American Congressman Eric Swalwell got caught sleeping with a Chinese spy named Fu King Ho. It’s not easy for any politician to look dumber than Swalwell, but Australia’s Lidia Thorpe is making it a contest.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation revealed last week that Senator Thorpe ”briefly dated” (don’t you love euphemisms?) Dean Martin, a former president of the Rebels outlaw motorcycle gang. That would be bad enough on its own, but while they were “dating” Thorpe was also “sitting on the joint parliamentary law enforcement committee, which was receiving confidential briefings about bikie gangs and organised crime.”
I believe that may be what they call a conflict of interest.
Martin has ridden with the Rebels for more than 25 years. He had been president of the Victorian chapter of the biker gang but stepped down in 2018 after his brother was deported to New Zealand due to his links to the Rebels and for his long, sordid criminal history.
When Thorpe’s staff found out about the relationship, they were so horrified that they ratted their boss out to Parliamentary officials.
“We … briefly dated in early 2021,” Thorpe attempted to explain. “We remain friends and have collaborated on our shared interests….”
Interesting. I’ve “collaborated on shared interests” with a number of women over the course of my life. I just never thought of calling it that.
I once knew a biker (or for our Aussie readers, a “bikie”). We weren’t pals, but we were acquaintances. My college buddies and I often ate lunch at a local drive-in Mexican restaurant owned by his parents. He worked mid-days at the restaurant, the same time of day we usually stopped in for lunch.
Tim made no secret of the fact that he was an outlaw biker. In fact, he seemed to revel in his outlawedness. Whenever he was working, his gleaming, big ass Harley was proudly parked right in front of the restaurant.
He was a big, hulking guy who would have been fearsome if he hadn’t worn a friendly grin and hadn’t laughed at himself so easily. He usually sported a scruffy beard and long hair as greasy as the ground beneath his Harley. He had tattoos back before they were hip. Looking back, I’m sure my pals and I found it a wee bit exciting and dangerous to talk to him over lunch, but none of us were stupid enough to extend our relationship with Tim beyond those superficial conversations.
Although Tim worked in the family business, that was not his primary source of income. He served as a fence (the guy who sells stolen merchandise for those who stole it) and his talents were highly-valued by both the Hell’s Angels and Los Diablos biker gangs. Although the gangs were sworn enemies, Tim’s skills as a fence enabled him to circulate freely back and forth between the two. He occasionally told us hair raising stories about his ”social interactions” with the legendary gangs. And in this case, ”social interaction” is another one of those euphemisms.
Tim lived in a shack just a few blocks away from my parents’ home. It had once been a neat but inexpensive little house, but had badly deteriorated under his stewardship.
Because of his suspected motorcycle gang-related activities, the house was always under surveillance by one law enforcement group or another, and none of them chose to be very discrete about it. They were clearly trying to send a message to Tim. A message he chose to ignore.
”There’s always some guy up the telephone pole working on the lines right outside my house,” Tim told us. ”It was obvious they were listening to my phone calls, and it pissed me off, so I went outside and lit the pole on fire while the cop was up there.”
As you might expect, Tim disappeared for a few months after that adventure. He was awarded an all-expenses paid vacation at the Graybar Hotel courtesy of the San Bernardino County prosecutors.
Some months later, soon after he was released from jail, the cops busted down Tim’s front door and discovered cases of dynamite stacked in his living room. The explosives had been stolen from a local construction site and the cops explained that they had raided Tim’s home after receiving a tip from some public spirited citizen.
When the cops asked where the explosives had come from, Tim was ready with a novel alibi.
”I have no idea,” he protested. ”Somebody must have been trying to blow up my house.”
The parallels to the Lidia Thorpe case are glaringly obvious. The Aussie media has decided that her ”collaboration” with the president of the Rebel motorcycle gang is pure dynamite. And the story has blown up the House of Parliament in Canberra. I could also say that the biker was caught busting down Lidia’s door, but that would just be another one of those euphemisms.
NOTE: This story is dedicated to my old pals Steve, Keith, Ray, Tim, Jeff, Larry, and the other Steve.