Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Leftist hate is alive and well in Australia too
Andrew Bolt reports (The ABC is Australia's public broadcaster -- predictably Leftist)
Three examples from the past week shocked me.
Example 1. The ABC's main TV news bulletin in Brisbane last Thursday showed the exterior and street number of the home of Bill Mellor, a decorated former army brigadier, and gave out his suburb.
Mellor's wife was in tears and police rushed in to secure the house.
The reason? As the ABC report pointed out, Mellor was co-ordinating the Queensland Government's war against criminal bikie gangs linked to murder, rape, drug trafficking and extortion.
Why on earth did the ABC show bikies the home of the man overseeing the fight against them that has led to nearly 400 arrests? How could his home be relevant to its report?
There may be an innocent explanation involving extreme stupidity, but Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and others, me included, also suspect bias.
We already know the ABC last month published stolen intelligence on our spying in Indonesia, damaging our national interest without exposing any sin that needed correcting. It seemed the ABC's Leftist culture made it only too keen to rock the Abbott Government. Only too ready to undermine national security.
In the Mellor case, the ABC, an eager critic of Newman's conservative Government, may have been similarly seduced into forgetting its duty even to people with whom it has no political sympathy.
Once, the ABC had little problem with Labor premier Anna Bligh having her husband made a department head or one of her wedding guests made Queensland's top public servant.
But now it's all over Mellor's new job, after Labor shamelessly claimed Premier Newman was "appointing his mates".
"We don't need the military running this state," Labor added.
All piffle, of course. Newman's "mate" was a man he'd served under at Duntroon 31 years ago. Mellor has since commanded the Australian force in Somalia, helped plan our intervention in East Timor and recently served as Queensland's flood recovery co-ordinator.
Nor is he in charge of police work. He heads a team of directors-general and senior officers to ensure government agencies work together against bikie gangs.
In any case, why show where he lives and put him in danger?
Should I now show where ABC managing director Mark Scott lives to illustrate this latest example of an ABC out of control?
Example 2. Last week, Melbourne University's Professor Thomas Reuter wrote in the Jakarta Post to accuse Australia of startling crimes against Indonesia.
Reuter told his Indonesian readers the latest spy allegations were part of our "consistent unneighbourly behaviour" which he claimed included "attempts to assassinate (former president) Sukarno".
He even claimed Australian soldiers were "involved in massacres" of Indonesians during their struggle for independence from the Dutch.
Not mentioned in Reuter's list of our alleged sins was our strong support for Indonesian independence, our yearly aid of $500 million or our $1 billion donation in tsunami relief.
What the hell was Reuter up to? Surely he realised the danger of preaching such anti-Australian poison days after mobs besieged our Jakarta embassy?
Still, someone of the Left may think the more trouble for the Abbott Government, the better.
But most scandalous was that Reuter's stories of Australians massacring Indonesians or trying to kill their president seem figments of imagination - of Reuter's or that of his undeclared sources. Indeed, Reuter has since withdrawn his massacre claim, at least, admitting it "cannot be verified".
So what will Melbourne University - whose vice-chancellor organised the farcical 2020 ideas summit for his friend Kevin Rudd - do about a professor who makes such baseless and dangerous claims?
Example 3. Labor's Joy Burch is Education Minister in the ACT, in charge of children's schooling.
Well, look away, children, because last week your minister fired off tweets attacking federal Education Minister Chris Pyne when she read - and retweeted - one by an abusive Leftist calling Pyne a "c---".
Burch later claimed this was an accident caused by her "poor social media skills", and, true, she soon deleted the tweet.
Yet for more than a day, she failed to apologise to Pyne.
Whatever the truth, the Left's abuse of the Abbott Government is already worse than anything complained of under Julia Gillard.
Tony Abbott has been called a "liar" by the Opposition Leader and pictured hanging from a noose on a poster at a same-sex marriage rally.
Someone operating in the Geelong Trades Hall set up a Facebook page urging Abbott's assassination, and The Age promoted "F--- Abbott" T-shirts sold by an Age columnist.
The hatred now has a dangerously violent tone, and I ask again - what does the Left want?
Bodies in the street?
Truth Slips Away in Public Debate
The political liar has never been regarded as a mythological creature, but lying has recently grown to mythic proportions. The most prominent offender, of course, is a certain president who puts deception to work to achieve his goals, most prominently about his health care scheme.
Jon Stewart, the liberal comedian who usually defends whatever President Obama says and does, rolls out a series of video clips showing the president in numberless versions, one after the other, of repeating his statement that if you like your health insurance, you can keep it. "So, yes," the comic concedes, "the president was somewhat dishonest about the promise of his health care program." Only somewhat?
Ordinarily, quoting a comedian to make a political point is a fool's errand, but useful this time because television comedy shows are where the young and foolish get their "news." Lying can be stretched out on a yardstick, quantified and compared for laughs. According to some surveys, almost a third of Americans under the age of 40, many of whom must sign up for Obamacare to subsidize the older generations, say they get their news from pop TV like the Daily Show, the Colbert Report and Internet sites of suspect reputation.
Frank Gaffney, chairman of the Center for Security Policy, extends his analysis of the president's meretricious statements about what's actually in the Iranian agreement to halt the race to the Islamic bomb. "How do we tell the president is lying?" he asks. "His lips are moving."
A lie, goes the folk wisdom, can travel around the world before the truth gets its boots on. The congressional Democrats, whose leader told them they could find out what was in Obamacare after they passed the legislation, were still trying to tie their shoelaces when they voted for it. The Iranians cheer the lifting of sanctions and say out loud that, under the agreement, they can continue to enrich uranium, and the president says no they can't, that's not in the agreement. Who do we believe?
Lies can be merely wishes, saying what you hope is true, and if President Obama gets the benefit of the doubt he doesn't deserve, his early pledges about keeping the insurance we like may have been wishful thinking, but once the evidence was in and he continued to say it, the "misspeaking" became the willful lie.
The fact checkers at The Washington Post, which grants the president many mulligans, use symbols of Pinocchio to denote lying. This time they gave him the maximum, four Pinocchios.
It's hardly stop-press news that politicians lie, but when lies go viral on the Internet, it's difficult for the truth to survive. Just as the comedy "news" shows are not after truth, the Internet blurs fact and fiction because the gatekeepers, the crusty old city editors who wouldn't let a reporter or columnist get by with fudging facts, are mostly all dead. The new breed insists that "going viral" trumps verification, volume trumps veracity. Incentives work against truth telling in the high tech culture.
"If you throw something up without fact-checking it, and you're the first one to put it up, and you get millions and millions of views, and later it's proved false, you still get those views," Ryan Grim, the Washington bureau chief for the Huffington Post, told The New York Times, conceding that it had posted phony stories. "That's a problem."
The specific stories Huffington posted were fairly harmless. Once, a child's letter to Santa on Twitter with a detailed link to Amazon.com, was actually written by a grown-up comedian. A fight on an airliner that was reported as fact was actually pure fiction. But when truth is continually sacrificed -- whether carelessly or cravenly -- on sites that purport to offer serious news, trustworthiness is sacrificed, and the reader is confused as well as deceived. This is true when presidents do it, too.
The searchers who found the hard-to-spot Pinocchio lizard say the critters, though camouflaged, weren't hard to find "if you knew where to look." The lizard, in fact, was one up on truth in public life.
How Autoworkers Became More Equal Than Others
The Treasury Department has sold the last of its stock in General Motors Co. Even though taxpayers lost $15 billion on the auto bailout (including losses at Chrysler Group LLC and Ally Financial Inc., which offers financing for GM vehicles), the Barack Obama administration put out a statement taking credit for its handling of tax dollars and the Detroit automakers’ success.
Yet the administration shouldn’t be so quick to toot its own horn. The government didn’t need to lose any money on the auto bailout. Had the United Auto Workers not gotten special treatment, taxpayers would have come out ahead.
The administration gave the UAW billions more than bankruptcy law calls for. Typically, bankruptcy reduces union compensation packages to competitive rates. However, GM’s existing union members made few concessions on pay. As the UAW put it, the contract meant “no loss in your base hourly pay, no reduction in your health care, and no reduction in pensions.”
This virtually never happens during bankruptcies at unionized companies, as many unionized airline pilots can attest. As a result, GM still has higher labor costs than every foreign transplant automaker -- almost $60 an hour.
Bankruptcy law further stipulates that all unsecured creditors should recover their debts at the same rate. This, too, didn’t happen. Instead GM’s bondholders recovered less than 30 cents on the dollar; the UAW recovered most of the money owed its retiree health trusts. At Chrysler the UAW recovered a greater proportion of its (unsecured) debt than even secured creditors did.
GM also backstopped the pensions of union workers at Delphi Automotive Plc, its bankrupt parts supplier. New GM had no legal obligation to do this. Nonetheless the company spent $1 billion of bailout funds to preserve their benefits.
These generous subsidies account for more than the entire net cost of the GM and Chrysler bailouts. The excess funds and equity given to the union cost the Treasury $30 billion -- twice what taxpayers lost. Had the administration bailed out the automakers but treated the UAW impartially, taxpayers wouldn’t have lost anything. Instead, the union collected more than the entire U.S. foreign aid budget.
That the union received such a sum is extraordinary. Nonunion workers who were equally worthy of sympathy got far harsher treatment. Delphi’s salaried nonunion employees also had their pensions terminated. Unlike the UAW, they got nothing.
The union’s windfall makes little economic sense. It had no leverage in 2009, and it needed the bailout to survive. A strike would have liquidated the company and eliminated UAW members’ jobs. Like Sheriff Bart in “Blazing Saddles,” the union could only point a gun to its head and threaten to shoot. It had to accept any terms the administration offered.
Further, the government gained nothing from giving the UAW most-favored-special-interest status. Whatever the economic benefits of keeping the automakers afloat, inflating union compensation doesn’t help the economy. Nor did these subsidies reduce welfare costs -- things such as unemployment insurance, Medicaid or food stamps. Only workers who lose their jobs or have very low earnings are eligible for those benefits, not those whose contracts get downgraded but remain well in the middle class. This $30 billion handout provided virtually no public good.
Until recently the administration has ducked responsibility for this largesse, claiming the automakers negotiated these expensive union contracts and the White House simply signed on. To hear the officials tell it, the administration “deferred to General Motors in terms of their business judgment.”
An Inspector General report released last summer shows otherwise. The IG found that GM understood the administration’s auto task force called the shots in the bailout. During negotiations between GM and the UAW, the task force “gave the UAW additional leverage” that enabled it to extract these concessions. The task force made GM restructuring and signing a new union contract within 40 days a condition for future bailout funds. They also informed the UAW of these facts.
As the IG dryly put it: “The UAW understood that GM could not walk away from negotiations and had to reach agreement with it.” Unsurprisingly, the union used this leverage to hold out for as much money as possible.
The UAW rejected GM’s proposals for two days, knowing the company couldn’t walk away, and refused to even discuss modifying its expensive pensions. On the third day, the UAW’s president called the auto task force. The IG reports that President Obama’s auto team “actively negotiated and made the final deal,” which GM subsequently accepted -- a deal that cost taxpayers billions more than necessary to keep the automakers running.
The administration could have avoided losing money in the Detroit bailout. It only had to treat unions impartially. Instead, it gave $30 billion to a politically powerful union. With GM and Chrysler’s recovery, this handout has attracted little attention. But the administration can hardly boast of demanding “responsibility and results.”
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc
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Posted by JR at 1:35 AM