Sunday, February 07, 2016

Sun Feb 7th Todays News

The Royal commission into institutionalised responses to pedophilia appears corrupt. It doesn't appear to be focused on institutionalised responses to pedophilia, but persecution of the Catholic Church and Cardinal George Pell. Incompetent reporting on the issue by the ABC obscures how badly the Royal commission is failing. Instead of smearing Cardinal Pell, who has clearly complied with all the requests of interview, despite apparent attempts to merely vilify, the RC needs to make recommendations which can be acted on while victims live. My issue has been given a very low priority by the commission and there will be no action until after their grandstanding is over. There have been pedophiles in churches. Those pedophiles abused also the trust of administration. No one is seriously accusing Pell, although some seem to be abusing process to vilify Cardinal Pell. And the Royal commission is letting them. 

For some at the moment, the sex party has more credibility. 
=== from 2015 ===
Wishing Alex Melusky well in his campaign to take McCain's seat in congress for Arizona. Alex is a long time campaigner for a flat tax to replace other taxes which are unfair. Australia needs someone of his initiative too. McCain's service is exemplary, but it is time for change and Alex offers what is needed, if he can get the funds to make the campaign. There are rules as to who can contribute to Alex's campaign and The Conservative Voice would be happy to pass on essential details to any US citizen wishing to help. 

Smoke and mirrors surrounds the Liberal Party Leadership as the press fight to keep their narrative which is divorced from reality. Staggering is the recent creation of a political position within the conservative movement, the 'Moderate.' The Moderate is not a conservative. They are centrist and wet, whereas a conservative is hardline and dry. Inside the Moderate fantasy, the conservative will unreasonably try to make rational economic decisions even if they are at odds with social needs. The Moderate is a kind of swing voter, who will embrace what is 'best for all.' The problem with the Moderate fantasy is that it is divorced, totally separate from reality. It doesn't provide for rational decision making, but excuses bad policy under the understanding that the Moderate leader meant well. It is literally promising but not doing of the type that scarred many Australian governments under the ALP. No policy which is unaffordable can survive because it will be gone once the nation is broke. Conservatives  of the economic variety actually are providing generously for those they administer, if given the chance. As an example, under Howard, Australia paid people to be parents and own houses while still providing a surplus and future fund. Rudd labelled it reckless spending and so ALP took government and now there is no baby bonus and fewer housing incentives and substantial, crippling debt. Any spending program that might have been supported is gone. And now cuts must be made or it will be harder in the future, with other spending programs that are made unaffordable by debt having to be cut. The myth of the Moderate may be seductive, but it is dangerous and stupid. 

Malcolm Turnbull is an effective Minister with drive and energy. But he is also not a PM and has nothing to offer the position. Malcolm does not offer a clear vision, but a banker's choice of policy where even a carbon tax can be embraced as one more tax. But a carbon tax is an impost on industry and limits growth and opportunity. A carbon tax is not a good impost on an economy, although it could raise tax funds. The kind of decision making is a warning for the kind of PM Malcolm could be. He betrays the trust constituents place on him and does what he feels is pragmatic. Mr Abbott, on the other hand, is complex and with scruples that inform his leadership. Mr Abbott correctly belied the cat on a carbon tax because his nuanced ideology allowed him to see it offered nothing worthwhile. As I wrote to Malcolm while he was leader of the Liberal Party, it is ok to have scruples, conservatives do, and so long as one follows their vision a conservative leader will prosper. By embracing the carbon tax, Malcolm showed he had no vision. He claimed he believed in anthropogenic global warming .. a dangerous belief no rational person can hold. Recently, Mr Turnbull has copied Mr Abbott's expressions of listening more and being more consultative. The truth is he has undermined the leadership for years and it has cost a number of elections as a result. It is to be expected that a conservative Minister is ambitious. But Malcolm is old, past his date as a party leader, and not a natural conservative, fitting more into the role of Moderate. That is why, if there is a spill on Tuesday, I will advocate that Mr Abbott be PM, and Scott Morrison should be Deputy. 

Julie Bishop is an outstanding talent and has much to offer the leadership team of the Liberal Party. But she has failed abysmally in any mentoring role of her fellow WA colleagues. Any prospective leader of the Liberal Party must be able to influence their colleagues and work to improve and focus their drive. Instead, Bishop has been embarrassed by her dopy colleagues making outrageously stupid  and obstructive comments on a host of issues, so that they threaten to bring the party into disrepute, making it harder to elect. It isn't hard to sell the conservative brand .. they will make you richer. They will give you more than you know and keep it sustainable. But those yokels have delved into tribal 'us vs them' arguments which the ALP employ. And to use an ALP expression, we aren't them. 

In 1301, on this day, Edward of Caernarvon became the first Prince of Wales. Later he became Edward II. Just like the longest serving Prince of Wales, Edward was of dubious integrity. In 1497, the 'bonfire of the vanities' occurred in Florence, inspiring book burners to this day. The Action of 7th February 1813 saw a French and a Great British ship squared off for a draw after four hours of fighting. Both ships returned to port to claim victory. Neither ship had had an advantage. In 1856, Tasmania's colonial government passed the second ever legislation providing for a secret ballot. In 1898, Writer Émile Zola was charged with libel for his article J'Accuse which correctly belled the injustice of falsely accusing a Jew of treason and covering it up. In 1935, Monopoly was made a board game. In 1940, Pinocchio, the second full feature length animation was completed by Disney. In 1962, JFK bought his last Cuban cigar. In 1964, Beatles arrived in the US for the first time. In 1979, for the first time since either had been discovered, Pluto went inside Neptune's orbit. In 1990, the Central Committee agreed to give up its' monopoly on power in the Soviet Union. 1995, Ramzi Youssef, who masterminded the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing was arrested in Pakistan. 2009, an inept ALP Victorian government killed 173 from mishandling forest with forest fires. They were returned to government in late 2014. 
From 2014
Some years ago Al Gore put out an example of Pascal's Wager to prevent a Hobson's Choice of embracing AGW hysteria or death for all. The idea was to list options, embrace hysteria or not, matched with the binary possibility of it being real or not. According to Gore, the outcomes were: to address a global warming that was happening; to address a global warming that wasn't happening; to lose everything by failing to address global warming; or, to gain little by business as normal. His rhetoric suggested that Pascal would say that it was wisdom to spend big addressing global warming. But, it was rhetoric, and the actual choices were as follows: Impoverish the poorest and restrict industry from being able to address Global warming in the future; Impoverish the poorest and restrict the ability of industry to grow for no reason; Enable business to change and adapt to a future that is challenging; Enable business to change and adapt to a future that isn't challenging. In the cold hard light of reality, the choice is obvious. If you really believe that Global Warming is a reality, you need to strengthen industry and allow poor people to be able to lift themselves out of poverty and assert what is in their best interests. If Gore's fears are real, then it is important the world find anyone who, like Gore, has stolen trillions of dollars from the poorest people in the world and make them face justice at the Hague, charged with crimes against humanity. I suggest a guillotine as being compassionate justice for the hundred worst offenders. 

Bill Shorten was instrumental in changing SPC worker's conditions forever .. according to him. It may well be the most honest thing he has said in public life if, as is possible, SPC closes forever. A monster has married a 12 year old girl in a religious ceremony in NSW. No word as to which religion was involved, but a Lebanese male university student who had married and had a sexual relationship with a 13 year old girl was formally refused bail in Sydney on Friday. It is alleged he had befriended the 12 year old girl at a mosque in the Hunter region. Another boat has been turned back, and no apology from those who said that that could not happen.
Historical perspective on this day
In 457, Leo I became emperor of the Byzantine Empire. 1074, Pandulf IV of Benevento was killed battling the invading Normans at the Battle of Montesarchio. 1301, Edward of Caernarvon (later King Edward II of England) became the first English Prince of Wales. 1497, the bonfire of the vanities occurred in which supporters of Girolamo Savonarola burned thousands of objects like cosmeticsart, and books in FlorenceItaly. 1783, American Revolutionary War: French and Spanish forces lifted the Great Siege of Gibraltar. 1795, the 11th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified.

In 1807, Napoleonic WarsBattle of Eylau – Napoléon's French Empire began fighting against Russian and Prussian forces of the Fourth Coalition at Eylau, Poland. 1812, the strongest in a series of earthquakes struck New Madrid, Missouri. 1813, Action of 7 February 1813: stalemate two evenly matched frigates from the French Navy and the British Royal NavyAréthuse and HMS Amelia. 1819, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles left Singapore after just taking it over, leaving it in the hands of William Farquhar. 1842, Battle of Debre Tabor: Ras Ali Alula, Regent of the Emperor of Ethiopia defeated warlord Wube Haile Maryam of Semien. 1856, the colonial Tasmanian Parliament passed the second piece of legislation (the Electoral Act of 1856) anywhere in the world providing for elections by way of a secret ballot.

In 1863, HMS Orpheus sank off the coast of AucklandNew Zealand, killing 189. 1894, the Cripple Creek miner's strike, led by the Western Federation of Miners, began in Cripple Creek, Colorado. 1897, Greco-Turkish War: The first full-scale battle took place when the Greekexpeditionary force in Crete defeated a 4,000-strong Ottoman force at Livadeia. 1898, Dreyfus affairÉmile Zola was brought to trial for libel for publishing J'Accuse. 1900, Second Boer WarBritish troops failed in their third attempt to lift the Siege of Ladysmith. 1904, a fire in Baltimore, Maryland destroyed over 1,500 buildings in 30 hours. 1907, the Mud March was the first large procession organised by the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS). 1935, the classic board game Monopoly was invented.

In 1940, the second full-length animated Walt Disney film, Pinocchio, premiered. 1943, World War IIImperial Japanese Navy forces completed the evacuation of Imperial Japanese Armytroops from Guadalcanal during Operation Ke, ending Japanese attempts to retake the island from Allied forces in the Guadalcanal Campaign. 1944, World War II: In AnzioItalyGermanforces launched a counteroffensive during the Allied Operation Shingle. 1951, Korean War: 705 suspected communist sympathisers were butchered by South Korean forces. 1962, the United States banned all Cuban imports and exports. 1964, the Beatles first arrive in the United States. Their performance on The Ed Sullivan Show two days later would mark the beginning of the British Invasion. 1974, Grenada gained independence from the United Kingdom. 1979, Pluto moved inside Neptune's orbit for the first time since either was discovered. 1984, Space Shuttle programSTS-41-B Mission – Astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart made the first untethered space walk using the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU). 1986, twenty-eight years of one-family rule ended in Haiti, when President Jean-Claude Duvalier fled the Caribbean nation.

In 1990, Dissolution of the Soviet Union: The Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party agreed to give up its monopoly on power. 1991, Haiti's first democratically-elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was sworn in. 1992, the Maastricht Treaty was signed, leading to the creation of the European Union. 1995, Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was arrested in IslamabadPakistan. 1999, Crown PrinceAbdullah became the King of Jordan on the death of his father, King Hussein. 2009, Bushfires in Victoria left 173 dead in the worst natural disaster in Australia's history. 2012, President Mohamed Nasheed of the Republic of Maldives resigned, after 23 days of anti-governmental protests calling for the release of Chief Judge unlawfully arrested by the military. 2013, at least 51 people were killed in a crash involving a bus and truck in Zambia. 2014, over 350 people were injured in the anti-government unrest in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
=== Publishing News ===
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.
===
I am moving from Sydney to Melbourne and am desperate for funding. If you have a heart for giving, I fundraise at gofundme.com/abeueaec
===
Editorials will appear in the "History in a Year by the Conservative Voice" series, starting with AugustSeptemberOctober, 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 a free kindle version.

List of available items at Create Space
===
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.



    Hatches
    Gold solidus of Leo I, struck 462–473 AD at Constantinople
    You coined the lion. They can't sue us. We reign in the mud. Pinocchio was shown on film. Ramzi is still in jail, long after the building he bombed, crumbled. Let's party. 
    Deaths
    ===

    Left’s refugee wails are a boatload of lies

    Piers Akerman – Sunday, February 07, 2016 (12:10am)

    MORAL exhibitionists, who went unseen and unheard when hundreds upon hundreds of so-called asylum seekers — men, women and children — were drowning, were gifted the ABC’s airwaves and the gamut of the Fairfax media to parade their virtue after the High Court ruled the government could lawfully ­return those who sought to ­arrive illegally by boat to Manus Island and Nauru.

    Icon Arrow Continue reading 'Left’s refugee wails are a boatload of lies'
    ===

    If Morrison had any honour, he’d resign

    Miranda Devine – Sunday, February 07, 2016 (12:12am)

    DAVID Morrison, the Left’s latest choice as Australian of the Year, used to be big on “standards” when he was chief of Army.

    Icon Arrow Continue reading 'If Morrison had any honour, he’d resign'
    ===

    INCLUSIVE DIVISION DOLLS

    Tim Blair – Sunday, February 07, 2016 (3:39am)

    Everyone loved a black doll after the 2015 NRL Grand Final. It was “a toy that promotes inclusiveness and diversity.”
    Everyone hates black dolls at Canberra Hospital. They undermine “all of the fantastic work Aboriginal health workers do every day and increase the barriers Aboriginal people face in accessing mainstream health care.”
    ===

    SHOP SMART

    Tim Blair – Sunday, February 07, 2016 (3:35am)

    When you’re a Euro-bound refugee, it pays to shop around
    I spoke with Sevag Yemenyjan outside of a Swedish language classroom. He fled Syria and left everything and everyone behind. I asked how he chose Sweden.
    “Someone told me Sweden is good. They help for school, and help two years,” said Yemenyjan in somewhat stilted English.
    Two years refers to the time period for cash assistance to asylees. During that time, Yemenyjan will receive close to $54,000 to support himself, his wife, and two daughters. By comparison, if he and his family went to the US as refugees, they’d get a one-time payment of about $4,000. (There are other forms of non-cash assistance in both countries as well.) 
    With that much cash on the table, guess what happens: 
    Roughly 163,000 migrants applied for asylum in Sweden last year, the highest per capita rate in Europe; not surprising as the country has among the most generous social benefits in the world. 
    And isn’t Sweden loving it. Less wily refugees are now heading back to the Middle East: 
    Many Iraqis who migrated for economic reasons, or simply out of curiosity about Europe, are returning to their homeland. 
    Well, it was worth a shot.
    ===

    FABRIC OF VIOLENCE

    Tim Blair – Sunday, February 07, 2016 (2:23am)

    Deadly t-shirt danger is averted in Queensland: 
    For more than a decade an air-powered piece of PVC pipe has, without fear or favour, fired t-shirts into a delighted crowd at home games of the Townsville Crocodiles.
    But no more.
    The National Basketball League team was this week forced to surrender its homemade t-shirt cannon to police, after it was deemed a category B weapon 
    Perhaps they’re worried about another Maude Flanders fatality
    Another person’s query about obtaining a launcher similar to that owned by the club reportedly alerted police in Townsville to the weapon. 
    So it took the local cops more than ten years to discover that t-shirts were being harmlessly lobbed into crowds at well-attended basketball games. Further on this non-crisis here.
    ===

    THE STANDARD HE WALKED PAST

    Tim Blair – Sunday, February 07, 2016 (1:29am)

    Miranda Devine hands down the justice to Australian of the Year David Morrison.
    ===

    MOON-TANNED FREAK WINS GOVERNMENT SUPPORT

    Tim Blair – Sunday, February 07, 2016 (12:24am)

    Julie Bishop is wasting our money and consular time on egomaniacal glory-seeking hypocrite and fraud Julian Assange
    Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop, has offered the WikiLeaks founder,Julian Assange, consular assistance and is seeking legal advice about the implications of a UN panel ruling that the UK and Sweden caused him to be arbitrarily detained …



    Bishop met members of Assange’s legal team in London on Thursday. 
    The foreign minister is turning into something very repellent indeed. By the way, “arbitrarily detained” is a legal phrasemeaning “walked in voluntarily and able to leave any time he wants”.
    UPDATE. Even leftists are weary of Assange. Here’s the Guardian‘s Marina Hyde: 
    It is notable with Assange that the higher he has gone in his “quest for justice”, the smaller he has looked. Even back in his pomp he could never quite carry himself off – that picture of him drinking a dry martini to celebrate being granted bail was more licence to spill than licence to kill. He can issue limitless portentous statements, and declaim from all the Juliet balconies he likes, but for my money he looks more and more like just another guy failing to face up to a rape allegation. 
    ===

    ETHNICITY WILL NOT BE DISCUSSED

    Tim Blair – Saturday, February 06, 2016 (10:37pm)

    Despite a doubling of police for Cologne’s big annual carnival, this happened: 
    There were 22 incidents of sexual assault reported to police in Cologne on the first night of the city’s traditional carnival …
    They were largely blamed on migrants who, some victims say, “looked like they were from north Africa”. 
    German officials were less forthcoming: 
    Officials are refusing to discuss the ethnicity of those arrested at the street festival. 
    Presbyterians, obviously. Some in the European media now admit they’ve been too soft in their refugee coverage. Elsewhere: 
    Horrific footage has emerged of a group of young men, including five migrants, laughing, dancing and singing in Arabic as they gang rape an unconscious 17-year-old girl …
    One of the rapists later told police: “She can’t complain. Women must obey men.” 
    So too must boys, apparently: 
    An Iraqi migrant has admitted to raping a ten-year-old boy in a Viennese swimming pool so ferociously that the boy had to be hospitalised for his injuries. The man said he knew it was wrong but couldn’t help himself as he hadn’t had sex in months. 
    It is possible that this year may see Australian government travel advisories warning against visiting major European cities.
    ===

    ABC vilifies Pell (again) in its war on the church

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2016 (10:30am)

    The ABC’s vilification of Cardinal George Pell is astonishing and defamatory:

    Cardinal George Pell has testified twice before the Royal Commission ... but has delayed his third appearance due to medical issues. So how does the ABC give a full and comprehensive report of this latest development?
    By making no mention whatsoever of those earlier turns in the witness box, leaving readers with the impression that he is pulling a Craig Thomson-style routine and hiding behind a medical certificate.
    And just to make sure readers get the ABC-endorsed view of Pell as a crook in a cassock, the piece is illustrated with [this] picture ...
    That’s the Cardinal’s picture in the driver’s seat and they are spiders - as in rock spiders - he is happily delivering.
    This is a massive abuse of state power with the clear aim of destroying the greatest figurehead of the Catholic Church in Australia.
    Where are the Liberals to speak against it? 
    ===

    Sanctimonious hypocrites killing free speech and our privacy

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2016 (9:16am)

    image
    Rowan Dean on the authoritarian sanctimony, prying hypocrisy and preening victimhood that is stifling debate and making even private stupidity a public shame:
    It’s not too much of a stretch to say that these days it is political correctness that is ‘killing our country’. Or at least, killing its soul. The last few weeks have seen a plethora of examples of our new wowserism, culminating in the events behind this week’s brilliant cover story by the ever-astute Brendan O’Neill. We’ve had a transgender Group Captain throw a hissy fit because she wasn’t made Australian of the Year on the sole basis of being, um, a transgender person. We’ve had the former army chief and Australian of the Year apologising for being white and male, claiming we put too much emphasis on the Anzac story, and being deeply concerned about people’s sexuality.  We’ve had a cabinet minister lose his job because he did nothing illegal after hours in a bar. We’ve had a West Indian cricket player fined and humiliated because he jokingly asked a pretty girl out on a date. We’ve had a Labor faceless man lose his face (along with his job) because he didn’t want an old one-night stand exposed to all and sundry by the girl who had willingly participated in the same act of carnal expression. And of course, we’ve had a drunken boofhead with an odd sense of humour publicly humiliated, pilloried and hounded out of the country for behaving weirdly – and politely weirdly at that - behind closed doors at a private party....
    On top of which, freedom of expression has now been usurped by the Intolerados of the Left under the guise of ‘human rights’, ‘inappropriate behaviour’, ‘sexism’, ‘racism’ and so on; to which we can now add ‘transphobia’, ‘Islamophobia’, and a host of other PC-driven moral ‘crimes’. Very few of which have any genuinely objective legal test – and all of which rely on ‘feelings’, ‘being offended’, ‘identifying as’ and other subjective criteria as reason to prosecute a moral case. Be afraid, because the new wowsers relish wielding the ruthless power of their vigilante weaponry – the vicious tools of social media, as well as the brutal instruments of the media itself with its endless parade of judgmental ‘commentators’, ‘spokespersons’ and ‘experts’ – as lustily and angrily as any mad mullah or medieval witch hunter ever did.
    Read the full piece and other great reads in the latest Spectator, out now. 
    ===

    Even Christ would be banned under our laws against speech that offends

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2016 (8:40am)

    Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson on the latest attempt to silence people who are opposed to the racial dividing of Australia:

    This week a news story broke about a complaint made under section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act by a Queensland University of Technology employee.
    Section 18C makes it unlawful to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” a person on the basis of their “race, colour or national or ethnic origin”.
    The complaint by the QUT employee is based around posts made by some of the students ... after the students had been denied access to a computer lab in a centre that assists the entry and advancement of indigenous students. The posts were predominantly about the access policy to the lab.
    The ... QUT employee is seeking $250,000 in damages, and has reportedly succeeded in having two parties settle for $5000 each....
    Laws shouldn’t make offensive and insulting speech unlawful.... Many are now starting to realise that laws that restrict what people can say merely because it is offensive, insulting, ridiculing or humiliating can only lead to dangerous censorship that stops important topics and ideas being debated....
    It’s time to rethink 18C....
    Now we don’t have one case that justifies a rethink. We have two.
    Running parallel to the QUT case is the case before the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Board against Catholic Archbishop Julian Porteous.
    Porteous is facing a complaint under Section 17 of the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act. Section 17 uses nearly identical language to 18C but applies it against all minority groups, not merely against people on the basis of their “race, colour or national or ethnic origin”.
    Porteous faced a complaint after distributing the Don’t mess with Marriage booklet. The booklet states the Catholic Church’s long-held view that marriage should only be a union between a man and a woman…
    In the context of a forthcoming plebiscite on marriage for same-sex couples the case creates a risk that opponents to reform couldn’t express their view without facing a complaint under section 17. And it wouldn’t matter where you are in Australia.
    The push to make “hurtful”, “insulting” and “divisive” comments unlawful is not just a threat to free speech and intellectual inquiry. It is also tyrannical, a weapon to deploy against anyone speaking an uncomfortable truth to power about “race” or religion.
    The Archbishop Cranmer blog notes that even Jesus Christ would be muzzled by the kind of laws politicians in the West are imposing:
    It is telling that [Britain’s] Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Lord Ahmad embraced ... limits on religious liberty:

    ...The right to offend someone and not to be offended remains a value that we wish to protect, but we need to stand up to those who seek to divide us and to create division between society and faiths. That is certainly what our counterextremism strategy is all about.
    So, the right to offend remains a value worthy of protection, but (and it’s an alarming conjunction) that historic right, for Lord Ahmad, ceases at the point of causing division. Didn’t Jesus say that he came to cause division?

    Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law (Mt 10:34f).
    Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
    For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three… (Lk 12:51ff).
    Didn’t he show a certain contempt for hypocritical, faithless or false manifestations of religion?

    Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness (Mt 23:27).
    Might not the words of St Paul be interpreted as hatred by those who are feeling convicted of their sin and condemned?
    Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
    Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God (1Cor 6:9f).
    If we may not express contempt for what we believe to be false religion, we are obliged to respect it, if merely by the choice of self-censorship. Is it contempt to state that Mohammed was a false prophet? Is it divisive to repudiate the revelation claimed by Islam? Is it an expression of hate to point out that the Qur’an is replete with hateful and divisive surahs which are contemptuous of other faiths and grievously offensive to non-Muslims?…
    What should be the irenic Christian response to the quranic assertion that Jesus was not crucified and did not die; that it was a clever conjuring trick with a look-alike (s?rat l-nis?a 4:157)? If, as the Archbishop of Canterbury enjoins, we may respond with “frank and categorical assertions of faith” (ie, that this surah is deception, fabrication, false prophecy and a lie), and to do so “is not extremist in any way” ("and should in fact be encouraged"), what of the possible reaction of Lord Ahmad and some of his co-religionists who might find such “frank and categorical assertions of faith” more than a little hateful, contemptuous or divisive?
    It was the judgment of Lord Justice Sedley in 1999 that people should be free to express what Justin Welby refers to as “frank and categorical assertions of faith”, and in defending the right to offend he quoted Socrates and two famous Quakers, declaring: “Free speech includes not only the offensive, but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative, providing it does not tend to provoke violence.”
    That must include non-violent expressions of ‘hate’ and statements of ‘contempt’. It must certainly include the expression of religious beliefs which may cause division. If it does not, the secular state simply defines religious ‘extremism’ as that which conflicts with culturally orthodox utterances; and so to proclaim the counter-cultural gospel of Christ and the divisive offence of the Cross becomes a crime. Robust Muslims will remain free to preach the perfection of Mohammed and deride the filthy kuffar, and wishy-washy Christians, bludgeoned by ‘Islamophobia’, will go Trappist. 
    (Thanks to reader Roger.) 
    ===

    German churches call for fewer refugees

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2016 (8:28am)

    Churchmen in Australia are demanding more Muslim “refugees”:
    Up to 10 Anglican churches around Australia are offering sanctuary to about 270 asylum-seeks at risk of being returned to Nauru in the wake of a failed High Court challenge.
    Churchmen in Germany, however, are demanding fewer, having seen what it means to take in a million in a year:
    “As a church we say that we need a reduction in the number of refugees,” Cardinal Reinhard Marx, chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, told the Passauer Neue Presse daily.
    Germany cannot “take in all the world’s needy,” Marx added.
    The question of how to respond to the migrant crisis, he asserted, should not solely be a matter of “charity but also reason.”
    ===

    Government forces 300 would-be jihadists to live in Australia

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2016 (8:05am)

    And they walk among us:
    The number of suspected would-be jihadis pulled off flights leaving Australia has doubled in the past year, as Islamic State recruiters direct foreign fighters away from Syria to other battlefronts, including Libya…
    Department of Immigration figures obtained exclusively by Fairfax Media show that 312 people had been pulled off planes in the past seven months to February – almost matching the 336 passengers pulled off flights in the previous 12 months.
    First we take in people from Middle Eastern war zones as refugees and then we refuse to let their children go back. 
    Something does not quite add up. Forcing 300 suspected would-be jihadists to live in Australia does not seem likely to keep us safe.
    UPDATE
    I don’t think these figures back up the claims of the “expert” quoted in the same report:
    Counter-terrorism expert Professor Anne Aly from Edith Cowan University said a number of factors have been pushing down the number of fighters including ...  waning support for “Daesh” (IS) among Muslims worldwide.
    “Historically speaking, regimes that rely on terror for survival don’t last long and lose public support very quickly,” said Professor Aly… “[T]he deaths of Australian recruiters overseas could be a reason for the decline in Aussies going over.”
    A doubling of suspected jihadists in the past six months does not strike me as evidence of “waning support”.
    UPDATE

    Another one being sent back to live among us:

    An Australian national has been deported from India because authorities suspected he was a supporter of Islamic State.
    The ABC has confirmed a report in the Indian Express that the Malay-Australian youth was deported after being detained for questioning at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport on Thursday night.
    The paper reported that he had arrived on a flight from Perth and authorities acting on a tip-off questioned him and found jihadi literature, including Islamic State propaganda, on his laptop. Australian Government sources have told the ABC that they were aware of his departure but did not have sufficient evidence to stop him. They did not say when he was expected to arrive back in Australia.
    The Indian Express reported that local authorities said photos of the youth posing with firearms were also found on his laptop.
    (Thanks to reader Peter of Bellevue Hill.) 
    ===

    Turnbull offers to help a Senator if he blocks the government

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2016 (7:59am)

    I suspect Fairfax reporters are getting bored with loving a Liberal Prime Minister, even it it’s Malcolm Turnbull. They’re starting to notice some obvious flaws:

    As threats go it was as hollow as a Halloween pumpkin.
    Malcolm Turnbull had Victorian Senator John Madigan on the phone on Tuesday and the Prime Minister was in persuasion mode.
    Madigan should get onboard and support the reintroduction of the Australian Building and Construction Commission as result of the damning findings of the trade union royal commission, the PM told him.
    If he and his fellow recalcitrants on the crossbench refused, Madigan would be facing a snap double-dissolution election, Turnbull warned.

    The threat of a ‘double-D’ is supposed to instil fear in senators, most of who have served less than two years of their six-year terms.
    Crossbenchers are elected via the micro party preference lottery and getting re-elected is like a Lotto millionaire following up with a Powerball win.
    But Turnbull hadn’t done his homework.
    Madigan is the only crossbencher of eight whose term ends in 2016 and a double-dissolution would suit him fine. All senate seats are up for grabs in a double-D, meaning the quota to get elected is halved. That makes it exactly half as difficult for Madigan, the slow-talking former blacksmith, to get re-elected in that scenario.
    UPDATE
    But one thing will never change in Fairfax reporters. They may fall out of love with Malcolm Turnbull, but will never fall out of hate with Tony Abbott. Indeed, their hatred of Abbott will always mitigate their disillusion with Turnbull.
    Today’s example, Peter Martin, blaming Abbott for Turnbull’s five months of ludicrous faffing over the GST:
    Turnbull began removing the GST option on Friday.
    He said the first question was whether he wanted to raise more tax overall. He did not. The second was whether the upheaval of a higher GST and the compensation it would necessitate would produce “a productivity benefit, a growth dividend that justifies the trouble”. He left the clear impression it would not, an impression backed up the Treasury’s discussion paper.
    It’s a messy way to handle something so important, but it is more Abbott’s fault than his.
    Seriously? 
    ===

    Turnbull turns tail on GST

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2016 (7:43am)

    After five months of dithering over raising the GST, Malcolm Turnbull is in full retreat:
    We’ve never said we were going to implement a GST. Bill Shorten’s the one that has been haunting greengrocers holding up lettuces. I’ve never said that… The point I am simply making is that if you get a tax cut and at the same time have to pay more in GST are you better off in net terms?
    This never occurred to Turnbull before now?
    What have he, Treasurer Scott Morrison and the Premiers been talking about, then? From December 9, two months ago:
    Under the topic labelled “Options for reform”, the document shows the Government has done modelling on four of the eight options to be discussed in Friday’s meeting [with the Premiers].
    They include: 
    Increasing the GST rate to 15 per cent while maintaining the current GST base (raising $32.5 billion)
    Increasing the GST rate to 12.5 per cent and expanding the GST base to include all food and non-alcoholic beverages (raising $25 billion)
    Increasing the GST to 15 per cent and expanding the GST base to include food, non-alcoholic beverages and water and sewerage (raising $45 billion)
    Increasing the rate of the Medicare Levy from 2 per cent to 4 per cent in one step. ($15 billion)
    And now this very belated retreat.
    An awful lot of people have been wasting their time, not least Treasurer Scott Morrison.
    UPDATE
    Turnbull’s Plan B:

    Mr Turnbull said there was a Plan B in place to ­develop options to provide income tax relief without a GST increase but it would be more modest.
    “There are a lot of proposals that have been floating around. Work-related deductions is obviously one. Concessions on super is another,” he said.
    Reader Peter of Bellevue Hill:
    No mention of reduced spending being ‘floated around’ among the proposals.
    UPDATE
    Confirmation even from Leftist Lenore Taylor that Turnbull knifed Abbott without having a clue what policies he’d have of his own:

    Four months into his prime ministership, and at most eight months out from an election, Turnbull remains stuck between the Abbott-era positions he felt compelled to retain and his own policy ideas, which he hasn’t worked out yet.
    Note that Taylor says Turnbull merely feels “compelled” to keep Abbott’s policies, despite not having had the wit to think of any that were better.
    The insane Abbott hatred continues. 
    ===

    What else are you not being told about refugees?

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2016 (7:31am)

    My column last Thursday:
    IF there is one thing our politicians, police and press tend to lie about, it’s refugees. They fear the facts might turn you vicious or stubborn.
    In Germany, this hoax on the public finally exploded on New Year’s Eve — but few commentators have noted the parallels to Australia.
    The news yesterday:
    There were 22 incidents of sexual assault reported to police in Cologne on the first night of the city’s traditional carnival… They were largely blamed on migrants who, some victims say, “looked like they were from north Africa”.... Officials are refusing to discuss the ethnicity of those arrested at the street festival.
    What else is the public not being told?
    UPDATE
    But some news still does somehow manage to get reported:

    An Iraqi migrant has admitted to raping a ten-year-old boy in a Viennese swimming pool so ferociously that the boy had to be hospitalised for his injuries. The man said he knew it was wrong but couldn’t help himself as he hadn’t had sex in months.
    UPDATE
    Normally you’d expect to be given some descriptors of the two “groups” to help you understand the dynamics of this violence:

    A boy aged 11 has been charged with murder over the stabbing death of a man in a brawl in Perth… Three others, including two men aged 19 and a third person whose details have been suppressed by the justice system, have also been charged with killing the 26-year-old victim, Perth Now reported…
    The victim was stabbed after a mass brawl near Perth’s Esplanade train station in the early hours of January 27 following Perth’s Australia Day celebrations on the nearby Swan River foreshore… Police said two groups faced off in the brawl, which involved about 20 people. Witnesses who saw the fight about 3.30am described violent scenes that included bricks and other projectiles being thrown.
    A curious silence. There may be nothing in it, but time and again I have discovered there’s a story not being told.
    (Thanks to reader Robin.) 
    ===

    JUSTIFIED AND ANCIENT

    Tim Blair – Saturday, February 07, 2015 (5:23am)

    Barack Obama offers a rare admission that a certain religion may have something to do with certain recent events: 
    We have seen violence and terror perpetrated by those who profess to stand up for faith, their faith, professed to stand up for Islam, but, in fact, are betraying it. 
    That was lame enough, but Obama continued: 
    Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ. 
    He forgot about  the British in Malaya in the 1950s. For the love of Jeebus, even Bill Maher had that pathetic appeal-to-ancient-times defence covered two years ago. To paraphrase: “We’re not in history. We’re in now.”
    UPDATE. Mark Steyn
    The lack of passion - the bloodlessness - of Obama’s reaction to atrocity is always striking. He can’t even be bothered pretending that he means it …
    Droning on about the Crusades and Jim Crow, Obama offers the foreign policy of Oscar Wilde’s cynic: He knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. And so, as the world burns, he, uh, redoubles his, uh, vigilance, uh uh uh… Whatever. 
    While Obama blathers, others are presently giving ISIS a taste of their own medicine.
    ===

    CELEBRATE DESIGN DIVERSITY

    Tim Blair – Saturday, February 07, 2015 (4:34am)

    Formula One audiences were down in 2014, and by the end of the season so were grids. Two teams pulled out late in the year due to bankruptcy. They are unlikely to return. In 2015, it looks as though Formula One fields will feature just 18 cars. Compare that grim state of affairs to the happy situation for another international racing series
    The World Endurance Championship has expanded beyond its stated grid maximum to 35 cars for 2015.
    The WEC, which attracted an initial entry of 31 cars last year, had planned to limit its grid to 32 full-season cars, but Gerard Neveu said that the quality of entries received made it impossible to stick to that limit. 
    One possible reason for the WEC’s growing popularity: while F1 is effectively a control series, with entrants restricted by extremely narrow design rules, including uniformly dull engine dimensions and formats, the WEC allows extensive technical freedoms. As a result, the WEC’s peak class features Toyotas primarily powered by 3.7 litre non-turbo petrol V8s, Audis using four-litre V6 turbo diesels, Porsches propelled by four-cylinder petrol turbos – and, in 2015, Nissans running three-litre turbo V6s. Located in the front of the car. Driving the front wheels.
    F1 has not seen, or been allowed, that sort of adventurous design since Tyrrell rocked up at the start of the 1976 season with this. Good luck to Nissan and their freaky front-wheel-drive frontster. It’s a Novi for the new age.
    ===

    ROTHERHAM COP DIES

    Tim Blair – Saturday, February 07, 2015 (4:04am)

    A British policeman under investigation over the Rotherham sexual abuse scandal has died following a car collision: 
    PC Hassan Ali died in the early hours of Friday morning after being struck while on foot and off duty in Sheffield on 28 January.
    Sky News understands the death is not being treated as suspicious.
    It is thought the 44-year-old was being probed by the Independent Police Complaints Commission after allegations against him.
    Sky News’ Mike McCarthy said: “He was under some kind of surveillance, we understand, by his own force in South Yorkshire.” 
    Also in Rotherham, protesters have stopped an appearance by UKIP’s Nigel Farage. Can’t have any undesirables ruining the town’s image.
    ===

    Is that the news, or did Brian Williams tell you?

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2015 (12:16pm)

     Such brazen lying. How can Brian Williams possibly be retained as the $15 million a year NBC news anchor? And why have fellow journalists and - now - NBC protected him?:
    For years, Brian Williams had been telling a story that wasn’t true. On Wednesday night, he took to his anchor chair on “NBC Nightly News” to apologize for misleading the public. 
    On Thursday, his real problems started.
    A host of military veterans and pundits came forward on television and social media, challenging Mr. Williams’s assertion that he had simply made a mistake when he spoke, on several occasions, about having been in a United States military helicopter forced down by enemy fire in Iraq in 2003…

    The account that Mr. Williams told of the episode evolved over the years, with his personal involvement gradually growing more perilous. In a 2003 segment on NBC that described it as “a close call in the skies over Iraq,” Mr. Williams said, “the Chinook ahead of us was almost blown out of the sky.”
    In 2013, Mr. Williams told David Letterman that he had actually been on the helicopter that got shot down, adding that a crew member had been injured and received a medal…
    And on the “Nightly News” last week, he described “a terrible moment a dozen years back during the invasion of Iraq when the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an R.P.G.,” a reference to a rocket-propelled grenade.
    Mr. Summerlin [who was on the helicopter that was forced down] said that Mr. Williams’s helicopter was part of a different mission and at least 30 minutes behind theirs. His account is supported by two of the pilots of Mr. Williams’s own helicopter, Christopher Simeone and Allan Kelly, who said in an interview that they did not recall their convoy of helicopters coming under fire. After the initial piece aired on NBC in 2003, Mr. Summerlin and his crew went looking for reporters on their base in Kuwait to tell them about the inaccuracies in Mr. Williams’s reporting. Instead, they wound up leaving notes in several news vans encouraging them to get in touch…
    It’s not unprecedented for a public figure to exaggerate his or her experiences, especially when it comes to military conflict. In 2008, then presidential candidate Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton acknowledged that she had misspoken when she described having to run across a tarmac to avoid sniper fire after landing in Bosnia as first lady in 1996.... 
    But for a journalist — and in particular, an anchor — to do so has struck many people in the news industry as a very different sort of offense. While most were unwilling to publicly criticize a colleague, few were persuaded by Mr. Williams’s explanation. 
    ===

    Obama yawns at evil

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2015 (12:03pm)

    Mark Steyn on the banality of Obama’s response to evil:
    On Tuesday the Islamic State released a 22-minute video showing Flight Lieutenant Muath al-Kasasbeh of the Royal Jordanian Air Force being doused in petrol and burned to death. It is an horrific way to die, and Flt Lt al-Kasasbeh showed uncommon bravery, standing stiff and dignified as the flames consumed him. And then he toppled, and the ISIS cameras rolled on, until what was left was charred and shapeless and unrecognizable as human… 
    President Obama’s response was to go to the National Prayer Breakfast and condescendingly advise us - as if it’s some dazzlingly original observation rather than the lamest faculty-lounge relativist bromide - to “remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ"…
    ... the President could barely conceal his boredom at having to discuss the immolation of Flt Lt al-Kasasbeh: 

    Aaand it, I think, will redouble [pause] the vigilance aaand determination on the part of our global coalition to, uh, make sure that they are degraded and ultimately defeated. Ummmm. [Adopting a whimsical look] It also just indicates the degree to which whatever ideology they’re operating off of, it’s bankrupt. [Suppressing a smirk, pivoting to a much more important subject.] We’re here to talk about how to make people healthier and make their lives better.
    The lack of passion - the bloodlessness - of Obama’s reaction to atrocity is always striking. He can’t even be bothered pretending that he means it…
    Obama ... declares action, and then does nothing. His war against ISIS was supposed to be one in which the US would not put “boots on the ground”, but instead leave that to our allies. The allies have the boots, but they could use some weapons, too. Obama has failed to supply the Kurds or anybody else with what they need to defeat our enemies. It’s becoming what they call a pattern of behavior. Elliott Abrams draws attention to this passage in a New York Times story about Ukraine: 

    The Russians have sent modern T-80 tanks, whose armor cannot be penetrated by Ukraine’s aging and largely inoperative antitank weapons, along with Grad rockets and other heavy weapons. Russian forces have also used electronic jamming equipment to interfere with the Ukrainians’ communications…. 
    Ukraine has requested arms and equipment, including ammunition, sniper rifles, mortars, grenade launchers, antitank missiles, armored personnel carriers, mobile field hospitals, counterbattery radars and reconnaissance drones.
    Hmm. So how much of that shopping list have we responded to? Obama won’t write Ukraine a blank check, but he will write them a blanket check: 
    The $16.4 million in aid that Mr. Kerry will announce in Kiev is intended to help people trapped by the fighting in Donetsk and Luhansk. The aid will be used to buy basic items like blankets and clothing, along with counseling for traumatized civilians.
    ...With at least another two years of civilizational retreat to go, we’re gonna need a lot more security blankets, which is good news for whichever Chinese factory makes them.
    The West is in retreat, no longer sure if there’s anything worth defending to the death.
    (Thanks to reader Kiwi.) 
    ===

    There be monsters

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2015 (11:49am)

    This melodrama is what passes for analysis by The Age’s Waleed Aly:
    [The Abbott Government] needs this because that is precisely the charge against it. Not that it’s made tough decisions, but that it has made discriminatory and cruel ones. That its philosophy of pain is simply that it should be visited upon people it doesn’t like: poor people, sick people, young people. Despite all the words it has ever said in its defence, the government has never clearly answered that charge.
    Seriously? Liberal and Nationals MPs hate the sick, poor and the young and try to hurt them?
    UPDATE
    I originally quoted only the sentence in bold. On reading the full context - now included - I see he puts the plainly ludicrous allegation in the minds of unspecified others. Aly still does not disavow it, but my initial reaction was stronger than it should have been, given this.  An apology to Waleed.
    (Thanks to reader Chistery.) 
    ===

    Shorten didn’t say yes

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2015 (11:47am)

    The question was simple: “Mr Shorten, are you ready to be prime minister?”
    (Thanks to reader Geoff.) 
    ===

    Brief anecdotes

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2015 (7:59am)

    It’s pretty obvious which Liberal is briefing against the leader.
    Laurie Oakes: 
    Rudd alienated many colleagues through incidents of angry, foul-mouthed treatment of others. Abbott, it turns out, can be prone to similar behaviour. 
    There was an example on Budget night last year involving Danielle Blain, a West Australian Liberal and federal vice-president who intended to run for the party presidency.
    Abbott, backing former Howard Government Minister Richard Alston for the job, called Blain to his office in Parliament House and demanded that she withdraw from the contest. Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, a friend of Blain’s, also attended the meeting.
    When Blain expressed reluctance to pull out, Abbott became furious, shouting that it was his right to make the decision. Expletives, including the “F” bomb, were undeleted. The Prime Minister then stormed out of his own office.
    Yet another “Captain’s pick” that caused problems.
    Blain eventually did give way, but — the daughter of an Anglican clergyman — she was understandably stunned at such treatment. Bishop is said to have been decidedly unimpressed.
    If this was meant to shock Liberals into supporting Turnbull, here’s a reminder that the teller of the tale is only selectively shocked: 
    According to one story [about Turnbull as Opposition Leader], when a Shadow Cabinet minister dropped into Turnbull’s office to inquire if he’d like some help with a particular policy, he got a short reply: “F--- off. If I want your help, I’ll ask for it.” 
    Turnbull supporters sing in unison that the MP has changed. He will be more consultative, more inclusive, and is better able to argue the case for major economic reform, they insist.
    More briefing against Abbott, this time of Peter Hartcher, and presumably from the same source.
    Notable is that the Turnbull/Bishop side is briefing journalists of the Left. 
    ===

    Lame duck challenged by sitting duck

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2015 (7:50am)

    PRIME Minister Tony Abbott on Friday derailed the campaign to replace him with Malcolm Turnbull — for now.
    He got deputy Julie Bishop to help defeat a spill motion called by backbenchers to put both their jobs to a vote on Tuesday.
    Bishop has been widely tipped to run on a joint ticket with Turnbull to replace Abbott, but appears to have judged it too dangerous to seem another Julia Gillard by actively knocking off a newish prime minister.
    But her agreement to defeat the spill was heavily qualified: she would do so only because of “cabinet solidarity and my position as deputy leader”. Note: not to support Abbott at all.
    Nor are her backers bound by her pledge.
    Still, Abbott may now have a few more weeks yet. With Bishop’s grudging support, he is more likely to defeat the spill motion.
    But have the plotters undermining him and the Government given a moment’s thought to whether Turnbull would be any better?
    Not to judge by the email that backbencher Luke Simpkins on Friday sent colleagues to explain why he was moving the spill motion.
    (Read full article here.
    ===

    Turnbull on the need for a carbon tax

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2015 (7:23am)

    Liberal MPs preparing to voted for Malcolm Turnbull should prepare themselves for more bracing lectures on the need for leadership in tackling the climate change monster. From 2010:


    ===

    Why conservatives are more honest with their own

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2015 (7:04am)

    Australian columnist Troy Bramston, who worked for Kevin Rudd, notes a difference between conservative columnists and many from the Left:
    THE torrent of criticism over Tony Abbott’s decision to award a knighthood to Prince Philip from conservative commentators helped to shatter backbench confidence in his leadership and energise a crisis within the Liberal Party that so far remains unresolved. 
    Must-read conservative commentators such as Andrew Bolt, Miranda Devine, Greg Sheridan, Janet Albrechtsen, Niki Savva and Paul Sheehan launched into Abbott and questioned, after so many other misjudgments, whether his prime ministership was terminal and the government was cascading to electoral defeat…
    It is not the first time these columnists have criticised the Abbott government. On Thursday, Savva declared: “Abbott’s rule is over.” Devine trashed Abbott’s chief of staff Peta Credlin, saying she runs the Prime Minister’s office in a “Stalinist fashion”. And Bolt, in a now famous blog post last November, said the government must “change or die”.
    The Centre-Right’s detached criticism of the Abbott government raises the question of why there are so few from the Centre-Left who are prepared to offer analytical criticism of Labor under prime ministers Kevin Rudd or Julia Gillard, or now under Bill Shorten…
    Pages of left-leaning Fairfax newspapers and websites such as the ABC’s The Drum, Guardian Australia and Crikey are awash with articles savaging the Coalition but offer few analytical pieces about Labor’s policy record under Rudd and Gillard, its philosophical or organisational challenges and its prospects under Shorten…
    [F]ew in the press gallery offered any serious and sustained critique of Labor in power. 
    Some of it was plainly absurd. In May 2013, The Sydney Morning Herald’s Mark Kenny suggested Gillard’s legacy on “social reform record might rival (Gough) Whitlam’s and that her economic reforms rank with those of the Hawke-Keating and Howard periods”. In February 2013, Laura Tingle compared Gillard’s leadership with that of Abraham Lincoln’s during the American Civil War. “Like Lincoln, Gillard grabs the nettle,” said the headline to one of her columns. 
    Why don’t the Left tend to attack their own as conservatives do?
    1. The Left tend to be collectivists but conservatives individualists (albeit with many exceptions). Fear of exclusion from the tribe is powerful.
    2. The collectivist Left is the natural home of the mediocre and timid.
    3. The Left may well note what happens when conservatives do attack their own. They help destroy what they’d hoped to reform. Their advice is often ignored, but their criticism is remembered.
    UPDATE
    Speaking of which, Greg Sheridan offers a bruising but accurate summary of the failings in office of his friend, Tony Abbott, yet concludes:
    Abbott is still the best bet for an unlikely Coalition recovery for three reasons. 
    He understands the policy challenges best and the substance of his policy has overall been in the right direction.
    Second, he is a proven fighter who, if he directs his energies properly, can be tremendously effective politically. 
    And three, he has demon­strated throughout his career the ability to change. He is very strong on the rebound. 
    ===

    Can any politician now save us?

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2015 (6:50am)

    Which leader now will have the guts to make the changes that will save the country from getting a lot, lot poorer?
    The consequence of the internal Liberal upheaval will be irresistible. The politicians will try to deny it — but our system is moving inexorably into a “death of reform” straitjacket. The 2016 election is likely to be dominated by political advice to Liberal and Labor not to provoke the voters. This will put Australia on a long-run trajectory of decline and growing unhappiness… 
    The backdrop is ominous. New Treasury Secretary John Fraser told cabinet this week that “economic growth cannot be relied upon to address the fiscal challenge”. This shatters one of the fanciful dreams of both the Liberal and Labor parties.
    Treasurer Hockey ... and Fraser said any return to surplus trajectory depended on economic growth of more than 3 per cent plus savings from the previous budget. At present, neither is achievable…
    This problem exists for whoever is prime minister, Abbott or Turnbull. This week Abbott furiously recast his economic strategy. He said the “centrepieces” of the 2015 budget would be a package for families and tax cuts for small business. Decoded: it’s a good news budget… It is the clearest possible sign that politics has triumphed over savings.
    It testifies to the savage fallout from the 2014 budget, a landmark event in our history. The Abbott-Hockey fiscal consolidation is undermined by a popular revolt,..
    Hockey knows, above all, that Labor’s anti-privatisation campaigns at the Queensland and Victorian elections threaten his asset recycling technique to finance new infrastructure projects and create jobs… 
    It is inconceivable that a Turnbull-Morrison team will not recast economic policy and the political dynamics. But how? Because Turnbull has not been able to declare himself a candidate he cannot canvass what he would do. 
    Add to this picture Labor, the Greens and Palmer United claiming there’s no great financial problem and campaigning furiously against spending cuts and critical reforms to pensions and other entitlements.  Add the rise of micro-parties in the Senate whose power comes from saying no. Add a new note of fecklessness via the Twitterverse.
    Australia is in decline. 
    ===

    Turnbull’s troops

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2015 (6:42am)

    I’m guessing that Malcolm Turnbull’s looming challenge to Tony Abbott is not driven by any considerations of high principle or philosophy:
    AAP yesterday:
    THE Liberal partyroom will vote on a leadership spill motion on Tuesday, following a backbench revolt led by West Australian MPs Luke Simpkins and Don Randall.
    The West Australian on November 25, 2011:
    A WA Liberal MP has claimed Australians are unknowingly being converted to Islam by eating Halal meat. In a speech to Parliament yesterday, backbencher Luke Simpkins said most Australians did not know that most of the meat they ate came from animals killed in accordance with Muslim law. “By having Australians unwittingly eating Halal food we are all one step down the path towards the conversion, and that is a step we should only make with full knowledge and one that should not be imposed upon us without us knowing,” Mr Simpkins told Parliament.
    AAP on October 21, 2010:
    IT’S customary for TV crews to mark where the interviewee should stand by placing a white card on the ground, on this occasion it was marked with the ABC logo. “Your ABC,” commented one reporter as (Don) Randall stomped on the card. “Not my ABC — gay BC,” he responded immediately, before answering media questions. Mr Randall’s office said he had no response to make at this stage. But Mr Abbott’s office did. “It was tacky and should not have been said,” a spokesman said.
    Paul Kelly:
    Two competing mantras echo across the partyroom. From Abbott: don’t surrender to chaos, weakness and Labor’s disease. And from the motley bunch of Turnbull travellers: seize this chance to save the government and invest it with new hope. 
    In truth, the Liberal Party is far advanced into ruining the Abbott prime ministership while clueless about whether a Turnbull prime ministership could rise from the ashes.
    ===


    ===


    ===
    "We must have no carelessness in our dealings with public property or the expenditure of public money. Such a condition is characteristic of undeveloped people, or of a decadent generation." Calvin Coolidge
    ===


    ===

    OPPOSITE DAY

    Tim Blair – Friday, February 07, 2014 (12:49pm)

    Greg Hunt’s office this week got everything back to front
    The Federal Environment Minister’s office has put out an embarrassing press release claiming the carbon tax is still inflicting “gain” instead of “pain”.
    “Emissions figures released today show the Carbon Tax is still inflicting plenty of gain, with no environmental pain,” the first version said. 
    Oopsy doopsy. While we’re still in opposite mode, please let me commend this wonderful video featuring two intelligent, thoughtful, articulate and completely non-hypocritical women, whose stage show I cannot wait to see.
    (Note: all comments to this post must be expressed in opposite-speak, as demonstrated above.)
    ===

    DESK CHANGE WORSE THAN CLIMATE CHANGE

    Tim Blair – Friday, February 07, 2014 (3:30am)

    Nobody is worried much about climate change: 
    Australians rank climate change well down on their list of concerns, even though most believe temperatures where they live will rise, according to an annual survey of attitudes by the CSIRO.
    On a list of 16 issues ranging from health and cost of living to terrorism and drug problems, climate change came in at just 14th. 
    Meanwhile, a change of desks causes panic: 
    Canberra scientists fear they will soon be squashed into tiny, noisy workspaces that make it too hard for them to do their research …
    The CSIRO Staff Association says the plan, which will help cut maintenance costs, will undermine staff’s work.
    Its secretary, Sam Popovski, said “widespread open-plan office accommodation is unsuitable for the work role and function of many CSIRO staff and that it may lead to reduced productivity and increased workplace absenteeism”.
    He said scientists, engineers and other researchers needed “isolated spaces for concentration and contemplation”. 
    Send ‘em all to Antarctica. One expert finds a religious solution: 
    Associate Professor Leena Thomas, of the University of Technology, Sydney’s school of architecture, regularly surveys people’s perceptions of their workplaces, and says staff often complain about the noisiness of open-plan offices.
    However, she said intelligent design could make even a 14sqm workspace suitable for most people.
    ===

    An ABC host too keen to can Abbott

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2014 (2:48pm)

    ABC host Waleed Aly in The Age:
    Why did the Prime Minister so grossly misrepresent SPC’s enterprise bargaining agreement, and the costs it imposes on the company?
    The single example Aly gives of a claim Abbott grossly misrepresented: 
    The ...  government emphasised things such as the EBA’s “wet allowance"… [This] allowance covers the costs of protective gear for people whose job brings them into contact with dangerous chemicals, and that SPC no longer pays it anyway, preferring instead to buy the gear for the workers itself.
    What Abbott actually said:
    It is very important that they complete the renegotiation of the enterprise bargaining agreement. The existing agreement contains conditions and provisions which are well in excess of the award: there are wet allowances, there are loadings, there are extensive provisions to cash out sick leave, there are extremely generous redundancy provisions well in excess of the award. This does need to be very extensively renegotiated if this restructure is to be completed ...
    What the SPC Ardmona enterprise agreement, to expire in June, in fact includes:
    53.37 WET PLACE ALLOWANCE 
    3.37.1 An employee (other than a cleaner of machinery, equipment, vats and the like) working in any place where the employee’s clothing or footwear becomes wet shall be paid 58 cents per hour extra, such extra rate to continue for all time the employee is required to work in wet clothing or footwear.
    What Aly says Abbott exaggerated:
    Ask SPC why it’s struggling and you get a very clear answer that emphatically has nothing to do with industrial relations. Employees’ allowances, they’ve now informed us, cost them $116,467 last year. Next to the $25 million they’re after, that’s piddling.
    What Grace Collier says is the real problem with the agreement - not just the allowances Aly pooh-poohs but the high base wages, extra days off and union restrictions:
    [The] base rates alone range from $48,538 to $61,359… I estimate SPC labour costs are double what they should be because of direct costs as well as the cost of a wide range of productivity restrictions.... 
    Harvest Freshcuts is a food processor. The plant at Bairnsdale is about the same distance away from Melbourne that Shepparton is… The working week is longer. Labour costs look a third lower. Conditions are much closer to or capped at award rates and wages are adjusted only by CPI.
    What Aly says Abbott should have said instead:
    The government had several coherent (even if contestable) reasons for its decision [to refuse SPC a $25 million handout]: SPC sits within a highly profitable company flushed with cash to invest unlike our debt-riddled government; that to give money in these circumstances would set an appalling precedent of corporate welfare, inviting profitable businesses to queue for handouts; that this government is philosophically driven by the principle that it is for businesses to stand or fall on their own. 
    Fleetingly, the government mentioned these… There was scant justification for placing industrial relations at the centre of this story. 
    What Abbott actually said - “fleetingly” - in announcing the decision: 
    I want to congratulate the owner of SPC Ardmona, Coca-Cola Amatil, for the efforts that they have already made to restructure the business. They’ve already put many millions in to the restructure. They’ve put a new management team in place. There are new marketing strategies, both domestically and abroad… They’re also prepared to very extensively renegotiate the enterprise bargaining agreements…
    It is very important that they complete the renegotiation of the enterprise bargaining agreement. The existing agreement contains conditions and provisions which are well in excess of the award: there are wet allowances, there are loadings, there are extensive provisions to cash out sick leave, there are extremely generous redundancy provisions well in excess of the award. This does need to be very extensively renegotiated if this restructure is to be completed and I have to say, as SPC and Coca-Cola go about this renegotiation, they’ll certainly have the support of Government in doing so.
    I think it’s great that SPC Ardmona do have the support of such a strong parent business, because Coca-Cola Amatil is one of the most profitable companies in our country; it’s a $9 billion business by market capitalisation. In the last six months for which has been reported, their pre-tax profit was just a whisker under $300 million, just for six months. I think their after-tax profit was about $215 million. So, this is a very, very strong business and I think this is a business which well and truly has the resources to ensure that SPC Ardmona is in a strong position to restructure in a way which will enable this company, these jobs, to flourish into the future.
    This is a government which is committed to trying to maximise employment, to try to ensure that the workers of Australia have viable jobs for the future; they have well-paid jobs in viable businesses and the best way to ensure that that is the case is for business to lead the restructuring that is necessary to ensure that companies like this have a strong future.
    Now, as I said, Coca-Cola Amatil is a very good business; a very, very good business. Its chairman is David Gonski – David Gonski AC – one of our best known business people ...  and I think, as a subsidiary of Coca-Cola Amatil, SPC Ardmona does have a very strong future… 
    So, the restructure is underway, but there’s a lot more that needs to be done and it should be done by the business. It’s not really the Government’s job to restructure a particular business
    And more of the same.
    So Abbott did not err about the wet allowance, which is in the enterprise agreement and is misdescribed by Aly. Abbott did not misrepresent the effect of the “piddling” allowances, talking instead about the enterprise agreement as a whole. He did not “fleetingly” mention the real reasons for refusing the handout when bringing up the enterprise agreement.
    Once again I must ask of an ABC host, why this too-eager willingness to believe the worst of the Liberal Prime Minister, against the evidence? Why this misrepresentation of the facts? 
    ===

    SPC now pays Shorten’s bill

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2014 (2:24pm)

    Bill Shorten’s way of fighting for working people is to make them unemployable: 
    IN his former life as a union leader, Bill Shorten led SPC Ardmona workers on a six-day strike during the harvest season, winning them an extra eight days “leisure time’’
    Amid debate over the workers’ enterprise agreement and its role in the company’s financial woes, a 2004 press release has emerged in which the now-Opposition Leader claimed to have changed SPC working conditions “forever’’.

    He said workers had “won an agreement from SPC Ardmona for a 13.5 per cent improvement in salary conditions including an extra eight days of leisure time by the third year of the agreement’’.
    Last December:
    SPC ARDMONA has sacked 73 workers at its Goulburn Valley processing plant as the struggling company fights for survival… 
    A spokesman for SPC Ardmona said employees were aware of the “critical and urgent need to transform our business’’ and ...  had been previously advised their positions were under review as the company assessed its work practices to identify productivity improvements. 
    Now: 
    Since 2011, 32 per cent of positions across the business had been made redundant...
    Labor’s economics in a nutshell.  
    ===

    Too dangerous for you to know

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2014 (1:37pm)

    Strange that the religion is not named:
    A 26-year-old man who “married” a 12-year-old girl has been arrested and charged with 25 counts of sexual intercourse with her… Police claim the man and child were “married” in a religious ceremony in NSW earlier this year.
    UPDATE
    Curious:
    Police say the marriage was illegal, but would not elaborate on what religion was said to be involved. 
    The 26-year-old man, who is from a different cultural background, allegedly told police he did not believe he was committing an offence.
    UPDATE
    When police and media go out of their way not to name a religion, you can safely guess which one is being protected:
    A Lebanese university student accused of marrying and having a sexual relationship with 13-year-old girl was formally refused bail by a Sydney court on Friday… 
    Police allege Mr Chamma befriended the girl when she was 12 years old at a mosque in the Hunter region. 
    (Thanks to reader TruthBeTold.) 
    ===

    Another boat turned back. And still no sorry from the “couldn’t, shouldn’t, wouldn’t” critics

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2014 (11:56am)

    Boat people policy

    No, no, they said. Couldn’t be done. Shouldn’t be done. Wouldn’t be. Could lead to war, even:
    AUSTRALIAN authorities have again used giant lifeboats to return boatpeople to Indonesia, with a group of 34 asylum-seekers washing up on a West Java beach. 
    UPDATE
    More evidence that the gate really is now shut:
    ASYLUM seekers awaiting passage to Australia have begun flooding back into Malaysia in the first independent confirmation that the federal government’s controversial boats policy has effectively closed our maritime borders. 
    Malaysian officials revealed the Maritime Enforcement Agency has for the first time intercepted boat people returning from Indonesia to Malaysia across the Malacca Straits because they could not get to Australia… Using a combination of maritime enforcement patrols, Malaysian special forces and navy, the Malaysian government claims the traffic of people smuggling through its region to Australia was slowing at source points such as the coast of Malaysia.
    UPDATE
    Now boat people are turning back their own boats:
    Malaysian officials revealed the Maritime Enforcement Agency has for the first time intercepted boat people returning from Indonesia to Malaysia across the Malacca Straits because they could not get to Australia… 
    The official in charge of Malaysia’s operations described it as a complete “reversal” of the people smuggling trade, claiming it was a direct result of Australia’s Operation Sovereign Borders. “I would definitely say so, there is a change of patterns now … a reverse movement of people,” director-general of the MMEA Admiral Mohd Amdan Kurish told The Daily Telegraph… “Recently … we intercepted 27 people, Bangladeshi, who would normally move out of the country, ­Malaysia, to go to Australia.
    (Thanks to reader Peter of Bellevue Hill.) 
    ===

    On 2GB tonight - hypesters are getting too much for me. So which country would you flee to?

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2014 (11:34am)

    On with Steve Price from 8pm. Listen live here. Talkback:  131 873.
    Listen to all past shows  here.
    Last night I wondered how Shorten could rail against the “big end of town” when he had this Charles Blackman on his wall, which I suggested would be worth $100,000.

    image
    Reader C, someone in a position to know much about art, corrects me:
    I believe Bill Shorten was photographed in front of a print of the painting for these reasons; 
    1) The original work is oil on board – it would not be framed under glass with a mount; 2) The original work is 121.9 x 76.2 cm – much larger than the work depicted in the photograph; 
    3) It’s a major painting by Blackman from a very important period – it would be worth in excess of $400,000 if it came on the market; and 
    4) I have not found any records of smaller copies of the work by Blackman in oil or acrylic
    Apologies to Bill Shorten. 
    ===

    If the ABC is not biased, why is GetUp its friend?

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2014 (9:05am)

    Media

    ABC managing director Mark Scott:denies the ABC is biased:
    It is clear what our editorial responsibility is, to be fair and balanced and impartial and show no favour to either side and that is what we seek to do.
    But if the ABC is as unbiased as Scott claims, why is the union-fundedGreens-campaigning and Labor-linked GetUp running this campaign?:
    image
    And why is the Liberal-friendly IPA running this campaign?
    image
    If the far-Left considers the ABC friendly and conservatives consider it hostile, can Scott really maintain both have got it wrong?
    UPDATE
    Small example of many similar I could cite each day. A caller on ABC host Jon Faine’s show today attacks guest Tim Wilson, a classical liberal appearing with Labor’s Liberty Sanger, as the “cuckoo in the nest at the ABC” and demands he be replaced by someone from the Left-leaning Australia Institute. He congratulates Faine “for your evenhandedness”. 
    ===

    Herald acts astonished by rising scepticism

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2014 (8:10am)

    Global warming - dud predictionsGlobal warming - propaganda

    The Sydney Morning Herald’s Peter Hannam seems surprised that his paper’s scaremongering isn’t working:
    Australians rank climate change well down on their list of concerns, even though most believe temperatures where they live will rise, according to an annual survey of attitudes by the CSIRO. 
    On a list of 16 issues ranging from health and cost of living to terrorism and drug problems, climate change came in at just 14th. 
    Gosh, what could have caused that? Much furrowing of brows: 
    Zoe Leviston, a social psychologist at CSIRO and lead author of the survey, said the ranking was “surprisingly low”, ... [and] may reflect people turning off the issue because it had become so politicised, artificially pulling the ranking down.
    The scepticism is just artificial, caused by a “politicised” debate?
    Give us a break. The most obvious reasons are the glaringly obvious one this article refuses to even mention - that, as so many scientists now concede, global temperatures have actuallynot risen for 16 years, cyclones have not got worse, total sea ice has not declined, the Arctic ice cap hasn’t vanished, dam-filling rains haven’t ended, crops have not shrunk, snow has not stopped, droughts world-wide have not increased, floods haven’t worsened....
    Why did Hannan omit a single example of so many alarmist predictions proving false? Surely that startling record of dud predictions, many promoted by the Herald itself, explains the public’s scepticism?
    Instead, Hannam tortures the data to hide the 16-year plateau of global temperatures:
    The World Meteorological Organisation declared on Tuesday that 2013 was the world’s sixth-warmest on record. Last year was also Australia’s warmest in a century of records, the Bureau of Meteorology said last month. 
    Thirteen of the 14 warmest years since instrumental records began in 1850 have occurred this century, with 2005 and 2010 the equal warmest, and 1998, a strong El Nino year, was the third warmest, the WMO said.
    Which is a transparent attempt to avoid admitting this:
    image
    Not reporting but propagandising.
    UPDATE
    Good question from reader amf:
    “Zoe Leviston, a social psychologist at CSIRO”. The ‘S’ in CSIRO used to stand for scientific 
    Why has the CSIRO become so debased that it is conducting surveys instead of doing the hard science it was renowned for?
    ===

    “Blackest day in sport” shames Labor and the sports bosses who backed it

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2014 (7:30am)

     Mark Robinson on a scandalous beat-up by desperate Labor politicians supported by sports bosses lacking the guts to defend their codes:
    IT was February 7, 2013, the blackest day in Australian sport. 
    Or so it was said.
    Criminals, bikies and underworld figures had infiltrated Australia’s sporting codes, and mad scientists in long white coats and sports fitness staff with muscles as best mates, were giving out drugs like they were candy on Halloween.
    There were claims of match-fixing and the use of performance-enhancing drugs…
    Twelve months on, it’s virtually amounted to sweet FA… 
    Since that fearmongering day in Canberra, just one sportsperson has been suspended for use and trafficking of a performance-enhancing drugs and he is Canberra Raiders winger Sandor Earl.
    What a scandal. So much damage done. So much hype. Such little questioning by so many journalists, some seemingly keener to defend Labor than innocent athletes.
    And then there was that desperate search for scapegoats, as I noted already just two months after that farcical press conference:
    It was in February that the Gillard Government made the chiefs of five big sports codes - including the AFL - stand on a stage like guilty men as ministers Jason Clare and Kate Lundy lectured us on how Australian sport was corrupted with drug cheating, match-fixing and organised crime. 
    Really? So in the two months since, why have we seen not a single player of any code charged? Not a single drug test failed? Not a single instance of match-fixing found?
    Where the hell is the proof?
    The people behind this farce must be sweating. The search must be on for some face-saver. A scapegoat. 
    Step up, James Hird.
    ===

    Waiting, waiting for the ABC to protect its bananas from exploitation

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2014 (6:40am)

    The Victorian editor of ABC News explains why a  Liberal ad on Labor’s links to a corruption-riddled union cannot use ABC footage:
    image
    So let’s guess how long it will take those vigilant ABC lawyers to force GetUp to remove these billboards with their ABC-copyrighted images of two prominent ABC current affairs hosts:
    image
    Let me help those vigilant lawyers:
    Some cartoon characters, such as Disney characters, are licensed by merchandising organisations or agents such as those listed below....
    ABC Licensing (Bananas in Pyjamas, Playschool, Triple J) 
    Tel (02) 8333 5351; http://www.abccontentsales.com.au/contact.htm
    UPDATE
    Professor Sinclair Davidson sools the ABC lawyers onto another outrageous infraction of their rights
    ===

    The jackass generation

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2014 (6:18am)

     This kind of open contempt not just for police but for lifeguards - and the public - seems new:
    TEENS are terrorising swimmers and lifeguards at Northcote pool, endangering others by doing bombs into crowded areas and pushing people into the water. 
    Police say troublemaking youths could face assault charges after they were called to evict large groups of kids several times in the past month… Pool managers have even resorted to employing security guards to protect patrons and lifeguards…
    A video posted on Facebook in January showed two boys running at two lifeguards, who had their backs turned, and pushing them into the pool… 
    Witnesses were horrified at the actions of a gang of 20 boys last Sunday, whose “anti-social behaviour” forced police to close the outdoor pool as the mercury soared to 39C… Police were called to evict the youths but they refused to leave and threw objects at the officers, forcing the pool to be closed early at about 5pm.
    The pool was closed? Because the thugs refused to leave? And the troublemakers “could” face charges - or not?
    There’s another symptom for you. As the public’s authority shrinks, that of the tribes grows strong.  
    ===

    Howes hurts himself - but hurts Shorten, too

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2014 (5:56am)

    I can confirm Bill Shorten’s closeness to - or dependence on - unions is indeed an issue for some frontbenchers, and AWU boss Paul Howes has exposed that with his speech this week::
    Mr Howes’ stinging attack on a minority of corrupt “criminals” in the construction union provoked significant debate within the Labor Party on Thursday, with senior members questioning Mr Shorten’s handling of the unfolding allegations of corruption and malfeasance ... and questioning why the ALP leader had not put more distance between himself and the troubled union. One member of the shadow ministry, who declined to be named, questioned Mr Shorten’s political strategy and suggested that given his position as leader was safe following party rule changes, he should have been more forthright in his criticism of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union. 
    “We need to be careful we aren’t boxed in by Abbott,’’ the MP said. ‘’He [Shorten] won’t do it, but people want more than the standard lines from the leader’s office.’’ A second, veteran Labor MP suggested that Mr Howes’ speech was one the Opposition Leader should have delivered himself.
    But Howes hurt himself within Labor by proposing a “grand compact” between unions and business - a vague and backward idea with virtually zero support from unions, business, Liberals or Labor:
    Bill Shorten believes it’s a fantasy... 
    “Very 1980s all of that,” [Tony Abbott] told 4BC Radio today… The Prime Minister told reporters in Brisbane he doesn’t like the sound of a big “council” being dictated between businesses, unions and government, because that’s “corporatism” not democracy. 
    Peter van Onselen:
    Shorten and Howes, once allies within the AWU, are now more distant than ever. ... 
    Ever since Julia Gillard was defeated by Kevin Rudd in their final leadership showdown, Howes’s standing within the party has slipped. The NSW Right split against him in that showdown, with close ally, former state secretary Sam Dastyari, leading the revolution. The pair’s fallout hasn’t been repaired, with Dastyari now a senator.
    Next Howes was blocked from running for the Senate vacancy created by Bob Carr’s retirement. Conservative union leader Joe de Bruyn blocked Howes on the unofficial grounds that he was pro gay marriage… 
    While Howes was only recently re-elected to his national secretary position within the AWU, rumblings within the union suggest he leads a divided organisation. That is likely only to increase after his press club claim that wages are too high.
    Many people forget how young Howes actually is - just 32. They also forget how much intelligent people tend to change their views - particularly on politics - with experience and growing wisdom. As a boy from a broken home, Howes was a Trot. As a bright young union leader, he became more pragmatic and tacked to the Labor Right. As a very successful young man, about to marry a very successful corporate woman, Howes is going ... where? Not to the Labor front bench, I would guess. 
    ===

    What is Clive Palmer’s agenda?

    Andrew Bolt February 07 2014 (5:39am)

    There is a danger  Clive Palmer is confusing his private business interests with the national interests that a political leader should always have in mind - especially a a leader holding the balance of power
    FEDERAL MP Clive Palmer has launched an extraordinary attack on China’s biggest conglomerate, declaring he would not stand by and watch Australian interests be “raped and disrespected by foreign-owned companies”. 
    In a dramatic escalation of the tensions between Mr Palmer and the state-controlled Citic Pacific over the newly built $8 billion Sino iron ore project in Western Australia, Mr Palmer accused the Chinese company of trying to take Australian resources without paying full consideration.
    Citic Pacific president Zhang Jijing yesterday accused Mr Palmer of talking “rubbish” and warned that the dispute had prompted other Chinese companies to place Australia on a watchlist as a potential investment destination. 
    Mr Palmer, the founder of the Palmer United Party that could hold the balance of power in the Senate after July 1, and Citic are engaged in a long-running dispute over the payment of royalties from the Sino project to Mr Palmer’s privately owned Mineralogy, which sold the original tenements to Citic.
    ===

    Fairfax claims it’s found a new “torture” witness. But some things ring a bit false…

    Andrew Bolt February 06 2014 (8:21pm)

    Fairfax reporter Michael Bachelard claims a breakthrough in the “torture” story - a witness who saw three boat people deliberately burned by sailors and for the first time gives a journalist the whole story:
    Yousif Ibrahim Fasher has been remarkably untroubled by visits from journalists… It was Fasher who alleged a month ago that three asylum seekers had their hands deliberately burned by the Australian navy ...

    But since then, as the storm raged on, he was left largely alone. This week, ... Fairfax Media conducted the first extended face-to-face interview with Fasher, who says he was an eyewitness to the incident, and he told his story in unprecedented detail.

    On Fasher’s account, ...  four asylum seekers [on the boat] forced their way past the two [navy] guards in the main cabin to try to get to the toilet… There was an altercation 

    During the turmoil he says a young man, Bowby Nooris, ... was sprayed in the eyes with capsicum spray, stumbled and blindly grabbed at the hot pipe…
    But Fasher insists that, after Nooris fell, naval personnel — he does not know their names — grabbed the wrists of three other men and forced their hands onto the hot pipe, one after the other…
    Afterwards, he says, a man in navy uniform called him over. 
    “They said, ‘Yousif, translate for the people. Say to anyone: If you want to go to the toilet again, we will burn his hands...”
    Let’s fact check the claims, because there is less to this story than meets the eye. (I don’t say it’s false; just unlikely.)
    First, is it really true that “Yousif Ibrahim Fasher has been remarkably untroubled by visits from journalists” and “Fairfax Media conducted the first extended face-to-face interview with Fasher”?
    In fact, Peter Alford of The Australian on Monday said he interviewed Yousif Fasher, too, albeit by phone, and reported in broad terms the same claims:
    Yousif Fasher ... continues to insist three asylum-seekers on the January 6 boat were “tortured” ... Speaking by phone yesterday from the Tanjung Pinang immigration detention centre, in northern Sumatra, Yousif said: “Three people had their hands put on the engine by force, I saw everything.”
    But Alford reported what Bachelard has not - reasons to doubt Yousif Fasher’s word.
    Of the eight Somali asylum-seekers interviewed at length, only one, Yousif Fasher, continues to insist three asylum-seekers on the January 6 boat were “tortured” in that way.
    Yousif, who did not receive any burns, was the source of the deliberate burning allegations made to the ABC, often via Sharmarke Abdullah Ahmad… Sharmarke, self-designated spokesman for 62 pushed-back asylum-seekers remaining under immigration supervision in Kupang, now believes none of the burns was deliberately inflicted…
    Sharmarke says he spoke again to people from the January 6 boat: “They told us they were not deliberately forced to touch the hot engine."…
    Sharmarke acknowledged yesterday that at least one deliberate burning case cited to him by Yousif, that of Bowby Nooris, was untrue. 
    “Yousif told me that this claiming and everything (else) were accurate, but when I asked Bowby, he just told me another story,” Sharmarke said.

    Bowby told The Australian on Thursday that the serious burn on his right hand came about when he was temporarily blinded by what seemed to have been capsicum spray and stumbled against an engine block. 
    Bachelard in his story today did not note that Yousif Fasher had once falsely claimed Bowby was tortured, too - surely something that goes to his credibility. Bachelard in fact implies Yousif Fasher’s story was always consistent:
    Details aside, though, his account has been consistent from the first. 
    During the turmoil he says a young man, Bowby Nooris, the first into the corridor, was sprayed in the eyes with capsicum spray, stumbled and blindly grabbed at the hot pipe. This is consistent with Nooris’s injuries, and what he has subsequently told both the ABC and The Australian about how they were incurred. It’s the basis of the conclusion by Media Watch that: “It appears that the burns occurred in a scuffle with the navy and were not deliberately inflicted by navy personnel”.
    I don’t know this Fairfax breakthrough adds anything new. But I do think it does not present the facts in an unbiased way. 
    ===

    ===

    ===

    ===

    ===

    ===

    ===

    ===

    ===

    ===

    ===

    ===

    ===

    ===

    ===

    ===

    ===

    ===

    ===

    ===

    ===

    ===

    ===

    ===

    ===

    ===

    ===
    ===
    “Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.” - Proverbs 21:21
    ===
    Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

    February 6: Morning

    "Praying always." - Ephesians 6:18
    What multitudes of prayers we have put up from the first moment when we learned to pray. Our first prayer was a prayer for ourselves; we asked that God would have mercy upon us, and blot out our sin. He heard us. But when he had blotted out our sins like a cloud, then we had more prayers for ourselves. We have had to pray for sanctifying grace, for constraining and restraining grace; we have been led to crave for a fresh assurance of faith, for the comfortable application of the promise, for deliverance in the hour of temptation, for help in the time of duty, and for succour in the day of trial. We have been compelled to go to God for our souls, as constant beggars asking for everything. Bear witness, children of God, you have never been able to get anything for your souls elsewhere. All the bread your soul has eaten has come down from heaven, and all the water of which it has drank has flowed from the living rock--Christ Jesus the Lord. Your soul has never grown rich in itself; it has always been a pensioner upon the daily bounty of God; and hence your prayers have ascended to heaven for a range of spiritual mercies all but infinite. Your wants were innumerable, and therefore the supplies have been infinitely great, and your prayers have been as varied as the mercies have been countless. Then have you not cause to say, "I love the Lord, because he hath heard the voice of my supplication"? For as your prayers have been many, so also have been God's answers to them. He has heard you in the day of trouble, has strengthened you, and helped you, even when you dishonoured him by trembling and doubting at the mercy-seat. Remember this, and let it fill your heart with gratitude to God, who has thus graciously heard your poor weak prayers. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits."
    Evening
    "Pray one for another." - James 5:16
    As an encouragement cheerfully to offer intercessory prayer, remember that such prayer is the sweetest God ever hears, for the prayer of Christ is of this character. In all the incense which our Great High Priest now puts into the golden censer, there is not a single grain for himself. His intercession must be the most acceptable of all supplications--and the more like our prayer is to Christ's, the sweeter it will be; thus while petitions for ourselves will be accepted, our pleadings for others, having in them more of the fruits of the Spirit, more love, more faith, more brotherly kindness, will be, through the precious merits of Jesus, the sweetest oblation that we can offer to God, the very fat of our sacrifice. Remember, again, that intercessory prayer is exceedingly prevalent. What wonders it has wrought! The Word of God teems with its marvellous deeds. Believer, thou hast a mighty engine in thy hand, use it well, use it constantly, use it with faith, and thou shalt surely be a benefactor to thy brethren. When thou hast the King's ear, speak to him for the suffering members of his body. When thou art favoured to draw very near to his throne, and the King saith to thee, "Ask, and I will give thee what thou wilt," let thy petitions be, not for thyself alone, but for the many who need his aid. If thou hast grace at all, and art not an intercessor, that grace must be small as a grain of mustard seed. Thou hast just enough grace to float thy soul clear from the quicksand, but thou hast no deep floods of grace, or else thou wouldst carry in thy joyous bark a weighty cargo of the wants of others, and thou wouldst bring back from thy Lord, for them, rich blessings which but for thee they might not have obtained:--

    "Oh, let my hands forget their skill,
    My tongue be silent, cold, and still,
    This bounding heart forget to beat,
    If I forget the mercy-seat!"
    ===

    Today's reading: Exodus 39-40, Matthew 23:23-39 (NIV)

    View today's reading on Bible Gateway

    Today's Old Testament reading: Exodus 39-40

    The Priestly Garments
    1 From the blue, purple and scarlet yarn they made woven garments for ministering in the sanctuary. They also made sacred garments for Aaron, as the LORD commanded Moses.
    The Ephod
    2 They made the ephod of gold, and of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen. 3 They hammered out thin sheets of gold and cut strands to be worked into the blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen--the work of skilled hands....

    Today's New Testament reading: Matthew 23:23-39

    23 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices-mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law-justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
    25 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean....