Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Pathological spirituality

"Spiritual" feelings are common but very strong ones can be pathological. So it seems to have been below. He thought he was sailing off into a wonderful new world but all he did was prematurely terminate his own existence

A woman has given an insight to the alarming life of a man whose body was found in a dam near Kingaroy and his partner.

Police yesterday said a man who was found by a kayaker in Gordonbrook Dam at the weekend was 51-year-old Darryl Smith, who also went by the name Matthew Goldman.

image from https://content.api.news/v3/images/bin/2896dc9870360776eb29a316856069c8

Mr Smith was found tethered to a woman, who has not been formally identified but is believed to be his wife.

A fortune teller, who briefly worked for the “spiritually fanatical” Goldmans at a shop they operated in Kingaroy has revealed she googled the couple two weeks ago just to make sure “they were still alive”.

“Two weeks ago - I was googling them, I was googling everything about them because I wanted to see if they were still alive,” she said.

The fortune teller said she “distanced” herself from the Goldmans (Darryl Smith and his wife) in December “within a month of knowing them”.

“The first day I went into the shop to work for them they were telling me about their plans and how they were just about to commit suicide before the shop, a ‘gift from god’,” she said.

“I just remember thinking that’s pretty heavy stuff to be telling someone you just met and also someone so spiritual.”

“I did one reading for a client at the shop and noticed they were living out the back, their energy was frenetic and the more I knew them the worse it got.”

The woman likened her interactions with Mr Goldman to Reverend Jones, an apocalyptic cult, saying “it was that kind of frenetic spirituality.”

“Each time I would hang out with them my gut instinct just told me this was a dangerous man,” she said.

“I didn’t tell them for a few weeks but then I had to put it in writing because they were kind of grooming me in a way.”

The woman claimed the Goldmans confided in her about how they had “sold everything” and “bought a box of pills through the mail.”

The woman believed Mr Goldman was the “frontrunner”, “the talker” and although the couple had been together for 20 years it was a “really sick relationship.”

“All the signs were there - the narcissism, the gaslighting - they said they had been together for over 20 years but I’ve never seen a woman look at a man like that unless they were in a cult,” she said.

“He really did all the talking for both of them and being a feminist I thought there’s something not right here, I looked at how she was with him, she was incredibly passive and then they got talking about spirituality, fortune telling, carding reading but when they took me out the back – I thought it was going to be quite a professional meeting but then straight away they started talking about how they were blessed and how they had nearly committed suicide.”

“They were scary on every level - mentally, emotionally, and physically.”

Just three months after the fortune teller met the Goldmans she decided to block them on her phone and social media.

“Matthew told me about (his wife’s) life, how tragic it was and he had rescued her, I just kept saying ‘look I don’t want to hear this’,” she said.

The woman said the shop was a “hangout for broken people.”

“Matthew would tell me about how he was going to transform everyone’s lives but when I walked into the shop a few times there were always the people you know are broken – that kind of upset because I knew they were manipulating these people and trying to sell them stuff,” she said.

The woman said when she found out the couple had died she felt “validated” that she had managed to “escape them”.

“I’m happy they are together because in all honestly one of them was going to do something stupid, I’m glad they are at peace - it was Folie a deux (madness of two),” she said


Prelude to resume LNG production

Shell’s $US12bn ($16bn) Prelude floating LNG project off Australia’s northwest coast is poised to resume production after a lengthy outage, offering the market a new source of energy amid a global squeeze on supply.

The oil and gas giant has not produced LNG from the facility since December 2, after an electrical fault forced the closure of the floating vessel located near the Prelude gas field, 475km northeast of Broome.

Shell said in February difficulties in giving specialists access to the platform because of mandatory 14-day quarantine requirements in Western Australia were partly to blame for the length of the outage.

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority on Friday cleared Shell to restart Prelude but no start-up date has yet been provided.

“We continue to work methodically through the stages in the process to prepare for hydrocarbon restart with safety and stability foremost in mind,” a Shell spokeswoman said on Sunday.

The addition of the plant’s 3.6 million tonnes of capacity will be well timed, with markets tight because of sanctions and restrictions on Russia, the world’s fourth-largest LNG producer.

Brent oil jumped to $US139 a barrel, a 14-year high, earlier in March while spot LNG prices rose to the equivalent of $US500 a barrel – described as “off the charts” by Woodside Petroleum – amid fears Russian output could be sidelined.

Consultancy Rystad said the restart of Prelude was positive for LNG markets.

“Australian regulator NOPSEMA has cleared Shell’s 3.6 Mtpa Prelude FLNG for a restart after the facility was taken offline in December 2021 due to a fire.

“Though commissioning may take a few weeks, this is a positive development for a region badly in need of every LNG molecule it can get its hands on,” Rystad said.

Prelude was touted by Shell as the first of a revolutionary line of projects to unlock gas resources previously considered too remote to support development of conventional land-based LNG plants.

The floating LNG vessel started delivering supplies from the Prelude gas field in June 2019.

However, the plant was yet to get anywhere near its 3.6 million tonne-a-year capacity when a series of safety incidents occurred early in 2020, which were probed by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority.

It then suffered the electrical fault that caused the vessel to shut down in December.

Shell – one of the nation’s biggest gas producers and foreign investors – was forced to write off $US6.2bn from its Australian operations for the 2020 financial year after the price of crude plummeted to a two-decade low last year.

The Prelude platform was to blame for the bulk of the impairment as Shell cut its oil price forecasts and revised its stance on the “attractiveness” of the venture.

Shell boss Ben van Beurden conceded in February the platform was suffering from “teething troubles”.

“Quite a few teething troubles, of course,” Mr van Beurden said.

“But bear in mind this is a unique asset but with, of course, quite unique challenges.

“We just want to make sure that whenever we restart, we know that we have solved the problem and we can do so safely.

“And for now we expect it to be out for most of the first quarter,” he said.


The labor party is no longer the party of the worker

It is no small irony that Anthony Albanese has adopted a small target strategy just as there is a tectonic upheaval in the age-old battle of capital and labour.

In his attempts to look more business-friendly and preaching, in his own words, ‘renewal not revolution’ he is merely highlighting the growing distance between the parties of the Left and workers in the physical economy.

Only last month, in my home state of New South Wales, the city was brought to chaos amid a stoush between train drivers and the state government. Premier Dominic Perrotet did not hesitate to accuse the development as ‘a co-ordinated attack by the Labor party and the labour movement’.

In the same period nurses in the state held their first strike in over a decade. Teachers and bus drivers have also flagged their intentions to agitate for better conditions, especially given the NSW state government has capped any wage increase at 2.5 per cent.

The local truck convoy which attracted over ten thousand people took place in the shadow of protests across the developed world over vaccine mandates. The past gratitude towards essential workers exhibited by what Canadian trucker Gord Magill titled the ‘email jobs caste’ is no longer proving to be adequate compensation.

Even in the United States, traditionally a place where common wisdom states worker movements have been neutralised as a political force, there have been notable union successes at Kellogg and agricultural company John Deere.

The opportunity sensed by the unions has not always been met with support from their political party representatives. While the most heated confrontations came last September over vaccine mandates for Victorian construction workers, the tensions have played out throughout the pandemic.

While not alone, it has been the parties of the Left who have most enthusiastically supported lockdowns and Covid restrictions, despite their well-documented, disproportionate impact upon workers in the physical economy.

These workers are also more likely to live in outer-metropolitan areas and be of an ethnic background, exactly the kind of demographics the Labor party has traditionally taken for granted but are now desperate to win back. Those workers protesting against mandates have been painted by ALP leaders as anti-vax tinged by the far right when they could just as legitimately be seen as another arm of class struggle.

Albanese has been largely silent on the unrest among Labor’s traditional base, fearing his past as a comrade on the socialist left of the Labor party will come back to bite him. His subdued stance may be politically wise, but out of step with a pivotal moment.

The tensions between capital and labour as pandemics end have considerable historical resonance. After the Black Death in the 14th century there was a huge shortage of labour. It prompted many serfs to rebel against their noble paymasters. Landowners were outraged and responded with violence as hundreds of thousands of people walked away from jobs in search of something better.

As Matthew Anderson writes in the New York Times: ‘The struggles over wages and the value of labour that defined the post-plague years were in some ways as dramatic as the pandemic itself.’

We don’t have the same demographic crises as in the 14th century when up to a third of the population died in some parts of Europe. But we still have trends like the large-scale talent migration coined the Great Resignation by University of Texas professor Anthony Klotz. In combination with the more traditional industrial unrest, this is evidence that right across the developed world workers are re-assessing the value of their labour.

But the language of class struggle is seen as too dangerous within modern elections amid a diverse, aspirational electorate.

The Albanese strategy seems to be the Napoleonic one of never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

This may well be wise.

Wherever one lies in their support of Morrison, a psychological feature is that we are unlikely to have a clear transition point for the end of the pandemic, being instead limited to individual choices how best to co-exist.

War and floods may function as a full stop for some, but there are large sections of the community whose identity has become intertwined with following the rules of Covid, fearing people will die otherwise. They have spent the last two years in perpetual surveillance mode against an invisible foe. For a minority the status games inherent in wealthy, industrialised cities have expanded to who can be the most masked, the best at socially distancing and even policing others.

For all the talk of the pandemic encouraging a more communitarian focus, it has empowered social dictators and helped fray the bonds of mutual citizenship. Without collective rituals to mark a transition, the population may well look to the federal election to mark a cleansing full stop to the last two and half years.

This bodes poorly for Morrison and the Liberal party, a marker that the cycle of the pandemic suiting incumbents may be turning. Just ask Premier Steven Marshall in South Australia, who looks set to lose after just one term to charismatic upstart Peter Malinauskas.

It is true that the federal ALP has promised just over a billion dollars in funding towards vocational training amid an aim to train up local workers.

But it seems a tepid response amid the global upheaval clearly taking place in what is traditionally the signature battle in politics.

The Labor party and the traditional parties of the Left must be careful that they don’t increasingly taint any kind of angry worker as immediately linked to white supremacy or conspiracy theorists.

Albanese may well find his voice if elected, harking back to his proud comrade days leading the Labor left, but his current strategic timidity is also symbolic of the diluted links between the proud worker and their representatives striving for power.


The Victorian Liberals have performed a major policy backflip over a controversial tax ahead of the state election

The Victorian opposition has performed a major policy backflip ahead of the state election, after the party announced a change in its stance towards a controversial mental health levy.

The tax, announced in last year’s state budget to address gaps in mental health, was initially opposed by the party, with leader Matthew Guy arguing businesses should not have to bear the brunt of the levy.

The tax, which is expected raise $843 million per annum, came into effect this year and charges a surcharge to businesses with more than $10 million in wages.

The opposition voted against the bill when it was introduced in parliament in May last year with Matthew Guy vowing to scrap the tax at a press conference in February

“We’ve said that we don’t want to increase taxes or put on new taxes,” he said at the time.

But in a noticeable backflip on Monday, his colleague shadow treasurer David Davis and mental health spokesman Emma Kealy maintained the levy would remain.

“We said initially that we didn’t support the tax,” Ms Kealy told reporters.

“The tax is now in place, it has been in place since January of this year. We’ve always said we’d support the Royal Commission’s vision of what they want to achieve for Victoria.”

Following the press conference, Victorian deputy Premier James Merlino accused the opposition of backflipping on the major policy and called the Liberal party “divided”.

“This is a rabble of an opposition,” he said.

“They’ve been spooked by the South Australian election. They know they can’t go to an election talking about health cuts.”

It comes just months ahead of the November 26th election, with key battles expected to play out over the budget, health and the rising cost of living.

Mental health has also been a central issue for both parties, following two years of consistent lockdowns placing severe pressure on Victorians, particularly the state’s youth.

The pandemic further highlighted gaps in the mental health system, with Labor pushing through implementing crucial recommendations from the Royal Commission, and the Victorian Liberals pushing its own promises if elected


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM -- daily)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)


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