesn’t appear to come easy at times. Then there is the issue of worthy Australians who might have been considered for the award — all true…
That said, we are also supposedly known for our fairness, and this past week we have failed miserably.
(Thanks to reader Peter of Bellevue Hill.) 
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Obama’s wars ending in failure

Andrew Bolt January 31 2015 (6:23am)

Barack Obama - cheered on by Kevin Rudd - led a hit-run attack on Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya. The result is that Gaddafi’s regime has been replaced by a chaos in which Islamists thrive:
As many as five gunmen blasted their way into the [Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli on Tuesday], shooting at whomever they saw. Ten people, five of them foreigners, were murdered…
Later that day, the Tripoli Province, a Libyan affiliate of ISIS, claimed responsibility for the attack, and said that it had been carried out in retaliation for the death of Abu Anas al-Liby, a Libyan Al Qaeda agent. Al-Liby, who was suspected of involvement in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, which killed two hundred and twenty-four people, was captured in a U.S. Special Forces raid last year and taken to the United States to face trial on terrorism charges. Al-Liby, who was reported to have liver cancer, died in a hospital earlier this month, before he could stand trial.
The Libyan ISIS affiliate had been developing for some time. Since 2011, hundreds of Libyans have travelled to Syria to fight Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and have joined either Jabhat al-Nursra, the Al Qaeda affiliate there, or ISIS. Many of those fighters reportedly have returned to Libya since last summer, in order to establish an ISIS affiliate. The Tripoli Province announced itself in October in the eastern city of Derna, a longtime center of jihadism… Recent attacks for which the group has claimed responsibility have included the abduction of a group of twenty Coptic Christian Egyptians, in the city of Sirte; the decapitation of several media activists in Derna; and, several weeks ago, the murder of ten soldiers at a remote desert outpost in Libya’s deep south…
Most foreigners, including almost all Western Embassy workers and journalists, left the country last summer, when fighting broke out between militias in the capital. The conflict caused the country to be divided between two competing power centers: the Islamist-dominated Libya Dawn holds Tripoli and the nearby coastal cities Misrata and Sirte; the anti-Islamist Dignity government is based in the eastern cities Tobruk and Bayda.
In Syria, another half-hearted military intervention by Obama is going nowhere:
Fighting between the Syrian arm of al Qaeda and Western-backed rebels in northern Syria spread from Aleppo province into neighboring Idlib on Friday…
Clashes began on Thursday when the al Qaeda Syria wing, the Nusra Front, seized positions from the Hazzm movement west of Aleppo, threatening one of the few remaining pockets of the non-jihadist insurgency
“It’s probably most accurate to view this as the latest instance of Nusra efforts to expand their areas of dominance in Idlib and Aleppo at the expense of Western-backed factions, which they are gradually seeking to eliminate from the north,” said Noah Bonsey, senior analyst on Syria with International Crisis Group…
Hazzm has received what it describes as small amounts of military aid from foreign states opposed to Assad, including U.S.-made anti-tank missiles. But it has lost ground to better armed and financed jihadists.
Worse:
A Syrian rebel group supported by the U.S. government, Harakat Hazzm, was pushed out of its headquarters on the border of Turkey and Syria on Friday, and lost control of one of the only two open border crossings between the two countries. The area around the Bab al-Hawa crossing, in northwestern Syria on the road to Aleppo, was taken over by rebel groups linked to extremist factions such as Jabhat al-Nusra, the official al Qaeda offshoot in the country. That will make it easier for foreign extremist fighters to travel into Syria…
Harakat Hazzm ... was one of the main beneficiaries of U.S. matériel and financial aid, but lost most of that support when it began losing battles to Jabhat al-Nusra last year.
Senior U.S. officials have acknowledged publicly that the rebels in the north were failing and needed more support. IBTimes broke the story that the U.S. government was beginning to scale back its aid to groups in the north, and was beginning to vet new groups in the south.
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Credlin’s critics can’t get their story straight

Andrew Bolt January 31 2015 (5:50am)

In defence of Peta Credlin, Tony Abbott’s chief of staff, now under extraordinary and mostly unfair attack:
Former chief of staff to John Howard, Graham Morris… says that no one can actually point to anything that she has done wrong… Morris believes Credlin has simply become the scapegoat for a bunch of backbenchers too gutless to take their concerns directly to the leader…
The latest round of public criticism levelled at Credlin has been inspired by Abbott’s inexplicable decision this week to bestow a knighthood on Prince Philip, despite it having little to do with Credlin…
There is irony in the accusations levelled against her, that she micromanages and is too autocratic and controlling.
She gets blamed for interfering too much in decisions then gets blamed for not preventing bad ones.
If Credlin were chief of staff to a Labor Prime Minister there is no doubt feminists would defend her as the victim of sometimes misogynist sniping. 
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ACTU should embrace union inquiry, not shun it

Piers Akerman – Thursday, January 30, 2014 (7:27pm)

THE squeaky wheels of the trundling tumbrils are getting closer for Labor and the trade union movement. 

Icon Arrow Continue reading 'ACTU should embrace union inquiry, not shun it'
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BLACKMAILERS IN PYJAMAS

Tim Blair – Friday, January 31, 2014 (2:04pm)

Whenever the ABC feels scared or threatened, it instinctively tries to protect itself behind children. And now they’re doing it again, with the help of Benita Collings: 
For more than 30 years and over 400 episodes, I was known to Australians as “Benita from Play School”, the presenter on the ABC’s groundbreaking show for preschoolers.
When I started on air in 1969, with our cast of toys from Big Ted and Little Ted to Humpty and Jemima, I had children recognise me everywhere I went. A lot who watched the program when I was presenting until 1999 now have offspring of their own who still watch the show.
These days, when they see me in the street or at the shopping centre, they tell me: “I grew up with you. You were such a big part of my childhood!”
For us all, the ABC is a big part of our lives. Which is why I, like many Australians, believe that our national broadcaster should be left alone to continue its programs as it has in the past. 
This is fantastic propaganda. Collings apparently believes that because the ABC put Big Ted on TV decades ago, it should be allowed to push claims in 2014 that Australian servicemen torture asylum seekers. 
On Wednesday, when our Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, was accusing the ABC of “instinctively taking everyone’s side but Australia’s”, a crowdfunding campaign paid for a billboard to go up on William Street to aim to stop cuts to the ABC. 
Of course, it’s another kid-based effort:

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ABC SMEARS AND HIDES

Tim Blair – Friday, January 31, 2014 (10:47am)

The ABC published this report earlier today: 
New details have emerged about asylum seeker claims that Australian sailors mistreated them during a boat interception operation earlier this month. 
In fact, as Andrew Bolt points out, the report identified no mistreatment at all and actually called into question previous ABC coverage of claims from asylum seekers. And now the latest piece has been re-written to omit that mistreatment allegation: 
New details have emerged about a boat interception operation earlier this month … 
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CLEAR SKIES, CHANCE OF OWLS

Tim Blair – Friday, January 31, 2014 (10:18am)

A third consecutive day of remarkable blue skies in Sydney:

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Meanwhile, it’s all owls for New Hampshire reader Smike:

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Now the bigots are stripping pictures from galleries. Where is Marr now?

Andrew Bolt January 31 2014 (11:47am)

Even the ABC seems slightly uneasy about the offence game and the restriction of free speech by an intolerant minority:
Does anyone in particular have the right to depict a hijab in an artwork? 
Should there be artistic limits to whether you explore religious or cultural items in your work? Our story this week about artists using the Muslim headdress as imagery in their work has caused quite a stir. The story centred on a Melbourne gallery that pulled the work of a photographer which featured young women with their hair arranged in the style of a hijab.
Those shouldn’t actually be questions in a healthy society. They should be assertions of right.
But where are all the Leftists now who once screamed for the right of galleries to show a crucifix in urine?
(David) Marr in The Sydney Morning Herald, April 1, 2009: 
WHEN Australians are offended they want something done about it. Just being offended is not enough. We want action. We want someone, somewhere, somehow to suffer because we’re upset.
But in a free and energetic society, giving offence is necessary. It happens and must happen all the time. Your sensitivity doesn’t veto my right to speak or write or make a film or, indeed, exhibit a crucifix immersed in urine. 
All I know about Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ makes me think it’s too ridiculous to be worth visiting the National Gallery of Victoria where it was, briefly, exhibited a few years ago. But the fact George Pell, then archbishop of Melbourne, and a good many of his followers found this object offensive, was no reason to take it down . . .But too often—indeed all the time—Australians call on governments to protect them merely from ideas they find offensive, images they find distasteful and facts they find disturbing.
(Thanks to reader silent witness,) 
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Why do we still have a giant state-run media?

Andrew Bolt January 31 2014 (11:23am)

James Paterson:
Ultimately the case for reforming the ABC does not rest on one week of reporting. If there were ever a case for a taxpayer-funded state broadcaster, it doesn’t exist today. Australians have at their fingertips access to more news from more varied sources than ever before. Online, every niche interest and point of view is well covered. And as private media companies continue to struggle with profitability, the continued lavish funding of the ABC only serves to undermine their business model further.
On the same link is an article from former ABC chairman and managing director David Hill attacking Tony Abbott and weakly defending the ABC from claims of bias. Why doesn’t The Age reveal Hill was a Labor candidate?
Hill is also allowed to get away with this deceptive argument:
This is certainly not the first time an Australian prime minister has publicly criticised the ABC in the way it handles its news..  We all remember Bob Hawke’s accusation that the 7.30 Report coverage of the Gulf War in 1991 was ‘’loaded,’’ ‘’biased’’ and ‘’disgraceful’’ because of the views expressed by an analyst invited on to the show. 
In fact, Hawke’s complaint about that coverage was that it was too Lefteven for a Labor leader
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Disgrace. ABC reports more “mistreatment”, when it actually found evidence our navy is innocent

Andrew Bolt January 31 2014 (9:56am)

Boat people policyMedia

The ABC makes another exaggerated claim of “mistreatment” of asylum seekers that actually discredits its first:
New details have emerged about asylum seeker claims that Australian sailors mistreated them during a boat interception operation earlier this month. 
A Somali asylum seeker has told the ABC that there were angry protests when people found out the boat was being turned around and they were being returned to Indonesia. He alleges that during the onboard argument he suffered burns when he came into contact with a hot engine after an Australian sailor sprayed him in the eyes.
So this claim has the Somali just stumbllng into the hot engine after allegedly being sprayed, probably with capsicum spray. He does not say he was held to a hot engine by our sailors, as the ABC once suggested was done to other passengers. Isn’t it strange how many people found different ways to get burned on engines?
But let’s go back to the word “mistreated”, used by the ABC. In what way can our navy be said to have “mistreated” someone by spraying them to control what even the ABC admits were “angry protests” with our sailors trying to restore order on a crowded boat? As the boat person himself conceded:
There was two arguments happening at the time. The first argument was happening down in the engine room; I was up and down to get a bag that has my stuff. 
(UPDATE) In fact, the ABC has played down this “argument”. The same Somali, Bowby Nooris, told The Australian yesterday:
There was a big fight at the time between (asylum-seekers trying to) destroy the boat and the (navy) members, those who were on boat.
There is clearly no “mistreatment” here. There is a navy trying to restore order in a dangerous situation, with one boat person then allegedly stumbling into an engine. The ABC is again hyping an improbable claim.
But it gets worse. The ABC’s latest claims simply make no sense - and in fact further undermine the ABC’s earlier exaggerated reports of allegations that the navy tortured those on board.
Note:
- this Somali says he was sprayed below decks, yet “threw myself into the sea”.
- none of the four passengers the ABC interviews for this latest claim, including the Somali, repeat the ABC’s earlier lurid allegation that the navy held the hands of passengers to a hot engine to torture them.  Why not?  Surely the reporter asked them about that alleged “torture”, if only to get them to back up his earlier much-criticised reports. So what were their replies? To deny it? To say they hadn’t heard of the claims, even though they were to spend at least four days more in the boat with the alleged victims? This silence is highly suspicious.
- the Somali says one of the arguments (actually a fight) with our sailors on board was around the engines, three of which were broken and the fourth damaged. The boat people had clearly damaged their own engines, quite likely burning themselves in the process, and the argument was because the navy was either trying to stop their sabotage or repair it. More evidence, then, that suggests any burns were self-inflicted.
- the Somali filmed some of the encounter, with parts of the video shown by the ABC. Why was none of the “torture” or “mistreatment” filmed? Did the ABC reporter ask? So what was the answer?
- the Somali’s video shows at least one of our sailors with a video camera. This suggests the navy had good reason to promptly and vehemently deny the ABC reports of alleged “torture” by its sailors.
This ABC report further undermines it first. Yes instead of backing down, the ABC just presents another improbable claim of “mistreatment” by our navy.
As Tony Abbott said: 
It dismays Australians when the national broadcaster appears to take everyone’s side but our own.
The ABC is out of control.
UPDATE
The Australian talked to the same men the ABC did yesterday and reports further details that discredit the ABC’s original claim - and which the ABC did not report.
The Australian spoke to [the men] mostly through the Kupang returnees’ self-appointed spokesman Sharmarke Abdullah Ahmad, a 25-year-old Somali business and English student who made the most serious allegations aired on the ABC… 
The interviews failed to yield any corroboration for allegations RAN personnel deliberately burned some asylum-seekers by making them “hold on to a hot engine pipe”.
Sharmarke, who was responsible for publicising the most serious allegations about the events on the January 6 boat, was a passenger on the December 19 boat. Yesterday, he seemed unclear about the precise nature of the allegations. Speaking about two other asylum-seekers who had jumped overboard, he claimed at one point that sailors “just physically beat and then forced them to hold the (engine) pipe"… 
Sharmarke conceded later he had no direct knowledge of the claimed incident, which happened on the January 6 boat.
Did Sharmarke concede that in the hearing of the ABC reporter? If so, why didn’t the ABC report it?
UPDATE
Tim Blair notes the ABC has now rewritten its story to remove the latest plainly false claim of more “mistreatment” of boat people.
In fact, the whole piece needs a fundamental recasting, with an apology to the navy, the government and the public. 
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The Australian damns my “inflammatory language”. It’s just dodging a moral argument

Andrew Bolt January 31 2014 (9:40am)

Culture warsThe politics of race

The Australian editorialises against me today, but makes a dangerous assumption and, worse, dodges my central moral argument:
The Australian believes Bolt is wrong now to oppose constitutional recognition for indigenous Australians. 
Fine, it’s a free country. But what follows is mere hand-waving, not engaging:
And while, of course, he is free to express that view, he has done so in an unnecessarily inflammatory manner. “I am an indigenous Australian,” he wrote in his syndicated column yesterday, “like millions of other people here, black or white.” Bolt suggested constitutional recognition would put us “on the path to apartheid” and permanently divide the nation. “I was born here, I live here and I call no other country home. I am therefore indigenous to this land and have as much right as anyone to it.” This is highly charged language and demeans the special place of the original inhabitants… 
Far from being “unnecessarily inflammatory” in calling myself indigenous, I have in fact stated the very heart of my argument - that to divide Australians on the grounds of the “race” of their ancestors and thereby imply a different right to belong to this land is a sin against our individuality. It is a racist construction that must be resisted before even more harm is done.
This argument in many ways centres on the word “indigenous”, used so often to denote that one “race” has a greater claim to belonging or respect than another.
The first definition of “indigenous” offered by the Oxford dictionary is “originating or occurring naturally in a particular place”. And indeed, I have originated in this particular place, Australia. So I repeat:  “I was born here, I live here and I call no other country home. I am therefore indigenous to this land and have as much right as anyone to it.”
My right to say this can only be challenged if I am to be judged on the “race” of my ancestors - and that should be anathema in this country. When did it become right to judge each other by who our parents were, and, worse, their “race”?
This is the moral stand that proponents of this proposed racial division must answer with arguments and not tut-tutting about “unnecessarily inflammatory” language. Without this language there is no debate about this essential difference between those of us who demand we be treated as individuals, equal before the law and equal in our right to belong, and those who wish us to be formally divided by “race”. And I suspect that this debate is precisely what proponents of the constitutional change simply do not want to face.
True enough, The Australian seems to have unconsciously adopted the tribalist world-view I challenged with my “unnecessarily inflammatory” language, but has done so without ever troubling to explain or defend it:
If the recognition were to occur in the preamble to the Constitution, it would do no more, and no less, than recognise the people who inhabited this land before European settlement and who remain such a integral part of society today. 
I already “recognise” that Aborigines lived here for thousands of years before white settlement. Is there any sane person that would deny what we’re now meant to “recognise”? Is there a single school in this country that does not already teach this uncontested fact?
But then The Australian makes the moral error I am trying to challenge when it talks of “the people who inhabited this land before European settlement and who remain such a integral part of society today”.
Wrong. Not a single person who “inhabited this land before European settlement” is in fact an “integral part of society today”. Every single one of those individuals has been dead for more than a century at least.
The only way The Australian could claim that the original inhabitants are with us still is to call their descendents “original inhabitants”, too - not because they were, but because some of their ancestors were. Once again, this is judging people not as individuals, but as representatives of a “race”. This is judging people not for who they are as individuals, but for who their great-great-grandparents were and what “race” they belonged to.  How could this possibly be right?

This is my most fundamental objection to the editorial in The Australian. However it sugars the pill with reminders of its past defence of my right to speak, it has dodged the central moral argument against this racist proposal by dismissing the key point as just “unnecessarly provocative” and even accusing me false of demeaning “original inhabitants”. This is not arguing but abusing. Proponents of a measure they claim will unite us should be more careful.
For the rest, The Australian’s arguments cannot be faulted for their well-wishing intentions. My argument is just whether good intentions will in fact produce bad results.
The Australian would argue symbolic gestures can help the practical reconciliation process.
No one has ever made a credible link between this gesture and any practical good. In fact, my column demonstrated how each past symbolic gesture for “reconciliation” has just led to even more divisive claims. The “reconciliation” movement is in fact dividing us even more - and now threatens to divide is legally and for generations. We cannot fight racism by inserting a preamble dividing us by race.
And this is just .a reckless crossing of fingers:
And we endorse the Prime Minister’s view that rather than changing the Constitution, this move can “complete” it. The wording of the referendum proposal will be crucial. It need not have legal impact; in other words, it need not divide us, as Bolt argues. If the recognition were to occur in the preamble to the Constitution, it would do no more, and no less, than recognise the people who inhabited this land before European settlement and who remain such a integral part of society today. It would not and should not confer special rights.  
I simply do not believe this. I do not believe so many lawyers, activists and politicians want a change in the Constitution because it will be legally useless. They are not fighting for something they think will “not have legal impact”.
In fact, the late Sir Harry Gibbs, former Chief Justice of Australia, and other legal experts warns that any change of this kind to our most fundamental laws, no matter how hedged with qualifications, will indeed have legal consequences.
And yesterday came an ominous change of language from Attorney General George Brandis that suggests the change will indeed be more than symbolic:.
… that Tony Abbott has put the weight of his office and his own personal authority behind this change should reassure conservative Australians that it is a change for the good, as the Prime Minister has said, a change that will complete the Constitution rather than significantly change it. 
But that is actually not what Abbott said. He did not use that pregnant word “significantly”. His assurances until now have always been absolute:
This would complete our constitution rather than change it.
Why has Brandis now qualified Abbott’s promise? Is it because he indeed realises this change would not just be symbolic, after all?
But even if by some miracle, this proposed change to our most basic law is merely symbolic - as The Australian desires - the symbolism would still be morally wrong. It would symbolise that from now on we are to be divided forever on the grounds of the “race” of our ancestors.
If anything is “inflammatory” it is this new racism.
Say no to racism. Say no to racial division. Say no to changing our Constitution. 
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Johannson vs the anti-Israel bigots

Andrew Bolt January 31 2014 (8:59am)

A very fine actress turns out to be brave and thoughtful, too:
SCARLETT Johansson is ending her relationship with a humanitarian group after being criticised over her support for an Israeli company that operates in the West Bank. 
A statement released by Johansson’s spokesman said the 29-year-old actress has “a fundamental difference of opinion” with Oxfam International because the humanitarian group opposes all trade from Israeli settlements, saying they are illegal and deny Palestinian rights.
“Scarlett Johansson has respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years,’’ the statement said. 
“She and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. She is very proud of her accomplishments and fundraising efforts during her tenure with Oxfam.”
True, Johansson has a personal interest in defying the barely-disguised anti-Semitism now so fashionable in the Left:
So how to show our support? Make a point of watching every Johannson movie? It would be a pleasure.
Boycott Oxfam and switch to less racist charities? Easy done.
(Thanks to reader Kram.) 
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Why does the ABC keep quoting Indonesia’s John Farnham to attack Australia?

Andrew Bolt January 31 2014 (8:18am)

Media

 As Tony Abbott said:
It dismays Australians when the national broadcaster appears to take everyone’s side but our own.
Take the ABC’s repeated use of a critic of Australian policy:
INDONESIAN politician Tantowi Yahya, a vociferous opponent of Australian foreign policy, has become a frequent guest on the ABC despite being only a first-term MP who achieved fame as a country singer and TV quiz show host. 
Mr Yahya, a conservative Golkar Party MP from South Sumatra, represents a minority of Indonesians with his political views, but enjoys widespread TV coverage because of his excellent English and slick media skills.
Mr Yahya—one of about 50 members of Commission I, the parliamentary committee for defence and foreign affairs—has featured on ABC current affairs programs at least six times in recent months, using the broadcaster to criticise Australian policies toward asylum-seekers and intelligence-gathering.
Appearing on the 7.30 and Lateline programs, Mr Yahya has been described as being “from the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Commission” and “a prominent member” of Commission I.
David Hill, professor of Southeast Asian studies at Murdoch University’s Asia Research Centre, yesterday described the former Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? host as “more like a backbencher on the edge of the main game”. 
“It would be like Johnny Farnham or actually a bit like Peter Garrett, before he became a minister, who had a very substantial media presence and then was drawn into politics because of that,” Professor Hill said.
(Via Michael Smith.) 
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Trusting Craig. But can we trust Labor?

Andrew Bolt January 31 2014 (7:34am)

Bruvvers:
ABC News online, Wednesday: 
ONE prostitute who used the name Misty says she met the then national secretary of the Health Services Union on at least six occasions and provided sexual services . . . “On occasions when Craig and I met as part of my services he started by offering me a glass of champagne.”
Craig Thomson, Hansard, May 21, 2012: 
TURNING to credit cards and escorts, I have consistently from day one denied any wrongdoing in relation to these issues.
Rick Wallace, The Australian, yesterday: 
GREG James (Thomson’s QC) argued that the rules of the HSU did not define the boundaries of work-related expenditure, and because the expenses had been approved and paid, no party had been actually defrauded.
Radio 3AW, August 24, 2011: 
NEIL Mitchell: Craig Thomson . . . you got complete confidence in him?
Bill Shorten: Yeah . . .
Anthony Albanese. January 25, 2012: 
I FULLY support Craig Thomson . . .
Nine News, August 25, 2011: 
Craig Emerson: I support Craig Thomson. He’s a friend of mine.
Question for Labor. Can you be trusted to root out corruption in the union movement? And, in turn, to resist union corruption of Labor?
(Note: Craig Thomson has pleaded not guilty to charges against him. By “union corruption of Labor” I mean only unions imposing their will on Labor on issues not in the wider public interest.)
UPDATE
Former Labor Minister Graham Richardson urges Labor to distance itself and show it is against union corruption (yes, really):
Labor must decide whether it will continue to oppose the re-establishment of the [Australian Building and Construction Commission] and an inquiry of some kind into these two unions at a minimum or indeed power itself. It is getting more and more difficult to deny the need for some kind of inquiry. Labor must assert the primacy of its own position over the trade unions. If it is seen again to slavishly follow the union line, it will give an already well-endowed Prime Minister even more grist for his mill.
Yet even Richardson still draws a line that he shouldn’t:
P.S. You will note I have not referred to what happened in the AWU almost 20 years ago. Any attempt to pursue Julia Gillard over what her ex-boyfriend may have done would be tawdry politics. It is to be hoped that the Prime Minister is able to resist this temptation.
Note to Richo. The question is not just what Gillard’s then boyfriend did, but what she did for him. (Gillard insists she did nothing wrong and did not know what her then boyfriend was up to.) Then there is the question of how the union movement hushed up that scandal, too:
1996 - AWU joint national secretary Ian Cambridge uncovers the $400,000 slush fund of Bruce Wilson, client and boyfriend of Slater & Gordon lawyer Julia Gillard:... 
In January this year, before the “WA Inc” accounts were discovered, Mr Cambridge wrote to the then Federal Minister for Industrial Relations, Mr Laurie Brereton, seeking a royal commission into the AWU - just as the Prime Minister, Mr Paul Keating, called an election… “Although these matters are unpleasant,” Mr Cambridge told the Herald, “and obviously damage our union’s public standing, any failure to resolve these matters will only ensure that such events can occur again ... I am not prepared to turn a blind eye to these matters, as to do so would only foster corruption.”
1996 - Bob Smith, who replaced Bruce Wilson as Victorian state secretary and later became president of the Victorian Legislative Council, writes to the other AWU joint national secretary, Steve Harrison, with junior AWU official Bill Shorten CCd: 
As we have discussed, you know as well as I do that if Cambridge is not stopped we are all history. I have spoken to [ACTU secretary] Bill Kelty and [ACTU president] Jennie George, and they are supportive of this course of action. Both you and I can work the phones before the national executive meeting to make sure we have the numbers before this motion is put. I have already spoken to a number of national executive and they are very nervous to say the least....
No judicial inquiry or royal commission was held. Cambridge, whose scathing affidavit details the extent of Wilson’s rorts and his anger with Slater & Gordon, was appointed to the New South Wales Industrial Relations Court that same year (1996), making him unable to comment. Julia Gillard later made him a commissioner of Fair Work Australia. Note: Bob Smith did chase Wilson out of the union, and took action against him. No allegation of impropriety on his part is suggested.
I cannot see how Richo could credibly argue that this scandal should not be examined, too, in an inquiry into union corruption. In fact, other former union officials insist on it: 
August 2012 - Fair Work Australia commissioner Cambridge stands by his call for a royal commission into the Wilson scandal:
Mr Cambridge yesterday said: “I don’t retract what I said … but now I am a member of a quasi-judicial tribunal. As a member of (Fair Work Australia) it is not appropriate for me to make public statements.” 
And, of course, Victoria Police think the issue is serious enough for a long and intensive investigation, which is continuing. 
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No boats and no drownings for six weeks. Greens and Labor demand answers

Andrew Bolt January 31 2014 (6:53am)

Labor should explain why it scrapped what had worked under the Howard Government and never managed to do what the Abbott Government has done again:
[Immigration Minister Scott] Morrison said the interception of illegal boats was one of a series of measures in the past four months that resulted in the first boat-free January since 2008 and the first full calendar month without an illegal boat arrival since February 2009… 
“The results have been dramatic. In the last 58 months, there have been illegal boat arrivals but on the 59th, it’s zero. Since December 19, over six weeks ago, not a single boat has successfully made it to Australia.
You would think the Greens and Labor, who presided over weaker laws which lured more than 1000 boat people to their deaths, would be utterly mortified. Ditto the media outlets which for so longed cheered on their ghastly failure.
But no. Notice that Morrison still has to “defend” what is in fact so far a great achievement:
In a surprise move - and an attempt to tackle head on charges of excessive secrecy - Mr Morrison will appear at a Labor/Greens-dominated Senate inquiry in Canberra today to defend the government’s Operation Sovereign Borders policy. 
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“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” - Ephesians 4:2
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

January 30: Morning
"When thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, then thou shalt bestir thyself." - 2 Samuel 5:24
The members of Christ's Church should be very prayerful, always seeking the unction of the Holy One to rest upon their hearts, that the kingdom of Christ may come, and that his "will be done on earth, even as it is in heaven;" but there are times when God seems especially to favour Zion, such seasons ought to be to them like "the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees." We ought then to be doubly prayerful, doubly earnest, wrestling more at the throne than we have been wont to do. Action should then be prompt and vigorous. The tide is flowing--now let us pull manfully for the shore. O for Pentecostal outpourings and Pentecostal labours. Christian, in yourself there are times "when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees." You have a peculiar power in prayer; the Spirit of God gives you joy and gladness; the Scripture is open to you; the promises are applied; you walk in the light of God's countenance; you have peculiar freedom and liberty in devotion, and more closeness of communion with Christ than was your wont. Now, at such joyous periods when you hear the "sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees," is the time to bestir yourself; now is the time to get rid of any evil habit, while God the Spirit helpeth your infirmities. Spread your sail; but remember what you sometimes sing--

"I can only spread the sail;
Thou! Thou! must breathe the auspicious gale."

Only be sure you have the sail up. Do not miss the gale for want of preparation for it. Seek help of God, that you may be more earnest in duty when made more strong in faith; that you may be more constant in prayer when you have more liberty at the throne; that you may be more holy in your conversation whilst you live more closely with Christ.
Evening
"In whom also we have obtained an inheritance." - Ephesians 1:11
When Jesus gave himself for us, he gave us all the rights and privileges which went with himself; so that now, although as eternal God, he has essential rights to which no creature may venture to pretend, yet as Jesus, the Mediator, the federal head of the covenant of grace, he has no heritage apart from us. All the glorious consequences of his obedience unto death are the joint riches of all who are in him, and on whose behalf he accomplished the divine will. See, he enters into glory, but not for himself alone, for it is written, "Whither the Forerunner is for us entered." Heb. 6:20. Does he stand in the presence of God?--"He appears in the presence of God for us." Heb. 9:24. Consider this, believer. You have no right to heaven in yourself: your right lies in Christ. If you are pardoned, it is through his blood; if you are justified, it is through his righteousness; if you are sanctified, it is because he is made of God unto you sanctification; if you shall be kept from falling, it will be because you are preserved in Christ Jesus; and if you are perfected at the last, it will be because you are complete in him. Thus Jesus is magnified--for all is in him and by him; thus the inheritance is made certain to us--for it is obtained in him; thus each blessing is the sweeter, and even heaven itself the brighter, because it is Jesus our Beloved "in whom" we have obtained all. Where is the man who shall estimate our divine portion? Weigh the riches of Christ in scales, and his treasure in balances, and then think to count the treasures which belong to the saints. Reach the bottom of Christ's sea of joy, and then hope to understand the bliss which God hath prepared for them that love him. Overleap the boundaries of Christ's possessions, and then dream of a limit to the fair inheritance of the elect. "All things are yours, for ye are Christ's and Christ is God's."
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Today's reading: Exodus 23-24, Matthew 20:1-16 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Exodus 23-24

Laws of Justice and Mercy
"Do not spread false reports. Do not help a guilty person by being a malicious witness.
2 "Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd, 3 and do not show favoritism to a poor person in a lawsuit.
4 "If you come across your enemy's ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it. 5 If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it.
6 "Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits. 7Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty....

Today's New Testament reading: Matthew 20:1-16

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard
1 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
3 "About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.' 5 So they went.
"He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. 6 About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around....

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