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“Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

Archive for November, 2007

New Labor Ministry Picked

Posted by Atilla89 on November 30, 2007

New updates on both the Coalition and the Labor parties respectively. This is nothing new, but Brendan Nelson is now Opposition Leader, which is not to bad. He’s the in between guy whose political stance was in the middle of Turnbull and Abbott.

The next important developments are that of the Rudd government. Here’s a list of all the different MP’s and their roles. The key people are below.

Kevin Rudd
Prime Minister
Julia Gillard
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
Wayne Swan
Treasurer
Lindsay Tanner
Minister for Finance
Peter Garrett
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts
Penny Wong
Minister for Climate Change and Water
Anthony Albanese
Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government
Kim Carr
Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research
Martin Ferguson
Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism
Tony Burke
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Simon Crean
Minister for Trade
Nicola Roxon
Minister for Health and Ageing
Jenny Macklin
Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
Stephen Smith
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Joel Fitzgibbon
Minister for Defence

To be honest with you, I think Australia is screwed and the point that keeps coming back to me is that these people have no experience and a few of them including Peter Garrett are going to be embarrassments to our country.

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Evil Teddy Bear of Death: The Sentence

Posted by Atilla89 on November 30, 2007

Just a quick update on the Muhammad Teddy Bear story, Gillian Gibbons who made the HUGE mistake of having her class of Sudanese students vote (shock horror) on a name for their teddy bear has now been sentenced. Check the story here.

KHARTOUM, Sudan – British teacher Gillian Gibbons has been convicted of inciting religious hatred for letting her pupils name a teddy bear Muhammad and sentenced to 15 days in prison and deportation from Sudan, one of her defense lawyers said Thursday.

“The judge found Gillian Gibbons guilty and sentenced her to 15 days jail and deportation,” said Ali Mohammed Hajab, a member of her defense team.

The director of the school employing Gibbons, however, noted that since she had already spent five days in prison, she would serve only 10 days.

It’s a very fair verdict, she could have had six months and lashes and a fine, and she only got 15 days and deportation,” said Robert Boulos of the Unity High School, adding they would not appeal the decision.

Yep, 15 days…what a great system of law you must have.

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Evil Teddy Bear of Death

Posted by gowronx2 on November 28, 2007

Recently, we learned that the fair and just legal system in Saudi Arabia feels it necessary to punish not only rapists, but their victims as well, for the shocking and unforgivable crime of being alone with another man.

But apparently, in some countries, there are even more heinous crimes than being the victim of a gang rape.

Yes, I am talking about giving innapropriate names to teddy bears.

A British schoolteacher has been arrested in Sudan accused of insulting Islam’s Prophet, after she allowed her pupils to name a teddy bear Muhammad.

Colleagues of Gillian Gibbons, 54, from Liverpool, said she made an “innocent mistake” by letting the six and seven-year-olds choose the name.

Ms Gibbons was arrested after several parents made complaints.

The school has been closed until January for fear of reprisals.

But we all know who the real human rights abuser in the region is, right? Israel!

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Annapolis Conference: A Complete Failure From The Start

Posted by Atilla89 on November 28, 2007

You know, I hate to say this, but sometimes Olmert has his good points. Yes, you read that correctly, now let me explain. Ehud (“Peace is achieved through concessions”) Olmert, has decided to get some backbone. At the start of the Annapolis conference he demanded that the Palestinians recognise Israel first and foremost as a Jewish State, something which the Palestinians, and indeed most of the Arab world have refused to do.

Breaking with his predecessors, Olmert has boldly demanded that his Palestinian bargaining partners accept Israel’s permanent existence as a Jewish state, thereby evoking a revealing response.

Unless the Palestinians recognize Israel as “a Jewish state,” Olmert announced on November 11, the Annapolis-related talks would not proceed. “I do not intend to compromise in any way over the issue of the Jewish state. This will be a condition for our recognition of a Palestinian state.”

He confirmed these points a day later, describing the “recognition of Israel as a state for the Jewish people” as the “launching point for all negotiations. We won’t have an argument with anyone in the world over the fact that Israel is a state of the Jewish people.” The Palestinian leadership, he noted, must “want to make peace with Israel as a Jewish state.”

Ok, now it shouldn’t be so hard to predict what the Arab response will be. This the reason why I believe any ‘peace agreement’ with the Arabs will NEVER work unless they modernise and reform.The Palestinian leadership responded quickly and unequivocally to Olmert’s demand:

* The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee in Nazareth unanimously called on the Palestinian Authority not to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
* Salam Fayad, Palestinian Authority “prime minister”: “Israel can define itself as it likes, but the Palestinians will not recognize it as a Jewish state.”
* Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s executive committee: “This issue is not on the table; it is raised for internal [Israeli] consumption.”
* Ahmad Qurei, chief Palestinian negotiator: “This [demand] is absolutely refused.”
* Saeb Erekat, head of the PLO Negotiations Department: “The Palestinians will never acknowledge Israel’s Jewish identity. … There is no country in the world where religious and national identities are intertwined.”

Hey presto, no more conference. FrontPage goes on to show just how stupid Saeb Erekat’s statement is.

Saeb Erekat (left), head of the PLO Negotiations Department, with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Erekat’s generalization is both curious and revealing. Not only do 56 states and the PLO belong to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, but most of them, including the PLO, make the Shari‘a (Islamic law) their main or only source of legislation. Saudi Arabia even requires that every subject be a Muslim.

Further, the religious-national nexus extends well beyond Muslim countries. Argentinean law, Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe points out, “mandates government support for the Roman Catholic faith. Queen Elizabeth II is the supreme governor of the Church of England. In the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, the constitution proclaims Buddhism the nation’s ‘spiritual heritage.’ … ‘The prevailing religion in Greece,’ declares Section II of the Greek Constitution, ‘is that of the Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ’.”

FrontPage then concludes this little article very nicely with a statement that I wholeheartedly agree with.

Arab recognition of Israel’s Jewish nature must have top diplomatic priority. Until the Palestinians formally accept Zionism, then follow up by ceasing all their various strategies to eliminate Israel, negotiations should be halted and not restarted. Until then, there is nothing to talk about.

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Thursday: Crunch Time In Politics

Posted by Atilla89 on November 27, 2007

Thursday is crunch time for a great many people in politics. The Liberal Party will be deciding on their leader, either Turnbull, Abbott or Nelson. As, I have said before, I think it should be Turnbull mainly because he has got so much more charisma and because his political stance is more moderate (e.g. a bit more to the centre) then the other two, a stance that the Australian public seems to agree with judging by the election of Labor last Saturday.

Outgoing treasurer and deputy Liberal leader Peter Costello today announced that the meeting would be held on Thursday – the same day Labor will sign off on Kevin Rudd’s new Cabinet. Mr Turnbull is offering the most distinctive break with the past while Mr Abbott, a John Howard loyalist, is appealing to the Liberals conservative base. Dr Nelson appears to be offering a middle ground with his pitch to rediscover “fundamental Liberal values”. “What we need is the right balance between experience on the one hand and also vision, energy, commitment and a unifying effect of not only on party but on policy as we face the future,” he said today.

Former education minister Julie Bishop has put her hand up to be federal Liberal deputy leader. I am standing for the position of deputy leader, I have canvassed many of my colleagues and I’ve been urged to be part of the leadership team,” Ms Bishop said.

As well as this, the Labor Party, specifically Rudd, is going to be choosing his front bench.

Prime minister-elect Kevin Rudd said he would select his new cabinet by the time Labor’s caucus meets in Canberra on Thursday. The caucus will meet at 10am to re-affirm the leadership group and then will re-convene at 2pm to approve Mr Rudd’s frontbench.

While the Labor leader has declared he will break with tradition and select the frontbench himself, he is also signalling that many of the high-profile newcomers will have to gain some parliamentary experience before being elevated.

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Developments On the Coalition Party Situation

Posted by Atilla89 on November 27, 2007

Just before I start, I didn’t realise this but apparently, the Democrats (“Keep the bastards honest”) has been completely whitewashed and now don’t exist as a political party!

Chaos, that’s all I can say in regards to the political situation of the Coalition. After loosing Howard and Costello, Mark Vaile is out of the seat for the Nationals.

The Nationals’ leadership opened yesterday afternoon when Mr Vaile said he would no longer be leader. Deputy leader Warren Truss, former agriculture minister Peter McGauran and NSW backbencher John Cobb were all named as contenders. NSW members Ms Hull and Luke Hartsuyker were also considered as potential deputies. If Ms Hull and Ms Bishop were to win it would be the first time all parties had women in the top posts.

As well as this, now Alexander Downer, the most senior of Liberals has decided not to become a contender. Actually, Downer’s reason (though I doubt the political one) is rather funny.

Mr Downer, the former foreign minister, decided yesterday that he would not run for the leadership after conflicting appeals from colleagues and his family. “When I mentioned (running) to my family, I have to be honest with you, they were filled with horror,” he told the ABC’s 7.30 Report last night.

So after a few developments and updates in the free-for-all in the Coalition we have the following candidates who are seeking election, either to the Liberal Party or the the Nationals. No doubt many people are wondering why a very key Liberal party member called Joe Hockey is not standing for party election. Well…

Outgoing Workplace Relations Minister Joe Hockey today ruled out standing for a leadership position in the Liberal Party. The NSW MP, who was parachuted into the industrial relations portfolio to soften the image of the Howard Government’s Work Choices regime said yesterday he still hoped to be considered for a role on the Liberal opposition’s frontbench. Mr Hockey, who was close to tears on election night as the magnitude of the Liberal loss became clear, joins Peter Costello who declared over the weekend he would not stand for the leadership. “After careful consideration and discussion with my family I have decided not to nominate for a leadership position in the Parliamentary Liberal Party,’’ Mr Hockey said in a statement. “I have served as a Minister for more than eight years in immensely rewarding and, at times, challenging portfolios. I would like to serve on the front bench in Opposition.

So next up we have Tony Abbott to try for the leadership position, I personally think he would not be that great. He has a smaller public image compared to that of Malcolm Turnbull and he doesn’t really seem to have that much charisma, there are reasons, but I won’t go into that in this post.

“I’m offering myself to my colleagues as a candidate … I will be a candidate,” he told reporters in Sydney. Mr Abbott admitted he did not have the best of campaigns, but said he had demonstrated “reasonably good people skills” and that he could “give a knock and take a knock”. “I had some tough times on the campaign trail and I would be the last to say that I was prince perfect,” he said. Mr Abbott said he was not going to repudiate the Howard government and declined to offer any new policy directions. He said he possessed the skill to speak frankly and candidly, without resorting to political spin. However, he admitted that at times he spoke “perhaps too candidly”.

Now the next important development is that Brendan Nelson has announced his intentions for the hardest job in parliament. I don’t mind him that much, even besides the fact that he is a proponent of the theory of intelligent design, which I think is absolute crap. But I really do think that Turnbull at this point, would be the absolute best bet for the Liberals.

Dr Nelson has good relations with the backbench and was widely expected to run only if he believed he was in a strong position to win.

…(from a different article)

Dr Nelson also declared he would stand for the leadership and is expected to get strong support after spending the past two days talking to his colleagues before going public. “The key tasks, as I see them, will be to rally our party and see that it is unified,” Dr Nelson said.

Some of the other minor candidates are: Chris Pyne who has confirmed today that he is considering his options for the deputy Liberal leadership. As well as this, Andrew Robb, Julie Bishop, Kay Hull and Queenslander Peter Dutton, if he hangs on a tight race for his seat are also looking for positions. Here’s a few details:

With the Liberals’ Julie Bishop and the Nationals’ Kay Hull named as likely contenders for leadership positions, there is a possibility that every major party in the House of Representatives could be led by a male-female team for the first time. Ms Bishop, the former education minister, may also yet declare she will stand for the Liberal leadership. Her pitch would be based on Western Australia’s strong performance for the Coalition and fundraising benefits from the mining-rich state, although she is also expected to compete for the deputy position. “I am talking with my colleagues and seeking their advice as to whether I should contest a position within the Liberal Party leadership,” she told The Australian last night. If she secured the deputy leadership, it is expected she would seek the Treasury portfolio.

Mr Robb, a former minister and Liberal executive director, is being supported strongly for deputy leader on the basis of his campaign experience and as a foil to the more flamboyant possible leaders from NSW. Former ageing minister Christopher Pyne, from South Australia, has said he is running for the deputy post as a generational change. “Obviously there will be a new generation of people who will need to lead the Liberal Party into the future. After 11 1/2 years of government and 11 1/2 years of the same team as leader and deputy leader, the party needs a new generation of leadership,” the 40-year-old said. “I think that I could be part of that. We need to hold this government accountable to its promises.”

Peter Dutton, who originally defeated Labor’s Cheryl Kernot for the seat of Dickson, is struggling to hold his seat although he expects to win and would stand as Liberal deputy if he survives. The Nationals’ leadership opened yesterday afternoon when Mr Vaile said he would no longer be leader. Deputy leader Warren Truss, former agriculture minister Peter McGauran and NSW backbencher John Cobb were all named as contenders. NSW members Ms Hull and Luke Hartsuyker were also considered as potential deputies. If Ms Hull and Ms Bishop were to win it would be the first time all parties had women in the top posts.

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Shoot To Thrill: Computer Games And The Military

Posted by Atilla89 on November 26, 2007

I’ve just read this really interesting article on the link between the recruitment of potential soldiers into world military and the role of computer games such as America’s Army and Battlefield 2.

Full Spectrum Warrior

Full Spectrum Warrior

The article talks about generation Y (of which I am a part) and how the military (doesn’t really matter which one) tries to get them to join through computer games which depict ‘real’ combat. I particularly find this link very interesting since I am an avid gamer, I really like those sort of First Person Shooter Games and because today I am going to have my first interview to join the Australian Reserves! Of coarse, there are drawbacks to this kind tool, because how many serious gamers are actually fit and healthy? From what I have seen, not that many.

Various commentators have accused Generation Y, those born after 1981, of being disrespectful, constantly distracted, unable to live without a mobile phone, contemptuous of authority, cynical and precocious. A more unlikely batch of soldiers just couldn’t be imagined.

But this much-maligned generation is precisely the target that the US and Australian defence forces are homing in on in their efforts to keep the “war on terror” well manned. And their key recruitment strategy? The humble video game.

More than 3800 US soldiers have been killed in action since the war in Iraq began more than five years ago. And as the conflict drags on with no end in sight, the US military is running desperately short of the 80,000 new recruits it needs each year.

As the horrific reality of the bloody conflict deters potential recruits back home, it seems that the US Army is pinning its hopes on a video game to solve one of George Bush’s biggest headaches.

America’s Army (www.americasarmy.com) is a key component of a drive by US forces to sell military careers to an increasingly cynical young demographic who ignore billboards and TV advertisements and who, by being plugged into the internet, fly firmly under the radar of traditional marketing.

Military recruitment has huge support from the US Government.

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The Struggle For Control In Nablus

Posted by Atilla89 on November 26, 2007

From LGF, Kasper has posted another video clip from British television, on the struggle for control in the West Bank city of Nablus, a major hub of Palestinian terrorist activity.

I know, lets give them a state!

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Chaos In The Liberal Party

Posted by Atilla89 on November 26, 2007

That defeat on Saturday is worse then I feared. At this point, in both State and Federal politics, the Coalition is in the Opposition. Howard lost his own seat and nominated Costello to be his successor. However, events are moving quite quickly in the Liberal Party as Costello has now announced his resignation; at this point in time, there is now 9 MPs battling for the top job as leader for the Opposition party. Now I’ve suspected that for a time Malcolm Turnbull might become leader of the Opposition, but only after a long time. I fully expected that if or when Howard lost it would be Costello taking up the reigns with maybe Tony Abbot or some other MPs going in as treasurer or deputy. Now that Costello has resigned, Turnbull not only has a chance, he seems the most likely in my opinion, although we can’t rule out Downer and Nelson.

Here are some of the names of the candidates that are running for Opposition Leader:

  1. Malcolm Turnbull
  2. Brendan Nelson
  3. Alexander Downer
  4. Tony Abbott,
  5. Joe Hockey
  6. Julie Bishop (being mentioned as a potential deputy leader)
  7. Chris Pyne (being mentioned as a potential deputy leader)
  8. Andrew Robb

As I said earlier, I believe that Turnbull has the best chance, however:

One of Australia’s biggest bookmakers is tipping Dr Nelson to take over the leadership. Neil Evans, analyst and media chief with Centrebet, said he had been told by “a well placed and reliable Liberal party source” that Dr Nelson would be asked to take on the role. “He told me that Brendan Nelson has the numbers, fits the image best and has the safest seat of all the potential leaders,” Mr Evans said.

For me, I believe it will be down to those two, whoever gets the upper hand will get the leadership of the Opposition Party. There are a few reasons why I don’t tihnk Alexander Downer will get the top job even though he is the most senior Liberal Party member because he really doesn’t seem to know what to do, he is not decisive enough.

Mr Downer – the most senior Liberal left in the race – is considering whether to stand for opposition leader, a role he last held in 1994.I am an unknown, and that is I am an unknown even to myself as to what I will do next, I’m still working that through,” Mr Downer said at his Adelaide Hills home.

…(from a different article)

Mr Downer said he could understand Mr Costello’s “completely unexpected” decision not to seek the leadership. But Liberal colleagues were now left “wondering what to do”, he said. “I think no rash judgments at this stage,” Mr Downer said. “People are ambitious, but ambitious to be opposition leader after 11 and a half years in government, it’s not exactly a grasp for power I suspect. “It’s a time for people to reflect on what might be the wisest thing for the Liberal Party, rather than just falling over themselves with ambition.”

As for the rest:

In Victoria, Mr Robb, the former vocational and further education minister who ran the Liberals’ successful 1996 campaign, was gaining support as a potential deputy leader. But Mr Robb will probably face stiff competition from South Australia’s former ageing minister, Christopher Pyne, and Queensland’s former assistant treasurer Peter Dutton – if he holds his seat of Dickson. Mr Pyne, a supporter of Mr Costello, was promoted late by Mr Howard but has a high media profile and is young enough to wait out two terms of Opposition with ease. Former education minister Julie Bishop from Western Australia – the Coalition’s lone electoral redoubt – and former workplace relations minister Joe Hockey from Sydney are also being talked about as potential deputy leaders. But Mr Hockey has the disadvantage of having three possible leadership candidates from his home state as well as being heavily identified with the unpopular Work Choices legislation.

Your comments on the prospects of the Liberal Party are welcome.

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Labor Wins Australian Federal Election 2007

Posted by Atilla89 on November 24, 2007

Ok, it is now official, for all those who don’t know, Australia had their Federal Election to decide which political party would take power. I am embarrassed to say that the Liberal Party lost (really badly) and now the Labor Party under Kevin Rudd is now in charge of Australia. Even more posts to follow on his policies and their effects. The results are as follows (at the point of writing):

Liberal: 48

Labor: 84

National: 10

Independent: 2

Too close to call: 6

Coalition: 58

Labor 84

Now to some light and not so light analysis:

Andrew Bolt decides that it should be “A consolation for all right-thinking voters: Kevin Rudd or John Howard, whoever wins today will be a conservative. The Left loses again.

From Tim Blair we have updates stating that:

  • ABC reports John Howard has phoned Kevin Rudd to concede defeat. Nick Minchin says result is “tragic for us on the conservative side of politics”. Julia Gillard says Howard will be remembered with “respect and affection”.
  • Jeff Kennett: “Not only are the Democrats gone, but the Greens achieved nothing, after all that effort …” Not entirely – they did hand over the usual bunch of preferences to their ALP pals. Overall Green vote up only 0.6% on 2004, despite big early numbers.

Which in my view is pretty much spot on, if only Peter Garret would go back to his own pary (Greens) instead of making Labor even worse then it is supposed to be.

  • Howard congratulates Rudd on “very emphatic victory”. Says it has been a privilege to be Prime Minister of “this very beautiful country … the Australian people are the greatest people on earth, and this is the greatest country on earth.” He’s leaving on some perfect notes. Australia will miss this bloke more than it knows. Howard also, as did Mal Brough, urges that Labor support ongoing intervention in wretched Aboriginal areas. Thanks staff for putting up with a “sometimes cantankerous” Prime Minister during the past few months. Lots of smiles. Final words as PM: “I wish the government elected by the people of Australia the very best in the years ahead.” Nick Minchin describes it as “a great speech from a remarkable man.”

The Australian have also got a few things to say:

Mr Howard wished Mr Rudd well on the task he had ahead and said the Coalition bequeathed to him a nation that was “stronger and prouder and more prosperous’’ than it was 11 years ago.

Nice last little jab at the Labor government before Howard

But without conceding defeat in his own electorate he gave a strong endorsement for Peter Costello, both as the fiscal steward of the past but also for the future. “The future of our party is very much tied up with Peter Costello; he is very much our future,’’ he said.

This should come as no surprise but Costello looks set to become the new leader of the Opposition fairly soon (assuming Howard retires which I believe he will).

The rest of what The Australian says is just results coming in, you can read all of it in the ‘more’ section.
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