Saturday, February 14, 2015

Sat Feb 14th 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.  
Coexistence is natural. Only the demented or damaged can't. So reports of an artist who made a sign with coexistence being the word used, next to their image, being beaten up by people who didn't like the sign is illustrative. We don't know the ethnicity of those who beat up the artists, as the artist won't say. Tim Blair suggests it is those pesky Presbyterians. It was in Paris.

It is always easy for a Liberal to be heard by the media, just criticise the Liberal party, as Queenslander Andrew Laming has found. One challenge to Laming is to outline the governments policy successes to date to those reporting his words.

Execution nears for nine in Kerobakan jail in Bali. Two Australians are among them and Australia's consulate staff have been summonsed to hear the process. Mr Abbott has done everything he can to have their lives spared, but the ABC cut his legs out from beneath him in Indonesia last year. If Mr Abbott is not successful, and he can be relied on to do what he can, then any flowers for the dead men should be sent to ABC studios, which can be found in Sydney's alternative district, but nowhere near the country.

Obama normalises anti Semitism. Caroline Glick writes
Today, the most outstanding example of Obama’s exploitation of anti-Semitic tropes to diminish US support for Israel is his campaign to delegitimize Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ahead of his scheduled speech before the joint houses of Congress on March 3.

As we belatedly learned from a small correction at the bottom of a New York Times article on January 30, contrary to the White House’s claim, Netanyahu did not blindside Obama when he accepted Speaker of the House John Boehner’s invitation to address the Congress. He informed the White House of his intention to accept Boehner’s offer before he accepted it.

Netanyahu did not breach White House protocol.

He did not behave rudely or disrespectfully toward Obama.

The only one that behaved disrespectfully and rudely was Obama in his shabby and slanderous treatment of Netanyahu. It was Obama who peddled the lie that Netanyahu was using the speech not to legitimately present Israel’s concerns regarding the prospect of a nuclear armed Iran, but to selfishly advance his political fortunes on the back of America’s national security interests and the independence of its foreign policy.

It was Obama and Vice President Joe Biden who spearheaded efforts to coerce Democratic lawmakers to boycott Netanyahu’s speech by announcing that they would refuse to meet with the leader of the US’s closest ally in the Middle East during his stay in Washington.

So far only 15 members of the House and three Senators have announced their intention to boycott Netanyahu’s speech. But even if all the other Democratic lawmakers do attend his speech, the impact of Obama’s campaign to defame Netanyahu will long be felt.

First of all, if all goes as he hopes, the media and his party members will use his demonization of Netanyahu’s character as a means to dismiss the warnings that Netanyahu will clearly sound in his address.

Second, by boycotting Netanyahu and encouraging Democrats to do the same, Obama is mainstreaming the anti-Semitic boycott, divestment and sanctions movement to isolate Israel.
Sad moments in Valentines day celebrations .. 1349, Several hundred Jews were burned to death by mobs while the remainder of their population was forcibly removed from the city of Strasbourg. 1400, Richard II died, most likely from starvation, in Pontefract Castle, on the orders of Henry Bolingbroke. 1556, Thomas Cranmer was declared a heretic. 1779, James Cook was killed by Native Hawaiians near Kealakekua on the Island of Hawaii. 1797, French Revolutionary Wars: Battle of Cape St. Vincent – John Jervis, (later 1st Earl of St Vincent) and Horatio Nelson (later 1st Viscount Nelson) led the British Royal Navy to victory over a Spanish fleet in action near Gibraltar. 1929, Saint Valentine's Day Massacre: Seven people, six of them gangster rivals of Al Capone's gang, were murdered in Chicago, Illinois. 1945, World War II: On the first day of the bombing of Dresden, the British Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces began fire-bombing Dresden, the capital of the German state of Saxony. Also 1945, World War II: Navigational error led to the mistaken bombing of Prague, Czechoslovakia by an American squadron of B-17s assisting in the Soviet's Vistula–Oder Offensive. 1979, in Kabul, Setami Milli militants kidnapped the American ambassador to Afghanistan, Adolph Dubs who was later killed during a gunfight between his kidnappers and police. 1981, Stardust Disaster: A fire in a Dublin nightclub killed 48 people. 1989, Iranian leader Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa encouraging Muslims to kill Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses. 1998, an oil tanker train collided with a freight train in Yaoundé, Cameroon, spilling fuel oil. One person scavenging the oil created a massive explosion which killed 120. 2005, Lebanese self-made billionaire and business tycoon Rafik Hariri was killed, along with 21 others, when explosives, equivalent of around 1,000 kg of TNT, were detonated as his motorcade drove near the St. George Hotel in Beirut. Also 2005, seven people were killed and 151 wounded in a series of bombings by suspected al-Qaeda-linked militants that hit the Philippines' Makati financial district in Metro Manila, Davao City, and General Santos City.
Stateline NSW with Quentin Dempster ran opposition to amendments to crime legislation making mandatory sentences for judges on certain crimes occasioning death. They made the accusation that mandatory sentencing would mean fewer people would plead guilty for some crimes, and so criminal justice would cost more. As arguments go, it is similar to the one that says were the ABC not biased, it would not report responsibly on matters. A retrospective view shows considerable injustice without mandatory sentencing. Four years jail for killing an innocent bystander is light, although, at the time, that was the law. Similarly, a biased ABC has not been able to report responsibly on matters. The arguments they present are emotive. But, the community are demanding sensible government of the type the ALP could not provide.

It is Valentines Day and a time for reflection on matters of love. Everyone is a child of someone. It is a blessing and a privilege to have children, not undertaken as lightly or easily as they are produced. Children are resilient and can be raised right under extraordinary circumstances, but also falter and stumble over what seems like nothing. So the issue of child protection is important. It is all about choices, but those choices aren't always clear when present. A mother from a well to do family had a child with a wild guy. He was apparently a good father, but a lousy partner. He got involved with drugs. Her family got her a good house close to the dad so he could be present in raising the boy. But he became violent. He was violent to the mother, but she made the choice to keep his access to the boy so the boy would have a father in his life. This rings home for me as my father abandoned me several times in my life, partly because of my mother's choices. It is a cruel injustice the woman's faith and love were answered so badly by the father killing his son in a murder suicide. Not her fault, but his. It is Valentines Day, time to hold your loved ones tight.
Historical perspectives on this day 
In 748, Abbasid Revolution: The Hashimi rebels under Abu Muslim Khorasani took Merv, capital of the Umayyad province Khorasan, marking the consolidation of the Abbasid revolt. 842, Charles the Bald and Louis the German swore the Oaths of Strasbourg in the French and German languages. 1014, Pope Benedict VIII crowned Henry of Bavaria, King of Germany and of Italy, as Holy Roman Emperor. 1076, Pope Gregory VII excommunicates Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor. 1349, Several hundred Jews were burned to death by mobs while the remainder of their population was forcibly removed from the city of Strasbourg. 1400, Richard II died, most likely from starvation, in Pontefract Castle, on the orders of Henry Bolingbroke. 1556, Thomas Cranmer was declared a heretic. 1778, the United States Flag was formally recognised by a foreign naval vessel for the first time, when French Admiral Toussaint-Guillaume Picquet de la Motte rendered a nine gun salute to USS Ranger, commanded by John Paul Jones. 1779, American Revolutionary War: the Battle of Kettle Creek was fought in Georgia. Also 1779, James Cook was killed by Native Hawaiians near Kealakekua on the Island of Hawaii. 1797, French Revolutionary Wars: Battle of Cape St. VincentJohn Jervis, (later 1st Earl of St Vincent) and Horatio Nelson (later 1st Viscount Nelson) led the British Royal Navy to victory over a Spanish fleet in action near Gibraltar.

In 1804, Karadjordje led the First Serbian Uprising against the Ottoman Empire. 1831, Ras Marye of Yejju marched into Tigray and defeated and killed Dejazmach Sabagadis in the Battle of Debre Abbay. 1835, the original Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, in the Latter Day Saint movement, was formed in Kirtland, Ohio. 1849, in New York City, James Knox Polk becomes the first serving President of the United States to have his photograph taken. 1852, Great Ormond St Hospital for Sick Children, the first hospital in England to provide in-patient beds specifically for children (The National Children's Hospital in Dublin was founded over 30 years previously in 1821), was founded in London. 1855, Texas was linked by telegraph to the rest of the United States, with the completion of a connection between New Orleans and Marshall, Texas. 1859, Oregon was admitted as the 33rd U.S. state. 1876, Alexander Graham Bell applied for a patent for the telephone, as did Elisha Gray. 1879, the War of the Pacific broke out when Chilean armed forces occupied the Bolivian port city of Antofagasta. 1899, Voting machines were approved by the U.S. Congress for use in federal elections.

In 1900, Second Boer War: In South Africa, 20,000 British troops invaded the Orange Free State. 1903, the United States Department of Commerce and Labor was established (later split into the Department of Commerce and the Department of Labor). 1912, Arizona was admitted as the 48th U.S. state. Also 1912, in Groton, Connecticut, the first diesel-powered submarine was commissioned. 1918, the Soviet Union adopted the Gregorian calendar (on 1 February according to the Julian calendar). 1919, the Polish–Soviet War began. 1920, the League of Women Voters was founded in Chicago. 1924, the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company changed its name to International Business Machines Corporation (IBM). 1929, Saint Valentine's Day Massacre: Seven people, six of them gangster rivals of Al Capone's gang, were murdered in Chicago, Illinois.

In 1942, Battle of Pasir Panjang contributed to the fall of Singapore. 1943, World War II: Rostov-on-Don, Russia was liberated. Also 1943, World War II: Tunisia CampaignGeneral Hans-Jürgen von Arnim's Fifth Panzer Army launched a concerted attack against Allied positions in Tunisia. 1944, World War II: Anti-Japanese revolt on Java. 1945, World War II: On the first day of the bombing of Dresden, the British Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces began fire-bombing Dresden, the capital of the German state of Saxony. Also 1945, World War II: Navigational error led to the mistaken bombing of Prague, Czechoslovakia by an American squadron of B-17s assisting in the Soviet's Vistula–Oder Offensive. Also 1945, World War II: Mostar was liberated by Yugoslav partisans. Also 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt met with King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia aboard the USS Quincy, officially beginning U.S.-Saudi diplomatic relations. 1946, the Bank of England was nationalised. 1949, the Knesset (Israeli parliament) convened for the first time. Also 1949, the Asbestos Strike began in Canada. The strike marked the beginning of the Quiet Revolution in Quebec. 1950, Chinese Civil War: The National Revolutionary Army instigated the unsuccessful Battle of Tianquan against the People's Liberation Army. 1956, the XX Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union began in Moscow. On the last night of the meeting, Premier Nikita Khrushchev condemned Joseph Stalin's crimes in a secret speech.

In 1961, Discovery of the chemical elements: Element 103, Lawrencium, was first synthesized at the University of California. 1962, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy took television viewers on a tour of the White House. 1966, Australian currency was decimalised. 1970, the iconic live album Live at Leeds by The Who was recorded. 1979, in Kabul, Setami Milli militants kidnapped the American ambassador to Afghanistan, Adolph Dubs who was later killed during a gunfight between his kidnappers and police. 1981, Stardust Disaster: A fire in a Dublin nightclub killed 48 people 1983, United American Bank of Knoxville, Tennessee collapsed. Its president, Jake Butcher, was later convicted of fraud. 1989, Union Carbide agreed to pay $470 million to the Indian government for damages it caused in the 1984 Bhopal disaster. 1989, Iranian leader Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa encouraging Muslims to kill Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses. 1990, Ninety-two people were killed aboard Indian Airlines Flight 605 at Bangalore, India. Also 1990, the Voyager 1 spacecraft took the photograph of planet Earth later it became famous as Pale Blue Dot. 1998, an oil tanker train collided with a freight train in Yaoundé, Cameroon, spilling fuel oil. One person scavenging the oil created a massive explosion which killed 120.

In 2000, the spacecraft NEAR Shoemaker entered orbit around asteroid 433 Eros, the first spacecraft to orbit an asteroid. 2004, in a suburb of Moscow, Russia, the roof of the Transvaal water park collapsed, killing more than 25 people, and wounding more than 100 others. 2005, Lebanese self-made billionaire and business tycoon Rafik Hariri was killed, along with 21 others, when explosives, equivalent of around 1,000 kg of TNT, were detonated as his motorcade drove near the St. George Hotel in Beirut. Also 2005, seven people were killed and 151 wounded in a series of bombings by suspected al-Qaeda-linked militants that hit the Philippines' Makati financial district in Metro Manila, Davao City, and General Santos City. Also 2005, YouTube was launched by a group of college students, eventually becoming the largest video sharing website in the world and a main source for viral videos. 2008, Northern Illinois University shooting: A gunman opened fire in a lecture hall of the DeKalb County, Illinois university resulting in six fatalities (including gunman) and 21 injuries. 2011, as a part of Arab Spring, the Bahraini uprising, a series of demonstrations, amounting to a sustained campaign of civil resistance, in the Persian Gulf country of Bahrain began with a 'Day of Rage'.
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.
Editorials will appear in the "History in a Year by the Conservative Voice" series, starting with August, or at Amazon  The kindle version is cheaper, but the soft back version allows the purchase of a kindle version for just $3.99 more. 
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

Or the US President at
or or

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.

Happy birthday and many happy returns Jonathan Chu and Dirtie Diana. Born on the same day, across the years, as
February 14Valentine's Day; Feast of St. Brigit of Kildare (Eastern Christianity)
Pale Blue Dot
Where is the cook? We have a quorum. We have a mandate. We have a pale blue dot. But we have traded our leader for an assassin. Let's party. 


Tim Blair – Saturday, February 14, 2015 (2:23pm)

A street artist’s attempt to achieve cultural harmony ends with a savage beating
It seems like something one would be hard pressed to disagree with: the word “coexist,” written on a wall using a Muslim crescent as the letter “C,” a Star of David as the letter “X,” and a Christian cross as a “T.”
But in Paris, this particular iteration of the popular inscription—here, created by the street artist Combo, who also pasted a life-size photo of himself next to it—didn’t go down well with everybody. Le Monde reports that four young people asked the artist to remove it last weekend, and beat him up severely when he refused to do so.
Combo ended up with a dislocated shoulder and many bruises. 
Poor Combo the peaceful street artist. But who attacked him? 
Combo declined to discuss the identity of his assailants. “It would only add fuel to the fire,” he told the French newspaper. 
Presbyterians, obviously.
(Via Simple Simon)


Tim Blair – Saturday, February 14, 2015 (12:38pm)

Some products are really not suited to a Valentine’s-themed sales promotion:


Andrew Laming is a mighty warrior for Labor

Andrew Bolt February 14 2015 (5:05pm)

It’s just a pity he’s a Liberal.
Search Google News for “Andrew Laming”. Pages of attacks on Tony Abbott, and close to nothing of him attacking Labor.
On Channel 10 news this evening, Laming happily gave an interview attacking Tony Abbott for replacing his chief whip. In the Fairfax media today, he is the only named Liberal attacking Tony Abbott on the same issue. Same on the ABC:
The Prime Minister has replaced Philip Ruddock as chief government whip to allow a “deeper engagement” with his backbench but the move has rekindled discontent in Coalition ranks… Queensland backbencher Andrew Laming has gone public with his criticism, describing it as “scapegoating of Godzilla proportions”.
It’s as if he’s sitting a Mastermind quiz on “why Abbott is terrible”:
October 2, 2014:
A government MP has called Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s “Team Australia” phrase a “two-word slogan” and labelled the burqa debate an “unhelpful response” to a “significant undercurrent of anti-Muslim sentiment” .
December 8:
It’s the government’s performance, not Bill Shorten’s, that is to blame for Tony Abbott’s poor polling says Liberal MP Andrew Laming.
January 19:
Queensland MP and former ophthalmologist Andrew Laming ... agreed that the government had focused too much on changes at a GP level.
February 1:

Backbencher Andrew Laming says Tony Abbott’s Press Club speech will be critical to his leadership, and has urged the government to ditch the GP tax, knights and dames, and back off on penalty rates.
February 2:
One of Tony Abbott’s backbenchers has delivered a stinging rebuke the Prime Minister, declaring he wants to abolish the restoration of knights and dames. Queensland MP Andrew Laming revealed the move shortly after Mr Abbott conceded he “overdid it” by knighting Prince Philip on Australia Day during a speech to the National Press Club in Canberra which was widely regarded as his last change to salvage his leadership.
February 9:
Andrew Laming has told Sky News he has changed his mind and will vote for a leadership spill. “I was clearly sending an signal to the leadership that knights and dames are trival...”
February 9:
Liberal backbench MP Andrew Lamming joins RN Breakfast to discuss why he has decided to support a leadership spill against the Prime Minister.
The members of his LNP branch must ask: is tearing down Tony Abbott part of his job description?
Is he so desperate for the attention of the anti-Abbott media? Is he aware how he’s being used? Has he ever managed to hurt Labor the way he’s hurting his own?  

Documents reveal:  Human Rights Commission inquiry was just “advocacy” stunt

Andrew Bolt February 14 2015 (9:41am)

The evidence against the Human Rights Commission of bias and agenda-pushing is now so strong that its latest report simply cannot be trusted:
THE Human Rights Commission’s report into child detention was engineered as an “advocacy tool” for policy change and focused­ on children for political effect, internal documents ­reveal…
[HRC president Gillian] Triggs, when she ­advised former immigration minister Scott Morrison of the inquiry in January last year, wrote that it “will assess whether the laws, policies and practices relating to children in immigration detention meet Australia’s international human rights obligations”.
But a draft project plan, dated April 2013, assumes “Australia’s immigration system fails to comply with Australia’s obligations” under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
It anticipates a “report is used by Commission and NGOs as an advocacy tool in meetings with key government decision-makers and in relevant national and international forums to build momentum for change”.
“The underlying assumption of this project (and our broader work in this area) is that faced with enough domestic and international criticism and pressure regarding its practices relating to children in immigration detention, the Australian government will reform those practices.”
A draft workplan, also from April 2013, reveals that the commis­sion focused on children for political ­effect.
“Focusing on children allows the best opportunity to engage the general public, and to reach bipart­isan political agreement on making policy and legal changes to the system of mandatory and indefin­ite detention,” it reads.
The Coalition will seize on these documents, released by a Senate committee examining Professor Triggs’s motivations for the inquiry, as evidence of a conspir­acy to discredit Australia’s bipart­isan child-detention policies…
Professor Triggs, who declined to comment, has more than two years remaining in the role and can be removed only for reasons such as bankruptcy or misconduct.
So first the Human Rights Commission reached a conclusion, and then it held an inquiry. That is actually how kangaroo courts operate.
And let’s not forget the startling evidence yesterday that Triggs’ report verballed then Immigration Minister Scott Morrison in an apparent bid to further discredit the policies that have actually worked to stop the boats and the drownings.
I cannot see how Triggs can remain in her role without damaging the HRC. Her inquiry has been utterly discredited. The waste of public money in holding it is shameful. And any good Triggs hoped to do with it is now buried.
(Thanks to readers WaG311 and Peter of Bellevue Hill.) 

Grand Mufti legitimises a dangerous anger

Andrew Bolt February 14 2015 (9:18am)

Australia’s Grand Mufti has again made his faith a legitimate source of suspicion with a disgraceful warning - that we abandon Israel and stop fighting Islamist terrorists abroad, or else.
He even portrays the extremist Hizb ut-Tahrir as the victim of a cynical Abbott Government plot to switch attention from its internal woes.
The Grand Mufti’s warning will to many people sound far too close to a threat and a legitimising of extremists, even though I fully accept that this is not his intention and that he has in fact condemned terrorism:
The Federal Government should drop its plans to ban the radical group Hizb ut-Tahrir, according to the spiritual leader of Muslims in Australia.
The Grand Mufti has also slammed Australia’s involvement in Syria and support for Israel saying it will lead to more young Muslims joining Islamic State…
Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed ... believes the ban is a cynical move to deflect attention away from the Government’s other problems.
“It’s not right on the politicians side to shift, to create an atmosphere of controversy when they are facing issues within their own party or the government… ‘I don’t like you, just close your mouth’, so this is the reason we think is behind it, it’s a politician in trouble, wants to switch the light this way,” Dr Ibrahim said…
The Grand Mufti says Australia’s involvement in Middle East conflicts is already driving young Muslims here to join Islamic State.
“The West is turning a blind eye to the just cause and the suffering of lots of people living in the Middle East and they are blindly supporting Israel and their reaction to this? They go and join DAESH!” Dr Ibrahim said.
Dr Ibrahim made it clear he does NOT condone Islamic State. “We don’t agree that any person, young or old, should consider joining fundamentalist terrorist groups,” Dr Ibrahim said.
The claim that we are “turning a blind eye to the just cause and the suffering of lots of people living in the Middle East” is completely false and dangerously inflammatory, echoing the rhetoric of extremists. Check our aid, refugee programs, peace-keeping efforts and diplomacy to end conflicts.
The claim that we are “blindly supporting Israel” is also false and inflammatory. The Grand Mufti also evades the fact that our conditional support of Israel is based largely on the grounds that it is fighting for its survival against extremists pledged to its destruction. Where does he stand on that issue? What is his own agenda?
The claim that the West is driving young Muslims here to join the Islamic State tends to legitimise the rage of such terrorists. The Mufti also avoids the role Islam plays in suggesting that killing unbelievers is a legitimate way to demonstrate your faith. Nor can he explain why the West should be blamed for young Australian Muslims joining a terrorist group whose main business right now is killing other Muslims deemed insufficiently devout, as well as Christians in Iraq.
The Mufti’s comments paint a picture of a West so mean to Muslims that it’s no wonder young Muslims here turn to some of the most violent terrorism we have seen. This toxic message comes with an implicit warning: to submit to the demands of the extremists or risk death.
I suspect few Islamist groups would have much quarrel with what this Mufti has just said. But many Jews, Christians, Kurds, Yazidis, non-Muslim Australians, democrats and Westerners - even some Shiite Muslims - would. That says plenty.
The Muslim community of Australia badly needs another leader. Again. Either that, or we must accept that the Grand Mufti really does represent mainstream Muslim views, and adjust our defences accordingly.
(Thanks to reader Paul.) 

On The Bolt Report tomorrow

Andrew Bolt February 14 2015 (9:00am)

The Bolt Report is back - on Channel 10 tomorrow at 10am and 4pm. New-ish set, too.
Editorial: He’s not finished yet, however hard the media is trying. Names named.
My guest: Tony Abbott.
The panel: former Treasurer Peter Costello and former NSW Treasurer Michael Costa.
Plus: who is minding our gates? 

Sinodinos should be the last to complain about Abbott

Andrew Bolt February 14 2015 (8:27am)

The quickest way to go from zero to hero in much of the media is to turn into an Abbott critic.
Joe Aston on one man, though, who should have resisted that temptation:
As the dust settles on Monday’s Liberal leadership (non) spill, government hardheads are turning their minds to a festering wound: Arthur Sinodinos.
Sinodinos is loved, respected and sought out as a wise elder, after a decade as John Howard’s ever-sturdy chief of staff, then NSW Liberal Party president, and from 2011 an all-important face in the federal party room.
Yet, now he is bitter, angry and the most esteemed Liberal to throw his weight behind the attempt to blast Tony Abbott out of The Lodge.
Arthur’s anger at Abbott’s office over the leak of his resignation from the ministry before Christmas is white hot. He’s not any less displeased that he had to resign at all.
Is that fair?
Sinodinos became a supplementary consideration of a NSW corruption inquiry over his chairmanship of a water company lobbying Barry O’Farrell’s government for contracts while Sinodinos was also a Liberal party office holder. Sinodinos protests his innocence, the watchdog has never suggested otherwise and the ICAC’s final report is expected to clear him of wrongdoing.
But this whole circus meant he had to stand aside as Abbott’s assistant treasurer, leaving Treasurer Joe Hockey and finance minister Mathias Cormann to finalise and sell an ugly Budget without an assistant treasurer for nine long months.
Hockey implored Abbott to replace Sinodinos, but the PM refused – as always, loyal to a fault. But when ICAC pushed back its reporting date from January to March or possibly later, Abbott conceded and appointed Josh Frydenberg....
Abbott doesn’t get any credit for the political pain he (and the government) wore for his loyalty to Sinodinos – certainly not from the man himself, who seems to have become spectacularly righteous about his treatment, given the (lawful but) embarrassing picture he painted in the witness box of his performance as a company director…
The ICAC process raised questions about Sinodinos’s judgement. His plotting raises questions about his loyalty.
What else has Sinodinos got?
(Thanks to reader Peter of Bellevue Hill.) 

Message received: Abbott is changing more than you may think

Andrew Bolt February 14 2015 (7:02am)

Tony Abbott this week promised his mutinous MPs he’d got the message and would change. Since then there’s been lots of speculation from critics and commentators - me included - about whether he truly would or could.
I’ve actually just got a surprise.
I happened this morning to re-read a column I wrote in utter frustration last November, warning the Abbott Government to “change or die”. What struck me this morning was exactly how much change Abbott has indeed now made, albeit belatedly.
Is he now listening, as he this week vowed? Is he changing?
I think he is, judging by how much of my November list he’s now doing, done or explicitly promising to do. Give him some credit:
So here’s what needs fixing.
Governments don’t win elections with foreign policies, yet this one has talked of little else for months… But to many voters this packed foreign agenda will increasingly seem an evasion from their priorities — jobs, prices, schools, healthcare, cuts and taxes.
Done: Abbott has scaled back travel plans and focussed more on the domestic agenda.

Unpopular Budget cuts and broken promises are killing the Government. Worse, falling iron ore prices and Senate stalemates mean the Budget has blown out by up to $51 billion more.
The Government is caught: more spending cuts will cost votes, but bigger deficits will destroy its main argument for being.
Where’s its solution?
Starting to do - at least partially. The expensive and unpopular paid parental leave scheme is junked, and the Medicare co-payment could be. Abbott is now a little more honest about breaking promises. New lines and a new strategy are being worked out to sell its economic strategy. The Government at least says it will hold the line on the need to control the deficit, but will switch more to reigning in new spending, which is politically safer than cutting existing spending. That said, the deficit continues to blow out, and this government is too weakened - and the Senate too feral - to stop it.
Tony Abbott, unlike most leaders, has no senior media strategist to plot strategy, check policies and cultivate relationships with journalists. Too much responsibility rests on the brilliant but frantically busy chief of staff, Peta Credlin.
Doing: Abbott has now replaced his top media adviser and also hired ABC reporter Mark Simkin. Today came evidence that the new team is trying to humanise Abbott’s image - to show the public the genuinely decent bloke that much of the media buries under abuse. This is only a start, though, and Credlin remains a lightning rod for the critics. Another very senior strategist or political advisor is needed in the Abbott office.
Abbott is a Christian who believes virtue is rewarded, and enemies should be embraced… The Government lacks mongrel and is getting belted in bare-knuckle politics.
Done: Abbott’s attacks on Bill Shorten and the disgracefully partisan Human Rights Commission have lifted the spirits of many Liberal supporters I’ve spoken to. He’s back.

The Government has picked too many fights it cannot win, which risks making it seem hapless.
It must ditch the undoable, argue only for what it can win and avoid as much as possible the Senate bloc.
Doing: As Abbott this week put it himself, “We will not buy fights with the Senate that we can’t win, unless we are absolutely determined that they are the fights that we really, really do need to have.”
The most successful minister, Scott Morrison, has been given no new problem to solve since stopping the boats.
The second-most successful minister, Julie Bishop, is in Foreign Affairs, which doesn’t win votes.
The minister most admired by the Left-wing media, Malcolm Turnbull, has a communications portfolio where there’s been little call to charm the Government’s media critics.
Treasurer Joe Hockey must lift in this critical portfolio.
Fresher faces — women particularly — are also needed. Some of the Coalition’s most interesting talents aren’t ministers
. Mostly done: Morrison now has an important new portfolio, Social Services, and is making the most of it. Susann Ley has been elevated to Health and Kelly O’Dwyer to Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer. Josh Frydenberg is already starring as the new Assistant Treasurer.  Hockey is lifting, and knows he must. Talented MP Christian Porter, the former WA finance minister, is being given a wider role, presumably to sell the Budget strategy. The whips’ office has just been refreshed and strengthened, not least by the addition of Andrew Nikolic, the former army brigadier. But Bishop won’t want to be moved and Turnbull now can’t be. 
The Government isn’t offering voters a moral buzz to counter Labor’s warming faith. Its one big moral cause is constitutional recognition of Aborigines, of marginal interest and divisive.
Not yet done: Abbott can’t back out of the constitutional recognition campaign now, and badly needs to find another cause. I believe he knows it. 

Labor is great at funding interest groups to say it’s wonderful. US presidents surround themselves with supporters when publicly announcing things. But this Government is lousy at finding friends. 
Very little done: some small attempts have been made to flank the PM with more supporters or well-wishers in TV shots. More needs doing, particularly in getting third party endorsements for policies. True, that is difficult when lots of people won’t want to commit to a PM they sense could be replaced. One easy change, albeit small: the two backbenchers sitting behind the PM at Question Times should fire up a or make room for more animated supporters to match those behind Shorten. They’ve been given those pews for a reason, and it’s not to look bored.
The Left will always loathe a Catholic conservative like Abbott. If he wants friends, he’d best start with exciting fellow conservatives.
Doing: Abbott has been more aggressive, which is good, and acknowledges his need to shore up the base. He was strong this week on attacking the Human Rights Commission over its partisan criticism of his boat people policies, but should have done more to exploit Shorten’s anti-science opposition to Labor Premier Jay Weatherill’s plan to get more involved in the nuclear industry.  He announced tighter controls on the sale of agricultural land to foreigners.
In short, Abbott has taken substantial steps to change, and more than are generally acknowledged.
Dennis Shanahan sees welcome change, too:
Liberal MPs want Abbott to address the Coalition’s support base with help for small business and families, while lifting the polls as soon as possible through incremental changes and policy announcements. Simultaneously they want him to put pressure on Bill Shorten and Labor.
Abbott has embarked on this endeavour with alacrity and immediate effect after appearing devastated, too defensive and insecure on Monday after his near-death experience.... After floundering on Monday and failing to invigorate the backbench on Tuesday Abbott finished the week with a rousing Liberal appeal to national security, anti-terror, law and order, and people-smuggling.
Not dead yet. Chris Kenny on the big picture being missed - and the case Tony Abbott can sell:
FOR all the Coalition’s failings and missteps it is surely incontestable that Tony Abbott has provided the best 16 months of government Australia has seen in more than seven years…
(T)he Abbott government has made good on central promises to repeal the carbon and mining taxes, even while breaking its pledge not to increase other taxes. Despite widespread opposition and media doubts — including blatant fearmongering about possible “conflict” with Indonesia — the Coalition has delivered on border protection, ending six years of trauma during which more than 1200 people died and 50,000 asylum-seekers ­arrived in more than 800 illegal people-smuggling operations.
Elsewhere the Abbott government’s foreign policy has been adroit, especially in enhancing relations with Jakarta even while turning back boats and dealing with the embarrassing spying revelations from the Rudd years. Free trade deals have been struck, and relationships enhanced, with China, Japan and South Korea, while India is next in line.
These achievements stand in stark contrast to the turmoil of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd period. Yet he faces serious internal instability…
Come election time, the choice of going back to Labor’s climate evangelism and budget and border indolence will be real.
(Thanks to reader Peter of Bellevue Hill.) 

It really isn’t all about Credlin, you know

Andrew Bolt February 14 2015 (6:04am)

The leaking against Peta Credlin by her enemies is deliberately punitive, and must strike voters as a sign of self-absorption and self-indulgence:

THE Victorian Liberal Party will block any attempt to catapult Tony Abbott’s chief of staff Peta Credlin into a federal seat amid ­relentless speculation of an 11th-hour deal in the lead-up to the 2016 election.
The party hierarchy is quietly heading off the prospect of Ms Credlin running in Victoria as part of an “escape’’ strategy from the Prime Minister’s Office before the federal poll.
Speculation about the move continues to centre on the safe seat of Menzies, in Melbourne’s east, which is held by Defence Minister Kevin Andrews.
Mr Andrews has been mooted as a potential future ambassador to the Holy See in Rome, with the diplomatic post to become vacant later this year…
“Peta is just too toxic and would not win a preselection. It will not happen,’’ a senior Liberal told The Weekend Australian.
This is becoming dangerously personal. To an outsider, it also seems some enemies of Abbott are demanding of Abbott a price they know he cannot or will not pay, so that with every change he does indeed make - especially good ones - they can whisper to their media friends that it is still not enough. Abbott still won’t change.
A classic example:
Tony Abbott has removed the longest-serving Liberal MP and “father of the house” Philip Ruddock from his position as the chief whip and has also promoted the loyal backbench supporter Andrew Nikolic in what some MPs are describing as post-leadership spill recrimination…
“It seems that someone has to be blamed for the fact that they can’t count,” one Liberal told Guardian Australia. “This is shabby treatment....
“And he shows he has the guts to sack Ruddock, but not the guts to sack [the prime minister’s chief of staff, Peta] Credlin.”
This is pure venom.
I am a huge admirer of Ruddock, but here are some facts. Abbott was absolutely devastated to find so many backbenchers were actually so mutinous. It is one job of the whip to be aware of such tensions long before they become problems, and to alert the Prime Minister to any threats to his authority. The Prime Minister must never be blindsided by the dissent of MPs. Of course, I do not know if the problem was Ruddock not properly assessing the mood of MPs or Abbott refusing to heed his warnings when there was still time, months ago. Moreover, it is also not only Ruddock who should be on top of backbenchers’ concerns. Credlin and Abbott must wear blame, too, for being so out of touch or slow to respond.
But on the face of it, it does not seem to me strange at all that Abbott has decided he needs a new, aggressive and hungry Chief Whip with a very talented and articulate new deputy. You may argue that it is dangerous for Abbott to offend even a single supporter by replacing him, given Abbott’s weak position, but that is a different and less honorable argument - the kind that those wishing Abbott to fail would exploit. The real question is: is this change likely to improve Abbott’s hearing to the concerns of his MPs, and is it likely to leave his troops in better fighting trim?
To respond by whispering Credlin-Credlin-Credlin is just snark. I’m not surprised at all that the unnamed Liberal sniping above at Abbott’s lack of “guts” is the confidential source of a journalist from The Guardian - and of the stridently warmist Lenore Taylor at that. It’s not hard to add two plus two.
If Abbott insists on retaining Credlin, rather than offer her to his critics, there is still a possible compromise that will save her yet still signal that Abbott is indeed listening to justified criticism that he was too dependent on just one person and too insulated from his team. It is one I suggested several times last year: to appoint one or more people in Abbott’s office who are equal in authority to Credlin, and equally trusted by the Prime Minister. Let there be the guru of political strategy, say, the way Credlin is of the business of governing. A Peter Mandelson kind of figure. Not just a sign of change, but an agent of it.
(Thanks to reader WaG311.) 

Maybe Abbott can’t save us, but Shorten won’t

Andrew Bolt February 14 2015 (5:49am)

Paul Kelly says that, on the one hand, we have a damaged Prime Minister trying a near-impossible recovery:
THIS week Tony Abbott became a Prime Minister on an extension of time subject to conditions virtually impossible to achieve — a revival of his fortunes in the country while facing a broken budget strategy, a hostile Senate, a divided party and a political atmospheric suggesting he is doomed.
On the other, we have a coalition of populists happy to wreck the economy:

Meanwhile, the most powerful force in politics today gains more traction: it is that sprawling, disorganised, anti-reform coalition constituting Labor, Greens, the populist Right (in manifestations ranging from Clive Palmer to Alan Jones), special interests determined to retain their benefits and Liberal Party nervous Nellies. This is where a majority of the population lies…
Mocked by Palmer this week as a fool whose ideas are “completely wrong”, Hockey hit back with the perfect reply: what is Palmer’s policy? “He wants to borrow more money,” Hockey said. “He (Palmer) doesn’t have to repay it, but the Australian people do.” Precisely.
Australia today is lumbered with a bunch of fraudulent politicians bidding for votes by imposing more debts on the backs of the Australian people, whose future living standards will carry the burden of repayment.
Recognition of this truth may not be as far away as much of the political class thinks…
But if Abbott cannot do the job, can Bill Shorten?… So far there is not the slightest sign Labor, as an unreconstructed party addicted to comprehensive negative politics, has any answer to the Australian dilemma. Shorten lives high in a house of straw.
The danger grows:
JOE Hockey is facing a massive budget shortfall of at least $30 billion by the end of next financial year as revenue growth retreats from the average rate of the past two decades that underpinned Labor’s spending sprees.
Analysis by The Weekend Australian shows revenues this financial year are growing at only 3.3 per cent compared with the 5.3 per cent estimate in latest budget papers…
If the 3.3 per cent growth continues this and next financial year, the government will receive $11.2bn less this year and more than $20bn less in 2015-16…
Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens yesterday warned MPs that Australia had limited time to shift the budget trajectory, saying the deficit could triple “in a heartbeat” in a downturn…
The damage Labor did in power was immense, and it refuses to this day to repent:
In the final budget handed down by Peter Costello as the Howard government’s treasurer in 2007-08, revenue was $294bn and spending was $271bn, leaving a surplus of $23bn.
In the final figures for the 2013-14 budget, which was Mr Swan’s last, revenue had risen by $65.4bn while spending had leapt by $134.6bn. That is, for every additional dollar raised, a further two dollars were spent. And this does not include all the spending on stimulus programs following the financial crisis, which had all been completed by 2013-14.
(Thanks to readers brett tr and Peter of Bellevue Hill.) 
























=== Posts from last year ===

Bill Shorten just a blast from Labor’s past

Piers Akerman – Friday, February 14, 2014 (12:11pm)

LABOR strategists trying to promote their current leader Bill Shorten should note that the public didn’t warm to the story of convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby.

Icon Arrow Continue reading 'Bill Shorten just a blast from Labor’s past'

Free tickets offered to Flannery’s nightmare

Andrew Bolt February 14 2014 (4:36pm)

Seriously, here is how Text Media is flogging free tickets to Anne Summers’ latest love in, this time with climate catastrophist Tim Flannery:
Is this the horrible death Flannery means?
Snow is on the ground in 49 out of the 50 [US] states — only the Sunshine State of Florida is completely snow-free, according to a map produced Thursday morning by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The home of the modern ratbag

Andrew Bolt February 14 2014 (4:20pm)


There goes the Left again, using our taxes for another soapbox

Andrew Bolt February 14 2014 (3:28pm)

Tony Thomas on The Conversation, a hugely-staffed website funded by taxpayers and run by the Left, with all the Left’s usual faults:
The lavishly-funded leftist blog for academia, The Conversation, has hired a new manager specifically to make contributors converse more politely. Cory Zanoni, an RMIT psychology graduate and social media guru, got the job of Community Manager in January… 
On February 13, Zanoni wrote, “I was appointed following concerns by some readers (and shared by editors) that there was a lack of civility in many comment threads. My brief is to fix this… “…
Idly googling nice Mr Zanoni, I came across this twitter exchange, under Mr Zanoni’s new job title: 

Let me confess. I’m not sure that I want to know what c—kspanking is.  But it’s interesting that the newly-installed Community Manager of The Conversation, appointed to enforce higher standards on Conversation users, is tweeting things that – to put it mildly – don’t seem to raise the tone of online exchanges. And tweeting them, too, a bare 48 hours before publishing civility guidelines for The Conversation.
As with the ABC, we must ask why governments - via our universities - are subsidising competition to private media outlets, and why the Conversation requires a truly astonishing number of staff:

At a time when mainstream media are hacking staff numbers to vestiges, the scale of The Conversation is disconcerting. It has Andrew Jaspan, the warmist ex-editor of The-Age as Executive Director, a managing editor, a chief operating officer, 18 sundry editors, an external relations director, the community manager, four developers, three in finance, an admin officer, and an apparently unfilled slot for a multi-media manager. Chair is Bendigo Bank supremo Robert Johanson, heading a 12-person board, plus there is a six-person editorial board. I’d guess the salary bill at $4m or so. 
Plus there’s another 16 staff in the new UK office.
Wow. But for some reason, The Conversation isn’t telling us how much of our taxes it is spending:
Andrew Jaspan invites personal questions, so last December I wrote to him, 

“Hi Andrew, Does your organisation publish a public annual report and annual accounts? Have any of the 27 university members disclosed how much funding they are contributing to your group? If you are not legally obliged to make the accounts public, would it not be good to do so voluntarily?”
I still await his reply. Key sponsors of The Conversation are founders CSIRO, and the universities Melbourne, WA, Monash and UTS. Strategic partners include toffy law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth, CBA and the Victorian Department of Business (eh? I thought we had a Liberal-led government in Victoria?).
And as with all such state-funded media, The Conversation has become a vehicle for the Left to push its latest creeds. Your taxes, the Left’s plaything:
But on climate, The Conversation is an exclusive playground for left and green authors… [I] give you the following “environment” headers ads they appeared on February 13. 

Is $15 a year really too much to pay for renewable energy? Sure, let’s debate nuclear power – just don’t call it ‘low emission’ 
Global warming stalled by strong winds driving heat into oceans 
Climate change to hit snow industry 
Coasting flooding could cost billions 
Most Australians over-estimate how “green” they are 
We know who’s profiting from emissions – let’s bill them 
Scrapping sea level protection puts Australian homes at risk.

Which parts of this culture must we “recognise”?

Andrew Bolt February 14 2014 (11:25am)

Politics - federal

The federal government explains:
The Government is committed to pursuing meaningful change in the Constitution – change that unites the nation and reflects the hopes and aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians by: 
- Recognising the unique history and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples...
Is this part of the Aboriginal culture we should recognise or should change?
MORE than 3000 under-aged teens are married or in de facto marriages across the nation, according to data which reveals that the practice is most widespread in indigenous communities
Would constitutional recognition of Aboriginal culture legally prevent governments from tackling under-age marriages in Aboriginal communities?
The Australian is right, of course:
The emphasis of the inner-city green Left - so often echoed in the editorials of The Sydney Morning Herald - has been too focused on increased funding, symbolism and political posturing by city-based activists. It is time to fully embrace a more practical agenda, driven by a new wave of indigenous thinking and, over time, embraced by community-based exemplars. 
But how does this editorial today square with the one The Australian published just two weeks ago?
The Australian believes Bolt is wrong now to oppose constitutional recognition for indigenous Australians…  The Australian would argue symbolic gestures can help the practical reconciliation process.

Fairfax’s Gay Alcorn now admits what conservatives have long warned: the ABC is too big

Andrew Bolt February 14 2014 (10:59am)


Strange. Fairfax columnist Gay Alcorn attacks “hysterical” News Corp writers for saying the ABC is destroying private media competitors - an argument I made and which  Alcorn then says is actually, er, right:
Last year, prominent journalist Peter Fray tried something new. He set up PolitiFact Australia, a fact-checking website to test the accuracy of politicians’ claims.... Then two other fact-checking websites started, both funded by taxpayers. One was at the academic website The Conversation.... The other was at the ABC, thanks to a $10 million grant in February last year from the Labor government - $1.5 million a year of that was dedicated to fact-checking. 
As enjoyable as the competition was, I felt some sympathy for Fray who was trying to start a business against rivals who didn’t need to make money. Now, only the ABC’s Fact Check remains....
You can admire the ABC’s innovations and its community spirit ... (yet) there is a risk that the national broadcaster will become too dominant.
It’s not that the commercial media, big and small, don’t need to innovate and stand on their own two feet, but the task shouldn’t be made harder by the distorting impact of public funding....
But it would be far from ideal if the serious end of journalism became the sole preserve of the ABC, always at risk of punishment and budget cuts depending on the political mood in Canberra....
Nobody would blame the ABC’s opinion site, The Drum, for the challenges facing commercial media, but it’s a symbol of an attitude that should be rethought. I looked at the site this week and many of its writers - Greg Jericho, Chris Berg, Mungo MacCallum, Greg Barns and others - appear elsewhere routinely. 
There are opinion sites such as The Hoopla or Crikey trying to break even or even make a profit. They have challenges beyond ABC competition, of course, but why spend public money on something that is barely distinguishable from commercial and non-profit sites ...? 
It’s rather pathetic that a Fairfax writer can attack News Corp writers - like, you know, me - as “hysterical”, biased and self-interested for making exactly the criticisms she now makes today. Check my column of last week and ask how it differs in argument from Alcorn’s.
Once again I have to ask: what is the difference between conservatives and the Left? Answer: just time.
But let’s look on the bright side: even the Left is starting to realise the ABC is now dangerously big. 

Six steps to save jobs

Andrew Bolt February 14 2014 (10:43am)

Professor Sinclair Davidson:
This evening I got a call asking if I could appear on the Price-Bolt 2GB show and talk about the five things to get the economy going – in 5 minutes times. Sure I said. So here is the list: 

Cut taxes at both the federal and state levels. Cut spending – especially on industry policy, subsidies and duplication. 
Cut regulation – both red tape and green tape (especially the MRET). 
Liberalise the labour market. 
Liberalise the housing market 
Actually abolish the carbon and mining taxes.
Okay – that’s six and not five and it could be counted in as cutting taxes. Now I don’t think that list is as radical as Andrew and Steve thought. 
In fact, I don’t think the list was so very radical. I think the Abbott Government will think it too radical - or at least too dangerous politically, given that Sinclair nominated among the spending cuts the sale of the ABC and cuts to welfare.
Hear our discussion here.
Your own tips for saving jobs?
John Roskam on how politics distorts our priorities: 

Since the federal election, Labor’s spokesman on industry, Kim Carr, has spent more than half his time talking about the car industry, at least as measured by the number of press releases he’s issued. Given that car workers comprise just 3 per cent of the number of people employed in manufacturing in Australia, that’s an awful lot of attention bestowed upon them by Carr. The federal Industry Minister, Ian Macfarlane, has spent only slightly less time talking about cars than his opposition counterpart…
Car manufacturing is worth about $5.5 billion to the Australian economy. Hairdressing and beauty services are worth about $4 billion, but hairdressers and beauticians do not get their own minister. 
The industry minister could be replaced in cabinet by something Australia has never had before – a “minister for consumers and taxpayers”.  This minister could go into the media and explain that an end to automotive subsidies and the abolition of tariffs would reduce the cost of a new car by up to $2000.
(Thanks to reader Peter of Bellevue Hill.) 

Eight weeks, no boats

Andrew Bolt February 14 2014 (10:23am)

It is now eight weeks since the last boat of asylum seekers turned up.
Why couldn’t Labor achieve this? Why did so many journalists claim the Abbott Government couldn’t?
The ABC continues to fret that our navy sailed into Indonesian waters to safely return boat people:

CHRIS UHLMANN: The head of Customs and Border Protection has joined the Defence Force and the Government in apologising unreservedly to Indonesia for repeatedly breaching its sovereignty. 
Michael Pezzullo is currently considering a detailed report on incidents where Australian ships sailed into Indonesian waters during Operation Sovereign Borders.
He says mistakes were made but won’t reveal what’s in the document or say how much of it will be publicly released.
But I wonder which navy Indonesia is actually more worried about - ours or China’s?
The RAAF monitored an unprecedented and unannounced exercise involving three Chinese warships in international waters to the north of Australia, it has emerged. 
The unusual naval exercise late last week is considered to have been a deliberate and provocative move by the Chinese that will send a clear message to the region.
For the first time, the Chinese navy sent warships sailing through the Sunda Strait between the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra. 
The ships travelled along the southern edge of Java, close to Christmas Island, and then through the Lombok Strait between Lombok and Bali. 
Indonesia seems to have been caught totally unawares by Chinese warships sailing between their two most important islands in a show of muscle. Does the ABC seriously think Indonesia is losing sleep about our own navy instead?
Give it a rest. 

Palmer accused

Andrew Bolt February 14 2014 (10:16am)

I cannot believe the Clive Palmer story will end well - for Palmer:
CHINESE giant Citic Pacific has accused Clive Palmer’s private company of taking millions of dollars from a special fund without authority as it labelled the federal MP’s bid to shut down its Australian subsidiary as one of the most “flagrant abuses” of its type. 
Mr Palmer’s Mineralogy has accused the Citic Pacific-owned Sino Iron of failing to contribute $13.4 million to an administrative fund set up several years ago, claiming its estranged business partner should be liquidated on the grounds of insolvency…
The counsel for Citic, Andrew Bell, told judge John Gilmour yesterday that Mineralogy had spent $2.5m from the project’s administrative fund on a vessel when “our understanding is that such a vessel was never acquired”.
Dr Bell also said Mineralogy took $2m from the fund for port security costs but those costs were not incurred because Mineralogy was not engaged in such a role at the time. 

Lecturer makes Indonesians see red over Australia

Andrew Bolt February 14 2014 (9:51am)

Victoria University lecturer Max Lane, a Socialist Alternative member and recently on the executive council of the Revolutionary Socialist Party, tells the Jakarta Post  our immigration minister is a pirate causing boat people to die:

The Australian government denies outright and refuses to investigate allegations by some of the refugees ...  that they had their hands held up against hot engine pipes [by Australian navy personnel] resulting in extensive burns. Others claimed they were kicked.... It is also reported that two refugees returned in the first lifeboat later ... drowned trying to cross a river in the jungle…
I am not an expert in international law or law of the sea but the forcible seizure of other people’s boats, the detention of their crew (Indonesian citizens) and passengers (citizens of various countries), the forcible transfer of such people to other boats, and the coerced towing them to a destination not of their choice would all seem to amount to piracy…
Morally, however, it is quite clear that these are immoral, inhumane acts. Personally, I would like to see Immigration and Border Protection Minister, Scott Morrison and the puppet General doing his work charged with piracy and criminal negligence causing death. 
How did universities become such a refuge for Marxists and wanna-be revolutionaries, soiling our reputation abroad?
(Thanks to reader Whatthe?.) 

On trying to correct Tim Flannery’s smear

Andrew Bolt February 14 2014 (8:33am)

Global warming - propaganda

The Sydney Morning Herald and I learned a bit about warming alarmist Tim Flannery this week.
It all started with this astonishing allegation in Mark Dapin’s flattering profile on the weekend of the former Chief Climate Commissioner:
Flannery says he does not like to talk much about his living arrangements, as the famously temperate broadcaster Ray Hadley revealed the location of Flannery’s house on the Hawkesbury River, and News Ltd’s mild-mannered columnist Andrew Bolt published details of his mortgage.
I sent the newspaper this response:
Tim Flannery bizarrely claims in your flattering profile (February 8, 2014) that “News Ltd’s mild-mannered columnist Andrew Bolt published details of [Flannery’s] mortgage”. 
That slur is completely false. I did no such thing and do not know of anyone who has. Your reporter should have treated that claim as no more believable that Flannery’s past ones about global warming having stopped our dam-filling rains, Sydney  running out of water, Perth becoming a ”ghost metropolis” and the Arctic ice cap melting away by this year. I suspect Flannery’s persecution complex lies in my having pointed out his record of such dud predictions – a record you should have mentioned.
Over the next few days I was sent a series of emails from the Herald, not one of which presented evidence to justify Flannery’s claim. Instead I was asked to respond to increasingly absurd claims - all red herrings - in an apparent attempt to have me admit that if I hadn’t actually revealed details of Flannery’s mortgage, I had been a bastard to him in some other way.
I was asked if I’d really not republished a “close-up picture of the actual house” Flannery had bought by the banks of the estuarine Hawkesbury (despite warning us of sea level rises eight storeys high).  I was told Flannery “further alleges that details of a house he purchased at Berowra Heights on behalf of his mother-in-law were in the story you posted… Did you ever repost or write anything about the Berowra Heights house?” Had not Flannery’s QC rung me to demand I take down the picture and any mention of Flannery’s home? The Herald, I was assured, would ring the QC to see if he’d indeed done all this, as Flannery now claimed.
I was even told some reporter on The Telegraph had once reported Flannery’s Coba Point home was mortgaged to ANZ bank, as if that was my fault.
Never was any evidence presented that I actually had indeed published a picture of Flannery’s home, discussed his mother-in-law’s home or been rung by his QC, whose name is entirely unfamiliar to me.  And, of course, never was I told how all these new allegations were relevant to the correction I sought.
In the end, I wrote back to the Herald in some frustration:
The allegation: that I revealed Flannery’s mortgage details.

Proof offered: none.

Flannery’s defence:  yes, but maybe Bolt published a picture of Flannery’s house, or maybe a picture of his mother-in-law’s house, or was that just The Australian?  And didn’t some Daily Telegraph reporter once mention Flannery owned a third of his mother-in-law’s house, and that he bought his “weekend getaway” in 2003?

And you and I are supposed to chase down every red herring? My request for a correction is being turned into an investigation into how many other ways I might have been mean to poor Tim.

Let me help: I have offended Flannery by repeatedly contrasting his warmist predictions to what actually occurred. Feel free to publish every instance of that rudeness. 
Today my correction was finally published, minus the paragraph which put Flannery’s attack on me in the proper context - of my having repeatedly exposed as duds some of his wildest predictions of warming catastrophe:

A slur against me: Bolt 
Tim Flannery bizarrely claims in your flattering profile that ‘’News Ltd’s mild-mannered columnist Andrew Bolt published details of [Flannery’s] mortgage’’ (’’Tim Flannery: a man for all climates’’,, February 8-9). That slur is completely false. I did no such thing.
Andrew Bolt Southbank
You might well ask whether a man who cannot correctly report what was said of him by a critic - and cannot apologise for a clear error - can be relied upon to correctly report climate science and acknowledge mistaken predictions.
But how did Flannery came to make such an odd claim in the first place? It is perhaps worth recalling what Flannery said in 2010 about the wicked persecution he perceived:
The campaign [against the IPCC] was very much like the sort of media campaign that I’m used to when people try to discredit me. And the way that works is usually on a Friday they’ll run a front-page story saying what a ratbag I am. You know, front page, and that’s all right, interesting, someone’s been a bit, you know, corrupt or a bit rotten. 
And then on the Saturday they’ll run a page three story, usually a much longer story, listing everything you’re supposed to have done, and all the reasons why you’re a ratbag.
And then on the Monday they’ll put a little stinger in. A little reminder, just to remind people what a rotten person you are. 

Tim Blair then challenged him:
The comments section is all yours, Professor. Hit us with links, PDFs, scans, whatever. Just to be clear, we’re looking for multiple front-page stories that attempt to discredit you (as per your claim) followed by longer page three stories and subsequent Monday sting items. Sounds like there’s lots of them. 
No such evidence was ever produced, of course. 

The ABC continues its much-admired coverage of our armed forces

Andrew Bolt February 14 2014 (8:22am)

The ABC in January:
TIM PALMER: New footage appears to back asylum seekers’ claims of mistreatment by the Australian Navy. Passengers who were turned back ... claimed some passengers were punched and beaten and some also claimed to have been burnt from being forced to hold onto part of the boat’s engine.
The ABC in February:
SARAH FERGUSON, PRESENTER: More than 12 months out from the ANZAC centenary, Australia is gearing up for an enormous celebration to mark the hundredth anniversary of the Gallipoli landing. 8,000 Australians will flock to ANZAC Cove for the event and over $325 million is to be outlaid on First World War commemorations, more than double the amount Britain plans to spend. The ANZAC legend has generated an enormous industry and now one Army veteran is asking whether our ANZAC obsession has gone too far.... 
JAMES BROWN, FORMER CAPT. & AUTHOR, ANZAC’S LONG SHADOW: The injunction at most war memorials is, “Let silent contemplation be your offering”. But instead we’re about to embark on a four-year festival for the dead which in some cases looks like a military Halloween.

Time Abbott moved in to Kirribilli

Andrew Bolt February 14 2014 (7:53am)

Tony Abbott hates ostentation:
Mr Abbott said he wanted to stay in his home in Forestville for as long as possible, rather than move into the Prime Minister’s official residence, Kirribilli House. When in Canberra he will continue to live at the Australian Federal Police College.
I like a man not too full of himself, yet I think it’s high time Abbott moved into Kirribilli. That’s where a Prime Minister stays, and while Abbott refuses to live there he will seem to some as a man who does not yet feel Prime Ministerial or even look it.
Assume the office, assume the symbols of it.
Mind you, it seems to me that in the past few weeks particularly Abbott has found not just his message but his tone.
Most readers agree. Move in, Tony.

Reader Magpie:
100% agree - our PM should move to Kirribilli. In fact I thought he had moved in already. Time to go that extra step PM - we all want our Leader to not only sound like a PM but look like one.
Reader Spin Baby, Spin:
I agree. Both with Abbott hitting the right note in the last week or so and the fact he needs to move into Kirribilli.
Reader squash:
I suppose it is difficult to move away from the family home when a base is needed for young adult children. But I also think it is important to maintain the role of first minister of the land.
Reader candy:
The Left/socialist media will demean him for moving into Kirribilli, as they don’t accept him as PM, that’s the problem. They don’t want him there. That’s got to make him feel uncomfortable.  

Brandis won’t restore our free speech at all

Andrew Bolt February 14 2014 (7:07am)

Professor James Allan, writing in the always excellent Spectator, says Attorney-General George Brandis seems not to be delivering on his promise to restore our free speech:
Next is the government’s pre-election pledge to make changes to section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, the Labor-enacted hate speech law that was used (illiberally) to go after Andrew Bolt… Recall that this section has four triggers that undercut free speech. Those triggers are the words ‘insult’, ‘offend’, ‘humiliate’ and ‘intimidate’.... 
But rather than get rid of all four, and repeal the entirety of 18C (which analogously did happen in Canada federally), the talk now is of how the government might keep the prohibitory words ‘humiliate’ and ‘intimidate’ and either repeal or replace ‘offend’ and ‘insult’. Let me be blunt. Such a craven compromise is in no way at all the choice of a government committed to free speech. It basically is window dressing, leaving the Labor inroads into free speech pretty much where they are.
Try this test Mr Attorney-General. Tell us precisely what the difference is between offending or insulting someone and humiliating someone. The fact is our AG cannot differentiate them… So if this government opts for this sort of half-hearted compromise, it cannot with a straight face also pretend such cosmetic changes somehow meet its free speech pledge. Same trial, same judge, same Andrew Bolt, and Bolt still loses if all that is changed is that the focus is on ‘humiliate’ rather than ‘offend’ or ‘insult’. 
I won’t even bother here to do more than mention that the Attorney-General rather incredibly seems to be mooting adding, yes adding, some brand new speech restricting criminal law provision — the old one being for him too narrowly drawn or something. Why, you might wonder, are we hearing
these backtracking noises? Alas, I fear the government just can’t be bothered to take on the vested interests.  
Allan is perfectly correct. My lawyers and employer have already concluded that the law makes it too dangerous for me to write about the choice people make to identify as members exclusively of one “race”. Indeed, a court has ruled that even to suggest certain people had such a choice was a factual error - one that contributed to putting two of my articles in breach of this law making it unlawful to ‘insult’, ‘offend’, ‘humiliate’ and ‘intimidate’ people on the grounds of their “race”.
The judgement in my case makes perfectly clear that removing just ‘insult’ and ‘offend’ from Section 18C would not have saved me. The judge declared I’d also humiliated or intimidated some fair-skinned Aboriginal people with “imputations” he’d found in what I’d written:
I am satisfied that fair-skinned Aboriginal people (or some of them) were reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to have been offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated by the imputations conveyed by the newspaper articles.
Brandis’s mooted “reforms” - if the rumors are right - are essentially useless. They amount to a mere sop, and, worse, Brandis is now suggesting that in exchange for giving us something useless he will toughen other laws against “vilification”. We’ll have gained nothing, but lost even more, and those of us who wish to argue against the new racism will continue to be stopped by law from expressing all our arguments.
This is a disgraceful and dangerous state of affairs, and a government which claims to be outraged should actually fix it. 

wonders what it was that my lawyers warned was too dangerous for me to even report, let alone comment on.  Catallaxy also wonders what it was.
How shameful that in a free society it is deemed too legally dangerous for me to say a particular DFAT publication offended me and why. What agenda is being protected here, and at what cost? By what right do we prevent citizens from debating freely matters of moral and political importance? 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” - John 3:16
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon
February 13: Morning
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God." - 1 John 3:1-2
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us." Consider who we were, and what we feel ourselves to be even now when corruption is powerful in us, and you will wonder at our adoption. Yet we are called "the sons of God." What a high relationship is that of a son, and what privileges it brings! What care and tenderness the son expects from his father, and what love the father feels towards the son! But all that, and more than that, we now have through Christ. As for the temporary drawback of suffering with the elder brother, this we accept as an honour: "Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not." We are content to be unknown with him in his humiliation, for we are to be exalted with him. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God." That is easy to read, but it is not so easy to feel. How is it with your heart this morning? Are you in the lowest depths of sorrow? Does corruption rise within your spirit, and grace seem like a poor spark trampled under foot? Does your faith almost fail you? Fear not, it is neither your graces nor feelings on which you are to live: you must live simply by faith on Christ. With all these things against us, now--in the very depths of our sorrow, wherever we may be--now, as much in the valley as on the mountain, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God." "Ah, but," you say, "see how I am arrayed! my graces are not bright; my righteousness does not shine with apparent glory." But read the next: "It doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him." The Holy Spirit shall purify our minds, and divine power shall refine our bodies; then shall we see him as he is.
"There is therefore now no condemnation." - Romans 8:1
Come, my soul, think thou of this. Believing in Jesus, thou art actually and effectually cleared from guilt; thou art led out of thy prison. Thou art no more in fetters as a bond-slave; thou art delivered now from the bondage of the law; thou art freed from sin, and canst walk at large as a freeman; thy Saviour's blood has procured thy full discharge. Thou hast a right now to approach thy Father's throne. No flames of vengeance are there to scare thee now; no fiery sword; justice cannot smite the innocent. Thy disabilities are taken away: thou wast once unable to see thy Father's face: thou canst see it now. Thou couldst not speak with him: but now thou hast access with boldness. Once there was a fear of hell upon thee; but thou hast no fear of it now, for how can there be punishment for the guiltless? He who believeth is not condemned, and cannot be punished. And more than all, the privileges thou mightst have enjoyed, if thou hadst never sinned, are thine now that thou art justified. All the blessings which thou wouldst have had if thou hadst kept the law, and more, are thine, because Christ has kept it for thee. All the love and the acceptance which perfect obedience could have obtained of God, belong to thee, because Christ was perfectly obedient on thy behalf, and hath imputed all his merits to thy account, that thou mightst be exceeding rich through him, who for thy sake became exceeding poor. Oh! how great the debt of love and gratitude thou owest to thy Saviour!

"A debtor to mercy alone,
Of covenant mercy I sing;
Nor fear with thy righteousness on,
My person and offerings to bring:
The terrors of law and of God,
With me can have nothing to do;
My Saviour's obedience and blood
Hide all my transgressions from view."

Today's reading: Leviticus 14, Matthew 26:51-75 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Leviticus 14

Cleansing From Defiling Skin Diseases
The LORD said to Moses, 2 "These are the regulations for any diseased person at the time of their ceremonial cleansing, when they are brought to the priest: 3 The priest is to go outside the camp and examine them. If they have been healed of their defiling skin disease, 4the priest shall order that two live clean birds and some cedar wood, scarlet yarn and hyssop be brought for the person to be cleansed....

Today's New Testament reading: Matthew 26:51-75

51 With that, one of Jesus' companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
52 "Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?"

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