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14 August 2009 Thought for the Week:

Goldman Sachs has recovered quite nicely from the recession they helped create. They’ve paid back the bailout money already, and freed from the strings that came with it, they’re rewarding themselves for their business prowess with executive compensation above pre-crash levels. How did they do it? By being smarter than the other banks. Oh, it’s not that they didn’t play the same risky game with mortgage-backed securities and derivatives; they just saw the disaster coming before everyone else did and passed off their toxic assets to less prescient investors. To the victor the spoils.

What’s especially troubling about all this is that neither they nor the government seems to have learned anything. So far the Wall Streeters in the Obama administration have shown little interest in actually fixing the system… Without strict limits on how much these robber barons can help themselves to, the temptation to rig the game once more will be too great, and another economic meltdown is inevitable. What Recession? It’s this kind of scenario that made the oligarchs so despised in Russia.

- - Ed Stein| July 18th, 2009 / LINKS ReporterNotebook

'These blatantly inflated bonuses are just the last in a litany of abuses by those same profligate banks that nearly destroyed our economic system. If the derivatives on their books were "marked to market" (valued at what they would fetch on the market), the banks would be bankrupt, and their employees would be out of a job.
Instead, they have been allowed to inflate the value of their "toxic" assets -- and sell them to the U.S. government at the inflated value. Then they have taken the money they got from the government at these inflated prices and paid back the TARP money they received -- allowing them to post inflated earnings and reward themselves with inflated bonuses!

Many people feel that these bankers are thieves stealing from the public till who should be looking at jail time. But who is there to stop their parade of outrages? No one in Congress, the White House, or the news media is calling them on the carpet for it. As Senator Dick Durbin said recently, Wall Street owns Congress; and that is also true of the major media.

- - Ellen Brown in 'The Public Option in Banking: How We Can Beat Wall Street at Its Own Game https://www.huffingtonpost.com/ellen-brown/the-public-option-in-bank_b_252161.html  


BATTLE LINES DRAWN BY SHADOW BOXER

by James Reed
The pattern is always the same. When the elites are lining up a politician to take over the top job, they like to get them writing. Thus Rudd and his team knocked out an essay or two, and Obama two books about how wonderful and special he is because his white mummy got inseminated by a Kenyan man. And now we have the case of Tony Abbott.

Abbott portrays himself as a ‘tough guy’ (the Oxford boxing and all that – although he looks like a middle weight, not a heavy weight). In his new book “Battle Lines” he sets out his neo-Howard liberal philosophy and basically makes his case for being PM material. This is the man that Howard set on Pauline Hanson. Abbott, like Rudd, and like all of them, is a big immigration man. He probably endorses the Asianisation of Australia – there is nothing to indicate otherwise.

As a Catholic I wonder how he feels about the inevitable destruction of the Catholic Church’s influence through mass migration? Even the high rates of intermarriage between Catholics and Protestants in Australia (see G. Heard et. al, “Intermarriage by Religion in Australia” People and Place, vol.17, 2009) will erode the traditional distinction between Catholicism and Protestantism. As a conservative Catholic, I wonder what Abbott thinks about that?


DEBUNKING ECONOMICS: THEORETICAL INCOHERENCE

by Chris Knight
…To global economic breakdown : Envisioning the Social Credit Alternative.
An article in The Australian (“Keen Sticks to Housing Doomsday Call”, 8/7/09, p.5) dealt with the predictions of economist Steve Keen, associate professor of economics and finance at the University of Western Sydney, who believes that a housing apocalypse will lead to housing prices in Australia almost halving over a decade. Keen is criticised in the article by fellow economists and does not get a chance to make his case.

Keen’s case is made, firstly in his book “Debunking Economics: The Naked Emperor of the Social Sciences” (Pluto Press, 2001) which sums up the multitude of criticisms made by mathematically informed economists so the ultimate attack is decisive. Standard economic forecasts, based on the Standard Models, fail because they are based on false assumptions. As for financial instability, Keen has developed work done by economist Hyman Minsky, who developed a financial instability hypothesis that posits that a spiralling debt to GDP ratio can cause deflation and depression.

For those who like the taste of differential equations read his "The Circuit Theory of Endogenous Money". Common sense alone indicates that Keen is right: that crushing levels of debt relative to GDP (ie. productive capacity) literally suck out the juices of the economy. Large debt means large unemployment and deleveraging in such a financial climate ultimately puts corporations on the road to collapse.

Social Crediters have made the same observations but have presented a more comprehensive model for social regeneration than Keen. Nevertheless, it is good to see an economist take on orthodoxy. Also, I take to task the housing and building industry, which has fuelled Australia’s post-World War II immigration madness. Bring on the crash!


THE REAL ISSUE IS POLICY

by Betty Luks
The headlines from the CEC (4th August 2009) read: “Wayne Swan spits on Ben Chifley’s grave” - and then continues: “On Friday, 31st July 2009 at an ALP Conference Fringe event put on by the Chifley Research Centre, Wayne Swan replied to a question from LaRouche Youth Movement leader Glen Isherwood that a National Bank “would be stupid and destructive, and create unemployment.
The traditional Labor Party’s opposition to the “Money Power” is what separated it historically from the Liberal Party. The 1936-37 Royal Commission into banking, which included Ben Chifley, handed down the damning findings that the Federal Government—not the private financiers—was responsible at the end of the day for the economy and its management. The Labor Party established the Commonwealth Bank in 1911 to exert this responsibility for the people, against the private banks.

The intention of a government bank was clearly captured by Chifley’s close political ally John Curtin in a 1937 speech in Fremantle: “Three related monetary measures are necessary,” John Curtin said,
“1. National control of credit to ensure its adequacy to maintain and increase employment.
“2. National control of interest rates, in order to keep to a minimum the monetary and capital costs on production and industry.
“3. National direction of investment with the object of assisting in the promotion of a balanced economic development.”

Curtin concluded that, “If the Government of the Commonwealth deliberately excluded itself from all participation in the making or changing of monetary policy it cannot govern except in a secondary degree.”

In 2001, the CEC published its book, "What Australia Must Do to Survive the Depression," that contains ready-to-enact legislation for a new Commonwealth National Credit Bank which would shift the control of monetary policy out of the hands of the private banks and put it in the hands of elected government, as specified in the old Labor Party policy.”

Policy is what counts:
Sorry Glen, I don’t share your enthusiasm for the government of the day being in control of monetary policy without other major changes taking place. But let me explain why. When the Labor government of the day set up the original Commonwealth Bank, it was to act in competition with the many private banks then in existence.
For many years now, Labor has shown it is merely an arm of the Banking System and the banks’policies - as are the Liberals. Both parties have betrayed the Australian people, mortgaging their sovereignty, heritage and freedom to this corrupt and fraudulent system (Mammon).

Ownership of a central or national bank is not the real issue – it is the policy that counts. Here in Australia it is the Reserve Bank that sets policy and we all know that the Reserve Bank does not brook political interference. In other words, the policy is determined by other than the government of the day.

As to John Curtin’s 1937 policies:

1. The world was in the grip of a terrible bankers’ created ‘depression’, in which case, Curtin’s policies were put forward to help overcome the conditions of the time. The modern banking system has become so centralised, there are but four major banks left in this country. Glen, where is the competition today?
2. Since John Curtin’s time, the world has become the most productive in human history. We don’t need more employment, we need the right financial policies in order to distribute the abundance.
3. ‘National direction of investment’? What did you have in mind Glen? Something along the lines of the former Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics? That regime had a very tight control on its financial system with its policies directing and contolling industry, etc., and the people’s necessities of life through prices and income.

What about decentralising the financial system and providing more competition between the banks by the setting up of State banks in each sovereign State of the Commonwealth ?

Another suggestion - what could be:
Nationally, the Reserve Bank could become the Credit Issue Department of the National Credit Authority and the private banks could become, in effect, branches of the National Credit Authority. They would take up their proper function in a modern Power-Age Commonwealth (common well-being) by being authorised as the official National Book-keepers for the whole of the Commonwealth. For this service to the community they would be paid an agreed service fee.

But the power to create, issue, charge for and control, the nation’s financial system would be taken away from them. That power belongs to the people as a whole, therefore, it is a public utility and through a National Credit (Equation of Consumption to Production) Act would operate for the benefit of the people. – not the private bankers.

What if the bankers refuse to co-operate or sabotage the scheme?
Repeal the legislation that grants them their present powers over our financial system. Empower the Treasury to carry out all necessary transactions. If necessary, employ Chartered Accountants instead of Bankers. Use the Post Offices everywhere as local Credit Offices (leaving the banks out of it altogether). Keep the public fully informed of what is taking place.

P.S. I am fully aware of Douglas’ advice that a second rate expert should not tell a first rate expert how to do the job, I am only putting forward ideas. It is the policy that is important. It is then up to our political representatives (not those in the pockets of the bankers) to see the policy is carried out. It would be their task to ensure they got the best experts in their various fields to carry out our demands.

Important CDs for further understanding:
* “Re-establish the State Bank of Victoria” by Louis Cook
* “Standing in the Gap: A + B Theorem” by Donald Auchterlonie
Each CD - $10 posted, from Heritage Books, P. O. Box 27 Happy Valley S.A. 5159


CLOSING DOWN PHILOSOPHY DEPARTMENTS: WHY STOP THERE!

by James Reed
It seems that the discipline of philosophy at the University of Melbourne is facing “hard times” (“Row over poverty of philosophy”, The Australian, 22/7/09, p.24). Staff cuts occurred in 2007 and “equivalent full-time student load” for the program fell from 242 in 2002 to 215 to 2008. Six of the program’s thirteen academics took voluntary redundancy. Former head of the program, Professor Graham Priest replied saying that to be “world class you need critical mass”. Professor Priest’s work involves the study of paradoxes in logic.

Priest thinks that contradictions can be true: that a paradoxical statement and its denial are both true. He has argued that motion involves contradictions. I know this because I looked up his work via a Google search. Could it not be that the redundant staff still exist, but in a contradictory state? If the philosophy department was eliminated – only six to go – perhaps the department both exists and not exists?

Who cares anyway? Philosophy as an academic discipline is useless. It doesn’t even contribute much to the cause of political correctness because philosophers are so mad about argument and logic – hoping that the whole game never gets off the ground. Philosophy has long ceased to be of any interest to the ordinary people and students are finding it a bore. I say let us put philosophy as an academic discipline out of its misery and close down all the departments in Australia. Replace them with departments of social credit!


EVEN RABBIS FEEL THE STING OF GRAFT

by Betty Luks
*" “For these defendants, corruption was a way of life,” Ralph J. Marra Jr., the acting United States attorney in New Jersey, said at a news conference. “They existed in an ethics-free zone.” Mr. Marra said that average citizens “don’t have a chance” against the culture of influence peddling the investigation had unearthed. "


In the US State of New Jersey an FBI investigation has led to the arrest “of three mayors, five rabbis, several dozen public officials and an alleged trafficker in human body parts.” (The Weekend Australian 25-26/7/09 p.11)
The rabbis were the chief rabbi of the Syrian Jewish Community in the US, and the chief rabbis of synagogues in Brooklyn, New York and Deal, New Jersey.
It is alleged by the FBI that the rabbis were players in an international money-laundering operation linking Israel, Switzerland and the US. The arrests were made possible by the co-operation of an orthodox Jewish real estate developer who was charged in 2006 with defrauding the PNC Bank of $US 25 million – he was used by the FBI to hook the defendants by offering them bribes (while he was free on a $US 10 million bond).

And then we have our trafficker in human body parts, “the kidney salesman”, who preyed on people in Israel to get them to sell their kidneys for as little as US$10,000 while he sold the kidneys to transplant patients in the US for US$160,000. He had been in this line of business for a decade! Don’t hold your breath waiting for Hollywood to make a movie out of all this !

Back in Australia, the NSW Supreme Court of Appeal has struck off disgraced former judge Marcus Einfeld, finding him not a fit and proper person to practice law. (The Australian 24/7/09 p.3) This is an interesting ending for a champion of political correctness.
* https://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/24/nyregion/24jersey.html


WHAT ! JEWISH LAW COMES FIRST ?

by Betty Luks
Rabbi Moshe Gutnick, brother of mining magnate “Diamond Joe” Gutnik, went to the New South Wales Supreme Court to stop his congregation, the Mizrachi Synagogue, from making him redundant. The “congregation” argued that Rabbi Gutnik is just an employee “who is made redundant in difficult financial times”. If the Rabbi’s salary were not cut, the synagogue would have to be placed in administration. But Rabbi Gutnick argued that he has life tenure and even if his position was to be terminated, he would be entitled to a payout of over $1 million. He argued that a Jewish tribunal should determine the matter.

The NSW Supreme Court held that “the balance of convenience favours this dispute being determined by a Jewish tribunal in accordance with Jewish law.” The court rejected the argument against this that the Jewish principle of life tenure “could not overwrite the ability on the part of the employer to make a position redundant,” particularly where that might lead to the synagogue trading “while insolvent, which is a breach of the Corporations Law” (The Australian, 1/4/09, p.5).

This seems to place the synagogue in the position of having to go into administration. If so, I believe that Rabbi Gutnick will have to wait in line while the administrator sorts out the liabilities. The court’s decision, in my opinion, is flawed and it does not follow that Rabbi Gutnick is “not an ordinary employee because of the spiritual nature of his employment.” Where does it say that “spiritual nature(s)” matter in employment relations? Would the court’s decision be the same if they were deciding a parallel matter involving a Christian minister? What precedent has been set?


SOCIALLY CONSTRUCT THIS !

by Brian Simpson
According to the standard politically correct line taken in university cultural studies departments, there is no “objective reality” out there, all that exists is society. We are said to be “socially constructed” beings, our essence being fully determined by social conditioning. In a nutshell, this is the message of modern sociology, with its “over socialised conception of man”. Postmodernism takes this reductionism still further with its extreme relativism: there are only socially relative “truths”, no truth as such about the world. This is the sort of nonsense that scores of professors across the country teach to the tune of a salary of $100,000 plus, all out of taxpayers’ money.

The idea of the philosophy behind postmodernism is to grand slam reason so that people willingly accept left-wing values and causes. Thus, even though there are no objective (let alone absolute) values, for some never disclosed “reason”, one should support minorities – coloured people, gays, the disabled etc. But why should this be so? If there is no objective truth then there is no more reason for siding with the politically correct than there is for, say, siding with neo-Nazis, Luddites, or even – perish the thought – deep green vegetarians.

Postmodernists like to think that they are being “cool” through raising sceptical doubts about science and truth. Well how about carrying this program through to its logical conclusion? If “reality” is a myth, created by the “social brain” then history is also a myth. But if there is no objective history, then all historical events are also mythical. However, the Holocaust is a historical event. So postmodernism in deconstructing historical truth, must also socially construct the Holocaust (as well as women’s rights, gay rights etc.) This amounts to a radical rejection of the historicity of the Holocaust. So postmodernism is revealed as being a form of Holocaust revisionism.

This shocking result should be taken as a good “reason” (in a politically correct sense) for shutting down cultural studies and associated postmodernist disciplines, which could provide philosophical comfort to far right fringe dwellers.


IS THE LEGAL SYSTEM OUT OF CONTROL?

by Ian Wilson LL.B.
In this article I will discuss two books which argue that the American legal system – and by implication the common law systems in other parts of the world – are out of control. The two books are Catherine Crier, "The Case Against Lawyers: How Lawyers, Politicians and Bureaucrats Have Turned the Law into an Instrument of Tyranny – and What We as Citizens Have to Do About It" (Broadway Books, New York, 2002) and Philip K. Howard, "The Death of Common Sense: How Law is Suffocating America", (Warner Books 1994).

Crier argues that the rule of law “has become a source of power and influence, not liberty and justice” (p.5). First off, she laments about the massive awards delivered in some celebrated American tort/personal injury cases – one accident at an amusement park that led to a girl dying of burns injuries – led to an award of US$1.2 billion. Excessive she says (p.9). Tobacco litigation is in her opinion “ridiculous” for illegal drug users go to prison but “cigarette addicts get money instead” (p.10).
Worse: “Lawyers are making out like bandits as we litigate the most inane conflicts” (p.13). These include our arguments over “potential” problems in products. Indeed, Crier cites a book by Norman Augustine, "Augustine’s Laws", which allegedly shows that the more lawyers a country has, the greater the drain upon the country’s economic growth (p.14).

I am not impressed by these arguments as some type of critique of lawyers. We can grant that the accident case yielding $1.2 billion is excessive but only because we have come to value money over a life and are quite prepared to put a low monetary value on a life. The comparison between cigarette smokers and illegal drug users does not hold because illegal drug users have not been able to promote their products through manipulative advertisements and, after all, tobacco is legal, not illegal.
And finally Crier’s attitude towards lawyers seems to me “over the top”. She quotes Shakespeare in Henry VI: “First thing we do is kill all the lawyers” and says “we applaud this suggestion today” (p.180).
The reason apparently is that lawyers “now dominate our government” and “ have taken their “rightful” place at the helm, issuing and executing orders in the name of stability over anarchy and structure over freedom” (p.181).

Philip K. Howard in "The Death of Common Sense", an earlier published book, covers much the same ground as Crier’s "The Case Against Lawyers". In my opinion it is a better argued book because Howard begins his discussion with the real legal problem of modern society: the massive bureaucracy and regulations and laws that run modern life, crush freedom and individual creativity, resulting in what sociologist Max Weber described as the “iron cage of capitalism”. Crier does mention this problem throughout her book, but she puts the blame on lawyers per se.
To my mind, this confuses cause and effect. Maybe, just maybe, lawyers are maggots, but they are only present in the meat of society, because society has become so rotten! The causes of this rot must be sought at a deeper level and the popular ‘blame lawyer’ books are too superficial in my opinion to go to the heart of things.

The growth of laws and bureaucracy in modern society is a dual product of population expansion and centralisation. More people means informality goes. Once upon a time one could leave one’s car unlocked, but today we need electronic security alarms.
There is also the ethnic factor that goes with population increase: homogenous Western societies have been deliberately broken down by multicultural and multiracial immigration policies. In turn, social capital and trust have been lost. Thus only law and the power of the sate – an authority with the monopoly of violence, holds things together. As Major Douglas also showed, with increasing centralisation, there is a decrease of individual freedom.

In conclusion, blaming lawyers for the expansion of oppressive laws is a rather superficial critique. The “problem of law” is just another version of the “problem of economics” discussed weekly in these pages and has the same origin and solution.


THE MORAL COMPASS OF LAWYERING

by Ian Wilson LL.B.
I recently read Richard Zitrin and Carol M. Lanford’s “The Moral Compass of the American Lawyer: Truth, Justice, Power and Greed” (Ballantine Books, New York, 1999) from cover to cover, in one sitting. Using American cases, the book deals with basically one philosophical problem: the ultimate conflict between the fundamental principle of advocacy: to offer the best and strongest possible defence of one’s client and wider principles of social ethics.
In a nutshell, whether in the criminal or civil field, lawyers may engage in practices which are legal according to the state canons of legal ethics and statue and common law but which are, for most people, despicable.
I am no supporter of feminism but feminist lawyers rightly lament advocacy strategies wherein cases involving medical negligence against women, attorneys would often attack women’s characters and sexual practices, ruining families, reputations and careers. In criminal matters, in some jurisdictions, these harms have been minimised by some changes to the rules of court, but not eliminated.

This is what makes facing litigation in an adversarial system so terrifying for many people. The answer though is not to swap to a continental inquisitorial system where a judge has an investigatory role. Zitrin and Langford are concerned about the state of the American legal system and in the final chapter of their book, discuss how the system can be fixed through changes in the legal education system (law schools), changes in law firms, legal institutions and changes to the rules of the professions. I agree that all of this needs change but it wont happen in my lifetime. They mention the issue of public participation – that the general public should participate more in professional legal groups such as ethics committees and disciplinary boards – but they neglect or perhaps do not agree with what I think is the key to this matter.

Ordinary people need to get better knowledge about the legal system. In my opinion, most people know less about the legal system and the legal way of thinking than they do of hard physical science. Freedom movement types, for example, have a rough bush lawyer attitude that is worse than ignorance. An ignorant but humble person would seek help but over the years these bush lawyers have pursued hopeless cases where a little bit of professional advice would have put them straight in the beginning. With big egos they went into battle thinking they were Perry Mason – and lost.

The secret of law is that the legal system is only as good as the society that it is found in. The breakdown discussed by Zitrin and Langford in their book arises because our society and civilisation is in a process of decomposition. The legal system is just the ‘rules of the game’ and is in no way immune from the forces of decadence, disease and decay. If we wish to revitalise our legal system, we must first revitalise our society and economy.


TIME TO END THE DISASTROUS FAMILY LAW ACT

by Ian Wilson LL.B.
The Family Law Act 1975 was the creation of the Fabian socialist Lionel Murphy during the disastrous Whitlam government. The Act eliminated fault in divorce and granted divorce after a separation of twelve months on the grounds of irreconcilable difference. The Act was implemented as part of the feminist revolution and is still celebrated by feminists as a major blow to the patriarchal institution of marriage. And they have certainly been right about that: Australia saw 48,000 divorces in 2007.

Suffer the children: about one in five children live in single-parent households in Australia and 90% of these households have a female as head. The flight of the father: the fathers have left, often avoiding the child support agency by cash-in-hand work. These mothers survive on Centrelink benefits.
Children in these homes are more likely than children in dual parent homes to be unemployed themselves later. Social problems, especially among boys with no father, are rife. Aboriginal boys suffer acutely with the absence of a father to carry on traditional cultural discipline and this could be a reason for the high rate of Aboriginal male imprisonment.

A review of the Family Law Act will take place later this year. It is time to re-establish fault in divorce. The so-called Whitlamesque revolution has been a social disaster, especially for women and children.


ADVANCE NOTICE: OCTOBER NATIONAL WEEKEND

Supporters need to know the location and venue for the National Weekend has been changed. Horsham, Victoria will be the host city for this year.
Details of National Seminar:
Venue: Best Westlander Motor Inn, Western Highway, Horsham, Vic 3400. Phone number for advance bookings is: 03 5382 0191. Dates: 16,17,18th October, 2009.
Room Prices: $99.00, if only one bed is used, $110.00 if two beds are used.
New Times Dinner $35.00 - drinks from bar. Seminar: $20.00. All the functions will be held at the same venue.

For those who want ground floor accommodation please book early, the Motel has a coach booking on the Friday night so get in early. (Share a room and share the costs).

Wimmera Lakes Caravan Resort Caravan Park:
For those who would like to take advantage of Caravan Park accommodation and facilities: Wimmera Lakes Caravan Resort is only a few hundred metres from the Westlander Motel. A 2 person cabin fully equipped bedding etc with en suite $99 per night. A 1 person cabin fully equipped bedding etc with en suite $89 per night. Telephone enquiries to 1800 632 310

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