You can talk a mob into anything; its feelings may be – usually are – on the whole generous and right; but it has no foundation for them; you may tease or tickle it into any, at your pleasure; it thinks by infection, for the most part, catching an opinion like a cold, and there is nothing so little that it will not roar itself wild about, when the fit is on; – nothing so great that it will forget in an hour, when the fit is passed. But a gentleman’s or a gentle nation’s passions are just, measured, and continuous. A gentle nation for instance, does not spend its entire national wits for a couple of months in weighing evidence of a single ruffian’s having done a single murder; and for a couple of years see its own children murder each other by their thousands or tens of thousands a day; considering only what the effect is likely to be on the price of cotton, and caring no wise to determine which side of battle is in the wrong. Neither does a great nation send its poor little boys to jail for stealing six walnuts; and allow its bankrupts to steal their hundreds of thousands with a bow, and its bankers, rich with poor men’s savings, to close their doors “under circumstances under which they have no control,” with a “by your leave;” and large landed estates to be brought by men who have made their money by going with armed steamers up and down the China seas; selling opium at the cannon’s mouth, and altering, for the benefit of the foreign nation, the common highwayman’s demand of “your money or your life,” into that of “your money and your life”…
These words were written nearly a century and a half ago by John Ruskin. While I have taken the cautious approach and linked to Mr Ruskin’s Wiki page, I do so in the knowledge that gentle citizens of gentle nations will need no introduction to this famous Victorian era thinker.
The reason I have dredged Mr Ruskin’s words out of contemporary obscurity, is that we in the contemporary West, at least, see ourselves as being civilized. The contemporary word civilized is easily interchangeable with the Victorian era’s notion of a “gentle nation” a notion which Mr Ruskin has so admirably describes, by exceptions. How do we in the contemporary West measure up on Ruskin’s “gentle nation” scale?
While it is true that no Western nation is currently engaged in civil war, and haggling about the price of cotton while its children “murder each other by their thousands or tens of thousands a day” no we in the contemporary West are much more refined than that, we send our armies into other countries to murder their children “by their thousands or tens of thousands a day” considering only what the effect is likely to be on the price of oil. A much more refined approach, wouldn’t you say?
However, our contemporary refinements go well beyond shifting the centre of death from our own backyards to someone else’s, no we’re much more refined than that. In the developing world we arm one group to kill another group, “by their thousands or tens of thousands a day” considering only what the effect is likely to be on the price of this commodity or than, giving not one scintilla of thought to the suffering our Western life styles brings to our brothers and sisters in the far removed corners of the globe, this all being done in accordance with the ‘rule of law’.
Neither do we in the contemporary West send our “poor little boys to jail for stealing six walnuts” no, but in Australia we do send our Indigenous people to jail for three months for obtaining a financial advantage by deception; namely the proceeds of the sale of a $1.00 raffle ticket. We do this at the same time as the Australian Federal Police (“AFP”) refuse to investigate senior Australian Labor Party (“ALP”) officials for the theft of $130,000,000.00 of Australian taxpayer owned assets, for party political purposes, a nice refinement on the walnut ploy, if I do say so myself!
Are, I hear you all shout with glee we’ve got you now, an Honorable Member of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly is a far cry from a banker “rich with poor men’s savings” nay I respond, our honourable fellow, a gentle undoubtedly, helped enrich his party with “poor men’s” money, for our Honourable Member, plundered a scheme that was designed to enable the poor to buy their own house with the assistance of the taxpayer, instead the ALP was enabled to avoid bankruptcy in NSW! And, just to show that they weren’t soft on law and order issues, they sent an Aboriginal lady to jail for stealing six walnuts – opps my apologies, a dollar!
While we’re on the point of bankrupts being allowed to “steal their hundreds of thousands with a bow, and […] bankers, rich with poor men’s savings, to close their doors “under circumstances under which they have no control,” with a “by your leave;”” It is worth taking some time to consider the role of Ernst and Young (“E&Y”) in both the theft of $130,000,000.00 of “poor men’s” money from the ACT Home Loan Portfolio, by the ALP and the collapse of Lehman Brothers, an event which helped usher in the current global financial crisis also known as “The Second Great Contraction”. I have discussed previously on Blak and Black, the role of E&Y’s Tania Taylor in the racially motivated fit-up, dismissal, and prosecution of the former Commissioner for ACT Revenue when he was trying to expose the ALP for the serious crime of stealing, not six walnuts or $1.00, but of stealing $130,000,000.00 of “poor men’s” money from the ACT Home Loan Portfolio, an event which negatively impacted on the lives of many. What I haven’t discussed is the role of E&Y in the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
New York state prosecutors have alleged in a lawsuit that E&Y, one of the world’s “Big Four” accounting firms, is alleged to have approved of Lehman’s increasingly frequent use of a device known as Repo 105 that allowed the bank to sell troubled loans before it released results and then buy them back afterwards. The 32 page suit alleges among other things, that:
These Repo 105 transactions had no independent business purpose and were designed solely to enable Lehman to manage the company’s financial balance sheet ‘metrics’
According to the New York state prosecutors suit “Ernst & Young ‘sat by silently’ as Lehman Brothers tried to hide financial troubles” and what financial troubles they were. In January, a well-respected and internationally recognized European based economist, responding to a series of questions I posed to him about the probable fallout from the Lehman Brothers scandal, responded with the following summary:
On Mark and the world economy, here’s my tuppence (really quickly)
- The most important thing to remember (and this has been the case since Lehman’s collapsed) is that what is being faced is a structural and not a cyclical problem. It is the biggest crisis since the Great Depression. For this reasons, in economic circles, the current ongoing situation is known as either “The Great Recession” or “The Second Great Contraction”.
- Because the situation is structural and not cyclical it will take many years for Europe and the USA to recover. My guess is at least 10 years starting from 2008. So we are four years in. It could easily take 20 years to reduce national debt to GDP levels in advanced countries to levels seen before the crisis in 2007/2008.
- High unemployment (especially youth unemployment) will be an ongoing problem for many years. I would not be surprised to see civil unrest associated with this in countries such as Spain, Italy, Greece (it’s already happening there), the US, France and the UK.
- Young people from Ireland, Spain, Italy, Greece and all sorts of places will emigrate to wherever they can get jobs. A very large proportion of these won’t ever go back to their native countries.
- Taxes (of all sorts) will rise to help pay down public debt.
- Interest rates in the US, the UK and Europe will remain very low for the next two years (at least?…)
Who are the real losers in this? The poor men and women of Spain, Italy, Greece, the US, France and the UK, what happened to the bankers, well they “rich with poor men’s savings, [closed] their doors “under circumstances under which they have no control,” with a “by your leave;”” all with the alleged assistance of the ‘gentle’ and dare I say ‘honourable’ partners and employees of E&Y, well they have gone on to purchase “large landed estates”.
“You can talk a mob into anything”
Although not officially acknowledged by Australia’s political authorities, high rates of racism are consistently reported by Indigenous Australians. For example, based on 2008 data contained in the 2010 Australian Bureau of Statistics Indigenous Wellbeing report, 27% of Indigenous people experienced discrimination over a 12-month period. Institutional racism against Indigenous Australians continues to be identified in the media, education and welfare system, in the provision of public housing and in the criminal justice systems.
Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Niyi Awofeso Vol 11 No 3 July – September 2011
27% of Indigenous people experienced discrimination over a 12-month period, a fact yet to be acknowledged by Australia’s honourable members of parliament. In fact 87% of Australian’s agree that there is racist prejudice in Australia, but our honourable members of parliament continue to blame the victims rather than the perpetrators of these attitudes, themselves!
In was within this environment of racial intolerance that so infects the Australian community, that, the honourable partners and staff of E&Y saw fit to assist an ‘Honourable’ Member of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly to fit-up the ACT’s then Wiradjuri Commissioner for Revenue, so as to stop him from exposing yet another incidence, of what is now a well-publicised pattern of ALP corruption. The vehicle for the racially motivated attack on the ACT’s then Wiradjuri Commissioner for Revenue came in the form of a racially prejudiced ACT Department of Treasury official, who on 9 May, 2002 penned a letter which the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s office described as overtly racist and hurtful. From this point on, given the underlying attitudes that the average Australian harbours towards his Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (“ATSI”) brothers and sisters it was easy work for the Honourable’ Member of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative and his pillow case wearing gutless wonder partner from the ACT Department of Treasury, to stir the embers of racism within the ACT Government and “talk the mob” into an Aboriginal ‘bashing’ frenzy!
So intense did this frenzy become that the ACT Department of Public Prosecutions (“ACTDPP”) felt empowered enough to engage in its own Aboriginal ‘bashing’ frenzy, with the following comment being allegedly made by one of its prosecutors:
You don’t have to worry about your little boong mate Marky suing you for fitting him up. When I’m finished with him he’ll be in the gutter where he belongs with all his other boong mates. You will be able to piss on him as you step over him on your way to work
As Mr Ruskin noted nearly a century and a half ago concerning the mob mentality:
[I]t thinks by infection, for the most part, catching an opinion like a cold, and there is nothing so little that it will not roar itself wild about, when the fit is on; – nothing so great that it will forget in an hour, when the fit is passed.
It was via this infection that the honourable members of the ALP supported by the honourable partners and staff at E&Y were able to avoid accountability for stealing $130,000,000.00 of “poor men’s” money from the ACT Home Loan Portfolio.
Whilst we, the gentle nations of the West, no longer fight civil wars over cotton and pretend its over human rights, we simply invade another’s land, and plunder their resources with the cry “your money and your life”, no longer do we rely on “armed steamers” and “opium” to balance our terms of trade, we now use Drones armed with side-winder missiles, Stealth Bombers and Special Forces, whose battlefield atrocities are whitewashed by a whiter than white Murdoch Media, all for the benefit of the honourable citizens of the West.
In deed so refined have we become in the West that we send our poor men to places like Afghanistan or Iraq to kill their poor men “for the benefit of the foreign nation[s]” including Australia. How far have we come in the last 150 years? Let’s defer to the judgement of the poor men and women of Spain, Italy, Greece, the US, France and the UK. Or, should we just go and see who are the people currently buying the large landed estates.