Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category
In the mid 1990s Julia Gillard had a sexual relationship with a corrupt union official, Bruce Wilson. At the time she was a partner in law firm Slater and Gordon.
Julia Gillard has attempted to squash any discussion of that relationship, and of her involvement in setting up an illegally constituted entity – the AWU Workplace Reform Association Inc – into which stolen union funds were deposited. Pressure was brought to bear to have two journalists, Michael Smith and Glen Milne, sacked for trying to bring this to public attention. That in itself is scandalous.
She was asked to resign from Slater and Gordon, or resigned of her own accord in almost inexplicable circumstances – she was in a well paid position and had no other job to go to.
Gillard was either completely ignorant of the law relating to the setting up of incorporated associations, or if she wasn’t, she knowingly arranged a drop box for stolen union funds for her boyfriend.
Slater and Gordon’s credibility has been diminished by this. The media is taking a growing interest, and seems less willing to be cowed. This is not going to go away.
On the facts, Julia Gillard is either dangerously incompetent, dishonest, or both. In any case, the people of Australia can have no confidence in her leadership.
If the Federal Government is to continue to have any integrity (don’t laugh!) Julia Gillard must stand down until there has been a full enquiry.
More details in the latest Alan Jones interview with Michael Smith.
It used to be that inn-keepers could be fined if they were found to be profiting from immoral earnings. Now they can be fined of they don’t.
From the UK Guardian:
Australia’s hotel industry has been rocked by a court ruling that a prostitute was illegally discriminated against by a motel owner who refused to rent her a room to work from.
The judgment has stunned hoteliers, who thought they had a right to decide what sort of businesses were operating from their premises.
The woman, identified only as GK, had taken her discrimination case against the Drovers Rest motel in the coal mining town of Moranbah to the Queensland state civil and administrative tribunal after management refused to rent her a room.
The motel’s lawyer, David Edwards, said on Wednesday that the court notified him this week that it had upheld the discrimination claim. Edwards confirmed the woman was seeking damages, reported in The Australian newspaper to be 30,000 Australian dollars (£20,000).
Richard Munro, is chief executive of the Accommodation Association of Australia.
“It’s absolutely illogical,” Munro said. “If a hairdresser decided to set up shop in the motel and started inviting people in to get their hair cut, I think the motel owner would have the right to say, ‘Hang on, that’s a different business operating out of my business.'”
“If a prostitute decided to start working out of a shopping mall, the owners would have something to say about it. There is some protection for the rights of the motel owner here,” he said.
Janelle Fawkes, chief executive of the Scarlet Alliance Australian Sex Workers Association, said the ruling was a major win for the sex work industry throughout Australia.
“Accommodation discrimination is a major issue for sex workers, but it is not by any means the only form of systemic discrimination that sex workers experience,” she said.
They are not ‘sex workers.’ They are prostitutes. Prostitution is demeaning to both men and women, it is damaging to families and to society. One may not wish to judge the motives of any indivdual man or woman who offers sexual services for a price, but prostitution is still wrong.
If Queensland law demands such a ruling because prostitution is legal in Queensland, and it is forbidden to discriminate against a person engaged in a legal business, then the law needs to be changed. No one should be forced to allow prostitution to take place at their home or place of business.
In March a group of forty-nine NASA scientists wrote to Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator, expressing their concern that NASA’s climate alarm advocacy is not based in science and is undermining NASA’s credibility:
The Honorable Charles Bolden, Jr. NASA Administrator NASA Headquarters Washington, D.C. 20546-0001
We, the undersigned, respectfully request that NASA and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) refrain from including unproven remarks in public releases and websites. We believe the claims by NASA and GISS, that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated, especially when considering thousands of years of empirical data. With hundreds of well-known climate scientists and tens of thousands of other scientists publicly declaring their disbelief in the catastrophic forecasts, coming particularly from the GISS leadership, it is clear that the science is NOT settled.
The unbridled advocacy of CO2 being the major cause of climate change is unbecoming of NASA’s history of making an objective assessment of all available scientific data prior to making decisions or public statements.
As former NASA employees, we feel that NASA’s advocacy of an extreme position, prior to a thorough study of the possible overwhelming impact of natural climate drivers is inappropriate. We request that NASA refrain from including unproven and unsupported remarks in its future releases and websites on this subject. At risk is damage to the exemplary reputation of NASA, NASA’s current or former scientists and employees, and even the reputation of science itself.
For additional information regarding the science behind our concern, we recommend that you contact Harrison Schmitt or Walter Cunningham, or others they can recommend to you.
Thank you for considering this request.
A month ago the journal Nature Climate Change published a paper by a group of German scientists demonstrating that the world’s temperature has been declining for the last 2.000 years:
How did the Romans grow grapes in northern England? Perhaps because it was warmer than we thought.
A study suggests the Britain of 2,000 years ago experienced a lengthy period of hotter summers than today. German researchers used data from tree rings – a key indicator of past climate – to claim the world has been on a ‘long-term cooling trend’ for two millennia until the global warming of the twentieth century.
This cooling was punctuated by a couple of warm spells. These are the Medieval Warm Period, which is well known, but also a period during the toga-wearing Roman times when temperatures were apparently 1 deg C warmer than now. They say the very warm period during the years 21 to 50AD has been underestimated by climate scientists.
Lead author Professor Dr Jan Esper of Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz said: ‘We found that previous estimates of historical temperatures during the Roman era and the Middle Ages were too low.
Marc Morano and Lord Monckton explain why the whole notion of climate refugees is bunk:
And if you need more, try the NIPCC 2011 interim report which lists dozens of peer reviewed papers published in the last two years questioning the science of man made global warming.
Consensus? Pull the other one.
Anthony Watts’s blog has not been updated for past couple of days. Anthony says he has something big to post in the next day or so.
There are rumours that Richard Muller of the University of California has prepared another article based on the temperature studies about which he wrote last year in the Wall Street Journal.
Basically, Muller said his work proved the world really was warming, so there was no excuse for global warming scepticism.
Sadly for Muller, he had missed the point. He, like most global warming alarmists, seemed to have no idea what the sceptics were actually saying. No one denies the world has warmed over the last one hundred and fifty years. No one denies that human activity can influence climate. The argument is about the extent of human influence, whether current climate change is unusual or dangerous, and if it is, what are the most economical and effective ways to deal with it.
Marc Morano summarised the scientific responses to Muller’s earlier article at Climate Depot.
This is a capture from Steven Goddard’s blog Real Science:
Anthony’s major post has nothing to do with any new work by Muller, but is a ‘pre-release’ of an important paper by Watts, Jones, McIntyre and Christy on NOAA station siting problems and post measurement adjustments.
A reanalysis of U.S. surface station temperatures has been performed using the recently WMO-approved Siting Classification System devised by METEO-France’s Michel Leroy. The new siting classification more accurately characterizes the quality of the location in terms of monitoring long-term spatially representative surface temperature trends. The new analysis demonstrates that reported 1979-2008 U.S. temperature trends are spuriously doubled, with 92% of that over-estimation resulting from erroneous NOAA adjustments of well-sited stations upward.
These factors, combined with station siting issues, have led to a spurious doubling of U.S. mean temperature trends in the 30 year data period covered by the study from 1979 – 2008.
Quadrant Magazine has posted a transcript of an important 2GB radio interview between Alan Jones and Michael Smith.
A few paragraphs:
Jones: Cambridge has been calling on the one hand for a Royal Commission but then is appointed (to FWA). He was the author of the affidavit when McClelland was the solicitor. Cambridge is now in the union controlled Fair Work Australia, which has delayed the investigation into Thomson and, as I understand it, he has not pursued the Wilson-Gillard matter since.
Smith: That is true. He swore an affidavit with penalty of perjury if falsely sworn. You read it; read what he said about Slater & Gordon, and its role and Ms Gillard was a partner who was involved in this position where she had a conflict of interest having a sexual relationship with the man who headed up her client, the AWU, that was undisclosed to her partners. The Law Council would have a view about the appropriateness of that.
Jones: Did she, as a lawyer, set up accounts into which extorted funds were diverted? This union heavy was going around saying: I want this money, 25 thousand from you and 30 thousand from you in order to get work done. This was 20 years ago, and that money was shoved into another account the AWU would not know about. Did she set up those accounts?
Smith: I know that her handwriting is present. I have had that analysed by the country’s pre-eminent forensic handwriting analyst, Paul Westwood. He is the same guy who helped me out on the Craig Thomson matter, who analysed the hand-writing on the credit card chits, the signature.
I am a layman. I can look at her handwriting, I have a copy here and the handwriting on that form. It is identical. But the forensic analyst tells me it is in all likelihood, balance of probabilities, written by the same person, by her.
Jones: The accounts set up that she as a lawyer opened at the direction of Wilson and Blewitt have been described by an AWU executive as unauthorized, invalid, irregular and used for quote, possibly illegal purposes. There were 13 of them.
Smith: Yes, a large number of accounts were set up. Wilson was given the flick from the AWU when the accounts that were established in Melbourne were discovered and he was allowed to leave the union, and in fact got redundancy payments. The money was paid back to the organisations that had paid the money into those accounts, in Melbourne. Julia Gillard was questioned in Melbourne and said: I have done nothing wrong. At that point the account she had set up in 1992 in Perth had not been discovered. It was discovered later, after he had left the union and after she had made the public protestation that she did nothing wrong. She had a duty as a lawyer acting for the AWU, upon a report to her law firm that fraud had been discovered, she had a duty to assist her client to find the location of any further monies that might be owing to it, including her knowledge, the fact that a cheque drawn on the association she had set up, had been used to buy a house for a person, not for the union, and she said nothing. This was in March 1993. Slater & Gordon were involved in the purchase of this property at 85 Kerr St, Fitzroy, and money that Thiess Contractors paid was used to pay for the property. Wilson’s signature was on the cheque …
Jones: A final comment: Julia has said previously when questioned that she was young and naïve, and she was terribly distressed when she found out what the boyfriend Wilson had been up to. Would that be Wilson’s account of things?
Smith: (laughs loudly), Alan, no.
Jones: According to her, Wilson was concealing it all from her.
Smith: Yeah (laughs). Bruce Wilson lives in a coastal town, he goes to work in a very old car, he is working in the kitchen at a registered club, he works shifts there cooking meals. He looks at Tim Mathieson and Julia Gillard getting on the plane and thinks to himself about what he knows. What if he was approached by the authorities? What would he have to say under oath? His account is very different from hers. And look Alan, you just add this up, the weight of Cambridge’s affidavit, what Ludwig has to say, what his offsider Blewitt has to say, and all the documents, all the bank statements, all the handwriting analyses, put that on one side of the scale, on the other side of the scale put this statement: “I did nothing wrong, I was young and naïve.”
Was Julia Gillard dishonest; an accessory or active participant in the theft of union funds? Or is she simply incompetent?
“Fair Trade” may make us feel better about our wealth; by spending a few cents more on some chocolate or a cup of coffee, we are doing something for small producers in developing countries. But it does nothing for those countries or producers.
If anything, it makes their situation worse. Producers are obliged to pay registration fees of between $2,000 and $4,000, plus additional annual fees. This is necessary to sustain the bureaucracy which oversees what is essentially a price fixing organisation. That cost shuts out many of the smaller and poorer growers.
Nonetheless, those who do fit into the system will make an extra 18c per day by being part of Fair Trade. Maybe they could save that to buy a new tractor. But …
Farmers are discouraged from using fertilisers or pesticides. They cannot own more twelve acres of land. This means that they will never reach the levels of efficient production that would enable them to compete with more developed nations. Larger producers who already use such methods, and are consequently more efficient, are excluded. In other words, the Fair Trade system is structured so as to keep the poor locked into small scale farming and out-dated methods of production which ensure they stay poor.
This is confirmed by studies which show no long term benefit or reduction in poverty for producers who sign on with Fair Trade. Fair Trade is a comforting mirage for chocolate and coffee loving Westerners. It does nothing for growers.
Nor is Fair Trade coffee or chocolate better than coffee or chocolate sourced through normal methods. Growers who are able do so sensibly sell their better grade coffee and cocoa on the open market where it commands a higher price, and sell the inferior product through Fair Trade channels, where the price is guaranteed.
Real fairness, in the form of development and increased prosperity, is a by-product of free trade, not Fair Trade.
More here from Tim Wilson at the IPA.
It’s simple, really. Just make it impossible for anyone to do anything that creates wealth or employment.
John Stossel describes his navigation of the morass of red tape required to open a simple lemonade stand:
— Register as sole proprietor with the County Clerk’s Office (must be done in person)
— Apply to the IRS for an Employer Identification Number.
— Complete 15-hr Food Protection Course!
— After the course, register for an exam that takes 1 hour. You must score 70 percent to pass. (Sample question: “What toxins are associated with the puffer fish?”) If you pass, allow three to five weeks for delivery of Food Protection Certificate.
— Register for sales tax Certificate of Authority
— Apply for a Temporary Food Service Establishment Permit. Must bring copies of the previous documents and completed forms to the Consumer Affairs Licensing Center.
Then, at least 21 days before opening your establishment, you must arrange for an inspection with the Health Department’s Bureau of Food Safety and Community Sanitation. It takes about three weeks to get your appointment. If you pass, you can set up a business once you:
— Buy a portable fire extinguisher from a company certified by the New York Fire Department and set up a contract for waste disposal.
— We couldn’t finish the process. Had we been able to schedule our health inspection and open my stand legally, it would have taken us 65 days.
Trying to set up a business in Australia is little different.
It baffles me that some liberals think the reason people go into business is because they are greedy. I make less money than my wife, a part-time teacher. We have mortgaged our house and put most of our savings into our business. All of that would be lost if it failed.
We work hard to make it work; to give good service, to ensure our prices are competitive with larger city stores. We have been fortunate. Three out of four new businesses fail in the first twelve months. If money was what we were after, I would be far better off working for the government. Public servants take no risks and are paid more.
If the government wants people to do the work and take the risks that are the basis of all wealth-producing activity, it needs to offer some encouragement. I don’t mean grants or advisors. Just stay out of the way.
If they can’t or won’t do that, eventually there will be no-one left to pay the public servants.
It is unimaginable that the leader of any muslim country would wish Israel and Jews everywhere a happy and peaceful Passover.
For many islamists Ramadan is not a time of peace, but a time to renew the commitment to jihad.
The site Religion of Peace keeps a Ramadan jihad attack scorecard.
Wishes for peace are one thing. But peace depends on each party actually wanting peace.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had made the release of 123 Palestinians convicted of the murder of Israeli citizens a condition of recommencing peace talks. This week he refused to agree to peace talks despite Israel’s unhappy agreement to release the prisoners.
Two reports came out recently making wildly inaccurate claims about sea level.
The first claimed that sea level was going to rise 12 inches in California over the next twenty years. Yet satellites show that sea level has been falling in California for the past twenty years.
A paper published today in the Journal of Geophysical Research finds that current global climate models make “very large” errors in determining solar radiation at the surface of the Earth “due to ignoring the effects of clouds.” According to the authors, these very large errors can exceed 800 Watts per meter squared, which by comparison is about 216 times more than the alleged effect of doubling CO2 concentrations (3.7 Watts per square metre).
In other words, those wild scary claims by IPCC scientists about runaway positive feedback causing catastrophic climate change were based entirely on not having a clue what they were talking about.
A pill to reduce the risk of HIV infection in members of at risk groups sounds good, but I would put money on HIV infection rates increasing, rather than decreasing, where this drug is made available. Labor and the Greens will press for its early introduction.
But a genetically modified bacterium designed to destroy malarial parasites before they can infect anyone bitten by a parasite-carrying mosquito could save hundreds of thousands of lives every year. Wait for the Greens to start protesting about the use of GM organisms.
It is sometimes hard to believe that the AEU, the Australian Education Union, has any commitment to improving educational outcomes at all.
There can be no doubt about their commitment to making life easier for teachers. The constant refrain is “more pay, smaller classes.” Australia has amongst the smallest average class sizes and best paid teachers anywhere in the world. This has not resulted in any improvement in standards of literacy or numeracy. Cultural literacy; an understanding of Western values, history, music, literature and art, has declined precipitously.
The entirely predictable recommendations of the Review of Funding for Schooling (the Gonski panel) were more money and smaller class sizes. But once class sizes get below about thirty-five, further decreases make little difference to student learning. Simply hurling money at education will not help, unless spending is based on real-world research into what works.
Responses from the Labor Party and the AEU to questions from the opposition about the Gonski recommendations were just as predictable as the recommendations themselves.
“I’m not sure that Christopher Pyne’s plan to sack teachers and increase class sizes is the answer to the challenge we face in education,” acting School Education Minister Chris Evans told ABC News Online.
Except that Christopher Pyne said nothing about sacking teachers and increasing class sizes. He said that research and experience in other countries shows that simply focussing on class size does not help students.
The chairman of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), Professor Barry McGaw, agrees the focus on class sizes has been misplaced.
“We have wasted a lot of money in Australian education by reducing class size,” Professor McGaw told ABC NewsRadio.
“It’s a very expensive thing to do and the range in which we’ve reduced it has almost no impact on student learning.”
The AEU has a website called I Give a Gonski. Presumably ‘giving a Gonski’ is meant to indicate concern about education.
Anyone who really does ‘give a gonski’ about education should vehemently oppose these ‘more of the same’ recommendations, and insist on educational policies and spending which will actually improve learning.
But hey, let’s blame him anyway!
For any company to make money out of aborted babies is monstrous. Anyone who knowingly invests in or works for a company that does so is seriously morally challenged.
So if Romney had been CEO of Bain at the time Bain invested in Stericycle, a company that incinerates the remains of aborted children as medical waste, and if he was aware that this was part of their business, that seriously undermines the credibility of his claim to have been consistently pro-life.
But, as even the person who wrote this ‘gotcha’ article agrees, he wasn’t and he didn’t.
So why pretend it reflects on him at all?