Open Forum: December 9, 2017

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1,042 Responses to Open Forum: December 9, 2017

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  1. Top Ender

    Life is excellent in Germany, I don’t think.

    Merkel ‘embraces refugees’ as victims of terror left out in cold

    BOJAN PANCEVSKI

    After Sigrid and Hans-Georg Rheinsberg lost their daughter Doris in the terrorist attack by a jihadist asylum-seeker on a Berlin Christmas market last year, they expected a letter of condolence from Chancellor Angela Merkel.

    But when they finally received an official note, it was an invoice from the forensic medicine department demanding ›51 ($80) for identifying the body of their daughter. If they failed to pay within 30 days, the letter warned, a debt collector would be hired.

    Ahead of next week’s anniversary, the Rheinsbergs and other relatives of the 12 victims have written a hardhitting open letter to Merkel blaming her policies for Germany’s worst jihadist terrorist attack and accusing her of failing them in its aftermath.

    Like British Prime Minister Theresa May’s much criticised response to the Grenfell Tower fire, Merkel’s failure to comfort the Berlin victims’ families has come back to haunt her when she is politically weak. The Chancellor is struggling to create a coalition government in the wake of her CDU party’s poor showing in the September elections. Political opponents and the press have seized the opportunity to twist the knife over her open-door policy to migrants.

    “The question here is whether what happened could have been prevented, or whether the authorities created an illusion about the nature of some people that were allowed into the country. The truth may be that those dead are simply inconvenient to the politicians,” Der Spiegel commented.

    Hans-Georg Rheinsberg told the magazine: “Ms Merkel embraced the refugees, but she left us out in the cold.”

    The killer, Anis Amri, was one of the hundreds of thousands of migrants who entered Germany to seek asylum in 2015. He lived on the dole but quickly came under police surveillance for violent crimes, drug-dealing and links to jihadism.

    On December 19 last year he hijacked a truck, killing the Polish driver, and ploughed into the crowds thronging around the Christmas stalls in Breitscheidplatz, just across the park from Merkel’s office in central Berlin.

    An innocent Pakistani suspect was arrested on the street while Amri escaped by train to Milan where Italian police shot him dead.

    The relatives’ letter reads like a bill of indictment. It blames Merkel and accuses her of neglecting them in the aftermath of the attack.

    The incident, the letter says, was “a tragic consequence of the political failure to act” by Merkel’s government.

    Accusing the Chancellor of “failing to live up” to the responsibility of her office, it notes how she and other dignitaries attended a rushed mass at the Memorial Church, a Berlin landmark in the heart of the Christmas market, while relatives of the victims were desperately struggling to find out whether their loved ones were among the casualties. Some waited for days to be informed.

    It continues: “As far as your dealing with the bereaved, we must note, Mrs Chancellor, that you have not expressed your condolences to us, neither in person nor in writing, even almost one year after the assault. In failing to do so, we believe, you are failing to live up to your high office … It is a question of respect, decency and, finally, a matter of course that you as the head of government should acknowledge to us the loss of our family members through an act of terror.”

    The families of the German victims contrasted the way other nations had dealt with the five foreign dead.

    The Italian President attended the transfer of the remains of one of the victims. The President of Poland knelt in front of the coffin of the truck driver murdered by Amri. Israel, home to another victim, passed a law giving financial support to families of terror targets overseas.

    The survivors of the attack are also furious. While Amri received state support, some of the 70 injured face big medical bills and have not yet been compensated.

    The Free Democrats (FDP) and the Green Party, both in opposition, have called for a parliamentary committee to investigate the failures of the authorities. A preliminary inquiry found police officers tried to cover up mistakes by altering the files of the case.

    “The open letter of the families to Chancellor Merkel makes it more than clear that almost a year after the terror attack many questions remain open, and problems unsolved,” said FDP vice-chairman Wolfgang Kubicki.

    The scandal has forced Merkel’s office into a swift response. The Chancellor has written to the families, inviting them to visit her and tell her “how they feel”, according to a spokesman.

    She wants to “express her sympathy” to the relatives and not “leave them alone in their situation”, the spokesman said, adding the letter to Merkel was “touching and also critical”.

    Merkel, it was announced, would attend the memorial ceremony on the anniversary of the attack together with families of the victims, some of whom will travel from abroad.

    As part of the ceremony, a long scar that was carved into the Breitscheidplatz pavement by the truck will be filled up with metal. A representative of each of the 12 victims’ families will pour droplets of liquid gold into the mould, in a gesture meant to symbolise the closing of a wound.

    The Christmas market is open again but is surrounded by massive concrete slabs to prevent any renewed vehicle attack.

    “Christmas is coming but it will not bring us joy like it used to… this is now the worst time of the year for us,” Sigrid Rheinsberg said. “It will stir up pain and unrest … but we have no choice but to persevere.”

    THE SUNDAY TIMES – no link

  2. notafan

    Bizarrely it might be the 2011 Hungarian law change, after Frydenberg entered parliament in 2010 that appears to have restored his mother’s citizenship that is a problem.

    But in 2011, the Hungarian Constitution was modified with the specific intention of abolishing numerous laws and regulations of the murky past – under both Nazi and Communist rule – that had deprived vast numbers of Hungarians of their citizenship.

    Among these new provisions was the termination of the 1939 law that had stripped [email protected]@s of their Hungarian citizenship.

    The modified constitution, known as the Fundamental Law, restored basic citizenship rights to Hungarians throughout the world.

    It contained a guarantee: it prohibited arbitrary deprivation of citizenship “if it has been acquired by birth or by other lawful means”

    the Age provides some clarity

  3. Andreas

    Latest from South Gerrymander:

    Cost of diesel generators to remain a secret
    As Victoria prepares to install 100 emergency diesel generators to bolster power stocks this summer, Labor members of South Australia’s public works committee have voted to keep secret the full cost of Jay Weatherill’s generators.
    It is understood the emergency back-up generators installed last month in South Australia will cost taxpayers more than $400 million.
    The exact cost and details of the government’s procurement of the generators was provided in camera to parliament’s public works committee on August 10, but the committee has blocked all attempts for the information to be made public.
    South Australian Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the contract to purchase the generators was “commercial-in-confidence at the request of the company”. “South Australians got a very good deal … and the company does not want the details of that deal to negatively impact current negotiations with other jurisdictions,” he told The Australian.

  4. Leigh Lowe

    Any batshit boring travelogues from MS Regurgitation on the Seas today?

  5. stackja

    C.L.
    #2581497, posted on December 11, 2017 at 11:06 am

    Criminals not law abiding. I am shocked.

  6. Stimpson J. Cat

    No one took a knee during this version of the SSB:

    Ethnics behaving like Americans.
    It’s not hard.
    Good parenting.

  7. Stimpson J. Cat

    He always struck me as being a psycho:

    Either a tour on or a new album coming out.
    All marketing.

  8. Senile Old Guy

    Surprise!

    New same-sex marriage legislation came into effect on the weekend, prompting a rush of couples heading to registry offices around the country to file their intention to marry. But in Perth, lawyers were lodging documents of a different kind, on behalf of a woman set to become the first in Australia to file for a same-sex divorce.

    She married her long-term partner in 2015 at a consulate in Perth under the laws of a European country where same-sex marriage was already legal.

    But things did not work out and the pair separated. The woman quickly realised getting a divorce would be far more complicated for them than for a heterosexual couple. She engaged solicitor Maria Loukas and barrister Teresa Farmer to investigate whether it was possible at all.

    “The difficulty for this particular couple was having married under legislation of a European country, they couldn’t access the divorce system in that country because they weren’t residents in that country, neither of them were,” Ms Farmer said.

    They deliberately went around Australian law, used laws in another country to do something they could not legally do here, and are now in strife. The “marriage” lasted 2 years. But, hey, “love is love”.

  9. H B Bear

    Diesel generators make Gaia cry.

  10. JC

    Wray is Tump’s FBI appointee to head the FBI.

    We we reckon Trump will drain the sewer.

    Christopher Wray was supposed to bring a new candor and credibility to the FBI after the James Comey debacle, but the country is still waiting. The director’s testimony Thursday to the House Judiciary Committee suggests he has joined the Justice Department effort to stop the public from learning about the bureau’s role in the 2016 election.

    Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte invited Mr. Wray to answer the multiplying questions about the bureau’s 2016 political interference. This includes the role that the Steele dossier—opposition research financed by the Clinton campaign—played in the FBI’s decision to investigate the Trump presidential campaign. The committee also wants answers about reports that special counsel Robert Mueller demoted Peter Strzok, a lead FBI investigator in both the Trump and Hillary Clinton email investigations, after Mr. Strzok exchanged anti-Trump texts with his mistress, who also works at the FBI.

    Mr. Wray spent five hours stonewalling. The director ducked every question about the FBI’s behavior by noting that the Justice Department Inspector General is investigating last year’s events.

    Is Mr. Wray concerned that Mr. Strzok edited the FBI’s judgment of Mrs. Clinton’s handling of her emails to “extremely careless” from “grossly negligent” in a previous draft? The grossly negligent phrase might have put Mrs. Clinton in legal jeopardy, but Mr. Wray said he couldn’t answer because that is subject to the “outside, independent investigation.”

    Is Mr. Wray taking steps to ensure his top ranks are free of political “taint”? He couldn’t say because of the “outside, independent” investigation.

    WSJ

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/christopher-wrays-fbi-stonewall-1512943323

  11. Snoopy

    If the UN mined enough bitcoins to give everyone in world one each would it end world poverty?

  12. Oh come on

    Hahahaha how is the ABC spinning news of the first SSM divorce? Headline:

    Perth couple poised to become first in Australia to file for same-sex divorce

    Story ends with:

    Lance Tapsell has been a marriage celebrant for 10 years and has officiated a number of same-sex civil unions in that time.

    He is hopeful divorce rates between same-sex couples will be lower than their heterosexual counterparts.

    “I’d like to hope there wouldn’t be a large take up of that but it’s like a lot of partnerships or relationships; something sours and people move on and that’s just part of life in the 21st century, I guess,” Mr Tapsell said.

    “I think that gay couples would probably take their wedding or marriage a lot more seriously because they had to fight so hard to get it.”

    Bwahahaha ooh no, Lance. You poor politically correct, deluded fool. What’s that stat for gay male married couples in the US? 50% of them are in ‘open relationships’. Not a recipe for a long term union.

    Also, gays have only recently given a shit about getting hitched – only in the last decade or so, they’ve fought for it because the gaystapo told them to. Before then, they sneered at marriage as ‘something for straights’. Let’s be real about this.

  13. “The difficulty for this particular couple was having married under legislation of a European country, they couldn’t access the divorce system in that country because they weren’t residents in that country, neither of them were,” Ms Farmer said.

    Well, if you can’t divorce without being a resident how did they marry under that country’s law without also being resident? Very strange.

  14. Dr Faustus

    The gospel horns of the progressive Left are unrelenting in their pursuit of the traitor Dastyari:

    Sam Dastyari urged to ‘consider his position’ by Labor frontbencher

    Labor frontbencher Linda Burney says Sam Dastyari should ‘consider his position’

    The messaging is quite clear: “Bill Shorten has taken decisive action” by withdrawing yummy parliamentary bonus payments and positions of preference from Dastyari. And Plibersek is an Iron Maiden, resisting unrelenting pressure from the Manchurian Dwarf to act in China’s best interests.

    Subtext:Australia can consider itself fucking lucky that the Shorten government has balls of steel.

    [And hopefully a distraction squirrel will arise from the Bennelong by-election and leave young Sam to recover quietly over the Christmas Break.]

  15. Roger

    I’m sure Asian beaches and surrounding waters are a mess, but not here.

    Last time I holidayed in the Whitsundays I was shocked by the amount of debris washed up on the windward side of the island.

  16. Bruce of Newcastle

    Perth couple poised to become first in Australia to file for same-sex divorce

    After only two years? Do SS couples say “as long as we both shall live” in their vows?
    I suspect that making them hold fast to such a vow would rapidly remove any incentive to “marry”.

  17. Roger

    Melbourne man dead, brother hospitalised after they were rammed by a car and subsequently attacked by machete wielding youths “of African appearance”.

    Ban machetes?

  18. Joe

    “as long as we both shall live”

    Does that imply that the only path to divorce is death?

  19. Snoopy

    And Plibersek is an Iron Maiden, resisting unrelenting pressure from the Manchurian Dwarf to act in China’s best interests.

    I read this as the threat of a putsch against Shorten by the Albanese/Plibersek axis unless Shorten’s little mate falls on his dagger. They haven’t forgiven him for fixing the leadership ballot.

  20. C.L.

    Perth couple poised to become first in Australia to file for same-sex divorce.

    LOL.

  21. notafan

    What we have is the sour old harridan generation* forgetting that repulsing advances from the old and repulsive while encouraging those from the virile and handsome has been part of the mating game since forever.

    *probably mostly peeved that they are no longer the subject of those advances #meneither

    Since then, other reports have surfaced of what NPR calls “subtler transgressions.”

    They are subtle to the point of near-invisibility. It seems Michael Oreskes liked to kiss women. Now, it is an embarrassing faux-pas to kiss a woman who does not wish to be kissed, but it happens all the time. Kissing a woman is an early stage of courtship. It is one way that men ask the question, “Would you like more?”

    a reflection on #metoo

  22. C.L.

    Does the FBI have photos of A-G Sessions sodomising a llama or something?
    What the hell is he doing about the biggest corruption scandal in US history?

  23. C.L.

    One word: government.
    Strike that …
    Two words: Liberal government.

  24. H B Bear

    Not often Perth is the first to do anything. #waitawhile

  25. notafan

    Why do they need to bother with a divorce if their marriage isn’t recognised here?

    JIC future complications.

    I bet the ‘marriage’ didn’t last two months, let alone two years.

  26. Rae

    Does Frydenberg speak Hungarian? Lots of expats in Australia do.

    Is Frydenberg, or has he ever been, a member of any of the Hungarian clubs and associations in Australia?

  27. Zatara

    Bruce of Newcastle at 8:59 am

    I’ve seen very little about who Jones is and what his background is like.
    The Dem black ops against Moore succeeded in making Moore the issue and keeping the spotlight off Jones.

    Here’s one clue. He very clumsily tried to play the race card the other day. A Racist Flyer Might Cost Doug Jones the Election

    I don’t know who thought this was going to help, but this campaign has engaged Black voters despicably. pic.twitter.com/76WJtkXwms
    — William C. (@williamcson) December 7, 2017

    Yes, he admits his campaign paid for the flyer. He is madly doing damage control this weekend flying in every big name black democrat he could find to campaign for him. A month ago he wouldn’t have dared to do that.

    Overall, his platform appears a bit farther left than the norm in the Dem party. How much so is difficult to tell as he knows not to trot all that out in front of the average Alabama voter crowd. He does occasionally let things slip in interviews tho.

    In a recent interview with AL.com, Jones walked back his prior comments on abortion in which he refused any restrictions on abortion up until the baby’s day of birth.

  28. Bruce of Newcastle

    That was quick.

    Annastacia Palaszczuk has already broken a promise to Qld

    PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk has already broken a campaign promise and booted Curtis Pitt out of the Treasury to appease a factional brawler.

    The Mulgrave MP has been offered the lucrative Speaker’s position as a consolation prize, ending months of speculation the Premier would break her pledge to keep him on as Treasurer.

    The direct and unambiguous quote Ms Palaszczuk delivered just last month was: “Yes I do guarantee his job.”

    Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, who holds all the cards as leader of the MP-rich Labor Left faction, has already been announced as Mr Pitt’s replacement as Treasurer.

    So Trad forced Palaszczuk to break a campaign promise so that Trad could become the Treasurer. Bad luck Queensland, you now have the head of the left faction of the Qld ALP in charge of your wallets.

  29. JC

    More fake news.

    Homer Paxton was a commenter here who’s comments were so stupid, so asinine that you really had to wonder if the idiot is just operating with a transplanted brain stem from a monkey.

    Here he is at Stepford’s blog claiming he has near genius level IQ.

    you have to had completed several tests. most people like myself have only done it once. ( I scored 142!!).

    The most annoying commenter in ozblogdom.

  30. H B Bear

    Sounds like a problem for the Pony Club. Still neither party regard $90+ bn in debt as a problem.

  31. Roger

    Bad luck Queensland, you now have the head of the left faction of the Qld ALP in charge of your wallets.

    Bad luck indeed:

    Trad was only elected courtesy LNP preferences thanks to them not putting her last on their HTV card.

  32. Top Ender

    This article in the Oz’s Strewth column:

    Sam in the shadows

    Pssst. Anyone seen Sam Dastyari skulking about? That “shady figure” who Peter Dutton suggested might be working as a “double agent”? The Immigration Minister qualified his remarks on Sky News yesterday by confirming he didn’t get the skinny on “Shanghai Sam” from national security briefings but made his assessment from looking at the former Labor boy wonder’s history thus far. Dastyari has been absent from social media for the past two weeks with nary a mention of a halal snack pack or video of his kids, and there’s talk he could be bumped from the Senate for Kristina Keneally if she’s unsuccessful in Bennelong next weekend.

    My understanding is though that the most Labor can do is expel him from the Party. That would force the Persian Dwarf Traitor to sit as an independent, yes? Of course he could be dis-endorsed for the next election….

  33. H B Bear

    No wonder the Queensland Liars shoved through a return to compulsory full preferential voting. It is the only way many of them can get elected.

  34. Rae

    And Plibersek is an Iron Maiden, resisting unrelenting pressure from the Manchurian Dwarf to act in China’s best interests.

    She had also earlier on the same day been given the same advice by DFAT not to meet with the Chinese dissident.

  35. Roger

    My understanding is though that the most Labor can do is expel him from the Party. That would force the Persian Dwarf Traitor to sit as an independent, yes? Of course he could be dis-endorsed for the next election….

    From Sussex Street power broker to Labor rat?

    That would be quite a fall from grace.

    I suspect PM to be Shorten will offer Sam a sweetener in the future to go quietly now…Ambassador to China, perhaps?

  36. Zatara

    South Australian Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the contract to purchase the generators was “commercial-in-confidence at the request of the company”. “South Australians got a very good deal … and the company does not want the details of that deal to negatively impact current negotiations with other jurisdictions,” he told The Australian.

    “No, that won’t do. We are answerable to the taxpayers and transparency isn’t optional so give us your best non-secret price.”

    How hard is that to say?

  37. Top Ender

    I would think Sam – if Labor are pressuring him – is being told he has to resign completely from Parliament.

    If he was an independent he would be a moving target to refer to all the time as a symbol of Labor evil.

    I reckon he will be gone by the end of the week. But doubtless as said above he will be back for a job for a maaaaate.

  38. Roger

    I would think Sam – if Labor are pressuring him – is being told he has to resign completely from Parliament.

    Oh, they’re pressuring him…but he evidently has a strong hand to play.

    Those not privy to Labor Party intrigues can only imagine what cards he may hold.

  39. Motelier

    Hey peeps.

    Stop play in yesterday. ➡️ New fred.

  40. Leigh Lowe

    JC

    #2581519, posted on December 11, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Is Mr. Wray concerned that Mr. Strzok edited the FBI’s judgment of Mrs. Clinton’s handling of her emails to “extremely careless” from “grossly negligent” in a previous draft? The grossly negligent phrase might have put Mrs. Clinton in legal jeopardy, but Mr. Wray said he couldn’t answer because that is subject to the “outside, independent investigation.”

    As I pointed out here the other day, Trey Gowdy absolutely cleaned bowled Wray with an inswinger on that one. Wray was obsfucating saying that “extremely careless” and “grossly negligent” meant exactly the same thing (which is bullshit of course, as the WSJ points out … “grossly negligent” is way more serious in legal terms and Wray knows it).
    A self-styled bright spark lawyer like Trumble would have spent hours dissecting the legal niceties, but Gowdy went straight to the heart of it …
    “Sooo, Mr Wray, if “extremely careless” and “grossly negligent” are indeed synonymous, why bother to make the change?”
    Wray then did a passable impression of a rabbit in the spotlight.

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