An update – Web Extortion Part II

31 October, 2006

In an entry some three years ago, I mentioned that at the time my domain name, terranullius.com, had been stolen after a year of use by my own hosting provider, “hostonce”, which turned out to have registered my domain to a White Power group with the rather odd name of “White Crusaders of the Rahowa” (ref Fightdemback). On that site, you can see a pretty picture which any mum would love of the guy who ended up with my domain days after the year anniversary passed, Colin A. Campbell. Hostonce (who are still trading under the .com.au) refused to return correspondence or allow me to renew my domain name, but left it unattended for several years.

As an interesting relic of those days, one of my then-validated email addresses is still my MSN address today, as some of you would indeed have recognised.

From my entry at that time:

For non tech savvy people, this is like going to Fair Trading to register your business name, only to find a year later that the staff of the Department have opened a shop in that name next to the local train station that doesn’t actually sell anything, but its presence means that you can’t reregister the name.

Anyway, it seems he passed it onto a company called NameGiant, as can be seen here. After several failed attempts (including phoning the international number, which I understand is like the UK equivalent of a 1900 number, twice) to get in touch with these people, I made a generic inquiry on obtaining the domain name last week. Here’s what I got back today:

Hi Andrew,

Thank you for your enquiry.

[…]

If you consider that just recently Fish.com sold for $1,020,000, MyPremierCard.com for $135,250, JMM.com for $55,000 and HorseSupplies.com $52,500 etc there have been many other 5 figure sales – I’m sure that our asking price could be considered an investment for a domain of this quality.

The price of this domain is £7,000 Great British Pounds or US$13,280 (close offers may be considered). This is a one off payment for the rights to the domain, however you will be responsible for paying the yearly registration (approx $30).

The email then diverges into a range (nearly a page in fact) of payment options.

A$17,300 for a domain name from NameGiant seems a bit steep, especially when it is stolen property to begin with. Last I checked, trading in stolen property is an offence in most countries, including the United Kingdom, where the Theft Act 1968 s.22 and Criminal Attempts Act 1981 s.1(1) (as amended) refer in part to “obtaining property by deception and handling stolen goods”.

I have written to them with a somewhat more reasonable offer. I will keep you posted with any developments.


My state is going backwards :(

7 December, 2004

This front-page article from the West blatantly disturbs me.

Barnett pledge to repeal gay rights
STEVE PENNELLS

The Liberal Party plans to roll back key sections of WA’s gay law reforms if it wins the State election – raising the age of consent for gay men to 18 and barring same-sex couples from adopting.

Gay couples would be banned from settling property disputes in the Family Court and access to the court by de facto heterosexual couples would also be reviewed.

Opposition Leader Colin Barnett confirmed the party’s position yesterday, saying there was “nothing more fundamental in our society than the institutions of marriage and family”.

The move effectively throws the contentious issue of gay rights back into the political arena in the lead-up to the election and reopens the debate that raged two years ago when the Gallop Government’s gay law reforms were introduced.

Gay rights groups are expected to mount an aggressive campaign against the plans and described the Liberals’ position yesterday as an attempt to recriminalise homo- sexuality.

They said that if the moves went ahead, WA would once again have the highest homosexual age of consent in the country and be the first jurisdiction in the world to wind back gay rights since the military coup in Nicaragua in 1990.

Mr Barnett denied the party’s position discriminated against same-sex couples and said attempts by sections of the gay lobby to paint the Liberals as homophobic did the gay community a disservice.

“I recognise that about 5 per cent of the population is gay,” he said. “They are probably born gay and I don’t support any discrimination on the grounds of age, religion, sexuality, whatever.

“What I don’t agree with is when activists try and undermine the institutions of society in the name of equality.

“I do not support gay couples having adoption rights. I don’t doubt the ability of gay couples to be very caring (but) parenthood is essentially a man and a woman.

“I also happen to believe that the age of consent for homosexual relationships is 18.”

He said any changes to the age of consent would be designed to prevent predatory behaviour by older men and the law would not apply, for example, to two 17 year-old boys.

The Gallop Government introduced the controversial reforms two years ago to remove legislative discrimination against homosexuals. It extended in-vitro fertilisation and adoption rights to same-sex couples and lowered the homosexual age of consent from 21 to 16.

Attorney-General Jim McGinty, who ushered in the reforms, said the Liberals’ plans would be a regressive step for the State.

“These provisions were introduced to give equal rights to all West Australians,” Mr McGinty said.

“It is a pity that Colin Barnett wants to bring discrimination back into our society in the 21st century.”

Premier Geoff Gallop said: “My Government is about getting more police on the street. Colin Barnett is about getting more police into people’s bedrooms.”

Openly gay Democrats Senator Brian Greig accused Mr Barnett of pandering to anti-gay groups and the religious right as a “preference grovel” ahead of the State election.

Sue Fisher Hendry, co-president of gay group Pride, said the Liberals’ position was unjust.

“Mr Barnett, to be fair, is operating on the basis of his beliefs rather than that which is for the social good,” she said.

“In a perfect world the Liberal Party would be acknowledging that the majority spoke last time law reform was passed.”

Mr Barnett said he did not believe the Liberals’ position would become an election issue.

“I don’t think the wider community really wants to be confronted with gay issues,” he said.

This is from a guy who does star-jumps in the chamber when he’s bored of what the other side’s saying. Does anyone else feel worried about this guy possibly becoming premier in 2 months? I notice also that he fails to address the issue of gay teen suicide, which was far worse under the Foss Amendments laws during the 90s, or discrimination in workplaces and schools on the basis of sexuality.


Kingsway and ethics

12 February, 2002

I am an ex-student of Kingsway (year 11-12, 1994-1995), the school which last week decided to expel an 8 year old gifted and talented student because his mum was living in a defacto relationship. The story can be found on a number of links here.

I am thoroughly stunned at the way my former school has handled this issue, both initially and then in the media. They have failed to show any standard of true Christian leadership, instead willing to let a few extreme fundamentalists (probably those that shouted the loudest) control the school’s policies. Their inability to admit they were wrong in the first instance also shows a lack of courage – they evidently hold some parents as more important as the rest in this parent-controlled school. However I am aware this is not the first time the school has contravened the rules of fairness and reality with regard to its students, and I also realise that far from being a simple excuse to shoot one school down, there are far greater issues which this raises for many religious schools and institutions, that need to be looked at.

In 1999/2000, one of Kingsway’s teachers, there since 1995, was convicted of sexually abusing various girls in his care. The most disconcerting thing for me was not the obvious – it was the fact that the parents of some of the girls had raised complaints with the school board that had been ignored, and in at least one instance which made it to the media, the parents were harassed by the other parents until they and their children (the victims) left the school. The guy is still in jail to my knowledge. Also, while I was there, the dubious past history of another teacher, who was there for several years and acted quite suspiciously at times, was deliberately suppressed by the school, who quoted union pressure as being the reason for not sacking the teacher.

While I am more a Deist than a Christian nowadays, I still accept the teachings of Christ insofar as they can be reliably established.

“Do not judge, lest you be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will yourself be judged.” Matt 7:1-2

Why then are Kingsway’s parent board judging this woman as unfit to be a parent at the school? It seems that it’s more time and place – another parent, as one of the news articles indicates, is quite willing to stand up and say that, as a defacto for 3 years (now married), she was tolerated at the school, simply because, although her status was known, no-one made a complaint.

My perception of Christian organisations at large has been that few are willing to assume true moral leadership. I guess the notion that one could or would may be abhorrent to some people, but I think that a group genuinely devoted to the things Jesus has gone on record as saying would be able to make a strong and positive difference to society. Many of the stands taken by the Christian church today on many issues run contrary to the basic message which he taught. Simply condemning people one doesn’t like, and perhaps twisting Bible verses to back one’s claims, is easy, and shows no leadership whatsoever.

“Love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind. [Deut 6:5] This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it – Love your neighbour as yourself. [Lev 19:18] All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matt 22:37-40)

The entire Gospel summarises a state whereby the Judaic religion had fallen into a state of excessive legalism, encouraged by the guardians of the law, the Pharisees and Levites. Jesus routinely condemned these people as hypocrites. We receive a picture of a man who talked with Samaritans, touched lepers, had a tax-collector for a follower, and showed compassion towards an adulterer and even towards those who killed him. And yet he could righteously have judged all of them, as he himself was without sin.

What does that say to Christians today? In the churches I have been in, they have made this clear distinction between “world” and “worldly” things, and “Godly” things. It’s a what’s in and what’s out list, and it fails to take note of the fact that Christ never meant his followers to be a little insular group who hang around in little cliques at church.

Furthermore, leave the judging to God. There’s instances where judging of one’s behaviour within certain rules is acceptable. For instance, a student who repeatedly breaks school rules (eg bullying other students, damaging property, etc) who is given many opportunities to reform could quite rightly be expelled from the school as a last resort. A person at a church whose sole reason for being there appears to be to disagree with all present in a negative, confrontational sense on a continuing basis may quite fairly be asked to leave. The above two examples are not judging in the sense the above verse meant it, anyway. The above examples are merely ensuring the good governance and order of a group of people on standards which are human-derived. To judge in this sense means to say one is right or wrong before God, or to make a statement that someone is “living in sin” (which has been used a few times in this debate).

To do this is to presume that one knows what God actually thinks, and to say that you know and another who is Christian doesn’t know is quite blatantly trying to fill shoes a human can’t.

Being a Deist has its advantages – we say that we can’t know what God thinks, because revelation through man is inherently impossible.

Posted at a previous blog.


Nice sterile letter for consumption of the masses.

8 November, 2001

I saw the anti-gay-rights protest outside Parliament House today. Part of me was amused by the spectacle, and part of me deeply saddened that the representatives of Christianity, whose message is one of hope or redemption for *all*, actually believe their own garbled form of the message. Margaret Court (former champion tennis player) of Victory Life Centre, and Barry Hickey, the Catholic archbishop of Perth, were among the speakers. For those not aware, the WA Catholic Church has its own skeletons – in particular with regard to their treatment of orphans and others at the Christian Brothers schools.

http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/stories/s17579.htm
http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/archives/LatelineIssuesIndex_Children.htm
http://www.antichrist.com.au/1999/9901/9901xianbros.html

For the record, I used to be a member of one of the more extreme Protestant churches (used to be known as Rhema) – Margaret Court went to this church before starting her own ministry. I left in 1995 because I became very concerned at the way things were going, some sections of the group were very cult-like in the way they operated.

Anyway, my letter:
—–
Dear Editor,

I was quite bemused to see the protest rally outside Parliament House yesterday, holding signs up like “Protect our young boys” and denouncing gay relationships.

Equally so that the representatives of a church which have paid millions in legal fees for their clergy’s defence against some of the worst abuse cases WA has ever seen against young boys, were among the speakers at this rally.

I challenge the movements at the head of this protest to explain why they are so opposed to gay relationships being regarded the same as heterosexual defacto relationships, without using the word “immoral” or the words of the Bible. After all, the church regards these defacto relationships as being immoral and sinful too, so why single out gays?
—–

Update: predictably, The West didn’t print it. Oh well. Some interesting letters did get published however:

1. Hooray, Kabul is free from the mob of vicious extremist thugs who have used their religious fundamentalism as justification for telling everyone else how they should live their lives.

Meanwhile here in WA, we have Margaret Court and her mob of fundamentalists, including the usual suspects among your letter writers, insisting that what God has told them on their personal hotline must override policies which our secular Government clearly declared before its democratic election [State election in Feb 2001].

– Nick Suess, Bayswater

2. I see that religion, once again, is being touted as an excuse for humans to inflict pain and suffering on others by forcing everyone to try to bend to their way of thinking.

How are these so-called Christians who voice their opinions against gay law reform on these pages any different to Osama bin Laden? He, too, wanted to make the world think as he does and he didn’t care who was hurt or killed in the process – supposedly on orders from his god. At least bin Laden has an excuse – he is a madman. What excuse do they have?

– Ryan Nicholas, Maylands

Responses: I got some very interesting responses to this article, and some informed discussion arose. A person who worked nearby reported that the small core of protesters “were yelling the most hateful and horrible things about gay people” and that in their opinion, “basic Christian charity/sympathy is beyond these so-called Christians, who would probably ditch their children on the street to fend for themselves given half a chance”.

Another pointed out that the millions the church spend comes from the faithful who believe they are giving the money to God. They credited the Uniting and Anglican churches with holding more progressive views in line with Jesus’s own: “the God I have come to know, who is described by Jesus in the Gospels, loves me for everything that I am. Throughout Jesus’s lifetime he promoted tolerance, compassion and understanding. Love as described in 1 Cor 13 and as preached by Jesus in the form “love thy neighbour”, doesn’t seem to include the hatred expressed at that little meeting last week. I’m glad McGinty isn’t swayed by them.”

The consensus was that “Christians, to me, are like any other large group – fractious and widespread in their opinions. Everything from liberal, tolerant and ethical through to the sort of fundamentalism being complained about in the letter at the top of this page.”