Friday, June 11, 2010
Dutch voters give anti-Islamic party a big boost
THE anti-Islamic MP Geert Wilders has made big gains in the Dutch general election, more than doubling his party's seats in parliament and overtaking the incumbent Christian Democrats.
Mr Wilders's Party for Freedom took third place in a close-fought election, with the right-wing liberal People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the centre-left Labour Party neck-and-neck for the lead. With 88 per cent of Wednesday's vote counted, the VVD was one seat ahead of Labour yesterday.
Mr Wilders, who is due to appear in court later this year to face charges of inciting racism, campaigned for a halt to Muslim immigration and mosque construction, and a tax on Islamic head gear. He increased his party's seats from nine to 24.
Partial results yesterday had the VVD holding 31 seats and Labour with 30 in the 150-seat lower house of parliament.
The Prime Minister, Jan-Peter Balkenende, leader of the Christian Democrats, who have dominated for decades, was the big loser. His party's claim on seat was halved, from 41 to 21.
Mr Balkenende promptly resigned the party leadership and said he would not take his seat in parliament after leading the Christian Democrats to a historic low in the lower house.
The election was called a year early, after the Balkenende coalition government collapsed in February over disputes about Dutch participation in the war in Afghanistan.
The partial results left the shape of future government unclear, but it appeared that a four-party coalition would be needed to assemble a majority.
Mr Wilders is a potential kingmaker, with both the VVD and the Christian Democrats not ruling him out as a coalition partner. But the three parties together would barely muster half the seats, not a stable majority in a parliament which is split almost equally between right and left.
Pundits predicted the core of a government would be a coalition between the two winners, the VVD, led by Mark Rutte, and Labour, under the new leadership of Job Cohen, who was the mayor of Amsterdam until earlier this year.
The government is scheduled to present next year's budget on September 21 and Mr Rutte said during the election campaign that he wanted a new cabinet in place by July 1.
That was a "hilarious expectation, considering the Dutch history of taking months for a new government to be established", the analyst Sep van de Voort, from SNS Securities NV in Amsterdam, said in a note to investors.
It has taken an average of almost three months to form any coalition since World War II. The longest period was 208 days in 1977.
Mr Wilders hailed his result as "magnificent", although his focus on immigration and the flaws of traditional Dutch multiculturalism failed to catch fire with voters preoccupied by tax and spending issues. But many more voted for his Freedom party than predicted by all recent opinion polls.
"The impossible has happened," he told a party gathering. "We are the biggest winner today. The Netherlands chose more security, less crime, less immigration and less Islam."
Leftist Australian State government sets new low for being soft on crime
A PLAN to to slash the rising costs of running NSW prisons by allowing offenders sentenced to less than two years to do their time at hom has drawn fire from victims, but advocates say it is a responsible approach.
Under the proposal every criminal sentenced in the Local Court to two years or less in jail, except for sex offenders, will be eligible to serve their sentences at home. The cost to the the Government is $46 a day for home supervision instead of $194 a day to keep them in jail.
Victims groups say they are outraged at Premier Kristina Keneally's proposed solution to the high cost of keeping prisoners in overcrowded jails reported The Daily Telegraph. "It doesn't make any sense, it takes the punishment aspect of the sentence away," victims advocate Peter Rolfe said. "It is appalling. "They are going to be able to spend their time in the comfort of their own home."
Peter and Tammy Matten's home near Newcastle was robbed earlier this year and Mrs Matten chased the robber while she was heavily pregnant with their daughter. Mr Matten said it wasn't a punishment to send people home to serve jail sentences. "It wouldn't deter them at all, they're still hanging out with their friends," he said.
"If you get someone that is a drug dealer, they can still sell drugs at home. I think if you do a crime and you're arrested you are supposed to be in jail. "The guys that robbed us had done it before, a lot of people in the area have been robbed in exactly the same circumstances."
The Government claims that it was still a "prison sentence", just administered differently. But it admitted some of the state's jails were 100 inmates over capacity and there were only 300 empty cells left.
Criminals who committed offences including drug related crimes, riot and affray, assault, fraud, vandalism and break and enter would be eligible for home detention. There would be just one corrective services officer for every 20 criminals at home and only a fraction would be electronically monitored or subject to curfews. The rest would be free to travel around NSW and their only conditions would be eight hours of community service a week and a rehabilitation or education program.
They would only be sent to jail if they committed another offence or breached their "intensive correction orders".
Ms Keneally said the legislation was "tough" while her spokesman admitted rehabilitation programs in jail or periodic detention were non-existent or had failed. "It will provide the judiciary with a new option," she said. "This is about helping offenders get themselves back on the straight and narrow but those who fail to comply with the program risk spending the duration of their order in jail."
Victims of Crimes Assistance League spokesman Howard Brown told the ABC the idea would help some offenders and was an improvement on weekend or periodic dentention. "We thought it was somewhat of a perversity that we would be supervising people for two days a week, and then for the rest of the time they could basically go and do whatever they wanted," he said. "One of the beauties of these intensive direction orders is that these people would be subject to supervision seven days a week."
Australia: Only the fatcats thriving on aid meant for blacks
An old, old story. See also here
INDIGENOUS housing in the Northern Territory is a bigger scandal than the Building the Education Revolution rorts. But because it is located in remote Aboriginal communities, almost no one (apart from readers of The Australian) is aware of what is going on.
For many months, Nicolas Rothwell and Natasha Robinson have reported on this scandal. There have been shocking cost overruns; in one case, $183 million of taxpayer money has gone missing. And despite the billions being spent, the only people with proper housing are bureaucrats. This is a truly sorry business.
In August 2006, the Northern Territory government appointed a Board of Inquiry into the Protection of Aboriginal Children from Sexual Abuse. Its report had dramatic consequences. On June 25, 2007, then prime minister John Howard intervened. He said the report "documents in sickening detail the human misery and dysfunction in many remote Aboriginal communities" and noted his emergency response was "radical, comprehensive and highly interventionist".
So, three years on, let me revisit the chapter on housing, which reads in part: The shortage of indigenous housing in remote, regional and urban parts of the Territory is nothing short of disastrous and desperate. The present level of overcrowding in houses has a direct impact on family and sexual violence, substance abuse and chronic illness.
The report estimated that the Territory needed "a further 4000 dwellings to adequately house its present population. Into the future, more than 400 houses will be needed each year for 20 years."
The response included emergency housing initiatives to try to ensure that every child in the Territory would have a safe place to sleep: "The Australian government is investing $813m in remote indigenous housing and infrastructure in the NT, including $793m over the next four years as part of a joint agreement with the NT government."
How this has changed. It was rolled back to $672m by the federal Labor government and the program was outsourced to the Territory government. The latter's record has been disastrous: cost overruns, missing funds, administrative chaos, ministerial resignations, minority government.
Read carefully: 11 houses have been built and 160 repaired in two years for more than $200m. But at the government's valuation of $450,000 for a new house (no land costs) and $75,000 for a refurbishment, the sum spent should be only $16.85m. The location of the missing $183m is not known.
New announcements have since been made to fund infrastructure and tenancy management separately from the National Partnership Agreement, a kind of informal top-up of the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program.
The five-year, $672m program has blown out to an estimated $1.67 billion, to be funded from the 10-year $1.7bn National Partnership Agreement. Indigenous employment should increase but most indigenous workers have switched jobs or are working for the dole with no salary, no holiday pay, no superannuation, no future.
Most of us understand the correlation between unemployment, boredom and substance abuse. It was an emergency in 2007 but now it is a normal situation for many indigenous Territorians.
The story doesn't end there. The Territory government recently admitted that it has plans between now and 2013 for only 480 dwellings, to be constructed in the Maningrida, Wadeye, Galiwin'ku, Gunbalanya, Angurugu/Umbakumba and Nguiu communities, plus 85 in Alice Springs town camps.
Note the change of language. They are not building houses any more but dwellings, including one-bedroom units and pensioners' apartments; only half will be as big as three bedrooms.
Although there are hundreds of indigenous communities, only six to 15 will get new dwellings. Many will get no housing services at all. Most communities in the Territory will not have any semblance of a housing solution for the protection of children.
One wonders how the Territory could get things so wrong. In most of the larger communities, Territory government employees account for more than 20 per cent of the homes.
No new homes will be built in Papunya, although it suffers widespread overcrowding, and the proportion of houses for government employees is 27 per cent; that doesn't include federal employees in federal accommodation.
How can it be that two tiers of Labor governments can spend billions on the intervention, yet the only people enjoying proper housing are bureaucrats?
The Territory's Indigenous Affairs Department is almost a government in terms of its health, housing, education, law and order and children's services.
Territorians have a deep-seated and passionate desire to help indigenous Territorians. There is support for spending taxpayers' dollars to protect the most vulnerable, especially children. But there is no support for corrupted or mismanaged programs that cost a lot and deliver nothing.
Ten years after the first Bridge Walk for Reconciliation, the intervention is long gone, taxpayer dollars are being wasted, structural reform is not occurring, there are no economies being built (if anything they are being extinguished) and, most worryingly, the increased protection of children through improvements of their homes is still a fantasy in all but a few communities.
Kevin Rudd said sorry when the world was watching. Who will say sorry now to those men, women and particularly children of the Territory who have seen no change and are sliding backwards; or to the old lady who lives in a humpy just off the Stuart Highway 200km north of Alice Springs?
Furious hatred of Israel hosted on the site of Australia's public broadcaster
It's written by a Leftist Jew. It takes a Leftist Jew to get really obscene about Israel. I run a few excerpts below. In his fury the writer has lost all touch with logic and reality. What, for instance, have greenhouses got to do with chlorinating water?
And it was the Palestinians who destroyed the greenhouses anyway. The Israelis Left them as a gift to the Arabs when Israel withdrew from Gaza but because they were provided by Israel, the Arabs promptly destroyed them all.
And note that the authorities he quotes for his claims are people who are as anti-Israel as he is -- from people aboard the flotilla itself to the thoroughly discredited Amnesty International. Even the Israeli newspaper "Ha Aretz" leans Left.
Why is this garbage on the ABC? That was a rhetorical question. We know how far Left the ABC is. That the stuff is part of the "ABC for kids" website makes it particularly objectionable, however
The global outrage in response to Israel's attack on the flotilla is fitting. But we should not lose sight of why it was so terrible. This was not just an attack on aid workers.
If it were just that, it would be bad enough. In itself it would be nothing new for Israel. However, putting the attack in context more fully reveals its moral obscenity.
Paul McGeough, who was on board the flotilla, wrote that the flotilla was bringing water filtration equipment to Gaza.
The reason it chose to do so was because there is virtually no clean drinking water in Gaza. Partially due to Israel's destruction of greenhouses during its attack on Gaza from 2008-2009, the Gaza water supply was reported to be on the verge of collapse in September last year. There was an urgent need to find clean drinking water, because, as Amnesty International pointed out, some 90-95 per cent of water in Gaza was not fit for drinking.
This would be bad enough, but, as Kate Allen, head of Amnesty International UK pointed out, "Israel's continuing blockade of Gaza is preventing the importation of urgently-needed materials to repair water and sewage treatments works."
As noted in the Ha'aretz report, the unclean drinking water caused respiratory and intestinal problems to babies in Gaza.
Victoria Brittain pleaded in the Guardian for "just one corner of the blockade" to be lifted "to let water works begin and to give infant lives a chance." All it would take was "Just one telephone call from the Israeli defence ministry". This phone call still hasn't come, and Palestinian babies continue to suffer, as the world continues to watch in silence, and as Western media continues to pass over this issue....
More HERE. Extra copy here
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.