February 27, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom

The problem with popular thinking is that it does not require you to think at all.

Kevin Myers

February 24, 2013

The murder of women still a cheap shot

Men have been murdering women for a long time.  It's very often a "domestic" crime, so of little community or social concern.  Arguments between adults in the privacy of their own lives that end in the murder of a woman is awfully common.  Nothing of interest. The lives of women are disposable.  The sentences doled-out by our judges for killing women are pitiful, embarrassing, insulting, and stuck in a place and time long ago.  The message to all modern women and all female children is frighteningly clear and starkly ancient.

All of this amps up by the power of ten if the man doing the murder is famous.  Astonishingly, being murdered by a famous man renders the dead women even more invisible and disposable than if she'd been killed by a nobody guy from nowhere in particular.

Allison Pearson, bless her, has saved me the emotionally draining task of spelling it out for the slow learners, or for the intelligent people who insist that women have not only achieved equality, but that the poor old white guy is losing power and opportunities because of the uppity women.   The lies people tell themselves.

Ms Pearson will set you straight.
If you have just accidentally shot dead the woman you love, what do you do? Is it:

a) Dial 000 and summon an ambulance.
b) Call your girlfriend's parents and beg forgiveness.
c) Go to a church and pray hard.
d) Hire a leading PR firm to manage your reputation.

Call me a foolish romantic, but I would rule out ''d'' right away. If you were innocent and grief-stricken, why would your thoughts turn to ''crisis communications''? Yet this is exactly what Oscar Pistorius did within hours of the violent death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his home in Pretoria.

The 26-year-old Paralympian called Stuart Higgins, the former editor of the London Sun and now a public relations expert. Pistorius' PR team lost no time in relaunching his website to put the most positive spin on what they variously describe as ''these tragic events'' and ''this terrible, terrible tragedy''. Looking at the website, with its stirring pictures of the Blade Runner in action, you notice that the words ''murder'' and ''death'' do not feature. For, lo, we have entered the soothing land of PR euphemism, where world-famous disabled heroes do not gun down women.

Among those paying tribute to Pistorius is his uncle, Arnold Pistorius. ''Words cannot adequately describe our feelings,'' he says. ''The lives of our entire family have been turned upside down forever by this unimaginable human tragedy and Reeva's family have suffered a terrible loss.''

Observe that it is the Pistorius family that has suffered ''an unimaginable human tragedy'' - their golden boy faces a career-wrecking charge of premeditated murder. The family of Reeva Steenkamp, the victim of the crime who appears to have been shot three times while in the toilet, has merely suffered ''a terrible loss''.
Steenkamp's irrelevance to the main event was confirmed by a tabloid headline. ''Blade Slays Blonde'', it proclaimed, not bothering to give her the dignity of a name. On Tuesday, as a hearse took her body to the crematorium, Oscar Pistorius sobbed throughout a bail hearing. It was an affecting performance. 

And so, very cunningly, the tragedy is appropriated from the dead woman and becomes the tragedy of the man accused of killing her. The reports that, according to a neighbour, he silenced Steenkamp's screams with two further gunshots, are of little consequence to Pistorius' supporters.

''I didn't have my prosthetic legs on. I felt vulnerable,'' explained Pistorius, playing the disability card for the first time in a life that has, until now, been remarkably free of self-pity. He was explaining why he fired at a locked bathroom door behind which he was convinced there was a burglar. Because burglars always lock themselves in bathrooms, don't they? To steal the soap and the hand towel. Just as girlfriends always lock the door when they need a pee in the middle of the night. And men who think there's a burglar in the bathroom never bother to shout out first and give their girlfriend a chance to say, ''Baby, put the gun down, it's only me.''

Pistorius' story has more holes than a colander. I don't feel an ounce of pity for him. Of course, his PR man, Stuart Higgins, begs to differ: ''Our job is to capture some of the support that Oscar is receiving from all over the world, lots of positive messages from people who still believe in him,'' he said.

The obvious comparison here is with O.J. Simpson, who went on trial in Los Angeles in 1995 for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman. Like Pistorius, Simpson had form when it came to domestic violence. The prosecution thought it had a solid case. But, also like Blade Runner, O.J. was a good-looking sports god who had overcome considerable odds to find fame, fortune and a beautiful blonde. Race was a complicating factor, but it was O.J.'s celebrity that turned a vicious murder case into the Trial of the Century. Last September, 18 years after Simpson was sensationally acquitted, Kato Kaelin (a TV personality and witness at the trial) was asked if Simpson killed Brown and Goldman. Kaelin replied: ''The statute of limitations has now passed … so I can now say … yes, he did it.'' Asked why he let O.J Simpson get away with murder, Kaelin said: ''I was too scared. I was terrified … People hated me. I've been spat upon. They threw gum in my coffee.''
Yes folks, they threw gum in his coffee.  That would silence anyone. 

If you have a spare minute, and a great deal of fortitude, you can find photographs of the murder scene, with Nicole Simpson's body (the neck wound - she was all but decapitated - is pixilated) and Ron Goldman's body in situ.   Then contemplate the horrors and fears induced by a bit of damp gum.
... Just days before Reeva Steenkamp was killed, she sent tweets offering her support for female victims of violence. Her country has a deplorable record in that area. On average, a South African woman is killed every eight hours by her partner or relative.
After her funeral, Steenkamp's Uncle Mike told reporters that his niece wanted to be an activist for ending abuse against women.
Ms Steenkamp would have had a never-ending mountainous job ahead of her.  Not now though.  Now she won't even turn 30.  Now she's not even here to tell her own story.  Some guy with an expensively paid PR specialist will re-write instead.

As Blade weeps in court, we forget the Blonde is the victim

February 23, 2013


Julia Gillard's inner sanctum hasn't had much to smile about lately, but on Tuesday her advisers were giving each other high-fives in the Prime Minister's office. The catalyst? A very brief call from Christine Milne to Gillard that ended less than two minutes before the Greens leader delivered her televised National Press Club address, and announced the end of her party's alliance with Labor.

Gillard's response, as she recalled it the following day, indicated that the news was neither unexpected nor disturbing. ''Thanks, righto,'' she recalls telling Milne.

The sense of excitement, after the PM relayed the news to her office, was two-fold: Labor was now free to launch an all-out assault on the party that invaded its territory, safe in the knowledge that the minor party would continue to vote with the government in the event of no-confidence motions, support supply and ensure that the Parliament runs its full term.

The good news improved when Milne threatened to vote with the Coalition against the removal of $1 billion in tax concessions for the nation's biggest companies - a measure that is intended to pay for the ''game-changing'' jobs package Gillard announced last Sunday.

Here, the Labor argument went, was all the evidence you need of the Greens' hypocrisy. On the one hand, they say the miners aren't paying enough tax; on the other, they threaten to oppose something that prevents the same companies from receiving massive handouts to fund their research and development.
Lets just run through that again, shall we:

- Labor was now free to launch an all-out assault on the party that invaded its territory
- safe in the knowledge that the minor party would continue to vote with the government
-  all the evidence you need of the Greens' hypocrisy
-   miners aren't paying enough tax; on the other, they threaten to oppose something that prevents the same companies from receiving massive handouts.

And let's just remember our history lessons, shall we:

- in 2010 Julia Gillard sold her soul (she called it "negotiating") to sign a deal with the Greens, to make herself Prime Minister
- the Greens would never have voted with anyone other than Labor, the deal itself was never needed, the selling of souls was superfluous five minutes after the votes had been counted
- then and subsequently, including in relation to the "not on my watch" carbon tax, Julia Gillard was a puppet to every Green whim, which she justified as showing leadership and getting the job done
- the Greens, under Bob Brown, have a long recorded parliamentary history of hypocrisy, including blocking or refusing to even turn up to vote for major environmental legislation of great value to the country; this isn't a news flash, they've done it with astonishing regularity.

High fives around PM reveal faulty grasp of Labor's reality 

February 22, 2013

If the glove fits ...

Oscar Pistorius's bedroom and ensuite:  reconstruction
Oscar's Bedroom

Ruddton Landslide!

Over at The Hun, they're all excited because they've got their hands on a poll that proves K.Rudd would blitz it to a stunning win for the ALP at this year's federal election.

Kevin Rudd would catapult Labor into an election-winning position if he was reinstalled as leader, according to a new Galaxy poll. 

The Courier Mail reports a comeback by the former prime minister would deliver a massive 14 percent boost to Labor's primary vote, putting it in line to seize two thirds of the seats in Queensland.

The poll of 800 Queenslanders found federal Labor's support, with Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the helm, was stuck on 33 per cent support - close to its primary vote at the last election.

This would see Tony Abbott lead the Coalition to victory by 55 per cent to 45 per cent on a two party preferred basis in Queensland if preferences flowed as they did in 2010.

But Labor's primary vote would soar to 47 per cent in Queensland if Mr Rudd returned to the leadership and faced off against Mr Abbott, the poll found.

Under the Rudd scenario, Labor would win the election by 53 per cent to 47 per cent on a two party preferred basis.
To translate:  Kevin Rudd would lead the ALP to a landslide victory in Queensland.  Maybe

Kevin Rudd would lead Labor to election victory, victory, victory, victory! 

When even your best friends turn

Graham (whatever it takes) Richo has been a consistent critic of the Gillard Government, and of Wayne Swan, and of Julia Gillard.  Also consistently factual, as far as facts go within commentariat-land.

This week, perhaps miffed that all of his old-age advice has gone unheeded, Richo has resorted to joining the "Gillard's gotta go" brigade. 

Most likely though, she will hang on and try to tough it out. With all those who hate Rudd clustered around her in praetorian guard formation, a confused, conflicted caucus might acquiesce to her survival. Numbers have been hard to come by for the Rudd team.

This would mean that the legacy Gillard leaves behind would be the near destruction of the modern Labor Party. That is how bad I believe Labor's position has become. Some of the PM's backers are among my closest friends and this column may well strain those relationships. It would be worth the price to see Labor back in the game, being taken seriously, and a force for good in Australian politics.
More old-age advice.  Oh dear.  Richo is going to be disappointed, again.

As for his belief that "this is how bad" the pitiful politics of the ALP has become:  he's old, he's slow, it's taken him a while to catch up with everyone else.  Him and nearly every journalist in the country.  Well, except the wonderful Michelle Grattan, who retired just in time for her weekly cheer-a-thon for Gillard and the ALP to pass from the political landscape with dignity.

The long running series, Ruddton Abbey and the World of Hurt, with all new episodes, interspersed with an awful lot of repeats, coming soon.

Duck Friday

February 21, 2013

Last words

Mr Shorten yesterday pleaded for unity, calling on MPs to be "true to ourselves'.

"I believe Julia Gillard is a tough leader for tough times," he told the AWU conference. "I think every Labor MP understands the value of unity and I know from my conversations with plenty of people we're united in terms of supporting Julia Gillard as leader."

In a later interview, he said: "I'm not even contemplating any debate about our internal line-up. I support ... Julia Gillard."

Nothing to see here.

Bill Shorten urged to end ALP paralysis 

Just a bit of jealousy

No, not Julia's fault.  She has done no wrong.

If anyone within the federal ALP caucus has a hanckering for the return of Kev Rudd as leader, it's only because they're a bunch of jealous, resentful kiddies, who missed out on promotions from Ms Gillard.

Sure.  That explains everything.

Nothing to see here.

No peace in sight for Labor caucus 

February 20, 2013

Danger Signs

Wednesday Wisdom

 When you win, you don't examine it very much, except to congratulate yourself. You easily, and wrongly, assume it has something to do with your rare qualities as a person. But winning only measures how hard you've worked and how physically talented you are; it doesn't particularly define you beyond those characteristics.

Athletes don’t have much use for poking around in their childhoods, because, introspection doesn’t get you anywhere in a race.
I asked myself what I believed. I had never prayed a lot. I hoped hard, wished hard, but I didn't pray. I had developed a certain distrust of organised religion growing up, but I felt I had the capacity to be a spiritual person, and to hold some fervent beliefs. Quite simply, I believed I had a responsibility to be a good person, and that meant fair, honest, hardworking and honorable. If I did that, if I was good to my family, true to my friends, if I gave back to my community or to some cause, if I wasn't a liar, a cheat, or a thief, then I believed that should be enough. At the end of the day, if there was indeed some Body or presence standing there to judge me, I hoped I would be judged on whether I had lived a true life, not on whether I believed in a certain book, or whether I'd been baptised.

This is my body, and I can do whatever I want to it. I can push it; Study it; Tweak it; Listen to it. Everybody wants to know what I am on. What am I on? I am on my bike busting my ass six hours a day; What are YOU on?
The riskiest thing you can do is get greedy.

Lance Armstrong

February 19, 2013

Girls just want to vote for Tony

The Lodge is going to need a lot of redecorating.
According to one poll, only 36 per cent of women are claiming an intent to vote for the ALP at the federal election.

That would leave as many as two thirds who might consider voting for "the misogynist".

By far the majority - a smidgen over 80 per cent - of women don't give a rat's arse about Abbott's gaggle of girls at home, or his gaggle of high achieving women in the office; nor do they give a rat's about Gillard's unmarried, childless status. 

Women haven't been sucker-punched by Gillard's much vaunted misogyny speech.  

It's time for the trumped-up and grossly misplaced gender war to be removed from the political conversation.

Female Voters Choose Tony Abbott

February 17, 2013

Just wait

Dubbed the Prime Minister-in-Exile by his ALP colleagues, political insiders now believe he is increasingly likely to take a second shot at a political resurrection, with MPs deeply despondent over the performance of the government and Treasurer Wayne Swan's woes over the mining tax.

The prospect has the Liberal Party on high alert that the promised September 14 election could be scrapped if the Labor Party dumped Julia Gillard as Prime Minister.

Liberal strategists are preparing alternative advertising campaigns in preparation for a Rudd-led ALP, hammering him as "chaotic" and "a psycho", using his colleagues' comments during last year's bitter leadership contest and the leaked potty-mouthed video.
The footage is waiting, the endless quotes are waiting, the free kick and money for jam for whoever has the Liberal advertising contract is waiting.

If Rudd is reinstated as Prime Minister and leader of the ALP at any time in the next 100 years, the campaign against him will be short, devastating and entirely effective.  All written by his ALP colleagues.  

Kevin Rudd cancels plans to crash Prime Minister Julia Gillard's party in Adelaide

February 16, 2013

The continuing Swan song

Wayne Swan will join the cluster of useless and incompetent treasurers whose errors have had to be righted.

That would be the dry as as Darwin summer day Judith Sloan, who isn't impressed with Wayne Swan, and is happy for everyone to know it.

Wayne Swan may be Treasurer, but he's certainly no treasure


Say what?

She said: 
The parliamentary defence by Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan of the minerals resource rent tax has taken on a surreal air. Sitting in the gallery has become like Waiting for Godot.

The Prime Minister and the Treasurer are blaming various people - Tony Abbott and rapacious Coalition premiers - and various factors - "inefficient state royalties" and a collapse in commodity prices - for the debacle that the MRRT has become and a looming $2 billion budget hole.

As part of the whole absurd parade, Gillard told parliament Labor was about "efficient" taxes of resources and efficiency. "Spreading the benefits of the boom" was not about Coalition state governments "just jacking up" royalties.

"Jacking up royalties" was obviously in the government talking notes yesterday.

Mental Health Minister Mark Butler earlier sheeted home the admitted failure of the MRRT to raise any real revenue to "state governments . . . jacking up their royalties, which means that those state governments are getting the taxes instead of the national government".
 As a political ploy it is a bravura performance, breathtaking in its illogicality, self-delusion and heroic belief that anyone could buy the argument.

When Swan got to his feet yesterday to respond to a question. he began by saying: "It is embarrassing . . ."
The opposition benches erupted in laughter and bristled with pointing fingers as the Labor backbench looked even more despondent and embarrassed.

It is embarrassing because the Treasurer is the principal architect of the resource super-profits tax under Kevin Rudd and the MRRT under Gillard, and rejected the Henry tax review recommendation to replace inefficient state royalties with a federal super-profits tax.

It was Swan who created the federal mining tax as add-on to state royalties against the recommendation of the Treasury head and the entire resources industry, and without even trying to get state co-operation.

It was Swan and Gillard who went further than the Rudd plan and agreed the commonwealth would allow mining companies to credit "all" state royalties against the mining tax - even those state governments "jacked up" - and granted huge tax deductions for the big three miners.

It was the Labor governments and premiers of South Australia and Queensland who jacked up royalties first and defended the miners' claims to credits.
He said: 
Treasury secretary Martin Parkinson has admitted the design of the mining tax is responsible for its failure to generate revenue, not the falling commodity prices, higher currency and state royalties blamed by the government. 
In explosive testimony to the Senate economics committee yesterday, Dr Parkinson said Treasury had compiled its budget forecasts in ignorance of the real cost of concessions agreed to by Wayne Swan and Resources Minister Martin Ferguson when they renegotiated the tax in private with the chief executives of BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata in mid-2010.

"We've adjusted those estimates for the things that we can see that have changed in the interim. What we haven't done is adjust the estimates for things that we can't see," he said.
Dr Parkinson said the two big variables it did not take into account - and which resulted in the tax raising only $126 million in its first six months - were the value that the mining companies put on their assets (the starting base for the tax) and the share of the profits that is attributable to downstream operations not covered by the mining tax.
..."When . . . the mining industry talked with us there was no legal obligation on them to have actually settled on the starting base," he said. "They actually had the opportunity to go back and think about what their starting base should be. They gave us their best estimate, as we understand it, their best estimate at the time, but they clearly had until the point they are legally obligated for the tax the opportunity to rethink that."

Asked by opposition assistant Treasury spokesman Mathias Cormann whether Treasury was "flying blind" when it compiled the forecasts, Dr Parkinson replied: "We can't see changes that may have been made."
A week after the tax was agreed, the then Coalition industry spokesman Ian Macfarlane suggested no tax would be paid: "The companies involved in the negotiations will be paying no more tax than they are now. We're starting to think the whole thing is a sham."
And it was, and is, and the Gillard Government never runs out of people to blame. 

Godot has nothing on PM for absurdity

Treasury exposes mining tax flaws and Martin Parkinson blames Labor's concessions


Were you "sickened", like our Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, at the revelation that some of our professional sporting folk might have been on field - for our entertainment - performing with the aid of enhancements, cutting edge dope of one kind or another? 

Only male sports people, I should add.  The ladies haven't been tainted, which probably explains why netball has been removed from free to air television this year - don't want role models like that being touted to the populace at large.

I'm definitely queasy about this front-page splash being an accusation that has led, and will lead to nothing, other than a wide-ranging assumption of guilt.

Drugs, criminal links, and possible tanking. 

Serious, hey? 

Sure as shit very serious, going by the stunned-mullet looks on so many famous sporting faces, not least being James Hird.

I'm very queasy to find out that the NSW and Victorian police have known about the ACC "findings" for six months, but neither states have anything to pursue.  Investigations are done and dusted and nothing further is to be done.  No one has or will be charged. 

All that hoopla, all that smearing, all that deeply serious analysis and hand-wringing, and zippo.  There's nothing to see.

So we're left to ask, and wonder who to ask:  what the fuck was that all about?
Then there was the recent so-called ACC special investigation into the illegal firearms market in Australia, which the ACC concluded was the result of thefts within Australia of legal firearms and interstate trade in illegal weapons. This meant responsibility fell squarely on the states, not the federal government.

That was despite NSW Police detecting a record 300 Glock semi-automatic pistols ambling through Customs to a suburban Sydney post office, where it appears they were sold to criminals.

It appeared to many that the calculations used by the ACC to dismiss illegal gun importations as a factor in the long-running Sydney shooting sprees was seriously flawed.

It also seemed to get the Gillard government and media-savvy Justice Minister Jason Clare off the hook as far as who was responsible for the outbreak of gun violence across the country.

But that report paled into insignificance when compared to Australian sports' "Armageddon Day", last Thursday, and the release of a 12-month "investigation" by the ACC.

Flanked by the earnest-looking Clare and Sport Minister Kate Lundy, an even more earnest-looking ACC chief executive John Lawler outlined what everyone with an IQ over 20 already knew. Customs and Border Protection agencies were seizing record amounts of performance-enhancing drugs destined for, wait for it, athletes. There were also groundbreaking revelations that organised crime had become involved.


That should shock no one as it is probably one of the few areas organised crime had not got its hooks into until federal law enforcement agencies spectacularly dropped the ball in the past five or six years protecting our borders.

I, like many others, waited keenly for the Lance Armstrong moment, when a prominent athlete would be led away in handcuffs.

It never occurred and probably never will.

But maybe there would be video evidence of a sporting team bus carrying five Glock pistols, a Heckler; Koch sub-machinegun and a bag full of cocaine. Nope, no such smoking gun.

What I did notice were some very bewildered sporting code executives with looks on their faces that said: "Why am I here and where is the evidence I can take back to my board to explain the enormous damage you have just done to our sport?"

The dust has now settled and questions are being asked about the veracity of the allegations and the timing of this "event".

Both the NSW and Victorian police forces have been quoted in recent days as having suspended any further inquiries related to the ACC report.
ACC drops the ball over probe into drugs in sport 

February 15, 2013

February 13, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom

The mortality rate is holding at a scandalous 100 percent.

Tim Kreider

February 12, 2013

It's official: off and running

The Broadcasting Services Act states that the "election period" starts on either the day on which the proposed polling day is announced or the day on which the writs for the election are issued, whichever happens first. Once the election period has begun, the commercial broadcasters must ensure balance in the amount of time they give each party.
The unfailingly left of the leftest lefty, the ABC, will retain a stiff upper and pretend that the election campaign has not started:
ABC managing director Mark Scott yesterday confirmed the national broadcaster had decided the election period would not begin until the writs were issued on August 12 for a general election. Mr Scott said the broadcaster would take a "commonsense" approach.
Yes Virginia, the election campaign really did start ...  forever ago

February 8, 2013

Give me a little sigh now

From the beginning, one of Gillard’s core problems has been a lack of authority, exacerbated by the Greens component of the hung parliament and her handling of it. 

The vacuum at the top is disconcerting to Australians and once it’s filled you’ll almost be able to hear the sigh of relief. People would have a Prime Minister again. 

And were practicing already:  *SIGH*

Take a cold shower, Kevin

A few loose in the top paddock

Tens of thousands of jobs would be shifted to the top end and Australia would be split into different economic zones, under a sweeping draft Coalition plan for the development of the country's north. 
The plan, outlined in a policy discussion paper entitled Vision 2030, proposes redirecting about $800 million in funds from the nation's foreign aid budget to create economic and aid opportunities closer to home.

The 30-page document -- obtained by The Daily Telegraph -- also reportedly outlines plans for the mass migration of public service workers north of the Tropic of Capricorn to Cairns, Darwin and Karratha.

The reform blueprint, which The Australian understands the Coalition has been working on for two years, proposes to establish different economic development zones and offer incentives to lure private sector workers to the north.

The discussion paper, which has been circulated among senior Coalition figures, state governments and premiers for consultation, is also reported to recommend relocating major defence facilities to the north.

Tony Abbott is understood to be seeking feedback on the policy discussion paper, but the plan to split the country in half and establish a new food bowl and resource and energy industry in northern Australia is not believed to have been costed yet.
And then there's the funny story doing the rounds that Tony wants to carve the country up into different tax zones.  Sure, that wouldn't result in everyone promptly moving to the least taxed regions, but that's the whole point, a great big new economy up north!

Mr Abbott and his comedic friends have evidently consorted closely with Mrs Gina Rinehart, she who is a marvelous people-person, with wondrous and deep knowledge of running countries. They've at least read her stuff, if not consorted: 
In a speech to the Sydney Mining Club last September, Mrs Rinehart said: "We need to create a large special economic zone in our north, stretching across northern Queensland, northern Western Australia and the Northern Territory, with fewer regulations and taxes."
Federal elections, gotta love 'em.  A welcome relief from the serious business of peptides running amok through the perfectly tuned bodies of professional sportsmen across the country.

Coalition looks north for growth

Duck Friday

February 6, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.

February 4, 2013

ALP campaign running according to plan

... few voters of either persuasion appear intent on rewarding the PM for subjecting them to an eight-month campaign.

Nor do they believe her motive was to provide the country with stability and certainty - rather to insure the government against resignations or a leadership challenge.

Re-enforcing the view that the PM has a significant battle ahead of her to restore trust with the community, 53 per cent of voters said they didn't believe her explanation. Only 41 per cent accepted the PM's claims.
MPs yesterday questioned her judgment in announcing an election date on Wednesday. "If Rowan Atkinson had written the last week for a part for Blackadder, he'd have thrown out the script because it would be too silly," one MP said.
ALP national secretary George Wright declared "so far, so good"
The former PM, who earlier this week appeared on morning show Sunrise and with a chainsaw helping flood victims in Queensland with their clean-up, today tweeted about the joys of his new granddaughter.

It was accompanied with a picture of a relaxed Mr Rudd reclining on the lounge with his daughter Jessica's new baby, a rattle, and a soft toy.

He wrote: "Heaps of fun having baby Josephine home."
Try as I might - and I haven't tried at all - I don't begrudge Kevin Rudd his schadenfreude.

Voters not believing Gillard 

Labor says campaign on track

St Kev keeps up charm offensive 

February 2, 2013

The koala did it

 The paw prints of koalas are indistinguishable from human fingerprints. 
Remember that next time you're under suspicion and your fingerprints have been found at the scene.

Tears for the end of Federal Labor

Evans and Roxon aren't such sterling politicians that their departures warrant tears.

I can only deduce that Julia Gillard is feeling the pain of the end of the Labor party in Federal politics.

"Like Chris (Evans) I believe we can win the next election," she said.

Yeah.  Sure.

Seven more months, for more ALP resignations.  None will be a shock.


Reasons not to take health advice from the MSM

Hyped-up media coverage of breast cancer is horribly misguided. Year-round pinkness and chirpy survival stories can have appalling unintended consequences.

More men in Australia die from prostate cancer than women who die from breast cancer.  You knew that, yes?

Most breast cancers are survivable, although not because of any miraculous will to live on the part of the patient, or from a meditation regime, or from eating/drinking weird concoctions.  Put simply, most breast cancers do not kill if found and treated in the usual barbaric manner, inclusive of superfluous chemotherapy.

Not only for breast cancer, more widely, the main stream media has an awful lot to answer for when it comes to reporting on nutrition, health, and medicine.
... doctors say many women are not making such informed decisions. Last month, University of Michigan researchers reported on a study of more than 1,446 women who had breast cancer. Four years after their diagnosis, 35 percent were considering removing their healthy breast and 7 percent had already done so.
Notably, most of the women who had a double mastectomy were not at high risk for a cancer recurrence. In fact, studies suggest that most women who have double mastectomies never seek genetic testing or counseling.
This is a decision no woman should be making, no doctor or surgeon should be supporting, and no media outlet should promote - usually with awe at the courage and determination of the woman deciding to cut off a body part for no confirmed medical reason.

If there was a group of people wanting to cut of a limb or have a kidney removed, just on the off-chance, they'd be referred for treatment of a mental health problem, not encouraged and supported by another person wielding a scalpel.

We should be demanding evidence based medicine.

We should be demanding evidence based reporting.

(And then there are the tens of thousands of women treated for breast cancer, which they don't have:  Prone to error)

Facing cancer, a stark choice 

Who will we trust?

The simple framing of our year long election campaign by Tony Abbott:  the election is about trust. 

Julia Gillard will claim she's moving forward, or building an education revolution, or getting the job done, or keeping focused on the job rather than engaging in argy-bargy.  Dismissive, condescending, euphemistic, and generally avoiding her accountability.
“This election is about trust,” Mr Abbott said.

“The choice before the Australian people could not be clearer. It’s more tax or less. It’s more regulation or less. It’s less competence or more. It’s less freedom of more.”
Who will the voters trust?

Not Julia Gillard's government. 

In most regards, the election campaign is already dead, a long path ahead of going through the motions, with a weary public barely raising a brow with each new Gillard Government catastrophe, with each new woeful decision from the Prime Minister.

Only three days down and the announcement that was intended to convince us all that Gillard, - and only Gillard - is primeministerial, in control, the captain of the ship, is looking thread bare, shoddy, a cheap trick.

Gillard has always been fighting for herself, not the party, not the country.  This is reflected in everything she does.  Her supporters in the party - now starting to jump ship, rather than go down with it - have evidently believed that whatever is good for Julia will be good for them, her self-interest would keep them all safe.  This, obviously, is rubbish, an abrogation of responsibility by every sitting member of the ALP.

When Gillard, having stupidly rushed into an election after knifing Rudd, negotiated with the Greens and the independents to form a minority government, the alarm bells and red lights should have been overwhelming when those agreements were tied to Gillard, to her remaining Prime Minister for three long years, and all the other promises made in writing to protect her position and the jobs of the Greens and the independents.  But her colleagues didn't blink.  Not a scratched head or feeling of great discomfort anywhere.  Gillard, back then, negotiated only to protect herself and her party didn't raise a ruckus or pull her into line.  She continues to act alone, without the normal courtesies of engaging her cabinet or the backbench, warm in the continued delusion that her judgement is politically impeccable, morally defensible.

When, too late, a shrill admission comes from inside your own party, some other leader might listen.  Gillard won't.  She never has.  This Prime Minister listens only to her own small thoughts - and they are small;  Gillard is not a woman of big pictures or ambitious visions - unwaveringly confident in herself.  She is dead wrong.  Gillard is just as deluded and lacking in purpose as Kevin Rudd ever was.
ALP vice-president Tony Sheldon has launched a ferocious attack on the political and moral crisis inside Labor and the toxicity of its most powerful faction, saying only a ground-up change of culture can restore its fortunes. 
Speaking just days after Julia Gillard set September 14 as the election date and as Labor battles twin scandals in NSW, Mr Sheldon said the party faced a "catastrophic situation", with its brand damaged by a failure to focus on what matters to members and supporters.

"Our crisis is more than just a crisis of trust brought on by the corrupt behaviour of property scammers and lobbyists," Mr Sheldon told a factional dinner for the Right at the Young Labor annual conference last night.
"It's a crisis of belief brought on by a lack of moral and political purpose."
All Tony Abbott needs to do during the next eight months is manage to keep his tie straight, be seen once in a while with one or other of his gorgeously photogenic daughters, and ... well, that's pretty much it ... turn up and vote for himself on September 14, collect the keys to The Lodge the next day.

ALP facing moral crisis

Leaders battle it out in a race to win trust  

All Tony's fault

Tony Abbott goes into the contest as the favourite despite being even less personally popular than Ms Gillard, if only because he has so single-mindedly eroded public confidence in her government, her legitimacy and her permanence.
And all but single-handedly, apparently.

It's no small astonishment that a man so unpopular, so unsuited to be leader of a first-world free-world country, so Catholic, so lacking a policy, so generally reviled, is credited with super-powers to persuade a gullible, ignorant public to believe so many untruths about the wondrous performance of the Gillard Government. 

If only Tony had said nice things, the little universe that is the Labor Federal Government would be widely acknowledged as being strawberries and cream.

An unpopular choice

Chris Evans gone Roxon next

The shock resignation of Ms Roxon, a solid Gillard supporter, created a storm of commentary within ALP ranks late last night as the word spread she was stepping down and not expected to contest the next election.

One senior Labor MP told The Weekend Australian late last night that "Rome is burning".
 Gillard forced into a reshuffle:  keep calm and carry on captain!

February 1, 2013