Black Lies Matter

First written 11th June 2020. Submitted unsuccessfully to Quadrant and Catallaxy Files.

Black Lives Matter has its own website. That’s no surprise. The About page summarises BLM (Emphasis mine.)

#BlackLivesMatter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives.

We are expansive. We are a collective of liberators who believe in an inclusive and spacious movement. We also believe that in order to win and bring as many people with us along the way, we must move beyond the narrow nationalism that is all too prevalent in Black communities. We must ensure we are building a movement that brings all of us to the front.

We affirm the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, undocumented folks, folks with records, women, and all Black lives along the gender spectrum. Our network centers those who have been marginalized within Black liberation movements.

We are working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically targeted for demise.

We affirm our humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.

We affirm our humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.

The element that jumps out from this is the trigger for the founding of BLM: the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Trayvon Martin wasn’t murdered, or so the jury found. George Zimmerman, described as a “white Hispanic,” insisted that he had acted in self-defence, and that explanation was accepted by the jury in the teeth of a ferocious campaign of black racism – the most public legal circus since the trial of O. J. Simpson. The United States’ most prominent black citizen, President Barack Obama, poured petrol on the flames. “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” Only in the sense of being black, of course.

By way of comparison, imagine that, in 2028, Catholic churches in Australia are being burned by #WeBelieveYou mobs enraged in the first instance by the eventual acquittal of George Pell, and that the WBU madness is spreading to the USA and the UK.

George Zimmerman was acquitted eight years ago. Today, he is suing Trayvon Martin’s family, their lawyer and Florida prosecutors – a total of eleven defendants – for $100m in damages. Zimmerman had been cleared by police until the release of a recorded interview with Trayvon’s putative girlfriend, who was on the phone to him up to the time he attacked Zimmerman. Ben Crump, a civil rights lawyer, had spoken to the girl, Diamond Eugene, and in the call she alleged she had heard “wet grass sounds” and that she had heard Trayvon saying “Get off, get off.” A year later, a letter came to light, signed by Diamond Eugene, with a version of the night’s events consistent with Zimmerman’s story. It had been written by Diamond and given to Trayvon’s mother, who kept it from police. Zimmerman alleges that the woman who testified in court, Rachel Jeantel, claiming to have been the woman on the phone, and to have dictated the letter and signed it using a pseudonym, was in fact the half-sister of Brittany Diamond Eugene, who was actually Trayvon’s girlfriend. He alleges that all of the family and Ben Crump were aware of the fraud, and that the prosecutors either knew or were culpably negligent in allowing the substitution.

The allegation of witness fraud were first raised by a film-maker, Joel Gilbert, in The Trayvon Hoax, a film he made laying out in excruciating detail (and irrelevant dramatic asides) the process of locating Brittany Diamond Eugene. The accusations are explosive; especially in that the whole BLM organisation was constructed on this “black narrative” of race-driven murder of an innocent youth.

This lawsuit is probably the most important case now before an American court, notwithstanding recent SCOTUS decisions. The BLM boondoggle is threatening to dismantle the political and social order in the United States. The Red&Black Guards are on the rampage, and they have the support of powerful vested interests, who imagine that they can bridle the tiger when it is convenient for them. Good luck with that.

The Burden of Proof and the Pell Case

[Originally published by Quadrant Online on 30th December 2019. Published in Quadrant Magazine March 2020.]

The conviction of the guilty is just; it is the unremarkable business of a just criminal jurisprudence; but the conviction of the innocent strikes at the heart of Justice. If it happens through error or negligence, it is bad enough; when it happens by design, it is an abomination that corrodes trust in the law itself. 

Maimonides in the 12th century, in this commentary on Exodus 23:7 (Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent and righteous, for I will not acquit the wicked) concluded, “it is better and more satisfactory to acquit a thousand guilty persons than to put a single innocent man to death once in a way.”

Continue reading “The Burden of Proof and the Pell Case”

Video Secrets

[An edited version of this article was published in Quadrant Online as Bile! You’re on Qatar’s Candid Camera.]

Two weeks ago, Comedy Central’s Jim Jefferies responded to the Christchurch massacre with a hit piece on Avi Yemini, who is one of the emerging breed of conservative citizen reporters producing videos on social media. Jefferies had interviewed Yemini a few months prior to the massacre, but rushed his heavily edited footage to air as an exposé of Australian white supremacism. It was built around a portrayal of Yemini as an anti-Muslim activist and an anti-black racist.

Unfortunately for Jefferies, Yemini had secretly recorded their conversation. When Jefferies had aired his ambush, Yemini followed suit with a short series combining segments from Jefferies’ piece with unedited sequences from his own. The results are devastating for Jim Jefferies and Comedy Central, as you can see here.

Continue reading “Video Secrets”

Men, Improved

[First published in Quadrant Online as Gender Quotas, Merit and Faux Equality.]

Since the outbreak of #metoo hashtagging in the Federal parliamentary Liberal Party, Peta Credlin (among others) has been promoting targets for Liberal women in Parliament.  Simultaneously, she decries quotas as promoted by, for example, the Labor Party.  Women, she says, don’t want a handicapping system for men; women want to win entirely on their own merits; women don’t want to walk into the party room aware that there were better candidates whose shoes they are not quite filling; etc, etc, etc.  Women who are like Peta only want to get into Parliament by their own honest and honourable efforts.

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Men Are Mortal

[First published in Quadrant Online as ‘Slut-Shamed’ Victimhood’s Loose Logic]

Men are mortal.
ScoMo is a man.
Therefore, ScoMo is mortal.

Is there anything wrong with this argument?  A stickler for logical forms would insist that the first premiss should be All men are mortal.  Fair enough.  But if you put the initial form of the argument to a large sample of Australian voters, how many would object?  A statement like men are mortal will generally be accepted as a class attribution.

Now try this one.

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A Modest Amendment

Update

The bills I discuss below were withdrawn on the 27th of February, 2017, because they faced almost certain defeat.  The issue of reform was referred to the Queensland Law Reform Commission.

Two related private member’s bills are currently before the Queensland Parliament. The Abortion Law Reform (Women’s Right To Choose Bill) 2016 removes abortion from the Queensland Criminal Code, lock stock and barrel. This is necessary, as the Explanatory Note makes clear, because “[t]he current law in Queensland is causing great hardship and personal suffering.” Further, according to Dr Carolyn De Costa, “This is the only health procedure that is dealt with like this in criminal legislation. It’s way, way out of date and belongs in the 19th century. We’re practising medicine in the 21st century.” The “Benefits of the Bill” include the following. “The Bill will repeal outdated laws that can criminalise women and doctors for a basic human right and a medical procedure…These archaic laws are dangerous and have no place in modern society where women should always have control over their own bodies. This Bill will protect vulnerable Queensland women and the doctors that are currently risking prosecution to assist them.”

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Redefining marriage

Brendan O’Neill raises a point which I have never heard in the discussion before, but which I have always felt is critical. This unprecedented redefinition of the basic building block of human society rewrites the contract that the State entered into with every currently married person. How’s that for retrospective legislation? I will return to this point below.

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A Tale of Two Parties

The election-night convention is that the losing leader first concedes defeat, and when these formalities are out of the way the victor claims the spoils. In each case, these speeches, replete with the necessary acknowledgments and thank-yous, are delivered to a gathering of the hard-core faithful.

I recall some vivid scenes from what my memory tells me are past examples of the genre: Malcolm Fraser in victory deflecting Tammy’s adoring embrace; Fraser in defeat, at the precipice of tears, with Tammy attentive at his side; Keating alone on stage, announcing, This is one for the true believers, to a rapturous rock-concert response. Continue reading “A Tale of Two Parties”

The Turn of the Worm

There’s been much brouhaha about the pulling of Channel 9’s coverage of the Howard-Rudd debate because 9 insisted on showing the “uncommitted voters” responses to the debate in the form of the “worm”, a continuously updated graph of said responses, overlaid on the bottom of the image. This despite Howard’s setting it as a condition of the debate that the “worm” not be used. Continue reading “The Turn of the Worm”