Tag Archives: totalitarianism
Heard anything about the PRISM scandal?
Well then, as we have grown accustomed to saying (but why?), “Google it … Google is your friend”.
Er … perhaps not.
In our world of digital everything, no one is your friend.
From Zero Hedge, a must read (reproduced in full, all emphasis in original … and watch carefully for the “Telstra” reference):
The rabbit hole just got deeper. A whole lot deeper.
On Sunday we predicated that “there’s one reason why the administration, James Clapper and the NSA should just keep their mouths shut as the PRISM-gate fallout escalates: with every incremental attempt to refute some previously unknown facet of the US Big Brother state, a new piece of previously unleaked information from the same intelligence organization now scrambling for damage control, emerges and exposes the brand new narrative as yet another lie, forcing even more lies, more retribution against sources, more journalist persecution and so on.”
And like a hole that just gets deeper the more you dug and exposes ever more dirt, tonight’s installment revealing one more facet of the conversion of a once great republic into a great fascist, “big brother” state, comes from Bloomberg which reports that “thousands of technology, finance and manufacturing companies are working closely with U.S. national security agencies, providing sensitive information and in return receiving benefits that include access to classified intelligence, four people familiar with the process said.”
The companies extend far wider than the legacy telcos, such as Verizon, that launched the entire NSA-spying scandal a week ago: “Makers of hardware and software, banks, Internet security providers, satellite telecommunications companies and many other companies also participate in the government programs. In some cases, the information gathered may be used not just to defend the nation but to help infiltrate computers of its adversaries.”
Many of these same Internet and telecommunications companies voluntarily provide U.S. intelligence organizations with additional data, such as equipment specifications, that don’t involve private communications of their customers, the four people said.
And since what goes on behind the scenes is confidential, literally anything goes: “Along with the NSA, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and branches of the U.S. military have agreements with such companies to gather data that might seem innocuous but could be highly useful in the hands of U.S. intelligence or cyber warfare units, according to the people, who have either worked for the government or are in companies that have these accords.”
Some of the back and forth is innocuous, such as Microsoft revealing ahead of time the nature of its exposed bugs (ostensibly providing the government with a back door into any system using a Microsoft OS, but since it’s don’t ask, dont’ tell, nobody really knows). However the bulk of the interaction is steeped in secrecy: “Most of the arrangements are so sensitive that only a handful of people in a company know of them, and they are sometimes brokered directly between chief executive officers and the heads of the U.S.’s major spy agencies, the people familiar with those programs said.”
More on this “company within a company”:
Typically, a key executive at a company and a small number of technical people cooperate with different agencies and sometimes multiple units within an agency, according to the four people who described the arrangements.
If necessary, a company executive, known as a “committing officer,” is given documents that guarantee immunity from civil actions resulting from the transfer of data. The companies are provided with regular updates, which may include the broad parameters of how that information is used.
Remember how they say conspiracies are impossible because too many people know about them, and the information always eventually leaks? Well not if you contain it to a handful of people in any organization, and force them to sign a bloody NDA, pledging one’s first born in the case of secrecy breach.
An example of a company that is happy to “communicate” with tht the government is Intel’s McAfee internet security unit, which in addition to everything is one giant backdoor entrance for the government. If need be of course:
Intel Corp. (INTC)’s McAfee unit, which makes Internet security software, regularly cooperates with the NSA, FBI and the CIA, for example, and is a valuable partner because of its broad view of malicious Internet traffic, including espionage operations by foreign powers, according to one of the four people, who is familiar with the arrangement.
Such a relationship would start with an approach to McAfee’s chief executive, who would then clear specific individuals to work with investigators or provide the requested data, the person said. The public would be surprised at how much help the government seeks, the person said.
McAfee firewalls collect information on hackers who use legitimate servers to do their work, and the company data can be used to pinpoint where attacks begin. The company also has knowledge of the architecture of information networks worldwide, which may be useful to spy agencies who tap into them, the person said.
Google, another participant in PRISM, already lied about its participation in the covert-op:
Following an attack on his company by Chinese hackers in 2010, Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder, was provided with highly sensitive government intelligence linking the attack to a specific unit of the People’s Liberation Army, China’s military, according to one of the people, who is familiar with the government’s investigation. Brin was given a temporary classified clearance to sit in on the briefing, the person said.
According to information provided by Snowden, Google, owner of the world’s most popular search engine, had at that point been a Prism participant for more than a year.
Google CEO Larry Page said in a blog posting June 7 that he hadn’t heard of a program called Prism until after Snowden’s disclosures and that the Mountain View, California-based company didn’t allow the U.S. government direct access to its servers or some back-door to its data centers. He said Google provides user data to governments “only in accordance with the law.”
Ah yes, the law that no mere mortal can observe in action, and which has zero popular checks and balances. So what specifically does Google provide to the government? “Highly offensive information” it appears.
That metadata includes which version of the operating system, browser and Java software are being used on millions of devices around the world, information that U.S. spy agencies could use to infiltrate those computers or phones and spy on their users.
“It’s highly offensive information,” said Glenn Chisholm, the former chief information officer for Telstra Corp (TLS)., one of Australia’s largest telecommunications companies, contrasting it to defensive information used to protect computers rather than infiltrate them.
Going back to Obama’s promise on live TV that nobody was listening in to any conversations, one wonders: why did the major telecom companies “ask for guarantees that they wouldn’t be held liable under U.S. wiretap laws.” Because if the companies demanded a waiver, they obviously were wiretapping, i.e., eavesdropping, and doing so on US citizens, or those protected by US laws. And that’s why Obama should have just kept his mouth shut, instead of having to explain what he meant and that he never said what he said.
Before they agreed to install the system on their networks, some of the five major Internet companies — AT&T Inc. (T), Verizon Communications Inc (VZ)., Sprint Nextel Corp. (S), Level 3 Communications Inc (LVLT). and CenturyLink Inc (CTL). — asked for guarantees that they wouldn’t be held liable under U.S. wiretap laws. Those companies that asked received a letter signed by the U.S. attorney general indicating such exposure didn’t meet the legal definition of a wiretap and granting them immunity from civil lawsuits, the person said.
Ah, the US Attorney General – because what is another Obama scandal that doesn’t involve his primary henchman Eric Holder…
Mark Siegel, a spokesman for Dallas-based AT&T, the nation’s biggest phone carrier, declined to comment. Edward McFadden, a spokesman for New York-based Verizon, the second-largest phone company, declined to comment. Scott Sloat, a spokesman for Overland Park, Kansas-based Sprint, and Monica Martinez, a spokeswoman for Broomfield, Colorado-based Level 3, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
No need to comment – it’s quite clear.
The last question remains: what do companies get out of this proactive betrayal of their clients? Well, in some cases, such as those of IBM and Amazon as we described yesterday, they get lucrative government (CIA) contracts for billions of dollars. But that’s just taxpayer cash. Where it gets worse is when the kickbacks are yet more secrets.
In exchange, leaders of companies are showered with attention and information by the agencies to help maintain the relationship, the person said. In other cases, companies are given quick warnings about threats that could affect their bottom line, including serious Internet attacks and who is behind them.
In other words, what is going on behind the scenes is nothing more than one vast, very selective, extremely secretive, symbiotic and perfectly “legal” giant information exchange network, which allows corporations to profit off classified government information either in kind or in cash, and which allows the government to have all the information at its disposal, collected using public and private venues, in order to protect itself, to take out those it designates as targets, or simply said – to get ever bigger.
The loser in all of this?
From the UK Express –
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden not welcome in the UK
THE whistleblower behind the largest leak of classified information in the history of the US National Security Agency (NSA) is not welcome in Britain, the Home Office has said because he is “detrimental to the public good.”
The Government has issued an alert to airlines around the world, urging them not to allow Edward Snowden to fly to the United Kingdom.
The alert, on a Home Office letterhead, said carriers should deny boarding to Snowden because “the individual is highly likely to be refused entry to the UK.”
Snowden, 29, revealed himself last week as the source of top-secret documents about controversial American surveillance programs.
He said he revealed America’s snooping of citizens’ internet use for a “better world”.
“I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things … I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under,” he said.
Behold, the future.
From the Sydney Morning Herald:
Final frontier of climate policy – remake humans
A radical proposal to modify physique and behaviour in response to climate change has been greeted with outrage, writes Catherine Armitage.
If it is so hard to change the climate to suit humans, why not alter humans to suit the changing climate, philosophers from Oxford and New York universities are asking.
Behavioural changes might not be enough to prevent climate change even if they were widely adopted, and international agreements for measures such as emissions trading are proving elusive, say Matthew Liao of New York University and Anders Sandberg and Rebecca Roache of Oxford University.
So human engineering deserves serious consideration in the debate about how to solve climate change, they write in a coming paper for the academic journal Ethics, Policy & Environment.
The paper has sparked a storm in the blogosphere. The environmentalist Bill McKibben tweeted that the authors had proposed ”the worst climate-change solutions of all time”. They have also been denounced as Nazis and ecofascists.
The authors emphasise they are not advocating human engineering be adopted, only that it be considered. They also envisage it as a voluntary activity possibly supported by incentives such as tax breaks or sponsored healthcare, not something coerced or mandatory.
Dr Sandberg, of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, said the paper had inadvertently ”managed to press two hot buttons” – climate change and ”messing with human nature”. He predicted the paper would mutate into a story that scientists were working on re-engineering people to be green and it would be adopted as ”yet another piece of evidence of the Big Conspiracy”.
Nice timing for publication of this story – being Good Friday, and all.
No commentary required.
As you will see.
From the Greens official website (my emphasis added):
23 Mar | General
The full text of Bob’s speech is below:
Never before has the Universe unfolded such a flower as our collective human intelligence, so far as we know.
Nor has such a one-and-only brilliance in the Universe stood at the brink of extinction, so far as we know.
We people of the Earth exist because our potential was there in the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago, as the Universe exploded into being.
So far, it seems like we are the lone thinkers in this vast, expanding Universe.
However, recent astronomy tells us that there are trillions of other planets circling Sunlike stars in the immensity of the Universe, millions of them friendly to life. So why has no one from elsewhere in the Cosmos contacted us?
Surely some people-like animals have evolved elsewhere. Surely we are not, in this crowded reality of countless other similar planets, the only thinking beings to have turned up. Most unlikely! So why isn’t life out there contacting us? Why aren’t the intergalactic phones ringing?
Here is one sobering possibility for our isolation: maybe life has often evolved to intelligence on other planets with biospheres and every time that intelligence, when it became able to alter its environment, did so with catastrophic consequences. Maybe we have had many predecessors in the Cosmos but all have brought about their own downfall.
That’s why they are not communicating with Earth. They have extincted themselves. They have come and gone. And now it’s our turn.
Whatever has happened in other worlds, here we are on Earth altering this bountiful biosphere, which has nurtured us from newt to Newton.
Unlike the hapless dinosaurs, which went to utter destruction when a rocky asteroid plunged into Earth sixty-five million years ago, this accelerating catastrophe is of our own making.
So, just as we are causing that destruction, we could be fostering its reversal. Indeed, nothing will save us from ourselves but ourselves.
We need a strategy. We need action based on the reality that this is our own responsibility – everyone’s responsibility.
So democracy – ensuring that everyone is involved in deciding Earth’s future – is the key to success.
For comprehensive Earth action, an all-of-the-Earth representative democracy is required. That is, a global parliament.
In his Gettysburg address of 1859, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed: ‘We here highly resolve… that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.’
153 years later, let us here in Hobart, and around the world, highly resolve that through global democracy we shall save the Earth from perishing.
For those who oppose global democracy the challenge is clear: how else would you manage human affairs in this new century of global community, global communications and shared global destiny?
Recently, when I got back to bed at Liffey after ruminating under the stars for hours on this question, Paul enquired, ‘did you see a comet?’ ‘Yes’, I replied, ‘and it is called ‘Global Democracy’.
A molten rock from space destroyed most life on the planet those sixty-five million years ago. Let us have the comet of global democracy save life on Earth this time.
Nine years ago, after the invasion of Iraq which President George W. Bush ordered to promote democracy over tyranny, I proposed to the Australian Senate a means of expanding democracy without invasion. Let Australia take the lead in peacefully establishing a global parliament. I explained that this ultimate democracy would decide international issues. I had in mind nuclear proliferation, international financial transactions and the plight of our one billion fellow people living in abject poverty.
In 2003 our other Greens Senator, Kerry Nettle, seconded the motion but we failed to attract a single other vote in the seventy-six seat chamber. The four other parties – the Liberals, the Nationals, Labor and the Democrats – voted ‘no!’. As he crossed the floor to join the ‘noes’, another senator called to me: ‘Bob, don’t you know how many Chinese there are?’.
Well, yes I did. Surely that is the point. There are just 23 million Australians amongst seven billion equal Earthians. Unless and until we accord every other citizen of the planet, friend or foe, and regardless of race, gender, ideology or other characteristic, equal regard we, like them, can have no assured future.
2500 years ago the Athenians, and 180 years ago the British, gave the vote to all men of means. After Gettysburg, the United States made the vote available to all men, regardless of means. One man, one vote.
But what about women, Louisa Lawson asked in 1889: “Pray, why should one half of the world govern the other half?”
So, in New Zealand, in 1893, followed by South Australia in 1895, and the new Commonwealth of Australia in 1901, universal suffrage – the equal vote for women as well as men – was achieved.
In this second decade of the Twenty First Century, most people on Earth get to vote in their own countries. Corruption and rigging remain common place but the world believes in democracy. As Winston Churchill observed in 1947,
‘Many forms of government have been tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.’
Yet, in Australia and other peaceful places which have long enjoyed domestic democracy, establishing a global democracy – the ultimate goal of any real democrat – is not on the public agenda.
Exxon, Coca-Cola, BHP Billiton and News Corporation have much more say in organising the global agenda than the planet’s five billion mature-age voters without a ballot box.
Plutocracy, rule by the wealthy, is democracy’s most insidious rival. It is served by plutolatry, the worship of wealth, which has become the world’s prevailing religion. But on a finite planet, the rule of the rich must inevitably rely on guns rather than the ballot box, though, I hasten to add, wealth does not deny a good heart. All of us here are amongst the world’s wealthiest people, but I think none of us worship wealth to the exclusion of democracy.
We instinctively know that democracy is the only vehicle for creating a fair, global society in which freedom will abound, but the extremes of gluttony and poverty will not. Mahatma Ghandi observed, the world has enough for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed.
So what’s it to be: democracy or guns? I pluck for democracy.
The concept of world democracy goes back centuries, but since 2007, there has been a new movement towards an elected, representative assembly at the United Nations, in parallel with the unelected, appointed, General Assembly. This elected assembly would have none of the General Assembly’s powers but would be an important step along the way to a future, popularly elected and agreeably empowered global assembly.
Two Greens motions in the Australian Senate to support this campaign for a global people’s assembly have been voted down. However similar motions won support in the European Parliament, and in India 40 MPs, including a number of ministers, have backed the proposal. I will move for the world’s 100 Greens parties to back it too, at the third Global Greens conference in Senegal next week. It fits perfectly with the Global Greens Charter, adopted in Canberra in 2001.
We Earthians can develop rosier prospects. We have been to the Moon. We have landed eyes and ears on Mars. We are discovering planets hundreds of light years close which are ripe for life. We are on a journey to endless wonder in the Cosmos and to realising our own remarkable potential.
To give this vision security, we must get our own planet in order.
The political debate of the Twentieth century was polarised between capitalism and communism. It was about control of the economy in the narrow sense of material goods and money. A free market versus state control.
Bitter experience tells us that the best outcome is neither, but some of both. The role of democracy in the nation state has been to calibrate that balance.
In this Twenty First Century the political debate is moving to a new arena. It is about whether we expend Earth’s natural capital as our population grows to ten billion people in the decades ahead with average consumption also growing.
We have to manage the terrifying facts that Earth’s citizenry is already using one hundred and twenty percent of the planet’s productivity capacity – its renewable living resources; that the last decade was the hottest in the last 1300 years (if not the last 9000 years); that we are extincting our fellow species faster than ever before in human history; and that to accommodate ten billion people at American, European or Australasian rates of consumption we will need two more planets to exploit within a few decades.
It may be that the Earth’s biosphere cannot tolerate ten billion of us big consuming mammals later this century. Or it may be that, given adroit and agreeable global management, it can. It’s up to us.
Once more the answer lies between the poles: between the narrow interests of the mega-rich and a surrender to the nihilist idea that the planet would be better off without us.
It will be global democracy’s challenge to find the equator between those poles, and it is that equator which the Greens are best placed to reach.
One great difference between the old politics and Green politics, is the overarching question which predicates all our political decisions: ‘will people one hundred years from now thank us?’
In thinking one hundred years ahead, we set our community’s course for one hundred thousand years: that humanity will not perish at its own hand but will look back upon its Twenty First Century ancestry with gratitude.
And when the future smiles, we can smile too.
That query ‘will people a hundred years from now thank us?’ should be inscribed across the door of Earth’s parliament.
So let us resolve
that there should be established
for the prevalence and happiness of humankind
a representative assembly
a global parliament
for the people of the Earth
based on the principle of
one person one vote one value;
and to enable this outcome
that it should be a bicameral parliament
with its house of review
having equal representation
elected from every nation.
An Earth parliament for all. But what would be its commission? Here are four goals:
To begin with economy, because that word means managing our household. The parliament would employ prudent resource management to put an end to waste and to better share Earth’s plenitude. For example, it might cut the trillion dollars annual spending on armaments. A cut of just ten percent, would free up the money to guarantee every child on the planet clean water and enough food, as well as a school to attend to develop her or his best potential. World opinion would back such a move, though, I suppose Boeing, NATO, the People’s Liberation Army, and the Saudi Arabian royal family might not.
The second goal is equality. This begins with equality of opportunity – as in every child being assured that school, where lessons are in her or his own first language, and a health clinic to attend. Equality would ensure, through the fair regulation of free enterprise, each citizen’s wellbeing, including the right to work, to innovate, to enjoy creativity and to understand and experience and contribute to defending the beauty of Earth’s biosphere.
Which brings me to the third goal: ecology. Ecological wellbeing must understrap all outcomes, so as to actively protect the planet’s biodiversity and living ecosystems. ‘In wildness’, wrote Thoreau ‘is the preservation of the world.’ Wild nature is our cradle and the most vital source for our spiritual and physical wellbeing yet it is the world’s most rapidly disappearing resource. And so I pay tribute to Miranda Gibson, 60 metres high on her tall tree platform tonight as the rain and snow falls across central Tasmania. In Miranda’s spirit is the saving of the world.
And lastly, eternity. Eternity is for as long as we could be. It means beyond our own experience. It also means ‘forever’, if there is no inevitable end to life. Let’s take the idea of eternity and make it our own business.
I have never met a person in whom I did not see myself reflected. Some grew old and died, and I am now part of their ongoing presence on Earth.
Others have a youthful vitality which I have lost and will soon give up altogether. These youngsters will in turn keep my candle, and yours, if you are aged like me, alight in the Cosmos. In this stream of life, where birth and death are our common lot, the replenishment of humankind lights up our own existences. May it go on and on and on…
The pursuit of eternity is no longer the prerogative of the gods: it is the business of us all, here and now.
Drawing on the best of our character, Earth’s community of people is on the threshold of a brilliant new career in togetherness. But we, all together, have to open the door to that future using the powerful key of global democracy.
I think we are intelligent enough to get there. My faith is in the collective nous and caring of humanity, and in our innate optimism. Even in its grimmest history, the optimism of humanity has been its greatest power. We must defy pessimism, as well as the idea that there is any one of us who cannot turn a successful hand to improving Earth’s future prospects.
I am an optimist. I’m also an opsimath: I learn as I get older. And, I have never been happier in my life. Hurtling to death, I am alive and loving being Green.
I look forward in my remaining years to helping spread a contagion of confidence that, together, we people of Earth will secure a great future. We can and will retrieve Earth’s biosphere. We will steady ourselves – this unfolding flower of intelligence in the Universe – for the long, shared, wondrous journey into the enticing centuries ahead.
Let us determine to bring ourselves together, settle our differences, and shape and realise our common dream for this joyride into the future. In that pursuit, let us create a global democracy and parliament under the grand idea of one planet, one person, one vote, one value.
We must, we can, we will.
Over to you, fellow “Earthian”.
Again, with all thanks to helpful “insider”, barnabyisright.com readers get an early exclusive of Barnaby’s late afternoon speech to the Senate on the debate over whether the carbon tax bills should be introduced into the Senate (my emphasis added):
Senator JOYCE (Queensland—Leader of The Nationals in the Senate) (16:37 ): I have had the joy — and that is a cynical way of putting it — of seeing some of this garbage that has been presented to our nation and that, apparently, we are to look at in globo. I would be fascinated to go through some of the details of some of these things because, apparently, we do not need to see them in seriatim—we are right across it. It is all a piece of cake.
This is interesting:
(1) A person who is or was required to provide a report under section 22E for an eligible financial year must keep records of the person’s activities that:
(a) allow the person to report accurately under section 22E; and
(b) enable the Regulator to ascertain whether the person has complied with the person’s obligations under section 22E; and
(c) comply with the requirements of subsection (2) and the regulations made for the purposes of subsection (3).
The civil penalty is 1,000 penalty units. It further states: ‘The person must retain the records for five years from the end of the financial year’ and on and on it goes. Look at it: it is like Kafka’s Castle. The place we have arrived at is amazing.
What about the EMEP test day? It is defined under section 63B(3) as follows:
In the income year of claim, this day is the day on which the claimant makes the claim for the payment. In subsequent income years, the EMEP test day is the anniversary of the day on which the claimant made the claim in a previous year, provided that, since the claimant made the claim, the Repatriation Commission has not determined that the claimant has ceased to be eligible for the payment. If the Repatriation Commission has determined that the claimant is no longer …
And on and on it goes. Apparently, the government are all across it. They are the absolute full bottle on this. It is all right — straight through. I would love to ask the Prime Minister about some of these details and I would love to ask Minister Combet. They would not have the foggiest idea, apart from what has been sent to them on their BlackBerries. They have the BlackBerry message all worked out, but they would not know about the legislation. You can bet your life that this will be an absolute and utter debacle. But this is what they are doing to our nation.
These are the redesigned plans for the nation of Australia, for our economy. Here they are, set up by the people who could not get fluffy stuff into the ceiling, without setting fire to 194 houses and, tragically, killing four people. This redesign of our nation’s economy is being undertaken by the same people who gave us the Building the Education Revolution. This redesign of our economy is being undertaken by the same people who conducted a war against obesity. Remember that? We are still wondering: did we achieve detente, did we win, did we lose? Or are we going to have a second war on obesity? This is what the Australian Labor Party has delivered to us via the Australian Greens, because the Greens are now running the show.
Some sections of this legislation could be terminal for them, because they have become so soulless and, once you start being guided by the Greens, you completely isolate yourself from your conservative working-class voters, who will just leave you. Look at all this! It is just absolutely amazing. Now come the nasty bits. I am just opening it up. Under the heading ‘Scheme to avoid future liability to pay administrative penalty — Intention’, it states:
(1) A person commits an offence if —
and we are seeing a lot of the word ‘offence’ in this—
a. a penalty is due and payable by a body corporate or trust under section 212; and
b. before the penalty became due and payable, the person entered into a scheme; and
c. the person entered into the scheme with the intention of securing or achieving the result, either … the body corporate or trust:
i. will be unable; or
ii. will be likely to be unable; or
iii. will continue to be unable; or
iv. will be likely to continue to be unable;
And on and on it goes. Then comes imprisonment for 10 years. This is a nasty little document you have got yourself here, which bangs you up in the can for 10 years, and we are just supposed to look at it in globo because, apparently, you are so over it.
Minister Wong looks totally competent. I would bet you London to a brick that the government have not read the legislation. I bet you London to a brick they have not a clue what is in the legislation. We might want to ask the government questions about who they are going to bang up for 10 years. I think a lot of Australian people would like to know the answer to the question: ‘Are the Labor Party about to bring in a piece of legislation which, if I get wrong, I could be in the slammer for 10 years?’ Also, ‘ I want you to more fully disclose to me what is on page 324 of the Clean Energy Bill 2011.’
And the Greens are part of this. They do not believe in transparency. They are sitting there with that stupid smirk on their faces. Their leader ‘Dr Brown’ thinks this is all fun and games and that this is what you do — you just let these things run through.
Here is another quote with respect to retaining records:
(2) The person must retain the records for 5 years from the end of the financial year …
(3) The regulations may specify requirements relating to:
(a) the kinds of records; and
(b) the form of records —
and how the records must be kept. The penalty is two years imprisonment. This is what we are getting! It is here, Australia; it has arrived. Aren’t the Labor Party wonderful people? In a brief perusal of this Kafka’s nightmare, I see you get 10 years in prison for one offence, two years in prison for another offence. This is the world the Labor Party live in. This is where we are off to, as they redesign our nation’s economy on a colourless, odourless gas. You better not lose any. Do not steal any. What is the price of breathing these days? It must become more expensive. Are we going to keep records on that? I thought this was 2011. It is starting to sound awfully like 1984, with this almost Orwellian type of Big Brother approach to every facet of our lives. The government can increase this tax, without it ever having to go back to this parliament. It does not have to go back to this parliament. They have got around that.
We cannot have the nation of Australia and its parliament having oversight of the tax! If they have to launch their attack against the climate, making the world colder from a room in Canberra, they can jack up the tax to rise to the challenge, and in rising to the challenge they make every person in Australia with a power point poorer. Every corner of their house will become a collection mechanism for the Australian Taxation Office. And of course they have to collect some friends along the way, so down the track they will have an emissions trading scheme. That is great, isn’t it? The banks will love that: moving paper here, moving paper there*. The banks are doing it tough; it is good to see the Greens looking after the big banks and giving them a multibillion dollar revenue stream from trading the permits.
The friends of big banks are the Australian Greens, because they are doing it tough and they need all the help they can get. You are about to do it. You have moralised and got it through your head that it is right to tax someone in a weatherboard and iron house out in the suburbs, that it is right to collect money from them and to funnel it to someone who is probably doing very well thank you very much, and God bless them and good luck to them, and probably does not need that person’s money. You are going to funnel that money to Martin Place. We do not need it in Mount Druitt when it can be in Martin Place. We do not need it in Cunnamulla when it can be in Martin Place. We do not need that money up in Bundaberg when it can be in George Street. This is a bonanza. I cannot wait to see who the geniuses are, the luminaries on the other side who will be able to answer some of these questions.
The way they are getting around it is that they are not allowing us to ask any questions. We had the first example of that today with the guillotine: they shall not ask questions on behalf of the Australian people. The job of the opposition in most instances is, naturally enough, to oppose, to see if you are prudent and across the facts. Because you are not, how are you dealing with that? You are launching yourselves into this guillotine. What is so nauseating is that we had to listen to the Leader of the Greens, Dr Bob Brown. He supported the guillotine with that stupid smirk on his face. Here is a quote from that same person:
Let there be no doubt about this: the government can —
Senator Milne: Madam Acting Deputy President, I raise a point of order. I draw your attention to standing order 193, ‘Rules of debate’:
A senator shall not use offensive words … all imputations of improper motives and all personal reflections on … members or officers shall be considered highly disorderly.
In the light of that, I would ask Senator Joyce to desist from making remarks of a personal nature about Senator Bob Brown and withdraw what he already has said.
Senator JOYCE: If he did not smirk, I am happy to. If there is anything that is offensive there I certainly—
Senator Milne interjecting —
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Crossin): Senator Joyce, I think the point of order is to be mindful of the words that you use during this debate when reflecting on senators in this chamber.
Senator JOYCE: I will quote Senator Dr Bob Brown. These are some of the things he has said in the past:
Let there be no doubt about this: the government can manipulate the Senate and is doing so. The government can dishonour the processes of the Senate and is doing so. The government may try to treat the Senate as it does the House of Representatives — that is, as a rubber stamp — and convert this country to executive government, but the government will reap the whirlwind of that. Fortunately, it cannot do away with elections.
That sounds very prophetic. Who said that? It was Dr Bob Brown on 28 November 2005. This is the same person who is removing our right in this parliament to have proper oversight of these documents, which even on the briefest perusal we can find predominantly that you are sending people to jail. For doing what? For mishandling something that was formerly free — that is, carbon dioxide. We now have this colourless, odourless gas becoming not only something that we have to buy but something that, if we do not administer it properly, can end us up in jail.
And why? What is it going to do? What is going to happen to the temperature of the globe? Absolutely nothing will happen to the temperature of the globe, but we will have this bureaucracy and these fields of policeman coming into every corner of our lives. We are supposed to be protecting, giving more liberty to the people and making them more free, not tying them up in this absolute lunacy. Has anybody over there read this? Does anybody have a clue about it? No, you do not have to; you can just walk it in here and ram it through.
What of the Australian people? Are they just happy with it? They are happy that those opposite have thrown a match into the building and walked out the door, that they have thrown a match into the Australian economy and walked out the door? The management that has brought us this bundle, this packet of poo tickets, is the same one that currently has us $211.3 billion in gross debt, borrowing $2 billion last week and $2 billion the week before. They cannot make their ends meet their resources but they can cool the planet.
We have not only a right but an obligation to the Australian people to look at this in seriatim, because I truly believe that if we do not look at it none of them will. Not Mr Combet, who is up there saying, ‘This is a great day,’ along with all the backslapping. They are all happy chappies, backslapping and saying: ‘Isn’t this marvellous? Isn’t it marvellous what we have done to the Australian people today? Aren’t we clever because, even though none of them wanted it, we showed the Australian people that we are so stubborn we would do it to them anyway.’ Because, you see, they are wiser than the Australian people. They are wiser and more noble, and that gives them the right to do this to you. And if you do not like what they are doing to you, be careful because in here they have the right to put you in jail. This debate has not finished. The Australian people will demand of us that we fight this all the way.
And we will attach this to every lower house member who has voted for it. It is now their problem. They are personally responsible for their actions today; they are personally responsible for bringing this in. And we will attach this to every senator who votes for it. We will attach it to the Greens and we will attach it to the Labor Party. If it brings you unstuck — and it will — that is something that you will have to deal with.
Isn’t it funny how the Greens talk about liberty and supporting the liberty of the individual? They want a more liberal environment for drugs, but they do not want a more liberal environment for carbon dioxide — oh, no, they cannot have that; they have to regulate that; they are going to throw people in jail over that. That is the new world. They want a more liberal environment for drugs; they want to reduce all the offences for drugs. But they want to make it a criminal offence to misappropriate the air that we breathe. Then they get some people out on the front lawn. I looked at it the other day. There were more placards than people. And they do not know about it. It is almost a cult. They go out there or GetUp gets them out there and they rant and rave and yak on. But they are not going to be held responsible for what happens to people.
I do not how we can explain this. What possessed you to do this? What possessed you to launch this on us? How many of you people over there understand or can explain to us the trading stock implications of carbon permits? When is it an asset? When is it trading stock? I do not know. You do not know; you do not have a clue. You have not even read it. There is so much in here. What about application to foreign ships? That is another little bit. Let us have a read of this:
This Act does not apply to the extent that its application would be inconsistent with the exercise of rights of foreign ships in:
(a) the territorial sea; or
(b) the exclusive economic zone; or
(c) waters of the continental shelf;
in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
That is interesting. That obviously means that it could apply to Australian ships. Oh, that’s right: it does. Australian things are evil! We have to have things from overseas; we cannot have a manufacturing industry anymore! Under this, if you want to fly to Fiji, that will be free of the carbon tax. But if you want to fly and support the Australian tourism industry, you will get taxed for that. And you had better obey the law, otherwise they will throw you in jail. This is the new world. Isn’t it marvellous? It even applies to shipping. We know who is getting it free: if you are a foreigner, it is free; if you are domestic, you pay the tax.
Down the track, you get the joy of sending $56.9 billion–$56.9 thousand million—a year overseas to buy carbon credits. That is the ultimate in social engineering: taking money off the working Australian family and then bundling it up and sending it to Mr Mugabe, to the people of Zaire, to the people of the Congo and to the people of South-East Asia. That is what the Greens want to do: social re-engineering. They want to send it to those people who warrant it; those people who are more noble than us! Not only can we re-engineer Australia through a penalty of going to jail; we can re-engineer the whole world! You will have so much to tell them at Durban. It will be a wonderful time. You will be able to say to them that not only are you saving Australia but you are saving the world — saving the world with carbon permits.
But some poor sucker out at Blacktown, out at Ipswich, out at Roma, is going to work to pay for it. They are going to come home to their power bill, and there is your tax. So they work some of their lives in the sun stacking bricks, stacking shelves, behind a counter, shearing sheep, welding or whatever — in whatever industries are left after you have completely and utterly botched our nation’s economy — so that you can go on your frolic of sending money here, there and everywhere around the world. This is absurd. Don’t you think that there is something not right about this? Isn’t there something in your stomach that tells you that there is something not right about this? Where did this come from?
The Australian people hate this. That is why before the last election you did not tell them the truth. You said that you were not going to bring it in. And now you have brought it in. If they had known that you were thinking about banging them up in jail they might have had a different view about voting for you. They might have thought differently. If they had thought that you were about to regulate the very essence of their existence, the air that they breathe, they might have thought about voting for somebody else. Gosh, I would have. But this is where we are.
And you think that we are going to lie down on this and go to sleep. You think that somehow next week it will all be better. We are going to chase you and chase you every day. We will be at the doors every day. We will chase you every weekend. Every time that we get a chance, we will chase you and we will say: ‘When you think about the Labor Party, think about the carbon tax; when you think about the Labor Party, think about your power bill; when you think about the Labor Party, think about your fuel bill; when you think about the Labor Party, think about the legislation that they brought in to bang you up in jail if you dare disagree with their worldview. When you think about the Greens, think about the money that they sent overseas; when you think about the Greens, think about the guillotine and how they shut down the debate so that the Australian people couldn’t properly ventilate their views on this mass of legislation.’ That will be the debate. We will pursue you and pursue you, and we will not relent until the next election. Then at every polling booth in every seat we will be reminding the Australian people about you.
If the global economy comes unstuck, you have created it so that you cannot get out of it — apparently, you do not want to get out of this. I have a rough idea how the punter works. I know how they are going to deal with this. I have seen this before. We have made mistakes like this before. We made a mistake called Work Choices and got smashed. This is your mistake. Here it comes: exactly the same outcome. They are going to absolutely slaughter you.
* Barnaby is wrong. There’s no “paper” involved. It’s all a fraud … right down to the electronic numbers – mere bookkeeping entries – that are the carbon “units”. See Carbon Permits Do Not Even Exist.
Totalitarian democracy is a term made famous by Israeli historian J. L. Talmon to refer to a system of government in which lawfully elected representatives maintain the integrity of a nation state whose citizens, while granted the right to vote, have little or no participation in the decision-making process of the government.
Totalitarianism (or totalitarian rule) is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible. Totalitarian regimes stay in political power through an all-encompassing propaganda disseminated through the state-controlled mass media, a single party that is often marked by personality cultism, control over the economy, regulation and restriction of speech, mass surveillance, and widespread use of terror.
The first of those two definitions, is where this country is right now.
The second of those two definitions, is where this country is heading.
Unless you, dear reader, grow a pair.