Breaking News: Stairs sue Dan Andrews for defamation

Published at Catallaxy Files on 10/06/2021

A set of stairs today filed a defamation suit against Victorian Premier Dan Andrews, lawyers representing the as-yet unnamed stairs announced today.

“Dan Andrews called our client ‘slippery’,” a spokes-entity for the stairs’ lawyers said. “‘Slippery’ is an entity slur that stairs take very seriously, as the Premier is about to discover. Our client is not the slippery entity in this incident.”

No further details of the suit are available.

Debunking Dr Shiva

This document was prepared some time ago, but could not find a home.

Ever since I first saw the analysis by Evans, Smith and Shiva of vote leakage in the big Michigan counties, I have thought of it as the single most compelling evidence of electoral fraud, and one with much wider application that just Michigan. Michigan was selected because of the availability of straight part-ticket voting in that State, a bit like the above-the-line voting in the Senate here. That gives a demographic snapshot of the party vote on a precinct-by-precinct basis. (Polling booths are probably the nearest analogy to the precincts.) By comparing the specific Trump/Biden vote to the straight-ticket voting, a picture of the leakage to or from the party Presidential candidate can be constructed. Continue reading “Debunking Dr Shiva”

Practice makes Perfect

The mid-term elections of Trump’s presidency were held on the 6th of November 2018, amid high expectations of a so-called “blue wave” of Democrat victories. All House of Representatives seats were on the line, but although Democrats won control of the House, they made little impact in the Senate, which remained under Republican control.

Florida was particularly sensitive about election processes because the result of the 2000 Presidential election, which hinged on the result in Florida, was effectively settled in the Supreme Court of the US. Broward County has 1.2 million voters, a similar number to Miami-Dade county. Unlike Miami-Dade, however, Broward officials did not expect to complete the count by the deadline for sending preliminary totals to the State. Continue reading “Practice makes Perfect”

Learning from Bin Laden

Bin Laden knew a thing or two about the media; especially the Western media. On the rare occasions on which he permitted an interview, he always had the entire exchange recorded by his own videographer. It’s a lesson a good many Australian public figures could have benefitted from. The latest of them is Andrew Hastie.

When Major-General Brereton released his report, Andrew Hastie, as a former officer in the Special Service Regiment (SASR), was anxious to put his point of view. He wrote an article published in The Australian, and then he was interviewed by Andrew Probyn for the ABC. In his Australian article, Hastie wrote, “The report is hard reading. It is comprehensive, detailed and unsparing in its judgment on those ­alleged to have committed war crimes.” A problem jumps out from this, a problem that characterises the whole media circus. It does accurately characterise the report, and it seems also to characterise Hastie’s attitude. How can unsparing judgment be made on allegations? Such language implies pre-judgement.

Continue reading “Learning from Bin Laden”

Brereton’s Backup

The most interesting, and in many ways the most useful, part of the Brereton report is Annex A, the Whetham Report, to Part 3, Strategic, Operational, Organisational and Cultural Issues. It’s written by Dr. David Whetham. Among (many) other things, he’s Director of the King’s Centre for Military Ethics at King’s College, London. He was made Assistant Inspector-General of the ADF for the purpose of this very report. Here’s his bio from King’s.

David Whetham is Professor of Ethics and the Military Profession in the Defence Studies Department of King’s College London. He is the Director of the King’s Centre for Military Ethics and delivers or coordinates the military ethics component of courses for between two and three thousand British and international officers a year at the UK’s Joint Services Command and Staff College. Before joining King’s as a permanent member fo staff in 2003, David worked as a BBC researcher and with the OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe] in Kosovo, supporting the 2001 and 2002 elections.

Continue reading “Brereton’s Backup”

No officers were harmed in the making of this report

It’s like this, in the gospel according to Brereton

All that said, it was at the patrol commander level that the criminal behaviour was conceived, committed, continued, and concealed, and overwhelmingly at that level that responsibility resides…
The Inquiry has found no evidence that there was knowledge of, or reckless indifference to, the commission of war crimes, on the part of commanders at troop/platoon, squadron/company or Task Group Headquarters level, let alone at higher levels such as Commander Joint Task Force 633, Joint Operations Command, or Australian Defence Headquarters. Nor…was [there] any failure at any of those levels to take reasonable and practical steps that would have prevented or detected the commission of war crimes.
…responsibility and accountability does not extend to higher headquarters…
The responsibility lies in the Australian Defence Force, not with the government of the day.
…that culture was not created or enabled in SOTG, let alone by any individual Special Operations Task Group Commanding Officer. … It was in their parent units…that the cultures…were bred, and it is with the commanders of the domestic units who enabled that, rather than with the SOTG commanders, that greater responsibility rests. Continue reading “No officers were harmed in the making of this report”

Hate-speech legislators discover freedom of speech

Merkel Says Big Tech Shouldn’t Have Power to Decide Who Has Free Speech

French Government “Shocked” at Twitter Banning of Trump

UK minister: Trump ban shows Twitter taking “editorial decisions,” could mean regulation

World governments condemn tech-induced censorship of President Trump, plan to regulate (featuring Michael McCormack)

Isn’t it wonderful that leaders who were previously fanatical in outlawing “hate-speech” have seen the light? Well, it would be if they had, but there is not the slightest hint that they have changed any of their opinions. They have seen an opportunity to achieve two useful results. Continue reading “Hate-speech legislators discover freedom of speech”

Young & Free

[Published at Catallaxy Files 12/01/2021]

In 1942, the Special Services Division, Services of Supply, United States Army, published a booklet called Instructions for American Servicemen in Australia. The first section includes this:

The Australians have much in common with us – they’re a pioneer people; they believe in personal freedom; they love sports; and they’re out to lick the Axis all the way. But there are a lot of differences too – their ways of living and thinking on all sorts of things – like tea, central heating, the best way to spend Sunday, or saluting officers and such.

Continue reading “Young & Free”

Deadlock

[Published at Catallaxy Files 27/11/2020]

Edsgar Dijkstra became a programmer in 1951. He is one of the early giants in a field that saw an unprecedented explosion of intellectual activity. When multi-processing came to computing, the phenomenon of deadlock began to make a pest of itself. Processes would just sieze up, something that anyone with a personal computer or smartphone has probably observed. Dijkstra studied this problem, and in one of his simple, elegant expositions, showed that systems reached a point of no return before there are indications of trouble ahead. Processes could do essentially the same things thousands or millions of times without problems, then two or more of them would deadlock, no one of them able to continue. Until that happened, there would be no warning; yet, at some earlier moment the rubicon had been crossed, and it was only a matter of time.

There has always been a contempt for the rubes within the ruling class. Different rules have always applied. There has at least since the advent of mass media been manipulation of public opinion. Powerful agencies of government have always chafed against the restraints of law and representative government. There has been a widespread awareness of this malignancy – it is part of the background, it is part of what is thought of as normal. It is an assumption for those who have disconnected entirely from the “news” and the goings-on of politics, as it is for those who make their living, on way or another, from politics. So it is that no-one noticed any change in the character of the times. The Zeitgeist flailed and raged much as it had before. Continue reading “Deadlock”

Jeremy Bentham on the seal of confession

Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) was a philosopher, economist and writer on jurisprudence. He is most well-known for his development and expounding of utilitarianism. He considered that the object of legislation should be “the greatest happiness of the greatest number.” Bentham was an atheist, and a strong proponent of the separation of Church and State. In 1827, John Stuart Mill edited Bentham’s writings on jurisprudence into the five volume Rationale of Judicial Evidence.

His opinion concerning the seal of confession is of topical interest. In Rationale, Bentham considers the case where priests can be forced to testify concerning any felony, but the application to the case of child sexual abuse is obvious, though less widely applicable.

Bentham takes as context for his arguments a country in which Catholicism is “barely tolerated,” and its withering desired, though no coercion is applied to that end; for example, the United Kingdom of the early nineteenth century. Of countries where Catholicism is granted equal standing with other religions – contemporary Australia for instance – he writes that the necessity of protecting the seal of confession “will probably appear too imperious to admit of dispute.” Apparently not. Continue reading “Jeremy Bentham on the seal of confession”