Monday 22nd of December 2014

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by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2014-12-21 16:20


Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced a major reshuffle of his frontbench as he moves to "reset and refocus" his Government for next year.

Scott Morrison has been appointed the Minister for Social Services taking on an expanded portfolio which includes welfare, families, child care and the paid parental leave scheme.

Mr Abbott has announced David Johnston is leaving Cabinet and will be replaced as Defence Minister by Kevin Andrews.

Peter Dutton moves to Immigration and his former portfolio of Health will be held by Sussan Ley who has been promoted, making her the second woman in the upper ranks of the ministry.

Josh Frydenberg has been promoted to the outer Ministry as Assistant Treasurer.

Mr Abbott said he used the resignation of Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos to have a "significant" reshuffle.


See toon half-way up...


by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2014-12-21 06:41

North Korea says US accusations that it was involved in a cyber attack on Sony Pictures are "groundless slander" and has demanded a joint investigation into the incident.

An unnamed spokesman of the North's foreign ministry also said there would be "grave consequences" if Washington refused to agree to the joint probe and continued to accuse the North of the attack, the country's official KCNA news agency reported.

"As the United States is spreading groundless allegations and slandering us, we propose a joint investigation with it into this incident," the spokesman was quoted by KCNA as saying.

"Without resorting to such tortures as were used by the US CIA, we have means to prove that this incident has nothing to do with us."

The cyber attack prompted Sony Pictures to cancel the Christmas Day release of The Interview, a madcap satire about a fictional CIA plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.


Why not make a comedic movie about US torture around the world and Guantanamo bay?... That would be a riot, no?

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2014-12-20 20:15

The UN General Assembly has passed a resolution asking Israel to pay Lebanon more than $850m (£544m) for a major oil spill during Israel's 2006 war with Hezbollah.

The UN has asked Israel to compensate Lebanon before but this is the first time a figure has been given.

The assembly voted overwhelmingly in favour by 170 votes to six, but its resolutions are not legally binding.

Israel's UN mission said the resolution was biased.

The slick was created when Israeli jets bombed a power station, releasing about 15,000 tonnes of oil into the eastern Mediterranean sea.

At its peak, it stretched for 120km (75 miles) along the shore.

The resolution calls the incident an "environmental disaster'' which caused extensive pollution.

'Anti-Israeli agenda'

The Lebanese ambassador to the UN, Nawaf Salam, said the resolution was "major progress".

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2014-12-20 19:50


The sanest thing anyone said in Washington this week was a reminder, on the Friday before Christmas, when Barack Obama took a break from oscillating between reassuring rationality and understated fear to make an accidental joke:

It says something about North Korea that it decided to mount an all-out attack about a satirical movie … starring Seth Rogen.

It also says something about the over-the-top rhetoric of United States cybersecurity paranoia that it took the President of the United States to remind us to take a deep breath and exhale, even if Sony abruptly scrapped its poorly reviewed Hollywood blockbuster after nebulous threats from alleged North Korean hackers.

Unfortunately, acting rational seems out of the question at this point. In between making a lot of sense about Sony’s cowardly “mistake” to pull a film based on a childish, unsubstantiated threat, Obama indicated the US planned to respond in some as-yet-unknown way, which sounds a lot like a cyberattack of our own.

“We will respond, we will respond proportionally, and in a place and time that we choose,” Obama said at his year-end news conference. Why should we be responding offensively at all? As the Wall Street Journal’s Danny Yadron reported, a movie studio doesn’t reach the US government’s definition of “critical infrastructure” that would allow its military to respond under existing rules, but that didn’t stop the White House from calling the Sony hack a “national security issue” just a day later.


This is also critical moment to take another look at the FBI’s proposal to force tech companies to install an insecure backdoor in all communications systems that use encryption, and the NSA’s own aggressive hacking of companies and governments overseas – both policies that would make attacks like the Sony hack more likely in the future. Shouldn’t we be asking why America is purposefully degrading its own cybersecurity in an attempt to make sure we keep our vast surveillance capabilities on everyone else in the world?


See toon at top...


by John Richardson on Sat, 2014-12-20 14:20

The downing of Malaysia Airlines MH17 – Part 6 …..

Dr George Venturini delves deeper into the mystery behind the downing of Flight MH17. Was ‘oil’ the motive?

Cui prodest? Huh … It is the oil, men! (Continued).

The downing of Malaysia Airlines MH17 – Part 6

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2014-12-20 09:09

The former boss of Proteus Airlines travelled to the neighbouring Maldives where residents told local media that they had seen an airliner fly in the direction of Diego Garcia. Their claims were promptly dismissed by the authorities.

“I saw a huge plane fly over us at low altitude,” a fisherman on Kudahuvadhoo island told Dugain. “I saw red and blue stripes on a white background” – the colours of Malaysia Airlines. Other witnesses confirmed the sighting.

Fire on board?

Dugain speculates – adding to the numerous other existing hypotheses about what happened to flight MH370 – that a modern aircraft such as Malaysia Airlines' Boeing 777 could have been hijacked by a hacker.

“In 2006, Boeing patented a remote control system using a computer placed inside or outside the aircraft,” he noted. This technology lead Dugain to the idea of a “soft” remote hijacking.

But the writer also suggests that a fire could have led the crew to deactivate electrical devices, including transmission systems.

Whatever the initial reasons for leaving its flight path, Dugain suspects that the plane then headed to Diego Garcia, where a number of scenarios may have played out – including the US Air Force shooting it down for fear of a September 11-style attack.

read more

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2014-12-20 07:44

"You have to go back to look at the origin of Royalties for Regions which really was ... money that's going to go back into the regions, being spent in places where hospitals, exploration, buildings, whatever wasn't going to happen without it," he said.

"One of the undertakings that was made was that Royalties for Regions wouldn't be spent on areas where central funding would normally have paid for those things.

"If it would've gone ahead, I think we need to question whether that was money well spent or not."

Helping a large company to be 'a bit more profitable'?

Mr Park said careful thought had to be given before providing drilling funding to miners.

"You have to be pretty hard-headed about this," he said.

"Are we facilitating a new project or we just helping a large company make it a bit more profitable?"

The funding source for the exploration scheme changed this year.

It was paid for under Royalties for Regions until the end of June but now it comes out of state revenue.

Official and unofficial websites and other information online is yet to be updated on this point.

Whatever the specific source, it is still a publicly-funded scheme and the Government said it is good value because it generates jobs, and gains new geological information.

The $100 million spent so far included $50 million for drilling while the rest went on Department of Mines and Petroleum geological mapping, geophysical and geochemical surveys and improvements to client processing via online initiatives.

Nurses want funding to go to local facilities

But the Australian Nursing Federation, which also supports the Royalties for Regions program, questions whether drilling programs should be subsidised at all.

read more:


See toon at top...

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2014-12-20 06:43

By year’s end an equally strong majority appeared resolute in their rejection of the Abbott government, consistently telling pollsters they were inclined to boot out the Coalition.

The prime minister seemed stunned by this rapid reversal of fortune – the endlessly repeated soundbites had served him so well for so long. But concessions aren’t really part of his crash-through style.

A few weeks later he gave another soul-searching interview about why things had gone so wrong, this time to 2GB’s Ray Hadley as a conduit to all the Coalition’s frustrated “fans in the stands”.

Again he insisted the problem was one of communication, not substance.

“Maybe our communications could have been more effective; maybe at times when we were preparing the budget we should have been also communicating the strategy as well,” he said.

read more:

The man (Abbott) has no substance, talks shit and is promoted by right-wing spruikers and the merde-och press as the messiah... 80 per cent of the media in this country is still supporting Tony Abbott, most making excuses and blaming others for his infantilism, his dishonesty, his pettiness and nastiness (the Royal Commissions he has set up are not designed to find the truth but to be vindictive). Despite this strong support from the media, about 70 per cent of the population hate his guts.  He acts like a dope — a bully whose idea of actions is punching someone... and he lies, lies and lies...

by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2014-12-19 08:38


Did a man called Jesus of Nazareth walk the earth? Discussions over whether the figure known as the “Historical Jesus” actually existed primarily reflect disagreements among atheists. Believers, who uphold the implausible and more easily-dismissed “Christ of Faith” (the divine Jesus who walked on water), ought not to get involved.

Numerous secular scholars have presented their own versions of the so-called “Historical Jesus” – and most of them are, as biblical scholar J.D. Crossan puts it, “an academic embarrassment.” From Crossan’s view of Jesus as the wise sage, to Robert Eisenman’s Jesus the revolutionary, and Bart Ehrman’s apocalyptic prophet, about the only thing New Testament scholars seem to agree on is Jesus’ historical existence. But can even that be questioned?

The first problem we encounter when trying to discover more about the Historical Jesus is the lack of early sources. The earliest sources only reference the clearly fictional Christ of Faith. These early sources, compiled decades after the alleged events, all stem from Christian authors eager to promote Christianity – which gives us reason to question them. The authors of the Gospels fail to name themselves, describe their qualifications, or show any criticism with their foundational sources – which they also fail to identify. Filled with mythical and non-historical information, and heavily edited over time, the Gospels certainly should not convince critics to trust even the more mundane claims made therein.

read more:


by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2014-12-19 08:13

Government regulators have stripped a prominent anti-wind farm lobby of its health promotion charity status.

The status allowed the Waubra Foundation to receive tax deductible donations, concessions the Greens described as "enormous public subsidies".

A year ago the ABC revealed the Greens made a complaint to the Taxation Office and Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission (ACNC), claiming there was no credible evidence to suggest a direct link between wind turbines and health problems.

University of Sydney Professor of Public Health Simon Chapman supports that view.

"There's very, very poor evidence of any direct effect - in fact there have been 22 published reviews since 2003 which have all reached that conclusion," Professor Chapman said.

"So in other words there's nothing intrinsic that's emitted from wind farms - sound etcetera - which in itself can cause human health problems."

Four months after the Greens made the complaint, the Commission sent a show cause notice to the Foundation.

"It is not possible for me to find that the Foundation's principal activity promotes the prevention or control of disease in human beings," Assistant Commissioner David Locke said in February.

read more;


See toon at top...  and see also:

hot air about wind farms...

abbott's baloney...

from oil to gas .....

renewable energy storm...

as the wind blows...