Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sun Apr 16th Todays News

Some things should not happen, but they do. Sometime ago, Australians stopped calling their wives 'my wife' and instead called them 'the wife.' When did that begin? Why? I've an interest in etymology and my initial searches have come up blank. It is in widespread use among Australians. It was part of the TV show Kingswood Country. I don't think it originated in Australia, although I get why Australian Larrikins have adopted it. It is playful as Larrikins would have it. An earlier reference to it is from James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small. In that autobiographical work, James recounts how he spoke with a farmer whose wife had died, and who had clearly loved his wife, but who only said of her "She was a good worker" and this unsentimentally shocked James. A good reason for why the phrase came into existence is because it did not refer to ones own wife, but the wife of a manor or house, who ran it. It probably came into usage during the eighteenth century during the industrial revolution. It sounds like an underclass worker referring to someone with respect, but not knowing the correct title. Marriage as an institution is very recent, as applied to common folk. The bible does not codify it. The extravaganza party of today's weddings are very different to the kind of party practiced in the days of Jane Austen or even federation in Australia. The idea of a ring is modern too, dating back to promotional campaigns for diamonds in some instances. But if you aren't certain, ask the wife. 

I am very good and don't deserve the abuse given me. I created a video raising awareness of anti police feeling among western communities. I chose the senseless killing of Nicola Cotton, a Louisiana policewoman who joined post Katrina, to highlight the issue. I did this in order to get an income after having been illegally blacklisted from work in NSW for being a whistleblower. I have not done anything wrong. Local council appointees refused to endorse my work, so I did it for free. Youtube's Adsence refused to allow me to profit from their marketing it. Meanwhile, I am hostage to abysmal political leadership and hopeless journalists. My shopfront has opened on Facebook.

Here is a video I made Five Ways to Kill a Man

Edwin Brock (19 October 1927 -- 7 September 1997) was a British poet. Brock wrote two of the best-known poems of the last century, Five Ways to Kill a Man and Song of the Battery Hen.




=== from 2016 ===
John Ball has published a book "Machine Intelligence: The Death of Artificial Intelligence." Ball is a cognitive intelligence researcher who has spent decades on the problem of getting machines to think. Ball has successfully been able to get machines to read like a person does. Only, Ball's machines can process language at a speed no individual could hope to. Imagine were a machine to be able to reply to a person's query with intonation and inflexion that people use? Imagine a search engine that semantically searched instead of employing search through pattern matching character strings. Imagine translating any language into another with perfect grammar. Ball's machines can do that. But one impediment is the fear of pop culture fanatics who believe that intelligent machines are a greater threat than ISIL. Then, imagine ISIL developing a Ball machine for their own use? Ball machines demonstrably work. The question is who will develop them and apply them? Ball presents facts which skewer pop culture fear mongering. The idea that a human would behave differently to a machine with a similar functioning brain is absurd. People are capable of evil or goodness and stupidity and ignorance, or precise, intelligent and timely analysis. Ball points the way forward and shows a future that is breathtakingly beautiful to behold. 

For some, at the moment, the Sex Party has more credibility. 
=== from 2015 ===
A young man who was a male model has gone to fight for ISIL and died. We don't know how he died. Probably an escalated dispute as to who got to have sex with him. A religious leader has given special dispensation allowing jihadists to engage in homosexual activity. There is no record that Iran will respect that ruling. People who claimed to know the model have said "He wasn't like that. He never expressed an interest in jihadism." A bit like a pilot learning to fly, but not land, who can see how the mind works of one who gives up religion to kill in the name of God.

In Victoria the Premier, Dan Andrews, has failed to keep an election promise. He had promised to prevent a needed infrastructure development that was paid for at no cost. But he is compensating the business, as he has to by law. He wants to keep the money the federal government allocated to the project. Victoria has no right to it. Mr Abbott has locked it away for the time when Victoria builds the road it needs. As for people who support Andrews, a salient warning: Those that stand for nothing, fall for anything.

On this day in 1457 BC, history changed. A young Egyptian leader overthrew his northern shackles and led his forces to siege a city called Megido. The siege was long and terrible, with those in the city running out of food and resorting to cannibalism. Then the city lost. Pharaoh Thutmose III had the victory recorded in detail, and so the battle is the first, well recorded siege in history. The awful condition of the besieged was inspirational for the biblical writer and disciple John. The city of Megido was, under Egyptian designation of calling a city with a prefix 'Ar,' Ar-Megido or, as john called it, Armageddon. In 73, having held out for years against Romans, so that the ramparts still exist leading up to it, Masada fell. And the Romans were denied victory even as they took the fortress. It heralded the end of the ancient state of Israel, but is a signpost for the resilience and greatness of the modern state.

Joanna was Queen of Castille and Leon, but called 'The Mad' by many. Her late husband had started the rumour after marrying her when she was 26, but being manipulative and unfaithful. He died within a year. A succession of deaths resulted in her being given the throne her father desired. He ran it as she raised her child. Her dad was first regent for her, then her son. But her father died in 1516 and she was co ruler with her son. But a popular uprising began on this day in 1520 in favour of her, as her son had left Spain to be crowned as Holy Roman Emperor. Her son put down the uprising and had his 'mad' mother confined to a nunnery. He wrote to the establishment that none should speak to her as it would serve little purpose. There is much debate in modern times as to the nature of her illness. In 1521, her son, Charles V, got the Diet of Worms to investigate Martin Luther personally. It was at this meeting, on this day, that Martin Luther defended his work in terms of the scripture. It is interesting that his prosecution claimed that the scripture had been fallible and so his defence was weak. Luther left the conference and was kidnapped by a friend and placed under protection. The schism between Christian faiths was widening. 

In 1746, Scottish Highlands changed forever after the Battle of Culloden was fought between Jacobites supported by France and British Hanoverian forces. Jacobites lost and certain Highland cultural practices were banned, while the highlands were cleared of inhabitants.  In 1847, a sailor accidentally shot a NZ Maori, opening the Wanganui campaign. In 1853, the first passenger rail opened in India. In 1917, Lenin returned to Petrograd from Switzerland where he had enjoyed exile. In 1919, Ghandi excused riots by a call to prayer and fasting. In 1925, Bulgarian communists blew up  St Nedelya Church at a funeral for a general they had assassinated three days earlier. They succeeded in killing 150, and 500 were wounded. In 1941, the Cleveland Indians' Bob Feller pitched the only opening day no hitter in Major League Baseball, defeating Chi White Sox 1-0. In 1945, Soviet forces surrounded Berlin in a million man assault in the Battle of Seelow Heights. On the same day, US army liberated Colditz. Also on this day in 1945, a Soviet sub sank a German refugee vessel with 7000 killed. In 1947, Journalist Bernard Baruch coined the term the 'Cold War.' 

In 1961, in a speech copied by Rudd some 46 years later, Cuba's Castro announced he was really a marxist leninist. Fidel had claimed before hand he was fighting for simple freedoms in Cuba, suggesting free trade and an end to tyranny. After his speech, Cuba became a terrorist state with a tyrannical leader, although it had been that anyway. Rudd had claimed before election in '07 that he was an economic conservative. But after his election he changed his mind and penned an essay which showed the liberal socialist government he led would spend Australia into poverty, turning around a surplus economy to one exceeding half a trillion dollars in deficit and no spending surplus in site for decades. In 1963, Martin King penned a letter from Birmingham Jail where he was incarcerated for asking for an end to segregation. In 1990, Jack Kevorkian killed his first patient with an assisted suicide. In 1995, Texas Governor George W Bush announced Selena Day for the singer killed two weeks earlier. 

One should never justify the insane left wing rhetoric coming from universities which is not challenged by criticism at those institutions. The tragic results are murderous. As was the case when a mentally ill former South Korean National student aged 23 purchased an arsenal of weapons and attacked his Virginia Tech school, killing 32 and injuring 17 before suiciding. He even had access to hollow point bullets. He wrote several notes explaining his actions, blaming rich kids and debauchery. But it was only his own selfish choice, actualised by a university which failed to realise his mutterings weren't sane. Many had raised questions to the school authorities, who took no consequential action. In 2012, the trial of Anders Breivik began. Breivik had wanted to be a Knight just like the EDL idiots. He killed 77, mainly older children. 
From 2014
Badgery's Creek airport is another in a long list of stunning infrastructure partnerships that Liberal Federal Governments have done combined with a Liberal NSW State Government. It is almost as if when it is worthwhile, ALP should not be involved. Two major works projects which dragged on for decades were the Snowy Mountain scheme and the Opera House. Neither looked like ever finishing until Askin put the finishing touches on them. In contrast, NSW had an Olympics in 2000 under ALP which failed to make a profit and badly diverted major works from permanent infrastructure. It became a lost opportunity. So the five decade prevarication that is the second city airport for Sydney is announced, a stunning success for NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell the day he resigns. O'Farrell has not been premier for very long, but NSW has benefited. Maybe his term in office will be remembered for improvements in public transport. Or maybe for almost all areas of economic activity in NSW, or health and education. But it is unlikely, although true. Some may criticise O'Farrell for his stance on Gonski, or 18c, but that is hyper. The tasks a conservative government must complete have not been completed. He leaves too soon. Scandalously, media journalists are throwing around the word 'corruption' to describe the oversight which claimed the Premiership. O'Farrell was ambushed by a politically charged ICAC over the issue of a wine bottle. It was apparent O'Farrell had not declared it. He has claimed to have forgotten about it. O'Farrell was placed on the stand of the ICAC for a different reason, as a witness, before being ambushed. It was a procedural unfairness. His response was probably anticipated as being denial, which might have allowed the ICAC to derail an investigation into ALP corruption. That excuse is gone, now that O'Farrell has resigned. O'Farrell has behaved honourably. He has met a standard no NSW ALP Premier has met in living memory. I have had to amend my petition. I thank you, Mr O'Farrell and wish you well in your future endeavours.
Historical perspective on this day
In 1457 BC, likely date of the Battle of Megiddo between Thutmose III and a large Canaanitecoalition under the King of Kadesh, the first battle to have been recorded in what is accepted as relatively reliable detail. 73, Masada, a Jewish fortress, fell to the Romans after several months of siege, ending the Great Jewish Revolt. 1346, Dušan the Mighty was proclaimed Emperor, with the Serbian Empire occupying much of the Balkans.

In 1520, the Revolt of the Comuneros began in Spain against the rule of Charles V. 1521, Protestant ReformationMartin Luther's first appearance before the Diet of Worms to be examined by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and the other estates of the empire. 1582, Spanish conquistador Hernando de Lerma founded the settlement of SaltaArgentina. 1746, the Battle of Culloden was fought between the French-supported Jacobites and the British Hanoverian forces commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, in Scotland. After the battle many highland traditions were banned and the Highlands of Scotland were cleared of inhabitants. 1780, the University of Münster in MünsterNorth Rhine-WestphaliaGermany was founded. 1799, Napoleonic Wars: The Battle of Mount TaborNapoleon drove Ottoman Turks across the River Jordan near Acre.

In 1818, the United States Senate ratified the Rush-Bagot Treaty, establishing the border with Canada. 1847, the accidental shooting of a Māori by an English sailor resulted in the opening of the Wanganui Campaign of the New Zealand land wars. 1853, the first passenger rail opened in India, from Bori BunderBombay to Thane. 1858, the Wernerian Natural History Society, a former Scottish learned society, was wound up. 1862, American Civil WarBattle at Lee's Mills in Virginia. Also 1862, American Civil War: The District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act, a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia, became law. 1863, American Civil War: Siege of Vicksburg: Ships led by Union Admiral David Dixon Porter move through heavy Confederate artillery fire on approach to Vicksburg, Mississippi. 1881, in Dodge City, KansasBat Masterson fought his last gun battle.

In 1908, Natural Bridges National Monument was established in Utah. 1910, the oldest existing indoor ice hockey arena still used for the sport in the 21st century, Boston Arena, opened for the first time. 1912, Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly an airplaneacross the English Channel. 1917, Vladimir Lenin returned to PetrogradRussia from exile in Switzerland. 1919, Mohandas Gandhi organises a day of "prayer and fasting" in response to the killing of Indian protesters in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre by the British colonial troops three days earlier. Also 1919, Polish–Soviet War: The Polish army launched the Vilna offensiveto capture Vilnius in modern Lithuania. 1922, the Treaty of Rapallo, pursuant to which Germany and the Soviet Union re-establish diplomatic relations, was signed. 1925, during the Communist St Nedelya Church assault in SofiaBulgaria, 150 were killed and 500 were wounded.

In 1941, World War II: The Italian convoy Duisburg, directed to Tunisia, was attacked and destroyed by British ships. Also 1941, World War II: The Ustaše, a Croatian far-rightorganisation was put in charge of the Independent State of Croatia by the Axis Powers after the Axis Operation 25 invasion. Also 1941, Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians threw the only Opening Day no-hitter in the history of Major League Baseball, beating the Chicago White Sox 1–0. 1944, World War II: Allied forces started bombing Belgrade, killing about 1,100 people. This bombing fell on the Orthodox Christian Easter. 1945, World War II: The Red Army begins the final assault on German forces around Berlin, with nearly one million troops fighting in the Battle of the Seelow Heights. Also 1945, the United States Army liberates Nazi Sonderlager (high security) prisoner-of-war camp Oflag IV-C (better known as Colditz). Also 1945, more than 7,000 die when the German refugee ship Goya was sunk by a Soviet submarine. 1947, Texas City Disaster: An explosion on board a freighter in port caused the city of Texas City, Texas, to catch fire, killing almost 600. Also 1947, Bernard Baruch coined the term "Cold War" to describe the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union.

In 1953, Queen Elizabeth II launched the Royal Yacht HMY Britannia. 1961, in a nationally broadcast speech, Cuban leader Fidel Castro declared that he was a Marxist–Leninist and that Cuba was going to adopt Communism. 1962, Walter Cronkite took over as the lead news anchor of the CBS Evening News, during which time he would become "the most trusted man in America". 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. penned his Letter from Birmingham Jail while incarcerated in Birmingham, Alabama for protesting against segregation. 1972, Apollo program: The launch of Apollo 16 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. 1990, the "Doctor of Death", Jack Kevorkian, participated in his first assisted suicide. 1992, the Katina P ran aground off of MaputoMozambique and 60,000 tons of crude oil spilled into the ocean. 1995, George W. Bush named April 16 as Selena Day in Texas, after she was killedtwo weeks earlier.

In 2001, India and Bangladesh began a five-day border conflict, but were unable to resolve the disputes about their border. 2003, the Treaty of Accession was signed in Athensadmitting ten new member states to the European Union. 2007, Virginia Tech massacreSeung-Hui Cho gunned down 32 people and injured 17 before committing suicide. 2012, the trial for Anders Behring Breivik, the perpetrator of the 2011 Norway attacks, began in OsloNorway. 2012, the Pulitzer Prize winners were announced, it was the first time since 1977that no book won the Fiction Prize. 2013, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Sistan and Baluchestan ProvinceIran, killing at least 35 people and injuring 117 others. 2014, the MV Sewol ferry carrying more than 450 people capsized near Jindo Island off South Korea, leaving 295 passengers and crew dead and 9 more missing.
=== 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 publishing a book called Bread of Life: January. 

Bread of Life is a daily bible quote with a layman's understanding of the meaning. I give one quote for each day, and also a series of personal stories illustrating key concepts eg Who is God? What is a miracle? Why is there tragedy?

January is the first of the anticipated year-long work of thirteen books. One for each month and the whole year. It costs to publish. It (Kindle version) should retail at about $2US online, but the paperback version would cost more, according to production cost.
If you have a heart for giving, I fundraise at gofund.me/27tkwuc
===
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
Happy birthday and many happy returns to those born on this day, across the years, including
Deaths
April 16Queen Margrethe II's birthday in Denmark; Yom HaShoah in Israel (2015)
Harriet Quimby
She was mad, but more angry. Another accidental shooting. Harriet flew high. Search high, see low. Suicide is selfish. Let's party.
===
Piers Akerman

Christianity attacked at holiest celebrations

SOME Muslim leaders ­entreat their followers not to eat chocolate and to ignore the Easter celebrations. Others set out to murder Christians as they celebrate the holiest of their days, Piers Akerman writes.
PIERS AKERMAN 15 Apr
===
Miranda Devine

This Easter, think of persecuted Christians

PERSECUTION of Christians is strengthening their faith and resolve, writes Miranda Devine. Spare a thought for them this Easter.
RENDEZVIEW 16 Apr  61 comments
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Tim Blair
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Andrew Bolt

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ELITE ROFL SQUADRON

Tim Blair – Saturday, April 16, 2016 (3:39pm)

Australian comedians should join international laughter brigades in the war against Islamic State.
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HALF OF AUSTRALIA WORKS FOR THE OTHER HALF

Tim Blair – Saturday, April 16, 2016 (2:56pm)

Nearly half of Australia’s voters rely entirely on government payments for their incomes
Analysis by The Weekend Australian has revealed that more than 44 per cent of voters, almost 6.4 million people, are either public sector employees (1.89 million) or wholly dependent on federal government pensions, allowances and parenting payments (4.48 million). The figure grows further when private sector workers who receive more in welfare than they pay in tax are added …
ANU researcher Ben Phillips estimated that only 43 per cent of the adult population excluding public sector workers were net taxpayers last year, bringing the actual total voter-dependency ratio to well over 50 per cent. 
Interestingly: 
The Coalition holds seven of the 10 most welfare-dependent seats in the nation while Labor holds three.
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A GIMP FOR KNOWLEDGE

Tim Blair – Saturday, April 16, 2016 (2:24pm)

Bill Leak’s cheerful education gimp deserves to become a recurring character:
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MAN FINDS SOMETHING TO RHYME WITH “ERDOGAN”

Tim Blair – Saturday, April 16, 2016 (1:37pm)

A satirical poem lands a German comedian in legal trouble
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government granted Turkey’s request to proceed with legal action against a German satirist who derided President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, risking a domestic backlash over freedom of expression.
“We’re allowing this because we are confident of the strong justice system in our state,” Merkel told reporters in Berlin Friday. 
“Strong” might be underselling it. Try “oppressive” or “tyrannical”. As Mark Steyn observes of Merkel: “You can take the girl out of East Germany, but you can’t take the East Germany out of the girl.” Further on this troubling case: 
Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus on Monday said the German comedian had committed a “heavy crime against humanity” by insulting the Turkish head of state. ”No one has the right to insult” Erdogan, Kurtulmus told reporters. 
That’s a familiar turn of phrase. Merkel adds
“In a state under the rule of law, it is not a matter for the government but rather for state prosecutors and courts to weigh personal rights issues and other concerns affecting press and artistic freedom,” she said. 
One could offer a long counter-argument, but again Mark Steyn accurately summarises the anti-Merkel, pro-free speech position: 
Bog off, tosser. 
===

THE DONALD POSTED

Tim Blair – Saturday, April 16, 2016 (12:51am)

Ahead of Tuesday’s big primary, the New York Post endorses Donald Trump
Donald Trump is a rookie candidate – a potential superstar of vast promise, but making rookie mistakes. The nominee Republicans need for the fall campaign is often hard to make out amid his improvisations and too-harsh replies to his critics …


Should he win the nomination, we expect Trump to pivot – not just on the issues, but in his manner. The post-pivot Trump needs to be more presidential: better informed on policy, more self-disciplined and less thin-skinned.
Yet the promise is clearly there in the rookie who is, after all, leading the field as the finals near.
Trump has electrified the public, drawing millions of new voters to the polls and inspiring people who’d given up on ever again having a candidate who’d fight for them. 
Effectively, the Post is endorsing a future Trump – one who has to this date not emerged. Still, the likelihood is that Trump will indeed pivot. He’s been pivoting for decades, on almost any issue you care to name.
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Never mind the boats. What of the tens of thousands coming by plane?

Andrew Bolt April 16 2016 (7:59pm)

Former Howard Government advisor Terry Barnes is absolutely right. Both sides of politics are near silent about the real challenge at our borders:
From the Abbott and now Turnbull Government’s point of view and, indeed, for all successive governments since Bob Hawke’s time, the political obsession has been illegal boat arrivals and people smuggling… 
But it focuses on only a handful of people: even at its peak in 2012-13, there were just 18,500 arrivals by boat in one hefty annual spike before then immigration minister Scott Morrison made good on the Coalition’s boat-stopping promise.
By contrast, and without fanfare, seven million temporary visas were issued and almost 190,000 permanent migrants arrived in 2014-15… Of the top 10 source countries in 2014-15, seven were Asian…
Going by their media activity, however, this tide of human movement matters little to our politicians. Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton has issued many press releases since he was appointed by Tony Abbott in December 2014: of all of them, 68 of them related to boats, asylum seekers, detention, people-smuggling and the Australian Border Force’s related role, while just 43 related to general immigration and citizenship issues.
Moreover, many of these latter releases were announcements of international meetings or merely human interest stories for citizenship ceremonies…
Given Sydney grew by 83,000 people in 2014-15, Melbourne by 91,000, and Australia’s overall population by 317,000, we have some big population and sustainability challenges to deal with. There is demand for land and housing; jobs for newcomers (but not in Whyalla) whether they’ve come from within Australia or overseas; schools; hospitals; roads; public transport; welfare and social services; and so on.
We need a debate about whether we have the mix right between productive economic and family reunion migrants, including whether eligibility criteria for one or both categories are too generous or not generous enough. Are we taking in too many migrants, full stop? ...
Then there are questions of new arrivals integrating into the Australian community. This isn’t about cultures and religions clashing, despite ignorant stirrers of both left and right whipping up frenzies of hatred around Islam and Muslims as a visible minority. It’s about whether we’re doing enough to promote acceptance, respect and tolerance of newcomers, and what Australian community values those newcomers are or aren’t honouring in return. 
Yet can we look to our politicians to even engage in, let alone lead a wider migration debate? No. Both major parties are terrified by it. 
I actually think there are more serious concerns with Islam than Barnes seems to allow, but other migrant groups are also forming near colonies here, thanks to mass migration. As I said this week, these could also prove dangerous.
But where is the debate? 
===

Merkel surrenders free speech to Turkey

Andrew Bolt April 16 2016 (7:53pm)

A pathetic surrender of free speech to the Muslim world - and from the German leader who imported 1 million illegal immigrants in just one year:
Angela Merkel came under fire from free speech campaigners after agreeing to a demand from Turkey that a German comedian who accused President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of bestiality in a TV broadcast should be prosecuted. 
In a surprise decision that split her government, she said that judges would now have to decide whether Jan Bohmermann should be convicted under rarely used legislation against “insulting a foreign head of state”.
The German Chancellor was immediately lambasted for “kowtowing” to the Turkish president, whose support she badly needs to implement an EU agreement to take back illegal migrants caught entering Europe. 
She had been put on the spot by Bohmermann, 35, when he provocatively mocked the Turkish leader on the German public broadcaster ZDF on March 31, falsely suggesting in a comic poem that he hit girls, watched child pornography and engaged in bestiality with farmyard animals.
Remember when this hypocrite marched in the “Je suis charlie” protests against the Islamist massacre of Charlie Hebdo writers and cartoonists, vowing to defend free speech?
She lied. 
===

Turnbull desperate for a message that isn’t a line for Labor

Andrew Bolt April 16 2016 (11:57am)

Malcolm Turnbull made a bad mistake by savaging the banks for their alleged greed and crimes without offering any solution.

Phil Coorey:
Labor had for some time been discussing among its leadership group the idea of taking the royal commission [into banks] promise to the election… 
Malcolm Turnbull’s dressing down of the banks in response to the Westpac allegations was one of the better sprays a politician has given the sector in years. Turnbull’s message was of a need for better self-regulation, but he also made the case for Labor. He said, essentially, the banks had a culture of greed in which remuneration and reward usurped all obligations to customers. The scandals now numbered too many to ignore…
No surprise Labor decided to bring the announcement forward. “Turnbull changed our timing, not our substance,” a senior Labor figure told this column. Not only did Labor have the Prime Minister so eloquently make its case, it also presented another juicy opportunity to ram home to doubting voters the message that the Prime Minister talks a big game… 
His upbraiding of the banks while stopping short of doing anything about it “fell into this category of saying one thing and doing another”, the Labor figure said. “It’s the clearest-cut example yet.” 
Unfortunately - and not just for the Government - this kind of class war is popular. Channel 7’s ReachTEL poll shows 54 per cent support for a royal commission into banks and just 18 per cent opposition. Plus a 50-50 tie between Labor and the Coalition.
Laurie Oakes:
Recent Newspolls show Turnbull’s honeymoon is over and the Coalition has a fight on its hands. I have seen some of Labor’s own polling, a nationwide survey conducted last month in which respondents were asked: “Has the Liberal-National Coalition government performed well enough to deserve re-election or is it time to give somebody else a go?” 
The result: 38 per cent said the Coalition deserved re-election, 36 per cent answered it was time to give someone else a go, and 26 per cent were unsure. ...the Coalition has good reason to worry about the potential of the bank issue to shift more votes… Which is why the immediate reaction of some [Coalition MPs] was to urge the government to follow Labor’s lead.
Turnbull’s own goal is just symptomatic of a wider problem. Dennis Shanahan:
Malcolm Turnbull and the Coalition are failing on retail politics — literally. There is no clear sense of direction on tax, the economy and the upcoming budget for solid Coalition constituencies such as families, small business, self-funded retirees and independent contractors apart from the declaration that “we all have to live within our means”. 
The problem for the government with this approach, arrived at after six months of conflicting and confusing considerations of tax changes and economic emphasis, is that people are already aware of this and acting accordingly… Like the Newspoll survey, which has shown a fall over the last three months in support for the Prime Minister personally and the government, the major surveys on consumer sentiment by the Westpac and ANZ banks have shown similar declines… The ANZ analysis for the same period suggests “confidence is likely being weighed down by the discussion around tax and other policy reforms which are in the spotlight in the lead-up to the budget in May"… All of this only increases the importance and expectation about the budget, which will almost certainly come only a week or so before an election is called for July 2 ...
Reader Peter of Bellevue Hills explains the gloomy choice:

I’d submit the competing messages are “we’re going to tax you more and spend more” versus “we’re going to shift some taxes around and, ‘wherever possible’ reduce the debt”.

Which of the two sounds more upfront, definite and believable?
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Where is Antigone now?

Andrew Bolt April 16 2016 (11:09am)

Who now has the courage to fight against the usurpers of our freedom?
Campbell Markham is a Presbyterian pastor in Hobart:
Sophocles (496-406 BC) was ... one of Athens’ most revered generals, statesmen, and priests during her golden age of art, science, and philosophy. 
It was however his astonishing poetic abilities that made Sophocles immortal, writing 123 plays that won the constant prizes and applause of his fellow Athenians....
I sat down with two of my teenagers to watch the BBC TV’s fine 1986 version of Antigone....
The plot is well known: Antigone, Ismene, Eteocles, and Polynices are the fruit of Oedipus’ incestuous union: at once his siblings and children. As the curtain rises, the brothers have slain each other in battle, Polynices attacking Thebes, Eteocles protecting it. Creon, King of Thebes, has decreed a state funeral for Eteocles, and that Polynices’ body lie unburied. Not only will the dogs and vultures have his bones, the suspension of religious rites will prevent him from finding afterlife peace. Thus Creon makes him a fearful example to would-be traitors.
Brave Antigone defies her uncle. She ceremonially washes her brother’s body and sprinkles it with burial sand. Being caught in the act—she hardly tried to hide it—she now faces public execution for her civil disobedience. But instead of shame and fear, she exudes profound peace and pride in breaking Creon’s edict. Her defiant monologue before Creon is electrifying… 
Burying her brother was for Creon a crime against the state. But to leave her brother unburied was for Antigone a crime against the basic natural laws of humanity.
Markham then quotes the Loeb translation of Antigones’ defiant speech. Apologies, but I prefer this Fagle translation:
CREON:
And still you had the gall to break this law? 

ANTIGONE:
Of course I did. It wasn’t Zeus, not in the least,
who made this proclamation - not to me
Nor did that justice, dwelling with the gods
beneath the earth, ordain such laws for men.
Nor did I think your edict had such force
that you, a mere mortal, could override the gods,
the great unwritten, unshakable traditions.
They are alive, not just today or yesterday:
they live forever, from the first of time,
and no one knows when they first saw the light.
These laws - I was not about to break them,
not out of fear of some man’s wounded pride,
and face the retribution of the gods.
Die I must, I’ve known it all my life
- how could I keep from knowing? - even without
your death-sentence ringing in my ears.
And if I am to die before my time
I consider that a gain. Who on earth,
alive in the midst of so much grief as I,
could fail to find his death a rich reward?
So for me, at least, to meet this doom of yours
is precious little pain. But if I had allowed
my own mother’s son to rot, an unburied corpse -
that would have been an agony! This is nothing.
And if my present actions strike you as foolish,
let’s just say I’ve been accused of folly
by a fool. 
Markham again:
And so Antigone, standing in the same immortal line as the Hebrew midwives before Pharaoh, Joan of Arc before le tribunal, and Sophie Scholl before the vile Roland Freisler, teaches us that it is better to die than to bend and submit to injustice.... 
But Antigone’s brave stance for Justice and Nature against unjust human laws is what electrified me. We in the Western world live in days of mad, accelerating, and bewildering change. A same-sex couple is the same as a man and a woman; male and female is an illusion; an unborn baby has a right to life only when her mother grants her that right; children may be taken from their natural parents for the gratification of adults; and anyone who opposes these schemes may, for their intolerance and bigotry, be ridiculed, sacked, fined, imprisoned, and, most sinister by far, re-educated.
At this time when the laws of nature and basic justice are conscientiously unravelled and suppressed, Antigone’s defiance makes the heart swell.  “I was not like, who feared no mortal’s frown, To disobey these laws, and so provoke the wrath of Heaven.” 
===

Here comes another financial disaster inherited from Labor

Andrew Bolt April 16 2016 (10:57am)

Another grand scheme without the cash to pay for it - the fruit of warm fuzzies, not hard heads. Rick Morton:
In the months before Christmas 2014, Bruce Bonyhady — the chairman of the $22 billion flagship National Disability Insurance Scheme — was scared. 
The country was in the grip of a budget emergency, as decreed by the new government, and the bosses in charge of the NDIS were stunned by the dawning realisation that the thing they were meant to deliver was bigger and uglier than they had prepared for.
This reporter and Bonyhady met to discuss the progress of the scheme and it was put to him that the cost of people turning 65 and being allowed to stay with the NDIS forever was going to add billions a year to the price tag, a figure from the scheme’s internal actuary, Sarah Johnson.
Bonyhady was silent before pleading: “Please don’t write that. We’re not ready to deal with that yet."…
In 2012 Julia Gillard said there were 100,000 people with disabilities who received little to no support at all… A dream of advocates for years, the NDIS found its time in part because of the support of Bill Shorten, who was then a junior parliamentary secretary…
He swooped. The idea was sweeping, another Labor program to be proud of, Whitlamesque in its scope and impossible to argue against as a concept. What politician would dare? 
Twenty-two billion dollars would be spent every year on these participants. The money would be given not based on the label of their disability but on what they needed to live and function in society. If they could show it was “reasonable and necessary” they would be given whatever amount of money was required to help them buy new wheelchairs, one-on-one time with support workers to get them out of bed and into the shower, incontinence supplies, remodelling of the home for access issues. And it would be given to them. Not means-tested, not capped. Theirs, to spend with whomever they chose.
Massive pot of money. Vague criteria. Sentimentality praised. Scepticism demonised. Truth stifled.
What could go wrong? 
===

Envy of the rich and greed for someone else’s money is killing us

Andrew Bolt April 16 2016 (10:20am)

Greed and envy threaten to make us poor - but that greed is fatally misdiagnosed.
Around the world there’s a disgust with the economic system that’s actually lifted billions of people to unprecedented wealth and health:
[US] Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders made a whirlwind, 24-hour trip to Rome on Friday, where he ... praised the pontiff in his 10-minute address at a Vatican conference on social justice… 
“I believe that the pope has played an historic and an incredible role in trying to create a new world economy and a new vision for the people of our planet,” Sanders told reporters… “What he is saying is that we cannot continue to go forward when so few have so much and when greed is such a destructive force, not only in the U.S. but throughout the world,” he continued. 
In Australia there’s that same destructive envy and greed, kicking at the very foundations of the only economic system that can deliver the riches demanded.
The Turnbull Government is being buffeted by the same winds of populist discontent dominating the political culture of so many Western economies… What’s wrong with those greedy banks, with those greedy businesses not paying their taxes, with companies like Arrium throwing people out of jobs, with inadequate money for schools and hospitals, with why ordinary people can’t seem to get ahead any more. 
Labor is offering deceptively simple answers – from increased protectionism for steel workers to tougher punishments against the “big end of town”. 
And, yes, there is a culture of greed, but it’s not capitalism or capitalists alone who are to blame. Capitalism is just a tool, for a start, and socialists are just as greedy - not least for power.
No, the greed is far more widespread, and it’s rooted more in people’s hearts than economic systems - unless you count the welfarism that too often panders to envy instead of encouraging self-reliance.
The fact is that Australians collectively are greedy - greedy for government spending we cannot afford and handouts we didn’t earn. That is what’s dragging us down.
Consider this frightening statistic for a start - one that makes it almost impossible to cut the government spending that threatens to drown us in debt:
Nearly half of voters in the looming federal election will rely ­entirely on government payments for their incomes, confront­ing Scott Morrison with a demographic and political powder keg as he frames a May 3 budget ­relying on spending restraint to rein in the deficit. 
Analysis by The Weekend Australian has revealed that more than 44 per cent of voters, almost 6.4 million people, are ­either public sector employees (1.89 million) or wholly dependent on federal government pensions, allowances and parenting payments (4.48 million). The figure grows further when private sector workers who receive more in welfare than they pay in tax are added…ANU researcher Ben Phillips estimated that only 43 per cent of the adult population excluding public sector workers were net taxpayers last year, bringing the actual total voter-dependency ratio to well over 50 per cent.
It isn’t capitalism that threatens us but creeping socialism, where more than half the population now live off the other half and increasingly treat this dependency as their resentful entitlement. Big Government, rather than free enterprise, becomes their salvation.

This envy of the rich - treating the earners as near criminals - and a greed for unfinanced spending has brought us to the astonishing point where Labor can actually campaign for massively higher taxes and spending as if it were a virtue, not poison:
CHRIS BOWEN (SHADOW TREASURER): ... Our fiscal bottom line will be very clear. It’ll underpinned not only by the $100 billion worth of budget improvements that we’ve already announced, but further that we have been working on and we’ll announce shortly and further announcements, both on spending and on revenue.
A greedy public and a feral Senate means a timid Turnbull Government dares not - or cannot - do what is needed to save us as government debt spirals higher. Paul Kelly:
The Turnbull government is embarrassed close to the budget with influential ratings agency Moody’s warning that more increases in debt will risk Australia’s AAA credit rating and expressing open scepticism the deficit can be tackled essentially via the government’s growth strategy… 
The pivotal part of the Moody’s commentary ... says: “Australia has had a prolonged and marked increase in government debt over the past decade. During a period of relatively strong GDP growth, Australia’s government debt has risen to 35.1 per cent of GDP in fiscal 2015 from 11.6 per cent 10 years earlier. We expect government debt to increase further to around 38 per cent of GDP in fiscal 2018.”
Moody’s disputes the return-to-surplus timetable by 2021 outlined by Treasurer Scott Morrison, suggesting after this point “government debt will likely continue to climb, a credit negative for Australia"…
Treasury chief John Fraser .. [has] said commonwealth gross debt would reach 29 per cent of GDP by 2018, exceeding the level during the turbulent 1980s and 90s, including the “banana republic” crisis. With two-thirds of debt held by overseas creditors Australia was more exposed to shocks in global financial markets… The federal government’s interest bill was one billion dollars a month, set to double within the decade unless the budget improved…
With spending at a historic high ... the government’s dilemma is acute: it wants the major adjustment on the spending side but since the 2014 budget it has lacked the nerve or parliamentary or public support to prosecute this…
Consider these costs over the coming decade: the NDIS $111bn, Labor’s hospital program $73bn, Labor’s schools agenda $37bn, Labor’s carbon tax compensation (accepted by Abbott) $57bn, Rudd’s pension increases $52bn and the current defence white paper target $30bn. 
Nothing better illustrates the argument put by both Prime Minister’s Department chief, Martin Parkinson and Treasury’s Fraser that the Australian people have demanded a series of benefits from government they are not yet prepared to finance ...
Envy of the rich and greed for someone else’s money is killing us.
UPDATE
Judith Sloan exposes the empty excuses for Labor’s latest appeal to this envy and greed - its promised royal commission into the banks. The “scandals” have been either dealt with already or are strongly contested.
UPDATE
Exposing the “social justice” warriors screaming about greed:
While denouncing the federal government for The Guardian Australia on Wednesday, Josh Bornstein of Maurice Blackburn Lawyers took the moral high ground: 
And let us not forget the attempt to wind back consumer protections against predatory crooks in our ethically challenged banks.
Consumer protection? When Bornstein promoted this article on Twitter, it led to an exchange with Robert Hay QC: 
I was wondering when you were doing a spiel on the distribution of settlement funds from bushfire litigation?
Bornstein’s response: 
As the Supreme Court has indicated its complete satisfaction with the process, there is nothing I can add. Am proud of our work.
Hedley Thomas, in The Australian, on the source of Bornstein’s pride in Maurice Blackburn: 
The largest class-action settlement in Australia’s legal history led to a $794 million payout to victims of the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, but thousands are still waiting for their payments despite the first tranche of $494m being announced in 2014. The firm initially was paid $80m from the payouts, and it is continuing to run up costs of more than $1m a month in the administration of the settlement. Many bushfire victims who are in financial stress and unable to access their funds from the settlement are angry that the firm’s senior equity-owning partners took more than $16m in personal dividends in the last financial year, arising from the payouts. Almost 600 of the firm’s clients in another class action, over contaminated Bonsoy drinks, are still waiting for a share of a December 2014 settlement of $25m, which will be reduced to about $16m after the legal fees and costs are taken out.
===

We have a problem with African crime and the police should say so

Andrew Bolt April 16 2016 (9:44am)

Victoria police chief Graham Ashton denied his force was covering up the dominant ethnicity of the Apex gang after scores of rioters - most African - rioted at Moomba. But his press release seemed to say no-but-yes:
Yesterday’s newspapers questioned the Victoria Police approach to dealing with these gangs. They asked whether police were tip-toeing around issues of ethnicity for fear of being labelled racists.

But if people think their police are going soft on gangs because they are of one ethnic background or another, they are wrong… 

The Apex Gang was originally made up of a small number of young people from the South Sudanese community in Dandenong. They merged with another youth gang and now include a diverse range of young people from different ethnic backgrounds. The majority of these young people were born in Australia.

We will continue to call it as we see it.
Well, kind of:
If ethnicity is relevant, then we will be forthcoming. But when it is not, we need to exercise extreme caution. We must make sure we are not unnecessarily demonising law abiding sections of our community and exacerbating any sense of isolation they might be experiencing.
Really? That would be a change.
But check recent reports on what seem to be crimes by the Apex gang. How multi-ethnic is this gang really? Can we trust Victoria Police to tell us the truth?
Police yesterday:
At about 2am there was an attempted burglary on a shopping centre in South Morang where it is believed 3 males gained entry but were disturbed by security and fled. 
A short time later, just after 3am, a jewellery store in a shopping centre on Cooper Street, Epping was broken into and a large amount of jewellery was stolen…
Police have been told that at about 4am a Mercedes Benz was stolen after an aggravated burglary in Brooklyn, where a front door was kicked in and a number of items stolen.
A short time later the allegedly stolen Mercedes was seen in Footscray along with a Silver Volkswagen Golf which is believed to be the vehicle stolen in an alleged aggravated burglary in Donvale on 14 April.
A 16-year-old Epping boy was arrested… It’s is [sic] believed those involved may have links to a gang known as Apex.
One of the [wanted] males is perceived to be of African appearance… The second male is perceived to be of African appearance… 
Last week:
A gang of armed men have terrorised a man in his Keysborough home before stealing his car and fleeing. Police have been told a gang of six to eight men broke into a house on Stafford Street about 6am on Sunday morning…

Detectives from the Greater Dandenong crime investigation unit said two of the men involved in the aggravated burglary were described as African in appearance.
From April 13 - albeit not necessarily about the Apex gang:
Police are investigating a series of thefts from motor vehicles and frauds in Cranbourne East, dating back to September last year. Police said overnight on September 27, a group of 7-8 unknown male youths of African appearance, committed a series of theft from motor vehicles in and around the Blackedge Drive area in Cranbourne East. 
March 9:
Men armed with baseball bats and a pole have broken into an eastern suburbs home and made off with a luxury car as part of a late-night spree of alleged aggravated burglaries. 
Police say four men, including two carrying baseball bats, attempted to force their way into the home of a young family on Armadale Street in Armadale at 3.20am on Tuesday. The victims, who had two young children inside the house, managed to hold off the offenders until they could call the police.

The would-be intruders are then believed to have driven to a house on Hodgson Street in Templestowe at 4.45am where they ... demanded the resident’s car keys before stealing a white 2015 Porsche Macan..

All four men are perceived to be of African appearance. 
Most of the African offenders will be refugees or the children of refugees.
Which again raises the question: who imported this danger? Why? 
===

What kind of party do Liberals want? Of backstabbers? Faction puppets? Labor-liters?

Andrew Bolt April 16 2016 (8:51am)

Liberals in Mackellar must today choose between the disloyal, the misguided and the outsider. They must also decide whether the Liberals are guided by misguided loyalty, faction bosses or values:
IT’S D-DAY for embattled MP Bronwyn Bishop, with Liberal party preselectors today casting their votes on their favoured candidate for the seat of Mackellar. 
Some Liberal party insiders say it could be the end of the former speaker’s political career… Along with Ms Bishop, the other main contenders are Jason Falinski, who has worked with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Walter Villatora, who is Mr Abbott’s preferred choice…

Altogether there are seven candidates in what is being described as the most bitter preselection in more than a decade.
But it seems the fix is in, thanks to shadowy lobbyists such as Michael Photios:
Mr Falinski, a businessman and senior staffer for NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance, is said to control a majority of votes in the preselection, with his backers counting between 41 and 44 votes in his favour. 
Mrs Bishop could get up to 35 votes, and Mr Villatora is expected to receive up to 15.  
Adding to the likelihood of a stitch-up by the faction bosses - particularly the dangerously over-mighty Photios:
NSW Liberal Party rules mean only 96 members get to choose who will represent the party at the next election. 
A vote for Bishop would be a mistake:
Bishop has not the faintest hope of ever getting a position of authority in this or any other government.
Bishop is a figure of mockery in the media and in the public after her Choppergate scandal and absurd sense of entitlement.
Bishop is not trusted even by her own Right faction after her spiteful betrayal of Tony Abbott, voting against him after he finally urged her to resign as Speaker over Choppergate - and after Abbott had paid a high price in the polls for showing her loyalty for far too long.
Bishop has made no positive contribution to public policy for a long time.
Bishop attracts almost  uniformly negative publicity for the Liberals.
Bishop, if preselected, could lose the Liberals this safe seat at the election.
The Liberals members voting in this pre-selection should consider very carefully if voting for Bishop is good for their electorate, their party, their government or their country. In what way would voting for her advance the contest of ideas?
A vote for Falinksi, though, would be a vote for lousy political judgement and values that belong better with Labor. It would also cement the deadly grip of faction bosses who are strangling their own party:
Falinski is the creature of Photios, who helped to punish talent at the Senate preselections which he turned into a farce that is now being overturned in an ugly brawl.
Let’s check Photios’s latest pick, to see of the judgement of this fixer and lobbyist is as bad as ever.
Falinski in 2001 wrote that he was against stopping the boats that eventually dumped 50,000 illegal immigrants here, even after 1200 died on the way:
If, however, Australia’s political leaders feel that it’s easier to pander to the xenophobic tendencies of some in our community by expelling “illegal” migrants in vast numbers, or loading the judicial dice to ensure the sick, the old and the ailing have one more hurdle to jump before being allowed to stay here, then they are doing our nation a disservice and damaging our long-term economic and social interests…
Finally, there is the moral argument. How many of us would voluntarily choose to pay thousands of dollars to sit on the bottom of a leaky boat for months on end to be dropped off in another country where we know no-one and do not speak the language? It is not something that we, as a nation, should shun, but rather welcome as an affirmation of our nation in the eyes of the truly needy…  
By removing the restrictions on those wishing to move to Australia we would improve our prospects in growing our market. We’d improve our networks and innovation. And we’d make ourselves once more relevant to the world. History has shown that those countries that warmly embrace new migrants enjoy these outcomes. Australia’s stance should be clear - let them come, and hope they stay. 
Falinksi in 2011 opposed and mocked Tony Abbott, who actually went on to lead the Liberals to victory two years later:
But many will feel the risk with sticking with Tony Abbott is that he can be a divisive figure, taking the party he leads too far right. It’s the Conservative Party, not the Liberal Party. His convictions are steadfastly moral. They are not policy driven (unless written down). 
There’s only small – but measurable – doubt that Tony Abbott would beat [Gillard]. However, Malcolm Turnbull would be a near certainty. That’s why I’ll take early and lucrative odds – just for bragging rights. 
Note, by the way, that Falinski mocks politicians with convictions he describes as “moral”. What, may I ask, are his own?.
Falinski last month childishly mocked Liberal MP and former Minister Kevin Andrews, with a record of achievement far superior to his own:
Concerned? Confused? So am I. Who’s our minister? That would be the Minister for Desk Toys and Paper Cuts, Mr Kevin Andrews. Nothing from him about the aged care system yet, old or new.
Falinski in 2002 claimed the conservative policies of John Howard were irrelevant, even though Howard went on to win four election victories in all, and Tony Abbott another:
The Liberal Party is facing the critical question of how it can become relevant again to the Australian community ... [because of its] populist right wing stance on a range of issues.
Note Falinski’s choice of co-author in that last article? Why, it’s Greg Barns of the angry Left:
The former Liberal staffer was an endorsed 2002 Tasmanian Liberal candidate for the state seat of Denison before being disendorsed over the asylum seeker issue. Became an unsuccessful Democrat candidate at the state election in 2002. In 2013 emerged as a Wikileaks party spokesperson
Judge Falinski by the company he keeps. Speaking of which, Falinski has long been tied to the Photios faction. From 2008:
Step forward Jason Falinski who has nominated to become Warringah’s first popularly elected mayor under the banner of “Warringah 08"… “Warringah 08” is a Liberal trojan horse and Falinski is seeking the mayor’s position so he can launch the next stage of his ambitious political career in federal or state parliament.  The likely targets of Phase II are Brad Hazzard’s state seat of Wakehurst or Bronwyn Bishop’s federal seat of Mackellar. 
Falinski has a chequered history in the Liberal Party. He is one of the chief spear carriers for The Group, the “wets” whose titular federal leader is Joe Hockey and whose state chief is former NSW minister Michael Photios… A former president of the blue ribbon Point Piper branch, Falinski was campaign manager for merchant banker Malcolm Turnbull when he blitzed the seat of Wentworth at the 2004 election. 
Do Liberals really want to be represented in Parliament by a woman who for many voters symbolises disloyalty and a sense of entitlement? Do they really want to be represented by a creature of faction bosses who has sneered at election-winning Liberal values?
Which leaves Villatora:
Company director Walter Villatora is tackling the embattled former Speaker with the endorsement of the former prime minister and NSW Premier Mike Baird. 
A reference from Mr Baird… praises Mr Villatora ... as “a person of integrity with an extensive knowledge of business and political processes"…
But more tellingly, Mr Abbott also praises him for his work in the campaign to reform preselection processes.
“You have also been a strong voice for the democratic reforms that our party so desperately needs,” Mr Abbott says.
“Unlike Labor, we Liberals have always mistrusted factions and have usually managed to keep them out of our party… Today, though, one particular faction has so come to dominate state executive and state council that good people are discouraged from joining the party or becoming active in it. 
“Like John Howard, Barry O’Farrell, Mike Baird and so many others, you have swiftly come to appreciate that the best way to combat the sway of factions — and to encourage good people to join our party — is to give all our members an equal say in the most important job our party does: that of selecting candidates.”
===

TRUTH FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE

Tim Blair – Thursday, April 16, 2015 (4:52pm)

Two days before he and many of his staff were murdered by Islamic terrorists, Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier completed what looks like a remarkable book: Open Letter to the Fraudsters of Islamophobia who Play into Racists’ Hands. Extract: 
The suggestion that you can laugh at everything, except certain aspects of Islam, because Muslims are much more susceptible than the rest of the population, what is that, if not discrimination?
It’s time to finish with this disgusting white, left-wing bourgeois intellectual paternalism.
Those who accuse Charlie Hebdo’s cartoonist of Islamophobia every time a figure in them has a beard are not only showing dishonesty or gratuitous bad faith, they are displaying support for radical ... Islamism. 
They also display stunning cowardice, but they tend to do that all the time.
===

IT ALL MAKES PERFECT SENSE

Tim Blair – Thursday, April 16, 2015 (3:22am)

The UN recently decided that Israel was the number one violator of women’s rights in the world today. And then the UN appointed the Islamic Republic of Iran to the executive board of the UN’s Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
===

SEVEN DAYS OF SUPERVAN

Tim Blair – Thursday, April 16, 2015 (3:16am)

Welcome to Seven Days of Supervan, this site’s celebration of visionary director Lamar Card’s towering 1977 cinematic masterpiece. Check in every day for the next week to enjoy the music, the mayhem and the sheer magic of Supervan and its human enablers.
In tonight’s first instalment we meet van fan Clint Morgan, mysterious rich gal Karen Trenton, the bikies who are trying to rape her, various CB radio enthusiasts, a Harley-Davidson chopper that suddenly becomes a cheap single-cylinder Honda when it is consumed by a wrecking yard crusher and finally Boseley, inventor of the great Supervan itself:

Tomorrow: Supervan revealed! 
(Via Iowahawk, of course.)
===

REIGN ENDS

Tim Blair – Thursday, April 16, 2015 (3:14am)

Who knew? It seems Tim Flannery quietly resigned last year as a director of his successfully privatised Climate Council, some months prior to begging for further donations. Please do read on.
UPDATE. After Tony Thomas sent a donation to the Climate Council, he received this response
Dear Tony, I wanted to write to say – thank you. Your donation today is powering Climate Council to cumulatively reach hundreds of millions of Australians with vital information on climate change, changing hearts and minds on this important issue. 
Climate alarmists always exaggerate
(Via Michael)
===

OLIVER BISQUE

Tim Blair – Thursday, April 16, 2015 (2:23am)

Eight seconds of cruel genius.
===

Let’s praise him again, shall we?

Andrew Bolt April 16 2015 (5:05pm)

Is that praise really necessary? What message does it send?
A TERRORIST sympathiser who threatened police and savagely bashed his elderly mother has attacked a journalist outside court for the second time this year. 
Khodr Moustafa Taha, whose release on bail in January sparked widespread criticism across the country, was to be sentenced after pleading guilty to 11 charges, including using Twitter to threaten, harass or offend.
But he was released today to allow a more detailed report on his mental condition to be submitted to the court.
Taha lashed out at waiting media on walking out of the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, throwing steaming hot coffee all over veteran television journalist Allan Raskall.
In February, Taha left Herald Sun photographer Yuri Kouzmin bloody and bruised after smashing his camera into his face.
Remarkably, Deputy Chief Magistrate Jelena Popovic applauded Taha for his good behaviour at his very next court appearance…

Instead, she expressed sympathy over the media attention Taha had endured since being freed back into the community.
“It pains me to some degree that you have so much media attention,” she said at the time.
Moments before his latest attack, Ms Popovic agreed to relax the thug’s bail conditions from reporting seven days a week to just three. 
Again she applauded him for his “excellent adherence to his bail conditions”...
===

Counting the Islamists’ victims

Andrew Bolt April 16 2015 (2:33pm)

Counting the victims of the Boko Haram Islamists:
AT LEAST 2,000 woman have been abducted, over one and a half million people have been displaced, over 4,000 civilians were murdered last year and a further 1,500 have been killed so far in 2015. 
Those are the figures released in an Amnesty International report which paints a horrifying picture of the breadth of Boko Haram’s brutal activities in North East Nigeria.... While the exact number of members is unknown, the number is thought to be around 15,000.  
Meanwhile, other Islamist forces threaten even worse:
Monday, Israeli officials reported that Iran has upped its delivery of weapons to the Lebanese Shiite terror group Hezbollah in the past few weeks. Channel 2 stated that the shipments have been made to both Lebanon and the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.  In addition, the report stated that Iran was sending weapons to Hamas chiefs in Gaza and arming Hamas members in Judea and Samaria… 
The increase in Iranian arms shipments coincides with Monday’s announcement that Russia will reverse an earlier ban and send S-300 missile defense systems to Iran. 
(Thanks to readers Gab and WaG311.) 
===

73-year-old Jewish lady denies academic’s claim that she kicked him between the legs

Andrew Bolt April 16 2015 (11:39am)

Was an elderly Jewish lady defamed by a Sydney University academic?
The Jewish woman at the centre of allegations of anti-Semitism levelled against Sydney University academic Jake Lynch has ­denied she kicked the pro-Palestinian professor in a melee last month when students disrupted a public lecture. 
The woman, whom The Australian can reveal as semi-retired English literature lecturer and sometime stand-up comedienne Diane Barkas, 73, did admit to pouring water on the demon­strators as they loudly drowned out an address by retired British army colonel Richard Kemp....
Ms Barkas told The Australian yesterday that while she could not know what was in Professor Lynch’s mind, she found his ­action in waving a $5 note in front of her face and threatening that she would lose a lot of money in a lawsuit consistent with the sort of anti-Jewish remarks she endured as a child at school in England.
Professor Lynch has vigorously denied his actions were anti-­Semitic, saying he was only warning Ms Barkas to desist from what he claims was an assault in which she kicked him twice in the groin. ...
Professor Lynch, who is the ­director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies and a vocal supporter of the international boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel, has become a hero figure among sections of the intellectual Left on campus and beyond, and was hailed at a public forum yesterday organised by the group Sydney Staff for BDS. 
There is something sick in our universities. Action must be taken:
Sydney University has issued a “show cause” letter to academic Jake Lynch, threatening him with disciplinary action over his conduct at a public lecture last month which was interrupted by pro-Palestinian students… 
The investigation found one staff member, five students and two contractors engaged by the university “may have engaged in conduct that breached the university’s codes of conduct”, and that five members of the public also engaged in untoward behaviour. No names were released, but The Australian has established that the staff member is Professor Lynch, and the contractors are ­security guards.
(Thanks to readers WaG311 and Peter of Bellevue Hill.) 
===

Unemployment falls

Andrew Bolt April 16 2015 (11:30am)

Unemployment rate falls to 6.1 per cent. There are just some tentative signs that the economy is slowly, very slowly, inching up. 
===

Politicians fight for taxes harder than they fight for jobs

Andrew Bolt April 16 2015 (9:49am)


OUR politicians are failing us. They fight harder to increase our taxes than to increase our income.
Both Liberals and Labor have talked of hiking taxes on super, on bank deposits, on multinationals.
Yet they scream “unfair!” when multinationals figure it’s cheaper to base themselves overseas.
Worse, politicians around the country block one industry after another and then feign surprise now that the money has run out.
Take the two debates right now on tax.
(Read full column here.)   
===

Ruddock warns of blowout in immigration intake

Andrew Bolt April 16 2015 (8:07am)

How did federal government’s completely lose control over our immigration?
A FORMER senior federal government minister has called for a cut to the migrant intake due to the worsening job market. 
Highly respected Liberal MP Philip Ruddock, who was immigration minister from 1996 to 2003, said ... “It’s all right to talk about high levels of family reunion, but what you’re talking about is a population that’s going to be highly welfare-dependent...”
Mr Ruddock made the comments after he was alerted to a speech he made in 2000 when official projections suggested that Australia’s population would reach about 24 million by 2050, including 4.5 million in Melbourne.
Just 15 years later, those population targets have almost been reached and experts now predict on current trends the nation could have 40 million people by 2050, with Melbourne almost 8 million.
Mr Ruddock said in the speech that he expected annual net overseas migration to average out at 80,000 over the long run, but the figure actually reached about 300,000 in 2008 and has been well over 200,000 since then. 
Mr Ruddock blamed later Labor governments for allowing family reunion.
From Ruddock’s 2000 speech, informed then by the best advice from the Department of Immigration and the Australian Bureau of Statistics:
The figure of 24 million is approximately what the Australian Bureau of Statistics projects for the year 2050, assuming that net overseas migration continues at around current levels (after allowing for fluctuations in the economic cycle) and the fertility rate does not fall too much further. I have often said that most Australians would not find the prospect of a population of this size in fifty years time too alarming… 
A population that continues to grow strongly after 2050, as proposed by a number of groups, could present ongoing environmental problems and would be difficult to achieve without drastically lowering immigration standards. In contrast, a population that reaches stability by mid century, while still entailing further pressure on the environment, also offers possibly the best combination of environmental, economic and social sustainability…
Despite a long period of sustained economic growth, net overseas migration has averaged only a little over 85,000 in recent years compared with levels over 150,000 at the peak of the previous cycle. This suggests that lower net overseas migration may be a structural rather than a cyclical phenomenon. 
Our greater focus on skilled, educated, English speaking migrants within the permanent migration program has contributed to this structural shift.
Just 15 years later - not 50 - the Australian Bureau of Statistics says:
On 16 April 2015 at 08:29:19 AM (Canberra time), the resident population of Australia is projected to be: 
23,790,277
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A jab at Leunig

Andrew Bolt April 16 2015 (7:57am)

Good on the ABC’s Chris Uhlmann for calling out the danger in the anti-science mysticism of The Age’s Michael Leunig:
(Thanks to reader Peter of Bellevue Hill.) 
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A jihadist highway into Europe

Andrew Bolt April 16 2015 (7:24am)

Harald Doornbos and Jenan Moussa of Foreign Policy warns that jihadists can smuggle themselves among the tens of thousands of illegal immigrants sailing to Europe:
For nine days, 32-year-old Muhammad and over 350 fellow migrants, mostly Syrians like him, were stuck below deck… The boat had left the Turkish port of Mersin and ... sailed to the Sicilian port of Catania, where the migrants were transported to a refugee center… 
“No coast guard, no policeman ever asked if we had papers. Nobody registered us, nobody took a photo of us, nobody took our fingerprints, no one asked us who we were.” ...

According to Muhammad, all of the migrants on the boat wanted to move either to Germany, Sweden, or the Netherlands… Muhammad and the other migrants feared that getting fingerprinted and processed in Italy would mean they no longer could apply for asylum in Germany.
Muhammad and the other migrants would soon find that their Italian hosts were no more interested in keeping them there than they themselves were in staying. When Muhammad asked the Italian police at the asylum center if he had to stay there, one said that he was welcome to sleep there, “but if you want to leave, you can leave.”
While Muhammad was speaking with the policemen, other Syrians in the refugee center discovered that the back door to the center was open. They walked out, and disappeared into the night.... The police never tried to stop them..  From there Muhammad continued to Berlin, ... asked for asylum, and was registered as a refugee…
“Any ISIS terrorist could have entered Italy and traveled further into Europe without any problem,” he said. “ISIS members can take their guns and hand grenades with them, because the Italians even never checked any of the luggage."…
Interviews with over a dozen Syrian asylum seekers who recently crossed the Mediterranean Sea to illegally reach Europe — and who are now in the Netherlands, Germany, and Sweden — reveal similar stories. In all of these cases, migrants said that they were not registered by the Italian authorities, and that the Italian police looked the other way as they walked out of refugee centers to leave Italy by train or car for countries in Western and Northern Europe…
According to the U.N. Refugee Agency, a total of 217,724 Syrians applied for asylum in the European Union between April 2011 and December 2014. Although a majority of these migrants arrived in Italy, only 1,967 — less than 1 percent — stayed there.... 
The lack of scrutiny for Syrian migrants arriving in Southern Europe, however, has raised fears that terrorists could be entering along with the regular citizens attempting to escape war. Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos even tried to use this influx of refugees as a weapon: If the EU doesn’t back down on austerity measures, he threatened on March 9, Greece would unleash “a wave of millions of economic migrants and jihadists” into Europe. In this group, he warned, “there will be some jihadists of the Islamic State too.”
AFP:
Italian authorities said around 8,500 migrants had been rescued at sea between Friday and Monday… 
Italian authorities say more than 15,000 migrants have arrived so far in 2015. There were 15,000 in April alone last year and an average of 25,000 each month between June and September…
With summer approaching-and more than 500,000 people waiting to set out from Libya for Europe according to EU border agency Frontex… 
....more than 700 migrants and refugees, mainly Syrians and Africans, arrived in Greece between Friday and Tuesday. 
(Thanks to reader Tom.) 
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More Labor lies to justify Andrews’ road rage

Andrew Bolt April 16 2015 (6:39am)

Before the election,  Labor leader Dan Andrews claimed there wouldn’t be much money wasted if he cancelled the contract to build the East West link:
Let’s be very clear, there’s been some soil testing, the notion that there’s been extensive amounts of work done on this project is completely false.
Four days before the election, Andrews implied that just $15 million or so of work might have to be paid for if he cancelled the contract:
When the last bidder that dropped out of this rushed and botched project dropped out, they were refunded a small amount of money, I think it was in the order of 10 or $15 million, for their bid costs. So again, there might be a small amount of money that really isn’t compensation – and that’s not a feature of the contract, that’s part of the tender process. 
And four days before the election, Andrews claimed he wouldn’t have to pay compensation:
There’ll be no compensation paid, because these arrangements are not valid, they’re not worth the paper they’re written on. 
None of the above squares with what Premier Andrews said yesterday:
$339 million of net costs had already been drawn down and paid to the consortium for the bid process, and design and pre-construction. These costs have already been incurred and cannot be retrieved. They will be retained by the consortium subject to a certification process between it and the State.
Add to that the $81 million in financiers’ costs.
Professor Sinclair Davidson sums up:
That must be the most expensive soil testing in human history.
Or, of course, this is compensation by other means.  
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Disastrous Dan Andrews will help save Tony Abbott

Andrew Bolt April 16 2015 (12:32am)

TONY Abbott will be sending a big thank you to Victorian Premier Dan Andrews. See, a key factor in the Prime Minister’s poll recovery is the awfulness of the new Labor governments in Queensland and Victoria.
Abbott figures voters now need only look north and south to see how dangerous it could be to vote Labor federally, too.
Queensland Labor was already warning enough. Narrowly and surprisingly elected in February, it is in crisis just two months later.
It now relies for survival on the vote of the independent Speaker, as well as Billy Gordon, an MP so disgraced that Labor this month forced him to quit the party. A Galaxy poll this week showed 62 per cent of voters actually want Gordon out of Parliament after learning he’d had an extensive criminal record and faced allegations of domestic violence (which he denies).
Meanwhile, investment slows and the state’s debt grows, with the Palaszczuk Government giving no clue how it plans to fix either, after it stopped the privatising of union-dominated state assets.
But worse is Victoria’s new Government, rapidly threatening to be as union-matey, ideological and incompetent as Joan Kirner’s.
(Read full column here.) 
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Dan Andrews gives Victoria a desal-scale disaster

Andrew Bolt April 16 2015 (12:06am)

More than the $339 million waste the Andrews Government first claimed:
VICTORIAN taxpayers have been left at least $640 million out of pocket after Premier Daniel Andrews struck a deal with the East West Link consortium to walk away from our biggest road scheme. 
In what could become the costliest cancelled infrastructure project in Australian history, the Premier on Wednesday revealed $339 million had already been spent by the East West Link consortium since it signed contracts to build the toll road in October.
In addition to that wasted money, the Premier admitted taxpayers would also wave goodbye to $81 million in fees paid to the financiers of the dead project. 
On top of that, the Government revealed taxpayers had already forked out at least $220 million in setting up what is now a non-existent 6.6km road.
What a scandalous waste.
Terry McCrann:
IT took nearly 10 years for the Bracks-Brumby Labor government to work up to its disastrous desal plant. It’s taken less than five months for the successor Andrews Labor Government to give us “desal two”. 
There’s a bizarre if punishing similarity between the two.
Victorians are spending around $600 million a year not to take water from the desal plant. We’ve now just spent over $600 million not to build a road tunnel.
....we might well have to spend the money all over again on the tunnel. Just like we always had to build CityLink. And next time, it will cost a lot more.
In simple political terms the Premier has broken a promise — not to pay any compensation — in order to deliver a promise — not to build the tunnel. 
It was always going to be impossible to keep both. Making both was a cynical lie...
UPDATE
Greg Sheridan on this colossal waste and stupidity:
The Daniel Andrews government is the worst in modern Australia… 
Its decision to spend something between half a billion and a billion dollars in order not to build a road represents a kind of grandeur of folly unseen for decades in Australia.
There is a sheer, unrelenting stupidity to this decision… In repudiating contracts signed by the previous Victorian government, the Andrews government says it will spend $339 million in money the consortium that was going to build the East West Link has already spent…
The Victorian opposition says it had already spent $400m of government money on the project. Federal Assistant Infrastructure Minister Jamie Briggs says there are at least another $200m in costs in getting out of all the financial arrangements.
The Victorian government says there are $80m of financial arrangements costs but these can be used to finance future infrastructure projects, though no such projects currently exist…
It is a savage blow to Victoria but it also reinforces the growing international perception of Australia as an extremely high cost, uncompetitive, difficult place to do business, just as we used to be before the reforms of the 1980s and 90s. ... 
The East West link is obvious common sense. No one thinks it smart to have a freeway running straight into the CBD, forcing traffic to pass through congested central Melbourne when it could be linked up to the freeway system on the other side of the city. The benefit is so obvious that it takes a kind of deep-green ideological hatred of all development to oppose it. 
UPDATE
Former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett:
Victoria’s reputation as a commercial partner has been trashed locally and internationally.... 
What I want now is full and open disclosure of the exact amount of money that has been paid since the contract was signed, to whom the money was paid through the Authority, and what undertakings have been given to the parties who made up the consortium of future work to offset their commercial activity…
With respect to Mr Andrews and his Government, all the reputation value Victoria rightfully gained from our reforms of the ‘90s was shredded yesterday. In 24 hours. 
We have lost commercial reputation, we have lost, more importantly, employment opportunities for an increasing percentage of Victorians, particularly well qualified young Victorians.  
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What is this climate alarmism earning Tim Flannery?

Andrew Bolt April 16 2015 (12:05am)

Global warming - propaganda

When the Abbott Government scrapped the Climate Commission, Tim Flannery and some of his mates immediately created a Climate Council to keep up their propagandising. They announced they’d work as volunteers.
But then things changed.
Tony Thomas asks the Climate Council some informed questions, starting with these:
1. Why was Chief Councillor Tim Flannery beseeching the public last June 29 to make “urgent” donations to the council, when the council was sitting on a fat $1.24m surplus after a $2.12m avalanche of crowd-funded donations in the previous nine months? 
2. Why did Flannery, on March 12, 2014, resign as director from the beloved council he founded, along with his bestie and director Will Steffen, climate catastrophist at the Australian National University?
3. Why can’t I find any public announcement at the time from the Council about those resignations?
4. Why were those dramatic resignations not even mentioned for public consumption in the council’s 2013-14 annual report?
5. Why is the council so cagey about what it pays its CEO Amanda McKenzie? You can find out what a university vice-chancellor earns; you can find out what the head of a Big Four bank earns; you can even find out what Tim Costello, boss of the World Vision Australia charity earns ( $277,000 plus superannuation and long service. His total remuneration in 2013 was $316,000). But you’re not in the race to know what Ms McKenzie takes home from the pile of money that fans donate to the council.
6. Over at World Vision, CEO Tim Costello donates to World Vision all his earnings from speech-making, which can be as much as $150,000 a year. What’s the Climate Council policy on such side-earnings by Tim– up to $50K a speech, according to the Daily Telegraph — and his councillors? 
7. What are we council donors paying Tim and Will Steffen these days, and for that matter, councilors Lesley Hughes, Veena Sahajwalla, and Andrew Stock?
Read on for the very opaque answers and some fascinating background.
Next time you hear the Climate Council talk about “vested interests”, ask if they could first explain some possible vested interests of their own.
(Thanks to several readers, including C and John McLean.) 
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Fairfax loses NZ’s history

Andrew Bolt April 16 2015 (12:02am)

To remember the next time Fairfax talks about trampling on local cultures:
Fairfax Media’s decision to ship up to eight million historic New Zealand news photographs and negatives to Little Rock, Arkansas, for “digitising” has proved perilous. Two years on, the digital archiving is yet to be completed, an unknown number of the photographs have turned up on eBay.com for sale and Rogers Photo Archive (RPA), the company involved, is now in receivership facing at least 10 lawsuits totalling more than $94 million…

Two years ago, when the Herald first revealed Fairfax’s plans to ship the photographic archives of 72 New Zealand publications overseas, I expressed my disquiet about exporting such a huge part of our cultural heritage. The disquiet has turned into a scary nightmare. This massive pictorial heritage stretching back into the 1800s and illustrating the lives of 72 New Zealand cities and towns, is now in the hands of a receiver, while a horde of creditors clamour for any penny they can claw back. We can only pray that Fairfax’s claim to ongoing ownership holds up in court.
(Thanks to reader Antony.) 
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No one has fought harder to protect these majestic beasts than the Greens
Posted by Greens taking credit for things on Wednesday, 15 April 2015

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Ha... Seems legit to me. #LOL http://bit.ly/1DE4n8z
Posted by XL 1067 on Tuesday, 14 April 2015

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Unlike the OLD PARTIES we stand up for democracy.
Posted by Greens taking credit for things on Wednesday, 15 April 2015

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It’s official: we did it! The Government has finally ditched the East-West toll road! This is your win -- you forced...
Posted by Adam Bandt on Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Celebrating a bad move
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Hello Halo! Another beautiful ring handmade by us:)#engagementrings #diamondrings #engaged #bride #love #weddingring
Posted by Diamond Imports on Wednesday, 15 April 2015

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Do you think there's freedom in writing fanfiction? Find out what these 5 famous authors have to say: http://bit.ly/1JKlfve
Posted by Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing on Wednesday, 15 April 2015

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Jellyfish at the helm as Hamster plumbs the depths

Miranda Devine – Tuesday, April 15, 2014 (8:43pm)

SO what’s ABC boss Mark Scott’s excuse for taking seven months to apologise for broadcasting a doctored image depicting journalist Chris Kenny having sex with a dog?

Icon Arrow Continue reading 'Jellyfish at the helm as Hamster plumbs the depths'
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Standing between children and the true love they need

Miranda Devine – Tuesday, April 15, 2014 (8:42pm)

WHEN you first meet Julie, a 51-year-old mother of eight from Campbelltown, you are struck by two things.

Icon Arrow Continue reading 'Standing between children and the true love they need'
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EGGSISTENTIAL CRISIS

Tim Blair – Wednesday, April 16, 2014 (12:56pm)

Journalism lecturer Crispin Hull has too many boiled eggs: 
If a category five cyclone is bearing down upon you and you do not know if your kitchen will be unusable, or when the power will go off, or for how long, boiling eggs is a good precaution.
If, however, the cyclone peters out to a category one when it finally hits, and all you get is fallen branches, not fallen trees and roofs gone, then you have 22 boiled eggs in the fridge that you would very much like to unboil … 
If only there was some kind of egg-based holiday or festival happening around this time of year. That would solve poor Crispin’s problem immediately. Meanwhile, here’s a rare domestic hugging chicken:

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O’FARRELL O’QUITS

Tim Blair – Wednesday, April 16, 2014 (11:24am)

So much for the health benefits of red wine
New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell has stunningly resigned this morning.
He has announced that a thankyou note for the bottle of Grange will be tabled at ICAC.
Mr O’Farrell said he still “can’t explain the arrival of a gift I have no memory of ... But I accept the consequences. A new Liberal leader will be elected.
“It is a significant memory fail. In no way did I seek to mislead, wilfully or otherwise ICAC.”
A handwritten note from Premier Barry O’Farrell thanking AWH boss Nick Di Girolamo for the “wonderful bottle of wine” has been found by the Independent Commission Against Corruption. 
This all began with a question from the Daily Telegraph to O’Farrell last month: “Did Nick give you a bottle of Grange when you became Premier?”
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How deep could MH370 lie?

Andrew Bolt April 16 2014 (5:09pm)

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Improving society, one foul word at a time

Andrew Bolt April 16 2014 (1:54pm)

Jane den Hollander, Vice-Chancellor of Deakin University:
I call on all those whose lives have been touched by Deakin to join with me in achieving our vision - that we will be Australia’s premier university in driving the digital frontier to enable globally connected education for the jobs of the future and research that makes a difference to the benefit of our students, our staff and the communities we serve.
Deakin University journalism lecturer Martin Hirst shows how he is “driving the digital frontier to enable globally connected education for the jobs of the future and research that makes a difference to the benefit of our students, our staff and the communities we serve”:
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At stake is O’Farrell’s credibility. UPDATE: O’Farrell quits

Andrew Bolt April 16 2014 (11:52am)

Sean Nicholls:
Barry O’Farrell ...  [lacked] a plausible explanation as to how it was he did not receive a $3000 bottle of 1959 Penfolds Grange his acquaintance Nick Di Girolamo sent him as a gift just after he won the March 2011 election. 
ICAC heard evidence that the precious bottle was sent by courier to O’Farrell’s home. Under oath Di Girolamo said O’Farrell even called him to thank him for it. O’Farrell insists, also under oath, he never received it. Who to believe? ...
His inability to recall the contents of a 30-second phone call to Di Girolamo the evening the bottle was purchased compounds the suspicion we are not getting the full story. The episode has exposed O’Farrell’s lack of candour about his relationship with Di Girolamo. Rather than barely knowing each other as he has previously implied, it has emerged the pair had each other’s private mobile numbers and were in frequent contact.
Di Girolamo says they talked perhaps once a fortnight; O’Farrell says it was more like once a month. 
For many, the pertinent question might therefore become: if we cannot trust the Premier to be up front about his relationship with Di Girolamo - a Liberal Party fund-raiser and former lobbyist - why should we believe him about a potentially embarrassing gift?
It might have been stolen, O’Farrell suggests:
Counsel assisting the commission Geoffrey Watson SC characterised the gift as an attempt to “butter up” the Premier and to “grease the wheels” in order to win favours for AWH… 
Mr O’Farrell replied that AWH had never received what it was after — a lucrative public-private partnership — and the matter had been dealt with at arm’s length by the public utility Sydney Water…
But the commission ... found a record of a 28-second phone call from Mr O’Farrell to Mr Di Girolamo on April 20 — the day the wine was bought and possibly delivered…
The invoice [from the courier] obtained by the commission is dated Good Friday, April 22, two days after the wine was bought, although it is unclear what day it was delivered…
Mr O’Farrell ... said he attended a function on Wednesday, April 20, the night he was recorded as phoning Mr Di Girolamo.
He said that his house would have been unattended for several days after that over Easter, as he had taken his family to the Gold Coast the next day… 
Mr O’Farrell said he had been told by police his house was a ­security nightmare, with a park on one side, a laneway, and no front fence. He said there was no 24-hour surveillance of his house at that time.
UPDATE
Barry O’Farrell resigns. A handwritten card has been produced in ICAC thanking Di Girolamo for the wine.
O’Farrell says he accepts the consequences of misleading ICAC, but says it was inadvertent.
I don’t believe he was corrupt or that he lied (or did he...). But we’re left with the fact that he did not declare this $3000 gift.
UPDATE
Abbott praises O’Farrell for his “act of honour” in resigning.
But he then furiously attacks a journalist who asks whether he trusts the O’Farrell Government with the airport plan when it has been “proven to be corrupt”. He demands to know the evidence and says journalists as well as politicians should be held to “decent standards”.  He asks her to apologise. She backs down and cites only that O’Farrell said he didn’t recall what he now concedes happened.
UPDATE
The note that destroyed O’Farrell:
Can O’Farrell seriously have forgotten such a memorable gift - a $3000 wine from his birth year? Can he seriously have forgotten a gift that prompted such a note?
And why did he accept a gift so clearly over the top? Why did he at least not declare it? 
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No cuts to the ABC, said Abbott. But his caveat was edited out

Andrew Bolt April 16 2014 (8:49am)

Labor and the ABC insist Tony Abbott before the election made this unambiguous promise:
No cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST and no cuts to the ABC or SBS...
Labor makes much of it:
“The day before the 2013 election Tony Abbott said there would be no cuts to education, no cuts to health, no changes to the pension, no changes to the GST and no cuts to the ABC or SBS,’’ [Opposition finance spokesman Tony] Burke said.
But wait, there’s been some editing here. The full quote is this:
I trust everyone actually listened to what Joe Hockey has said last week and again this week. No cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST and no cuts to the ABC or SBS. 
A small difference, you might argue. But Abbott referenced the guarantee Joe Hockey gave, and Hockey three weeks earlier made plain on the ABC’s Q&A that the guarantee did not apply to trimming waste - say, through the usual efficiency dividend:
TONY JONES: Well, while you are on the subject - while you are on the subject, is the ABC immune from cuts? Because the Howard government, when they first came in, cut the ABC 10 and then 2% in two years?…
JOE HOCKEY: I’d just say to you is there any waste in the ABC at all, Tony?
TONY JONES: Say that again?
JOE HOCKEY: Is there any waste? ...
TONY JONES:  We’ll just get a quick response from Chris Bowen on this before we move on.
CHRIS BOWEN: Look, I accept that Joe is not going to privatise the ABC. I accept that that’s his position and he will honour that. I do think the ABC, though, has a fair bit to worry about when it comes to funding. As you said, it is what they cut in the Howard Government. We have not cut ABC funding, contrary to your assertion. I think the ABC and the SBS are both very important national institutions and they shouldn’t have their funding cut and you won’t promise not to.
TONY JONES: Well, a quick response to that, Joe Hockey?
JOE HOCKEY: Well, if there is waste, we will cut it.
I agree, Abbott faces a messy argument on whether he’d promised absolutely zero cuts. His words just before the election imply he did. But there is a strong argument that he left open the usual efficiency dividend, from which the ABC is one of the very few government agencies currently excluded.
(Thanks to reader John.) 
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A second airport is needed because we’ve crippled the first

Andrew Bolt April 16 2014 (8:22am)

Terry McCrann says the Abbott Government wouldn’t need to promise billions for a new airport if it just made the one Sydney has already work better:
We have made an enormous investment in Sydney’s existing airport. The cheapest further investment of all would be to make it work better and more efficiently. But for all sorts of reasons, most of them nonsense, that’s ‘off the agenda.’ 
Take a second airport to our north, Singapore’s. It services a similar city population to Sydney. It is also a huge international hub. It operates more than adequately, with two runways. Last year Singapore handled 53 million passengers, some 50 per cent more than Sydney’s 36 million — and it is designed to handle 66 million.
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Labor suffered the worst swing in WA

Andrew Bolt April 16 2014 (8:09am)

The latest counting in the WA Senate election - with the Liberals getting strong support in postal votes - make Labor’s humiliation even worse. The results now show Labor suffered a worse swing against it than did the Government:
Labor has almost certainly lost the last seat to the Liberals, which confirms the count as Liberals three seats, Labor one, Greens one and Palmer United Party one. 
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Republic now a distant threat

Andrew Bolt April 16 2014 (7:48am)

The media class is out of touch with the broad Australian public:
Support for an Australian republic has slumped to its lowest level in more than three decades just as royal enthusiasm reaches fever pitch over the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate ... with 51 per cent opposing any such move and only 42 per cent backing it. 
That’s down from a high of 58 per cent in 1999 and represents the lowest pro-republican sentiment in 35 years.
In fact, after all that mockery I’m surprised Tony Abbott’s knighthood system gets such relatively strong support:
Yet as Fairfax Media reported on Monday, Australians are not actually in favour of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s move last month to revive the titles of knight and dame. Just 35 per cent of respondents backed that move compared to 50 per cent against. 
Sceptical myself about the knighthoods, I was struck by the surprising resonance of the words “Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove” when I was watching an ABC report of Sir Peter’s visit to Victoria. If Abbott wants to build support for his knighthoods I’d suggest he do what he can to lure the media into reporting on the Governor-General’s doings. The more often the public hears “Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove” the more, I suspect, it will warm to the honorific. 
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Blewitt to be charged over AWU scandal

Andrew Bolt April 16 2014 (7:36am)

The AWU scandal

I doubt police would charge Blewitt without being of a mind to charge others:
THE union official who confessed to being a perpetrator of a major fraud in the Australian Workers’ Union slush fund affair has agreed to a formal Victoria Police request to return to Australia to be charged with criminal offences.  

Ralph Blewitt ... has been asked by Victoria Police Fraud Squad detective Sergeant Ross Mitchell to come to Melbourne as soon as possible for a formal interview in which he will again admit his guilt. 

His solicitor, Bob Galbally, ... said Victoria Police detectives had advised him that Mr Blewitt, who has been co-operating with police since late 2012, would be charged with a fraud-related offence....
Mr Blewitt has been attacked as a liar by Ms Gillard, his former friend and solicitor. As a lawyer at Slater & Gordon, Ms Gillard provided legal advice to help establish the AWU Workplace Reform Association. The association, which Ms Gillard later described as a “slush fund” for the re-election of union officials, allegedly received hundreds of thousands of dollars from building company Thiess in the 1990s. The former prime minister has repeatedly and strenuously denied any wrongdoing, saying she had no knowledge of the operations of the association…
Mr Blewitt has previously told police in formal written statements how he and Mr Wilson extracted more than $300,000 from Thiess in return for industrial peace. The money was allegedly siphoned into accounts linked to the AWU Workplace Reform Association. 
Some of the slush fund money, which police suspect were illegal secret commissions, went towards the purchase in Mr Blewitt’s name of a Melbourne terrace house at an auction which Ms Gillard attended with Mr Wilson, the successful bidder. The law firm handled the conveyancing and the financing of the mortgage.
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Straightened out by Islam

Andrew Bolt April 16 2014 (7:28am)

Something about that faith seems to licence violence:
TWO Australian citizens ... were killed in a Predator drone strike on five al-Qa’ida militants travelling in a convoy of cars in Hadramout, in eastern Yemen, on November 19. 
The men were Christopher Harvard of Townsville and a New Zealand dual citizen who went by the name “Muslim bin John’’ and fought under the alias “Abu ­Suhaib al-Australi’’…
Yesterday, Harvard’s stepfather, Neil Dowrick, said… he did not know what had prompted his stepson’s conversion to Islam.
“Whatever it was it straightened his life,’’ Mr Dowrick said… 
“They were foot soldiers,’’ [an unnamed senior] counter-terrorism official said, concerning the role played by the two in AQAP. “And there was a suggestion they were involved in kidnapping Westerners for ransom.’’
UPDATE
It just gets worse in Nigeria:
Suspected Islamic extremists abducted over 100 female students from a school in northeast Nigeria before dawn on Tuesday, but some of the teens managed to escape from the back of an open truck, officials said… Islamic extremists have been abducting girls to use as cooks and sex slaves. 
Insurgents from the Boko Haram terrorist network are blamed for dozens of attacks that have killed more than 1500 people this year alone.
The group - whose name means “Western education is forbidden” - has targeted schools, churches, mosques, villages and agricultural centers in increasingly indiscriminate attacks… 
The extremists also are accused of Monday morning’s explosion at a busy bus station in Nigeria’s capital that killed at least 75 people and wounded 141.
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Compensation culture: two more cases

Andrew Bolt April 16 2014 (7:20am)

Other people must pay for these decisions.
Payout one:
A PRIMARY schoolteacher who tripped in the street ­because he was hurrying to get to class has won up to $100,000 compensation.

Denis Field said he was walking at “three times” his usual pace after being called at short notice to work at Hampton Park Public School in Sydney’s southwest… 

“I tripped over the broken footpath because I was hurrying. I did not notice the crack. I was worried about being late,” Mr Field told NSW Workers Compensation Commission… .... commission deputy president Bill Roche ... found there was a “real and substantial connection” between the teacher’s employment and the accident ...
Payout two:
Convicted tax office letter bomber Colin George Dunstan has been awarded more than $415,000 in workers compensation… 
Dunstan posted 28 bombs to colleagues and high-profile public servants he believed had wronged him in 1998. Most were intercepted by police, however one detonated at the Fyshwick mail centre, injuring a postal worker… Dunstan won a two-decade fight for compensation in 2012, after the Administrative Appeals Tribunal found his former workplace had contributed to his chronic depression, which led to his crimes. He claimed he had been left depressed and suicidal after a former lover sexually harassed and stalked him in the fallout of a soured office romance. 
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Abbott: pension promise will be kept. This term at least

Andrew Bolt April 16 2014 (7:13am)

If the Abbott Government gets a second term it will need a mandate at the next election for changing the pension - and that’s why the discussion must be held now:
TOUGHER pension rules are likely to be pushed beyond the next election as Tony Abbott vows to keep his campaign promise not to change pensions, but to get the budget under ­control.... 
“If there is one lesson to be learned from the political quagmire that the former government got itself into, it is: keep your commitments. So we will keep them,’’ Mr Abbott said. “But one of the most fun­damental commitments of all was to get the budget back under control, to put the budget back on to a path to a sustainable ­surplus....”
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Winner of my prize for total lack of comprehension skills is….

Andrew Bolt April 16 2014 (6:58am)

The mere mention of my name seems enough to convince a certain kind of activist a crime must have been committed. No need to inquire any further.
And so I read this:
It’s that time of year, when the LGBTI community bands together to decide who has made the most outrageous, inflammatory and ignorant comments about the LGBTI community in the past twelve months to determine the winners of the GLORIAs (Gay and Lesbian Outrageous Ridiculous and Ignorant comment Awards).... 
Journo Andrew Bolt has come under fire for his article on same-sex marriage – which suggested gay marriage was ‘unfair to hookers and bigamists’
Odd, I thought. That doesn’t sound like an argument I’ve made.  And indeed it is not. The headline in fact sums up a stupid argument made not by me - a sceptic of same-sex marriage - but by an academic who wants esteem extended to hookers and bigamists.  From my article:
Now academic Annamarie Jagose claims that gay marriage is bad because it will just further oppress the already marginalised, who will be denied the esteem they deserve, too:  
Therefore, the recognition of same-sex couples through marriage is not a wholly benign or even a neutral act because, like the historic form of marriage itself, it recognises the worth of some relationships by valuing them more than others.
Outside the newly enlarged circle of social approval and privilege afforded by same-sex marriage stand those whose erotic lives are not organised around the values symbolised by marriage: coupledom, monogamy, permanence, domestic cohabitation.
Unmarried mothers, for instance; adulterers; the devotedly promiscuous; sex workers; the divorced; the bigamous and polygamous; those who are not strangers to the august traditions of the dirty weekend or the one-night stand; single people. 
Now this ragtag bunch might not seem as worthy of social protection and prestige as the loving, caring, long-term gay and lesbian couples that are the shiny new poster boys and girls for same-sex marriage. But it reminds us to ask something that advocates of same-sex marriage, in their eagerness, forget to ask: why should marriage continue in the 21st century to be a primary mechanism for the distribution of social recognition and privilege?  
Er, children? If you are so upset by the words then punish the person who actually said them. Right now it seems you are simply reacting to prejudice, and aren’t these awards you alleged attempt to fight that very thing?
More evidence that those most appalled by my articles have never actually troubled to read them. 
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"Prayers going up for everyone at the Boston Marathon."--Northland Church
"Pray for Boston. Now."--Pastor Rich Warren
”Yes, God Be with them all, we are praying here."--Roma Downey
Prayers are with everyone in Boston today. Sarah Palin
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These words of Abbott are fascinating on their own for their grace and power, but compare them with Gillard's words which would also equally apply to her own boat people policy, Gonski school reform, or any of the other failed policies like Pink Batts, NBN, or Carbon Tax. - ed
It’s important to show solidarity with America and with the people of Boston on this difficult day. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and injured in this terrible incident. While it’s too early to say who was responsible, obviously an event like this should deepen our resolve to stand up for democratic values and democratic decencies. I have this morning spoken with Ambassador Bleich, so that he is assured that Australians stand together with the United States on this sad day. - Tony Abbott

"Australia unreservedly condemns this brutal and senseless attack," Ms Gillard said.
"Our condolences go to the families of those killed and our thoughts are with those who have been injured.
It will be some time before we know the full extent of what has occurred" 
Does she even know what happened? - ed
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Vladimir Lenin
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“This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” - Romans 13:6-7
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
Psalm 22:1
We here behold the Saviour in the depth of his sorrows. No other place so well shows the griefs of Christ as Calvary, and no other moment at Calvary is so full of agony as that in which his cry rends the air--"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" At this moment physical weakness was united with acute mental torture from the shame and ignominy through which he had to pass; and to make his grief culminate with emphasis, he suffered spiritual agony surpassing all expression, resulting from the departure of his Father's presence. This was the black midnight of his horror; then it was that he descended the abyss of suffering. No man can enter into the full meaning of these words. Some of us think at times that we could cry, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" There are seasons when the brightness of our Father's smile is eclipsed by clouds and darkness; but let us remember that God never does really forsake us. It is only a seeming forsaking with us, but in Christ's case it was a real forsaking. We grieve at a little withdrawal of our Father's love; but the real turning away of God's face from his Son, who shall calculate how deep the agony which it caused him?

In our case, our cry is often dictated by unbelief: in his case, it was the utterance of a dreadful fact, for God had really turned away from him for a season. O thou poor, distressed soul, who once lived in the sunshine of God's face, but art now in darkness, remember that he has not really forsaken thee. God in the clouds is as much our God as when he shines forth in all the lustre of his grace; but since even the thought that he has forsaken us gives us agony, what must the woe of the Saviour have been when he exclaimed, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

Evening


"Lift them up forever."
Psalm 28:9

God's people need lifting up. They are very heavy by nature. They have no wings, or, if they have, they are like the dove of old which lay among the pots; and they need divine grace to make them mount on wings covered with silver, and with feathers of yellow gold. By nature sparks fly upward, but the sinful souls of men fall downward. O Lord, "lift them up forever!" David himself said, "Unto thee, O God, do I lift up my soul," and he here feels the necessity that other men's souls should be lifted up as well as his own. When you ask this blessing for yourself, forget not to seek it for others also. There are three ways in which God's people require to be lifted up. They require to be elevated in character. Lift them up, O Lord; do not suffer thy people to be like the world's people! The world lieth in the wicked one; lift them out of it! The world's people are looking after silver and gold, seeking their own pleasures, and the gratification of their lusts; but, Lord, lift thy people up above all this; keep them from being "muck-rakers," as John Bunyan calls the man who was always scraping after gold! Set thou their hearts upon their risen Lord and the heavenly heritage! Moreover, believers need to be prospered in conflict. In the battle, if they seem to fall, O Lord, be pleased to give them the victory. If the foot of the foe be upon their necks for a moment, help them to grasp the sword of the Spirit, and eventually to win the battle. Lord, lift up thy children's spirits in the day of conflict; let them not sit in the dust, mourning forever. Suffer not the adversary to vex them sore, and make them fret; but if they have been, like Hannah, persecuted, let them sing of the mercy of a delivering God.

We may also ask our Lord to lift them up at the last! Lift them up by taking them home, lift their bodies from the tomb, and raise their souls to thine eternal kingdom in glory.
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Joses 
[Jō'sēs] - he that pardons.
1.One of the brethren of our Lord (Matt. 13:55Mark 6:3). RV gives name as Joseph.
2. The son of Mary, probably the same as No. 1 (Matt. 27:56Mark 15:40-47).
3. The personal or natal name of Barnabas, the companion and missionary colleague of Paul (Acts 4:36). The RV gives Joseph.
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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 27-29, Luke 13:1-22 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: 1 Samuel 27-29


David Among the Philistines

1 But David thought to himself, "One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul. The best thing I can do is to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up searching for me anywhere in Israel, and I will slip out of his hand."
2 So David and the six hundred men with him left and went over to Achish son of Maok king of Gath. 3 David and his men settled in Gath with Achish. Each man had his family with him, and David had his two wives: Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail of Carmel, the widow of Nabal. 4When Saul was told that David had fled to Gath, he no longer searched for him....


Today's New Testament reading: Luke 13:1-22


Repent or Perish

1 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them-do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."

6 Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, 'For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?'

8 "'Sir,' the man replied, 'leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down....'"
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Today's Lent reading: John 9-10 (NIV)

View today's Lent reading on Bible Gateway
Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind

1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"
3 "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes. 7 "Go," he told him, "wash in the Pool of Siloam" (this word means "Sent"). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

8 His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, "Isn't this the same man who used to sit and beg?" 9 Some claimed that he was....



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