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1 March 2002. Thought for the Week: "The Laws of Hammurabi, King of Babylon, just the same as those more ancient codes of which they were a revision, were directed towards the regulation of life of noblemen, as well as freemen, merchant or slave... Euphemistic and misleading words such as 'businessman' or 'financier' had not yet, it seems, been planted in the vocabulary. By and large the king still ruled in absolute, and his law giving justice to all, was carved in stone and placed in the market-place for the highest or the lowest to understand clearly the rules by which he must live... Merchants were unequivocally described as such, and law ruthlessly prescribed severe penalties for their corrupt conduct. They were kept in place as a caste, not of the highest order... and were conceded a place in life as an instrument whereby the people generally might live a better life... Merchandising was by no means regarded as an end in itself, and a means whereby it was the right of ignoble men to proffer any corruption to the people so long as it made 'profit' for them, and 'interest' for the so-called banker, who supplied the original 'finances' out of his secret and costless money-creative process ... "
"The Babylonian Woe" by David Astle, 1975
THE DEGRADING OF THE MONARCHICAL IDEA
by Jeremy Lee
We have had some weird and erratic monarchs in British history. One Prince of Wales was even suspected of being a mass murderer. Many were adulterers. But the epithets hurled at common murderers and adulterers were withheld in the case of royalty because it was tacitly recognised that it was impossible to apply the rights of "innocent-until-proven-guilty" without jeopardising the office itself. In return for this uncodified principle, it was also taken for granted that the monarch never indulged in self-defence, however injurious current accusations may have been. People who attacked the monarch were considered tasteless and of little account. There was a code which the great majority observed. And because of this unspoken but widely recognised restraint a level of service was engendered in Kings and Regents that was, on the whole, above their personal standards.
In this ethos, an instant sympathy and defence came from a public which knew that the Crown could not defend itself. This included the media. The editor, who took the standards of society seriously, and forbore to tread into the area of personal sorrow, grief or disgrace, withheld his normal barbs from the throne because he knew that the monarch could not reply.. All that has gone. There is no area of life, however private, that today's media regards as 'off-limits'. The camera loves to invade the privacy of ordinary people in the hope of a tear. The gory details of murders and warfare are treated with a lascivious attention to detail. The mere sight of a public figure trying to thrust through a battery of microphones and a cacophony of provocative questions is an illustration. "A scoop is a scoop" - no matter who gets hurt in the process.
Whether we are better off as a result of this wolf-pack vivisection is debatable. Many would say No. But it is a concept hardly explainable to the brash young reporters of today. The journalistic schools of the last 30 years have done little to suggest that there are limits to the ambit of reporting, that there is such a thing as sensitivity, that social standards should be revered by journalists as much as anyone else. What we are seeing at the moment is a journalistic whipping-up of a lynch-mob.
It is safe to say that if Archbishop Hollingsworth were to be forced from office, he would be forgotten by the media once every ounce of prurience had been extracted from the situation. The media would turn its attention to the cremation of the office itself. The whole objective of this campaign came into the open last night (i.e. February 23rd) with the call from the republican movement that the Governor-General should be replaced with a president who could be tried - and if necessary dismissed - after a 'trial-by-parliament'. Shades of Oliver Cromwell!
The media which has whipped up most of the furore is itself avowedly republican. While we are being persuaded that the debate is centred upon the alleged failings of the Archbishop, those driving the campaign have their eyes fixed, not on the man, but on the office. The Governor-General's mistake has been the attempt to explain himself through the media. It is safe to say that, no matter what he said, the cross-examination would have re-doubled in intensity. He implicitly acknowledged the right of the media and a media-provoked public to try him.
McGARVIE SPEAKS FOR SANITY
One of the very few thoughtful articles
about this mess was one in The Australian Financial Review
(22/2/02). Under the heading ATTACKS ON HOLLINGWORTH UNDERMINE
EVERYONE, former Governor of Victoria, Richard McGarvie, said:
"Irreversible damage is being done by attacks that denigrate,
weaken and erode confidence in institutions at the heart of
Australia's democracy .... It is nonsense to think that unjustified
attacks that reduce confidence in the holders of an office
do not reduce confidence in the office..... If we were all
angels any shortfall from perfection could disqualify a governor-general.
Instead, from voters to governors-general, we are all frail
It is distressing that the Governor-General's fate ultimately lies with John Howard. Howard is a paid employee of the Crown. His personal whims and temporary political advantages are his domain. While his advice to Her Majesty the Queen should be taken into account, convention has been allowed to transfer her decision to him - a situation which once never applied.
DOES REITH HAVE ALZHEIMERS?
That amazing wizard of the mobile phone, ex-Defence Minister Peter Reith, has finally recalled that he was told the truth about the "children-overboard" incident well before the election. The ramifications were lost on him, he said, because "it wasn't a very good line". Of course, he never even thought to mention it to the Prime Minister, whose own Department also knew the truth. Everyone, it seems, know the situation except the Prime Minister himself.
While we are on Peter Reith, he has retired
on an annual payout of $104,000 a year. Obviously not enough,
because he has taken an advisory job with a firm supplying
armaments and equipment to the Defence Force for another $100,000
a year. He will be a consultant to Tenix Defence Systems.
The Australian Financial Review (22/2/02) commented:
TREASURY CASINOBrisbane has its own casino, located in the former Treasury building near Parliament House. Its nose must be severely out of joint from the activities of the Treasury in Canberra, which has been gambling taxpayers' money on derivatives, and has managed to lose a sum estimated to be between $2 billion and $3 billion. The losses were incurred as a result of the fall in the Australian dollar. The betting, apparently, was that the dollar would strengthen against other major currencies.
Anyone betting that the Australian dollar will strengthen doesn't deserve a place in Australia's Treasury Department. The crime is exactly the same as that which bankrupted Barings Bank and landed Nicholas Leeson in a Singapore jail. But Leeson never went as far as Australia's Treasury geniuses - he lost a mere $1 billion. The little Treasury flutter has cost every Australian man, woman and child over $100. I don't know about you, dear reader, but I can't afford it!
SHARON APPROACHES THE ABYSS
Even the most militant Israelis are stunned
at Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's latest intentions. Addressing
his nation on February 2nd, he proposed the building of a
buffer zone between Israel proper and the occupied territories.
Obviously, this could end up as a modern
'Berlin Wall' between the Palestinians and the Israelis, along
the lines of the idea by World Jewish Congress chief Isi Liebler
that multiculturalism, while necessary for Australia, was
not right for Israel, where Jews and Arabs should be separated.
One hitch in Sharon's proposals is that for a number of years,
against both promises and the views of many in the West, Sharon,
as did former Prime Ministers Netanyahu and Barak, has been
building Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories. They
have been built on the ruins of Palestinian homes and orchards,
and stand like fortified islands in the middle of hostile
territory. What will happen to them? Or has the bloody intifada
and suicide bombing attacks made them expendable?
ANOTHER 'SUMMIT' - THIS TIME FOR POPULATION NUMBERS
by Betty Luks
OH! REALLY? THERE WAS NO DEBATE - NEGLECTED
SA UPDATEby Betty Luks
The Liberals have announced they will not concede defeat, will not quit government, and will test parliament when it resumes in March. In the meantime, they intend to challenge the election of independent Peter Lewis in the Court of Disputed Returns. Interesting days ahead in the sunny State of South Australia.
STEVE VIZARD'S 'POPULATION SUMMIT'Republican Steve Vizard, busy little beaver that he is, has cobbled together a "population summit" to be held in the Regent Theatre, Melbourne on February 25th, 2002. The planners and supporters include staff from Premier Steve Bracks' office and the Australian Population Institute (a spin-off from the Urban Development Institute, a lobby group for land-developers), representatives from the Victorian Office of Multicultural Affairs, Melbourne Age managing editor Malcolm Schmidtke and businessman Richard Pratt. With the builder Bert Dennis, founder of the Dennis Group, Pratt has been campaigning for a larger population, he wants a population of 50 million.
THEY NEED THE 'COMMON TOUCH'
Andrew Bolt of Melbourne's Herald Sun reveals Steve Vizard "is so scared his population policy conference this month will seem so elitist that he has got a market research company to find some 'ordinary Australians'". Bolt rightly takes this group to task when he points to the fact, "... how often we now see the comic attempt by the switched-on to seem 'in touch' with the switched-out - the 'ordinary Australians' they can't actually find without the help of Hugo Boss-suited market researchers." "Did I say comic?" he asks. "Maybe I should have said worrying. It is in the nature of any elite not to want to share power, and so it is with ours. But the roars of the culturally shut-out have been so deafening lately - the one million votes for Pauline Hanson 1996, the defeat of the republican referendum, John Howard's Tampa-inspired win - that even the most unrepentant elitist realises some tiny symbolic concession must be made to the slavering hordes of racist filth that stink out our suburbs." "And now we've seen them" (the slavering hordes, that is) declares Andrew.
"Dozens of delegates to the Constitutional Convention, for example, were picked by politicians to represent 'ordinary Australians" and can you believe it! The real 'ordinary Australians' chose totally different delegates in an election! Not only are the real ordinary Australians 'slavering hordes of racial filth" but 'ungrateful slavering hordes' at that!
And so, Bolt's 'tongue in cheek' article sends up the politically correct power elite, but he does say 'enough is enough'. "... really this charade must end.. Let the experts get on with being experts... as long as the public gets the final say, the final vote. But this pretence of consulting 'ordinary' people by dragging in some tamed captives from Lawnmower Land can do only harm... We might actually think a man like Fraser is in touch after all, just because we saw him in a break in the conference, sharing a teaspoon with a dazed pool salesman from Sunbury, still strapped to his chair." No, despite what you heard, we are not taking bets on the outcomes of this 'summit'!
US PRISON GUARD AT ONE OF "IKE'S DEATH CAMPS" CONFESSES
by Betty Luks
Below is a shortened 'war crimes' confession by a former US soldier who witnessed the brutality and barbarity the German people suffered under the US occupation forces at the end of WW2.
"FORTY-FIVE years ago, I witnessed an atrocity: the deliberate starvation of German POWs by our own army. History, written by the victors, suppressed all news of this atrocity until James Bacque, a Canadian author, published his brilliant expose, OTHER LOSSES. Fortunately, Pat Buchanan called attention to OTHER LOSSES in his January 10th, 1990, column.
He wrote: "Conclusion: the US Army killed ten times as many Germans in POW camps as we did on battlefields from Normandy to VE day. (German POWs) had their rations cut below survival level until they were dying at rates up to 30% of exposure, starvation and neglect... Red Cross food trains were turned back and US food shipments sat on the docks... One French officer said the US camps reminded him of Dachau and Buchenwald... The book blames Eisenhower. "The German is a beast," Ike had written... But that was not how the Canadians and British felt, who treated their prisoners justly... It was not the view of General Mark Clark, nor of Patton... Ignoring the book is not enough."
Pat Buchanan's courageous column inspired me to help end the cover-up of the atrocity I had witnessed... Now I would like to finally free more of my painful memories, hoping to be heard, so that this will help us to acknowledge our share in the "banality of evil", cleansing ourselves with the truth. Perhaps we, as a nation, may then put this behind us with some integrity and with some hope for redemption.
In October 1944, at age eighteen, I was drafted into the army while a student at the NYS College of Forestry. Largely due to the "Battle of the Bulge", my training was cut short, my furlough cut in half, and I was then immediately sent overseas. Upon arrival in Le Havre, France, we were quickly loaded into boxcars and shipped to the front... My separation qualification record states that I served mostly with the 14th Infantry Regiment, during which time I guarded prisoners of war and served as an interpreter. During my seventeen-month stay in Germany, I was transferred to other outfits also. In late March or early April 1945, I was assigned to help guard a POW camp near Andernach along the Rhine. I had four years of high school German, so I was able to talk to the prisoners, although this was forbidden. In Andernach, between 50,000 and 65,000 prisoners, ranging in age from very young teens to very old men, were crowded together in an open field surrounded by barbed wire. The women were kept in a separate enclosure which I did not see until later. The men I guarded had no tents or other shelter, no blankets and many had no coats. Inadequate numbers of slit trenches were provided for excrement, and so the men lived and slept in the mud and increasing filth during a cold, wet spring. Their misery from exposure alone was evident.
Some days there was nothing
The term 'war criminal' was just beginning to come into fashion... I encountered a captain on a hill above the Rhine shooting down at a group of German civilian women with his .45 calibre pistol. When I asked, "Why?" he mumbled, "Target practice," and fired until his pistol was empty. I saw the women running for cover, but at that distance, couldn't tell if any had been hit.
Cold-blooded killers filled with moralistic
Providing a Light no darkness can extinguish
(I originally did not intend to reveal the following incident, for it moves into a realm termed 'mystical'. However, for me, it was an extremely significant experience, changing my life, providing a light no darkness can extinguish. It must be told, hoping it will foster understanding.)
On May 8th, VE day, I decided to celebrate with some prisoners I was guarding who were baking bread, meagre amounts of which the other prisoners occasionally received. This group had all the bread they could eat, and shared the jovial mood generated by the end of the war. We all thought we would be going home soon, a pathetic hope on their part. We were in what was to become the French zone, and I later witnessed the brutality of the French soldiers when we transferred our prisoners to them for their slave labour camps. However, on this day we were happy. After chatting with them about the potentials of peace for the rest of our lives, I decided to risk a gesture of trust that objectively would seem foolish. I emptied my rifle and stood it in the corner. They tested me further by asking to play with it, and I agreed. Intuitively I felt I could rely on their sense of honour not to attack me, for they knew they too were being tested. This thoroughly 'broke the ice', and soon we were singing songs we taught each other or I had learned in high school German ("Du, du, liegst mir im Herzen").
Out of gratitude, they secretly baked a small sweet bread and insisted I take it, explaining it was the only possible gift they had left to offer. Expressing my gratitude with a lump in my throat, I put it in my tight "Eisenhower jacket" so I could sneak it back to my barracks. I later found an opportunity to eat it outside. Never had bread tasted more delicious, nor conveyed to me a deeper sense of communion while eating it. A wonderful feeling pervaded me, gently opening me to an intimation of the Oneness of all Being. Through those prisoners I sensed the cosmic presence of what has been called the Christ, Buddha-nature, or, perhaps most aptly, the Ineffable: cosmically present, but hidden and apparently separate, until revealed in the wholeness of the giving of the self.
Even within the horror humans had created, I was taught a path to redemption may open by taking a first, tentative step in the direction of love, understanding and forgiveness. This above all the prisoners taught me: not only are we all potentially humane humans, there is divinity within us waiting for us to dissolve the defensive shield of ego. I was pleased to discover later the words of Matthew 25: 34-46, expressing the potential within prisoners and all who are at our mercy...
TWO WRONGS DON'T MAKE A RIGHT
The Nazi opportunity for atrocities had faded and ours was unleashed. But we might have learned the simple lesson that two wrongs do not make a right. Perhaps we might even have broken the cycle of vengeful retaliation and unbridled hatred, fed by racism, that has plagued human history and blighted human potential all to long. Instead, we committed our own atrocities and now are clinging to a cover-up. That is why I am speaking out now, forty-five years after the crime. We can never prevent individual war crimes, but we can, if enough of us speak out, influence government policy. We can reject government propaganda that depicts our enemies as subhuman and encourages the kinds of outrages I witnessed. We can protest the bombing of civilian targets, which still goes on today. (I will never forget the sickly sweet smell of rotting human flesh rising from the shattered remains of the cities and towns I entered.) And we can refuse ever to condone our government's murder of unarmed and defeated prisoners of war.
Writing about these atrocities has been
a catharsis of feelings suppressed too long, a liberation,
and perhaps will remind other witnesses and citizens - that
"the truth shall make us free, have no fear." And, in any
case, "the truth shall out". We may even learn a supreme lesson
from all this: Hate is self-destructive; only love can conquer
and evolve all as One.
A QUEENSLAND ELECTOR
and one of our readers has received a "Please Explain" from the Electoral Commission as he did not vote in the last election. He has sent us a copy of his reply: "In reply to your inquiry: I did not attend the polling booth on 10th November 2001 and did not vote. I am not prepared to be forced to cast a vote for someone I do not want.
Under the present system if I wish to cast a vote for A but not for B, C, D or E, I am unable to do so. To cast a valid vote for A, I am compelled to cast a vote also for B, C, D and E. If A does not receive 51% of the primary votes then my vote will be used to elect my second, third or fourth "choice". I am not free to decline to "choose" to vote for B, C, D, or E !!! I am therefore not free to "directly choose" my representative as required by the Constitution.
I have made my position quite clear in
a written submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral
Matters held after the 1998 election, both as a written submission
(number 86) and as a further written and verbal submission
to the Committee when it met in Brisbane. I enclose copies
of these herewith.
I would be very willing - indeed keen - to defend this stand in court - even as far as the High Court - on the constitutional grounds that I am denied under the present system to take part in "directly choosing" my representative. I shall certainly NOT pay any fine on principle !! The electoral "system" is so corrupted by party politics and so subject to fraud that to fine someone for failing to take part is a pitiful joke!
As I am sure you well know, there is absolutely nothing to stop someone voting all day in the name of some recently dead person or of someone who they know will not vote. This done and it seems no one cares! If the vote is so important that there needs to be a fine for failing to vote then why is there absolutely no identity check before a voting paper is handed out? Yours faithfully ..........
BETTY LUKS FOR NORTH QUEENSLAND
Betty Luks will be speaking at a number of meetings around the Nebo-Mackay region from Tuesday, February 26th, through to early March. The theme will be "Australian Women on Line and our Constitutional Monarchy". Those who would like to know more about the meetings, please contact Mr. Ken McFadzen of Nebo. Phone: (07) 4950 5164.
Betty Luks will be addressing the Canberra CSC on Thursday, March 14th. The title of the address will be "Australian Women on Line and our Constitutional Monarchy". For further details phone (02) 6282 2243.
INVERELL FORUMThe annual Inverell Forum will take place once again - March 8th to 11th. As usual, there is a great line-up of speakers including Dr. Viera Scheibner: the connection between vaccination and deaths in infants known as 'shaking baby syndrome'; Jeremy Lee will introduce the 'new' Freedom Potentials; and Betty Luks will speak on another League initiative, Australian Women on Line. For those who would like more information, contact: Inverell Forum, P.O. Box 987, Inverell, NSW, 2360, or visit the Inverell Forum website: northnet.net.au/~rub
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