Friday, February 20, 2015

Fri Feb 20th Todays News

On Bolt Report an ongoing 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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The new Queensland Premier admitted she wasn't ready to be government shortly after the election and now she demonstrates it. Annastacia Palaszczuk has panicked before the storm has completed its course. ABC journalists are hyperventilating at trees having fallen over, and Channel 9 journalists interview people in shelters asking if they have enough food and water. There are heavy rainfalls and there is a king tide. However, the state of readiness is in stark contrast to the Bligh government's failure to even insure against disaster based on their insane climate change belief. People died from Bligh's incompetence. 

Changes in state are studied. In 1810, Andreas Hofer, an Austrian drover and patriot, had rebelled and led rebellion against Napoleon. He had been sanctioned by the Austrian Emperor, but Napoleon had had an extraordinary run of victories in battle and so Tyrol was ceded to Napoleon. Napoleon's instruction to the court martial was allegedly "Give him a fair trial and then shoot him." Hofer was executed on this day in 1810. He stood before his firing squad, paid the corporal to shoot straight, refused a blindfold, and gave the order to fire. Eight years later the Emperor of Austria gave his family a patent of nobility. 

Under Napoleon the world was divided and this provided predictability where puppet states had a direction and ambition in alliance to develop. When the world has not the direction such division provides, minor powers can become difficult and tragedies ensue. Such has been the case with end of the cold war where atrocities have been committed for no reason. The Middle East is suffering with little nations no longer pawns in the Great Game, trying to find meaning in jihadist philosophy. The new rise of Russia is a blessing for those seeking to restore order lost since the Soviet Union collapsed. There is still tragedy in places like Syria and Ukraine, on this day in 2014, many Euromaidan anti government protestors were killed in the Ukraine, probably thanks to Ukraine government snipers. It is a tragedy the Ukraine government is supported by Washington in much the same way Afghanistan had been once before. The new division has not shown the peace those who believe in the Great Game strategic alliance would achieve. Obama has given nuclear weapons to Iran, will this policy bear fruit? 
2014
Piers Akerman correctly describes the enormity of Thomson's lies to parliament. The cost to the Australian economy of prolonging the ALP government will never be redressed fairly. But he should serve time. And if he does, maybe he will come to love the world he is in, rather than charging low paid workers for it. 

Andrew Bolt discusses Kerry's ridiculous decision to place trust in a thief regarding AGW matters. Apparently Australia does not have a quota of racist psychiatrists. There is a strong possibility that the new senate election in WA will harm freedoms by preventing the Abbott administration legislative freedom. ABC find another person who did not witness an atrocity by the detention administration. There is demonstrably no difference between BDS advocacy and anti semitism. Thomson illustrates how ALP is weak on union corruption. Tasmania's electoral system may be broken. The next ALP PM is probably not in parliament. Union is upset that taxpayers don't subsidise workers to $30k above award. 
Historical perspectives on this day 
In 1339, the Milanese army and the St. George's (San Giorgio) Mercenaries of Lodrisio Visconti clashed in the Battle of Parabiago. 1472, Orkney and Shetland were pawned by Norway to Scotland in lieu of a dowry for Margaret of Denmark. 1547, Edward VI of England was crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey. 1685, René-Robert Cavelier established Fort St. Louis at Matagorda Bay thus forming the basis for France's claim to Texas. 1792, the Postal Service Act, establishing the United States Post Office Department, was signed by United States President George Washington. 1798, Louis-Alexandre Berthier removed Pope Pius VI from power.

In 1810, Andreas Hofer, Tirolean patriot and leader of rebellion against Napoleon's forces, was executed. 1813, Manuel Belgrano defeated the royalist army of Pío de Tristán during the Battle of Salta. 1816, Rossini's opera The Barber of Seville premiered at the Teatro Argentina in Rome. 1835, Concepción, Chile was destroyed by an earthquake. 1846, Polish insurgents led an uprising in Kraków to incite a fight for national independence. 1864, American Civil War: Battle of Olustee: The largest battle fought in Florida during the war. 1865, end of the Uruguayan War, with a peace agreement between President Tomás Villalba and rebel leader Venancio Flores, setting the scene for the destructive War of the Triple Alliance. 1872, in New York City the Metropolitan Museum of Art opened. 1873, the University of California opens its first medical school in San Francisco. 1877, Tchaikovsky's ballet Swan Lake received its première performance at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

In 1901, the legislature of Hawaii Territory convened for the first time. 1909, publication of the Futurist Manifesto in the French journal Le Figaro. 1913, King O'Malley drove in the first survey peg to mark commencement of work on the construction of Canberra. 1921, the Young Communist League of Czechoslovakia was founded. 1931, the Congress of the United States approved the construction of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge by the state of California. 1933, the Congress of the United States proposes the Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution that would end Prohibition in the United States. Also 1933, Adolf Hitler secretly met with German industrialists to arrange for financing of the Nazi Party's upcoming election campaign. 1935, Caroline Mikkelsen becomes the first woman to set foot in Antarctica.

In 1942, Lieutenant Edward O'Hare became America's first World War II flying ace. 1943, American movie studio executives agree to allow the Office of War Information to censor movies. Also 1943, the Parícutin volcano began to form in Parícutin, Mexico. Also 1943, the Saturday Evening Post published the first of Norman Rockwell's Four Freedoms in support of United States President Franklin Roosevelt's 1941 State of the Union address theme of Four Freedoms. 1944, World War II: The "Big Week" began with American bomber raids on German aircraft manufacturing centres. Also 1944, World War II: The United States took Eniwetok Island. 1952, Emmett Ashford became the first African-American umpire in organised baseball by being authorised to be a substitute umpire in the Southwestern International League. 1956, the United States Merchant Marine Academy became a permanent Service Academy. 1959, the Avro Arrow program to design and manufacture supersonic jet fighters in Canada was cancelled by the Diefenbaker government amid much political debate.

In 1962, Mercury program: While aboard Friendship 7, John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth, making three orbits in four hours, 55 minutes. 1965, Ranger 8 crashed into the Moon after a successful mission of photographing possible landing sites for the Apollo program astronauts. 1971, the United States Emergency Broadcast System was accidentally activated in an erroneous national alert. 1978, the last Order of Victory was bestowed upon Leonid Brezhnev. 1986, the Soviet Union launched its Mir spacecraft. Remaining in orbit for 15 years, it was occupied for ten of those years. 1987, Unabomber: In Salt Lake City, a bomb exploded in a computer store. 1988, the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast voted to secede from Azerbaijan and join Armenia, triggering the Nagorno-Karabakh War. 1989, an IRA bomb destroyed a section of a British Army barracks in Ternhill, England. 1991, a gigantic statue of Albania's long-time leader, Enver Hoxha, was brought down in the Albanian capital Tirana, by mobs of angry protesters. 1998, American figure skater Tara Lipinski became the youngest gold-medalist at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

In 2003, during a Great White concert in West Warwick, Rhode Island, a pyrotechnics display set the Station nightclub ablaze, killing 100 and injuring over 200 others. 2005, Spain became the first country to vote in a referendum on ratification of the proposed Constitution of the European Union, passing it by a substantial margin, but on a low turnout. 2006, in South Korea the United Liberal Democrats, the three top political parties were merged into Grand National Party. 2009, Two Tamil Tigers aircraft packed with C4 explosives en route to the national airforce headquarters were shot down by the Sri Lankan military before reaching their target, in a kamikaze style attack. 2010, in Madeira Island, Portugal, heavy rain caused floods and mudslides, resulting in at least 43 deaths, in the worst disaster in the history of the archipelago. 2013, the smallest extrasolar planet, Kepler-37b was discovered. 2014, dozens of Euromaidan anti-government protesters died in in Ukraine's capital Kiev, many reportedly killed by snipers.
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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 Casey Granz and to those others born on this day, across the years, along with
Ranger-moon-image.jpg
Texas could have been French. The Barber was cut too large. A cornfield became a cone field. Don't talk to Rangers. Bathing is good in baths. Let's party. 
Matches
Hatches
Despatches
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2015
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The difference between ‘innocent’ and innocent

Piers Akerman – Friday, February 20, 2015 (12:53am)

BOASTFUL would-be terrorist David Hicks has had his plea of guilty to assisting terrorism set aside — because of what amounts to no more than a legal ­technicality.

Icon Arrow Continue reading 'The difference between ‘innocent’ and innocent'
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The Bolt Report on Sunday, February 22

Andrew Bolt February 20 2015 (9:04am)

On the The Bolt Report on Channel 10 on Sunday at 10am and 4pm.
Editorial: Is Bill Shorten ready to be your Prime Minister?
My guest:  Jeremy Jones on Europe, no longer safe for Jews. A warning.
The panel: former Labor campaign guru Bruce Hawker and Michael Kroger, Victorian Liberal President.
NewsWatch:  Daily Telegraph columnist Miranda Devine.  On Hicks, the ABC and more.
And a little lesson no conservative politician should miss: what to do about the ABC reporter getting in your face. Examples given.
Has the campaign to save two Australian drug smugglers gone too far? Has Abbott rallied, and did Bill Shorten just blow it?  And lots more.
The videos of the shows appear here.
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“Probably foolish”: Shorten whitewashes Hicks

Andrew Bolt February 20 2015 (9:01am)

Is Bill Shorten fit to become your next Prime Minister? In charge of your security?
Shorten yesterday:
David Hicks was probably foolish to get caught up in that Afghanistan ­conflict, but clearly there has been an ­injustice done to him
Just “foolish”? Only “probably”? The victim of an “injustice”?
Seriously?
Yes, David Hicks this week has his conviction for aiding terrorists quashed. But, contrary to some reports in Left-wing outlets, he was not “cleared” or found “innocent”. Rather the US military court which convicted him was found not to have jurisdiction over such an offence, given it was not a war crime.
Nevertheless, the unchallenged fact remains that Hicks trained and served with three terrorist groups - Lashka e Taiba, al Qaeda and the Taliban, for whom he was a soldier during the US invasion of Afghanistan, launched in reprisal for the September 11 attacks. It is unchallenged that he met Osama bin Laden several times and called him a “lovely brother”. It is also unchallenged that Hicks, after seeing the September 11 attacks on television while in Pakistan, returned to his al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan.
I discussed this on 2GB last night. Daniel Meers is also incredulous:
DAVID Hicks trained with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and described Osama bin Laden as a brother — and yet Opposition Leader Bill Shorten labelled what he did as “foolish” and said he suffered an “injustice"…
Mr Shorten leapt to the defence of the man who former PM John Howard yesterday declared “revelled in jihad”.
Mr Shorten’s comments were also slammed by Liberal MP Andrew Nikolic, who served as a brigadier in the Australian Army in Afghanistan…
“Why is Bill Shorten giving ­succour to David Hicks as someone who he says was merely ‘foolish’ to get ‘caught up’, as if he was some ­wide-eyed innocent abroad rather than a trained terrorist?"…
[Former Prime Minister John] Howard said in a statement. “Nothing alters the fact that by his own admission, Hicks trained with ­al-Qaeda, met Osama bin Laden on ­several occasions describing him as a brother. He revelled in jihad. He is not owed an apology by any ­Australian government.’’
What a terrible misjudgement by Shorten.
Piers Akerman:
The United States Court of Military Commission Review set aside Hicks’ guilty plea and sentence, ruling that his decision to forego his right of appeal as part of his plea bargain to get released from Guantánamo Bay was invalid because it was not filed in time.
The court was not asked to consider Hicks’ admissions about his own ­behaviour.
Clearly, Hicks’ supporters, including Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, a host of ABC commentators, the Guardian-reading Greens and inner-urban luvvies can’t bring themselves to either…
[But] the ABC’s Leigh Sales, author of Detainee 002: The Case Of David Hicks, says he was trained in running terror cells, along with the use of sniper rifles, shoulder-mounted anti-aircraft missiles, urban warfare tactics and surveillance techniques.
She wrote that he was even given instruction in suicide bombing but declined an assignment.
Just “probably foolish”?
Shorten later backtracks:
“There’s no doubt Mr Hicks was associating with known terrorists, and that’s absolutely deplorable,’’ he said.
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More taxes but less development: another fine mess promised by Labor

Andrew Bolt February 20 2015 (8:43am)

Queenslanders have just voted in a Labor Government that promised to stop asset sales, and now doesn’t know how to pay for big new projects.
Victorians voted in a Labor Government that promised to tear up the contract for a big new road project, and now faces a payout of up to $1.2 billion.
Will NSW voters now make the same mistake of voting back in a Labor party that tells sweet lies about the finances?:
NSW Labor will tax business more, cut or defer major projects and raid a privatisation fund to pay for a $10 billion infrastructure plan that falls a long way short of the Baird government’s plan to fix congestion in Sydney.
Labor’s funding of its promises was critical to its credibility as it is campaigning against the sale of the state’s electricity assets, which the government intends to use to fund $20bn in road, rail, education and hospital projects.
Labor would continue business transaction taxes, due to be abolished next year, raising an extra $5bn over 10 years.
It would find the rest of the money by raiding the state government’s privatisation fund ... which has $4.9bn for the sale of the state’s ports and desalination plant, reserved for projects that are not yet in the budget.
Mark Coultan:
IN this NSW election, it was always going to be Labor’s big problem, a $20 billion problem, to be exact.
It turned into a train wreck.
How was Labor going to pay for badly needed roads, rail, hospitals and schools without selling electricity assets?
The answer: tax business more, use money you opposed raising, and cancel or defer big projects into the never-never.
For the first time since becoming Labor leader six weeks ago, Luke Foley looked like an opposition leader on training wheels.
Labor around the country is in intellectual decline. The tragedy is that it is being rewarded by the voters for making no economic sense at all.
UPDATE
Public sector unions are the last Labor bastion. That means Labor’s economic strategy is based largely on making sure as many unionists as possible are kept working for the government, which can then be squeezed for more money. The Daily Telegraph explains:
NSW Labor leader Luke Foley ... has presented a stark choice ahead of next month’s elections.  Voters have the option of voting for the current government, which promises to secure many billions of dollars through long-term leasing of NSW’s electricity infrastructure in order to fund massive advances in health, education and transport — or they can vote for Labor, which promises to do basically … nothing.
Announcing yesterday that Labor would commit to just $10 billion in infrastructure funding over 10 years, not nearly sufficient to meet this growing state’s requirements, Foley declared electricity infrastructure would remain under inefficient state ownership — exactly what overpaid unions want.
“Labor’s plan is a smart, affordable solution to building the projects NSW needs,” Foley claimed, “while keeping our electricity network in public hands and using the profits they make to pay for teachers, nurses and police.”
That’s just great. In exchange for missing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to obtain a colossal leasing windfall, with its gigantic subsequent benefits for all citizens of this state, NSW would be able to cover its wages bill…
This sounds like the worst deal of all time — unless, of course, you are among the union members who stand to gain through continued state ownership and its associated rip-off pay levels.
Foley’s lame promise makes several issues clear. First, it is now more obvious than ever that NSW Labor is controlled by unions, just as it was controlled by unions during previous Labor attempts to modernise and embrace privatisation.
On the very day of Labor’s policy announcement, the Electrical Trades Union and the United Services Union declared members at state-owned Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy would begin four-hour rolling strikes next month in a bid to enforce excessive wage claims.
When Labor opposes privatisation it is not defending services. It is defending its power to take more money from workers in private businesses and give it to unionists in state ones - unionists who in turn reward Labor with donations.
It is a giant scam - a Ponzi scheme in which the rest of us are the first to lose our money. And jobs.
UPDATE
Another example:

THE nursing union’s scare campaign on patient fees has been dealt another blow after the Australian Medical Association criticised its claim that public-private hospital partnerships would lead to an “Americanised” healthcare system.
It comes as Premier Mike Baird effectively labelled the union liars yesterday as he described its campaign as “a Pinocchio moment” and said public-private partnerships could lower healthcare costs.
The Australian Private Hospitals Association also weighed into the debate, and called the campaign “misleading, deceitful and scaremongering"…
The NSW Nursing and Midwives’ Association is running a series of TV adverts that suggest the state is facing an avalanche of hospital privatisations which will force patients to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for treatments under an “Americanised” system.
Health Minister Jillian Skinner undermined the claims this week by guaranteeing public patients in public and private hospitals would continue to pay no charges.
(Thanks to readers Peter of Bellevue Hill and WaG311.) 
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Police raid Sharrouf doctor

Andrew Bolt February 20 2015 (8:41am)

Interesting:

THE psychiatrist who once treated Sydney terrorist Khaled Sharrouf has had his ­office raided and files confiscated by Australian Federal Police investigating allegations of broader Disability Support Pension scam.
Psychiatrist Ishrat Ali treated Islamic State terrorist Sharrouf before he headed to Syria to join the terror cult.
Sharrouf was still drawing his fortnightly $766 disability pension cheque when he left Australia.
No comments for legal reasons.
(Thanks to reader WaG311.) 
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Labor gets even weaker on boats

Andrew Bolt February 20 2015 (8:30am)

Will the boats return under a Bill Shorten Labor Government?
Shorten has already said he will not tow boats back to Indonesia - a strategy that even the Human Rights Commission admits was crucial to stopping the people smugglers.
Now Labor even criticises the Abbott Government for quickly returning Sri Lankans intercepted at sea:
AUSTRALIAN authorities stopped an asylum-seeker boat west of Christmas Island more than 10 days ago and gave four Sri Lankans back to their government in a swift high-seas transfer.
Labor was quick to attack the move, questioning how thoroughly the refugee claims of the asylum-seekers were assessed, given that the process took place very quickly and on water....
The opposition’s immigration spokesman, Richard Marles, said the government needed to provide an assurance Australia was meeting international obligations and that people were not returned to a situation where they faced harm.
“We also have concerns about the fairness and thoroughness of the assessment of asylum-seeker claims made while at sea,” he said.
This suggests a softening of even the policy followed by Labor in office. From last year:
LABOR’S last foreign minister, Bob Carr, has ridiculed refugee advocates’ “urban mythology” about endemic persecution of Tamils in Sri Lanka, saying the previous government “couldn’t find a single case” of returned asylum-seekers being abused by authorities…
“Things I’ve been hearing from the refugee lobby are simply unsustainable,” Mr Carr, a former NSW Labor premier who served as foreign minister to Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd, told ABC Radio…
Mr Carr said the Labor government returned a boatload of Sri Lankan asylum-seekers about August 2012, none of whom were treated inhumanely. 
If Labor returns, so will the boats. So will the drownings and the massive bills. Nothing surer under Labor’s current policies.
(Thanks to reader Peter of Bellevue Hill.) 
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ABC promotes rabid Australia critic as its “leading” commentator

Andrew Bolt February 20 2015 (7:34am)

I yesterday accused the ABC of being at war with Tony Abbott, using its massive state power to drive him out of office. Examples were given of its now blatant bias.
Here is just one more, from today.
ABC political correspondent Emma Griffiths has decided her story must be that Abbott offended all Indonesia by pointing out - in pleading for the lives of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran - that we once gave the country $1 billion in tsunami aid.
So she goes shopping for someone, anyone, to say something nasty about our Prime Minister. And she finds him:
A leading Indonesian commentator has warned that Mr Abbott’s attempts to save the lives of Chan and Sukumaran could further strain relations between the countries.
Pierre Marthinus from the Jakarta think tank the Marthinus Academy said Indonesians would not take kindly to the suggestion, given their overall support for capital punishment…
“… I think it might even bring bilateral relations to a new low. I mean it’s really, really bad right now.”
Marthinus is a “leading” commentator? Seriously? And the ABC considers his opinions to be an accurate barometer of Indonesian opinion, and worth our consideration?
That is odd, because here are some of Marthinus’s ramblings from a newspaper piece last month - one of the very few he’s ever had published in the Jakarta Post, and doubtlessly the one that caught the ABC’s eye. Now, ask yourself why the ABC didn’t pass on some of the loopier theories and wilder fantasies that Marthinus vents here, so readers could decide for themselves whether this man was worth a second of a serious person’s notice:
The Australian media is engaged in a surreal form of hypocrisy by criticizing the execution of those convicted of drug trafficking in Indonesia…
First, Indonesian state treatment of convicted drug traffickers differs only slightly from Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers.. Indonesia prefers openly using its own firing squad, having solid legal justification and being fully accountable for the lives it takes. Meanwhile, Australia prefers the outsourcing and subcontracting of their deeds to private companies and offshoring them to distant locations that are conveniently out of sight and out of the mind of its public, such as Manus Island, Nauru and Cambodia…

Asylum seekers, sometimes including children, in Australian detention facilities have undergone hunger strikes, sewn their lips shut, inflicted self-harm and attempted suicide, swallowed razorblades and even burned themselves to death in protest at the “Australian solution”. Currently, 700 asylum seekers are on hunger strike in Manus Island. Two asylum seekers from the camp, Reza Barati and Hamid Kehazaei, have already died but not a single asylum seeker has been successfully resettled to date. This makes the facility more of a death camp than a resettlement camp…

Canberra is merely trying to save their own “subject bodies” from the firing squad, while slowly disposing of “abject bodies” it does not want through inhumane detention camps or returning them to foreign regimes that will probably finish the job for them. 
Asylum seekers are burning themselves to death in our “death camps”? We’re executioners, too, sending off asylum seekers to be killed by foreign governments and subcontractors? Not one asylum seeker has ever been successfully resettled in Australia or elsewhere? And this is the ABC’s “leading” expert?
(Thanks to reader rossco.) 
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Despicable: Abbott blamed for destroying Chan and Sukumaran’s last hope

Andrew Bolt February 20 2015 (6:14am)

Get one thing straight. Indonesian President Joko Widodo was never going to grant clemency to Andrew Chan and Myruran Sukumaran.
There was not the slightest chance they would escape execution - which you need to know in light of today’s attempts to frame Tony Abbott:
image
Widido made it crystal clear last December that the Australians would die:
There are 64 [people] sentenced to death by the courts and as I’ve said about clemency request for drugs cases, I will never give clemency… Never will. Never will.
I’m stressing this again and again so that it’s all clear, so there will be no one who thinks that death penalty is [given] by the President.  The sentence is from the courts and we don’t give forgiveness or clemency.
Widodo said it again in January:

“Imagine, every day we have 50 people die because of narcotics, because of drugs,” he said. “In one year, it’s 18,000 people who die because of narcotics.
“We are not going to compromise for drug dealers. No compromise. No compromise.”

Mr Joko said it was the courts that determined death sentences, and the condemned could ask him for clemency.
“But I tell you, there will be no amnesty for drug dealers,” he said.
Two weeks ago he yet again promised there would be no mercy:
“Indonesia is in a state of emergency regarding drugs,” the president said....
The president reiterated his stance that convicted drug traffickers would not be spared from the firing squad…
“I have told the presidents and prime ministers of the countries whose citizens are the convicts that there will be no forgiveness for drug-related cases,” Joko said.
Widodo also knows that foreign anger over such executions does not last. Last month he brushed aside the protests of Brazil, the Netherlands, Malawi, Nigeria and the European Union and refused to stop the executions of five foreigners convicted of drug crimes: Tran Bich Hanh of Vietnam; Rani Marco Cardoso Moreira of Brazil; Ang Kiem Soe of Holland; Daniel Enemuo of Nigeria; and Namaona Denis of Malawi.  The Dutch and Brazilian governments recalled their ambassadors in protest but soon afterwards quietly returned them to Jakarta.
Widodo also knows that to grant clemency to Chan and Sukamaran would oblige him to do the same for other foreigners sentenced to die with them - drug offenders from France, Nigeria, the Philippines, Nigeria, and Ghana.  After all, the Australians were caught organising the smuggling of more than 8kg of heroin, but the Filipina, Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, was just a drug mule caught with 2.6 kilograms of heroin.  Ghanian Martin Anderson had just 50 grams on him.
So Chan and Sukumaran were doomed. No pressure on President Widodo would save them.
That obvious truth makes the latest attempts to blame Tony Abbott seem not just desperate but sick.
Yes, Abbott was mistaken this week to remind Indonesia of the $1 billion of aid we’d sent to help it recover from the tsunami. I may have been the first commentator to criticise this clumsy linkage as immoral and counterproductive.
But now Abbott’s rivals and media enemies have gone one foul step too far, and suggested Abbott may have even cost Chan and Sukumaran a reprieve from their death sentence - a reprieve that in fact was never coming.
In The Age today:
Some of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s senior colleagues are concerned that his tough talk with Indonesia may have undermined a carefully crafted strategy to save the lives of two Australians on death row.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has been leading what officials describe as a “massive” private and public diplomacy campaign to persuade Indonesian leaders to halt the execution of drug traffickers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, convicted of trafficking heroin…

Faint hopes of clemency have been kept alive by Indonesian leaders agreeing to delay the executions and hold a press conference to face questions, which appeared to demonstrate that Australian concerns have been taken seriously.
On Wednesday, however, Mr Abbott appeared to depart from the diplomatic script to promise an “absolutely unambiguous” response if the executions went ahead. Mr Abbott linked the threat to Australia’s generous humanitarian aid program following the Aceh tsunami of a decade ago.
Message: Bishop could have saved the men, but Abbott destroyed that last hope.
This is false. This is despicable. Shame on those peddling this fraud. There was no hope for Abbott to destroy. 
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This is what public servants must expect when Labor’s lost our savings

Andrew Bolt February 20 2015 (6:09am)

Squeal all they like, but this is what it looks like when governments rack up record deficits and run out of money just when our economy falters:
A 3.16 per cent pay rise offer for the next three years to Australia’s 20,000-strong Defence Department staff has left even secretary Dennis Richardson with regrets.
The below-inflation offer comes with a long list of working conditions removed and the lowering of starting salaries for most pay classifications…

The offer is one third worse in pay offer terms than the controversial increase given to their uniformed colleagues in the Australian Defence Force in November. When cuts to conditions are included the civilians are much worse off and the overall offer could lead to more industrial action across the public service.
The unions want more money? Then let them explain where the savings are to come from. Or why other taxpayers, also struggling, must did deeper to pay more to public servants. 
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=== Posts from last year ===

Craig Thomson’s abuse of privilege is an affront to the people

Piers Akerman – Thursday, February 20, 2014 (7:44pm)

WHILE disgraced former Health Services Union official and Labor MP Craig Thomson faces sentencing next month, ordinary Australians have the rare opportunity to make their feelings about this convicted fraudster felt right now.

Icon Arrow Continue reading 'Craig Thomson’s abuse of privilege is an affront to the people'
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Why did John Kerry’s global warming guru hide himself in China?

Andrew Bolt February 20 2014 (6:22pm)

Bret Stephens on US Secretary of State John Kerry’s bizarre choice of global warming guru - a shadowy insider who cleaned up big on the alarmism:
The weirdest thing about John Kerry’s weekend speech on climate-change—other than the fact that this is the same guy who in 1997 voted to forbid the U.S. from signing the Kyoto Protocol—is that it begins by quoting something Maurice Strong said at the U.N.’s 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro: “Every bit of evidence I’ve seen persuades me that we are on a course leading to tragedy.” 
Maurice who?
Mr. Strong, a former oil executive from Canada..., was for many years the U.N.’s ultimate mandarin. He organized many of its environmental mega-confabs, including the 1972 Stockholm Conference and the 1992 Rio summit, before rising to become Kofi Annan’s right-hand man. At various times Mr. Strong has served as director at the World Economic Forum, chairman of the Earth Council and the World Resources Institute, vice chairman of the Chicago Climate Exchange and chairman of the China Carbon Corporation, to name just a few of his many prominent affiliations.
In 2005 it emerged that Mr. Strong, who was the chairman of the U.N. panel that created the Office of the Iraq Program, had accepted a check for close to $1 million from a South Korean businessman named Tongsun Park, who in the 1970s had been involved in an effort to bribe U.S. politicians. Mr. Strong claimed that the check, from a Jordanian bank, was meant as an investment in a family company that later went bankrupt. Mr. Park (who also sublet office space from Mr. Strong) later went to prison for trying to bribe U.N. officials overseeing the Oil-for-Food program that was propping up Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq. Mr. Strong was accused of no wrongdoing and has denied involvement in Oil-for-Food. He left the U.N. that year and moved to Beijing.
Draw your own conclusions. 
Ask yourself: Is this a guy who deserves a shout-out from the U.S. Secretary of State? 
(Thanks to reader Geoff.) 
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Things I’d like to discuss

Andrew Bolt February 20 2014 (6:06pm)

Free speechThe politics of race

There’s a really interesting and important discussion we should be able to have about this:
INCOMING Canberra University chancellor Tom Calma has urged ordinary citizens to financially back scholarships for indigenous students, noting the country still has only one Aboriginal psychiatrist. 
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Abbott’s new Senate could get less helpful

Andrew Bolt February 20 2014 (3:12pm)

The Liberals could only go backwards:
WEST Australians will go back to the polls after the High Court declared “absolutely void’’ the disputed result of the state’s Senate election… 
In September, the Liberal Party won three Senate positions in Western Australia, but it is widely expected that the position of the third Liberal, Senator-elect Linda Reynolds, will be at risk. 
UPDATE
A reminder of the state of play. The Senate in July was to have the Coalition needing six of the eight seats held by independents and Palmer United Party members who lean largely to the conservative or libertarian side.
Clive Palmer originally won one WA seat to give him a crucial bloc of three of those eight seats. The Abbott Government would have to get Palmer’s agreement to break any logjam caused by a joint Greens-Labor front.
If the Liberals now lose one of the three seats they won at the election, as is possible, to a Left-leaning candidate they will be in some trouble. The would then need the votes of every single Palmer Senator and cross bencher to beat the opposition of the Left.
The best the Liberals can hope for is that they retain all three seats and that Palmer loses to a rationalist or even conservative independent in the crapshoot of preference swapping. That way the Government could beat even Clive Palmer’s no-vote. But the chances.... 
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ABC finds another boat people witness who wasn’t

Andrew Bolt February 20 2014 (12:36pm)

Boat people policyMedia

The ABC’s 7.30 yesterday:
CONOR DUFFY: Fresh accounts from inside the Manus Island detention centre emerged today. Iranian-Australian interpreter Azita Bokan was at the centre. She claims it was calm until detainees were told on Sunday they wouldn’t be resettled in Australia or Papua New Guinea. 
AZITA BOKAN, INTERPRETER: They had no hope. Their hope was gone. You could see their sickness in the camp.
SCOTT MORRISON: That was never true and they were told what the standing policy was, and that is that they would be settled in Papua New Guinea.
CONOR DUFFY: Ms Bokan says she was escorted from the centre after protesting about security staff hitting detainees. 
AZITA BOKAN: When they walking out, I see people with the Band-Aid, some of them not even Band-Aid, but blood, was too much blood on shirts, especially the one on a wheelchair, the amount of blood was like you could have not really hold yourself together.
But today in Fairfax:
Ms Bokan says she did not witness the violence, but was in the area where the injured were taken,...
Bokan still claims in Fairfax:
‘’Definitely, 100 per cent, I stand by the statement that the local people, including some employed by [security contractor] G4S, they were the ones who caused this drama,’’ Ms Bokan said after flying out of Manus Island on Wednesday.
The PNG Prime Minister disagrees:
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill yesterday… rejected suggestions that villagers in Manus were involved in the disturbances at the asylum processing centre in Manus.... “At no time did the good people of Manus get involved.” 
Bokan again in Fairfax:
‘’There was blood everywhere. The number injured was horrific: people with massive head injuries, at least one with a slashed throat,’’ she said.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says he’s seen no reports of any such thing:
I have no reports of a person’s throat being slit.
Has the ABC yet again leapt to believe an atrocity monger only too ready to help it attack the Abbott Government’s successful border policies? And is Fairfax yet again doing the same? 
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No discount for the Jew from Israel

Andrew Bolt February 20 2014 (10:46am)

It is increasingly hard to tell the difference between the Greens-backed Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement and old-fashioned anti-Semitism.
Australian company Cinematic Strings advertises a product:
Cinematic Strings 2 is a completely redesigned and updated version of the original orchestral strings sample library. Whilst retaining the warm luscious tones produced in the world class Verbrugghen Hall of the Sydney Conservatorium, the new version features a sleek new interface and even smoother legato.
It offers a discount to students:

Supporting Students and Institutions Worldwide 
We believe that the latest technology should be readily available to the education sector to facilitate learning and to keep training up-to-date and relevant to industry requirements. For this reason we offer a range of individual educational discounts to both teachers and students; we also have tailored packages available for universities and colleges that seek to incorporate a professional-level string library into their program.
And then it sends this reply to a Jewish student placing an order:
Hi Yossela,
I am very, very sorry but I will not be able to provide you with a student discount. We support the BDS movement worldwide and the cultural boycott against Israel until Israel ceases its illegal settlement activities in the West Bank and ceases its discrimination against the Palestinian people. Please see this website for further information http://www.bdsmovement.net/activecamps/cultural-boycott.
Please understand that this is not in any way directed at you personally and we have heard from many Israeli students who have been very sympathetic towards the Palestinian people. However we are fairly powerless here in Australia to act on behalf of the victims of oppression and so the BDS is the only way we can have a voice.
We wish you all the best in your future musical endeavours.
Kindest regards,
Alex and the CS team. 
For the company to say this decision “is not in any way directed at you personally” is to actually explain one of the offensive things about it. Yossela is not being judged as an individual but as an Israeli, and specifically a Jewish Israeli. (Would the ban apply to him were he an Israeli Arab?) This is the tribalism of the Left - a tribalism that strips us all of our individuality and our individual worth.
Moreover, when that tribalism is then put into the service of a movement aimed at only one side in a conflict involving at least two parties, the other of which uses terrorism and preaches a religious hatred of its enemy, we must ask what truly lies behind this BDS movement. It smells like something very old and putrid.
But good news: it didn’t take long after this issue hit the Internet for Cinematic Strings to think again:
While we stand by our reasons, we can see now that this action itself may be construed as discriminatory, and therefore we will make discounts available to all students regardless of location. If Yossela would like to contact us again we will make the discount available to him.
(Thanks to readers Jill and Stephen Dawson.) 
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Krauthammer on Obama’s “settled science”

Andrew Bolt February 20 2014 (10:43am)

 The arrogance - the stupidity - of people who claim global warming science is “settled”.
(Thanks to reader Alan RM Jones.) 
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Fairfax writer: one death under Abbott worse than 1000 under Labor

Andrew Bolt February 20 2014 (9:29am)

Jacqueline Maley of the Sydney Morning Herald says it’s morally worse that one boat people died under the Abbott Government’s policies than that more than 1000 died under Labor’s:
The people who were drowning off those boats, off Christmas Island and so forth, which was horrendous and awful and nobody wanted to see, they were doing that sort of on their own watch, if you like
This is a person who’s died and the 77 of so people who’ve been injured, they were under our care… That’s a strong moral difference to me.
Maley’s argument - and selective indignation - is not that much more sophisticated than that of Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young:
Greens child-Senator Sarah Hanson-Young in 2011 when another 200 boat people are lured to their deaths by Labor policies: 
Pressed on whether the Greens accepted responsibility for the tragedy, Senator Hanson-Young said: “Of course not. Tragedies happen, accidents happen.”
Greens child-Senator Sarah Hanson-Young today after learning our navy accidentally entered Indonesian waters in safely returning dozens of boat people to Indonesia in line with Liberal policies: 
The minister is begging for forgiveness while carrying on with a policy that was always going to lead to this type of disaster.
Maley’s argument relies on Labor being able to wash its hands of the utterly predictable - even inevitable - consequences of a policy to weaken our border laws. She believes Labor holds no moral responsibility for luring more than 1000 people to their deaths, any more than, I guess, a gun shop owner bears moral responsibility for the consequences of selling machineguns to bikies or a chemist for selling 20 packets of Pentobarbital to a weeping widow. She believes Labor cannot be blamed for deaths that it was warned would occur under its policy, was warned was occurring under its policy, and which it finally concededhad occurred as a consequence of its policy.
I don’t think that argument washes, particularly when the man who died at Manus Island this week also seems to have been killed in a wild brawl instigated by the detainees themselves and finished by PNG police. And especially not when we are comparing just one death to more than 1000.

UPDATE
Reader john of gaunt:
You’re not under someone’s care if you forcibly choose to leave that care. Unless the argument is that the centre needs to have stronger walls.
(Thanks to reader Sparks.) 
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Thomson shows Labor weak on corrupt unions

Andrew Bolt February 20 2014 (7:34am)

Politics - federal

FORMER Labor MP Craig Thomson had been found guilty at last and we can get on with the real question. What’s this about Labor? 

Why did it for years protect Thomson when his guilt stank to the heavens?
Indeed, the royal commission into union corruption should investigate why Labor has been so soft on so much union lawlessness. Thomson is only the most obvious example.
(Read full article here.) 
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This mad and bad carbon tax must go

Andrew Bolt February 20 2014 (7:30am)

image
HOW many more manufacturing workers must be sacked, thanks to green policies that only pretend to stop global warming? 

How many of the jobless won’t be able to heat or cool their homes, with these same mad policies helping to hike power prices by 110 per cent in only five years?
And all this pain to make no difference to the world’s temperature. What a fraud.
True, the carbon tax and less-known Renewable Energy Target did not themselves kill Alcoa’s Point Henry smelter or Toyota’s Australian plants this month.
But the carbon tax alone cost Alcoa $137 million last year. How brainless is that, when its Australian smelters were already battling to survive competition from leaner competitors overseas?
The carbon tax also cost Toyota $115 a car. How stupid is that, when Australian-made cars were already struggling to compete against cheaper imports?
Apologists for the carbon tax claim it’s nothing compared with everything else smashing our manufacturers — a high dollar, green tape, crazy workplace restrictions and bloody-minded unions.
But it’s a straw breaking the back of a lot of camels.
(Read full article here.) 
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Tasmania needs a system that produces stronger leaders

Andrew Bolt February 20 2014 (6:15am)

There is something sick in Tasmania’s electoral system when such a lead in the popular vote is likely to deliver the Liberals majority government next month only by a whisker:
[A]n analysis of a [ReachTEL] poll published by The Saturday Mercury last weekend suggests the Liberals would win a clear majority of 14 seats, Labor only six, the Greens four or five and the PUP potentially one. The poll, of 2912 Tasmanians, has the Liberals on 47.2 per cent of the vote to Labor’s 24.6, the Greens 17.2 and the Palmer United Party 7.5. 
Under Tasmania’s Hare-Clark electoral system, each of the state’s five electorates return five MPs, with parties running tickets and the quota to get elected set at 16.7 per cent of the vote. 
Tasmania’s system almost guarantees the need for coalitions to govern, with the inevitable uncertain leadership and a dodging of consequences by the junior partner - too often the Greens:
Giddings failed to deliver her full promise: bravely beginning a clampdown on government spending, but ultimately relenting under the pressure of union bosses and a nervous and near-sighted caucus. 
For the past four years, Labor’s power-sharing deal with the Greens has alienated its core base… The Greens have suffered some decline in support as a result of wearing unpopular decisions as a part of government. But the minor party has fared far better than Labor in terms of quarantining its political brand from cross-contamination by its power-sharing partner.
Tasmania seems to me a state with an electoral system designed to never produce the strong leadership it needs to dig it out of a hole as big as the one it’s now in.  
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The next Prime Minister after Abbott doesn’t look like Shorten

Andrew Bolt February 20 2014 (5:51am)

Niki Savva on the field of candidates to replace Tony Abbott:
As treasurer, [Joe] Hockey is so far performing well. He would be in front of a crowded field of contenders if Tony Abbott fell off his bike tomorrow… 
If he doesn’t [eventually make it], and if his immediate frontbench competitors like Julie Bishop, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison have either left the scene or fail the many tests before them, there are still others - Christian Porter for one - who could be groomed for the job. The point of this is that right now in the parliament sits the next Coalition prime minister.
But is Labor’s next prime minister in Parliament? Savva is less sure:
[Shorten should] do an about-face on the carbon tax and the mining tax… He could say anything really, even we wuz wrong, it doesn’t matter - as long as he changes the story and begins to repair early negative impressions of his leadership which mark him, among other things, as a captive of the unions at a time they really stink. Craig Thomson’s conviction strengthens - not weakens - the case for a royal commission into union corruption. If he had the guts, Shorten would back it… 
I do know if he wants to realise the decades-long hype about him one day becoming prime minister, he won’t get there by doing what he’s doing now.
UPDATE
Health Services Union whistleblower Marco Bolano agrees - Bill Shorten should back the royal commission into union corruption:
CRAIG Thomson’s conviction over his dishonest dealing with Health Services Union resources should be cause for me to celebrate. But it’s not. 

In 2012 Thomson abused the privilege he enjoyed as a federal MP to allege that I threatened to set him up “with a bunch of hookers” and, along with another HSU whistleblower, Kathy Jackson, had executed an intricate plot to frame him… 

Thomson’s lies were believed only in the upper echelons of the federal Labor Party and some nuts in the blogosphere…
While opposing a royal commission into union governance, Bill Shorten announced himself captain of the “few bad apples” team by arguing that only the police should investigate alleged union wrongdoing… Giving police more resources to investigate union corruption is a good idea, but while he was the federal minister responsible for union regulation Shorten never thought to do that…
Members of the [HSU’s] national finance committee ... supervised Thomson’s spending (including an unauthorised $250,000 to Thomson’s ALP campaign… 
The leaderships of a plethora of unions that used official resources in HSU elections need to explain how it’s in their members’ interests that their money is wasted in internecine manoeuvres designed to gain ALP power for a handful of union heavies. And the Fair Work Commission should explain how it has come to be so irredeemably useless in policing misconduct, including the delayed and botched investigation of Thomson himself. None of these are matters for the police.
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The queue in Indonesia is shrinking

Andrew Bolt February 20 2014 (5:45am)

The message is getting out:
Monthly applications for asylum-seeker registration handled by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees office in Jakarta — overwhelmingly the busiest in Indonesia — dropped 71 per cent between February 2013 and last month. 
The monthly totals of asylum-seekers newly registered throughout Indonesia fell almost 44 per cent in that time to 434 people in January.
Some way to go, though. 
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SPC union furious taxpayers won’t subsidise wages $30,000 above the award

Andrew Bolt February 20 2014 (5:31am)

I don’t know what the Abbott Government really said, but do know it’s not the role of government to hand over taxpayers’ money so a dying company can keep paying workers $30,000 a year above the award:
The Abbott government pressed SPC Ardmona to slash pay for workers by as much as 40 per cent under a radical bailout plan for the food processor. 
Three union officials told Fairfax Media they had meetings with SPC Ardmona managing director Peter Kelly before Christmas in which Mr Kelly said he was being pressured by the Abbott government to put workers on the award if the company wanted a $25 million subsidy…
Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane refused to directly answer questions on the issue… 
If SPC Ardmona workers had been moved on to the award, pay for a level-two process worker would have been cut from about $50,000 a year to $33,000. For higher-paid maintenance workers, the falls would have been even more dramatic, dropping from as much as $85,000 a year to about $50,000.
The lack of self-awareness here from the union officials complaining to the too-sympathetic Age is astonishing:
Another union official who met Mr Kelly in mid-December, the ETU’s Damian King, confirmed the same. He said the union had offered a two-year wage freeze to try to keep its members in work but SPC Ardmona said it would cut 73 maintenance staff and outsource the work. 
So the union is insisting that a company in desperate strife keep paying wages way above the award - and above those of competitors - even though it means the workers it represents get replaced by cheaper contractors. And we’re supposed to subsidise this?
That this effrontery is treated seriously in The Age shows how completely out of touch with commercial reality that paper’s journalistic culture is. 
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Iran tells Australia to leave the killing of Iranians to the mullahs

Andrew Bolt February 20 2014 (12:05am)

Iran shows its commitment to the safety of its citizens:
Australian ambassador Paul Foley met with Iranian officials this week after the death of the 24-year-old Iranian asylum seeker on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island following a riot on Monday. 
The ministry’s consular director, Seyyed Hossein Mirfakhar, reportedly expressed Iran’s “protest and discontent” about the “practice of violence and mistreatment” which led to the death.
Iran shows its commitment to the safety of its citizens:
An Arab-Iranian poet and human rights activist, Hashem Shaabani, has been executed for being an “enemy of God” and threatening national security, according to local human rights groups. 
Shaabani and a man named Hadi Rashedi were hanged in unidentified prison on January 27, rights groups have said… Iran executed 40 people over two weeks of that month, according to Amnesty International. According to the Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre (IHRDC) more than 300 people have been executed since Hasan Rouhani became president in August.
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A festival that might be improved by a boycott

Andrew Bolt February 19 2014 (7:26pm)

The kind of people who’d pull out could be just the kind you’d want to prune from a serious art festival for the truly thoughtful:
Artists involved in this year’s Biennale of Sydney have threatened to pull out unless event organisers abandon a sponsorship deal with a company involved in offshore detention centres

The Biennale of Sydney, which starts on March 21, lists Transfield as a major sponsor. The company holds contracts with the Immigration Department to provide services at detention facilities at Nauru, such as management, maintenance and perimeter security
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Terrible ABC scandal

Andrew Bolt February 19 2014 (6:56pm)

The ABC will have a field day with this:
A HIGH-LEVEL review has found that Royal Australian Navy and Customs vessels breached Indonesian sovereignty six times during counter people smuggling operations in December and January. ... 
Those breaches occurred during tow-back operations when the ships were trying to get asylum seeker vessels as close as possible to a landfall.
It is shocking, simply shocking, that naval vessels crewed by men who openly torture boat people repeatedly trampled on the sacred sovereignty of our angelic Indonesian neighbours just to lessen the risk of boat people drowning on their return to shore.
What a scandal. For the ABC.
UPDATE
The ABC’s PM yesterday seems to be campaigning, not just reporting:
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Today again:
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Those eyes .. asking that question .. "why?" - ed
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“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” - 1 John 4:11-12
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon
February 19: Morning
"Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them." - Ezekiel 36:37
Prayer is the forerunner of mercy. Turn to sacred history, and you will find that scarcely ever did a great mercy come to this world unheralded by supplication. You have found this true in your own personal experience. God has given you many an unsolicited favour, but still great prayer has always been the prelude of great mercy with you. When you first found peace through the blood of the cross, you had been praying much, and earnestly interceding with God that he would remove your doubts, and deliver you from your distresses. Your assurance was the result of prayer. When at any time you have had high and rapturous joys, you have been obliged to look upon them as answers to your prayers. When you have had great deliverances out of sore troubles, and mighty helps in great dangers, you have been able to say, "I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears." Prayer is always the preface to blessing. It goes before the blessing as the blessing's shadow. When the sunlight of God's mercies rises upon our necessities, it casts the shadow of prayer far down upon the plain. Or, to use another illustration, when God piles up a hill of mercies, he himself shines behind them, and he casts on our spirits the shadow of prayer, so that we may rest certain, if we are much in prayer, our pleadings are the shadows of mercy. Prayer is thus connected with the blessing to show us the value of it. If we had the blessings without asking for them, we should think them common things; but prayer makes our mercies more precious than diamonds. The things we ask for are precious, but we do not realize their preciousness until we have sought for them earnestly.

"Prayer makes the darken'd cloud withdraw;
Prayer climbs the ladder Jacob saw;
Gives exercise to faith and love;
Brings every blessing from above."
Evening
"He first findeth his own brother Simon." - John 1:41
This case is an excellent pattern of all cases where spiritual life is vigorous. As soon as a man has found Christ, he begins to find others. I will not believe that thou hast tasted of the honey of the gospel if thou canst eat it all thyself. True grace puts an end to all spiritual monopoly. Andrew first found his own brother Simon, and then others. Relationship has a very strong demand upon our first individual efforts. Andrew, thou didst well to begin with Simon. I doubt whether there are not some Christians giving away tracts at other people's houses who would do well to give away a tract at their own--whether there are not some engaged in works of usefulness abroad who are neglecting their special sphere of usefulness at home. Thou mayst or thou mayst not be called to evangelize the people in any particular locality, but certainly thou art called to see after thine own servants, thine own kinsfolk and acquaintance. Let thy religion begin at home. Many tradesmen export their best commodities--the Christian should not. He should have all his conversation everywhere of the best savour; but let him have a care to put forth the sweetest fruit of spiritual life and testimony in his own family. When Andrew went to find his brother, he little imagined how eminent Simon would become. Simon Peter was worth ten Andrews so far as we can gather from sacred history, and yet Andrew was instrumental in bringing him to Jesus. You may be very deficient in talent yourself, and yet you may be the means of drawing to Christ one who shall become eminent in grace and service. Ah! dear friend, you little know the possibilities which are in you. You may but speak a word to a child, and in that child there may be slumbering a noble heart which shall stir the Christian church in years to come. Andrew has only two talents, but he finds Peter. Go thou and do likewise.
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Today's reading: Leviticus 25, Mark 1:23-45 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Leviticus 25

The Sabbath Year
The LORD said to Moses at Mount Sinai, 2 "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the LORD. 3 For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops....

Today's New Testament reading: Mark 1:23-45

23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, 24 "What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are-the Holy One of God!"
25 "Be quiet!" said Jesus sternly. "Come out of him!" 26 The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek....



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