Surprise me! No High Level Prosecutions over the GFC???

This excerpt from a brilliant article by Jed S. Rakoff – from the New York Review of Books – is essential reading. I do look forward to comments from many denizens of The Pub.

(Image Credit: Throwing stones from the glasshouse)

The final factor I would mention is both the most subtle and the most systemic of the three, and arguably the most important. It is the shift that has occurred, over the past thirty years or more, from focusing on prosecuting high-level individuals to focusing on prosecuting companies and other institutions. It is true that prosecutors have brought criminal charges against companies for well over a hundred years, but until relatively recently, such prosecutions were the exception, and prosecutions of companies without simultaneous prosecutions of their managerial agents were even rarer.

The reasons were obvious. Companies do not commit crimes; only their agents do. And while a company might get the benefit of some such crimes, prosecuting the company would inevitably punish, directly or indirectly, the many employees and shareholders who were totally innocent. Moreover, under the law of most US jurisdictions, a company cannot be criminally liable unless at least one managerial agent has committed the crime in question; so why not prosecute the agent who actually committed the crime?

In recent decades, however, prosecutors have been increasingly attracted to prosecuting companies, often even without indicting a single person. This shift has often been rationalized as part of an attempt to transform “corporate cultures,” so as to prevent future such crimes; and as a result, government policy has taken the form of “deferred prosecution agreements” or even “nonprosecution agreements,” in which the company, under threat of criminal prosecution, agrees to take various prophylactic measures to prevent future wrongdoing. Such agreements have become, in the words of Lanny Breuer, the former head of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, “a mainstay of white-collar criminal law enforcement,” with the department entering into 233 such agreements over the last decade. But in practice, I suggest, this approach has led to some lax and dubious behavior on the part of prosecutors, with deleterious results.

If you are a prosecutor attempting to discover the individuals responsible for an apparent financial fraud, you go about your business in much the same way you go after mobsters or drug kingpins: you start at the bottom and, over many months or years, slowly work your way up. Specifically, you start by “flipping” some lower- or mid-level participant in the fraud who you can show was directly responsible for making one or more false material misrepresentations but who is willing to cooperate, and maybe even “wear a wire”—i.e., secretly record his colleagues—in order to reduce his sentence. With his help, and aided by the substantial prison penalties now available in white-collar cases, you go up the ladder.

But if your priority is prosecuting the company, a different scenario takes place. Early in the investigation, you invite in counsel to the company and explain to him or her why you suspect fraud. He or she responds by assuring you that the company wants to cooperate and do the right thing, and to that end the company has hired a former assistant US attorney, now a partner at a respected law firm, to do an internal investigation. The company’s counsel asks you to defer your investigation until the company’s own internal investigation is completed, on the condition that the company will share its results with you. In order to save time and resources, you agree.

Six months later the company’s counsel returns, with a detailed report showing that mistakes were made but that the company is now intent on correcting them. You and the company then agree that the company will enter into a deferred prosecution agreement that couples some immediate fines with the imposition of expensive but internal prophylactic measures. For all practical purposes the case is now over. You are happy because you believe that you have helped prevent future crimes; the company is happy because it has avoided a devastating indictment; and perhaps the happiest of all are the executives, or former executives, who actually committed the underlying misconduct, for they are left untouched.

I suggest that this is not the best way to proceed. Although it is supposedly justified because it prevents future crimes, I suggest that the future deterrent value of successfully prosecuting individuals far outweighs the prophylactic benefits of imposing internal compliance measures that are often little more than window-dressing. Just going after the company is also both technically and morally suspect. It is technically suspect because, under the law, you should not indict or threaten to indict a company unless you can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that some managerial agent of the company committed the alleged crime; and if you can prove that, why not indict the manager? And from a moral standpoint, punishing a company and its many innocent employees and shareholders for the crimes committed by some unprosecuted individuals seems contrary to elementary notions of moral responsibility.

These criticisms take on special relevance, however, in the instance of investigations growing out of the financial crisis, because, as noted, the Department of Justice’s position, until at least recently, is that going after the suspect institutions poses too great a risk to the nation’s economic recovery. So you don’t go after the companies, at least not criminally, because they are too big to jail; and you don’t go after the individuals, because that would involve the kind of years-long investigations that you no longer have the experience or the resources to pursue.

In conclusion, I want to stress again that I do not claim that the financial crisis that is still causing so many of us so much pain and despondency was the product, in whole or in part, of fraudulent misconduct. But if it was—as various governmental authorities have asserted it was—then the failure of the government to bring to justice those responsible for such colossal fraud bespeaks weaknesses in our prosecutorial system that need to be addressed.

Advertisements

465 thoughts on “Surprise me! No High Level Prosecutions over the GFC???

  1. from an advert on Gumtree.

    Enchanted BBQ for Sale $70

    Date Listed:
    03/01/2014

    Last Edited:
    03/01/2014

    Condition:
    Used

    It is with a heavy heart that I must put this invaluable relic of culinary excellence up for sale, as there is only so much power that one man can wield for so long. Many moons ago, I unwittingly bought this magical forge of nourishment from a sand swept bazaar named ‘Barbecues Galore’. The gloriously bearded one-armed merchant warned me of untold rewards, that of which I could never fathom at the time. Since that fateful day, I have achieved flight without the use of propulsion, bedded Scarlett Johanssen on the back of a unicorn, and maintained a 100% strike rate when inserting a USB stick. It is now time for someone else to reap the life changing benefits of this mystical contraption of sustenance.

    Specifications:

    Two burners, named ‘Infernus’ and ‘Hellfire’.
    Cast Iron plate, taken from the suit of arms of Richard the Lionheart.
    Cast Iron grill, formerly used on the truck from Mad Max 2 : The Road Warrior.
    Steel roasting hood, forged from the melted turret of the Soviet T-50 tank that took Berlin during the second World War.
    Runs on the compressed breath of a dragon. Tank not included.
    TWO attachable bench tops. These are really just pieces of plastic but they are handy. And there are two of them.

    Evidence:

    The fat from a pork sausage once spat up and hit my Dad in the head. He can now grow hair again, and it is glorious. Like a Pantene commercial.

    A stray piece of lettuce fell onto the grill, and then turned into a white dove. It was delicious.

    The aromas emanating from a single snag converted my lifetime vegan sister-in-law to a ravenous carnivore. She was later ejected from the party for biting guests.

    Just last week a mate accidentally burnt his arm on the hot plate and his tennis elbow was healed instantly.

    A chicken kebab cooked from this barbecue healed Luke Hodge’s knee in time for the Grand Final.

    Testimonials :
    “Two things are infinite: the universe and this barbecue; and I’m not sure about the universe.” – Albert
    Einstein

    “You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because the meat is finally better than your dreams.” –
    Dr. Seuss

    “It’s selfish, impatient and a little insecure. It makes mistakes, it’s out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle it at it’s worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve it at it’s best.” –
    Marilyn Monroe

    I am open to offers. Will consider trades for human souls.

    Ignition is a bit sticky, takes a few clicks to fire up. Just like a classic Alfa Romeo.

    Pick-up Only. Located in Elwood.

  2. Fiona,

    Puffy’s Honda did such a good job of getting Mrs Scorpio & I home after the SA Chapter Luncheon, that I wouldn’t be surprised at what it could do, now!

    By the way, thanks for that Puffy. I don’t think I could have walked that far! 🙂

  3. A few asylum seeker things –

    #BREAKING Some women on Xmas Island scrunching up toilet paper rather then submit to the humiliating ritual of lining up & asking for tampon— ASRC (@ASRC1) January 7, 2014

    It’s easy to dismiss this by saying if requests for basic supplies like toothpaste and pads are granted then there’s no problem. There is a problem. It would be OK if women were given a couple of packs of pads or tampons when they asked, but that doesn’t happen. These women get one or two single items at a time. One pad won’t last long. It means a lot of queueing and a lot of embarassment for women who are sensitive about talking with strangers about their personal business. Why not just make the things freely available. There’s also the cultural aspect which means many women would find it extremely difficult to ask a guard, even a female guard.

    The 500ml of water thing was the issue for men on Manus Island. Doctors recommended a couple of litres a day given the heat and humidity. Whoever is running the place decided 500ml per man was more than ample.
    http://www.amnesty.org.au/refugees/comments/33587/

    This deliberate humiliation has been going on for a long time. It seems to be a Serco speciality. Just because Serco do such things in the prisons they run does not mean the same thing can be done to refugees in detention. There’s quite a difference between a criminal in gaol serving a sentence and a refugee incarcerated for escaping danger.

    Here’s an old item from 2010 about women not being issued with underwear and having to ask male guards for pads. A fuss was made back then too, but Labor wasn’t interested in fixing the problem. Morrison is even worse now. He seems to delight in thinking up new forms of humiliation.
    http://www.barc.org.au/post/12679

  4. from the Amnesty site;

    The Australian Government must;

    promote and facilitate the development of refugee law and refugee protection to those travelling in countries in Southeast Asia

    encourage Southeast Asian states to ratify the 1951 Refugee Convention

    work with states in the region to develop their capacity to assess asylum claims and protect refugees

    ensure no one is returned to persecution, ill-treatment or armed conflict

    use the newly constructed compound in the Manus Island detention centre to relieve crowding in the other compounds

    redesign the older compounds to ensure detainees are not held inhumanely.

    The first four points are pretty much what the Malaysian plan was designed to do. I wonder if Amnesty Int would be so vociferous in their opposition to it now?

  5. Oops! Here’s section 2.

    Guess where PM Tone wants to live.
    http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/national/luxury-renovations-for-prime-minister-tony-abbott-at-kirribilli-house/story-fni6ulvf-1226796848301
    Peter Martin on the role of GP in keeping health costs down.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/gps-are-the-gatekeepers-of-healthcare-20140107-30fdz.html
    Alan Moir directs some well deserved scorn at Admiral Morriscum.
    http://www.smh.com.au/photogallery/federal-politics/cartoons/alan-moir-20090907-fdxk.html
    These idiots from the private company providing security on Manus Island give an insight into conditions there. Perhaps the journos could ask Morriscum about it at next Friday’s briefing. Oh . . . wait a minute!
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/07/manus-guards-use-facebook-to-ridicule-asylum-seeker-who-self-harmed
    A clever image from David Rowe based on Canberra’s Floreade.
    http://www.afr.com/p/national/cartoon_gallery_david_rowe_1g8WHy9urgOIQrWQ0IrkdO

  6. And from the Land of the Free –

    The Repugs extend their blocking tactics to foreign policy now.
    http://thepoliticalcarnival.net/2014/01/06/the-three-stooges-mccain-graham-and-barrasso-commit-treason-in-israel/
    Policing – North Carolina style.
    http://crooksandliars.com/2014/01/impatient-cops-allegedly-shoot-mentally
    Objective proof. The Repugs are getting stupider.
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/01/07/1267863/-Objective-proof-Republicans-are-getting-stupider
    Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker shows true compassion.
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/01/07/1267607/-Scott-Walker-is-very-sad-that-unemployed-losers-refuse-to-get-a-job
    Jon Stewart rips right into FoxNews over their treatment of global warming and the cold snap. Some unbelievable clips show the bias of FoxNews/Murdoch.
    http://www.democraticunderground.com/1017168208

  7. Puffy….Your personal hell is going to be : Having access on a computer to both Ebay and Gumtree sites, but you won’t be able to purchase!…
    Fortunately for you, you just MAY be going to heaven!….
    thanks for that ad’…I’d give the person a Walkley!

  8. I intend to read Cory Bernardi’s book….when it goes on the remainder list and becomes cheaper than toilet-paper…I will then peruse it’s philosophy with my “posterior-eye” one page at a time……I just hope it won’t give me piles!

  9. CTar1 + TLBD

    More support for your suggestion that the poms should be here enjoying or not enjoying the cricket. Check out the Worcestershire County Cricket Club .

  10. Morrison is already havng the navy act illegally. His latest brainfart will make things even worse. Here’s a bit of easy-to-understand information on why what he is doing is in breach of international conventions Australia has signed and a breach of the international law of the sea.

    Is it legal for Australian forces to turn back or tow back asylum seeker boats?

    Australia cannot turn back boats if it would expose a person to return to persecution contrary to the [UN] refugee convention. That includes sending people back to countries which do not offer effective refugee protection. Those can include transit countries like Indonesia and Malaysia where there is no refugee protection status given to people who are there to claim refugee status.

    The second consideration is under the law of the sea. It is not legal to turn back a boat which is unseaworthy and on which the lives of passengers are in danger or at risk. Those kind of operational decisions about the safety of boats will be particularly important in assessing whether a “turn back” is legal.

    A third factor is that Australia has no right to board and search foreign vessels on the high seas, so Australia’s power to turn back boats is really confined in most cases to boats which are already in Australian territorial waters. The only case in which Australia could board a vessel on the high seas that is outside Australian territorial waters is where the vessel is not registered to another country – in other words, it is a stateless vessel, or where vessel is at risk and it’s a rescue of people whose lives are at risk at sea

    https://theconversation.com/explainer-the-legality-of-turning-or-towing-back-asylum-boats-16201

    Read more and you will discover that putting refugees on small boats and taking them back requires one action that this government won’t consider – processing refugees on board our ships to determine their status before sending them back. Anyone found to be a genuine refugee, of course, can’t be sent back. That’s why the Abbott government will not consider this.

    And for the really interested, here’s a lot more reading. It’s worth ploughing through it and the links.
    http://www.kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/sites/kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/files/boats_final_rev_28.10.13.pdf

  11. Perhaps in the future, Aust’ could “bundle” these LNP. “criminals” up and send them enmasse to be tried in The Hague international criminal courts as a “job-lot”….and save the “taxpayer’s money”?

  12. From my holiday reading and probably not on topic but it rings true…
    “doubt our product, as it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact'”, a quote from the tobacco industry in the US when tempting to counter anti-tobacco advertising in the 1960’s.
    So true of the climate denialists today!

  13. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/policy/health-check-on-wind-power-farms/story-e6frg6xf-1226796929887

    Health check on wind power farms
    SEAN PARNELL and PIA AKERMAN The Australian January 08, 2014 12:00AM

    THE controversy over wind farms is set to flare again with the Abbott government preparing to commission fresh research on the impact the giant turbines have on nearby residents. The National Health and Medical Research Council – which only three years ago found no evidence of adverse health effects, but a need for ongoing study – has again been tasked with responding to community concerns and will soon make a targeted call for new research.

    http://theconversation.com/wind-turbines-dont-make-you-feel-sick-or-healthy-but-spin-can-20845

    29 November 2013, 6.07am AEST
    Wind turbines don’t make you feel sick or healthy, but spin can

    Despite at least 19 reviews of the scientific evidence universally concluding that exposure to wind farm sound doesn’t trigger adverse health effects, people continue to report feeling unwell because they live near wind turbines.

  14. Leroy Lynch

    Despite at least 19 reviews of the scientific evidence universally concluding that exposure to wind farm sound doesn’t trigger adverse health effects, people continue to report feeling unwell because they live near wind turbines.

    The Danish discovered what causes the wind turbine “illness” and its cure several years back. The answer is money. Surprise surprise they found those whose land was deemed suitable for turbines and had them installed did not fall ill neighbours whose land was not suitable did however report illnesses.

  15. Leroy, just did a search for wind farm diseases and went to a link for CSIRO which seemingly was about the relative small numbers of ‘anti-wind farm’protesters in the community but the relevant page has been removed. Co-incidence or not?

  16. About spending money on Kirribilli House –
    I don’t see any problem in having paths and retaining walls fixed. Maintaining a place like Kirribilli is expensive. Maintenance and the replacement of equipment goes on regardless of who lives in the place. But I can’t understand why the Abbotts need a $13,000 rug when they could have found one at Spotlight or Ikea for a fraction of that price. It sounds like Margie has called in the society designers. Stand by for whopping huge bills for new curtains and furniture.

    The Howards spent up big when they moved in. Johnny swore he’d spent less than Paul Keating, and maybe on maintenance he did. But John and Janette did not skimp on their own comforts, they spent over half a million on renovations. John Faulkner claimed it was $760,000 and that was only the costs we could find out about.
    http://books.google.com.au/books?id=r75rQdW5xo4C&pg=PA195&lpg=PA195&dq=howard+kirribilli+renovations&source=bl&ots=ICXIY-Thqf&sig=XLDxU3NI22IY6rt9LrtYB7M4-PA&hl=en&sa=X&ei=3oDMUoCEMYGfiQf36YDADA&ved=0CFQQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=howard%20kirribilli%20renovations&f=false

    Here are John Faulkner’s comments on the way the Howards turned Kirribilli into ‘Liberal Party House’, using it for Liberal fund-raising events at our expense. PMBO hs already shown he intends to follow that tradition by making his first Kirribilli event his soiree for the toadies and sucker-uppers of the media.
    http://www.openaustralia.org/senate/?gid=2007-06-12.41.1

  17. Despite their resident leprechaun’s efforts QANTAS has retained its top spot on safety. Notable absence of US airlines

    The 10 safest airlines according to AirlineRatings.com:

    • Qantas

    • Air New Zealand

    • Emirates

    • Etihad

    • Cathay Pacific

    • Singapore Airlines

    • Virgin Atlantic

    • EVA Air

    • Korean Air

    • Royal Jordanian

  18. Jon Stewart’s piece to air is funny, but it does ask the question: How did Global Warming morph into a political issue from a scientific one?

    Simple: one side of politics declares it to be so. To stay in the game, the other side must follow them down the rabbit hole.

    We have such a defining point in our political history: 1 December, 2009… the date Abbott became LOTO.

    Up until then Global Warming was officially accepted by both side of politics, and both sides thought along basically the same lines about how to deal with it: an ETS.

    The argey-bargey was only around the edges.

    When Turnbull lost the confidence of the Coalition Party room on the precise subject of the ETS, with the party room egged on by deniers like Barnarby Joyce and Nick Minchin (and considering Abbott’s statement about climate science being “crap”) that was the moment Global Warming became political.

    It forced the ABC to provide “balance” on the subject, for one thing… and to avoid any mention of it if at all possible. It gave licence to the (supposedly) “proudly carbon neutral” News Ltd. to go in boots and all on climate change (which begs the question: Why did they boast about being “carbon neutral” in the first place?). It permitted political journalists in general to treat climate change as just another political proxy issue for the Left-Right divide. They could safely become spectators on the subject again, scoring points for smartasrery, gotchas, pub talk and cheap debating points, instead of for scientific rigour and national interest. It allowed the public to take the easy option – burying their heads in the sand on warming – and gave them an out on taking action.

    Labor played right into their hands as well. Instead of sticking to the main subject – the Earth, slowly frying itself – they made the Carbon Tax a “tax” first, and then only ever seriously talked about warming from the “compensation” angle. Ultimately it became mostly about electricity prices, where even huge increases by the state government for “poles and wires” were ignored in favour of miniscule rises due to the Carbon Tax (good solid phrase, that – “poles and wires” – common sense stuff, engineery, except no-one noticed there weren’t enough poles or wires being erected to justify what we were being charged for them).

    The Greens helped in their own inimitable way. Firstly they frustrated progress on the Rudd CPRS, killing it in the Senate while the Coalition marshalled its reactionary anti-Carbon forces (yes, there WAS one vote, the last, where the Greens could have made the difference), and then they made tits of themselves by acting like uncompromising extremists… possibly because that’s JUST what they are.

    The weather didn’t hurt the Coalition case, either. It poured and poured. It flooded. Rain and tempest wiped whole towns off the map. Characterizing Global Warming solely in terms of drought – when there was a drought – didn’t help much when it rained, and rained, and rained. Even Lake Eyre filled up.

    As I reported the other day, it got to the point where – to make a political point against NSW state Labor’s desalination plant – many started convincing themselves that we’d never have another drought (and yes, it was the same bloke who mocked the ice-bound “Greenies” last weekend).

    The connection, or lack of it, between Global Warming and local weather was never made plain and simple. It is this: when you have more energy in any closed system, that energy will do work. It has to go somewhere.

    In the case of a closed-loop climate, the weather gets wilder… sometimes colder, but most times simply hotter.

    A refrigerator analogy is my favourite: add heat, get ice. Seems counter-intuitive until you understand the principles involved.

    But the principles were never explained. The Tim Flannerys of this world took the cheap shot gamble during the drought, and then fell flat on their faces when it rained. Nice try, Tim. Oh, and Ray Hadley tells us Flannery lives on the water’s edge (doesn’t matter that it’s half way up a cliff). So much for rising sea levels, Timbo.

    We’d become too used to hair and show malfunctions causing scandals, Reality TV singing and dancing contestants forgetting their lines or their steps “disasters”. They were only ersatz, confected PR disasters, but in the phoney “reality” of Reality TV, they were real enough.

    Bad habits die hard, and it was easy to see politics as just another Reality TV show; to transfer the habits we’d learned from watching The Voice, to politics. It was conducted and reported along exactly the same lines: scandals, imminent votings off the show with accompanying tension and suspense as the announcement was made. Craig Thomson, Peter Slipper, Slater & Gordon, No Confidence motions anyone?

    Reality TV used viewer phone-ins. Reality Politics used viewer opinion polls, overlapping, relentless and fatal.

    My final proof is At Home With Julia, where actors played out fantasy “Julia” and “Tim” roles, but only ever to blur the lines between real Reality and imagined perception… and always putting Gillard in a bad light. Can anyone here imagine an At Home With Tony complementary show being made now? On the ABC? The way it’s cowering under a blanket, hiding from Abbott and his cultural einsatzgruppen?

    Give the public a chance to walk away from a hard subject, and they will. It’s why anti-immunization campaigns work so well, with otherwise intelligent, well-educated people being the main offenders. It’s why US citizens go out and buy guns to protect themselves from other US citizens who have gone out and bought guns. It’s why yet another inquiry into wind farms is about to start. It’s why – somehow, out of some twisted logic – 97% of climate scientists can be classified as venal, money-grubbing crackpots, while the REAL crackpots are lauded as prophets and opinion leaders.

    Note how, in the Jon Stewart tape, suddenly weather is regarded as conclusive on Global Warming, as long as it’s cold weather. Note that as soon as hot weather begins to cause bushfires and cyclones, it’s passed off as “just weather”. No biggy. We’ve had hot summers before (but not this hot… they have an answer for that too… the figures have been fudged… more corrupt scientists sucking off the public tit).

    Note also how very few politicians dare to deny climate science outright. Instead, they do the next best thing: they acknowledge warming, but refuse to admit that it has any consequences at all. Not bushfires, not cyclones, not deadly freezes, not sea level rises… nothing comes of it. Global Warming is, constructively, the most benign absolute catastrophe affecting the future of the planet. It’s happening, but there’s no need to do anything at all about it.

    The media are the same. They write grave, stentorious editorials warning of Global Warming, and then tell us that the recent {bushfires|cyclones|floods|king tides|Antarctic icing events} are not due to it. We shouldn’t go overboard attributing anything at all to Global Warming. That would be alarmist.

    To their shame, many scientists have been cowed into this position too, seeking to hose down the attribution of individual events to Global Warming, lest they be attacked for being fanatics.

    We’re left with the situation where tradies, talk-back hosts, down-home rural politicians, fake aristocrats, opinion pollsters, “business leaders”, Bondi Icebergers and Fox News-type talking heads are making the running on the science of Global Warming, not, y’know, the actual scientists.

    I call that a win-win position, and Tony Abbott has taken ownership of it it, leaving Labor and the Greens floundering around trying to compensate victims of Their Great Big New Tax… from opposition… another Tony Abbott invention, and a bloody good one.

    Abbott’s political strategy doesn’t improve anything, or make people’s lives any better. It doesn’t build or create wealth or add much of value to the national discourse. But it does help out his mates who got him into power, hopefully for long enough to get what they’ve been promised. And yes, what they’ve been promised is exactly what they thought Abbott was promising them.

    All Abbott’s ever wanted is power. He has God’s work to do. He even has God on his side: Pell doesn’t believe in Global Warming either.

    Never doubt their determination to get their way. And never doubt how ruthless they will be to get it. If Christ, his vikar and his Bible can be used, they will be used, while the true believers argue among themselves.

  19. On topic, more banksters getting away with it

    JP Morgan has agreed to pay a record $2bn to settle charges that it knowingly ignored evidence that convicted fraudster Bernard Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme was “too good to be true.”

  20. Something to keep in mind – and both Labor and the Coalition are complicit in this. Howard awarded contracts to Serco, Labor renewed them, the Abbott government will do the same.

    SERCO made 1.8 billion last year running Oz detention centres & I've just learnt women face underwear, birth control & nappy rationing. WTF.— kon karapanagiotidis (@Kon__K) January 7, 2014

  21. kaffee

    [Check out the Worcestershire County Cricket Club .]

    They should appoint a Roman Emperor and change the name of the ground to the Colosseum.

    Bread and circus’s – The crowds will roll in.

  22. George Takei has mentioned Cory Bernardi’s book on his Facebook page and not in a good way. George has over 5 milllion Facebook followers. If you don’t know who George is (how could you not?) then look him up.

    In Australia, opposition to marriage equality has a champion in conservative politician Cory Bernardi, who warns in his book that it would lead to polygamy and bestiality. Our friends Down Under penned some epic reviews…Oh Myyy.

    https://www.facebook.com/georgehtakei

    George has kindly provided a link to the book reviews. There are now 255 and counting.

  23. This disreputable government has been in office for just a few months and the whole nation is falling apart. The media remains compliant to the tory rabble even though they’re no longer being fed. The lying, scheming abbott is still forgiven for his idiocy, his lack of work ethics and his refusal to allow the general public to get even a sniff of what his government is doing or intends to do. HoJo is going for the gong for being the nation’s most silent treasurer which helps to cover his gross incompetency.

  24. Unconfirmed rumours appearing saying women in detention centres have to queue up for their daily birth control pill – only one is given out at a time. More degrading behaviour from Serco intended solely to humiliate. God knows how many nappies are given out – surely it can’t be just one or two at a time.

  25. More on the Bernardi thing –

    Meanwhile another Liberal MP, Russell Broadbent, told News Corp Australia today he believed there would be more public spats between his colleagues this year as the debate over gay marriage heats up.

    “There is a full-on political battle being waged by two sides within the party at the moment and that is what we are seeing here,” Mr Broadbent said.

    “There is going to be more of this.”

    http://www.news.com.au/national/cory-bernardi-and-warren-entsch-in-public-spat-over-gay-slur/story-fncynjr2-1226797226356

    It all comes down to a complete lack of leadership in the government. Where’s Abbott? He hasn’t said a word about this. He’s allowing his MPs to make a spectacle of themselves by fighting in public and he’s nowhere to be seen. Too busy choosing new furnishings for Kirribilli House most likely. If he can carry out an official function with cricketers during his holidays then surely he can also find the time to knock a few heads together. He’s nothing more than a puppet leader, dragged out for show when the occasion demands, left silent in the cupboard the rest of the time.

  26. I wonder what is going on with the boats turn back? There doesn’t seem to be much commentary, maybe because the Libs are doing what they said they would do pre-election, and till recently many critics have said they would never do given recent Indonesian comments. But it is important to know what is being done in our name. They seem to think it can all be kept quiet, but of course the facts will eventually emerge.

    Natagewala reiterated the Indonesian position, and presumably they would not be impressed with a boat boarded and forced back out to sea, winding up stranded out of Roti. Even less impressed with one that made it as far as Melville Island and was photographed by the Australian press. All still in Indonesian rescue zone?

    But the revealing comment was that he spoke daily(!) with Julie Bishop. Obviously she did not see fit to apprise him about any of this. Reading between the lines of the diplomatic language, it is another slap-down of the Government. I trust they don’t think they will get too far with this provision of lifeboats idea.

  27. The abbott is happy to be wheeled out for occasional show-time appearances. He is happy to be ‘divorsed’ from the shennigans his ministers/backbenchers get up to. You can bet he spends his time cycling and surfing and generally living it up while the taxpayers pay him half a million dollars to be a do-nothing, know-nothing pseudo leader.

  28. On news abc 24, a newsreader, James (?) said that, given ” that he [Nataligawa] spoke daily(!) with Julie Bishop.” meant that the relationship between the 2 countries “musn’t be that bad” or wtte.

  29. Julia Gillard was always there – for the good and the bad news. If she hadn’t been, the media would have attacked her even more. There was no respite for Julia, no cycling, no skiing, no surfing – just work.

  30. Gigilene,

    After I posted, the Natagelawa-Bisop dialogue was included in the ABC lead item. There may be a bit of commentary now about the nature of their relationship, and that comment about “daily” conversations. Why did he say that? There is usually a message in diplomatic statements.

    Downer telegraphed a “stuff Indonesia” approach, and on the surface it looks like that is the way Abbot is going. But the Lib supporters may conclude that Indonesia is acceding to the more muscular approach, and his comments mean the relationship is AOK – that he and SBY are playing to THEIR base.

    Not that I believe the latter interpretation. Also this all jeopardizes a true solution, the Bali multilateral approach.

  31. ABC24 are repeating Oakes giving the Andrew Olley Lecture. Gawd he is woeful, yet he’s lauded as being a top journalist. A week or so ago, I watched Kate Adi (a BBC Journo} addressing the Press Club and it occurred to me that if only we had such a journalist in this country. Adi got a lot of questions from our rabble that pass as journalists and she put them in their place in no uncertain terms, especially one of those barbie doll types who frequent our ABC and profess to know it all.

  32. I know exactly what sort of beliefs prompted that ‘treat asylum seekers more harshly’ vote. i’ve come close to slapping a Labor-voting niece because she keeps raving on about what refugees get and she honestly believes the garbage she spouts. It comes from her dad (my BiL) and her uncle (another BiL). Like too many average Australians she believes asylum seekers have it easy because she doesn’t bother to find out the truth. For years she has been told that ‘they’ get free government housing that should go to decent, white Australins who only speak English, ‘they’ get more money than pensioners, they get this, they get that. None of it is true, but your average Aussie doesn’t know this and doesn’t want to know. They don’t see the stories about queueing for two hours to get a bowl of barely edible food with added flies or an army meal pack. They don’t know about women being given one birth control pill a day, or having to beg for tampons and pads and being given just one or two. They don’t know that men on Manus Island are only given thongs for their feet – if they are lucky – and are then banned from out-of-centre excursions because they don’t have proper shoes. They don’t know about all the other daily atrocities carried out in our detention centers. All that stuff is ‘politics’ and it’s too boring to bother about. If they bother to read a newspaper (usually the Daily Smelly or its equivalent) or watch TV it’s for celebrity gossip. They never watch the news, such as it is, again, it’s boring, but they are happy to believe all the lies that are flying around and even happier to repeat them, often with added embellishments, and to pass on all those repellent emails.

    It’s no surprise that 60% of respondents to a nespapaer poll thought we should treat these poor sods more harshly. Those who voted that way did so because (a) they are Lib-bot voters sent in to stack the poll to make Morriscum look good or (b) they have NFI. Or both.

  33. “They never watch the news”

    People watch the news. But no channel is going to give much detail about the state of the detention centres. All the news are about murder, poisonning, accidents, etc. When J Gillard was in govt, it was all about her “chaotic” govt and her bl**dy carbon “tax”.

  34. I think it was a phone poll, so I don’t think it’s able to be stacked by lib bots. But yeah, I guess ignorance about the true conditions makes it unreliable.

  35. For what it’s worth, I hear from a “usually reliable” source that a certain high-profile political leader and deputy leader are about to be sued jointly for defamation. Top silks and legal firms are gathering their robes. It’ll be a big one.

Comments are closed.