Tuesday 26th of March 2019

problem solved... the spiritual has been replaced by spirits...

drinking and gambling...
Tonight as I watched the story of Rome, the first Empire — an episode on Tiberius Gracchus and his dealings with the senate in regard to land ownership and the way Rome was about to descend into a more violent society after his assassination — I was musing on my youth, when barely in first year of secondary school we would be forced to learn about the Greeks and the Romans history. 

In those days, the lectures sounded more like blah blah blah, as we were more interested in our own street gang fights than about the glory of political system past which mostly relied on slavery to survive and prosper. But we did learn titbits, enough to get a pass to the next level. I must say, to me, Larry Lamb, the actor, has a great narrative and oration style for this story of Rome, which I had totally forgotten, but this was not what really attracted my attention. 

During the commercial break, an advert for something like Gambling Anonymous was followed straight away by an advert for Ladbrokes betting online, with a shaven head actor telling you how simple it is to place and track your bets. So here we are, conflicted by the call of greed in the land where the senate is about to be decimated by a petulant Malcolmus Turnbullus for his personal political gain, rather than for the petty people who are held slaves to their debts. Nothing changes much over millennium to the land where gambling has now infiltrated all forms of activities, including ALL sports and watching two flies crawl on a wall. 

It was in 1958, that the preacher Billy Graham had a rousing reception in Sydney. His religious bullcrap-manship was simple and grand populist demagogy. In those days, Graham was more popular than slice bread, anywhere he chose to go in the English speaking world. In 1958, Billy promised to 'study" the problem of gambling and drinking in this sin city. 

I have good news for him (he is still alive at 98), gambling and drinking in this furiously joyful sin city of Sydney have gone in leaps and bounds. We drink more hard stuff and wine than ever for longer, our liquor laws are far laxer than when you were here, even in the CBD where lock out is enforced after 3.00 AM — and gambling is now organised/sponsored/blessed by the state, run by a catholic mafia, at all social echelons, from lotteries to chook raffles. 

Glorious Sydney is also about to get its second mega-casino, a tall phallus symbol by the side of the Harbour with more gaming tables than Macao, Hong Kong and Las Vegas altogether. Both casinos are massive and not only that, all the pubs and clubs in town have massive rooms with poker machines which are not allowed to be advertised, but can be called VIP sections. 

I will blame the Romans for the present alcohol intake in Sydney, though a lot of Sydney's fortune were made by governor and soldiers selling Rum in the early days of the colony. 

The Romans in Tiberius' times were cultivating vines in Tuscany and apparently this is what drew Tiberius' ire — not so much that the rich people were employing a lot of slave labour and turning Rome into a city of alcoholics, but that the public land had been "acquired" (stolen from the republic) by these rich farmers with connections to the powerful Roman Senate. Not only this, the veterans soldiers of the glorious roman wars were left destitute, had to fend for themselves, survived by mostly begging, and were living in squalor at more than 20 plus families in insalubrious small rooms. New news anyone?

As Tiberius tried to change all this, he was assassinated, his death leading the rise of Caesar. We know the rest, don't we? 
Sydney is a bit like Rome in its hay day...


liquor before the fist fights era...


As one can see in this picture, Roman women and unshaven Roman men brought the vino tradition from Italy to this city. (from a 1963 SMH....)

and billy, did I mention our national growth industry?

Exposing corporate tax dodging has been illuminating and has stunned both Parliament and the nation. But will greater transparency alone change things? It's unlikely, writes Ian Verrender.

It is simply titled, Gaming the System.

Within the 44 page document, tabled last Friday in the Senate, is a litany of crimes against the nation. Sorry, correct that to "mostly legal ways to evade paying tax."

For almost a year, a Senate committee has trawled the murky waters of tax avoidance by large corporations and wealthy private Australians and what it has uncovered has stunned the Parliament and the nation.

Exactly how to combat the insidious nature of tax avoidance is an altogether different matter. For while the revelations have been enlightening and the improved transparency over tax matters helpful, it is unlikely there will be any serious reform; at least in the short term.

For years, the OECD has been toiling away on a system to help stamp out what is known in the trade as Base Erosion and Profit Shifting. In the wake of the financial crisis that left most developed nations short of revenue, the G20, in which Australia is a key member, labelled it priority.

Achieving anything substantial, however, remains at best elusive. The main problem is that multinational corporations operate within a global marketplace while tax laws are set within national boundaries by governments run by politicians that can be, well, let's just say easily persuaded.

Many global corporations are richer and more powerful than the countries in which they operate. Even in highly developed countries, the pendulum has swung so far in favour of major corporations that few politicians have the gumption to take a stand on matters tax.

Once upon a time multinationals used to run fully accountable subsidiaries in their global networks that filed annual reports, had local boards of directors and paid the full rate of local tax.

That's no longer the case, at least here in Australia. They employ the bare minimum number of often nominal directors who answer directly to head office, or to an entity located on a balmy tropical island that charges no tax.

read more: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-25/verrender-so-far,-we're-just-tinkering-with-tax-dodgers/7354558


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the drunks and the gamblers of australia remember...

World-famous evangelist Billy Graham died early Wednesday at the age of 99 in his mountain home in Montreat, North Carolina. But unlike most headlines today dealing with religion and conservatism and figures famous for both, the news of his death did not draw the usual hyper-partisan carping from the media or the chattering class. In fact today, he’s being called “America’s Pastor.”


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In Australia, the drunks saw the bottled spirit and the gamblers saw the jackpot light.... Alleluyah!!!!

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changed address...

In a statement to The Christian Post, Will Graham, the grandson of Billy Graham (whose full name is William Franklin Graham Jr.) and the son of Franklin Graham, said:

"My grandfather once said, 'One day you'll hear that Billy Graham has died. Don't you believe it. On that day I'll be more alive than ever before! I've just changed addresses.' My friends, today my grandfather moved from the land of the dead to the land of the living," Will Graham declared.

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billy's gone

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no TV, nor internet, just threadbare sandals in the desert...

"The Billy Graham that the world saw on television, the Billy Graham that the world saw in the big stadiums, was the same Billy Graham that we saw at home. There weren't two Billy Grahams," eldest son Franklin Graham told the funeral congregation.

Franklin Graham's funeral message followed shorter remarks by his siblings in a service that lasted just over an hour before an invitation-only crowd of approximately 2,000.

"I believe, from Heaven's perspective, that my father's death is as significant as his life. And his life was very significant. But I think when he died, that was something very strategic from Heaven's point of view," said his daughter Anne Graham Lotz.

"I believe God is saying: 'Wake up church! Wake up world!'"

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I believe that Billy Graham died. Nothing more.

Ah, had TV, intagram and Youtube been available at the time of Jesus !.... "Is this me" (ugly saying) or has humility turned into a hypocritical form of fame, as most of us crave exposure? Even preachers? 

Gus is a fierce atheist.


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conservative bullshitting jesus at the white house...

As recounted in “The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House,” by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy, Graham had more of an issue with Eisenhower’s “salty language” than his lack of religious belief. In fact, once Eisenhower agreed to run, he openly sought Graham’s help in selling himself as a man of faith; he told Graham that the country would never elect a non-churchgoing candidate. 

Eisenhower, a lapsed Presbyterian, asked for Bible quotes to cite in stump speeches and for churches Graham could recommend. A 1953 photo-op shows Graham and Eisenhower reading the Bible together — a photo Graham later reproduced in his own literature.

Just before the election, Graham issued a press release. “Mr. Graham is not taking sides in the political campaign,” it read. “He is remaining neutral.”

Despite lifelong claims that he was uninterested in power and profit, Graham was gravitationally drawn to both.

In 1960, Graham mobilized evangelicals against John F. Kennedy, maintaining Kennedy’s Catholicism rendered him unfit. (The irony!) Lyndon Johnson reportedly wanted Graham to join his Cabinet.

“I almost used the White House as a hotel when Johnson was president,” Graham told his biographer Marshall Frady. “He was always trying to keep me there. He just never wanted me to leave.”

Graham was also close to Richard Nixon — so close that Graham took it upon himself to draft a secret 13-page plan to bomb North Vietnam. In his book “The Golden Age Is In Us: Journeys and Encounters,” Alexander Cockburn cites a declassified 1969 memo Graham wrote after meeting with missionaries in Bangkok. Graham’s plan, he wrote to Nixon, “could overnight destroy the economy of North Vietnam.”

Had Nixon followed through, that strike could have killed an estimated million people.

A recorded 1972 Oval Office conversation between Nixon and Graham, released by the National Archives in 2002, revealed Graham made multiple anti-Semitic remarks.

Graham called Jews “Satanic.” He agreed with Nixon that they controlled the national media. “They’re the ones putting out all the pornographic stuff,” Graham said, and their “stranglehold has got to be broken or the country’s going down the drain.”

But not to worry, Graham told Nixon — Jews had no idea what he truly believed. “I go and keep friends with Mr. Rosenthal at The New York Times and people of that sort, you know,” Graham said. “And all — I mean not all the Jews, but a lot of the Jews are great friends of mine. They swarm around me and are friendly to me because they know I’m friendly with Israel. But they don’t know how I really feel about what they are doing to this country.”

Graham strongly denied ever having such a conversation in 1994, nor holding such views, but upon the tape’s release in 2002 issued an apology.

“I don’t ever recall having those feelings about any group, especially the Jews, and I certainly do not have them now,” Graham said. “I humbly ask the Jewish community to reflect on my actions on behalf of Jews over the years that contradict my words in the Oval Office that day.”

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he had a bigger audience than jesus...

A petition calling for the creation of a national holiday honoring the Rev. Billy Graham has garnered over 100,000 signatures in a week.

Posted to Change.org by a Kyle Siler and addressed to President Donald Trump, Congress, and a few other elected officials, the petition passed the 100,000-signature mark early Wednesday morning.

"Mr. Graham preached the Gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history — nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories — through various meetings, including Mission World and Global Mission," reads the petition.

"Hundreds of millions more have been reached through television, video, film, and webcasts. Mr. Graham's counsel was sought by presidents, and his appeal in both the secular and religious arenas is evidenced by the wide range of groups that have honored him, including numerous honorary doctorates from many institutions in the U.S. and abroad."


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As an atheist, Gus can only marvel at the size of the BS the Christians are indulging in, to make noises about their bible-bashing oracles like Billy Graham, a guy who who had more listeners and more Christmases than Jesus. Amazing. Now they want a special holiday to commemorate Billy. Jesus has got two main ones, Christmas and Easter, and a few small ones, including lent which is a good occasion to celebrate Sydney's LGBTi with a Mardis Gras parade.

Which will it be for Billy? His birth, his death or the last preaching crusade in Sydney? Read from top...


boycotting the visit...


Michael Bird is Academic Dean and Lecturer in Theology at Ridley College, Melbourne. 


He writes:

Rev. Franklin Graham, son of the famous American Evangelist Billy Graham, will be touring Australia next year.

But despite the fact that Franklin comes from good evangelical stock and is a celebrity Christian leader, I won't be going to hear him speak.

It was 60 years ago, in 1959, when Billy Graham toured Australia. His tour had a seismic effect on Australia's religious landscape.

Billy Graham died earlier this year, at the age of 99. He is fondly remembered for his Christian witness, philanthropic work and global influence.

Graham had a relationship with American presidents from Harry Truman to George W. Bush. He played golf with John F. Kennedy, skinny-dipped in the White House pool with Lyndon Johnson, counselled the Clintons after the Monica Lewinsky affair, and prayed with Barack Obama.

Graham was interviewed by the likes of Woody Allen and Diane Sawyer; he was the man that presidents wanted to be seen beside because he was widely respected for his religious devotion and proprietary. Graham opposed segregation and openly supported Martin Luther King, Jr. Graham generally put himself above partisan politics - with the exception of his support for Nixon, which he later said he regretted.

Unlike his father, however, Franklin Graham, the CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, has not avoided political partisanship - in fact, he has embraced it with gusto. Franklin Graham has been a fervent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump from the beginning. He has even described Trump in quasi-messianic terms, portraying him as a God-sent saviour to America.

Franklin Graham wrote in the Wall Street Journal in 1998 that President Bill Clinton should consider resigning from the White House because of his affair with Monica Lewinski:

"Clinton's months-long extramarital sexual behavior in the Oval Office now concerns him and the rest of the world, not just his immediate family. If he will lie to or mislead his wife and daughter, those with whom he is most intimate, what will prevent him from doing the same to the American public?"

This same Graham has urged Christian voters to overlook Trump's crude "p***y-grabbing" remarks. He has claimed that "God has for some reason put [Trump in the White House] for a purpose." Concerning Trump's affair with porn star Stormy Daniels, Graham has gone on record as saying that it happened twelve years ago, before Trump was president, and that it is "nobody's business." The reason being that nominations for the Supreme Court are on the line. Of course, this level of hypocrisy - castigating Clinton for his behaviour with an intern while mitigating Trump's behaviour with a porn star - has not gone unnoticed, and many have called Graham out for it.

To his credit, Franklin Graham did forcefully oppose the Trump administration's decision to separate families at the U.S.-Mexican border, but that represented a brief interruption in an otherwise steady stream of unreserved support and enthusiasm for the president. The fact is that Franklin Graham has tethered himself to the Trump administration, and he has used Christianity as a political prop to sanitize Trump for some Christian voters - despite Trump's egregiously non-Christian character and the dubious moral quality of many of Trump's policies.

The problem with Franklin Graham is, as Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore put it: "The Religious Right turns out to be the people the Religious Right warned us about."

So I will not be attending the Franklin Graham events in Australia in 2019, and I will be urging friends and churches to do the same.


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