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They don't wear berets either

beltrameArnaud Beltrame: a most unusual Frenchman

By now, after years of assiduous preaching in our schools, our parliaments and by taxpayer-supported human rights bodies, all sensitive and caring souls know that stereotypes are wickedly wrong. Thus does everyone now grasp that Melbournians cannot be said to be besotted with AFL, it should not be assumed that Sudanese youths on your doorstep at 2am are there to rob you, and the incidence of Islam's devotees involved in terrorism is just an unfortunate coincidence. Still, it can be hard to avoid generalisations about certain groups when they seem determined to confirm the worst suspicions. Take the French, for example, who have long bristled at the popular caricature that the other side of their Tricolour is virgin white for ease in surrendering. Now read this:

A French police officer who heroically saved a hostage from an ISIS terrorist will not be honored in public over fears of offending Muslims.

Arnaud Beltrame, a police officer from Marseille, France, negotiated with an ISIS terrorist during a Mar. 2018 hostage situation in which he traded himself for a female hostage and was later stabbed to death. Attempts to name the city’s 15th district after Beltrame were recently rejected over concerns of offending the Muslim community, Voice of Europe reported Saturday.

Stephane Ravier, Marseille’s 7th district National Rally mayor, said that the proposal was refused during a Marseille town council meeting.

“Leftist elected officials, socialist and communist, refused that a place in the 15th district be named after Arnaud Beltrame, in the first time, they’ve said, under fallacious pretext, that this place wasn’t prestigious enough, before telling the truth in these terms: we are on the field, we witnessed that the population has changed and if we give the name of Arnaud Beltrame in this district, the population will take that as a provocation,” Ravier said.

For the full report follow this link or the one below.

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Amanda's wiggle womb

drinking pregnant

It's funny how you don't notice things that are supposed to be noticed. Take the labels on wine bottles, for example, which tell you when, where and by which vineyard your meal's lubricant was made. That relevant information tends to be the only thing we notice when reaching for the corkscrew, the eye skating over a little nest of symbols so ubiquitous they simply don't register. There's the triangle of twisted arrows, for example, urging drinkers to recycle the bottle when empty. A wine glass in silhouette informs how many "standard drinks" were in the bottle before there were none. Another little pictogram depicts a pregnant lady tossing one down, the image transected by a thick diagonal line that says, in effect, 'don't ever do this.'

That last symbol, voluntarily placed over the last few years by some 70% of Australia's alcohol producers, will soon be mandatory on every bottle containing alcohol sold in Australia and New Zealand, a development hailed by a nannyish organisation called DrinkWise, which has been promoting such labelling for the best part of a decade. Drinking while pregnant, in case you didn't know, can do immense harm "to your baby", as DrinkWise board member Amanda Vanstone puts it.

Pre-natal harm was a theme the former immigration minister explored in 2016 while chatting with Professor Elizabeth Elliott on Radio National. "If you're drinking, your baby is drinking as it's trying to grow," she said,  her voice tinged with amazement that anyone could be so selfish and irresponsible. The life emerging in the womb is sacred and must be given every chance to take a place in the world as a healthy, happy little human.

Who could disagree? Well it seems Ms Vanstone has no problems disagreeing with herself, as she is also a defender of abortion and scourge of those who don't like the procedure -- critics such as Cory Bernardi, for example, who became the subject of an acidic column in The Age when the then-Liberal dared to say abortion is a nasty business and Australia sees far too many of them.

"If they are seeking to have abortions removed in the Medicare items..." she earlier told the SMH, "...it certainly won't have my vote."

As both a voice to be reckoned with at DrinkWise and a critic of misleading advertising, Ms Vanstone might want to suggest at the next board meeting that the new and obligatory alcohol labels be slightly amended with the addition of just few simple words. Something like this, perhaps:

'Drinking while pregnant harms your baby, a terrible thing. But if you want to kill it, go right ahead.'

Ms Vanstone is no longer in politics. To be reminded why that is no great loss to the parliament or the Liberal Party, follow this link or the one below.

-- roger franklin

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A piece of work

biggus dickusAccording to the Hansard, the last prime minister before the current one was a certain Malcolm Turnbull, who often spoke of "my government"  and sought to give the impression that he was fully in charge of the seat by the dispatch box where the buck is said to stop. The "Turnbull Liberals" and "Team Turnbull" certainly left many with that impression. But apparently that wasn't the case, as a report in The Australian quoting the New York exile makes clear.

That $440 million for preserving the Great Barrier Reef which has caused such a fuss? Well he had nothing whatsoever to do with it. Nope, not a jot. Even though various members of the body's board are acquaintances of Mrs Turnbull -- indeed, one has been entertained in the Harbourside Mansion -- handing that vast sum to a body which hadn't asked for so much was the fault of ... yes, you guessed right ... someone else.

A number of people, actually:  the current PM, his Treasurer and the Finance Minister, all of whom gave him the sort of loyalty he appears incapable of showing to anyone but the face in the shaving mirror. The Australian quotes his letter to one of the sillier Greens, which is saying something, Senator Whish-Wilson (emphasis added):

...the Treasurer (Mr Morrison) and Finance Minister (Mathias Cormann) were open to funding a substantial package for the reef so long as it was expensed in 2017-18,” Mr Turnbull said.

This was because government revenues were promisingly strong in 2017-18 and they believed the budget in that year could accommodate the substantial investment proposed for the reef. However, that may not be so in subsequent years.

This was the reason why a partner outside the Commonwealth Government sector was sought; it also brought with it the possibility of leveraging the Commonwealth’s contribution with private sector contributions ...

... In terms of the meeting on 9 April, the Minister asked me to join him in a meeting with Mr Schubert to establish the  willingness of the Foundation to participate in the Partnership. I attach some notes provided to me prior to the meeting. I assume they were prepared by departmental officials with input from my office, but they set out what I was asked to discuss...

... Mr Turnbull said it was then environment minister Josh Frydenberg who “asked me to join him in a meeting with Mr Schubert

In the next epistles from Central Park West we can expect to learn how Tony Abbott stabbed himself in the back and someone else insisted Australians must light their homes with expensive, mercury-laden "green" Turnbulbs. As to those chic French submarines, they were ordered without his knowledge by Christopher Pyne (whose phone was probably hacked once again when the order was placed).

And the Australian people? We failed him by being unworthy of such greatness.

For The Australian's report follow this link or the one below.

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The Howard Era

Edited by Keith Windschuttle, David Martin Jones and Ray Evans

Essays by Tony Abbott, James Allan, Chris Berg, Ian Callinan, Sinclair Davidson and more.

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