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A Moron in a Hurry – Part 3

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isttime

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Previously on Moron in a Hurry

Sir Roger, strapped to the rack by the Madam Intimidatrix of the Hooded Brethren of the Gruff Wiblam Edifice, shouted that “Freedom is a state of mind”, wondering where he’d heard it before, whereupon his bonds evaporated and the spirit of Wiblam was upon him and possessed his tongue. His eyes flashed and his balls grew large. He spoke of his astonishment. He spoke of facts and moral truths, of the Law and its unhappy servants, of, dog warmers, mouse mats and g-strings.

Sir Roger now invoked the enchanted phrase “It’s Time” and the wizards who possess it. And he e-spake these words unto the Hooded Brethren: 

[Can’t wait for the full, breathless Not Even a Moron in a Hurry?]

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Ownership of the phrase

Gough Whitlam did not own the phrase in the commercial sense. At the time that the phrase gained popularity he did not personally pay for the slogan, nor the campaign as far as one is aware. Intellectual property typically belongs to the person who creates it, or to the legal entity who commissions the work.

The campaign was created in 1972 by McCann Erickson who were commissioned by the Labor Party.

Ironically(?) enough “It’s Time” might be seen by a sharp-eyed lawyer on the make as an appropriation of Menzies’ 1949 slogan, “It’s Time for a Change”. Would the Liberal Party have had a case for trademark infringement or for passing off? I suppose Menzies ought to have had greater foresight and trademarked the phrase.

Despite the slogan having a certain association with Whitlam and with images of Whitlam during the 1972 campaign (as it does also with numerous now-faded TV personalities) – again, it was The Australian Labor Party that campaigned under the slogan, not just Gough. It was the Labor slogan, not the Whitlam slogan.

More than this, a majority of Australian electors adopted the slogan as their own, voted Labor in 1972 and won. We won. It was a time of excitement and hope and anticipation. The Labor victory changed Australia overnight and so Australians who voted Labor then felt “it’s time” was their time, and they still do.

Gough was Sir Roger’s hero too, as he told David Attenborough one day (or was it the other way around?) and he even managed to touch the hem of Gough’s garment once before Gough imperiously brushed him off.

Yes, the Institute may have a legal right to the term but it cannot honestly assert moral ownership of the phrase which belongs to the Australian people, or at least those who are ancient enough to remember those heady days 41 years ago.

The appropriation (or acquisition) of the phrase by the Whitlam Institute seems in Sir Roger’s personal view opportunistic and merely commercial and any assertion of moral ownership groundless.

You have expressed a view that universities have not been “politicised”. Are you serious? Where have you been? And even if you were right what is not debatable is that they have certainly become highly commercialised, which is perhaps worse, especially from the point of view of the values which Gough always represented. Which is why we are having this conversation.

“We want to give a new life and a new meaning in this new nation to the touchstone of modern democracy — to liberty, equality, fraternity.”

–          Gough Whitlam, ALP Policy Speech, 13 November 1972

Sir Roger is in his way a student of the Enlightenment which led directly to liberté, egalité, fraternité and la Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen. And it would in Sir Roger’s view be a travesty and an insult to Whitlam’s legacy if lawyers on his behalf were to trample all over what he actually stood for, what he held so dear, what he really meant to us and which he so successfully shared as his vision for this country, for its people and their democracy – just because it was the law.

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Genericisation

One is clear that the Institute is in proud possession of carefully guarded forms saying that it owns a Trade Mark. Those pieces of paper give the Institute a legal stick. People, however, use these two words together in all sorts of contexts all the time. People have appropriated the term as their own ever since 1972. It is used everywhere by all sorts of people.

One could understand if the whole purpose of this exercise by The Magnificent Whitlam Institute may be to run a campaign to avoid genericisation by asserting its trademark. And such a campaign might focus on the easier targets. But it was probably already too late for that as early as 1972.

Your pieces of legal paper if taken literally would mean people may conceivably inadvertently infringe your trademark privately or in public using those words.

The idea that the Institute has a right to be the only “legal person” to use those words together in all the Classes you have trademarked is a nonsense, a mockery, an impossibility. Any attempt the Institute might make to assert its trademark on a large scale would be in danger of discovery that it is a generic term and you might risk losing the trademark protection in any case.

To be clear, your trademarks do not discriminate or allow discretion. They make it an infringement to use the two words together in any of the contexts which are covered.  You are honour bound to pursue all perceived infringements as you have Values Australia. Anything else would be unethical. A newspaper headline, for example, or a recorded political speech could be construed to fall under the trademark jurisdiction. You could conceivably pull a teacher out of a classroom for writing those words on the whiteboard at the start of a class, “branding” the lesson. You could conceivably take IBM (for argument’s sake) to court because the office girl created signs for a change management seminar she had decided to call “IT’S TIME”. You would be entitled to make a claim if you felt like it. In fact, since you have done it here, you are bound to do it there, and to seek out every possible instance where it might occur.

You can see the total absurdity. (Or perhaps you can’t. That would be sad.)    

And yet you were not satisfied with one set of absurdities in 2004. You went out and bought four more in 2011.

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Freedom of speech

What is worse is that the right of a person to freedom of speech in a political context was derived from Sections 7 and 24 of the Australian Constitution by the High Court in 1992 and 1994 and in particular in Lange v Australian Broadcasting Corporation (1997).

Even the Immigration Department on its website assures potential citizens that there are “five fundamental freedoms”.

Number one on their list is “freedom of speech”.

“Australians are free, within the bounds of the law, to say or write what we think privately or publicly, about the government, or about any topic. We do not censor the media and may criticise the government without fear of arrest.”

One doesn’t wish to make too much of this but after all it is the website of an Australian Government department. It has been there for many years. It must have legal, if not legislative, standing because a person would be entitled to rely on this advice to inform his actions. If it does not have force then it is misrepresentation and a person could claim damages.

A case might be made that restricting the use of “it’s time” in the political context, trademark notwithstanding, is a restriction on or infringement of  that implied right.

I don’t suppose you want to test that and Sir Roger does not have the means.

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On a more personal note.

Sir Roger was offended that “you”, or whoever actually wrote the letter, employed that formal and threatening presumption-of-guilt language which seems to the clean-living and unwary to accuse one of all manner of the vilest of premeditated and vicious crimes and to suggest that the recipient is the lowest bastard in the world if not a baby-eater – or worse, a catholic priest – when you could as easily have written,

“Dear Sir, you may not have realised that [blah blah etc. etc.] and though your intentions may have been honourable, we would like you to not do that any more, please. We’d rather not, for both our sakes, have to ask you again if you don’t mind. Let’s know if you object. Kind regards Helen (via Allison).”

Sir Roger finds that writing to decent, good, generous Australians in the arrogant way you have is offensive and frankly obscene. Not everyone (thank god) is a lawyer and understands that legalese is “just the bullying way we do things around here” and that you were “just doing your job; nothing personal”.

He does, though, feel for you. Much as you might have desperately wished you could write an understanding and thoughtful letter, you simply cannot. Your hands and pens and mind are chained to the formula, and the form guides you learnt while articled, and the form letter in which you or your office girl customised the fill-in-the-blank spaces. For you there is only one way to write such a letter and you have no choice but to do it that way.

In this most free of countries lawyers, of all people, have no professional freedom. In your heart you might wish you could change the world for the better the way you dreamed in the idealistic glow of youth, when you watched Boston Legal – or perhaps Perry Mason?

But the law as you know, and perhaps discovered to your dismay (or delight, who knows?) is not about truth or justice; it is only about the law.

For all one knows you may have strong morals yourself but in your profession morality is irrelevant, except for morality which is legislated. And in that you have no say, whether you agree with it or not. And so instead of doing what is right you must do what is legal, perhaps sitting in a room lined with soul-sucking books doing unutterably tedious, endlessly repetitive and eye-wateringly trivial things like pumping out form letters to the wicked.

Sir Roger is full of regret for any existential struggle you might have, any desire you might have to fashion meaningfulness amongst the professional restraints.

Meanwhile, Sir Roger is unfettered by such constraints. Every day is a new excitement and a new challenge and a creative opportunity to influence his world for the better and to make it a better, more loving and more humane place – much the way Gough inspired us to do and be. And one has the constitutional right and freedom to do so.

.

.

In our next and final instalment, Sir Roger: 

  • makes shocking revelations of high-profile naughtiness,
  • gets up-close-and-personal
  • and even more up-close-and-personal with the, after all, non-intimidating one, 
  • asks the question he often asks himself, and knows she does (“How would this look on the front page of the herald?”)
  • and drops a political bombshell! 

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    .
    .
    .
    .

A Moron in a Hurry – Part 2

 

 

Goth The Whittler

 GOTH THE WHITTLER EDIFICE
Legal traps and electronic security  are secreted everywhere.
Instructions for grovelling are necessary for the uninitiated and unimpressed 

 

So as you know Sir Roger has been stood over by the rozzers of the Whitlam Industry, accused of the most nefarious crimes in the most aggressive tones. Almost as terrifying as the big boys threatening him for his lunch money.

To help the dear reader understand the response which follows, here, first, are excerpts from that letter from the Whitlam Institute which was rushed by email, with a copy by snail, under the hand of one “Helen” but actually from the desk of an “Allison” (who knows?). All one really knows about “Helen” is that she appears to be a ‘torturer’ or (to put it another way) ‘abominable power point presenter’:

 

flemingletter

 

Therefore in the spirit of that letter Sir Roger’s amanuensis replied as follows (Part 1 today):

 

Gosh! Comrade!

This is exciting, isn’t it? To be accused of “procuring”! Sir Roger feels he has at last achieved the heady heights of infamous celebrity enjoyed by Berlusconi and Strauss-Kahn!  

Who even for a moment suspected that a t-shirt splashed with the ValuesAustralia.com logo could ever be suspected of being sanctioned by the arrogant old codger? Only those who knew that The Great Man’s now immortally corporatised self is also now legally wagon-encircled.

Ought one to turn oneself into the police tonight? Might one wait till tomorrow? Will one need to pack one’s pyjamas? What sort of a sentence do you think one might get (were you to win)?

One says, “were you to win” because who knows for sure if a judge would find that the (now ex-) t-shirt was “passing off”?

One knows you can’t. Not till the judge puts the black cap on.

Since your concern is to protect the income of the Mighty Whitlam Edifice one can inform you that the Institute has lost no income in this matter. One finds no historic record of a sale of the allegedly offensive t-shirt and it is no longer offered for sale on the Values Australia website or at cafepress.

One hopes you will forgive any language which is not cringingly fearful under the onslaught of your strident, harshly worded and school-marmish threats but, you know, this blog post (series) if it lacked some frisson, some controversy, would be terribly dull and there would be nothing to tweet about. Sir Roger’s loyal fans would be disappointed and it would damage his reputation for robustness. One hopes indeed that you will understand that this response may contain occasionally non-legal terminology because, as Sir Roger puts it, “IANAL”. And if you are offended, well, you know, you have as much right to be offended as Sir Roger was offended that the letter purporting to be sent by you was in fact sent for you, a task you delegated to someone else, perhaps the office girl. Who is to know?

I am the nominee of Sir Roger Migently who commissions and is senior adviser to the website ValuesAustralia (hosted in and published from the United States of America with all the implications and complications that entails).

Sir Roger has therefore directed that I endorse the enclosure on his behalf. (You may need to look carefully for the signature towards the end.)

He was shocked to hear that, what with his pension and his gold ticket and all, old Gruff is so short of cash these days that he needs every cent you can get him.

Sir Roger (benighted before Gough changed the honours system) informs me that he had quite forgotten that he had created the sparkling opportunity to ignore the … er … opportunity to which you refer and which apparently no-one saw or – certainly on the evidence and to Sir Roger’s memory – not one person wanted. Sir Roger frankly couldn’t have given a stuff about it, as he says, after the 2007 election. Its time (oops, sorry!) had passed.

So he was shocked when the rozzers from Whittling Inc sent to his amanuensis the terrifying threats of, well, who knows what dire consequences by email! To Sir Roger it felt a bit like being dumped by text (which strangely chuffed him, being down with the kids and terribly contemporary and all).

Sir Roger demands that the forensic team at UWS Legal, should they locate any remaining instances of the offending item, immediately inform Sir Roger who will forthwith speak to his people to have them deleted.

(On a side note, there are on the cafepress website very many other instances of the phrase being used on possibly tens or hundreds of

  • g-strings
  • shirts
  • mugs
  • cups
  • caps
  • dog warmers and
  • mouse mats,

so if you wanted to pursue them – perhaps claiming piracy under extraterritoriality? – the office girl will have plenty of work to do for the next few years.)

  

Discovery and Observations

You assert that the Whitlam Institute has a “substantial reputation”. Who knew? Sir Roger would be one of the more aware people in the community, both generally and politically. He had no idea! A Whitlam Institute? Doing great and worthy works? A t-shirt? I must say, the UWS marketing unit needs to get off its arse about this one and let the world know that Gough’s spirit lives! If Sir Roger has never heard of it, few others have.

Looking at the Whitlam Industry website now one might suspect it is less the throbbing engine of social justice and democratic advancement one might imagine than a back-slapping nostalgia club for the ex-famous and forgotten, a few academics writing impenetrable scholarly works with obtusely academic titles and a fresh-faced legal team jumping out of the legal bushes to surprise the disobedient.

 

 So, trademarks and passing off.

“A cause of action for passing off is a form of intellectual property enforcement … particularly where an action for trademark infringement based on a registered trade mark is unlikely to be successful.”

So, trademarks and passing off.

“Passing off … does not confer monopoly rights to any names, marks, get-up or other indicia. It does not recognize them as property in its own right.

“Instead, the law of passing off is designed to prevent misrepresentation in the course of trade to the public, for example, that there is some sort of association between the business of defendant and that of the claimant.”

There are three elements which must be fulfilled:

•             Goodwill owned by a trader

•             Misrepresentation

•             damage to goodwill.

In Reckitt & Colman Ltd v Borden Inc [1990], Lord Oliver stated that a plaintiff must establish all of the following:

1.            a goodwill or reputation attached to the goods or services

2.            a misrepresentation leading or likely to lead the public to believe that the goods or services offered by him are goods or services of the plaintiff

3.            that he suffers loss or damage as a consequence of the erroneous belief that the goods or services of the defendant are the goods or services of the plaintiff.

_______________________

1.           A case may be made that goodwill attaches to items for sale by the Whitlam Institute.

However:

2.            As for misrepresentation, not even “a moron in a hurry” (which as you know is NOT the test) would imagine that the shirt prominently displaying the ValuesAustralia logo was an offering of the Whitlam Institute. [see below]

                The website never and nowhere represents (or represented) or if you like misrepresents or misrepresented in any way, or could have, that ValuesAustralia.com was in any way affiliated with the Whitlam Institute or that the shirt was in any way approved by the Whitlam Institute. It would not have been possible to make such a claim because ValuesAustralia.com in 2007 had no knowledge (was, as it now seems blissfully unaware) of the Institute’s existence at all or of its commercial offerings.

ValuesAustralia.com never knew, or in its wildest dreams could ever have imagined, that the two words “it’s” and “time” placed side by side, in dictionary order, were or ever would be, or for goodness’ sake ever could be trademarked by anyone.

3.            It is as impossible to demonstrate as it is silly to suggest that the Whitlam Institute has suffered or could have suffered loss or damage as a result of any confusion over the shirt’s provenance. As far as the writer knows no shirt was sold except for the one bought by Values Australia itself as a proof copy in 2007 and the person who bought that shirt (oneself) was, absolutely certainly, under no misapprehension whatever that the shirt was represented as a product of the Whitlam Institute. No person has ever contacted Values Australia with any question concerning the shirt’s provenance. Until now.

                There never was any intent to deceive nor any intention to obtain a gain or cause a loss at the expense of the Whitlam Institute.

                There never was any misrepresentation made and nor there was ever any intention in the course of trade calculated to injure the business or goodwill of the Whitlam Institute. No damage could be imagined probably to be caused, none was caused, and now certainly none can be caused in the future.

To make this point clear,  I wonder if you would take a moment to view these two images and decide whether you can tell them apart, remembering that the test is not “a moron in a hurry”. (They have been placed side by side for ease of comparison). Can you tell which is which? Are you sure that the shirt on the right is not an offering, or representing itself as an offering, of the Whitlam Institute? How can you tell?

compare

Images considered fair use for this document as exhibits in a legal context

 

If you are having trouble spotting the difference, a guide can be seen overleaf follows.

compared

 

 

 … End of Part 1

_______________

[The “moron in a hurry” is a term in case law:

It appears to have been used first by Mr Justice Foster in the 1978 English legal case of Morning Star Cooperative Society v Express Newspapers Limited [1979] FSR 113. In this case, the publishers of the Morning Star, a British Communist party publication, sought an injunction to prevent Express Newspapers from launching their new tabloid, which was to be called the Daily Star. The judge was unsympathetic. He asked whether the plaintiffs could show:

a misrepresentation express or implied that the newspaper to be published by the defendants is connected with the plaintiffs’ business and that as a consequence damage is likely to result to the plaintiffs

 

and stated that:

if one puts the two papers side by side I for myself would find that the two papers are so different in every way that only a moron in a hurry would be misled.

So any possible confusion by a “moron in a hurry” is insufficient to find for the plaintiff. ]

 

In our next instalment we ask,

  • Who really owns the phrase “it’s time”?  
  • Is the phrase already generic? 
  • What about freedom of political speech? 
  • And we share a personal moment with “Helen”. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Moron in a Hurry – Part 1

WARNING: POLITICAL DISCUSSION PROTECTED  BY SECTIONS 7 AND 24 OF THE AUSTRALIAN CONSTITUTION.

Sir Roger (or at least his amanuensis) was harried recently by the legal department of a minor university which happens to accommodate a “controlled entity” bearing the name of a once terrifying but now sadly faded and largely ignored (for those who lived in his time) or unknown (for those born after his time)  mythical hero of long ago. His name was “Goth”.

His time, comrade, was a time of social earthquake, of cultural lightning and political tempest whose like we shall not see again.

Heralded by fiery comets, bare-chested and thumping did he unchain the creativity of the nation’s sleeping beast.

With the life-giving elixir of  freedom did he quench the crumbling leaves of its dreams.

And “Liberté, Egalité! Fraternité!” was his (okay, pretentious) battle cry. To those who awoke it was as if St Crispin himself were there amongst them.

And the beast was roused! It shook off the dust of the dead, Mingisian years and romped and played for joy.

But it grew and grew and its liberator, though mighty, was no match for the beast which became a monster and destroyed him.

The largest stars shine brightest and briefest and explode with shocking spectacle. And are gone. Their supernova remnants linger for a time but fade and are forgotten.

As Oscar Wilde almost wrote of the Star Child, “Yet ruled he not long, so great had been his suffering, and so bitter the fire of his testing, for after the space of three years he was destroyed. And those who came after him ruled evilly.” And they still do and today they promise to rule more evilly than ever before.

And so the fabulous beast was drugged by the Hooded Brethren and encased in a concrete bunker called The Institute. Emblazoned above the portal was the name of our hero, “Goth the Whittler”.

The Hooded Brethren, in fear that the monster may reawaken, administer to the beast, in its concrete bunker, their witches’ brew of soporific drugs while chanting  incantations from the pages of The Magic Laws and remember the long gone, real gone stompy wompy songs of yesteryear.

So it was that one day the beast groaned in its sleep. The Executive Hooded One was summoned. The runes were cast. The skies did she interrogate for signs. And she turned with dark and flashing eyes and said, “Send out the Pages!”

At the old witch’s word were unleashed the snarling, barking, pissing hounds with eyes as big as saucers and mill wheels and towers. To their backs were bound the sacred pages of The Magic Laws and away like Dapto Champions they rushed to an unfortunate person’s humble abode to deliver the dreadful Laws and threats.

 

And that ‘s how Sir Roger got them really. More or less.

His amanuensis was more shaken than Sir Roger, having had to answer the door and face the slavering beasts in person.

The Laws were brimstone hot to the touch and covered in slimy slaverings and piss but one’s amanuensis unbound them and read them and considered them and laughed and laughed and eventually got out the quill, brewed up some ink and fashioned a response on finest e-parchment which he attached to the still-waiting canines. Sir Roger has seen it.

If there are two thing Sir Roger hates above other things they are bullying and self-important posturing. If there is one group of people he despises it is people who are so far up themselves they can look themselves in their own eye sockets and who then insist that everyone else take them seriously. It is those attitudes and this type of person that Sir Roger believes his amanuensis was forced to address.

Sir Roger thinks it is a nice piece of nasty work, and if not his best then perhaps quite close.

Why is this story titled, “A Moron in a Hurry”?

He will share the answer to this and other mysteries with you.

In our next.

 

 

Becoming a Lawyer

become a lawyer

 

Sir Roger’s not sure. What do you think?

It seems to make sense.

Is there a t-shirt in this?

Sir Roger does say he apologises to all his friend and reader who is a lawyer. (He doesn’t mean them.)

What is Arpa Narpa Narp?

A guide to Federal Electioneering

Q: What is “Arpa Narpa Narp“?

A: Where everyone’s bills are going, according to folksy, down with the biddies Tony Abbott today.

Strangely enough Sir Roger don’t recall his bills ever going anywhere else over all his long years. Except at Col’s, where they’re going Darndarn (Proiza Sadarn). Or not.

So why did Abbott, sitting among the cooing old ladies, make such an obvious claim?

He said it because the biddies (and the viewers) would find, oddly enough, that they agreed with him. And they would nod, and frown at the awful bills (Goa Narp). And people watching would not only agree but see that Abbott was someone people agreed with. “It seems it is all right to agree with Abbott,” they might think, “and what he said makes sense, doesn’t it?”

The problem, of course, is that Arpa Narpa Narp is where bills always go. And despite suggesting otherwise, and despite his royal telephone, or the dimwitted cardinal, there is absolutely nothing he can do about it. And he knows it.

If you think about it you can work that out. Average incomes have doubled in less than a decade. Inflation isn’t going below zero, nor are interest rates.

Abbott and/or his advisers knew exactly what he was doing. (Actually on balance, probably just his advisers…)

The technique is to make a statement which provokes an instant, automatic response in what Daniel Kahneman calls our “System 1” thinking. System 1 is fast, impulsive, automatic, uses stereotypes, is often inaccurate and can only make good judgments on simple tasks. System 1 thinking doesn’t take much energy at all.

Bread and …….?
2 + 2 = ….?
Quickly: A bat and ball cost $1.10. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much is the ball? Quick! What’s your immediate answer?
17 x 13 = ……?

So politicians (and their advisers) attempt to speak directly to System 1, to manipulate a desired response and not to give people time to rouse System 2 into action.

System 2 is the thinking that works things out and considers complex problems. It takes attention. Filling out forms, deciding which phone or soap powder represents the best value, working out what to say to that girl or boy, writing your thesis. System 2 is much better at working things out but it gets tired really quickly because it uses so much energy.

That’s why politicians and the Murdoch tabloids don’t like to give people a chance to actually think too hard. They might work out the scam.

So Sir Roger recommends not letting them get away with it. Listen to their simplistic nonsense so that you know when they’re lying (as Stuart Wagstaff used to say, “and isn’t that…all the time?”). Tell your friends.

By the way, in our quick test did you get that the ball was 10c?

Sadly, no. If the ball is 10c the bat, a dollar more than the ball, would be $1.10 and the bat and ball would be $1.20, not $1.10 as stated. The ball is actually 5c.

Oh, and 17 x 13 is obviously a System 2 exercise … can you do it in your head? Well done! And now you feel like taking a nap.

17 x 13 = 221

Daniel Kahneman’s book is called Thinking, Fast and Slow. Sir Roger HIGHLY recommends it. Available on Kindle, too.

Not 2007 – But the Excitement Lingers Like a Well-Fermented Fart

Strangely enough this title could be, but isn’t, about the next election. It’s about Labor Icon Gruff Wiblam and his pale irritation Steel Rod.

As you may be aware it is no longer 2007 and John Howard is not a Prime Minister any longer, merely still a silly irrelevant old shit.

Sir Roger, overwhelmed at the time (2007) by the urgent need to remove the irrelevant but malignant old cunt, launched a wildly unsuccessful campaign to bring back an emblem of the dizzy dreams of hope from the early 70s – the “It’s Thyme” t-shirt.

Sir Roger had quite forgotten that he had created a sparkling opportunity to ignore this … er … opportunity which apparently no-one saw or, certainly, wanted.

Well, the UWS rozzer for the Whittling Institute has been onto Sir Roger by email (a bit like being dumped by text) with an order to cease and desist.

Anyway, you can’t get the shirt. It doesn’t exist. The opportunity is dead as Marley’s doornail.

The commercial ex-premises have been boarded up like an outback dunny in a sandstorm and bulldozed into the silage pit.

Sir Roger apologises profusely if you, dear reader, ever for a moment suspected that a t-shirt splashed with the ValuesAustralia.com logo was in any way sanctioned either by Teh Great Man himself, or indeed by his now legally wagon-encircled, immortally corporate self.

Sir Roger was slightly miffed that the letter-writer, who he suspects was in fact the junior office girl, wrote in that formal and threatening language which seems to the clean-living and unwary to accuse one of all manner of the vilest of premeditated and vicious crimes and to suggest that the recipient is the lowest bastard in the world if not a baby-eater – or worse, a catholic priest – when they could as easily have written, “Dear Sir, you may not have realised that [blah blah] and your intentions may have been honourable, but we would like you to not do that any more, please. We’d rather not, for both our sakes, have to ask you again if you don’t mind. Let’s know if you object. Love and kisses, Helen (via Allison)”

Sir Roger’s response, since he had no evil intent – quite the opposite – would have been the same, to help them out with their problem.

Except.

Except for the excitement Sir Roger feels in anticipation of his now sanctioned like-minded retaliation (which you can be certain he will share with you). He hasn’t anticipated so much fun since the Department of Something or Other threw the book at Values Australia and dropped it on their foot.

He does, though, feel for the poor lawyers. Much as they might have desperately wished they could write an understanding and thoughtful letter, they simply cannot. Their hands and pens and minds are chained to the formula and the form guides they learnt while articled. There is only one way to write such a letter and they must do it.

In this most free of countries lawyers, of all people, have no professional freedom. In their hearts they wish they could change the world for the better the way they dreamed, in the idealistic glow of youth, when they watched Boston Legal – or perhaps in Helen’s case, Perry Mason – but instead they sit in rooms lined with boring books doing unutterably boring, endlessly repetitive and eye-wateringly trivial things like conveyancing, or sending form letters to the wicked. And on Friday nights some of the lawyers Sir Roger has known blow up and get pissed to the eyeballs and shame themselves.

Sir Roger is so sad for so many lawyers’ existential struggle to mean anything. Meanwhile, he is unfettered by any such constraints. Every day is a new excitement and a new challenge and an opportunity to influence his world and he has the freedom to write whatever he wishes.

Sir Roger will now seek legal advice whether:

1) he is permitted to use the phrase “Its Thyme” in daily personal conversation about political matters, or whether he would need a tip jar to send off royalties on a monthly(?) basis to the corporate rozzers and

2) whether he will now be required to return to himself the price he paid for the item [actually, is it okay to use the word “item” as it is strikingly similar to the word “time” and in any case may itself be trademarked? In fact how can we be sure that any word or phrase we use in certain contexts is not trademarked or otherwise proscribed? Be careful people, or the University of Western Sydney will be down on you like a tontonne of pricks!].

Going Atomic, the Final Solution: MAD Abbott Ups the Ante on Boat People

In a stunningly breathtaking move to protect us from the cunning boat people’s terrorist plot to pollute Australians’ precious bodily fluids, Tony Abbott has just upped the ante in the desperate arms race against evil refugees.

The man who would be Prime Minister has embraced the Cold War MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) policy, announcing that he will deploy nuclear missiles against the evil boat people and anyone who supports them, wherever they live, with Operation Turkey Slap.

The new coalition policy is the brainchild of retired Army Chaplain Dr Jimbo (the Mole) Strangelove, who stood proudly erect beside Abbott at the press release carnival.

The policy’s slogan was chosen in a competition held in the western suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne as well as the whole of Queensland and Western Australia. Third place was won by “Better Over-done than Over-run”. Second place went to “Better Cooked than Gooked”.

And the winner was “Better Immolated than Immigrated”.

(All the other entries were “Fuck off you fuckin commie cunts”.)

Prime Minister Rudd immediately abandoned his recently announced Operation “Machine That Goes PNG” and hastily responded with the earth-shattering release of The Alderaan Project, with images of work already in progress on a deterrent guaranteed to destroy the entire planet, which should, he says, put an end to the problem of the malevolent boat people once and for all.

 


project alderaan

 

Abbott is reported to be seeking an audience with God to discuss the possibility of God deploying his almighty powers to destroy the entire universe. “I’ll show that bastard Rudd,” he is quoted as muttering.

God, however, is believed to be against the idea on the basis that, without a universe to control, his omnipotence would effectively become impotence and, even more worryingly, there would be no-one left to give him any money.

Because, you know, a few hundred desperate people seeking refuge in a peaceful country is the very worst problem that could conceivably be facing that country and the number one problem that needs to be solved; far greater than health, education, unemployment, global warming and broadband speeds.

 

STOP PRESS!!
ABBOTT IN STUNNING BACKFLIP TURNAROUND CHANGE OF VIEW!

My instinct is to extend to as many people as possible the freedom and benefits of life in Australia. Immigration to Australia has been a success almost unparalleled in history. Why, then, does it regularly feature on the list of issues people are concerned about? Why wouldn’t people who might otherwise wait in camps for years try to short-circuit the process, especially if they’re plausibly told that getting to Australia means the beginning of a new life?
At worst, boat people are guilty of choosing hope over fear.

OH, NO, WAIT … THAT WAS WHAT HE SAID IN 2010 …

Life in Australia

comments

Robert – a self-styled “foreigner” to our shores – is most upset to have been hoaxed by the false promise and dashed hopes of life in Australia. A few days ago Robert commented on an ancient post here at Values Australia and his comment was upsetting. Sir Roger cannot bear the thought of another’s pain and Robert surely is in pain. So is Sir Roger. He had no idea how unhappy he himself must be, given Robert’s assessment of the Oz he had until then thought so wonderful. So following is Sir Roger’s response to Robert.

Sir Roger has asked his manservantesteemed assistant to pen a response to Robert. He would have liked to have been able to respond personally but is unable as he is packing his belongings in preparation to leave this dreadful hell of a country.

He is astonished that he had been so blind in his comforts, his pleasures, his friendships, his safety and his freedoms not to realise how utterly miserable he must obviously be. And indeed he is at this very moment beset by a grotesque problem. That is, where he should move away to and how should he get there? By plane? Or by boat?

The United States may seem a much better option except for the constant shootings, the fundamentalist christians and the Tea Party.

The UK? Very civilised, at least on the surface, and the world’s funniest comedians, but, oh, the endlessly whining whingers! And the weather!

Somewhere in Africa, perhaps? Central African Republic? Chad, Nigeria, South Sudan? There are plenty of spaces becoming available there since so many of them are choosing to come to Australia. But the job opportunities are not so good and someone like Sir Roger is sure to be kidnapped. And he questions why, if it is so wonderful there, so many of them are choosing to leave, that so many could even find Australia preferable. Big question mark on that one.

Asia? He fears the death penalty for minor crimes in China. He values his internal organs (and his external ones for that matter) and doesn’t want them shared with a transplant tourist before his time.

Japan fails to offer the wide open spaces that he craves.

Malaysia? He just doesn’t like their appalling racism. You know? Of course as a white man he could live behind a tall fence in a white compound with fierce dogs but where is the interest in a bunch of self-absorbed, arrogantly superior, self-congratulatory western businessmen and their bored wives and nasty children?

Thailand? One word. Durian.

Indonesia beckons…but trips at all the hurdles of entrenched – and world famous – political, judicial, law-enforcement and corporate corruption, not to mention brutality to animals, religious intolerance, terrorism, death by firing squad and plain ignorance. Pretty country, though, and lovely people if you get to know the ones who aren’t trying to rip you off.

India? Well, you know, of course it’s worth a visit but … Sir Roger doesn’t consider rape a worthwhile or even enjoyable pastime. One of his friends is moving to Bhutan. Would he have to convert to Buddhism, though? He’s not all that religious. AT ALL.

And South America is the most dangerous continent on earth.

There’s always western Europe, of course, and Sir Roger does love to spend large amounts of time there, especially in their restaurants and in the cheese and wine aisles of their supermarkets, but they can be cold to strangers who don’t speak their languages perfectly, don’t you think? And it’s all so old and the skies are so murky. There’s very little that’s fresh blue.

As for Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Syria … hmmm … you know, Sir Roger’s not much of a one for car bombs, Talibans, shooting young girl students, hatred, bigotry, religious intolerance, violence, bloodshed of any kind, actually – not even Rugby League – or cranky old narrow-minded farts in funny turbans and beards a pelican could nest in, doling out fatwahs like Easter eggs at Christmas.

So Sir Roger is struggling to find a country either
a) that would accept him or
b) that he would accept.

Perhaps he will have to remain for a little longer amongst the awfulness of:
religious tolerance (despite the fact Sir Roger is a little intolerant of religious beliefs in general),
freedom of speech
a more or less free press
freedom to congregate
personal safety
world standard education, free to secondary level
a social safety net
free medical treatment
stable democracy (with no shootings at election time)
astoundingly pleasant weather
mostly generous people
a thriving triple-A economy (no matter what they say)
a rich cultural life (very well, yes, much of it imported)
comparatively high incomes
comparatively low unemployment
electronic access to the fascinating rest of the world (while keeping it at a safe physical distance)
and many other such depressing qualities.

Perhaps he will stay for a bit longer. He has just phoned your writer now to explain that he is beginning to understand that when a person comes to another country of course they will come to that country with preconceptions. Those preconceptions, when they come in hope, will often be that the new country will be just like the country they escaped but somehow better. Their home country but without the bits they don’t like. And this will not work. For example, Australia is Australia. It is not Sri Lanka, or Britain, or India, or Germany or wherever, with bells on. It is Australia. That is it. Anyone who comes here will find strangeness and things that confuse and they don’t understand, social conventions they are not used to and grate with how things used to be in the old country. When they come here their task is not to compare it to the world they know and the expectations they had. That leads inevitably to disappointment.

Their task is to discover Australia for what it is and to interact with that. And love that. Or leave. If they don’t want to be here we have no wish to force them to love it or to stay. They have the choice. In Australia we allow people to come and go as they please. Unlike North Korea or China or so very many other countries.

At least that is what Sir Roger told your writer to say.

Just a note or two to Robert from Sir Roger’s own Montblanc:

This is Australia. And this blog is Sir Roger’s home. Here you do not have to be mealy-mouthed or pretend to be genteel, or try to swear without swearing. If you write “fkcng” you are intending that people will think “fucking” and so you are swearing anyway. So writing “fkcing” is, you see, slimy. You said “fuck” and pretended not to. And it’s true that many Australians don’t like this sort of deceitfulness in anyone, not just what you call “foreigners”. You can write “fuck” here. And “fucking”.

And even ‘FUCK YOU, CUNT”.

Also, Australia is not a “convict island”, at least not for 150 years. We are a big grown-up country now. We have cars and houses and the internet and everything, just like a proper country. The only social-cultural vestiges of those origins are the remains of a belief in equality and fairness, and a healthy disrespect for authority, both sadly on the wane.

And when you talk about ‘the way foreigners see Australia’ this is blatant intellectual dishonesty. Certainly some “foreigners” don’t like Australia. Of course some don’t. It would be a miracle beyond all miracles if it were otherwise. So, a few “foreigners”, then? The ones who agree with you and are as stirred up about their disappointment as you are? Robert, we are not required to create the country you wanted in your dreams in order to satisfy you, although we would very much like you to enjoy this country – very much. But we simply cannot create that country just for you.

So the use of the “convict” epithet and the lumping of all foreigners into your basket of betrayed hopes reveals both emotional desperation and intellectual dishonesty. Sir Roger really feels your pain that caused this outburst. He went to Sumatra once, hoping to experience a tropical paradise with generous, friendly people, only to discover it (Medan, anyway) was the absolute arsehole of the earth, even worse than Tehran, although the Batak people of Samosir Island were indeed very lovely.

But when he wants his own arguments to be taken seriously Sir Roger personally finds it is best to refrain from corny, shouted insults and sloppy arguments.

Welcome to Australia, Robert!

The Next Big “Sorry”

sorryhouse

Want a long-range heads-up? The question we should be asking Abbott and Gillard and all of their various immigration spokespeople right now is this:

How do you feel about the inevitability that – possibly in your lifetime – a future Prime Minister of Australia will stand up in Parliament to make a heartfelt apology on behalf of the Australian people; an apology for you, for what you did, for who you were and for what you stood for?

Possibly in your lifetime. Certainly in the lifetimes of your children and grandchildren, your nieces and nephews and their children, so that they can share your shame and hate you for the shame you spill on them.

Many others, and their children and grandchildren, will share the stain of complicity, or of not speaking up against you and your hideous policies.

74 years ago another terrible, vile event occurred. A boat full of refugees left the country they grew up in, fleeing from the persecution and horrors of their homeland and seeking refuge in a safe and welcoming country. They were Jews – 937 of them – escaping from Germany. The ship was the MS St. Louis. The year was 1939.

They tried to land in Cuba, Canada and the United States. Each of these countries refused them entry by various means including creating retroactive laws, tightening existing ones, or bureaucratically reinterpreting existing ones, requiring unpayable financial bonds, or invalidating valid entry permits and denying the right to seek political asylum. All of this might have a familiar stench to you.

The United States Coast Guard, the ship’s non-Jewish German Captain Gustav Schröder said, forced him to turn the ship back when he tried to land in Florida. Perhaps this rings a bell for you.

Hypocrisy runs deep in all societies but no deeper than the United States in this case.

Inside the Statue of Liberty since 1903 there has been a bronze plaque, a poem written by Emma Lazarus in 1883.

“From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome” it says.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Of course there was much breast-beating understanding and public displays of sympathy on the part of all the countries, who met to find a solution that could see the 937 refugees settled safely. Just not in the USA, Canada or Cuba thank you. But anywhere else.

Eventually the ship was forced to return to Europe. Many were accepted by the UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. As you know, Europe was at war and only the UK was not overrun and occupied by the Germans. It is estimated that 254 of the 937 were slain, mostly in Auschwitz and Sobibór and that of the 620 refugees who returned to the Continent only 365 survived the war.

So apart from the human legacy what is the political legacy of this “harsh, pragmatic, no advantage”, hypocritical, boat-discouraging immigration policy 74 years ago towards desperate people fleeing the horrors of their home countries?

After the war, Captain Gustav Schröder was awarded the Order of Merit by the Federal Republic of Germany. In 1993, Schröder was posthumously named as one of the Righteous among the Nations at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Israel.

A display at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum tells the story of the voyage of the MS St. Louis.

In 2009, a special exhibit at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia explored the Canadian connection to the tragic voyage. The display is now a traveling exhibit in Canada.

wheel

In 2011, a memorial monument called the Wheel of Conscience, was unveiled at Pier 21, Canada’s national immigration museum in Halifax. It was designed by Daniel Libeskind. The memorial is of a polished stainless steel wheel. Symbolizing the policies that turned away more than 900 Jewish refugees, the wheel incorporates four inter-meshing gears each bearing a word: antisemitism, xenophobia, racism and hatred. The back of the memorial is inscribed with the names of the 937 passengers.

On 24 September last year US Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns made a speech.

We who did not live it can never understand the experience of those 937 Jews who boarded the M.S. Saint Louis in the spring of 1939. Behind them, shattered windows and lives, loved ones in danger, crimes already underway and those crimes to come. Ahead, the hope of a new life in this country.

We all know how this journey ends. The ship was turned away. Its passengers returned to a Europe that fell, country by country, to the cruelty they set sail to escape. Having made it so close to the safety of our shores, nearly one-third of the men, women and children of the M.S. Saint Louis perished, half a world away, in Auschwitz and other camps.

[T]he dangers were visible to those clear-eyed enough to see them. The warnings were already clear for those who cared to listen … And yet the United States did not welcome these tired, poor and huddled passengers as we had so many before and would so many since. Our government did not live up to its ideals. We were wrong. And so we made a commitment that the next time the world confronts us with another M.S. Saint Louis — whether the warning signs are refugees in flight or ancient hatreds resurfacing — we will have learned the lessons of the M.S. Saint Louis and be ready to rise to the occasion.

[A]nti-Semitism, genocide and mass displacement are – sadly – all-too-alive in 2012 … there are other M.S. Saint Louises setting sail right now … there is always more we can and must do.

Or in other words, “Sorry”.

So Sir Roger offers these notes for the future Prime Minister who will – inevitably – say “Sorry” to all those who have sought to come to Australia seeking asylum in boats – legally – as refugees and discovered that the story that we were a warm and welcoming people was a cruel hoax.

Many years ago our country was called upon to stand for the values we cherished as Australians.

When people who had lost everything, their homes, their livelihoods, their hopes and their futures came to us;

when people full of terror who had seen, and often experienced, unimaginable horrors, or torture, came to us;

when people who were so desperate that they risked death in leaky boats and violent seas came to asking for our help ..

we were called upon as never before to show that we were indeed, and in our deeds, truly the people our story told about us; a people of humanity, hospitality and generosity, an understanding and tolerant people immensely proud of our multicultural triumph.

We failed. We proved that the story was a lie.

Our leaders failed us. Our institutions failed us. Our hearts failed us.

Instead, when we saw fellow human beings who so sincerely and transparently needed our help, people who had fled for their lives from wars, religious and tribal violence, and brutal tyrannical regimes, we told ourselves that those people were in fact queue-jumping, disease-ridden, child murdering terrorists and criminals who wanted to rape our women and steal the mineral wealth beneath our feet and the coins from our purse.

So to all those refugees we heartlessly turned away, or who we inhumanely imprisoned to the point where many of you went mad – and to those who never reached our shores but perished in the attempt – we say:

Sorry.

What we did as a people was based on greed, fear, narrow-mindedness, xenophobia, racism, hatred and ignorance.

As a people we say:

Sorry.

What our leaders did was not based on any of these things. It was based on the desire for power, on the desire to defeat an internal opponent in our own country. You were merely the tool that they used. To achieve their narrow partisan goals they broke international laws and our own laws. They ignored international conventions and treaties.

What those leaders did, along with those in our bureaucracies and agencies who conspired with them and abetted them, was unforgivable, unconscionable and inhumane and it disgraced and dishonoured our country. Their punishment is that their names and their reputations will be stained forever in the history of our country.

As we allowed them the opportunity to do what they did we say:

Sorry.

As you know, today’s Australia is not that Australia. We have learnt from that dark time. Our laws now ensure that it will not happen again. Our country truly is today, and thanks to so many of you, a people of humanity, hospitality and generosity, an understanding and tolerant people immensely proud of our multicultural triumph. We are once again true to our story and our values.

Thank you again.

I am so proud to be the Prime Minister of such a country, especially in the knowledge that we will never see such malignant, repugnant people assume leadership again.

VERDI REQUIEM: DON’T MISS IT IF YOU CAN*

 

Sydney Sings Verdi Requiem

If you’re in Sydney next weekend (3pm Sunday 28 April) Sir Roger has a shameless plug for you.

Actually, Sir Roger has a PEAK MUSICAL AND SENSUAL EXPERIENCE FOR YOU (Sir Roger knows how much you like a sensual experience.)

This year marks Verdi’s 200th birthday and the truly excellent Sydney University Graduates Choir is performing what some (Sir Roger) consider his very greatest masterpiece.

A huge orchestra, a massive 300 voice choir and Soloists you would normally have to mortgage your house to hear. And all for only $40 for two hours of trembling dread and luscious bliss.

Sir Roger always says that operatic music and ballet, consummately performed – as this will be – are finer transport to another realm of experience, to altered states, than the finest, the purest, drugs.

Bookings at Seymour Centre or at the door if any seats remain.

We are not permitted to divulge the following information but there are rumours afloat that Sir Roger may indeed be present IN THE CHOIR doing his voluntary work for Giuseppe.

Come and listen to the Verdi Requiem. Do yourself a favour**

 

(* as Darryl would – and frequently did – say)

(** as Molly would  – and frequently did – say)

 

War Criminals Celebrate 10th Anniversary

 

Sir Roger wishes to … actually Sir Roger wishes he didn’t have to … mark the 10th anniversary of the most murderous international crime of the last 60 years: the Shocking, awe-full invasion of Iraq.

Sir Roger is shocked and dismayed that not a single one of the war criminals – downing a celebratory cup or two of blood on this special day – who masterminded and conspired to carry out the military murders (not to mention the traumatic displacement and loss suffered by millions of Iraqis, not to mention the post traumatic stress – and suicides – suffered by combatants on both sides) not a single one has been brought to trial, or even to questioning with a soft feather. Celebrating the fact they have so far got away with mass murder are the following war criminals:

George W. Bush
Tony Blair
John Howard
Donald Rumsfeld
Dick Cheney
Condoleezza Rice
Karl Rove
Colin Powell
Ahmed Chalabi (the liar who spurred the killing)
Paul Wolfowitz
Richard Perle
Douglas Feith “the dumbest fucking guy on the planet”

… and others

and only one of these, Colin Powell, has ever apologised or admitted that they were wrong. (Karl Rove couldn’t even admit he was wrong about the recent Presidential election, even after Romney had clearly lost.)

 

If only there really were a hell.

 

pope horhay

poperowan

It has come to Sir Roger’s attention that the world’s largest professional paedophile ring has appointed a new president.

Elsewhere in the news …

… Sir Roger was thinking about the new pope today, his jesuitical casuistry and his statement that “if we do not proclaim jesus christ something is wrong … we would end up a compassionate NGO.” This is apparently supposed to mean that the worldly is less important than the unworldly (you know, the promised “afterlife”).

And Sir Roger thought, “You know, a ‘compassionate NGO’ would be a thousand times better than the pernicious, kiddie-fiddling, hate-mongering, war-mongering machine that it has been for, what, 1700 years (you know, since Constantine subverted the church, bribed it with the temptation of power and turned it, all too willingly, into a political arm of government, a travesty of its asserted principles and, in action, the antithesis of its founder’s teachings).

Sir Roger thought about a fellow-student at high school who slid from fundamentalism (calvinism) to fundamentalism (Augustinianism) becoming eventually a catholic priest. This fellow, let’s call him Brian, was highly intelligent for sure. But Sir Roger imagined a dialogue with Brian. Sir Roger would ask, “If it is true that proclaiming christ in the world matters infinitely more than being do-gooders in the world – specifically, if for example proclaiming christ means denying condoms to reduce the incidence of AIDS, or maintaining neolithic attitudes towards women – how is the evidence stacking up for the efficacy your stance?” And Brian would reply, surely, that, “Worldly evidence (or lack of it) is utterly irrelevant.”

So Sir Roger would ask, “Are you saying, then, that the dogma are Everything? You are saying that causing worldly pain and even death (for which there is abundant evidence) are irrelevant beside the imperative odediently, blindly, mindlessly to follow culturally ancient writings (and more recent worldly interpretations) which without evidence can only claim to be inspired by your god? Are you saying, perhaps, that the ‘reward’, the ‘pay-off’, for blind obedience exists in a purported future realm and state for which there never has been any credible evidence? And you are comfortable for the evidence of the human disasters caused by your philosophical position and the failure of your stand to cause real, increasing good here and now (the only place and time we can be reasonably sure of on the evidence) – you are comfortable to place that beside your reliance on the total lack of evidence for some frothy outcome imagined and promoted by the shamans of warring sand-tribes two thousand and more years ago?”

And Brian would say, “Absolutely!” or “Amen!”

And that is why I would say that Brian’s religion has little to do with anything out here in the phenomenal world but rather everything to do with the inside of his skull in the needs of his own psychology. The tragedy and the awfulness of this is that someone like Brian would be willing for countless others to hurt and even die, actually and factually, in order to comfort the disquietude of Brian’s own eagerly rationalising mind.

Is this just a bit selfish, do you think? Is it, perhaps, somewhat infantile?

Post script:
Religions that promise an afterlife full of riches and virgins and harps and eternal happiness (and, as at least one believer expects, “A NOO CARRRR!!!!!”) are operating The Perfect Scam. They take your money – as much of it as they can hustle. (George Carlin: “[God] loves you … and he needs money.”)

In return they give you nothing except a 100% iron-clad guarantee of … wait for it … Eternal Life! (And in at least one religion, your own personal planet.) The beauty of this racket is that they never ever have to pay up on the guarantee! If they’re right and you actually do get eternal life then of course their guarantee holds good. If they are wrong and there is no eternal life then … you’re dead as a doornail so how can they pay you?

In the meantime, as they know, they have got all your lovely money to play with here and now, where and when it actually is useful.

god loves you and he needs money

As Stephen Fry says so much more succinctly and entertainingly in this un-broadcast excerpt from QI,

“Anyone who tells me what happens to me after I’m dead
is either a liar or a fool because
THEY       DON’T       KNOW!

And Alan Davies says, “Why do they believe all this stuff, Stephen? … This stuff is responsible for some serious aggravation in the world! … “

 

 

 

Sinodinos

So Arthur Sinodinos failed to remember six companies of which he was a director and failed to declare this in his Parliamentary Register of Interest.

Either he is stupid or incompetent. And if you were the Chairman of one of the companies Sinodinos “forgot” to declare, since he is obviously not at all engaged with your company and its business or mission, and since he attaches no front-of-mind importance to his responsibility, you might wonder if he was worth the Director’s salary that you pay him.

But Tony Abbott’s response was much more interesting if you want to know how the Liberals try to manipulate a lie to make it sound like the truth, courtesy of the sleazy Frank-Luntz-clone in their midst.

So let’s “unpack” his comment (as the educators say).

“There’s a world of difference between exploiting an official position for personal gain and inadvertently overlooking to declare a couple of not-for-profit directorships,” Mr Abbott said.

exploiting an official position for personal gain
Let’s minimise the appearance of wrongdoing by contrasting Sinodinos with the dickhead from the health union, Craig Thomson, who everyone but Thompson has already decided is guilty until proven innocent. “Sinodinos only wet his pants; Thompson shat in his.”
And by the way this phrase will come in handy as a nice contrast later on…

inadvertently overlooking
Oh, look, you know, anyone could have made this sort of simple error.
It wasn’t his fault. He didn’t mean it. He’s such a busy person. Give him a break.
(No. He fucked over this country with his Grima Wormtongue advice to the infamous war criminal and professional fool John Howard for over a decade. No he doesn’t deserve to be given a break.)
This is also an appeal to lack of agency, responsibility and accountability.
(He is by choice a high-flying, highly-paid, prominent public figure. He gets no leeway. If he let the office boy down the corridor do his paperwork for this, then he’s still accountable for the office boy’s errors.)

a couple
Minimise the scale of the error.
(No, Tony, it was not “a couple”. A couple is two. Count them. One, Two. John and Marsha are a couple. John/Marsha. One/Two. John, Marsha and Roger the Lodger are not a couple; they are threesome. Sinodinos failed to declare six directorships. Six is not a couple. It’s a gang-bang.

not-for-profit directorships
Make him look like a nice guy. What a nice, altruistic generous man giving his time for free to help those in need. Giving back to the community.
(No, Tony. It’s not Arthur who is “not for profit”, it’s the company. Arthur makes the profit by being paid a director’s fee for apparently doing nothing, or at least not enough to lay down any data in his memory banks. Arthur took the money.)

A second suggestion from this one phrase is that, after all, you know, not-for-profit companies aren’t important, aren’t proper companies because they don’t do what matters most which is to make shitloads of money (except for the Directors of course). All they do is save the government and taxpayers money by doing jobs no-one else wants to and the pittance employees are paid is a king’s ransom compared to the nothing that volunteers are paid. So, you know, it’s not like not-for-profit directorships really count.

Also, this is a good place to again compare and contrast Arthur’s deeply warm humanity and altruistic works with the evil, money-grubbing exploitation of official position for personal gain by pre-judged Labor connection Thomson.

Arthur now has resigned from those boards. He hopes that has put things right. If he were a magistrate and someone came up before him charged with stealing Blue Poles (say) from the National Gallery, and if the perp said,

“I didn’t mean to, it’s not like me, I wasn’t feeling meself at the time. It was innocent! I thought it was my painting – it looked like the one in my hallway. I only noticed me mistake when I seen it wouldn’t fit in the hall. And by the way I call the Bingo down the old people’s home of a Thursdy. I’ll tell you what mate, I’ll give the painting back, then. okay?”

if he said that, what would Magistrate Sinodinos (or Abbott) have to say about that? Would they really say, “Oh, of course. Easy mistake to make. Could have happened to anyone. Inadvertent oversight. No-one liked that painting much anyway, so, you know, just return it while we close our eyes and we’ll forget it ever happened. Case dismissed!”

Or would they have clapped him in irons, dragged him off to the dungeons, clanged the door shut and thrown away the key?

And by the way, if Sinodinos wants to give back to any community he should try giving back to the Iraqi community which he helped to destroy by urging Howard forward in his murderous crusade.

Mountain Manifesto of Australian Values Stave the Fourth

Part Four of Sir Roger Migently’s exposition of Australian values as revealed during his epiphany on The Mountain …

16.

Most people are fairly good natured.

Very few people wish you any harm.

Most of them want to help you.

Very few people want to hurt you.

Some do.

Some just want to use you.

17.

It turns out there actually are two kinds of people in the world.

TYPE 1: There are those whose default position is that any new person they encounter has friendly intentions. Until proven otherwise. These people are almost always right.

TYPE 2: And there are those whose default position is to assume that any new person they encounter has hostile intentions until proven otherwise. These people are almost always wrong.

People who are Type 1 either naturally, or through experience or environment, enjoy a far superior quality of life because their experience is that they are always surrounded by friendly, helpful people. Their own friendliness generates reciprocal friendliness in others. So they generate increased niceness in the world in general. Type 2 people do the reverse and live a life of fear, foreboding and loneliness.

Most people probably think (when they think at all) that the type they are is “just the way I am”. But it is a choice a person can make.

18.

Nobody knows what the fuck is “really” going on. Anyone who claims to know is either deluded, a liar, or a charlatan who is after your money or your body, or naked power. The people who are most likely to claim to know are priests (of whatever religion) and politicians.

19.

Most people don’t have their homes burgled.

Very few people are mugged.

Most people will be in at least a minor car smash of some kind at least once in their lives. Very few of them will have to go to hospital.

You would not think this if you relied on commercial television news or some newspapers, or political oppositions, in whose financial or political interest it is to terrify the masses.

20.

If you live long enough, you will experience joy, love, courage, triumph, fear, loss, sadness and a broken heart.

That is called Life.

Embrace it all with everything you’ve got because it’s all you’ve got.

Get as much of it as you can.

 

Migently Mountain Manifesto – Stave the Third

 

11.

Science is not a set of facts. Science is a process. The process is to

a) observe,

b) speculate,

c) propose an explanation (or “theory”),

d) devise an experiment which
i) can be repeated (“replicable”) and
ii) can prove the theory false (“falsifiable”)

e) run the experiment, and then

f) assess whether the results have falsified the proposition.

g) If the proposition (the theory) is not falsified it survives until it is falsified or modified.

Science is, therefore, that body of conjecture which has not yet been disproved.

No true scientist will claim that “a fact has been proved”. However, some propositions such as evolution, relativity, quantum theory and global warming are so robust and have survived so much rigorous and repetitive testing that the probability of them being “facts” is so high as to render them what in everyday discourse would be considered facts.

In a criminal trial the test is “beyond a reasonable doubt”. In a civil trial the burden of proof is the “balance of probabilities”. All of those scientific theories listed above pass both tests easily. Religion passes neither.

That is why they still refer to evolution as a theory, not because they’re a bit uncertain but because nothing in science is an absolute fact.

Religious “facts”, in contrast, are worse than theories and are far from scientific. The data are not replicable, nor are they falsifiable since non-falsifiability is specifically built into the theory. Religion is based on faith, which is in essence a desperate hope against hope.

Often people confuse science with technology. Science is the process described above. Technology is putting the findings to practical use – usually by building things (although it is true that sometimes technology comes first – gosh, first we build a bike (look, mum, no hands) and then we do the science about gyroscopic forces. And then we build more advanced things, like gyro compasses.

 

12.

Evolution is not a force.

It does not have any intention. It’s simply a description and explanation of what happens.

Evolution is a fact as much as anything is a fact (see above).

Evolution is not design and there is no designer. No living thing (except possibly humans) ever thought “I think I’ll grow me some wings – that would be an excellent adaptation!” Creatures do not choose to evolve to fit a niche. Environments change. All individual creatures are born with mutations, whether through DNA transcription errors, or genes being modified by chemicals, or gamma radiation, or whatever. Many of those mutations will debilitate the creature and it will die before procreating. Most will make no difference at all. Some will from time to time make the creature better suited to the changing environment. It will thrive (unless hit by a rock or killed by a serpent) and have offspring and the offspring will inherit the new genetic code.

Sir Roger differs from Darwin in this – the likelihood that a potentially advantageous mutation will survive in the right place at the right time is incredibly unlikely. So evolution is, in Sir Roger’s view, the Survival of the Luckiest.

So stop talking as if evolution is going anywhere, or has a plan, or, worst of all, an intellect. Once again, evolution is simply the description of what happens, and why.

 

13.

The universe does not have any agenda.

Specifically the universe does not have any agenda for you.

It does not have intentions about you or about anything, including itself.

The universe is utterly pointless. There is no reason for it to exist besides the fact that it does.

The universe is also unbelievably, incomprehensively improbable.

So are you.

What there is to do about this is to marvel at the amazingness, the practically infinite improbability that not only is the universe here but also you are here and able to observe it.

Anyone who really appreciated the extent of the astonishing extraordinariness of the utter improbability of these two things not only existing but being on the one hand so immensely huge and wondrous and complex and unfathomable, and on the other hand, well, here at all, the brain of anyone who really got this would explode (see Total Perspective Vortex).

 

14.

You can stop looking for “The Meaning of Life”.

There isn’t one, except for the meaning you choose to give your own life.

 

15.

Immunisation works. Your child is far more likely to die from not having an injection than to become ill from having one. The whole immunisation and autism thing, and the conspiracy theory that has built up around it, was a scam from the beginning, bad science, and wacko-the-diddle-o, frankly.

Also, if you do not immunise your children you are not just failing to protect them, you are endangering everyone else’s kids. As a result of this nonsense dangerous, debilitating diseases are on the rise, and not only among the children of those gullible, stupid people who have take up the anti-immunisation cause.

Global warming is real.

UFOs are not.

Men really did walk on the moon.

If you believe any of these things is a conspiracy remember to keep taking the medication and see your therapist regularly.

“The Secret” is complete Bullshit. *

So is “The Law of Attraction”. *

    *Mistrust anyone who tells you their product is based on science.

Scientology is a scam and a dangerous one at that.

Mormonism is just ridiculous.

Both are clearly ludicrous and rely on the gullibility of the first responders and then on the familial influence of parents on their children (like all religions).

They are both only slightly more ludicrous than most other religions.

People, by the way are not “born a catholic” or “born a muslim”. That is disgusting language and child abuse. Children are simply born, wide-eyed and wondering. Then their parents tell them they have to believe X or they’ll go to hell. That’s when they discover fear and hang onto their parents’ religious beliefs to avoid eternal torture.

 

 

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