The Crow’n

Americans have a somewhat complicated view of monarchies, generally, and the British one in particular. It’s not unlike the fascination with a bad car crash or train wreck. Aside from that, I think I can speak for Americans generally when I say we simply do not get why the fuck it’s still a thing. The Crown has helped me understand why, if only a little bit.

The signal moments were:

When young Elizabeth II’s tutor was explaining the English Constitution – the Dignified and the Efficient. Having recently begun studying the mathematics of geodesics (and the underlying field of “tensegrities”, the analogs were astonishing. The monarchy then is like the trees to which the cord is tied, with the actual government being the cord and the poles.

The US government is instead a “tensegrity” — there is no need for trees – the structure is in a state of equalibrium, the cords and struts bound together in a self-sufficient system.

When she was crowned, the whole notion that the monarch represents the divine living among and influencing mortals. (Poppycock, of course, but it explains the theistic dimension of monarchy a little better.)

Queen Mary’s monologue to Elizabeth II’s about how the monarch MUST do nothing, that it is the very “act” of doing nothing that establishes and maintains the stability of not only the monarchy but the government and the country as a whole.

Yes, it’s fictionalized history — highly-fictionalized at times. (E.g. the story arch wherein QE2 is at odds with Thatcher.) However, if one is at all familiar with the factual bases that are woven into these stories, it helps disentangle the sensational from the real, in a more dignified and efficient way. 🙂

Keys and Lockdowns

When an outbreak occurs, the FIRST thing you need to do is isolate it. “Lockdown” is one, usually effective way to do this. It should be undertaken along with tracing to determine whence it originated and who might be susceptible. Until those are determined, the only way to stop the spread is isolation. Full stop.

Innoculation (whether by vaccine or exposure) is, in a sense, a form of isolation. Vaccines, however, take YEARS to develop. The vaccine itself may take relatively little time (months or even weeks) to create in a lab. Determining whether it is safe enough, and effective enough to distribute to everyone is what takes the bulk of that time. With CoVID-19, exposure and infection can result in serious illness and death, and it is not yet clear that any immune response the body may have developed to fight it will last more than a year. Someone once infected could in theory be infected again.

Even after that is determined, a manufacturing process that can produce billions of doses will not be set up overnight. You’ll read of companies that are doing this now. This does not mean a vaccine is imminent; it’s simply smart logistics, not waiting until the last minute to set up and test the process so that it will be ready once the (safe, effective) vaccine is available.Do NOT expect a vaccine to be available within the next two years, in spite of all the hyperventillating stories you read or hear. There is a slim chance it could be ready sooner. SLIM.

The best thing we can do right now to avoid general lockdowns is come up with inexpensive tests that do not need to be adminstered or evaluated by a medic. These tests exist today.

They are called ANTIGEN tests. Currently they cost between $5 and $10 each, as opposed to PCR tests which cost $30 or more each. Antigen tests can be as simple as a card you lick or spit on, wait 15-20 minutes, and see if the card changes color. Depending on the color, the test will tell you if you are negative, or if further testing is needed.

Here’s the thing: antigen tests have a relatively high false positive rate, whereas PCR testing gives a very low false positive. In other words, if a PCR test says you have CoVID-19, you very likely (almost certainly) do have it. On the other hand, a positive result on an antigen test may mean you have it, but there’s at least a 10% chance you don’t. BUT — the antigen tests are at least as good at telling you you DO NOT have CoVID-19 as PCR tests are at telling you you do have it.

So, you distribute these cards widely, and freely — to everyone. Each day, you wake up, spit on the card, wait 20 minutes. If the card doesn’t change (or the change indicates you don’t have it, you go on about your day. If the card indicates you may have it, you (and whoever you’ve had contact with who is likewise not testing negative will go get a PCR test to confirm whether or not you really have CoVID-19. If it turns out you DO have it, you go into quarantine and start getting immediate treatment to lessen (and hopefully shorten) the disease’s impact on you. No further locking down of entire cities would be required.

To do this requires governments doing what we create them and elect them to do: manage our common resources for the benefit of all. Orginsing the resources necessary to do this is something government should be doing. Spending money to make those testing cards freely available to everyone is something government should be doing. That is what government can do to keep the economy going and maintain a semblance of “normalcy”, and avoid or altogether eliminiate the need for widespread lockdowns.

Collateral Damage

Ellen stops off at the grocery store on her way in to work to pick up a few things she’ll need. She pauses by the hand sanitizer and thinks, “I just washed my hands a little while ago. I don’t need to bother.”

She peruses the aisles that have the items she’s after – among these a box of tissues. She’s about to pick up her usual brand but notices another is on sale, so she puts the one down to pick up the other, compare them. She decides to go with her first choice and puts down the “cheaper” one.

Unbeknownst to her, Lachlan was looking at those same tissues a few minutes before. Lachlan didn’t know it at the time (and won’t know it for another few days) but he’s infected with CoVID-19. He doesn’t know what all this mask fuss is about and though he wears one, it tends to slip down around his chin, he frequently scratches his nose, touches his face … and boxes of tissues he’s picking up to decide which one to get.

Ellen takes her items to the checkout, pays, and on her way out does use the hand sanitizer, since she has after all been picking up things other people have been touching. Ellen’s smart and she’s trying to do the right thing.

Mark comes into the grocery store a few minutes after Ellen. They don’t know each other, and they never will. Mark is doing the week’s shopping for himself and his wife Margot, who’s at home recovering from her latest round of chemo. In better times Margot would have gone with Mark. Grocery shopping is one of the hundreds of little things they love doing together. But, today Margo must stay home. She’s “neutropoenic” meaning her immune cells are nearly gone, having been wiped out by the latest round of chemo. They’ll come back as her stem cells reconstitute her immune system. In the mean time, she needs to avoid coming in contact with germs that could make her sick, germs that a normal healthy immune system disposes of thousands of times a day without us being the least bit aware.

Mark has “box of tissues” on his list, and he heads down the aisle and picks up a couple of their usual brand, which he’s pleased to see is on sale this week. Mark pushes his cart to the checkout, pays, dowses his hands with sanitizer, and heads to the car where he loads up the several bags of groceries and supplies. When he gets home, Margot asks, “Did you remember the tissues?”. “Of course, here.”, he says, opening and handing her the box.

A few days later, we find Mark sitting outside the ICU. Margot is inside, fighting for her life. Margot “spiked” a fever a few hours after Mark got home from the store. Mark brought her to the ED, as he had once or twice before. Trips to the ED are not uncommon for neutropoenic patients, and these all had a happy ending after a round of broad-spectrum antibiotics. This time was different. Each time before they’d tested her for CoVID-19 and both times she’d tested negative. This time she tested positive.

Margot never met or saw Lachlan, nor did Mark, nor did Ellen.

Amy Coney-Barrett: The Origins of the Specious

In the course of our lives we meet people who we consider brilliant intellectually and/or lovely and decent. But, we are all only human, and sooner or later, you’ll find a place in their psyche that is to say the least anomalous with regard to everything else about them. It may strike like a lightning bolt when this well-spoken, seemingly erudite individual casually drops the “N” word in otherwise polite conversation, or it can be a growing unease as you start to realize the person you’re talking to espouses the philosophy of Ayn Rand in its entirety. It is almost invariably tied to or based upon some sort of religious belief, and it only adds to my conclusion that religion is synomymous with psychosis.

The progressives (or the right-wing effigy of us) who get most of the media attention focus on her being the straw that will break the back of Roe v. Wade. They forget that even RBG wasn’t such a great defender of that decision, although she was of course a defender – perhaps one of the greatest we’ve had – of a woman’s right to choose. Roe v. Wade was based upon a poorly constructed (you might even say specious) constitutional “right to privacy”. Originalist (Scalia, Coney, et alia) will tell you there is no such right, and they’d be “correct”. By the same logic, slavery should still be legal – so long as the slaves weren’t imported, of course. Such originalist thinking leads to all sorts of moral absurdities, and the fact that the Framers provided for the Constitution’s evolution (by amendment) is, to my albeit naive, untrained mind, proof that they knew the document would need to change with the times to come.

Any Bible scholar will recognize Scalia’s and Coney’s originalism as isogenesis – the approach to reading and interpreting scripture as it would have been viewed at the time of its writing, rather than as modern humans who no longer herd pigs before which they can throw their jewelry. It is no coincidence that both Coney and Scalia are outspoken, die-hard christian fundamentalists, interpreting our Constitution isogetically, just as they might their beloved scripture.

Consider the parable of the unjust servant who learned his master would soon be “firing” him. He goes to his master’s debtors and has them change the amount they owe the master. When the master learns what the servant has done – acts that to us look like obvious fraud – he praises the servant for being so clever. What the story doesn’t say – because anyone in that time would have understood – is that it was common to inflate a debt above what was actually owed to get around the proscription against charging interest. The law would turn a blind eye to creditors who did this, but at the same time there was an honor system such that a debtor just paid the excess, knowing that if he didn’t, he’d probably never be able to borrow from the creditor again. The servant used this legal fiction against his soon-to-be-ex master to gain favor with prospective new employers. Context is important.

Scalia was unquestionably brilliant; Coney seems likewise intellectually stellar. He loved opera, too, and RBG found sufficient redeeming qualities in him to be his friend, even his “buddy”, and I’ve no doubt that were Coney to be seated on a bench that still included RBG they’d get along famously. But, there were obvious absurdities in his thinking – e.g. torture isn’t “punishment” – that spring up like venomous snakes and bite us all when SCOTUS cases tread on them. We’ve already seen similar absurdities in Coney’s – a wife should submit to her husband. (This begs the question, Are we to assume that her husband will be weighing in on SCOTUS decisions, too?) These originalists live in a past that is constructed more from myth than from fact. They lose sight of the world around them, see only this fairy-tale world to come, and for all their smarts forget where they are, the times they live in, and that there are many ordinary, less brilliant yet seriously vulnerable people out there, who will suffer as a result of their (Scalia et alia) narrow view.

Coney and Scalia see themselves as bringing light to a dark world. Lasers are by definition coherent light – focused, powerful. They do little or nothing, however, to light up a room or the world.

Hidden Agendas

You won’t see this in the media.

How many of times have we seen this predicate, even in just the past few weeks?

When I see this, I read it as, “What you’re about to read is almost certainly bullshit, coated thickly in the language of gravitas and erudition to make you think it’s truthful, even scholarly.”

The presumption is that “this” (whatever “this” might be) doesn’t show up in the media because either the media or the government are trying to hide “this” from you. That presumption ignores a simple truth: the media are made up of businesses, profit-making (they would hope) businesses. Nothing more. Their purpose, their corporate mission is not to inform, but to increase shareholder value, pay out pecuniary dividends.

To the media, time is the precious resource they must spend in order to make those profits, increase earnings, satisfy their shareholders. They do their utmost to see to it that every expenditure of time yields maximum return. Whereas you and I see an apparently limitless flow of “news” from a seemlingly infinite array of sources, each of those sources has a much more constrained, more linear view of the world. We feel like we’re being shot at from all sides, but each one of them can only fire one shot at a time, so they want to make every shot count as much as possible.

When something doesn’t show up in the media, it isn’t because they’re trying to hide it; it’s because it literally isn’t worth their time to show it. There are other, more profitable ways for them to spend that time. This is really the only piece of information they — or anyone else — is trying to hide from us.

Stay sceptical, my friends.


In David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5000 Years, he goes into a lengthy discussion about slavery, pointing out that a slave is “invisible”. They have no identity, and must perform their functions without notice, without drawing attention.

The same holds true for all sorts of other people who we’re taught “not to see”. From an early age, we’re taught not to stare at the disabled, not to go near poor people lest they try to grab us, or steal from us. In major cities, you simply do NOT make eye contact with anyone, ESPECIALLY the wretch begging on the street, or passing hat or cup on the subway. (In New York it is a crime to give money to someone panhandling on a subway or bus.) And so it goes for people in pain, who are drowning, who are dying. Don’t look. Don’t touch. Act like they’re not there. Invisible. Even when we do put a coin – or a bill- in the cup, we make sure not to make eye contact. It isn’t giving; it’s absolving ourselves, telling ourselves we’ve somehow helped, done our part. Yet, we never see the person, never see their poverty, their pain, them. Invisible.

I used to struggle with what, if anything, to give when I encountered a panhandler. Small change seemed like too little, perhaps even insulting. Enough for a meal might be good, but, how many meals for how many people, how often? Can’t help all of them, so now I must choose? Better to simply let all of them go hungry. That’s “fair”, right? And if I happen to have a $5 or $10 in my pocket, well, don’t I feel like the grand duke for giving someone that. And won’t that just make them the target of some other “thieving beggar”? Don’t want to feel haughty for giving alot, nor guilty for making them a target. And I sure as hell don’t want to look them in the eye and give them a glimpse of the discomfiture they’re causing me. Look straight ahead, keep walking, nothing to see here. Invisible.

I finally realized that while we no longer have slavery (as such) we deal with poverty – financial, spiritual, health (i.e. poor health) – in much the same way. We make the poor, the sick, the suffering, the dying. Invisible.

The solution is simple: SEE them. Put the coin, however small, in the cup. And when you do, don’t just drop it without stopping, never making eye contact. Stop, look at them, and say something to them, something that says, “I see you.” It doesn’t have to be in so many words, or in many words at all. “Good luck, mate!” is enough. I’ve never had a negative response to this. They always look up at me, smile, say, “God bless you”, or something along those lines. What you’ve given them isn’t money, or drugs, or booze, or food. You’ve recognized their humanity, their presence, their being. You make them … visible.

PI Day (3-14) 2019 Puzzle

This puzzle showed up in my twitter feed today, so I thought I’d post the solution as it makes use of both algebra and deductive reasoning. I’ll point out that the problem statement as seen in initial screen isn’t complete, and the solution he gives is to a somewhat different problem. What I solved is this:

Given the equation

\sqrt{PIE} = \sqrt{PI} + E

Where P, I, and E, are integers from 0 to 9, and P cannot be 0, find values for each of these that solve this equation.

The first thing I do is get all of the radicals on the same side …

\sqrt{PIE} - \sqrt{PI}  =  E

then square both sides and gather like terms, pulling out the common factor, PI …

PIE - 2PI\sqrt{E} + PI  =  E^2

PI(E - 2\sqrt{E} + 1)  =  E^2

Since we’re only considering integers, and E is the only term under the radical, our choices for it are limited to 0, 1, 4, and 9.

We can eliminate 0 right away. The only way the equation makes with E=0 is if P or I are also zero. P can’t be (by definition) and I can’t be since we’re not allowed to have both E and I set to zero.

Setting E = 1 makes the term in parentheses 0, which results in 0 = 1, which is of course absurd.

With E=9 we end up with 4 in the parenthetical, making the whole equation

4PI = 81

Since an product with an even factor must also be even, this rules out 9.


That leaves us with 4.  Plugging that in gives us PI = 16 which is entirely plausible. 

In fact, there are only two numbers left in our range that solve this: 2 and 8.  It doesn’t matter which you assign to P or I.  The math still works out.

Plugging these back in to the original equation, we see that

\sqrt{(2)(8)(4)} = \sqrt{(2)(8)} + 4

\sqrt{64} = \sqrt{16} + 4

8 = 4 + 4

The Original Puzzle

The puzzle I linked to at the top has one additional constraint: PIE is a three digit number, and PI is a two digit number. If you watch the video, the solution is almost pure deductive reasoning with little if any algebra at all. Oh, and the solution itself is completely different. In fact, one of the solution elements that doesn’t work here, does work in his version of the problem.

Programming Sucks

[Linking to this for all of us who make our living digging tunnels under Mordor …]

Every friend I have with a job that involves picking up something heavier than a laptop more than twice a week eventually finds a way to slip something like this into conversation: “Bro,1you don’t work hard. I just worked a 4700-hour week digging a tunnel under Mordor with a screwdriver.”  They have a point. Mordor sucks, and it’s certainly more physically taxing to dig a tunnel than poke at a keyboard unless you’re an ant. But, for the sake of the argument, can we agree that stress and insanity are bad things? Awesome. Welcome to programming.


[The following appeared in a facebook quote.  I’m reposting it here in accordance with the author’s (Dr David Pascoe BVSc PhD OVH Repro) request that it be shared widely.  It was first published in December, 2014, yet it is sadly even more relevant today.]Image may contain: 2 people

Dear Men and Women of Australia,

There are two photographs on this page, and they almost look like father and daughter. One is of a young woman, the other is of an elderly man.

The photograph of the woman was taken in the Great Depression of 1934. Her name was Florence Owens Thompson, a 32 year old mother of seven children who was sitting homeless in a tent. The photograph was published in the newspapers of America and it enraged the nation, because people could not believe that Americans could be treated in such a way. It forced President Roosevelt to act, to step up and become a leader for his times: he launched soup kitchens, work gangs, programs for the homeless, dams and roads and railways were built – and he gave his people hope.

John Steinbeck later wrote a book called The Grapes of Wrath which became an American literary Icon. It was about a drought that made the farmers penniless – and how the banks had forced them off their land so they could sell it on o the big corporations. What happened to the farmers of Oklahoma carved a deep and shameful scar across the American identity that was felt throughout the Twentieth Century.

The second photograph on this page is of Charlie Phillott, 87, an elderly farmer from Carisbrooke Station at Winton. He has owned his station since 1960, nurtured it and loved it. He is a grand old gentleman, one of the much loved fathers of his community.

Not so long ago, the ANZ bank came and threw him off his station because the drought had devalued his land and they told him he was considered an unviable risk. Yet he has never once missed a single mortgage payment.

Today, Charlie Phillott, Grand Old Man of the West, is living like a hunted down refugee in Winton, shocked and humiliated and penniless. And most of all, Charlie Phillott is ashamed, because as a member of the Great Generation – those fine and decent and ethical men and women who built this country – he believes that what happened to him was somehow his own fault. And the ANZ Bank certainly made sure they made him feel like that.

Last Friday my wife Heather and I flew up with Alan Jones to attend the Farmers Last Stand drought and debt meeting. And after what I saw being done to our own people, I have never been more ashamed to be Australian in my life.

What is happening out there is little more than corporate terrorism: our own Australian people are being bullied, threatened and abused by both banks and mining companies until they are forced off their own land.

So we must ask: is this simply to move the people off their land and free up it up for mining by foreign mining companies or make suddenly newly empty farms available for purchase by Chinese buyers? As outrageous as it might seem, all the evidence flooding in seems to suggest that this is exactly what is going on.

What is the role of Government in all of this? Why have both the State and Federal Government stood back and allowed such a dreadful travesty to happen to our own people? Where was Campbell Newman on this issue? Where was Prime Minister Abbott? The answer is nowhere to be seen.

For the last few months, The Prime Minister has warned against the threats of terrorism to our nation. We have been alerted to ISIS and its clear and present danger to the Australian people.

Abbott has despatched Australian military forces into the Middle East in an effort to destroy this threat to our own safety and security. This mobilization of our military forces has come at a massive expense to the average Australian taxpayer which the Prime Minister estimates to be around half a billion dollars each year.

We are told that terrorism is dangerous not only because of the threat to human life but also because it displaces populations and creates the tragedy and massive human cost of refugees.

Yet not one single newspaper or politician in this land has exposed the fact that the worst form of terrorism that is happening right now is going on inside the very heartland of our own nation as banks and foreign mining companies are deliberately forcing our own Australian farmers off the land.

What we saw in the main hall of the Winton Shire Council on Friday simply defied all description: a room filled with hundreds of broken and battered refuges from our own country. And all over the inland of both Queensland and NSW, there is nothing but social and financial carnage on a scale never before witnessed in this nation.

It was 41 degrees when we touched down at the Winton airport, and when you fly in low over this landscape it is simply Apocalyptic: there has not been a drop of rain in Winton for two years and there is not a sheep, a cow, a kangaroo, an emu or a bird in sight. Even the trees in the very belly of the creeks are dying.

There is little doubt that this is a natural disaster of incredible magnitude – and yet nobody – neither state nor the federal government – is willing to declare it as such.

The suicide rate has now reached such epic proportions right across the inland: not just the farmer who takes the walk “ up the paddock” and does away with himself but also their children and their wives. Once again, it has barely been covered by the media, a dreadful masquerade that has assisted by the reticence and shame of honourable farming families caught in these tragic situations.

My wife is one of the toughest women I know. Her family went into North West of Queensland as pioneers one hundred years ago: this is her blood country and these are her people . Yet when she stood up to speak to this crowd on Friday she broke down: she told me later that when she looked into the eyes of her own people, what she saw was enough to break her heart

And yet not one of us knew it was this bad, this much of a national tragedy. The truth is that these days, the Australian media basically doesn’t give a damn. They have been muzzled and shut down by governments and foreign mining companies to the extent that they are no longer willing to write the real story. So the responsibility is now left to people like us, to social media – and you, the Australian people.

And so the banks have been free to play their games and completely terrorise these people at their leisure. The drought has devalued the land and the banks have seen their opportunity to strike. It was exactly the excuse that they needed to clean up and make a fortune, because once the rains come – as they always do – this land will be worth four to ten times the price.

In fact, when farmers have asked for the payout figures, the banks have been either deeply reluctant or not capable of providing the mortgage trail because they have on-sold the mortgage – just like sub-prime agriculture.

This problem isn’t simply happening in Winton, but rather right across the entire inland across Queensland and NSW. The banks have been bringing in the police to evict Australian famers and their families from their farms, many of them multigenerational. One farmer matter of factly told us it took “oh, about 7 police” to evict him from his first farm and “maybe about twelve” to evict him from his second farm which had been in his family for many generations. You think they are kidding you. Then you see the expression in their eyes.

And there was something far worse in the room on Friday: the fear of speaking out against the banks: when we asked people to tell us who had done this to them, they would immediately start to shake and cry and look away: They have been silenced to protect the good corporate image of their tormentors called the banks. What in God’s name have the bastard banks been allowed to do to our people?

This is a travesty against the rights and the human dignity of every Australian

So it’s only fair that we start to name a few of major banks involved: The ANZ is a major culprit (and they made $7 billion profit last year). Then there is Rabo, which is now owned by Westpac (who paid CEO Gail Kelly a yearly salary of some $12 million) According to all reports, the NAB is right in there at the trough as well – and all the rest of them are equally guilty. For any that we have missed, rest assured they will be publicly exposed as well

But here’s the thing: when these people are forced off their farms, they have nowhere to go. There are no refugee services waiting, such is the case for those who attempt to enter the sovereign borders of this nation. The farmers simply drive to the nearest town – that’s if the banks haven’t stripped their cars off them as well – and they try and find somewhere to sleep. Some are sleeping on the backs of trucks in swags. There is basically no home or accommodation made available to take them. They camp out, shocked and broken and penniless – and they are living on weet bix and noodles. If there is someone that can lend a family enough money to buy food, they will: otherwise they are left completely alone.

And consider this: not one of them has asked for help. Not one. They just do the best they can, ashamed and broken and brainwashed by the banks to believe that everything that has happened is completely their own fault

There is not one single word of this from a politicians lips, with the exception of the incredibly courageous father and son team of Bob and Robbie Katter, who organised the Farmers Last Stand meeting. The Katter family have been in the North since the 1890’s, and nobody who sat in that hall last Friday could question their love and commitment to their own people.

There is barely a mention of any of this as well in the newspapers, with the exception of as brief splash of publicity that followed our visit.

The Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce attended the meeting in a bitter blue-funk kind of mood that saw him mostly hunched over and staring at the floor. He had given $100 million of financial assistance in a lousy deal where the Government will borrow at 2.75% and loan it back at 3.21%.

The last thing these people need is another loan: they need a Redevelopment Bank to refinance their own loans: issuing a loan to pay off a loan is nothing more than financial suicide.

The reality is that Joyce cannot get support from what he calls “the shits in Cabinet” to create a desperately needed Redevelopment Bank so that these farmers can get cheap loans to tide them through to the end of the drought.

Our sources suggest that those “shits in Cabinet” include Malcolm Turnbull – Minister for Communications and the uber-cool trendy city-centric Liberal in the black leather jacket:, Andrew Robb – Minster for Trade and Investment and the man behind the free trade deal, the man who suddenly acquired three trendy Sydney restaurants almost overnight, the man who seems to suddenly desperate to sell off our farms to China – and one Greg Hunt, Environment Minister and the man who is instantly approving almost every single mining project that is put in front of him.

At the conclusion of the meeting, we stood and met some of the people in the crowd. My wife talked to women who would hug her for dear life, and when they walked away people would suddenly murmur “oh, she was forced off last week” or “they are being forced off tomorrow” . Not one of them mentioned it to us. They had too much pride.

The Australian people need to be both informed and desperately outraged about what is being done to our own people. This is about every right that was once held dear to us: human rights, property rights, civil rights. And most all, our right to freedom of speech. All of that has been taken away from these people – and the rest of us need to understand that we are probably next.

In the last four weeks the Newman Government has removed all farmers rights to protest to a mine and given mining companies the rights to take all the water they want from the Great Artesian Basin – and at no cost to them at all.

And all of this has happened under the watch of both Premier Newman and Prime Minister Abbott.

Until Friday, we used to think of Winton as the home of Waltzing Matilda: it was written at a local station and first performed in the North Gregory Hotel. I think it was Don McLean who wrote, “something touched me deep inside…the day the music died”… in his song American Pie, and for us, last Friday was the day music died.

We will never be able to sing Waltzing Matilda again until we see some justice for these people, and all the farmers of the inland.

This is no longer the Australia we once knew: no longer our country, no longer our people, no longer the decent caring leaders we once remembered.

Right now, the banks, the mining mates, the corrupt politicians and all the ‘mongrels in suits’ have won – and the Australian people don’t have a clue what has been done to them.

Like the American Depression and the iconic photograph of Florence Owens Thompson, there is a terrible, gaping wound that has been carved across the heartland of this nation.

We need to fully grasp that, and to understand that our people – dignified, decent and honourable old men like Charlie Phillott – have been deliberately terrorized, brutalised – and sold out.

So if we are ever going to do something, then we’d better realise that its two minutes to midnight – so we’d better move fast.



Please share this as widely as you can across Australia. You are now the only truthful means we have to spread the message.
Contact politicians, contact newspapers, radio and television stations. Demand that your voice is heard.

Charlie Phillott (left) The Australian December 2014: 
Florence Owens Thompson (Dorthea Lange) March 1936 (originally photographed in b&w)

Chicken Liberal*

My friend, neighbor, and fellow-activist Garry Muratore posted this earlier today on his facebook page.  I’m re-sharing it here, with his kind permission, for the greater good of all mankind1.  The item you see in the photo appeared in a local paper in Jersey, UK. 

*Additionally, the reader not acquainted with British or Australian politics must understand that the Liberal National Party are only liberal when it comes to corporations. In all other respects, they tend to espouse right-wing (social) policy.  Garry’s comments allude to items that have appeared in the media2 over the past few months.

Imagine if this was happening here in Victoria. If it did it would go something like this……

Liberal Opposition Leader Matthew Guy would claim chicken crime up 72% since Labor came to office and if elected in November his government would show zero tolerance to chicken gangs.

The Herald Sun3 would devote 27 front pages to chicken gangs and somehow tie them to John Sekta and the CFMEU. Several editorials will question “why are the courts soft on chickens.”

Local State LNP MP’s would use tax-payer funded printing to letterbox hundreds of suburbs claiming “Labor plan to build more coups, is your suburb next?”

Peter Dutton4 goes on Sydney’s 2GB telling Ray Hadley, people in Melbourne are scared to go out due to fear of chicken gangs.

Pauline Hansen5 will call a press conference pointing out that chicken is Halal (wake up people!)

KFC6 would receive a $2 Billion contract to process rogue chickens on some Pacific Island. The ABC7 would be banned from visiting.

The Panama Papers would reveal that Malcolm Turnbull8 has huge investments in poultry related technology companies. All profits are declared in the Bahamas.