134 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. @anthony nolan

    Others gave junk not because they were cynically emptying their back cupboard but because they wanted to do something, to contribute somehow.

    That’s a strange phenomenon. I had a similar experience a few years back when involved in putting together containers of aid stuff for East Timor. People would provide crappy old bicycles with perished tyres, rusted chains and broken brake cables. It nonplussed me a bit – it couldn’t have been cynical, as the bikes could just as easily have been left on the curb if they’d just wanted to get rid of them, but why couldn’t they see that the bikes were worse than useless unless they were got into working in order? It must have been, as you say, that the people wanted to contribute


    , but didn’t put much thought into it.

  2. @Tim Macknay
    Some people are so poor that all they have is junk to give. Materially and imaginatively poor. Their hearts though, are rich.

  3. Tim Macknay wrote on May 22nd, 2015 at 15:33 :

    … I’m not interested in having an extended discussion about the JFK assassination.

    Whilst I think the topic is of interest in 2015 for reasons I stated on May 22nd, 2015 at 14:18, I did not start the discussion. I was responding to being baited:

    “On his blog [James Sinnamon] tells us that the US bombed the WTC on 9/11; the US Government killed JFK and MLK; Martin Bryant was framed for the Port Arthur massacre by John Howard among a plethora of conspiracy theories. ..”

  4. @James
    No dramas. I recognise that you didn’t raise the tropic (although it wasn’t me who made that comment about your blog, though). I would have preferred it if you hadn’t described me as an ‘apologist’ on your blog, however I’m prepared to let it slide. 🙂

  5. Professor Quiggin,

    Sheila Newman (whose posts are currently not being published for some reason) has asked me to transmit the following: “Sheila Newman objects to these words by jt on post #50 on May 20th, 2015 at 15:25, ‘Sheila Newman links approvingly to a range of right and left wing conspiracy sites about UFOs, how Senator Joe McCarthy was right about all those commies, the moon landings and so on ad nauseum’ as defamatory, being uncharacteristic of subjects she promotes in her work.”

  6. On Prof Quiggin’s order I will not argue with James but I will point out that my above comment re Newman is correct. Here she links to a right wing conspiracy site calling it a

    Fantastic Conspiracy Theory Ananlysis Site”

    She goes on to say:

    The owner of this site has evolved an excellent conspiracy rating system and some very good analysis.

    Newman then quotes with obvious approval a claim that the moon landing may be a hoax. If you then read the other post’s on this site you’ll see they mostly link to the far right wing conspiracy site World Net Daily, and approve of McCartyism etc…

    Newman also links to the UFO site AboveTopSecret exclaiming “Oh gosh, another great conspiracy theory site!” Of course, these are just two examples among dozens.

    I am not criticising. If this is how someone chose to live their life, let them have at it. The world needs people like this.

  7. i’ll keep it short, i don’t want ot engage in dialog about this: it looks like a pop cult aficionado’s essay on classification & analysis of conspiracy theories & conspiracy theory sites. so does the link. simples. -a.v.

  8. This has been previously posted to our own site, candobetter _dot_ net. Links to cited material can be found there.

    ‘jt’ wrote on May 23rd, 2015 at 08:16 | #8 :

    On Prof Quiggin’s order I will not argue with James.

    The ‘argument’ here ended when you failed to respond to the arguments I put in my post of page 1 of May 20th, 2015 at 16:46 | #54.

    Sheila Newman asked me to post the following in response to other content[1] of the abovementioned post by ‘jt’ (Footnotes have been added by me):

    I believe that it is a slur on me to suggest that I am linking to a ‘right wing conspiracy site’. It is not obvious to me what the politics of the site were or are, nor are they relevant to my post. The first URL I give under the heading, ‘Fantastic Conspiracy Theory analysis site found’, gives the URL and cites from it a system for rating the validity of conspiracies that its first poster describes. That is the ‘fantastic conspiracy theory’. Nothing under the heading in this comment on candobetter _dot_ net is mine. I am simply quoting what someone called ‘Curmudgeon’ posted suggesting a system for evaluating conspiracy theories to another site in 2007 (5 years prior to me citing it). The system is half humorous but does attempt to award points for what can actually be proven in a conspiracy theory. The moon landing being faked ‘theory’ scores a 3 out of 5. 5 is proven. 3 is not proven.

    I do not show any particular approval for the moon landing as a hoax theory here. I don’t say anything about it. It is possible that ‘jt’ thought that everything I cited was written by me, but actually none of it was; it was all written by Curmudgeon. Perhaps I could have put it in quotation marks, but ‘jt’ should have checked whose words he was attributing to me.

    Regarding the second URL I cited, I cannot see how my detractor can say this is a UFO site. As far as I am concerned it is not a UFO site and being labelled as someone who apparently thinks a UFO site is great presents me as someone with values that I do not hold. I am an evolutionary sociologist and do not appreciate being portrayed as an enthusiastic endorser of UFOs and moon-landing conspiracies, although I do write on other controversial subjects, but I do this scientifically or journalistically. Furthermore, the slur has been reinforced with the implication that this is how I choose to live my life, as if enthusing over moon-landing conspiracies and UFOs on ‘right wing’ sites was a major defining quality of my writing. (‘jt’ writes, “If this is how someone chose to live their life, let them have at it.”)

    Why is this person targeting me?

    The second site I referred to (which my detractor calls a UFO site) was one called, “The Top ten real conspiracies” and lists the following which few would dispute.

    1/ The Assassination Of Julius Caesar,
    2/ Nero Fiddles As Rome Burns,
    3/ The Gunpowder Plot – A Conspiracy Within A Conspiracy,
    4/ Galileo: The Suppression of Knowledge,
    5/ The Dreyfuss Affair,
    6/ The Birth Panama and it’s Canal,
    7/ The Reichstag Fire,
    8/ The Suez Crisis
    9/ The Watergate Scandal and
    10/ The Iran/Contra Affair.

    There are over 4000 articles on candobetter _dot_ net, of which a fair proportion have been written or edited by me. There is almost nothing on moon landings[2] and little endorsing right wing stuff. We have numerous writers. It is not a two person blog. I also do cartoons and I sometimes write satire. But the main subject is ‘reform in democracy, environment, population, land use planning and energy policy ‘. If anyone wants to know more about what I really do, they can read about me on candobetter _dot_ node net /node/1882 .

    I appreciate being able to clarify on this.

    Tim Macknay on May 22nd, 2015 at 20:25,

    The words “Warren commission apologist” have been removed. The title of the post is simply “Opposed to investigation of crime?”


    [1] For more information, see “The ‘Conspiracy Theory’ Label: Powerful Tool of Media Disinformation and Political Discourse” (1/4/14) by Professor James F. Tracy | Global Research.

    The article includes an embedded 4 minute YouTube video in which Luke Rudkowski confronts Cass Sunstein who was, from 2009 to 2012, Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Sunstein had said, in an article “Conspiracy Theories” (12/1/08) (in pdf):

    What can government do about conspiracy theories? Among the things it can do, what should it do? We can readily imagine a series of possible responses. (1) Government might ban conspiracy theorizing. (2) Government might impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories. (my emphasis – Ed)

    [2] Apart from the comment previously linked to, I could find only one other reference to ‘moon landings’. That reference is in a comment at /node/2406#comment-6260 cited an article, by Bernard Salt of 2 Jul 2008 on Rupert Murdoch’s Australian, which has since disappeared.

    The article uses similar techniques to those used above to ridicule people who dispute the official narratives about the murder of JFK, etc.

  9. @James
    There are people around who only exist by needling others, goading them to intemperate behaviour. Best to consign them to the kill file, and not waste a further microsecond on the inconsequential plonks.

  10. Wanna defend Islam? Then forget about joining ISIS. Go defend Syria or Yemen instead (23/5/15) by Jane StillWater

    Jane Stillwater was one a number of foreign observers who verified that the Syrian Preisdential elections of 4 June 2014, in which President Bashar al-Assad won the overwhelming endorsement of Syrians, were conducted fairly. She and three other observers described the elections at a press conference held at the United Nations on 20 June 2014.

    If you are a disenchanted western Muslim youth and you are considering running off to the Middle East to join ISIS and fight to protect the name of the Prophet, I only got one word for you. “Forget-about-it”.

    Let’s face it, guys. If Mohammed (PBUH) was living today, he would be absolutely horrified by ISIS. Horrified! Absolutely. Muslims hacking Muslims to death like they were bloody chickens being slaughtered for Eid and Muslim men raping Muslim women like they were cattle instead of humans? Forget that. Just forget it. The Prophet would be totally appalled.

    But if you really really do want to fight to protect Islam, then go to Damascus and join Assad’s heroic Syrian army instead. Or go fight for Hezbollah. Or join the Houthi in Yemen. …

  11. @James

    Newman says:

    Regarding the second URL I cited [http://www abovetopsecret com], I cannot see how my detractor can say this is a UFO site.

    Gee whiz, Newman, if you look at today’s top article on that site, it is yet another reiteration of the Roswell alien UFO conspiracy. If you type “above type secret” into google, the Above Top Secret site comes up as the first link with the blurb:

    ATS Forums Above Top Secret – Aliens and UFOs – Breaking Alternative News

    Aliens and UFOs aliens and UFOs page 1 of 840

    So Newman link to a UFO site with feverish enthusiasm – “Oh gosh, another great conspiracy theory site!”- then says it isn’t a UFO site even though it bills itself as a UFO site.

    The other site that Newman links to with great enthusiasm (conspiraciesthatweretrue blogspot com) was mercifully abandoned after just seven posts, one of which is headed “Senator Joe McCarthy Proven Correct” then says:

    Here’s something I’ve not seen mentioned by anyone in their lists of conspiracy theories that were eventually proven to be factual and correct: The vindication of the late Sen. Joesph McCarthy of Wisconsin

    Blind Freddy could see that this site is right wing, not to mention creepy.

    In another falsehood, Newman says I attribute the text she posted on the moon landing hoax to her, yet I clearly say that she quoted this text and its accompanying conspiracy theory rating system with approval- her words being:

    The owner of this site has evolved an excellent conspiracy rating system and some very good analysis.

    But I ain’t criticising; as my grandmother used to say, a fruit cake wouldn’t taste nearly as good if it didn’t contain nuts.

  12. A symptom of Internet illiteracy is the frequent use of the catch-phrase “just Google it” rather than supplying an explicit URL to link to the page. An example of this illiteracy follows”

    … If you type “above type (sic) secret” into google, the Above Top Secret site comes up as the first link with the blurb:

    The page linked to previously by Sheila Newman lists 10 known conspiracies which have occurred throughout history (listed on May 24th, 2015 at 01:04 | #11) and nothing about “Aliens and UFOs”.

    Nothing written by Sheila Newman here or anywhere else indicates a belief by her in the “faked Moon landing”, the Roswell incident or other bizarre conspiracy theories. To the contrary Sheila, Newman has shown here in great detail (on May 24th, 2015 at 01:04 | #11) why she repudiates such beliefs and ‘jt’ should stop pretending otherwise.

  13. Yet another falsehood by the individual who thinks John Howard instigated the Port Arthur massacre and blamed it on poor Martin Bryant.

    A url is merely a link to a site. I never commented on the particular link, rather I showed that the site bills itself as a UFO site and point out that Newman salivates over the site (not just the URL), exclaiming breathlessly: “Oh gosh, another great conspiracy theory site!”

    If you lie down with dogs, James, don’t complain if you get up with fleas.

  14. Thank you, Donald Oats, for your concern and advice (on May 24th, 2015 at 01:36), however, if you look at my posts, I think you will see that that the troll in our midst has not succeeded in “goading [me] to intemperate behaviour.”

    ‘jt’ wrote on May 24th, 2015 at 18:03:

    A url is merely a link to a site. I never commented on the particular link, ….

    So what is this supposed to prove? Sheila Newman has already shown that she rejects the plainly false conspiracy theories elsewhere on that site. The conspiracies listed on the page linked to are all proven historical facts.

    I note that ‘jt’ has yet again attempted to attack me personally without attempting to address the views he is objecting to.

    Perhaps Professor Quiggin has not noticed that in spite of the objections of others and at least two previous requests “not to attack other commenters”, the latest being on 21st, 2015 at 11:04 by Professor Quiggin, ‘jt’ is continuing to do so?

  15. James,

    I imagine the good Professor views the conspiracy theories that you propagate, including the vile claim that John Howard staged the Port Arthur massacre, to be as creepy and sick as I do.

    On a brighter note, Ireland has just become the first country to have a successful referndum in favour of gay marriage.

    Gay rights appear to be advancing everywhere apart from some African states like Uganda, and of course Vladimir Putin’s proto-fascist Russian autocracy. Hopefully this vile creature will be strung up from a lamp post, Mussolini style, in the not too distant future.

  16. Why does ‘jt’ presume that Professor Quiggin would be interested, one way or the other, on my views on the Port Arthur massacre? It was not me that raised the issue on this forum.

    And why ‘jt’ suddenly presumes that I would be suddenly interested in discussing with him the issue of gay rights here will probably remain another mystery.

    Being the ignoramus that he has demonstrated himself to be, I don’t expect that ‘jt’ would be aware that Vladimir Putin was elected to the office of President and enjoys far more popular support than the likes of David Cameron, Barack Obama, Tony Abbott, Bill Shorten or even the elected leaders of Ireland.

  17. Agreed Megan. The right wing conservative element in the ALP should be shown the door.

    James’ support for the murderous imperialist and homophobe, Vladimir Putin, once again confirms the extreme right wing nature of his politics.

  18. Open letter to Canberra public objects to kangaroo cull

    Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee is one of fifty well-known authors and scientists who have signed this open letter to the Canberra public protesting the mass killing of kangaroos which has been taking place annually for some time in Canberra. For those interested in the history of this annual slaughter, Candobetter _dot_ net has published at length on this subject here: /SaveTheKangaroo. It is wonderful that a number of influential people have now put their names on the line to defend kangaroos from slaughter and kangaroo science from ideology. Many more people are also against this absurd and cruel practice.

    [Also the subject of an article in the Canberra Times.]

  19. “Libertarian” Senator David Leyonhjelm apparently wants to establish a new government regulatory body to regulate infrasound from wind farms, despite no convincing evidence they cause a health problem. This appears to represent a rather remarkable change in “Libertarian” attitudes to the role of government. Either that, or “Libertarian” principles are non-existent. I wonder which is more likely?

  20. Boy, are we having a good ol’ time supporting “Team Austraya”. In a breathtaking combination of a pincer manoeuvre and encroachment, the Bovva Boyz have taken us down the path to fascism: on the one claw, we have significant mass surveillance, coopting of mobile devices, and opacity as to the who, where, when, why of it all; on the other claw, we have the noodle notion of chucking out those (ex-) citizens who we suspect, or potentially could suspect, of being alleged to having an intelligence dossier of hearsay and hooop-goop associating them with other potentials who might be reading up on how to be a terrorist, or something. This is the pincer.

    Next is the encroachment strategy, an old debating trick,which is to start off by making a simple but appealing argument for a mild change at the margins, such as revoking Aussie citizenship of dual nationals deemed to (have an intelligence dossier full of hearsay and lickspittle claiming they might be associated with terrorists, or gosh darn) be actual terrorists. The kind of dossier which has no chance of being tested as being in basis of fact, of being evidential in nature, for it is effectively protected from ever seeing the light of day in a court of law—thanks Bill Shorten and Tony Abbott, h/t George Brandis. I mean, what’s the harm? They have another citizenship, so they aren’t stateless or anything.

    Then comes the encroachment part of the strategy: now we add the children of dual citizens; oh, that didn’t cause waves either? Lets add actual Australians who have several generations of Australian ancestors to the list: after all, if they are terrorists, then why should we keep ’em here?

    Child molesters are the next ones to get chucked on the list of de-Aussied. Who can object?

    Multiple homicide suspects: saves a lengthy trial and incarceration at taxpayers expense. Oh, and did we mention the super secret dossier that noone is allowed to admit to or to sneak a peek at?

    Angry protesters. They keep breaking things and make it hard to keep the peace.

    Protesters. They clutter up the streets and make peak hour hell.

    Whistleblowers. Judases the lot of ’em.

    Journos. yeah, you know who you are.



    Bad debtors.

    fine evaders.

    graffiti artists


  21. Revocation of Australian citizenship is one of the most serious sanctions we could apply to someone; if we allow the application of this sanction without having a judicial process to first test the allegations against the individual(s) concerned, and to establish that the sanction is appropriate, then we are saying that citizenship of Australia isn’t important enough to warrant the protection of the legal system. Is that the kind of Australia we want to live in?

    If I were a dual citizen, and I travel overseas on a legitimate holiday and the government gets it into their head that I’m troublesome—perhaps I organise international protests against the government’s treatment of boat arrival asylum seekers, for instance—I could find myself rendered stateless by a simple ministerial decision. All the minister will need is a dossier which links me, however tenuously, with a group they’ve proscribed as terrorist, and I’m stuck without a paddle in the thick of it.

    My fear is that this argument being mounted by the government is being steered towards the government being able to revoke citizenship of any Australian. Perhaps the risk of this eventuating is small, but I don’t think it is negligible.

  22. @Donald Oats

    If you were a dual citizen and had Australian Citizenship revoked you would still have citizenship with the other country so you would not be stateless. Sorry, just being pedantic. However, if that other state was say the UK and they did a reciprocal “domino deal” with Australia, they might revoke your UK citizenship after Australia revoked Australian citizenship.

    The concept of revoking citizenship would only make some (small) sense if the citizenship grant in the first place was probationary in some way. Continuing on from that, there is no sensible way that Australian citizenship for a baby born in Australia to Australian citizens could be in any fashion probationary. This would leave probationary citizenship only for new Australian immigrants.

    This latter idea might would also throw up significant practical and legal difficulties including difficulties with international law and treaties. On balance, this idea of revoking citizenship is a very bad idea. Probably it’s a captain’s call like the other idiot ideas we get from Captain Catastrophe (aka Tony Abbott).

  23. I re-post a comment I made to a piece elsewhere a few months ago:

    Citizenship in Australia was established by federal statute in 1948/9, and has been amended several times since. In the USA, citizenship is defined in the 14th amendment to the constitution: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Thus, American citizens cannot be arbitrarily “stripped” of citizenship by the government of the day — They can, however, voluntarily renounce citizenship.

    The protections afforded American citizens through the 14th amendment are absent in Australia. The Australian government may change the laws regarding citizenship almost at will, and enforce those laws how they like.

    Although the current threat is to revoke the Australian citizenship of dual nationals who violate government policy by fighting for terrorist groups abroad, there is a broader risk to Australian citizens through government action that I draw to your attention by an example.

    Recall the case of the journalist Wilfred Burchett, a native-born Australian with Australian-born parents. Clearly, he was a Australian citizen. After the Second World War, Burchett traveled widely around Europe and Asia during the “cold war” writing about world events from a left wing perspective. He traveled on British passport which predated the Citizenship Act. Burchett was a communist sympathizer and it is alleged he was a Soviet agent paid by the KGB. Thus, he was not popular with the anti-communist governments Australians elected and reelected in the post-war period. When Burchett lost his passport in Vietnam during the 1950s, he was was denied an Australian passport by successive conservative Governments for almost 20 years. He was trapped abroad unable to return home, rendered stateless, and effectively stripped of Australian citizenship because his political views were offensive to successive Australian governments. Nor did those governments choose to repatriate Burchett to face criminal charges in Australia, no doubt fearing the outcome.

    My point is that because Australian citizenship is not protected by constitutional provisions, it is vulnerable to the political whims of the government of the day. As the Burchett case shows, it is not only dual citizens who should be concerned.

  24. @JKUU
    I agree. Burchett’s case is a salutary lesson on what can happen. Hicks and Habib are two other examples of the kind of situation an Australian might be caught up in, only to be found not guilty of breaking any Australian law (whatever we think of their alleged or actual misbehaviour). If either of them had had their citizenship revoked, they would have been in a much graver situation than what did transpire, which was bad enough.

    In some ways, making terrorism this big exception, where we revoke citizenship instead of punishing them in Australia, for crimes committed against Australia and/or its citizens, actually prevents justice being done. If an Australian citizen committed an atrocity against Australians abroad, I’m sure the survivors and families in Australia would want to see justice served—in Australia. Revoking citizenship makes it more difficult to organise extradition from another country back to Australia, I would imagine.

    My view is that if they are Australians at the time of committing a crime (under Australian law), then see justice served on them in Australia. Tampering with citizenship is invariably a political statement.

  25. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/27/goodbye-citizenship-australia-takes-a-cynical-turn-on-muslim-radicalisation

    From a brief reading the comments section in this particular article in the Guardian, I find it particularly worrying that it seems not only the right but also some of the left (at least those who comments in the Guardian) in Australia are falling to this fear/scaremongering campaign about Muslims. Some comments are reaching a point that it feels like I’m reading the comment section of Murdoch papers.

    As of right now Australia’s economy is not in a good shape but it is not technically in a recession/depression either. If a recession/depression happens, which usually causes portions of population to start directing irrational hate towards a particular group who are ‘different’ to them; I would not even want to see the sort of irrational hatred that will be directed towards Muslims in Australia.

    P.S. I’m an atheist.

  26. The photo accompanying this article on revoking of citizenship shows clearly that it is a six flag bill they are putting to parliament. That makes it a very Australian bill indeed. Is this a flag record for a bill?

  27. Eastern Grey Kangaroos shockingly killed at Boneo, Mornington Peninsula, Australia

    On the early evening of Tuesday the 26 of May, the tranquil peace at Boneo was broken by the sounds of over 100 gun shots.

    The farm responsible for these shots was carrying out a kangaroo cull. However in order to carry out the cull they had to trespass on Melbourne Water land to get the kangaroos back on the farm.

    As you can see in image 1.1 there is no available food on the farm as it has been cleared (cleared very recently in fact).

    The tree line behind the cleared land is Melbourne Water land where the kangaroos are seeking refuge.

    A couple of witnesses have claimed that they saw dogs released onto the adjoining Melbourne water land to chase the kangaroos back on the farm where they could be shot. Unfortunately 2 young joeys didn’t make it off the Melbourne Water land as they were killed by the dogs (see image 1.2 below of a joey carcass).

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