” Tell Me A Blatant Lie! “

” You want a Blatant Lie? You can’t handle a Blatant Lie ! ”

I may have nodded off there during the Tom Cruise movie but you get the main idea. Truth-telling is rife in the courts and something needs to be done about it. Magistrates need to be given the power to have people who tell the truth locked up until they can come up with a better one.

I, myself, find it is wise to be economical with the truth. By all means have a store of it to hand but deal it out in very small quantities and be careful to whom it is told. It can have a very long half-life and be dangerous for decades.

At the same time do not be cynical when others tell you their truths, or half truths, or fibs, or lies, or campaign promises. You can laugh sardonically at protestations of love – as long as they do not require blood tests you are safe. But treat everything else with gentle amusement and a kindly smile. And make sure that you take the time to write down the pertinent details for later checking. You never can tell when someone will let a really valuable piece of information out inadvertently and you’ll kick yourself if you can’t cash in on it in a few years time. A cross-indexed file is the most valuable part of the furniture in your lair.

Some truths are self-evident – these are mostly the ones that concern gravity and red-hot objects. These bits of information are hard to deny or ignore, forcing themselves upon you as suddenly as they do.

Oddly enough, some lies are equally clear. Catching your significant other in flagrante delicto  with someone who isn’t you means you won’t have to pretend to believe the story – not while the flurry of shrieking and zipping is taking place in any case. No need to suspend judgement.

The funny little ones in the middle that might be true or might not are the awkward part of the business. If you can suspect someone, do so – most times you’ll be right. If they are proved innocent it will be a lovely surprise and you can all sit round the rack laughing at your suspicions. Otherwise you’re in a convenient position to give the wheel another turn.

” I Don’t Have Enough Money “

Well let’s address that problem, shall we?

a. Make some. Get access to a computer with Photoshop Elements, an inkjet printer, and a ream of good quality double-sided matte paper.

Design suitable bills in denominations that you can conveniently spend. Don’t be greedy – few people will have change in the till for a $ 10,000 note and you’ll be standing there forever while they send out for it. Choose smaller numbers -the $ 7.00 bill covers most fast food burgers and you can get a good goon for $ 19.95, so print a bill for that. No need to make the money even-numbered – 5¢ saved is 5¢ earned.

As you are designing your own currency, you get to choose who you feature on the front and what landmark you’d like on the back. There are plenty of politicians in history who have never made it to the money and lots of places that would pay you to illustrate them.

As for whether this is legal tender…well, it certainly is tender…if you can find anyone tender enough to take it in exchange for goods or services. A good money designer who is also a good salesperson will be able to pay for anything based upon the attractiveness of the bill and their own charms. When in doubt, show cleavage.

b. Steal some. This is marginally less legal than ( a. ) above, but can result in coins as well as bills. Church poor boxes, passengers on railway trains, and convenience stores are all traditional sources of ready money – but beware of the church that is more desperate than you are, the railway coach packed with smelly customers, or the corner grocery store run by an old Korean ex-marine who can knock you into next week with a stick. You may well end up paying them to let you loose.

c. Beg some. This is degrading only until you have your first $ 1000 in the bank. Then it becomes a valid form of theatre played to a gullible audience. Hint: don’t have yourself incorporated as a proprietary company and don’t give receipts. It’s efficient but you’d be surprised how the pennies dry up.

d. Inherit some. Those of you with rich old uncles will have this one sussed out already, but  there is still hope for the lonely souls as well. No matter how big you are you can still dress yourself in a nappy, lay down in a basket on the doorstep, and ring the bell. A tearful note pinned to your diaper asking that you be taken in and made prosperous completes the outfit.

It doesn’t work every time. It doesn’t work most of the time. But all it needs to do is work once and you are made. Hint: James Packer’s doorstep is currently unattended. Wait until the light goes on before you wail piteously.

e. Marry some. Go down to the station, early in the morning. See the little gravy trains, all in a row. See the stationmaster pull the little handle. Chug chug, glug glug. Off you go.

 

Be Careful Who You Hate

a. Because they may be a deal more powerful than you. If they find out the extent of your animosity, they may call in an associate and have you turned off.

b. They may not be 100% hateful. They may do a certain amount of good – and if you hate this good, you will be as hateful as they.

c. Because you may not have been told the entire story – see (b.) above. Or you may have been told frightful lies by other people with other axes to grind. You may be a dupe or a dope.

d. Because the sun rises in the east and sets in the west every 24 hours. Tomorrow things may change and the person you hate may do admirable things. Stake your virtue claim too early and you could be on the other side of the fence.

e. Because hating lessens you…not the object of your hate. They rarely even perceive your angst. And it takes a lot of time and energy that you could devote to fun stuff.

f. Because you can occasionally appear ridiculous in your anger. It’s all sturm und drang to start with but as soon as people start to laugh at you the wind changes. You rarely regain the upper hand.

g. Because you call increased attention to your own behaviour…and this is rarely a good thing.

 

 

The Kampf – Part Four – Done At Last

Well, I did it. I finally read all of the Manheim translation of ” Mein Kampf ” – it was the English edition put out in the 60’s. It had lain untouched on my bookshelf for over half a century while I tried to decide why I bought it* and why I should read it.

Hard reading – Germanic phrasing in English makes for difficult sentences and this author was not a good writer to begin with. Hard reading as well when you see it veering into the most virulent hate-speech. And it was surprising how often it did veer. Of course Hitler hated Jews, Marxists, Bolsheviks, and black people – that’s a given – but it was somewhat diagnostic to see how often his worst thoughts would erupt in the middle of what might otherwise be a dry passage. There was only a thin barrier between his moods.

Also surprising…and grab your eyebrows before they disappear forever into your hairline in surprise – Hitler did tell the truth sometimes. Not about the rest of the world and the people he hated, but about the people who he wished to control. And he sometimes laid out his operational methods proudly  – like a mechanic might roll out a tool kit – and announced exactly how each tool would be used…and upon whom. He had a devil’s grasp of propaganda. I was surprised to see him spell it all out.

Unfortunately this sort of noise sometimes echoes far after the gunshot that finally silenced him. The last few weeks on the social media platform Facebook have seen  ” meme’s ” or ” shares ” drop through that embody a number of the propaganda principles that Hitler set out; the targeting of a declared enemy with ridicule, then with unalloyed hate, then with relentless use of the lowest abuse. Simple abuse that is simply repeated, with no let-up or debate. Hammering the hate into dim minds.

It was also interesting to see the memes use an admixture of simple sentiment with simple statements –  uncontroversial in nature – and  then a sly slipping in of the propaganda message or abusive remark. The people who read and then share these things on Facebook are the vehicles – not for the sentiments or simple statements – but for the propaganda abuse. And they probably don’t realise it. As they keep doing it, they are brought to agree to wilder and wilder things.

Hitler lied about a number of the events in his past within this book – the scholarly footnotes make this abundantly clear. Yet he grasped at as many real events as he could to promote his hate. And I am afraid I can see where some parts of the 1920’s were bound to serve that purpose. They could well have driven the German people to desperation…or preconditioned them to take the virulent infection of his speeches.

Unfortunately, I suspect many did not need much exposure to become just as deadly in their turn. In the end, I don’t think Hitler such a writer that would move normal people to abnormality. The ones he moved were in motion already…

Well, that’s the conclusion. It can go back on the shelf forever, along with the Protocols Of Zion and whatever other rubbish is thrown up from time to time. I won’t burn it because that is not what a thinking person does – but I will not bother with it again. It can go on the Untouchable List.

*  Youthful foolishness.

Who’s Ya Hero? – Part Three

As a child, youth, and young man I was invited to admire various heroes. Idols of history or current culture; Gordy Howe, Elvis, Churchill, John Wayne. As time went on they either rose or fell in my estimation according to new information that was disclosed. Also as time went on I learned to seek out truth and did not take the cultural advertising at face value.

It was an easy thing to do – Canada was a free country and you could ask, read, speak, and think pretty much as you wished. You might  be wrong or right but it was your decision which road to follow.

Same here in Australia – substitute Don Bradman for Gordy Howe and do what you like with the rest. People might say you nay but that was just their voice and you could still read and speak freely.

I eventually ended up with a revised list of people I admired or wanted to emulate. And an equal list of those who caused me revulsion.  They’re my lists -and private; if I haven’t thrown a rock at you, you’re probably on the first one. But the fact that I revised them eventually made me curious to see whether other people had also gotten past childhood idolatry. In some cases I fear not.

This was particularly poignant considering my determination to finish reading ” Mein Kampf ” in the Manheim translation. It was no fun. As I read it, I was drawn to wonder how much it influenced the thinking of people with whom I’ve had personal contact. Was something published in 1933 still echoing in 2018? Did they regard Hitler as a personal hero back then, and did they secretly cling to that 80 years later…?

I’d started reading the book to find a reason for other people’s behaviour – so far that was inconclusive. But eventually I became aware that my interpretation of it may have been at great variance to how it was seen by them.

That Book – Part Two

I hope I wasn’t too scholarly and dry with my first part of this essay. I’m dry but not an academic. I rarely read, and never write, footnotes. None of my writing has a bibliography attached to the end of it. There are no credits rolling. What you read is what I got…off my chest.

As I read MK over the weeks I realised that I started out for an answer to why Hitler was such a shit – and hadn’t found it yet. Other works that detailed his early life could probably have told me more, if I cared to read them. In the end I didn’t care – I used to ask myself why the schoolyard bullies were the way they were when I was a child, but the reason there was that I was an easy victim and they were pack animals anyway.

I also started to think that my quest to understand why the German people conducted themselves as they did for 15 years – out of millenia of existence – was a biased one. I was hoping to find a good reason for bad behaviour. I was hoping to find something that let the ghosts of my ancestors lie clean and quiet.

Ancestors? Well, the furthest back I know goes to Austria and East Prussia and is merely family stories. A grandfather out of the Tirol and a grandmother out of Posen. Another grandmother’s predecessors out of Vienna – admixed with an Irish family from Cork. 3/4 of them Germanic and 1/4 Hibernian. With a ragout mixture of religion and association withal. The Irish ghosts could flit as they liked between brewery and peat bog and good luck to them. It was the Krauts I wanted to address.

Note: I needed not fear the history of my parents, nor of their brothers and sisters. All Americans and all pretty honourable characters. Some veterans and some not, but no-one ended up in either jail or Congress.

My reading of the book  gradually settled into a search for brilliance. For captivating charm, political insight, economic wisdom, and noble statesmanship. You might laugh or grimace that I was expecting this sort of literature from Adolf Hitler but try not to be too enraged. If it was written in such a way as to persuade me to leap from my seat and attack the Polish border or set fire to the New Era bookshop, it meant that it was good enough to do this to the German people. And that might have let them off the hook somewhat.

Otherwise, the premise that Daniel Goldhagen put forth in his 1996 book was all the more probable.

Note for readers of this column:  The previous post that dealt with this topic was published yesterday but disappeared from the list of posts on my WordPress dashboard. It’s still  accessible through my Facebook page. I can only assume that some editor, censor, or automatic program picked up upon the topic and removed it. There are two more instalments before it finishes, and it will be interesting to see if they are allowed to exist.

Careful writing and considered judgement would seem to be contrary to some internal cultural laws. Let’s see if this N0. 2 column and then N0.’s 3 and 4 are expunged.

Is it the ghost of Goebbels riding shotgun?

Postscript Note to the above:  The missing N0.1 column isn’t totally gone – it’s has been shifted to the 24th of February…how, I have no idea. Wonder if this one will similarly disappear…?

Is it Too Soon To Get Out The Old Carpet Bag?

I know we are still in a shooting war with the virus plague, but we’re hunkered down in the bunkers and doing what the officers say. However, the essence of being a good Guild member is the ability to plan ahead. Now is the time to think about profiting on the misfortune of others.

A lot of businesses are going to go broke in the next few months – the virus plague and the general downturn of trade will find those with low cash reserves and high liabilities. The current exemptions and rules that the government is extending to tenants and consumers will eventually run out. It is at this time that the assets will be ripe for the picking.

Of course, the objection will be raised that this is inhuman and trading in misery. Compassionate objectors are easily skirted, and you can throw empty KFC containers at them as you swerve by. The more relevant consideration is whether the assets are worth spending money on – I mean, if the original owner has gone bust, what are the chances that you’ll make a better fist of it. If there is a considerable amount of plant, machinery, and real estate involved, this can possibly be cut up and parcelled off to other carpet baggers in turn.

Staff that have been stood down may have some residual workplace rights, but if you liquidate the companies entirely, you can often run away from these. The superannuation and pensions will, of course, be paid directly into the Swiss account before you even start to auction off the secretarial pool. If Robert Maxwell taught us anything, it was the value of quick work.

Note: be careful. Even if you are getting things at a bargain, they may be worthless if the panic sets in again. Even Maxwell had difficulty keeping his head above water in the end…

For myself, I plan to invest in cotton plantations, sharecroppers, and county elections. They’ve never failed yet.

How To Spy On Your Neighbour

Don’t turn away. This’ll come in handy when your government declares that you are locked into your house for three months. You’ll need more than food and toilet paper – you’ll need something to do. And what better activity than watching the neighbour to see if he is complying with the law.

Now you’ll need to make sure you understand the law as it is announced for your local area. If you are to be locked up in your houses with no external travel whatsoever it will be quite different from the suburb that is allowed out to the shops and cinemas. If your local police force has a shoot-t0-kill policy for most of the rest of the year, the quarantine period will be noisy. I should not stand near the windows lest someone get too zealous.

If you are allowed out to the end of your property, make the best of your garden or back yard. This does not include going to the edge of the footpath and coughing on passers-by. You may have trouble taking the dog for a walk, but nowhere near the trouble the dog will be experiencing. Let us hope it doesn’t come to that.

But back to the spying. If there are restrictions on movement that are punishable by fines, you can be sure that there will be money available for rewarding informers. This is your opportunity to get your share of the pie. All you need are restless neighbours, a pair of binoculars, and a small camera. In a pinch, a mobile phone will do.

There is no substitute for constant surveillance. If you have a number of people in your family, organise a roster for one person to be stationed at each window with a camera or other device and make sure they know which sector they are to watch. Have reliefs posted to allow toilet breaks, but make sure that there is never a time when the neighbour’s door is not under direct observation.

Write or record everything. Even random movements show that there will come a time when they make a break for it and that is when you’ve got ’em. If you suspect that they are slipping out after sunset and having a good time, arrange for the hire of a night-time heat image sensor so that you can see in the dark.

Do you need to be armed? A tough question, as we don’t know the firearm laws in your state. But nearly everywhere will allow you to have a bow and arrow or a bag of sharp rocks so if you catch your neighbour off base feel free to loose off at them. They will not be able to complain as they would then be revealing that they broke quarantine.

Remember, if they are dragged off to prison, you can loot their house for toilet paper with a clear conscience.

Notorious, Unwise, or Forbidden? – Part One

Have you ever been confronted by a book that meets any of the above criteria? If you have, what does it say about the society within which you live? If you pick it up and read it, what does it say about you? And what, in the end, can you say about it?

I’ve had such a book in my possession since the late 1960’s. It is a copy in hard cover of ” Mein Kampf ” published by  Hutchinson of London. The frontispiece identifies it as the Manheim translation with an extensive introduction by D.C. Watt – a reader in International History  at the University of London. Wikipedia suggests that it was deliberately published in expensive form to prevent wide circulation; the selling price was $ 13.85 in the old Albert’s Bookshop in Forrest Place, Perth. Bear in mind that the tank of my Renault 10 motor car at the time could be filled nearly three times for that price.

I have kept the book unread on my library shelf between 1969 and 2020 – over 50 years – and for most of that time have not known why…both why I kept it and why I did not read it. In the meantime I have taken two trips to Germany, met many German people alive at the time it was first published, visited Nürnberg, and paced the lanes of the Dachau KZL. I’ve bottled up any thoughts about it but still saw the spine of the book there all that time. Why? Why have I not sent it away as I have so many other publications over the intervening years?

And why should I take it down earlier this year, open the first page, and start reading? I thought I had no answer to this, but gradually as the months have passed I think I have arrived at a real reason: I am looking for a real reason.

The reason I am looking for is why the German people did what they did.

” This Is Telstra…”

Or Optus, or the Australian Taxation Office, or the Federal Police. And the Indian person on the other end of the scratchy phone line is named Mary Smith.

If she said she was ringing from Icelandtel or the Icelandic Taxation Department  or the Icelandic Police her name would probably be be Mary Svensdottir. The phone line and the accent would be the same.

The Subcontinental Round is starting again. 4 so far this afternoon. You lucky bastards at work are missing out – come be retired and talk to Bombay.

My wife says that her late mother used to get the Indian scam calls all the time and was nervous and frightened by them – she was in her 90’s and had little computer experience. Fortunately we are an IT family and could soothe her but there must be thousands of elderly folk who are badgered  – and some who fall prey to them.

It set me wondering what my own parents would have been like had they lived into our scam age. My mother was raised in New Mexico and Texas and had little time for subcontinentals at the best of times. She also passed her  life in construction camps and mining towns and was not afraid to discuss things on an extremely basic level when required.

My father  – long gone – would have had a ball with them. I think he would have pulled up a chair, reached for the popcorn and an big orange drink, and then attempted to drive the scam artist mad. He was bad enough with Mormons at the door and my mother had to shoo them away before he got fairly started. No bad words from him, but he did have a habit of making people tie themselves up when they started to sell doctrine or junk bonds. He just put his finger in there every now and then to make sure the knots were good and tight…

I find the best way to respond is with friendly politeness and a grasp of the topic that is 270º away from what is on the script. Today I debated the advisability of changing the .50 cal machine guns for a 37mm autocannon. I was worried where the shells would be ejected to. The Indian woman assured me that Telstra would make it work perfectly.

I’m skeptical. Those empty cartridge cases are quite bulky. And hot.