A Slap On The Wrist

Thomson sentencedTwelve months. With nine of them suspended. What a bloody joke.

At long, long last, corrupt former union official and Labor MHR Craig Thomson, the man onto whose vote the Gillard government clung by its fingernails, was today sentenced in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court. He will spend a dozen weeks in a country-club minimum-security facility, then be set free. Instead of the ten years in Her Majesty’s Iron Motel, which his crimes self-evidently warranted. And which he would undoubtedly have got, had he been a nobody with no influence.

I only have time for a brief post, but I want to register my own disgust. Regular readers of LibertyGibbert will be familiar with the Thomson case, which this site covered here, here and here. Despite being suspended from the Labor Party, his vote was one of just two separating Julia Gillard from a vote of no-confidence, which would have ended her government a year earlier than the Australian people themselves eventually did.

Hospital cleaners and orderlies, the lowest-paid and most vulnerable workers in the health system, most of them women and many with poor English skills, look to the Health Services Union, the HSU, for protection and to give them a united voice. To that end, they agree to have their meagre pay cheques docked every week for union dues.

And how did Craig Thomson repay that trust? By spending hundreds of thousands on himself on high living, cash withdrawals from ATMs, prostitutes, five-star hotel rooms and pornography.

To be sure, Thomson is a rotten apple. I have no doubt at all that most HSU officials are honest, diligent, and faithful advocates of those workers whom they serve. Almost half of all serving federal Labor MPs are former union officials. Most of them have probably been unfairly tarred with the same brush. Some may well prove to be as bad as Thomson, if not worse. But the growing avalanche of evidence of widespread corruption throughout the union movement can no longer be ignored. The sooner the upcoming Royal Commission flushes all the sludge out of the sewer, the better for the union movement, and Australian democracy as a whole. Expect Thomson’s conviction to be the first of many.

But twelve weeks? Crime does pay, it would appear. When he gets out in June, he ought to change his name by deed poll. To Scott Free.

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69 Responses to A Slap On The Wrist

  1. Amanda says:


    Well, Mr Thomson, do you look good in your own eyes? And if so, why?

  2. Ozboy says:

    Andrew Bolt offers several examples of recent local crimes that judges ruled far more serious:

    March 2014:

    A THIEF who stole a bag containing $450 of church money at the Wodonga post office was labelled a “hopeless” crook yesterday.

    Wodonga magistrate John O’Callaghan was sentencing Dylan Crichton, 23, to 12 months’ jail, with a minimum non-parole period of six months.

    November 2013:

    An 84-year-old widower has spoken of the heartbreak inflicted by his grandson, who stole the couples’ beloved $140,000 jewellery collection and sold it to feed his craving for drugs and alcohol…

    Mr Lauritsen said Walker was entitled to a significant discount for his previous good character and that his guilty pleas were evidence of remorse… Mr Lauritsen jailed Walker for 18 months and ordered that he serve a minimum of six-months.

    October 2013:

    A man who used stolen credit cards to buy fast food during a month long crime spree across the [ACT] has been jailed for more than six years.

    Joel William Heard, 29, appeared for sentence in the ACT Supreme Court on Thursday having pleaded guilty to burglary, theft, receiving stolen property, and riding in a stolen car.

    October 2013:

    A 45-year-old Blayney woman with a gambling problem was sentenced to four years in prison in Bathurst Local Court after pleading guilty to more than 50 fraud charges…

    Magistrate Roger Prowse … said the accused claimed she had a gambling addiction concerning poker machines and he believed that is where the money, more than $30,000 of it, went.

    August 2013:

    A man who was denied police aid after bikies threatened to kill his family unless he gave them $14,000 has won a reduced jail term for robberies he committed to meet the demand…

    Last week, he won an appeal that sliced a year off his five-year jail term after the judges agreed his police co-operation and the danger it brought him had not been given enough weight.

    June 2013:

    An accountant who stole almost $1 million from his employer over three years and spent it on gambling and booze has been jailed for five years.

    Adi Narayan, 51, of Forde, pleaded guilty in the ACT Supreme Court to five charges relating to 106 different occasions he illegally siphoned money into accounts controlled by him or his friends.

    One rule for some, another for the rest of us 😡

    Isn’t that right, Justices O’Callaghan, Lauritsen, Burns, Prowse and Higgins? And especially you, Mr Rozencwajg, who sentenced Thomson? And then you wonder why so many law abiding citizens hold the whole lot of you in contempt?

  3. Ozboy says:

    Michael Smith, who has been following this case more closely than anyone, reports Thomson has been released on bail pending an appeal against his conviction.

    The photo in the story captures something though:

    Thomson behind bars

  4. farmerbraun says:

    Well, is the prosecution also going to appeal against the manifest inadequacy of the sentence?

    Possibly. I might also observe that the inquiry into union corruption isn’t the only Royal Commission in town this year – Oz

  5. Ozboy says:

    On another topic…

    A little bit of justice was done today in Australia, albeit in a quiet way. Attorney-General George Brandis today put out this press release, announcing the repeal of sections 18B through 18E of the Racial Discrimination Act, under which newspaper columnist and blogger Andrew Bolt was convicted in 2011, a story James and I both covered at the time. As Professor Sinclair Davidson notes at Catallaxy, all that is left of Section 18 is largely redundant, as incitement to violence is already covered by the criminal code.

    Andrew says he accepts the compromises inherent in the repeal. I guess late is better than never. Good job he’s a journalist, and not an animator 😉

  6. Ozboy says:

    And on yet another topic…

    I can’t help feeling a certain amount of dismay at Tony Abbott’s announcement that his government is set to re-introduce the division of Knight/Dame to the Order of Australia, discontinued by the Hawke government at the time of the passage of the Australia Acts in 1986. Abbott, an avowed monarchist, who was famously dismissed twenty years ago by Paul Keating as a “young fogey”, says the honour is intended simply for Governors-General, state Governors and Chief Justices; that is, not ex-politicians:

    My intention is that this new award will go to those who have accepted public office rather than sought it; and who can never, by virtue of the office they have held, entirely return to private life.

    The outgoing and incoming Governers-General will both be knighted. So we’ll have Dame Quentin Bryce and General Sir Peter Cosgrove. Well, maybe that’s not a calamity. But it’s inevitable that the honour will likely be extended further than that, and in short order. Already George Brandis is pushing for former PM John Howard to get a gong. Where will that lead – particularly after the Coalition lose office? Sir Kevin Rudd? Dame Julia Gillard? Will politicians and business tycoons be bought off with knighthoods, as they notoriously were in Britain in the 1920s? Sir Clive Palmer? Dame Christine Milne???

    The mind boggles…

  7. meltemian says:

    So Craig Thompson COULD get his sentence INCREASED by a higher court if his appeal is dealt with by a judge who considers it to have been too light?
    We can but hope…..

    Yep, it’s the risk he’s taking. But I suppose he figures it’s a gamble worth taking. Paticularly if he can land the “right” appeal judge.

    Michael Smith this morning reasons that Thomson’s appeal is strategic rather than hopeful; that it is designed primarily to protect him from the Royal Commission – Oz

  8. karabar says:

    It is a mistake to confuse the division of Knights and Dames to the Order of Australia.
    It is strictly an Australian tradition, and should not be confused with KCMG which is a British award. Neither should it be confused, (as it surely will be) with any sort of Monarchist/Republican argument. Lots of Republics have similar awards. i.e. France.

    As for that scumbag Thommo’s sentence, I dare not even comment as I cannot trust myself not to into a flaming rant.

    I’ve heard, and don’t really accept, the argument that republics like France, Italy and Peru also have knighthoods. The reason the comparison is invalid is that, unlike those countries, Australian knighthoods, whether within the Order of Australia or other British Orders of Chivalry, will always be inextricably linked with the British monarchy. For example, Australia’s most famous knight, Sir Donald Bradman, was made a Knight Bachelor, a British honour, not an Australian one. In fact, of the 750-odd Australians who have been gonged since Federation, only 3 women and 12 men are invested in the Order of Australia; all the rest are British knighthoods. And Knights of the Order of Australia include Sir John Kerr, one of the most hated figures in modern Australian history, and Prince Charles, who isn’t even Australian. If an Australian knighthood could be detached from the imperial British associations, I would have no problem with it. But that will never happen. So I guess I beg to differ – Oz

  9. Kitler says:

    The man looks like he could suck a golf ball through 20 yards of garden hosepipe. allegedly. Prison might suit him.
    Also you don’t make them like this anymore….

  10. Kitler says:

    Well ozboy why not some truly Australian awards, like the sickie the tinny or the barbie? I’m sure you can imagine many more, You know awards are used to bribe the stupid at little cost or to curry favour with the plebs, that goes for anywhere in the world. Although personally having Sir in front of my name might have a certain social cache, Sir Kitler has a certain ring to it.

    All right mate, I hereby dub thee. Arise, Sir Kitler of Nosebleed.

    As to Aussie civil honours, they’re all a bit on the nose, whether AK, AC, AM or OAM. The problem is who gets to choose who is honoured and who isn’t. There is this mysterious and officially independent body called “the Council for the Order of Australia”. We know who’s on it, but not how or why they are appointed, for what term, nor whose advice they rely on in determining awards. According to the Wiki article,

    The nomination forms are given to the Council for the Order of Australia. Who attends meetings of the council and reasoning as to why a nomination either did or did not result in an appointment is confidential.

    So there. So, while in the end a lot of undoubtedly worthy people get awards – medical researchers, charity and community workers and so on, people who are otherwise never recognized publicly for their work – so do a disturbing number of celebrities, singers, actors and sports stars. Plenty of people reckon they’re politically influenced, and wouldn’t be unhappy to see the whole shebang dropped – Oz

  11. izen says:

    It certainly seems lenient compared to the two-three years served by the people in the HiH case or other financial scandals.
    Perhaps Siondinos can hope for a similar level of clemency?

    Sinodinis hasn’t been accused of any crime, let alone charged. But he is guilty as sin – of monumental stupidity, at the very least. Getting involved with Eddie Obeid was a tar pit, and any thinking person should have known that. Perhaps he can claim he was “young and naïve” – Oz

  12. Ozboy says:

    It appears Tony Abbott doesn’t have too many supporters for his re-introduction of knighthoods. Even John Howard, a prominent monarchist, says he has not changed his mind about the issue since he declined to re-introduce them himself as PM. David Flint thinks it’s a marvellous idea, but that’s a given.

  13. karabar says:

    I fail to see why it is of sufficient import for John Howard to comment.
    For one thing, I think that Tony made a big mistake in making that disgusting old Labour hack of Bryce a “dame”. It just indicates that the honour doesn’t mean a damned thing.
    The issue is in stark contrast to the juvenile behaviour of the entire ALP caucus. Julie Collins, Terri Butler, Pat Conroy, Mark Dreyfus, Chris Bowen, Brendan O’Connor, Matt Thistlethwaite and Nick Champion were all removed from the House for an hour. If they behave like children, they should be treated as such. It ought to be possible to expel them until the next election, as in expelled from school.

    They may be children, but (sigh) they were elected by their constituencies. Democracy dictates they must be free to vote in the parliament.

    You’re right, the award is largely meaningless. Particularly so as Abbott announced his intention that the awards become a mere accoutrement of vice-regal appointment, as opposed to meritorious service in other areas (further handcuffing the Australian knighthood to the British monarchy, as per above). A bauble. And Quentin Bryce has already put her republicanism on record, so the “pro forma” knighthood is faintly ludicrous – Oz

  14. Ozboy says:

    Little surprise that, following Abbott’s announcement, Malcolm Turnbull makes merry.

    A bloody funny bloke on his day. But what a merchant banker.

  15. Ozboy says:

    Well that’s a bit more like it:

    Even more corrupt former union boss and one-time ALP President Michael Williamson was today sentenced in the Sydney District Court to seven and a half years’ jail; he will serve a minumum of five years. From a financial point of view, Williamson’s embezzlements dwarf Thomson’s. The crimes he was jailed for involve about a million dollars, but conservative estimates put his ill-gotten gains at at least twenty times that. Among his scams, Williamson, as HSU boss, contracted out a bi-monthly union newsletter to a “mate” for an exorbitant fee – over half a million a year. In return, Williamson and Thomson each received some sort of uber-exclusive Amex card, which they ran up bills on and never picked up the tab.

    I’d let a couple of psycho-hospital orderlies (my late uncle was one who paid dues) alone with him in his cell for about five minutes. 😈

  16. Ozboy says:

    A nice video compilation this morning on Michael Smith’s blog, on the subject of the ABC’s wilful blindness:

    What’s significant about it is that Sheehan (one of Fairfax’s token conservative contributors) is the first journalist to say out loud what everyone is now guessing about the former Prime Minister. Only yesterday, the former National President of the ALP was handed seven and a half years. And he isn’t even the biggest fish.

  17. Ozboy says:

    I’m overseas on business this week folks, back on the weekend.


  18. Ozboy says:

    Yes, it’s just a bit of protocol, but the contrast is telling. The Australian Prime Minister will never bow before the Japanese Emperor. Never. The Japanese understand the sensibilities involved, and respect us for it. Tony Abbott’s just wrapped-up trade visit to Japan was a roaring success.

    Abbott and Akihito, 7 April 2014

    The Whitlams and the Hirohitos, 1973 – the image says it all.

    Compare to another world leader, who carries (or should carry) the very same sensibilities, of thousands of old men who are still living, thousands of widows, and their families; all of whom he claims to serve:

    Obama and Akihito, 16 November 2009

    Care to imagine George H.W. Bush doing that? Richard Nixon? Or even Jimmy Carter or Jack Kennedy?

    Glad I’m an Aussie.

  19. Luton Ian says:

    ‘Grief! it’s the nobgobblin narcissist [allegedly[allegedly]].

    I’ve heard that many things in international relations can be sorted out by a bit of personal contact between leaders.

    Who knows what could be sorted out over the Crimea by a bit of man to man, in a hot tub? They might find that they have quite a lot in common.

    Ex-KGB colonels are known to enter hot tubs fully armed – Oz

  20. Luton Ian says:

    According to Wikipedia, Walther PPK models vary betwen 6.1″ and 6.5″ in length. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walther_ppk

    That could lead to some unfortunate international mis-understandings

    Oh, I dunno – Putin could end up getting himself elected President of the U.S. of A. (birth certificates being irrelevant these days) – Oz

  21. izen says:

    Nixon bowed to the present emperors’ father, the wartime leader when Japan was at war with America.


    Ozboy, you should be ashamed to be pandering to the crass conspiracy theories and covert racism of the birther nonsense!

    Phooey. The Japanese Emperor does not greet foreign heads of state behind a public lectern. Nixon is clearly just bending over to hear the bloke.

    As to the “birther” business, I frankly neither know nor care where the bloke was born, and personally think it’s a silly rule the yanks have anyway. Tony Abbott was born in London. Julia Gillard in Wales. Whatever their other faults, that’s not one of them. My opinion about Obama has nothing to do with either his genetic makeup, nor his real place of birth, wherever it was. You’ve been at LibertyGibbert long enough to know that by now – Oz

  22. Luton Ian says:

    He’s not a Keynesian, he was born in Hawaii… :-)>

    I know. So was Putin – Oz

  23. Luton Ian says:

    and a little more Keynesian stimulus from he of a rich Irish heritage: http://washingtonexaminer.com/7.9m-obama-ireland-trip-included-251161-for-michelle-obamas-dublin-sightseeing/article/2546977/comments#disqus_thread

    Incidentally, there are still descendants living in Ireland of the C of I bishop that was O’Bama’s Irish ancestor, they’re all female, and understandably don’t make a big thing of their profligate waster of a distant relative.

    Short of someone who aspires to a fleeting career on daytime TV, who would?

    All a storm in a teacup.

    In fact, having finally shrugged off certain vicious and racist rumours regarding an alleged foreign birthplace, it seems that a certain former Hawaiian bodybuilding champion is in the mix to keep Hillbilly out of the White House for an unprecedented third term (FDR, having not been born in Hawaii, doesn’t count) Oz

  24. Luton Ian says:

    Julia Gillard in Wales.

    Child abuse of the worst possible kind. Scarred the poor woman for life.

  25. Luton Ian says:

    Oh no, not another keynesian narcissist [allegedly].

  26. farmerbraun says:

    Read carefully!


    You do know that actually understanding how science works is a career-ending tendency in the modern “science communicator”.

    Here’s how it used to be done – from the man who first turned me on to science:

    An extinct species, sadly – Oz

  27. karabar says:

    It’s a sure sign that the warmists have painted themselves into a corner. I’m not sure where this violence fits into denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Perhaps such people are in the anger stage. http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-on-the-right/041014-696811-left-turns-those-who-dare-to-disagree-into-pariahs.htm#ixzz2yWumcWvH

    They skipped acceptance, and cycled back to anger.

    The most visible difference between science and religion, as systems of thought, is in the way they treat their heretics. I think we can all see what’s going on here – Oz

  28. farmerbraun says:

    Still it is amazing how far these trendy-lefty -warmists have come in less than two years. The planet’s O.K. ; Homo sapiens is O.K. : it’s civilisation which were should be very, very scared about 🙂


  29. farmerbraun says:

    were =we

  30. farmerbraun says:

    “actually understanding how science works ”

    Yep, a descent into superstition certainly can lead to the collapse of a civilization. I wonder what stunning examples of contemporary moai are currently being erected in our midst.

    Oh yes, while I’m on the nostalgic subject of great science communicators, here’s ornithologist Vincent Serventy, a genuine environmentalist and the other man who sparked my interest in science, as well as my love affair with the Australian bush. Filmed in Super-8, the colours are unbelieveable:

    Love the soundtrack music by Sven Libaek – more of him in the music room – Oz

  31. Amanda says:

    Nothing the American Founders did was silly. Every darn last thing they put in our constitution was thought out and argued about in excrutiating detail (see The Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers, for a start). These were men of high seriousness, true and recent inheritors — and developers — of the Enlightenment age. As a matter of realism, we shall never see their like again.

    No, it wasn’t silly when they did it. I understand the circumstances at the time dictated it. But do you really think it’s still appropriate in 2014? I’d bet Madison, Franklin and Jefferson would ditch it today – Oz

  32. Amanda says:

    Would you bet that? I’m not sure I would. You have to consider their reasons. A nation of immigrants — if anything, truer in our day than theirs. The charismatic populist is a danger. Obama, quite frankly, is precisely the sort of politician they foresaw and wanted to protect the republic against.

  33. Amanda says:

    And I hasten to add, I find talk of his birth records vulgar and beyond the pale. I simply mean that the republic relies more on its constitution than on the holder (at any given time) of the office of president. And that national loyalty, even … tread we ever so gingerly … birth loyalty might be important to the upholding of said office.

  34. Amanda says:

    Ultimately it comes down to this, as the narrated introduction to one of the two great films of the past quarter-century* told us:

    “A human life, I think, should be well rooted in some spot of native land, where it may get the love of tender kinship for the face of earth, for the labours men go forth to, for the sounds and accents that haunt it, for whatever will give that early home a familiar unmistakeable difference amidst the future widening of knowledge….The best introduction to astronomy is to think of the nightly heavens as a little lot of stars belonging to one’s own homestead”. — George Eliot

    *Gettysburg, and its pair, Gods And Generals. I was enthralled by both and one of them made me sequester the tissue box for tear-wiping duty.

    Clearly, Amanda, you are a very proud American – Oz

  35. Amanda says:

    I’m not just proud, I’m right. — Amanda

  36. karabar says:

    Amanda, are you familiar with Jeff Nyquist “A website for Patriots”?

  37. karabar says:

    A little story from 1776 for you http://www.theburningplatform.com/2014/04/11/bitcoin-is-a-revolution%E2%80%8B-not-an-investment/

    No taxation or representation, seems to be their mantra. I predicted nearly twenty years ago, as soon as the internet was popularized, that something like this would emerge: a currency no government could control and which, unlike gold, could fly across the world in a microsecond – Oz

  38. Luton Ian says:

    Thanks for the link Karabar, it’s an excellent piece.

    Bitcoin is indeed a revolution, an Agorist revolutionary free market. I don’t need to say anarchist, as without ruler is already implicit in free market.

    Wihout ruler does not in any way imply “without rules”, quite the contrary, the rules apply very firmly with bitcoin,

    and they apply equally to all.

    There is no “might is right” there to protect favoured cronies from the bad consequences of their bad actions.

    Fraud, such as fractional reserving requires no legislative fiat, no scrawl by a politician or bureaucratic funtionary to prevent or punish it. Mt Gox was well and truly punished for what I suspect was frac res – by the wonderful institution of reputation, and its expression in the equally wonderful institution of a bank run.

    Reading some of the comments about mt gox and bitcoin on some of the mainstream sites had me laughing out loud, with comments about the lack of deposit guarantees and central banks leading to such nasty volatility … as though having money which tends to increase in purchasing power rather than decrease in purchasing power is a bad thing. and as though cronies should be bailed out when their frac res and counterfeiting scams go bad.

    may their chains sit lightly on them.

    Unfortunately my ability with computers is at best average for middle age blokes Kitler leaves me way behind, while I’m still trying to get the hang of “$: sudo apt-get…”

    This might be of interest to those with more understanding than me – it seems that most of the crony banks in Britain are still using windows XP for their ATMs

    that most crash and hack prone piece of bloatware. http://www.engadget.com/2014/03/14/atm-windows-xp-costs/

    I wonder how much that bit of cheapness is going to cost those who are stuck with using government fiat?

    In 1998, most of those same crony banks were still using COBOL for much of their software, whose date system was highly Y2K-vulnerable. I passed up a couple of lucrative offers at the time to go to London to sort it out, as I was at the time leading the Y2K audit team for the Australian arm of a major European bank.

    I’d say bitcoin is about as anarchic as a monetary system can get, short of naked highway-robbery. You’re right, the only rules are embedded within bitcoin’s definition, and therefore beyond the control of any state. My next prediction is, if bitcoin survives the next few years, expect to see a plethora of rival cyber-currencies emerge, many of them started by crooks, in or out of government – Oz

  39. Luton Ian says:

    The plethora of crypto currencies is already with us. The Bitcoin software is open source, so anyone who can understand the code can tweak it and produce their own “currency”. The bitcoin miner and identity system is also being used for identification in decentralized social networking, e.g. “Twister”, spawning another revolution – communication that states cannot spy on.

    The largest two crypto currency competitors appear to be “litecoin” and “Dogecoin”, Doge coin’s appeal seems to be based on the dog cartoon rather than any wider acceptance as a medium of exchange.

    There was also an application for a US patent (I think it was JP Morgan) refused a few months back, which sought to patent several of the features of Bitcoin.

    Creating a “currency” is one thing, actually having people freely accept it as having value (without force being used) is a very different thing. From its novelty value of a few cents, bitcoin has grown in acceptance.

    I suspect that individual preferences for a money which has the greatest acceptability and convenience will cause one crypto currency to assume dominance, Gresham’s Law dstroying all of the others.

    I don’t think that Gresham’s Law is going to be very kind with respect to violently imposed fiat currencies, which raises an interesting dilemna for states

    If there is popular repudiation of their fiats (people refuse to accept or to hold it – resulting in its purchasing power disappearing – that happens from time to time with fiat anyway – even without a competitor), at what point do the statists accept that they have lost their ability to print purchasing power for themselves and their cronies? and at what point do they cease to acept their own, now worthless fiat as payment of taxes, effectively repudiating their own creation?

    Even without crypto currencies, we are getting into very interesting monetary times. Iran is accepting gold rather than US dollars as payment for oil. Russia is talking about accepting payment in Roubles (I guess Euros would be acceptable to them as well) for oil.

    The Chinese government is making noises about introducing an international “hard” version of the Remnimbi Yuan, redeemable in gold (while retaining a fiat which it can print for use in China – they still want to be able to print purchasing power for themselves and their cronies at home).

    If the united state dollar does loose its status as the currency for oil trades and for international reserve (and why shouldn’t it loose that status – America reneged on Bretton Woods 42 years ago when Tricky Dicky “closed the gold window” why should anyone else keep respecting what Tricky Dicky and his successors didn’t?), then demand to hold the big satan’s script outside of the big satan will collapse, it’ll all go flooding back home.

    Very interesting times.

    We might even get to find out how little gold (if any) is left in the Fe’ral Reserve members vaults…

    That’s going to be the lightbulb moment for a lot of people who still retain faith in an unbacked paper dollar. In fact, the light has already gone on over the heads of the Germans, who are becoming increasingly alarmed at what they’ve discovered – Oz

  40. Luton Ian says:

    An interesting backdown by the Fe’ral Bureau of Land Management, when lots and lots of people showed up to stand with the Bundy family: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/feds-give-release-cattle-seized-nevada-standoff-n79071

  41. karabar says:

    Too true. Kissinger’s brainchild the ‘petrodollar’ has pretty much run its course. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, David Archibald’s new book “The Twilight of Abundance” has some sage advise for Oz as well as the USA. http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/04/the_twilight_of_abundance.html

  42. Luton Ian says:

    Some of the speculation coming out from Nevada, suggests that the great satan might have been mollifying the Chinese bond holders by selling oil and mineral rights etc to them ultra cheap – possibly as backing for its debased dollar bonds.

    If true, I can see the idea of having the ground under you given to the Chinese Communist Party by a bureaucrat 3k miles away in DC-

    – will be comparable in popularity to all of those bonds getting shorted, and all of the paper dollars coming home to roost in a massive hyper inflation.

  43. Ozboy says:

    Fun and games from my old stamping grounds in Sydney:

    New South Wales Premier Fatty O’Barrell has resigned, after being caught misleading the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) regarding allegations that he received as a gift, a bottle of 1959 Penfolds Grange Hermitage (valued at AU$3000) from Nick Di Girolamo, a businessman linked to disgraced former Labor politician Eddie Obeid.

    The silly bugger should have sent it straight back; or, if he was prepared to put up with the raised eyebrows the gift would certainly have caused, declared it straight away on the Parliamentary Pecuniary Interests Register. Or even if he didn’t do that, tell the truth straight up to ICAC. A dodgy gift, he could have survived. Even an “oversight” in not declaring it in the register. But not lying to ICAC. He had no choice but to quit.


  44. karabar says:

    My sentiments exactly. Why would he do that? I can understand not returning it. I can even understand not registering it. But why lie about it under oath? It’s only a bottle of piss. There must be more to this story.

  45. Ozboy says:

    Quote of the day:

    Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage’s whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.

    – Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

  46. karabar says:

    That is the optimist speaking.
    Methinks this is more like reality today. “The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does. They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.” – Aldous Huxley – Brave New World Revisited

  47. Luton Ian says:

    That quote could equally have come from Hervey Cleckley’s seminal work on psychopathy: “The Mask of Sanity” (1988 final edition as free download cassiopaea.org/cass/sanity_1.PdF )

  48. meltemian says:

    Sorry Oz, thought the link would work but you have to save it first I think.
    I’m sure you can do something with it…it’s the BBC News.

  49. Ozboy says:

    The new Royal Commission into registered organisations (read unions) will be headed up by former High Court Justice Dyson Heydon, whose name you will see mentioned a lot on this site later this year. As it’s Good Friday here, I thought I’d share with you this remarkable speech by Heydon (transcript courtesy of Andrew Bolt), who last week at the Centre for Independent Studies delivered their annual Acton Lecture for Religion and Freedom, a talk entitled Catholic Resistance to German State Persecution: Lessons for Modern Australia.

    Whatever your views on organised religion, it’s bound to strike a chord with you as a compelling explanation of the attitudes of many “progressives” today. Well worth a read.

  50. izen says:

    There has always been a systemic contradiction in christianity between the moral teachings and the established institutions, the churches. The message is of the ultimate worth and value of the individual, even the least and poorest. While the churches that arose to preach this gospel became authoritarian, autocratic and subsumed the individual into the congregation. in simplistic terms the teachings of Christianity are a basis for libertarian and socialist ethics, but the churches, catholic, protestant and orthodox follow authoritarian fascistic paths.

    While Heydon decries the rise of anti-catholic sentiment in Australia and compares it to the suppression in post Weimar Germany he perhaps misses the important difference. Nazi opposition and suppression of catholic followers in Germany was because the christian principles and teachings enumerated by Heydon –

    ” …characteristics of Christ’s earthly life …. He showed a concern for the poor, a concern for the ill, a concern for those who were on the margins of society or had been cast out by it, a care for other people, not only friends, but also enemies, an opposition to self-righteous hypocrisy, an encouragement of the idea that if one criticises others one should pay attention to one’s own deficiencies, and a lack of concern with wealth or material power.”

    Were in direct conflict with the principles of fascism, and the authoritarian philosophy that subsumed the individual into the state.

    But opposition to the role of religion espoused by right-wing politicians whether catholiscism or protestantism (or salafism in the Islamic world) is not because they are promoting the teachings of Christ as listed above.
    more because they are invoking the church authoritarianism and conformity to an ‘eternal’ and self-serving set of rules.

    The institutionalization – not the doctrines – of faith has always led to its downfall, as Dante observed:

    Ahi, Costantin, di quanto mal fu matre,
    non la tua conversion, ma quella dote
    che da te prese il primo ricco patre!

    Ah, Constantine! of how much ill was mother,
    Not thy conversion, but that marriage dower
    Which the first wealthy Father took from thee!

    I suspect though, you are falling into the modernist trap: christian principles are indeed the driving force behind progressivist attacks on the church. The depredations of its priests are merely grist to their mill – Oz

  51. karabar says:

    Chris Turkey, of ‘Ship of Fools’ fame, is in the news again. I seems that hi s name popped up in the Climategate emails. Turkey has been involved in substantial tomfoolery, including the notorious Gergis et al retracted paper. He conned the UNSW out of three million of yours and mine for his taudry ‘research’. Some of these climate con artists dwarf Ronnie Biggs!

  52. izen says:

    @- Karabar
    “…He conned the UNSW out of three million of yours and mine for his taudry ‘research’.”

    Or about an hour and a half of Australian bank profits.

    Not sure what your point is here, Izen. Linking bank profits and research grants? Care to amplify? Oz

  53. Ozboy says:

    On this day, the 99th anniversary of the assault of Australian and New Zealand infantry and artillery forces on the Turkish coastal strip now known as ANZAC Cove…

    Lest we forget.

  54. karabar says:

    Ponder the effect of automobile remote locking systems on the fictitious ‘global warming’ Izen. Perhaps the missing heat is hiding in a million car keys. https://www.youtube.com/embed/0Uqf71muwWc

  55. izen says:

    @- Karabar
    ” Perhaps the missing heat is hiding in a million car keys.”

    I wonder if unconsciously you have hit upon this comparison because there is an element of reality to it.
    Satellite measurements and direct measurement of down-welling LW radiation shows that the increase in CO2 adds about the energy of a central locking key fob.
    To every square yard of the Earth surface, land and sea. So not a million, but around 60,000 trillion key fobs radiating energy continuously all over the Earth.

  56. izen says:

    @- Ozboy
    “Not sure what your point is here, Izen. Linking bank profits and research grants? Care to amplify? Oz”

    Okay, it was rather cryptic.

    I am always less than impressed when people complain about money ‘wasted’ on something they have an ideological objection too while ignoring the FAR larger sums that could equally be called wasted in other areas. Funding scientific research, even pure research rather than applied, is usually better value than the regulatory capture that enables big business to pay less tax than the average worker. A more topical example might have been the recent failed attempt by the Australian government to repeal the mining rent tax, giving enormous sums to the overseas owners of those companies at the expense of the nation. By comparison complaining about the pocket change given to scientific activity seems….. Motes and beams come to mind.

    Further, the criticism of Christ Turney looks a little misplaced. While some of his colleges may have been dubious about his idea for a general analysis of paleoclimate, the recent international move on this would seem to vindicate his idea.


  57. myrightpenguin says:

    Hi Ozboy, maybe I have misread the flow of comments but did you really say that the founders would ditch the constitution if they were alive today?! From what I can see above Amanda is right in saying that she is right and you are wrong. lol.

    I don’t believe the constitution is irrelevant today, it was a work of genius and there always has been the mechanism available of amendments, albeit a high bar in terms of what is required to enable an amendments to be enacted, but for understandable reasons (conservatives are not always in power, quite obviously). The intricacies in terms of details such as the Census and the framework for limited government (Article 1, Section 8 – “enumerated powers”) are superhuman in terms of foresight that the founding fathers demonstrated.

    If there is any problem it is largely with the legislative branch and legal precedence, for example Roe vs. Wade, Kelo vs. City of New London undermining private property rights, and John Roberts’ rather strange decision to not strike down Obamacare on the basis of being unconstitutional (contravenes the Commerce Clause).

    Anyway, to cut things short, there are two mechanisms through which constitutional amendments can be enacted. The first is via. super-majorities in both Houses and 3/4 of the states (38 states). The second mechanism will be of interest, it is actually another bit of genius from the founding fathers in terms of enabling states to counter federal government in Washington running wild. This would be through a Constitutional Convention called by 2/3 of states (34 states), where amendments are agreed on, and then to be enacted would require approval by 3/4 of legislatures.

    The second mechanism, via. a Constitutional Convention, is all captured in Mark Levin’s recent book, “The Liberty Amendments”, which is well worth a read. Most recently the Florida legislature has signed onto the call for a Constitutional Convention. 34 states is an uphill task, but conservatives are actually not doing so bad in terms of stewardship of governor mansions right now, conservative governance at state level is becoming increasingly popular because people can see competitive advantages of conservative states in terms of job creation and keeping more of hard earned money, as opposed to states run by big government leftist governors (and legislatures).

    So Amanda is right, and you are very very wrong in terms of the foundation of the U.S. as a constitutional republic. Apologies if I misread the discussion above, but otherwise sorry for the little slap on the wrist.

    No, you’ve misread my comment, rather badly in fact. Nowhere did I suggest the entire Constitution should be scrapped. In fact, I’m sure they would keep it, almost in its entirety. To that end, I’ve written in praise of the U.S. Constitution and its founders many times on this site.

    It’s just the bit about those who are not “natural-born citizens” (a term they didn’t even bother defining) being fit and proper persons in every way to become senators and representatives – but not President. It made sense at the time, given the circumstances. But it persists today as an anachronism in your constitution. There are many fine Americans, many highly-decorated war veterans, whose loyalty to the United States has been proven in blood and is questioned by no-one, who are yet barred from the highest office in your land; while the incumbent (assuming for the moment he was born where he says he was), a man whose questionable loyalty to his country is evinced by his own writings and life story, suffers no such impediment.

    Having heard your opinion, as well as Amanda’s, my mind is unchanged – the founders would not have included that clause of the Constitution in 2014 and, were they alive today, would seek to convince you, Amanda and your Congress to repeal it. As a matter of fact, since last week, I have taken the time to read several of the Federalist Papers that deal specifically with the office of the President, which has confirmed my opinion in spades. Many contemporary American conservative and Libertarian writers are of the same opinion – Oz

  58. myrightpenguin says:

    Perhaps should also pre-empt an obvious point that may be made which is if I am so happy with the U.S. constitution why would I want amendments. The very simple answer it that amendments are very different to scrapping the constitution and starting all over again, and the need for amendments was foreseen by the founding fathers, and hence why mechanisms were put in place for them (albeit with steep hills to climb to enact them).

    (Q) What are the amendments proposed?
    (A) Can be found by reading the book or performing a google search, outline is thus:

    (1) An Amendment to Establish Term Limits for Members of Congress
    (2) An Amendment to Restore the Senate
    (3) An Amendment to Establish Term Limits for Supreme Court Justices and Super-Majority Legislative Override
    (4) Two Amendments to Limit Federal Spending and Taxing
    (5) An Amendment to Limit the Federal Bureaucracy
    (6) An Amendment to Promote Free Enterprise
    (7) An Amendment to Protect Private Property
    (8) An Amendment to Grant the States the Authority to Directly Amend the Constitution
    (9) An Amendment to Grant the States the Authority to Check Congress
    (10) An Amendment to Protect the Vote

    These are rough guidelines. Obviously the idea is that details would be thrashed out within the constitutional convention. The fact that the constitutional convention route exists is one of many lines of evidence that the founding fathers foresaw the risk of federal government running wild and therefore built in potential mechanisms for countering progression to tyranny. Would it be easy to see this through? Of course not, but at least there is a potential roadmap available.

  59. meltemian says:

    Hi Oz, Sorry I’m a bit late for Anzac Day but I thought you might enjoy this, courtesy of Swanny over at Pointman’s place:-

  60. myrightpenguin says:

    G’Day Ozboy,

    OK, good, I misread the flow of comments which I found difficult follow in terms of progression. Apologies for that.

    Regarding what you are saying on the immediate face of it I don’t have objection. Indeed I had been proposing to various conservatives in office for years that they should have enacted a DREAM Act limited to military service (not the education component). That has been brought to a halt a bit for now because Obama and Holder have been performing runs around congress in terms of selective enforcement of laws.

    However I need a little think because of course there are considerations with regards to potential amnesty for “illegals” with a roadmap to citizenship. On paper it should be fine because candidates are normally subjected to thorough scrutiny in campaigns, although as we saw in 2008 that was not necessarily the case because of the MSM.

    Cheers, MRP

    Not heard of the DREAM Act before so I looked it up. It doesn’t surprise me that the Governator backed it. He may have his faults, but he’s a good example of what I was referring to – Oz

  61. izen says:

    I must admit to a deep admiration for the American constitution and great respect for Thomas Jefferson, its key inspiration. A result of reading a lot of his writings, and a fair bit of the Federalist papers when researching the background of a ‘discussion’ of Randian philosophy some time ago on a US political forum. In the process I found this –

    The US constitution is a very well constructed bit of Nomic (gogle it!) with clever checks and balances between the various elements and interests of the nation.
    Myrightpenguin states that;
    “If there is any problem it is largely with the legislative branch and legal precedence…”
    but it is a key aspect of such a system that ‘legislation from the bench’ can interpret and modify the ‘higher’ rules to adapt to changing circumstances. Blocking that low level modification would make the system unworkable rigid and unresponsive, while the political oversight imparts the necessary inertia to prevent chaotic lability.
    A similar balance is in effect with state versus federal powers, again myrightpenguin highlights;
    “The fact that the constitutional convention route exists is one of many lines of evidence that the founding fathers foresaw the risk of federal government running wild and therefore built in potential mechanisms for countering progression to tyranny.”
    But this is just one side of the system that also confers powers to the federal authorities to prevent the States from pursuing their own interests or ideological infatuations at the expense of national cohesion and stability.

    It hasn’t always worked as the American civil war demonstrates. But on balance I think the system is one of the better attempts to negotiate the dichotomy in any society between stability and adaptation. Or conservative authoritarianism and progressive anarchy.

    It even managed the nightmare scenario of religious absolutism joining forces with progressive coercion to impose the 18th amendment with pragmatism winning out with the 21st, the only amendment that utilised the constitutional convention route mentioned above.

    Interesting observations, Izen. What do you make of the “natural-born citizen” issue? Oz

  62. izen says:

    @- What do you make of the “natural-born citizen” issue? Oz

    Fatuous answer;
    Anyone who would willing stand for public office should be locked up as a dangerous sociopath.

    Slightly less silly answer;
    There are two extremes,
    1) Restrict any public office to the TRUE natural citizens of the country, those with at least 50% Amerindian ancestry.
    2) Any public office can be held by any person who is living in the country and pays (any) tax. A sort of reversal of the ‘no taxation without representation’ principle. If you pay tax for some minimum period (say a year) you get to vote and are eligible to stand for any office. Irrespective of your supposed ‘nationality’. Yes, that would include working visitors, illegal immigrants or tourists on a REALLY long vacation.
    Anything else is just jingoistic nonsense.

    I think I favour a test of eligibility closer to the second option than the first.

    OK. Personally, I’d just drop the “natural-born” bit, and leave citizenship as the only qualification for office. Beyond that, it’s up to the voters. That would have made Obama’s birthplace (and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s, John McCain’s, Barry Goldater’s, George Romney’s and Chester A. Arthur’s for that matter) a non-issue – Oz

  63. Ozboy says:

    And a little reminder to those who far too freely bandy about the accusation of racist as a means of stifling debate. Andrew Bolt tells the story of an old-fashioned, wealthy American bigot, of a genus I had assumed was pretty much extinct. Doesn’t like blacks, doesn’t like Mexicans. But still keeps a mistress who, besides appearing young enough to be his granddaughter, is also part African-American and part Mexican! So, you would expect the MSM in America would roast him and toast him, right?

    Wrong. The American media blithely overlooks such attitudes in the wealthy – provided they donate exclusively to the right political party. The same political party which once tried to retain slavery, and now boasts its nation’s first black president.

    Go figure.

  64. myrightpenguin says:

    Interesting thoughts Izen.

    btw, Donald Sterling has been a contributor to the Dems, not sure if that is in the Bolt article, appears there is site maintenance/upgrading at the Herald at the moment.

  65. myrightpenguin says:

    Sorry Oz, I must be going senile, didn’t notice you had mentioned the “contributor” component towards the end of your comment.

  66. myrightpenguin says:

    More on Sterling here, does indeed appear as if contributing to the right political party helps to innoculate one from bad behaviour, particularly as there is a long history with him, and ironically the latest I hear is that the NAACP in the past wanted to hand him a lifetime achievement award!

    I suspect the NAACP is just as bad in that regard; they can’t have been unaware of the guy’s attitudes when they proposed him for the award.

    Update: a bit like this bloke, Gurbaksh Chahal, CEO of Silicon Valley advertising tech firm RadiumOne, busted for an extraordinarily vicious assault on his girlfriend. Only, he’s donated US$100,000 in the past three years, all to one political party. Guess which one? Oz

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