Monday, February 02, 2009

Onya Kev

I can't see how this could have been planned or scripted but it will be well-regarded by most Australians

PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd has pleaded with Australians to keep an eye on elderly neighbours as a fellow parishioner succumbed to high temperatures. Mr Rudd sprang into action when the elderly man collapsed soon after the Sunday service began at St John's Church in the Canberra suburb of Reid. The Prime Minister joined members of his security detail and other worshippers to carry the man outside, loosen his shirt and give him some water before an ambulance arrived.

The parishioner is believed to have recovered fully, but Mr Rudd used the opportunity to urge fellow Australians to care for the elderly as the temperatures rose. "If you have got a neighbour getting on in years, pop on in (to check on them)," Mr Rudd said.


Dumbest green blogger in Australia?

Andrew Bolt below makes short work of a typically dogmatic Greenie. When a radio host came out as a warming skeptic, all the Greenie could do was sneer. But does one EVER expect to get a courteous discussion of the facts from a Warmist?

Green blogger Graham Readfearn - showing all the abusiveness of his breed - attacks 4BC host Chris Smith as perhaps "the dumbest radio host in Australia'' for being a sceptic of apocalyptic man-made warming. The case for the prosecution:
Smith swallowed the bogus "31,000 scientist" petition, he swallowed the ageing arguments from bearded botanist David Bellamy and then he swallowed that erroneous claim that temperatures peaked in 1998.

That is a charge sheet that raises the question - is Readfearn the dumbest eco blogger in Australia? Here is the petition, which seems genuine enough to me. Readfearn offers no evidence - just more abuse - to suggest what precisely he objects to from Bellamy, a trained botanist, other than that he has a beard. And as for doubting that temperatures peaked in 1998, here's the proof:

Less abuse, Graham, and more research and reason might suit you better.


Rudd 'rescue' plan is unnecessary and counterproductive

By Malcolm Turnbull. Turnbull is the federal Leader of the Opposition. I think he is a bit of an idiot generally but he is right on this one

This year the three top priorities should be jobs, jobs, jobs. Every element of Government policy should be focused on keeping Australians in jobs. That's why we have been consulting widely - including via our website - with small and medium businesses on the policies they believe will help them keep their employees on the payroll. And yet for the past week the Rudd Government has been trying to sell its latest economic initiative, which will have no impact on employment other than perhaps creating a job for the National Australia Bank executive who proposed it.

Rudd is planning to put billions of dollars of taxpayers' funds at risk in a new "Ruddbank", whose purpose it is to refinance foreign bankers who choose to withdraw from lending to Australian property companies. The purpose of the Ruddbank is to prevent commercial property values falling to a level where the main Australian lenders would lose money on their existing loans.

Australians who have suffered heavy losses on their share portfolios and superannuation accounts and seen the value of their homes decline will wonder why the big four banks and commercial property are deserving of such privileged attention from Government. The Ruddbank is not designed to finance construction. It is, as the banks have made abundantly clear, designed to refinance foreign loans made on existing, built commercial properties.

So the Government's claim that Ruddbank will save 50,000 jobs is nonsense, a figure plucked out of the air to get a headline. Equally outrageous is its claim that by propping up values in the commercial property market, residential values will be supported. Housing expert Christopher Joye exposed the total lack of evidence for such a connection in The Australian last week.

It is perhaps hardly surprising NAB made this proposal, after all if you don't ask you don't get. What is incredible is that the Government has gone along with it. There is no evidence foreign banks are withdrawing from the Australian market. Indeed they increased their loans to non financial corporations by more than 15 per cent over the past year. But if they were tempted to reduce their exposures, nothing is more likely to help them do so than a Government offering to refinance the loans they abandon. After all, once the Ruddbank is in place, the taxpayer will fill the gap, so they can scale back their syndicated loans without fear the venture will collapse, which would have forced them to take a loss on any amount they are still owed.

Bad enough that Rudd once again shows himself incapable of understanding the law of unintended consequences. But the real scandal is that it is the taxpayer who will pick up the tab. Ruddbank is to be a joint venture between the Government and the four major banks. The conflicts are enormous. Consider a syndicated loan secured on an Australian office building. Valuations have declined in line with the market and in the normal course of events the lenders are likely to choose to stay with the credit rather than risk forcing a sale and a possible loss on their loans.

However, thanks to Ruddbank, the foreign lender knows that if he demands his money back and threatens to force a sale the Australian lenders will lean on their Government partner to secure a replacement loan from Ruddbank. After all, the Australian banks don't want a forced sale because they might lose money. Better to get the Government to take out the foreign bank and ensure a lower value for the building is not realised with all of the implications that may have for their other property loans.

In the commercial world in circumstances like these, "new money" has a lot of leverage and can demand priority over existing loans. But in Ruddbank the "new money" of the Government is going to be guided by the conflicting vested interests of the "old money" of the big four banks. It's a game in which the taxpayer is being set up to lose.

So it comes as no surprise that Ruddbank was dreamed up without consulting the Reserve Bank of Australia or that the chairman of the Future Fund and former chief executive of the Commonwealth Bank, David Murray, had grave concerns. But it follows a disturbing pattern of naive and impulsive policy by the Rudd Government.

After all, it is only a few months ago that Rudd gave an unlimited guarantee of all bank deposits. He did so without discussing the proposal with the Reserve Bank and within days governor Glenn Stevens was pointing out the growing dislocation in financial markets the rash decision had created and begging the Government to impose a cap "the lower the better". The dislocation was considerable and has not been reversed. Some 250,000 Australians saw their investments in mortgage funds and cash management trusts frozen. Finance companies were unable to raise short term finance with the consequence they could not continue to finance car dealers. And so the Government moved to set up a finance company to provide finance to the vehicle retailers. Nearly two months later it is yet to start financing and car dealers around Australia are struggling to stay in business.

Rudd is keen to be seen to be doing something about the global financial crisis, but that is no excuse for doing anything. Of course Rudd, who was an "economic conservative" in 2007 is now a reborn socialist, claiming the 11 1/2 years of Coalition government left Australia ill-prepared for the downturn.

Really? Rudd inherited a Treasury with all Government debt repaid and billions of cash in the bank. The only reason Rudd has been able to splash cash around without having to go into debt is because of the Coalition's good economic management. And let us not forget that the Australian banks did not plunge into sub-prime loans like their US counterparts and that the regulatory system that ensured this was put in place by the coalition government.

So far Rudd has given us an ill thought out and damaging unlimited deposit guarantee. We have had a pre-Christmas fiscal stimulus, or "cash splash", which however much appreciated by the recipients of the $9 billion does not appear to have been an effective stimulus at all. We have had an angry Treasurer claiming tax cuts have no place in a fiscal stimulus strategy; he prefers Australians to line up for a one-off handout than let them keep more of what they have earned. And now we have Ruddbank, designed to prop up commercial property values for the benefit of the big four banks. Rudd should drop the Ruddbank idea. It's unnecessary and counterproductive.

Wayne Swan says he is not interested in what the Opposition thinks. That doesn't surprise me. All we are thinking about are jobs for Australians. Swan and Rudd are only interested in their own.


False accusation deeply upsetting to homosexual couple

I doubt that I would be as upset but I would still be mightily outraged and I would sue the pants off everyone involved too

It was meant to be a quick afternoon trip to the shops to buy a sit-up machine and return a Seinfeld DVD. But for Karl Webster and his partner, Stewart Thompson, a spot of retail therapy turned into ongoing psychiatric therapy after the pair were searched by police in front of fellow shoppers, having been wrongfully accused of credit card fraud.

Mr Webster and Mr Thompson are each suing Coles Myer, the owner of Kmart, for more than $750,000 in damages, claiming they were defamed and wrongfully imprisoned after a store employee accused them of using a fraudulent credit card to obtain store gift vouchers while shopping on October 25, 2004.

Mr Webster told the District Court yesterday that he felt humiliated when a female police officer informed him of the allegations at Ashfield Mall and searched his bag in front of up to 40 other shoppers. "I felt violated and bullied and not trusted and accused," he said. "I felt completely on show and embarrassed." At the same time, an "embarrassed and humiliated" Mr Thompson started to wet himself while being escorted by police from a grocery store within the mall, as shoppers at the checkout counter stared. Mr Thompson worked for the Coles Myer-owned Grace Bros as a team leader in women's fashion accessories and feared he would lose his job, the court heard.

The two men were taken downstairs to a loading dock and frisked by police, who continued to ask them to hand over the St George credit card used in the alleged fraud. Both men denied they owned such a card before eventually being allowed to leave without arrest.

The court heard Mr Webster had been undergoing psychiatric treatment and had accompanied Mr Thompson to the mall that day to help with his fear of shopping. They were no longer together after the continuing trauma from the incident "closed my heart", he said. Both men, who are now unemployed, are claiming damages for past and future economic loss as a result of the incident. Mr Webster is claiming he suffers from increased levels of anxiety and that the incident aggravated his pre-existing obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic disorder. Mr Thompson claims he has been unable to continue with sales work.


Another false accusation

Pregnant woman forced to show her belly: I have some sympathy with the shop owners here as Ipswich does have a lot of ferals, but asking the woman to disrobe in public is amazingly crass

A PREGNANT woman who was forced to expose her swollen stomach to a liquor store full of customers has prompted a consumer lobby group to call for a ban on strip searches in Queensland shops. A 40-year old Ipswich woman, who was eight-and-a-half months' pregnant, was forced to lift her shirt after being wrongly accused of shoplifting at the Springfield Lakes 1st Choice Liquor store on Monday. The woman, who was taking her time with her purchase, was buying a birthday present for a friend.

The distraught woman was told if she refused the search in full view of other customers, police would be called. It is believed the 1st Choice Liquor staff claimed there had been a similar incident earlier in the week where a person who was posing as a pregnant woman was actually stealing alcohol.

Queensland Consumer Watch spokesman and Ipswich Councillor Paul Tully described the incident as totally appalling and an invasion of individual rights. "This is a matter for the police, not voyeurs working in liquor stores forcing pregnant women to undertake partial strip searches in front of other beady-eyed customers," he said. Mr Tully called on the Queensland Government to make it illegal for store owners to require shoppers to submit to strip searches in public.


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