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I’m damning Labor with faint praise

 ''Tony Abbott did not put Labor in opposition, the Australian people put us here, and unless we change, it is where we will stay,'' Mr Shorten planned to say. He conceded that, for too long, Labor had seen its problems as about image, message and its ability to sell its policies. ''It's more serious than this. We need to change ourselves. We need to change our party,'' he wrote. click for source


”Tony Abbott did not put Labor in opposition, the Australian people put us here, and unless we change, it is where we will stay,” Mr Shorten planned to say.
He conceded that, for too long, Labor had seen its problems as about image, message and its ability to sell its policies.
”It’s more serious than this. We need to change ourselves. We need to change our party,” he wrote.
click for source

Well now the mother of all by-elections is all over bar the shouting (and counting, assuming that its not stuffed up again) its good to see the leader of the opposition moving to reform the ALP to better reflect the diminished standing of the union movement in Australian society. The requirement that someone who wants to join the Labor party has to also be a financial member of a union is an anachronism that has surely been putting off a lot of people who might otherwise join the party. Now as much as I dislike the ALP as it is currently constituted and the polices that it pursues I do recognise the need for there to be a viable yin to the LNP’s yang and as the Greens are too loopy to be let anywhere near the levers of government a viable ALP is the best option and for them to be viable they need to be more reflective of the people that they purport to represent.  So after Ray has picked himself up  after discovering me writing something positive about Electricity Bill Shorten I’m sure that we will be in agreement that making  Labor party membership easier and cheaper will be a good for the political landscape of this country.

Cheers Comrades

evil-latte

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370

777 a.tif

3.07am GMT

What we know so far

• Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has gone missing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing

• Boeing 777 was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew

• About 160 passengers are believed to be Chinese nationals

• Plane left KL at 12.41am local time and lost contact with air traffic control about two hours later

Updated at 3.11am GMT

There is almost no chance at all that anyone has survived the crash of this plane, its just the simple truth that when an aircraft crashes its generally always fatal unlike cars there are almost no design features in aircraft to make crashes survivable. Cue the usual claims about the “safety” of air travel that is based upon how seldom they crash when the true measure of vehicle safety should be based upon your chances of walking away from a crash.

with respect for the dead Comrades

A relative (woman in white) of a passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 cries as she talks on her mobile phone at the Beijing Capital ...

A relative (woman in white) of a passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 cries as she talks on her mobile phone at the Beijing Capital …

Putting your ghost into the machine

slight of hand and illusion

slight of hand and illusion

I came across this today and it tickled my love of the bizarre way that technology tends to follow speculative fiction. In this case its all about the long held wish for a way to have a secular form of eternal life by downloading consciousness into a computer so that the essence of a person can go on long after their body has surrendered to death.

The service has been created out of MIT’s Entrepreneurship Development Program. When users sign up, they will link the service to their various digital streams, such as Facebook, Twitter, emails, photos and geo-location history. Once data is being collected, Ursache says there are two main processes required – “making sense” of it and then using it to “emulate” the user.

“Of course, ‘making sense’ and ‘emulating’ are still primitive today,” he acknowledges. “But by periodically interacting with this avatar, you will allow it to make more sense in the next 30-40 years that you still have to live. This way, it becomes more accurate and knows more about you in time.”

The ability of Eterni.me to “make sense” of the data it collects will be key, but is one of the most difficult challenges the company has to tackle. The service will analyze both textual and visual information to choose what information can be used to help an avatar better emulate the user. Direct interactions with the user will help to make the emulation more accurate.

Ursache explains that the end result should be a tool that people can use to find out more about their forbears, such as photos, family events, opinions and hobbies. He likens it to a research tool, such as a search engine or timeline, and is clear that the aim of such technology should be to help people.

“I think technology should make our lives easier, period,” he says. “If technology can help with leaving a legacy, or solving other problems for dead people’s relatives and friends – such as inheritance, access to information and so on – we should find a way to use it, of course without creating additional harms.”

A private beta of Eterni.me is expected in late 2015 with the public launch expected in 2016.

Source: Eterni.me

I don’t know if this is just an example of hubris or just a denial of mortality and I don’t know if it would really provide comfort or the creeps to those we leave behind when we cark it. What I do know is that there are likely to be people who will grab onto this technology in their grief at the loss of a loved one and that it may well even make them unable to move on with their lives. Further lets just imagine that the avatar becomes complex enough to be sentient rather than merely reflexive, will the simulacrum be the person it was derived from or will it be some new kind of monster?      I just don’t know if this is a good or a bad idea so I will just await the wisdom of the Sandpit’s readers on this one.

Cheers Comrades

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The idea of a personalty downloaded into a machine avatar is central to the cult Anime “Ghost in the shell”

 

Judgement in London in the Murder of Lee Rigby

If ever a case deserved a capital sanction….

 

Michael Adebolajo (also known as Mujaahid Abu Hamza) and Michael Adebowale (also known as Ismail Ibn Abdullah) you have both been convicted, on overwhelming evidence, of the barbaric murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby in Artillery Place in Woolwich in the early afternoon of Wednesday 22 May last year.

You are British citizens, aged 29 and 22 respectively. Adebolajo you are married with four step children and two children of your own.

Having presided over your trial I am sure of the following facts.

You each converted to Islam some years ago. Thereafter you were radicalised and each became an extremist – espousing a cause and views which, as has been said elsewhere, are a betrayal of Islam and of the peaceful Muslim communities who give so much to our country.

You decided, between you, and in order to advance your extremist cause, to murder a soldier in public in broad daylight and to do so in a way that would generate maximum media coverage, including getting yourselves killed by armed officers who would be bound to attend the scene in the aftermath of the murder – thereby expecting that you would become martyrs and each gain a place in paradise.

The planning took place over a period of time. You Adebolajo acquired an old handgun which, although it did not work, was to be used at the scene to keep the public at bay and to threaten the armed officers with when they arrived. The day before the murder you Adebolajo bought five knives and a knife sharpener – which you used to sharpen some of the knives in preparation for their use in the murder.

On the day of the murder the two of you met up some hours in advance. Eventually Adebolajo drove you both to Woolwich in his car, where you parked up in Wellington Street and waited to spot a soldier to murder. You had with you a total of eight knives and the gun. It was while you were waiting that Lee Rigby walked past. He was instantly recognisable as being a soldier as he was wearing a Help for Heroes top and carrying his army day sack.

He was 25 years old, had joined the army in 2006, and among other postings had seen active service in Afghanistan in 2009. An outgoing and popular personality, he was by the time you saw him in a recruiting post dealing with young people and involved in other duties at his regimental HQ at the Tower of London. Indeed, he was on his way from his HQ to the Woolwich barracks when you saw him. He had done absolutely nothing to deserve what you went on to do to him.

You stalked him in the car as he walked along Wellington Street, crossed the South Circular Road and went into Artillery Place where he crossed the road in front of you.

Seizing your opportunity Adebolajo, and once he was no longer looking in your direction, you accelerated hard to 30-40mph and ran him down from behind. The impact carried him up on to the bonnet of the car breaking five vertebrae in his back and five ribs. The speed of the car was such that it carried up on to the pavement and crashed into the support of a road sign and stopped, depositing Lee Rigby in the area between the front of the car and an adjacent wall. He was unconscious and certainly unable to defend himself.

You both exited the car armed with knives and over a period of around two to three minutes you butchered Lee Rigby – going, as you were well aware, far beyond what was needed to murder him. You Adebolajo concentrated on his neck – hacking at it repeatedly with first a substantial cleaver type knife and then another knife, all in an attempt to decapitate him for maximum horrific effect. In the end you failed but in the process you caused horrendous injuries as shown in the materials before the court.

You Adebowale concentrated on Lee Rigby’s torso stabbing him a number of times in the chest in frenzied fashion and with severe force. It is no exaggeration to say that what the two of you did resulted in a blood bath. Aspects of all this were seen, as they were intended to be, by members of the public.

Once you had finished, and again in order to achieve maximum effect, you then carried and dragged Lee Rigby’s body into the road in Artillery Place and dumped it there – thus eventually bringing the traffic to a halt.

In the 13 minutes that passed between then and the arrival of the armed officers, the number of members of the public at the scene grew. You both gloried in what you had done. Each of you had the gun at one point or another and it was used to warn off any male member of the public who looked as though he might intervene.

Those who saw the gun believed that it was real and loaded.

You Adebolajo handed out a pre-prepared written statement seeking to justify your joint cause and actions. In addition, carrying the bloodied cleaver in your equally bloody hands, and knowing that you were being filmed, you made a political statement. Images of that filmed statement were broadcast around the world. The effect of the two statements was to seek to justify your joint actions as being retaliation for deaths in Muslim lands, and to incite the removal of the government in this country.

Your sickening and pitiless conduct was in stark contrast to the compassion and bravery shown by the various women at the scene who tended to Lee Rigby’s body and who challenged what you had done and said.

The armed police officers arrived in a marked police vehicle. At that time, you Adebolajo were still armed with the cleaver and the other knife, and you Adebowale (by agreement between the two of you) were armed with the gun and a knife. You Adebolajo sprinted towards the officers jettisoning the knife and carrying the cleaver above your head as if intent on attacking one or more of them, while you Adebowale went down the adjacent pavement and pointed the gun at the officers.

The officers shot you both. They were clearly entitled to do so. It is thanks to their professionalism, including the speed with which they rendered First Aid, that neither of you was killed – especially in your case Adebowale, given that you pointed the gun at them again even after you had been shot for the first time.

As is clear from their moving Victim Personal Statements, and unsurprisingly, the consequences of the murder, its brutality and the publicity, have had a severe and lasting impact on those close to Lee Rigby.

You Adebolajo were the leader of this joint enterprise – albeit that Adebowale played his part enthusiastically. It was you who provided much, if not all, of the equipment and the car, and you were the mouthpiece on the day.

That said, neither of you, I am sure, has any real insight into the enormity of what you did, nor any genuine remorse for it either – only regret that you did not succeed in your plan to be shot dead, which has resulted in you being brought to justice before the courts.

Equally you, Adebolajo, who I have observed at length, have (I am sure) no real prospect of rehabilitation.

Sentence for murder is mandatory – it must be one of life imprisonment. But I must also identify the minimum term that you must serve.

The prosecution assert that, in each of your cases, this was (in the terms of paragraph 4(c) of Schedule 21 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003) a murder done for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause.

The prosecution equally assert that, in each of your cases, and in accordance with the provisions of the Counter Terrorism Act 2008, this was a murder with a terrorist connection.

Hence the prosecution submit that this is an offence the seriousness of which is exceptionally high, and that thus my starting point should be a whole life term.

The prosecution also submit, obviously correctly, that in the light of the recent decision of the Court of Appeal in Attorney General’s Reference (No.69 of 2013) [2014] EWCA Crim 188 it is open to me to go on to impose a whole life term in relation to each defendant. They draw my attention, in particular, to the public nature of what happened, to the fact that there was a significant degree of planning or premeditation, that Lee Rigby was providing a public service or performing a public duty, and to the treatment of his body.

As to the starting point it is submitted, amongst other things, on your behalf Adebolajo that I should not be bound by the reasons that you yourself have given for your actions, but should regard this offence as being one motivated by simple religious hatred actions, or the equivalent of the murder of a police officer, and thus the equivalent of an offence requiring a starting point of less than a whole life term. It is urged, although it is accepted that there is not much evidence to support it, that you are someone who can be rehabilitated in time. As I have already indicated, I am sure that is wrong. It is urged that I should be flexible in my approach to the provisions of Schedule 21 – which I am. It is further submitted that it is of significance that there is no evidence that you were part of a wider group, that there was no intention to physically harm more than one victim who was chosen purely at random because of his profession, and that there is no evidence that the plot was part of a wider network or support group, and that thus this is not a case to take the sentence of last resort as my starting point.

Similar points are urged in relation to you, Adebowale, together with other points which in my judgment come more appropriately into consideration in deciding what the appropriate actual sentence is in your case. I am sure that this was (in the terms of paragraph 4(c) of Schedule 21 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003) a murder done for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause.

I am equally sure that, in each of your cases, and in accordance with the provisions of the Counter Terrorism Act 2008, this was a murder with a terrorist connection – though I am careful to avoid double counting in that regard.

I equally have no doubt that this is an offence the seriousness of which is, in fact, exceptionally high, and thus my starting point in relation to it should be a whole life term.

While I agree with Mr Lakha that there are three aggravating features, namely a significant degree of planning and premeditation and planning, the fact that the victim was performing a public duty, and the way that the body was treated, I have included all of these in the overall facts that I have found.

I must however go on to consider my actual sentence.

In your case Adebolajo there is no mitigation, and whilst to state the obvious, this is not a case of mass or repeated murder it is nevertheless one of those rare cases where not only is the seriousness exceptionally high but the requirements of just punishment and retribution make such an order the just penalty. Accordingly in your case I propose to impose a whole life term.

In your case Adebowale I am persuaded that the combination of your lesser role, your age and your pre-existing and continuing mental condition mean that it is not appropriate in your case to impose a whole life term. Nevertheless in your case there must still be a very substantial minimum term. The term that I propose to impose is one of 45 years less 272 days spent on remand.

Michael Adebolajo I sentence you to life imprisonment with a whole life order.

Michael Adebowale I sentence you to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 45 years less 272 days spent on remand. In both your cases I make a Notification Order for the maximum of 30 years.

In each of your cases there will be an appropriate victim surcharge.

Source

In the circumstances the decion of the court is the most that can be imposed and I for one am pleased that neither of these examples  of Islam will ever be free within the community to kill again in the name of Allah, I can only hope that they have a truly miserable existence at Her Majesty’s pleasure, sadly I think that they will be far more comfortable than they deserve to be.

Later Comrades

Saddam's cat Wants to play with

Saddam’s cat Wants to play with Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale

 

 

A response to the spate of “king Hit” killings

 I too  have been utterly appalled by the toll of young men who have been killed on our streets over recent months and I share a quote from our PM on the subject:

While, we all want to see the courts absolutely throw the book at people who perpetrate this kind of gratuitous, unprovoked violence, we have to recognise that courts can only act after a crime.

The challenge for officialdom at every level, for the police, for pubs and clubs as well as for parents and young people is to tackle the binge drinking culture and the violent behaviour that is accompanying it.  We also have to identify if drugs like steroids are also contributing to this outbreak of violent behaviour. There is enough anecdotal evidence from police and our emergency rooms that what we are seeing is not fuelled by alcohol alone. All too often alcohol is consumed along with other drugs such as ice and other amphetamines.

We need to tackle this issue in a comprehensive and considered way.  We don’t need knee-jerk reactions and stunts that give the illusion of action, but don’t make any real, lasting difference.

Where possible, we need community solutions between police, local government, pubs and clubs and residents.   Some communities have already demonstrated that progress can be made and many pubs, clubs and alcohol providers have discovered it is better to solve a problem and be part of the solution, than have a solution imposed on them.

We have to approach this in a way that actually makes our streets safer.  That means we have to resist the idea that one single action will change everything; that one group is responsible for this problem or that one politician has the answer or is the cause of the problem.  While this is not an easy area, with much control in the hands of state and local governments, the Commonwealth stands ready to work with the states, parents and communities to tackle this scourge.

Alcohol has and always will be part of life in our country – and most countries in the world.  Our challenge as a people is to ensure that we get the balance right again.  Few of us can say we have been perfect when it comes to alcohol in our lives – but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t as individuals and as a society work harder at tackling dangerous behaviour and keeping our communities safer.  After all, alcohol should be about adding to our celebrations rather than detracting from them.

Tony Abbott

We obviously need a culture shift among the great unwashed so that the need in the male ego that needs to be, and be seen as, a warrior is properly satisfied. However one thing that Tony Abbott is wrong about and that is his suggestion that “throwing the book” at these cowards is in anyway sufficient. No matter how you cut it there is no punishment that one of these killers can expect for their cowardly thuggery that is adequate. Maybe for this class of criminal transgression we need to force the miscreants to become organ donors rather than expecting the families of their victims to salvage some solace from the needless demise of young men like Daniel Christie  by donating his organs. Thus, assuming that the  drug crazed murdering scum-bags’ vicera are viable for transplant we can both remove a blight upon Australian manhood from our society and provide a chance of a better life to at least a dozen far more deserving Aussies. Heck if these killers are at all contrite we could even give them the kindness of rendering them unconscious while their bits are harvested…

Cheers Comrades

heartbeat-animated

Memories of my Holdens

She was a lovely old boat

She was a lovely old boat

Ah its the end of the road for Holden making cars here, well is anyone really surprised?

We have had so many factors working towards this eventuality for the last decade that I for one am entirely unsurprised. Definitely saddened but unsurprised. These days the daily driver is a Nissan here at Chez Hall and before that we had a couple of EB Falcons a Subaru, a Mazda Ute , a Diahatsu Hi Jet and many years ago I had a couple of different Holdens, in the first instance I had a FE utility and then I had a HR sedan. Like all petrol heads I had a sort of love affair with each of the cars that I have owned over the years and those Holdens are remembered very fondly.

The FE Ute was something of a journey and to be frank I don’t even remember how much I paid for it, or  even where I bought it but I do remember that I bought it to do up, that it had no engine in it and I subsequently spent ages, many weeks in fact,  cutting out the rust and welding in patches with the a borrowed Oxy set. I scouring the countryside for all of the right trim and parts to make it go. Thus I briefly owned a Torana  that donated its engine/gearbox  and disc brakes to the project a station wagon provided an alternative rear section to delete the spare wheel door and to allow a full rear bumper to be fitted.  the love affair ended and I sold it on and even though I was good with that decision it was still a very sad day when I sold it to a local guy and  sadder still when I would see it being driven around the town.

The HR I bought in the eighties as a going concern for the princely sum of $600 and apart from needing  small rust repair in the floor it was  a lovely old boat. Sure it was no sports car and after the 1200 Datsun that had taken us all around the country it was an absolute Limo, so we dubbed it “the Limo” at that time it was old enough to have a certain class of its own as an honest working car. The steering was a bit, shall we say, vague, the performance was stately rather than at all brisk but I loved its interior space after the Datsun and it had a certain charisma that keeps the model in the heart of many Holden buffs to this day. It was the car I owned when I got married and it carried us on our honeymoon tour of NSW national parks.  The HR affair only ended because a stupid bitch ran into it in the Library car park badly denting the drivers door. I got a replacement door but I could never get it to fit as well as the original and it was just never the same car for me  after that either.

The point of this ramble is to explain that the demise of Holden may have lots of economic reasons and I’m sure that the political hacks on both sides will give us a fine reasons and excuses why the company has finally decided to cease manufacturing here but personally I think that what it boils down to is that there is no longer very much to love about owning  modern cars, they have all, almost without exception, become entirely bland and as ubiquitous as washing machines, there is next  nothing to distinguish them one from another in performance , economy or style. Without romance it comes down to buying decisions on cost and perceived economy and the Commodore, like the Falcon suffered from the architecture of its design being big and heavy with a large lump of an engine. If only they had been innovative enough to put their cars on a serious diet that say them shed a few hundred kilos each while retaining the useful interior space that endeared them to generations of Aussies things might be different now.

Cheers Comrades

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Vale Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela dead at 95

Nelson Mandela dead at 95

With the confirmation that Nelson Mandela has died we can expect a vast outpouring of grief from all of the usual suspects from the left. Heck even this conservative has respect for Nelson Mandela, who was and ever will be the man given the most credit fro the fall of the apartied regime in South Africa.

As good as I think the man to have been I can’t help wondering  how much hyperbole will be invoked about him in the near future.

With great respect Comrades

Flower Gif wallpaper 240x320

“Asylum seekers” illegal immigrants and personal responsibilty for their fate.

When it comes to the politics of blame you have to hand it to “Asylum seekers”  illegal immigrants for the utter gall of blaming Australia for their plight.

Residents help survivors of the boat that sank off the coastal village of Cianjur in Java. Photograph: AFP

Residents help survivors of the boat that sank off the coastal village of Cianjur in Java. Photograph: AFP

“I called the Australian embassy; for 24 hours we were calling them. They told us just send us the position on GPS, where are you,” one survivor, Abdullah, a man from Jordan, was reported as saying by Fairfax media. “We did, and they told us, ‘OK, we know … where you are’. And they said, ‘We’ll come for you in two hours’.

“And we wait two hours; we wait 24 hours, and we kept calling them, ‘we don’t have food, we don’t have water for three days, we have children, just rescue us’. And nobody come. Sixty person dead now because of Australian government.”

One of the passengers, a Lebanese man, had reportedly lost his pregnant wife and eight children in the disaster.

Just 25 of those aboard had been rescued before efforts to locate survivors were postponed on Friday evening due to failing light.

It’s believed to be the first fatal attempted asylum-seeker crossing under the Abbott government, and comes after another group of 44 asylum seekers were rescued by an Australian navy vessel in the Sunda Strait on Thursday.

source

Just to be clear these people set out from Indonesia in an overloaded crappy boat and it founders in Indonesian waters a long way from either international waters or Australia’s rescue zone and we are to blame for the subsequent drownings? Man oh man the leftist mindset is just utterly fucked. Whatever happened to to taking personal responsibility for the consequences of ones actions?
No one forced them onto the high seas in an unsuitable and unreliable vessel that was their own choice and a very stupid one indeed given the change of government and the change of policy that means that they will never get permanent residency in this country.

Personally I can not for the life of me understand why it is the case that Indonesia does not station more of its own navy assets in the area given the number of “Asylum seekers” illegal emigrants that foolishly go for “pleasure cruises” in this part of their rescue zone. Frankly their failure to do so shows that they are the ones who don’t care. Meanwhile our navy is doing the heavy lifting by pulling the bodies ,alive and dead, from Indonesian waters as the “Asylum seekers” illegal immigrants treat them like some kind of free taxi service.

The solution is simple we should move our navy assets out of the area and make that repositioning so they are well out of range very widely known. If needs be lets give a patrol boat to Indonesia so that they can rescue the idiots who are killing their own children * and then blaming us and then the question of where to take those rescued fools will be moot.

Sigh Comrades

LifeJackets

* how is it that these“Asylum seekers” illegal immigrants can afford to pay people smugglers yet they don’t have the good sense to buy life jackets for their children?

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